Cats vs. the U.S. Mail

Cat vs. mailman–they’re evenly matched. Both are determined to have their way with the mail. Neither will give up. The only thing certain is that the intended recipient of the mail will have to stand in line: the cat gets the mail before you do.

Flash! How to Make a Lizard Go to Sleep

I had a couple hours’ worth of errands to do today, I am so far behind in my work, I’m fed up with the nooze–

But I couldn’t take a break without sharing this vital information with you all.

I’ve tried this with a lot of different kinds of lizards, and it always works: if you want the lizard to go to sleep, rub its belly. I’m told it works on alligators, too, but can’t vouch for it.

Does anybody know if it works on celebrities?

Whole Country Bombs Citizenship Test

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Waddaya mean, public education isn’t working?

We don’t need no stinkin’ history! We don’t need no stinkin’ civics!

Just think: with the biggest, costliest, most comprehensive public education system ever devised by human beings, Americans can’t pass a basic citizenship test. This ought to lead to some skepticism about the value of our schools’ “social studies” programs.

In a test given to more than 40,000 people nationwide, the Woodrow Wilson Foundation found that only one in four Americans could score a passing grade ( Vermont was the only one of all 50 states in which most people–and by “most” we mean just 53%–were able to pass the test.

The test consisted of 20 multiple-choice questions, and a passing grade was “60”: 12 out of 20 correctly answered. When I went to school, “60” was a big red F.

In our nation’s capitol–Washington, D.C., in case you went to public school, then college, and still didn’t know that’s our capitol–58% failed the test.

How about getting an A? In this test, to get an A, you had to answer correctly 90 to 100% of the questions: a minimum of 18 right answers, in case you went to public school, then college, and can’t work out the arithmetic.

No state among all 50 got more than 6% A’s. Six percent!

Quick! More money for social studies! More administrators, higher salaries, snazzier benefits–that should fix it.

I dare them to give the same test to Christian homeschoolers. I triple-dog dare them.

Memory Lane: The Great Estate

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I’m old enough now to wonder whether some of my childhood memories are really memories. I wonder if they’re only dreams.

Once upon a time there was a great estate in our neighborhood, complete with large in-ground swimming pool. Nobody but very rich people had those. There was a huge white house and all sorts of smaller buildings assembled around it, like chicks around the mother hen.

We called it “Oppenheim’s.” It’s possible that this wasn’t really its name, but that’s the name we had for it.

Oppenheim’s was separated from the ordinary homes on Juniper Street by a little stream, a bit of marshland, and just a few yards of spindly woods. I remember one day I managed to get to the opposite bank of the stream for a closer look at Oppenheim’s. One of the older kids started to pick on me, and a man came over from Oppenheim’s and chased him away.

And then one day Oppenheim’s was deserted. Suddenly no one lived there. That was the signal for my friends and me to cross over to the estate and run wild, exploring everything, pretending it was ours. We got into the big house. Oh, so many rooms! I think one was a ballroom. It was sort of like the house in a game of Clue, only without the billiard tables. We kept daring each other to swim in the pool; but summer had passed, and dead leaves increasingly blanketed the water and turned it dark and murky. No one took the dare.

And then the bulldozers came and tore it all down, gorgeous white house, outbuildings, stables, garage, and all. No more Oppenheim’s. In its place, a housing development–three or four blocks’ worth.

Patty and I have searched the Internet for any mention of the Oppenheim estate in our town, circa 1957, but have yet to find a single word about it. It’s like it never was. Like I’d only dreamed about it. Very vivid dreams, but no proof that they were anything but dreams.

A piece of my past is missing; and it’s not the only one. Around here, hardly anything has been left the way I remember it. This can be disconcerting. Much of what I knew is gone.

I wonder–if I dream a little deeper, can I find the way back to Oppenheim’s?

I’d like to thank that guy who chased away the bully.


The Golden Age of Pure Crapola

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Are we living in the golden age of pure, tempest-tossed crapola, or what?

Still pursuing power like Captain Ahab hunted the white whale, Hillary “It’s My Turn!” Clinton has attached herself to the European branch of the Climbit Change jihad.

“Something extraordinary is happening” in Europe, she babbled this weekend. “Teen girls are leading a movement to stop Climate Change” (

Do you want to be ruled by teenage girls? I don’t.

All over the shambles that is Western Europe, girls who’ve found their ticket to fame–and a way to escape boring classes–have been boycotting classes to “protest” Climate Change. “Youth Strikes 4 Climate,” reads their banner. Yessiree, they’re going to “stop” natural processes on a planetary scale, just by protesting! Supposedly there are “thousands” of these teenaged “eco-warriors” cluttering up Sweden, Belgium, and Scotland.

Dig this. Says one, “If you get a detention, that’s nothing to how we will suffer if nothing is done!” We’re all gonna die, see, unless we give governments colossal new powers to control our lives. And redistribute all the wealth. And all that other utopia stuff.

Uh, what about how badly we will suffer if something is done? We’ll be living, if you can call it that, in the world of The Hunger Games.

All throughout history it has been a sure sign of the emptiness and loathsomeness of any political movement, when it needs to trot out children as its spokesmen. It doesn’t get much more despicable than that–but then the Left is despicable, and there’s no changing it.

These little fat-heads in Western Europe don’t need to be filmed and quoted and treated like rock stars.

They need to be grounded.

‘Swedish Court: Public Masturbation OK’ (2013)

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See, “Europeans” are so much more with-it than we are, so much smarter–except I’m sure that somewhere in America we can find some “judge” who’d rule that public masturbation is a newly-discovered “civil right.”

Go ahead, tell me this would never catch on in San Francisco.

‘Guide Me, O Thou Great Redeemer’

Turn up the volume and sing along. Sometimes there’s nothing better for a hymn than a full orchestra playing it and a couple thousand people singing it. And I think they’re in the Royal Albert Hall, although I’m not 100% sure of that.

Anyway, this is the ancient Welsh hymn, Cwm Rhondda, in one of its English-language versions, Guide Me, O Thou Great Redeemer. I’ll be surprised if they don’t sing this one in Heaven.

Cats & Roombas

It didn’t take cats long to figure out what those roomba things are for, did it? Vacuum, schmacuum–obviously they’re for cats to ride. Now I wonder whether I’ve spelled “schmacuum” right. Let me check with my cats.

A Knight Visitor (‘Oy, Rodney’)

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In Chapter CCLXVIII of her epic romance, Oy, Rodney–with Constable Chumley’s rescue expedition still wandering around somewhere under the vicar’s backyard wading pool–Violet Crepuscular brings a new character into the picture.

Sir Henry Smedley-Foover, the adult pull-toy magnate, has been knighted by the Queen in recognition of the fantastic amount of money he’s made, devising and selling pull-toys for adults. His motto is, “Why should kids have all the fun?” It is rumored that the Queen herself is now the proud owner of a Foover Megalosaurus pull-toy, illustrated below. This is the only illustration in the book so far, so we must make the most of it.

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As you can see, it doesn’t have its wheels yet, to say nothing of the stout marine cable by which it must be pulled. It takes at least 20 strong, healthy men to pull this rather large toy over level ground. There are smaller models, of course, but the full-size dinosaur pull-toys are the Foover Company’s trademark.

Sir Henry is intrigued by the current crisis which preoccupies all Scurveyshire. “If only I had arrived here sooner!” he laments to Lord Jeremy Coldsore, whose bride, Lady Margo Cargo, is the person in need of rescue. In reality–if we may use that word in this context–Lady Margo is not and never has been under the wading pool. Having escaped from the Plaguesby Jail, she is currently trying to make her way through the miry Fens of Scurveyshire, hopping on one foot all the way because she has lost her upholstered wooden leg. But no one in Scurveyshire Village knows that.

“What would you have done, Sir Henry, had you been here?” Lord Jeremy asks. He doesn’t like adult pull-toys.

“I could have offered one of my pull-toys as a sacrifice to whatever evil entity lurks under the wading pool, my lord. Even evil entities like pull-toys! May I recommend my life-size Iguanodon pull-toy? You could offer it in exchange for your bride. I’ll let you pay for it in installments!”

Meanwhile, what of Constable Chumley and his bearers and askaris?

“They are facing unimaginable perils which I’m having difficulty imagining,” she confides in her readers, “but I am sure one of my subsequent chapters will prove to be worth waiting for.”

She pleads with us to continue reading.

Spring Is on Its Way

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Yes, it’s still cold out, it could still snow, and Patty’s garden looks like something left over from the Day of Fire–but Spring is on its way.

Yesterday we had robins, this morning they were singing, and just now I spotted the first little shoots of daffodils coming up from the ground. God has not forgotten His promise to keep the seasons coming.

Warm weather–well, sort of warm: less cold–means that soon I can start writing another book, as soon as the Lord gives me a starting-place. I can hardly wait to see what that first image will be; and I have no idea at all where the story will take me next. I do love those surprises.

Anyway, before you know it, we’ll be seeing baby squirrels coming out of their nests, little green shoots popping up all over, and snowdrop flowers on the front lawn.


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