Saturday, July 24, 2010

A Lady of No Reputation Who Was Simply Amazing, Part IX


In early February, 1851, 20 year old G1 GF WILLIAM SAMUEL CHARLES DAWSON, crushed by the death of his first wife, and sick to death of waiting for employment in London, bade farewell to friends and family in London (perhaps Thomas and Ann Dawson and their son William, also of Christ Church in Spitalfields -- relatives?), and made his way from London to Liverpool. In Liverpool he walked to the docks, and seeing the recently-arrived American-made packet ship "Washington" tied up to the wharf belonging to Taylor, Crooke & Co., the Liverpool agent for the famous Black Star Line, went into the ticket office in front of the wharf and inquired about the price of passage.

"Berths" aboard the Washington ranged from 3 pounds, 15 shillings to 4 pounds for a crate-like "cot" bolted to the deck side of the gunwales, to 5 pounds for a space in a cabin. Any of these fares were enormously more economical than the cost of the trans-oceanic voyage for an individual during the previous century, due to the effects of economies of scale as emigration out of the British Isles increased after the commencement of the Potato Famine. The amount of 4 pounds amount to about 2 weeks' wages for a common laborer during this period. Perhaps WILLIAM chose the mid-range fare of 4 pounds, and then registered. He stated that his name was "William Dawson." He gave his age as "20." He described himself as "a citizen of England" who worked as a "laborer." The clerk for Taylor, Crooke & Co. then gave G1 GF WILLIAM SAMUEL CHARLES DAWSON his ticket for his voyage.

The ticket promised, per day, 3 quarts of water, and, per week, 2-1/2 pounds of bread, 1 pound of flour, 5 pounds of oatmeal, 2 pounds of rice, 2 ounces of tea, 8 ounces of sugar and molasses, vinegar, and 1 pound of boned pork. The reality would turn out to be far less pleasant than the promise.

The "Washington" was built specifically to bus Potato Famine emigrants from the British Isles to America. It was about 200 feet in length, weighed about 1,600 tons in drydock, had a wide beam, and was very sturdily built and easily able to withstand the worst storms the Atlantic could throw at her year round. The ship was commanded by Ship's Master A. Page, while the crew consisted of 4 Ship's Mates, 5 officers including Ship's Doctor Charles Reynolds, and 31 sailors. About 900 passengers were booked to make the passage across the Atlantic with G1 GF WILLIAM SAMUEL CHARLES DAWSON.

On or about February 13, 1851, WILLIAM went to the Taylor, Crooke & Co. wharf and waited in line to board. An English doctor asked him his name, asked him if he felt healthy, told him to stick out his tongue, and then, on seeing his tongue, pronounced WILLIAM "fit."

As the line proceeded across the wharf to the gangplank, WILLIAM was undoubtedly surprised and disturbed to see the Ship's Mates pushing, screaming and cursing to herd the emigrants on board as quickly as possible. He may or may not have realized that this was the beginning of their 6 week effort to jam as many fares as possible onto the boat and get them to America as fast as possible, while giving them as little food and water as possible, to maximize profits.

Once all had boarded, the Washington was untied from its wharf, and perhaps after dropping a sail or two allowed to drift out into the River Mersey, where it dropped anchor.

On the first day of the voyage, while the "Washington" lay at anchor only a few hundred yards from the wharf at Liverpool, passengers were instructed to line-up for water. Only the first 30 to line up received their tin of water. The rest were sent
back to their berths. The same thing happened later in the day -- only the first 30 received their water ration.

Probably sometime during the second day, a steamer approached the
"Washington". The "Washington's" crew threw the steamer a bowline which was tied to a post on the stern of the steamer. Once anchor was weighed, the steamer began towing the "Washington" slowly down the River Mersey. As this was being done, roll was taken on board the "Washington." and stowaways returned to the dock on a small boat.

Once she had been towed to the Irish Sea, where the wind was fresh and reliable, the
"Washington" cut loose from the steamer and unfurled its sails.

A week passed. Still, nothing but water had been doled-out to hungry passengers. Finally, Ship's Doctor Reynolds was seen moving from berth to berth, taking note of passengers less than 16 years of age. Though the Black Star Line contract, and naval regulations, permitted half rations only for those who were less than 14 years of age, Captain Page arbitrarily raised that limit to 16. Perhaps he felt that he had a right to to "handicap" to protect against lying by passengers -- assuming, of course, that no food at all during the first week was legitimate.

More days passed with no food being distrubuted. When whipping, cursing, punching and screanming failed to quell the riot for food, food was finally distributed. Some passengers who noticed that the Ship's Cook was very generous to passengers who bribed him with money or whiskey complained, but to no avail. Ultimately, passengers received less than one-half of the provisions promised by their contract.

Fierce and frigid Winter storms slammed against the vessel during the ensuing weeks. When the weather became too rough, sails were reefed-in to protect against capsizing, while gigantic waves of freezing water came crashing over the gunwales into the "berths." Many passengers prayed during such storms. Those who died of the diseases brought with them from Liverpool -- cholera, typhoid, and dyssentery -- were tied-up in cloth bags weighed-down with rocks and tossed overboard.

On March 28, 1851, after Ship's Master Page never once showed his face to the passengers, Doctor Reynolds began walking down the deck between berths, screaming, "Now, then, clean-out and wash-out yours rooms, every one of you, God damn and blast your souls to Hell!" The passengers were greatly cheered by this, realizing as they did that clean-up time meant that they were nearing the American coast, and would soon be able to disembark from their Hell-hole. A short time later, G1 GF WILLIAM SAMUEL CHARLES DAWSON and the other passengers saw with their eyes what Captain Page had seen through his telescope -- the American coast.

Finally, on March 31, 1851, the "Washington" sailed into New York harbor. Passengers crowding against the gunwales stared wide-eyed at the Statue of Liberty, correct? Not at all. It did not even exist in 1851. Then, later the same day, sick passengers were ferried ashore to quarantine on Staten Island. The balance of the passengers stayed on the Washington until it tied-up to the wharf at Ellis Island, a tiny tract of land in New York harbor, then about one-eighth its current size, closer to the Jersey shore than to Manhattan, featuring only a few small wooden buildings. There G1 GF WILLIAM SAMUEL CHARLES DAWSON disembarked with the remaining passengers, was given a brief physical, and waited, until a ferry from New York City arrived to take them ashore. On that day WILLIAM SAMUEL CHARLES DAWSON swore allegiance to the United States of America, and he became an American citizen.

A Lady of No Reputation Who Was Simply Amazing, Part VIII

Dore's Portrait of East End Squalor

Wash Day in the East End

Christ Church, in Spitalfields, London, the Anglican Church

Where William Samuel Charles Dawson Was Baptized

Street Urchins in 19th Century London


During most of the first half of the 19th century, while English overlords in London's West End collected rents from their stolen Irish estates, and demolished Irish industry by flooding Ireland with cheap English manufactures after the Act of Union indirectly eliminated all trade barriers, London's neighborhoods for the working classes in the East End boomed as employment opportunities in London's newly-mechanized factories grew in number. The new neighborhoods lacked sewage facilities -- toilet and wash water drained into the Thames from open gullies in the streets. Public transportation was just then coming into its own, so that steam locomotives at street level or on elevated tracks belched steam, oil, sparks and smoke into adjacent streets. In short order new neighborhoods became overcrowded working-class ghettoes. Cholera, typhus and dyssentery spread via the open sewers. Mini-epidemics of these diseases, wiping out this section and that neighborhood of London's East End, became commonplace. Especially during the Summer, the smell in London began to become so unbearable that Parliament actually considered leaving for a pleasanter location.

Around 1810, somewhere in these interesting neighborhoods in London's East End, a little boy name WILLIAM DAWSON was born to one working-class family, and a little girl named SARAH TRAVELLER was born to another working class family. These would become our G2 GPs, the parents of G1 GF WILLIAM SAMUEL CHARLES DAWSON.

Both G2 GF WILLIAM DAWSON and G2 GM SARAH TRAVELLER would have been baptized into the Church of England by their parents.

The London of the first half of the 19th century is well-portrayed in Dickens' novels. On the East End, it really was a despicable place. Both G2 GF WILLIAM DAWSON and G2 GM SARAH TRAVELLER would have "lived lives of quiet desperation" in their families, going out to work, without much education, if any, as early in their teen years as possible to supplement family income. There is some evidence that they met and engaged in an intimate relationship before marriage, and that G1 GF WILLIAM SAMUEL CHARLES DAWSON was conceived and born before their marriage, a not-uncommon thing in the disorganized lives of the denizens of the East End in those days, according to books on the subject.

G1 GF WILLIAM SAMUEL CHARLES DAWSON's early years would not have been much different from that of his parents. As a member of the working class in London's dirty East End, he would have been poorly educated, and forced out to work as early as possible in his teen years. WILLIAM SAMUEL CHARLES DAWSON's classsification, on his immigration record, as a mere "laborer" bears this out. Who knows when his parents died, and why. Perhaps one of the many cholera, typhoid or dyssentery epidemics, borne through London by the sewers, did them in.

It was customary for young men in London's East End to commit themselves to marriage at around the age of 17 or 18. G1 GF WILLIAM SAMUEL CHARLES DAWSON apparently did so, probably around 1848. We really know nothing at all about his wife, except that, according to family tradition, she died shortly after their marriage, perhaps of one of the mini-epidemics of cholera, typhoid or dyssentery which came out of London's open sewers on a regular basis, or perhaps she was one of the 250,000 victims of the great tuberculosis epidemic which assailed the population of London and its suburbs between 1850 and 1855.

While 1848 was a deadly year in Ireland, 1848 and subsequent years were difficult years in London's East End. When the Potato Famine hit Ireland, the Irish suddenly had nothing, so that English exports to Ireland plummeted. Elsewhere throughout Europe, the failure of the potato crops due to the same fungus caused food prices, generally, to rise, resulting in a massive shift of cash from industry into farming, further drying-up markets for England's manufactures. Suddenly, the working class in London's East End, and throughout Europe, were thrown out of work. Unemployment as a consequence of the failure of the potato famine is the major caused of the violent revolutions wracking government across Western Europe in 1848.

The employment picture would not have been too pretty for G1 GF WILLIAM SAMUEL CHARLES DAWSON during this period. Though London avoided a revolution in 1848, emigration to America of the chronically unemployed began to skyrocket. Hundreds of thousands of English young people began to join the Irish crammed into the windjammers out of Liverpool, hoping for a better life in America. WILLIAM SAMUEL CHARLES DAWSON was one of these.

A Lady of No Reputation Who Was Simply Amazing, Part VII

Eviction day: After Parliament "taxed the problem to eliminate it,"
by adopting thge Four Pound Clause -- a $3,000 annual penalty on every
quarter acre set up for potato cultivation -- English landlords evicted every
Irish family, previously forced by them into n potato farmjing,
from every potato plot to avoid the penalty; 4,000,000 Irish Catholics
were suddenly homeless; 1,500,000 died in Ireland;
250,000 died on the ships to America

In drawings from the era, the men are frequently absent;
they died giving up their food to the women and children,
or charging the docks, crammed with food being exported by Engliush landlords,
in the famous "skeleton armies"

Relief measures were only sufficient to help about one-fifth of the evicted, starving Catholic families. The rest walked until they died of starvation. The Roman Catholic Church was illegal. Therefore, only the Protestant churches could publicly maintain active soup kitchens. Some of these required conversion to Protestantism before food was provided -- the famous "soupers." Many starving parents had to decide whether to bury the first of their children to die, or butcher and cook the dead to feed their living children. While the bellies of the young swelled enormously in response to the complete absence of food, dogs left behind by their dead masters formed packs and began unearthing famine victims from shallow graves, so that their bellies became swollen with human flesh. The image of the leprachaun with swollen belly, skinny limbs, and thin, curly facial hair which we see in today's cartoons dates from this period -- that is what an Irish boy looked like shortly before death from starvation, down to whispy, prematurely-sprouting facial hair.

As pregnant ANNA and her husband slowly starved, since they apparently lived in Londonderry County they functionally starved in front of their Protestant neighbors. The experience must have very, very drastically impacted their outlook. Though he is completely unrelated to us, ANNA's first husband Mr. Mallon should probably be remembered as someone who gave his life for our G1 GM. He died; pregnant ANNA didn't.

At a particular point ANNA gave birth. How she must have agonized when she realized that her baby, great aunt BARBARA MALLON, was blind! Perhaps ANNA ultimately received some assistance from one of the poorhouses erected after the beginning of the famine. At a particular point, ANNA decided to join the millions of Catholic Irish who were emigrating to America to survive. A tiny amount of indirect evidence suggests that ANNA made application for funds from one of the several English philanthropists who were paying for passage to America.

Probably around the year 1848, G1 GM ANNA FULLER, only about 19 years of age, holding the tiny hand of her blind little daughter, great aunt BARBARA MALLON, boarded one of the steamers out of Londonderry carrying emigrants to Liverpool. "At last," she may have thought, "I will escape hardship and find an easier life in America." And she did -- kind of.

The great packet ships built to carry people from the British Isles to America had not yet come into their own. Early-on in the Potato Famine years most passengers were carried in windjammers originally built to carry cargo across the Atlantic, but converted to move people.

The voyage across the Atlantic took about six weeks. I will tell the story of such a voyage in the narrative on G1 GF WILLIAM SAMUEL CHARLES DAWSON, since it is so well documented in his case.

It is more likely than not that g1 gm ANNA FULLER and her little daughter BARBARA MALLON came to the United States through Canada, and that therefore their point of disembarkation was Grosse Isle in the St. Lawrence Seaway, about 30 miles east of the city of Quebec (not the Grosse Isle out in the Atlantic). Grosse Isle, one of Canada's most important quaratine sites, was a horrible place. Many thousands of Irish who emigrated during the famine years died there of typhoid, cholera and dyssentery, if they survived the voyage across the Atlantic. Though the British government hoped that many of the Irish disembarking at Grosse Isle would stay in Canada, in fact the overwhelming number of those who survived quarantine either had themselves ferried up the St. Lawrence Seaway if they had money, or ferried to shore if they didn't so that they could walk south to the United States.

Somehow, ANNA moved south into the United States with her little daughter, all of the way to Philadelphia, so that in 1851 ANNA was living at #3 Goldsmith Court in Philadelphia, as described in the 1852 Philadelphia Directory (which explains in its introductory passages that it is published in the beginning of 1852, using the very latest 1851 information). Why Philadelphia? The answer may have been the famous Pennsylvania Institution for the Instruction of the Blind, at 20th and Race Streets in Philadelphia. An oral tradition of the family hints that ANNA may have had her daughter BARBARA MALLON boarded there.

Not too long after her arrival in Philadelphia G1 GM ANNA FULLER met and married her second husband, our ancestor G1 GF WILLIAM SAMUEL CHARLES DAWSON, whose story we shall now commence.


Tuesday, July 20, 2010

A Lady of No Reputation Who Was Simply Amazing, Part V

After the bloody 17th century, the antagonism of the Catholic Irish toward English Protestantism was way too deeply imbued to be erased. The Irish social order was collapsed by the English, but there was a new psychology in its place -- far more defensive, far stronger than anything ever confronted by the English. Cromwell, in committing genocide, and the subsequent invasion by the English in the Williamite War, left the Irish culture with a very permanent bad taste in its mouth.

As the 18th century progressed, English overlords, ruling their stolen lands, forced the Irish to grow crops for export only.

At the same time, the price of those crops was driven down slightly by imposing large tariffs on Irish exports to England, while exempting English goods exported to Ireland from tariffs, milking Ireland's economy, but badly injuring Irish welfare in the process.

As this process continued, Irish anger began to build. Extremely cold winters generating a food shortage in 1740 and 1741 was made ten times worse by the English economic policy. 400,000 Irish -- about one-eighth of the population, died.

The oppression of Irish grew so fierce that Protestant Irish and Norman Irish united with some Catholics to form the Society of United Irishmen to pressure the English into permitting Irish self-rule. When it became clear that the English were determined to only exploit the Irish, anger exploded into Wolfe Tone's Irish Rebellion of 1798.

Wolfe Tone induced the French to try to land a very large army in Ireland in 1796, but severe storms made the landing impossible and the soldiers were returned to France. Accompanying acts of sabotage by Irish rebels shocked the English into terrorizing the Irish with mass burnings, torture and murder of both Catholic and Protestant Irish. Comprehending the impact of indiscriminate torture and murder -- a much more united Ireland -- the British military recommended manipulating Irish Protestants with reports that the British government was only suppressing a "popish" conspiracy. The documents verifying this are very clear.

As the British noose tightened, alarmed Ireland exploded.

Armed guerilla units attacked British army units and forts from all sides. England poured thousands of troops into Ireland. By-and-large, the trained British, assisted by native loyalists, carried the day. Catholic and Protestant rebels were relentlessly pursued. There was little taking of prisoners by the British. Captives, healthy and injured, were tortured and murdered. Their families were raped, tortured and murdered.

The rebels struck back with localized terror, but there was no comparison with British terror.

The French landed a small force of 1,000 regulars accompanied by Wolfe Tone. 5,000 rebels joined them. At Castlebar the British retreated in panic, suffering an embarrassing defeat. Ultimately, the British prevailed, capturing the French and rebels. French prisoners were traded for British prisoners. Irish rebels were murdered.

By the end of 1798 the rebellion had lost its steam. The last of the rebels' guerilla groups did not surrender until 1804, however.

Afterwards, the British used the divide-and-conquer method in Ireland, favoring Irish Protestants while terribly oppressing Irish Catholics. Catholicism was essentially outlawed. Agriculture was "reformed," as four-fifths of the Irish Catholics were forced into potato cultivation, recently discovered by British landlords in London's West End as a means of maximizing profits, setting the stage for the greatest catastrophe of all.

Next chapter: Annie's story.

Monday, July 19, 2010

A Lady of No Reputation Who Was Simply Amazing, Part V

Irish Ladies Working "Lazy Beds," the Prime Means
Of Potato Cultivation in the 19th Century

Many of the Irish Catholics Forced Into Potato Cultivation by the British Landlords Whole Stole Their Lands and Then Rented Them Back to Them Had to Live in Mud Huts Next to Their Potato "Lazy Beds"; the "Rich" Potato Farmers Were the Ones Allowed to Live in Shacks

Finally, here we start zeroing-in on the story of our father's father's mother, Annie Fuller.

In 1801, brutality came disguised as an act of democracy. The Act of Union dissolved the Irish Parliament and government, but gave the Irish a large but ineffective representation in the English Parliament. Credit for Irish businessmen and the lifting of restrictions against Irish Catholics never materialized. Instead, the English annihilated what was left of Irish industry by flooding Ireland with cheap English manufactures. Unemployment soared. Banned from most forms of employment, most of the Catholic majority in Ireland were forced into tenant farming.

At this time the English overlords of the lands stolen from the Irish discovered the potato. With almost no investment, very tiny plots could be coaxed into growing very large and very profitable quantities of potatoes. They forced their Irish tenant farmers to cultivate potatoes, only, by simply shrinking the boundaries of leased plots while jamming as many tenant farmers as possible onto every available square foot of stolen Irish estates. While the English overlords, who rarely actually visited their Irish estates, collected rents from their stolen lands, severely impoverished Irish tenant farmers barely managed to eke out an existence on their miserable little potato plots.

The poverty of the Catholic Irish farmers was astounding. Two out of five lived in disgusting little mud huts, without windows or furniture, with their pigs. Most of the rest lived in unfurnished cottages. A farmer was regarded as "rich" if he owned a wheelbarrow. Under such conditions, population normally booms, and it did boom in Ireland during this period, but not for lack of virtue. Visitors to Ireland during the early 19th century declared that there was no such thing as a bastard child in Ireland. There was simply no marital infidelity in Ireland. The daughter of one English overlord, visiting her father's stolen estates, was shocked at how much safer she was among the Irish than on the streets of London.


That was the world into which G1 GM ANNA FULLER was born in 1829 [1]. That world was about to collapse.

[1] This simple sentence contains three educated guesses. The first one, that ANNA FULLER was born in Ireland, is a relatively safe assumption. Oral tradition within the family is that she was Irish. Gf HENRY AVERY DAWSON's marriage license application says that ANNA was Irish. However, the 1870 Census record states that Anna was born in "England." Why? Perhaps, while ANNA was being interviewed by Samuel Kinsley, assistant marshall for the Census Bureau, 3 year old gf HENRY AVERY DAWSON was holding onto ANNA's leg, screaming, crying, begging for attention, so that when Kinsley asked ANNA for her birthplace, and ANNA said, "Londonderry," her birthplace according to certain relatives in the family, all Kinsley heard was "London..." and so wrote "England" on the questionaire. Who knows?

The next educated guess is that ANNA's surname was "Fuller." We find 2 surnames associated with ANNA in records, "Fuller" and "Mallon." "Fuller" and "Mallon" are 2 common surnames in Ireland. One is obviously her maiden name and the other a married name, since oral tradition in the family holds that ANNA came to America a young widow with a blind daughter, great aunt BARBARA. I guessed that "Fuller" was ANNA's maiden name because of an entry in the 1852 Philadelphia Directory. There we are told that "MALLON, A." was a "lab[orer]" who lived at "#3 Goldsmith Court," a Philadelphia street which was so tiny that I could not find it in Smedley's 1863 Philadelphia Atlas. I connect this with ANNA for several reasons. First, there are several women listed in the 1852 Philadelphia Directory. In other words, there is no good reason why "A. MALLON" could not have been a woman. Second, there are no other "Fuller's" or "Mallon's" in the 1852 Directory with a first name beginning with "A." Third, as a widow from a Catholic Irish potato-farming family (which would explain ANNA's departure from Ireland and arrival in this country in the first half of the 19th century), ANNA living in the City of Philadelphia would have been classified as an unskilled general "laborer." Assuming that "A. MALLON" in the 1852 Philadelphia Directory is our g1 gm, then "Mallon" would probably have been ANNA's married name since, so soon after the death of her husband in Ireland, in that more formal and more proper era she would probably have retained her married name, and would also have done so for the sake of her infant daughter. For these reasons, saying that "Fuller" was ANNA's maiden surname did not seem to be too much of a "stretcher."

The third educated guess was g1 gm ANNA FULLER's birth year, 1829. In 1870, ANNA told census taker Samuel Kinsley that she was "41" years of age. 1870 - 41 = 1829. However, the census interview took place on June 13, 1870. Technically, June 13, 1870 could have been anything from the last day of her 41st year to the first day of her 41st year. That generates a possible range of birth dates from June 14, 1828 through June 13, 1829.

Family tradition is that ANNA FULLER was from Scotch-Irish stock -- in other words, from one of the Presbyterian families from Scotland who colonized what is now Northern Ireland at the beginning of the 17th century with the support of English King James I -- but was nonetheless devoutly Catholic [2].

[2] I feel that this is gently corroborated by two factors. Directly, by the claim of one of the southern Dawson's that ANNA lived in "Londonderry" in Northern Ireland; and, indirectly, by Samuel Kinsley's error in 1870 when he inscribed the 1870 Census record to read that ANNA was born in "England," which would have occurred because he misunderstood ANNA when she said that she was born in "Londonderry," so that Kinsley heard "London."

ANNA was probably born and raised in Northern Ireland [3].

[3] See data connecting ANNA with Northern Ireland in Note <[>2].

The family tradition that ANNA was devoutly Catholic, plus ANNA's starvation during the Potato Famine, reveals a great deal about ANNA's early years. Probably, one or both of her parents were actually Northern Ireland Catholics. Her parents were probably merely another family of potato-growing tenant farmers on the stolen lands of an English overlord in Londonderry County. Odds are that ANNA lived in one of the windowless mud huts or shack-like cottages for potato-growing Catholic tenant farmers in Londonderry County, since she would have tended to marry someone in her class, and , again, her subsequent starvation suggests that she very much belonged to the class of astonishingly-poor Roman Catholic Irish potato farmers. She was probably educated in the Gaelic language and in the Catholic faith outdoors, a short distance from wear her parents were cultivating their potato crop, in one of the famous "hedgerow schools." She may have attended illegal Masses regularly in the obsequious root cellar of a neighbor. In this context, there is a respectable chance that, as so often happens with Irish children today, ANNA FULLER grew up disliking Protestants.

Before the Potato Famine, Irish Catholic girls traditionally married at age 16, and Irish Catholic boys at 18. The circumstances suggest that, indeed, ANNA FULLER married her first husband Mr. Mallon in 1845, at 16 years of age [4].

[4] Oral tradition holds that ANNA came to America after giving birth to a blind daughter and after her husband's death. Both things are probably the result of the Potato Famine. The Famine commenced in the Fall of 1845, and severely disrupted Irish civilization in 1846, 1847 and 1848. Casualties continued into later years, but those first three years were the worst. If her baby, great aunt BARBARA, was born blind on account of ANNA's starvation, and if ANNA's husband starved to death, then her marriage would have occurred in 1845 or 1846; and ANNA would have conceived fairly quickly; and then her baby would have been born blind and her husband would have died in 1847 or 1848.

Mr. Mallon was probably just another potato-faming Roman Catholic tenant farmer. At such a young age, they almost certainly lived in one of the windowless mud huts situated on their potato plot [5].

[5] The sheer fact of the family's subsequent starvation suggests this.

In the Summer of 1845, American farmers noticed that a strange fungus was wilting the leaves of their potato crops, causing the vegetable in the ground to rot. In the Fall of 1845, the fungus boarded a boat which sailed from America to the Isle of Wight, probably in the form of a half-eaten potato cast carelessly aside. Within a few weeks after that boat made its landfall, nearly every potato on the Isle of Wight was dead. Perhaps the same boat brought the fungus to England's south-eastern coast. Within a few weeks, most of the potatoes in the County of Kent were dead. The damage quickly spread to all of Southern England, and then to Ireland. Mr. Mallon would have come home one day and said something like, "Annie, the boys are sayin' that somethin's happenin' to the leaves of everyone's potato crop. T' tell th' truth, our crop doesn't look too inspirin'. We may be in for a bit a' trouble." Living on the brink of utter destitution, this could not have been very good news for ANNA, who was probably pregnant at the time. In the weeks that followed, a large amount -- but not all -- of the 1845 potato crop died. A number of farmers got their crops out of the ground in time. The 1846 crop was a complete disaster. So were the 1847 and 1848 crops.

As subsistence-level tenant farmers immediately began defaulting on their rents, the absentee English overlords in London's fashionable West End, deprived of their rents, began ordering evictions, as though the Catholic Irish tenant farmers were allowed by the law to live elsewhere and earn their living in another way. English-run Irish courts authorized brutal evictions. Doors were broken-in, families expelled, and mud huts and cottages collapsed. Within a few weeks, hundreds of thousands of Catholic Irish were wandering the roads, with no place to go, no one to beg from, no way to eat.

Stupidity followed upon stupidity. In London, Parliament authorized some relief efforts, but decided that the main problem was too many tenant farmers crammed onto too many undersized plots, and so Parliament enacted the infamous Four Pound Clause, imposing an annual tax of four English pounds on every farming plot under a certain size. Although Parliament certainly did not put it this way, ultimately their new policy amounted to eliminating starvation by getting rid of the people.

Faced with an immense annual penalty for previously forcing their Catholic Irish tenants to farm undersized potato plots, the English overlords immediately announced the eviction of even their tenants who were still current in their rents, so that their plots could be recombined into much larger farms. The evictions doubled. In short order, millions of Catholic families were homeless, wandering the roads in Ireland with no place to live, no one to beg from, and no food to eat.


A Lady of No Reputation Who Was Simply Amazing, Part IV

England herself carried the next conflict with Ireland to Ireland, by fighting the main battles of the Glorious Revolution there. When King James II bore a Catholic son, Protestant nobles invited William of Orange to come to England and rule in James' place.

James escaped to France, and then sailed for Ireland with French troops. There he formed a coalition of French Catholic soldiers, Protestant Royalists and Irish Catholics. He restored Irish freedom and lands taken by Cromwell.

As Protestant Derry was besieged, an English force loyal to William of Orange arrived and relieved Derry, and increased its numbers from the Protestant population in and around Derry.

In July, 1689, the army of James at Newtownbutler was easily routed by William's army. But then, in the north, a large Williamite force dissolved from a scorched earth policy by the Catholics, and from cold and disease and guerilla attacks.

In 1690 William himself formed a giant Protestant army in the north, and marched on the Catholic army's camp on the Boyne River. Casualties were light, but the Catholic forces were forced to retreat.

Discouraged, James returned to France, abandoning the Irish, who forever after referred to him as "Seamus an Chaca," "James the Shit."

The Irish successfully repulsed a fierce Protestant attack in Limerick, in August, 1690, but lost a bloody battle to the Williamite army at Galway in 1691, quickly followed by the Catholic surrender of Limerick the same year.

The Treaty of Limerick offered generous terms to Irish Catholics swearing allegiance to King William, but the Protestant Parliament in Ireland refused to ratify the treaty, and recommenced oppression of the Catholics.

A Lady of No Reputation Who Was Simply Amazing, Part III

Cromwell "solved" the Irish problem by
butcthering his way across Ireland;
women and children were a special target

The fierceness of Cromwell's attack
gained be judged from the impact
on land ownership

As the English oppressed rather than assimilate the Irish, favoring the English and Presbyterian settlers in all contexts of Irish society, the "Old English" in Ireland -- the descendants of Norman lords -- became "Hebemiores Hibemis ipsis" or "more Irish than the Irish themselves," converting to Catholicism and learning Gaelic and adopting Irish culture, sharpening class lines from English prejudice sharpened religious divisions resulting from the Reformation. Renewed conflict became inevitable, if the English and Presbyterians continued extending their rule, which they did.

Catholic lords in Ireland sought an audience with English King James I and then King Charles I. Each time the English King relented, increasing Irish rights in exchange for higher taxes. The higher taxes were duly paid. The English reneged on their end.

As the seizure of more Catholic lands by ruling English Protestants was announced in this context, Ireland exploded in anger. The English reaped what they sowed.

The conflict began when Charles I attempted to impose Church of England prayers on Scottish Presbyterian churches.

Scotland revolted. Parliament in London also refused to support Charles' effort. Charles tried to trade freedom and lands to Catholics in Ireland for support against the Scots.

The process made Charles I look weak.

Catholic Irish lords thereafter seized Protestant forts in the northern counties in the name of Charles I, perceiving him, as they did, to be "pro-Catholic."

English forces responded with indiscriminate and excessive brutality against the Irish generally. Ireland exploded.

At first, the Irish very carefully restricted themselves to seizing personal property and control of real estate. Not too many English and Protestant overlords and settlers died. But then, at Lisnagarvey in 1641, the settlers murdered hundreds of captured Catholics.

Catholic Ireland exploded with rage. Ireland suddenly became the scene of numerous massacres of Protestant civilians by Irish Catholics.

The Protestant settlers struck back with murderous vengeance. Massacres of helpless Catholic followed massacres of helpless Protestants.

Catholic Owen Roe O'Neill brought the murdering under control, and thereafter restricted the killing to disciplined warfare. A Catholic government was set up in Ireland.

Cromwell landed in Ireland with a well-trained English army in 1649. He thereafter butchered his way across Ireland, by some accounts murdering a third of the population. Most Catholic land was seized and handed over to Protestants. He outlawed the practice of the Catholic faith.

A Lady of No Reputation Who Was Simply Amazing, Part II

Map Showing the Sites of Major Battles
In Hugh O'Neill's Rebellion

Clontibret, 1595

Yellow Ford, 1598

Kinsale, 1601-1602

As all of the Irish thought, "Why are they here?," in the early 1590s the English continued to extend their control over the whole of Ireland from Ulster in the northeast.

As they did so, Hugh O'Neill of the Tyrone Clan of Ulster, tolerated by the English as loyal to the crown, began organizing a powerful Irish army.

In 1591, the English murdered an Irish lord for opposing the appointment by the English of a sheriff over the lord's region.

Filled with fear and rage, the Irish resisted appointments of even more sheriffs. As battles broke out, O'Neill gave up any effort to achieve sovereignty and freedom by guile, and joined the rebellion. In 1595, the Irish inflicted an embarrassing defeat on an English army at Clontibret, Ireland, and the English suddenly found themselves in the largest war of the Elizabethan period.

In 1598 the Irish repeated their success, at Yellow Ford in Ulster. A large English army, comprising a substantial portion of the English army in Ireland, was marching to relieve a fort in Ulster, when the Irish attacked the English army after it had become bogged down in the rear by a cannon slowed by mud, and bogged down in the front by a large trench. About half of the English army was annihilated.

In 1599 the English responded to Yellow Ford with a huge army for the time -- 17,000 men. A large contingent was sent to relieve an embattled Gaelic chieftain loyal to the crown. At Curlew Pass, the English attempted to advance up a "road" comprised of huge stones and bog between them, littered with trees felled by the Irish. The Irish savagely harassed the advancing English from nearby woods. The English soldiers, hungry and exhausted, began to panic, and retreated. Colliding with their comrades, the English army was thrown into chaos. The main body of the well-trained Irish charged, and soundly defeated the English. The Earl of Essex was executed by the English for his military failure, his subsequent parley with the Irish, and his unauthorized return to London and attempted coup d'etat there.

The Earl's successors thereafter employed a mix of conciliation, guile and force to retake English forts in Ireland, amidst an occasional Irish victory. At Kinsale in 1601-1602, after surrounding a Spanish army landed at Kinsale in the south of Ireland and bombarding them around the clock, the English force became desperate when surrounded by a large force of Irish irregulars and Scots under Hugh O'Neill. After a long seige, when the English were on the point of surrendering, the Irish foolishly attacked, and were defeated. The Irish retreated, and ther Spanish allowed to return home. In 1603, O'Neill and his allies fled to Spain in search of renewed Spanish support. The Spanish declined. The British, discovered the absence of O'Neill and his allies, seized all of their lands and people, securing the north for the English, who then colonized the land with a large contingent of Presbyterians from Scotland.

Over the next 40 years, the English completely failed to do anything but hate and oppress the Irish clans.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

A Lady of No Reputation Who Was Simply Amazing, Part I

Dermot MacMurrough,
The Man Whose Actions
Caused Centuries of Sadness
And Suffering for the Irish

"Dawson" is one of the "John Smith" names of Britain. The role of our family in history has not been great.

Even less significant to the world, and even to members of our family today, is our father's father's mother, Annie Fuller Mallon of Ireland.

To fully understand Annie's story, it is best to have at least a sketchy knowledge of the history of Ireland.

In the middle of the 12th century, before England "knew about" Ireland -- before she began to actively covet control of and exploitation of Ireland as a national policy, King Tiernan O'Rourke ousted King Dermot MacMorrough from his throne and lands. MacMorrough struck back, not only taking back his throne and lands, but also taking O'Rourke's probably-willing wife. In 1166, O'Rourke returned in force, easily retaking his throne and lands -- but the wife stayed with MacMorrough. MacMorrough then made an error for which the Irish would pay a terrible price for three quarters of a millenium -- he went to King Henry II of England for assistance, in exchange for accepting English sovereignty over Ireland. Henry jumped at the opportunity, and in 1169 enabled MacMorrough to conquer Ireland with English soldiers, and then reconquered Ireland again in 1171.

Over the next century, Norman rule based in England weakened, until the native Irish badly defeated the Normans at the Battle of Callann in 1261. English control and influence shrank until, in the 1300s, especially after the Plague made its landfall in Ireland in 1348, the English crown controlled only Dublin.

In 1487, the Irish foolishly allowed themselves to be the launching point of a Flemish and Burgundian army supporting a pretender to the English throne. Greatly disturbed, Henry VII began to reassert control over Ireland. The Irish did not much like resubjugation to the English, especially after Henry VIII began to lead the English out of the Catholic Church. And so, in 1534, Silken Thomas Fitzgerald commenced his famous rebellion, and, after his defeat and capture, despite English guarantees of safe conduct he was murdered on Henry VIII's order, in 1537.

In the two Desmond Rebellions, from 1569 to 1573 and 1579 to 1583, the English responded to Irish efforts to throw off English rule with terrible brutality. In the first Desmond Rebellion, Humphrey Gilbert, appointed Governor of Muenster, terrorized the Irish by murdering civilians at random and lining the roads to his camps with severed Irish heads -- somewhat reminiscent of that pathway of Jewish tombstones in "Schindler's List." One of Gilbert's successors William Drury broke the peace entered into after the first rebellion by simply arresting and murdering 700 of the participants.

In the second Desmond Rebellion, the Irish killed English soldiers and property. The English destroyed everything in sight by fire -- including the Irish families. They burned and murdered the Irish into submission. The enormous destruction by the English generated severe famine. Many thousands died of hunger.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

How the Liberal Media Chews Us Up and Spits Us Out


The American media -- the free press -- really is one of the linchpins of democracy. It really does help to keep us free.

But, just because it is so important does not mean that Original Sin -- human moral imperfection -- does not run rampant through the media.

Example One: "Amistad," 1997, with Djimon Hounsou, Morgan Freeman, Anthony Hopkins and Matthew McConaughey, portrays Cinque, the black leader who won his freedom from white slave traders by taking control of the slave ship Amistad, and then he wins the right to return to Africa after the Supreme Court of the United States permits him to do so -- imaginative, bold Africans and benevolent white liberals conquer the exploitative white slave traders, right?

In reality, Cinque returned to Africa and made his living as a slave trader, capturing and imprisoning and selling black men, women and children.

Why didn't they tell us this, in the movie?

Example Two: What do we never, ever, ever read in the media about the priests who victimize young people?

We read that they are "pedophiles," "pederasts," "sexual abusers," "ephebophiles" -- but never, ever, ever do we read that they are


They are.

It's not an accident that 9/10ths of the victims are male.

It's not an accident that 5/6ths of the victims have entered puberty.

The offender priests, in fact, are in the overwhelming majority gay men hunting for prime beef.

Homosexuals are the poster child of the liberal media. So, the media doesn't want you to think like that, so they silently conspire to avoid telling you that.

Example Three: What does the media fall all over itself to avoid telling us about terrorism?

Answer: That the overwhelming majority of the terrorists are Muslims.

For whatever reason, Islam seems to beget large numbers of killers.


Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Another Lawyer Joke

A lawyer parks his BMW in front of a client's house, and is opening the driver-side door to get out when -- FOOM! -- another car passing too close on the left rips off the door and sends it flying.

A bystander reports the tragic accident to police. Two patrol cars pull up behind the lawyer's BMW and get out.

The policemen see the lawyer standing in front of his car, crying. "Oh, no!" the lawyer wails, "Oh, no! My BMW! It's ruined!"

The first policeman observes, "I can't believe how materialistic this lawyer is! Unbelievable! All he cares about is his precious BMW! He probably doesn't even realize that his left arm is gone!"

The second policeman says, "Oh, sheesh! Don't you think that you're being a little prejuiced against lawyers?"

The lawyer, overhearing the conversation, looks down at where his left arm used to be and says, "Oh, no! My Rolex...!"

The Jersey Devil

If the face of the alleged alien, known in popular culture as a "grey," is one of the creepiest images afoot in the media today, images of the alleged Jersey Devil -- the top two composites -- are surely the most ridiculous.
And yet, I really do believe that, though seemingly completely absurd, the Jersey Devil is a variety of demonic tulpa seen for centuries in Europe -- and so immortalized in gothic architecture as gargoyles, as seen in the third and forth pictures -- and can be seen today in Latin American countries as the famous chupacabra, seen in the final picture.
As related elsewhere in my blog here, a tulpa is a "thought form" which any human being can generate in the fabric of reality by very dedicated focus.
I believe that tulpas are simply the mechanism generated by God for purposes of answering human prayers. It is simply the mechanism chosen by God.
I believe that the basic tulpa is an orb. The orb forms in response to the focus embodied in a prayer, and carries the prayer to God, and perhaps in the same orb an angel returns in the orb with the answer to the prayer.
The better and more faith-based your prayers, the better, and the more effective, the orb is.
However, God created the world so that every faculty which He gave to mankind is subject to evil misuse and abuse. By this means, we can employ the assets He gave to us not only to love, and so walk to Him, but also to hate, and by that means walk away from God and hate Him.
As a consequence, humans can also make use of their wills and their focus to create EVIL tulpas.
Evil tulpas may be created by evil wishing and evil focus -- cursing another -- and by focused or habitual participation in evil.
So, human catastrophe -- murder and suicide, for example -- as well as participation in habitual evil acts -- illegal drug use; perverted sex; war -- tends to leave behind a trail of ghosts. Vietnamese clients tell me that after the Vietnam War their country was, and remains, full of ghosts.
For whatever reason -- perhaps by Satan's own design -- demonic tulpas seem to come in "species." There are the "Greys" and "blue jumpsuited 'Munchkins'" in the Abduction Phenomenon, knock-generating ghosts, door-hugging "crouchers" or "rabisus," and, as discussed in this article, Jersey Devils or chupacabras.
Because they appear in our reality as "species," we find that we can identify today's demons in the artwork of yesteryear.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Placing a Value on Things

One of my favorite law jokes concerns a fifth grade class where each of the kids has to get up and describe what a parent does for a living.

Little Sammie gets up and says, "My dad is a social worker who is the boss at a company which cares for mentally challenged people!"

Little Susie gets up and says, "My mommy is a stewardess for US Airways -- she flies to Europe and South America and other places!"

Little Johnnie, whose father is a trial lawyer, gets up and says, "My dad says that he is a piano player in a whorehouse!"

The federal government, several decades ago, was confronted with a special problem when buying-up private land in Idaho to establish the federally-owned Clearwater River National Forest there. Exercising eminent domain, federal appraisers would visit privately-held lands, private residences, and private businesses, and put a price on it which they believed comprised fair market value for the property, and then arrange to have it paid.

At a remote place called Maggie's Bend, Idaho, they discovered that Maggie's Bend was actually a whorehouse, a perfectly legal business in Idaho back then.

Federal appraisers were struck dumb. How to put a value on such a property and business? Sample the goods themselves? Hunt down reguilar customers and interview them?

In his wonderful book, "Strange Encounters: Adventures of a Renegade Naturalist," author Daniel B. Botkin reveals that appraisers and owner shook hands on the concept of counting the number of towels coming down from upstairs to be laundered each month, and assigning a dollar value to each towel.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

University of Illinois: Liberal, or Nazi?

A Catholic professor HIRED to teach about Catholicism at the University of Illinois was about to give an exam in part on the distinction between moral decision making based on utilitarianism, rejected by the Catholic Church because it is ultimately subjective, and moral decision making based on Natural Law asking the question, Does the behavior in question conform to reality?

In class and in the e-mail in question, the professor used sexual issues -- what every student wants to debate -- as the subject matter to be employed by the two approaches to moral decision making in hypotheticals analyzing the approaches.

Because he felt that the discussion in class had been a little to "thin" to fully equip students for the coming exam, the professor re-discussed the issue in an e-mail to all students...

A student who apparently felt that the professor should be barred from stating that the Churcvh teaches that gay sex acts are immoral -- in fact, it does teach this -- used the e-mail as a basis for accusing the professor of "hate speech"...

The University of Illinois fired the professor.

I can tell the portion of the e-mail by the libelous student which caused the professor to be fired. It was the part about notifying the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Resource Center, as well as the Daily Illini, as well as the founder of the Queer Studies major on the campus.

The Religion Department undoubtedly had visions of protesters with (gasp!) signs protesting in front of the building housing the Religious Studies Department.

Instead of being part of the student's private successful campaign of terror, it would be wonderful if local gay rights organizations PROTESTED THE PROFESSOR'S FIRING.

People might respect them, instead of looking at gays as intellectual Nazis.

University of Illinois, you may be liberal, but your actions remind me more of Jewish store closings by the Nazis in Germany.

In truth, you're not liberal.

You're not Nazi.

You're cowards.

And so you have no dignity.

Friday, July 9, 2010

How I Began to Engage in Non-Sexual Child Abuse Years Ago

Years ago, when our son Reid was 3 or 4, he was always picking, picking, picking the skin on his arms. He picked himself bloody. I wondered, "Why?"

I really pushed myself, then. And, I fell into the habit of pushing my family, too. I yelled at my sons Josh and Reid, to make them cooperate. Do this. Do that. Hurry, hurry, hurry.

Reid's habit of picking his bloodied arms continued. It made me cranky.

One day, I began yelling at Reid, for some minor thing.

Immediately he began picking his arms.

And I realized with a shock that I was the reason why he was picking himself bloody.

Immediately I felt a deep shame. After that morning's appointments, I went to one of our local Catholic churches, and asked for a priest and confessed my sin -- in essence, years of damaging my child's personality with my great big, loud mouth.

I then went home and sat Reid down and told him what I had realized -- that I was his problem -- and apologized to him and promised that I would make it up.

I don't think that I ever yelled at him again, or needed to.

Monday, July 5, 2010

The 1960 Nuclear Accident in Ocean County, New Jersey

All of us have "earliest memories." One of my early memories is so vague and improbable that I wasn't sure whether it is a vague memory of reality or a memory of a vague dream. It runs like this...

It is around 1960. I am 7 years of age, asleep in my parents' home in the Frankford section of Philadelphia. It is the middle of the night. A loud roaring on the street outside awakens me. I get up out of bed and look out. There I see a very large tractor-trailer, where the trailer is a flatbed carrying a large white missile. It looked like this...

...but the rear 2/3s of the missile on the flatbed was covered with a light-colored tarp.

I thought something to myself like, "The government moves rockets through the streets at night?"

Again, was that real, or just the memory of a dream?

Years later, a kind of X-Files-style "Deep Throat" walked up to me in Municipal Court in New Jersey and told me something that suggested to me that it might have not been a dream.

"Deep Throat" was a government researcher who had done work on the effects of acid rain. He said, "You look like a pretty good lawyer. Could you help me with something? Some lawyers are suing some companies for polluting the water table in Toms River, Ocean County, New Jersey, causing some very exotic cancers in Toms River. Could you call those lawyers and tell them that a the government's own research indicates that the government caused the Toms River cancer deaths?

"It happened like this. In 1960, a BOMARC Missile in Fort Dix, Burlington County, armed with a plutonium nuclear warhead, exploded and caught fire. Local volunteer fire companies responding to the fire poured water on the flames, spreading plutonium shrapnel all over the site. Many of the firemen died of radiation poisoning. The government responded to the mess by covering it over with a sheet of concrete and throwing up a fence around it.

"Everything was fine until along came acid rain. As certain industries in the United States and Canada began spewing exhaust into the atmosphere, the particles in the exhaust mixed with water in the clouds and generated acid rain.

"Acid rain, it turns out, mixed with the plutonium in the soil beneath the concrete at the Fort Dix site, and formed the only plutonium compound which is water-soluable. So, extremely radioactive plutonium began issuing-forth out from under the concrete pad in Burlington County, into the water table. It washed into the headwaters of streams which ended-up in Toms River, in Ocean County, New Jersey. I believe that the plutonium was sucked-into the water supply system of Toms River, New Jersey, causing all of those people to die of the exotic cancers, there. The lawyers should be suing the United States government -- not those companies. I think that those companies are innocent of any wrongdoing."

I went back to my office and checked out "Deep Throat's" facts. He was mostly correct. In the 1950s, the government began erecting BOMARC Missile sites near several US cities. The BOMARC Missile, I was surprised to learn, relied on the same kind of technology as the rumored Aurora spyplane -- a rocket engine lifted the BOMARC into the air, and sped it up to above the speed of sound, when the speed of the air entering intakes on the BOMARC was large enough to enable ramjets to take over the load. Ramjets carried the BOMARC to up to 65,000 feet, and a Westinghouse tracking system enabled the BOMARC to zero-in on flights of incoming bombers. When the BOMARC was close enough, the on-board 8 to 10 kiliton plutonium device would explode, destroying the enemy bombers.

On June 7, 1960, a tank of Helium in one of these nuclear-armed BOMARC Missiles, at a small BOMARC missile launch site in the Ocean County end of Fort Dix, New Jersey, in Plumstead Township, just off County Route 539 about 2 miles north of Route 70, exploded, setting-off a huge fire. I could not find an article verifying that firemen had died, but a 1960 article by David Neese of the Trentonian verified that "military firefighters and volunteers from nearby small towns began to converge on the scene." Neese added, though the government had assured personnel that there was no danger from radioactivity, "Some of the small-town firefighters at the scene wondered, though. They'd noticed the 'green men' poking and probing around the base. These were eight-man military nuclear warfare whose members wore green protective outfits." I.e., if there was zero danger from radiation, why were they wearing radiation suits?

Finally, checking maps, I verified that the site was close to headwaters of streams emptying into Toms River.

I examined photos of BOMARC Missiles, and, sure enough, that's what the missile on the flatbed looked-like in my memory, jutting from beneath the tarp, in size and shape. Probably, a crew was rushing a replacement missile to Fort Dix, and became lost in Northeast Philadelphia.

In any event, I decided that I was looking at probable cause, and so I contacted one of the lawyers in the Toms River lawsuit.

They weren't interested in what the whistleblower, "Deep Throat," had to say. They explained, "Look, we're really close to a settlement, here. If you're right, the defendants and their insurance carriers will be 'off the hook.' We will have to start over from scratch, and probably spend decades fighting a government which doesn't want to take responsibility."

So, nothing happened.

But I wonder if anyone else is dying of exotic forms of cancer in Toms River.

Proposed Asthma Etiology

Asthma is everywhere these days.

Something like 8% of the US population has it. I have it.

And no one knows the cause with any degree of certainty.

I have read several theories over the years, My favorite theory used to be The Invisible Viral Epidemic Theory -- that a large portion of the world's population contracted a virus with no symptoms at all except one: Annihilation of lung cells whose job is to dampen the immune response in the lungs, so that the disease leaves a person crippled with over-protected lungs, which begin to swell-up and interfere with breathing at the slightest provocation.

Since I first heard that theory years ago, another has been proposed in the media every now and again which makes some pretty good sense: The Car Tire Theory.

Car tires wear down as they pass by on the highways. The tread doesn't just disappear. Those rubber tread molecules go someplace. Where?


Into the air, into the soil, into our streams, into the ocean.

And if they go into the air, that means that they go into our lungs.

An important part of those worn-tread molecules are latex -- the same molecule which generates the latex allergy.

In other words, asthma is latex allergy in the lungs, resulting from breathing-in tire tread dust.

Not a bad theory.