Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Too Much Fun ... to leave in the comments section

Anthony said...
I had this dream last night where we were sitting at your kitchen table sipping coffee and talking about if social pressures in a libertarian society would actually prevent abortion clinics. I was using economic theory to make a case that yes, it would, but before you said anything one of your daughters brought in a box and set it on the table.

“What’s in the box?” you asked.

She opens the box and all of these frogs jump out. Dozens and dozens. So now there are bunches of girls running around screeching and chasing frogs.

As I watch all these girls chasing frogs (because it’s pretty funny), another daughter yells from downstairs:

“Mom! Dad says he’s going to threaten my boyfriend with a shotgun!”

Here you roll your eyes so impressively I think they actually did a complete 360. I snickered and said: “You know, if you wanted a boy you could have asked me, cause that’s what I do.”

At this point Knobby-Knees sticks his head in the kitchen and yells, “I heard that!” and then goes back out of the room, presumably to clean said shotgun.

Then Harry, over a speakerphone that looks suspiciously like the one Charlie talked to his Angles on, said something like (it’s getting hard to hear over the frog chasing), “Hey there’s a pixie rave going on in Second Life, are you two going to log on?” which is somewhat interesting not because I have no idea what a pixie rave is, but because I haven’t logged into Second Life in years.

So now we're in Second Life and neither you nor Harry is impressed with my avatar. “You look like Keanu Reeves, like the pale sick version in The Matrix, only geekier,” I think you said, but strangely enough, the frog chasing has moved here so it’s still hard to hear. You and Harry take me to some Secret Squirrel Second Life shop that you need a password to get into, and insist I get “clothes that won’t embarrass us,” and we all got into an argument about socks.

At that’s when my alarm woke me up at 5:30 AM. I was somewhat confused (mainly because I have better taste in socks which is surprising), but I think I can draw a few things from this dream:

One, I need to have my testosterone levels checked because at no point did anyone remove their clothes.

Two, the yellow sundress with the white belt is a good look on you. You should wear it more often.

(yes I know these are conflicting points but hey it was a dream)

Three, someone needs to inform Dau(lownumber) that a Scotsman threating his daughter’s boyfriend with a shotgun is simply a rite of passage one must endure.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Procrastination, the Missing Anthony, Shoes

Computer Generated Image of Cleopatra Based on Ancient Sculptures. Note that Anthony is Missing.

Well … I got my parent guides to my classes finished. That’s really good, considering that open house is just hours away. Procrastination isn’t all bad. If I procrastinate until panic sets in, I get things done. This works best when I’ve been sick and can’t face the work. It’s no good if I feel good because then it’s just laziness.

I wrote a minor revision to one of the more finished chapters too. Daniel Webster Whittle, a hero of sorts to fundamentalist Christians but really an intolerant, fearful hypocrite, plays a role in two chapters. We can now prove when he met another of the main characters. This changes the story slightly, or I should say it illuminates it in ways we could not before. So that was good too.

It’s really polite of you all to not call me nuts for the Seeing the Dragon post. I’m wondering if you are just willing to accept that I can see dragons (or at least the one, the one time) or you don’t want to hurt my feelings. …

I’ve finished filing two stacks of paper. I’m left with two more, about two feet high each. As I’ve said before, I’m probably the world’s messiest researcher and writer.

If I get some time soon, I’ll tell you the story of Knobby Knees and the Pixie’s shoe shopping adventure. Taking a Scot with a mild shoe/toe/foot paraphilia shoe shopping is an adventure. At least I ended up with two pair. He paid for one of them. …

I have a meeting early tomorrow. Our school district has a bunch of new rules and regulations that we all have to learn about. Swell, huh? Most of these concern teacher behavior, and I will admit that we have one or two in the district that need this. The district fired (quietly) the head custodian at one of the Middle Schools (grades 6-8 for the uninitiated) for being overly friendly with little girls. I’ll leave the rest of that story to your imagination. The man has an education degree. There’s a reason why he isn’t teaching. It has nothing to do with little girls, but I guess he decided to expand his behavior problems.

There’s a beautiful leather bound set of Jules Vern’s works for sale on ebay. Too pricy for me, but I’d like to have it. I surely would.

You all could comment a bit more often. And someone promised me a guest post (you know who you are! … Anthony …) and it hasn’t been forthcoming …. You into procrastination too? We should start a club.

From Harry the Shaken to Harry the Wet

Goodnight Irene
By Harry

It's 7:30 on Sunday and the sun is shining bright outside my bedroom window. Getting up I disconnect the car battery that powered my CPAP machine. I slept soundly through the night thanks to my son who rigged the battery and a power inverter for it.

In the grand scheme of things we've been lucky this week. Yesterday's storm knocked out the power, but that's nothing compared to what many in the direct path of the storm suffered.

It started raining early Saturday morning. The center of Irene was still a couple of hundred miles away off the shores of North Carolina. We had made preparations. Jayne said Sam's Club was a madhouse on Friday. It appeared that people were stocking up on beer as much as they were water. We had water, candles, lanterns, flashlights, bread and peanut butter.

We watched the local news and the Weather Channel to track the progress of Irene. Then the power went off a little after noon. No lights, no TV, no internet, and no phone. My adult son's ADHD was apparent as he suggest one thing after another for us to do. I was sick. I just wanted to sleep. Our power company's automated call line told us that power would be restored by 11 PM on Sunday. They lied. Okay, maybe not lied. The original estimate was off. Restoration was updated to 11 PM on Monday.

Several hours later I was supposed to go back to the doc-in-a-box I had gone to on Friday for a followup on my diverticulitis. We all got into the car with my son driving. It was windy and rainy, but not bad. We were all happy to get back home again.

Supper was cooked on a camp stove. I had soup. It was dark by 8:30 and with nothing else to do I went to bed.

So now it is Sunday morning. It's a beautiful day and a cool breeze is blowing. My son, the Eagle Scout, outdid himself as he prepares bacon and eggs on the camp stove. Then we go outside to clean up the yard and talk to neighbors. We decide to have lunch in town and brave the crowd at a local buffet. I haven't seen so many people go through a chow line since I was in basic training.

After lunch we checked on my daughter and the grandkids. A large oak fell into the street just one door down from them. The babies had been fussy during the night and the dogs hid under the bed making rude noises at the storm. David and Kate had managed to buy a generator Sunday morning and they were running extension cords into the house to power a small air conditioner in the babies' room, the refrigerator, and a microwave. We took over baby duty so they could get those things done. My little Maggie gave me the biggest smile when I picked her up. Ah, what a darling pixie she is.

Later after we got back to our house I had time to lament my disconnect with the outside world. I missed my TV and internet. Once again my son came through and we used his iPhone as a wifi hotspot. I logged in and checked my e-mail and facebook.

Now it is Monday. We had school today. Most of the schools that are closed are closer to the coast than us. I just called the power company's service line only to be told that there was no set date for power to go back on.

The very gentle and sweet sounding robot voice said "We expect that 90% of our customers will have power restored by Friday, and that the vast majority of customers will have power by Saturday." I kinda thought 90% was a vast majority, but then again, I'm not a robot.

I guess we will go to my mom's apartment for showers. We have running water, but no hot water for now. I may have to find a wifi hotspot at a local coffee shop. I can't use facebook or twitter on the school network. My friends in Second Life won't see me for a few days. In my next post I'll describe the horrors of going cold turkey without television.

Oh, one last thing. My sister lives in Virginia Beach. The center of the hurricane passed very close to the shores of Virginia Beach, a category 1 hurricane with maximum winds of 79 mph and dropping torrents of rain. My dear #$@%^* sister never lost power! Not for one #$@%^* minute!

Monday, August 29, 2011

The Mountain in a Mood

Seeing Dragons

Well, I haven’t written much this past week. I’m sick and very depressed. However, life is interesting – awesome in the true sense of the word – whether I am sick or not. For instance, we had an invasion of praying mantis. I hate bugs. I especially hate this particular bug. There were hundreds of them. I heard them pop under my tires. There was no way to avoid this evil spawn.

But … they are interesting. Some of them seem to have a rudimentary intelligence. Others of them are as dull witted as a rock. There seem to be two kinds, differing only in the ability to blend into their surroundings.

Oh … and on Tuesday I saw a dragon. I can already hear you laughing, but I’m serious. I really saw a dragon. It wasn’t at all like the one I imagined for Pixie Warrior. It was long and black and sleek. The tail flared at the end. It was huge; an airplane would have looked small beside it. It flew into a lazy counter clockwise turn and was clearly visible for about four seconds. Think about that. Four seconds is really a long time. I saw this. I’m in awe.

To our South is a series of low hills (though they’d be called mountains in some countries). They’re an extension of the Cascades though they have a name all of their own. The Cascade Mountains extend north and south along the Pacific coast. They meet the Sierra Nevada in California, and the two ranges are very close to being the same earthy structure. They’re imposing, mysterious in places and their beauty can make you cry. There are places in those mountains that can inspire fear. A rushing glacial stream has cut through solid granite down what? Fifty yards, maybe? It’s as narrow as a laser cut. Looking into that narrow canyon (It’s about five feet to ten feet across) will make you dizzy and if you do not feel insignificant and fearful at the sight, you lack some essential quality of humanity. So off from these marvelous mountains (I consider them mine. God made them just for Pixies.) are ridges that extend for a hundred miles or much more. They’re like the fletching on God’s arrow.

Two of those feathery ridges are within sight of my house. One is to the Northwest of us and one is to our South. I look at them often and marvel at their stark majesty. That’s what I was doing when I saw the dragon. There is no question that I saw a dragon. It appeared suddenly as if it had lost control of its ability to hide. It made a lazy turn to the south, and in four seconds it was gone. But I saw it.

The world is not what you think. I’m a rational pixie, even if the title of this blog suggests other wise. If you told me that you saw a dragon, I’d treat you with considerable toleration and keep my burning doubt to myself. But I would doubt – not just doubt, I’d disbelieve. But maybe no more. Because I saw a real dragon, and I’m in awe.

None of the dragon illustrations I’ve seen come close. Not one. There’s a dinosaur illustration that reminds me of the creature I saw. I can’t place it off hand. I’ll eventually pin it down. Bet you think I’m nuts, huh? I saw this thing!

I posted a brief extract from Jenny Smith’s diary on our history blog. I’m surprised that I’ve gotten no reaction. This is important stuff. I mean it’s really important stuff. This is story-changing stuff. I don’t understand why there’s been no reaction from our blog readers. I think I bore people. The internet can bruise one’s ego. My family loves me, even if my children occasionally think I’m odd. I do have friends. They don’t seem to think I’m boring. On the internet I put people to sleep.

I hate the feeling of weakness illness and depression bring. I’m supposed to be writing four class descriptions for open house tomorrow. I simply can’t do it. I’ll get up early tomorrow and finish them.

On the “I got something done” front, I can see the top of my desk for the first time in two weeks. I’ve sorted papers all day, filing them in appropriate notebooks. Our profile of the Barbourite movement generated two huge binders full of documents. I thought that was impressive. I started binder fifteen for the current book. Most of these are two and four inch binders. The more we find, the harder it is to keep in order. I have two major changes and one minor change to make to already nearly complete chapters. One is more challenging than the others. I keep putting it off because I just can’t face thinking. It hurts to think when I’m sick.

One of my favorite hymns is “Here is Love, Vast as the Ocean.” I’ve listened to it several times today. It comes from a religion that differs from mine in significant points, but it is a tender expression of praise. The man who wrote it may have been deluded doctrinally, but he knew something of God’s tender care. I also like “Turn Your Radio On” just because it makes me bounce.

Dang! Confessing to seeing a dragon in flight will pro’lly lose me the rest of my blog followers.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Well ...

I either offended or bored someone silly. One of my blog followers threw me off their list today. I'm so depressed now. I need a cookie or something.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Westwood, Lassen County, CA - About 1920

The first part of Pixie Warrior (Drollerie Press) is set in this town.

Harry and the Great Quake!

1:50 PM EDT 22AUG2011
Block 4 had just started. I had taken attendance and the room began bouncing. There was the rattling of the building itself and there was this roaring that was what - the air, the earth itself? It was loud and startled everyone. It wasn't long, maybe 20 seconds really. My students all looked at me as I stood at one end of the room.

"Mr. H, what was that?" one scared student gasped.

Even though this is the East coast and one of the quietest geological zones of the USA, I had experienced two smaller earthquakes in this same building in previous years.

I replied calmly, "It's just an earthquake," as if it was something you experience everyday.

I saw in a news report that another teacher at a school closer to the epicenter dived under her desk first and then shouted to her students to get under theirs. Tsk tsk.

On the other hand, I was quite prepared to continue my lesson when the fire alarm went off and we were ordered out of the building.

We have a pretty good system for handling evacuations. Classes line up outside the building. Teachers do a head count and hold up green cards if all are present, or red if someone is missing. The crisis team can quickly determine if we have everyone out. Of course this was the second day of the new school year. We hadn't received out clipboards yet with our red/green card yet. We made due and verbally confirmed to team leaders after checking our attendance.

After about 20 minutes we were directed to move our classes to the football field. We've done this once before. The move helps us keep everyone contained within the gates of the stadium, and in this case, after an earthquake, it is a safe place for the students to be out in the open. I picked a spot along the 30 yard line and had my class take a seat and waited.

The kids talked, complained about not having their cell phones which were for the most part in their book bags inside the building, and pulled and threw grass at each other. The last would have made our athletic director cringe if he saw it. That field is his baby and the football season hasn't started yet.

Finally the buses arrived and the students were released to go home. I went home and checked my house. Everything was fine.

8:04 PM EDT 22AUG2011
My son and I just felt a 4.2 magnitude aftershock. Just a mild shake, but noticeable. I've been watching the news and seeing all the hype that has been generated by this event. The quake was 5.8 and the media hype is at least a 10.3!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Cranky Pixies Bite

You must read this from the bottom up:

Tuesday, August 23, 2011 11:40 AM
From: "Barry C*****" Add sender to ContactsTo: "Rmdevienne" ## Please do not write below this line ##

Your request (#114421) has been updated.
You can add a comment by replying to this email.


Barry C****y, Aug-23 04:40 am (PDT):
Thank you for writing to us at ****

We are pleased to be able to advise you that we have excluded the url you cite - WARDANCINGPIXIE.BLOGSPOT.COM - and that this site is no longer available for our members to stumble, rate or review.

With regard to your allegations about S***U "hiding child porn", we would assure you that the adding of such content to S***U is absolutely in violation of our Terms of Service, and that we welcome reports from members (and non-members) should they encounter links to such content, whilst exploring *****. We *always* take action in such instances, and co-operate with organisations - which includes the FBI themselves - in the coordinated reporting and eradication of such content.

Barry ******
******Support Team

Be our friend on Facebook:****
Follow us on Twitter:!/******
Read our blog:*****


Rmdevienne, Aug-18 04:17 pm (PDT):
how about this for violating terms of service. I 1. report you to the state atty general; 2. I post negative comments on my blog. 3. I send a tip to the FBI that you hide child porn; 4. I report you to the atty general in the state where you're based.


--- On Thu, 8/18/11, Sarah wrote:

From: Sarah
Subject: S*****Upon Support Re: (#114421) Get off my blog, stay off my blog, don't come back
To: "Rmdevienne"
Date: Thursday, August 18, 2011, 8:24 PM


Sarah, Aug-18 01:24 pm (PDT):

Thank you for writing in!

**** allows its users to submit sites that are publicly accessible. As a result, our policy is to remove sites from our directory if they violate our Terms and Conditions: http://www.*****.com/terms/. If you wish to do so, you may configure your site to refuse visitors from S****Up*n. If your content is on an Apache server, for example, an .htaccess file can block or provide access for visitors to your site according to your preferences. For more information, contact a Web site administrator, or visit this page:

We hope this helped!

St****U*** Support Team

Be our friend on Facebook:*****
Follow us on Twitter:!/*****
Read our blog: http://www.*******.com/sublog/


Rmdevienne, Aug-18 09:29 am (PDT):
I own the blog . remove my blog from your database, do not visit my blog. stay off my blog. die the death of a thousand spam cuts. Depart from me, oh foul spammers. be gone into the night. burn in heck or something. go away. cry to your mommy. I don't want you breathing the same air as my children. AM I CLEAR?

Thursday, August 18, 2011


See the post "Yar, You suck!"

If Janet Reid says I'm "awsome and talented" then I must be ... right?

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Why people visit my blog ...

Sometimes I find the funniest things in the visit logs ....

This one tops the list for today:

Referring URL for kissing a boy
Search Engine
Search Words can girls get cooties for kissing a boy
Visit Entry Page http://wardancingpix...and-boy-cooties.html

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

All sortsa stuff ... mostly

My discontent at the chapter at hand is dissipating. Now wasn’t that a sweetly alliterative sentence? Dissipating discontent denotes delighted Pixies …. Or something ….

Anyway, here’s the scoop. Way back when my writing partner wrote this (about 1990 or was that 1890? He’s old you know.) he exchanged letters and phone calls with a Congregationalist historian. They settled on a congregation that was on East Ohio Street in Allegheny City as the probably church-home for one of these characters. Wrong, wrong, wrong! Dear Heart! We wuz misled!

Now that I’m fact checking this with the advantage of a huge document base that simply wasn’t available in 1990, I have identified the original church, where it sprang from, its pastors in the decade in question, nice biographical bits on both of them, a photo of one of them, and along the way made myself happier with this chapter. So, I bundled this all up and emailed it to my WP. He looked it all over and said: this is good; this is good; this is good, but this is nonsense because you got a date wrong! Okay, so I pouted for five minutes, then looked at his evidence. His evidence was convincing. It’s a newspaper article sent to us by a blog reader who is always helpful. (Hi Ton!) Ergo, id est, ipso facto, or what ever Latin phrase is appropriate, we now have a much more realistic story to tell.

Lotsa stuff still hangs, flappin’ in the wind so to speak. My writing partner is hot on the trail of some Episcopal Church documents. I’m lookin’ for photos I can’t find. Dear Heart, we will get there ….

So … remember back when I was being cranky towards the boys in Brooklyn for ignoring my Writing Partner’s letter. As you’ll recall, he wrote in March. It is now August and nary a word from that front. He was well enough today to make a phone call. He talked to 1. A receptionist whose east coast accent is so thick you need an interpreter; 2. A rather confused young man in “the service department” who remained more or less confused but was very helpful. The final word was …. “We didn’t get your letter and the writing department didn’t get it either.”

The World knows that the New York City post office is a black hole. Our experience sending things to Luna (that’s a publisher) way back when should have told us we needed tracking. The NYC post office misdirected a manuscript of ours three times before it got to the right place. Probably our letter is at the bottom of the Atlantic or something. Anyway, the end result was that we need to resend this stuff … with tracking, signed receipt or something.

Okay, so I listened into this conversation. My impression is that these people are highly paranoid. They treated my WP’s phone call with considerable suspicion until they could place him. Some of that is understandable. There are all sorts of Morons out there who abuse them on a daily basis. In my experience, with few exceptions the anti-people spend far too much time trying to justify bad behavior and considerable time crying in their beer. Geta life, guys. Just get a LIFE.

Now on to other things: Dau 1 is going camping with friends. She’ll be gone most of this week. Observation 1: This pixie’s idea of camping is a five star hotel with a beach view.

My text books (which I will need in days) are still missing somewhere in the depths of the district warehouse. Observation 2: Clerks will never rise above clerkhood.

And finally … A historian's irritation at lack of documentation may result in the consumption of too much coffee and the striking of many attitudes, but lookit what we found! Good stuff, sister (or brother as the case may be).

Harry's Response to the Pixie Nuzzle Post:

Harry ... are you trying to make the Scotsman jealous?! For Shame! [insert snicker here]

A Dryad

The Art of Pixie Nuzzling

So … there I was, sitting on knobby knees’ lap. I was enjoying the nuzzle. Nuzzles are nice. This was good stuff. …

Daughter four sticks her head in the door. “Oh, hi!” she says. Before I can reply she’s zipped up the stairs. The thump, thump, thump of her feet recedes down the hall and we hear her bedroom door slam shut.

I return to nuzzling my pet Scotsman. He whispers sweet nothings and throws in something about fertilizer. You never know with a Scotsman … Connecting fertilizer and pixie romance is a stretch, but a Scot can make it.

I’m considering a frown when Dau 4’s bedroom door opens and we hear the reverse of the “thump, thump, thump” of a minute previous. She stickes her head in the door, grins slyly and manages to ooze into the family room.

“Hi,” she says again. And without a further word she wiggles her butt up onto her dad’s lap. This is cramping my style, but we shuffle bodies and she settles in quite contentedly. This is now a group sit-on-the-knobby-kneed-Scot moment. I mentally adjust to the loss of nuzzle time knowing I’ll make up for it later. … With the bedroom door locked.

“Whatcha doing?” She asks.

“Snuggling your dad,” I say.

“Me too,” she says.

In the distance I hear the back door bell ringing furiously. I’m about to suggest dau 4 go answer it when I hear dau 2 thump through the dinning room. She’ll answer it. Dau 5 and Dau 1 locked themselves out. Even brilliant children can forget things. There’s a huge amount of noise in the kitchen. Cupboards are banged. I hear glasses rattle. I wonder if there will be any Oreos left.

It grows quiet. Dau 4 pats my knee. “This is fun, isn’t it mom.”

A low groan comes either form the chair or from the Scot. I’m not sure which. Probably the Scot because he shifts position.

Dau 5 hops into the room … literally. Like a bunny. One never knows what that child is thinking. Daughter 5 has a small blue bowl with my Oreos in it and a glass of milk. She’s not supposed to have it in this room, but forgetfulness is a pixie trait. She spies the group snuggle, balances her cookies and milk and says, “Shove over, Katarina.”

The Scot groans again. I move my butt to the chair arm, giving way to pixie children. Dau 5 shoves a cookie into her dad’s mouth. “Why isn’t the TV on?” she asks. Not waiting for an answer she asks, “Want a cookie, mom?”

I help myself, glancing at KKnees face as I do so. There are so many emotions on his face. There’s relief that I’ve moved off his lap. I weigh under 90 lbs, but add two little girls and you get knee crushing, wiggling weight. There’s a wry smile that shows a bit of disappointment at the loss of Pixie to man nuzzle time. There’s a bit of humor around the eyes, a reaction to being an easy chair for his two youngest.

Daughter two enters. Her eyebrows raise. She can do that as well as her dad. One never knows what abilities children will inherit from their parents. She has inherited eyebrow raising from her dad.

“There’s no more room,” daughter five says.

K. Knees shrugs.

Dau 2 sits on the other chair arm for a minute, putting her arm around her dad but looking at me. “Getting a lot of attention, are you dad?”

“Yes,” he says.

I wonder if he’s thinking wistfully about his legs … or maybe fertilizer.

Dau 2 gives him a hug and hops off the chair. “Can I walk down to gramma’s?” She asks.

There is a chorus of “I want to go toos.”

… and peace returns. So did the nuzzle. Nuzzles are nice.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

New Chapter, a Teenage Mind, Inadiquate Research

The chapter I'm working on seems so incomplete. We have lots of detail, but we seem to be missing "the story." What am I missing here? I do not know. Something is wrong with this chapter aside from mechanics.

I do not believe the story, I guess. I need to find the missing bits. I need to find something that turns these bits of detail into verifiable, connected and rational history.

I dumped six paragraphs from my writing partner’s version today. I added a paragraph in its place. I think we're wrong in one paragraph, but can't refute what my writing partner said. I put a caution in a footnote. We need to take a small bit of this into the next chapter. It does not belong here.

This chapter is insipid, but I do not seem to know how to cure the problem. I need to sit down with a dead man and ask him all sorts of questions.

I suppose that part of the problem is I do not sympathize with some of the thought processes I see. I've never had to probe the mind of a teenager from bits of 100 year old text. It's hard enough to figure out my own children and they're live and accessible. ...

I come away from this chapter feeling that Mr. Russell has given me less than half of the story. There does not seem to be any way to recover missing detail. I’m not a psychologist, and I hate books that try to psychoanalyze the dead. However, history works best when we can grasp something of people’s character and thinking process. Russell leaves the impression that he withholds vital parts of himself. What I want is a moment when he stamps his figurative wooden leg on the floor to express his feelings. I like Peter Stuyvesant for his open, sometimes bumbling, always grumbling self. I can’t find that “self” for Mr. Russell, at least not in the material we have.

What we do have is an adult telling us a selected few stories to illustrate his religious feelings, and coloring them to sustain his view of self. This is not unique. In fact, it’s usual. That’s what historians deal with. He’s just better at hiding things than many have been.

I need to back up and return to something his sister said. There is a huge bit of revealed character in it. I’ve mentally noted it, but I haven’t written it up yet. I will go back and insert it where it belongs. It’s a “we don’t really believe this …. But we really do” moment. It goes to the man’s sense of divine direction and choosing. He had a sense of special mission inculcated in him as a child. He coupled this with doubts about God’s benign interest. That creates a hard to live with condition. We’re just not reaching the heart of this.

This chapter, for all the good research, is a failure as is. I hate this chapter.

Old Glory - Order of Maria Christina

Old Glory ... Order of Merit Grand Cross Star

Saturday, August 13, 2011

C. T. Russell and my Headache

I don’t know how I feel about this, exactly. I am both repelled and attracted to one of the main characters we profile in our new book. I sympathize with many of his feelings and share some experiences. Though we’re all subject to vanity, I find his extreme. The sense of entitlement and divine approval he felt disturbs me. I don’t approach religion that way, and I’ve never felt comfortable with those who do.

Still, he’s an interesting, colorful man. As I revise and correct my writing partner’s account of his early life (in this chapter just the years from about 1866 to early 1870), I find myself struggling to be neutral. Understand that these are teenage years. We’re probably all a bit stupid as teenagers; at least we’re inexperienced. Some of his followers see him as divinely guided into truth, and he saw himself in that light. Since I cannot see God’s hand at work, I cannot present it that way. These years are more of a “coming of age” story with this guy as the antitheses of Holden Caulfield. Oh, there’s plenty of teenage angst, some rebellion against convention, but he did not fight maturity. He embraced it, all the while lacking its major components.

One of our history blog readers is a controversialist. He keeps that off our blog. (Those are the rules, and he abides by them.) He tries to find controversy everywhere and in everything. Hate does that to some people. The controversy he seeks is just not there.

I see the man we’re profiling as a talented businessman but neither a saint nor a charlatan. He was a very ordinary man with the common superstitions and misguided judgments of most who lived in the late 19th Century. He chose the religious path where others looked to Socialism, Henry George’s silly (gotta love that word) book Progress and Poverty, or any of the other social justice programs advocated in that day. He was attracted to Henry George’s philosophy as were many in the broad religious community of which he was a part but took no part in the political debates.

We encounter is a kind of historical revisionism on the part of his idolizing followers. Some of that took place during his lifetime. In her colorful and exaggerated account of his early life, his sister Margaret said things that directly contradict what we can find in his writings from a decade and a half previous. My writing partner left that out; I’m putting it in. Instead of ignoring the revisionism, we need to account for it.

Another example of revisionism is A. H. Macmillan’s book Faith on the March. A sentence from that book is quoted or paraphrased in most accounts of this man’s life. Macmillan says he joined the Congregational church because it was “more liberal.” No harm in saying that? Yes, there is harm in saying that. It gives color to this character’s personality that did not exist. Look as thoroughly as you can through his writings, you will never find him saying what Macmillan attributed to him. He says something rather different.

Now, back to my opening thought: The way we’re handling our personal feelings (my writing partner has his own opinions too) is to let the man tell his own story when ever we can. We challenge his version if it seems to need it. It seldom does. He is, for what ever vanity he had, usually very accurate. We add explanatory bits. Most of those who have considered him have failed to do that. Within his lifetime that was less necessary than it is today. Everyone knew what a Church Session was and about the inner workings of various belief systems because religion was a huge part of life then. It’s not today. Most of our readers do not have a clue what some of his phrases and statements mean.

Now you might think that I’d fault the man for other things. He was very superstitious. He did not see this in himself. He saw himself as a very modern man, a man of the 19th Century. He was, of course. The problem with that is belief in pre-natal influence, the idea that phrenology was a cool new science, the idea that dreams might be prophetic, were fairly common thoughts. Some writers fault him for believing things many others in that era held to be precious truths. (Can I use The Word again?) This is silly. This is grasping at straws.

I can see that we’ll be sifting and rewriting this chapter for a long time. (Putting back of hand to forehead) I foresee many instant messages, telephone conferences, much coffee drunk and many attitudes struck (my writing partner can be stubborn) before this one is finished.

So ... I'm taking a break from writing ...

and I'm off on ebay. Did you ever notice the auction titles? I mean from the standpoint of English Grammar? For instance there is this: HUGE LOT of French coins from France.

Now puzzle this through with me. Don't all French coins come from France? If they don't come from France, they're not French, right? So he probably meant to write: HUGE LOT of French Coins.

These French coins come from Duluth, Minnesota, however. So he could have written: Huge Lot of French Coins from Duluth. But that would have confused everyone, though probably not more than "french coins from france" does.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Well ... that sucks lemons

I scolded a website administrator. Instead of answering my complaint, he told me to get lost for a week. I'm doing penance by sticking my little pink tongue out at the monitor.

I needed a break anyway. That place has lost its way and is now run by trolls and griefers -- and incompetents ... which is pretty much what I said. So you see, I'm not welcome there for a few days.

Anyway ... at least Harry will know what became of me. ...

On the history book front, I'm caught between two versions of a story. In one version a Congregational clergyman calls a church session to deal with a doubting believer's doubts. In the other version, the young man asked for the session himself. I hate things like this. I'll think about it tomorrow.

I've taken the night off work. I've been sick to my tummy all day. So I delegated responsibilities and put on my warm feeted jammies.

I don't know what came over me. ... Other than insanity. I'm now on three blogs. ... and twitter. I'm on facebook too, but I never look at that. Facebook is silly.

Speaking of silly, I noticed that on one of the anti-sites there was a huge blow up over the word "silly." Someone who reads our history blog called out someone else over some complaint over a CD and the world exploded over there. And that, dear hearts, IS silly.

Those anti-sites are not worth anyone's time. They're a huge crying fest. They remind me of a cartoon that was reprinted in Contemporary History back in 1915 or so. It was of a bunch of teeth-gritting Germans in the "Hate England Club." I no longer own that volume of Conteporary History, or I'd scan that. It was a funny cartoon.

I rather like the word "silly" myself. It covers so many things.

My internet was down for part of the day. Someone in Rochester, New York, broke it. It's fixed now.

I'm really tired and not too happy over the state of my tummy. At least I'll get some good sleep tonight. One can hope, anyway.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Three more ...

Most of the 'mountain' in the first set are really 'foot hills.' The real mountains are much higher and more dramatic. I already posted Mr. Rainier pictures ... back in the archives. Think 14,408 feet. That, my dears, is a MOUNTAIN.

Old Fiction and Attitude!

I’ve taken a break from writing for the last three days, though not from thinkin’. Thinking is writing too. I think best when I’m not thinking. Does that make sense? Anyway … I’ve been reading some of my antique fiction. I have hundreds of books published before 1940, many of them totally forgettable. They entertain me though, and sometimes I find a real gem.

A mostly forgotten American author is Stewart Edward White. I read his “The Riverman,” written in 1908. I found a really nice copy in a thrift store last year, but I delayed reading it until this month. (I’m always behind in my reading!) This book is really fun. Good writing too, though you have to get used to an older writing style. I loved the dialogue bits. The historian in me (yes, yes pixies with wings can be historians) especially liked the dialogue.

Almost no one talks like that now, but they did in the California forests when this book was written:

“At the end of another hour, which brought the time to four o’clock, the sheriff made his third appearance – this time in a side bar buggy.

“ ‘I wish I dared join that confab,” said Orde, “and hear what’s going on, but I’m afraid he’d jug me sure.’

“‘He wouldn’t jug me,” spoke up Newmark, “I’ll go down.”

“‘Bully for you!’ agreed Orde.”

So … I read this and four or five others in the last week, trying to keep my racing mind in low gear and off focus long enough for half-baked ideas to cook through.

I went ebay shopping too. Found a book and a pamphlet. Decided some things were way too expensive. A 3rd edition Day Dawn jumped up to over 100 dollars almost immediately. So that one is out. A set of Elliott’s Horae is on ebay for 400.00. That’s a lot of lunches. So, no to that too. …. But I found a really nice copy of W. H. Bowman’s “The Money Question Under the X-Rays of Prophecy.” It’s an odd book, but part of a religious genre important to our research. This one was written in 1897. I had to let several others go because two other researchers got in a bidding war I was not about to participate in, especially when the books they bid on are available for free as scanned downloads.

I’ll go back to writing on Friday. I think I’ve solved the problem with the current chapter. The main character agonized about Hellfire way back in 1868 and the agony changed his life. Historical fact. Tell me, Do you know anyone who takes hellfire doctrine seriously today? That isn’t a fruitcake? Me either. So there is this huge disconnect between the history and how people see this subject today. A paragraph or two of solid explanation is in order.

Pawing through my writing partners old files, I found a newspaper article from 1914 where a clergyman is quoted as saying that without the restraint of the doctrine (didn’t matter that he didn’t believe it) his congregation would go wild with sin. That’s a damning admission. Typical clergyman though. …
Tomorrow I have to spend the day finding out what happened to the text book order for this school year. It seems to have gone astray. (Can you hear me muttering, “Damn clerks”?)

A geography lesson of sorts ...

Or why pixies live in the great Pacific Northwest ...

I can't show it all. This is a small part. Occasional Reader might like to know that the last video shows the area where my uncle lives.

And there are bits I'm leaving out - I mean other than all of Idaho and Montana. You won't see Yakima, the slum of Washington State on here. Everyone should avoid Yakima. It's a third world country all of its own. I left out Spokane, though it's a fun place (except for bits of it). There's just too much to show and not enough space.

Friday, August 05, 2011

OOoOOO lookit!

I found this. We bought it for our collection ... with shipping ... 14.00 ... Do you have any idea!?

Mystery Photo - Allegheny, Pennsylvania - About 1865

Devious Serving Girls and Palace Wenches and stuff

Suppose you were born into another time … Say umm you were born into Ptolemy’s Egypt. What would you have been, or perhaps better put, who would you have been. For the sake of this post you may 1. Change sex without guilt; 2. Use your wildest imagination and 3. I don’t know what three is, but you can do it …

Now me? I see myself as a place serving girl assigned to one of his wives. I visualize myself skulking down darkened passageways on my mistress’s intrigues. I’d make a good palace spy. Small and insignificant everyone would overlook me. I know how to listen without seeming to, and I can be as dull-witted as need be. I’d make good palace furniture, if you know what I mean. The couch hears everything!

Or … suppose you lived in the days of Prince John. What would you be? I’d probably be a baron’s conniving younger sister. With an artfully arranged marriage … or two or three (Guys had a tendency to die in those days.) I’d probably end up being the wife of one of the Marcher Lords. They were almost independent and some of them very powerful. I’d be the seductive (if rather short) wife behind the Lord. Or more realistically, I’d have been a kitchen drudge who smelled pretty badly and looked worse. But this is my fantasy. So I get to be what I want.

Now … It’s your turn. As many or as few words as you want. Post to the comments. If there’s a really good post, superior to all its fellows, I’ll move it to the main posts.

Thursday, August 04, 2011

A wild land ...

I've posted photos of my part of the world before. Often they're of the towering mountains or my river. You might know it as the Columbia River, but I know it as the Pixie's Great River of the West! Okay so I'm exagerating ....

Go here, and look at all the pictures, including the older posts section:

This blog belongs to a fellow teacher I met at a conference a few years back. The photos are of some of the more arid but still dramatic parts of the great Pacific North West. Enjoy and be Amazed!

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Tuesday, August 02, 2011


I did good work today. I wrote a bunch. I verified some things. I found some really important stuff. Okay? So why do I feel so profoundly depressed?

I spent more time than it is probably worth trying to trace down a Congregationalist clergyman who lived in Pittsburgh in the 1860s. It’s not that I didn’t find interesting things, but I wasn’t able to prove what I suspect. That happens.

I’ve been watching two volumes of bound tracts that were listed on ebay. I knew from the start that I couldn’t afford them, but the final auction amounts took my breath away. One volume contained a special printing of an 1877 tract. What’s special about it is that it was published as a supplement to Prophetic Times. This volume sold for $12,100.00.

The other volume has bound in an important tract by Michael Baxter. Alone that might be worth fifty dollars or so. However, it also had bound in one of two known copies of the paper back edition of Three Worlds, the Three Words Tract and another tract for which heretofore there have been no known copies.

This went for … come on! Guess how much …. Just guess … … Are you guessing? Okay … $24,995.99. Yup, that’s right.

We emailed the seller trying to get a photocopy of the one tract. He’s very hard to deal with, but we’re still trying.

In the mean time I feel like warmed over, ten day old, fruit salad or something. That’s kinda an “ewww” moment, isn’t it.

I’m in such pain that I can hardly think straight. That’s depressing in its own right. I applied for a full-time teaching position. The competition is so stiff that I’m almost certain it won’t go to me. … And I wanted it badly. I’ll hear sometime within the next two weeks. If by some miracle I get that job, my income will fall rather dramatically for the first six months or so. Then the first raise will kick in.

The plus side is I won’t be working nights anymore. But … I mentally wrote it all off today as unlikely to happen. Did I mention that I hurt? Oh, yes I did. I can hardly walk and my left hand hurts so badly that I’m giving up writing for the day. Besides, I need to bathe and dress for work. How thrilling, huh?

Okay, so I lied. I'm back and adding to this. (All washed and smellin' pretty too ...)

One of the the things that is dragging me down is a strong feeling that we're missing something vital. The chapter I'm working on profiles one of the principal characters from about 1866 to 1870. I'm rewriting and adding to something my writing partner wrote some time back. This involves a lot of fact checking, some additional research and some selective editing. The base document is far more detailed than we need; so there's a bunch of quotations that duplicate or overlap others. That's fine.

It reads well. One of those who read a bit of it said that too. Oh, there are some faults, and we'll fix those. Someone posted a nice comment to our history blog over some of it. ... But I have serious reservations about this chapter. “Serious reservations” is an understatement. This chapter is inadequate, and I don't know why.

On the good side, we present more detail than I believe anyone else has. But it seems wrong. My writing partner scoured over 40 years worth of articles and books written by the principal character for relevant material. He sent me an additional article today. So we tell much of this story in his own words. But it just seems off, as if it were disconnected from reality. It does not have "the ring of truth." I don't mean that he lied. As I read the quotations (each one of which I have looked up in the original and reread), they all seem to be an honest presentation of the event. So ... I'm back to saying that I don't know what we're missing.

This will probably not seem so bad on another day ... when I feel better than I do tonight.

Now, something else that peeves me is this: My writing partner wrote to his church's archive asking for a photocopy of a document. He wrote March 10th. It is now August. They have totally ignored his letter. This is rude. This is an unkindness to someone who has upheld that religion since 1952 and who has done one thankless job for them after another for decades. I'm angry. If they want to say 'No,' then just say no. But at least answer the letter.

He's written a follow up supposing his original letter is merely lost. He's more charitable than I am. I think they're bastards. What makes me even angrier is that they're out actively looking for things we have which we would freely share with them. My WP sent them a copy of a booklet that we positively know they did not have. It was a kind of good faith gesture, I suppose. No answer from them, no way no how. But ... they're off writing to others seeking what they know we'd give them. They just don't want to return the favor. How do I know? Hey, if you write to someone I know, have met, write to, buy books from ... it will get back to me.

The entire affair is insulting. It's worse, I think, because it's not directed toward me, but toward a faithful old man who would do anything for them. There is no excuse for their behavior.

It feels good to get this off my chest. I've been brooding over this for two weeks. If they don't respond to his follow up letter, I fully intend to rake them over the coals in the preface. (We're writing two. It's a compromise.) Oh, I'll do it politely. But I will do it.