Wednesday, June 14, 2017

A Cascade Ghost Town and the Trump Fortune

My sons (and dog) and I hiked to Monte Cristo yesterday, an old mining town in the Cascades surrounded by mountains which are still probably full of silver and gold. The town, which is now mostly signs indicating where buildings use to stand and firs and wildflowers taking them over, once had five hotels, and was largely owned (I learned this) by John Rockefeller! Though Donald Trump's grandfather, Friedrick Trump, owned a real estate office in Monte Cristo!

If you don't recognize the name "Monte Cristo," or "Christ Mountain" in Spanish, it is from Alexander Dumas' great revenge novel, The Count of Monte Cristo.  As a young man about to be married, Edmund Dante is betrayed by his ship-mate, "best friend" (who wants his girl), and officials, and sent to prison on an island in the Mediterranean.  His father dies, and he escapes and seeks revenge.  Another prisoner had told him of a great fortune hidden on an island, which he visits and then entitles himself "The Count of Monte Cristo," I think for that island. 

A trail in Monte Cristo is called Dumas Street.  It's about as wide as any mountain trail, but on both sides are broken-down old hotels, or placards where hotels stood, heading up towards the high cliffs and waterfalls behind the town.  (It's beautiful hiking, though we stopped at about 4.5 miles, for a nine mile total hike.) 

Here's what Wikipedia says about Friedrich's business after he arrived in the US from Germany:

"He amassed a fortune operating boom-town restaurants and boarding houses in the Seattle area and the Klondike region of Canada, during the gold rush."

Who knew that the Trump family got its start in places like Monte Cristo and Jack London's Seattle?

Also, there is a memorial to James Kye, a naval officer whose ship was sunk by German U-boats in the Atlantic, and who gave up his life preserver to a kitchen boy and died at sea. (A naval ship is named for him -- he planted the tree behind the memorial, and I think used to live in Monte Cristo as a boy.)

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Out of Egypt: the Woman's Perspective

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The story of Israel begins where Egypt never arrives: with genuine heroes and strong heroines.
What did Jewish women gain by leaving behind perhaps the world's most advanced civilization, and traveling into the wilderness?  

Friday, June 02, 2017

Annie Gaylor's lies about women in the Bible, revisited

Lately I have found myself telling certain skeptics that "You don't give a damn about truth." 

I am not trying to insult the people I say this too.  These words are intended as a slap across the face, to awaken those who treat facts like doormats upon which to wipe their muddy boots, to the shame of not valuing truth for the treasure that it is.  It is a shame to sell our souls to gain nothing more than a point in an argument.   

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And from reality. 
I generally try not to accuse people I disagree with of telling "lies."  But several years ago, in a review here of Annie Gaylor, "Woman, What Have I to do with Thee?" from a John Loftus book, I found I could hardly avoid the word: