Sunday, April 28, 2013

Honor Trail Speeches

I have been asked to write up the Honor Trail Speeches we use at Camp Loll.  These are not the only ones the Rangers use, but they are the ones I give the guys if they ask for ideas.

Honor Trail Speeches

This telling of the story is just an outline.  The presenter should feel free to adapt it to his own circumstance and experience.  It is key to keep the delivery short as the story is part of a longer program touching on all “three” points of the Scout Oath.

Duty to God:

On my honor I will do my best to do my duty to God.

Many years ago a young man set out to become a fur trapper in the great American wilderness.  It was his goal to master the wilderness and to gain freedom and wealth.  He was no fool, and sought out the best of teachers to guide and instruct him.  He found an old Indian Chief who knew every secret of the forest and asked for his help.  The wise old man saw in the boy the seeds of greatness and so consented to reveal  the secrets of his wisdom.

All that summer and into the fall the Chief taught his craft to the young man.  He showed him how to read the signs of the woods.  He learned all the animal signs, and came to understand their ways and to know their haunts.  The wise old Indian showed the boy how to rig a hidden dead fall, and where to place the steel traps to catch the most valuable furs.  He also taught the boy how to live off the land, to find good water and food and shelter, to live safely among bears and lions and the other great beasts of the forest.

The youth was in awe of the wisdom of his master, but he questioned one thing.  Each day the old Chief would find some high spot, he called it his Idaho.  He would ascend, and there raise his arms in worship to The Great Spirit.   Finally, the boy felt he had to question his teacher. 

“Why,” he asked, “do you worship a Great Spirit?”  Have you ever seen Him?”  The old Chief, who was a man of many actions but few words, did not answer the boy.  That night they went to bed as usual.  In the pre-dawn cold, the old man woke his pupil, and motioned to him to follow him into the gray light of the forest before the coming of the sun. 

Without a word, he led him to the edge of the nearby lake and pointed to some deep marks in the soft sand of the beach.  The boy knew the drill.  “Those,” he said, “are the tracks of a moose.  He must have come here during the night, for I did not see these tracks yesterday.  He has waded into the lake here, feasted on water lilies and, no doubt moved off down the shallows.  If we follow the shore, we will find where he came out.” 

“How do you know all this?” asked the Indian.  “You have not seen a moose.”

“Ah,” said the boy, “but I have seen his tracks, and reason tells me the truth.” 

The Chief left the lake and led the boy to the nearby stream that raced down the mountain beside the lake.  Moving upstream along the noisy water, rimmed with thick mosses filled with flowers, he came to a muddy bank.  There were more tracks.  The old man pointed.


Once again the boy was ready for the test.  “These are the tracks of the mink,” he said with excitement.  These are the most precious of the beasts we seek.  If we set our traps with care and cunning we will be richly rewarded. “

“How do you know there are mink?” asked his teacher.  Have you seen them? 

“I do not need to see them,” said the youth.  “Their tracks are clear to see, I have seen all I need to know.”

The last stars were fading and the sky was growing rose-colored as the Indian Chief led his young friend up a steep slope overlooking the lake filled valley.  High on the ridge they came to a great fir snag.  Its rotting bark was torn away and high above were deep gouges cut into the wood, just below them the tree trunk seemed to have been polished.  The Chief pointed at the test.

“This is easy,” said the boy.  “A great grizzly bear has been here.  He is marking his range so no other will dare to enter his hunting ground.  Here he has shown his strength by pulling the bark from this great tree, high above he has shown his reach and power by scaring the wood with the deep, broad furrows of his claws, and there he has shown to all his height by standing, back against the tree, and stretching back his nose to rub a marker of his stature.”  The boy was pleased to show how well he had learned his lessons.  “He is over nine feet tall,” he said with unwavering confidence.

“How do you know?” asked the Indian.  “You have not seen this beast.” 

“I have seen his tracks!  And here is a tuft of his hair.”  He held them up, brown with silver tips. 

The wise old Indian Chief turned and continued to climb to the top of the open ridge.  The boy followed.   He came to stand next to his guide.  They turned to look into the east as the sun burst above the far horizon, its golden light flooding between the distant mountain peaks.  The glory of morning filled the forest, illuminating a scene of indescribable beauty.  The boy’s heart was touched, a gasp escaped his lips.  The Chief turned to his friend.  His eyes sparkled.  Stretching out his arm, he gestured to the forest with a sweep of his upturned palm.  “Behold,” he said, “the tracks of God!”

Scouts, here in this beautiful forest we can see the truth.  We can see the work of God’s hand and the evidence of his power and love.  Let us always remember His loving gifts to us, and learn to read the tracks of God.

On my honor I will do my best to do my duty to God.

Duty to Country:

This is a story told by Elder Paul Dunn, a president of the Quorum of the Seventy in the Mormon Church and a hero of World War Two.  At the end of World War Two, a young solider was among the Americans who liberated a Japanese prison camp.  They literally shot the locks off the gates and came in to find the prisoners, who had been abandoned to die.   Deep in the jungle, it had been raining and the ground was mud.  Those of the prisoners who could were cheering or crying with joy.  The young solider saw a man crawling toward him in the mud.  This man had been a Christian Missionary taken captive in the early days of the war, and who had spent long years in this terrible place.  When captured, he had weighed 170 pounds;  now he weighed less than 100 pounds.  He could not stand and the strong young solider lifted him into his arms and held his ear close to the prisoner’s lips, for he was pleading for something in a hoarse whisper. 

Scouts, what would you ask for after years of imprisonment, starvation, neglect and brutal abuse? Would you ask for food, clean water, medication, or clothing to cover your nakedness?  What this minister was begging for was an American flag.  One was procured for him off a nearby jeep.  He took it in his hands and wept.  You see, that flag represented to him everything he had been deprived of through the terrible years of his imprisonment.  It stood for prosperity, power, safety, and, most of all for freedom.

Scouts, never forget what America gives to you, never forget what the flag stands for to you and to the entire world, and never forget to do your duty to America.

On my honor I will do my best to do my duty to my country.

Duty to others and self:

On my honor I will do my best to help other people at all times, to keep myself physically strong, mentally wake and morally straight.

Many years ago, two young men set out on a journey across a great desert; they rode their camels deep into the trackless wilderness.  One night as darkness fell they gathered wood and built a fire against the cold of the desert night.  As the wood came to a blaze an angel took shape in the flame.  He told them that on the morrow they would find their fortune, that a great treasure awaited them at the end of the day’s journey.  The angel told them that in the morning they were to follow the track of the sun into the west and there they would be rewarded with great treasure.  The angel also instructed them that at first light, before they started their day’s journey, they were to gather pebbles and fill their saddle bags. 

The boys hardly slept at all for anticipation and excitement.  They were up in the cold dawn and prepared their camels for the journey.  Almost as an afterthought, they searched the dirt about their campsite and gathered a few handfuls of pebbles and slipped them into their saddle bags and as the sun rose in pink and purple they headed into the west.

All day they hurried on, constantly searching the distant horizon.  They expected the towers of some great treasure city, forgotten to time, to rise before them over the curve of the sand.  They journeyed all day and saw nothing but the wilderness, scrub and sand.  As night fell, they and their camels exhausted, they stopped to make their camp.  Their hearts were heavy with disappointment, even  bitterness.

As they kindled their fire, once more the angel rose with the flames and bade them bring their saddle bags into the fire light.  They obeyed, and at his command they dumped the pebbles onto the ground.  To their surprise the rough stones had been transformed into jewels: diamonds, rubies, sapphires, and emeralds.  In that instant they realized that they were richer than they had ever dreamed, and yet they could not help but regret that, when they had had the chance, they had not gathered more pebbles.

Our lives are thus.  We journey on toward the someday goal of greatness, while we fail to gather the pebbles, the character traits and values, that will be the treasures of our lives.  Let us fill our lives with service to others, with health and strength of body, stretch and grow our minds, and live our lives according to the self-evident truths of moral virtue. 

On my honor I will do my best to help other people at all times, to keep myself physically strong, mentally wake and morally straight.


Tuesday, April 09, 2013


This is a step by step effort to reproduce Charles Barque's lithograph of Homer in graphite.  I began the proses during Christmas break 2012. 

 This is a copy of Homer from the  Bargue-Gerome Drawing Course.  The original drawing was by Jean-Leon Gerome, the lithograph produced Charles Bargue. Left is the "schema" on the left the fully rendered drawing.   

I copied the both drawings at exactly the same size, piece by piece on 8 1/2 by 11 inch paper; hooking the segments together with clear tape.  The next step was to lay out the vertical and horizontal reference lines onto to a peace of "cheep" drawing paper. 
The next step is to map out the highlights, carefully measuring each width and high with a knitting needle.  This forms a tiny cross at each angle. I use the 2B pencil for this.
This is the completed map of the high points.
 Connecting the dots produces a copy of schema.
Once the lines of the schema are ruffed in, work on each line to make sure that they are as close as possible to the original in thickness and value.
 The completed schema.
 When the schema is copied, remove the "model from the drawing board and replace it with the fully rendered lithograph of the Gerome drawing.  I also produced this in three strips and matched them together with tape.  In the picture above the dark tones of left side of the face is fully outlined.
 Here the outlining is completed. 
 Once the outlines were placed I began to fill in the shadow shapes with a single flat tone.  All the work up to this point had been done with the 2B, soft pencil. Again, I worked methodically, filling in the face from left to right.  I had to judge which shadows are on the "dark" side and which are on the light.  I tried to keep the 9 step value chart in mind; placing the shadows at the 6,7,8, & 9 values.
 Once all shading is in place I carefully re-measured and adjusted them with my kneaded eraser to insure the shapes were as close to the model as possible.
The next step will be to transfer the drawing to the "good" paper.  I am using a heavy Stonehenge pearl gray paper in a smooth finish.  I carefully covered every part of the back of the drawing that had lines on the front side with 2B graphite.  I put it on as softly and as heavily as I could.

Then, I attached the rough draft over the smothers side of the Stonhenge paper with tape and carefully outlined the drawing, going around every dark value.  One must lift the pencil at every high point to maintain the strength of the drawing.

 This is the completed tracing. 
 Once more I carefully re-established the outlines, methodically, side after side.  Here is the left hand rendering.

 This is the completed outline - transferred and reinforced on the "good" paper.

 The value is added.  I try to keep it as uniform as possible at this stage.  Once it is completed I will begin to model the darks.
 Modeling the darks is the process which presents the variations in value in the dark parts of the drawing.  Above is the first pass at the left side.
 After careful examination and imitation all the darks are in place an most transitions are in place.  Edge transitions can be hard, soft, blended,or lost. 
This is a picture of the Brague lithograph.  I printed out a "high quality photo" copy.  Although only 8 by 10 3/4 it gives a better representation and enables more accurate rendering of both the darks and the lights.

 The next step is to add in the all values in the "light".  Lights are drawn with the HB and 2H pencils. This is the part of the drawing in the 1 - 5 value range.  It is very important to determine the type of edge - the line between dark and light.   Above is a fully rendered drawing - but it is far from complete.
The final step is to finish the drawing by accenting and highlighting the drawing  One must step back and review all areas and see if there has been a loss of contrast.  Punch up the darkest darks; examine the hard edges; and lighten the highlights with the eraser. Then check the lines on the model and make sure they are faithfully reproduced on the drawing.  
This is the final drawing.  It is the 9th of April, and I have been working on this project for over four months.  I feel pretty good about it. 
It is reasonable to ask why I would want to do this. It was to learn.  To learn to draw, to learn to demand quality in my personal effort, and to learn that such effort can be its own reward.  I learned - again - that I can set difficult goals and work toward them little by little; following small steps, enduring the tedious to fruition.  Once more, "Art" teaches truth and therefore is beautiful.
Of course, I wanted a picture of Homer, and now I have one.  

Saturday, April 06, 2013


I have finished reading Early Greek Philosophy translated and compiled by Jonathan Barnes. All the quotes below are from his book, pages 223 – 253. I have been most impressed by the writings of Democritus.  I had barley heard of him.  Democritus was a contemporary of Socrates and Plato.  He came to Athens from Thrace, the northern back country of the Greek world.  All that remains of his enormous creation in writhing are fragments.  Professor Barns, and many others, have scraped them together; rescuing lines from tiny bits of papyrus, or winnowing Democritus' words as quoted in the writings of others.  After these thoughts of Democritus, I include a list of his books.  It is as if I had found nothing remaining of the Sistine ceiling but a few scraps of colored plaster and been left to contemplate what might have been.  Of the thirty pages from Early Greek Philosophy on DemocritusI have selected 70 beautiful bits.  Some are humorous, some profound; all speak of an unbelievable beauty and truth.  Grateful, I am so disappointed.

1.  What a poet writes with enthusiasm and holy inspiration is very fine.

2. Homer, Having a nature divinely inspired, fashioned a world of words of every sort.

3. Do not be eager to know everything least you become ignorant of everything.

4. Reason is a powerful persuader.

5. Many perform the foulest deeds and rehearse the fairest words.

6. One should emulate the deeds and actions of virtue, not the words.

7. Noble words do not obscure foul actions nor is a good action spoiled by slanderous words.

8. Children who are given free rein will lean neither letters nor music nor gymnastics nor yet – what most sustains virtue – a sense of shame; for it is precisely from this that shame usually arises.

9. Education is an ornament for the fortunate, a refuge for the unfortunate.

10. Learning produces fine things by labor: foul things come to fruit spontaneously without labor.

11. Neither skill nor wisdom is attainable unless you learn.

12. There is understanding among the young and lack of understanding among the old; for it is not time which teaches good sense but appropriate upbringing and nature.

13. Those who contradict and babble are ill-endowed for learning.

14. Like-mindedness makes for friendship.

15. It is fitting for men to take account of their souls rather than of their bodies; for a perfect soul corrects wickedness of body, but strength of body without reasoning makes the soul no better at all.

16. One should refrain from wrong-doing not out of fear but out of duty.

17. Fools, fearing death, desire life.

18. Many have much learning and no thought.

19. Rightful love is a longing, without violence, for the noble.

20. A father’s good sense is the greatest precept for his children.

21. Sleeping during the day indicates a disturbed body or a troubled soul or idleness or lack of education.

22. Imperturbable [unflappable] wisdom, being most honorable, is worth everything.

23. Only those who hate injustice are loved by the gods.

24. One should tell the truth, not speak at length.

25. It is better to examine your own mistakes than those of others.

26. Praise for noble deeds is noble; praise for bad deeds is the mark of a cheat and a deceiver.

27. The thrifty behave like bees, working as though they are to live forever.

28. A life without a feast is a long road without an inn.

29. Of pleasant things those which occur most rarely give most joy.

30. Men ask for health from the gods in their prayers; they do not realize that the power to achieve it lies in themselves; lacking self-control, they act contrary to it and themselves betray health to their desires.

31. Voluntary labors make it easier to endure involuntary labors.

32. More men are good by practice than by nature.

33. Even if you are alone, neither say nor do anything bad: learn to feel shame before yourself rather than before others.

34. It is greedy to say everything and to want to listen to nothing.

35. A good man takes no account of the censures of the bad.

36. Mercenary service teaches self-sufficiency in life; for bread and a straw mattress are the sweetest cures for hunger and exhaustion.

37. To a wise man the whole earth is accessible; for the country of a good soul is the whole world.

38. Poverty in a democracy is preferable to what is called prosperity among tyrants – by as much has liberty is preferable to slavery.

39. One should kill at any cost all which offend against justice; and anyone who does this will in every society have a greater share of contentment and justice and boldness and property.

40. Just as I have written about hostile beasts and brutes, so I think one should act in the case of men too: according to the traditional laws, you may kill an enemy in every society in which the law does not prohibit it – it is prohibited by the sacred customs of deferent countries, by treaties, by oaths.

41. It is hard to be ruled by an inferior.

42. Feel shame before others no more than before yourself, and do wrong no more if no one is to know about it than if all men are; rather, feel shame above all before yourself and set this up as a law in your soul so that you may do nothing unsuitable.

43. Fear produces flattery; it does not gain good-will.

44. One who is lucky in his son-in-law gains a son, one who is unlucky loses a daughter.

45. To be ruled by a woman is the final insult for a man.

46. Anyone who has a need for children would do better, I think, to get them from his friends.  He will then have the child he wishes – for he can choose the sort he wants, and one that seems suitable to him will by its nature best follow him.  There is this great difference: here you may choose from many the child of your heart, of the sort you need; but if you produce a child yourself there are many dangers – for you must make do with the one you get.

47. Poverty and wealth are names for want and satisfaction; so one who is in want is not wealthy and one who is not in want is not poor.

48. Fortunate is he who is content with moderate gods, unfortunate he who is discontent with many.

49. It is safer to be well-built than fat.

50. Strength and shapeliness are the good things of youth; good sense is the flower of age.

51. Old men were young, but it is uncertain if the young will reach old age.  Now a completed good is better than one which is still to come and is uncertain.

52. It is fitting for men to take account of their souls rather than of their bodies; for a perfect soul corrects wickedness of body, but strength of body without reasoning makes the soul no better at all.

53. One should either be or imitate a good man.

54. One should refrain from wrong-doing not out of fear but out of duty.

55. A man who acts unjustly is more wretched than one who is unjustly treated.

56. A good man takes no account of the censure of the bad.

57. Reason is often a more powerful persuader than gold.

58. The unintelligent gain good sense through misfortune.

59. One should emulate the deeds and actions of virtue, not the words.

60. Neither skill nor wisdom is attainable unless you learn.

61. Many have much learning and no thought.

62. One should cultivate much thought, not much learning.

63. It is better to plan before acting that to repent.

64. Goodness and truth are the same for all men; pleasures differ for different men.

65. Cheats and hypocrites are those who do everything in word and nothing in deed.

66. One who is wily and speaks seriously is an old man with charm.

67. Let not a woman argue: that is terrible.

68. If you believe that the gods observe everything, you will wrong neither in secret nor openly.

69. Those who praise the unintelligent do them great harm.

70. The world is a stage, life is our entrance: you came, you saw, you left.

A list of books by Democritus:

Pythagoras, On the Disposition of the Wise Man, On the Things in Hades, Tritogeneia, On Manliness or On Virtue, The Horn of Amaltheia, On Contentment, Ethical Commentaries, Well-being, The Great World-Ordering, The Little World-Ordering, Description of the World, On the Planets, On Nature, On the Nature of Man or On Flesh (two books), On Thought, On the Senses, On the Soul, On Flavors, On Colors, On Different Shapes, On Changing Shape, Buttresses, On Images, On Providence, On logic, The Rule (three books), Puzzles, Heavenly Causes, Atmospheric Causes, Terrestrial Causes, Causes Concerned with Fire and Things in Fire, Causes Concerned with Sounds, Causes Concerned with Seeds and Plants and Fruits, Causes Concerned with Animals (three books) Miscellaneous Causes, On the Stone, On Different Angles  or On Contact with Circles and Spheres, On Geometry, Geometry, Numbers, On Irrational Lines and Solids (two books) Planispheres, The Great Year or Astronomy (a calendar) Contest of the Water clock, Description of the Heavens, Geography, Description of the Poles, Description of Rays of Light, On Rhythms and Harmony, On Poetry, On the Beauty of Verses, On Euphonious and Cacophonous Letters, On Homer or Correct Diction and Glosses, On Song, On Verbs, Vocabularies, Prognosis, On Diet or Dietetics, Medical Judgment, Causes Concerning Appropriate and Inappropriate Occasions, On Farming or Farming Matters, On Painting, Tactics, The Use of Arms, On the Sacred Writings in Babylon, On Those in Meroe, Circumnavigation of the Ocean, On History, Chaldaean Account, Phrygian Account, On Fever and Coughing Sicknesses, Legal Causes, Chamber Pots or Problems.