Sunday, April 30, 2023

Sunday morning music


I guess music, like beauty, is in the eye (or should that be the ear?) of the beholder (belistener?).  There are those who maintain that the sound of a well-tuned car engine is music to the ears.  I've never thought of it that way, but then I've never been mechanically inclined.  De gustibus non est disputandum...

Be that as it may, here are a few musical "instruments" that challenge one's definition of that term.  I find the first three interesting and enjoyable in their own way;  the last one is more of a stretch, but I think it's still creative.  Musicians may disagree.

How's that for stretching musical horizons?


Saturday, April 29, 2023

Saturday Snippet: Desperate men seeking brides


As part of my ongoing research for future books (in this case, the Annals of Ash), I've been looking into the history of mail-order brides in the far West.  Sadly, there seems to be very little authentic, accurate historical material available in modern reference works.  The vast (overwhelming!) majority of books out there appear to be romance novels on the subject, most of which are (from a factual and literary perspective) pure trash.  I'm thoroughly unimpressed.

However, there are contemporary accounts that sometimes make me laugh out loud.  Some are described in an article from "Canada's History", published in 2016.  I was sufficiently amused that I thought you might enjoy part of it this morning, instead of an excerpt from a book.  Here goes!


The arrival in 1862 of a ship full of single women eased the hearts of British Columbia’s lovesick bachelors — and lined the pockets of B.C.’s future premier.

* * * * *

“The girls are coming! The girls are coming! They'll be here any day!” So screamed the headlines of Victoria's British Colonist in September of 1862. The Tynemouth, forever after known as the “bride ship” was on its way. For Colonist publisher Amor De Cosmos — a man with a strong sense of the ridiculous who would eventually go on to become British Columbia's second premier — it was a perfect opportunity to attract male readers, not to mention advertisers.

The situation was this: To the horror of the British government, Queen Victoria, and the Anglican Church, the glittering-with-gold valleys of the mighty Fraser River were home to 30,000 people, of whom very few were women, or British, for that matter. Most were single, young American men drawn in by the gold rush. How to make them British? Thus the gift they were about to receive from London — a cargo of sixty young women from Britain.

Organized by the Columbia Emigration Society under the auspices of the Anglican Church, this was not the first shipment of brides to the nascent colony. At around the same time the Tynemouth was on its way from Britain, the Seaman's Bride, a ship from Australia with about twenty women on board destined for Victoria, docked at San Francisco. “And what did the young Yankees do?” De Cosmos complained in the Colonist. “Alas! They captured the affections of the girls.... The vessel came on to this port (Victoria) without even a petticoat aboard to delight the eyes and cheer the palpitating hearts of the Victorians.”

De Cosmos’s interest in the bride ship may not have been simply commercial. The Nova-Scotia-born future politician, whose original name was William Alexander Smith, had a keen interest in unifying what were then two British Crown colonies — one on Vancouver Island and one on mainland British Columbia — as well as the other British North American colonies, and joining them into a single nation. At the time, Americans dominated the West Coast colonies, and some saw it as inevitable that the United States would eventually take over the region. De Cosmos, a smart, dapper, if eccentric man, who stood out for always being well-dressed, perhaps perceived the introduction of the British women as one way of turning back that tide.

Vancouver Island’s stricken lonely hearts were in an uproar when the California bachelors raided the Seaman's Bride. Undaunted, De Cosmos tried to keep the fires burning until the next bride ship was expected to arrive. To titillate his male readers, the editor ran sentimental love poems and such lurid stories as, “A Mysterious Queen of Fashion,” stirring the minds of prospective suitors to the glories awaiting them “Trying on a Hoop Skirt” had a blushing young male clerk outwitted by a beautiful lady desiring to try on a fashionable underskirt. The salacious tale ended with the clerk discovering that instead of retiring to “rearrange her toilette,” the lady had made off with the merchandise.

De Cosmos also regaled his male readers with advice on choosing a bride. Beware, he wrote, “the girl with a romantic confidence in her Cinderella-like destiny,” who didn't appreciate “steady, good-looking, industrious young men.” Shouldn't she instead “anticipate marriage with one in the humbler walk of life?” No doubt his humbler readers agreed.

De Cosmos finally had some good news to report when, on September 11, 1862, the Colonist announced:

The Tynemouth's Invoice of Young Ladies: The screw steamer Tynemouth, from London, with sixty young ladies aboard, should be here in a few days, and bachelors both young and old must prepare to give fitting reception. A general holiday should be proclaimed; all the bunting waved from flagstaffs; salutes fired from Beacon Hill; clean shirts and suits of good clothes brought into requisition, and every preparation made to give this precious “invoice” a warm welcome. We are sorry to say that the Tynemouth will stop at San Francisco on her way up. ... The Immigration Board should send an agent to San Francisco to prevent “desertions” while the Tynemouth lies at that port.

The men of the colony were abuzz with anticipation. Was it true? Were they really coming? On September 17, De Cosmos's Colonist passed on more hot news from San Francisco:

The Tynemouth at San Francisco: How many hearts will beat with pleasure as this paragraph reaches their eyes, we do not dare think; but we are sure that pleasurable emotions will pervade every bachelor heart in the “great” metropolis when we state that the good steamer Tynemouth, with sixty select bundles of crinoline, arrived at San Francisco on the 10th... and was to sail in a few days for this port with her precious freight — that is, if the Yankees don't steal their affections. The local editor of the San Francisco Herald must himself have been smitten with the fair damsels, to judge from the following: “Colonization of British Columbia'... their rosy cheeks and embonpoint [full-figured bodies] show that they will be valuable accessions to the Colony.”

Next morning’s Colonist reported: “The ship had left San Francisco on the 12th... and is now fully due here.” And, De Cosmos noted in a column, “She was very fast — steaming at fifteen miles an hour.” He added, “It may be consoling to those of our citizens who have expressed a fear that the young women might be stolen by the Californians, that they are under the charge of an agent, whose duty it is to see that they do not leave the vessel.”

De Cosmos, however, had been fooled. The ship had in fact arrived the previous night and was anchored a few kilometres away in Esquimalt Harbour.

On September 20, the Colonist made the official announcement:

Arrival of the Tynemouth: This fine, iron steamship... cast anchor in Esquimalt harbour at 8 o'clock [the] night before last. As a matter of course, we went aboard the steamer yesterday morning and had a good look at the lady passengers. They are mostly cleanly, well-built, pretty-looking young women — ages varying from fourteen to an uncertain figure; a few are young widows who have seen better days. Most appear to have been well raised and generally they seem a superior lot to the women usually met with on emigrant vessels. Taken altogether, we are highly pleased with the appearance of the “invoice,” and believe that they will give a good account of themselves in whatever station of life they may be called to fill.

Bedlam erupted at the news of the ship’s arrival. Anything that floated was hired to get eager young swains out to the ship. Others, said the Colonist “...toiled along primitive roads to the port, hacking miles through the heat and dust… arrayed in their best, down to polished shoes and delicately perfumed handkerchiefs.”

For the next few days, De Cosmos gleefully reported on the antics. Hoping to inspect the ship’s “lovely freight,” some respectable notables “hove in sight.” Despite their “protestations of honorable intentions,” the newspaper reported, the boatload found the gangplank pulled up against them, and were forced to return to shore “like baffled birds of prey.” Chortled De Cosmos in a column: “A large number of citizens visited Esquimalt ... and were generally ordered off and returned from their fruitless errand with heavy hearts.”

It had not, however, been fruitless for the newspaper. Eager advertisers bought space to promote products for the lovelorn. A large ad for toiletries suggested, among other delights, “Essence Jockey Club” for men, a product called “Kiss Quick,” and de rigueur castor oil pomade for gentlemen’s hair. Other advertisers bypassed the courtship stage altogether and went directly to flogging crockery and blankets.

. . .

Some days after the women’s arrival, the Colonist reported a “SHOCKING DEPRAVITY” — apparently two clergymen and a naval officer had made “a melancholy discovery.” They had come across one of the girls in the act! She was talking through the barracks fence — to a man!

In his newspaper, De Cosmos warned: “What will become of a young lady who exhibits such extreme depravity ... who would allow ... converse with that most dangerous of all animals — a young man. ...To guard against a repetition ... we respectfully recommend a file of marines drawn from among the oldest men ... with especial reference to their ugliness, be stationed around the barracks in future with strict instructions to bayonet every young man who may have the audacity to approach.

There's more at the link.  It highlights the very, very different moral standards and relationship styles in force more than a century and a half ago.


Friday, April 28, 2023

I think I've been there...


I found this on MeWe this afternoon, and had to laugh.  Click the image for a larger view.

I'm not sure where it came from originally, and sadly, I can't provide a link, because MeWe doesn't provide a URL for a single post.  Still, enjoy!


Light blogging this morning


I'm kinda tied up dealing with a few issues.  I'll try to post something later this morning.  Until then, please amuse yourselves with the bloggers listed in the sidebar.



Thursday, April 27, 2023

What climate emergency?


Armstrong Economics reminds us that the much-ballyhooed "climate emergency" is no such thing.  It's a cynical ploy designed to grab more and more power over us in the name of a non-existent crisis.

The Global Climate Intelligence Group (CLINTEL) is an independent foundation founded in 2019 by emeritus professor of geophysics Guus Berkhout and science journalist Marcel Crok. “The climate view of CLINTEL can be easily summarized as: There is no climate emergency.” Over 1540 experts respected in their independent fields have joined CLINTEL to spread the message that there is no scientific data to indicate that climate change is [anything other than] political propaganda.

“Climate science should be less political, while climate policies should be more scientific. In particular, scientists should emphasize that their modeling output is not the result of magic: computer models are human-made. What comes out is fully dependent on what theoreticians and programmers have put in: hypotheses, assumptions, relationships, parameterizations, stability constraints, etc. Unfortunately, in mainstream climate science most of this input is undeclared.

To believe the outcome of a climate model is to believe what the model makers have put in.  This is precisely the problem of today’s climate discussion to which climate models are central. Climate science has degenerated into a discussion based on beliefs, not on sound self-critical science. We should free ourselves from the naïve belief in immature climate models. In future, climate research must give significantly more emphasis to empirical science.”

. . .

We MUST question why governments across the world are fighting tooth and nail to eliminate fossil fuels and our way of life as we know it. Why are we following the World Economic Forum’s 2030 agenda to save a planet that does not need saving? Why are we allowing our elected officials to spend endless funds on an imaginary cause? Everything has a cycle, including the weather. So while the climate may be changing, there is absolutely nothing humans can do to alter the course of nature, and those stating otherwise are lying.

There's more at the link.

So, when you hear politicians and pressure groups demanding that we sacrifice this, or that, or the other, in the name of "climate change" . . . remember that they're all lying through their teeth.


Doofus Of The Day #1,106


Courtesy of a link at Eatgrueldog, today's award goes to a particularly clueless woman who posted a video on Twitter of how she almost shot herself in the head.  Click on the link to view it - I can't embed Twitter videos here.

All I can say is that anyone who plays - plays!!! - with loaded guns deserves all they get.  Stupidity is its own reward.  Sadly, many of them end up hurting, or even killing, other innocent people who didn't deserve to get caught up in their stupidity.

I don't predict a stellar future for this lady . . .


Comments and common sense


I've run into several complaints recently about comments that have not appeared beneath articles on this blog.  I'd like to remind readers of a few important points.

  1. If your comment is profane;  or a personal attack on another commenter;  or, for that matter, a personal attack on me;  it's not going to appear.  Civilized, reasonably polite disagreements are fine.  Insults are not.  I delete all such comments without bothering to read them in detail.
  2. Some comments simply don't make it to moderation at all.  Blogger has been known for "disappearing comments" for some years now.  I don't know why that happens, and I can't do anything about it.  If I never see your comment, I obviously can't approve or deep-six it.
  3. Comments calling for violence, illegal retribution, criminal actions, etc. are a no-no.  Be reasonable, people.  If your comment calls for illegal or criminal actions, or physical harm to some person or group, you're inviting law enforcement and legal attention.  We may feel very strongly about groups and individuals with which/whom we disagree, but that doesn't mean we can openly incite violence or bloodshed against them.  To say such things in public is to make yourself a target, particularly in the present legal and prosecutorial climate.  I won't have this blog (or myself) tarred with that brush.
  4. Some readers have their own axes to grind, and make comments that are nothing more than diatribes, polemics or rants about how right they are and how wrong everyone else is (including yours truly).  Sometimes I publish them, but in general, if they're overly dogmatic and "preachy", I discard them.  This is a place for reasoned, informed discussion and debate, not rants.
  5. In general terms, anything one would say to another person in polite conversation is fine.  Disagreements (with a person, policy, action, whatever) are also fine.  However, anything that demeans, insults, attacks or disparages another person is not.
  6. If you don't like any of the above policies, feel free to say so in a comment to this post:  but please also say why you don't like it/them.  If you make a good case, I'll consider changes.  However, in the end, this is my blog, after all.  If you don't like how I handle it, there's nothing stopping you from starting your own and saying whatever you wish there.

I hope that clarifies the comment situation.  I think an adapted Golden Rule sums it up nicely:  "Comment about others as you would have them comment about you."

Finally, please remember that this is a family-friendly blog.  I strive to keep it that way.  I'll be grateful if commenters will please do the same.


Wednesday, April 26, 2023

So much for truth!


With all the rumors, unattributed quotations, reports, speculation and disinformation out there, one hardly knows who or what to believe.  Circle and Square puts its finger on the pulse of the problem.  Click the image to be taken to a larger view at the cartoon's Web page.

I've run into far too many people on social media who react that way to news they don't want to hear . . .


"The disturbing reality of America's future"


That's the headline to an article by Mike Shelby, perhaps better known for his extensive coverage of developments in this country at the "Forward Observer" Web site.  Here's an excerpt.  Read it in the light of our discussion about Antifa earlier this morning.

The unsettling reality is that America in the not-too-distant future is going to have a lot in common with partial-collapse societies of Eastern Europe and Latin America where gangs have more power and influence than the government; where politicians pass the laws but gangs enforce the rules.

This is the Gray Zone America you should be preparing for — not quite collapsed, but not quite standing.

. . .

Social intimidation and political violence are valuable tools that don’t have to be directly connected to a political party. In many low intensity conflicts, political parties wield their own militant wings but attempt to maintain some plausible deniability.

Sinn Fein and the IRA. The Baath Party and Naqshabandi (Iraq). The Sadrist Party and Jaysh al-Mahdi (also Iraq). ISCI and the Badr Corps (also Iraq).

The 2016 and 2020 election seasons gave us a small taste of political street gangs. Because this "local muscle” is powerful, we’re probably going to see a lot more of it.

At the extreme end of the spectrum ... collusion between the political and criminal classes means that you can never be safe as a dissident. Political parties can use violence freely by ordering it and then protecting those who carry it out.

I have three general takeaways:

First, herein lies my problem with the Bugout Bag Industrial Complex:

Your bugout bags, fire starters, and lensatic compasses don’t solve this problem. There is no paracord bracelet on earth, nor stack of freeze dried food that can turn back the tide of government-gang collusion.

Playing defense, bugging in, and praying to God that no one bothers you is a losing strategy.

Second, I cannot possibly stress strongly enough the importance of controlling your own local politics.

The “power politics” of the Cultural Revolution is no longer a Chicago or Seattle problem. Political decay is creeping into suburban and rural areas.

The armies of enraged parents attending meetings, building networks, taking over school boards, and winning local political seats are doing the heaviest lifting.

The political, social, and economic power you build at the local level prevents the other guy from doing this to you.

Third, there is no defensive strategy that wins.

You have to build political, social, and economic power. You have to win seats at the local level. You have to agitate, community organize, and build a local social movement. And you have to either find wealthy donors or run businesses that employ your tribe and turn a profit so you can fund these initiatives.

There's more at the linkHighly recommended reading.

I can't stress too strongly that Mr. Shelby is describing conditions that already exist in America.

Those points demonstrate clearly what Mr. Shelby calls "Gray Zone America".  It already exists.  We're living in it.

Mr. Shelby refers to a documentary titled "Arkan's Legacy" about a criminal/nationalist gang in Serbia, seeing many of its features as similar to what he's finding in this country.

Having watched it, I'm forced to agree with him.  Too many progressive-left-dominated American cities do resemble what the documentary portrays.  It's a chilling prospect . . . but a prophetic one for most of us.  I therefore second his recommendation that you watch it for yourself.  It's very similar to what I saw and experienced "on the ground" in many Third World nations, and it's what's already among us in parts of America today.

It's going to spread, too.  To cite just one example, the Biden administration is admitting up to 30,000 "refugees" every month from Haiti and a few other nations to this country.  Haiti is a lawless nightmare, dominated by ruthless gangs that slaughter their opponents.  What makes you think at least some of those "refugees" won't bring that "culture" with them?  And what makes you think it won't spread to our cities as they settle there?

I'm not saying that all of America will end up like that - far from it!  In the area where I live, there are more than enough level-headed people to "take care of business" if necessary, and ensure that we don't descend to that level.  There are still many areas like that.  However, the same can't be said for other parts of this benighted nation.  If you live in one of them, move out as soon as you can, and come to "free America" where you can contribute to the safety, security and well-being of people who are still in their right minds.


Antifa intimidation in action


On Sunday, armed, masked Antifa members tried to disrupt a small demonstration against an all-ages drag brunch at a restaurant in Fort Worth.  Carrying rifles and handguns, the Antifa goons first interrupted the demonstration, then one of them assaulted the demonstrators with pepper spray while others brandished AR-15-type rifles in an intimidatory display.  Police arrested three of the Antifa members for their actions.  You can read a news report about the matter, and/or watch the video clips below, which show clearly what happened.  The second is much shorter than the first, at the expense of some detail.  (In case you were wondering, no, "Meghan Grant" is no relation of mine!)

There are several points to learn from this incident.

  1. Antifa were willing to bully their way into a peaceful demonstration and use violence against its members.  They had no tolerance whatsoever for opposing views.  We've seen that before, of course, but it's an unchanging element of their makeup.  LESSON:  We should take that into account when confronted by them, or when confronting them.  They're looking for a fight, and won't back down.
  2. The demonstrators were neither equipped nor prepared to handle such intervention.  On such a sensitive topic, they should have been.  LESSON:  If you're not prepared - in every way - to stand up for your beliefs, you're going to be steamrollered in such a situation.
  3. Fort Worth police acted effectively to deal with the main perpetrators after the incident was over;  but they did nothing (probably because they had not yet arrived) to protect the free speech of the demonstrators.  By the time they intervened, the demonstration had already been disrupted.  LESSON:  If you want to exercise your right of free speech, you'd better be prepared to defend that right - and yourselves.
  4. If demonstrators had defended themselves against Antifa's bullying, the police probably would not have tried to distinguish between innocent and guilty parties.  They'd have acted to stop the violence, and arrested anyone who wouldn't listen to them.  One can't blame them for that, of course.  LESSON:  If you stand up for yourself and/or your rights, you're likely to be treated as "one of the bad guys" unless and until evidence emerges to prove that you're not.  First responders won't have such evidence available, and won't listen until the situation is under control.  Obey them, or take the consequences.
  5. Antifa were well armed and equipped:  a battledress-equivalent "uniform", face masks, umbrellas to block the view of security cameras, and firearms that cost hundreds, if not thousands of dollars.  I wonder where they got the money?  It may have come out of their own pockets, but it could equally well have been "sponsored" by those using Antifa as a tool to disrupt the "system".  When one sees such equipment deployed on the streets, it sends a message of organized aggression that's unmistakeable.  LESSON:  If we want to stand up against such aggression, we're going to have to be similarly well armed, equipped and trained.
  6. Note Antifa's teamwork.  Two armed individuals confront and distract the demonstrators while a third sneaks up behind them, reaches between them and pepper-sprays the victims.  This was clearly a well-rehearsed move.  LESSON:  Our counter-measures need to be equally well rehearsed and prepared, and we need to prevent such assailants from approaching too close - or have suitable obstacles in place to block their approach.
  7. We cannot use violence first in trying to defend ourselves.  If the demonstrators had drawn or displayed weapons in a threatening manner to make Antifa keep their distance, that would have been an illegal act in the absence of any direct, immediate and otherwise unavoidable threat to their lives.  Antifa knows this, and will exploit the law to provoke reactions that they can then label as "illegal" or "a crime".  They'll use the system against us.  LESSON:  Choose your battles wisely, and try to ensure that you choose the battleground too, so that you can remove as much risk as possible without exposing yourself to such consequences.  A small group of demonstrators at a known major flashpoint such as a drag brunch, without the numbers or backup needed to protect themselves, was asking for trouble - and they found it.
  8. The news media are not on the side of the peaceful demonstrators.  Their views are politically incorrect, whereas Antifa is the opposite.  Note how little coverage there's been of this incident in major news media.  The Fox report linked above is the only one I've found on national media.  LESSON:  We cannot rely on honest, unbiased reporting of such events and incidents.  Coverage is either going to be deliberately withheld, or slanted to a politically correct point of view.  The news media are not our friends.

I'd like to underline two points in particular.

First, Antifa is clearly a well-organized, well-funded, trained movement.  It's not a mere grassroots "upswelling" or spontaneous "response" to anything.  It plans ahead, and has members willing to get in the face of anyone and any movement with whose views it disagrees.  Members of Antifa should not be regarded as individuals, but as organized members of a movement inimical to democracy and free speech.  They are the enemies of free speech, and should be treated accordingly.

Second, we should choose our battles - and our battlegrounds - carefully.  It was, to say the very least, unwise of a mere five demonstrators to expose themselves to harm in that location, at that time, at that particular event, which is one likely to attract "support" from Antifa and its ilk.  If the demonstration was to be effective, it needed far more people, far better organized, with its own security detachment to defend against such Antifa aggression.  At the same time, those involved should recognize that to mount such a demonstration is to invite a scaled-up response from Antifa.  The odds would never have been in their favor, and they could not have depended on the police to uphold their rights of peaceful assembly and free speech in the presence of firearms - a major escalation factor.  The authorities' likely response would have been to remove that escalation factor, and everyone involved in it, from the scene before considering any other options.  If the demonstrators had resisted that, they would have been treated in the same way as Antifa, and rightly so.

Fort Worth is a relatively conservative city in a relatively conservative state (albeit with some very left-wing cities in it).  Such a demonstration in a "blue" city, with liberal/progressive authorities and a police force under their control, would most likely have received much shorter shrift, and Antifa would probably have been far more aggressive in their response, in the expectation that they would not have been stopped by the authorities.

It's unwise to rely on constitutional and legal rights in an environment where such "rights" are honored more in the breach than in the observance.  It's equally unwise to expect honest, balanced coverage of such incidents in the mainstream news media.  Both elements are conspicuous by their absence, these days.

Finally, let's not get into a "tough-guy" mindset.  I've heard a few people mouth off about this incident, saying things like, "If they come at me with a gun like that, I'm shooting first!"  Like it or not, the mere display of a weapon is not necessarily a deadly threat;  and if we respond as if it is, we're liable for the consequences, legally, morally and in every other way.  (Ask Daniel Perry about that.)  This isn't "The Untouchables".

If we respond that way, we are going to be held liable for it by a law enforcement and prosecutorial system that in most cases is openly biased against us.  Even if we believe we acted honestly in self-defense, we can rely on that system to twist and use against us any and all evidence it can find.  The slightest error on our part can and will be used against us, and Antifa knows this.  They'll try and force us into such an error, filming all the while on their cellphones, and then turn that against us and all we stand for.

Behave accordingly.  Choose your battles, and make sure you can control the battlespace rather than walking into enemy terrain which they control.  That's how you stop Antifa.


EDITED TO ADD:  See Matt Bracken's insightful comment on Sunday's events.

Tuesday, April 25, 2023

I think he has a point...


From Stephan Pastis last Sunday.  Click the image to be taken to a larger version at the Web comic's home page.

That's why I have almost no social media presence, apart from accounts on Gab and MeWe, where I read a lot more than I post.  I question whether most "short format" social media outlets are worthwhile any more.  Most seem to be overrun with people who talk their hind ends off, but don't listen very much - or very well.  Those who are willing to put in the time and effort to read longer posts, such as those found on blogs, Substack, etc., appear to be more balanced in their approach.


The world from different perspectives


Tomas Pueyo offers a very interesting article examining how the traditional map of the world, the Mercator projection, is fundamentally flawed in its presentation of the actual size of nations and continents.  He offers many examples to illustrate the true size of countries in comparison to each other.  Here are three:  click any image for a larger view.

1.  The immense size of Africa compared to six other very large nations/regions.

2.  Somalia, Japan and New Zealand compared to the US East Coast.

3.  The Pacific island of New Guinea compared to Britain.

There are many more fascinating comparisons at the link.  Highly recommended.


Unmasking the transgender movement and those behind it


In the aftermath of the Nashville Christian school shooting, a great deal of attention has been paid to the possible motivation of the transgender perpetrator.  The FBI and/or other authorities aren't helping by refusing to publish the shooter's manifesto, which is allegedly "astronomically dangerous" and "a blueprint on total destruction".  In the absence of the facts, we can only speculate - and such speculation is, I suggest, more dangerous than the truth, because there's no way to check or verify it.

However, in the aftermath of the Nashville tragedy, a number of "deep background" articles have sought to analyze the entire transgender movement.  They've produced some very useful information, and I think deserve our attention.  I'm not going to quote at length from any of them, because there's far too much detail to summarize in a brief blog article.  Nevertheless, I highly recommend that you read these articles for yourself.  They're worth your time.

1.  Queer theory indoctrination is directly responsible for Nashville tragedy

"Queer theory — and the transgender ideology that is part of it — is essentially just one segment of critical theory, aimed at deconstructing those truths by assaulting the objective definitions of man, woman, child, marriage, sex, gender, etc. Though it may sound hyperbolic to some, queer theory’s ultimate — albeit camouflaged — purpose is to spark a neo-Marxist revolution by destroying our prevailing notions and institutions; by destroying the American family, and by turning transgender and “nonbinary” youth into violent revolutionaries."

2.  Billionaire perverts behind the trans agenda

"... transgenderism is a top down ‘ideology’ with close links to the transhumanist movement and megamoney-backed initiatives which can be traced back to early 2000s Silicon Valley scientists. Investigative journalist and feminist Jennifer Bilek has has located its genesis in two leading American transhumanists – William Bainbridge and the fabulously wealthy lawyer and bio-tech entrepreneur, Martine Rothblatt, a transwoman who had sex reassignment surgery in 1994."

"The tranny/janny comparison has been made many times before. But aside from the truly excellent wordplay at its heart, most people only compare trannissaries to janissaries because both are “shock troops” for a formidable regime. For instance, here’s the excellent American Greatness:

If it wasn’t already clear, the shooter in Nashville was a Janissary, a demented footsoldier of an evil, totalitarian ideology that wishes to remake the world in its demonic image.

But in fact, this is far more than some simple joke."

4.  Welcome To The Great Spiritual War Of Our Time

"The side of evil should now be obvious to everyone. The perverts, pedophiles, abortion fanatics, and Chinese communist party officials are all on the same grotesque side. It’s the side of the woke and the queer theorists ... The Rainbow Jihad is not an accidental coalition of political groups and cultural forces. There’s a common unity between these people — and the unity is their shared hatred of God. That’s why this evil movement seems to be communist and sexually perverted and Satanic all at the same time."

The fourth article is of particular interest to me, because - as a Christian and a pastor - I firmly believe that the whole transgender debacle is yet another front in the eternal, ongoing spiritual warfare between good and evil.  However, even if you don't believe in God or the spiritual world, the first three articles are enough to make the point.  We're fighting a fundamentally evil philosophy here, one that denies facts and truth and imposes falsehood and lies.  At its heart, that's the core of transgenderism.

I have no problem working with transgender people to help them deal with the psychological and/or psychiatric problems that have led them into this abyss.  I also understand and accept that there are a few people - vanishingly few:  far less than 1% of the population - who are what's described as "intersex".  They can genuinely describe themselves as "neither fish nor fowl", and have immense problems dealing with their gender, sexuality, etc.  For them I have nothing but sympathy.  However, for 99% of those who claim that they're transgendered, I'm afraid that we do them no service by pretending to go along with their delusions.  They need help with their psychological/psychiatric issues, but not help to alter their bodies to conform to their delusions.

As for those who want to divorce "gender" from "sex":  nonsense!  In all of recorded history, we have seen no such dichotomy in medicine, philosophy, theology or any other discipline.  It's a wholly recent phenomenon, driven by political correctness (see the articles linked above for details).  When it comes to one's sex, the chromosomes have it:  XX or XY (with, as noted, a very, very few "intersex" exceptions to that rule).  That reality trumps any desire to be something different.  We are what our chromosomes say we are, and our gender follows our sex.  We may feel differently, but the facts don't correspond to our feelings.  To pretend otherwise is to live a lie;  to accommodate those living a lie is to give countenance to that lie, and abandon the truth.  Unless and until medical science - not medical wishful thinking, not political correctness, but hard, measurable, verifiable scientific fact - can demonstrate otherwise, that's where the matter rests.


Monday, April 24, 2023

Telling it like it is


The Good Citizen is an iconoclastic, acerbic, insightful commenter on the follies and foibles of modern society.  In his most recent column, he tackles the issue of race and racism in America, and makes some pungent observations.  It's far too long to embed here, but I've selected a few choice excerpts.

How did we arrive at this world where everything is racist?

And if everything is racist, then nothing is racist, and the word has no meaning, which would mean we’ve truly arrived at a colorblind society.

Why is this affliction, this sick obsession with race and racism mostly isolated to the United States?

Cui Bono?

. . .

After the Occupy Wall Street movement was infiltrated and decimated from within ... anger at the bankers and speculators and real owners of the country who engineered the global financial crisis of 2008 and subsequent recession did not subside ... So they turned to the one guaranteed psyop to create confusion, maximize division, and take the heat off themselves—racial division.

. . .

For the first time, the terms White Privilege, Whiteness, Systemic Racism, and Discrimination magically found legs and devotees outside the comedic lecture auditoriums of Race Marxists. Magically, the narrative shifted overnight to take the heat off the criminal class.

Gradually and then suddenly whiteness became a crime, if not a felony, a way of being in the world that was responsible for every non-white person’s problems. As with affirmative action, non-whites who put family and education first also had to be sacrificed in the name of equity. Asians suffered the most, in hiring and university admissions, and both races still pay the price today.

Whiteness was responsible for historical sins that needed repairing, in the only way a subservient underclass shucking and jiving on the Democrat plantation for sixty years have been habituated to understand absolution—with money and handouts and a shove to the front of the line.

. . .

No racism needs evidence or proof, and yet the accusation will stand because we are all guilty until proven innocent through the self-debasing repentant embrace of anti-racism; through blood guilt, historical guilt, associative guilt, even a guilty conscience, all of which can only be absolved in the same way—by giving the oppressed victims more money and removing all obstacles to obtainment, namely hard work, merit, and achievement.

Racism is now everywhere. Math is racist. White inventions are racist. Algebra is racist. Testing is racist. Police are racist. Every institution that wasn’t created or founded by and for black people, is racist, oppressive, and keeps black people from realizing their true potential.

. . .

In a world of illusions where truth is subverted or inverted this anti-white grift now passes for acceptable public “discourse” on television, in corporate board rooms or H.R. departments, at school board meetings, on Facebook, in the columns of coastal media monopolies, in television commercial casting rooms, and at university tenure committees.

. . .

We are now supposed to believe that white-on-black crime is endemic, a total and complete statistical inversion of reality by a double-digit factor.

. . .

The media’s role in this race war psyop is no different than in any other psyop—push the official narrative, even if it defies all statistical evidence, even if it’s the most preposterous bunch of shit that no rational humans could possibly believe and ignore all the counter facts.

. . .

They need black people so far from the truth that they don’t dare ever consider leaving their Democrat-run Globopsycho plantation.

Because people who see the truth can never be enslaved.

But their greatest coup hasn’t been keeping the truth from the black community, and getting them to blame everyone else for their problems so that they can never even begin the process of healing and rebuilding.

It’s been getting corporations, government institutions, public schools, professional sports leagues, the entire entertainment industry, and millions of brainwashed white liberals with a savior complex to help keep them mentally enslaved and careening toward cultural self-destruction.

There's much more at the link.  It's well worth reading in full.

When you read news headlines about reparations, and the insane amounts being bandied about by their proponents, look at them in the light of The Good Citizen's perspective.  They're nothing more than the promise of unlimited freebies to one section of the population, at the expense of every other section.  They're an incentive to vote the way they're told, because if they do, they'll be rewarded with all that lovely money that they haven't earned and don't deserve.  It's nothing more than a bribe . . . and, sadly, it's working.

As far as I'm aware, no person living in the United States today was a slave, or the son or daughter of a slave, or the grandson or granddaughter for that matter - so why should they receive reparations for slavery?  As far as I'm aware, no-one born in the USA and living today has ever owned a slave - so why should they be forced to pay reparations for slavery to others?

It's merely the latest con game being practiced upon us by the moonbats of the progressive left, and should be rejected with the contempt it - and they - deserve.  Sadly, a lot of people have been taken in by their propaganda, and don't see it that way.

Think about that in the light of Tucker Carlson's comments last Friday, as noted in the preceding postThat's what he's talking about - the deliberate destruction of America through lies, deceit and fraud.  Race and racism are merely pawns in the hands of those wanting to achieve that.


Tucker Carlson on the state of this country


Tucker Carlson gave the keynote address at the Heritage Foundation's 50th Anniversary celebrations last Friday.  It's a remarkable summary of where we are as a nation, and the perils of political correctness and progressive liberalism that confront us.  I think it's worth watching in full.  It's 26 minutes of your time that will be well spent.

We'll do well to listen to his message, and apply it.  It'll take courage to stand up to the tide flowing against honesty, truth and sincerity in this country, but we need to find that courage and stand firm in it.  If we don't, we may as well give up on our country - but our Founding Fathers didn't leave their heritage to cowards.  If we want to prove worthy of that inheritance, we need to stand firm.


Memes that made me laugh 156


Gathered from around the Internet over the past week.  Click any image for a larger view.

Sunday, April 23, 2023

Sunday morning music


Today we're on a brief musical journey, from the most rural and unsophisticated of environments all the way to the chemistry lab.

"The Irish Washerwoman" is a traditional tune, dating back (according to Wikipedia) to at least the late 1700's, if not earlier.  Here's an orchestral adaptation by Leroy Anderson as part of his Irish Suite.

And that's where the fun began.  The tune has been adapted by other performers and composers, with different lyrics.  Perhaps the most amusing was penned in response to a humorous essay by Isaac Asimov.  Wikipedia relates:

Isaac Asimov, in a 1963 humorous essay entitled "You, too, can speak Gaelic", reprinted in the anthology Adding a Dimension among others, traces the etymology of each component of the chemical name "para-di-methyl-amino-benz-alde-hyde" (e.g. the syllable "-benz-" ultimately derives from the Arabic lubān jāwī (لبان جاوي, "frankincense from Java"). Asimov points out that the name can be pronounced to the tune of the familiar jig "The Irish Washerwoman", and relates an anecdote in which a receptionist of Irish descent, hearing him singing the syllables thus, mistook them for the original Gaelic words to the jig. This essay inspired Jack Carroll's 1963 filk song "The Chemist's Drinking Song," (NESFA Hymnal Vol. 2 2nd ed. p. 65) set to the tune of that jig, which begins "Paradimethylaminobenzaldehyde, / Sodium citrate, ammonium cyanide, / ..."

How can I resist?


Saturday, April 22, 2023

Saturday Snippet: Pursuing thieves down a frozen river


Theodore Roosevelt was, by almost any estimation, regardless of one's political views, one of the foremost among American Presidents.  His character was formed through youthful ill-health, the tragedy of losing his first wife early in their marriage, hard-working years as a rancher, cowhand and hunter, and many other factors - all of which helped to make him the President he became.

In his book "Ranch Life and the Hunting Trail", Roosevelt describes his experiences during the 1880's of ranching in the Dakotas.

His forthright description of the adventures, hardships and rewards of ranch life caught the imagination of his readers, and helped propel his political career - in much the same way as Winston Churchill's writings about his early life helped him to gain elected office.

Here's one chapter from the book, in which he describes the hunt for three thieves during the early spring thaw.

... next morning one of my men who was out before breakfast came back to the house with the startling news that our boat was gone — stolen, for he brought with him the end of the rope with which it had been tied, evidently cut off with a sharp knife; and also a red woolen mitten with a leather palm, which he had picked up on the ice. We had no doubt as to who had stolen it; for whoever had done so had certainly gone down the river in it, and the only other thing in the shape of a boat on the Little Missouri was a small flat-bottomed scow in the possession of three hard characters who lived in a shack, or hut, some twenty miles above us, and whom we had shrewdly suspected for some time of wishing to get out of the country, as certain of the cattle-men had begun openly to threaten to lynch them. They belonged to a class that always holds sway during the raw youth of a frontier community, and the putting down of which is the first step towards decent government. Dakota, west of the Missouri, has been settled very recently, and every town within it has seen strange antics performed during the past six or seven years. Medora, in particular, has had more than its full share of shooting and stabbing affrays, horse-stealing, and cattle-killing. But the time for such things was passing away; and during the preceding fall the vigilantes — locally known as “stranglers,” in happy allusion to their summary method of doing justice — had made a clean sweep of the cattle country along the Yellowstone and that part of the Big Missouri around and below its mouth. Be it remarked, in passing, that while the outcome of their efforts had been in the main wholesome, yet, as is always the case in an extended raid of vigilantes, several of the sixty odd victims had been perfectly innocent men who had been hung or shot in company with the real scoundrels, either through carelessness and misapprehension or on account of some personal spite.

The three men we suspected had long been accused — justly or unjustly — of being implicated both in cattle-killing and in that worst of frontier crimes, horse-stealing: it was only by an accident that they had escaped the clutches of the vigilantes the preceding fall. Their leader was a well-built fellow named Finnigan, who had long red hair reaching to his shoulders, and always wore a broad hat and a fringed buckskin shirt. He was rather a hard case, and had been chief actor in a number of shooting scrapes. The other two were a half-breed, a stout, muscular man, and an old German, whose viciousness was of the weak and shiftless type.

We knew that these three men were becoming uneasy and were anxious to leave the locality; and we also knew that traveling on horseback, in the direction in which they would wish to go, was almost impossible, as the swollen, ice-fringed rivers could not be crossed at all, and the stretches of broken ground would form nearly as impassable barriers. So we had little doubt that it was they who had taken our boat; and as they knew there was then no boat left on the river, and as the country along its banks was entirely impracticable for horses, we felt sure they would be confident that there could be no pursuit.

Accordingly we at once set to work in our turn to build a flat-bottomed scow, wherein to follow them. Our loss was very annoying, and might prove a serious one if we were long prevented from crossing over to look after the saddle-band; but the determining motive in our minds was neither chagrin nor anxiety to recover our property. In any wild country where the power of the law is little felt or heeded, and where every one has to rely upon himself for protection, men soon get to feel that it is in the highest degree unwise to submit to any wrong without making an immediate and resolute effort to avenge it upon the wrong-doers, at no matter what cost of risk or trouble. To submit tamely and meekly to theft, or to any other injury, is to invite almost certain repetition of the offense, in a place where self-reliant hardihood and the ability to hold one’s own under all circumstances rank as the first of virtues.

Two of my cowboys, Seawall and Dow, were originally from Maine, and were mighty men of their hands, skilled in woodcraft and the use of the ax, paddle, and rifle. They set to work with a will, and, as by good luck there were plenty of boards, in two or three days they had turned out a first-class flat-bottom, which was roomy, drew very little water, and was dry as a bone; and though, of course, not a handy craft, was easily enough managed in going down-stream. Into this we packed flour, coffee, and bacon enough to last us a fortnight or so, plenty of warm bedding, and the mess kit; and early one cold March morning slid it into the icy current, took our seats, and shoved off down the river.

There could have been no better men for a trip of this kind than my two companions, Seawall and Dow. They were tough, hardy, resolute fellows, quick as cats, strong as bears, and able to travel like bull moose. We felt very little uneasiness as to the result of a fight with the men we were after, provided we had anything like a fair show; moreover, we intended, if possible, to get them at such a disadvantage that there would not be any fight at all. The only risk of any consequence that we ran was that of being ambushed; for the extraordinary formation of the Bad Lands, with the ground cut up into gullies, serried walls, and battlemented hill-tops, makes it the country of all others for hiding-places and ambuscades.

For several days before we started the weather had been bitterly cold, as a furious blizzard was blowing; but on the day we left there was a lull, and we hoped a thaw had set in. We all were most warmly and thickly dressed, with woolen socks and underclothes, heavy jackets and trousers, and great fur coats, so that we felt we could bid defiance to the weather. Each carried his rifle, and we had in addition a double-barreled duck gun, for water-fowl and beaver. To manage the boat, we had paddles, heavy oars, and long iron-shod poles, Seawall steering while Dow sat in the bow. Altogether we felt as if we were off on a holiday trip, and set to work to have as good a time as possible.

The river twisted in every direction, winding to and fro across the alluvial valley bottom, only to be brought up by the rows of great barren buttes that bounded it on each edge. It had worn away the sides of these till they towered up as cliffs of clay, marl, or sandstone. Across their white faces the seams of coal drew sharp black bands, and they were elsewhere blotched and varied with brown, yellow, purple, and red. This fantastic coloring, together with the jagged irregularity of their crests, channeled by the weather into spires, buttresses, and battlements, as well as their barreness and the distinctness with which they loomed up through the high, dry air, gave them a look that was a singular mixture of the terrible and the grotesque. The bottoms were covered thickly with leafless cottonwood trees, or else with withered brown grass and stunted, sprawling sage bushes. At times the cliffs rose close to us on either hand, and again the valley would widen into a sinuous oval a mile or two long, bounded on every side, as far as our eyes could see, by a bluff line without a break, until, as we floated down close to its other end, there would suddenly appear in one corner a cleft through which the stream rushed out. As it grew dusk the shadowy outlines of the buttes lost nothing of their weirdness; the twilight only made their uncouth shapelessness more grim and forbidding. They looked like the crouching figures of great goblin beasts.

Those two hills on the right
Crouched like two bulls locked horn in horn in fight —
While to the left a tall scalped mountain....
The dying sunset kindled through a cleft:
The hills, like giants at a hunting, lay
Chin upon hand, to see the game at bay —

might well have been written after seeing the strange, desolate lands lying in western Dakota.

All through the early part of the day we drifted swiftly down between the heaped-up piles of ice, the cakes and slabs now dirty and unattractive looking. Towards evening, however, there came long reaches where the banks on either side were bare, though even here there would every now and then be necks where the jam had been crowded into too narrow a spot and had risen over the side as it had done up-stream, grinding the bark from the big cottonwoods and snapping the smaller ones short off. In such places the ice-walls were sometimes eight or ten feet high, continually undermined by the restless current; and every now and then overhanging pieces would break off and slide into the stream with a loud sullen splash, like the plunge of some great water beast. Nor did we dare to go in too close to the high cliffs, as bowlders and earth masses, freed by the thaw from the grip of the frost, kept rolling and leaping down their faces and forced us to keep a sharp lookout lest our boat should be swamped.

At nightfall we landed, and made our camp on a point of wood-covered land jutting out into the stream. We had seen very little trace of life until late in the day, for the ducks had not yet arrived; but in the afternoon a sharp-tailed prairie fowl flew across stream ahead of the boat, lighting on a low branch by the water’s edge. Shooting him, we landed and picked off two others that were perched high up in leafless cottonwoods, plucking the buds. These three birds served us as supper; and shortly afterward, as the cold grew more and more biting, we rolled in under our furs and blankets and were soon asleep.

In the morning it was evident that instead of thawing it had grown decidedly colder. The anchor ice was running thick in the river, and we spent the first hour or two after sunrise in hunting over the frozen swamp bottom for white-tail deer, of which there were many tracks; but we saw nothing. Then we broke camp and again started down-stream — a simple operation, as we had no tent, and all we had to do was to cord up our bedding and gather the mess kit. It was colder than before, and for some time we went along in chilly silence, nor was it until midday that the sun warmed our blood in the least. The crooked bed of the current twisted hither and thither, but whichever way it went the icy north wind, blowing stronger all the time, drew steadily up it. One of us remarking that we bade fair to have it in our faces all day, the steersman announced that we couldn’t, unless it was the crookedest wind in Dakota; and half an hour afterward we overheard him muttering to himself that it was the crookedest wind in Dakota. We passed a group of tepees on one bottom, marking the deserted winter camp of some Grosventre Indians, which some of my men had visited a few months previously on a trading expedition. It was almost the last point on the river with which we were acquainted. At midday we landed on a sand-bar for lunch — a simple enough meal, the tea being boiled over a fire of driftwood, that also fried the bacon, while the bread only needed to be baked every other day. Then we again shoved off. As the afternoon waned the cold grew still more bitter, and the wind increased, blowing in fitful gusts against us, until it chilled us to the marrow when we sat still. But we rarely did sit still; for even the rapid current was unable to urge the light-draught scow down in the teeth of the strong blasts, and we only got her along by dint of hard work with pole and paddle. Long before the sun went down the ice had begun to freeze on the handles of the poles, and we were not sorry to haul on shore for the night. For supper we again had prairie fowl, having shot four from a great patch of bulberry bushes late in the afternoon. A man doing hard open-air work in cold weather is always hungry for meat.

During the night the thermometer went down to zero, and in the morning the anchor ice was running so thickly that we did not care to start at once, for it is most difficult to handle a boat in the deep frozen slush. Accordingly we took a couple of hours for a deer hunt, as there were evidently many white-tail on the bottom. We selected one long, isolated patch of tangled trees and brushwood, two of us beating through it while the other watched one end; but almost before we had begun four deer broke out at one side, loped easily off, evidently not much scared, and took refuge in a deep glen or gorge, densely wooded with cedars, that made a blind pocket in the steep side of one of the great plateaus bounding the bottom. After a short consultation, one of our number crept round to the head of the gorge, making a wide détour, and the other two advanced up it on each side, thus completely surrounding the doomed deer. They attempted to break out past the man at the head of the glen, who shot down a couple, a buck and a yearling doe. The other two made their escape by running off over ground so rough that it looked fitter to be crossed by their upland-loving cousins, the black-tail.

This success gladdened our souls, insuring us plenty of fresh meat. We carried pretty much all of both deer back to camp, and, after a hearty breakfast, loaded our scow and started merrily off once more. The cold still continued intense, and as the day wore away we became numbed by it, until at last an incident occurred that set our blood running freely again.

We were, of course, always on the alert, keeping a sharp lookout ahead and around us, and making as little noise as possible. Finally our watchfulness was rewarded, for in the middle of the afternoon of this, the third day we had been gone, as we came around a bend, we saw in front of us the lost boat, together with a scow, moored against the bank, while from among the bushes some little way back the smoke of a camp-fire curled up through the frosty air. We had come on the camp of the thieves. As I glanced at the faces of my two followers I was struck by the grim, eager look in their eyes. Our overcoats were off in a second, and after exchanging a few muttered words, the boat was hastily and silently shoved towards the bank. As soon as it touched the shore ice I leaped out and ran up behind a clump of bushes, so as to cover the landing of the others, who had to make the boat fast. For a moment we felt a thrill of keen excitement, and our veins tingled as we crept cautiously towards the fire, for it seemed likely that there would be a brush; but, as it turned out, this was almost the only moment of much interest, for the capture itself was as tame as possible.

The men we were after knew they had taken with them the only craft there was on the river, and so felt perfectly secure; accordingly, we took them absolutely by surprise. The only one in camp was the German, whose weapons were on the ground, and who, of course, gave up at once, his two companions being off hunting. We made him safe, delegating one of our number to look after him particularly and see that he made no noise, and then sat down and waited for the others. The camp was under the lee of a cut bank, behind which we crouched, and, after waiting an hour or over, the men we were after came in. We heard them a long way off and made ready, watching them for some minutes as they walked towards us, their rifles on their shoulders and the sunlight glinting on the steel barrels. When they were within twenty yards or so we straightened up from behind the bank, covering them with our cocked rifles, while I shouted to them to hold up their hands — an order that in such a case, in the West, a man is not apt to disregard if he thinks the giver is in earnest. The half-breed obeyed at once, his knees trembling as if they had been made of whalebone. Finnigan hesitated for a second, his eyes fairly wolfish; then, as I walked up within a few paces, covering the center of his chest so as to avoid overshooting, and repeating the command, he saw that he had no show, and, with an oath, let his rifle drop and held his hands up beside his head.

It was nearly dusk, so we camped where we were. The first thing to be done was to collect enough wood to enable us to keep a blazing fire all night long. While Seawall and Dow, thoroughly at home in the use of the ax, chopped down dead cottonwood trees and dragged the logs up into a huge pile, I kept guard over the three prisoners, who were huddled into a sullen group some twenty yards off, just the right distance for the buckshot in the double-barrel. Having captured our men, we were in a quandary how to keep them. The cold was so intense that to tie them tightly hand and foot meant, in all likelihood, freezing both hands and feet off during the night; and it was no use tying them at all unless we tied them tightly enough to stop in part the circulation. So nothing was left for us to do but to keep perpetual guard over them. Of course we had carefully searched them, and taken away not only their firearms and knives, but everything else that could possibly be used as a weapon. By this time they were pretty well cowed, as they found out very quickly that they would be well treated so long as they remained quiet, but would receive some rough handling if they attempted any disturbance.

Our next step was to cord their weapons up in some bedding, which we sat on while we took supper. Immediately afterward we made the men take off their boots — an additional safeguard, as it was a cactus country, in which a man could travel barefoot only at the risk of almost certainly laming himself for life — and go to bed, all three lying on one buffalo robe and being covered by another, in the full light of the blazing fire. We determined to watch in succession a half-night apiece, thus each getting a full rest every third night. I took first watch, my two companions, revolver under head, rolling up in their blankets on the side of the fire opposite that on which the three captives lay; while I, in fur cap, gantlets, and overcoat, took my station a little way back in the circle of firelight, in a position in which I could watch my men with the absolute certainty of being able to stop any movement, no matter how sudden. For this night-watching we always used the double-barrel with buckshot, as a rifle is uncertain in the dark; while with a shot-gun at such a distance, and with men lying down, a person who is watchful may be sure that they cannot get up, no matter how quick they are, without being riddled. The only danger lies in the extreme monotony of sitting still in the dark guarding men who make no motion, and the consequent tendency to go to sleep, especially when one has had a hard day’s work and is feeling really tired. But neither on the first night nor on any subsequent one did we ever abate a jot of our watchfulness.

Next morning we started down-stream, having a well-laden flotilla, for the men we had caught had a good deal of plunder in their boats, including some saddles, as they evidently intended to get horses as soon as they reached a part of the country where there were any, and where it was possible to travel. Finnigan, who was the ringleader, and the man I was especially after, I kept by my side in our boat, the other two being put in their own scow, heavily laden and rather leaky, and with only one paddle. We kept them just in front of us, a few yards distant, the river being so broad that we knew, and they knew also, any attempt at escape to be perfectly hopeless.

For some miles we went swiftly down-stream, the cold being bitter and the slushy anchor ice choking the space between the boats; then the current grew sluggish, eddies forming along the sides. We paddled on until, coming into a long reach where the water was almost backed up, we saw there was a stoppage at the other end. Working up to this, it proved to be a small ice jam, through which we broke our way only to find ourselves, after a few hundred yards, stopped by another. We had hoped that the first was merely a jam of anchor ice, caused by the cold of the last few days; but the jam we had now come to was black and solid, and, running the boats ashore, one of us went off down the bank to find out what the matter was. On climbing a hill that commanded a view of the valley for several miles, the explanation became only too evident — as far as we could see, the river was choked with black ice. The great Ox-bow jam had stopped, and we had come down to its tail.

We had nothing to do but to pitch camp, after which we held a consultation. The Little Missouri has much too swift a current, — when it has any current at all, — with too bad a bottom, for it to be possible to take a boat up-stream; and to walk meant, of course, abandoning almost all we had. Moreover we knew that a thaw would very soon start the jam, and so made up our minds that we had best simply stay where we were, and work down-stream as fast as we could, trusting that the spell of bitter weather would pass before our food gave out.

The next eight days were as irksome and monotonous as any I ever spent: there is very little amusement in combining the functions of a sheriff with those of an arctic explorer. The weather kept as cold as ever. During the night the water in the pail would freeze solid. Ice formed all over the river, thickly along the banks; and the clear, frosty sun gave us so little warmth that the melting hardly began before noon. Each day the great jam would settle down-stream a few miles, only to wedge again, leaving behind it several smaller jams, through which we would work our way until we were as close to the tail of the large one as we dared to go. Once we came round a bend and got so near that we were in a good deal of danger of being sucked under. The current ran too fast to let us work back against it, and we could not pull the boat up over the steep banks of rotten ice, which were breaking off and falling in all the time. We could only land and snub the boats up with ropes, holding them there for two or three hours until the jam worked down once more — all the time, of course, having to keep guard over the captives, who had caused us so much trouble that we were bound to bring them in, no matter what else we lost.

We had to be additionally cautious on account of being in the Indian country, having worked down past Killdeer Mountains, where some of my cowboys had run across a band of Sioux — said to be Tetons — the year before. Very probably the Indians would not have harmed us anyhow, but as we were hampered by the prisoners, we preferred not meeting them; nor did we, though we saw plenty of fresh signs, and found, to our sorrow, that they had just made a grand hunt all down the river, and had killed or driven off almost every head of game in the country through which we were passing.

As our stock of provisions grew scantier and scantier, we tried in vain to eke it out by the chase; for we saw no game. Two of us would go out hunting at a time, while the third kept guard over the prisoners. The latter would be made to sit down together on a blanket at one side of the fire, while the guard for the time being stood or sat some fifteen or twenty yards off. The prisoners being unarmed, and kept close together, there was no possibility of their escaping, and the guard kept at such a distance that they could not overpower him by springing on him, he having a Winchester or the double-barreled shot-gun always in his hands cocked and at the ready. So long as we kept wide-awake and watchful, there was not the least danger, as our three men knew us, and understood perfectly that the slightest attempt at a break would result in their being shot down; but, although there was thus no risk, it was harassing, tedious work, and the strain, day in and day out, without any rest or let up, became very tiresome.

The days were monotonous to a degree. The endless rows of hills bounding the valley, barren and naked, stretched along without a break. When we rounded a bend, it was only to see on each hand the same lines of broken buttes dwindling off into the distance ahead of us as they had dwindled off into the distance behind. If, in hunting, we climbed to their tops, as far as our eyes could scan there was nothing but the great rolling prairie, bleak and lifeless, reaching off to the horizon. We broke camp in the morning, on a point of land covered with brown, leafless, frozen cottonwoods; and in the afternoon we pitched camp on another point in the midst of a grove of the same stiff, dreary trees. The discolored river, whose eddies boiled into yellow foam, flowed always between the same banks of frozen mud or of muddy ice. And what was, from a practical standpoint, even worse, our diet began to be as same as the scenery. Being able to kill nothing, we exhausted all our stock of provisions, and got reduced to flour, without yeast or baking-powder; and unleavened bread, made with exceedingly muddy water, is not, as a steady thing, attractive.

Finding that they were well treated and were also watched with the closest vigilance, our prisoners behaved themselves excellently and gave no trouble, though afterward, when out of our hands and shut up in jail, the half-breed got into a stabbing affray. They conversed freely with my two men on a number of indifferent subjects, and after the first evening no allusion was made to the theft, or anything connected with it; so that an outsider overhearing the conversation would never have guessed what our relations to each other really were. Once, and once only, did Finnigan broach the subject. Somebody had been speaking of a man whom we all knew, called “Calamity,” who had been recently taken by the sheriff on a charge of horse-stealing. Calamity had escaped once, but was caught at a disadvantage the next time; nevertheless, when summoned to hold his hands up, he refused, and attempted to draw his own revolver, with the result of having two bullets put through him. Finnigan commented on Calamity as a fool for “not knowing when a man had the drop on him”; and then, suddenly turning to me, said, his weather-beaten face flushing darkly: “If I’d had any show at all, you’d have sure had to fight, Mr. Roosevelt; but there wasn’t any use making a break when I’d only have got shot myself, with no chance of harming any one else.” I laughed and nodded, and the subject was dropped.

Indeed, if the time was tedious to us, it must have seemed never-ending to our prisoners, who had nothing to do but to lie still and read, or chew the bitter cud of their reflections, always conscious that some pair of eyes was watching them every moment, and that at least one loaded rifle was ever ready to be used against them. They had quite a stock of books, some of a rather unexpected kind. Dime novels and the inevitable “History of the James Brothers” — a book that, together with the “Police Gazette,” is to be found in the hands of every professed or putative ruffian in the West — seemed perfectly in place; but it was somewhat surprising to find that a large number of more or less drearily silly “society” novels, ranging from Ouida’s to those of The Duchess and Augusta J. Evans, were most greedily devoured. As for me, I had brought with me “Anna Karénina,” and my surroundings were quite gray enough to harmonize well with Tolstoï.

Our commons grew shorter and shorter; and finally even the flour was nearly gone, and we were again forced to think seriously of abandoning the boats. The Indians had driven all the deer out of the country; occasionally we shot prairie fowl, but they were not plentiful. A flock of geese passed us one morning, and afterward an old gander settled down on the river near our camp; but he was over two hundred yards off, and a rifle-shot missed him. Where he settled down, by the way, the river was covered with thick glare ice that would just bear his weight; and it was curious to see him stretch his legs out in front and slide forty or fifty feet when he struck, balancing himself with his outspread wings.

But when the day was darkest the dawn appeared. At last, having worked down some thirty miles at the tail of the ice jam, we struck an outlying cow-camp of the C Diamond (C [diamond]) ranch, and knew that our troubles were almost over. There was but one cowboy in it, but we were certain of his cordial help, for in a stock country all make common cause against either horse-thieves or cattle-thieves. He had no wagon, but told us we could get one up at a ranch near Killdeer Mountains, some fifteen miles off, and lent me a pony to go up there and see about it — which I accordingly did, after a sharp preliminary tussle when I came to mount the wiry bronco (one of my men remarking in a loud aside to our cowboy host, “the boss ain’t no bronco-buster”). When I reached the solitary ranch spoken of, I was able to hire a large prairie schooner and two tough little bronco mares, driven by the settler himself, a rugged old plainsman, who evidently could hardly understand why I took so much bother with the thieves instead of hanging them off-hand. Returning to the river the next day, we walked our men up to the Killdeer Mountains. Seawall and Dow left me the following morning, went back to the boats, and had no further difficulty, for the weather set in very warm, the ice went through with a rush, and they reached Mandan in about ten days, killing four beaver and five geese on the way, but lacking time to stop to do any regular hunting.

Meanwhile I took the three thieves into Dickinson, the nearest town. The going was bad, and the little mares could only drag the wagon at a walk; so, though we drove during the daylight, it took us two days and a night to make the journey. It was a most desolate drive. The prairie had been burned the fall before, and was a mere bleak waste of blackened earth, and a cold, rainy mist lasted throughout the two days. The only variety was where the road crossed the shallow headwaters of Knife and Green rivers. Here the ice was high along the banks, and the wagon had to be taken to pieces to get it over. My three captives were unarmed, but as I was alone with them, except for the driver, of whom I knew nothing, I had to be doubly on my guard, and never let them come close to me. The little mares went so slowly, and the heavy road rendered any hope of escape by flogging up the horses so entirely out of the question, that I soon found the safest plan was to put the prisoners in the wagon and myself walk behind with the inevitable Winchester. Accordingly I trudged steadily the whole time behind the wagon through the ankle-deep mud. It was a gloomy walk. Hour after hour went by always the same, while I plodded along through the dreary landscape — hunger, cold, and fatigue struggling with a sense of dogged, weary resolution. At night, when we put up at the squalid hut of a frontier granger, the only habitation on our road, it was even worse. I did not dare to go to sleep, but making my three men get into the upper bunk, from which they could get out only with difficulty, I sat up with my back against the cabin-door and kept watch over them all night long. So, after thirty-six hours’ sleeplessness, I was most heartily glad when we at last jolted into the long, straggling main street of Dickinson, and I was able to give my unwilling companions into the hands of the sheriff.

Under the laws of Dakota I received my fees as a deputy sheriff for making the three arrests, and also mileage for the three hundred odd miles gone over — a total of some fifty-dollars.

One of the men wrote me from prison, giving me his reasons for taking the boat. Part of his letter is worth giving, not only because it contains his own story, but also for the sake of the delicious sense of equality shown in the last few sentences. He had been explaining that he believed I had accused him of stealing some saddles:

“In the first place I did not take your boat Mr. Roosevelt because I wanted to steal something, no indeed, when I took that vessel I was labouring under the impression, die dog or eat the hachette..... When I was a couple of miles above your ranch the boat I had sprung a leak and I saw that I could not make the Big Missouri in it in the shape that it was in. I thought of asking assistance of you, but I supposed that you had lost some saddles and blamed me for taking them. Now there I was with a leaky boat and under the circumstances what was I two do, two ask you for help, the answer I expected two get was two look down the mouth of a Winchester. I saw your boat and made up my mind two get possession of it. I was bound two get out of that country cost what it might, when people talk lynch law and threaten a persons life, I think that it is about time two leave. I did not want to go back up river on the account that I feared a mob..... I have read a good many of your sketches of ranch life in the papers since I have been here, and they interested me deeply.

“Yours sincerely, “&c.

“P. S. Should you stop over at Bismarck this fall make a call to the Prison. I should be glad to meet you.”

Quite the adventure for any man, let alone one with the drive and energy of Mr. Roosevelt.  One sees the future President in embryo in these pages.  One wishes we had politicians of his ilk to lead our country today.  Our current crop, on either side of the political aisle, compare very poorly to him.