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Showing posts from February, 2024

He Was Probably an Anti-Semite

  If your news-intake is limited to the legacy media, you might not yet have heard of a young Air Force guy named Aaron Bushnell burning himself in protest in front of the Israeli embassy.  He died. Perhaps the legacy media will accuse Mr. Bushnell of being anti-semitic.  Or they might claim that setting yourself on fire in front of the Israeli embassy is an example of hate-speech. At least a hero of the Deep State was there to hold a gun on the burning and nearly dead body of Mr. Bushnell.  Gosh, wouldn't you love to have a chance to personally 'thank the cop for his service.' I am being satiric of course.  It is better than lashing out with anger.  Anger burns itself out.  Mockery is a better long-term approach.  There is no way to "over-mock" American foreign policy, the Biden administration, the War industries, or the Israel Lobby. From

The Un-Arizona Part of Arizona

Every year at this time of year I feel relief at having escaped the cholla of southwestern Arizona and moved into southeastern Arizona, a land of dry grass, mesquite trees, and oaks.  A local person told me how, in a good monsoonal summer, the grass grows green and reaches up to the belly of a cow.  It would be fun to see that  --  you would only have to tolerate a lot of 95 F heat.  Even that is too much for me.   This part of Arizona is not all that popular with standard snowbirds, looking for iconic Arizona desert scenery.  It won't be all that colorful here like it will be in southwestern Arizona when the cacti bloom.  It is surprising that I have learned to appreciate the austere tawny beauty of a spring morning in southeastern Arizona. Of course a person can also learn to appreciate the opening of Brahms Piano Concerto #2. Today I will drive with my friend to the semi-metropolis of the area.  It is only a month from the solstice, so I suppose the sun already has enough stren

A Protest Vote 'At the Movies'

I had a second surprising piece of luck in my first foray into buying DVD disks at a thrift store.  Roman Polanski's "The Pianist" was available in perfect condition.  I remember watching it years ago.  It was excellent.  I especially liked the Chopin music.   But I didn't use the disk.  It will be given back to the thrift store. I simply don't have an appetite for any book or movie about the crimes commited against European Jews in World War II.  It's not that those crimes have become any less criminal.  But I have gotten sick and tired of the crimes against Jews 80 years ago -- mostly by German Nazis -- being used as a blank check for covering the slaughter of Gazans being commited today. So there you have it: my puny little protest vote.  This is the best example I can think of of the old saying 'It is better to light one candle than curse the darkness.'  My own insignificance is astonishing.

An Authentic Natural Experience

I was hoping to see more DVD and Blu-Ray disks showing up at thrift stores, and that it would be an interesting hobby to look for them.  After all, a traveler has a chance to visit many thrift stores, strewn across several states. The other day I actually put that idea into practice.  After ripping my box of scratched DVD disks to my computer, it made a real impression on me to find a disk in the thrift store in perfect condition.   The thrift store charged only one dollar for it. And what a lucky choice:  "Tosca" by Puccini, performed by top-rated people.  I felt like a prospector in the Old West who got lucky. Let's hope this serves as a real inspiration.  Previously I had disliked the loosely organized clutter of thrift stores.  Here is a chance to see practical life on the broad canvas of human history: the frugal habits of our Depression-era parents, free range grazing in the American West, and the craze that followed chance discoveries of gold. Even more broadly, s

No More Remote Controls

  People have quite a bit of consumer electronics lying around in their house.  How many remote controls do they have?  I'll bet it isn't their favorite gadget.  For one thing you can never find the damn thing when you need it. I used to think that the remote control was just to save the couch potato from having to walk three steps.  But actually remote controls eliminated the need to build all those buttons into the side of the TV or other electrical appliance.   And then, when the button failed, you would have had to throw the TV out. Now that I have eliminated my Blu-Ray player and monitor screen by ripping my DVDs onto the computer,  I looked over at the remote control of the Blu-Ray player and felt delighted that I could get rid of it! I fantasized a slow and solemn ritual of execution for my last remaining remote control -- something like the public hangings in old movie westerns.  But that would just have been litter.   Free at last, free at last!

Pity the People Who Make an Honest Living

  I am entitled to a rant: I did my taxes as 5:00 am.  Afterwards I celebrated by driving to town and getting an especially good breakfast burrito at a gas station.  These days eating at the gas station is as close as many of us get to 'fine dining.' How hard those women work to make the best and most affordable food in town.  They must be Mexican  seƱoras .  Perhaps their children will be assimilated into the American mainstream instead of doing hard work in a tire shop.  They will go to college and aspire to a white collar career as some kind of cubicle rat, say, at Intuit (TurboTax) in San Diego.  Imagine what a step-up that will be!  What an easy busy model tax-software-companies have.  Their customers are afraid of the IRS so they lock onto a tax software product as an insurance product.  Every year they can take advantage of the customers' fear to upsell them to the 'Premium' package, or whatever word gets used.  I didn't owe any taxes this year.  But in r

A New Media Era Has Snuck Up on Me

The art of living outside the rat race is mostly about getting up in the morning and finding something to be interested in, without the 'System' keeping you endlessly and uselessly busy.  And that is the focus of this blog.  I don't like to get down 'into the weeds' of microscopic 'how to' details. Nevertheless I should have used the word 'rip' to describe the process of transcribing data from a DVD disk to the computer's hard drive (or extended memory such as cloud, flash drives, or SSD.)   In doing so, a camper/traveler eliminates a box of disks, inevitable scratches, and cheapie plastic DVD player parts.  The resulting media data on your computer can be played on the computer itself or transferred to your phone for easier playback in bed on those long winter nights. This experience was interesting to me because it was a chance to reflect how many times this type of transition has happened.  No, Reader, I can't quite remember the original c

The End of the Physical Media Era?

Well, I've finally finished a big project: digitizing a box-full of Blu-Ray disks.  A couple weeks ago my picture and sound-maker died. (aka, monitor, TV screen)  It took the signal from a Blu Ray player.   Typically I used these less for entertainment than for a sleeping pill at night, or for the last hour of the evening when my eyes don't feel like reading.  It was quite a shock to learn how badly I had gotten out-of-date.  The kid at Best Buy told me, "Nobody sells DVD players anymore!"  Just imagine what the kid was thinking!  His Yuma customers were so old and, like , out-of-it.  He would be so stoked if he had, like, younger customers, bro. Well, nobody seems to sell small monitors (with speakers) that are compatible with Dolby Digital sound coming from most Blu Ray players, either.   Everything is supposed to be "streamed" these days, and paid for with a monthly fee, tied to your credit card.  That makes it easy for the bastards to renew your subscr

Another Group of Heroes to Admire

I am a broken man.  The world has become so hopeless that I desperately reach out in any direction to find somebody or something to admire.  Lately I have been admiring the farmer-protests in Europe.  Do you think these even get reported in the state-affiliated news programs in Europe? It is not impossible that the protests could lead to a slight decrease in environmental regulations.  Then, once the furor has died down, and Jean-Jacques Rosseaus's General Will has supposedly been heeded by the great democracy of Europe, the European Union desk jockeys will go back to creating more and more regulations.  

Pain, Mercy, and Beauty in the Desert

My little dog came running back to me with a big cholla segment on her cheek, next to her mouth.  A friend held her head and neck while I flicked the cholla off, with a comb.  It was not in deep.  But a hemostat (resembling a pliers) finished the job on a couple needles that were in the skin.  She squealed of course.  It wounds me to hear my little darlin' squeal.  So please consider that a certain amount of righteous anger is justified.  Anger at what?: at how the beauty of the desert is portrayed by tourists and snowbirds! This morning there was 1.25" of rain in the pan I put out last night before the rain started.  Glorious!  This is the true beauty of the desert.  It is important to yell out about that, because the usual portrayal of the 'beauty of the desert' by snowbirds is -- not wrong -- but distorted by them being climate refugees from the north.   "Beauty" is a word that should be reserved for things that make life and survival possible, and wate