And we’re back.

I wonder, if Trump is president long enough, whether we’ll finally learn what he believes (other than “trump for prez”) and what he plans to actually do. For a guy who’s not a politician, he has made promises on both sides of pretty much every issue in a most confusingly alacritous way. It may be a scary ride, it may bring about the zombie apocalypse, but at the rate he’s going we’re unlikely to ever run out of blog filler. Also, Hillary Clinton is still not president.


I left the Jeep on Landlady’s ridgetop over the whole week, connected to the Battery Minder. So if the old starter battery can be rehabilitated, it certainly ought to be by now. Connected to the powerhouse where the Jeep was plugged in is the Big Chickenhouse, so I was able to look in on Landlady’s pullets. They were all present, nestled snug on their roosts, fluttering and muttering “turn off the damn light. Were you born in a house?” So they’re okay. I frankly got busy and didn’t bother checking in on the Fortress of Attitude hens, but I’d have heard from Neighbor D if anything had gone wrong there and anyway Seymour’s cheerfully crowing away out there. Eh, I’ll check on them when it’s light.

Yesterday was cold and snowy at the Gulch. It was clear overnight and the temp got down into the mid-teens. Not terribly cold but cold enough to let me know I was well and truly back from the big city in the low-altitude warm place. I still have about a zillion SF books and guy movie DVDs to find shelf space for before I can ever hope to use my reading chair again, so I guess that’s job #1 for the morning. Also have to bake bread this morning, some of which I’ll take to Former Weekender Neighbor L (still need a better blog name for her) as thanks for taking care of the pullets. It’s supposed to be warmer today, so hopefully by the time I have to stir around the neighborhood things will have warmed up … substantially.

LB says he’s never leaving his bed again, never ever ever. But I’ve a feeling that when his favorite thing comes around (rhymes with “deep fried”) he’ll have changed his mind.

Update later, probably.

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Little Bear was such a good boy for the whole trip…

He was cheerful and friendly with Dharma, didn’t whine even when he was uncomfortable at sleeping in a strange place, went along with the program without being a drama queen, but when he got back to the Lair…

He ran straight to his bed. He wanted his treat, he wanted his food, he wanted his leather bone. I’ve been bustling around lighting fires, brewing tea, unpacking stuff, trying to get some heat in the place…

…and we blew out of here pretty abruptly last Saturday so I barely had any wood in the box, let alone a fire laid and ready to light. LB didn’t care. He never even looked up. He was home.

And so am I, I suppose. The cabin was cold and dark and every horizontal surface is still covered with books and DVDs from that amazing care package a week ago, stuff I didn’t even have time to find space for, but the water isn’t frozen and the power works and nobody broke in and ripped me off, so I guess it’s a win. I was falling asleep in Landlady’s car, so though I still have to drag the suitcase up to the loft with the laundry rope I guess I’ll probably put off unpacking clothes till tomorrow. It’s pretty heavy; I brought some stuff to the city just so I could wash it.

Speaking of care packages…

Check out Uncle Joel’s cool new chore coat! Genuine Carhartt, I’ll have you know. I was preening in Landlady’s headlights with it this evening, and she made cracks about the ‘Redneck’s Cartier.’ The story of just how that happened got a little involved and I’m tired right now. Maybe mañana. I’m going to bed, if the mice have left me one.


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Wow. I guess I hadn’t noticed how ubiquitous smartphones had become…

I mean, sure, I’ve noticed that they’re sufficiently widespread that only certain oddballs (including me) don’t own them. I’d even noticed that some of those oddballs (not really including me) seem to take a perverse pride in not owning them. It has not escaped my notice that there are things called “apps” which can be downloaded to a smartphone to increase its functionality. Until this morning I was intrigued but not really surprised at how diverse and useful some of those functions can be. I’m a hermit, but not on the moon. Right?

I didn’t know, though, that smartphones have grown so very ubiquitous that certain other consumer electronic devices are designed around the apparently obvious assumption that the purchaser already possesses a smartphone that will make a perfectly adequate user interface.

Alert readers may have noticed back in July that the gulch acquired an old chronograph, and then nothing much more was said about that. That’s because while the chrono worked, sort of, it didn’t work very well. In fact it was of very limited value. Okay, it sucks.

I met with Ian late this morning for some running around, and in the course of that we went to a store called Sportsman’s Warehouse where I spent a certain amount of energy overcoming the impulse to burrow into the sleeping bag display and just sort of live there for a while*.

Among other things, we looked at newer (ie, made in this century) chronographs. This particular Sportsman’s Warehouse stocked four different styles of chronograph, which I thought was pretty damned cool. And of those four, only the lowest end (you won’t be happy with this) model didn’t assume that you had a smartphone for it to plug into.

It seems that if a manufacturer of electronic gadgets can assume that users of his gadget just naturally carry a portable digital computer around with them, the gadgets can be made much simpler and cheaper while still being astoundingly capable with the addition of one bitsy app to the smartphone.

As Landlady likes to say, “We’re living in the future.”

*And by the way: If you make a ten-hour round trip, week-long visit to a city for the first time in six years and your largest single purchase is ammo reloading components…you might be a redneck.

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Ennui…Existential Angst…Will to Live…Slipping…

Not really. I’ve enjoyed my visit very much, really. I had pho for supper last night, for the first time in a decade and a half. That was pleasant. But I’m ready to go back to my grubby, quiet gulch.

That will involve most of the afternoon and evening, there will (hopefully) be some logistical jiggery-pokery halfway through the trip – I’ll post about that after I see how it goes – and of course there’s always the possibility I’ll need to chase mice from my bed before I can sleep in it.

But yeah, I kind of want to get to it.


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Huh. Well, that’s an argument for building a new bedroom…

I just got a solid eight hours of sleep. And it only took eight hours to do it.

Further, it’s the second time this week that it’s happened. I was so surprised the first time, I found a second clock to double-check.

The bedroom I’ve been borrowing this past week has a much nicer mattress than Sister Creaking Springs at the Lair. Beginning to wonder if that’s a factor.


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Foreign Dispatch #5: Insufficiently Weird

The city currently under study is said to be an island of correct-thinking progressives in a sea of toothless rednecks, but we have an idea that the participants’ hearts aren’t really in it.

It does contain a university district, and yesterday we dispatched our intrepid correspondent on a perilous undercover expedition into its beating heart: A Community-Supported Agriculture Exchange. If his tie-dye t-shirt and faded bellbottoms didn’t disguise him to a sufficient degree we feared we might lose him, torn limb from limb by enraged, arugula-munching mobs.

But really, it was like they weren’t even trying…


Frankly – and of course meaning no offense to the locals – our generation did ‘obnoxious hippie’ far better than this. Most of the participants looked more likely to break their hips tripping on the threshold of the local Social Security office than to get brained by an enraged cop at an anti-draft protest.

And it shows…


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Maybe I need a wind generator*…

My host has a clothes dryer, a luxury item which at home is possessed only by those blessed with really lavishly big solar electric systems. And even they only use them on the afternoons of good sunny days.

So I’m thinking I should keep up with my accumulating dirty clothes, right? I could wash them right now, this would be a good time, but I’ll have to wait for later for the dryer. The sun’s not even up. And what if it turns cloudy, like yesterday?

Oh. Wait.

*I made that up. I do not need a wind generator.

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Foreign Dispatch #4: How Indigenous People Shop

In the course of other business yesterday, our correspondent had opportunity to enter a local emporium for edible provisions. This was a large, clean, well-lit and heavily stocked facility, and our correspondent proceeded to hopefully whip out his high-tech wish list…

…and headed for the “baking” aisle, which was given over to packaged pre-mixed foods and offered no actual yeast.

Undeterred, he looked for the coffee aisle. And looked, and looked in vain. Perhaps, he feared, coffee had been declared a forbidden substance in this new land? Our otherwise intrepid wanderer feared giving offense to local beliefs.

But no: Coffee was in fact not at all forbidden. It was enshrined

one tiny part of the kiosk...

one tiny part of the kiosk…

…in a kiosk in the middle of the store, so large he had originally edited it out of his sensorium, as a man might miss seeing a nearby battleship because so much gray must surely be the sky…

Indeed, an overwhelming and bewildering variety of coffees were offered for sale. But unfortunately no coffee accessories, anywhere in the store. Apparently those are sold in some entirely different store. Or…something, we don’t know.

He did score two pounds of apparently fresh barley for stews, though.

Next adventure: Vegetables!

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Translation: Hillary will direct the assassination personally.

Personal to the article writer: Did you manage to keep a straight face while typing any smallest part of this paragraph?

Two well-placed sources tell New York that over the past few weeks Hillary Clinton discussed with trusted advisers and friends whether or not she should attend the inaugural. She and President Clinton, the sources said, decided to do so out of a sense of duty and respect for the American democratic process.

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I know it’s just politician-speak. I know it’s going to be semantically null before she’s done opening her mouth. But sometimes a pol says something that makes me wonder if she has any capacity for shame at all

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, preparing for her fourth straight Congress in the minority — she lost her speakership in 2010, in an anti-Obamacare backlash — now says it’s the GOP that will pay a political price if it moves to dismantle the Affordable Care Act.

“You break it, you own it,” the California Democrat said.

Nancy PelosiAre you serious, Nancy? Are you serious? “Breaking” Obamacare would be an action on a logical par with removing all the complex moving parts from a rock. Or, for that matter, all the honest people from Congress.

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Foreign Dispatch #3: Little Bear meets the local fauna

My host rises early and I’m dealing with insomnia without my usual crutches, so this morning LB and I were out the door at well before sunrise. He, reasoning that if I’m on vacation he bloody well should be as well, has been stealing Dharma’s food in alarming quantities and the fact is reflected in the level of his, er, fecal output. Therefore the morning walkie has been moved up to “ASAP.”

Fortunately I came equipped – I may have neglected to possess a respectable-looking pair of britches but I did remember the long lead and of course an excellent flashlight – and the weather, while surprisingly frosty, is still no match for Joel’s winter gear so whatever, let’s go for a walkie at five in the morning, right?

Turns out we were far from the only ones. Once away from the house we were practically surrounded by bobbing flashlights and … um, embarrassingly well-behaved dogs.

Now, LB mostly knows how to deal with a strange dog. If not precisely relaxed, he’s neither frightened nor obnoxiously aggressive around them. But he’s known all the people he meets in a normal year since he was a puppy. He very rarely meets a strange human and never quite knows how to behave. He’s vaguely aware that biting won’t be considered acceptable, but never assumes a stranger wants to be a friend*. So he defaults to baying a warning and then hiding behind me.

I, god help us both, am in charge of social interaction with members of my own species. So you can imagine how well that normally goes.

Fortunately all the people we met this morning were pretty much of my own age and class: Old pharts with big dogs who are there because what the hell? Can’t sleep. One wanted to talk about meteors, the others just said hi and kept moving. It was frankly too dark to compare dogs, so the usual “what’s his breed?” clichés went unspoken.

My BLF flashlight is serving me well but rather more extensively than originally planned. I’m glad I recharged it before embarking on this expedition, but am beginning to wish I’d packed the charger.

*Afterthought addendum: I truly fear for the life of anyone who tried to enter the Lair while I’m not home. One very windy afternoon LB was sleeping soundly indoors alone and didn’t hear or smell me approach the door. He came awake very abruptly, teleported across the cabin to the farthest corner and then, cornered, turned into the Frickin’ Hound of the Frickin’ Baskervilles. Do you know how BIG that dog is, when every hair is standing on end? Took him a few seconds to pull it together and recognize just who he was threatening with gory death. Little Bear really doesn’t do strangers well.

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For sins committed in his youth, Joel is condemned to forever wander the earth, an insufferable…

Light Switch Nazi!

Foreign Dispatch #2: The Enlightening

The people of this strange city behave as if electricity is generated bounteously in huge centralized facilities rather than frugally in sensible decentralized household systems as Rand (PBUH) intended. Why, our correspondent has observed overhead lights left on in unoccupied rooms, with no one guiltily sneaking in to shut them off muttering a ritual, “dammit, forgot.” He claims to have have actually – and he tells no lie, though we certainly accept that you will find this difficult to believe – seen lights shining in the outdoors! Not only MANY lights shining on paths of ingress and egress but actually illuminating the entrances to houses! As if to welcome the flesh-eating zombie collectivists and bureaucratic government functionaries whose existence these absurd practices must surely encourage.

Our correspondent speculates that there must be some sensible unseen purpose behind this display of profligacy – perhaps the would-be predators are being lured into range of cunningly hidden gun ports. He passed without pause, nodding politely to the assumed snipers to demonstrate his peaceful and non-intrusive intent.

ALSO: When entering a strange clime, it is tempting for the wanderer to reconsider the contents of his bat-belt. With the exception of reasonable considerations such as changing the style of one’s holster and knife to suit local customs, our correspondent suggests resisting this temptation and just going ahead with the full kit. For example…

“Where is the need,” our correspondent foolishly speculated, “for a multitool on a city street? Surely one could lighten one’s load to that small extent.”

Having learned his lesson the previous morning, however, about wandering unfamiliar territory without a proper belt flashlight, he more wisely chose to bring the tool along – only to be promptly rewarded for his foresight by his faithful dog Little Bear who made important new cactus-related discoveries on his very next walkie.

Our discreet observations continue.

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A belated Christmas message from Gun Jesus…

…who’s going straight to hell for this.

The Gospel of Browning

Gun Jesus has shown up before, so you just can’t trust anything.

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Foreign Dispatch #1

I have this odd impulse to go tend chickens.

Normally the requirement that I go out and do that is a little annoying. This morning I miss it.

Had an uneventful trip and a quite pleasant evening, but I’m afraid all that staying in a quiet place for year after year has habituated me to just hanging around and doing more of that. So I couldn’t sleep – not, lately, that I need a lot of excuse to not sleep – and honestly having forgotten the date I was going to compliment Landlady on what a quiet neighborhood she had when midnight came around and some morons with 9mms stepped out on their patriotic porches and…

:) Curiously, to the sound of gunfire almost certainly not aimed in my specific direction and the possibly subliminal but probably imaginary sweet scent of expended powder I drifted off and finally did get four hours of solid sleep. So I’m in pretty good shape at the moment.

LB wishes to report that this place smells funny and he doesn’t have enough pee to fix it all by himself, but that he did have a good poop.

And now, in the sort of absurd coincidence that normally only haunts the plots of very badly written movies, I’m going to get set to have breakfast with Big Brother, who never leaves the tropical, roach-and-spider-haunted climes of southern Florida but who just happens to be in this very faraway city this particular morning.

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This is the first day of the first year Hillary won’t be president.

So whatever else goes wrong this year – and it might be a helluvan interesting ride – just keep telling yourself…

…It could have been worse.

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Gorram, my timing needs work…

Check this out…

That, dear friends, is a large USPS box so stuffed with SF books and guy movie DVDs the box didn’t quite survive the trip to the Gulch.

And do you know what I’m doing right now? No, not watching kung fu movies. Nope. I’m packing to leave. Rain’s coming in, departure date got moved up to this afternoon, and I’m frantically packing.

*sigh* some of these flicks are coming with me, though. Wish me luck, I’m off to the big city!

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Wait, wait, wait.

I don’t criticize the doings of the U.S. Navy on the pages of this blog for many reasons, most boiling down to my complete ignorance rendering me unworthy of any opinion.

But the USS Gabrielle Giffords? You’ve got to be kidding.

I certainly hope they've renamed all the heads to "little room nobody ever shoots at."

I certainly hope they’ve renamed all the heads to “little room nobody ever shoots at.”

Also, insert Hypocritical Gun Grabber Joke here.

What next? Will the USAF establish a Wrongway Feldman Squadron?

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Wow, what a beautiful day.

A sunny and still mid-fifties day at the end of December. The solar power’s loving it, the chickens are content, LB’s … asleep, so that doesn’t really matter.

The pullets had a personal best seven-egg day yesterday. Six the day before, five today. Of course at their age you need a lot of eggs…

…because the newbies make really small eggs. But that’s perfectly normal, they’ll get bigger.

Got a note from Landlady, she expects to arrive this evening. I had to go into her house to deliver eggs anyway so I lit a fire to take off the worst of the chill. The Meadow House does kind of hold the cold, unlike the Lair which benefits from sunshine over the course of the day.

She said she had a whole bunch of Christmas care packages! Some of these I know about, and ironically some of those will turn right around and go back to the city with her and me on Sunday. At least one probably isn’t officially a care package (though mostly paid for by Generous Reader CH) but just some Amazon stuff I bought. Nothing sexy, some clothes hangers and paint-on no-slip backing for this rug before one of us breaks a hip. And there may be a package or two I’m not anticipating, who knows? Joel likes care packages, and if you’ll recall last year at this time I made out like a burglar. Except a year ago the weather was so crappy the booty didn’t show up till mid-January. :)

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Dear President Obama: Please just take the money and go away.

EPA targets key ingredient in pizza, bread in latest eleventh-hour rule

The Environmental Protection Agency is targeting a key ingredient for making pizza and bread in its latest last-minute regulation before President Obama steps down.

The proposed regulation published Wednesday would make the emissions standards for industrial yeast makers much more strict.

You didn’t like eating bread anyway. Did you?

&*^%ing yeast’s hard enough to find at a decent price now. Maybe I should review how to make a sourdough starter while I’ve still got some.

Imagine there’s no bureaucratic agencies. It’s easy if you try. Take them up without a parachute. Below them only sky.

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Oh, this is sweet. Bloomberg and the Demanding Moms can’t even win when they win.

Bloomberg’s Colossal Nevada Collapse.

CARSON CITY — A new law requiring background checks for private party gun sales in Nevada is unenforceable because it prohibits the state from running those checks through its databases, and the FBI said it will not conduct them, the attorney general’s office said in an opinion issued Wednesday…

…But unlike retail sales, the initiative states that dealers conducting background checks for private party transfers must contact the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System “and not the Central Repository,” which is operated by the state, to determine whether the buyer is eligible to purchase or possess firearms under state and federal law.

“The Background Check Act mandates that the FBI conduct all background checks for personal transfers,” Monica Moazez, spokeswoman for the attorney general’s office, said in a statement. “The FBI, on Dec. 14, informed the Department of Public Safety that it will not conduct these background check

So now I expect they’ll try to turn this around the way the DC gungrabbers did: ‘Since the new law is in effect but impossible to implement, I guess that makes all gun ‘trafficking’ impossible. And therefore illegal.’ Wadayawanna bet somebody won’t actually come out and say that?

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