Friday, December 25, 2015
  Year-end whatever

Realized that I should maintain the tradition of a year-end or Xmas entry.

This was a complicated and tiring year. First two months were spent completing the latest (and LAST) courseware version. After that I delved into electronics for a few months, which was fun but not highly productive. Summer was too hot to think. Then November brought a windstorm and an 8-day power outage, which stole some of my 'gumption'. Now my tropism is more toward coziness and comfort food than thinking or building. Other residents of the 8-day zone seem to have suffered a similar loss, based on one observable symptom .... For several years Xmas lighting had been multiplying rapidly. This year most of the formerly bright houses are undecorated. Too busy surviving and recovering and shoveling to worry about lights.

Atypically, the most positive developments this year were external: the rise of Trump as a genuine Populist, and Putin's decision to fight the USA STRONG monstrosity. We still don't know how the Trump thing will turn out, but he has demonstrated FIRMLY that Populist sentiment is widespread in this fully fucked former so-called "nation". We can predict the outcome of Putin's resistance with more certainty, since the USA STRONG monstrosity is already starting to back down in Syria. FINALLY.

Instead of a winter scene, I'll show this warm summer scene, bringing Mr Sun back into the picture for the first time in many months.

Closer up:


I described this place earlier. It was a gas station built into a cave in the 20s, active through the 40s. I explored it in '65, when it was just about ready to collapse. The cave itself was presumably older; before the 1908 flood it would have been facing the Kaw directly, not far upstream from the junction of Wildcat. History indicates that the original Polistra (or Poliska) townsite was near the junction of Wildcat and Kaw, and mentions that a cave was one of the dwellings. Was this it? Possible but unlikely. Other historians seem to agree that the "townsite" consisted of Colonel Park's cabin, which he abandoned shortly after building it. His cabin was on the east side of Wildcat, north of the Kaw, roughly where current Poliska Lane runs.

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Later update: In previous year-end whatevers, I tried to list one or two things I'd written during the year that made sense. This year I couldn't think of any, but one item AFTER this year-end thingamajig probably qualifies. This item on fashionable beliefs is solid and moderately original.


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Later again: The Kansas Historical Society website includes an 1859 letter from Colonel Park to Isaac Goodnow, in which he gives up all claim to his unsuccessful townsite. Park had returned to Parkville, the city that he successfully founded. Note the old-style fs in 'pressed'.

Transcribed closely:

Parkville Mo June 7/59

Yours from St Louis was received. I regret that I did not see you.

It will be entirely out of my power to pay much of any thing this season. I cannot collect enough to meet my present liabilities here. Times are so hard & this section have not benefitted by Pikes Peak emigration. I am willing to sell any of my Manhattan property at a fair price to pay my subscription.

That Manhattan property has been a continual drain on me from the begginning. I am getting tired particularly when prefsed at home. I think you are too fast. That country hardly wants a college yet. We perhaps had better have waited untill times are better. Yet under the circumstances, if you can financier it through, you will certainly be entitled to great Credit. It is a noble enterprise and where sure foundation ought to be laid for the future. The future is of Great promise. I shall be happy to aid you as soon as I am able for I have confidence. Respectfully Geo S. Park.


Why was Goodnow more successful than Park? Both were pioneers with an anti-slavery vision. Has to be a difference in talent. Goodnow had a unique way of 'financiering' rich backers and smaller donors. After he had enough visible money-force behind him, he was able to persuade both buyers and politicians that his venture would survive. And it did.

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Polistra was named after the original townsite of Manhattan (the one in Kansas). When I was growing up in Manhattan, I spent a lot of time exploring by foot, bike, and car. I discovered the ruins of an old mill along Wildcat Creek, and decided (inaccurately) that it was the remains of the original site of Polistra. Accurate or not, I've always liked the name, with its echoes of Poland (an under-appreciated friend of freedom) and stars. ==== The title icon is explained here. ==== Switchover: This 2007 entry marks a sharp change in worldview from neocon to pure populist. ===== The long illustrated story of Polistra's Dream is a time-travel fable, attempting to answer the dangerous revision of New Deal history propagated by Amity Shlaes. The Dream has 8 episodes, linked in a chain from the first. This entry explains the Shlaes connection.

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