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Elliot Spitzer and the Garbage Plate

Hickey Freeman was not enough! Elliot Spitzer has selected another Rochester icon to usher in his inauguration day this Monday…the Garbage Plate. Seems when he was in Rochester his wife sampled this bit of local cuisine just after or before Mr. Spitzer bought his new suit, and decreed it must be on the Big Day Menu.  If she ate the whole thing, she’s 20 pounds heavier now. A “gut-busting” local favorite, it’s a hot dog or hamburger under home fries, macaroni salad, baked beans and meat sauce. It’s a Rochester legend, as is Nick Tahou’s, the restaurant where it was invented.

When the old man (Nick) was alive there was just one restaurant, open 24 hours, in the rugged part of the city. Sheepandgoats worked in the suburbs during the B shift, and rubbed shoulders with all the suburban wannabe toughs who maintained that they were tough, and as proof, cited that they were not afraid to venture into the city, at night, to grab a Garbage Plate at Tahou’s! Of course, it wasn’t really that big of a deal. Sheepandgoats, who for many years lived in the city and consequently, to a mild degree is "streetwise",  did not consider a nocturnal visit a test of manhood, but such was the reputation.

When our buddy Derrick ran the 5K race, he finished, more or less, last, but we were all proud of him on account of the effort. We went to celebrate at Nick Tahou’s ordering Garbage Plates all around. They needed cranes to get us out of there.

Mr. Spitzer’s new Hickey Freeman suit provides Rochesterians with an early warning of his intentions, but not necessarily his ability. Now the Garbage Plate has come to the rescue! If Mr. Spitzer wears his Hickey Freeman suit, which he said he would do, subject to assorted disclaimers of my previous post, and he eats 3 or 4 Garbage Plates, which he must do to make us happy in Rochester, and he does not slop any of it on his new suit, then he can do anything! Everything will indeed change, as he has promised, the only possible exception being his unspotted suit!

Spitzer watch here.


Tom Irregardless and Me           No Fake News but Plenty of Hogwash

Defending Jehovah’s Witnesses with style from attacks... in Russia, with the book ‘I Don’t Know Why We Persecute Jehovah’s Witnesses—Searching for the Why’ (free).... and in the West, with the book, 'In the Last of the Last Days: Faith in the Age of Dysfunction'

Yes, Virginia, You've Come a Long Way Baby

Virginia O’Hanlon, eight years old, wanted to know about Santa Claus, so she asked her dad. He dodged the question, perhaps uncertain whether it was really such a hot idea to lie to his own child. Instead, he suggested she write the newspaper.

Editorial page      The New York Sun      September 21, 1897

Dear Editor:
I am 8 years old. Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus. Papa says, "If you see it in The Sun, it's so." Please tell me the truth, is there a Santa Claus?
Signed Virginia O'Hanlon

Virginia, your little friends are wrong……
They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. …..
Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. ……
No Santa Claus! Thank God! he lives and lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay 10 times 10,000 years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.

What a cute answer! It tells the true meaning of Christmas and Santa Claus and so forth. Syrupy folks have gushed over it for a hundred years, but two fundamental points should not be lost sight of, lest we all drown in sentimental slop.

1. Virginia asked to be told the truth.

2.  The paper lied to her.

To be sure, it wasn’t a bald-faced, flat-out, self-serving lie, like when that miser Tom Pearlsandswine told his kid that the jingle jangle of the ice cream truck was really the Devil coming. No, this lie was merely a white lie, and served as the framework for conveying transcendent symbolism on wonder, generosity, imagination, joy, etc, etc. It’s a great answer for adults. But children don’t pick up on symbolism. To an eight year old, it's a lie.

Indeed, even Pearlsandswine’s smart aleck answer was never meant to be taken seriously. It was said in obvious good humor, and the blockhead was amazed to find, years later, that his son had believed it for the longest time.

All this brings to mind the sad saga of Sally Claptwaddle, who also asked her parents, when young, if Santa was real. The parents assured her that he was. There were some kids down the street, however, who told Sally the truth.

When she lost her baby teeth, her parents told her that there was a tooth fairy who would leave some cash under her pillow. The kids down the street told her the truth.

When Easter came, her parents told her about the Easter Bunny….a generous rabbit who would fill your basket with chocolate eggs. The kids down the street told her the truth.

Sally reached adolescence and her responsible parents told her about sex.

But she‘d never gotten a straight answer from her folks. It was always nonsense. The kids down the street, on the other hand, had never been wrong. And so, with regard to sex, they had a different take, and the boys among them offered to demonstrate. Sally grew up hating men, though later got considerable revenge when she landed a job with the GPS industry.    

Of course, this all happened to Sally, not Virginia. Virginia lived in a different age. A more secure age, an age in which the consequences of white lies were not so severe.


Santa, the concept:  [a man who] stay[s] up all night distributing presents to children of doubtful deservedness. There is a point where altruism becomes sick.      The Twelve Terrors of Christmas, John Updike  




Tom Irregardless and Me               No Fake News but Plenty of Hogwash

Defending Jehovah’s Witnesses with style from attacks... in Russia, with the book ‘I Don’t Know Why We Persecute Jehovah’s Witnesses—Searching for the Why’ (free).... and in the West, with the book, 'In the Last of the Last Days: Faith in the Age of Dysfunction'

Elliot Spitzer's New Suit

You would think the Messiah was coming. “On Day One, Everything Changes!” pledged the campaign ads. Voters loved it, because it was Elliot Spitzer and he’d made a ruckus on Wall Street, sending some rich people to jail. He trounced what’s-his-name to become New York State governor. They swear him in January 1, amidst high expectations. But can he keep his promises?

Politicians don’t always keep promises and when they don’t you can’t necessarily conclude you‘ve been lied to, though that always possible. Sometimes, once in office, they learn new things that cause him to reflect how ridiculous their  promise was in the first place, and so they change it. Or their heartfelt promise dies when they go toe to toe with some fathead who has promised just the opposite and there’s no guarantee your guy won’t get outmaneuvered. But with Mr. Spitzer, there is a canary in the coalmine, an easy-to-keep promise that will reassure us as to his future intentions. And it will actually happen “on day one.”

Just after winning, Mr. Spitzer visited Rochester, where Sheepandgoats lives. He met with the mayor, said some nice things, and toured Hickey Freeman. Hickey Freeman manufacturers men’s suits, expensive ones that are sold on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan. Rochester used to have a lot of such manufacturers, but they’ve all moved or gone belly-up. H-F updated their facility in the city’s depressed sector and stayed. We admire them. The state must do more to accommodate business, Spitzer said, and then he bought a new suit, and promised he’d wear it on inauguration day (Day One). Many heard him say it. It was in the newspaper.

So we’ll soon know. If he wears it, all is well. If he doesn’t….well then…like the Who…we got fooled again.

Of course, we must be careful not to quickly jump to conclusions if he doesn‘t wear it. Maybe he will spill taco sauce on it, just like I do on my suits, and so it will have to go to the dry cleaners who won’t get it back on time. Or maybe he will kiss a baby, the way politicians do, and that baby will puke on him. Indeed, at the Kingdom Hall, you can often spot a new Dad by the puke marks on his suit, but would you show up for inauguration like that? You would not. So Mr. Spitzer has some wiggle room.

Still, early signs are troubling. The Democrat and Chronicle’s staff writer Joseph Spector covered Mr. Spitzer’s Hickey-Freeman visit and reported he said (November 16th D&C issue) he’d wear the suit. But now I see a friendly blog from Andy [Spitzer’s Day One] who reports Spitzer said he will likely wear the suit!  And the original D&C link is now dead.

Uh oh.


Tom Irregardless and Me           No Fake News but Plenty of Hogwash



Defending Jehovah’s Witnesses with style from attacks... in Russia, with the book ‘I Don’t Know Why We Persecute Jehovah’s Witnesses—Searching for the Why’ (free).... and in the West, with the book, 'In the Last of the Last Days: Faith in the Age of Dysfunction'

Zedekiah, Nebuchadnezzar, and 1914

When the Babylonian forces penetrated Jerusalem, Zedekiah knew he was in trouble. The final Judean king, he’d double-crossed Nebuchadnezzar years before, and the Chaldean king wasn’t that nice a guy. So he tried to run away, but it was no good.

And a military force of the Chaldans went chasing after the king, and they got to overtake Zedekiah in the desert plains of Jericho; and all his own military force was scattered from his side. Then they seized the king and brought him up to the king of Babylon at Riblah in the land of Hamath, that he might pronounce upon him judicial decisions. And the king of Babylon proceeded to slaughter the sons of Zedekiah before his eyes, and also all the princes of Judah he slaughtered in Riblah. And the eyes of Zedekiah he blinded, after which the king of Babylon bound him with copper fetters and brought him to Babylon and put him in the house of custody until the day of his death.               Jer 52:8-11

This was a nasty end for Zedekiah, but not just for him. It was the end of an entire line of Judean kings that had run nearly 500 years, starting with David. And since the Jews were God’s chosen people, the end of that line marked the end of a particular expression of God’s sovereignty on earth. [And Solomon began to sit upon Jehovah’s throne as king in place of David his father …..1 Chron 29:23] Israel was never again self-ruling, (until 1948, but that doesn’t count) but was always a vassal under some power or other. During Jesus’ time, you'll recall, it was an uneasy province of Rome.

This change of rulership, represented by the last king Zedekiah, was foretold:

And as for you, O deadly wounded, wicked chieftain of Israel, whose day has come in the time of the error of [the] end, this is what the Sovereign Lord Jehovah has said, ‘Remove the turban, and lift off the crown. This will not be the same. Put on high even what is low, and bring low even the high one. A ruin, a ruin, a ruin I shall make it. As for this also, it will certainly become no [one’s] until he comes who has the legal right, and I must give [it] to him.’        Ezekiel 21:25-27

Wicked, because of entrenched disobedience to God’s law, which Israel had sworn to obey.  (Exodus 19:8) “Low” Gentile rulership would be placed “high” and “high” (God’s sovereignty) would become “low.” Not for all time, though, for one who “has the legal right” would one day inherit the kingship. This latter event is  significant. When does it take place?

The key is found in a dream related by that same Babylonian conqueror, Nebuchadnezzar, the one who brought Jewish rule to an end.

“‘Now the visions of my head upon my bed I happened to be beholding, and, look! a tree in the midst of the earth, the height of which was immense. The tree grew up and became strong, and its very height finally reached the heavens, and it was visible to the extremity of the whole earth. Its foliage was fair, and its fruit was abundant, and there was food for all on it. Under it the beast of the field would seek shade, and on its boughs the birds of the heavens would dwell, and from it all flesh would feed itself.

“‘I continued beholding in the visions of my head upon my bed, and, look! a watcher, even a holy one, coming down from the heavens themselves. He was calling out loudly, and this is what he was saying: “chop the tree down, and cut off its boughs. shake off its foliage, and scatter its fruitage. Let the beast flee from under it, and the birds from its boughs. However, leave its rootstock itself in the earth, even with a banding of iron and of copper, among the grass of the field; and with the dew of the heavens let it be wet, and with the beast let its portion be among the vegetation of the earth. Let its heart be changed from that of mankind, and let the heart of a beast be given to it, and let seven times pass over it. By the decree of watchers the thing is, and [by] the saying of holy ones the request is, to the intent that people living may know that the Most High is Ruler in the kingdom of mankind and that to the one whom he wants to, he gives it and he sets up over it even the lowliest one of mankind.”          Daniel 4:10-17

Nebuchadnezzar was troubled by the dream, and wanted it explained to him, but nobody could do it until they brought to him Daniel, a Jewish exile, one of his advisors:

“At that time Daniel himself, whose name is Belteshazzar, was astonished for a moment, and his very thoughts began to frighten him.
“The king was answering and saying, ‘O Belteshazzar, do not let the dream and the interpretation themselves frighten you.’
“Belteshazzar was answering and saying, ‘O my lord, may the dream [apply] to those hating you, and its interpretation to your adversaries. “‘The tree that you beheld, that grew great and became strong and the height of which finally reached the heavens and which was visible to all the earth, and the foliage of which was fair, and the fruit of which was abundant, and on which there was food for all; under which the beasts of the field would dwell, and on the boughs of which the birds of the heavens would reside, it is you, O king, because you have grown great and become strong, and your grandeur has grown great and reached to the heavens, and your rulership to the extremity of the earth.
“‘And because the king beheld a watcher, even a holy one, coming down from the heavens, who was also saying: “chop the tree down, and ruin it. However, leave its rootstock itself in the earth, but with a banding of iron and of copper, among the grass of the field, and with the dew of the heavens let it become wet, and with the beasts of the field let its portion be until seven times themselves pass over it,” this is the interpretation, O king, and the decree of the Most High is that which must befall my lord the king. And you they will be driving away from men, and with the beasts of the field your dwelling will come to be, and the vegetation is what they will give even to you to eat just like bulls; and with the dew of the heavens you yourself will be getting wet, and seven times themselves will pass over you, until you know that the Most High is Ruler in the kingdom of mankind, and that to the one whom he wants to he gives it. “‘And because they said to leave the rootstock of the tree, your kingdom will be sure to you after you know that the heavens are ruling…..All this befell Nebuchadnezzar the king.     vs. 19-26

It did indeed befall Nebuchadnezzar, and history alludes to a period of royal insanity. But the dream’s real significance doesn’t lie in Nebuchadnezzar’s own reign. It lies in the reign he interrupted. That is the real tree which was chopped down in 607 BCE, a year determined per the Bible’s own chronology. Here the purpose of the dream bears repeating: to the intent that people living may know that the Most High is Ruler in the kingdom of mankind and that to the one whom he wants to, he gives it and he sets up over it even the lowliest one of mankind.” That’s too lofty a purpose to be squandered on a tyrant, no matter how big a splash he made in his day. Who does the Most High want to establish as ruler over “the kingdom of mankind” and who….hint..hint…fit’s the description as “the lowliest one of mankind?”

Come to me, all you who are toiling and loaded down, and I will refresh you. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am mild-tempered and lowly in heart, and you will find refreshment for your souls. For my yoke is kindly and my load is light.      Matt 11:28-30

you are to call his name Jesus. This one will be great and will be called Son of the Most High; and Jehovah God will give him the throne of David his father, and he will rule as king over the house of Jacob forever, and there will be no end of his kingdom.”       Luke 1:31-33

Still another hint: [what more can any reader ask?] Jesus being born into the family line of David (traceable through both mother and foster-father) gives him the “legal right” to inherit that kingdom, per the Ezek 21 passage already quoted.

So the “tree” which represents God’s sovereignty is “bound,’ starting in 607 BCE, for a period of 7 times. There are various tangents one can explore to determine how long a “time” is, but we will bypass them all to simply report that some Bible versions, based on those tangents, actually translate the term time as years. (The New American Bible, A New Translation by James Moffatt, The Complete Bible—An American Translation, the Good News Bible) One time, therefore, is one year.

Nebuchadnezzar’s 7 times, therefore, are seven years, though secular history is not detailed enough to confirm this point with regard to his insanity. But with regard to God’s sovereignty, the seven years are not mere years of days, as are the ones on your calendar. They are, not years of 360 days, but years of 360 years, that is 7 x 360, or 2520 years. Is that permissible? Who says you can do that….just substitute a day for a year? Apparently, as the next two scriptures indicate, this is a sort of “prophetic rule.”

By the number of the days that you spied out the land, forty days, a day for a year, a day for a year, you will answer for your errors forty years, as you must know what my being estranged means.       Numbers 14:34

A day for a year, a day for a year, is what I have given you.       Ezekiel 4:6

The reader must go himself to examine the context. The point is, “day for a year” appears to be a prophetic “formula,” and as will be seen, it was used by Jehovah’s Witnesses before the event, not afterwards.
A Hebrew month consisted of 30 days, so 12 of them meant 360 days. That’s not quite enough to round out an astronomical year, so every few years an extra month, VeAdar or second Adar, was thrown in to put the calendar in sinc with the sun.

With 607 BCE as the starting point, add 2520 years, and remember that there is no zero year….go directly from 1 BCE to 1CE. You arrive at 1914 CE.

As early as 1880, Watchtower publications began drawing attention to that date. World War I commenced in that year (1914), the first time ever that the whole world went to war at the same time.

While he was sitting upon the Mount of Olives, the disciples approached him privately, saying: “Tell us, When will these things be, and what will be the sign of your presence and of the conclusion of the system of things?” And in answer Jesus said to them…..For nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be food shortages and earthquakes in one place after another. All these things are a beginning of pangs of distress.                       Matt 24:3,7

The World, a leading New York newspaper of that time, featured this headline in its August 30, 1914 magazine section: “End of All Kingdoms in 1914”

“The terrific war outbreak in Europe has fulfilled an extraordinary prophecy….For a quarter of a century past, through preachers and through press, the ‘International Bible Students [Jehovah’s Witnesses], best known as ‘Millennial Dawners,’ have been proclaiming to the world that the Day of Wrath prophesied in the Bible would dawn in 1914. ‘Look out for 1914!’ has been the cry of the hundreds of traveling evangelists who, representing this strange creed, have gone up and down the country enunciating the doctrine that ‘the Kingdom of God is at hand.’”

There is considerable evidence, then, that 1914 is a marked year in Bible prophesy, evidence drawn both from chronology and world events. So let’s not hear from any more from whiners who claim that it isn’t.


Defending Jehovah’s Witnesses with style from attacks... in Russia, with the book ‘I Don’t Know Why We Persecute Jehovah’s Witnesses—Searching for the Why’ (free).... and in the West, with the book, 'In the Last of the Last Days: Faith in the Age of Dysfunction'

Xerox and Erasable Paper

Rochester’s own Xerox Corporation just came up with a great new invention: erasable paper, for those you-only-have-to-read-it-once messages. Within a day, the paper erases itself and you can reuse it! Thrilled, the cutesy Rochester Democrat and Chronicle used a fading headline to announce the innovation. No, they’re not going to sell it right now, it will take a few years to get to market. But when it does, just think of all the paper it will save!

There was a time when a more naïve Sheepandgoats would have lapped up every word of this hype, but no more. Weren’t PCs supposed to bring about this same huge paper saving? Yes they were, and, spurred on by anticipated savings, companies which once distributed documents only to those two or three who needed to see them instead sent an e-copy to every employee who could read, only to find that each recipient promptly printed out a hard copy.

And what about the internet? Wasn’t that also supposed to conserve paper? Alas, starry-eyed scientists discovered too late that there is no joke too asinine, no story too sappy, to not copy and paste and send to everyone in your address book, each of whom also must print a  hard copy.

Sheepandgoats predicts that this invention too will squander paper, not save it. Exactly how he can’t yet say, he just has faith in man’s infinite capacity to screw things up. Perhaps, as with PCs, the new paper will spur ever more messages. Why not, since the cost is negligible? “So-and-so is going to the bathroom.”  No announcement will be too trivial! Then, after messages have proliferated, some recipients will complain that they’ve missed some, since not everyone reads incoming drivel right away, but puts it aside till they get a minute, which may come days or weeks or months later. Missed messages! We can’t have that. The obvious solution: don’t use the newfangled stuff, but use good ‘ol chop-a-tree-down paper that doesn’t go belly up on you.

That’s not all. There‘s no end to potential abuses. Already, that lazy lout Tom Pearlsandswine has exploited the new technology, and its not even out yet.  He bought a few reams of blank paper, distributed it via office mail to coworkers and supervisors alike, claimed to have done a ton of work, and, when informed he’d only sent blank sheets, blamed a defective beta version of the new erasable paper, which wiped out his work prematurely! But we’re all wise to that skunk by now. His incoming phone call was traced to the golf course.

Indeed, the only permanent customer Sheepandgoats can envision is the Impossible Mission Force, (IMF) which will use the new paper to give Tom Cruise his assignments.



Tom Irregardless and Me               No Fake News but Plenty of Hogwash

Defending Jehovah’s Witnesses with style from attacks... in Russia, with the book ‘I Don’t Know Why We Persecute Jehovah’s Witnesses—Searching for the Why’ (free).... and in the West, with the book, 'In the Last of the Last Days: Faith in the Age of Dysfunction'

Senate Balance of Power and Revelation Chapter 12

Of the two parties, Democrats are the most liberated from religion. But they are praying like the Dalai Lama today…praying for the speedy recovery of South Dakota Senator Tim Johnson, who was hospitalized Wednesday with stroke-like symptoms. If he doesn’t get better, then that state’s governor will select a replacement, and if he selects a Republican, which he may well do since that’s his affiliation, then the Democrats lose their one person majority in the Senate…it becomes a 50/50 body, with Republican Vice President Dick Chaney to break tie votes. Such a development will seriously undermine Democratic plans to kick the President’s butt for the next two years, which they look forward to doing, as the opposition party always does. Tractor trailers loaded with Get Well cards are arriving at the hospital daily.

As Senators go, Tim Johnson seems kind of a bashful boy. He rarely hogs center stage and confines his efforts to….gasp….representing his state! The greatest impact he's had yet on national politics is to fall ill.


Whenever there is a change in party majority, such as this past election in both houses, lots of people lose their jobs. Not just the defeated incumbents, but all their team players and staffers. Some of these folks aren’t happy to be out of work, especially since it’s not their fault. They just hitched their wagon to the wrong horse….their clod proved too inept to beat off the competition, which you ought to be able to do, since incumbents have the advantage of inertia. Indeed, some of those in power arrived years ago at 180 lbs and now weigh almost 300 lbs. So the peripheral team may try to hold on. Republicans (this time) hide in the closet, behind the water cooler, even grab tight hold of the copy machine, just like Joab grabbed hold of the horns of the alter (1 Kings 2:28), but to no avail. Democrats find them no matter where they are and toss them out the Congress front door and down the steps!

This is not unlike the new broom that sweeps the heavens clean when God’s Kingdom comes to power there in 1914:

So down the great dragon was hurled, the original serpent, the one called Devil and Satan, who is misleading the entire inhabited earth; he was hurled down to the earth, and his angels were hurled down with him. And I heard a loud voice in heaven say: “Now have come to pass the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ, because the accuser of our brothers has been hurled down, who accuses them day and night before our God!…..On this account be glad, you heavens and you who reside in them! Woe for the earth and for the sea, because the Devil has come down to you, having great anger, knowing he has a short period of time.”                  Rev 12: 9-12

These verses describe God’s Kingdom setting up shop in the heavens and temporarily triggering wretched conditions on an already troubled earth, which do not end until the new Kingdom extends it’s active rule over that sphere, a move which ultimately restores earth to it’s original paradise state. The Bible terms that latter event the end of this system of things (NWT). (end of the age….NIV;  end of the world….KJV) During this in-between period, the Kingdom is publicized earth wide, and many take a stand so as to be in harmony with it:

And this good news of the kingdom will be preached in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations; and then the end will come.     Matt 24:14

Now, I freely admit it sounds absurd that a heavenly event should be said to occur in a specific year. Yet Watchtower publications present persuasive evidence [search: 1914] from a convergence of both world events and Bible prophesy that such is the case, and to a much lesser extent, some evidence is presented here. The date 1914 was advertised in advance.

If you can get past that quirk with a specific year, there are some parallels a person can use in explaining where we are in the stream of time. After election day, the victors toss out the schnooks and empower their own people, as they gear up for inauguration day. It’s a similar situation with Revelation 12 and the end of this system of things. The baddies are tossed out of the heavens and those who rule with Christ are cultivated.

And they sing a new song, saying: “You are worthy to take the scroll and open its seals, because you were slaughtered and with your blood you bought persons for God out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, and you made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God, and they are to rule as kings over the earth.”     Rev 5:9,10

Of course, Revelation 12 contrasts the forces of God with those of the Devil. Don’t imagine that feature finds any parallel in today's politics. No. Don’t even think it. Neither political party is worse than the other. They’re just different.

Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.    Matt 6:10  KJV



Tom Irregardless and Me               No Fake News but Plenty of Hogwash

Defending Jehovah’s Witnesses with style from attacks... in Russia, with the book ‘I Don’t Know Why We Persecute Jehovah’s Witnesses—Searching for the Why’ (free).... and in the West, with the book, 'In the Last of the Last Days: Faith in the Age of Dysfunction'

Ambassadors, Abraham, and Christian Nuetrality

They are no part of the world, just as I am no part of the world.  John 17:16

Jesus spoke these words with regard to his followers. What does that mean, to be “no part of the world?”

To Jehovah’s Witnesses, it means strict political neutrality, among other things.

Some look askance at that. Is that not hiding one’s head in the sand? Is it not irresponsible? We must change the world for the better: that message comes through loud and clear from most of the world‘s decent people. And how can we do that if we’re apolitical?

But here is an analogy that will perhaps help one to see the JW point of view.

You must pretend that you are an ambassador from a foreign country…..say Krukordistan. As such, you live in Washington DC or London, or Ottawa, or Paris. You learn to adapt to all laws and customs locally. You come to love the land in which you live, and its people. But...when it comes to the politics of your host country, you don't really take a position...nor does anyone expect you to. It is not your business...your business is to represent Krukordistan. Even if heavy issues develop and positions evolve for which, since you live here, you may have some feelings, still, it is not your job to take sides. Your lack of involvement is not because of callousness, or apathy, or lack of interest in fellowman...but it is simply not your place, representing Krukordistan, to take sides in the disputes of your host country.

The Bible uses that exact analogy with respect to Christians representing God’s Kingdom.

We are therefore ambassadors substituting for Christ, as though God were making entreaty through us. As substitutes for Christ we beg: “Become reconciled to God.  2 Cor 5:20

In fact, it is not unlike a verse describing Abraham:

By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed in going out into a place he was destined to receive as an inheritance; and he went out, although not knowing where he was going. By faith he resided as an alien in the land of the promise as in a foreign land, and dwelt in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the very same promise. For he was awaiting the city having real foundations, the builder and maker of which [city] is God.   Heb 11:8-10

Now, God’s Kingdom is something very real to Jehovah‘s Witnesses. It is the government with which God will bring an end to human rule, unite all peoples, restore earth to it’s original paradise state, and extend everlasting life to all those under it’s rule. We view it as the only hope for mankind. No amount of tweaking of human governments will ever approach what God brings through his own rule.

We believe that it rules from heaven now, and will shortly extend its rule earth wide. Those who believe in it are charged to represent it, to announce it….in effect, to act as ambassadors of that government.

And in the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be brought to ruin. And the kingdom itself will not be passed on to any other people. It will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms, and it itself will stand to times indefinite…   Dan 2:44

It’s not that Jehovah’s Witnesses don’t care about current events. That’s not what makes them apolitical. Instead, we are convinced that we can best serve humanity by announcing this incoming government. We don’t bring about this government. God does. We only try to represent it. As you might imagine, this stance keeps us united. You might consider our faith to be of a more fundamental variety. (Not to be confused with fundamentalists. We disagree with them in almost every respect, other than the existence of God, and they with us.) Our faith is not a tool for reforming the hopelessly corrupt and selfish ruling systems of today. It is a tool for announcing a superior arrangement of God. We do not think that Adam and Eve were repentant. (the Muslim viewpoint) Rather, their rebellious spirit continues to this day, and is manifested in today’s governments.

There is something in the air today….a belligerence, an unreasonableness, a spirit of vengeance. All are in it’s grip. Do you sense it?

But know this, that in the last days critical times hard to deal with will be here. For men will be ….blasphemers…. unthankful, disloyal….not open to any agreement, slanderers, without self-control, fierce, without love of goodness….betrayers, headstrong….having a form of godly devotion but proving false to its power….     2 Tim 3:1-5

Will nations, peoples, tongues ever come together of their own accord? Is there the slightest evidence of that happening now or any reasonable expectation that it will?

Or will peace come only when God extends his Kingdom rule earth wide?

Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done
On earth, as it is in heaven.
     Matt 6: 10


Tom Irregardless and Me            No Fake News but Plenty of Hogwash

Defending Jehovah’s Witnesses with style from attacks... in Russia, with the book ‘I Don’t Know Why We Persecute Jehovah’s Witnesses—Searching for the Why’ (free).... and in the West, with the book, 'In the Last of the Last Days: Faith in the Age of Dysfunction'

Dick Van Dyke at 81

Sometimes an old friend who you haven’t thought of in years pops up. This morning the clock radio, which was only doing its wake-up job, was within milliseconds of being smashed into scrap metal, when the quick-thinking radio guy said….here’s Dick Van Dyke come to visit. Dick Van Dyke? Is he still around?

I swear when I was a kid I thought he was the funniest man alive. Rob and Laura Petrie put me in stitches every time. Dick won three Emmys in a five year run, and I was steamed when his TV wife, Mary Tyler Moore, busted up the show so that she could explore other roles. Was not her sole purpose in life to entertain me?

“What do you think of today's comedy? How has it changed in 40 years?” asked the quirky host Bob Lonsberry? Well, Dick recalled, he and his TV wife slept in separate beds....that seems prudish. But today he fears that we “offend the world” with our comedy, with its “moral anarchy.” (Sheepandgoats has made this point before, even using the show’s separate beds as supporting evidence!)      

As the media would have it, the world’s view of America is shaped by U. S. military policy, Iraq in particular. To be sure, Iraq earns the U.S. a substantial reputation, especially among government, wonk, and policy types. But average individuals, worldwide, aren’t much affected by Iraq. They do have satellite TV, however, and when they watch American programming, can we really expect them to conclude that Americans are anything other than ho’s, tramps, and sadistic perverts? And don’t you think the Middle East avengers point to such programming as “Exhibit A” when they’re pumping the hordes for America-hating? As Dick said, agree with Muslims or not, they are deeply religious people.

Yeah, but…yeah, but…..Americans aren’t like that…we‘re not all sickos, not most of us. Agreed…..but you’d never know it from television.

Thank you, Mr Van Dyke. It is as you say. TV is America’s most visible export and producers offend the world with its raunchy and violent content. Good to hear from you. And forgive me for wondering if you were still kicking! Turns out you are, very much so, cooking up stuff in computer animation, and giving of yourself through the Midnight Mission. How active will I be at 81?

Defending Jehovah’s Witnesses with style from attacks... in Russia, with the book ‘I Don’t Know Why We Persecute Jehovah’s Witnesses—Searching for the Why’ (free).... and in the West, with the book, 'In the Last of the Last Days: Faith in the Age of Dysfunction'

Mr. Hevasi Sorry About the Chauffer

It was the filthiest, the slimiest, the most slanderous election campaign in memory. How many times can one guy accuse the other of whoremongering before you just donate your TV to the VOA? Outraged voters are demanding laws so they won’t be subjected to it ever again.

A law won’t be needed, however. This past election saw a new campaign technique which was so unexpected and so successful that it will, for sure, replace negative campaign ads. Trouble is, it’s even worse.

New York State Comptroller Alan Hevasi, up for re-election, was the catalyst. They said he redirected an underling to be family chauffer, all at taxpayer’s expense! Mr. Hevasi wasted no time to tell us that he merely “forgot” and that he was “sorry.”

But this explanation wasn’t reassuring from someone who’s job is to monitor spending. What if the New York Yankees “forgot” the rules of baseball? What if the Los Angeles Lakers “forgot” how to play basketball? What if even our own beloved Buffalo Bills "forgot" how to…….well…..the Yankees and the Lakers, anyway.

So Mr. Hevasi switched explanations. His family had received death threats! That’s why they needed a State chauffer. But the comptroller isn’t really the James Bond type. People didn’t empathize, so he moved on.

His next move was absolutely breathtaking! He said, in his ads, he’d made a dumb move! Yes, he’d been dumb, and he was sorry! No attempt to cover his rear end! No attempt to swipe at the other guy! I’ve never seen anything like it.

Voters loved it! They forgave all, and restored him to his post.

How this successful new tactic will affect the next campaign is too scary to contemplate:

“I made a dumb move!”
“I, too, made a dumb move!”
“Yes, but I made a dumber move!”
“Well, I made two dumb moves, and I am dumb!”
“I’m dumber than you and made so many dumb moves I need a scorecard!!”

In the future, we may look back to 2006 as the good old days.

Defending Jehovah’s Witnesses with style from attacks... in Russia, with the book ‘I Don’t Know Why We Persecute Jehovah’s Witnesses—Searching for the Why’ (free).... and in the West, with the book, 'In the Last of the Last Days: Faith in the Age of Dysfunction'