It was a very busy weekend at SteynOnline, beginning with our ongoing audio serialization of Mark Steyn's Passing Parade and my takes on a brace of strongmen - one a heavy drinker, the other a heavy cannibal. Our Saturday movie date found Rick McGinnis in the hospital with George C Scott, and our Sunday song selection was a beloved Oscar winner from my new Serenade Radio series. Our marquee presentation was the first of our summer Sunday poetry-and-music specials, surveying the scene from the Wall Street Crash to dancing eunuchs. And, saddest of all, I recalled a great hero of the free speech wars - Mohammed cartoonist Kurt Westergaard.
If you were too busy this weekend watching the press watching Joe Biden try to order an ice cream, I hope you'll want to check out one or three of the foregoing as a new week begins.
Meanwhile, our latest Tale for Our Time charges on - a summer entertainment by Jack London sweeping from the Yukon to the San Francisco bay to midtown Manhattan. Sal, a Mark Steyn Club member from New Jersey, writes:
I've been enjoying your serialization of Burning Daylight and have noted the reckless abandon with which Mr. Daylight hurtles through life. It harkens back to a time before corporations (and the left) decided that men were no longer necessary, and when men like Daylight were appreciated for their can do spirit and zest for life. Back in Mr. London's day there wasn't a decision to be made as only men of a certain stock could do the work necessary to achieve the aims of a society that valued strength and masculinity. These days it's simply too perilous for a man to be, well...a man! At least not in any public sort of way. That fact makes the story all the more enjoyable.
It's certainly about masculinity, Sal. As I mentioned in my introduction, Jack London created Burning Daylight after ill health forced him to abandon his circumnavigation of the globe and as a literary exorcism of his own physical weakness. But London's character exemplifies masculinity in all its aspects - brawn and brains and subtler qualities, too. So we are a long way from the reductive view of masculinity symbolized by the corporate "man cave", to which modern man is exiled to sip insipid beer and watch woke millionaires play corporate sports after ritual pissing on the national anthem. Nothing manly about the man cave.
In tonight's episode, Daylight and Elijah are holed up in a land without wildlife. And, following the food cache's fall from the tree, supplies are getting a trifle thin:
The days passed, and the winter began merging imperceptibly into the Northland spring that comes like a thunderbolt of suddenness. It was the spring of 1896 that was preparing. Each day the sun rose farther east of south, remained longer in the sky, and set farther to the west. March ended and April began, and Daylight and Elijah, lean and hungry, wondered what had become of their two comrades. Granting every delay, and throwing in generous margins for good measure, the time was long since passed when they should have returned. Without doubt they had met with disaster. The party had considered the possibility of disaster for one man, and that had been the principal reason for despatching the two in different directions. But that disaster should have come to both of them was the final blow.
In the meantime, hoping against hope, Daylight and Elija eked out a meagre existence. The thaw had not yet begun, so they were able to gather the snow about the ruined cache and melt it in pots and pails and gold pans. Allowed to stand for a while, when poured off, a thin deposit of slime was found on the bottoms of the vessels. This was the flour, the infinitesimal trace of it scattered through thousands of cubic yards of snow. Also, in this slime occurred at intervals a water-soaked tea-leaf or coffee-ground, and there were in it fragments of earth and litter. But the farther they worked away from the site of the cache, the thinner became the trace of flour, the smaller the deposit of slime.
Elijah was the older man, and he weakened first, so that he came to lie up most of the time in his furs. An occasional tree-squirrel kept them alive.
Thank you for all your kind comments on this latest Tale. On the other hand, if you've yet to hear any of our Tales for Our Time, you can do so by joining The Mark Steyn Club. Membership is available now - and, if you sign up, you'll be all set for Part Ten of Burning Daylight this time tomorrow (and all the earlier episodes, of course). And, if you've a friend who likes classic fiction, don't forget our special Gift Membership. Oh, and aside from audio fiction, we also do video poetry.