I love my neighborhood. In many ways, it’s like what we think neighborhoods were in the olden days (but probably really weren’t).
I had an “olden days” moment yesterday. Not in the idyllic sense, but in the sense that anybody in the neighborhood can give a troublesome kid what-for and parents will back that up.
I was sitting in the sun room, enjoying the respite after a day of painting and ripping down old siding when — whap! — something thumped the wall next to me.
I knew immediately what it was and who did it. Sure enough, I went outside and there was a baseball in the grass. Looked up and there he was, a tall, blond adolescent boy in the neighbors’ yard. The three boys who live there (all younger and smaller than this kid) were outside, too. But having had my house pelted several times last summer with hardballs, and having seen the tall, blond kid every time, I knew it wasn’t their doing. (They lob balls into my yard frequently, but never get near the house and nearly always use nerf or whiffle balls.)
Without giving it a second thought, I stomped over to the fence, pointed, and called, “You! Blond kid!” And proceeded to give him a piece of my mind and a warning that if he broke a window, hurt an animal, or damaged my property in any way, he’d be in deep yogurt. Then I tossed the baseball over the fence and went home.
A couple minutes later, the father of the three boys was at my gate, full of apologies and concern.
“No, no. Your little boys are so sweet and polite,” I said. “You don’t need to apologize for anything. It’s that other kid. It’s almost as if he’s aiming at my house. He needs a good talking to from his parents.”
“But I’m the dad,” my neighbor said, as if that explained everything that needed to be said about his responsibility.
Later I got to feeling bad about raising a ruckus. Maybe I should have just gone over there and had a quiet talk with everybody. Maybe I should have gone to Dad and let him handle his guest.
This morning I took the family a peace offering of apple pie (storebought, sorry) and ice cream. Dad was off on a volunteer fire call, but Mom and two of the boys were there. I assured the boys I wasn’t upset with them in any way. I apologized to Mom for the undiplomatic way I’d handled the situation and asked her to pass that on to her husband.
She made it clear that she and Dad had had a very serious talk with all the boys and that no peace offering was necessary. “That kid is a good boy,” she said. “But … they’re having some troubles right now.” Not excusing, just explaining.
Only nerf and whiffle balls from now on, she assured me, taking the pie and ice cream that I finally had to force into her hands.
I admit that, because I’m sick unto death of social-justice pecksniffs, ivory-tower radicals, elitists who sneer down their noses at the rest of us while unable to navigate the real world for themselves, and the thuggish Melissa Click types who now personify academia (academia being the major home of rape-culture hysteria), my first reaction was to tune the book out even though everything Wendy writes is always worthwhile. Then I noticed the much more hopeful subtitle: “Fixing the damage done to men and women.”
Yeah, that needs doing. And Wendy is just the person to analyze the problem and suggest sensibly individualist solutions. Turns out the scope of this new book is wider than the title implies.
I’ve mentioned The Wandering Monk. He’s a handyman recently in our area who came well recommended and is living up to his reputation. He’s more skilled, conscientious, and reliable than Handyman Mike and charges substantially less. He makes difficult things simple and is pleasant to have around. Quite full of himself at times. But a really decent 39-year-old guy with a lot of experience behind him.
I plan no big house projects this year, but I’ve been bringing the Monk in on a number of small ones — partly because I can afford him, but partly (alas) because he is a wanderer and it’s been clear to me from the beginning that he’s likely to wander out of the area just as suddenly and capriciously as he wandered in. I want to get as much from his talents as I can before he drifts away.
He’s very religious and talks a lot about God. But being Catholic, and being kind of a happy wanderer, his approach is very different than some I’ve run into (who all too often figuratively slam me against the wall and threaten me with “Jesus or else” — and seem to enjoy the prospect of “or else” far more than a decent person should). I enjoy talking with him. Mostly.
Get businesses freaked out enough about “discriminating against the disabled” and they’ll fall for anything.
12 lessons to learn and hang onto forever. (Especially for business, but plenty have applications in the rest of the world, too.)
Just to cheer you up, here’s the latest report on global-catastrophic risks. I confess not to have read it yet. I don’t need that kind of “cheering up” right now. But just in case you’re interested. (H/T MJR)
Assume your state government is in big trouble if one, single taxpayer saying goodbye could have this much impact.
This Looney Toon of a presidential election takes me back, gods forbid, to elections past.
It takes me to Nixon-Humphrey, the previous absolute-worst political pairing in my lifetime. Before that, I was political, but only because my mom was political and I took after her. All Democrats were good, all Republicans were Eeeeevil, and John Kennedy was the best Democrat of all because he was handsome and a Democrat and he came to our town campaigning and I almost got to touch him. Life was simple.
I was still too young to v*te when the major parties threw up Nixon and Humphrey. But it was the first time I knew something was rotten on both sides. And Mom’s adoration for the tubby hack from Minnesota merely made me wonder what she’d been smoking (or rather, not smoking, since the smoking people of 1968 were as horrified by Hubie the Mediocre as they were by Milhaus the Whining Retread).
I think I may have even declared my intention to leave the country — years ahead of Alec Baldwin and his ilk, but just as insincerely. The fact that I was too young to get a passport excuses me, right? And shortly after that, there were Libertarians and retreaters (the name back then for prepper-survivalists) and cool non-political newsletters from the heady combo of Rothbard and Hess, and many other things besides politics-as-usual to put hopes in.
But this utterly hope-less election of 2016 — with its likely pairing of two megalomaniacs who use government for incessant personal gain and whose “principles” are light enough to blow wherever the next breeze takes them — also takes me back to the one-and-only national election where I felt an actual stirring of hope.
Still sick. More than two weeks now. Whatever you do, don’t catch this thing.
It may also be that springtime is complicating matters. I don’t usually get hay fever, but Old Blue looks like Old Green every morning thanks to its daily dusting of yellow pollen, and I’m wondering whether things that normally wouldn’t bother me are affecting me now because my respiratory system is already sensitized by the virus.
Whatever this is, please don’t catch it.
I finally found a dose of OTC meds that knocks the symptoms down maybe 50% while only reducing me to stupid and dry-mouthed, no longer brain-dead. That’s something.
And today I trimmed out the back door, which means I can soon get down to one of the most pleasant of all DIY tasks, shingling the wall. Fun to do. Looks great almost from the first course. And I can pick the task up or put it down any time. My kind of job.
Books could be written on that topic. Investigative reporters could spend years plumbing the depths of how “they” — the ubergovernment and the deep govocracy, probably helped along by outfits like the Southern Poverty Hate Law Center — use our ‘Net postings to build dossiers on us. And how they use their postings on our fora and comment sections to provoke and undermine us. Kit’s only touching on a couple of things. But her points are well-taken.
IMHO, it’s overlong and repetitive. But it makes absolutely valid points about how “liberalism” became synonymous with snotty elitism and social justice pecksniffery (the very opposites of anything actually liberal, of course). Most salient point: The snottery was always there, but when the left abandoned the working class or the working class abandoned the left, nothing remained to hold the arrogance and contempt in check.
The “right” may have Donald Trump, but fundamentally the “left” is in a whole lot more perilous shape.
The most remarkable thing about the Vox piece is the source: Vox’s lefty credentials are as good as anybody’s.
The first was a classic by MamaLiberty (a piece I’d have been proud to write myself). Check the original out here.
The second, a new one from the prolific Carl-Bear Bussjaeger, looks at the question of whether Obama could regulate firearms out of existence. Ha! You know the answer to that one, but Bear’s last line says it with a hammer blow.
I’m prepping this blog Monday night, before Bear’s piece posts to TZP. But it should be there at the top of the TZP blog by early a.m.
And the thing I think Elias would most like you to know about (and contribute to): a a new movie he’s hoping to complete with a little help from friends.
Currently the site is a mix of the new and old, with navigation not always smooth between its component parts. But then, it’s a work in progress. Just like Elias himself. Just like me. Just like most everything.
I’ll ask Elias to keep me posted as he adds new features.
Full moons are a mundane experience, but seeing a fat red moon rising over the hills is as close to true magic as ordinary life comes.
A few years ago, it occurred to me that each number of full moons alloted to a person is finite. An obvious observation, I know. But still one of those things that hits you hard at the moment you observe it.
If life goes along in it’s merry way, I may have 200, even 300, full moons left. That sounds like a lot of full moons. Surely I can afford to squander dozens of those in busy oblivion. But what about the day when you’re finally down to one full moon — and you can’t even be sure of that?
Appreciate those full moons, dear readers. Or those puppy kisses or orgasms or moments of cuddling your spouse or pushing your child on a swing. Or those bites of rare steak or chocolate cake. Or those pink and gold dawns. While you’ve got them.
Mike Vanderboegh, good man that he is, has considered what will happen to us and his causes after his last full moon has gone down: His son has taken on the blogging at Sipsey Street. Big shoes to fill there, son. But thanks for stepping into them.
But this … once again takes “small-space living” to crazy extremes. Only in San Francisco. Or New York City. Or London. Or other places that have become hellholes for normal people.
Kevin Wilmeth comments on my TZP “constitutional carry” piece and gets it exactly right: “The only downside I can see, honestly, is that celebrating a good thing for what it is, isn’t going to help the sort of prag mindset that still can’t distinguish between long-term strategy and true pre-emptive surrender.”
I’ve had a lot of time to think this week and one question runs through my mind: Why is freedom so closely and (for many) irretrievably associated with fighting?
Sure, we do periodically have to defend freedom against tyrants. And defend it more frequently against incremental encroachments and (if I may coin a term) the political encockroaches who so encroach.
But given that the main thing we do with freedom is enjoy it, given that it is, in most of our lives, as lovely and easy a thing as pure air, why the sticky association with strife, battle, bloodshed, anguish, and all things bad?
That doesn’t make freedom sound like much fun at all. Or like anything most people would want to have. Is it just because we’re hardwired to take freedom for granted when it’s not threatened? Is all this emphasis on fighting just because of the times we live in? What?
Why is freedom so closely and (for many) irretrievably associated with fighting? And for that matter, why are so many who claim to be ardent supporters of freedom the very sort of people you’d prefer not to have for your next-door neighbors in any would-be Libertopia?
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.
This weekend I read Oliver Sacks’ tiny mini-tome, Gratitude. I really mean tiny. It’s a book you can finish in half an hour.
It consists of four short essays, all written in the two years before his death. All four reflect on aging and dying as Sacks went from a robust 79-year-old who swam a mile a day to an invalid dying of liver cancer. He really says nothing new or profound. For that matter he doesn’t say much overtly about gratitude. The attraction is, of course, that Oliver Sacks is saying the rather familiar things about death.
He lived in front of the world for all those decades, a man of the mind who also studied minds and wrote about them in the liveliest way. So you know that when he quotes a philosopher, said philosopher was likely to have been a good friend. And you know that when his cousin turns him on to a good idea, it’s going to be his cousin the Nobel Prize winner.
In this case his cousin the Nobel Prize winning economist, Robert John Aumann, is also an observant Orthodox Jew, who inspired the last essay in the book, “Sabbath.”
I’ve always admired such strict observances as not even being willing to drive a car or flip a light switch or turn on a stove burner from some arcane-but-precise moment on Friday to some arcane-but-precise moment on Saturday. At the same time, it also seems silly. Srsly you can’t turn on a 21st-century LED light on the Sabbath because of a millennia-old proscription against lighting fires on that day? Well, yeah, it makes a certain bureaucratic sense. But …
Yet I sometimes find myself yearning for such ritual, such steadfast belief in something unknowable. I’m not patient enough to practice rituals that don’t make sense to me (whether the rituals of a mainstream religion or some neopagan thing like honoring the four corners), but it seems like such an honorable and mindful ideal.
Sacks wrote of the Sabbath differently. Watching his cousin and his family observe the Sabbath, he didn’t think of their observances as being hopelessly strict or meaningless, even though he’d long since ceased being a believer. He thought of their ultra-observent Sabbath as “a day out of time.” A day to step aside from the go-go world.
What a great way to view it.
That could mean a lot of different things to different people, but most of them, I’m guessing, are filled with adventures in serenity.