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Saturday, October 27, 2012


Saturday, 8:15 AM.  32 degrees f, wind W, calm.  The sky is darkly overcast except for a band of gold on the eastern horizon.  There is some snow and very heavy frost on rooftops and parked cars.  It was the kind of morning one really wanted to stay in bed, and it warranted a heavier jacket for our walk, one with slash pockets for bare hands. Winter is upon us.
        This is the time to spot the buckthorn in the woods, as it still has green leaves, as do most of the other invasive or more southern species.  I brought in all the remaining green tomatoes yesterday and they will ripen, although they will have rather thick skins. 
        The lemon tree has been in for a while now and has not lost any of the several dozen little lemons it developed during the summer.  The trick now will be to baby it along, be sure it is properly  watered and fertilized and not disturbed, and maybe we can harvest  some lemons by spring.
        I was brought up in a totally different era, which often leaves me nonplussed, and a total anachronism in the world of today.  For example, as a youngster I and my friends often spent Saturday afternoons at one of the several movie theaters in West Allis, Wisconsin, watching…what else…cowboy movies. 
        Ah, cowboys!  Heroes then, often vilified now.  “He’s a cowboy!” “Shoots from the hip,” “shoots first and asks questions later,” doesn’t even kiss (yuck!) the heroine until the end of the movie, and maybe not even then. Cowboys said “Mam,” and “Howdy.” A cowboy is now considered an unsophisticated clod,  certainly not worthy of emulation.  And, how unabashedly violent it all was!  How well I  remember the daily introduction to Tom Mix, one of my favorite radio shows; (loud gunshot) then, “Git ‘im, Tom?”  Answer, “Got ‘im!”  Talk about politically incorrect.
        But there were some good lessons to be learned from those old westerns.  First, the good guys wore white hats, the bad guys black hats.  You knew where everyone stood.  No gray hats.  The good guys were “straight shooters.”  The good guys didn’t lie. Or cheat.  Or take advantage of the weak.  They drank their whisky straight, but not too much of it. They were men of action, didn’t talk much. But push them, and you wound up on the floor, and maybe dead.
        My cowboy heroes were no cowards.  They didn’t ride off and let the Indians capture the wagon train, or the outlaws terrorize the town.  If the showdown was in the street at high noon, the hero was there to face death with honor.  Kind of like a Marine, come to think about it.  And you always knew the day was saved when you heard the cavalry bugles sound “charge!”
        No deals with the bad guys, no situational morality.  No parsing of language, nothing depended on “what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is.”   The Lone Ranger didn’t abandon Tonto, nor the other way around; nobody got thrown from the train, to paraphrase today’s popular political phraseology.
        Why  am I going on like  this?  Mostly because I am disgusted with the wriggling and squirming over the Benghazi mess, the finger pointing and obscuring of what happened and when, as the longer this goes on the more obvious it is that what happened was either directed by or approved of at the highest levels.  Nobody is wearing a white hat, except for the poor stiffs on the ground in Libya who were sacrificed for…what, a political ideology of some sort that got out of hand? 
        If the whole thing was a complete screw-up, where are the people to admit to it and take the blame, to say and really mean, “the buck stops here”?  Hiding under the desk in the oval office again, I suspect.  I would reward those with the courage to take the blame, it would be a refreshing change from the wimpy pass the buck game we usually see. 
        If I say I wish there were some real cowboys in Washington today I will be reminded that George W. Bush was a cowboy, and look what that got us.  “W” at least took the blame for his actions.  Whatever else anyone says, he didn’t  hide under his desk.  Or have the “school marm” under it.
        I am so, so very tired of everyone being “cool,”  and “hip,” and whatever else the current street vernacular thinks is fashionable.  Give me Tom Mix, or the Lone Ranger, any day.         
        Hi Ho Silver, Away!

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