The whole earth is our hospital
Endowed by the ruined millionaire,
Wherein, if we do well, we shall
Die of the absolute paternal care
That will not leave us, but prevents us everywhere.
The dripping blood our only drink,
The bloody flesh our only food:
In spite of which we like to think
That we are sound, substantial flesh and blood —
Again, in spite of that, we call this Friday good.
— Eliot, East Coker, Four Quartets
At some point after 9/11 in the early winter of 2001, it became clear to me that I needed to conduct a searching inventory of my soul and rebuild, almost from the ground up, my sense of who I was and how I thought about the world I was in and the life I was leading. At the time, I knew only that I had been mistaken about a great many things for a very long time and I was long overdue for an extreme makeover of the self.
To do that I used the only set of skills I was ever any good at, writing and reading, and began — in fits and starts at first but then with more dedication — changing into something and someone different from the person I had been for many years. This is nothing either unusual or dramatic. The reinvention of the self is the SOAP (Standard Operating American Procedure) that scrubs out souls. It seemed to me at the time, and it still seems to me today, that I had no choice but to begin and continue with my slapdash self-renovation until such time that it seems to me to be finished.
All of this is a worn-out way of saying that it has become my discipline over the past few years to try and write my way to a new kind of freedom I still only vaguely see. This again is neither unusual nor dramatic. Many other Americans do it. Many more use other tools to accomplish a similar goal; career change, relocation, materialism, spiritualism, conversion, drugs, alcohol, rehabilitation, Jesus. As Americans, our options for reinvention are numerous with more being minted daily.
We are a restless people in America, a yondering race that seldom finds the here and now good for more than a few years in any one place — in our hearts or on the land. We meet and we part, promising to see each other ‘down the road a piece, and often we do, but much more often we do not.
And as we move across the land and through our lives, so we move within our hearts and souls, in our persuasions, and in our politics. In so doing, we often come to the belief that people we once thought of as significant are, indeed, disposable in the pursuit of our own personal goals.
Disposable people are just another product of our disposable culture. And the stark truth of this matter is that disposable people are the case much more often than it is not.
We like to say that there is one special person on the earth for each of us, but the truth is that there are probably 10,000 special people on earth for each one of us. It’s not romantic to say so, but with more than five billion people on the planet, the odds loom large against such romanticism. Instead, we come to the realization that there are lots of people hanging about that will do and, in the words of Molly Bloom, “Well, as well you as another.”
But what is desirable to the individual can become disastrous to society. [continue reading…]
Robertson: “I wrote this song specifically for Rick to sing and when we first started discovering the possibilities, it kept expanding to more levels of emotion. What Garth and I could add to finalize the statement of this song was purely instinctual.”
Rick Danko as a man in full… long before his long decline. [continue reading…]
I try not to be the cliched “angry old man,” but the truth is I was an angry young man and have only managed a marginal improvement in my temper over the decades. This flaw gnaws at me and I’ve done a lot of exercises and praying to eliminate it. Alas, the last couple of years have undone much of my marginal gains in the temper department. Where in 2019 my temper had been improved to “1, 2, 3, 4, 5….NOW YOU LISTEN TO ME YOU SONSOFBITCHES!” After the last two years of constantly being told what to do my temper has slid back to “1, 2 ….NOW YOU LISTEN TO ME YOU SONSOFBITCHES!”
So it was this sorrowful pilgrim made his way into the local “World Market” yesterday. I like a lot of things at the World Market and, after the Paradise fires, they managed to have a decent staff and a lot of help available for a long time. I refurbished my kitchen and table out of World Market and spent some serious money there. I also like their strange world food selection and am somewhat partial to their wine and beer section.
Once in the store, I picked up a number of items and then saw their “Create a Six Pack of Beer” offer. This is basically single beers from broken cases that they want to sell anyway at $1.99 a pop. Since I am a maybe one beer a week man I selected 4 beers and added them to my cart and went to the checkout.
At the checkout station was a young man barely out of acne who greeted me with the standard robotvox phrase, “And how is your day going?”
“Great,” I replied in the standard pretend exchange of good feelings, putting some eight items on the counter and then the four beers in their little handy carton.
The kid swiped a couple of things over the checkout scanner that is replacing the kid’s job. Then he came to the four beers.
“I’ll need to see your ID.”
“I’ll need to see your ID.”
“Sorry. Don’t think I understand you. Can you lower your mask my hearing at my age is a little weak?”
Lowers mask (Ever so carefully). “I have to see your ID.” (Replaces mask in a small paroxysm of fear.)
Temper situation is now at “1…” and rising. [continue reading…]
MORR: One of my very favorite YouTube channels and success stories. From a towing service in Hurricane, Utah to global TubeStars. I’m convinced that people are now driving to Zion in order to get themselves stuck and be pulled out by Matt and the crew. And what a great crew it is. They know how to do a job of work AND they have become self-taught video producers as well. Plus they are genuine and good people who refused to destroy their lives over the past year and a half “because Wuhan Flu”.
[ A Speech by Marl Steyn at GatestoneA Hinge Moment of History e]
It was certainly the weirdest year. It began with a supremely weird decision by the entire world, except China and Sweden, to tank the global economy.
No one has ever done that before. The only major economic power to grow last year was China whose GDP is up by, I think, about 2.5 percent compared to declines everywhere else, including some actually catastrophic ones, such as 11% in the UK.
This decision to tank the entire global economy is something that strengthened China, the creator of the virus, and the exporter of the virus, and weakened any opposition to China — and that is how they began.
This first year of the new weirdness ended with the United States government pretending that its principal threat is a domestic terrorism movement that does not exist.
This is the characterization of the so‑called insurrection on January 6th. We were told two weeks later that there were going to be mass insurrections, not only in Washington but in every state capital. Montpelier, Vermont, for example, the smallest state capital in the Union, went into lockdown. There was no such insurrection at any of these state capitals.
Then they said, “No, there is going to be an insurrection on March 4th,” because that was Benjamin Harrison’s Inauguration Day back in the old days and people apparently attach such great significance to that, that there was going to be a mass insurrection. There was no such thing on March 4th. Now, we are told it will be March 20th.
I have lived in countries that have real domestic terrorism movements. It is not something that one should concoct out of whole cloth lightly. No country blessed enough not to have a domestic terrorism movement should be inventing one.
We used to be told back after 9/11, there was a cliché after 9/11, “If we don’t maintain our normal life, if we don’t carry on shopping, if we don’t carry on going to sports features, then the terrorists will have won!”
Now, it is the complete opposite with this new alleged domestic terrorism movement, and everything we do has to be changed. We have to have a permanently armed capital city in Washington. Because of this so‑called domestic terrorism movement, we have to have a border wall around the US Capitol. We are living in a blizzard of lies.
Perhaps that is the most disturbing feature of the last year: because most of us see far fewer people and go far fewer places than we did a year ago, we are more dependent on acquainting ourselves with reality through the computer, which means that we are more dependent on a handful of woke billionaires to tell us what reality is.
They are far more open than ever that they get to determine what are the agreed facts. Google made an explicit announcement about this recently. They said that sometimes they would put warnings on things that are factually accurate because, even though they are true, they do not think it is in society’s interest for people to be seeing it.
When you talk about freedom of expression, for most people, that is an abstract concept that does not have much practical bearing on their lives.
People do not think of it as a first‑order issue for their own lives because, unless you happen to have accidentally insulted a fire‑breathing imam who is determined to get his revenge or a particularly robust transgender activist who takes action against you, these are not issues that affect most people.
The big change over the last year is that these issues are no longer abstractions. Everyone in the Western world has had some familiarity with the core meaning of Western liberties, whether you are talking about freedom of speech, freedom of movement, freedom of association, freedom of religion, they have all become very real, even for people living the most quiet and uncontroversial lives. We have states, a few weeks ago issuing orders on who you were allowed to spend Christmas or July 4th with.
The ability to go to your church, the ability to open your hairdressing salon, the ability to go and get a cheeseburger at your local diner, all these abstract intellectual philosophical issues are now absolutely real for most people around the Western world. Yet, there has been very little pushback against it.
Even in America, I’ve always loved that American word ornery, which doesn’t really exist in Britannic English because Canadians aren’t ornery and New Zealanders aren’t ornery. Americans are ornery. I was a little surprised at the way — including the best-known American states on the planet, New York and California — basically accepted what was happening with this new regime.
There was a famous remark, I like to quote, by Lord Moulton, an English judge. He also had, during the World War I, what may be my all‑time favorite job title. He was director general of the explosives department — an enviable job title.
Lord Moulton said that what matters in any healthy society are not the small number of things that one is obliged to do, or, at the other end of the spectrum, the small number of things that one is not permitted to do, but the big chunk in the middle. It is not a question of whether you have to do it, or you are forbidden to do it, but whether we decide for ourselves about those aspects of our lives through what he called the realm of manners. By his estimation, about 80 percent of life should be within the realm of manners rather than within the realm of law.
Now everything is law: How far you have to stand away from people. The realm of manners, in Lord Moulton’s phrase — choice — has shrunk to nothing.
Everything now, is regulated by the state from above. We are now seeing, for example, influential voices. “The Guardian” newspaper in the UK for example, said the other day that whatever happens to the pandemic, and the COVID, and all the rest of us, they would like us to go into lockdown once every two years. It would supposedly be good for climate change. You do not see this in America, but you quite a lot on overseas news reports. BBC, in the early days of the pandemic, was doing all these encouraging reports on how Ireland where it is illegal for you to go more than three miles from your home….
RTWT@ [ A Speech by Marl Steyn at GatestoneA Hinge Moment of History e]
Life’s lessons are hardly fair. While we weren’t wealthy, we didn’t know any different. I was taught even back then that the BEST things in life cost nothing.
You can’t put a price on true friendships… lifelong friendships.
You can’t put a price on discovering the merits of life; on sharing and laughing, on helping lil old ladies across the street. No price can be put on how to tie that perfect fisherman’s knot, or earning that merit badge — together.
We didn’t recognize Raymond was black, that Taco was Mexican, that Cecilia was an albino, or that Terry was pretty. Oh well!
Instead, we all feasted together in the local orchards, on God’s finest menu: Fresh pears, ripe peaches , sweet almonds, and crisp walnuts. And then we could drink our fill of freshwater cold out of the creeks.
The boys and girls ran in mixed packs. We fished, explored every point of a compass –ten …even twenty… miles from home.
From 7ish to 14ish we were truly the lords of our realm. Then we discovered that the girls in the pack were very very much different.
That screwed everything up. Feeling, odd unusual feelings, parts in our pants growing will watching Terry walk in her bathing suit.
What an odd time in life. From best friends forever to hunted pursued hoping to share in the girls wonderfulness, god-given pleasure pots. Ruined everything.
Most are gone now, no idea if they grace this wonderful planet, or have moved passed eternally.
Age didn’t seem to solve those puzzles. Earlier this past summer we gathered at the swimming hole, for our annual swim, high sierras on the Yuba River. As we shared childhood stories, memories, rarely remembered by two or more of our set. Wwe talked of “The changing times” but mostly of the learning pains. How simple life was one minute, and just how fucking complicated it got after us boys discovered the girls and visa versa. Really mucked up the club, the crew, the set.
The two specific things we ALL agreed on is, “Life has been the lesson.” — and — “Nobody gets out alive”
We are all 65 to 70 now. Yet when I look at my friends it’s strange… I still see my friends as I did at 7 to 14 yrs old. I just don’t recognize our aged-limiting issues. It’s kinda like being Peter Pan. For real.
September 20, 2021, 3:25 PM
Edited (lightly) from a comment in Strange Daze: It’s all a freak show. Change my mind.
“I’m pretty sure, I’m not a doctor, but I’m pretty sure if you die, the cancer dies at the same time. That’s not a loss. That’s a draw.” – Norm Macdonald
NOTICE: “THE RULES HAVE NOT BEEN CHANGED!” More than three thousand years have passed since Moses presented the Decalogue, a.k.a. the Ten Commandments, to the wandering Hebrews. Billions of people have made those commandments the central moral-ethical tenets of their lives. While their lives have not been “perfect” in any sense, those who were faithful to the dictates of the Decalogue succeeded in forming coherent, enduring societies capable of progress. While it cannot be proved that adherence to the Decalogue is a necessary condition for forming such a society, history records no examples of successful societies that have lacked them. An inquiring mind would note that pattern and say, “Hmm! There might be something to this.” From The “No, Really?” Dept. Liberty’s Torch
Covid, 9/11 & Forever War – If the primary aims of your war are a) To maintain domestic control of your population, and b) To funnel tax-payer money into bloated contracts with the private sector, then do you really need to declare war on a foreign country? In fact, do you need an actual physical “war” at all? Isn’t the idea of a war just as good?
9 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,
10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.
I know it will be very, very silly but the effects alone are guaranteed to rock you from the big screen.