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Today we will ponder America, a country, even a civilization, that existed long ago where the United States is today, but bore little resemblance to it. It will be like studying cave drawings, or Sargon of Akkad. Pay attention. The is original source material of historical importance.

I was there, in America: Athens, Alabama, at age twelve.

Athens was small and Southern, drowsy in summer, kind of comfortable feeling, not much concerned with the outside world. It left the world alone and the world left it alone. In those days, people in a lot of places figured this was pretty workable.

Kids went barefoot. So help me. After about two weeks in spring your feet got tough and you could walk on anything, except maybe gravelly black asphalt that got hotter than the hinges. Parents let you do it. Today I guess it would be a hate crime, and you’d get an ambulance, three squad cars and Child Protective Services all honking and blowing and being important. We didn’t know we needed protecting. Maybe we didn’t.

It wasn’t like today. When your dog wanted to go out, she did, and went where she thought was a good idea, and nobody cared, and she came back when she thought that was a good idea, and everybody was content. She probably slept on your bed, too. Today it would be a health crisis with the ambulance and squad cars. We just didn’t know any better. I don’t remember anybody dying of dog poisoning.

Now, BB guns. We all had one, every kid that was eleven years old. Boy kids, anyway. Mostly they were Red Ryder, for four dollars, but I had a Daisy Eagle, that had a plastic telescopic sight, and was no end uptown. I was always aristocratic. Anyway, you could go into any little corner store and get a pack of BBs for a nickel.

In downtown Athens–there was about a block of it, around the square–there was the Limestone Drugstore. It’s still there, like them pyramids at Geezer. Kids came in like hoplites or cohorts or hordes, or anyway one of those things in history and leaned their BB guns near the door, with their baseball gloves too usually.

Nobody cared. We didn’t shoot each other with the BB guns because we just didn’t. It’s how things used to be. We didn’t need the po-leese to tell us not to do it because it wasn’t something we did. Shooting another kid was like gargling fishhooks or taking poison. You could do it, but probably wouldn’t.

Anyway the man that owned the Limestone was about eighty or a hundred years old and had frizzy red hair like a bottle brush and his name was Coochie. It’s what everyone called him anyway. He liked little boys–not like those Catholic preachers always in the newspapers–we didn’t do that either–but just liked kids. There was this big rack of comic books that nobody ever bought but you just took them to a table and read them till they fell into dust and drank cherry cokes and ate nickel pecan pies. I think Coochie used comic books as bait so he could talk to us. It was mighty fine.

We all had pocket knives, or mostly anyway. If you were rich you had a Buck knife. That was the best kind. We’d take them to school because they were in our pockets and it was hard to leave your pocket somewhere even if you thought of it. You could carve your initials on your desk when the teacher wasn’t looking.

Today if you had a knife in school you’d get the squad cars and ambulance and get handcuffed and have to listen to a psychologist lady until you wanted to kill someone. Probably her.

It was different then, back in America. We didn’t think of stabbing anybody. It would have seemed like a damn fool idea, like eating a peanut butter sandwich dipped in kerosene. It wasn’t how people were. I guess how people are is what they’re going to do, not what laws you have. You can tell a possum to sing church songs, but he won’t, because a possum just doesn’t have it in him. It’s not how he is.

When you shot a BB gun at something that needed shooting, like an insulator of a telephone pole, it was like a thing of beauty. You could see the BB sail away, all coppery and glinty against blue sky and it was like a poem or something. Maybe anyway. You could see it start to drop when the speed wore off and go sideways a little with the wind where there was any. You learned to calculate and you could hit just about anything.

Lots of things was different. Water fountains on the town square said White and Colored, White folks and black people didn’t mix at all. I thought it saved trouble for everybody but people from up North said it was wrong and I guess it was. Now the black folks up north are killing each other by hundreds, the papers say, and I’m not sure why that’s a good idea, but then blacks in places like Newark and Detroit have really good schools because Northerners really care about blacks and they mostly go to Harvard, so I guess it’s a lot better.

ORDER IT NOW

Another thing you could do with a BB gun was to get a twelve-gauge shotgun shell which you could do in several ways. You might steal it from your dad’s gun rack if he had one, or stick it inside a roll of toilet paper in a store and buy the toilet paper. But I don’t know anything about that. Anyway you could cut the shell off just in front of the powder and put the powder and primer on the end of the barrel of the BB gun. Pow! A spray of orange sparks would shoot into the air. It was real satisfying. It may not have been real smart.

Finally, manners, morals, and language as practiced in America. As boys, which is to say small barbarians in need, when alone together, of socialization, we insulted each other. “I’ll slap the far outa you, you no-count scandal.” I will slap the fire out of you, you scoundrel of no account. Or, “You ain’t got the sense God give a crabapple.” But, barefoot and tatterdemalion though we might be, or in fact certainly were, the elements of civilization had been impressed on us. We did not cuss or talk dirty in the presence of girls or women. We didn’t curse out teachers neither. I don’t rightly know what would have happened if someone had tried it. No one did. We weren’t that kind of people. It’s the kind of people you are that counts.At least, that’swhat I reckon. Even at twelve, I had that figured out.

(Republished from Occidental Dissent by permission of author or representative)
 
• Category: History • Tags: Gun Control, Political Correctness 
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  1. You are relatively a child compared to me age wise, but our youthful experiences were much the same. I was born in the Midwest, but why they still called Ohio the Midwest after the 48 states were formed beats me. A much different venue than Alabama but I assure you the boys I grew up did pretty much the same thing as the boys in Alabama except in wintertime when snow and ice were prevalent. Clamp on ice skates were cheap enough for most of us to afford and and a Flexible Flyer for sledding down hills was a must. One other thing that was a pride to own was a pair of “Hi-Tops” leather boots that laced up to the knee and had a small pouch on one side of the boot in which an indispensable pocket knife could be carried–horrors, even to school. For boys now growing up it is a far different world from the one Fred and I once knew. More is the pity.

    Read More
    • Replies: @bluedog
    Yes indeed we grew up in the best of times,if we wanted to take a gun to school to work on in shop we simply broke it down ,put two brown paper bags over it and took it on the bus, where we then placed it in the Ag./shop room to be worked on later.Then the thought police took over and one war to many,reminds me of what my father always told us growing up "I didn't have the freedom my father had and you won't have the freedom I had and your children won't have the freedom you have and he was right, now I'm waiting for the rest of what he told us that another revolution would come and perhaps in our lifetime...
    , @Rhett Hardwick
    I remember the boots with the knife pocket. I notice the catalogs of outdoor gear now show people with walking sticks rather than guns. I recall that a bunch of 15 year olds walking with shotguns didn't raise an eyebrow if it was duck season.
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  2. Rich says:

    The reason people were allowed to live that way was because of a little thing called “Segregation”. Now considered worse than rape or murder.

    Read More
    • Agree: Carroll Price
    • Replies: @Wizard of Oz
    Are you saying that the blacks would have stuffwd it all up but for Jim Crow and iron fisted policing to keep them down?
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  3. Great column, Mr. Reed.

    I concur with your assessment of the ability to walk barefoot on the smoothest, hottest asphalt after a few weeks or a month of going barefoot. I’ve walked across Walmart parking lots in the middle of the summer after my feet got tough.

    It IS a different country now. When I write about freedom, people don’t even know WTF I’m talking about. It helps a lot to have a great big beautiful land with not a whole lot of people on it. Ooops, didn’t mean to get political there, so let’s not talk about immigration, cause … Fred tends to get upset.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Jim
    I lived on Guam as a child and for toughening one's bare soles there's nothing like walking on broken coral.
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  4. What changed?

    1. Negroes ran wild

    2. Divorces and kids raised by single mothers

    3. Boys got immersed in y0uth culture and failed to grow up

    4. Drugs and culture of shamelessness

    5. Sexual Revolution and men into pimps, women into whores

    6. Demise of Christian moral restraints.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Sbaker
    Not far off. My parents divorced when I was an infant following the death of my year-and-half old sister in an accident. I was less than 6 months and dad, who I spent every summer with from my 5th year, never quite recovered. Negroes were good and bad in the little river town in Missouri where I spent about 10 years until my mom remarried and whisked my older brother and me off to Silicon Valley, (tube valley) in 1960. Spent about 5 years there and eventually moved to my dad's cattle ranch in Kansas. The freedom Dad allowed was quite memorable; shooting my own .22 from the time I was 11, driving with my cousin on the highway at 14 to go fishing, no curfew just up at 6:30 to work 10 hours on the ranch 6-7 days a week, 12 sticks of dynamite for the 4th when I was 15 to stun fish in a 6 acre lake on the ranch, driving around the farm in the truck from the time I was 11. I graduated high school in Kansas with 48 in my all white class, where kids drove to school in deer season with 30-30s in the gun rack and nothing was ever said about it. I'm not sure many people even noticed. Kids were more about hot cars then. We did break the law sometimes, racing cars and drinking 3.2 beer. I was 17 and drinking beer and wine with a classmate one Saturday night. We got stopped by the county sheriff and town cop for driving 60 in a 20mph zone. We had to dump all remaining alcohol and go home for the evening. I got a speeding ticket for 40 mph over the limit, nothing else. I had to go to court where half the fine was suspended and I had to pay $20. What would happen today?
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  5. Chrisj says:

    “What changed?

    1. Negroes ran wild”

    America lived up to its principles and gave blacks equal rights. Blacks responded by living down to their lack of principles.

    Victory in WW II gave us an empire and wealth and power. Power corrupted our elites, more than usual. The Left abandoned the one good function they had performed, representing worker interests. The Right abandoned the one good function they had performed, resisting government expansion. Both sides ran headlong into every war they could find.

    Voters turned out to be too stupid to stop all this. Democracy doesn’t work, unfortunately.

    Read More
    • Agree: bluedog
    • Replies: @Realist
    "Voters turned out to be too stupid to stop all this. Democracy doesn’t work, unfortunately."

    When you allow idiots to vote, bad things happen. Democracy doesn't work.
    , @MBlanc46
    Wonderly put, Chris.
    , @animalogic
    "The Left abandoned the one good function they had performed, representing worker interests. "
    Yes. Yes. Yes.
    The function of a "left" is to advance the material interests & needs of wage earners & small business owners. Failure here means they are NOT the "Left" ....
    , @windwaves
    yep, sadly we won the war.

    And became to servant of Israel.

    The new United States of Israel.
    , @Sane Left Libertarian
    That's about it, Chrisj
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  6. bluedog says:
    @Simply Simon
    You are relatively a child compared to me age wise, but our youthful experiences were much the same. I was born in the Midwest, but why they still called Ohio the Midwest after the 48 states were formed beats me. A much different venue than Alabama but I assure you the boys I grew up did pretty much the same thing as the boys in Alabama except in wintertime when snow and ice were prevalent. Clamp on ice skates were cheap enough for most of us to afford and and a Flexible Flyer for sledding down hills was a must. One other thing that was a pride to own was a pair of "Hi-Tops" leather boots that laced up to the knee and had a small pouch on one side of the boot in which an indispensable pocket knife could be carried--horrors, even to school. For boys now growing up it is a far different world from the one Fred and I once knew. More is the pity.

    Yes indeed we grew up in the best of times,if we wanted to take a gun to school to work on in shop we simply broke it down ,put two brown paper bags over it and took it on the bus, where we then placed it in the Ag./shop room to be worked on later.Then the thought police took over and one war to many,reminds me of what my father always told us growing up “I didn’t have the freedom my father had and you won’t have the freedom I had and your children won’t have the freedom you have and he was right, now I’m waiting for the rest of what he told us that another revolution would come and perhaps in our lifetime…

    Read More
    • Replies: @Simply Simon
    bluedog: I never gave it much thought that I had less freedom than my folks and my children have less than mine. Pretty scary thought, but true. Not sure what revolution would solve, probably lead to anarchy and ultimate dictatorship.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  7. @bluedog
    Yes indeed we grew up in the best of times,if we wanted to take a gun to school to work on in shop we simply broke it down ,put two brown paper bags over it and took it on the bus, where we then placed it in the Ag./shop room to be worked on later.Then the thought police took over and one war to many,reminds me of what my father always told us growing up "I didn't have the freedom my father had and you won't have the freedom I had and your children won't have the freedom you have and he was right, now I'm waiting for the rest of what he told us that another revolution would come and perhaps in our lifetime...

    bluedog: I never gave it much thought that I had less freedom than my folks and my children have less than mine. Pretty scary thought, but true. Not sure what revolution would solve, probably lead to anarchy and ultimate dictatorship.

    Read More
    • Replies: @bluedog
    If nothing else it would rid the country of a lot of scum called politicians and of course those who reside on K street and buy them.!!
    , @animalogic
    "Not sure what revolution would solve, probably lead to anarchy and ultimate dictatorship."
    Your fears are valid.
    Part of the answer lies in radical equalitarianism: that is- the core obligation of mutual respect & a rigid adherence to communal activity - from top to bottom. Impossible ? Probably.
    However, the signs are now that between our vacuous leaders & the parasitic elites they represent 99.9% of the time + the breakdown of ecological function (if only it WAS just a case of "global warming") we are heading for big trouble.
    Revolution is not the answer...but then what is ? Head in sand - arse to the wind, ostrich it till we can't ?
    , @Miro23

    bluedog: I never gave it much thought that I had less freedom than my folks and my children have less than mine. Pretty scary thought, but true. Not sure what revolution would solve, probably lead to anarchy and ultimate dictatorship.
     
    This is the problem in the West. Freedom is so easily taken for granted as the natural state of affairs.

    Paradoxically, freedom is really only safe when every citizen shows dedication, awareness and hard work - as in a living Democracy - with political involvement and responsibility, from the local level upwards, and it's not going to happen by default.

    Society has to be designed to FORCE democratic citizen involvement, with its research, meetings, responsibility, discussions and votes on an issue by issue basis. Then citizens OWN their Democracy and PROTECT IT because they LIVE IT.

    Try explaining that to the typical US consumer ( err.. citizen).

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  8. bluedog says:
    @Simply Simon
    bluedog: I never gave it much thought that I had less freedom than my folks and my children have less than mine. Pretty scary thought, but true. Not sure what revolution would solve, probably lead to anarchy and ultimate dictatorship.

    If nothing else it would rid the country of a lot of scum called politicians and of course those who reside on K street and buy them.!!

    Read More
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  9. all the unspoken rules fred mentioned in the article just needs 1 rule breaker. then all things goes to hell.

    simple right?

    Read More
    • Replies: @tim s
    Hell for the rulebreaker. Back then they knew how to (and could) maintain a healthy society for the most part.
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  10. Realist says:
    @Chrisj
    "What changed?

    1. Negroes ran wild"

    America lived up to its principles and gave blacks equal rights. Blacks responded by living down to their lack of principles.

    Victory in WW II gave us an empire and wealth and power. Power corrupted our elites, more than usual. The Left abandoned the one good function they had performed, representing worker interests. The Right abandoned the one good function they had performed, resisting government expansion. Both sides ran headlong into every war they could find.

    Voters turned out to be too stupid to stop all this. Democracy doesn't work, unfortunately.

    “Voters turned out to be too stupid to stop all this. Democracy doesn’t work, unfortunately.”

    When you allow idiots to vote, bad things happen. Democracy doesn’t work.

    Read More
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  11. Anon • Disclaimer says:

    I’m usually not a Reed fan, but! This article is better than the best Norman Rockwell. We just need a woman to write the little girl’s perspective. I’d guess it would have to include voluntary or involuntary lessons in the kitchen with Mother, rescuing stray kittens, walking somewhere important with Grandfather and getting a flower press.

    May we build such cultural moments for the next generation.

    Read More
    • Replies: @James N. Kennett

    We just need a woman to write the little girl’s perspective.
     
    And a black person to write about life on the other side of town. I'd guess that, while there was likely more hardship than on Fred's side of town, the black boys played with BB guns and knives in the same way as the whites, and mostly came to no harm.
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  12. pyrrhus says:

    I remember those days too, Fred. That’s why most people older than 40 wish they could go back and live in the ’50s (I have been conducting an informal poll), when we dirt folks never had any contact with the Feds, and darned little with any other government busybodies.Also, we boys would leave home in the morning and often not return for hours, with no discernible reaction from Mom, who had other fish to fry….It was heaven.

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  13. Neal says:

    Hi Fred

    We had a 16 year old kid in 7th grade. (He’d been kept back a lot.) He used to drive his car to school.

    The kids used to bring their guns to school and store them in his trunk. (They weren’t allowed in the classroom.) Then after school they’d go hunting.

    The local rabbits must have wished we’d had gun control.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Rhett Hardwick
    I can remember a teacher coming out to my car to admire my new Browning.
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  14. I was watching an old Hawaii 5-0. McGarett wanted to bully a mobster who just got off an airplane from the states. He patted him down, found a loaded pistol, and asked what it was for. The guy said for protection, so McGarett handed it back. The good ole days!

    A new low for police, from my blog:

    Dec 11, 2017 – Life in a Police State

    A day care worker in Nevada posted a video on Facebook that included a fellow worker changing a baby’s diaper. A glimpse of the baby’s genitals was seen, so police rushed to arrest this worker and booked her in jail.

    https://www.reviewjournal.com/crime/sex-crimes/henderson-day-care-worker-suspected-of-exposing-child-in-video/

    Read More
    • Replies: @animalogic
    Mr Meyer, the example of the day care worker you give makes me almost speechless with rage, frustration & disgust.
    However, thank you for sharing: people need to know the insanity that passes for public policy in 2017.....
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  15. Jim says:
    @Achmed E. Newman
    Great column, Mr. Reed.

    I concur with your assessment of the ability to walk barefoot on the smoothest, hottest asphalt after a few weeks or a month of going barefoot. I've walked across Walmart parking lots in the middle of the summer after my feet got tough.

    It IS a different country now. When I write about freedom, people don't even know WTF I'm talking about. It helps a lot to have a great big beautiful land with not a whole lot of people on it. Ooops, didn't mean to get political there, so let's not talk about immigration, cause ... Fred tends to get upset.

    I lived on Guam as a child and for toughening one’s bare soles there’s nothing like walking on broken coral.

    Read More
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  16. MBlanc46 says:

    I had the Daisy Eagle, too. It was a real treasure. I wonder what happened to it. We played a lot of mumblety-peg, but I don’t recall always carrying a pocket knife. Carving initials in a school desk would have been as unthinkable as sassing a teacher. Pictures of the gone world (pace LF).

    Read More
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  17. MBlanc46 says:
    @Chrisj
    "What changed?

    1. Negroes ran wild"

    America lived up to its principles and gave blacks equal rights. Blacks responded by living down to their lack of principles.

    Victory in WW II gave us an empire and wealth and power. Power corrupted our elites, more than usual. The Left abandoned the one good function they had performed, representing worker interests. The Right abandoned the one good function they had performed, resisting government expansion. Both sides ran headlong into every war they could find.

    Voters turned out to be too stupid to stop all this. Democracy doesn't work, unfortunately.

    Wonderly put, Chris.

    Read More
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  18. Abyssus says:

    So true. I’m younger than Fred by a bit, but growing up in Arkansas in the mid-sixties & early 70s was still like that. Black people and white people went to school together and I don’t recall a single serious racial incident. The races kept themselves to themselves and treated each other with civility when required to interact. I distinctly remember some black classmates saying how there was nothing wrong with the school they used to go to and why the hell did they have to change schools.

    In summer I played outside from “can ‘til cain’t“ and my Mama never gave a thought to where I was until supper time because she knew the dog was with me.

    Read More
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  19. @Simply Simon
    You are relatively a child compared to me age wise, but our youthful experiences were much the same. I was born in the Midwest, but why they still called Ohio the Midwest after the 48 states were formed beats me. A much different venue than Alabama but I assure you the boys I grew up did pretty much the same thing as the boys in Alabama except in wintertime when snow and ice were prevalent. Clamp on ice skates were cheap enough for most of us to afford and and a Flexible Flyer for sledding down hills was a must. One other thing that was a pride to own was a pair of "Hi-Tops" leather boots that laced up to the knee and had a small pouch on one side of the boot in which an indispensable pocket knife could be carried--horrors, even to school. For boys now growing up it is a far different world from the one Fred and I once knew. More is the pity.

    I remember the boots with the knife pocket. I notice the catalogs of outdoor gear now show people with walking sticks rather than guns. I recall that a bunch of 15 year olds walking with shotguns didn’t raise an eyebrow if it was duck season.

    Read More
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  20. @Neal
    Hi Fred

    We had a 16 year old kid in 7th grade. (He'd been kept back a lot.) He used to drive his car to school.

    The kids used to bring their guns to school and store them in his trunk. (They weren't allowed in the classroom.) Then after school they'd go hunting.

    The local rabbits must have wished we'd had gun control.

    I can remember a teacher coming out to my car to admire my new Browning.

    Read More
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  21. Around age 12, I bought my daughter a Red Ryder Carbine. She was charmed by the message on the box “Hey kids, don’t know who the red Ryder is? Ask your dad”.

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  22. I have to add a comment or three to my original comments regarding Fred’s column. Nice to read one wherein war, race or politics are not mentioned. Referring back to walking barefoot in summer I have a feeling few if any city boys had the opportunity as we farm boys had to squish our toes in fresh warm cow patties. An exquisite feeling, really. Cow patties don’t stink, you know, chlorophyll the main ingredient. We used to swim in creeks that if contaminated, we were not aware. We had all developed immunity drinking water from dug wells that admitted all kinds of bacteria, no chlorine added. I now live in Central Texas which like most of the rest of the USA, has become overpopulated and uncivilized, the consequence being the loss of freedom, a freedom many of us once experienced, never again to be recovered.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Sbaker
    We often put fire crackers in the cow pies, disgusting as it was, in range of the nearest victim to give them the green shower treatment. I never did like stepping in it, although accidents like that often happened in Missouri. We learned to swim in stock ponds and creeks. I can't say I wasn't a bit disgusted to see a cow urinating and defecating in the same pool. We swam anyway because the nearest cement pool was 30 miles away across the Mississippi River into Illinios.
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  23. About the Browning my teacher admired. I’m from a Southern family, but largely raised in Massachusetts. For my 16th birthday my father took me to New Yawk. He bought me a used Browning Supperposed at Aberchrombie & Fitch. He wasn’t much of a gun man, but remembered his father went there to buy a Mannlicher. Does anyone else remember when Aberchrombie’s was a gun store? Crossing state lines, with no license and a gun “concealed” in the trunk of the car! who thought?

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  24. dfordoom says: • Website

    You need to remember that this was a world run by men. The women stayed home and looked after the kids. It was a good arrangement and it worked.

    So naturally it had to be changed.

    That’s why there’s less freedom today. We allowed women to start running things.

    Read More
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  25. TheOldOne says:

    Rhett Hardwick:

    So when you were twelve years old you already had a daughter who was old enough to own a Red Ryder Carbine…very interesting.

    Read More
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  26. George says:

    BB guns did and still do cause serious injuries. My guess is back in the day the ‘gun culture’ allowed kids to grow up around guns and learn to use them minimally safely. I also think there were lots of injuries, but nobody really cared. Perhaps a different world outlook. Back in the day, BB guns and BBs were probably relatively more expensive so kids and others showed them more respect. As guns an ammo got cheaper, they were handed to less and less mature kids by BB gun ignorant parents. There are few kids roaming about with guns, so the young kids are no longer ‘socialized’ into gun safety. I vaguely remember reading schools back then even had gun safety classes. Having never used a gun, I took the NRA 1 hr pistol class, wow all the stuff I did not know, like everything.

    Florida boy, 10, dies after being accidentally shot in head with BB gun by brother

    http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/boy-fatally-shoots-brother-head-bb-gun-article-1.1295900

    Read More
    • Replies: @Rhett Hardwick
    BB guns did and still do cause serious injuries

    When I bought my daughter a Red Ryder, I noticed it was significantly less powerful than what I recalled as a kid.
    , @Rhett Hardwick
    I also think there were lots of injuries, but nobody really cared. Perhaps a different world outlook.


    Perhaps rural America was a "different America". Mostly our fathers were WWII vets and had gun training. We read Field&Stream, Guns&Ammo and the Rifleman. We knew gun safety and prided ourselves on it. Failure to put your gun on the ground before climbing a fence resulted in derision. We had seen enough dead rabbits, bucks and ducks to know what guns would do, we didn't need instruction. We had seen death. I remember being "arrested" for hunting near a reservoir, the police never bothered to "disarm" us. We were "good kids". As an adult I went deer hunting with some guys from an urban background, Never again, I stayed in the cabin, they were all drunk.

    As a kid, I understood there was some danger in being a street light, or an insulator. Probably canards.

    Someone mentioned there were gun saftey courses in high schools. Actually they were shooting classes sponsored by the Feds, the idea was to foster a nation of riflemen.
    , @Anonymous
    Lots of injuries, but nobody cared. They let children run barefooted then, shows how little they cared, and they were out unsupervised all day, gross negligence. So much better today,when children are not even allowed a snow ball fight.
    I take it you are not a product of these careless times.
    , @Wizard of Oz
    "lots of injuries, but nobody really cared". How could it be? Two or three factors I suggest.

    One is that, even without changes in sensibilities, numbers had to count. One of my great grsndfathers had 10 children who or nrarly all of whom lived to adulthood (two or three off to the Boer War, one a clergyman, another an architect, and there would have been more because their mother was only 39 when father died at 47. BUT another great grandfather, a prosperous businessman, had 13 children, 8 boys of whom 5 reached adolescence and three adulthood, 5 girls of whom 3 reached adulthood. (I don't think I have met all the cousin-descendants despite the plunging fertility in the 20th century). I have letters expressing my Ggf's sadness and sorrow at his children's deaths and Charles Darwin's anguish at the loss of one of his many children is well known. BUT the loss of two or three out of 7 just can't, usually, be as devastating as one or two out of three. (OK I knew an old soldier whose parents had lost 8 of his brothers in WW1 and I am open to correction even of my generalisations though probably not on grounds of uniqueness because Napoleon probably afforded French families a similar experience. Note however that French population growth in the 19th century was way behind the British).

    To be more up to date note how the 4000 or 5000 Americans killed in Iraq seem to be rated emotionally close to the 55,000 killed in Vietnam (fewer btw than the number of Australians killed in WW1 out of a total population of about 5 million). Extend the thought to the black "family" structure in the US. Mother may lament the loss of any of her six children but the three non resident fathers not so much.

    So, that's just common sense about numbers.

    The continuation of older habits of thought and feeling can be counted as a natural phenomenon. Consider them S fortified by religion or the remnants of religioushabita of mind.

    Don't expect the 42 year old mother of a 10 and 8 year old not to fuss anxiously about every detail affecting the safety of her precious two before she shoots out the door to work. And then you get fathers' competitive criticism of the incompetence of the local administration that can't see how a layer of sponge rubber could reduce the number of injuries on the swings.... All sorts of ideas and trends can have momentum.

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  27. Rurik says:

    I also think there were lots of injuries, but nobody really cared. Perhaps a different world outlook.

    I’m reminded of a story my nephew was telling me of a couple of his teenage buds (in today’s rural America)

    It seems his buddies had both had gotten BB guns for Christmas or something, and since the guns were different brands, the two boys naturally were testing them to determine whose was more accurate and powerful. Eventually the dispute over the lethality hit an impasse, and they decided to solve the controversy in the obvious way. They both agreed that the only way to be sure was for both of them to shoot my nephew in turn, and have him say which one hurt the most.

    As my nephew was less enthusiastic over the ‘solution’, they had to take their shots at a moving target. (what better way to solve the enigma of a proper field test under combat conditions!)

    I don’t recall the results, but hearing the (true, no doubt) story was hilarious

    not all of America’s country boys have been turned into soy-boy metros

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  28. @George
    BB guns did and still do cause serious injuries. My guess is back in the day the 'gun culture' allowed kids to grow up around guns and learn to use them minimally safely. I also think there were lots of injuries, but nobody really cared. Perhaps a different world outlook. Back in the day, BB guns and BBs were probably relatively more expensive so kids and others showed them more respect. As guns an ammo got cheaper, they were handed to less and less mature kids by BB gun ignorant parents. There are few kids roaming about with guns, so the young kids are no longer 'socialized' into gun safety. I vaguely remember reading schools back then even had gun safety classes. Having never used a gun, I took the NRA 1 hr pistol class, wow all the stuff I did not know, like everything.

    Florida boy, 10, dies after being accidentally shot in head with BB gun by brother
    http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/boy-fatally-shoots-brother-head-bb-gun-article-1.1295900

    BB guns did and still do cause serious injuries

    When I bought my daughter a Red Ryder, I noticed it was significantly less powerful than what I recalled as a kid.

    Read More
    • Replies: @George
    Be very careful about bb guns and other children. There is no reason to believe children understand how dangerous bb guns are. Actually, there is no reason to believe your daughter does. Reed describes a world where children spend all day with bb guns and learn from observing older kids who spent all day with bb guns. At short range handing a random kid a bb gun has the same ballistics as handing a random kid a 22.
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  29. @George
    BB guns did and still do cause serious injuries. My guess is back in the day the 'gun culture' allowed kids to grow up around guns and learn to use them minimally safely. I also think there were lots of injuries, but nobody really cared. Perhaps a different world outlook. Back in the day, BB guns and BBs were probably relatively more expensive so kids and others showed them more respect. As guns an ammo got cheaper, they were handed to less and less mature kids by BB gun ignorant parents. There are few kids roaming about with guns, so the young kids are no longer 'socialized' into gun safety. I vaguely remember reading schools back then even had gun safety classes. Having never used a gun, I took the NRA 1 hr pistol class, wow all the stuff I did not know, like everything.

    Florida boy, 10, dies after being accidentally shot in head with BB gun by brother
    http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/boy-fatally-shoots-brother-head-bb-gun-article-1.1295900

    I also think there were lots of injuries, but nobody really cared. Perhaps a different world outlook.

    Perhaps rural America was a “different America”. Mostly our fathers were WWII vets and had gun training. We read Field&Stream, Guns&Ammo and the Rifleman. We knew gun safety and prided ourselves on it. Failure to put your gun on the ground before climbing a fence resulted in derision. We had seen enough dead rabbits, bucks and ducks to know what guns would do, we didn’t need instruction. We had seen death. I remember being “arrested” for hunting near a reservoir, the police never bothered to “disarm” us. We were “good kids”. As an adult I went deer hunting with some guys from an urban background, Never again, I stayed in the cabin, they were all drunk.

    As a kid, I understood there was some danger in being a street light, or an insulator. Probably canards.

    Someone mentioned there were gun saftey courses in high schools. Actually they were shooting classes sponsored by the Feds, the idea was to foster a nation of riflemen.

    Read More
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  30. I remember that America. I miss that America. Most importantly, despite running around as an unsupervised youth at all hours of the day and half of the night, doing things that were sometimes quite frowned upon and often dangerous, I somehow survived that America. I’d like to think I was a winner of the Darwinian natural selection lottery, though Nassim Taleb would probably just tell me I was lucky.

    It is worth noting, however, that as we’ve made the world safer for children, they’ve degenerated.

    ” We didn’t curse out teachers neither.”

    We occasionally did, and we were duly and suitably beaten. Children need a good beating from time to time to remind them that life can be arbitrary, hard and cruel if they stray too far from polite society.

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  31. Sbaker says:
    @Priss Factor
    What changed?

    1. Negroes ran wild

    2. Divorces and kids raised by single mothers

    3. Boys got immersed in y0uth culture and failed to grow up

    4. Drugs and culture of shamelessness

    5. Sexual Revolution and men into pimps, women into whores

    6. Demise of Christian moral restraints.

    Not far off. My parents divorced when I was an infant following the death of my year-and-half old sister in an accident. I was less than 6 months and dad, who I spent every summer with from my 5th year, never quite recovered. Negroes were good and bad in the little river town in Missouri where I spent about 10 years until my mom remarried and whisked my older brother and me off to Silicon Valley, (tube valley) in 1960. Spent about 5 years there and eventually moved to my dad’s cattle ranch in Kansas. The freedom Dad allowed was quite memorable; shooting my own .22 from the time I was 11, driving with my cousin on the highway at 14 to go fishing, no curfew just up at 6:30 to work 10 hours on the ranch 6-7 days a week, 12 sticks of dynamite for the 4th when I was 15 to stun fish in a 6 acre lake on the ranch, driving around the farm in the truck from the time I was 11. I graduated high school in Kansas with 48 in my all white class, where kids drove to school in deer season with 30-30s in the gun rack and nothing was ever said about it. I’m not sure many people even noticed. Kids were more about hot cars then. We did break the law sometimes, racing cars and drinking 3.2 beer. I was 17 and drinking beer and wine with a classmate one Saturday night. We got stopped by the county sheriff and town cop for driving 60 in a 20mph zone. We had to dump all remaining alcohol and go home for the evening. I got a speeding ticket for 40 mph over the limit, nothing else. I had to go to court where half the fine was suspended and I had to pay $20. What would happen today?

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  32. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Sorry, Fred – you are just getting old. Nothing you describe is fundamentally specific to the America. I am a bit younger than you are and I grew up in the Evil Empire. And yet, my childhood was much the same, give or take some – boys went barefoot, shoot things any way they could (mostly slingshot in my case), and generally did many dangerous things that didn’t seem to be that big of a deal, to us or even to most adults.

    The whole world is different now.

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  33. Yet another person exclaiming how much better things used to be than they are today.

    On the internet.

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  34. llloyd says: • Website

    I recall New Zealand fifty years ago. A twelve year old Maori girl said bloody to a teacher. The whole school was called to a special assembly where she was too overcome with shame to apologise. These days if a teacher tries to discipline a Maori child, especially a girl, the teacher is in real physical danger of the child’s father and mates turning up. I went mostly bare footed too. We were forbidden to go to the river so we went there regularly.

    Read More
    • Replies: @animalogic
    I grew up in a small Australian city ("it's just a big country town") Funny place...
    We did the bare feet, the dawn till dusk freedom. Riding our bikes all over. We had "slug guns" not BB's We loved "cracker night" ( ie, celebration of the failure to blow up English parliament by guy Fawkes[?] by letting off little bombs, sparklers etc. It was wonderful ( you'd naturally stock up on crackers for use after official night).
    Against that was an ugly undertow: in the 60's the Boumont kids (3 kids ?) went missing for ever. Early 70's two Radcliffe kids were abducted from football grand final - never found. Late 70's was Trouro [?] murders: 7 [?] young women murdered - at least murderer was caught. 80's was the "family" murders: 5 young men sexually abused, tortured, murdered: at least 1 killer was convicted. Then, 90's the Snow town murders: 12 killed in circumstances so bizarre as to strain credulity....All this in a city of less than a million (I've left out quite a few odds & sods murders here & there...)
    Yep: it was a weird place to grow up in.
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  35. Biff says:

    Today if you had a knife in school you’d get the squad cars and ambulance and get handcuffed and have to listen to a psychologist lady until you wanted to kill someone. Probably her.

    :^)

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  36. We have a lot of property, live on the edge of the wilderness, and homeschool. Alaska.

    It’s much worse than you think. A lot doesn’t get in the papers, even here in the boonies.

    Those retards down at the government school have had two lockdowns and arrested a bus driver in the last couple of week as I understand it from our facebook community watch.

    It’s like an insane asylum. Every one of those kids lives in a place where gunshots are normal, nobody thinks a think of it. It’s not only legal, it’s why people live here.

    There is an Air Force bombing range nearby, they drop 500 and 2,000 pounders. An Army range even closer. Belt-fed 50′s.

    The poor little teachers could hear a guy target practicing in the distance, so they did the right thing: initiated the lockdown procedure. The main door is locked. All the kids herded to their assigned room and made to sit on the floor in a corner, in the dark. The shades are drawn. Their own classroom locked. They are forbidden to make noise. For hours on end.

    The children have been made to pee and poop in the classroom garbage cans. I am not kidding, swear to God they are that insane. I think this is abuse.

    These kids, most of the boys can shoot guns and know the difference between a building being assaulted and someone target shooting in the distance. They are forbidden to peek outside, even after hours of silence, my God the trained helplessness!

    The bus driver was arrested because a malicious kid called his parents and told them the bus driver had assaulted him. The kid was being an asshole and not sitting down. The driver said the bus isn’t moving until you get in the back and sit down. The kid escalated by calling his parents. The troopers came, cuffed the driver, and put him in the back of the squad car.

    The bus company sent out another bus and driver. The kids were way late so the parents had started posting on facebook that their kids were way late from school, did anyone know anything. With the longest lockdown, the kids were only allowed to text out cryptic messages to parents “shots fired, school on lockdown.” So that is how the facebook alerts went out.

    To me, this is horrifying but hilarious in a morbid way, what these kids are learning. I converted their scores to PISA equivalents, and it is 17th percentile, internationally. The curriculum is a bunch of Marxist twaddle.

    I don’t know the numbers but homeschool and private religious school – bigger here than anywhere else, proportionately. And you have complete freedom. So long as you stay away from that government school, it’s great.

    Our kids started algebra in what would be first grade if they were in government schools. We’ve been working our asses off. They are like mini-adults and keep an eye on the retards. You couldn’t make up a story line like this. Truth is better than fiction, for entertainment.

    But it really isn’t entertainment watching the government infantilize and make morons out of humans. It’s perverse, and historically disgraceful to this country.

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  37. @Chrisj
    "What changed?

    1. Negroes ran wild"

    America lived up to its principles and gave blacks equal rights. Blacks responded by living down to their lack of principles.

    Victory in WW II gave us an empire and wealth and power. Power corrupted our elites, more than usual. The Left abandoned the one good function they had performed, representing worker interests. The Right abandoned the one good function they had performed, resisting government expansion. Both sides ran headlong into every war they could find.

    Voters turned out to be too stupid to stop all this. Democracy doesn't work, unfortunately.

    “The Left abandoned the one good function they had performed, representing worker interests. ”
    Yes. Yes. Yes.
    The function of a “left” is to advance the material interests & needs of wage earners & small business owners. Failure here means they are NOT the “Left” ….

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  38. @Simply Simon
    bluedog: I never gave it much thought that I had less freedom than my folks and my children have less than mine. Pretty scary thought, but true. Not sure what revolution would solve, probably lead to anarchy and ultimate dictatorship.

    “Not sure what revolution would solve, probably lead to anarchy and ultimate dictatorship.”
    Your fears are valid.
    Part of the answer lies in radical equalitarianism: that is- the core obligation of mutual respect & a rigid adherence to communal activity – from top to bottom. Impossible ? Probably.
    However, the signs are now that between our vacuous leaders & the parasitic elites they represent 99.9% of the time + the breakdown of ecological function (if only it WAS just a case of “global warming”) we are heading for big trouble.
    Revolution is not the answer…but then what is ? Head in sand – arse to the wind, ostrich it till we can’t ?

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    • Replies: @Anonymous
    Say didn't you guys have a revolution once before? So how did that turn out?
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  39. @Carlton Meyer
    I was watching an old Hawaii 5-0. McGarett wanted to bully a mobster who just got off an airplane from the states. He patted him down, found a loaded pistol, and asked what it was for. The guy said for protection, so McGarett handed it back. The good ole days!

    A new low for police, from my blog:

    Dec 11, 2017 - Life in a Police State

    A day care worker in Nevada posted a video on Facebook that included a fellow worker changing a baby's diaper. A glimpse of the baby's genitals was seen, so police rushed to arrest this worker and booked her in jail.

    https://www.reviewjournal.com/crime/sex-crimes/henderson-day-care-worker-suspected-of-exposing-child-in-video/

    Mr Meyer, the example of the day care worker you give makes me almost speechless with rage, frustration & disgust.
    However, thank you for sharing: people need to know the insanity that passes for public policy in 2017…..

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  40. Biff says:

    There is an Air Force bombing range nearby, they drop 500 and 2,000 pounders. An Army range even closer. Belt-fed 50′s.

    This would annoy me as much as the government school.

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  41. @llloyd
    I recall New Zealand fifty years ago. A twelve year old Maori girl said bloody to a teacher. The whole school was called to a special assembly where she was too overcome with shame to apologise. These days if a teacher tries to discipline a Maori child, especially a girl, the teacher is in real physical danger of the child's father and mates turning up. I went mostly bare footed too. We were forbidden to go to the river so we went there regularly.

    I grew up in a small Australian city (“it’s just a big country town”) Funny place…
    We did the bare feet, the dawn till dusk freedom. Riding our bikes all over. We had “slug guns” not BB’s We loved “cracker night” ( ie, celebration of the failure to blow up English parliament by guy Fawkes[?] by letting off little bombs, sparklers etc. It was wonderful ( you’d naturally stock up on crackers for use after official night).
    Against that was an ugly undertow: in the 60′s the Boumont kids (3 kids ?) went missing for ever. Early 70′s two Radcliffe kids were abducted from football grand final – never found. Late 70′s was Trouro [?] murders: 7 [?] young women murdered – at least murderer was caught. 80′s was the “family” murders: 5 young men sexually abused, tortured, murdered: at least 1 killer was convicted. Then, 90′s the Snow town murders: 12 killed in circumstances so bizarre as to strain credulity….All this in a city of less than a million (I’ve left out quite a few odds & sods murders here & there…)
    Yep: it was a weird place to grow up in.

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    • Replies: @Simply Simon
    Weird yes, and some pretty spooky movies made about Australia too.
    , @Anon
    See post 70, in reply to you.
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  42. Mj says:

    Like a good Protestant southerner, Fred just had to make a swipe at the Catholic Church.

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    • Replies: @Chris Mallory

    Like a good Protestant southerner, Fred just had to make a swipe at the Catholic Church.
     
    All Christians should make swipes at the Papist religion.

    One of my ancestors had the title "Scourge of the Catholics" for his work in trying to rid England of the Papist blasphemy.
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  43. hvlee says:

    G. Gordon Liddy: “When I Was a Kid, This Was a Free Country”.

    I was there too. Chattanooga

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  44. windwaves says:
    @Chrisj
    "What changed?

    1. Negroes ran wild"

    America lived up to its principles and gave blacks equal rights. Blacks responded by living down to their lack of principles.

    Victory in WW II gave us an empire and wealth and power. Power corrupted our elites, more than usual. The Left abandoned the one good function they had performed, representing worker interests. The Right abandoned the one good function they had performed, resisting government expansion. Both sides ran headlong into every war they could find.

    Voters turned out to be too stupid to stop all this. Democracy doesn't work, unfortunately.

    yep, sadly we won the war.

    And became to servant of Israel.

    The new United States of Israel.

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  45. The wost is only coming.
    Today kids are sitting in front of computer playing video games all day.
    Future generation of humanoids will be big buts with small heads,thin arms and thin legs.

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  46. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Pre-9/11 America was better, the good ol’ days. Reed speaks of plastics, asphault, old men who didn’t masturbate to young boys, at least as Capitalism then would have kept matters much more quiet.

    There’s the rub – in Reed’s quaint Southern simplicity it was the monster coming over the hill with torches like the KKK as glorified by Hollywood.

    Every grievance described is Capitalism’s demand. The sex predator sustains the criminal justice corporations – billions for squad cars and information awareness, identity politics obscures the fraud and swindle of finance, predatory psychology, propaganda and drugs. These are not the tools of Government overeach, they are the demands of ian ndustry controlled Government.

    The great tragedy of time is the otherwise sensible hick who can’t see this. Moreover, could never see the forest for the trees. Before too long they’ll bray for another war.

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  47. Miro23 says:
    @Simply Simon
    bluedog: I never gave it much thought that I had less freedom than my folks and my children have less than mine. Pretty scary thought, but true. Not sure what revolution would solve, probably lead to anarchy and ultimate dictatorship.

    bluedog: I never gave it much thought that I had less freedom than my folks and my children have less than mine. Pretty scary thought, but true. Not sure what revolution would solve, probably lead to anarchy and ultimate dictatorship.

    This is the problem in the West. Freedom is so easily taken for granted as the natural state of affairs.

    Paradoxically, freedom is really only safe when every citizen shows dedication, awareness and hard work – as in a living Democracy – with political involvement and responsibility, from the local level upwards, and it’s not going to happen by default.

    Society has to be designed to FORCE democratic citizen involvement, with its research, meetings, responsibility, discussions and votes on an issue by issue basis. Then citizens OWN their Democracy and PROTECT IT because they LIVE IT.

    Try explaining that to the typical US consumer ( err.. citizen).

    Read More
    • Replies: @Miro23
    And the first step would be to get taxation and spending (for example 90% of it) back to the local level.

    Then citizens locally decide how they are going to organize their own education, healthcare, policing etc. + credit creation at the local (state/county) level.

    The FED would disappear along with power in the hands of Washington, the President and the lobbies.
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  48. windwaves says:

    I submitted my comment prematurely :)

    Anyhow, what I wanted to say is that it is the jew culture of money that has destroyed society as we knew it. It is as simple as that. I do not fault the jews, they are who they are and do what they do. I fault those americans who, over the decades since WWII, have permitted that rotten culture of money to dominate their lives. Repulsive. Do not get me wrong, I am not against money.

    I am against the americans who have sold their souls to the jew money disease, those americans who will bend over any minute for another fucking dollar. That is what has been eroding our society, our culture, the american dream and we are not done yet.

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  49. I recall that back in the late forties when I was about ten, my mother would give me a couple of nickels for the subway, a quarter for myself and a sandwich and I would take the Pelham Bay from the Bronx and ride down to the seventy-ninth street station in Manhattan, walk west across Central Park and spend the day at the Museum of Natural History. In late afternoon, I would walk back across the park and ride uptown. Recently, it was reported that a mother was arrested for allowing her child to play in their front yard alone.

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    • Replies: @Rhett Hardwick
    a 't match that, but in 1959, or so, my 7th grade class took the train (from Providence, RI) to New York to see Ben Hur at the Rockefeller Center. 79 kids, two teachers, no one died.
    , @Da Wei
    TonyVodvarka, what the hell has happened to us? I have similar types of memories, only from the opposite coast. I cut peaches in a fruit drying shed when I was 10 and up. An errant blade could slice the tip of my finger and in a few hours peach juice would sting it like a bee. The long walk home over sandy roads in the waning summer heat was sometimes refreshed by a dip in an irrigation canal. The money I earned made me feel like a man. Other times, my friends and I would go to some stretch of the pristine Merced River (that ran out of Yosemite Valley) and camp for days. We fished, swam and it was Huck Finn time when we saw nobody else at all. It was part of growing up. Now, I think any scrap of that experience would be called child abuse. Parents might go to jail for negligence and kids fostered out for that. I know it's rhetorical, TonyVodvarka, but what the hell happened? Dammit, some kids aren't even allowed to read Huckleberry Finn now, at least not in school.
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  50. Miro23 says:
    @Miro23

    bluedog: I never gave it much thought that I had less freedom than my folks and my children have less than mine. Pretty scary thought, but true. Not sure what revolution would solve, probably lead to anarchy and ultimate dictatorship.
     
    This is the problem in the West. Freedom is so easily taken for granted as the natural state of affairs.

    Paradoxically, freedom is really only safe when every citizen shows dedication, awareness and hard work - as in a living Democracy - with political involvement and responsibility, from the local level upwards, and it's not going to happen by default.

    Society has to be designed to FORCE democratic citizen involvement, with its research, meetings, responsibility, discussions and votes on an issue by issue basis. Then citizens OWN their Democracy and PROTECT IT because they LIVE IT.

    Try explaining that to the typical US consumer ( err.. citizen).

    And the first step would be to get taxation and spending (for example 90% of it) back to the local level.

    Then citizens locally decide how they are going to organize their own education, healthcare, policing etc. + credit creation at the local (state/county) level.

    The FED would disappear along with power in the hands of Washington, the President and the lobbies.

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  51. I was a hellion and pyromanic by age 8. You haven’t lived until you careless handle a pile of 50 1964 dollars worth of assorted fireworks (roman candles, Black Cats, M-80s, 8 oz. skyrockets etc.)and set the whole pile off with a stray spark from the live roman candle in your hand. By age 12 I was blowing up neighbors mailboxes with REAL M-80s. On one occasion the black domestic help lady hid me from the cops after the kid up the street called them on me for setting off a mat of 128 Black Cats on his front porch at high noon one fine summer day.

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    • Replies: @Sbaker
    You were a feral animal Jim Bob. I lived in the Bay Area of San franfreako as a kid in the early 60s. Most of my neighbors in Los Altos were engineers and worked in areas that later became siliconized as Silicon Valley. Anyway it was a nice, expensive place to live with a high count of pretentious people. The summer I turned 13, I came back from my home state of Missouri with several dozen real cherry bombs to Los Altos where all but sparklers were banned. One Friday night, "me amd this other fool" set a cherry bomb off under a coffee can in the heart of the residential area. My bud sprinted off into the night and I, the perp that lit the fuse in the middle of the street at 11:30 pm, only made it under the spruce tree in a nearby front yard of an owner I had never seen. The limbs of the tree spread out to within a foot of the ground and I was flat on my stomach for what seemed an hour as lights up and down the street came on, and people searched with flashlights for the vile heathen that set that bomb off. A couple of police cars showed up with their spotlights searching the area. I feared they would hear my bounding tachycardia. I did lay silent for about an hour and left silently, climbing over backyard fences to hide my heathen identity. Escape was sweet and here I am to tell of this criminal act. After serving 6 years in the Bay Area, we moved to a more civilized state, Texas, for a year or so then I left mom and stepdad to live, er work, with dad on the cattle ranch in Eastern Kansas.
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  52. I like the BB gun riff, I was partial to the .22 rifle. I would remove the bullet from the casing and shake out some percentage of the powder (all done by eye) replace the bullet and then after dark go out and shoot out one of the 2 street lights in Westminster West Vt. Another 22 experiment was to tape an old pocket watch ti the inside of a paper bag and shoot it, target was pencilled on the outside of the bag. After reading all those westerns I was curious to see if a watch could stop a bullet..of course I was not at that time aware of the difference between 22 cal and 44 or 45 cal.

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  53. tim s says:
    @Astuteobservor II
    all the unspoken rules fred mentioned in the article just needs 1 rule breaker. then all things goes to hell.

    simple right?

    Hell for the rulebreaker. Back then they knew how to (and could) maintain a healthy society for the most part.

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  54. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Happy Days with Ritchie Cunningham and Ronald Reagan. Until weed and rock and roll came along anyway. Those are ok with conservatives now of course, but back then the proseltyes were exposed to leaded gasoline, crew cuts and revulsion of the commie, thus were aggressively opposed to such behavior, a righteous hatred fueled typically with violence and alcohol. The groupies still feel redeemed by the promise of torture and prison for underage buggery, but can’t realize they are being fucked in the ass every day they go to work for the man.

    It’s difficult to quantify stunted intellectualism, a sensitive issue, without sounding insulting towards the demographic in question, who, by the 1980s amassed in infantile movements of evangelical magic thinking, militarism and the American Way.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Jesse James
    No one ever let you go out and play with the other neighborhood boys, apparently.

    US militarism predated Reagan by at least 150 years.

    Racism is either codified or understood as customary in every society on the planet. Name one place it factually does not exist.

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  55. renfro says:

    Good article.

    Those of us who grew up those times and small towns truly grew up in the best of times and places.

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  56. It was still possible to grow up like this in the late 70s/ early 80s, because I did. Not so much the shoeless part – it was either too muddy or snowy most of the year – but the part where we kids and dogs could explore the world for ourselves, knowing enough to be back for dinner. Everything was left unlocked and somehow we didn’t shoot each other with Dad’s guns or drink all of his liquor.

    It’s hard to be too nostalgic, because it was already a mistake to live like that. My parents were at least one ideological generation behind most of my peers’ parents, and I got the wrong impression of the world I’d inherit. The older I got, the more out of time and place I felt. Maybe if I’d been conditioned more like the rest of my generation, I’d be happier and more accepting of the world as it is now. You don’t want to be the only patient in the ward who can remember what life could be like without cancer.

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  57. @animalogic
    I grew up in a small Australian city ("it's just a big country town") Funny place...
    We did the bare feet, the dawn till dusk freedom. Riding our bikes all over. We had "slug guns" not BB's We loved "cracker night" ( ie, celebration of the failure to blow up English parliament by guy Fawkes[?] by letting off little bombs, sparklers etc. It was wonderful ( you'd naturally stock up on crackers for use after official night).
    Against that was an ugly undertow: in the 60's the Boumont kids (3 kids ?) went missing for ever. Early 70's two Radcliffe kids were abducted from football grand final - never found. Late 70's was Trouro [?] murders: 7 [?] young women murdered - at least murderer was caught. 80's was the "family" murders: 5 young men sexually abused, tortured, murdered: at least 1 killer was convicted. Then, 90's the Snow town murders: 12 killed in circumstances so bizarre as to strain credulity....All this in a city of less than a million (I've left out quite a few odds & sods murders here & there...)
    Yep: it was a weird place to grow up in.

    Weird yes, and some pretty spooky movies made about Australia too.

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  58. gdpbull says:

    Kids would also get hatchets for Christmas. And as the comedian Pat McManus would say, as you ran out the door with it on Christmas morning, your mother would say “now don’t chop anything”.

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  59. gdpbull says:

    Fishing with cherry bombs and m-80s was another fun thing us kids did back then.

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    • Replies: @Jim Bob Lassiter
    Yep, did that too. You wrap the M-80 (with waterproof fuse poking through a hole) in a piece of tin foil with some rocks. Into the pond and TUNK!!! Any fish close by will rise to surface in a few seconds. Hand grenades will get one hell of a catch.
    , @Che Guava
    I am agreeing with most of this thread, and the article, but not you and the other poster boasting of using explosives for fiishing.

    That is sick in the head.

    Ever tried using a hook and bait or lures?
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  60. gdpbull says:

    took our shotguns to school, the coach put them in a locked locker, so that we could go hunting straight from school.

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  61. Thirdeye says:

    I spent the first – and by far the happiest – part of my childhood in a small town in the Northwest during the 1960s. While it was a racially uniform environment it was an economically egalitarian and high trust environment. All social strata of the town went to the same school. There was a sense that everybody was just who they were. The school cared about the individual. There was a strong sense of ethics. About the only thing that made a kid a social outcast would be coming to school smelling of pee. Moving to the city the contrast was shocking. Spoiled rotten and striving for hierarchical position was the norm among the kids. The apathy of school staff towards student well-being was appalling.

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  62. @gdpbull
    Fishing with cherry bombs and m-80s was another fun thing us kids did back then.

    Yep, did that too. You wrap the M-80 (with waterproof fuse poking through a hole) in a piece of tin foil with some rocks. Into the pond and TUNK!!! Any fish close by will rise to surface in a few seconds. Hand grenades will get one hell of a catch.

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    • Disagree: Che Guava
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  63. @Anonymous
    Happy Days with Ritchie Cunningham and Ronald Reagan. Until weed and rock and roll came along anyway. Those are ok with conservatives now of course, but back then the proseltyes were exposed to leaded gasoline, crew cuts and revulsion of the commie, thus were aggressively opposed to such behavior, a righteous hatred fueled typically with violence and alcohol. The groupies still feel redeemed by the promise of torture and prison for underage buggery, but can't realize they are being fucked in the ass every day they go to work for the man.

    It's difficult to quantify stunted intellectualism, a sensitive issue, without sounding insulting towards the demographic in question, who, by the 1980s amassed in infantile movements of evangelical magic thinking, militarism and the American Way.

    No one ever let you go out and play with the other neighborhood boys, apparently.

    US militarism predated Reagan by at least 150 years.

    Racism is either codified or understood as customary in every society on the planet. Name one place it factually does not exist.

    Read More
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  64. @TonyVodvarka
    I recall that back in the late forties when I was about ten, my mother would give me a couple of nickels for the subway, a quarter for myself and a sandwich and I would take the Pelham Bay from the Bronx and ride down to the seventy-ninth street station in Manhattan, walk west across Central Park and spend the day at the Museum of Natural History. In late afternoon, I would walk back across the park and ride uptown. Recently, it was reported that a mother was arrested for allowing her child to play in their front yard alone.

    a ‘t match that, but in 1959, or so, my 7th grade class took the train (from Providence, RI) to New York to see Ben Hur at the Rockefeller Center. 79 kids, two teachers, no one died.

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    • Replies: @TonyVodvarka
    Back in the fifties, there were consequences for disobeying a teacher. Nonetheless, I admire their courage and tenacity in handling those 79 kids.
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  65. Back in those good, really good, old days, boys told jokes like this one:

    Q. What’s green and slimy and carries a gun?

    A. Mucus McCain!

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  66. @Anon
    I'm usually not a Reed fan, but! This article is better than the best Norman Rockwell. We just need a woman to write the little girl's perspective. I'd guess it would have to include voluntary or involuntary lessons in the kitchen with Mother, rescuing stray kittens, walking somewhere important with Grandfather and getting a flower press.

    May we build such cultural moments for the next generation.

    We just need a woman to write the little girl’s perspective.

    And a black person to write about life on the other side of town. I’d guess that, while there was likely more hardship than on Fred’s side of town, the black boys played with BB guns and knives in the same way as the whites, and mostly came to no harm.

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  67. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @George
    BB guns did and still do cause serious injuries. My guess is back in the day the 'gun culture' allowed kids to grow up around guns and learn to use them minimally safely. I also think there were lots of injuries, but nobody really cared. Perhaps a different world outlook. Back in the day, BB guns and BBs were probably relatively more expensive so kids and others showed them more respect. As guns an ammo got cheaper, they were handed to less and less mature kids by BB gun ignorant parents. There are few kids roaming about with guns, so the young kids are no longer 'socialized' into gun safety. I vaguely remember reading schools back then even had gun safety classes. Having never used a gun, I took the NRA 1 hr pistol class, wow all the stuff I did not know, like everything.

    Florida boy, 10, dies after being accidentally shot in head with BB gun by brother
    http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/boy-fatally-shoots-brother-head-bb-gun-article-1.1295900

    Lots of injuries, but nobody cared. They let children run barefooted then, shows how little they cared, and they were out unsupervised all day, gross negligence. So much better today,when children are not even allowed a snow ball fight.
    I take it you are not a product of these careless times.

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  68. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @animalogic
    "Not sure what revolution would solve, probably lead to anarchy and ultimate dictatorship."
    Your fears are valid.
    Part of the answer lies in radical equalitarianism: that is- the core obligation of mutual respect & a rigid adherence to communal activity - from top to bottom. Impossible ? Probably.
    However, the signs are now that between our vacuous leaders & the parasitic elites they represent 99.9% of the time + the breakdown of ecological function (if only it WAS just a case of "global warming") we are heading for big trouble.
    Revolution is not the answer...but then what is ? Head in sand - arse to the wind, ostrich it till we can't ?

    Say didn’t you guys have a revolution once before? So how did that turn out?

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    • Replies: @animalogic
    Us, a revolution ? Fuck me, it passed me by ....you don't mean those French cunts 200 odd years ago do u sir hep-C?
    , @animalogic
    No fuck it, I'll do this - you dog, did read my comment ? Play games with me you dog, you fucking plonk: Did i say revolution was the answer ? You fucking idiot - I wish revolution would work but this point in time + space...I don't know....but u can rot...
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  69. Che Guava says:
    @gdpbull
    Fishing with cherry bombs and m-80s was another fun thing us kids did back then.

    I am agreeing with most of this thread, and the article, but not you and the other poster boasting of using explosives for fiishing.

    That is sick in the head.

    Ever tried using a hook and bait or lures?

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    • Replies: @gdpbull
    Yes, I also fished with hooks, bait, and lures then and still today. I gave up the cherry bombs and m-80s when I matured. Save the holier than thou crap.
    , @Sbaker
    Look, the pond was filled with carp, a trash fish, and we wanted to clear it and restock it with crappie, bass, and Channel catfish. My dad had been blasting stumps with dynamite and ammonium nitrate fertilizer for years and knew how to set the caps and fuse. You could buy dynamite in most hardware stores for a dollar a stick plus the cost of caps and waxed fuse. It was a common practice at the time.
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  70. Anon • Disclaimer says:

    I call bullshit on your post.

    Having spent much time in places where fireworks were celeebrated and enjoyed on old Chinese New Year, only in summer, or on Guy Fawke’s Day, i distinctly recall the contrast with Australia, where, before the governments made fireworks illegal except at state-sponsored events (with minor exceptions at the time, I would guess none now), fireworks day was on the Queen’s birthday, not Guy Fawke’s day.

    That you are insane also explains your many spelling errors.

    Seriously, what were you trying to say?

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    • Replies: @animalogic
    Well, I guess I am insane: just memories that Fred evoked. Sorry I opened my yap, you cunt.
    , @animalogic
    Call bullshit on me for memories 40 years ago ? That's it ? Fuck you. It's the truth even if the details are iffy - look it up smart arse & don't bother me with your Queens birthday shit: it was cracker night for us & I call bullshit on the breathe from your mouth.
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  71. Anon • Disclaimer says:
    @animalogic
    I grew up in a small Australian city ("it's just a big country town") Funny place...
    We did the bare feet, the dawn till dusk freedom. Riding our bikes all over. We had "slug guns" not BB's We loved "cracker night" ( ie, celebration of the failure to blow up English parliament by guy Fawkes[?] by letting off little bombs, sparklers etc. It was wonderful ( you'd naturally stock up on crackers for use after official night).
    Against that was an ugly undertow: in the 60's the Boumont kids (3 kids ?) went missing for ever. Early 70's two Radcliffe kids were abducted from football grand final - never found. Late 70's was Trouro [?] murders: 7 [?] young women murdered - at least murderer was caught. 80's was the "family" murders: 5 young men sexually abused, tortured, murdered: at least 1 killer was convicted. Then, 90's the Snow town murders: 12 killed in circumstances so bizarre as to strain credulity....All this in a city of less than a million (I've left out quite a few odds & sods murders here & there...)
    Yep: it was a weird place to grow up in.

    See post 70, in reply to you.

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  72. @Anon
    I call bullshit on your post.

    Having spent much time in places where fireworks were celeebrated and enjoyed on old Chinese New Year, only in summer, or on Guy Fawke's Day, i distinctly recall the contrast with Australia, where, before the governments made fireworks illegal except at state-sponsored events (with minor exceptions at the time, I would guess none now), fireworks day was on the Queen's birthday, not Guy Fawke's day.

    That you are insane also explains your many spelling errors.

    Seriously, what were you trying to say?

    Well, I guess I am insane: just memories that Fred evoked. Sorry I opened my yap, you cunt.

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  73. @Anonymous
    Say didn't you guys have a revolution once before? So how did that turn out?

    Us, a revolution ? Fuck me, it passed me by ….you don’t mean those French cunts 200 odd years ago do u sir hep-C?

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  74. gdpbull says:
    @Che Guava
    I am agreeing with most of this thread, and the article, but not you and the other poster boasting of using explosives for fiishing.

    That is sick in the head.

    Ever tried using a hook and bait or lures?

    Yes, I also fished with hooks, bait, and lures then and still today. I gave up the cherry bombs and m-80s when I matured. Save the holier than thou crap.

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    • Replies: @Che Guava
    It ain't 'holier than thou crap', fishing with explosives is the act of a moron, not something to boast about. Popular in the Phillipines, too. Destroying many fisheries there.
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  75. @Anonymous
    Say didn't you guys have a revolution once before? So how did that turn out?

    No fuck it, I’ll do this – you dog, did read my comment ? Play games with me you dog, you fucking plonk: Did i say revolution was the answer ? You fucking idiot – I wish revolution would work but this point in time + space…I don’t know….but u can rot…

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    • Replies: @Anonymous
    No you did not say revolution was the answer.

    Sorry chap, for a second I forgot you were an Aussi and not a Yank.

    Of course they had a revolution which changed the direction. They missed a few points. What can go wrong, will. And here we have it.
    BTW
    your granny should have washed your mouth out with soap.
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  76. @Anon
    I call bullshit on your post.

    Having spent much time in places where fireworks were celeebrated and enjoyed on old Chinese New Year, only in summer, or on Guy Fawke's Day, i distinctly recall the contrast with Australia, where, before the governments made fireworks illegal except at state-sponsored events (with minor exceptions at the time, I would guess none now), fireworks day was on the Queen's birthday, not Guy Fawke's day.

    That you are insane also explains your many spelling errors.

    Seriously, what were you trying to say?

    Call bullshit on me for memories 40 years ago ? That’s it ? Fuck you. It’s the truth even if the details are iffy – look it up smart arse & don’t bother me with your Queens birthday shit: it was cracker night for us & I call bullshit on the breathe from your mouth.

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  77. Reminds me of my childhood and youth – without negroes. Remember the local butcher’s two Great Danes strolling through the streets of the little town on the North Sea Coast. I usually changed street sides, when I saw them coming, although they wouldn’t have harmed me anyway. Not even smaller dogs. Butchers seemed all to have had large dogs at that time. The marine stores, the pubs, the harbour and its fish auction halls were a kind of adventure playground seeing the most unbelievable marine animals there. But – keep in mind – there was little traffic! But using self-made vessels was dangerous; several times we were saved by the coast-guard when drifting helplessly into the open sea. After they took us on board hell broke lose. But they were right of course.

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  78. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @animalogic
    No fuck it, I'll do this - you dog, did read my comment ? Play games with me you dog, you fucking plonk: Did i say revolution was the answer ? You fucking idiot - I wish revolution would work but this point in time + space...I don't know....but u can rot...

    No you did not say revolution was the answer.

    Sorry chap, for a second I forgot you were an Aussi and not a Yank.

    Of course they had a revolution which changed the direction. They missed a few points. What can go wrong, will. And here we have it.
    BTW
    your granny should have washed your mouth out with soap.

    Read More
    • Replies: @animalogic
    Oh, & BTW ? Grow up.
    , @animalogic
    OK let me politely explain something. I avoid speaking to children, whether by age or stunted emotional maturity. When I communicate with adults I expect them to be able to cope with expletives. I'm open to issues of appropriateness in the circumstances, but not to the principal: OK ?
    Now, as to mentioning my grandmother & mouth washing...are you an idiot ? Number ONE rule, never, even in jest, bring someone's family into things. This is basic. Perhaps YOU lack a bit of family instruction. (Please note I'm respecting your language choices, though I don't think you really deserve it)
    , @Anon
    I would not be sure he or she is an Aussi, fireworks day in that place was *not* on Guy Fawke's day. Memories of that are either from Britain or one of its newly independent colonies.
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  79. @Mj
    Like a good Protestant southerner, Fred just had to make a swipe at the Catholic Church.

    Like a good Protestant southerner, Fred just had to make a swipe at the Catholic Church.

    All Christians should make swipes at the Papist religion.

    One of my ancestors had the title “Scourge of the Catholics” for his work in trying to rid England of the Papist blasphemy.

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    • Replies: @Mj
    Meh. The RCC and its splendor will last until the end of time. Protestantism, particularly the American variety, has become a kind of auto-caricature. I’ve concluded that envy underlies just about every criticism mouthed by Protestants.

    We Catholics have the Mass, Eucharist, breathtaking architecture, breathtaking art, Catholic schools, Mozart, more attractive women (compare Poland vs. England, for example), etc, etc. Protestants? Basically hooting and hollering about muh Jeezus and the end of the world. I feel bad for them, really.

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  80. Che Guava says:
    @gdpbull
    Yes, I also fished with hooks, bait, and lures then and still today. I gave up the cherry bombs and m-80s when I matured. Save the holier than thou crap.

    It ain’t ‘holier than thou crap’, fishing with explosives is the act of a moron, not something to boast about. Popular in the Phillipines, too. Destroying many fisheries there.

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  81. Mj says:
    @Chris Mallory

    Like a good Protestant southerner, Fred just had to make a swipe at the Catholic Church.
     
    All Christians should make swipes at the Papist religion.

    One of my ancestors had the title "Scourge of the Catholics" for his work in trying to rid England of the Papist blasphemy.

    Meh. The RCC and its splendor will last until the end of time. Protestantism, particularly the American variety, has become a kind of auto-caricature. I’ve concluded that envy underlies just about every criticism mouthed by Protestants.

    We Catholics have the Mass, Eucharist, breathtaking architecture, breathtaking art, Catholic schools, Mozart, more attractive women (compare Poland vs. England, for example), etc, etc. Protestants? Basically hooting and hollering about muh Jeezus and the end of the world. I feel bad for them, really.

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  82. Oh my!
    Fred did hit a nerve.
    I am surprised that there weren’t more condemnations of his musings. Thought police probably don’t bother to read FRED. More the pity!

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  83. @Chrisj
    "What changed?

    1. Negroes ran wild"

    America lived up to its principles and gave blacks equal rights. Blacks responded by living down to their lack of principles.

    Victory in WW II gave us an empire and wealth and power. Power corrupted our elites, more than usual. The Left abandoned the one good function they had performed, representing worker interests. The Right abandoned the one good function they had performed, resisting government expansion. Both sides ran headlong into every war they could find.

    Voters turned out to be too stupid to stop all this. Democracy doesn't work, unfortunately.

    That’s about it, Chrisj

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  84. Am I reliving a childhood memory on the big screen right before my eyes? Sure feels like I set off a $5000.00 pile of M-80s, Roman candles and 8 oz. skyrockets with a few ladyfingers thrown in for good measure. (or a Mexican fireworks factory)

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  85. @Anonymous
    No you did not say revolution was the answer.

    Sorry chap, for a second I forgot you were an Aussi and not a Yank.

    Of course they had a revolution which changed the direction. They missed a few points. What can go wrong, will. And here we have it.
    BTW
    your granny should have washed your mouth out with soap.

    Oh, & BTW ? Grow up.

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  86. Da Wei says:
    @TonyVodvarka
    I recall that back in the late forties when I was about ten, my mother would give me a couple of nickels for the subway, a quarter for myself and a sandwich and I would take the Pelham Bay from the Bronx and ride down to the seventy-ninth street station in Manhattan, walk west across Central Park and spend the day at the Museum of Natural History. In late afternoon, I would walk back across the park and ride uptown. Recently, it was reported that a mother was arrested for allowing her child to play in their front yard alone.

    TonyVodvarka, what the hell has happened to us? I have similar types of memories, only from the opposite coast. I cut peaches in a fruit drying shed when I was 10 and up. An errant blade could slice the tip of my finger and in a few hours peach juice would sting it like a bee. The long walk home over sandy roads in the waning summer heat was sometimes refreshed by a dip in an irrigation canal. The money I earned made me feel like a man. Other times, my friends and I would go to some stretch of the pristine Merced River (that ran out of Yosemite Valley) and camp for days. We fished, swam and it was Huck Finn time when we saw nobody else at all. It was part of growing up. Now, I think any scrap of that experience would be called child abuse. Parents might go to jail for negligence and kids fostered out for that. I know it’s rhetorical, TonyVodvarka, but what the hell happened? Dammit, some kids aren’t even allowed to read Huckleberry Finn now, at least not in school.

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    • Replies: @TonyVodvarka
    Right you are, Da Wei, Something happened, all right, a plague of authoritarianism in my point of view. I can only wonder how being cloistered within the home as a child limits the independence and individualism of the adult. Regard, for instance, the demands of some student bodies to ban controversial speakers on campus because they think a campus should be a "safe space". Quite a change from the good old sixties I have to say, and not a good one. Cheers!
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  87. Sbaker says:
    @Simply Simon
    I have to add a comment or three to my original comments regarding Fred's column. Nice to read one wherein war, race or politics are not mentioned. Referring back to walking barefoot in summer I have a feeling few if any city boys had the opportunity as we farm boys had to squish our toes in fresh warm cow patties. An exquisite feeling, really. Cow patties don't stink, you know, chlorophyll the main ingredient. We used to swim in creeks that if contaminated, we were not aware. We had all developed immunity drinking water from dug wells that admitted all kinds of bacteria, no chlorine added. I now live in Central Texas which like most of the rest of the USA, has become overpopulated and uncivilized, the consequence being the loss of freedom, a freedom many of us once experienced, never again to be recovered.

    We often put fire crackers in the cow pies, disgusting as it was, in range of the nearest victim to give them the green shower treatment. I never did like stepping in it, although accidents like that often happened in Missouri. We learned to swim in stock ponds and creeks. I can’t say I wasn’t a bit disgusted to see a cow urinating and defecating in the same pool. We swam anyway because the nearest cement pool was 30 miles away across the Mississippi River into Illinios.

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    • Replies: @Simply Simon
    Yes Shaker, we boys skinny dipped with the cows also. If we were really lucky some of the girls joined us too.
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  88. Sbaker says:
    @Jim Bob Lassiter
    I was a hellion and pyromanic by age 8. You haven't lived until you careless handle a pile of 50 1964 dollars worth of assorted fireworks (roman candles, Black Cats, M-80s, 8 oz. skyrockets etc.)and set the whole pile off with a stray spark from the live roman candle in your hand. By age 12 I was blowing up neighbors mailboxes with REAL M-80s. On one occasion the black domestic help lady hid me from the cops after the kid up the street called them on me for setting off a mat of 128 Black Cats on his front porch at high noon one fine summer day.

    You were a feral animal Jim Bob. I lived in the Bay Area of San franfreako as a kid in the early 60s. Most of my neighbors in Los Altos were engineers and worked in areas that later became siliconized as Silicon Valley. Anyway it was a nice, expensive place to live with a high count of pretentious people. The summer I turned 13, I came back from my home state of Missouri with several dozen real cherry bombs to Los Altos where all but sparklers were banned. One Friday night, “me amd this other fool” set a cherry bomb off under a coffee can in the heart of the residential area. My bud sprinted off into the night and I, the perp that lit the fuse in the middle of the street at 11:30 pm, only made it under the spruce tree in a nearby front yard of an owner I had never seen. The limbs of the tree spread out to within a foot of the ground and I was flat on my stomach for what seemed an hour as lights up and down the street came on, and people searched with flashlights for the vile heathen that set that bomb off. A couple of police cars showed up with their spotlights searching the area. I feared they would hear my bounding tachycardia. I did lay silent for about an hour and left silently, climbing over backyard fences to hide my heathen identity. Escape was sweet and here I am to tell of this criminal act. After serving 6 years in the Bay Area, we moved to a more civilized state, Texas, for a year or so then I left mom and stepdad to live, er work, with dad on the cattle ranch in Eastern Kansas.

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  89. Sbaker says:
    @Che Guava
    I am agreeing with most of this thread, and the article, but not you and the other poster boasting of using explosives for fiishing.

    That is sick in the head.

    Ever tried using a hook and bait or lures?

    Look, the pond was filled with carp, a trash fish, and we wanted to clear it and restock it with crappie, bass, and Channel catfish. My dad had been blasting stumps with dynamite and ammonium nitrate fertilizer for years and knew how to set the caps and fuse. You could buy dynamite in most hardware stores for a dollar a stick plus the cost of caps and waxed fuse. It was a common practice at the time.

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    • Replies: @Che Guava
    That is an intersting perspective. Note that I was saying nothing about the availability of cheap explosives and fireworks. It is a sign of a healthy society.

    Bass is seen as a pest species in Japan, many signs warning against it, largely wiped out in many, not all (I think) lakes.

    Carp, trash fish, sure, but prepared wel, it is tasty. Also, can't see much difference between the flavours of carp and catfish.

    Thx. for the entertaining post.
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  90. @Anonymous
    No you did not say revolution was the answer.

    Sorry chap, for a second I forgot you were an Aussi and not a Yank.

    Of course they had a revolution which changed the direction. They missed a few points. What can go wrong, will. And here we have it.
    BTW
    your granny should have washed your mouth out with soap.

    OK let me politely explain something. I avoid speaking to children, whether by age or stunted emotional maturity. When I communicate with adults I expect them to be able to cope with expletives. I’m open to issues of appropriateness in the circumstances, but not to the principal: OK ?
    Now, as to mentioning my grandmother & mouth washing…are you an idiot ? Number ONE rule, never, even in jest, bring someone’s family into things. This is basic. Perhaps YOU lack a bit of family instruction. (Please note I’m respecting your language choices, though I don’t think you really deserve it)

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  91. @Rich
    The reason people were allowed to live that way was because of a little thing called "Segregation". Now considered worse than rape or murder.

    Are you saying that the blacks would have stuffwd it all up but for Jim Crow and iron fisted policing to keep them down?

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    • Replies: @Rich
    I'm saying that when Jim Crow in the South, and de facto segregation in the North existed, along with tough Law and Order policies, people lived a lot better.
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  92. Rich says:
    @Wizard of Oz
    Are you saying that the blacks would have stuffwd it all up but for Jim Crow and iron fisted policing to keep them down?

    I’m saying that when Jim Crow in the South, and de facto segregation in the North existed, along with tough Law and Order policies, people lived a lot better.

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    • Replies: @Wizard of Oz
    It makes sense even to a contemporary if you consider the self segregation of blscks in NYC even now and the tough law and order policies post crack and pre di Blasio.

    Mind you the utilitarian calculus of human happiness might be biased your way if blacks were counted as three fifths of a white, as in the 1787 compromise.
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  93. Does anyone else recall getting in a minor scrape and having the police “being you to your parents”? How about “duck season” and bringing your shotgun to school, but being sent home because you wore jeans (then “dungarees”) because you hadn’t had time to change before school.

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  94. Another recollection that just came to me, buying .22 ammo at the hardware store. But first, my mother had to leave a note giving permission. Being short of money in duck season and buying 12 Gauge No.6 individually, because we couldn’t afford a box. We never shot anyone, or even tried, honest!

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  95. Although some people’s recollections here have been challenged, I can say mine are all true as well as I can recollect them. Dare I say “Honest Injun”. Perhaps “Scout’s Honor”.

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    • Replies: @Da Wei
    Rhett Hardwick, dare you say, "Honest Injun" and Scout's Honor"?

    You Betchum, Red Ryder!

    Dare to recollect and to say both! "Honest Injun" will cause some uppity eyes to roll, but they never watched cowboys and Indians on Saturday matinees. Let them enjoy their guilt. Purging our past has become a national fad, but it's stupid. We better understand where we are if we know where we've been.

    I especially like "Scout's Honor" and would like to hear it more often. (Or, how about an occasional reference to just plain honor?) Would that our younguns today learned about the father of scouting, Frederick Russell Burnham. Now, there was a man, Kimosabe.

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  96. @Da Wei
    TonyVodvarka, what the hell has happened to us? I have similar types of memories, only from the opposite coast. I cut peaches in a fruit drying shed when I was 10 and up. An errant blade could slice the tip of my finger and in a few hours peach juice would sting it like a bee. The long walk home over sandy roads in the waning summer heat was sometimes refreshed by a dip in an irrigation canal. The money I earned made me feel like a man. Other times, my friends and I would go to some stretch of the pristine Merced River (that ran out of Yosemite Valley) and camp for days. We fished, swam and it was Huck Finn time when we saw nobody else at all. It was part of growing up. Now, I think any scrap of that experience would be called child abuse. Parents might go to jail for negligence and kids fostered out for that. I know it's rhetorical, TonyVodvarka, but what the hell happened? Dammit, some kids aren't even allowed to read Huckleberry Finn now, at least not in school.

    Right you are, Da Wei, Something happened, all right, a plague of authoritarianism in my point of view. I can only wonder how being cloistered within the home as a child limits the independence and individualism of the adult. Regard, for instance, the demands of some student bodies to ban controversial speakers on campus because they think a campus should be a “safe space”. Quite a change from the good old sixties I have to say, and not a good one. Cheers!

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    • Replies: @Da Wei
    TonyVodvarka, I think you're right about the encroachment of authoritarianism. it came in different forms, or at least was facilitated by different trends -- single minded dominance of media; sneaky maneuvering by the CIA; AIPAC; creeping corporate greed; smug, overbearing federal government -- to name only a few. I'm thinking, however, about two lost institutions that, had they survived, might have forestalled this plague of authoritarianism. At least they might have helped hold the encroaching authoritarianism at bay a while.

    The first is the institution of State's rights. If all powers not entrusted to the federal government had been reserved for the States, then I think we would have a stronger sense of local control and with that individual participation. With that might have come a stronger sense of local pride and self respect and resulting respect for the federal government. What we have now is reliance and resentment.

    The second is the barber shop. We don't have the forum for men to gather that we once had. Opinions used to be openly shared in a setting that was reserved for men. All that started changing in the late 60s and by the 70s many barber shops were turning "unisex". There was more profit to it. What we lost with that change was the sense that men should congregate and the more opinions that get spouted, the better. This applies to white barber shops, but not so much to black shops. There's a big difference in the hair, and different skills are required for the different work. Further, when men let their truer feelings be known, they tend to want to do it among their own kind. The black barber shops in black neighborhoods are allowed to be there for black men, whereas the white shops are more influenced by guilt and PC, so they are comparatively insipid these days. But, in the day, the barber shop was a center of democratic based open discussion about pert near any subject that came up. It was a refreshing place to be. Old barber shops in black neighborhoods are still that way, but they are not for white people. The conversation changes drastically when a white man walks in, believe me.
    (Interestingly, this very forum we are using now has some of the flavor of an old barber shop, but not a whole lot.) With the loss of this institution, we lost the ubiquitous men's lodge that every boy and man visited regularly, give or take a few weeks. With loss of the forum, well, we lost the camaraderie that went with it.

    I agree with you, by the way, about children cloistered for safety and going out occasionally with protective head gear and adult supervision to observe what the world is now. Also, you're right on about the college campuses being safe zones. Where the hell is the adventure in learning without debate?

    But, it was the demise of State's rights (which, of course, began with the Civil War) and the loss of the lowest common denominator of men's lodge, the barber shop, that came to mind when I read your remarks.

    Happy New Year!

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  97. Che Guava says:
    @Sbaker
    Look, the pond was filled with carp, a trash fish, and we wanted to clear it and restock it with crappie, bass, and Channel catfish. My dad had been blasting stumps with dynamite and ammonium nitrate fertilizer for years and knew how to set the caps and fuse. You could buy dynamite in most hardware stores for a dollar a stick plus the cost of caps and waxed fuse. It was a common practice at the time.

    That is an intersting perspective. Note that I was saying nothing about the availability of cheap explosives and fireworks. It is a sign of a healthy society.

    Bass is seen as a pest species in Japan, many signs warning against it, largely wiped out in many, not all (I think) lakes.

    Carp, trash fish, sure, but prepared wel, it is tasty. Also, can’t see much difference between the flavours of carp and catfish.

    Thx. for the entertaining post.

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    • Replies: @Jim Bob Lassiter
    But no mercy for me, huh?
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  98. @Rhett Hardwick
    a 't match that, but in 1959, or so, my 7th grade class took the train (from Providence, RI) to New York to see Ben Hur at the Rockefeller Center. 79 kids, two teachers, no one died.

    Back in the fifties, there were consequences for disobeying a teacher. Nonetheless, I admire their courage and tenacity in handling those 79 kids.

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    • Replies: @Rhett Hardwick
    Right you are Tony. Most of the teachers I can recall were men, probably WWII vets who used the GI Bill to become teachers,.

    Made me think, today could you assemble 79 students (still called "pupils" in my day) to go see a "Biblical" movie, without objection? I recall some division between Protestant and Catholics, but it was slight. It was a small city and we all went to school together. Mostly it was social, most Catholics being recent immigrants. My parents being from the South were amazed by the Italo-American, Franco-American, Hibernian and other social clubs. There was nothing similar in their youths. These seem to have withered.
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  99. Anon • Disclaimer says:
    @Anonymous
    No you did not say revolution was the answer.

    Sorry chap, for a second I forgot you were an Aussi and not a Yank.

    Of course they had a revolution which changed the direction. They missed a few points. What can go wrong, will. And here we have it.
    BTW
    your granny should have washed your mouth out with soap.

    I would not be sure he or she is an Aussi, fireworks day in that place was *not* on Guy Fawke’s day. Memories of that are either from Britain or one of its newly independent colonies.

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    • Replies: @Wizard of Oz
    I can see you know something about Australia bur are not authoritative. The informal or slang expression pronounced Ozzie is spelled Aussie but not Aussi. As to "Fireworks Day (or Night)", when I had a party as a child on 5th November in an undeveloped urban lot behind our house where we piled up and lit (actually prematurely by some naughty boy a huge bonfire as well as letting off fireworks that was a Guy Fawkes Day Party. Googling "fireworks day", which GPS location and AI has presumably translated so as to add "in Australia or nearby", suggests that Australia's massive (mostly good) immigration since WW2 has attenuated the knowledge of its origin amongst councillors and officials. Bit by bit..... I can imagine Melbourne's Lord Mayor Councillor John So 25 years ago being told by his Anglo-Celtic CEO/Town Clerk that a poll showed half the kids didn't have a clue about Guy Fawkes so perhaps the name should be changed to be met with "Oh no we loved Guy Fawkes in Hong Kong when I was growing up. We all knew about it". And so change was put off till some fifth generation Irish or Scottish SJW took the reins for a while.

    Big public fireworks displays in Australia's major cities certainly take place on New Year's Eve (for the kids) and at midnight, and on Australia Day (26th January) as well, I think on 5th November and a few big sporting events....

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  100. @George
    BB guns did and still do cause serious injuries. My guess is back in the day the 'gun culture' allowed kids to grow up around guns and learn to use them minimally safely. I also think there were lots of injuries, but nobody really cared. Perhaps a different world outlook. Back in the day, BB guns and BBs were probably relatively more expensive so kids and others showed them more respect. As guns an ammo got cheaper, they were handed to less and less mature kids by BB gun ignorant parents. There are few kids roaming about with guns, so the young kids are no longer 'socialized' into gun safety. I vaguely remember reading schools back then even had gun safety classes. Having never used a gun, I took the NRA 1 hr pistol class, wow all the stuff I did not know, like everything.

    Florida boy, 10, dies after being accidentally shot in head with BB gun by brother
    http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/boy-fatally-shoots-brother-head-bb-gun-article-1.1295900

    “lots of injuries, but nobody really cared”. How could it be? Two or three factors I suggest.

    One is that, even without changes in sensibilities, numbers had to count. One of my great grsndfathers had 10 children who or nrarly all of whom lived to adulthood (two or three off to the Boer War, one a clergyman, another an architect, and there would have been more because their mother was only 39 when father died at 47. BUT another great grandfather, a prosperous businessman, had 13 children, 8 boys of whom 5 reached adolescence and three adulthood, 5 girls of whom 3 reached adulthood. (I don’t think I have met all the cousin-descendants despite the plunging fertility in the 20th century). I have letters expressing my Ggf’s sadness and sorrow at his children’s deaths and Charles Darwin’s anguish at the loss of one of his many children is well known. BUT the loss of two or three out of 7 just can’t, usually, be as devastating as one or two out of three. (OK I knew an old soldier whose parents had lost 8 of his brothers in WW1 and I am open to correction even of my generalisations though probably not on grounds of uniqueness because Napoleon probably afforded French families a similar experience. Note however that French population growth in the 19th century was way behind the British).

    To be more up to date note how the 4000 or 5000 Americans killed in Iraq seem to be rated emotionally close to the 55,000 killed in Vietnam (fewer btw than the number of Australians killed in WW1 out of a total population of about 5 million). Extend the thought to the black “family” structure in the US. Mother may lament the loss of any of her six children but the three non resident fathers not so much.

    So, that’s just common sense about numbers.

    The continuation of older habits of thought and feeling can be counted as a natural phenomenon. Consider them S fortified by religion or the remnants of religioushabita of mind.

    Don’t expect the 42 year old mother of a 10 and 8 year old not to fuss anxiously about every detail affecting the safety of her precious two before she shoots out the door to work. And then you get fathers’ competitive criticism of the incompetence of the local administration that can’t see how a layer of sponge rubber could reduce the number of injuries on the swings…. All sorts of ideas and trends can have momentum.

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    • Replies: @Wizard of Oz
    My fumbling finger may have left it unclear that I was counting religion and religious habits of mind, or the remnants of them, as part of the reason that parents did not live in constant dread about what might happen to their children every minute of the day

    I suppose I could have added the recent growth of employment in the welfare state and its incentives to enlist everyone in a new hypersensitive approach to child safety.

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  101. @Wizard of Oz
    "lots of injuries, but nobody really cared". How could it be? Two or three factors I suggest.

    One is that, even without changes in sensibilities, numbers had to count. One of my great grsndfathers had 10 children who or nrarly all of whom lived to adulthood (two or three off to the Boer War, one a clergyman, another an architect, and there would have been more because their mother was only 39 when father died at 47. BUT another great grandfather, a prosperous businessman, had 13 children, 8 boys of whom 5 reached adolescence and three adulthood, 5 girls of whom 3 reached adulthood. (I don't think I have met all the cousin-descendants despite the plunging fertility in the 20th century). I have letters expressing my Ggf's sadness and sorrow at his children's deaths and Charles Darwin's anguish at the loss of one of his many children is well known. BUT the loss of two or three out of 7 just can't, usually, be as devastating as one or two out of three. (OK I knew an old soldier whose parents had lost 8 of his brothers in WW1 and I am open to correction even of my generalisations though probably not on grounds of uniqueness because Napoleon probably afforded French families a similar experience. Note however that French population growth in the 19th century was way behind the British).

    To be more up to date note how the 4000 or 5000 Americans killed in Iraq seem to be rated emotionally close to the 55,000 killed in Vietnam (fewer btw than the number of Australians killed in WW1 out of a total population of about 5 million). Extend the thought to the black "family" structure in the US. Mother may lament the loss of any of her six children but the three non resident fathers not so much.

    So, that's just common sense about numbers.

    The continuation of older habits of thought and feeling can be counted as a natural phenomenon. Consider them S fortified by religion or the remnants of religioushabita of mind.

    Don't expect the 42 year old mother of a 10 and 8 year old not to fuss anxiously about every detail affecting the safety of her precious two before she shoots out the door to work. And then you get fathers' competitive criticism of the incompetence of the local administration that can't see how a layer of sponge rubber could reduce the number of injuries on the swings.... All sorts of ideas and trends can have momentum.

    My fumbling finger may have left it unclear that I was counting religion and religious habits of mind, or the remnants of them, as part of the reason that parents did not live in constant dread about what might happen to their children every minute of the day

    I suppose I could have added the recent growth of employment in the welfare state and its incentives to enlist everyone in a new hypersensitive approach to child safety.

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  102. @Che Guava
    That is an intersting perspective. Note that I was saying nothing about the availability of cheap explosives and fireworks. It is a sign of a healthy society.

    Bass is seen as a pest species in Japan, many signs warning against it, largely wiped out in many, not all (I think) lakes.

    Carp, trash fish, sure, but prepared wel, it is tasty. Also, can't see much difference between the flavours of carp and catfish.

    Thx. for the entertaining post.

    But no mercy for me, huh?

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    • Replies: @Che Guava
    Sorry, I am not understanding the reply, if you are meaning my comments against fishing with explosives, I am sticking with them, it is a dull-witted thing to do, does not mean that I am hating you, am liking your tone, even if to dislike the stupid and destructive practise of using explosives for fishing.
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  103. @Sbaker
    We often put fire crackers in the cow pies, disgusting as it was, in range of the nearest victim to give them the green shower treatment. I never did like stepping in it, although accidents like that often happened in Missouri. We learned to swim in stock ponds and creeks. I can't say I wasn't a bit disgusted to see a cow urinating and defecating in the same pool. We swam anyway because the nearest cement pool was 30 miles away across the Mississippi River into Illinios.

    Yes Shaker, we boys skinny dipped with the cows also. If we were really lucky some of the girls joined us too.

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  104. @TonyVodvarka
    Back in the fifties, there were consequences for disobeying a teacher. Nonetheless, I admire their courage and tenacity in handling those 79 kids.

    Right you are Tony. Most of the teachers I can recall were men, probably WWII vets who used the GI Bill to become teachers,.

    Made me think, today could you assemble 79 students (still called “pupils” in my day) to go see a “Biblical” movie, without objection? I recall some division between Protestant and Catholics, but it was slight. It was a small city and we all went to school together. Mostly it was social, most Catholics being recent immigrants. My parents being from the South were amazed by the Italo-American, Franco-American, Hibernian and other social clubs. There was nothing similar in their youths. These seem to have withered.

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    • Replies: @TonyVodvarka
    Much has withered with time and mass media, regional accents, memories of the past. When I was a boy, there were clearly defined ethnic areas on the east side of Manhattan, some no more than several square blocks, Czech, German, Hungarian, Irish, Yiddish, Italian, where their language could be heard on the street, all now gone. When I enlisted in nineteen fifty eight, my unit was a checkerboard of local cultures, deep south whites and blacks, native Americans, north-eastern Yankees, Hawaiians, Texans and one Inuit. Nation-wide television broadcasting beginning in nineteen-sixty put an end to all that. Happy holidays!
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  105. @Rhett Hardwick
    Right you are Tony. Most of the teachers I can recall were men, probably WWII vets who used the GI Bill to become teachers,.

    Made me think, today could you assemble 79 students (still called "pupils" in my day) to go see a "Biblical" movie, without objection? I recall some division between Protestant and Catholics, but it was slight. It was a small city and we all went to school together. Mostly it was social, most Catholics being recent immigrants. My parents being from the South were amazed by the Italo-American, Franco-American, Hibernian and other social clubs. There was nothing similar in their youths. These seem to have withered.

    Much has withered with time and mass media, regional accents, memories of the past. When I was a boy, there were clearly defined ethnic areas on the east side of Manhattan, some no more than several square blocks, Czech, German, Hungarian, Irish, Yiddish, Italian, where their language could be heard on the street, all now gone. When I enlisted in nineteen fifty eight, my unit was a checkerboard of local cultures, deep south whites and blacks, native Americans, north-eastern Yankees, Hawaiians, Texans and one Inuit. Nation-wide television broadcasting beginning in nineteen-sixty put an end to all that. Happy holidays!

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  106. George says:
    @Rhett Hardwick
    BB guns did and still do cause serious injuries

    When I bought my daughter a Red Ryder, I noticed it was significantly less powerful than what I recalled as a kid.

    Be very careful about bb guns and other children. There is no reason to believe children understand how dangerous bb guns are. Actually, there is no reason to believe your daughter does. Reed describes a world where children spend all day with bb guns and learn from observing older kids who spent all day with bb guns. At short range handing a random kid a bb gun has the same ballistics as handing a random kid a 22.

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    • Replies: @Rhett Hardwick
    It is worse than that. I just looked on Amazon, a Daisy "Red Ryder" is now listed as an "imported" item. Also, sold out.

    There is something in what you say. Although I did not simply "hand it" to her. My daughter mostly grew up in the "People's Republic" of Cambridge, MA. I can hardly see her walking down the street there with a BB gun. We kept it at the farm, which is in America. Today, she favors the family Mannlicher, a little pricier to shoot.

    That reminds me of another story of "another America". My grandfather came up from Richmond to buy the Mannlicher at Aberchrombie & Fitch. They were on sale as ammo was unavailable, being only made in Germany. They took him on the roof to test fire into barrels of sand. That was 38th & Park, if I recall. Can you imagine today, SWAT teams, black helicopters.
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  107. @George
    Be very careful about bb guns and other children. There is no reason to believe children understand how dangerous bb guns are. Actually, there is no reason to believe your daughter does. Reed describes a world where children spend all day with bb guns and learn from observing older kids who spent all day with bb guns. At short range handing a random kid a bb gun has the same ballistics as handing a random kid a 22.

    It is worse than that. I just looked on Amazon, a Daisy “Red Ryder” is now listed as an “imported” item. Also, sold out.

    There is something in what you say. Although I did not simply “hand it” to her. My daughter mostly grew up in the “People’s Republic” of Cambridge, MA. I can hardly see her walking down the street there with a BB gun. We kept it at the farm, which is in America. Today, she favors the family Mannlicher, a little pricier to shoot.

    That reminds me of another story of “another America”. My grandfather came up from Richmond to buy the Mannlicher at Aberchrombie & Fitch. They were on sale as ammo was unavailable, being only made in Germany. They took him on the roof to test fire into barrels of sand. That was 38th & Park, if I recall. Can you imagine today, SWAT teams, black helicopters.

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    • Replies: @TonyVodvarka
    My father bought me a semi-automatic .22 rifle from Sears when I was eleven and I wandered around my grandfather's farm in Delaware with it alone after being trained in its proper use. I was made to understand that if I misused it he might break it over my rear end and then take it away.
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  108. So Norman Rockwell was an acute observer of social reality and will be remembered as such?

    I think the whole world has changed, but if you want to get an idea of how it used to be, go to Haiti. I was there ten days after the devastating earthquake of 2010 and never saw a police car or any yellow tape in the two weeks I was there. I was able to clamber in the ruins of the destroyed cathedral where the archbishop and his congregation perished under tons of masonry without let or hindrance.

    Yes, I was raised in England and in the late 50′s my friends and I would cycle several miles from home to go fishing in a tributary of the Thames with no adult supervision before we were 11 years old.

    However a lot of the changes have to do with technology. Back then there were only a fraction of the number of cars on the roads, and multilane highways were unknown. The first freeway in England the 8 1/4 mile Preston by-pass opened in 1958.

    Everything has changed. The oldest of my grandparents was only two years old when Daimler and Benz built their first car. The youngest of my grandparents was in elementary school when the Wright brothers took off at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, but before the end of her life was able to fly in a jet to the Canary Islands for a vacation.

    When I was young my father had a grocer’s shop that looked a lot like this one. He brought in an innovation called “self service” that allowed customers to take a basket and pick up their own merchandise. No one knew if it would really catch on, but it solved some problems with hiring staff who pilfered the merchandise.

    http://www.sovietposters.com/showposter.php?poster=817

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  109. @Anon
    I would not be sure he or she is an Aussi, fireworks day in that place was *not* on Guy Fawke's day. Memories of that are either from Britain or one of its newly independent colonies.

    I can see you know something about Australia bur are not authoritative. The informal or slang expression pronounced Ozzie is spelled Aussie but not Aussi. As to “Fireworks Day (or Night)”, when I had a party as a child on 5th November in an undeveloped urban lot behind our house where we piled up and lit (actually prematurely by some naughty boy a huge bonfire as well as letting off fireworks that was a Guy Fawkes Day Party. Googling “fireworks day”, which GPS location and AI has presumably translated so as to add “in Australia or nearby”, suggests that Australia’s massive (mostly good) immigration since WW2 has attenuated the knowledge of its origin amongst councillors and officials. Bit by bit….. I can imagine Melbourne’s Lord Mayor Councillor John So 25 years ago being told by his Anglo-Celtic CEO/Town Clerk that a poll showed half the kids didn’t have a clue about Guy Fawkes so perhaps the name should be changed to be met with “Oh no we loved Guy Fawkes in Hong Kong when I was growing up. We all knew about it”. And so change was put off till some fifth generation Irish or Scottish SJW took the reins for a while.

    Big public fireworks displays in Australia’s major cities certainly take place on New Year’s Eve (for the kids) and at midnight, and on Australia Day (26th January) as well, I think on 5th November and a few big sporting events….

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  110. @Rich
    I'm saying that when Jim Crow in the South, and de facto segregation in the North existed, along with tough Law and Order policies, people lived a lot better.

    It makes sense even to a contemporary if you consider the self segregation of blscks in NYC even now and the tough law and order policies post crack and pre di Blasio.

    Mind you the utilitarian calculus of human happiness might be biased your way if blacks were counted as three fifths of a white, as in the 1787 compromise.

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  111. @Rhett Hardwick
    It is worse than that. I just looked on Amazon, a Daisy "Red Ryder" is now listed as an "imported" item. Also, sold out.

    There is something in what you say. Although I did not simply "hand it" to her. My daughter mostly grew up in the "People's Republic" of Cambridge, MA. I can hardly see her walking down the street there with a BB gun. We kept it at the farm, which is in America. Today, she favors the family Mannlicher, a little pricier to shoot.

    That reminds me of another story of "another America". My grandfather came up from Richmond to buy the Mannlicher at Aberchrombie & Fitch. They were on sale as ammo was unavailable, being only made in Germany. They took him on the roof to test fire into barrels of sand. That was 38th & Park, if I recall. Can you imagine today, SWAT teams, black helicopters.

    My father bought me a semi-automatic .22 rifle from Sears when I was eleven and I wandered around my grandfather’s farm in Delaware with it alone after being trained in its proper use. I was made to understand that if I misused it he might break it over my rear end and then take it away.

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    • Replies: @Rhett Hardwick
    "My father bought me a semi-automatic .22 rifle from Sears when I was eleven"
    I got a bolt action from Sears. Don't know who made it; but a nice gun, I still have it. After that I got a "single shot automatic", I think Winchester. You loaded a single cartridge though a small door over the breech. When you fired the case was "automatically" ejected out the bottom. We had the remainder of a farm, so there was relative safety. On slow Saturdays, my friends and I would go "shooting".
    , @Da Wei
    I had a little single shot .22 I used to hunt jackrabbits in California, just for the hell of it. .22 longs worked best for distance shots with the rabbit running away from you. A friend from Lafayette, Louisiana told me the boys in his small class took their shotguns to school, left them in the coat closet and shot ducks for dinner on the way home. We both knew not to shoot people. Maybe that had something to do with being raised in the country. Well, probably not. I did shoot my older brother in the ass with a BB gun, a beautiful single shot with chrome barrel and wood stock, made in Japan.

    Didn't go so well for a couple of school chums years later, though, and that was in the city. One boy removed the slug and inserted the .22 shell in a bar of soap. Thinking he'd made a harmless blank, he playfully shot his twin brother in the ass with the soap bullet. The kid nearly bled to death and told me it stung like hell.

    I'd probably be in jail now if I was a kid.

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  112. Che Guava says:
    @Jim Bob Lassiter
    But no mercy for me, huh?

    Sorry, I am not understanding the reply, if you are meaning my comments against fishing with explosives, I am sticking with them, it is a dull-witted thing to do, does not mean that I am hating you, am liking your tone, even if to dislike the stupid and destructive practise of using explosives for fishing.

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  113. @TonyVodvarka
    My father bought me a semi-automatic .22 rifle from Sears when I was eleven and I wandered around my grandfather's farm in Delaware with it alone after being trained in its proper use. I was made to understand that if I misused it he might break it over my rear end and then take it away.

    “My father bought me a semi-automatic .22 rifle from Sears when I was eleven”
    I got a bolt action from Sears. Don’t know who made it; but a nice gun, I still have it. After that I got a “single shot automatic”, I think Winchester. You loaded a single cartridge though a small door over the breech. When you fired the case was “automatically” ejected out the bottom. We had the remainder of a farm, so there was relative safety. On slow Saturdays, my friends and I would go “shooting”.

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    • Replies: @TonyVodvarka
    A google search on single-shot semi-automatic brought up the Winchester model 55 which was produced between 1958 and 1964. That would be a good topic for the "Forgotten Weapons" or "Hitchcock 45" websites.
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  114. @Rhett Hardwick
    "My father bought me a semi-automatic .22 rifle from Sears when I was eleven"
    I got a bolt action from Sears. Don't know who made it; but a nice gun, I still have it. After that I got a "single shot automatic", I think Winchester. You loaded a single cartridge though a small door over the breech. When you fired the case was "automatically" ejected out the bottom. We had the remainder of a farm, so there was relative safety. On slow Saturdays, my friends and I would go "shooting".

    A google search on single-shot semi-automatic brought up the Winchester model 55 which was produced between 1958 and 1964. That would be a good topic for the “Forgotten Weapons” or “Hitchcock 45″ websites.

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    • Replies: @Twodees Partain
    Yes, that's an odd design for sure. IIRC, it loads from the top with an grooved flap where you place a round and drops the round into the chamber for firing, and ejects the spent casing from the bottom. I haven't seen one for years.
    , @Rhett Hardwick
    " A google search on single-shot semi-automatic brought up the Winchester model 55 "

    Yes, that's the one. As I recall, my mother gave it to me for my birthday. Just imagine, a woman walks into a hardware store and buys a rifle, no waiting period, no criminal record check. Why weren't the streets littered with bodies? Because we didn't do that, that's why.
    What is this the sound of:
    clip-clop, clip-clop, BANG, clippty-clop, clippity -clop?

    An Amish drive by shooting.
    Only funny because it is rediculous, and unthinkable.

    I recall a Life magazine, circa 1958, that showed how to make a "zip gun". Supposedly the weapon of choice for New York gangs. It was .22 caliber and constructed from a block of wood, an auto radio antenna (barrel), a door bolt (firing pin) and a large elastic. It was a photo article detailing how to make one. That has always stuck with me.
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  115. @TonyVodvarka
    A google search on single-shot semi-automatic brought up the Winchester model 55 which was produced between 1958 and 1964. That would be a good topic for the "Forgotten Weapons" or "Hitchcock 45" websites.

    Yes, that’s an odd design for sure. IIRC, it loads from the top with an grooved flap where you place a round and drops the round into the chamber for firing, and ejects the spent casing from the bottom. I haven’t seen one for years.

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  116. @TonyVodvarka
    A google search on single-shot semi-automatic brought up the Winchester model 55 which was produced between 1958 and 1964. That would be a good topic for the "Forgotten Weapons" or "Hitchcock 45" websites.

    ” A google search on single-shot semi-automatic brought up the Winchester model 55 ”

    Yes, that’s the one. As I recall, my mother gave it to me for my birthday. Just imagine, a woman walks into a hardware store and buys a rifle, no waiting period, no criminal record check. Why weren’t the streets littered with bodies? Because we didn’t do that, that’s why.
    What is this the sound of:
    clip-clop, clip-clop, BANG, clippty-clop, clippity -clop?

    An Amish drive by shooting.
    Only funny because it is rediculous, and unthinkable.

    I recall a Life magazine, circa 1958, that showed how to make a “zip gun”. Supposedly the weapon of choice for New York gangs. It was .22 caliber and constructed from a block of wood, an auto radio antenna (barrel), a door bolt (firing pin) and a large elastic. It was a photo article detailing how to make one. That has always stuck with me.

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    • Agree: TonyVodvarka
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  117. As a child of ten, around 1950, I could walk into any hardware store in Delaware and buy ammunition but not in New York City. Haven’t heard “zip gun” in a long time. Thanks for the Amish gag, I’ll be using it.

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  118. headrick says:

    My dad brought some guns back from Austria where he served with the occupation troops.
    A 9mm luger and a Mauser. Funny- no M1. I used to admire those and got my dad to take me to the rifle range with my uncle to shoot the Luger, and finally I got my dad to buy me a .22 after the guy at the sporting goods store talked him into it. My mom was furious. She had a brother who was killed in a gun accident and she was -a’gin ‘um’ . Eventually she gave in. It was a .22 like you see at the carnival – pump Winchester with exposed hammer. Was a fine gun. A few years latter I bought a browning automatic 22 rifle. Elegant super gun!!.

    There were some anti gun types around, like my mom, but they were over-ruled by the hunting gun culture in the town in Wisconsin that I grew up in. Every deer season, a gun death was very very rare. Many more died from heart attacks out in the woods once a year types. I did get the distinct whiff of peril though when I realized that many of those hunters had a flask of brandy or schnapps and self medicated against the cold. I found a sturdy tree and generally kept my back to it. There were arguments over a deer shot by one party and trailed, and shot again by as different party over the hill, but it is amazing that arguments by men who have been drinking never to my knowledge, ever resulted in a gunfight. Gun deaths were by accidental shooting, usually unloading the darn thing when returning to the car. Most people went duck hunting too. My dad was not a very good shot, and once he went duck hunting and did not get any ducks, so he went into the woods and blasted some squirrels and brought them home. My mom threw the “filthy carcases” out in disgust. As for me as a young boy, I cut shotgun shells in half and did chemical experiments with the lead and smokeless powder and the primer. Once I put one of the primers that I had fished out into a tinker toy and hit it with a hammer. WOW it went off and split the tinker toy, and my ears rang. They are POWERFUL little buggers. My mom yelled from upstairs, “what is going on” — think fast— I said “I hit a whole roll of caps”. Worked!!

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    • Replies: @Rhett Hardwick
    I bought a browning automatic 22 rifle. Elegant super gun!!.

    Yes, they were an elegant little rifle. I wonder if they still make them.
    I also have a Luger, came by it about the same way you did.
    I also delved into the properties of smokeless powder, separated from the cartridge. My favorite was to "recycle" the "jet engines" they made for balsa gliders. I found that if you half filled one of the "jet engines" with smokelss ppowder, used a bit of "jet engine" fuse and crimped it closed, after slight burial, it would blow a pretty good size hole in the ground. I'll bet our paperboy remebers that.

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  119. @headrick
    My dad brought some guns back from Austria where he served with the occupation troops.
    A 9mm luger and a Mauser. Funny- no M1. I used to admire those and got my dad to take me to the rifle range with my uncle to shoot the Luger, and finally I got my dad to buy me a .22 after the guy at the sporting goods store talked him into it. My mom was furious. She had a brother who was killed in a gun accident and she was -a'gin 'um' . Eventually she gave in. It was a .22 like you see at the carnival - pump Winchester with exposed hammer. Was a fine gun. A few years latter I bought a browning automatic 22 rifle. Elegant super gun!!.

    There were some anti gun types around, like my mom, but they were over-ruled by the hunting gun culture in the town in Wisconsin that I grew up in. Every deer season, a gun death was very very rare. Many more died from heart attacks out in the woods once a year types. I did get the distinct whiff of peril though when I realized that many of those hunters had a flask of brandy or schnapps and self medicated against the cold. I found a sturdy tree and generally kept my back to it. There were arguments over a deer shot by one party and trailed, and shot again by as different party over the hill, but it is amazing that arguments by men who have been drinking never to my knowledge, ever resulted in a gunfight. Gun deaths were by accidental shooting, usually unloading the darn thing when returning to the car. Most people went duck hunting too. My dad was not a very good shot, and once he went duck hunting and did not get any ducks, so he went into the woods and blasted some squirrels and brought them home. My mom threw the "filthy carcases" out in disgust. As for me as a young boy, I cut shotgun shells in half and did chemical experiments with the lead and smokeless powder and the primer. Once I put one of the primers that I had fished out into a tinker toy and hit it with a hammer. WOW it went off and split the tinker toy, and my ears rang. They are POWERFUL little buggers. My mom yelled from upstairs, "what is going on" --- think fast--- I said "I hit a whole roll of caps". Worked!!

    I bought a browning automatic 22 rifle. Elegant super gun!!.

    Yes, they were an elegant little rifle. I wonder if they still make them.
    I also have a Luger, came by it about the same way you did.
    I also delved into the properties of smokeless powder, separated from the cartridge. My favorite was to “recycle” the “jet engines” they made for balsa gliders. I found that if you half filled one of the “jet engines” with smokelss ppowder, used a bit of “jet engine” fuse and crimped it closed, after slight burial, it would blow a pretty good size hole in the ground. I’ll bet our paperboy remebers that.

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  120. Most of the accusations of molestation against Catholic priests were bogus. This particular war against the Church served at least three purposes. 1. To further discredit the Catholic Church, especially in the USA. 2. To divert attention from all the non-Catholic movers and shakers in New York City, Washington D.C., and the movie and TV business, who were actually engaged in pedophilia on an industrial scale. 3. To win huge sums of money for homosexual plaintiffs who were using spurious “recovered memories” as the basis of their slanderous charges.

    Ol’ Fred has always been an anti-Catholic himself. I remember first reading one of his essays in the brand new Washington Times in ’81 or ’82. He was complaining that he could not send his daughter, whom he referred to as “Sweet Pea,” to a Catholic school, because she would be psychically damaged by the experience.

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    • Replies: @Rhett Hardwick
    Can't agree with much of what you say, but I am glad to see the disappearance of "recovered memory".
    While it was being respected as credible evidence, it shook the legal world.
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  121. headrick says:

    The gilbert chemistry set was the gateway to endless mischief. Those days you had some
    chemicals that could be fun. They gave us some potassium nitrate, sulfur, and powdered
    charcoal. Aw come on, you don’t know what a 10 year old will do what that. But I soon run out of Potassium nitrate so I got the local pharmacist to sell me a whole bunch, and I could
    make home made gunpowder. Really really smoky and interesting!! Powdered aluminum would be interesting to add too. I really should be dead maybe becuse I used to play with metallic mercury,
    and put it on pennies to make then silver. I don’t remember where I got it.
    Nobody knew it was dangerous. I maybe did burn up a couple of brain cells but in those days, who knew. Actually everybody with a brain in their head knew smoking cigarettes was bad and they called them coffin nails. Kids all tried them anyway. Most households had trays of them out in the living room for guests ( and 10 year old sons to sneak). I didn’t have bark enough to smoke in public, some of my friends did.
    Priests I knew were were wonderful people and good examples. Nuns put up with lots of out of control male behavior with grace. Girls seemed never to misbehave in grade school.

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  122. @Kam Phlodius
    Most of the accusations of molestation against Catholic priests were bogus. This particular war against the Church served at least three purposes. 1. To further discredit the Catholic Church, especially in the USA. 2. To divert attention from all the non-Catholic movers and shakers in New York City, Washington D.C., and the movie and TV business, who were actually engaged in pedophilia on an industrial scale. 3. To win huge sums of money for homosexual plaintiffs who were using spurious "recovered memories" as the basis of their slanderous charges.

    Ol' Fred has always been an anti-Catholic himself. I remember first reading one of his essays in the brand new Washington Times in '81 or '82. He was complaining that he could not send his daughter, whom he referred to as "Sweet Pea," to a Catholic school, because she would be psychically damaged by the experience.

    Can’t agree with much of what you say, but I am glad to see the disappearance of “recovered memory”.
    While it was being respected as credible evidence, it shook the legal world.

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  123. Da Wei says:
    @Rhett Hardwick
    Although some people's recollections here have been challenged, I can say mine are all true as well as I can recollect them. Dare I say "Honest Injun". Perhaps "Scout's Honor".

    Rhett Hardwick, dare you say, “Honest Injun” and Scout’s Honor”?

    You Betchum, Red Ryder!

    Dare to recollect and to say both! “Honest Injun” will cause some uppity eyes to roll, but they never watched cowboys and Indians on Saturday matinees. Let them enjoy their guilt. Purging our past has become a national fad, but it’s stupid. We better understand where we are if we know where we’ve been.

    I especially like “Scout’s Honor” and would like to hear it more often. (Or, how about an occasional reference to just plain honor?) Would that our younguns today learned about the father of scouting, Frederick Russell Burnham. Now, there was a man, Kimosabe.

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  124. Da Wei says:
    @TonyVodvarka
    My father bought me a semi-automatic .22 rifle from Sears when I was eleven and I wandered around my grandfather's farm in Delaware with it alone after being trained in its proper use. I was made to understand that if I misused it he might break it over my rear end and then take it away.

    I had a little single shot .22 I used to hunt jackrabbits in California, just for the hell of it. .22 longs worked best for distance shots with the rabbit running away from you. A friend from Lafayette, Louisiana told me the boys in his small class took their shotguns to school, left them in the coat closet and shot ducks for dinner on the way home. We both knew not to shoot people. Maybe that had something to do with being raised in the country. Well, probably not. I did shoot my older brother in the ass with a BB gun, a beautiful single shot with chrome barrel and wood stock, made in Japan.

    Didn’t go so well for a couple of school chums years later, though, and that was in the city. One boy removed the slug and inserted the .22 shell in a bar of soap. Thinking he’d made a harmless blank, he playfully shot his twin brother in the ass with the soap bullet. The kid nearly bled to death and told me it stung like hell.

    I’d probably be in jail now if I was a kid.

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  125. Da Wei says:
    @TonyVodvarka
    Right you are, Da Wei, Something happened, all right, a plague of authoritarianism in my point of view. I can only wonder how being cloistered within the home as a child limits the independence and individualism of the adult. Regard, for instance, the demands of some student bodies to ban controversial speakers on campus because they think a campus should be a "safe space". Quite a change from the good old sixties I have to say, and not a good one. Cheers!

    TonyVodvarka, I think you’re right about the encroachment of authoritarianism. it came in different forms, or at least was facilitated by different trends — single minded dominance of media; sneaky maneuvering by the CIA; AIPAC; creeping corporate greed; smug, overbearing federal government — to name only a few. I’m thinking, however, about two lost institutions that, had they survived, might have forestalled this plague of authoritarianism. At least they might have helped hold the encroaching authoritarianism at bay a while.

    The first is the institution of State’s rights. If all powers not entrusted to the federal government had been reserved for the States, then I think we would have a stronger sense of local control and with that individual participation. With that might have come a stronger sense of local pride and self respect and resulting respect for the federal government. What we have now is reliance and resentment.

    The second is the barber shop. We don’t have the forum for men to gather that we once had. Opinions used to be openly shared in a setting that was reserved for men. All that started changing in the late 60s and by the 70s many barber shops were turning “unisex”. There was more profit to it. What we lost with that change was the sense that men should congregate and the more opinions that get spouted, the better. This applies to white barber shops, but not so much to black shops. There’s a big difference in the hair, and different skills are required for the different work. Further, when men let their truer feelings be known, they tend to want to do it among their own kind. The black barber shops in black neighborhoods are allowed to be there for black men, whereas the white shops are more influenced by guilt and PC, so they are comparatively insipid these days. But, in the day, the barber shop was a center of democratic based open discussion about pert near any subject that came up. It was a refreshing place to be. Old barber shops in black neighborhoods are still that way, but they are not for white people. The conversation changes drastically when a white man walks in, believe me.
    (Interestingly, this very forum we are using now has some of the flavor of an old barber shop, but not a whole lot.) With the loss of this institution, we lost the ubiquitous men’s lodge that every boy and man visited regularly, give or take a few weeks. With loss of the forum, well, we lost the camaraderie that went with it.

    I agree with you, by the way, about children cloistered for safety and going out occasionally with protective head gear and adult supervision to observe what the world is now. Also, you’re right on about the college campuses being safe zones. Where the hell is the adventure in learning without debate?

    But, it was the demise of State’s rights (which, of course, began with the Civil War) and the loss of the lowest common denominator of men’s lodge, the barber shop, that came to mind when I read your remarks.

    Happy New Year!

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    • Replies: @Rhett Hardwick
    States rights

    While I grant many were arrogated, mostly they were sold. For instance, not many states would stand up against the threat to withold "Federal Highway Funds".
    , @TonyVodvarka
    Da Wei, I would suggest that the corner saloon in urban working class environments and the road house in the countryside were also very important gathering places for men. Suburbanization and the waning of worker solidarity killed off most of the former. Country road houses are being driven toward extinction by authoritarianism in the form of DUI laws that declare that the mere presence of a certain percentage of alcohol in one's blood is a crime even when no misdeed has been committed, not to mention the use of road blocks to enforce these laws. Government and the media have encouraged a social atmosphere that puts "safety" far ahead of individual freedom. Happy New Year!
    , @Rhett Hardwick
    Barber shops

    I recall what you say of barber shops. As a kid my life was divided between New England and the Jim Crow South. In the South, most of the barbers were black. I recall receiveing the "talk" concerning what I could speak with him about. As to the conversation among cutomers, maybe he "wasn't there". Actually, before the emrgence of "Civil RIghts" I recall little conversation insulting (by intention) to blacks. Use of the "N-word" was rare, as compared to New England. "Gentlemen" did not cuss and swear in front of children, or women. I was considered rude because I did not respond to my parents as "Sir" and "Ma'am".

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  126. @Da Wei
    TonyVodvarka, I think you're right about the encroachment of authoritarianism. it came in different forms, or at least was facilitated by different trends -- single minded dominance of media; sneaky maneuvering by the CIA; AIPAC; creeping corporate greed; smug, overbearing federal government -- to name only a few. I'm thinking, however, about two lost institutions that, had they survived, might have forestalled this plague of authoritarianism. At least they might have helped hold the encroaching authoritarianism at bay a while.

    The first is the institution of State's rights. If all powers not entrusted to the federal government had been reserved for the States, then I think we would have a stronger sense of local control and with that individual participation. With that might have come a stronger sense of local pride and self respect and resulting respect for the federal government. What we have now is reliance and resentment.

    The second is the barber shop. We don't have the forum for men to gather that we once had. Opinions used to be openly shared in a setting that was reserved for men. All that started changing in the late 60s and by the 70s many barber shops were turning "unisex". There was more profit to it. What we lost with that change was the sense that men should congregate and the more opinions that get spouted, the better. This applies to white barber shops, but not so much to black shops. There's a big difference in the hair, and different skills are required for the different work. Further, when men let their truer feelings be known, they tend to want to do it among their own kind. The black barber shops in black neighborhoods are allowed to be there for black men, whereas the white shops are more influenced by guilt and PC, so they are comparatively insipid these days. But, in the day, the barber shop was a center of democratic based open discussion about pert near any subject that came up. It was a refreshing place to be. Old barber shops in black neighborhoods are still that way, but they are not for white people. The conversation changes drastically when a white man walks in, believe me.
    (Interestingly, this very forum we are using now has some of the flavor of an old barber shop, but not a whole lot.) With the loss of this institution, we lost the ubiquitous men's lodge that every boy and man visited regularly, give or take a few weeks. With loss of the forum, well, we lost the camaraderie that went with it.

    I agree with you, by the way, about children cloistered for safety and going out occasionally with protective head gear and adult supervision to observe what the world is now. Also, you're right on about the college campuses being safe zones. Where the hell is the adventure in learning without debate?

    But, it was the demise of State's rights (which, of course, began with the Civil War) and the loss of the lowest common denominator of men's lodge, the barber shop, that came to mind when I read your remarks.

    Happy New Year!

    States rights

    While I grant many were arrogated, mostly they were sold. For instance, not many states would stand up against the threat to withold “Federal Highway Funds”.

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    • Replies: @Da Wei
    Rhett Hardwick, that's for sure. Didn't they all sell out for the road money? I love seeing a smaller institution, a State or occasionally a school district, that refuses to whore for the bucks. Too few local officials are willing to scrap with arrogant authority.
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  127. @Da Wei
    TonyVodvarka, I think you're right about the encroachment of authoritarianism. it came in different forms, or at least was facilitated by different trends -- single minded dominance of media; sneaky maneuvering by the CIA; AIPAC; creeping corporate greed; smug, overbearing federal government -- to name only a few. I'm thinking, however, about two lost institutions that, had they survived, might have forestalled this plague of authoritarianism. At least they might have helped hold the encroaching authoritarianism at bay a while.

    The first is the institution of State's rights. If all powers not entrusted to the federal government had been reserved for the States, then I think we would have a stronger sense of local control and with that individual participation. With that might have come a stronger sense of local pride and self respect and resulting respect for the federal government. What we have now is reliance and resentment.

    The second is the barber shop. We don't have the forum for men to gather that we once had. Opinions used to be openly shared in a setting that was reserved for men. All that started changing in the late 60s and by the 70s many barber shops were turning "unisex". There was more profit to it. What we lost with that change was the sense that men should congregate and the more opinions that get spouted, the better. This applies to white barber shops, but not so much to black shops. There's a big difference in the hair, and different skills are required for the different work. Further, when men let their truer feelings be known, they tend to want to do it among their own kind. The black barber shops in black neighborhoods are allowed to be there for black men, whereas the white shops are more influenced by guilt and PC, so they are comparatively insipid these days. But, in the day, the barber shop was a center of democratic based open discussion about pert near any subject that came up. It was a refreshing place to be. Old barber shops in black neighborhoods are still that way, but they are not for white people. The conversation changes drastically when a white man walks in, believe me.
    (Interestingly, this very forum we are using now has some of the flavor of an old barber shop, but not a whole lot.) With the loss of this institution, we lost the ubiquitous men's lodge that every boy and man visited regularly, give or take a few weeks. With loss of the forum, well, we lost the camaraderie that went with it.

    I agree with you, by the way, about children cloistered for safety and going out occasionally with protective head gear and adult supervision to observe what the world is now. Also, you're right on about the college campuses being safe zones. Where the hell is the adventure in learning without debate?

    But, it was the demise of State's rights (which, of course, began with the Civil War) and the loss of the lowest common denominator of men's lodge, the barber shop, that came to mind when I read your remarks.

    Happy New Year!

    Da Wei, I would suggest that the corner saloon in urban working class environments and the road house in the countryside were also very important gathering places for men. Suburbanization and the waning of worker solidarity killed off most of the former. Country road houses are being driven toward extinction by authoritarianism in the form of DUI laws that declare that the mere presence of a certain percentage of alcohol in one’s blood is a crime even when no misdeed has been committed, not to mention the use of road blocks to enforce these laws. Government and the media have encouraged a social atmosphere that puts “safety” far ahead of individual freedom. Happy New Year!

    Read More
    • Replies: @Da Wei
    TonyVodvarka, I'd bet a dollar to a hole in a doughnut that you're right about the social value of both these institutions and right, too, about what has killed them off. So much of what once brought us together is extinct. Where's the worker solidarity when "individual contractors" replace the regular crew, or jobs are farmed out overseas? I lived in California, where you drive everywhere, so it was easier for me to learn to drive with a beer between my legs. It was cheaper that way, I talked to myself, so there were fewer disagreements and I had fewer fights.

    Now, younguns have Starbucks , but how much fun is coffee after work? And, besides, they're lost in their cell phones. Other places, addressing someone down the bar who you don't know and who isn't drunk enough can be a micro-agression.

    The roadhouse demise is, as you say, due to the correctional-counseling industry. Have 3 martinis and a steak and spend 6 months getting in touch with your feelings and paying off a loan. If you want privacy, you probably just need a group hug. Police are only there to protect us, so they hover like vultures to meet their quota. It's a business, a big damn business. Bullshit by the pound, or kilo.

    Back in the late 50s Bertrand Russell published a small volume called "Freedom or Security?" (or something like that). What he said was that modern man prefers to be secure and eschews freedom, which is inherently insecure. Maybe the way you said it was more straightforward. Anyway, my theory is that if we really didn't want it this way, it wouldn't be this way. We tolerate it. Institutions arise from the crowd, even if some complain about them. Gubment codifies with rules, but only within the limits of tolerance by the people. That's how I see it, anyway.

    A while back, I heard a fellow complain that the USA was the most over-regulated society in the world. I agreed with him at the time, but maybe that's understandable, as we were both in rehab.

    I live in China these days. You know what the DUI penalty has been here for, as I recall, the past 7 or so years? First offense, a year in the clinker; second offense 5 years and you never drive again. No educational counseling, though, which almost makes it worth doing the time. I don't drive. Cabs, buses and trains are cheap, clean and efficient. Here, also, I can entertain the illusion of being respected. They let me do that.

    Happy New Year to You, Too!

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  128. @Da Wei
    TonyVodvarka, I think you're right about the encroachment of authoritarianism. it came in different forms, or at least was facilitated by different trends -- single minded dominance of media; sneaky maneuvering by the CIA; AIPAC; creeping corporate greed; smug, overbearing federal government -- to name only a few. I'm thinking, however, about two lost institutions that, had they survived, might have forestalled this plague of authoritarianism. At least they might have helped hold the encroaching authoritarianism at bay a while.

    The first is the institution of State's rights. If all powers not entrusted to the federal government had been reserved for the States, then I think we would have a stronger sense of local control and with that individual participation. With that might have come a stronger sense of local pride and self respect and resulting respect for the federal government. What we have now is reliance and resentment.

    The second is the barber shop. We don't have the forum for men to gather that we once had. Opinions used to be openly shared in a setting that was reserved for men. All that started changing in the late 60s and by the 70s many barber shops were turning "unisex". There was more profit to it. What we lost with that change was the sense that men should congregate and the more opinions that get spouted, the better. This applies to white barber shops, but not so much to black shops. There's a big difference in the hair, and different skills are required for the different work. Further, when men let their truer feelings be known, they tend to want to do it among their own kind. The black barber shops in black neighborhoods are allowed to be there for black men, whereas the white shops are more influenced by guilt and PC, so they are comparatively insipid these days. But, in the day, the barber shop was a center of democratic based open discussion about pert near any subject that came up. It was a refreshing place to be. Old barber shops in black neighborhoods are still that way, but they are not for white people. The conversation changes drastically when a white man walks in, believe me.
    (Interestingly, this very forum we are using now has some of the flavor of an old barber shop, but not a whole lot.) With the loss of this institution, we lost the ubiquitous men's lodge that every boy and man visited regularly, give or take a few weeks. With loss of the forum, well, we lost the camaraderie that went with it.

    I agree with you, by the way, about children cloistered for safety and going out occasionally with protective head gear and adult supervision to observe what the world is now. Also, you're right on about the college campuses being safe zones. Where the hell is the adventure in learning without debate?

    But, it was the demise of State's rights (which, of course, began with the Civil War) and the loss of the lowest common denominator of men's lodge, the barber shop, that came to mind when I read your remarks.

    Happy New Year!

    Barber shops

    I recall what you say of barber shops. As a kid my life was divided between New England and the Jim Crow South. In the South, most of the barbers were black. I recall receiveing the “talk” concerning what I could speak with him about. As to the conversation among cutomers, maybe he “wasn’t there”. Actually, before the emrgence of “Civil RIghts” I recall little conversation insulting (by intention) to blacks. Use of the “N-word” was rare, as compared to New England. “Gentlemen” did not cuss and swear in front of children, or women. I was considered rude because I did not respond to my parents as “Sir” and “Ma’am”.

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  129. Da Wei says:

    Rhett Hardwick, thanks for these comments, which set me to thinking. I think what we’re talking about here — not just in our own exchanges, but in most of the articles I’ve read on this website and remarks from others — is the loss of a code. I mean a national code, personal code, code of the trades we used to learn and with them proper use of tools, mostly hand tools, a code of honor. The values we learned to live by have been trounced by disgraceful politicians parading as leaders. I saw Hillary laughing about how we all just need to have more fun and she’s got a program for it. Hell, she’d truck us all off to the funny farm and laughing gas us. I won’t get started!

    Barber shops have influenced me all my life, even supported me through much of it in California. As a kid in a small San Juaquin Valley town I walked past Bud’s Barber Shop as Bud stood behind the first chair like the ship’s captain, lanky and suave with slick dark hair, thin mustache and a pipe in his mouth, looking like Bing Crosby and Boston Blackie put together. And parked right across the street, his car, a mid 50s Jaguar roadster painted titty pink. In those days a man could make a good living working with his hands, if he had manners and some brains , too. All that impressed me. Still does.

    The South has been pretty much foreign to me and what you say about your barber is interesting. He “wasn’t there” in shop conversation, because he was uninvited and knew how to protect his income. I had a similar situation as the only white barber to work (in over 40 years) in this particular traditional black barber shop. I’m not a white man who ever tried to pass (so please don’t recollect those Caucasian clowns in stupid movies like “Barber Shop”), but the barber trade had one big challenge for me, cutting black hair and doing it right. When the owner, a friend for decades, asked me if I’d like to cut hair in his shop, I took it. Believe me I was the fly on the wall, likely more even than your barber was, and we were both flies in the buttermilk. Life can be interesting as hell, if you stand up and keep a straight face.

    The South has pretty much been foreign to me, though I was touched when after a few living years in Lafayette, Louisiana, my granddaughters addressed me as “sir”. I wish I’d said that to my father when I was a boy, but then nobody else seemed to.

    As with you, gentlemen never cussed in front of women or children and got more respect if they didn’t do it at all. In the black shop where I worked, nobody ever cussed. The owner was a respected pastor in the neighborhood.

    In my youth it never seemed improper to use the term “chicken shit” to describe a person, his behavior or even chicken shit, itself. If a boy was alone in town and used foul language or bad manners, any adult was deemed justified in telling him to straighten up and fly right.

    And as for the Civil Rights Movement, I have to agree with something I heard Eldridge Cleaver (remember him?) say in 1966 or 67. He said the Civil Rights Act was the “greatest hoax ever perpetrated on a people” (or something equally grandiose). He was telling us that it was a scam, but maybe not for same reasons I think it was. This was just after he appeared on Firing Line and William Buckley chewed him up and put him back together. Much later, you know, Cleaver became a conservative Republican politician. Life is interesting if you keep a straight face.

    One last thing about Eldridge Cleaver. He said in this cornball Black Panther display years ago that “We ought to do away with all niggers.” He explained, “You know what a nigger is. A nigger is someone who shuffles his feet when nothin’s going on; laughs when nothin’s funny; and scratches when nothin’ itches. We ought to do away with those kinds of people.” I am amused by his glibness, still.
    Over the years, I’ve applied that standard and most of the time it has fit to white people, especially when they’re talking to blacks. We ought not to have those kinds of people in our midst. They need to straighten up and fly right.

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  130. Da Wei says:
    @TonyVodvarka
    Da Wei, I would suggest that the corner saloon in urban working class environments and the road house in the countryside were also very important gathering places for men. Suburbanization and the waning of worker solidarity killed off most of the former. Country road houses are being driven toward extinction by authoritarianism in the form of DUI laws that declare that the mere presence of a certain percentage of alcohol in one's blood is a crime even when no misdeed has been committed, not to mention the use of road blocks to enforce these laws. Government and the media have encouraged a social atmosphere that puts "safety" far ahead of individual freedom. Happy New Year!

    TonyVodvarka, I’d bet a dollar to a hole in a doughnut that you’re right about the social value of both these institutions and right, too, about what has killed them off. So much of what once brought us together is extinct. Where’s the worker solidarity when “individual contractors” replace the regular crew, or jobs are farmed out overseas? I lived in California, where you drive everywhere, so it was easier for me to learn to drive with a beer between my legs. It was cheaper that way, I talked to myself, so there were fewer disagreements and I had fewer fights.

    Now, younguns have Starbucks , but how much fun is coffee after work? And, besides, they’re lost in their cell phones. Other places, addressing someone down the bar who you don’t know and who isn’t drunk enough can be a micro-agression.

    The roadhouse demise is, as you say, due to the correctional-counseling industry. Have 3 martinis and a steak and spend 6 months getting in touch with your feelings and paying off a loan. If you want privacy, you probably just need a group hug. Police are only there to protect us, so they hover like vultures to meet their quota. It’s a business, a big damn business. Bullshit by the pound, or kilo.

    Back in the late 50s Bertrand Russell published a small volume called “Freedom or Security?” (or something like that). What he said was that modern man prefers to be secure and eschews freedom, which is inherently insecure. Maybe the way you said it was more straightforward. Anyway, my theory is that if we really didn’t want it this way, it wouldn’t be this way. We tolerate it. Institutions arise from the crowd, even if some complain about them. Gubment codifies with rules, but only within the limits of tolerance by the people. That’s how I see it, anyway.

    A while back, I heard a fellow complain that the USA was the most over-regulated society in the world. I agreed with him at the time, but maybe that’s understandable, as we were both in rehab.

    I live in China these days. You know what the DUI penalty has been here for, as I recall, the past 7 or so years? First offense, a year in the clinker; second offense 5 years and you never drive again. No educational counseling, though, which almost makes it worth doing the time. I don’t drive. Cabs, buses and trains are cheap, clean and efficient. Here, also, I can entertain the illusion of being respected. They let me do that.

    Happy New Year to You, Too!

    Read More
    • Replies: @Rhett Hardwick
    What he said was that modern man prefers to be secure and eschews freedom, which is inherently insecure.


    "What he said was that modern man prefers to be secure and eschews freedom, which is inherently insecure."

    What is seldom realized is that "safety" enables the government to act under it's "police powers". These are not closely defined in the Constitution. I see it used frequently in Zoning matters. Variances are denied because of "safety", i.e. "It will obstruct emergency vehicles". It was early decided that Zoing was not a "taking" for reasons of public safety. "side yards" to separate houses for fire safety, "lot sizes" to separate cespools and wells, etc. So, everything is "safety" who dares argue it? That would be "unsafe". For "safety" we no longer have "bus stops" for the school bus, they go house to house. At what cost?













    '
    , @TonyVodvarka
    Da Wei, The work of the rotten corporate media has done its mischief in creating alienation and conflict with its never-ending themes of identity politics. It seems that everything here is decaying, the economy, media, social services and the public discourse. When the expected next bubble burst comes, I somewhat fear what will come in its wake. You are wise to have taken shelter in a civilized country. My wife and I rented an apartment for three weeks in Beijing in 2011 and Shanghai in 2012 and were extremely impressed by the modernity and efficiency of most everything. The Pudong/Shanghai maglev train boggles the imagination. The high-speed railways that China is building to achieve Eurasian integration is a revolution in itself. The food was wonderful, the supermarkets having a wide variety of everything at economical prices (for us) and restaurants served excellent food, the Charme restaurant chain which we found both in Beijing and Shanghai, had lovely gourmet food served artfully. I would love to go back again but, frankly, tourist class air travel has become such a miserable hassle, the security scam so insulting, that we have avoided it for the last few years. Oh well, I've had my share. Cheers!
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  131. Da Wei says:
    @Rhett Hardwick
    States rights

    While I grant many were arrogated, mostly they were sold. For instance, not many states would stand up against the threat to withold "Federal Highway Funds".

    Rhett Hardwick, that’s for sure. Didn’t they all sell out for the road money? I love seeing a smaller institution, a State or occasionally a school district, that refuses to whore for the bucks. Too few local officials are willing to scrap with arrogant authority.

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  132. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Doesn’t Fred Reed keep stating that life in Mexico ain’t that bad? This is so dishonest.

    I just talked to someone whose company sent him to Mexico City, and they required them all to get voice prints in case they were kidnapped! This was for a one day trip.

    Latin America sucks because of the huge population of dark Brown folks. Sorry, we can’t hide from the truth anymore.

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  133. @Da Wei
    TonyVodvarka, I'd bet a dollar to a hole in a doughnut that you're right about the social value of both these institutions and right, too, about what has killed them off. So much of what once brought us together is extinct. Where's the worker solidarity when "individual contractors" replace the regular crew, or jobs are farmed out overseas? I lived in California, where you drive everywhere, so it was easier for me to learn to drive with a beer between my legs. It was cheaper that way, I talked to myself, so there were fewer disagreements and I had fewer fights.

    Now, younguns have Starbucks , but how much fun is coffee after work? And, besides, they're lost in their cell phones. Other places, addressing someone down the bar who you don't know and who isn't drunk enough can be a micro-agression.

    The roadhouse demise is, as you say, due to the correctional-counseling industry. Have 3 martinis and a steak and spend 6 months getting in touch with your feelings and paying off a loan. If you want privacy, you probably just need a group hug. Police are only there to protect us, so they hover like vultures to meet their quota. It's a business, a big damn business. Bullshit by the pound, or kilo.

    Back in the late 50s Bertrand Russell published a small volume called "Freedom or Security?" (or something like that). What he said was that modern man prefers to be secure and eschews freedom, which is inherently insecure. Maybe the way you said it was more straightforward. Anyway, my theory is that if we really didn't want it this way, it wouldn't be this way. We tolerate it. Institutions arise from the crowd, even if some complain about them. Gubment codifies with rules, but only within the limits of tolerance by the people. That's how I see it, anyway.

    A while back, I heard a fellow complain that the USA was the most over-regulated society in the world. I agreed with him at the time, but maybe that's understandable, as we were both in rehab.

    I live in China these days. You know what the DUI penalty has been here for, as I recall, the past 7 or so years? First offense, a year in the clinker; second offense 5 years and you never drive again. No educational counseling, though, which almost makes it worth doing the time. I don't drive. Cabs, buses and trains are cheap, clean and efficient. Here, also, I can entertain the illusion of being respected. They let me do that.

    Happy New Year to You, Too!

    What he said was that modern man prefers to be secure and eschews freedom, which is inherently insecure.

    “What he said was that modern man prefers to be secure and eschews freedom, which is inherently insecure.”

    What is seldom realized is that “safety” enables the government to act under it’s “police powers”. These are not closely defined in the Constitution. I see it used frequently in Zoning matters. Variances are denied because of “safety”, i.e. “It will obstruct emergency vehicles”. It was early decided that Zoing was not a “taking” for reasons of public safety. “side yards” to separate houses for fire safety, “lot sizes” to separate cespools and wells, etc. So, everything is “safety” who dares argue it? That would be “unsafe”. For “safety” we no longer have “bus stops” for the school bus, they go house to house. At what cost?

    Read More
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  134. @Da Wei
    TonyVodvarka, I'd bet a dollar to a hole in a doughnut that you're right about the social value of both these institutions and right, too, about what has killed them off. So much of what once brought us together is extinct. Where's the worker solidarity when "individual contractors" replace the regular crew, or jobs are farmed out overseas? I lived in California, where you drive everywhere, so it was easier for me to learn to drive with a beer between my legs. It was cheaper that way, I talked to myself, so there were fewer disagreements and I had fewer fights.

    Now, younguns have Starbucks , but how much fun is coffee after work? And, besides, they're lost in their cell phones. Other places, addressing someone down the bar who you don't know and who isn't drunk enough can be a micro-agression.

    The roadhouse demise is, as you say, due to the correctional-counseling industry. Have 3 martinis and a steak and spend 6 months getting in touch with your feelings and paying off a loan. If you want privacy, you probably just need a group hug. Police are only there to protect us, so they hover like vultures to meet their quota. It's a business, a big damn business. Bullshit by the pound, or kilo.

    Back in the late 50s Bertrand Russell published a small volume called "Freedom or Security?" (or something like that). What he said was that modern man prefers to be secure and eschews freedom, which is inherently insecure. Maybe the way you said it was more straightforward. Anyway, my theory is that if we really didn't want it this way, it wouldn't be this way. We tolerate it. Institutions arise from the crowd, even if some complain about them. Gubment codifies with rules, but only within the limits of tolerance by the people. That's how I see it, anyway.

    A while back, I heard a fellow complain that the USA was the most over-regulated society in the world. I agreed with him at the time, but maybe that's understandable, as we were both in rehab.

    I live in China these days. You know what the DUI penalty has been here for, as I recall, the past 7 or so years? First offense, a year in the clinker; second offense 5 years and you never drive again. No educational counseling, though, which almost makes it worth doing the time. I don't drive. Cabs, buses and trains are cheap, clean and efficient. Here, also, I can entertain the illusion of being respected. They let me do that.

    Happy New Year to You, Too!

    Da Wei, The work of the rotten corporate media has done its mischief in creating alienation and conflict with its never-ending themes of identity politics. It seems that everything here is decaying, the economy, media, social services and the public discourse. When the expected next bubble burst comes, I somewhat fear what will come in its wake. You are wise to have taken shelter in a civilized country. My wife and I rented an apartment for three weeks in Beijing in 2011 and Shanghai in 2012 and were extremely impressed by the modernity and efficiency of most everything. The Pudong/Shanghai maglev train boggles the imagination. The high-speed railways that China is building to achieve Eurasian integration is a revolution in itself. The food was wonderful, the supermarkets having a wide variety of everything at economical prices (for us) and restaurants served excellent food, the Charme restaurant chain which we found both in Beijing and Shanghai, had lovely gourmet food served artfully. I would love to go back again but, frankly, tourist class air travel has become such a miserable hassle, the security scam so insulting, that we have avoided it for the last few years. Oh well, I’ve had my share. Cheers!

    Read More
    • Replies: @Da Wei
    TonyVodvarka,

    I know what you mean about the flights. I will buy only the cheap seats and my butt and back pay the price for that. I've made the trip back twice a year for 11 years now and have some horror stories. I'll say only that there's nothing quite like sitting amid an Indian (AM/PM, not Reservation) family with a couple screaming infants and a few active children, or next to a large Indian woman who knits. It's not that I'm xenophobic, mind you, or homophobic, but I tend to get a little claustrophobic, and I think that's still OK to say, or to share. It's a little rough 8 hours into the flight when the curry farts start wafting up through the saris and knitted shawls. All I can do is fart back. For the past half dozen years it's been easier, as my wife makes the flight with me. She doesn't knit or fart and she arranges better flight accommodations. Life is getting easier.

    I agree with you about the trains. They can be smooth as glass and fast. All public transit is cheap and clean and free of graffiti. The people aren't so much afraid of being caught painting obscenities on the walls as they are too prideful of their culture to deface it. Police are not obnoxiously militaristic, as I'm sure you saw. They often ride bicycles in short sleeve shirts and eschew the big iron on the hip. The whole infrastructure is developing in China and the people are proud of that. I mean quietly proud. There are no flags waving from pick ups.

    Now, when I compare what I see here to the crumbling conditions in our own country, I get mad as hell. It can only be that there is a concerted effort to flush the USA down the drain. We are hit from so many angles and with such lies and obfuscation -- politicians too corrupt to do their duty, banks too big to fail, media too debauched to be legitimate -- that it's hard for the people struggling to survive to grasp it all and respond. Since I've discovered this site and learned how to respond it, hell, I'm 3 weeks behind in getting pissed off.

    Of course, China is imperfect, and friends here will confide that. Power hungry corrupt bastards mess things up everywhere, as we know. People here know plastic chemicals in diluted milk killed babies in 2007 and later 10,000 diseased, dead pigs were pitched into the river that runs to Shanghai as drinking water, and many of those pigs were fished out and shipped south to become sausage. They're disgusted with that corruption and with the dismally low social ethics. They insist on clean, fresh food for their families and they sincerely encourage their children to succeed and not blame society for failure to work hard.

    A few years back the government instituted an anti-corruption campaign holding local leaders accountable for graft and making the punishment fit the crime. The governor of Chong Ching got a bullet in the head. He messed up bad. No more.

    The Chinese don't seem to have the same understanding of irony that we have, and with that the sense of double meaning or sarcasm. They think what you say is what you mean. Consequently, if you tell a child he or she can do something, the child believes it and rises to that expectation. These are not cheeky kids designed by Steven Spielberg. English is a requirement for high school graduation and if you don't pass the test, come back until you do. No diploma otherwise.

    Good that you and your wife came to Beijing and Shanghai Pudong. I like both parts of that city, but my favorite is vintage Shanghai in Puxi. Hopefully, you got to the river at night, maybe on a boat tour.
    Good, too, that you liked the food. It's very varied. Some things we would never consider eating are really delicately delicious. In Beijing, you may know, they have a saying: In heaven we have dragon meat; on earth we have donkey. Thanks for the message and please forgive my wordiness.

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  135. Da Wei says:
    @TonyVodvarka
    Da Wei, The work of the rotten corporate media has done its mischief in creating alienation and conflict with its never-ending themes of identity politics. It seems that everything here is decaying, the economy, media, social services and the public discourse. When the expected next bubble burst comes, I somewhat fear what will come in its wake. You are wise to have taken shelter in a civilized country. My wife and I rented an apartment for three weeks in Beijing in 2011 and Shanghai in 2012 and were extremely impressed by the modernity and efficiency of most everything. The Pudong/Shanghai maglev train boggles the imagination. The high-speed railways that China is building to achieve Eurasian integration is a revolution in itself. The food was wonderful, the supermarkets having a wide variety of everything at economical prices (for us) and restaurants served excellent food, the Charme restaurant chain which we found both in Beijing and Shanghai, had lovely gourmet food served artfully. I would love to go back again but, frankly, tourist class air travel has become such a miserable hassle, the security scam so insulting, that we have avoided it for the last few years. Oh well, I've had my share. Cheers!

    TonyVodvarka,

    I know what you mean about the flights. I will buy only the cheap seats and my butt and back pay the price for that. I’ve made the trip back twice a year for 11 years now and have some horror stories. I’ll say only that there’s nothing quite like sitting amid an Indian (AM/PM, not Reservation) family with a couple screaming infants and a few active children, or next to a large Indian woman who knits. It’s not that I’m xenophobic, mind you, or homophobic, but I tend to get a little claustrophobic, and I think that’s still OK to say, or to share. It’s a little rough 8 hours into the flight when the curry farts start wafting up through the saris and knitted shawls. All I can do is fart back. For the past half dozen years it’s been easier, as my wife makes the flight with me. She doesn’t knit or fart and she arranges better flight accommodations. Life is getting easier.

    I agree with you about the trains. They can be smooth as glass and fast. All public transit is cheap and clean and free of graffiti. The people aren’t so much afraid of being caught painting obscenities on the walls as they are too prideful of their culture to deface it. Police are not obnoxiously militaristic, as I’m sure you saw. They often ride bicycles in short sleeve shirts and eschew the big iron on the hip. The whole infrastructure is developing in China and the people are proud of that. I mean quietly proud. There are no flags waving from pick ups.

    Now, when I compare what I see here to the crumbling conditions in our own country, I get mad as hell. It can only be that there is a concerted effort to flush the USA down the drain. We are hit from so many angles and with such lies and obfuscation — politicians too corrupt to do their duty, banks too big to fail, media too debauched to be legitimate — that it’s hard for the people struggling to survive to grasp it all and respond. Since I’ve discovered this site and learned how to respond it, hell, I’m 3 weeks behind in getting pissed off.

    Of course, China is imperfect, and friends here will confide that. Power hungry corrupt bastards mess things up everywhere, as we know. People here know plastic chemicals in diluted milk killed babies in 2007 and later 10,000 diseased, dead pigs were pitched into the river that runs to Shanghai as drinking water, and many of those pigs were fished out and shipped south to become sausage. They’re disgusted with that corruption and with the dismally low social ethics. They insist on clean, fresh food for their families and they sincerely encourage their children to succeed and not blame society for failure to work hard.

    A few years back the government instituted an anti-corruption campaign holding local leaders accountable for graft and making the punishment fit the crime. The governor of Chong Ching got a bullet in the head. He messed up bad. No more.

    The Chinese don’t seem to have the same understanding of irony that we have, and with that the sense of double meaning or sarcasm. They think what you say is what you mean. Consequently, if you tell a child he or she can do something, the child believes it and rises to that expectation. These are not cheeky kids designed by Steven Spielberg. English is a requirement for high school graduation and if you don’t pass the test, come back until you do. No diploma otherwise.

    Good that you and your wife came to Beijing and Shanghai Pudong. I like both parts of that city, but my favorite is vintage Shanghai in Puxi. Hopefully, you got to the river at night, maybe on a boat tour.
    Good, too, that you liked the food. It’s very varied. Some things we would never consider eating are really delicately delicious. In Beijing, you may know, they have a saying: In heaven we have dragon meat; on earth we have donkey. Thanks for the message and please forgive my wordiness.

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