Archive for October, 2017

“His Excellency Lord Cavanaugh”

October 29, 2017

Lord Cavanaugh

It’s getting fever swamp crazy.

Trump’s in raw panic mode. Keep him away from the codes.

Recalcitrant Republicans are circling their wagons in wild abandon. The center no longer holds. Honest hope is gone.


We can always unplug and “leave this world for a while” as Tom Petty enticingly suggests in “Free Fallin’” “Not necessarily stoned, just beautiful” echoes Jimi Hendrix.

I have often suspected a strong personal genetic predisposition to altered state adventure. It’s come in handy more than once as a matter of internal intuitive guidance. Right now it’s telling me to leave terrifying politics behind for everyone’s sake and free fall into associated memories. No problem.

It was twenty-five years ago this week that Eileen and I returned to America after spending our first extended time in the Emerald Isle.

1992 was the 100th Anniversary of my Great-Grandfather’s death. He had left Ireland during The Great Famine years in 1848 and had crossed the North Atlantic to the green fields of America. He lies buried under a fine Celtic cross in a little churchyard just north of Syracuse. His name is engraved in sharp and bold lettering, still clearly distinct with a century and a quarter gone. “Peter Cavanaugh.”

Family records indicate the subject of the following newspaper story in the New York Times was quite possibly this original Peter, who was said to head 20 miles south from Fulton, N.Y. to the fair city of Syracuse, where he would spend much time and treasure indulging in various pleasurable pursuits while consuming copious quantities of “The Holy Water.”

And telling tales.

I am passionately persuaded this was my most recent incarnation.

From The New York Times   – September 12, 1884



Syracuse, N.Y., Sept. 11. 1884.

Lord Cavanaugh, a tall man with a military carriage, stepped up to the railing before Magistrate Mulholland today and denied he was a vagrant as Detective Becker, who arrested him last evening, charged.

The detective said Cavanaugh had been annoying tenants in the Wieting Block by going into various offices and representing himself to be a dentist, physician and lawyer, according to the profession of the person in whose presence he happened to find himself. This the prisoner stoutly denied, declaring at the same time that he had only been seeking suitable employment, and had made no statements as to his qualifications which he was not fully prepared to substantiate.

To a reporter he said he was the son of Lord Chief Justice Cavanaugh of India, who died at Gibraltar a number of years ago, and that his mother still lives in India. He was born, he said, in Waterford, Ireland 35 years ago and was graduated from Trinity College.

He entered the British Army and was promoted to a Captaincy in the Eleventh Zouaves. He sold his commission for £ 450 and afterward served as a private. He declared that he went through the Zulu Campaign, was under General Roberts in Afghanistan, and became a coffee planter in Southern India, but was unsuccessful.

Then he returned to Dublin and was a writer for the Freeman’s Journal. Thence he went to Quebec where he did newspaper work. From there he went to Montreal and finally came here. He has been in this city for a month. He denied that he is a drunkard, but admits he occasionally takes a glass of beer.

The New York Times — September 12, 1884

 “What dreams forget – the whiskey remembers” – Eric Church – “Creepin’” (2012)

“Blind Faith”

October 22, 2017

McC--Lynn       McClintock Town Hall Meeting — Minarets High School Gym

“Blind Faith” — An English blues rock band, composed of Eric Clapton, Ginger Baker, Steve Winwood, and Ric Grech – one of the first “super groups” from the late 60s. .

“Blind Faith” – Unquestioned confidence or trust in a particular system of belief or given leader in which faith may equate to acceptance without readily evident rational proof, perhaps even contradicted by generally recognized reality.

“Blind Faith” – An astounding display of unqualified obeisance accompanied by dog-like loyalty demonstrated by Fourth District Congressional Representative Tom McClintock last Thursday night during his Town Hall Meeting in O’Neals. Upon the altar of political expediency, before a scattered crowd of concerned constituents and bored security guards, Thomas M. McClintock offered his eternal soul to Donald J. Trump, praise his name.

It seemed to come out of nowhere.

A gentleman asked Tom in a respectful, diplomatic tone what would happen if the President went nuts and started a nuclear war. McClintock said there was no need to worry since such a thing could never happen.

He then proceeded to offer several minutes of polished prose explaining why numerous constitutional safeguards, levels of command authority and traditionally accepted safety guidelines would protect us all. Tom spoke with casual, persuasive confidence. He may even have quoted Lincoln, Jefferson or Thoreau – someone of classic stature. That’s standard in the McClintock playbook. I’m not sure — being thoroughly shaken by what came next. It’s like when you’re in an accident and just remember part of it?

All legalities aside, the questioner further pressed for a simple “Yes” or “No” on whether Trump could technically pull the trigger. It was then McClintock reluctantly admitted — in these exact words; “I believe he could — but he wouldn’t.”

Echoing the immortal words of Larry Verne in his 1960 classic, “Please, Mister Custer” – Please, Mr. McClintock, I don’t want to die!

Anyone who chooses to think a mad man is incapable of insanity may be legally free to offer his faith blindly, but should not be allowed to conveniently abandon our safety with it. Save the solicitous sanctimony for suckers, Tom. This is for life on the planet. It’s sudden death hardball.

Against this unnerving blind belief that Trump is not clearly and presently dangerous in terminal terms, other frightening specifics on the immediate McClintock horizon are rendered pale by comparison.

A vote for McClintock means you are:

  • Supporting a Republican budget that will slash social spending to disproportionately reward the rich with billions of dollars at the expense of the poor, sick and elderly. The Middle Class will be left in the still shrinking middle, heading ever downward with increased velocity and no meaningful cut in taxes. Regulations? Who needs ‘em? Take down those traffic lights.
  • Endorsing without qualification a mumbling, bumbling, narcissistic oaf who permanently stains and tarnishes all he touches with egregious arrogance, fumbling foolishness and graceless grabs. I agree with Tom Woods, author of “The Seven Signs of a Sociopath.” Donald J. Trump is a malevolent toddler.
  • Aiding in the eventual gutting and/or elimination of many social safety nets, even those dating back more than seven decades to the administration of Franklin D. Roosevelt and his “New Deal.” In time this would even include Medicare and Social Security. Health care? It’s cash or crash. If you don’t earn for it, you will yearn for it. No pay. No play. Those who have get more – while those who don’t stay poor.

Horses wear blinders. Congressional Representatives shouldn’t — unless they’re the south end of a horse heading north.





“Tell Tom Tonight”

October 15, 2017


Your presence is needed to guide our nation.

Join us tonight for a Town Hall Meeting in O’Neals with our 4th Congressional District Representative, Tom McClintock. He wants your thoughts.

6 PM is the starting time in the Minarets High School Gymnasium at 45077 North Fork Road in O’Neals, but I’d get there plenty early. A bunch of folks are coming. It’s only 20 minutes from Oakhurst. Head south on 41, then turn left on Road 200. Go two-tenths of mile and there you are. Mapquest says if you reach Road 8063 you’ve gone 1.9 miles too far. Look for all the cars.

Regardless of where you consider yourself politically, Tom McClintock exclusively represents you and your neighbors on the Federal level. That’s how a Democratic Republic works. He is your most important local voice in Washington. His official words and actions should reflect your will – choosing people over party when necessary and treasuring collective security far past personal gain.

Only a fool would deny our current President is —— unique. Tom McClintock is no fool.

Should you concur with my general summary that Donald J. Trump presents a clear and present danger and is brutally unfit for the presidency, it is critical you make your resistance, persistence and insistence evident tonight.

Here’s the hard part.

Let’s keep it cool.

The last thing we need are loud mouth, loutish, wanna-be “activists” who like to scream, whistle, stomp and shout as a means of political expression. Passion not tempered by propriety is the mark of a – — moron.

Opposing viewpoints are certain to emerge tonight. We should listen with respect in order to expect the same.

Mr. McClintock is fully aware these are not normal times. Although the Fourth District has elected many more Conservatives than not since Half Dome was whole, four viable opposing Democratic candidates have already emerged and are actively engaged in hoping to bless Tom with early retirement.

By alphabetical order they are —

Regina Bateson — Regina was a class valedictorian at Granite Bay High School, later earning a BA from Stanford University and an MA and PhD from Yale. She also studied abroad in Latin America, where she learned to speak Spanish fluently. As a Foreign Service Officer for the U.S. State Department, she studied terrorist travel and border security.

Roza Calderon – Ms. Calderon is a geoscientist, activist and single mother who believes “we need leaders who represent real people’s needs over party interests.” She advocates combating climate change, providing Medicare for All and building an inclusive economy.

Jessica Morse – Having spent over a decade as a national security strategist, Jessica is a fifth generation northern Californian. As Advisor to the Commander of the U.S. Military Headquarters for Asia and the Pacific, Jessica strengthened the U.S.-India defense relationship using renewable energy. She has a Masters Degree from Princeton University.

And Rochelle Wilcox — Rochelle earned a full scholarship to law school at the University of Utah, where she graduated first in her class.  She is currently a partner in one of the top-rated First Amendment practices in the country, working for businesses in a variety of industries and involved in dozens of cases fighting to make sure journalists have the protection they need.

One of the above will eventually emerge as a consensus Democratic candidate fully supported by the other three. But Republican Tom gets our ears tonight. Let’s have our voices resonate with reason, not roar like rhinos.

As my old Irish-American Grandfather used to say – “You get more with sugar than you do with spit!”

Something like that.











































“A Very Cool Group”

October 6, 2017


The darkened bar was surrounded by intense players, collegiality and attention to the game harshly intruded upon by a stranger of unknown origin and unappreciated purpose.

He wanted to meet “Steve the Clamper” and quickly learned such a request was inappropriately phrased and indelicately presented.

When I decided I wanted to write a column on “E. Clampus Vitus”, folks around town who knew said Steve Schermerhorn was the guy with whom to speak. They also disclosed where and when to find him. They were right.

After observing that he knew I was in “The Sierra Star” and mentioning that he appreciated what Dr. Bill Atwood wrote each week, Steve added that he especially liked those opinions expressed by the late J.R. Froelich and other conservative writers. I felt right at home.

Although he’s a “Greybeard” and “Ex-Noble Grand Humbug”, Steve is actually a bit younger than I. Showing respect for an elder and quickly bonding through our mutual appreciation of Led Zeppelin, I asked that he send me a few notes about his group. I have decided to simply pass along much of what Mr. Schermerhorn provided since it is assuredly authentic, quite inclusive and self-explanatory.

Here’s Steve:

“The Grub Gulch Chapter of E CLAMPUS VITUS is nestled in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada at the end of the Gold Chain Highway. Our chapter encompasses all of Madera County. Called the Order of the Rose, the original Grub Gulch Rose was growing wild near the gold rush town of Grub Gulch. The town was named this because any miner who would stop and work was almost guaranteed to gather enough gold from the river to stake him on his way to the gold fields further north. Today our Chapter continues to uphold the traditions set forth by our forefathers.
Since the major ore producing mines have all but played out, the Clampers of today are dedicated to the preservation and recognition of these historic sites. This is accomplished through the erection of monuments.

There are 56 monuments in Madera County.

  • Grub Gulch Chapter #41-49 was Chartered in 1979.
  • ECV motto, “Credo Quia Absurdum”, “Because it’s absurd I Believe.”
  • There are currently over 600 members in this Chapter.
  • All members are Officers, and all Officers are of Equal Indignity.
  • Our President is called “Humbug”, The Treasurer is the Gold Dust Receiver, the Cook is “The Gutrobber”. Other board members may be referred to as: “Greybeard”, “Clamp Patriarch”, “Clamp Matrix”, “Playtrix or Vitrix”, “Damn Fool”, “Doorkeeper” and “Hangman.”
  • ECV was born in the mining camps of California.
  • Based on absurdity, and shunned by the pompous “Stuffed Shirts” of the Odd Fellows, Moose or Elk, Clampers would adorn their red union suits (long underwear) with the cutout bottoms of a bean can. They would parade about and make fun of the upper crust. This was referred to as wearing the tin. Today Clampers wear red shirts depicting the union suits once worn in the camps as well as adorning our vests with badges, buttons and ribbon to represent the tin.
  • ECV is still the number one fraternal order that continues to steadily grow year after year. Currently there are over 43 Chapters of ECV throughout 9 States. Exact numbers of Redshirts is said to be around 50,000.”

Thanks, Steve!

And guess who created and operates the worldwide website Steve Schermerhorn! Right here in Oakhurst!

You’ll find tons of California Gold Rush links, dozens of localized monument site pictures and much more intriguing Clamper Information.

“Ipsum Fasciculum Frigus” – A Very Cool Group!