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Last Dance at Julia’s Auction

James D. Julia was in full-throated auctioneer mode when I hung up the phone earlier today, his voice rising high above all the other competing voices.

With a standing-room-only crowd at Julia’s Auction in Fairfield, Maine, the background noise was overwhelming, even on the phone. Today being Julia’s last-ever auction, the place is packed to the gills with people who just want to experience it and be able to say “I was there.”

“Please yell at me, like you are mad at me, OK?,” instructed Debbie, the Julia’s Auction employee assigned to handle my phone-in bid. She could hardly hear herself, much less her client on the other end of the line. I, too, could only hear a roar, a cacophony of voices, with the auctioneer’s voice occasionally rising above it.

I have been to Julia’s several times, and it has never been anything like this chaos.

Yes, it is a long drive from central Pennsylvania, but if you are into the stuff I am into, then the drive is worth it. If for no other reason than to inspect in person the various antiques (my wife calls it all ‘rusty junk’) of interest.

Julia’s firearms catalogues are phenomenal, presently approached in quality and accuracy only by Amoskeag Auctions, but there is no substitute for being there and seeing the items in person.

Please understand that Julia’s catalogues are more than just sales listings. They are historic repositories of hard-won information, useful to researchers of all sorts, as well as helping set some parameters on overall market prices.

Julia’s catalogue photographs set the industry standard. Nor have I ever seen an example where Julia’s mislead or provided an inaccurate description of some item. No doubt it has happened, but compared to the other auction houses, Julia’s descriptions are perfection. Gospel, really.

The Lancaster double rifle I was interested in came up quickly, and before I could indicate a number, it was already at double what I was prepared to bid. On quick second thought, I was ready to bid higher, but by then the auction price was already beyond double my highest bid, which was still forming in my mouth.

“Do you want to bid?,” asked Debbie.

“Nope. I’m out, it is already way beyond my highest” said I.

“But it was nice just to be able to bid one last time at Julia’s, a place I have come to love and fear,” I said.

Debbie laughed at my joke, and then after a few brief pleasantries she said goodbye, moving on to help the next phone bidder in what will probably go down in the history books as the most expensive, frenetic, chaotic firearms auction ever.

Fortunately or unfortunately, Julia’s has been purchased by Morphy Auctions here in central Pennsylvania.

I say unfortunately, because no one likes to see a good thing change, and Julia’s is not only a good thing, it has been the best thing in antique firearms auctions, bar none. So now that it is becoming part of Morphy Auctions, it is disappearing.

I say fortunately, because the merger will bring all the highest-end antique firearms to Morphy, which is much, much closer to my home. No more long, long drives to south-central Maine. But this may be too close.

And that is why I say unfortunately, because now that all these guns will be on display so close to my home, like less than an hour away, I will end up acting like a kid in a candy shop: Out. Of. Control.

Oh, my suffering wife. Yet more rusty junk, honey!

Which brings me to a much more poignant point: Don’t assume things will always be so, because in truth things are always changing. When you see something good, and it looks right, and it is going to bring you pleasure, or happiness, or a good investment, then strike while that iron is hot.

Just five months ago, Julia’s previous firearms auction had barely anyone in attendance. Hardly any bidding occurred on most of the firearms there. Maybe one or two bids per item, except for the especially rare or collectible, with most going for just one low bid, filed by absentee bidders. No one knew then that Julia’s was going to be merged with Morphy, and so no one showed much interest.

Had people known then what they know today…that October 2017 auction would have been a mad house, like today is, and the assemblage of fine, one-of-a-kind firearms would have been much more competitive.

For those of us who did participate, we reaped the benefits of low competition.

Goodbye, Julia’s! You will be missed. We welcome to central Pennsylvania the many outstanding firearms experts who have made Maine their home in the past decades. They will be happy here, surrounded by lots of natural beauty and an all-American culture that does not punish or stigmatize gun ownership.

My only hope is that Morphy carries on the same high quality catalogues that Julia’s produced, in style, substance, photography, and descriptive accuracy. That is one thing the industry cannot afford to lose.

Here comes the Hokey Hookie Parade

If you were impressed by the Sore Losers Against Democracy march in early 2017, where hypocritical whiners convened in DC to complain about a defect in one man they had gleefully celebrated in the multiples when another man was in the Oval Office, then you are in for a big treat this March 24th.

Following Nikolas Cruz’s illegal and totally avoidable murderous rampage in Parkland, Florida, the same hypocritical whiners are gathering once again in DC.

This one is the Hokey Hookie Parade.

And though this includes a bunch of school kids forced from school by activist teachers, the parade is very much the same old gun prohibitionist groups we have all come to know in various guises over the years. The same T-shirts, signs, posters, and demands as the past. Americans rejected them before, so maybe a new tack will help, these activists think.

The fake moral outrage is building. It’s getting bigger and bigger. The mainstream media are hyping it.

Instead of asking how Cruz’s dozens of failed encounters with local, state and federal law enforcement resulted in his massacre of his classmates, and instead of asking how the Obama-era PROMISE program deliberately shielded violent kids like Cruz (and Cruz specifically) from being held accountable and thus actually permitted him to get the gun and combine it with his publicly advertised lunatic fantasies, and instead of asking why gun control groups create the conditions for and then welcome these massacres so they get the blood in the streets that fuel their emotional appeals for more government control over free citizens, the whiners are blaming law-abiding gun owners, a civil rights organization (the NRA), and even inanimate objects (guns).

The NRA did not pull the trigger, Cruz did. The NRA did not create the “Gun Free Zone” filled with violent criminal students, the gun prohibitionists and Obama’s PROMISE program did. The gun did not kill those kids, Nikolas Cruz did.

And how does limiting law-abiding gun owners do anything against crime?

Law-abiding gun owners use guns every day to defend themselves and others from violent criminals. And yes, they even use AR15s.

Armed law enforcement officers actually stood outside the school, with their firearms drawn, listening to Cruz murder his classmates. They failed to intervene, and they could have easily killed or wounded Cruz and stopped his massacre. They had no idea what he was armed with, and in any event that is irrelevant: As Cruz walked through the Gun Free Zone with impunity, any armed person who showed up could have easily stood behind a wall or door and waited for Cruz to walk by, and then shot him. Or they could walk up behind him and shoot him.

These are all dramatic failures. Adult failures, government failures, bureaucrat failures. None of these have an atom in common with regular every-day gun owners across America or their chosen organization, the NRA.

I once worked with a deeply unhappy lady who would invent office conflicts and problems out of thin air, so she could then heroically swoop in and impose dramatic and totally fake solutions. No problems existed but what she had created, or simply alleged. No solutions were needed. But she was not after solutions, she was after control. And half the time she got it, through administrative acts or by sheer bullying. She apparently needed this process to satisfy a hurtful, dark craving in her soul, and only late in her career, long after she had committed tremendous damage to many people and the institution itself, did a brave boss eventually step in and end her tyranny.

Such a situation exists here and now with America’s gun prohibitionists.

They created the conditions for Parkland to occur, and they have hijacked this emotionally loaded and most avoidable massacre to suit their purpose of imposing an unpopular and unneeded solution.

Like the alcohol prohibitionists and racial segregationists before them, gun prohibitionists are control-freak fanatics who believe they are on a mission from God. Nothing they do is ever wrong, and every fakery they commit is acceptable, in their minds. The end-goal justifies every method, right or wrong, moral or immoral.

The gun prohibitionists bully and bluff their way into imposing a solution that has zero connection with the actual crime itself, or with the cause of the crime.

Hopefully regular Americans wake up and confront them, stop them, hold the failed bureaucrats accountable in Parkland and Broward County, and end the PROMISE program.

Stealing freedom from everyday Americans is not an answer, it is just one more big problem, leading to yet more problems.

One of the future problems is going to be a lot of young children scarred by the hype and fake moral outrage surrounding the Parkland events. God knows where that then goes. One answer is to send a bill to CeaseFirePA and its affiliates for all of the emotional counseling needed after their fake drama plays out with all these impressionable young kids.

These kids should be in school  on March 24th, not being used as cultural revolution cannon fodder by prohibitionist zealots.

Twenty-five years of sitting by the warm fire

Our family burns a lot of firewood every cold season. Usually beginning in late October and going through February, sometimes into March, we burn split oak 24 hours a day.

Nothing heats up a room better and takes the chill out of the air than a fire in a modern wood or coal stove, and nothing provides a better centralized gathering place for people to read, doze, study, or talk than a fire place or stove. It is a real comfort, and if we think about it, humans sitting by a comforting fire goes back what, 100,000 years? Or six thousand? Either way, a long time.

We are back at it once again today, tending a fire, having now endured Winter’s recent biting return without a fire the past week or so.  Something about this late season chill just works its way into the bones. Maybe we kind of let down our guard, anticipating Spring, eager to shed the heavy coats and boots, and enjoy the warm air and freedom to lounge outside once again. Whatever  the reason, the harsh cold issues a strong call for the fire today, and so we lit one. We will run it constantly until we are fully out of Winter’s grip, and enjoying the comfort of the warm sunlight.

There is another sort of fire, however, and this one will never die out.

It is the fire of human passion, and love, and friendship.

It is that kind of fire which two people share after twenty five years of happy marriage together.

Sure, there are some tough times along that twenty-five years, some hard words, some bruised feelings in that period. Birthing and then raising three kids in that time means some disagreement and frustration are inevitable. But these things are part and parcel of living a committed life. And in a way, resolving the disputes makes the fire hotter, Polonius’ hoops of steel stronger. There is no walking out or walking away, quitting when the going gets tough. There is only commitment, fire. Ebbing, flowing, sometimes blazing hot, sometimes a bed of coals, but always a lit fire.

As a much missed now-deceased life advisor used to say to me, two married people are like two knives, constantly rubbing against one another, sharpening one another’s blade. The knives are working tools, cutting through life, getting work done, and by working together side by side, they also continually sharpen each other’s blades, their cutting edges, the working parts. Once in a while they nick one another. That is just the nature of the tool, the nature of married life. The little nick goes with the territory of work.

It is a good analogy, good enough for me. Because when I look back on twenty-five years of good marriage, as marked today, I feel like we are both still sharp, the Princess of Patience still looks sharp, and our cutting edges are holding up strong.

Said  the other way, I have been sitting by a particular fire now for twenty-five years. Once in a while, while tending it, it has singed me, or given me a minor blister, reminding me of its inherent powerful force. Given that I am klutzy, it is logical that I earned those little burns.

But usually this fire is my friend, my best friend, in fact. I am looking forward to another twenty-five years of her warmth and comfort.


My pickled egg recipe

Lately the raving feedback on my pickled eggs has inspired me to post here the home-made recipe I use.

What are pickled eggs?

They are a Pennsylvania Dutchy native food, originating from the pre-refrigeration time, when salting pork and beef, and soaking vittles in salt and vinegar, was the only way to preserve food, to keep it from going bad.  Only so much food could be kept cool in a spring house, or hanging cured in a smoke house.

So pickled eggs are hard boiled eggs that are soaked in a salty brine with various flavors tossed in to suit your own palate. One thing I have not tried are deviled eggs made from pickled eggs. I will bet they’d be mighty tasty.

You need a sealable one gallon glass jar; I re-use an empty (repurposed) pickle jar with a steel lid.

Into the empty and cleaned jar empty one can of sliced beets in beet juice. Brine or citric acid in the beets is fine, but just keep a running tally in your head or on a slip of paper of how tangy or savory the brine is going to taste.

Then either from the hot sink tap or on the stove top heat up four to six cups of water in a pot, and according to your own taste, add two to four tablespoons of salt and a table spoon or two of granulated white sugar. Mix in the salt and sugar in warming water until it is dissolved.

The hardcore Germans among us will want more sugar. A lot more sugar. A sickening amount of sugar. Don’t ask me why, it’s just one of those odd sweet tooths that people brought over from Europe. I myself like my eggs savory, not sweet.

Turn off the heat. No need to boil or simmer. Just get it hot enough to turn the salt and sugar into a solution, and then pour half to 2/3 of it into the big jar. Reserve the rest; it might be needed.

Then pour into the jar two cups of apple cider vinegar. You can spruce this up with balsamic vinegar, malt vinegar, a bit of white or wine vinegar, and you can always put in more or less to suit your own taste buds. But for the sake of starting out, let’s just begin with two cups of apple cider vinegar, which Heinz sells in gallon and two-gallon jugs.

Now add 12-18 hard boiled eggs (peeled!) to the jar.

[Note: Eggs boil best when the water is a roiling boil and the eggs are added quickly, boiled high for five minutes under a lid, and then kept under lid for 30 minutes after the heat is turned off. Eggs boiled this way will peel easily and perfectly]

A table spoon of mashed or minced garlic, a quarter teaspoon of dill weed, and a dash of basil into the jar will together give a nice flavor.

At this point your jar should have some room in it before the liquid reaches the very top, just below the lid. You can throw in a couple sliced carrots and some sliced onions. Now, there will be a tiny bit of room left at the top, and you should fill this in with more vinegar and \or the reserved brine, depending on your taste buds.

Close the lid tightly, go to the sink, and slowly turn the whole jar upside down, then back, then upside down again. A few of those turns and everything inside is mixed up. In the winter time you can put the jar in the pantry or mud room for a few days to let the eggs pickle. In the summer you will have to have a very cool basement corner, or else put the jar in the fridge for a few days.

After 2-3 three days, the eggs and vegetables are pickled. The eggs will be colored reddish-pink throughout, even into the yolk. The vegetables will be yummy. Use a spaghetti strainer to reach into the jar and pull out a couple eggs and some vegetables. Put them on a plate and serve cold. We also put them sliced into salads.

Yum. Big treat.


Billy Graham and America’s Christian Imperative

Nobody did Christianity better than Billy Graham, a quintessential American and American icon. He was definitely a man of God, a rare, beautiful thing to see.

Losing Graham last week released a flood of beautiful and well-earned words summarizing his commitment, passion, energy, focus, humility, earnestness, and non-judgmental effectiveness. These are all good things, and taken in context as just one man, they are an impressive list of achievements and accolades few of us will ever have said about us.

But Graham was more than just one good man we looked to for leadership and inspiration. Graham symbolized much of what America was in its golden age, say the 1950s, and also a great deal of the building blocks our nation is based on:  Biblical at the base, and big-tent-Christianity at the top.

Graham represents America’s Christian imperative. Meaning, it is imperative that America be a Christian nation, and not atheistic or secular.

America is far better as a Christian nation than an atheistic nation. As a religious nation, America is as America was founded. A common morality, shared values. Even if it falls down, a Christian nation can be, always has the potential to be, a moral and ethical place.

On the other hand, the secular atheist nations have been Hitler’s Germany, Stalin’s Soviet Union, today’s Red China, Pol Pot’s Cambodia, and so on. Not good places. Very very bad places. Cruel places. Places with no human rights, no individual liberties, no religious freedom, and unlimited state power.

Unlike Europe, American Christianity in general, and Graham’s faith in particular, did not discriminate nor judge nor exclude. It is an inclusive faith. American Christianity has always been different than the discriminatory Europe, which persecuted, burned alive at the stake, and ultimately drove out the early Protestants, our “Puritans” and Quakers. In Europe, state religions remain, such as the Church of England, the Church of Scotland, and the various Catholic churches of France and Spain and elsewhere.

You do not have to be a Christian to feel welcome in Graham’s America, or to be an outstanding American, or even to be emblematic of America. That big-tent-Christianity which our Founders believed in, which Benjamin Franklin and Jefferson so well represented, and which Graham came to represent today, is responsible for that openness, that tolerance. If Europe suffered from religious tests and requirements in order for people to fulfill public roles, America was the opposite: Come one, come all, give your best, we are a meritocracy.

Jefferson’s famous 1805 Letter to the Danbury Baptists contains the “separation of church and state” phrase which is so powerful that many people mistakenly believe is part of our nation’s First Amendment. That may be wrong in fact, but the letter captured and set the tone for the kind of religious belief America would come to represent 213 years later. We may not have had an official church, but most of our early leaders were religious Believers, and they carried that moral code with them into their official positions, where it guided their actions. They carried church around in their hearts, and not necessarily on their sleeves. A uniquely American creation.

American politics has always been about shared values, if not shared beliefs. Traditional religious views, call them the Judeo-Christian pillars of America, are that big tent in which the shared values are assembled. So it is on the shoulders of conservative Catholics, evangelical Christians and Baptists, and yes, even Mormons (please leave us out of endless theological debates, or discussions about dogma) to help right the ship of state now, to rally around the shared values, circle the wagons, and protect our most sacred freedoms and liberties.

In this day and age of confusion in the West, with abandonment of basic human traits and life, Christianity is needed more than ever. It is all-hands-on-deck right now. The Christian imperative is more clearly evident now than it has ever been in my lifetime, and Billy Graham showed us all the way.


Institutions and Images for Boys

That there is a war on boys and manhood is obvious. It is not even a question, as the perpetrators are now open about it at every level of society.

Fake academics call manliness “toxic masculinity,” as if 100,000 years of being a man – tough, focused, unwilling to back down on important issues, willing to fight, serve, feed one’s family, be patriotic, to be a warrior, a hunter – somehow became a problem.

Fake educators disproportionately punish boys who engage in boyhood behavior, which often is prep for being a hunter or warrior. It’s like punishing naturally unruly lion cubs or bear cubs for tussling and play fighting. A docile little girl standard is the behavior being pushed on boys.

Only in a spoiled and rotting society where we remain distant from the hard work and sacrifice needed to maintain what we have is it a purported problem, distant from the ground-up preparation and training needed to create young men capable of defending everything that has been built around us.

America’s main enemies have no problem being manly.

The Russians and Chinese may seem odd by our cultural standards, and they may lag behind us in technology, but they are warriors, nonetheless. They maintain a tough attitude. People there who decry their “toxic masculinity” probably ‘disappear’ or are openly assassinated on the streets, much like the few real journalists there, too.

For most nations, the idea that some of your own citizens would be making war on boys and men, and on their ability to defend the homeland, is beyond treason. It is sedition, an act of war from within, the worst act possible, because it puts everyone else at risk.

So my son enjoys being in the Boy Scouts of America, and he has a rifle hung on hooks above his bed, as well as deer antlers on the wall. He is happily shaped by the images, symbols, and work demonstrating a progression from boyhood to manhood. These things symbolize self-reliance, responsibility, self control, increasing duties to others and increasing one’s ability to deliver to others.

These are the qualities that shaped America, and they are the antidote to the girly-man weakness being pushed on our boys today.

The BSA is still one institution where boys can still learn these traits, values and skills, the military being another, and sports and even hunting camp yet others. But you won’t see a poster like this from the BSA today, and that is why it hangs on my son’s wall. It was a birthday present from his parents. We want him to imbibe its symbolism, with which it is filled.

Boy Scouts of America: Manly symbolism





Our Wildlife Management Comments Submitted to the PA Game Commission

Dear PGC Commissioners,

In so many ways the Game Commission is on an exciting path, really moving forward on policy, staff culture, and scientific wildlife management. It is an exciting time to be a hunter and trapper in the great state of Pennsylvania, thanks to you. Hunting and trapping are supposed to be fun, and the PGC should be able to maximize opportunities without sacrificing the natural resource base. If anything, the agency has been perhaps too conservative, too cautious.  In that vein, here are some small suggestions for improving hunting and trapping in Pennsylvania:

a) Make all small game seasons concurrent, start them in late September or early October and run them unbroken until mid February. The current on-again-off-again schedule is silly, an artifact from many decades ago. Our current small game hunting schedule leaves kids and oldsters alike out in the cold with nothing to hunt if they can’t get to deer camp, or if they do kill a deer and want to keep on hunting. Hunters deserve maximum opportunities that do not degrade or put wildlife populations at risk, and adding a few extra days won’t hurt anything, but they will help hunters tremendously. Put another way, the risk of changing this is very low to non–existent, and the benefits are huge. Well, what is the risk, really?

b) Allow the use of snares in rural WMUs and/or on private lands. Cable restraints are an important trapping tool under any circumstances, and especially so as we experience ever-increasing freeze-thaw-freeze-thaw winters, with rain no less. These weird winter conditions render traditional footholds nearly useless both early and late in the season. Cable restraints can function better than footholds under those conditions, but they just are not sufficient for the big coyotes we are encountering. Getting coyotes into cable restraints is tough enough, and holding them there is even tougher. Chew-throughs of our cables are common, where a snare would positively catch the coyote and hold it, bringing it to hand and into the bag. In rural areas (or on private land) there is a far lower expectation or risk of a pet or feral dog or cat being caught. We are ceding too much to the anti-trappers by prohibiting snares where they can do the best good. A pet is an animal that lives in a home. Eliminating a very useful tool because of some vague or low-probability worry is not good policy. We can do better, and snares are much better than cable restraints in general, and particularly in the northern Big Woods areas. Also, CR certification can only be done right in person, through hands-on training. This online certification is going to lead to problems, especially where CRs are used like snares.

c) Allow the use of body-grip (Conibear) traps outside water courses, specifically on running-pole sets for fishers, bobcats, and raccoons. Like the snare situation above, our trapping regulations are unrealistic, they are too conservative, penalizing law-abiding trappers because of vague fears that under reasonable circumstances will not happen. Securing body-grip traps up off the ground is well out of the reach of dogs and domestic cats. Separately, if a pet owner lets their animal out the door to run free, where it can trespass, be hit by a car, be eaten by a coyote or fox or hawk, or get hurt in a fight with another animal, then they do not truly care about it and it is not a real “pet.” Pennsylvania trappers do not deserve to be hurt because of others’ irresponsible behavior. Elsewhere in America, the use of bodygrips on running pole sets is very effective and humane. We can stick with the #160 size as the maximum.

d) Extend the fisher trapping season and areas. Trappers in Berks and Lebanon Counties have told me of catching fishers in their sets, and we are seeing them in Dauphin County. There is no good reason why we cannot extend where and when we trap these abundant predators. Incidentally, they eat bobcats and turkeys, and it would be silly to expect fishers to simply harmoniously co-exist with other animals. They are a voracious predator and they will have a disproportionate impact on predator and prey populations alike if allowed to expand unchecked. Fishers are cool animals and I am all for having them in our ecosystems. What is lacking now are the mountain lions and wolves that in the distant past would have eaten them, and kept them in balance with other wildlife. We humans now fulfill the role of lions and wolves. Let us at ’em.

e) Make sure bobcat populations can sustain these long trapping and hunting seasons. We are seeing a lot less bobcat sign and fewer bobcats on our trail cameras. This was the first year we did not get a bobcat through either trapping or calling in 2G and 4C, and while this may be just our observation, we are concerned. If bobcat harvests must be reduced, then we prefer that it come out of their hunting season. There is a ton of hunting opportunities in Pennsylvania, and not a lot of great trapping opportunities. Heck, muskrats are practically extinct, coyotes have eaten most of the red fox in the southcentral, and possums are clogging nearly every trap. Let us keep our bobcat trapping intact.

f) Reinstate concurrent buck and doe deer hunting. We are seeing a high number of deer nearly every place we hunt (WMUs 2G, 4C, 3A, 5C, 5D). Deer populations are definitely lower than in 2001, and deer are harder to hunt now than then, but the quality is unbelievable, and the herd can sustain both doe and buck hunting. Pennsylvania is now a real trophy destination, so keep up the scientific management, which would include allowing hunting on Christmas Day.

g) Expand the bear season by one day in WMUs 2G and 4C, or rearrange the season entirely. There are an awful lot of bears everywhere, especially in 2G and 4C. On the Friday before bear season starts, we see loads of bears having tea and crumpets in the back yard. They are watching football and hanging out leisurely in reclining chairs. Come Opening Day through Wednesday, we might see the hind end of a bear or two, or we might occasionally harvest a bear, if we work hard enough. By deer season opening day the following week, the bears are back to having tea and crumpets in the back yard, hardly disturbed by all our hunting efforts. Another way to address this is to make bear and deer seasons concurrent, at least for one week, and perhaps start that concurrent season the week of Thanksgiving.

h) Do more to end wildlife feeding. We continue to see mangy bears, and deer baiting under the guise of “helping” wildlife through artificial feeding. It’s not good for the animals, and can actually be bad. People also feed wildlife to entice game animals away from (other) hunters. This is a cultural practice that PGC needs to do more to end, through education and enforcing the bear feeding regulation.

Thank you for considering our comments. We do love the PGC and admire your field staff, especially.

Josh and Isaac First (father and son)

Harrisburg, PA

Merry Christmas. So shoot me

Christmas time is the best time of the year in America.

Regardless of your religious affiliation or conviction, wishing fellow Americans a Merry Christmas is in the good spirit of cheer, fellowship, happiness, relaxation, making room for one another.

While “Christ’s mass” had an obvious religious basis, it was originally scheduled to track its parent religion. Christmas always falls on the 25th day of the last month in the Gregorian calendar, December, just as Chanukah always falls on the 25th day of the Hebrew month of Kislev. The two holidays therefore always fall near one another, and in America Chanukah (a commemoration of an improbable win for religious freedom against ethnic cleansing) has been strongly coopted to be more Christmas-like.

Over time in Western Europe, Christmas evolved to include gift giving, merrymaking, communal singing and declarations of faith, time with family. The befurred Scandinavian Saint Claus (Saint Klaus, or Nicholas, now Santa Claus) in his snowy winter environment became one of the defining symbols of the holiday.

Charles Dickens put the exclamation point on Christmas in the 1800s, through both strongly pointed opinion essays and his fiction stories arguing for a truly gentler, kinder, more forgiving time where the most important religious values would be brought to bear. And make the season happier, society more humane.

As an open society, America has come to embody the best, most inclusive aspects of this European legacy. It’s really remarkable, if you think about it, how inclusive America is, how open it is. To the point where Sikhs, Hindus, Jews, Mormons, Buddhists, and others can equally feel a part of Christmas time.

It’s true that Christmas has become captured by materialism, that it has become largely secularized, and much of its original religious message has been blurred. But what is wrong with making a major religious holiday welcome to so many others who do not necessarily share in its most religious aspects? What is wrong with seeing the very religious values of tenderness, kindness, gentleness, love and happiness be widespread among everyone?

Because of aggressive anti-religion atheists, somehow wishing fellow Americans Merry Christmas became verboten. Well, I just reject that.

Christmas is now a quintessential and quintessentially American holiday. America’s best qualities are on display at Christmas time. To try and shame people from wishing one another a Merry Christmas is itself shameful. If you don’t observe Christmas, fine. Just wave, smile, and enjoy the happy spirit in which the greeting was given. Nothing bad is meant by it.

It is the spirit of America.

Merry Christmas, my fellow Americans, Merry Christmas.

And peace on earth.



How can we Americans not give thanks every day?

America is such a wealthy, successful nation that it’s impossibly bad manners that our people do not give Thanks every single day.

We have much to say Thank You for, and little to complain about.

Yes, sometimes political results don’t match our expectations or desires. Ok, America provides a solution to that: Get out and organize!

But don’t sit around harping, complaining, kvetching, because it all looks like whining.

And there’s nothing attractive about someone whining while surrounded by tremendous opportunity.

America, there’s no other place anywhere close to it. Love Her, protect Her, and thank God you and I live here.

Happy Thanksgiving Day, fellow Americans.

Gun control? We need liberal control!

The vast amount of carnage in the recent news has been carried out by liberals.

This week’s Devin Kelley was an evangelist of atheism, an angry liberal with a history of violence against people who disagreed with him. His dishonorable discharge from the US Air Force automatically DQ’d him from owning any firearms, not to mention his long list of violent infractions that led to his discharge. Somehow the Air Force botched the transmission of that lengthy record when they jettisoned him from the service, and he was able to illegally acquire firearms.

It’s still illegal to murder people, of course, which did not stop him from breaking that and many other laws.

Last week we had another product of liberalism, the Uzbek jihadi Saipov, who remains happily proud of his running down a bunch of innocent bike riders and children with his rented Home Depot truck. The most un-assimilated Saipov got into the US on a liberal visa scheme called the “Diversity Visa Lottery.”

America does not need more of this kind of false diversity, where people who actually hate America are cultivated and recruited to come and live here, without any demonstration that they want to actually live like Americans.

But we know liberals: “Diversity” at any cost, even the cost of run-over children at school.

The truth is this liberal version of diversity is about artificially inflating the voter rolls of ONE POLITICAL PARTY. It is why liberals want amnesty for illegal aliens, too.

Before Saipov we had hardcore leftist Steve Paddock shooting up the country music concert in Los Vegas, targeting his natural enemies: Heartland Americans who vote the ‘wrong’ way.

Paddock was photographed wearing the embarrassingly stupid “pussy” hat at anti-Trump rallies, and he was surrounded by ANTIFA loons.

Before that we had far-left union goon James Hodgkinson shooting up a softball game attended by Republican congressmen in the Washington, DC area.

Setting aside the jihadist Saipov, who was actually recruited to America by liberals, because liberals define cultural diversity to include people who violently hate America, all these other mass murderers are liberals.

Each of them had his own personal reason for attacking normal Americans, but the driving force behind their mass murdering is an angry, defiant liberalism being taught at universities and repeated through the mainstream media.

These mass murders are a form of liberal “resistance” that renounces America as it was founded, and which justifies hate and violence against people who hold ‘incorrect’ political views.

So long as angry, violent liberalism is allowed to be conveyed through universities and the media, these attacks will continue.

America does not need more gun control. There was not a single new law that would have prevented any of these mass murders.

What America does need is liberal control.

This could begin with liberals reflecting on their own hatred, the anger they cultivate against people who merely disagree with them on political issues, and controlling it, instead of justifying it.

Liberal groups like CeaseFirePA, which promote totalitarian big brother government control of us citizens, and which blame the victims of liberal shootings. Note they never hold account the white liberals who oversee mass murder and mass destruction in mostly black inner city communities. Thousands of young black men annually kill one another with handguns in liberal-run cities, but it is not an issue to groups like CeaseFirePA.

Truth is, they need that carnage to continue to blame their political opponents and to call for more gun control.

Liberal control could also include normal Americans taking back their universities from the leftwing loons who preach and justify violence against their political opponents (recall University of Missouri professor Melissa Click?). A good place to start is the termination of tenure, which artificially shields these violent liberal crazies from being held accountable.

Liberal control, it’s what is next up on the American agenda.