Saturday, August 24, 2002

Lecture given by the late Dr Islyn Thomas OBE to the Madison Rotary Club in New Jersey in 1967.

Evans arrived in America in 1792 with burning ambitions to preach the gospel and to raise money to conduct an expedition to investigate the Welsh Indians. He carried letters of introduction to several worthy Welshman in Philadelphia and elsewhere, including a Dr Samuel Jones. He received very little encouragement from the Welsh settlers who strongly urged him to abandon the idea of such a quest, mainly on the grounds that the Indian tribes were savage and dangerous.

International politics now reared its ugly head. In the closing years of the eighteenth century, four nations were still battling for the right to rule the North American Continent. John Evans, a Welshman, arrived in St Louis at this time. Here was an inquisitive stranger, without visible means of support, crossing into Spanish territory with some wild story of looking for Welsh Indians.

The Spanish officials, conscious that British spies would give much to learn of their plans, decided that Evans was an English agent, rather than a harmless crank, and he was put in gaol for a considerable period. The Spaniards, however, were determined to find out more about Evans' aims and they eventually came to accept that his mission was simply a quest for Welsh Indians. They also realised that he had received little support from the Welsh settlers and that he was a potential ally, in that he was embittered by a lack of support from his fellow countrymen and that he had no particular love of the English. Could Evans be won over to the Spanish cause?

And so Evans was cajoled, coaxed, bullied and flattered into becoming an agent of Spain. A prime objective of the Spaniards was to seek out and win over Mandan territory. How better to achieve this than to employ a man who possibly had some kinship with the Mandans, and better still, who spoke their language?

Evans travelled 1,800 miles in 68 days with the Spaniards, arriving back in St. Louis in July 1797, from where he wrote to Dr Samuel Jones in Philadelphia:
'In respect to the Welsh Indians, I have only to inform you that I could not meet with such people and from what intercourse I have had with Indians from latitude 30 to 40 I think that I maysafely inform our friends that they have no existence.'
This was a bitter blow to the theory of the Welsh Indians as far as the Welsh were concerned. If a Welshman as enthusiastic as John Evans had been, could only report failure, that must be the end of the matter.

Yet the very brevity and finality of Evans' letter and the fact that he never left St Louis, make this negative report strangely suspicious. Mr Arthur T Halliday's great-grandfather was convinced that 'Evans never returned to Philadelphia because he lied to his friends about the Indians.'

A P Nastair, and even such an authority on Indian and particularly Cherokee history as Mrs Penelope Allen, tell another story altogether about Evans and his motives. Mrs Allen points out that Evans made his report after a search of only six months and that in some of his earlier reports Evans 'appeared to be none too careful with the truth and inclined to be boastful.'

There seems little doubt, that for better or for worse, Evans had decided to stay with the Spaniards and that at their request he wrote the letter stating that no Welsh Indians existed. What better evidence was there to rebut a British claim to Mandan territory than the statement of a Welshman, who had come to America solely to discover Welsh Indians?

Mr Halliday's great-grandfather added a postscript to his memoranda on the subject by stating in 1803 that Evans 'when heavily in strong liquor bragged to his friends in St Louis that the Welsh Indians would keep their secret to their graves because he had been handsomely paid to keep quiet on the subject. He added that in a few more years there would be no more trace of any Welsh ancestry or language as time and disease would eventually remove all traces.'

Evans was intelligent and he could draw maps, but it seems far more likely that the generous treatment he received from the Spaniards was due to his refuting the Welsh Indian story rather than for any other services. Having written his letter to Dr. Samuel Jones, Evans continued on the downward path. He became a cheat as well as a drunkard and was involved in trouble when he took for himself land, which had been intended for others. He died in New Orleans in May 1799, at the early age of 29.

A GROUP of Protestant representatives and churchmen have called on the republican movement to "end its orchestrated aggression" in east Belfast.

"Everybody knows, excepting for those taigs in the Short Strand, that east Belfast is our turf," one spokesman was heard to say. "If any violence or aggression is going happen in these parts, we've got the right to instigate it ourselves."*

*this "spokesman" happens to be a figment of my imagination. He shouldn't be counted on for reliable information.

CNN asks "Who could convince Barbara Streisand to end her retirement from the concert stage?"

I don't know, but I want them found and shot this instant.

Friday, August 23, 2002

Here's another reason why I hate cats.

UPDATE: The Group Captain has another story about feline ferocity. Dog People of the world - let's unite to end this madness once and for all.

Hamster gets lifetime bus pass.

"Dick tricks" = "Something to tell the grandchildren about"


Thursday, August 22, 2002

One of Britains "Top 100 Heroes":

Apparently, the likes of Prince Charles and Laurence Olivier were booted off the list to make way for Mr. Rotten and Tony Blair, along with Princess Diana (yack!) and the Harry Potter lady.

Charlie Bucket could kick Harry Potter's ass in a flash, so the fact that J K Rowling is on the list, and not Roald Dahl is just wrong.

No God! Please, NO!

The Grateful Dead: Rising from the grave

It's not even so much the music of the Dead, as the people that listen to it. One year, BJD (Before Jerry Died), Mr. Garcia got sick and the band had to postpone a bunch of their tour dates. This, of course, meant that there were about 10,000 Deadheads who had absolutely no idea what to do with their lives. So Jerry tells 'em during a show in San Francisco that they should all go to Humboldt, because it's a really nice place. I was living in Humboldt at the time, and I can tell you, they did. All of them. The town of Arcata turned into Woodstock (except there were more toilets and less water tractors), which wouldn't have been a huge problem, except that I'm conviniced that "hippie" is short for "hypocrite". They give sermons on the importance of taking care of the environment while throwing their Kit-Kat wrappers on the ground. They talk about the beauty of peace and love and then treat every non-hippie around them like a piece of shit. They lecture meat-eaters about animal cruelty, then don't even bother to take proper care of their own puppies (they almost always had puppies - you hardly ever saw a hippie with a dog).

There was a particular corner in Arcata where the hippies liked (probably still do) to hang out, just outside of a liquor store on G street called Hutchin's Market. They'd sit outside, wreaking of patchouli and pot, with their puppies in tow, asking passers by "Hey sister, can you spare any change?" One day a few years back, AJD, someone took a black marker and wrote on the wall outside of the store "JERRY'S DEAD. GO HOME". Now I'd like to ask them to please STAY HOME. This Deadhead business is not the sort of thing we'd like to see rise from the ashes.

And somebody please tell that dummy from the Independent that it's Neal Cassady. Thank you.

UPDATE: The VodkaMan was in Humboldt during those dark days, too. "Ugly" hardly begins to describe it.

Wednesday, August 21, 2002

Yes, Patrick, poofs and non-poofs alike qualify for the apology. It's only elitist poofs who do not.

Smoking is a flithy habit. It's smelly, dirty, and dangerous, and I won't defend it here. My umpteenth attempt at quitting earlier this year ended in total failure, so I still do it, but I don't like it. But California lawmakers and anti-smoking Nazis really need a severe reality check.

A few years back a cigarette tax was passed in California by initiative which tacked on fifty cents per pack. People were largely cajoled into voting for this tax with the promise that the extra revenue was going to be earmarked For the Children™. Okay, fine; I'll pay it. Now, meathead Democrats in Suckramento are proposing a MORE THAN TWO DOLLAR PER PACK TAX. This is so outrageous IT WARRANTS BEING TYPED IN ALL CAPITAL LETTERS. How stupid do they think we are (don't answer that)? Do you think that I would opt to pay 50% more for a pack of cigarettes instead of taking a short drive to Mexico or Arizona? Do you think I am the only person that has considered opening a black market retail outfit of my own to fly in the face of this sort of blatant discrimination? Do you think it's going to get me to quit? Because if you do, you couldn't be more wrong. I'll quit when I'm good and ready, and for reasons of my own, not because idiot lawmakers and dumb people who have bought into every lie told by the anti-smoking lobby over the last two decades think they can make me.

This sort of thing is not going to raise revenue receipts; at least not for California. But I bet border-side retailers in Arizona, Nevada, and Oregon would vote for it in a heartbeat.

Today's Juan Gato With Cheese! Award For Stating The Bleeding Obvious is:

Bomber's are damaging city's economy

which has apparently been pointed out to us by the Belfast Telegraph for the benefit of those who formerly believed that explosions improved economies.

Tuesday, August 20, 2002

Matthew Engel, complete, I mean, intellectually challenged individual, on current pro-Iraqi invasion hawks "avoiding" service during Vietnam:

There are similar stories about almost every other prominent rightwing Republican of recent vintage. Newt Gingrich, ex-Speaker of the House, went the Cheney route; Kenneth Starr, Clinton's legal nemesis, had psoriasis; Jack Kemp, Dole's running mate in 1996, was unfit because of a knee injury, though he heroically continued as a National Football League quarterback for another eight years; Pat Buchanan had arthritis in his knees, though he soon became an avid jogger.

Yeah, all true, except a knee injury in sports may cost you a win; a knee injury in war may cost you your life or the lives of others who depend on you. This is why the U.S. military generally forbids people with such injuries from serving. I have petit-mal epilepsy, which means I have very brief seizures from time to time if I haven't had enough sleep or am overly stressed; my condition in minimal enough that I don't even have to take medication for it. This still didn't keep the U.S. Air Force from telling me "no thanks" when I tried to sign up some ten years ago.

Our little Engel just couldn't resist the self-righteous "in closing" bit about how superior his little dwindled empire (with apologies to non-elitist poof Brits...) is to America:

Admission: I did not serve in Vietnam either. My country was not there, and did not ask me, or anyone else. Like those named above, I was unenthusiastic about that war. Unlike most of them, I am profoundly alarmed about the one now being plotted.

Funny, my dad was unethusiastic about that war, too. But he still went when he was called on to do so. Two hundred combat missions between Cambodia and Vietnam, Matty-boy. And he thinks we should go crush Saddam. How's your line now?

Joshua Claybourn has a great takedown of the insipid letter written by stupid Canuck W.R. McFoolgal, or whatever the hell the bastard goes by, in the Hoosier Review. Peter Briffa also responds, in that typical reserved and mild-mannered, yet deliberately measured and to-the-point, English style.

Moosefuckers, indeed. If only this guy had as much class as these guys, whom I hope know we're not going on "aboot" them personally as Canadians.

Monday, August 19, 2002

Any chance that the MoDos and Krugmans and Helen "Pepperpot" Thomases of the world are going to pounce on this one real quick-like?

The Clinton White House asked for Enron's input into a 1995 plan to increase cash flow and credit of opportunities for energy producers -- and then altered its draft report to accommodate Enron's advice, according to documents obtained by Time magazine.

It also gave the Democratic Party $100,000 in 1996 -- Enron's highest-ever single contribution.

This is amazing! A crack team of master researchers in Scotland have uncovered shocking evidence that suggests people become more attractive after you've tossed back a few.

The study of 120 male and female students found drinking up to four units of alcohol -- about two pints (one litre) of beer or four glasses of wine -- increased the perceived attractiveness of members of the opposite sex by about 25 percent.

Further data suggested that after about six pints of beer, people will shag just about anything they can get their hands on, even if the best thing around is the neighbor's dog.*

*This portion of the study was not made public. In fact, it was not even conducted. I just made it up.

Can you say "nasty bigot"?

I'd say something else, but it would be a total waste of time.

Thanks to Juan Gato for sending this one on. I think.