Thoughts, observations, sea stories and ideas from a former sailor and lifelong rancher
Tuesday, December 31, 2019
It's the last day of the calendar year and I'm required by federal law to blog about that. The calendar thing is interesting. According to recorded history, people have been coming up with calendars for many thousands of years. I'm guessing the same thing happened in pre-history, but no one chiseled it down, so we don't know anything about those particular calendars. None of our calendars have ever worked well, because they try to impose lizard-ape order on a universe that doesn't really care or even notice. Day length (planetary rotation) and year length (planetary orbit) are always going to be controlled by forces we only pretend to understand, and they're always going to vary from day to day and year to year.
To top off the folly with even more jolly, out in the real world of nature the old year expires and the new year begins at the moment of winter solstice, which happened 10 days (whatever those are) ago at roughly 9:40 p.m. (whatever that means) tonight. So we're late.
Not that the universe cares or even notices.
Which is actually pretty cool.
It's cold and the wind is blowing this morning. I am not well pleased because the NWS promised warming and much less wind. Also, you may assume I've got a very long list of other things which don't entirely meet my expectations or demands for the day. Boy howdy.
You know me, in addition to pounding heavily on the theme of principles, I'm also big on reality.
As for principles, I find that most of the people I interact with don't spend much time thinking about them. Most of these folks tend to behave in a relatively civilized fashion, but I believe that they do so out of habit and self interest more than anything else. This is probably fine in the short term, but those who don't know what their principles actually are are liable to behave in a very uncivilized fashion indeed when faced with unanticipated stressors. We in the first world have a neat little ongoing experiment which I believe illustrates the pitfalls of operating with a lack of foundational principle. That experiment is social media. Social media is simply a communications technology. It's just hardware and software, and it only does what the users tell it to do. That the social media landscape is utterly uncivilized has nothing to do with the hardware and software, and everything to do with unprincipled lizard-apes acting out.
But none of this is about that.
Another theme I like to beat into a bloody pile of glue and horse hair is reality. Reality is the stuff that's actually happening in the real physical world. Most first world lizard-apes spend nearly all of their time in an artificial environment where most of their needs are met more or less automatically. There's nothing wrong with this, and it is indeed one of the crowning achievements of civilization. We have a system in place where houses and apartments are built with an infrastructure of utilities to input energy and take away waste. Stores are filled with consumables and disposables and durables. Motor vehicles are available with an infrastructure of roads, fueling stations, repair shops, and buy-trade-sell venues. Something approaching 98 percent of American adults have places to go each day where they exchange some form of work for money, which is a form of liquid or transferable work. We use our money to keep our domiciles functioning and our cars motoring and our bellies filled and our entertainment flowing. In this way, we all work together to have a nice place to live, a place to be useful, food to eat, places to go, stuff to do, books to read, babies to raise, etc.
It's a remarkably robust system we lizard-apes have built. It's also remarkably fragile. The weaknesses and strengths of the system are mirror images, for the system is built upon a real physical place which exists in a dynamic universe, and it's built and maintained by loosely cooperating lizard-apes who are individual actors continually exercising free will who are also real entities inhabiting a dynamic universe. What could possibly go wrong?
If you've stayed tuned in to this point you've waded through a lot of philosophical drivel, so you are to be congratulated. Or perhaps chastised. I'm not sure which. We've each of us got only a limited time as mobile and functioning lizard-apes, and wasting precious and finite heartbeats is perhaps less than optimal. The question you are no doubt asking is, will this sophist blabbermouth ever get to a point?
The point is simply this. A lot of lizard-apes (including me) waste a lot of precious heartbeats longing for a static universe and trying to impose their will on a place which is anything but static and so enormously big and unknowable that the very thought of bossing it around should automatically dislocate their brains. Which would be a good thing in many ways, because while brains are neat and fun and often handy to have around, they are usually badly misused and this leads to more heartache and angst than there needs to (or should) be.
So my advice to myself is simply this (it has to be simple, for I'm not equipped to handle much complexity): Know your principles and for firetruck's sake, act accordingly. And in a dynamic universe, when stasis just won't stay put regardless of how much superglue you slather about, suck it up and drive on. And like it!
Anyone have a better idea?
I visited the post office to mail a check to the bank in Banner County. Why did I make a video of this momentous occasion? Basically to demonstrate easy parking and no lines, and also to remark about the fact that in a previous life the post office was a department store called Gambles. There's actually an interesting history behind Gambles, according to whackopaedia. It was part of a business concern that was born in the 1890's, lived to be 90-something, and then died. A few Gambles offspring businesses still exist, but, well, time has marched on. And, sorry, but I really blathered on in this video. As in all of the other ones.
Driving a few blocks around Kimball on a bright but cold last morning of 2019. Complete with blathering.
And wonder of wonders, I figured out a way to overpay for a couple of flashlights thanks to slick marketing and shiny pictures. And of course my phone decided it had to record the video sideways, so I'm not gonna post it up. The video sucked anyway. The punchline is that I paid $100 for a pair of $10 flashlights. Maybe I'll do a video about them some other time.
However, all is not lost. I discovered this gem when the ewwtoobe algore-ithm threw it at me. I don't habla the SwissGerman but I found the thing quite entertaining.
I'm going to try very hard to spend some hours writing on this last day of the calendar year. Specifically, I'm in the middle of a Corpsman Chronicles post. It's a tale that covers a few interesting events that are connected by a particular thread but play out over the better part of a year. I'm hoping I can make it readable. I'll probably botch the thing.
Finally, despite the many reasons why the new year is lizard-ape self delusion shading toward psychosis, and despite the fact that the universe doesn't care, the fact remains that we lizard-apes do care, and we do make calendars, and we do mark the dates of momentous and not-so-momentous occasions.
Therefore I do sincerely wish each and every one of you all the best in the coming year. And btw, Happy Birthday to The Nuke. That there is a momentous occasion.
Be well and enjoy the blessings of liberty.
Sunday, December 29, 2019
No storm, just winter
I didn't do much of a job managing my tasks yesterday. In my defense I was feeling a bit yeech. Having a good bit of nerve pain. Just part of life, no major change or cause for sympathy. It was just enough to throw me off my game plan. What I should have took and went and did was power through it with the old Jedi mind trick and a helping hand from the Big Aircrew Chief, but instead I chose to be whiny and miserable and feel sorry for myself. So I hosed up my Jedi-do list and flailed around like a monkey bleeping a football.
This morning things haven't changed all that much with two exceptions. Still feel yeech. Still hurt. Didn't sleep well. The icing on the cake is that our "storm" blew in a lot of snow from the north, and blowing snow from the north causes snow drifts on the southern exposure of pretty much everything that pokes up out of the ground. Trees, bushes, clumps of grass, buildings, SJW's waiting for the bus to Cluetowne, and all like that. So there was a monster drift parked right in front of my car port in town, and it needed to be moved by the professional lifter and mover -- me.
What? The two exceptions? What the hell are you on about, can't you see I'm trying to, er, oh. Yeah. The two exceptions. Ahem.
I did the old Jedi mind trick and I had a nice talk with the Big Aircrew Chief. As with most conversations with the Chief, it went like this:
Big Aircrew Chief: "Shut up. You know how this shit works. Get out there and do it, and do it right. I got your back, but I'll kick your ass if you don't unfiretruck yourself."
Me: "Aye Chief, and thanks."
Big Aircrew Chief: "Get the firetruck out of here."
The snow drift was easy to move. It might have been a big snow drift for a civilian or a mud duck, but it was less than a pipsqueak drift for a sailor. Ten minutes tops, including time to shoot a video.
Big Aircrew Chief: "Put that #$&@#&*!#$ phone away!"
Me: "Aye Chief, and thanks."
I headed out to the ranch. Roads snow covered except where the wind has scoured them clear down to the ice layer. Not optimal for driving. Especially for people who are in the middle of driving somewhere but haven't yet decided whether they actually want to be driving somewhere. Judgmental? Who, me?
Conditions suck, but it sure is pretty out. For certain values of pretty, but those values work for me.
Our chickens won the chicken lifestyle lottery.
Perfect conditions for shopping at the food store. Especially when you don't actually need any food, but want to get a bag of potatoes and two bags of trail mix. It's a form of insanity.
And that's it from here for today. I'm working on Super RBOC Part II and making some progress. For what it's worth.
Be well and enjoy the blessings of liberty.
Friday, December 27, 2019
Winter storm warning
So we've probably got a winter storm bearing down on us. The forecast looks reasonably solid, and the only real question is how severe the storm might be.
This morning the oil filter for the backup generator finally arrived so I spent a couple of hours getting the thing checked over, fired up, and tested. Worked pretty well. It's not a perfect system but it's probably adequate. Got 36 hours worth of fresh and freshly stabilized fuel on hand. Unless something shits the bed with the generator or transfer switch we should be able to have power if the grid electricity goes down.
That last is certainly a possibility given expected accumulations of rime/glaze ice and follow-on high winds. Those conditions make fore downed power lines.
In an interesting twist, the NWS keeps shifting the expected heavy impact area to the north. Earlier today the forecast said we were ground zero, now they've moved ground zero 150 miles to the north.
As always, we'll see what happens. We're as prepared as we can be given what we have to work with, which is not an inconsiderable set of assets.
I'm afraid I've been too busy to snap pics or shoot videos. Maybe tomorrow.
Be well and enjoy the blessings of liberty.
Thursday, December 26, 2019
I'm given to believe that this is what professional sots call New Year's Eve.
My fondest memories of New Year's Eve revolve around family and football and the countdown to the dropping of the stupid lighted ball. Even as a sprout I knew there was something fishy about "the moment," because I'd look at or imagine a globe and realize that as we were blowing our noisemakers "the moment" had actually happened seven hours earlier in Blighty.
And besides that, the actual real world moment had happened at the moment of winter solstice, 10 or 11 days earlier. So why the fuss?
Tradition for sure, and probably something deeply genetic.
Another New Year's Eve memory just popped up from wherever olden memories hang out; New Year's Eve at the roller skating rink. Zipping around, trying cool moves and falling down, candy and pop, shooting streamers and blowing noisemakers at midnight. Just a brilliant concept, getting all those sugar-fueled and out-of-school-too-long tweeners to run their asses of for four hours on New Year's eve! As I recall it worked pretty good. I had a blast and quickly went unconscious upon arrival back home. For some reason a single song from the non-stop rink music stands out in my mind. This is a goofy video, complete with Wildcats and A6M's, the Stearman Pizza Flight, and a tee shirt with quite interesting topography. And other stuff.
So all that's gone ahead of this is basically a setup. Not a good setup, mind, but a setup nonetheless.
As it turns out, I myself no longer imbibe the alcoholic drink concoctions. I used to do a lot of that as a sailor, and I fear I did too much of that for a while as a former sailor. For many years now the math has been very clear to me personally. The cost of imbibing exceeds by far the benefit of consumption. That's just me, I've got no interest in converting anyone to my approach. We're all equal ape-lizards and sovereign individuals.
However, I do enjoy reading about and observing some of the rituals surrounding alcohol consumption. I'm fascinated by beer making and the only thing preventing me from attempting home brewing is the question of what I'd do with the product. And I also enjoy the history of the thing, including the history of cocktails. So from time to time I enjoy watching a video or two from the "How To Drink" channel on the eww-toobe. Cocktails aside, the following video was my intro to the channel. What a hook!
Be well and enjoy the blessings of liberty.
Wednesday, December 25, 2019
The New Adventures In Christmas Cooking Show!
I'm going to try to use the new camera to make some images and video of making the Christmas meal today.
And as it turns out I'm going to use my phone because I gave up on figuring out the new camera. Maybe I'll do that tomorrow.
Specifically I am preparing a spiral sliced ham, Cracker Barrel Cheesy Potatoes, and Spinach-Artichoke Casserole.
None of it is challenging. It's all simple fare, simply prepared, and proven over time.
It'll just be Mom and I for the meal; we're the only ones around.
And that plan fell through. I got started with meal prep early and took a few pics. Then I ran out to the ranch to do morning chores. I'm afraid I got captured by the beauty of the morning.
Not to worry, it was early. Plenty of time to cook and eat. Plenty of time for a nice Christmas Grass Message!
And plenty of time to talk snakes in NYC.
And plenty of time to finally finish putting the south unit water system to bed!
Plenty of time to decide whether to replug the stock tanks. SMH, facepalm. Some people shouldn't be allowed to blog or post videos!
Plenty of time to SSDST. Same shit, different stock tank.
Plenty of time to wax philosophic about what this particular Christmas Day smells like. Maybe I gave myself too much time this morning...
And finally, plenty of time to talk snow and soil moisture. Although not very coherently.
Having left myself just enough time to finish cooking and get the meal on the table at the agreed upon time...
Text from Snow Girl. She was feeling a bit less than Christmassy. As was Snow Girl Mom. Brother/Son in treatment, things just weren't as joyous as they could have been.
Yeah, plenty of time. I drove into town and stopped by. We sat around and gabbed for an hour. I told them funny stories about being on the boat at Christmas. Without fail a cook (Mess Management Specialist or MS) would cut part of a finger off. Without fail I'd joke about not throwing the ham/turkey/roast beef out over a little ketchup contamination. Sometimes they'd be shocked. Sometimes they'd agree.
I passed along the best wishes of perfect strangers who heard about them here, and they were surprised, pleased, and appreciative. I think it made things a bit more Christmassy.
There was nothing I could do to solve the Snow Family problems of course, nothing I could do to make Christmas the way they wanted it to be. But I could listen and share some thoughts and experiences and perhaps help them feel a bit less alone. I think it was time well spent. They seemed a lot more upbeat when I left, so that was my good deed for the day.
Mom took the opportunity to go for her pasture walk, and Nona and I met her and Red on the home stretch.
A little bit later we sat down to eat.
Yesterday, by the way, was quite a day. Hit the ground running (for certain values of running) and really didn't stop until a good while after sunset. Nearly all of the day spent outside doing good, solid, useful work. And a bit too much babbling on video. Great day. Sometimes the stars line up and a meh day blossoms into an indescribably wonderful day. The potential is there every day, but it only happens for me when I suit up and show up.
Today was another great day. Not as much work, too much babbling on video, and not a Christmas crowd as we're accustomed to. But we're not the only ones, we are blessed beyond measure, and it was a lovely Christmas after all.
Here's hoping you all had a lovely Christmas too.
Be well and enjoy the blessings of liberty.
Tuesday, December 24, 2019
The peace of Christmas Eve, 2019
I didn't start out peaceful, lemme tell you that!
Started out strange.
But it was strange even before this morning. I felt awful all night with the return of the stomach thing, feeling drained and lethargic, achy, headachy, a little bit of fever.
Even before that, in the early evening yesterday, things started to go to shit. As I was driving down CR28 on my way to check cows, just around sunset, I hit something in the road. It thumped under my left-side tires and clattered. I should say it CLATTERED, because it was a big, noisy, metallic CLATTER.
By the time I finished and got home my left rear tire was all but flat. This morning I aired it up but quickly realized it was essentially destroyed. I was feeling bad enough that I didn't want to put the spare on, so I over-inflated it and headed south, figuring that in the worst case I could pull over and change it. I made it, but just barely. In the last half-mile I spied the offending piece of metal in the road. It was a big firetrucking piece of rebar.
Anyway, so bad shit, followed by a night of feeling bad and very little sleep, followed by more bad shit and near-bad shit, followed by finding the rebar. Ah well, it's just the kind of stuff that happens from time to time. Bad luck? Meh. I probably would have seen and avoided the rebar if I hadn't been half blinded by a broken windshield that I've refused to fix for two years.
So after switching to the F-150 I took and went and picked the dangerous rebar out of the road.
Today was the day to start sending cows to corn stalks. Before the owners arrived to do the magic, I prepared the south unit water system for draining.
In case you're wondering, and I think I touch on it in the videos to come (ad nauseum most likely), we drain the system to make sure no water remains in the risers connecting to the bottom of the various stock tanks. If there was water in those risers it could freeze and expand, breaking the riser pipes and causing a hell of a mess and a lot of work and money to repair.
But before I could worry about draining the north or Cederburg pasture water system, I had to go set gates and prepare to help bring the cows home to the loading facilities. Which meant I had to have me an adventure. The adventure of driving across/through a deep snow drift with the very real possibility of getting stuck. I'd like to think I'm smart enough to not get stuck, but, well, I may not be the sharpest crayon in the drawer...
Having made it without getting stuck, we quickly moved the cows back and before you say "not again" I was right back at the snow drift, trying to master it for a second time.
Then it almost all went to shit. The cows were shy about crossing the snow drift so they started moving north between the fence and the trees on the west side of some seriously deep snow drifts. Which would have been fine, but they needed to be on the east side of the big snow drifts, and they only place where the snow was shallow enough for them to cross was at the place they were shy about crossing. Red and I did an end around, scrambled over a 10-foot drift, and headed 'em off at the pass. So all was well, but not until the third adventure of the day.
From that point it was only a walk of a couple of miles to get to the corrals.
As we approached the corrals the question was whether the passageway between the tree lines was drifted closed or not. I was reasonably sure -- based on long experience -- that it would be navigable by the bovines. However, I hadn't actually checked. Sooo...
Yeah, that'll work. I think. Then we'll be famous!
Once the cows were in the corral it was up to the owners to load them up into stock trailers. It's a tricky business, and one too many cooks can spoil the hell out of the broth. So it was time to go drain stock tanks and prepare to drain the water system. So back to the Cederburg!
With the tanks drained or draining, time to drain the lines.
With that chore complete it was time for some lunch. More importantly, time for a bit of aspirin and meloxicam, because I was hurting. Snow mountain scrambling was a bit much. Not too much, just a bit much. As salad and some NSAID's down my neck and I was ready to get back after it.
Driving back to work after a mid-afternoon break I found that the world had been transformed. I was speechless (and should have been so later).
Rattly but not too blabby.
Water lines were still draining. Beauty everywhere you look.
A couple of stills.
Christmas Eve, 2019. A day that just kept getting better and more peaceful.
Be well and enjoy the blessings of liberty.
Monday, December 23, 2019
Stupid on a budget
Lost my EDC knife yesterday (day before yesterday as I write this), the one with the seatbelt (shroud line) cutter and window breaker.
I was busy as hell yesterday (the real yesterday as I write this) and there were several occasions when I needed that thing! I had to cut tubing to drain a fuel tank, then cut more tubing to fix the fuel line, then cut parachute cord to lash some stuff down, then cut tape to open packages and cut more tape to close packages -- the list just went on and on.
Then last evening I reached into my starboard/forward trouser pocket and found my EDC knife where it had been all along. I always keep it in the port/forward pocket, but I swapped it out the day before yesterday because I was keeping change separate from my own change while running errands for Mom. Never put the knife back where it belonged. Then when I reached for the damme thing later, in the port/forward trouser pocket where I always keep it, and it wasn't there, I couldn't muster up the cognitive ability to check the other pocket, where I had good reason to check given the change separation which had happened only a few hours previously.
Stupid on a firetrucking budget!
There. I feel more better now.
Yesterday was a bit of a, oh, I don't know, just not optimal. I was a bit ill all day with some kind of stomach upset. I wanted to blame it on the food my sister-in-law prepared for our "ersatz Christmas meal" Saturday evening, because that would tickle my own perverse funny bone. She is such a great cook and so meticulous and would have died of embarrassment if she accidentally made someone ill. It would have really been funny to blame it on her, but only if she could take and understand the joke in the spirit it was offered, and it would be wrong of me to expect that, so, funny or not, I didn't go there. Besides, I was already feeling a bit ill before the meal, so no chance at all it was her food.
And truth be told, we did have a funny about her food anyway. She made a salad with EU sprouts and pomegranate seeds and various other things.
It was very tasty and i enjoyed it a lot, queasy or not. As we were eating Mom asked her if those were Pomeranian seeds in the salad, which started a huge gigglefest at the table -- with Mom leading the giggling!
High goofiness (no actual "highness" involved!).
Bit of Christmas light cheer (still light outside so look close!).
On to today. Feeling better. Not perfect, but better.
Cows. Who'da thunk it?
Did my draining water trick work? Kinda-sorta.
South pasture glacier.
And now, time to go set gates and get ready to move cows tomorrow. Better get this posted up or I'll never get it done.
Be well and enjoy the blessings of liberty.
Saturday, December 21, 2019
Little bits of wonder
Yesterday while I was reviewing video and writing I decided I needed a new camera for making the videos. So after a very brief review of possibilities I ordered one from the place where everyone orders everything, pretty much.
For some reason the camera was eligible for free one-day shipping. That wasn't a deal breaker for me, but it is kinda cool.
As I write this I don't know that the thing will arrive today. I'm way out here in the sticks, and the company's vaunted drone service can't reach this far.
However, the tracking info tells me this. I clicked on the order button at 6:59 a.m. Then this happened.
If I bring my cognition, experience, and imagination together I can make up a story about my ordering experience which is probably very close to the reality of what happened.
It looks to me like the company has a big warehouse/shipping center in Aurora, Colorado. For those playing along at home and not living in this AO, Aurora is basically Denver, which is about 2.5 hours away by motorized over-the-road conveyance. Except the traffic in and around Aurora is a nightmare, so you have to add an hour for the 10 urban miles. Traffic details aside, I must now throw in an Ah-Ha! That's why the free one day shipping! The camera was in stock and nearby! During the 13 hours and 18 minutes between my mouse click and the "Package has shipped" notification, my electronic request worked its way through the warehouse system where workers fetched it from a shelf, packaged it up, stuck on a label, and tossed it in a shipping bin. Six hours later it was out the door in a USPS truck and heading for Kimball, where it arrived four hours later, which was 24 hours and 19 minutes after my mouse click. At the moment it's "out for delivery" on the local mail truck, and when the blonde-haired mailgirl reaches my shack as she executes her route the thing will be delivered.
It's not magic, but it is a little bit of wonder. Very importantly, at least in my mind, it's a little bit of wonder because America.
Duluth Trading Post. Dad always gave us kids gift cards to Duluth for Christmas. Well, always means he always did it since the first time he discovered them on the old-fashioned interwebz 20 plus years ago.
This year Mom wanted to carry on the tradition in memory of Dad, who left us on August 29. Little tear there. So she ordered them on December 11, and had them shipped to her house at the ranch so she could include them in the Christmas cards she intended to mail. Duluth's confirmation email said the order had been received and a follow-up email would be sent when the cards shipped. Expected delivery was 5-7 business days.
So as of this morning the cards had not arrived and no shipping email had been received. Mom felt really bad because it looked like her plan had fallen through. Also, she didn't know what to do. She'd spent $*** on the gift cards. Would she be able to get her money back? Would she have to wait for months and months for the gift cards to maybe show up? She didn't feel like she could call customer service because she has such a hard time hearing on the phone, and she was pretty sure she couldn't figure out how to email the right people and get a resolution. So for Mom, it looked like an insurmountable problem.
I called Duluth customer service this morning and was easily able to resolve the situation. As it turns out, at least according to Sue at Duluth and I have no reason to doubt what she said, they only have one person doing all the gift cards! Yikes! Anyway, their records showed that the cards had been mailed Priority Mail on December 12. They should have arrived by now, but they have not. So to fix the problem, they just emailed Mom the card numbers and pin numbers. It was then easy for me to format emails for Mom to send to each of us kids, with the specific card info included. As long as we each have the info, we can use it online or even in a Duluth store -- wherever such stores may be.
Once again, not magic, but indeed a little bit of wonder. Duluth is not the other, BIG online place. They don't have the ability to do the free next day delivery thing. That's okay. It's just different than the other place. And the difference turns out to be good in this case because it's much easier to deal with customer service at a smaller place than the big place. Sue was so very nice on the phone and resolved the whole thing in moments. So yes, a little bit of wonder because America.
Ever put fuel in your mechanized over-the-road conveyance?
Once again, again, it's not magic, but it is a little bit of wonder because America.
Here's a bit of ride along video from today.
From town to ranch, no commentary (until the very end), total waste of your time.
Checkin' cows. Ever eat food in a restaurant or purchase food from a grocery store? It's not (you guessed it) magic, but it is a little bit of wonder. Way out here in the sticks I steward the land we own, which allows us to raise cattle which produce beef for human consumption. We even produce eggs for human consumption, and even though we don't sell the eggs we share them with others. But we can only do that because of everyone else in the country. We buy our food at the store too. And we buy stuff from the BIG place and many small places. We put fuel in the mechanized over-the-road conveyances. We heat and light the house. We can do this because people buy our stuff, just as we buy their stuff. There are roads and railroads and airplanes and middlemen and law enforcement and fire and rescue and the military and many, many government agencies and we all work together and stuff works. None of it perfect. Some of it is awful. Some of it is so very fantastically good that it's impossible to wrap our meager minds around. Everywhere we look we find not magic, but countless little bits of wonder because America.
My new camera arrived!
Thanksgiving is a month behind us, and Christmas arrives in less than four days time. We are all so very blessed. Despite living an imperfect life filled with seemingly endless hard challenges and even outright misery, the list of my blessings is so massive it takes my breath away. I can't even come close to enumerating the list of things I have to be thankful for.
My holiday wish for all of you kind readers is that you have the opportunity to cherish the season and bask in the glow of little bits of wonder because America.
Be well and enjoy the blessings of liberty.
Friday, December 20, 2019
There's supposed to be a clever blog post title in this space
Here's a completely disjointed and psychotic post. Brought to you by the fact that I'm a very accomplished bullshitter. Wherein said bullshit may sometimes be confused for actual knowledge and wisdom. Don't be fooled!
Yesterday I said I felt like I'd been beat with a knotted plowline and pulled backwards through a knothole. Today I feel like yesterday I was beat with a knotted plowline and pulled backwards through a knothole.
The stress of dealing with hard situations does actually take a certain physical toll. In large part because the thinking and planning and listening and discussing and reassessing, and all the other stuff that goes on is simply very intense and takes a lot of energy. I mean a lot of energy. It's a testament to the abilities of the ape-lizard that we can do such things. It's amazing, really.
Amazing or not, I'm feeling just a bit weary and punchy today. But that's okay, because none of the recent drama harmed me and all of the recent drama helped grow and grow stronger.
And besides, lots of people are dealing with tough things. In Herefordshire, for instance, heavy rains, swollen rivers, and flooding are making life a bit, well, like life on an island in the north Sea.
The mess is preventing farmers from finishing harvest and making life miserable for their livestock.
Not to mention the non-farmer drivers who thought they could make it across.
On the bright side, they got Boris!
Daily ride along. Here's a silent trip to the pasture.
In search of cows hidden in plain sight.
When the chopping gets tough the tough get chopping.
Let's drive by the east tree line and whine about the wind!
We're all farmers. You are too!
Let's see if I can actually get to a point.
Finally, here's a non-sideways chicken video. I think.
Philosophy. I am all for it.
In case you missed it, and you did, because you're actually sane, the above line refers to (pays homage to?) a man on the street interview I recall seeing on the telemavision way back in the 1970's.
My memory of the clip is imperfect. To put said clip in context, during that particular time in the early 1970's there was a great deal of societal concern over pollution, and rightly so. Here in America there were rivers catching on fire, lakes so polluted that only bacteria could dwell in them, and a great deal of smog blanketing urban and industrial areas. We Americans had made a hell of a mess. A lot of people were concerned, and television was a great tool for getting the message of concern out.
In addition to PSA spots, a lot of local television news outlets did man on the street interviews, asking random folks how they felt or what they thought about pollution. So in the clip I'm thinking of, which I haven't been able to make the interwebz cough up for me, a young fellow is asked what he thinks about pollution.
"Pollution," he says. "I am all for it."
I think the clip aired numerous times on shows like Johnny Carson and perhaps SNL. So one take on the fellow's pronouncement was humorous. "Look at dis guy, Marge, he don't even know what pollution is!"
The fact that a man on the street didn't understand the question and tried to bullshit his way through it was very humorous indeed, but also illustrative of the scope and complexity of the problem.
As a result of all the concern and attention, people let their elected representatives know that they wanted something done about pollution. This was truly a job for government. There really did need to be regulations laid down and enforcement schemes put in place.
Congress stepped up to the plate. Agencies were formed. In a remarkably short time pollution in America disappeared and the air and waterways healed themselves. It was a good thing.
Creating those agencies was a double edged sword though. When they had finished the real job they decided to invent new emergencies in order to justify their existence. Today we have alphabet agencies who behave like our long lost good friends the Gestapo. But that's not what any of this is about!
Look at that! Ten paragraphs and a video to set up a silly and not very funny allusion. Perfect illustration of "wordy fingers," a term Paul coined in his comment on yesterday's post. Now where was I?
Oh yeah. Philosophy. I am all for it.
Philosophy is basically thinking and writing about stuff with some intent to move oneself and one's fellows toward a more complete understanding of 42.
Speaking of Douglas Adams, I remember watching this episode of Letterman on the Boat. Letterman and Hee-Haw being staples of the television provided in videotape format to we mighty seaborne sailors by AFRTS.
Which neatly (in my mind) brings us back to philosophy. Or more properly, the good, the bad, and the ugly of philosophy.
Our term philosophy springs from Greek and Latin. The root words are basically philo, or love of, and sophia -- knowledge, wisdom or sophis, wise, learned. Taken together philosophy can mean both the body of 42 and the study of 42.
That's all good. The thinking and reasoning is the way we intellectually try to order our experience of reality and figure out hypotheses and theories which we can then test to see if we are correct or barking up the wrong tree.
Then there's the bad, where an ape-lizard or group of ape-lizards get together and decide they're going to lie. cheat, and steal in order to make everyone agree that their pet hypotheses and/or theories are the final answer regardless of what the evidence actually shows.
And let's not forget the ugly, which is sophistry. This term is from the Latin sophistria and sophista, basically specious or fallacious reasoning or one who practices such. Examples of sophistry include legal quibbling, petty intellectual tricks, chicanery, clever lies, etc.
Why did i feel the need to share this information? Don't know. Perhaps it's something like this -- be skeptical of the reasoning and claims in this blog, be ever alert for bullshit, and don't be afraid to point out mistruths or sophistry if you find it here.
I was going to do something else here today, but I think I'll bin that idea. Might as well throw this thing out there now, I can't make it much worse.
Be well and enjoy the blessings of liberty.
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