Return of the Happy dog

Jack  Ha, ha! I fooled you! You thought I was going to be Clara, didn’t ya?

But you’re wrong. I’m a new little cutie. Check it out. If you can read this, then you’ll know who I am.

J, as in “Just the best ever!”

A, as in “Awesomest dog in the universe!”

C, as in “Cats be gone!”

K, as in “Kome and get me, chickens!”

Ok, so I can’t spell very well. But who cares? My name is Ja-ja-jaaaaaack! Jack is the greatest! Let me tell you all the awesome stuff about me!

I was born a long time ago. I must be at least 6 months old.

I am the best dog in the world. I don’t chase chickens and I hate cats!

I can defy gravity by jumping over the chicken coop.

Everyone loves me.

See? I am the most awesome puppy in the whole wide world! Not only that, but I am a super-hero!Superjack

Let me tell you how I work. See, I know the cats are evil. I can see it in the way they walk. I can see it in the snooty way they talk. And I can definitely see it in the way they don’t let me eat their food! But because I’m a puppy, and I spend a lot of time inside, I don’t need Fluffy to type for me. I figure that I have paws just like he does, and I can do it myself. But when I see the cats eat their food, I fly in to the rescue! I don’t want the helpless food kernels to be trapped in their stomachs. They need to be free and go in mine!

diagramSo when I see the cats eat their food, I use my super-awesome super abilities to destroy those crazy cats and free their food prisoners. Then I eat them, oh boy! I like to chase cats too. They are very fun to play with. But cats cheat. They don’t run all the time. Instead they try to hit me in the nose.

That hurts.

EggI also guard the chickens. They love me, and sometimes give me gifts. Sure, the gifts are all chicken food, but it’s the thought that counts. I wish they would give me eggs. Tchickens and jackhey never eat them, so why should they hoard them all? But the chickens are pretty cool. One time they gave me a corncob, and it was really chewy! I thought it was yummy, but then the cat wanted it. So I decided to cash all my bones in the corn market. Now Fluffy has my food and his food, but I have the corncob.

I think I’m missing something.

Anyway, my people love me like a son. That is very good, because I adopted them, anyway. They even took me to a spa when I was sick. I didn’t like it very much. They kept giving me shots. They called me a puppy!

Well! I’m the biggest, most handsome dog ever, and it was not very nice of them to call me a puppy. Plus, they kept me in a cage. I had to get out of there.

There’s a cage in our yard. It’s for the cats, I guess, because they would never put me in one. They keep trying to use me as bait for the cats. Well, that’s what I think they want, because they put me in there for a long time. The problem is, the cats never come. They just make faces at me through the fence. So I dig out.

I’m the most cool dog ever, and my people are very lucky to have me! I am trying to train them to let me on the couch. They don’t learn very fast. People never do.

Oh well. As the newest dog in the Hair house, and by far the most important, I have many duties. But since the other dogs throughout history have kept up this page, I thought I should keep up the tradition.

Rememeber. Ja, ja, JACK! I’m the best dog around. See ya later.

San Jacinto Day: The Eve of Battle

 

The battle itself lasted less than 20 minutes.

The battle itself lasted less than 20 minutes.

“We view ourselves on the eve of battle. We are nerved for the contest, and must conquer or perish. It is vain to look for present aid: none is at hand. We must now act or abandon all hope! Rally to the standard, and be no longer the scoff of mercenary tongues! Be men, be free men, that your children may bless their father’s name!” – Sam Houston, before the Battle of San Jacinto.

It is April, 1836: the fledgling government of the Republic of Texas struggles to remain in existence. In overfilled wagons, on horseback, and on foot, Texian women and children leave behind their homesteads and villages to escape Santa Anna’s approaching army. Marauders plunder the vacated homes and villages, and advancing Mexican troops burn what remains to the ground.

After losing hundreds of men and suffering five crucial defeats to their cause, Sam Houston’s untrained band of ragtag patriots is retreating eastwards. Some of them abandon, concerned about their unprotected wives and children.

The fate of nations lies with Houston’s men— men with empty stomachs, holes in their shoes, and a worrying lack of ammunition and training.

On April 21, Santa Anna’s troops and Houston’s men finally face off at San Jacinto. The Texians are again outnumbered; to make life more interesting, they have retreated so far that they are backed up to two bayous with no possibility of escape should things end badly (as is very, very possible). Yet with shouts of “Remember the Alamo!” and “Remember Goliad!” the Texians win.

179 years have passed since this unexpected and improbable victory, the triumph that won Texas its independence—an elusive prize for which many gave their lives.

Modern Texians read about, delight in, and reenact this victory. To some it may seem like washed-up high school athletes reminiscing over their “glory days,” but nothing could be further from the reality of this state’s potential for independence.

Texas’s days as a nation are not necessarily over: we can rise among the nations once more, but only if Texians decide that they want to be free and will again sacrifice something to obtain that freedom.

“We must now act or abandon all hope!” 

Throughout the 1830s, Mexico’s government steadily worsened until at last a lawless caudillaje emerged, a brutal military serving as the state. Texas was not singled out for militaristic rule; Mexico was also governed by garrisons of troops. The difference between Mexico and its northern neighbor was in the reaction to the bout of tyranny.

For the past century, the United States’ federal government has grown ever larger and more intrusive. Its absorption of private sector resources and its violations of individual rights are not prevented by the constitution designed to restrict it, neither are they halted by the efforts of freedom-loving representatives. At best, they are merely delayed or lessened.

Texas’s situation in 1836 is in many ways similar to the one it faces now: a much-changed government threatens it with new regulations, legislations, and infringements upon natural rights, and no ordinary efforts are stopping the onslaught.

Somewhat like the 1820s and 1830s Mexican government, the American system has changed and is finding new, creative ways to eliminate freedom and individual choice—in healthcare, in retirement savings, in self-defense, in education, in transportation, in communication. This time the solution to the plague of totalitarianism is to break away from the system entirely.

The eve of battle 

Many of Sam Houston’s men paid for Texas independence with their lives. The war (short as it may seem in retrospect) scattered families and ended in a great deal of physical destruction.

This time, Texians fight the battle for independence not with rifles but instead with ideas. The sacrifices for supporters in are not as life-defining or dangerous, but the stakes are just as high.

Bystanders often think that independence is an optimist’s pipe dream. A number of 1836 spectators shared that conclusion, but fortunately were not right. Counting the costs matters little and counting the odds matters less, but calculating the stakes matters a great deal: liberty is on the line.

We find ourselves on the eve of a battle that is every bit as defining as the one that took place at San Jacinto 179 years ago today. Will you rally to the standard?

Originally published on www.texnat.org

 

Siegfried in Silsbee (who’s wrong, as usual)

My Dear Hodgkins,

It has been about a year since I last contacted you in writing.  My spies have been monitoring your progress from right in your own back yard!  It would seem that you have been defeated.  Your claims to be the Supreme Emperor of the Universe must have been scaled back significantly.  In the past twelve months, the extent of your empire’s borders have yet to reach the northern shores of the mighty Village Creek.  I spit a hairball in your general direction.  I am willing to discuss your unconditional surrender to me…

-Siegfried in Silsbee, Supreme Emperor of the Universe, Chief of Kats Are Obviously Superior (K.A.O.S.)

 

 

 

Dear Siegfried,

You are fortunate to receive this recognition from me: Supreme Emperors rarely bother replying to spam emails, used television salesmen, or insurrectionist furballs like yourself. Before I begin in earnest, I have a few suggestions to make, the first one being that you ought to learn how to spell “cat” if you truly believe the species is superior. My second recommendation is that you cease your partnership with lizards and canines. You deserve all the dreadful things coming to you as a result of this unholy alliance, including fiery death by lizard breath and suffocation from the canine equivalent.

Me, when I received your letter.

Me, when I received your letter.

Your letter’s fantastical allegations are amusing. You claim that your spies have been monitoring my progress from my own backyard, my empire’s borders are shrinking, and that I have nothing left but to admit imminent defeat.

Your first mistake was in sending a canine as a spy: they will do anything for food. I intercepted communications long ago by fooling them into thinking that litterbox lumps were special treats. Needless to say, all of your enticing reports are entirely false.

You second mistake is in your understanding of borders. It may have escaped your notice, but the universe doesn’t have them. Unlike your mind, the universe has no meaningful limits.

Your third, but not final, mistake is spitting a hairball in my general direction. Sadly enough, one of your canine spies has eaten it.

I am pleased to announce that I will discuss unconditional surrender with you. Before you get too terribly excited, realize that you will be the one surrendering—not I. Additionally, now that you are out of a job, I realize you need a new one. If you so desire, send me an application and there is a possibility you can become one of my minions. Clearly I am much too kind.

I love me too,

Hodgkins

Supreme Emperor of the Universe;

Chief Executive Lizard-Slayer at Lizard Warrior Service;

Recipient of the Snowbell Peace Prize;

Coolest Monarch of the Century (Irrational Geographic);

Expert Tree-Conqueror;

And Your Humble Master.

Eden Calls, part 2

The man and his wife were guilty, and there was no way to argue with it. There was nothing they could do to hide. They were guilty, sullen, and already decaying into the same corruption found in the outsider who had destroyed the Father’s perfect paradise. They knew they deserved death. That was what had been promised.

But their Father unexpectedly showed mercy. “I am providing you with a way of escape.” He told them. “One day, one of your descendants will finally destroy that wicked serpent who deceived you.” Then, he gave them another mercy. He clothed them with the skins of animals, so that they wouldn’t have to be ashamed. But the animals had to die. They were the substitute for the Children’s sin.

Years passed, and the children of men continued to try and try again to make things better. But even their best efforts were futile. Even the best of them could do little more than terrible. Nothing they could do would ever make up for their sins. But God, in his Mercy, provided animals who would be sacrificed in their place. Without blood, their sins would still be unpaid.

Then came Moses. He was the Father’s instrument of showing his children once and for all what was right, and what was wrong. But even Moses fell, and animals had to be sacrificed for his sins.

His brother Aaron became the first Priest to the Lord, the one who mediated between God and His People. But Aaron was fallen as well, and every time he offered a sacrifice, he felt his own sin staining his hands. He knew that without blood, his sin would drive him to judgment.

Then came the Kings. David, a king after God’s own heart, fell wickedly and forsook him. But when God gently reminded him of his sin, David repented, and was forgiven. But not forever, because without blood, he could not be made clean. The priests offered sacrifices daily, knowing that each sin needed to be atoned for.

Then came the prophets, for the kings forsook the Father. The prophets warned the kings, and the children, that God was just. They reminded him that perfect sacrifices must be made, sacrifices without spot or blemish, sacrifices that would reconcile God and man. They must be made with sincere repentance, not hypocrisy. But even the prophets were kept from seeing who it would be who would destroy sin at last, and they died.

Then came exile. Upon return, the people cried out to their Father, and resumed the sacrifices, for they knew that without blood, they would die in their sins. The scribes who led them reminded them of God’s justice, but also of his mercy in promising a Messiah.

And then HE came.

The Last Adam, the firstborn of His new race, yet still a man.

The Law, who was perfectly obedient in every way and a standard of righteousness.

The Priest who would at once mediate between God and Man.

The King set to rule His people.

The Prophet of the new age to come.

The Scribe who knew the Law perfectly.

When he spoke, they were amazed. But when he acted, they were affronted. Pleasant words were all good and well, but this man lived by them. He was perfectly good, perfectly loving, perfectly just.

Perfectly dangerous, in the eyes of men.

Corruption took root in the hearts of the children. They saw Holiness, and couldn’t stand it. He made them feel wicked, they, who were the best! He must be stopped. So they took Him, they tried Him, and they crucified Him.

But while they didn’t know it, this man was more than just the fulfillment of prophecy. He was the one and only Son of God, the only one who could ever pay the penalty for sin. Only a sinless substitute could satisfy sin’s stain. But that substitute had to give himself willingly. And on that day, Jesus did.

Imagination cannot describe that moment. Suddenly, the unbreakable became broken, as Father and Son were torn apart. On Jesus, the Messiah, the only Son of God, was placed all the sins of the world. What you did yesterday. What he did last night when no one was watching. What she said this morning. What I will think tomorrow. Every wicked word, every sinful thought, every vile deed, all were placed on his soul. And the Father, who in His holiness could not see any unclean thing, looked away.

In the body of one man dwelt the curse, full and vile as it was. And then, that man died, for without blood, there will be no forgiveness of sins.

When he died, the sky went black. The stars came out, and the constellation Aires, which had long been thought of by Jewish philosophers as a sacrificial lamb, shone brightly in the sky above a blood-stained hill. The ground shook. The veil in the temple, the one thing that had kept Man and God separate, was torn to shreds. “It is Finished.”

Suddenly, the dead rose from their graves and went about rejoicing. But among the living, there was a ghostly silence. Some mocked. But they were soon silenced. Something had happened. Something huge. But after a few hours, life went about as normal. They tried to forget.

Late Friday night, that man was buried in a tomb, for the Sabbath was at hand. Those who buried him did so without hope. And indeed, it seemed a shallow victory. The sacrifice had been given. But at what cost? What did it matter that sin was taken care of? Now they had no ally, no mediator, no friend. No Savior.

Early Sunday morning, however, that changed. Something stirred. A tremor shook the earth to its core, and suddenly the serpent felt wary. Something was going on. He thought of his victory. What had gone wrong? Jesus was dead.

But he wasn’t. Quietly, though all of the spiritual forces cried out in joy or terror, the SON of GOD sat up, quietly folded the grave clothes, and walked out of the tomb. And ever since, we have been waiting for our call to follow him out of the tomb, and into a new and glorious life.

Happy Easter.