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Western Kingbird, San Antonio NM, April 15, 2010

Some quirky passages drawing on life in historical America.

  • A Voyage and a Harbor
    • "As geographer Yi-Fu Tuan says, we require both shelter and venture. We need freedom and support, silence and cacophony, the vast and distant but also the warm and near, a voyage and a harbor, the great adventure and the hobbit hole. Much of the iconography of our times gives little sense of this."
  • It's No Use Arguing Tastes with a Cow
    • "Especially at night, the cows would come wandering in among our tents, like the party who goes about seeking what he may devour, and on getting hold of some such choice morsel as a sock, shirt, or blanket, Mrs. Bossie would chew and chew..."
  • A Call to Nature
    • "There were sardine cans and cracker boxes and one thing and another. Then I found where one of them had had a call to nature. I told one of my men to put it in a can."
  • The Heliograph in the Apache Wars
    • The mountains and the sun...were made his allies, the eyes of his command, and the carriers of swift messages.
  • An Apache Defilade in the Florida Mountains
    • Back in the day when the Apaches and the American Buffalo Soldiers were getting it on the Apaches had a view point in the Florida Mountains across from Rockhound State Park where they could get a few hours warning when an Army party left their Cook's Spring encampment.
  • Heliograph routes of the 1890 Practice
    • On May 15th, 1890, and the Army's Department of Arizona had just completed a major heliograph practice, the largest the world had ever seen.
  • Heliograph route between Fort Cummings NM and Tubac, AZ
    • "A message was recently sent by the government heliograph (signalling by sunlight flashes) from Fort Cummings, N.M. to Tubac, Ariz., a distance of 400 miles, and an answer received in four hours."
  • Sweet, Rich Hickory Milk
    • "Despite the unsanitary presentation, the milk was ambrosial - fragrantly nutty, delightfully heavy on the tongue,"
  • Teosinte and the Improbability of Maize
    • "No one eats teosinte, because it produces too little grain to be worth harvesting. In creating modern maize from this unpromising plant, Indians performed a feat so improbable that archaeologists and biologists have argued for decades over how it was achieved. "
  • Fire Protection in Early Hudson NY
    • "It was enjoined upon all the citizens, in case of a fire in the night, to place lighted candles in their windows, in order that the inhabitants might pass through the streets in safety, and to throw their buckets into the street, that there might not be delay in obtaining them."
  • Unnecessary War
    • "Great is the guilt" John Adams
  • The New England Path
    • The principal trails of the Indians through the wilderness, unbroken save by patches here and there under crude tillage, were two: one near the river; and the other, following the lines of least resistance, nearly identical with the roadbed of the Boston and Albany Railroad and long known as the "New England Path.
  • Internal Intrigues
    • "internal intrigues ... are and will be our ruin." John Adams
  • Party Differences
    • "everyone takes his side in favor of the many, or of the few, according to his constitution and the circumstances in which he is placed..."
  • The Only Misfortune Of It
    • " that Mr. Jefferson's sayings are never well digested, often extravagant, and never consistently pursued." John Adams
  • What Horrid Creatures We Men Are
    • "that we cannot be virtuous without murdering one another?" John Adams
  • Masquerade
    • "My friend! Our country is a masquerade!" John Adams
  • Inflection Points
    • "we flail around wondering why our life isn't as stable as we think our parents' was." Britt Blaser
  • Under This Roof
    • "May none but honest and wise men ever rule under this roof."
  • The War Prayer
    • "O Lord our God, help us to tear their soldiers to bloody shreds with our shells; ... help us to lay waste their humble homes with a hurricane of fire; help us to wring the hearts of their unoffending widows with unavailing grief; help us to turn them out roofless with little children to wander unfriended the wastes of their desolated land in rags and hunger and thirst" Mark Twain
  • Hobnobbing with Brigham Young
    • "I hesitated a little about accepting the invitation because I didn't know how many of the Mrs. Youngs I might be presented to and I wasn't looking as handsome as I always liked to when going into the company of ladies."
  • Sell Them Down the River
    • "The average Missouri Negro looked upon being sold south as one or two degrees worse than being sent straight to hell." Thomas Henry Tibbles