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I love you, America

Writing negative headlines and about negative subjects burns out a person. Tough to outswim the drowning pool of negative politics, negative culture wars, negative attacks on individual liberties.

We naturally want to be positive, to enjoy some humor, to laugh, to be human, natural, not consumed with unhappiness and unease.

Tough luck, as our civilization wallows in materialism and the fantasy that the bank account is always full. Fact: Our national bank account in every way is empty, and the overdrafts are eating us up. Result: Unhappy people, anxious people, worried and fretful people. All they built and contributed towards is being pulled under in the drowning pool.

The fact that a black president is leaving office with a legacy of racist riots he has stoked is really sad. How can we get excited about politics and culture when every day we see this man, Hussein Obama, so full of love for himself, and yet so full of acid hate for America?  He hates my love. He hates what I love.

See, I love America. When I see our flag waving passion wells up in my chest and my throat, because it fills me with pride. When I see people so consumed with hate for all I love, well, it leaves me unhappy.

And yes, I categorically reject that most racist of all racist assertions: I am happy because of my “white” privilege. My skin tone has nothing to do with my thinking. The only people who think it does are racists.

Have you seen the video of the Black Lives Matter racists swarming a college library, assaulting Caucasian kids and attacking them for being racist, because they are “white”?  That right there is the very definition of racism. Pretty much only one place this can all end, and it isn’t good. Racism is just bad stuff. When the racists themselves accuse others of racism, then it is doubtful that the love can flow. The hate is, well, it is the old racialist hate that is tough to stamp out.

Where the heck is “Let the Love Shine from Aquarius, with those big Afros? What happened to Cat StevensPeace Train?

True, I am add libbing here, taking some liberties with the words and metaphors, but if you are reading this, you know why. That 1970s sense of universal love being just around the corner was pretty strong then.

Loving people know this, and they know better, but they seem to stand by and say little, if anything, while the drowning pool picks up momentum.

I love America. I love my fellow citizens, with all their various skin tones and viewpoints. Genuinely, I love them, because their optimism and hope for a good future is the righteous inspiration America always ignites.

Hopefully, one prays, the old Biblical passages about hate turning to love will come true, soon. America is a wonderful nation, pretty close to a perfect nation, certainly the best nation of all that ever were or ever will be. It is worth holding together.  I hate hate; I hate racism.

I love you, America.  Good luck, honey.

Southern Poverty Law Center issues Insane Press Release

SOUTHERN POLICY LAW CENTER

400 Washington Ave. Montgomery, AL 36104

Press Release

September 16, 2016 — Montgomery, Alabama

Today the Southern Poverty Law Center is making a long overdue, bold statement about Islamophobia and the need for cultural acceptance in the West.

“Two days ago Pope Francis called French priest Jacques Hamel a martyr and spoke badly about the men who killed him. While the SPLC always stands against murder, and we feel sad for Father Hamel, it is important to choose words carefully so as not to inflame Islamophobia and hatred towards Muslims,” says SPLC senior fellow Mark Potok.

“After two days of soul searching here at the SPLC, we have decided to bring nuance to the sad death of Father Hamel by strongly condemning the words of both Pope Francis and Father Hamel,” Potok says.

“Calling Father Hamel a ‘martyr’ casts Islam in an artificially negative light, and brings undue attention to just one small aspect of the rich belief system that Islam encompasses,” says Morris Dees, SPLC founder.

“Therefore, the SPLC calls on Pope Francis to apologize for his hurtful words, and to issue an apology on behalf of Father Hamel, for having called the men ‘Satan’. We understand that at the time of that cruel epithet Father Hamel was under some duress, however there is never any place for Islamophobia. Especially in a church,” says Dees.

Press inquiries can be directed to Wendy Via, Chief Communications Officer, at (334) 956-8200 or Toll-Free at (888) 414-7752.

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A Day of Infamy, Fifteen Years Later

Fifteen years ago, on the morning of September 11, 2001, I was sitting in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, just beginning to give testimony on hunting and land conservation issues.

Three minutes into my presentation, our entire room containing 200 people was chased out by the Capitol police, from fear of another attack like had just happened in New York and Shanksville, Pa.

Within weeks I was at the crash site, working with the National Park Service, and I went on to play a central role in shaping the Flight 93 memorial, the heroes of which I often think of.

What irks me is that since that day of infamy, America has become less safe, more politically correct, and less able to talk openly about the single force that created 9/11 (Saudi Arabia, Islam).

Hopefully we get this election right and get our great nation out of the ditch.

God bless America.

NFL is Just too Masculine for Media Sissies

NFL is Just too Masculine for Media Sissies

By Josh First, www.joshfirst.com

National Football League player Colin Kaepernick has put on a moron show for the past couple of weeks, unwilling to stand for the national anthem, and wearing socks picturing pigs wearing police uniforms.

Millions of Americans are angry at him for being so gullible, selfish, and shallow, and they are buying his team jersey so they can publicly burn it. But his behavior is only a symptom of the larger problem facing America, and the rest of the West, too.

The problem is that more and more men are effete sissies, and more and more men think that being a rough and tumble guy is just so un-hip. Why, it is an obstacle to world peace. This message is seen not only in day to day life, but in the media, from which so much of the Hollywood entertainment and politically correct culture is broadcast.

Let’s face it, with the onset of Second Wave and Third Wave feminism, it wasn’t enough for women to have equal access, equal rights, equal opportunity, and equal pay. Nope, feminism is now an assault on man-ness, on guys being guys, on masculinity.

Note the popular male fashions being pushed today: tight pants and tight shirts on a lanky, thin body housing an effete metrosexual attitude, neither male nor effeminate enough to be called flaming gay. Being a guy is just not in fashion with the people who are looked to for fashion direction. Guys must be more feminine, more female, softer, gentler, we are told. We have to share our bathrooms. Our military, police, and firefighters no longer have to be the strongest and toughest possible, which are innately male physical standards. Some kooks even now bizarrely assert that men menstruate, and wallow in weakness.

When liberal activism outlet Mediaite spends time lamenting the potential injuries a quarterback might have sustained in a game, it is a sign that the left’s mainstream media is gearing up for war against masculinity with the NFL front and center. As the NFL is probably the last bastion of real masculinity remaining in popular culture and the entertainment world, it is presently the most important symbol in the left’s crosshairs.

Yes, we have wrestling (not the fake “pro” wrestling), but it is not a widespread fad, nor is it a big moneymaker, or a team sport with jerseys. I wrestled from grade school into college, and despite the many injuries my body sustained from it, I would not have given it up for anything. It is a true test of a guy’s individual masculinity, a controlled test of buried savage and primitive battle urges residing under the thin veneer of civilization. It is painful, and pain helps you grow, find your limits, and be stronger. It is good stuff, necessary stuff and I miss it. But it is a thing for redneck kids and a few urban schools. No one really pays attention to wrestling, yet.

Now, the NFL has been infiltrated by basic political correctness, with players like Kaepernick serving as Trojan Horses for the bigger assault to come. First NFL players start with actions that are openly anti-America, which is classic political correctness. After that becomes the standard behavior, then the team owners and players will go along with whatever feminizing, “cultured and refined” norms are demanded by the tiny speck that is the mainstream media.

Kaepernick and the rest of the NFL will still get paid millions of dollars a year, but the masculine, competitive, fighting spirit will be gone from the game, and with it a symbol of America’s own fighting culture.

Right after that is a kumbayah hand-holding session with Russia, China, and ISIS, where we can be told how to behave and what to do by our enemies, because that is what good little effete sissies do. They play nice. They do whatever is necessary to avoid pain, to avoid conflict, to not be “mean.”

And you can guess what I have to say about that pain-free play-nice stuff: F#ck that!

BRING IT ON, Mediaite sissies.

 

How nice are you?

Out of curiosity, ask yourself: How nice am I?

Then answer it this way: No matter what media and university people are telling you, the fact is that in this political combat, Nice People Finish Last.

On the one hand, we are told that anyone who is not politically correct and partisan Left is a racist, and an extremist.

The people daily planting this message are themselves politically and culturally extreme, by traditional standards. You know, the traditional standards that founded the very civilization they enjoy so much, but which they have turned against. The people carrying this message have an agenda, to shut down all opposition, whether by shouting it down or making it illegal.

On the other hand, we have a bunch of generally comfortable, nice, thoughtful, considerate Americans, educated at liberal colleges. They voted for Obama, thinking doing so would prove once and for all that they are not “racist.” They work hard, pay their taxes, dutifully invest in college for their children, and follow the flawed but prevalent 1960s maxim “let your kids find their way and discover who they are.” Their kids do not find their way, but are usually led astray by leftist professors and activists.

The material comfort we middle income Americans enjoy is putting us to sleep. And when we are confronted with accusations that we are racist, or mean spirited, or sexist, or whatever, we naturally cringe, and do what we can to prove that we are not as accused.

And thus are the Nice People manipulated and bullied into handing over what little power they have left. Giving to those who will never relinquish it.

This election is not about Republican versus Democrat, or about liberal versus conservative.

It is about the American voter waking the hell up and realizing now, at the last second, that the Left has been on a ruthless warpath for fascist control for decades, and the “right” has been cowed into protecting only its material comforts, at the cost of the Republic. The cost of our liberties. Your liberties. Our Constitutional rights.

When American professors are permitted to openly state that debate is not welcome in their classroom, you had better take notice.

When the American media openly allows itself to proudly act as an arm of one political party, for one highly corrupt political candidate, you had better take notice.

When racist extremists are marching through your kids’ college campus, accusing “white” kids of being “racist” because of the color of their skin, you had better take notice.

When racist extremists are marching through public streets, destroying everything around them and assassinating police officers, and then elected political officials give them legal cover, you had better take notice.

When our highly armed US Navy vessels are dodging tiny boats threatening them in international waters, instead of incinerating them, you had better wake up.

When our military service men are captured by a hostile nation (Iran), and ransomed for over a billion American dollars — your tax money, instead of being returned unharmed under threat of American retaliation, you had better wake up.

Hello there, Mister and Missus Middle America….your nation as you knew it is coming to an end. Everything has changed under your feet. You think that because there is food in the fridge and gas in the car that all is fine. That is materialism putting you to sleep.

If you do not vote in a stop-gap candidate like Donald Trump, then your civilization is over. By the time you realize it is gone, it will be too late. Many of you will later accept being cowed into submission by Hillary and her political descendants, but many of us will not. What happens after that is the kind of conflict that has always happened in every human society preceding us when irreconcilable forces clash. No sane person wants that, and your vote this election can either postpone it, or create the conditions necessary to turn the tide altogether.

Want to be really nice? Help get America back on track, or at least keep it from jumping the tracks. Vote for Donald Trump.

Are We at Culloden, 1746, or Towcaster, 61? Where are We in History?

Are We at Culloden, 1746, or Towcaster, 61? Where are We in History?

At Culloden, the Scots hastily lost to the British and their Scottish Lowlander allies. A poorly planned battle from the very beginning, French officers advising the Highlanders stated that the Highlanders would lose quickly, which they did. In the following years, Britain went on to overrun Scotland, terrorizing the disarmed natives with rapine, murder and mass theft. No rule of law, but rule by the sword in 1746.

1688 years earlier, Briton Boudica had rallied some 200,000 men and women to her anti-Roman cause. After utterly destroying several Roman colonial cities, Boudica allowed her outgunned adversaries to pick an advantageous battleground at Towcaster. There, using the terrain to their advantage, only 10,000 Roman legionnaires mechanically sliced their way through the poorly organized mob. Britain became fully Roman thereafter. No rule of law, but rule by the sword, as Roman soldiers completely dominated disarmed Britons and took whatever they wanted.

In a more civilized form of combat, in 1948 Dewey defeated Truman for the presidency. Except that he didn’t. Media allies had talked up Dewey so much that the election was marketed as a foregone conclusion, leading to the famously inaccurate headline “Dewey Defeats Truman.”  The voters had other ideas and rejected the elites in that election. Truman was an Everyman, a truly humble American, and a real patriot. Dewey wasn’t a bad guy, and in fact by today’s standards few principles separated the two men. But the media had gone overboard to predict a winner, and the American voters didn’t like it.

Today, one wonders where we are in history, because history does repeat itself.

Human passion for control and domination of others being what it is, eventually there will be a clash of mutually exclusive wills, like at Towcaster and Culloden, here in America. We saw it at our formation in 1776, and again in 1861. This time the country has far less resilience to destruction and upset. Our finely tuned, supremely comfortable lives are a finely tangled mess of fishing line. Lines leading off in so many different directions that we can barely keep up with them, let alone untangle them. This is a knot that only a deep cut can separate. It’s not physically hard to make that cut; it is only hard to make that destructive decision, because the mayhem that follows is hard to fathom.

On the one hand Hillary Clinton and her trillionaire allies are poised to make America a subsidiary of global corporations, who like their taxpayers subdued and submissive, thank you. FaceBook, Twitter, and most of the media are leading the charge for Hillary, covering up her evil intentions and ill health. Liberty will be gone so fast that liberal Julian Assange of WikiLeaks has accused the pro-Hillary media of “erecting a demon.”

On the other hand is a ragtag army of citizens. No pitchforks and torches here, yet, but millions of American citizens are getting anxious and worried that they might end up in battle against their fellow Americans, for liberty.

How will this electoral battle go? Will it be a Culloden, a Towcaster, or a 1948 Dewey-Defeats-Truman?

I am betting on the Everyman in every one of us, white and black, brown and yellow, red and pink, to bring our nation back from the brink of the cliff, to affirm our individual liberties as being supreme.

Taking Oscar’s Advice

Oscar Wilde was and remains renowned for being wild. Too much wild for his own day, and probably even by today’s standards he would be too wild. He got it from being too liberal.

But, Oscar Wilde was funny, witty, and a careful thinker on many subjects, not all, for sure, and on many he lazily fell back onto his witticisms, which themselves were pretty good and quickly made one forget what it was he was being lazy about. So when one of his famous admonitions had taken ahold in my head and would not go away, should anyone be surprised?

It was his bit about not buying anything made in a factory, but rather buying only handmade things, especially things that were for home decor.

Wilde was reacting to the massive industrialization and standardization then taking place in England and America. He who did not believe in souls talked about created things having a soul, and the souls of their human owners being damaged by mass-produced things.

We get the point, especially today, when cheap Chinese crap surrounds everything we do and own and live.

The smell of Chinese formaldehyde permeates nearly everything we buy at the big box stores like Lowes and Home Depot. Formaldehyde is toxic stuff. Embalmers use it to stop the decay of human flesh, in preparation for wakes and open casket burials. If massive machines, dark windowless drudgery in brick factories, and densely choking coal smoke bothered Wilde, how much more so would the invisible snake of Formaldehyde!

While a great deal of my enjoyment comes from natural things, including hunting, trapping, fishing, gardening, and being outdoors as much as possible, I have never been very accomplished at making things, especially the natural things I like to have with and around me. Clumsy and slow, being artistic in ways that fit my physique and capabilities just never happened. I have always had to acquire those hand made things I liked.

And so that Wilde admonition would not quit.

Watching my son play in the ashes of bonfires, rooting around for bits of melted glass and aluminum, brought Wilde to light. Two years ago the boy brought aluminum nuggets he had fished out of one of our fires on a camping trip, and he spent a lot of his time hammering these into a crude knife blade. No, not a very hard or useful blade, but his creation nonetheless. He was proud of it and continued to make stuff. And he has really gone farther this past summer, making all kinds of things in fire, like glass paper weights.

And so we now have an anvil of Jymm Hoffman’s construction (of cast H13 impact tool steel, made here in Pennsylvania) and a bunch of tools. The forge is under way. Hopefully my heavy physique will find a way to channel my artistic desire, and my son’s budding artistic talents. We might be able to make things together, things that are organic, folksy, natural, ergonomic, fun, useful, and definitely not mass produced.

Bear with us as we begin to explore Oscar Wilde’s guidance.

Friends in low places

Several years ago several ambitious construction projects were begun, where the building material would come from our own oak trees on our property. Oak may not be the best or easiest building wood, because when it dries it is heavy and as hard as iron, and thus tough on tools and shoulders alike, but it is what we have there.

So oaks were cut, skidded, piled, and then milled in situ over about a five year period. An injury and subsequent surgery prevented me from continuing this remote effort, which then moved forward in fits and starts over several years. When we finally got around to completing the actual projects, much of that beautiful oak had been sitting out for a long time, and in some cases too long. After using up much of that oak lumber, a large amount yet remained in piles, where it had air dried.

Last week was my final drive to get under roof thousands of board feet of two-inch-thick oak boards, heavy beams, and smaller posts, before they started to rot. It was a lot of work. The unusual heat and blazing sun made the work go slower. One thing that surprised me was the absence of mice living in these outdoor piles. Normally mice run and scurry as the wood is moved, having nested among the boards in perfect little hidey holes.

The last pile of drying lumber was finally put away, with just a few boards remaining at the very end, butted up against a huge boulder that makes up part of a stone wall around the yard. As I dismounted the tractor, stepped over to the board ends, and reached down to grab them, a sound caught my attention.

It was a sound that set off primitive alarm bells in my brain.

At first it sounded like a cricket, and then a grasshopper, and then a second later my mind concluded it was a timber rattlesnake. After stepping back, well, let’s say it was an inelegant, well, ugly (it’s a big fat man jumping, after all) leap, minus my usual little girl scream that seems to accompany most of my unplanned and close-up rattlesnake encounters, I looked down.

A long black snake with a yellow diamond pattern was stretched out next to the boulder, about six inches from where my boot heel had settled moments before. The long grass against the boulder had concealed the snake from my eyes, which, frankly, had not looked there, but had rather been focused on the heavy boards, and how I was going to pick them up and manhandle them to their destination across the yard.

The snake’s angular head and erect tail with rattles confirmed it as a timber rattlesnake.

While it was not a huge male rattler, the likes of which I have caught and moved to safety off of roads and trails a number of times since I was a kid, it was nonetheless big enough to permanently remove a chunk of leg muscle. So I admired it for a minute, and then went on to other work elsewhere. When I returned an hour later, it was gone, though I thought I could see it coiled up right under the boulder’s edge. Instead of reaching down with my hands, I used the pallet forks on the tractor to pull out those last boards.

Over the course of the next two days, my mind kept replaying the encounter. In July 2001, when we had owned the property for seven months, DCNR forester Jim Hyland and I had scoured our property, as well as the adjoining State Forest and part of the adjoining private land, looking for rattlesnakes. That day we found a corn snake, a garter snake, a ring neck snake, and two green snakes. No sign of rattlesnakes among the rock and old slate quarries up high. Not even a shed skin.

So for sixteen years we had enjoyed our property without being mindful of rattlers. Our children had been born and raised around the cabin, running freely around the property. Sure, I spent a lot of time in our woods, a certified Tree Farm, and I have always been on the lookout for rattlesnakes, as well as other snakes, but I had seen few snakes at all, and never a rattler.

Snakes are awesome, they are awesomely cool creatures. I bear them no animosity whatsoever. In high school and college a pet boa constrictor kept me company, until she had grown so large that she was regularly breaking out of her cage and hunting our house cats. When I last saw her, she filled up one side of the man’s living room, and he regularly fed her rabbits and squirrels he trapped in his yard. She weighed about 150 pounds then, and was ten years old. I hugged her, but she just laid there, limp and dozing. Snakes…what can you do? Love em the best ya can.

And so now I am confronted with the fact that a potentially dangerous animal shares our camp with us. All around us we have seen rattlesnakes over the years, mostly run over by cars down on the highway, and increasingly I see them all over central and Northcentral Pennsylvania while cruising timber and looking at land. At some point I did expect them to join us as tenants of one sort at the cabin. Under the front porch is where I thought they would first show up, because it’s good cover and the mice like it there. Struggling emotionally to adjust to this new arrangement has not been painful, but it has been harder than I thought it would be.

The absence of mice under the wood piles reminded me why I accept and even welcome the presence of timber rattlesnakes, intellectually if not emotionally. Mice are a major pest, and they are destructive little bastards. Hearing them chirp and run inside the walls of the cabin at night, right next to my bed, is a source of aggravation. When they eat porch and barn furniture for nesting material, it is infuriating. They pee everywhere, and it stinks. We regularly trap them around the buildings and poison them inside the barn. Help reducing their numbers is most welcome, and anyone or anything that helps achieve that goal is a friend of mine.

Timber rattlers are beautiful to look at, and they are normally pretty docile, requiring a lot of pestering and rough handling to elicit a strike. But like all wild animals they are unpredictable, and the risk they pose to little kids playing outside is significant. Fortunately, our kids have reached ages where they can think carefully for themselves, consciously avoiding areas where rattlers would naturally congregate. And we now infrequently host families with little kids as guests, as most of our friends have kids the same ages as our own children, able to take guidance, if they are with their parents at all.

So the risks versus the benefits works out in our favor. The benefits of rattlers sharing our property are high, because they eat the hell out of mice. Rattlesnakes are my new friends, in low places, where they are needed most.

Welcome, friends.

 

Who, Me? No, You!

America has been in the grip of moral relativism since the 1960s, and nowhere is this corrosive belief system more evident than among Politicians-Gone-Wild who get caught.

Pennsylvania’s Attorney General Kathleen Kane was just found guilty on all counts, including perjury, and her answer (she has been consistent on this from the beginning of her investigation) is something like “it is not my fault, I am the victim, everyone is out to get me, it’s not fair, and everyone does bad things so my bad actions are no worse than anyone else’s so I am therefore not guilty.”

This “Everybody does it, so I am not guilty” mindset has now filtered down from guilty politicians to nearly everyone in America. Seems to be almost a lifestyle, where people take whatever they want or think they can get away with, and then cry foul when they are caught and held accountable in even small ways.

Basic examples found daily in the news include shoplifters who then destructively run amok in the store they are caught in, decrying their “unfair” treatment by causing thousands of dollars in damage to prove their aggrieved status.

The most egregious example of this is the Black Lives Matter movement, where mostly hardened crooks are elevated to innocent hero status in the effort to attack civilization and the citizens who undergird it, our wonderful police officers.

More common is the trespassing for firewood theft and recreation that I frequently experience on properties we own or manage.

One guy had his teenaged children riding their ATVs on our property, and when I finally begged him to make them stop, his response was “I can’t control them.” Never mind that he had put up so many No Trespassing signs on our common boundary, and quite a few were way over that boundary deep into our land, that you could not look through the woods without seeing a sea of yellow marring the scenic beauty. In other words, he zealously guards against anyone trespassing on his land, but he casually lets his people trespass on our land, and makes no real effort to stop it.

Recently I received a brutal call from an angry local man I do not know, who really chewed me out, calling me every bad name imaginable. He ended his tirade with “A lot of people out here in the valley hate you.”

Despite efforts to have a lucid conversation with the man and inject actual facts to rebut his wild accusations, he denounced me one more time and then hung up the phone. Sitting there contemplating this strange call, I began recounting the run-ins we have had with his trespassing and thieving neighbors. Indeed, a great many of his neighbors had attempted to steal some of our land, or were serial trespassers after recreation and deer, or were thieves stealing commercial quantities of firewood and mountain stone.

Yes, we have had run-ins with people around him, and when I investigated with one of the confessed trespassers, he informed me that the caller was one of the people we had inadvertently netted in our anti-trespassing efforts.

Ah hah! went my brain. Here we have a man who has been trespassing on our land for years, stealing from us firewood and mountain stone for business purposes, and he is mad as hell that his free gravy train has come to an end.

And in fact, this guy was not alone in his angry denunciation of his imaginary oppressor.

One of the other trespassing locals we caught stealing red-handed two and a half years ago was so mad, he began denouncing me to anyone he met. I guess this is a customary defense mechanism, where guilty people try to pre-empt any negative information about themselves, but it is remarkably brazen nonetheless. We declined to press charges against him, because he probably would have lost his job as a result. And his partner in crime, a local attorney, could have lost his law license.

None of our largesse was appreciated or rewarded by these criminals. In fact, they took it as a sign of weakness and lack of resolve, and they went on the offensive, personally maligning the person who they blamed for their misfortune. That being “caught.” No taking responsibility, no admitting guilt, no owning up to doing something wrong, but instead blaming others for their moral failures.

One of the things I dislike about one of the presidential candidates is that she has zero morals, no ethics, no moral compass. She refuses to take responsibility for her many failed policies and legal failures as a senior American official.

One of the things I like about her opponent is that he stands for basic decency, defined by weak 2016 standards, mind you, not the 1940s Norman Rockwell ways by which we used to run this country, and which I grew up with and miss very, very much.

Americans must elect political leaders who set a basic standard for good behavior, who represent a return to basic good values, and who help us get away from corrosive moral relativism, a culture eating away the foundations of human relationships.

Castle Dundas…a Must-See

Nothing competes with an experience so new and profound that it changes your views on a host of subjects. Thus was my recent introduction to Dundas Castle in Edinburgh, Scotland.

On the outskirts of historic Edinburgh (today pronounced “Edinboro,” as if the Vikings and Saxons had not come through previously. Think of pronouncing Pittsburgh as ‘Pittsboro’…), and just barely within view of the mighty Edinburgh Castle, is Castle Dundas, complete with spectacular grounds, English (Scottish) gardens, new and old sculptures (including an old one of Oliver Cromwell) and stone fountains, and a 1400s stone keep designed to withstand the best of catapults in its day.

Parapets ringing the high walls of Dundas date from the 1800s, 1700s, and 1600s, and the keep is centered inside it all.

Were I to be married again, to the same wonderful woman (Vivian), of course, I would do it at Dundas.

The laird there, Sir Jack, has made Dundas an unusual and meaningful destination for couples seeking to be wed, as well as a place for shooting parties, indoor and outdoor family and corporate events, and golfing.

There is a generous helping of tartan drapes hanging from twelve-foot ceilings; but unlike most places, it fits because it belongs there.

It’s the inside of that 1400s stone keep that is the main attraction, and a place the likes of which you will never see again in your life, and I don’t care of you are a Duke somewhere with your own castle, because few of these old keeps remain intact.

Yes, it is a bit dungeon-y, and the only entrance is through a massive iron door turning in on four-inch-thick iron spindles. Now THAT is a door.

The interior of the keep is a series of large and small rooms with arched ceilings, all connected by a single corridor and a gently winding staircase. Occasionally a secret staircase drops off and down out of sight, presumably for easier escapes in times of war and invasion.  Each room has its own decor, but all have the ancient, sombre stone walls that remind us of old tymes in a way that no theme park, no 1800s Rhode Island copycat stone mansion can ever capture.

For example, in the stone steps somewhere between the second and third floors were drill holes, where someone hundreds of years ago had repeatedly spun a distaff or spindle. Perhaps making yarn from sheep’s wool, or breaking down some foodstuff into constituent parts, or mixing some foodstuff, a person had sat in that one lonely spot in the staircase, contributing their share of labor to the household, and by all appearances others had sat there, too.

If those steps could only whisper, much less talk…. I swear I heard the clank of armor, the rustle of silk, and the faint whispers of palace intrigue echoing.

My favorite room was no, not the armory, though that is a neat room, surely. Rather, deep into the heights of the keep lies a large chapel room where weddings are held. Another smaller, distant room is where the couple signs their wedding contract.

May I suggest, Sir Jack, that you have made a copy of the most Celtic Kilchoan Cross, now found at Inverie, with the hole in the middle, where the new couple can extend their betrothal vows and pass through their wedding contract. That would complete the wedding experience at Dundas, and introduce what should be a common and most beautiful practice.

If you live anywhere in England or Scotland, or America and Canada, for that matter, and you are considering unusual and rare places to get married, may I recommend Castle Dundas.

Wow.