Wednesday, May 23, 2007

There Has Got To Be A Way To Set This To Music

"Many thousand human lives –
Butchered husbands, slaughtered wives,
Mangled daughters, bleeding sons,
Hosts of martyred little ones,
(Worse than Herod’s awful crime)
Sent to heaven before their time;
Lovers burnt and sweethearts drowned,
Darlings lost but never found!
All the horrors that hell could wish,
Such was the price that was paid for – fish!"

- - from a poem by Issac Reed

I found this happy little verse in The Johnstown Flood by David McCullough, Simon & Schuster, New York, 1968 (pg. 250). We’re coming up on the 118th anniversary of that first amazing experiment in overland recruitment. It was SO SUCCESSFUL that we followed it up swiftly with a second recruitment festival in 1900, in Galveston.

McCullough covered a lot of territory in this book, but he moved a little too fast. If he had slowed down and CHECKED HIS FACTS he would have realized how many people supposedly "killed" in the course of the story NEVER MADE IT onto the burial lists or even the lists of known missing. Another major oversight was his casual mention of occluded fish baffles. Here’s my advice: NEVER TRY TO BAFFLE A FISH.

Part of the value of this book to us is in recognizing that the landscum see our recruitment festivals as natural disasters...Let’s start with the word "natural." This one in particular is wryly called a ’natural’ disaster by the author because it was supposedly caused by human error, in creating and maintaining the South Fork dam. It never crosses their tiny little minds that WE were the prime movers in that operation. We simply were not getting enough recruits from the few rich guys who played on the reservoir formed by the dam; they weren’t the sort we wanted anyway. So splat went the dam, and next thing you know we had THOUSANDS of new recruits, many of them quite willing as it turned out.

As global warming progresses, the weather will only get WILDER and the recruitment festivals MORE AND MORE SUCCESSFUL. I wonder if we can possibly hope to match the recruiting numbers Squinky, my Pacific Zones counterpart, racked up after that undersea eathquake? That one must have impressed Dagon himself...herself...what is Dagon anyway, huh?


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