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The Just But Loving Judge
On Spoons
Joseph McCarthy
The War Prayer
Yes, Virginia

The Just But Loving Judge

A Campfire Tale

Back when the West was young, when the court system was still being established, there was a judge who was known far and wide as being a fair and just judge. He would hear the cases brought before him; he would hear all the evidence, and then render his verdict. And his verdicts would always be right - the guilty would be punished and the innocent would be set free. And the sentences he would meet out would be appropriate to the crime committed.

But this just judge was also known as quite the family man. He loved his kids as no other father ever loved. He spent time with his children, played with them, trained them, guided them. He was known far and wide as a loving father.

Because the court system was still being established, this judge had a circuit he would ride. He would travel from town to town trying the cases that had developed since his last stop in that town. One day when the judge was on the other end of his circuit, his son was caught red handed in a horrible crime - discovered in the very act of committing a heinous crime. The son was arrested and placed in jail to await trial. And the whole town began talking: What will the judge do? He always judges fairly and rightly, punishing the guilty and setting the innocent free? But will the judge condemn his own son whom he loves dearly? Will he give up on his justice to release his son? Or will he give up on his love to find his son guilty? What will he do?

When the judge finally rode into town, all the people met and started talking at once. "Judge, Judge, did you hear? Your own son was caught red-handed. He's in jail, awaiting trial. You're the one who will have to try your own son, Judge. Will you let him go and do something unjust, showing how much you love him? Or will you condemn him and show how just and fair you are? Oh, Judge, what ever will you do?!" The judge simply raised his hand to silence the crowd and said, "Tell it to me in court."

And so when the day of the trial arrived, the courtroom was packed hours before the trial began. Every seat was taken; every bit of standing room was occupied; people were peering in the windows; many others were crowded around the outside straining to hear any little tidbit of the proceedings they could.

When the hour for the trial arrived, the bailiff called out, "Will the court please rise?" Everyone rose. The judge entered and sat down. Everyone sat down. And the proceedings began. The prosecution began, bringing witness after witness in. Evidence and evidence was presented. Everyone knew that the defendant, the son, was guilty, but they went through the process, showing the truth of his guilt that everyone knew. After a long time, it was the turn for the defense. The defense attorney stood up and tried to make a case for the son's innocence. But he just hemmed and hawed, had no witnesses, and had no evidence. Finally, after an embarrassing moment of silence, the defense attorney sat down. It didn't look good for the accused.

And so the judge left the courtroom for his chambers of deliberation. The judge spent a long time deliberating. Meanwhile the whole town continued in speculation: "What can the judge do? His son is clearly guilty. But the father's love is so strong. He'll have to choose one or the other - justice or love. Which will it be?"

After a long time, the voice of the bailiff rose up over the din of the town's speculation, "Will the court please rise?" Everyone rose and fell silent. The judge entered and sat down. Everyone sat down. The bailiff had the defendant stand. The voice of the judge spoke clearly and distinctly: "After much deliberation, I have reached a verdict. … I find the defendant guilty as charged … to be hung by the neck until dead at sunrise!"

The people were stunned. No one spoke a word. They could not believe their ears. Sure the judge was known to be just, but he had just condemned his own son to death. How could he do such a thing? As the son was led away to his jail cell, everyone just shuck their heads and filed out of the courtroom in silence.

That night, the judge, being who he was, had access to the jail. He came in to see his son, whom he had just condemned. He said to him, "Son, I've arranged a full pardon for you. There is a horse waiting for you out back. Here is a saddlebag with everything in it you will need to start over again. My advice is that you take the saddlebag, get on the horse, ride into the next territory to start a new life." The son could hardly believe his ears. This was great news! He gave his dad a big hug, took the saddlebag, left, and took off on the horse out of town. …

What the son did not know was this. After he had left, his dad pulled the cell door shut, locking himself in. In the morning before dawn, while it was still dark, the executioner passed the black hood through the bars (as was the custom then). The dad took the hood and put it over his head. And they led to the scaffold this just judge/loving father and hung him instead of the guilty son.

This is an extract from the Online Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Enjoy.


A spoon is a hand tool used for transporting food to the mouth. For convenience, in this Entry, the material to be transported will be called the stuff.


A spoon is made up of two parts, the bowl and the handle.

The handle is designed to allow the user to support and move the bowl in comfort, and so is usually reasonably rounded and of a size which is easily held in the hand. Some spoons have their bowl and handle made out of the same material, eg wood or metal. Many use different materials, as the differing desired characteristics of bowl and handle can often be best met by two different materials.

The bowl is a structure designed to provide a local area of reduced gravitational potential, surrounded by a closed loop of greater gravitational potential. If used in a gravitational field the bowl thus constrains the content to remain within it unless the user imposes a force on the content such as to produce an acceleration large enough to overcome the gravity well. Increasing the potential difference between the bottom and sides of the bowl (by deepening the bowl) allows the user to accelerate the spoon more rapidly in a direction perpendicular to the applied field without spillage. This modification of the bowl (as well as a change in bowl/handle relationship, and often in the size of the bowl) can be seen in a related specialised tool, the ladle.

Method of Use

The stuff to be transported is introduced into the bowl of the spoon using different methods depending on its physical state. Liquid stuff is usually put in the bowl by keeping the bowl horizontal, and moving it down into the body of the liquid until the surface of the stuff is above the outer rim (the lip) of the bowl. The bowl referred to here and throughout this Entry is the bowl of the spoon, not the vessel used to hold the liquid. At this point, the liquid will flow into the bowl down the resulting gravitational potential gradient, displacing the air from the bowl as it does so. When full, the spoon is lifted out of the liquid. The liquid cannot flow out of the bowl, due to the gravitational potential well imposed by its shape1. Some liquid may be lost on the way to the user's mouth, but this is usually only a small proportion of the content of the bowl.

Solid stuff is usually introduced into the bowl by rotating the spoon along its long axis, lowering one side of the bowl. This reduces the gravitational potential gradient and physical barrier presented by the side of the bowl which prevents stuff from easily entering it. Deft manipulation of the spoon, sometimes in conjunction with the use of another implement or a piece of bread can then bring the stuff inside the lip of the bowl, and returning the spoon to an axially horizontal orientation traps the stuff in the bowl.

Spoons can carry liquid stuff to a volume equal to the volume of the interior of the bowl, plus any remaining stuff that adheres to the external surface of the bowl. Granular or powdery solid stuff are intermediate cases, as they can flow under gravity or under the influence of acceleration. Once at the mouth, the spoon is usually emptied in one of two ways:

The slurp - this is most affective for liquid stuff. The lips of the mouth are opened slightly and the bowl of the spoon, still held horizontally, is brought up very close to or touching the lower lip at the gap between the middle of the lips. The user then inhales rapidly. The pressure drop caused by the movement of the air (the Bernoulli effect) causes the stuff to flow upwards into the air stream and enter the mouth, where it is caught when it bangs into the tongue. This is usually accompanied by a rotation of the spoon along its long axis, towards the mouth, introducing more stuff into the air stream. The bowl is often introduced into the mouth at the end of this procedure to remove any remaining stuff. The slurp is particularly useful if the bowl contains hot liquid stuff, as the creation of fine droplets of stuff in the moving air tends to make it loose its heat very rapidly to the relatively large volume of air, preventing burning of the mouth.

The placing of the bowl of the spoon in the mouth - The lips are closed around the bowl and used to retain its content in the mouth when the bowl is removed. Spoons vary in their shape and capacity depending on their intended use. They are generally low maintenance tools, having no internal moving parts. New materials continue to extend the possibilities of spoon design. The story of the spoon is not over yet. Oh no.

1 Alert readers will have noticed that this is not strictly true. Superfluid materials, such as liquid helium, will flow up the sides of the bowl and fall out. Unless you are planning on trying to ingest an inert gas at below -271°C (2.2K), this is unlikely to be an issue. Another exception would be where the stuff in the bowl is able to fling itself out. This is one of the reasons why spoons are almost always used to transport dead or at least immobile things to the mouth.

Joseph McCarthy, Speech at Wheeling, West Virginia, 1950

Five years after a world war has been won, men’s hearts should anticipate a long peace, and men’s minds should be free from the heavy weight that comes with war. But this is not such a period-for this is not a period of peace. This is a time of the “cold war.” This is a time when all the world is split into two vast, increasingly hostile armed camps-a time of a great armaments race….

Today we are engaged in a final, all-out battle between communistic atheism and Christianity. The modern champions of communism have selected this as the time. And, ladies and gentlemen, the chips are down-they are truly down….

Six years ago, at the time of the first conference to map out the peace-Dumbarton Oaks-there was within the Soviet orbit 180,000,000 people. Lined up on the antitotalitarian side there were in the world at that time roughly 1,625,000,000 people. Today, only 6 years later, there are 800,000,000 people under the absolute domination of Soviet Russia-an increase of over 400 percent. On our side, the figure has shrunk to around 500,000,000. In other words, in less than 6 years the odds have changed from 9 to 1 in our favor to 8 to 5 against us. This indicates the swiftness of the tempo of Communist victories and American defeats in the cold war. As one of our outstanding historical figures once said, “When a great democracy is destroyed, it will not be because of enemies from without, but rather because of enemies from within.”…

The reason why we find ourselves in a position of impotency is not because our only powerful potential enemy has sent men to invade our shores, but rather because of the traitorous actions of those who have been treated so well by this Nation. It has not been the less fortunate or members of minority groups who have been selling this Nation out, but rather those who have had all the benefits that the wealthiest nation on earth has had to offer-the finest homes, the finest college education, and the finest jobs in Government we can give.

This is glaringly true in the State Department. There the bright young men who are born with silver spoons in their mouths are the ones who have been the worst.... In my opinion the State Department, which is one of the most important government departments, is thoroughly infested with Communists.

I have in my hand 57 cases of individuals who would appear to be either card carrying members or certainly loyal to the Communist Party, but who nevertheless are still helping to shape our foreign policy….

I know that you are saying to yourself, “Well, why doesn’t the Congress do something about it?” Actually, ladies and gentlemen, one of the important reasons for the graft, the corruption, the dishonesty, the disloyalty, the treason in high Government positions-one of the most important reasons why this continues is a lack of moral uprising on the part of the 140,000,000 American people. In the light of history, however, this is not hard to explain.

It is the result of an emotional hang-over and a temporary moral lapse which follows every war. It is the apathy to evil which people who have been subjected to the tremendous evils of war feel. As the people of the world see mass murder, the destruction of defenseless and innocent people, and all of the crime and lack of morals which go with war, they become numb and apathetic. It has always been thus after war.

However, the morals of our people have not been destroyed. They still exist. This cloak of numbness and apathy has only needed a spark to rekindle them. Happily, this spark has finally been supplied.

As you know, very recently the Secretary of State proclaimed his loyalty to a man guilty of what has always been considered as the most abominable of all crimes-of being a traitor to the people who gave him a position of great trust. The Secretary of State in attempting to justify his continued devotion to the man who sold out the Christian world to the atheistic world, referred to Christ’s Sermon on the Mount as a justification and reason therefore, and the reaction of the American people to this would have made the heart of Abraham Lincoln happy.

When this pompous diplomat in striped pants, with a phony British accent, proclaimed to the American people that Christ on the Mount endorsed communism, high treason, and betrayal of a sacred trust, the blasphemy was so great that it awakened the dormant indignation of the American people.

He has lighted the spark which is resulting in a moral uprising and will end only when the whole sorry mess of twisted, warped thinkers are swept from the national scene so that we may have a new birth of national honesty and decency in government.

The War Prayer

by Mark Twain

It was a time of great and exalting excitement. The country was up in arms, the war was on, in every breast burned the holy fire of patriotism; the drums were beating, the bands playing, the toy pistols popping, the bunched firecrackers hissing and sputtering; on every hand and far down the receding and fading spreads of roofs and balconies a fluttering wilderness of flags flashed in the sun; daily the young volunteers marched down the wide avenue gay and fine in their new uniforms, the proud fathers and mothers and sisters and sweethearts cheering them with voices choked with happy emotion as they swung by; nightly the packed mass meetings listened, panting, to patriot oratory which stirred the deepest deeps of their hearts and which they interrupted at briefest intervals with cyclones of applause, the tears running down their cheeks the while; in the churches the pastors preached devotion to flag and country and invoked the God of Battles, beseeching His aid in our good cause in outpouring of fervid eloquence which moved every listener. It was indeed a glad and gracious time, and the half dozen rash spirits that ventured to disapprove of the war and cast a doubt upon its righteousness straightway got such a stern and angry warning that for their personal safety's sake they quickly shrank out of sight and offended no more in that way.

Sunday morning came - next day the battalions would leave for the front; the church was filled; the volunteers were there, their faces alight with material dreams - visions of a stern advance, the gathering momentum, the rushing charge, the flashing sabers, the flight of the foe, the tumult, the enveloping smoke, the fierce pursuit, the surrender! - then home from the war, bronzed heroes, welcomed, adored, submerged in golden seas of glory! With the volunteers sat their dear ones, proud, happy, and envied by the neighbors and friends who had no sons and brothers to send forth to the field of honor, there to win for the flag or, failing, die the noblest of noble deaths. The service proceeded; a war chapter from the Old Testament was read; the first prayer was said; it was followed by an organ burst that shook the building, and with one impulse the house rose, with glowing eyes and beating hearts, and poured out that tremendous invocation -- "God the all-terrible! Thou who ordainest, Thunder thy clarion and lightning thy sword!"

Then came the "long" prayer. None could remember the like of it for passionate pleading and moving and beautiful language. The burden of its supplication was that an ever-merciful and benignant Father of us all would watch over our noble young soldiers and aid, comfort, and encourage them in their patriotic work; bless them, shield them in His mighty hand, make them strong and confident, invincible in the bloody onset; help them to crush the foe, grant to them and to their flag and country imperishable honor and glory.

An aged stranger entered and moved with slow and noiseless step up the main aisle, his eyes fixed upon the minister, his long body clothed in a robe that reached to his feet, his head bare, his white hair descending in a frothy cataract to his shoulders, his seamy face unnaturally pale, pale even to ghastliness. With all eyes following him and wondering, he made his silent way; without pausing, he ascended to the preacher's side and stood there, waiting.

With shut lids the preacher, unconscious of his presence, continued his moving prayer, and at last finished it with the words, uttered in fervent appeal, "Bless our arms, grant us the victory, O Lord our God, Father and Protector of our land and flag!"

The stranger touched his arm, motioned him to step aside -- which the startled minister did -- and took his place. During some moments, he surveyed the spellbound audience with solemn eyes in which burned an uncanny light; then in a deep voice he said:

"I come from the Throne - bearing a message from Almighty God!" The words smote the house with a shock; if the stranger perceived it, he gave no attention. "He has heard the prayer of His servant your shepherd and grant it if such shall be your desire after I, His messenger, shall have explained to you its import - that is to say, its full import. For it is like unto many of the prayers of men, in that it asks for more than he who utters it is aware of - except he pause and think.

"God's servant and yours has prayed his prayer. Has he paused and taken thought? Is it one prayer? No, it is two - one uttered, the other not. Both have reached the ear of His Who heareth all supplications, the spoken and the unspoken. Ponder this - keep it in mind. If you beseech a blessing upon yourself, beware! lest without intent you invoke a curse upon a neighbor at the same time. If you pray for the blessing of rain upon your crop which needs it, by that act you are possibly praying for a curse upon some neighbor's crop which may not need rain and can be injured by it.

"You have heard your servant's prayer - the uttered part of it. I am commissioned by God to put into words the other part of it - that part which the pastor, and also you in your hearts, fervently prayed silently. And ignorantly and unthinkingly? God grant that it was so! You heard these words: 'Grant us the victory, O Lord our God!' That is sufficient. The whole of the uttered prayer is compact into those pregnant words. Elaborations were not necessary. When you have prayed for victory, you have prayed for many unmentioned results which follow victory - must follow it, cannot help but follow it. Upon the listening spirit of God the Father fell also the unspoken part of the prayer. He commandeth me to put it into words. Listen!

"O Lord our Father, our young patriots, idols of our hearts, go forth to battle - be Thou near them! With them, in spirit, we also go forth from the sweet peace of our beloved firesides to smite the foe. O Lord our God, help us to tear their soldiers to bloody shreds with our shells; help us to cover their smiling fields with the pale forms of their patriot dead; help us to drown the thunder of the guns with the shrieks of their wounded, writhing in pain; help us to lay waste their humble homes with a hurricane of fire; help us to wring the hearts of their unoffending widows with unavailing grief; help us to turn them out roofless with their little children to wander unfriended the wastes of their desolated land in rags and hunger and thirst, sports of the sun flames of summer and the icy winds of winter, broken in spirit, worn with travail, imploring Thee for the refuge of the grave and denied it - for our sakes who adore Thee, Lord, blast their hopes, blight their lives, protract their bitter pilgrimage, make heavy their steps, water their way with their tears, stain the white snow with the blood of their wounded feet! We ask it, in the spirit of love, of Him Who is the Source of Love, and Who is ever-faithful refuge and friend of all that are sore beset and seek His aid with humble and contrite hearts. Amen. (After a pause)

"Ye have prayed it; if ye still desire it, speak! The messenger of the Most High waits."

It was believed afterward that the man was a lunatic, because there was no sense in what he said.

Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus

Editorial Page, New York Sun, 1897

We take pleasure in answering thus prominently the communication below, expressing at the same time our great gratification that its faithful author is numbered among the friends of The Sun:

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? Virginia O'Hanlon

Virginia, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the scepticism of a sceptical age. They do not believe except what they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men's or children's, are little. In this great universe of ours, man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.

He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus! It would be as dreary as if there were no Virginias. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The external light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.

Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies. You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if you did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that's no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.

You tear apart the baby's rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived could tear apart. Only faith, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, Virginia, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.

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.

A Response.

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