- Hastert may be a criminal. But other feds are worse. (Never mind that Hastert and his ilk made them worse.)
- I admit it. Maeve Binchy, the mega-selling Irish author of simple domestic tales, is one of my guilty girly pleasures. Binchy died in 2012 of heart problems. While looking for something completely unrelated to her health, I stumbled upon this nice article about how she made the best of her initial diagnosis. Inspiring.
- The fedgov has recently made it 5x more expensive to do. But Americans are again surrendering their citizenship in small but record-setting numbers. (Tip o’ hat to MJR)
- “No cloud for me,” says security guru Bruce Schneier. And amen. (Via Brad at WendyMcElroy.com)
- Okay, then, what exactly is the difference in principle between Caitlyn Jenner and Rachel Dolezal?
- This Onion article’s been getting around, but once again it’s too funny not to link and too true to be really funny.
- Can reading make you happier? Hm, dunno. Bibliotherapy??? (H/T PT)
- Trees. Trained to grow into chairs. (H/T SC)
Archive for the ‘Arts and Aesthetics’ Category
- You knew this was coming, didn’t you? (And not a bad thing, IMHO, though why the government should have anything to do with it, I don’t know.) Same-sex marriage and plural marriage.
- “A Modest Proposal.” If withdrawing just under $10,000 from your bank account should be a crime, then how about … oh, driving just under the speed limit?
- Carol Browne didn’t have to die.
- Creative people. Yes. It’s true. They tend to be crazy. “[A]nd writers, specifically, are likelier to possess some sort of mental illness.” (Thanks a bunch, guys.)
- True, he’s just a Republican politician and it’s nerve-grating to hear him called libertarian. But Rand Paul is still a cut above.
- And finally, via Never Yet Melted, hilariously inappropriate covers of children’s books.
- If somebody in private enterprise did this — let alone did it again and again — heads would roll, congressthings would hotly hold hearings, new regulations would strangle business, and the fedgov would mutter about the need to take over entire fields. But … oopsie! (H/T MJR)
- Here’s one more for the “one term in office and one in jail” concept of term limits. Better yet, former Honorable Speaker Hastert is going down not for some real crime, but for one of those faux crimes that Congress itself invented.
- “In praise of uncertainty.”
- The art of running from the police. Sad truth via LarryA.
- Okay, guys. You want one. I know you do. (Also MJR)
- How to tell whether this week’s Worst! Ever! Drug! stories are telling the truth.
- Woman quits job to build beautiful bamboo houses.
- :-) How investigative journalists justify their existence.
“The Haunted Beach.” (pdf, about 4,600 words)
I submitted this to a short-story contest/anthology a few months ago. It was rejected. Maybe because it was no good. Or maybe because the theme of the anthology was “optimism.”
The rules said submissions could have dark elements but needed to be optimistic overall. I thought this story just bubbled with optimism (after said “dark elements”). But you can probably see why contest judges might disagree.
Never before and probably never again. Not in a little berg like this one, anyhow. I love The General. And Buster Keaton was a gorgeous man with a magnetic screen presence, amazing directing and acting talent, and colossal daring (those stunts! he really does them). But I’ve never seen The General on anything larger than a mid-sized TV.
Took a while to get things started. First they had a presentation by a “real film buff.” She had obviously gotten all her information about The General and the historic Great Locomotive Chase that inspired it from the same place I got my information — Wikipedia. But she had a Master of Fine Arts, so her info must be better.
The movie itself seemed sloooooowww and static at the start. Modern movies are not only a lot better, but they know how deliver more information during their opening credits than old films delivered in their first half hour.
But once the comic railway chase got underway … wow. This experience I’ll remember forever.
The General is about a dauntless (if also hapless and inept) Southerner in the War Between the States. Movies may be better now, but that’s something you couldn’t pull off today without some government-schooled jerker-of-knees accusing you of being a racist.
Now, for the chance to see Fritz Lang’s Metropolis on the big screen ….
- The case against modern science. Fom the editor of one of the world’s most eminent medical journals. (H/T SC)
- It’s the time of year for dragging up old commencement speeches. The best ever, of course, was from J.K. Rowling at Harvard in 2008. But two years ago, Joss Whedon gave one as only he could give it.
- Senate panel gives the okay for medical marijuana for veterans. It’s a step. And at the fed level where steps are badly needed.
- But oh! The horror! We’ll soon all be home-brewing heroin. The government! Must! DO SOMETHING! About this! (Tip o’ hat to SC)
- The art of avoiding war. (I’m posting this not for the author’s conclusions about U.S. warmaking matters, but for the history and tactics described.)
- Yep. Just gets creepier and creepier.
- But enough of the serious stuff. Have some gods. And angels and such. Transported from classic paintings to now. (Via Never Yet Melted. Which also offers this.)
Six days and 6-1/2 hours since breaking my
&^%$#@! hecky-darned ankle, I’m going stir crazy.
I’m trying to be such a good girl. Aside from an itty-bitty pretty much token walk each morning and afternoon for Robbie (three or four doors down and back, wearing the fracture boot, of course), I’ve been sitting around with my foot elevated, applying heat, gentle massage, and just today a lovely cayenne-pepper cream MamaLiberty told me how to whip up.
Every book I have around the house is a deadly bore. I’ve developed computer vision syndrome (better known in the real world as eye strain). And I’m now on my second-in-a-row viewing of the entire Harry Potter movie series, which is the only thing keeping me from going bonkers.
Yesterday morning I woke up feeling half-human for the first time. I ventured a slightly longer walk in the afternoon — and paid for it today. (That pepper cream really helped, though!)
Tomorrow I need to fetch Ava from Furrydoc’s boarding kennel and that’s going to be interesting. She’s an energy hound who expects to walk/run at least two miles a day in addition to sessions of tennis-ball fetching and tug-o-war. Haven’t found anybody else to do that for her. Sorry, Ava.
But I’m not complaining. Really I’m not. And not feeling sorry for myself (though I’m unaccustomed to fussing over my health and dislike being babied, even if I’m the one doing the babying).
I’m feeling lucky it wasn’t worse. And lucky I have a job I can do while sitting around with my feet up. And lucky to have a little (or a lot) of help from my friends.
Besides, as a person who appreciates aesthetics, I find the colorfulness of this experience quite entrancing.
Don’t click on the “more” link unless you appreciate rich colors where bland color ususally prevails. This is what things look like six days (and 6-1/2 hours) after the event. The swelling’s gone down considerably but the colors keep “improving” all the time.
- John Silveira’s famous Backwoods Home classified ad continues to live on 18 years later. It’s already become an indie movie and helped launch a director’s burgeoning career. (H/T DD)
- Kentucky Authoritahs grab 10 kids, apparently just because they’re unschooled and live off grid. Hearing today. Wish this family good fortune.
- So lessee. Reading to your kids is about the best way in the world to give them a head start. Better than fancy private schools. Which means that the proper response is … quit doing it and maybe even eliminate families. Huh? “Harrison Bergeron” indeed. I’ve just added a new blog category, “Cultural insanity,” to cover this sort of thing.
- Along the same lines, why assume poor kids must all be art deprived?
- I usually admire Bob Owens, but when I read his L.A. Times op-ed blaming Glocks for the way cops handle them (badly), my jaw dropped. My reaction was the same as Firehand’s. Blame the gun because the shooter ignores the basic rules of firearm safely? Isn’t that straight from the playbook of Bloomberg and his Meddling Mommies?
- There’s a new, gold-backed cryptocurrency in town: The Hayek, courtesy of Anthem Blanchard. Anthem Hayek Blanchard, in fact. Freedomista-born, you think? It’s actually been in the works a while but is just getting more mainstream notice. Hope it does better than egold.
- Let people think that shelter mutts are pricey petstore pooches and they’ll fall in love. (H/T SC)
- Per jed in comments: The Oatmeal on if my dogs were middle-aged men. Oooookayyyyy …
- Henceforth, I am going to charge $500,000 per blog post and I urge all of you to inform your employers or clients that that is also now your standard fee for doing any work or even making an appearance. If you’re an employer, tough luck to you. ‘Cause after all, we’ve “gotta pay our bills” don’t we?
- Perhaps Bill and Hill both need a dose of this.
- OMG, FEMA is holding a national Preparathon and I forgot to sign up with the government! I’ll bet you did, too. Oh no! This must mean we’re all dooooooomed!!!
- Yeah, that’s what you get for going around jihading in Texas. Good comment one. Good comment two. (Maybe the would-be jihadists got the idea that Texans were an easy target from Major “Soldier for Allah” Nidal Hassan. Somebody shoulda told ’em that only works on disarmed military bases.)
- Maya Plisetskaya has died. She was a ballerina of extraordinary power and grace who overcame Stalinist oppression for her art.
- It seems scientists like The Lord of the Rings.
Some of these may have begun as performance art or a political statement. But it seems that anti-surveillance wearables are now a thing
Shades of RebelFire’s street scene.
I’m deadlining. Um … s’posed to be. I’ve actually been in that blank, dull state that’s 100x worse than the next-worst part of writing.
I just got over it a few minutes ago and though I might push my deadline by a few days (hate that, but it’s a monthly magazine and I suspect they may not even look at submissions for a week or two), I’m now breathing a different, clearer air.
I hear there are scribblers, quite a few of them multi-millionaires, who don’t suffer writer’s block. I hate them all. Hate them indiscriminately, regardless of race, creed, color, gender, or place of national origin. Hate them with malice aforethought and extreme prejudice.
Writer’s block at its worst isn’t just, “Hm. I have no idea what to write this month.” It’s, “OMG, what if I’ve lost all my talent? What if I’m never able to write another readable word? How will I live? I’ll die! I’ll die obscure and starving and probably not be found for weeks and by then the dogs will have …”
That’s what I just got over.
And the weird thing (I know I’ve said this before, but I always shake my head at it) is that, until some sudden moment, it’s like that. For days. Sometimes for weeks. Not one sign of progress, nary an idea, not even a tiny move toward the goal of actually writing something with which I can put kibble in the dog bowls. Then … poof!
There’s always this “never, ever” quality to the blank time. Even though I’ve been there before and gotten past it, it feels — every time — as if this is THE END. (“Yeah, but what if this is the one time that …?”)
During Nevertime, I can write other things — things I don’t have to write. I can dust knicknacks, hang wallpaper (this weekend’s project), and be a general wiz at life. I just can’t do that one thing. And as Nevertime goes on, there’s not one sign I’ll ever be able to do what I have to do. I think of resigning the gig. Of quitting the business. Of eating out of Dumpsters.
Then between a step with my right foot and a step with my left, the idea is there, along with words to open the article (one of the two hardest parts of the actual putting words on pixels).
Before this there may be an hour or so that feels a little different. A desperation that leads to action (grab a notepad, gird my resolve, have a glass of wine, make a list), then a recklessness. (“I’m doomed, anyway, might as well see if I can come up with something, even if it’s dumb.”) I expect all that amounts to a new openness, though it just feels like a way to calm panic.
And once I can give myself that state of mind, that’s when it happens.
Another weirdness (yet another common weirdness, too): The idea that eventually arrives is often not even close to anything I might have considered. Not even something I thought about thinking about writing about.
It’s just … there.
No wonder Greeks had Athena — the goddess of wisdom, courage, inspiration, strength, the arts, crafts, and skill, among other things — born full-grown from the brain of Zeus.
Now excuse me, I gotta go finish writing my article. It’s a breeze, I tell you. Once the flow gets going, it’s like … “Pain, what pain? Difficult? But anybody could do this …”
This afternoon I brought home a small heap of equally unprepossessing but potentially useful stuff I found in a newly dumped trash heap. To wit:
This is tongue-and-groove beadboard from somebody’s old house. Depression-era, I’m guessing. Probably wainscotting from a kitchen or bathroom judging by the bits of ancient wallpaper clinging to it. This small amount isn’t enough for anything by itself, but I’ve got this ceiling project …
Last summer (you may recall all too personally, given that y’all were so involved), part of my roof collapsed. The fix involved cutting away large chunks of a beadboard ceiling. Which was bad because it was a lovely old ceiling. But which was good because working from inside made the roof fix relatively inexpensive. And which was also good because it gave me the opportunity to convert a formerly flat ceiling to a vaulted (well, slightly vaulted) one.
I just didn’t have enough interesting material to cover it. Could have drywalled it. But meh. And there was still a lot of beadboard left after the teardown, even if not enough beadboard.
Right now that ceiling is just bare rafters with insulation. Eventually I’ll turn it into a patchwork of the old beadboard, modern tongue-and-groove 1x6s, trim, and whatever the heck else might fit up there. The beadboard I picked up this afternoon is a different design than what I’ve already got and will enhance the patchwork effect. Remarkably, the tongues and grooves of all the different materials I’ve assembled fit together, too. Well, mostly. They will fit whether they want to or not. :-)
There’s probably more beadboard in the heap of construction rubble. I’ll go back and look later.
It infuriates that people dump construction leftovers in the woods. Aside from the blight on the landscape, the heaps are always full of rusty nails, sharp metal edges, and broken glass. I wonder if the creeps who use the forest as their personal landfill ever give a second’s thought to the excruciating death some animal might suffer, getting an infected wound from all those spiky protrusions.
The rubble heap this beadboard came from could have been left at the real landfill for about $7.50. But noooooo. Some cretin couldn’t be bothered.
If I ran the world, people who dumped dangerous junk in the woods would have to pick it up with their teeth. Serve ’em right. Still, for scroungers, there’s occasional gold in the rubble.