Empire of the Summer Moon, the Rise and Fall of the Comanches, the Most Powerful Indian Tribe in American History, by S.C. Gwynn
On the cover is their last chief, Quanah Parker, whose grave I hope to visit later this month in Ft Sill, Oklahoma, along with Geronimo’s, and many others, incidentally. He is the son of the captive, turned native, Cynthia Ann Parker, whose kidnapping the John Wayne movie, The Searchers, is loosely based on. I live on the eastern border of the lands this book talks about in fascinating detail.
I know it is fashionable to vilify white colonialists, expansionists, and manifest destiny people. Instead this book comes across as wisely objective and deeply understanding of what motivates people, including Calvinism, and the tendency to pull wings off of flies that seems to afflict boys more than girls.
I don’t think I’ll look at Texas heroes the same, but I also think the author preserves the dignity of wild masculinity. He’s a well-researched tightrope walker, to be sure.
The Magic Shop by HG Wells
I was all settled in for a good listen, happily immersed in late Victorian prose when it abruptly ended. This is a short story that I mistook to be hours long instead of minutes.
One reason for my happiness in Wells was because I had just finished Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett. The reason I finished Pillars of the Earth was because Mr. Follett is a very tidy plotter, similar in logic and scope to JK Rowling. This story is very well researched about Medieval living arrangements, and his explanation about his paradoxical atheism and love of cathedrals in the introduction fittingly sets the stage. He has probably read Mindhunter by John Douglas, because his profile of violent sex offenders seems pretty similar. His female characters are also believable. However there is way too much graphic private anatomy, hence my love of the Victorians who can tell a great story without it.
A few months ago I finished a Twitter recommendation of Eric Metaxas to read The Genealogical Adam and Eve by S. Joshua Swamidass. His premise, though grounded in similar explanations of genealogy and ancient DNA from David Reich & Co, except allowing for creationism, is derived from speculating from silence, and justifies it by rightly defining much of evolutionary propaganda (I’ll say this word even though he can also respect theistic evolution) as doing the same. He is pretty diplomatic, which is nice.
I’m just catching glimpses of the Simone Biles story of dropping out of the team competition? I am glad I am not all caught up in the Olympics this year and the associated dramas.
Still, America and the world have heretofore lived and died for the glory of honor such as is described in
King Henry V: 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 called the feast of Crispian:
He that outlives this day, and comes safe home,
Will stand a tip-toe when the day is named,
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 Crispin’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 remember’d.
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 remember’d;
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 accursed they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin’s day.
I think the time is upon us, justifiably or not, to question the costs of glory, and if we have the right idea of it. Many are willing to become martyrs, but to make your family martyrs is another thing. Or to live with the non fatal injuries that make one cranky. I’m a bit agnostic about it right now, but still I press on. ha. to some extent. Maybe not enough, maybe too much.
I wonder if it is a sign of an addictive personality to be constantly driven to seek relief. Or is it the human condition? One born out of privation, necessity, and scarcity as a result of the fall, however and whenever that occurred. Relief seeking is being motivated by a negative, whereas constructive activites tend to be seen as being motivated by a positive. Creative types are brimming with new ideas instead of escape, I imagine. But maybe they are also running from something.
We also seek engagement. What if one develops too much of a habit of addressing pain that this becomes their most engaged activity, and thus their identity? Nurses tend to do this with others, and then they may retire to address their own. Aspergers may also develop this mindset if feeling outside is their loudest voice. I have read that their special interests can be a means of escape from their loneliness.
Yet other things are worthy of attention, of course, despite the criticism that one is avoiding ones painful self.
Seeking to put all in proper balance, I’m sure.
Some people look old at 60, and some not till they’re 70. I just turned 55 and am kind of scared how close those ages are getting to me. I had a back injury that kept me down in my 40’s, but now with lots of exercise I’ve developed a passion for hiking, peddle kayaking, and to a lesser extent, stationary biking (maybe not stationary in the future) and gardening. These are good retirement activities that will hopefully slow down the aging process, because I have destinations and fitness goals I have yet to accomplish.
I have heard that many PTSD people need to hike, as hiking decreases rumination. I imagine it’s the rhythmic plodding that both lulls and distracts, and of course the scenery. Our outdoor field of view, especially in Texas and the west, is so much bigger than we are that it helps minimize our trauma. This is also why I like Walmart.
I remember being similarly transported when my firstborn was a science loving little boy, and we were glued to Carl Sagan describing a googolplex 10(10100) . In fact, if you look up googolplex on Wikipedia, this episode is mentioned.
In the PBS science program Cosmos: A Personal Voyage, Episode 9: “The Lives of the Stars”, astronomer and television personality Carl Sagan estimated that writing a googolplex in full decimal form (i.e., “10,000,000,000…”) would be physically impossible, since doing so would require more space than is available in the known universe. Sagan gave an example that if the entire volume of the observable universe is filled with fine dust particles roughly 1.5 micrometers in size (0.0015 millimeters), then the number of different combinations in which the particles could be arranged and numbered would be about one googolplex.
Writing the number would take an immense amount of time: if a person can write two digits per second, then writing a googolplex would take about 1.51×1092 years, which is about 1.1×1082 times the accepted age of the universe.
The number of stars, which are formed from dust, is one of the closest measurements we have of infinity. This article says that
In October 2016, an article in Science (based on deep-field images from the Hubble Space Telescope) suggested that there are about 2 trillion galaxies in the observable universe, or about 10 times more galaxies than previously suggested. In an email with Live Science, lead author Christopher Conselice, a professor of astrophysics at the University of Nottingham in the United Kingdom, said there were about 100 million stars in the average galaxy.
…Kornreich used a very rough estimate of 10 trillion galaxies in the universe. Multiplying that by the Milky Way’s estimated 100 billion stars results in a large number indeed: 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 stars, or a “1” with 24 zeros after it (1 septillion in the American numbering system; 1 quadrillion in the European system). Kornreich emphasized that number is likely a gross underestimation, as more detailed looks at the universe will show even more galaxies.
Therefore, this morning when the Psalmist (147: 4-5) said that
4 He telleth the number of the stars; he calleth them all by their names. 5 Great is our Lord, and of great power: his understanding is infinite.
it made me wonder how the Psalmist knew that. I grew up believing that Bible writers were more like scribes taking dictation from God. I wonder this morning if this is more like a panegyric, where the intent is to be the most flattering as possible. Not unlike children who one up each other till the last one calls infinity. We can infer that since God created (both directly and however indirectly) and is ominscient, that he knows all the details of all the stars, snowflakes, sands, and hairs on all of our heads. Naming, however, unless one uses numbers, but even then, implies a personal relationship. Jewish writers are good at bringing truths into relationship, sort of like southern speakers with their similes.
There is no such thing as preservation because there is no such thing as stasis. Things grow and decay and get mixed up with other things. Therefore I am a conservationist not a preservationist. Conservatives seek to minimize the decay of their favorite things. Environmentalists are mistaken if they believe things like glaciers can be preserved. I hear some country is putting a tarp on one. Oh brother. Glaciers are very dynamic things that grow, melt, move, and get mixed up with stuff. It is ironic that the people who worry the most about glaciers are progressives who want things to change really fast. Other ecosystems are always changing. Scientists are finding out that there is pretty much no such thing as “native species”. Life is nomadic depending on prevailing conditions.
Neil Sperry, the Texas plant guru had to do some splainin when a lot of Texas’ “native species” died this February in the deep freeze. He had to talk about the differing ecosystems in Texas with their unique varieties of plants that thrive in them or will die periodically during deeper freezes.
Even with xeriscaping there is tending to do. In my yard beyond my sprinkler system I have to choose which seedlings to encourage as cedar elms are way more profuse in their seed distribution, and whose saplings thrive in thick carpets to compete with each other later on, than post oak acorns, the signature tree of the Cross Timbers ecosystem, and which are very picky about spacing, light, and moisture. Cedar elms also have interesting ways of encroaching by sending branches to the ground to take root and become a bushy type plant conquering a meadow foot by foot, even though a mature tree can be very tall and stately. I recently reclaimed a few feet of my wildflower yard, but those elms keep sprouting new shoots where their roots are still very much alive. They say you have to keep cutting them for a few years. But post oaks have thrived here for tens of thousands of years without people tending them. What changed? Clearing huge swaths of the native woods for “Cross Timbers Golf Course” and CT subdivisions for one thing. All around me I see bull dozed housing sites. Our builder was very careful to preserve (conserve) the trees around our house. I know it takes more time to work around the trees, but goodness, people. I kind of doubt it’s climate change because there have been dry and hot periods off and on in the tens of thousands of years that these trees have lived through. Lord have mercy on the trees and all the wildlife they host.
I would like to commemorate this Bastille Day with a post about dominion.
It is ironic that people fight against perceived tyranny with violence. And forcing one political party out of the voting process with the aid of the police, hackable machines, and post office is violent.
One could say that survival of the fittest determines who gets to dominate the other. Might does not equal right however.
I seem to think it is ok to dominate my lawn, despite certain forces of nature that I cannot control. Modern man is an interventionist by necessity. Before the technical revolution 11,000? years ago, despite early hominids perhaps driving Mammoths to extinction, I would say they were in the brute force of nature category, like T-Rex’s, and not interventionists.
Modern man was created to subdue the earth. And for this God gave us a conscience different than the pure nature of animal instinct. We have to educate ourselves and evaluate our changes upon the earth. In this way our way of life evolves the way the evolutionists fantasize about genes evolving. They project our learning capabilities onto genes, which they do not have. They think that technologies evolved so that birds with feathers were able to fly because completely unrelated reptilian featherless Pterodactyls had already “learned” how. That is a whole different kind of evolution than biological development. And by the way, they say that modern avian birds are unrelated to similar birds that existed before the KT extinction 66 million years ago. They say that modern tree birds evolved from the few duck like birds who survived because they could live in shallow water when all of the trees were wiped out. So fanciful.
Back to dominion. There is not much argument that one should dominate/train and control one’s pets, and to wildly differing degrees, one’s at least small children. Protection is a form of domination where you are constraining others’ activities. This is how the powers that be justify protecting the vote from racist deplorables.
Some people need to feel dominant in personal situations. I have heard that one Asperger trait is that they are more comfortable with much younger and older people. I also think of Schmidt writing to Ndugu instead of a peer. Perhaps a reason Aspies have special interests is that knowledge is power. They need to understand something in order to dominate it. Not that we are power hungry, but because we feel lost and groundless and need to gain a foothold. Aspies are also very concrete thinkers.
by Mother Alexandra (Princess Ileana of Romania). I cite her rather than Exodus because I just read it in her book.
“And now I am sending my angel to go before thee and guard thee on the way, and lead thee to the place I have made ready for thee. Give him good heed, and listen to his bidding; think not to treat him with neglect. He will not overlook thy faults, and in him dwells the power of my name. (Ex. 23:20-21)”
This book is very well written.