31 October 1517 – This Day in History

Happy Reformation Day, y’all.

  1. Sola Scriptura (“Scripture alone”): The Bible alone is our highest authority.
  2. Sola Fide (“faith alone”): We are saved through faith alone in Jesus Christ.
  3. Sola Gratia (“grace alone”): We are saved by the grace of God alone.
  4. Solus Christus (“Christ alone”): Jesus Christ alone is our Lord, Savior, and King.
  5. Soli Deo Gloria (“to the glory of God alone”): We live for the glory of God alone.


And then there is the vampire problem…


The Mid-Term Election(s)

That old film,  Mr. Smith goes to Washington comes to mind.


Bullet Points:

* Does anyone recall Chris Cuomo? I didn’t think so. Some predicted that he’d put a bullet through his head but narcissists don’t often kill themselves. In his case, he may just fade away.

* “There are two ways to conquer and enslave a country. One is by the sword. The other is by debt.”— John Adams

* Q – Elon, what is best in life?

A – To buy Twitter, to see their executives driven before you, and to hear the lamentations of the woke!

* Having four seasons does not constitute climate change.  The fact that it’s colder and the leaves are falling on October 31 does portend an existential crisis.


In Ukraine (and elsewhere)

Critics of the massive US weapons pipeline to Ukraine have long pointed out there’s no accountability or appropriate tracking once those arms enter the country, presenting ripe opportunities for criminals, terrorists, or lucrative black market arms sellers to take advantage.

It was only a matter of time before headlines like this began showing up in international publications – “NBI: Arms sent to Ukraine in criminal hands.” The NBI is Finland’s federal National Bureau of Investigation, and the report is from Finland’s national public broadcasting company Yle, and provides confirmation that arms intended for Ukrainian forces are going outside the country. The US knew about this from the outset but the current regime doesn’t care.

The recovered weapons featured in the weekend national police statement include automatic weapons which were meant for Ukrainian forces. Further neighboring countries have recorded instances of West-provided arms proliferating from the Ukrainian battlefield and into the hands of criminals in neighboring Sweden and Denmark as well.

“Weapons shipped [by various countries] to Ukraine have also been found in Sweden, Denmark and the Netherlands,” NBI Detective Superintendent Christer Ahlgren was quoted in the Finnish publication as saying.

“We’ve seen signs of these weapons already finding their way to Finland,” Ahlgren added. Some of this illicit arms trafficking is being brokered in online forums frequented by criminal gangs. According to more from the NBI lead investigator:

“Three of the world’s largest motorcycle gangs—that are part of larger international organizations—are active in Finland. One of these is Bandidos MC, which has a unit in every major Ukrainian city,” he explained. “We know that contacts and routes are being warmed up, so that they’re in place.”

“Ukraine has received a large volume of weapons and that’s good, but we’re going to be dealing with these arms for decades and pay the price here,” Ahlgren added.


And Because it’s Oct. 31 – 

The Spectre Whalemen

The Specter Whalemen is a story about Captain Reuben Joy, a whaling ship captain from Nantucket in the 19th century. Not only was he a respected member of his community, but he also wooed Mrs. Barnard, a widow, who did not want to know about him. She was much more interested in his second in command, Mr. Ray.

Now Captain Joy’s 13 voyage on his ship was Betsey Ann, sailing around Cape Horn to find whales. The voyage had gone well and the ship’s hold was full of valuable whale oil. The ship was preparing to return to Nantucket when a school of sperm whales was sighted nearby.


The Spectre Whalemen, by Ray Martín Abeyta, 1956-2014

The longboats were launched and the crew approached the whales. The ship’s second commander, Mr. Ray, successfully harpooned one of the mammals. The whale was strong and resisted by pulling Mr. Ray’s longboat into the distance. Captain Joy ordered a search for Mr. Ray’s boat after the others had returned to the Betsey Ann, but Mr. Ray and the other men in his boat could not be found. The next day Captain Joy told the crew that it was time to return to Nantucket. The men protested. They wanted to search again for the missing boat. The captain overruled them, arguing that Mr. Ray and the others had undoubtedly been killed by the whale and that they had to hurry up and return as the boat was now undermanned. Despite their concerns, the men agreed.

As the Betsey Ann sailed up the east coast of South America, she encountered another whaling ship that had recently left Nantucket. This ship was carrying letters from home, including one for Captain Joy. When Captain Joy opened the letter, his face turned pale. Mrs. Barnard had died. A crew member nearby watched as the captain read the letter and heard him say, “Then I have damned my soul in vain. Had he deliberately left Mr. Ray to die?

The following year, Captain Joy again commanded a whaling ship off the coast of South America. As the ship approached the same area where Mr. Ray had disappeared, another school of whales was sighted. The boats were lowered.

Captain Joy and the men in his boat successfully harpooned and killed a whale, but the captain’s sense of triumph was short-lived. A rickety and weathered longboat appeared nearby and as it approached, Captain Joy recoiled in horror. It was the missing boat of Mr. Ray, and it was manned by a crew of skeletons. As they approached, the captain could hear their bones rattling, and he could hear the leader of the skeleton crew shouting orders at his undead crew. Strangely, no one but Captain Joy could see or hear the terrible whalemen.


The Spectre Whaleman. Woodcut from an Almanac, 1841

Captain Joy ordered the boats back to the ship and quickly set sail. As they cast off, the captain looked back. The ghost boat followed them. With a hellish laugh, the leader of the skeleton threw his harpoon. It did not reach the ship, but the captain’s heart grew cold.

From that moment on, Captain Joy met the skeleton crew on each of his journeys. Haunted by guilt and horror, he retreated from whaling and locked himself in his house on Nantucket until he finally died alone and unloved.

– This story is from 1841, and first appeared in a publication called The Old American Comic And The People’s Almanac.


  1. If he were alive today, John Adams would be branded a Hate-thinker. Noticing is Hate Crime.

    Beautiful autumn day here in East Massholia, with temps in the high 50’s (deg F, nacherally). Should be a good night for the kids.

    OT: On my way to the office I happened to be right there at a car accident. Two young women, single drivers, no one actually hurt. The probable cause of the crash was running around distraught, literally with her hands up in the air. Wrecked her boyfriend’s car. Worse, she thought she’d killed the other driver. “I think she’s daid!” Anyway, at least a dozen cars, maybe two, drove by before I could clear the intersection and pull over. Only one other car pulled over. Two Mexican guys, landscaping workers (as it said on their fluoro yellow safety vests) got out to help. This was in one of the wealthiest towns in Massachusetts, full of corporate raiders, hedge funders, MDs, and other wealthy people. There’s a road accident and one obviously distraught person running about, and no movement from the other vehicle. And the only people who stop are two foreign guys who do physical work for little money, and a broke-down “hate thinker” borderline dissident? Not a good look on society hereabouts.

    Turned out the other car’s occupant was fine, just a little shaken up and crying. I had to cut the airbag to be able to reach in, shut off her ignition (Toyota was still running despite the engine being translated about 6” from its normal position – like a Timex: takes a lickin’ …), talk to her, get her unbelted and do a brief physical exam for gross trauma.

    Apart from the Mexican guys I will say that a passing woman on the bike path (a paleface of unknown ethnicity) stopped and said, “How can I help?” But some Chinese woman on her bike just wove her way through the debris field without even a glance at the drama. And 911 had a car with two Staties on site within 5 min. (It happened in a rich town.) I left when the troopers showed up. The two women were okay medically speaking, I could see the fire dept EMS vehicle up the hill, and I didn’t want questions about who cut the airbag and with what. (Spyderco Byrd) Most of the Staties I’ve dealt with hereabouts were fine, but the last thing I needed was to run into one with psych problems about “knife-armed civilians”. It’s sad to live your life in what 20 years ago would have been foil-hat paranoia.

    • Ahh, juss tell the Staties yer a Boy Scout…always prepared. Btw, well done.

      Heading to the post office and came up on yet another single-car wreck just off the edge of the 2-lane highway, everyone looked okay and a couple of ranch trucks stopped. Vehicle had a seriously rearranged front end, no cows were out, and did not see a deer or another vehicle although the deer could have been in the far side ditch.

      • Mikw_C, I’m sure that the accident injury victims didn’t peg you immediately for a hateful climate denier. Then again, she might have been getting around to asking your pronouns when you left the scene. “Who was that unmasked man?” – “I don’t know, I didn’t get his pronouns.”

        If approached by the Massachusetts State Police admit nothing, deny everything, demand proof, make counter allegations, and find a scapegoat.

        That is not my Spiderco knife.
        Does anyone claim that I was holding that knife? If they do, they’re liars.
        It’s THEIR knife.
        It flew out of that black Mercedes Benz! I simply picked up the shank from the street turn it in as evidence to you, officer.

        • You’re just like The Shadow, Mike_C !

          Appearing as from nowhere to do good deeds, and the back to whence you came, before the OmniPolice arrive!

          It’s good you were there, as you say – Massholia. Not too many volunteer helpers, and you;re far more capable than the landscape guys are likely to be. Not that R.I. is any better any more… probably worse.

          Let me guess… Arlington? Am I close?


    • I would have thought H. A. but they were at war with the Bandidos last I heard. Maybe then ran the H.A. out.

      • I think the Angels got in a lot of trouble when they blew up someone else’s clubhouse with a TOW, that time. IIRC, the repercussions weakened their position.


  2. LL, what percentage of the aid (arms and other things) do you think actually make it to the intended end user? Twenty five percent maybe?

    Great short story; certainly fits the season.

    Hope everyone has a happy and safe Halloween.

    Mike_C, kudos for stopping and good choice for a carry knife. It seems as if the percentage of times people will stop is inversely proportional to the population; the more people around the less likely the chances of anyone stopping. Maybe they think “Oh someone else will stop” or something along those lines.

    • Even knives with very short blades are forbidden in those woke communities. The investigation could have quickly shifted to him if he would have stayed. I’d have had to bake an i-pad into a cake or something so that he could blog from the other side of the wire.

      Mike_C’s toxic masculinity would have lead to trouble. I think that the woke would prefer that you just let the accident victims bleed out.

    • “t seems as if the percentage of times people will stop is inversely proportional to the population”
      That seems to be true. I’ve also noticed (from back in grad school when my poor old car would occasionally die) that rich people (or nice cars at least) almost never stop for hitchhikers. It’s rather some broke-looking dude in a 20-yo junker who offers you a lift. But that was decades ago in another country (figuratively), and besides, the Chrysler is dead.

      “Even knives with very short blades are forbidden in those woke communities”
      Yep. While Massholia overall doesn’t seem to have onerous knife laws (it might even be legal to carry a sword), certain cities have their own regulations. Last I checked, in Boston, Cambridge, and Lynn the max allowed blade length is 2.5 inches (6.35 cm in wussified SI units). My office is literally on the Boston border, which is why my EDC is a Byrd “Robin” or some such with a teeny short blade (Byrd is Spyderco’s second line; the trademark hole in the blade is not round like a “proper” Spyderco, but rather sort of teardrop shaped).

      “admit nothing, deny everything, demand proof, make counter allegations, and find a scapegoat”
      Exactly. Always DAMN them:
      Deny everything
      Admit nothing
      Make counteraccusations
      Never change your story

      • I’ve mentioned it here before, but as part of a law enforcement leadership course (SLI) many years ago, we were given orange jumpsuits, were handcuffed to another sergeant/inmate, one given a grabber and the other a black trash bag and were sent out into Old Town to pick up trash. Uniformed officers with shotguns kept an eye on us. The exercise was to view how people treated us and to report back.

        The poor and downtrodden looking would offer quiet words of encouragement. Some would pick up trash for us and put it in the bag. The upstanding looking people cut us a wide birth or would throw down trash deliberately to watch us pick it up. They never offered a word of encouragement or kindness. It was enlightening to me. It’s an experience that I have remembered all these years.

  3. No snow here and reasonable temps, first year in a while here in Northern Colorado the kiddo’s don’t need Arc’teryx expedition parkas under their costumes. Gotta love climate change…or is that just nature doin’ its thing as it eases into Winter? Since I’m not a paid NOAA employee with climate study grants in the bank I figure it’s the natural order of things.

    Took a brainiac businessman from South Africa to restore the First Amendment to a platform run by Lefty’s who are deluded into believing Free Speech is theirs to regulate outside of their playpen.

  4. Mike C, wash your mind out with this. Last Saturday we had a head on crash in a construction zone on a limited access highway in our response district, with 3 fatalities and four additional patients,
    By the time I wove through the snarled up mess to arrive on scene and take command, we had half a dozen people of various abilities already doing patient care. A young couple from Iowa respectfully presented themselves as volunteer firefighters and asked if I could use any help, like it wasn’t immediately evident. I gloved them up and put them to work. They even volunteered to stay and help extricate the 3 unfortunate victims. They were very talented and proficient. I’ve put them on my Christmas card list, wrote a thank you note to their department, and mailed them both T-shirts from our department. There are still good people out in this world willing to step up! God bless them!

    • Proving there are good folks in America, I’d venture to say most of us are of that ilk. May God bless them, and that He also keep you safe out there when the rest of us are sleeping. h/t

    • “There are still good people out in this world willing to step up!”
      Yes there are. And thank you for the story and the reminder. There indeed are many more good people than bad. We just don’t hear about them in the news.

      And thanks LL and the commentariat for listening to me blather over a pretty minor incident. 🙂

  5. Great story about the whalers…the sea never gives up her dead and all that. Reminds me of the scene in the movie (And great book) The Cruel Sea, where the British Corvette comes across a lifeboat full of skeletons. Merchant sailors who survived their ship sinking only to die alone in the North Atlantic.

  6. cognitive impaired congress- there’s a van that goes to the capitol daily loaded down w/ free scripts for the critters which includes several heavy dementia drugs, e.d. pills, and psychoactive/anti psychotics used for schizophrenia and mental illnesses, and enough narcotics for a real good party every day. your tax dollars at work. gives new meaning to “what are they smokin”.

  7. D.C. absolutely loves “accidentally” handing weapons over to criminals, it makes the criminals better armed, and provides the excuse to impose more tyranny on the innocent.

    They are probably mad at the Finns for being ungrateful.


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