Friday, February 16, 2018

Thursday, January 11, 2018

"Figuring" is Shell Shock Imitation...

Apparently the New York Times thinks it IS hip 'n' cool to imitate the disabled, as long as the disabled are dead soldiers...

Thursday, January 04, 2018


n French first, because that's whom it's for:

La première fois que je suis allé en France pour chasser, je me suis montré.

Puis, et dans la douzaine de saisons depuis, les chasseurs de Compiègne-Laigue-Retz-Villers-St. Les forêts de Gobain m'ont fait, une personne qui ne parle même pas la langue, bienvenue. Ils sont tissés dans les jours de chasse qui sont les points forts de ma vie.

Maintenant, les Antis ont choisi d'attaquer là-bas. Pas seulement des gens comme moi, mais des gens dont j'ai secoué les mains cinquante fois. Je connais leurs noms et ils connaissent les miens. Je les reconnais dans les images comme je le ferais lors d'une rencontre. C'est exaspérant. Si cela pouvait faire du bien, je me dirigerais vers un travail de contre-insurrection.

Mais ce ne serait pas le cas. J'aimerais que nous puissions faire quelque chose pour aider. Il n'y a pas vraiment de défis à relever. Au moins, nous pouvons dire à nos amis que nous sommes derrière eux, et que nous voyons et comprenons les assauts auxquels ils sont confrontés. Garder une meute de chiens en marche est un véritable exploit, et c'est encore plus difficile avec ce genre de choses.

Alors. Ils ne passentont pas.

Et comme d'habitude, je recommande la chasse en France à tous mes amis américains et britanniques. Et aussi, comme d'habitude, d'inviter tous mes amis français à venir chasser au Tennessee et en Alabama, où il n'y a pas d'écologiste à voir.

The first time I went to France to hunt, I just showed up.

Then, and in the dozen seasons since, hunting people in the Compiegne-Laigue-Retz-Villers-St. Gobain forests have made me, a nobody who doesn't even speak the language, welcome. They are woven into hunting days that are highlights of my life.

Now the Antis have chosen to attack there. Not just people like me, but people whose hands I have shaken fifty times. I know their names and they know mine. I recognise them in the pictures as I would at a meet. It is infuriating. If it would do any good, I'd head over for some counterinsurgency work.

But it wouldn't. I wish there were something we could do to help. There isn't really, the challenges just have to be met. At least we can tell our friends that we are behind them, and that we see and understand the assaults they face. Keeping a pack of hounds running is a real accomplishment, and it's made even harder with this stuff.

So, hang on. Ils ne passeront pas.

And as usual, I recommend hunting in France to all my American and British friends. And also as usual, extend to all my French friends an invitation to come hunt in Tennessee and Alabama, where there is not an ecologiste to be seen.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Saturday, February 04, 2017

is hunting fun?

Another A. P. Herbert Misleading Case...

Mr. Justice Plush gave judgement to-day in the Harkaway Hunt case.

His Lordship: These proceedings have been instituted by the Crown against the Master of the Harkaway Fox­hounds to secure a declaration that he is liable for Entertainments Duty. 

     This tax is a singular product of our own times. Our fathers regarded the entertain­ment of the citizen as a lawful and desirable business, and the Roman emperors went so far as to provide free entertainment for the people, ranking this in importance next to the provision of bread. But the King-Emperor of our realm has in his wisdom seen fit not only to with­hold all assistance from the purveyors of public enter­tainment, but to levy a heavy duty upon them. This tax is so heavy as to partake almost of the nature of a fine, only exceeded in severity by the duties on the sale of spirituous liquors; and there is reason to suppose that in the mind of the Grown the two things are coupled together as harmful practices deserving of discourage­ment.

     The tax is not a tax upon profits but upon gross receipts; and it has been proved in evidence before me that a theatre which is not attracting the public for the reason that it is presenting one of the plays of the national poet, Shakespeare, and is therefore making a weekly loss, will still be required to render a weekly payment to the Exchequer amounting, roughly, to twenty per cent of its takings. It is within the knowledge of the Court that the bookmakers of our land were recently required to pay a duty of only two per cent on their receipts; but so energetic was the objection of these valuable citizens to a tax which had no relation to profits that it was removed. The Entertainment Tax ranges from sixteen to nearly twenty per cent, varying with the prices charged for the entertainment. The impost is a strange one in an age which announces as its chief objective a general increase of leisure and recreation, and in so far as entertainment is founded upon literature and the arts the tax may be said to be a tax upon education and the mind.1

     These considerations have a relevance, which may not immediately appear, to the question which the Court is called upon to answer: Is fox-hunting an enter­tainment?
The defendant, Lord Leather, is Master of the Hark-away Foxhounds, and he has in the box given us a clear and straightforward account of his proceedings, which I am prepared to accept as the truth. As I understand him, the country district in which he resides is subject to the ravages of a cruel and voracious quadruped of the genus Vulpes alopex, commonly known as fox. This creature is of a carnivorous habit and preys upon the poultry of the peasants and farmers, causing much distress of mind and monetary loss; it is cunning, swift, difficult to catch, and a prolific breeder. The defen­dant, therefore, a public-spirited man, has taken cer­tain measures to rid the district of this pest and so to secure the livelihood of the poultry-keeper and the food-supply of the country. He has purchased a number of specially selected dogs and has trained them to pursue the fox across country, guided only by their sense of smell, which is exceptional.   He has also organized a band of ladies and gentlemen who, like himself, have the interests of British agriculture at heart and are willing to assist him at whatever personal risk.   These helpers, loosely called the ‘Hunt’, are mounted on horses, and by their mobility and knowledge of wood­craft render invaluable aid in the intimidation, appre­hension, and destruction of the fox.   Many of them, the defendant has told us, are willing to give up a day’s work in the metropolis and make a special journey to the country in order to play a small part in one of his concerted operations against the common enemy. These operations are conducted three or four times in a week with tireless vigour all through the winter months; but even so it has been found impossible to exterminate the pest.   It was not made quite clear to me why the defendant relaxes his efforts in the summer­time, but I understand that once again he has been guided by his solicitude for the farmer, whose standing crops might suffer damage from the exertions of the defendant’s dogs.   The fact remains that during those months the fox is unmolested, as free to multiply his own species as he is to diminish that of the hen.   Indeed, the witness Turmut, a farmer, some of whose irrelevant and noisy evidence I ought not perhaps to have ad­mitted, maintained with some heat and no little ingrati­tude that the defendant and his helpers would do better to conduct their campaign against the fox with rifles and shot-guns both in winter and in summer.   But I was assured by the defendant that for technical reasons this is wholly impracticable.

     The procedure of a hunt, as I understand it, is as follows: The fox is alarmed and dislodged from its lair by the loud barking of the dogs and the playing of musical instruments. Should the quarry escape into the open country, as, to the chagrin of the hunt, it often does, the dogs at once give chase, and the horsemen fol­low the dogs; other helpers follow in motor-cars along the nearest road, and many of the poor follow on foot. Now, it is the case for the Crown that all these persons, although as practical men and women they genuinely desire to rid the neighbourhood of a destructive animal, find a keen enjoyment in the process of destruction for its own sake. No one has ventured to question the single-minded purpose of the defendant, but it is argued that what for him was a crusade has become for his helpers an enjoyable spectacle, excitement, gratifi­cation—in a word, an entertainment. The witness Turmut strongly supported this view; and he remarked with some force that the number of the defendant’s helpers is in fact far in excess of what is practically necessary or useful, and that it is still increasing. He  went so far as to say that many of the helpers did more *harm than good, but that portion of his evidence did not favourably impress me.
     If the contention of the Crown be correct, there is here a development not without parallel in other depart­ments of the national life. The Englishman never enjoys himself except for a noble purpose.²He does not play cricket because it is a good game, but because it creates good citizens. He does not love motor-races for their own sake, but for the advantages they bring to the engineering firms of his country. And it is common knowledge that the devoted persons who conduct and regularly attend horse-races do not do so because they like it, but for the benefit of the breed of the English horse. But their operations have attracted many thousands of citizens who do not conceal that they visit horse-races for their own selfish pleasure. Accordingly the State imposes an Entertainment Tax upon their tickets of admission; and a member of the Jockey Club would not be  excused on the ground that his purpose at Epsom was to watch and foster the English thorough­bred.

     The relevance of my observations on theatres will now begin to appear. The defendant has admitted in evidence that he collects an annual tribute from his helpers, from farmers, and others, who habitually attend his operations and enjoy the spectacle of his dogs and horses at their pious labours. These contributions are necessary for the maintenance of the dogs and their keepers and for other purposes; and they are willingly given by the ladies and gentlemen of the Hunt in return for the pleasure or entertainment which the defendant has provided. The Crown say therefore that he is liable to pay Entertainment Duty on the sums so re­ceived, at the statutory rates, that is to say, two shillings on the first fifteen shillings and sixpence for every five shillings or part of five shillings over fifteen shillings.

     The defendant’s answer is that the fox may be said to enjoy the hunt for its own sake—and even the dogs and horses—but that his human followers are governed only by philanthropic motives, and that his takings are devoted to a philanthropic purpose, the destruction of vermin and the preservation of poultry, and should therefore be exempt under the Act. Unfortunately for him this plea is disposed of by the precedents of the racecourse and the theatre. There is a school of thought which still holds that the plays of Shakespeare have an educative and uplifting character; but even if that could be established it would not exempt the rash man who presented them from handing over nearly a fifth of his takings to the Exchequer. In my judgment the conten­tion of the Crown has substance.

     I hold that fox-hunt­ing is an entertainment; that the moneys received by the defendant from the hunters and farmers are by way of payment for that entertainment, and that it must, like other entertainments, make its proper contribution to the public revenues according to law. Lord Leather is, as it were, the manager of a theatre: the Hunt are his audience and the dogs his actors. If, after remunerat­ing his actors and paying the duty, he is out of pocket, it cannot be helped. It is a dangerous thing to give pleasure to the people. He has been Master for six­teen years, and he must pay duty not only in respect of the current year but for every preceding year since the institution of the duty by the Act of 1916. It has been urged before me that this will be a hardship; but, as Lord Mildew said in Mope v. The Llandudno Sewage Commissioners, ‘Nullum tempus occunit regi’—or ‘Time is no object to a Government Department.’ Costs to the Crown, paripassu.
1 And sec page 247 for a full examination of the tax, per Wool, J.
² The same thought has been well expressed by the poet Herbert:
‘No Englishman—’tis one of Nature’s laws— Enjoys himself except for some good cause.”

Friday, January 06, 2017

What is Education? Guest Column by Alan Patrick Herbert

I like A.P. Herbert's Misleading Cases, and this is one of my favourites-


The Court of Criminal Appeal gave judgement in this case today, which arose out of the conviction of a canal boatman for failing to send his children to school.

     The Lord Chief Justice: This case is simple but important. The appellant, Samuel Bloggs, is a boatman owning and navigating a pair of monkey-boats (erroneously described by Sir Ethelred Rutt as barges) on the Grand Union Canal. Mr. Bloggs is a married man and has three children, who reside with their father and mother on the two boats, which are loyally entitled George and Mary. Mr. Bloggs was summoned by the Education Authority of the County of Middlesex for failing to send his children to a school for the purpose of receiving elementary education, and he was committed.

     It has to be remembered that, if the prosecution is successful, the defendant’s children will be educated free of charge. The prosecutors, therefore, are wantonly seeking to increase the public expenditure. It is difficult to see why, in the present state of the national finances, the children of a class already too prolific should be educated for nothing. If a man can afford beer, tobacco, and entertainment, and a weekly contribution to a trade union, he can to contribute some small sum weekly towards the education of his children. The State at one time could well afford to educate them without the assistance of the parents, but it can well afford it no longer, and therefore we must look  with particular suspicion on any attempt to increase the burdens of the State in this respect.

     In the course of his trade or occupation as a carrier of goods or raw materials, Mr Bloggs travels continuously up and down the canal between Birmingham and London; and he put forward the reasonable defence that it was difficult for him to send children who were constantly in motion to a. school which remained stationary. He also questioned the right of a Middlesex authority to intervene in the private affairs of a family which spent more than half the week in Warwickshire and other counties. But a defence founded on nothing more than reason and practicability was easily brushed aside by a public authority, and Mr Bloggs was driven to that second line of defence which has perplexed and divided the Courts below.

     ‘What is Education?’ says Mr Bloggs. But it is not necessary for this Court to add one more to the many answers which learned men have made to that question. The question for us is, What is meant by Elementary Education in the Education Acts of this We find, after careful research, that the expression ‘elementary education’ is nowhere defined in that long series of statutes. The omission is wise, for the notion of what constitutes elementary education must obviously vary in every age, county, and class. But, though Parliament has been discreetly vague, the Court in this case is compelled to be definite.
     The respondents ask us to say that by elementary education is meant education in those elementary subjects which are ordinarily taught to our defenceless children, as reading, writing, and arithmetic. But it has been argued for Mr Bloggs that the words mean education in the elements or first parts to be learned of any subject which may be useful or necessary to the good citizen in that state of life for which he is destined by Providence, heredity, or inclination.

     Now, the children of Mr Bloggs, though they have not attended a school, have already acquired the rudiments of their father’s and grandfather’s trade, that is to say, the handling of boats and the navigation of canals; they are able in an emergency to steer a boat into a lock, to open or close a lock-gate, to make bowlines and reef-knots, clove hitches and fisherman’s bends, and to do many other useful and difficult things which the members of this Court, we admit, are unable to do. Further, it is common ground that the children are healthy, sufficiently fed, well-behaved, and attached to the life of the water, as their forebears for three generations have been. Mr and Mrs Bloggs are instructing them slowly in reading and writing, and even, with reluctance, it seems, in arithmetic.

     It is not contended that in these subjects they are so far advanced as children of the same age who attend the public elementary schools; on the other hand, the evidence is that those children are quite unable to make a bowline-on-a-bight, to distinguish between the port and. starboard sides1 of a. vessel, or to steer the smallest boat into the largest lock without disaster, while in health, discipline, manners, and practical intelligence they are inferior to the little Bloggs.

     Standardized themselves according to a single pattern, they conceive it their right and duty to take offensive notice of any person who seems to them to be unusual, a man with long hair or a woman with a short skirt. The Bloggs children do not shout ‘Oy!’ at passing strangers, as do increasingly the ‘educated’ children of the shore; they are more courteous to persons and more respectful of property. They do not commit what are called, it appears, ‘runaway-rings’, steal flowers from window-boxes or apples from trees. They would scorn to spit from bridges or throw stones at the mariner passing below. They exhibit the same good manners and gentle bearing as their parents; and since they are not in constant attendance at the cinema their speech is uncorrupted by the slang or accent of Chicago.

     Now, Mr. Herbert Spencer said that if we give our pupils the knowledge which ‘is of most worth’ – that is, the knowledge which has indispensable practical value in regulating the affairs of life – we shall at the same time give them the best possible mental training. And Mr. Bloggs (who, by the way, can read but not write) is an unconscious follower of Mr. Spencer. It may well be that our education authorities exaggerate the value of reading, writing, and arithmetic as aids to citizenship. In these days a person unable to read would be spared the experience of much that is vulgar, depressing, or injurious; a person unable to write will commit neither forgery nor free verse; and a person not well grounded in arithmetic will not engage in betting, speculation, the defalcation of accounts, or avaricious dreams of material wealth. At any rate it will not be denied that the spread of these three studies has had many evil and dubious consequences.

     But the practice of navigation is at the bottom of our national prosperity and safety, and has played no small part in the formation of the British character. The charge against Mr. Bloggs is that he has given his children an elementary training in the arts of this noble profession to the neglect of certain formal studies which are not essential to a virtuous, God-fearing, and useful life in the calling of their forefathers.

     They are unable, it is true, to read fluently the accounts of murder trials in the Sunday newspapers; they cannot write their names upon the walls of lavatories and public monuments; they do not understand the calculation of odds or the fluctuations of stocks and shares. But these acquirements may come in time.

     Meanwhile, as day by day they travel through the country, the skies and of England are their books, their excellent parents are their newspapers, and the practical problems of navigation are their arithmetic. As for writing, there is too much writing in our country as it is; and it is a satisfaction to contemplate three children who in all probability will never become novelists nor write for the papers.

     It cannot have been the intention of Nature, which fashions the flowers and fishes in such variety, that Men, the noblest works of Nature, should be all exactly alike, shaped in the same mould and fitted to the same ends. But that, it appears, is the principle, which has prompted this prosecution.

     What is in the mind of the Education Authority, however, is no great matter. The short point in this case is that Parliament does not support them. Parliament has nowhere said that the first essentials of an elementary education are reading, writing, and arithmetic. I hold therefore that Mr. Bloggs, who is carefully, lovingly, and without cost to the State equipping his children for a useful career, is providing for them an ‘elementary education’ within the meaning of the Acts. He was wrongfully convicted, and the appeal must be allowed. Costs to Mr. Bloggs, and a lump sum of one hundred pounds by way of compensation for his time and trouble.

Thursday, January 05, 2017

French Draft....

My draft was of course edited for style and length, as is perfectly correct in a magazine. For those who might prefer my own, um, breezy style, here's the original. Links are to to Sarah Farnsworth's better-than-reality pictures.
Where can you look around yourself and see carbon fiber bicycles, tricorne hats, dogs with names like Aphrodite, trotting horses, gilded swords, thoroughbreds, and huge cameras, all being used at the same time?
Any Saturday out with a pack of staghounds in France!
Last fall your correspondent had the chance to introduce some American friends to the chasse à courre - French mounted hunting. Experienced hunters in the U. S. and in England, they found out that across la manche it's the same- and different. We were lucky enough to have magnificent sporting photographer Sarah Farnsworth along, so the pictures are almost better than real life! A spectacle that has been refined since medieval times, it's the ancestor of English hunting. And like all our ancestors, the same, and different.
To start with, French hunting is done in large forests, which have been carefully maintained for centuries. The woods are organized- they are cut with two-horse-wide pathways in a pattern that resembles a pattern of spider webs. You always know where you are- every intersection has a name, and in this forest, a signpost telling you which clearing is which way.…
Our meet, at the Croix Bacquet in the forest of Villiers Cotteret, was with the Villiers Cotteret stag hounds. The red deer, which looks somewhat like an American elk but slightly smaller is generally considered the greatest game. But don't say that too loudly around the followers of the scores of packs that chase the wily roebuck, tough boar, boar, speedy hare, or clever fox- à chacun son goût.
Just like a North American day with hounds, people show up in ones and twos at the designated clearing. The first thing a hunter from the U. S. notices is that mounted hunters are distinctly a minority, although the etiquette is that they have the right of way. Although hunting started as as an aristocratic pastime, these days all sorts of people come out.…
On foot, in vehicles, on bicycles, it's an occasion for everybody who loves the chase.…
This man on his very well muffled scooter is a regular.…
Like hunters in the states, everyone is smiling. And the first thing you do when you get there is to shake hands, or share a kiss on the cheek, with everyone there! The meet-and greet goes on for a while, snacks come out, and the tufters straggle up. Just a coincidence.…

The tufters are hounds that went out with their handlers at dawn, looking for signs of big red deer stags.
Patrice, who's providing our livery for the day, always has wonderful horses. Well turned out, mannerly, and hard as nails. Ex race horses are a great source for hunter prospects everywhere. And since trotting tracks are big business there, more than half the horses you'll see in the woods had a first career pulling a sulky around. It works- as you'll see, endurance matters more than sprinting.…
And here come the hounds! They have their very own minivan-…
"We want to hunt!"…

Out they get, and everyone gathers up for the rapport.…
The tufters line up, and each one tells the Master what he's found- or not found- in the solitary misty dawn. It's an example of how French hunting is more crowd sourced than ours is. Those volunteer tufters who think they have a good stag try to "sell" what they've found to the Master, and there's plenty of banter. Eventually he decides where he will draw, and puts us all in the picture. He also warns us about possible problems, where things are going on in the forest, and so forth.
So, to horse/truck/bike/track shoes!…
This is where another French difference starts- the music!…
The more experienced hunters and some of the professional staff carry full sized, valveless French horns wrapped around themselves.
Everything that happens during a hunt has a specific tune to go with it, and "Let's go" is first. All through the day, you'll hear those horns telling you what's going on. Remember this is the woods, so unless you're right there, you can't see the action. And once hounds get rolling, they are tough to spot by ear as well. The cry echoes back and fort among the trees, and sometimes it sounds as though you are right in the middle of the action. You might be, too! But If you know the tunes, the horns will let you know if they have found, what kind of stag it is, when it crosses a road or goes along it, goes to water, or gets away out of the forest.
The move off is part of the pageantry. The hunt's fanfare- each one has one- is blown, along with fanfares from packs who have visiting members, personal signature music, and probably what seems like a brassy version of "Woo Hoo!"!
And by the way, another difference (and one of my favorites) from anglophone hunting- NO electronic communication. They'll send you home if you use a cell telephone to hunt, and I think a radio might get you a head shaving. If you can't keep up or you get lost, you miss out. Eyes and ears were good enough for Charlemagne, they are good enough for us.…
The dress, too, is different from ours. Gold braid, long coats, and swords add panache and draw the eye in a way our somber livery doesn't. And that's another part of the hunt as spectacle- each item of clothing transmits information about who the wearer is in the scheme of the day.…
We're off! The huntsman heads for the designated section of forest and casts his hounds out to search. Drawing for game is the same in Virginia or the Vendee. But hounds may pursue only a mature stag. So when hounds speak, all eyes are out to see the game- everyone is looking along the allees to see it cross.…
Even the horses know what's what.
And another difference appears- there's no organized, controlled field as is typical west of Finisterre. You're on your own here- everyone goes where he thinks he'll have the best chance to spot the quarry and hounds. It would make most English and American huntsmen crazy. Thirty horses, twenty cars, a hundred foot and bicycle people all over the place. I love it myself, but it will look like seven train wrecks the first time you see it.
And it works, I think, because of something all the visitors remark on. Once things start, the hounds seem to be the full focus of everyone out there. It's a truism that some people ride to hunt and some hunt to ride, but here the first seem almost absent. We found that everyone was listening, watching, trying to figure out what was going on and what might happen next.…
And that continued all day. Just as anywhere, people had a snack and a visit, but their eyes and ears were always cocked to the hounds and the forest.
Once hounds found, the stag put on his skates and ran. Like a coyote back home, they have superior speed and strength, intimate territorial knowledge, and they evade for a living.…
So there's going to be an hour or two of find him lose him, draw again.…
Sarah will do whatever it takes to get the shot, you can't see it but she climbed a pretty good little bank to get this one, and took a pretty good tumble coming down quickly! You don't have to be on a horse to get hurt doing this.
And here we saw more of that crowdsourcing. The Master and the Huntsman weren't shy about asking what we'd seen, or what we hadn't seen. After a while, this whipper-in saw the hunted stag- lucky us, we were right there- and we were off again!…
Injured hounds have priority, just like at home.
Horses were getting tired, and people too. Another French difference- no alcohol out hunting! I know, it sounds crazy in the land of champagne- and actually on the border of Champagne itself- but it's true.…
The Americans were still in it!……
Cary McWhorter and Crispin Menefee weren't about to go home.
A tai-o, and we were off again! This find-lose-find took much longer on this day than usual, there was speculation that the stag was a visitor because he did not seem to run typical routes. We got to see lots of forest! As you'd expect, to a visitor one wall of oak trees looks much like another, but our experienced French hosts knew the place intimately.
And then, away! I must confess that your humble correspondent made the mistake of taking a chance on where he thought the stag would go. I have got to quit that thinking stuff, it hurts my head. I was wrong, and we were thrown well out.
It turns out that the stag left the forest! They do that now and again, and once they do, it's tough to catch them up again. Although I've seen this pack do it they didn't today. Shadows were lengthening, there were only a few people still up (including the Americans!), so they gave him best.…
I admit that I like this part of the hunting day a lot.…………
It's a pleasure to see piled up hounds, tired horses, making sure everyone is accounted for, and loading that last one who's just too tired to take another step.…
The universal end of the hunting day.
One of us diaried it- "We saw the hunted stag six times, six hours in the saddle, 45 Kilometers". By French standards, it wasn't a particularly big day.

Sarah Farnsworth

Friday, December 02, 2016

President Trump's First Official Act Advice...

" The criminal power of Federal law, and the resources devoted to its enforcement,  should be reserved for those acts we as a people agree harm us all.

It is clear to me that the people of the United States no longer wish the possession and use of Marijuana to be a Federal crime. I hereby exercise this office's powers under Article II of the Constitution to pardon every Federal conviction for marijuana crimes, whenever committed. I intend to issue a similar pardon to each person so charged as long as I am President, and to instruct my Attorney General and U. S. Attoneys to cease enforcing this unwanted prohibition until Congress votes to repeal it, which act I would sign immediately. I except from this pardon and instruction crimes of importing Marijuana into the United States. "

Just an idea.

Thursday, October 06, 2016

California Ballot Initiatives- You Have To Be High...

California has two ballot initiatives, in addition to the usual one letting the State horn in on the weed business.

They are Propositions 67  and 60.

67 outlaws the practice of offering plastic bags to store shoppers at the point of sale.

60 requires the wearing of a plastic bag while filming pornographic movies.

The first has no special monitoring mechanism, but the second will be enforced by  California Occupational Safety and Health inspectors.

The jokes write themselves.

If I could go back in time and show my grandmother a newspaper from today, she'd say

"That H. G. Wells has gone mad. The time machine and invasion from space were believable but this is just crazy."

Friday, April 15, 2016

The Creepiest Thing Ever Sold...

I used to think the safety plug for Little Boy was the creepiest thing I'd ever sold at auction. No more.

And it's not this, either. Although it's creepier than the plug.

No, it's this

humble desk blotter, a 1941 Christmas present from a loving wife to her devoted husband.  It still has his signatures all over the blotting paper. He liked the pretty blue ink, who knew?

 If you hold it up to the mirror you could probably read them.

Reinhard Heydrich, Reinhard Heydrich, Reinhard Heydrich...

I would not have it in my house, thank you.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

This explains EVERYTHING!!!

The Washington Post's aggressive investigative team has broken it all out into the open!

"When Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia died 12 days ago at a West Texas ranch, he was among high-ranking members of an exclusive fraternity for hunters called the International Order of St. Hubertus, an Austrian society that dates back to the 1600s."

By burrowing deeply into such obscure, concealed places as websites, newspapers, police reports, and party invitations, they have ferreted out the International Order of St. Hubertus! All that J-school training paid off.

What the Post fails to mention- probably out of fear of retribution- is the real power behind what appears to be a friendly group of like- minded men. * It's there though- right in the ninth paragraph-

"In 1695, Count Franz Anton von Sporck founded the society in Bohemia..."

This explains EVERYTHING!! Clearly, Justice Scalia was a plant all along. People have often been confused by his rulings, but now we know what was behind them. The Washington Post may be afraid to say it out loud, but I'm not.

Justice Scalia was a tool of Big Spork.  Upholding flight restrictions, so no proper forks on airplanes in the cheap seats. What do you think the Guantanamo prisoners eat with? He ruled for Monsanto in Bowman- and what is the favored tool for creamed corn? How many times could his otherwise inexplicable decisions in favor of fast food giants be understood now that his loyalty to the two tines and a bowl is known?

Perhaps the clearest, almost explicit, demonstration is in his opinion in Thomas v Chicago Park District.   Scalia, despite his own disgust, had found burning a flag to be free speech. Yet in Thomas, he ruled AGAINST a marijuana  advocacy group which had appealed the denial of a park permit for a rally. Why? "The picnicker and soccer player, no less than the political activist or parade marshal, must apply for a permit if the 50-person limit is to be exceeded."

And who uses sporks? Picnickers and soccer players. Not weed, they eat the doritos right out of the bag. 

And of course he held against Marriage Equality. Can you imagine a fabulous wedding with sporks? I thought not.

Alas, we found out too late. 

*"They have capes! What is this men only stuff, I want to join!"- TheGirl

Monday, February 15, 2016

Monday, November 16, 2015

Not Lunatics, Heroes...

After Paris, so many people calling the killers crazy.

"The real limiting factor is finding about a dozen psychos who are so mentally whacked that they think that this is a good idea, but are still composed enough that they can work together effectively."

    What nonsense.

    The limiting factor is finding about a dozen heroes who are so dedicated to the cause that they are willing to strike a serious blow for God.
   These people are mission-identical with the Dam Busters, FTP,  or the Doolittle raiders. The ideology is different, and the social infrastructure a lot weaker, and you don't like seeing what they do on the news, but they aren't crazy spree killers. They are soldiers, they think of themselves as soldiers. Their friends, families, teachers,  and millions of people think of them as soldiers.

   The Aurora slug and the Chattanooga murderer illustrate the difference. Aurora was a nutjob, but the Chattanooga one was a functioning, job-holding, friend-having, electrical engineer with a serious ideology for which he was willing to die. FFS, he went after the entire U. S. Marine Corps and the Chattanooga Police Department on his own. If he'd been a German in 1940 there would be statues and street signs all over Europe.

   And like it or not, pretend otherwise or not, stadia, bars, malls, supermarkets, grade schools, hospitals, nursing homes, and $%^&* pet dogs are all legitimate military targets, at least they are since the Allies found a way to attack them in 1943. They remain, in this day of perfect targeting, legitimate military targets for us  when there's an important, or unimportant, or possible enemy in them.  Certainly they are in an insurrection, where the goal is to make the State look helpless to protect its own, frighten the government, weaken its resources, and impress the wavering with the insurgents' power, determination, and ferocity. What do you think this is, Chancellorsville?

   This isn't a mental heath problem any more than it's a criminal justice problem.  It's Algeria. It's Béziers.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Two hours from Bataclan...

     All set for a perfect St. Hubert tomorrow, but I expect there might be a change of plan. We're in Coucy-le-Chateau, a good seventy miles from Paris, behind the walls of a massive fortress built by Crusaders.

      It's strange to think that when this place was built, the rulers of Jerusalem and  the armies in the Levant and Syria were French. They built other Coucys which still stand lonely sentinel, silent witnesses in what is now the Daesh.

      The people who built these places, here and in Syria- the knights, the magnates, the stonecutters, cooks, prostitutes, and grooms- were serious people. These places are as permanent as they could make them. They BELIEVED. 

       We look at these witnesses, these artefacts, differently. To the Faithful, they aremarkers of triumph. The infidel Kafir came to stay, they built for the ages, and our ancestors threw them out like the Godless trash they are. The young people who look up at Krak know who Saladin and Abd el Kadr were, and they think of themselves as their heirs. They long to extend their victory. They are no more terrorists than George McGovern or Jimmy Stewart were.

        To us, the Crusader castles are pretty curiosities, relics of an embarrassing aggression we have fortunately outgrown.  Charles Martel is a figure of shame, Roland is forgotten, and Richard Coeur de Lion is the co-star of Robin Hood movies.

      You can't beat something with nothing.

     In the darkness a couple of hours to the south,  arrogant rich men who have forgotten real life are gathered to presume to create a new world, one they will mold and control to meet their fantasy crisis with greater power over their subjects. I'm sure they delude themselves into thinking that they and their puny agenda are the targets. They wish they were so important.

      Islam's counterattack stretches to Paris again. It's past midnight, and the village inside the fort is quiet.

Sometimes her visits are unexpected, but Clio is always near at hand.

Friday, October 23, 2015

The Parable of Twister

      Often I see people in my profession who become upset about what they see as the failure of other people in the system. It's easy to do this, and it's only a short step to trying to control outside actors, and then only a shorter step to blaming ourselves for failing in that impossible task.

     I use the Parable of Twister.

     You know the game, Twister. Not Mazola Twister or Strip Twister, but regular old wholesome Twister.

     What's the objective? To not fall down.

     Why do you fall down? Because you try to cover too many spots too far apart. Left hand blue, left foot red, can't quite reach green, boom. On the floor.

     What if you could just start on the blue spot and stay there, all your weight centered?

     You'd never fall down.

     The Courthouse is like a giant  Twister board.  As soon as you try to cover a second spot- the Judge, the Police,  witnesses, defence lawyers, Jurors- you're at risk. The more spots you try to cover, the more people you don't control, the tippier you are and the less weight you put on your own spot.

     Stand on your spot. Be the prosecutor (or cop, or probation officer, whatever you are) and if other people don't do what you think they ought, that's their line to hunt. You hunt yours.

     Cover your spot.

     It's a nice way to reaffirm the serenity prayer. Forgetting the difference between what we can change and what we can't makes us crazy sometimes.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

RACIST Washington Post!!!! AGAIN!!! THE SAME RACE!!!!

Once again, the official thought leaders and professionally trained diversicrats expose their inherent institutionalized racism.

First, it was "chink" security consultants.

Now, it's poets.  Out of all the words in the English language, THAT had to be the last one in the article?

Sheesh. Rehab, privilege walks,  and sensitivity training for Sarah Kaplan.

Saturday, August 01, 2015

In The Navy, 2005...

Where can you be helpless
When you get in a mess
If a murderer attacks?
Where can you begin to learn you that had best  not
Watch out for your ship mate's backs?
Where can you learn to hide
Out behind a closed blind
Hoping that no one will see?
Duck and run for cover
If bullets fly over
Or run out the back to flee...

In the navy
You had better not shoot back
In the navy
You'll get your ass in a crack
In the navy
Come on now, people, don't you stand
In the navy, in the navy
You had best not raise a hand!
In the navy
You can protect the mother land
In the navy
But just not your fellow man!
In the navy
Never never make a  stand!

In the navy, in the navy, in the navy (in the navy)

They want you, they want you
They want you to keep your head down!

If you're down for shaheed
AK up and proceed
To a recruiting office fast
Don't you hesitate
There is no need to wait
Just shoot at all the seamen fast
Maybe you are too young
To join up today
Bout don't you worry 'bout a thing
For I'm sure there will be
Always a good navy
targets on the  land you see.

In the navy
Yes, you can grovel on the floor
In the navy
Yes, you can hope they shoot no more
In the navy
Call the cops, don't make a stand
In the navy, in the navy
We'll make sure  you need a hand
In the navy
Don't dare protect the motherland
In the navy
Hide out with your fellow man
In the navy
Don't dare be bold or make a stand
In the navy, in the navy, in the navy (in the navy)

They want you, they want you
They want you as a new recruit!

Who me?

They want you, they want you
Just as long as you dare not shoot!

But, but, but, I have a gun permit.
Hey, hey look
Man, I don't want to be executed!

They want you, they want you in the navy

Oh my goodness.
What am I gonna do when the jihad comes?

They want you, they want you in the navy

In the navy
you damned well better not shoot back
In the navy
you'll get your ass in a crack
In the navy
Come take cover, don't you stand
In the navy, in the navy
You had best not raise a hand!
In the navy
You can protect the mother land
In the navy
But not your fellow man!
In the navy
Never never make a  stand!

Friday, February 20, 2015

The Japanese Have Really Learned Something Since 1945...

 I absolutely kid you not- Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida on Japan's response to "Islamic  terrorism"-

 "...We will continue our efforts to deepen relations with the Middle East, building on coexistence, co-prosperity and collaboration."

In tomorrow's issue, Chancellor Merkel reveals her plan for a final solution to Greek debt.

Speaking of which, courtesy of TheGirl, and also not made up-

"We utilize chemicals, heat, exclusion, and cryogenics to eliminate pests. "

Exclusion... like you put them into a little area all their own?  

And I do NOT want to know which chemicals.

(For those who don't understand why this is hilarious,  The Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere (大東亞共榮圏 Dai-tō-a Kyōeiken) was an imperial propaganda concept created and promulgated for occupied Asian populations during the first third of the Shōwa era by the government and military of the Empire of Japan. It extended greater than East Asia and promoted the cultural and economic unity of Northeast Asians, Southeast Asians, and Oceanians. It also declared the intention to create a self-sufficient "bloc of Asian nations led by the Japanese and free of Western powers". It was announced in a radio address entitled "The International Situation and Japan's Position" by Foreign Minister Hachirō Arita on June 29, 1940.[1] An Investigation of Global Policy with the Yamato Race as Nucleus—a secret document completed in 1943 for high-ranking government use—laid out the superior position of Japan in the Greater Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere, showing the subordination of other nations was part of explicit policy and not forced by the war.[2] It explicitly states the superiority of the Japanese over other Asian races and provides evidence that the Sphere was inherently hierarchical, including the Japanese Empire's true intention of domination over the Asian continent.[3])

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Colt Will Reintroduce the 1903 Pocket Hammerless Automatic...

You saw it here first. After having done the single action army, percussion revolvers,  civil war rifle, Gatling gun and semi auto BAR, the little automatic Colt is next. I suppose the constant noise about it, and the current pocket gun craze, made them decide to try.

Well, maybe they will.  You'd think they wouldn't have had someone tool up unless they meant to sell them. I suppose the cost savings in current manufacturing techniques makes the project viable.

At any rate, all this is extrapolation from a prototype I've handled, and it's pretty indistinguishable from a standard Parkerized military issue example. There's nothing that I could see that's updated or improved, that is to say, cheapened. Just a straight 1903, markings and all. Didn't get to strip it, though

You read it here first.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Sony Pictures Press Release about "The Interview"-

"Our experts and  lawyers tell us that the threats about this movie endanger our customers and that it will cost our stockholders millions if there's an attack on a theater showing it.

We're responsible people, and we won't release it in theaters.

So it's free now. We abandon our copyright.

We'll mail a free DVD to anyone who wants one.

It will stream free on our own web site as long as someone wants to see it.

We'll post it free on YouTube, Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, and anywhere else that will let us.

So there, murdering North Korean tyrant trash."

I wish.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

November 11 2014


   We went to the terrifying thing a couple of days ago. I had never seen it from a distance, the only other visit was in fog. On a clear day Lutyens' effect is even more aweful. From a distance, it looks tiny and playful, like some sort of chinoiserie folly.  As one drives up it grows and grows, but it still is just a massive, vast ornament without a clear purpose.

   Not until you're within thirty yards or so, when the whole thing is so big the eyes' field can't hold it and its massiveness oppresses, do the names just pop into view.


   But today, we went to Vauxbuin which is a French  ,  British , and German cemetery.  And although they were removed and buried elsewhere, Americans from Company D were killed right here on July 19, 1918 pushing the Germans- some in this cemetery- off the road we parked on.

   The stones put three thoughts in my head today.

   Mrs. Gartside-Tipping's reminded me that there are all sorts of people who volunteer to help in an emergency, even patrician old widow ladies whose (twenty year over age for service but volunteered anyway at age 67) husbands vanished into the icy sea the year before. And that soldiers losing their minds is not just ripped from the headlines.


   The French graves of men from (L-R) Morocco,  Madagascar, and Somalia made me think about how bewildering the European diaspora, and the diasporas it spawned, are.

   And finally I am sure that many of the Jewish tombstones in the German cemetery name fathers, who in their minds served and died to protect their children from a foreign menace.

   How savage we are.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

David Weigel, Wrong but Brave Journalist...

     At last, a trained journo chooses to be responsible about a publicity murderer-

"I'm simply not comfortable printing the name of the killer. More than most of his spree-murder peers, he made it very clear that he wanted to be loved and worshiped, saying as much in a self-pitying manifesto and a series of mopey vlogs. Let's forget the guy and leave him for the worms."

     Although we disagree about a lot of things, THANK YOU Mr. Weigel for not printing the killer's name, and adding insult and degradation.  That's the only practical way to deter them.

     Everyone knows the next one is watching, and the way other media outlets  persist in rewarding publicity killers  is so irresponsible that it suggests they want more of them .

     I wish he ran CNN, or at least could convince his employers to stop encouraging these useless losers- because the sidebar to his Slate article is full of killer-building stories.

     One of which is the most next killer encouraging story I have ever seen, from the New York Post-  a cover and skimpy clothing pictures of a woman the trash loser blamed for his acts. Not only is her life wrecked, but copiers will see their power to use our trained, expert journos'  "news"  "judgement" to embarrass and injure the targets of their perverse wrath.

     Beyond shameful, if they had the ability to feel shame.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Chipotle? Gun owners used to have some self-respect.

"armed to the jowls..."

This is seriously funny and NOT anti commentary, in the Guardian forsooth.

"There was no apparently interest in reporting that, while many people say "kill me" after eating Chipotle, most gun deaths are caused by people who do, in fact, kill themselves."

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Mass Murderer Posthumous Endorsements!

So, looking at building a house with TheGirl. She told me about this clever modular design technology, showed me some pictures. Interesting....

Let's check their facebook, shall we?

Look, endorsed by

dead mass murdering terrorists!

I think Speer would have been better, though, what with being a prize winning architect and having at least supervised the construction of modular barracks  housing by slave labourers unskilled labour.

And Stalin, with that White Sea Canal!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Monday, January 06, 2014

The Easternmost Explication of the Second Amendment...

     So, a little while ago I went to Eastport, Maine. It bills itself as the first place in the United States to see the sun each day, and it certainly is the closest to where God sets his watch.  Well worth the trip, TheGirl and I made lobster pigs of ourselves at the Eastport Chowder House, which we closed down. Friendly real Yankees.  Then watched a gorgeous Sunrise.

     Eastport is a pretty little town, once a busy port but now they have tourists in the summer and the rest of the year just take in each others' washing. A pleasant, tasty  breakfast at the Liberty Cafe and walking over the town. We  ended up in front of the Peavey Memorial Library.

Before which stands, as one might expect,

a cannon.

     Being from down South and always interested in artillery displayed, I thought I'd wander over to see if it was a trophy from Tredegar, or a Yankee veteran.

     I was surprised to see that it was neither. Aside from a Boston founder's name and an 1836 date, the tube was devoid of any marks of State or National ownership.

     And that got me thinking.  Uh oh...

     Our master's latest push to disarm his subjects concentrates on what he calls "weapons of war",  which have "no business on our streets".  Funny, that "our", coming from a man who will never again walk a street unguarded. And the Government's weapons of war seemed to be perfectly fine on the streets of Ludlow and Detroit, and for special occasions like Katrina and Kent State. Not to mention Libya and Syria. Or just riding around in ordinary police cars.

   But I riot. Back on the line, weapons of war.

     When our Republic was new,  a  bronze muzzle loading cannon was the most deadly weapon there was.  Unlike an infantry musket, cavalry horse, or M-4, there was and is no use for artillery other than killing people and smashing their buildings.

      This six pounder was the cutting edge and definition of a "weapon of war".

     In pretty much every time in every culture with a coast, the ship of war is the most complex, expensive, and deadly thing a society's brains and technology can combine to make. Salaminia, Sao Martinho, Victory, Gloire, Freidrich der Grosse, Nimitz- all embodiments of the top end of an entire country's ability to do violence.

      And in 1836 the killing end of the warship was artillery just like this.

     What does this have to do with the Second Amendment?

     Our Betters assert that the Second Amendment does not apply to "weapons of war" and they always advert to artillery as an example. They read the initial clause to mean that although "weapons of war" are not the arms referred to in the Amendment and are not protected to the people, the Amendment's purpose is to insure that State and Federal reserve forces are able to have, um, "weapons of war". Go figure.

     'Ware riot again. Anyway, in 1836 the Second Amendment was 45 years old. Quite a few of the men who adopted and ratified it were still around. I'll submit that they knew what it meant.

     And in 1836, someone- some private citizen- maybe a few yards away at America's oldest ship chandler-  (still in business today, with a lovely line of yellow leather gloves) laid down gold and bought this pure "weapon of war".

     In fact, anyone with the cash could have gone into any big port in the country and bought just as good a warship as the Navy's best.  The seas were infested with pirates, armed ships were ordinary components of  commercial voyages. You didn't need permission, or registration, or anything else but the money or credit.

     Commercially produced ships of the era were fully war capable. Golden Hind was private property. Before 1600 or so, national navies were largely formed of commandeered private ships and their civilian crews. American, British, and French privateers- privately owned and operated ships of war- were very active in the World Wars of the late 18th and early 19th centuries. On occasion East Indiamen and Mail Packets fought and captured Naval vessels.

     A quarter of a century into this gun's life was the apotheosis of the cash and carry weapon of war. An insurgent organisation used its money and credit to buy high tech ships of war on individual private account, and then  swept the seas clear of the second largest commercial fleet on the planet.

    And when the dust settled, the United States' position was not that  John Laird
shouldn't have sold warships to private individuals, but that the yard shouldn't have sold them to known representatives of active belligerents  knowing that the buyers would use them as "weapons of war" in violation of local neutrality law.

    I don't know when it became unlawful in the United States for an individual to just put down money and buy a navy for himself, if in fact it is. I know the various neutrality acts interfered with the ability of nations to buy warships, and applied the Alabama Claims' rules to sales to those acting for governments.  And I know that British, French, and American shipyards supplied most of the warships, and nearly all the capital warships, to much of the world on a straight up cash and carry basis until after 1914. After 1918,  the cut price sale, loan, or gift of surplus ships in government hands as a tool of policy killed the business.

     Private possession and sale of artillery in the United States wasn't Federally regulated until 1968 (thanks Tam), which means that  when this gun was 131 years old an American could still buy and own a destroyer, battleship, or aircraft carrier for his own use if he could find one for sale.

     And I suspect he still can, if the artillery and torpedoes are properly NFA registered.

     So no matter what the bien pensants assert, there's no indication from our past that the Second Amendment is meant to confine "weapons of war" to government possession.

     This little cannon proves it.

Thursday, January 02, 2014

The Funniest Sentence in the News Today...

The agency sent its new marijuana inspectors to recreational shops to monitor sales and make sure sellers understood the state's new marijuana-tracking inventory system meant to keep legal pot out of the black market.

Marijuana tracking system. Forsooth.

"Umm, I think I have some pot, somewhere..."

For serious,

"Medical pot users worried they'd be priced out of the market. Colorado's recreational pot inventory came entirely from the drug's supply for medical uses.
"We hope that the focus on recreational doesn't take the focus away from patients who really need this medicine," said Laura Kriho of the patient advocacy group Cannabis Therapy Institute."

 the FIRST DAY begins agitation for special medical weed subsidies.  Already trying to get some market control and distortion based on the power of guilt.

Also, the Colorado State Marijuana Inspectors- are they subject to Colorado's pre employment drug screening?

And if they test negative after they are hired, is that grounds for termination?

Because how could they be inspecting if they aren't around it?

P.S., can't sell these any more- it's Impersonating an Officer!
Again, economic seriousness. Talking about this with two people who know the economics of marijuana- one a user, one a drug squad officer.  The question, how much would it take to make it worth while to drive to Colorado  and buy for a syndicate? I said your expenses would be about $300, and I'd want to make $1000 profit for the trip. Figure 10 friends- more is risky. An ounce of good weed sells here for about $400, so that's what,  $530 an ounce?

The Colorado price, according to the article? $560. Go, free market. Instant pricing.

I suspect there will be a quick drop though, because of competition. Most people buying illegal things have a single source. 24 legal marijuana shops puts an end to that.

I predict a hotel and gasoline boomlet. And an uptick for Colorado UPS and FEDEX revenues too.

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Kubrick's Estate Should Sue....

You know those big stainless steel elevators, um, lifts,   at Heathrow? The ones with the metallic, disembodied voices? And the

big all seeing eyes? What would be a good name for those? Hmmm....

Monday, November 11, 2013

Armistice day 2013...

On 11/11 at 11:00, I found myself at the Oise-Aisne American Cemetery.

A couple of miles away I passed through Fere-en-Tardenois.  Great minds 

 think alike, that was the scene in the town square at the memorial. They even had the band.

Even though it's full of places like this

most of the names in the visitor's books at U. S. cemeteries now

are French. They remember.

It was as pretty a day as you could hope for- cool and clear.  As usual, the cemetery was immaculate. I hope it is a long time until we abandon these places.

     The capitals on the columns were planned by men who lived the war:

     Only  some Doughboy would have thought to include a can of corned Bill in this monument for Posterity.

     Alas I did not have my camera, just a telephone one so none of my tombstone pictures came out. A few things struck me as I strolled the lanes.

     A lot of the death dates are in 1919. The war ended on the 11th, but peritonitis, burn infection,  ordnance disposal, truck wrecks, and the 'flu kept going.

     There are several civilians, probably YMCA workers or some such.

     Interesting to see so many now obsolete ranks. I saw stevedore, bugler, wagoner, chauffeur, field clerk, and some others.

       We forget the uniting force of the War. This  cemetery holds mainly draftees.  Everyone got drafted- white and black, English speaker and Bohunk. Americans still practiced all sorts of segregation and all sorts of prejudice were standard. The foul creature Wilson led the way, racially segregating the Civil Service to please his Democratic Party base in the Solid South.  Yankee aristocrats and West Virginia miners and Mississippi sharecroppers would have never met in ordinary 1914 life.

     Here they are together, indiscriminately. It took a while to live up to it, but our country looks like this graveyard now.

     The names were interesting. Only about half had middle names or initials. Lots of Williams and Johns and Roberts, of course. My companion and I remarked on the names one never hears now, redolent of obscure Bible stories and the mountains of Bohemia.  And there were several short versions- I saw Charley, Mike, and Jack. And Joyce, too.

     Which led  me to a new sad thought.

     Of course all these men had stories that they never got to finish. Every one of them had a goal, a plan. Start a business.  Go back to the mill and work up to foreman. Teach at the school. Build up the family farm.  Take a correspondence course. Marry the girl. Play catch with the boy.  Go fishing with the Old Man or eat Mother's peach cobbler.  Shoot craps with the fellows on the corner. Sit under a tree on a hot day and chew on a blade of grass.

     Not one of those dreams happened.

     Every one of these men started a telegram, and with it a new batch of stories. Every one of those telegrams had one of these names on it.

      Where did they get Charley and Giovanni and Asa? The same way we get our Jamal and Chip. 

      Every one of those names was chosen carefully by proud parents for their perfect little son, their hope.

      Let's use uncle's name.  Daniel is fine, a brave Prophet.  Alright, we'll call him after YOUR father. Jövünk Magyarországról, de mi hívjuk George Washington elnök után.  You're my best pal, will you stand up at the christening?

     And all those mothers and fathers saw all those names on all those telegrams.

     Everyone who votes for a war, everyone who cheerleads for one, should have to do it from a place like this.

     Oh, and one more thing. We were there for an hour and a half.

          Had the place to ourselves.