↓ Archives ↓

Archive → September, 2022

Elk, glorious elk

I have been on extended time and distance travel, the report of which will be posted here soon. Fascinating experiences.

In the mean time, an elk tag was procured, and the hunt is in the planning stages. The camp site is an old log landing, with a big tent to house the gang. If the weather is nice, a single shot muzzleloader will be used. If the weather is damp and unfriendly to black powder muzzleloader arms, then a centerfire black powder rifle will be used. And if it’s raining, well then, an open-sight modern cartridge rifle will be used. More on this as it approaches.

The day after 9/11: First impressions are the most accurate

I remember the moment of 9/11, because I was giving testimony to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives Environmental Resources Committee about the importance of conserving land for future generations of people that morning.

I had just gotten started, the committee chairman made some quip about the length of my presentation being measured by the inches thickness of my prepared notes, and then the room was cleared because of potential threats to public buildings. My mile-long testimony was entered into the record and I didn’t even have to say more than a few jokes and introduce myself (Also in the record, I used an old Jim Seif ice breaker that goes like this: “My name is Josh First, and it is tough to follow so many august and impressive speakers today. I feel a little bit like Zsa Zsa Gabor’s seventh husband. I know what to do, I just don’t know if I can make it exciting.”)

What I remember most about 9/11 is the day after the terror attack on the twin towers. Within 24 hours, a great deal of information about the attacks, the attackers, and the losses had been gathered. And yes, I am aware that some people believe 9/11 was an inside job committed by the CIA or some group of American security agencies. And I remain unpersuaded of that allegation.

Within 24 hours, literally the day after, the world discovered the cost of open American borders and of tolerating people who hate us living amongst us. Our first impressions were the most accurate understanding of the situation, the cause and the effect of the terror attack. Open borders and providing a safe home to people who want to murder us carries a very high cost. Only a nation that believes either it is bullet and bomb proof, and too big to fail, or that is asleep at the wheel, will permit these conditions to persist.

No nation is too big to fail. No nation is bomb proof. And any nation that is asleep at the wheel by allowing failed policies to persist is going to crash and burn and fail disastrously. And so we never learned the harsh lessons of 9/11, and we ignored our accurate first impressions to make way for ridiculous multiculturalism nonsense that continues to shape our national policies even now.

So today it is the day after 9/11, and a lot of Americans will understand when I ask: Have we Americans learned anything since the day after 9/11? Given that right now we have a wide-open southern border and millions of unknown people pouring over it, including lots of Middle Eastern terrorists, we all can say No. No, we have not learned that lesson we were so painfully taught on 9/11.

Because our biggest enemies are again living under out roof, it is just a matter of time before America experiences another 9/11-type attack. Only this time, the mass destruction mass -casualty attack will most certainly be a direct result of federal government bureaucrats and elected “leaders.” Of that purposeful culpability, there will be zero denial. They know exactly what they are doing.

Which makes us ask another question on this impression we get: Who are these American “leaders” and federal bureaucrats actually working for, if not us American citizens? They clearly don’t have our interests at heart, and they punish us when we try to put America and Americans first.

Long live the Queen

England’s Queen Elizabeth II died yesterday, aged 96 and wise beyond her years. A monarch beloved by so many of The People in an age of individualism, as she was, must be special. What is intriguing is that it is not so much what Queen Elizabeth said, but both how she said what she said, and even more important, what she left unsaid. Her mere dignified if mute presence was all that was required to ensure that some event stood proudly and solidly. That is true power.

Queen Elizabeth stood as a symbol of times gone by and hopefully not completely gone through our fingers. The past times of which we speak here included dignity, respect for others, following the law, placing others above one’s self, making sacrifices in the present for future gains, fealty to a higher order and set of rules than what I myself wants right now, and so on.

You could call Queen Elizabeth the last living representative of Tradition. Not just English tradition, but Western Civilization’s traditions. As much as someone such as I might oppose monarchy on its face (more on this below), I have also come to appreciate and value the role of that tradition. Especially in light of the violent anarchic abyss swallowing up America and Europe as you read these words. Monarchy in general, and Queen Elizabeth in particular, today stand for tradition’s consistency if nothing else. And it is consistency Western Civilization needs so desperately now.

Into the breach steps Charles, Prince of Wales, and soon to be coronated King Charles or perhaps some other historic name. Perhaps he will become a King George, a name which has both greatly positive and also very negative histories. Either way, a change of name will do Charles good, especially if it changes him. It is hard to imagine a person less befitting the role of king than this Charles, because he is a spoiled playboy whose private life often reflected the 1970s’ wilder freedoms and lack of seriousness. That Charles pretends at climate change environmentalism makes him even worse, because his carbon footprint must be the size of…well, a large island I have seen somewhere. Yet he speaks down to us about our own consumptions. Yuck. Nothing undermines authority more than spoiled, contemptible authoritarians like Charles.

If there is one redeemable aspect of Charles it was his prior focus on conserving England’s spectacular countryside landscape. In that he did everything correctly, from outright preservation to careful low-impact development that reflected the ancient dovetail fit of English citizen into life sustaining shire, thatched roofs and all. Oh how I wish that this land conservation ethic had been Charles’ sole love and hallmark. This one cause alone is sufficient to mark a king with greatness and to make him a true leader of his people. England’s spectacular landscape shaped its people, and to preserve that landscape is to preserve its values and culture.

Sadly, Charles is as unstable as water, and stands at the opposite end of the character and intelligence spectrum as his now deceased mother. His endless tabloid blathering on about every ridiculous little leftist cause reveals a weakness of wit and backbone that augurs poorly. One does not know where Queen Elizabeth’s death and Charles’ ascension will take England and Western Civilization, but it is probably going to accelerate the current decline. We all can work hard to advance the cause of freedom, hope, pray, and even don Druid’s robes if it will move Charles in the correct direction as a leader. Success will probably require all of these efforts.

Half of my own family is Sons and Daughters of the American Revolution, with very famous ancestors who in the 1770s bravely and successfully confronted an ascendant Britain to win freedom of choice for many from a tyrannical British monarch bent on subjugating everyone through coercive force of arms. I was raised to deride monarchy and aristocracy. And yet here I am, saying Long Live the Queen.

She was not just England’s queen, she was our queen, as well.

Queen Elizabeth, our shared civilization needs you more now than ever. May you intervene for the better from above.

Everything about this photo says “Leader.” Her steady, unflinching eye and solid, familiar hand shooting a firearm. The loving and approving gaze of the officer. How many American “leaders” today are there with her qualities? Hmmm?

Post Office is a gun free zone, right? Nope!

Anyone who uses a US Post Office facility is probably aware of the many signs posted against bringing firearms into the premises. The signs show different types of handguns, from the iconic Colt Detective Special .38 Special snubnose, to the old Colt and Smith & Wesson Police revolver, to the Glock semiautomatic. All of these firearm depictions have a red circle and line slash across the firearm image, which is a loud and clear message: No firearms allowed here.

And although I have not researched the recent prosecutions against Americans for breaking this particular gun free zone law, I imagine that when people are prosecuted for it, they are absolutely hammered. Gotta make examples of these kinds of law breakers, is the thinking of the federal bureaucrats in charge of enforcing this law.

Yesterday I was in Uptown Harrisburg’s Post Office, and the man in front of me (there is always a long line at this postal facility) had a semiauto pistol sticking out of his left waist band. He also was speaking simultaneously into three different cell phones. His sideways baseball hat added a real confidence-inspiring impression of him as a law-abiding citizen of upstanding moral character.

The guy standing behind me had a pierced nose and earrings on both ears, but said quietly to anyone who was near enough to hear him “Jesus. Look at this guy. I don’t carry [my pistol] in here because I would get into trouble, and I can’t afford it.”

I concurred with the nose piercing guy, and said in return “I just want everyone else to follow the same laws that I have to follow,” to which nose piercing guy nodded in agreement. He rarely took his eye off the pistol grip sticking out for all in line to see.

When my turn to send the certified mail envelope came, I asked the teller/ clerk if she had seen the pistol out in plain view. “No I did not see it. And I am not a police officer,” she said.

And thus we have a prime example of how “Gun Free Zones” are total bullschiff. The only people who obey them are people like me, who do not break the law and who are afraid to break the law. The consequences of me and other good people breaking the law and getting in trouble would be catastrophic to our lives, to my life. So I was standing there, completely unarmed and defenseless against an obvious criminal flaunting his illegal firearm in a “Gun Free Zone.”

The only people who promote “Gun Free Zones” are those who actually want law-abiding citizens to cower in fear from law-breakers and aggressive criminals. As we saw in Biden’s crazy ‘F-15 versus AR-15’ speech last week, beating down and subjugating the good people in America is the goal of one political party. Apparently we good people are the threat to that political party, while violent criminals are not.

“Gun Free Zones” are BS, they mean nothing, no one enforces them against the bad people who violate them. They are meant just to limit the good law-abiding people who need guns for self protection against criminals.

Just say No to “Gun Free Zones.”

Conoy Township in Lancaster County is not a gun free zone, and it is an exceptionally safe place.

Harrisburg’s Midtown Scholar A+ experience

One of the pleasures of maintaining a blog is the opportunity to write about any old subject the author desires. It could be cats, dogs, selecting household paint colors (the best quality I ever saw were at the Farrow & Ball store in Dublin, Ireland. The best. Unbelievable, really.), gardening, hikes, nature photos, cooking, the funny turns of daily life, and of course politics and culture. Well, I had long ago hoped to write about all of these things, minus the cats. But the political developments since the Obama years have grown into a now direct threat to American democracy. As was Obama’s stated plan for “fundamental change,” whether Americans wanted it, or not. So the political stuff has dominated here, even though there should be so much more to life to write about.

Despite the incredible political developments since Biden’s Satanic Red Hell speech in Pennsylvania last week (during which Biden made no mention of China or fentanyl or the open border and instead declared official US military war against his political opponents), and a federal judge stopping the corrupt FBI from any further handling of the thousands of pages of medical records, accounting records, and private legal records that the FBI stole from President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home for political gain against him, I am taking a moment to recognize a local used book store. Why not, we all need a break from the political misery that is gripping our beautiful nation.

And we are recognizing not just any book store, but the Mid Town Scholar book store here in Harrisburg. A small business run by a guy named Eric Papenfuse, who had the fatal attraction of politics inflame his brain. He served as Harrisburg’s beleagured mayor for eight years, and is now blessedly back to running a really neat used book store that provides so much happiness for so many people.

Yay Eric!

I want to thank Eric for having the Mid Town Scholar open at all. In 2012, when I ran for state senate, Eric’s book store café in Mid-Town hosted all of the political debates in a safe and nice atmosphere, with good seating for a large audience, and good electronics for communicating with the public. It was a real service to the public to provide that forum, which I always appreciated and which the Harrisburg area and Dauphin County benefited from.

So fast forward just a few years and I am looking for A River Runs Through It in paperback, as a gift for my son who is beginning his life adventure as a young adult. I grew up bait fishing and fly fishing in Central Pennsylvania’s trout streams, limestone and freestone, and Norman Maclean’s Siddhartha-like use of the unifying river theme in his amazing book is an important idea for all young people to begin life’s journey with. And so I was determined that this wonderful book was going to be my gift to the traveling boy.

Problem was, I could not really find it in paperback. Not new or even just slightly used, for any reasonable amount. And it seemed a lot of sellers wanted an arm and a leg for what should be a five buck book, especially one that was literally eaten by a dog. After failing to find what I wanted at Abe Books, and despairing of Amazon’s heartless tactics, I decided on a whim to try our local community’s used book store, Mid Town Scholar. And I was like “I’ll be damned,” because they actually had two copies. Each for a great price.

So I ordered both copies online, one for my son and one for me, as my own original from 1992 long ago swam off into someone else’s book collection. Within a few days I had professional email notices telling me exactly where my two books were, and that I could pick them up in person, if I wanted to, either at the café in Midtown Harrisburg, or possibly at the warehouse not far from my home, when they were ready. And so that is what I opted to do, to pick it up at the warehouse. Even though this is not how I was supposed to pick up the books, the staff still emailed with me and helped me get what I wanted in the way I wanted it. In a nutshell, I met the nicest, most cheerful and personable people working for Mid Town Scholar, who treated me most professionally and who delivered A+ customer service.

Thank you, Mid Town Scholar staff! What an excellent experience.

And on top of all the excellent technical support and customer support experience, both books were brand new. They did not seem to have any wear or use. Talk about receiving something rewarding ordered unseen on line, and relying on someone else’s judgment about its quality, and being more than pleasantly surprised. I don’t know if Mid Town Scholar can replicate this kind of experience every time for book buyers, but I will say I am really pleased with my experience from beginning to end.

One of four or five, maybe six or seven, Mid Town Scholar Book Store warehouses in the Harrisburg area

This particular warehouse was a beehive of activity as friendly staff wrapped book orders for shipping. It was here that Seong met me and handed me my wrapped books. That I was supposed to pick up downtown at the cafe, not here at the warehouse. Seong and everyone else was cheerful and happy to see me get what I wanted. I had a great experience

This is the Mid Town Scholar book store warehouse that I was informed about in my customer order email. It is quite unassuming, but behind these doors lie a treasure of unimaginable value and fun. Thank you for letting me pick up my books here, folks

Books are nowhere near dead, and I encourage everyone to buy some used books. They don’t need batteries, they don’t strain your eyes, and it is amazing what was printed not too long ago. For five bucks you can enter a book’s magical world and learn a lot, and then hand the book off to someone else. Or leave it in a doctor’s office with a note to the next owner.