Thursday, September 21, 2017

Lessons from history

Learning by Listening and Reading.

Don't you wish our president would develop these two skills? Those two "skills" along with another that I shall refer to at the end of this scree "might" help him develop some abilities which he obviously lacks.

I certainly had no plan to learn about war and peace by reading about early transportation in America, but the appearance in our Little Free Library of "The Great Railroad Revolution: The History of Trains In America" by Christian Wolman was very relevatory to me. And it was just after my last rant in which I discussed the early days of  air travel during the 40s and 50s. Consider these statements:
  • "Henry Poor, the founder of the American Railway Journal, suggested that the railroads were an agent of national peace and that 'the certain prevention of foreign war' will be one of the numerous advantages of the railroads.”
  • Poor says trains and Christianity go hand in hand as forces for good
  • The Cincinnati Daily Chronicle, in 1843, went further arguing the railroads would bring about permanent peace, reducing prejudices and cementing friendships, calculated to perpetuate the institutions under which we have risen from a mere handful.
  • Wolman, in his book, Engines of War: How Wars Were Won and Lost on the Railways "Far from being a catalyst for peace, the iron horse turned out to be one of the most effective weapons of war invented by man, helping create a far more intense, deadly, link to the type of warfare. The story of the American Civil War can, in fact, be told through the railroads. Only an understanding of the role the railroads played in it can explain how this Civil War became bloodier and more intensely fought than any previous conflict.
  • And McCollum adds, "The scale of destruction and carnage can be directly attributed to the railroads.
Since early childhood I became enamored with railroading. But I had no idea that railroading was seen as a precursor of an American tradition – anticipating that new technical inventions would lead to peace and prosperity for all. Isn't that what we have expected from the computer and its revolutionary' forms of communication? Yet it is now apparent they can also be used for a variety of nefarious purpose.

So what is my take away from this chance personal discovery. It's primarily that we humans have sought to explain/blame world conditions on everything from good luck and chance inventions and even  God's will. But we ourselves and the way we make choices together as humans are responsible for most of the world's conditions which are more threatening to me today than in my previous 91 years.


So much for my reading and thought process. I'll take a few weeks off entertain family and friends before embarking on the rant I am most obsessed with.  I'll try to circulate it more broadly when I finish it.


I was encouraged by several reactions and questions about my thoughts on transportation in the 1940s. Particularly the relationship of bus travel to railroad travel. I clearly remember a variety of medium and long distance travels by rail. San Antonio was quite a center for the Southern Pacific Railroad. It was the half way location for train travel between Florida and California and my grandparents home was only a few blocks from the historic and architecturally dramatic depot. East and West bound trains arrived each day about noon. How interesting to see tons of ice added in each of the passengers cars as a source for early air-conditioning.  What fun to sneak chips of ice to suck on for our own personal cooling.

What a thrill then to take that train traveling east and go about 500 miles to my first Marine Corps base in Lafayette, Louisiana. Military leave time provided me with a number of trips by train which was far superior to any bus travel at that time. And what a fascinating experience to take the troop train from Lafayette to Savannah, Georgia and Marine bases on the East Coast.

Upon being commissioned as a Second Lieutenant at Quantico, Virginia, I took my first flight from newly opened National Airport In D. C. to San Antonio via now-defunct Eastern Air with about four stops on the way to San Antonio. After two weeks leave I was headed for Camp Pendleton, California again taking the railroad from San Antonio to Los Angeles.

Indeed train and planes provided long distance travel and it was only for short trips that we took the bus. My most memorable bus trip occurred upon being discharged from the Marine Corps at the Corpus Christi, Texas Naval Base. The remarkable aspect of that was that in going to the bus station I discovered that the Firestone Tire Store had just received four tires that my father had been searching for to get our Model A Ford running again. During the war, tires were rationed and he kept having flats. Upon learning that the tires would not fit into the luggage compartment of the bus, I prevailed upon my three buddies to join me in holding them on our laps for the 160 mile trip.

I've been busy lately traveling and involved with a new project. Much of that will be answering questions again on REDDIT"S Ask Me Anything  And I've also discovered a new venue where I have been invited to share my writings,

I then  PLAN THAT MY NEXT BLOG WILL CONCERN RELIGION and the community that churches provide their attendants. You might recall that it is one of the five factors that have shaped my life although I NOW CONSIDER MYSELF AN ATHEIST rejecting the lifelong teachings I've been exposed to about a god in heaven, the virgin birth and a life in heaven after death. Yet because of what churches have the potential to provide I still find myself a member of and attendant at a variety of churches. You see, along with a number of other factors, I feel religion has not only been a major cause of the world's problems, but I also feel that is the only through a proper understanding  relationship between religions that the world problems can be solved.

IN THE MEAN TIME..................

I'd like to encourage you to take time to read a lecture/sermon that should be read by our PRESENT president about an aspect of his character I find he lacks -  HUMILITY. The advice was given to former president Barack Obama at Washington's National Cathedral upon his second inaugural by Methodist Minister the Rev. Adam Hamilton.

I hope you'll take the time to listen to it in its entirety. I think you will see why president Trump asked that there be no sermon before he would agree to attend a similar service this last January at The Washington National Cathedral.

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