Press "Enter" to skip to content

Okay, so here I am. Sort of.

Okay, so here I am. Deadline met. Brief respite from this summer’s chronic busy-ness. Whew.

I woke up in the dark this morning and sipped hot, sweet tea as I watched dawn creep in. Watching the world go from black to gray to subtle color has always been one of my favorite things. After months of barely noticing my surroundings, this quiet morning was especially welcome.


But lounging around in my nightshirt sipping Ahmad English #1, however much a treat it may be for me, doesn’t make great blog fodder.

Better blogitude comes from worse news: like the fedgov’s chief spy boss lying his head off — to an audience of uber-hackers, yet! — while news emerges simultaneously discrediting every word he utters.

ADDED (via a comment from zelda): And the worse news may already be producing such uber-creepy results as this. Though of course, we, the Enemies of the State, are not privileged to know how or why the OverGovernment targets us. Sigh.

But back to blogging.

Better blogitude even comes from homeless shih tzus nursing lost kittens.

Even if I told you my nightshirt features a moose wearing fuzzy slippers, a pink polka-dotted bathrobe, and sunglasses and declaring “I don’t do mornings” (which it does; in fact here’s one pretty much like it), that still wouldn’t be worth dashing to the blog for, now would it?


News (the worse the better) always makes for easy blogging. But increasingly when I read or listen to news, I feel as if I’m on some other planet than the people doing the reporting. Driving around this morning listening to NPR discussing the “differences” between Fed candidates Larry Summers and Janet Yellen put me in that state. Differences? What differences? (Other than the fact that Summers is an “outie” and Yellen presumably an “innie” — which ought to be irrelevant — they might as well be clones of each other for purposes of what they’d do to the country once in power.)

It’s like the “differences” between Lilliput and Blefuscu on the matter of cracking eggs.

A guy siding his house with beer cans seems more in touch with any sort of reality I could respect.

The “reality” of politicians and newsies makes one want to find a map to some realer reality.


One terrible reality seems to be lately that a large number of people I know are getting cancer. One of my best friends died in April. Another friend and long-time benefactor has been coping with what ought to be one of the “better” cancers, but in his case isn’t living up to that relatively benign reputation. Last month I was in the midst of an email interview with someone when he wrote to say he couldn’t finish because he’d just been diagnosed with one of the cruelest cancers imaginable. I know that a couple active members of the Commentariat are undergoing chemo or recently have.

Well, you might say, people get older and start falling apart. But this particular “cancer chain” started a couple of years ago with a lovely and very young woman — who fortunately had great support and made a brilliant recovery.

I want to say something deep and meaningful here. But all I can do is fall back on terrible cliches about life being short and making the best of the time we have. And knocking wood. And spending more time sipping tea while watching the dawn. Because really you never do know if that’ll be the last dawn you ever see. Or how many more times you might get to watch the full moon rise.


  1. Graystone
    Graystone August 1, 2013 12:18 pm


    Sometimes I think you do your best work when you tell us you don’t have much to say.

  2. Pat
    Pat August 1, 2013 12:25 pm

    The Shih Tzu-kitten story is precious!

    I’ve never heard of Ahmad English # 1; with bergamot in it, is it similar to Earl Grey?

    The lies and the facts (NSA story) are getting closer together. I think that’s a good thing. Soon maybe the facts will come out _before_ the liars get a chance to hone their stories. (And isn’t that what Snowden and Manning and all whistle-blowers are about?) So let the liars talk – they’re just destroying their own credibility. They still don’t realize that “surveillance” works both ways, and *they can’t stop it* from turning back on them.

  3. Karen
    Karen August 1, 2013 1:09 pm

    The story about the Catalanos makes me want to start a movement. We could pick a date to have people google pressure cookers and backpacks. Like Amazon authors have “book bomb” days, this could be a google bomb day. Tell everyone! Post the date at every blog and forum. Tell every email contact. Tell everyone you meet. Announce it at church. If it didn’t crash their surveillance system, imagine the feds trying to turn up at a million households and businesses. What a hoot.

  4. Matt, another
    Matt, another August 1, 2013 1:13 pm

    Does one have to search for those items as a combined statement, or two separate seaches closely spaced in time?

  5. Joel
    Joel August 1, 2013 1:15 pm

    The NSA general’s lying/simultaneous debunking was disheartening. Not that there haven’t always been political generals, duh, but one of the few sources of hope I’ve ever held that the government would avoid descending into actual totalitarianism is that the military as a whole has almost always managed to stay out of the governing business. Alexander’s lies made that seem like quite a naive misconception on my part.

  6. water lily
    water lily August 1, 2013 1:21 pm

    I loved the dog and the kitty story. They were adopted together, yay. Such a happy ending for them. There was another video making the rounds of a raccoon stealing cat food in a garage with the cats looking on. Pretty funny.

    My hubs just had a skin cancer removed. Not a big deal at all, but still…Too much cancer going around. I’m not surprised, seems like everything is toxic.

    I understand what you mean about feeling like you’re on another planet, like everything has gone mad.

    I wish this weren’t true:

    “Reality is what continues to exist whether you believe in it or not.”
    – Philip K. Dick

    Enjoy the summer-into-fall days ahead. I’ll raise my mug of chai to you next tea time. 🙂

  7. Claire
    Claire August 1, 2013 1:47 pm

    Graystone — You’re very kind. It seems that after these blank periods, I just have to do a brain dump to get going again. I fear those posts aren’t always completely coherent; I just hope they’re worthwhile. Because it seems I don’t have a choice …

  8. Claire
    Claire August 1, 2013 1:49 pm

    Pat — Ahmad English #1 is not much like Earl Grey. It’s more like a strong (but amazingly not-bitter) English Breakfast tea. That touch of bergamot gives it the same exotic overtone that EG has, but otherwise it doesn’t have much in common with EG. Very good stuff. My favorite special-occasion tea.

  9. Shel
    Shel August 1, 2013 1:54 pm

    I get burnt out easily on this stuff; I meant to respond to your posting yesterday, but couldn’t even make myself get around to it. Since I am part of society, I inevitably am stepping in it pretty often. With your blog, you’re swimming in it. I don’t think I would have the requisite tolerance. That’s one of the costs, I guess, of caring.

    The article, linked on Borepatch, in The Guardian (the paper fearless leader doesn’t want our troops to read) on the snooping staggers me in that now we have to go to newspapers in the country from which we gained our independence to find out about our own government. It also saddens me greatly that our administration, congress, and news media are going after whistleblowers with a vehemence never shown against known Soviet agents.

    Snowden gets a year’s breathing space, apparently. With an American president whose known mentor was a communist, it seems highly unlikely so me that Snowden has revealed anything Putin and the Red Chinese didn’t already know. The vitriol, of course, is because our government and it’s attendant mainstream media didn’t want us to know it.

    Regarding the candidates, I myself used to be an “outie” but now I’m an “innie.” Oh, well.

    I don’t expect to purchase the t-shirt, but if I did, I’d use your Amazon link 🙂
    I may try the tea at some point, though.

    Jonathan Swift, BTW, went insane before dying. J.B. Priestly thought the final chapters of Gulliver’s travels were proof of approaching insanity. I’m not sure I agree, I’ve encountered plenty of yahoos over the years.

    That’s a great Shih Tzu story. I have to admit, in all impartiality, I usually don’t like ankle biters very much.

  10. Claire
    Claire August 1, 2013 1:54 pm

    Karen (and zelda who first came up with the link in one of yesterday’s comment threads) — I agree. It would be excellent to have a bunch of people Google “backpack” and “pressure cooker” AND another term — say, “government overreach” or “security theater” in the same session.

    Matt, another — It doesn’t appear that you have to search on both terms in the same session, just to show an interest in both. The people who got the “friendly visit” were a husband and wife doing separate searches.

    A “friendly visit” from six govthugs. Can you imagine how many real crimes could be solved if those resources were put into real investigations of real criminals instead of being squandered by creepily spying on the ‘Net searches of innocent people? Of course, perhaps government agents stupid enough to spend their time on illegal wild-goose chases wouldn’t be capable of real investigation.

  11. Claire
    Claire August 1, 2013 1:56 pm

    WL — I remember the raccoon stealing the cat food. That was so funny. Just grabbing double handfuls of kitty kibble and running off on his back feet like a human thief.

    Otherwise … Reality … yeah.

  12. jed
    jed August 1, 2013 3:25 pm

    Deadline? As in a SWAT article?

    Yeah, bergamot. Earl Grey is no doubt my favorite tea. 2nd is probably
    Lapsang souchong.

  13. Claire
    Claire August 1, 2013 3:45 pm

    Deadline. As in a SWAT article (thank you for the link). But not that SWAT article. The one that will appear three months from now. Looooooong deadlines in the print magazine world. 🙁

    BTW, in the print ‘zine, Joel Simon is properly credited as co-author of the one you linked. They just haven’t got the website set up for two authors.

    Lapsang souchong. Ugh. Had it once and thought it would gag a maggot. It’s the only tea I’ve ever positively disliked. Barbecue-flavored tea. Too weird!

  14. jed
    jed August 1, 2013 4:40 pm

    Well, I’m one of those people who like their Scots Whisky nice and smokey. Now it’s interesting that you mention barbecue, because what’s behind that cooking method (I mean real barbecue, not searing meat on a grille) is a way to make cheaper cuts of meat more palatable. Same deal with Lapsang souchong — it’s made using lower-grade leaves, and smoked. I also like Darjeeling, though I admit I don’t whether the stuff I had was black or oolong, and whether it was Super Fine Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe grade, or something lesser. (Yes, I did just read the Wikipedia page re. Darjeeling Tea.)

    Just occurred to me that tea tins might make good stash containers for organizing smaller items of survival supplies. Hmmm, might have to expermiment with that.

  15. LarryA
    LarryA August 1, 2013 4:52 pm

    More than you want to know about cancer trends is at:

    * Death rates for the four most common cancers (prostate, female breast, lung, and colorectal), as well as for all cancers combined, continue to decline.

    * The rate of cancer incidence has declined since 1998.

    * Length of cancer survival has increased for all cancers combined.

    Still, everyone go get your respective screenings.

  16. Pat
    Pat August 1, 2013 5:06 pm

    “It’s the only tea I’ve ever positively disliked.”

    You should try matcha or gunpowder teas (Both are green teas). They’re Ugh also.

    The English # 1 sounds good, so I ordered it. I’ve been drinking Twinings for some time, but they can all get bitter too, and have been wanting to try something different. Will see what this is like.

    jed – Tea tins do indeed make good stash containers, I use them for small sewing, fishing and medical stuff.

  17. IndividualAudienceMember
    IndividualAudienceMember August 1, 2013 11:51 pm

    Lounging around in your nightshirt sipping Ahmad English #1, does make great blog fodder.

    Just not this blog.

    Your nightshirt features a moose wearing fuzzy slippers, a pink polka-dotted bathrobe, and sunglasses and declaring “I don’t do mornings”


    Yes, it does make great blog fodder.

    Just not this blog.

    “I feel as if I’m on some other planet than the people doing the reporting.”

    Glad I’m not the only one.

    One thing is for certain, I’m not going the chemo route. No way, no how.

    LarryA says, “Still, everyone go get your respective screenings.”

    F-that! Have you read about all the false positives, and how many tests are bunk? Especially mammograms!
    I’d rather go this route:

    To Chemo Or Not To Chemo?

    Meet the Man Called ‘Crazy’ By Doctors Who Cured His Own Colon Cancer

    From Cancer to Health

    Even if they stomp on, A Cure for Cancer

    12 Steps for Natural Cancer Prevention

    My Doctor Is Going To Kill me!?

    Your Doctor Is Going To Kill You

    Anyway, I’ve been drinking gunpowder tea. I’m reminded of you, and those like you, every other time I drink it.

    Insert scene from the film, Conan the Barbarian, the one where she asks, ‘do you want to live forever’, here x.

    “like you’re on another planet, like everything has gone mad.”

  18. tom doughy
    tom doughy August 2, 2013 7:19 pm

    I believe I’ll drive over to look at the beer can house tomorrow…been here 23 years or more and never took that road.
    Tempus fugit

  19. Paul Bonneau
    Paul Bonneau August 3, 2013 9:49 am

    I thoroughly enjoyed your blog post Claire.

    Every now and then when I find my anxiety level climbing, I reflect that some day the planet will have to do without me. And that it will likely do it just fine. Strangely, I find this comforting, and it helps me slow down and smell the flowers, or whatever other way you want to put it.

    I was out watering the garden a couple of days ago, just using my hose with a thumb over the end, when a hummingbird came up. She was clearly interested in the water so I stopped moving. She was flying about 4 feet away, looking directly at me. She dipped herself into the water stream several times for a bath, then flew away to continue with her little hummingbird life. I was charmed.

    “I feel as if I’m on some other planet than the people doing the reporting.”

    The thing that strikes me about mainstream reporting these days, when I bother to listen to it (which doesn’t happen much) is how utterly boring and predictable the promoted worldview is. Can’t they find more interest in life? The Ministry of Propaganda must be run by broken people.

  20. Claire
    Claire August 3, 2013 10:11 am

    “Can’t they find more interest in life? The Ministry of Propaganda must be run by broken people.”

    LOL! Well said. Very, very, very well said and well observed. Thank you, Paul.

  21. Shel
    Shel August 4, 2013 2:45 pm

    I read the interchange rather late, then thought it was impracticably too late to comment again, but I know it’ll irritate me if I don’t.

    I’ll echo Paul B. I also enjoyed your post. I don’t consider demonstrating that one is human to be a fault. My comment about the T-shirt was not meant to be derisive. Actually, I’ve used your Amazon link a number of times, mostly for books, which I mostly get to try to find a situation that’s likely analogous to our future. So far I haven’t had success.

    As for dogs, the “ankle biter” crack was intended to be tongue-in-cheek; I know you’ve shown photos of yours in your posts. Recently I read, but can’t find now, an article that asserted behavior such as jumping that wouldn’t be allowed in a large dog is considered cute by some when done by a small dog, leading to general behavior problems.

    N.B.: There’s always one.

  22. Kyle Rearden
    Kyle Rearden August 7, 2013 7:44 pm

    Perhaps I might be misunderstanding here, but Claire, why are you paying attention to the “news” in the first place? We all know it’s a pack of lies (for the most part), and even if it weren’t, there’s virtually nothing that any of us can act upon. The truly important information I really needed to know always came from books, anyway. As a possibly “radical” suggestion, might I recommend the viability of a news blackout (or brownout, as it were)? –

  23. A.G.
    A.G. August 10, 2013 10:37 pm

    Good to know I’m not the only one around here who appreciates fine and artistic women’s apparel.


Leave a Reply