Friday, May 26, 2017

Morgan Griffith on Memorial Day

From U.S. Representative Morgan Griffith (R-VA-9):

"
Remembering Fallen Heroes
On the last Monday in May, our nation honors Memorial Day. We use this day to remember the brave men and women who gave their lives in defense of the Republic.
What we know as Memorial Day began in the years immediately following the War Between the States. Citizens in both the North and the South would decorate the graves of the war’s dead with flowers in springtime. Towns across the country claim to be the birthplace of this practice, perhaps an illustration of the widespread human desire to honor those who sacrificed everything for others.
In 1868, General John Logan, the commander of the Union veterans association Grand Army of the Republic, designated May 30 as Decoration Day. The whole country gradually adopted this day to remember all the war’s dead, although Congress moved it to the last Monday of May in 1971. After World War I, Memorial Day observances began to include the fallen from all of America’s wars.*
The veterans of the War Between the States and World War I are all gone now, but we still have with us veterans of World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan, and Iraq. They served along with those fallen heroes whom we honor on Memorial Day, and they still feel those losses deeply.
On this day, I remember from my years practicing law a particular client who had served in Vietnam. One day as I headed to court in Montgomery County, I called him using my old “brick” cell phone. As fate would have it, I lost the call. I called him back but he didn’t answer.
Later in the day, when I was back in the office, I was at last able to contact him on my desk phone. He told me that when the phone disconnected, it made the same noise as the radio he used in Vietnam made when a unit went dead.
Because of the assignment he had in Vietnam, he was often in communication with people on helicopters transporting troops. Usually, the helicopters were getting soldiers out of harm’s way. When his radio went dead, it usually meant a helicopter with his comrades in arms had gone down. When I lost the call, it reminded him of lost friends.
Needless to say, I never called him using a cell phone again because it gave him flashbacks and memories of the friends he had lost in Vietnam. He was so dedicated to these fellow soldiers that he would later go back to Vietnam with the permission of that country’s government to search for some of those friends he had lost whose remains had not been recovered.
The lesson I learned is to try not to be judgmental and to recognize that many have a story in their lives we cannot fully appreciate.
You just never know how someone was affected by their service or how who they lost or what they saw during combat affected them. Some are lucky enough not to carry these hidden scars. Others are not so lucky. You just never know who might be carrying with them what was in the War Between the States called soldier’s heart, in the era of the World Wars shell shock, and in our era, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). So on this Memorial Day let’s honor those who died, and let’s honor those who may have lost a little piece of their well-being, whether it’s visible or not.
In General Logan’s order to proclaim Decoration Day, he noted that you could find the graves of the war’s fallen soldiers “in almost every city, village, and hamlet churchyard in the land.” Aside from graves, there are also memorials across the country and throughout the Ninth Congressional District, whether statues in town squares or plaques with names in auditoriums.
It is worth taking time to visit one of these sites or to attend a ceremony marking this day. In Washington, I attended a brief ceremony in Statuary Hall of the Capitol with other Members of Congress. A prayer was offered, wreaths laid, and Taps played.
Even if you are not able to visit a memorial or attend a ceremony, reflect on the sacrifices made by some for our liberty, not only by men and women willing to give their lives, but by the families and friends who see them go off to war and never return.
If you have questions, concerns, or comments, feel free to contact my office. You can call my Abingdon office at 276-525-1405 or my Christiansburg office at 540-381-5671. To reach my office via email, please visit my website at www.morgangriffith.house.gov. Also on my website is the latest material from my office, including information on votes recently taken on the floor of the House of Representatives.
*U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, https://www.va.gov/opa/speceven/memday/history.asp
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, https://www.cem.va.gov/history/memdayorder.asp
"

Keywords: Gashly ABC Rhymes

I just wrote a whole new piece of Bad Poetry in honor of the Washington Post Style Invitational verse contest. To read it, click here and follow instructions:

https://www.patreon.com/user?u=4923804

Keywords:

Washington Post 
Edward Gorey
ABC rhymes
https://www.washingtonpost.com/entertainment/style-invitational-gorey-bits-from-a-to-z--give-us-edgy-alphabet-rhymes/2017/05/25/5243edbc-3f6f-11e7-8c25-44d09ff5a4a8_story.html
number of entries that will include "T is for Trump." There might be a bonus prize for guessing how many of those entries feature either "dump" or "rump" as end rhymes and/or "tacky" inside a line. Can this web site do better than that? We hope.
news links
Animals
Bill (in legislature)
Craigslist
Dinosaur
E-mail
Flamewars
Greed
Horses
Insects
Judgment
Killing
Lefties
Microsoft Windows 10
Nosy Nerds
Officious Overlords
Protection rackets
Quality standards
'Rithmetic
Common Core
Stingingworms
http://priscillaking.blogspot.com/2013/06/phenology-buck-moth-caterpillar.html
http://priscillaking.blogspot.com/2013/06/heres-summary-of-whats-known-about-buck.html
Taxes
Urbanski, U.M.C.P. stabber.
Vile anti-conservative innuendos
World War III
eXtinction
Yuppies
Zambia

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Peace to All People of Good Will: Official Statement to Foreign Readers

Recently I posted about the hateful myth that "conservatives" are haters. The post mentioned a Christian church (which no longer exists) some of whose publications did contain lines that seem hateful when read, but, in context, what those lines actually expressed was Cold War-generated fear. The computer shows a drop in Russian readership...I hope that's not because readers thought I was trying to revive fear.

Is it time for this web site to display an Official Statement about Russians and Other Foreigners, Generally?

Official Statement: This web site denounces hate against any large group simply as a group. The position of this web site is that human beings can generally be trusted to act in what they believe to be their own best interest. In healthy social, business, or even international situations, intelligent humans will generally recognize that their own best interest is seldom completely incompatible with yours, and mutually satisfactory results can be negotiated. In times of war, intelligent humans are likely to believe that their own best interest is opposed to yours, and negotiation may become impossible. Russian, Chinese, Muslim, and other demographic types of humans, are about the same as other humans. This web site has no loyalty to any foreign government that would affect this web site's behavior in the event of war. (This web site generally deplores war.) This web site has no ill will toward individual readers in any foreign country. Actually, this web site likes having them (even though for local sponsors' purposes they don't count) and wishes more of them were able to post comments.

When I was growing up, people living in the U.S. were really being encouraged to distrust, dislike, ridicule, even fear, if not hate at least be in a position from which we could be led to hate, people in the U.S.S.R. I've mentioned being given a church history book that was all about Catholics and Protestants and completely ignored the Orthodox church; I've mentioned being told that even biblical or saints' names that are more common in Eastern Europe than in Western Europe were "weird" names to give to dolls or animals, as a child. This changed--earlier this spring this web site received reports of "conservatives" chanting, at rallies, their belief that "Russians are our friends"--and the people I know seem to be very glad it changed. Most U.S. citizens my age still know very little about anything "Russian" or Slavic or Eastern European...but many are delighted that we're now free to like them if we ever get to know any of them. This web site has no foreign policy; it does have correspondents who've expressed pro-Russian sentiments as vigorously as they've expressed pro-British, pro-French, or pro-Israeli sentiments.

I got into that rant about how, even when L.C.C. Christians were circulating lists of actors and movie producers who were to be distrusted because of their Eastern European Jewish identity, the message they were sharing was not "Hate all Jews" but "Distrust people from Soviet-bloc countries who identify as Jews while promoting socialist ideas"...and took it for granted that readers were aware that, while continuing to oppose socialist ideas, North Americans have much, much warmer and fuzzier feelings about the former Soviet-bloc countries in 2017 than we had in 1977. Well, if they're Russians using automatic translation software to read this web site, they might not have access to that information. For that, I apologize.

Russian readers, if you're still out there: Your parents, maybe the older ones among you, participated in an experiment that showed the rest of the world just how wrong ideas that sound good can be. That was brave of them; in the long run it should prove to have been a service to humankind. This web site in no way blames anybody for the mistakes his or her parents made. You are responsible for correcting the damage socialism did to you. That's likely to be a heavy burden; this web site can't do much to help you with it, but we wish you success. And, as should go without saying, we wish peace...to all the private people in all countries.

That includes even the ISIS-infested countries, in some of which we do know a few people. I'm not even going to try to communicate the dismay I feel when a "conservative" correspondent I generally respect is circulating a petition to Congress to "declare war on ISIS." Duh--the list of ISIS-infested countries includes our own. When you've worked, travelled, eaten, and even prayed with Muslims you can certainly feel disgusted that evildoers identify as Muslims even in their most evil acts, but the idea of war, destroying their homes, their tiny struggling village schools--reversing such progress as some of these people have been making to recover from abuses that originated from times of poverty...One thing the L.C.C. used to proclaim that was not a reaction to then-current news, but an understanding of the Bible that I still believe was accurate, is that Christians should never call for an offensive war.

Prosecute crimes, yes. ISIS is a big, overfunded criminal gang. If we can go after them as such, I'm in favor of that. Find the scum who attacked the concert-goers in Manchester, the way we found the scum who attacked the Boston Marathon, and let the victims' families decide whether they should be hanged or drowned or poisoned or just worked to death. Meanwhile, not as a foreign policy but as a general policy, this web site always likes diplomatic strategies better than war.

*****

An Official Statement shouldn't have to include a book link...but a correspondent shared one that seems apropos. Adam Brandon wants us to remind all readers, once again, that Senator Mike Lee recently published a positive statement about "conservative" demographic diversity that should be available at your local bookstores. Note the diversity of the people in whose biographies Senator Lee highlights "conservative" values:

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Morgan Griffith on the Middle East

From U.S. Representative Morgan Griffith (R-VA-9):

"
Israeli Palestinian Peace
President Trump is currently on his first overseas trip as President, starting in the Middle East. He is the first sitting U.S. President to visit the Western Wall1, a sacred Jewish site to pray. He is also meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, top Israeli officials, and the Palestinian leader, President Abbas.

President Trump has made it clear that he wants to bring peace and stability to this region. He is on the right track. He has expressed his willingness to listen to both sides and keep all options on the table. He is not making demands, but instead, making it clear that the U.S. role is to provide support and facilitation for the opposing sides to find common ground.

It is difficult for us to understand their complex situation; because we are so fortunate that here most disagreement is generally more tolerant and civil.

In his remarks in Israel, President Trump stated that, “Young Israeli and Palestinian children deserve to grow up in safety, and to follow their dreams free from the violence that has destroyed so many lives."

One visit by the President is not going to solve the issues that have plagued the Middle East for thousands of years. But, I am encouraged President Trump is there and has made it clear that they need to work through their conflict and we stand ready to help them bring about peace.

If you have questions, concerns, or comments, feel free to contact my office. You can call my Abingdon office at 276-525-1405 or my Christiansburg office at 540-381-5671. To reach my office via email, please visit my website at www.morgangriffith.house.gov. Also on my website is the latest material from my office, including information on votes recently taken on the floor of the House of Representatives.

"

Book Links: Correspondents' Choice (Week 2)

(This post should have appeared on Friday. Sorry. I was expecting some input from readers who, so far as I can tell, are all on vacation--not reading my blog, not posting to theirs; that fouled up my schedule for my limited online time.)

Someone (was it at the Huffington Post?) shared a link to a collection of books children voted the best for reading aloud with adults. None of The Nephews has been at the target age for this book for years, but when they were, they would've voted for it; they enjoyed learning to read along with it.



Children who up-voted the Narnia books are likely to be children who know how to read, but bond with adults (or teenagers) by sharing the older readers' delight in these books. Seven full-length children's novels guarantee lots of storytime, and Lewis's impeccably educated voice is a good way to practice BBC English if you-the-adult want to learn it...though I once found a rare LP record of C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien reading their own short work, and although they sounded as British and educated as they (rather definitively) were, they did not speak the pure BBC you learn from radio and TV. (No one does. That's why, the better you learn BBC, the better idea it is to sit on it when talking to friends from Britain.) Anyway, while learning BBC-as-a-second-language I read all of the Narnia books aloud to my sister. She would have voted for them, too.



The year I was in grade four, the school I attended sorted students into three "reading groups" based on ability and let each group work with a different teacher for one-third of the year. There was a nice older lady teacher whose bad luck was to guide us through the reader with the boring stories in it, a hateful older man teacher whose good luck was to guide us through the reader with the better stories in it, and then in spring I got into the fantastically decorated classroom of the young innovative teacher who had organized her whole class around reading this book. Cardboard mock-ups of scenes and characters from Phantom Tollbooth land filled the room where this teacher read the book aloud and we read along. I could have read the book faster--and did--but I still enjoyed the book-discussion-group atmosphere; I adored that teacher. So I'd agree that this is an excellent book to read to school-age children.



This one was recommended by Penguin (the new release, naturally) but it's a classic, anyway, so why not...If The Handmaid's Tale piqued your interest in Margaret Atwood's work, and you've just discovered Alias Grace, you might wonder about Susanna Moodie. She was a real person, and this is the best known of her books:



I have most of Madeleine L'Engle's books, but unfortunately I missed the two later volumes in this trilogy. I'd like this omnibus edition for myself:



I've signed onto something called Goodreads.com, apparently separate from Amazon. I'm still figuring out how that site works. Here's my less than original, but at least very short, review....

Homes and Other Black HolesHomes and Other Black Holes by Dave Barry
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

As with all books by Dave Barry...for best results, read in a place where it's safe to laugh out loud.


View all my reviews

...of a book I still own, at home.

The classic gift book for graduates (with a sense of humor)...



...has generated a new parody:



Cheers...

Morgan Griffith on Cap and Trade

(New readers: "cap and trade" here refers to a way of writing regulations on pollution that is basically designed to criminalize private people's burning leaves or driving across town, especially in the U.S., in order to allow big corporations to burn soft coal in unfiltered furnaces, especially in China. This web site thinks U.S. Representative Morgan Griffith (R-VA-9) could have denounced it more vigorously than he does below. If we want to reduce pollution, we should crack down on the biggest polluters first.)

"
Cap and Trade
Recently, I was able to attend the Virginia Coal & Energy Alliance (VCEA) and Southern States Energy Board 38th Annual Conference and Exposition. The event was much more upbeat than last year.

Although energy prices are volatile, there has been an uptick in the coal industry with both an improved market and with the regulatory relief and support from the Trump Administration.

The Trump Administration has made clear its intention of abandoning ineffective and job killing regulations. This has given companies more confidence in investing and using coal.

However, this newfound confidence seems to have motivated Virginia’s Governor McAuliffe to attempt to implement a cap and trade scheme here in Virginia. Last week, the Governor announced an Executive Order to begin the process of creating carbon emission limits from power plants in Virginia.

I touched on this at the VCEA event. A cap and trade scheme involving Virginia alone, or Virginia and a few other states, is not going to work. The idea is to clean up the air, but unless you have a worldwide agreement in which every nation follows the same rules, there will be job losses here for minimal gains around the world.

The developing world, particularly those countries with large populations demanding jobs which will provide them with increasing wealth and modern amenities, has no intention of cutting back on their emissions. This was discussed last week, where I explained the Paris Treaty is not the answer.

American communities cannot afford to lose jobs, and families, businesses, schools, and hospitals cannot afford to pay higher electricity rates. Instead of symbolic caps on emissions, we need to invest in cleaner coal technology and making all energy more affordable.
"

Friday, May 19, 2017

Book Review: Thundering Sneakers

A Fair Trade Book



Title: Thundering Sneakers

Author: Prudence Mackintosh

Date: 1981

Publisher: Doubleday

ISBN: 0-385-12879-7

Length: 188 pages

Quote: “It never occurred to me to make anything up—especially my third male child. The real material at hand always came faster and fresher than any I could have created.”

Before the Mommy Blog genre, there was the Mommy Comedy Book genre, open to any parent (daddies as well as mommies) willing to document the emotional-chaos-remembered-in-tranquility of living with children. Betty Macdonald in the 1950s, Jean Kerr in the 1960s, and Erma Bombeck in the 1970s, sold literally millions of books in this genre and thereby created a market for slower-selling, though not necessarily less funny, Mom-Com. Writers like Prudence Mackintosh and Teresa Bloomingdale remained “mid-list” writers, published mainly in special-interest magazines; publishers bought their books, and even promoted them a little bit, but they maintained these writers as a sort of second string, never meant to become national celebrities who might have competed with Erma Bombeck or Delia Ephron.

If you enjoy gentle family-type comedy, it’s worth the trouble to dig up the second-string Mom-Com writers’ books when you find copies. Bombeck softened up, after a series of laugh-out-loud funny books, and started writing things that weren’t funny. Sometimes other families’ emotional chaos was funnier than that of the superstar Mom-Com writers.

Prudence Mackintosh was typical of the second string. Her local-market tags were (1) living in Texas, (2) with an otherwise-all-male family of husband, three sons, and a tomcat. Her family were as funny as any family documented in Mom-Com:

“I polished my fingernails, something I’m sure I haven’t done in at least five years. My older son was irate. ‘Mama,’ he yelled, ‘you’ll have to get that stuff off...you’re...supposed to help us dig those holes this afternoon.’”

“At the counter, I look up from my check writing to see that Jack is climbing on top of the gum machine. ‘You’ll fall,’ I say. ‘But I won’t hurt myself,’ he replies, and he’s right. He falls squarely on his soft brother.”

“I still believe the basketball that landed in the stir-fried squash was deliberately thrown.”

She tried to involve the children in more active self-entertainment instead of watching television. “Legos are extremely absorbing toys...[M]y son determined that he had to have some ‘slopy pieces,’ which are contained only in the set that retails for $25.95. When I explained that we couldn’t afford the desired pieces, he responded thoughtfully, ‘Mom, I guess we just don’t have enough money to do without TV.’”

“[O]n hearing a Raggedy Ann story on the radio, they had asked, ‘Mom, if that doll really has a candy heart, why doesn’t somebody just rip it out and eat it?’”

I chortled.If you like Mom-Com, you’ll chortle too. If Bombeck and Ephron and Judith Viorst hadn’t been famous first, if Jean Kerr’s and Art Linkletter’s books hadn’t remained in print, if bachelor comedy writers hadn’t been occupying a huge share of the funny book market, Thundering Sneakers might have been another bestseller. As things were, it sold mostly to readers of Texas Monthly magazine. If you were not in Texas during the Carter and first Reagan Administrations, you missed a good Mom-Com book and may want to turn back to Thundering Sneakers.

Bad news? Online purchasers may not get the first edition, which is what I physically own and which has become somewhat rare. Good news? The University of Texas has put forth a second edition, so a clean secondhand copy is still available for $5 per book + $5 per package + $1 per online payment, from which we'll send $1 to Mackintosh or a charity of her choice. At least two and probably all four of the author's Texas Monthly collections (Retreads, Sneaking Out, Just as We Were) will fit into one package; four books in one package would cost you $25 by U.S. postal order or $26 online, from which Mackintosh or her charity would receive $4.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Book Review with Sweepstakes: Surrounded by Idiots

A Fair Trade Book


Title: Surrounded by Idiots

Author: Mike Gallagher

Author's web page: http://www.mikeonline.com/

Date: 2005

Publisher: Harper Collins
ISBN: 0-06-973798-0
Length: 222 pages

Quote: “Liberal lunatics have surrounded us with their agenda-driven ideology. It’s time to fight back.”

Thus spake the Fox and Newsmax super-moderate-Republican pundit…who may have wished before now that he could retract this book.

Why? “Not every Democrat is a lost cause,” he wrote, introducing Barack Obama as “the kind of Democrat who represents the best in his party’s future.”

Of course, that was on the basis of that one great speech the future President made in 2004, when he was still saying that “the people I meet…don’t expect government to solve all of their problems. They know they have to work hard to get ahead…They know that parents have to teach…and eradicate the slander that says a Black youth with a book is acting White.” Gallagher, and others of us who appreciated President Obama’s clean lifestyle and gentlemanly manners, can still say that, well, that was 2004, and President Obama’s awareness of those “people he met” in 2004 made his failure to represent them in the White House all the worse.

But where does that leave Surrounded by Idiots, now? It’s a collection of news magazine editorials and talk show pieces. It’s not tear-inducing inspirational. It’s not laugh-out-loud funny. Do you still want or need to read this book? To whom can I honestly recommend it, and why? 

Or: to whom is Amazon still actively marketing this as a new book, especially in its "Audible (trademark) audio edition"? 

I say: to all overweight people. Y’see, Gallagher was one of those Big Losers. The healthy-looking body you see on the front cover had been seventy pounds heavier a year before that photo was taken. Although “Fighting Fat—Another War Worth Winning” is only chapter 14 and takes up only 13 pages, it’s still a solid, sensible, reliable story a lot of people still need to read.

Gallagher’s weight loss story helps point up the difference between Wide Loads and those of us who may put on a few unwanted pounds, but, when we are fatter than we want to be, we shed a few pounds quickly and continue wearing the same size clothes… “Do around thirty minutes of some kind of exercise daily,” Gallagher lists as one of his “unbreakable guidelines” on page 179.

Yes, Wide Loads of America. What he said. If it's physically possible for fat people to become thin people, regular exercise is the key.

If you want to hear it from the other side…regular readers may remember that my mother and I share a genetic quirk that actually produces contradictory effects under the influence of other genes and conditions. If we ingest wheat (or glyphosate residues, or products from plants that were genetically modified to be glyphosate-resistant) our thyroid glands falter at a certain point in the metabolic cycle. This same faltering can produce fat hypothyroid celiacs who can actually gain weight while fasting, who need capsules if not injections of some other creature’s thyroid hormones in order to be able to exercise, and also skinny hyperthyroid celiacs who can eat like hogs and remain skinny, sickly, and nutrient-deficient. Mother was a fat celiac; I was a skinny celiac, able to gain unwanted pounds only after going gluten-free. Exercise, even if it takes thyroid supplements for patients to be able to do the exercise, is what keeps fat celiacs within the “noticeably overweight, slow-moving, slow-thinking, ditzy but competent” range rather than the “Wide Load, sluggish, incompetent” range. Exercise is also what makes it possible for skinny celiacs to sleep at night. I miss exercise at least as much as I miss food, if I have to get through a day without one or the other; if anything, I miss exercise more.

I read that line, “Do around thirty minutes of some kind of exercise daily,” and my immediate reaction was “Only thirty minutes?!” Oh Gallagher, Gallagher…I don’t monitor my pulse or do repetitious gym exercise daily, or yearly if I can avoid it, but my ideal day starts with a brisk five-mile walk before breakfast. (I can skip the walk if it’s raining and spend an hour or two puttering around the house instead, but I prefer the walk.) And that’s why, enjoying food as much as I do, and having acquired the ability to gain weight when I went gluten-free, I’ve never been medically obese. I’ve never thrown away a good pair of fat pants, but neither have I had to buy bigger shirts, since grade nine.

If you’re overweight, this web site has a dare bet for you. Buy Surrounded by Idiots (as a Fair Trade Book, with a percentage going to Gallagher or a charity of his choice). Follow the guidelines on page 179.  Post, to this web site and to any web site you may maintain on your own, notes and photos about how and where you’re exercising and about how much weight you’re losing. That’s the dare. The bet is that within a year you’ll find that you, too, actually enjoy exercise…but just to make it interesting, let’s throw in a sweepstakes: Those who succeed in losing 50 pounds or more will be eligible to win a free hiking, camping, and boating weekend in scenic Natural Tunnel, Virginia. (Available to legal residents of the United States and Canada only, this offer can include as many slimmed-down family members as fit into your camper and/or tent.)

Secondhand copies of Surrounded by Idiots are available cheaper from other sources, but if you buy it as a Fair Trade Book, $5 per copy + $5 per package + $1 per online payment, we'll send $1 to Gallagher or a charity of his choice. You can throw in 50 Things Liberals Love to Hate, too, for a total of $15 (via postal order to P.O. Box 322) or $16 (via Paypal to the address Salolianigodagewi will send you), from which we'll send Gallagher or his charity $2.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

What Is Hate and How Do We Oppose It?

Posted to a forum where people have been discussing whether social media sites should censor hatespeech, earlier...

There is a horrible, hateful, hypocritical meme the left wing have been circulating for many years, to the effect that all conservatives are haters (presumably of the White male variety). Since most of us here are mature enough to have become at least somewhat conservative about some things, and we're not haters, what are we doing about this Big Lie...in the sense of showing active good will, or in the sense of refuting specific fallacies within the Big Lie, or (preferably) both? 

Opposing a policy that might or might not benefit even the group supposedly demanding it (at everyone else's expense), or might be mere quarrel bait to distract attention from other issues, has nothing to do with hating or persecuting people. Opposing same-sex marriage, whether you do or not, is a different thing from hating homosexuals. Opposing aid to Israel, whether you do or not, is a different thing from hating Israelis or Jews or "Semites" (which means Arabs and Jews impartially, as a "race" some people claimed to hate back before the settlement of modern Israel). 

Laughing at the "snowflakes" who want to censor anything that might make anybody other than themselves feel bad, specifically including all conservative political ideas, has nothing to do with hating or persecuting people. 

Believing that the whole idea of "hatecrimes" is specious, because it's so hard to tell to what extent a crime was motivated by hate of a group of people as such versus hate of an individual as such versus ordinary greed and/or rage and/or a desire to force society to feed and shelter the criminal in prison, has nothing to do with hating or persecuting people. 

Believing that censorship is worse, in several ways, than hatespeech is (one reason being that tolerating hatespeech makes it easier to identify those seriously planning crimes, and stop them!) has nothing to do with hating or persecuting people. 

Even distrusting a group of people identified with the Old Left, which I vividly remember some right-wingers used to do during the Cold War, is not the same thing as hating or persecuting those people. 

My suggestion to Twitter would be that tolerating *and monitoring* anything reported as threats of violence, against either individuals or groups, could be a very helpful way to prevent that violence happening. Let the individuals block whatever they don't want to read, whether because it's threatening or because it's annoying or just because it's in the way of the updates they're watching for...and let Twitter staff reroute threats toward local law enforcement and watch them. 

(Alternatively...Facebook tries to monitor individual users all by itself, collecting and publishing information about who they are, where they live, where their children go to school. Nice way to hand that information directly to the violent haters...Facebook can ban them, and they can then stand behind other people whom Facebook hasn't banned and collect all the information they want to use to harm the Facebook users they hate. Another alternative for Facebook might be to store the information without publishing it; that would give the information resale value for hackers! No, thanks. We're all safer when web sites do monitor activity from specific IP Addresses, if necessary, but do not collect or store information about anyone's real-world identity. Leave that for the police to collect when they arrest those using computers to commit crimes.)

Now, what's going on? No, the computer I've been using was not taken into police custody because it had been used to commit a crime! I gave someone headed in a different direction the key ring that has the key to the building where that computer is, for today, and had to drag out the good old Sickly Snail this morning. I actually thought it'd be interesting to find out what the Sickly Snail, which may well be the oldest privately owned laptop computer in North America, could still do online. 

What it can do is of course frustrate the livin' daylights out of me, by making things that ought to take ten minutes take an hour--that's why it's been named the Sickly Snail. It can open the e-mail inbox and, at its standard snail-like pace, delete the spam, file the bacon, and determine that you've not been sending payments and don't deserve a live blog post today. It can view, but not post to, Live Journal; it can open some of the news-and-opinion-'zine sites for long enough for me to copy and paste an article, but not longer; it can open a new Blogspot post from the Blogspot page you readers are seeing, but not from the "inside" page that's supposed to open when I log into Blogspot. I was surprised that it could open any of the forum sites. I'll be even more surprised if it can open Amazon or Twitter, although those fancy graphics-heavy sites do have "mobile" versions the Sickly Snail was able to use a few years ago... Fascinating, anyway.

Meanwhile, since the Sickly Snail will absolutely not do the other things I'd planned to do online with the other laptop,  here's a me-me-me story for those who care. I seriously think our Russian readers, who the computer reports have been fascinated by the keywords, need to see this one...

As they probably remember, my parents were whole-Bible Christians and were affiliated at various times with three whole-Bible Protestant churches, including one that's been (quite easily, I must admit) misidentified as a hate group...the Lord's Covenant Church. What was it like, being a "tween" and early teen in the L.C.C.? Was I being taught to hate? I was not.

I was picking up some older people's fear--loudly and clearly--although my parents tended to debunk those older people's fear. I was being taught wariness...specifically about Eastern Europeans, about Russians, and about Ashkenazic Jewish Americans, but really about everybody. Wariness is a different thing from hate. My parents didn't have to say much about hate during our L.C.C. years, except that they wouldn't have stayed around if they'd smelled it, and back when Dad (who'd volunteered to go over and kill Nazis) was still a strong young man with HSP "super" long-distance vision, if there'd been any Nazis lurking around, you pitied the fools. There were not, noticeably, any Nazis in my childhood world. Conservative Christian communities in the U.S. were not healthy places to be a Nazi.

What my brother and I learned from the version of Anglo-Israelite theory to which the L.C.C. subscribed was...well, first of all, that it's a feeble theory, based on the oral traditions of feuding European tribes. It can't be disproved but neither can it be proved. It rests heavily on words that sound alike, and may or may not have meanings that were once related to each other, in different languages. 

Anyway, each of the three churches to which we were exposed had a different view of the Anglo-Israelite theory. Seventh-Day Adventists ignore it; they say nobody really knows who their ancestors were, that far back, and if you feel called to be a whole-Bible Christian you may consider yourself an adoptive or spiritual child of Abraham. The Worldwide Church of God accept the theory that different European tribes were physically descended from the different tribes of Israel, with Jews representing, specifically, the tribe of Judah. The Lord's Covenant Church (which no longer really exists) went further and accepted a version of that theory that...appealed to haters, but the L.C.C. actually got it from Jewish sources, so if you're Jewish please bear with me. 

According to this speculative version of history, Bible prophecies that foretold an attack on Israel by the Edomites, which never happened in Bible days, actually foretold an attack on the United States and Canada (the gathering place of the modern descendants of the various tribes of Israel) by the descendants of Edom. Who were they? Well..."Edom" means "red," as discussed in the Bible, and which European people (1) had names for themselves and for their ruling political party that meant "red," and (2) were threatening North America in the mid-twentieth century? Yes, those big bad ugly anti-Christian "Asiatic" Soviets. 

And also...in European history there's a lost tribe of Northern Eurasians whose name for themselves was Khazars. They faded out of such records as were kept, back when they existed, right around the time the Jewish population of Northern Europe and Asia expanded, and Ashkenazic Jews came to be recognized as culturally different from Sephardic Jews. With a higher incidence of blond hair, even. And although "Khazar" was that tribe's name for themselves before they were noted as having reached relatively harmonious terms with the local Jewish community, and probably meant something like "men" in their language, it happens to resemble a Hebrew word for "impure"...

Hence Arthur Koestler's Thirteenth Tribe, which isn't exactly science fiction, although some people prefer to regard it as such...and hence the L.C.C.'s somewhat ironic recognition of Koestler, who identified himself with those hypothetical Khazar converts to Judaism, as "an honest Jewish scholar." 

For the L.C.C. "Jewish" had two distinct meanings, sort of like the word "that" in "that person"...or, apparently, like the word "Irish" in North America in the 1840s and 1850s, when there were prosperous, well established Irish-Protestant-Americans who participated in the prejudice against desperate, destitute Irish-Catholic immigrants. Sephardic Jews had been in the United States for a long time, often respected and influential, before the mass immigration of Ashkenazic Jews from Eastern Europe starting in the late nineteenth century, and some Sephardic Jews behaved very much like some Irish Protestants toward their less fortunate fellow tribesmen. Some of the ugliest words and stereotypes can be traced to them. 

So there were, for L.C.C.'ers, ordinary Jewish people who were sincerely religious but, for whatever reasons, unable to accept Christianity. This was sad, because in the L.C.C. interpretation of more remote Bible prophecies those people weren't going to be resurrected at all. You could pray for them, if you knew them personally and were fond of them, but you might as well know it was probably going to be a wasted effort. The majority of humankind, including some Anglo-Americans and almost all foreigners of all kinds, were in this category actually. 

And then there were those anti-Christian, anti-American, pseudo-Jewish Khazar types, who were "of the synagogue of Satan," who were actively working to suppress Christian religion and conservative politics in order to help their fellow tribesmen in the Soviet Union cause the United States to drop like rotten fruit into their nasty hands. They could be recognized by their work not merely by their ethnic origin, but they were going to be resurrected and dumped into a lake of fire. 

According to the L.C.C. there was no call for hate or violence at the time when that church was active. One popular L.C.C. book had the title The Bible Says Russia Will Invade America and Be Defeated but only when the enemy was actually on our shores were we supposed to start fighting. In the meantime we were supposed to prepare ourselves by studying the whole Bible, practicing its teachings as best we could, educating anyone willing to be educated--and, yes, accepting any individual foreigners who sincerely wanted to be whole-Bible Christians as adoptive Israelites, too. 

The L.C.C. taught that, after the rout of the invading Soviet army, then foreigners would start to appreciate the benefit whole-Bible Christianity would have for North Americans who practiced it, and would become enlightened enough to embrace whole-Bible Christianity for themselves. Before that time, missionary activity would be a waste of time and money, but sincere conversion was possible and not to be discouraged. Sincere converts would not be put off by the unfavorable observations L.C.C.ers had published about the rest of their nations, as groups...the L.C.C. did in fact admit and baptize Black converts, although it never attracted many of them.

I say this to anyone who may be thinking, "As a conservative Christian, the writer known as Priscilla King must be aware of, and tolerant of, a lot of anti-Jewish hate." I am not. 

I'm aware that some things reported as expressions of hate, by snowflakey types, are not expressions of hate at all--that even being pro-Palestinian in no way presupposes that you wish the Israelis anything worse than the blessing of being able to live peacefully in places the Palestinians aren't fighting for. (How realistic that wish may or may not be, I wouldn't know.) 

I'm also aware that real hate and violence, targeting Jews-as-such, here in these United States, as reported by a fellow respondent on one of those forums...have been rare, thank goodness. Because they make me as a Christian pretty dam' mad

Scared? Maybe...to the kind of people who think you can recognize Jews by looking at them, I've often been told, I look Jewish. I've received some social "benefits," to which I hastily explained I was not entitled, for possibly-being-Jewish even when I've been making active Christian noises. I've not been a target of hate, ever, nor have friends or e-friends who really are Jewish. I've known that, like the violent rape of women over age 25, violent hate may pop up here and there but it's not really high on any list of things to worry about.

Mostly, I pity the fools! For one thing, hundreds of thousands of people joined the best army on Earth just for the purpose of beating that kind of stupidity to death in 1940. They may be dying out, but their children and grandchildren are still around, and well represented in conservative Christian circles. Don't mess with us, haters (though I seriously believe the L.C.C. got away with some of the things some of them published, without being claimed as allies by haters, because relatively few haters know how to read).

For another thing...some S.D.A. types are still calling me a heretic, which is fine by me, but I believe there are going to be a lot of Jews in Heaven. And a few Muslims. And the Jewish neighborhood in Heaven is not going to be occupied exclusively by the great saints of the apostolic church, either, although they didn't stop being Jewish when they became Christians.

In the book of Matthew (the Sickly Snail won't give me a direct link) Jesus shared His vision of the Last Judgment. Whether everybody on Earth is resurrected, or only a minority of people who deserve either eternal life or special punishment, is not specified. In any case, He said, every tongue shall confess that He is Lord. Only those who confess that He is Lord will be saved, but not all of those who recognize that fact, on the Judgment Day, will be saved.

Some of them, He says, are trembling in fear and shame. "Forgive me, Lord, I never realized..."

"Well done, you good and faithful servants! You did various nice things for Me. Enter in to the joys of Heaven." (I'm paraphrasing--in a bit of a hurry to type this thought.)

"What did I do for You? I mean, I would have..."

"What you did for the poorest, sickest, most miserable or pathetic people on Earth, you did for Me, not knowing it. You are saved. You go to Heaven." And that's where the sincere Jewish, Muslim, and other types of people get into Heaven.

Then, turning to a lot of Christian churchgoers and preachers...they're saying, "Oh, Lord, I did this and that for you," but somehow they're not going in the doorway...

He says, "When you refused to do what you could have done for those who were poorer or more disabled or in any way more wretched than you were, on Earth, you refused to do it for me. You never fed me, you never visited me in the hospital, you didn't even share your water with me in the desert. Depart from me ye cursed into everlasting fire!"

And that is why,

"To dwell above with saints we love,
Indeed that will be glory.
To dwell below with 'saints' we know,
Oh, that's another story!"

And if anybody out there is claiming to be a Christian and hating on the people Jesus chose to claim as His blood relatives...what's there to say? Pity the fools. Pity the damned fools!

Book Review: Lucinda's Party Foods

Title: Lucinda’s Party Foods


Author: Lucinda Christenson Larsen

Date: 1946

Publisher: Caxton

ISBN: none

Length: 315 pages plus 6-page index

Illustrations: several black and white photos, full-color frontispiece

Quote: “The contents of this book on Party Foods consists of cakes of all kinds and frostings…every type of candies, both homemade and commercial…plain and fancy cookies, rolls, sweet rolls, coffeecakes, doughnuts, pastries, pies, frozen desserts, puddings and Danish pastries.”

That’s what you’ll like and what you’ll not like about this book. Lots of desserts…but it’s all desserts. If you’re looking for savory as well as sugary recipes, you’ll have to find another cookbook.

Actually, I found other things not to like about Lucinda’s Party Foods. One is that the author fell short of her own goal. She claimed to be offering these recipes to “the newest cook” but she frequently expects the cook to know which type of pan to use. Actually most baked goods can be baked in almost any pan, in almost any oven, but the time they take to bake and the texture of the finished product will vary accordingly. You don’t get the same cake someone else made if you bake the same batter in 8” or 10” instead of 9” round pans.

Another thing I’m not wild about in this book, despite its historical interest, is that as a professional chef Mrs. Larsen used several “industrial” ingredients that were never available in ordinary grocery stores. Some of them are no longer used, or, if the same chemicals are being manufactured, they’re not sold under the same names. Of course industrially prepared processed desserts contain even more chemicals than Mrs. Larsen’s confections…in any case, some of these recipes are the kind of thing our grandmothers used to make, and some of them are the kind of thing our grandmothers used to warn people off buying in stores.

And then, of course, in 1946 nobody knew anything about food intolerance. People had food intolerance diseases, and oh how they suffered, because they didn’t realize that conforming to the idea that all people ought to be able to eat anything any person could eat was what was making them sick. A few of Mrs. Larsen’s recipes don’t contain milk, egg, or wheat products, but that’s strictly by accident. (Between 1940 and 1945, planned shortages of popular food items had inspired cooks to develop dessert recipes that relied less on sugar, eggs, wheat, and dairy products. Some of the resulting “War Cakes” and similar treats were quite palatable, and remained popular after the war.)  All of them are loaded with simple carbs; if they don’t call for sugar as such, they call for some alternate form of sugar like corn syrup, molasses, or honey, and since those were often more expensive and harder to find than sugar, the alternative sweeteners are usually combined with sugar anyway. Most are high in saturated fat, as well.

Does that leave anything to like about this book? Much. If you want to make your own candies that are “free” from some additive or other while being based on sugar and corn syrup processed the same way they’re processed in the big factories, here are explanations of (usually several different ways) to make fondants, cremes, marshmallows, nougats, caramels, toffees, and hard candies.

Mrs. Larsen was Danish-American, and her “Danish pastries” collection goes beyond a few recipes for the flat sweet rolls we all know so well. There are six different recipes for aebleskiver, the apple-stuffed pancakes (although only the first recipe explains that what makes these things aebleskiver is the apples tucked in between the two dollops of batter before cooking). There’s also a recipe for pebernodder that illustrates how, although the general term in several European countries literally translates as something like “pepper cookies,” the actual spices used in these spice cookies were more often cinnamon and ginger rather than pepper.

If your family like to bake a different cake or batch of cookies every weekend and eat your way through it all week, Lucinda’s Party Foods offers new treats to last you…more than a year, especially since several of the recipes are basic ones that leave room for a few dozen variations. When Mrs. Larson said “flavoring,” she meant “Experiment with all the different ones a well-stocked supermarket offers! Not just vanilla and almond extracts…try banana, mint, hazelnut, pineapple, brandy…” She was well paid for helping grocers move the less popular spices and extracts, and some of them actually taste good in cakes and cookies. “Make several batches using different nuts and flavorings,” she urges.

If your family can’t make one cake or batch of cookies last a week…and that’s not because you’re talking about an extended family…then fewer recipes for sweet treats, and more creative suggestions for using more vegetables, may be what you need.

The general purpose of this book is to ensure that you’ll always have something “homemade,” not merely chips or drinks, to take to a party. Cherry cake? Pumpkin cake? Chocolate eclairs? Not all of these recipes are foolproof enough for “the newest cook,” and some (like angel food cake and divinity candy) depend on conditions that may be beyond the cook’s control, but most should yield reasonably satisfactory results. There are certainly enough recipes here that any non-diabetic reader has to be able to find some that s/he likes.

Mrs. Larsen no longer needs the dollar she'd get if this were a Fair Trade Book but, as usual, it can be purchased together with one or more Fair Trade Books: $5 per copy of Lucinda's Party Foods + $5 per package (for shipping) + $1 per online payment (Paypal takes its bite) to the e-mail address you receive from salolianigodagewi @ yahoo, or $5 per copy + $5 per package via U.S. postal order to P.O. Box 322.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

I'm Here, Just Leaving...

...Just leaving the cafe, after slogging through the e-mail.

I posted a serious discussion question on Twitter and so far, of the hundreds of people who allegedly follow me and have seen this question reposted to various people throughout today and Friday, nobody's posted an answer. That's not necessarily bad, if people are working on long thoughtful posts rather than tweets, but it's disappointing.

Meanwhile the usual backlog of e-mail poured in over the weekend. Lots of distractions. One survey (from Freedomworks, so I couldn't bring myself just to ignore it) positively forced wrong answers to lots of political questions: simple summary: "The correct answer to 'What do you think of President Trump's proposals on...' is 'As little as possible.'" I've not been able to bear the sight of much current political news. I think of myself as a reasonably tough-minded old lady but there are limits to everything.

One thing I've been waiting to learn, I learned, today: Although those cryptic "keywords" posts didn't generate a paid-up subscription, they did generate more than twice as many page views as the "link logs" that preceded them! Keywords are likely to come back!

Another thing I didn't really want to think about, I learned today: All the coffee I've been drinking, while blogging from a cafe, just might be the source of the glyphosate contamination that's been making me sick lately. That's not entirely bad news, but it sort of blindsided me. Ouch.

Is this post as bloggy as it can possibly be? Yes? Good. I came in this morning with several ideas--discussion of the question of what social media can do to improve the police service, another cute insect gross-out post about yet another fuzzy li'l caterpillar I found while pruning the hedge on Monday, a Tortie Tuesday post about a shelter cat who might be a good companion for my poor lonely social tortie-cat Heather, more books--and let the e-mail bump them all back to the back of my mind. This may be good for the ideas. See y'all tomorrow.

Morgan Griffith's America First Energy Policy

From U.S. Representative Morgan Griffith (R-VA-9), editorial comment below the end quote mark:

"
America First Energy Policy

An international deal the Obama Administration and environmental activists joined into has requirements that will cause the United States to voluntarily lose hundreds of thousands of jobs and significantly increase energy costs.

It’s called the Paris Agreement. Not approved by Congress, no legal ramifications.

Why did the United States enter the agreement?

Good question.

It surely doesn’t help put American energy first, make energy more affordable for Americans, or stabilize our power grid.

The agreement is aimed at lowering emissions and limiting climate change to 2°C above pre-industrial levels, basically an arbitrary number.

Notably, developed countries like the U.S. are expected to dramatically reduce actual emissions, while developing nations, such as India and China, are asked to lower emissions corresponding with their economic output. In other words, America is asked to kill jobs and risk our power grid stability, even if China and India are contributing more emissions than we are!

A recent report states, “Remaining in the pact commits the U.S. to reducing our carbon emissions by nearly 30% below 2005 levels — even though most of the world's major polluters will continue to emit massive amounts of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. That is why some supporters of the Paris Agreement concede that the gains would be ‘symbolic.’”

It continues citing “estimates that, over the next decade, the agreement will cost Americans an extra $30,000 per family of four in higher energy prices and some 400,000 lost jobs.”

The study compares the Paris Agreement to “a $2.5 trillion global tax on American production. So the costs to America would be anything but "symbolic."”

It would be crushing.

President Trump promised to focus on American energy independence to bring stability to the grid and boost our economy.

At the start of his Administration, he appointed Scott Pruitt to lead the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Rick Perry to lead the Department of Energy (DOE), both of whom are determined to lead their respective organizations in a new direction. Both appointees are committed to taking bold actions that reflect the will of the American people, and will result in long-term, positive impacts for our country.

Administrator Pruitt is focused on these goals and to achieve them, he has recommended President Trump pull out of the Paris Agreement.

Those who argue to stay are mostly environmental activists who want to defend Obama Administration policies. They defend the $1 billion Obama contributed and the $3 billion Obama pledged to the Paris Agreement. Our commitments to foreign nations should be negotiated for America’s best interest, not by activists with their own agenda.

Furthermore, staying in the Paris Agreement leaves environmentalists with a defense for the Clean Power Plan or similar detrimental policies. It opens the door to lawsuits from environmental activists to force the EPA to institute policies to meet our commitment. Exiting the agreement makes it clear there is no room for liberal interpretation leading to new regulations. An exit allows the EPA to continue the mission of undoing harmful, costly, and job-killing regulations and continue to work for an America first energy policy.

In efforts to strengthen our power grid at home, in April, Secretary Perry commissioned a 60 day study to address the “concern about how certain policies are affecting, and potentially putting at risk, energy security and reliability.”

In his memo commissioning the study, he notes the importance of sustaining baseload power. The textbook definition of baseload power is the “minimum level of demand on an electrical grid over a span of time. Baseload power sources are power stations which can economically generate the electric power needed to satisfy this minimum demand.”

We are lucky, in the U.S., to have many sources that can contribute to meeting power needs; like coal, natural gas, wind, hydro, and nuclear. The study will determine how federal policies, regulations, and subsidies have skewed the balance of baseload power. It will examine how this has jeopardized the reliability of the electric grid, affected jobs and economic growth, and possibly threatened our national security. Specifically, DOE will determine if “regulatory burdens, as well as mandates and tax and subsidy policies, are responsible for forcing the premature retirement of baseload power plants.”

Perry concludes the memo by reiterating that “the Trump Administration will be guided by the principles of reliability, resiliency, affordability, and fuel assurance-principles that underpin a thriving economy.”

I will continue to support these policies of Administrator Pruitt and Secretary Perry “to ensure that we provide American families and businesses an electric power system that is technologically advanced, resilient, reliable, and second to none.”

If you have questions, concerns, or comments, feel free to contact my office. You can call my Abingdon office, 276-525-1405, or Christiansburg office, 540-381-5671. To reach my office via email, please visit my website at www.morgangriffith.house.gov.
"

Editorial comment: It's interesting to compare the two main models of climate change...

The debate about global warming is acrimonious, politically charged, and endlessly bickered about. Doing something about it, we are told, would involve voting for policies and people that might make some people richer than they are. Any effects on the actual climate in your neighborhood remain unknown but, based on hard scientific facts, the probability that your doing what you're told to do to fight global warming would lower your air conditioning bill this summer is very low.

The facts about local warming are objective, politically neutral, and long documented. Doing something about them would involve making decisions you might find sweaty and boring, like walking rather than driving. The effects on the actual climate in your neighborhood, if enough people did what they could choose to do to fight global warming, could certainly lower your air conditioning bill this summer.

This web site supports Congressman Griffith all the way. However, he's been in Washington, listening to lobbyists from the various energy corporations, for several years now, and this web site would like to remind him that local warming is what makes Washington so unpleasant in summer. Before the pavement, the air conditioners pumping hot air onto the streets, and the greenhouse gases from (it's official) America's worst traffic, The Swamp wasn't hotter or more humid than Columbia or Manassas. We need...not necessarily legislative coercion, but leadership, to fight local warming. The Ninth District itself needs that, but D.C. needs it even more.

Book Review: Madeline

Title: Madeline


Author: Ludwig Bemelmans

Date: 1939 

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

ISBN: recent reprint 978-0-14-056419-6

Length: pages not numbered; I count 42 pages of text/illustration

Illustrations: paintings by the author

Quote: “To the tiger in the zoo Madeline just said ‘Pooh-pooh’.”

Does anybody not remember this picture book? It’s a short story about a little orphan who is so cheerful at all times that, when she has appendicitis, the other eleven orphans want to have their appendixes out too.

I remember getting a twenty-year-anniversary reprint edition when I was just old enough to read the words. My mother didn’t like it. Who wanted to read about a lot of stupid children who all wanted to be sick just because one of them was? I didn’t, I decided. Also Miss Clavel’s nunlike costume looked more than slightly like the costume of the Wicked Fairy Maleficent in the Disney picture books I had. So I was in a minority of baby-boomer girls who did not like Madeline. But most of us did, and most children still do, like this easy-reading picture classic. 


What most people loved about Madeline was not, of course, the foolishness of the little conformists, but the hasty, cartoonish, yet very recognizable scenes from downtown Paris. It’s fun to match the scenes of the orphans’ daily walks to real pictures. There were several sequels, and fans could find famous tourist attractions in those books too. 

The copy I physically own is available with a matching Storybook Doll (online price $20); other guaranteed gently-used copies are available online for $10. The whole set of seven slim books should fit into one package for a total of $40. 

Monday, May 15, 2017

Book Review: The Night I Caught the Santa Fe Chief

Title: The Night I Caught the Santa Fe Chief


(Amazon's generic mock-book-cover image is more colorful than the book I have--plain black hardcover with the author's name and title in very small gold-tone letters on the back.)

Author: Edward Thorpe


Date: 1970

Publisher: St. Martin’s

ISBN: none

Length: 184 pages

Quote: “Y’just crashed y’car but they ain’t chargin’ ya with anythin’, right?...[I]f they catch up with me an’ I got you along they’re gonna be jus’ a li’l bit careful how they act, ain’t they?”

Thus Frederick St. John Lloyd-Forbes, a 24-year-old wrapping paper designer on his first visit to the United States, finds himself camping in the desert above the U.S.-Mexican border with Gene Solensky, a hardened outlaw. Fred wrecked his rental car and was being taken to rent another one by a highway patrol officer when the report that Solensky had stolen a car and was in the vicinity came in. The patrolman tried to arrest Solensky. Solensky killed him and took Fred hostage, and overnight they became buddies on the Western-movie adventure of Fred’s British prep-school-boy daydreams…

That’s the trouble with this novel. It is a contemporary teenager’s fantasy, with all the trimmings: helpful hippies, friendly Navajos, fat foolish tourists the pair can exploit, all arranged at the most convenient times and places to make a story just the right length, with just the right amount of a moral, for a “Western” genre novel or movie. As long as they’re depending on the kindness of Gene’s conveniently situated friends, all goes well; when Gene kills a man who might or might not have been dangerous to him, his luck runs out just in time to bring him to a suitable end and send Fred back to his job in England.

It’s vividly written, by someone who’s done some camping and may even have been in Texas—not for long. Gene’s accent is all over the map and, though plenty of Americans take our own folklore too seriously, Gene’s character is pure nineteenth century outlaw legend. The graphically described three-way sex scene with the hippie could have happened—there were plenty of real hippies who subscribed to that kind of notion of hospitality in 1970—but the whole story is, well, too much of a fantasy to be plausible.

Basically The Night I Caught the Santa Fe Chief is escape reading aimed at teenagers and young men, who probably shouldn’t read it…but if somebody found the right actors and sank a lot of money into the production, it’d make a great movie.

So it's subliterature...maybe sub-subliterature, not nearly as good as Zane Grey or Louis L'Amour. And, for that reason, it's become hard to find, and if you want this classic of 1960s-meets-Western kitsch, it'll cost you $10 per copy (maybe more if Amazon sellers see this review and jack up their prices) + $5 per package + $1 per online payment, and I have no idea whether the author is living--undoubtedly under some other name, if he (or she) is, though I am reasonably sure the author is not American. Four, I suspect possibly eight, books of the size of the copy I physically own would fit into one package for one $5 shipping fee.