Fried chicken Saturday

Mrs. Lefty and I were in Milan (Tennessee, not Italy) today and enjoyed a wonderful lunch at Lee’s. This is the only Lee’s we still eat at. The ones we used to eat at in the Nashville area went out of business many years ago. We’ve been eating at the Milan Lee’s (much better than KFC) since before we were married, and we’ve been married 24 years. Milan is very close to both our hometowns, and so we have a long, deep attachment to these parts.


Deep thoughts about ice cream

At Dairy Queen, they turn your blizzard upside-down, and if it falls out, they give it to you for free. But they don’t give you that blizzard because it’s splattered all over the counter. So they have to make you a second one. (This is all theoretical to me because every blizzard I’ve ever ordered has defied gravity and remained in the cup.) This is good for you, because you get a free blizzard. It’s bad for Dairy Queen, because they have to absorb the cost of two blizzards without recompense. So they have a vested interest in making sure that first blizzard stays put.

It seems to me like some high-calorie magic trick.

Taking stock near the first day of summer

It has felt like summer for over a month, but the summer solstice officially occurs two days hence. I enjoy the changing of the seasons. It reminds me of King Solomon’s acknowledgment in Ecclesiastes that there is a time and a season for this and that. So here’s what I’m up to during this slow-paced march toward summer, 2018.

Working: I have no long vacation planned. Other than a day off here and there for one thing or another, I’m working straight through the summer (and beyond). Even this autumn, I’m only planning on taking off for Memphis football when I’m scheduled to work those Saturday’s.

Traveling: See above. For the second straight summer, we aren’t traveling anywhere, other than the occasional drive to Memphis to see the 20-year-old, who is currently taking summer classes. We’ve been many places in the past, and we’ll do so again in the future, Lord willing, but right I’m enjoying being at home. I’m convinced that the grass is greenest right where I am and there’s no need to move off that perch just yet.

Running: 5K’s every other day. Summer running presents its own set of challenges, and it takes a lot of 5K’s to reach my goal of running at least 50 miles every month. I wish I could tolerate long runs in the heat, but it takes quite a bit of stamina just to run a 5K in this heat and humidity. So I’ll save the long runs for cooler weather.

Reading: Right now I’m juggling Leo Tolstoy’s “War and Peace” (second reading), and Jan Swafford’s long biography of Ludwig Van Beethoven. Poor Beethoven. It’s still very early in the book. Beethoven is only 20, and already he’s been through the wringer. I have a sort of nostalgia for Europe the way it used to be, and not just because of my travels there. I appreciate Western culture like no other, and it pains me to watch parts of Europe self-destruct at the hands of globalists. So it has led to my current reading list.

Eating: I make an awesome pot of tomato-basil pasta. This year we are growing tomatoes at home in addition to home-grown basil, and it makes a difference when you grow your own ingredients.

Listening: Obviously Beethoven. I listen to his 6th symphony most days. It’s the finest piece of music ever written. I almost always listen to Rush when I’m running. Rush is the best running music ever. When I’m in the kitchen or in the car, it’s usually jazz.

Discouraged: My church is going through a hard time. But the preaching is better than ever. Also, my friend Bob and his family continue their trials. It has been nearly 7 months since he had a stroke. I don’t know how they get through each day, but they do. Somehow they are going to master this.

(Photo credit: me, Vienna, Austria in October, 1990)

Am I not free? (1 Corinthians 9)

Paul is defending himself against his haters. There are always going to haters. Paul even had to deal with them in the church at Corinth.

Apparently, Paul was being criticized for just about everything he did. He asks many rhetorical questions in this portion of his letter.

Paul was being questioned if it was acceptable for him to earn a living preaching the gospel. It is right for those who proclaim the gospel to get their living by the gospel.

We are free from the bondage of the law by grace, but it is important to keep that freedom in check by living according to the gospel. Where would a pastor go if he didn’t preach the gospel?

What is Paul’s reward? He more or less becomes all things to all people so that he might win some.

Paul compares preaching to the gospel to running a race. It requires self-control, discipline, training, etc., in order to win a race.

We must have a defense for what we do. There will always be those who question us.

If we didn’t have the gospel, we would have nothing.

Quote du jour

This comes from Rush Limbaugh near the conclusion of last Friday’s show:

I saw the photo of Ivanka with her son that set these people off. You remember what they said? (paraphrased) “That photo is an insult, that photo is… They’re jamming white privilege right down everybody’s throat!” Folks, they are sick. White privilege for the woman and her son? It was Ivanka holding her son and they’re meeting foreheads and she’s obviously being deeply affectionate with her little boy. There’s nothing offensive about it at all. Yet a photo like that can set these people off? They may be leftists and they may be liberals, but I’ll tell you what they are is pure, raw hatred. … The very idea that that photo could set these people off and be called an example of white privilege and be interpreted as Ivanka Trump lauding something over people? They’re gone! These people are… It is impossible to relate them, to understand them. They’re just… They’ve lost their minds.


Memorial Day

Most of world history involves despotism, oppression, dungeons, slavery and serfdom. Rare is that society that has been able to achieve freedom and keep it. But freedom isn’t free. It comes at a high cost. The United States remains the last, best hope of mankind in a fallen world. Thank God for those who paid the highest price so the rest of us can enjoy that freedom.

My people

I am one-eighth Italian. My mother is one-fourth Italian. Her mother was one-half Italian. He mother was a full-blooded Italian because both her parents were born in Italy and immigrated to the United States when they were young.

Giuseppe Megaletti Reverdito was born in the small town of Cortemilia in 1858. He was my great-great-grandfather. He emigrated from his homeland sometime around 1880. He would Americanize his name to Joe Ditto, Joseph being the English equivalent of Giuseppe.

Angelina “Lena” Caroloni Savoria was born in Piana Crixia, a small town not far from Cortemilia, in 1863. She was my great-great-grandmother. We don’t know if she knew Giuseppe before they emigrated, met on the boat — they most likely sailed from Genoa, which was the nearest port — or met after arriving in the U.S. (My theory is that they met on the boat.)

They would settle in Memphis, Tennessee. Lena died in 1919, aged 55 or 56. Joe would live to be 82. He died in 1940. They are buried in Memphis. We aren’t sure what brought them to Memphis, but suffice it to say that my family has a long history in Memphis. With my 20-year-old going to school there, six consecutive generations of my family have lived in Memphis for at least part of their lives.

The two maps below show the communities of Cortemilia and Piana Crixia, and also their relative locations in northwest Italy.

This is what they want (globalists vs. nationalists)

My good friend posted a few days ago about a change in the landscape of politics in the U.S., and I would also include Europe in this. The great divide isn’t so much between liberals and conservatives anymore but between globalists and nationalists. Now, globalists do tend to fall on the left while nationalists fall on the right. But our traditional understanding of political divisions has undergone a shift.

My friend brings up a good point: conservatism, as a political force, has failed.

Let me clarify.

Conservatism, which, in its basic form, asserts man’s inalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, is the driving force behind the political right. But conservatism, as a political movement, has failed because conservatives have heretofore been too willing to embrace losing in order to maintain ideological purity. (I used to be guilty of this, too.)

Consider the “never-Trumpers.” This group includes ideologues who embrace conventional conservatism who also rejected Donald Trump as the Republican nominee because he isn’t a conservative. This is true, by the way. President Trump has never advocated conservatism, per se. President Trump isn’t an ideologue. He’s a pragmatist who believes in the greatness of America and was tired of watching globalists destroy our institutions and identity.

In less than 16 months in the White House, President Trump has nonetheless enacted more conservatism than any president during my lifetime, including the great Ronald Reagan. Some never-Trumpers have come around to support the president. Others remain on the sidelines with arms folded because President Trump defeated their ideologue of choice in the GOP primary two years ago. They’d rather lose an election to a globalist like Hillary Clinton. Why? Because they’re losers.

Let’s talk about the globalists now.

I have heard it said many times that President Obama was an incompetent president. I completely reject this. President Obama was and is perfectly competent. He is a perfectly competent globalist. Unemployment exploded during Obama’s presidency. It was by design. The economy stagnated. It was by design. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) made health insurance unaffordable. It was by design. During Obama’s presidency, Islamic terrorism spread and our enemies were emboldened. It was by design. America was overrun by illegal immigrants and what we call “refuterrorists.” It was by design.

If you look to Europe, entire countries such as England, Germany, Sweden and others have been overrun by refuterrorists who are raping, pillaging, and demanding that their host nations enact Sharia Law. Even though a majority of residents in these nations literally want their countries back, their globalists leaders continue welcoming the refuterrorists. The EU has even threatened member nations like Poland for not opening their borders to these Muslim thugs. Don’t the globalists see what’s being done to their own people? Of course they do. And the lawlessness and chaos are what they want.

Globalists are godless.

Globalists want to disarm their own people, knowing that law-abiding citizens will be at risk because criminals won’t give up theirs. They don’t want to save lives. They want to control lives.

Globalists want to erase borders because they know when you import the Third World, you become the Third World. This is what they want. (But know this: globalist leaders will always live First World lifestyles.)

Globalists push the climate change hoax because it is their ticket to more government, higher taxes, loss of individual liberty and a lower of standard of living for the average citizen. It’s not the climate they seek to control, but the masses.

By now you get the idea.

Globalists are never honest about their intentions. The ACA was never about affordable health care. Climate change has never been about the climate. Gun control has nothing to do with saving lives. Open borders has nothing to do with the “tired huddled masses.”

Everything globalists advocate must be opposed by those who value life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Everything globalists advocate must be opposed by those who value America and want to preserve the institutions and ideas that made us great.

Globalists lie. Globalists project by accusing their opponents of things globalists do, have done, or want to do. Globalists double-down on their lies. When their ideas fail — and they always do — they never accept responsibility. They blame their opponents, or capitalism, or the people themselves.

So when you see a Western nation in chaos and wonder why their globalist leaders don’t do something to alleviate the chaos and restore order, it’s because fear and lawlessness are what they want.

In the U.S., it doesn’t matter that unemployment is at an historic low. It doesn’t matter that the American worker has more money in his pocket thanks to the Trump tax cuts. It doesn’t matter that the two Koreas are making a real effort to establish peace. Despite all this winning, globalists continue to try to destroy President Trump. Don’t they like what’s happening? No, they don’t. To them, America doesn’t deserve to win, Americans don’t deserve to keep more of their own money, and globalists prefer a chaotic world rather than a world at peace.

Nashville voters say “No!”

A highly-advertised mass transit plan for Metro Nashville was soundly rejected on Tuesday. The mass transit plan would have cost metro taxpayers $5.4 billion, and would have necessitated increasing four different taxes, including the sales tax. Nearly two-thirds of the voters opposed the plan, despite heavy support from the city’s establishment and Chamber of Commerce. Out of 35 council districts, only five supported the mass transit plan (mostly the yuppified neighborhoods).

This would not have affected me, as I live over the border in Wilson County (barely), but I do find the results fascinating. I sort of had a hunch the ballot measure would fail, although I was surprised the margin was so wide. Like most large cities, Nashville votes Democrat, but even the Democrat-voting electorate couldn’t stomach this one.

Nashville traffic is a mess, and it will only get messier as the metro and suburban populations continue to increase. City leaders are pressed for solutions to the traffic problem, so I’m not knocking them for trying. Whatever the solution, it will cost money. But $5.4B is a lot for one city. (It’s nearly $8,000 per resident.)

I honestly don’t have the answer myself. I can say with some confidence that whatever is decided, the price tag will have to be considerably lower to convince the taxpayers to buy into it.

Triggered by chicken

Chick-fil-A recently opened a restaurant in Manhattan. It’s not the company’s first foray into NYC, but it prompted a snarky article from The New Yorker entitled “Chick-fil-A’s Creepy Infiltration of New York City.” In it, the writer laments that “…the brand’s arrival here feels like an infiltration, in no small part because of its pervasive Christian traditionalism.” The article is nothing more than a leftist’s screed against evangelical Christianity, corporations and carnivores. Never mind that Chick-fil-A seems as popular in NYC a anywhere else. (One of its restaurants there sells a chicken sandwich every 6 seconds.) The writer is offended by pretty much everything Chick-fil-A stands for.

And so it goes with conscientious consumers and the companies and corporations we patronize. While the writer of this article stops short of calling for a boycott against the mighty Chick-fil-A, how many times have you heard an offended person call for a boycott of this or that establishment? Rarely do boycotts work.

With this said, I do have my own personal list of companies and institutions I do not give my money or time to, but it would be futile to demand the same of others. For example, I stopped watching the NFL, ESPN, and now the NBA because of their overt politicization of sports. I stopped subscribing to the Commercial Appeal not long after President Trump’s inauguration because of their constant Trump-bashing.

But there are corporations I do still patronize because of their value to me. For example, I go to Starbucks frequently. I like their coffee and the atmosphere. I can go there and buy a cup of brewed coffee for around $2 (with a free refill) and sit there and read or do some writing and be perfectly relaxed. (It’s the perfect introvert hangout.) Well, Starbucks’ longtime CEO, Howard Schultz, is a flaming liberal and Starbucks supports a lot of causes that go against my conscience. But I choose not to be triggered, as do a lot of other fellow believers. (It’s not uncommon to see a Bible study group at Starbucks, or, say, a pastor working on his sermon.) As my mother has said, if we boycotted every single business that does things we don’t like, we’d have almost nowhere to go.

Chick-fil-A serves chicken sandwiches. You don’t have to be a Christian to enjoy a chicken sandwich. Likewise, Starbucks serves coffee. You don’t have to be a flaming liberal to enjoy a cup of coffee. Yes, it is possible to enjoy the things we like without being triggered.