WolfesBlogArchives: February 2006

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

I'M NOT QUITE AS SUNNILY OPTIMISTIC ABOUT RFID TECHNOLOGY as this guy. I think we will all be required to be chipped eventually; if not us, our children. But first, of course, chipping will be made "cool."

(Thank you to Randall the Dreamer.)

Posted by Claire @ 11:24 AM CST [Link]

MAYBE THERE'S HOPE FOR THE HUMAN RACE, AFTER ALL. After I wrote yesterday that the White Rose was the only organized resistance to Hitler within Germanay, DA wrote to remind me about Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Now there's a man I shouldn't have forgotten -- that none of us should forget.

Posted by Claire @ 11:00 AM CST [Link]

Monday, February 27, 2006

STEVE KUBBY IS DETERIORATING. A 25-pound weight loss in three weeks and a case of shingles (a sign of immune system distress). And all for what?

Posted by Claire @ 01:34 PM CST [Link]

WE NO LONGER HAVE TRIBAL ELDERS. A lot of us don't even have strong connections to grandparents or elderly neighbors any more. So the Elder Wisdom Circle attempts to fill the void.

How well this works depends a lot on the elders (and I do wish they'd have it set up so that multiple "elders" routinely responded, instead of just one). But it's an interesting thought.

Posted by Claire @ 01:26 PM CST [Link]

TWO IMPORTANT ANNIVERSARIES LAST WEEK. One was the execution by the Nazis of Hans and Sophie Scholl of the White Rose. The other was Nikita Khrushchev's 1956 "secret speech" denouncing Stalin and admitting Stalin's murderous record for the first time. That speech might have been the first crack in the facade of Soviet invincibility -- even if that facade took another 30+ years to shatter.

The saddest things:

The Scholls' brave, but entirely intellectual, rebellion against the Nazis was the only such rebellion ever to take place in Hitler's Germany. That's scary. In 13 years, the only native resistance to one of the twentieth-century's three greatest monsters came from a tiny handful of college students. (A new movie about Sophie was released in 2005, BTW. It's gotten an Oscar nomination in the foreign-language film category.)

And in today's chaotic Russia, millions miss and praise Stalin. Twenty or thirty million outright murders of his own people? Who cares? Political purges and deadly show trials? Small matters. Millions slaving and dying in the gulags? A small price to pay for the revolution. After all, the man boosted steel production and converted the Soviet economy from primitive agriculture to industrialization. Never mind that the people still lived like serfs.

When you think too hard about it, you pretty much have to conclude there's not much hope the human race will ever grow a spine. Or a brain.

Posted by Claire @ 01:16 PM CST [Link]

CREATIVE INSIGHTS HAVE BEEN FLYING AROUND HERE like miller moths in June (and if you've ever lived in miller moth country, you know that's a LOT of insights).

Since I disconnected from the phone and Internet and went to the silent meditation workshop earlier this month, I've followed a lovely, gentle, but always curving and surprising path. There have been SO many times I longed to blog some new thought or experience I've discovered around the latest turn in my life.

But I haven't been sure that you guys who come here expecting privacy news or gun-rights or monkeywrenching or some rant about the latest idiocies of Our Glorious Leaders would care. (If that's the case, save yourself some time and quit reading now.)

Then last night I had an insight about insights. [more]

Posted by Claire @ 12:59 PM CST [Link]

Saturday, February 25, 2006


Blogispondent Ian here, checking in from the garage with another report on my new (old) Datsun pickup. I've finally been able to start doing some work on it, and I've gotten most of the top priority fixes done. Most of it went smoothly, but I did make one dumb mistake that I can hopefully keep anyone else from duplicating... [more]

Posted by Ian @ 10:36 AM CST [Link]

IT'S ďIRA SEASON.Ē Our munificent fedgov, the wastrels and spendthrifts who put every private-sector American worker some $6,000 deeper into debt last year, will ďallowĒ you to save $4,000. Or $4,500. But only if you do it before April 15. Or April 17th, in some places. And only if youíre not too old, or didnít make too much money. And they promise, and they really, really mean it this time, that they wonít take this money, that you donít have to pay taxes on it, at least until you spend it, and maybe not then, if you got the right kind of account, and you do the paperwork right, and they donít decide to change all the rules between now and then.

Phew. No wonder most Americanís donít save. Saving fiat paper that is being relentlessly, deliberately debased is a foolís game, and the complex, ever-changing rules donít help.

Why not start a real Individual Responsibility Account today? One with no forms to fill out, no taxes to pay, no snoops and spies (aka bankers) to report every detail of what you do with your savings to any local, state, or federal goon on a fishing expedition?

Itís easy. Decide how many FRNs you want to turn into real savings. Pick up the phone, and call the nice people at The Camino Company. If you prefer the net, go to Goldmasters and fill your shopping basket. Order as many gold bullion coins as you can afford. At todayís prices, a $4,000 IRA investment will buy 6 or 7 one-ounce bullion coins. (There are many fine establishments who will take your order, and a few not-so-fine ones who will take your money but never send the goods. I use Camino because they are scrupulously honest and have been in business for decades.)

Six coins may not sound like much, but if you do this every year they add up nicely. Remember, the fedgov doesnít (yet) limit how many you can buy, so if you can afford to save more, go right ahead! You also donít have to wait for April 15, buy anytime. If and when that day comes when you need to sell a few, well, I have no idea what the tax rules will be then, but governments throughout history have found it impossible to enforce taxes on infrequent, private sales.

Posted by Silver @ 07:15 AM CST [Link]

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

WOW. THE TECHNOPHOBES AT NPR finally lifted their heads up from searching for endangered tree frogs on the Mongolian steppes and noticed the existence of email encryption. Alas, wouldn't you know it, their tale focuses on how almost nobody actually uses email encryption -- including the most dedicated privacy advocates.

Well, I got news for you, NPRistas. Most of my correspondents do encrypt, bless their hearts. And those ex-spurts who say there's no need to encrypt most emails forget the simple virtue of foiling governments on a regular basis. Let the NSA crunch away at your encrypted emails ... only to find your prize recipe for Creole red beans and rice. HA!

True, encryption has its pitfalls. (Try finding some address or phone number amid the 100 encrypted messages somebody sent you. Ack.) But it's simple. It's fun. And it monkeywrenches the snoop works!

Couple of years ago, with a lot of help from my friends, I wrote a pretty half-way decent "Hardyville Beginners Guide to Encryption."

And of course the Chivalrous Tech Geeks at TCF are always willing to help anybody learn to encrypt.

And since I've recently finished talking a technophobic (but bright) Windows user through the specific process of using encryption with the Thunderbird email program (a great, great combo!), I'll paste those instructions behind the "more" link.

Now ... YOU HAVE NO EXCUSE. Go thou and encrypt! [more]

Posted by Claire @ 02:35 PM CST [Link]

WE'RE LOSING AT THE GOVERNMENT GAME." Jim Bovard has done it again. This time in the pages of Newsday. (How'd you end up there, Jim?)

I particularly like this part. After reflecting on polls showing how ignorant Americans are about their own political system, Jim says:

The key is not the raw amount of data ingested, but a more enlightened attitude. An ounce of skepticism is worth a shelf of Federal Registers. The American system of government functioned fairly well in its early decades partly because citizens were wary of politicians offering favors.
The more deference government receives, the more damage politicians can inflict.


Posted by Claire @ 01:37 PM CST [Link]

Sunday, February 19, 2006


Howdy, Blogispondent Ian here again. Since I will be shortly starting to make changes to my new (old) Datsun, I've documented it's original appearance with a photo (33k). Hopefully, it'll actually look a bit better when I'm done! smile Anyway, in the past week I've had several mechanics look at it and I've worked up a list of work that I need to do on it. I've divided the list into a couple categories based on urgency. [more]

Posted by Ian @ 12:49 PM CST [Link]

Thursday, February 16, 2006

"LOVE" VIA RFID CHIP. This is sick. And note, all my Revelation-believing Christian friends: For the first time the infamous chip shows up in the hand. Have a happy apocalypse. ;-)

(Thank you to AZ.)

Posted by Claire @ 11:43 AM CST [Link]

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

DOWN WITH BIG BROTHER. It's not just a good idea (and a quote from Orwell). It's the title of a book that offers a thrill of hope in dark times. Its biggest message: the strongest, most impregnable fortress of tyranny can fall astonishingly quickly and in the most unexpected ways when the time is right.

It's about the Soviet empire. But you'll recognize (in milder form) some political and economic similarities of the Bushevik era -- or for that matter, any big, powerful, all-controlling government.

I stumbled upon this book while searching for titles by the British political novelist Michael Dobbs, whose astutely sharp-witted book House of Cards was transformed into the even more astute and sharp-witted British mini-series (and terrific trilogy) House of Cards starring Ian Richardson. [more]

Posted by Claire @ 01:11 PM CST [Link]

THE LATEST HARDYVILLE COLUMN is online. It's part one of a two-parter dealing with debt.

Posted by Claire @ 12:50 PM CST [Link]

Monday, February 13, 2006

IT FEELS STRANGE TO BE TYPING A BLOG ENTRY AGAIN after nearly two weeks in silence. Feels strange to be typing anything, as a matter of fact.

The meditation workshop was a mixture of positives and negatives. Beautiful but unpretentious setting, caring people, vegetarian food tasty enough to satisfy even a meat eater. No "cultish" elements. Dedicated non-commercialism, with no pitches for donations, no tee-shirts or tapes or books to buy. And silence. Really lovely silence, broken only by the gentle call of hand-struck gongs marking periods of the day. But the beauties were blighted by dreary, authoritarian, nerve-grating canned teaching, a meditation technique that just didn't "fit" me, and a schedule that quickly ground me down. [more]

Posted by Claire @ 01:10 PM CST [Link]

WHY IS THE GOV SO KEEN ON HIDING MAD COW CASES? While others focus on conspiracies surrounding 9/11 or NAIS or similar, I've developed my own little obsession.

I reported a couple years ago about the Feds forbidding the private testing of cattle for BSE. A year later, it comes out that the USDA was covering up incidents where cows tested positive for BSE.

Now it turns out that the Agriculture Department overruled a scientist's recommendation that a particular cow be retested for BSE. Why? Because they feared "... a positive finding would undermine confidence in the agency's testing procedures."


Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know that Mad Cow is primarily hype. I know that it's rare, and that most people are not worried about it. I'm not particularly worried about it myself. But I have major issues with an "objective" government agency -- one whose ostensible purpose is to guarantee food safety -- covering up a food safety problem because it wouldn't be in the best interest of a major campaign supporter.

Sigh. Know what blows? The lefties think the solution is -- naturally -- more government oversight.

Don't people ever learn?

Posted by Debra @ 10:00 AM CST [Link]


Blogispondent Ian here, with the first installment of my truck project.

As I mentioned in my introduction, this project is the restoration of a 1983 Datsun 720 half-ton pickup. You may be wondering why I'm starting with that - as a friend of mine comments, "they just look wimpy." And, of course, the classic survivalist vehicle is the good old beefy American 1970s truck. Those old Chevys, Fords, and Dodges are big, tough, loud, cheap, and can be kept running with spit and baling wire. What's not to like?

Well, let's look at what a gulch vehicle needs to do. Since I'm not exactly wealthy, I will start with one limiting factor - having a second vehicle just for emergencies is a luxury I can't afford right now. A gulchmobile for me must be a do-it-all workhorse. Let's consider what characteristics would be ideal for each of this vehicle's basic tasks: [more]

Posted by Ian @ 09:50 AM CST [Link]

Saturday, February 11, 2006


Howdy folks, Blogispondent Ian checking in. I'm pleased to report that this will be the first in a series of hopefully-informative articles about my revival of an '83 Nissan pickup from tired junker into reliable gulchmobile. I'm no master mechanic by any stretch, but I'm pretty confident that most vehicle work is actually relatively simple. I hope that aside from making myself a badass truck, I can also dispell the illusion that you have to take a vehicle to a shop to have anything done to it.

The sum total of my car mechanicking experience is:

Replacing the water pump, thermostat, and main belt on a 12-year-old Nissan within the last month, using garage-sale tools.

If I can do this, anyone willing to try it can.

Of course, the next question is why someone would want to. To me, the answers are obvious: to save money by not having to hire mechanics, to really grok how my vehicle works, to have a vehicle set up exactly the way I want it, and to be able to point at a badass truck and say, "I did that."

So stay tuned! Installment 1 (why this Nissan is a good platform for a gulching vehicle) will coming very shortly.

Posted by Ian @ 02:59 PM CST [Link]

Friday, February 10, 2006

DON'T YOU JUST HATE IT WHEN YOU'RE WRONG? For a couple months now, my husband has been bitching about our Netflix subscription. Despite the fact that we're subscribed for 5-at-a-time, we're always waiting on the darn things. I figured it was his weekend movie marathons that were bottlenecking our subscription, but he insisted there was "something" going on.

"What, you think it's a sinister plot? That they're purposely not sending our movies on time?" I asked sarcastically.


Turns out Netflix has a policy of "throttling" high-traffic customers in order to increase their profit margins. If you have a history of watching and turning in your movies quickly, they'll hold off on sending yours out for a day or two...because the more movies you go through in a month, the more postage they pay, and the less profit they make.

Looks like I get crow for dinner.... blush

Posted by Debra @ 04:00 PM CST [Link]

Sunday, February 5, 2006

Lost Liberty Hotel has lost

Raving reporter Thunder here. I'm sure you all remember the push to use eminent domain to seize Justice Souter's property and build a hotel in its place. It seems that the people have spoken and have sided with Justice Souter, blocking the Lost Liberty Hotel.

Posted by Thunder @ 09:51 AM CST [Link]

Friday, February 3, 2006

CLAIRE'S LATEST HARDYVILLE COLUMN is up at Backwoods Home Magazine. Special thanks to Pagan at TCF for pointing it out.

(Claire, hope your retreat is going well)

Posted by Debra @ 09:02 AM CST [Link]

Wednesday, February 1, 2006

Fiat fiat currency?

Raving reporter Thunder here. It's no news to anyone in the freedom movement that U.S. currency isn't worth spit. The use of precious metals to mint coins was steadily being reduced until the 1960's when it was finally ended completely. Even though the currency wasn't itself worth much, it was at least backed by gold.

Posted by Thunder @ 09:34 AM CST [Link]

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