I have a book that a reader sent me a year or two ago – and I apologize but I don’t remember who sent it – It’s about a guy who took it into his head to semi-retire into the Alaskan outback, near or above the Arctic circle. You know, just go out there and build a cabin and live.
Now, that’s more-or-less the plot of Into the Wild, and I think we know how that story turned out. But this older guy, Richard Proenneke, wasn’t some overindulged and suicidally starry-eyed kid. He was an old Alaska hand and actually knew what he was doing. He built a cabin that was a literal work of art – after he got old and retired from retiring, it became a tourist attraction for really hardy tourists. It makes the Secret Lair look like a particularly disreputable shed. And he made nearly every part of it from native wood or stone or bone – hell, he carved wooden door hinges.
Every single thing he had that he couldn’t make himself had to be flown in on a little bush plane and it could only happen a few months out of the year, so space and weight were real factors. And I was looking at the photographs reproduced in the book – Proenneke was a photographer, and my only complaint about the book is there aren’t enough photographs – and in one shot of the cabin’s interior I saw…a roll of paper towels.
And I had me a chuckle. Now, here’s a package of six paper towel rolls, which I just bought today…
It doesn’t weigh hardly anything, of course, but it’s bulky as hell. I suppose you could open the package and distribute the rolls around the plane, but my point is that if it needs to come by bush plane, you’d have to really want that roll of paper towels. Seems like there are more important things to which you could devote that plane space.
Except maybe there aren’t. When I was first alone out here, experimenting with ways to make due with virtually no income and really studying the difference between a want and a need, I learned that the line between the two is not always clear. Some commodities, while of course you can get along without them in the sense that you won’t actually die, are themselves so useful that it almost doesn’t matter. It’s not a question of life and death, it’s a question of quality of life. Indoor plumbing: Have I ever wasted a moment wishing I hadn’t devoted all that precious Lair space to an indoor toilet? Nope, not so much as a millisecond. To the best of my knowledge, and leaving poisonous spiders out of it, nobody ever died from using an outhouse as I originally planned. But a flush toilet is just such a massive improvement that, if you’ve got the water pressure, only an idiot would decide not to go ahead and dig for a septic system. Electricity’s the same way: Not a necessity of life, but look at all the things it makes possible.
Those are big things. There’s a myriad of little ones, like paper towels. It’s good to pay attention and learn what those things are, because it’s the little things that mark the difference between living and just surviving.
PAY ATTENTION – my personal motto.
I’ve found in my years that had I paid attention (or more attention) perhaps things would have turned our better or differently. Perhaps not.
But almost always were worse for having not done so.
When I moved in with J. (a good friend and ex-gf ) over three years ago! (Where does the time go? “Cleveland!” – G. Carlin), she noticed we prefer different brands of TP.
She likes the girly, soft stuff, promoted by cartoon bears. I prefer coarser grit stuff, like Scott Tissue. And, when I can afford to, I purchase it in 12-packs (above). (I know, TMI)
And there is a small coupon for points toward something free on the package. School Supplies, I think. One of J’s customers is a schoolteacher, and has need for such things.
So J. asked me to collect the coupons for her friend.
And I did, as much of a PITA doing so was (no pun intended)…
After I had collected YEARS of these things, I presented J. with the bundle. Turns out about HALF had expired! I hadn’t noticed there was an EXPIRATION DATE on them! :-(
I failed to read the fine print!
So, here it is Tax Time. Regular readers know I am loathe to giving the government money, especially taxes! As oft happens, I just file under-the-wire. I call myself Last Minute Louie.
And for the past couple of years, I’ve been using Tax Act software. I used to use Turbo Tax, but when my income dropped, I couldn’t afford it!
Tax Act starts sending out reminder emails even before Jan 1, mentioning the sooner you purchase it, the cheaper it is.
Being of modest income (and not wanting to file, anyway) I put off the purchase. Until I began preparation on Sunday.
And the total was much more than I anticipated! And I didn’t have the money. :-(
But, I able to finagle the fee to efile my tax returns MONDAY (two weeks ago). Last Minute Louie it is!
Lesson learned – from now on I shall read the fine print!
(FTC – in no way is this an endorsement of either or any tax software product)
This is probably brule’ for those of us who are ‘gunnies’ and carry with regularity, but is still interesting with regard to how those in the federal law enforcement circle views such things.
It IS nice edged weapons are included!
(from The Firearms Blog)
The guide itself is rather basic, mostly written word of generally common-sense spotting techniques that most law enforcement would look for during any encounter.
The first and basic step is to “determine (the) strong side” which can be determined by looking for cues such as watches, writing, smoking, and other daily tasks.
Then, according to the Secret Service “An individual who carries a gun on their person will periodically touch that gun both consciously and unconsciously.” (I disagree with this, carrying on a regular basis and with training, many concealed carriers will not touch their firearm, but can see how for MOST encounters, this is true).
Perhaps the most interesting nugget (At least to me) is that the “the majority of right-handed people that carry handguns illegally carry them in the right front waist band, loose.” The document then explains that its because doing so is “cool”, seen in the movies” and “where it is most secure and accessible.”
You can see the whole document here, courtesy of Public Intelligence. (6 pages PDF)
I was reminded of walking through downtown Scottsdale (many years ago) after the Az CCW law initially passed. In a couple of hours, I spotted at least nine persons carrying concealed weapons. I’m certain part of the observation was this was a relatively new legal behavior and folks weren’t used to doing so yet. But people tugging up on there waist bands on the right side under their overshirts, and wearing overshirts were a good beginning!
Most cops or plainclothes agents aren’t that concerned with concealment, and get accustomed to carrying many hour a day, and have done so for years.
Having done so, myself, for many years, I’ve the same comfort and familiarity.
And hope you have it, as well!
copied stolen from Bayou Renaissance Man)
One can only salute the courage and determination of this victim of terrorism.
An Israeli man who was stabbed multiple times Tuesday afternoon in a terror attack in Petah Tikva managed to remove the knife from his neck and use it to stab and neutralize his attacker, aided by the store owner, police said.
The attacker, a Palestinian, died a few minutes later, police said.
The victim, later named as Yonatan Azarihab, an ultra-Orthodox man of about 40 who suffered multiple stab wounds to his upper body, was hospitalized in moderate condition.
The store owner was not injured.
There’s more at the link.
There will doubtless be those of a bleeding-heart persuasion who try to convince us that the Palestinian was merely ‘resisting Jewish oppression’. Bull. As the late, great Jeff Cooper once said:
The obvious way to eradicate crime is to eradicate criminals, but neither the lawgivers nor the constabulary seem inclined to do this. The man who elects to prey upon society deserves no consideration from society. If he survives his act of violence, he rates a fair trial—but only to be sure that there has been no mistake about his identity. If he is killed in the act, there can be little doubt about whose act it was.
He was a terrorist – a criminal by any other name. Thanks to a courageous, determined – and, yes, probably very angry – victim of his terrorism, he ended up paying the price for his crime right then and there. Congratulations to Mr. Azarihab. I hope and pray he makes a speedy and full recovery from his wounds. I don’t know whether Orthodox Judaism condones the drinking of beer, but if it does, I’ll gladly buy him one (or any suitable beverage of his choice) anytime I get the chance.
Reminiscent of the tales of late regarding Ghurka warriors, in another part of the Old World, dispatching bad guys with aplomb! Not one-on-one, but one-on-many!
But here we get told engagement is a no-no, it might make the attacker (more) angry.
Obviously, one needs to know oneself and one’s abilities (and limitations), but we need to stand up to any bastards who confront us with potential immediate harm and stop them!
And yes, I know I’m stating the obvious and preaching to the choir.
(My doctor, after examining my head(!)
correction – My EYE doctor, after my eye exam! :-) )
Part of my annual medical exam involves a visit to the ophthalmologist. You know, the guy who dilates your pupils to see what he can see.
Being a diabetic, there is always a concern. Diabetes, as it limits proper blood flow, can cause neuropathy (which I have) and even diminished flow to the eyes, which can cause blindness! Even with my ‘good’ blood work numbers.
I don’t like having my pupils dilated, and even more so do not like paying for the privilege. My eye doc does take Medicare (which I am on, due to my being disabled). Of course, every year there is the deductible.
And, it is the beginning of a new year.
So, I’d been putting it off until I could cobble some funds together.
My regular physician – knowing my predilections in this matter – sent a referral to the eye doc, who set up an appointment, and they called me with the date and time.
So there’s no avoidance…
Good news! They take payments! There is no sign of diabetic damage in either eye! AND my prescription hasn’t changed.
Until next year…
When I was visiting my Sister on Christmas Eve (accompanying my ex-wife, who is close with my niece and grand-nieces. Yeah, it’s weird, sometimes!) my ex told me she had been visiting earlier that day with her (deceased) youngest brother’s children. One of whom had a child, who married someone already with a child.
So, they are a step-parent, and by extension, I found out I am a great, great uncle!
Now I’m not particularly close to these folks, and don’t know over half of them, so my social obligation is limited.
But the label! And the fact it’s 2016! That makes me….(carry the one)….(removes sock to count toes)….going to be sixty-four this November!
And my ex already took note that I am graying (Thanks, M!)…
But, I am grateful for all I do have, and the fact I am on this side of the dirt nap.
So there’s that.
Tempus Fugit, my friends.
The third rock from the Sun has gone ’round yet again. And it’s reportedly now 2016!
Happy New Year?!
I must report, not much has changed for me in the past 365 days, save increased age and perceived infirmity.
Same (low) disability income, same crummy car, same rental room.
BUT, I continue to have friends and family, who support me spiritually, morally, and sometimes even financially!
And that has made all the difference!
My thanks to you all – you know who you are.
Who knows? Perhaps this year will be even better?
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
As Don Benjamin (my high school English Lit. teacher) used to say when he’d (intentionally) run out his lesson plan:
“Well, here we are!”
My roommate did a fine job on the tree (which she also bargain purchased – it’s artificial!). Sadly, neither one of us has enough money to do the holiday up right.
And she’s visiting her daughter in Tucson, today.
I visited my Sister’s for Christmas Eve festivities – here is a pic of nieces, nephews, grand nieces and grand nephews and my sister sporting their silly socks! :-) ♫You put your left foot in…♫
I’ve the critters to keep me company today, and a traditional dinner of Italian food later for which to look.
Santa didn’t bring me the woman I asked for! Nor the guns!
But, I’ve a roof over my head, a 16-year-old car that sometimes works and fuzzy creatures to annoy, confound and entertain me.
And food for my belly.
Life is good – to all my friends, near and far, MERRY CHRISTMAS!
…and so do others of any color, and cops! – Guffaw
Then there’s THIS (from Kevin Baker):
As I’ve said here and on other fora, if you really want to do something about homicide by firearm then you need to pay attention to who’s doing the killing, who’s doing the dying, and where it is taking place. ProPublica has an article out, How the Gun Control Debate Ignores Black Lives, on this topic, and the title to this post is THE pullquote from it.
Some other choice selections:
In 2012, 90 people were killed in shootings like the ones in Newtown and Aurora, Colorado. That same year, nearly 6,000 black men were murdered with guns.
Mass shootings, unsurprisingly, drive the national debate on gun violence. But as horrific as these massacres are, by most counts they represent less than 1 percent of all gun homicides. America’s high rate of gun murders isn’t caused by events like Sandy Hook or the shootings this fall at a community college in Oregon. It’s fueled by a relentless drumbeat of deaths of black men.
Gun control advocates and politicians frequently cite the statistic that more than 30 Americans are murdered with guns every day. What’s rarely mentioned is that roughly 15 of the 30 are black men.
Avoiding that fact has consequences. Twenty years of government-funded research has shown there are several promising strategies to prevent murders of black men, including Ceasefire. They don’t require passing new gun laws, or an epic fight with the National Rifle Association. What they need — and often struggle to get — is political support and a bit of money.
Lost in the debate is that even in high-crime cities, the risk of gun violence is mostly concentrated among a small number of men. In Oakland, for instance, crime experts working with the police department a few years ago found that about 1,000 active members of a few dozen street groups drove most homicides. That’s .3 percent of Oakland’s population.
Two weeks after Obama unveiled his plan, (Pastor Michael) McBride and dozens of other clergy members, many of them from cities struggling with high rates of gun violence, met again with staffers from Vice President Biden’s task force.
The mood at the January 29 meeting was tense. Many of the attendees, including McBride, felt the president’s agenda had left out black Americans.
“The policy people working for Biden worked with the reality of Congress,” said Teny Gross, one of the original Boston Miracle outreach workers who now leads the Institute for Nonviolence Chicago. “What they were proposing to us was very limited and was not going to help the inner city.”
Gross said he “blew a gasket.” The clergy members in the room were pleading for help. “We bury hundreds of kids every year in the inner city,” Gross recalled them telling the administration representative. “Some of the solutions need to apply to us.”
A staffer said that the political will of the country was not focused on urban violence, several ministers who attended the meeting recalled.
“What was said to us by the White House was, there’s really no support nationally to address the issue of urban violence,” said the Rev. Charles Harrison, a pastor from Indianapolis. “The support was to address the issue of gun violence that affected suburban areas — schools where white kids were killed.”
The Rev. Jeff Brown, from Boston, was angered by the administration’s calculated approach. “When you say something like that and you represent the President of the United States, and the first African-American President of the United States, you know, that’s hugely disappointing,” he said.
It would seem that Obama’s a huge disappointment to a lot of people.
RTWT. And especially the comments.
In our last episode…
My friend Bob (of the many friends named such) – my former P.I. boss and gun store boss – was losing weight and on a feeding tube due to the inability to eat due to esophageal cancer (!)
And he (and we) were awaiting approval from on-high (his health care insurance) to begin chemotherapy and radiation for the throat cancer.
And the insurance company was balking at beginning treatment, as he had yet to gain any weight (or to save themselves money – you decide!)
I heard from him yesterday, as I reached out to him for the Thanksgiving weekend. He has been receiving ‘treatments’ going on three months, with the last one scheduled for this coming week.
THEN, we will see the prognosis…
He says he is very tired and is maintaining (mostly) a good attitude.
Please keep a good thought, and pray for him (if that’s what you do).