We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Our Recent Essays Behind the Front Page
Tuesday, July 4. 2017
I have no desire to mock our British brethren on Independence Day. They are required by their circumstances to live on a pile of rocks and peat in the North Atlantic. We got the amber waves of grain. No sense rubbing it in. I'm not sure they'd acknowledge the slight. I imagine the reaction in Old Blighty at the occasion of the original Brexit was a shrug. The who, with the what now, where, has declared independence? Does that mean Lord Cornwallis will be back for the season in London? Jolly good!
The very idea that the United States would hold a grudge against England over the War of Independence seems odd to the modern American. There are plenty of European countries in line for mockery before we skip on down to the Anglo-Saxon-Norman-Scots-Irish-Welsh-Cornish-Manx-Chav conglomerate. Personally, I'd heap derision on, oh, I don't know -- Luxembourg -- before I'd mention Merry Olde. I mean, honestly, Luxembourg is a zip code, not a country. Their navy is a joke. Britain's navy has never been a joke. England expects that every man will do his duty, and they know how to get it out of him. In Luxembourg, mentioning Rum, Sodomy, and the Lash just means that Claus von Bulow is invited to your cocktail party.
Canada burned down the White House back in the day. Forgive and forget, I say. England shot Congreve rockets at Andrew Jackson. Water under the bridge, if you ask me. The Welsh may be swearing at us, but there's no way to tell by listening to them, so it's pointless to take offense. Australians do punch Americans with amazing regularity. But they punch everybody, so nobody takes umbrage. The United States is celebrating its 241st birthday today, and in the spirit of a guy who landed on his feet, I hereby invite the nation-state version of our crazy ex-wives, ne'er-do-well brothers in law, and illegitimate children to the barbecue. Happy Independence Day to one and all!
The USS Constitution is interesting as all get-out. It's made more interesting by the fact that it's basically a Ship of Theseus at this point. The United States is a Ship of Theseus. All the parts have been replaced a few times, but it's still basically the same thing.
I've been on that boat. It's basically a studio apartment with wood paneling you can drown in. People used to be brave.
All male humans know the Moshulu is the boat packed with immigrants that cruises past the Statue of Liberty in The Godfather Part II. We also know that Han shot first. We don't know much else.
Oh, THAT USS Massachusetts. The one they have in Fall River, Massachusetts is easier to visit, but it's just as rusty, I think. They have a submarine, too. It's basically a studio apartment with metal wallpaper you can drown in.
Castine, Maine was once called Bagaduce? Didn't he play the little bass player in The Partridge Family?
Ancient history, isn't.
Men who fought in a real, live shooting war weren't afraid of sparklers.
As Sam Adams used to say, "Hold my brandy smash and watch this!"
Goes to show what I know. I thought "Whistle-Belly Vengeance" was a reference to the Taco Bell drive thru. Silly me.
Pro Tip- Don't stick your knife in the salt cellar. Old Muttonhead gets sore if you do. Viz:
George Washington is the greatest man who ever lived. I mean it. He refused to become the king of America, though it was offered to him. When he turned over the reins of government to John Adams, it was the first peaceful transfer of real power by election in the history of the world. Many of his rules of civility still are intelligent, actionable advice for today's world. For instance:
Apparently, the internet needs to be abolished. George said so.
Happy Independence Day to Maggie's Farm readers, and all the ships at sea!
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'Brexit' used in this context is wrong - it should be 'Amexit', due to leaving the Monarchy's Empirical sphere, not the EU.
On a side note, its good that they can have a yuk, and be topical, but accuracy is also nice.
Happy Independence Day from the other side of the pond!
I shall raise a glass to you all this evening.
Thank you, kind sir.
If you need Rebel assistance, say, to swat down rampaging interlopers, or Republican Twits (nudge, nudge...), all you gotta do is ask.
"Canada burned down the White House back in the day."
No, that was the British actually. What is now Canada happened to be a collection of British colonies at the time so any modern Canadian who asserts that "we" burned down the White House is making a rather vicarious claim.
(Major-General Robert Ross, the British commander who captured Washington in 1814 and was subsequently shot off is horse near Baltimore, is buried in Halifax though.)
But enough of this!
Have a great Fourth of July, my American friends!
That was during the War of 1812. The Americans burned down Toronto (then "muddy" York) first; the burning of the White House was in retaliation by - so far as I can figure - British troups. And while Canada was still a colony, there was a definite Canadian identity emerging and Canadians joined the Brits in fighting off the invasion.
American writer Jane Aitken Hodge wrote several historical novels around the events of the War of Independence and the War of 1812. I recommend them.
Happy 4th July to all.
An excellent novel about the Penobscot expedition is "The Fort" by Bernard Cornwell. I recommend it highly.
Re: "Ancient" history:
My brother was involved in one of those projects where some group was going around recording elderly people reminiscing about everyday life in the long-ago and he met a man whose grandfather had seen Abraham Lincoln give a speech and who remembered his grandfather telling him about seeing George Washington. Three degrees of separation, three lifetimes, from the Revolutionary War to today. That's not so ancient.
Relatedly, my own grandmother was born in the late 1800's and I remember hearing her talk about the old days growing up on the farm, before electricity or running water, cars or supermarkets, before practically the Industrial Revolution, had come to rural East Armpit. The Great Depression? She didn't know anything about that, her life on the farm was just the same before, during, and after. And today's kids don't know what "counter-clockwise" means because they've never seen an analog timepiece. (Now get off my lawn.)
And my (American) grandmother (the other was Canadian) remembered cheering the troops marching off to war! It was the Spanish-American War, of course ... and she gave me the wedding ring I gave my wife: my grandmother had inherited it from an aunt who received it in 1864 from her fiancé, who died fighting for the North before they could marry. Very sad. But a beautiful ring.
In the late Nineties, while I was in the Canadian Army, I ended up in Africa a couple of times.
On one occasion I was in Bangui (the capital of the hapless Central African Republic). As we drove along one of the boulevards in the evening, I noticed lots of kids sitting outside under the streetlights reading and writing in notebooks.
"It's the only place where there's enough reliable light to do their homework," commented the French Army officer who was with us.
Meanwhile, back in Canada, my teenage son was constantly complaining about how our Internet speed was too slow for doing his homework...
When I was on the USS Constitution I asked the Seaman who was our guide about the issue of all the replacement parts. His reply was that the keel was the original and as long as that was the case she was considered the original ship.
This has to be one of the best Morning Links pages in Maggie's Farm history. Well done sir! Well done.
Three cheers for America! The land that I love.
Hip hip hurray! Hip hip hurray! Hip hip hurray!
The article is condescending ignorant. These ships (don't call them "boats") were advanced at the time and were the first of many successor classes designed at the onset of a period of rapid naval innovation. They fought honorably during the Spanish-American War. These were among the first pre-dreadnought battleships, all of which were rendered obsolete after the commissioning of HMS Dreadnought (1906) and USS Michigan (1910).
"Ancient history, isn't."
As an under-ninety man I can remember watching (as an under-ten boy) a Decoration Day parade that included two members of the G.A.R. They sat in the rear of a convertible, wearing blue uniforms and waving.
(G.A.R. = Grand Army of the Republic comprised of Union veterans of the Civil War. The adults near me actually said "Here's the G.A.R.")
A friend of mine in high school once told me that his American grandmother had attended the funeral of her own grandfather as a small girl. He had been a Union Army officer.
In her eighties, she still vividly remembered the coffin being closed down on a body dressed in an old dark blue uniform with medals pinned on it.
My own claim to a bit of posterity was meeting a Canadian Boer War veteran while a young reserve officer in the mid-Seventies. He had to have been at least 95.
a Ship of Theseus
This is called an administrative rebuild, and was a way the Navy and Congress could get around budgetary restrictions for new hulls during the 19th century. Congress was more inclined to allocate funds for repair than new building, so ships could be rebuilt so extensively that they would be, in effect, different.
Razee frigates (frigates cut down -- razeed -- to one deck and rearmed with larger guns and so technically becoming sloops but more powerfully armed than the original frigate) and the Constellation frigate (1797) are examples. The Navy said about the latter:
“Official records disclose that the Constellation was many times rebuilt, including major rebuildings at Washington in 1812 and at Norfolk in 1853-1855. Nowhere in these records, however, is there any indication that the original Constellation, launched in 1797, was in fact broken up, stranded, scrapped or otherwise disposed of, nor is there any statement authorizing or sanctioning the disposal of the ship by any means whatsoever”
Fouled Anchors: The Constellation Questions Answered
There is nothing really unusual about this.
"This is my grandfather's sword. My father replaced the blade, and I replaced the hilt."
That was a fascinating link to the USS Constitution. I am supposed to be related to Isaac Hull so I feel a real connection to "Old Ironsides." Thankfully, it wasn't designed by the guy (or somebody as incompetent as the guys who designed the USS Massachusetts!
Happy Fourth to Roger and all Maggies Farmers!
What is the point of making asinine comments like that?
Since you weren't specific about what you thought was asinine, I'll guess it was you're referring to my being thankful that the designer of the USS Constitution wasn't as incompetent as the designers of the USS Massachusetts. Maybe you need to read the article about diving the worst battleship ever built the USS Massachusetts.
I read it, you might give it a try. hint: class.
Haven't got my reference ("The Darkest Day: The Washington-Baltimore Campaign During the War of 1812") handy, but I recall that the (USS) Constitution spent most, if not all, of the not of 1812 bottled in in a souther tributary of Chesapeake Bay (James River?)
if you're talking about the year 1812, war was declared in June, by the end of the year, USS Constitution had defeated the British frigates Guerriere and Java. She was kept in Boston harbor because of supply problems, but in 1814 was active in the Atlantic and defeated the warships Cyane, Pictou, and Levant and took numerous prizes.
Personally, I'd heap derision on, oh, I don't know -- Luxembourg -- before I'd mention Merry Olde. I mean, honestly, Luxembourg is a zip code, not a country.
When I was in elementary school, a family friend purchased a house which had a collection of WW2 era Free Luxembourg bulletins. I took the time to read some of them. I now wonder if, had I collected those Free Luxembourg bulletins, if some university library would have liked to have have them.
I appreciate the link to "5 Colonial-Era Drinks You Should Know," based on the book Forgotten Drinks of Colonial New England: From Flips and Rattle-Skulls to Switchel and Spruce Beer. I’m partial to switchel myself, which the book defines as:
A zingy drink whose key ingredient is vinegar, layered with citrus, ginger, rum and sometimes honey, syrup or molasses. Switchel was sipped in rural New England during haying as a way to stay refreshed in the fields. Non-alcoholic switchel is identical but for the rum.
The switchel I grew up with on the farm in Vermont included maple syrup and did not include citrus or rum – but I’m learning to appreciate those additions!
As a Brit, an excellent article, especially as I spent last week's Independence day in Colorado with good friends.
Although I greatly regret the loss, the best thing that happened was tossing out my English ancestors. It freed America to pursue its God given destiny. I seriously hope and pray that your great nation will get back on course again.
However I must take issue with your claim about-
The world's oldest commissioned warship the USS Constitution "Old Ironsides"
The honour (note the correct spelling of that word!) of the world's oldest naval ship in commission belongs to HMS Victory, Admiral Lord Nelson's flag ship at Trafalgar.
Before The USS constitution had got its keel truly wet, the Victory was an old sea dog, participating in the following actions
First Battle of Ushant (1778)
Second Battle of Ushant (1781)
Battle of Cape Spartel (1782)
Battle of Cape St Vincent (1797)
Followed of course by Nelson's overwhelming victory at Cape Trafalgar in 1805.