Monday, September 17, 2007
IN HARDYVILLE, they all live happily ever after. Well, most of them. More or less.
And that ... is that.
Posted by Claire @ 12:07 AM CST [Link]
Sunday, September 16, 2007
OOOPS. I GUESS UNDER ALL THOSE "ZERO TOLERANCE" policies, they're going to have to start banning deadly assault pencils from schools. Just like that angry mother said.
(Thank you, SJ.)
Posted by Claire @ 04:20 PM CST [Link]
Saturday, September 15, 2007
GUESS ... JUST GUESS .. which R candidate is drawing the most $$ support from U.S. military personnel? My freedom-lovin' colleague J.D. Tuccille has the answer.
Posted by Claire @ 11:47 AM CST [Link]
WEEKEND READ: On the enduring influence and best-sellerdom of Atlas Shrugged. "By the New York Times no less," said SJ as he sent the link.
Seems the impetus for this piece is not just the fiftieth anniversary of publication (coming up next month), but the more immanent publication of Alan Greenspan's memoir, The Age of Turbulance. To say that Greenspan was influenced by Rand is like saying Satan was "influenced" by God.* But what the hey, if it evokes an interesting article in the NYT, who's complaining?
* And no, I don't mean to imply any other similarity between Rand and The Almighty, despite Rand's opinions to the contrary. Just pointing out the incongruity. Draw your own conclusions about the works of the Greenspawn, but perhaps they could be better compared to those of the Sta-Puft Marshmallow Man than
George W. Bush Satan.
Posted by Claire @ 11:39 AM CST [Link]
Thursday, September 13, 2007
WELL, WELL. Google features this celebratory graphic today.* I had no idea what it meant until I ran my cursor over it and got "Roal Dahl's birthday." What a terrific thing to Googleate.
Since the topic today seems to be Things Literary ... I just finished reading Roald Dahl's Revolting Rhymes (on the recommendation, I think, of DA). I was going to blog later about this iconoclast classic. But since it's Dahl's special day, here's a quote from his version of "Little Red Riding Hood":
He sat there watching her and smiled
He thought, I'm going to eat this child.
Compared with her old Grandmamma
She's going to taste like caviare.
Then Little Red Riding Hood said, "But Grandma,
what a lovely great big furry coat you have on."
"That's wrong!" cried Wolf. "Have you forgot
"To tell me what BIG TEETH I've got?
"Ah well, no matter what you say,
"I'm going to eat you anyway."
The small girl smiles. One eyelid flickers.
She whips a pistol from her knickers.
She aims it at the creature's head
And bang, bang, bang, she shoots him dead.
Ms. Hood -- and her new wolfskin coat -- also turn up later to play a pivotal role in the tale of the three little pigs. :-)
Happy birthday (even if truly and totally belated, since he died in 1990), Roald Dahl.
* Or they did feature it, past tense. It seems to have disappeared now, just a few hours later.
Posted by Claire @ 12:05 PM CST [Link]
THE SEX LIVES OF CANNIBALS. Yep. That got your attention, didn't it? Actually, that's the title of a hoot of a book by J. Maarten Troost, who tells the story of his two rootless years on Tarawa. The book has maybe a tiny bit to do with cannibals, and more to do with sex. But mostly it's a witty tale of cultural adjustment and Xtreme government inefficiency and corruption.
With no career ambitions other than to be a Great Novelist (ha!), Troost fantasized about living "at the end of the world." When his girlfriend's job made it possible in the late 1990s, off they flew ... to a tiny atoll where tribal culture and dubious benefits of civilization mingle in messy discomfort. It's a place where the quest for a single fruit or vegetable can take weeks. (Tarawa is one of the few places on earth with virtually no agricultural production, and imports rely on rusty, unpredictable ships and airplanes held together -- literally -- with masking tape.) A place that was both paradise and sheer hell at once.
It's also, for those who remember history, the site of a bloody World War II battle, whose remnants still litter the landscape.
Troost may not be libertarian in any formal philosophical sense. But oh lord, it's fun to watch him savage a) the abuse of island cultures and environments by superpowers; b) the idiotic inefficiency of global do-gooding organizations (including the UN); and c) the corrupting influence of foreign money on tribal governments (which really don't need much outside corrupting, having plenty of the domestic sort). Here's a sample of Troostian prose:
Posted by Claire @ 11:32 AM CST [Link]
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
This one's been a long time coming.
It's me, PSM. Hi.
I know too many people whose attitude is, "I don't take orders from anyone, ever. Try and tell me what to do and I'll probably do just the opposite, just to show 'em. I'm a sovereign individual, dammitall!"
And that's what they call freedom. I've been stewing over this for a long time, but I still can't find the words to express what I mean, so please forgive me.
If a person's sense of individuality is so insecure that they cannot follow the leadership of someone with whom they may disagree, even if that disagreement is intense or important, then that person will be a force for division wherever they go, never for unity.
In any meaningful relationship, there inevitably comes a point where one party has to come to the other and say, "I don't care about winning the argument anymore. Tell me what I must do to make it right between us again." I've seen so many good friendships broken up in the freedom community, not because of betrayal, nor theft, nor violence, but because of what amounts to ideological differences.
To lay aside one's own individual sense of being right for the sake of preserving or restoring a relationship with another person EVEN IF THAT OTHER PERSON IS WRONG requires a command of individuality that I rarely see anywhere. It requires humility. As freedom lovers we may tend to think of humility as weakness, to associate it with subjection. But true humility can only be evinced by a person who has the choice not to be humble. I am convinced that one of the most meaningful things a person can do with their freedom and sovereignty is to lay it aside (not lay it down, if you can grasp the difference here) for the sake of another.
I'm tired of seeing ever more groups of ever smaller numbers in each group sitting around and smugly congratulating each other on how right they have it and how wrong all those "other" people are.
Posted by Penguinsscareme @ 10:22 AM CST [Link]
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
MORE EVIDENCE THAT WE ARE EVERYWHERE. Yesterday the guy who bought my dead Toyota showed up at the gate with an extra piece of paperwork. Seems the state didn't believe the low purchase price we stated on the title transfer. Our Bureaucratic Masters demanded that we explain why it was "too low." They compelled us both to swear under The Usual Dire Penalties that the price we stated was genuine.
Poor dears. You know they might starve to death if they don't get their share of sales taxes on a 16-year-old heap of busted steel and aluminum. (I swore; but otherwise, my lips are sealed ) Anyway ...
The guy thought it was already September 11 and greeted me by asking, in a tone of utmost cynicism, "Is your flag flying today?"
A few minutes later, when he saw me writing only minimal information on the form, he grinned, said, "Woman after my own heart," and filled his share of the blanks -- or didn't fill them -- similarly.
Then, quite out of the blue, he said, "And vote for Ron Paul!" Turned out he'd known of Paul as long as I have (which is a long, long time) -- and Doug Casey and Howard Ruff and Harry Browne. It's not so much that he's a libertarian, but a dedicated gold-bug and skeptic of all things governmental.
Last thing, I went inside to fetch the Toyota's owner's manual -- and emerged with several of the Ron Paul buttons and bumper stickers I'd picked up from those other surprising Ron Paul supporters at the county fair.
We may be very quiet. But we are everywhere, we cantankerous, contrarian members of the Leave Me Alone Coalition.
Posted by Claire @ 08:58 AM CST [Link]
HEH HEH. More evidence of the power of the determined little guy. VeriChip and Applied Digital stock prices fall based on the weekend's "cancer chip" news. So notes the great, gray New York Times.
One side of me hates to see this sort of sudden reaction because so much harm has been done in the past on the basis of spurious health news and periodic panics (remember what the Alar scare did to the apple industry). I don't mean to imply that the "cancer chip" claim is spurious. I would just rather see human chipping rejected on principal -- on thought, rather than on reaction.
But since VeriChip and its corporate and political masters have such a loathsome agenda -- as Katherine Albrecht (the "little guy" in question here) said, their aim is "to chip us all like bar-coded packages of meat" -- anything that knocks them back is good news.
You go, Katherine!
Posted by Claire @ 06:31 AM CST [Link]
Monday, September 10, 2007
THE NEW HARDYVILLE COLUMN is now online.
Sorry it was late this week. It wasn't my fault or Oliver Del Signore's. It was Jane Wyman's. The award-winning actress (and first wife of Ronald Reagan) died this morning and Oliver, who had been working on her memorial website for months, had to rush the site online, complete with obituary.
Posted by Claire @ 01:31 PM CST [Link]
BOY, IT'S GREAT TO SEE THE GOOD GUYS SCORE ONE for a change. And this was a big score. Not often does anybody from "our side" earn major, non-biased news coverage. But Katherine Albrecht -- that tireless researcher and campaigner -- did it when the Associated Press broke its "cancer chips" story this weekend.
VeriChip's drive to chip us all (a drive conducted in collusion with sleazy politicians; the drubbing Tommy Thompson takes in the AP story is a marvelous thing) has been seriously derailed. So why aren't we taking more time to shout some big YEE HAWS?
Some background: Katherine dug for data and got the story to the AP. But it all began with one woman in Canada whose French bulldog died of a chip-related cancer. That woman, known only as Jeanne, began gathering information on other "cancer chip" studies -- studies VeriChip, Tommy Thompson, and their cronies conveniently ignored when going through the approval process for planting chips in humans. Katherine carried Jeanne's work farther. And ... boom.
VeriChip has issued a standard corporate non-response. I've asked my vet about VeriChip's claim that mice and rats are prone to get cancer after any injection. Otherwise, there's simply nothing there. VeriChip is on the run -- thanks to Katherine, her Spychips co-author, Liz McIntire, and the mourning dog owner, Jeanne. Thanks to little freedom lovers, very much like us.
After so much bad news for freedom, let's not just let this great good news blow by. As Katherine writes in a private message to CASPIAN staff and volunteers (reprinted here with her permission): [more]
Posted by Claire @ 11:36 AM CST [Link]
Friday, September 7, 2007
The amazing world of hemp
Raving Reporter Thunder here.
(Sorry for my absence. Hope you noticed I was gone.... )
Today's link is somewhat indirectly related to freedom. Just a link to yet another interesting product made from hemp: an electric guitar..
Is there anything that hemp (and it's more vilified kissin' cousin marijuana) CAN'T do? If products like this are possible, why is it that it is illegal in the USSA?
And for those that want to hear how this instrument sounds....
Posted by Thunder @ 07:50 AM CST [Link]
Thursday, September 6, 2007
WE'RE JUST NOT SACRIFICING ENOUGH of our freedoms. Ah. Yes. Of course that's our problem. How silly of us not to have realized that.
But don't worry. Mr. Chertoff will "educate" us.
Posted by Claire @ 09:01 AM CST [Link]
WELL. SO THE ARIZONA COP WHO BAKED HIS DOG has been booked into jail on a misdemeanor animal-cruelty charge. Good. Wonder if he'll end up in Joe Arpaio's sweltering tent "jail," getting a small taste of what he did to another living creature?
Wouldn't place any bets on it.
Posted by Claire @ 08:58 AM CST [Link]
Wednesday, September 5, 2007
GAWD, CHRISTOPHER HITCHENS IS A GREAT WRITER. His take on the Larry Craig sex scandal is a hoot. I don't know or care what Craig did in that airport bathroom. I agree that sex-trolling cops do more harm than their targets. But Hitchens nails it when it comes to risk and denial in the lives of closeted moralizers. And whoever would have imagined that anybody ever wrote a Ph.D. dissertation on ...
Posted by Claire @ 01:31 PM CST [Link]
Tuesday, September 4, 2007
SEPTEMBER 5, 1774. On this date in history, in response to Britain's passage of the Intolerable Acts, the increasingly restless natives of the American colonies opened the First Continental Congress.
Some moderates simply wanted to have more representation in the British government. But Patrick Henry (my hero) was ahead of the pack. He knew that the bonds between us and them were already severed (as the bonds between us and Mordor on the Potomac should be).
According to Wikipedia the Intolerable Acts were passed to punish and isolate Massachusetts rebels after the Boston Tea Party. To say they backfired would be a bit of an understatement. Instead, the acts pulled the rug out from under moderates and united radical agitators up and down the colonies.
Posted by Claire @ 08:52 PM CST [Link]
A BOY BECOMES A MAN in the cause of saving Hardyville. Maybe not the world's smartest man, but ...
Posted by Claire @ 11:05 AM CST [Link]
Sunday, September 2, 2007
ONE OF THE MOST MOVING ANIMAL RESCUE STORIES I ever read was "Just an Old Golden Retriever" by Sara Whalen. Also known as Brandy's Story, it relates how Whalen woke up to the worth of animals and became a rescuer. She became such a rescuer, in fact, that she founded the Pets Alive Animal Sanctuary in New York, which cared for hundreds of domestic critters of every age and condition.
A happy ending for all, so it seemed. Then this spring, the twist emerged.
Posted by Claire @ 11:25 AM CST [Link]
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
I HAD TO LET THE GOOD OLD TOYOTA GO on Monday. Sniff, sniff. After most of a year on foot, I'd saved up enough to get it fixed -- so I thought! But what the mechanic found within ... well, it was time to say goodbye.
Couldn't figure out why I felt so wiped out afterward. After all, I hadn't driven the thing in 8-1/2 months. It wasn't as if anything had changed. Jeez, Claire I told myself, people sell cars every day. What's the big deal? But I felt as if I'd abandoned an old friend.
Then I realized, I actually had. I bought that faithful old Toyota 16 years ago when it was brand new and I was still fully within the system. It drove me to the Randy Weaver trial and later to Ruby Ridge and the site of the shootings, up a long and rutted road. It took me to visit the Desert Hermitage and to be with my former Significant Sweetie. I had it longer than I ever owned any house I've lived in, longer than I was ever in a relationship with a man. I slept in it when I couldn't get a motel room, hauled sick dogs to the vet, and carried building materials for Cabin Sweet Cabin. That truck served me with barely a hiccup for all that time. But when it went, it went.
I'm still enjoying being footloose. Perhaps next year or the year after the time will be right again to own a vehicle, and when the time is right, the right vehicle will more or less show up on my doorstep with an "Adopt Me" note pinned to its bumper. But for now, the gods, the Flow, or whatever you want to call it tell me to keep my feet on the ground and let the sun, rain, winds, and friends surround me.
I can sum up the last 8-1/2 months in one phrase: inconventient, but full of discovery and blessings. Right from wintry week one to this very sunny day.
Posted by Claire @ 05:32 PM CST [Link]
NINETY FIREARMS FOR EVERY 100 AMERICANS? Hey, now that's a good start! And of course, you and I are all doing our patriotic part to keep the U.S. Number One in citizen gun ownership, right?
Well, of course. Let's all pat ourselves on the back, then wave our Gadsden flags.
Now, if we could just manage a little corporate idiot control, the country might be in good shape. At least, even with our native idiots, we're ahead of the Mother Country in common sense.
Posted by Claire @ 05:19 PM CST [Link]
Monday, August 27, 2007
JENNIFER CAROLINA faces danger on a ranch outside of Hardyville. But perhaps she also holds a clue to a greater danger facing Hardyville itself.
Posted by Claire @ 05:58 PM CST [Link]