KEEPING A STRAIGHT FACE AS A COURT REPORTER
These are from a book called Disorder in the American Courts, and are things people actually said in court, word for word, taken down and now published by court reporters that had the torment of staying calm while these exchanges were actually taking place.
ATTORNEY: What gear were you in at the moment of the impact?
WITNESS: Gucci sweats and Reeboks.
ATTORNEY: This myasthenia gravis , does it affect your memory at all?
ATTORNEY: And in what ways does it affect your memory?
WITNESS: I forget..
ATTORNEY: You forget? Can you give us an example of something you forgot?
ATTORNEY: Do you know if your daughter has ever been involved in voodoo?
Lately the major New York radio station that I listen to has been peppering its audience with “public service” spots exhorting listeners to sign up for food stamps. No mention is made of the cost of providing increasing numbers of people with free food.
Well, that gives me an idea…
Why don’t we all get food stamps? Have a lottery to pick a Designated Worker–yes, this poor soul will have to keep working, to pay for all the food stamps–while the rest of us just kind of sink into our recliners and collect.
Sure, that’s an economic model that’ll work–a whole bunch of public employees living on luxurious pensions (a few million more of them every year), and a sizeable mass of the general public, maybe 60% or more, totally dependent upon various entitlement programs from the government. That still leaves a few million citizens available to work real, real hard to pay for this largesse. Our glorious national leaders of the Pwogwessive persuasion seem committed to this course.
I don’t know about you, but around here we’re all in a dither about that hour of time we lost on Saturday night. So… we’ve decided we aren’t gonna take it anymore!
I work right here at home, and my wife has retired, so here’s what we’re gonna do next year when it’s time to set the clocks ahead–to wit: we won’t. And I hope it starts a trend.
So as not to be totally contrarian, we’ll set them ahead 10 minutes a day; so in a mere six days, we’ll have caught up to everybody who still lets the government tell them what time it is. We’ll do that until they stop fooling around with the time.
First as a student, and later as a teacher, I came to suspect that the purpose of required reading programs in public “school” was to impart to children a distaste for reading.
Case in point: Sir Walter Scott. I had to read Ivanhoe in high school, and it left me with the impression that Scott was one of the worst writers ever to abuse the English language. Maybe not quite as bad as George Eliot with Silas Marner, but certainly bad enough to justify never reading him again. So I shunned his books for most of my life.
Just a couple of years ago, some unaccountable impulse moved me to give Sir Walter another chance; so I read Kenilworth, and it turned out to be a work of genius that knocked my socks off. I went on to read Rob Roy (the story in the book bears very little resemblance to the story in the movie, although I do enjoy the movie) and The Heart of Midlothian; and now, after all this time, I’m reading Ivanhoe again–and enjoying it tremendously.
These are truly great books. I see now that what they did in high school was to give us an edition of Ivanhoe that had all the guts and passion edited out of it. They dumbed it down, mangled it, mugged it. Why? Beats me.
Kenilworth is dark, suspenseful, gripping: a startling look inside the workings of Queen Elizabeth I’s reign. The only thing I can find to compare it with would be Solzhenitsyn’s writings about life in Stalin’s Russia.
Rob Roy takes us on a shocking visit to a Scotland that we never knew existed. In the midst of almost unimaginable poverty and chaos, we find honor, courage, love, and forgiveness blooming like rare flowers.
In The Heart of Midlothian, a young woman armed only with goodness and indomitable perseverance sets out to rescue her fiancee, who has been cast into prison for a crime he didn’t commit–a tale of moral heroism. And Ivanhoe takes us into the very heart of the Middle Ages…
Scott is one of those rare authors who can create characters who are good without being goody-goody. He does it again and again, as if it were easy. What a great soul he must have had! And his message is one we very badly need to hear today: that even in the darkest of times, the light of God-given goodness can never be extinguished.
So let’s have a Walter Scott revival! It would do us good.
I’ve just enjoyed a special screening, before its release in theaters, of Kirk Cameron’s new film, Monumental. If I hadn’t read a certain book not long ago, the amazing story told by the film would have been news to me.
I heartily recommend Monumental, although it’ll do just fine without me. But what I want to do here and now is recommend the book: The Governor’s Story, by Dorothy Robbins, available from Nordskog Publishing.
Yes, Dorothy is a friend of mine and a frequent visitor to this blog. But that’s not why I’m urging you to read her book.
This is the story of a miracle. No kidding. What else would you call it when a handful of men, women, and children transport themselves to an uncharted wilderness at the beginning of a harsh winter, and half of them die before the next spring comes–and before the last of the original settlers dies, the landscape features a full-sized modern city, several hundred towns and churches, and a brand-new university: all of which are still functioning 400 years later?
This is the miracle of the Pilgrims; and–I say this as someone who has closely studied history all his life–there is nothing else even a little bit like it.
Yeah, yeah, we already heard all about it in “school,” and we know about Thanksgiving, ho-hum…
When I read The Governor’s Story, I discovered, to my shock, that I really didn’t know that story at all–not a bit! The pap they shovel up in “school” falls so far short of doing justice to the true history, it rises almost to the level of crapola.
So forget everything (and I do mean everything!) you think you know about the Pilgrims, and read Dorothy’s book before you go see Monumental. Between the two of them, your whole outlook on a l0t of important things will be changed forever.
As civilization corrodes before our very eyes, even intellectuals have begun to say, “Uh-oh…”
Not many intellectuals, I grant you: most of them are out there rejoicing that “the Left has won the Culture War,” and made the world safe for abortion, sodomy, euthanasia, gender-bending, and out-of-wedlock births and fatherless homes. This is going to be the way it is for humanity from now on, they believe, and they are tickled pink.
But in a recent Wall Street Journal article, written to herald the publication of his new book, Religion for Atheists, Euro-intellectual Alain de Botton seems to be getting cold feet. Maybe, he suggests, the secularization of society has gone too far. In nailing down our freedom to fornicate without restriction, maybe we’ve thrown out some things we should have kept.
Do you ever get the impression that a lot of people are working very hard to abolish human liberty everywhere in the world? I do!
Alberta is about to enact new legislation that will apparently require Christian homeschooling parents to teach their children that homosexuality is good and right, and their own Bible is wrong. It is similar to the government campaign in the USA to force Catholic institutions to provide free birth control–including pills that bring on spontaneous abortions–to their employees.
Consider these remarks by Donna McColl, assistant director of communications for the Alberta Ministry of Education.
“Whatever the nature of schooling–homeschool, private school, Catholic school–we do not tolerate disrespect for differences… You can affirm the family’s ideology in your family life, you just can’t do it as part of your educational study and instruction… [Families] can’t be hate-mongering, if you will.”
The new education law would require homeschooling families to “honor and respect” the Alberta Human Rights Act and the Stalinist “human rights” tribunal. These arms of the provincial government have become infamous for serving as a blunt instrument for the persecution of Christians by “gay” activists. Americans used to living under civilized law may find this hard to believe, but Canadian “human rights” tribunals and commissions can do anything they please, ignore actual laws, and financially ruin, and terrorize, hapless individuals who have committed no crime. In the wonderful world of “human rights,” the government pays all the plaintiff’s legal expenses, and the entire burden of proof is on the defendant.
The Alberta Education Act proposes to bring the “human rights” Inquisition right into families’ living rooms, dining rooms, and bedrooms. This is malicious mischief by the government.
A functionary of Canada’s federal Human Rights Commission explained to me that their business is to “outlaw hate” and root out bad thoughts. He even proposed giving the commission some kind of authority over basic human relationships–explaining that people really aren’t “diverse enough” in their choices of friends and drinking buddies, etc. It is all based on the truly lurid fantasy that “government knows best.”
The battle of our age will be to keep personal liberty from being extinguished altogether.
One of the articles on this blog previewed the cover art for my book, The Thunder King. On my site stats page are listed “Search Engine Terms” that tell me how some readers wind up visiting my blog.
I was surprised today to find the term, “Gutter King Cover.” This means some poor guy was trying to buy a cover for his gutter and the computer sent him to my book instead. I would like to think he appreciated the serendipity of it all, and bought my book; but that won’t keep dead leaves from clogging up his gutter. It’ll just give him something nice to read while he’s waiting for someone to come and clean out his gutter.
I hope the man who needed a gutter cover wasn’t so put out that he didn’t buy the book. You know, folks, it’s getting harder and harder to write fantasy, these days. Fantasy was never meant for people who are already delusional. But I turn on the radio, and there’s some 30-year-old college student telling Congress–that’s the United States Congress–that her sex life is so bodacious, she can’t keep up with the cost of contraceptives, and she wants the government to force the university to pay for her birth control pills. How the dickens am I going to write a fantasy for her? She’s already in one!
My stories are written for sane people. I hope that’s not a shrinking demographic.
Some Christian readers don’t like C.S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia because certain characters in the stories use magic. For these readers, “magic” is the same as “witchcraft,” a practice strongly condemned in the Bible: “Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live” (Exodus 22:18).
I don’t think we need to spend any time defending C.S. Lewis against a charge of promoting the use of witchcraft. Even so, he might have been well-advised to be more careful.
Dr. Cornelius, a dwarf, has “some small magic” which includes a sleeping spell. The magician Coriakin has a book of spells which apparently anyone can open and use (kind of like leaving a loaded gun lying around the house). Uncle Andrew makes a great deal of trouble for himself by fooling around with magic that he doesn’t understand. And there are a werewolf and a hag who intend to use magic to call up the White Witch from the dead, but are killed before they can do it.
As gas prices go up and up and up, the price of everything else will go up, too. All the stuff on the shelves at your local supermarket, and just about everything else you buy, has to be transported to the store by trucks: and the trucks all run on gas.
So as the price at the pump climbs to $4 a gallon, and then $5, and then $6, and everything else you need costs more, you might wonder what our glorious national leaders are going to do about it. Might they decide to allow the pipeline from Canada, after all? Maybe lift the moratorium on drilling in the Gulf of Mexico (remember, that moratorium only applies to American oil companies; Chinese and Brazilian companies are making a fortune)?
Instead, what the current occupier of the White House recommends as the solution to our problems is… are you ready for it?… Algae!
Yup, plain old pond scum–just dump it in your gas tank, and off you go.
Oops, wait a minute–we don’t have the technology to do that yet. Putting algae in our cars will only … well, damage them. But hey, maybe in another 10 or 20 years…
When they get bored with simply abusing us, our leaders like to insult us, too.