↓ Archives ↓

Posts Tagged → God

Passover & Easter messages of Freedom

Freedom has been the goal of human beings forever.

Freedom to be your own unique self as God created you, freedom to think your own thoughts, freedom to travel where you wish, freedom to worship God in your own way, freedom to speak your mind without fear of reprisal or punishment, freedom to pursue the work you like, freedom to read the books you want and etc.

And yet, despite all of the deepest yearnings humans have had for individual and communal freedom for tens of thousands of years, freedom has nonetheless been really tough to achieve or gain for any meaningful amount of time. Here in America, the concept of freedom as Americans know it today was achieved on the frontier, where European settlers, run-away and freed blacks, and American Indians lived in a sometimes mostly peaceful communal free-for-all, and most of the time in an ebb-and-flow of painful tumult and settlement. It was on the American frontier that Europeans finally broke the chains of feudal serfdom, because they were finally out of the reach of feudal overlords.

They lived as they wanted to live.

Along the American east coast British and Dutch militaries enforced iron laws that funneled money, goods, and loyalty to far distant monarchs in Europe. But within the American interior, what we call the frontier, a new kind of human was developing. European ideals of hard work and self sacrifice blended with American Indian ideas of self-reliance and communal reliance, free of overbearing overlords imposing their own selfish demands. And what resulted was pure freedom, now enshrined in the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution.

While early in our nation’s history the American Indians were still largely nomadic, or at least seasonal travelers across wide landscapes, the European Americans brought a focus on permanent settlement. They also brought values and hopes from the Torah (Old Testament) and the Gospel (New Testament), what today we accurately describe as a uniquely synthesized Judeo-Christian ethic for daily life and expectations from our government.

Both Judaism and Christianity celebrate freedom, and in this week of Passover (tonight) and Easter (coming Sunday), and in this American time of great peril for individual freedom, it is important to note how both these faiths mark freedom and value it as the highest form of human expression.

Why is American freedom in great peril? Because bad people who crave control and dominion over everyone and everything have seized control of the American government. Like the early Americans did in their battle with Britain, we must think of these bad people as the Pharoahs in the story of Exodus, and think of the American citizen – you and me – as the ancient Israelites, escaping harsh bondage.

These bad people constantly demand that We, The People behave one way, while they conspicuously behave the opposite. They wear their double standard hypocrisy like a badge of honor. To them, it demonstrates their authoritarian power over everyone else, their ability to behave contrary to the way they demand everyone else behave. Behaving publicly in a hypocritical manner is a demonstration of their power over everyone else. I know this is sick and anti-democratic, but the Left is completely drunk on power and is anti-democratic. They think they know what is best for everyone, and that we must all live according to their supposedly brilliant ideas (that have already failed in so many other places like the Soviet Union, China, Venezuela, Cuba etc), so no freedom for us regular “little people.”

With the holiday of Passover, Judaism teaches about the centrality of physical freedom. Freedom from slavery, freedom from political overlords who control everything we eat, think, say, and do. While Jews always celebrate Passover, there are many Christians who also observe a “Last Supper” tonight among friends and family.

With the holiday of Easter, Christians celebrate the concept of spiritual freedom; freedom from earthly limits and earthly/ physical chains. One of the first steps any authoritarian government does is to break the link between humans and one another and between humans and God. The state must become God for the state to become all-powerful, and so spiritual freedom is a powerful antidote to evil people running government badly.

Both of these separate celebrations this week, Passover and Easter, are critical to Americans and to any human being anywhere who wants to remain free or attain freedom. America has a unique blend of individual freedom and individual opportunity that no other country has. It is why everyone in the world wants to move to America.

But if we Americans are going to hold onto the Constitutional Republic that so many men have died to create and hold onto, then we must make public our celebration of freedom and our demand for freedom. We must embolden one another and embrace one another and stand side by side with one another, because right now We, The People are facing a truly tyrannical and evil government that seeks to take away the freedom that we all have. All of it. Forever.

Only standing all together can we withstand their attack on us.

Freedom. Celebrate it, mark it, identify it, value it, cherish it, and never ever relinquish it. Whatever freedom the government people can take away from you they will never ever give back to you.

Happy Passover and Happy Easter freedom to all of my fellow Americans. Celebrate freedom as you will, but celebrate it by God and never ever stand down.

PA elk & bear seasons now behind us

You can spend all year excitedly anticipating a few days here or there, and before you know it, those days arrive, they happen intensely, and then they are over like a dream.

This dream we speak of here are the various big game seasons that are such a big part of so many peoples’ lives, entire families and communities, entire businesses (I think hunting is an annual $1.6 BILLION business sector here in Pennsylvania). Thus far we have had an elk season and now the main bear season pass along. Here are some of my thoughts on these two wonderful experiences.

First, the elk hunt.

I was fortunate enough to draw a coveted PA elk tag, after applying for many years and building up a lot of preference points. The lottery drawing was announced in late August, and I immediately began planning. The general elk season is just six days long, and unless you are going to engage a guide for a few thousand dollars, you have a lot of work to do before setting foot afield with a gun. If you draw a bull tag, paying a guide is worth it.

After a tremendous amount of analysis and planning, and some September scouting, I was fortunate to hunt for elk with some good friends and a .62-caliber percussion rifle over my shoulder in Elk Zone 13. We camped out on a log landing in Sproul State Forest, with elk all around us, and each buddy scouted hard each day, looking for elk that the sole hunter (me) could get after.

Elk Zone 13 is huge, and contains a lot of vast public land. And so the elk harvest data shows that it is a bit of a Death Valley in terms of hunters actually killing an elk within it. While a lot of Pennsylvania elk hunting takes place briefly where a lot of the local elk have pet names and are used to being around people, there are a few elk zones where the opposite is the case. Zone 13 is one of those opposite cases. It is a tough place to hunt under any conditions, and under the rainy, warm, and very windy conditions we had, it was just about impossible. In the end, just one of three bull tags there was filled, and as of the fifth day of the six day season, just one of the six cow elk tags had been filled. I was not one of those people lucky enough to fill my elk tag.

And it was not a harvest failure because we didn’t hunt smart. We hunted so smart that we were bumping into elk guides and their clients at every turn. We had done our homework ahead of time, and we knew where the elk were likely to be, which is where you will find an elk guide, too.

One of the things I did as part of the analysis and planning phase was was plot all of the past elk harvest data on the large Elk Zone 13 map the PA Game Commission sent me. Once your eyes see exactly where the elk are killed every year, almost always in large clusters, over the past seven years that Elk Zone 13 has been around, you recognize where to concentrate your field scouting efforts. And then our subsequent field scouting efforts confirmed the presence of elk, including the day before the elk hunt started.

Like I said above, the weather conditions were awful for any type of big game hunting, and especially with a primitive weapon such as I carried. My effective range was 110 yards, and 75 yards was a lot more preferable. But range doesn’t matter if you can’t get an elk to stand broadside for a few seconds. I did mix it up directly with an elk herd that was hiding in a forest, and I did call one close back to me, and I did get a couple good setups on moving elk. But the seesawing winds gave away my presence each time, and the elk stormed off each time. Like I said, I had a wonderful time with good friends in a beautiful place with a fantastic gun over my shoulder. Elk or no elk in the hunting bag, I had a great time hunting elk in Pennsylvania (an especial Thank You to the many private landowners who generously granted me access to their properties to hunt elk).

Now, bear season.

Bear season ended yesterday, and the last of the bear hunters grudgingly left the cabin today. As usual, we had a large crowd gathered here, with everyone happy to catch up with chums from years past, sharing good food and good drink and good cheer. One thing all hunters eventually begin to notice is that with age comes a mellowing of the spirit. The chase is not as important as simply being present in God’s creation, often communing with Him in the largest house of prayer anywhere, the mountain forest cathedral.

And so fewer and fewer guys are coming here to hunt, and more and more guys are here to relax. And that is OK.

We who both communed with God in the mountain forest cathedral, and who also hunted, saw no bears and only a few deer. Mostly because there are no acorns in the woods, and all wildlife must go where the food is. If there is no food here, there are no bears here. Gypsy moths devastated Pennsylvania’s oak forests this past summer, and so there were no oak flowers to turn into oak acorns to fatten up buck and bear, squirrel and turkey. The woods was totally quiet this week, and it made me wonder what a squirrel migration looks like. Do hordes of mountain squirrels move en masse into suburban yards in lean years like this one? And where the heck do all the bears hibernate?

Roughly 1,450 bears were killed in PA’s early archery and muzzleloader seasons, and so far just under a thousand bears total are reported for this week’s bear rifle hunt. Usually this week’s four-day hunt results in an enormous bear kill. We are now looking at an epically low bear harvest in a state with a huge and burgeoning bear population that needs managing (Just a few days ago New Jersey issued an emergency bear hunt approval, because The People’s Republic of New Jersey is being overrun with bears, which unfortunately cannot be trained to eat liberals but whom the liberals recognize as a natural predator and are seeking to reduce out of self defense).

Another thought a lot of people are sharing today is that the early bear seasons, archery and muzzleloader, are very effective, so that come the late November bear season, there are a lot fewer bears to be had. Bears that are facing both extreme hunger AND extreme hunting pressure will den up early to get out of the storm. It seems a lot of the bears that survived the early seasons arrived in a bleak foodless November and said an early good night until March, 2023.

Next up is deer season, another dream time. And our deer patterns are also all off kilter here, so it is going to be a very interesting deer hunt in the mountains. Again, it’s no acorns, no deer. Except for that one gigantic buck I saw a couple times….stay tuned for that report. Let’s hope it makes up for the no elk and no bear reports we already filed away for 2022…

An 1884 double rifle made for tigers in India would be great bear medicine. If only a bear would appear.

This remote old mine is one of dozens that dot our mountains. It is a fine place to hunt, take a nap, or write in a notebook. A couple times I have done all three in one visit.

Camped with friends on an old log landing in the Sproul State Forest is a wonderful way to spend life’s limited time, elk or no elk in the bag.

A great way to spend a day hunting elk, with a beautiful .62 caliber rifle (not a smoothbore) made by Mark Wheland here in PA. With its 335-grain round ball, it is easily capable of cleanly taking a hearty elk.

Tamper Resistant Language, Bomb Proof Love

When I was at Penn State in the 1980s, one of my Spanish professors was an older gay man. How did we know he was gay? It seemed evident to us students that this small, shy, demur, effeminate, carefully dressed man was probably a homosexual. That he also lived a quiet life with another man in a beautiful old stone house with perfect lawncare and meticulous flower beds on the historic north end of campus pretty much cemented our conclusion.

We did not care about his sexual identity, and he did not demand or expect that we did care. He never mentioned it, and instead lived and taught in dignity. We gave him our loyalty and respect because he was a phenomenal teacher, who taught 400-level Spanish language literature from a place of deep passion and personal resonance. He could easily have been an English literature professor quoting Shakespeare, exhorting his students to comprehend the subtle nuances The Bard emanated from the stage to his audiences. But instead, he taught us The Aleph, among other deep and inspiring masterpieces of the Spanish language. This professor did not only teach us the most complex spoken and written Spanish, he also taught us to think carefully. About symbols, potential meanings of words, and the whys of writers of all languages; the reason for the idea-conveying purpose of literature, in any language.

His courses required real contemplation and reflection, and they strengthened our brain muscles. As a result, our professor lived on in our lives as a great teacher who greatly rounded us as individuals.

Fast forward to today, and every aspect and angle of human sexuality is daily artificially and forcefully thrust upon all of us, regardless of our age, with demands that we embrace all of it and simultaneously abandon thousands of years of shared human culture, religion, and biological science. This brutal, crass sexuality is the dominant subject of just about every subject, be it science, math, or language. This is a shock-and-awe, beat-you-over-the-head, we-will-destroy-you, revolutionary assault being led by people whom reporter Salena Zito calls the curators of culture. That is, people with careers in academia, education, and journalism. As in, writers of fact and fiction, reporters of human behavior, the (historically speaking) diligent and careful chroniclers of human culture.

Contrasted with Dark Ages monks carefully preserving the written word and human knowledge behind stone walls, and even with academics of the recent past like my gay Spanish professor who was devoted to the rules of Spanish language, these modern day curators of culture are neither diligent nor careful nor deep nor meaningful. Rather, they are rampaging intellectual rapists and murderers, leading a grotesque attack on what had been one of humanity’s most tolerant, productive, and vibrant cultures, ever, America.

The biggest of their sexual assaults is the demand for new pronoun uses, for which the English language, like all languages except Esperanto, is unprepared and thus will never naturally accommodate. For example, you could not write a literary masterpiece using the bastardized pronouns now hobnailed onto daily English usage, except maybe as a farce to highlight the ridiculousness of the self-appointed pronoun police and culture-raping revolutionaries. Like all languages, and probably more so than most, English is a mix of different languages (German, French, Celtic), and has its own long-developed unique rules that render it tamper-resistant.

If you try to communicate in English using the revolutionary pronouns (e.g. they for a woman who self identifies as both man and woman), you fall flat on your face, because this attempt to bodger English just doesn’t work. It can’t possibly work, because all languages are designed to help humans maximally communicate with one another. All languages have rules that maximize their effectiveness so that people may fully comprehend one another.

Which means that this sexual revolutionary assault via pronouns is not really about erasing lines between people and bringing people together. Rather, it is about erecting barriers and causing confusion. Religious Americans have identified the new pronoun mis-use as a modern day Tower of Babel situation, just begging for divine intervention. It certainly seems to be that significant to me.

However, whatever linguistic rules of English may be daily axe-murdered by woke pronounsters, my primary objection to them is that they fail the one universal language spoken by all humans: Love. While deliberately sowing confusion and fierce disagreement about the most elementary aspects of science and human relationships, the revolutionary pronounsters are also trying to destroy (not expand) the concept of love. Love, the truest, most pure universal language which can bind all humans to each other in the truest of relationships, and has been known humanity-wide since the dawn of our species by fidelity, commitment, and truth, is now being exploded by this sexual assault by mispronoun. Every human culture has sanctified love through marriage and commitment, family, honesty, and truth, baseline values all now being thrown out the window and publicly burned at the stake by the wokesters.

Love is a simple thing, and it is the one thing that all humans around the globe immediately understand. Love is bomb proof and it will get us through this turmoil, misused pronouns notwithstanding. Dear child, I am your parent, I created you, and I will always always always love you, no matter what f**king asinine pronouns you have been disinformed and misinformed to use by evil people who are misusing you as cannon fodder in their inglorious revolution against God knows what.

Thanksgiving

While fortunately spending a great deal of time out of doors over the past two weeks, often with old friends, in beautiful natural environments, I found myself feeling thankful over and over. What an incredible nation we live in, this America, to have so much opportunity and food and cars and clothing and so much else that it is easy to take any and all of it for granted.

If there is one thing that this debacle of a presidential administration in Washington DC is showing us Americans, it is how fragile our lives and indulgences really are here. In just ten months, the election-stealing Biden Administration has managed to joyfully throw America’s economy into a whirlpool, with spokesthing Jen Psaki laughing out loud and mocking questions about rising food prices, inflation.

“Sorry the treadmill is slowing down,” Psaki mocks, as the administration does everything in its power to keep ships off our coasts from delivering their cargo to us, to turn America from energy-independent to energy-weak and energy-dependent, with soaring gasoline prices as a result.

And in a bizarre way Psaki has done working Americans a favor. She and her confused boss Biden have shown us how thankful we should be. It is a fact that we should not take any of this incredible lifestyle for granted. Not even toilet paper, right? Look at what evil people can so easily do to us, if we just give them the opportunity!

Here below is George Washington’s original proclamation, establishing Thanksgiving Day. Remember that George Washington was one of our leading Founding Fathers who risked everything he had 245 years ago to bring us the opportunities and freedoms we enjoy today. When I read this, I wonder if enough Americans today feel the same way General Washington felt then; do we deeply appreciate what we have. I hope you all enjoyed this day of Thanksgiving as much as I did.

“Thanksgiving Proclamation

New York, 3 October 1789

By the President of the United States of America. A Proclamation.

Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor—and whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me “to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.”

Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be—That we may then all unite in rendering unto him our sincere and humble thanks—for his kind care and protection of the People of this Country previous to their becoming a Nation—for the signal and manifold mercies, and the favorable interpositions of his Providence which we experienced in the course and conclusion of the late war—for the great degree of tranquillity, union, and plenty, which we have since enjoyed—for the peaceable and rational manner, in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national One now lately instituted—for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed; and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and in general for all the great and various favors which he hath been pleased to confer upon us.

And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech him to pardon our national and other transgressions—to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually—to render our national government a blessing to all the people, by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed—to protect and guide all Sovereigns and Nations (especially such as have shewn kindness unto us) and to bless them with good government, peace, and concord—To promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the encrease of science among them and us—and generally to grant unto all Mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be best.

Given under my hand at the City of New-York the third day of October in the year of our Lord 1789.

Go: Washington”

 

America is beautiful, Vote for Trump

America is beautiful. It is a Garden of Eden.

America remains the best nation in the entire world by every single measure, as its immigration pattern shows: The entire world wants to move here, to live in this peaceful Garden of Eden, and no one leaves. Whatever your skin color, religion, language, clothing, you can move here, become part of our peaceful culture, work hard, and live many times better than you were living in your nation of birth.

America is not “systemically racist” or any of the other ridiculous accusations its enemies and native spoiled children say. America is the opposite of racist. America presents more opportunity to more people than any other place on the planet.

Only Donald J. Trump is able to preserve the American union that is the Eden so many people aspire to move to from around the globe. The man is a font of positivity, happiness, and old fashioned American humor and vigor.

I understand that some people do not agree with Trump’s policy preferences, and that could be the only reason to vote against him. Because no intelligent person believes the dishonest caricatures of Trump portrayed by CBS, NBC, NPR, PBS, ABC, CNN, MSNBC, Reuters, Associated Press, the Washington Post, New York Times and a bunch of other partisan political “news” outlets. And even if you disagree with Trump on some policies, think about what is most important to you: A few policies, balanced against a lifetime of stable, successful America. That is what the choice is tomorrow.

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris represent only negativity, unhappiness, conflict, catastrophe, lies, and failure for all Americans, especially Blacks.

If you love America, if you love her peacefulness, her beauty, liberty and harmony, and her long time equal application of the rule of law to everyone who preserves that peace, then you can only vote for Donald J. Trump. He is who I am voting for tomorrow, and you should, too. Help God bless America by keeping America peaceful.

Because America is still beautiful and worth keeping beautiful.

The Two Strong Women Who Just Saved America

The Two Strong Women Who Just Saved America

In just two weeks, two strong women have stepped up to literally save America from imminent destruction.

The first strong woman is Ruth Bader Ginsburg, an ideological Leftist who used her seat on America’s highest court to promote anti-America, anti-democracy, anti-Western values and ideas, for decades. So filled with antipathy for America and freedom was Ginsburg that not too many years ago she openly wished for America to shed its current constitution and adopt the South African constitution, instead.

Think about what Ginsburg wanted here. She wanted the world’s most stable, fairest, most transparent, most open, most accountable government to dispose of its central founding document, and exchange it for one that is central to one of the world’s least fair, least accountable, least stable nations. A nation with no rule of law and a semi-official policy of genocidal racism (against former Europeans). South Africa is a hell-hole now, having gone from being the flower of Africa to now being just one more shit-hole African nation riven by thousand-year-old ethnic hatreds, terrible violence, official corruption, no justice, and lots of injustice.

Ginsburg openly stated that she wanted America to descend into South Africa’s low quality of life. And being such an ardent, strong ideologue, and despite her obvious aging to the point where one of the official Supreme Court photos shows her literally asleep in her black robe, Ginsburg clung to her power like it was life itself. But by waiting to retire from the Supreme Court only when she could be replaced by a woman who was going to be nominated by a woman president, Ginsburg overplayed her hand. She died in office last week and left a vacancy that is now going to be filled by the current president and the senate, per the plain words of the US Constitution.

And the person this president has nominated to replace Ginsburg, and whom the US Senate has indicated its majority will likely confirm, is another strong woman, Judge Amy Coney Barrett.

Unlike Ginsburg, Barrett is an American through and through, in every way. Unlike Ginsburg, Barrett loves America as it was founded, with both its warts and its promise, its equal opportunities for everyone and its justice for all. Unlike Ginsburg, Barrett understands and admires the US Constitution, which was designed to allow America to heal from the American Revolution, from slavery (America nearly fought a civil war over slavery in 1794), and any other problems that might arise among humans living there. Our Founders understood that humans never tire of creating problems for one another and for themselves.

Liberal, woman-hating, motherhood-hating misogynists oppose Amy Barrett sitting on the US Supreme Court. But she is here to literally save the day, save the country, save the planet. That is because Barrett is going to be the deciding vote in what is likely to be a litany of 5-4 votes over the coming two months. Most of these will be deciding if some state supreme courts like in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Michigan, can improperly usurp the role of the state legislatures for setting the date and time of Election Day. Per the US Constitution, only the state legislatures can decide anything about Election Day. And yet courts in these states (to begin with) have in classic liberal fashion engaged in tremendous over-reach and illegally declared that Election Day can go on and on and on until someone has created or found enough votes to finally declare victory. As opposed to simply counting up all the legal, valid votes that are filed by 8PM on Election Day and then calling the winner as a result of who has the most electoral votes.

Why is Barrett going to be the 5th vote in the narrow Supreme Court majority? Because Justice John Roberts has increasingly revealed himself to be a product of back room politics and America-Last-Money-First ideologies. Justice Roberts is no conservative. Hell, he is so unprincipled that he is barely a RINO, and he has made it quite clear that he sides with America-Last globalists over the interests and rights of the American citizenry. This means that in any vote about Election Day law and procedure, Roberts is likely to side with the anti-America liberals on the court.

And so it took two strong women to literally save America in 2020. One woman was a strong, but blinded ideologue whose over-ambitious political grasping caused her to over-reach and thereby not only fail in her own goals, but she set up the exact opposite result of what she wanted. Thank you for sticking around too long, Justice Ginsburg, and thank you for leaving us when you did.

And into Ginsburg’s breach stepped Amy Coney Barrett, a true woman of valor, in every way. Barrett, a shield maiden of Western Liberty, replaced the hammer and sickle waving old communist hag.

God loves America, clearly, as well as a big dose of irony.

God bless America, and God bless president Donald J. Trump.

Thank you, God, for bringing us to this time, this season, this hour.

[UPDATE February 24, 2021: Well, obviously I was wrong about Judge/ Justice Amy Coney Barrett. So were a lot of other people. Her decisions on the Court show that she has turned out to be just as much a DC Swamp Thing as anyone could possibly be. Some people wonder if she or her family are being threatened and therefore intimidated. Who cares. Barrett has no backbone or loyalty, and she is in fact helping implement the quick dissolution of the American Republic]

 

 

The original Thanksgiving Day proclamation

[New York, 3 October 1789]
By the President of the United States of America, a Proclamation.
Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor—and whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me “to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.”

Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be—That we may then all unite in rendering unto him our sincere and humble thanks—for his kind care and protection of the People of this Country previous to their becoming a Nation—for the signal and manifold mercies, and the favorable interpositions of his Providence which we experienced in the course and conclusion of the late war—for the great degree of tranquillity, union, and plenty, which we have since enjoyed—for the peaceable and rational manner, in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national One now lately instituted—for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed; and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and in general for all the great and various favors which he hath been pleased to confer upon us.

And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech him to pardon our national and other transgressions—to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually—to render our national government a blessing to all the people, by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed—to protect and guide all Sovereigns and Nations (especially such as have shewn kindness unto us) and to bless them with good government, peace, and concord—To promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the encrease of science among them and us—and generally to grant unto all Mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be best.

Given under my hand at the City of New-York the third day of October in the year of our Lord 1789.
Go: Washington

People we miss, a lot: Paul Lyskava, Tom Hardisky

As I get older, more and more people I know are either widowed or divorced, develop cancer and succeed or fail at beating it back, or drop dead while gardening, walking, biking, or hiking.

It seems to me that there is little correlation between body type or apparent fitness and these unexpected deaths.

And worse, there seems to be little correlation between how good these people are in life, and how premature their death is.

“Only the good die young,” is the famous quip made more famous by Billy Joel.

There is some truth to this quip, as much as I dislike it. It does make me wonder aloud about God’s plan, because there are a lot of really bad people who seem to thrive, while perfectly good people leave us way too soon, leaving behind grieving loved ones and friends alike.

Here are two fantastic people who left us way too soon. One of whom I knew well, and one of whom I did not know well. I miss them both very much.

The first one up is Paul Lyskava, former government affairs director for the Pennsylvania Forest Products Association.

Paul was probably the best person I ever worked with in the Pennsylvania capitol. He was the most level-headed, ethical, hard working, honest, good natured person there. Paul and I met in 1998, and maintained a friendship until he died eleven months ago, from a brain tumor. The painful truth is that I lost track of Paul in his last year, because he kind of fell off my radar screen and I was not assertive enough to follow up with him and ask what was up.

The truth that I eventually learned late was that he was dying. Not one to complain, Paul passed quietly.

I miss the hell out of Paul. I miss Paul a lot. I could cry all over again thinking about him being gone from us. His obituary hangs on the frig at our hunting cabin. The picture in it is of him with his young son. I look at it every time I go to the frig, and I almost always say “Oh, Paul, we miss you so so much. Why are you gone?”

The other great person who has left us is Tom Hardisky, who surprisingly died from a heart attack while gardening last Saturday. Tom and I met only a couple of times, and spoke on the phone and by email a few times.

Tom was the PA Game Commission’s furbearer biologist, which in Pennsylvania is a big job. We have more licensed trappers here than all of the states around us combined.

Tom was the kind of public servant who is a genuine servant. He lived what he did, and was an avid outdoorsman like those he served.

Desperate to get an official answer from him about some furs I was bringing in from Canada’s Northwest Territories at the Arctic Circle, I called Tom on a Sunday afternoon, at home. These are great furs coming in, running a gantlet of super and unnecessarily complicated Canadian paperwork and bureaucratic process.

“Sorry, Josh, please pardon the noise. I am making dinner for the family and some guests.”

And sure enough that friendly official answer he gave was accompanied by a cacophony of clanging pots and pans, frying food sounds, and banging dinner plates.

That is the kind of guy Tom was: Totally devoted to his constituents, even on Sunday, even while he is working in the kitchen for his family. And friendly. He loved this stuff and the people involved in it.

And now he, too, is gone, sadly.

Hello, God, can you help me figure this out?

How can we Americans not give thanks every day?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Happy Thanksgiving Day, fellow Americans.

A Vulture’s Nose is Deep Stuff

As I am one of those many outdoorsmen who feels the presence of God most when outside in the wild (as did Moses, Jesus, Mohammed, Byzantine monks, most Eastern religious founders, moved by the spirit present when interposing interference is removed), and who daily revels in the magical mysteries of nature and her myriad inhabitants, two days ago I experienced one of those affirmative moments I just had to share here.

Let me begin in a normally circuitous way.

Among our friends, the cabin frig is a notorious repository for hilarious experiments in food storage. Examples run from milk containers constantly long past the “Use By” date, which poses no boundary for me when making morning covfefe, to plastic containers containing mysterious fuzzy delicacies once lovingly stashed in misplaced anticipation of an immediate followup feed some distant time before.

So the other day, I grabbed what I thought was a container of meat pottage of recent vintage, only to discover it held the sad remains of a once-proud free range tuna fish turned to tame tuna salad some weeks prior. Upon opening the plastic container, it was clear this material could be frozen for trap bait come November, or taken to a regular dumping point deep in the forest, 100 yards from the front porch, where several trail cameras record and document the many cool forest denizens that come to explore the enticing odors thereupon.

Unwilling to risk the entire freezer contents to this nasty smelling mess, option B was followed. Taking water along to help rinse out the container only added yet more stink to the spot.

I retreated from that odorous field of battle and took up my point of respite on a chair on said porch, thinking of all the hard physical labor awaiting me, once more responsible instincts took control of my limbs. Within minutes, and I mean just a few minutes, a handful of black-headed vultures began circling the spot of spoilage, some diving down below the tree canopy to more personally investigate the enticing smell.

To me, seeing this is a magnificent experience and feeling. What a display of the incredible smelling ability of these birds!

Yes, vultures are carrion eaters, and they are supposed to be able to smell well.

Well, to me, being able to smell a few ounces of old tuna salad water dumped out in the Big Woods in the middle of a vast forest complex, from miles away, is not just good sense of smell. It is beyond imaginably incredible.

We are talking about parts per trillion of stink being immediately picked up by a winged creature far, far away. What sophistication! What finely honed senses! It is miraculous, and to me, it is a sign of the hand of God, because only God can create such complexity. Human attempts are not even cheap imitations.

Which takes me to this perhaps unexpected conclusion: I do not understand the use of recreational drugs. The free and easy endorphin “high” that my brain feels from witnessing the vultures’ display of smell capability is intense, because I appreciate what it represents. Just minutes later a beautiful ruby throated hummingbird buzzed the porch, inspecting our colorful (flower-colored) American flag gently luffing in the breeze.

Hanging momentarily a few feet away from me, I marveled at its minuscule dose of radiant iridescence.

And then as the hummingbird buzzed away at an impossibly high speed (I mean, how can such a small animal achieve such a high rate of speed so quickly? Another miracle of Creation!), my brain experienced yet another rush of self-induced stimulants. No outside drugs required. No danger, no addiction, no expense, no law breaking.

My takeaway from the vultures: Don’t take Nature for granted. She is everywhere, the handmaiden of God, here to show us The Way. If we just open our eyes and revel in the mystery.