23. May 2023 · Comments Off on Dealing With The Threat · Categories: Ain't That America?, Domestic, Geekery, Veteran's Affairs

This post is kind of a continuation of last weeks’ post, about the invasion of genetically male-claiming-to-be-gender-fluid into spaces formerly the preserve of genuinely, original-equipment-issue XX females … and no, I will not play the variable-gender game and use your favored pronouns. (Should you demand that of me, mine are ‘Your Highness’ and ‘My Lady’). I admit that yes, there are those very rare occurrences of people who are genuinely physically inter-sex from birth, and another small number who have fully undertaken to conduct their lives as the opposite sex of what they were observed to be at birth; this after careful consideration, with surgery, hormones, and the choice of suitable dressing/makeup. But it doesn’t really change anything at all, save the superficial impression. When in a thousand, two thousand, or five thousand years, a future archeologist excavates the bodies of one of those people, the skeletal features and residual DNA will read the remains as either male or female – no matter what they maintained an appearance/pretense of being in life.
Frankly, I otherwise wouldn’t much care about the kinks of other adults. I’ve always subscribed to the wisdom of the Edwardian-era actress and correspondent with GB Shaw, Mrs. Patrick Campbell, who famously remarked that she didn’t much care what people did in the bedroom, just that they weren’t doing it in the road and frightening the horses. My own metric was “consulting, adult, and private” which does admittedly leave open a wide range of sexual behaviors such as incest and polygamy. Really, I don’t care. Just don’t demand my rapturous approval. And don’t go about flaunting it in places where the rest of us just can’t look away, m’kay?

I wouldn’t care about transgender matters at all, if they weren’t so determined to strip off and wag the wang-wang in my face, or that of teenage girls and boys, elementary-school students, and apparently everyone else considering buying a cheap intercourse-inna-canoe-beer or a stretchy swimsuit modeled by a model who needs minimal stretch in the breast area, but plenty in the crotch. Or invade places like … hospital wards, prison units, sorority houses, leisure spas, locker rooms, changing rooms, bathrooms, and the like, under the handy guise of claiming to ‘identify as’ female. No matter how unconvincing the pretense, and it appears that many of those pretenses are extraordinarily unconvincing, the perverts and sexual predators are determined on indulging their kink, while male and female authority figures positively cheerlead for the program of invasion. They accrue woke points in the eyes of their peers, I surmise. And the perverts, predators and scammers get away with it. Or at least, they have gotten away with it so far, although this might be on the cusp of changing.

Why have ordinary women waver on tolerating the invasion of their private spaces and sports competitions. Why would this be? Or as my late father would say – “How come?” While I am not a credentialed sociologist or specialist in human behavior – from what I have read and observed in my own life and gathered from others, women are generally much more vulnerable to social pressure from other women. Maybe it stems from having to be tight with the band of sisters and mothers when we were all part of a prehistoric hunter-gathering tribe, perhaps its from centuries of having to have solidarity with other women while living a very circumscribed life as a matter of survival – a dictatorship of petticoats as a 19th-century observer would have put it, in a tight circle of home-hearth-children-family. Whatever the basis for this might be – women in general have a notably much higher threshold for “This-is-crazy-y’all-are-nuts-I’m-outta-here!” then men. And teenage girls, going through the doubt and misery of going through puberty – with all which the confusion which that entails – seem to be most susceptible to destructive peer pressure, transient fads, social bullying, and the general madness of female crowds. There are exceptions to this, though – Sarah Hoyt calls them “Odds”; the freaks, non-conformists, outliers, eccentrics, and rebels; those of us who wander down a different path, pursuing a fascination in something other than what our peers are interested in. It could be a non-traditional sport or profession, or just defying the current convention by building a stable family and raising your children yourself. (It was noted that many of the women who regularly post comments at According to Hoyt are … military veterans. Which is curious in itself, as female veterans aren’t all that numerous in the general population.) It’s my feeling that it will be the non-conformist women, the “Odds” and the rebels who will not tolerate the trans madness and the invasion of female spaces, and who will take the lead in resisting the invasion of female spaces, and in bringing the trans-fad to a halt. Discuss as you wish.

The link to this story popped up in my Yahoo feed. Huh. I’m pretty much a devoted reader for various internet news aggregates, bloggers, and commenters; that there a massive scary (wooo-wooo!) threats from the rest of us aimed in the direction of the LGTBWXYZ-whatevers was purely news to me. From what I had gathered lately, threats of violence with regard to the LGTBWXYZ community were pretty much flying the other way, what with crazed overweight persons of indeterminate gender whining and weeping about how no one wanted to date them, getting fathers sacked from their jobs who made critical remarks at school board meetings about no safe spaces at school for straight kids, organized events featuring drag queen events for families (When did that concept become a thing, anyway!? With protection by the local Antifa chapter, no less.) and large gender-nonspecific persons with unnaturally-colored hair and facial piercings going on social media making blood-curdling threats of violence against anyone looking at a transperson sideways. Oh, and the gender-indeterminant shooting up schools and murdering children and staff, or just threatening to shoot up schools. As a genuine XX-gendered person with original-issue low-mileage lady parts, who (under medical supervision) squeezed out one offspring through them, and thereafter served as a military person of the XX-gender, and at the age that I am now, I consider myself to be a damned good judge of threatening situations and persons.

I have come a very long way, since a perv on a city bus used a casually-thrown-down overcoat on the space between us to creep his hand up my skirt, and another perve on a long military charter flight use a blanket between our seats to grab my hand (we were both ostensibly asleep) and put it on his male member. Yes, that perve was an XY-gender, and one of the … darker persuasion. I suppose I was supposed to exclaim in ecstasy, “It’s twoo! It’s twoo!” Instead, I was just mildly disgusted – and alerted to the potential for either perving or outright violence against women in a casual or transportation setting. By a decade and a half later, I was wise enough, and experienced enough to avoid situations like getting into an elevator with a single man in it, especially one who gave off an aura of threat. Or returning around midnight from a regular and profitable outside gig, bicycling across Yongsan Army Infantry Garrison at midnight, carefully avoiding the street where the NCO/EM club would be closing down for the night. A woman alone on a bicycle, a bunch of drunk, raucous and likely horny guys trained towards administering violence … yeah, my parents didn’t breed idiots. I routinely avoided that area of Yongsan on my late-night rides.

This is why the current rabid enthusiasm in allowing intact, biological males with all their original male equipment issue but claim that they are really-oh-truly-oh self-identified as female into spaces formerly reserved as female-only sets every mental alarm I have pinging madly, like the alert-alert-alert-dive-dive-dive signal in WWII submarine movies. I suspect that the alarm is pinging for other women, straight and lesbian alike. While I do accept that there is a miniscule minority of human beings who have convincingly adopted a sex other than the one they were born with, and there is an even smaller minority of unfortunates who were indeterminate – but there are too many males lately making an unconvincing pretense of being the flower of fair womanhood merely as a means of perving, bullying or predating upon … or possibly just grabbing a sports win. The whole trans-fetish being pushed universally by our politicians, academics, intellectuals and pop-entertainment figures, as well as the trans-activists themselves is meeting resistance – and I suspect that such resistance, like that of parents resisting unacceptable sex-oriented materiel being pushed in the schoolroom and on school-authorized field trips – is what inspires the heightened shrieking of the trans activists and their enablers. Discuss as you wish.

05. May 2023 · Comments Off on Projects · Categories: Ain't That America?, Domestic

Oh, yes – projects, I’ve got a few, and hoping to get most of them done with them by the time that my daughter and Wee Jamie return from California, after visiting family by next weekend. The tenants renting a house a couple of doors away from us move out – and leave a bunch of stuff. The tenant seems to have had hoarderish tendencies and told us that they are moving with family to Hawaii … so the pruning of household stuff has to be pretty drastic. Indeed, so drastic that there was a dumpster parked in the driveway for a couple of days.  Among the items discarded on the curb were some footlockers; my daughter snagged the two in best condition and … sigh … assumed confidently that I could do something creative with them, something that would return two battered and fairly cheap items to attractive functionality; one to be a toy chest for Wee Jamie, and the other to be storage/transport/display for Matilda’s Portmanteau merchandise … that would be the American Girl 18-inch doll dresses that I make for craft markets, out of scraps from sewing projects and this and that. I have a small trunk from Hobby Lobby that I fitted out for this purpose, some years ago, having purchased it with one of their 40% off coupons, but it wasn’t in the least satisfactory, being too small and too flimsy to hold more that a couple of items … the rest of the Portmanteau inventory is stashed in a couple of plastic tubs …

And anyway – part of my grand plan is to put all the Portmanteau inventory and Miss Matilda herself together in one container – the biggest of the footlockers and use the two plastic storage tubs for other purposes, like my daughter’s vast collection of Christmas stuff.

So far, the footlocker renovation project has necessitated two trips to Lowe’s for spray paint, a can of clear top-coat, and an assortment of small machine nuts and bolts. I will probably need one more trip for some slightly longer machine nuts and bolts to fasten on the replacement lock/latch on the smaller footlocker, which turned out to be metal-clad, with a composition wood-fiber interior that was sadly warped and needed to be stabilized with wood strips along the bottom. Plus I had to place an order to Amazon for the replacement latch, for peel-and-stick wallpaper rolls to adorn the inside, and a couple of replacement strap handles … and then there was a quick jaunt to Office Depot for heavy brochure paper and a roll of paper paste. The larger footlocker, which had a cheap cardboard casing, instead of metal, was damaged when I ripped off a couple of stickers … but never mind, those damaged patches will be hidden by a series of new stickers and the whole varnished over. An array of home-printed versions of vintage hotel stickers and shipping labels lifted from the internet will cover the damage, as Miss Matilda Doll is an experienced international traveler and only stays at the very best hotels in London, Paris, Venice, Rome, Bombay, and Singapore, while traveling by sea on Cunard, White Star and Hamburg-America. I may fit out the lid with rods to display the doll outfits on hangers.

At this juncture, with a week to go before Wee Jamie and my daughter return from California, the smaller trunk for Wee Jamie’s toys is all but finished, and the larger for Matilda is just started. I painted over the whole thing with brown paint yesterday and have begun masking off the main areas with painter’s tape now that the first coat is dry and hardened, so that the edge trim, corners, latches, hinges and handles can be painted a metallic black – a tedious and finicky process.

Almost as tedious as scraping and sanding off all the finish on the oak child’s armchair – which is also about half done.

One more week.

03. May 2023 · Comments Off on First Responders · Categories: Ain't That America?

Well, today I had a reminder of how those of us on the scene of, or immediately after an incident are the ‘first responders’ on the scene – generally beating out the police, fire department and ambulance, by minutes and sometimes hours. As this happened in a suburb, and on a heavily-trafficked intersection where two four-lane roads meet not half a mile from the fire station, the professionals were on the spot within five minutes. I’m certain other people had their cellphones out and calling 911 within seconds, as did I.

It was all very startling – and as these things usually do – happened in a matter of split seconds. I had concluded that I needed to make a run to Lowe’s for some more spray paint and other stuff for a couple of furniture renew projects and stop by the HEB grocery store for pet food on my way back home. So there I was, waiting in the left-hand turn lane on Nacogdoches, to turn left onto O’Connor, with one or two cars ahead of me, also waiting for the signal to turn green for us. The intersection seemed to be mostly clear; traffic waiting in both directions on Nacogdoches – first for the line of cars behind a small white compact, waiting to turn left from O’Connor, then for the other lanes to move.

I am not certain where the blue car came from – either flying up O’Connor from the direction of the highway, or up Nacogdoches in the other direction from me and trying to beat the red light. It was going at a good clip, at any rate. And it crashed head-on into the little white compact, just as it edged out into the intersection on seeing the light for the turn-lane go green. No matter which direction the blue car came from, it was going so fast that the impact flipped the white compact clear over, front to back. There it was, wheels up to the sky, and everything frozen for a moment.

It’s a peculiar metallic crunch, the sound that an auto crash makes, a sound that sticks with you. Several of us agreed on that, later. It’s the sound that an aluminum baseball bat the size of a small telephone pole makes, upon striking a pallet of empty cans.

It was a bit past noon on a working day, so there was a lot of traffic at the intersection – there’s a HTeaO outlet on one corner, a Black Rock Coffee outlet on the other, and across from those two enterprises on Nacogdoches, a CVS, and a Chase Bank with a good-sized HEB and a row of other enterprises behind it. I don’t imagine there was more than a moment before people began piling out of their cars, and going to the aid of the driver and whoever else was trapped in the white compact. It reminded me of the dash-cam video of the concrete pedestrian bridge over a busy artery in Florida a couple of years ago. A moment of shock … and then car and truck doors opening, and people – mostly men – running towards the scene of the collapse.

I was at a place where all that I could do was call 911 – and when I got through, the dispatcher already knew there had been a rollover at that intersection. I did manage to weave through the parking lot of Black Rock and make a way through the CVS parking lot – by that time, two police cars, an ambulance and a fire truck were already on the scene, and the police had all the witnesses that they needed for their reports. By the time that I came back through that intersection an hour or so later, everything was cleared away, all but a couple of piles of absorbing grit poured onto fluids leaked out of the crashed automobiles.

Reminder to self; remember to count to three before venturing into an intersection, upon the light turning green. Also – keep an eye out for a-holes coming the other way who don’t seem to be slowing down…

28. April 2023 · Comments Off on Pottering Around · Categories: Ain't That America?, Domestic

My daughter and wee Jamie, the Wonder Grandson are in California to visit family – notably my sister and her family, and to introduce Wee Jamie to them all. They are having a glorious time, so far … and meanwhile, I am getting things done, now that I do not need to schedule them around Wee Jamie’s naptime, appointments, walks, scheduled playtime with the therapists, bath time … all of it. So this was how I was able to write one book in a matter of three months, a trilogy the same length as Lord of the Rings in a mere two years … anyway, I am filling in the hours, pottering in the garden, refitting a couple of inexpensive steamer trunks that my daughter snagged from a pile of discards from a neighbor who is moving lock-stock-and-barrel to Hawaii. One trunk is to be Wee Jamie’s toy chest, the other to be the storage, transport, and display for Matilda’s Portmanteau goods. Both are battered, and rather dirty, and … well, I’ll see what I can do with them. I also must refinish and repair a small oak armchair for Wee Jamie, against the day when he outgrows several other baby chairs.

Then there are a couple of sewing projects, notably a white cotton early 20th century blouse from Past Patterns, sized up to fit me in my present incarnation and trimmed with crocheted ecru lace. The Seguin book festival has been moved back to late in the year, which I am grateful for, as it is a two-day outdoor event, and April in Texas is about the last time of the year that I can endure such, in my customary Victorian/Edwardian costumes.

And the garden … I’ll go on planting seeds and transplanting seedlings, as I have a goal of eating fresh garden-grown vegetables daily and freezing any surplus. The pea plants did so very well, I will probably want to plant more, as they mature and die off. The beans are doing so nicely that I’ve had a good few side dishes of fresh green beans in the last couple of weeks. The first crop of bush beans are likely soon to age out of productivity, but I have several pots of pole beans coming along. I rather like pole beans, since they grow up, rather than producing only at ground level. Tomatoes … I also have a good lot of tomato plants coming along at various stages of development. Yes – tomatoes; infinitely variable in use.

And this might be the year that I have edible squash of various sorts (cross fingers here) – especially the small green ruffled patty-pan squash, which I deeply adored as a kid. They were cheap. readily available, tender, and tasty, and Mom bought them frequently – but where are they in markets today? I haven’t seen patty-pan squash in ages in the supermarket.  As for zucchini, they are often seen, but expensive, so I’d like to grow them. I’ve never been able, save for one single year, to have a good zucchini crop – and the joke is that anyone can grow zucchini and have enough of the darned things to inflict on your neighbors, by leaving a bag full of them on the doorstep, ringing the doorbell and running away. The only year that I did have a couple of edible zucchini squashes was the year that I tried out some exotic hot-weather variety from Lebanon, in a raised bed … and I think I had all of two or three. The squash-borers get to them, it seems, unless one is very lucky.

And that’s my week, since getting up very early Sunday morning and sending off my daughter and Wee Jamie on the train to California. Yours?

It’s an acronym; what it means is “Deny-Accuse-Reverse-Victim-Offender” – and describes a common response of the accused party to charges of domestic abuse, along the lines of “I never laid a hand on her/him-But she/he is crazy/violent! – It’s her/his fault for making me so darned angry – I’m the innocent person here!”
This is indeed what we are seeing now with regard to the Nashville Covenant school murders, murders committed by a deranged and angry transgender, although one might be forgiven for thinking ‘deranged’ and ‘transgender’ to be a duplication of terms. Alas, that was just the worst of recent violent or near-violent incidents involving transgenders and transgender activists, who seem to be exploring new horizons in a quest to be the most deranged, unreasonable, demanding and generally bat-crap crazy in what might seem to be a contest among activists lately. (Is there a substantial cash prize on offer, for whoever can generate the most outrageous headlines? Inquiring minds really want to know.) Shrieking at and terrorizing collegiate swimmer Riley Gaines for objecting to biological males competing against females in athletic contests, threatening a school in Colorado with the same treatment as the Covenant School – fortunately, that threat was neutralized, at least with that school and that potential mass-murderer.

The white hot-fury of transgender anger on display of late is extremely disconcerting. I will concede that there were and are transgender citizens who went into the process after careful consideration, appeared to live or have lived relatively contented lives, who wanted nothing more than to vanish into an ordinary existence, and to have called no great attention to themselves since transitioning. But they were always a minute number, and up until the last couple of years, seemed to relish the obscurity that their new physical form brought them. They didn’t call attention to it, howling like banshees every couple of hours and over every conceivable issue. Or invading a state legislature, with bullhorns and shouted threats. Or ganging up either physically or online on everyone perceived as breathing mild dissentions or criticism of the whole Tranzi crusade.

The curious thing is once one is alerted to the DARVO concept, one begins seeing it everywhere in the headlines of late; in the matter of crime committed by urban youths of color, everything from attacks on passing strangers, gang shootouts with a certain careless attitude regarding the fate of innocent bystanders, and mass lootings of commercial enterprises. No, no – the fault is that of that amorphous concept; structural racism, institutional whiteness or whatever they want to call it in the public release to the press, after the blood has finished soaking into the ground. We didn’t do anything but respond to the viciousness of white/MAGA/conservative/Red State animus – it’s their fault for pushing us, we’re the innocent victims here!

Comment as you wish. And add further examples of DARVO in action, especially in the establishment news media.

I will note for the record that I spent all of last weekend participating in a <a href=”http://”>local folk-life celebration in a medium-sized city in Hill Country Texas – an event blissfully free of anything resembling contemporary wokeism. Small children, tame animals both farm-domestic and pet, patriotic flags, ethnic German folkways, and country music, a lot of demonstrations of ancient black-powder weaponry, and complete law-abidingness among the participants and guests. It was all so very reassuringly normal. Life goes on in the Shire, as it always has done, day to day.

… but fools will learn in no other, as the old saying has it – and ‘dear’ in this sense means ‘expensive’. From all reports concerning the marketing debacle over Bud Light beer, the marketing executive responsible, one Alissa Gordon Heinerscheid is about to learn one of those very dear lessons. When someone sits down to write a history of bad marketing decisions in modern times, this is going to be one of the more spectacular chapters. Amazing that someone so expensively educated in the marketing trade could fall so spectacularly flat-footed. Somewhere back in the mists of time, someone must have imparted the wisdom that alienating the old core market for your product before appealing to the new core market was a bad move. A very bad move.

Look, as far as I could tell, Bud Light isn’t a particularly awful beer – it is and was just barely OK,  cheap and readily available. The old core market, which seems to be working-class males, drank it out of habit, more than anything else. I do give Ms Heinerscheid props for looking ahead and realizing that the appeal for Bud Light had to be widened, in the face of competition in the marketplace for better-tasting, local-artisan brands, that were just about as inexpensive. But nuking the brand in the eyes of the established core market by recruiting Dylan Mulvaney, famed for LARPing as a twelve-year old Audrey Hepburn wanna-be … look, social media influencers like Dylan Mulvaney undeniably attract the eyeballs and likes, and I suppose that eventually the dollars do follow … but Dylan Mulvaney and the beer favored by blue-collar males? Does she even know any blue-collar, working-class men?

Sigh. Probably not, which is why this endorsement dropped with the clangor of a man-hole cover hitting the pavement from two or three stories up.

You know what I would have done, were it my job as brand manager to have widened the market for Bud Light to appeal to women, and women of all ages? I’d have focused an ad campaign on authentic women, women with organic, original-issue grown-from-scratch lady-parts, emphasizing the outdoors, summertime, camping, or glamping with the girlfriends, sitting around the glowing campfire in the evenings. Having fun in beautiful, scenic, and wild spaces, all in the company of their best friends. Any spectacular national park would do. Attractive, happy women of all ages; fishing, hiking, mountain-biking, canoeing, making camp, watching cute wildlife and listening to happy birdsong … and enjoying a Bud Light. A good few years ago, I remember reading in a travel magazine, about a group of women in IIRC, the South-west, all friends who owned tiny vintage trailers and caravans. Most of the ladies featured had rehabbed, refitted, and adorned their trailers, which were all the last word in cute. And they met every year at a campground, for a good time with their friends.

I’d start building an ad with a group like that, in my national ad campaign. It’s probably too late to rescue Bud Light, but I’ll throw it out for free to any brand manager who wants to build market appeal for beer among women; genuine, all-natural original lady-parts women.

Just about every day now that I wake up, fire up the computer and begin reading, I am left in a state of mild depression after wading through the litany of bad news, disaster, corporate and political malfeasance which features on blogs, aggregator blogs and the established news sites. Public schools appear to be open hunting grounds for pervs and freaks, places where the intellectual development of children, tweens and teens must be cut down to the lowest common denominator, so that the lazy and disinterested must not be made to feel discomforted over being lazy and disinterested. The volunteer military demoralized and all but non-functional, our major and Democrat party ruled cities all but drowning in crime while the homeless routinely crap in the streets and stagger around while high on substances which our government has allowed to pour through an unsecured border. A former president has apparently been railroaded on ginned-up charges by a nakedly partisan effort. Our shining republic on a hill, the two hundred-year-plus long grand experiment of engaged citizens actually ruling themselves looks to have degenerated into the worst of a banana republic, where the inner coterie reserves privilege and riches unto themselves and brings criminal charges against any who dare protest … oh, and all the while a tame and sycophant national media licks the boots of the ruling class, and slavishly obeys every command issued by that ruling class, orders to play up some stories, play down and/or denigrate others. Mostly because a lot of the media class are married to or are the spawn of the ruling class … funny how that all works out.

Remember; I was part of a local urban Tea Party early on, and I cannot and will not forget how the Tea Party – as decent, engaged and well-educated a body of local concerned citizens was denigrated by the national news media as a bunch of racist reactionary yahoos. Why yes, I do recall very well how contemptuously we were treated, and now rejoice at CNN/NPR/NYT and all the rest of the unholy national media cabal going down, with regard to credibility and economics. Grudge-holding? Yeah, you think memories and grudges after the defeat of the Confederacy were held long in the South? Welcome to the new civil war, where one side remembers well what it was like to belong and to operate in a high-trust, egalitarian and meritorious society. And on the other side, those entitled bastards pissed away a relatively well-functioning and successful country, in whoring after personal materiel wealth and power. I hope that they do enjoy the horrible world that their mismanagement has created – alas, the rest of us are going to be pulled in after them, into a dysfunctional, violent (state-authorized violence, or violence committed by their chosen pets, as retaliatory/defensive violence by the rest of us committed in self-defence will be punished by full force of the law) and grotesque banana republic. The ruling class and their wanna-bes might live securely for a while in privately protected enclaves, but the rest of us …

Anyway, it’s a positive relief to turn away from the computer and go out into the slightly wider world where I live. Walk the dogs, talk to friendly neighbors, look at the blue sky and the trees all coming out in rich green, see that some neighbors are landscaping their yards, or improving their own personal patch of paradise, more or less in perfect security. Which is nice to see, after some hours on the internet. There is happiness and contentment in my own part of the world, still – in spite of all the madness going on. The various grocery stores where we shop are full enough, and Costco is jammed on most days. Prices are a little bit higher – or sometimes eye-poppingly higher – but the clerks are as friendly as ever, and make much of Wee Jamie, the Wonder Grandson. The stupid Plexiglas shields have even come down, at the local HEB outlets. There is a Folkfest planned for the weekend at mid-month in New Braunfels, on the grounds of the Heritage Society’s campus – displays of crafts, reenactors and a children’s costume parade, which has been a part of New Braunfels since the founding days, a hundred and seventy years ago. The city where I live is still functional, although there are some notable examples of criminal behavior and very third-world driving noted on my local Next Door. On the surface, life in my personal Shire goes on, much as it has from day to day. Life remains normal, more or less … for now.
Do those of us who are news junkies notice the societal dysfunction in certain places and feel it more deeply, while for most everyone else, life flows blithely by? Discuss as you wish.

As a footnote, I add a Bible verse that brings me comfort, when I have scanned the daily disasters. This verse was noted in a pop historical novel about the American Revolution, and I used it for my own purposes in my book about the Civil War in the Texas Hill Country. Take it as a talisman, yourselves.

Yet I have left me seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him. – 1 Kings 19:18

28. March 2023 · Comments Off on Days of Rage · Categories: Good God, Media Matters Not

So, what are the militant trans activists telling us now, after the school killings in Nashville – “Approve of our mental dysfunction or we will slaughter your children?” I am to the point of being horrified but not the least surprised, not after reading a stream of news stories about the insane fury unleased on old-line pro-feminists like J. K. Rowling and Kellie-Jay Keen/Posie Parker, who dare to speak out in support of the interests and the safety of biological females, and not cater to the wants of those males who insist on live-action-role-playing as women. The frustrated anger of the Tranzies, and their fellow-travelers in the pro-abortion, antifa and BLM communities has risen to a pitch that guarantees a spill-over into calculated violence against those who have been designated as the enemy.

The academic, entertainment, media and political fellow-travelers have all but given permission to target enemies of the Woke with legal and physical harassment, threats, vandalism of property, doxing and outright murder. It would seem now that school children are not exempt, especially if they are attending a Christian school. Since believing Christians and other similarly devout have been painted as the primary enemies (after conservatives and Red Staters generally) of all that is good and desirable in the Wokist realm, violence against them is only to be expected.

The Tranzi activists are now planning a so-called “day of rage” for this weekend; who knows how that will come off now, in the wake of the Covenant school killings, or in the wake of lawsuits brought by now-twentysomethings who were encouraged to undergo hormone therapy and surgery – and who now regret the heck out of what they feel were rushed into doing.

Of course, the usual ‘ban the eeeeeevil guns!’ activists are hot to trot on this latest school massacre, let by the parental unit of the perpetrator (who perhaps might have worked a little harder at keeping guns out of the hands of her own child rather than everyone elses’) , but I rather doubt that the establishment news media will get very far with it, being that the perp was a transsexual, and thus, one of the protected classes when it comes to committing crimes. Discuss as you wish – is this the moment where toleration for Tranzis comes to a screeching halt, or will it be more of a slow braking?

24. March 2023 · Comments Off on Running Slap Up Against Reality · Categories: Ain't That America?, Fun and Games, Media Matters Not, Politics

This week, I noted several different blogs and bloggers commenting on Jazz Jennings, the reality TV star and poster-child for juvenile transition to the sex they (or their parents) think they want to be, rather than what their genitalia dictates. That the kid doesn’t appear to be the least bit happy in female skin is something that was predicted by anyone paying the slightest bit of attention. It doesn’t need Ray Charles to have seen that coming. A number of other, less-well-known transitioners have come out into the open, publicly regretting how they were hustled into making decisions as teens wrestling with various issues which have permanently damaged their bodies, their reproductive functions and their general mental well-being. Well, the young, unwary and easily duped (or their parents) falling for a fad does have that result, although usually fads aren’t quite so permanently damaging as the trans mania has proved to be. I would cautiously hope that this one is on the deflationary spiral, although I am afraid that whatever appears to replace it in shallow public awareness might prove to be even worse.

On another strain of public madness, I see that a major purveyor of Whiteness Madness, Robin “White Fragility” Diangelo is advising black people to stay away from whites for their own safety, just as Scott Adams has suggested that white people do the same with regards to blacks on similar grounds of safety. (It’s perfectly plain to me that high-status white race warriors like Ms Diangelo are compensating for their own upper-class privilege by dumping on lower status whites.) Ms Diangelo’s suggestion strikes me as being particularly rich, since I suspect that a fair number of white working-class people who have figured in the news lately would prefer such distancing for their own safety and well-being. (Links to particular recent stories herehereherehere and to a book detailing even more incidents, here.)

As an aside, it’s axiomatic these days whenever one sees a story on mainstream media or on blogs and aggregation sites that there has been a mass looting of a retail establishment, an organized smash and grab robbery of a higher-end retail outlet, a mass brawl in a fast-food outlet or in an entertainment venue/amusement park/pop music concert – as I wrote last year in this post if there are no pictures of the perpetrators initially … everyone knows. And when there are pictures almost immediately, everyone thinks, ‘About what I figured…’ The points that I raised, and that came out in the discussion thread which followed, made for an interesting exchange. Several of us made the point that in the end, the problems of the inner-city black demographic can really only be fixed by themselves. The best that the rest of us can do is to quietly avoid the inner city black demographic – a softer kind of self-segregation, which people like Diangelo would have helped bring about. Where will race relations be in another six months of this? Discuss as you wish.

17. March 2023 · Comments Off on Harrison Bergeroning · Categories: Ain't That America?, Fun and Games, Geekery, My Head Hurts, Rant, Working In A Salt Mine...

I have noted stories of high schools dropping honors and AP classes in the name of so-called ‘equity’ like this lately, with a great deal of sadness and sympathy for those kids who would have benefited most from more challenging classes. The intelligent, motivated and intellectually-gifted students are bored beyond all reason by the standard classes – I know that I certainly was, and my high school days were from 1969-1972 in a largely white blue-collar working-class to no-class suburb of Los Angeles. This was when California public schools were still pretty good, and students were ‘tracked’ by abilities as well as interest in higher learning. I’d estimate that only thirty or forty out of a graduating class of 600 or so were tracked towards the Honors/AE classes; Sunland-Tujunga was, as I said before, a blue-collar, working-class community, with a small sprinkling of middle-class. My own mother was about as pushy a tiger-mom as there was, and her collegiate ambitions for us didn’t go much beyond the state university system, never mind any of the west coast Ivies. An east-coast Ivy wasn’t even in the same universe.

When, for some reason, I wasn’t assigned to one of the AE (academically-enriched) classes for the eventually-college bound, and wound up in a regular class, I was frustrated, impatient and as noted – bored beyond belief at writing down the answers at the end of the rote chapter and turning it in to an equally bored teacher. A fair percentage of my classmates in regular classes were not all that invested in school, or wanted to be there at all – they were there because they were under the age of 18 and the law said that they had to be. Once the regular run of students had learned to read at something close to grade level, to do basic math, and picked up shop skills and maybe a little science – I’ve always believed most other students at Verdugo Hills HS would have been happier going out and getting a job, or at worst, hang out on streetcorners with fellow underachievers. Left to themselves, I suspect most teenagers still feel that way.
With an Honors or AE class, one didn’t have to prove to the teacher beyond all doubt that you weren’t stupid; we had lively class discussions, special projects and independent research papers, and the handful of teachers taking those classes were good teachers themselves, and generally well-liked. We were being challenged with more difficult materiel, asked to think, research, write, tackle advanced material, stretch the boundaries … and at no time was it ever suggested to anyone that such classes were somehow unfair to regular students because they weren’t inclined towards them. Or that … horrors, they just weren’t bright enough.

So now, in pursuit of equal outcomes, every student must be bored out of their respective skulls; the bright, intellectually-engaged kids must have every shred of intellectual achievement and interest crushed ruthlessly, lest the disinterested underachievers somehow feel bad about themselves. This is a horrific waste of potential; talent at anything is not evenly distributed, genius is a rare fish indeed. Squashing it in the name of so-called equity is as wasteful and brutal of human potential as those weights, masks and thought-disrupting radio earpieces enforced by the Handicapper General Diana Moon Glampers in Kurt Vonnegut’s dystopian short tale.
Discuss as you wish.

17. March 2023 · Comments Off on Jane, Jane, Jane… · Categories: Ain't That America?, Fun and Games, Media Matters Not, Rant

Just whenever everybody, save military veterans of the last half-century and the family members who love them, have just about forgotten you and how you larked about on a North Vietnamese AA Gun, grinning and mugging like a fool– you pop up again like a recurring case of herpes. There you are, displaying for us all once again, that you are a morally vacuous has-been celeb, displaying your unhinged maunderings on the major broadcast talk show for the Karen set known as “The View.” Which I always think of as “The Spew.”

Well, it’s only what some of us have come to expect of you, actually – as a pretty child of Hollywood privilege, somewhat talented in the ‘pretending to be someone else and mouthing the lines that far more intelligent people wrote for you’ – but this appearance on “The Spew” was, if I can suggest – not a good career move, basically. Everyone in the general population, especially those who are not in favor of aborting the inconvenient unborn, are now reminded of your existence and your enthusiasm for murder. I suppose that if you have no compunctions about murdering the unborn, then you have none about doing so to the post-born.

Somewhat surprisingly, this penchant for murder seemed to come as a shock to the viragos of “The Spew”. Perhaps Joy and Whoopie and the rest of the crew are aware of the dangers of inciting violence, especially if such incitement is reciprocated.

The sudden recent fatwa declared by the great and good in the Biden Administration against the less-expensive gas ranges was … really rather curious – and for what purpose? Cooking (and heating) with gas is (or was) relatively cheap, energy-efficient, beloved of cooks for generations. It has the advantage that if you have an older stove, you can still cook with gas in a power outage. I lived for six years in Spain, where both the stove and the flash hot water heater were powered by propane bottles, and a power outage (which occurred regularly) was only a relatively mild inconvenience. I could cook a hot meal, and we could take hot showers. An all-electric home, such as the one I live in now is miserable, to the point of being unlivable, without consistent electric power, as my neighbors and I were swiftly reminded during the Great Texas Snowmagedden, two years ago. And from this story, linked on Instapundit, one can’t help wondering if the geniuses in Biden’s government are demonstrating trying again, with the so-called safety benefits of locking hot-water heater thermostats at 110-120. The ostensible reason given for these two quasi-campaigns is a tender concern for the ‘health and safety’ of the general public and the best of intentions, but the way to hell is paved with good intentions.

I have become convinced in the last few months that the real intent isn’t ‘health and safety’ at all – but the systematic immiseration of everyone but the comfortably ruling class elite. Oh, they didn’t really care much at all and haven’t for the last couple of decades, about the convenience and conditions for the ordinary citizens, except save when they were rolled out by their handlers to make a few remarks to housebroken establishment press representatives, especially at election time when they had to be seen to throw a bone or two in the direction of the electorate, or make the correct sympathetic noises after a natural disaster. It was necessary that they be seen to care … care deeply, just make a shallow pretense of deeply caring. They don’t care, and perhaps have never really cared, beyond making the proper noises in the established media – the credentialed elite in their glass-walled corner offices in the bicoastal ruling class enclaves, and their lushly-paneled and carpeted Congressional office.

But the brutal fact is … they don’t. They don’t give a couple of satisfactory bowel movements about the ordinary electorate, the regular, law-abiding middle and working class out in Flyover Country, the class that pays their modest taxes, runs the business that keep all afloat, volunteer for the military and everything else – and I believe the goal for the elite ruling class now has gone beyond indifference into active malice. They wish to see us impoverished, dirty, miserable, cold and starving, because that makes such obedient servants, of course. A powerless peasant class doesn’t make so many demands on their rulers – and that’s the point at which we may have arrived – not when election results can be called up and organized to give the satisfactory (to the ruling class) result. What need have they of voters then, when the results can be automatically jiggered to give the correct result?

They hate us, mostly because we don’t obediently fall in line, like medieval serfs, tugging our forelocks and saying, “Yes, Sir, Yes, My Lady, whatever you wish, My Lord.” It’s really kind of sad, that the ruling class of a nation should hate the ordinary population so. The Victorians were brutal in their class snobbery – but they didn’t at least hate the ordinary citizens and cheer for their continued immiseration and disenfranchisement.

Comment as you wish, and while we still can.

28. February 2023 · Comments Off on The Hard “Nope” · Categories: Domestic, Fun and Games, General, History, Stupidity, World

It was a post at Bookroom Room that led me to jump aboard this particular train of thought – that most of us have certain concepts embedded in us so firmly that absolutely nothing will ever get us to violate them. As Bookworm put it, “Because as I’ve contended for years, every person has one absolute truth. It’s the one thing they know to their bones is true and the world must align with that truth … For my mother, who would have been a fashionista if she’d had the money, style and beauty were her truths. She sucked up all the lies about Barack and Michelle Obama until the media talking heads said that Michelle was the most beautiful, stylish first lady ever, above and beyond even Jackie Kennedy. That ran headlong into Mom’s truth and, after that, she never again believed what the media had to say about the Obamas.”
It’s a concept worth considering – our own truths, which we will stubbornly hold on to, refusing any threats or blandishments. It varies from person to person, of course. Some have only small and irrelevant truths, which are never seriously threatened, and there are those who have no real truths at all, save perhaps self-aggrandizement – but even so, for some keeping to their truth is a hard struggle, deciding to hold to that truth against everything – especially if they have status or a living to make, in denying that truth.

Sam Houston, as governor of Texas on the eve of the Civil War, refused to take an oath of allegiance to the Confederacy, required by a newly-passed law upon secession from the United States. Twice elected president of an independent Texas, and the general who had secured freedom from the Centralist dictator, Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna nearly fifteen years before, Houston had labored mightily to secure annexation of Texas to the US. Secession from the Union must have nearly broken the old man’s heart. Most accounts have it that he paced the floor of his office for an entire night, considering whether he would take the oath … or not. He did not; he resigned all office and retired to his home in Huntsville, where he died several years later. When all was said and done, Houston was a believer in the Union, and devoted to Texas. When it came to secession and swearing an oath of fealty to the Confederates – a hard “nope” for the hero of San Jacinto.

My own personal biggest hard “nope” has to do with so-called anthropogenic global warming/global cooling/climate change concept alleged to be caused by human activity and industry. I don’t care how much the autistic Swedish teenager scowls at us all, or Al Gore flies from his many lavish mansions, to one important conference after another, to lecture us all about our carbon footprint. Earth’s temperatures and conditions have swung wildly over millennia, without any help from human beings at all. Canada and the north-central US were once covered by a mile of ice. The Sahara desert was once a grassland interspersed with marshes, rivers and lakes. In Roman times, it was temperate enough in England to grow wine grapes, while around 1000 AD it was warm enough for subsistence farming in Greenland … and then the climate turned colder all across Europe, until the River Thames froze solid enough between the 14th and 18th centuries to host so-called Frost Fairs on the solid ice. Avenues of shops opened on the ice, racing events, puppet shows and all manner of entertainments took place. The massive explosion of an Indonesian volcano in early 1815, on the other hand, led to a so-called year without summer in the northern hemisphere in 1816. The climate of earth has changed drastically, without any human input over conditions – even before humans existed, so what the heck have gas stoves or gasoline engines – or even coal-fired power plants have to do with it?

In the last year that we lived in Spain, I came to the knowledge that many very supposedly-well educated people had the most surprising gaps in their general knowledge of things. This realization came sometime in 1991, I think – and since then, evidence of this has mounted into a heap the size of the Matterhorn. But this was the first time that I saw proof of this in someone that I had assumed to be somewhat well-educated. I took a neighbor and her children on an excursion downtown. (I had been assigned to the base there for more than five years, the neighbor and her family were recent arrivals – the father of the family was our newest Protestant chaplain.) I wanted to show them the fascinating and quaint old city heart of Zaragoza; the Cathedral of the Pilar, the ancient cathedral, La Seo, the central plaza with the old palace of the city hall at one end, a stretch of ancient Roman wall at the other, and the 19th century food market with its’ ranges of individual tiny stalls under the iron roof. The children were of an age to appreciate all this, enormously.

There was an art exhibit in the city hall – late medieval and Renaissance mostly, just about all of it was of a religious nature. I was telling kids about the interpreting symbols and motifs in the paintings of saints, scholars and heroes. The evangelists, Mathew, Mark, Luke and John were represented by an angel, a lion, an ox and an eagle, a dove in a golden halo meant the Holy Spirit, an iris symbolized the trinity, grapes and wheat sheaves the communion, a skull in the painting of a saint in meditation meant that the subject was St. Jerome, and a wheel for a female saint meant it was St. Catherine. I had grown up attending churches which had elaborate stained windows incorporating versions of this, looking at those windows during long boring sermons. I assumed this was basic cultural knowledge – but it appeared to all be news to the chaplain’s wife. She was listening to what I was telling the kids, with rapt attention; “I didn’t know that!” she exclaimed, and I was a bit boggled. I had assumed that, given her husband’s profession and that she was a college graduate too, that she might have picked up a working knowledge of religious iconography, by osmosis, if nothing else.

At that time it seemed to matter very little; odd bits of knowledge could be out there, like flowers in an endless meadow, and just not appeal to a person wandering along a path with their mind on other things. It is or was all out there – the wandering intellect can gather what they want. Or not. What is becoming frightening now in this awful decade, is the deliberate, wholesale replacement of that wild and random-flowering meadow of intellectual knowledge with a strictly-defined monoculture. Only the approved concepts and interpretations are allowed to grow; all the rest are clear-cut, mown down to the dirt, because… reasons.

Statues and monuments removed, books removed from library shelves and from school curricula, histories censored and the fake (like the 1619 Project) loudly promulgated, researchers, scholars and teachers removed from laboratories and classrooms if they presume to differ from the established new narrative. No more study of the classics of western thought – the ancient Greeks and Romans, the great medieval theologians, those artists and architects of the Renaissance, the great thinkers who worked out details of a revolutionary American experiment in self-government, the generals who fought the wars that defined the western world and the inventers and industrialists who shaped the modern world. Nope, all of them are horrible ‘ists’ of one despicable variety or another, unworthy of the attention of (assume Critical Drinker voice) *THE MODERN AUDIENCE*
What are we doing, what can you suggest, to preserve that intellectual meadow? Preserve hard copy books of cancelled authors and history? Protest public-funded wokery at state-supported universities? Walk away from those corporations like Disney, which are among the worst offenders. Discuss as you wish.

19. February 2023 · Comments Off on Boerne – The Last Laugh of the Independents · Categories: Ain't That America?, Local, Texas, That's Entertainment!, Working In A Salt Mine...

The name of the town, incidentally, is pronounced “Bernie” – it’s one of the small Hill Country towns first established by the German settlers enthusiastically crowding into to Texas by the Adelsverein, and then by the failure of the various 1848 revolutionary movements. It’s rather more wealthy than most such, to judge from the number of very nose-bleedingly-high-end retailers lining Main Street. We hadn’t been up to the town in more than a year, when we visited just before Christmas to have a picture taken of Wee Jamie, the Wonder Grandson sitting with Santa, and in that time some things have changed – the gas station/meat market/BBQ place on the corner of Main and River Road closed, and the building demolished. It’s now an empty lot. The beautiful Victorian house on Pecan Street which my daughter loved with the intensity of a stalker has changed hands. The new owners apparently cleared away most of the garden and trees, and put up a fence around the yard. A good friend of ours used to manage the Squirrel’s Nest thrift shop, in an old building on Main which benefited a local animal charity, but the shop had to relocate to a less-well-trafficked location because the owner of the property wanted to expand the restaurant next door into that space. The Bear Moon Café seems to have closed their dining room inside their premises. All cause for sadness on our part.

But there were some positive developments, and one of them was discovering a new independent bookstore, at the back of a newish building on Main – a relatively tiny but comfortable place, of two rooms filled with an appealing and well-curated selection of books. The very best part is that they are ready, willing, and eager to stage author events – and so, when I had dropped off my card with the staff, when we discovered the Boerne Bookshop, I heard from them almost at once. We set a date for a Saturday in February – which was yesterday – and it all went very well. Very well, indeed – the Bookshop was frequented by lots of walk-in traffic over the two hours. Not a bit like the last time I did an author signing – sitting at a table in an almost-deserted bookstore, watching people try not to catch your eye. Perhaps I have gotten better at this kind of thing, or the elaborate Edwardian costume with hat and all makes a good ice-breaker for starting conversations. That, and in a small place like the Bookshop it might be considered rude to ignore someone sitting there, with a stack of books at hand. Anyway, enough copies of My Dear Cousin and Adelsverein; The Gathering sold, and I handed out enough of my business cards and flyers about my historical series to have made it worthwhile. I’ll definitely go there to launch the next installment of the historical series – That Fateful Lightning – when I buckle down and get it finished. My daughter noted that the cashier was ringing up sales on a regular basis – including her’s – as she had found four books that she simply had to have, unlike the last two or three times she wandered through a Barnes & Noble outlet; which now seem to be novelty stores, selling toys, magazines and stationary … oh, and a few shelves of books in the back.

It’s a mixed bag for indy authors, dealing with bookstores, large and small, independent bookstore and chains alike. We often lamented this, in the various indy author groups that I have been a part of, over the years. Barnes & Noble were generally hostile, with a few individual exceptions, if they had a manager or an event coordinator who could think outside the box. The local Borders outlets were magnificent to local indy authors; one location here in San Antonio even held a mass indy-author event at Christmas; alas, they went under. Hastings outlets were also nice about hosting author signings, although their focus wasn’t really books, but media generally. It was just very pleasant to have an event at a welcoming store, where there were enough interested people among customers and staff, and I didn’t feel that I had wasted my time for two hours. It’s often said among other indy authors that writing the book itself is just half the job – and the other half is marketing it. It’s also been said often enough that the national chains of big box bookstores like Barnes & Noble drive the small independent bookstores out of business entirely – but looking at independents like the Boerne Bookstore and others like them, who are holding on by getting and staying involved with local readers and writers – the independent little book stores may have the last laugh after all.

12. February 2023 · Comments Off on Getting Ahead of the Game · Categories: Ain't That America?, Domestic

At only five weeks into 2023, it does look as if I am closing in on some of the goals outlined in my end-of-year wrap-up. As for the books in progress, there is only one more story to round out Lone Star Blood. I looked over the four completed, and they strike me as rather grimmer than some of the previous stories in Lone Star Sons and Lone Star Glory – but then, on looking again at those two volumes; eh, they deal with personal treachery, several murders, suicide, political treachery … and escaping to another life, so maybe not all that grim.

That Fateful Lightening still remains half-finished, while I do that last short adventure for Blood.

But as for the household goals, one is done and dusted – the dryer vent. Yes, finally got that one done, although it wound up costing about four times what I thought that it would. Still – the amount of lint scraped out of the vent was enough to line every bird nest for at least half a mile around, and now the dryer completely dries a load in one brief cycle, unless it is one of the heavy cotton blankets which always took forever, anyway. I definitely know that the dryer vent was never cleaned during the time that I owned this house – save for efforts by my daughter and myself with a vacuum-cleaner attachment to suck out lint from the inside of the house. It may not even have been done by the original owners. The tech hired – and who did the job for about four times as much as I was expecting to pay, as none of the other local companies never did me the courtesy of responding to my requests for bid – said that the cap of the vent was firmly nailed into place and looked to him like it had never been shifted at all. Yeah, my mind boggled, at that point. But now that the job is done – we are happy with it. So now the house won’t catch on fire through the accumulation of heated lint in the chimney-vent, which is always a plus.

The second goal is construction of the short fence and gate to make a little private patio and play space in the paved area by the front bedroom – a room that when I had the windows replaced, I asked for and had installed a French door, instead of a double window. The contractor/handy guy/crew came on Friday morning to start work – it’s just a short run of fence, all of 12 feet, but with the gate – it complicates the project a bit, necessitating four postholes, two at either end and two on either side of the planned gate. And the construction crew, which is run by the husband of another realtor who is my daughter’s good buddy at the brokerage – dropped off one single worker to dig the four holes, before heading off to another job. So that one late teenaged worker went to work with a posthole digger and shovel and managed to drill down into the rock-hard caliche layer – which lies about a foot down, after a layer of solid, brick-like-when-dry adobe clay. He finished gouging the required four yard-deep holes after lunchtime, and then sat with his cellphone in the little patio … and then and then …

We messaged the handy-crew boss; Hey, your guy is still here. Gonna come and finish the job or at least collect him?

Reply – yeah, this is what they do. They get paid for the day, if they finish early, they get to slack off.

Us – OK.

But it was getting cold – it really was. And it was getting later and later.

Ok, surely the crew is gonna finish whatever job they are working on at five … six … and the minutes ticked by, and their worker is still there, sitting on the bench in what will be the small patio, absorbed in his cellphone. And it’s getting colder and colder, supposed to get down to near freezing in the wee hours … my daughter finally came out and told him to come inside. His grasp of English turned out to be nearly non-existent, but my daughter found some translation programs, and was in touch with the manager of the firm, did manage to discover that the work crew were coming back from another job, some distance from the city. And this was Friday at rush hour…

I should point out that we didn’t have any apprehensions of doing this; he was barely teenaged, had no visible tats and was wearing paint-splattered clothing, and we have a large and very protective dog as well as divers other means of personal protection. So – we wound up giving the kid supper – since we were both starving anyway and it would be horrendously bad-mannered to eat in front of him and not offer a plate. If the crew hadn’t shown up, I think we might have just given him a blanket and let him sleep on the couch but they did show up to collect him, eventually.

They are supposed to return on Monday to finish the job. Pictures to follow of the completed patio project.

08. February 2023 · Comments Off on The Last Straw of US · Categories: Ain't That America?

Well, that’s it for Disney for now and the predictable future – anything whatsoever to do with a Disney brand anything for this family. Disney-brand movies, Disney-owned media outlets, toys, games and clothing with Disney characters on them, the parks – the whole ball-o-wax. I was pretty certain I was done with them when I wrote this, almost a year ago. (Disney was already circling the drain with me, the year before, when this posted.) This most recent release of theirs has gone beyond offensive wokery, romped through partisan propaganda and plunged headlong into purveying outright lies – lies about American history, which to me, as a passionate reader of history (as well as a scribbler of historical fiction) is a form of blasphemy. Worse than that – a putrid and manipulative lie.

Slavery did not build this country. The ‘peculiar institution’ as it was described in antebellum writings, in fact rather retarded industrial development in the old South. I will concede that extensive production of cash crops as rice, tobacco, indigo and cotton did depend on slavery. Those enterprises enriched a small elite fraction of Southern slaveholders and kept the rest of the south relatively poor, undeveloped, and almost medieval in backwardness, although like the medieval nobility, convinced of their own superiority. Industry, innovation, and immigration all inclined to those places north of the Mason-Dixon line, while the South stagnated, even after Northern victory in the Civil War brought an end to chattel slavery.

I will concede that slave labor did play a part in the construction of certain historic buildings and public developments, and in some industries like Richmond’s Tredegar Iron Works. But slaves did not build the Erie Canal, the fabric mills of New England, Samuel Colt’s industrial armory. Black slaves did not create or maintain the telegraph lines which bound the country together, nor did slavery figure in the Santa Fe trail, the Oregon-California trail, the various precious metal rushes which eventually filled up the far west, the Pony Express, the web of stagecoach routes that prefigured the transcontinental rail network, the coal mines and steelworks that dominated industry after the Civil War, the oil industry that eventually powered much of that growth, Thomas Edison’s laboratory and a hundred other manufacturing, mercantile or inventive enterprises … none of that was based on slavery, nor did formerly enslaved people play very much of a part, other than that of employees. To insist, as this wretched cartoon does, that slavery “built” the United States is a pernicious and poisonous lie, a gross distortion.

The Disney company should be deeply ashamed of perpetuating it – I am certain that the late Walt would be. The danger in pushing such a gross misreading of history is that people without much historical knowledge will come to accept them as a fact. It’s a kind of racism every bit as destructive as the distorting fungal infection in the game and series The Last of Us. We have already seen countless instances of black on white or black on oriental violence, via the so-called ‘knock out game’ – or even outright murder in the city streets, such as in this incident. And now the shambling corpse of reparations returns, yet again. If it weren’t for the fact that most of us genuinely judge by the content of character rather then the color of the skin envelope it’s in – I believe that we’d already be in a race war to the knife. It may yet come to that, if Disney and the rest of the so-called anti-racist brigade are super-spreaders have their way. Discuss as you wish.

28. January 2023 · Comments Off on The Temptation of Dressing My Grandson For Book Events · Categories: Domestic

So – I established the practice of wearing late Victorian or Edwardian-style outfit when out doing a book event; everything from a WWI-era grey nurses’ dress with a white apron and kerchief, to a black taffeta bustle skirt and jacked with a blue ribbon sash hung with orders and jewels and a white widow’s bonnet (a la Queen Victoria). It’s an attention-getter in a room full of other authors and readers, and a wonderful social icebreaker/conversation starter: Hi, my name is Celia, I write historical fiction, so I like to dress the part!

I am also helping to raise my grandson, Wee Jamie – and fully intend, when he is just old enough to be a help – to draft him as my assistant, teaching him well the craft of direct sales. We have already carted him along to several market events this last fall, and he was angelically good, quiet and very charming to all – so I have every reason to expect that he will continue in that vein. He will be dressed appropriately, in proper Victorian/Edwardian small boy’s outfit, and I tease my daughter by insisting that I will fit out Wee Jamie in a dark velveteen Little Lord Fauntleroy suit – jacket, knickerbocker trousers, and shirt with a lace collar. We’ll skip the long, curly golden locks. His own hair is light brown and stick straight. I also tease her by telling her that it should be cut in a military high-and tight. (You know – that haircut where it looks like the guy has shaved his head entirely and parked a small furry rodent on top.)

In any case, the black velvet Buster Brown suit was all the rage for little boy’s best outfits in the wake of Frances Hodgson Burnett’s best-selling 1885 novel, subsequently turned into a popular stage play version, and to generations of movies and television series. She based her title character, Cedric Errol, on the charming personality of her younger son, Vivian – who as a small child,  was bold, amiable, socially at ease and given to making endearing remarks to all whom he met. The character Cedric proved to be just as endearing – a sympathetic, well-spoken, and egalitarian lad, who was inclined to use his considerable wealth and rank for innocently charitable purposes; the very beau ideal of the Victorian age. (His metaphorical descendants died in droves, on the Western Front.) He served as the model for the illustrations to the book when it was published – and proved to be as popular as the Harry Potter series, more than a century later. Vivian, as one might surmise, did have some trouble in living the embarrassment of this down, as he grew up … went to college, and married in his turn. He turned out to be a stout guardian of the wealth that his mother had earned through her own work as a writer. Fittingly, he died of a heart attack in his sixties in 1937, through over-exerting himself in the rescue of passengers on a foundered boat.

Well … maybe just a knickerbocker or a sailor suit. Something that doesn’t embarrass Wee Jamie in coming years.

25. January 2023 · Comments Off on Terf War · Categories: Fun and Games, Good God, Media Matters Not, Politics

It’s truly become amazing to me, how very vicious the trans war is getting to be; so far, it’s only words, but only words is how unspeakable atrocities begin. And all this is over what is a vanishingly small minority, but which happens to be “the fashionable hot new thing to shock the normies with” among overexposed celebrities, activist academics, and the desperate-seeking-relevancy activists battening onto a cause to give purpose to otherwise empty lives. It’s a trend amplified a hundred times by such advocacy, and then another hundred by the leviathan of social medial; a leviathan before which established corporations and businesses tremble. Candidly, one might have expected titans of commerce (like Target and the Disney company) possessing sufficient market knowledge to stay away from advocating causes which might – just might – piss off a large portion of their customer base. And one might be wrong. Never underestimate the mad urge to be a dedicated follower of fashion, I guess.

But it does seem that old-line feminists are rebelling against the activist goad, or at least, some of them are, when it comes to allowing so-called trans-women (who still have all their essential male parts, including beards and DNA) into what formerly were biological-women-only spaces. Spaces like bathrooms, locker rooms, clothing-optional spas, hospital wards, battered woman shelters, and prisons. And of course there is resistance from biological women, since it seems that a fair number of trans-women aren’t anything of the sort; they’re just perverts and predators looking for a well-stocked hunting ground. To the surprise of practically no one, the Wii spa tranny eventually turned out to be a registered sex offender, getting his jollies by flapping his wang-wang at women and girls. The Canadian Yaniv character – allegedly an overweight lesbian – turned out to be an abusive freak addicted to lawfare against women beauticians offering depilation services of truly female private parts. The high school-boy-in-a-dress, sheltered by the local woke-as-heck Virginia school board as some kind of sacred cause, turned out to be a rapist. And the Brits have come to the appalled realization that yes, so-called trans-women transferred to women’s prisons are rapists and abusers relishing their happy hunting ground. Another aspect of so-called patriarchy which the old-line feminists didn’t anticipate – that those in authority would value the supposed mental comfort of a male LARPing as a woman, rather than the actual physical safety and peace of mind of real women.

Time was, when male to female transexuals (and probably the reverse as well) seemed to wish for nothing more than to quietly blend into the background, to live as the sex that they were convinced they were, without fuss and fanfare. The current trans activists trend vastly more confrontational – to the point of ugliness. Why has the matter of transsexuals suddenly blown up to such an extent lately? A matter of fashion? A huge desire to shock the normies? Or bored activists looking for new frontiers? Discuss as you wish.

20. January 2023 · Comments Off on Public Art and Freedom of Speech… · Categories: Ain't That America?, General Nonsense, Media Matters Not, My Head Hurts, sarcasm

… such as they are, in these distressing days. It’s come to be a standout exception in the last half-century when a piece of public art is actually attractive, engaging, relatable to the place and the audience, and exhibits moderate to advanced skills and aesthetic sense on the part of the artist. Noted in Tom Wolfe’s book-long evisceration of modern architecture, altogether too many post-WWII public buildings got finished off with a installing barren plaza in front, a plaza featuring a water feature with an enormous concrete turd dropped into it. There are exceptions to this bleak and ugly trend, of course – but the monumental MLK/Coretta Scott King statue unveiled last weekend in Boston is, alas, not one of them.

It’s just passably OK from the front aspect, but looking at it from the other side … oh, gosh – some bodiless arms holding up an engorged colon, a huge male member, or an enormous turd? Or something even ruder, as was suggested by Leslie Jones. Perhaps the main purpose, after all, was to burn $10 million dollars. And, no – I don’t think the people of Boston will come to love “The Embrace”, as the French eventually embraced the Eiffel Tower, or Christ the Redeemer came to be reverenced by Brazilians. A further note to Ms. Jones – I certainly will criticize that expensive bronze atrocity. You suppose that for another 10 million, the artist could have included the heads?

In the meantime, it seems that Sheila Jackson Lee, the wicked witch of Houston, the most abusive boss on Capitol Hill, and the long-time bane of airline staff on Washington to Houston flights has put forward a bill which basically enables criminal charges against anyone who posts anything on the internet which can be connected to the commission of an actual hate crime. Leaving aside the concept of a ‘hate crime’ being somehow worse than an ordinary, non-hate crime, this bill – in the event that everyone in the House and Senate looses what is left of their damned minds and decides that the First Amendment is merely a polite suggestion – could in theory mean that if someone vandalized the above-noted MLK monument, that I could be charged with contributing to or encouraging a hate crime. In past times, I would have expected that Queen Sheila’s flight of legislative fancy would be laughed out of consideration in about two minutes … but these mad days, I really can’t be sure … Discuss as you wish, and while we still can.

PS – I see in the news that Jacinda Ardern has resigned as Prime Minister of New Zealand. Jumped before she was pushed? Is there some kind of scandal brewing down under, or just the potential humiliation of losing reelection in a landslide. Locking down all of the country for fear of Covid AKA the Commie Crud can’t have done all that much for her popularity, as the very model of a modern Major AWFL. Anyone have insight into local politics in New Zealand?

So, Wee Jamie the Wonder Grandson is of the age when he likes noisy things, flashing lights, music and moving colors. We have a Tunie (a kind of boom-box for small children) with an assortment of selections – none of them Disney, by the way. I’m boycotting Disney for now and for the foreseeable future. He has a couple of walkers, and noisy educational toys, toys that jingle, rattle, and play music. And we do let him sit up in the den and watch cartoons. Shaun the Sheep was a favorite, and then a French production – Grizzy and the Lemmings, which features a grizzly bear plagued by a troop of mischievous lemmings. Both Shaun and Grizzy feature wordless adventures, and lots of physical gags.  But the very favorite seems to be Masha and the Bear – a Russian series in various translations for the international market, the adventures of a mischievous and hyperactive little girl and her best buddy, a retired circus bear. There are all sorts of Russian cultural references, most of which I am certain that I am not catching. I do get the classical music references, but the one about the characters of two wolves who live in a decrepit ambulance and are called on for medical and rescue assistance had to be explained through the Wikipedia entry. It’s a Russian proverb, that the wolves are the orderlies of the forest. It’s a cute series, and one of the best things about it is that there isn’t a rainbow in sight. Not a single reference to current woke fads, diversity, or anything more significant than ‘Be careful you don’t get in over your head, child!’ Just gentle and amusing antics of a little girl and her best bear friend, at home and in the forest.

Between this and Grizzy, though – some day we will have to break it to Wee Jamie that bears (and wolves, too) are wild creatures, and not really given to play nicely with small children. I am hoping that he will not be too terribly disappointed.

11. January 2023 · Comments Off on The Royal Ruckus · Categories: Fun and Games, Geekery, General, Media Matters Not, That's Entertainment!

Although ruckus is perhaps too mild a term for the flaming dumpster fire, train wreck or thirty-car pile-up on the interstate, for the public relations disaster that has been called down upon the Windsor family by the present king’s younger son. One isn’t so much drawn to look, in horror – just that one can’t look away from the international spectacle of a man napalming relationships with his own family, all egged on by his wife and the news/entertainment media.

I can’t help knowing what I do know about the British royal family, and the Kardashians, too, as I am a regular reader of the Daily Mail. Curiously, both the British royals and the Kardashians are an obsession of that publication, and it’s a slow week where there aren’t half a dozen stories concerning either. To be fair, I would guess that most of the royals are a bit better grounded, more obedient to duty, and all-around pleasanter people than the Kardashian clan. I really don’t know any of them, in the accepted sense – all I do know, like Will Rogers, is what I read in the papers. But the royals figured a lot in the news, over the last twenty or forty years – what with Queen Elizabeth’s Jubilee, the assorted family weddings, divorces, scandals, nostalgic looks backward at the abdication of Edward, the wartime conduct of Queen Elizabeth’s parents, her own coronation, and her recent passing … well, one picks up a lot of trivial knowledge by osmosis.

One of those things is the realization that it’s a burden enough to be born into a family such as the Windsors, and as for the individuals who willingly and for love marry into it? It’s not a fairy tale; it’s more like an indeterminant sentence of glittering privilege and hard labor, into which those volunteers must go with open eyes and a willingness to fit into that life and give up just about every shred of privacy as the rest of us know it. The late Queen Mother did so, apparently assuming at the onset that her husband as the second son would be allowed a relatively obscure and private life on the edge of the royal circle. (I have read in several different accounts that her resentment of Edward VIII was unrelenting, as she was convinced that the responsibility of the office her husband was thrown into, willy-nilly, contributed to shortening his life.) As queen consort and later dowager, she never put a foot wrong. Catherine Middleton did the same; it would seem that Prince William let her have a good long time to consider and consent to what she was letting herself in for. Camilla, the present queen consort was in two minds about the degree of commitment necessary to join the royal family firm; apparently, so did Prince Harry’s previous serious girlfriends, and who could blame them in the least?

Another of those realizations is the knowledge that their lives are terribly peculiar; privileged for certain – but always in the pitiless and unsparing eye of the public – always “on”, whenever in public, the cynosure of all attention. The lifelong burden of attention and responsibility must be a terrible weight; only the strongest and most dedicated are likely able to hold up under the strain without cracking. That the late Queen and her husband held up under it for decades argues for the strength of their own characters, and the steadfast support and affection of a close family circle and those long-time members of their private circle – those few with whom they can relax, let their hair down, metaphorically, and trust to share confidences with – confidences and feelings which will not immediately be blared to the public at large. A close-knit and close-mouth family circle must be a large part of that support system. And Prince Harry has just blown all of that to heck. Not just breaking family confidence, as if that weren’t enough, but publicly venting a reservoir of spleen and resentment with just about every member of his family. It’s horrifying to watch as a disinterested spectator. Those once closest to him must be in agony. One must wonder if he was always an immature and resentful dumpster fire of a human being, and the royal public affairs office and a sympathetic British media just managed to keep that under wraps … or was Ms Markle every bit as awful.

If anything, the divorce coming along in five to seven years, is going to be an even more disastrous spectacle.

04. January 2023 · Comments Off on Wee Jamie · Categories: Domestic, General

My grandson, commonly called Wee Jamie in these pages, is twenty months old now, and a week ago Sunday experienced his second Christmas. Possibly this is a Christmas which will establish his memories of the holiday; what with presents, visiting Santa, the decorated Christmas tree and all the lights, nutcrackers, Santa figurines, the creche and the garlands over the door and the mantlepiece. It depends on how early his conscious memory kicks in, which is extremely variable. (I can remember very clearly places and incidents from when I was just barely three, my daughter says that her memory is a blur until nearly four.) Maybe next year will be the one that he remembers as being supremely enchanted, the Christmas which sets the standard for all the happy Christmases in the rest of his life. For myself, having at least sixty of those Christmases in memory under my belt, the only ones which really stand out for me now are the ones that broke the mold – those Christmases celebrated in basic training, a couple of them in Japan, the one in Greenland, the Christmas in Korea – all those holidays wherein we exiled souls made our own celebrations. The family Christmases all have settled into one indistinct blur; a pleasant blur, anyway.

Jamie is … adorable. Not my own opinion as a fond Nana; he is adorable. He is outgoing and friendly to almost every stranger that he meets, and affectionate to those whom he knows – our close neighbors, his godparents and our own friends, mostly. I have always thought this to be a better trait in a toddler, rather than being fretful and fearful of any other adult outside a limited circle.  Adorable in my arms, sodden with sleep, draped limp and boneless against my shoulder when he has fallen asleep, ready for nap or the night. He is a handsome little boy with feathery light-brown hair flopping over a high forehead. I am certain that by early middle age he will have a rapidly receding hairline, rather like Prince William in that respect. His eyes are, alas, an indeterminant hazel-gray-brown, rather than the blue they were as a newborn. He does retain the strongly marked eyebrows and long eyelashes which were noted even in the pre-natal scans. According to his last pediatric visit, he is trending physically on the smaller side of normal for his age. My daughter and I are both certain that sometime in his early teens he will shoot up overnight and become a tall and lanky adult. He is a very well-behaved baby, not much given to spasms of frustrated crying – and that on occasions when he was very tired, very hungry and it was past his regular naptime. This is good – as it distresses my daughter enormously when they do happen. The last three times were when we were in the car, coming back from some place, and Wee Jamie was frustrated and inconsolable.

It was feared, early on and based mostly on my daughters’ age, that there was a risk of Down’s Syndrome for him. This concern haunted her pregnancy, especially as there were some early indications on ultrasound scans which hinted at that condition – mostly a thickened nuchal fold at the back of his neck. There were some small cardiac issues detected at birth, and his eyes were slightly almond-shaped, which turned out to be more of a family trait. But he had none of the other notable physical markers for Downs, and the cardiac issues resolved within a year. The one worrisome quality was and is that he is slow to develop.  Wee Jamie has been late hitting all those important benchmarks; anywhere from two to three months behind in rolling over, sitting unaided, high-crawling, cutting teeth and saying distinguishable words. The pediatrician, being concerned that he might fall too far behind and never catch up, recommended physical and speech therapy through Brighton Center. He is making progress, to the point where the therapist – wise in the ways of small children says that Jamie could walk, stand, feed himself with fingers or a spoon … but he just doesn’t want to. I suspect that he has always been a bit lazy – breast-feeding was too much work for him early on, and he preferred the ease of the bottle.  He still isn’t saying simple words, or following many simple instructions, but by no means is he inarticulate; no, he is quite chatty in baby-babble. After watching the animated series Grizzy and the Lemmings, and Masha and the Bear, will do a very creditable bear-growl. Again, I suspect that he might not talk until very late, at which time he will surprise us all by speaking in complete, grammatically correct sentences. No, thank you, Mother, I do not require another helping of mashed peas at this time.

I can hardly wait to see how he turns out, this wonderful little boy-child. My daughter had a dream of him, once, of Wee Jamie being commissioned a captain in the military medical field, with us pinning the insignia on his shoulders. She said wistfully that she wished she could have shared the dream with me, so that I could see how handsome he had turned out to be. And a doctor in the family, too. Dad would have been so proud of that!

As my daughter has taken up a new career (one which she is thoroughly enjoying, now that she has a successful sale under her belt and another three or four potentially serious and committed buyers on the horizon in the coming new year) I have had, perforce, to take an interest in the market for houses, in this, a moderately prosperous Texas city. Well, moderately prosperous, in spite of all the (explicative deleted) that the current economy and the Biden administration can throw at us. By all evidence that my daughter has noted locally, (mostly in price reductions for a number of listings) the property bubble has well and truly burst, or is now in a mode of slow deflation. Conventional wisdom among realtors who have been in it for years, is that prices for houses are on a seven-year-long boom and bust cycle. We’re about to head into the ‘bust’ downslope. Anyone who does have the wherewithal – the bulging pocketbook to buy outright or a high-enough credit rating qualifying for a loan at favorable rates to buy a house in the next couple of years will have their pick of properties, at least in this part of Texas.

I have noted over more than two decades of living in it, is that my own neighborhood is quietly prosperous; a high percentage of homeowners and few rental properties. This is a good thing, most definitely not a class or racial issue. It should be obvious to all now that owners of a house, even if only a small one, will tend to take better care of the roof, walls, windows and HVAC system that they have invested in. I would guess that my neighborhood very closely reflects the national racial makeup; racially mixed in conformance with the overall national stats. (Not culturally mixed, though. Just about all my neighbors are house-proud, responsible and community minded.) My neighborhood is not one of the notoriously wealthiest neighborhoods in San Antonio; the houses are relatively small, in the 1,000-1.500 square foot range on small lots, not more than a 10th of an acre. Some of the larger houses in the older part are on lots a bit larger than that, but all in all, the subdivision is a comfortable fit for people with working-class jobs, convenient to the various military bases, shopping centers, highway access. These small, comfortable houses and manageable gardens are owned by a cross-section of retired military, ordinary retirees, new families, small families, single working women, and small business owners. Working bourgeoise; the kind that the New Woke World Order wants to squeeze out of existence, for our stubborn insistence on managing our own lives and economics without any interference from the new self-elected and lustful-for-power Ruling Class.

As an aside, I don’t think that will happen – all of us stubborn working bourgeoise reduced to rental serfdom, subject to the illogical whims of some ivory-tower and unaccountable bureaucracy. There are, as yet, too many ways for ordinary citizens to slip away from the grasping fingers of control.

An element that my daughter has noticed is that the smaller houses in solid neighborhoods like ours go like hotcakes. The 1,000-1,3000 sf home, two bed, one bath, or bath and a half – such small starter or retirement homes at a reasonable valuation are in great demand, demonstrated by how blazingly-fast they sell, once they are listed. Not all that surprising, actually, as that is the size that I could readily afford, house hunting at the end of my inglorious military career. Also about the size of what my own parents could afford and which we all lived in as a family of six: two or three bedrooms and a single bath for us all. But such smaller homes coming on the market are few and far between and looking at the new developments spring up around the parts of San Antonio that I frequent, the new builds seem to be at the upper end of that range or larger, even way, way much larger. What about the prospect of smaller homes, homes even under 1,000 square feet, tinier lots?

You might think that the current fashion for “tiny homes” should be appealing to developers, just as a matter of marketing, and the lower costs to build and thereafter maintain … but for some reason, it doesn’t. Builders go on merrily constructing bigger and bigger houses.  (Usually on smaller and smaller lots…) I have always wondered why. The usual explanation is that municipalities naturally want to collect the very most in property taxes – the larger and more lavishly-adorned the property the greater the tax assessed, and the existing homeowners in the area being considered invariably hear “Small affordable houses!” and begin screaming to their local political office-holder, “OMG-Poor people! It’s affordable housing for poor people! OMG! Keep away, keep them far, far away!” Still, one would think that smaller, more compact houses would make so much good sense to developers and builders. Maybe it is.

Along the outer ring highway in San Antonio, a large apartment complex has been going in for months – but at the back of the complex, bounded by a small back road which we routinely use as a short-cut, there is a range of smaller units going in. At first, when they began pouring the slabs for them, we wondered if they were to be garages – but no; from the layout, no way to get a vehicle safely in or out, When the walls began going up, we could see that – no, the back half of the complex will be small cottages, and small duplexes. Interesting. Well, not everyone likes to live in a third-floor walkup, hauling groceries up two flights of stairs, with the noise from neighbors through thin walls at all hours … better a small, self-contained little house, with a decent separation from the neighboring unit, or only the other half of the tiny duplex. We wonder if this is a harbinger of things to come; of builders seeing that there may be money to be made in catering to the ‘smaller house’ impulse. Where will the market let us all, in these trying times?

What say you? Discuss as you like.

Looking back in the blog archives to December 2021, it seems that I didn’t sit down and map out goals for the new year, as I had been doing in late December in most years. The last set of new year professional and household goals I set for myself were all done and dusted in the following year, all but the one involving me being able to wear a size 10/12 pair of jeans again and finishing the Civil War novel – which is still only half-finished. Done in 2023, I absolutely promise. Over the next year, I am resolved on these several projects –

  1. As noted, finish That Fateful Lightning; a novel set in the Civil War. The first half, concerning the activities of Miss Minerva Templeton Vining in the Abolitionist movement in the 1840s and 1850s is more or less complete – it’s her experiences as a battlefield nurse during the war that I have been putting off. I’m not certain why – just that I will have to immerse myself in a fresh round of research and that readers of Civil War historical fiction will be going over it all with a fine-tooth comb.
  2. Finish the latest Jim Reade-Toby Shaw adventure collection; it will be titled Lone Star Blood and comprise five or six short adventures loosely based on the Lone Ranger legend … only set in the era of the Republic of Texas, historically accurate and less the stupid mask, the silver bullets, and the magnificent white horse. Like the above, it is half-complete.
  3. Complete Luna City #12. That, unlike items 1 & 2, isn’t even begun yet, although I do have some partially-formed notions of what the various story arcs will accomplish.

Moving on to goals for the household. I considered getting vinyl flooring installed in the rest of the house, but after talking it over with my daughter, decided to wait on that one until she has moved herself and Jamie into her own house, which will happen after she completes several profitable years in real estate. At least a quarter of the furniture will go with her, which will make it much easier for me. I did the den flooring myself, but that was a small room, and even so, exhausting. More realistic intentions are –

  1. Get the short length of privacy fence and a gate from the side of the garage to the gatepost at the corner of my next-door-neighbors’ property – this to enclose a small private patio by the front bedroom, a patio already accessed by a French door. This would increase security at the front of the house and provide a secure play area for Wee Jamie. It will also baffle the heck out of delivery drivers and door-to-door salespeople looking for the front door, but that’s a price I’m willing for them to pay.
  2. Get one of those inserts for the slider door which incorporates a pet door, so that the cats can go in and out of their own will. I’d also like to move at least one of the litter boxes to the catio and finally, to replace patio furniture which was basically destroyed by cats and a series of dogs. I used to love sitting out on the back porch when it was temperate, watching the sun go down, and the birds fussing around the bird feeders.
  3. For certain, now that the back yard is secure with a solid new fence – start with chickens again. Four for choice, as we had several years ago. We really did like having fresh eggs, and so did our neighbors.
  4. Get the dryer vent professionally cleaned, for once and all. We’ve done our best to clear out the lint with various consumer gadgets, but we suspect that the vent is at the point where it does needs a full top-to-bottom scouring.
  5. This may be an optional item – but see to having the chimney swept and inspected. We haven’t had a fire in it for years, and in the event of the next snowmagedden and subsequent power outage, it would be nice to be able to burn wood in the fireplace without taking down the entire house.

And that’s my set of goals for 2023. The mortgage on the house itself has just two more years to go, and once that is done, I can turn to paying off bills for the work done on the siding and the replacement windows.

19. December 2022 · Comments Off on It’s Beginning to Lot Like Christmas · Categories: Domestic

Well, this next weekend, is Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, and I think we have just about everything squared away. The last of the gifts that I ordered after doing so very well at New Braunfels’ Heritage Society museum last weekend were delivered on Friday, wrapped and set under the tree, near the tree, hung from the stocking hangers (to escape a pee-blessing from one of the cats establishing possession) or in the Christmas stockings for the designated recipients. The care-packages of Texas foods to my brother and to my sister’s families were mailed on Monday. The tree is up and decorated, my daughter’s Christmas village is laid out … and I have spent the last four days making fudge – the gift that we have been giving to friends, neighbors, establishments that we do business with … it seems that we can afford to give this bounty this year, having stashed away certain essential ingredients. For a good few years, we cut bite-sized bits of fudge and put them into paper cups, packaged in tins from the Dollar Tree, which made a pretty presentation, but that has just turned out to be labor-intensive, messy, wasteful and eventually too expensive. We’ll go with two- or three-inch square chunks wrapped in saran wrap and labeled with what flavor that it is, and stacked in pastry boxes … less messy, that way.

(Note to self – must do a separate nut-free package especially for the partner at Brakeworks, where all the routine work on our cars has been done for at least two decades. Justin is allergic to tree nuts …)

One last batch of fudge, to replace the one batch which has turned out to be less than optimal – there is always that one batch which fails to solidify properly. We did something wrong in following directions, mistakenly didn’t simmer the basic sugar-butter-condensed milk/crème mixture long enough to congeal, added a critical ingredient at the wrong time … or as mostly turns out with one of the most temperamental fudges, the Chocolate Mint Bavarian, didn’t melt the milk chocolate in a microwave… or over a pot of simmering water. There’s always one batch which has to be thrown out as a flat failure. This we have come to accept.

And Saturday, we checked the last item of the list, driving up to Boerne so that Wee Jamie could have his picture taken with an obliging Santa. It took us a bit of time to have the Santa tracked down to his lair at J-Fork on the Main Street – we had thought to have lunch in Boerne, but all the places which served food which we might have relished were crowded … and eventually, we settled for some pastry at Richter’s, and resolved to pick up something to make supper out of at the meat market in Bergheim on our way home. That enterprise is now in the building which served as the general store, which was dim and cramped and had a bit of everything … but now is open under new management and is bright and airy. Honestly, I hope that they can keep it all going. The ground chuck that we bought for patty melts was fabulous., and Benjy the Dog is still working away at the length of cow leg-bone that we bought there for him.