My stay at “The Manor” in Snainton UK

I rarely write publically about my stays while traveling, but this stay needs a loud and enthusiastic review. One of my Romatic fantasies has been to stay in a classic, original, and historic manor house in England. And I never thought it would be possible through Booking.com.

Our host Helen lists her Grade 1 three bedroom home in Snainton UK, just thirty minutes from York. A grade 1 property is a site of exceptional national, architectural or historical importance. Her listing, in tune with her character, presents humble information and photos – from our perspective her words are understated.

Her property is beautiful, full of character, and tastfully decorated. Sure there are some quirks like low doorways through which I routinely smacked my head on, even after being warned. Many of these quirks can’t be fixed as the historical regulations keep upgrades at bay. The building is over 300 yeats old. Still I find the property equal, if not better than many multi million dollar homes in my neck of the woods, including ours. It’s wonderfully cozy and can accommodate six adults, but only my wife and I booked it. We have the huge footprint all to ourselves. I believe it has five rooms an average hallway and a kitchen just for us.

From the classic private entrance to the flower gardens, ivy clad walls, and crisply patterned cut grass every thing about this place bleeds serenity and romance. If you’re not happy walking about this property you probably think a Motel Six parking lot is luxury.

I’ll not overplay my hand here as I don’t have permission to talk up our stay and I’m not a paid influencer, I simply stayed here with my wife in September of 2022 and we loved it. If you’re lucky you’ll stay here someday too, but hurry, Helen told us she’s thinking about selling the property. Enjoy!

Sorrows, When God Brings Them

It is a hard thing to experience sorrow. But the Bible is pretty clear that sorrow affects us all. Among other things, conflicts, depressions, longings, and mornings can bring on sorrows and people are usually at the heart of our sorrows. Hardly has a zucchini caused us true sorrows. I suppose a spoiled crop or a tasteless dish could bring us worldly sorrows of sorts but they’re usually conflicts, fears, and loves lost that cut the deepest.

Sins can also produce sorrows. Suppose you’re live in such a way that dishonors God. In such cases do you suppose God sits by un-affected and takes His humiliation while you continually slap his face?

So here comes the question, does God make you suffer in your sin? Well, my answer might surprise you unless you’re familiar with the two books by Paul written to the Corinthians.

I’ll quickly sum up what our culture thinks to be cruel. God often does sends affliction and suffering! It can come by temporary affliction, or even something quite humbling like hearing from friend that you had better shape up. There is an example of this idea in Corinthians. A man sinned, but worse yet he remained in that sin unchallenged. When Paul learned this he sent his letter to the Church. He taught the Church that without repentance the church is to forsake even the presence of that brother until he get his act together. Sounds pretty harsh right? Kick the guy out of the church because he’s living publically in sin? That’s judgmental right? Are you surprised that not many churches follow this rule today? Well, before you blast the scriptures and God, stories like these don’t always end with judgment, but with repentance. True, for those who hold on to their sin their judgment is certainly banishment, death, and gnashing of teeth. But for those who repent sorrow turns into rejoicing. It’s the redemption story that our current culture has forgotten and the point made in the teaching. Don’t only focus on judgements, judgements with purpose have their place.

So it is possible that these sorrowful judgments, along with loving kindness, may, with God’s help, make someone sorrowful even to the point of repentance. So sorrow can be a tool. Yep, sorrows can be a loving gift from God. In the Corinthian example, “you were made sorrowful so that you might suffer loss, but only to the point of repentance, and the according to the will of God.” You can read the account for yourselves in Corinthians, specifically 1 Corinthians chapter 5 and 2 Corinthians chapter 7.

Remember the point of these judgements is repentance and comfort. A changed heart, and a different direction is the goal – well kinda. It is not repentance alone that lead us to a “salvation without regret”, but there is definitely a Godly sorrow that “avenges in this life the wrong in us.” This judgment acknowledges that there is a price to be paid for sin and Christ paid the price for our sins.

Here we realize the benefits of judgements, that godly repentence comforts our sorrows and our faith in Christ brings peace.

In Paul’s case his letter confronting the mans indiscretion likewise caused sorrow to fall upon himself. Yet it was his duty to confront the sin in the Corinthian church. You likewise may also rejoice when your friend is made sorrowful to the point of repentance. You could also examine your own sorrow. Is God causing your sorrow to bring attention to one particular sin in your life? Avoiding the subject of sin will not help you, sorrows can.

In the end we must accept that faith in Jesus Christ does not keep you from God’s instructive discipline. And should you wander it is also a comfort to know that sorrows can be the device God uses to bring you to repentance. In other words, when bad things happen it may indeed be God. And your friend may be the trouble God uses to inspire you to faith. What a great God we serve, he sends us both love and troubles. He leads us to eternal comfort and joy. Amen

Weapons of Hope

This culture is weaponized to destroy our children, and it is systematically designed to do it. What weapons you ask? Consider or public schools, the media, political groups, liberal corporate entities. They all have their role in promoting abortion, homosexuality, racism, transgenderism, and the weakening of parental control. They promote, foul language, sexual innuendos, injustice, the twisting of truth, and all the other vices of wickedness. But I’m not complaing, however, because it’s crazy to think that something created good and controlled by a godless culture will remain good, even when or if it begins well. Public education, for example, began with reading, writing and arithmetic, lessons designed for the betterment of all. But we all know now how Satan’s warriors have diluted the good and introduced the bad. Eventually all man made things fail in society. Castles crumble, empires fall, ideals like fashions become passe. Conservatives by nature are try to preserve the past and liberals push to destroy it with progressive idealism, but each fail miserably.

Still what is true, and good, and righteous can never be changed. God’s word for instance. It cannot be changed. People can twist it to say things like black people are OK to own, but eventually truth is revived and we relearn “all men are created equal in God’s eyes.”

So while the world often sucks, and the powers to be can be rightfully blamed for its demise, I’m hopeful. I’m hopeful because what is good and perfect and righteous can never be exterminated. And for those of us who believe in redemption, Jesus dying on the cross for our sins and raising us to eternal life through faith, well, life in a fallen world is not so unbearable; although we often groan for something better. We enjoy our eternal position because God called us to it. We love our neighbors, we love our lives and we fight against the culture that consistently destroys itself from within. This is living.

The Metaverse

The real world is nuts. But if you think things are bad in reality what about this “metaverse” every company is talking about?

Right now the metaverse is essentially a digital universe where people can buy clothes for the avatar they create. The idea is to create an alternative you to live in a world the imagination designs. It’s a place where you get to decide who you want to be. So if you want to be the good guy or the creep, it’s up to you. Sounds cool right? But what can be more sinister than letting you have your way?

They say the digital universe has no rules, right? How wrong you are! In the real world we have laws, a constitution, historical norms, biblical traditions. But in the metaverse corporations set the rules. They set the boundaries. This is why CEO’s are so excited. In this space they can shape your mind, distort your reality and totally get away with it. But I won’t blame them for all the worlds ills. In this space our own alter egos will allow us to be rapists or thieves, woke or conservative, Godly creatures or heathen devils. This makes the identity crisis of today like playing with Barbie dolls. The consequences of our actions in the metaverse will be “moderated” by corporations,  much like Facebook does today. Does this sound fun? Imagination will have the freedom to shape the digital world. Its morals, its margins, its beliefs, its ideals will be regulated and supervised by corporate elites. This is why Zuckerberg and others are pushing their companies toward the metaverse. In some cases the metaverse will just be like a fun video game, but if silicon valley builds it, it will likely be a place like Hell; a social experiment that has little upside.

I think about this stuff and I’m warning you, the real world has enough troubles of its own.

A Sure Way to Get Banned On Facebook – Have an opinion they don’t like.

I know “wokeness” an “CRT” are the newest deceptions perpetuated by the left, but the transgender thing is back in our faces with the Olympic trials and upcoming Olympics. I say “deceptions” because the definition fits – “to cause someone to accept as true or valid what is false” is the definition of “deception.”

Now we all know they are the ideological liberal progressive institutions and aristocratic elites that are perpetuating the great LGBTQ++ lie. These so called tastes of a long established aristocracy is evidence that Satan has been at work for a long time. But the tastes of these deviants are now being accepted and mimicked by the bourgeoisie. People have always struggled with and often openly practiced lifestyles inconsistant to the laws God, but this current sense of community has not been present since the days of Rome and Sodom and Gomorrah. It is said that this is a move to a more socially “inclusive” society, when in truth it is a militant step backwards to a time when people of faith, conscience, and convictions were banned, torched, and crucified (we have so far only reached banned and imprisoned in North America).

The problem has always been that participants in these sins do not fully accept what is universally and eternally true. Living without reference to or dependence upon the temporal portions of reality they cannot see truth because they are blind and deceived. For example, this is a “man,” the one in the photo, the one who two weeks ago decided he is a woman, will be competing as a woman in the Olympics and no matter what he identifies himself to be and how flattering and supportive the, also deceived, announcers will be, he was born a man. Now to be clearer, I’m not saying he can’t love or be loved, I’m just saying he is being duped, defrauded, and swindled (or maybe we are being duped?). This by a “society” that bullies and/or deceives its victims. He and all those who support this deception sadly exemplify the level of deceit that has darkened a once brighter world.

So let us presently focus on us. What do we do if we will not conform to “community standards,” to societal pressure; if we refuse to buy into this lie and enthusiasticly root for all the women who will sadly have to compete against this behemoth; if we believe this is not a “transgender, blah, blah, blah, but a man who has been chemically and psychologically modified; if we say things like he is confused and has a dysfunctional image of himself?

For me to think and say things otherwise is to myself be deceived. To me he is a man, a son, a grandson. How do those pronouns sound? Pretty manly if you ask me. He may be kind, gentle, generous, and even display female tendencies. He may even like to wear dresses ( wierd but not necessarily deluded), but he is still a man. To believe otherwise is to subvert the beauty, function, and purpose of God’s image. To believe otherwise is to think of myself as something I’m not. The creation of man and woman is a holy thing I can love them and gently honor them both with high respect and great esteem. But I will not go along with and admit to myself that something is true when it is not.

Success meets opportunity

I constantly run into people who complain about their finances, and I often give them advice. My advice is simple, “always, take advantage of opportunities.” Whether they are educational opportunities, job opportunities, or investment opportunities, when you see something that interests you learn all about it and go for it! Most people however appear to wallow in their current situation, get frustrated, and never take steps to make their life better off (financially).

I must take a quick stop here to say the happiest people I know are poor people, so don’t go chasing wealth thinking more bucks are going to solve your problems (God and faith work here). But there is a financial number that works for each of us. For some it’s just getting by, for others it’s having toys, for most of us it’s not having to say, “I can’t afford things like an occasional steak, a dinner out, or getting our kid braces.” I remember the days when having a reliable car was everything. Just remember everything beyond the basics is luxury (most don’t see it my way).

I built it all by myself

Anyway, back to my advice. And I’ll be blunt. It’s actually quite easy to make a good living in America and we should be really happy it is. Now I cannot say much to those of you who have “jobs.” I had “jobs” early on and I hated them. All I can say here is find the job and wage you want, look at the qualifications and work your way towards those qualifications. And learn to communicate. That means stop everyone you meet and try your best to make them laugh, ask them questions, and sincerely try to get to know them. This is not like adding FB friends. It’s more like inviting someone to a party or helping them find a job. A good friend of mine has a saying, “show me your friends and I’ll show you your future.”

So how does one make money if you are entrepreneurial in nature? The answer is quite simple. Stay focused! I stopped by a business the other day. I knew the owner and asked how’s it going? His answer was,”great!” I asked again. Great in what way, you making any money?”

“Oh ya,” he replied, “we’re killing it!”

So I asked, ” What’s your long term plans?”

“Interesting you asked. I just put the building up for sale, I want a slower pace. I’d be willing to train the new buyer if they want the business too,” He freely told me.

I then asked about his cash flow, his gross sales, expenses, and his net. He said his daily gross is $1,000 up to $2,700 on a good day and he nets $800/day for he and his wife. I then asked so what’s your selling price, he said $250k for the building, about $289k for the building and business.

Folks, that’s cheep! So where is this building and business you ask? Well, I’m not going to say! What I am going to tell you is there are hundreds of opportunities just like this in or around where you live. You may need to open your mouth, ask questions, learn about business, and understand a little about real estate. But most importantly you may need to be more inquisitive. And of course you’ll need a few bucks saved to jump on opportunities like this.

The sad news is, most of you would want to know what kind of business is this or think “that’s hard work.” Or maybe, “I could never live there the winters are too harsh.”

So we come back to the truth. Full circle if you will. You’d rather complain about not making money, you’d rather play video games and never talk to strangers or business owners, you’d rather wait for something to fall into your lap. Wait, wait, wait, till it’s too late.

Wake up this is still America, the land of opportunity. Stop listening to the politicians, you don’t absolutely need a college degree or get your start delivering packages for Amazon. If you need to work hourly to save a bunch of money do it! Believe me, you you can do things in fields you have not invested an interest in. And if you want to learn, communicate, and build a solid circle of friends you too can make a great living. Good luck.

About me: I’m a happily retired Christian and former small business owner who has made money in all sorts of ways. I’ve done things I didn’t necessarily like, bought and sold a few of my own businesses. I put a lot of sweat into my own homes and office buildings. I mowed the grass and took out the garbage. I learned about investing and the power of compounding interest and I’m not afraid to make friends, to learn, and ask stupid questions to make myself smarter and more successful. If you need more advice I’d be happy to help, I want you to be successful too!

Racism – My View, All Of It.

The article below broadly explains the race problem. Black people (most not all) perceive injustices that just are not there. At least not there in the eyes of white people.  Michelle Obama conflates two situations. She confuses rude behavior with racism. She forgets or is ignorant of the fact that we all have had people cut in line in front of us. That we have all been invisible to some.

Envy and pride seems to have gotten in the way in her second example. Because someone does not “recognize” your existence when petting your dog is not even rude, some people just like dogs more than humans! I think she is being racist here!

Many people confuse perceptions with reality and this new social gospel is making it harder to love one another. Maybe instead of looking at everything in racial terms Michelle could have simply introduced herself to the lady who cut in front of her? Was her experiment ill conceived? Maybe she went into it with preconceived racial bias? We will never know! I think Jesus would have said, “I’m sorry did you have a tough day, please, go ahead of us.” He would not for a moment think, ‘these white people don’t think I exist (even if He knew it to be true). He would especially not think there is a systematic problem here that can be fixed by government. Jesus came to fix our hearts, “all sins matter” to him! Was there envy in Michelle’s heart? Is it pride that one feels when someone cuts in front of us? “How can someone do this to me?” Was she being highminded? (I think so). You see these are sin issues, not race issues. Hers appears to be a social justice obsession.

https://nypost.com/2020/08/28/michelle-obama-describes-being-invisible-to-white-america/

Can you see that the heart is desperately wicked? Race is often the excuse one uses to say, “see, white people need to reform their way of thinking.” Or ,”those darn hillbillies,  always playing country music, I can’t stand country.” I say, “people of all color, race, and gender can do wicked things, and some play rap music. I hate rap.” But I would not even for a blinking moment think, “stupid black people!”  I would not for a moment confuse rudeness with one’s color.

Now I will speak to the “culture of race relations.” When one individual desires to have the same privileges, the same esteem, the same rights as another it is logical that they must conform to the society of which they wish to be apart. This quest in truth has nothing to do with skin color, it’s more about fitting in.

Think about the struggles of a conservative wanting to be treated as an equal at CNN. To “conform” would be the only hope they would have of advancement and why few conservatives apply for the job. In fact, the streets are littered with hopeful, but disillusioned, conservative employees of main stream media. And think about the lives of Christians in muslim counties. Unless a Christian should denounce their faith and embrace Islam it is likely they will be killed. In China if you don’t “fall inline” you are sent to re-education camps. Now let’s look at black culture. This is where some of you will get angry with me.

Black culture, in the eyes of most white people, is a far too radical departure from the white suburban lifestyle in which we all live. It’s just a fact! I will not make a complete list to be attacked, because we all know the cultural differences. Things like gangser rap objectifying women, pants down the knees, fatherless homes, highest abortion rates, slang english, you know the list. These are more the cultural differences that divide us, they have little to do with ones skin color.

What one may call injust in the black community the other may call normal. 

There are experiences that white folk have had that are equally frightening. I hear that black people are afraid when they see a policeman. Well, when I lived near Chicago and worked downtown it only took one drive through “the projects” to experience fear. On one late and steamy night, I drove for miles through gang infested neighborhoods, and at every stoplight, at every stop sign, there were groups of young black men on street corners staring me down, sometimes even approaching my car saying, “what you doing here whiteboy.” I learned quickly where the cultural lines were. If I were to avoid the fear violence or death I would need to stay clear of such areas. This is systemic too! We ask in every city we travel,  “where are the bad sections of town?”  Although I now live in Montana, this fear still lives in me. Should one travel though some Indian reservations at late hours there is alway the fear of falling into the self governed hands of an Indian tribe. One bad Crow of Blackfoot Indian cop could make your life a living hell. So we all drive not one mile per hour over the speed limit and only the brave stop into a tribal bar late at night to have a beer. Culture has nothing to do with skin color.


So when black people like LeBron James or Don Lemon demand social change, white people like me see one as an arrogant vulgar racist and the other as a self appointed  intellectual opposed and fighting for control of the status quo.  Cultural Marxists both are.

These and others are unwilling to submit to a privileged, white, male, cis gendered, ethnically european  culture. Is this racist? I don’t think so, I think it is more a struggle for power. In fact they, and sadly more and more young people, are at war with what has historically been the  hegemony of our nation and it’s founding fathers. Hegemeny means the “leadership or dominance, especially by one country or social group over others.” It has little to do with race and more to do with money and culture.  This is why I call their quest and the social justice movement Marxist. They desire a change in the power structure of our nation. They are using race to accomplish it. Racial justice is the side show; and for people of color race is the red herring. The movement is Marxist because they will do anything to accomplish it. Even young, idealist Christians are mobilizing for a change they do not understand. They think it is for their friend who has had bad experiences. They don’t accept that liberal professors, judges, politicians,  and pastors are advocating for a power shift too. These “people in Robes, as Voddie Bachmann calls them, have taught us political correctness,  multiculturalism to further the cause, to help us view ourselves as oppressed subgroups. They cannot do it without us. They need us to comply. At the intersections between black and white, trans and cis, immigrant and native, male and female,  ugly and beautiful (yes beautiful matters), lies oppression. At least that is what they want you to believe. They will do, and have done, studies to show us the injustices. Get into a debate and you will be bombarded with these studies. They are teaching the young that white folks have historically oppressed, marginalized, disinfranchised, and left voiceless certain groups of people. Today in the USA they are the “Black Lives that matter.” In Scotland, Scottish lives matter, they too want a change in the hegemony. Scottish good, British bad. You see, they cannot use race to exit the dominant British because they are mostly white on both sides.

These are agendas not ideals. Racism today is mostly about culture and power, not color (how many times does it need to be said?). There is a sinister plot which has its end in real sin. It is not the current systems fault. Minorities are gaining power naturally, in a good way. It may be that black power is useful to democrats,  ya think?

I’m not saying brokenness and injustice within the system need not be addressed. There is much injustice going on everywhere. One cultural group removed and replaced by another does nothing toward solving the problems of the individual. In Christ we are neither Jew nor Greek, slave or free, male or female, we are one in Christ. If I am your brother in Christ I alone must go the extra mile to free you from the pain of oppression. Cultural Marxism dismisses personal responsibility. It puts the responsibility on the state. It’s all about distributive justice. It only transfers power from one group to another. It distributes oppression to one group as it removes it upon another. Black Lives Matter is not interested in social change for the good of mankind. It is interested in social power. It wants to dismantle cis gendered control. It wants to “free us from man centered leadership.” It is “queen affirming,” it does not like the hetrosexual male. It is anti Christian and it wishes to force me to lay down my conscience and tell the world, “I am a racist!” It tells me God has not blessed me. It demands me to admit all I have is the result of my “white priviledge.” It says, if I do not agree I am not empathetic and cancels me. It is pro hate, pro violence ( all this can be discovered on its website). It says to black people, “you are oppressed and the many of you don’t even know it.” They are partly right here, most don’t know it. They are my friends, we don’t see each other as white or black. They have even convinced the young that “you must be a black man to understand his struggle.” Jesus seemed to know the the struggles of the samaritian woman at the well, the struggle of the blind man, the tax collector. For God’s sake he was from Nazareth. Nazareth was considered a lowly, despised town in Galilee. “Does anything good come from Nazareth?” It may not be racism in modern terms, but I’m sure it feels like the same thing to me!

Jesus does speak about the one who oppresses the poor. It’s a stretch but the same principle applies to racial prejudice. And it should also not go unsaid, that the unjustified self-established superiority by one group leading to the oppression of another group is an affront to God. And so are mocking, belittling, not hiring an employee because she is ugly in the eyes of the world. “I’m sorry your not a good fit for our company” (In other words you’re a little too fat and your nose is awfuly large, you certainly won’t work as our receptionist). We must all be taught that God is no respecter of rank, status, importance, OR COLOR! This should be our systemic response. Not just the overthrow of “The Man.” Treat me, Bob Graham, a white, able bodied, heterosexual as an individual; not as a member of the hegemony. Tell me if you think I have wronged you! But don’t tell me I have wronged you because my great great grandfather owned slaves (he didn’t). Because my ancestors were white I’m white; somehow science all of a sudden does not matter if there is an agenda.

Racism and the poisen of cultural marxism “probabaly” killed George Floyd (the jury is still out). And the movements that followed that event and others tell the lie that acts like this is what happens every day. This does not happen every day, look up the facts. In fact more police officers are unjustly killed by black men than unarmed blacks are killed by police officers. More than 25 people have died AFTER George Floyds death, and more than 500 million in property damage in Minnesota alone. Tell me this is justice! The montra is to say, “you white’s need to do something for us. Fix this awful problem for us.” This will get me in trouble, but I say where is the black man’s pride? Are there not many things you as the black man can do for yourselves? The left and the black man’s leaders say they need to overthrow our culture. Can the black community not overcome racism? There are many black men who have already overcome it. Hershal Walker is a good example. But I personally know a multitude more. Don’t tell me the path has not already been trodden!

Black people are continually told about historical racism. I was told by a young person that blacks who did crack were more likely to do hard time than whites who did cocaine in the 1980’s. Thats true! But that young man was not taught that the Congressional Black Caucus demanded tougher laws for the usage of crack in the 1980’s. So much for that argument.

Can you see a theme? The media, the left, the elites, are demanding that we accept black culture, their values, their politics. Our natural reflex is not to think “damm black people!” It is to think “maybe the way they are going about it all wrong!” BML, Antifa, riots, stealing, burning, shooting, killing, only enhances the cultural divide. It says, “these people are crazy!” They want us to love this?

And when my liberal Christian friends side with the white priviledge argument, as if reparations would be a good substitute for the biblical teachings of Christ I really fear. They forget Christ alone breaks down the hostility that separates us from the love of God and each other. Galatians 3:29. Theirs is the language of law, ours the love for our neighbor.

So what is the answer to the divide? I think it is to treat all people of all colors the same. Cultural and social differences are constructs. These constructs can be deconstructed. We have removed Judeo Christian values from our country and replaced them with political strategies. Should we give people of color free stuff to right wrongs or should we teach from positions of power that doing good to our neighbors (whatever their color) is the right thing to do? Are “opportunity zones” and ” systemic judicial reforms good, then let the left say so. Can just one black republican not be called an Uncle Tom by the left? If a single black man’s story does not fit the worldview of the collective black man’s politics, it is disqualified. That’s not right! Treat me as an individual is what I hear the conservative black man or woman say. When they don’t acknowledge such things it puts us on groups, it divides us. Is it right to re-train hothead police officers or refrain from hiring some dude who just got back from Afghanistan? Of course, I want change too! We could use a few more Barney Fife’s and Andy Griffith’s (it an old tv show for you young folks). Government has taken from our police officers the gift of discretion. Think about this as you vote for Biden and Harris, I think our public prosecutors should never be eligible to run for public office. They are given the political incentive to incarcerate a nineteen year old for doing something stupid!  They do it to “look tough on crime” and be elected to the next higher office. So lets help, not defund the police. Give them the tool of necessary force. If a criminal resists arrest, they should be able to use it back justly. Justice is a judicial process granted by God, guilt and punishment should determined by our peers, not Twitter and a 30 second video clip.

In the end, there will always be a superior hegemony, one kind or another. I believe government, ruled by whites, blacks or browns is commissioned by God to punish crime and riotous behavior. That is its main function. It is my prayer that we would patiently elect and support good people of all races and creeds. That we would not tear down our systems but reform them when needed. We could all treat our neighbors kindly, graciously give opportunities to the lowly, and defend the oppressed. It is the Christian way.

Additional info:

Definitions:

Critical Race Theory is Rooted in Cultural Marxism

Marxism:

https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/marx/

Greed as a Strategy

Flattering speech is a pretext for greed and greed is evil. Even a Bernie Sanders fan understands this biblical principle. “Greed is the Religion of the billionaire class,” says The Angry One! Yet how Sanders knows this is a mystery to most of us. He never developed skills that would allow him to earn a living, and he has been basically inept at everything but convincing young minds full of mush that free stuff is good. But I mustn’t confuse you, the kind of greedy people Bernie likes to smear are his betters. So before you get bored, I’d like to say this is not a political post, it is more about about a greedy and likely devilish strategy.

First let’s just get this out there, there are many devilish strategies. This is just one that I have but recently discovered. I’ll show you how it is working. I’ll not argue it merits, but let’s use climate change for example. Here’s my hypothesis: Saving us all from ourselves is the reason given as justification for the proposed course of action, but this is not the real reason, greed is. And remember, “greed is evil.” Now I’ll show you an example.

Activists are modeling strategies that integrate devisive ideologies into business and politics. Some do this unknowingly,  others intentionally.  Incremental changes in our culture can be blamed for some of this, but recently much of it, I believe, is the work of Satan. Whether Satan’s tools can be identified as educators, ideologues, or billionares it makes no difference. I’m an investor, and this is what I’m seeing in climate change investing and corporate governance. There is a shift is taking place. And some say it is the customer that’s driving the shift. They say people want “renewable, sustainability products to invest in.” But is it so?  Investment companies like Blackrock were once passive investors, but under the leadership of the liberal Larry Fink and Blackrock has now taken to demanding social reforms through “stakeholder capitalism.” In other words companies are being forced to uphold the ethical standards of the mob. But is this really mob driven? Consider this, banks are denying capital to companies that don’t adhear to their social, financial, and political agenda. Of course we all know the foolishness surrounding the of firing Aunt Jemima? And we all saw the corporate rush to belly up to the bar and give money to “black” causes. The so called ethical rush reminded me of earth day, when companies began packaging environmental slogans and niche tree hugger products took root.  But this new approach is much more sinister. It smells more like Satan’s work than just man’s fallen nature. The world is changing faster than ever and corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives have become code words for disrupting conservative moral values and pushing progressive academic theories. Believe me these sorts of programs are not organically spawned. There are hundreds of scholarly articles available only to think tanks and paying customers. Do you think George Soros thinks for himself? Strategies are calculated, tested, funded, and put into action after careful academic review; then the sheep are fed the poison with a coating of sugar.

So I know this all sounds conspiratorial, because it is! Only the blind cannot see how Lucifer works; his hellish forces have their assignments. Remember Christians, evil has always deceived us through trickery. We can only live our lives wisely aware of evil schemes and prepare ourselves by faithfully uniting in prayer and reading the scriptures.

“8 But since we are of the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet, the hope of salvation. 9 For God has not destined us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, 10 who died for us, so that whether we are awake or asleep, we will live together with Him.” (1 Thessalonians 5:8-10)

The Crazy Mountains and Beyond

Last Wednesday, July 1st, we hit the road again and this time we were blessed to have nearly a week away without internet or phone service.

Our journey first took us from our home in Polebridge, Montana to West Glacier where we had a parting rendezvous with friends. A group of us were greatly surprised when our friend Duke and his lovely wife showed up for dinner at the Highlander. You see Duke is very ill, and he has been couped up in assisted living throughout the whole Coronavirus thing.  It was so nice to see him, no matter his condition. He was feeling pretty punk, but he basically said, “to hell with it, let’s go sit with our friends!” He really wanted to see us and it will likely be the last time all of us will together. I cannot say this more strongly, the people in our lives bring us our greatest blessings. And this is why I cannot exclude telling you about this brief stop as we headed out of town. We left West Glacier heading east at about 8:30 p.m..

Duke and Friends

 

We figured it was the fourth of July weekend coming up and we would not likely find any camping sites and would have to camp on some remote forest service road, but we were pleasantly surprised. Glacier Park Lodge and the east side of Glacer National Park is closed and this took the pressure off the camping in that direction. We stayed at Devil’s Creek campground. It is a small campground with maybe twelve sites and the creek running through it. It was only a pit stop for us. We stayed the night and headed out the next morning through East Glacier, Browning, and along the Rocky Mountain front to Great Falls. If you have never been out this way before Hwy 287 is a beautiful drive. The drive alone is worth the trip to Montana. We like it best when we take our old Volkswagon Cabrio convertible. We just turn up the tunes and enjoy the ride. But today our destination, in our 1961 International Metro Van, was the Crazy Mountains. We had the hammer down and were crusing right along at a whooping 60mph.

Our first stop, besides taking on gasoline, was Monarch, Montana. It was not a planned stop. There on Hwy 89, the King’s Hill Scenic Byway a sign read, “Fresh Pan Fried Walleye.” Well we don’t get much walleye on the west side of the divide so we couldn’t resist. Monarch is an unincorporated micro town, that means they have a restaurant and bar, nothing else but maybe a post office. We pulled into the Cougar Canyon Bar and Grill and split our Walleye dinner served with yummy mashed potatoes and asparagus,  just as it should be served. The old building and surroundings were typical of a small town restaurant and bar, but it had a quaint deck out back with lovely views. James was the bartender and server and he put to shame all the big city servers. He didn’t hesitate asking us our names, insisted we try a certain beer and told us we could bring our dog to the back deck, then he brought her some ice water. If you were wondering, sharing food is not my thing (I like to eat). But this time we were not the slightest bit hungry, yet how could we drive by a walleye dinner? It was a great stop, the food and service was excellent! We were gastronomically satisfied and we were enjoyed being our retired selves again.

So off we headed to the “Crazies.” They call them the Crazies I guess because an Indian woman lost her husband and family to settlers heading west. It is traditionally said, “she went Crazy” afterwards. The mountains were actually called by the Crow Indians the “Crazy Woman Mountains,” but some civilized, politically correct european changed the name to the Crazy Mountains.

Our 1st night in the Crazies

The drive south on Hwy 89 was quite spectacular. There are wide open spaces in Montana, bigger than can be imagined. The land in these parts is all pretty much privately owned by ranchers, mostly cattle ranches. The ranches are huge. Many are ten, twenty, and fifty thousand acre ranches. Much of the land was cleared years ago and it has mostly been in “the family” for generations, although that is changing rapidly. We were told the change has been a point of controversy for years. They say the ultra rich and silicon valley types are buying up land whenever they can; but it’s not all bad. Luckily for those of us who enjoy seeing ranch lands they are still leased out to local cow herd owners so the out of town owners can take advantage of lower taxes; rich folk are not fools with their money. Still, it is kinda sad when ranching land is passed on to people who only visit their thirty thousand acre properties for maybe a couple days or a months per year. Most use it just to entertain their citified friends. Often they stage hunting big game with their buddies or business clients, or sometimes it’s just the cowboy experience they share for a weekend. Don’t get me wrong, the old timers with huge ranches are not poor, but it’s a different vibe. When the old time rancher goes to town to eat, they look like hard working folks because they live here and do the “ranching” themselves! The “investors” or urban cowboys I like to call them, mostly buy their properties for show and tell. Most don’t fit in, and it just does not feel right when you see them out and about on their Escalade; and they tend to fight for all sorts of public land use restrictions on locals, and they disguise their legal battles as environmental concerns. But enough of politics. You can read about this in the media.

Shield’s River Road

What we experienced as we drove to the Shield’s River Campground was awe. The views are big screen material. Huge views of green grassy ranch land with well fed black angus and elk grazing. And the partly sunny views of snowy eleven thousand foot peaks made our day. We arrived late in the day and set up camp.

Cattle Land

The next morning we got up early, around 6 a.m. and soon after we walked up the road and into the mountains for a hike. There was a little bushwacking at first, but we finally got into the open spaces and headed upwards.  The fields were wet with the morning dew and the sun made the grass sparkle like it was adorning a million diamonds. As we gained elevation  we ran across an old unused logging road. Still ascending, I spotted an elk butt, then a second one. If you have never seen an elk butt once you have seen one you will never forget what they look like. The elk did, at first, not see us as we stood silently enjoying the moment. Our dog Ania was with us, but she was lower in the grass and could not see or smell the elk. We slowly made our way closer and eventually we all made our introductions. Surprisingly,  our dog pretended she was only curious as she looked upon the two wild beasts and they likewise at us. We decided to ease our way forward and get a few photos. Within about 50 yards the elk seemed to become a little concerned and slowly moved away uphill. Ania, off leash, was even closer. She kept looking back at us as if asking, “Do you you see these two things mom and dad, what am I supposed to do, they’re not deer, they’re not grizzlies?” The elk finally trotted uphill and out of site. Ania had some great smells when we reached where they had been. We continued a little farther and we got some great views of the mountains and wildflowers then started back down the mountain. This time down a gully and into a big natural field, then back to the road. That hike we figured was four plus miles. It wasn’t a hard hike by any means, but the unusual thing about it was the ground was just beaten up with uneven elk tracks. It has been a wet spring and when the herds come through it apparently they mess up the ground and make it difficult to walk. There seems to be a large herd of elk here.

Ania and Elk

When we got back to camp it was mid morning.  We had our tea (for me) and coffee (for Jackie). We ate our donuts and later we had lunch, took a nap, wandered about, and read a bit for the rest of the day. It was very peaceful. A bit later, I’d say about 5 p.m., a couple drove up to our campsite in a ATV asking the usual questions. What kind of vehicle is that? What was it used for, etc? But this time our guests turned from gawkers to unusual acquaintances. You see the whole reason we drove to the Crazies was to scope it out for bowhunting season. Jackie has a friend from high school who married a doctor in Washington state and he recently retired. He has been hunting the Crazies for quite a number of years. But he thinks he’s getting a bit old to be hunting such wild country all by himself so he asked me to hunt the Crazies with him this fall.

New Friends
Elk sausage, white cheddar, and cheep wine!

So back to our meeting the couple. They turned out to be ranchers leasing grasslands at the neighboring “rich girls” ranch. I call it “show and tell property.” Our friend in Washington also met the same couple some time ago and he has been driving over and helping them out for apparently years. He mends fencing, puts up hay, and does general ranch hand work. Our friend was a doctor, not a blue collar guy, and he just loves the hard work of being a ranch hand. So he drives over a couple times a year and helps the rancher out for free. He gets to work hard, ride horses, and accomplish things for others. People actually do this sort of thing! So now we also have met the rancher and his wife, and we had a nice chat.

Ther is always a bushwacking hike or it wouldn’t be exciting.

The next day we went for a ride in the van around a big forest service loop road. We crossed a stream and looped back to camp. We just hung out the rest of the day. The next next morning we drove back to Wilsall and had lunch at “The Bank.” A locally owned bar and restaurant. The owners are also cattle ranchers and the beef they serve comes from American Aberdeen and Angus cattle. They are grass fed, no hormones, and locally butchered at a certified USDA processor in Columbus, MT. So the whole process is under their watch. The owner and ranchers daughter was our server. She told us about her families Muddy Waters Ranch and the farm to table concept they followed at this little bar 40 miles from Livingston. The food was great!

The Bank Bar and Vault in Wilsall

Later that evening we again ran into our new friends and invited them to join us down by the river for some chilled wine which we has cooling off in the stream. They agreed. But to our surprise they brought their own and one upped us by bringing cheese, crackers, and elk sausage; and I might add processed and seasoned to perfection. We had a fire going in the fire pit but it started to sprinkle so we moved under a huge old pine tree by the stream. The tree kept us completely dry, it was a Montana sized spruce. The evening went on which chats about our mutual friends, ranching, and of course hunting and fishing. But what fascinated us most was the cattle ranching. These folks had 800 cattle and twenty two thousand acres and still needed to lease land to feed and hay their herd. They, as usual, said, ” we cannot find all the ranch hands we need for such operations, but we have one helper that has been with us for more than twenty years.” Ranch hands as part of their pay get a little cabin. Forman get a house on ranch property and decent pay. They said, ” you’ve got to realize a ranch hand may not get city folk wages, but they also don’t have the expenses or the time or opportunity to spend all that money. It’s a decent living!” I didn’t quite figure out how the money works but I did figure the owners occasionally sell a prize bull, their calves, and some steers go off to slaughter. It was very interesting learning about ranching, laying down fences in the fall, putting them back up again in the spring, and mending them to keep the cattle from escaping. They had just trucked all 800 cows in a couple days to the grass ranch. We ran into a part of the herd as we headed to town and watched the cattle for quite a while. There we a bunch of them crossing the road. They had never seen such a van before. In fact the ranchers said they had never seen many people before that day. They also said, “Every cow has it’s own personality,” God sure is an amazing God! The rancers wife said when they first move the herd from home to the spring grasses and let them out they tend to follow her around till they become comfortable in their new surroundings. She said, “It can be a little frightening with 800 cows following you around,” ya think?

Second campsite by the stream

Well, I can’t remember everything else we did but I do remember we saw a moose and took a lot a pictures. We wanted to capture the feeling. A very warm feeling at that.

After a few days a good hair wash is needed.

One more thing I personally contemplated. It’s a bit political but an interesting observation. Ranch land out here is generally not good farming land. If you look closely my photos show lots of green grass land. The ranch land is what makes the contrasting colors. On it there are vast opportunities for recreation, and the beautiful vistas for photography. I cannot imagine this land more beautiful. Just think about this, less ranch land and more wilderness is not always more beneficial. And if we were all vegans, well, we would at least need cows to create this kind of beauty. And finally, if cows create global warming, well for now that’s a trade off I cannot accept. This beauty is worth something.

Sweet Cows

Well, that’s it for the Crazy Mountain’s. We headed out and had breakfast back in Wilsall at a neat little restaurant located in a school bus. They called it “The Little LeBuski.” We had a breakfast burrito and a carmel roll. It was a decent breakfast.

Le Buski

On our way home we traveled through Townsend and Canyon Ferry Montana on Hwy 12 and stopped at the reservoir. When we got to Wolf Point I revealed my sneaky plan to my wife. Just up ahead was Craig Montana. It’s basically at the headwaters of the Missouri River and some of the states biggest fish are caught on the Missouri. We found an outfitter and scheduled a 1/2 day trip of fishing. She had no idea this was in my plans. She took it well. Unfortunately we could not go longer than a half day float because we were with Ania, our dog. She needed to stay in the van while we were out, so we found a shady campsite opened windows and the sun roof, put up our umbrella over the sunroof and headed out fishing the next morning.

Reservoir at Townsend

Neither one of us had ever nymph fished. Nor had we ever run into 24 inch plus rainbows. We learned a lot from our guide. I being the more experienced fishermen, caught one whitefish and one very nice rainbow. But several got away and two broke my line. They were very tough to get in the boat, and I had not enough experience with fish this size on a 5 weight fly rod. Jackie unfortunately got skunked, but I think she had a great time. She likewise had hooked a couple fish on her line, but the were so big and she so anxious to land them that they too broke her line too. Live and learn. We also both learned a lot about how to “mend” a line. It basically means making sure the line does not interfere with the fly. The fly and line need to float in a neutral position to make the presentation of the fly as natural as possible. It takes a lots of finesse to land big fish that a thousand other fishermen have tried to land.

Fishing the Missouri

We left Craig about 2 pm and headed home. The highlights here were the absolutely gorgeous ride home and the pizza we got at John Henry’s Bar and Pizza in Choteau Montana along Hwy 287. Note, I’ve mentioned Hwy 287 a couple of times. I did it for a reason.

HWY 287

Back in West Glacier we picked up a 26 yr old hitchhiker making his way to Polebridge to begin a solo hike to Seattle and the Pacific Trail. We wished him well, and we are hoping he won’t run into too many grizzlies and we don’t catch the Covid from him. So this trip was only a 6 days but full indeed. At about 8 p.m. Monday July 6th we arrived home. We saw our beautiful home and thought, we are certainly blessed. We have had a wonderful time together in the old van since we retired, this trip included. It is especially good when we are disconnected… And we are glad we can share these good times with you.

Hwy 287

 

Video of our journey

Churned Butter

I’m sitting here looking out my window, listening the Willie’s Roadhouse and thinking again.  Warmed by the sun and feel good country songs, I’m sipping my tea and thinking pleasant thoughts. You see my life has been fully lived and the abundance of blessings I have received is humbling. At present it is difficult to think I could have any complaints. Because I don’t.

Yet often my mind turns to others and my butter gets churned. “How can they think that way?” I ask. Did God forget to give them sense? And even for the ones that have it, I would think they would get tired of visiting the ole Hangover Tavern? You know, that place that promises a solution to their problems, but ends up just making them feel sick. Then there are those friends with whom I mostly agree, but on certain matters cause me discomfort or even distress. (Why again are we friends?) For now the view out my window seems a much better friend, especially when it’s sunny in Montana.

But then again there are people who would for sure have their troubles solved if they would only follow my advise. The kind of advise I’m convinced they have been told time and time again. Advice like, learn to be kind, communicate well, and develop some skills and these will make your living not so hard; and stop depending on politicians and judges for your happiness; stop jumping on every popular race baited bandwagon; and for your own sake start reading your bible everyday, your worldview will change for the better.

These truths go for christians too! These christians, are actually my biggest source of consternation. You know the ones I am thinking about. She’s the blue blood who thinks President Trumps twitter feed is too base and reposts “woke” criticisms by that progressive Christian News feed. She’s hoping the President will be replaced by the radical left’s puppet, “Sleepy Joe.” The guy who she hopes will bring the civility of a type of Obama in exchange for expanding antithetical Christian doctrines and postmodern liberal theology. All because to her, “feelings” are more important than policies.

In unmuted defense there were also times in my life when I was unable to find the scent and continue chase. I hope and pray this is her case too (“she/her” is figurative, not a real person). For I too have been wayward, and at one time very lost lost.

Recently, I have found disconnecting from our television, radio broadcasts, and even avoiding many Facebook posts refreshing. While here I am writing on social media, it would probably do you best to stop reading and follow my example rather than continue reading; you know I’m right! I know I’m right!

But for our gluttonous desire to be “in touch” and learn all we can about the ways of the world I find more desirable getting up early, reading my bible, attending church, doing some physical work, eating well, being kind to my neighbor, having some fun, and loving on my wife is a healthy way to live. So not knowing what is being promoted minute by minute by the media is living life blissfully ignorant.

Still, I cannot help imagining what the media is portraying about Trump. Don’t tell me! But I can be almost certain they are talking about his racist behavior, incompetence, about his response to coronavirus, or about his upcoming “stupid” rally. You noticed, I could not imaging anything other than what they are saying about Trump. He is their obsession. It is their goal to ruin him. And this is all that is being promoted in the news. It is why I have shut them off!

My Morning- Not The News

With a sharp aim there can be another way. If we read our bibles and pray for our friends and enemies, well, then you would know it’s wrong of them to do this evil and forgiveness is a healing balm. And how wrong it is to dwell on such things? God, I think, wants us to live a quiet and peaceful life, He actually wants us to be clueless about some matters. Today this is exactly what I’m doing. It’s time to go haul some brush, eat some pizza, visit some friends, love on my wife, and thank God for my  family and my many blessings.