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)
(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…
Those of you who know me, or who have read this blog at any length, know I love TV, movies, etc. In spite of this, I’ve come late to the table on many popular shows (original Star Trek, Firefly/Serenity to name a couple) and am now dogged by the idea that anything I truly enjoy is doomed to be canceled.
Person-Of-Interest, for example.
Here is a show with interesting characters, good acting and an engaging theme with caught my interest a few years ago.
The government (and others) are spying on us ALL through public surveillance cameras, traffic cameras, ATMs, personal computers, security systems, cellular telephones ad infinitum, and crunching the data to use for their ‘purposes’ (propaganda, ‘nudging’, marketing, politics).
The lead actor (Jim Caviezel) who plays a spec-ops former CIA guy in the show, even took it upon himself to train with Navy Seals near his home to learn realistic weapon handling and unarmed combat techniques.
Sounds fantastic, right? (from the root word fantasy)
Now, approaching the delayed beginning of Season Five, we’ve been told this will be a truncated season (13 episodes) starting later this year, and probably the last.
I’ve never written a letter to a production company (as an adult – I remember writing Sky King when I was age 7 for an autograph! :-)) but I am considering writing one now.
But, a comment by another fan of the show on an entertainment website may have said it all:
Well, maybe it is not the rating but the subject matter this show speaks about – not so much science fiction at all anymore. Better shut up.
Billy Shakespeare said that.
I’d a recent experience, wherein I left a blog post comment @ one of my blogfriend’s™ blogs. A few minutes later, it occurred to me that I’d addressed him by someone else’s name!
And there was no method in his blogging software by which I could make a correction.
(I did go back and make a second comment, apologizing.)
This reminded me of a year-or-so ago, when a kind soul sent me a few dollars on my sidebar Paypal link. (hint, hint). It was late, I was preparing to retire, and had taken my evening meds. (HALF of the medication I am prescribed has possible side effects of memory loss!)
And I thanked him profusely, using a wrong name!
Then, I sent him another email, apologizing. Hopefully, I got it right the second time(?) I’ve not heard from him ever again.
At least, in the few significant personal relationships I’ve had in my lifetime with the opposite sex, I’ve not uttered another woman’s name whilst in flagrante delicto!
I don’t think? I wasn’t on this kind of medication, then…
I don’t know…
The Internet is replete with tales of doom and gloom.
Two of the more current (having appeared almost simultaneously) are (first)…
BERNIE SANDERS BECOMES THE NEXT PRESIDENT
Why? Because the expected Democratic front runner, Hillary Clinton is mired in all her illegal, dishonest and unethical mess – to the point where even the main-stream media couldn’t ignore it. So Bernie, who seems to be running strong, and is an avowed Socialist – became the candidate.
And Donald Trump, the RINO populist, who says what ‘the people’ want to hear (at least some people) and cannot be bought (as he is running on his own cash) scares the bejezus out of the Republican establishment. As they are not about to make him their candidate (because they cannot control him) he forms a third party. This splits the Republican base, and Bernie The Socialist wins!
Result? More editing and erosion of the Constitution, and increase in governmental power. And out-of-control spending!
WORLD FINANCIAL COLLAPSE
The People’s Republic of China (aka the PRC or ‘Red’ China), the communist behemoth to the East, is tanking financially. And our own system (Wall Street and The Fed) are failing as well. (the DJA dropped 1100 points in one day), AND, China holds our note (they are propping US up!) Translation – both East and West are preparing for a large financial hit. And failing in the preparation. International terrorism is rampant. And let’s not mention Europe and the tinder box in the Middle East (nuclear Iran – “I told you not to mention that!”))…
Quelle surprise TWO.
Expectations are (again, per the Internet-feeding your fears since 1994) that with a second, incompetent Socialist President, and a rapidly failing financial system, WORLDWIDE, the international banking system and what’s left of world stability will fail.
No access to your bank accounts, IRAs, profit-sharing funds, stocks, pensions, gold, jewels. You will be asked to bring in any valuables to the nearest federal collection station for ‘processing of your contribution’. Social Security, Medicare and disability payments will STOP.
And anarchy will ensue.
Need an Alka-Seltzer, yet?
Or a whiskey?
Me? I don’t buy into it. At least not yet.
I think the demise of the Republic will occur much more slowly and painfully, as it has been since, oh, 1930…
Which, seriously is nothing. :-)
OVER 200,000 views (200,107 views as of this writing) (people who intentionally or otherwise) viewed Guffaw in AZ since it’s inception, March 5, 2011.
W O W
I’m truly amazed.
I still have low expectations, but feel compelled to comment on statistics and dates as I run across them.
Thank you all, dear readers.
It’d been said tell God your plans – and watch him laugh.
I’ve been reluctant to go in for a back x-ray, on doctor’s order.
I’m just tired of procedures.
Robert Burns – the poet laureate of Scotland wrote Ode to a field mouse.
“The best laid plans of mice and men aft gang agley”
(oft go astray)
I actually decided to go in.
Then I got a cold. And I feel like crap. Fevers, chills, muscle pain. And a temperature of 102°.
Been bedridden since yesterday morning.
Life doesn’t always go as we plan or desire. We certainly cannot control others in their personal plans or desires.
Especially, in matters of the heart.
Sometimes, we must let them go…
When love is good, it’s very, very good.
And when it goes away, it sucks.
♫ That’s what we are. ♫ (with apologies to the late, great Nat King Cole)
From Caleb @ Gun Nuts:
Carrying a gun does not make me special. It doesn’t make me different, it doesn’t make me a sheepdog, and it shouldn’t be treated like an occasion. The act of every day concealed carry should be no more interesting or dramatic than the act of buckling your seatbelt, washing your hands during flu season, or changing the batteries in your smoke detectors.
Stop treating CCW like it’s special. It’s not. You’re just carrying the most effective tool available to defend yourself from violence. It’s a fire extinguisher. There’s nothing special about keeping a fire extinguisher under the kitchen sink. I want owning and carrying a Glock 19 to have the same level of remarkableness as owning a Toyota Camry.
You should really go to the link above and read Caleb’s entire editorial.
He is correct, of course. Unless you are military, spec ops, civilian police or private security, you are NOT a sheepdog, superhero or James Bond. You are just a piece of flotsam out there taking some responsibility for your own protection. Good for you (as far as that goes) but your adrenaline and bp shouldn’t go up just because you gear up.
Putting on an IWB holster should be no different than picking up your keys or clipping your folding knife in your pocket!
There is no big red S on your chest.