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Living Freedom by Claire Wolfe. Musings about personal freedom and finding it within ourselves.

Want to Comment on a blog post? Look for and click on the blue No Comments or # Comments at the end of each post.

Wednesday, January 9th, 2013 by Claire | Comments Off

STICKIED. Scroll down for newer posts.

Thank you for using my Amazon links for your online shopping.

Midweek links

Wednesday, October 29th, 2014 by Claire | 18 Comments »
  • Emory Hospital, which has successfully treated four U.S. Ebola sufferers, shares its learnings and its protocols. (Tip o’ hat to PT)
  • Obamacare and the part-time workforce. I know this isn’t a good thing for people who want full-time work or for people who prefer honesty and small government. But in the long run, one of the best things that could happen to health insurance is to break its artificial link to employers. Maybe O’care will eventually do that.
  • Flu shots: actually bad for the elderly.
  • GOA alert to gun owners about our status as “domestic terrorists.” Nothing new or surprising; just lays a lot out in one place.
  • Yes, the “greatest orator of his generation” has truly lost his mojo. (Never did understand where that “greatest orator” thing came from, anyhow. Just because the man speaks English better than “Mumbler” Bush? But then, some border collies have a better grasp of language than both Bush presidents.)

On the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall …

Tuesday, October 28th, 2014 by Claire | 10 Comments »


… 8,000 glowing balloons will outline the wall’s course. This is a visualization.

More images here.

On anger, dogs, and shoes

Tuesday, October 28th, 2014 by Claire | 20 Comments »

I have no idea what, if anything, these three topics have to do with each other. But they’re what’s on my mind, so here goes.

« Read the rest of this entry »

Monday links

Monday, October 27th, 2014 by Claire | 14 Comments »

Okay, not hermitting yet. So here are some newslinks.

  • Just vaporware so far, but Forbes thinks cops might soon add ‘Net-connected guns to their growing arsenal of monitoring gear.
  • Nastiest political tactic of the year: siccing SWAT teams on your opponents and critics.
  • A southerner apologizes for bigotry. But with the southerner being Fred Reed, things don’t quite come out the way northern liberals might wish.
  • Nooz you can use (if you’re really into alternative housing): grain-bin homes. (I love the stuccoed one, but I’d like to know how you keep these things from getting hotter than the hinges of heck, long about August.) Tip o’ hat, MJR.
  • More nooz to use: how successful people handle toxic people.
  • Mike V. on blood dancers and 4th-gen. warfare.
  • You forgot to add how useful those bags are for picking up dog poop. I live in a blue state and the closer you go to civilization, the more likely it is that you’ll have to bring your own cloth shopping bags. Misguided political correctness.

Free autographed books: second (and last) call

Sunday, October 26th, 2014 by Claire | 1 Comment »

If you donated $25 or more to the recent roof-raiser, don’t forget to claim your free autographed book(s).

I must have your mailing/autograph details by this Thursday, October 30. Just follow the instructions in the post linked above.

One batch of books went out last Friday. Another goes tomorrow. The final batch will go to the post office on Halloween.

I still haven’t received details from these people who said they wanted books: Shel, knitebane, MCR, and Richard S. So email me, please, guys. If you didn’t receive my email or you did and you think your reply may have gotten lost in the ether (been happening a bit lately), drop another comment on this post.

Grumbles and rambles

Sunday, October 26th, 2014 by Claire | 12 Comments »

PayPal the Terrible

I won’t go into detail about how my PayPal account became overdrawn.* It was a mistake (not mine). The mistake-maker assured me the problem was resolved days ago. PayPal being PayPal, though, what’s “resolved” on one end may not be on the other. So there’s a $50 negative balance and nobody will fix it. That means I can’t use my account.

No problem. Hey, I’ll just add money. There’s a handy-dandy button for that. But suddenly, for me, the button yields only a variety of bizarre messages (“talk to the person responsible for setting permissions on your account”) that leave PayPal customer service reps as baffled as I am.

This became a four-hour customer service nightmare this lovely Sunday morning. I won’t go into detail about that, either.** Except to say that PayPal’s customer service makes the famously bad Comcast service look like a concierge operation at a fawncy hotel by comparison. And except to say that one rep told me (humiliatingly) that I’d have to deal with their collections department. Then he cheerfully transferred me to collections — without mentioning that they’re closed today.

And of course, PayPal being PayPal, they can’t be bothered with an automated “we’re closed today” message. So there went yet another half hour of my life, listening to endlessly repeated mini-lectures from a voice that sounded increasingly smug by the moment, until — for the second time today — I hung up without managing to speak to the human in some other department who was supposed to help.

Not only that, but the fifth PayPal rep I talked to — who I’d already told that story to — also tried to transfer me to collections.


I know Peter Thiel hasn’t run PayPal in more than a decade. But its service was hair-tearingly deplorable a decade ago, too. Hard to believe that a man the media lauds as a great libertarian created something that operates so much like the freakin’ DMV. Or the IRS.

If you ever need a reminder of how little you really matter to institutions, corporate or governor, just call up PayPal and ask them something really, really simple.


Oh, and the problem never did get resolved. You didn’t really think it would, didja? I get to call collections tomorrow and present myself as a deadbeat making amends.


Zelman Partisans the Good

On the brighter side of things, it’s wow time over at The Zelman Partisans.

Not only is it a place of some lively blogitude and comment. Not only have we had 4,000-some visitors in the 10 days since the Lovely Nicki put up a counter. Not only has social-media maven Nicki gotten us somewhere in the vicinity of 1,100 Twitter followers in a matter of days. But we’ve gotten our first interview request (which Sheila will handle), a couple of requests to join, our very first donation (a monthly commitment, yet!), and demands for logoed tee-shirts, fridge magnets, etc.

Whew! Workin’ on it, workin’ on it!

For a bunch of volunteers who are putting this thing together in their scarce spare time, this is awesome.

But then, so are the volunteers. And so are the hardcore rights advocates who won’t settle for compromise.


* In case you’re wondering, all those wonderful donations got moved out of PayPal almost as soon as they came in, thanks to PayPal’s other notorious habit of arbitrarily freezing accounts just when they have nice sums of money in them. PayPal: can’t live with ‘em, can’t live without ‘em. Someday — soon — they’ll lose their de facto monopoly, and on that day they’ll rue the fact that they treated their customers like crap all these years.

**Yeah, you’ve had experiences exactly like this, right? You don’t need to be told anything.

Beatifying Aaron (while ‘disappearing’ him)

Friday, October 24th, 2014 by Claire | 9 Comments »

At TZP, I comment on Gottlieb dubiously “honoring” Aaron.

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.

Did you see the eclipse?

Thursday, October 23rd, 2014 by Claire | 17 Comments »

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?


* Yes, I know you’re not supposed to do it that way, but that whole looking at the projection of an image through a pinhole thing is borrrrring.

Meanwhile, a giant, mechanical horse-dragon

Thursday, October 23rd, 2014 by Claire | 4 Comments »

I shall return with actual content later. Meanwhile (thanks, JB), here’s a giant, mechanical horse-dragon:

It breathes fire, too. :-)

And here’s more about it. With pix. And pix of a giant, mechanical spider as a bonus.

Gratitude and solitude (and also construction)

Tuesday, October 21st, 2014 by Claire | 8 Comments »

I am so grateful today.

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.

In case you’re wondering, I ended up not having the “Full Joe” repair.

« Read the rest of this entry »

Well, what are friends for?

Monday, October 20th, 2014 by Claire | 33 Comments »

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.”

Free autographed books

Sunday, October 19th, 2014 by Claire | 30 Comments »

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.

So …

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.



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