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Are conservative voters really gullible naifs?

Yesterday I had the wonderful experience of spending most of my day with central Pennsylvanians in a remote corner of our rural region. These are salt-of-the-earth people. Hard working, religious, family-oriented, earnest. The best. My kind of people. We were conducting business together, and of course we naturally discussed current events and related subjects.

One of the things emerging from my day with these genuine people weighed on my mind as I drove home in the rain.

“Are religious conservatives really clueless and naive about politics?,” I wondered.

These are decent people, good people, and the idea that someone would seek to destroy the character of someone they simply disagree with is totally foreign to them. They seem so completely unable to grasp just how evil and conniving their political opponents are.

Once someone says something negative about someone else in their world, why then, they think there might be a smidgeon of truth. It is enough to impeach the person’s credibility. Because of a naive belief that someone would only make such an accusation if it were possibly true.

In politics this naivete results in just enough votes lost or time delayed to get the Left a win.

It is this naivete among America’s best people that Leftists play upon and exploit.

As with last year’s impossible US senate defeat of Judge Roy Moore in conservative Alabama, by a far-left Democrat, today we face a typical fake leftist attack on Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination to the US supreme court.

Despite being a good man with an old-time (and odd) interest in younger women (not illegally-aged girls), Moore was defeated in a swarm of obviously false accusations designed to destroy his character. Just enough doubt about him as a good person was cast upon him that he lost just enough votes among good people to lose the race in a state he should have won overwhelmingly.

Despite sharing Moore’s values and policy views, a narrow majority of religious, conservative Alabamians were fooled into voting for the communist Democrat who will do everything possible to undermine those same voters and their values.

Today we have an obviously lying lady who has the most bizarre, dis-believable, 11th hour claim against Judge Kavanaugh. This discredited professor lady is already every kind of long-time kook-Left activist possible. She has a long public history of outlandish claims and bizarre behavior. Her students write that she is psychologically unbalanced, and “scary.”

Zero evidence backs up her accusation, which flies in the face of every other piece of evidence and testimony about Kavanaugh.

If at all remotely true, her accusation against Kavanaugh would be decades old, having nothing to do with his judicial views. But we know she is lying, and that her last-minute accusation is false, and that it is simply designed to derail the confirmation of a judge the Left disagrees with. This lady is simply the sacrificial goat used to achieve that goal.

Her attack on Kavanaugh is just one more attempted character assassination on someone the Left does not like because of his Constitutional views.

And all these false attacks are enabled by good Americans who think “Well, no one would really deliberately lie like this. No one would really be that indecent, that corrupt. There might be some shred of truth to it…” and so good people like Moore and Kavanaugh get damaged, and the Left advances its anti-democratic agenda to control government the voters would not ever cede to it.

Folks, if you are a religious person, a kind person, a good person, a decent, law-abiding, honest and fair-minded person, then that is great. You are my kind of person. You are all-American, and I hope you never change your values. But do not make the mistake of assuming that everyone else is like you. Do not make the mistake of listening to the lies of Big Media. The media is not news, or truth; it is the propaganda arm of one political party, and not the political party you would usually vote for.

Don’t be naive. Don’t be gullible. Don’t let yourself be manipulated by your political enemies so that your vote or your voice are wasted. Stay strong, be skeptical, and stay focused on what you know is good for your community and your country.

Thank you to wildlife’s friends, my friends

When I started writing for Eric Epstein’s Rock the Capitol about eight years ago, one of the first stories I related to readers was an experience two of my children and I had with two pitbulls let off their leashes.

The readership statistics on this one essay were off the charts. Very high volume, and lots of comments. When I asked why, Eric and his website manager, whose name I now forget, told me that news items and stories involving animals claim the biggest share of attention on the Internet.

Fascinating, right?

And we all kind of see this fact in the strange way people routinely show concern for an injured goat in the news by donating a million dollars so the goat can get its broken hoof fixed, and then a truly sad situation involving some news story about a poor unfortunate child whose abusive parents tormented her for years raises just five bucks to get her into a better home.

It is true that people care about animals, and that is a good thing. But this care seems to extend mostly, really overwhelmingly, to domesticated animals; animals that depend upon humans for care and shelter. A natural and healthy empathy is aroused when some unfortunate critter is seen hemmed in by wire or caging, unable to provide for itself and yet not being provided for by the humans around it.

The type of animals people have the least identity with is wildlife. Most Americans, being urban or suburban, simply mythologize wildlife.

From this more urban view, all bears are universally perceived as aggressively dangerous (they are not, though grizzlies are definitely more aggressive than black bears). Deer run out in front of our cars, eat our crops, spread ticks with Lyme Disease, and nibble our yard shrubs, dammit. Squirrels are nasty tree rats with fuzzy tails chewing on our yard furniture, eating the produce of our gardens and fruit trees, and diving our trash bins. And skunks, possums and raccoons are a bunch of rabies-ridden trashcan raiders. And so on.

Wildlife by and large is not greatly appreciated by the general public, unless it is a close-up photo of some baby raccoon or fox kit. And no, I am not talking about wildlife photographers or the insane Humane Society as representative of the general public. These two categories of people are far distant outliers of one sort or another, and no generality can be drawn from their presence among or about wildlife.

So thank God there are sportsmen out there; that is, hunters and trappers. These are the Americans who really do truly care for and about wildlife, and they prove it every damned day with their financial donations and back-breaking work on wildlife habitat projects.

There is no better advocacy group or aggregation of active people who love wild animals and the wild places they need to thrive than hunters and trappers. Time has proven this fact, though the foolish flatlander will claim, with a mouthful of gross stockyard beef in her mouth, that hunting and trapping are “cruel.”

Most of our public lands were first acquired by and for hunting and trapping, at the urging of hunters and trappers. They knew in the 1890s and 1920s that human encroachment into formerly wild areas was leaving no room for the most interesting animals on earth. Many of these animals are more interesting than most of the humans we will encounter in any given day, week, month, or lifetime.

This weekend I really enjoyed my time among a special group of people, the state-wide leadership of the Pennsylvania Federation of Sportsmen and Conservationists (PFSC), what until yesterday was known as the Pennsylvania Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs (PFSC). Most Americans no longer know that the word “sport” is about hunting, fishing, and trapping, nor do they know what a ‘sporting club’ is about. The lexicon has changed as the daily experience has changed. Meat is no longer acquired from a wild animal who knew it was hunted, but rather from a miserable creature tormented from its earliest days until its last moment alive and turned into a convenient styrofoam package.

The PFSC folks are the people who work every day for the benefit of wildlife, for wildlife habitat, for the defense and promotion of our state parks, state forests, and state game lands. These people do it humbly, quietly, generously, and usually all they get in return is some self-satisfaction from sitting back after a grouse hunt and, despite an empty game bag, intently watching a mysterious red Fall sunset streaked with white wispy trailing clouds sinking down behind shadowy trees shedding their colorful leaves. A deeply comforting stillness overtakes these people at these moments, alone or with companions, and when they go home that night, they know their decades of work fundraising for the latest land acquisition by the Wildlands Conservancy has paid off. It might be a relatively small nook in a big world, but it is a special nook nonetheless, where wildlife — wild animals unknown and unloved by most people — can call home until the next glacier comes through and re-orders the earth’s surface, as has already happened many times in the past.

Here is to you, a heartfelt thank you, my friends, my companions, my betters and my teachers among the outdoorsman fellowship. Thank you for your time and gift to me and to everyone and every living thing around me, whether they know or know not what you do for us.

PA deer hunters…spending 40 years in the desert

Last week, a guy in his late 50s posted a complaint on social media. He was both complaining about “not enough deer” to hunt in Pennsylvania, and also boasting about how he buys up as many doe tags as he can get, and then he tears them up, and then he uses them to file false deer harvest reports. He hopes this all will influence Pennsylvania’s science-driven deer management. One result of all this complaining by guys like this man is that the PA Game Commission is unable to get the license fee increase from the legislature that the PGC and most hunters want.

On the one hand, this self-defeating complaining and tearing up of doe tags is pretty much insane behavior, and a complete waste of one’s own precious time on Planet Earth.

On the other hand, that someone is so passionate about hunting and wildlife is a good thing. The question is, can this guy and the thousands of other unhappy hunters like him be educated about scientific deer management? Or are they so close-minded and emotional about this subject that they are immune to empirical evidence, logic and reason?

One result of our state’s scientific wildlife management is that we are now a major trophy hunting destination. Previously unthinkably enormous bucks and gigantic bears are within reach of those who are willing to hunt hard and smart. Bucks that rival and surpass those of the “best” whitetail states in the Mid-West. Black bears that are as big as Alaskan grizzlies. These are tangible signs of policy success, and that Pennsylvania is now an outdoor Promised Land after decades of hunters being happy with a pathetic forkhorn or even a spike buck.

On my westward drive along I-80 last week, and my drive south yesterday, from northwest Lycoming County down to Dauphin County, I saw dozens of dead deer littering the sides of the roads. Actually there were so many that I lost count. There may have been a hundred dead deer along the roads. Including along very rural roads in areas where many older guys complain there “ain’t no deer.” Obviously there are a lot of deer in these places, because they are not all being killed on the highway. These dead deer are the fruit of deer-car collisions, a very expensive and dangerous result of an overabundant deer population.

To be fair to the complaining hunters, the PA deer population in these places may be too high for the road system and not high enough for hunters’ desires. That is a very real possibility. It may be that the Pennsylvania road system is just too big, too widespread into rural areas, to allow many deer to survive into the Fall hunting season.

No, we are not going to shut down the public roads to stop the carnage, though it would make sense for Pennsylvania to put a moratorium brake on road building. We taxpayers cannot afford the operations and maintenance costs on the roads and bridges we have now, let along on any new roads and bridges. PennDot must re-direct its energies into safely maintaining the infrastructure we already have, like how about wildlife tunnels? And if the deer-car collisions are any indication, our public road system has been poorly planned and badly implemented; it has spiderwebbed out into the most rural areas and wildlife habitats. Thereby inviting expensive car collisions with wildlife.

I think this unhappy hunter situation is going to be like the ancient Hebrews’ 40 years in the desert. The older generation that cannot adapt to changing habitat, changing deer behavior, changing land use patterns and changing hunting methods is going to have to die off. Then the younger generation can get in the driver’s seat on deer management policy.

The younger generation understands and values science and biology in setting policy, like doe harvest tags, the crucial importance of getting buy-in and acceptance from the larger society around us (people unhappy about hitting overabundant deer; in Europe hunters are personally responsible for keeping wildlife populations at safe levels), the need to be multifaceted and flexible when hunting deer, etc. These complaining hunters represent the ex-slave mentality of those Hebrews who left Egypt and who could not learn to live as free men. Moses could not let them enter the Promised Land because they would infect everyone with foolish ideas and weakness. That would put the entire effort at risk. So he kept them wandering until that generation died out.

Sorry, old complaining guys, you are living in a broken past. You are slaves to an unproven, non-scientific, failed approach to wildlife management. If you cannot change your mindset and embrace reality, then you will be remembered as the lost generation that stood in the way of success and happiness.

And to be fair, this same broken thinking has haunted the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau’s approach to Sunday hunting. The older generation there has successfully blocked a 50% increase in hunting opportunity for decades, just because they think it is “wrong,” for no good, defensible reason. But that also is about to change, soon, as the fed-up younger generation of farmers, including religious Mennonites, takes this important policy issue in hand and directly bucks the older guys standing in the way of family success and happiness.

To enter the Promised Land, you must shed your slave mentality. I hope the anti-science hunters and the anti-freedom PA Farm Bureau folks will join us as we enter a glorious new period in Pennsylvania’s outdoor heritage.

Celebrating Whiteness, with Antlers and Runes

As much as real, tangible racism was in free fall and thankfully a long way out of style throughout America and Europe, Liberals could not live without it, and so they brought it back and breathed life into it like a Frankenstein monster. Newly created by the past president, Black Lives Matter is “the Klan with a tan.”

Racism and race consciousness (they are the same) is a powerful accelerant for liberals’ ever-offended victimhood, and a driver of demands for coercive Marxist “social justice” wealth redistribution and forced equal outcomes (not equality via equal opportunity, which is meritocracy).

Put another way, racialism is a powerful drug. Take a racial supremacy pill and you are on top of the world, feeling good about yourself simply for existing inside your own skin color; but take a racially aggrieved pill along with the first pill and you are ready to lay waste to the world in the name and image of your skin color. You feel personally righteous and motivated. Witness the BLM and ANTIFA street violence, the murderous hate of Jeremiah Wright’s followers, neo-Nazi Storm Front. True jihad.

For every Yin there is a Yang.

For every action there is an opposite and equal reaction.

For every black supremacist Louis Farrakhan and BLM kook and tone deaf NAACP functionary, there is now or will end up being a Neo Nazi or sympathizer, just as equally filled with foolish hatred, racialist supremacy, and racial grievance as their mirror image.

I do not know what “white” skin is, and neither do the strongest proponents of “whiteness” nor its ¬†enemies and modern creators, the black supremacists like Black Lives Matter, Louis Farrakhan, Democrat leader Keith Ellison, or celebrated jihadia Linda Sarsour, et al.

There is simply no quantifiable or operational definition for whiteness, or blackness. But racism’s artificiality does not stop people from using racist ideas for political gain or personal aggrandizement.

A recent vacation trip through several once-sovereign nations in Europe showed that, like America, most “whites” there have accepted the idea that racist/racialist discrimination is a bad thing. This is a repeated empirical observation where one meets a friendly young mixed race German couple: the She is milk chocolate brown, herself of racially mixed parentage, and the He is a supremely blonde and genuinely “white” Teuton, what we jokingly refer to as the ‘Hitler Jugen’ in our own family. Together they are happily affectionate and in love, oblivious to the artificial divide that Black Lives Matter demands of them.

Repeat this scene a thousand times, as we did across the three nations, and the takeaway lesson is that the “whites” got it; they got the memo on being racially accepting. It seems they are alone, however, as the pendulum is swinging the other way now, driven by BLM’s fake racial grievance industry, enabled by the establishment media, as well as South Africa’s latest non-news African anti-Caucasian genocide.

An interesting child born of the Left’s destructive efforts to artificially separate humans, break them out, and pit them against one another along skin color lines are those Caucasians returning to early Norse language, religion, and identity. Now this is really, honestly, truly Caucasian in every way, and if you had to point to something and say “Yeah, this is what we would call ‘white’,” this would be it.

It is an affirmation of historic roots.

It is not symbolic of Aryan supremacy. Yet.

Fascinatingly and in a way frighteningly, because it is so contrary to America’s Biblical idea of color-blindness, which I myself exalt (even in the face of BLM and NAACP racism), this is something quietly growing in the shade between the glaring extremes of BLM and Storm Front’s 21 marching members. It is this truly authentic “white” identity, increasingly celebrated in real song and historically accurate, authentic costume, rooted in Scandinavia, Dane-Land, Germania, the true home area of Caucasian “whites.”

These resurrected ancient symbols send a strong signal to modern lost souls; a chill up the spine tells them they are back home, after a long absence.

These are Caucasians working their way back to a proto-Caucasian, pre-Christian tribal identity, something organic with and naturally arising out of the Western European and Scandinavian landscape, even before Beowulf. It is very much a part of their DNA heritage. At least of what they know of it, or think they know of it. But that is enough for this new identity.

This nascent identity movement ironically started with the 1980s nativist Celtic music revival. But it is now its own thing, complete with a signature public face, a highly literate music style based on old Norse poetry and Viking history, Old High German and Old Danish literature and myths, the use of runes, and native music emitting from natural Iron Age objects, plants, and animal parts. And those totemic tattoos!

Call it “Viking Rock.” Their musical style is a big Viking tent, encompassing chants, to entirely primitive instruments, to electronic everything, and all of that together. One thing for sure, it is energetic, mostly aggressive, very much a product of the Norse beginnings. We know this from archaeology and history.

With this activity we are approaching a clearer and more honest “white” identity that is probably irrefutable, if also unnecessary in my happy, peaceful, color-blind American life. Shallow Storm Front, it ain’t.

We had thought the Vikings were all buried in the shallow inland sands of the North Sea and the barrows and dolmens of England, and now today seen only in documentaries, but in fact they walk among us once again. An entire genre of music, language, religion, exemplified simply by old Norse tattoos, are emerging from Europeans participating in their own natural, organic responses to artificial demands of racial identification.

Perhaps the most visually gripping band is the newest, Heilung (and photos and music videos below).

Early Caucasian people did and said and danced and wrote and sang these things playing out on stage, while today in America we barbecue outside and throw a baseball to relax, instead of beating war drums.

Where this goes is anyone’s guess. Neo-Nazis have already tried to claim some of this turf, now harkening to Odin for aid and comfort and decrying Christianity as a ‘Jewish plot’. But there is a tremendous amount of well-intentioned bleed-over into fascinated onlookers and others justifiably fed up with being told over and over that they are racist bad people simply because of their skin color, or lack of it. Other adherents are just fed up with modern materialism and consumerism, and are looking for what can only be called authenticity. This movement is going to take hold and sink roots in different places.

If we must view this ‘PaleoScando’ style as something purely racial, then one question that immediately comes to mind is this: Can the other “whites,” i.e. the Irish, Scottish, English, Welsh, Spanish, French, Portuguese, and Eastern Europeans also participate in this Viking celebration of whiteness? What if you are a typical American and you have a bunch of German, Austrian, and Irish DNA floating around in your veins? Under white racialism, these Celtic and Saxon strands are at war with one another. Do they cancel themselves out? Do you then cease to exist as a racial symbol? Should you be taken to a remote place and shot, or gassed, thereby removed from the gene pool? Or should you just shoot yourself?

A recent DNA-driven facial reconstruction of the 9,000-year-old “Cheddar Man” skeleton from southern England (near Stonehenge) gave him black skin and blue eyes, with a definitely unmistakable Irish mug. An Irishman with a deep tan. But wait, aren’t the Irish and English white?

Do any of these people above also qualify as ‘white’? Should they also be celebrating their whiteness with the modern Vikings? Or are they just onlookers, or cheerleaders, or cannon fodder and stepping stones?

The movement’s music and visuals are powerfully suggestive, and moving. If the Vikings and their incredibly creative, powerful, often merciless successful descendants were any indication, this movement will go somewhere. Hopefully it goes for good. God, I hope for good.

Some representative examples:

“Krigsgaldr” (“War-Magic,” a song or play about cruel Vikings getting some payback)

 

Will the real Ireland please get up, stand up?

Tramping the Temple Bar in Dublin with old friends, we were in search of native music, and a cold Guinness. Despite our best efforts, we could not find one authentic Celtic pub, that was open at lunch time, anyhow. Every place we went was either blaring the same exact mix of John Denver, U2, the Beatles, and Neil Diamond, or had someone playing those same songs on a guitar. Really loudly.

This was not the real deal Ireland we came to see and experience.

What the hell is all that incongruous music doing on native Celtic soil? So out of place was this alien cacophonous tumult that we finally fled to what we thought was a quiet spot, only to have the talking-level ambience be detonated by just one guy with a guitar. Singing John Denver, Beatles, U2, and Neil Diamond songs. Really loudly. So loudly that we could not speak to one another at the table, except in between his songs. And believe it or not, this pub had run out of Guinness.

No Irish music and no Guinness in this Temple Bar Irish pub….the heart and soul of Ireland. Supposedly.

This arrangement was, to us, utterly bizarre and not at all what these Americans wanted to hear, or experience. We had traveled back to the old country to hear the heart-felt authentic sound of the old country, either old or modern, not modern, plastic inversions from and for the New World. We put up with it and enjoyed each other’s company for a while, and then fled to greener pastures.

Now about that old time Irish religion…every Catholic church we visited there was a museum. They all had small charity shops, selling post cards. Dark and uninhabited, after a thousand years for some, they now sit mute. How sad to see the backbone of Irish morality, spirituality, and identity cast aside so abruptly.

While talking to anyone who would share their views with us about this, which included at least a dozen natives, from taxi drivers to cops on the street to the barber Seamus who cut me hair, we heard the following themes: The Catholic church overplayed its hand and alienated the very flock under its care. By being part and parcel of the public schools, the Church had a lot of control over people’s lives. But instead of being a positive force, the Irish we spoke to said that when they saw a priest coming, they ducked the other way. Their schooling was unhappy, not inspiring. The Church did not have to compete for the people’s trust and allegiance; it took them for granted and treated them like a captive audience.

And then there was the same molestation issue as here, except that it was bigger, known longer, and covered up in plain sight much longer in Ireland than in America. One man, Martin, our taxi driver on the way to the ferry to Holyhead, said “And you loved Pope John Paul, right?”

To which I naturally answered “Of course! He was a powerful force for good on Planet Earth!”

To which Martin replied “Yes, of course you would say this. All the Americans say it. But did Pope John Paul, the greatest pope in modern history, ever apologize for the molestation problem, here or in America? No, he did not, and it caused most Irish to turn away from him and the Church. Including me.”

I was then reminded of Sinead O’Connor’s bizarre outburst on Saturday Night Live decades ago. “Fight the real enemy,” she shouted at a picture of the Pope. Most Americans were stunned and unhappy about it, regardless of their religious affiliation or identity.

Apparently Sinead had a reason that the rest of us did not know. And at that time, Ireland was just an island a million miles away. We did not know what she was talking about, what Martin was telling us about. There were no social media to broadcast her message, just a brief appearance in front of a big TV audience. It was up to the audience members to dig deeper to find out what she meant.

Today, it appears that outside of the really rural areas, the Catholic Church in Ireland is being abandoned by the Irish. Like completely abandoned.

This terrifies those of us who believe in the supremacy of Western civilization. Without the Church, a cornerstone of Western Civilization, the whole falls. What fills that vacuum could be anything, and there are some powerful forces at play, playing for all the chips that spoiled, soft, fantasy-driven Westerners seem to be oblivious to. The Irish are not soft, or spoiled, but they are like children in a way. They are largely innocent children, in my eyes, unexposed to the harsh realities of the outside world, waiting to eat them up. Their guard is down, not up. The Irish are vulnerable, in the way that middle-income American kids are clueless and big hearted about the intentions of their enemies they call friends.

It is painful to see an Irishman drop his own music in Dublin, drop the source of his soul and family, and drop his guard when a fight for his culture is looming in his face.

Will Ireland please stand up? Will the real Ireland please get up? Yes, we know you are tired of fighting, but sadly, we all must fight to stay free. It is a constant thing. You Irish should know this better than everyone else.

For those who want to hear some authentic, modern, native Irish music, in the symbolic spirit of James Joyce; it is possible:

Fairy Forts: Being Truly Green, and Emerald

On a really neat hike around Howth, Ireland, guided by a really neat guy named Mark, I was introduced to the weird world of Irish politics two weeks ago.

Just two weeks before I had an even stranger introduction to Irish politics, when at the Yuengling beer plant tour in Pottsville, PA, a little Irishman with a big Brogue said to me “Yer nawt Oirish, becauz yew doon’t leev ‘n Ireland, and I’m nawt Oirish becauz ah leev ‘n Northr’n Ireland.”

The little master was quite assertive in his girly long shorts (thankfully these have not yet arrived in America) and me, for the first time in my life not knowing what to say and how to not say it, I simply said “Brother, you need another beer.”

And yes, he did drink another beer. Guess that meant he’s not really Irish…

So two weeks later on Howth, I described this encounter to our guide Mark, himself of Belfast like the non-Irish Irishman in the girly pants, but Catholic, and he responded like a PhD historian.

To wit: After 750 years of English occupation, colonization, violence, repression, uprisings, death, mayhem, chaos, cultural suppression, etc., the Irish are still sorting a few things out now that the English are mostly out.

The idea that an Irishman from Belfast is not really an Irishman is to me, like, I don’t know, let me think of something incongruous, well, it is like finding out something so incredibly outlandish that your whole world view goes topsy turvy for a week. That was the effect.

But Mark said matter of factly “Oh yeah, that is the mentality and attitude up there [Belfast], and that is why I left to come down here [Dublin].”

You would probably have to live there over a few lifetimes to figure it all out, because just as I was starting to comprehend the political and cultural dynamic of Northern Ireland, Mark then went on to describe Irish MP Danny Healy-Rae in the way someone from some deep urban ghetto cloister in New York City or Los Angeles would describe a rural NRA member farmer in flyover country.

It was not pretty, but hey, who am I to judge, and I just sat and nodded along. Mark was an excellent guide and passionate about his homeland and his happy life there. I can relate, and so like I said, I just nodded along.

Danny Healy-Rae is probably all alone in his singular rural style of political representation the world-over. Despite having a lot of rural areas and a lot of fired-up rural people, I do not think America has anyone like him in politics. Danny Healy-Rae is both principled and colorful, with a straight face.

The incredible irony of Danny Boy’s place on the political spectrum was totally lost on Mark, who only moments before was explaining Irish politics very cogently, and advocating for new roads in the deepest rural areas as “progress.”

See, Danny Boy objects to new roads being built through really rural areas, especially those places that have “fairy forts.”

Yes, fairy forts. Wonder if you will, laugh if you must, but the man is indeed worried about how new roads will destroy or impact ancient fairy forts. Setting aside the rural traditions and folklore about fairies and fairy forts (and I do tend to side with both Native American Indians and Native Irish on their spiritual sensitivities to real things in the natural world that city folk aka Town Mice completely miss), fairy forts are real.

A week after Mark had explained Irish politics so clearly to me, we visited Stonehenge.

Have you gone there? Stonehenge is literally surrounded by fairy forts. Lots of hill forts and burial mounds and mystery places clearly built by the ancients for mysterious purposes that were really important to them and unattainable to us desensitized moderns. I was not expecting this side of Stonehenge, and it turns out it’s the presence of all those hill forts and mounds that make the big Stonehenge rocks so important.

After seeing this unexpected oddity in person, I looked up “fairy forts” and read most carefully this one (of several) reference. Naturally the Irish ones came to mind first, because of the footage of Danny Boy talking about Fairy Forts in Ireland’s parliament.

Archaeologically a “fairy fort” is a fascinating historic remain, and it’s evident why the ‘hick’ locals in all these places both revere and fear them. The English seemed to have plowed theirs extensively, which is very bad from the view of the historian, archaeologist, or Druid.

Turns out that Danny Boy is not only concerned about new roads destroying Fairy Forts, but he is also publicly concerned about the explosion of rhododendron in rural Ireland.

Now as much as Mark mocked Danny Boy’s unpersuaded opinions about man-made “climate change” (like Danny Boy, I too am unpersuaded by the heavily politicized, faked data behind the mere statistical models purported to be and shouted to be irrefutable “science”), Mark admitted he did not know the flora and fauna subjects along our beautiful walk on Howth. Nonetheless, he mocked Danny Boy over the rhododendron thing, too.

That flora issue includes the tidal wave of invasive plants moving in on the beautiful Irish countryside. That would also include rhododendron, and you will not find a bigger faunal representation of imperial Victorian England (something Mark is very much opposed to) than the various copses of rhododendron planted and quickly spreading from one end of the Empire to the other.

In other words, Danny Boy is objecting to invasive rhododendron for environmental and cultural reasons, things that his detractors say they care about, and his supposedly proud Irish compatriots are mocking him about it. They mock him simply because he comes across as a hick, not because they actually know better than he or care more for the environment than he.

I think this hillbilly Irishman MP, Danny Healy-Rae, should get a lot more credit from his fellow countrymen than he has thus far received. At first I thought he was just an aggressive environmentalist trying to keep roads and invasive plants out of undeveloped Paradise. Now I think he’s also a keen historian!

We will return to Ireland. Several other friends and friendly couple friends of ours were simultaneously touring Ireland when we were there, and between us all we all pretty much covered the whole country by car, bike, kayak, and foot. The collective photos we all took showed Ireland in all its splendor. What a beautiful, unspoiled, undeveloped, magical place is Ireland.

Turns out that Ireland, the whole entire place, is one big beautiful, magical  fairy fort!

We are coming back, and we hope that Danny Boy has succeeded in diverting the roads, protecting the fairy forts, and uprooting the rhododendron. Mark, you will have to come with us, because I think you should see Ireland through our eyes. It might help you better appreciate the incredible natural beauty you have.

And this next trip might help us all better figure out Irish politics, because as we can see with Danny Boy vs. the liberal Irish, Irish politics are a complete mess where up is down and left is right. When you have liberals advocating for environmental destruction and keeping the symbols of imperial England, and the conservatives opposing them are the greens, things are just not yet sorted out.

That’s the best way to put Ireland. It just isn’t yet sorted out. But it is beautiful, thanks to the fairy forts.

Howth and the “Eye of Ireland”:

Chautauqua Institution’s Destruction

Chautauqua Institution was once a fine place to visit, many years ago.

It was safe, quiet, full of interesting people reading books or lecturing about the most recent book they had written. The on-site opera and orchestra provided just about everyone with any artistic taste with something.

Decades later, it has been completely taken over by the same people who have targeted every other American institution for capture and control, or destruction.

Chautauqua is now a summertime parade of communists, bigots, America haters, partisan political activists. Each speaker is treated to lavish welcome ceremonies as if they are the most gifted thinker on Planet Earth, when in fact they are the meanest, most close-minded political street brawlers in America.

The place reeks of radical, angry politics everywhere you turn. The air is poisonous with hate and tension, but always sold as love and open-mindedness.

I think the institution is still physically safe, for now, but my own kids have this sense that all is not well there. They have grown up going there every summer, and they report back feeling that same tension that anyone with different views feels there now. Unwelcome.

The last time I was there, or one of the last times, I sat at the Amp for a lecture by Donna Brazile. Of course she was presented as some kind of open-minded Deep Thinker, when in fact she is a narrowly partisan fighter and proven liar. Brazile helped fix Hillary’s illegal cheating “win” over Bernie Sanders in the Democrat primary.

When Brazile spoke that day, the entire Amp was a cheering section for the lady. There used to be rules against cheering or clapping for speakers, but the hyper partisan activists who now populate and run Chautauqua observe the same kind of rules on decorum as they do the laws they disdain for border security and illegal aliens living in “sanctuary” cities. That is, they make the rules as they go.

Having just received some emails from one of the Chautauqua administrators, I had to write this. The guy is either a huge liar, or a huge fool. To assert that Chautauqua Institution is anything but a far-left training camp and summertime re-education society is to deny the obvious reality as reflected in the speakers they invite, the speakers they DISINVITE, and all of the other far-Left programming there.

The CHQ administrators purposefully exclude alternative views they disagree with, even though CHQ is supposed to be all about alternative views. “Dissent” and “dialogue” is only acceptable from those who agree with the CHQ administrators and their partisan, liberal guest voices. This means that Chautauqua is an artificial, fabricated environment. Reality is concealed. Stealth is their way.

I understand the mindset of Liberals. I grew up with them. Liberals are very close-minded and very, very uncomfortable sharing any kind of space – physical, emotional, or intellectual – with anyone else. Let’s face it, Liberals are the very angry, hate-filled bigots they always said they were against. Chautauqua now perfectly represents that hateful culture, and the people now drawn to it and most happy there are like-minded tyrants and control freaks. Zero tolerance for opposing views.

And no, CHQ’s in-house “conservative” David Brooks is not a conservative. He is a RINO Republican, a moderate, which means he is pretty much a liberal. But he is there so the institution can falsely claim to cover all philosophical corners.

Please, spare us the visibly false claims and the pretensions to openness. Like the Boy Scouts of America, the education profession, academia, the media, Disney, and almost all other once-great institutions, Chautauqua Institution has been overthrown and captured by bigoted political partisans, who have now bent the place to their warped purposes.

Everyone have a nice summer. It won’t be at CHQ for me. The Chautauqua of my youth has been destroyed.

It is now ratatouille season, and for the rest of the summer

Summer time means gardens.

Summer gardens here in urban and suburban America mean tons, literally, of zucchini and tomatoes.

Some gardeners can their success. Using Mason jars, they boil, steam, stew, blanch and otherwise prepare their hard-won vegetables for the long pantry sleep or freezer burn.

Not I. Oh, I like to eat, especially fresh vegetables.

So my thing is to give away some extra garden produce and eat like a king every day, lunch and dinner.

Probably the easiest and most wholesome meal possible out of the basic garden is ratatouille. If this word has too many syllables for you, like it does for me, and it makes you think of fancy French men in white chef’s hats, take heart. It is this easy to make: some diced zucchini sauteed in olive oil. About 3/4 of the way to done, fresh tomatoes are thrown in the skillet and simmered down amidst the sautee action. Maybe an onion, if you like onions. More olive oil (we use California Olive Ranch) can only make things taste even better. Then some home-grown herbs (no, not that), like basil, rosemary, dill, garlic.

Keep simmering and sauteeing. Low flame.

When it is all becoming a big mush, sprinkle it with cheese. Don’t mix it in. A blend of grated hard cheese like wine goat or parmesan, with some decent Vermont cheddar, and let the skillet lid sit over a very low flame for about three to five minutes.

Turn off the heat, and let the skillet sit there on the burner for a couple minutes, with the skillet lid still on. Magic is happening in there. Don’t lift the lid to peek, or you will let the magic slip out and away.

Serve yourself first, because everyone else around you will dive in on the ratatouille and it’ll be gone in a minute.

Adios, Pancho Villa

When he came out of the guest room, suited up to hunt, he looked like the famous Mexican bandito Pancho Villa.

No lie.

Under his ten gallon Texas cowboy hat, he had two bandoliers of rifle ammunition crossing his chest, a Colt .45 ACP on his right hip, a massive custom Bowie knife on his left, his rifle slung over his shoulder, and I think a revolver in a shoulder holster rig.

We were going deer hunting in northcentral Pennsylvania, but my Pancho Villa was loaded for bear and beyond. We all kind of stood there at 5:00 AM, slack-jawed, staring at him in disbelief, our coffee mugs levitating between lips and falling to the floor in uncontrolled spasms.

He carefully explained what purpose each weapon served. The scoped rifle was obviously for deer, and the knife was for gutting a deer. The Colt Commander .45 ACP was in case a bear attacked him at close quarters, and the revolver was in case a human attacked him. Or maybe I have that reversed.

The bandoliers were self-evident. Everyone needs an extra 100 rounds of ammunition when deer hunting.

We went hunting that day, and I sent him up the hill to sit above the cabin. It was a good spot, and many deer had fallen there. He did not shoot any deer, however. Oh yes, he saw some, and a couple that presented decent shots. But he did not feel like getting all bloody.

He took a lot of chiding that night around the dinner table. So the next day, when we set out from the porch under twinkling stars, he was dressed like everyone else: A parka, orange hat and vest, a rifle. Half way across the gravel driveway I stopped and asked.

“What the hell is that SMELL?”

We all looked at one another, and then everyone looked at Pancho.

“What? I always wear aftershave in the morning. Every man should wear aftershave,” he stated.

“We are deer hunting, not running around on our wives, dammit,” I hissed. “Get back inside and clean yourself off. Every deer can smell you for a mile away!”

Five long minutes later Pancho emerged from the cabin, smelling less like a man on the make. Good. We all checked out with complete kit, and we started to all walk across the same stretch of gravel driveway.

Again, halfway across the gravel a tremendous CLANG! rang out. We all jumped out of our boots, whirling about to see what it was. In the stillness of the 5:20 AM pre-dawn dark, that loud and incongruous metallic noise was the only noise, something absolutely necessary to avoid if we were going to put the sneak on wily whitetail deer.

“Oh,” said Pancho.

“My rifle sling was not attached properly and it disconnected from the rifle barrel.”

His rifle and expensive scope had fallen to the ground. Never mind the air raid siren warning affect this had on deer for half a mile around, it probably damaged either scope or gun, or both.

Nevertheless, he reattached the sling and off we went into the gloaming, working our ways into spots high up to snipe ambushed deer from above.

He did shoot at a deer that day, and he missed. Even he was not surprised. The scope had taken a hell of a hit, and required a half dozen shots off the porch to get it dialed back in later that day.

Over the years many similar hilarious and improbable tales emerged from Pancho’s hunting exploits up north. Unfortunately he skipped an opening week of rifle season to take his flock on a trip to the Holy Land, ate undercooked, tainted chicken, got Guillain-Barre Syndrome, and became paralyzed from the neck down.

This once strong, masculine, proud, intelligent man was increasingly hemmed in by a world of aids, walkers, motor scooters, and help with everything. In the past couple of years he talked constantly of dying. His body was in fact shutting down, and he wanted out. His untreatable pain was immense.

He died Friday, a victim as much of the Guillain-Barre paralysis as the double-edged drugs meant to prolong his life.

Pancho Villa was not his real name, but to me, one of his admirers, he will always be that colorful bandito. A man swimming powerfully both with and against the tide he had been born into. To those who could not pronounce his name, he was “Chay-me.”

To his parents, he was Chaim. Born in Boro Park, Brooklyn, he was the son of a wood worker and a homemaker, who both fled Germany before the death plague descended on everyone around them. To those who do not know Boro Park, think Fiddler on the Roof. This is a super insulated society, walled off from everything outside. This concrete jungle does not breed woodsmen or hunters.

Chaim Schertz got his PhD at NYU and his rabbinic ordination at YU. He was a terrible hunter, but a great man, a great teacher, a great friend. I miss him now and always will.

 

The boys of summer

This past weekend a friend and I got our boys together, plus one of my son’s friends.

The four young teenagers ran themselves ragged, and it was a beautiful thing to see. Running up and down the river, floating downstream with the strong current, exiting downward of the rocks, sloshing back up and doing it all over again. And again.

Until one of them discovered some otter’s half-eaten breakfast of fish and crayfish, lying exposed in the strong sunshine on a rock with the water swirling around it. Inspecting that absorbed their attention, heads crowded around, someone poking about with a stick. And then >POW< they broke and ran back upstream as a splashing, sloshing pack, marking a distant boulder in the middle of the stream as their next object of focus.

This kind of outdoor joy went on all weekend.

Campfires, campfire cooking, campfires becoming scary bonfires, shooting guns, lighting fireworks, ear-ringing blackpowder cannon booming, combat SORRY! games, food crumbs everywhere, clothing smeared with mud and grass stains, pickup football games, woods walks. It was just one non-stop blur of motion.

At night we watched movies, shooshing one another when someone talked over the dialogue. Crumbs on the couches, popcorn on the floor.

It was a thing of joyous beauty to behold. Such unbridled happiness. Such carefree freedom.

Meanwhile the dads sat on the river bank, on the porch, on a log in the woods, in the living room, and compared childrearing tactics, kid behavior, learning and teaching successes and failures, hopes and fears for the kids’ futures, hopes and fears for our own parenting, for our own relationships.

Somewhere in all of this I was both a child again and a responsible adult. Watching these boys being boys as boys were meant to be was refreshing, and kind of a validation of my own untamed side.  That part of almost every guy that is a kind of mostly-hidden teenager who refuses to grow up and get with the adult program. Heck, being a boy is fun, even a fifty-year-old boy. You never really stop being a boy, you just get new toys. The consequences of screwing up are no longer skinning your knee, however; now, you can lose your home, your spouse, your health.

But we are boys inside, nonetheless.

Being a dad is difficult, and fun; hard and enlightening; frustrating and rewarding. Doing a bit of it with another dad over a weekend makes it easier. But most of all I enjoyed being a part of the boy herd, and reliving some of that unfettered joy of just being a boy free to roam and run in the summer sunshine.