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Giving Thanks for Being an American

Thanksgiving Day may have originated three hundred years ago, when the first Pilgrims were starving to death in the Massachusetts Bay Colony and they were saved by local Indians who took pity on them, but it is still our big national holiday for the same sort of reasons today.

Native pumpkin squash, beans, wild turkey, and cranberry jelly that is native to the cranberry bogs of Massachusetts have ever since been the symbolic food at which we rejoice for our great good fortune for living in America, no matter where we live.

America is the freest country with the most opportunity available to the most people in the world. What an incredible place.

The symbolism of our unique national holiday food – turkey, cranberry sauce, pumpkin squash etc – is similar in meaning to the food of other nationalities and cultures. For example, the matza “bread of affliction” flatbread eaten every Passover by religiously observant Jews is a reminder of their own escape from hard slavery into newfound freedom. Many South American cultures form round breads from maize (corn, which is native to the Americas) and yams that are symbolic of how they eat together in a family circle. The French (and Italian) diet of bread, cheese, and wine may seem hedonistic on its face, but when one considers that even free French (and Italian) peasants had fertile land to farm and live on, their national food and drink make perfect sense. And so on for so many other cultures.

Happy Thanksgiving to my fellow Americans. Enjoy this day together, unified as one people in union, heading on the same path of freedom together. We might be in tough times together right now, but we should take every opportunity to celebrate our shared identities. During the first (or second) American Civil War, soldiers on both the Union and Confederate lines would gather on Thanksgiving and Christmas nights to serenade each other with religious songs. In World War One, both German soldiers and Allied soldiers would sing Christmas songs back and forth to each other across the waste lands filled with destroyed men and war machines. My God, friends, if they could gather in peace one night a year, then how much more so can we Americans today gather together and wish each other

HAPPY THANKSGIVING, for we each have much to give thanks to God for!

Diana Archer saves my brain from Exploding

Across America brains are either exploding or are on the edge of it.

Mine is on the edge of exploding, because I was expecting an honest election result two weeks ago. You know, where my preferred candidate successfully barnstormed the swing states and generated big results. Instead, the election experienced tremendous voting irregularities, outright open fraud, political interference, and a clear effort to spam the whole process with such an overwhelming number of fake ballots and fraudulent counting that clearing the whole mess up will take a herculean effort. It did not matter that my preferred candidate had worked his ass off, had taken many risks and worked himself tirelessly to persuade an unusual mix of new and old voters to support him.

Instead, what awaited my preferred candidate after Election Day was a slew of fake voting machines that have been tampered with, fake ballots, fake ballot counting with no transparency etc etc across eight states, and a fake media that was pre-pared (like prepared to be prepared) to immediately anoint his opponent the winner, regardless of the actual outcome.

Fake it til ya make it and then election by media acclaim is what has been attempted against my candidate. It is infuriating, because it runs contrary to everything America is about.

Making the post-election period worse than the actual fake tallying process already was, is the mainstream media and Big Tech effort to censor and suppress information contrary to their narrative that Joe Biden won and is now the President Elect. It is one thing to go to bat for an ancient 47-year career politician who is corrupt and senile. It is another thing altogether to try to hide not only his corruption but also the fake election that he “won.”

Interesting that Biden did not win any down-ballot elections across America, almost all of which (98% I think) went for his opponents….no, no predicted “blue wave” happened…Biden just happened to win the “big one.” In real elections, this does not happen, because all of the real votes are correlated with various other candidates, and not just the presidential race. This is Exhibit A in the vote tampering argument.

So those of us addicted to the simple idea of a fair-and-square transparent election have had our heads exploding for two weeks. We cannot believe the unashamed, scandalous behavior that is happening in front of our eyes, what is really an illegal attempt to hijack an entire nation.

While I could sit at my computer and stare wild-eyed into my iPhone as the 1,440 minutes slowly tick by each day that this scandalous process unfolds, like so many friends are doing, I have decided to remove myself from this tense situation. Instead, a lady named ‘Diana Archer’ is taking me out into the woods and fields, where we are going to contemplate life, love, being a balanced human being, etc. I need this time to regain some inner balance that has been thrown askew, and I think about 75-million other voters probably feel the exact same way. Fortunate me that I have Diana to take my hand and lead me on.

To be explicit, Diana Archer is really Diana The Archer, the Goddess of the Hunt. As hunting season has now arrived full force, from deer to bear to ducks to doves, the whole east coast is alive with clandestine rural life, all led by Diana.

With Diana at my side, I intend to sleep snugly in my Seek Outside tent, using its titanium stove to keep warm at night, to boil tea in the mornings, and to dry out inevitably wet clothing. During daylight hours Diana will hopefully be by my side, helping me get into a kind of Thoreau-Wilderness-Zen mindset, where nothing can trouble me, and I become at one with the natural rhythm of Mother Nature and the rifle in my hand. And no, there is no scandal in this pure woman’s company, just the spirit of the hunt, which is often just the hunt for the spirit.

So, see you all in a bit. Forgive me if I am not glued to this computer screen, but am escaped, at least for a healthy while.

An Art Deco Diana

A Classical Diana the Huntress with a stag

An ancient Diana with hunting dog, photo by Rebecca Bugge

 

Review of Kirschner’s deer lures

The whitetail deer rut is now under way across the Americas, and although writing about politics (especially a handful of days before such a momentous Election Day) is the bread and butter of this blog, man does not live on bread alone. Occasionally there must be a beverage. And Kirschner’s deer pee lure is it.

Twenty years ago I first met Bob Kirschner at the Pennsylvania Outdoor Show at the Pennsylvania Farm Show complex, in the traditional archery section. Among a slew of often cantankerous iconoclasts (think about the kind of people who hold onto traditional archery against the tide of ultra high-tech training wheel bows), he was a funny guy. As in kind of odd, as in not a huckster or a salesman, but almost shy.

Even though he was surrounded by a big display of his wares, which included his own videos on how to bowhunt wary deer using his unique deer pee lures, Bob was not a hard selling, fast talking circus barker. Instead, he seemed almost embarrassed that he had to take your money at all. Such is the way of the pure hearted, because of all the deer pee lures out there, Kirschner’s is among the very few that are worth anything. And that is because his pee is pure. No jest.

Somewhere at camp I have one of his videos that shows him making his deer lures. In one scene he is wearing a work smock, a big toothy grin, and carrying a large tub of deer legs sticking out in all directions. Each of those legs has a tarsal gland on it, which deer use to communicate with each other through their highly refined sense of smell. Bob painstakingly cuts out each gland and grinds it up into a paste, which forms the base of his very smelly deer lures. This takes a lot of work and a lot of time.

Contrast Bob’s laborious hands-on process to the over-the-counter stuff sold by the gallon at the big box stores. Not to knock anyone in particular, but my experience with many different brands is they are at best watered down versions of Kirschner’s lures, and at worst they are synthetics that don’t last very long and that lose their smell within a few months of purchase. Like Code Red and Code Blue….golly, guys, what do you put in your bottles? I do not think it is 100% estrus deer pee.

Somewhere a few years ago I saw an article about how much doe pee lure was sold nationwide, which is a LOT, like hundreds of thousands or millions of gallons, compared to how many penned farm doe deer there are, which is very few, and how a basic back-of-the-envelope calculation showed that the vast majority of “doe pee” lure sold in the USA is not actual doe pee. At least not 100%. Because the standards are so lax or even non-existent, what is sold as doe pee lure might only have 1% estrus doe pee in it.

There just are not enough penned farm deer to produce the vast amount of “deer pee” sold to hunters. Not even close. Which means that a lot of what is being sold as deer pee lure is not.

And this sorry situation is NOT what Kirschner sells. He sells stuff that will curl your hair if you sniff it, because it is that nasty tarsal gland paste he made mixed with actual pee from his own pet deer. No, you don’t want to ask how he gets the deer urine….same story with foxes, coyotes, and bobcats, all of which are kept in farms where their excrement is collected and made into lures for trappers and hunters. It is all expensive stuff, and it all works very well.

From the time I bought a small squeeze bottle of Kirschner’s SilverTop at that year 2000 outdoor show (what is now the Great American Outdoor Show, which will not be held in 2021), until four years ago, when it ran out, I killed a PILE of deer coming in to his lure. When I say a pile, I mean a literal pile, like piles of deer stacked like cord wood in the back of my pickup trucks. How, you ask? Answer: I get as many DMAP and doe tags as possible, which might number ten each season, and then usually fill 75-100% of them from archery season through the late muzzleloader season and late shotgun-only season in southeast PA.

Then I ran out of the Silver Top, which only required a few drops on a tampon hung on a tree branch each time hunting, and so it had lasted so very very long. And I thought, “Why not try some other brands, see what they can do, how they work.”

And what I found was that not one other deer lure has worked anything like Kirschner’s in the southcentral and northcentral regions in which I mostly hunt. Not even close.

Bob Kirschner tells me that very few people make deer lure like he does any longer, and at age 74 he is about to hang up his spurs from his incredibly physical work. He says that some Amish farms are beginning to make deer lure the way he does, and that they will have to take up the slack when he shuts down his operation (hint hint young people out there, here is a chance to run your own business and have fun).

So I bought an 8-ounce bottle of Kirschner’s SilverTop the other day, and I am hoping this will last me a good twenty years. How can this one bottle last so long? Because only a few drops are needed each time out.

Here is another hint to hunters: Don’t overuse deer pee lure. It does not need to be sloshed about by the bucketful, and it should only be used during the actual rut, which is end of October into mid-November.

When hunters mis-use deer pee lure, either by using too much or by using it in early October, they are desensitizing deer to their world of smell, and instead of luring in deer, they confuse them and make them cagey and wary.

Using too much deer pee or using it at the wrong time eventually trains deer to stay away from it, or to be skeptical of it.

Two years ago I watched a Maryland hunting guide set off an enormous bottle of “Buck Bomb” for a youth hunter, which filled our woods with a chokingly sick scent that vaguely smelled like doe estrus. One buck was eventually brought in, a nice eight point, but he was so suspicious that he literally ran up to within 75 yards, looked around, and seeing no doe, turned and ran like hell back to where he had come from. Using too much of a good thing is not always a good thing to do, and hunters will do better in the short term and the long term if they are much more judicious in their application of deer pee lure.

So, there, that is my endorsement of Kirschner’s deer pee. I get no royalties, kickbacks, baksheesh, or remuneration from this essay. In fact, I hope Bob does not read it because he will probably object to being called shy. I write this out of simple admiration for a well done product that has made me a very happy hunter for a very long time, and I hope you get some, too. Just use it correctly.

Good luck this season. Have fun and be safe!

Carpe diem

Carpe diem means “seize the day,” and while it may have been an especially well worn adage given from fathers to sons standing over large firewood piles that were not going to stack themselves, it became much more widely appreciated and used as a result of one of those now all too rare things – a meaningful Hollywood movie. Yeah, we have to go back to 1989.

In The Dead Poets Society, now deceased and yet still amazing actor Robin Williams plays the sort of inspirational high school teacher we all wish we had (and I did have several like Williams’ movie character, notably Master Spencer Gates, wrestling coach Master Tim Loose, wrestling coach Master Jay Farrow, and Teacher Agnes Hay). While reading and teaching both good and bad poetry with his adolescent students, with humor and also sincerity, Williams’ character leads them into deeper reflection about their growing self-awareness, hopes, dreams, etc. His teaching all culminates in one line, one forever-lesson that must never be let go of for fear of forgetting to stay focused on the best of life: Carpe diem.

In the movie, carpe diem becomes the watch word, the reminder, the quick phrase meant to sum up all the teaching and to remind young people not to live up to the old adage that ‘youth is wasted on the young’. To always do better, to strive for even better than that, and that by seizing the day and making the most of it, a person realizes her or his fullest potential in a life that is under the best of circumstances so very fleeting, and often is truly fleeting.

At his 102nd birthday, my grandfather Morris lamented “I don’t know where my life went!” Despite his long years, dying just two weeks shy of his 103rd birthday, his life had flown by on wings. And he was a guy who had truly lived every day to its fullest, by nearly every measure.

I mention Morris to give the reader some perspective on the true meaning of carpe diem…when you are blowing out the 102 cramped candles on your birthday cake, and you reflect on your long life, and you openly feel like it has flown by you, you had damned well better have made the most of it, in every way, or you have committed both a tragedy and a crime by wasting your God-given opportunities and potential.

This all came to me in recent weeks because of the “permanent retirement” of several people with whom I was close, one way or another. Their sudden and unexpected deaths stuck a sharp stick in my ribs, reminding me of carpe diem.

One of my friends is, or was, US Army Col. John “Jack” Francis Keith, who dropped dead in his foyer three weeks ago after walking the dog, at the tender age of 77. Jack was one of the most amazing and humble men I have known, not necessarily because of his fascinating career, but because of his “way.”

We met when Jack was hired to start up the brand new Pennsylvania Parks and Forests Foundation, and he then came to me for help finding an office in which to set up shop. Naturally, I found him office space one floor below me at 105 North Front Street in Harrisburg, one of Dick Etzweiler’s amazing historic buildings. We immediately bonded and worked together on a variety of projects, as well as hunting together, socializing together, him always gently mentoring me (the poor sonofabitch was a hell of a kindly optimist).

In 2001, Jack got me to acquire my first custom longbow at the Eastern Traditional Archery Rendezvous. It was crafted by bowmaking legend Mike Fedora, the “modern grandfather of traditional bowmaking,” if any of that makes sense, and as it remains an extension of my very soul, I still hunt with it. While he was mostly silent about his Vietnam combat tour, Jack once briefly told me how he had earned a Silver Star for combat valor, among other medals: Their forward position being overrun, like the movie “We Were Soldiers,” the U.S. Army soldiers had backed themselves into a defensive circle around and amongst a copse of trees. Jack distinctly remembers pulling the cord that detonated a dozen mortars or small cannons leveled waist-high around their hastily thrown up perimeter in the dark, and then in the morning finding Vietnamese soldiers both on the ground and literally nailed up to the trees by the long steel flechettes (long nails or spikes made into arrows) blasted shotgun-like from the mortars. He described the various rifles brought into action by the Viet Cong also being pinned across the soldiers’ chests by the same swarm of steel mini-arrows, the carrier and gun frozen in mid-stride.

Like I said, Jack was a hell of a guy. I could go on and on about what he did, the outdoor adventures we had, and how his friendship improved my life. I know that other people also feel the same way about their friendship with Jack.

And other beloved people have also died, one as recently as in the past 24 hours. Joanna was not just a loving mother, daughter, and sister, in terms of career she had “made it to the big time.” Serving as a general counsel attorney at the US EPA, where I started my career oh so long ago, Joanna started feeling not so good just weeks ago. Now she is gone, in her mid sixties, and the people who loved her and who drew strength and deep pleasure from her company, including her own aged parents, are bereft.

If I could ask Joanna one thing, one reflection on the high value of our lives before she floated away, it would be “Should I carpe diem?

I know what she and Jack would say in response: Do not take any day for granted, make the very most of every day and minute that you are given, gather ye rosebuds while ye may; you never know when it will end.

And so, as these positive, constructive, giving people leave us, as is the end for each and every one of us here, I keep thinking carpe diem. And you should too, I believe. Whatever your dream is, whatever your good and positive passion is or could be, perhaps subdued because of financial fears or some other challenge, carpe diem. Make it happen, make life happen to its fullest, before it is too late.

The kind of Vietnam-era US Army flechettes that shaped a young Jack Keith’s life as he moved forward

A full bag in 2004 (where oh where did that time go?). Me on the left, Jack Keith on the right, and Tim Schaeffer in the middle. If anyone could write a book on carpe diem, it is Tim, who got his PhD and JD simultaneously and now runs the PA Fish & Boat Commission

My wife says that Jack Keith was the most handsome man she ever met. Right on.

Jack in later years with wife Dottie

A remarkably young looking Robin Williams, back when he looked old and serious to my 20-something eyes. He is saying Carpe Diem like he means it.

WH press event like watching violent forced false confession

Watching today’s White House press briefing was like watching a bunch of drug cartel thugs standing around torturing a helpless victim, demanding that he both confess, and when he confesses, or worse, says the truth, then accusing him of lying and beating the hell out of him some more. Nothing the victim says can stop the torture, not even a false confession.

Trump told the truth, and it was as if he had said nothing. His press secretary told the truth, and it was as if she had remained silent.

Today, the mainstream media showed themselves yet again to be nothing more than a pack of partisan hyenas, a bunch of political thugs, whose role is to beat on the president nonstop, no matter what he says, no matter what he does.

Even if he says what they say they want him to say, they act as if they can’t hear him, and beat on him some more.

There are scenes in the movie “Traffic” and “Enemy at the Gates” where people are tortured or where they describe the torture they underwent, where no matter what they said, they were tortured even more. And those scenes apply here in describing the role of the American mainstream media’s interactions with President Donald Trump. The so-called “press” staff are sadistic liars.

President Donald Trump has been the most anti-racism, pro-Jewish, pro-Black, pro-Latino president in American history, except maybe for President Abraham Lincoln. The voters know this, which is why Trump’s support among Blacks, Jews, and Latinos is at record highs for a Republican. But the mainstream media want to pretend that this is not so, because they don’t want corrupt Joe Biden to lose, and they want to try to persuade people that it is not so, so they keep on repeatedly accusing Trump of something he never did, never said, while demanding that he say something that he has already said multiple times.

Trump has never praised white supremacists. Trump swiftly and categorically denounced white supremacists and white supremacy back in 2017. But the media pretend he didn’t. Almost like asking someone “Do you still beat your wife, or have you stopped?” There is no answer to that question that is not self-incriminating, and so you obviously respond “I don’t beat my wife and have never beaten my wife,” to which the antagonist repeats the same question over and over.

This is the pathetic state of the “news media” today.

If the mainstream media like CNN, CBS, NBC, ABC, NPR, etc were at all curious about why so many Americans despise them and do not trust them, they could simply watch their own disgusting performance this morning at the White House. They were disruptive, rude, antagonistic, dismissive, and openly partisan political activists. They were not and are not news reporters. These same so-called reporters have never asked any Democrat candidate for anything, not even dog catcher, any hard questions at all, let alone sustained an attack like this one, for almost five years.

Donald Trump is probably going to win next month’s election, and in some measurable part his win will be due to good Americans watching today’s White House press briefing and being disgusted with the petulant employees of these horrible television media outlets behaving so poorly, so unprofessionally, so openly politically partisan, so aggressively and personally against America’s president.

Everyone values the truth and honesty. Americans love a plain-spoken, honest president like Donald Trump (go ahead and please spell out down below exactly where he lied…list actual lies, not where he talks smack). So when the media pervert the truth and are dishonest, it pisses off normal people, and instead of voting for a candidate, they vote against the sadistic torturers.

You fake media people have earned our disgust.

“Journalist” Chris Wallace Proves Media are Partisan Activists

If you watched last night’s presidential debate between President Donald Trump and former US senator and Vice President Joe Biden, you got to see exactly why such a huge swath of America believes the media is just a bunch of partisan political activists.

So-called “moderator” Chris Wallace interrupted President Trump so many times I lost count, attacked Trump, questioned Trump, and then also demanded that Trump stop questioning Biden. It was like Wallace was trying to damage Trump and save Biden. He never once interrupted Biden or challenged Biden, like on his family’s well documented official corruption.

First of all, a debate moderator does not interrupt a guest. That is Rule #1. Wallace broke this rule a whole lot of times.

Second of all, a debate moderator does not pick sides. That is Rule #2. Wallace broke this rule a whole lot of times.

Wallace broke both rules last night, repeatedly, openly, and literally everything he said sounded like one of the Democrat Party’s issues or campaign attacks on Trump. Conversely, Wallace treated Biden like a chum, openly laughing with him at Trump, and ganging up on Trump with Biden. At one point it was like watching lions versus hyenas, where a lone male lion is surrounded by a pack of yelling, barking, yipping, screeching hyenas and he has to spin this way and that to defend himself.

Kind of symbolic, like what is happening to America right now, America being the lion.

Yes, Wallace works for Fox News. But Fox News is under new ownership, which are the two very liberal and partisan Democrat Murdoch brothers. The two Murdoch brothers have done all they can to turn Fox News into just one more politically partisan liberal activism center, like almost every other media outlet. And Wallace was there last night to demonstrate how far the organization has drifted.

Liberals complained about Fox News for a long time, because it was the ONLY news outlet that did not march in lockstep with the rest of the liberal media. Well, now they get to see that liberals have taken over yet one more organization from inside, and they have turned it into yet one more liberal mouthpiece and source of political activism.

Fox News is officially Fake News. Chris Wallace is not a “journalist,” he is an activist. We all got to see that last night. Liberals may cheer this, but then they have to admit that Wallace was not a balanced moderator; he favored one debater, and showed it. Liberals cannot blame anyone else for their own loss of credibility.

And so it gave Trump’s supporters great pleasure to watch America’s president whip two debaters simultaneously. Although the truth is, Biden was barely even there last night. He seemed fragile and hollow. Which is why Wallace needed to support him from the beginning. Just like the rest of the media has done.

Last night Chris Wallace proved once and for all that the establishment media is partisan political activism favoring one political party, and this year, one political candidate. The Biden campaign is now officially run by the American media.

 

Is Lowell Graybill purposefully destroying PFSC?

The Pennsylvania Federation of Sportsmen and Conservationists (formerly Clubs) is a group with which I have had a relationship since 1998. It is a group, for which it stands, to which I have great allegiance. It represents a great deal of what I believe in, and care about. And its members are by and large salt-of-the-earth best people you will ever meet.

For many years I eschewed involvement in PFSC’s politics. It seemed like a lot of ego and petty personality stuff drove most of it. Very few policy issues were that hard fought amongst the membership.

But in the past four years, the group has really fallen on hard times, financially and politically. Time was, most PA elected officials didn’t say or do anything about outdoor sports (hunting, fishing, trapping) without consulting PFSC for guidance. Those days are long gone, with most elected officials today saying “P…F…See…whattt?”

They really have no idea who or what PFSC is, what it stands for, what it used to achieve. And yes, PFSC used to achieve a lot. As a 501(c)(4), PFSC was able to hit hard politically. People who comfortably held their elected seats could lose them almost overnight, having said or done something that egregiously damaged Pennsylvania’s hunting or fishing, or its natural resources and wildlife habitat. Those days are long gone. PFSC still claims to represent sportsmen and sportswomen, but its stature as that representative is sorely depreciated.

Fast forward to today, and this spring PFSC held an election that can only be described as North Korean. It was a complete sham in every way. Today the Pennsylvania Outdoor News carried an opinion piece I wrote about that sham s/election.

Instead of getting new people running the organization, which had been run by the same people over and over and over for years upon years, PFSC held a star chamber “nominating committee” that gave 30 voters total the choice of one person to vote for. No real choice was offered, and no real votes were had. It was all inside game stuff, rigged and pre-wired.

Out of this sham s/election process a guy named Lowell Graybill once again became PFSC president. This is a role that Graybill has held at least once before, having held the immediate past treasurer position. As PFSC treasurer, Graybill was all but president of PFSC, often acting as president for the doddering guy who held it officially. Just two years ago, Graybill teamed up with the RK Mellon Foundation to run a kind of explode-your-organization-from-inside process.

Officially this was called a steering committee, but to many people involved it looked like the RKMF-funded consultant was trying to steer PFSC right over a cliff, or into a brick wall. The steering committee’s purpose was clearly destructive, and Graybill did all he could to strip PFSC of its 501(c)(4) status, to remove the Second Amendment from PFSC’s mission statement, and to have the organization adopt one radical environmentalist policy position after another. Any and all of these would have deeply offended self-respecting sportsmen, and further driven PFSC from the mainstream to the political fringe.

All of this was stopped because enough of us fended off one attack or another in 2018 and 2019. But now that Graybill is PFSC president again, we can expect it all to start again. And it is doubtful there are strong enough people on the board or especially the executive board to stop him.

During all the many years that Lowell Graybill has served on PFSC’s executive board in one capacity or another, at least twice as president, the organization has gone from about 1,500 clubs to about 150 clubs today. It is a precipitous drop that has resulted in the PFSC having little clout on Capitol Hill and little recognition among sportsmen.

The latest PFSC “election” won once again by Graybill was a demonstration of extreme strong-arm win-lose politics, whose machinations are beginning to become public discussion among discouraged sportsmen. If PFSC’s internal politics do not change after the PA Outdoor News expose, then the organization will continue to lose support and members, until it becomes what it almost is already, a shell organization funded by wealthy individuals and foundations whose actual objectives are out of synch with 95% of sportsmen.

The wise way to handle the different PFSC factions was to give a representative/ person with a different voice a seat on the executive committee. But the new executive director Harold Daub, and Lowell Graybill, are playing power politics. It is all or nothing, win or lose, and win at all cost. The cost of this win-lose (as opposed to win-win) approach is what we see today: Hurt, frustrated, upset people, who played by the rules, donated their time and money for the cause, who were dedicated and built up expertise and gravitas, who were then excluded from the process, cast aside, because someone just had to have all the marbles, couldn’t share the marbles. Lowell Graybill’s approach makes for unsteady, unhealthy organizations.

No one presently involved with PFSC’s board has had a longer association or held more positions than Lowell Graybill. Statistically speaking, Graybill’s correlation with PFSC’s demise is very strong. When we add up all of the evidence surrounding Lowell Graybill’s long association with PFSC, we have to ask: Is he purposefully destroying PFSC?

And why not ask this? The Left specializes in taking over organizations from the inside, or destroying them and then reconstituting them as centers of Leftist activism.

PFSC has suffered from bad leadership for a long time. But now we ask, has it been purposefully bad?

American Liberals: From Thoughtful Intellectuals to Parrot Puppets

Recent conversations with a number of liberals have me writing this essay. Because “shocking” is the only word capturing the breadth and depth of loss liberals have plunged since my youth.

In my youth, which is like a thousand years ago, liberals were the free thinkers, the unconventional open -minded intellectuals. Their willingness to think outside of the box on some issues helped America improve in a variety of ways on some key public policy areas.

For example, liberals led the way on environmental quality, understanding mental health and disability, and understanding and tolerating homosexuals. These subjects may have been taken to crazy lengths since their inception (e.g. demanding that everyone not just tolerate homosexuals and treat them with dignity, but be forced to accept homosexual behavior in place of religious belief or personal discomfort; or to force environmental quality to literally the trillionth part to the point where America has no economy).

Liberals were thoughtful intellectuals on a bunch of public policy issues, and they helped America become a more tolerant, comfortable place to live as a result.

What has happened since then, let’s say then being 1976, liberalism’s high water mark, is an increasingly faster rush to the bottom of intellectual rigor, honesty, consistency, and meaningfulness. Today’s liberals are by and large politically correct to the point where they adhere to the latest and strangest notion, no matter how out of bounds, dishonest, double standard-ed, inconsistent, or how high the price they and America must pay. The list of their self-destructive PC issues is a thousand miles long, but let’s just say that supporting BlacKKK Lives Matter violent cultural destruction, using official government offices to promote and implement unofficial policies that voters have not approved, etc.

Today, liberals are parrot puppets. Many are like the walking dead zombies in horror movies. They simply parrot platitudes and certifiably false claims they are fed by the politically partisan mainstream media, turning them into puppets.

A long time dear friend living in the heart of New York City made it clear to me the other day that she hates President Trump so much that she will endure having her businesses looted and destroyed, her neighborhood gutted, her livelihood set back twenty years. Donald Trump never did anything to her. He has done none of the things she says that she hates about him. She actually supports some of his domestic policies. When I pointed out that her visceral hatred for him is the result of her constantly imbibing mainstream media fake news that is designed to fill its readers and watchers with hate, and that she might consider reading or watching some different information sources, she responded that she only watches and reads those outlets “that are in line with my values.”

In other words, my dear liberal friend will only encounter information outlets that reinforce what she already thinks. So her mind is a closed loop. She is now a parrot puppet. And she is not alone.

The exact same formula is at work on a host of other liberals I encountered and spoke with over the past week.  Information outlets that do not directly and strongly reinforce what they already believe, or what they want to believe, are forbidden. Because their minds are so tightly closed, they cannot think of anything but hate and disrespect for people who disagree with them.

Talking with liberals is like watching crack addicts shoot up, snort, and smoke a toxic drug all at once. They start out knowing it is bad for them, but they willfully engage in self-destructive behavior because their high is so good. The high being that false sense of floating enlightenment and perfection of being totally correct about all things, always. And this hard drug analogy would seem to explain why liberals are now going so far as to embrace self-destructive policies that are so clearly going to damage their own personal lives, and their children. Like accepting the false outrage of BLM and begging forgiveness for crimes committed by different people hundreds of years ago.

If I were confronted by a BLM loon and told to get on my knees, I would turn the table and demand the same of him, maybe even have him get on all fours and give me twenty five push-ups, because his cannibal ancestors enslaved and ate a bunch of white AND black people just a couple hundred years ago. Oh, the racism! Oh the injustice! Oh the horror! The shame that BLM jerk should feel for his cannibal, slave-owning ancestors should just crush him flat, and shut him up. It really is his fault. All of it. Including the indigestion that followed his ancestors’ unholy meals.

I digress.

It is sad to see so many people with native critical thinking capability toss it overboard. America is losing some of our best and brightest to liberal political correctness. An entire generation or two of Americans cannot think their way out of a wet paper bag because of PC and being parrot puppets.

In case you have any inkling of open mindedness left, you are encouraged to take a walk on the wild side, to cross the DMZ, to go to no-man’s land, to put your very life in jeopardy and read through some of the articles posted at www.thegatewaypundit.com, or www.breitbart.com. Just try it. It might be like trying mint chip ice cream for the first time, when all your life you thought you just always wanted plain vanilla. Maybe you will discover something new and rewarding.

Maybe you will become an intellectual once again.

The boys of summer

In 1984, which was the best decade since 1884, Don Henley wrote a fabulous song called “The Boys of Summer.” The song is about teenage and early twenties summertime love, amidst the sunny outdoor environment in which so many American teens ONCE spent their summers, either as lifeguards, or as laborers, learning how to work. Socializing after working hours, the kids would sit around beach campfires showing off their deep tans, their touseled hair, their fit bodies, talking, sharing, competing, loving, opening up, becoming friends.

The song is about how the end of summer is coming, and how it arrives, and the singer just wants the girl to know that he loved her then and will love her again, even after the boys of summer have gone home, back to school.

So evocative is the music and the lyrics of this song, you can play it and immediately bring a room full of fifty-somethings to a standstill, as each person stops mid-sentence, mid-thought, mid-action, and immediately drifts back to fond summertime memories from their youth. There they will sit, as if frozen, deep in the best of memories, until the song ends.  Doubt me? Here – listen to this song, and then report back on how the song affected you.

And so it is with me now, as I watch the boys of summer in the mountains, the fields, the back yards. No, these are not human boys. These are bird boys, specifically the male neo-tropical migrants who flew here, to central and northcentral Pennsylvania, from Venezuela, Costa Rica, southern Mexico and Guatemala, southern Florida, and other tropical places.

These migratory tropical birds have been migrating northward since the end of the last ice age about 10,000 years ago. And they probably migrated during the prior ice ages, too, only retreating from the repeated massive ice fields over 100,000 years, and then, as now, following the glacial retreat northward.

Some birds go as far as the Arctic Circle, nesting on cliffs and on tundra, where they compete, entice, mate, lay eggs, and hatch chicks before heading far back south to raise their young chicks into mature members of their own species. While most of this migratory behavior has to do with finding food and comfortable environmental conditions, it is nonetheless a magical time. When you see it, you can feel God’s presence with your eyeballs.

What my own boys of summer song is about, in my head, is how I already miss the springtime displays put on by the male members of these migratory songbirds. They are so impossibly vibrantly colorful, they look like little jewels in flight. Bright reds, yellows, blues, purples, greens, they are most incredible variety of natural creation. Who could create such a beautiful and tiny creature? And why, if not for our own viewing pleasure?

Almost every spring time Saturday will find me sitting on the front porch, bird book and binoculars in hand, a Thermos of coffee to my right, watching the incredible display that happens in swoops, rushes, ground-level and tree-top height courtship displays, and brief landings. One particular morning this spring I was sitting at a second floor window and saw a scarlet tanager, an indigo bunting, and a variety of yellow-to-golden birdies (warblers as well as multiple male goldfinches in one small space) all in the same immediate area. It was a huge visual delight. Magic, really.

And so as summer settled in, these colorful animals retreated to their own hidden responsibilities of feeding the chicks they had hatched, teaching them to fly and to eat, and then perhaps having another clutch or two. Depending upon how many of the first clutch were eaten by bluejays and crows.

I miss the spring time display of these songbirds, mostly the more-colorful males. A scarlet tanager or Baltimore oriole in a tree top is reminder of how beautiful the world really is, even though bad people in our cities have managed to make it as ugly as sin.

I miss my boys of summer.

Oriole by thebernebirdnerd

scarlet tanager

yellow warbler, wikipedia

goldfinch by Sarah Lynn

indigo bunting, wikimedia commons

Climate Change’s Story, as Told by a Rock

The subject of climate change has been a political issue for about ten years. Before that it was called global warming. Before that it was called global cooling. Despite having dramatically different, even diametrically opposed, oppositional names, this subject of earth’s changing climate has been treated the same by political activists for about 30 years. No matter how different, under all rubrics it has been presented as a result of planet-altering human intervention into Planet Earth’s fundamental forces.

In all of the undocumented claims presented about this subject over the past thirty years, especially the fake junk science claims, the ignored elephant in the room has always been the very well and long-documented evidence of great periods of climate change pre-dating the appearance of humans on Planet Earth. In other words, climate change/ global warming/ global cooling did not automatically appear in 1985 because Al Gore wrote a book about humans emitting too much carbon dioxide. Nope. The scientific elephant in the climate change room was standing here all along, because decades of non-politicized scientific inquiry demonstrated how mile-thick ice glaciers covered northern America, Canada, and northern Europe and Asia many times over the past 100,000 years.

That is, a natural ongoing cycle of climate change, real dramatic alterations to the face of the planet, even without one human being present to contribute one breath of carbon dioxide to it.

Well, here is the short and easy story of actual, real climate change; the long documented climate change that shaped the land you are standing and driving on every day. This big story is told by a simple humble rock. Here is a picture of that rock (below), unearthed the other day. It was unearthed about 600 feet above the Pine Creek stream bed and channel. Until it was unearthed, it was entombed on a hillside way above the existing channel, in mostly clay dirt amid sharp shards of shattered sandstone, all jumbled together like a giant mixer had tossed them around.

Look carefully at this stone.

It is rounded, unlike most of the other rocks around it in the dirt from whence it recently emerged. Someone with a bit of curiosity would ask “Gees, this rock looks totally different from the rocks around it. It is rounded like a typical long water-washed and tumbled river cobble I can find in any stream bed in the world. Now why is this rounded rock sitting hundreds of feet above the Pine Creek river bed? How did it get all the way up here?”

Great question! In most American class rooms, asking this question might get you ejected, or a bad grade from a fake educator who doesn’t want you asking good questions, but instead you are supposed to repeat a mantra of junk science that ignores the actual science represented by this simple little rounded rock.

Pine Creek’s history is retold at Leonard Harrison State Park, in DCNR geology circulars available online, and in many other places and publications. It won’t be reiterated at length here. But we do provide a history lesson in a nutshell.

Essentially it goes like this: Until about 15,000 years ago, Pine Creek flowed northward into the Genesee River watershed. After the last glacial age ended 20,000 years ago, the Laurentide Glacier began to melt, as prior glaciers there before it had melted. As the glacier melted, a pool of water built up against an ice dam, which eventually broke from the weight of the water and the thinning ice. When the ice dam broke, an enormous torrent of water was unleashed southward as a tidal wave. As it raced southward, the tidal wave followed the landscape’s natural contours, including the river bed of north-flowing Pine Creek.

As soon as the tidal wave hit the Pine Creek stream bed, the tidal wave followed that natural channel southward, scooping up hundreds of millions of tons of stream bottom rocks, as well as surrounding ledgerock. We have seen the videos of the Japanese tsunami from several years ago, and this one probably looked similar. Thus, an increasingly muddy tumultuous mess of water, dirt, and rocks flowed southward to the West Branch of the Susquehanna River. Along the way rocks like our little rounded river cobblestone here were picked up and deposited high up on the river channel’s slopes.

Even though the rock had come from deep down in the river bed, it remained in place on the hillside as the roaring water receded to the stream flow we know and love today. The rock is an artifact of climate change, real honest-to-goodness climate change, devoid of any human causation or intervention.

Our pet Pine Creek stream bed rock now in Lycoming County, PA, probably originating due north in Steuben County, New York, 15,000 years ago, already rounded from thousands of years of tumbling in a stream bed

Ever since that melting glacier released that tidal wave and placed our little rock here on the hillside, Pine Creek has flowed south, into the West Branch of the Susquehanna River, and not northward into the Genesee River. And as a result of that huge rushing torrent southward, the Pennsylvania Grand Canyon was cut and shaped.

Climate change, folks. It is as natural as the Sun rising and setting on the Earth’s horizon. It can be real. It was real, and still is real and ongoing, even without human involvement. But you probably won’t find the real climate change science taught any more, because it is contrary to a radical political narrative that tells us modern capitalist societies are evil and destructive and must cease and desist, because we alone are destroying the Earth’s climate.

Which just goes to prove that Marxism really is anti-science, anti-truth, anti-fact, and anti-human. Shame on the Marxism Climate Change fraudsters who represent themselves as guardians of the environment. They are no such thing. They are destroyers of the environment, as every Marxist society’s destroyed environment demonstrates.

Shhhh! Don’t tell anyone you saw this, because the “climate change” activists will have me locked up for disseminating actual science!

All this climate change happened before humans were even present on the planet, let alone before we and our cows began farting so much and creating green house gases…

Be careful showing this glacial map to a New Yorker. They believe that New York City pre-dates all human civilizations and was founded by the gods, who would never let a mile of ice stand on top of their sacred ground.

Showing this image in a modern class on “climate change” is like showing a crucifix to a vampire, and you will probably be ejected from the classroom and declared unfit for indoctrination by the fake teacher. Be careful how you use this science.

Oh no, we did it, we showed New York City under ice. NYC mayor Bill DeBlasio will probably ban me from entering NYC henceforth.