After you’ve had a look at that post, be sure to go back to the main TZP page. There’s really a ton going on, with recent posts from Nicki, Sheila, and our newest scholarly rabble-rouser Y.B. ben Avraham. AND we’ve now been joined by — ta da! — Ilana Mercer, the very well-known paleolibertarian/classical liberal writer.
Ilana and I (and you) may disagree on a fair number of issues, but she’s a great addition to TZP, whose writers already have a variety of styles and perspectives.
The clouds drifted in and out for hours. Would we see it here or — as usual — would we not? See it? Not? Every minute brought different prospects.
Finally when it became clear that … well, that it was going to become clear for quite a while, I did something I haven’t done since I was a little kid bitten by an astronomy bug. I drifted a piece of glass over a candle flame until I had a two-inch blackened square and had a look.*
The moon slid in at the 2:00 o’clock position, then gradually eased across the top of the sun.
I tried to take some pictures.
They were all bad, but some were interestingly bad:
Some got more interestingly bad after a few minutes with the GIMP:
By the time the moon had moved into the 12:00 position and was heading for its exit at 10:00 o’clock, a great mass of cloud consumed the whole display.
It was all over and I never did get a good photo that captured the distinct “slice” the moon took out of the sun. (Or capture the crescent sun, to put it another way.)
But just having done something cool that I haven’t done since I was, oh, 10 or thereabouts felt great.
So how ’bout you? Did you see it? Did you get some better images than I did? Did you ignore the whole business? Did you get any fond reminders of eclipses past?
I’m grateful to have a solid roof over my head (and Ava, Robbie, and Kitsu the cat would say the same if they could speak) as the rain pours down all week and the season’s first high-wind warnings go up.
This sense of security I owe to you.
I owe C-B, S.H., M.K., L.P., and especially Anonymous and the Mysterious Rockefeller for the latest round of help, which repaired the section of roof that collapsed while the rest of the roof was being refurbished. I also owe many of you, especially Paul Bonneau, for construction advice.
Today I told my local friend L. that I was going to take “hermit time” from November 1 through the end of the year and that for those two months I was making no commitments of any sort except those required to earn a living. That includes not making commitments for holiday plans with friends, though I might be up for something spontaneous.
“You’re being so selfish!” she said. “Your friends love you and want to be with you.”
“You’re punishing me!” she said.
Considering that I was, at that moment, taking six hours of my day to drive her to a doctor appointment, I thought the bit about being selfish was a particularly low blow. But I was perhaps more shocked that she took my retreat to be all about her.
I’d just been telling her what a stressful year it’s been, how the JPFO debacle had taken the spirit out of me, and how desperately I need mental and spiritual renewal.
She’d just been telling me how proud she was of having said no to a long-term volunteer commitment even after being told how much she was needed.
But me saying no to holiday plans (that we hadn’t even discussed in detail) is punishing her.
Because she’s not normally a narcissistic person I’m going to assume it was pain or pain meds talking. (She recently had surgery and is ingesting a daily pharmacopeia.)
Or perhaps something about hermitting during the holidays is so heretical that she literally does perceive it as an attack on friends and friendship. “Have you told [furrydoc] yet?” she asked in a tone that implied I was about to lose all my friends if I did this horrible thing.
(Dear furrydoc blessedly won’t give a damn. Hi, furrydoc.)
L’s angry words stung. But they also helped cement my resolve.
If spiritual retreat is selfishness, then it’s time to be selfish. If friendship is nothing but fulfilling obligations and observing conventions, then it’s not time for friendship.
Funny, L’s words — though shocking from L. — were familiar. That’s similar to the way my Protestant mother and sister used to talk about Catholic nuns, especially of the cloistered variety. Just a bunch of selfish women “doing nothing” when they could be out getting married, raising families, and actually helping people.
Many people in many places have said the same of spiritual pilgrims of all kinds: Why don’t they just be normal like everybody else? Why don’t they do something useful?
Well, I’m no nun and have so far made a pretty lousy spiritual pilgrim. But all my life I’ve understood, even if only from afar, the value of lives devoted to “divine nothingness.”
My only regret is that I haven’t been more of that kind of “selfish.”
Now that I have copies of RebelFire: Out of the Gray Zone to go with my boxes of Hardyville Tales, I thought I could offer a little better thank you to some of the people who donated so generously to my Raise-the-Roof fund drive.
I apologize for not having any new books to give; I realize a lot of you already have one or both of these. But … well, maybe you still need an autographed copy or perhaps you might like to give a book to a friend this ChrismaKwanzaaHannukaYule.
If you donated $25 to $49, take your choice of either RebelFire or Hardyville Tales.
If you donated $50 to $99, take ‘em both or take two copies of either one.
If you donated $100 to $299, take three, all one kind or mix and match.
If you donated $300 or more, heck, you can have whatever you want. :-)
(Note to Anonymous and Rockefeller: You, too, should you choose to uncloak.)
The Roof Raiser PayPal donation form didn’t require addresses, so I’ll need to get them from you. If you want books, please just leave a comment on this post using a real email address where it asks for your addy. I’ll see it; no one else will. Then I’ll email to ask which book(s) you want, what name(s) you want me to sign to, and where to send. You don’t have to put any personal info in your comment!
Or if you already have an email address for me, just write and tell me your details.
Please just make your request by Thursday, October 30. I’d like to have all the books in the mail by the end of the month (before I go into deep hermitting).
I’m sorry I don’t have any new books to offer. This feel like an inadequate gesture. But really anything would be inadequate; I can’t tell you what a huge, huge thing you did. Huge.
Or so the envelope said. The return address (I looked it up) was the HQ of the Council on Foreign Relations.
My correspondent has a sense of humor.
Based on what was in the envelope, my correspondent can call him or herself Rockefeller, Gates, Buffett, Rothschild, Medici, Windsor or anything else great heart desires. It would fit!
In their own world, they must have Rockefeller-level pull. They somehow talked their local post office into sending the priority envelope without either a postmark or the required tracking sticker. (Hilariously, this put my postmaster into a high huff. She was ready to write a nastygram to the postmaster of “New York 10065,” informing them that they’d broken the law!)
So, with no means to identify Mr. or Ms Rockefeller, or even have a clue as to where in this vast land their secret Lair of Largess might be, I can only say an inadequate wow. An inadequate doublewow. And an inadequate thank you.
Up goes that last remaining, recalcitrant section of roof. And off my heart and shoulders comes that rather heavy burden.
Just in case you ever wanted to become a crooked psychic/fortune-teller/medium … or in case you’d like to explain to a gullible relative how not to be so easily conned, here’s how cold reading is done.
I don’t intend to make this the all-Ebola all-the-time blog because I do think the fear is overblown (for everyone except medical personal). But here’s some plain common sense for avoiding exposure to infectious disease. And for those who really feel the need for hardcore protection (and have the money and time to go for it), here’s that, too.
And hey, if you’re really going to buy moonsuits and the kind of respirators (scroll down that page) needed for real Ebola protection, please don’t forget to use my Amazon links. Those could generate some very nice commissions — unfortunately for anyone who really needs such gear.
Not confirmed yet. But if true this could be a sweet lesson for those meddling “Moms” who believe in trying to get every open carrier SWATted. Will keep an eye on this. I’ve searched a couple of times today and found no further information.
As a health-care outsider, but one who cares about preps, I wouldn’t necessarily expect a hospital in the midlands to be ready specifically for Ebola. But with all the talk these many years of potential biowar attacks and pandemics, I’d certainly expect more and better preps at any hospital than the slapdash, make-it-up-as-you-go, and dangerously half*ssed measures the anonymous nurses describe.
Of course, they are anonymous, and on the face of it, it’s hard to know whether their statement represents a grudge-holding exaggeration or genuine outrage and terror from people whose lives have been put at risk. And people who watched others’ lives be endangered.
But now that a second Dallas nurse has been diagnosed, the bland assurances of hospital management and the accusation from federal officials that the first nurse’s infection must have been all her own fault ring even more false.
We also know that this second nurse, while self-monitoring for the disease, flew twice on commercial airlines — including one flight the day before she reported to the hospital with a fever. We can hope that the latest assurances — that she was asymptomatic at the time, that the disease can’t be spread by someone showing no symptoms, and that the planes have now been cleaned according to (I roll eyes as I say this) CDC guidelines — are all more reliable than past assurances have been.
Everything is still officially fine, of course. All that’s needed are a few billion more dollars of tax funding and the CDC, and National Institutes of Health will — really, truly this time — have Ebola well in hand. And really, truly, they won’t blow any of those billions focusing on obesity, guns, or any other politically driven (non) “epidemic.”
I still think it’s way too early to panic — and of course panic won’t be productive even if/when it is time. I would never expect Ebola to get as out-of-control here as it has in West Africa, even with a fair degree of stupid involved. Not even remotely.
But if what we’ve seen represents the general level of preparedness and precaution that health-crats and hospitals practice, then it may indeed be time to worry, and to examine our own preps with infectious disease in mind.
More later on that.
Another potential vector I’d include in my worries involves those thousands of soldiers (slowly) being sent into the “hot zone.” We’re assured that they’ll never, ever, ever have any contact with Ebola sufferers. But they’re also mostly young men and women. Many are likely inclined to be risk takers. And do you believe for one moment that those who are sending them have made any better preps than the officials at the CDC or that Dallas hospital?
These people will return to the U.S. and disburse — possibly to a military base or a neighborhood near you.
No, I am not saying it’s time to duct tape ourselves inside those airless “safe” rooms the fedgov was so (potentially fatally) advocating a few years back.
Just stating the obvious: that the people who are supposed to be in charge of infectious-disease containment appear to be as clueless as the people in charge of … well, everything else that’s run or regulated by government. And — also obvious — that concern for the welfare of individuals or so-far Ebola-free communities is simply not on the radar of “officials.” So it had better be on our own radar.