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Irony is not necessarily an important part of a person’s diet, but here, have some

I will take some irony, please, with a heaping side of steaming crow.

Oh, not for me!

I am going to serve it up to those Americans who believe that a Christian baker MUST be coerced by government force to bake a cake for someone he disagrees with politically, but that the owner of the Red Hen restaurant in Lexington, Virginia, has every right, even a duty, to expel and not serve people (Sarah Sanders of the White House staff) she disagrees with politically.

Then there’s a big serving of the same irony and crow for those who believe it’s just fine for public employee unions to force union dues from public employees who do not support the unions’ political activism, but it is just terrible to allow people to contribute their own money to political campaign PACs.

Democrat congresswoman Maxine Waters has become a radical firebrand for angry Socialists across America. She has said some real irony-laden doozies, like “We are sending a message to every Trump-supporting American that you are not welcome here!”

Followed by “We must welcome everyone who crosses our borders, whether they are illegal or not.”

For whatever reason having to do with artificially inflating the voter rolls, Waters and her supporters value illegal invaders over American citizen taxpayers. A lot of Black Americans wonder what that’s all about. But Waters is going to have a big heaping serving of irony n’ crow, too.

Then there’s a plate of irony and crow for Rob Cox, the loose-lipped, itchy trigger finger Reuters editor who late today directly blamed President Trump for a shooting at a newspaper in Annapolis, Maryland, but who has never said a word about the mass shootings and massive amounts of shootings in Baltimore, Chicago, Philadelphia, and other “gun-free” zones. Now the most very politically partisan and fact-challenged Mr. Cox’s integrity and credibility as a “reporter” are shot, as zero facts were available to him at his moment of big mouthed fame, and those facts beginning to subsequently dribble out don’t put Trump or his words at the scene of the crime.

See the symmetry here?

Hypocrisy has a way of catching up with people. That is called irony.

The crow is extra, gratis, on the house, served up by a host of recent US Supreme Court decisions contrary to what the once-irony-deficient here believed.

Two big plates. Hope you enjoy your meal. If you don’t enjoy it, then quit being a hypocrite and stop using double standards.

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.

Santa Fe School Shooting: Liberal Democrats Sacrifice More Kids on Altar of Gun Control

Another school shooting today, in Santa Fe, Texas.

Yes, a good guy with a gun stopped the shooter, and he could have been stopped sooner.

But stopping that shooter (and the next one) would require taking the kinds of concrete, proactive steps necessary to actually protect the students from harm. It is as easy as having police stationed in the school, or armed guards (including armed volunteers), or arming the staff and teachers who want to be armed.

And these options are all too pragmatic, too simple, too real for liberal Democrats, who reject them all. They would rather use this latest blood in the streets to promote their nation-wide civilian disarmament schemes, because what they really want is political domination over every American citizen.

In fact, sacrificing a few school students on the false altar of gun control is one of those unfortunate but necessary “breaking a few eggs to make an omelette” things that liberal Democrats desire, to achieve their political goal.

The more blood, the more emotion, the more fear, the more crisis, the more they can take advantage of people’s emotions and ram through laws that will do nothing to solve the problem, but which will advance liberal Democrat goals of civilian disarmament.

When the ten-year Clinton gun ban sunsetted in 2004, liberal Democrats admitted openly that it had done nothing to lower crime. But they wanted it reinstituted, nonetheless. The high cost of disarming law-abiding Americans won’t do anything to make schools safer, either.  So why demand this?

Liberal Democrats want absolute control over you and me, folks, and that is all. They do not want solutions. An armed citizenry is the ultimate block against the Democrat Party’s goal of full control of America; this is the “problem” they are really trying to solve.

If you doubt this, look at this phony, illegal “Russia collusion” thing: It is just “resistance” against the Trump administration by any means necessary – legal, illegal, unethical, immoral. Liberal Democrats reject results of elections they lose. They reject laws they don’t like or don’t write. They enable an unsustainable illegal immigration invasion and illegal sanctuary cities to recruit illegal aliens who they want to convert into loyal voters and artificial political dominion. They use the democratic process to achieve non-democratic results.

After the Parkland shooting, liberal Democrats had meetings, marches, protests. Lots of demands. Lots of brutal demonization of the NRA, of law-abiding gun owners, of gun manufacturers, even of the US Constitution.  In all of that activity, they would not address how their liberal Obama-era PROMISE program had caught and released the violent criminal Nikolas Cruz half a dozen times, so that he could finally follow through on his public promises to commit mass murder in his own school.

I am sorry for the parents of the children hurt and killed in Santa Fe, Texas. I am sorry for their parents, and for their teachers and school administrators, and friends. I feel very badly for them, and if they are angry about this, they need only direct their focus on the liberal Democrats and their henchmen (teachers unions) who have blocked all natural, logical, and effective means to preventing these shootings from happening.

Liberal Democrats love political power and gun control more than they love school students. Remember that the next time you vote.

Stop Sacrificing Our Children on the Altar of Gun Control

http://www.pennlive.com/opinion/2018/02/making_schools_gun-free_just_t.html#incart_river_index

Making schools gun-free just turns them into killing fields | Opinion

Updated Feb 27; Posted Feb 27, 2018

By Guest Editorial

By Josh First

If public schools are dangerous sitting duck areas, falsely called “gun-free zones,” it is solely the fault of the myriad gun-control groups that have tried to stigmatize firearms to the point of demanding that historic reenactors use sticks and brooms, instead of historic muzzleloaders.

If the public is angry about lax school security, they can blame groups like CeaseFirePA, who hate guns so much that they would rather see children remain at dire risk than admit guns have a constructive and valuable role in America, and especially in public schools.

Gun control advocates increasingly admit they are anti-gun prohibitionists, who would really like to see guns removed from private ownership, or so heavily regulated to the point where government bureaucrats determine our individual liberties.

These wealthy, control-freak pressure groups are responsible for insane policies like “gun-free zones” at places like Parkland High School.

Time after heartbreaking time we see that a gun-free zone is anything but that, and crime after crime America’s gun control groups pull political stunts and try to blame lawful gun ownership and the NRA for the heartbreaking results of disarming law-abiding citizens and placing them at the mercy of criminals.

A gun-free zone is a foolish, impractical pipe dream promoted by gun prohibitionists.

In reality, it is a killing field, where only the criminal attacker has a gun, and where the victims can at best put up token resistance, like Parkland’s heroic football coach, Aaron Feis (imagine if Feis had a gun, instead of his body, to defend the students with).

Effectively defending gun-free zones, such as schools, is an impossibility that society does not inflict on other public venues, like planes, museums, government buildings, politicians, sports events and music concerts.

Trying to end the problem by blaming guns, the NRA, and then disarming the law-abiding citizenry, is an indication that gun control groups are not serious about finding a solution to Columbine or Parkland. Rather, they are shamelessly exploiting a situation they alone created to advance their unconstitutional and anti-America agenda.

Guns are protected in our Second Amendment for a reason, and not because our founders were afraid of deer or ducks. Our founders knew that an adequately armed citizenry was all that stood between freedom and tyranny. Yes, gun ownership in America is unlike any other nation, with good reason.

It was an armed citizenry that created the unique freedoms we all enjoy today, and that will never change.

It is time for serious people to hold gun control groups accountable for the carnage in our schools and demand that they stop sacrificing our schoolchildren on their altar of gun control.

Dear CeaseFirePA, stop standing in the way of safe schools; schools are not the place to teach children your anti-gun message.

Josh First, a businessman, writes from Harrisburg

[This was originally titled “Stop Sacrificing our Schoolchildren on the Altar of Gun Control,” but the openly liberal Patriot News opinion editor apparently believed that was too persuasive, and changed it]

My date with MSNBC

Yesterday I took the Princess of Patience out for her birthday lunch-dinner. She is 49, again, but looks young enough that a waiter asked what my daughter wanted for dinner. No lie. Clean living apparently has its just rewards.

On the other hand, I look like hell.

So while she and I were on our date together, celebrating another notch in her gunstock, in terms I can relate to, our eyes kept getting drawn to the TV playing in the sitting area. For whatever reason, it was stuck on MSNBC, a channel I have obviously heard of, but to which I have had very little exposure. Then again, I watch almost no TV, ever.

So, being of open and easily distracted mind, I ignored my wife on her big day, and instead paid increasing attention to the people on MSNBC. It was in truth a date with the TV channel, as I got sucked in so deeply that I forgot entirely to compliment, thank, and engage with the actual human next to me.

Like I said, she is the Princess of Patience. What she sees in me is a mystery. A normal guy would throw rose petals in front of her every morning. She makes me coffee. I am lucky beyond anything I deserve.

But what of my date with MSNBC?

Well, after a solid hour of really paying attention, let us never again call this a “news channel,” nor its personnel “reporters.”

MSNBC is a wholly dedicated political advocacy program. There is no news being reported. Rather, there is news being edited, commented on, subject to opinions from one perspective, one side, one view. No opposing views or analysis are offered, and the questions designed to sound like alternative perspectives are asked of political advocates with whom the interviewer agrees.

The show was totally dedicated to the Parkland High School shooting and to promoting gun control, gun confiscation, and citizen disarmament. The comments made by the guest people, ranging from high school kids to grey-haired retirees, followed a single line of thought. Most of the comments were just factually wrong, and no one challenged them.

Give credit to the two young high school kids who were interviewed, two young men, they stood in front of the camera and answered questions. But their answers were what you would expect from high school kids: Factually incorrect, emotional, without reason or logic. These kids were being used by MSNBC to promote the channel’s political viewpoints, so no one challenged them on any of their nonsense.

For example, both boys kept stating that AR15s shoot “200 bullets a second.”

That is about 199 bullets more than an AR15 actually shoots in one second.

An AR15 is a semi-automatic firearm, not an automatic firearm. Semi-auto firearms shoot a bullet with each manual pull of the trigger, and most have clips holding 20-30 rounds, not hundreds, as the one boy claimed. And very few automatic firearms of any sort, much less hand-held small arms, shoot at that very high rate of fire.

But MSNBC will not allow actual facts to guide their line of thought.

Consider the fact that the armed deputy assigned to protect the children at Parkland WAS HIDING AS THE SHOOTING OCCURRED.

Yes. When the shooting began the school’s paid deputy sheriff, today a retired deputy sheriff, immediately fled the school and went outside, where he basically curled up in a fetal position.

The man abandoned his post, was derelict in his duty, and let the killer slaughter children and teachers, unopposed.

Consider also that the police had been to the shooter’s home three dozen times for domestic disturbances, and at any time could have intervened between an obviously troubled youth and his gun.

Similarly, the FBI had been repeatedly contacted about the young man’s public threats, and they did nothing. Zero. Nada.

But none of these huge adult failures stop MSNBC from exploiting children, living and dead, from promoting their political agenda of gun confiscation.

And the hour went on like this, a parade of fake data, fake outrage, fake news. At the end of my date with MSNBC I understood why adults I know have a similar disconnect as the adults who failed Parkland’s students. Adults who watch MSNBC and believe they are getting actual news, and actual facts, are failing themselves and those around them. You cannot watch MSNBC seriously, because it is an arm of a radical political movement, at odds with American traditions of news reporting, good government, and legal gun possession.

Watching MSNBC may re-affirm your beliefs, but it will not teach you anything accurate or factual.

MSNBC’s purpose is to persuade watchers of one perspective, not to inform them of facts. MSNBC is fake in every way.

I wondered aloud how much of our other media is like MSNBC, feeding watchers inaccurate information from a political perspective?

That question was answered during the live press briefing at the White House yesterday, which was shown real-time on MSNBC, during our “date.”

During the press event, the national media personnel (they are NOT reporters) were openly hostile toward the president and current administration. They are uniformly and firmly of one political mind, and using their positions as would-be reporters to try and damage an administration they personally oppose. They are advocates, political activists, just pretending to be professional news reporters.

Add this media failure to the long list of other adult failures surrounding the Parkland shooting.

I won’t be going on any more dates with MSNBC again, or with any of her silicon sister media friends, either.

 

Orlando shooting = immigration policy overhaul

The Muslim shooter of 49 innocent Americans in Orlando made his political and personal positions clear for a long time, in tweets, videos, facebook posts, and then recorded telephone 911 calls from the bloody floor of the bar he shot up.

Omar Mateen stated up front for months that he was a follower of ISIS, and he was following the plain dictates of Islam.

The Koran explicitly lists the cruel punishments for gays and infidels, and Omar Mateen followed through like a good Muslim.

The mainstream media is doing everything they can to digress, ignore, avoid, and pretend that the cause of this horrendous event is anything but what it is: Another Islamic attack on Americans.

Islam is a philosophy incompatible with Western civilization. Oh, Americans have big hearts, and we are always trying to find ways to make everyone under the sun feel welcome. But that should not involve committing national suicide. That is the very definition of political correctness.

Trying to punish law-abiding Americans for the actions of insane immigrants and followers of insane belief systems makes no sense, and we will not abide efforts by liberals like US Senator Bob Casey to strip Americans of their Constitutional rights.

The irony is that the Left wants to strip us of our rights for committing thought crimes, ie “hate crimes,” while the actual haters are allowed to roam freely among us, committing crimes in the name of their inhuman belief system.

The failure of the Left in its response to the Orlando shooting is overwhelming. America is being split into citizens who see plainly what is wrong, ie anti-gay violence by religiously correct Muslims, and those who ignore the obvious outcomes of their defective immigration policies.

Neil Young’s 1970 Protest Song REWRITTEN for 2016!

Following the 1970 fatal violence at Kent State University, Neil Young of Crosby Stills Nash and Young fame performed a song dedicated to his perspective of that sad event. It was written by Patricia Griffin and Robert Plant and published by Universal Music.

Neil Young named his song “Ohio,” a “protest song and counterculture anthem” representative of the Left at that time, and probably today, too. If you remove the lyrics, or replace them as I have here, it’s actually a good song.

Ain’t it funny how what comes around goes around, Mr. Young. Yesterday was the 46th anniversary of Kent State.

Four Dead in Benghazi

(Sung to the tune of Ohio)

A Parody by Josh First

Tin soldiers and Clinton coming,

we’re finally at the “T.”

This summer I hear the drumming,

Four Dead in Benghazi.

Gotta get down to it,

Government letting us down,

she should’ve been gone long ago.

What if you knew Chris,

and saw him in the compound,

How can you run when you know?

Tin soldiers and Clinton coming,

we’re finally at the “T.”

This summer I hear the drumming,

Four Dead in Benghazi.

ISIS soldiers and Clinton coming,

We’re finally able to see,

this summer I hear the drumming,

Four Dead in Benghazi

Four dead in Benghazi,

Four dead in Benghazi

Four dead in Benghazi….

A well-deserved Thank You to some stalwarts in the shooting sports

Since early childhood and Wyeth paintings of Captain Kidd and pirates bearing cutlasses and flintlock pistols, old timey guns and edged weapons have gripped my imagination.

No, there is no oddity here in that. There is no eccentric or weirdo behavior resulting from this affliction.  In a sporting world increasingly enamored of stainless steel and plastic firearms, bearing Hubble Telescope-like magnifying scopes capable of coldly assassinating animals at half a mile or longer, being a nut for simple guns of old steel, open sights, and darkened walnut sets one apart more on the side of sanity.

When these old guns last hurt someone, the War of 1812 was a recent memory; maybe some time in the 1890s a kid playing with one hanging above the mantle managed to unintentionally bag his grandma in the living room.

In 1994, a pile of them were dumped into the trash by one of my neighbors in suburban Maryland, because they were “guns,” and therefore bad, apparently, despite each one being representative of one artistic school or another, each a canvas of steel and wood, not fabric. Together worth a new luxury car at that time, and today each worth a single car.

Dumping them in the trash was that recent widow’s own self-inflicted wound.

In general, these quality antique firearms and their “modern” descendants, including the black powder express rifles, double barrel shotguns, nitro double barreled rifles, and single-shot stalking rifles, pose no risk to humans and are a threat to four-legged animals only when used with hard-won, developed skill and hard-earned, focused woodcraft. After all, these weapons require their user to approach wary wild game within at least 150 yards, and well within 100 yards is preferred, where noses, ears and eyes easily tell the quarry “RUN! NOW! FAST!”

No assassinations here.  Hunting skill is the key.

Many of these guns were made at a pivotal time in human and technological history when steels were dramatically improving in hardness and durability, explosives were well on their way to matching our best fireworks today, electricity-powered machinery was becoming more available and more precise, human labor was still abundant and relatively cheap, and standards of craftsmanship were still exceptionally high so that each item a worker produced carried his or her pride of best abilities applied.

Finally, remote stands of ancient walnut trees and other tree species, long neglected for their timber and enjoyed by the natives for their fruits and nuts, became known and available by steam locomotive, pack mule, and steam ship. Wood from these trees captured a time when few factors reared their hands against the relatively soft material, and so they grew slowly in peace and quiet in far-off lands and places, each decade adding a narrow band of dense and highly figured curl and figure to what would eventually become a stunning, valuable gunstock in London, Suhl, Ferlach, and Belgium.

Today, such firearms, and even reproductions of them, are highly sought after by harmless romantics seeking to hunt but not necessarily to kill, to capture the essence of bringing an aesthetically pleasing hand-craft to the necessary bloodletting in harvesting wild game; basically, to class-up and improve the joint a bit with style and understated elegance.

Certainly there are representations of this time period among our most favorite buildings around the planet, so if “guns” elude you, your emotions, or your tastes, think of beautiful, carefully constructed, famous buildings that inspire people (or furniture, or cars, or or or…). Then you should understand that those nerdy, harmless romantics actually carry such high art around in the woods, and that being a nut for such specimens of humankind’s best mechanical and artistic abilities is not such a strange preoccupation, after all.

It is an aesthetic pursuit, with a bang.

As this right here is not a book, and as it is merely my own small, off-hand, and brief attempt to say Thank You to people who have distantly but materially added to my quality and enjoyment of life, just three institutions are receiving mention today, though many many many more deserve kudos, too (Steve Bodio comes to mind, or Ironmen Antiques, and and and…).

First, a big thank you to the Cote Family, the hard working founding publishers of the Double Gun & Single Shot Journal (DGJ), 1989 to present. Without the DGJ, aficionados of old but not the oldest or most popular firearms would have but occasional and fleeting mentions in Grey’s Sporting Journal, American Rifleman, and hard-to-find tomes filled with errata and alchemy.  DGJ captures both the spirit of old hunting tools and methods, and the details required to make the whole endeavor successfully fall into place now.

Without the DGJ, Capstick and Pondoro and similar oldies-but-goodies would be most of the reading available to us.  Yes, yes, Roosevelt’s African Game Trails and his other hunting books are phenomenal, but how many times over can a person read them?

So a huge Thank You to the Cote family for keeping the DGJ going.

Second, DGJ hosts such gifted analysts as Sherman Bell, whose decades-long “Finding Out for Myself” series of articles has put to rest silly notions about using black powder and nitro-for-black substitutes (yes, you can kill a beautiful buck with style, elegance, and woodcraft, you do not have to be an assassin to be successful), the safety of Damascus barrels (yes, they are safe with modern shells), and other interesting myths and facts surrounding Grandpa’s old gun on the mantle.  Thank You to Sherman Bell, for enriching my life in small but directly meaningful ways with these beloved and useful artifacts.

Finally, a huge Thank You to noted gun writer Ross Seyfried, whose introspective writings and wanderings in DGJ and elsewhere have inspired many others to pick up the double rifle or single shot, and shelve the plastic contraption, once again capturing the spirit, at least, of fair chase. And Thank You, Ross, for your own steady, incredibly patient guidance and knowledge as I walk my own path.

Yes, I know, you too had your mentors, and they too held your hand and guided you along your path. We have walked those paths with you in the Matabeleland of Rhodesia/Zimbabwe and the hills of Elk Song in Oregon. But in a culture of increasingly shallow or fragile relationships, expectations of immediate gratification, point-and-click ‘knowledge’, plastic contraption guns, brief patience, half-mile assassinations of unstalked animals, and so on, being a junior apprentice to someone like you is a pleasurable rarity, and an honor.

Ross, I pledge I will do my best to follow in your footsteps and do as you have done with me: Passing along all of my knowledge of the old things, the old ways, the class and the grace — what little I possess!, to those who want them. I will withhold nothing from that next generation.

 

Fifty years of designated wilderness

Two weeks ago marked the fiftieth anniversary of the signing of the Wilderness Act.

It applies to federal designation of remote areas, not to states. States can create their own wild areas, and some do. States closest to human populations and land development seem to also be most assertive about setting aside large areas for people and animals to enjoy.

I enjoy wilderness a lot. Hunting, camping, hiking, fishing, and exploring are all activities I do in designated wilderness.

Every year I hunt Upstate New York’s Adirondack Mountains, in a large designated wilderness area. Pitching a tent miles in from the trail head, the only person I see is a hunting partner. Serenity like that is tough to find unless you already live in northern Vermont, Maine, Montana, Idaho, Wyoming or Alaska. It’s a valuable thing, that tranquility.

This summer my young son sat in my lap late at night, watching shooting stars against an already unbelievably starry sky. Loons cried out all around us. A gentle breeze rustled the leaves on the birch trees above us and caused the lake to lap against our rocky shore.

Only by driving a long way north, and then canoeing on a designated wilderness lake, and camping on a designated wilderness island in that lake, were we able to find such peace and quiet. No one else was anywhere around us. We were totally alone, with our camp fires, firewood chores, fishing rods, and deep sleeps in the cold tent.

These are memories likely to make my son smile even as he ages and grapples with responsibilities and challenges of adulthood. We couldn’t do it without wilderness.

Wilderness is a touchstone for a frontier nation like America. Wilderness equals freedom of movement, freedom of action. The same sort of freedoms that instigated insurrection against the British monarchy. American frontiersmen became accustomed to individual liberty unlike anything seen in Western Civilization. They enshrined those liberties in our Constitution.

Sure, there are some frustrations associated with managing wilderness.

Out West, wilderness designation has become a politicized fight over access to valuable minerals under the ground. Access usually involves roads, and roads are the antithesis of a wild experience.

Given the large amount of publicly owned land in the West, I cannot help but wonder if there isn’t some bartering that could go on to resolve these fights. Take multiple use public land and designate it as wilderness, so other areas can responsibly yield their valuable minerals. Plenty of present day public land was once heavily logged, farmed, ranched, and mined, but those scars are long gone.

You can hike all day in a Gold Mine Creek basin and find one tiny miner’s shack from 1902. All other signs have washed away, been covered up by new layers of soil, etc. So there is precedent for taking once-used land and letting it heal to the point where we visitors would swear it is pristine.

Out East, where we have large hardwood forests, occasionally, huge valuable timber falls over in wilderness areas, and the financially hard-pressed locals could surely use the income from retrieving, milling, and selling lumber from those trees. But wilderness rules usually require such behemoths to stay where they lay, symbols of an old forest rarely seen anywhere today. They can be seen as profligate waste, I understand that. I also understand that some now-rare salamanders might only make their homes under these rotting giant logs, and nowhere else.

Seeing the yellow-on-black body of the salamander makes me think of the starry night sky filled with shooting stars. A rare thing of beauty in a world full of bustle, noise, voices, and concrete. For me, I’ll take the salamander.

Proof that bigotry is moronic, cowardly

A Jewish Community Center in Kansas City is attacked by a Ku Klux Klan guy. He shoots several innocent, unarmed, unprepared people there while yelling about how great Adolph Hitler was. Three people are dead, two of whom are confirmed to be Methodists, the third Catholic.

Not Jewish.

The murderer’s target group wasn’t there. Their Christian friends and neighbors were.

This attack also demonstrates how integrated America is: Christians celebrating at a Jewish run facility; how religious and skin color differences are easily bridged, much more often than not.

My deepest condolences to the families of the victims. My request to bigots: Wake the hell up, knock it off.