Category Archive 'The Right Stuff'
19 Apr 2019

Samuel Whittemore 1695-1793

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Badass of the Week:

Born in 1695, just 75 years after the first Pilgrims landed on Plymouth Rock, the stone-cold hardass who would be made a state hero of Massachusetts was first unleashed on colonial America in the 1740s while serving as a Captain in His Majesty’s Dragoons – a badass unit of elite British cavalrymen much-feared across the globe for their ability to impale people on lance-points and then pump their already-dead bodies full of gigantic pistol ammunition that more closely resembled baseballs than the sort of rounds you see packed into Beretta magazines these days. Fighting the French in Canada during the War of Austrian Succession (a conflict that was known here in the colonies as King George’s War because seriously WTF did colonial Americans care about Austrian succession), Whittemore was part of the British contingent that assaulted the frozen shores of Nova Scotia and beat the shit out of the French at their stronghold of Louisbourg in 1745. The 50 year-old cavalry officer went into battle galloping at the head of a company of rifle-toting horsemen, and emerged from the shouldering flames of a thoroughly ass-humped Louisbourg holding a bitchin’ ornate longsword he had wrenched from the lifeless hands of a French officer who had, in Whittemore’s words, “died suddenly”. The French would eventually manage to snake Louisbourg back from the Brits, so thirteen years later, during the Seven Years’ War (a conflict that was known here in the colonies as the French and Indian War because WTF we were fighting the French and the Indians, and also because it lasted nine years instead of seven), Whittemore had to return to his old stomping grounds of Louisburg and ruthlessly beat it into submission once again. Serving under the able command fellow badass British commander James Wolfe, a man who earned his reputation by commanding a line of riflemen who held their lines against a frothing-at-the-mouth horde of psychotic, sword-swinging William Wallace motherfuckers in Scotland (this is a story I intend to tell at a later date), Whittemore once again pummeled the French retarded and stole all of their shit he could get his hands on. He served valiantly during the Second Siege of Louisbourg, pounding the poor city into rubble a second time in an epic bloodbath would mark the beginning of the end for France’s Atlantic colonies – Quebec would fall shortly thereafter, and the French would be chased out of Canada forever. So you can thank Whittemore for that, if you are inclined to do so.

Beating Frenchmen down with a cavalry saber at the age of 64 is pretty cool and all, but Whittemore still wasn’t done doing awesome shit in the name of King George the Third and His Loyal Colonies. Four years after busting up the French for the second time in two decades he led troops against Chief Pontiac in the bloody Indian Wars that raged across the Great Lakes region. Never one to back down from an up-close-and-personal fistfight, it was during a particularly nasty bout of hand-to-hand combat he came into possession of another totally sweet war trophy – an awesome pair of matched dueling pistols he had taken from the body of a warrior he’d just finished bayoneting or sabering or whatever.

After serving in three American wars before America was even a country, Whittemore decided the colonies were pretty damn radical, so he settled down in Massachusetts, married two different women (though not at the same time), had eight kids, and built a house out of the carcasses of bears he’d killed and mutilated with his own two hands. Or something like that.

Now, all of this shit is pretty god damned impressive, but interestingly none of it is actually what Samuel Whittemore is best known for. No, his distinction as a national hero instead comes from a fateful day in mid-April 1775, when the British colonies in the New World decided they weren’t going to take any more of King George’s bullshit and decided to get their American Revolution on. And you can be pretty damn sure that if there were asses to be kicked, Whittemore was going to be one of the men doing the kicking.

So one day a bunch of colonial malcontents got together, formed a battle line, and opened fire on a bunch of redcoats that were pissing them off with their silly Stamp Acts and whatnot. The Brits managed to beat back this militia force at the Battles of Lexington and Concord, but when they heard that a larger force of angry, rifle-toting colonials was headed their way, the English officers decided to march back to their headquarters and regroup. Along the way, they were hassled relentlessly by American militiamen with rifles and angry insults, though no group harassed them more ferociously than Captain Sam Whittemore. When the Redcoats went marching back through his hometown of Menotomy, this guy decided that he wasn’t going to let his advanced age stop him from doing some crazy shit and taking on an entire British army himself. The 80 year old Whittemore grabbed his rifle and ran outside:

Whittemore, by himself, with no backup, positioned himself behind a stone wall, waited in ambush, and then single-handedly engaged the entire British 47th Regiment of Foot with nothing more than his musket and the pure liquid anger coursing through his veins. His ambush had been successful – by this time this guy popped up like a decrepitly old rifle-toting jack-in-the-box, the British troops were pretty much on top of him. He fired off his musket at point-blank range, busting the nearest guy so hard it nearly blew his red coat into the next dimension.

Now, when you’re using a firearm that takes 20 seconds to reload, it’s kind of hard to go all Leonard Funk on a platoon of enemy infantry, but damn it if Whittemore wasn’t going to try. With a company of Brits bearing down in him, he quick-drew his twin flintlock pistols and popped a couple of locks on them (caps hadn’t been invented yet, though I think the analogy still works pretty fucking well), busting another two Limeys a matching set of new assholes. Then he unsheathed the ornate French sword, and this 80-year-old madman stood his ground in hand-to-hand against a couple dozen trained soldiers, each of which was probably a quarter of his age.

…[I]t didn’t work out so well. Whittemore was shot through the face by a 69-caliber bullet, knocked down, and bayonetted 13 times by motherfuckers. I’d like to imagine he wounded a couple more Englishmen who slipped or choked on his blood, though history only seems to credit him with three kills on three shots fired. The Brits, convinced that this man was sufficiently beat to shit, left him for dead kept on their death march back to base, harassed the entire way by Whittemore’s fellow militiamen.

Amazingly, however, Samuel Whittemore didn’t die. When his friends rushed out from their homes to check on his body, they found the half-dead, ultra-bloody octogenarian still trying to reload his weapon and seek vengeance. The dude actually survived the entire war, finally dying in 1793 at the age of 98 from extreme old age and awesomeness. A 2005 act of the Massachusetts legislature declared him an official state hero, and today he has one of the most badass historical markers of all time.

16 Apr 2019

Good News

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The Crown of Thorns

Many of the most important treasures of the Cathedral of Notre Dame were saved.

The facade and the two front bell towers survived as did the three Rose Windows over the main portals dating back to the 13th Century.

Apparently, the Great Organ was also saved.

Both what is purported to be the original Crown of Thorns worn by Christ during the Crucifixion and the tunic worn by St. Louis when he delivered the Crown to Paris in 1238 were also saved.

Apparently, Father Jean-Marc Fournier, chaplain of the Paris Fire Brigade, entered the burning cathedral and personally saved both the Blessed Sacrament and the Crown of Thorns, passing them out of danger via a human chain.

CNN

And much of what has been lost was not as old as one might have supposed.

J. Duncan Barry explains:

Bear in mind that the “real” — or near-original ”modern” state of — Notre Dame was significantly defaced during the iconoclastic spasm wrought by the French Revolution.

What we see today is largely the result of the highly controversial theories of architect-scholar-architectural restoration advocate E.-E. Violet-le-Duc — as executed by Ballu in the middle of the 19th century.

Today’s cathedral is as much symbol of these historical layers as it is an artifact.

I would even argue that the symbolic quality of this event already FAR surpasses the physical and *actual* damage — which appears to me to be a fire that started in the wooden substructure of the flèche [the tower that collapsed –jdz], a NON-original, 19th-century design put up to “improve” on the original. It was put in place when Lincoln was running for President.

But this “new” appendage carries with it all prior incarnations of the earlier variations of the flèche, as well as the Divine significance it carries as the tectonic marker of the crossing of the cruciform ground plan. It is a real thing, but it is as a carrier of meaning that gives it such power over our thoughts about the building and its place in the way our species has conceptualized our role in creation.

The symbolic aura is precisely what drives our visceral reaction: we respond to an image that is freighted with emotion.

The symbol has become more real than the object.

12 Mar 2019

“When I Grow Up…”

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15 Feb 2019

Travis Kauffmann Explains How He Killed a Mountain Lion With His Bare Hands

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22 Jan 2019

WWII RAF Exploit

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Wg Cdr Ken Gatward.

In 1942 an RAF pilot flew to occupied Paris, dropped a huge French flag over the Arc de Triomphe, then shot up the Gestapo HQ. It was done to cheer up the French and annoy the Germans.

Telegraph story.

05 Dec 2018

95-Year-Old Bob Dole Gets Out of Wheelchair to Stand and Salute George Bush

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Business Insider:

Former US Sen. Bob Dole, who’s 95-years-old, on Tuesday stood up from his wheelchair in the US Capitol Rotunda to salute the casket of former President George H.W. Bush.

It was an emotional, powerful moment, particularly given the history the two men share.

Like Bush, the former Republican senator is a war hero and served with distinction in World War II. Dole salutes with his left hand because of injuries he sustained during the war that have impacted his mobility.

16 Oct 2018

14-Year-Old Girl Mocks Metrosexual-Firing-Gun Article

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Gersh Kuntzman, back in 2016, wrote:

What is it like to fire an AR-15? It’s horrifying, menacing and very very loud.

It feels like a bazooka — and sounds like a cannon.

One day after 49 people were killed in the Orlando shooting, I traveled to Philadelphia to better understand the firepower of military-style assault weapons and, hopefully, explain their appeal to gun lovers.

But mostly, I was just terrified. …

I’ve shot pistols before, but never something like an AR-15. Squeeze lightly on the trigger and the resulting explosion of firepower is humbling and deafening (even with ear protection).

The recoil bruised my shoulder. The brass shell casings disoriented me as they flew past my face. The smell of sulfur and destruction made me sick. The explosions — loud like a bomb — gave me a temporary case of PTSD. For at least an hour after firing the gun just a few times, I was anxious and irritable.

11 Oct 2018

Good Obituary

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Delaware Online:

Wilmington – Rick Stein, 71, of Wilmington was reported missing and presumed dead on September 27, 2018 when investigators say the single-engine plane he was piloting, The Northrop, suddenly lost communication with air traffic control and disappeared over the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Rehoboth Beach. Philadelphia police confirm Stein had been a patient at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital where he was being treated for a rare form of cancer. Hospital spokesman Walter Heisenberg says doctors from Stein’s surgical team went to visit him on rounds when they discovered his room was empty. Security footage shows Stein leaving the building at approximately 3:30 Thursday afternoon, but then the video feed mysteriously cuts off. Authorities say they believe Stein took an Uber to the Philadelphia airport where they assume he somehow gained access to the aircraft.

“The sea was angry that day,” said NTSB lead investigator Greg Fields in a press conference. “We have no idea where Mr. Stein may be, but any hope for a rescue is unlikely.”

Stein’s location isn’t the only mystery. It seems no one in his life knew his exact occupation.

His daughter, Alex Walsh of Wilmington appeared shocked by the news. “My dad couldn’t even fly a plane. He owned restaurants in Boulder, Colorado and knew every answer on Jeopardy. He did the New York Times crossword in pen. I talked to him that day and he told me he was going out to get some grappa. All he ever wanted was a glass of grappa.”

Stein’s brother, Jim echoed similar confusion. “Rick and I owned Stuart Kingston Galleries together. He was a jeweler and oriental rug dealer, not a pilot.” Meanwhile, Missel Leddington of Charlottesville claimed her brother was a cartoonist and freelance television critic for the New Yorker.

David Walsh, Stein’s son-in-law, said he was certain Stein was a political satirist for the Huffington Post while grandsons Drake and Sam said they believed Stein wrote an internet sports column for ESPN covering Duke basketball, FC Barcelona soccer, the Denver Broncos and the Tour de France. Stein’s granddaughter Evangeline claims he was a YouTube sensation who had just signed a seven-figure deal with Netflix.

When told of his uncle’s disappearance, Edward Stein said he was baffled since he believed Stein worked as a trail guide in Rocky Mountain National Park. “He took me on a hike up the Lily Peak Trail back in the 90s. He knew every berry, bush and tree on that trail.” Nephew James Stein of Los Angeles claimed his uncle was an A&R consultant for Bad Boy records and ran a chain of legal recreational marijuana dispensaries in Colorado called Casablunta. Niece Courtney Stein, a former Hollywood agent, said her uncle had worked as a contributing writer for Seinfeld and Curb Your Enthusiasm and was currently consulting on a new series with Larry David.

People who knew Stein have reported his occupation as everything from gourmet chef and sommelier to botanist, electrician, mechanic and even spy novelist. Police say the volume of contradictory information will make it nearly impossible to pinpoint Stein’s exact location.

In fact, the only person who might be able to answer the question, who is the real Rick Stein is his wife and constant companion for the past 14 years, Susan Stein. Detectives say they were unable to interview Mrs. Stein, however neighbors say they witnessed her leaving the home the couple shared wearing dark sunglasses and a fedora, loading multiple suitcases into her car. FAA records show she purchased a pair of one-way tickets to Rome which was Mr. Stein’s favorite city. An anonymous source with the airline reports the name used to book the other ticket was Juan Morefore DeRoad, which, according to the FBI, was an alias Stein used for many years.

That is one story.

Another story is that Rick never left the hospital and died peacefully with his wife and his daughter holding tightly to his hands.

You can choose which version you want to believe or share your own story about Rick with us at the Greenville Country Club on Friday, November 9, 2018 from 3:00-6:00pm.

17 Sep 2018

1963: Jean-Marie le Guilcher Worked on Church Steeples Without a Safety Net

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15 Sep 2018

Pilot Restarting a Stalled Engine (1960s)

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17 Aug 2018

The Herd Does Not Remember, But People Do

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An elephant derailed a train while defending his herd in Malaysia, causing 2 deaths, 1894.

06 Jul 2018

Go, Maneaters of Sibuya

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Daily Wire has some good news:

A gang of poachers learned the merciless rules of nature when they broke into a South African game preserve to slaughter a herd of rhinos and were instead eaten by a pride of lions.

“A head and a number of bloodied body parts and limbs were found near the scene after at least three illegal hunters were devoured by the predators,” reports Mirror. “Staff at the Sibuya Game Reserve, in Eastern Province, South Africa, called in a helicopter to search the area for more poachers.”

The six lions had to be tranquilized in order for police to venture into the area and recover the poachers’ remains. The owner, Nick Fox, said as many as three poachers were eaten, according to the evidence.

“We found enough body parts and three pairs of empty shoes which suggest to us that the lions ate at least three of them but it is thick bush and there could be more,” said Fox. “They came heavily armed with hunting rifles and axes which we have recovered and enough food to last them for several days so we suspect they were after all of our rhinos here.”

The poachers were most likely going to kill the rhinos for their horns.

RTWT

The Tsavo lions were only two and they reputedly ate more than 100 railroad-building coolies. Who knows how many rhino poachers these six can get?

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