And I wish to have it known that the problem wasn’t even my fault. The service stopped working when it hit “inbox full,” but I do practice basic file hygiene and my inbox – and junk and trash lists – were anything but full. In fact at the moment they’re completely empty. However for some reason the server retains everything whether I delete it or not, and while I have theoretical access to those lists I would have to know little things like the fact that they exist as well as their address and password before I could fix the problem. Landlady being more cognizant of computer stuff and also able to communicate with the server guy, she bailed me out this morning and I can receive emails again. And I now have that information so the problem shouldn’t repeat.
I had strong doubts about success, until things suddenly started going well.
You might recall that the front legs had completely collapsed, pulling their piers right out of the ground…
We put some forward pressure on the rack with the Jeep and tow strap but clearly needed to raise the front so those piers could fall back into their holes. We still hadn’t figured out what we were going to do about the piers, but clearly lying on the ground sideways was not a good look.
So we ended up raising the whole front of the rack with 3 jacks after loosening the lag bolts holding the uprights to the ramps so they’d swing free when we got them high enough. And sonuvagun, that worked. Took forever before it became apparent that it was going to work, though.
As soon as the piers were pivoting in their holes, I pulled the Jeep forward slightly and eased the whole thing upright.
Turned out we needed a more even pull, so it turned into a 2-Jeep job. Props to Terrapod: That super-long length of heavy nylon rope came out of the Jeep kit and saved the day.
And then with the Jeeps keeping forward pressure on the rack, we dug two new footers, lag-bolted a couple of 8-foot 2x6s to the rear of the rack diagonally between the long uprights and the footers, then filled the footers with rebar and concrete. I kinda forgot to take a picture of that, but you can imagine rear diagonal braces against the wind. The Jeeps are kind of stuck there, holding the whole thing up until tomorrow when Landlady goes home.
The front piers are currently just sitting loose in their holes and we’re not too thrilled about that but I personally believe that once the new concrete sets up the rack will actually be more secure than it was. But on her next visit we plan to prop the front with jackstands and then rebuild the piers and uprights – doing it properly this time with more depth and some rebar.
I’ve been dreading the matter of repairing/replacing my prosthetic leg, a thing that really does need to be done this year, not because of the cost since I did manage to drag it over the “eligible for Medicare” goal line but because the only functioning prosthetist I’m aware of is many many miles away. I could conceivably get it done but it would mean imposing on friends to put me up – and being away from home, which I loathe – for weeks. Not in a hurry to do that. But since it’s now official that both ends of my leg are literally falling to pieces, there’s only so much procrastination allowed before you start getting ridiculous even in your own eyes.
There’s a prosthetics/orthotics office in the big town about 50 miles away, the same town where I get my eyes abused and examined, but I was in there several years ago and they only made braces. In my urgent desire to avoid spending another summer month in a city far away I overcame my reluctance to talk to strangers on the telephone, called that office and asked again about whether they’re doing prosthetic limbs there. And surprise! I accidentally connected with the fairy godmother department, which informed me that they do indeed make limbs there now. And I have an appointment for week after next, which I can keep if I can A) arrange for a ride, probably no big deal, and B) get a doctor’s prescription sometime between now and then. Yes, you need a prescription for prosthetic appliances because otherwise you might contribute to the epidemic of prosthetic limb abuse.
There really shouldn’t be a need for a “let’s buy Joel a new leg” fund, because Medicare. Basically you’re already buying it. 🙁 But I do appreciate the thought and will keep y’all posted on progress.
So everything’s going great, right? Had my walkie, did the chicken chores, went over to see S&L about a matter. Got home and was washing breakfast dishes when it seemed the socket on my leg suddenly became a lot looser. Like, “can barely stay on while I walk” loose.
That’s the soft insert that goes inside my prosthesis socket. And yeah, it’s kind of ragged – it’s 22 years old, which is super old in prosthesis years. But more importantly, it’s in two pieces and that’s not normal. That smaller piece is the wedge that cups over my knee and holds me more or less firmly in place when it’s forced into the socket. It’s important.
Actually I got really lucky. That wedge fell right out of my pants onto the floor, and if it had happened out in the boonies I’d have lost it forever and been screwed. Also, I recently got a care package from BB containing a carbon fiber repair kit, including a bunch of stuff that I’d have otherwise had to improvise to make this repair, like mixing cups and acid brushes. And I had an unopened package of epoxy, so this was going to be a breeze to fix.
Unfortunately I can’t say how long I’ve had that epoxy. Still sealed, but the resin was completely congealed in the tube. Useless.
BB’s repair kit had 2-part epoxy but it’s of the super-slow and need-to-measure-very-carefully variety. Seriously I’ll have to research and practice how to use it, and anyway it takes 24 hours to even set up.
Fortunately I had a more useable Plan B in the form of my favorite contact cement Seal-All. Hope it works; if it doesn’t no harm will have been done…
But I think it’ll work. I’ll give it some more set-up time, spend the balance of the morning on crutches.
Wind’s a’howlin’, though nothing at all like Monday. I have the stove prepped and the woodbox full but it unexpectedly turned really sunny and as long as it stays so I won’t need the fire till the morning. It burned most of this morning, though, till the sun got high.
That nice Carhartt coat someone contributed is on its fourth winter and is still in perfect condition. Nicest coat I ever owned by far. I haven’t really gotten much use out of it this season but it’s definitely been needed today. TB and I just got back from afternoon chicken chores and I’m planning to just stay in for the rest of the day. We’ll go out for a short walky in the evening but that’s it. The weather’s supposed to moderate by tomorrow – of course that’s easy to say; it was supposed to moderate by today, so pinch of salt.
Watched the news this morning and saw something precious.
I did not, of course, watch the SotU speech last night any more than you did, in fact didn’t give it a thought – but it was all over the internet this morning for something related to what I had, candidly, been wondering about.
I mean, how awkward is this? I’d be more welcome to address the local chapter of Moms Demand Action while actually wearing my .44 than Trump was to stand up and praise himself in front of the house of reps, right? And I gather he took the opportunity to crank the Pandering portion of the pageant to twelve, with military families reunited, the deaf made to hear, the blind made to see, and the halt made whole. All on pre-arranged camera to the sound of thunderous repub applause and thunderous dem stony-faced silence. None of that is news, I suppose; they crank the bullshit up every year like they’re competing with the Superbowl halftime show.
But what did catch my eye was Pelosi’s bit of answering political theater…
Yeah – she went there. She actually tore up the speech, right on camera. About two pages at a time, either to stretch out the moment lest anybody miss it or just because she’s like 90 and has no remaining hand strength.
And I couldn’t help wondering, because ol’ Hermit Joel never had any people skills to lose and so really doesn’t rate an opinion: Was this brilliant or stupid? I mean, she’s speaking to her side, which has been whipped into what the dems sincerely hope is frothing Trump hatred since before the inauguration, so maybe it was smart?
But everybody saw it, or will by the time the news is done with it, and it was so amazingly petty…
This has been a very mild winter so far, so much so that this might rank as the coldest morning recorded this season by the Lair’s sophisticated meteorological equipment if it goes down just two more tiny degrees before sunup.
But the wood stove is rumbling happily away behind me and the jacket will be off before I’m finished blogging.
ETA: Made it! Coldest morning of the season. So far.
It was forecast to turn windy but this is taking it way too far.
Temperature-wise, this would have been an even more pleasant day than yesterday; not even noon and already mid-fifties in the shade. But that’s about to change big-time and major temperature change often announces itself with a windstorm.
Neighbor D and I filled water bottles on the lee side of the ice plant on the other side of town, where the wind can work itself up over a fetch of several miles of flat prairie. We were happy to have some shelter but the dirt was swirling around so much we wanted goggles and masks we didn’t have. Happy to get back into the truck, then happy to have the whole thing over with and get home to my hollow where the wind gusts and rattles things but can’t go far enough in a straight line to be very damaging. Usually.
It never fails – every morning I wake up with a song in my head. Sometimes there’s an obvious reason for this, like if it’s something I was listening to the night before. But usually I couldn’t begin to tell you why this particular old tune is in my ear.
And sometimes it’s genuinely mystifying; it’s a song (obviously) that I’ve heard, but it isn’t anything that should have occurred to me naturally. It has nothing to do with me.
This morning’s earworm was a masterpiece of mystification…
I was alive when this song was ubiquitous on the radio, but almost certainly too young to know about it or care. I heard it from time to time growing up, and neither liked nor disliked it particularly. It was done in a style that died with Buddy Holly and I was never much of a music consumer anyway. It’s simply as irrelevant to me as big band music.
Because if the old one-legged man could get up on the roof, even with trepidation, cleaning the stovepipe would be so much simpler.
But since I’m not going to risk what remains of my creaky life up on that steep roof scrubbing the soot down into the stove, I have to plan on making a big mess in my bitsy little cabin.
Unscrew and remove the lower stovepipe section and take it outside. I can clean that at my leisure on the old sawbuck. Move the stove out of the way, spread a tarp and tape the far sides to the walls. Then…
Either put on an old shirt or wait for a warmish day and strip down to a t-shirt because you’re going to be soot to the elbows. Wrap a cloth around your head. Screw the brush to the first section of pole and get scrubbin’.
It’s a little less than 12 feet from the bottom of the section of pipe that dangles from the ceiling to the cap – which I had to dragoon Ian to fasten down with screws after the first time I knocked it off the pipe with the brush eight years ago. Twelve feet is three 4′ segments of flexible brushing pole. And the single disadvantage of having finally gotten over my chimney fire phobia so that I’m no longer cleaning the pipe every week or less is that quite a lot of soot can build up in there. Not pipe-plugging quantities by any means, but enough to make a pretty good mess…
…so that site and body cleanup takes considerably longer than actually scrubbing the chimney. Most of that could be skipped if I could just walk up on the roof and do the deed that way. But that’s the way it is, and I always feel much better about life when it’s finally all done and put back together.
I went on a rather longer morning walkie than originally planned – it turned into such a beautiful morning I ditched my coat, hat and gloves at Landlady’s during morning chicken chores and just sort of went thataway.
I ran into some mulie does, quite unexpectedly because usually when the cattle show up all the ungulates head for … somewhere else entirely. Silly twits just stood there staring at me, not 50 yards away. I watched them through the AK’s scope just to be an asshole and they didn’t run off until it suddenly occurred to me to stop doing that and take a photo with that perfectly good camera in my pocket. So you’ll just have to take my word – and the evidence of all those gifs I’ve posted in the past – that at times we’re up to our collective armpits in mule deer around here and they don’t seem heavily hunted.
I really want to go outside and play some more, and I probably will – but not right now. I do have one deed to do. Today’s big chore, as soon as the ashes cool a bit more, is to pull the woodstove out and give the stovepipe a scrub.
Lordy, what a beautiful day! I had a bunch of morning chores mapped out including battery day at Ian’s and Landlady’s places. As it happens I store my bike at Ian’s, and by the time I was done with his batteries, which was the last of the morning chores, it was just past noon and already in the fifties in the shade. So I impulsively put the bike on its carry rack and did something completely out of character…
I electric-motored to town. No real reason, it was just a beautiful if rather cool day to ride a bicycle in the sun. I basically drank half an overpriced coffee and then came right back home. But I did end up coming home the long way through the wash, so the Jeep ride from the county road took longer than the bike ride to and from town did.
…At least if you run Apple products. They really, really don’t like getting too far behind on updates and after a while they’ll just refuse to play. My attempts at loading updates while sitting here at the Lair’s desk have been uniformly unsuccessful. The cell signal is too slow and undependable down in the hollow.
But there is one thing that works. So this afternoon after chicken chores, Torso Boy and I sat in the Jeep at the top of a ridge more or less in line of sight with the nearest cell tower for the better part of half an hour, listening to the radio and updating the Mac.
I don’t believe Jeremiah Johnson had problems like this. 🙂
I tend to walk with my eyes glued to the ground in front of me. It’s a habit I’ve battled, mostly without success, all my life. As a consequence I don’t usually trip on rocks, but I do tend to walk into a certain amount of tree limbs. Walking into animal herds is another possibility…
Okay, I saw the cow pie quite a long distance away, and had figured it into my plans. Plans didn’t seem to require a lot of revision, after all; just step over it when you get there. The sun was directly in my eyes, which aren’t that great anyway; maybe I could be forgiven for not seeing past the gooey obstacle to the clearly visible large animals just beyond. But when I got to it…
…and it was literally steaming – then, then I looked around. I looked to the left and saw a departing and rather distant cow, probably the cow pie depositor. I looked, belatedly, to the right…
Boy, you can tell these cattle have been in feed lots for a long time, I’d guess all their lives. In fact I’d guess they’re first-calf heifers…
…because the cattle I’m used to are generally at least half feral, but these just don’t care. I haven’t seen such tame cattle outside a milking barn.
Good thing, too, because I walked right into the midst of them. That’s a sin that can carry its own punishment, especially with breed bulls around.
Quite some time ago somebody, I think Big Brother, sent me a few packages of DIY pizza…
…and as pizza, especially for a single guy old enough not to be able to inhale an entire pizza in an afternoon, it has its limitations. I opened a box last week, made one pizza, and could barely finish it. The remainder stood around rather longer than was quite proper waiting for me to finish the package.
Today I finally decided that the box wasn’t going to get finished – at least not as designed. But I couldn’t let that open half-can of ground beef go to waste, and there was this package of perfectly good ready-mix pizza dough. And you know what I’ve never successfully made?
Meat pie! And it turns out, as expected, pizza dough is perfect while bread dough is not.
Yum! Needs some brown gravy, though. I’ll do that when I eat the rest this evening or tomorrow.
I don’t even always mind people disagreeing with me when they’re in a position to enforce their opinions with cops and courts, because I don’t know everything and I’m not really all that smart.
But I do object to someone displaying absolute ignorance, at length, in confident and scholarly tones – to the audible mirth of his better-informed audience – learning nothing from what should be an utterly humiliating experience, and then casting votes locking his idiocy into enforceable law. Enforceable, let us not forget, with the very guns he claims to be saving his victims from.
This goes on too long but I urge your patient endurance: This is one of your rulers, your clear moral better, cheerfully and obliviously telling you what’s good for you and how you’re going to get it good and hard despite his not knowing one single thing about the subject.
I literally don’t recall a prettier day than we had yesterday…
Nary a cloud in the sky and shirtsleeve temps by noon. A day so nice I opened the windows for a few hours and aired out the cabin for the first time in months. So nice I took enough of an afternoon walkie to leave my stump raw and sore for the whole evening. So nice that I was tempted to hubris, as with yesterday’s unfortunate temptation of fate and even…
…brought my ebike out of storage to air up the tires, take a few turns around Ian’s place and check the battery. As if that could make any sense at any point in January.
I woke to the sound of rain on the bedroom’s metal roof, and of sepulchral laughter.
Will Blog for ISP Time, Glaucoma Meds, or Cheap Booze.
Free! (and worth every penny)
Scary Manifesto that keeps getting pushed down on the sidebar by filthy capitalism!
They say that Louis XIV had the inscription Ultima Ratio Regum cast into all the cannon of the French Army. It means “The Ultimate Argument of Kings,” and that always struck me as one of the most honest and up-front things any ruler or would-be ruler ever said. “We can dress it up prettier than this, but when it comes down to the unvarnished truth this is what it’s about: You’ll do as I say or I’ll send my goons to kill you.”
I thought about that for a long time. If there’s an ultimate argument, it seems only logical that there must be an ultimate answer. For years I thought the ultimate answer must be the bullets in my rifle, but it never seemed quite right. I’ve got bullets – he’s got frigging Cannon Balls. I mean, if there were three hundred million rifles throwing bullets at him, then maybe. But we all know that’s not going to happen. So if there’s an ultimate answer to his ultimate argument, it sure as hell ain’t bullets.
It finally came to me – and that’s when I abandoned the city and most of my stuff, and gave all that was behind me a good stiff Randian Shrug.
The ultimate answer to kings is not a bullet, but a belly laugh.
Do you suffer from a lonely, unfulfilled, angst-driven existence? Do you often wish you could do something meaningful with your life, like end death or war or taxes, or maybe just read a really good book?
Then you need to buy the following novels immediately!
The Scroll of Jeremiah
The Last Faithful Man
Songs of Bad Men and Good
"Freedom Outlaw. It’s not what you do; it’s how you do it. It’s an attitude — from which actions always follow. It’s a do-it-yourself occupation. And a lifetime vocation."
I owe my success to having listened respectfully to the very best advice, and then going away and doing the exact opposite.
- G. K. Chesterton
"If every Jewish and anti-Nazi family in Germany had owned a Mauser rifle and twenty rounds of ammunition and the will to use it, Adolf Hitler would be a little-known footnote to the history of the Weimar Republic."
- Aaron Zelman
"Authority should derive from the consent of the governed, not from the threat of force."
"Never underestimate the ability of shit to find a fan."
- F. Paul Wilson
The...average man's love of liberty is nine-tenths imaginary, exactly like his love of sense, justice and truth. Liberty is not a thing for the great masses of men. It is the exclusive possession of a small and disreputable minority, like knowledge, courage and honor. It takes a special sort of man to understand and enjoy liberty – and he is usually an outlaw in democratic societies.
– H.L. Mencken, Baltimore Evening Sun, Feb. 12, 1923
"You can't make an omelet without breaking eggs." The sophistry of villains - Bah!
- Robert A. Heinlein, Double Star
“Truth is, I’m not specifically interested in an armed society. What I want is a free society.”
- George Potter
“Gold is the money of kings, silver is the money of gentlemen, barter is the money of peasants – but debt is the money of slaves.”
- Norm Franz
"You can have peace. Or you can have freedom. Don't ever count on having both at once."
- Robert A. Heinlein
"Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing."
- Helen Keller
"It has long been my conviction that a masked man with a gun is a target. I see no reason to change that view."
I never saw a wild thing sorry for itself
A small bird will drop frozen dead from a bough without ever having felt sorry for itself.
- D. H. Lawrence
All men should try to learn before they die /
What they are running from, and to, and why.
Aristippus passed Diogenes as he was washing lentils.
He said, “If you could but learn to flatter the king, you would not have to live on lentils.”
Diogenes said, “And if you could learn to live on lentils, you would not have to flatter the king.”
Sandy Hook was a Gun Free Zone. So was the Westroads Mall. And the Aurora Theater. And Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Should I go on? They were all Gun Free Zones. Why do the gungrabbers never mention this?
“Political tags — such as royalist, communist, democrat, populist, fascist, liberal, conservative, and so forth — are never basic criteria. The human race divides politically into those who want people to be controlled and those who have no such desire. The former are idealists acting from highest motives for the greatest good of the greatest number. The latter are surly curmudgeons, suspicious and lacking in altruism. But they are more comfortable neighbors than the other sort.”
- Robert A. Heinlein
"Civilization is the process of setting man free from men."
- Ayn Rand
If ever a man should ask you
For your business or your name
Tell him to go and fuck himself
Tell his friends to do the same.
For a man who'd trade his liberty
For a safe and dreamless sleep
Doesn't deserve the both of them
And neither shall he keep.
- Frank Turner
Don't be afraid to try something big, just because you're an amateur. The Ark was built by amateurs. The Titanic was built by professionals.
"Nothing scares a police officer more than the threat of being treated the way that they treat people every day."
"Be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everybody you meet."
- Gen. James Mattis
"Lust for power is the most flagrant of all the passions."
"The man who knows what freedom means will find a way to be free."
- F.A. "Baldy" Harper
"The greatest discovery of any generation is that a human being can alter his life by altering his attitude."
- William James
We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms -- to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way.
- Viktor Frankl
The free man will ask neither what his country can do for him nor what he can do for his country.
- Milton Friedman
“We must be free not because we claim freedom, but because we practice it.”
- William Faulkner
There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self.
- Ernest Hemingway
When asked the secret of how he accumulated 505 confirmed sniper kills on Soviet invaders, Simo Häyhä would smile and reply, "Practice."
"Everything the State says is a lie, and everything it has it has stolen."
- Friedrich Nietzsche
John Moses Browning - The most badass Mormon who ever lived.
"The nine most terrifying words in the English language are 'I'm from the government, and I'm here to help.'"
- Ronald Reagan
The most dangerous creation of any society is the man who has nothing to lose.
- James A. Baldwin
"It is better to be a warrior in a garden than to be a gardener in a war."
“I tried to live in such a way that, when dying, I would rather feel happy than scared.”
– Witold Pilecki
Few men desire liberty; most men wish only for a just master.
"Place your clothes and weapons where you can find them in the dark."
- Lazarus Long
Read, every day, something no one else is reading.
Think, every day, something no one else is thinking.
Do, every day, something no one else would be silly enough to do.
It is bad for the mind to continually be part of unanimity.
– Christopher Morley
“I have found that, to make a contented slave, it is necessary to make a thoughtless one. It is necessary to darken his moral and mental vision, and, as far as possible, to annihilate the power of reason. He must be able to detect no inconsistencies in slavery; he must be made to feel that slavery is right; and he can be brought to that only when he ceases to be a man.”
ESSE QUAM VIDERI –
To be, rather than to seem
– Marcus Tullius Cicero
“A Winchester rifle should have a place of honor in every black home, and it should be used for that protection which the law refuses to give.”
– Ida B. Wells
Why the hell did you scroll all the way down here?