Open Thread, Tuesday 17 December 2013

Pic from Wirecutter’s Knuckledraggin’ Blog. Something my dog would probably do, even if it weren’t a fake snake.


About GruntOfMonteCristo

Fearless and Devout Catholic Christian First, Loving Husband and Father Second, Pissed-Off Patriot Third, Rocket Engineer Dork Last.
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57 Responses to Open Thread, Tuesday 17 December 2013

  1. EPA climate change expert admits ‘historic fraud.’

  2. Sooooo… got into a little fight with Ann Barnhardt yesterday. Thankfully wasn’t toooo messy.

    If y’all don’t mind, I’d like to ask your opinion about 2 things. I’m not looking for affirmation here. Just want to know if I’m crazy or not. Gruntessa, please don’t add your 2 cents about that, Dear. πŸ˜€

    First, am I really tetched in the head, or is it not ok to criticize friends? Ann was understandably pissed at some of my criticism (and to be fair, also my post from a ways back that made a little fun of her methods). But when she spoke up, she implied that it’s ok to do that with total internet strangers, but not with people who know each other. She claimed that since she’s eaten at our table, chatted with my wife about sink fixtures and knew my boys, that it was not acceptable to disagree with her. Maybe she thinks I was really just using her as a way to generate pageviews for this blog, but given how few people read us, I must really suck at that if that’s my goal.

    The other thing I’m wondering is why she continues to make that preposterous claim about that video of Pope Francis. In the argument above, I point out that it doesn’t show anything like what she claims it shows, and that constitutes a potentially serious violation against that little commandment about “false witness against your neighbor,” or something like that. But she keeps bluffing her way through it. Am I crazy here, too? Even Pat (Stella) from the Tree knew better and even asked our advice about it and linked to our conversation while we were not exactly in a happy place with them. What am I missing here?

    • solaratov says:

      While I haven’t read the exchange…I’ll just go ahead and toss in my 2cents worth of opinion and then run for the hills……

      One of the hallmarks of true friendship is being able to critique each other and to disagree…and to discuss that disagreement intelligently and honestly. While neither may change his or her mind via the discussion, friends should be able to at least try to understand each other’s viewpoint.
      If I have a “friend” with whom I am expected to never disagree nor question…then I don’t have a friend. I have a master.


    • zmalfoy says:

      1) Not only is it okay to criticize friends– it’s, literally, what friends are for. It’s why everytime I write an essay, I expect cricism from y’all (always surprised when I don’t get much, lol πŸ˜› ). Friends are the people with the contectual knowledge of a person, to best see where what they wrote didn’t reflect what they were probably actually thinking. Friends are also the people that you can trust to not have a personal vendetta against you, and so you can put more trust in their criticism, because you know that what they say is what they think will truly make your statements better.

      I should hope, Grunt, that if I were ever to make a fool of myself in a public or semi-public way, that you or Sol or someone else here would chime in with “Girl, I’m pretty sure you ain’t actually that stupid. . .”

      In daily life, in growing up, we rely upon such input– it’s how we’re socialized into being somewhat civilized beings– people giving us disapproving looks, or being taken into the back room for some gentle correction. . .

      2) As for her vendetta against the Pope. . . There is a class of Catholics that my father describes as “trying to be more Catholic than the Pope.” This is a loosing proposition, almost always. They make idols of their percieved version of what a Catholic should be, and anyone who falls short is an affront to their little image. I remember when Benedict XVI came to DC, and he had that Mass in Nat’s Park. There were people up in arms that he was having a Mass outdoors, and it wasn’t the high latin Mass, and blah blah blah. . . they didn’t care about the logistics, didn’t care about why the Pope was having a Mass in DC at all . . . they were having hissy fits all over the place, because Benedict XVI, the former head of the CDF (ferPetessake!), did not conform to their exacting little image of what a Catholic was supposed to be. It never occured to them that maybe, just maybe, the Former-Head-of-the-CDF-now-Pope might possibly have a greater, and deeper understanding of things than they did.

      Grunt, you know that I don’t buy into any “Authority” arguments. I believe that layfolk can have just as great wisdom and understanding of faith and religious matters as any bishop, provided they’ve taken the time to educate themselves (It’s not for nothing that I know where to find a hard copy of current Canon Law, for instance). Likewise, I also believe that any bishop can be just as lazy and stupid as the average lay person. However, there is a point where you have to at least admit the possibility that an experienced bishop might actually know what he’s doing, even if it’s not what you would do. One must always admit the possibility that ones own perspective is skewed and unclear– to do otherwise creates an idol of one’s own thoughts, and this is a very bad road to start down.

      Ann is not alone in her propensity toward this. There are a lot of commentators (catholic and otherwise) that fall into this trap. Rush Limbaugh has been doing this a bit, lately, and it’s been irritating the crap outta me.

      Related, Elizabeth Scalia’s book Strange Gods: Unmasking the Idols in Everyday Life is a fantastic read, and I recommend it for everyone.

      • Excellent points, and thanks for taking the time to make them! I totally agree, and one of the things I like about this crowd is that I think they take that seriously. That’s pretty damn refreshing. I actually feel like you would welcome criticism, even it you didn’t specifically ask for it. I wouldn’t hesitate to speak up, and I appreciate it when you do, as well. That goes for everyone here. I love it that Shalini has felt free to completely disagree with some of the stupid things I’ve written before, and those conversations about how I’m wrong have been some of the most enjoyable I’ve had on this blog. That’s real friendship. God bless you guys.

        • Shalini says:

          I didn’t read this before I commented but whoa! Though you may have often said stupid things ;), I don’t think I’ve pointed it out that often! πŸ˜›

          On a serious note, that’s why this is a good place to be. We are allowed to disagree. I trust you guys enough to disagree with you and yet know you are mature enough to understand it is not a personal affront directed towards you. That’s how learning is done, isn’t it? Learning that you may be wrong and realising that may be we can even change. πŸ™‚

      • “One must always admit the possibility that ones own perspective is skewed and unclear– to do otherwise creates an idol of one’s own thoughts, and this is a very bad road to start down.” I really like that analysis. I’ll have to read Elizabeth’s book. Thanks for the recommendation. Funny you should mention Scalia. When I was arguing with Ann (or rather, responding to her bomb-throwing followed by her “This discussion is over.” πŸ™„ ), all I could think about was some of her old posts on ES’s Anchoress Blog years ago when she used to flame-attack Novus Ordo supporters and then disappear without ever explaining exactly why she was a traditionalist.

        And if you wander over here and read this, Ann, this really is said with love. My eye-roll is not contempt. It’s just frustration.

        • zmalfoy says:

          It must always be kept in mind that I say such things from experience, from having made that same mistake and then the painful (but worth it!) process of correction, multiple times in the past. I am so thankful that, stupid and stubborn as I have been in the past –and sometimes, continue to be πŸ˜‰ — that one way or another, correction has come. The remembered embarassment and even shame keeps me humble– and humility is the only road to Truth.

    • Shalini says:

      I have read the exchange but not in it’s entirety (Really don’t have the patience to read another post about how un-Christian the pope really is!). While I agree with everything Sol and Zoph have said, I am just wondering whether Ann didn’t mean what you think she meant. May be she didn’t mean you can’t criticize friends but simply that making a mocking post about a friend isn’t okay? Let’s be honest here. Disagreeing with a friend in a conversation, either public or private, is quite different from making a post about them, isn’t it? Friends should be free to criticize and disagree with each other, there’s no doubt about that. But I must admit that it might hurt a tad bit more if you make a post about me instead of a two-way conversation. Apples and oranges. Of course, I don’t agree with her assertion that you made that post for page hits but I can’t help but give her the benefit of doubt this time. And this from a person who probably disagrees with her more often than you do!

      • You are very likely correct, but Ann has not really communicated with any of us for over a year (except for this exchange), so it’s hard to say. Anything we may have to say about her (or to her) is, by necessity, a one-way affair, whether it’s OT comments or a separate post about her. In fact, I was kind of shocked to see her invoke our acquaintance at all because we stopped having any kind of 2-way dialogue long ago. Ann has a very carefully crafted one-way setup, generally. You may email her, but she may or may not respond, and you certainly cannot comment on her blog.

        Our level of disagreement has reached the point where I have made many public statements and asked many questions of her, usually here or on iOTW, and she has probably paid them little attention. That’s ok. But since she’s made it clear that she’s disregarding my opinion entirely these days (by her silence), I felt comfortable in making that one post that poked fun at some of her statements. I did NOT think it was nasty or vindictive, though it was probably a little too personal. She took it badly, and I regret that, but if she’s reading anything I write and still considers us “acquaintances,” then perhaps she should have chimed in at some point and answered some questions or cleared the air before now. This was hardly an “air clearing” discussion, since it ended with her insistence that “this discussion is over” without any openness to any response from me.

        It reminded me strongly of how the other Treefolk treated us when we disagreed on things. They told us when the “discussion [was] over” by banning us, but they made it clear that they expected us to still be bound by some mysterious pact of silence where we were not allowed to comment or criticize them from a distance, apparently due to the fact that we’d been acquaintances. I’m still a little confused by that, but I’m not really that bright. You can ask Gruntessa. πŸ˜‰

        • Shalini says:

          I do know that with Ann it’s usually one sided conversations. She’s disabled comments and she even went so far as to say “Your opinion is not all that important” or something to that extent as a way of explanation. I fear she suffers from what my dad calls ‘Spiritual pride’. We recognise it is wrong of her and I appreciate you trying to point that out to her. As for me, she’s a stranger and it’s not that I don’t care, it’s simply beyond my control to do anything about it. Mild irritation is all I can feel, I guess. πŸ™‚ And that is why you are a better person.

      • Ok, Shal, after musing over your comment, you’ve finally convinced me that I really was kind of a jerk to Ann by writing that “Contra Papam” parody. Thanks for helping me to figure that out. Sorry, Ann! No more excuses. I’m an idiot.

        • Shalini says:

          I’ll be honest, Grunt! I actually quite enjoyed your ‘Contra Papum’ post but it did shock me as well. That was mainly because of your personal acquaintance with her. I didn’t intend to convince you of anything, really, but having different perspectives usually helps. And you are a better person than I am, Grunt! πŸ™‚

          • Thank you, Shal! You’re right about the helpfulness and value of differing perspectives. And for what it’s worth, if I had been able to convince Ann of that statement, then there would have never been a need for me to write that “shocking” post. But I have to disagree with you about your last sentence. πŸ™‚

            • What A Hoot says:

              Grunt, way deep in the recesses of your heart you must have been convicted that the referenced post was our of character for you and you were uncomfortable with it. You asked your friends and they did not let you down. You are truly blessed.

          • What A Hoot says:

            Shalini, you are are true friend indeed. You spoke from the heart. You edified. In Love. Thank you for the example.

    • texan59 says:

      I just went and read the highlights of your tiff with the omniscient one. IMHO, we all have the right to our own opinion. She has the right to disagree, but her attitude has turned me off over the last year or so, thereby diminishing her response in my eyes. Since I am not of the Catholic faith, I don’t have a dog in the fight and don’t feel qualified to discuss the merits of theology of most denominations and faiths.

      I admire her in that she has the gumption to shut down her entire trading operation because of the thievery in the markets that she dealt with. I do not appreciate the fact that she feels that she has the final say on nearly every subject. I got into a discussion with her about healthcare a couple years ago. We went back and forth via email and there was no convincing of her of anything other than her opinion. Despite the fact that I had started in that particular industry while she was taking 7th grade math classes.

      I much prefer to argue(discuss) with friends, the merits of many things as I respect their opinions in the first place and every once in awhile I actually learn something. However, one has to define friend very carefully. I have found over the years that a number of folks I considered friends were so in the sense that when I would visit the old hometown, I could always come to their house rather than the other way around. Once I figured out that I didn’t have the time, patience, or desire to spend an entire vacation driving around, my circle got a lot smaller. Their loss, not mine.

      When a discussion can only be had on another’s ground rules, it gives me pause.

    • Well the old “pride” thing is alive an kicking. Blindness is the fruit. I would venture to say a humble approach is always a good bet.
      BTW Grunt, since you know Ann why does this surprise or bother you? Just curious that’s all.
      Ann has a lot of enemies, and she has isolated herself from many and I’m not so sure that’s such a good thing in this bad world unless you have an attitude of “I don’t really care” and your actions have no consequences on anybody other than yourself. That is a pretty lonely world to live in if that is true. If not, (imho) then your actions can bring harm to some of the people that you just might care about or should, really!

      • True. I can’t claim to “know her,” and in any case, she’s too complex to know in the few hours of conversation I’ve spent with her. But it’s because of that exposure and because I genuinely like her that it does bother me. Also, it disturbs me that there’s a duality there. In person she’s very intelligent, reasonable, devout, kind and amiable. When she writes, things come out that I find difficult to explain. I think there’s a lot more of Dagny Taggart in her than is openly admitted. She wants to be a saint, but she also wants to be Dagny. That’s a conflict. Dagny is a creation of only four parts saint and five parts intellectual siren. The siren part is irresistible to brilliant minds, like hers, but it is a creation of the darkness nonetheless, courtesy of Mrs. O’connor. The pride is there, but it’s packaged so alluringly. I don’t think she wants to let it go…completely, even though she has already done so to an amazing extent. But I don’t know anything about it, really. I am only musing. As you were saying, there’s potential for great harm in some of these things she’s written, and good as well. That’s enough reason to be interested and bothered, but perhaps not surprised.

        • You know it’s just like the Garden huh? Brilliant minds who want to know more than they should. Sometimes ignorance is bliss. The knowledge that we acquire seems to bring or require more of us?! Knowledge may be a good thing but it has a cost. Always does. Just like the knowledgenof good and evil. It has a price to pay or a burden to carry.

  3. Chrissy has a pretty good piece about the latest creepiness from the Democrats Who Must Be Kept Away From Your Daughters.

  4. Mandela Statue Unveiled
    PRETORIA, South Africa (WNB) – A 30-foot statue of Nelson Mandela was unveiled Monday by South African President Jacob Zuma.
    Zuma said the former leader’s arms are outstretched to embrace the country, and, if needed, “necklace” enemies.
    The monument was unveiled at the Union Buildings in Pretoria on Reconciliation Day, which commemorates the end of apartheid.

  5. Iran Launches Monkey into Space
    TEHRAN (WNB) – On Saturday afternoon, Iranian president Hassan Rouhani announced his country’s space program had successfully orbited another monkey in space, their second this year.
    Reporters were shown a photo (below) of the tiny astronaut piloting the “Falling Star Sky Camel IV” rocket into space. The mission, dubbed “Burning Monkey II” was the first to run on liquid fuel, he said.
    Rouhani said the monkey is “resting comfortably” after its journey, but residents in New Zealand reported finding pieces of an Iranian space capsule and “something that looked like a burnt chicken” outside of Queenstown Saturday morning.

    Saturday’s wildly successful launch was partly funded by NASA’s SpaceMonkey Outreach Program.

  6. solaratov says:

    …The moral argument for freedom is the self-organizing principle of individuals. The moral argument for compulsion is that the system is superior to individuals. The left has chosen central planning in human rights as it has in every other area of life. It believes with the paradoxical perversity of doublethink that freedom can only come from government because only a central authority is qualified to provide the equal distribution of freedom within carefully planned limits…


    No matter what it takes…


  7. Hey Freedom1781!
    I wanted to thank you for being such gracious hosts while Gruntessa and I were in Virginia! Your expert tour of Yorktown was hugely eye-opening and wonderful. That goes for your brilliant hubby and delightful daughter, too.

    BTW, we barely got that bottle of wine back with us, but it survived, no thanks to the TSA. We had it wrapped up good in my luggage, and when I got back, there was a TSA letter inside the bag indicating a search, and the bottle had been left out of its protective padding and stuck next to the aluminum frame. The same frame that got bent by the handlers on the way out from Denver. We were lucky there wasn’t red sludgey glass all over the place. Thanks again!!

    • freedom1781 says:

      You’re welcome! I wouldn’t call it an expert tour, though. πŸ˜‰ Glad to hear that you both–and the bottle of wine–made it back home safely. Have you popped open that bottle yet? Let me know what you think. It’s one of my favorite wines.

      • Naw, it’s currently in a place of honor in the Grunt Bar corner of the kitchen next to the good tequila and the old Bushmills. We’ll get to it in the next few weeks and I’ll let you know! πŸ™‚

  8. texan59 says:

    Harold Camping dies. It’s HIS end of the world. Wonder if he saw it coming. πŸ˜‰

  9. Hey Shalini; you see this? Hope it doesn’t mean war. 😯
    In my opinion, the Indians are right. “It is despicable and barbaric,” [the official] said. The Indian government should do whatever they can to make it clear that this is an outrage. If those idiots behaved like this with Russian diplomats during the cold war, NYC would have been a smoldering ruin a long time ago.

  10. texan59 says:

    All the good stuff always happens after I leave. This happened around the corner from my bachelor pad in HOU. πŸ˜†

  11. texan59 says:

    Looks like Mr. Snowden has his own doomsday plan. And he’s holding a pretty good hand. I’m not here to advocate for him, but he has quite a large pot that might just get spilled. 😯

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