This is an open forum for those of you who would like to get anything off your chest. It takes the place of the usual Sunday Sermonette, so if you want it to be an on-line confessional, please keep it clean. The comments section is there for your use.

As in times past when I posted an open forum, there was a suggested topic if you’re not sure what to chat about.

When was the first time that you “Saw the Elephant”? What were the circumstances?

The phrase seeing the elephant is an Americanism which refers to gaining experience of the world at a significant cost. It was a popular expression of the mid to late 19th century throughout the United States in the Mexican–American War, the Texan Santa Fe Expedition, the American Civil War/War of Northern Aggression, the 1849 Gold Rush, and the Westward Expansion Trails (Oregon Trail, California Trail, Mormon Trail).

During the 20th century the phrase faded from popularity but when historians started taking note of its recurrence in historical newspapers, journals, and literature they often summed the elephant up too quickly and categorized it as a negative experience. Desolation and sadness may have been one trait of “seeing the elephant”, but it was certainly not the only or even the most prevalent. More often, American pioneers of the Overland Trails talk of the excitement and anticipation of heading west to see the elephant. Elephant “sightings” often begin with excitement and high ideals only to be disappointing or disenchanting. The high excitement followed by the low frustrations are what epitomize the elephant as something most wanted to “see” but few would have wanted to “see” again.


  1. If I was a comsymp leftist, educated at Satan’s Vatican and spoonfed by the NYT, Rachel Maddow and NPR, I might say the Elephant was Russian Collusion.

    But I’m not, thank God.

  2. The elephant is the symbol of the party to which I vote for – the Republican Party. Not that these guys have done a bang up job lately, and have had to submit to the ideas of Donald Trump grudgingly over the last 4 years. And many in ‘my’ party still hate the guy (Never Trumpers).

    • First, the Republicans seem to be the only game in town unless we want to be communists, so to that extent, I’m an elephant.

      Second, I’m not all that pleased with the spine or the teeth that the Republicans have shown (yes, they have tusks at times) as a general rule. Their commitment to the Bill of Rights is spotty instead of stellar.

      President Trump isn’t really a Republican, not a conservative, but he’s done more to save the republic than anyone in recent memory. His commitment to disengage us from costly, wasteful, foreign wars is admirable. He’s in it for the country, not the cash, and that disturbs a lot of people whose rice bowls were broken.

      • Trump admits up front that he is not a “conservative.” In especial, he isn’t as he does not sacrifice practical in the face of the principle. This does lead to points of disagreement between he and I on certain matters; however, that refusal to bravely die on a hill but reorganize and go around said hill has probably done more to -save- conservativism in this country than any elder statesman valiently rising above the fray to nobly lose in futile but grandiose last stands.

  3. I’m largely with Fredd on the voting issue. While not terribly happy with the elephants, the donkeys are insane. Never has a political cult had a more appropriate symbol.

  4. Saw the elephant in 1965 on the East German border. A house was partially in the east zone. A family occupied the portion not walled off on the west side. Their side was nicely painted, the other side weathered. That sight made me realize just how stupid governments are.

    • Do tell.
      I was in a maintenance company (small arms shop, 74 to 77). My buddy and I were sent TDY to the 11/ACR for some repair work. Wound up at one of their border camps for a week. Got a look (at distance) of a guy in a guard tower wearing a different uniform. Not that I had and doubts, but many things came into clear focus at that moment.

      I very much enjoyed this book–“The Liberators: My Life in the Soviet Army” by Viktor Suvorov. Felt a certain kinship to the between-the-lines theme of the book–My God, if the other side ever finds out how effed up we really are.

        • RHT447
          My God, if the other side ever finds out how effed up we really are.

          New Years Day, 1965, 0130, V Corps called an alert. The rumor mill was over a million in maneuver damage resulted. Yeah, like there would have been one Ivan or Rad on the other side sober enough to attack.

          Don’t know if they were still doing it when you were there but we had at least one alert a month and had to be at our assembly point ready for war in two hours. We never knew, except for December 7th, when one would be called.

        • I have this image in my head of two grizzled German vets from WWII leaning on a split rail fence, watching us in action and mumbling to each other “How did ve loose the war? Nicht verstehen”.

          • Well, that and declaring war on the four largest nations on Earth, simultaneously, some on the other side of the planet, with a country the size of Texas that had no navy.

            All we had to do was bother to stay in the fight.


            P.S. – yeah, they had New Jersey and California on their side too… big whoop.

  5. Having glimpses of a pygmy elephant in the past, I believe what we will see soon will be like a rampaging tusker intent on stomping us into raspberry jam.

    • My first HAHO (high altitude, high opening) training jump at night (with night nav) that called for an ocean landing, 3 miles off shore, in the fog.

  6. #1 Equipment failure at 120 ft. Distinctly remember telling myself over and over “ you panic you die “
    #2 , another diver ,female as it happens, jerked regulater out at about 80 ft, flooded my mask in the process. She was pulling for the surface hard as she could, I dumped my bc while looking for spare regulator. After a breath of air, cleared mask, got her settled and slowly ascended. Stopped at 10 ft, for 10 . On the boat with air to spare. That was my last dive , 20 years ago. Something about trouble comes in threes.
    Then there was that time 20 miles off shore, in 25 knots of wind, never mind.

  7. I know that God’s modus operandi is to confound the “wise” with foolishness.
    This is a spiritual battle and dependent on God as the last election showed, where the polished machine lost.
    The “smart” set wants Biden.
    The “rubes” want Trump.
    They want him bad enough to pray for it.
    That’s my Open Forum contribution.

    • I’m in there with daily prayer that this Evil will be taken from us. I don’t pray for specific candidates or outcomes, only that God will take care of removing this Evil that pervades our country. My wife was the smart one that got me thinking along that line. I think this prayer will go on for the rest of my life however long or short that it is.

  8. The only thing that comes to mind is the time I got between a very large 750VDC power supply, and Equipment Ground. As I blacked out, I saw everything turn purple, with golden stars coming down from somewhere. I immediately thought “This must be death”. I came to a few minutes later, across the room, sitting on the floor, my back against the wall, heart pounding, and covered in sweat.

    I’d been bit by electricity many times before, but this should have killed me. I guess I’m lucky that that time the electrons didn’t have my name on them.

      • This was the output of a full-wave rectifier connected to a 480V, 100A service. You get about 750VDC with very low ripple. It fed a three-phase inverter to produce variable frequency AC (6Hz to 60Hz) that allowed you to control the speed of a standard three phase, 480V motor. I had my oscilloscope connected across one of the SCR’s in the inverter, which required me to “float” the ‘scope 750V above ground by defeating the “Green Wire” (ground) in the power cord. Had my left hand on the door of the enclosure, and bent down to listen to what I thought was an unusual noise. My right elbow touched the case of the oscilloscope, and BAM! Across the room I went oblivious to everything.

        I still have a small crater in my right elbow…….

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