Friday, April 29, 2011

Royal Wedding , the powers of the Queen, a bit of rant and hopefully something of interest

What an excellent wedding Prince William and Miss Catherine had! A real treat for the eye, something to pull long-dormant heart strings of a former glorious British Empire. I have not a single word to say against the wedding or any of the wonderful celebrations it generated, in fact I think it is simply great. A good day to be British, for sure! As a Yank with some British roots, I have to say hurrah for William and Catherine and the United Kingdom! Congratulations to you and best wishes from Dakota. The Brits are good people and deserve to have a happy day.

I was long under the impression that the monarchy of the United Kingdom was pretty well powerless, and having seen so few official acts of demonstrating royal authority in my own lifetime, had seen nothing to change that view. However from what I can determine, the Queen holds enormous power today, far more than most people realize. Here is what I ran across on another site, quote

"She can dissolve parliament, she can sack a prime minister, she can break a treaty, she can declare war, etc. The only specific laws I know of that restrict her power are that she can not raise an army on her behalf, that she can not raise taxes on her behalf, and that she can not make and enforce any new law."

What a difference from what we see spreading across the Arab world, where old monarchies are in danger of collapse; their long record of corruption and repressions are so vastly different as to seem another age. The brave freedom fighters in Libya and elsewhere have not given up the fight, and Gadhafy has been losing ground as must naturally follow since he is in effect cut off from all outside supply for new arms, ammunition and even fuel to put in his tanks. We can only hope that Assad in Syria will not follow the same road as Gadhafy, though so far it looks as if he will.

Meanwhile our own country has taken quite a pounding from nature; the death count from over 450 tornadoes is still being counted. I know, our skeptics insist there is no "global warming" but we can see the devastating effects of it clear enough. To a skeptic who still refuses to see it, and will point to some snowstorm or blizzard as proof, I suggest you take a cup of cold water and put it into your microwave, then turn the microwave on. As it heats up, the water will come to a simmer, then boil, and more rapidly the hotter it gets. Our atmosphere is similar to that cup of water, literally an ocean of air, which is heating up and as a result we will continue to see more and more violent storms as a result.

To paraphrase my own favorite comedy (a British production you may have heard of, "Monty Python") ..."And now for something completely different."


I know that I posted something not long ago in which I made the threat (or promise) to do a book on Custer, but have been having second thoughts on this. Not because of the sheer volume of information available, and it is a great deal, but for other reasons I will explain.. For one, the number of books already done on Custer and-or the Little Bighorn is enormous. This alone is not a solid reason, but based on what I can see, a great many people already "know" what happened on the Little Bighorn and have strong opinions on Custer pro and con; often regardless of facts. The truth has been there all along but <*except one noted below*> none of the authors seem to have noticed it, all appear to have approached the subject with a predetermined bias. Even the interviewers who asked the questions of the surviving witnesses, often seem to have bent the questions to "fit" the ideas they held, rather than just compiling what the witnesses were telling them. As the famous Crow scout Curley said, "I have told the same story every time, but there have been different translators" - almost putting words into the mouths of the witnesses.

As none of the participants are alive today, we are forced to work only with what was written down 'back then'. The best author in my opinion has been Robert Utley, as he made efforts to stick with the facts and not color the story with his own personal twist to distort it.

I haven't decided not to do this book, just having some doubts about whether it would really contribute anything to the mass. Perhaps it needs to be done, if only for the sake of the record, to tell what really happened and what Custer really did that day in 1876. There is no shortage of good authors out there, maybe some one will take this suggestion to do it, and relieve me of any decision to back out. The truth is hidden in the mass of information, but you can find it if you look and will understand why it has been missed.

One of the key issues of that battle was the main weapon of the cavalry, the 1873 Springfield Trapdoor carbine in 45-55-405, though the original tests were done in 45-70. Although there were problems due to this being a single shot, and with jamming issues, those who point to it as the main cause of the defeat ignore the fact that the same troopers were also armed with the excellent 1873 Colt Single Action Army revolver. This was chambered in 45 Long Colt, and very reliable and accurate. A single hit from this would stop a man. A fair number of hostile Indian witnesses reported seeing the soldiers fight with their pistols during the battle, and this would have offset the problem of the carbine being a single shot to some extent. The fact that several charges made by the Indians against the soldiers were repelled or stopped due to their fire should suffice to cross off the Trapdoor carbine being at fault for the defeat.

For those curious, tests were done on the 45-70 at Sandy Hook in 1879, which were impressive. Here is a little extract. Quote:
"The firing was done by Mr. R.T Hare of Springfield Armory who has the enviable distinction, so far as is known, of being the only person in the world who has hit the 'Bull's-Eye' six feet in diameter at 2,500 yards with three different rifles, and who has ever fired at and hit so small a target as that described in this report at 3,200 yards.

In comparison with this, all other so-called 'long range firing' pales into insignificance. The gun was held under the arm, a muzzle rest only being used."

These tests show that the board was not wholly politically motivated when they selected the 1873 Springfield in 45-70 for issue as "the" main weapon in the hands of the Army soldiers. They were very good at long range, and it was thought that much of the fighting that would take place on the plains would likely be done at long ranges. The buffalo hunters who successfully defended themselves at the second battle of Adobe Walls must have given those board members some sense of justification in their selection.

Sorry for so many linked words and statements this time, just thought I might help out anyone who wants to look into these topics further. That is it for this edition, thank you to my kind friends for the words of encouragement sent earlier, and I wish you all good luck and good hunting; I hope you find the treasures that you seek.

New Metals Price Charts

I have added some new metal price charts at the bottom of the page for those interested. I could not find a chart that can be posted for Tungsten, but the link at bottom has current prices. With Wolframite only bringing seven to eight cents per pound, I have doubts that many prospectors are going to spend a lot of time hunting for it, but it might be worth saving it in your concentrates.

No exciting news to report or interesting articles to post, but will try to have something interesting to post soon. Good luck and good hunting amigos, I hope you find the treasures that you seek.
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