You can keep your health care plan and your doctor, if you want to. Oops, lie.
Iran can be negotiated with and our unilateral easing of the sanctions slowing their maniacal drive to create nuclear weapons is OK. Oops, lie.
At what point do Americans ask what kind of a person Obama is, really?
Like many Pennsylvania families today, ours went afield for the morning. My son, having watched an enormous buck run past us in the early morning dark, minutes before shooting light, decided his feet were cold enough and it was time for him to head in.
None in our hunting party got a shot off, yet, but we are gearing up for an afternoon drive, usually productive.
Good luck today, deer hunters! Hunt safely!
Today marks the first time in about a thousand years that Hanukkah falls on the same day that ended up being America’s Thanksgiving holiday this year. It’s an unusual overlap symbolizing the confluence of Judeo-Christian values. Both holidays are about giving thanks to God for salvation from death, both holidays celebrate freedom. Today, may your Thanksgiving be doubly blessed with the presence of Hanukkah’s first day, and may it portend good things to come for America.
George Washington’s Thanksgiving Proclamation:
“Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor; and Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me to “recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness:”
Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26th day of November next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favorable interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed; for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enable to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and, in general, for all the great and various favors which He has been pleased to confer upon us.
And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions; to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a blessing to all the people by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have shown kindness to us), and to bless them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us; and, generally to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as He alone knows to be best.
Given under my hand, at the city of New York, the 3d day of October, A.D. 1789.
Yesterday, the distant father of one of our bear hunters texted his cell phone, urging him to retreat from the cold descending upon central Pennsylvania.
“Too cold! Go home!” read the text, which included several other adjectives supposedly describing hunting conditions.
The dad is not a hunter. He’s a very nice man, a hard worker, a veteran of Vietnam War infantry battles that earned him two Purple Heart medals. He’s no wimp. He is, however, a member of a materially comfortable society that increasingly believes food comes from the market, heat from the switch, and clothes from China.
Luxury is the standard for most Americans. By international standards, our ubiquitous cell phones, big screen televisions, cars, and expensive clothes are unimaginable expenses in days filled with constant quests for food and shelter around the planet.
Hunting for us makes us human, and quintessentially American. Hunting connects us to a human tradition predating anything surrounding Americans today. Cold weather is part and parcel of hunting. It challenges our artificially padded modern sensibilities for a few days, something that everyone needs. Couch potato nation, arise!
Early in America’s youth, a rule in the US Senate was established that recognized minority rights.
By setting a higher threshold for confirming federal judges, US senators had a chance to seriously consider judicial candidates, who serve for life and can only be impeached for serious crimes.
Today, the US Senate majority changed that 215-year-old rule, no longer allowing filibusters for extreme candidates. Now, judges will be voted for confirmation by a simple majority.
When the other party had control of the senate, and the present majority engaged in filibusters, it was business as usual. Now, the majority wants absolute control. No forced debate.
Now what happens when this majority is in the minority? Will they whine, moan, and cry about not having the filibuster at hand to stop or slow down judicial nominees they strongly oppose? Probably. And the sense of irony will be ignored.
Their friends in the mainstream press will take their side, and it’s up to us citizen journalists to get the word out about how serious this is.
A political tradition lasting 215 years must have been worthy. Now we see a huge power grab by one party. What will you do about it?
Not too long ago, just a few years, actually, a couple hundred thousand Pennsylvania hunters would gather together for the three days before Thanksgiving.
They’d meet under old tar paper shacks, new half-round log cabins, and “camps” both fancier and more rustic. Wherever they gathered was “bear camp,” the place from which they would sally forth in the state’s most rugged topography in search of a lifetime trophy, one of Pennsylvania’s big black bears.
This 100-year tradition that spawned many long Thanksgiving holidays and peaceful family gatherings among the quiet outer fringes of civilization was inadvertently destroyed by the introduction of a Saturday opener for bear hunting.
Now, pressed for time, bear hunters can get out on one day and say they tried. Lacking Sunday hunting for bears, these hunters might hang out, cut some firewood, and then return home to watch a football game Sunday evening. Fewer hunters make camp together for the remaining Monday through Wednesday season. Sure, hunters are out there, and some camps have tagged incredible numbers of bears in recent years, but the momentum of camp itself is gone, fragmented by the introduction of Saturday hunting and the absence of Sunday hunting.
To say that bear camp was a unique amalgamation of individuals is a gross understatement. Used to be that only the crazy die hard bear hunters would be so driven as to take off of work. Now, so many guys come and go on Saturday that the flavor and chemistry of bear camp is changed, and for the poorer.
I’m an advocate for Sunday hunting. Lots of reasons why, but the loss of that bear camp feeling is a good one by itself. If bear season opened Saturday and continued through Sunday, the old experience would be resurrected. I miss it, because I miss the guys who come up now to only hunt Saturday, and by the time I arrive Sunday, they’re packing up or already gone. Gone are the easy times catching up about our kids, families, and work.
Now, bear camp has evolved two “shifts,” the Saturday hunters, and the oddball crew made of guys who can think of no better way to spend time than out in steep, remote areas, hanging off cliffs, falling down steep ravines, and sitting around with buddies back at camp at night to laugh about it. Two shifts, same camp. Same roof, different people.
Sad. I want that old feeling back. Gimme Sunday hunting for bears, please, so I can reconnect with the old friends I hunted bears with for over a decade before the advent of a Saturday opener.
UPDATE: Well, plenty of people have weighed in on this essay. Seems that Saturday has opened up bear hunting to more kids than ever before, and more hunters in general. Concentrating most of the hunters on one day is a fact of lacking Sunday hunting. And no one disagreed that the momentum has now been lost on the week days.
We were told we’d keep our current health insurance, if we wanted to.
That is untrue and it was probably a lie.
Over the past two weeks, our family has received a dozen calls from our insurance company, trying to get us to agree to allow major changes to the plan we’ve had for many years. This is the result of ObamaCare, which really has at its core a goal of forced single-payer insurance, which afflicts most social democracies. You know, three times the cost, half the service.
Self insurance is not allowed by ObamaCare, oddly, as though even those who choose to spend their money on healthcare must share in the same mediocre misery as everyone else.
As usual, old friends who assured me they’d call out Obama if he went off the path are nowhere to be heard. They won’t or cannot admit what a catastrophe ObamaCare is.
When Obama said we’d be able to keep our insurance and our doctor under ObamaCare, he was lying. The test is in this moment now, when he can honor his pledge, or break it. Obama is breaking it.
Are you Obama fans happy?
Players names on football jerseys just does not compute. Feeling mucho pain over the NCAA atomic bomb on PSU’s football program, watching games the past couple of years has been tough to do. Am I a loyal PSU alum? Sure. But with superlame trustees, the school has given up on nearly all it stood for over the past five decades. If the trustees don’t care, why should I fight so hard to clear Paterno’s name and values? And why should I be expected to cheer on something a mere shadow of its former self?
With two business meetings up north and a pile of work to do even farther, the drive up the Susquehanna Valley the other day was enjoyable because so many of the trees still held color along the river banks and out on the islands. Yellows and oranges reflected in the water, and so did the blue sky. Quite peaceful and serene. Not a bad way to spend time driving. Especially when I consider how most Americans spend their time on the road — miserable gridlock, hideous urban concrete jungles, rude drivers. My driving is mostly a Zen experience. That is quintessential Central PA, after all.
Catawissa, PA, is not really on anyone’s destination planner, being snug between ragged coal country, fertile farm country, and pretty river bottom land, and well off the beaten path. To go to Catawissa, you really have to want to go, or have a real clear reason for going. The one horse there moved on long ago, and is now pulling some Amishman’s buggy across the river. Catawissa is daggone quiet in a countryside that is…well, really quiet.
But Catawissa is worth visiting for one simple reason: Ironmen Arms & Antiques is located there.
Jared and Tom have recently opened Ironmen Arms, what is and would have to be the nicest gun room in Pennsylvania (with apologies to Joel in Ligonier), filled with militaria, historic artifacts, and of course, fine firearms. The finest firearms, for the most discriminating collectors. Really high quality guns, like matching pairs (yes, pairs, not just one pair) of Parker shotguns, sequential pairs of high grade Parkers, and high grade LC Smiths, European double rifles, and on and on. For those of you bidding on the mint condition Remington 700 BDL in .223, I can tell you after holding it and inspecting it at length, it is every bit as perfect as it appears on line. If you are a serious collector, that gun is as good as it gets. The Remington BDL is becoming a collector’s item, oddly, because plastic stocks and stainless steel seem to be all the rage now, as soul-less and devoid of personality, art, and craftsmanship as those combinations are. I have no idea how someone hunts with these new guns, because I, myself, have deeply personal relationships with each of my firearms. To achieve that, they’ve got to look good as well as function properly. I’m not disgracing some wild animal by terminating it with anything but the highest combination of form and function. Aesthetics are necessary, because hunting isn’t just killing. It’s a statement about one’s values. Maybe I’m an “artiste.”
Or maybe it’s just a sign of my advancing age, or the arrival of The Age of China and All Things Plastic. I refuse to give in to sterile surgical steel and hard plastic, when I can hold the body of a beautiful tree in my hands. Apparently I am in good company with Jared and Tom, because they, too, like old wood and new steel, and old wood and old steel, too.
In this economic environment, entrepreneurs like Jared and Tom are brave. But they offer things that are not easy to get by any standard, and which are in high demand. And they are both nice men, interested in the fellow gun nerds of the world, and willing to share their bounty and knowledge with you.
So, if you find yourself traversing Pennsylvania on I-80, and you are passing by Bloomsburg, call ahead and set up an appointment with Ironmen Arms. Stop in and spend a half hour, or an hour, make some new friends, and buy an old Japanese sword, a rare bayonet, or a new rifle for that hunt of a lifetime. I know I will be back.
Ironmen Arms: 570 356-6126, firstname.lastname@example.org, 561 Numidia Drive, Catawissa, PA 17820. Their excellent website is at http://www.ironmenarms.com/