So, it’s silly and stupid, and I really put off this house improvement chore for far too long, mostly because I assumed that I would have to pay a massive ( MOAB-style, as more than $1,000) bomb for it – which I really couldn’t afford, because I am still paying (and will for the next three years or so) the work done on the exterior of the house: the new siding, paint and windows. Which have made the house all ship-shape, water-tight and fit for service for probably at least three decades. At least, that is what the wording on the warranties says, and I won’t argue with that.

But I came out ahead this month, having a nice amount of money left over at the end of my month thanks some nice royalty checks and the work done and paid for with regard to a couple of new clients for the Teeny Publishing Bidness on the “assisting authors to self-publish” track. (I do the agreed-upon editing and formatting prep-work, cover design to their satisfaction, and hand them files they can upload to Ingram Spark, under their own name and ISBN.) I thought that I might as well eliminate another bit of household shortcoming by having some electrical issues remedied. This was caused by two of the male cats; they now live in the Splendid Catio, where they can do no more damage. At least to the inside. They were prone to spray on stuff. I have no notion of why they did this, habitually, but between them, they managed to demolish a number of household electrical outlets and appliances, with the result that some of the outlets and appliances were pretty much frelled and several connections to overhead fixtures were rendered non-functioning, though generous applications of cat pee on the linked electrical line. A good few years past, I paid a licensed electrician at their going rate to replace half a dozen of the outlets … which promptly were ruined when the little (explicative deleted) went through and did it all again within six months. Money wasted, as far as the long-term went. I did have a neighbor who was a licensed electrician and agreed to a couple of hours of work replacing outlets at the neighborhood friends rate, but I talked to him months ago, and he never responded to text messages and phone calls last week, so I went and appealed to Roman The Neighborhood Handy Guy, who is adept with all kinds of maintenance skills and possesses a more-than-full array of appropriate tools  … as a matter of fact, Roman TNHG is one of Wee Jamie’s Honorary Uncles, the one who will teach him carpentry and tile work, the very moment that Wee Jamie can pick up a power tool. Roman TNHG came on Friday and spent most of a day replacing nine outlets, a light fixture over the kitchen sink that we thought had been totally ruined as it was a cheap thing to start with, and a pair of light switches which had also been generously peed on. (Thanks, kitties – your contribution to the well-running of this household is so noted…)

(Daughter Unit to me, upon regarding the extracted switch elements. “Umm … I suppose we were lucky that the house didn’t burn down…”)

Bonus to that – the garbage disposal, as near-rusted out as it is, does function again. So do the lights and outlets in the kitchen, for which we are so grateful. We can actually use appliances in the kitchen plugged into more than a power strip on a single outlet and a cheap desk lamp on top of the refrigerator. And we can turn on the lights in the kitchen. Another step on recovering a fully-functional, somewhat energy-efficient house and small garden…

That is indeed the question, and against all urging and advice, a fair number of Americans are saying ‘not’; for valid and wholly understandable reasons, after having made a carefully considered decision. Such be the case of the Daughter Unit and I. The Daughter Unit spent most of last year being pregnant and did not want to risk anything that would possibly damage Wee Jamie in utero. Her medical team did not do anything more than make a pro forma suggestion; that they did not mention it after she declined likely hints at their own doubts about the safety. We both had to get yearly flu shots when we were on active military duty, and honestly, I would routinely get sicker from the shot than I usually did from the flu itself. Towards the end of my active-duty time there was a great push to get all active duty to be vaccinated against anthrax, and I was in two minds over having to get that vaccine, before my retirement rendered the point moot. I remembered very well how so many of those deployed for the first Gulf War later developed serious health problems, problems that it was speculated, might have been because of the array of vaccinations they were given, in combination with exposure to various environmental hazards and contaminants. (I’ve always thought that the Gulf War Syndrome was a kind of multiple chemical sensitivity/allergy, caused by exposure to a range of triggering compounds or combinations, to which some people were more vulnerable than others. Not a medical or sciency-person; just my own opinion from what I have read and knowing veterans who were affected by deployment in that war. But that’s a whole ‘nother rabbit hole.) To get to the point, it was not entirely unknown for reluctant military personnel to be ordered to take vaccines, over their own doubts and objections.

Just this week, the Daughter Unit received a form letter from the Secretary of Veterans’ Affairs, addressed to Dear Veteran:

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For some curious and mostly unexpected reason, I had quite a lot of money left over, coming down to the end of the month, and the Daughter Unit was feeling a considerable touch of cabin fever. For the last two months, she has been dedicated to tending Wee Jamie, the Grandson Unit, and studying for her Texas real estate agent’s license. This program was interspersed occasionally with trips to the grocery store, or maybe in a moment of daring, to Lowe’s for gardening and household maintenance stuff. On seeing that we could swing a brief road trip, we made a spur of the moment decision to hit Granzin’s in New Braunfels, and then to go eat a meal that we hadn’t prepared ourselves – to Blacks’ BBQ. We have rather missed the Red Hat ladies association that we belonged to for better than a decade; we met once a month for a lunch at a local mid-priced eatery; alas, four long-time members dropped out or moved away, another three died or developed serious health issues, and finally the last and youngest member besides the Daughter Unit moved with her husband to the Caribbean upon his retirement.

So, we fed Wee Jamie in mid-morning, and set out as soon as he was burped, calculating that we could be to New Braunfels and back before he would need his mid-afternoon feeding. I had it mind to check out the JoAnn store there (which is much nicer and more fully stocked than the San Antonio outlet, don’t ask me why) for suitable cotton fabric for another 19th century costume comfortable for summer wear, but the fabrics that would have worked for the vision that I had in mind were not on sale, and prices for fabrics have sky-rocketed to the point that I just cannot countenance paying them, not when I need them for a costume that requires at least eight yards of 60” fabric, plus all the extra notions like buttons, lining, thread, trim, et cetera. Eh – I found everything I wanted and could afford through an on-line outlet later in the day. Really, I wish now that I had pigged out even more than I did on fabric when Hancock Fabrics was having their closing sales.

On to Granzins’ which was jammed on a Saturday, but fully fitted with employees attentively manning the counter that stretches the whole length of the store. There are a couple of sections – the frozen sausage and Cajun specialities, which are on more of a help-yourself basis, the fresh/smoked sausage and bacon section, the deli and dried jerky and cheese, then the beef, the pork, and the seafood and chicken. On a weekend, or heading into a holiday, Granzin’s is packed with customers buying for a weekend at Canyon Lake or stocking up for a Saturday or Sunday backyard barbeque. The prices are good – almost better than HEB, and the quality is fantastic. Only a few items are pre-packaged. Basically, you can pick out the steak, or the roast, or the whole fryer chicken you prefer. And I don’t know where they get the chicken breasts – they must come off meat chickens almost the size of small turkeys. We’ve made two meals, sometimes, from one of the bigger half-breasts. They also stock a lot of local products – butter, honey, pickled vegetables, nuts, and seasonings. (Granzin’s in New Braunfels is behind Bluebonnet Ford, on a little side street called the Old McQueeney Road, which – if you are not looking sharpish for it along the access road to IH-35 – can easily be missed.)

Loaded up with various protein meats, intended to be parted out, sealed with the vacuum sealer, and stashed away in the freezer for the coming month. It’s been a couple of months since visiting Granzin’s, so we were a little low. The fresh garlic sausage, BTW is awesome, when sprinkled with a little olive oil and some Adams Reserve Texas Steakhouse Rub spice and baked. Our next-door neighbor still raves about the fresh garlic sausage that she brought back and baked for her family.

Black’s BBQ has the advantage of being one of four locations, branching off from the original location in Lockhart. Prior to a book event in Lockhart ages ago, we sampled the Kreuz Market, which was OK, as far as BBQ went, but nothing really special to our mind, in spite of all the hype. All the locals that we mentioned this to afterwards said that we should have gone to Black’s. Well, at last we made it, and the sausage and brisket was pretty darned good, although we still mourn the loss of the Riverside Meat Market in Boerne, which (cunningly disguised as a gas station on the corner of Main Street and River Road) produced the most awesomely good rotisserie chicken and BBQ beef brisket. (That space is an empty and grass-grown lot, now. Guess the Riverside was just too down-market for the upscale yuppie population in Boerne. I’d love to know the inside story, but I’ll bet it’s too depressing for words. The Riverside Market pit and BBQ doesn’t seem to have been replaced locally.) Black’s in New Braunfels has the advantage of a nice location, a roomy building designed in in the architectural style of Texas vernacular, which involves lots of rough stained beams, concrete floors and walls of galvanized tin panels, and a welcoming parking lot, which seemed to be mostly filled on a Saturday at lunchtime. The inside was cavernous and generously fitted out with heavy picnic tables and benches, which allowed diners to socially-distance as they chowed down. Wee Jamie slept happily through all of this, for which we were extremely grateful. He didn’t wake up and demand a bottle until well after we returned home.  

For a number of years, I copied out interesting recipes by hand in a series of small books with lined pages and casebound covers. Many of them came from cooking magazines, such as Gourmet, but many came from the pages of various newspapers, to include the Stars and Stripes – from which I dimly recall reading one for a heavy, dark Caribbean Christmas fruitcake. It is in my mind that the woman who had originated it had a nice local business making and selling these fruitcakes – perhaps she had a cookbook published, and the S&S had merely published an extract from it. Anyway, I copied the recipe from a clipping, into the oldest of my hand-written books, which dates from my first hitch in the Air Force.

Caribbean Dark Fruitcake

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14. July 2021 · 1 comment · Categories: General

Last week, I considered where we are to go, from here – what with an acting president down to his last mental quarter-marble, a VP afflicted with a notable lack of any professional skills save for those employed by ambitious tarts willing to bed their way up the career ladder, a corrupted FBI, and a national press corps remarkable for boot-licking sycophancy. This week, I consider defiance as a reaction; measured defiance, ridicule, strategic protest, declining to do business with companies who have gone offensively ‘woke’, declining to watch television shows or movies which have ostentatiously done the same or even just a sullen reluctance to join the baying throng.

We’re Americans – unruly, disobedient, irreverent – so ridicule ought to be the first resort. “The devil…the prowde spirite…cannot endure to be mocked.” So sayeth the Irish poet and lyricist Thomas Moore; being Irish he likely had a fair turn of phrase when it came to mockery. Mock, parody, ridicule, meme in whatever medium comes to hand, even if it is only leaving notes on gas pumps, or telling jokes ridiculing our inept and hypersensitive ruling class around the water cooler or coffee machine in the break room. The usual social media sites may censor and block as they wish, but that will be an uphill fight when ten or twenty new jokes, memes and materiel take their place. Our current ruling class is vicious, corrupt and power-mad. Take every opportunity that one can take to slide in the shiv of ridicule, especially if you can do so safely.

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09. July 2021 · 2 comments · Categories: General

So I’m more or less resigned to getting spam calls. Because I have a small business, and the cellphone is my contact with potential customers, I have to answer when the phone rings, especially if the number on caller ID is with a south Texas area code. Usually crisply saying the name of the Teeny Publishing Bidness and adding “May I help you?” inspires the usual human caller to break the connection. When the inevitable pre-recorded message regarding my extended auto warranty, I say a couple of cuss words and break the connection. However, the robocalls which mention a legal action against me for a criminal offense, or a threat to suspend my social security number and advise me to dial “1” to speak to an investigating agent, or whatever … those I have had some fun with.

The call always goes to a boiler room – I can tell from the ambient sound, since I used to work at a call center. The person answering always has an accent – Indian, mostly. They announce themselves to be Agent something or other, with Social Security or some law enforcement agency – and I tell them straight out that no they aren’t: they’re scammers trying to scam money from senior citizens, and they are scummy human beings, and I don’t see how they can live with themselves, doing this for a living. I have a very nice, accusatory rant, but mostly I don’t get more than a couple of sentences into it, before they break the connection. Yesterday I did get a woman who at least had the sand to yell back, and insist that she would call again and again, and again … I cussed her out a bit more, threatened to file a complaint with the Texas Attorney General’s office and promised to block the number her scummy, scamming enterprise was spoofing. At least that was a good few minutes that she wasn’t working over someone much more gullible than me.

Frankly, it’s kind of fun making these people’s work lives a bit of a misery. And it certainly relieves my feelings a bit. Honestly, I do wish that law enforcement would work a bit harder on pursuing these cases, although most of it seems to be based overseas. This guy, with his glitter-bomb packages and endless ingenuity – as well as knowledgeable friends in the internet security industry – is doing good work.

06. July 2021 · Comments Off on Where Do We Go From Here? · Categories: General

This is what a lot of us on the conservative – independent – libertarian-inclined, and otherwise classic old-style liberal have been wondering over the last six months or so. Where do we go from here, seeing that elections largely can’t be trusted, especially in blue-dominated states with a long, long, long history of election corruption and assorted ballot shenanigans?

Where do we go, and what can we do about a national news media which has become so nakedly, proudly partisan, basically the stenographer and mouthpiece for the Biden Administration? Besides patronizing those independent bloggers, reporters and aggregators, foreign newspapers like the UK’s Daily Mail, and that handful of mainstream reporters who actually appear to recall the original mission of ‘afflict the comfortable and comfort the afflicted’ and report the plain old who-where-what? While it does seem that formerly competent and respected outlets are shedding viewers like the Titanic shed lifeboats after the encounter with the iceberg, at least half the country does believe what they see on CNN and read in the New York Times, and those of similar devotion to perpetuating the Big Lie(s). What to do, especially when loved ones and co-workers swallow the lies whole?

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28. June 2021 · Comments Off on Generally Speaking · Categories: General

I can’t really speak to the matter of general officers from extensive personal experience with the rank; throughout my military career I was mostly in places removed from direct personal contact. A merciful deity, to quote the rabbi from “Fiddler on the Roof” kept the general ranks – kept them far, far from us, although a SAC one-star did show up one day at EBS-Zaragoza, unannounced and unheralded. It was lunchtime, practically everyone save the radio and TV op on duty had left the building. I was sitting in my office, peacefully adding another layer of much-needed polish to my shoes, when a flight-suited guy appeared in the doorway and cheerily asked, “When you’re done with yours, can you do mine?” He was a youngish-looking, personable guy, and it took me at least five seconds to grok the single star that designated his rank. He introduced himself, Brigadier General Something-or-other. said he was visiting for a readiness inspection of the SAC unit. He just thought he would mosey around and drop in to visit some of the other activities on base which supported his people so well … and could he have a tour of our broadcast facility?

Well, duh – like I could say ‘no, general, sir’. He got the brief informal nickel tour, conducted by yours truly, introduced to the few of our staffers who weren’t at lunch, and the other senior NCO, the maintenance chief, who hissed at me: “Why didn’t you tell us there was a one-star on the ground? We should have been prepared!” and I hissed back that I hadn’t had a chance to tell anyone anything, said one-star just appeared. It was likely, I added, that this general was probably much more knowledgeable about what was really going on in the activities that he visited, because of his practice of just casually dropping by … rather than doing the formal, pre-announced official inspection visit.

But to most junior and med-ranked enlisted, general officers are like saints to Catholics – we know of them, about them, recognize their attributes, and experience the effects of their pronouncements and dictates. One of the things that we know, is that after a certain rank – O-6, or colonel, they become political animals, if they hanker truly after that magical star. The especially eaten-up with ambition are political animals even before that point, but the very best don’t care about much but their people and accomplishing the mission, and yes, it is pretty obvious to any observer with eyes and a modicum of intelligence.

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21. June 2021 · 1 comment · Categories: General

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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16. June 2021 · Comments Off on Once Burned, Twice Wary · Categories: General

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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13. June 2021 · Comments Off on Spring Road Trip in the Hill Country · Categories: General

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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