The post below harangues you for not using the subjunctive mood of the verb to be when the sentence or clause requires it. So now I may as well go off on another grammatical error that is frequently encountered and that I find particularly annoying.
The following sentence is not correct: “Tom Horn was found guilty of murder, and he was hung in 1903.” It is not correct because Tom Horn was a man; he was not a picture.
The following sentence is correct: “A picture of Tom Horn when he was hanged was later hung on the wall.”
That’s right. Pictures are hung. Men are hanged. The past participle is used when human beings are stretched on a rope as a form of execution, and the past tense hung is used to describe the occurrence after the hanging of all other things, such as pictures on the wall or keys on a hook.
It doesn’t matter whether the hanging of a man by the neck has already occurred, is presently occurring, or is to occur in the future. Thus, the following are all correct:
“Tom Horn is to be hanged a week from today for his crime.”
“Tom Horn is at this moment being hanged in Cheyenne for the killing of Willie Nickell.”
“Tom Horn was hanged at dawn this morning.”
My neighbor has suggested, quite reasonably I’d have to say, that I wear the t-shirt with the inscription, “I’m silently correcting your grammar.” But I’m doing it overtly, not silently. Here’s hoping that you find it instructive and fun, and that you don’t wish for me to be hanged.
Where was it alleged that Tom Horn committed murder?
Answer: At Iron Mountain, Wyoming which is about 50 miles NW of Cheyenne and about 30 miles NE of Laramie. He was tried and found guilty in Cheyenne.
Was there anything unusual that occurred in the hanging of Tom Horn?
Answer: Yes, Tom Horn was hanged by an automated gallows in which the pressure of his body weight released a lever with a counterweight that gradually rose to pull out the support beam under the trap door. In effect, he hanged himself.
Where is Tom Horn buried?
Answer: Boulder, Colorado
Why was he buried in Boulder, Colorado?
Answer: Not because of any family connections, but he had been a Pinkerton detective working out of the Denver office before he went to Wyoming as a “range detective.”
Was Tom Horn really guilty of the crime of killing Willie Nickell?
Answer: No one will ever know for sure. It is entirely possible that as a range detective for cattle interests he was caught in the middle of two opposing forces at the tail end of the Johnson County wars in Wyoming between cattle interests wanting free range and homesteaders who fenced their land to keep roaming cattle out. The boom and bust of the cattle business in the last quarter of the 19th Century made millionaires of cattle ranchers in short order, and sent them to broke just as fast. Laying blame on sheepherders and farmers was all too convenient, and violence was common.
A recent  television production on the History Channel titled “The Real Story of Thanksgiving” made the entirely false declaration that the system of communal property first established at the Plymouth colony protected them from starvation during their first winter in America. The truth is exactly the opposite.
First of all, a substantial number of the them did starve to death that first winter. The reason for their plight that first winter probably had nothing to do with their ideas about common property rights. They didn’t arrive in the New World until December of 1620 and they were taken by surprise at how cold and miserable it was. In 1620 the role of ocean currents in determining the weather on land was not known. Thus, the Pilgrims left England believing the weather would be similar in America because their destination was roughly the same latitude as London. They spent the first winter hovering and freezing in whatever shelter they were able to hurriedly construct immediately upon arrival. The only food they had that first winter consisted of what they brought with them, supplemented only by whatever game they may have shot in the forest [some histories of the period claim that they also found a stash of corn and ate it. If so, they truly were starving because at that time all they knew of corn was the European variety, which was pig food]. Under any system of property rights it is to be expected that a small group of people who have just endured a perilous journey together and now face a harsh cold winter in a strange land would likely share whatever they have or can gain through group or individual efforts.
But in the next few years, for those still alive, the system of property rights became a decisive factor in their success, or lack of it. Those who today attempt to bolster their sales pitch for socialism by referring to the communal system that the Plymouth colony first attempted [but soon abandoned] must ignore the actual history of the time, and the very words of William Bradford himself. This short video presents a more truthful account than the recent production on the History Channel:
The voiceover in this video pronounces all the vowels in the writing of William Bradford. That’s a little weird. There are no recordings to prove it, but it’s not likely that words in the English language were pronounced much different then they are today, even accounting for different accents. But there was no standardized spelling of words in those days. Dr. Johnson’s dictionary would not appear for another 150 years. The voiceover in the video pronounces the “e” on the end of the words that Bradford wrote. I think it is more likely that the ending “e’s” were merely a quirk of Bradford’s spelling, and were silent. Anyone who has read the Lewis and Clark journals, written almost 200 hundred years later, will be familiar with the fact that spelling was mostly an individual preference and didn’t seem to follow any universal rules.
Ever wonder why the Pilgrims arrived in December, much later than they had originally planned? It is because they had so much trouble getting the Mayflower made seaworthy and also they were resolving disputes with the London financiers of their new colony to be. They actually had two ships, neither of which was entirely seaworthy. They bought one called the “Speedwell” which became the Mayflower. Their first departure was aborted when the Speedwell began to sink soon after leaving England. They made it back to Leiden for repairs, just barely. That resulted in a late fall departure and arriving in the New World with winter in full swing. That’s the main reason, perhaps the sole reason, so many froze and starved the first year.
The final chapter is that the Plymouth Colony was not a success. The early Pilgrims that stayed and survived were eventually assimilated into the later and more successful Massachusetts Bay Colony.
See the next post, The Real Story of Thanksgiving, for more of this most terrific tale of American History.
The real story of Thanksgiving is about the Pilgrims experiment with communism, or “communalism” as it would have been called at the time, its utter failure and replacement with capitalism, and the prosperity that followed.
From Kayleigh McEnany:
We were all taught about the Pilgrims and Indians, but most of us do not know the real story of Thanksgiving — the failure of communism and the triumph of capitalism.
Long before Karl Marx’s Communist Manifesto, and the days of Vladimir Lenin and Leon Trotsky, the Pilgrims conducted a communist experiment that exposed the system’s downfalls and led them to communism’s natural antithesis and the economic system we extol today — capitalism. The incomplete narrative we were told growing up went something like this:
In 1620, the Pilgrims boarded the Mayflower and set sail for the New World. According to their leader, Plymouth Governor William Bradford, they found “cold barren desolate wilderness” upon their arrival in November. The Pilgrims endured a long, cold, and deadly winter during which half of them perished. When spring arrived, the Indians taught the Pilgrims how to cultivate the land, thereby saving the new settlers.
More often than not, this is where the account ends. But this is not the whole story of Thanksgiving — far from it. This was just the beginning.
Read the rest of the real story of Thanksgiving.
Modern reenactment by the National Park Service of the joining of the
intercontinental transcontinental railroad at the Golden Spike National Historic Site at Promontory Summit North of Utah’s Great Salt Lake:
The actual photo by Andrew J. Russell taken at Promontory Summit May 10, 1869:
Today is Rosh Hashanna, the Jewish New Year, 1 Tishrei 5772. It is the first of the “High Holidays” (“Days of Awe”), celebrated ten days before Yom Kippur. According to Jewish tradition God inscribes each person’s fate for the coming year into a book, the “Book of Life” on Rosh Hashanah and waits until Yom Kippur to seal the verdict. During the Days of Awe, a Jew tries to amend his or her behavior and seek forgiveness for wrongs done against God and against other human beings. The evening and day of Yom Kippur are set aside for public and private petitions and confessions of guilt. At the end of Yom Kippur, one considers oneself absolved by God.
On this day I think about the 50 or so percent of American Jews who don’t support Israel, and some that affirmatively condemn Israel. These American Jews also harbor ill feelings toward devout Christians, especially evangelicals. They seem to believe that Christians are rabidly anti-semitic, evangelicals again getting the worst of this slander. Or maybe this is just a way to rationalize irrational beliefs because devout Christians are about as devoid of anti-semitic attitudes as may be found anywhere on this planet. It could also be that the Democrat party has conducted one of the most successful brain-washing campaigns ever on American Jews. About 73% of American Jews voted for Obama in 2008 and polls seem to show he will get pretty close to that level of support from American Jews in 2012. This support is for the most anti-Israel American president ever, and the leader of a political party where actual anti-semitism can be found in abundance.
So on Rosh Hashanna I always wonder if American Jews will spend any part of the Days of Awe reflecting on their reflexive voting habits and support for a politicians and a political party that has massively duped them into false beliefs. Will they seek atonement for their false accusation of anti-semitism against Christians, who are in fact their allies in fighting anti-semitism around the world? No, of course not. I’ve wondered about this for too many years. As they used to say in my old neighborhood, “It ain’t gonna happen.”
Actually, fearing I would be perceived to be mean spirited or even anti-semitic, I wasn’t going to say any of this. But then I found something written by an American Jew that seems to support my theory on American Jews of the liberal variety. I don’t think he is of the reform movement variety of American Jew, or he probably could not have written this:
Sundown tonight marks the start of the Jewish New Year that begins with the celebration of Rosh Hashanah. The ten days from the start of that holiday until the end of Yom Kippur next week are known as the Days of Awe in Judaism. During this period, Jews reflect on their deeds in the past year and seek to account for them to their Creator as well as their fellow human beings. This period of introspection should cause all of us to think about what we have done in the past 12 months and work to improve ourselves.
It would also be good advice for many world leaders as we observe the circus at the United Nations where nations line up to cheer dictators and to single out Israel for discriminatory treatment. As Jews around the globe take note of their shortcomings, perhaps those who have done so much to encourage hatred of the Jewish state and the Jewish people should take a few moments and own up to their policies that have done so much harm and which have made peace even more unlikely.
Though we refer to Jewish tradition, the notion of accountability is something that speaks directly to the problems of any democracy which is based on the concept that elected leaders are judged by the voters. For those in both parties who have sought to demonize their political opponents, the dawn of the New Year represents an opportunity to step back and realize that attempts to brand leaders, parties and movements as being beyond the pale or even questioning the wisdom of democracy itself — that is to say, questioning the right of the voters to override the dictates of the politicians and the intellectuals — has done much to undermine any hope for a resolution of our national problems.
These are the words of Johnathon Tobin writing at the Contentions Blog of Commentary Magazine. I have been a subscriber to Commentary since about 1968. Wow, that’s 43 years. It’s former editor, Norman Podhoretz, is a favorite author and has written a shelf of wonderful books, one devoted to the question of why so many American Jews are liberals.
I’d have to take exception to Mr. Tobins moral equivalence on how both parties demonize their opponents. Demonization of political opponents is a Democrat trait, not a Republican one. But otherwise I quite like what he says.
I may be reading too much into Mr. Tobins statement. I think I read a call to American Jews to take stock of themselves in their political beliefs and attitudes and consider whether they are giving aid and comfort to those who seek to do harm to Judaism, to Israel and to America. Others might read it differently.
Two World War II airmen, one White the other Black, meet 50 years later and discover astounding connections between them.
This morning I was reading an internet discussion about a woman whose boyfriend died of cancer. She has saved all of the email and text messages they exchanged over a period of years, and she reads selected ones from time to time. I don’t think she intended to save them just to have them after he was gone, the ones she posted on the internet reflect their hope and belief that he was going to survive the cancer and they would be together for both of their lives. Whether by plan or chance, these electronic notes and missives still exist and have now attained precious significance. Her boyfriend, planned future husband, by his words and hers recorded while he was present makes him seem to still be there, just out of reach.
Emily Dickinson knew nothing of email or text messages on the phone, nor of telephones for that matter, but she may have captured the essence of what this woman is feeling today, in this poem:
Death Sets A Thing Significant
Death sets a thing significant
The eye had hurried by,
Except a perished creature
Entreat us tenderly
To ponder little workmanships
In crayon or in wool,
With “This was last her fingers did,”
The thimble weighed too heavy,
The stitches stopped themselves,
And then ‘t was put among the dust
Upon the closet shelves.
A book I have, a friend gave,
Whose pencil, here and there,
Had notched the place that pleased him,–
At rest his fingers are.
Now, when I read, I read not,
For interrupting tears
Obliterate the etchings
Too costly for repairs.
For those interested, the piece I was reading can be found at Good.
We can seek her out in this Encounter Books Broadside. They call them “Broadsides” because, I guess, they are strongly-word critical attacks on the lies, false notions and hidden agendas that promulgate throughout the political culture, mostly by the liberal left. The one pictured here (click on it to go to its Amazon page) debunks the Palestinian lie that seeks to blame Israel for standing in the way of the creation of a Palestinian state when Israel has a long history of offering land and money for peace with the Palestinians and Arabs everywhere.
Israel has tried everything, both carrots and sticks, and nothing works for one reason only: Palestinians don’t want a state, they don’t want peace, they want Israel gone and all Israeli Jews dead. Er, that ah, makes it a little hard to find common ground.
These “Broadsides” are both short and inexpensive. This one is 48 pages for $5.99, $4.49 for the Kindle edition (no taxes!). Here is the Encounter Books description:
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has launched an international campaign to achieve recognition by the United Nations for an independent Palestinian state. Abbas and his international supporters claim that only Israel (with the United States) stands in the way of this act of historical justice, which would finally bring about peace in the Middle East.
In this eye-opening Broadside, Sol Stern debunks the Palestinians’ claim and shows that Abbas has been lying about the origins and history of the conflict. Palestinian leaders have rejected partition plans that would have given them much more land for their independent state than the Jews were offered for theirs. Rather than being the innocent victims of a “dispossession” at the hands of the Israelis, the Palestinians rejected reasonable compromises and instead pursued their aim of getting rid of the only Jewish state in the world.
This 11-minute video tells the story vividly. It’s remarkably informative, and will be worth your time:
About to be engulfed in a gigantic dust cloud is a peaceful little ranch in Boise City, Oklahoma where the topsoil is being dried and blown away during the years of the Dust Bowl. Severe drought, poor farming techniques and devastating storms rendered millions of acres of farmland useless. This photo was taken on April 15, 1935. More photos of the world before WW II here.
Below are the opening and concluding paragraphs from “In Our Youth Our Hearts Were Touched With Fire”, a speech delivered by Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. at Keene, New Hampshire on Memorial Day, May 30, 1884. He spoke of the meaning of memorial day, 19 years after the end of the Civil War in which 620,000 Americans were killed. The entire speech is available here.
Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., May 30, 1884, at Keene, NH:
Not long ago I heard a young man ask why people still kept up Memorial Day, and it set me thinking of the answer. Not the answer that you and I should give to each other-not the expression of those feelings that, so long as you live, will make this day sacred to memories of love and grief and heroic youth–but an answer which should command the assent of those who do not share our memories, and in which we of the North and our brethren of the South could join in perfect accord.
* * *
I have spoken of some of the men who were near to me among others very near and dear, not because their lives have become historic, but because their lives are the type of what every soldier has known and seen in his own company. In the great democracy of self-devotion private and general stand side by side. Unmarshalled save by their own deeds, the army of the dead sweep before us, “wearing their wounds like stars.” It is not because the men I have mentioned were my friends that I have spoken of them, but, I repeat, because they are types. I speak of those whom I have seen. But you all have known such; you, too, remember!
It is not of the dead alone that we think on this day. There are those still living whose sex forbade them to offer their lives, but who gave instead their happiness. Which of us has not been lifted above himself by the sight of one of those lovely, lonely women, around whom the wand of sorrow has traced its excluding circle–set apart, even when surrounded by loving friends who would fain bring back joy to their lives? I think of one whom the poor of a great city know as their benefactress and friend. I think of one who has lived not less greatly in the midst of her children, to whom she has taught such lessons as may not be heard elsewhere from mortal lips. The story of these and her sisters we must pass in reverent silence. All that may be said has been said by one of their own sex —
[from R. Alcona to J. Brenzaida (March 3, 1845), by Emily Bronte, — TeeJaw]
But when the days of golden dreams had perished,
And even despair was powerless to destroy,
Then did I learn how existence could be cherished,
Strengthened, and fed without the aid of joy.
Then did I check the tears of useless passion,
weaned my young soul from yearning after thine
Sternly denied its burning wish to hasten
Down to that tomb already more than mine.
Comrades, some of the associations of this day are not only triumphant, but joyful. Not all of those with whom we once stood shoulder to shoulder–not all of those whom we once loved and revered–are gone. On this day we still meet our companions in the freezing winter bivouacs and in those dreadful summer marches where every faculty of the soul seemed to depart one after another, leaving only a dumb animal power to set the teeth and to persist– a blind belief that somewhere and at last there was bread and water. On this day, at least, we still meet and rejoice in the closest tie which is possible between men– a tie which suffering has made indissoluble for better, for worse.
When we meet thus, when we do honor to the dead in terms that must sometimes embrace the living, we do not deceive ourselves. We attribute no special merit to a man for having served when all were serving. We know that, if the armies of our war did anything worth remembering, the credit belongs not mainly to the individuals who did it, but to average human nature. We also know very well that we cannot live in associations with the past alone, and we admit that, if we would be worthy of the past, we must find new fields for action or thought, and make for ourselves new careers.
But, nevertheless, the generation that carried on the war has been set apart by its experience. Through our great good fortune, in our youth our hearts were touched with fire. It was given to us to learn at the outset that life is a profound and passionate thing. While we are permitted to scorn nothing but indifference, and do not pretend to undervalue the worldly rewards of ambition, we have seen with our own eyes, beyond and above the gold fields, the snowy heights of honor, and it is for us to bear the report to those who come after us. But, above all, we have learned that whether a man accepts from Fortune her spade, and will look downward and dig, or from Aspiration her axe and cord, and will scale the ice, the one and only success which it is his to command is to bring to his work a mighty heart.
Such hearts–ah me, how many!–were stilled twenty years ago; and to us who remain behind is left this day of memories. Every year–in the full tide of spring, at the height of the symphony of flowers and love and life–there comes a pause, and through the silence we hear the lonely pipe of death. Year after year lovers wandering under the apple trees and through the clover and deep grass are surprised with sudden tears as they see black veiled figures stealing through the morning to a soldier’s grave. Year after year the comrades of the dead follow, with public honor, procession and commemorative flags and funeral march–honor and grief from us who stand almost alone, and have seen the best and noblest of our generation pass away.
But grief is not the end of all. I seem to hear the funeral march become a paean. I see beyond the forest the moving banners of a hidden column. Our dead brothers still live for us, and bid us think of life, not death–of life to which in their youth they lent the passion and joy of the spring. As I listen , the great chorus of life and joy begins again, and amid the awful orchestra of seen and unseen powers and destinies of good and evil our trumpets sound once more a note of daring, hope, and will.
This video has been viewed almost 750,000 times since it was posted on YouTube in October, 2010.
Especially poignant is Prager’s question of what would happen if Israel laid down its arms, and what would happen if all the Muslim countries laid down their arms? In the first instance Israel would be destroyed and there would be mass murder of the Jews living there. Prager says that in the second scenario there would be peace. He is right that there would be no Israeli aggression against any Arab country if Israel could trust that it would be left alone to live in peace. But there would not be peace in the region. Before the modern State of Israel came into existence peace did not exist in the Middle East. Without Israel to act as the lightening rod, there would be conflict among the Arab states, as there was before Israel. The Saudi flag has always depicted a sword.
Shrinkwrapped, (A Psychoanalyst Attempts to Understand Our World) gives one of the best explanations for anti-semitism and why it has been and will no doubt continue to be pervasive in The World.
It has been said that anti-Semitism is the Protean Evil. It can fit into anyone’s paranoid worldview. For example, if you hate Communism, it is a trivial matter to decide (and find compelling evidence) that Jews are Communists. On the other hand, if you hate Capitalism, it is an equally trivial matter to find support for the proposition that Jews are Capitalists. It is a bitter fact of life that Jews tend to be successful at adapting to whatever system they are in; success then breeds resentment, and a two thousand year old hatred presents a low energy, well worn pathway for distress and anger to be channeled away from one’s own shortcomings.
Anti-semitism is the one-stop, do-it-all emotion to express one’s feelings of inadequacy, resentment of the success of others, and to shift the blame for just about any setback in life, either your own or someone else’s. On top of all that, an ancient and well-worn trail with no hills to climb exists for those wishing to go that way.
Read it all.
Peter Robinson was the speechwriter who wrote the line “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall,” which President Reagan delivered at the Brandenburg Gate on June 12, 1987. In this video of his appearance on Fox News with Laura Ingram, Robinson explains why Obama and others have suddenly discovered Ronald Reagan, how they think they can use him to their political advantage, but that it won’t work because they still deeply misunderstand him as a man and as a politician.
Army Air Force crew of a B-29 (12 aviators) was rescued by a U.S. Navy submarine after their plane was shot down, 70 miles off the coast of Japan. The entire rescue was filmed in color, but then sat in a closet until now. This is a story from a Denver TV station of one of those rescued aviators to whom the video was delivered, more than 60 years later.
Just finished it. It’s a must read for anyone with any interest at all in the daily life of marine grunts in Quang Tri province in 1969. When you finish this book you can say you did a tour in Vietnam. You will certainly feel that way.
But there is much more than that to this story. It is about good and evil, and the difficulty and uncertainty of knowing what is good and what is evil. I still think I know the difference, but I know it’s not as easy as I thought.
Update: As of September 25, 2011 there are over 500 reviews at Amazon. 386 of them give it 5 stars.
Here is what I said about this book in a comment at Chicago Boyz:
Now everyone can have a tour of duty as a Marine grunt in Quang Tri Province in 1969, with all that entails. Jungle rot, leeches, incompetent leaders, thirst in a monsoon, man-eating tigers, death everywhere; and all that’s just for starters. Bravo company is ordered by a drunken colonel to build bunkers on a hill called Matterhorn even though it makes no sense; then they are ordered to abandon the bunkers; then the NVA takes them over, digs in and stages artillery attacks; so Bravo company is ordered to re-take Matterhorn only to be ordered to abandon it again. The battle to reclaim Matterhorn is grim. Food and water, ammo and medical supplies can’t get to Bravo company because the weather is socked in and choppers can’t fly. At one point each member of Bravo company is dying of thirst in a monsoon and is down to his last two 30-round M16 magazines. Three short bursts on full auto will empty them. They must hold their fire and engage the gooks in close quarters combat if they are to survive. Finally, a first lieutenant back at VCB (combat base) defies orders, persuades chopper pilots to risk their lives and machinery to save Bravo Company. It’s such a fine heroic moment any reader with a heart will hear the Marine Corps anthem playing in his head.
The ending marks this book in the genre of deep tragedy. Embark on this journey through 566 pages only if you are sure you are up to it. It’s a helluva ride.
Bernard Cornwell, author of the Sharp’s Rifles books, says Matterhorn is a great book. He was speaking seriously, not just giving a cover blurb.
This is December (almost) and not July but this is worth looking at again. Jay Leno interviews some people who don’t know much about history. They vote.Vodpod videos no longer available.
Seventy-two years ago last night, November 9-10, 1938, Kristallnacht occurred throughout Germany and parts of Austria. Just over four years later the holocaust had killed millions of Jews when the Warsaw Ghetto uprising began on January 18, 1943 and ended on May 16, 1943. All of the Jews in the uprising died but they made the Nazis pay a price for their death and they, not the Nazis, determined how they were going to die. They died fighting.
The 2001 television docudrama, Uprising, about the Warsaw Ghetto uprising, is available on DVD. Netflix doesn’t carry it (I guess Jews defending themselves doesn’t fit the narrative).
If more German Jews had guns the history of the holocaust would be much different. In this review of Uprising, David Kopel writes that 2,000 years of Jewish passivity came to an end in the Warsaw Ghetto:
The Warsaw battle had begun on Passover, and like the first Passover, the Warsaw resistance led directly to the establishment of a Jewish state. Without the fighting spirit that was rekindled by the Warsaw ghetto revolt, it is doubtful that the Jews would have prevailed when Arabs attacked them the moment the state of Israel was proclaimed.
The Jewish commander of the uprising was a 24-year-old schoolteacher named Mordechai Anielewicz. On April 23, 1943, he wrote a letter from Warsaw to a friend named Yitzhak, explaining what was happening. Here is one paragraph from that letter:
From this evening, we are switching to a system of guerilla action. At night, three of our units go out on two missions: an armed reconnaissance patrol and the acquisition of weapons. Know that the pistol has no value, we practically don’t use it. We need grenades, rifles, machine guns, and explosives.
The entire letter is reproduced in this review of Uprising.