American Elephants


President’s Day is Tomorrow, Monday the 17th of February by The Elephant's Child

George Washington Portrait, Gilbert-Stuart, 1795

This year President’s Day is on Monday, the 17th. It was designed to honor George Washington’s birthday which is actually on the 22nd, but then they decided to add in the rest of the presidents so no one would be excluded, and to stop any vast array of birthdays of presidents around the calendar. Trump is the 45th president, so you can see the problem, and just imagine the outcry if we deigned to set aside a special day to honor Donald John Trump, however much he might deserve it.

If you are interested in our first president, and the leader of the army in the Revolution, you can read past pieces about Washington in our archives, especially the ones about his image, and the conspiracy behind that. There’s an image at the head of one that is a “forensic reconstruction“, and some biographies are recommended.

If  you have a dollar bill handy, especially a fairly crisp one, compare the portrait of Washington on the dollar bill with the image at the head of American Elephants today. That’s because artist Gilbert Stuart was unkind to George Washington because Washington was more annoyed than grateful that Stuart was painting his picture. The face on the dollar bill comes from Stuart’s mean portrait. Even the reconstruction is surely faulty since Washington had spent years outdoors in all kinds of weather, with fair skin, lots of sunburns and lots of wrinkles, which do alter the appearance. Every classroom when I was growing up had a portrait of Lincoln and Washington, and a flag in the corner to which we all pledged allegiance. There is a generation that learned their history from Howard Zinn, and consequently don’t know that America really is a special country.*

I don’t know if there are any employers who give a day off for President’s Day, but that could be another 3 day weekend which are very nice, but not so much in mid February.

*If you were unfortunate enough to grow up with Howard Zinn’s “history” a must-read is Mary Grabar’s new book Debunking Howard Zinn, in which the author exposes and documents the multitude of lies, bad sources, and deliberate falsehoods Zinn used to influence a generation to think that America is nothing special. They’re probably the same ones now favoring the old socialist Bernie Sanders who lures them in with phony promises of making everybody equal and universal health care, and paying off their student loans. Fat chance.



Ian Plimer Explains Climate Change and Earth’s History by The Elephant's Child

Ian Plimer is a distinguished Australian scientist. He is a professor of Geology at the University of Adelaide, the author of 6 books and many scientific papers. Two of his books question the validity of man-made climate change. This is dangerous territory, for you will quickly be labeled a “Denier”, or guilty of “wrong think.”

There are huge amounts of money involved in the Climate Change battle. The climate, of course, has been changing for millions of years. There are dry years, long cold winters, and short winters with poor skiing and big losses for ski resorts. We have the strange example of Greta Thunberg who is now a foundation, AOC is plumping for the “Green New Deal”, a disastrously stupid idea, and she wants to abolish “fracking” which is responsible for lowering the amount of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere more than any other country in the world, and allows us to use more clean natural gas in place of sooty coal for heating our homes and businesses.

When you start telling people that the climate will end life as we know it in just 10 or 12 years, people don’t know what to do and are frightened, and don’t know where to turn. Then the news is filled with images of what seems to be Australia burning up, (the fires are ‘contained’ and no longer a crisis) so you add in the hurricanes and tornadoes and start to believe that we must DO SOMETHING right now. Politicians who hope to be re-elected start promising electric cars and buses (I’ve read that  electric cars don’t work in the cold, but don’t know if it’s true) and building wind farms and vast solar arrays which don’t do much for our energy. Australia has regular problems with bush fires, hurricanes have nothing to do with climate, and the 2017 survey of polar bears proves once again that they are fine and multiplying nicely. What one needs to do is study up. Find out just who are the scientists who know and understand  what we do know and what we don’t. Ian Plimer is one of the good ones, as are William Happer, Richard Lindzen, Roy Spencer , John Christie, and many others. Read Climate Depot, Watts Up With That, and Roy Spencer’s blog regularly and you will start becoming knowledgeable.

Ian Plimer will start you off nicely with a geologic history of the Earth.

This is a very long video, but invaluable. I cannot urge you strongly enough to make the time to watch the whole thing. You will learn about the entire history of climate, about the deplorable current climate panic, that is basically a political ploy, not science.Professor Plimer is an excellent explainer.

Christiana Figures, who was general secretary of the IPCC  (the International Panel on Climate Change) announced at a news conference back in early February of 2015, that the object of the “climate crisis” was not to save the Earth from the degradation of a climate disaster, but to eliminate Capitalism. Much of the world hates our wealth and booming economy, the wealth of goods produced, and the way we go around the world trying to “help” other countries, tell them what to do, or just disapprove of them. They might learn that the source of our wealth and thriving economy is capitalism, and they too could share in it’s blessings. But that, in turn, might mean unpleasant things like freedom and elections and the rule of law.



More Than You Ever Wanted to Know About St.Valentine’s Day by The Elephant's Child
February 15, 2020, 12:29 am
Filed under: Heartwarming, History, Humor, Politics | Tags: , ,

What an odd holiday Valentine’s Day is! Stopped by Safeway on the way home, and the store was festooned with Valentine’s Day balloons, and of course, all sorts of flowers, and lots of candy, preferably in red heart boxes for those busy gentlemen on their way home who didn’t dare arrive empty handed.

Online at home, I was startled by this picture  at Powerline blog. Took me right back to grade school. Nasty little candies festooned with idiot sayings. All the kids got a big very cheap packet of valentines, that you punched out of  cardboard sheets, to put in the class Valentine box, usually something like a hatbox, decorated by the teacher with a slot in the top. Some kids gave a valentine to everybody, some just to their close friends, and it was a test of popularity to see who got the most cards. I’d forgotten, it was so long ago.

But who was St. Valentine and why do we celebrate him with heart-shaped boxes of candy? He was apparently some sort of priest or even a bishop in the 3rd Century in Rome, born around AD 226. He died on February 14, 269. He ministered to persecuted Christians, was martyred and his body buried at a Christian cemetery on the Via Flamina close to the Ponte Milvio to the north of Rome. Relics of him were kept in the Church and Catacombs of San Valentino in Rome, which remained an important pilgrim site throughout the Middle Ages. February 14 has been observed  as the Feast of Saint Valentine since 496 AD.  From Wikipedia:

The Catholic Encyclopedia and other hagiographical sources speak of three Saints Valentine that appear in connection with February 14. One was a Roman priest, another the bishop of Interamna (modern Terni, Italy) both buried along the Via Flaminia outside Rome, at different distances from the city. The third was said to be a saint who suffered on the same day with a number of companions in the Roman province of Africa, of whom nothing else is known.

Though the extant accounts of the martyrdoms of the first two listed saints are of a late date and contain legendary elements, a common nucleus of fact may underlie the two accounts and they may refer to a single person. According to the official biography of the Diocese of Terni, Bishop Valentine was born and lived in Interamna and while on a temporary stay in Rome he was imprisoned, tortured, and martyred there on February 14, 269. His body was hastily buried at a nearby cemetery and a few nights later his disciples retrieved his body and returned him home.

There seem to be around seven different St. Valentines. The Roman Emperor Claudius took a liking to Valentinus until Valentinus tried to convince him to embrace Christianity, when Claudius refused, and condemned Valentinius to either renounce his faith or he would be beaten with clubs and beheaded. Valentinius refused and was executed in that manner, on February 14 in 269.

Valentinius artifacts (including his bones) have traveled as far as Ireland, where believers and lovers and tourists come, particularly on Valentines’ Day. His body, in 269, was hastily buried at a nearby cemetery and a few nights later his disciples retrieved his body and returned him home.

Saint Valentinius, one account runs, wrote a letter to Asterius’s daughter signed “from your valentine,”which is where the cards come from. Lots of legends have been added to the story.  One says that Valentine secretly performed Christian weddings for couples, allowing the husbands involved to escape conscription.  Supposedly, in order to remind these men of their vows and God ‘s love, Valentinius cut hearts from parchment giving them to these soldiers and persecuted Christians, possibly the origin of the use of hearts on St. Valentine’s Day.

Somewhere under all that is a true story, embroidered and vaguely historical that results in heart-shaped boxes of candy, sugary sweet Valentine cards, and husbands rushing to the grocery store on their way home from work to appear with an armload of flowers and a red heart box of candy, for the love of their life.




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