Noble Savage

Indian

I recently read an American Thanksgiving-related post about the candy-coating of the Pilgrims/First Thanksgiving story, bemoaning the ill-treatment of the Indians (We’re indigenous – and it’s not India.), by the White Man.

They robbed graves, stole our land, enslaved us, murdered our children, forced their Christian religion upon us and gave us smallpox.”

I already question, and have problems with most of these claims, but the argument is adversarial.  If the Whites are portrayed as ‘Bad’, then the Indians must be ‘Good.’  I simply do not believe that.

The stereotype of the Red Man as friend to Earth, steward of Mother Nature’s glories, is bullshit.  This tale comes from White Man’s Guilt and media, and has been eagerly accepted and rebroadcast by the Natives.

Some years ago, there was a ‘Give A Hoot, Don’t Pollute’ TV ad, showing a bag of garbage being flung from a car onto a highway, and a proud Indian, complete with feather, weeping at the spoliation of the pristine landscape.  Problem was, the ‘Indian’ was really an Italian actor.

When the white man arrived, the Indians didn’t own the land.  They had freehold use of it by right of occupation or right of conquest.  This was the law of the land at that time.  The Whites didn’t steal it.  When they took it, they did it exactly as the Indians had been doing for centuries.

A tribe of Indians would settle in a fertile area, and begin to rape Mother Nature.  It might take several years, but, like a colony of army ants, they would strip it clean.  They would over-hunt and over-fish, until there were no deer, moose, bear, geese or fish.  Population would go up and available food would diminish, until children and old folks were starving, then they would pack up their teepees, and move to (literally) greener pastures.

If there was another tribe where they wanted to resettle, war would break out.  Men, women and children would be tortured and slaughtered, till one group or the other moved on.  The Hurons ousted the Eries.  The Iroquois forced the Hurons out, and they all took slaves from those they conquered.

In exchange for smallpox, the Indians gave the Whites syphilis, a disease unknown in Europe at that time.

Preserving culture and heritage is a great thing, but the world will move on, with, or without you.  My small hometown abutted an Indian reservation.  Back when there were still manufacturing jobs in Southern Ontario, we had four small factories in town.  Indians with sufficient pride and initiative got jobs in them, to purchase food, clothing, TVs and cars.

This was not a matter of ‘the White Man’s way’ versus ‘the Indian way.’  This was “The Canadian Way!”  Those who didn’t take jobs didn’t dress in buckskins, and hunt and fish, or gather roots and berries from the forest.  They sat around in dirty, worn clothing, on the front stoops of decaying hovels that Mississippi Negroes wouldn’t live in, waiting for their next Government cheque, so that they could buy booze.  They weren’t enslaved, or prevented from working, and most of them weren’t Christian.

One proud young Indian joined the Canadian Army, and served in Cyprus, keeping Greeks and Turks from each others’ throats.  He felt he’d like to come back to retire, and began building a house.  Every time he came home on leave, he and his friends and family worked on it, first an excavation and foundation, then framing and roof, later, walls, plumbing and wiring.

After about three years, he came home, and entered his little jewel.  While he had been away, a bunch of the stay-at-home thugs had broken into it and partied – hard! – several times!  They had built a campfire on his unprotected living room rug, burning a hole in the floor, to the basement.  At least they didn’t burn it down.

Beer bottles were smashed.  Broken glass was everywhere.  Holes had been kicked in the wall boards.  There was a large pile of excrement in one corner, but it had been smeared, by hand, on most of the walls.  He threw up his hands, said, “I don’t want to live here anymore.” and never came back.

A mile offshore in Lake Huron, there was a particularly rich area where fish fed.  For years, 3 or 4 fishing boats went out every day, set nets, and brought back hundreds of pounds of fresh fish to sell.  Finally the white man completely fished out this ‘mud hole.’

When the White Man signed a treaty with the Indians, a clause was included allowing them to hunt and fish.  Since fish boats didn’t exist here 200 years ago, it seems clear that the intent was for personal or family use.  The Indians drove a loophole in the contract.  A group of them bought one of the now-retired boats, and proceeded to scrape up the last few surviving fish.

The history of European immigration does not always show the White Man in the best of light, but a close look reveals that the Indians are neither the heroes nor the victims that many would have them be.  Because of population pressure, white men did wholesale, what Indians did retail.

 

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Hysterical History – Part 2

A continuation of Part 1 – bringing us a little more up-to-date on the English Language, and History, through the eyes of teen students.

The greatest writer of the Renaissance was William Shakespeare.  Shakespeare was born in the year 1564, supposedly on his birthday.  He never made much money, and is only famous because of his plays.  He lived at Windsor, with his Merry Wives, writing tragedies, comedies and errors.

In one of Shakespeare’s famous plays, Hamlet rations out his situation by relieving himself in a long soliloquy.  His mind is filled with the filth of incestuous sheets which he pours over every time he sees his mother.  In another play, Lady Macbeth tries to convince Macbeth to kill the King by attacking his manhood.  The proof that the witches in Macbeth are supernatural, is that no-one could eat what they cooked.

The clown in As You Like It is named Touchdown, and Romeo and Juliet are an example of a heroic couplet. Writing at the same time as William Shakespeare was Miguel Cervantes.  He wrote Donkey Hotey.  The next great author was John Milton.  Milton wrote Paradise Lost.  Then his wife died, and he wrote Paradise Regained.

During the Renaissance, America began.  Christopher Columbus was a great navigator who discovered America, while cursing about the Atlantic.  His ships were called the Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa Fe.

Later, the Pilgrims crossed the ocean, and this was called Pilgrims’ Progress.  The winter of 1620 was a hard one for the settlers.  Many people died, and many babies were born.  Captain John Smith was responsible for all this.

One of the causes of the Revolutionary War was that the English put tacks in their tea.  Also, the colonists would send their parcels through the Post without stamps.  During the War, the Red Coats and Paul Revere were throwing balls over stone walls.  The dogs were barking and the peacocks crowing.  Finally, the colonists won the war, and no longer had to pay for taxis.

Delegates from the original 13 states formed the Contented Congress.  Thomas Jefferson, a Virgin, and Benjamin Franklin were two singers of the Declaration of Independence.  Franklin had gone to Boston, carrying all his clothes in his pocket and a loaf of bread under each arm.  He invented electricity by rubbing two cats backwards, and declared, “A horse divided against itself cannot stand.”  Franklin died in 1790, and is still dead.

George Washington married Martha Curtis, and in due time became the Father of Our Country.  His farewell address was Mount Vernon.

Soon, the Constitution of the United States was adopted to secure domestic hostility.  Under the Constitution, the people enjoyed the right to keep bare arms.

Abraham Lincoln became America’s greatest Precedent.  Lincoln’s mother died in infancy, and he was born in a log cabin he built with his own hands.  When Lincoln was precedent he wore only a tall silk hat.  He said in onion there is strength.

Abraham Lincoln wrote the Gettysburg address while traveling from Washington to Gettysburg on the back of an envelope.  He also freed the slaves by signing the Emasculation Proclamation.

On the night of April 14, 1865, Lincoln went to the theater and got shot in his seat by one of the actors in the moving picture show.  The believed assinator was John Wilkes Booth, a supposedly insane actor.  This ruined Booth’s career.

Meanwhile in Europe, the Enlightenment was a reasonable time.  Voltaire invented electricity and also wrote a book called Candy.  Gravity was invented by Isaac Walton.  It is chiefly noticeable in the autumn, when apples are falling off the trees.

Johann Bach wrote a great many musical compositions and had a large number of children.  In between, he practiced on an old spinster which he kept up in his attic.  Bach died from 1750 to the present.  Bach was the most famous composer in the world, and so was Handel.  Handel was half German, half Italian, and half English.  He was very big.

Beethoven wrote music even though he was deaf.  He was so deaf that he wrote very loud music.  He took long walks in the forest, even though everyone was calling for him.  Beethoven expired in 1827 and later died for this.

France was in a very serious state.  The French Revolution was accomplished before it happened and catapulted into Napoleon.  During the Napoleonic Wars, the crowned heads of Europe were trembling in their shoes.  Then Spanish gorillas came down from the mountains and nipped at Napoleon’s flanks.  Napoleon became ill with bladder problems and became very tense and unrestrained.  He wanted an heir to inherit his power, but since Josephine was a baroness, she couldn’t have any children.

The sun never set on the British Empire because the British Empire is in the East, and the sun sets in the West.  Queen Victoria was the longest queen.  She sat on a thorn for 63 years.  She was a moral woman who practiced virtue.  Her reclining years and finally the end of her life were exemplatory of a great personality.  Her death was the final event that ended her reign.

The nineteenth century was a time of a great many thoughts and inventions.  People stopped reproducing by hand and started reproducing by machine.  The invention of the steamboat caused a network of rivers to spring up.

Cyrus McCormick invented the McCormick raper, which did the work of a hundred men.  Samuel Morse invented a code of telepathy.  Louis Pasteur discovered a cure for rabbis.  Charles Darwin was a naturalist who wrote the Organ of the Species.  Madman Curie discovered radio.  And Karl Marx became one of the Marx Brothers.

The First World War, caused by the assignation of the Arch-Duck by an anahist, ushered in a new error in the anals of human history.

 

We’re Not QUITE Hoarders

I previously published a post titled Something For Nothing, where I listed several of the things I do to conserve or make a little bit of money, to help us, and others, in our retirement.  This one shows another facet, with some ideas some of you might want to think about, and maybe try, for a couple of reasons.

Less garbage = more money!

Reduce, reuse, recycle — and reap rewards. Really!

Hoarding gets a bad rap from many.  Some are joking, but many are serious.  Some of my behaviour could raise eyebrows among the non-frugal.  I even prefer to use the word frugal, instead of cheap or miserly.

I save or scavenge things like egg cartons, coffee cans, plastic containers, cardboard boxes and large envelopes. The difference between me and a true hoarder is that I use them, instead of letting them pile up — and they save me “a significant amount of money.”  In fact, such tactics save money in several different, interrelated ways.

For example:

  • The less waste  you generate, the fewer garbage bags you have to buy, and the lower your  disposal bills might be.
  • Buying in bulk  to reduce packaging waste means you get a lower cost-per-unit price.
  • Putting  leftovers into a pickle jar or bread bag reduces the need for foil,  plastic wrap or food-storage containers.

Repurposing used to be common. Outgrown clothes were cut down for younger siblings or reborn as quilt patches. Old buildings were torn down to provide lumber for new projects. My mother poured homemade jam into peanut-butter jars (which used to be made of glass) and sealed them with wax.

These tactics work

In a post on the Silent Springs blog, Vincent Smith suggests that “more thoughtful living” could greatly reduce waste. Why do we throw away an old shirt but buy cleaning rags?  Whether your motive is saving money or saving the planet, slashing waste is a giant step in the right direction.  We do things like buying in bulk to eliminate individual packaging, packing a lunch to cut down on fast-food waste, and bringing our own water and coffee containers.  You don’t need to contribute to that trash can outside Starbucks, overflowing with single-use paper cups.

I do many of these things myself and can attest to their cost-effectiveness. A roll of aluminum foil can last us a couple of years.  A used piece is often not “dirty.”  Wipe it with a damp cloth, to clean and flatten it, and fold it, ready to hold the next sandwich, or piece of pizza. Produce and bread bags get re-used until they shred.

We repurpose empty jars for storage, buying things like spaghetti sauce in Mason-mouthed glass jars, which later hold things like bulk cornmeal.  Wide-mouth plastic jars which held cheap crackers when we bought them, now hold bread crumbs and potato flakes, for cooking.  Not that we attend them anymore, but I have found Tupperware in the free-box at yard sales. A pile of reusable shopping bags lives in a plastic shopping basket in the car trunk.

We buy in bulk when we can, and choose large sizes the rest of the time. We make our own jam (sometimes using foraged fruit).  I’ve mentioned about buying condiments like ketchup and mustard in gallon cans or jugs, and repeatedly refilling the small squeeze bottles, for a fraction of the cost.

Adding less to the problem 

Not that I’m a green saint, mind you. For example, we drink a lot of Pepsi, and buy individual yogurts, both for the wife, who has a small eating limit, and for the son to pack in his work lunch. However, we do recycle the cartons and the plastic containers.

The municipal recycling committee recently complained about the cost of sending around a truck to pick up “air.”  I stomp flat, any plastic bottles or other containers.  As three adults, we often put out less than a Blue Box full of recycling.  The two adults, and two small children next door put out three, or even four boxes every week!

Recycling is not mandatory here in Kitchener, but I can feel it coming.  All allowable organic matter goes into our composters, but the Committee is also bitching that residents are not putting out enough in the City-issued Green Bins, to cover the cost of the disposal contract, so I guess I’m not the only cheapo in the city.  Compost includes tea-bags, coffee grounds and filters, citrus rinds and banana peels.

Bananas contain magnesium.  It’s good for you, and good for plants too.  The tea and coffee contain tannic acid, which also feeds plants, and breaks down the paper to produce good, rich loam to be used in the gardens.  We buy unpeeled shrimp (when we can afford a bit), for considerably less than pre-peeled.  The wife peels them and the casings also go into compost.  As the Indians taught the Pilgrims, seafood makes rich plant food.

We use cloth bags where we can, because local cities allow stores to charge five cents each, for plastic bags. We used to use those in the cupboard-door-mounted garbage container, but recently purchased a new model, and the wife prefers to use the ones specifically intended for it.  I save bags from trips to stores and vendors who do not charge, and use them for kitty litter waste, or carrying newspapers to the crazy cat lady for flooring in her kennels.

Clean ones are flattened and folded and given to our bookstore lady, to cut down on the number of new ones she must purchase.  Soiled or torn ones are accumulated and put out with the blue box, so that someone else can melt them down and re-use the plastic to produce new products.  One of our shopping bags has a little sign on it that says, “I used to be a milk jug.”

While I don’t kid myself about saving the planet single-handedly, there is a fair amount of satisfaction in not adding to the problem any more than we must. Also, it’s nice not to have to shell out cash for things like more aluminum foil, or sandwich bags, and reduced retirement income goes a little further.