Thomas Paine wrote those wordsafter the shooting had already begun at Lexington and Concord, after the signing of the Declaration of Independence, a fact that always surprises me. We tend to think that by that time, the game was on, lines were irrevocably crossed, and everybody who was going to take a side and get involved was already committed. But not quite so.
We of course haven’t even had our Lexington moment yet and frankly I pray we never do. Even in the best cases (and the American Revolution was certainly one of those), shooting wars ultimately play into the hands of the most wily statists. Who shoots first, shoots straightest, has the biggest weaponry, or has “God on their side” doesn’t always determine how free people are once the smoke has cleared.
Well, yes, that’s almost exactly how it is being a writer. Except they forgot to add smoking three packs a day* and finding clever strategems (like counting the perforations on the acoustic tiles in the ceiling) to avoid actual, you know, work. (H/T jed in comments)
While this article leans anti-Peter Thiel and I’m way more inclined to think the world owes Thiel a debt for his creative thinking and his billionairish backing of it, it’s still a decent look at the man.
This is so cool! Completely fake, mind you. It’s a conceptual art project, not a real thing. But still … so weirdly, imaginatively, creepily cool: The Merrylin Cryptid Museum. (Best viewed by allowing all three scripts, if you happen to be browsing around with NoScript on.)
* No, the smoking and drinking are NOT ME. I have been known to count holes in ceiling tiles, but that was actually in the fifth grade, when I was trapped in class. These days I have more wide-ranging and interesting ways of work avoidance.
Just past the halfway mark of my six months without home Internet. Not too painful so far, right?
Its original purpose of lowering monthly payments to clear last year’s home-improvement debts kind of went kablooey when Dave quit paying for the blog. At that point, I emptied savings to clear nearly all that debt, figuring any unnecessary monthly payments would not be a good idea right now.
Kept a small emergency fund, of course. Always keep a small emergency fund unless you’re living in your car and eating out of Dumpsters.
Barefoot Bandit boy, I’ve always felt kind of fond of you. As criminals go, you’ve got style and brains. You reimbursed your victims and you gave $100 to my favorite vet to help animals. But this is just dumbass stupid. Your mother smoked and drank herself to death on government money. Who, other than you, would want to bring her back to life? (H/T CB)
And it’s the same-old-same-old in the world of U.S. cops, too. So it’s okay to train a dog to potentially “rip the face off” any innocent person — infant, sleeping woman, hapless bystander — as long as it’s for “officer safety”?
Getting away from all that evil … Years ago, webmaster Oliver sent me a the catalog of the Museum of Bad Art. Smiling my way through it the other day, I wondered if the place still existed. Yes! And it’s growing. Here’s a portion of its fabulous collection, each piece worth as much as $6.50. And for those who simply must have these works prominently displayed on their coffee tables, the original catalog has now been supplemented by a collection of their masterworks.
You’ve seen the improvements in my wreck of a house and indeed there’ve been many. I take pride in showing off pictures like this:
What I don’t often show you is how absolutely godawful some of it still looks. In some cases, it’s even worse than when I bought it, largely thanks to said improvements. Really, in some ways a tarpaper shack would be an improvement. I’m not kidding.
I haven’t written much about being ‘Netless (one month, five days, and seven hours as I write this, but who’s counting?) because after the first few days of adjustment, it hasn’t had that much impact.
Sometimes it’s devilishly inconvenient. When I desperately — I assure you, desperately — needed to know all the Hogwarts house colors, heads, and ghosts, I had to wait all the way until the next morning to look them up, oh alas alack.
Other than that and slower correspondence, the impact has been small and mostly positive.
My favorite thing about this ‘Netless interval is having a “moment out of time” several mornings a week.
Well, I’ve put up a trial version of my fake transom windows over the new bathroom door. I used matching garage-sale picture frames with “stained glass” cling film on their glass.
Currently they’re simply sitting on nails half-driven into the wall. Not permanently installed. Proof of concept and all. But so far, so good. They let a pleasant, muted light pass between the bathroom and the rest of the house and vice versa.
But they have this vibe of “broke bohemian college student ca. 1965” about them. Long before cling film existed, college bohos managed to fake this same stained glass look. Plus they had tables made out of wooden cable reels. And … somewhere on the wall, inevitably, something from Picasso’s blue period. That bent old man playing the guitar, usually. Him.
And if not that, a bullfight poster. Preferably featuring that romantic young matador who got gored to death and died right in the pages of Life magazine.* What the heck was his name? Ah … Manolete.
(You can have “Paris at Midnight” in the 1920s if you want the bohemian big time. I give you San Jose State College, three blocks off frathouse row, with people who were soon to decree their abode a commune.)
Ahem. Anyhow, cheap, pre-hippie boho wasn’t quite the effect I was going for, but for now this will do.
Unfortunately I haven’t the skill or the camera to capture the effect in situ with light shining through into a dark room, but here’s a shot of the “windows” in the kitchen with meek and wimpy sun shining through them.
And while we’re on the subject of art, I just happened to look down into my kitchen sink one night last week and spotted this “dishwater art.” Couldn’t have designed that if I’d have tried.
The new frontier of negative interest rates. You know, if I didn’t realize this stuff is for real, I’d think articles like this one were parodies. Or bizarre fantasies. Oh, the weird world of economics!
LOL, and here you thought the media just fawned on HRC because they choose to. Sometimes, though, they’re simply following orders.
Well, this is depressing. Fear of punishment from a vengeful god turns out to produce social good. Not surprising, really. That’s probably why vengeful gods were invented (by those who wanted to define social good for everybody else).
Nicki on government health care as the ultimate sickness. Man, such horror stories should have been left behind in the Soviet Union.
Smart guns, stupid science (and that’s even without addressing their “features” of being hackable and remote shut-offable).
Just five years old and already the the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is a hotbed of abuse, including race-based corporate shakedowns.
I finally finished a good first draft of that cannabis article and got it sent off to 10 people so they could check the parts about them and offer corrections on anything else they spot.
Already heard back from three. Not a single change requested or goof noted. That’s unusual. It won’t hold for all 10, but very nice start.
The interviewees range from a police chief to a couple whose medical dispensary was destroyed by the DEA. And here they are, all in harmony, even as they come from such different perspectives. I simply can’t stress enough what a remarkable experience this is, both writing about it and witnessing it.
The one big drawback of the writing part: It’s exhausting. All the research (and all the things I still didn’t learn). The scheduling and pulling myself out of my hermit hut. The days and days of drafting, which, with so much information, is like wrestling an octopus. Even the best moments, the interviews themselves, leave me all emptied out. It’s the most glorious exhaustion. But still.
The last couple writing days were all about shifting the last bits into their place in the article, polishing, and — above all — cutting, cutting, cutting, cutting. I sacrificed nearly 1,500 of my own, precious, darling words in the interest of the whole. By the time I’d sent all the emails winging on their way with article attched, I was — not kidding — slightly faint.
I don’t mean to sound melodramatic. After all, I’m not also dying of tuberculosis in a garrett. (Always a plus. that.) Life’s good. I’m just tired. If I’ve been a little quiet and continue to be a bit more this week, that’s why.