Tag: New York

What Is It About The Electoral College?

electoral college

The Electoral College has recently been the subject of heated debate. However, most of what I’ve seen and heard makes it clear not too many Americans today understand why and how the Electoral College came to be. This is not all that surprising, given the state of our public school system. The truth is that, at one time, the Electoral College was not controversial at all. This was because people understood how it worked and why it was put in place.

Today, more than a dozen states have joined in an attempt to remove or circumvent the Electoral College. This is because Hillary Clinton lost the 2016 election while receiving a majority of the popular vote. However, if you examine how that popular vote broke down, Clinton received a large number of votes from densely-populated urban areas like New York and California. In fact, if you remove California, President Trump would have won the popular vote by 1.4 million votes.

This is a somewhat flawed argument. You could arbitrarily remove any state’s electoral votes and the outcome could be altered in some way. But, it still illustrates the central point. The Electoral College was instituted to ensure that a President must have broad national support to win. The president is the president of the whole nation, not just president of the most densely-populated urban areas.

Article II, Section I of the U.S. Constitution states:

Each state shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors, equal to the whole Number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in Congress.

Article II, Section I of the U.S. Constitution insures that each state retains equal representation in presidential elections, exactly like they do in Congress. It is genius and it insures a nationwide “fair” representation in presidential elections.

The Electoral College was designed to make sure that each candidate took their message to the whole nation, and subsequently won based on national support for their policies. The Electoral College was designed precisely to prevent a situation where a state like New York or California become the defacto policy decision maker for the entire nation. Since its inception, it has worked brilliantly in doing exactly that, sometime benefiting the Democratic Party and sometimes the Republican Party.

One has to ask if those currently clamoring for ending the Electoral College would be doing so if their side had won the majority of Electoral College votes and the election.

electoral college

Perhaps the Electoral College is a victim of its own success. Throughout American history it has shaped American politics in many ways that were beneficial to this country. It only becomes an issue when one side loses a closely contested election and just cannot make themselves accept the results.

For those interested in states rights, abolishing the Electoral College would give the states less power against the federal government. The Electoral College also prevents a strong, charismatic person from using a fickle surge in popular support to consolidate more power and become a dictator.

If you truly understand the role of the Electoral College in making sure the entire nation has a voice in its presidential elections and you believe in fairness and the Rule of Law, it is hard to imagine why anyone would call for its abolition. I can only think of two reasons.

  • You do not understand what it does
  • You are making a power grab, and you can’t win national elections … therefore, you have to change the rules.

Adirondack Bear Tales Gets First 5 Star Review

“An Unbearably Good Book!”

A reader who did not leave a name just gave Adirondack Bear Tales its first review … Five Stars. So, thank you whoever you are. I am glad the stories were enjoyable!

Here is the text of the review:


DC Gilbert has done a masterful job of recreating the Adirondack camping experience of his childhood. Each of these stories involves a personal (or family) encounter with the local Black bears. Not to give any plots away, no bear or human was seriously maimed or killed by any of these stories. If you like a good North Woods story, with a personal touch, then this short entertaining volume is for you.

Bringing back fond memories!

bear tales

I was talking to a friend at the dog park the other night and Joe told me that he and his wife both greatly enjoyed the bear tales.

In previous years, they did a lot of camping on Sacandaga Lake, also in the Adirondack Park. Therefore, they really enjoyed the details in the tales about the camping experience. Joe said his wife called her sister on the phone and she read some bits of the stories to her. They had a great time laughing over the fact they shared a lot of similar experiences while camping themselves. Joe said that his wife laughed several times while on the phone, exclaiming “that’s exactly what we used to do!” Needless to say, we had a great conversation about camping and bears while the dogs romped about.

Moreover, it really meant a lot to me to hear how much they enjoyed reading Adirondack Bear Tales.

I think you will enjoy these Adirondack Bear Tales as well!

You can download a Kindle version or order a paperback from Amazon.com. I would love to hear from some other readers about what you think about the stories in my book, Adirondack Bear Tales. Most importantly, it costs less than a large cup of coffee at Starbucks!

In addition, you can also read other great blog posts by clicking here!

Contest: Adirondack Bear Tale Book Cover

Here are the two covers in the contest!

Will you please help me with this cover contest by picking which cover you like best for my next book. It is a collection of family-friendly tales about true encounters with black bears in the Adirondack Park! I have two cover designs and both of them are pretty good.

contest
contest


Below is the link to the poll. Thanks, in advance, for your help!

Click here to go to the contest page and make your choice. 

Again, thank you for your help with this. Also, if you like military action thrillers, check out my novel, Serpents Underfoot, available in Kindle, paperback, and hardcover from Amazon.com!

Adirondack Bear Tale #9: A Trip to the Laundromat!

Laundry time is always such a thrill in the Adirondacks. For us, it meant a trip to Raquette Lake Village and the laundromat at the Raquette Lake General Store. As kids we would hang out in the store or on the village dock, or play in the old ice storage sheds (the sheds are long gone now) until Mom and Dad were finished with the laundry. It was always an adventure. There are more “modern” laundromats in Old Forge or Eagle Bay, but there was just something nostalgic about the old Raquette Lake Laundromat. We had been using it for generations. In fact, we had been using it before it had moved to its current location at the General Store. I remember it being located for years over near the now since long gone ice storage sheds.
laundromat
This particular laundry adventure involved my sister-in-law, Brenda, who gone in to the village to do the weeks laundry. Brenda had finished loading the clothes, detergent, and the required number of quarters into the washing machines, and the machine started doing their thing. She decided she’d kill some time looking around in the store for a bit. There were always interesting things to look at. And, the store has a real-honest-to-goodness butcher providing fantastic cuts of meat, home-made sausages, etc. The store also carried the best baked good in the region, delivered fresh daily from Mary’s Bakery in Inlet, about ten minutes away. In the laundromat there was one doorway that led directly into the general store as well as the exterior door that led out to the sandy parking lot.  Brenda was just about to head into the general store, when she heard an awful banging sound coming from outside the laundromat. She went to the exterior door to investigate.
laundromat
It did not take long to determine what was causing the banging noises. Near the laundromat sat the store’s dumpster, and standing on top of the dumpster was a medium-sized black bear. The bear had a hold of the dumpster lid on which he was standing, and was rearing back, trying to open the lid. Of course, since he was also standing on the lid, it would only lift so far before his weight slammed it back down with a loud bang! Brenda quickly went into the general store and over to the counter. “There’s a bear out there on your dumpster, trying to get it open,” Brenda exclaimed. “Oh, that’s just Charlie! He won’t hurt anything. Charlie makes regular appearances to our dumpster. We just wait until he’s done before we put try to put anything in it.” Brenda considered this new information carefully for a bit before cautiously returning to check on the laundry. Charlie was still poking around the dumpster but seemed to have little interest in the goings-on in the laundromat. Brenda quickly transferred the clean clothes from the washing machines to some dryers, and went back into the store area. When she later returned some time later to check on the dry clothes, Charlie had apparently moved along. That is what I always loved about Raquette Lake! Even the weekly trip to the laundromat can turn into an interesting adventure. Check out Serpents Underfoot at Amazon.com or here!

Adirondack Bear Tale #1: Golden Beach

Bear Tales from the Adirondack Park

Adirondack Bear Tale #1: Golden Beach

Adirondack Bear TaleIt was dark at the Golden Beach Campground! When the lights go out in the Adirondacks, it gets pitch black. A twelve-year-old girl squirms in her sleeping bag. Her mother had warned her not to drink that last bottle of Coke Cola before going to bed. She had not listened, and now she had to use the bathroom!

What time is it? She wondered. Can I make it until morning? She did not think she could. Working quietly, trying not to wake her parents or her older brother and younger sister, she got herself ready. There was little chance of waking them, as her father was loudly snoring away. All four slept blissfully unaware. The cool Adirondack nights did make for great sleeping.

Reaching for the flashlight, she kept on the floor of the tent by her sleeping bag; the young girl turned it on. Careful not to shine it in anyone’s face, she unzipped the zipper on the side of her sleeping bag and crawled out. First, she put on the plaid flannel shirt because the night air was quite chilly outside her warm sleeping bag. Next, she reached for the beaded leather moccasins her mom had gotten for her on their last trip to the gift shops in Inlet.

Making her way to the front flap of the big cabin tent, she unzipped the mosquito netting, stepped out, and zipping the netting back; made her way down the path toward the women’s bathrooms. It was a short walk, maybe fifty yards. Golden Beach Campground had several men’s and women’s bathrooms and shower houses strategically located throughout the campground. Golden Beach Campground was a great place to camp. Their family had been camping there for years.

The girl made her way along the path, the beam of the flashlight projecting its circle of light on the ground a few feet in front of her. She was about halfway to the women’s bathroom when she froze. There, clearly defined in the circle of light from the flashlight, were two large black paws. The paws were attached to two somewhat furry black legs. Not panicking, the young girl tilted her light ever-so-slightly upward. Standing in the path a few feet in front of her, clearly framed in the light of her flashlight, was a rather large black bear!

Carefully, the girl lowered the light again until only the bear’s paws were visible. She slowly began to back up a step at a time while keeping the bear paws in the circle of light so she could see if it moved. When the beam of light could no longer reach the bear’s paws, she turned and made her way swiftly back to the tent. Quickly unzipping the mosquito netting, she stepped inside and zipped it shut. In a few minutes, she was back in her sleeping bag, listening to her father snore.

She decided she could wait until the morning after all!

Did you like this Adirondack Bear Tale #1?

If you did like this Adirondack Bear Tale, then stay tuned for future installments, and check out my novel here!

Healing: A Trip To The Adirondacks Is Good For The Soul!!

 The Adirondack Park in upstate New York

healingI had a need to take trip to upstate New York this weekend. I flew into Syracuse and drove up to Raquette Lake in the Adirondack Park. My family has a small camp (called a cabin in the South) at Raquette Lake. We built it ourselves when I was a young teenager. My family has a history at Raquette Lake that spans several generations, and I understand I made my first camping trip to Raquette Lake when I was about six months old.

How Raquette Lake got its name … maybe!

The origin of the name is uncertain. One account is that it was named for snowshoes (raquette in French) left by a party of Tories led by Sir John Johnson in 1776. Traveling by snowshoe while fleeing American rebels, the spring thaw caught up with them. The snow was gone when they reached the lake. They left their snowshoes in a pile on the shore.

Back to the camp …

Sometime ago, we added a screened in porch to the camp. It has two skylights. One is leaking, so I flew up to take some measurements and see what materials might be needed to repair the problem. Every time I visit Raquette Lake it seems to have a healing effect on my soul. Whenever I drive into the Adirondack Park, it is almost like someone drew a line across Hwy 28. The air changes and I can breathe freely again. It is really quite a remarkable feeling.

healing

Hwy 28 North from Utica

Once you leave Utica and head north, it is a short distance to the Adirondack Park entrance. From there the drive becomes a trip down memory lane. It is very beautiful in a desolate sort of way. You pass through small towns like Remsen, Alder Creek, Otter Lake, Thendara, Old Forge, Eagle Bay, Inlet, and then Raquette Lake.

The Fulton Chain

You pass the Fulton Chain of lakes which are eight lakes formed by damming the Moose River. The chain starts near Old Forge and ends with Eighth Lake. The next lake is Raquette Lake which is a natural lake.  The Raquette River flows out from Raquette Lake winding its way northward to the St. Lawrence Seaway. Raquette Lake has 99 mile of shoreline, making it the largest lake in the Adirondack Park. Eighty percent of its shoreline is owned by the State of New York and is constitutionally forever wild. It is truly a wilderness adventure.

The Tap Room

healingOnce I got my measurements and figuring done, I headed to Raquette Lake Village for lunch at the Tap Room. I also need to drop a copy of my book, Serpents Underfoot, off at the Raquette Lake Library. The librarian, Carolynne McCann Dufft, a friend of my parents, was kind enough to add my book to their collection. After dropping off the book, I had a great burger at the Tap Room. The Tap Room is a historic place … probably as old as the village itself. While it can get a little loud in the evenings (it is a small place), the food is really excellent and it has a genuine rustic Adirondack atmosphere.

The Library!

I should also mention that the Raquette Lake Library, while small, is quite nice. Like the post office, it is a newer new addition to the village. Other than the post office and the library, the village remains pretty much the same as it was when I was a child. I love that. Maybe that accounts for part of the “soothing” effect it has on my soul.  The village, the lake, the air, the memories … all has a calming, peaceful feeling that recharges me like nothing else I have ever experienced.

Unplugged

healingAnother positive (or negative, depending on how you look at it) is that I can’t get a cell phone signal at all when at Raquette Lake. Sometimes, if you walk out on the end of the dock, stand on one leg, each as far out over the water as you dare, you can get the glimmer of a signal. But, I could never actually make a call from that position … never mind send a text or read an email.  For me at least, that is a good thing. We all need to unplug from time to time.

Where do you go for healing?

We all need a place to go to unwind, to de-stress, and recharge our batteries. It is important for maintaining both physical and mental well-being. For me, Raquette Lake is that place. Raquette Lake provides solitude, peace, and a great rustic atmosphere. I hope you find the time to find your own “Raquette Lake.”

Also,

Personalized copies of Serpents Underfoot can now be ordered directly from my website. Just click here!

Book Review: Drums Along the Mohawk by Walter D. Edmonds

MohawkI consider Drums Along the Mohawk to be one of the best classic historical novels about Upstate New York.  It ranks right up there with James Fenimore Cooper’s Last of the Mohicans.

First published in 1936, Drums Along the Mohawk stayed at number one on the best-sellers list for two years. Gone With the Wind, also published in 1936, finally replaced it.

The story takes place in the Mohawk Valley of Upstate New York during the Revolutionary War.  It is the story of brave pioneers who settled this early American frontier. Walter D. Edmonds centers his tale around the lives of Gilbert Martin and his young wife, Magdalena.  The newly married couple settle and begin farming in the remote village of Deerfield.

The Rumbling of War

Gil and Lana hear the rumblings of war from the east. It seems far away and since the young couple is busy just surviving,  they pay little attention to it. They have a home to build, land to clear and crops to plant.

Then a raiding party of Seneca warriors led by a Tory named Caldwell descends on their farm.  Only the timely warning by a friendly Oneida Indian called Blue Back allows them to escape the carnage.  The Raiders burn their cabin and their crops. The Raiders kill their livestock. The young couple must now also try to survive the devastation caused by the Revolutionary War.

 Iroquois Rampage

Mohawk Chief
Mohawk Chief Joseph Brant

Led by the Mohawk chief, Joseph Brant, the Iroquois sweep through the valley settlements. Aided by Tories like William Caldwell, the raiding parties leave charred cabins, burned crops, mutilated bodies, dead livestock and shattered dreams in their wake. The Raiders kill and scalp men, women and children   To the north, in Canada, the British pay eight pounds for each American settlers’ scalp lifted. The isolated settlements and their small militias defend themselves as best they can against the raiders. But, they are farmers, not soldiers. And, the savage raiders have them greatly outnumbered.

War Drums Along The  Mohawk Valley

This story is about heroes and patriots, a courageous people who fought back against impossible odds.  As a result, they helped give birth to a new American Nation.  The narrative is alive with such historical figures as General Herkimer, Adam Helmer, Doctor Petry, Peter Bellinger, Benedict Arnold and William Caldwell.  There is mention of an ancestor of mine, Jacob Gardinier who fought heroically at the Battle of Oriskany.

Personal History

Adam Helmer Mohawk ValleyI greatly enjoyed reading this novel because of my  Mohawk Valley roots. Many of my ancestors were born in Herkimer, previously known as German Flatts.  I listened to tales of Adam Helmer’s famous race against with the raiding Indians.  General Herkimer, Jacob Gardinier, Fort Dayton and Fort Stanwix were names and places I knew as a child.  I played along the Mohawk River,  the Susquehanna River, and the West Canada Creek and I am who I am as a result, in part, because of these tales.

This is definitely a book I recommend all Americans should read.