Cold Fury

Harshing your mellow since 9/01

No risk, no reward

Wilder on risk.

As I’ve observed you humans my fellow humans for the past few decades, I’ve discovered that Risk is poorly understood. Pop Wilder had fallen victim to what I’m now calling Wilder’s Rule of Risk: What he thought was safe, was risky. What he thought was risky, was safe. He ended up outliving his savings due to decisions that prioritized “safety” over even minimal risks. He built barriers to action over unreasonable and unlikely fears.

Life is like Tom Cruise. It’s short. Life is also like having sex with a Kardashian. Hairy and risky. But you have a choice. You can be afraid and live in fear. You can also live gallantly, and die nobly.

We want to live with certainty. We want to, especially when we’re young, and when we are old, avoid risk. But we can’t. The absence of risk is the absence of life. The thrill of the first kiss, the thrill of winning when you’ve bet it all on red, those are life. Life is struggle. Life is fighting. Life is also all about risk.

Step one of living gallantly and nobly? Don’t be afraid of risks that aren’t real.

I’ve taken one hell of a lot of risks over the years: some of them senseless, some of them unavoidable, some of them truly nuts, plenty of them for no fathomable reason at all other than just to take them. If I learned anything from it (and I ain’t saying I did), it’s that the most exhilarating experiences in life are usually the result of a risk run and successfully overcome.

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Madeleine wins big!

So my young ‘un had to write an essay a couple months back on “Why I’m the proudest kid in Gaston County.” At the time she complained to me that, and I quote, “I’m NOT the proudest kid in Gaston County. I don’t really like it here.” Which, y’know, out of the mouths of babes and all that. I nevertheless told her it wasn’t all THAT bad—when I was younger I could hardly wait to make my own escape, although I’m back in Gaston County now and damned glad and grateful to be too—and suggested some topics she might cover: the Schiele Museum, Daniel Stowe Botanical Gardens, Holy Angels hospital, and a few other outstanding local attractions.

Well, the essay won at school level and then citywide, and an awards banquet was held in Gastonia last night. Link to the video of Madeleine’s essay being read at the banquet, followed by her marching on up to receive the plaque while she absolutely beams with slightly puzzled joy, is here, for the interested parties among y’uns. Next, it’s on to Raleigh to be recognized by the NC Senate.

I mean, just…just…WOW. The essay, which I didn’t get a chance to read before it was turned in and only just saw, is quite well-written. I even get a mention in the thing my own personal self, which made me grin like a mule eating briars. Why yes, Daddy IS just bursting with pride right now. Why do you ask?

Update! It seems there’s a permissions problem preventing some folks from viewing the vid, probably on the ex-wife’s end. Apologies for that; I’ll check into it tomorrow.

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Atonement

Brother John expresses the racking torment caused by my leaving the walrus pic at the top of the page for a couple of days longer than I normally would have:

Will you please get that thing off the front page already!?

To which I responded thusly:

Maybe I’ll poke around later for a nice Audrey Hepburn or Natalie Wood pic to make it up to you folks.

You CF lifers will know just how transparently flimsy an excuse needs to be to get me surfing around looking at pictures of Audrey, so consider the antidote hereby applied.

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Sigh. What a lovely, lovely woman. Yes, I know, some connoisseurs have always maintained she’s a mite too thin to merit a place in the ranks of your truly classic beauties. But what better to rinse away the foul aftertaste of that tragically misguided tub of goo below, I ask you? Now let’s have ourselves a little Natalie.

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Another treat for the eyes indeed, and as stellar an example of feminine pulchritude as one could wish for. But as gladdening as the above photos are, my heart will always belong to Donna.

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Be still my beating heart! From 1941, apparently, that one’s as downright racy a pic of the winsome lass as I can remember seeing, and as welcome as a frosty glass of lemonade on a Sahara summer day. No need to thank me, folks, I admit I owed ya.

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Because I CARE, you bastards!

For you Android-phone types out there, I’ve recently given a couple of apps a try and really dig ’em. No need to thank me, gang, ust send cold hard cash.

Firstly: GMail annoys the living hell out of me. I have it set up to retrieve mail from both my Gmail account and the mike@cf one, which it pulls down handily enough. It’s after I have ’em downloaded when the trouble begins. There ain’t no batch mode in the GMail app, and for some reason lately I have been absolutely inundated with spam/scam emails of every conceivable stripe. I’m talking like two-three hundred per day here, people. Every. Fucking. Day. With no way to dump ’em except to click on each one individually, one by one by one, and then delete.

That was NOT cutting it. I needed a way to go into batch mode, hit “select all,” and not just hit delete but register the senders as spammer scum and block their domains as well. GMail offers none of these, and since Google is evil, it probably never will.

So I did some Play Store poking around for an email client and ran across Blue Mail. Installed it yesterday, went through the settings and got ’em the way I wanted ’em, and so far it’s working out great. Fast, reasonably customizable in terms of both function and appearance; works for retrieving GMail, Yahoo Mail, several others, and POP3 too. If you find yourself stuck in a hell of GMail’s making, try Blue Mail; I think you’ll be glad you did. I most certainly am.

Next: browsers. You probably already know that Chrome is…uhh, problematic, for several reasons. I used Brave for Android for a good while there, and liked it all right. But its bookmarks feature was awkward to access, and it had a few other bothersome little glitches and hitches that maybe weren’t really serious enough to be dealbreakers in themselves, but together eventually drove me to look elsewhere.

Here’s what I’ve settled on: Dolphin. I still use the new version of Brave as my primary browser on the iMac, but if the Dolphoin team ever comes up with a Mac version I might rethink that. Dolphin is the fastest Android browser I’ve yet found out there, by far. It’s more customizable than most, with theme sets, variable color schemes, third-party plug-ins, and customizable gestures and swipes. Better Flash support than Brave, ad-block capability, all sorts of goodies.

I tried an earlier version of Dolphin a few years ago on an older phone running something like Android 6 or thereabouts, then went back to Brave with a quickness after realizing Dolphin still had a ways to go yet before it could honestly be considered a fully-realized, reliable, full-featured browser app. That no longer seems to be the case, and I couldn’t be happier with it now.

So there ya go, people. I ain’t by any means any kind of software guru over here and never did claim to be, so take ’em for what they’re worth. But these are both solid little apps; they’re free, not all choked down with ads and such, and I like ’em. If you’re casting about for replacements for the standard-issue Android stuff yourself, you might consider giving these a test-drive.

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A birthday present!

CF lifer Richard Lamoreux has graciously presented me with a most excellent birthday gift: the Kindle variant of the book I spoke of at some length in this post—Guitar Wars—along with this followup. So y’all can expect even more on this worthy tome as I wade through it, along with some more excerpting, most likely. Thanks again, Rich!

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Goodbye Gillette

Looks like I picked the wrong right time to start sniffing glue stop shaving.

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I decided a month or so ago to grow another beard because A) I was bored; B) I hate shaving anyway, and do this now and then for a brief while; and C) the young ‘un, having seen me pretty much exclusively with one configuration of facial hair or other for the first five or so years of her life, always seems to like it when I grow one, and I hadn’t in a good while. Plus: D) it’s cold outside.

But with Gillette’s ill-considered and insulting SJW outburst against masculinity, my timing seems to have been unusually propitious this time around. So after threatening it for years and years and never following through, this is now my goal, and I am no longer joking:

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What the hell, a feller could do a lot worse than emulating Billy Gibbons, I figure, for all kinds of reasons.

The sad thing is, Gillette really DOES make the best razors, and always has. Their Fusion Pro, the one I’m holding in the pic, is no more nor less than the absolute best shaving gear I’ve ever had the privilege of using, although the blades for it are hellishly expensive. Schick (shudder) is just cheap copycat junk; don’t bother even bringing those Big Bag 0′ Bic nightmares up at all to me; and after trying several electrics over the years, well, sadly…no. So I fear my coerced Gillette boycott is gonna sting a lot more than the Red Lobster one ever will, or could.

But whatcha gonna do? Sooner or later, we gotta decide we’re just not gonna play docilely along anymore when Lefty decides to step on our faces. Refusing to fork over any more of our hard-earned when shitlib-run corporations sniffily insult us is certainly small potatoes when it comes to vengeance, I admit. But you gotta start somewhere.

Since I mentioned Billy above, this is a fine time for a little ZZ action.



My kid loves this song even more than she does beards on Daddy, and quite rightly so. I’m raising her right on 70s classic rock and such-like, among other styles and genres, and the Little Ol’ Band From Texas is among her very favorites. Every time we play this video at home we do the crazy-legs dance during the guitar solo’s second pass. And then we just laaauuuugh and laugh.

Axis of Irritants update! Schlichter says: retoxify masculinity.

Much as I advocate global warming, I am a strong proponent of toxic masculinity. It’s also known as “masculinity.”

Risk-taking.

Ferociousness.

Independence.

These are the qualities the SJWs want to wring out of us. Why? Because these are the qualities they cannot overcome. They want us weak, passive and obedient. That’s how they get power. Some bloated Trigglypuff screaming about the male gaze can’t force us to do anything. Sure, a lot of them have weight on us, but if we laugh at them and simply say “No” to their demands, they’re stuck. Are they going to go get a rifle and make us? 

Nope. They have to talk us into surrendering, or really, pester us into surrendering. Which means talking us out of the uppity, aggressive, no-damns-given masculinity that is the last obstacle to their fussy, naggy domination.

Don’t be fooled by the “toxic” qualifier – all masculinity is toxic to these human weebles. What they call “toxic” is really the essence of freedom. It’s toxic all right, but to their goals, not ours. Masculinity means freedom from them and the puffy, non-binary utopia they dreamed up because that’s the only world in which such losers could be anything more than a sorry punchline.

Actually, the “masculinity” they decry as “toxic”—rape, bullying, thuggishness, hoggishness, discourtesy, taking unfair advantage of the helpless—isn’t masculinity at all, but its opposite. All those things are reflections of weakness, in truth, and real men neither tolerate nor indulge them. They’re not representative of true masculinity, but of that which true men resist, oppose, and defy. But there’s another way of looking at the Gillette ad:

Although the message aligns with current ideas of “toxic masculinity” and the concept of “rape culture” in which progressive feminists argue men are taught they can do, say, and get away with whatever they want, I saw a different message. The ad is telling a story of respectful, confident, moral young men taught self-respect and self-restraint from their fathers.

The image of a father teaching his son how to shave has become an iconic portrayal of the unique bonding between a father and son and the importance of that relationship on a young man’s development. The ad wants the audience of men to reflect on their behavior and consider the influence they have on their sons. The problem is, the cultural perspective behind the ad caused the very issues it is trying to address.

While the progressive scoffs at this line of reasoning and has for a very long time, the truth is everything they lecture us about proper male behavior today, they aggressively shamed out of society a generation ago. This is simply what happens when the father’s authority in family life is denounced, shamed, and cut out altogether.

To make men better, the reasoning goes, you must shame away all remnants of the barbaric masculine past. It is assumed that our grandfathers’ generation represented the worst of sexism and violence, and society has slowly moved forward since. They don’t seem to realize the men they want for their sons today belong to the exact generation they worked so hard to erase.

Men do not become more compassionate and responsible citizens by renouncing their masculinity and embracing feminism. The culture of obscenity, meaningless sex, and perpetual adolescence is the result of failing to develop masculinity within men. The excesses, abuses, harassment, and violence we see as a social concern are the consequences of young men lost and left to their own devices.

Boys are not lost because of toxic masculinity; they are lost because their fathers have been taken away from them and they cannot figure out how to fill that void with anything but rage and shame.

Agree with this assessment or not, I can’t really see how boys having “two mommies” is going to fix things. Certainly, all these decades of seeing men and fathers mocked as hapless, ineffectual, stupid, incompetent buffoons on TV hasn’t done anyone any good.

Masculinity isn’t a sickness update! This one is locked up behind WSJ’s Iron Curtain, unfortunately, so Glenn’s excerpt is all I can give ya.

In my practice as a psychotherapist, I’ve seen an increase of depression in young men who feel emasculated in a society that is hostile to masculinity. New guidelines from the American Psychological Association defining “traditional masculinity” as a pathological state are likely only to make matters worse.

True, over the past half-century ideas about femininity and masculinity have evolved, sometimes for the better. But the APA guidelines demonize masculinity rather than embracing its positive aspects. In a press release, the APA asserts flatly that “traditional masculinity—marked by stoicism, competitiveness, dominance and aggression—is, on the whole, harmful.” The APA claims that masculinity is to blame for the oppression and abuse of women.

The report encourages clinicians to evaluate masculinity as an evil to be tamed, rather than a force to be integrated. “Although the majority of young men may not identify with explicit sexist beliefs,” it states, “for some men, sexism may become deeply engrained in their construction of masculinity.” The association urges therapists to help men “identify how they have been harmed by discrimination against those who are gender nonconforming”—an ideological claim transformed into a clinical treatment recommendation.

The truth is that masculine traits such as aggression, competitiveness and protective vigilance not only can be positive, but also have a biological basis. Boys and men produce far more testosterone, which is associated biologically and behaviorally with increased aggression and competitiveness. They also produce more vasopressin, a hormone originating in the brain that makes men aggressively protective of their loved ones.

The same goes for feminine traits such as nurturing and emotional sensitivity. Women produce more oxytocin when they nurture their children than men, and the hormone affects men and women differently. Oxytocin makes women more sensitive and empathic, while men become more playfully, tactually stimulating with their children, encouraging resilience. These differences between men and women complement each other, allowing a couple to nurture and challenge their offspring.

Modern society is also too often derisive toward women who embrace their biological tendencies, labeling them abnormal or unhealthy. Women who choose to stay home with their children can feel harshly judged, contributing to postpartum conflict, anxiety and depression.

What’s unhealthy isn’t masculinity or femininity but the demeaning of masculine men and feminine women. The first of the new APA guidelines urges psychologists “to recognize that masculinities are constructed based on social, cultural, and contextual norms,” as if biology had nothing to do with it. Another guideline explicitly scoffs at “binary notions of gender identity as tied to biology.”

From a mental-health perspective, it can be beneficial for women to embrace masculine traits and for men to express feminine ones. Every person will have some mix of the two. But that doesn’t change the reality that women tend to be feminine and men tend to be masculine. Why can’t the APA acknowledge biology while seeing femininity and masculinity on a spectrum?

Two possibilities spring to mind: 1) the APA is now fully-converged Leftist organization, and since the attack on masculinity is part and parcel of the Left’s ongoing FUD campaign to destroy the traditional American notions of family and gender, they’re just participating in it as one would expect, or 2) they’re a bunch of fucking quacks going along with the dominant PC ethos as a sort of defensive-crouch atonement for their many years of officially defining homosexuality as psychological deviance and disorder, for which the Left has never really forgiven them.

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Norms reestablished

And so we bid a sad adieu for another year to dear old Scrooge Picard, thereby reluctantly relenquishing CF’s grip on the Christmas season. Not to worry, Angry Guy is back in his accustomed spot, where his own fierce glower will continue to watch over all and sundry here as always. My, but the time sure does go by quick, don’t it?

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Late merry Christmas!

So there I was nestled all snug in my bed bright and early Christmas morn, with not a creature stirring all through the house. Visions of potential posts danced in my head instead of the de rigeur sugarplums and such. Suddenly, it hit me like a flash: why not take a couple of days off from the innarnuts entirely? What better day than Christmas for a recharging of the ol’ batteries via a little vacation from all that wearisome, neverending political struggle and strife?

So that’s just what I did. Which doesn’t mean I don’t sincerely hope all you fine folks had yourselves a most joyful Christmas, filled with all the good things that go along with what truly is the most wonderful time of the year.




There’s still a lot of Christmas left as far as I’m concerned, whatever the Grinch of a calendar may aver. Ever since I’ve been out on my own, I’ve always strictly observed the Elvis Presley rule about the tree and decorations: they stay up till January 8th (E’s birthday), and even then are taken down with not a little reluctance and sadness. So anyways, yeah, got a few good Christmas topics to cover yet here, and I’m a-gonna cover ’em. So ho ho ho, away we go!

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Christmas repop

So I believe I mentioned that I was considering doing a deep dive through the CF archives for some classic Christmas posts for y’all this year. Here’s the first, from…uhh, wait, 2017? Seriously? Jeez, more recent than I woulda thought—probably too recent to be authentically “classic,” I guess, but what the hell. Original item here.

It’s a wonderful movie
Can’t recall offhand if I’ve written about It’s A Wonderful Life here before; most likely I have, not least because it’s one of my all-time favorite movies. I know I did mention the wonderful Donna Reed, the loveliest human female ever to grace the Earth, in this old post. And I’m quite sure I’ve expressed my contempt for the tiresome hipster douchebaggery that had every snotty twerp in hearing distance caviling about the movie as a lightweight, manipulative, sappy piece of schmaltz—little more than a standard-issue three-hanky weeper cranked out by the Frank Capra factory, noted for producing thinly-disguised propaganda flicks promoting those wretched, repressive old American values we’ve thankfully left in the dustbin of history.

Trust me: if you feel that way about this movie, you will NOT enjoy the rest of this post, which I will tuck below the fold to spare your finely-honed artistic sensibilities until such time as you grow the fuck up and cultivate a proper appreciation for Capra’s masterwork, a film that will far outlive anybody’s jejune cynicism towards it.

First, the bare facts:

It’s a Wonderful Life is a 1946 American Christmas fantasy comedy-drama film produced and directed by Frank Capra, based on the short story “The Greatest Gift”, which Philip Van Doren Stern wrote in 1939 and published privately in 1945. The film is considered one of the most loved films in American cinema and has become traditional viewing during the Christmas season.

The film stars James Stewart as George Bailey, a man who has given up his dreams in order to help others and whose imminent suicide on Christmas Eve brings about the intervention of his guardian angel, Clarence Odbody (Henry Travers). Clarence shows George all the lives he has touched and how different life in his community of Bedford Falls would be had he never been born.

Despite initially performing poorly at the box office because of high production costs and stiff competition at the time of its release, the film has come to be regarded as a classic and is a staple of Christmas television around the world. Theatrically, the film’s break-even point was $6.3 million, approximately twice the production cost, a figure it never came close to achieving in its initial release. An appraisal in 2006 reported: “Although it was not the complete box office failure that today everyone believes…it was initially a major disappointment and confirmed, at least to the studios, that Capra was no longer capable of turning out the populist features that made his films the must-see, money-making events they once were.”

It’s a Wonderful Life is considered one of the most critically acclaimed films ever made. It was nominated for five Academy Awards including Best Picture and has been recognized by the American Film Institute as one of the 100 best American films ever made placing number 11 on its initial 1998 greatest movie list, and would also place number one on its list of the most inspirational American films of all time. Capra revealed that this was his personal favorite among the films he directed and that he screened it for his family every Christmas season.

Some more interesting trivia: the movie was shot over the spring and summer of ’46 on RKO’s Culver City studio and movie ranch, and it was HOT that year. I read someplace long ago that temps went well into the 90s routinely that year, doubtless an effect of the early stages of Global Wormening™, and the filming was a miserably uncomfortable experience for everyone involved. I thought this was kinda interesting, too:

RKO created “chemical snow” for the film in order to avoid the need for dubbed dialogue when actors walked across the earlier type of movie snow, made up of crushed cornflakes.

Some more great trivia, from IMDB:

For the scene that required Donna Reed to throw a rock through the window of the Granville House, Frank Capra hired a marksman to shoot it out on cue. To everyone’s amazement, Reed broke the window by herself. She’d played baseball in high school, and had a strong throwing arm.

The gym floor that opens up to reveal a swimming pool was real. It was located at Beverly Hills High School in Los Angeles.

It’s still there, too, and still in use.

As Uncle Billy drunkenly leaves the Bailey home, it sounds as if he stumbles into some trash cans on the sidewalk. In fact, a crew member dropped a large tray of props right after Thomas Mitchell went off-screen. James Stewart began laughing, and Mitchell quickly improvised “I’m alright, I’m okay!” Frank Capra decided to use this take in the final cut, and gave the stagehand a $10 bonus for “improving the sound.”

If that sounds paltry to the point of insulting, just remember that those ten 1946 bucks would amount to, what, about thirty grand or so today. Ahem.

James Stewart was nervous about the phone scene kiss because it was his first screen kiss since his return to Hollywood after the war. Under Frank Capra’s watchful eye, Stewart filmed the scene in only one unrehearsed take, and it worked so well that part of the embrace was cut because it was too passionate to pass the censors.

And oh, what a beautiful moment it is, too. “It’s the chance of a lifetime…” Puddles me up right quick every time I see it, and I’ve been watching this flick for years and years now.

While filming the scene in which George prays in the bar, James Stewart has said that he was so overcome that he began to sob. Frank Capra later re-framed and blew up the shot because he wanted to catch that expression on Stewart’s face. That’s why the shot looks so grainy compared with the rest of the film.

Another golden moment as far as I’m concerned, and profoundly affecting, at least for me. A bit more detail on that snow:

Films made prior to this one used cornflakes painted white for the falling snow effect. Because the cornflakes were so loud, dialogue had to be dubbed in later. Frank Caprawanted to record the sound live, so a new snow effect was developed using foamite (a fire-fighting chemical) and soap and water. This mixture was then pumped at high pressure through a wind machine to create the silent, falling snow. 6000 gallons of the new snow were used in the film. The RKO Effects Department received a Class III Scientific or Technical Award from the Motion Picture Academy for the development of the new film snow.

And here’s more on the heat:

Despite being set around Christmas, it was filmed during a heat wave. It got to be so hot that Frank Capra gave everyone a day off to recuperate.

This one is…well, kinda ugly:

According to Robert J. Anderson, H.B. Warner really was drunk during the scene in which Mr. Gower slaps young George. Warner’s slaps were real and caused real blood to come from Anderson’s ear. After the scene was finished, Warner hugged and comforted Anderson.

Um. Okay then. This one I did not know until now:

In the scene at the dance in the high school gym, when George Bailey first sees Mary and approaches her, the young man talking to Mary is “Alfalfa” of Little Rascals fame in the uncredited role of Freddie Othelo. He is also in the scene where he turns the key that opens the gym floor to reveal the swimming pool.

And this one I did:

Both James Stewart and Donna Reed came from small towns; Stewart from Indiana, Pennsylvania, and Reed from Denison, Iowa. She demonstrated her rural roots by winning an impromptu bet with Lionel Barrymore when he challenged her to milk a cow on-set.

GOD, I love that woman.

When all’s said and done, anyone who can watch the whole movie up to the climactic, stirring final scene when George’s friends all show up to donate their little all to help out in his most trying hour (even old Potter returning the 8 grand Uncle Billy had left in his vile clutches!), and Harry offers a toast “To my brother George—the luckiest guy in town” and not choke up at least a little is just not someone I really want to know, dammit. It’s a damned character flaw is what it is, indicative of a possibly dangerous derangement at the very least.

But that ain’t the only deeply moving scene, not by yards and yards. Another of my all-time favorite moments is when Bert and Ernie bring George home to the “leaky, drafty old barn of a house” at 320 Sycamore and usher him inside. George is flabbergasted by Mary’s transformation of a couple of run-down rooms into a serviceable kitchen and bedroom, and just stands there, hands on hips, smiling at her in stunned surprise. The look she gives him back is the one every man on Earth wants to see on his woman’s face when she looks at him: nearly beatific, eyes shining, the love in her a nearly palpable thing, a presence in the room in its own right. Uncontainable; warm; deep and joyous; enveloping but not smothering, just a thing of perfect natural beauty.

Oh, and did you know that they named Sesame Street’s famous Bert and Ernie after the characters in the movie? Of course you did. (Some of Henson’s colleagues adamantly deny this, though).

So go watch it again without guilt or shame if it hasn’t aired yet in your area. Myself, I watched it last night when it aired on USA Network, and will very likely watch it again before Christmas is upon us; I bought the DVD almost the moment it came out, see, and I treasure it. They just ain’t making them like It’s A Wonderful Life anymore. In truth, I doubt they even can, and I’m near certain they wouldn’t want to. Either way, that’s a damned shame. Christmas just wouldn’t be Christmas without it, as far as I’m concerned.

So there you have it, folks. And yes, I do still feel the same way about this truly timeless film, all these…umm, this…okay, okay, one year later. A new category for this year’s Christmas posts; it’s baffling why I didn’t establish the thing years ago, considering all the Christmas posts I’ve done over lo, these many years. It woulda made it one hell of a lot easier to round ’em all up for review, that’s for sure.

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The most wonderful time of the year

Yep, it’s time once more to dust off good ol’ Scrooge Picard for the annual Christmas redo. Expect problems, as usual; feel free to let me know about ’em, as usual; I’ll try my utmost to fix what I can and pretend the rest isn’t happening. As Usual.

Enjoy, gang.

Update! Arrgh. Problem one discovered: this theme does not work worth a DAMN in either Safari or Brave. Crap. Crap, crap, crap.

Updated update! Okay, think I got ‘er going now. It’s working on all the browsers I have installed on my trusty eleven-year-old iMac, at any rate.

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Yum yum!

Y’all no doubt remember my prediction that Kavanaugh would never get a confirmation vote, much less in time to take his rightful place for the next session of the Court. I said then that I’d be delighted to be forced to eat crow if that turned out to be wrong, but I didn’t expect it. Well…ummm…can somebody find me a knife and a fork, maybe?

WASHINGTON DC – Judge Brett Kavanaugh was sworn in as the 114th Supreme Court justice late Saturday, just hours after the Senate voted to confirm him to the nation’s highest court after a rancorous confirmation battle.

Kavanaugh was sworn in by Chief Justice John Roberts in a private ceremony, accompanied by his wife and children. It means that now-Justice Kavanaugh will begin hearing cases before the court on Tuesday.

Bold mine, proving I was dead wrong on both counts. On the even brighter side, a heaping helping of liberal tears ought to help my unexpected meal go down nicely.

HYSTERICAL LIBERALS Break Down SOBBING After Senate Votes to Confirm Judge Kavanaugh (VIDEO– PICTURES)

Go check out the pics, they’ll do your heart good. Meanwhile, I gotta go look up a decent recipe for crow here.

Unhinged update! More sweet, sweet liberal tears.

I was in the Senate gallery this afternoon when Justice Brett Kavanaugh was confirmed. You would have thought I was at an exorcism in an insane asylum.

Perhaps you were watching on television and heard the disruptions, though you certainly didn’t see them. The attenuated audio probably didn’t catch the frightening, incoherent shrieking – including the lingering screaming and howling as they were being dragged down the hallways outside the gallery.

If there was any doubt that the opposition to Kavanaugh was unhinged, uncivil, disruptive, rude, and borderline nuts, my experience in the gallery made it clear.

The first example  came when Senator Cornyn rightfully railed against the mobs who spent the last three weeks assaulting and assailing Kavanaugh supporters.

“Mob rule is necessary,” one shrieking woman shouted before security personnel could settle her down.

At least she was honest. It did not appear that Capitol Police removed her for her crime, unfortunately. That would soon change.

Nothing they were yelling and howling could be heard. It was the sound of all of them, in discordant, rage-fueled, wild fury, that was so unearthly. I have never heard a sound like it before.

Senator Dick Durbin said a few weeks ago in response to the committee that these were the sounds of democracy.

No they weren’t. They were the sounds of a group of people tinkering with madness. They were the sounds of irrational, unhinged, and unmoored lunatics. These were the people who opposed Kavanaugh’s nomination. They were an embarrassment to themselves.

These are not merely insane disruptors. These are people who care nothing for the country’s institutions. Even courtesy in the Senate gallery is an institution these monsters hate.

Trump pounced tonight at a rally in Kansas. “You don’t give power to an angry left-wing mob. The Democrats have become too dangerous and extreme to govern.

Bold mine, and dead on the money. “The sound of democracy”? Self-serving twaddle; it’s the sound of democracy derided and undermined—of anarchy, chaos, insolence, sedition, and madness. These people are overgrown brats throwing a tantrum of extraordinary, vein-busting vehemence; any parent of a spoiled toddler would recognize it right away. Their every bitter defeat is a bounty and a boon, their anguished caterwaul a delight to the ears of real Americans. I’ve posted this vid before, and it remains evergreen:




I repeat: SUCK IT, SHITLIBS. ELECTIONS HAVE CONSEQUENCES. YOU LOST.

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Back up!

Well, THAT was embarrassing. More in a short, while I get my brain organized (snort!) here.

Update! Okay, first off, yeah, I kinda screwed up here. I stay a cpl-three months behind on the hosting bills, which the fine folks at Hosting Matters, bless their hearts, are always very forgiving of. I’ve been buds with Stacy Tabb, Big Boss lady at Hosting Matters, since way back yonder in the Warblogger years immediately following 9/11, when she was known by her nom de blog, Sekimori. Her, Gabby, and everybody else at HM are nothing but class, and that’s flat.

On the other hand, I had told Gabby three weeks ago that I’d be catching up the arrears that weekend, late as usual. No prob, says she.

And then the damned car shit the bed.

Now, y’all may be aware that I make my meager living with that car, using it as I do for Lyft- and Uber-driving. Car ain’t running, I ain’t working. Period. So while I desperately scrambled to sort out an overheating problem by throwing parts at it, one by one, until I’d replaced the cooling system entire and emptied my poor bank account in the doing, that’s what I was also doing: not working.

Finally, though, I got the overheating issue sorted and took the car out last night for an extended test drive. I ran a few Lyft rides, earned a few shekels, and was feeling pretty good about things.

And that’s when the ECM shit the bed.

I barely limped the car home, it was running so shitty. ECM’s—Electronic Control Module (or Unit, depending)—for those who don’t know, are hideously expensive; it’s the computer box that basically runs the whole damned car. They’re on all cars with EFI (Electronic Fuel Injection), which is pretty much every car built since about 1980 or so. Being a guy who has never psychologically evolved from the carburetor (and never wanted to), I knew precious little about ’em, and cared less. But I know they ain’t cheap, and it’s a fairly involved bitch to install and program one, too.

So, long story short, the hosting payment was missed, the website went down, and all in the midst of a two-week ordeal of wrenching and cussing that ain’t done with yet. And then you guys stepped in.

I’ve said many times before here just how humbling these tangible exhibitions of how much this site means to you folks are. And today it hit me, although it really should have long ago: this website is a team effort, in every way that matters. It’s an easy thing to forget sometimes; too often I tend to dismiss the significance of this online hangout as being just my private little space in which to vent some spleen when the mood strikes and the opportunity arises, and nothing more.

But that ain’t right. I’ve been doing this a long, long time now, a significant portion of my adult (ahem) life. I’m proud of much of the work I’ve done here. I also think there’s really not another blog like this one anywhere, one that runs the gamut from domestic politics to foreign policy to military affairs, methods, and technology to civilizational clashes and warfare to music to cars to motorcycles to whateverthehell else. If there is, I can’t think of one offhand.

And you’re all—connmenters, contributors, lurkers, all—a big, big part of the whole shebang, for which participation I once again offer my most sincere gratitude. Thanks, too, to my fellow keyboard warriors out there who reached out with a quickness to express kindness and concern when things went momentarily sideways: Fran Porretto; Aesop; the Shooters; Bill Quick; Misha; and to anybody I might have missed, my apologies. Special mention to CF lifer Bob Tracy, who was on the case before virtually anybody and got the ball rolling.

I now have enough to not only reinstate the site but to do the necessary repairs to get the car back up and running as well, and my ass back to work at last. Thank God for that, and for all of you. Can’t say that enough. And now, on with the show…

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Publick notice

After the overwhelmingly positive comments and emails I got encouraging me to move forward with the podcast idea, well, I don’t see how I can NOT give it a whirl. So I’m kicking some ideas around with my roomie, my lifelong partner-in-crime who also happens to be the rhythm guitarist and backup vocalist for the Playboys. We also happen to have a perfect room for a studio here, although it will require a fair bit of cleaning out and re-organizing. As of now I’m thinking in terms of something close to an old-school rock and roll radio show with plenty of political/current-events ranting and raving interspersed throughout. The radio-show idea is probably shorting the technological options of podcasting a goodish bit, along with imposing some limits that maybe don’t make a lot of sense in what’s supposed to be a free-form and wide-open media format, I dunno.

On the other hand, with me and Chipps doing the thing, it opens up some other vistas that as far as I know almost nobody else is doing—specifically, we can do some live music of our own here and there, to name one. The house is jam-full of musical instruments, amps, and such-like; no reason not to make use of them for this thing, I’m thinking. We’ll see what develops. Up until now I’ve been very careful to keep music and politics separate, so…well, like I said, we’ll see.

In addition to clearing out our nascent studio and mad-scientist lab here, we’ll have to assemble the necessary studio gear and all. Some of it we’re going to have here already, which ought to hold the costs down to something less than outright coronary-inducing. Nonetheless, nobody should be expecting our inaugural ‘cast to drop within the next few days, or even weeks. I’m thinking maybe sometime around Christmas-time, but I ain’t gonna rush it. I want to get things as dialed-in as possible, in terms of the production side of the house if not the content/creative aspect, before turning this baby loose on y’all long-suffering CF lifers out there.

The really funny thing here, though, is this: as influential as your supportive responses were, know what really inspired me to start thinking seriously about taking the podcast plunge? Weird as it will no doubt seem, it was this:




Hearing that remake on the radio the other day reminded me fondly of Ram Jam’s remake, a monster 70s hit that I just loved in my youth and my daughter loves now. It was originally a Leadbelly tune, which I coincidentally heard on my Spotify blues feed the other day for the first time in years. These recent coinkydinks got me to thinking about how much fun it might be to toss ’em all into the podcast mix one after another for a compare-and-contrast; this in turn got me to thinking about other off-the-wall juxtapositions I could throw out there to keep things entertaining for my pitiful handful of listeners out there.

So yeah, I’m going to be dipping a toe in as soon as I can get equipment purchased, space cleared, and some ideas jotted down. I want to have all my ducks as in-a-row as possible right off the bat, which I figure will have to make what is sure to be a sometimes painfully steep learning curve from publicly embarrassing me too badly. And I remain just about too busy to even post here with any consistency, which will doubtless not help speed things along. I’ll keep y’all posted here as the thing is slowly jolted, Frankenstein-like, into shambolic life. Thanks for weighing in, everybody.

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Your thoughts solicited

I’ve never listened to a podcast in my life. I very seldom bother with YouTube vids either, unless I’m searching for something specific to post here like a music vid or something. Most of the time, when someone suggests I watch this or that video or listen to this or that podcast, I just agree that it sounds great, thank them, and then get busy forgetting all about the whole thing. I have no idea why I’m so resistant to ’em, but…well, there it is.

But I had a conversation the other evening with an old and dear friend of mine, a radio DJ from around these parts now living in Florida. He’s a CF long-timer, and he was very insistent that I should consider doing a podcast myself. I barely have time to even blog these days, spending just about all my waking hours either minding the young ‘un or struggling to keep my head above water via Ubering. So I was, shall we say, blase about the notion throughout.

Right up until he told me that a major radio conglomerate with whom he has a close professional association has gotten behind podcasts in a big way, and that he could easily hook me up with them for distribution purposes. They pay fairly handsomely for this stuff, he says, which I find difficult to even comprehend.

So, not being in a position to be looking any gift horses in the mouth, I confess I’m mulling it over somewhat seriously. First step, I guess, would be to start sampling what’s out there so I know what the hell anybody even does on the damned things. I mean, I can guess easily enough what podcasts are generally like, or so I think. But hey, I could be all wet, right? Could be this new expressive frontier harbors exciting and inspiring possibilities I can’t begin to imagine, and I’m only depriving myself of great satisfaction by abstaining. Could be I need to get hip and dip a toe in to see what’s shakin’.

Then again, a certain startup investment would be required, which for me right now amounts to a serious obstacle—a near-insurmountable one, honestly. Then again again: dude, BIG RADIO BUCKS. For doing nothing more than running my damned mouth about whatever I might feel like yapping about. Those who know me well, be they podcast fans or no, would surely wonder what the hell took me so long. After all, I’ve been giving it away for free all these years, to their annoyance and/or exhaustion sometimes.

Then there’s the stubborn fact that the last time this DJ friend of mine tried to coax me into the talk-for-pay business—a smallish and occasional gig at the station he worked at here (WRFX, for you locals) that could have maybe led to bigger-and-better—I poohed-poohed it out of hand. My main objection to trying it out back then was my hellishly hayseed accent, thick enough to cut with a knife and splash Texas Pete on. I’m not in the least self-conscious about that, mind. I’ve been on radio and TV plenty over the years, though, so I know what I sound like on the air. I assure you: if you ain’t from around these parts yourself, it ain’t pretty. I can’t imagine anybody subjecting themselves to such a thing on purpose.

All the same, I’ve admittedly looked back on that choice now and then with some regret. It was a missed opportunity for sure; even if it had led nowhere at all, it would have been a fun ride anyway, and I really should’ve taken him up on it. Moreover, I’ve always hated the sound of my singing voice on our records too, but it never stopped me from making more of ’em every chance I got, and selling ’em to the general public too. Clearly, then, my discomfort with my own personal vocal stylings is a good bit less than crippling, and can be overcome if necessary.

All of which is to say that, well, I’m torn here. Which is where y’all come in: any interest at all out there in listening to a longwinded, opinionated old blowhard prattle on in a hick drawl about current events, music, motorcycles, hot rods, and who knows what the hell else? Or is just reading my nonsense here quite enough to put up with all by itself, thanksverymuch?

Zman, who as you all know I respect and admire a great deal, sure seems to enjoy doing the things. It’s my understanding he was pretty much dragged kicking and screaming into it, then wound up being surprised by how enjoyable he found it. Maybe it could work out that way for me too. Lord knows I can use all the enjoyment I can find in life these days. We all can.

So feel free to let me know what you think about the idea, folks—pro, con, or indifferent—via comment or email. Any related suggestions or advice would be welcome as well. If there’s enough interest, I’ll maybe look into the expense involved and then just take it from there. Who knows, your input might end up convincing an old dog to learn a new trick.

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Site news

Be advised that I’m gonna be experimenting with some new ad-server code for a day or three here. If things go wonky, be sure and let me know about it, mmm-kay? Also, these ads are a pay-for-clicks deal, so any time you hit one of the ad links you can take pride in having done your bit to keep this hogwallow ruining your day and elevating your blood pressure in the future. It’s all highly experimental, so your patience during the shakedown period will be much appreciated. Thanks, folks!

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YES!

I can’t tell y’all how pleased I am to announce that the great Spurwing Plover is back and commenting in his inimitable style here again, after a long absence. You OG blogging hands will probably remember him—he was a fixture here and other places back in the halcyon days of the old Warblogosphere—but here’s some old background for those who don’t. Welcome back, old friend. Glad to know you’re still out there kicking up dust.

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Ball: dropped

Okay, so obviously I did NOT get done with work in time to sit down and expand on that previous post like I had hoped to. It’s been a hugely eventful week, particularly these last couple of days, and I gots about a million and three things I want to throw out here tonight. So this, by way of apology for last night’s lapse, and also to give the fundraiser a last plug, along with a huge thank-you to those folks out there who found themselves flush enough to toss a buck or three in the can. I can’t tell you how grateful Iam for your generous support. And with that…a-posting we shall go!

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You can thank me later…

For some reason, the fine American Greatness site doesn’t provide author-page links on its main page, or not that I’ve ever been able to unearth anyway. I finally managed to tease ’em out via some extra-sneaky circuitous navigation just the same, so I’m thinking I’ll put links to Codevilla and Mike Walsh, at least, somewhere in the sidebar here where they might come in handy for you fine folks. I have some past-due blogroll updating to do anyway, so look for the links over there as soon as I can carve out a spare minute or three to get it done for ya.

Because I CARE, that’s why.

Update! Annnnd they’re up, in the “Essayists” section. Like I said, y’all can maybe thank me later if you wish…during next week’s annual CF Spring Fundraiser, say. Ahem.

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Can’t stop the signal

So the other day Bill said this:

Gonna Take a Two Week Break
I’ll pop back in if something of actual moment occurs, but for right now, I’m totally burned out on the stupid wars between two lunatic positions: One, that Trump is Satan, or, two, Trump is a Perfect Saint.

Neither one is even remotely connected to reality, and I’m tired of dealing with it. Actually, bored with trying to deal with it.

Ever since which he’s been posting up a storm, starting that same danged day.

Okay, I just had to tweak my old friend a tiny bit there, no real criticism intended. Truth is, this blogging stuff is powerfully addictive. I’ve found over the years that if I stay away for a few days for whatever reason, it becomes easier to keep on staying away…for a little while. But then suddenly the urge is back on you, and before you know it you’re right back into the deep end again. Plenty of times I’ve done the same thing Bill just did, decided to take as much as a month off. I’ve even seriously pondered giving it up altogether. But at some point, usually after only a couple-three days, I’m right back at the ol’ keyboard, pounding away. The times I’ve gone silent here have nearly always been because of other things, circumstances I had no control over. And I was mulling over topics I wanted to write about and composing posts in my head the whole time.

For me, it’s never been about traffic, money, or recognition from my fellow bloggers. Since this humble hogwallow never has generated a huge number of comments, it isn’t really about that either, although I greatly enjoy the ones I do get and encourage anybody who is so inclined to jump right in. The give and take with readers is always rewarding, but I wouldn’t know what to do with hundreds of comments on each post like some of my fellow bloggers get. I barely have time to post, much less read and respond to eleventy million comments, which I would feel I have a serious duty to do. I seldom read the comments on other blogs at all, and then only on a specific handful of blogs.

It astounds me just how many of us are out there doing this now, and how many of them are quite good. It astounds me even more that I’ve been slaving away in the blogosphere fields now for, what, going on…uhh…shit…seventeen years?

REALLY? Damn.

That’s a long time by any measure. In that time, I’ve: moved house way too many times; played a shit-ton of rock and roll shows and travelled a great deal doing ’em; lost and found way too many jobs, in highly disparate fields; gotten married, had a wife killed, gotten married again, had a daughter, and saw that marriage painfully deteriorate and end badly; reconciled at last with the second wife and learned how to get along with her against my expectations; rekindled a lifelong interest in religion, accepted Christ, and made an effort to spend more time reflecting on and enlarging the role Christianity plays in my life; read a whole bunch of excellent books; bought and sold many guitars, amps, computers, cars, and Harleys; repaired a whole bunch of shit, and broken a whole bunch more; began working on a semi-autobiographical novel, and failed miserably; renewed contact with some dear old friends and lost contact with others; and lastly, gotten a lot older and more feeble—skinnier, slower, balder, weaker, uglier, but (sadly) no wiser. Or not so’s anybody could tell, anyway.

We’ve also seen tectonic shifts in our political landscape over those years, most recently a very welcome, heartening one indeed.

All that, and here I am still banging away at the old CF pop-stand, despite being a hell of a lot busier these days and finding it more difficult to make the time it takes to not just sit down here and put something out, but to do good work, work that doesn’t just embarrass the hell out of me. Life gets more complicated; it brings its changes, both large and small. It grants its favors, teaches its lessons, and exacts its costs. But, incredible though it seems, this blogging thing endures.

Yeah, I think I can make the assertion that blogging is addictive safely, with a high degree of confidence. Don’t sweat my teasing ya, Bill; you just keep on keeping on, as I already know you will. You can’t help yourself any more than I can.

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"America is at that awkward stage. It's too late to work within the system, but too early to shoot the bastards." – Claire Wolfe, 101 Things to Do 'Til the Revolution

"To put it simply, the Left is the stupid and the insane, led by the evil. You can’t persuade the stupid or the insane and you had damn well better fight the evil." - Skeptic

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