COLLECTIVE MADNESS


“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Thanksgiving, The True American Holiday.


As news days go, Thanksgiving is a modest yawn. They could video tape last year's stories and replay them this year. This is the day when talk radio and news will be presented from the deep end of the bench.

It is 0400 and I can predict that the news will be as predictable as what you will have for dinner. Things like showing the troops getting turkey dinner. Warm and fuzzy stories of this group and that group handing out turkeys and bag of groceries to needy, but suspiciously overweight needy people. Frankly, I would prefer to see them given to people a little more on the gaunt side. Some out stretched hand and hands clutching at pant legs would be a more interesting sight. That conveys needy to me. However, the US is a little bit shy of gaunt these days, so I will have to settle for winos and drug addicts trying to look grateful eating turkey off plastic plates, all served by some exhibitionist seeking publicity. No one has yet replaced Mother Theresa.

Personally, if I were a real reporter, I would take a survey of the needy people getting the free turkey dinners and see what car they drove in on. Do a bling check or something nasty and cynical. Something more in line with the real big story, which will be how well retail sails will go, starting tomorrow.

But that is the problem. I am not a reporter. I am an accidental blogger. I came upon this like a drunk in a karaoke bar. Give them the microphone once and it is almost impossible to unlock their fingers to take it away. Where a normal human being wakes up at a normal hour and flips up the toilet seat to pee, a blogger flips open the laptop and is illuminated with the silver reflected screen light, carousing the internet for an illuminating story. (My apologies to the female bloggers for not being more inclusive.) That has become increasingly and unfortunately more easy. Well for the moment, I will pass on doing that. After all, it is Thanksgiving day.

This morning, smell the coffee, watch your stupid parades, smell the turkey and share in the universal American, the truly universal Thanksgiving Day. If someone tells you to ”enjoy your holiday” or calls it “Turkey Day”, forgive them. But I am not letting you off that easily. Share a story about something in your life or experience that conveys your sense of thanks for the blessings and obligations that you have received in your life. I will post them at the end of this entry. One more thing. Blessings and obligations always travel together. Happy Thanksgiving.
"The First Thanksgiving" by Jennie Augusta Brownscombe, 1914

92 comments:

  1. Boney M for CIC!
    ---
    Rivers Of Babylon
    By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down
    ye-eah we wept, when we remembered Zion.
    By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down
    ye-eah we wept, when we remembered Zion.
    When the wicked
    Carried us away in captivity
    Required from us a song
    Now how shall we sing the lord's song in a strange land
    When the wicked
    Carried us away in captivity
    Requiering of us a song
    Now how shall we sing the lord's song in a strange land
    Let the words of our mouth and the meditations of our heart
    be acceptable in thy sight here tonight
    Let the words of our mouth and the meditation of our hearts
    be acceptable in thy sight here tonight
    By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down
    ye-eah we wept, when we remembered Zion.
    By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down
    ye-eah we wept, when we remembered Zion.
    By the rivers of Babylon (dark tears of Babylon)
    there we sat down (You got to sing a song)
    ye-eah we wept, (Sing a song of love)
    when we remember Zion. (Yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah)
    By the rivers of Babylon (Rough bits of Babylon)
    there we sat down (You hear the people cry)
    ye-eah we wept, (They need that ???)
    when we remember Zion. (Ooh, have the power)

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  2. 9th Generation Grandson of Governor Bradford called Roger Hedgecock after he read Bradford's account of the first Thanksgiving.

    Said his two nieces are teachers:

    They teach the modern PC version having NO relation to reality instead of the one recorded 300 years ago by their direct ancestor Gov Bradford!

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  3. What could now sustain them but the Spirit of God and His grace? May not and ought not the children of these fathers rightly say: "Our fathers were Englishmen which came over this great ocean, and were ready to perish in this wilderness; but they cried unto the Lord, and He heard their voice and looked on their adversity," etc. "Let them therefore praise the Lord, because He is good: and his mercies endure forever. Yea, let them which have been redeemed of the Lord, show how He hath delivered them from the hand of the oppressor. When they wandered in the desert wilderness out of the way, and found no city to dwell in, both hungry and thirsty, their soul was overwhelmed in them." "Let them confess before the Lord His lovingkindness and His wonderful works before the sons of men."

    Governor William Bradford

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  4. Turkey on the grill, turkey in the deep fryer. Potatos, yams and pies.

    It's just another day, elsewhere in the World. Even for Rpbert Novak, who writes:
    "... According to administration officials, only three or four people knew he would be fired -- and Rumsfeld was not one of them. His fellow presidential appointees, including some who did not applaud Rumsfeld's performance in office, were taken aback by his treatment.

    In the two weeks following the election, I have asked a wide assortment of Republican notables their opinion of the Rumsfeld sacking. Only one went on the record: Rep. Duncan Hunter, House Armed Services Committee chairman. A rare undeviating supporter of Rumsfeld, Hunter told me "it was a mistake for him to resign." The others, less supportive of Rumsfeld, said they were "appalled" -- the most common descriptive word -- by the president's performance.

    The treatment of his war minister connotes something deeply wrong with George W. Bush's presidency in its sixth year. Apart from Rumsfeld's failures in personal relations, he never has been anything short of loyal in executing the president's wishes. But loyalty appears to be a one-way street for Bush. His shrouded decision to sack Rumsfeld after declaring he would serve out the second term fits the pattern of a president who is secretive and impersonal.
    ...
    They see the White House dedicated to the "24-hour-cycle theory of politics." They believe removal of Rumsfeld falling into the 24-hour cycle was intended to crowd out continued rehashing of disastrous election returns.

    It is hard to find anyone in the Bush administration who endorses the way Rumsfeld was handled. His friend and comrade, Vice President Dick Cheney, is reported to be profoundly disturbed. But even before the election, Cheney appeared melancholic. A high-ranking administration official who visited the vice president then reported him to be nothing like the upbeat Cheney earlier years in this administration.

    The last two years of eight-year presidencies are historically difficult, particularly after losing the final midterm election. Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1959-60 assumed a more aggressive conservative posture by firing off multiple vetoes of excessive spending legislation. During the Iran-Contra scandal, Ronald Reagan in 1987-88 was steadfast in pursuing Cold War victory. But the way George W. Bush handled Rumsfeld was not a good sign for his concluding years as president.

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  5. Chuck Colson's interesting Thanksgiving day story about "God's Instrument" The Story of Squanto.

    Recounting Our Manifold Blessings by Mark Alexander, The Patriot post.

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  6. Parades are not Stupid!!

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  7. On Thanksgiving Day all over America, families sit down to dinner at the same moment -- halftime

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  8. I have so many things to be profoundly thankful for I could literally write all day. From the most exceptional, hardworking, and loving parents, up to my two fine children, and delightful grandson.

    The country I love so much, that has given so much to me, and me so little in return. To be blessed with a few natural abilities in a country that rewards a little work, and a little ability so greatly makes me, indeed, one of the luckiest people that has ever lived on this planet.

    But, today, I want to be whimsical, and say, "Thanks to Deuce and Whit, and the several fine contributors to the Elephant Bar. What an incredibly lucky find this was - an eclectic mix of some truly bright people with enough time on their hands to talk to me every day.

    Thanks!

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  9. Anonymous, On Memorial Day, the regulars at the Elephant Bar participated in a parade organized by Desert Rat. He led the parade. I had this in mind when perhaps I was typing so early this morning. Pay it no mind, we are a blog of mostly grumpy old men. Enjoy your entertaining parade, but do not burn your turkey.

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  10. ditto rufus's feelings towards the other folk that hang here, at the Bar.

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  11. Yep, that's me, duece, headin' off in the "wrong" direction, but do not worry, everyone catches up, eventually.

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  12. Oh, how much do I owe for the "Damages," last night?

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  13. South of the Border,
    down Mexico way...

    Like Napoleon crowning himself emperor of France, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador stood in the Zocalo, the main square in Mexico City, and had the green, red and white presidential banner placed across his chest while declaring himself the "moral" president of Mexico. This was on Monday, the anniversary of the country's 1910 revolution. By claiming himself president, Lopez Obrador undermined the very democracy and popular sovereignty he purports to embrace.

    Now I remeber rufus thinking that Mr Obrador was using his revolutionnary rhetoric to "back away" from losing the Mexican election.
    If Mr Kerry or Gore had gone to Washington DC and declared himself President, it would not be considered comical, nor unimportant, but a threat to the Republic.

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  14. One Monkey don't stop no show, Folks.

    Dubya knew that if he lost that election he was going to have to "reinvigorate" public support for "Winning the War." He knew that he was going to have to shake things up. We were sliding into despair, with the war effort denigrated with the phrase "Stay the Course." The Dems ran on retreat, and they won. He had to do something.

    Dubya had to change the conversation. He had to let the people talk themselves back into a cause they had talked themselves out of. He HAD TO GET THEM "TALKING," AND THINKING.

    Rummy did a good job, but then, so did every troop that went to Iraq. Truth be told, the man had to be getting tired. The edge had to be dulling a little bit. The country needed a "Refresh."

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  15. I would not disagree with that, rufus. It is a matter of timing, style and tact.

    When Mr Bush said Mr Rumsfeld would be on board for the duration, then dumped him two weeks later, now that is "Cutting and Rumming" on ones word. At least from the perspective of those that supported the GOP because of Mr Bush's steadfast loyalty to Mr Rumsfeld and his "Staying the Course".

    So did Mr Bush "lie" about Rummy to get those "base" votes? Did he retain Rummy for the percieved advantage before the Election and dump him for the percieved advantage after?

    When did Mr Bush decide and why did he decide it?

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  16. Actually, I'm being unfair to the American People. There's no indication that they signed on to "Retreat." What they've all said, it seems, is they want "Change." We've said it here at the Bar, almost to a man/woman; we want the war fought better.

    Of course a sizable percent do want a rapid withdrawal, probably 30%; But, probably 70% of the American people, some of whom voted for the Pubs, anyway wanted a change of some kind. A lot of people just wanted a more aggressive policy towards "Winning."

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  17. Ruf:
    The EB got pretty well trashed last night. When we total up the damages, we'll let you know what your share is.
    :)

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  18. Rufus, 10:25:

    Amen.

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  19. The thing is Rat, the Pentagon, and DC as a whole, has turned into an incredibly "leaky" place.

    My GUESS is that Bush let the people decide.

    My other guess is that Dubya has no intention of LOSING this War, and that he will sacrifice whoever he has to to win it.

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  20. Edward Winslow wrote in A Journal of the Pilgrims in 1621 an account of the first Thanksgiving.

    It's short, but thought-provoking.

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  21. Looky, looky There's somepin brewin down dere.

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  22. BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - Three suicide car bombers and two mortar attacks shook Baghdad's Sadr City Shiite slum Thursday afternoon, killing at least 144 people and wounding 236 others, many of them seriously, police said.

    The bombs and mortar shells struck at 15 minute intervals beginning about 3 p.m., with the first suicide bombing striking a vegetable market.

    Angry residents and armed militiamen flooded the streets hurling curses at Sunni Muslims. Police said the death toll was expected to rise significantly.

    Heavy clashes broke out Thursday afternoon between gunmen and guards at the Shiite-controlled Health Ministry building in north Baghdad, security officials said.

    State-run Iraqiyah television said the Health Ministry was being attacked with mortars by "terrorists who are intending to take control of the building."

    The security officials said about 30 gunmen, believed to be Sunni insurgents, had launched the attack.

    Iraqi troops were being rushed to the area and all roads leading to the ministry in Bab al-Muadham neighborhood were closed, said the security officials on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to reporters.


    Seems someone is taking the fight to the al-Sadr base. Just as Mr Bush is to meet with Mr Maliki to talk about how awful Mr al-Sadr is behaving. Mr Maliki will tell Mr Bush that the Insurgents are the "real" problem, that al-Sadr is not the problem, but the Solution. If Mr Maliki cannot command the Coalition Forces in offensive actions, as the Iraqi Goevernment desires.

    Can they agree to disagree and the US still "Win" the War on Terror in Iraq?

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  23. Maliki was the one who lifted the barricades, wasn't he?

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  24. Part of the problem is that the troops the Senor Milkcow "Controls" won't leave their safe, comfy little provinces and go fight in Baghdad.

    I got a hunch Mr Bush is going to tell the milkcow that that's gotta stop.

    I think there are BIG Changes acoming. I don't know what they are, but I suspect they are going to be of the paradigm-shifting variety.

    Having Bush in Jordan, and Cheney in Saudi Arabia at the same time, following on the heels of papa Bush's trip to the Region protends something pretty "interesting."

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  25. Here's a Miami Herald slideshow of Manuel Rosales the candidate opposing Chavez. Let's hope and pray that Chavez doesn't resort to Syrian tactics.

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  26. Looky, looky There's somepin brewin down dere.

    I like the story right under that one, rufus, the Mexican "little man on the wedding cake"...LOL!

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  27. Yeah, he had to pay for the party, himself. Seems like most of our southern buddies aren't too interested in "Dueling Presidencies."

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  28. What time does the bar open today? CBS is covering a parade on in NYC. A snow man float goes by. The male commenter talks about the "snowman". The female commenter corrects him: "We call them snow people".

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  29. Again, Mexico and it's dueling Presidents is a matter of perspective. Oaxaca is in a state of open revolt against the Federales, but their Sanctuary, the University, is off limits to those Federales, by Mexican Law.
    Another case of RoEs and a lack of resolve or an inner strength of the Government.

    In Venezuela, why assume Mr Hugo will play by Mr Carter's rules when it does not suit him.

    How many M-16s have we supplied to the antiChavez forces, if Mr Abbas rates 3,000?

    If Chavez does not give up the levers of power in Venezuela, he has a staging area in Nicoland, with the election of Mr Ortega. A footprint in southern Mexico and an alternative government, already in place, there.

    If the objective is to disrupt the Worlds economy, the US's in particular, Mexico is the soft underbelly of Globalization.

    Also plays into the monied of Cuba looking for a Rancho on the pampas, getting out of the line of fire before the US retaliation takes place.

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  30. Rufus said:
    Having Bush in Jordan, and Cheney in Saudi Arabia at the same time, following on the heels of papa Bush's trip to the Region protends something pretty "interesting."

    I would love to believe that but...past history being what it is...

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  31. You'll notice the Castros are not planning emmigration to Venezuela.

    Ah, it's no big thing, Rat, whether Chavez survives this election, or not. It would be kind of amusing, though.

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  32. Only the Chinese are moving to Venezuela, now that they have a lock on both ends of the Canal.

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  33. Rufus:
    This is not too encouraging. From Newsmax.com
    The Bush administration wants Saudi Arabia to put greater diplomatic muscle behind the secular Palestinian president in his standoff with Hamas militants, and to bolster moderate secular governments in Lebanon and Iraq. Saudi Arabia and Egypt both have told the administration that the Middle East's many volatile conflicts are hinged to Israel's long conflict with the Palestinians.

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  34. "... and to bolster moderate secular governments in Lebanon and Iraq. ..."

    If an accurate dsecription of the US attitude towards the Iraqi Government, it is delusional.

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  35. Whit, I'm sure any document signed is going to have to have a paragraph, or three, about Palestine.

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  36. 2164th wrote:

    The male commenter talks about the "snowman". The female commenter corrects him: "We call them snow people".

    Calling them snow people is so white. We prefer to call them by the Inuit name for freshly fallen snow, "nutaryuk people".

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  37. I don't think the President, and vice-president, both, are going to the Middle East to gain support for bolstering moderate, secular governments. I guess it's possible; but, it seems unlikely, no?

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  38. Seems as if our immigration and customs service and their politically correctness is treating everyone equally. You can post a comment there.

    Unfriendly, Suspicious, Arrogant: is this America?
    Posted at: 00:01
    Americans everywhere celebrate Thanksgiving today, the holiday which recalls their ancestors' arrival in the new continent and the welcome they received from its native inhabitants.

    But a new survey claims that “arrogant, unpredictable” immigration officials are tarnishing America's traditional values and driving away today's visitors to the country.

    Two thirds of those questioned in the poll found the US "the worst country in the world" for its treatment of visitors, with security measures taken since September 2001 blamed for creating a “climate of fear.”

    Is this survey a fair reflection of America? If you have travelled to America recently, how were you treated? If you are yourself American, what do you think of these criticisms and how are you received when you travel abroad?

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  39. I'll bet it has something to do with Syria.

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  40. Deuce, the Europeans in general, and the British in particular, have been resentful of us for 300 years. They still like the Dollar, though.

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  41. The last time I flew back into this country I was in line at customs for about one, or two, minutes. My bags arrived at the carousel about the same time I did, and it was out the door.

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  42. You want "Cold and Aloof?" Try a desk clerk in Amsterdam.

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  43. Gotta go, food preparation begins (with a trip to Walmart to pick up the Turkey.) God, I love that store.

    Enjoy Dinner, Folks.

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  44. doug said....

    we remembered Zion...

    Yes please do, Rockets are falling on Zion as we speak!

    I am thankful for the USAF & IDF

    As i say every morning when I rise...

    Hey it aint Aushwitz! Everything else is gravy!

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  45. Happy Thanksgiving Bob:

    And thanks for that uplifting and reassuring story about life in America.

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  46. All the folks here at the trailer park wanted to wish all the good fols at the Elephant Bar a wonderful Thanksgiving.
    We took the motor out of the old school bus which was used as our recreation center and built up a BBQ smoker. Works like a charm 'cept sometimes our best dish "chien et pomme de terre", has a tiny motor oil smell.
    Rupert, our chief designer fixed up the back emergency door with a big screen TV we liberated from, well we got one. To get that surround sound eve'rbody tunes in the football game. Heck the entire trailer park is one big tailgate! Now of course that what makes America great.
    One of the neighbors who is pretty fancied up has a Winnebago Super Chief and he also raises Rottweilers, but a couple of the young'ins didn't make it so we got extra chien if any you folks wanna stop by.
    We all chipped in an bought each kid a 6' lenght of rope to play with. Right now the "Captain", a old retired tugboat skipper, is try' damn hard to show the kids how to hold the rope in the middle. 'bout half can do it now, I figure a'fore the sun goes down they'll all be hav'in that "success" experience.
    Well I better go throud some more beer on the grub.
    So Happy Thanksgiving from the Ocala Forrest Trailer Haven and Washateria gang.

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  47. Habu:
    Does that chien taste like chicken? Or is it gamier; more like duck?

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  48. For you old timers, John Fogarty just started playing at the half time festivities of Detroit Lions v Miami Dolphins.

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  49. hoo, boy--John Fogerty blowing it out @ Lions/Dolphins halftime--

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  50. dammit, even on Thanksgiving, I get scooped--

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  51. Buddy:
    I was liking the performance til they rolled down those three United Way Banners. I was hoping that the pyro-technics would set them on fire. Needless to say, I don't think much of the United Way.

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  52. Whit,
    Alot depends on if ya marinate it in muscatel or MD2020. For the most part if ya beat on it with a ball peen hammer you can loosen it up and witht he muscatel it tastes like more like mule than chicken. but this year our annual mule at Thanksgiving was changed to a "Mule for Yule" drive.
    So far the lint we done sold from the washateria to pillow companies in Niger done brought in enough for a bigg'um for Christmas.
    We pretty much figure it won't fit under the hood'n grill on the bus so we're gonna go for mule on a spit. One of the girls, Ruby, is donat'n her old tummy shak'n machine motor to turn the spit. 'Course Rupert ull havfta make the mods.
    The winner of the "Big Log" produc'in contest, usually held a day or so after the big eat is gonna git the mule hide for their trailer.
    If your neat Salt Springs in the Ocala Forrrest look for the big dip on the roadside. That'll be Goober who's out greeter. He'll tell ya how far down the firetrail ya gotta go to get to us.
    All the Holiday Best,
    Habu

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  53. PS. make your Christmas plans early cause we're hav'n Tammy Fay Baker as our "We Done Been Seen The Light" tree lighter. Just like the White House.

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  54. I'm tipping a glass to These Guys. Without them, America would be a far different place, today.

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  55. Don't fergit to mention the chain-saw Pine Log Zell Miller Lookalike Contest!

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  56. ah yes, the Monongehela Valley, where everyone is an above-average speller--

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  57. It was settled by Scots-Irish;

    That should have been the first tip-off that it wasn't going to work.

    Let's tax the Scots/Irishmen's whiskey! YEAH, THAT'S A GREAT IDEA!!

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  58. And, while we're doing GREAT IDEAS, we'll tax the Scots-Irish small farmers more per gallon than our rich, Big Land-holder Friends. THEY WON'T MIND!

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  59. Is it just me? I'd be a lot More Impressed if those 200,000 that went to whatshisname's funeral would pick up guns and start fighting Hezbollah instead of bitching about Israel when they defend themselves from the thugs.

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  60. May all your stuffings be moist, rich in turkey, as if the bird itself was reconstituted in the form of cubed bread

    May every marinated rottweiler exalt the very idea of gustation.

    God bless you all and God bless the Internet.

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  61. Buddy,
    You know'd darn well dat you look up ta spell Monongahella...Qiuck spell Susqweehanna and then combine them to find out what's round on bofh ends and hi in da middle.

    Punk'in Pie and killer homade ganga brownies...wash it alldown with the special buttermilk-egg grog nog..hmmm hmm

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  62. ppab,
    Best to You and Yours.

    You are a wonderful addition to the Bar.

    Habu Band Rock'n Southern Jam

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  63. Habu Heaven in Montana. Typical picture (not mine) of similar property and almost exactly the same view of the Big Belts I have near Helena/Townsend

    HabuCavu

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  64. Holy Cow, look at that "Purty" purple ethanol!

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  65. Another place with a whole lot of empty space.

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  66. Need a good roof and walls and a roaring fire, to shelter a soul from them cold winds howling down them yawning valleys.

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  67. i thought those were Purple Cowbells.

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  68. It is tough to run a Deere through this kinda country.

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  69. A typical Insurgent hideout, in the Northern Sonora Desert

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  70. Jaime, heh heh (blush) google images has fruited me up, alright.

    Rat, izzat yo neighborhood? It do look immune to Deere farming, alright.

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  71. geronimo was a mighty tough catch.

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  72. find them here, Manuelitas, Cochise, Mangas Colorados, Victorio, et al.

    Hardly yesterday, in the scheme of things.

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  73. It's typical of the Tonto Basin.
    Home of the Apache and not much else. There used to be cattle run on that kind of country, but the Federals have put an end to it.

    Now it's goin "back to nature"
    A whole lotta nothin' that bites, stings or stabs.

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  74. Delshay ran in the Tonto, they say he was the meanest SOB of all the Apache, wouldn't doubt it for a moment. It is a mean country.

    Delshay surrendered to General Crook, it wasn't until later that Geronimo jumped the San Carlos and headed to Mexico.

    Cowboy Bob was goin' to do a book about Geronimo, like he did about Tombstone, the Earps and Doc, but Geronimos "true story" was so unPC that he would not do it. Drunken Indian stories were not what Bob had in mind to write.

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  75. Yep--can't dig too deep into the Apache Wars without running very low very quickly on the standard 'hero' treatments expected of epics.

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  76. here's an interesting read, an important American, pre-USA, intellectual hero, Johnathan Edwards (who shares his name with the current Dem presidential hopeful).

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  77. Yeah, that's very nice, Buddy; but, what have you done with the Beer Girl?

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  78. Jeez, a preacher don't have much of a chance in this jernt. Click on the title at the top of the page, and back she'll come, i tink.

    "Lime with that?"

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  79. After reading the Johnathan Edwards piece, I have become desirous of teaching the beer girl the error of her ways.

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