Henry David Thoreau got famous because he journeyed 25 miles from Boston to Concord, and lived in a cabin near Waldon Pond, as a Woodsman. He wrote a book about living alone, which was his inclination. They put him on a postage stamp 120 years later. Establishment players of the early 1970s called it, the hippie stamp.

Before Thoreau and contemporaries of Henry David were true explorers and adventurers, telling about treks into the West, in hundreds of published volumes sold to Americans. The genesis of Waldon Pond, 1854, was not contemplation of nature and transcendental rumination. It was Thoreau writing whilst sitting on his butt in the environs of Boston reading poorly, wishing that he had the energy and motivation to get away and experience adventure and the unknown.  He wasn’t a strong reader; he lacked much imagination. But being at the forefront of modern writing, he would derive, crib and adopt passages – what should be put into a book of nature along with pouting about his sorry miserableness: I chopped a tree; I saw a bird; there was a footprint [also something also noticed by Robinson Crusoe]; a raccoon came abegging [in the West raccoons steal by stealth, if they can.] This was all 25 miles from Boston, next to one of the towns where the American Revolution seventy years before began in April 1775.

Thereupon, plus connections, Thoreau became known and his book, ever since, has beleaguered high school and some college students in the United States of America, The story and the author’s life are lies. A better book is What I Saw In California, Edwin Bryant, published in 1848, based upon the author’s on-edge 1846 travels by wagon and mules to California and around that territory. He returned east in 1847. His description of the Donner Party and the recovery efforts are disgusting and disturbing, more so than any horror film made today. He met all the significant people in the territory. Bryant Street in San Francisco is named after him.

So read the real thing, or read a book by a mentally ill crackpot wondering whether he should leave his pond-side pad and pondering whether he’ll have to evacuate because wildfires will burn the shack or whether there will be 50 feet of snow next winter and he’ll have to dig out for three weeks. 




Too many books, not enough time to read. Right?

These Sketches of the Western border of the Great Basin are encumbered by poor writing. Primarily the author wrote in the first person narrative, making the writing verbose, folksy and impossible to read. I stopped after 46 pages. 

EXAMPLE:  Chapter 2, page 43. 

“Looking toward the east I observed that the white haze thickened and thinned over the face of the sun, as if clouds or varying density were passing there, though no distinct clouds could be seen.”


The white haze thicken and thinned shielding the sun.


  1. When an author uses I, he does not need to say, “I think,” “I observe,” “I wonder,” “I smelled.” The reader infers who is sensing or thinking and is recounting.
  2. There is a regrettable sentence structure requiring an unnecessary use of a passive verb at the end of the sentence.
  3. The author tries to describe, completely the haze – thickening and thinning by comparing it to clouds. There are no clouds in Death Valley (as the author’s sentence reveals) for much of the year, especially when sandstorms arise (so tells this author).
  4. The author’s description is unsuccessful. He not only departs from the singular, haze, to the plural, clouds, but the author does not say what is happening: Does the haze block the sun, or not? Does it change the color of the sky, blue, gray, brown or which hue(s)? Supposedly, I is standing on the desert floor, not making meteorological observations, but describing what is happening around him. This text does not seem real.  

EXAMPLE: Chapter 2, page 46, begins,

“As was said in the last chapter, people have read, from time to time, that men and beasts, and even birds trying to cross Death Valley fall down and die. It is true.”

The next paragraph begins, “I did not see this, of course.”

There is no SUBSTITUTE, only ANALYSIS:

  1. The author, using I, is detached from the subject.
  2. The place is known as Death Valley.
  3. As far as my reading went, of course, I, the author of this book did not stroll across the Valley and describe the effects on the human body, the mind and illusions that may appear to the sensations, which he can write about. This book is wholly deficient. In Roosevelt, Theodore, Ranch Life and the Hunting Trail, the author describes being exposed and riding through the blizzard to shelter, all the while using I infrequently. Any reader of Roosevelt’s book is amazed by the details of being human in that environment and on that land. The reader is alarmed. Will the author survive? And as a piece of literature, the reader wonders how the author remembered everything to write into a passage.


When using the first person narrative upon telling a tale, a sketch or an experience, use I sparingly or not at all. Use of I carelessly leads to poor writing, too many words, awkward attempts to be familiar with readers, confusing the story, and presenting misimpression’s (details, misconceptions, misinterpretations and using the wrong words).


On October 11, 2018 I posted this blog. I reread it because I was going to pass it on, and I hoped errors I found were not posted earlier. I corrected, as much as possible, the errors and am now reposting. There are another 100 or so words.

The Monday headline on the Real Clear Politics site read, Heitkamp Tries to Explain her ‘No” Vote to Kavanaugh to Constituents.

She should get credit and cache for having consistent views with the following and recognizing disqualifying features to Kavanaugh. She’s on the side of James Madison. Kavanaugh is on the side of Mark Judge.

  1. Kavanaugh’s opinions about Executive Immunity have no Constitutional basis, neither in the present nor in the 1787 Philadelphia Convention where nothing like it was ever proposed. It was not brought up in the Reports (Transcripts) of the 1788-1790 State Conventions ratifying the Constitution.  

       NOTE: James Madison repeatedly stated the 1788-1790 State Ratifying Conventions transcripts were the legislative histories of the Constitution and its contents. They have that legal impact. 

      Kavanaugh’s article was written by a practicing, experienced lawyer of many years. He was old enough to know better, and to be informed. He did no research; there was no reflection. Yet the tenor of the arguments are of the quality of a term paper by a sophomore trying to pass a political science class at an Ivy League school. Indeed, Kavanaugh kept his calendars. Likely, Kavanauth kept kept this sophomoric paper to enlarge and publish when he had made the right connections. It wasn’t polished; it is not well written.

II.  The Constitution keeps sovereignty with the American people, not with the government and certainly not with the Court. The American people have rights despite what the Court says only belong to the people. Ask Madison.

      Right to Life; End of Pregnancy. This issue is one of religion. Some religions prohibit the end of pregnancy under all circumstances, and other leave it to the consciousness of the female. No woman wants to become pregnant in order to end a pregnancy. Ending a pregnancy is an extremely personal, riveting and agonizing decision.

      How does ending a pregnancy play out under the United States Constitution on religious grounds? Opponents of ending a pregnancy claim Religious Liberty to advance their cause. Religious Liberty is not at issue; those people have the liberty to say anything and believe what they want. They have the ability to proselytize. I wish them well, provided they use faith as the bases of their arguments, and no other force: They must convince Americans not to end pregnancies. They must act as Jesus Christ might. However, through their actions and inabilities to convince, they lost those arguments culturally, socially and politically in the Sixties. They can still make their arguments and convince today.

      The same social forces that allowed end of pregnancies to become lawful, also tolerated the sorts of actions that belabored the Kavanaugh hearings, after a partial FBI investigation. However, religious liberty does not extend to government action. The Establishment Clause forbids any government action in support of religion or faith. In the only liberty James Madison defined by constructing it (Remonstrance, Virginia, 1785), James Madison divorced government completely from religion.

    It is unconstitutional for the government – legislature, executive, courts – to prefer faith or tenets of a sect – over others. Madison called this Freedom of Conscious. Indeed, the sovereignty of all the American people is diminished if the government and its minions are allowed to interfere and interpose in favor of one sect or tenets of one over others. (See Madison’s Remonstrance.)

     Might rights of an unborn cild be protected somewhere else in the Constitution? Under the Ninth Amendment, The enumeration in the Constitution of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people., An American woman has a right to privacy, a right to be left alone, a right to chose medical treatment, a right like any other American to live her life as she wants, and other rights. 

     For a thousand years unborn children under English and American law have been identified as expectancies. It explains the Rule Against Perpetuities, enacted to prevent tax avoidance which is part of each state law of the United States.

     Tort and criminal law treat the unborn (fetuses) with casual indifference. The analyses are macabre. There are no wrongful deaths lawsuits for the death of a fetus; a fetus has no rights. Damages are to the mother, physical and emotional.

      Criminal law offers more excuses, depending upon the term of pregnancy, and whether the fetus might survive outside the womb. But if a fetus is a month old, is killed intentionally during a crime, there is no first degree murder for the death of the fetus; there is no second degree murder for the death of a fetus; no manslaughter, and usually no involuntary homicide is never prosecuted.

     If a woman miscarries after a crime or tort – assault and battery, a rape, auto accident, drug use, is the death of the fetus prosecuted as a murder or manslaughter? NO. 

     Is a woman who renders herself incapable of pregnancy committing a crime? NO.

     The answers to these questions are the same in all states. The reasons why these 

considerations are important: Constructing a liberty, a right, a freedom, rights does not appear from magic, or spontaneously,  from divine intervention or outer space. They are formatted analyses through logic, reason intellect experience and learning.  They first attempt to reflect what society is doing or will understand and accept, politically, intellectually, socially and emotionally – by all Americans. They rely on society as we know it – laws, rules, morals, ethics, customs, habits, norms and usage. To degrade a fetus throughout the society but create a special circumstance is contrary to centuries of interpretation and development of the law, of the Constitution, and of societal values. 

     Kavanaugh himself failed to indicate any of the considerations were necessary,  about the right to life, the end of pregnancy, or any other issue where parallel analyses will arise to construct or to interpret rights under the Constitution. He seemed ready by Supreme Court decisions to rule spontaneously, by impulse and by magic. He is another Roger Taney.  

III. Senator Kamela Harris asked Kavanaugh asked seemingly preposterous question. Can President Trump prevent the immigration of a person [not a citizen of the United States] from coming into the country based solely on skin color? This is the sort of street-level facts confronts any state or federal court in the country. The job of a judge or a justice is to phrase the question so it becomes a legal issue and determine whether there is an answer or how the court through is processes can find one. There is no answer because Congress has not provided one.

      Kavanaugh is thick and slow. He is intellectually feeble; he is a dolt and a dunce. The proper response to Harris’ question [because this is what she asked] is, “Are you asking if non-citizens of the United States enjoy all the liberties, rights and privileges under the Constitution that American citizens have?”

      As mentioned Congress has not acted; it is improbable Congress would exercise its broad authority. In his Report of 1800, an ultimate analysis about the Constitution, James Madison mentioned the rights of non-citizens under the United States Constitution. He did not amplify, but he began the discussion well. 

     The Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution gives Congress authority to set the rules and circumstances regarding immigration and citizenship for the natural born, the naturalized and for persons who are under the subject matter jurisdiction of the United Sates, plus whether residency of any state is also required. 

     It is the job of Congress not the Courts. Congress has not acted. The most important part of the Fourteenth Amendment is Subsection 5: “The Congress shall have power to enforce by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.”(emphasis supplied) This provision gives Congress the authority to which the Supreme Court must defer and follow – unless Congress wants to return to the days of Dred Scott(1857). 

     Kavanaugh’s response to Harris indicates a shallow, unimaginative, defensive, narrow mind. He was incapable of recognizing the legal issue, raising Constitutional questions, and explaining or responding. In law school and taking any bar exam in the country, he would flunk.

Points I, II and III are salient, significant Constitutional points which Kavanaugh failed, and failure to identify and explain. Separately or collectively, Kavanaugh’s testimony required from each United States Senator a No vote. He should not have been confirmed. His behavior as a judge, a jurist and a justice, according to his own words, reveal more flaws. 

However, the people of North Dakota or other Kavanaugh-loving states may not care about ignorance, inability and the United States Constitution. They are of the Roman Hruska school of jurisprudence: There are a lot of mediocre people, attorneys and judges in this country. They deserve representation on the Supreme Court.(paraphrased) Who knows? The North Dakotans might next join Canada: Hey! everyone can light up a joint. Wow! Go blow. Have a toke.


I don’t favor Trump. Why? There is no discussion, no reason, no analysis, no logic and no common sense to the man.

Trump shows up, talks and Americans get cliches, homilies and folksy reminders. Trump believes Americans don’t have to think. He believes he knows which cliches will motivate them to vote his way.

The Left, too, whoever they may be, has its cliches, shorthand utterances that fail to explain and never offer solutions beyond conclusions about issues facing Americans. Obama was filled with them. Did the ACA (Obamacare) solve healthcare for all Americans? Who on the Left says anything other than grunt a phrase that will be inserted into a headline? 

Of the two Trump is the better entertainer. He remembers many cliches, not perfectly to his disadvantage. The Left less so. Most of these words are stated in speech, with obvious flaws in presentation:

The speaker may be forgiven because he becomes entangled 

in a hopeless sentence structure, but not so the writer…The 

speaker can use intonation, facial expression and gesture to 

help where his language is lame, but written words lie quietly on

the page. – Theodore Bernstein

Alarmingly, written words in America are falling to the same weaknesses as the spoken. It is the bane of politicians, journalists and commentators. Watch them all on TV. Yet I have great faith in the American people, to consider, to ponder and to judge, and come to their own decisions. The problem in both speech and writing is the gross overuse of cliches – neglecting facts, evidence and relying on a modicum of research or nothing but feelings and outrage. Indeed, Americans can do better and should always keep George Orwell in mind when listening or reading:

Ready-made phrases are the prefabrication strips of…

words that come crowding in when you do not want 

to take the trouble to think through what you are saying.



Tad Szulc

PASS. The author admits a fatal flaw in his ability to write this biography. He is not a musician, and a knowledgeable reader senses he is not well acquainted with music of Chopin’s tImes or before.

Why would anyone write about Chopin’s relationship with his father in Warsaw before he got to Paris. Why would anyone any biographer wrote about Chopin’s years as a teenager: “It does not necessarily follow…that a child [of]..  a secure home environment will become a secure adult or visa versa.” What this sentence allows the author to do is gas on about relationships between Chopin and his parents, which had no input or through put in his music composed 10-20 years later. 

How to write about Frederick Chopin? Have a rudimentary understanding of the music, and music of his times. Chopin frequently did that Beethoven did, play a measure or a phrase – a definite theme or part thereof – and those notes or part of a phrase or the rhythm becomes a full piece of music. This fractionalization of sound into larger music is what Franz Joseph Hayden tried to teach Beethoven in the early 1790s. Beethoven mastered that. Lizst, Chopin’s great peer, occasionally composed this way.

This approach to composition puts theme, rhythm and counterpoint into play. Chopin developed this form further in some pieces by playing two themes, variations of one another, together. For the performer it requires not only a mastery of the notes but also presents a challenge to interpret the music. Many pianists give ordinary performances.

Finally, the instrument, the piano was evolving during Chopin’s life. What was available in 1830 differed in the late 1840s. In the 1830s the French may have manufactured the best pianos, but 15 – 25 years later the Germans were producing excellent instruments. Part of Chopin’s travels and life was finding a reliable piano, so he could hear what his music actually sounded like, especially later in the 1870s and l880s. 

None of these points is in Chopin in Paris. 


Listening to the Symphony, From the New World, gives a picture of the United States. Dvorak was a Czech composer who is labelled a romantic. But Symphony 9 is an impressionist piece, crossing the music medium into visions of America in 1890. 

That year Dvorak came to America to teach and to compose in New York City. He spent summers in a community of Czech immigrants in Iowa. He left the United States after the Depression of 1893 cut off his $15,000 a year salary.

While on this continent Dvorak found musical composition short. America had home-grown composers, Louis Moreau Gottschalk (died 1869) who composed mostly short piano pieces, many of which Frederick Chopin liked. Edwin McDowell launched two piano concertos, short piano works and a few mid-grade orchestral works before he was committed to an asylum.

America was deprived of music except the popular variety. Like today, little of that lasts longer than a decade. Dvorak began the process with various works, the most notably the Symphony. 

The First movement is the new land, mostly untouched, some mature, yet inviting, mysterious and foreboding. He conveys all that in the movement, together.

The origins of the Second Movement are less complex. Dvorak wrote a Negro Spiritual. Upon arriving in New York, Dvorak engaged an African-American singer to sing Spirituals. Dvorak intellectualized the rhythm, theme, time and tenor of the Spiritual. He composed the movement. 

The Third Movement sounds Native American. It has repeating rhythms and themes throughout their development i.e. a theme, and turn it, invert it, run it slow, run it fast, run it every which way to make the music dramatic. Dvorak succeeded, in this scherzo of the Symphony. 

The Fourth Movement suggests business – an entrepreneurial spirit, through out the land, embedded in the people, the industrial age, a drive found in the wild life – buffalos, grizzly bears. It is not a steady progress but it moves; there is substance and force. At the end Dvorak does not conclude with a grand bang and no definite statement. There are lingering notes sounding like there is no termination of the United States. The country is not finished. Americans have accomplished much and have much progress by example at home. We cannot rest on our laurels. Our work is never done here. The remainder of the world might follow. 

The Founding Fathers recognized this fact. It left sovereignty, political power, with the American people, however joined or disconnected we are.