Here’s A Good Story…. Cody Hahn’s Crossroads Leather Company

I started writing my first blog, The Deliberate Agrarian, back on June 18, 2005, and one of my recurring themes over the past 16 years has been small-scale entrepreneurship. I’m always particularly impressed with younger people who put the time and effort into learning new skills, who are imaginative and creative, and who start their own businesses (they remind me of myself). 

Such brave, bold, and enterprising young people are becoming more of a rarity in our culture. That’s the way it looks to me. It is, after all, a whole lot easier to not be brave, bold and enterprising.

And that brings me to Cody Hahn (pictured above, with his girlfriend, Rhianna). I have recently learned about Cody and his upstart business, Crossroads Leather Company.

Cody does leatherwork of all kinds, and one of his special interests is putting new leather covers on Bibles. This next picture shows the typical Bible of a person who actually reads and studies their Bible over the course of many years.

The next three photos show a Bible that Cody has recovered. You might say it has been born again…

After seeing Cody’s Facebook page I asked him more about himself and how he happened to start doing this kind of work. I’ll let Cody take it from here. This is an exact excerpt from his e-mail reply…

As for your questions, and details pertaining to them, here goes……I had already been doing various forms of leather craft before, as a hobby, working on men’s and women’s leather belts, dog collars, moccasins, simple leather shoes, etc. My mother had a 1994 Nelson NKJV wide margin bible that was her go-to work and study bible, with all her notes in it, but the bonded leather cover had been deteriorated and broken down for years and years, and she had kept it inside some sort of fabric sleeve she had made for it, kind of like people do for textbooks. Well, then the binding began taking more wear and tear over time, developed loose stitching, etc, and just got more and more beat up. So she was originally going to do her best to strip down and recover the bible herself, because of not being able to afford sending it off someone to have done (it is expensive, that’s the thing), and she put together a few little tools and supplies and such, and even eventually found an old leather jacket at a thrift store that she was going to try to cut the cover from, and then she bought a small piece of lambskin on eBay, to make the leather liners from. Well, after a great deal of time gearing up for that, and trying to figure out how to go about it, she grew pretty frustrated with it and disheartened, and suggested that if I wanted to take it over as a project, I could, as I already had the hobby level experience working with some leather projects anyway. So, take it over I did, and finish it I did. It ain’t perfect, it’s got a lot of flaws, but it turned out alright, it is flexible, it looks and feels nice, and it’s totally functional, and she uses it daily, and even for not being done that “right”, it’s her go-to workhorse bible, and honestly, even though I’m biased I guess, it seems as though it will go for years.

Then as for how else I learned, I received a good deal of guidance from a couple of bible rebinders, one in particular. So that, and a lot of trial and error and note-taking and keeping track of variables and how something turned out versus how I was trying to get it to turn out.

I’ve been recovering bibles, old or new, for about a year and a half or so.

I also make simple but solid leather belts for work, casual, and everyday wear, using Italian brass buckles (don’t have anything for Italian brass, other than it is a non-China option, until I can ever find a good US option, surprise surprise, there aren’t many…..I just am doing what I can at the moment to distance my products and work from the junk spewing out of that country). These belts are typically made from either vegetable tanned tooling leather (I cut the straps from an entire half of a cow), or from bridle leather, or English bridle leather, or heavy harness leather, depending on stock on hand, type of belt, or what a customer desires. The main two ways I attach the buckles are by hand-sewing the buckle and keeper in place, or by setting copper or brass saddler’s rivets to secure these components in place. Both are strong, and both offer a different look.

I have made some bridle leather dog collars, and will be making more in the future as time allows.

And I’m about to begin working on some leather thong sandals, that while uni-sex in nature, will probably appeal a bit more to women, just due to fashion, except for the male ultra runner or hiker or such here and there. They will be very simple and bare-bones in nature (and even then, good grief, it costs so much to make anything, and so hard to have it come out at price points that both make me an “okay” wage per hour of labor, but still allow enough customers to purchase them…….the struggle), and will feature a single sole of thick vegetable tanned sole leather, treated with two heavy coats of olive oil to begin life with, and a leather thong/lace that will secure the sandal to and around the foot/ankle/achilles tendon. In the future, if it proves worthwhile, I may consider cementing a thin rubber outsole material to the bottom of the leather soles, and trimming and sanding to shape, for the increased wear resistance, and see if it can still wind up at a price that enough people will go for them, but for now, leather only. I just wanted to try to offer a simple form of footwear, even if only mostly the women are interested (I have plans for men’s shoes, lace-up work boots, athletic shoes, etc down the road, but it’s a LOT of time and money-intensive pattern work and trial and error, and can’t be approached too lightly, because the mistakes are too costly, horrendously so often) that would allow people a non-China option of sandals, and a non-synthetic option, at least what directly touches the foot, for hopefully a healthier pair of footwear, better breathability and less sweat and clamminess, less odor and smell (due to better breathability and less sweaty nature of veg tanned, not chrome tanned, leather), and an attractive enough look. Plus, the main thing with these sandals is not all this, but the fact that they will be built around a pair of sole tracings that the buyer mails to me, so that I can literally build them to the sole outline of the owner’s feet, something that isn’t possible with factory sandals from China. I am now in the experimenting stage with a willing and patient girlfriend and cousin, haha, of whom I am grateful for, plus they are getting at least one free pair of sandals made to their very own feet.

And lastly, when I can get to it, I am going to be putting together and offering some buffalo calfskin leather wallets, probably both bi-fold and tri-fold. 

That isn’t all I would plan to do, but it’s what I will mess with for now, and it’s plenty, haha.

Well, let me tell you, that response brought a big smile to my face. Cody has an honest and endearing way of communicating with the written word. Do you get the sense that he is excited and passionate about what he is doing? He followed up with another e-mail shortly after the one above…

So I recover old/used AND new bibles, whether the owner provides me with the textblock (a personal used one, or a new one they want recovered more to their liking), or I myself procure one for them. I typically prepare goatskin covers for these bibles, though I have used other leathers, and will, but I’ve been on a lot of goatskin lately. The liners are most often a thin, soft lambskin, but the leather liners could also be goatskin, sheepskin, or calfskin. I install new head/tail bands at top and bottom of the spine (little decorative pieces you see, but might not have ever noticed). And I install anywhere from 1 to as many as 10 (for extra cost) satin place marker ribbons, depending on width of the spine and what it will sensibly allow for, and I offer these in either a narrower 1/4″ that most people are used to from the factory, or a little bit wider 3/8″. I’ve messed with anything from black, to brown, to red, to blues, to green, to purple for the cover colors, and others, but more and more, I’m actually growing a bit disenchanted with the wilder, weirder, more “modern” color schemes, and find myself personally being more drawn to blacks, browns, reds, burgundys, tans, and even certain dark/deep blues (closer to indigo is better) etc, rather than the more flashy and often garish colors we see a lot of now.

Now as for repairs, I do them, yes, to the degree I am able. I have dampened and ironed flat dog eared pages. I have ironed bent/folded edges. I have resewn binding to a degree, to the best of my current ability. And I have even very carefully applied thin, nearly transparent, acid-free archival book repair tape in order to mend certain rips and tears in the pages. But, it does all cost, and it often involves a surprising amount of time and labor to repair what many people would consider “minor” repairs, and they are often dismayed at the cost of the actual bookblock repairs. I completely understand, as it can be bad, but it’s just one of those things that takes so much time and careful, tedious work, that there isn’t really a way around it, and I have actually lost money time and again getting caught up on the book block repairs, as opposed to the more leather work side of things. The sweet spot, I have found, is recovering a brand new text block that needs no repairs, or recovering a solid textblock for someone, that mostly just needs a facelift and new decked out cover and liners, but has been cared for and handled (you would be surprised at the CONDITION of some people’s bibles, it’s as if they let them fly around in a pickup truck during heavy stop and go traffic with much brake slamming and forward motion of objects in the vehicle……) in such a way that it doesn’t require much repair to the pages and binding itself. Needless to say, I am always glad when the bookblock does not require major repair.

Anyway, hopefully that gives you enough of a run down of the basics of what in the world is going on in this type of work, haha.

Yes, Cody, it was a good and enjoyable introduction to what you are doing. With your e-mail replies, you have unwittingly written most of this blog post! I sure do appreciate knowing about you and your business.

I hope those of you reading this blog have found this story as positive and encouraging as I have. Here’s a young man with a lot of initiative, working hard to learn a useful skill and build a business. Cody isn’t the only younger generation person doing this sort of thing, but he is one of the few, and I admire him greatly for it.

I’ll close out this blog post with one last picture. This is one of Cody’s handcrafted belts (with the Italian brass buckle). Wouldn’t you love to have a belt with that kind of quality? It would also make a great gift for someone. Stop on over to Cody Hahn’s Facebook page if you’re interested (he doesn’t have a web site yet). If you can’t find a way to contact him, send me an e-mail: Herrick@PlanetWhizbang.com

WDJD: Contemplating Christian Resistance In The 21st Century

Christianity has always been recognized by totalitarian governments as a threat.

The Powers That Be in a totalitarian state are not overly concerned with Christians presenting the gospel. Talking about Jesus is no problem. The problem comes when Christians assert that there is one truth, as revealed in scripture. That is to say, when Christians assert that there is a transcendent, unwavering standard of right and wrong (a.k.a., righteousness). And, to take it one logical step further, when those Christians, living by and acting on those truths, do not conform to any unrighteous expectations and dictates of The Powers That Be.

For example, the Christians who were tortured and killed in the Roman Colosseum, were not killed because they were Christians (Rome tolerated all religions), but because they did not acknowledge Caesar as their King (Jesus was their King). In so doing, they were seen as a threat to the State. It has been this way down through history with all non-conforming Christians who live under a tyrannical regime.

It’s a powerful irony… Christians who live an authentic Christian life are among the best of a nation’s citizenry. They are hard-working, peaceful, kind, generous, forgiving, and so forth. But when they do not conform to unrighteous government tyranny, they are labeled as dangerous revolutionaries. The “propaganda machine” is cranked up in order to justify the elimination of the Christian non-conformists. Welcome to America in the 21st Century. The propaganda machine is just get getting started.

I am reminded of this today after reading a remarkable commentary by John and Nisha Whitehead, titled Stand Up To Tyranny: How To Respond To The Evils Of Our Age. The commentary begins…

In every age, we find ourselves wrestling with the question of how Jesus Christ—the itinerant preacher and revolutionary activist who died challenging the police state of his time, namely, the Roman Empire—would respond to the moral questions of our day.

For instance, would Jesus advocate, as so many evangelical Christian leaders have done in recent years, for congregants to “submit to your leaders and those in authority,” which in the American police state translates to complying, conforming, submitting, obeying orders, deferring to authority and generally doing whatever a government official tells you to do? What would Jesus do? 

Study the life and teachings of Jesus, and you may be surprised at how relevant he is to our modern age.

A radical nonconformist who challenged authority at every turn, Jesus spent his adult life speaking truth to power, challenging the status quo of his day, pushing back against the abuses of the Roman Empire, and providing a blueprint for standing up to tyranny that would be followed by those, religious and otherwise, who came after him.

Jesus was a revolutionary who challenged the Roman Empire? Well, of course he was! Jesus Christ was the greatest revolutionary who ever lived. It wasn’t, as Whitehead states, that Jesus challenged authority, per se, but that he challenged unrighteous authority. He challenged a corrupted and misleading religious system that had compromised with The State. The Romans had usurped religious authority.

Jesus encouraged his followers to live contra mundum. That’s a Latin phrase that literally means, “against the world.” Which is to say, on the one hand, not personally conforming to the Vanity Fair ethos of an alluring worldly culture. And, on the other hand, personally speaking out against evil in it’s myriad forms. It also includes peacefully resisting evil dictates from The Powers That Be. This quote begins the Whitehead opinion piece…

“The church must be reminded that it is not the master or the servant of the state, but rather the conscience of the state. It must be the guide and the critic of the state, and never its tool. If the church does not recapture its prophetic zeal, it will become an irrelevant social club without moral or spiritual authority.”

Martin Luther King, Jr. (1967)

Jesus was not a violent revolutionary. He was humble, focused, and peacefully unwavering in his revolutionary life mission. He defined and spoke out against evil, and never committed an evil act. Furthermore, he wasn’t helplessly killed by the Roman Powers That Be… He willingly allowed himself to be “brought as a lamb to the slaughter” (Isaiah 53:7).

It was, after all, the divine plan.

Then Jesus did what no other revolutionary in the history of the world has done. He did what no other so-called god, or religious leader of any other belief system has ever done, or could ever do… He came back. In a resurrected, physical, body.

Jesus overcame death and the grave. In so doing, he provided a way (the only way) that any sinful human can ever truly know his or her Creator, and experience the incredible blessings that come with that divine relationship.

But when one becomes a true Christian, make no mistake about it… one signs up for a war. It can be rough going. Here’s a final quote from the Whitehead commentary…

“Honesty impels me to admit that transformed nonconformity, which is always costly and never altogether comfortable, may mean walking through the valley of the shadow of suffering, losing a job, or having a six-year-old daughter ask, “Daddy, why do you have to go to jail so much?”  But we are gravely mistaken to think that Christianity protects us from the pain and agony of mortal existence.  Christianity has always insisted that the cross we bear precedes the crown we wear. 

I’ll conclude this 2021 Resurrection Day blog post with the compelling words of Jesus found in Matthew 10. These words were originally spoken to the 12 disciples, but they are words for all Christian warriors in this earthly battlefield…

“And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.”

Agrarian Art As An Investment… And A Poignant Reminder

It might surprise you, my small cadre of blog readers, to know that I am an amateur agrarian art collector and investor. The above print, signed by one of my favorite artists, Eric Sloane, is one I purchased in December of 2008.

You may recall that the end of 2008 was a time of financial crisis. There was lots of uncertainty. I was not overly concerned about the economy because I had a secure government job at the time. I was searching the listings on EBAY and came upon this beautiful print. I placed a bid for $110.00. To my surprise, I won it.

My initial plan was to get the Sloane framed and hang it in my home. But I changed my mind when I had another agrarian print framed. The cost of framing far exceeded the print. But I will admit that I have enjoyed that framed print for many years. In retrospect, I think that having it framed by a professional was worth it. Here’s that print…

The title of this print is “BREAK TIME.” It shows a father and son working together to get a load of hay. The mother and a younger child are walking out with lunch in a basket. Neat barns and home are in the background. That’s agrarian art at it’s best! The print is by Schafer-Miles.

So, I never had the Sloane print framed. It has languished in the mailing tube for these past 12 years. And now, I’m going to try selling it on Ebay. What good is an investment if you don’t take profits every so often? Or, at least try.

I’m going to put a fairly high price on the Sloane. If it sells, then good. If it doesn’t, then I’ll put it back in the tube for another 12 years.

With agrarian art and investment in mind, I have purchased a signed, limited edition, colored block print by Mary Azarian for my birthday for the last 3 years. Here is a picture of one of the prints I purchased. Please note that the lights are on in the church….

(image from Mary Azarian’s web site)

I love agrarian art that hearkens back to a time when families and communities lived and worked close to the land. This kind of art is a poignant reminder of what has been mostly-lost in our culture. And I find it somewhat comforting to look upon such artistic scenes in these days when Western civilization is plunging headlong into the abyss.

Do you have a favorite agrarian artist?

The Force Majeure Is With Us

I never knew what “force majeure” was until last month when I received an e-mail from my poultry shrinkbag supplier titled, Important Announcement. The announcement had this sentence…

“Many major producers have announced Force Majeure and have put customers on allocation.”

So I looked the term up. Here’s one definition…

“Force majeure is a contract clause that allows a party to escape its obligations if there’s an event such as a natural disaster outside of its reasonable control which prevents fulfilling them.”

Force majeure is happening all over the world, and it might soon happen to my business. Force majeure is just a news story, until it affects you personally, and financially. Then it becomes a big deal.

To be clear, I’m not yet facing limited allocation of shrinkbags. But I’ve been warned that it may be coming.

For those who don’t know, I sell a LOT of poultry shrinkbags. Enough that I can make a decent living off the enterprise. My supplier wants me to place orders, schedule delivery dates, and commit to my purchases one year ahead. That’s a tough thing to do when you don’t know the future. And it’s a very large financial commitment. But that’s what we’ve done for 2021. Now, force majeure may negate our best laid plans.

With all of that in mind, I received an order for 20,000 shrink bags from a well-known mail order poultry supply company a couple days ago. This company has never ordered bags from me before, and they were paying full retail price.

That really got me thinking…. is that company already facing a force majeure cut-off of supply from their supplier? It would appear so.

I declined the 20,000 bag order, explaining that my supply is limited (which it is) and I wanted to be able to fill my customer’s orders as much as I possibly can.

My youngest son is in charge of purchasing and logistics at a local factory that produces a variety of food products. He is dealing with scheduling delays for many necessary items needed to keep the factory producing. It’s becoming more and more of a challenge. To make matters worse, employees are testing positive for COVID and the health department is dictating that even some employees that do not test positive can’t go to work for 9 days.

Thus it is that shortages and force majeure have a domino effect. It’s rippling through the world economy. We certainly do live in interesting times.

I’m wondering… are any of you who read this experiencing shortages or force majeure?

###

So, I’m contemplating what to do if force majeure cuts, or eliminates, my shrinkbag income.

My wife came up with an idea…. make Classic American Clothespins.

Yes, that’s exactly what I will do, to begin. And I will put more time into my Ebay selling. And I’ll make more YouTube videos. And I’ll develop a couple more product-ideas that have been simmering on the back-burner for years.

That’s the plan. Everything is subject to change, but you always have to have a plan-B.

Grandparents On A Mission…

My recent blog post about Thomas Jefferson’s letter to his grandson generated some great comments. One reader of that post sent me the following copy of a letter that her grandmother sent her back in 1977. Cindy had just turned 16.

A 16 year old girl in the 1970s, a new boyfriend, and a concerned grandmother. That’s all the background you need to know to appreciate this wonderful letter…

Dear Cindy,

It seems only yesterday you were a little pink baby girl nestled in your warm blanket in a hospital in Kenton, Ohio.  Today you are a beautiful, healthy young lady looking forward to the future.

You are standing on the threshold of a new experience, getting a driver’s license and being permitted to date a young man.  I feel you are at the crossroad of a new life; you have a choice; a very important one, will you choose the “way” that leads to a healthy happy productive life or the one that could lead to misery and regret?

All too many teen-agers are taking the latter one, why I can’t understand maybe their parents don’t care maybe it’s because it seems everybody else is traveling this road and it’s the “in” thing to do.  This is dangerous thinking.

I am sending a clipping I cut from the Marion Star when you girls were quite small (you can tell from the discoloration of the paper) saving it for just this occasion.  I am sure it echoes the feelings of countless young women.  Tack it on your bulletin board and refer to it often.

You may be thinking Grandma you’re an old foggey but I would say to you mankind is basically the same, the world over.  It is only natural for a young lady to be attracted to a young man I feel this comes all too young, but I can’t do anything about it, I would if I could.  There was a number of times, as I look back, I feel I had a guardian angel watching over me.  At the age of 14 I had a voice speak to me that seemed to point me in the right direction.  I wish all teen-agers could experience what I did, as I’m sure there wouldn’t be so many heartaches for both them and their parents.

You are very young, I know nothing of this young man or his family, but don’t let him beat a path to your door.  Have guidelines and live by them, if he is a gentleman he’ll respect you for it.  Your chances in this modern medical world are very good of living to be a very old person so don’t rush things.  Don’t be afraid to be chaperoned at your age it is a very good safe guard.  You have everything to gain and nothing to lose.

This letter is being written with all my love and concern for you girls.  I cannot shield you from this cruel heartless world you are growing up in, but maybe I can pluck a thorn and plant a rose.  I can hope and pray that God will give you the light and wisdom to choose between the right and the wrong.  The going will not always be easy but we can be prepared to cushion the bumps a little.

I am reminded of the saying of the great Scottish poet Robert Burns.

Of all the sad words of tongue or pen, The saddest are these: “It might have been!”

Think on this, how true it is, how quickly our lives can be changed and what remorse can follow.

This letter is to be shared with the other three girls, read it occasionally, keep it always as a golden link in your chain of life.

Even though the miles separate us a part of our lives moved with you, we think of you every day and whisper a prayer that God will take care of you and your family.

Love, Grandma

Most of the readers of this blog are parents or grandparents, not young people. You have the experiences, the perspective, and the wisdom that comes only with age. And you have (or likely will have) the opportunity to be a great blessing to your grandchildren. Indeed, the opportunity to be a blessing to your grandchildren may be a large part of the reason you are still alive. Make no mistake about it…. grandparents have a mission from God. And that brings me to a wonderful resource…

Grandkids Matter is just one internet resource for grandparents who want to embrace their mission from God. There are others.

My thanks to Cindy for allowing me to share her grandmother’s letter here. ❤️ There was an additional paragraph in the letter that I left out. Cindy’s grandmother encouraged her to focus on her education (after high school) and offered to help her with that.

Years in The Making!

It has been my intention for many years to create a YouTube video tutorial showing how I make classic carpenter’s sawhorses. In February of 2019 I spent several days figuring and drawing up specifications for the project, then putting them into pdf format. Now, two-plus years later, I have finally made the companion video to go with the specifications.

If I didn’t get this video done and off my mind this month, it would have been at least another year before I could do it. Spring is here. I’ll be planting peas and spinach in a few days. My mail order business will be ramping up. There is little time for me to pursue creative new projects when business picks up.

I managed to get a few of these YouTube how-to video ideas launched this last winter. If you haven’t yet seen them, I invite you check them out…

Thomas Jefferson, On The Futility of Argument

I once read that there are four levels of conversation… discussion, disagreement, argument, and fight.

I tend to like a civil public argument. I think it’s a healthy means of discourse. Such conversation is fundamental to free speech, which is fundamental to the survival of the Constitutional Republic that our American founders gave us.

But on a personal level, I rarely enter into the realm of argument and fight. When I do, I always feel like I’m making a mistake; there is never a positive outcome.

As I was thinking about this awhile back, “the futility of argument” is a phrase that entered my mind. I did a Google search of the phrase, and up popped a link to a quote from Thomas Jefferson!

I’ve written quite a lot about Jefferson in the past (Here, Here, Here, Here, Here, and Here) and I was eager to see what he had to say about the futility of argument. Here is the quote:

“In stating prudential rules for our government in society, I must not omit the important one of never entering into dispute or argument with another. I never saw an instance of one of two disputants convincing the other by argument. I have seen many, on their getting warm, becoming rude, and shooting one another … When I hear another express an opinion which is not mine, I say to myself, he has a right to his opinion, as I to mine; why should I question it? His error does me no injury, and shall I become a Don Quixote, to bring all men by force of argument to one opinion? If a fact be misstated, it is probable he is gratified by a belief of it, and I have no right to deprive him of the gratification. If he wants information, he will ask it, and then I will give it in measured terms; but if he still believes his own story, and shows a desire to dispute the fact with me, I hear him and say nothing. It is his affair, not mine, if he prefers error.”

Thomas Jefferson (1808)

That quote comes from a letter Jefferson wrote to his 16-year-old grandson, Thomas Jefferson Randolph. It is grandfatherly wisdom. The younger Thomas was blessed to get such counsel from his grandfather. Now, 213 years later, Jefferson’s advice is still sound, and I was blessed to read it.

I did not receive any words of wisdom from my grandfathers. Both lived far away from me, and died when I was young. I do have recollections of being with them. Perhaps they told me words of wisdom at those times. But I was not of an age to remember them, and I have no letters from them.

I’m wondering… were you blessed to have positive influential memories of your grandfathers?

Lawful Resistance & Steve Bannon’s War Room

Contrary to the revolutionary Leftist talking points, I’m here to tell you that America is truly an exceptional nation. We are an exceptional nation for the simple reason that we have an exceptional form of government.

The Constitutional Republic our founders gave us was a form of government that the world had never seen before. No more ruler kings and despots. Individual freedom (God-given rights) were elevated and protected. Overlapping layers of checks and balances were built into our government institutions. No one person or political entity could exert totalitarian domination over a free people with such a form of government.

But, as my recent post, The Republic is Lost, pointed out, our Constitutional Republic is dying on the vine. It’s not looking good for those who understand and love the traditional American ideal, as embodied in the Constitution.

There is no one reason for the ongoing loss of America’s exceptionalism. The Republic has been under attack and crumbling for years (I tend to think the moral decline is a major underlying factor). But the most recent loss of freedom of speech, as evidenced by the techno-censorship of conservative voices, and the ongoing cancel culture against such people, is an incredibly alarming anti-American development.

So, what now?

Well, I see only one option, and that option is the only truly American option. We who see the the downfall of our nation must fight it.

No, not with lawbreaking or force of arms. I’m certainly not advocating that. What I mean by fighting is to support the lawful resistance movement against the Leftist lies and continual attack on our legacy of American exceptionalism that is taking place on so many fronts.

Eventual victory against the current odds is not guaranteed. But that is beside the point. It is the ongoing fight that matters. Every person who sees the Republic crumbling should become better informed and push back. At this point, we who care, are part of the resistance movement.

Think of the Alamo. Think of the few hundred Spartans defending the narrow pass at Thermopylae against thousands of Persian soldiers. Think of landing on the beaches at Iwo Jima. When history gives you a just war, then you must fight. It’s that simple.

Unfortunately, only about 20% of the population will engage in this kind of battle. If you are not inclined to resistance against tyranny and the takedown of America, then stand aside. The least you can do is not criticize those who are willing to resist in an attempt to retake American exceptionalism.

If you have the fighting mindset (or even if you are on the sidelines) I recommend Steve Bannon’s War Room (link below). It’s a daily broadcast with great interviews of brave American patriots who are on the front lines of the resistance movement. Bannon and his guests have a positive, fighting spirit that I find endearing. Cancel-culture has not silenced them. I’ve been listening for several months now.

Today’s broadcast had some good interviews. One was with Cheryl K. Chumley, author of the book, Socialists Don’t Sleep: Christians Must Rise or America Will Fall. Is this book being discussed on the controlled Leftist media? I’m sure it isn’t. All dissenting voices against the Leftist agenda are now suppressed. But not on Steve Bannon’s War Room.

I also learned today that Cheryl K. Chumley has a podcast (CLICK HERE), which I’m going to check out.

You can watch Steve Bannon’s War Room shows, uncensored At This Link

Dilbert Has Paruresis

I am currently reading Looserthink: How Untrained Brains Are Ruining America, by Scott Adams, the Dilbert cartoonist. A few years back I read his book, How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big: Kind of the Story of My Life. I will soon buy Win Bigly: Persuasion in a World Where Facts Don’t Matter. I will buy and read any non-comic book Scott Adams produces, even though I sometimes disagree with what he has to say.

It so happens that Scott Adams is a remarkably insightful person. I sometimes watch his YouTube channel: Real Coffee With Scott Adams. He has an uncanny ability to examine both sides of current issues, cut through the “loserthink” and come to conclusions that are closer to truth and reality than most everyone else. His conclusions are often unpopular, but he doesn’t seem to care.

That said, I should also point out that Scott Adams has a very different worldview than me. He’s a social liberal. But he’s an honest social liberal, not a revolutionary Leftist. Honest social liberals are okay with me. So, I chew the meat (of which there is much) and spit out the bones when I read his books, or listen to his vlogs.

Now that you have a little background, I want to tell you about a totally unexpected excerpt that that I read in Looserthink. Here it is:

“I was born with a condition called paruresis, also known as shy bladder. It means you can’t urinate if anyone else is in the room or even in listening distance. Perhaps 5 percent of the public has this condition. The thing you need to know about paruresis is that there is no way for someone who has it to simply “relax harder” to get past it. The sensation is that your body and your mind become temporarily disconnected. Your body “locks up” even when your mind is totally at ease. The name shy bladder is misleading because shyness is not the problem. It happens to people who are not shy in general. And it seems to have a genetic component. At around fifty, my brother Dave “came out” about his paruresis. At the time, I didn’t even know it had a name. And as hard as this is to imagine, I didn’t know my brother had it. Nor did he know I had it.”

“For half a century, my biggest problem in life was one that I believed was unique to me. I kept it private because I didn’t want to be seen as a freak. And I didn’t want to be judged or mocked for it. My knee-jerk preference for privacy made everything worse. It added fear of detection to the base problem. And the base problem was bad. Imagine traveling and not being able to use a public restroom except in rare instances when they are empty. Oh, and just to make things interesting, I also have a small bladder. It was a continuous nightmare for 50 years. School was a nightmare. My corporate jobs were a nightmare. Dating was difficult. I was becoming rich and successful with the Dilbert comic and at the same time, to be frank, my quality of life was poor.”

Reading that about Scott Adams was something of an epiphany for me. I’ve had paruresis for as long as I can remember. I never knew there was a name for it. I never knew it was a condition that affects approximately 5% of the population. There is some catharsis in knowing all this!

The good news is that my paruresis diagnosis is not a physical condition. It’s a mental condition… 🤣

I am posting this blog for the benefit of others, like myself, who have paruresis and who never knew it was a recognized condition with a medical name. You’re not alone. Scott Adams’ brother has a web site paruresis.org.

The Brave Voice of Noor bin Ladin

Noor bin Ladin’s father is Osama bin Laden’s brother. Her parents divorced when she was 8 months old. She lives in Switzerland. She has never been to Saudi Arabia in her life. She has no relationship with her father. She is 33 years old. She loves America.

In September of 2020 Noor wrote a letter to America. She warned that “a Biden/Harris administration would bring America to her knees.” It is worth reading and you can read it HERE.

A month after writing her letter to America, Noor bin Ladin wrote another article: Being pro-Trump has caused me more grief than being Osama bin Laden’s niece. That article was my introduction to this woman and her perspective on America. She writes very well. She is also well spoken, as This November 2020 Interview reveals.

In that YouTube interview Noor bin Ladin states that she believes Western civilization hangs in the balance. She believed Donald Trump was a remarkable leader. He did what needed to be done to protect the country. He started no wars and, in fact, brought unprecedented peace agreements in the Middle East.

I am posting here about this woman because I read her most recent article today in Revolver News. It is titled, Noor Bin Ladin Takes On Democrats Who Are Slandering Trump Supporters. The article expresses my thoughts and concerns about what has happened and is happening in America today.

I do not think Western civilization is in the balance. I think the balance has tipped. It has tipped to the dark side. It can tip back, but not without an enormous amount of sacrifice and pain.

There is reason for optimism and hope, but not in the arena of politics and big government.

My Scott, N.Y. Vintage Photo Cache Discovery

Back in the summer of 2018 Marlene and I were going to garage sales (one of our favorite things to do) and stopped at a house in Scott, New York. Scott is a small, rural crossroads town not far from where we live.

Unbeknownst to us, it was actually an estate sale. The woman in charge was selling everything in the house. I wandered in and picked out a bunch of tools (my main interest), then found an old trunk full of papers. I sorted through the trunk and a box full of old photo negatives caught my eye.

I brought my finds to pay and the woman seemed relieved that I was taking the things off her hands. She didn’t ask for much. I was delighted with the deal.

When I got home and looked through the negatives, I discovered more than I expected. I used my flat bed scanner to electronically develop some of the photos. Here are a few of them…

I put 30 of the best photos from that Scott NY cache together into a YouTube montage back in 2018 but I talked too much in the beginning and I think that kept a lot of possible viewers from staying to see the pictures. So I recently removed that YouTube and made another one. Here it is..

The Most Incredible Teddy Roosevelt…

I recently blogged here about Winston Churchill’s nanny after reading the Leaders in Action biography of his life. I have now read another biography in the series titled Carry a Big Stick, which is about the life and character of Theodore Roosevelt. The Roosevelt biography, by George Grant, is an absolute delight. Here is the first paragraph of Chapter 1…

At a campaign stop in Milwaukee on the evening of October 14, 1912, a deranged, out-of-work bartender emerged from a crowd and shot Theodore Roosevelt in the chest at point-blank range. Staggered by the impact of the bullet and the shock of the injury, the great man nevertheless righted himself.

Amazingly, after being shot, Roosevelt refused to go to the hospital until he gave a scheduled speech. He spoke for an hour and a half, while bleeding from the chest. Then he went to the hospital. The bullet broke a rib and lodged close to his right lung. It remained in his body for the rest of his days.

Theodore Roosevelt’s life history is one of the most inspiring that you’ll ever read. Carry a Big Stick is full of amazing anecdotal stories. This is one of my favorites…

Once while hiking and climbing in the Adirondacks, [Theodore Roosevelt] had a Secret Service agent lower him with a rope around his ankles into a wide gorge, so he could take  a close-up photograph of a bird’s nest. But when the agent tried to pull the president up the cliff, he was unable to manage. Impatient, Roosevelt called to the man, “Just cut the rope.” Horrified, the agent refused—there was a thirty foot drop between the president and the rushing water below. “Cut the rope,” Roosevelt insisted. By this time the agent was panic stricken—but he could think of nothing to do. At last, the president took matters into his own hands and cut the rope himself. He plunged into the icy waters below. Terrified, the agent scrambled down a trail to the bottom of the gorge to discover the president lying at the water’s edge, half-conscious, cut, bruised, and soaked to the bone. The great man looked up at him, smiled a huge toothy grin, and said, “My, wasn’t that just bully!”

Helicopter Harbinger

A harbinger is a person or thing that announces or signals the approach of another. “Helicopter money” is the economic strategy of giving enormous sums of “free” money directly to citizens and corporate entities in an effort to stimulate a failing economy. Put them together and you have the “helicopter harbinger.”

Stimulus checks (one after another) are the helicopter harbinger. They are the surest indication that our current economic system is gasping it’s last, desperate breaths. One needn’t be an educated economist to see this.

The historical record is replete with failed economic systems. A recent example would be 1998 Russia. The 1998 financial crisis was a rough time for Russians, but the country and the people are still there. Life goes on.

There are people predicting when America’s economic system will fail, how bad the economic crisis will be for average Americans, and what kind of an economic system will replace the current one. There is no widespread agreement on any of the prognostications. There never is. Prophetic economics is not a dependable science.

Nevertheless, the general trend seems clear and unavoidable at this point. That being the case, there are bits of down-to-earth preparatory wisdom that can be gleaned from historical precedents. I discussed this wisdom in my 2016 essay titled, An Agrarian-Style Economic Self-Defense Plan. It can be found at the Abbeville Institute web site (CLICK HERE). The plan is more pertinent today than it was when I first wrote it. Abbeville Institute has also published some of my other essays (CLICK HERE).

If the historical pattern holds true, the extreme excess of government spending and giving will lead to hyperinflation. If the inflation rages out of control (Jurassic Park comes to mind), there are proven strategies for individuals to survive the economic chaos (to escape the velociraptors). I discussed this scenario and the strategies in a 6-part essay series (How To Get Through The Coming Hyperinflation) that I wrote back in 2013. In case you missed it…

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Part 6

The good part of hyperinflation is that we might all end up being millionaires, or maybe even multiplujillionaires…

According To The Plan

All revolutionary movements in history have used fear and intimidation to silence their opposition. This is what’s happening in America now. First, there was “political correctness,” a relatively benign form of social speech control. Then came “hate speech,” a nebulous term with new laws to punish the so-called haters (Note: The 1st Amendment to the Constitution protected the right of Americans to express their “hateful” opinions for over 200 years). Now we have “cancel culture.” Technocratic cancel culture. Economic cancel culture. Social cancel culture. What comes next now that Leftists are about to take the reins of government? Answer: Nothing good.

The Republic Is Lost

Mnay years ago I listened to a conversation with Chuck Colson and he made the statement that America was a post-Christian nation. That thought had never occurred to me. I didn’t want to accept it, but I knew he was right. In time, I came to realize that America has moved beyond the post-Christian stage. We are now an anti-Christian nation.

It is the natural progression. If you remove the traditional Christian ethos that once permeated our civil an social institutions, another ethos will flow into the void.

Thus it is that the Christian ethic in America has been marginalized. A secular, pagan ethos has emerged. Unbridled by the moral restraints of the past, the new religious zealots are now actively tearing down the old, Christian-based society and working to create a new society based on their interpretations of “social justice” and “equality.”

This is our current reality. I’m probably not telling you something you don’t already know.

I’ve read enough about the history of America’s founding and the history of world revolutions to know that, barring something totally unexpected, the American Republic is lost. It is, as the saying goes, all over but the shouting. In due time, Christians who hold to the old ethos; who do not compromise their transcendent, Biblical-based convictions with the new zealots, will be severely persecuted. But I’ll save that discussion for another essay.

“We have no Government armed with Power capable of contending with human Passions unbridled by morality and Religion. Avarice, Ambition, Revenge or Galantry, would break the strongest Cords of our Constitution as a Whale goes through a Net. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious People. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

John Adams (1778)

The 2016 election of Donald Trump to President of the United States, and the recent election controversy has brought the reality of our lost Republic to the forefront.

I voted for Donald Trump in 2016 for four simple reasons… First, he was not an establishment politician. Second, he was not a globalist. Third, he was not bought and paid for by any special interest group. Fourth, he was not a God-hater. I wasn’t sure what I was getting in 2016, but I knew what I wasn’t getting. President Trump proved to be a remarkable president. He is, without a doubt, a morally flawed man, but his qualities as a leader have been, to my way of thinking, powerfully endearing.

You should know that, though I am a registered Republican, I am no fan of the Republican establishment. My past involvement (for about 2 years) with Republican politics at the local committee level left me totally disillusioned. I realized that the Republican ship, so to speak, is steered and powered by higher-ups in the establishment. Lower minions are expected to go along with the choices and decisions of the higher-ups. Occasionally, a low-level committee will break with the higher-ups, but it makes no difference. It’s like a few people taking out their own paddles and trying to turn the ship.

Politics in the big picture is, of course, all about money and power. Ideology is only important to the higher-ups if it helps attain or maintain their power and access to money . That’s nothing new. But what was new in 2016 was that Donald Trump managed to get elected to the highest office in the land even though he was not the choice of the Republican establishment. They didn’t want him in 2016, and they didn’t want him in 2020.

You can bet your bottom dollar that the Republican establishment higher-ups were working behind the scene to defeat Donald Trump in the 2020 election, and they were likewise working to defeat him in the aftermath of the contested election results. The Republican establishment hates Donald Trump because he doesn’t take orders from them. They can not control him.

All of which now brings me to this recent election brouhaha. I feel compelled to point out the truth of the situation, which is that we don’t really know the truth of the situation.

There is prima facie evidence that Donald Trump actually won the election, and there is technical evidence of election fraud to back up that conclusion. But the supposed evidence has been suppressed. No court has allowed the case for election fraud to be presented and thoroughly litigated. Donald Trump was never given his day in court.

To add insult to injury, mainstream media outlets have refused to report on the fraud allegations. In a healthy Republic, the media would be investigating the claims of fraud. That hasn’t happened. The questions of election fraud have been ignored, or simply dismissed out of hand. Instead of transparency in the aftermath of the election, the media has served us a coordinated obfuscation of all evidence that does not support their anti-Trump bias.

Worst of all, social media has actively censored any serious discussion of election fraud. Which is to say, they have shut down the free speech of Americans who want to present their evidence and defend their opinions. This suppression of free speech alone is the most disturbing and dangerous aspect of our current situation.

Has there ever been a time in our history when all Americans agreed on anything? No. There has always been disagreement, and debate, and friction between opposing groups. But we have always had the protected right to disagree and hash it out in public. Constitutionally protected freedom of speech has been like a pressure release valve in our society. When you shut down the free expression of information and ideas, pressure builds. Anger escalates among those whose free speech is repressed. And anger in the face of this situation is the appropriate American response.


It was and is appropriate for hundreds of thousands of angry Trump supporters to demonstrate their anger in Washington. Lawlessness was and is, however, not appropriate. That should go without saying.

I watched Trump’s speech on January 6th, the day the Capitol in Wahington was breeched. It wasn’t a particularly rousing speech. He did not work the crowd into a lathered frenzy and send them off to storm the Capitol building. Claims of sedition and insurrection against Donald Trump and his supporters for what happened that day are absurd.

I watched the crowds. I watched the live coverage of the demonstration at the Capitol. Right Side Broadcasting had a reporter and a cameraman on the scene. It was something to see. But the fighting, the damage, and occupying of the Capitol building was done by a very small group. Subsequent videos and testimony from people at the scene indicate that the breech was instigated by people who were not Trump supporters. Is the mainstream press reporting and investigating this?

So, Donald Trump has now acknowledged that Joe Biden will be the next President, and he has pledged to an orderly transition. It’s now history. But tens of millions of Americans are left with unresolved suspicion and anger. Elections are an expression of free speech. To be fair, elections need to be transparent. Will there ever be a truly fair election in America again?

And, going forward, what will happen to free speech? If recent events are an indication (and they surely are) free speech will be even further suppressed in the Biden administration. A coordinated, tactical de-platforming of politically conservative people and organizations is now happening. The radicals and the Leftists are emboldened. This is a chilling portent of what lies ahead.

Suppression of free speech, coupled with intimidation and fear, are the most effective tools of Leftist revolutionaries. They don’t have to be a majority to exert their will and take power over the majority. The Leftist tools are working. The Leftists are winning. Our most trusted American institutions have failed us. The American Republic is lost. That is our current reality.

Can the Republic be regained? Well, John Adams had this to say about the subject in a letter to his wife, Abigail, in 1775.

“Your Description of the Distresses of the worthy Inhabitants of Boston, and the other Sea Port Towns, is enough to melt an Heart of stone. Our Consolation must be this, my dear, that Cities may be rebuilt, and a People reduced to Poverty, may acquire fresh Property: But a Constitution of Government once changed from Freedom, can never be restored. Liberty once lost is lost forever. When the People once surrender their share in the Legislature, and their Right of defending the Limitations upon the Government, and of resisting every Encroachment upon them, they can never regain it.”

John Adams