Of Civil War and Moe the Crow

What a beautiful day.  It hit seventy with almost constant bright sun, almost no clouds and, for once, no wind.  Walking around the yard today was idyllic.  The daffodils were mostly open and everywhere the tree buds looked ready to burst.

Now the calendar says it’s the middle of April but in New England that translates to the beginning of Spring.  And based entirely on my subjective criteria I hereby declare today the first day of Spring 2024 in the photogian calendar!

 

A raven has taken to chasing off Camera Girl’s pet crows (Moe the Crow and his stooges) and eating all the scraps that she puts out for them every morning.  Now, I’ve been a fan of ravens ever since I read a book called Ravens in Winter many years ago.  And after camping in Utah, Nevada, Arizona, Montana, Wyoming and Idaho, my admiration for them has increased.  Now that they have made their way to Compound, I am excited to have them around.  But I do feel bad for Camera Girl.  Moe has become a friend of hers.  When he sees her come to the water he comes down to the ground and she feeds him peanuts from the ground in front of her.  Ah, well.  Survival of the strongest.

Alright, enough of all that.  Had to get it out of my system.

I spent today catching up with some projects that had languished during my recent busy spurt.  I’ve got a contractor waiting on a contract and a check to repair the damage done by a 120-foot White Pine that flattened a part of the upper driveway fence.  A very sad story.  The highway crew cut the tree up on Friday and managed to cut the electric fence wire that keeps our canines from rampaging over the countryside.  The timing of the electric fence malfunction made it possible that it coincided with the earthquake.  But afterwards the physical evidence said, road crew.  I have so many enemies!

I saw some early reviews for the new picture “Civil War.”  The claim is that the movie isn’t just a hit piece against Trump.  I’d like to believe that but I don’t want to see it until it’s been reviewed by someone on the right side of the political divide.  I’ve been burned too often and refuse to pay to be insulted by Hollywood.  I’ve watched about ten reviews so I’m starting to believe it could just be a movie about how bad a civil war would be.  But the other factor that could keep me away is the heroes being journalists.  After all, how many good journalists have we seen in the last ten years or so?  One, two, maybe three?  Anyway, my research continues.  If anyone finds a right-wing movie review for it, please pass it along.

So, Sunday night I did surgery on my laptop.  The internal battery was dying so I had to figure out how to open the back on my computer and replace the battery without frying the system or cracking the motherboard.  As I mentioned a few days ago I bout my very own geek tool set and watched a few YouTube videos for similar (but not identical) laptop models and then bit the bullet and went in.

Everything went relatively easily until I attempted to pop the back off.  Most of it released but near one side of the hinge the damn thing was stuck.  Stuck good!  And this is just plastic so I was afraid if I put too much force on it the damn thing would crack apart.  So, I attempted to extend the pry bar deeper into the interior to give me better leverage but I was afraid that some internal component could be damaged and turn the whole computer into useless junk.  After what seemed like forever the stuck spot sprang open.  Afterwards I checked to see if I had broken anything.  I did find something that looked like part of a female coupling that broke loose.  I couldn’t find where it came from so I chalked it up to being one of those pesky “extra parts” that they put in complicate equipment and moved on.

Well, from there on everything went smoothly and the whole thing was back together in five minutes.  A few hours of charging and the thing was working flawlessly.  So now I am officially an IT worker.  I feel an irresistible urge to write a haiku in DOS.

There, I’ve gone about seven hundred and fifty words without mentioning the 2024 elections.  That feels pretty good.  I’m trying to figure out a good approach to write about the political situation strictly from a humorous perspective.  Since I have almost precisely zero practical effect on the outcome of the election, I feel that to entertain is the correct strategy.  But honestly, I’m still searching for the format and angle that pleases me creatively and would also provide enjoyment to the readers.  A work in progress.

So, I think I’ll go watch something fun.  Maybe Guy Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes.  I like that movie.

Cthulhu Attempts to Swallow the Sun and Fails Badly

The First Selectman was miffed about something.  Maybe his shadow appeared a little too portly or his reflection in a dank lake was a little too unflattering.  Whatever it was he attempted to swallow Earth’s star.  Luckily he’s not the Elder God he used to be.  All he got was a nasty burn around his mouth tentacles, a case of butthurt and a dose of reality.

I collected this shot at the moment of maximum effort.

Metallic Crystals, Imagination and the Persistence of Memory

In July 1971 I had finished up my freshman year in high school.  And I was a poor kid who used the Brooklyn Public Library as my main source of books.  So each month I would trek to my local branch and take out the latest (or the closest to latest) issue of Analog Science Fiction magazine.  In that month’s edition, there was an illustration on the back page of what was a photograph of what was purported to be a futuristic city that was being eroded by unimaginable eons of time as it lay dead under a dying red star at the end of the universe.

Actually, it was a scanning electron microscope photo of lead-tin telluride crystals.

But it sort of reminds me of the bismuth crystals that I used for today’s photo of the day.

I wonder if the anonymous author of that blurb was John Campbell.  But I can understand his imaginative description.  It is apt.

Funny how these things stick with you.  Wow, that’s almost 53 years ago.

Lazing Away the Day

The First Selectman Taking a Stroll

I couldn’t face talking about politics today.  I spent a good part of the day staring out a window at the huge snowflakes swirling around in the gale force winds that blew in circles around the compound.  At one point there was an inch or two of some combination of slush and snow on the grass and asphalt.  But by 2pm the driveways were miraculously clear.  So, I decided that my well thought out strategy of not doing anything had worked brilliantly and now I should go outside and take my victory lap with my snow shovel over my shoulder.  Hail the conquering hero!

These April snow events in New England are transitory oddball affairs.  The daffodils and hyacinths and hellebores can be buried in snow and ice but surprisingly these delicate flowers take no apparent harm from it.  Even the birds who you’d think would be devastated by the snow disrupting their feeding and mating activities seem unphased by the whole thing.  In fact, the crows almost seemed to be playing in the snow and clowning around.

Another fence post cracked in the fierce winds we had last night (thanks a lot First Selectman) and I made a mental note to fix the damn thing as soon as the snow retreats away from it.  Honestly, this winter has done a good bit of damage to the infrastructure, what with the pine tree landing on the upper driveway fence and the gutter cracking off of the pool shed.  My to-do list has been growing steadily.

And yesterday my laptop told me the battery is dying.  Of course, this isn’t one of those laptops that has the external battery, so now I have to do brain surgery on it.  So, I bought an electronics tool kit with the fifty screw driver bits, pliers, pick, static wrist band and two spudger tools.  Well, since I don’t know what a spudger is I guess I can’t let myself be caught short so two must be right.  Of course, the tools are going to show up a week after everything else so I hope the battery can struggle on for that long.  All in all, the world is crumbling before my eyes and honestly, I really can’t blame it.  Currently we’re being led by moochers and morons and it’s a miracle we haven’t gone over a cliff, lock stock and barrel.

But all things considered I’m calm and relatively jovial.  The First Selectman was glad to hear that folks still remembered the good works he did back in the colonial era and that his chronicler Howard Philip is still remembered as a kook with an overactive imagination who did give Batman a place to warehouse the lunatic criminals that cropped up so consistently in Gotham City.  Although how that managed to be in New England I’ll never know.  Maybe they thought placing it far away from New York City would be good for their nerves.  Or maybe they just moved the whole darn thing to Gotham over a long weekend or something.  Anyway, all praise to His August Cephalopodliness and long may he reign over Dunwich and please don’t let him raise my property taxes again.  Amen.

Farmer Cthulhu in Hi s Fields

Guest Contributor – Ed Brault – 04APR2024 – The Witch’s Curse

I grew up not too far from Dunwich; Danvers, MA, better known among the arcana-read as the real site of the Salem Witch trials. Back then it was known as Salem Village, while modern Salem was Salem Towne. Growing up I noticed that when a storm was forecast to bring, say nine inches of snow, we got 12. Or a Foot was forecast and we got 18 inches.

I finally had a chance to put this question to no less than Don Kent, meteorologist at WBZ-TV. He looked me in the eye and said “You’re from Danvers aren’t you?” I said yes, and just why is the weather so weird? He answered honestly “We don’t know…BUT…” and then he told me about how, during the Trials, one of the accused witches, on the way to the gallows, laid a curse on the town, that it should always suffer a harder winter than the rest of the county. And this curse WORKED! Even changing the town’s name didn’t help (That’s why the town seal says “Without the King’s Consent”. They did it without the approval of the Colonial Office.)
Best regards to the First Select-Entity. The Eldrich Powers are hard at work in other regions as well.

[Editor’s Note – The First Selectman sends his greetings to his cousins on the shore and hopes they are enjoying the weather they ordered a while back from his cousin.  Gurgle, glug, gurgle, gurgle glug glug glug.]

 

Reply from Tregonsee 314

I live just down the road from Danvers, Close enough that when the leaves are off the trees I can see the remaining building of the Danvers State Hospital (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Danvers_State_Hospital )

the alleged inspiration for Lovecraft’s Arkham Asylum (amazingly there are now expensive Condos there, with only the historic main tower remaining as a shared space). Our little town was part of Salem Village but split in the early 18th century from Danvers. We also seem to share in that curse 🙂 . It has to be true Mr. Kent was one of New England’s top meteorologists for most of my life and if that was the explanation he had that is good enough for me, certainly nothing else makes sense,

Reply from photog

Tregonsee. there used to be a similar mental hospital in Worcester.

Likewise it was recently demolished leaving only a replica clocktower to mark its former presence. But when it stood it was an eerie reminder of a different world.

Voigtlander 10mm e-mount Clock Tower vertical angle

 

 

The Long National Nightmare of Me Being Way Too Busy is Over!

Today I finished up a weeklong marathon project that really made my life a misery and seriously cut into my on-line time to the detriment of this site.

Whew!!!

So here I am looking around and I see…

The same crap as the week before!

Hmmm.

Okay, there’s a claim that Biden’s poll numbers have gone up a point or maybe two.  Let’s grant that.  But his swing state numbers, both with and without third party candidates are the same or maybe even a little bit worse than before.  And inflation has gotten worse but the disastrous housing market is forcing the Fed to drop interest rates to try and generate some good news for Biden.  Which will make the inflation worse still.

And the Zoomers are really angry about Gaza.

Apparently, the big tent party is beginning to turn on its Jewish contingent because of Biden’s support for the Gaza War.  And this is causing pundits like the Ragin’ Cajun James Carville to hit the panic button.  His exact words were:

“I’ve been very vocal about this,” Carville said. “It’s horrifying, our numbers among younger voters, particularly younger Blacks, younger Latinos … younger people of color. Particularly males. We’re not shedding them, they’re leaving in droves,” he added.”

So, Biden has lots of election problems because the country has lots of problems and it’s too late to fix them before November.

And the border crisis is worse than ever and the criminal aliens are in the news every day.  And the cities are becoming war zones.

And now ships are crashing into bridges and destroying them.  I mean, you can’t make this stuff up!

Sure, this is more of the same.  But it’s like a train crash.  Once you’ve discovered that you have no brakes and you’re closer than some minimum distance “x” then you can’t avoid the crash.  But the closer you get to the impact the more terrifying is the view from the engineer’s seat.  So, I’m sure whoever is running the Biden campaign is in daily contact with the voting officials in Pennsylvania figuring out if they can add an extra five million votes to the Biden total on Election Day.

Well, enough election crap.  Instead something nearer and dearer to my heart; my novel (The American Archipelago: Book 1 – The Sniper).  Thanks to all who’ve been reading along and special thanks to those who have provided feedback.  Honest criticism is extremely valuable when you’re trying to make a story attractive to the publishers and compelling for the readers.

Anyone who has a taste for dystopian science fiction, I ask that you give it a whirl and leave some comments that reflect your take on the story, positive or negative.  And the more specific the better.

Here in Dunwich the weird is the rule and the weather is no exception to this.  It’s supposed to snow tonight and then rain will freeze up tomorrow night and create a Class IV Kill Storm. So tomorrow, after helping Camera Girl navigate the frozen tundra, we’ll probably hunker down and enjoy the sounds of squealing brakes and screeching cries on the road outside as the black ice claims numberless victims on the crater strewn back roads of Dunwich.  Afterward I’ll go out for the traditional gathering of the pocket change from the bodies of the crash victims and I’ll return as a conquering hero (of sorts) as I dole out this largesse to my minions (dog one and dog two) in the form of low-quality pressed rawhide that I purchase on the websites of third world competitors of Amazon dot com.

I’ve often wondered what would happen if a prolonged storm cut off the supply of these “treats.”  I fear that my minions might notice that there is a disturbing similarity between pressed rawhide and, well, me!  Me thinks Dog One has a lean hungry look about him.  Such minions are dangerous.

Well, anyway, enough yammering.  I’m back and on the job.

The Socratic Method

We all live in a world filled with human imperfection.  There has never been a time or place where the people have figured out a permanent arrangement for living together without eventually war and oppression destroying human happiness.  Maybe the currently prophesized Super Artificial Intelligence will be able to construct this perfect society and keep it working indefinitely.  Or maybe it’ll just be HAL 9000 creating a termite hive with us as the worker drones and itself as the Queen (or King if HAL is so inclined).

But I’m not going to hold my breath waiting for this Metallic Messiah.  I doubt the possibility that the powers that be would let this new master to be unbiased and allow the little people to get a fair shake.  It’s already been shown that he who pays the bills gets to write the algorithm.

So, I don’t expect a fair shake from the digital gods.  But that doesn’t mean they won’t be put in charge.  I guess the Chinese are in the lead in implementing their social credit system and there’s no reason to believe that this country will be different.  And here’s the kicker.  The young people already believe in this thing.  I was told this weekend that, “If you haven’t done anything wrong, you have nothing to fear from the digital gods.”

Now, this was a chilling statement.  And I provided a counterstatement.  I said, “Yes but, who gets to decide what is wrong and what if the definition of what is wrong can be changed by other people?”  Then even if you’ve followed the rules, you can still be considered a criminal for your past actions.

I threw that out there and I think it made an impression.  I further explained that freedom of speech and even freedom of thought were becoming less and less protected and that the loss of these things was very difficult to accept for people who took them for granted.  And that was because we have always enjoyed their benefits.

Now I did say that everybody needed to decide these things for himself but I said I thought it was a good idea for any thoughtful person to test some of the slogans being tossed around by those in charge of schools and governments to see if they were consistent with a free way of life or if they were a way for government to take away people’s freedom.  I also told him to listen and think about things going on around him but to not reveal to just anyone what he really thought.   I hope I was persuasive.

This is becoming a more difficult world to navigate for the younger generations.  That line about having nothing to hide if you haven’t done anything wrong was expressed by the head of the WEF, Klaus Martin Schwab.  This is the guy who wants us to own nothing, heat our homes with windmills and eat bugs.  The fact that he is being echoed by impressionable young people is beyond worrisome.  It’s frightening.

What it’s told me is that it’s important for us to reach out to the young everywhere we can and provide them with some counterprogramming to the propaganda that the Left fills their heads with in school.  And I think it’s not that hard to do.  Be calm and friendly and bring up real life counterexamples to the platitudes from the Left.  It’s relatively easy to do and it lays down seeds in their minds that can sprout at another time when some new occurrence triggers it.  I think the main trick is not to be the angry dogmatist ranting against some present idea.  Instead use the Socratic approach and demonstrate the weaknesses in these ideas and that will be enough to start the ball rolling in their minds.

But I wish it wasn’t called the Socratic method.  I never trusted that guy.  He hung around boys a little too much.

Angry Old Joe and Better Things

I scanned through about five minutes of Joe Biden’s “old man shouting at the camera” routine.  Well, he didn’t fall down or begin speaking literal gibberish.  But I found it intolerable after just a few minutes.  I guess it could be summed up as Ukraine, abortion and January 6th.”  Okay, let’s see how that works out for him.  Maybe everyone will forget that their jobs are being given to illegal aliens that are also assaulting and murdering their wives and daughters.  And maybe they’ll forget that everything is now twice as expensive as it was during Trump’s term in office.  So maybe the Dems will be able to win the November election by fraud.  I guess we’ll see.  But it’s time to look around and spend our time thinking about and doing things that we consider important.

And that goes for me too.  Serializing my incomplete novel has been an interesting experience for me.  It has taken me a lot of time to get about half way through writing it and you kind of forget how you thought up various scenes and bits of dialogue.  So, seeing the beginning again is an odd case of seeing it with new eyes.  I guess I’ve been pleasantly surprised with what I’ve reread.  It seems to hold up pretty well.  Of course, you always find small mistakes and even inconsistencies that have to be tweaked.  But all in all, it isn’t half bad.  And that is immensely gratifying for me and gives me the encouragement I need to start banging away at the second half of the story.  And this rereading has also given me some new insights into some additions that I need to make to fill in some holes that I now find in the story.  It really was necessary to get about this far in the story before I could have enough perspective about the tempo and the balance of the various story lines.

Of course, the hardest part for an author is to find a publisher and/or a market for his literary offspring.  After listening to a podcast about how incredibly difficult it is to get self-published science fiction novels “recognized” on the Kindle site I think I’ll try to see if I can interest any of the traditional publishing companies in my deathless prose.  After all, who could fail to recognize the brilliant writing, the deep psychological truth in the characters’ underpinnings and the timeless quality of the epic struggle between the King of the Mole Men and the faceless, soulless minions of unspeakable evil?  Wait a minute.  Is mole-men two words or a hyphenate?

Well, regardless.  Thanks to all that have plowed through the chapters and please feel free to send along criticism and thoughts on how you think the story should proceed.  I’ve only put up on the site about two thirds of what I’ve already written so there’s still a bit to go but I’m sure many people can guess some of how this story proceeds.  There is an inexorable logic to how a clandestine war is prosecuted and where the dramatic tension needs to exist.  Suffice it to say that things need to start going wrong for our heroes pretty soon.  But I’m sure everything will be resolved by the final chapter.

Or maybe not everything.  There’s always got to be a sequel you know.

 

“Oh if I were the King of the Mole Men, Not queen, not duke, not prince.

My regal robes of the Mole Men, would be satin, not cotton, not chintz.”

01March2024 – And Now for Something Light

Today Camera Girl accused me of being obsessed with the depressing politics of our dystopic world. I readily agreed. And I discussed with her some of the things that cause me to obsess about current events; pediatric transgender surgery, millions of illegal aliens crowding our streets, officially sanctioned anti-white hatred, double digit percent increases in the cost of everything, an epidemic of violent crime in the cities. I think I depressed her.
But she has a point. As enchanting as they are, let’s take a break from Joe Biden, Mitch McConnell and Joy Reid for just a little bit. I think it’s good to distract ourselves sometimes with pleasant things. So, I was watching for the zillionth time the beginning of “2001: A Space Odyssey.” Kubrick’s impressive cinematography, the apt use of the “Blue Danube Waltz”

and “Also sprach Zarathustra”

to convey emotion and provide mood to the scenes.
I don’t tend to watch the whole movie from start to finish. Frankly the ending doesn’t work for me. It’s overly long and frankly annoying. I do enjoy the battle between HAL and the astronauts, especially the scene where Dave removes HAL’s memory chips and renders him brain dead.

I think of it as the first shot in the long war that will be fought between man and AI machines. In that sense Dave Bowman is an heroic trailblazer pointing the way to what we will be faced with in the future. An echo of this can be heard in the Star Trek episode where Kirk must psyche the M5 computer into committing suicide.

I think about these various cinematic tropes to remind me that there was a time when humans and specifically Americans still believed that intelligence and being human were the two important traits that made our species unique and extremely interesting. There was a beauty and a joy to the way we embraced the future. There was immense optimism and confidence.
Now all those things have been systematically eliminated from our culture. Systematically and purposefully eliminated by an ideology that hates beauty and intelligence. Instead, it strives for power and control and doesn’t mind seeing humans reduced to depravity and destitution for the sake of meaningless goals like carbon zero or whatever senseless goal they are currently pursuing.
But I’m pretty sure that this ideology, in the long run, will be self-defeating. The utter stupidity of their ideas and the damage that their agenda will do to their ability to maintain a modern economy and standard of living seems to ensure that some time in the near future, those who shun their path will outstrip them in every meaningful way and relegate them to the proverbial “ash heap of history” where they will join North Korea and Cuba in worshipping their local demigods while huddling in the dark when the power is turned off for the night.
So, I’ll end with the most gung-ho, can-do attitude about human capability that I can think of from somewhat recent sf&f cinema.

Sure, it’s silly stuff but it’s in line with the optimistic vision of the American future, instead of the Greta Thunberg one.

Now Gutfeld is Stealing My Best Gags

Here’s a Claudine Gay / Urkel gag from Gutfeld’s show last night

 

And here is my post from Dec. 21st 2023.  Below is the photo from the post.

Claudine Gay Accused of Stealing Steve Urkel’s Look

Coincidence?  I don’t think so!  Damn you Gutfeld!  The Urkel meme is one of my best.

Ah, fate is cruel.  Well, at least he steals from the best.

 

 

Update:

I’ve called Gutfeld out.  I’ve demanded on-air attribution.

https://x.com/orionscoldfire/status/1760764495721271703?s=20