Cold Fury

Harshing your mellow since 9/01

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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Publick Notice!

Just a site note or three: y’all may have noticed that in my arduous wrasslin’ and thrashing about with the site redesign after Christmas, I somehow left out the site-support section (PayPal, Amazon, subs, etc) entirely. In the process of getting a new advertiser all set up I realized my errors and got ’em back up there, which any of you experiencing a sudden surge of generosity accompanied by a surfeit of ready cash smoldering in your pockets will no doubt appreciate.

The aforementioned advertiser is actually a longtime lurker around these parts, and the ad is for…oh, I’ll just let him explain it himself:

Hey, Mike:

My name is David Dubrow, and I’ve been a lurking reader of Cold Fury for years, back when Instapundit wasn’t a group blog and the conservative blogosphere was getting into full swing. I’m also a writer. Along with two other right-leaning writers, Paul Hair and Ray Zacek, I’ve written a short story anthology called Appalling Stories: 13 Tales of Social Injustice, published by Obsidian Point.

Appalling Stories tackles current topics, though with a story-first perspective; we’re not fans of message fiction any more than anyone else. To quote the back cover copy, “Inside, you’ll read about a disturbing erotic resort that caters to an exclusive clientele, a violent Antifa group biting off much more than they can chew, a serial killer with a furious inch, and a lot more.”

We write about subjects, characters, and themes you’re not supposed to talk about anymore in today’s PC-soaked culture.

Here’s the product page link on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B077ZK9VYP

There’s also a link in the ad itself, of course. David was kind enough to send along an e-pub copy of the book, which I’ll be perusing shortly and am most grateful for. Congrats to David and his co-authors on the publication of the book; these days, getting something truly transgressive released by a publishing industry that lists so heavily Leftward counts as a noteworthy achievement.

May as well throw out another mention and a link to my good friend Francis’s stuff while I’m at it here, along with my heartiest recommendation.

And while I’m on the topic of advertisers, I promised Ammoman Eric a mention as well. He sent a case of his wares in various calibers for me to blast through with murderous disregard for children and other living things, and I can tell you that the service was incredibly fast, the goods well and securely packaged. My experience with Eric’s service was entirely satisfactory, and I heartily recommend him too.

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DAMN YOU, MONTY!

Okay, so I did in fact get on Gab at Monty’s instigation and posted a few little things there the other day, and…well, honestly, I have to admit I do kind of like it. I can see it being useful for commenting on minor things that sort of catch my eye but for one reason or another don’t inspire the kind of extended rant I’m accustomed to tossing off here. I still have a lot to figure out about how to work the damned thing—like how to post links or embed images, among others—but all in all, I think I’m gonna play around with it a little more and just see where it goes.

I still don’t see any reason to bother with Twitter, seeing as how they’re only going to wind up banning me anyway, and that probably right quick. I never have seen any point in trying to persuade people to let me hang around in places I ain’t wanted—especially when I don’t much like them either. There does seem to be an option to load your Gab posts on Twitter as well, which might be worth investigating just for the purpose of making a small nuisance of myself over there. But I dunno; East is East and West and West, and never the twain shall etc. Maybe Kipling was onto something there. He almost always was.

Gab handle is @Tommygunmike, for any of y’all miscreants interested in watching me flail about in a new pond to see if I sink or float.

Just remember, we all have Monty to thank for this. If “thank” is the word. Ahem.

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A bad case of CRS

Jeez-O-Pete. So many open tabs to clear, so much catching up to do generally that I spaced entirely on updating you fine folks on the whole catastrophic-diabetes-foot issue. The initial appointment at the Diabetes Clinic went very well, or as well as such things can at least. The doc looked at the foot, which looked to me to be healing nicely, and didn’t shriek or faint dead away. Basically, she said, “keep doing what you’ve been doing” and prescribed some antibiotics to knock out what infection still remained. Along with that was ‘scrips for Metformin and Glimepiride for The Sugar, and a blood-pressure med called Lisinopril. She recommended a baby aspirin a day to help ward off the risk of heart attack, which I learned is seven times higher for diabetics than normal people.

My A1C checked out at 12, which is middling poor but not too awful, 7 being okay and 17 spelling real trouble. She told me the meds would have me all kinds of fucked up at first, until my body started adjusting to ’em, and she was NOT fooling about that. Nausea, lethargy and lack of energy, the runs—you name it, this stuff has inflicted it on me. She said that could go on for as much as two weeks, but thankfully after a week things seem to be settling down nicely.

So, well, yeah. Bottom line: I walked out of the clinic feeling way better about the situation than I did when I walked in. I think part of the reason my blood pressure was slightly elevated was that I was absolutely terrified over the prospect of being told the left foot was going to have to go, which seemed all but inevitable when I went in the place. The doc was nice, professional, and…well, everything you want a doc to be, basically. I go back on April 2nd to adjust the meds if necessary; one part of getting older that I’ve always dreaded was the increasing presence of doctors in one’s life that goes along with it. I’ve been blessed all my life with good health, and the magnitude of that blessing will be growing more evident as I age, I’m sure.

Sorry to be late in getting the news to y’all, and my humblest thanks for your concern. It means the world to me, and that’s the plain truth. And now, on with the tab-clearing.

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Sequel!

You folks might remember a few months back when I enthusiastically recommended our dear friend Fran Poretto’s latest novel, Innocents. He mentioned at the time that the book was a difficult one for him to finish, being a distinct departure for him thematically and in other ways. I’m a HUGE fan of Francis’ work and enjoyed the book thoroughly, as I have every other thing of his I’ve read. But you could practically see the sweat and hear the exhausted sigh from him, even via e-mail.

He also mentioned that he had received requests for a sequel pretty much right away, a possibility he shied from in horror in our e-mail conversation. Understandable enough, coming off the completion of a difficult work, and I saw no reason to either gainsay him or try to prod him into considering such a project. The man truly is one of the best sci-fi writers I know of; his stuff is well-written—strongly reminiscent in places of the great Heinlein, while remaining uniquely his own—and any direction he cares to go in is fine with me, as long as he sends me a copy.

So imagine my delighted surprise when I received this missive from him the other day:

Innocents has stimulated the usual queries about a sequel, and I’ve been trying to come up with a governing idea for one. The idea that most intrigues me at the moment is one that could raise quite a lot of howls. Brace yourself, because I’m about to try it out on you.

The “transgenderism” fad is essentially a psychosis, an emotional disorder for which there is currently no effective therapy. Part of my intent in writing the three futanari stories (“A Place of Our Own,” “One Small Detail,” and “A Daughter of the County,” in case I’ve never mentioned them to you before, and great God in heaven, once again I can’t remember if I did!) was to dramatize the disorder from another angle: persons born “intersex,” with female bodies and other characteristics except for their genitals, which are male. These are folks who: 1) were given their unusual anatomies at birth, and: 2) have all the troubles you might imagine because of that. The contrast between the lot of those futanari and the born-normal but willful “transgenders” was what I was most interested in.

Now imagine that:

  • An effective therapy for the transgender psychosis is found. It’s painless, has no perceptible side effects, and is 100% effective.
  • Some time after that, the genetic basis for the futanari condition is isolated, such that it can be averted through zygotic surgery.

I’d imagine that the uproar among “transgenders” would be considerable. There would be those who would demand that the therapy be outlawed. There would be others who are overjoyed at the prospect of an effective treatment. And there would be a third group, “transgenders” who had transitioned some time ago, who would be in absolute agony over having “been born too soon.”

But of course, a therapy for an emotional malady would have no bearing on the futanari. Their plight would remain unaffected. How would they react to the news? And how, once it was announced that their condition could be prevented, would they react to that? After all, it would leave them as a demographic isolated in time, soon to be no more, especially as they can’t reproduce. Would some of them seek to perpetuate their kind by other means, such as cloning? What would be the effects on the international sex trade in persons with such bodies? And what would become of Athene Academy?

Some of this comes to mind because of the capering of certain “deaf activists.” In case you’re not familiar with that group, they claim that deafness is a “culture,” and seek to make it a condition protected by law – perhaps even favored with special privileges and subventions, like the Amerinds. There was a lesbian deaf couple that went to great lengths to ensure that “their son” would be born deaf, a species of cruelty I can’t imagine being tolerated by a more sane era.

Also, we have the homosexual activists and their efforts to have conversion therapy outlawed. Now, conversion therapy is hit-or-miss. Apparently it’s effective no more than 10% of the time, and the patient goes through considerable emotional stress along the way, so the parallel isn’t exact. However, the idea that a group with a recognized handicap would strive to prevent that handicap from being treated is on a par with the “deafness is a culture” types. It suggests that the reaction to effective therapies for disabling conditions that set significant groups of people apart won’t always be positive. But how negative would it be? Would violence be involved?

Working title: The Experienced. (With apologies to the spirit of William Blake.)

Does any of this strike sparks?

Damned right it does, especially knowing the capable hands and imaginative mind that will shape the story. These are compelling speculations, fresh as tomorrow’s news, presenting thorny dilemmas we’ll soon be wrestling with for real, both as individuals and culturally.

Another baffling phenom along the lines of the “deaf activists” Francis mentions is the currently-fashionable denunciation of “fat shaming.” Certain people—yes, we can easily surmise the political leanings of most of them—incomprehensibly make the claim that morbidly obese people are “beautiful” too, and should not in any way be encouraged to try to lift the curse of their infirmity but to take “pride” in it instead. Apart from the ridiculous idea that 400 pounds of jiggling blubber is in any way “beautiful” to anybody, just never you mind the life-threatening consequences of obesity, the shame and self-loathing obese people suffer, the sad restrictions it places on their ability to fully enjoy life, the exorbitant expense and scarcity of such mundanities as clothing and shoes, and the many other damaging effects of their pathology.

Not that we ought to be making fun of the poor fatties, of course, any more than we should deaf people or “transgender” lunatics or any other of the tragically afflicted. But decency, humanity, courtesy, and compassion in no way require that we all pretend that these handicaps are admirable, or beneficial, or some sort of blessing in disguise. They are what they are: afflictions. They require only that we acknowledge the reality of their nature as such and, if we can’t find a way to help their victims to prevail over them somehow, that we just leave them the hell alone. I can’t imagine any way in which it might be helpful to actually stand up and cheer for those afflictions, to dupe the afflicted into being thankful for such a “gift,” or to insult whatever dignity they have by figuratively averting our eyes via patronizing, perverted euphemistic contortions such as “differently abled.”

Enough digression, back to brass tacks: if any of you haven’t already, get on over to Francis’ place and buy his books. I promise you you won’t regret it, and your appetite will be duly whetted for the sequel to Innocents as an added bonus. Having made a go at writing a novel myself a few years back—and failing miserably at it, too—I can only tip my hat in humble admiration to a guy like Francis, who manages to produce such extraordinary work again and again (I was gonna append something like “seemingly effortlessly” at the last there, but I know better than that).

Thankfully, the fruits of Poretto’s toil in the gardens of lit’rachure are easily available to us lesser lights in this the Age of the Innarnuts, and at a bargain price. He also has a variety of (mostly) shorter novels available here, along with one on his thoughts about the nuts and bolts of writing, all for the astonishingly low, low price of…FREE. Do yourself a favor and go get yourself some. You’ll be supporting one of the good guys, with the added benefit of helping a worthwhile alternative to a world of creative endeavor dominated by lugubrious dreck salted heavily with liberal proselytizing to flourish.

I ain’t seeing a downside here, people. Francis tells me that his last endorsement from these humble environs resulted in a most gratifying jump in sales; go out there and do us all proud, gang.

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Hold onto your hats, folks!

Got some truly exciting news for y’all: notorious CF commenter, fellow blogger, old friend, and all-around good guy Billy Hollis will begin posting regularly here at the ol’ hogwallow just as soon as I can get his access set up. Billy is a damned fine writer and an extremely astute guy, with a solid record of noteworthy commentary going back at least to his days at the Q and O blog. I’ve been excerpting his stuff here since then, and always look forward to his contributions here. Those of you who have read him already know his writing packs a real wallop: his arguments are always well-reasoned and difficult to dispute, and his political opinions are bolstered by experience, solid logic, and just plain good sense. I can’t tell you all how happy I am to have him as a co-blogger at last; he’s going to be quite an asset here, and I consider it a signal honor and privilege to welcome him aboard.

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Back again!

Well, kinda sorta; blogging is likely to remain slow for a bit, as I settle into a new place and deal with the chaotic aftermath of moving.

Yes, moving. Again.

It’s thoroughly humiliating to have to admit such a thing, but a few weeks ago I was evicted from the Cheap Ghetto Apartment, due to my being impossibly behind on the rent and my inability to land a job making enough money to catch up. The ironic thing is, I finally DID get myself a gig at which I’m able to make pretty dang decent coin: driving for Lyft, believe it or not. It’s averaging out to a steady and consistent sum that I wouldn’t have believed possible if you told me beforehand, and the job itself is a piece of cake. In truth, it’s enjoyable; I basically schlep nice young black girls to and from work, mostly. The Lyft folks are great too, very helpful and easy to get hold of, eager to make the experience of driving for them a pleasant one. And so it has been so far, all the way around. Gonna take me a good while to dig out of the hole I so embarrassingly found myself in, but at least now I have a hope of doing it.

There IS a nice aspect to the move, though, and it’s threefold: 1) I’m now less than a mile from my daughter’s school, which is quite an improvement over the 40-mile-one-way commute that I was enduring twice a day, every day; 2) I’m also about 50 yards from where she lives with her mom, so Madeleine has been over here just about every day, which is great for both of us; and 3) I am the hell out of Charlotte with its ever-more-absurd traffic and back home in good ol’ Gaston County where I grew up. Stumbled across a nice rent-to-own mobile home in a quiet, well-run trailer park just in the nick of time, and with a financial boost from some generous members of my family, I’m in like Flynn, hopefully to stay. In five years, if all continues to go well, nobody will ever be able to evict me again, and the only way I’ll be removed from this place is either in handcuffs or on a slab.

So I’d say despite the hassle of moving and the embarrassment of having been booted out on my ass, the whole disastrous contretemps seems to have ended well.

But then there’s also this development, and a revolting one it was, too. See, in the middle of all this I developed a diabetic foot ulcer which got itself severely infected before I even knew I had the thing. Those of you who suffer with what the old country folks around here call “The Sugar” know what a dangerous and serious thing that is. I went to take a shower one day, took off my socks, and noticed blood on the bottom of the left one. My stiff old self did some painful contortions to get a look-see and lo, there was this oozing, vile hole in the bottom of my foot, about the size of a nickel. The foot itself was discolored the angriest red you ever saw, and was swollen near to bursting all the way back to the ankles.

It scared me so badly I damned near puked. Yes, I mean that literally.

I got on some antibiotics and started doctoring the thing up twice daily. After a truly nerve-wracking ten days, the infection has cleared up and the wound itself appears to be healing nicely. On advice from a close friend of mine, I got myself an appointment at a local diabetes clinic that charges on a sliding scale according to income (if any) to help manage this mess and get on Metformin at last.

Which was quite comforting, after having been told that first awful day by my RN stepsister that I was almost certainly going to lose the foot. She’s a good girl and a great nurse, but she does have a tendency to, shall we say, dramatize things just a bit.

What with the slow-mo financial collapse of Casa Hendrix over the last few years, plus being rejected for an Obamacare subsidy for some reason (the price I was quoted from the notoriously half-functional O-care website was over six hundred a month when I tried it, which might as well have been six million given my circumstances—thanks, Barrack!), regular doctor visits have not been an option. I was relying instead for blood-sugar management on a daily dose of various supplements which, according to extensive research done by me, supposedly work as well as if not better than the standard Metformin does.

Well, enough of all that. From here on out it’s gonna be doctor’s orders and approved, established medications for this boy. Diabetes ain’t no joke; in fact, it amounts to a de facto death sentence, really, since once you get it it’s most likely going to be what kills you sooner or later—either directly, itself, or through some other follow-on malady caused or exacerbated by it such as kidney failure, a heart attack or stroke, or complications from having your foot rot off like mine came all to close to doing.

And there’s going blind, too. God, I don’t want to go blind. I really, really don’t.

So anyways, that’s what I’ve been up to the last couple of weeks. Sorry for the outage; I know I missed out on ranting about some truly epic developments, and I surely hate that. But as things get at least somewhat stabilized around here again, we’ll slowly get caught back up. I’m also considering holding the spring fundraiser a bit early this year, if only to help recoup moving expenses and the cost of medical treatment.

Plus, I’m good and damned sick of winter already, and maybe bumping the Spring Thing up will help move things along in some cosmic fashion. In any event, many thanks for your patience and continued attention while I deal with these travails, y’all.

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Publick annoucement

Sorry for the work stoppage here, gang; expect it to continue for the rest of the week and maybe into next as well. Which I truly hate, I have to say; there’s so much out there I’m just dying to write about, starting with Trump having so delightfully kicked the Democrat Socialists’ stupid asses up between their sloped shoulder blades over the Schumer Shutdown and going on from there.

But life has gotten in the way of blogging again, sad to say. All will be explained when I get back and things settle down around here a bit. In the meantime, feel free to amuse yourselves in the comments.

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Publick notice

Been a busy week ’round these parts, with a concomitant lack of time for posting. I’m hoping to rectify that shortfall later on this evening if I can. In other site news, I had to shut down new user registration due to a sudden deluge of Russian spammers, a tsunami that various anti-spam plugins were unable to cope with. So I’ll be spending some time this weekend looking for solutions to that annoying problem; even though we don’t get a ton of comments around here, the ones we get are always high quality, and I value ’em greatly. That being the case, shutting down comments altogether is not something I’m all that happy to contemplate, although a temporary shutdown could conceivably prove necessary until I can find some way to deal with the spammer scum.

I believe it’s one (or more) of John Ringo’s novels that features a character who is known for slaughtering spammers every time he finds one within his reach. When I first read it I laughed right out loud, since over the years I’ve come to share that same sentiment, with fucking bells on and a-ringing. I’d gladly strangle one manually myself, and damn the cost to my painfully arthritic hands.

Anyways, back as soon as I can, y’all.

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Nose to the grindstone, people

Time to get back to work at Job One: kicking Lefty while he’s down.

When we gather together this Christmas, it’s going to be super-awkward since everybody is dead because Donald Trump pulled out of the Paris Climate Scam, repealed net neutrality, and cut taxes. The depredations of Genghis Khan, the Black Plague, and the repeal of the Obamacare mandate – these are pretty much the same thing. Santa Claus and all of our dreams are dead too.

On the plus side, since we are all dead there’s no one to make egg nog, which is the worst of all possible nogs.

You know what these eggs need? Some milk. And then rum.

No. Whoever invented egg nog is the second grossest human being ever who is not Lena Dunham, exceeded in grossness only by the first person being who thought, “Look, an oyster! I know. I’ll put that slimy thing in my mouth.

The Democrats are the egg nog of American politics. Discuss.

The rest of the column is great fun too, but I felt it was most important to get this part in as the excerpt portion, every word of which I wholeheartedly endorse. Especially that bit about oysters. Ugh.

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Site news

Look for a new theme hereabouts next week, folks. With Christmas nearly upon us, it’s soon going to be time to put dear ol’ Scrooge Picard back on his shelf for another year, so I’ve spent most of my late-night insomniac time this past week putting together something I think y’all will really like. Ordinarily I’d leave Picard up a little past New Years, but I’m pretty excited about how this new thing is turning out and am eager to activate it and see how it actually runs in the real world. As always, any information you can send me about malfunctions or glitches you encounter will be much appreciated, if groaned at initially.

Update! Where will wants not, a way often opens, or so t’is said. I got the new theme pretty much set and ready, and in my usual impatience with delayed gratification, lo and behold if I didn’t come up with the idea of marrying old Scrooge Picard with the new style. So, y’know, here ’tis. Merry Christmas, and don’t say I never gave y’all nothin’, hear?

Updated update! More site news: I’ve seen an almost incredible influx of Russian-spammer registrations via the comments section, for some strange reason. It started earlier today, and really crescendoed once I activated the new theme. Got no idea why that would be. No spam in the comments yet, though; guess the good ol’ Akismet anti-spam plugin is still working, and up to the job.

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Nougat? NOUGAT?!?

I don’t write about these things much anymore, and haven’t in a while. I used to really enjoy tweaking Steven Den Beste about my beloved Macs versus his crappy ol’ PeeCees back in the old days; him, me, and Brian Tiemann had many an enjoyable and informative three-way e-mail exchange about that stuff, with my old friend CapLion chiming in on mine and Brian’s side now and then, just to make the fur really fly. It was great fun, and educational as all hell, too. I like to think the resulting rasslin’ around on our respective blogs yielded some worthwhile reading for our respective audiences to enjoy as well.

But nowadays tech is slowly but surely leaving me behind. Perhaps even more appalling, I’m A-okay with that increasing disengagement, too; I’m an old dog now, getting older by the minute, and am finding myself less and less interested in all the new tricks. I do make a half-assed effort (okay, quarter-assed) to at least keep the young ‘uns in sight as they blaze off into the ether in their self-driving aircars and their personal jetpacks and their Travolators in the sky and suchlike. But as time grinds implacably on, the appeal of just staying on the porch and waving at them from a creaky old bentwood rocker as they reach escape velocity grows ever more compelling.

Notwithstanding my creeping fuddy-duddydom, to any of you Android users out there wondering about the new 7.0 update and willing to trust this old dog’s assessment: DO IT. Just do it. I installed it yesterday, and it is GREAT: a noticeable up-kick in speed across the board, and the extension of battery life (thanks in part to a sleep feature called Doze) is nothing short of astonishing. There are other new features I haven’t played with much yet, and not being a smartphone guru by any stretch I probably won’t get around to exploring some of them at all. I have fooled about a little with the split-screen dealie, which is a neat little confection but maybe not all that useful to anybody but a true power-user—which, as I already admitted, I sure ain’t. But the jump in speed and battery life alone are enough to make it well worth installing.

If it’s of any interest to anybody, I’m on a Moto X Pure which I’ve had for about a year now, and just love to little bitty pieces. They were discontinued towards the end of last year, if I remember right, which made me glad I’d gotten mine under the wire, and for an almost unbelievably cheap price* too. Now, with this update breathing new life into the old girl, I’ll be happily hanging onto her for a goodish while yet, or so I hope.

Yep, you whippersnappers can have your damned Dick Tracy wrist teewees and your Star Trek communicators a-beeping and a-blatting at you and all. Me, I’m gonna stick to ol’ Princess over here. It’s got a great big bright ol’ screen that I can actually read—and at my age that ain’t optional**, nosirree. And with this update, it looks to stay current enough for my purposes for a long, long while yet, unless I drop it in a toilet or lay it on the floor and then forget and step on it or put it in the microwave for no damned reason or something.

Now get off my damn lawn, you kids.

Den Beste would probably have been annoyed with me for not having an iPhone, if only because it would leave us with one less thing to joust over. Probably he wouldn’t have ever openly admitted to giving a damn, and would have been all ready with an elegant, eloquent, and well-reasoned two thousand word treatise on why he didn’t. But as one curmudgeon surely knows another, I bet I’m right. I can just tell.

Truthfully, though, I just never did get too excited about the iPhones, although I do still love my Macs. I don’t know why. Maybe my gravitating to Android over iOS was an early symptom of latent codgerhood. Maybe my disinterest in the iPhone was my last gasping breath of the adolescent rebellion and nonconformity that was like oxygen to me my whole life. Maybe they’re just too freakin’ expensive, and I can’t afford one, and I resented it subconsciously.

And maybe, just maybe, I’ll get a PC someday just for the hell of it, and get Steven spinning in his grave for reals. Just because.

Damn, but I do miss that boy. If you got the time, I strongly recommend that you click the link above to the archives of his old USS Clueless site and poke around a bit. You won’t be sorry, I promise; he was one of the very best of us OG warbloggers, and it’d be a shame for you noobs not to hip yourselves to him. It was an honor and a thrill to be linked and excerpted by him now and then, and I got all happy every time he did—even when he was deftly demolishing one of my arguments, jackhammering it to rubble bit by pitiful bit until there was nothing left of it but a slight whiff of failure wafting gently away into nothingness. Which I admit he did, once or twice. The Mac/PC stuff excepted; he was just dead fucking wrong about all that, of course.

Ahem.

From Den Beste to Droid to Den Beste in one mid-length, mostly-coherent post; don’t know how that happened, but I assure you you won’t find such toothsome noodling about anyplace else but right here, folks. Which, y’know, might not be the ringing endorsement I think it is, now that I consider it. The mostly-coherent part is no mean feat either, when you’re high on Metamucil and Geritol, wear a pair of readers around your neck full-time, haven’t bothered to pick up your hairbrush in weeks because what the hell’s the point, and have enough laxatives bouncing around in your belly to break down three miles of I-85 into a fine powder.

So yeah, go getcha some Android 7.0 Nougat, y’all. Do it for Steven.

*Does a whopping 200 bucks for a brand-new smartphone—delivered to my door direct from Motorola, highly customized and without any of the bloatware installed by the big service providers to clog things up—that only a couple months before had been the flagship of the line and thus went for 700 sound like a bargain, or what? I mean, COME ON, people.

**One of the new features I haven’t fooled with yet is the ability to increase the size of everything on the entire screen, icons, text, and all. I probably won’t be bothering with it, actually. Despite all my joshing and jesting above, I ain’t quite that far gone just yet, thankyouverymuch.

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Scrooged!

That’s right, folks, it’s time once again for good ol’ Scrooge Picard to make his traditional holiday appearance. I’m actually putting him up a little earlier this year than I have in the past, y’all CF lifers may note. I admit to having done my share of obligatory complaining to friends and family about how the stores are jumping the gun on Christmas more and more each year, so much so that the season this year seemed to get cranking more or the less the day after Halloween.

But if I’m honest with myself, I’m really not all that bothered by it. I’ve always just loved the Christmas season: the festive lights and decorations; the houses decked out and twinkling; the small-town Main Streets all tinseled and garlanded; even the cheesy holiday displays in the stores—these things all combine to make the very air itself seem fresher and more cheery, and I find myself going well out of my way to pause and enjoy them.

I was just talking to a friend of mine, something of a Scrooge himself, who maintained that Christmas as we know it now was wholly invented by commercial interests looking only to make a buck. I said that may or may not be entirely true, but if so it amounted to not an “inventing” but a hijacking, and that Christmas was and would always be a lot bigger than that. I refuse to allow my own conception of Christmas to be bounded by such. I look at it in much the same way as I do the Confederate battle flag: these symbols belong to those who reverence them, if they’re bold enough to claim them. And I will no more let ill-intentioned or self-serving usurpers get away with misappropriating the one than I will the other.

So, y’know, here we all are. You’re likely to see an increase in posting frequency (if not quality) for a while, only because I enjoy this theme so much I’ll be making more time to hang around here just to look at it. I’d also bet there’s a handful of younger CF readers out there who don’t know who either Scrooge or Picard are, and find themselves baffled by this whole thing, and…well, I ain’t getting into all that. You guys will just have to look it up for yourselves. As for the rest of you: enjoy. I know I will.

Update! I will under NO circumstances be wishing anybody “happy holidays,” this or any other year. I’m sure you all knew that already, or at least suspected it. But still. Ahem.

Updated update! For those of you whose only experience of Stewart as Scrooge is the TV movie (and this website), here’s some info on the real deal. I was fortunate enough to see the final performance of its 1992 NYC run, and it was simply incredible. Apart from my firm preference for TNG over all other Treks, I’ll always have a soft spot in my heart for Patrick Stewart just for this alone.

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Welcome aboard

Please note that we have a new advertiser here: AmmoMan, whose banner is perusable and clickable near the top of the sidebar over there to the left. I hope you shooters out there will check these fine folks out; as with everybody toiling away in the business of firearms in whatever capacity, they’re fighting the good fight in a time when that can be tough, if not outright risky as hell given the penchant on the Left for wanton, lunatic violence against those whose opinions they disagree with, whose rights they don’t feel obliged to respect or honor.

They’ve also offered me the opportunity to snag a few cases gratis for review purposes here, which offer I will be taking advantage of as soon as I can consult with my brother on a date to get down to his place way out in the middle of nowhere for some serious plinking, and what calibers we’re gonna want to try out. Look for that here before long; I’m by no means an ammo expert, but hey, I know what I like, and I ain’t afraid to bend y’all’s ears about it, neither.

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Annnnd we’re back!

Thanks to a timely assist from our old friend Bob, that is. Sorry guys: once again this year I committed my usual muttonheaded error and forgot to renew the domain name. Don’t know why, but I seem to have a real mental block about that thing; year after year, the renewal date comes up, and year after year I space out completely and forget it until the day when I go to post on the site and find that nothing is working. Apologies to all and sundry, and thanks for your expressions of concern, too. I did a bit of posting over at Bill’s place while things were being sorted here, so if you didn’t peruse those yet, well, here’s your chance. Thanks also go to Bill for his generous hospitality. And as always, thanks to you CF readers just for being here in the first place.

And yes, my choice of “Brilliant!” as a category for this post is entirely ironic. Ahem. Now, on with the show.

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In defense of…whaaaaat?

Brace yourself for a real shocker here, folks.

Though I’ve never been anything more than an infrequent pretender myself, I’ve always been partial to cigarette smokers. Perhaps I developed my taste for second-hand smoke during childhood flights from my Texas abode to visit East Coast relatives on (now defunct) Eastern Airlines. There, while eating your rubber cold-cuts sandwich and sporting your pilot’s clip-on wings (distributed by sunny stewardesses who did not yet realize it was a hate crime for them not to be called “flight attendants”), you’d be entrapped in a tubular suffocation chamber for hours on end, with no escape, smokers happily puffing away all around you as you tried to read your in-flight magazine through a Marlboro smog.

Nowadays, this would be litigated in The Hague. But to me, back then, this was not only the smell of adventure, but of adult compromise. I’d entered a more sophisticated sanctum than the one I typically inhabited. In my elementary-school world, if I had a classmate with an atrocious personal habit—say, little Ricky who wouldn’t stop eating his snot, and whose breath smelled like it—I’d either tell the teacher or chuck a dirt clod at his head during recess. But on the plane, non-smokers and smokers alike all breathed the same air, and stayed civilized, with nobody losing their cool. Long before I went on to become a civil-rights pioneer, this was my earliest lesson in tolerance.

I didn’t merely tolerate smokers, however—I actually quite liked them. Maybe because my first chain-smoking acquaintance was my Great Uncle Phil. He smoked Kools and drank Pabst long before it became the beer of choice for people who wear ironic facial hair. We’d sit on his backyard patio, and while away the day. He’d pour me a tall glass of chocolate milk if it was before noon; a few slugs of Blue Ribbon if it was after. He’d occasionally concoct a mission, declaring that we needed to head “to the boondocks” to look for rattlesnakes and deer sheds.

But mostly, we just enjoyed each other’s easy company, him puffing away on Kools all the while, laconically drawing one after another out of the soft pack in his terry-cloth shirt pocket, like he wasn’t in a hurry to break his lungs but eventually would get around to it. (Which he finally did.) He’d drop pearls of adult wisdom on me, saying things like, “Yep, yep, yep …”, as though he was answering a question that had never been asked. And I took it all in. Along with his second-hand smoke.

I’m not pretending that my seven-year-old self had a clean fix on Uncle Phil, what he wanted out of life, or what doubts or fears he secretly harbored, as all men do. I just knew that we had plenty of time to figure out what it all meant, because he wasn’t going anywhere. He still had a half a pack left to smoke. I’ve always divvied up the world into two kinds of people: stayers and goers. Uncle Phil was a stayer, as most smokers are. They are people whose pleasure shaves years off their lives, as the surgeon general forever reminds us. But maybe they know better how to savor the often truncated lives they live. Smokers tend to be people who prize fellowship, discourse, conviviality, and who know how to stop time, or at least to take the edge off its fleetingness. Because they have to linger long enough to finish up their smoke.

I’m well aware that smoking is bad for you. As Mensa member Brooke Shields once put it, “Smoking kills. If you’re killed, you’ve lost a very important part of your life.” Yeah, fine. I don’t smoke, nor will I let my children. But if we’re picking nits, what doesn’t kill us these days? Trans fats, artificial sweeteners, stress, ISIS, etc. The list is long. As other health-science types promise: “What doesn’t kill us, will eventually kill us.” Lately, there’s been a rash of stories that taking too many vitamins can lead to fatal illnesses. In other words, the very supplements you swallow to elongate your life might be snuffing it out like a cigarette.

I like the cut of this fellow’s jib. And hey, in the words of a great old Stray Cats song: how long you wanna live, anyway?

When I was a kid, my family doctor was a wonderful, kindly old soul named Richard E Rankin. I had seasonal asthma something awful, and he would treat me for it with a cortisone shot every spring while chaining Lucky Strikes the whole while, lighting one off the butt of the other. That would be the unfiltered, he-man ones, not the lights, mind you.

Dr Rankin was such a sweet old guy, and even though I was terrified of him because of those shots, I loved him too, even back then. He even came out to our house once at two in the morning to administer one of those dreaded injections, which will probably seem stunning and bizarre to you younger readers out there, if any. I remember well his coming through the receiving line at my dad’s funeral, so bereft and grief-stricken as to be literally speechless: he tried a couple of times to choke out a few comforting words, failed to manage it, and just took me in a bear hug and moved on. He was a gruff but soft-hearted old small town family doctor, a once-common type they ain’t making anymore, to the huge detriment of all of us.

Dr Rankin lived into his 90s, bless his heart—yes, after all those Luckies. My dad, of course, died relatively young of emphysema, after kicking the habit years before via hypnosis. Hey, you never know, right?

Here’s perhaps the funniest bit of all, though: back in the early 90s, I moved to New York City…and started smoking. I was in my thirties, so I was what you might call a late bloomer. But here’s the part nobody believes, and I make no claims here about causality, but…well, after having been plagued with asthma my whole life, since I started smoking, I never have had it again.

I know, I know. It’s bizarre. Maybe smoking has so degraded my lung capacity that I just don’t notice the asthma anymore; maybe breathing all those airborne NYC toxins toughened me up, thereby inuring me to further trouble. Like I said, I make no claims one way or the other. But it’s the truth, I swear it.

I saw one of those Truthout.com government anti-smoking TV commercials once some years back wherein it was claimed that one out of every three smokers would eventually develop heart or lung disease. It struck me right away that that would mean that TWO out of every three didn’t. Hey, I thought, I like those odds. Talk about undermining your own message.

Maybe I’ll quit someday, if I get tired of it. Given what happened with my dad, I don’t worry much about it either way, because I know that after I go through the hassle and heartache of quitting and denying myself one of the few simple pleasures left in life, the very next day I’ll get hit by a bus instead. Or get caught up in one of those Allah Akbar! incidents that so baffle the FBI, maybe, and end up shot, stabbed, clubbed, or otherwise mown down.

These days, I have a cigarette shooter for hand-rolling my own personal lung-busters, with pure tobacco, pre-made filtered tubes, and no strange chemicals dumped in ’em by government mandate. They taste better, they smell better, and the price works out to about eighty cents a pack. I don’t wake up hacking in the morning anymore with these self-rolled dealies, and seem to smoke a good deal fewer of them too, who knows why. Takes about five minutes to roll myself a pack of what they used to call “pure tobacco pleasure,” and I have a fancy-schmancy engraved silver cigarette case that belonged to my late wife to carry ’em around in.

As I told my mother in law a while back, to her enormous amusement: if I couldn’t have a smoke with my morning cup of coffee, I wouldn’t even consider it worth bothering to get up in the morning.

After all that wayward rambling, I guess there’s really only one way to close this post:




Don’t hate me ’cause I’m beautiful, y’all.

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Publick notice

No more posting from me this week; I’m gonna be out of town, taking my daughter to the computer camp I mentioned here a few weeks ago, and have no intention of trying to thumb-type any of my famous extended, wordy screeds on my phone, thank you very much. We’ll be back for the weekend, so I’ll check back in with you folks then. Meanwhile, happy, uhh, Tuesday-Wednesday-Thursday-Friday, y’all. Ahem.

Mea maxima culpa update! Well, I lied. Or not lied, exactly; the schedule got adjusted so that I don’t have to be in Durham until tomorrow. Plus, I remembered that Madeleine has a laptop (donated by one of you incredibly generous readers several years back), so it may actually be possible for me to do a little posting over the next few days, against all odds. AND…I have another big announcement to make concerning a new writing gig I’m gonna be starting on as soon as I can muster the energy. I’ll be putting up links to those articles here, possibly some excerpts, although it won’t be anything remotely like the sort of impassioned, hate-filled, murderous bigotry you folks have become accustomed to here. I hope to find a way to keep it interesting just the same, or amusing, at least. Be all that as it may…on with the show, people!

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Fundraiser update

Most profoundly grateful thanks to CF lifer Sam Sorenson; he knows why, I figure, but in case not, it involves the recent fundraiser for my young ‘uns computer camp, the whole story of which can be found here. In fact, I think I’ll make this post stick up top for a couple days too, just to be sure Sam sees it. Thanks again, buddy.

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Music break!

So the other day I heard a song on the car radio I hand’t heard in years and years but always loved. I had NO clue who did it, or what the title was; after hearing it, I had the guitar licks worked out in my head, but I could not for the life of me remember who played it. Had a couple of the guys hanging out at my place the next evening, and I played the song for ’em to see if any of them knew it. The only snippet of the lyrics I could recall was “Special love/I have for you” in the chorus, and I sang that bit along too.

But it was no use, we were all stumped. So I got to digging around on YouTube; I dunno, for some reason it just sounded to me like it might be a Badfinger song, so I did a search and started digging through the results when lo and behold, about four or five songs down, there was that distinctive guitar lick! I was so damned thrilled, I was jumping around and shouting like a fool. And now you guys get to enjoy my small victory too.



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A moving post

Very, very moving. We’re in the home stretch now, and everything in the new pad is shaping up very satisfactorily indeed. Thanks once again to all who contributed to the ol’ Cheap Ghetto Apartment fundraiser, without whose generosity I would still be sinking into a financial morass from which there’d be no hope of extrication. And without further ado, let me leave off tripping over unpacked boxes and puzzling over where I’m gonna put what for a few minutes to throw a couple of posts up here quick, just to see if I can still remember how it’s done…

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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

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