Welcome Back

I’m living proof that while you can go to the place where you grew up, you can never go back home. Situational distance, temporal dissonance, or the relentless march. I tried to go back home and what I found was a place “almost, but not quite entirely unlike tea.” This is the way of things, a truth from which we cannot escape.

This morning I woke up to clearing clouds beyond my cliff-side abode to discover that a critical element of my youth has been resurrected just in time for Independence Day celebrations. That’s right folks, it’s been more than 30 years since the threat of nuclear annihilation hung over our collective heads. Not just the specter of death that we all deal with in one way or another, but the extinction of it.

And he sat. He told the Nutro-Matic about India, he told it about China, he told it about Ceylon. He told it about broad leaves drying in the sun. He told it about silver teapots. He told it about summer afternoons on the lawn. He told it about putting the milk in before the tea so it wouldn’t get scalded. He even told it (briefly) about the East India Trading Company.

As their last hurrah the Baby Boomer Generations, aided by a select proletariat from Generation X, have performed a sort of necromancy upon our time. They’ve elected a madman who’s never done anything in his life but sin against his brothers and sisters and given him the temptation of the ultimate sin; destruction of his enemies through the use of the ultimate weapon.

Make no mistake, Kim Jung-Un saved his test of their latest iteration of ICBM — designed to pressure the United States and subsequently South Korea into capitulation over our collective and long-standing war — for July 4th. This is an example of pro-level political saber rattling. And the first response from the ass-clown in our chief office is a series of tweets which abdicate American responsibility in the region and discommode our allies who live under threat already.

This, my young friends, is what it felt like to live with duck-and-cover exercises. Welcome back to the life and times of your ancestors.

The Bad News

Yeah, so all has been quiet on this front for some time. The reason for this is pretty straightforward, I’ve been experiencing intermittent issues with the keyboard on my laptop which became catastrophically worse late last week. Look at yours right now. See all the letters between W and P? None of them on my laptop’s keyboard work any longer and most of them get used all the time to write simple sentences.

Today, after much hullabaloo on the phone with Apple, I drove to the mainland specifically to get it repaired. I’ve watched the surgery necessary on YouTube, and it’s pretty involved, so I sought help. Help, it turns out, cost considerably more than the laptop is worth.

“So there he is, banging away at this post,” you’d rightly point out. “How the hell is doing it?” Well, I bought a cheapo keyboard and turned my very expensive Macbook Pro into a desk potato. This may become my new mascot or something.

“What’s next?” you ask when informed of my clever and inexpensive workaround? Well, obviously a lot less portable computing. When I work away from my desk, I’ll necessarily be doing so on a tiny device like my phone. This is slower and considerably more prone to borkage, but possible.

Right now my big project is a Space Opera retelling of Shakespear’s Romeo and Juliet which I’m very glad to be working on once again. If I do anything to improve my workspace, it will be to add a bigger monitor to this potato setup. However, unless and until I’m able to sell some stories, this is going to remain an aspiration since it lacks funds.

Doomsday Giveaway

This is Matt. He’s got a pile of books he purchased last January that no one picked up. Matt is sad because books without readers are indeed a depressing fact of life. But there’s a silver lining to the cloud that hangs over Matt’s troubled head.

You can pick up one of these excellent reads. Doomsday Chronicles is an anthology of short stories that reads like a laundry list. That’s if your laundry is, in this case, some of our time’s best genre writers.

You can click on the picture of the book or here and pick up your free copy on Matt’s dime, while they last. All he asks for is a) that you follow him on Twitter and b) that you leave a review when you’ve finished reading the book.

Ten + One Wilderness Areas

Because everyone is doing it: Ten wilderness areas that I’ve been to and one that I have not.

  1. Alpine Lakes Wilderness
  2. Norse Peak Wilderness
  3. Pasayten Wilderness
  4. North Cascades National Park and Stephen Mather Wilderness
  5. Wenaha-Tucannon Wilderness
  6. Goat Rocks Wilderness
  7. Flat Tops Wilderness
  8. Collegiate Peaks Wilderness
  9. South San Juan Wilderness
  10. Okefenokee Wilderness
  11. Passage Key Wilderness

Job Creators

This morning Google highlighted an infographic on Forbes which tells you a lot about my browsing history. We’ve been investigating and investing in our house and our future of late and that means that we’re in the process of designing and building a solar installation.

We’re surrounded by big trees here, most of which we do not own, so our existing roof (which faces southwest) isn’t a good fit. The good news is that we have a straight view south, across East Passage (where it curves around Tacoma), and a growing need for a good shed. Consequently, our path to energy independence is a little longer than most, but we hope to have ~6 kWh on the grid by the autumn.

That said, time isn’t apparently on our side. Despite the growth in PV within the US over the last eight to 10 years and the decrease in cost for that power the White House, and our Thug Congress seem intent on destroying that emerging energy infrastructure.

Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt said on ABC’s “This Week” that Trump will sign an executive order this week rolling back President Obama’s Clean Power Plan — an “Energy Independence Executive Order” designed to reduce regulations on domestic energy resources. The White House also confirmed that it would announce the creation of the Office of American Innovation on Monday, led by Jared Kushner.

On the heels of Trump’s “Healthcare” defeat, we should apparently expect more job-killing actions, per this morning’s news banners. Politico warns, for instance, that the WH plans on destroying environmental protections, energy standards, and the EPA along with those. They intend to accomplish all this through executive fiat.

Are these people so blind to the world that they can’t see where reality is running rough right over their ideology; hasn’t anyone thought that the Free Market might just want to kill all coal jobs? Perhaps they’re entrenched, so sunk in old costs that thinking ahead of their own institutional inertia becomes an exercise in time travel? Imagine if the Koch brothers only invested in PV back in the 70’s. I don’t know the answer to this poser, but I do know that rebranding your son-in-law “Chief of American Innovation” then sending him out to liberate a few more hydrocarbons from the Earth’s crust is a fool’s errand. Energy Independence won’t ever come from extractive sciences.

Yep, that’s not where the jobs are. Your beloved Free Market is telling you where it’s headed and you’re not listening.

Come hell and unavoidable high-water, we’re still going to innovate our way toward a more energy independent future. Adaptation is now the only mandate. The shed and then panels will rise, but we’re in a privileged position. While the rest of the world prepares for the inevitable changes that the globe will see, our nation backslides at the lead bullies and brats! Frankly, just one more reason for #BluExit.

Paul Ryan Changes the Flynn Narrative

A funny thing happened this morning (on our way to the impeachment). Last night CNN and many other news outlets reported that General Flynn “offered” his resignation. In addition, most news sources have concluded (deductively) that the White House knew that Flynn was negotiating with Russia specifically about existing US censure.

While on my way back from morning drop-off I was listening to statements offered by Paul Ryan on the subject in which he claims that Trump asked for Flynn’s resignation.

“I think the key is this: That as soon as this person lost the president’s trust, the president asked for his resignation, and that was the right thing to do.”

Folks, words matter and I can think of no better example of this than Ryan’s tilted narrative from this morning. He’s spinning the record to protect the White House and his party. What Flynn did was illegal and what we should be doing now is scrutinizing the situation. Did Flynn do this on his own or as directed? There are only two levels above the National Security Advisor so the order, if it came from anywhere, does not leave many loose ends. Follow up is an easy process and Ryan and Chaffetz should be eager to chase down answers to those questions. Seriously, the slight of hand here is too obvious, yet plenty of chumps will buy into this altered truth simply because it fits their pre-existing party bias.

Loyalty, yes, is an important feature of human social networks, but I wonder when these thickheaded buffoons are going to realize that it must work both ways. Your party’s leadership has made a habit of shoveling industrial quantities of fertilizer quality bullshyte down your gullets and the rest of the world is waiting for the moment when, if ever, you’re going to recognize you’re gobbling down poo?

NPR, damn it, you know better than to parrot this crap. Don’t aid your worst detractors.

Things That Interest Me

These are things that have gotten my attention lately, listed in no particular order. For the most part, they are people, ideas or technologies that are influencing what I write, but where I feel their influence changes. Keeping that mind open.

  • The Muslim Ban: Yep, I done did call it what I think it is. Not in my lifetime has such a perpendicular political move been made about the rule of law. Consequently, when the machinations of our government begin to churn, checks and balances fall into place, I am both heartened and intrigued to see how things wash out.

    They’ll do this again and again, they’ll keep trying, but it’s heartening to watch government work. Work for us, in fact. I’d suggest that you watch the whole thing, but it is an hour and seven minutes long. So, if you can’t then go to decision (or read the formal findings).
  • Improve Music: This is Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Horns playing “You Never Can Tell.” Your socks are going to be removed from your feet.

    I think I like the improvisational nature of music because it shows a deeper understanding rooted in the principles of the art. Watching a master and his mates fiddle through something like this is both humbling and impressive.
  • New Zealand: Did you know that the first verse of New Zealand’s National Anthem is written in Māori? Much of my interest rests in the country’s history recognition of the country’s 1840 Treaty of Waitangi. Apparently, beginning in the 1950’s Māori culture underwent a renaissance, and first people’s started moving to urban areas which resulted in the Māori protest movement.

    These people have since filled a socio-economic and political vacuum created by colonialism and greed. From a distance, it seems that the Māori have found a way to work within the system for their own long term benefit and I want to know more about this and how it’s likely to play out in the future.