Strike Anywhere Matches:
I have had some difficulty actually figuring out how to write one of these “blogs” on our SRE website as I am old enough to be a bit technically challenged regarding computers. However, I felt it was time to do something reminiscent of what Thomas Paine and other outspoken colonists felt the need to do to initiate dialogue on the issues of the times, rather than just remain silent and subject themselves to manipulative misinformation – something we call propaganda or more boldly, lies. We hear lots of those these days, and being able to tell the truth from a lie or partial truth, requires intelligence, education, and experience. It also means we must be willing to talk to each other.
I do not think sending out barbs to attack the ideas and opinions of others is positive. I like to share my opinions when I have an idea. I expect respectful dialogue. I learn from this exchange of ideas. Some of my “blogging” will be about things people sometimes talk but never act upon. Others are about ideas and principles upon which our freedoms depend.
This first one attacks a broad movement using a simple example. I recollect that this movement really began to gain momentum sometime during the late sixties and early seventies. I am unsure exactly who or what group , agency, or other movement was responsible for its beginning, but as I muddle through this first “rant”, maybe someone out there will be able to shed some light on why these things happened and what we might do to get back what was lost to us over the years. It concerns the dumbing down, timidization, and ultra-regulation of America.
Strike Anywhere Matches:
This morning I started a fire in the wood stove I built in 1982. This stove has been the exclusive heat source for my house ever since. I used a Diamond brand “Strike-Anywhere” match made in the USA. I struck it on the stones of my hearth and was surprised that it actually lit. It seems that over the past 30 years, I have experienced less than satisfactory ignition on any surface other than the striker panel on the side of the match box.
In my youth and up through the 80’s, kitchen matches had large phosphorous tips of blue or white, (Diamond or Ohio Blue Tip) and would ignite when struck on a pair of new jeans, your zipper, a tooth, or my favorite, a thumbnail. You could even throw one down on the sidewalk head first and it would ignite.
These great old matches could be coated with wax for waterproofing. (which also supplied more fuel to the match for starting camp fires)
When I was a boy scout, I used these extensively when I went camping.
Now here’s my beef.
The old style matches with the large white or blue striker tips no longer exist in the US. I have read about a few brands available in other countries (Chile and Canada) that still have barely adequate phosphorus on the tip to pass old standard strike tests, but the puny US made ones are not much better than the old strike on the box versions, having barely enough white tip to ignite the red section of the match. Why is this so? Who removed the phosphorus? Is someone protecting us from ourselves or just trying to make our fire starting experience more difficult? For whatever reason, I was not consulted.
I think this is another example of the wimping of America where there are very few high diving boards, real firecrackers are illegal, pocket knives for kids create terror in helicopter moms, playground fistfights end with the kids in jail!, and strike-anywhere matches are becoming extinct. I can talk about many other things that affect almost every part of our “protected lives” to the point that we may as well be inside a bullet proof plastic bubble breathing filtered air and surrounded by foam cushions.(maybe also feed through tubes).
I want my real kitchen matches back. I don’t want or need to be protected from myself. I took the time to teach and prepare my children for the eventuality of having to use a sharp tool, build a fire, shoot a gun, or climb a tree. These days parents seem to be so afraid of everything that they pass this fear on to their children who have become timid, incompetent, and shy. If you shield your children from life and its dangers, then they really will become “babes” in the woods, and eventually fragile adults who are unprepared for life’s challenges, living in their own unrealistic world. I believe in preparing children so that they will be exposed to the things they will encounter later, making them stronger, not weaker, and preparing them to respect dangerous things, but also to have self confidence based on real experience, not video games.
So… I throw this out to you and ask: Who presumed that they had the responsibility and authority to manage my life down to the level of regulating my matches? What happened to the self reliant American? Does no one care that we are being herded into smaller and more manageable one size fits all cages? Are there people in the regulatory agencies who think that we Americans are now so fat, lazy, stupid, and scared that we need a government powerful and pervasive enough to regulate every phase of our existence? Personally, I don’t want or need to be regulated. I don’t want to pay people to take away my freedom to self regulate. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want my employees telling me what to do.