Painting and Performing

“joe the painter”

While the Republican candidates are buzzing about in Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina, I have made a strategic campaign decision to stay in: Ohio. Call it a hunch, plus I have to pay for rent. Populace painting. I am currently painting this railing at a local nursing home, while gathering stories to write for the local weekly newspaper. I just got done interviewing “The Music Man,” as he colloquially refers to himself as. During Covid, even though nursing homes were hardest hit with lockdowns, senior isolation, and the like, he would continue to play at these nursing homes throughout Northwest Ohio. How? He got a special amplifier, and went window to window (even in the rain, in the snow…) doing mini-concerts for “…an audience of one.” A pretty heartwarming story, actually.

Total eclipse can lead to total (spiritual) insanity

Lima, Ohio Observatory

Hundreds of thousands of people will descend on northwest Ohio April 8, 2024. This area is in the “path of totality” for viewing a relatively rare total solar eclipse. (There is one every 18 months, or so.) People will come from all over the world, with the entire event lasting about two and a half hours, and complete totality lasting no more than three and a half minutes. I just interviewed a local astronomer who said some astronomers from the eastern part of Ohio recently came to Lima to visit the observatory here. He said they told him they had traveled to Australia to view the last total solar eclipse. More than 10,000 miles and $2,500 to get there. The Lima astronomer said that for some, a total solar eclipse is like a “spiritual experience.” You know, I just wrote something to help raise funds for a solar, clean drinking water pump to go in in a rural village in Tanzania. Some one billion people, worldwide, are without clean drinking water. The plane tickets to Australia, for the Ohio astronomers combined, could have paid for one of those pumps. And in my book (the Bible), that would have been a much more meaningful “spiritual experience.” And sort of a: ‘…total eclipse, or change, of the heart’?

Warning (sun) flares across our bow?

…temperatures rising!

In the last post, I talked about abortion. Just in America alone, we are rapidly approaching the 100 million abortion mark. It’s a Holocaust of epic proportion! Concurrently, I believe, God is allowing the ‘heat’ to be turned up considerably in our country, as a warning about the eternal destination for many participating in abortion, on any level. And that’s just one sin. Note: Today, news agencies are reporting that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has undertaken a 18 city study in American cities around heat domes, and such. The acronym for the agency: NOAA, pronounced: “Noah.” Coincidence? Yes, God said he’d never again destroy mankind through a flood, but, well, what about fire? The, now deceased, people of Sodom and Gomorrah could tell you that’s still a possibility. And maybe, just maybe, these are the warning shots, er’ warning (sun) flares, across our bow.

Ohio abortion battle heats up…

Ohio Right to Life CEO Peter Range …photo by Joe

I attended this talk, which revolved around a Special Election for “Issue 1” slated for this August. And a crux of the talk also revolved around pro-abortion lobbies trying to enshrine abortion into the Ohio Constitution with an amendment to be voted on this November. Six left-leaning states already got versions of the latter passed in their states during the 2022 Mid-Term elections. And all eyes are now on Ohio, because it would be the first conservative leaning state to pass the amendment. (While Ohio is the only state that this is up for a vote in this year, Mr. Range said it’s expected some 14 states will attempt the same next year, in tandem with the 2024 Presidential Election. Pro-life and Pro-choice people have been fanning out across Ohio to make their case. Mr. Range claimed that the amendment, based on an analysis by his organization, would: eliminate parental rights and consent; eliminate the 24-hour waiting period in the state; eliminate the Down Syndrome Non-Discrimination Act; allow late term abortions on demand; force pregnancy centers to refer for abortions…

Marijuana and Mass Shootings?

…leads to schizophrenia?

I just wrote a newspaper column that connects some scary dots. A study out of Denmark showed heavy marijuana use can tip people over into mental disorders, including schizophrenia. Schizophrenics hear “voices,” that is: auditory hallucinations. And they are, indeed, often distressing voices, frequently compelling the sufferer into suicidal or violent actions. And because these voices are that ‘dark,’ in some Christian circles, sometimes (not always) this would also be equated to demonic oppression and/or possession. (*See bestselling author M. Scott Peck, M.D.’s book: “People of the Lie.”) The question I pose is, how many of these mass shootings, that our society seems saturated with these days, are driven by these “voices” these schizophrenics, and others, are hearing? Looking at this one-dimensionally as, primarily, a gun control issue is tremendously myopic. What’s more, given the Denmark study, how quick should we be to keep legalizing marijuana from state to state? Answer: Not very.

Getting tougher…

Boy Scout camp scene

The character of boys in this society, overall, continues to get softer and softer with more and more screen time in temperature-controlled homes. Conversely, I just interviewed a man who, as a boy, could have been considered a ‘Navy Seals’ Boy Scout. He got every merit badge imaginable, was a team leader for years, and said the program’s focus on toughness and survival skills (the camp in the photo was a weekend one in February in Ohio) was tremendously invaluable to him… I went to Mass here to start off the 4th of July yesterday. The priest said that we had freedom, yes. But, ultimately, it comes down to the ‘freedom’ to do God’s will, or not. I then spent part of the rest of the day, updating our position paper on gender fluidity, and such. This would, from my faith’s spiritual perspective (Catechetical teaching), be a case where more and more in society are choosing not to do God’s will. The Catholic Church labels, as an example, homosexuality as “intrinsically disordered,” and a “grave sin” (to act out sexually on this, that is). In fact, the Catholic Church has developed “Courage” support groups focused on helping people with same sex attraction stay chaste.

ASP Primary…

Joe

Well, after a pitched, three-month Primary battle (four debates, separate interviews, serious on-the-road-stumping, media generation…) with five candidates vying to be the American Solidarity Party presidential candidate, I lost. I came in third, to be more exact. I have not been integrally involved with the ASP formation the past 11 years, and that majorly, and expressly (by a good number of ASP members), tied into the final vote totals. The ASP electorate leaned, heavily, toward a couple more “home grown” candidates who have been in the trenches helping build the party. I, conversely, have been out continuing to grow my campaign narrative, with more research, stumping, and so on. (There hasn’t been time for both.) The ASP Primary vote was, indeed, understandable from a psychological perspective, but somewhat short sighted from another perspective, and, of course, that’s in my bias opinion. Time will tell, but… after all these years of campaigning, and so on, I’m, simply, much more seasoned, media savvy, researched… than the other candidates, by a good measure. However, on the other hand, I will continue to support the party with consultation, donations, and so on. It’s platform is, by far, the best third-party platform out there. Note: Also, I will continue on at this point as an independent presidential candidate. Because my platform is, by far, the best candidate platform out there. And represents where the country needs to go at this point, before it’s too late.

…flags flying in the ‘breaths’

Westerville, Ohio on an earlier trip …photo by Joe

Continuing to catch up… While Biden was at Arlington Cemetery, or wherever he was at for Memorial Day, I was at Bluffton, Ohio’s Cemetery for a Memorial Day Service. A Green Beret Commander, who was originally from Bluffton, quoted an unknown author: Flags don’t fly in the wind as much as they fly on the last breaths of those who died for their country. Isn’t that the case metaphorically. During the service, there was also an F-16 fly by with a couple jets out of a base in Toledo. I couldn’t help but think of Ukraine and the F-16’s that would soon be delivered there by NATO countries. We stand so close to “midnight,” again metaphorically, on the Doomsday Clock… Staying with the military: I wrote an article about a local man who has restored a 1942 Army jeep. The Willys-Overland Co. also in Toledo, manufactured 280,000 of these during WWII. He takes the jeep to Car Shows where, he said, combat veterans will not only admire the jeep, but it often brings back vivid memories of things — no matter what war theatre. The Breen Beret Commander, alluded to above, said some 24 veterans commit suicide every day in America. Our administration would work exhaustively to dramatically reduce that figure. See our position paper on the military.

Catholic Workers; Stats Class; Dumber & Dumber

Ms. Day started the Catholic Worker Movement

Catching up more on the last month… While running in the American Solidarity Party Primary the past couple months, I went out to do some “Whistle-Stops” in Northwest, Ohio. Twice, while being interviewed by newspaper reporters, the subject of our family moving to a hardscrabble area of Cleveland for five years to volunteer with the Catholic Workers came up. These Catholic Workers, I said, were living in ‘solidarity’ with the poor. They had set up a “House of Hospitality” to take in homeless. They set up a nightly drop-in center with coffee, snacks, and somewhat of a living room atmosphere. A safe haven from the streets at night. They set up an urban farm, coached latch key kids at a local Rec. Center, gave out micro-gifts… The poor in many of our urban cores are, daily, try to dodge hunger, needles, and bullets. We can’t leave them abandoned… I also wrote an article about a local university Stat Class that was analyzing preliminary Campaign 2024 data from a survey of some 350 students. Data numbers showed, for instance, that 69% of students polled believed current VP Kamala Harris is not prepared to deal with Putin, China, the economy, etc… Polling data also indicated “the economy” was the number one issue, which surprised the professor who wrote: “This is a surprise because geopolitical tensions are more front and center in the news than in recent years.” …I also wrote a newspaper column about the rapidly emerging AI field. I said “AI” stood for: “Absolutely Insane.” I pointed to, say, ChatGPT now being called on to write resume cover letters, college papers, and so on. Concurrently, our mental faculties are going to get duller and duller, as just one example. But hey, it will give us more time to watch shows and play video games. A dumbed down society, with an exponent.

“Scapegoat Theory”; Evangelism; Enough!

Vietnam era helicopter, Harrod, Ohio …photo by Joe

Catching up on the last month…

I was interviewed by a newspaper reporter in Defiance, Ohio, who is a member of the international group: “Colloquium on Violence and Religion.” The essence of this, the reporter said, is that the founder, Rene Girard, holds to, among other things, a: “scapegoat theory.” Scapegoating is used by, say, a country to demonize another country — so the country going to war against the other doesn’t have to look at it’s own, often glaring, faults. I told the reporter that our position paper on Terrorism cites famous author/monk Thomas Merton, who held the same theory. During a graduate Law Class I sat in on at Notre Dame University, during a campaign swing through the Midwest several years ago, I noted that America got nuts when Hussein gassed the Kurds. And, indeed, that was unconscionable. Yet, conversely, America is “gassing the world” with its exorbitant carbon emissions, which is leading to super-charged hurricanes, more drought, more famine. (There was an uncomfortable silence in the room for a few moments.) Our administration would look at this through clear eyes, or at least a lot clearer than its been looked at previously… I approached a table in McDonald’s here on a Wednesday night. Six people were sitting with their heads all bowed in prayer. When they finished, I asked. They are part of Good Shepherd Community Church, this was the Evangelism Team, and they were meeting in public because, well, this is the “Evangelism Team,” and they were maximizing their chances of interfacing with others. Had they inter-faced with anyone this night? I asked. No, except of course, they smiled, for me. Well, I said: “Why don’t we just multiply this a bit.” I then interviewed them about their team and a front-page story ran the next week. Amazing how God works! Note: Just above their story, there was an article I wrote about the rather famous “Great 1934 Onion Strike.” After a rather large marsh was drained here, leaving rich soil. People came from a tri-state area to labor in the marsh onion fields during the Great Depression. At one point, the laborers went on strike for higher pay. There was violence around people breaking the picket line. And more violence (beatings, knifings, shootings…) throughout the town in general. Then the mayor’s house was bombed — and that was enough. A vigilante group of 500 local men formed, swept into the town, and, basically, said enough was enough. The strike ended.