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PA Game Commission changing leadership

Kind of a wildlife management wild ride here in the Keystone State, though it is tough to tell if anyone really noticed or if anyone really cared. I care. People who care about animals should care.

In just a few weeks the Pennsylvania Game Commission has gone from from a very traditional conservation leadership style and background to a new style and background we have not seen in over a hundred years. I think this is a good thing, though I am sad about how it happened.

Recall that several months ago, attorney Steve Smith was promoted from director of the PGC’s Bureau of Information to deputy director of the agency, second in command to executive director Bryan Burhans. A good choice, as Smith is the very image of the dutiful, honest, earnest, hard working, straight shooting, unemotional, careful, procedurally diligent government employee. While PGC is a long way from the colorful Wild West frontier culture it once had, it still has a shadow of a bunker mentality and insular culture that do not serve the agency, its employees, or the public, and Steve is not representative of that.

Where Bryan Burhans had worked at the American Chestnut Foundation and other iconic conservation and wildlife management groups, with direct personal contacts in the nonprofit and foundation world, Steve Smith is an attorney who just happens to hunt, fish, and trap, and of course share the wildlife and habitat conservation ethos that animates hunters, trappers, and “fisherpeople” everywhere.

A devoted family man, Smith worked in private legal practice before joining PGC’s legal staff about 16 years ago. Where Burhans carried the mail for nonprofit advocacy groups both out of PGC and in it, which is the traditional model for wildlife management agency leaders across America, Smith has been long focused on public agency nuts and bolts. Dotting I’s and crossing T’s in the shadow of big speeches and public policy debates.

There is a gigantic world of difference between these two men, Bryan and Steve; their backgrounds, personalities, and outlooks could not be more different. Again, we are going from strength to strength with the change.

Bryan Burhans gets tons and tons of credit for gently, sometimes assertively molding the PGC into a more publicly accessible, publicly responsive public agency. Unlike most of his predecessors, Bryan was not a former Game Warden. And so from his own get-go seven years ago he was less insular, less committed to the law enforcement view of all things wildlife.

Yes, if you read some news reports about Bryan’s departure a couple weeks ago, you will then read about some state lawmakers griping that the agency is still not as accessible or responsive as the PA Fish & Boat Commission. I am sure that is true, and for good reasons. But compared to where the once insular and bunker-mentality PGC was, say, ten years ago, or especially twenty-five years ago, it is light years better now. Much improved. And, gasp if you must, the PGC actually now employs women in senior positions. This may be not big news to most people, but it is a fact that wildlife agencies are notoriously hide-bound and ultra traditional, the PGC having rung the bell in this regard for a long time. Celebrated wildlife biologists like Mary Jo Casalena may work for PGC, but it is as rare as hen turkey teeth that they also then get into senior management positions.

What is interesting about Steve Smith’s elevation to executive director upon Bryan’s departure is that we are actually seeing Pennsylvania wildlife management style return back to the days of Kolbfus and Pinchot – Americans without the supposedly key wildlife science “credentials” who simply care very much about wildlife, environmental quality, and habitat, and who have the intellectual capacity and personal management skills to implement the necessary policies.

PGC’s executive director is going from an outspoken advocate (albeit occasionally for things unrelated to wildlife management) to a quiet, humble, careful, almost reticent thinker. I am lamenting Bryan’s good-bye, because he did an outsanding job, and I am also really welcoming Steve’s hello. I believe that the many passionate watchers and stakeholders of PGC will be happy with Steve’s leadership there. Of course, those hunters who demand more deer than the landscape or society can sustain will never be satisfied, and I feel sorry for those people.

“Fall Guy” movie review

I did it, I went and saw a movie at a theater. Notify the media.

Partly out of a commitment to celebrate Mother’s Day in whatever way the Princess of Patience-Mother wanted on her special day, and yes, she wanted to see a movie, and in particular this one. And partly out of an almost morbid fascination with the ever more gruesome demise of Hollywood, its actors, its writers, its physical space (I know it well and have hiked from poopy-needly-trashy West Hollywood up to and through Runyon Canyon and back, many times), its culture, its leaders, etc. In general, Hollywood and its dreck movies, people, and physical space is something I avoid on principle.

But what the heck, for ten bucks I could go see the freak show, and also make my Princess of Patience aka Mother happy.

However, I was pleasantly surprised on this now rare trip to Regal Theaters in Harrisburg. Not only were the theaters clean, the employees friendly and easy, and the fellow movie guests well behaved, the movie itself was actually worth seeing.

Fall Guy” is one of the rare funny, wholesome, entertaining movies to come out of un-natural disaster Hollywood in a long time. If you want to simply be entertained by a movie, without being hectored, lectured, propagandized, indoctrinated, lied to, talked down to, then Fall Guy is for you.

If my rusty memory serves me now, making entertaining movies was really at the core of Hollywood’s business model. Once upon a time. Like fifty years ago or more. With Hollywood both captured/ owned by China now, and also going broke because its actors, writers, et al are at war with America, it was reassuring to see some evidence of sanity there. Someone made this movie to actually appeal to Americans, and make some money along the way.

Fall Guy is done tongue in cheek, deliberately mocking Hollywood and movies in every way, and in one especially (Spoiler Alert) pleasing way: The movie’s two villains are truly villainous, bad, evil people: The silver tongued movie producer, and the secretly dull witted, incompetent high paid big name actor. Ah ha, we knew it already after listening to Robert DeNiro incoherently blab away about politicians and political and cultural issues he doesn’t understand last week, despite the now annual Oscars debacle. But it is nice to see that some people in Hollywood are willing to admit to their sins, in the form of a movie, if not in person.

Fall Guy is about a stunt man who loves a woman on set. He screws up, they get separated, and they end up back together on another movie set. The movie plot deliberately zigs and zags between serving up touchy feely girl feeling scenes that left my head uncontrollably lolling about like my spine had been snatched away from my neck, and death defying action and fight scenes, outstanding stunt scenes, and physical comedy that had me sitting erect in my seat, alert and happy enough to forget all about the sappy girl stuff that had been putting a wooden stake through my heart just moments before.

It is two hours long, which worked fine for me. An evening out should be worth it.

When we left the theater with the other couple also watching Fall Guy, it was well after midnight. The entire Regal Cinemas Theater building was shut down, the lights were out, no other movies were playing, no staff were visible or heard, and we were completely alone. We had the entire place to ourselves. For a moment I had this instinctive impulse to run amok in there, in personally gratifying ways that are not destructive. But alas, I am almost a responsible old guy, and was reminded of this by Mother, bless her matronly always responsible way, who gently led me by the elbow out the front door and into the dark and rainy night on my sudden discontent.

My heart sank when I heard the theater door lock shut behind me. No more fun for you here, the klatch locking sound said. I don’t recall having experienced that feeling at a movie theater in many years.

Congratulations, Hollywood and Fall Guy makers.

“Higher Education” is dead

What was over-generously called “higher education” since the 1950s, when a college degree became the American standard and cultural norm for most coastal kids and the middle-America elites, has died. Also known as “the academy” and “academia” and the “ivory tower,” colleges and universities across America have just collectively rolled over, died, and begun to stink badly like the unburied rotting corpses they are.

How did this entire nation-wide network of institutions suddenly give up the ghost? Because of a known but unanswered, unaddressed, uncured cancerous rot inside of it that began in the 1920s, and hit its zenith in the past few weeks. The cancerous rot metastesized, spread throughout the body of each college and university, and finally killed the host. We who are reading this essay now have with our own eyes just witnessed the mass die-off of the species once known as higher education. We have seen it happen on the news, in first-hand documentary reports by participants and observers alike, on social media, and in the first-hand experiences college kids have relayed back to their friends and families.

What happened?

To start with, “higher education” became neither higher, nor education. Instead of having quantifiably elite thinkers spending time carefully training students measurable skills, especially critical thinking skills designed to have well-trained students capable of unemotionally resolving complex problems, colleges long ago began indoctrinating students with toxic cultural slogans and bullsh*t political narratives.

Such indoctrination strips away the thin veneer of Western Civilization, and appeals to the most base animal instincts all humans have, and which Westerners have long since buried deep and far away from our daily lives. This indoctrination taps into the most raw feelings of hate, anger, and a sadistic desire for personal retribution that people can have. We saw the full results of this indoctrination in the Nazi gas chambers and concentration camps, the Socialist Soviet gulags, the killing fields of Cambodian communist Pol Pot. Nazis and Communists alike enjoyed the help of children denouncing their own parents, because the toxic indoctrination was so deep.

This indoctrination in America began in the 1920s with the penetration of Marxists and communists into education at all levels, as they appealed to normal people’s acceptance of strange versions of “fairness” and “compassion.” And after that, the cancer simply metastesized and spread. Sure, we had some heroes like Senator Joseph McCarthy who tried to warn Americans about what was happening. But McCarthy and other patriots like him who tried to diagnose and treat the cancer were shouted down and shamed by the mass media and entertainment industries, which before the academy had already been penetrated and quietly occupied by Marxists and Communists. Who spread the indoctrination in their own way.

So over the past few months and weeks, Americans have watched the result of all the indoctrination in every single academic field, to the point where even math is said to be “racist.” The premier, most elite, “best” examples of so-called higher education literally emerged in the past weeks from decades of politicized hiring and indoctrination as living examples of Lord of the Flies. Amid hysterical shreiks of young women and mooing noises of young men, civilization is tossed overboard while students, faculty, and administrators alike contort into a frenzied violent orgy of racist hate and anti-American slogans.

These schools are not institutions of higher thinking, high principles, or anything else rooted in Western Civilization. They are now hives of terrorist training. And the shreiks and moos of bratty, spoiled children.

Best representative examples include former Harvard president, Claudine Gay, engaging in pathetic moral relativism in Congress, only to then get outed as a serial plagiarist and lose her president job, but then keep her $900,000 a year job “teaching” utter garbage and subjective nonsense at Harvard. To save her feelings, if not her students. Everything that happened around and after the Claudine Gay Incident revealed Harvard to be the exact opposite of an elite institution. Claudine Gay’s humiliation was months ago, before the nationwide college campus hatefest and orgy of violence began.

Another example is the nationwide college campus hatefest and orgy of violence we all get to see every day now. It’s not just that a few radicalized young people are doing this destructive assault on our civilization. It is that large portions of the students are enabled by their faculty and administrators alike to act like savage wild beasts. That is, those adults (the college professors and administrators) who are supposedly the best embodiment of elite education and higher values are themselves actual Nazis and communist Stalinists, all rolled into one angry, bizarre, gobbledigook speaking and acting person.

(To say nothing of the daily neo-Nazi Islamofascist violence visited upon major capitol cities worldwide. Especially on bridges and major city streets, and often filled with the same students, faculty, and administrators that are seen and felt on campus.)

Instead of using their leadership roles to diffuse the illegal and policy-breaking violence and racism, the college professors and administrators enable and promote it, usually joining the overgrown children themselves. And often repeating or teaching the overgrown children the indoctrination’s disinformation, lies, and fake political narratives at the core of the “protest” activities. And so, we see a total vertical breakdown of almost all “higher education” institutions, from the highest overpaid and underworked administrator to the untenured part time adjunct faculty to the first year middle income spoiled brat: Everyone involved in college today is a useless windbag with no discernable skills or value to larger society, but full of disinformation coming out of their ears.

But boy, do those “higher education” institutions sure charge a lot of money! What a scam!

Now that the mask is off, and we Americans see what a load of horse crap a college “education” is, here is what we can learn and apply:

  1. Parents: Don’t send your children or your hard-earned money to college, unless your child has a high aptitude for math, science, or technology, and will only study those subjects.
  2. Parents: Don’t expect your college graduate children to be able to do much for themselves or for society or for you, but to actually be a liability.
  3. Parents: Explore trade school for your kid. And if your kid does not have an aptitude for math, science, or technology, then teach them yourself how to work hard, save money, forego immediate gratification, and to plan ahead. Help them find a job where they can be themselves and succeed.
  4. College-age kids: Question authority and motive, especially of your teachers and their administrators, and always respect and appreciate your parents. And whatever you do, don’t go to college, because your brain will end up as dead and useless as those “higher education” institutions have become, and you will end up as a dumb loser with high debt for something that did not benefit you. Yes, you might feel that being throw-away cannon fodder for the anti-America movement is exciting, but this is only a flash of a moment. After this is over, your reputation will be in tatters and your future will be a big question mark. Your future will be as dead as the college that made it.




Summer 2020 all over again

Recall that the George Floyd riots in 2020 were not spontaneous. Burn-Loot-Murder (BLM), ANTIFA, and every other violent anarchist group possible were heavily organized in the spring and summer of 2020 to “mostfully peacefully” burn down Democrat-run cities nationwide, with the ostensible reason being George Floyd’s fentanyl overdose sold as police brutality. The actual purpose of the 2020 Summer of Love mostly peaceful violent riots was to create chaos and fear ahead of the November 2020 election.

Recall then-chief Democrat Rahm Emmanuel’s admonition to “never let a crisis go to waste,” meaning, have government leaders create crises and then exploit them for political gain. That was the purpose of the 2020 riots that cost billions of dollars in property damages, thousands of family owned businesses destroyed, and dozens of lives lost across America. Anything at all was OK to the Bolsheviks, Stalinists, and their official Democrat Party enablers in order to muddy the waters around the re-election of Donald Trump.

Well, here we are again, only four years later, with uncontrolled riots starting out at college campuses nationwide, then breaking out into the streets of major cities, and now becoming daily fixtures in certain downtowns and bridges. At the University of California at Los Angeles yesterday, destructive, violent pro-Islamic terrorism “protestors” squared off against mostly Jewish and Christian college students on campus, and the blood flowed. Absolutely no police to be seen anywhere nearby, and no police intervention occurred. The videos I have seen show a wild raging brawl with lots of people being seriously injured….and zero police intervention.

It was a conscious decision by the UCLA administration to allow the violence to continue as long as the two sides were willing to keep it up. Why? Because like almost all college administrations across America, UCLA is run by open Bolsheviks, Stalinists, Maoists, Marxists, Socialists, Communists, all people who are happy to use destruction and violence to create crises that then create opportunities for martial law or similar types of heavy handed government intervention to force outcomes the voters would never give them at the ballot box.

Because Trump is on the 2024 ballot (despite aggressive and lawless attempts by the Democrats to keep him off of it), we are now taken back to 2020. We are probably going to have another spring and summer filled with UCLA-type brawls across America. Who knows where this pro-Islamic terrorism movement is going to go, now that it has the full backing of every elected Democrat in America. With the open southern border pouring in Islamic jihadis daily from around the world, as well as young Chinese men of military age, the Biden Administration is now openly an arm of Hamas and Iran, and they stand to benefit the most from continued violence and mayhem.

Anything is being allowed in order to muddy the water around the 2024 election, anything to create a crisis, anything to create political opportunities that the voters would not normally grant under normal voting circumstances.

Mister and Missus America, I really hope you are wide awake now, and not just watching America disintegrate. Remember the cost of sitting by and watching the riots of 2020 and the subsequent stolen election. This time, this year, if we all personally participate in ensuring only a legitimate election is held this November, we can ensure that America is pulled back from the precipice upon which we all now hang.

Next Tuesday 2A rally in Harrisburg

Don’t forget that next Tuesday 4/30/24 is the annual Second Amendment rally here in Pennsylvania. Be out on the state Capitol front steps at 9:00am.
Why is this gathering of freedom-minded Americans important? Because it sends a message to would-be tyrants that at least some of us We, The People are not asleep at the wheel. We are involved and engaged with those who govern us, and those who want to rule over us.
Hope to see you there.

America needs an Exodus moment

America as founded is dying. The pro-individual rights constitutional republic carefully constructed through competing equal branches of government since 1789 is being forcefully bulldozed by rogue Big Government forces. Our unique system of checks and balances, meant to disperse power widely across the body politic, is under atttack at every turn. Central planners desire to collapse decision making into just a few hands.

Whether it is the Electoral College that prevents mob rule, or free speech under the First Amendment, or private ownership of firearms under the Second Amendment, or secure borders meant to protect free taxpaying citizens, every safeguard designed to protect the individual citizen is being ignored or forcefully broken into little pieces in front of our faces by the advocates of government totalitarianism. In our media, academia, and indeed from within government itself there is a huge emphasis on growing powerful big government and diminishing the ever smaller citizen into the role of powerless serf.

With FBI and ATF federal government excution squads running lawlessly amok across America, a weaponized and now heavily armed IRS looking deeply into the private lives of their political opponents, an enormous replacement of native Americans with lawless illegal aliens, the leading political leader being hounded by a dozen fake lawsuits and under threat of being illegally jailed during an election year, and on and on, America as a distinct nation based on the rule of law is dying. It is being killed, axe murdered, set on fire and blown up right in front of us.

Yes, one political party is directly responsible for this, but the other political party is enabling the attack by deliberately not fighting back or resisting. Both political parties are killing America, and with the failure of political leadership it’s now up to our citizens to decide how we want to live.

Tonight is the beginning of Passover, and it is a reminder that America needs an Exodus moment. We need a shining example of direct Diving intervention that results in our people being set free from the rampant lawlessness and injustice being forced on us, to make us all into slaves to Big Government. Hopefully, we are worthy of it. Incidentally, when the Jewish People left Egypt roughly 3,300 years ago, they were “chamushim,” meaning fully armed. Just as free Americans should be in 2024.

Pray hard, folks, and also prepare for the long, hard spiritual renewal journey ahead of us this year. Do not look to politicians for salvation or freedom, that road is now closed. Rather, look to each other and to God.

Charlton Heston portrayed a prophet, and also served as one when he encouraged Americans to defy and resist our lawless government-gone-rogue.

King George III called George Washington “the greatest man in the world” because he declined to be king of America, and instead sacrificed himself for the creation of a people-led constitutional republic. Washington prayed hard before leading his surprise attack across the Delaware River. All Americans should aspire to be like Washington, especially in 2024.

talkin turkey

Spring Turkey Season is almost upon us here in Pennsylvania, and around the country. A great deal of the wild turkey breeding season is already behind us, and the significant challenge of calling in a “lovesick tom” at the tail end of the breeding period is now laid before several hundred thousand dedicated and novice turkey hunters alike, here in PA.

Couple of reminders, and one big observation:

  1. Please do not drive up and down country roads making hen calls out the window of your vehicle, waiting to hear a gobble in response. While it may bring some hunters a premature auditory orgasm to hear the lusty gobbler responses, all this activity really does is educate turkeys about fake calls by fake hen turkeys. And when tom turkeys get unnecessarily educated by guys peeing in their pants with excitement, said toms become a zillion times harder to hunt and bag. It takes the fun out of an already difficult hunt. Don’t do it. Please.
  2. Clearly identify your male turkey’s red or white head before pulling the trigger on its neck. If all turkey hunters only pulled the trigger when they had absolutely positively identified their target, there would be no heartbreaking hunting accidents during spring turkey season. And when you read the facts surrounding those hunting accidents or negligent shootings, you realize that some people are about to pee in their pants with excitement and so they shoot a human being “in mistake” of a turkey. By only putting our trigger finger on the shotgun trigger when the gobbler’s head is both clearly visible and in range, we bypass a lot of dangerous excitement.

Finally, in a certain nook up north, I have been enjoying the sounds once again of spring gobblers sounding off for probably six weeks now. Few have been the wild turkey gobbles there over the past ten to twelve years, an absence always correlated with the physical evidence of a resident fisher. In other words, fishers have eaten the hell out of our wild turkeys, and only after someone traps the local fisher do the turkey populations begin to rebound. This fact has been driven home for me year after year across southcentral, central, and northcentral PA; fishers have been real hard on our wild turkeys.

Not to say that fishers don’t have a place in Penn’s Woods, they do, of course. But the policy implications of widespread fishers should have been better considered before the giddiness of super-predator 100% ecosystem saturation overtook wildlife managers in the late 1990s and early 2000s. And now Pennsylvania is contemplating releasing pine martens into Penn’s Woods…..knowing already that they eat the hell out of grouse, and that PA’s grouse are in very bad shape.

I don’t mind having a decent population of fishers and pine martens up north in the Big Woods, where they will have the least amount of impact on other wildlife across the entire state. What I do object to is sacrificing the enormous wild turkey conservation success story on the altar of “more predators are better than few” mindset of some wildlife managers. Sometimes, we just have to accept that we can’t wind the clock back to the year 1650, or even 1750, because the few successes we have managed to rack up, like wild turkeys brought back from extinction, is as good as it can get.

Sometimes, good is good enough, and the rest we just need to leave well enough alone.

A fisher in New Hampshire, from wikipedia. Fishers are giant weasels. They eat everything.



Central PA candidates on the ballot

Because I am a “politico” actively involved in politics, friends, family, and strangers ask my opinion on candidates running for political office.

Here are the people I am voting for on next week’s Republican primary election ballot:

President: Donald J. Trump, of course. President Trump is all that stands between We, The People and chaos and the forced failure of America as the representative constitutional republic we have enjoyed since 1789.

Attorney General: Dave Sunday. He has a strong 2A background and is endorsed by Gun Owners of America, whereas his opponent has a very poor 2A record.

Congress: Scott Perry. Scott continues to reliably do what an elected official is supposed to do. He has gotten a lot quieter since the lawless Democrat Party thugs known as “FBI agents” stopped his car and stole his cell phone from him at gunpoint last year. Nonetheless, Scott continues to vote for We, The People, like voting against the FISA renewal. FISA has been used by the FBI to conduct lawless, warrantless domestic spying against everyday American citizens.

US Senator: Mickey Mouse. I literally wrote in Mickey Mouse because the GOPe endorsed and orchestrated puppet strings candidate whose name appears on the ballot spent time and money to knock off the ballot several other candidates who would have competed with him in this primary race. What a scumbag.

Auditor General: Tim DeFoor. Tim is a solid citizen and one of the very few now career politicians I can support. I have watched him work his way through the political process, and though he is not ideological, he comes to his traditional views honestly, from the way he grew up, which I can respect.

State Senator: Nick DiFrancesco. This is a newer version of the state senate district seat I ran for in 2012 and 2015, and I have a lot of familiarity with its voters. Nick is an all-around politico who has been a Dauphin County commissioner and has held other publicly visible positions of trust. Nick is presently Dauphin County treasurer, and I believe he represents the only chance normal taxpaying citizens in our region have to stop far-left radical Patty Kim from inheriting this seat in a heavily gerrymandered district made just for her. The other candidate is Ken Stambaugh, who I have had the pleasure of speaking with at length and staying in touch with. Heck of a nice man, good intentions, and not a political animal. My opinion is Ken would stand zero chance against Patty Kim. I yearn for the days when America would naturally and easily elect good people like Ken to office, but unfortunately spring 2024 is as far away from those old days as America can get. We need political warriors.

State Treasurer: Stacy Garrity. Wish we had a primary opponent just for voter choice.

Representative in General Assembly (State House 103rd district): Cindi Ward. Wish we had a primary opponent just for voter choice.

Representative in General Assembly (State House 100th district): Dave Nissley. Failed incumbent and career political hack Bryan Cutler has been a disaster for central Pennsylvania voters who care about good policy and clean politics. Cutler got into elected politics at a very young age, and he just learned bad habit after bad habit along the way. Dave Nissley is by far the better man and the better candidate, and he has been endorsed by Gun Owners of America.

Delegate to the Republican National Convention: Jeff Haste, Sue Helm, George Margetas, and Charlie Gerow. Both Jeff and Sue are well known central PA pro 2A advocates. George Margetas is a local attorney who like so many of us went along with the covid tyranny mask nonsense in 2020, but who then bucked it publicly afterwards when it was clearly evident that covid was about political control and not about public health. I like a strong man who stands up for freedom. Last but not least is well known local politico and lobbyist Charlie Gerow, who I have known for many years and who is one of the few lobbyists I actually like.

The other RNC candidates have either zero about them available online, which tells us they are hiding, fakes, RINOs, or Democrats, or they have something about being “a fiscal conservative,” which is always a red flag for social conservatives looking for strong candidates who will represent traditional values and meritocracy. So-called “fiscal conservatives” rarely are, and they are always social liberals. No thanks.

Your political action in 2024, like voting and volunteering for candidates, is as important as 1776

Guys (men), don’t be an idiot

Emergency Room staff: “Hi there, what can we do for you tonight?”

Me: “I’m an idiot.”

ER Staff: “Yeah, we see a lot of those in here.”

Two hours before, the dry white oak board was very hard, and the cutter blades were very dull, and so that board was giving the cutter fits. Never mind that I had been running the cutter all day to fulfill a large order of oak, and that I had already sharpened the primary blade once, hours before. When the board end bounced off the dull blades, I leaned into it to force the cut. The last thing I remember is a flash of white in the dusk that was enveloping my worksite, and suddenly I knew I was hurt.

Reeling backwards and clutching my face, I first checked my teeth, my eyes, and unhappily noted the gushing blood pouring out of my face. The pain was overwhelming, and the copious blood told me it was serious.

After leaning on the order of banded lumber, hunched over  and collecting my wits, I again took stock of my injured face. All my teeth appeared to be in my mouth, and I could see through my heavy wire frame glasses with both eyes. A big pool of blood was congealing on the lumber below me, and blood was liberally dripping and splotching all around me, wherever I went.

“Broken nose, you idiot,” I said out loud, to no one in particular. Time was 7:40 pm and anyone who might have been around to help me during regular working hours would have been long long gone home by then. From March through October I work farmer’s hours, which means work only ends when there is insufficient daylight to work by. When you choose to work until dark and until after dark, which I actually greatly enjoy, you usually work alone. And if you make a stupid, idiot mistake, you will bleed alone. If you are really unlucky or a really big idiot, you will die alone.

So, guys, don’t be an idiot.

Here are the idiot mistakes I made, which you should learn from and not make yourselves:

  1. Working around machinery and powerful tools while tired is an idiot mistake. All week a cold had dogged me, and even before beginning to work very physically, I was already run down from it. Hinyucking huge gobs of nasty green mucus everywhere every five minutes is a signal that your body is not well, that it is fighting off some infection or cold, and that it needs rest. Take the hint and rest, even a little bit, here and there throughout the day. On top of being sick, I had worked hard all day, lifting and moving logs and lumber, and when the accident happened I was just deeply bone tired from the heavy physical labor work. Mistakes happen much more easily to tired people, because tired people have poor judgment and slow reaction time. I had all of this in spades, and paid for it.
  2. Don’t work with dull tools. That cutter was battering the last piece of oak, not cutting it, and yet I foolishly leaned in close to physically force the very last piece of wood through. Big mistake. The powerful motor kicked that wood back into my face before I had time to second guess my poor decision. And yes, I had just been telling myself that after this very last piece of wood, I would remove the cutter blades and sharpen them. Too late, idiot.
  3. Wear correct protective equipment. Gloves are a must around wood and power tools, but the job I was doing also required serious face protection. Because I wear large, rugged eyeglasses everywhere, every iteration of which shows the battle scars of years of hard physical work, I have become a little lazy about better protecting my eyes. That became apparent about ten years ago, when some grinding wheel metal incredibly ricocheted up under my eyeglass lenses at an impossible angle and stuck in my eyeball.  Took a while for that junk to work its way out. Just like with the safety event that prompted this particular essay, that day at the grinding wheel I had lazily neglected to simply slop my big clear face shield on my lumpy head and enjoy the benefits of complete protection from flying fragments, impacts, etc. Had I been wearing the face shield, hanging up on the wall just twenty feet away, while running the dull cutter, I probably would have had a good bruise across my face from the kick back, but nothing broken and no lost work time.

Last time I had a broken nose was my senior year in high school. Like the young idiots we were, a bunch of us were playing full tackle pick up football, in the dark. Heavily rushed, the opposite QB had lateraled the football to Rafael Richards, who, being athletic as hell, rocketed straight up the middle. Playing safety position, I put my head down and aimed straight for him. Rafael also put his head down to punch through the defenders, and the two of us woke up a bit later in the Chester County Hospital ER on two gurneys, next to each other. Naturally, we each had a mirror image injury, which included a broken nose and a deep gash in the forehead that required 17 stitches in the meat and another 15 stitches in the skin above.

Rafael went on to get his MD from Harvard Medical School, long before DEI and wokeness there rendered such a degree a question mark, instead of the world class achievement it should be. Somehow I just know that Rafael does not run the risk of getting his nose broken while being a fancy Harvard trained physician in an air conditioned office.

Me? I’m an idiot farting around with penny ante wood orders in the mountains. Because I like it.

But guys, regardless of doing what you like or don’t like, don’t be an idiot.

Cheap but highly effective face shields are sold everywhere for twenty bucks. Buy one and wear it. Don’t be an idiot

How was your eclipse experience?

How was your full solar eclipse experience today? I hope it was fun. A lot of Americans traveled long distances to be within the path of the full eclipse, which stretched across America for a couple hours. Though the actual full eclipse itself was just a couple minutes. My friend Jim drove all the way to Ohio from central PA to see the full eclipse, and yet his attention fell prey to a myriad of beautiful 1960s muscle cars lined up by car-and-eclipse enthusiasts. We men are so weak, so easily distracted. It’s great.

This morning I traveled a couple hours to the Pennsylvania-New York border for a business meeting, after which I drove a few minutes north and crossed into New York State. Right on the edge of the full eclipse. For two hours I did my best to enjoy the event, which was greatly hampered by heavy clouds. Like a tornado hunter there on the PA-NY border, I drove around and took up various positions along paved and dirt roads, a cemetery, a bar parking lot, a cow pasture, trying to beat the clouds or at least find a big wide open space that would give me an idea of when the clouds would open up and give a rewarding, clear view.

Was it seven years ago that we had another solar eclipse? That one we watched with friends at Cherry Springs State Park, and handed around our two welding helmets among our gang and also to other gawkers who asked to borrow them for a moment. That was a memorable day, most especially because it was summertime and the sky was blue. Boy was the eclipse perfectly visible on that day.

Gotta say, the welding helmet, turned up to 13, really saved the day today. The memento “Full Solar Eclipse 4/08/2024” glasses given to me by Chuck (thank you very much) were difficult to see through, and impossible to take photos through. The clouds were often heavy, and blocked the sun completely, forget the eclipse. Welding helmets have a pretty big screen, that is also adjustable, and a camera can be held up to it for a properly filtered picture. So not only was I often able to see the eclipse through the clouds with the helmet, some of my best photos came from light cloud cover.

What a miraculous and fabulous universe we inhabit. And no, we can’t blame this eclipse on “climate change.” Nice try, though.

Jim Eisenhart, Jr. may have been easily distracted by the pretty 1960s muscle cars today, but he did capture the best amateur full eclipse picture I saw

The best part of this photo is the little bit of ominous dark sky at the top. The eclipse turned daytime into a weird glow, a sideways light, not something that normally shines down. These signs lacked shadows, despite the bright sunlight (not sunshine) on them