Grogu

 

I like to paint to relax.  I bought some UV paints and wanted to play with them so for my nephew’s birthday this year I painted him a Grogu as he is a big Star Wars fan.

If I were the Devil

If I were the Prince of Darkness I would want to engulf the whole earth in darkness.

I’d have a third of its real estate and four-fifths of its population, but I would not be happy until I had seized the ripest apple on the tree.

So I should set about however necessary, to take over the United States.

I would begin with a campaign of whispers.

With the wisdom of a serpent, I would whispers to you as I whispered to Eve, “Do as you please.”

To the young I would whisper “The Bible is a myth.” I would convince them that “man created God,” instead of the other way around. I would confide that “what is bad is good and what is good is square.”

In the ears of the young married I would whisper that work is debasing, that cocktail parties are good for you. I would caution them not to be “extreme” in religion, in patriotism, in moral conduct.

And the old I would teach to pray — to say after me — “Our father which are in Washington.”

Then I’d get organized.

I’d educate authors in how to make lurid literature exciting so that anything else would appear dull, uninteresting.

I’d threaten TV with dirtier movies, and vice-versa.

I’d infiltrate unions and urge more loafing, less work. Idle hands usually work for me.

I’d peddle narcotics to whom I could, I’d sell alcohol to ladies and gentlemen of distinction, I’d tranquilize the rest with pills.

If I were the Devil, I would encourage schools to refine young intellects, but neglect to discipline emotions; let those run wild.

I’d designate an atheist to front for me before the highest courts and I’d get preachers to say, “She’s right.”

With flattery and promises of power I would get the courts to vote against God and in favor of pornography.

Thus I would evict God from the courthouse, then from the schoolhouse, then from the Houses of Congress.

Then in his own churches I’d substitute psychology for religion and deify science.

If I were Satan I’d make the symbol of Easter an egg

And the symbol of Christmas a bottle.

If I were the Devil I’d take from those who have and give to those who wanted until I had killed the incentive of the ambitious. Then my police state would force everybody back to work.

Then I would separate families, putting children in uniform, women in coal mines and objectors in slave-labor camps.

If I were Satan I’d just keep doing what I’m doing and the whole world go to hell as sure as the Devil.

Paul Harvey, 1964

Togo The Other Dog

You have most likely heard about Balto the dog that saved the town of Nome, Alaska from an epidemic. In freezing and whiteout conditions, Balto delivered the serum. Using his sense of smell he found the right path to Nome.

In 1925 diphtheria was ravaging the town of Nome. They had serum, but it was expired. Rather than risking the expired serum the town doctor radioed for more serum. Because of the extreme cold and weather no train or plane could make the trip so sled dogs were used to transport the serum.

Dr. Welch had requested 1 million units of serum but they were not available.  However 300,000 units were found at the Anchorage Railroad Hospital and they were sent to Nenana for transport to Nome. The teams ran 674 miles across Alaska from Nenana to Nome.  20 mushers and over 150 dogs participated in the “Race for Mercy”.  The trip took five days to complete.

The team that transported the serum for the last 55 miles was Gunnar Kassen and his team of dogs led by Balto.  When Kassen reached Nome he became a celebrity, but he insisted that just as much credit be given to his lead dog Balto.  But there were others who made the run that did not get all the glory.

Another musher was Leonhard Seppala with 20 dogs, his lead dog was named Togo.  Seppala was supposed to pick up the serum in Shaktoolik and deliver it to Nome.  He raced 91 miles into the oncoming storm to pick up the serum. To save time he took a dangerous shortcut across the Norton Sound. (Even today the Iditarod does not cross the sound as it is too dangerous.) The temperature fell as he traveled, it dropped to -34° F but the gale force winds lowered the wind chill to -84° F. Racing the storm he made it to the other side a little over 100 miles outside of Shaktoolik.

Believing he had over 100 miles to go still to reach Shaktoolik, Seppala pressed on.   He spotted another team whose dogs were tangled from an encounter with a reindeer, but he decided not to stop as he needed to pick up the serum.  Suddenly he heard a shout, “The serum. The serum. I have it here.”  It was fellow musher Henry Ivanhoff who was supposed to deliver the serum to Seppala.  He informed Seppala of the fact that the epidemic had worsened, that was why they added more mushers.

With the situation being so desperate, Seppala decided to return across the sound. Cracking ice and drifting floes made this a risky move as Seppala could wind up stranded unable to reach the shore. Whiteouts of blinding snow left Seppala unable to see and wound up relying on Togo to find the way with his nose. But Seppala had faith in Togo to lead them there safely.

On a previous trip across the sound, the ice cracked and left a gap too wide for the sled to cross.  Racing across the ice, somehow Togo sensed the break and stopped short preventing disaster.  But it was too late as the ice had started drifting and there was no way off the ice floe. For over twelve hours they drifted across the water until the ice drifted near another floe that was still connected with land.

But still there was a gap of water over five feet wide, Seppala was unable to jump it or cross with the sled.  The had come so close but still they were stranded.  But Seppala had a plan, he tied a lead around Togo and heaved him across the gap on to the other ice floe.  Togo began pulling on the lead, bringing the ice floe closer to the one he was on.  But then the lead snapped and the end fell into the water, the floes were still too far apart.

But all hope was not yet lost, for Togo leapt in to the water and swam to the broken end of the lead.  Grabbing the end of the lead with his mouth, Togo once again began pulling.  Slowly the pieces of ice began coming together, little by little until finally they were close enough for Seppala to escape.  He drove his team and sled across the gap and headed for land.  Togo had saved the day.

This time though they could not afford such a delay, the serum had to get to Nome.  Through the storm they raced across the ice with Togo leading the way.  Fortune smiled upon them and they reached the roadhouse at Isaac’s Point by eight p.m.

Exhausted they rested until two a.m. when they set out across the sound once again.  The storm had increased and the ice was cracking, but Togo lead them straight and true.  The reached Little McKinley Mountain by daylight where Seppala turned to see that the ice they had crossed was now all cracked apart and drifting.  They had barely made it safely to shore.

Climbing to 5,000 feet they crossed the mountain, descending they saw their destination ahead.  Reaching the bottom of the mountain they headed to the roadhouse at Golvin.  There Seppala handed the serum to the next musher and fresh team of dogs.

By the time Seppala finally pulled into Nome, the newspapers were proclaiming Kassen and Balto as the heroes of the race for mercy.  Featuring one team was more exciting than the tedious list of many mushers.  Kassen and Balto even starred in a film about the run and toured the United States.

Togo however eventually got his due.  He was flown to Maine where he was bred and in 1930 became the father of the modern Siberian Husky breed. (Balto was not bred as he was neutered as pup, since he was considered an inferior specimen).  Also in 1997 the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo added statues of Balto and Togo outside of their wild wolf exhibit.

 

 

Major Sullivan Ballou

A week before the battle of Bull Run, Major Sullivan Ballou wrote a letter to his wife Sarah.  During the battle of Bull Run he was hit by a cannonball that tore off part of his right leg and killed his horse.  He died from his wound a week later. This is Major Ballou’s letter:

July the 14th, 1861

Washington D.C.

My very dear Sarah:

The indications are very strong that we shall move in a few days—perhaps tomorrow. Lest I should not be able to write you again, I feel impelled to write lines that may fall under your eye when I shall be no more.

Our movement may be one of a few days duration and full of pleasure—and it may be one of severe conflict and death to me. Not my will, but thine O God, be done. If it is necessary that I should fall on the battlefield for my country, I am ready. I have no misgivings about, or lack of confidence in, the cause in which I am engaged, and my courage does not halt or falter. I know how strongly American Civilization now leans upon the triumph of the Government, and how great a debt we owe to those who went before us through the blood and suffering of the Revolution. And I am willing—perfectly willing—to lay down all my joys in this life, to help maintain this Government, and to pay that debt.

But, my dear wife, when I know that with my own joys I lay down nearly all of yours, and replace them in this life with cares and sorrows—when, after having eaten for long years the bitter fruit of orphanage myself, I must offer it as their only sustenance to my dear little children—is it weak or dishonorable, while the banner of my purpose floats calmly and proudly in the breeze, that my unbounded love for you, my darling wife and children, should struggle in fierce, though useless, contest with my love of country.

Sarah, my love for you is deathless, it seems to bind me to you with mighty cables that nothing but Omnipotence could break; and yet my love of Country comes over me like a strong wind and bears me irresistibly on with all these chains to the battlefield.

The memories of the blissful moments I have spent with you come creeping over me, and I feel most gratified to God and to you that I have enjoyed them so long. And hard it is for me to give them up and burn to ashes the hopes of future years, when God willing, we might still have lived and loved together and seen our sons grow up to honorable manhood around us. I have, I know, but few and small claims upon Divine Providence, but something whispers to me—perhaps it is the wafted prayer of my little Edgar—that I shall return to my loved ones unharmed. If I do not, my dear Sarah, never forget how much I love you, and when my last breath escapes me on the battlefield, it will whisper your name.

Forgive my many faults, and the many pains I have caused you. How thoughtless and foolish I have often been! How gladly would I wash out with my tears every little spot upon your happiness, and struggle with all the misfortune of this world, to shield you and my children from harm. But I cannot. I must watch you from the spirit land and hover near you, while you buffet the storms with your precious little freight, and wait with sad patience till we meet to part no more.

But, O Sarah! If the dead can come back to this earth and flit unseen around those they loved, I shall always be near you; in the brightest day and in the darkest night—amidst your happiest scenes and gloomiest hours—always, always; and if there be a soft breeze upon your cheek, it shall be my breath; or the cool air fans your throbbing temple, it shall be my spirit passing by.

Sarah, do not mourn me dead; think I am gone and wait for me, for we shall meet again.

As for my little boys, they will grow as I have done, and never know a father’s love and care. Little Willie is too young to remember me long, and my blue-eyed Edgar will keep my frolics with him among the dimmest memories of his childhood. Sarah, I have unlimited confidence in your maternal care and your development of their characters. Tell my two mothers his and hers I call God’s blessing upon them. O Sarah, I wait for you there! Come to me, and lead thither my children.

Sullivan