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Category: Books and Movies

Government is silly; empire has a mind of its own

Last night I watched Charles III, a PBS drama about the future reign of the present rather weary and gray Prince of Wales. The story posits that in his very first week of rule, months before his official coronation, he precipitates a constitutional crisis that throws not only the UK, but the very future of the monarchy, into turmoil. What does poor old fictional Charles do to throw the realm into such chaos? He refuses on principle to sign a bill curbing freedom of the press. The bill can’t become law unless he signs it. But that’s not the issue.…

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Friday check-in

Just peachy Well, what did you think of the now-ended impeachment hearings? Were they … Relevatory and persuasive? Dull as ditchwater? Shamelessly partisan? A waste of space in the universe? As gripping as Watergate at its best? Totally righteous? Totally self-righteous? Completely missing any impeachable offenses? (Except perhaps on the part of Joe Biden, who can’t be impeached because he’s not in office.) The silliest bunch of cooked-up factoids you ever did hear? Brilliant? Pure democracy in action? Or did you think of them at all? It was lovely to pay very little attention, although I did wonder if NPR…

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Very last ever autographed book sale for Basics of Resistance; Get ’em while you can.

A couple months ago I said I hoped I’d have 20 or 25 copies of Basics of Resistance, autographed and ready to sell, Octoberish. Due to cascading snafus, I have (or will have in a day or three) just 10 copies. And clearly, this is Novemberish, and sneaking up on Decemberish. BUT … all copies will be signed by both co-author Kit Perez and me. You can’t say that about too many copies of BoR. What you can say is that these 10 are the last-ever copies autographed by both authors. It’s 10 and done. Now, I know a lot…

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A Tuesday ramble including more somewhat random thoughts on Outsiders

Since December of 1989, I’ve walked my dogs (anywhere from one to six of them) a mile or so every morning and every afternoon. Every day unless I’ve been too sick or the weather has been downright dangerous. Yesterday we had our first frost. I bundled up, but the breeze was just stiff enough to pierce my clothes, redden my cheeks, and set my nose dripping. Ava seemed to enjoy herself, but all I could think was, “I can’t face another long winter of bone-chilling morning walks.” Ava, even at 14, has boundless walkie energy and will stare at me…

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We now pause for a brief commercial announcement

Several things … 1. Starting tomorrow, Sunday, September 22 at 8:00 a.m. (presumably PDT), the Kindle edition of Basics of Resistance will be on sale for $0.99. Every 50 hours the price will increase until it’s back up to its normal $3.99 after a week. Grab it while you can. Please tell your friends. —– 2. Thinking about your Christmas shopping already? Well, probably not unless you’re one of those people. But sometime in October or November, I will have 20-some autographed copies of the trade paperback version of Basics of Resistance. If all goes well, they’ll be signed by…

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Civilization: An exercise in 4:00 a.m. thinking

One recent Saturday I slumped under a cloud of doom. “You have nothing left to say. You’re a failure. You might as well close up shop and slink away.” I felt capable only of staring at the walls or losing myself in a Downton Abbey marathon. Even lying down to take a nap seemed like too much effort. Nearly all writers know this mood. It’s often the precursor to a burst of productivity; but when we’re in it, we never see that. When we’re in it, it’s always The End. Sure enough, the next morning I snapped awake at 4:21…

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Water filters, acts of defiance, and thanks

Life keeps getting in the way of that blogosaurus I’ve been attempting to work on. In the meantime here are a couple really good items courtesy of other sources. First, Widener’s has an excellent, review of water filters for backpacking and survival. The early part of the article goes into deep, deep detail about how filters work and what they filter. Then it rates (from “pure” to “murky”) the advertising claims of 17 brands and models of portable filters — finding that many don’t remotely live up to their hype. They offer enough lab-test detail to give a good idea…

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Wednesday links

[Peeks around the corner of the Internet.] Psssst — is it safe to look at the news again yet? The only word I’ve had from the outside world is from NPR. That’s been good for about 30 seconds a day, as they’ve dropped their all-immigrant-all-the-time coverage for their utmost favorite topic, all-blood-dancing-all-the-time. But I’m optimistic; I’m going to go out and check the news, assuming not every media outlet can be so narrow-minded. —– Why should you be outgunned by violent people who hate you? This Atlantic article has been around for a few years. But at moments like this…

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Tuesday links

Greg Ellifritz over at Active Response Training has some advice for dealing with attacks by multiple perps: Avoid them. In case you can’t, he offers ways to emerge triumphant — or at least not beaten to a pulp. In a sure blow for equal rights, it turns out the Capital One hacker is a woman. She also demonstrated she could be equal in folly to many male hackers, boasting about her exploits online. CapitalOne seems to be handling their massive breach more responsibly than many others. (Equifax, I’m talkin’ to you.) In his inimitable style, James Delingpole cheers the rise…

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Freedom and contentment

The afternoon was hot, so Ava and I decided to go farther than usual, out into the deep woods. It’s cooler there and we still know of one good walking road in the higher hills that hasn’t recently been decreed off limits to the peasants. Locals in the know used to drive a branch of that road all the way up a steep (like 4WD steep) incline to a flat, clearcut spot. There, dense woods gave way to a distant — but sweeping and grand — view of the ocean. No more. Now you can walk, not drive, for about…

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