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David Churchill Barrow

David Churchill Barrow is a Massachusetts “Swamp Yankee” descendant of William Bradford and Myles Standish of Pilgrim fame, who grew up on a farm that has not been sold since first built in the early 1700s.  In that farmhouse still hangs the commission of James Churchill as a captain in the Massachusetts militia signed by John Hancock, and the sword of Thomas Churchill, a Navy engineer who served in the Blockade of the Confederacy.  David’s father, David Bradford Barrow, was a Marine gentleman farmer who commanded a flame-thrower tank in the Battle of Saipan in WW II.

David’s childhood was mostly spent in the woods and swamps of Southeast Massachusetts, building forts and pretending to be Daniel Boone, the Little Drummer Boy of Shiloh, or just an unnamed “Minuteman” making ready to “fire the shot heard round the world.”  He has lived and breathed history since first opening his eyes.

He met his wife MaryLu in high school.  They were married in 1979 and have three adult children.  MaryLu is a former elementary school teacher working on her first children’s book.  Today they live just outside Tampa, Florida, with their Berger Blanc Suisse Attila and their two cats, Minnie and Tink.

David has written non-fiction historical pieces and columns for The Tampa Tribune (now the Tampa Bay Times), The Marine Corps Gazette and the “Lore of the Corps” section of The Marine Corps Times.  He has been a regular contributor of both short stories and posts to Liberty Island Magazine since its inception.  He and MaryLu co-authored Silver and Lead and are working together on a YA novel centered around the so-called “Boston Massacre.”

Books To Give For Christmas: BATTLE CRY By Leon Uris, the Most Accurate Novel About the Marines Ever Written

If you happen to take my advice and give this book to someone, be careful to whom you give it; there may be unintended consequences.  All three of our children loved the book, especially knowing how much it tracked the WWII experiences of their “Grandpa Barrow,” who like Uris, served in the 6th Marines, 2nd Marine Division.   For all three, it was part of the inspiration to join the JROTC program in high school.  For our oldest, that didn’t lead to the Marine Corps, but it did lead to West Point, deployments to Afghanistan and Iraq, the Meritorious Service Medal, and the Bronze Star – and that was a daughter.

The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance: The Mayflower Compact Goes West

In his National Review piece Kyle Smith notes that this movie is most famous for its cynicism of the press, and the puncturing of Old West mythology; its most famous line being “This is the West, Sir.  When the legend becomes fact, print the legend.” In this view, the film was pioneer postmodern.  There should not be an abundance of joy in the destruction of myth. As Jordan Peterson often reminds us, shared mythology is part of the cultural cement that holds us together, just as the Arthurian legends instructed actual knights on the meaning of chivalry.

Moby Dick: Allegory of the First Order

Why Howard Butcher, you old subversive, you, teaching Moby Dick or, The Whale  a scriptural allegory that makes C.S. Lewis and John Bunyan read like Joel Osteen – to our impressionable youth.  Fortunately for you, the story is so compelling and the characters so riveting and well-drawn, you will get away with it year after year.

Melville puts the reader in a biblical frame of mind straight off, before he even gets to the story, with his bizarre Extracts (Supplied by a Sub-Sub- Librarian) citing from the books of Genesis, Job, Jonah, Psalms, and Isaiah, among other quotes; which include lines from Pilgrim’s Progress and Paradise Lost.  To keep us in a King James Bible mood, characters such as the ship owners Bildad and Peleg, first mate Starbuck, and it is presumed, Ahab himself, are Quakers all, keeping in their dialogue the formal “thee and thou” for which that sect was famous.

Which Is More Terrifying: The Haunting Vs. The Devil’s Advocate?

Evil from Within or Evil from Without?

When I was in 3rd or 4th grade I considered myself a horror film aficionado – mostly watching old horror classics on Friday nights like the original Dracula, or more recent B-rated schlock, like Jack Nicholson in The Terror.  Then one evening I began watching 1963’s The Haunting, and had to shut it off after the first few scenes. I didn’t finish the movie until years later.  The fright was from pure atmospherics; there’s no monsters jumping out at you, no blood, flesh and gore flying about – but it’s was like walking into someone else’s black & white nightmare. Martin Scorsese ranked it the best horror film of all time.

TV Review: The Rookie – Does Burying Yourself in a Stressful Job Assuage the Pain of Alienation?

Fans of Nathan Fillion, late of Castle fame, should be pleased with his latest venture – a police procedural “dramedy” called The Rookie.  The action is herky-jerky like a good amusement park ride (and therefore riveting) and the humor is sprinkled in judiciously so as not to detract from the drama.  Fillion stars as John Nolan, as a forty-something new recruit to the L.A.P.D.

TV Review: The Meaning of the NCIS Franchise’s Recurring “Off The Books” Plots

Return to a “State of Nature?”

“…the end of law is not to abolish or restrain, but to preserve and enlarge freedom.  For in all the states of created beings capable of law, where there is no law, there is no freedom.” – John Locke, Second Treatise of Civil Government, Chap.VI, Sec. 57

For years now, whenever our daughter comes home from her adventures (which included West Point, Afghanistan, Iraq, law school, law clerk and now Supreme Court Fellow, thus explaining her interest)  we binge watch the NCIS (Naval Criminal Investigative Service) franchises: NCIS, NCIS Los Angeles and NCIS New Orleans.  These shows have been highly rated for decades, though you don’t read or hear much about them.  I suspect that is because there is entirely too much patriotism, classical heroism, and American exceptionalism for the cynics in the media to swallow.

TV Review: “Mixed-ish” and Tribalism in American Culture

He who lets the world, or his own portion of it, choose his plan of life for him has no need of any other faculty than the ape-like one of imitation.  He who chooses his plan for himself employs all his faculties. He must use observation to see, reasoning and judgment to foresee, activity to gather materials for his decision, discrimination to decide, and when he has decided, firmness and self-control to hold his deliberate decision. — John Stuart Mill – On Liberty

When I need to forget about life’s responsibilities for a time, I will watch with my wife some of the sitcoms she enjoys. Blackish, a widely acclaimed show focused upon the foibles and mishaps of trying to stay in tune with American black culture, has spawned the prequel Mixed-ish. Here we are taken back to the childhood of mixed-race Rainbow (or just “Bow,” the wife on Blackish) who started life in an idyllic commune, where supposedly race (among many other distinctions) was completely ignored. This wondrous paradise (with no flushing toilets?) was abruptly ended by an FBI raid, for undisclosed violations.

“Red Queen” Reasoning – The Spreading Mental Disorder of the Post-Modern Era

“No, No!” Said the Queen.  “Sentence first – verdict afterwards!”

“Stuff and nonsense!” said Alice loudly.  “The idea of having the sentence first!”

Look about you and you will see it everywhere – from this latest impeachment frenzy to “living Constitution” jurisprudence – we decide a priori the result we want, and reason backwards from there.  A more modern and more clinical term for this phenomenon is “confirmation bias.”  Both the right and left are subject to it, and becoming more polarized by it.  Each side sits in its own high-tech echo chamber.  We watch and listen to different news outlets and opinion pundits, and realtors will tell you it has gotten to the point where buyers are asking if a neighborhood is conservative or liberal, as if the wrong answer is disqualifying.

“Self-Image” Issues? Your Parents Were “Narcissists” and “Toxic!” – Convenient Excuses and Cultural Dry Rot

“Certified Life Coaches” are springing up across the country like dandelions (and you, too, can become a “Certified Life Coach” in as little as 90 days!).    Lisa Romano is one “who specializes in codependency and narcissistic abuse.”  She was challenged by a viewer for encouraging the alienation of adult children from their parents, and to her credit Romano gave a detailed response.  In it, there is a glimmer of self-awareness when she considers that her views on “abuse” might in turn be abused by self-centered offspring, but it quickly fades.  After all, she’s not talking about parents “who ask their kids to clean up the dishes after their friends were over to teach responsibility,”and she goes on to cite far more serious cases.  As for all that may lie in between?  Well, if it wasn’t “validation of your feelings,” if it didn’t “fan the flames of the light inside you,” then it was abuse, “dear ones.”

Remember This About D-Day: It Could Have Failed…

D-Day: 6 June 1944…. When we look back upon the mighty armada the allies threw ashore on that day, it is tempting to believe overwhelming victory was inevitable. Not so. In a series of small matters God smiled upon the endeavor.

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