Thursday, December 30, 2010

THYME Magazine

Citizen Journalism with a Better Flavor

Volume III, Issue I

VA AG: Defeating the Tentacles of Tyranny

Ezra Klein [click to read] may not understand the Constitution but Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli does. When Judge Hudson ruled that the Commerce Clause does NOT give the government the power to require citizens to purchase insurence, Cuccinelli's understanding of the Constitution was vindicated. ht/Phil

Judge Henry Hudson ruled that the individual mandate "exceeds the Commerce Clause powers vested in Congress under Article I" of the Constitution.

Judge Hudson also wrote, "The unchecked expansion of congressional power to the limits suggested by [the individual mandate provision in ObamaCare] would invite unbridled exercise of federal police powers."

Mark J. Fitzgibbons writes in American Thinker [click to read] that Cuccinelli has done us another favor as well, by reaffirming the protections of the Foourth Amendment! It stands to reason that government mandates would be followed by some sort of invasive 'compliance monitoring.' Do you dislike the oversight powers of the IRS? You'll really dislike Federal oversight when they can mandate your insurance purchases and demand a 1099 for most every transaction for some businesses.

"Judge Hudson ruled against ObamaCare as exceeding Congress's authority under the Commerce Clause. He also ruled that the penalty for not obtaining health insurance is not a tax, which would have saved the law. Regardless of whether ObamaCare exacts a tax or a penalty, the power of the government to investigate violations would be virtually the same.

Unlawful investigations are the equivalent of trespass and coercion of private property rights. Cuccinelli's not only litigating the constitutionality of Obamacare; he's also defeating the tentacles of tyranny and Marxism. This is why liberals are breaking out their smear machines against him."

Ken Kuccinelli Update [click to read]. The Virginia Attorney General's own statements about the ruling.

Another Fighter Worth Recognition

The 'other' Weekly News Magazine [click to read] is featuring another fighter: Aung San Suu Kyi of Burma. Burma's First Lady of Freedom [click to read] fights for the rights of the Burmese people.

Remember when Filling Stations had Maps?

A Travel Map for a Brighter Time to Come

Regional Travel Map by Bob Kirchman.

Looking forward to a day when we as a nation produce our own energy [hey, gas stations might even give out free maps again!], I've created this regional travel map. Susan Allen [the Governor's wife] improved the official Virginia map by putting the mountains back on it. I think that was a really cool thing to do.

Until the oil companies grace us with free maps and USA produced fuel again, you can download the Journey Regional Map [click to read] and plan a few road trips.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Augusta County Historic Church and Temple

A Rich Heritage of Houses of Worship

Christmas greens on the red doors of Good Shepherd Episcopal Church.

Temple Beth Israel
Temple Beth Israel in Staunton. The Moorish Revival building was designed by Sam Collins of T.J. Collins and son.

Monday, December 27, 2010

THYME Magazine

Citizen Journalism with a Better Flavor

Volume II, Issue LIV

A Person for All Time

Since 1927, TIME Magazine has chosen a man, woman, or idea that for better or worse, has most influenced events in the preceding year. Charles Linbergh was the first person to be so honored.

In 1938 Adolph Hitler was named. FDR received the honor three times. Osama Bin Laden was considered for recognition early in this decade.

TIME declared Albert Einstein the most influential person of the century. I don't believe they have ever tried to name the most influential person in all of human history.

THYME Magazine, looking back on thousands of years of history, breaks with the modern trend to honor media creators and celebrities. Gutenberg, in our minds, is far more of an innovator than Zuckerberg.

When Samuel Morse invented the telegraph, he sent the first 'Instant Message:' "What hath G-d Wrought?" Morse was on to something. There is always a back story of inspiration in every innovation.

So THYME today wants to single out inspiration. Our choice for 'Person for All Time' will no doubt place us in controversial territory. Still,we invite you to examine history for yourself. Alvin Schmidt's "Under the Infuence" [click to read] could be considered your essential guide as you meet THYME's 'Person for All Time.'

One Solitary Life

"Here is a man who was born in an obscure village, the child of a peasant woman. He grew up in another village. He worked in a carpenter shop until He was thirty. Then for three years He was an itinerant preacher.

He never owned a home. He never wrote a book. He never held an office.He never had a family. He never went to college. He never put His foot inside a big city. He never traveled two hundred miles from the place He was born. He never did one of the things that usually accompany greatness. He had no credentials but Himself...

While still a young man, the tide of popular opinion turned against him. His friends ran away. One of them denied Him. He was turned over to His enemies. He went through the mockery of a trial. He was nailed upon a cross between two thieves. While He was dying His executioners gambled for the only piece of property He had on earth – His coat. When He was dead, He was laid in a borrowed grave through the pity of a friend.

Nineteen long centuries have come and gone, and today He is a centerpiece of the human race and leader of the column of progress.

I am far within the mark when I say that all the armies that ever marched, all the navies that were ever built; all the parliaments that ever sat and all the kings that ever reigned, put together, have not affected the life of man upon this earth as powerfully as has that one solitary life."

This widely distributed essay was origially adapted from a sermon by Dr James Allan Francis in “The Real Jesus and Other Sermons” © 1926 bythe Judson Press of Philadelphia (pp 123-124 titled “Arise Sir Knight!”).

He never set foot in Rome, the seat of Empire, yet Alvin Schmidt and others have documented how this simple man from Galilee changed the human epic.

For many it was the 'righteous gentiles'... Christians who risked their own lives and safety to hide their Jewish neighbors and sneak them out of Nazi occupied parts of Europe. For the mentally ill it was Dorothea Dix, a Christian woman who worked to provide more humane treatment.

Christianity is often blamed for many of the world's ills when in fact you can look to it in its pure form and see the exact opposite. Yes, much evil has been done by men who claim to do it 'in the name of G-d,' but look at the lives of those who actually dare to live by Christ's teaching and you will see a clear departure from culture's corruption.

William Wilberforce and John Newton are prime examples of this. Newton was a slaver. When he came to faith he was repulsed by his involvement in this trade in human misery. When his friend Wilberforce, a rising member of the British government, came to faith, he was going to step away from government to devote his life to G-d. Newton urged Wilberforce to remain in public service and his legacy became the end of slavery in every land under British rule.

Cover Art: Detail of a mural by L. Riley and B. Kirchman

Saturday, December 25, 2010

'The Journey' in the News in CJ in the News

'Everyday Life in Modern Day Coruscant' Mentioned

Driving along the Pulaski Skyway.

City Journal [click to read] is a publication of the Manhattan Institute. I find a lot of information and inspiration in their articles. The Journey is Mentioned in 'CJ in the News' [click to read] as I make reference to Guy Sormon's article on Asian megacities.

Here are some photos I took the last time I was in New York.

Manhattan Skyline from Upper West Side.

Boats on the Hudson.

Water Tower, Upper West Side.

Lincoln Center Plaza.

Upper West Side building.

Snowy Day at Sherando Lake

A Silent Wonderland to Explore Along the Lake Trail

The spillway stairs and the frozen cliffs.

The snow covered Lake Trail.

Tracks leading away across the frozen lake.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas Greetings from Quinhagak, Alaska

A New Twist to Handel's 'Messiah'

Here is a unique production of Messiah by the citizens of a small town in Alaska. Lynn Has More [click to read].

Mural at SAC

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Christmas Greetings from The Journey

Wishing You a Blessed Christmas and New Year


Some Children See Him
By Alfred Burt

Some children see Him lily white
the infant Jesus born this night
Some children see Him lily white
with tresses soft and fair

Some children see Him bronzed and brown
the Lord of heav'n to earth come down
Some children see Him bronzed and brown
with dark and heavy hair (with dark and heavy hair!)

Some children see Him almond-eyed
This Saviour whom we kneel beside
Some children see Him almond-eyed
With skin of yellow hue!

Some children see Him dark as they
Sweet Mary's Son to whom we pray
Some children see Him dark as they
And, ah! they love Him so!

The children in each different place
Will see the Baby Jesus' face
Like theirs but bright with heav'nly grace
And filled with holy light!

O lay aside each earthly thing
and with thy heart as offering
Come worship now the infant King
'tis love that's born tonight!

'tis love that's born tonight!

Card 2

Monday, December 20, 2010

Why the Fearless Shall Not Fall

Finding a Point of Reference in a Confusing World

"The whole world is a narrow bridge," taught the great Chassidic master Rabbi Nachman of Breslav (1772 -1810), in one of his most famous aphorisms, "but the main thing is to have no fear at all."

Rabbi Yonason Goldson shares These Thoughts [click to read] in Jewish World Review.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

The Island in Sherando Lake

The Frozen Lake Creates a Winter Scene

The shadows of the trees fall upon the frozen lake, evoking a Japanese painting.

The Winter of Record Snowfalls

It Turned Backyards Into Winter Playgrounds

No, it's not Massanutten's 'Paradice,' but my son taking a jump in our own backyard.

Next: October 19, 2009 [cick to read]

Lynn wrote this morning about the great blizzard that began One Year Ago today! [click to read].

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Everyday Life in Modern Day Coruscant

Asian Megacities as Political Theatre

What Le Corbusier would have wrought in Paris has become the new reality of Bejing and Shanghai.

Le Corbusier once wrote of his Plan Voisin for Paris: “Since 1922 [for the past 42 years] I have continued to work, in general and in detail, on the problem of Paris. Everything has been made public. The City Council has never contacted me. It calls me ‘Barbarian’!” -- Le Corbusier’s writings, p. 207.

Fast forward to the Twenty-first Century and Shanghai [Le Corbusier on steroids]. It all seems like the realization of the fictional Coruscant from Star Wars... a completely urban environment that stretches as far as the eye can see. The entire planet of Coruscant is one continual city.

Guy Sorman discusses the rise of Asian 'Super Megagopolises' [click to read] in City Journal. Looking at the Mega-model of Shanghai, one could begin to wonder: "can Coruscant be that far off." Sorman points out, however, that Shanghai is largely a political creation...designed to create the impression that China is ready for business with the world. [1.]

Every day the city teems with life and every night the workers necessary to make it function vacate the pristine city. It is like Disney World, where the 'cast members' descend into 'Utilidor,' remove their costumes, and disappear to homes elsewhere.

For Shanhai workers, 'homes elsewhere' often means crowded andsubstandard. Just as China's factories are seldom seen by Westerners,those who maintain the stage for world commerce live in a vastlydifferent world than the one they 'portray' in their 'day jobs.'

Or perhaps, the Death Star in Star Wars is a better analogy. Its scale is way beyond human. It is intended to convey a sense of awe. Might we be looking at the work of some latter day Nimrod, seeking to elevate himself to the heavens?

Sorman points out how the mad rush into the 21st Century has obliterated the traditional spaces of Shanghai and Bejing, which were much more human in size and scate. Again Star Wars comes to mind. Green beautiful planets like Naboo and Alderon risk elimination as the Empire expands its grasp.

This scale model of Shanghai dwarfs the people in the room...

...and calls to mind the fictional city of Coruscant.

In the 'Sixties America sought to 'remake' her major cities. Le Corbusier style housing blocks were constructed to elevate the urban poor. Many of these 'projects' have since been torn down. While we were building them Moscow was building similar blocks of apartments. Today in Moscow, urban youths flock to the rooftops. [2.] Called 'Roofers,' these young people seek the rooftops simply for the openness and the view.

How to Return to the Village
Returning Government to the People in the 'Audience'

Nineteenth Century America was a nation of villages. Great centers of commerce existed, but they were fed by a vibrant countryside. When Thomas Jefferson created his ideal 'Academic Village' to house the University of Virginia he purposefully left one side open to the surrounding agricultural land. From the steps of the Rotunda one could look upon the rolling hills of Albemarle County.

Architect Stanford White convinced the University to fill the void with Old Cabell Hall a long time ago. The recently completed South Lawn attempts to recreate a space leading off into the trees of Charlottesville. The challenge of getting back to the garden is ever before us.

Rooftop Gardens [click to read] offer one method of getting people and open spaces together. Reclaiming existing environments is another. Aging strip malls could be recycled into village centers for the surrounding suburban homes, offering a place residents could walk or bicycle to. Vacant lots and neglected riverfronts can become parks and gardens.

Proposed Renewal of the Crozet Shopping Center.

Suburb bashing has always been a fashionable intellectual pastime.That is one reason I like Robert A. M. Stern. He sees the reasons people seek out single family dwellings of a traditional form. I have a friend who lives on the upper West side and his penthouse with a view of the Hudson is very nice but give me my gardens.People put up with the wretched infrastructure overload and strip centers because the village is still appealing. The residential areas become landscaped oasis for their residents. Kids play outside the house in view of the kitchen window. People visit at the back fence.Moreover the suburbs are seen by their dwellers as affirming opportunity and safety. If people had no emotion for their homes they would be fine with Le Courbusier type high rises but that is simply not the case.The problem is really one of infrastructure and public space [or lack therof]. Strip malls and box stores create a sterile wasteland but they may become the village centers of the future.

Time magazine once featured a piece called 'Repurposing Suburbs' which shows some fine examples of recreating this type of public space. This Crozet project turns a tired strip mall into a village center. One cannot wait for Crozet's redesigner to get his creative hands on some of the new "Town Center" projects which are now just collections of big box stores. Some time ago I drew a concept where the CSX tracks between Staunton and Charlottesville became a light rail line connecting Staunton, Fishersville, Waynesboro, Crozet, Ivy, The University of Virginia Medical Center and Downtown Charlottesville. The result would be a series of village centers and a better utilization of existing infrastructure.

City Journal's writers draw conflicting conclusions. Houston is touted as encouraging its middle class while Gotham offers limited options. Dense urban areas do tend to create energy efficiency. The trick is to see opportunities to improve the communities we have already created.That would certainly involve offering condominiums and a pedestrian friendly center to suburban communities and reclaiming all those wonderful old low density neighborhoods of our cities.

There is more to solving this problem than finding architectural solutions. Redemption too, must begin on a human scale. In a future post I will explore the role of 'New Monasticism' and activists like Star Parker in this aspect of redemptive work in our culture.

Next: Counterpoint to Coruscant [click to read].


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

THYME Magazine

Citizen Journalism with a Better Flavor

Volume II, Issue LIII

Thyme's Woman and Man of the Year:
The Informed Voter

The 'other' Weekly News Magazine [click to read] anguished over whether or not to honor Julian Assange or the Chilean Miners. I'd have gone with the miners, but TIME finally settled on Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook. Why not Al Gore? Without his invention of the internet, neither Assange or Zuckerburg would have a platform. In fact, Al Gore invented Global Warming AND the Internet, making him even more of a candidate for 'Man of the Year.'

THYME had no such dilemma. This year was the year The People read the Constitution and went to the polls to take their government back. The movement defied MSM attempts at description because it had no one identifiable leader. It was not so much a Republican resurgence as a movement that took root in the party who's platform most accurately reflected their core values.

It began as the Tea Party, but it has become so much more than gatherings of Conservatives and Constitutionalists in large public spaces. It is a resounding of Jefferson's statement that: "the most important level of government is local."

A new wave of citizen-candidates is stepping up. They're young, energetic and able to articulate the principles that will guide them. Look for off-year elections to become very exciting.

The books featured in our cover art.

THYME's 2009 'Woman of the Year'

Last year THYME chose Governor Palin as 'Woman of the Year.'

Zogby has This Poll [click to read] showing a very different result for 'Person of the Year' when you asked the people.

Snow Along the Blue Ridge Parkway

A Cold Morning on a Closed Stretch of the Parkway

It's under twenty degrees. The road is closed and the bright silent Winter morning is remarkable.

Monday, December 13, 2010

'Life is a Cabaret' in 'Weimar Istanbul'

A Tale of Two Cities... Weimar Berlin and Istanbul

Istanbul is remaking itself at a fast pace... while living on the verge of political catastrophe.

A few years back I sat in the office of a prominent architect and looked over his plans for a suburb of the growing city of Istanbul. He had a lovely book of images showing a large development. Clearly Istanbul was a happening place.

Claire Berlinski offers This Insightful Analysis [click to read] of modern Istanbul, drawing disturbing parallels with Berlin during the Weimar era.

"The City was proud: it was the new vanguard, the greatest metropolis in the world! It was ashamed: look at what had been lost, how ugly it had become! The City “delighted most, terrified some, but left no one indifferent, and it induced, by its vitality, a certain inclination to exaggerate what one saw.” So Peter Gay described Weimar Berlin.

But his descriptions, as do all of these, might have been written about the Istanbul in which I live. There is a spookiness to living in a city at the epicenter of an impending political catastrophe, a mood of dread but also of astonishing vitality—economic, creative, artistic. It is a distinctive mood and, to anyone acquainted with history, a familiar mood.

There is, it seems, such a phenomenon as a Weimar City." -- Claire Berlinski

William H. Howland

The Mayor Who Made a Difference

This is part of the 'Milestone Monday' series.

An Article for the June 1996 Deep Cove Crier
by Reverend Ed Hird, Rector,
St. Simon’s Anglican Church, Used with his permission.

So often, Toronto functions as the city that other Canadians feel the most ambivalent about. The proverbial expression "Can anything good come out of Nazareth?" readily comes to my mind as I think of Toronto. And yet ironically, the nickname "Toronto The Good" points to a side of Toronto that has largely been forgotten in the Canadian amnesia about our own heritage and roots. I was talking recently to Phyllis Beck, the Deep Cove Crier Seniors Columnist, about Toronto roots, only to discover that her daughter-in-law, Barbara Hall, is the current Mayor of Toronto. I commented to Phyllis about the recent discovery that my Great-great-grandfather, Thomas Allen, was a senior Alderman in Toronto during a period of 19 years. When I was in Toronto a few months back, getting a first-hand glimpse of the "Toronto Blessing", I kept driving back and forth past Allen Road. My ignorance about this road named after my Torontonian ancestor reminded me afresh of our Canadian forgetfulness about some of our own heros.

William H. Howland

One such hero was Mayor William Howland of Toronto, a public servant who was so dedicated to helping the disadvantaged that he gave away most of his wealth. Son of the Honorable W.P. Howland, the first Lieutenant-Governor of Ontario, William was possessed with a bubbly enthusiasm and phenomenal capacity for hard work. By the age he was 25, William was president, vice-president, or a director of more than a dozen companies in the fields of insurance and finance, electrical services, and paint manufacturing. When he became president of the Queen City Fire Insurance Company in 1871, he was the youngest insurance company president in Canada. As well, Howland was President of three influential organizations: the Toronto Board of Trade, the Dominion Board of Trade, and the Manufacturer’s Association of Ontario. Out of his love for his country, he served as Chairman of the Canada First movement, personally financing its weekly newspaper "The Nation".

At age 32, Howland was led to Christ by his priest, Dr. W.S. Rainsford of St. James Anglican Cathedral. His life-changing experience gave him a new passion for helping the poor. He became involved helping with the Hillcrest Convalescent Hospital, the YMCA, the Haven Home for Unwed Mothers, the Prisoner’s Aid Association, the Central Prison Mission School, and the Toronto General Hospital. Night after night, Howland visited the slums, going from house-to-house, and reaching out to the poor, the sick, and the alcoholic. He also purchased 50 acres to start an Industrial School in order to steer youth away from the life of crime. Other initiatives were his building an alternative school for drop-outs, and a Home for the Aged and Homeless Poor. When he began to teach an interdenominational bible study for 100 young men, his new priest J.P. Lewis objected to Howland’s involvement with non-Anglicans. Out of this rejection, he began the interdenominational Toronto Mission Union, which operated seniors’ homes, convalescent homes, and Toronto’s first-ever home nursing service.

Because of his great compassion for the poor, he was elected as Mayor of Toronto in 1885, with a strong mandate to clean up the city. Howland signaled his arrival in the mayor’s office by installing a twelve-foot banner on the wall, reading, "Except the Lord Build the City, the Watchman Wakes but in Vain". Despite fierce opposition, Howland was so successful, that Toronto became nicknamed "Toronto the Good". As champion of the poor, Howland and his Alliance friend, Rev. John Salmon, would tramp the lanes and alleys, feeding the poor, praying over the sick, and comforting the sad. With a population of just 104,000, Toronto had over 800 licensed and unlicensed saloons. Over half of all criminal offenses recorded in 1885 were related to drunkenness.

Howland is described in Desmond Morton’s book "Mayor Howland: the Citizen’s Candidate" as the first reform mayor in Toronto’s history. Due to bureaucratic corruption, municipal garbage collection was all but non-existent. Even City Hall’s own garbage was rarely picked up. Rotting garbage fouled the alleyways, yards, and streets, giving Toronto a reputation for flies, stench, and disease. With no general sewage system, Toronto lived on the verge of a typhoid epidemic. Children swam in the same Toronto harbour area into which raw sewage was flowing from the ditches. Toronto’s fresh water supply was sucked through leaking and rotting wooden pipes, half buried in the sewage and sludge of the Toronto harbour.

Howland believed that we didn’t usually need more laws; we just needed to enforce the ones that already existed. He shocked the city bureaucrats by enforcing the already existing bylaw which forbid the depositing of garbage within the city limits. After he threatened to send the city commissioner to jail for breaking this bylaw, garbage miraculously began to be collected! Howland also worked hard in the construction of a trunk sewer system, to redirect the sewage away from the Toronto Harbour. He had such a dramatic impact in reducing the crime rate that other mayors began visiting Toronto, hoping to imitate Howland’s miracle.

During his re-election campaign in 1887, all the taxi cabs were paid off by Howland’s opponent so that they would refuse to take Howland’s supporters to the polling stations. Women however (2,000 widows and single women with property) had just been given the vote. So they held up their long Victorian dresses, and trucked through the snow to give Howland the moral reformer a second term. When Howland was re-elected by a landslide, over 3,000 of his supporters at the YMCA hall spontaneously burst into singing "Praise God From Whom All Blessings Flow.".

After he unexpectedly stepped down as Mayor after two terms, Howland became the founding President of the Christian Alliance (which later took the name C&MA: Christian and Missionary Alliance). The unique interdenominational nature of the early C&MA allowed Howland to be its president, while still remaining an Anglican. When he died unexpectedly at age 49, his funeral involved Anglican, Alliance, and Presbyterian clergy. With more than a thousand mourners on foot from all social classes, it was the largest funeral procession that had ever been held in Toronto. A poem published in the Toronto Globe said of Howland: "And not Toronto mourns alone; All Canada his fame had heard; His name is dear, a household word, And far and wide, his worth was known". May William H. Howland continue to be a living symbol of the difference that just one Canadian can make.

Reverend Ed Hird, Rector,
St. Simon’s Anglican Church

Toronto in the late Nineteenth Century.

Metrodome Crushed by Di-hydrogen Monoxide

Snow Load Collapses Roof... Monday's Game Moved

This video is from Sunday morning's collapse.

Phil Has More [click to read]. Seems like 'global warming' is really getting out of hand. Monday's game will be played in Detroit. ht/Phil.

Aerial view of the collapsed Metrodome.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Inspiration from the Battle of Agincourt

Feeling Discouraged? Henry V Has a Word for You


The English troops, gathering before the Battle of Agincourt, realize that the French outnumber them five to one. The French have cavalry, the English don't. Westmorland wishes that they had with them some of the men who sit idle in England. But King Henry, entering and overhearing him, disagrees. In his famous St. Crispin’s Day speech (so called because he addresses his troops on October 25, St. Crispin’s Day), King Henry says that they should be happy that there are so few of them present, for each can earn a greater share of honor.

St. Crispian’s Day speech
from Henry V (1599) by William Shakespeare
(Act IV, Scene III)

WESTMORELAND. O that we now had here
But one ten thousand of those men in England
That do no work to-day!

KING. What’s he that wishes so?
My cousin Westmoreland? No, my fair cousin;
If we are mark’d to die, we are enow
To do our country loss; and if to live,
The fewer men, the greater share of honour.
God’s will! I pray thee, wish not one man more.
By Jove, I am not covetous for gold,
Nor care I who doth feed upon my cost;
It yearns me not if men my garments wear;
Such outward things dwell not in my desires.
But if it be a sin to covet honour,
I am the most offending soul alive.
No, faith, my coz, wish not a man from England.
God’s peace! I would not lose so great an honour
As one man more methinks would share from me
For the best hope I have. O, do not wish one more!
Rather proclaim it, Westmoreland, through my host,
That he which hath no stomach to this fight,
Let him depart; his passport shall be made,
And crowns for convoy put into his purse;
We would not die in that man’s company
That fears his fellowship to die with us.
This day is call’d the feast of Crispian.
He that outlives this day, and comes safe home,
Will stand a tip-toe when this day is nam’d,
And rouse him at the name of Crispian.
He that shall live this day, and see old age,
Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbours,
And say “To-morrow is Saint Crispian.”
Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars,
And say “These wounds I had on Crispian’s day.”
Old men forget; yet all shall be forgot,
But he’ll remember, with advantages,
What feats he did that day. Then shall our names,
Familiar in his mouth as household words-
Harry the King, Bedford and Exeter,
Warwick and Talbot, Salisbury and Gloucester-
Be in their flowing cups freshly rememb’red.
This story shall the good man teach his son;
And Crispin Crispian shall ne’er go by,
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remembered-
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne’er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition;
And gentlemen in England now-a-bed
Shall think themselves accurs’d they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin’s day.

In this amazing true story, the English win the victory. Like the 300 men with Bible hero Gideon, the outmanned army wins the day. ht/The Sacred Romance by John Eldredge.

Friday, December 10, 2010

THYME Magazine

Citizen Journalism with a Better Flavor

Volume II, Issue LII

A Tale of Two Candidates

The 'other' Weekly News Magazine [click to read] is all in a tizzy...Sarah Palin, what does she really want???

Just read her books, and if you really can't stand to listen to the woman talk, read some of her op-ed's in the WSJ. She's a decent person who's on a mission. She loves her country. She has a loyal following and she has a message.

A popular governor who was tapped to run for Vice-president, she became a target for those elements who despise the things she stands for. After the election was over, her enemies heaped frivolous lawsuits on her office. Did they intend to make the point: "this is what happens to people like YOU who dare to challenge the way we do things?"

Her children were mercilessly attacked and ridiculed by the people who claim to have great compassion. Sarah Palin was supposed to slink quietly away... tail between her legs, and financially and politically ruined... but she didn't. Her enemies underestimated her.

Palin fought back and turned their bad medicine back on her foes. She won a position as a spokesperson for limited government and helped put some good people in office. Her daughter tweaked her critics by appearing on 'Dancing with the Stars.' Though even some conservatives would have had her slink away in shame, she didn't. In fact, the lesson here is for those who would seek to destroy honest opposition with underhanded tactics. Next time, let the defeated candidate go back home in peace. Let her finish out her term and let her go quietly away from the limelight. You'll be the better for it.

What Does Barack Obama Want?

Barack Obama was swept to power amid promises of a new bipartisan spirit coming to Washington. He proved to be a stiff ideologue and abrasive to opposing viewpoints -- not the reconciler that had been promised. After polarizing the country even more,the 2010 elections produced a landslide of Conservative victories [aided, I might add, by Governor Palin].

Bipartisanship finally came to the Obama administration last week as the President actually stumped FOR keeping the Bush-era tax cuts. This is no philosphical coming to enlightenment, but rather a compromise to hopefully save his extended unemployment program. Stay tuned, the story has just begun to get interesting.

Alaska Governor Sarah Palin in Kuwait before her name became a household word.

Tis the Season for Looking Up!

Christmas Wreath on the Top Floor

Oddfellows' Building
It is always fun to look for Christmas decorations in out of the ordinary places. Here is a wreath on Staunton's Oddfellows Building.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Mural at Staunton Alliance Church

Journey to Jesus... The Story Continues

Depicting the New Earth described in Revelation 21.

Petition to Ban Di-hydrogen Monoxide

Cancun Delegates Eagerly Sign Petition Banning Water

This Petition to Set a Global Standard” sought to isolate and punish the United States of America for defying the international community, by refusing to bite, hook, line and sinker on the bait that is the Kyoto Protocol. The petition went so far as to encourage the United Nations to impose tariffs and trade restrictions on the U.S. in a scheme to destabilize the nation’s economy. Specifically, the scheme seeks to lower the U.S. GDP by 6% over a ten year period, unless the U.S. signs a U.N. treaty on global warming.

Phil has More Details [click to read].

"Where are the Toys of Yesteryear?"

Life in the Days Before Orange Tips was Fun!

David Crockett
David (Davey) Crockett, painted in 1834 by Chester Harding.

Childhood memories of Christmas past are vivid with Davey Crockett. [1]. I had a number of items that were official 'Davey Crockett' toys. The longest lasting was the Davey Crockett footlocker which featured a picture of the great hunter facing a rather fierce bear. Crockett was a hero you could look up to. After all these years, the only thing Crockett did that I take issue with is "grinning down a bear." I'd NEVER show my teeth and stare into the eyes of a genuine wild bear [showing teeth and staring is an agressive posture in the ursine order].

Who didn't feel a thrill as Crockett fought the Creeks and later went to Congress. I wish we had Congressmen like him today. He rode through the night to oppose Andrew Jackson's Indian Bill.
"He knew when he spoke his career was done, but speak he did and his point he won." Crockett's honor was inspirational. Back in the politically incorrect Fifties he could start out the movie fighting Indians and end up defending their interests on the floor of the house. It was a great time for a kid to be alive!

Yes, Crockett [and Crockett toys] were a great part of my youth! Other fond memories include Daisy air guns and building sets with moving parts. I had one that you could build an actual model of an oil refinery out of and run real water through to watch it "work." It was made by Kenner, who made some other cool building sets too.

John Kass, writing in Jewish World Review, has His Own Memories [click to read] of toys of yore. Be sure to read it BEFORE you head for the mall.

Farewell to the mountains
who's mazes to me
were more beautiful far
than Eden culd be

The home I redeemed
from the savage and wild
The home I have loved
like a father his child

The wife of my bosom
goodbye one and all
in the land of the stranger
I rise or I fall

-- Song Davey Crockett sings at the Alamo in the movie.

The Ballad of Davey Crockett

Born on a mountain top in Tennessee,
greenest state in the land of the free
Raised in the woods so's he knew ev'ry tree,
kilt him a b'ar when he was only three
Davy, Davy Crockett, king of the wild frontier!

In eighteen thirteen the Creeks uprose,
addin' redskin arrows to the country's woes
Now, Injun fightin' is somethin' he knows,
so he shoulders his rifle an' off he goes
Davy, Davy Crockett, the man who don't know fear!

Off through the woods he's a marchin' along,
makin' up yarns an' a singin' a song
Itchin' fer fightin' an' rightin' a wrong,
he's ringy as a b'ar an' twic't as strong
Davy, Davy Crockett, the buckskin buccaneer!

Andy Jackson is our gen'ral's name,
his reg'lar soldiers we'll put to shame
Them redskin varmints us Volunteers'll tame,
'cause we got the guns with the sure-fire aim
Davy, Davy Crockett, the champion of us all!

Headed back to war from the ol' home place,
but Red Stick was leadin' a merry chase
Fightin' an' burnin' at a devil's pace,
south to the swamps on the Florida Trace
Davy, Davy Crockett, trackin' the redskins down!

Fought single-handed through the Injun War,
till the Creeks was whipped an' peace was in store
An' while he was handlin' this risky chore,
made hisself a legend for evermore
Davy, Davy Crockett, king of the wild frontier!

He give his word an' he give his hand,
that his Injun friends could keep their land
An' the rest of his life he took the stand,
that justice was due every redskin band
Davy, Davy Crockett, holdin' his promise dear!

Home fer the winter with his family,
happy as squirrels in the ol' gum tree
Bein' the father he wanted to be,
close to his boys as the pod an' the pea
Davy, Davy Crockett, holdin' his young'uns dear!

But the ice went out an' the warm winds came,
an' the meltin' snow showed tracks of game
An' the flowers of Spring filled the woods with flame,
an' all of a sudden life got too tame
Davy, Davy Crockett, headin' on West again!

Off through the woods we're ridin' along,
makin' up yarns an' singin' a song
He's ringy as a b'ar an' twict as strong,
an' knows he's right 'cause he ain' often wrong
Davy, Davy Crockett, the man who don't know fear!

Lookin' fer a place where the air smells clean,
where the trees is tall an' the grass is green
Where the fish is fat in an untouched stream,
an' the teemin' woods is a hunter's dream
Davy, Davy Crockett, lookin' fer Paradise!

Now he's lost his love an' his grief was gall,
in his heart he wanted to leave it all
An' lose himself in the forests tall,
but he answered instead his country's call
Davy, Davy Crockett, beginnin' his campaign!

Needin' his help they didn't vote blind,
They put in Davy 'cause he was their kind
Sent up to Nashville the best they could find,
a fightin' spirit an' a thinkin' mindDavy,
Davy Crockett, choice of the whole frontier!

The votes were counted an' he won hands down,
so they sent him off to Washin'ton town
With his best dress suit still his buckskins brown,
a livin' legend of growin' renown
Davy, Davy Crockett, the Canebrake Congressman!

He went off to Congress an' served a spell,
fixin' up the Govern'ments an' laws as well
Took over Washin'ton so we heered tell,
an' patched up the crack in the Liberty Bell
Davy, Davy Crockett, seein' his duty clear!

Him an' his jokes travelled all through the land,
an' his speeches made him friends to beat the band
His politickin' was their favorite brand,
an' everyone wanted to shake his hand
Davy, Davy Crockett, helpin' his legend grow!

He knew when he spoke he sounded the knell,
of his hopes for White House an' fame as well
But he spoke out strong so hist'ry books tell,
an' patched up the crack in the Liberty Bell
Davy, Davy Crockett, seein' his duty clear!

When he come home his politickin' done,
the western march had just begun
So he packed his gear an' his trusty gun,
an' lit out grinnin' to follow the sun
Davy, Davy Crockett, leadin' the pioneer!

He heard of Houston an' Austin so,
to the Texas plains he jest had to go
Where freedom was fightin' another foe,
an' they needed him at the Alamo
Davy, Davy Crockett, the man who don't know fear!

His land is biggest an' his land is best,
from grassy plains to the mountain crest
He's ahead of us all meetin' the test,
followin' his legend into the West
Davy, Davy Crockett, king of the wild frontier!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Putting America Back to Work

Our Future Should be Built on Our Past Success

Valley Railroad Bridge
The Valley Railroad was once a branch of the B&O that ran all the way to Rockbridge County.

Mcormick's Mill
Agriculture was revolutionized by Cyrus McCormick, who built his first reaper at his Father's mill in Augusta County. The operation moved to Chicago to become the International Harvester Corporation.

Fishersille Mike shares this piece: Hard Choices All Around [click to read]. The bottom line is that it is time to start making things again. He references This Article by William Gross [click to read].

"The global economy is suffering from a lack of aggregate demand. With insufficient demand, nations compete furiously for their share of the diminishing growth pie.

In the U.S. and Euroland, many policies only temporarily bolster consumption while failing to address the fundamental problem of developed economies: Job growth is moving inexorably to developing economies because they are more competitive.

Unless developed economies learn to compete the old-fashioned way – by making more goods and making them better – the smart money will continue to move offshore to Asia, Brazil and their developing economy counterparts, both in asset and in currency space."

Drive past the once flourishing DuPont plant in Waynesboro and this will soon start to sink in. Once this complex employed thousands. Today a few hundred workers make Lycra. To qoute Billy Joel: "We're all in Allentown now."

Well we’re living here in Allentown
And they’re closing all the factories down
Out in Bethlehem they’re killing time
Filling out forms

Standing in line

Well our fathers fought the Second World War
Spent their weekends on the Jersey Shore
Met our mothers at the USO
Asked them to dance
Danced with them slow

And we're living here in Allentown.
But the restlessness was handed down
And it's getting very hard to stay.

Well we're waiting here in Allentown
For the Pennsylvania we never found
For the promises our teachers gave
If we worked hard
If we behaved.

So the graduations hang on the wall
But they never really helped us at all
No they never taught us what was real
Iron or coke,
Chromium steel.

– Billy Joel, 1982

But 'living in Allentown' is not an option. The decline of the American economy cannot support our large urbanized population.

"The constructive way is to stop making paper and start making things. Replace subprimes, and yes, Treasury bonds with American cars, steel, iPads, airplanes, corn – whatever the world wants that we can make better and/or cheaper. Learn how to compete again. Investments in infrastructure and 21st century education and research, as opposed to 20th century education are mandatory, as is a withdrawal from resource-draining foreign wars. It will be a tough way back, but it can be done with sacrifice and appropriate public policies that encourage innovation, education and national reconstruction, as opposed to Wall Street finance and Main Street consumption."

Some of the developments that make American plants less competitive are not bad. American mills in the Nineteenth Century employed children, often in dangerous environments. A system that has made life better for the workers is not a bad thing. High corporate tax rates, unsustainable pension plans and redundant Federal oversight that discourages production are very bad things.

We needn't reclaim all manufacturing. We need to find opportunities to excell as new technologies develop and master their development. New processes and craftmanship should fill our vacant plants and find market share enriching customers around the world.

Producing our own energy is essential. Increased nuclear capacity must be developed along with our own oil, gas and coal resources. Controlling energy costs is essential to our future productivity.

Localized production, small and home businesses and artisan farms are part of the answer too. Less centalization of such things as food production is good and renders us less susceptable to worldwide economic chaos.

The 1904 Saint Louis World's Fair and American Superiority

This Article by Guy Sorman in City Journal caught my eye. In 1904 the robust American economy was recognized as a world leader, but Sorman quotes a study showing the American economy coming into its own by 1820! He goes on to point out how egalitarian American ideals actually created the first mass market. Joseph Schumpeter's “creative destruction” is also mentioned as a reason for economic prosperity as the new constantly replaces the old and the market reallocates resources accordingly.

That translates into new innovative technology and methods. Eventually we'll be driving hydrogen cars and seeing advances in healthcare delivery. Government mandates won't accomplish this, changing economies, innovation and market demand will.

I once did a reconstruction of the Nineteenth Century town of Ellicott's Mills, first terminus of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad outside of Baltimore. The Ellicott Brothers had migrated from Bucks County, Pennsylvania and settled on the banks of the Patapsco River. There they convinced Charles Carroll [the signer of the Declaration of Independence] to diversify his plantation agriculture. They intruduced wheat, flour mills, limestone mining and many other innovations and that is a model of what happened throughout the young Republic.

Our real cultural diversity as a 'Nation of Nations' fuels discovery and innovation. In spite of the professed loathing of so many world rulers for our Nation, the best and brightest still want to come here.

Ellicott's Mills is typical of many American communities in the Nineteenth Century. Model by Mr. Kirchman.

Sorman points out that the U.S. economy and its spirit of enterprise still set the pace for the rest of the world. We must not invoke change that diminishes that.

The First Terminus of the B&O Railroad

B&O Station
B&O Station.

Patapsco Hotel
Patapsco Hotel.

Arch of the old railroad bridge.

Floods of the Twentieth Century.

Bridge Cornerstone
Cornerstone of the railroad bridge...

...still carrying Chessie System trains today.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

“A Date Which Will Live in Infamy”

Remembering December 7, 1941

Ships Burn at Drydock, Pearl Harbor
Ships burn at drydock , Pearl Harbor.

"Yesterday, December 7, 1941—a date which will live in infamy—the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.

The United States was at peace with that nation, and, at the solicitation of Japan, was still in conversation with its government and its emperor looking toward the maintenance of peace in the Pacific. Indeed, one hour after Japanese air squadrons had commenced bombing in the American island of Oahu, the Japanese ambassador to the United States and his colleague delivered to our secretary of state a formal reply to a recent American message. While this reply stated that it seemed useless to continue the existing diplomatic negotiations, it contained no threat or hint of war or armed attack.

It will be recorded that the distance of Hawaii from Japan makes it obvious that the attack was deliberately planned many days or even weeks ago. During the intervening time the Japanese government has deliberately sought to deceive the United States by false statements and expressions of hope for continued peace.

The attack yesterday on the Hawaiian Islands has caused severe damage to American naval and military forces. I regret to tell you that very many American lives have been lost. In addition, American ships have been reported torpedoed on the high seas between San Francisco and Honolulu.

Yesterday the Japanese government also launched as attack against Malaya.

Last night Japanese forces attacked Hong Kong.

Last night Japanese forces attacked Guam.

Last night Japanese forces attacked the Philippine Islands.

Last night Japanese forces attacked Wake Island.

Japan has, therefore, undertaken a surprise offensive extending throughout the Pacific area. The facts of yesterday and today speak for themselves. The people of the United States have already formed their opinions and well understand the implications to the very life and safety of our nation.

As commander in chief of the Army and Navy I have directed that all measures be taken for our defense. But always will our whole nation remember the character of the onslaught against us..."
-- President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Franklin D. Roosevelt Library, Hyde Park, New York.

Winter at Miller School of Albemarle

Samuel Miller's Gift to Undrpriviledged Children

The frozen lotus pond.

'Old Main' was designed by Richmond Architect Albert Lybrock.

The Clock Tower of the Arts Building.

In 1859 Samuel Miller, a successful Lynchburg businessman wrote his last will and testament. Remembering his own childhood in the Ragged Mountains, he specified that the bulk of his estate be used to establish a school for children from the region. When Mr. Miller died in 1869, his vision became a reality and The Miller School was established.

The 1600 acre campus was a working farm. Students were instructed in the classics, but learned from firsthand experience agriculture and trades such as carpentry and metal work.

To house the institution, Richmond architect Albert Lybrock was commissioned to design a magnificent building combining Gothic and Elizabethan styles. The builder, Thomas Woodroffe, came from England. He bagan construction on 'Old Main' in the Summer of 1876. The building was dedicated in 1878.

The Richmond Dispatch reported on the event, lamenting that that it was “a pity this splendid building should be in such an inaccessible place!”

In 1886, the building was featured on the cover of Scientific American magazine. "If you build it, they will come."

Today students from around the world come to Miller School. [1.]
1. Miller School - The History

Ice on lotus pond.