Basilica of the sacred family Barcelona, Spain


Living on acres of land, as I do, it strikes an odd string in my heart when you would step out of your home…onto the sidewalk and then the street.

And then they proudly point to the backyard where they have a cement pond.  Now that’s living. I guess.

I lived in a couple of locations when I lived in Scotland, England and Ireland that were row-houses. When you’re young, the world is your adventure to be lived. When you get older and yearn for a life of quiet contemplation, it’s different. You reset priorities.

Maybe the rules are less hard-and-fast as you age? It’s like my rule never to buy pre-made sandwiches. You look at the photo below and realize that rules are made to be broken.

Hopefully, you know enough that when you see a barn that’s leaning precariously, you know that the seasoned wood can be re-purposed as paneling by using a plane and a router to create shiplap that’s worth a pretty penny. Knowing those things usually comes with time.

It’s like learning to cut and split the wood you’re going to use for the fire to build up coals to cook your freshly caught trout. You have to find a seasoned, dead tree. You chop it down, knowing that when a tree dies, the sap runs to the bottom,  so the wood near the stump will catch fire far more easily and will burn hotter, and give you coals for cooking quicker. You can eat the trout sooner.

So runs the sermonette.




The Naval Chaplain 

– OR – What if LSP had been part of Nelson’s Navy?

The Chaplain was a warrant officer who held during the 18th and early 19th century the same wardroom rank as the master and the surgeon, but, unlike these officers, his position was not essential to the day-to-day running of the ship. As a result, very few were allocated to ships of less the third rate status. Although chaplains messed in the wardroom, in ships of the line they were generally berthed in a cabin within the gun room, situated at the after end of the lower gun deck.


Divine service as it is usually performed on board a British frigate at sea, by Augustus Earl 1836

All chaplains entering the navy during this period were clerics of the Anglican Church. Their main duty, which followed the requirements upheld by the Articles of war, was to hold divine service every Sunday for the entire ship’s company, irrespective of whether crew members were Roman Catholic, Scottish Presbyterian, etc. Besides attending to routine burials, they also held services of thanksgiving after battle. In many cases, their previous training in theology, the classics, and languages often proved advantageous, enabled them not only to bring spiritual and social relief during long periods of sea but equipping them also to translate intercepted foreign despatches.


Sailors at Prayer on board Lord Nelson’s ship after the Battle of the Nile, by John Atkinson 1816

Pay for naval chaplains was relatively low and, although this was given a marked increase to about £ 12.10s.0d per month in 1812, the wage had always been supplemented by an allowance of one groat or fourpence for every crew member listed in the ship’s books. His extra income, therefore, depended on his parish, which in a first-rate with a complement of 850 could be £ 14.3s. 0d.



The Popularity Contest




Parting Shot

Those of you who have followed this blog have occasionally seen photos of my grandchildren. Thank you for suffering in silence from a proud grandpa. This is a photo of my youngest daughter with her little boy, Mikey, my youngest grandson, at the pumpkin patch.

It seems like only yesterday when I took Emilie and her three sisters to the patch to get their carving pumpkins.  sigh…


  1. life is short, but you will live on in mikey…..yesterday i saw several headlines about kamelface cancelling her plans and running off to kali in a hurry. today i went back to read the rest and can’t find any. wth? a former secret service man says it looks like they are keeping ol joe on the move perhaps for elevated threat level.hmmm, couldn’t be those 200 seals lurking about? …happy sunday, LL.

    • There will come a tipping point when killing politicians for sport will become fashionable. The 200 SEALs and the rest of the retired SF community who they want to destroy as mad dogs may decide to be the threat that they want to paint them as.

      I moved into the wilderness so that I wouldn’t be goaded into that situation. But there are a lot of dangerous men who are around and I wouldn’t want to piss them off. They’re not wild eye’d rag heads in search of 70 Virgins. and a river of honey. They’re cool-headed professionals with their own kit, and friends and networks, and an understanding of tradecraft. They are people who worked on their own and honed skills. They’re not the smug woke generation.

      The course that I used to teach in Planned Political Kidnapping was canceled (maybe forever). I asked why and the answer came back that some mandarins thought that sort of training could be used domestically. It made me laugh, and then I thought about it. There have been thousands of people over the years that went through my little course.

  2. Belarus and Transdnistria are +8 and +14, and Czechia is only +26 ???

    I think not knowing anything about the countries is a major factor here.

    Pumpkin time is a good time for kids.


    • I couldn’t agree more. The Czech Republic is a fun place to visit. Wonderful people. I have friends in many places including Bulgaria, some of whom even follow the blog at times. Beautiful places and people. Warm times, friendship, scenery, culture.

  3. As I’ve quoted here before, “All truth wealth is biological.” (Bujold) You’re a rich man, LL.

    Zen cartoon: for some reason most of the atheists I’ve met are FAR more energetic proselytizers (and more offended if you demur) than most religious folk I know. And the latter includes Muslims who literally pray five times daily. Amazing amount of energy expended to browbeat people into sharing the belief there is nothing out there. “Is Nothing sacred?” (SM Stirling)

    • You can argue that religion is the opiate of the masses. And maybe, cynically, that’s why Russia is now a Christian country. I am of a different opinion, of course. Atheists are an unhappy lot who want people to wallow in their sorrow with them. Maybe they simply hope that they won’t be held to account and that the scales won’t be balanced.

      I am a VERY rich man, Mike_C. A very rich man indeed. And woe is the day that somebody harms a hair of their heads.

  4. Our memories make is seem like yesterday, at the same time the present makes it seem like a century ago. Our seven month old grandson put on his stern “Winston Churchill” face while contemplating the stem on his first pumpkin.

    There is much practicality in where we live now at this age, but I will always miss stepping out on the front porch and hearing nothing but the wind in the pine trees.

  5. Now that’s a proper pumpkin patch…and joy on those two faces. The good stuff.

    Was always that October right of passage; going to the patch, picking one out that fits the bill, carving it with some goofy look, then waiting for twilight (the non-vampire kind) to see what the lit candle inside did.

    Mom always made a fresh pumpkin pie. It was the best of times.

    “The fire”. A resounding ‘Yes’ to your prose. Now I need a rainbow or walleye to recreate those times when we pulled the canoe up on shore, started the small cooking fire and fried up one or two of our catch.

    • Around age eight, my Dad was the Section Foreman for the Moffat Tunnel and we lived at East Portal. He and I would hike to a lake near James Peak to fish. When he cooked the fish, they were so fresh a lid was needed to keep them in the skillet. Even though cleaned, the bodies still had movement.

      • I grew up with a grandpa and grandma who took me camping and fishing when I was a little boy and those memories endure. There are days when I wish that I could slip back into that little body and be that little boy again. Just to enjoy it one more time. However, I enjoy life now just as much, being who I am today, but in a different way. I still find wonder and joy in a sunrise.

        There was a big flock of wild turkeys (not a case of booze) in front of the house the other day. I thought of shooting one with a .22, plucking it and cleaning it, freezing it for Thanksgiving. But I didn’t do that. I just enjoyed watching them. A lot of joy, in small things, WSF.

        • Small things, yes! In the days before I was to report for Army service, I saddled a horse in Steamboat Springs and rode over Buffalo Pass to a ranch in North Park where I had worked many summers. Spent the night and then rode back. Savored every minute knowing I might never be able to do that again. The trip was somewhat spiritual as I was riding where my ancestors had rode, teamstered, and worked. The trip cleared my head of the turmoil that had been my life and I went to Basic with a clear and untroubled mind.

          • Major hat tip, what an epic ride that’d be.

            Small world…we have friends with a ranch off Buffalo Pass, got our North Park hay yesterday, changed hay suppliers this year. Come to find out they lease some pasture from our friends. Really good people.

  6. Time is a strange concept to me. On most days, I don’t understand it. There is always a yearning within, sometimes swaying in the past, sometimes in the hopes for future. The buddhist mindset of staying in the present seems worth it on most occasions, and then there are other days.

    Hope you’re doing well LL. Monsoon has moved in a new timeline here; change, it seems, is inevitable.

    • In order to live life to its fullest, you must live in the moment with the lessons of the past and hope in the future to serve as a guide.

      If you are walking in tall pines you can get lost and there is a human inclination to walk in circles. If there is a mountain peak that you can see and walk toward, you walk in a straight line. A compass works just as well. Maybe a metaphor for life, my friend.

  7. This is a very powerful post, but if I had been a Chaplain in Nelson’s navy?

    Well sir, the matter’s clear. Answer to the Monkey and Devil take the hindmost.

    You can imagine backgammon, claret and port in the wardroom… That in mind, do you recall the story of a chaplain on Wellington’s initial journey to India who got so ferociously drunk that he appeared on deck naked? The next day, filled with shame and bitter regret he kept to his cabin and stayed there, UNTIL HE DIED.

    Seriously, Wellesley tried to coax him out, apparently, “For goodness sake, be a man…” but no, the unfortunate divine couldn’t face the shame.

    But I wander. As Head Chaplain of Nelson’s navy, I’d have every seaborne cleric reciting Lepanto daily. Yes, this involves time travel on several levels.

  8. Ah, row houses. Reminds me of when I lived up on the North side of Chiraq, almost in Evanston. We had a longer walkway to the sidewalk, and nobody lived “under the stairs”, but quite similar to what’s pictured.

    I just didn’t like living in The City, and my girlfriend at the time couldn’t understand why I didn’t want a nice Engineering “office job” where I could wear a nice shirt and tie, and some (her words) “decent shoes”, into work each day. I liked my work boots, and couldn’t stand being in a hamster wheel all…day…long. I’ve been rained on, snowed on, covered in mud, gotten filthy beyond belief in factories, been up to my waist in “raw sewage” in flooded lift stations (“It’s only 10% solids”), and had less than steallar job site accomodations in remote areas.

    And I wouldn’t trade a minute of it for an “Nice, Clean Office Job”. Nope, just not me.

    I’ve had good pre-made sandwiches from little out-of-the way delis and diners. I will NOT buy an egg or tuna salad sandwich from a 7-11 or gas stations. The sandwiches shown are the type I’m talking about.

    Recovered wood is wonderful stuff.I always wonder about the building it came from. One of my friends in SoCal lived next door to some people that built their entire house from recovered wood they got from the harbor area. Weird design house, but the woodwork in it was amazing.

    We’ll be carving pumpkins here in a couple of weeks. My son brought all his halooween decorations with him, and between what SLW and I already have, we show have quite a show this year. Special lighting, fog machines, spooky audio piped out to the walkway….almost the ‘whole 9 yards’.

    Neighborhood kids should love it!

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