Who and What is the Happy Warrior
This blog is a representation, in conversational form, of my voyage to wrap my arms around the world in which Mr. Worsdworth's warrior finds happiness.
(Standing disclaimer: Luckily tests of spelling accuracy ended in 4th grade otherwise I would still be in Elementary School. Be forewarned, spelling errors ahead. I subscribe to the wisdom of a great man who said, "I have utmost disdain for a man who can only spell a word one way." -Benjamin Franklin)
Saturday, October 31, 2009
Sorry but common sense, logic AND an inexhaustible number of scientific studies have shown that there are significant differences between men and women. Here is a little primer on just one of the differences between the male and the female:
Thursday, October 29, 2009
Today I am sharing the books that have most influenced someone I do not know personally although I've listened intently to him for almost a decade. If you think the thoughts I share in this blog have any merit (or are at least peak your interest and ire), you should become more familiar with Dennis Prager.
Here is his list:
Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl
Modern Times by Paul M. Johnson
The Arab Mind by Rapahel Patai
For the Glory of God by Rodney Stark
God and the Astronomers by Robert Jastow
In Bluebeard's Castle by George Steiner
The Jewish Mystique by Earnest Van Den Haag
Men and Marriage by George Gilder
Mao The Unknown Story by Jung Chang
Now go read a good book!
Monday, October 26, 2009
- The King James version of the Bible (at least the one I have) including the Old and New Testament is 1,590 pages long.
- The American Heritage Dictionary (again, the version I use) is 878 pages long.
- The Constitution of the United States (1787) contains 4,543 words including the signer's names.
- The Declaration of Independence has 458 words.
1. how many members of the Senate and House of Representatives will read this Bill from front to back? I think they should all be forced (yes, upon threat of imprisonment) to read every word before they vote on it.
2. how long would it take for a person with above average intelligence to read such a document?
3. how long would it take to digest, analyze and consider the social ramifications, fiscal consequences (intended and unintended) as well as the short, medium and long-term implications of this bill?
4. Once the items in #3 have been accomplished, how long would it take to seriously debate the provisions in such a document?
Friends and neigbors, I don't think we can honestly expect to have anything like a serious vote on this matter until July 2010 at the earliest. This is very aggressive and assumes we entirely set aside all other legislation such as the "Cap and Trade" and other bills on the docket. To move this bill without the most serious and sober consideration of every elected national politician is not fair to the American people at best and a dereliction of duties, a violation of civic trust and worthy for removal from office at worst. ANYONE, I don't care if you are my city councilperson or President Barak Obama, who suggests some need for expediency that does not allow for such thorough inspection does not deserve the office they've been elected to. I say to my fellow Americans, be wary of such a politician: they are seeking to introduce an unprecedented degree of power over your most basic and personal rights cloaked in the guise of social wellbeing.
If God is able to give mankind moral and spiritual direction over a timespan of 3,500 years in a text totaling just over 1,500 pages, how is it that our government cannot address the single issue of health care in significantly less than 1,500 pages. The enormity of the volume alone is evidence of government that has become much too expansive. Hobbes' dreaded Leviathon is alive and becoming stronger.
Friday, October 23, 2009
On October 23rd, 1856 a ragged group of nearly 500 people faced the final ascent of what was -and still is- a long gradual incline on the 1,300 mile trail between Iowa City and Salt Lake City. I have firsthand experience with this unforgiving country. There are very few trees and almost no shelter along the thirteen mile span that can best be described as a wind tunnel. I made several visits to this very spot on the trail every October 23rd for the three years we lived in Riverton, Wyoming (the modern city nearly 50 miles north of this trail). Each year of the pilgrimage was met with the same frierce winds and snow flurries. I wore layers of modern clothing including insulated shoes, gloves and several layers over my head -even still the frigid air bit at me through the layers such that I frequently had to walk backwards with my face away from the whipping west-to-east winds. I was a healthy young man in my mid-twenties with no handcart to pull. I have no idea how the following events resulted in anything but complete tragedy:
The Willie Handcart Company faced this brutal 12 mile segment of trail on October 23, 1856. They had already been overtaken by early winter weather. For a few previous days they had camped, not in periodic flurries, but in the snows of a recent blizzard which covered the trecherous uneven ground. This was not a party made up of seasoned frontiersmen but included women, children, elderly and even a few newborns. They served as their own beasts of burden pulling or pushing their handcarts loaded with their life possessions and provisions which averaged about 250 pounds (for about 5 or 6 people).
These pioneers were novices. They wore the apparel of the day which by this point, almost 1,000 miles into their journey, resembled lose rags especially the shoes which were worn down after days of contact with the rough trail. They had slept, walked and labored in the same clothing for weeks and in this arctic condition draped every blanket around themselves which had to be somewhat cumbersome when fighting the wind and the necessity of pulling or pushing a cart.
Their physical condition was almost beyond my ability to comprehend. Their normal allowance of food had been twice rationed -once on October 1st and again, since they had not met up with any parties providing expected relief, on October 15th. By the 23rd, for a full week, the men had been subsisting on 10 ounces of flour a day. The women on 9 ounces and children on 6 ounces A DAY! This while pulling or pushing a handcart along a rustic trail as it slowly ascended to the continental divide! Please, go into the kitchen and measure out 10 ounces of flour, add some water and then push a wheelbarrow up and down the nearest overgrown grassy field for twelve hours a day (to make the experience even more authentic, wear an old pair of slippers).
I had the distinct blessing of taking part in a re-enactment on this very segment of the trail in August of 1997. I was 27 years old and had with my my 21 year old brother. We were in perfect health and enjoyed ideal summer weather and a cart that carried our mountain bikes, water coolers and snacks (probably 50 pounds at most). Our handcart was constructed with metal tread and axels with greased ball bearings... there were times when we struggled and needed to take periodic breaks. I am embarrased to say that it was difficult enough that I would think twice about participating in such a re-enactment again.
In a condition that was nothing less than chronic exhaustion, the Willie Company ate the last pounds of flour on Sunday, October 19th -the day of the first snow fall. Consider their prospects for the future: more than 500 miles from Salt Lake City and any human habitation they were completely out of food. In the company were hundreds of women and children. In one of the few golden glimmers of hope that took place, the first few riders of an advanced rescue party sent from Salt Lake arrived on this Sunday. They brought with them some food (a scanty amount when divided between 500 starving people) and hope in the news of 40 rescue wagons a day or so behind. With this news, and the anticipation of pending resupply, the party ate the last of the foodstuffs on Monday but no rescue party arrived.
James G. Willie, the Captain (leader) of the company saddled up and rode west to find the wagons and bring them to his desperate camp. In the meantime the snow became a blizzard and the threat of freezing became as ominous as starvation. Captain Willie was gone for two full days while the pioneers were left to wonder what misadventure had fallen him and the rescue party. What had happened was the impossibility of the rescue wagons to navigate in blizzard conditions in the highlands of Wyoming. Not knowing the desperate conditions of the pioneers, they hunkered down to outlast the storm. Captain Willie could easily have passed by this group in the blinding conditions except for a marker placed on the trail and noticed by him as he rode close to their camp. On Tuesday evening at sunset Captain Willie returned to his people with 40 wagons with food and clothing.
This was not, however, the deliverance most had hoped for. Further to the east of the Willie Company was the Martin Company of another 550 pioneers in more desperate condition than these. The majority of the rescue wagons pushed on to the Martin Company (I will not give an account of this group who would, in the end, lose 1 of every 4 members during its experience).
On the morning of October 23rd the Willie Company arose with a 12 mile span of trail in front of them. This day they would cross a patch of ground called "Rocky Ridge" and cross the continental divide. The only suitable camping spot lay at the end of the 12 miles on a creek called Rock Creek Hollow. In their exhaustion, facing a rocky trail covered with snow (at places a foot deep), and always facing the bitter cold wind, they began walking. Some would not complete this 12 mile stretch until 24 hours had passed. I do not know how any of them made it. I cannot describe the experience. There are no words capable of painting an accurate picture. But here are a few of their words:
Levi Savage's Journal
(Levi Savage was the great soul whose recommendation to stay at Council Bluffs had been over-ridden. He being chastised for "lack of faith" before he said, "Brethren and sisters, what I have said I know to be true, but seeing you are to go forward, I will go with you, will help you all I can, will work with you, will rest with you, will suffer with you, and if necessary I will die with you." On this day he lived up to his promise and nearly paid for it with his life.)
We buried our dead, got up our teams and about nine o’clock a.m. commenced ascending the Rocky Ridge. This was a severe day. The wind blew hard and cold. The ascent was some five miles long and some places steep and covered with deep snow. We became weary, set down to rest, and some became chilled and commenced to freeze. Brothers Atwood, Woodard and myself remained with the teams. They being perfectly loaded down with the sick and children, so thickly stacked I was fearful some would smother. About ten or eleven o’clock in the night we came to a creek that we did not like to attempt to cross without help, it being full of ice and freezing cold. Leaving Brothers Atwood and Woodard with the teams, I started to the camp for help. I met Brother Willey coming to look for us. He turned for the camp, as he could do no good alone. I passed several on the road and arrived in camp after about four miles of travel. I arrived in camp, but few tents were pitched and men, women, and children sat shivering with cold around their small fires. Some time lapsed when two teams started to bring up the rear. Just before daylight they returned, bringing all with them, some badly frozen, some dying and some dead. It was certainly heartrendering to hear children crying for mothers and mothers crying for children. By the time I got them as comfortably situated as circumstances would admit (which was not very comfortable), day was dawning. I had not shut my eyes for sleep, nor lain down. I was nearly exhausted with fatigue and want of rest.
John Chislett's Record
“A few days of bright freezing weather were succeeded by another snow-storm. The day we crossed the Rocky Ridge it was snowing a little—the wind hard from the north-west—and blowing so keenly that it almost pierced us through. We had to wrap ourselves closely in blankets, quilts, or whatever else we could get, to keep from freezing. Captain Willie still attended to the details of the company’s travelling, and this day he appointed me to bring up the rear. My duty was to stay behind everything and see that nobody was left along the road. I had to bury a man who had died in my hundred, and I finished doing so after the company had started. In about half an hour I set out on foot alone to do my duty as rear-guard to the camp. The ascent of the ridge commenced soon after leaving camp, and I had not gone far up it before I overtook a cart that the folks could not pull through the snow, here about knee-deep. I helped them along, and we soon overtook another. By all hands getting to one cart we could travel; so we moved one of the carts a few rods, and then went back and brought up the other. After moving in this way for a while, we overtook other carts at different points of the hill, until we had six carts, not one of which could be moved by the parties owning it. I put our collective strength to three carts at a time, took them a short distance, and then brought up the other three. Thus by travelling over the hill three times—twice forward and once back—I succeeded after hours of toil in bringing my little company to the summit. The six carts were then trotted on gaily down hill, the intense cold stirring us to action. One or two parties who were with these carts gave up entirely, and but for the fact that we overtook one of our ox-teams that had been detained on the road, they must have perished on that Rocky Ridge. One old man, named James (a farm-labourer from Gloucestershire), who had a large family, and who had worked very hard all the way, I found sitting by the roadside unable to pull his cart any farther. I could not get him into the wagon, as it was already overcrowded. He had a shot-gun which he had brought from England, and which had been a great blessing to him and his family, for he was a good shot, and often had a mess of sage hens or rabbits for his family. I took the gun from the cart, put a small bundle on the end of it, placed it on his shoulder, and started him out with his little boy, twelve years old. His wife and two daughters older than the boy took the cart along finely after reaching the summit.
“We travelled along with the ox-team and overtook others, all so laden with the sick and helpless that they moved very slowly. The oxen had almost given out. Some of our folks with carts went ahead of the teams, for where the roads were good they could out-travel oxen; but we constantly overtook some stragglers, some with carts, some without, who had been unable to keep pace with the body of the company. We struggled along in this weary way until after dark, and by this time our ‘rear’ numbered three wagons, eight hand-carts, and nearly forty persons. With the wagons were Millen Atwood, Levi Savage, and William Woodward, captains of hundreds, faithful men who had worked hard all the way.
“We finally came to a stream of water which was frozen over. We could not see where the company had crossed. If at the point where we struck the creek, then it had frozen over since we passed it. We started one team to cross, but the oxen broke through the ice and would not go over. No amount of shouting and whipping could induce them to stir an inch. We were afraid to try the other teams, for even should they cross we could not leave the one in the creek and go on. There was no wood in the vicinity, so we could make no fire, and were uncertain what to do. We did not know the distance to the camp, but supposed it to be three or four miles. After consulting about it, we resolved that some one should go on foot to the camp to inform the captain of our situation. I was selected to perform the duty, and I set out with all speed. In crossing the creek I slipped through the ice and got my feet wet, my boots being nearly worn out. I had not gone far when I saw some one sitting by the roadside. I stopped to see who it was, and discovered the old man James and his little boy. The poor old man was quite worn out.
“I got him to his feet and had him lean on me, and he walked a little distance, but not very far. I partly dragged, partly carried him a short distance farther, but he was quite helpless, and my strength failed me. Being obliged to leave him to go forward on my own errand, I put down a quilt I had wrapped round me, rolled him in it, and told the little boy to walk up and down by his father, and on no account to sit down, or he would be frozen to death. I told him to watch for teams that would come back, and to hail them when they came. This done I again set out for the camp, running nearly all the way and frequently falling down, for there were many obstructions and holes in the road. My boots were frozen stiff, so that I had not the free use of my feet, and it was only by rapid motion that I kept them from being badly frozen. As it was, both were nipped.
“After some time I came in sight of the camp fires, which encouraged me. As I neared the camp I frequently overtook stragglers on foot, all pressing forward slowly. I stopped to speak to each one, cautioning them all against resting, as they would surely freeze to death. Finally, about 11 P. M., I reached the camp almost exhausted. I had exerted myself very much during the day in bringing the rear carts up the ridge, and had not eaten anything since breakfast. I reported to Captains Willie and Kimball the situation of the folks behind. They immediately got up some horses, and the boys from the Valley started back about midnight to help the ox-teams in. The night was very severe and many of the emigrants were frozen. It was 5 A.M. before the last team reached the camp.
“I told my companions about the old man James and his little boy. They found the little fellow keeping faithful watch over his father, who lay sleeping in my quilt just as I left him. They lifted him into a wagon, still alive, but in a sort of stupor. He died before morning. His last words were an enquiry as to the safety of his shot-gun.”
This is what I think about as the hours pass by each October 23rd. This is the legacy I have inherited as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. This is the sacrifice paid by many who have come before me and which I hope, in some small way, to live up to. One of the many astonishing things about my predecessors was their fortitude and quiet devotion to what they esteemed to be most dear. It was not their lives, certainly not the conveniences and luxuries of life since they had none, but it was a sacred devotion to something higher than themselves: to their God, to their faith and to the integrity of their convictions. As if it could not get any more amazing, the fact that October 24th, with its own challenges on top of those from the day, week and month prior, followed after October 23rd is breathtaking:
Again from Levi Savage's Journal:
October 24, 1856, Friday. This morning found us with thirteen corpses for burial. These were all put into one grave. Some had actually frozen to death. We were obliged to remain in camp, move the tents and people behind the willows to shelter them from the severe wind which blew enough to pierce us through.
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Congressman Offers Preemptive Apology For Extramarital Affair
Monday, October 19, 2009
Now, although not entirely free of the weight, I can finally breath a bit easier. I have published!
Saturday, October 17, 2009
Thursday, October 15, 2009
So what is the Post Office's plan to become more fiscally balanced? What, also, is the government's plan to bring health care costs under control? There really are just two possible answers: 1. raise the cost of stamps/healthcare -which simply means charging the citizens more money (i.e. raising taxes) or 2. spend less by cutting back on services -which simply means regulating who can have what proceedures and what medicine when, where and why (also known as "rationing").
Don't take it from me, here is a report of the Post Master General's plan of attack:
The Postal Service is facing up to $5 billion of red ink a year, "so people cannot expect business as usual," U.S. Postmaster General John Potter said. He called for "monumental changes" to remake the Postal Service and allow it to operate in a more business-like way.
Oh, that is a laugh-riot. The strategy is to allow the government-run post office to operate in a more business-like way... then why are we moving healthcare away from a "busines-like way" and into a government administered program. Does anyone else see the irony?
But back to the specifics to fix the financial mess that is our government run postal system:
Plans to shutter some post offices and branches, which will be announced on Friday, may save $20 million to $100 million, a fraction of the $5 billion annual budget gap the Postal Service needs to fill.
Options to put the Postal Service back in the black include allowing it to cut back on traditional mail delivery, reduce its workforce and sell more than stamps at its retail outlets. The Postal Service could save about $3 billion a year by eliminating Saturday mail delivery.
Applying this logic, which is actually very a very sound and necessary business approach, to healthcare, this is what the government will do: 1. close some hospitals and clinics, 2. cut back on traditional medical services/proceedures, 3. reduce the number of specialists, medications, doctors and nurses (the "workforce") and 4. eliminating "Saturday" medical services. What is the healthcare comparison to "Saturday mail delivery"? It is those for whom medical treatment costs more than it is worth (the aged: they are close to leaving this world anyway. Why perform a hundred thousand dollar knee replacement when the patient only has a decade to live anyway? That is "Saturday mail service").
Well, cutting back on mail service is perhaps a necessary inconvenience but cutting back on who need to be treated for cancer or makeing a beaurocratic decision regarding who is allowed to get a pacemaker... I don't like that. Sounds to me like governmental power to dictate the intimate details of our lives... I thought this was the United States of America, home of the FREE! To the contrary, at some point we have decided that home of the universally insured is a higher value.
The famed emphatic position spoken so long ago has some application here:
"Is life (or physical health) so dear or peace (e.g. ease and security) so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery (surrendering your ability to choose for yourself). Forbit it almighty God. I know not what course others may take but as for me, give me liberty or give me death (even if it comes because I am uninsured)."
-Patrick Henry (modern application and adaptation by Thomas Wicke)
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
In The Know: How Can We Make The War In Iraq More Eco-Friendly?
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Saturday, October 10, 2009
Thursday, October 8, 2009
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
So, here is a Halloween card sketched out by our soft and cuddly littl girl:
Just a couple quick notes. She is a great speller (much better than I ever was... much better than I am now for that matter) but since she is being taught with phonics she does not always get unfamiliar words correctly). She has always loved dogs... hence the central character of the card. About a year ago she became fascinated with bats... so combine the two with the lore of Halloween and there you have a wacky greeting card.
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
1. How many times would you take your car to a mechanic who never fixed the problem but rather charged you to replace parts that were perfectly good?
2. How many times would you invest money with an uncle whose business plan never materialized but could not account for the expenditure of your money?
3. How many seasons would you continue paying a quarterback millions of dollars when he led you to seasons of 2 wins and 12 losses and threw three times more interceptions than touchdowns?
4. How many new programs would you let your government establish with the following track record:
Social Security: this social program ironically on its last insecure legs will go broke in 2041. So much for this progressive program of goverment good intentions founded in 1935 as part of the New Deal.
Medicare: this medical care program for the elderly is on its deathbed and will become insolvent by 2020. Established in stages but initially in 1965 it guaranteed covereage for senior citizens... well at least for all senior citizens prior to 2020 (55 years from conception to catastrophe... the Medicare program will not even be able to cover a person who was born in the year it was established -I'm sure that wasn't in the government's plans at the time).
US Post office: no introduction necessary for this government agency. We all know what stellar customer service we receive and how quickly you can get in and out of the branch. Here is a snapshot of their fiscal expertise:
2002: $1.5 billion deficit
(oh, by the way in 2005 UPS, that private company that dresses in brown suits had a $4 billion profit)
2007: $5.1 billion deficit
2009: $7 billion deficit
So, are we Americans really stupid enough to believe that the government should play a role in providing universal health care? With such a stellar track record in effective program design, management and sustainability... Oh but surely Barak Obama is somehow different than Roosevelt, Johnson or even Kennedy. Come on! President Obama is not some political savior. He is not even a social savant. He is merely another good intentioned politician who thinks he can make better decisions for you and I than we can for ourselves. If we allow this, with such a profound historical precedent, then we really are the United States of idiots.