Archive for December, 2017
24 Dec 2017

Riding the Dakota Prairie on Christmas Eve.

, , , ,

By J. Bottum, from the December 22, 2000 Wall Street Journal:

Late afternoon on Christmas Eve, the year I was eleven, my father took me with him across the river. I can’t remember what the urgency was, but he needed some papers signed by a rancher who lived over on the other side of the Missouri from Pierre. So off we headed, west over the bridge and north through the river hills.

If you’ve never seen that South Dakota country in winter, you have no idea how desolate land can be. I once asked my grandmother why her grandfather had decided to stop his wagon-trek in what became the town where she was born. And she answered, in surprise that I didn’t know, “Because that’s where the tree was.”

Nice story RTWT.

24 Dec 2017

“Once in Royal David’s City”

,

24 Dec 2017

Christmas Eve

, , ,

For a picture of Christmas Eve, in the olden time, we can desire none better than that furnished by Sir Walter Scott in Marmion:

On Christmas Eve the bells were rung;
On Christmas Eve the mass was sung;
That only night, in all the year,
Saw the stoled priest the chalice rear.
The damsel donned her kirtle sheen;
The hall was dressed with holly green;
Forth to the wood did merry-men go,
To gather in the mistletoe.
Then opened wide the baron’s hall
To vassal, tenant, serf, and all;
Power laid his rod of rule aside,
And Ceremony doffed his pride.
The heir, with roses in his shoes,
That night might village partner choose.
The lord, underogating, share
The vulgar game of “post and pair.”
All hailed, with uncontrolled delight,
And general voice, the happy night,
That to the cottage, as the crown,
Brought tidings of salvation down!

The fire, with well-dried logs supplied,
Went roaring up the chimney wide;
The huge hall-table’s oaken face,
Scrubbed till it shone, the day to grace,
Bore then upon its massive board
No mark to part the squire and lord.
Then was brought in the lusty brawn,
By old blue-coated serving-man;
Then the grim boar’s-head frowned on high,
Crested with bays and rosemary.
Well can the green-garbed ranger tell,
How, when, and where the monster fell
What dogs before his death he tore,
And all the baiting of the boar.
The wassail round in good brown bowls,
Garnished with ribbons, blithely trowls.
There the huge sirloin reeked: hard by
Plum-porridge stood, and Christmas-eye;
Nor failed old Scotland to produce,
At such high-tide, her savoury goose.
Then came the merry masquers in,
And carols roared with blithesome din
If unmelodious was the song,
It was a hearty note, and strong.
Who lists may in their mumming see
Traces of ancient mystery;
White shirts supplied the masquerade,
And smutted cheeks the visors made;
But, oh! what masquers, richly dight,
Can boast of bosoms half so light!
England was merry England, when
Old Christmas brought his sports again.
‘Twas Christmas broached the mightiest ale;
‘Twas Christmas told the merriest tale
A Christmas gambol oft could cheer
The poor man’s heart through half the year.

24 Dec 2017

Wall Street Journal Christmas Eve Editorial

, , , ,


Vermont Connecticut Royster (1914-1996)

The Wall Street Journal has an excellent tradition, going back to 1949, of publishing the following editorial in the issue nearest preceding Christmas:

(excerpt)

In Hoc Anno Domini
December 23, 2017

When Saul of Tarsus set out on his journey to Damascus the whole of the known world lay in bondage. There was one state, and it was Rome. There was one master for it all, and he was Tiberius Caesar

Everywhere there was civil order, for the arm of the Roman law was long. Everywhere there was stability, in government and in society, for the centurions saw that it was so.

But everywhere there was something else, too. There was oppression — for those who were not the friends of Tiberius Caesar. There was the tax gatherer to take the grain from the fields and the flax from the spindle to feed the legions or to fill the hungry treasury from which divine Caesar gave largess to the people. There was the impressor to find recruits for the circuses. There were executioners to quiet those whom the Emperor proscribed. What was a man for but to serve Caesar?

There was the persecution of men who dared think differently, who heard strange voices or read strange manuscripts. There was enslavement of men whose tribes came not from Rome, disdain for those who did not have the familiar visage. And most of all, there was everywhere a contempt for human life. What, to the strong, was one man more or less in a crowded world?

Then, of a sudden, there was a light in the world, and a man from Galilee saying, Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s and unto God the things that are God’s….

And so Paul, the apostle of the Son of Man, spoke to his brethren, the Galatians, the words he would have us remember afterward in each of the years of his Lord:

Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.

This editorial was written in 1949 by the late Vermont C. Royster and has been published annually ever since.

23 Dec 2017

Mellgren Coin: Real Evidence of Vikings in Maine?

, , ,

Atlas Obscura:

The story that Guy Mellgren told about the curious silver coin began on the shores of Maine, where he met a stranger named Goddard. In the fall of 1956, Mellgren and Ed Runge, a pair of amateur archaeologists, had come in search of the most basic of coastal dig sites—a shell midden—when they happened onto a more unusual discovery.

Goddard had invited them to explore his shoreline property, and there, on a natural terrace about eight feet above the high tide line, they found stone chips, knives, and fire pits, along with an abundance of other unexpected artifacts. Each summer for many years, Mellgren and Runge returned to excavate the “Goddard Site,” with little help from professional archaeologists. In the second summer, they produced the coin.

For two decades, based on an analysis by a friend in a numismatics club, Mellgren described it as a coin minted in 12th-century England, and no one questioned that identification. The discovery should have been noteworthy—there’s no good explanation for how a medieval English coin could have crossed the Atlantic—but Mellgren never sought wider attention for the find. It was a curiosity to show off to friends and his son’s classmates, until, in 1978, a scrappy regional bulletin published a picture of the coin and an article titled, “Were the English the First to Discover America?”

That picture found its way to a well-known London dealer, who recognized at once that the coin could not have come from England. Two weeks after Mellgren died, the coin’s reidentification swept into the news. It was a Norse penny, made between 1065 and 1093—evidence for Viking contact with North America centuries before Columbus.

All of sudden, experts from around the world began taking a careful look at the details of Mellgren’s story. Of many objects purported to prove a Viking presence in North America, only the artifacts painstakingly excavated at L’Anse aux Meadows, in Newfoundland, have stood up to investigation. The rest—the Beardmore relics, the Vinland Map, the notorious Kensington Rune Stone—are all considered hoaxes.

Since 1978, no one has questioned that the Mellgren coin is an authentic Norse penny, made in medieval Scandinavia. But 60 years after Mellgren’s find, archaeologists and numismatic experts are still asking how in the world this small, worn coin got to Maine.

RTWT

Hat tip to Glenn Reynolds.

23 Dec 2017

#NeverTrumpers Need to Reconsider

, ,

Despite Donald Trump’s surprising list of real accomplishments, which I am obliged to admit distinctly exceed those of several recent legitimate and respectable Republican presidents, there are still a lot of carping, sneering professional conservative commentators out there, clinging to now pointless #NeverTrump irredentism.

Roger L. Simon argues that these people ought to start admitting they’ve been wrong, give the devil Trump his due, and close ranks with fellow conservatives. Winning major political battles and the culture war is a lot more important than Donald Trump’s aesthetics or continued proof of the superiority of certain people’s souls.

[I]t is time for the remaining NeverTrumpers to apologize for a reason far more important than self-castigation or merely to make things “right.” Donald Trump — whose initial victory was a shock, even, ironically, to those of us who predicted it — has compounded that shock by being astoundingly successful in his first year, especially at the conclusion. (He’s a quick study, evidently.) More conservative goals have been achieved or put in motion in eleven months than in any time in recent, or even distant, memory. It’s an astonishing reversal for our country accompanied by the beginnings of an economic boom.

But that same success is causing, it’s becoming increasingly clear, an equally determined, even virulent, reaction from the left. At first they too thought Trump was an ineffectual blowhard who would shoot himself in the foot, ultimately redounding to their advantage. Now that they have found that not to be the case, they are in a state of panic, fearing a defeat for their ideals that would set them back years, even decades. They cannot let this stand and are marshaling all their forces from the media to Hollywood to the academy, not to mention at least some of the investigative units of the FBI.

NeverTrumpers Ignore Trump’s Accomplishments

The next year seems poised to be an ideological duel as close to the death as we have seen in a long time. If the right does not win, the gains of 2017 will be stymied by the election of 2018 and completely washed away in 2020.

It’s an all-hands-on-deck situation and we need the NeverTrumpers’ help. We need — to borrow a hoary leftist term — a united front.

RTWT

21 Dec 2017

Trump Killed Everyone!

, ,

Ben Shapiro is on a roll:

Wednesday dawned to the horrifying cacophony of howling dogs mourning their dead masters — men, women and children killed in a mass slaughter by the Senate’s passage of a rather ordinary tax bill from the Republicans. Yes, the Republicans had been warned that their plan would cause a symphony of darkness to play across the land. They’d been warned that the streets would be strewn with bodies. Worse, they’d been warned that those dead people would then move to Chicago and vote Democratic.

But even Republicans, who are also dead, were shocked to find themselves inhabiting the bowels of Hell — in particular, inhabiting a special place therein reserved for women who did not vote for Hillary Clinton and voters who did not stand with Roy Moore.

And all of this thanks to President Trump, who had pitched the tax cut by stating that he merely wanted what was best in life: to crush your enemies, to see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentations of their women.

RTWT

21 Dec 2017

The Horror, the Horror!

,

21 Dec 2017

Tweet of the Day

, ,

20 Dec 2017

Why He Left Teaching

, ,

David Solway quit teaching, and he had good reasons.

Some years back, I decided I had to quit the teaching profession to which I had dedicated half my life. The modern academy, I felt, was so far gone that restoration was no longer possible. Indeed, I now believe that complete collapse is the only hope for the future, but as Woody Allen said about death, I’d rather not be there when it happens.

Three reasons determined my course of action. For one thing, administration had come to deal less with academic issues and more with rules of conduct and punitive codes of behavior, as if it were a policing body rather than an arm of the teaching profession. Woe betide the (male) student accused of sexual assault or misconduct; the administration will convene an extra-judicial tribunal to punish or expel the accused, often with a low burden of proof. It will find ways to shut down conservative speakers. It will browbeat faculty and students to attend sensitivity training sessions on matters of race and gender. It will strike task forces to deal with imaginary issues like campus rape culture and propose draconian measures to contain a raging fantasy. The administration is now beset by two basic compulsions: to expand its reach at the expense of the academic community and to ensure compliance with the puritanical norms of the day. I thought it prudent to take early retirement rather than wait for the guillotine to descend.

For another, colleagues were increasingly buying into the politically correct mantras circulating in the cultural climate. The dubious axioms of “social justice” and equality of outcome, the postmodern campaign against the Western tradition of learning, and the Marxist critique of capitalism now superseded the original purpose of the university to seek out truth, to pursue the impartial study of historical events and movements, and to remain faithful to the rigors of disciplined scholarship. Most of my colleagues were rote members of the left-liberal orthodoxy: pro-Islam, pro-unfettered immigration, pro-abortion, pro-feminist, anti-conservative, anti-Zionist, and anti-white. Departmental committees were now basing their hiring protocols not on demonstrated merit, but on minority and gender identities, leading to marked pedagogical decline. Professional hypocrisy could be glaring. Case in point: The most recent hire speaking at a department meeting was a white woman advocating for more brown and black faces on staff – though, as a recent hire, she had never thought of stepping aside in favor of minority candidates vying for her position. In any event, faculties were and are progressively defined by firebrands on the one hand and soyboys on the other – partisans rather than pedagogues, plaster saints all. I found I could no longer respect the majority of people I had to work with.

But the primary incentive for flight had to do with the caliber of students I was required to instruct. The quality of what we called the student “clientele” had deteriorated so dramatically over the years that the classroom struck me as a barn full of ruminants and the curriculum as a stack of winter ensilage. I knew I could not teach James Joyce’s Ulysses or Thomas Mann’s The Magic Mountain since they were plainly beyond the capacity of our catechumens – mind you, all old enough to vote and be drafted. The level of interest in and attention to the subjects was about as flat as a fallen arch. The ability to write a coherent English sentence was practically nonexistent; ordinary grammar was a traumatic ordeal. In fact, many native English-speakers could not produce a lucid verbal analysis of a text, let alone carry on an intelligible conversation, and some were even unable to properly pronounce common English words.

RTWT

20 Dec 2017

New York Used to Be So Much More Romantic

, ,

19 Dec 2017

Lohort Castle

, , ,

————————


Lohort Castle, County Cork, Ireland
Lohort Castle was built near Cecilstown around 1496 by Donogh Og McDonagh McCarthy. It was taken by Irish forces during the Civil War. In 1647, one of the bloodiest battles of the War took place at the Castle and over 4,500 men were killed. In 1650 Lohort was bombarded and captured by Cromwell’s troops but the structure withstood the cannon fire due to the strength of its 10 foot thick walls. Lohort was rebuilt around 1750 by Sir John Percival, the Earl Of Egmont. The Percivals lived there until 1922 when Lohort Castle was burned down by the IRA.

18 Dec 2017

Trump Derangement Syndrome

, , , ,

Charles C.W. Cooke nukes Jennifer Rubin until she glows for her everlasting Never-Trump-ism, which is turning her into a liberal tool.

The era of Trump has been as hard on the mind as it has been good for the muscles in the chest. Ours is a moment in which millions rush breathlessly to exclaim. In defense! In resistance! In bloody-minded persistence! “I will not back down!” we are told, by people who have not been asked to, and could not be compelled to. They won’t be “intimidated” either, nor “silenced,” nor “bullied” nor, it seems, pushed to any form of self-reflection. Indignation, not analysis, is the perennial order of the day, and the tone of our debates is ineluctably Twitteresque. Retweets are points on the board, and hyperbole gets you oodles of them. The worst. Ding! Insane. Ding! Crisis. Ding, ding, ding! Congratulations, you have been promoted to the next level. Time for some game theory . . .

From this self-laudatory funhouse has emerged a host of cynical entrepreneurs, each with the same approach to our dismal, fractious moment: Take no prisoners, brook no opposition, and never, ever step away from the umbrage. These people end their sentences with “Really.” or “In 2017.” or “Let that sink in”; they pepper their analyses with eschatology; and, as is apt for a cult, they are promiscuous with their accusations of heresy. Like Lewis’s busybodies, they are convinced to a man that they are saving the country, and insistent that the dissenters are miscreants or weaklings. They have little sense of history, no instinct for context, and no meaningful faith in the system they want to save. They are marching in an army, and damn does it feel good.

Which brings us to Jennifer Rubin, the Washington Post’s ostensibly conservative blogger.

Rubin is not the only example of this president’s remarkable talent for corrupting his detractors as well as his devotees, but she is perhaps the best one. Since Donald Trump burst onto the political scene, Rubin has become precisely what she dislikes in others: a monomaniac and a bore, whose visceral dislike of her opponents has prompted her to drop the keys to her conscience into a well.

RTWT

Regular, long-term readers will recall that, right up to Election Night, I was anti-Trump myself, and I did not even vote for him. I voted for that Mc-Somebody-or-other guy from Utah.

But, I did indulge in some private gloating Election Night as Hillary went down in flames. And, as Inauguration Day arrived, I sat down with a large drink, and reflected. I realized that I had been wrong: Trump really was evidently not a democrat Q-Boat. He was actually sincere, and he was proposing to do a lot of good things. And, while Donald Trump was never going to measure up to the ideal form of President of the United States, if you compare him to the great majority of presidents in my own lifetime, he’s not really so awful as all that.

He isn’t really any more plebian than Truman. Trump was never a bagman for a crooked urban political machine. He is not even close to being as worthless and fraudulent in every way as JFK. He isn’t a total poltroon, and he probably won’t be banging hookers in the White House pool. He is not as vulgar and just plain nasty as Lyndon Johnson. He will not humiliate his underlings by making them talk to him while he’s on the can. Trump also will probably refrain from waving his male organ at the White House press corps. And he is not even close to being as nerdy and neurotic as Nixon. He won’t drink himself to sleep every night on taxpayer-funded Haut Brion.

He actually is more consistently conservative in his policies and is keeping a lot more of his promises than the Bushes.

The trick to enjoying the Trump presidency is simply never watch him speak, just sit back and watch all the liberal heads exploding everywhere, pour yourself another drink, and laugh.

The way I see it. Conservatives like me did not elect Donald Trump. The Liberals did by driving ordinary working class Americans round the bend with their left-wing insanity, their incredible arrogance, and their contempt for America and Americans. Trump is the ordinary American-in-the-street’s rejoinder. And they obviously deserve it.

18 Dec 2017

Amish Roofers Working in the Snow

,

We had hired a local Amish crew last Summer to install a new steel roof on the 1812 log cabin. Naturally, they finally showed up to work the day following our first six inch snowfall of the season, and even a bit of snow falling that day did not keep them from working.

We are both retired now, so we are finally getting to stay full-time out here at the 300-acre Central Pennsylvania farm we purchased as a vacation place thirty years ago.

Karen’s photos are here.

Your are browsing
the Archives of Never Yet Melted for December 2017.

















Feeds
Entries (RSS)
Comments (RSS)
Feed Shark