American Elephants


A Little Rousing Joy by The Elephant's Child

David Hobson “Carols by Candlelight”
Sidney Myer Music Bowl, Melbourne Australia
Monday, 24th December 2012

(Go ahead, enlarge this one to full screen.)

And once again the scene was changed,
New earth there seemed to be.
I saw the Holy City
Beside the tideless sea.
The light of God was on its streets,
The gates were open wide,
And all who would might enter,
And no one was denied.
No need of moon or stars by night,
Or sun to shine by day;
It was the new Jerusalem
That would not pass away,
It was the new Jerusalem
That would not pass away.

I post this every year—because I like it!

It’s an outdoor performance, because it’s summer there

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In the Bleak Midwinter, for the Winter Solstice by The Elephant's Child
December 21, 2017, 9:36 pm
Filed under: England, Freedom, Heartwarming, Music, Politics | Tags: , ,

For the winter solstice, the first day of Winter, and for my father’s birthday.  I miss him.



Simon’s Cat by The Elephant's Child
December 5, 2017, 6:24 am
Filed under: Entertainment, Humor, YouTube | Tags: , ,

This was a post from 2010 that I ran across in the archives, and laughed so much I thought I’d post it once again. Enjoy

Simon Tofield is a British animator who obviously has a cat. Or perhaps cats, plural. In any case, he appreciates the idiosyncrasies of the species.

We, at American Elephants, have two cats, who sleep next to the keyboard. We do not believe in the dog/cat argument which is nonsense. Sensible dogs and cats get along just fine. We love dogs too, and horses, and bunnies and birds. We even enjoy watching the raccoons through the window, but not close up. They hiss when they don’t like you.



Jordan Peterson and the Question of Gender Pronouns by The Elephant's Child

Jordan Peterson ia a professor of Psychology at the University of Toronto, and a clinical psychologist. He is very principled, very honest, and very determined. The question here is one of gender pronouns, but really of the larger question of more genders than the two assigned to us by science, custom, and chromosomes.  This one really gets into it.



In Case you Need Reminding, or Never Knew by The Elephant's Child
October 10, 2017, 6:42 am
Filed under: History, Literature, World War II | Tags: , ,

The Seven Deadly Sins

Pride, Wrath, Envy, Lust, Gluttony, Avarice and Sloth.

The Seven Virtues

Faith, Hope Charity, Prudence, Justice, Fortitude and Temperance.
(the first three are the Holy Virtues)

The three little planes left on Malta during the German assault on Malta in were named ‘Faith,’ ‘Hope’, and ‘Charity’



Mindless Protests Have Cost Universities Dearly, Now It’s Football’s Turn. by The Elephant's Child


The news today seems to be entirely about professional sports teams protesting the national anthem because—well, that’s where it gets a little confusing.  I’m not a professional sports fan, and usually pay no attention, so forgive me if I get some of this wrong. Apparently it all began with Colin Kaepernick,  formerly a quarterback with the SF 49’rs, who took to “taking a knee” (two knees is religious and bad, but one knee is a protest?) to protest the National Anthem, because of the oppression of blacks?  That didn’t go over very well, but his winning streak for the 49’rs didn’t last and he’s now a “free agent” which seems to be pro-sports speak for out of a job.

This young man is worth some $22 million, and had a salary of  $10,400,000. which doesn’t sound too oppressed.  So he is obviously concerned about other black people.

We just had a black president and first lady,  for two terms. We have had black Supreme Court justices for years beginning with Thurgood Marshall.  Currently Clarence Thomas serves, but he is a conservative, so he doesn’t count. He is regularly called an “Uncle Tom” and not included in the Smithsonian Black American History Museum. The Congressional Black Caucus currently has 45 members, is described by Wikipedia as a”racial organization,” and you have to be black to belong. There are 6 black CEOs of Fortune 500 companies and one of them is a woman.  Blacks are very active in the movie industry, and Morgan Freeman not only appears in every movie, but is right there whenever a deep voice is needed.

There are black professors in most universities, black novelists appear on the bestseller lists, black historians, black chefs (I’ve recently been getting Stubbs slow-cooker sauce, and recommend it), black fashion designers, black artists, and our music world would be poverty stricken indeed were it not for the contributions of black musicians. Black economists have added immeasurably to our understanding of how economies work — Tom Sowell has a particular genius for explaining things in an uncomplicated way, without jargon, that quickly makes sense, and Walter Williams brings a libertarian approach, but both are called Uncle Toms. Easier to insult than to emulate.

Some believe the Black Lives Matter claims, but their Marxist propaganda does not stand up to actual statistics. Cops shoot far more white men than black. More blacks are incarcerated because they commit more crimes. In general the police are trying to keep the peace and stop criminals from harming others, at great risk to themselves. There are some bad cops, some unjust court cases, and some wrong people blamed for a crime they did not commit. That is not the norm.

Now if you want to count comparable numbers, maybe it is unfair, I haven’t counted. It seems that there is no field that is not wide open to those who strive. On the other hand, our schools are not doing so well. Some schools that serve black neighborhoods are failing the kids, despite, in many cases, spending much more than other schools per pupil. That’s what Betsy DeVos, Secretary of Education is trying to fix by promoting charter schools, school choice, and insisting that schools are responsive to the needs of students and the expectations of parents. Reports from our universities reveal that the kids cannot write coherent sentences and whole papers are beyond them. But that is not black kids but all kids. The schools apparently decided that in an era of keyboards, it was no longer necessary to teach writing—in the case of cursive writing, and in the case of putting words together in a way to actually make sense. The demise of cursive writing is unfortunate, for one of the best tricks for remembering something is writing it down, and writing it down at length is important so that you can go back and look at it later and see where you have been stupid.

Former president Obama clearly made race a feature of his administration. He vowed to make trouble for his successor, remaining in Washington to supervise the efforts of his OFA, which seems to be behind much of the attacks on President Trump. The New York Post explains how Obama is funding the anti-Trump resistance, with some funny business with the mortgage crisis settlements, and an improper, maybe unconstitutional, slush fund. He certainly managed to make race a much more prominent problem during his administration.

I don’t think knowledge, or skills, or education, or ability, or ambition has anything to do with the color of anyone’s skin. To the astonishment of most university students today, America was not the only nation that once had slavery. Slavery was common all over the world since long before recorded history. “Native American” nations were warring with and enslaving one another long before Europeans arrived. In the South there were blacks who owned slaves. Slavers from the Mediterranean raided the British isles to capture slaves. The African slave trade mostly went to the sugar islands and South America. America remains unusual in having fought a civil war to end slavery and in making successive laws to stamp out the remnants. Look to the Islamic countries where slavery is still common.

Sunday was a day for sports team protest. They claimed to be protesting President Trump for suggesting that they should be fired for protesting the National Anthem, when so many have fought and died for our country. It was the anthem they insulted, and the country, and the veterans. Owners and coaches may not realize the animosity that our people feel when their country and their flag is insulted. There’s a reason why the Emmys had the fewest viewers ever. There’s a reason why some stadiums are half empty. How about you? Are you boycotting anyone?



“DIVERSITY: The Invention of a Concept” by The Elephant's Child

Last night I was looking for the next book in a series I’m re-reading, and noticed another book that has long been on my overloaded bookshelves. It is titled simply “DIVERSITY: The invention of a Concept” by Peter Wood. I had forgotten all about it, though I bought it when it first came out fourteen years ago, read it and enjoyed it, which is why I still have it. Here’s a bit from the jacket flap, and remember this was written in 2003:

In just a few years, diversity has become America’s most visible cultural idea. Corporations alter their recruitment and hiring policies in the name of a diverse workforce. Universities institute new admissions procedures in the name of a diverse student body. Presidents choose their major appointees in the name of a diverse cabinet. And what diversity’s proponents have in mind, Peter Wood argues, is not the dictionary meaning of the word—variety and multiplicity—but a new and often narrow kind of conformity.

Whether as prescribed numerical outcomes or as the celebration of cultural “difference,” diversity, according to Wood, is now a deadening force in American life, a cliché that promotes group stereotypes and undermines any real diversity of ideas and individuals. …

But the current cult of diversity is no laughing matter. Wood shows how the elevation of this concept to the highest social good marks a profound change in our cultural life. Diversity as it is practiced today is anti-individualist and at odds with America’s older ideals of liberty and equality.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai believed himself to be defending diversity and opportunity for women in his company. James Damore was trying to point out that cultural taboos cloud corporate thinking about gender diversity. The Liberty Lawsite compared the Google bubble with the University bubble. At Hoover, Richard Epstein discusses the rigid ideological conformity in Silicon Valley, At American Greatness, Boris Zelkin noted that Sundar Pichai said that what Damore did was “Not OK” and suggested that Pichai could have thrown in a “double plus ungood” for good measure.

Meanwhile down in Charlottesville a very diverse meeting between three dramatically opposed groups— white supremacists, neo-Nazis and Antifa got together with the tools of their trade: baseball bats, bullhorns, flags, costumes and Tiki-torches, to protest the Civil War and any leftover remembrances thereof, did a lot of injury and killed two people who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. President Trump pointed out that there is blame on both sides for the deadly violence, while the Associated Press went crazy and insisted that the antifas were just “protesting” the white supremacists. The president said they were all thugs and criminals and incited violence, for which he, though correct, was excoriated by the press.

I recommend Peter Wood’s book. There are used copies for only around $2 at Amazon, or you can pay over $100 — but if a good read would start a significant conversation about the deliberate invention of a concept and how it happened, it might be very helpful indeed.




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