Reading the Outlander Series-And Learning! Updated-See Italics Below

For the past few months, I have been reading Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series of novels, about a nurse after World War II, who falls through standing stones in Scotland, and lands 200 years in the past.  Her adventures are totally engrossing, and I have been literally losing sleep, as I hate to close the book, turn off the bedside light and go to sleep.  I have read other novels dealing with time-travel, and I make a point of looking for “anachronisms”, or technology that could not have existed in the past, or characters using terms that don’t exist in the past, either.

Since the first couple of books, “Outlander“, and “Dragonfly In Amber” deal with Scotland in the 1760s, I paid attention to the historical references, and descriptions of life at that time (less most of the modern conveniences we tend to take for granted).  Claire, the main character, travels from Scotland, to France, and elsewhere, and I really enjoyed learning about all those places, and what they were like 200 years ago.  Just the little things, like what Scots noblemen ate for dinner, what they wore, and how they talked.  And how they got around the wilds of the Scottish Highlands.  Claire is already married in 1946, but in 1760s Scotland, she marries again!  Funny, but she doesn’t really mention to her Scots “bastard nobleman” husband, Jamie Fraser, that she’s already married, when they marry as a way of saving her from being burned as a witch.  I did learn a lot about the rise and fall of “Bonny Prince Charlie”, and the revolution that wasn’t, and that totally devastated the Highlands after the Stuart supporters lost the Battle of Culloden to the English Earl of Cumberland and his troops.  Their “scorched earth” policy was just heartbreaking, and Gabaldon’s descriptions of how many Scots lost their land, their homes, and their families, and many starved to death, were eye-opening to me.

I also liked learning about the Highland clans, especially the Frasers.  I live in Washington State, and we are just south of Vancouver, British Columbia.  Now, I know more about Lord Lovat, the elder Simon Fraser, after whom the Fraser River and Simon Fraser University are named! [And, I learned why the Irish sometimes call their children “chislers”. There is an old Gaelic phrase, “Mo Chuisle”, that is an endearment meaning ‘my child”.]

Right now, I’m about halfway through “A Breath of Snow and Ashes“, which has Claire and Jamie and their families in North Carolina in the 1770s.  I was introduced to some early American history of which I had been totally unaware until now!  Funny, when you learn about the American Revolution in school, history texts mostly discuss activities in the northern colonies.  I learned about the “War of the Regulation” in the Carolinas, an early uprising against the British governors, that was put down at the Battle of Alamance (which Claire, Jamie, and their son-in-law participate in).  This has gotten me interested in what was happening before the Revolution in the South, and I intend to read further on the subject.

Claire is tricky and resourceful, and doesn’t shy away from trying to re-create modern conveniences in her medical profession in the 1770s.  I was fascinated at the descriptions of how she managed to grow her own Penicillin mold and make a useful antibiotic solution for her early-American patients.  And I did have to chuckle at her “invention” of a makeshift hypodermic syringe from hollow snake fangs!  It did the job, however, and enabled her to save a life.  She also manufactures her own ether, and has a local glass-blower make her the apparatus to administer anesthesia, previously totally unknown, and not to be “invented” until 100 years later! And then, there is her daughter (with Jamie), who invents matches, another item that won’t really come along for another 100 years.

I am totally enjoying Outlander, and learning about times when people had things much harder than we do today.  I also find the time-travel parts of it fascinating, especially when they discover others who have some to the past through “standing stones” in other lands.  I think more modern characters will turn up, and give everyone something to think about.

What the Mainstream Media Keep from You-The Iran Deal

So, what do you think of the “deal” the Obama Administration has “negotiated” with Iran (the world’s greatest sponsor of terrorism)?  The people whose opinions I value most ALL think this will be detrimental to world order, arm more terrorists who shout “Death to America!”, start a Middle East nuclear arms race, and spell the possible death of the State of Israel, the ONLY working democracy in the region.

Did you know that there was a huge rally in Times Square, in New York City (whose population is heavily Jewish), on Wednesday evening, AGAINST the deal?  Funny, neither did I.  Well, now you know.  Copy this story.  Send it to all your friends.

Going Hillsdale and AEI-No Social Security or Medicare for Me

I guess that makes me a risk-taker. I am currently 66 years old, my full SS retirement age, which makes me Social Security and Medicare-eligible.  A couple of years ago, I made the decision to reject both SS and Medicare. I am gainfully employed, and expect to be employed for the foreseeable future. I am VERY fortunate to be married to a man nine years my junior, who has 35 years with his employer, and makes twice what I do. I am covered under his company medical plan, and expect to continue to be. I object to my doctors having to choose treatment for me according to “what Medicare will pay for”. I’m damned if I’ll have some faceless bureaucrat in Washington DC telling my doctors what’s “allowed”.
I’ve already started in a small way, being self-sufficient in health-care. My hubby’s plan has prescription drug coverage, but I do not use it. I take a bunch of prescription medicine for my chronic disease (psoriatic arthritis), and I pay every penny of the cost myself. All my medicines are generic, and I have a great relationship with the Costco pharmacy 6 blocks from my house, so I know I’m getting the best prices. It makes me feel great that my doctors and I, not some insurance company, determine what medicines I take, and how much to prescribe (my doctors write in quantities of 100, so I get even better pricing).
So my life is free from the worries about having enough money saved for retirement (not retiring!), and how to maximize my Government Dole Payment (Social Security).

Here’s another good reason to reject Social Security-a story that just hit the news this week.

Oh, I almost forgot!  The reason Hillsdale and AEI (American Enterprise Institute) are in my title is that neither of those organizations takes any government money.  That makes them independent of any government control over their institutions-remember that if you or your organization takes even ONE PENNY of government money, the Government Controls You.  So I support both of them, because they can always use more citizen support.  I urge you to do the same.

Update to Coining a new Phrase- “Going Hillsdale” AND “Going AEI”

Central Hall, Hillsdale College


You are probably aware that I am a big supporter of Hillsdale College in Michigan.  And that one of their main claims to fame is that they do not accept one red cent of government money; that enables them to teach the liberal arts exactly the way those arts should be taught.  Hillsdale’s refusal to accept any funds from ANY level of government means that they must do extra fund-raising so that their students can have financial aid for their education.  And I just now made the connection to my own decision to accept no Social Security or Medicare money from the government that increasingly attempts to control every aspect of citizens’ lives.  This also applies to how I purchase prescription drugs, outside of the pharmacy benefit that comes with my insurance.  I purchase ALL of my medicine with my own money, so my doctors and I, not some insurance bean-counter, determine what I take and how many I buy.

Update: I also just realized that the American Enterprise Institute in Washington DC, a conservative think-tank that promotes and studies free people and free markets, also accepts no government money.  So that title changes yet again!

So, this leads me to change the title of my post from January of 2013.  It should now read, “Going Hillsdale and AEI”, No Social Security or Medicare for Me”.

Dear readers, give this some thought.  How much of your life does the government control, due to money (earned by other taxpayers) redistributed to you?

Weekly Photo Challenge…Symbol

People pray at the most powerful symbol of enduring Judiasm.
People pray at the most powerful symbol of enduring Judiasm.

This is the most powerful Symbol of my People, The Jews.  This is the Western (or Wailing) Wall, in Jerusalem, the last remnant of the Second Temple, destroyed by the Romans in the year 70CE.  When I was there, in 2007, this took me, and shook me to my core.  A constant reminder of the plight of my people, all down their history.  And a reminder that my people endure, scattered throughout the world.  We all say, at the end of each Passover Seder, “Next Year in Jerusalem”.

Celebrate Independence Day


DeclarationThe Declaration of Independence, along with the US Constitution, is arguably the free world’s finest attestation to the values that underpin the world’s most influential Republic.  Reflect on it today, and contemplate the consequences if Americans embrace tyranny right here at home.  Think about the phrase, “Consent of the Governed”.  Does that still resonate here, in the land of the EPA, the land of the “Affordable Care Act”, the land of the $135,000 fine for refusal to violate one’s religious beliefs?  Think about it, while you’re enjoying the fireworks tonight.


And give thanks to those Founding Fathers who bequeathed the Greatest Nation on God’s Green Earth to you.