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Issues

Yes, I know there is something wonky going on with the website when you are using the mobile/phone version.

No we did not switch to a new format. You should know better than that. It takes us years to talk about it, then after deciding, it takes us another year to implement it. Which in the meantime we change our minds.

Use the site on your laptop, tablet or work computer or whatnot till we (Howard) figure it out.

General Edward Porter Alexander (Part 6)

The Army of Northern Virginia was really feeling the pain from the federal blockade so Lee decided to invade the giant storehouse to the north in Pennsylvania. General Meade was the new commander of the federal army and the Gettysburg battle was the result related in part one. Meade was a good officer so he was left in charge. Lincoln decided that to end the war was General Grant would be the man to take over as supreme commander. With nearly 250,000 men and 582 guns, Grant attacked Lee.

The desperate battle took place over the same ground where Hooker had met with disaster, the Wilderness. The result was nearly the same only Grant didn’t retreat back across the river. Longstreet was shot though the neck with a serious would that cut the nerve and left his right arm useless for the rest of his life. A union battery “dropped a beautiful 3 shot group” and Alexander’s horse Dixie caught a 2 inch piece of shrapnel in her neck about a foot behind her ear. She let out a scream as she reared on her hind legs. Alexander tried to dismount as it appeared she might fall on him, but his spyglass strap hung on the cantle of the saddle. He managed to break the strap and jump clear.

Poor old dixie was running here and there with flying blood everywhere when one of his mounted officers asked he should put her out of her misery. It appeared that an artery was cut, but the officers couldn’t get close enough for a decent brain shot with his pistol. The faithful horse’s life was saved when they decided to herd her close to the supply wagons so they wouldn’t have to carry the saddle and gear so far. It turned out to be only a flesh wound and she recovered in 6 weeks. After the war she was retired to a farm in Georgia.

When Grant hit the brick wall of Lee’s army in the Wilderness, the feds couldn’t believe they were actually continuing the fight by making a quick march to Spotsylvania Courthouse. On May 7, 1864 it turned into a footrace with Lee coming in first. The butternut scarecrows dug in with bayonets and tin cups. In contrast, the federal troops had plenty of picks and shovels. Sharpshooting and artillery fire was hot and one of Alexander’s 24 pound brass howitzers caught a 12 pound solid shot nearly straight down the bore. The muzzle was slightly elongated, but otherwise unharmed. Colonel Frank Huger ordered a crew to remove the shot. He loaded it into a 12 pr. Napoleon and fired it back. He said ” it apparently knew the road”.

The fighting at the Bloody Angle was some of the most horrific of the war. Hand to hand was the normal of the day with bayonets stabbed into the faces between log parapets and point blank musket fire doing brutal damage. A 2ft oak tree was cut down from musket fire alone.

Alexanders’s boys were loading a double charge canister as fast as they could ram it down the bore at 2 to 3 shots per minute. A carpet of blue covered the field while the ditches were filled with the dead and dying. The 15 days of combat at the Wilderness and Spotsylvania resulted in 11 generals killed and 36,000 casualties from both armies. Grant was just getting warmed up.

Jim Hoag Colt Longslide

From Pistol_Purview

Colt longslide “gun by committee.” The slide was made by master Jim Hoag, using a new GI Colt National Match slide. Hoag was the master of welding two slides together. His welding and machining skills were leagues ahead of anyone else at the time…maybe even now. After all, if someone wants a 6” slide now, they simply just buy one. John Miller of Marietta Ohio, a former US Army MTU armorer, fit the slide and a very scarce Smith & Wesson 6 inch NM barrel to a Colt 70 series frame. Of interest is the fact that Hoag made the front sight wider to mate perfectly with the Bomar rear .125 notch, for a perfect target site picture. Also the trigger guard was not squared in the traditional manner, but rather was done at an angle to match the angle of the grip frame. In the late 1970s and early 1980s 1911 long slide pistols were all the rage, that is until comp guns made the scene. This is a very special gun, made by legends, for a legend. I’m honored to be it’s steward.

https://www.instagram.com/pistol_purview/?hl=en

Welcome To The Interregnum

We are living through a very liminal time right now. I have heard a lot of people expressing distress about it lately. I ran across this article earlier and I think it may at least giv eyou something to think about. I know everyone here is an old salty dog that is never chocked or surprised or upset but y some off chance that a mortal makes their way here, it may help

Authored by Chris Martenson via PeakProsperity.com

We’re between things.  It’s an uncomfortable place.

We are transitioning from an old story into a new one and that has folks feeling anxious.   By “we” I mean everyone on the planet.  If you find yourself with a deep sense of unease, yet unable to quite pin it down, you will find this article extremely helpful.

The old story of endless growth on a finite planet is winding down.  Whatever replaces it won’t be a continuation of the past.  Things are going to have to change, whether we like it or not.

Put more bluntly: the easy times are over, and a period of disruption has begun.

It may be many years or even decades before thing truly settle into a new equilibrium (of sorts – there really isn’t any such thing in this ever-changing universe).  The old will fall away even before the new has arrived. That process has already begun, hence the nervousness, anger, and fear.

My day job is serving as an information scout, an ambassador of the unknown, and because of that I’m acutely aware of the degree to which people are already worn down, burnt out, and unable to process any more.

Folks are so exhausted by the trials and tribulations dished up by the crazy-making machine fondly referred to as “2020,” that many are paralyzed.  Unable to take new actions because they are overwhelmed.

Yet, as I wrote recently, no choice IS a choice.  When so much is changing and so much is on the line, remaining frozen with anxiety is as much a determinant of your future prospects as taking swift action – each sets one down different paths promising different outcomes.

Truthfully, there is much that can be done that will contribute to a more resilient future for yourself and for the world.  But first we have to know where we are.  We have to sketch out the map as best we can, even if the edges remain blanks with little more than “there be monsters” scribed at the borders.

To orient properly, you must be aware of the idea that the Age of Growth is over.  We are now entering a Post-Growth era. Our task now is to settle into a very different existence – one with fewer ‘things’ and less ‘stuff’, but also offering more meaning and worthy challenges.

Like any good adventure, a little danger is involved.  But nothing quite so dangerous to your soul’s journey as wasting your life on trivial pursuits.

The Interregnum

The gap between reigns when the old king has died but the new successor has yet to be decided is called an interregnum.  It can also refer to the gap between first learning of something and then finally understanding its deeper significance:

in·ter·reg·numnoun

a period when normal government is suspended, especially between successive reigns or regimes.

– an interval or pause between two periods of office or other things. “the interregnum between the discovery of radioactivity and its detailed understanding”

I love this word because it perfectly matches our current state.

One feature of an interregnum, where power hangs in the balance, is that it’s a very uncertain time.  Anxiety rules the day because nobody knows how things might land.  It could be good for them personally, or very bad.  The old king was good.  His successor son is an already hated petty tyrant.  Perhaps a different, better successor will somehow manage to claim the throne instead…

This sort of uncertainty is a potent source of anxiety. Which is why an interregnum is the cradle of people’s most deep-seated fears.

The old king is gone.  Nobody knows who or what is in charge right now.  Is it humanity’s deep technological prowess or is it Mother Nature herself?

Does our destiny lie in our own hands or have the die already been cast and we’re simply awaiting to see how unfortunate of a roll it’s going to be?

Is there still time to sort out a decent solution to our many predicaments and problems, or have those moments already been wasted?

Nobody knows at this moment.  But the uncertainty is hanging thick.  Corrosive.  Emotional.  Explosive.

Welcome to the interregnum.  May the odds ever be in your favor.

Demoralization

Now while the above may sound depressing, as I’ve written before the better term is demoralizing, and there’s a very important distinction between the two terms.

Depression is a reaction to current circumstances. It can be treated with talk therapy to resolve an inner conflict, or temporary chemical rebalancing.

Demoralization, on the other hand, is what you experience when your cognitive map no longer aligns with the actual circumstances of life:

Rather than a depressive disorder, demoralization is a type of existential disorder associated with the breakdown of a person’s ‘cognitive map’. It is an overarching psycho-spiritual crisis in which victims feel generally disoriented and unable to locate meaning, purpose or sources of need fulfilment.

The world loses its credibility, and former beliefs and convictions dissolve into doubt, uncertainty and loss of direction.

Frustration, anger and bitterness are usual accompaniments, as well as an underlying sense of being part of a lost cause or losing battle. The label ‘existential depression’ is not appropriate since, unlike most forms of depression, demoralization is a realistic response to the circumstances impinging on the person’s life.

(Source)

Did you catch that? Demoralization is actually a realistic response under certain conditions.

Those conditions are manifesting themselves now. Which means that the waves of dispiriting statistics we’re seeing are not ‘bad’; they are telling us something important.

People are right to be deeply disturbed by the ways in which the main narrative of their culture no longer maps to reality.  Worse, the Endless Growth narrative is killing life on this planet and therefore harming each of us in ways both overt and subtle.

More and more people are detecting that, and that’s a good thing. Because that’s the necessary first step in crafting a new narrative and adopting a different model that hopefully serves us better.

We often say here at Peak Prosperity that if you’re feeling anxiety (or demoralization), it means that there’s a gap between what you know and what you’re doing.  Since you can’t unlearn something, your best course of action is to change your behavior.

To take action to better align what you know with what you do.

I totally get the frustration, anger and bitterness on display in politics all across the West right now, but these are almost universally misdirected at the wrong targets.  Whether by intent or accident, this is usually the case and heavily supported by a media system that actually promotes divisiveness over unity, and isolation over connection.

(Source – PeakProsperity – The End of Growth)

Bottom line: If you are demoralized there’s nothing wrong with you.  But there is definitely something wrong with the larger situation.

If you know someone who is demoralized, don’t try to ‘fix’ them by helping them fit back into their old lives better.  The problem isn’t with their ability to adapt.  The problem is they are already adapting to what is coming.  They’re ahead of the curve, not behind it.  They just see the new curve before you do.

With that critical framing for the word demoralization, we can now go a bit deeper.  But first, I want to introduce an important term relating to demoralization: Zozobra.  It describes a potent sensation one might experience during an interregnum, especially if demoralization is in play.

Zozobra

I came across this article very recently and have now read it a few times. It’s pitch perfect.

It neatly captures the context of demoralization.  By naming it we can begin to understand it, know its presence, and reduce its unconscious hold on us:

There’s a word for your overwhelming anxiety, and it’s “zozobra”

Nov 3rd, 2020

Ever had the feeling that you can’t make sense of what’s happening? One moment everything seems normal, then suddenly the frame shifts to reveal a world on fire, struggling with pandemic, recession, climate change, and political upheaval.

That’s “zozobra,” the peculiar form of anxiety that comes from being unable to settle into a single point of view, leaving you with questions like: Is it a lovely autumn day, or an alarming moment of converging historical catastrophes?

The word “zozobra” is an ordinary Spanish term for “anxiety” but with connotations that call to mind the wobbling of a ship about to capsize. The term emerged as a key concept among Mexican intellectuals in the early 20th century to describe the sense of having no stable ground and feeling out of place in the world.

This feeling of zozobra is commonly experienced by people who visit or immigrate to a foreign country: the rhythms of life, the way people interact, everything just seems “off” – unfamiliar, disorienting and vaguely alienating.

According to the philosopher Emilio Uranga (1921-1988), the telltale sign of zozobra is wobbling and toggling between perspectives, being unable to relax into a single framework to make sense of things. As Uranga describes it in his 1952 book “Analysis of Mexican Being”:

“Zozobra refers to a mode of being that incessantly oscillates between two possibilities, between two affects, without knowing which one of those to depend on … indiscriminately dismissing one extreme in favor of the other. In this to and fro the soul suffers, it feels torn and wounded.”

What makes zozobra so difficult to address is that its source is intangible. It is a soul-sickness not caused by any personal failing, nor by any of the particular events that we can point to.

Instead, it comes from cracks in the frameworks of meaning that we rely on to make sense of our world — the shared understanding of what is real and who is trustworthy, what risks we face and how to meet them, what basic decency requires of us and what ideals our nation aspires to.

(Source)

What ‘cracks in the framework of meaning’ could be more profound than facing the collapse of – well – everything?  Our many predicaments exist at all levels from top to bottom.  There’s no safe level on which to ride out the coming storm.  There’s nowhere to run.  There’s only right where you are.

When everything seems “off” – unfamiliar, disorienting and vaguely alienating, then you’re in some sort of foreign land.  You are out of bounds, off all of your known maps.  There’s no sense of place, nowhere to settle down. Zozobra.

When everything is wobbling and up for grabs, you wouldn’t be entirely human if you weren’t experiencing some sort of emotional unease.  AS with the adjustment reaction, an emotional arc is simply a part of the process.  Both unavoidable and necessary.

Those who navigate uncertainty best are those who process the quickest.  As always, having a good mental map, and the right terms, is helpful to that process.

Conclusion

If you are feeling nervous, angry or fearful – congratulations! – there’s nothing at all wrong with you.  In fact, your senses are operating normally, and your cognition is on the mark.  You are having an adjustment reaction, your cognitive map has a better grasp on reality than your culture, and zozobra is par for the course.

The most valuable part of naming and understanding these things is that they lose their ability to paralyze you with dread.

Our emotions are not “the truth”, but rather uncomfortable sensations that serve as an early warning system.  They are like a quantum processor able to parse through massively complex systems and situations way before our cortex can offer any guidance.

There’s also a comfort – a relief – that comes from understanding that our reactions are both perfectly normal and perfectly healthy.

There’s nothing that requires treatment. Nothing that requires medication. Nothing at all to be done about any of it.  Except knowing what it is, getting past whatever paralysis might exist as rapidly as possible, and then taking action.

Because you alone can’t alter the larger trends of ecological destruction, monetary printing, insane political responses, etc. and so forth, all that truly remains is for you to align your actions with what you know to be true.

And there’s so much to be done.  Soils need to be rebuilt.  Waste streams reformed into nutrient loops.  Energy efficiency to be built into the next generation of – everything.

The lists are as endless as they are exciting. And you can play a role, both at the individual level as well as contributing positively at the collective one.

Yes, there’s a “great reset” coming.  Whether it will be controlled and precise or a nature-driven chaotic mess remains to be seen.

But right now, you need to make a choice: You can either actively shape your future or wait to be shaped by it.

I’m all about controlling what I can and leaving the rest behind.  Maybe you are, too.

If so, then you’re part of our tribe here at Peak Prosperity.  We’re busying preparing for what is increasingly likely to consist of more macro chaos than control.

You know, to avoid being demoralized with an overwhelming sense of zozobra during this interregnum.

In Part 2: Moving Ahead With Purpose, Optimism & Grace we provide further essential grounding for persevering through the coming change, and I share the latest steps that I’m taking in my own personal life to dive head-first into the interregnum with positive and enthusiastic intent.

I plan to meet the future on my terms. Will you?

Harvey’s Casino Bombing

Harvey’s bomb was probably for me the biggest event, or the biggest bombing case I was ever involved with.

As the case developed we came to know that John Birges Sr. was the principal person involved in this case, along with his two sons, two other accomplices, and his girlfriend.

He needed money. His restaurant business was failing. It was an extortion to get money to save his business. He chose Harvey’s casino because he had lost money there. He said in this very involved letter that the device could not be disabled or moved. And that if the demand was met he would give instructions as to how to disable the bomb.

This device was a pretty sophisticated, quite complicated piece of machinery unlike anything we’d seen before, or anybody in the bomb disposal business had ever seen before.