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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 November, 2011

Claire Wolfe

Firearm Preparedness Primer

Wednesday, November 30th, 2011

This Firearm Preparedness Primer is just that — a primer. It’s probably too basic for most folk hereabouts. Your newbie friends and relatives on the other hand …

Claire Wolfe

Wednesday miscellany

Wednesday, November 30th, 2011

Heavily armed cop tells unarmed protesters they're endangering public safety

Claire Wolfe

South Africa sends a warning

Tuesday, November 29th, 2011

wrm, a reader from South Africa, mentioned in recent comments a draconian secrecy bill SA’s government is contemplating and a cartoonist called Zapiro who creates good, pointed cartoons.

I thought these two ‘toons, which appeared on successive days, fit our situation as well as SA’s (especially in light of recent bill introductions blogged earlier today). Substitute the word “freedom” for Zapiro’s “democracy” and you’ve got it.

Cartoon showing government person painting the cartoon frame black

"Missed a spot" -- government figure comes back and obliterates the cartoonist's signature

Claire Wolfe

The evil that they do

Tuesday, November 29th, 2011

I usually try to ignore what Congress does or contemplates doing. Not because what they’re up to isn’t dangerous. Ha! Dangerous to liberty defines the very existence of those &^%$#@!s.

But because we shouldn’t have to spend our lives in desperate, hysterical reaction to a bunch of scoundrels, criminals, and tyrants. It demeans us to “WRITE YOUR CONGRESSTHING NOW AND TELL IT TO V*TE AGAINST THE LATEST BILL OF RIGHTS DESTROYING MONSTROSITY BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE!!!!!”

No, if they’re even thinking about voting against our inborn liberties, then our proper response is … well, never mind.

Still, this week there are two abominations out there, both so bad that only a moron evil puppet fascist senator (same root word as senile) or “representative” (you’ll pardon the euphemism) would even consider voting for them. And so we must at least note what they’re trying to do this time:

1. Giving the death cut to Posse comitatus, sneakily, of course: Read it and weep.

2. And the infamous SOPA. (Tip o’ hat to DA.)

The first wouldn’t just unleash the military upon you and me; If everything I’ve read is true it could lock us up forever with no more hope than a Medieval serf rotting in a feudal lord’s dungeon. They could “disappear” you, and your friends and family might never even learn where or why you’d gone because your “detention” would be a matter of “national security.”

The second … well, you know. The usual stuff of criminalizing us to make the political donors happy.

Talk nicely to creatures who would impose this on you? Nooooo, I don’t think so.

But do as you see fit, as always. Last I heard, the Senate was scheduled to vote today on an amendment that would wipe out the disappear-you provisions (hidden — or so its masterminds Carl Levin (D) and John McCain (R) hoped — in a Defense appropriations bill). Here’s the ACLU’s form-letter form.*

Even if the damnable provision has already weaseled its way through the Senate when you read this, the bill still has to go into conference committee and the eventually be voted on again in both the House and Senate.

On SOPA there’s even more time and powerful Internet armies already massing against it.

—–

* And yes, yes, I know. I’ve dared to mention the ACLU once again, so sure as God made little shriveled synapses, somebody’s going to have a fit of hysteria because I’ve sold my body and soul, am a traitor to freedom, and am lubriciously lusting in debauchery and degredation with gun-hating commie pinkos. So let me just say in advance that linking to their online form letter doesn’t imply endorsement of 100% of the ACLU’s agenda. This time, and plenty of other times, they just happen to be on the side of the angels.

Claire Wolfe

People who don’t think

Monday, November 28th, 2011

Back when the Vietnam war — and opinions about it — were raging, I volunteered to help conduct a door-to-door survey about it on behalf of a peace candidate.

This was at the stage when being anti-war could still get you labeled a commie-pinko-traitor who ought to leave the country if you didn’t love its politicians and generals, so I got a lot of doors slammed in my tender little teenage face.

I’ve long since forgotten all the door-slammers and insult screamers. But one woman, I’ll never forget.

I knocked on her door, asked if she’d be willing to take a three-question survey, then fired off question number one: “Are you in favor of the Vietnam war or against it?”

The woman stood there a moment with an utterly blank expression, then turned and called to an unseen person in another room, “Honey? What do we think of the Vietnam war?”

I don’t even remember what “honey’s” answer was, though it was almost certainly either pro-war or just anti the little high school hippie chick standing on the doorstep. I was and to this day remain gobsmacked by the woman’s response.

This was a time when friendships and families could shatter over the war — a time when Vietnam, the first “TV war,” was blasted into our faces every day of the week, when tens of thousands of young Americans and millions of Vietnamese were dying. “Honey? What do we think of the Vietnam war?”

It was inconceivable.

That was the first time I realized some people simply chose not to think. Hardly the last.

—–

Nowadays I have a friend who is a kinder, sweeter person than I am by far. And she’s not stupid. But she doesn’t think. She doesn’t question.

She’s a Christian and one who truly strives to live in a Christian spirit. But when I twice asked her the basis of her beliefs, her answer was the same both times: “When I was a little girl, somebody” — she doesn’t recall who — “told me Jesus loved me and it made me feel good.”

And that was good enough for her forever.

I’m not disparaging her beliefs; they’ve gotten her through some very hard times and they’re part of what makes her so kind. But I’m just mind-boggled at the way she believes.

She “knows” that the bible is true. But when I try to discuss the bible or its history with her, it’s plain she hasn’t read the book and knows little about it beyond the few standard texts taught in her church.

When I mention controversial passages she’s never heard of them. Nevertheless, she remains completely unflapped.

“Oh, you should ask my pastor about that,” she says. “I’m sure he has a good explanation.”

Despite her hardships, her life sails along easily because “authority” — be it pastor, book, police officer, or television commentator — has all the hard stuff well in hand. When conflict or contradictions arise, she doesn’t worry much about it because she figures that people wiser than she have got it all worked out.

This works for her though her outlook is so alien to me that I just have to try not to get obnoxious when she gently tries to proselytize me or makes some TV-engendered claim about current events that I know not to be true.

But sometimes when she talks I feel as if I’m looking through a window into a parallel reality. One that scares me.

I had that feeling a couple of weeks ago. We were talking about people we know who handle terrible suffering with grace and others who fly into drama-queen mode over hangnails.

She mentioned someone on TV. “I never watch that show,” she said (she always says something like that when talking TV to me). “But on ‘Dancing with the Stars’ there’s a soldier who got his face all burnt and instead of whining and crying, there is is on national TV.”

I learned later she was talking about J.R. Martinez, who with his partner eventually won the competition. I agree it’s a touching story and Martinez must have a lot of grace.

But then after making that (for her) vigorously opinionated statement, she paused a few beats and in a flat voice I barely recognized as her own she recited:

“He’s a soldier. So he’s one of our heroes.”

I knew better than to ask the (to me) obvious question: “What specifically did he do as a soldier that made him ‘our’ hero?”

She would have considered such questioning absurd. But now, weeks later, I can’t get that strange, flat tone of her voice out of my head.

Claire Wolfe

Monday miscellany

Monday, November 28th, 2011
Claire Wolfe

Arrfy Thanksgiving

Thursday, November 24th, 2011

They actually sat still for this. One shot only. Then their ham, carrots with cheese, and Decadent Potato Casserole* disappeared.

My three dogs awaiting permission to eat their Thanksgiving treat

—–

* No, Decadent Potato Casserole isn’t primal. So sue me. It’s Thanksgiving.

Claire Wolfe

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 24th, 2011

Enjoy a world of gifts.

And be grateful that the Pilgrims learned from their socialistic disaster.

Oh yeah. Eat lotsa good food, too.

Claire Wolfe

Santa’s BIG helpers :-)

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011

Stickied. Scroll down for newer posts.

Wow. I deliberately didn’t post my Amazon wish list or a donation button this season. You guys have already done too much for me and I know how tough this year’s been for a lot of people.

But it seems a mere lack of links doesn’t stop you. :-)

Last week, multiple Amazon packages for me showered in from reader MJR. DVDs! Emergency gear! (MJR, if you’re out there, please give me a way to thank you.) A mysterious package of California dried apricots I got might have been MJR’s, too, though the apricot vendors didn’t include a note. Whoever sent it — whoohoo!

Then the doggies got the first of two boxes (“Woof! Squeaky balls!”) from long-time supporter MSJ — enough toys to keep ‘em jumping for years.

Then “A” dropped a comment here demanding that wish list link. So I blush, but there you go.

I’m having a merry (though extremely busy) December already. So please don’t consider this a bleg; I’m in great shape. Above all, take care of you and yours.

But thank you for using these links for your Christmas shopping:

Just use this link whenever you shop at Amazon.com. Any time. All year long. Bookmark it.

Use this link to buy from Paladin Press.

Or buy copies of Hardyville Tales for under the Christmas tree.

Claire Wolfe

Wednesday miscellany

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011
Claire Wolfe

Tide coming in

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011

Riverside house with flooded yard

In the summertime this house sits in a verdant meadow near the bank of a river. I pass it on dog walks and think what a lovely place it would be to live.

In winter … maybe not so lovely. Although this is the wettest I’ve seen it, the river rises frequently to within a few feet of the foundation.

Definitely not the home for someone concerned about preparedness.

Today there was a pumping truck of some sort sitting outside with a big red hose snaking into the yard. Can you say “exercise in futility”?

While I was at it, I took this picture of another house on one of our dog-walking routes:

Derelect house -- spooky but pink

The house is derelict and in person feels quite spooky. I sometimes think of it as haunted. But with its too-cute pink color glowing on this gray day, it strikes me that if it were haunted it would probably be by Casper the Friendly Ghost.

Claire Wolfe

High Desert Barbecue: the review

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2011

Okay, now you’ve read Joel’s review of J.D. Tuccille’s first (and so far only) novel, High Desert Barbecue. My take is pretty much the same as Joel’s. But I do have a few more thoughts that he didn’t manage to pluck from my brain.

First, a small, no-spoilers plot summary is in order:

The tale: Crusty hermit Rollo is burned out of his squat on federal land. He heads to town to crash with his anarchic, but more civilized, pal Scott — somewhat over the protests of Scott’s girlfriend Lani.

What Rollo reports is a shock but somehow not a surprise: the people who burned him out work for, or with, the feds.

Later, Rollo, Scott, and Lani discover another team of federal and freelance firebugs in action. They capture evidence of a plot: this handful of fanatics aim to depopulate the high desert west by setting multiple fires (and blaming people like Rollo), then letting lawmakers and regulators draw the “logical” conclusion: that it’s too dangerous to “allow” humans to live in a wide swath of the southwest.

The firebugs also spot our bold trio and their dog Champ and thus begins a chase through an Arizona canyon that makes up most of the book. Our Heroes aim to get their evidence out and the bad guys aim to stop them.

The good: This is a fun read. It’s lively. It’s funny. The protagonists are likeable, believable characters. Our Friendly Author Tooch obviously knows the area and its people well. He has been in those canyons. He knows those crazed hermits. And as Joel notes with huge relief, he tells a story and never once stops to deliver a lecture. That alone makes it worth the mere $2.99 for the Kindle edition and $11.99 for the really gorgeous trade paperback.

It seems a lot of you agree, because my Amazon links for this book have sold more copies of this than of any other item I’ve ever mentioned here. (Thank you.)

Should this book be on your shelves or in your Kindle or Nook? Yup. Would this make a dandy little stocking stuffer for your freedomista friends? Yup.

Is it the greatest book ever written? Nope.

The less good: Tuccille stuffed this book with such a huge crew of villains I only began to be able to tell them apart halfway through the story, and some remained vague blurs all the way to the end. And though the romp through the canyons is vivid and witty, it mostly lacks a feeling of peril (until near the end). You know Our Heroes aren’t going to be killed, even though gunfire hails frequently. At times it doesn’t actually feel as if anybody is chasing anybody; they’re all just kind of hanging out, poking at each other. And where is any threat from all those fires? The fires, now burning away all over the west and driving refugees into Flagstaff, become a mere footnote to the action.

In short, I felt as if I was reading a single thread of what ought to have been a more complex story with subplots and complications. And the ending is just too pat; no way would things have come together so neatly (though I did enjoy a quirky couple who entered the story near the end and played a nice little role).

Still … The very things that my writer/editor self perceived as weaknesses in a book actually appealed to a different side of me — the movie fan. The whole time I was reading, even during those moments I was critiquing away, I kept seeing the thing as if on film. And you know, it would make a great little indie farce. Its very unseriousness, its wackiness, its “gang that couldn’t shoot straight” bad guys, even its over-simplification, would make it a terrific movie.

I mentioned earlier, when I had just begun to read it, that High Desert Barbecue is very much in the spirit of Edward Abbey. Still true.

It’s also very much a first novel, with all the imperfections of that breed (something I know all about).

But J.D.? Don’t let it be your last novel. Building on what you learn from this one, your second novel will be boffo.

 
 


 
 

 
 
 
 
 
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