The Curley Effect, so-called after Michael James Curley, four times mayor of Boston and one of the most colorfully corrupt 20th century politicians in Massachusetts, has been noted as a significant factor in city politics, where a long-time and popular ruling politician deliberately makes the city inhospitable to those who tend to oppose them, essentially shaping the electorate into one which will support the ruling politician forever and ever, amen. This tactic, of rewarding supporters with public largesse, and punishing opponents economically, worked well for the individual politician, as it did for the very Catholic and Irish Mayor Curley – but at the expense of Boston overall, as those individuals, businesses and institutions who opposed him most frequently, departed, taking their money, businesses and civic involvement with them. Mayor Curley and his cronies throve, but Boston was much the worse for it, over the long run. The same pattern wrecked Detroit under Mayor Coleman Young, given an extra push by the collapse of the auto manufacturing industry. It all worked out very well for Mayor Curley and Mayor Young – but not so well for the long-term vigor of the cities they ostensibly managed … right into the ground, they managed them, but didn’t care, as long as they themselves sat on top of the pile of ruin. Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, Atlanta and others look to be heading in the same depressing direction – a city leadership determined to secure their own continuance, and not just by driving out those marked as political antagonists.

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When I was in college, taking upper division at Cal State University Northridge (a place of no particular fame or note, other than being one of those public unis which used to provide a fair education at relatively low cost) I had a lot of time between some of my classes, and spent many hours in the stacks of the Oviatt Library. On discovering the microfiche newspaper archives, squirreled away in the basement, I undertook a project to read, or at least skim one of them – every daily issue from 1935 to 1945, on reels that covered two weeks at a time. I had already skimmed many of the bound periodicals of the weekly news magazines available – Time, Life, Newsweek and the like – because I had an interest in the period, they were available and what better way to agreeably pass the time between classes? (Both carried the comic strip Terry and the Pirates, which I found fascinating.) I wound up with the Chicago Tribune, after a trial of the Los Angeles Times, because the pages of the Times were scanned from side to side on the reels of microfiche, which made me slightly motion-sick to skim at speed, whereas the Tribune pages were scanned from top to bottom.

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The Daughter Unit and I, with Wee Jamie the Grandson Unit, made a road trip last Saturday – a completely enjoyable outing, even with the necessity of stopping several times to change Wee Jamie’s diapers on the hour-and a half drive to Kingsland on the Llano and Colorado Rivers. He slept for the most part, and excited the admiration of many, who noted the Overwhelming Cuteness of Wee Jamie. His eyes actually opened once or twice during these occasions.

We had an appointment for a presentation ceremony at the American Legion post in Kingsland for me to be presented with a quilt; the ladies of this organization have been working for several years on a project to present a patriotic-themed quilt to every military veteran who can be identified and nominated for one. The Daughter Unit was given one, shortly after finding out that she was pregnant, and so it was only fitting that we do another trip to show him off. The Legion post members were cheerfully foregoing up masks nine months ago – and this weekend, the matter was not even raised, nor was there any evidence.

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08. June 2021 · 1 comment · Categories: General

Against considerable recent competition in the “Let’s All Hate on White” contest currently going on among our political leadership, the media, academia, national corporations, and the entertainment industry, I must nominate Dr. Aruna Khilanani as a stand-out member of the American team for the ultimate Racism Olympics. Dr. Kilanani identifies as a practicing psychiatrist, at least for the moment. I am not myself qualified as a mental health professional, but I have been around long enough to accurately judge when another person routinely maintains vast colonies of bats in their mental belfry. This woman apparently entertains strange resentments and ultra-violent fantasies of shooting white people for no particular reason than rage, fantasies which were expressed in a lecture at the Yale School of Medicine and only made public this week. This brings to my mind the old adage about ‘physician heal thyself’ and the other one about how many shrinks get into the field because they are nuts to start with. By the usual progressive standard, her words may be construed as actual violence, and they certainly would be if expressed by a white person raging against any other ethnicity.

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02. June 2021 · Comments Off on American Gulag · Categories: General

Now that we have our very own American ‘Zampolitz” – political enforcers looking over all of our shoulders, tirelessly searching for the tiniest deviation from what has been ordained as orthodox by the wokerati – it looks as if we have our own gulag mini-archipelago. So mini, in fact that it is more of a single island. And mercifully not in Siberia, and the inhabitant prisoners are not being starved and worked to death doing hand labor on massive infrastructure projects. Not yet, anyway.

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31. May 2021 · Comments Off on Memorial Day, 2021 · Categories: General
Seen this morning, hanging from the top of a small crane on the back of a workman’s truck

27. May 2021 · 2 comments · Categories: General

So and aside from the outage at Chicagoboyz which deep-sixed the site for the best part of a week, I myself was also sidelined at about the same time by another issue: the completion of a project. That is, the eight months-long project to brew up another human being; this one being my Grandson Unit, currently known as Wee Jamie. He had to be delivered a week ago Thursday, through the medium of a hastily scheduled C-section, as an intermittent constriction of the umbilical cord, which delivered all nourishment and oxygen to him in the womb-without-a-view had occurred yet again. The perinatal experts at the clinic where the Daughter Unit was being seen decided that better deliver now than risk problems later. This was six days short of the day that the Daughter Unit’s OB-Gyn had initially decided should be Wee Jamie’s Date of Delivery (again somewhat short of her 40-week human gestational period, which would have been at the end of the first week in June) … well, all of that was rescheduled because of that concern. The Daughter Unit is 41, so a degree of concern was justifiably merited.

So Wee Jamie was delivered, howling to beat the band in his justifiable outrage at being hauled suddenly, brutally, and willy-nilly out of his warm, dark, comfortable if slightly cramped environment, into a world of bright lights, loud noises and sudden cold. He is now fully entitled to eventually go out of this world as he came into it: screaming and covered in someone elses’ blood.

Which I know because I was there in the operating room, as the Daughter Unit’s support person. I had a camera, and a nice seat on a metal stool on the far side of the screen set up across the operating table. The anesthetist on the side of the screen next to me told me when I should stand up and prime the camera to grab the first images of Jamie. I got two lovely if slightly gross pictures of him being extracted, and another on the table being evaluated by the NICU team, which will eventually be blackmail materiel when he becomes an obnoxious teenager. Honestly, I am mostly glad for being able to be there, to see him, then to hold the Daughter Unit’s hand, and not to come over faint myself, which was a distinct possibility. (In Spain, when we had to have certain of the pets seen to at the local vets … I had to hold them for the examination, and then again if there was anything severely medical being done. Eventually this process made me come over faint; the smell and the blood and all. I was embarrassed over this tendency, as I am not otherwise the fainting sort.)

So, the Daughter Unit and I have our hostage to fortune, in the production of Jamie, the Grandson Unit. An observation: The Daughter Unit’s medical care (and Jamie’s) was covered by Medicaid, by the end of the year to be converted to the VA as a veteran, although Jamie’s will continue to be Medicaid until he is five, by which time the Daughter Unit hopes that as a real estate agent, she will be doing well enough to afford good insurance. (She is erratically employed as a researcher for a local company and draws VA disability.) Those fans of the British and Canadian public health organizations appear to be firmly convinced that without a similar organization in the US, Americans who can’t pay out a bomb for primary health care just die in droves and agony on the sidewalks and streets. (The capitalist American medical health system is so brutal and uncaring, dontcha know! Only the rich and insured can get health care. I blow a derisive raspberry in their direction.)

Jamie was delivered at one of the largest and most extensive hospitals in town, mostly because the Daughter Unit’s very busy designated OB had privileges there, and it was a ten-minute jaunt from her offices anyway. There might very well be luxury birthing suites for high-rolling parents somewhere in the Medical Center’s main campus Methodist hospital, but I doubt it; the Daughter Unit’s delivery was organized in a brisk and efficient manner, the attending nurses were caring and attentive, her room afterwards was in a quiet and serviceable antenatal ward, as the regular postnatal rooms had been taken up by a rush of deliveries. (Yes, I would guess that a lot of couples spent last year’s lockdowns in a productive manner.) I did not note any ambulances stacked up outside the emergency room, and certainly no patients on stretchers lined up in the corridors awaiting rooms or medical attention, as seems to be the custom at many National Health Service clinics in Britain.

Jamie’s pediatrician practice has privileges at the second-most-extensive hospital organization in town: the Baptist Hospital in the Stone Oak area. He had to have a test at a pediatric testing center there, after his first pediatric appointment, an activity which had been just recently was moved from adjacent to the emergency room where we were first sent, to a location at the end of a long trek through the Skinner Box corridors of their extensive establishment. The senior nurse in the pediatric testing center was extremely irate that weary and stressed-out new mothers were being mistakenly sent all that long way and called up a wheelchair and an attendant nurse for the Daughter Unit, to take her farther along, to the office where it was necessary to check in – another long trek. Then afterwards, that nurse advised me where to go around to park closer in, and personally accompanied the Daughter Unit and Wee Jamie out the nearest door to it.

This excursion took me twice through the emergency room … which I noted was mostly unoccupied. No traffic in the waiting room, no patients lined up along the corridors … well, that part of town is notoriously upper-class and law-abiding. And it was a weekday afternoon anyway. So, I can say after this week that I know have some personal experience in three of the four big hospital systems in San Antonio: the Methodist, the Baptist, and the military. (The Catholics have Santa Rosa … gee, can’t the Lutherans even get a look-in, in this town?)

A bonus – the towering cuteness that is the Grandson Unit.)    

19. May 2021 · 1 comment · Categories: General

The political commissar (also politruk, Russ: political officer), is the supervisory political officer responsible for the political education (ideology) and organisation, and loyalty to the government of the military…

So it seems that the Biden* administration is going all woke in inflicting Critical Race Theory on the armed forces, with Sec Def Austin’s chosen expert on all matters racial, the somewhat ironically named Bishop Garrison, who appears to see white supremacy under every bunk, now making plans for a cats’ paw contractor to stringently screen the social media accounts of active duty military members on an Ahab-like quest for the elusive Great White Racist.

As Mr. Garrison appears to view anyone who voted for and supported President Trump, breathed so much of a word of approval for constitutional principles in any forum whatsoever, attended a traditionally conservative church, or whose ancestors came from any part of Europe west of the Urals and north of the Mediterranean, he would seem to have his work cut out for him, in sifting energetically through the US military branches, searching out and eliminating the Great White Racist. Since the post-Vietnam ending of the draft, and the rise of the all-volunteer force, those persons inclined to join the US military historically tend to be of a rather more conservative inclination, politically, usually support the Constitution, are conventionally religious, come from generally a rural and/or southern background, and families in which military service is a tradition.

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14. May 2021 · Comments Off on Poison · Categories: General

It’s a special kind of poison, the sudden primacy and popularity of CRT – critical race theory – now hanging in the air like a particularly malignant smog in our workplaces, schools, and universities. It wouldn’t be so malignant, damaging, and counter-productive if it was truly the anti-racism awareness training that it pretends to be, or if it were completely even-handed in being critical of racism across all the spectrum of human colors and backgrounds. But it’s not: as CRT is practiced currently and apparently profitably by race-hustlers of all colors on the rest of us has one focus and one focus only – to blame those whose’ ancestors originated in Northern Europe for the woes and considerable shortcomings of everyone else, without the barest hint of acknowledgement that many of those woes and shortcomings in the African-American communities are self-inflicted. (It would be nice if this would be acknowledged by the CRT warriors, but there will be hundreds of pigs flying in tight combat-box formation overhead before that ever happens.)

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06. May 2021 · Comments Off on Road Trip · Categories: General

The Daughter Unit and I did a moderately-lengthy road trip this past week. Probably the last until she is delivered by C-section of the Grandson Unit, which momentous event is likely to be scheduled for the last week of this month or the first in June – after the neighborhood baby shower, and before the Memorial Day weekend of the Texas Book Festival in Seguin, at which I have a table. (The festival was cancelled last year, all of us who had bought a place at it were carried over to this year, when hopefully, all festival events will return to something resembling pre-Commie Crud normality.)

We drove the trusty Montero Sport to suburban Austin, to the Daiso store; Daiso might be described as the Japanese version of the Dollar Tree, Family Dollar or 99 Cent Store; all kinds of relatively inexpensive Japanese tchotchkes for hobby, household, and kitchen. We both have rather a soft spot for Japanese items of this kind, since both of us served military tours at US bases in Japan. There are no Daiso stores anywhere closer than Austin, although there are a number of them in Los Angeles. So – Austin it was, and after Daiso, to Pflugerville for the Aldi grocery store. We both rather like Aldi, home of the quarter-to-get-a-grocery-cart and pack-your-own-bags. They offer a reasonable selection of quality goods at very reasonable prices. It’s just that there is no Aldi closer to San Antonio than Pflugerville, and another in Victoria; a mite too far to go, unless we were in the area for another purpose.

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27. April 2021 · Comments Off on Sax and Violins · Categories: General

I’m being mildly sarcastic about the title of this post, which will mostly be about violence. And violence in the inner city, but the sarcasm comes because I have become increasingly annoyed at how the local public classical channel is making a big thing about highlighting classical composers of color and making a big thing about how they are noted composers of color. They’ve been doing the same thing about female composers, too, which accounts for the sax element. Even if those composers involved are perfectly adequate composers of the classical genre, I’m increasingly annoyed by how the fact that they were female and/or of color is being banged on about, most often in a mini lecture about how hard it was for them to get any respect at all because *insert brief lecture du jour*. It’s April and almost May, FFS: Black History month is done and dusted, and so is Woman’s History Month. I’m pretty much done with hearing about all of that. Just say “this *insert name of American composer of color* is an American composer of the umpty-umpth century, or this *insert name of female composer* is a German/Austrian/French/Luxemburgian composer of the umpty-umpth century and give the social actions-approved mini-lecture a freaking rest.

So it seems that the mob has gotten the justice that they wanted when it came to the verdict in the matter of one Floyd, George, he of the massive fentanyl overdose while in police custody. Minneapolis, Minnesota has reaped the progressive whirlwind that they planted. The progressive mob demanded a human sacrifice; the rule of law need not apply when the mob bays for blood, local prosecutors go along with the mob, and corrupt hack politicians like Maxine Waters add their voice to the chorus demanding a blood sacrifice. No wonder that progressive school districts are omitting To Kill a Mockingbird from reading lists; too many bright teenagers would absorb the implications and recognize a lynch mob when one presents in real life. It also appears that the attempt to raise a new mob after the death of Ma’Khia Bryant at the hands of a white police officer in Columbus, Ohio. Except that Ma’Khia had a steak knife in hand. was lunging at another woman with apparently murderous intent, and the Columbus police department had the wit to release video footage of the encounter almost immediately, although certain pertinent questions have yet to be answered – like, why was she in foster care in the first place, who called 911, and what exactly set off the whole imbroglio.

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26. April 2021 · Comments Off on Luna City X · Categories: General

(No, the tenth Luna City Chronicle is not anywhere near complete. But this is the first chapter, with Richard deciding to make some personal and life-style changes.)

The New Plan

“I brought down the mail for you, Ricardo,” Sefton Grant tapped politely on the metal door of the small airstream trailer that Richard called home. “Saw the lights on, knew you were home.”

“I have mail?” Richard replied, wooden spoon in one hand. “’Strewth, I do almost everything on-line with my phone, these days. I almost forgot that there was such a thing as a stamped envelope with paper printed documents contained within. Who’s it from?”

“None of my business,” Sefton replied, with stalwart dignity, considering that he was clad in his usual costume for a mild winter day – cowboy boots and a hand-loomed loincloth which barely covered the naughty bits. The seventyish co-proprietor of the Age of Aquarius Campground and Goat Farm was a stringy and well-tanned character who mostly resembled a fitter and less-run-to-seed Willie Nelson. But he added, “Official mail on one – something to do with your immigration status, I would guess. Look, if you need it, Judy and I can declare this place a sanctuary for the undocumented. Our old Communards will go to the wall for you, as a person fleeing political persecution for your beliefs … you do have beliefs, Ricardo?”

“In good food, well-prepared and expertly served,” Richard replied with a sigh. “Hardly the stuff of which international political martyrs are made. But I do appreciate the sentiment, Sefton.”

“The other is hand-written,” Sefton Grant handed over the two envelopes. “You know someone in France?”

“My parents,” Richard answered, after a gander at the second envelope. “They live in France now … don’t know for how much longer, with all this Brexit faffing about. But they have the property there since I bought it for them. I understand that my dear old Dad is making a go of the vineyard attached to the property. Lord only knows how he does it – he was a stockbroker when he retired with a hefty pension and a boodle of earnings on investments. I can’t think how he ever managed to learn about making wine, although I suppose that anything is possible.”

“A filthy capitalist, then?” Sefton queried.

 Richard replied, “No, Dad has always been scrupulous about bathing. And he has excellent instincts about investments, and how they can work for you. Honestly, Sefton – I’ve always been a piker about that kind of thing. You earn money, you have money, you spend it … compound interest and all that is a closed book to me. Might as well be a species of voodoo magic, as far as I am concerned … look, Sefton. I’ve decided to make some life changes. And you’re the first to know.”

“Oh?” Sefton shifted uneasily, on the doorstep to the tiny vintage aluminum caravan, in which Richard had made a home for … how many years was it? Richard had lost track. “You’re not going to come out of the closet are you, Ricardo? Me and Judy, we’re open-minded as sh*t, so that’s OK with us, regardless…”

“No!” Richard regarded his host and landlord with mild exasperation. “No, not out of that closet. I’m as straight as straight can be. Totally hetero – I like the girls and they like me. In bed and otherwise. No … I’ve come to some life-decisions. I’m going to come out as American … and ask Kate to marry me.”

“Is that all?” Sefton looked … well, not as jolted as Richard thought he might have been, on the occasion of that momentous announcement. “Well, congratulations all the way around. Don’t know how all that legal BS will go, being natural-born Americans, Judy and I. It was all sorted for us, on account of where we were born. A bit different, I think – making the active choice. Lotta hurdles to go over, or so they say. I prolly ain’t the one to best advise you on that – mebbe Jess is the right person to go to. Even Doc Wyler – he’s got the power juice an’ all. ‘Specially as you work for him, at the Café, an’ all.” Yes,” Sefton definitely looked in a brighter mood. “See what ‘ol Doc W. can do for you, Ricardo. But if all else fails, Ju and I can declare this place a sanctuary space for the undocumented immigrant.”

“I believe that you and your good lady won’t have to go to that extreme,” Richard replied, somewhat heartened by Sefton Grant’s gesture of support, and the implicit support of all the Old Communards, original members of a commune founded at the Age of Aquarius in the 1968 Summer of Love. Most of them were now ensconced with tenure in the higher rungs of higher education, so possibly they possessed at least as much communal social justice juice as the aged and irascible owner of the Wyler Ranch, for whom the concept of social justice was merely a nasty and disruptive rumor. ‘But nonetheless – it is appreciated. Your support and all. I will go through with it all, you see. This is a place that …”

“Gets a hold on you, Ricardo,” Sefton agreed. “Kinda grows on ya.’”

“Like moss and mold,” Richard agreed, and Sefton laughed. It was a friendly and companionable laugh.

“Hey look – wet your head, in a metaphorical way of speaking – now that you’re about to become one of us. Let me bring you a jug of the newest …”

“Your vintage white?” Richard was immediately all ears. “Or your best red. It matters not, Sefton. I’ll drink a health to my future as an American, a married man, to Kate and … well, really – anyone and anything you propose a toast to. Bring it on, man. Bring it on.”

“Sure,” Sefton shuffled the toe of his cowboy boot in the small dust which had blown across the space of concrete pavers which formed the brief sheltered patio below the vintage Airstream caravan which had been Richard’s (and latterly Ozzie the Chef Kitten’s) home since arriving in Luna City. Sefton looked as if he was the bearer of unfortunate intelligence. “Say … Ricardo … have you really thought about where you will live, once you and Katie are a thing? This place is really small, an’ I know you love it … but once you and she are a family sort of thing … a dinky trailer like this just won’t cut it. Katie has all her own stuff, ya know. Books and all that. Ju and I built the yurt for the family. We needed the space, you see. A space big enough to swing a cat in…”

“I have no intention of swinging Ozzie,” Richard replied with some indignation. “I am certain that he would object most strenuously to that exercise. I suppose that I would have to consult with Kate. I suppose that we would have to establish a somewhat roomier joint domicile … but honestly, Stefton, I would keep the caravan as a pied-à-terre … a sort of holiday or weekend retreat. It’s a small space of my own … and dammit, I do appreciate the solitude and peace of your little refuge. I’d go on paying the rent, of course, even if … when Kate and I establish a residence elsewhere…” Left unvoiced was a certain kind of sinking-in-the-heart realization that he and Kate would have to live someplace together – a larger place, with room for Richard’s kitchen things, Ozzie’s litterbox and all that Kate would bring to a union of their two households. Which wouldn’t fit into the Airstream, not even with the aid of a shoehorn.

“That’s fine, Ricardo,” Sefton shuffled the toe of his cowboy boot into the dust again. “A man does need a refuge, ‘o course. So, where d’you think you and Kate will settle?”

“I don’t know,” Richard answered. “That will be up to Kate’s preference and my own hopefully well-fattened checkbook. I am perfectly agreeable to my ladylove making that momentous decision. It all depends on how well-fatted that checkbook might be, in the long run. I … well, I was a fool about money, and left a good quantity of financial debris behind in London. Debts and all … we might have to settle in here, after all.”

“A country boy can survive,” Sefton grinned crookedly, but with complete understanding.

“No matter what country, eh?” Richard answered. “You’ve been a pal, Sefton. I should thank you again for being so… although quite a lot of people who claimed to know me well have insisted that I’m a selfish, inconsiderate git. I don’t really deserve the consideration that I have received from you all…”

“Never mind, Ricardo,” Sefton flashed those amazingly good straight teeth again in a smile. “We all have our weaknesses, ya know? I’ll bring that jug of mustang red for ya … if you don’t answer the door, I’ll leave it by the step. I suppose you wanna do some thinking about your letters?”

“I do, Sefton – and thanks for the consideration,” Richard replied.

The official letter he cared little for – but the letter from France had his complete attention.

His parents were going to visit Texas, a few months hence. And that intelligence drew his complete attention.

21. April 2021 · Comments Off on Thrift and the Virtue of Home-Made · Categories: General

It amused me this week, to read of the list of professions which have proved historically to always provide a living of sorts to those who practice them; fine carpentry, construction carpentry, metalworking, innkeeping and I don’t know what-all. Seamstressing was not among them, which is a pity … but since it his historically been an almost exclusively female-practiced profession/hobby/amusement, perhaps it’s one of those things that we can really blame the patriarchal establishment for. Women could make a living, even if relatively a barely marginal one from sewing, although if you glommed onto a high-visible and high-value client who patronized you extravagantly, a certain degree of prosperity would be assured  … but I think mostly that it was one of those things that women were expected to do anyway as part of keeping and maintaining a house, which brought the wages down for those exercising the skill professionally. Eh … never mind.

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12. April 2021 · 6 comments · Categories: General

The age of duty passes, I suppose, with the death of Prince Philip, the chosen spouse of Her Highness, Queen Elizabeth II of England and whatever remains of the Commonwealth and domains. (And in the theology of a remote South Pacific island tribe, the worshipped deity and incarnation of a local volcano spirit, through a process which no one outside that tribe can quite figure out.)

No, I’m not a royalty devotee, in any particular degree. I’m an American, of British descent yet purely republican (small r there, let it be known), so I suppose it is a sentimental thing on my part – or even a degree of decent human sympathy. As my daughter said, unforced, on reading the news the other morning, “Oh, poor Queen!” A seven-decade long marriage, for that time always under the constant, unblinking, pitilessly Sauron-like, and censorious eye of the public media – ended by death at the end of a horrible and trying year. Poor Queen. A woman who was (and still remains) under unsparing scrutiny for nearly all of her life from the age of twelve or so, and yet performed flawlessly in the public sphere, on practically every occasion. The loss of her sister, her mother, now her husband, and all this on top of  a fraught and very public estrangement from an adult grandson … poor Queen, indeed. Her private circle of heart-friends and close-mouthed supporters is narrowed substantially by one, and that possibly the dearest and most personal supporter of all. Sympathy indeed. She has a pair of new dogs, and the remaining family and friends to comfort her, so at least she has that.

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07. April 2021 · 4 comments · Categories: General

The Daughter Unit read the linked story with appalled interest, and also reported that many of the early comments speculated that the meltdownee was the child of a single parent. Which blithe assumption annoyed the Daughter Unit no end, as she is the child of a single parent, and thank you very much, is a civil and well-mannered person. (I myself speculate without knowing anything more than the linked story, that the meltdownee was likely a child raised in a child-care environment and accustomed to tattling to an authority-figure upon the slightest provocation.)

The whole matter of single-parenting also reminded me of my own resentment at the casual assumption that children of a single parent were automatically doomed to an unsuccessful life – sons to dreary lives of criminality and daughters to equally dreary lives of promiscuity and poverty … because it simply isn’t that straightforward. Success or failure in adult life isn’t just based on a single circumstance. It’s a whole medley of circumstances, some of which are plusses and some of which are minuses. It’s not the single individual circumstance, it’s the whole accumulation of circumstances and the inimitable character of the child, which now and again upsets all the minuses anyway.

So this my theory – it’s an adding up of the pluses and minuses. A two-parent family is a plus. A single parent family is a minus. But … A functional, responsible, and discipline-inclined parent is a plus. A dysfunctional, substance-addicted, or abusive parent or parents – serious minus. A parent who reads to their child and encourages academic effort – a plus. A parent or parents of any class who basically leaves their child to be essentially raised by someone else – a minus. Residence in a middle-class or better zip-code; a plus. Residence and schooling in what our English friends term a “sink estate” – a minus. Parents with jobs of any sort which they take seriously and to which they apply themselves with a whole heart – a plus. Parents who are lifetime and irredeemable recipients of what our English friends refer to as “the dole” – a minus. Parents who skate by on an income from borderline criminality – another minus. Strong religious background – of any denomination – is a plus. None at all – a minus. Any sort of strong and supportive extended community or kin-network is a plus. Ethnic status – sorry, I might have to be blunt here: some ethnic status; black or Native American (as what used to be called Indian) is a minus. Others are a plus: straight Anglo, Oriental (as in Chinese, Filipino, Korean, Vietnamese, and Indian – dot, not feather) and Jewish are a plus point.

Essentially, a white, upper-class child with a pair of dysfunctional, distant, and substance-addicted parents, absent a strong kin/clan/religious network might very well rack up more minus points than the child of a single-parent minority from a sink neighborhood, if that single parent has a strong kin-based and/or religious network and is fearlessly dedicated to reading to the kidlet.

Comment as you see fit. Chicagoboyz is down with a malware issue, so I am posting here on my original website. 

01. April 2021 · 1 comment · Categories: General

The seriously insistent woke of mostly upper-caste activists among us now insist that black lives matter, and matter most of all. And why? They claim that those Americans of somewhat African descent are consistently and viciously targeted by the rest of us solely for the color of their skin. The content of the character of the inner-city urban element of that demographic gets rather less consideration on the part of the Professionally Woke. The conduct of those poor, misunderstood children of the inner city sink neighborhoods is, to say the least, somewhat questionable. Examples abound, the most recent example being the pair of feral teenagers who hijacked a delivery driver’s vehicle in Washington DC last weekend, and subsequently crashed the vehicle, killing the delivery driver in the wreck. For decades there have been depressingly violent crimes perpetuated by the urban thug elements of color on their neighbors, local retailers, and passing strangers of all colors and ethnic backgrounds occurring on a regular basis, without much comment by the Professionally Woke other than to blame white prejudice/systemic racism for Making Them Do The Crime.

It appears that currently, black lives only matter when circumstances can be construed so as to blame a white person for ending said life. The life of a non-black person damaged or ended by the act of a violent black thug is hardly worth comment at all. That the last half dozen black martyrs whose deaths are regularly lamented by the Professionally Woke were of considerably less than sterling of character and irreproachably innocent in their relations with the law is a small detail which the Professionally Woke prefer to ignore.

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23. March 2021 · Comments Off on The World Turned Upside Down – What Is The Endgame? · Categories: General

Seriously, I’m still trying to make sense of it all – that an anodyne and apparently harmlessly patriotic organization like the Oathkeepers can suddenly become the Awful Violent and Whiteness-Counterrevolutionary Group From Hell, at least in the eyes of the National Establishment Media and their minions in social media. In my Tea Party days, we met with a couple of members of the Oathkeeper leadership cadre; they were speakers at a couple of events, IIRC. A fair number of the local Tea Party organizers whom I worked with were retired military. And frankly, the Oathkeepers looked to be … well, just ordinary and earnest common or garden-variety patriots with a background in the military and law enforcement.

This is only to be expected in a town like San Antonio, familiarly known as the Mother In Law to the Air Force (as enlisted basic training is located there as are a number of specialty tech schools, officer training used to be, and flight training for various aircraft is still carried out). San Antonio is also the Home of Army Medicine, as training for Army medical personnel has been performed at Fort Sam and Brooke Army Medical – the end result being that one cannot heave a brick in any direction in San Antonio without hitting at least a dozen military retirees of every rank and service. The schtick of the Oathkeepers was basically – renewing the enlistment oath.

 “I, __________, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.”

It seems now that the words “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic” are those that give the heebie jeebies to the powers that be in the rickety and ramshackle structure that is the Biden Administration, and those sad and addled creatures who have the unenviable task of doing their media bidding. Kind of sad, really – as a sidebar to my main thesis, that the Mainstream Establishment Media is willingly, nay yet enthusiastically volunteering to do the same job that propagandists for Stalin’s Red Empire did at the threat of a sentence to the Gulag or to a shot in the back of the skull in the basement of a CHEKA HQ somewhere. But willing toadies to power are always a dime a dozen.

Seeing conservative activists being arrested for merely being in Washington on the day of the massive protest (commonly called a riot or insurrection by prog-leaning media and law enforcement) and held indefinitely without bail, while frequent-flyer Antifa/BLM rioters are on the catch-and-released-on-bail/charges dropped program, in spite of the year-long Antifa/BLM riots actually having done reckless damage to various cities. I presume that this difference is because the Antifa/BLM riots actually did substantial damage to ordinary flyover-country American property owners, whereas the Washington protest in January only scared the crap out of the Ruling Class.

Different strokes for different folks, according to the convenience of the Ruling class. Now there is a political measure afoot to pressure businesses into pledging loyalty to the regime by publicly affirming that the 2020 Election was completely fair and above-board. Or else. What is the eventual endgame in all of this? Pushing ordinary and patriotic citizens into a violent reaction, and thereby justifying further repression of non-prog thought? Discuss as you wish. I’ll get to the politization of the military in another post.

16. March 2021 · 1 comment · Categories: General

With considerable regret, I must confess to deleting Disney, their products, works and ways from my personal media consumption. I’ll not be trashing the various DVDs of classic Disney or Disney/Pixar movies that I own – but I definitely will not be purchasing any more of them, or streaming and watching any future Disney productions, buying any Disney-licensed merchandise for my grandson, or visiting any Disney theme parks. It would appear that the corporate masters of Disney are more interested in being woker-than-thou and selling their products to a Chinese audience anyway.

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07. March 2021 · Comments Off on The Zombie of Reparations · Categories: General

Oh, for the Love of Life Orchestra, the rotting spectral zombie of reparations for slavery of African-Americans is staggering out of the graveyard of bad political ideas once more, and onto the stage of public discussion. It’s a Biden-approved notion (or a notion of whichever puppet-master has their hand up Biden’s fundament) and I note that the thrust of the matter is only to discuss the possibility.

Which makes me suspect that this new and respectably presidential consideration is a token gesture, a sop to the militant BLM activists and the old racial shakedown coterie, and the constituents they proport to represent; mostly the semi-literate, barely skilled lifetime welfare-receiving urban thug element, who have an insatiable appetite for monetary graft, free stuff and slivers of unearned privilege. The racial shakedown coterie does very well out of catering to those clients in any case, and it is their best interests that the shakedown continues even unto the umpteenth generation. If we are very fortunate, the stupidest, most controversial and divisive bad idea since Prohibition will never get any farther than the discussion phase, but if it does – and I wouldn’t put it past the current batch of Woke-ists to their best to make it work – it won’t. It will likely fail, catastrophically.

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01. March 2021 · Comments Off on Picking Up the Pieces · Categories: General

Well, two weeks ago we were freezing our butts off. Two days ago, we are having to run the AC because it turned warm, muggy, and humid. And today it’s cold and rainy again. Welcome to Texas. Don’t like the weather? Wait five minutes or a week or two, and it will change. Absolutely-freaking-guaranteed.

However, the damage that a week of sub-zero temperatures did to my neighborhood – the process of picking up the pieces is underway. For the civic stuff – a couple of burst pipes got taken care of by the utility company almost the instant that everyone thawed out. The one house in the neighborhood that burned is still a ruin: the FD had all their hydrants frozen on that night that it burned, couldn’t bring in enough water in the pumper trucks and so the house – which still stands, barely – is a total loss. The smell of burned wood lasts for at least two houses away. The pipes in and under my own house appear to have weathered through the storm all right – most of them are in the concrete foundation slab for most of their run, and the ones which come up through the exterior walls in various places were insulated sufficiently … and we left all the sink faucets and outside taps dripping, in any case. Yes, we have lived in places where this was expected. It also helped enormously that I had paid for a new round of blown-in attic insulation a couple of years ago, also that the new concrete siding was installed last fall, and the new and better windows better-insulated windows had been installed a week before the Great Texas Freeze of 2021. All but the front bedroom, which was supposed to have been replaced with French doors, doors which unaccountably were not delivered with all the other replacement windows. So, it was not horribly uncomfortable inside the house during that week; we could boil water for coffee and tea in the morning and cook a hot meal at night on the propane grill on the front porch. Many of our neighbors also got by simply by having camping gear and propane on hand.

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The stated aim of that murderous freak Charlie Manson and his deranged family of dropouts and druggies in committing the brutal slaughter of seven people in 1969 was to incite a race war. The murderers deliberately left bloody graffiti at the murder scenes, attempting to frame the Black Panthers – yet another set of murderous and equally racist freaks active in that period. In Manson’s twisted vision, the Tate-LaBianca murders would set off a brutal race war; black against white, in which whites would be enthusiastically genocided. During this mayhem Manson and his followers would hide out in a vast underground city. They would then emerge to take command over what remained of society. Manson was a particularly noxious racist, unsavory qualities which were veiled by the last putrid remnants of the hippie commune culture, which let his cult family fly under the social radar as it existed in the afterglow of the so-called “Summer of Love” in the formerly golden state of California. (Jim Jones was another one of those super-organized racist-cult freaks of the era, whose’ commune was slightly longer-lasting and successful, until suddenly it wasn’t. Yeah, a supposedly race-prejudice-free socialist commune, with a white leadership cadre and mostly dead black bodies when it all came crashing down some years later.)

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19. February 2021 · Comments Off on Snowpocalypse Now · Categories: General

Well, my fellow Texas, what have we learned from this disastrous week just passed? Quite a lot, actually – and many of us were reminded anew of those old habits acquired from having lived for a few years in places where winters are reliably ice-cold frozen, dark, snow-packed and last for months. The Army retiree ahead of us in the line to get into the grocery store on Wednesday reminisced with the Daughter Unit and I about such winters spent in less temperate climes, and we racked our collective memories about what had happened to the ice scrapers that we all were certain we had come to Texas with at least two decades ago. (I was sure that mine was somewhere in the trunk of the Very Elderly Volvo, which was sold ten years ago. Possibly the young motorhead who bought the VEV discovered the ice scraper – well, at least now he knows what it was for.)

It’s not that viciously cold, icy winters are completely unknown in Texas; such conditions are routinely experienced on a regular basis in northern Texas, where residences and civic practice are all accustomed to and prepared for such. Southern Texas very rarely experiences ice, snow, sleet; if anything, it’s more of a mild tropical or Mediterranean – hardiness zones 8, 9 and 10 on the USDA maps. Those bouts of below freezing in San Antonio most usually last only for couple of nights and a day. As for snow, the last two rounds of for-real snow melted on the ground almost the moment it landed, or at most, by mid-morning of the following day. If anything, our buildings, civic infrastructure, and public policies are oriented more towards the expectation of blistering summer heat for at least six months out of a year, and relatively mild and temperate conditions for the remainder, interspersed with the occasional hurricane along the coast. Our homes are insulated against the heat; during most winters my central heat barely gets more than a couple of days use. I’d say that most of my neighbors were expecting no more than a couple of nights and a day or two of bitter cold.

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14. February 2021 · Comments Off on Those Whom The Gods Would Destroy… · Categories: General

… they first make mad, or so goes the popular version of a concept which goes back to the ancient Greeks. They who are on that irrevocable final spiral towards destruction do seem addicted to self-destructive or at least counter-productive behavior – either of the personal or institutional sort. I can’t help wondering if the powers-that-be at Lucasfilm/Disney are entering that death spiral, what with firing Gina Carano from the cast of The Mandalorian for … well, nothing much more than pointing out that the Nazi genocide of Jews started with a program of determined “otherization.” Ms Carano merely drew a parallel which has occurred to many another so-called “Deplorable”, and it certainly has not escaped attention of sharper observers than myself that a chorus of so-called tolerant progressives have been clamoring for the punishment and erasure of Republicans, conservatives, Trump supporters and flyover rural residents, ever louder and with increasing urgency of late. Why she should be singled out for cancellation for pointing out the obvious parallel, other than being in a notoriously prog-sympathetic profession?

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The Daughter Unit clued me in this week to a humongous ruckus which brewed among Air Force contributors to military-oriented discussion boards on Reddit – a ruckus which involves the current Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force – which for the laymen audience, means the very tippy-top enlisted, that singular and exemplary senior NCO who supposedly sits at the right hand of the highest military commanders in the land, to keep them appraised of the interests of the enlisted men and women. The Daughter Unit keeps track of this military ‘gen on a more regular basis than I do, as my two-decades long service was a good while ago, and I walked away from it all and constructed another life and long-term interests in writing, book-blogging and publishing. I will confess to some sentimental feelings for my service, as it provided me with a lot of fun, foreign travel, a decent paycheck and benefits (to include the pension and retirement benefits), a chance to hang out with some amazing people (as well as a soupcon of psychos, amiable freaks and the severely mal-adjusted), and a kind of mental grounding, even a rough sympathy when it comes to people who work for a living and get their hands dirty and their fingernails broken. But enough about me, and my not-particularly-rewarding career as an enlisted minion, toiling away in the bowels of the mighty military public affairs machine some two- or three-decades past.

The office of the Chief Master Sergeant of any service is a huge thing, in all the military forces: the name of the current Chief-Master-Whatever is one of the things military recruits to whatever branch are expected to know and recite on demand when in Basic Training. General officers there are, in legions, and the multi-stars roost en masse like grackles in the highest levels of command – but there is only one Chief Enlisted, for all four (five counting the Coast Guard) military services. This one – CMSAF JoAnne Bass – is the first female to take up that exalted office for any of the services. I wish her the best luck in the world. When I began serving, there weren’t but a bare half-dozen of female senior enlisteds in the Air Force, and a fair number of the junior enlisted that I served with were the first or second females in certain traditionally male specialties which had just been opened to females. Unfortunately, as things are shaping up in the first months of her tour of duty, Chief Bass had better buckle in, as it looks like it’s going to be a bumpy flight. She put her foot wrong, straight off the bat, when a young NCO (innocently, or perhaps not so innocently) inquired on the CMSAF’s FB page as to how her last name was pronounced – like the fish or the musical instrument?   

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05. February 2021 · Comments Off on The Cat Who Reformed · Categories: General

We inherited her from my mother – the last in a series of pedigreed ‘apple-head’ Siamese cats owned by my parents – when Mom fell catastrophically one morning in the kitchen of her house in Valley Center, California, and fractured sufficient bones in her upper spine to render her essentially a paraplegic. The house which Mom and Dad had built (the second on that site in Northern San Diego County), in which Mom had lived alone after Dad passed in 2010, had to be sold. There was practically nothing left of the original family relics, after the first house burned in the Paradise Mountain Fire in 2003, so all the furnishings went without a pang of regret from us. Ancestral bits and scraps which meant anything to us all had already been parceled out before the fire anyway.

But that left Mom’s pets; the dogs, which went to my sister Pip – and two cats, Davy and Isabelle, whom my daughter obediently hauled back to Texas from California. Davy was a stray, a bridle and white specimen, fairly elderly at the time when we took him in. He had been dumped in Mom and Dad’s remote neighborhood, escaped being eaten by coyotes, and scraped sufficient acquaintance with Mom and Dad and their next nearest neighbors to be considered for addition to either household. There may have been a coin-toss involved. Anyway, Davy was added to Mom and Dad’s pet collection – I don’t know whether they won or lost the coin-toss. Davy, having remembered starvation and escape/evasion was determined never to be hungry again, and was a hefty chunk-o-cat by the time he passed away of natural old age a year or so ago.

But this is about the other cat-inheritance, Isabelle.

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We read this with much amusement earlier in the week in the Daily Mail– the lamentations of one Brett Alder, a California sales exec who moved his family to Austin apparently in haste and with minimal to non-existent prior research on his new home, who repented at leisure after a brief year and afterwards (upon moving back to California) expanded on woes and the general shortcomings of Texas in an editorial in Business Insider. The original column is behind a paywall, so unavailable to me, but the Daily Mail posted the list of his lamentations. This brought about considerable hilarity in the comments on the various articles which repeated the story, among Texans. The Daughter Unit and I found the article most particularly amusing – especially me; California born and bred, lived there without interruption (save two trips to Europe) until I joined the military, where for twenty years I moved frequently to new communities and wasted little time or heartburn on making a new home. I’ve lived in Texas since 1995 now, with occasional trips to the formerly-Golden State, the last one in 2010 when Dad passed away and I spent a couple of weeks helping Mom sort out things.

To continue with a fisking of Brett-the-male-Karen’s lamentations on life in Austin:

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I’ve just finished and released into the wild a WWII novel, My Dear Cousin, for which the concept came to me in a dream last July. Since the current year-long plus covidiocy demolished nearly every fall market and holiday event which would otherwise have taken up my time, I set to work and finished it in six months.  As much as is possible, I did my research – and the internet makes the kind of information I needed available at my fingertips: a detailed 1930s map of Singapore, a hand-written diary of a woman who escaped Malaya in early 1942, a breakdown of what constituted the tents and facilities for a frontline Army hospital in 1944, and the newspaper archives of the wartime Singapore Straits Times and Brisbane Courier Mail. All that and more went into an account of the war, as seen through the lives of two cousins, on opposite sides of the world.  Accuracy is what I strive for – and most times, I think I come very close. The rest of this entry is what I felt obliged to include in the notes at the back of the book.

In the interests of fidelity to history and racial attitudes of the 1940s with regard to the Japanese and to a lesser extent, the Germans, the current social climate requires me to add the following caveat; yes, the general attitudes of American and Australians towards the Japanese were by current standards, viciously and unrepentantly racist. However, this book is, as nearly as I can make it, written with an eye to fidelity to the historical record. I will not cut and tailor my fictional cloth in accordance with current fashion. ‘Presentism’, wherein the accepted fashionable attitudes and conventional opinions of the current day are retrofitted, however unsuited and historically unlikely, onto those characters living in past decades and centuries, is a grim transgression against the art of bringing a past era into life, warts and all. Writing a so-called historical novel merely by placing 21st century characters in different costumes and strange technological shortcomings is a disservice to the past, and a hampering to complete understanding. It’s the past – they did things differently, back then.

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