Monday evening, after a good day’s work, I relaxed in a recliner with a cup of hot, sweet tea. You know how it is; relaxing is often not actually relaxing, as our minds rove from the things we didn’t get done today to the things we’d better do tomorrow, then back to the things that happened 10 years ago or might happen 10 years in the future.
But that evening I really relaxed. I felt profoundly happy to be in my little house, looking out a big window at a small, pleasant view. For once I wasn’t bothered by the fact that one of the windows within my view runs an inch downhill and slants an inch toward the inside of the house (“Maybe the wall bowed,” says Contractor Mike. “Window installed by morons,” says I.) For once I didn’t notice all the projects still to be done or all the little things out of place. I just relaxed.
I felt profoundly grateful, profoundly peaceful. “Thank you,” I whispered. Thank you to the universe, at that moment so pleasantly arranged. Thank you to readers who’ve made it possible for me to live.
Thank you to the activists who are out there doing those Agitator things I used to do (and more power to them). Even though I have no hope for change within the system, even though I accept that government is truly beyond any law, even though I now reluctantly accept that there really is a class of people engineering the deliberate ruination of freedom (and not merely a class of people who see freedom a little differently than we hereabouts do), I’m grateful that moments like Monday’s exist beyond politics, beyond economics, beyond all those “outside” things.
I was grateful and at peace. And better, the mood held all evening.
I didn’t know at the time that my neighbor across the street had gone off that morning to his job of restoring old houses, been felled by a monster stroke, and was then on a ventilator in a distant hospital.
They kept him on the ventilator until yesterday when his daughter was able to make it here from the midwest. When they pulled the plug, he was gone in 10 minutes.
I never knew Andy well. He was a character who’d chew your ear off about conspiracy theories. He was the guy who insisted that poisoning knotweed would make me a “Hitler” to his bees. But he was kind and generous. He and his wife looked after my dogs (and spoiled them rotten) while I was at the beach last month. One day he needed to use my power for a few hours to run heavy equipment, and to my shock he pressed a $50 bill into my hand afterward and refused to take it back even after I chased him down the street trying to return it. ($50 was more than my entire electric bill that month.)
His best friend lives around the corner. The three little boys down the street loved him dearly. His 86-year-old mother-in-law lives next door.
I stopped by the mother’s place and asked what they needed, how she thought her daughter would handle it. “She’ll be alright,” Vi said. “We’re Finns, you know. Sisu.”
What can you do at a time like this? Cooking is always the easy way to deliver a useful form of care. I don’t know how it is in other parts of the country, but where they’re from, their house would now fill up with weeks’ worth of food — all those people saying, “I care” without being intrusive. I don’t even have an oven for baking the traditional midwestern “hot dish.” I feel at a loss. Then I feel selfish even for thinking of my concerns.
Andy’s friend Richard, who told me the news, used to fly planes and sail sailboats. Now he keeps bees and grows the biggest veggie garden in these parts. The bees and the garden sound better to me, but Richard says Andy’s death makes him want to get up there in a plane again or out there on a sailboat, never mind that he’s probably 10 years older than Andy was.
Sure does make you think. Sure does make you want to live, whatever your idea of living might be.
“Dark Leviathan.” A darkly cynical look at Ross Ulbricht, Silk Road, the Darknet, and what the author believes is the inevitable fate of libertarian ideals. Someone needs to give this article a great fisking.
F*c*b**k blocks a fundraiser to help a father reunite with his son. (Hint: the reason is G-U-N-S.)
You know how last week I went off in a huff, unable to endure the stupid that blasts from the ‘Net these days like an old-fashioned Texas gusher?
Well, I decided for sanity’s sake to knit a dragon. This dragon.
Here it is on day one. That’s its head.
And. I was back online an hour after I huffed away. Sigh. Can’t win.
‘Cause this dragon, though probably only of intermediate knitting difficulty, was beyond me and right away I had to look up how to do some of the stitches. (Books tell this, too, but I left the excellent Knitting For Dummies with Joel when I left the gulch back in ought-10.)
So much for offline resolve. It’s as Ellendra noted in comments: love the peacefulness, miss the resources. The Internet: can’t live with it; can’t live without it. Now double that for anybody who makes a living on line.
But anyhow, I got my dragon done today. Here it is.
I’m thinking about giving it “fire breath” if I can find some flame-colored yarn. Could be a fun gift for a little kid.
And here it is being worn. Sorry for the blurry pic.
Not quite sure what I’ll do next to stay sane.
OMG, what if I run out of sanity-maintenance ideas?
An acquaintance made two statements about the same event. The statements are incompatible. One is probably true. But it’s impossible that both are true. Only question is which statement is the lie and which the truth, and that’s not answerable.
But no, this is not some version of that conundrum in which you have to figure out how to act on a statement made by someone from a tribe of liars and you might get eaten by alligators or something if you don’t guess right.
In this case I don’t much care which statement is true and which false. The specific matter is minor. Nothing is at stake. No alligators are involved. My rambling brain is just piqued by the nature of the lie, which would be very different, depending on which statement is false and which true.
I was never a fan of Star Trek (except in the sense that, for a time, it was the only thing remotely SF-like on television and you take whatever slim pickins you can get). But I was a fan of him. He held up beautifully into old age, too.
Dog is shot twice but still stops home invasion. (H/T MR) This was a freelance home invasion. Had the thugs been wearing badges, presumably they’d have used large enough calibers to off the pesky mutt.
Verizon makes a sadly hilarious response to the FCC’s “Throwback Thursday” decision to apply steam-engine-and-telegraph standards to the Internet. Get another laugh by clicking on the translation.
Prove your identity to Microsoft or they won’t “allow” you to use their products that you’ve paid for? (H/T cat) The author’s claims about U.S. tech losses thanks to snoopery are right on. Will now be interesting to see how U.S. residents and companies route around the new FCC regulations.
Nice infographics show what’s allowed and what’s not in the four places that have now legalized recreational cannabis.
Jim Bovard’s tribute to Mike McNulty includes full-length versions of Mike’s most important (and heartbreaking) videos. I know nothing so far about how Mike died, but Joseph Baltar, who worked with him, left this comment.
So if you haven’t heard by now (and there’s been surprisingly little coverage), the FCC is about to v*te to regulate the Internet. ‘Cause, you know, the ‘Net is just precisely like the telephone system in the 1930s and now there are all these terrible, terrible unfair things going on like people not being allowed to express their opinionsbig traditional media companies triumphing over blogs and social media … well, like something. Whatever it is, the fedgov MUST save us from it!
Not only that, but tomorrow’s big v*te will be on a 300+-page secret plan that you and I (e.g. the alleged beneficiaries of regulation) aren’t even allowed to see.
Despite three of the five FCC v*ters (ah, the magic of democracy!) being Dems, the plan may yet choke. One of the Dems is reportedly just a teensy bit restless about the whole matter. And even if the Big Five v*te themselves the authority, court challenges could drag out for years. But as usual We the Peasants have no say in the situation, one way or the other. (Did I mention ah, democracy!)
And (ah, justice!) they’re already regretting it, despite not quite understanding why. MtK, who sent me the link in that last paragraph noted that the Electronic Frontier Foundation has become the NRA of ‘Net freedom.
You ask for federal regulation? You support federal regulation? Then you’re shocked, simply shocked! when you get federal regulation — and it turns out it benefits the feds more than you? Oh, you pooo widdle baby! Such a surprise! Who could possibly have predicted that?
Oh wait … anybody who’s been standing on the outside watching could have predicted that. Heck, we could have predicted it even before there was such a thing as the Internet to regulate. Because that’s just the way it works.
How is it that only those who so desperately cherish their “seats at the table” during fed dealmaking (and incidentally, we’re talking to you, Mr. Gottlieb, with your notorious seat-at-the-table on Manchin-Toomey, as well as the formerly principled folks at the EFF) are somehow the only ones who can’t see the inevitable result of playing footsie under that table with the fedgov?
SIDENOTE: How is it, also, that the big gov faction always comes up with the good memes? I mean “net neutrality” and “open internet” — what kind of villain could possibly be opposed to those? Being against neutrality and openness would be like hating kittens. Never mind that “neutrality” and “openness” are just verbal Halloween costumes disguising government control. And this has been going on for a long time, clear back to when the noble slogan “one man, one v*te” was used to shift all political power from rural areas to urban centers. How come freedom never gets the good memes?
Though I continue to watch the Elio with anticipation, I’ve long been suspicious of their seemingly ironclad claims: $6,800 price, 84-mpg highway, and engineered for a 5-star crash rating. They keep making these claims despite production delays, despite not even having an engine yet, and despite the fact that 5-stars is a very difficult achievement. So call me eager but skeptical. I tend to agree with this Jalopnik article from last fall. And I was wildly disappointed to learn this week that Elio Motors is seeking government money. Sigh.
RIP Mike McNulty. He should be better remembered and more honored than he is. I had the privilege of privately screening Waco: The Rules of Engagement at his home before it was released. I was not ashamed to weep with rage over its revelations.