Happy Birthday Nit & Wit…and Abe Too! Finally Quiet

If you Haven't Been to the Lincoln Memorial, You Need To
If you Haven’t Been to the Lincoln Memorial, You Need To
Another Good Excuse For This Photo
Another Good Excuse For This Photo

Hike Nude if you Dare: 

Recently, I posted a follow up to a post I had on nude hikers and climbers in Switzerland.  The follow up is that the Swiss are apparently more conservative than I thought and have put in laws to fine people who want to frolic in the buff.  But, you don’t need to go to Europe to climb about, we’ve got plenty of mountains right here in the Good Old USA.  Some of the nicest areas in the east are in the Smoky Mountains.  I ran into some nice folks on Wednesday and introduced them hiking-the-smokysto http://alphainventions.com/ where they can get more eyeballs onto their site.  It’s called http://hikinginthesmokys.com/ and has all sorts of stuff on there about trails and cool places to stay.  They even have a weather report…but you can check with me for the accuracy.  And I suppose you’ll have to take your chances if you want to wander about naked.  I don’t know if there are any fines.  Give it a looksee and plan a nice vacation.

Nit and Wit Don't Have A Bag of Tricks Like Felix

Nit and Wit Don't Have A Bag of Tricks Like Felix

Happy Birthday!  Okay…it’s someone’s 200th birthday today but in our house…its the birthday of the real queens of the castle, Nit and Wit.  I also call them Barfette and Poopalot, Kitty Cat and Fatso as well as Tubby and Miss Piss.  You can figure out the reasons for some of those names.  Their orginal names are Mary Todd and Abee.  Now, why would I name my cats that?  Well, they were born on this date in history in 1996 in Cajun Country.  I can’t recall the exact town but it was somewhere near Abbeville, LA….thats southeast of Lafayette.  They are sisters and are black and white with mainly white faces and little black beards.  I couldn’t name one Abe so she became Abee and the nutty one who chases her own tale is Mary Todd.  They run the house and Snow White and I are fortunate they allow us to live here and we are free to stay as long as Snow White feeds them and I clean the litter box.  Happy Birthday Girls.

                                                                                                                                                            Happy Birthday Abe

On This Date in History:  In what is now La Rue County in Kentucky, a poor family had a baby boy on this date in 1809.  They called him Abraham after the boy’s grandfather.  He was self educated and self made.  He became the 16th President of the United States and more has been written about Abraham Lincoln than anyone in US history.  Some say the only person who has been written about more is Jesus of Nazareth.  He’s an interesting study and, with his 200th birthday, there have been all sorts of “new” things that have come out.  Some of it is good, written by trained scholars.  But, much is nonsense written by “history buffs” or people with an agenda.  In Louisville, a good place to go to find out about Lincoln is at Farmington House.  Lincoln spent several weeks there visiting his friend Joshua Speed in the late summer of 1841.  I was honored to be able to do some of the research for the display there.  The trip holds significance in that it was on his steamboat ride home that he saw slaves in chains.  In a letter he wrote to Mary Speed in 1855, he recalled that trip and that sight and pointed to it as the beginnings of his notion that the “peculiar institution” was immoral.

Now, there is nonsense out there such as those who claim that he was gay.  People point to his sharing a bed with a man.  Today,  that may seem odd but in those days, it was quite common.  Just  like it would be odd for a mother of infants to nurse the infants of a neighbor.  Mary Todd Lincoln did just that when the neighbor mother was sick.  I’ve seen psychological profiles and such and people who have written that Mary Todd Lincoln was a victim of an anti-woman establishment or something.  You cannot take today’s societal notions and transport them to the 19th century.  Its two different worlds.  But, people still try.

Great Man Fred May Have Changed Great Emancipator's Mind

Great Man Fred May Have Changed Great Emancipator's Mind

Here’s one guy who tries to say that Lincoln was a racist  .  Most of this type of thing comes from amateurs. I’ve seen other articles recently that cited Lincoln’s use of emancipation simply as a war measure intended to help preserve the Union.  Most of this sort of stuff shows up in newspapers from columnists.  They either are unwilling or unable to look at the historiography.    However, you do get arguments among historian.  Eric Foner is a top-shelf historian who reviews this book that deals with the subject.  Then there is a Time reviewer of a book by a noted African American’s take on Lincoln and the fact that the book was largely ignored. I have no idea what credentials this Time reviewer has but who does he quote? Foner.  Foner is cited as saying the book’s arguments were pretty lame but that white historians had been pretty quiet on some of old Abe’s racial attitudes.  This guy suggests that we’d be better off if we read the book.  Not a very helpful review. 

Anyway, in my mind the truth is, Abraham Lincoln was a master politician.   He knew it was impossible for him to run for president and win on an abolitionist platform.  People were against slavery in the North for a number of reasons. There were the true abolitionists whose opposition came from moral principals.  But there were others who were “free-soilers” who wanted to get the immigrants out of the east and move them to the west and without jobs, they wouldn’t leave.  Slavery kept jobs from other folks who could do the labor.  There were lots of other reasons why people opposed slavery so Lincoln took the position that was acceptable to all.  He wished to contain slavery in the states that it was in.  Do not argue the Constitution with the South.  Instead, let them keep their system and the rest of the country would develop free which would necessarily end the system…it would “whither on the vine.”  

While he did not believe that there was an intellectual equality between the races, one again must consider the time.  He had no contact with anything but uneducated African-Americans.  He knew in his heart that slavery was wrong…that one man should not profit from the sweat of another man’s brow.  That is a principal, not a position.  And, though he did have attitudes that are considred abhorrant today, I believe one could argue though that his views changed toward the end of his life after meeting Frederick Douglass and others.  He was really taken back and I suspect that his views may have changed had he lived longer.  He also believed that it was impossible for the two races to live together and it was never part of the larger plan of God.  So, his solution was to help folks get back to Africa as he thought it would be best for everyone.  But, he did not figure that many of these people had backgrounds that had them in America longer than his own family tree and they considered it their country as much, if not more than he did.  So, he had what we may call racist today, but again, one must consider the times. 

When he issued his Emancipation Proclamation, he did say it was a war measure and it was only for the states in rebellion.  It was not a haphazard thing, it was calculated.  He waited for the right time to issue it and he announced it many weeks before it actually went into effect at the first of the year.  That was brilliant because by saying it was a war necessity, it found some acceptance as everyone wanted to win the war.  He prepared everyone for it and held fast.  I don’t know this to be the case but I would not be surprised if at some point when he knew it was going to be a long war, that he was going to take the opportunity to do what he wanted to do regarding slavery…the right thing and get rid of it….and all he needed was the proper timing.  He knew that once he freed some of the slaves, he could and would not and the nation would not put them back in chains after the war, particularly when he had African American troops fighting and dying for freedom. 

Scotty May Have Transported Lincoln to the 23rd Century in Star Trek But You Can't Evaluate History That Way

Scotty May Have Transported Lincoln to the 23rd Century in Star Trek But You Can't Evaluate History That Way

I’m not going to run on any more but, when one looks at history, one must look at all angles to make an assessment.  One must look at the culture and traditions of the time.  You can’t take today’s sensibilities and transport them back to another time like Mr. Scott on the Starship Enterprise and expect to get an honest assessment.   And you certainly cannot get your history from a newspaper or the movies, which routinely alter things to fit a story line.  One must read…not the internet…but books.  Get the full historiography and read all views and angles as you can before reaching a conclusion.  In the meantime, give thanks today for Abraham Lincoln and his birth 200 years ago.  Many presidents in the 19th century were truly do-nothings and largely not too significant.  But, Abraham Lincoln really changed things in this nation.  I’ve always wondered what would have been different had he lived as I’m sure that Reconstruction would have turned out differently and perhaps the next 100 years might have been better in many regards.  Then again, maybe not.  So, lets not speculate….be thankful for what we have. 

Peak Wind Gusts Feb 11, 2009

Peak Wind Gusts Feb 11, 2009

Weather Bottom Line:  Told you it would be windy.  The storms did pretty much what I expected.  When the squall line moved through, the storms were racing NE at about 50 mph.  There were a couple of radar indicated tornados on the edge of the line.  One in Pulaski county was moving at 75 mph…those high upper level winds scooting it right along.  After the boundary moved through, we got some sunshine.  The winds aloft were still howling.  Sunshine helped to mix up the atmosphere a bit to bring some of those winds to the ground.  There were some post-frontal showers in the late afternoon that were sufficient to bring down even more wind and so in those areas, mainly west and northwest of Louisville, wind gusts of some 70 mph were reported. Snow White’s sister in Charlestown called frantic after her roof was blown off the barn.  The horses were fine but she was frazzled.  She said the dogs went to the basement just before it happens.  Pretty smart weather dogs.  I bet that my favorite black chow led the way.  Greatest dog in the world.   What she got was probably winds being drawn down by the shower that hit around 70 mph.  They went up and over the roof, which is similar in shape to an airplane wing.   The Bernouli principal took over  and the roof came off, just like an airplane takes off.  Its why whenever there is high wind, whether it be from a storm, a tornado or a hurricane, the roof always comes off first.  Anyway, most of the rest of the area had sustained winds of some 20-40 mph with gusts of 55-60 mph.

As I said yesterday…most of the weak limbs were taken down by the ice storm.  There were some weakened limbs that hung on then and the wind took care of them today.  Had there been leaves on the tree, the power outages and damage would have been worse.  Well, its going to be quiet for a while.  Not too enthused about worthless snow chances for the weekend.  Cooler but still above average temps for the rest of the week.  Seasonal temperatures through the weekend with perhaps some showers….probably Saturday rather than Sunday. 



4 Responses

  1. I’ll have to get over to Farmington and look at their Lincoln exhibit to see what that famous historian put together. Lincoln was truly a fascinating person and the very definition of a self-made man. The stories of his early life and how that he found time to educate himself while doing the back-breaking labor that was commonplace in that time are most amazing to me. I think his step-mother (Sarah) hasn’t been given enough credit for saving Young Abe and putting him on the right path after the death of his mother. Hearing Lincoln’s accounts of how she loved and took care of her step-children as her very own is one of the most heart-warming stories I know of; it certainly salved Young Lincoln’s ailing heart. A mother’s love is indeed a wonderful thing.

    It was a unique time in American history. People were valued for what they knew and how they could use that knowledge and not simply what school they went to or how many initials they have following their name. I wonder if Lincoln could have become a lawyer in today’s time consider that one must submit themselves to eight years of undergraduate and post-graduate studies to even take the bar exam. I doubt that with Lincoln’s circumstances he could have ever afforded that much formal schooling. In his time, as you know, people would read law under an established lawyer until they had learned enough to take the bar…sort of a legal apprenticeship. You couldn’t do that now. I wonder if because of the rigors and expense of education today if we’re not excluding a good number of fine minds–maybe even some modern-day Abraham Lincolns!

  2. Bob,

    Thanks for the mention! I really appreciate it. I look forward to reading your blog. Looks like you have a really good one.


  3. My pleasure. It was good meeting Cathy…though I might have preferred different circumstance.

  4. He could do it. In my view, law school isn’t hard in that the material is difficult to comprehend..rather it is difficult because of the volume of information that you take in a relatively short time. I’d bet on Abe.

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