My apologies, all you people there on the upper east coast. I hear that the ghastly weather you’re having is our fault. Something to do with this monstrous ridge of high pressure plunging down on us; creates a monster low for you.
Believe me, I was thinking of you this afternoon while I contemplated whether or not I should wear the tee-shirt with a turtleneck or skip the turtleneck for a dog walk. I felt soooooo guilty.
The emergency room: a microcosm for misplaced priorities. We see this in animal rescue/welfare work, too, in the form people who can afford pricey tattoos, cigarettes, and weekly lotto tickets and scratch cards — but “can’t” come up with $25 to keep their pets from producing endless, unhealthy litters year after year.
Three more hopeful looks at Western-Islamic relations: An imam says Muslims must reject violence and governments must change course; Glenn Harlan Reynolds points out that Muslim leaders are finally realizing that their “brand” is tarnished by the acceptance of intolerance; author Irshad Manji is optimistic about the future between Islam and the West.
As I recall, you guys tend to be resolution-averse. Maybe a good hangover cure to share, then? Uh … your best tips for managing to stay awake until midnight? Your best tips to avoid having your beauty sleep interrupted next year by all those pesky merrymakers?
I didn’t make any resolutions this year, but I have an idea of dedicating each month of 2015 to some different pursuit or goal. In January my aim is to see how little money I can realistically live on. Barring an emergency (knock wood), I’ll spend only for the most basic basics. I’ve allotted myself a few dollars for a mocha now and then so I won’t feel like a totally pitiful orphan :-), but beyond that I’m just paying unavoidable expenses. Will buy some groceries (mostly perishables) but will also tap into my preparedness pantry a bit. Just a bit, though. The object isn’t to see how little I can spend for one isolated month, but what’s a realistic minimum budget for any month.
Not a resolution, but sometime in the next few days I’ll happily be bringing you an interview I did with Vin Suprynowicz on the publication of his beautiful new book The Testament of James. It’s good — as you already know if you’ve been reading the online excerpts.
As soon as everybody’s had a chance to recover from the enforced good cheer of the holidays, I’ll do a mini-review and run the Q&A. Meanwhile, you might want to purchase a hardbound copy (via ABE Books; NFI) or the Kindle edition.
And speaking of beautiful, the cover design is by a member of the Living Freedom Commentariat, Carl-Bear Bussjaeger. And if he’s made that classic painting look more than a little hallucinatory with those colors, you’ll understand when you read the book.
ADDED: Carl links to the “pre-review” by Tom Knapp. I agree with everything Tom wrote about The Testament of James. And I’m the proud owner of copy #15 of the limited first edition (Carl and Tom are 12 and 19). Mine is a review copy, which I didn’t pay for, but its freebieness will not affect anything I say. My policy with review copies of freedomista books is that I either give an honest positive opinion or if I don’t like the book, I keep my mouth shut about it. I may privately tell the author why I didn’t like a work, but I won’t do anything to undermine it.
Just a quick note to thank you all for hanging in there and keeping things going while I’ve been hermitting more and blogging less. The Commentariat is alive and well!
Thanks also for making up (big time) for lost time on Amazon. Seems everybody was just doing their Christmas shopping at the last minute this year. I was worried when November flopped, but you’ve made December very good, indeed.
I also owe somebody a thank you for a gift that arrived this morning, an Opinel No. 8 carbon-steel folding knife (Amazon link for it). Has an impressively sharp blade and a little collar that twists to lock it open or closed. Very clever, very smooth to the hand (unlike many folders), very French. The ID of the “Santa” remains a mystery; the only note in the package thanked “me” for my order. But the universe of people who have my address and know I like knives is a small one.
I might guess “Santa” more easily than I could ever guess last Fall’s “Rockefeller.” (In fact, since Rockefeller went to such remarkable lengths not to be known, I’ve been trying to respect his or her wishes by not trying to find out. But I remain astounded and grateful for R., the two Big Anons, Family A, D, PSM, and all the magnificent benefactors who’ve kept that nice, dry roof over my head during the wild pineapple express storms we’ve been having this season.)
But … onward.
Have a few happy links to start working up some good holiday cheer.
Dog swims 1.5 miles through a storm then figures out where to meet up with her lost person. Her human thought she had drowned.
You know how the Oxford Dictionary people always announce the new “words of the year” long about December? Well, the Canadians at The Syrup Trap are waaaay ahead of them. They’ve already announced the words of the year for 2015-2035. :-) (Tip o’ hat to Canadian MJR)
While this next item may not exactly be in the good cheer category, it’s something that might give you comfort while you listen to that drearily bombastic uncle hold forth at Christmas dinner: boredom can be good for you.
And over at The Zelman Partisans Y.B. ben Avraham and Sheila Stokes-Begley have been telling the Hannukah story in terms you don’t usually hear it. Check out their passionate, eloquent, and unfortunately cautionary tales. I would not call their stories happy, but they might be inspiring and are absolutely informative.
One Raymond, Washington, resident expresses his enthusiasm for the town’s new status:
Washington state’s new recreational cannabis law is known for being a little less “wild westy” than Colorado’s. The Rocky Mountain High state rushed its implementation and has had some problems. Washington (which only legalized private liquor sales shortly before it legalized pot) went about things more slowly and bureaucratically.
… by WordPress eating the last third of this morning’s blog, I thought I’d quickly check back in for a little catching up.
It’s definitely looking more and more like batten-down-the-hatches time for tomorrow. Aside from winds gusting into the 70s and 80s, it’s wet, wet, wet and about to get wetter. This afternoon I took a drive outside of town and at high tide (we’re heavy on salt marsh and tidal estuary hereabouts) the water was already only inches from rising over the roadway. By tomorrow’s high tides, things could get messy.
The windows of my house overlook a wetland that in winter usually has small channels of water running through it. It’s a solid lake now, broken only by a few grassy hummocks. Another inch or two of rain will make it a solid river.
Yeah, definitely battening time. It feels great to know I’ve got heat, food, light, and water on hand. As long as the trees and the hill behind the house stay put, what more could a body need?
I was nearly done with this morning’s maundering when WordPress gobbled it, anyhow. So I’ll let that go for a while.
And on the subject of Amazon links, because Karen and Ellendra asked, I tried to find that bounty program I thought I’d seen for those of you who sign up for that flat-rate $10/month plan for Kindle books. But either I imagined it or it’s gone now. So for heaven’s sake, if you’re thinking of signing up for that, just do it. It’s great of you to think of me, but it’s not a biggie.
However, if anybody downloads the free Kindle Cloud Reader (for non-Kindle devices) using this link, it’s a $1 bounty credited to my associates account.
If you give Amazon Prime as a gift this Christmas using this link I’ll receive a $10 bounty. (This is strictly for gift purchases, not your own Prime memberships.)
Sign up for your own 30-day free trial of Prime membership using this link and I’ll receive a $3 bounty even if you cancel.
Now, if all you need from Amazon is a little holiday fantasy and humor, check out the links Dana dropped into comments the other day. Don’t miss the hilarious product reviews.
On a more practical note, if you’re still looking for the perfect gift for the freedomista-survivalist-gun-owning-pet-loving-bacon-consuming-book-reading person on your list, last year’s seven-part gift series might offer inspiration. (The link goes to part VII; scroll down for links to earlier installments. Probably a few broken links by now, but you’ll find what you’re looking for.)
I’ve already had a couple of readers ask what I’d like for Christmas. And my answer is: You already gave me fabulous presents.
Last summer’s roof-raiser was all I could ask for — and more. You bestowed such bounty on me that I’m still struggling to feel worthy.
Been a weird year. One thing after another went wrong, but no sooner had it gone than somebody would pop up with a helping hand. It’s been really amazing.
So no. I don’t need anything for Christmas. I had Christmas already.
If you’re in a giving mood may I suggest again this year that you send a little something to Joel over at TUAK. His eyeballs are working again now, thanks to last year’s generosity. But he’s got that broken-down Jeep and … well, he just works his tail off and never has much. So think of Joel, not me.
Or drop a few coins into the tip jar over at Rational Review. Or at Carl-Bear’s blog. Or another favorite freedom site. Oh. The Zelman Partisans has a donation button, too (and may soon be offering a few special gun-related deals to contributors). Right now, no TZP people are paid, but someday we’d like to see all the writers — and what a fine bunch they are — getting a little something.
That said, however, you can help rescue my Amazon links if you’re shopping online.
Suddenly, my Amazon commissions have cratered. Seriously. Cratered. Collapsed. Imploded. Fallen into a black hole. I’m in shock.
I assume my hermitting (even though it’s turned out to be only quasi-pseudo hermitting) triggered the downfall. OTOH, maybe the economy’s collapsed and the rest of the world doesn’t know it yet. Or you’re all on the outs with your relatives and not buying them anything for Christmas this year. Or you’ve all taken a no-spending pledge. (I can sympathize with that.)
In any case, we’re not just talking “a little bit off.” We’re talking bottomless pit.
November is usually very strong. This time it scraped bottom, coming in well below a typical month. December is always a barn-burner — generally bringing in three to four times the commissions of an average month. I’ve never seen it fail. Now? Sales are below average, and I don’t mean “below average for December.” I mean … 75 to 80 percent off a normal December.
So no, I don’t want gifts (though thank you very much). But IF you’re buying at Amazon anyhow, please use those links.
P.S. Before I could protest, one Santa already dropped a very welcome present down the chimney. While I was grousing in the cold, a big, beautiful kerosene heater arrived. That thing is capable of warming the whole house! Like my smaller, less powerful, Buddy-type propane heaters, it’ll be used only for emergencies. But it sure did warm my heart.
Thank you (once again), Family A. I know you just went through a long, stormy power outage and are very aware of how useful a powerful heater like that one can be.
With the gas fireplace now officially kaput (and with queries sent to the manufacturer and the propane company), I’m huddled in an alcove between two space heaters, drinking hot coffee and eating warm comfort food.
It’s funny. Fifty-nine degrees feels perfectly decent outdoors. And considering how humans have lived for most of their history (and how some, like Joel, still live), 59 indoors is a relative luxury. Heck, electricity is a luxury. Nevertheless, I’m exercising my prerogative of feeling like a Dickens character. In the snow. Barefoot. Tubercular. Selling matches. (Or was that Hans Christian Andersen? I forget.)
Another thing the Little Match Girl didn’t have was a DVD player. And I admit its among my very favorite escapes from the cold. And from myself when the hermitting bit gets too intense.