Quick Thoughts On Fights & Protection

Sorry for the lack of posting, but life has been interesting. Mostly in good ways, as still processing the unexpected news from last week. The heart is good. Associated issues (hypertension, etc.) are still there. The body, well, that’s a different story. Trying to get some more medical lined up, and also having to verify that my insurance is good and will remain in effect. Just love paperwork…

Yesterday (I think) I posted on X about abject stupidity and breathtaking incompetence being indistinguishable from malice. Which leaves me with a bit of a quandry as I can’t quite believe either and am leaning towards embracing the healing powers of the word “and” in this regard.

Yes, I have helped do security, physical and other, including being close in. If you are close in, your entire job is to play bullet sponge and protect the package. If things go well your armor will keep you alive. If not, too bad, what matters is keeping the package alive. I could get into zones and such, but I figure most of you can guess that I do have at least some clue on the subject.

I’ve held off saying a whole lot for now, as this needed at least 72-hours and not 48. Problem is, it really doesn’t matter if it was malice or just DIE-inspired breathtaking incompetence and abject stupidity. Again, I’ve begun leaning towards “and” being operative here. Regardless, Mayorkas and the entire senior leadership of the Secret Service need to go. At this point, they have willfully endangered the lives not just of Trump, but also RFK and others for political reasons. The more that comes out from the assassination attempt, the worse it gets for the SS, DHS, and even LE.

I may get into all the failures one day soon, but they are legion. From SS members appearing to hide behind Trump to a response that couldn’t clear a basic fence, this is beyond amateur hour. Diversity Inclusion Equity leadership and participation failed spectacularly at the only thing that matters: protecting the package.

If Trump is eliminated, or if the public even thinks he MAY have been eliminated, I don’t think it will be pretty. It’s the whole rheostat versus on/off switch thing, and those playing with the dial don’t have a clue what they are doing or what will happen. Only idiots (on every side) are stupid enough to want such to happen. Those of us who have seen the world a bit, and studied history, have a clue and want to avoid such.

Which also gets into the calls for a new Munich by the Chamberlin Brigade. Cancel culture is now coming for the progressive side, and the civility brigade is all a dither at the horror of the “new rules” being done to “average people” on the left.

You know what? It’s not nice. It’s not pretty. It’s not the best of the best. It is, however, necessary. For long years, those anywhere to the right of Lenin (and mostly “average people”) have had their lives destroyed, families and friends threatened and attacked, and worse by the progressive cancel and rage mobs. The progressive elements have cheered those attacks and destruction, be it on children or adults.

Until it is driven home on them, until they experience what they have cheered on others, they will continue to do it and gloat. Our Republic can’t survive living under two sets of rules where only one side is destroyed. To paraphrase their secular icon, make the enemy live up to their rules. They have to experience it and do so unto a level that they stop this dreck. It’s like rubbing a puppy’s nose in the puddle or mess until they get the hint.

I don’t particularly like it, and look forward to the day it is no longer needed. But if we are to destroy the evil that is cancel culture and the rage mob, it needs be done and those demanding the high road will achieve nothing but the destruction of liberty by their misplaced and misguided efforts. The progressives were warned what would happen, and that they would not like the new rules; but, they were convinced that the rule(s) never would apply to them. Again, and again, and again: until those rules do apply to them and it impacts them, things will not change. If we stop now, not only will they not change, they will get worse. That’s a discussion for another day, but to the Chamberlin Brigade/MoQ types, this is NOT a fair fight, if you are in a fair fight your tactics suck, and if you insist on trying to be noble, high-minded and fair right now you are guaranteeing the death of freedom of speech. Suck it up, hold your nose, and rub the puppy’s nose in it until the lesson is driven home. Hold them to their rules until the rules are changed for the better FOR ALL.

More soon. Be prepared. Keep your friends close and your things where you can find them in the dark.

Getting hit by lightning is not fun! If you would like to help me in my recovery efforts, which include moving once we have medical issues cleared up, feel free to hit the fundraiser at A New Life on GiveSendGo, use the options in the Tip Jar in the upper right, or drop me a line to discuss other methods. There is also the Amazon Wish List in the Bard’s Jar. It is thanks to your gifts and prayers that I am still going. Thank you.

Pray!

I got home from choir practice (they are foolish enough to have me training to join the choir/chorus/etc.), Vespers, and Matins, to the news that Donald Trump was almost killed in an assassination attempt. The photos and video of him in the aftermath are iconic. Sadly, at least one bystander was killed and at least one seriously wounded.

WHY WAS THAT ROOF NOT SECURED! WHY WERE THE WARNINGS A GUNMAN WAS ON THE ROOF IGNORED? WHAT IS GOING ON?

Yes, among the odd things I have done I have done PPD work. YOU FLIPPIN SECURE THE LINES OF SIGHT! Basic, textbook one-oh-one stuff. I get that they have been asking for augmented security/assistance and been denied by the Biden administration — just like RFK has been denied ALL protection. Are they really so stupid they don’t realize what will happen if either is killed?

Well, the answer to that is yes, they are that stupid. I’ve long said they will not let Trump live to take office. Really, they won’t let him live until the election. By the Grace of God, he survived tonight. If he is to survive further, I would recommend he ditch the SS, and hire the nastiest bunch of pros he can. If not for him, for his family.

To say I have a lot of questions is an understatement. May we have honest answers fast, for much depends upon it.

Meantime, pray. Pray for our Republic. Pray for the dead, and pray for the injured. May God’s mercy be upon them, and may God grant unto all that which is needed to meet the challenges in all aspects of the lives and souls involved. Pray. For if this goes the way it is headed, they know not what they unleash. May we all avoid that, and may God’s mercy be upon us.

Checking In

Sorry for the lack of posting, still processing what happened and trying to keep up with life. Friday is my baking day, and bread production is underway. In between stretch-and-folds and such am doing laundry, pretending to clean my room, and the other usual activities of life. Got the girls (my sourdough starters, Audrey and Rachel) fed and giving them some time out of the refrigerator.

Had coffee yesterday with my Subdeacon, and one of the topics was what has happened. He was also the second or third person to ask me recently what it would take for me to be able to increase my bread production. That basically boils down to some equipment and having a kitchen of my own. Also, he told me I’m not allowed to move or move to another Church, even if I win the lottery. I do have a dream of sorts of if I win the lottery move out west and put up a diner out in the middle of nowhere and feed those who stop by. Have a little chapel as part of it. It’s a dream.

The second guitar lesson went well on Monday, and I am practicing and trying to build up my fingertips. Can’t remember if I mentioned it before, but my landlord gave me a music stand that is perfect for guitar work. Now considering finding a used guitar stand to go with it.

More soon, off to do more stretch-and-folds and start the first proofing of this week’s bread. More later I hope.

Getting hit by lightning is not fun! If you would like to help me in my recovery efforts, which include moving once we have medical issues cleared up, feel free to hit the fundraiser at A New Life on GiveSendGo, use the options in the Tip Jar in the upper right, or drop me a line to discuss other methods. There is also the Amazon Wish List in the Bard’s Jar. It is thanks to your gifts and prayers that I am still going. Thank you.

Amazing News

As those of you who are regular readers know, I’ve had an interesting year on the cardiac front. There was a mystery diagnosis or two; there were interesting symptoms and odd data; lots and lots of questions; and, more than a few concerns. Throw in things not matching between previous tests and what was done in surgery or treatment…

So, I got an outside review of all things cardio, and in the process a new and fantastic cardiologist. As a result, I spent yesterday at a heart facility getting nuked, stress tested, echoed, and otherwise having all sorts of fun. Really needed to get good data, either for answers or for better questions as to be honest, the way things were trending I should have been headed towards cripple or dead.

What we found instead, amazed and delighted both my doctor and myself, and the term miraculous does apply. All that had been seen before, was gone. The mystery diagnoses were disproved in spades. In short, my heart shows as completely healed.

No apparent major or even minor blockage; no ventricular or other failure, no nothing wrong. Healed. It may not be the heart of a 20-year-old, but it is healed, whole, and going strong.

Again, miraculous is not an understatement. Lots of prayers of thanks going up, and I thank all of you who have prayed for me, especially on this.

The remaining edema is likely caused by a medication, so we are switching it out to see if that takes care of things. I will also write a bit about getting there and back, which was interesting but worked. In fact my cunning plan to get there on time worked almost too well. But that is all secondary. I’m still processing the news and the extent of the healing. I can’t describe the feeling of looking up at the EKG and thinking ‘that’s not right, that’s almost textbook normal.’

Thank you all. At least from a cardiac perspective, there is more to come!

Getting hit by lightning is not fun! If you would like to help me in my recovery efforts, which include moving once we have medical issues cleared up, feel free to hit the fundraiser at A New Life on GiveSendGo, use the options in the Tip Jar in the upper right, or drop me a line to discuss other methods. There is also the Amazon Wish List in the Bard’s Jar. It is thanks to your gifts and prayers that I am still going. Thank you.

Tales From MOC Con

Really, there is a redundancy in that title, but if you don’t know what MOC stands for, or accept that it became a proper name unto itself, the extra Con is needed. Today, a quick (?) tale from my time on the science fiction convention circuit and an interesting (if ultimately slightly horrific) interaction with one of the actors from Dr. Who.

For today’s post, I blame Amy and Aymar as it was a discussion with them that led to my thinking about/remembering this episode. We were discussing Dr. Who as the result of some rather loathsome comments by an actor, and got to thinking about the Doctor who brought us into the series. Given my memory, the first episodes I ever watched (most likely on PBS) may have been Jon Pertwee, but it was really Tom Baker who was “my Doctor” and got me to enjoy the series.

Over the years, I actually met a number of actors from the show, including Mr. Pertwee (still, I hope, have an autographed and personalized copy of his autobiography somewhere). When I met Louise Jameson she was on a tear trying to scandalize those attending a convention, I suspect in part because of the location where it was held. A story for a different day. Can’t remember some others (stupid lightning), but I did very briefly meet Patrick Troughton.

For several years, I was a guest at MOC con, which started as “Macon Opus Con” and then became “Magnum Opus Con” before just getting called MOC con by most. It started in Macon, Georgia, and was too big (and just too much for sleepy Macon) even in the first year. As a result, it moved to Columbus, Georgia, for its second year. And, yes, I did look up a number of things for this (stupid lightning).

Since I was not a television star, but a science (and minor writing) guest, I was not in the main convention hotel at the start of that second year. Disappointing, as being able to go back to your room, store stuff there, and be close to your room between panels was handy. Got through the first day okay, but was on a list to get moved to the main hotel if a room came open.

One thing I do remember from that first day was opening ceremonies. I seem to recall that one of the guests had played “The Master” on Doctor Who, and when he was introduced to the crowd a bunch of booing and cries to do bad things to him broke out, such that the poor man looked rather scared for a moment. Then he realized that the “crowd” doing the booing and making comments was one person: Patrick Troughton. Who, as the other actor clutched his chest and shook his finger at him, was doubled over in laughter at having gotten his colleague. Everyone cracked up, relaxed, and a fun time began.

I was surprised to get a phone call early the next morning, telling me a room had become available at the main hotel, and asking if I would like to move over? Of course, I said yes and move I did. Made it much more convenient in regards my panels, and things were going along well until around lunch time I think. It was then someone mentioned a thing not being discussed in public (I don’t even remember any rumors that morning), that Mr. Troughton had died of a heart attack at breakfast (just after ordering apparently). Thankfully, the room I had moved into was not his, but had belonged to friends traveling with him. I have to admit I was relieved.

Yes, it did cast a pall over the convention. Mr. Troughton was friendly, had a good sense of humor, and was very much enjoying himself. I seem to recall some DJs put out on air that the “star” of the con had died so don’t bother going, which did hurt attendance. Jerks never did apologize for that one if memory serves.

I was a guest at a couple of other MOCs over the years I think, and I met some interesting people as part of it. Got to meet some literary figures I enjoyed, and was surprised a bit at some of the media people truly being interested in what NASA, DoD, and others were doing. Got to visit with Mr. Doohan on a couple of occasions at MOC, which was always a pleasure and not a surprise that he was interested in current projects.

Over the years, I was a guest at some other conventions, including one or two of the early DragonCons. I remember one at least, as that was the one where I spent a bit of time with Larry Bond, Tom Clancy, and some other interesting people. I also got Timmyed (a word I just made up) into helping with the start of LibertyCon, working with Klon on programming. If you never worked with Uncle Timmy, especially when he had a project (crusade), by the time you heard the whistle, the locomotive had already run over you. The Timmy Train was quite the thing. Again, a story for another day.

I think I’m making getting back to LibertyCon a bucket list item. It would be good to see how it’s grown and to meet up with some old friends in the process. Maybe even make some new ones. Heck, with what the lightning did, some of the old I don’t remember might become new again.

That was the interesting thing about the cons: you did meet some very good and interesting people, and sadly I’ve realized writing this how many of them have passed. Which means it’s time to try to meet some new good and interesting people.

Onwards.

Getting hit by lightning is not fun! If you would like to help me in my recovery efforts, which include moving once we have medical issues cleared up, feel free to hit the fundraiser at A New Life on GiveSendGo, use the options in the Tip Jar in the upper right, or drop me a line to discuss other methods. There is also the Amazon Wish List in the Bard’s Jar. It is thanks to your gifts and prayers that I am still going. Thank you.

Mea Culpa

This weekend, I made a mistake on Twitter and want to not only own up to it, but examine how it happened and try to make up for it a small bit. It involved the now infamous viral video of an HOA Karen (biological male, HOA president living up to your expectations/stereotypes) who may or may not have been drinking, was a complete douche, and who snapped a teenager’s fishing pole (expensive) over its knee.

The abuse of authority, especially against minors, is one of those things that sets me off. I dug into the story, especially as it involved Knoxville, TN — as I used to live there and have a few fond memories of the town and a certain academic institution located there. Others had done the same, and Karen was quickly identified as one Matt Webster, who is a member of a Church and takes part in a Haiti relief operation that is affiliated with the Church. There were photos of him, and they matched the video.

Someone else identified him as working for United Community Bank in Knoxville. Now, this was from a different source and while they seemed to have some credibility with the party who had done the initial detective work, I did try to check their work before accepting it. Couple of problems came up.

First, UCBI had scrubbed the personal page, which is not a good sign of innocence. Worse yet, it appeared one or more notes had been posted on it before being wiped, one of which appeared to be to the effect that what people did in off hours was not the business of the bank. Again, seeing that something had been posted that appeared to indicate it was the person then was part of the wipe was not a good sign. If you are doing coms, keep in mind that such ghost pages can and do show up for a bit even after you wipe them.

Second, I had limited my search in regards this Matt Webster to Knoxville, trying to eliminate false returns. Net result, I missed an article in a Nashville journal that had a photo that clearly did not match the video and other photos of Karen Webster. Had I seen it, I would have known the info was not correct. In the absence of such, and in the absence of a photo on the corporate website (which deleted page apparently had a photo that could have prevented much grief), I decided to go with the information.

Net result, I screwed up. I have deleted the tweet and posted both a mea culpa and an apology. I want to do so here as well. I also would like to offer a couple of suggestions to the “good” Matt Webster and UCBI.

Crisis communications is not easy, even with prior planning. Management seldom wants to invest time or money in such, though they should. Having done a bit of it over the decades, here are a couple of suggestions for UCBI.

First, always plan for a crisis and the way to bet is that such will come up on a holiday or during a time key people are not available. Seems to be some variant of Murphy’s Law. In a case like this, a good response is to remove all contact info while putting up a banner to the effect that this is not the person in the video, acknowledge that the video is disturbing, and that the bank shares the concerns of the public even though it is not involved. From experience, legal may object to such, but I will note that if you go with what legal recommends and only what legal recommends, you will get corn cobbed every time. It’s a balancing act but such a banner gets across: it’s not your person, your bank is not involved, people have the wrong person, and, you share the disgust at what happened. Not perfect, some will ignore, but it gets the basic information out and sets the stage to do more later at need. Internally, you change the coms for the person involved, shield them as much as possible, and work to help them weather the storm. There are arguments for and against doing a generic reply to emails, but my own take is that a generic reply emphasizing wrong person, wrong institution, not involved, and shares community concerns over the video helps reinforce other messaging Ignore the most vitriolic, but forward them to security for safekeeping against future need or turning them over to law enforcement as needed.

For Matt Webster, I recommend using humor (though you might not be feeling it right now) and flipping things on a tangent to your (and UCBI’s) advantage. First thing, reach out to the kids in the video and their parents. Not to complain, but to check on them, how they are doing, ask if the pole has been replaced and if there is anything you can do. Not all Matt Webster’s are like Karen Webster and while you share the same name you are thankful you are not that person. Keep it light, focus on them, and consider offering expertise and help with what is going on, that while monetization of content and such is not your area, glad to provide introductions to those who are, etc. Focus on them. Do not publicize that you have reached out, leave that up to them. You should note it made your weekend most interesting, and can only imagine what it has been like for them.

Once that is done, consider a video of your own at UCBI. Again, keep it light as humor works well with American audiences. Do something short emphasizing you look nothing like Karen, clearly you are younger, more handsome, and a professional. Maybe say something about internet supersleuths getting it wrong (with an eye roll or such) and noting that while HOA rules are not your thing, X, Y, and Z are and you look forward to providing that knowledge and service to the members of the community. Recommend not mentioning Karen by full name, rather, something like “that other fellow” instead. Again, this approach works well with American audiences, and can be a good start to a larger professional campaign.

As for me, I am sorry for the mistake, and apologize for spreading the false information. I hope this helps explain how it happened, and provides some suggestions that may help deal with the situation.

The Attack

Thanks to Dr. Alice, I got to read Kurt Schlichter’s The Attack (no, I don’t get anything for the link other than the joy of promoting a good book). It is a mix of horror, humor, and insightful analysis combined with very good writing that is hard to put down.

The style of treating it as first person interviews and recordings for historical purposes was indeed a great choice. It allows it to keep a good pace, cover a lot of territory, and build a believable world in a way that would indeed require a massive novel to do otherwise. It also allows glimpses into mindsets and characters that would be difficult to pull off in a novel.

The result is a fast-paced read that builds and fills a complex world in a realistic manner. While it is a fictional treatment of current events, it still deals with them in a mostly realistic way.

Indeed, my only disagreement with the good Colonel is that I think he understated some things, even though I suspect I know why he did so. For most of the public, what is presented in the book is going to be eye-opening and hard to believe. I suspect reality is much worse.

Personally, I suspect that we may be facing more than two divisions of Islamicists (and supporters, a concept well and convincingly explored in the book) given what has poured across the border in the last three years. That does not include the Chinese (again, well covered in the book) and others who are, again, known to have come across in very large numbers. Take a look at who is buying up land around military and strategic sites (hint, it’s not just the Chinese), and, well, I think that in this book we are looking at a best-case scenario.

As for the attacks on the schools, again I think it understated. Years back, several of us took a look at schools, security, and more as a result of Beslan. If you don’t know what it is, look it up. In short, a “hostage” situation (as often is seen in this book) that was really a front for rape, torture, and murder. This is one of the few times you will hear me say I don’t think the Russian’s went far enough in dealing with those behind this. (sorry, still working on being more New Testament instead of Old Testament). Back to subject, I know that at least one of the people Kurt thanks at the start of the book is one who took a look at this and what could happen here.

I don’t know about him, but the thought of such here doesn’t scare me: it terrifies me. It terrifies me that every effort to harden and protect our schools against this and other threats has been fought for domestic political reasons that willingly sacrifice our children. Beslan proved that not only were schools great targets, but that faking it being a hostage situation was a great way to draw things out for propaganda purposes while allowing maximum time for rape, torture, and murder. It’s a concept tested again to some extent on Oct. 7, and one that features prominently in the book.

Which leads me to the one overly optimistic thing in the book, and the thing that came closest to throwing me out of any suspension of disbelief: the response. The response(s) shown in the book only work in the presence of strong leadership and a tangible form(s) of collective justice. In the absence of such, you are going to get mobs, vigilantes, and worse as civilization is a veneer even today. While there are some who want to see such, so as to justify yet more radical restructuring, they are fools. They do not understand that what we witnessed on Oct. 7 is the way most of the world works and has worked for an age or three.

There is a reason in the past that people fled when it looked like towns were to be sacked. It is not limited to the distant past: Look at the sack of Berlin and what happened to females 8 to 80. Look at the looting (though I do tend to think the Soviets did the Germans a favor by taking all those stool-shelf commodes, look it up), and outright murder that went with it. If you really want to, you can find examples even more recent.

The concepts of just war, limited war, rule of law, and even the peaceful transfer of power are recent and quite possibly fleeting. When one actively circumvents safeguards, such as opening a border, guess what goes away?

Now, imagine a world where The Attack happens and strong leadership not only does not emerge, but you see the multi-tier “justice” of the last few years applied to those who took part in this. What do you think will happen?

Especially given that the schools and our children will be targets just like Oct. 7. In fact, here’s an equation for you: (Beslan + Euvalde) * Oct. 7 = X2 That is the horror that will happen in our schools. The response to it by the public, however is likely to be: (Beslan + Euvalde) * Oct. 7 = X4 Now, imagine that released in an uncontrolled and uncoordinated manner not just in the U.S., but around the world. That is what will happen without strong leadership and a good grasp of history and social dynamics.

Enough on that. Back to topic, this is a good book that I highly recommend not just as a good (and enjoyable, though not necessarily fun) read, but also as a warning and full of things to factor into your planning for life. Get it. Read it. Just remember, it can be enjoyed on many levels.

As always, be prepared. Keep your friends close and your things where you can find them in the dark.

Getting hit by lightning is not fun! If you would like to help me in my recovery efforts, which include moving once we have medical issues cleared up, feel free to hit the fundraiser at A New Life on GiveSendGo, use the options in the Tip Jar in the upper right, or drop me a line to discuss other methods. There is also the Amazon Wish List in the Bard’s Jar. It is thanks to your gifts and prayers that I am still going. Thank you.

July 4, 1776

Well, it was really supposed to be July 2, but… Amazing words, and you really should look up the price paid by many of those who signed this document. Sacrifice is not giving up a latte, or your favorite coffee creamer for a few days: they pledged their lives, fortunes, and sacred honor and paid that price.

In Congress, July 4, 1776

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America, When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.–Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

Homemade Mustard

Took the plunge and decided to make a “simple” mustard to start, before trying the Bavarian mustard recipe Snarksalot sent me. Simple it is, at least in terms of the number of ingredients. Kept it rustic/peasant on the first try, but should be easy to strain out the shells if you want something to pass between cars when asked if you have fancy mustard.

It starts with 80 grams of mustard seed. In this case, 70 grams of brown and 10 grams of black (wanted a bit of pungency), which is seen above sitting in 5.5 ounces of vinegar. I did a mix of .5 oz apple cider vinegar, .5 oz white wine vinegar, and the remainder as white vinegar. NOTE: check to be sure all are five percent acidity as there are some brands cutting acidity to make a buck.

I used a pint canning jar as I had it and you don’t want to soak the mustard seeds in metal. Especially since you need to let them sit for 48 hours (countertop is fine).

At the end of that time, you will see some expansion as the mustard seeds soak up the vinegar. Drain and discard the liquid. I just let it sit for about ten minutes, and did press down just a bit with a spatula to be sure I had the excess out.

Once drained, I put the seeds in a blender, and added: 4 oz white wine [3 oz dry Riesling and 1 oz medium (not sweet) Riesling], 1.5t salt (1 t pink, .5t smoked), and 1.5 oz distilled white vinegar. I did NOT add any sugar, as between the AC vinegar and the wine, it was more than sweet enough. I pulsed the mix a few times until I had it well blended. You could use an immersion blender I think.

Since I wanted a country/peasant version, I did not strain it. Instead, I just poured it back into the cleaned pint jar and did the hard part: I put it in the refrigerator for 24 hours to set up a bit and to let the flavors meld. The next day I tested it to see if I needed to adjust anything, and the answer was no. Since then I’ve used it on sandwiches, meats, and anything that stood still too long. It will last six months in the refrigerator, but I doubt it will get close to that date given use.

Next up is Snarksalot’s recipe and I also am looking at doing a stronger version using rye whiskey in place of the wine. Several other variations suggest themselves. Knowing how to make your own condiments is a useful thing, as it saves money and you also know what is in there, so it is healthier to boot. One of these days may make my own ketchup too. Comes in handy if things get bad. That said, need to look at adding bulk mustard seed and such to my stockpile.

Lots of good recipes out there, my only advice is to be careful of any that call for adding sugar, particularly large amounts. If some sweetness is needed, my suggestion is honey (natural preservative as well). By playing with seeds, vinegars, and extra ingredients, you can make it as hot or mild as you like. Experiment and have fun!

Getting hit by lightning is not fun! If you would like to help me in my recovery efforts, which include moving once we have medical issues cleared up, feel free to hit the fundraiser at A New Life on GiveSendGo, use the options in the Tip Jar in the upper right, or drop me a line to discuss other methods. There is also the Amazon Wish List in the Bard’s Jar. It is thanks to your gifts and prayers that I am still going. Thank you.

Thank You!

I had my first real guitar lesson this morning, thanks to your generosity. In fact, I had carefully saved part of that generosity so that I could pay up front for three more lessons besides this one. Net result is that by paying ahead I found out I also get a free lesson.

It was intense, my fingers are sore, and it was fun. He is teaching me how to (re) read sheet music since that seems to be one of the memories misplaced; strings, chords, and more; how to pick, how to grin (lets see who picks up on that), and how to strum; and basics from how to hold the guitar to hand positioning for picking and strumming. I am to practice every day, and more than once a day if possible (gotta build those callouses you know).

It is going to be a challenge to learn all of this, from strings and notes, to the movements involved. Some of it is easier if I don’t think about it, but for some of the complex work you really do need to be able to think about it.

Well, we will soon know if I can learn a new skill. Even if there are problems, it is a lot of fun. Had some laughs and got fist bumped over doing a couple of things right. His take is that he might not can make me into Eric Clapton, but he can get me to playing. I can live with that.

Thank you again so much!

Getting hit by lightning is not fun! If you would like to help me in my recovery efforts, which include moving once we have medical issues cleared up, feel free to hit the fundraiser at A New Life on GiveSendGo, use the options in the Tip Jar in the upper right, or drop me a line to discuss other methods. There is also the Amazon Wish List in the Bard’s Jar. It is thanks to your gifts and prayers that I am still going. Thank you.