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Month: March 2011

Good books for rainy days

The weather changed abruptly this week. Well, it changes abruptly darned near every week. But it went overnight from almost-spring to the most leaden, drizzly, blustery sort of winter. And when the early spring went, so did my energy. With no oomph, but also no impending deadlines, I roused myself for long dog walks, but before and after them I slung myself into a comfy chair with a big blaze going in the pellet stove and read and read and read. I meant to blog, but my brain was empty and the news seemed worse than the weather. I couldn’t…

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Monday miscellany

Good news (thanks to P.T.): the first 11 markets where Atlas Shrugged will be released. And a tiny hint of hopeful news (courtesy of Jim. B). Remember Nathan Fillion’s recent comment about wanting to revive Firefly? Well … The secret of long life isn’t what we’ve been told. But it may — no surprise — involve a depressing amount of exercise (NYTimes free subscription link). Whatever it involves, it doesn’t hinge on any “medical establishment” — as this depressing graph makes clear. For more impressive charts, check out Dave’s Friday blog. Silver. Shazam. The FDA pulls 500 prescription cold and…

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How I’m spending my weekend

Faux tiling my sun porch. When I bought the place, the sun porch floor was covered with loose and broken 1950s-vintage linoleum squares. I wanted to lay porcelain tile, in which case I’d have covered the old stuff with filler and backer board. (Always the best thing to do with tiles of that vintage, because they may contain asbestos and are best left undisturbed.) But right now a fancy tile job is just not in the card$$$. So I pried up the old tiles, taking reasonable precautions. I dissolved the remaining mastic, then started painting. What you see in the…

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Being strong and free

In the (awesome) comments that followed “What ifs and might-have-beens” a question came up: Do troubled individuals gravitate toward strong partners, or do those partners become strong in the fire of hard relationships? Well, a bit of both, I’m sure. But the question got me thinking about strength and what it means — way beyond the boundaries of relationships. I think strength is something like courage: you don’t know you have it until it’s called upon. And when you’re exercising it, you don’t necessarily feel like a tower of strength. On the contrary, you may feel terrified, filled with self-doubt,…

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Hooray for Wyoming

In a move that was a long time coming, Wyoming just became the fourth state to infringe less on people’s right to carry concealed weapons. Congrats to all who worked so long for this. And — no surprise — a big BOO to Brady bunch spokesthing Paul Helmke, who managed to take the non-sequitur, straw-man, and post hoc ergo propter hoc logical fallacies to new lows: Helmke noted Arizona was the most recent state to allow concealed carry without a permit. And he noted that a man has been charged in the Jan. 8 shooting that killed six people at…

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Outlaws. Just go read Joel.

Gads. Joel. If there’s such a thing as reincarnation (and I hope not), I’ll return in the next life as Joel’s brain if I’m really good. I have nothing to say today. I’m overwhelmed by work, by life, by soul-baring blogitude and even more touchingly soul-baring comments. Just go read Joel. He’s freaking brilliant and funny as all get out. Me, I’m declaring a Mental Health Day. Off to play hooky. Driving to the Wonderous Place of Cheap Doors and Windows (and plumbing fixtures and floorings). Tempting myself with the Wonders of Wal-Mart. Reviving my spirits at the Discount Vitamin…

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Bovard on Sunstein

Cass Sunstein, Obama admin regulatory czar and longtime Obama advisor, is one of the scariest men alive — and not least because he has the Orwellian gall to claim that his brand of uber-statism is actually … gak! … libertarian. Jim Bovard kicks Sunstein’s backside. The Sunsteinian doctrine in a nutshell: All rights come from government, and your right to free speech or self-defense is no more fundamental than some other guy’s “right” to a cushy job, a comfy house, guaranteed medical care, etc. On the contrary …

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What ifs and might-have-beens

I like wandering through old cemeteries. In the same spirit, every couple of years I visit the Social Security Death Index online. The entries there aren’t as poignant or informative as old tombstones (though they do contain something tombstones don’t — defunct SS numbers). But every once in a while I’ll think of people from a long time ago and enter their names. A depressing number of my old acquaintances turn out to be dead. Not because I’ve reached that age where it happens (knock wood), but because of war and drugs and other bad habits long ago. My best…

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