Thoughts On Memorial Day….

Today, Stores across the country are having sales. Car dealerships are draped with red white and blue banners where I am. Many of our game websites offer us the chance to get lots more virtual coins, so we can have a shot at winning “the big one”.

The grocery store shelves are picked bare of hotdog and hamburger buns, the delis can hardly keep up with the demand for potato salad, and if you forgot to buy your charcoal, you might be out of luck.

And that is the nature of this day– that they have returned to the Earth, and to that source from which all things were born. That we who are here remember them. Some remember them with prayer, and flags, wreaths placed on their graves. Others remember them in celebration–living and enjoying time with family and friends, savoring the freedom that carries the highest price tag of all.

A MEMORIAL DAY TRIBUTE

For freedom requires not only personal responsibility, morality, and the assumption of duty before pleasure, payment before reward–freedom also requires, far more often than should be the case, the blood of our parents. Our children. Our spouses. The surest way to lose freedom, forever, is to forget that is IS a treasure, a gift, and must be guarded.

The surest way to lose freedom, and render the sacrifices of our fallen soldiers worse than meaningless, is for the common man to assume “somebody will fix it”. To assume that “the government” will preserve it. To assume that you are “doing your part” by voting, working, and paying taxes alone. These things are only the beginning of preserving this treasure.

Preserving freedom requires each and every citizen, of any nation, to resist at all costs ANY form of government intervention, social “justice”, or shaming that removes the inherent freedoms all are born with. We must be willing to say NO to tempting visions of “FREE” services–be they healthcare, student loans, housing–promised by governments.

Because a government, by its very nature, is a parasite. It does not create, it only consumes. It is, by its very nature, the antithesis of freedom–for it restricts, it regulates, it takes from some to give to others.

Does this mean we must have NO government? No–because there are some things that work best if done by one agency, in one place. But it DOES mean that to allow ourselves to rely on a government to provide those basic necessities required to live comfortably–or live at all–is a dangerous road to travel. Because the government consumes all things, without distinction. And the appetite of government is insatiable.

So whenever D.C.–or Any government seat says they will give you something free, remember: it is only free because someone else is paying in your place. And—what happens when the people run out of sustenance to feed this beast we have allowed to flourish in our midst?

And when we have been sacrificed to the beast that is our government–if there is a hereafter, and our fallen heroes are there….How can we apologize for the way we treated the treasure they died to preserve?

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Veep Team Comparison – Tim Kaine Rally in Florida -vs- Mike Pence Rally in Florida….

The following is courtesy of THE CONSERVATIVE TREEHOUSE–THE GO-TO SITE FOR ANALYSIS OF LEFTIST LOONS AND THE MEDIA.

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It cannot be overstated just how far the preferred corporate media narrative is disconnected from reality. The real battle is for your mind. The institutional media goal is to grind down Trump/Penc…

Source: Veep Team Comparison – Tim Kaine Rally in Florida -vs- Mike Pence Rally in Florida….

The Deplorable, Irredeemable Rednecks Just Won’t Go AWAY :-).

Well, Shoot…If The Shoe Fits, Wear It (PROUDLY).

My Own state Senator made his opinions of me very clear, on several occasions, over the last few years. I started out as a simple “Whacko Bird”, which might or might not be a relative of a DoDo. I don’t know, his office neglected to clarify that when I asked them.

Later on, He referred to me and others who share my opinions as “Hobbits”–though why that would be a pejorative is beyond me. After all, it was the Hobbits that did, against all odds, save Middle Earth from Sauron and Saruman.

But that wasn’t enough for him. I then became one of the “crazies” who crawled out of the woodwork when Trump came to town. And recently, this same elitist *sshat said  “don’t drive an automobile in the metropolitan area. You’re a danger to yourself and others. You’re crazy.”

Oh, The Irony….

Once again, the zombie Arizona voters turned out in droves to give Mc Cain the nomination for the GOPers, against Kirkpatrick. Well–this year, for the first time EVER–I am voting for the Dem in my Senate Race. Because, amazingly enough, Anne Kirkpatrick is in this case the “better” candidate, all things considered.

And the real irony here is the very same Mc Cain that the GOpers worked so hard to get back into his seat is the senator the party OFFICIALLY CENSURED a few years ago–for not adhering to the party’s so-called “conservative platform and values”.

And this same Mc Cain–who deliberately screens people who want to attend his few town halls, and has been known (behind closed doors, of course) to call his constituents far worse than what is listed above, also received an award–FOR CIVILITY in public life, from Allegheny College. Joe Biden got one too. Two old fossils that should have been retired a decade or two ago, and neither one all that “civil” either.

And Now, I’m Deplorable, Irredeemable, and a Redneck.

Well, guess what, Demprogs and Hillary?  I consider all three of those appellations to be compliments, coming from YOU.

I see nothing Deplorable about loving my country, and our Constitution, and wanting my government to put MY safety and interests above those of foreign nations, criminals, or banks.

I see nothing deplorable about wanting true economic growth instead of entirely unrealistic numbers, and political smoke and mirrors.

I see nothing deplorable about wanting sovereign borders, and for wanting my government to actually enforce our laws–as all government officials have sworn an other to do.

Oh, well–I’m definitely “Deplorable”–if you deplore solid conservative values, morals and ethics. If you deplore self-reliance, frugality, true equality, and personal Liberty, then I’ll be on your Ten Most Wanted Deplorable People list.

Irredeemable? Hmm.

And why would I need to be “redeemed” in the first place? There is nothing sinful, or criminal, about the populist/nationalist view of America FIRST. And as the Good Book itself points to borders and boundaries as having been established by God, wanting our border to be effectively marked and protected isn’t sinful from a religious viewpoint either.

Wanting economic opportunity for ALL Americans, of all colors, creeds, and ethnicity, isn’t a sin either. Wanting trade deals that benefit US isn’t a sin. Wanting a decrease in violent crime and needless violence and death is about as non-sinful as you can get.

Wanting personal liberty and real equality for all, instead of false divisions and protected groups isn’t a sin either. Again, quite the opposite of a sin. Our Founders built this nation on the premise that ALL MEN ARE CREATED EQUAL. And BTW–if you receive special treatment for any reason–then you are NOT equal, by definition.

Oh, and while you’re pondering that, also ponder this: PUTTING PREFERENTIAL TREATMENT IN PLACE FOR PRESENT AND FUTURE GENERATIONS BASED ON WRONGS DONE TO PAST GENERATIONS IS POINTLESS.

The best restitution is what our constitution dictates–EQUAL PROTECTION UNDER THE LAW. Anything else is at best, unconstitutional, and at worst, blatant discrimination and bigotry.

So it seems that my “sin” comes down to not agreeing with the lunatic left’s version of “America”. My “sin” is in not embracing globalism, climate change, multiculturalism, the welfare state, and open borders. My “sin” is in fighting, at every opportunity, the fundamentally flawed policies the left embrace–the policies that have led to the current horrors we see around us.

That being the case–I gladly consider myself “Irredeemable”. Thank you for noticing that I believe in what our founders gave us in the first place, and all the Liberty and Justice it provided–before the lunatic left got control….

Redneck? Since When Is The Mark Of Honest Labor Pejorative?

Wow, for people who claim to be egalitarians, and inclusive, and all that happy crappy touchy feely stuff, the lunatic left is awfully classist, and elitist, and bigoted. The term “redneck” was/is used to disparage poor white trash and sharecroppers who worked the fields, way back in the “good old days”. Around the time that honest labor began to get a bad name in certain social circles–when it was assumed that if your neck was red, you were probably inbred, under educated, crude, rude, and uncouth.

It’s right up there with “hillbilly”–aimed at poor whites specifically, but applied in the general sense to anyone who engaged in manual labor. Part of the reason we are IN THE ECONOMIC MESS WE ARE IN is because the snobbishness behind that term–and the disdain for manual jobs it highlights got some powerful people thinking it would be a great idea if we outsourced all our manufacturing to international “rednecks”, and used social and educational means to keep our own manual labor force down trodden and controlled. Then, the elites could sit back and enjoy even cheaper goods and services….

Well, I hate to disappoint the lunatic left–but I am not ashamed of honest labor of any kind. And my other half’s neck may be very red from working hard daily, for 50 years–but he is extremely intelligent, well read, moral, and polite. As a matter of fact, he has far more admirable qualities that 99.99% of the kleptocrats infesting D.C. and our local government.

I’ll take an honest redneck of ANY type over a pack of elitist academics, pusillanimous politicians, bankers, or Demprogs, thank you very much.

Because with a redneck, you know you’ll get punched in the face if you get out of bounds. Rednecks come in all types, but one characteristic they typically share is a degree of honesty that precludes back stabbing behavior.

With any of the others named–you’ll get stabbed in the back while they are actively lying to you and screwing you over.

Perspective, Perception, Context, And Madame Butterfly

Madame Butterfly, both the original french novel it was adapted from by Puccini and Puccini’s version, is a five handkerchief opera. But more than that, it’s an excellent study of perspective, perception and context, as the cultural and social landscape has changed quite drastically in the 120 years or so since brides like Butterfly were common.

For those unfamiliar with the story, In Japan and Hong Kong in the mid to late 1800’s, English and American sailors would often marry “little brides”–young girls from financially distressed families, whose parents would arrange for them to be temporary wives of convenience to keep the family from starving. In many cases, the “priest” at the wedding wasn’t even a real official. In the worst cases, the entire “wedding”, paperwork and all, was a sham, leaving behind a young girl in a house she got evicted from a few months later.

So Butterfly, at 15, married Pinkerton in the little house he bought for her (part of the arrangement). It wasn’t really “bought”, only leased for 999 years, but could be cancelled in a month. Just as Butterfly’s marriage could be in Japan, where there had been divorce laws since the time of the Shoguns. Pinkerton was in his mid to late thirties.

Puccini’s treatment of Benjamin Franklin Pinkerton in the opera, written in 1904, is quite interesting–whenever Pinkerton or the Ambassador is on the scene, the national anthem plays. The Ambassador tries to tell Pinkerton that he might not consider it a marriage, but Butterfly does. Pinkerton, being a shallow American, dismisses this entirely. On his wedding day to Butterfly, he toasts her, and his future American wife, whoever she may be.

After the wedding, Pinkerton soon leaves again, to continue his Naval career, leaving behind Butterfly, who has his son. Three years pass, and during that time, Butterfly learns English, lives as a Christian, fills the house with English furniture and sews American clothing in preparation for his return….

Un Bel Di Vedremo

 

While the quality isn’t the greatest in this clip, it doesn’t have to be to see what we’re looking at today.

And here is the full opera that the clip came from, with subtitles. This is a “global effort”,  an Italian opera filmed in Yokohama by a French film company, starring a Chinese opera singer (her first opera, as a matter of fact), subtitled in English.

Madame Butterfly

 

The lyrics:

One good day, we will see
Arising a strand of smoke
Over the far horizon on the sea
And then the ship appears
And then the ship is white
It enters into the port, it rumbles its salute.

Do you see it?

He is coming!
I don’t go down to meet him, not I.
I stay upon the edge of the hill
And I wait a long time
but I do not grow weary of the long wait.

And leaving from the crowded city,
A man, a little speck
Climbing the hill.
Who is it? Who is it?
And as he arrives
What will he say? What will he say?
He will call Butterfly from the distance
I without answering
Stay hidden
A little to tease him,
A little as to not die.
At the first meeting,
And then a little troubled
He will call, he will call
“Little one, dear wife
Blossom of orange”
The names he called me at his last coming.
All this will happen,
I promise you this
Hold back your fears –
I with secure faith wait for him.

One Good Day….

Our perspective is is that of Butterfly’s maid, watching her silently from inside the house, as she tells us that he is coming, one good day. While everyone else has tried to tell her the marriage meant nothing, and tried to get her to marry someone else, She wouldn’t. She believes he will return, with all the faith of a young girl in love. And as we listen to this young girl, so hopeful, so faithful, we draw closer. The subject internalizes and personalizes Butterfly’s feelings, even if you don’t have subtitles, and don’t know Italian.

Though there are no subtitles in the song clip itself, we can see in Butterfly’s face the hope, the doubt, and then the resolute conviction as she tells her maid he will come back. But the look on her face at 4:10, the swallow, tells a different story….

One of the things that sets this particular portrayal of Madame Butterfly apart from the standard is the filming in context–in a real village, in a real house.  The immersive context of the movie format rather than the traditional theater setting adds a layer of complexity and emotional impact that even the subtitles don’t detract from significantly.

In a theatrical production of any kind, one of the greatest challenges is creating immersive contexts; giving the audience a rich enough contextual reference to cancel out the rest of the theater, and bring the production to a point where it can be internalized and personalized. By adapting Butterfly to movie format, the French production team was more than able to overcome the few shortcomings in the opera itself, such as the 2 dimensional quality Pinkerton and the Ambassador had, and the shallow treatment of the Japanese culture as well.

When you contrast the movie version here with a top quality theater production, it is very easy to see for yourself just how much difference contextual framing can make in a narrative. Here is a clip of a theater performance of the same piece, sung by one of the finest Japanese opera singers, Hiromi Omura:

Note that in the theater production, the opera’s characters provide additional context through exaggerated hand movements, and facial expressions, and in this particular production, Butterfly is inside, obviously facing “the window” or “the porch”.

Context matters. This clip has changed our perspective as disinterested third parties–instead of being in the place of Butterfly’s maid, who knows the marriage is a sham and Butterfly’s heart will be broken, we’re now “peeping Toms”, removed from the story and watching. We have lost the contextual framework. All the relevant emotional context comes from the singer herself.

The Ending….

I’m not going to spoil it for those who haven’t seen it. But I will say this: the average person has a love/hate relationship with opera. It’s an art form that you either can’t stand, or you completely understand and love (with a few exceptions).

This particular use of contextual framing, taking what is normally a difficult form of theater to make immersive and transforming it into a five handkerchief experience may be one of the few examples of “opera” that even a hater can appreciate.

Next, we’ll take a closer look at Music