Author Archives: leeduigon

About leeduigon

I have lived in Metuchen, NJ, all my life. I have been married to my wife Patricia since 1977. I am a former newspaper editor and reporter. I was also the owner-operator of my own small business for several years. I wrote various novels and short stories published during 1980s and 1990s. I am a long-time student of judo and Japanese swordsmanship (kenjutsu). I also play chess, basketball, and military and sports simulations.

A Hymn to March and Conquer By

If by some blessed providence the complicated link below actually works, you’ll be able to listen to a hymn that will either bring you to tears or to your feet: “To Be a Pilgrim,” with words by John Bunyan and traditional music. You have to select the second example from the left, the one with the picture of Bunyan writing Pilgrim’s Progress, to get the roof-raising, soul-stirring version that I have in mind.

http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=english+hymn%2c+to+be+a+pilgrim&FORM=VIRE3#view=detail&mid=019CB71FB989AF6D3B0

Here are the lyrics, as Bunyan originally wrote them. They were altered some 100 years ago for the English hymnal, where the hymn is well known as “He Who Would Valiant Be.”

Who would true valor see, Let him come hither;

One here will constant be, Come wind, come weather.

There’s no discouragement Shall make him once relent

His first avowed intent, To be a pilgrim.

 

Whoso beset him round With dismal stories

Do but themselves confound; His strength the more is.

No lion can him fright, He’ll with a giant fight,

But he will have a right To be a pilgrim.

 

Hobgoblins nor foul fiend Can daunt his spirit;

He knows, he at the end Shall life inherit.

Then fancies fly away, He’ll fear not what men say,

He’ll labour night and day To be a pilgrim.

It’s not that the woman who sings this creates something sweet and melodious. I can easily imagine King Ryons’ army singing this hymn on the march, in a dozen different languages at once. And the devil’s henchmen had better not stand in their way!

We need more hymns like this.


American Atheism, Vintage 1960

You can learn a lot about a society by studying the artifacts of its popular culture.

Last night we watched a classic Twilight Zone episode that suggested that maybe the good old days weren’t so good: “Long Live Walter Jameson,” broadcast in 1960 (when I was 11 years old). Before I tell you anything more about it, first consider that The Twilight Zone was a very popular TV show and definitely within the pop culture mainstream; and consider these closing words by Rod Serling.

“Last stop on a long journey, as yet another human being returns to the vast nothingness that is the beginning and into the dust that is always the end.”

Is that a comment indicative of a healthy Christian culture?

“Long Live Walter Jameson” was written by Charles Beaumont, considered a great writer of TV fantasies. Beaumont’s scripts, especially some of the ones he wrote for Twilight Zone, reveal an obsession with death and dying. He died at the age of 38 from early-onset Alzheimer’s Disease, after five or six years of suffering a progressive loss of his faculties. I think he knew his body was trying to tell him something. No wonder he was obsessed with death and dying. It was happening to him.

The story is about a man who is immortal. He has lived over 2,000 years so far, and he wants to die. I found it to be, for all its artistic excellence, as dark a story as has ever been aired on American TV.

And in 1960, no less! An era I remember as being good. I can still say I think it was better than the era that we’re stuck in now–but here was overt atheism coming into Christian families’ living rooms, and who complained?

Were we that far down the pipe in 1960? Based on my examination of popular culture, I suspect that Christianity in Britain was in deep trouble 100 years ago; and that, by the 1980s, it was taken for granted that English people didn’t believe in God. That’s what comes across to me from their old TV scripts.

But is Christianity that much better off in America? When did the toxin begin to seep into our culture, to the point where a popular, mainstream TV show could take an atheist stance in 1960, and remain popular?

Pray for our nation. Pray hard.


ET, Here We Come

Two news stories, this past weekend, shed light on the increasingly desperate search for extraterrestrial life.

First, NASA scientists announced they expect to find alien life very soon, probably within the next 20 years ( http://www.theregister.co.uk/2014/07/05/nasa_aliens_are_out_there_we_will_find_a_new_earth_within_20_years ). No, we’re not going to send up spaceships. This will be achieved by better and better telescope technology.

Second, scientists had to admit they got it wrong when they announced the discovery of two planets just like ours–nicknamed “goldilocks planets” because they’re supposedly “just right” for the chance appearance of life–orbiting a star named Gliese 581 (Source: Washington Post article by Sandhya Somashekhar, July 3, 2014 ). But the planets turned out to be not planets at all, but sunspots or something.

The humanist mindset is revealed in really bad movies: like The Lost Tribe, which I reviewed July 13, in which scientists discover a fossil that “proves God did not create man.”

Here’s what will happen. NASA telescopes detect “signatures of life” on a planet many light-years away, and next thing you know, the talking heads are all over TV saying “This proves there was no special creation of life on earth, no creation by God: but rather that life arises by purely naturalistic processes wherever you find ideal conditions for it.” Democrats dance in the streets, and the Presbyterian  Church USA publicly states that it’s sorry there is no God, but it’s going to stay in business anyhow because it hasn’t paid a dime’s worth of attention to God in the last 25 years anyhow.

The materialist/humanist pseudo-theology dictates that life be found on other planets. They think this will wipe out Christian faith. Of course, with a whole universe at His disposal, where is it written that God created life only on this earth and nowhere else? The discovery of bacteria on Diomega Orionis IV would not change my religious beliefs.

Nevertheless, life on other planets is the Great White Hope of atheism, and it has led them to make some really splashy promises.

He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh; the LORD shall have them in derision. (Psalm 2:4)

 

P.S.–Of course the link to the article in The Register UK doesn’t work. Sorry! I’ve had all the computer problems I can cope with, lately, and I can’t cope with more. Seek the original story, and ye shall find.


A Glimpse into the Heart of Godlessness

Can’t anybody make a decent movie anymore?

Again Patty and I tried to relax after a more than usually hectic week. Veg out on a horror movie, sez I. What was I thinking? Maybe I thought we could find something like A Warning to the Curious. But no–we found American Horror Story instead,

Actually this is a cable TV series, not a movie. We watched the pilot.

Well, that pilot crashed on the runway.

What made us choose this for our viewing pleasure? We’d never heard of it before. It had like 2,000 5-star Customer Reviews on amazon. So it must be good, right?

To say this was drivel would be to insult drivel. To say it was rubbish would be grossly to exaggerate its worth. If someone ever tries to show you this, either bolt for the exit or, if you’re trapped, reach for a weapon.

American Horror Story is about a bunch of nasty, spiritually diseased people getting killed off, one by one, by haints in a haunted house. All the characters are horrible. You’d be happier spending your time with jock itch. Why we are expected to care what happens to them is one for the mystics. I mean, really–I do not want to get peeks into their banal sex fantasies, much less witness what they actually do.  Meanwhile, the screenplay is totally incoherent. To follow the story line, first you’d have to find one.

Nevertheless, there is one thing to be said for it.

What happens when utterly Godless individuals make a film about Godless characters, intended for a Godless audience? American Horror Story is what happens. The characters in this story live, not only by bread alone, but by every load of bunk that comes out of secularism, psychobabble, and New Age woo-woo crab manure. Hey! Who needs the Bible when you’ve got all this?

Not a clue. They haven’t got a clue.


Get ‘Bell Mountain’ Free of Charge

If you have kindleUnlimited, you can now get my Bell Mountain without having to pay for it, via amazon.com.

Maybe it isn’t so obvious, but the purpose of this blog is to stir up interest in my books and try to get people to read them. Bell Mountain is the first book of the series, and it has almost all 5-star Customer Reviews. Honest–it’s a good book, and you should read it.

You’ll never get it at a  better price than now.


In Search of Merlin

Because I will soon be reviewing, for the Chalcedon Foundation, a series of novels about Merlin, I thought it’d be a good thing to renew my acquaintance with him.

Nowadays, thanks to public education and cultural decay, there are people who wouldn’t know Merlin from Liberace. Nevertheless, 1,500 years from his lifetime, he’s still famous enough for people to be writing books about him.

Who was Merlin? He was King Arthur’s teacher, protector, adviser, and magician. If you play a lot of video games and watch movies based on comic books, you probably don’t know who King Arthur was, either. Suffice it to say that, at a time when heathenism had just about wholly overwhelmed the island of Britain, some 1,500 years ago, somebody fought the pagan invaders, stopped them, and made it possible for the Christian faith not only to survive, but to convert the invaders within 100 years. That somebody was King Arthur. And preserving England as a Christian country had a profound effect upon all of world history.

So, OK, Merlin is important. But who was he? Tracking him down is almost impossible. The time he lived in was turbulent. People were too busy trying to stay alive, never mind writing accurate history.

Starting with someone who believed Merlin actually existed, I returned to Merlin by Norma Lorre Goodrich (1988). She is controversial because she believed Arthur and Merlin were real persons, whose lives and careers were truthfully described by Geoffrey of Monmouth, a 12th century writer nicknamed “BS Artist” by just about every scholar but Goodrich.

Professor Goodrich does make ingenious and sometimes convincing arguments. But it is so hard to find out “what really happened” in history! You could break your heart, trying. And then she comes out with this–after you’ve read 213 pages of her book:

“Nobody seems to know to this day, despite all the progress in linguistics and anthropology, why in this ancient world of King Arthur young married women were so frequently beheaded by their husbands as soon as they became pregnant.” Period. No footnote. No attribution. No support from any other source. Just “Here it is, take my word for it.”

Is this just an eruption of off-the-wall feminism? The more you read Professor Goodrich, the more you catch her making these weird observations without backing them up. I recall in another book of hers she said something like, “The Holy Grail was last seen in World War II.” Really? By who? Where? What happened to it? But the sentence ends with a period, and after that comes not another world of explanation.

How are we supposed to find out what really happened, when the people we rely on to tell us are wackos?

Then again, maybe a highly-educated loose cannon like Professor Goodrich is precisely the kind of historian Merlin would choose to write his biography.

I’ll betcha his soul is laughing at us from heaven. Betcha he is.

 


A Truly Ridiculous Computer Problem

Last night I got my regular computer back–the one that had been struck by lightning–with a brand-new motherboard, etc., and the guy came over to install it, and it took him two more hours to get it up and running properly. But, hosannah, as of last night, everything was tickety-boo.

Only it wouldn’t let me connect with my blog this morning.

I kept getting this message saying that whatever I was trying to do was invalid, because WordPress was convinced I was trying to come in from the future. If that makes no sense to you, it made no sense to me, either.

I called my webmaster, and from her station out in California, she had not the least bit of trouble getting to this page. My wife tried it on our new laptop and got here just fine.

At the best of times, technology at any level higher than that of a manual typewriter intimidates and frustrates me. What was wrong with the blasted machine this time? (Break for wailing and gnashing of teeth.)

And then Patty solved it.

The problem was something so small, so obvious, so flaming silly.

The clock at the bottom of the screen said 1:10 a.m. instead of 1:10 p.m.! So WordPress could not help thinking I was trying to invade it from 12 hours in the future. When the clock was properly reset, I was back in business.

Aren’t you glad this machine is not a National Missile Defense computer, with me at the controls?


We Have a Contest Winner

A lucky reader has earned a signed copy of The Palace, by posting the 2,000th comment on this blog. I have not obtained the winner’s permission to give out his/her name. Way to go, whoever you are!

From now on I will give out a prize for every thousandth comment.

Meanwhile, if you’re one of those readers who enjoys perusing the comments, I recommend No. 2,000 as perceptive and thought-provoking.


Another Summer Day Wasted

A more beautiful day than this, here in central New Jersey, can hardly be imagined–sapphire sky, birds calling, grass and leaves a brilliant bright green, sunny but not too hot–

And again, not a single free-range kid to be seen. Not one.

I don’t mean to keep beating on this drum, but I can’t help it. It’s so queer and unnatural not to see and hear children playing outside on a day like this. I think it must  be the single most unnatural thing about our current popular culture, which is notable for having a lot of unnatural things about it.

Oh, I know where the children are. They’re either indoors at home, playing video games all day, or else they’re in supervised “programs” all day.

Question: At what point does the supervision end? At what point does the child grow up and become able to act on his own? Or does that point just never happen? Maybe when you’re 31 years old, your parents and your teachers hand you over to the government for supervision. And so it never ends. You never stand on your own two feet. There’s always someone standing over you to tell you what to do. To take care of you.

Someone to be obeyed.

I shudder.


The $10 Million Catnap

One of the news stories that surfaced while my computer was out of the saga was this gem.

At a July 4 game at Yankee Stadium, a fan fell asleep in the stands. As is the custom in baseball telecasts, ESPN’s cameras sometimes did sweeps of the fans. So they found this guy snoozing away, and the announcers had some gentle fun at his expense.

A few days later, the gavone sued ESPN, the Yankees, and Major League Baseball for $10 million dollars. He claimed he was the target of an “unrelenting verbal crusade” and an “avalanche of disparaging words.” The announcers called him names, he claimed, and ruined his reputation, etc. (See http://finance.yahoo.com/news/snoozing-yankees-fan-sues-espn-050856813.html )

The actual video of the broadcast is easily viewed on the internet (especially if the link I gave you works!), and anyone can see that this lawsuit has no merit whatsoever.

What was this guy thinking? Didn’t he know the whole thing would be on tape? Obviously the announcers never said any of the things he claims they said.

I couldn’t help thinking of Judge Wapner on the old The People’s Court TV show, patiently explaining to one idiot after another that the court system was not set up as a get-rich-quick apparatus for simpletons. You don’t get $100,000 because a guy sold you a couple of bad spark plugs.

Gee, what would I do if I were a judge and some clown came into my courtroom seeking a $10 million payday in a lawsuit based on easily exposed lies? Would I be sorely tempted to jail both him and his shyster lawyer for flagrant contempt of court?

Yeah, I think I would.


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