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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.

Archive for October, 2010

Claire Wolfe

Book update

Sunday, October 31st, 2010

Copies of The Bad Attitude Guide arrived from Paladin on Friday and Saturday. Orders on which I had autograph instructions went out immediately. Everything else — orders, gift books, contest-winner books — everything goes out on Monday. If you haven’t told me what name you’d like me to sign to, I’ll either autograph to the name on the order or I’ll “go generic” if you’ve got one of those thousand-nickname names. So speak up now if you have a preference!

Now … What would you like for November book specials? Now that you’ve gotten (or are about to get) your personal copies, how about discounts on multiple copies? Christmas gifts? Hannukah gifts? Solstice gifts? Boston Tea Party gifts? Tell me what sort of special would be most special for you.

Books link.

BTW, I’ve given copies of Hardyville Tales to an assortment of local people I never thought would like it (e.g. a Berkeley-San Francisco-lesbian-PETA fan). And to my surprise, it’s going over astonishingly well. Not only has nobody killed me yet, but the most left-wing person I gave a copy to said it reminded her of A Prairie Home Companion. My local conservative-semi-libertarian buddy ended up getting 10 copies. And my totally apolitical friend L. says that even the list of characters makes her laugh.

Okay, so they’re my friends. But I did tell them they didn’t have to be nice to me if they didn’t like it. So what I’m saying is that autographed copies of Hardyville Tales might make inexpensive holiday gifts. Bad Attitude? Well, more expensive. But one reader emailed me today, “[I'm] thinking of how many folks I know would really enjoy this, and how many of those would not have enjoyed it just a couple of years ago. Times are changing, and so are some mighty good folks.” He’s right. And it’s more mainstream than most of my older books. Hardcore and mainstream at the same time, if that makes sense.

Okay. I’ll shut up now. [/self promotion]

Claire Wolfe

Thursday miscellany

Thursday, October 28th, 2010

Wow. I received a bedazzlement of comments on the porno-scanners post. That shows the power of, the site that gave me the idea and then linked to the piece. Several other blogistas also wrote good rants on the subject and sent readers this way (thank you).

Within the next few days, I plan to write a follow-up based on the comments (and the many links commenters provided). Right now, two article deadlines are staring me in the face, so expect a day or two of quiet. But as someone more formidable once said, I’ll be back.

Some collected links for you today. But. Before I get to those: HEY, YOU WONDERFUL PEOPLE WHO’VE ORDERED BOOKS THIS WEEK! Now that I’ve got your attention, if you haven’t yet told me what name you want me to autograph the books to, please drop me a note (books at and let me know. Most people aren’t including “autograph to” information with their orders, and when I ask, only about half answer. I’ve sent emails to everyone who has placed an order. If you haven’t received yours, please check your spam filter. I should be getting a shipment of books from Paladin Press tomorrow and hope to fill all remaining orders right away.

Okay, on to miscellaneous weirdness …

  • The good guys win one for a change — although in this case the good guy seemed to have quite a bit of money to spend on the legal battle. A treehouse grows in Greenwich Village.
  • Per Radley Balko. A D.A. buys himself a SWAT team. With forfeiture money, naturally. This is one of the problems with civil asset forfeiture that nobody talks about; prosecutors and cops become less accountable to the proverbial “people who pay the bills” and become more inclined to do whatever the hell they please. Heck, it’s “their” money. Or so they believe.
  • The BBC examines some of the most bizarrely memorable moments in the 2010 U.S. political campaigns. I think C^2 sent this for laughs. And it is funny. Well, kinda funny. In the way that watching an entire nation’s brain slip on an intellectual banana peel might be funny. In the way that watching Moe-the-politician poke out Curly-the-citizen’s eyes might be funny. The Rand Paul campaign thuggery is too sad for words.
  • Did you hear about the federal sting that resulted in mass arrests of SHOT show attendees last January? No? Well, me neither. The heroically alert David Codrea was one of the few gun bloggers to raise an alarm at the time it all came down. The news disappeared within days. Strange. Rich Lucibella, esteemed publisher of S.W.A.T. magazine just called my attention to one of the business people who got busted. I’m writing about that now. Look for the column in the March 2011 issue of S.W.A.T. (oh, these long magazine lead times!) It’s really a very creepy case. And most definitely strange. Not strange as in “unusual,” unfortunately. It’s a story of entrapment and hapless victims of the fedgov that’s becoming all too common.
  • But speaking of hapless victims … unlike the fedgov some criminals do show a little heart.
Claire Wolfe

Tuesday miscellany

Tuesday, October 26th, 2010
  • Forty-three percent of likely voters say neither party represents them. That’s progress. Now, if they’ll only realize that no third-party will ever represent them, either …
  • Hoplophobia. It’s curable. We knew that.
  • Former supermodel Paulina Porizkova has some lovely and candid things to say about aging. I get the feeling you could have a great conversation with this woman. Glass of wine, get a little giddy, let hair down. Lots to say.
  • Via a link dropped by Brian into a recent comments section: Hope Bourne. Amazing woman. Sad ending, but definitely an amazing woman. Funny and sad how our strengths become our weaknesses when circumstances change. OTOH, it goes the other way, too. Perceived weaknesses and flaws, given the right circumstances, become strengths.
  • And speaking of amazing women, Jim B. (in another comment) tells me that Dolly Freed’s long-unavailable book Possum Living: How to Live Well Without a Job and with (Almost) No Money is back in print after many years in which it (and any information about its author) were difficult to find. And it’s available on for less than $10. Freed wrote the book when she was just a teenager living a frugal, self-sufficient life with her father. Thirty years later, she adds some notes and an afterword — and it seems that the book is as relevant as ever. Maybe moreso in these interesting times. Don’t expect to agree with every bit of it. Some parts are … well, ick. Still, this young backwoodslady knows her stuff. Years ago someone gifted me with his copy of Possum Living. I left it behind in one of my moves. I’m glad to know I can get another so easily. Welcome back, Dolly Freed!
Claire Wolfe

Book updates

Monday, October 25th, 2010

More good news/bad news on books.

The good news is that I signed, packed, and shipped 52 orders today! Whew. All remaining orders that I received as of yesterday early evening will be shipped tomorrow. (Two exceptions — and those two kind people I’ll contact by email.)

The bad news — though in a way it’s very good news for me! — is that I’ve already run out of copies of The Bad Attitude Guide to Good Citizenship. Ack. Just when I think orders are going to slow down, they put on a burst of speed.

So if I received your order today or very late yesterday, please be just a tad bit patient. I’ve bought more copies from Paladin Press, and their wonderful shipping department takes only two days to get books to me. If they can ship tomorrow, I’ll be sending your books on Thursday.

Oh yeah. And I haven’t forgotten you, Plinker, for guessing where last winter’s travels took me. I owe you a copy of Hardyville Tales, which shall also be on its way this week.

You guys are pretty darned amazing.

UPDATE, Tuesday a.m.: Paladin is sending 36 more books today. Between orders and copies that I’ve promised as gifts, about half of these are spoken for. I’ll be curious to see how long the rest last! But all orders placed so far will surely be sent out on Thursday.

Claire Wolfe

Oppose the porno-scanners. Write a letter (but not to Washington).

Monday, October 25th, 2010

I have a friend — very non-political — who loves to travel. But even she, who basically trusts government to do the right thing, was nervous about the porno-scanners now being deployed for the benefit of the security industry and peeping Toms in the TSA.

Somehow this topic came up while she and I were on a long drive Friday. She said she longed to return to her favorite country in Asia but “didn’t want anybody looking at my boobs hanging halfway down to my waist.” But! Then she recently saw a news item on TV that included video footage of the scans. “Oh. Not so bad!” she thought. “Those don’t show anything too awful. Just vague fuzzy shapes with no details.”

I had to tell her that she was seeing doctored images, and that the real scans were so clear that TSA porno-peepers could, for instance, tell if a man was circumcised. Her face fell as far as the boobs she was so worried about.

On a roll (and having recently written an article on the subject*), I went on about the TSA’s other lies — about the machines not having the capacity to store or transmit images, about possible health problems.I talked about being singled out for extra screening the one and only time I’ve flown in the last 13 years, and how stupid the criteria were. I told her I probably wouldn’t be flying again. Not if I could help it.

Then she asked me one of those put-your-money-where-your-mouth-is questions: “Well, did you speak up when they made you go through extra screening?”

“No,” I said. “I didn’t think it would do any good.” (All I did was make a flippant remark. They chose me for extra screening because I was wearing loose cotton pants with baggy pockets. Baggy pockets are apparently inherently suspicious, even though in my case the fabric was so light that the single mint I carried visibly weighed one of them down.)

“Well have you written letters to people in charge telling them you object to the scanners?”

Sigh. I replied, “Writing letters to Washington doesn’t do any good. There’s too much money in airport ‘security.’ I definitely blog about the problem, hoping to raise awareness. But you’re living in the nineteenth century. Nobody in DC politics or bureaucracy pays attention to letters from a few disgruntled citizens.” But. Then I told her about this one letter I’d seen on, not written to the government but to the the Walt Disney company. It asked, politely, please tell me how I can take my children to Walt Disney World when I can’t possibly put them through porno-scanners or allow strangers to grope their crotches. In other words, this is your problem. It’s going to hit your bottom line. It’s for the children. Solve it.

Maybe, I said, if bloggers started printing the addresses of the bosses of the top 10 tourist destinations in the U.S., and if thousands of people said they’d regretfully have to boycott those places because of the scanners and the “enhanced groping” (reportedly to begin at the end of this month for those who refuse scans) it could make a difference. Then money would talk to money and something might get done.

We talked about what the 10 destinations might be. But it quickly became apparent that you didn’t need 10. The original letter writer, Arthur M.M. Krolman, had it right. All you need to do is get a letter-writing campaign going toward the Walt Disney company. Focus on the one big one. Make it for the children. And if enough people get behind it, the media will pick it up. And you won’t need to write to the other 9 destinations because they’ll get the message, loud and clear without a word being written to them.

Now, I’m not an organizer of campaigns. But I would like to see other, bigger blogs pick up this idea. So I’m going to send this link to a few other bloggers and/or online freedomista news sources. I hope you’ll do the same. In the right hands, it could Start A Movement.

If you have children, or if you yourself love an occasional trip to Disney World or Disneyland, use the contact infomation on Mr. Krolman’s original letter to write one of your own expressing regret that, as long as scanners or crotch gropes are part of travel, sorry but you just aren’t going. Then copy that letter to your local media outlets. And USA Today or CNN. Send it to friendly bloggers or to columnists who’ve shown that they care about privacy and/or the Bill of Rights.

Maybe nothing will come of it. Or maybe the only result will be some rule exempting children under 12 from being scanned or some such. But even at that, the public consciousness-raising could still be tremendous, and the long-term impact powerful. We could give people the knowledge and courage to resist.Possibly some lonely soul who’d been afraid to resist or object will suddenly realize he’s not alone. And every individual who asserts his or her own rights is worth having. Worth a try. Let the Walt Disney Company know that if they don’t want to lose customers, they’d better pressure the fedgov to lose the porno-scanners and the groping.


* Which appears in both S.W.A.T. magazine and The Bad Attitude Guide to Good Citizenship.

Claire Wolfe

Non-political strategies for freedom

Saturday, October 23rd, 2010

Via Wendy McElroy, quoting John Pugsley: 15 non-political strategies for increasing freedom.

While there’s nothing new here for long-time freedomistas, there are some great reminders. And Pugsley puts ‘em strongly.

Claire Wolfe

Cozy Baker, RIP

Friday, October 22nd, 2010

A lady named Cozy Baker died this week. “Cozy Who?” you might ask. I doubt that most folks here would ever have heard of her. But to a small universe of artists and appreciators, she was a grande dame, a patron, a saint, a goddess — and even better, a bright, creative, and generous spirit. Cozy Baker founded the Brewster Kaleidoscope Society and is the person most responsible for the modern revival of the kaleidoscope as an artform. She wrote a number of books (including the world’s first-ever book on kaleidoscopes) and encouraged both artists and collectors. Today, ‘scopes are used to treat autistic and hyperactive children, to help cancer patients, and to deepen meditation.

Hazel Cozette Baker died of ovarian cancer in her 80s. I never met her, and that’s my loss.

I mention her here not just because I think kaleidoscopes are works of wonder. She’s worthy of honor even if kaleidoscopes to you are nothing but amusing toys, and even if you think she was nothing but some privileged lady with too much time on her hands. It’s the reason she “got into” kaleidoscopes that matters. Her son was killed by a drunken driver, and eventually she used her grief to transform her own, and others’, lives.

The things we can do with grief, anger, despair, frustration, and depression when we creatively work through them …

Claire Wolfe

Thursday miscellany

Thursday, October 21st, 2010

Collected stuff:

  • I want to see this when it hits YouTube. (NY Times free subscription link.)
  • Juan Williams was — was — one of the best on NPR.
  • Via (see, I credit you guys, even if you don’t credit me), the clearest explanation you’re ever likely to get about how the foreclosure mess developed. And — surprise, surprise! — government’s in it every step of the way.
  • I’m glad to see that the actions of this principled and gutsy pilot have left the ghetto of political blogs and are hitting the mainstream. May he start a movement.
  • Via Rational Review News and David Codrea, the sad tale of a gun owner who bent over backwards to do everything legally and got screwed anyhow.
  • Two things about this news: Why should an 11 year old be pressured to “shake her booty”? And why should it be national news when she refuses?
  • News you can use: My Two Dollars is giving away what sounds like a pretty good book on thrifty living. The method for winning it is pretty cool, in itself.

Finally another word about book orders: It’s turning out that a lot of my order confirmations ended up in people’s spam filters. So if you’re missing your confirmation, please check spam. (I’m not spamming you; really I’m not.)



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