Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Not advocating, just watching politicians self-destruct: Predicting Bloomberg and Buttigieg.

Yin or Yang? Or else Bernie will try to make himself his own running mate so he can be sure to re-elect Trump? 

A Thousand or More of my Kinfolks shot on this Continent? A Commentary on Violence in America?

I've got 5,500 items in my computer under Glimpses (Glimpses of kinfolks from the 1600s till WW2 or so).

If I search for "Shot" I get around 600 but many of those hits have multiple people getting shot, so the actual number is much higher than the 600.

I could list them in rough chronological order and describe each one briefly, naming the killer when known and the battle when not known.

What would it mean? Would it really be a commentary on violence in the colonies and America? 

Theodore Roosevelt Said the Single Most Stupid Thing any President said. Now Joe Biden!

The promise not to run for a second full term made the great Theodore Roosevelt helpless through much of his 2nd term.
Joe Biden's saying he would consider a Republican as a running mate isn't that stupid only because he has never been as great as Theodore Roosevelt. He can't continue in the running for long.
Realistically, and not necessarily my preference, the winning team would be Bloomberg and Buttigieg. Otherwise, there is Bernie trying with all his might to elect Trump again.

Monday, December 30, 2019

Up at 5:30 to make Skillet Bread--this time with a little treacle, barley malt, and peanut butter

Is there a way of messing up Skillet Bread? I am still enthralled with discovering this great thing, Skillet Bread. The idea of having your reward after 2 and a half hours!

Not one of the very most cheerful days

And cold.

Why Costners Do Not Drink Alcohol

My father [Max H. Hoyle] told me that the reason we were an outstanding sober family was due especially to Margaret Costner Hoyle's teaching. In that day everybody made whiskey, but she said repeatedly to her boys: "Every one of you needs all your mother-wit; now don't befuddle your brain with whiskey." With her it was not a moral issue, but a practical common sense one.  ELIZABETH HOYLE RUCKER, History of the Hoyle Families and the Families into which they Married (c. 1938).

Margaret Costner Hoyle 1745-1821) was the mother of 13 children including these sons: Peter, Andrew, John, Jacob, Adam, David, and Solomon.

Warmer than Rochester! Congratulations to New Chair Settled into History Dept. at U of DE Before Winter

Alison M. Parker is the Chair and a Professor of History at the University of Delaware. She has research and teaching interests at the intersections of gender, race, disability, citizenship and the law in U.S. history. She majored in art history and history at the University of California, Berkeley and earned a PhD from the Johns Hopkins University. In 2017-2018, Parker was an Andrew W. Mellon Advanced Fellow at the James Weldon Johnson Institute for the Study of Race and Difference at Emory University, where she worked on her current book project, a biography of the civil rights activist and suffragist Mary Church Terrell. Unceasing Militant: The Life of Mary Church Terrell is forthcoming with the University of North Carolina Press in its John Hope Franklin Series in African American History and Culture. Parker is the author of two historical monographs, Articulating Rights: Nineteenth-Century American Women on Race, Reform, and the State (2010) and Purifying America: Women, Cultural Reform, and Pro-Censorship Activism, 1873-1933 (1997). She has also co-edited three anthologies and authored numerous articles and book chapters. While a faculty member at the State University of New York, College at Brockport, Parker was awarded the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Research and Creative Activity (2012). Her next book project is a study of the civil rights activist, Mary Hamilton, the first female field director for the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE). Parker serves as the founding editor of the Gender and Race in American History book series for the University of Rochester Press. As Chair of the History Department at the University of Delaware, Parker is committed to building a coalition of students, faculty, and staff promoting a wide-ranging anti-racism agenda. She is trained to lead antiracism and racial justice workshops and community conversations and will work to recruit and retain a diverse community of faculty and students.

Sunday, December 29, 2019

Sunday's special edition of “Meet the Press" — “Alternative Facts: Inside the Weaponization of Disinformation.”

There is absolutely nothing new about the way the Big Lie becomes believed. Joseph Goebbels perfected it in the 1930s. Look now at my cousin Franklin Graham and other Evangelicals. I keep reflecting that I am so old I remember when Evangelicals were Christians!

In the American university system, I first saw the Big Lie triumphant in 1990 at the meeting of the Melville Society in Chicago when a satanic red-bearded stranger, hearing falsehoods said in the room, stood at the open door shouting in agreement, "THE FACTS DON'T MATTER"--and thereafter the facts did not matter. Look at John Bryant's two dozen biographical errors in his pages annotating a speech I gave in Pittsfield in 1991. After 1990 I never attended another Melville Society meeting in the United States. In 2002 reviewing the second volume of my biography Richard Brodhead and Andrew Delbanco said I invented the volume POEMS--I merely surmised that Melville finished it in 1860.  Elizabeth Schultz pushed the same charge. Delbanco said I could not be trusted anywhere because I invented POEMS.  As late as 2019 the man known to Harrison Hayford as "Chowderhead" pushed the same accusation in LEVIATHAN, saying that it was "fair-enough" that great critics had charged me with merely surmising the existence of the volume (even though documentary evidence includes Melville's 12 point memoranda on how he wants his brother to handle the publication and the fact that 2 publishers at least refused to publish it when it was offered to them). In LEVIATHAN (A Journal of Melville Studies) until now facts often have not mattered. The "Inaugural Volume" of poetry, the volume in which Melville turned to poetry? Oh, the 1866 BATTLE-PIECES, not POEMS.  LEVIATHAN is under new editorship and I hope for better, much better. It is hard to be wholly confident: too many people writing on Melville still echo the satanic red-bearded stranger: THE FACTS DON'T MATTER.

A Model Apology for Anyone Who Has Been Naughty in 2019

Not once does M'Clure say "If anyone has taken offense at anything they say I might have said" or "If any snowflake found anything to question in anything anyone attributed to me . . . ."

three packers and a parker packing away parting picnic

Thursday, December 26, 2019

San Luis Obispo's solution to the housing problem

No beach

Looking Northwest

Cousin Karen's meticulous transcriptions from Fold3 about my GG Grandfather John Rodgers (Rogers)

I have talked about the lasting impact of the Civil War in the impoverishment of the South generation after generation but the nearness of it has never come home to me until now, when I think of looking in 1946 at the bedridden old man, my Grandmother Parker's father, John Rogers, who in 1864 had been a child of 3 when his father was dragged out of his house in Franklin County, Arkansas and hanged by a Confederate troop for being a Union sympathizer. Grandpa Rogers almost surely would not have remembered it, but did anyone ask him? It's a fantasy that all Southern families sat around the fireplace or on the porch telling stories of their ancestors' lives and their own lives. Just as Americans whose grandparents and aunts and uncles and brothers and sisters and cousins were killed by Germans in the 2nd World War did not hear about the Holocaust for a long time, if ever, Southerners did not dwell on their losses. They were busy trying to stay alive.

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Better living through technology: Using 0ld Camera made Easy

Historic Battery received for 9$ or so from Southern California. It works!
I have everything to do all written down at last in 12 Easy Steps.
Please, keep working the same way.
Keep going till all the boxes of books are packed.
That's all I want for Christmas.

Turkey Turkey Turkey for Christmas Morning

What's left of a tenured professor of literature


Salvaging a 2003 Olympus Camera with an eBay Battery just bought and Fiendish Changes in Computer Loading

It can be done. I want a backup camera for documenting layers of books in bankers boxes. It can still be done, but it takes 18 fiendishly tricky steps. If I could just play a video of me succeeding once--put it on a loop above the monitor somehow, and do just what I successfully did that once. But I know it can be done. Day at the Beach in southern California sold me a genuine battery from its historic cache, so all I need is memory of the trickiest of tricky steps, like learning to tango. Golly, was I really once called "the rhumba king of Caucasian Wilmington"? Where are THOSE agile muscles?

Monday, December 23, 2019

Stick Figures

Great Great Grandfather hanged by rebels 1 August 1864; I last saw his 3 year old baby in 1946

The nearness of the Civil War--Confederates hanged John Rodgers or Rogers in 1864 and the three year old namesake was alive until 1946, when I last saw him.
Captain William Burke and some of his men hanged him from a tree for being a Union sympathizer.
Imagine that--how close to the Civil War.

Clipping Rosemary at 5:40 (in dark) and eating bread at 8:30--3 photographs

Elias Roland Lane 1831-1909--says he was a cousin of GG Grandfather John Rogers

In the early 1860s in Franklin County Arkansas. He says distant cousin. If anyone knows, it would push back knowledge of the Rogers or Rodgers family.

Headline: "Evangelicals defend Trump after evangelical magazine calls for his removal"

And here am I, so old that I remember when Evangelicals were Christian.

Friday, December 20, 2019

Further thoughts on CHRISTIANITY TODAY's editorial

I love the skillet so much I made cornbread in it

Can you imagine a sick-o comedy SNL scene in which a Trump Worshipping Evangelist tries to talk to someone about Jesus's words?

Emma Green asked if Galli was motivated by his "belief that the association with Trump is going to do long-term damage to the ability of Christians to share the Gospel." "Oh my God," Galli said. "It's going to be horrific."---Galli the editor of CHRISTIANITY TODAY.

Christianity Today Calls for Trump's Removal from Office. I thought I was the only one old enough to remember when Evangelicals were Christian

Christianity Today


Christianity Today magazine is an evangelical Christian periodical that was founded in 1956 and is based in Carol Stream, Illinois. The Washington Post calls Christianity Today, "evangelicalism's flagship magazine"; The New York Times describes it as a "mainstream evangelical magazine."

I was wrong, I was wrong. I thought my immoral cousin Franklin Graham spoke for all Evangelicals. 
What will happen next? Will all old and new copies of CHRISTIANITY TODAY be burnt by crazies along with any overlooked songs by the Dixie Chicks?

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Strange Fall--Turning 84, Seeing TLS and NYRofB Reviews of Library of America book, & Taping Dozens of Bankers Boxes of Melville Books for Shipment

In last August, while waiting for the Library of America HERMAN MELVILLE: COMPLETE POEMS to be printed, I realized that 60 years had passed since I graduated from Lamar State College of Technology, quit my job as a night telegrapher on the Kansas City Southern Railroad in Port Arthur, and left for Northwestern University. I thought I might find the date of the graduation in a data base but was stunned to find not only the date but also a photograph and the information that I had graduated with "highest honor." I had remembered it as "highest honors." Graduation took place--it turned out--on August 22, 1959. Two years earlier I drove across country to the railroad offices at Oil City, Louisiana, only to find that the doctor had not mailed a statement saying my tuberculosis was not any longer a public threat. Most of the last air from the final pumping of pneumo-peritoneum leaked out of my body there while I waited for a letter from the doctor, the only time I ever saw women walking on dirt roads carrying  their loads on their heads. From August 1957 till the end of August 1959 I worked alone at the Kansas City Southern Freight House in Port Arthur as the night telegrapher, 8 pm till 4 am, and went to school at Lamar in Beaumont. Trepidatious about my health, I signed up for only 10 units for Fall 1957, but later one semester Celeste Kitchen let me take 22 units. 

Then for the Fall Quarter 1959 I was at Northwestern University on a Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship studying Swift with the great Phillip Harth and Wordsworth with Zera Fink. In Evanston I locked up Scott Hall at night to earn my food, but I never once had to go out to whorehouses looking for a brakeman at 2 or 3 in the morning, as I had routinely done in Port Arthur. 

Since August 2019 I have kept the newspaper photograph pinned up and look at it in total bewilderment.  When did I get a necktie and where was the jacket from? 60 years! 67 years and a few months since I left high school after the junior year to help support the family. And here we are at the end of 2019  packing dozens of bankers boxes of books and papers and taping them and dollying and then carrying them to the Post Office five at a time, now and into the new year, sending my Melville Collection to the Berkshire Athenaeum in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, 57 years after I hitchhiked there from NYC to work in the Melville papers in the old Athenaeum with third graders at 3 pm the only other users of the library. And after all this time the reviews in the TLS and New York Review of Books, the latter by the great critic Helen Vendler who read the 18,000 lines before coming to the Pittsfield meeting for the centennial of CLAREL in 1976 where (to one man's hysterical denunciation) I "performed," as she said then ("Your students must love you."). And memories of working at the Athenaeum year after year, decade after decade, and what I learned there and kept on learning there. Taping five boxes a day is enough. Mailing the boxes the next day is enough. 84 is old. Older than any of my grandparents ever were except Alice Bell Costner. With any luck, by the time the last boxes are shipped I will have outlived her, and can focus on writing ORNERY PEOPLE.

Friday, December 13, 2019

High waves--no beach at all

Bleeding palms from trying to open medicine bottles--one of the indignities of age

Older peoples' ability to open medicine containers is impaired by several conditions affecting physical and cognitive functioning. Many elderly people who are unable to open medicine containers do not receive help with their medication, particularly those living in their own homes.

Thursday, December 12, 2019

Waste not, want not--bird finds a little more nourishment

One little household adventure after another

2 Photographs. The Ticket Agent at Amtrak Last Week Said He Had Never Met a Railroad Telegrapher

"You did peep peep peep?" he said, meaning to imitate the sound of International Morse. No, I said, we did click click click. "Gene Autry was a railroad telegrapher," I said, but he did not know who Gene Autry was. It was 60 years in August when I quit the railroad. I have been thinking about the way with a newfangled bug you could hire out anywhere. Railroad telegraphy was a lifetime job.

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

3 Photos of today's skillet bread--cheddar cheese bread

1908 Lincolnton Conclave wi some Rudisill cousins and other kin

This is more than a little terrifying but it is not a Klan meeting. It depicts NC men in one of the faddish secret societies of the 19th century, the Heptasophs, satisfying men's need to bond by dressing up in fancy costumes.

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Today we began shipping Banker's Boxes of books to the Berkshire Athenaeum

We can do five a day, both going to the PO and me using a dolly. This is going to take a lot of the winter, but we have a system worked out and a high plinth for working on so my back does not go out. The organizer read the PO fine print and negotiated from the top down and got the staff familiar with the regulations (which were easy to misread). We just have to show up every couple of days so everyone knows what the routine is. When you are busy packing and lifting you do not have time to regret letting go of anything, not even letters from Jay Leyda and others.

The Rock from a mile north and the Still benevolent Dolphin