Who and What is the Happy Warrior

The Happy Warrior is the title of a poem... and yes, I love this poem. I do not wish to be mischaracterized, for the most part poetry is not my bag. I am not an afficionado of literature nor am I a metro-sexual (I despise that term) but a dear friend introduced me to this masterpiece of prose several years ago... it has provided no end of inspiration. The Happy Warrior by William Wordsworth outlines the qualities of a magnificent soul. I aspire to possess even one or two characteristics that "every man in arms should wish to be."

This blog is a representation, in conversational form, of my voyage to wrap my arms around the world in which Mr. Worsdworth's warrior finds happiness.

(Standing disclaimer: Luckily tests of spelling accuracy ended in 4th grade otherwise I would still be in Elementary School. Be forewarned, spelling errors ahead. I subscribe to the wisdom of a great man who said, "I have utmost disdain for a man who can only spell a word one way." -Benjamin Franklin)

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Sermonette: Becoming Christlike

A person striving to be more spiritual (by this I mean one who is trying to attain the characterisics of deity and thereby shed him or herself of the natural tendencies of mortal beings) will find the journey quite challenging. I like the perspective and clarity C S Lewis provides:

"If you have really handed yourself over to Him, it must follow that you are trying to obey Him. But trying in a new way, a less worried way. Not doing these things in order to be saved, but because He has begun to save you already. Not hoping to get to Heaven as a reward for your actions, but inevitably wanting to act in a certain way because a first faint gleam of Heaven is already inside you."
-Mere Christianity

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Wacky Wednesday: Vol. 23 Truth and Evil -a brief (if not odd) history

Any investigation of truth must also account for and contemplate the reality of evil. Contrary to some post-modern thought, evil really does exist. Furthermore the entire history of mankind stands as irrefutable evidence that evil is a fundamental part of life. We wrestle with it, we are effected by it, we are seduced by it, we submit to it and somehow we even overcome it. Unfortunately evil has tremendous sway over us and profoundly contaminates our relationships with one another and with God.

I stumbled across an interesting video that presents "a history of evil".... I don't quite know what to say or how to react... It is, at least, interesting. Enjoy:

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Health Care Reform Compared to the Post Office/Email... really?

Yet more evidence that politicians think you and I are stupid. There are so many things wrong with this analogy, but first you've got to watch it:

(click on image above)

I love the arrogant lecture approach: "a public option to help bring down costs is something that should be broadly accepted by the American people." I'm sorry Mr. All-Knowing-More-Intelligent-Than-I-Politician, this American person does not accept a public option! Pompous pontificating aside, lets examine the comparison he draws: Public healthcare is comparable to the US Post Office and to email:

Public healthcare analogous to the US Post Office:
So you really want to make this analogy? I am in total agreement that it is a perfect comparison but I really didn't think any Democrat would actually admit that public health system might look and function like the US Post Office. Have you made a trip to the local post office in the last 30 years Mr. Jackson? Were you impressed with how quickly the lines moved as only 1/2 of the windows were staffed? Or is the every increasing cost of a stamp that will mirror the public health care system (and why is it that even though the cost of stamps is increasing at a breakneck pace the service offered by the Post Office is in decline)? Or is it a matter of unparalelled communication that we can look forward to from the US Healthcare Offices... try and find the phone number to your local post office; and if you actually can get a postal employee to give it to you (not the general customer service 800 number but the local number), see if anyone answers when you call it. Yes, public healthcare will be just like the US Post Office or the Department of Motor Vehicles or the IRS or any other government run institution. Please dear heaven, save us all!

Public healthcare analogous to email:
Public healthcare cannot be analogous to both the Post Office and Email... it does not work logically. Email and the Internet are killing the Post Office -truely, who pays their bills with a check and puts it into the mail anymore. Email was refined and forwarded largely by private business and is one of the best examples of a revolutionary change brought about by CAPITALISM! The Post Office is a dinosaur and a case and point of how inept, inefficient and expensive government run systems are. If email is analogous to anything in the healthcare issue, it is a robust system of competitive private systems where individuals are responsible for their own costs, where government has a MINIMAL role and where efficiency is high and costs are low. Email, as a communication avenue, is NOTHING like the public healthcare proposal.

What are you smoking Rep. Jackson?

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Sermonette: Profound truth, simply stated

I love the Jewish people, history, customs and contribution to humanity. Their contribution of wisdom alone is incalculable. So far as I can tell, the origin of their genius is the discipline of serious pondering (contemplation, study and inquiry regarding the nature of man and of God). By "serious pondering" I mean both within the short lifecycle of individuals but also a cumulative social endeavor that spans generations. The result is insight. Here is a profound truth spoken by one of the most contributive Rabbis:

"If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If I am not for others, what am I?"

Friday, August 21, 2009

Truth...retreat, retreat!

One of the most unfortunate (and dangerous) characteristics of the modern age is the total disregard for truth. Truth is frequently twisted, ignored, manipulated and otherwise adulterated in the name of some greater good (usually political or personal agendas). Let me be clear: there is no higher good than TRUTH (except our behavioral alignment with that truth)! Why do I detest the concept of man-made global warming and other screwball environmental efforts (like "Cap and Trade")? Because they are proliferated based on lies and covert political agendas. They are not only mistaken but have very dangerous consequences. Why am I fervently opposed to politicians who espouse these ideas? These men and women are dupes at best and despot at worst. Either way they imperile your freedom.

It is a rare thing when groups acknowledge their "stretching" (code for "lying") of the truth but here is an instance when the leader (now the previous leader) of Greenpeace, Gerd Leipold does just that. Notice the excuses and justifications: "by and large", "we have to emotionalize issues"... Nice justification of motives: we had to lie to get the ignorant public's attention.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

The highjacking of "Compassion"

Excuse me while I throw up. Divert your attention away from my wretching by watching this news report:

The video did not include this important portion of the statement (see below). The last line (which I've bolded) will forever stand as one of the most morally confused statements:
"In Scotland, we are a people who pride ourselves on our humanity.
"It is viewed as a defining characteristic of Scotland and the Scottish people.
"The perpetration of an atrocity and outrage cannot and should not be a basis for losing sight of who we are, the values we seek to uphold, and the faith and beliefs by which we seek to live.
"Mr Al Megrahi did not show his victims any comfort or compassion. They were not allowed to return to the bosom of their families to see out their lives, let alone their dying days. No compassion was shown by him to them.
"But that alone is not a reason for us to deny compassion to him and his family in his final days.
"Our justice system demands that judgment be imposed but compassion be available.
"Our beliefs dictate that justice be served, but mercy be shown.
"Compassion and mercy are about upholding the beliefs that we seek to live by, remaining true to our values as a people. No matter the severity of the provocation or the atrocity perpetrated."

Since when did compassion trump every other quality? But before you paint me as a cold hearted soul (a judgement which those who hardly know me would hasten to make after reading a few short sentances), consider the possibility that Mr. MacAskill is involved in what could best be described as a sophisticated Greek tradgedy. His desire to show compassion is ultimately incompassionate and is damaging the beautiful concept. Is not discipine, incarceration, corrections and chastisement really compassionate at the core? Is not compassion a virtue that should apply not only to the individual but equally (if not moreso) to the community/society?

My natural inclination is toward compassion (which is best evidenced and best demonstrated at the individual level -a personal quality which those who know me well will quickly defend) so I am even more angered by the adulteration of the concept and the word -this is yet another example of the battle over language and meaning in our post-modern society. "Good" has become "evil" and "evil" has become "good" (which is at least not as sinister and destructive as entirely dismissing the concept of evil entirely).

So we have added "compassion" to those words, concepts and values that trump everything else (other words elevated to this level are tolerance, love, equality, etc.). These form an inpeneterable forcefield behind which the politically correct can establish their motives and declare both moral superiority and humanistic immunity. But tell me this, how is the release of a calculated mass murderer who engaged in a purposeful terrorist act that extinguised the lives and futures of 270 innocent people (yes, men, women and children) compassionate to the family members of those victims? What about the demands of society? If Mr MacAskill wishes to effuse compassion great, but Mr. MacAskill was not the only object of offense. Compassion is a micro (person to person) level quality but justice is the essential macro (societal) level quality. The irony is that our society is actually becoming less compassionate by applying it at the general and anonymous (macro) level instead of where it really has an impact and can positively change the world (and coincidentally is much more difficult and demanding of us) -at the individual level.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Wacky Wednesday 2009, Vol. 22

When I became a parent I did not know I would need to draw upon my early graduate school studies in Egyptology. So much for the frequently spoken dissent, "when am I ever going to use this again?" Who knew that I would find application of this underappreciated skill in the deciphering of Griffin-glyphs (literal translation: "Griffin-writings")

Perhaps you may have encountered this:

and wondered what it meant. Or even this:

and gave up after translating the first line (for those of you who did not read your Intro. to Egyptian Lexiconography textbook as you should have, it is of course the funerary papyrus of Princess Entiu-ny.

But even the famed Indiana Jones would become faint of heart when encountering this highly advanced glyph:

I'll give you some time to study it out, develop your theory and give it your best deciphering attempt... Come back tomorrow for the translation and see how close you are.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Wicke Vacation 2009 (Part 1)

Before too much time passes and our vacation is a distant memory I wanted to share some pictures of our recent adventure. So I will take a respit from the heavy issues of politics, truth and our country to share some pictures:

Stage 1: Zion's National Park and the Narrows

Beginning our adventure in Zion's National Park

The watery trail through the Narrows.

Lincoln's styling ride for much of the trip

In the Narrows

Stage 2: Family (Haymore) Reunion in Utah

Wild and Wierd Wickes

Stage 3: Cowley, Wyoming and the Petersons

Hot dog lunch on the Big Horn Mountains

Grandma and Lincoln

Logan and Griffin at the falls

Tickelish haircut

That is about the end of week 1. Stay tuned for week 2 (Yellowstone, Idaho and Salt Lake City).

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Saturday Enlightenment: Mans Beautiful Spirit and Opportunity

The discipline and practice of politics (a systematic effort to curtail the dark nature of human beings and establish a working level of civility whereby mankind can live together in peace and prosperity) has got to be one of the ugliest “sciences”. But it is the realm I’ve chosen to navigate. Medicine, physics, engineering and architecture on the other hand provide us daily with evidence of man’s intelligence and potential for beauty. Yes, politics has its beautiful moments (i.e. the miracle of the ratification of the Declaration of Independence, the formation of the US Constitution are two of the most recent and far reaching) but these moments are exceptions rather than the norm.

So today I tip my hat to the glorious achievement of man by way of the “hard” or “natural” sciences which have produced many wonders. Today I salute two objects which, to me, are among the most amazing things ever created. I am fascinated by them. We call them “Spirit” and “Opportunity” -well named for how they reflect on their creators.

Perhaps if we can master ourselves just as we’ve mastered technology then we can make a better world. It appears far easier to control things outside of us than it is to control those powers within us. Then again we are bound by laws of physics and gravity but we have been given the opportunity to choose whether we will honor the bounds of moral law.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Serious questions for serious citizens in serious times

There are a number of fundamental questions every person who is fortunate enough to have citizenship in the United States of America ought to ask and have a solid answer for:

1. what is the role of government?
2. what is the relationship between the citizen and his/her government?
3. what are my rights and responsibilities as a citizen of the United States?
4. what are the core principles upon which this nation was built?
5. what are the fundamental truths found in the Declaration of Independence and in the Constitution of the United States.
6. what is a democracy?
7. what is a republic?
8. what is the nature of government?
9. what is the nature of mankind?
10. what are my priorities and values?
11. what is more important (especially those priorities and values) than life itself?
12. how do I fit into this world; what is my role in the march of history?
13. what is my purpose relative to my family, my community, my country and mankind?

These are just a few of the essential matters we must wrestle with. Yes, these were addressed back in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries but they must be readdressed by every generation -or we will lose the most amazing priveledges and political freedoms any nation on earth has ever known. How many fathers and mothers across this nation speak of such things with their children over dinner or in the quiet hours of the day? It is almost absurd to ask if fathers and mothers are even talking to their children about any serious thing (except of course about condom use and environmental degradation... what have we come to).

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Obama will save us!

The strength of America has always been that the average citizen takes care of his own mess and creates his own opportunity. Somewhere along the way we started thinking that we did not have what it takes to accomplish both of these things and we started looking for someone to do it for us. Perhaps we did not esteem ourselves as capable or tough enough or perhaps we just tired of the "constant vigilence" these responsibilities require. If we are honest we also have to admit that we have become too lazy, apathetic and affluent to do the hard work. This phenomenon is not new nor has it always been such an obvious transition. If we engaged in a historical or a social analysis we would surely find a host of reasons and steps which have brought us to the place where we are today: where we are ready to rely on government to do everything for us short of wiping our buttocks.

Hence, in his own words, we now have a Chief Waste Processing Manager (i.e. "I will clean up this mess"). And if this attitude and this condition were not so gravely dangerous it might be funny. You see, the danger of a government willing to step up and take the responsibility for all our failures, all our laziness and to guarantee a cozy life from cradle to the grave is a government to which we have surrendered all our power of choice and ultimately our freedoms. A government that has been granted power to "bail us out" also has power to dictate the parameters of our life after we have been rescued.

Don't believe it? Listen to the message of the Chief Mess Cleaner Upper: get out of the way, stop talking, we don't want your ideas, this is my show...

Really? Do you really want us to believe that you were not part of the machinery that contributed to these problems? Did not the Democrats have control of Congress for a good portion of Pres. Bush's term? Didn't President Clinton occupy the Executive for nearly a decade. You really want us to believe that you were not part of the problem? But more disturbing, are you really telling 48% of the American citizenry who voted against you to "stop talking"? I'm so glad we have a President who is committed to participatory government and freedom of speech. This is the portent of things to come from a government who we have given power to clean up the messes of our lives! Be afraid, be very afraid!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Wacky Wednesday 2009, Vol. 21

It has been a while since I've posted a Wacky Wednesday, luckily the timing is just right to consider human arrogance and short-sightedness. Fault lines, flood planes, semi-dormant volcanoes... all are great places to build our largest cities.

Californians Gather To Celebrate Annual Wildfire Tradition

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Back to School

I know what it feels like, on that first day of the new academic year, to go back to school. I better, I've spent 27 of my 39 years in school. Today as Logan and Griffin walked out the door and across the street to catch the bus for the first time together (Logan is now in 2nd Grade and Griffin is in Kindergarten) I observed another halmark of the back-to-school exprience: Mrs. Wicke's tears (while she may have shed a few during the last long years of my graduate schooling, I think the tears today were a little different than the ones brought on by my lengthy dissertation).

Yes, it beomes painfully obvious that our children are slipping through our fingers as they enter a new school year. To be fair Mrs Wicke put up a good front until the children got on the bus and pulled away to the adventurous day before them. She even crossed the street and made it into the front door before coming into my office with a full fledged tear falling from her eye. In near sobs she confessed the pain in her heart as her little boy took this big step into the wide world. She sat on my lap and hugged me until we heard the cry of a waking baby. The cry, signaling the conclusion of a nap, brought some happiness this time as she got up to go upstairs. "I'm going to go hold my baby," she said finding some solace. Oh boy, I dread this day in five years when she might be sending our last one off on his own adventure.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

The battle over healthcare/America reform heats up as Nancy Pelosi plays the "Nazi" card

Vacation provided a much needed break from the political and cutural challenges of the present, but it is ime to get back to work. This story is all over talk radio but in case you have not seen or heard of it, here is a video summary:

Senator Nancy Pelosi making an outrageous and unsubstantiable accusation (which directly begs one of my primary laws of truth seeking: when someone makes a statement, claim or accusation, GO TO THE SOURCE to discover for yourself if it is true). Where, Mrs. Pelosi is your evidence, where is your documentation to back up such an inflamatory and despicable accusation?

Now, I don't know which town hall meeting she is referring to, but here is one showing an angry mob or white senior citizens causing mass mayhem by asking informed questions. And what horrible thing were these rabbel rousers doing: challenging likewise unsubstantiated and debatable claims such as "we need to fundamentally change health care and the United States" or "we must do it NOW". Enjoy:

Good for the old folks! The "Greatest Generation" might just have one more country to save before them move into the next life.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Wacky Wednesday 2009, Vol. 20

Signs. Usually they are useful and informative, but sometimes not.