Cold Fury

Harshing your mellow since 9/01

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.


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 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.


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!


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.


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.


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…


Unexplained absence explained!

Sorry for the dearth of posting of late, y’all. Spent the last few days painting the ghetto pad; it’s coming along nicely, in truth, and beginning to look as if it might just be the best move I ever did make. These things are actually early to mid-50’s duplexes, and while it’s a LOT smaller than my current living space, will be more than plenty for me and the young ‘un. Added bonus: all the other tenants who live there are good old friends of mine, as I believe I may have mentioned before, and it already begins to feel like home. The young ‘un has already gone all around the place introducing herself to everybody, and has mentioned twice in the last three days how much she likes all my friends. I told her I was very fortunate to have them in my life at all; man, if she only knew.

But she’ll learn. I talked to a good friend of mine yesterday—a real serious lifetime shooter who owns an amazing array of weaponry and who lives way out in the country, where you can still get away with that sort of thing—about beginning her instruction in handling firearms. We’ll get to that in a week or two, and she seems really excited about it, somewhat to my surprise.

The real moving work is this weekend; painting should be done tomorrow, power gets turned on tomorrow, and I’ll actually be humping furniture starting Saturday. Gotta save and scrounge for a U-Haul truck; unlike my last move, I am NOT going to do this in eleventy-million trips via my brother’s pickup truck, all of which I loaded myself. Gonna be one shot, or maybe two, and done. Start in the morning Saturday, and Saturday night (or so I hope) I sleep in the new place in my own bed.

Doing a lot of streamlining here too—which, to be honest, needed doing anyway. I have a shit-ton of old memorabilia, odds and ends, doodads, miscellaneous paraphernalia, and sheer out and out junk, some of which has been sitting in the basement in unopened boxes since Christiana was alive. I am by nature a serious packrat, and would never have cleared any of it out except under direst necessity; that necessity is now upon me, and I am frankly glad of it. They say if you ain’t used it in six months, throw it out; you didn’t need it anyway. I’m thinking maybe they are right.

In sum: look for light and sporadic posting to continue for another week or so, and then we’ll be back down to business for reals here. I appreciate y’all’s patience and attention. And while we’re at it: many, MANY thanks once more to those of you who were able to contribute to the spring fundraiser, without whom I would be in one hell of a fine mess. As my daughter reminded me: I sure am lucky indeed to have so very many good friends.

Okay, let me see if I can’t toss a post or two up here before I get back to packing, just to tide you guys over.


The Help Mike Move Into A Cheap Ghetto Apartment fundraiser!

It’s close to time for the spring fundraiser ’round these parts, and as it happens this one is particularly vital, so I’m gonna get it cranking a bit early this year.

See, I’ve been living the last two years in a house I can no way afford, and slowly sinking like a rock trying to make ends meet around here. Fortunately for me, I have a friend who owns a set of duplex apartments adjacent to one of the harsher ghettos in Charlotte, and he’s agreed to rent me a vacant pad for a mere fraction of what I’m way, way behind on paying now. The others who live there are all friends of mine, and it’s really not a bad little joint at all; “The Compound,” they all call it, tiny little two-bedroom-one-bath jobs built back in the early fifties. These folks have set themselves up a nice, tight-knit little community on the edge of darkest Shitsville, and they keep a close and wary eye on things in and around the place to forestall any potential problems or conflict.

So even though part of me wishes I could hold on here, I’m actually looking forward to making the move and maybe being able to afford things like auto repair, shoes that fit, diabetes meds, and some groceries again…not to even mention a fighting chance at repaying the Everest of debt I’m accumulating where I now am. So give till it hurts, everyone; I am currently WAY short of funds to make the move, so if you can please subscribe, hit the Paypal link (under the “Shameless Begging” banner), or both; you know the drill. And you also know how profoundly grateful I am to all who can afford to throw a shekel or two my way.

This post will remain up top for the rest of the week; new rantage below.

Update! Many, many thanks to all who have contributed; I’m danged close to not only moving in, but being able to rent a U-Haul instead of making ten bazillion trips in my brother’s diesel-swilling pickup for the move. I’ll leave this up here for another day or two, just in case any of y’all blue-collar broke-asses like me somehow find a spare nickel to toss my way. Thanks again, folks; all these years, and I’m still rendered speechless and humble by your generosity.



Another reason 2016 was a great year: once again, Doug Ross has been kind enough to include me in his Fabulous 50 Blog Awards, for which I am most humbly grateful. Read through all of them; there are plenty of links to some damned excellent bloggers contained therein. And be sure to check in at Director Blue regularly; it’s a most valuable resource, and Doug and his crew always cover one hell of a lot of ground.


Twelve Days of…or, Ten, or…oh, hell, you guys got it already

Dang, I almost forgot today’s Ten Or Twelve Days installment. Here ya go: Santa Claus Is Coming To Town. Way better than that godawful, lugubrious Springsteen version, wherein he…well, I already told y’all how I feel about that one. This one is another A-lads barnburner, although I cannot for the life of me remember who did the vocal on it. Previous installments here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.


Another Christmas song

Okay, while I’m hipping y’all to some good Christmas tunes, might as well share one of my all-time favorites:

From 1939, Kay Kaiser. Can’t explain just why, but I totally love this song. Maybe it’s all those ting-a-ling-a-lings. I mean, come on, what’s not to like?

But I tell you folks, if I have to hear limousine liberal Bruce Springsteen moaning and groaning his way through Santa Claus Is Coming To Town one more time like a sick hound, I am gonna kill something. There’s a tune in there somewhere, Bruce; please do us all a favor and find it, all right? Lord knows you’ve meandered around it enough. Ugh.

Look for this post to be updated for the next little while, until I get tired and go to bed. I’ma go find you guys some good Christmas music, I promise I am.

Update the First! The greatest of all possible versions of this one, which is also one of my favorites.

Just classic. Shall I play for you? Why yes. Yes, you shall.

Update the Second! Another favorite of mine, and the most perfect version I know of. Don’t say I never gave y’all nothing.

Update the Third! One of the most beautiful things I’ve ever heard in my life, from wonderfully eccentric guitar genius John Fahey. I can’t find a version of this to embed that even comes close to this one, so you’ll just have to trust me and hit the link. I promise you won’t regret it. I attempted this one once onstage in New York, and failed miserably. But I play it at home all the time, and every once in a rare while I get it very nearly right.

Update the Fourth! Another of my favorites. And I mean, come on guys. It’s Sinatra.

Nicely done, Frank. Would that all these present-day hacks had the good taste to just sing the damned song straight, without all the warbling, meandering, self-indulgent discant crap they’re apparently compelled to throw in for some reason.

Update the Fifth! Pretty sure I’ve presented this one here before, but what the hell. How do you go wrong with Canadian Brass? You can’t, that’s how. If this one doesn’t make you smile, well dammit, I can’t help you.

And one more from Canadian Brass. Because, that’s why.

Finally, probably my most-loved Christmas carol of them all: Silent Night, impeccably done by Chanticleer. Just gorgeous. Again: if you don’t like this, well, I can’t help you.

So far past gorgeous you can’t even see gorgeous from here.

One last update! Oh, and I don’t care a whit what Rush may say: Mannheim Steamroller? Trans-Siberian Orchestra? No. Just…NO. Not now, not ever. Call me old-fashioned, call me a stick in the mud, but I prefer my Christmas music way less sinister-sounding and without synthesizers and laser light shows, thanks.


12 Days…or, y’know, NOT

Today’s installment: I’ll Be Home For Christmas, featuring the Oso Grande himself, Rodney Lanier. He’s the fellow the whole benefit project was conceived for, an excellent musician in his own right, who died shortly before its release.

And I only just realized something, to my tremendous embarrassment: I’ve been saying 12 Days Of Etc, because I had it in my head for some reason that there are fourteen tracks on this record, leaving me two extras for alternates. I was wrong; there’s only ten. But 12 Days is the traditional formulation, so I’m gonna stick with it. Sheesh, I’m a dope. Previous installments here, here, and here.


Christmas bonus!

So I just got internet service back after a pain-in-the-ass outage caused by some local hardware upgrades by AT&T, with the result being that things seem a helluva lot faster now, which is probably just my imagination. But to celebrate a rare pleasant delusion (as opposed to my usual kind), I’m gonna upload a few tunes from a Christmas album I was privileged to appear on a few years ago.

The thing was conceived by my friend Jimmy King as a benefit album for a friend of his, another local musician I didn’t really know who had contracted some rare and horrible disease. Jimmy is in a great surf band called the Aqualads, and his friend unfortunately died a mere few days before the benefit album even got released. This track features a truly soulful vocal performance by my bud Bob Nelson, with a lead guitar track by yours truly. I’ll post one of these per day for the next few days, or until my internet connection shits the bed again. If you like it enough to want to buy the whole album, you can do that here (download only, I think the hard copies are all sold out).

Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas!


Publick notice

I only just realized I have not updated Ye Olde Blogrolle in a while, and since there are scads of new guys out there that I’m checking in on frequently and excerpting, I needed to get on the stick. In fact, I’ma put the newer ones in their own category, although maybe some of those folks might take some small issue with it. Either way, be on the lookout for: Alt-American.

And now that I dive into it, I see that A) I need to weed out a good few now-inactive links, and B) the WP Social Blogroll widget hasn’t been updated in, like, years. Since a good many of you have let me know how useful you find that feature, I’m just glad it hasn’t been broken by any WP upgrades and still functions properly.

Update! Okay, those of you who pay any attention to the blogroll in the first place may notice that I’ve weeded out plenty of the inactives, but did leave one or two in. Like, in particular, Billy Beck’s Two-Four. There’s a reason, in his case especially: Billy was so perceptive, his perspective so unique, and his writing so damned deft and incisive that even though it may not be current, he’s still worth a look, and I think keeping a link to him here might be of no small value. The man saw so much of the hideousness we’re currently trying to deal with coming way before just about anybody else. He was sharp and sometimes grouchy; he did NOT suffer fools gladly. But he was also almost always dead on the money.

Billy used to comment here now and then, and we had a quite enjoyable and enlightening (well, for me) e-mail correspondence going for a while there too. Truth is, I miss the guy, and I wonder what he might have to say about current conditions. I think I’ll shoot an e-mail to the old address and see if I can raise him. If I do, I’ll let y’all know; maybe I could even entice him into co-blogger status here, which would thrill me no end. Either way, his place is well worth a click, and I can’t recommend his work highly enough.

And I betcha I can name at least one other old-school OG, another good old long-time friend, who will know just what I’m talking about, and will be commenting enthusiastically here on the matter in a mere trice. No, I shan’t name any names. Ahem.

Updated update! You all knew where that update had to lead, right?

I reply to this post because you pose implicit questions which I have long regarded as important and more pressing as each year goes by.

In my view, the very fact that these questions arise in my lifetime is historically significant in a way which cannot responsibly be dismissed. For example: the very idea of armed resistance against the government would have been perfectly alien to my grandfather’s view of America. It simply would never have occurred to him, and the sound of any such discussion in the terms that we hear today would have fallen very strangely on his ear.

I believe that the most divergent of outlooks might yet agree that something is terribly amiss in our country. This is not to say that everything was just peachy in 1953. To cite a single example: my grandfather (a second generation German-American railroad engineer in the northeast) was well aware of the problem of race relations vis-a-vis civil rights – that was a big problem which was going to be a struggle to solve. He knew it wouldn’t be pretty, and Birmingham and Little Rock confirmed his apprehensions. However, he believed that Americans and their institutions would come to their senses, and their sense of justice, and that the pain of those times would bear fruit.

As I said; any discussion of armed resistance would have been absurd to his political outlook.

Bear with me.

I make this point, and cite this single example, in order to illustrate the scope of political challenge in America today. Without diminishing (please!) the importance of, or blood-sweat-&-tears investment in, the civil rights movement, it seems clear to me that it cannot compare to the urgency of the problem which is manifest in the very existence of a “militia movement”. I will stand corrected if I am mistaken, but I think that the last time so many people seriously uttered the words “civil war” in America (outside of history class), we actually fought one. Today, lots of people on every side do their best not to utter that phrase out loud…and they are less successful as time passes. Many people don’t make the pretense of circumspection.

It has long been my view that American political affairs were necessarily bound for such straits. I began studying politics (both as a branch of classical philosophy and the modern practice of “public policy”) at an early age, in 1969. My attention was necessarily drawn to corollaries of economics and history. I grew to adulthood casting a fishy eye at the disintegration of a culture, worried over it. Call me doctrinaire, but I have always been a libertarian, which is to say (without any partisan affiliation); I am convinced of the truth and imperative of human freedom. There is no other way for a culture to thrive and flourish to the greatest possible happiness of its inhabitants, than for each of them to make their own way by their own lights.

The past thirty years or so have been a case-study of the opposite course.

The most cursory glance at this period shows us two things: 1) Government of every species has steadily waxed large and prevalent. There can be no rational denial of this. 2) A general “Index of Dismay” has steadily increased. (I use the term loosely to denote a mixed bag of cultural symptoms which indicate decay, without specific references. Everyone, I think, could point out their favorites; crime rates, rising economic class disparities, decline of morality, declining civility of discourse, appalling new species of corruption and their flagrance, etc. Take your pick.)

I maintain that there is a direct correlation between these two observations.

See what I mean? Prescient, well-reasoned, well-argued. If Bill Beck could be said to represent a type, then we need all of his type we can get.

I don’t even have to say it, do I?


Publick notice!

So yesterday I screwed around a bit with some old Halloween themes but couldn’t get any of them working without undertaking a major overhaul, which I simply didn’t have time to do; they were all designed years ago for way-earlier versions of WP, and the newer one would require some truly aggressive (read: time-consuming) tweaking to get them barely functional. All that got me to thinking I’d go ahead and activate our traditional holiday theme here a little bit early.

What the heck, I figure we’re all going to need all the help we can get dragging ourselves into the good old Christmas spirit this year anyway. And although Trump makes a damned excellent symbol and figurehead for the Fed Up/This Far, No Farther Brigades, who could possibly argue that Scrooge Picard isn’t a most excellent one in his own right? I don’t know about you, but just imagining a DC establishment stooge cringing under the threat of that stick in Picard’s upraised, wrathful hand—weeping and begging for a mercy that is neither forthcoming nor deserved—fills me brimful with a warm, fuzzy holiday glow. Why, it’s better than eggnog and the merry laughter of children where that’s concerned.

So, y’know, enjoy, y’all.


No free ice cream!

Sorry about that, gang, but my internet connection has become so unreliable the last few days as to be considered almost non-existent: slow, intermittent dropouts, and the like have rendered sitting down to do a post or three pretty nearly unbearable. That said, though, it seems to be behaving itself for the moment, so for as long as that happy condition lasts, I’ll try to get some fresh posts up here quick. If I should suddenly disappear again, you’ll know why.

Update! And now I see that for some reason the third-party blog editor I use is throwing up the same posts repeatedly for some reason. Crap. Crapcrapcrapcrap.


Heads up

Another thank you to my good friend and brother-in-arms Bill Quick for allowing me posting privileges over at Daily Pundit during the outage here. For those of you who didn’t know—and I can’t imagine that there are that many readers here who aren’t also regulars at DP—I posted several items over there while the domain-name issue was sorted out. Looks like Bill and I will continue doing some crossposting on both sites—which, as I told him earlier, ought to result in tears of outrage and horror from just about everybody on the internet. Hey, it’s a feature, not a bug.



Many, many of them to all of you who participated in Ye Olde Fundraiser. I’m having problems with e-mail since last week’s server migration, so the personal thank-you’s are slow going out, but we’re getting there. As I’ve always said (but probably not nearly enough), you guys all rock, and I’m most grateful for your attention here, be you contributor, commenter, lurker, or just occasional drop-in visitor. Thanks again to each and every one of you.


Hoodwinked, bamboozled!

In the course of digging through the archives for an old post I can’t seem to find, I ran across one from last year that I think is worth a repost, on Western civilization and its loss.

What the hey, we had a good run. And what the Left has replaced it with is not only not worth defending, it’s wholly indefensible.

Think of it: Western Civ gave us Huck Finn. Post-Western Civ banned it.

Western Civ gave us Mozart, Bach, Beethoven. Post-Western Civ saddled us with Beyonce, Fitty Cent, and Miley Cyrus.

Western Civ gave us internal combustion engines, hot rods, Harleys, a Ford in every garage, and plenty of cheap gas to run ’em all. Post-Western Civ gave us helmet laws, high gas taxes, the “peak oil” lie, impossible CAFE standards, and the seventy thousand dollar Chevy Volt.

Western Civ gave us central heat and air conditioning. Post-Western Civ gave us brownouts and windmills. Although actually, it was Western Civ that gave us the windmills many centuries ago; Post-Western Civ just brought ’em back as “cutting edge” “green” technology. They’re so goddamned feeble even their “new ideas” were stolen from their betters.

Western Civ gave us the Concorde. Post-Western Civ would rather force you to walk, or ride a bicycle you don’t even own. Yes, even to Europe.

Western Civ gave us modern agriculture capable of feeding a hungry world, the tulip gardens of Amsterdam, and staunch, stout, stoic farmers as both benefactors and admirable role models. Post-Western Civ foists on us urban hothouse flowers copiously weeping to their shrinks over the trauma of discovering that the organic bok choi at Trader Joe’s was slightly wilted this week, and their insuperable anxiety over GMOs.

Western Civ gave us Charles the Hammer, King Leonidas, Charlemagne, Churchill, and Reagan. Post-Western Civ brought us Obama, the Clintons, LBJ, Slow Joe Biden, and John Effing Kerry.

Western Civ gave us Newton, Einstein, and Goddard. Post-Western Civ hoodooed us with Michael Mann and Neil deGrasse Tyson.

Western Civ gave us William Wallace, the aforementioned Leonidas, Robert E Lee, George S Patton, and Audie Murphy. Post-Western Civ gave us Vagina Warriors, Hashtag Armies, flash mobs, and Bradley/Chelsea Manning.

We certainly got a raw deal on the exchange, and ought to be looking for a way to get our money back.



Sorry ’bout the outage there, folks. A database issue that was my fault entirely, fixed now with the help of the great Stacy Tabb and her team at Hosting Matters, which is simply the best hosting service out there as far as I’m concerned. Many thanks to them; for any of you who have ever thought of trying your hand at this blogging business, I can’t recommend them highly enough.



Remember when I mentioned not long ago that another fundraiser was imminent? Well, here t’is, folks. The A/C is still out, I’m behind on the rent—and the hosting service and internet access bills too, among other things—work continues to be slow, and…well, no need to belabor it, times are tough here on the fag-end of summer at Casa CF. If you enjoy the work I do here (and make no mistake, although I do enjoy it, it IS work), please consider helping to keep it coming with whatever material expression of support you can manage.

There’s always the subscription links over in the sidebar too; with around 4,000 daily readers, if everybody kicked in for a one-dollar sub instead of the eight or ten of you who actually have, I’d be caught up financially and banging away at the ol’ keyboard in air-conditioned glory again in a mere trice. Heck, if even half of you did I’d be well on the road back to financial solvency. In fact, it would amount to a damned substantial monthly income, one approaching Andrew Sullivan levels. And that would surely be nice. Although the psychological toll of paying attention to and writing about politics full-time in this frustrating day and age would be steep, and the medication required to maintain some semblance of sanity would probably be expensive enough to eat up most of said income.

Oh, and speaking of banging away at keyboards, I actually managed to fix the MacAlly one mentioned in the above-linked post, so we’re all good there. Just in case anybody was interested in that at all.

As always, my sincerest and humblest thanks to all of you, contributors and non-contributors alike, for your kind attention to my rantings and ramblings. Without y’all, this place wouldn’t be nearly as much fun as it truly is.

NOTE: post is sticky and will remain at the top for a few days. Just scroll down for the new stuff.

Update! We’re up to about 400 bucks here on the old fundraiser so far, which is a good bit shy of a new A/C compressor but is plenty enough to cover the back rent on server space and internet access. Many, many thanks to all who have kicked in so far; I can’t tell you how much your support means to me, and that’s the plain truth. A lot of other bloggers say they’re uncomfortable with doing fundraisers, and I do understand the sentiment. But there’s nothing better for making you realize the obligation you have to your audience—your connection to them—than direct, material expressions of appreciation like the ones you get from a fundraiser. I’ve done ’em about once a year for a long while now, and I always more or less forget how humbling they are until I do another one.

It’s easy to get a sort of disconnect going with this blogging stuff; nobody, not even Glenn Reynolds, has anything near as many commenters as they do readers, and sometimes it can seem as if you’re throwing your thoughts out into a vacuum. A fundraiser brings you down to earth again, informs you about and puts you in touch with your readership, and lets you know just what impact you’re really having on people. That’s a good thing, I think.

Okay, enough navel-gazing, right? Direct e-mail thanks will be coming to each of you contributors starting first of the week, but in the meantime please accept my more general expression of gratitude yet again. Y’all rock, you truly do.

Anniversary update! A few further reflections on fundraisers and such, which I’ll tuck below the fold: Continue reading “Fundraiser!”




"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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