Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Silas Weatherscout

Have you ever heard of Silas Weatherscout? It's okay if you haven't, Latigo Flint doesn't judge. (And besides, few people have.)

Silas Weatherscout was a European explorer/marine biologist, who traveled to the New World in the late 1600's. He soon saw the bountiful promise this vast, wild land offered and he immediately set out to find the "Midwest Passage", the connected system of waterways that he theorized must surely bisect the continent.

One of Silas' early journal entries:

"Breathtaking this mighty land of unsniffed forest and hill. Doubly sweet is the day whose fast we break with untaxed pudding."

Weatherscout's dream was simple: The traditional beasts of burden - oxen, horse and cow may have been okay for the dreary and crumbling old world, but most unfit for this new Eden. According to Silas, the perfect animal partner for men in the New World would be dolphins and porpoises.

Again from his journal:

"The plodding oxen tills the wheat and corn fields by day only to eat hungrily of grain at dusk. But the porpoise and dolphin may swim the canals wearing pulley system harness attached to plow, while feasting upon fish and freshwater mussel that would have otherwise gone undetected."

In May of 1692, Silas started up the Potomac from the Chesapeake Bay in a rowboat, towing several large crates filled with dolphins and porpoises. Early on it became clear his expedition wasn't to be without hardship. From his journal:

"Strangely, the river has yet to flow inward as my calculations insist it must. Its direction remains constant toward the sea and my rate of travel remains a disappointing quarter mile a day. Growing restless are my aquatic friends. Musket fire delays their mutiny."

A month later, French trappers report seeing an emaciated, badly sunburned man sprawled in the bottom of a tiny rowboat that raced toward the ocean much faster than the river flows.

A journal entry from approximately the same period:

"I have grown rather fond of the little spotted female and I believe she of me. I have given much thought to inviting her into the boat with me."

A Nova Scotian whaling ship bound for the waters off Iceland would rescue Silas several weeks later. By all accounts he had gone quite mad.

Silas Weatherscout eventually made a full recovery... physically. Five years later however, he was killed by outraged Iroquois braves while trying to establish a brothel exclusively featuring female dolphins and porpoises on the eastern shore of what is now called Lake Ontario.


At 8:20 AM, Blogger Gil The Carnie said...

Fascinating. Creepy an' I’m sure illegal, but fascinatin'. Ya'all shoulda' been a history teacher Gunslinger.

At 9:25 AM, Blogger Bottle Rocket Fire Alarm said...

I had no idea.

It's too bad Tom Laughlin, the actor who played Billy Jack, is so old now.

He could ace that one.

Maybe the band America still has the chops to do a soundtrack, but they probably have shuffled off already.

I'm too late.

At 11:09 AM, Blogger Kid Relish said...

Billy Jack fuckin' rules - he was all they had and likewise and shit.

But I'd kill to see a young Gene Wilder tackle the role of Silas Weatherscout. (Playing it straight fer shizzle, ain't no comedy.)


At 2:22 PM, Blogger Dave Morris said...

Another little known fact about Silas:

Dolphins, whales and other water-based mammals have a mechanism for breathing - and they were never referred to as "blow holes" until after Mr. Weatherscout's adventures.

God bless the blow-hole.

At 7:59 PM, Blogger Cad Grublygold said...

Poor Silas, his error is obvious. If he had started from the west coast, he could have boated across the country on the little known Death Valley river rout. Starting from Owens lake, this little known stream winds it's way across 3,000 miles of desert before dumping out in to the Colorado.
At least that's what some crazy hobo told me, and why not believe him.

At 1:58 PM, Blogger Lance Manion said...

I once saw an interpretive dance version of the life of Silas Weatherscout. It was entitled "My Salty Love."

Shortly after I saw it, the entire cast was arrested on obscenity charges, and the producers were sued by PETA.

Nonethelss, I found the whole thing deeply disturbing.

At 6:20 PM, Blogger Amandarama said...

Dolphins, dolphins everywhere and not a drop of gin.

I think I may have that wrong.

All I know is, sometimes they like to hump your leg. And sometimes, they're in league with Cthulu. My dad told me.

Where's my damn scotch? And donde esta my pants?

At 6:29 PM, Blogger Lightning Bug's Butt said...

Ah yes. I read about this fella in preparation for my history CLEP.

At 2:18 AM, Blogger Latigo Flint said...

Dern it Gil, I AM a history teacher. Not credentialed perhaps, but still... I talk, folks listen and I learn 'em stuff.

You and me both Steve.

Howdy Kid.

So female Cetacean = quadruple input huh Dave?

I believe every dern thing hobos tell me Grublygold. (Black Jack's gold is out yonder somewheres along the Death Valley River Route ain't it?)

Deeply disturbing things move me the most Lance. (And I am haunted by waters.)

Hey, Amandarama - are you implying I wrote that while under the influence. (You'd be right of course, but I still resent the implication.)

Hey LBB. Howz it? I love music. And God save Silas Weatherscout.


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