March 21, 2008

Hubris…

Category: News — Ira @ 5:34 pm

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“How are the mighty fallen, and the
weapons of war perished!”

—2 Samuel 1:27
_____________________________

I first heard the news in my truck as I was returning to the office around noon that day. Eliot Spitzer, the Governor of New York, had been caught in a prostitution sting, patronizing a call girl. A huge scandal. I gave an involuntary little whoop of triumph, reflexively rejoicing in the news.

Immediately cognizant of the Scriptural admonition, in Proverbs, I think, not to rejoice when your enemy suffers misfortune lest the Lord withdraw His wrath from him, I tried to restrain myself. So the Lord wouldn’t withdraw His wrath. Wouldn’t want that to happen. Restraint was difficult. Racking my brain, I reasoned that Spitzer was not my personal enemy, but a cultural one. Restraint fled and my joy flowed forth again. I reveled basely in his misfortune.

It couldn’t have happened to a more deserving perp. Eliot Spitzer is a vile little weasel of a man who aggressively created a fearful reputation over the last decade or so as the Attorney General of New York. He developed a particular fondness for hounding Wall Street businessmen, sometimes trumping up charges where none existed. During his mad scorched-earth tenure, he ruined scores of families, and imprisoned men who had committed no crimes along with those who had.

All because he could. Because he had the power. Raw, unvarnished power. Power that defined his existence. Power he drank as a nectar. And he used it ruthlessly for his own personal benefit, to forge his own career path, all the way to the Governorship of New York state.

Raised in soft comfort of staggering wealth accumulated by his real estate magnate father, Spitzer grew up with a golden spoon in his mouth. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. He attended the finest private schools and graduated from Princeton, an elite Ivy League college and later Harvard Law School. Nothing wrong with that either.

He emerged from his educational track with a singular goal. Change the world to his own image. There was something drastically wrong with that.

He wasted no time establishing his reputation as a tough ruthless prosecutor. Pushed the limits of his official power to the extreme. Wall Street bigwigs soon quaked and turned pale at the mere mention of his name. He went after high profile CEOs and squeezed ruinous settlements from petrified victims. Once-vibrant companies were left bankrupted in his wake, often with no charges proven against them. He continued his destructive swath unabated. No one could stand up to him.

His anti-business fanaticism did not go unnoticed by the media. Before long, he was the toast of the liberal elite, who despise business. The darling of the Left. They loudly cheered Spitzer on, elevating him over time to the realms of the gods. He preened and basked in the false glory of their soaring adulation.

But the gods, as the Greeks said (or was it the Romans?), have feet of clay. Especially puffed-up little liberal human moral crusaders. As Spitzer was soon to discover.

Somewhere along the line, around ten years ago, it turns out, he developed a particu-lar fondness of another sort. He began soliciting call girls. Breaking the very laws he so publicly and adamantly enforced. He got away with it for years. But the whole sordid mess was unveiled a few weeks ago. Because of some stupid amateurish mistakes he made moving his funds to pay the escort service.

The mighty little god crashed to the earth in ruins. Poetic justice prevailed. His weapon of war, the law, triggered his own destruction.

At the peak of his power, with almost unlimited future potential, he threw it all away. His power. His prestige. His office. His public reputation. More importantly, his family. A beautiful wife, who may or may not have known of his shenanigans. And three lovely daughters. His life in shambles.

His children, I’m sure, have banished him to his own personal Hades.

To be fair, we are all capable of doing what Spitzer did, I suppose. The human heart knows no boundaries of depravity. Including our own. But most of us don’t do what he did. Because most of us are restrained by some standard safeguards such as con-science, morals, or just plain good old fashioned fear of getting caught, and publicly shamed. Whatever our reasons, whether our motives are pure or impure, we just don’t do it.

The revelations of his crimes instantly smoked out the usual vast army of left wing apologists. Singing their litany of excuses. Victimless crime. Wouldn’t raise an eyebrow in Europe. America is so prude and old-fashioned, to ruin a good man for such normal activity. Many of the apologists had not been seen in this capacity since the Clinton years. The spittle-spewing Alan Dershowitz, virulent atheist and prominent Clinton defender, was especially vehement in excusing Spitzer’s actions. (And no, I DON’T watch news programs at home. I saw it at the gym and read it in the paper.)

Why did he do it? Why would a man in his prestigious position pursue such a reckless course? Gamble everything, put so much on the line? For so little?

Probably because he actually believed all the fawning accolades of the liberal press and his elitist friends. Because he was nihilistic. Above the law. He was all-powerful. The rules didn’t apply to him. For no other reason than he was who he was.

Hubris. Arrogant pride. Subject to no laws but his own. He was a god.

Only he wasn’t. No man is.

The hubris bug stings a lot of people a whole lot less prominent than Eliot Spitzer. In their own little fiefdoms. Who believe the rules don’t apply to them because they are who they are. Who selfishly plunge about in pursuit of their own agendas, with no thought or consideration for anyone but themselves. Who embrace devastation and worship desire.

They wipe their mouths and say, “I have done no wrong.”

When they have.

But there is always a price. A day of reckoning. In the end, their arrogance will be futile. Their power and pride reduced to ashes. As was Spitzer’s.

They too will learn what he learned, or die absorbing the lesson.

The real God’s laws will see to that.
________________________________________________________________________

When it comes to the culinary arts, I relate to the Apostle Paul, who considered himself the least of all the saints. I consider myself the least gifted, the least capable, the most unskilled of all cooks. I don’t do it. Period. Unless you count grilling as cooking, which it might be. I consider heating prepared soups an accomplishment. And toasting bread.

A few weeks ago I met my friend Allan for coffee. He spoke glowingly of the bean soup he’d made in his crock pot. I perked up. It sounded simple enough. And I had a crock pot at home.

Allan was very enthusiastic. Nothing to it, he claimed. Just soak the beans overnight, throw them in the pot the next morning with some meat and water, and presto, a delicious concoction is born.

So I bought a one-pound bag of beans at Giant. A 16-bean mixture. Looked delightful in the bag. On Saturday night I called Allan for final instructions. Soak overnight, place in crock pot the next morning with bacon and water, turn the crock pot on high, and go to church. Oh, and I’d need a medium onion. The onion. I’d forgotten it. I immediately rushed to Giant and bought one.

I soaked the beans overnight. They swelled tremendously. The next morning I poured them into the crock pot with water and a dozen chopped up slices of “Steve Beiler” organic bacon. Diced and added half the onion. Stirred in pepper and a few spices I found in the pantry. Left the pot turned on high.

When I returned from church, a delicious aroma wafted through the house. The soup looked succulent. Juicy and rich. I opened the pot and poured in a spoonful of sea salt and mixed it in. I turned the pot to low and left it to simmer through the afternoon.

Around six, my friends Allan and Bill arrived to help me eat the soup. I was a little nervous. Figured I’d order pizza if the beans were inedible. Needn’t have worried, though. The beans were just plain mouth watering. We wolfed them down with slabs of homemade bread and great hunks of Swiss cheese. I couldn’t believe how delicious it tasted. I felt like a five-star chef. My guests were generous with their accolades.

I definitely plan to experiment with more bean concoctions in the future. I’m thinking barbecued beans with sausage. Or other exotic sauces. Maybe I’ll even add beans to the menu of my famous summer cookouts.

About five years ago at work I sold a post frame garage to a customer. A young guy and a bit of a hothead. It was a small project and I babied him along through the three or four days of construction. He was happy with the building.

A year later he called me. He had installed an opener on the garage door. It had mal-functioned and the door cables were tangled up, immobilizing the door. He wanted me to send someone down immediately to fix the mess for free. I politely pointed out to him that we had not installed the opener. I could send someone, but we would have to charge for a service call.

He argued. Became increasingly heated and irate. I stood firm in my refusal. Then he cursed.

“(Bleep) you and your (bleeping) company,” he shouted and slammed down the phone. I quietly filed his name in my memory.

The years passed and I thought of him sometimes. I don’t get cursed at every day. Very rarely, in fact. I wondered if we’d ever hear from him again. Then one day recently, out of the blue, he called. He was moving and wanted a quote for a new garage. To be built ASAP. I heard and immediately recognized his name. He was the man who had sworn so savagely at me.

I would not work with him again. I conferred with the office staff and asked for a volunteer to deal with him. Andy offered to take the quote. I refreshed him on the situation and told him word for word what the customer had said when he cursed me. Andy looked indignant. We decided to add a hefty extra fee to the quote just for the hassle of dealing with his temper.

Andy prepared the quote. I asked how much he’d added for curse insurance.

“Seventeen hundred dollars,” he said. I gulped. It was a bit more than I had expected, but I let him run with it. The customer, of course, was free to go elsewhere for his building. There’s plenty of competition out there. He could take or leave our quote.

He bought the building. His heated moment, loss of temper and six unfortunate words had cost him $1700.00. Calculates to around, let me think, oh, about $283.34 per word. Pretty expensive swearing.

Spring is here, but it’s still March. Among other negative things, March is the month of the sports drought. Football long gone, baseball still weeks away. I abhor basketball. I yawn at March Madness and the Final Four. Nascar is on, but only a few hours a week. I’m in withdrawal here. Come on, April. Come on, baseball.

Congratulations to John and Dorothy Wagler of Bloomfield, Iowa on the birth of their daughter, Kara Lyn, born on March 18, 2008. Her sister Vanessa and brother Brandon welcome her.

Easter is here. As early as it ever comes. I observe it as a Holy Day, but don’t usually attend the sunrise services. I’m just not a morning person.

A BLESSED EASTER TO ALL MY READERS.

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(10 Comments) »

  1. The bean soup sounds delicious. (can something “sound” delicious?) I’ve cooked up a few dishes over the years, but every time I’m inspired and consider bean soup, the recipe says something like “soak beans overnight.” So far that was always a deal breaker, because I’m inspired now, and who wants to wait till tomorrow.

    But this does it for me. If Ira can cook bean soup, I can too.

    Comment by Reuben Wagler — March 22, 2008 @ 1:02 pm

  2. Obviously cursing is expensive at over $283.00 per word. I think I will keep my mouth shut.

    Comment by Katie Troyer — March 22, 2008 @ 1:34 pm

  3. Jesus is Risen. And that eclipses all else.

    But as we pray His will now be done, we do live in the mundane. Not to live in muck, but to change it.

    You are right about Spitzer, of course.

    Chuck Baldwin’s take is worth noting. If Spitzer was Client #9, then “they” know others. And if Sodom on the Potomac wanted to clean house, the halls of Congress would soon echo from emptiness. So, he asks, Why him, and why now? http://www.chuckbaldwinlive.com/c2008/cbarchive_20080314.html

    The question is answered in part by the following column (though Jeff Rense has a lot of nutty stuff included on the site, all that counts is facts and evidence; I do NOT vouch for the whole site)
    http://rense.com/general81/why.htm

    Spitzer’s name and face could be changed in state and Federal offices all over. “The poor you have always with you,” we might say. For even deeper down realities of government economics as it has developed over the last couple decades, see the firsthand testimony of someone who was there:
    http://www.dunwalke.com/introduction.htm. Both sides of the aisle are implicated, as expected. Not for the faint of heart. But it will be easier to face facts and vote them out while we can, than what will come if we keep our eyes closed, or swayed by partisan propaganda machines. It is we who must make the difference. If we elect the people paraded before our eyes, and allow others to tell us “what the issues are” then we are, indeed, being governed. The beauty of the Judeo-Christian principles of the government – “restraining” Constitutional Republic is that the People are the final voice. Only we can give that up.

    Resurrection. True power through humility. And it applies to all of life.

    Comment by LeRoy Whitman — March 22, 2008 @ 1:57 pm

  4. Bean soup sounds lovely. I agree with Reuben on the overnite soaking process; this has also often killed the joy of cooking beans for me.

    As for the miserable sports selection this time of year, I am fortunant enough to live in a town that 8 teams call home for Spring Training…Baseball is alive and well and enjoying some fabulous 80 degree weather.

    Had the opportunity to spend some time with Rachel and Lester last week, enjoyed nice weather, Mexican food, a good singing and a fun game of Dominos over the course of a few days. It’s always a treat to spend time with relatives and I enjoyed them tremendously. Belated Happy Anniversary to them and may they continue to be blessed in their life!

    Comment by Janice — March 22, 2008 @ 4:56 pm

  5. I consoled myself with the thought that my joy over the “Spitz Quitz” story was not because of the demise of Mr. Spitzer, but at the demise of the monster the man had created. Sad how we torture ourselves to justify ourselves huh? At the same time, Spitz was so incredibly evil, there simply has to be a justifiable way to rejoice in his demise.

    Comment by RagPicker — March 24, 2008 @ 2:25 am

  6. The soup sounds fabulous. Congrats Chef!

    Comment by Judy S — March 24, 2008 @ 10:19 am

  7. Congrats to Lester & Rachel’s dau. LuAnn on her engagement & marriage on May 2nd to Larry Yoder!!!

    Also, didn’t know about John & Dorothys little girl until we saw it on this site!!!

    We were happy to have Ira join our family for dinner yest. as we celebrated Easter & Ella’s 27th birthday, which is today!

    Judy, he said he has another pot of beans on! Did they turn out good again?

    Comment by wilma — March 24, 2008 @ 12:21 pm

  8. Hmmm, shall we trek on over for some dinner tonight Wilma? He probably hid it from us or ate the entire pot by now. Doesn’t sound like it’s a dish that stays around too long! I’d have brought homemade cheesecake too.

    Comment by Judy S — March 25, 2008 @ 2:05 pm

  9. I had dinner with Paul and Anne Marie last evening. The menu included bean soup which you had prepared and shared with them. Yum! You may become famous with this dish! Thanks for sharing.

    Comment by Rhoda — March 26, 2008 @ 7:43 pm

  10. How amazing! Why just this afternoon, while sitting in my doctor’s office, the t.v. blared of some higher-up getting caught in texting sex messages or some such thing. I believe the politically correct term is sexting. Now isn’t that clever? Ugg. There he stood, tail between his legs, apologizing to all of America about the naughty things he got caught doing. And of course, there his wife stood. I said to the lady sitting across from me, “Why do they do it? They know they’re going to get busted.”

    I do hope your recipe box is bursting at the seams since five whole years have passed. Somehow I doubt it. Soups are your best bet. Taco soup is super easy, healthy and tasty. Cook up some hamburger, pound or so, with a cut up onion. Drain the fat. Put the pot with the hamburger back on the stove and get out your handy dandy can opener. Crack open 2 cans of kidney beans, 1 can pinto beans, a can of hominy (can be big or small), 2 cans diced tomatoes, small can of tomato sauce. Tear open a package of taco seasoning and sprinkle it in along with some garlic powder- 2 tsps. or so. Stir it all up. Cook it about 20 mins. or so and babycakes you got a meal and then some.

    Comment by Francine — July 24, 2013 @ 1:02 am

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