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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 August, 2012

Claire Wolfe

Interview with Brandon Raub

Friday, August 31st, 2012

Via Wendy McElroy, John Whitehead of the Rutherford Institute interviews Brandon Raub, the young man locked in the loony bin because of his Facebook postings.

Raub was released on a judge’s order because the petition for Raub’s detainment was “… so devoid of any factual allegations that it could not be reasonably expected to give rise to a case or controversy.” A wrongful-arrest lawsuit is now in the works.

—–

Of course, Raub violated the first commandment, which is …?

Claire Wolfe

Tell me about home-security cameras

Thursday, August 30th, 2012

Checking my Amazon vendor stats this morning, I discovered that somebody (I’ll never know who unless they choose to “uncloak”; thank you, Mysterious Stranger) just bought one of these: Wireless IP Pan/Tilt/ Night Vision Internet Surveillance Camera Built-in Microphone With Phone remote monitoring support.

Yeah, that’s a mouthful. But that’s also a lot of camera for $50.

Until recently, I’d never thought about getting home-security cameras because a) I have nothing worth stealing and b) not many bad guys are going to choose a house with three dogs. But just this week the thought crossed my mind that a camera at the front door and another at the back might not be a bad idea — if I could afford them and if I could set them up myself.

So I thought I’d toss this out for discussion.

Anybody here have experience with modern, inexpensive security cameras? Got recommendations? Any pitfalls to watch out for?

I would definitely want ones that would record sound as well as video (just in case I ever had to deal with a “We swear, honest, cross-our-hearts-and-hope-to-die we knocked and identified ourselves as police” situation). Motion-activated would be good for the front door. At the back door, it might just end up recording a bunch of dogs going in and out.

Claire Wolfe

Wednesday links

Wednesday, August 29th, 2012

Don’t worry; I haven’t forgotten … well, all the things you might be thinking I’ve forgotten. I will write a post to kick off a women-and-carry-guns discussion (per yesterday’s comment thread). I will get the second draft of the snitch book done and off to you volunteer reviewers (next week with some luck). And I will get that long-promised raffle rifle decorated — although at this point I admit that promise still falls in the category of vaporware. And perhaps even verges on “political promise” territory.

I can’t believe how busy this year has been. But it looks as if I’m coming into a small break soon. (Don’t say that, Claire. You know what happens when you say things like that!)

Meanwhile, some links for ya:

  • Ridiculous. (H/T JW)
  • Ridiculouser. Not to mention insulting, stupid, cowardly, and discriminatory against a disabled three-year-old.
  • James Howard Kunstler wrote the other day about the lack of “male energies” in our culture. While I disagree with his examples, sometimes I wonder the same thing. I grew up in a time where “energies” were unbalanced to the male side. That wasn’t great. But we’ve clearly swung too far in the opposite direction. No culture with balls would do the above.
  • Another reason to have a dog: in case a cougar decides to come into your house to eat you.
  • Now here’s a problem you might not have considered. Too few Americans turn to the fedgov for assistance. Yeah. Really. They said that. They did.
Claire Wolfe

Hey, computer-music geeks

Wednesday, August 29th, 2012

A good friend of mine (and of this blog and of dogs) is also a fan of Animusic. Several years ago he sent me their first two DVDs. Even though I’m as sadly non-musical as it gets, I found them awesome.

Now Animusic is crowdsourcing funding for DVD number three and they are alllllllmost over the top. Check ‘em out and if you can give their fundraising a little kick via Kickstarter, great. If you can’t or don’t want to contribute, how about spreading the word to any music fans or computer animation geeks you know?

One more week to put ‘em over the top.

Here’s Wikipedia on how they do what they do.

Claire Wolfe

Freeloading neighbors, part III:
In which I’m reminded of yet another reason I don’t open carry

Tuesday, August 28th, 2012

Soooo … less than a week after I think I’ve cleverly gotten rid of Mr. Freeloader … knock, knock.

It’s Mr. Freeloader’s oldest son (about 10).

“Can I borrow $5?”

Last time, Dad definitely sent the kids over to “borrow” money. This time, it’s not at all clear whether Dad did the sending or the kid has just learned Dad’s lessons and decided on his own that neighbors might be bottomless pits of favors.

All I know is it’s damned hard to look an adorable urchin in the face and say, “No, you can never borrow anything from me again because the things you and your family borrowed before haven’t been returned.” I tried to be nice about it, but there’s really no way that’s going to sound anything other than mean to a disappointed kid who has never been given Clue One about values.

I’m furious that Mr. and Mrs. Freeloader have put me in this position. It’s not my job to teach responsibility to their moppets; it’s theirs. (And they’ll do it when Charles Schumer spots a TV camera and doesn’t deck six old ladies to get himself in front of it.)

I’m furious because this all started with a couple simple acts of kindness that the Freeloader family has managed to turn sour for everyone, including themselves.

—–

After the kid leaves, I think it’s time to follow the advice that MamaLiberty, Jim Bovard, and a few others have given: “For heaven’s sake, Claire — OPEN CARRY.”

To be clear, Mr. Freeloader has never threatened me in any way. But he’s a big guy — 250 or more pounds and strong as a bull elephant. And he’s very clearly not a good guy. Above all, I don’t understand the mindset of somebody who’d assume a near stranger would become his chauffeur, banker, and supply warehouse — even after she’s said a very clear NO.

I can’t second-guess this guy. The only thing I can be sure of is that I haven’t seen the last of him and and his worthless family.

After the crestfallen tot slunk away, I could picture Daddy storming over here to tell me not to treat his precious firstborn that way.

Didn’t happen. So far, anyhow. Still, the guy needs to see that I’m not a pushover, since words alone are worthless with him.

So I did go find the open-carry gear that used to be my daily companion out in the desert. Wide webbed belt ($2 at a thrift store; but nearly cost me my life when Joel recognized it as a fancy piece of gun gear). Molded “tactical” holster for the Glock on the right. Flashlight and three-bladed hunting-gutting-cutting-my-fingers-off knife on the left.

And now, of course, Terry Bressi’s tiny, amazing, action-oriented Muvi camera (which I must still review here on the blog) clipped over my navel.

I strap all this stuff on and I feel like a land-locked battleship. True, I don’t really need the flashlight. Or for that matter the knife. But I know the instant I start removing gear from the belt said gear will develop a life of its own and scurry into crannies like fleeing mice, never to be spotted again. Besides, I could remove it all and just the darned Glock and the darned (but uber-cool and good-for-quick-draw) holster all by themselves would make me feel like Keanu Reeves in that scene from the Matrix; you know the one I mean. With the metal detector.

I try to work with all that strapped around me — clank, bonk, clank, bonk, bonk. I eventually give up and leave it on a kitchen counter.

Daddy Freeloader told me last week that he’d come by “Tuesday” to return the earlier borrowings. I’m not counting on it. But if he does, I will be wearing my gear — strictly for message-sending purposes, understand. The neighbor may be a freeloader, but he’s neither done me harm nor threatened any. I just want to tell him, since words don’t do it, that I’m not the soft-hearted fool he took me for and I’m not going to be vulnerable to him.

If he doesn’t show up tomorrow, though, I’ll probably just edit my “NO Solicitors” sign to read “NO Borrowers and NO Beggars, either.”

And start shopping for lighter, more compact carry gear.

Claire Wolfe

Monday links

Monday, August 27th, 2012

Via Jim B. for Neil Armstrong …

Claire Wolfe

Dog days and funny stuff

Sunday, August 26th, 2012

For your edification entertainment and h-wording pleasure, here’s a post all about dogs and funny stuff.

Finally, you heard this week about the octagenarian woman who, with the best of intentions, set about to “restore” a damaged Spanish fresco. If you didn’t, have a look. Then have a look …

Which could lead to all sorts of other ideas for “improving” artworks:

Which leads to something only a mother could love …

And of course we mustn’t forget this …

Claire Wolfe

Thoughts while shingling the house, trapping cats, deadlining my arse off, having a Margarita AND eating chocolates

Thursday, August 23rd, 2012

This year has been the busiest I’ve had since back in my 20s when, for a brief, delusional few years I worked like a Silicon Valley maniac.

I don’t approve of work. I discourage all my friends from doing too much of it (and “too much” can have a pretty liberal definition). So how did I get into this state?

I ask myself that all the time as I bang nails and computer keys (mercifully not at the same time, but as tired as I’ve gotten a few days this week there’s some chance I might mix up the two, nailing my keyboard to the wall — hey, now there’s an idea — or trying to coax sensible prose from a cedar shingle).

—–

Some delightful people (thank you B&F!) sent a big box of homemade fudge this week. Well, not exactly homemade. The wife of this charming couple owns a sweet shop where she handmakes fudge in an old-fashioned kettle, and that’s where these tasty treats are from. Chocolate, vanilla, fruit flavored, with nut toppings (my favorite), and without. And OMG, are they sublime.

I don’t eat a lot of sweets. But those times when I neeeeeeeed them, creamy and chocolatey is what I have to have. Now I have pounds of sweet consolation.

And this is the week for it. Cats and dogs and neighbors and deadlines and the demands of old houses — oh my!

B&F — you are the absolute masters of Perfect Timing.

—–

As I work, thoughts churn through my head, from complete drivel to … well, things that are probably still complete drivel, but on a much higher plane.

Ever since Jim Bovard reminded me of the anniversary of Ruby Ridge (curse you, Jim) (and BTW, here’s Kevin Wilmeth’s very worthwhile (and very angry) take on that), I’ve been thinking about the strange ways lives intersect — or don’t.

Spiritual people and assorted left-wingy sorts are always talking about everything and everyone being interconnected. That has always sounded like nothin’ but woo to me. And repulsive woo, besides. Hey, there are millions, maybe billions, of people out there I really, truly wouldn’t want to be “interconnected” with. How about you? Would you like to be “interconnected” with Charles Schumer? Or my freeloadng neighbor? How about with Charles Manson?

No, let’s just let that whole “interconnected” thing stay in the realm of woo. Yet of course there is truth about that butterfly that flaps its wings in China and …

But that hurts the brain, too.

What strikes me harder and more often is how non-connected we are. And yes, that is connected to the anniversary of the monstrous assault on the Weaver family. They went up their mountain to be left alone — and the whole might of the federal government descended murderously upon them.

Yeah. Well, that’s “interconnectedness” in a not-so-good way.

But where were we when Sam, Vicki, and Striker were being cut down by federal vengeance? Maybe we were having a party or flying home from a European vacation or making love or not even born yet. Some of us were hunkering down, having no idea we were going to be hit by a monster of our own — Hurricane Andrew. Very strange that momentous things, horrible things, go on without our notice.

(Odd, random thought: I recall that during the siege, some news commentator blamed Randy Weaver for the fact that some of the fed agents from Florida couldn’t be home with their families as Andrew crashed down on them. Hurricane Andrew was Randy’s fault? The murderous siege was Randy’s fault? People can be sooooo strange.)

—–

This is, of course, the first half of a Margarita talking. Margarita and chocolates. Whoa. Sin and degradation. And if you don’t like it, baby, too darned bad.

—–

While writing this, I’m also emailing with C, the chief cat trapper in our little local rescue group. She’s a very cool person. Younger than most people who get involved in this work (you usually have to reach a Certain Age before you qualify as a Crazy Cat Lady). Very pretty, too.

And talented. She’s the photographer who took those wonderful portraits of my dogs.

She’s also deaf, having lost her hearing at three during an illness. She reads lips so well that sometimes she “hears” better than I do, and she’s got such a sense of humor and such a direct, easy manner that she makes it easy for everyone else to relax and not worry about treating her as if she’s “special” (in the short-bus sense of the word).

Being around her gets me thinking about perceptions and how they differ. For instance, she just emailed about how very much she likes K, another volunteer. I like K, too. But many people don’t. She’s bossy and has all the subtlety of a Mack truck. I’m not sure I could work closely with her without one of us challenging the other to a duel at dawn. But you do know where you stand with her.

C noted that, unable to hear K, she doesn’t perceive some of the bull-moose forcefulness in K that alienates or frightens so many other people. I never realized how much of K’s persona might be in her voice. I try to picture what C perceives. No go. Not possible.

—–

Heck no, we’re not all Interconnected by gossamer threads of woo. We’re amazingly disconnected. It’s a wonder sometimes that we can forge connections with each other at all.

—–

Tomorrow C and I will go out and — so she insists — catch feral kittens with fishing nets.

But for now, I’m into the bottom half of that Margarita and had better just shut the heck up before I say something that, tonight, is Terribly Wise and that I will regret tomorrow.

Claire Wolfe

Sad anniversary — and nothing’s changed

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012

Jim Bovard reminded me of an anniversary I thought I’d never forget: twenty years ago today, the federal government murdered Vicki Weaver.

Twenty years ago yesterday, federal marshals kicked off the Ruby Ridge seige by killing a boy and his dog.

I was already a freedomista before the Weaver monstrosity, but that was my radicalization. I knew from the moment I saw the fuzzy helicopter images of the Weavers’ cabin on the little antenna-driven TV I had then that something was rotten, foul, unspeakable, and more wrong than words could express.

While attending parts of the trial, I also got the chance to go up to the property with a friend of family and see what the prosecutors fought so hard (and successfully) to prevent the jury from seeing. The physical evidence at the site (and at that point, markers were still in place to show where cases had been found and various things had happened) showed clearly — and I mean blatantly obviously — that no one on the federal side could possibly have believed the story they were telling.

I cried — and I never believed a word uttered after that by a government agent or spokesthing.

So these days the feds don’t send hundreds of agents, including National Guard troops, to besiege harmless families.

No, that sort of publicly visible overkill is no more. Not after Ruby Ridge and Waco. Much, much too embarrassing to Our Glorious Leaders. TV overkill has been replaced by localized SWAT raids, wrong-house puppycides, taser killings, “surgical” drone strikes, terrorist tactics, and claims that angry people are mentally ill based (apparently) on their Facebook posts.

We live in a much better world today, don’t we?

Claire Wolfe

Update on freeloading neighbor

Tuesday, August 21st, 2012

I was going to just drop this into the comment section in the original post about my freeloading neighbor. But I forgot that webmaster Oliver has closed comments on old blog entries to deter spammers.

So anyhow, here’s an update. It’s been five weeks since Mr. Freeloader has asked for any favors. I assumed (and hoped) that guilt over not returning things was keeping him from asking for anything else.

It may have been. But this morning at 10:00 he showed up again. When I opened the door he was standing there with his hands tented under his chin in child-at-prayer position (amazingly unbecoming in a 200-lb.+ adult man). “Please, please, please …” (yes, he really said that) “I have a huge favor to ask. My wife and baby have a WIC doctor’s appointment at 10:30. I’ll give you a few bucks for gas if you’ll take them.”

I refrained from saying that several buses pass right by both his house and the WIC office in the morning. I didn’t mention that Dial-A-Ride could have picked them up at their door with some advance notice. I didn’t go into female mode and babble apologetically about why I couldn’t just drop everything right this minute and drive to the county seat.

I just said what I’ve been telling myself to say if he ever turned up again: “You should have thought about things like this when you decided not to return my weed whacker and not to repay the money your kids borrowed.”

Though he went into babble mode and clearly had forgotten about the kids’ money (“I can pay you that back on Tuesday”), to his credit he didn’t protest or beg or get mad and threaten. He just left.

It felt as if he and I had both handled ourselves in the best possible way, given the situation.

As Mal said, “Yeah … that went well.”

Claire Wolfe

Things I don’t have to worry about

Tuesday, August 21st, 2012

The world is so full of bad, dangerous, ugly things. Or just demanding things. There’s so much that we’re told we need to care about, that we’re supposed to think about, that we’re supposed to worry about.

But sometimes … you just can’t. Or you’ve reached a state of life where you just don’t. Maybe someone needs to worry about them, but not you.

Herewith I present a random selection of things that I might have worried about once but that just don’t get to me any more.

Feel free to add your own “don’t worry, be happy” in the comment section.

—–

Things I no longer worry about

* Who wins the presidential election

* Who killed John Kennedy (it was gummint + Mafia, but I repeat myself)

* Monsters under the bed (the dust bunnies under there get to me, though)

* NPR being a mouthpiece for Democrats

* Fox News being a mouthpiece for Republicans

* Both — and all the rest — sounding like propaganda outlets for Orwell’s Ministry of Truth. (The fact that few people notice it scares the heck out of me, though.)

* Abortion law

* Whether government approves of any adult’s voluntary sexual relationships. Or not.

* Climate change (Supervolcanos, mega-quakes, and tsunamis still keep me awake at night)

* Whether RPatz will get over KStew

* Whether god hid dinosaur bones to test people’s faith

* Whether Pepsi or Coke tastes better (poison, both of ‘em)

* Whether someone disapproves of me having a Margarita before 5:00 or a bloody Mary after 5:00.

* Fracking; just don’t do it in my neighborhood

* Whether Google will do evil (it does, of course)

* Mark Zuckerberg

* Gold confiscation (let them try)

* Cops going door-to-door confiscating guns (see above)

* Whether my underwear matches

* Whether any government spokesperson is ever telling the truth about anything, at any time, in any place. I mean, really. Don’t be silly. That’s less likely than the dinosaur bones thing.

—–

Okay. Your turn.

Claire Wolfe

Tuesday links

Tuesday, August 21st, 2012
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