Empire of the Summer Moon Summary and Quotes by S.C. Gwynne: Comanches vs. Texas Rangers

Empire of the Summer Moon by S.C. Gwynne

The book tracks the Rise and Fall of the Comanches, the creation of the Texas Rangers, and the closing chapter of Manifest Destiny in early Texas.

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Promotional hand out photo of the cover of “Empire of the Summer Moon,” by S.C. Gwynne. CREDIT: Simon & Schuster. Received 06/28/10 for 0704gwynne. For 2010 Texas Book Festival Illustration.

The Comanches, never numbering more than 15,000, kicked out the Spanish, Apaches, Mexicans and Texans from the Great Southern Plains, the better part of 5 U.S. States, from 1650 to 1850. They were the most powerful Indian Tribe in U.S. history.

Here are my favorite parts of this book, which was an exciting and engaging read from cover to cover.

Comanches

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“The Comanche horsemen who rode up to the front gate of Parker’s Fort [Texas] that morning in May 1836 were representatives of a military and trade empire that covered some 240,000 square miles, essentially the southern Great Plains. Their land encompassed large chunks of five present-day states: Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, Kansas, and Oklahoma.”

“Comanches, meanwhile, carried a disk-shaped buffalo-hide shield, a fourteen-foot plains lance, a sinew-backed bow, and a quiver of iron-tipped arrows.The Comanches had been fighting this way for two hundred years. War was what they did, and all of their social status was based on it.”

“He would dance for hours, or days. He loved to gamble and would bet on anything. He loved to sing. He especially loved to sing his personal song, often written expressly for him by a medicine man. He often woke up singing and sang before bed.”

Texas Rangers

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“Ranger John Caperton estimated that “about half the rangers were killed off every year” and that “the lives of those who went into the service were not considered good for more than a year or two.”

“The western part of Texas in those years was awash in young, reckless, single men with a taste for wide open spaces, danger, and raw adventure”

“The only thing the government reliably provided, in its wisdom, was ammunition.”

“Many were large, physically imposing men with thick, brawny arms, long hair, and full beards. Seen from the more civilized parts of nineteenth-century America, they occupied a place in the social order just this side of brigands and desperados.”

”They had learned the fundamental lesson of plains warfare: It was either victory or death.”

Early Texans and Manifest Destiny

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“The vanguard of the America push westward were simple farmers imbued with a fierce Calvinist work ethic, steely optimism, and a cold-eyed aggressiveness that made them refuse to yield even in the face of extreme danger. They were said to fear God so much that there was no fear left over for anyone or anything else.”

“It is one of history’s great ironies that one of the main reasons Mexico had encouraged Americans to settle in Texas in the 1820s and 1830s was because they wanted a buffer against Comanches, a sort of insurance policy on their borderlands.”

“They hated Indians with a particular passion, considering them something less than fully human, and thus blessed with inalienable rights to absolutely nothing.”

“The Texans were not the Spanish of the Mexicans. They were tougher, meaner, almost impossible to discourage, willing to take absurd risks to secure themselves a plot of dirt, and temperamentally well suited to the remorseless destruction of native tribes.”

“They pushed as far into Indian country as their courage, or Indian war parties, would let them. Imagine the alternative: the U.S. government sending troops to shoot down God-fearing settlers who simply wanted a piece of the American dream. It never happened.”

Mustangs

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“When the Pueblos pushed out the Spanish from New Mexico, the horses were abandoned, thus thousands of mustangs ran wild into the open plains that closely resembled their ancestral Iberian lands. Because they were perfectly adapted to the new land, they thrived and multiplied. They became the foundation stock for the great wild mustang herds of the Southwest. The event has become known as the Great Horse Dispersal. The dissemination of so many horses to a group of thirty plains tribes permanently altered the power structure of the North American Heartland.”

Walker Colt Revolver

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“In the first phase of the Comanche wars, the Indians held all the advantages. When Texans arrived from the east, they brought with them their main firearm, the Kentucky rifle”

“No one knows exactly how these revolvers came into the hands of Jack Hays and his Rangers…the date is sometime in 1843…the same year Sam Houston disbanded the navy. The Indians now faced the prospect of being blasted from horseback by guns that never emptied; the whites could now fight entirely mounted. Colt asked Samuel Walker [a Ranger Captain], to help him with the design. The result, the Walker Colt, was one of the most effective and deadly pieces of technology ever devised… Hays had adapted a weapon no one else had wanted and had turned it into the ultimate frontier sidearm, one that soon changed the very nature of the experience of the American West.”

“Jack Hays: He was the greatest Texas Ranger, the one the Comanches feared most…It was said that before Hays, Americans came into the West on foot carrying long rifles, and that after Hays, everybody was mounted and carrying a six-shooter.”

This was a great read. Also recommended is Rebel Yell, his book on Stonewall Jackson. S.C. Gwynne does an incredible job detailing the weaponry, tactics, and geography of battlefields. When I was in Virginia I went to Manassas with his book in hand. I can’t wait to go to the Texas Panhandle with Empire of the Summer Moon.

https://www.amazon.com/Empire-Summer-Moon-Comanches-Powerful/dp/1416591060/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1471465121&sr=8-1&keywords=Empire+of+the+Summer+Moon

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How to stop biting your Nails: The Rubber band Approach

 

We are what we do. For 18 years I bit my fingernails. I was anxious about stuff and to temporarily alleviate the thoughts I bit my nails. It was an anxious habit and it sucked.

I was tennis player and sometimes I couldn’t play. I would bite them during lectures in classes I knew I needed to study for. I would bite them during scary movies.

I was self conscious of it, and each year made a resolution to stop that habit. I wanted it badly enough that I stopped being comfortably numb and took action, well many actions.

I tried using nail polish, habanero hot peppers, nail strengthener; all passive methods that didn’t work for me. Then finally I tried the simple rubber band. Having a rubber band on my wrist cured me.

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This method is simple: Snap your wrist when you bite your nails.Trust me, you will become hyper aware of biting your nails very quickly.

  • Have a thicker rubber band that fits comfortably around your wrist. Carry extras.
  • When you put your fingernail to your teeth…stop yourself, take a deep breath, and don’t judge yourself or be mad
  • Lift up the rubber band and snap yourself hard enough to sting the fleshy part of your wrist. Repeat it 3 times.

The important thing is too always have it on, and snap yourself each time you begin to bite your nails. This is negative reinforcement and believe me, it works.

You might think this is masochistic. But no one ever said changing your habits was easy. But once you win this battle, you gain confidence in yourself.

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From Charles Duhigg’s book, The Power of Habit

While breaking this habit, you will recognize the common thought loops that occur before biting your nails. Biting your nails is a symptom not the cause of anxiety. To eradicate the nail biting even further, you must address the cause. Those thoughts are reminders that you haven’t taken action. So take action.

After awhile you develop a new problem. You have to learn how to clip your nails, which is pretty annoying.

Bag Check: What to bring to a Tennis match in your Tennis Bag

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Day Six of the 2015 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 5, 2015 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.

I’ve been reading  Winning Ugly: Mental Warfare in Tennis by Brad Gilbert. This part stuck out to me.

The player who understands the significance of gaining a small advantage (and of doing so repeatedly) might still underestimate the role that tennis equipment can play in helping you win more matches. Yes, you can bring the bare minimum, but any player who is serious about winning will go beyond the bare minimum.

I decided to make a quick list for my old high school team. I did some extra research and found this explanation from Gonzo Tennis very satisfying. Answering the question. Why even care?

If you’re heading over to the public courts for a quick rally or match with a buddy then don’t worry about what you bring with you (apart from a racquet and shoes) as there is no consequence for quitting early due to equipment malfunction or injury. However, if you are going into battle, so to speak, where winning might actually matter to you, you should have your tennis bag packed with these just-in-case items. Obviously, preparing for every eventuality is impossible so don’t bother trying. Keep the following basics in your bag and you can feel comfortable that you have taken reasonable measures.

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10 Essential items

  1. Water, drink plenty before, during and after your match. Hydration is the key to good performance. Sip water on every changeover.
  1. Energy food: bananas, oranges, mangos, apples, cliff bars, granola bars
  1. Rackets, at least 2 rackets, in case you break a string
  1. Towels, 1-2 regular size towels to keep you dry
  1. Medical kit: Different types of bandages, neosporin, athletic tape, blister specific bandages, body powder, small pair of scissors, sunscreen, lip balm
  1. Dry tennis clothes: 1-2 spare TC tennis shirts, 2-3 pairs of dry socks, extra shoelaces, extra pair of tennis shoes, sweatbands
  1. Hat with a visor and sunglasses
  1. Over grips, in case yours get soaked or unravel
  1. Extra Shock absorber, in case yours flys off and you can’t find it
  1. A plastic shopping bag, for wet clothes, or for a makeshift cold pack

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Credit: Winning Ugly: Mental Warfare in Tennis by Brad Gilbert

Blood, Sweat and Oil; What Mud logging in the Oilfield is like

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Drillship in the distance

Extraction of volatile substances sometimes under extreme pressure in a hostile environment — means risk; accidents and tragedies occur regularly.

As a Mud logger my job is to take, describe and log the rocks and gas all the way down to TD. I also monitor the well, watching for problem indicators on our sensors. At the end of the day we produce reports for clients.

The job is sometimes hard, with long hours of dirty, sweaty work in hot cramped machine rooms. The job can also be boring, spending 10 hours staring at computer screens. I experience social isolation during the 14-28 days I am out here. But it does come with its perks.

Advantages:

The views.

Money. All food is provided, no long car commute. Pay is pretty good.

Hot showers, warm bed, laundry services, all you can eat buffets.

28 On / 14 Off Schedule. Is good for traveling.

Gym onboard, no alcohol. Can get in shape and lose weight.

Ability to read a lot. I’ve read many books while offshore.

The Oilfield Life

“It doesn’t rain in the oilfield” Applies today well. I am working the Midnight to Noon shift. It is pouring down rain and lightning is hitting around us. Still the rig crew keeps tripping out pipe.

It never stops working. These rigs go 24 hours a day 7 days a week. No holidays because it costs 1.5 million dollars per day to operate.

I work 12hr/day. My back to back, does the exact same job for the other 12 hours.

After I knock off I can play guitar, watch tv, or go to the Gym. I have been going to the gym less often this hitch because my circadian rhythm is still off.

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Sikorsky S-92 Personnel Helicopter

To get out here I take a 1 hour helicopter ride from Houma on a 20 passenger Sikorsky S-92, 20. Was exciting at first and now just monotonous. I normally just bury my head in my paper back because they don’t allow electronics.

My Drill Ship is 780ft long, 138ft wide. 10-15 floors. Built in 2014 in South Korea and cost 700 million dollars. Includes a cafeteria, helipad, 2 gyms, and a movie theater.

The global oversupply has led my company to cut around 30,000 jobs. My pay has been cut by 30%. Morale out here is pretty bad. Most of us are just happy to have jobs. People are getting laid off right and left. The training schedule has been canceled and we are all making sacrifices.

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Sunrise on the Drillship

My Offshore Oilfield Packing List: What to bring Offshore for Guys and Girls

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My Packing List

-PPE: Personal Protective Equipment, i.e. Hard Hat, FR coveralls, steel toed boots, and safety glasses. Extra safety glasses can come in handy.
-Toiletries, vitamins, deodorant, toothbrush, shampoo, body wash, razor, shaving cream, ibuprofen.
-Neck pillow for the van/helicopter ride to and from the rig, Sleep anywhere is good
-Aeropress for coffee, grinder, and whole bean coffee. Tea.
-Kindle and a paper back book
-Clothes: extra socks and underwear, extra pair of shoes and t-shirts, fleece for cold days, workout clothes, they do laundry for you, but they sometimes lose stuff, so bring extras
-Electronics: extra pair of headphones, 1 TB hard drive for swapping stuff with rig hands
-Healthy snack food, icebreakers ice cube gum, sunflower seeds, bag of mixed nuts and dark chocolate.
-Adapter for the European, Korean outlets onboard.
-Fitbit to track steps onboard
-Small notebook to take notes in, or tally book.
-My guitar, for after my shift

-melatonin for nights when you can’t fall asleep

Dude Specific:

Dip and cigarettes, protein powders, pre-workout, bandannas, games for the Xbox

Girl specific:
Flip Flops for shower, Breathable clothes, boxers, tee shirts for under coveralls, blanket for the unit or the bed, hand and baby wipes, lots of tampons

What you cannot bring:
Knives, Alcohol, drones, guns, chemicals, fireworks.

10 Common questions about working offshore

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Delicious routines: Why a Jazz drummer eats 2 Chipotle burrito bowls a day to explode his creativity

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2 Chipotle Bowls a Day: The (Delicious) Power of Routine

When I first read the headline I thought that’s a great rationalization for being obsessed with Chipotle. My next thought, I want Chipotle right now.

Before you also get the craving and leave know that this Jazz Drummer and Entrepreneur inspired me. A year ago I set a goal to write more. I accomplished that goal using his method for lowering activation energy and setting up an easy routine/system.

Yoni’s creative process begins with his Chipotle system to save time and mental energy.

“Anchoring your routine around something by eliminating unnecessary choices to consume and shift mental and physical energy toward the projects that truly deserve them.”

Routines provide stability and channel your energy.

Yoni’s 2 bowls a day Chipotle routine inspired me to set a writing routine while I was stuck working on a Drillship.

He makes an interesting analogy with jazz drumming: his fundamental drum beat is Chipotle. All the variations and creative fills occur because of his fundamental beat.

Besides making me want Chipotle, I reflected on the time I devote to planning, buying, preparing, cooking, eating and cleaning up for meals. This is probably why I write more offshore than when I am onshore. I love to cook, but it definitely cuts back available time and energy to write.

Achieving creative bliss by lowering Activation Energy

Yoni eats healthy delicious meals, then put his time toward being a professional drummer. When I first read this article about a year ago I wanted to begin writing more on my blog. So I decided to set up a system.

Write 2 sentences a day

If I wanted to write more each day I would, and I usually did. But setting such an easy goal made it laughably easy. And as my man Mr. Money Mustache has said,

small efforts, repeated over time, will almost always surprise you.”

Sometimes I don’t write on days, but I’ve never stopped by being discouraged because the goal of 2 sentences was so low.

Lowering the activation energy of those tasks by eliminating the excuse that I don’t have time has proved to be the catalyst for incorporating writing into my daily routine.

I have a word document saved on my computer called 2 sentences a day. I am now at 119 pages and 67,000 words.

Yoni has his 2 bowls, and I have my 2 sentences.

My preference at Chipotle:

Chicken Fajita Bowl with brown rice, black beans, corn salsa, tomatillo green salsa, lettuce and guac.

Always finish Strong.

The Yoni Dina Chipotle Routine on Art Of Charm.com