6 Cheesy Facts About Cheeseburgers

H/T How Stuff Works.com.

Nothin beats a great cheeseburger.

What’s more American than a hamburger?” asks Steve Mallie, owner of Mallie’s Sports Grill & Bar in Southgate, Michigan, and seller of the world’s largest commercially available hamburger — and cheeseburger. Well, in honor of National Cheeseburger Day, celebrated on September 18 every year, we would like to amend that question to ask: “What’s more American than a cheeseburger?” Read on to learn six cheesy facts about this all-American creation.

1. The Cheeseburger Was Invented by Lionel Sternberger

Did you know that just outside of the city of Los Angeles in Pasadena, California, lies the birthplace of the cheeseburger? The “earliest recorded instance of a cheeseburger being served to a customer was in 1924 at the Rite Spot in Pasadena,” says Paul Little, president and CEO of the Pasadena Chamber of Commerce, in an email.

“Legend has it that young Lionel Sternberger was working at his father’s roadside stand when he burned one side of a burger,” says Little. The stories about Sternberger offer two reasons as to why he might have topped the burger with cheese. “Rather than throw it away, he covered the error with cheese and served it to a delighted customer. Or, a hobo came by the stand and wanted as much as he could get for his 15¢ and asked for everything possible on it, including cheese.”

cheeseburger
The original 1920s menu from the Rite-Spot at 1500 West Colorado Boulevard in Pasadena, California, featuring the 15 cent Aristocratic Hamburger, described as “The Original Hamburger with Cheese.”
PASADENA MUSEUM OF HISTORY

Whatever the real story might be, that little burger with cheese became a regular fixture on the menu. It was called the “Aristocratic Hamburger: The Original Hamburger with Cheese.” “Sternberger was supposed to have a pretty sharp sense of humor, which could explain the Aristocratic Burger title,” says Little. It seems to be a happy coincidence that Lionel Sternberger was responsible for the first cheeseburger.

Granted, there are those who challenge Pasadena’s cheeseburger title, like 80/20 @ Kaelin’s (previously known as Kaelin’s Restaurant) in Louisville, Kentucky, which believes it created the first commercially sold cheeseburger, likely in 1934. But, for the most part, Pasadena proudly wears the cheeseburger crown.

The city of Pasadena commemorated this cheesy bit of history by laying a plaque at the original Rite Spot location in Pasadena. Rite Spot closed down many years ago, but the plaque is still there for all curious visitors to see. The city also hosts an annual Cheeseburger Week in January.

2. The World’s Biggest Cheeseburger Weighed 1,800 Pounds

In 2017, Mallie’s Sports Grill & Bar cooked a behemoth burger that weighed nearly 1,800 pounds (816 kilograms), giving it the title of the world’s biggest commercial cheeseburger. Owner Steve Mallie shares the story of how this colossal cheeseburger came to be.

“Well, I opened my restaurant back in 2005. When we opened, we wanted to do something a little over-the-top and different. We opened up with a 10 pound [4.5 kilogram] hamburger. They were so popular, we were selling them every single day of the week,” he says. But Mallie noticed that the world’s largest cheeseburger according to the Guinness World Records was in Japan, which didn’t sit right with Mallie, given that the burger is an American icon. So he and his team created a 236 pound (107 kilogram) burger in 2006, which broke the world record at the time.

They kept making their record-winning burger bigger each year until they eventually had to create a convection oven out of a shipping container to accommodate their world-record-setting burger, which weighed a whopping 1,796 pounds (815 kilogrms). And since it contained all the standard toppings of a burger, including American cheese, Mallie’s burger also counts in our book as the world’s biggest commercially sold cheeseburger. The burger was 30 inches (76 centimeters) tall and about 6 feet (1.8 meters) wide; it took 16 hours to cook.

And yes, you really can buy this monstrous cheeseburger, which is available on Mallie’s menu.

As of now, no one has yet purchased the hefty cheeseburger, which is understandable, considering that it costs $10,000. But if you are interested in being the first, be sure to give them advance notice — and pay up in advance as well. “We don’t start to process until we’re fully paid. We’re not going to have no dine and dashers on a $10,000 burger,” says Mallie. The restaurant needs around a minimum of three days to process this major order, given that they need a few days to ship in the 2,000 pounds (907 kilogrms) of hamburger meat required, a day to prepare the bun and a day to cook the burger.

3. The World’s Tiniest Cheeseburger Is Made in Japan

Okay, so this “fact” doesn’t exactly come with a stamp of approval from the Guinness World Records. But it is a totally edible delight to behold. The Japanese YouTube channel Miniature Space has made everything from teeny-weeny potato chips to miniscule ramen. And, most relevant for us, the cheeseburger:

It’s unclear who actually consumes these less-than-bite-sized meals, but if you think your pet mouse might fancy a cheeseburger, check out their video. It’s also just sheer fun to watch them chop onions fit for gnomes or grill burger patties the size of your thumb on a griddle. And, of course, they top off the burger with tiny squares of cheese — perhaps sliced mozzarella?

If you want to try your hand at cooking these “snacks,” you can even purchase tiny kitchenettes that seem straight of a dollhouse so you can recreate their miniature products. It’s pretty much tailor-made for cooking in the age of Instagram.

4. Not a Shock: Americans Prefer American Cheese

American or cheddar, which cheese is the best burger topping? This question has been hotly debated among cheeseburger fans for decades.

Mallie states that American cheese is by far the most popular cheese topping in his restaurant. He estimates that customers request American cheese for 70 percent of the cheeseburgers he sells in his restaurant. As for his record-winning burger, Mallie says, “What’s more American than doing an American record with American cheese?”

And it would seem that American consumers agree. Technomic’s 2019 Burger Consumer Trend Report, which surveyed more than 1,600 U.S. consumers, found that 70 percent of consumers would order American cheese on their burger, compared to 59 percent that would order cheddar. However, the report also suggests Americans are fairly open-minded when it comes to cheese, as 40 percent of consumers would order a burger with Swiss cheese and 39 percent with mozzarella.

But what if you’re a fancy cheese connoisseur who likes to look beyond the usual toppings? Food & Wine recommends topping your burger with the likes of the meltable Monterey Jack, creamy Brie or smoked Gouda. For even more atypical cheese toppings, check out this list that the website Thrillist compiled, which includes burrata or “shreds of cream-soaked mozzarella;” pimento, “the Southern cheese spread with a kick;” and smoked blue cheese with bacon onion jam.

5. Where and When the Cheese Goes On Is Crucial

The default position for most cheese slices is squarely on top of the burger patty. At least, this was a widely held position until people on the internet lost their minds in 2017 when Google’s cheeseburger emoji featured cheese being placed below the patty, spurring a brief but intense internet debate as to the cheese’s rightful place in the burger hierarchy.

For his part, Mallie thinks there’s no debate. “I’ve only done it on top of the patty. I don’t know where below the patty would come in. When you’re melting cheese on a burger, you want to melt it on top of a burger.”

What about putting the cheese inside the burger patty? Scandalous. The meal kit service Plated suggests that although any cheese can be stuffed into a burger, this style works best when using crumbly cheeses that don’t work as well as toppings, such as blue cheese and feta. And honestly, who couldn’t get on board with biting into a little pocket of cheesy heaven?

And it gets even more dicey — there is also a hot running debate about exactly when the cheese should be placed on the burger during the grilling process. Now, the standard grilling process for a cheeseburger usually entails plopping a slice of cheese on the patty about two minutes before removing the burger from the grill.

But writer Chris Thompson sent the internet into a tailspin in 2017 when he wrote that this was a “dumb” move, because the cheese does not require much extra heat to melt. By putting the cheese on the burger while it’s still cooking, Thompson argued, the cheese wound up being too thinly spread out on top of the patty, resulting in a cheesy mess on the sides of the burger.

The alternative to all this chaos? Thompson proposed a sort of reverse assembly, which involves putting cheese on the underside of the top bun and then immediately placing the grilled patty on top of the cheese. The lettuce, tomatoes and condiments are applied to the bottom burger bun. Then, slap the top bun onto the bottom bun. Presto! A perfect burger.

6. Jimmy Buffett Brought It Home

So what cheeseburger goodness is out there for the vegans and vegetarians of the world?

Well, if you can’t eat it, you can at least hum along. Jimmy Buffett wrote the song “Cheeseburger in Paradise” about finding a restaurant serving up cheeseburgers on the island of Tortola after a particularly rough boat trip. It appeared on his album “Son of a Son of a Sailor,” winning pop music acclaim for the all-American slab of meat topped with cheese. Released as a single, the song reached No. 32 on the Billboard Hot 100 in June 1978.

New Study Reveals Just How Quickly COVID Vaccine Effectiveness Plummets

H/T Western Journal.

The Covid-19 vaccine is a joke.

As if a day with 166,284 news coronavirus cases and 2,678 deaths from COVID-19 were not bad enough, a report has now emerged that the protection offered by one of the major vaccines used in the United States declines quickly.

“The first six months are great, but you can’t count on that being stable out to a year and beyond,” Moderna President Stephen Hoge said on a conference call with investors, according to Reuters.

Moderna said in a news release that there was a 36 percentage point difference in the rate of breakthrough infections between those who were vaccinated roughly 13 months ago and those vaccinated roughly eight months ago.

“The increased risk of breakthrough in this analysis quantifies the impact of waning immunity,” Moderna said, adding that the falloff in protection comes “between the median follow-up time of 8 months and 13 months since first dose. The Company believes this adds to evidence of potential benefit of a booster dose.”

“Manuscripts summarizing both findings have been posted to preprint servers and will be submitted for peer-reviewed publication,” the company said.

That means that the results and study methods used by the company to support the need for a booster shot have not yet been subjected to intense scrutiny.

Looking at the numbers, there were 88 cases of infection in people vaccinated more recently, (a rate of 49 cases per 1,000 people tested) and 162 infections in those who were immunized less recently (a rate of 77.1 cases per 1,000 people).

A separate study published in the journal Nature Medicine noted a significant drop in protection at roughly six months after vaccination.

“This is only one estimate, but we do believe this means as you look toward the fall and winter, at minimum we expect the estimated impact of waning immunity would be 600,000 additional cases of COVID-19,” Hoge said on the call.

He added that a booster will increase protection levels above those experienced after the second dose of the vaccine.

“We believe this will reduce COVID-19 cases,” he said. “We also believe that a third dose of mRNA-1273 has a chance of significantly extending immunity throughout much of next year as we attempt to end the pandemic.”

“We’ve been saying that we are going to have to have a variant booster,” Hoge also said, according to Time.

He said Moderna is already looking at what it might produce to address variants that may come after delta.

Such a booster could be ready by early next year if it should be needed.

On Friday, a Food and Drug Administration panel will meet to consider a request from Pfizer-BioNTech to approve a booster dose of its vaccine.

“Overall, the data indicate currently US-licensed or authorized COVID-19 vaccines still afford protection against severe COVID-19 disease and death in the United States,” scientists with the agency said.

“There are many potentially relevant studies, but the FDA has not independently reviewed or verified the underlying data or their conclusions.”

The Barbie doll makes its debut

H/T History.com.

On March 9, 1959, the first Barbie doll goes on display at the American Toy Fair in New York City.

Eleven inches tall, with a waterfall of blond hair, Barbie was the first mass-produced toy doll in the United States with adult features. The woman behind Barbie was Ruth Handler, who co-founded Mattel, Inc. with her husband in 1945. After seeing her young daughter ignore her baby dolls to play make-believe with paper dolls of adult women, Handler realized there was an important niche in the market for a toy that allowed little girls to imagine the future.

Barbie’s appearance was modeled on a doll named Lilli, based on a German comic strip character. Originally marketed as a racy gag gift to adult men in tobacco shops, the Lilli doll later became extremely popular with children. Mattel bought the rights to Lilli and made its own version, which Handler named after her daughter, Barbara. With its sponsorship of the “Mickey Mouse Club” TV program in 1955, Mattel became one of the first toy companies to broadcast commercials to children. They used this medium to promote their new toy, and by 1961, the enormous consumer demand for the doll led Mattel to release a boyfriend for Barbie. Handler named him Ken, after her son. Barbie’s best friend, Midge, came out in 1963; her little sister, Skipper, debuted the following year.

Over the years, Barbie generated huge sales—and a lot of controversy. On the positive side, many women saw Barbie as providing an alternative to traditional 1950s gender roles. She has had a series of different jobs, from airline stewardess, doctor, pilot and astronaut to Olympic athlete and even U.S. presidential candidate. Others thought Barbie’s never-ending supply of designer outfits, cars and “Dream Houses” encouraged kids to be materialistic. It was Barbie’s appearance that caused the most controversy, however. Her tiny waist and enormous breasts–it was estimated that if she were a real woman, her measurements would be 36-18-38–led many to claim that Barbie provided little girls with an unrealistic and harmful example and fostered negative body image.

Despite the criticism, sales of Barbie-related merchandise continued to soar, topping 1 billion dollars annually by 1993. Since 1959, over one billion dolls in the Barbie family have been sold around the world and Barbie is now a bona fide global icon.

7 Critical Civil War Battles

H/T History.com.

These battles were among the most pivotal in America’s bloodiest conflict.

When Southern rebels bombarded Fort Sumter in South Carolina in April 1861, it was the start of a war between the Union and the secessionist Confederate States of America that would stretch on for four bloody years.

The war took a brutal toll. According to statistics compiled by the National Park Service,110,100 men on the Union side lost their lives in combat and another 275,174 were wounded in action, while 94,000 Confederates were killed and another 194,026 were wounded. Still more soldiers died of disease, starvation and accidents, so that the total death toll may have been as high as 850,000, according to a 2011 analysis.

Today, when we think of the Civil War, the names of a few hallowed battlefields, such as Gettysburg and Shiloh, come to mind. But the conflict was far bigger and bloodier in scope. Union and Confederate forces met in more than 10,000 armed confrontations across the nation, ranging from small clashes to full-scale battles involving tens of thousands of soldiers, in locations from Vermont to Arizona.

“Evaluating the importance of a battle can be a tricky business,” explains Jim Campi, a spokesman for the American Battlefield Trust, an organization that works to preserve historic battles sites across the nation and highlight their importance. “Battles are best assessed by their overall impact on the larger conflict—did it extend the war, or bring it closer to its conclusion; did it achieve a strategic objective, eliminate an enemy force or enable a combatant to bring more force to bear at a decisive point?”

Here are seven battles that proved pivotal in the American Civil War.

1. First Bull Run

First Battle of Bull Run, U.S. Civil War

A Union supply train races down a road during the First Battle of Bull Run, Virginia, the first major battle of the Civil War.

Stock Montage/Getty Images

July 21, 1861: Union Gen. Irvin McDowell marched out of Washington, D.C. into Virginia, intent on seizing the Confederate capital of Richmond and putting an end to the war. But most of McDowell’s men were inexperienced, 90-day volunteers, who’d joined in expectation of a brief conflict and had little idea what was in store for them. They came up against a force commanded by Gen. Pierre G. T. Beauregard, which was defending a critical railroad junction at Manassas, Virginia. When McDowell’s forces attacked, the Confederates initially were driven back, but reinforcements soon arrived, including a brigade led by then-Brig. Gen. Thomas J. Jackson, who would earn the nickname “Stonewall” for his tenacity in holding ground.

In the war’s first major battle, Union forces were routed, with an estimated 2,896 killed, wounded, missing or captured. The victorious Confederates suffered 1,982 casualties of their own. As each side counted their dead, it became evident that the struggle ahead would be longer and more grisly than Americans had expected.

2. Fort Donelson

HISTORY: Battle of Fort Donelson

A scene from the Battle of Fort Donelson, 1862.

MPI/Getty Images

February 11-16, 1862: One of the first major Union victories was then-Brig. Gen Ulysses S. Grant’s capture of Fort Donelson, located along the Cumberland River in Tennessee. The Confederates initially repulsed an attack by union gunboats, and planned a bold counterattack against the Union troops to clear a path for escape. The Confederates seemed on the verge of success when they halted and retreated to their fortifications. That gave Grant time to figure out a weak point in the Confederate line—and attack it.

Confederate generals Gideon Pillow and John B. Floyd fled, leaving behind 13,000 soldiers, who waved a white flag above their fortifications. When the rebels asked for terms of surrender, Grant replied that no terms “except unconditional and immediate surrender” would be acceptable. This earned him the nickname “Unconditional Surrender.”

The victory, along with the capture of nearby Fort Henry, opened up the state of Tennessee to Union invasion, and helped turn Grant into a national hero.

3. Antietam

President Abraham Lincoln with General George B. McClellan at his headquarters at Antietam, October 3, 1862.

President Abraham Lincoln with General George B. McClellan at his headquarters at Antietam, October 3, 1862.

Bettmann Archive/Getty Images

September 17, 1862Gen. Robert E. Lee and his Army of Northern Virginia invaded Maryland in an attempt to knock the Union back on its heels. President Abraham Lincoln sent Maj. Gen. George McClellan and his Army of the Potomac to stop him.

The two forces initially collided at dawn in a cornfield in Sharpsburg, Maryland, where their movements were obscured by the tall corn stalks as they fired upon one another. The battle eventually shifted to a stone bridge along Antietam Creek, where Union troops had to storm a Confederate position three times before finally capturing it. An estimated 22,717 men on both sides were killed, wounded, captured or went missing.

Though the battle ended in a stalemate, the Union had stymied Lee’s invasion. That gave Lincoln enough confidence to issue the Emancipation Proclamation, which redefined the Civil War from a struggle to preserve the Union to one focused on ending slavery. Meanwhile, photographs by Alexander Gardner of bodies strewn on the battlefield, displayed in Matthew Brady’s gallery in New York, brought home to northerners the brutal cost of the war.

READ MORE: How Photographer Mathew Brady Highlighted Gruesome Realities of the Civil War

4. Chancellorsville

Battle of Chancellorsville, U.S. Civil War

The Battle of Chancellorsville in Virginia, 1863.

MPI/Getty Images

May 1-6, 1863: Lee achieved one of his greatest triumphs at Chancellorsville, Virginia, where he divided his forces and sent Lt. Gen. Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson to force his way through a rough forest to outflank units led by Union Gen. Joseph Hooker. After several days of fighting, the Union troops were forced to retreat. By the end, Hooker had suffered more than 17,000 casualties to Lee’s nearly 13,000.

It was a decisive victory for Lee and the South—but it came at a high cost. Among Lee’s casualties was Jackson, one of the most capable Confederate officers. Jackson was wounded by friendly fire and died four days after the battle.

READ MORE: 7 Things You May Not Know About the Battle of Chancellorsville

5. Vicksburg

HISTORY: Siege of Vicksburg

Surrender at the Siege of Vicksburg, July 4, 1863.

Historica Graphica Collection/Heritage Images/Getty Images

May 18-July 4, 1863: Confederate President Jefferson Davis saw Vicksburg, Mississippi, a fortress port and railroad hub along the Mississippi River, as “the nail head that holds the South’s two halves together.” That made it imperative for the Union to take what was known as the Gibraltar of the Confederacy.

In mid-May, Grant sent his forces to attack the city several times, but they were unable to penetrate the Confederates’ defenses. That forced him to settle into a long siege, in which he bombarded Vicksburg with artillery and fire from Union gunboats, and forced Confederate defenders and the civilian population to endure hunger and illness. Many hid in man-made caves dug under the city.

In June, Grant tried one last assault, deploying miners to tunnel under the Confederate fortifications and plant explosives that carved out a 12-foot-deep crater. But the Union forces were unable to advance out of it and had to retreat. By July, Confederate Lt. Gen. John C. Pemberton and his 29,000 men couldn’t hold out any longer, and had to surrender to Grant.

The victory gave the Union control of the critical supply line of the entire Mississippi River. And the Confederacy was split.

6. Gettysburg

Battle of Gettysburg

Fighting at the battle of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, July 3, 1863.

MPI/Getty Images

July 1-3, 1863: Lee again invaded the Union in the summer of 1863 in hopes that he could beat the Union on its own soil, threaten Washington, D.C., and force Lincoln to agree to a peace treaty.

With Virginia devastated by the war, he also desperately needed supplies for his soldiers. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia was pursued by Union forces led by Maj. Gen. George Meade, who caught up with them in Pennsylvania and confronted the Confederates at Gettysburg, in what was one of the most fateful battles in history.

Initially, the Confederates drove Union troops from fields west and north of the town, but they failed on the second day to break the Union line. On July 3, Lee attacked the center of the Union forces at Cemetery Ridge, south of Gettysburg. After two hours of shelling, Confederate Gen. George Pickett led two brigades in an assault on the Union position. Pickett’s Charge, as it became known, turned into a disaster, with the Confederates suffering 60 percent casualties. Lee was forced to retreat and abandon his invasion.

The battle was a crushing defeat for the Confederacy, and losses were devastating on both sides. Union casualties numbered 23,000, while the Confederates lost some 28,000 men. The South’s hopes for foreign recognition of the Confederacy were erased. Demoralized, Lee offered his resignation to President Jefferson Davis, but was refused.

The Battle of Gettysburg took on even more significance in November 1863, when President Lincoln traveled to the site and delivered the Gettysburg Address. In the famously short but powerful speech, Lincoln honored the sacrifice of the soldiers who died there and redefined the war as a struggle for the nation.

7. Atlanta

Battle of Atlanta, U.S. Civil War

The fall of General James Birdseye McPherson at the Battle of Atlanta, July 22, 1864.

Universal History Archive/Getty Images

July 22, 1864: Near the end of the war, a trio of Union armies, led by Gen. William T. Sherman converged upon Atlanta, where they were met outside the city by a desperate Confederate counterattack that failed.

The Battle of Atlanta was the bloodiest part of Sherman’s March through Georgia, costing the Union 3,700 casualties, while the Confederates lost 5,500 men. Sherman’s forces continued their advance and finally surrounded the city, besieging it for the entire month of August.

Finally, on September 1, Confederate Lt. Gen. John Bell Hood, a veteran of Antietam and Gettysburg who had lost his leg at the Battle of Chickamauga, gave up and abandoned the city, allowing Sherman’s forces to enter.

The capture of Atlanta crippled the Confederate war effort. For Lincoln, who faced a difficult election in 1864 against one of his former generals, George B. McClellan, the victory provided a lift at the polls, helping him win and pursue the war to its conclusion.

Six Stops on the Pony Express That You Can Still Visit

H/T Smithsonian Magazine.

It would be great to see these historic places.

Established 160 years ago, the short-lived route was once the quickest way to deliver mail across the United States

Florida Avenue Grill

H/T Atlas Obscura.

I want to try their soul food as I am a big fan of soul food.

The world’s oldest soul food restaurant is also one of its best.

WHEN LACEY AND BERTHA WILSON opened The Grill in 1944, they were the sole employees, and Lacey’s most recent job was as a shoeshine man. Today, it is an epicurean gem, the world’s oldest soul food restaurant, and a D.C. institution.

The decades-long path was not always an easy one. Staff refer to the restaurant as being financed “two chickens at a time,” since Lacey would fry and sell two chickens and then the couple would buy two more. During the violence and unrest that followed the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., in 1968, the couple’s son, Lacey Jr., who eventually took over the business, says he sat outside with a shotgun to protect the restaurant, and still had to put out a fire that threatened the establishment.

Despite the obstacles, its food has always been revered, drawing celebrities and a notably multi-racial crowd, even when segregation was the norm in Washington, as well as laudatory writeups that include a local food writer claiming that The Grill’s “dense but moist” corn muffins would be his last meal.

In 2005, Lacey Wilson, Jr., sold the restaurant to entrepreneur Imar Hutchins. Although he made some changes, including the tweaked name, he kept most of the original details, and when he replaced the parking lot with a condominium building, he called it The Lacey as a nod to the original owners.

The walls are still packed with framed and signed pictures of countless politicians, athletes, entertainers, and other luminaries who have visited. Patrons can even eat in the “Shotgun Booth,” which features a plaque remembering the stand made by Lacey Wilson, Jr., during the 1968 riots.

Know Before You Go

Everything on the menu is delicious, but ordering the smothered chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, collard greens, and a big cup of sweet tea is particularly sublime. The menu also features some vegan options—an addition introduced by owner Imar Hutchins, who is vegetarian.

Remembering When Only Barbarians Drank Milk

H/T Atlas Obscura.

I never knew until now that milk drinkers were considered barbarians.

“Butter eater” was once a terrible insult.

THIS ARTICLE IS ADAPTED FROM Milk! A 10,000-Year Food Fracas by Mark Kurlansky.

During a visit to conquered Britain, Julius Caesar was appalled by how much milk the northerners consumed. Strabo, a philosopher, geographer, and historian of Ancient Rome, disparaged the Celts for excessive milk drinking. And Tacitus, a Roman senator and historian, described the German diet as crude and tasteless by singling out their fondness for “curdled milk.”

The Romans often commented on the inferiority of other cultures, and they took excessive milk drinking as evidence of barbarism. Similarly, butter was a useful ointment for burns; it was not a suitable food. As Pliny the Elder bluntly put it, butter is “the choicest food among barbarian tribes.”

Left to right: Julius Caesar's successor, Octavius, and Strabo.
Left to right: Julius Caesar’s successor, Octavius, and Strabo. PUBLIC DOMAIN

Ancient Romans were not alone in looking down on butter and milk. In Greece, the word “butter” was not spoken kindly. The Greeks called it boutyros, cow curds, and as sheep and goat people, they regarded those who kept cows and made butter as an alien lot. The Thracians, the people who lived to the north of Greece, ancestors of the Bulgarians and others, ate butter. Greeks contemptuously referred to them as “butter eaters.”

For centuries, this was the norm in many parts of the world: People who ate butter and drank milk were uncivilized outsiders.

Curiously, the Greco-Roman disdain for dairy stopped short at cheese. In Rome, cheese was eaten by both the rich and the poor. A considerable variety of hard, soft, and smoked cheeses were produced in the city, and others were imported from around the empire. Smoked goat’s-milk cheese from Velabrum, the valley by the Forum that runs up to Capitoline Hill, one of the seven hills of Rome, was especially popular—part of a general fondness for smoking foods. Cheeses were often given as gifts, and they were a standard breakfast food, along with olives, eggs, bread, honey, and sometimes leftovers from the night before.

A Roman sieve, possibly used for cheese making.
A Roman sieve, possibly used for cheese making. HOLDEN TRAVEL / ALAMY

But Mediterranean people had little need for butter. They already had olive oil, which is less prone to spoilage, heats to much higher temperatures without burning, and was and is regarded as more healthful. Even now in North Africa, most of Greece, Mediterranean France, Spain, and most—but certainly not all—of Italy, olive oil dominates and butter is rarely used. An omelet may be made with butter in Greece today, but until recently, even that was made with olive oil.

Climate, then, determined the poor status of butter and milk. Because they spoiled quickly in the climate of southern Europe and kept far better in northern Europe, northerners used far more milk. Germanic people were avid butter eaters and were said to have perfected salted butter. The Celts, who settled down in good dairying spots such as Scotland, Ireland, and Wales, also became known for their butter. Milk was so important to the “barbarians” that a dry cow was considered a family crisis.

A still life Roman fresco showing cheese and asparagus.
A still life Roman fresco showing cheese and asparagus. PUBLIC DOMAIN

This led southern classical cultures, which were already contemptuous of northerners, to take the greater consumption of dairy as evidence of their barbarian nature. To hear the Romans tell it, the barbarians to their north were swilling milk by the mugful. (In actuality, they were consuming milk conservatively; a cow was an expensive animal to maintain.)

Differences in climate made butter and milk a mark of otherness—unlike cheese which kept better in warmer climes. Since the presence of large, powerful cities and cultures in the far north is a relatively modern development, this linked any non-cheese dairy with inferior (or at least less powerful) groups.

Drinking milk wasn’t unknown in places such as Ancient Rome. But for similar reasons, it was linked with the country and lower classes. Until the age of refrigeration, very little fresh drinking milk was consumed in the Middle East. In Rome, due to the inevitability of spoilage, and because fresh milk was available only on farms, it was consumed mostly by the farmers’ children and by peasants who lived nearby, often with salted or sweetened bread. This led to fresh milk’s being widely regarded as a food of low status. Drinking milk was something that only crude, uneducated rural people did and was rare among adults of all social classes.

The link between milk, butter, and rural farmers ensured that even after Rome fell (to milk-swilling barbarians), dairy remained uncouth. The English, whose model for imperialism was the Romans, sneered at what they thought was the barbaric overuse of butter by the Irish. Fynes Moryson, secretary to the viceroy, who spent much time in Ireland in the reign of Elizabeth I, reported that the Irish “swallow whole lumps of filthy butter.” And southern Europe never lost its sense of superiority over its neighbors, still considering them to be milk-swilling barbarians.

<em>The Image of Irelande</em> by John Derrick, depicting a Celtic feast c. 1581.
The Image of Irelande by John Derrick, depicting a Celtic feast c. 1581. PUBLIC DOMAIN

If anyone can take credit for raising milk and butter up to respectability, it is the dairy-crazed Dutch.

In the country’s early years, the Dutch were singled out as a crude and comic people endlessly engorged on milk, butter, and cheese. Even the Flemish laughed at them, calling them kaaskoppen, or “cheese heads.” Northerners, too, belittled the Dutch for their dairy habits. One English pamphlet said, “A Dutchman is a lusty, fat, two legged cheese-worm.”

Insults aside, it wasn’t exaggeration. The upper classes prided themselves on setting their tables with several types of butter. The Dutch enjoyed whey or buttermilk with breakfast—even in the poorhouses, breakfast was buttermilk and bread—and butter was used wherever possible. A traditional meat stew, hutsepot, used butter too.

The Dutch navy, which in the 16th century was becoming a formidable force, issued to each sailor a weekly ration of half a pound of cheese, half a pound of butter, and a five-pound loaf of bread. The historian Simon Schama calculated that a Dutch ship with a crew of 100 in 1636 would need among their provisions 450 pounds of cheese and one and a quarter tons of butter.

An ample supply of cheese and butter was the right of every Dutchman. They believed that dairy food was an essential part of a good diet, and artists from the celebrated Dutch school of still-life painting often included cheeses in their compositions. The Dutch made many cheeses and had an effective distribution system, with numerous urban centers featuring cheese markets.

<em>Still-Life with Fruit, Nuts and Cheese</em> by Floris van Dijck c. 1613.
Still-Life with Fruit, Nuts and Cheese by Floris van Dijck c. 1613. PUBLIC DOMAIN

In the 13th and 14th centuries, the Dutch became skilled at reclaiming land from the sea by building dykes and creating polders, drained patches of reclaimed seabed. This led to dramatic improvements in cattle breeding and land maintenance. Farmers began having tremendous success crossbreeding livestock to develop cows that produced more milk—between the mid-16th and mid-17th centuries, the value of a Dutch cow quadrupled. The Dutch were starting to understand what best to feed cattle, and how best to cultivate pastureland. Soon, their cows were producing more than twice the yield of cows in neighboring countries.

Though at first unnoticed, a huge shift occurred in the European perception of the Dutch. Their country, which had broken off from Spanish rule in the 1590s, was rapidly changing from a former lowly possession of the Holy Roman Empire to an independent republic displaying a genius in art, science, and engineering. Seemingly overnight, the Netherlands became a global trading empire and leading maritime and economic power of the world. Suddenly, the cheese heads were considered brilliant.

All over Europe there were discussions and writings about what made the Dutch such geniuses. And those having these discussions often freely admitted that they had once thought of the Dutch as idiots who just drank milk and ate cheese. The Europeans also started recognizing that there was genius in Dutch dairy farms—in their better pastures, better cows, and ability to farm below-sea-level land. Dutch dairying, too, was now considered brilliant.

After the cheeseheads proved themselves geniuses—and established a widely emulated, global empire—the main bastion of anti-dairy sentiment was East Asia. Japanese Buddhists avoided dairy products and looked down on Westerners, who they thought consumed too much dairy. They claimed they could smell it on them, and even into the 20th century used the pejorative term Batā dasaku, or “butter stinker,” for a Westerner.

Two Japanese woodcuts entitled, <em>People of Barbarian Nations - Americans</em> and <em>People of Barbarian Nations - The King of Italy</em>, by Yoshitsuya Utagawa c. 1861.
Two Japanese woodcuts entitled, People of Barbarian Nations – Americans and People of Barbarian Nations – The King of Italy, by Yoshitsuya Utagawa c. 1861. LIBRARY OF CONGRESS/LC-USZC4-10631 AND LC-USZC4-10630

Similar sentiments existed in China, where the consumption of dairy has been so rare that historically, many have assumed that the Chinese as a race were lactose-intolerant. This contrasted with their neighbors, the Mongols, who drank mare milk and traveled with dried cheese curds.

But this is changing. China has become the world’s third-largest milk producer, and today, almost 40 percent of Chinese drink milk, the highest percentage in Chinese history. The new and growing upper class tends to crave everything Western, and dairy is Western. Ice cream is popular, and yogurt parlors are in, too.

Milk has been debated for at least the past 10,000 years. It was the first food to find its way into a modern scientific laboratory, and it’s the most regulated of all foods. People have argued over the importance of breastfeeding, the healthful versus unhealthful qualities of milk, farming practices, animal rights, raw versus pasteurized milk, the safety of raw milk cheese, and more.

But one argument that seems to have been finally set to rest is that milk and butter are no longer just for barbarians.

Judd’s General Store

H/T Atlas Obscura.

A piece for history saved from destruction.

St. George, Utah

Opened in 1911, this small shop is the oldest ongoing establishment in St. George.

LOCATED IN THE HISTORIC DISTRICT, Judd’s General Store is the oldest ongoing establishment in St. George. In 1908, pioneer businessman Thomas Judd purchased a home that had been built in 1876, from Joseph Bentley. Just a few years later in 1911, Judd built a store out of adobe bricks in front of the home. The Bentleys had been operating a small store out of the home and Thomas Judd purchased their inventory to open his store.

The store sold general merchandise to locals, many of whom were sheep and cattle ranchers. This included dry goods, groceries, hay, grain, and even clothing. After Thomas Judd’s death in 1922, the store passed to his son Joseph and then to his grandson Tom Jr. The store remained in the Judd family until 1982, and was the oldest family-owned business in St. George.

In 1982 the city wanted to demolish the home and store to create a parking lot, however, Dr. Mark and Barbara Greene purchased both historic buildings as part of their “Green Gate Village” project. Tom Judd, Jr., grandson of the store’s original owner, continued to work at the store until 1988 when he retired at age 76.

The home, known as the Bentley House, was converted into a historic inn. The store has been restored and retains the original counter, shelving, and scales and sells nostalgic items such as glass-bottle sodas and retro candy. The 1946 gas pump in front of the store stands in the same spot as the gas pump seen in historic photos of the store.

Hoplophobia: The Four Types of Gun Phobia

Common phobic responses including hoplophobia (a term Marine Col. Jeff Cooper said he first coined in1966), the morbid, irrational fear of weapons, firearms, guns, knives, military, police, legally armed law-abiding citizens, etc., are usually viewed as learned behavioral responses. Bad learning. Not useful. In extreme cases, a phobic response can seriously get in the way of a person’s life! In much milder forms, people can choose to just live with it. For example, a fear of flying could be seriously problematic, depending on one’s occupation or lifestyle. Fear of snakes and alligators, not so much, unless you live in Florida. But then again, you should have some fear of alligators. In other words, it all depends on who, what, where, your personal life, and the degree of the bad learning. Other causes exist too.

The bad news is: when irrational thoughts and seriously limiting beliefs get well-conditioned and reinforced regardless of causation, they will absolutely seem to get increasingly real and powerful to even otherwise moderately functional people. That’s the trap. It’s like quicksand. And some people may have much greater loss of functionality, depending on many factors. It can become enormously limiting by changing people’s thinking, their behaviors, their lives in many ways, always for the worse! It can even affect others. For example, a Second Amendment advocate would have a next to impossible time of it if married to a hoplophobe. Similarly, a person with hoplophobia should never be voted into a position where they can either set firearm policy laws or enforce them. That would be certain, absolute disaster!

The good news is: if and when a great flood of more useful, wiser dominant thoughts are backed up with more powerful motivations, emotions, new life-saving needs and skills, learnings and unconscious resources, with high desire and genuine willingness, old learnings can indeed get extinguished and replaced. Thus “change” can become much more irresistible than that older, bad learning. When that happens, the newer, stronger, more resourceful dominant thoughts will win the day. And a great day it will be! And when that happens with hoplophobia … voilà … we will have new, highly motivated gun owners! And smarter, more well-informed voters! At least, that’s the formula. It is my hope that more and more people, including Jews, will undergo this very transformation. Let’s face it, without a well-informed electorate, we will lose!

Now more bad news: While irrational bad learning like hoplophobia is not necessarily permanent, it easily can be, and sadly usually is. But where there is a sincere motivation, a powerful meaning and new learning, there is at least, hope.

Hoplophobia is most common with Leftists. With today’s American Marxists (as “The Great One” Mark Levin so accurately calls them), it is absolutely a mandatory, foundational, knee-jerk response! The political pressures are way too strong! They irrationally both hate and blame the gun itself (an inanimate object), not the crazies and criminals who use them. They believe that by taking firearms away from law-abiding citizens, all our problems will magically go away. In other words, the gun itself did it! Guns have evil intent! They will never understand that our right to defend ourselves comes from G-d, not man. The Second Amendment is meant to STOP the government, wayward politicians and law-makers, from taking our rights away. They have it all hopelessly backwards. For us, this is profoundly dangerous!

Hoplophobes aren’t necessarily bad people. They aren’t automatically sick people, though some are decidedly bad, sick, and even evil, as are those who head their Democrat party. They are wholly uninformed about the Second Amendment and guns. They are rigid, stuck, ideological people. It’s their false, bad learning about all things Second Amendment that gets deeply invested in them, in many ways. When this happens, beliefs get deeply rooted in cognitive concrete. And below that concrete is the bottomless quicksand of fiercely wanting to be right and demanding their way so they can have POWER and CONTROL over everyone else. It’s all for the greater good of the collective. Individual rights not only don’t matter, they must be stripped away don’t cha know. Death to the individual. Long live the collective.

More than knowing next to nothing about that which they seek to dominate and rule, hardcore hoplophobes will never learn by listening to reason or indisputable facts. They don’t know they don’t know, what they don’t know. And they profoundly don’t care! All that matters is POWER and CONTROL. And they want it all. That criminals will be emboldened and innocent lives will be lost because of their ignorance and selfishness, laws and policies, is most unfortunate. It’s called collateral damage. But that is not their prime directive. All that matters is POWER and CONTROL. And they want it all.

Hoplophobes very often become hysterical and present the worst symptoms as those with any hardcore phobic response. Trying to explain anything factual to a hardcore hoplophobe is all but guaranteed to be a hopeless battle, one that generates a recitation of false talking points escalating into yelling and screaming. In other words, it’s a complete waste of time. One will find greater company when discussing quantum mechanics with a brick wall.

Most importantly, hoplophobia is a totally FUNCTIONAL phobic response. It is highly PURPOSEFUL. From a political standpoint, the ever-present “gain” of it all, is POWER and CONTROL over those who are meant to sit down, shut up, and obey their rulers. Here’s why …

American Marxists not only hate the Second Amendment, they hate the Constitution, individual liberty, individual rights, our history, our traditions, capitalism, religion, the family unit … they hate America herself! They want to tear it down in its entirety and reimagine it their way. And what’s going to replace all our foundations? Why the American Marxist government, of course! That’s the way of the American Marxist!

If these people ever get absolute total control (and they are well on their way), they can and will cram their beliefs, demands, rules, regulations, their entire power trip of total domination, right down the throats and back up the other end of all Americans. Our rights, beliefs, traditions and liberties will be gone, as will the constitutional and historical foundations of our very country! Our America will be gone. The Second Amendment, like the First, will be among the very first to go.

The Cloward and Piven “overload, collapse and destroy the system from within” theory works, and they know it. The Second Amendment that protects our right to defend ourselves (that comes from G-d, not government), is but one piece of a much greater whole. The truth is, we are already in more than serious trouble and at more than tremendous risk. We have been for some time and it’s getting worse every single day. It’s happening right here, right now, right before our eyes. If one is awake and not woke, you can’t miss it. We are not looking into the abyss. We are tragically, already very much in the abyss!

I must quickly add, this transformational change I am rooting for is only for apolitical hoplophobes. American Marxists are automatically, by definition, foundational hoplophobes who detest from the innermost core of their secular beings, the very idea of G-d, much less a G-d given right, and the freedom and liberty of people to defend their very lives with a gun. This is all very much part of their default setting.

Foundational hoplophobes are all political hacks and beyond all hope. They can be exceptionally evil. They don’t deserve contemptuous pity as some have suggested. What does a person, for example, with an adverse phobic response to public speaking or being enclosed in an MRI deserve? I say, understanding, without judgment. Snark isn’t going to promote understanding and cool headed analysis of the situation. Snark may feel good in the moment, but it doesn’t do anything to help win the battle. And it is a battle! The only way to deal with American Marxists who hate the Second Amendment and want to take away our rights, is to defeat them at the ballot box. More conversations and debate will be useless. There is no middle ground nor reaching across the aisle. We are way too divided. We have nothing in common. And the Second Amendment is a very small part of our ever-escalating uncivil, Civil War.

REMEMBER: THE ONLY WAY TO DEAL WITH AMERICAN MARXISTS AND FOUNDATIONAL HOPLOPHOBES IS TO DEFEAT THEM AT THE BALLOT BOX!

So as I see it, there are FOUR TYPES OF HOPLOPHOBES.

Type One – A severe case of hoplophobia with genuine, full-blown, recognizable mind-body symptoms, well-known in the literature. They hate guns and will do everything in their power to take away the G-d given Second Amendment rights of all law-abiding citizens, like you. They could seek professional help, but it is much more likely that they would never ever even consider it. They are firmly set in the concrete. Deep in the quicksand. They do not believe what you believe. They do not want what you want. And they most probably never will.

REMEMBER: HOPLOPHOBES MUST BE DEFEATED AT THE BALLOT BOX!

Type Two – A mild case of hoplophobia, but still unlikely to seek help. Fear of guns and all the rest, but they aren’t necessarily out to take away the rights of others. They might personally avoid certain situations, probably don’t watch COPS, are OK with others maintaining their right of self-defense, but probably will still insist that 2A rights come from the government, and not from G-d. They more than likely believe that Karl Marx was right when he wrote that “religion is the opium of the people.”

Type Three – This purely functional hoplophobe is a fake. They are like the song from the 1950’s: The Great Pretender. With them, it is 100% philosophical and political. So when they act out a symptom, it’s all a lie, a con. It’s a show meant to defeat you! They want their American Marxist party to prevail in ruling and regulating the hell out of all Second Amendment proponents. They want taxation, regulation, and confiscation (the big three), but they are just acting the part because they want that confiscation end game they dream of. It’s all virtue signaling, to the max!

Type Four – This is the mild case of hoplophobia where the person has come to a time and place in their life where they may and can truly decide, that they seriously want to make a significant change. They may seek initial help from their Primary Care Physician and get a quality referral. Or maybe, just maybe, strong, dynamic individuals can finally outgrow it all by themselves, by sensing and heeding a strong message from life, realize what it means, and then have the inner strength to finally outgrow the old Lefty lies and propaganda from the political hacks on PMSNBC and the like. Those talking heads don’t know their asses from the barrel of a gun. But they sure know how to recite their hateful, toxic talking points of pure poisoned propaganda, lying, lying, and lying, night, after night, after night. Why do they do it, besides to draw a salary? In order to keep their small audience hopelessly misinformed, devilishly lied to, and all ginned up!

So there you have it …

Types One, Two, and Four are genuinely conditioned, FULLY AUTOMATIC, ASSAULT BEHAVIOR. The assault behavior is against you, your 2A rights, and your personal liberty! The phobic response is automatic.

Type Three is the fake. It is a SEMI-AUTOMATIC, ASSAULT BEHAVIOR. The assault behavior is against you, your 2A rights, and your personal liberty! This fake phobic response is not automatic but consciously chosen, just as one would consciously choose to pull a revolver’s hammer back to cock it for single action.

Interestingly, we 2A people well understand the difference between automatic and semi-automatic. In this paper, I and we certainly do. If the theory fits … use it! Sadly, American Marxists never understand the difference of most anything, and somehow, a 5 shot, 38 Special magically becomes an “assault pistol,” and a basic hunting rifle, an “assault weapon” as used in the theater of war. Ignorance on parade!

Lastly, if a hoplophobe is robbed or worse, his own assault behavior could literally become a self-affliction! That’s exactly right. His own assault behavior could be self-afflicted and render him impotent against the criminals and crazies of the world! Tragically, without any self-defense options, the outcome could be deadly!

Type Five – After decades of research, I recently discovered that there actually is a fifth type of hoplophobia involving those who got fixated by watching too many TV reruns from the ’30’s, ’40’s, and ’50’s of the famous cowboy Hopalong Cassidy and his horse, Topper. It seems that these always functional hoplophobes got too close to Topper … and his droppings! They stepped right in it, slipped, fell, and rolled around good and long, before getting up. And for this reason, to this very day, if you look at the bottom of all functional hoplophobes’ shoes and their clothes, you will always see the clearest evidence of exactly what I mean. It is unmistakable! But as with the leaders of their Democrat party, there really is no need to visually inspect the bottom of their shoes or their clothes. There is instead one very simple test. One single, deep inhalation will more than confirm the matter. Now since I can not positively, 100% confirm that Hoplophobes all got their name by standing too close to Hopalong Cassidy’s horse, evidently rolling around with great zest and adventure while good old Topper was relieving himself, as a sincere researcher, I can not officially count it as a certified fifth type of hoplophobia. But nonetheless, it is true. There is absolutely no doubt about it. Don’t doubt me!

To seriously misquote John Keats and his good old, Ode on a Grecian Urn …

“Crap is crap, crap crap. Don’t step in it. Learn to walk around it.
That is all you know on earth cowboy, and all you need to know.”

REMEMBER: REGARDLESS OF TYPE, THE ONLY WAY TO DEAL WITH BOTH FOUNDATIONAL HOPLOPHOBES AND AMERICAN MARXISTS IS TO DEFEAT THEM AT THE BALLOT BOX!

American Marxism is very much like a metastasizing cancer.
It is a terminal disease.
No country has ever survived any form of it.

Following my article proper, I will share a post by J. KB which will show that highly motivated Type Four hoplophobes indeed can change. Seeking a good therapist can often get seriously motivated people the good help they need if and when they seriously want to outgrow their bad learning. Psychotherapy, clinical hypnosis, medication, and other options are available. The point is, there is hope … even though I fully admit it is only for a small minority of people with this particular learned phobic response. Hoplophobia is just too well-rooted and supported by the American Marxist party (formerly the Democrat party), the media (a branch of the American Marxist party), most cable news stations (branches of the American Marxist party), network news stations (branches of the American Marxist party), Big Tech (a branch of the American Marxist party), the teachers union (a branch of the American Marxist party), etc. Yes, they are seriously in our educational system (to brainwash and ruin the kids when they’re young), our health care, our military, and most everywhere else.

We must take Mark Levin’s advice and be like modern-day
Thomas Paine pamphleteers to get the word out!
All our rights and liberties hang in the balance!

Things happen in life because of causes and conditions. We know this. The truth is and always is, when certain satisfactory causes and conditions are present and become ripe for change, great learning and transformation is always possible from within our shared human condition. And that’s a good thing. It’s a very good thing. It’s the best part of the very best to be found in man’s nature. Indeed, in life itself.

Is any of this possible transformation a certainty? … POSITIVELY NOT!
Will it be easy? … ABSOLUTELY NEVER!
The enemy is insidious.
It gets stronger and more harmful every day.

Freud was spot on about resistance and defense mechanisms. But if and when (and never one without the other) causes and conditions permit it, human change is most often at least a possibility, a hope, and if you like and dare to silently think it so the Thought Police don’t arrest you, jail you, fire you, cancel you, or otherwise try to ruin your life … it’s worth a prayer!

As the kids say, “now that’s the change I’m talking about!” Keep reading and we’ll see some evidence of great change in action!

The following article alluded to earlier, recently posted by J. KB on a blog called Gun Free Zone, speaks exactly to my point. The examples given should be an inspirational call to action for many. As I always say … one can hope.

Stay safe. Stay free.
Stay awake. Not woke.
And always at the ready!

© 2021 Copyright William Barclay Masterson

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Asian Community Responds to Violence by Buying Guns
by J. KB

Six months ago, Svetlana Kim was so scared of guns, she couldn’t even look at an image of one without feeling anxious.

If she was home watching a movie that suddenly depicted gun violence, the 47-year-old accountant would scramble to hit the fast-forward button on the remote. If she couldn’t skip the scene, she would shut her eyes, and her husband would gently put his hand over hers until the scene was over. Kim knew it was just a movie, but in those moments, she couldn’t help but feel like she was in the victim’s shoes, staring the shooter in the eye.

“My brain was always signaling danger. I just felt like, it’s here, it’s present,” says Kim, who blames empathy and imagination for her visceral reaction, since she has never personally experienced gun violence. “It was bad like that, and I couldn’t control it.”

That all changed when something scarier came along. Months into the pandemic, people who looked like Kim were being shoved and kicked to the ground, punched, stabbed and slashed, while doing everyday activities like walking around the neighborhood, shopping and riding buses and trains. One after another, unprovoked, racist attacks against Asian Americans being unfairly blamed for the COVID-19 virus started to increase in major U.S. cities. Kim wondered if she could be the next victim.

“It was a turning point when I saw that people just randomly got attacked based on their race,” says Kim, a Korean American, who lives in Downey, Calif.

On March 3, Kim went from being a “really anti-gun person” to the new owner of a Springfield Armory handgun.

After months of rising anti-Asian hatred, many others like Kim are having a change of heart about firearms. Tired of relying on bystanders for aid that sometimes never comes, more Asian Americans are bucking entrenched cultural perceptions of guns and overcoming language barriers to help fuel a spike in U.S. gun ownership. While there is no official data on firearm purchases by Asian Americans, a survey by the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) indicated that Asian Americans bought 42% more firearms and ammunition in the first six months of 2020 than they did in the same timeframe the year before. At Jimmy’s Sportshop in Mineola, N.Y., where guns and pepper spray have been flying off the shelves since the pandemic, gun purchases by Asian buyers have surged 100% due to recent fears of attacks, according to Jimmy Gong and Jay Zeng, the shop’s Chinese-American owners.

Asians have been historically underrepresented among gun owners, so much so that major national demographic surveys conducted on gun ownership trends in the past have left out Asians as a category entirely. A 2013 NSSF report on diversity found some reasons why. About 35% said gun ownership negatively impacts their ethnic community, while 38% said owning a firearm is not desirable in their culture, according to the report, which was based on a national survey of 6,000 white, Black, Hispanic and Asian adults. That was true for Reduta, who waited a year to tell his family that he had bought a gun. Kim still has not shared the news with her two sisters.

“Asians never like guns,” says David Liu, another gun shop owner who has seen a spike in his Arcadia, Calif. business. “They only buy guns after they’ve become a victim.”

I suspect that the Asian community was never that into guns because in most Asian countries, legal civilian gun ownership is either extremely restricted or non-existent.

Asian immigrants, therefore, have very little in the way of native gun culture.

The last line “They only buy guns after they’ve become a victim” is a significant point. Even though the Asian community might not have a gun culture when they are threatened they adapt and arm themselves.

Good.

No community targeted for violence should be at the mercy of their attackers.

Meet force with force and defend yourself.

If you are a regular reader of this blog, you know where I am going to go next with this.

The Jewish community in America needs to take note of this. Like the Asian community, the Jewish community has little to no native gun culture, having been systematically disarmed in Europe and then concentrated in non-gun-friendly locations like New York City. And like the Asian community, we are also being targeted for hate crimes. It’s time the Jewish community arm itself as well, to be prepared to face violence with violence and end the attacks that threaten us.

World’s Oldest Surviving WWII Veteran Celebrates 112th Birthday

H/T War History OnLine.

Happy Birthday Lawrence Brooks.

Happy birthday Lawrence Brooks! The World War II veteran celebrated his 112th birthday on Sunday, September 12, 2021. Brooks is the oldest surviving veteran of the war. He currently resides in Louisiana.

 

Because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Brooks celebrated his birthday with a drive-by party. The gathering was hosted by the National World War II Museum.

The event wasn’t just a parade, but also included a live performance from the museum vocal trio and entertainment from New Orleans musicians, according to ABC 12.

The World War II Museum hosted Brooks’ previous birthday which was also a drive-by event due to Covid concerns. Last year’s party included a flyover of WWII-era aircraft, according to WPXI.

Surviving the war and then living to 112-years-old is a feat that was met with congratulations from Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards who tweeted. “Mr. Brooks, the entire state of Louisiana thanks you for your service and we all wish you a joyous birthday.”

 

 

Mr. Brooks was drafted in 1940 at the age of 31. He served in the 91st Engineer Battalion which was comprised mostly of Black soldiers. He was stationed in New Guinea and the Philippines. His unit built bridges, roads, and airstrips that offered important ground support for Allied troops.

The National World War II Museum has provided an oral history as told directly by Lawrence Brooks.

Veterans Affairs notes that Mr. Brooks was drafted in 1940, trained at Camp Shelby in Mississippi, and was honorably discharged in November 1941. Following the bombing of Pearl Harbor, he was called back into service.

After the war ended, Brooks left the Army to become a forklift operator. He has lived a long life that includes two marriages and five children. His family has grown considerably over the years and now included 13 grandchildren and 22 great-grandchildren.

His daughter says that minus some sight issues in his left eye, he has lived a very healthy life that hasn’t included any major illnesses.

Happy birthday Mr. Brooks, and thank you for your service.