Another Twenty Minute Job

Lately it seems like every repair project has a broken bolt, or a head that rounds off, or some other weary complication. A job that ought to take a few minutes ends up taking all day, or in today's case will now take at least through tomorrow. Today I was just going to replace the front struts in my Ford, and I figured that if I was going to do that I ought to redo the brakes and maybe swap out that one wheel bearing that's been sounding funny. After all, you have to remove almost all the same stuff to get there. 

Well, maybe tomorrow. Or soon.

Also, my oil dipstick on that truck broke in my hand when I went to check the oil. Flush with the engine block, it did. Now I'll have to tap the thing with a drill, run a screw into it, and pull it out with Vice Grips. But that will have to wait until the new one I ordered comes in.

UPDATE: I finished that list on Tuesday due to issues with the upper ball joint on one side, but now I have a new list of things to fix just as AVI warmed. 


Trudeau was so upset that some guy showed up at the trucker protest wearing a mask (at a protest aimed at eliminating COVID measures) and carrying a swastika flag. He was so upset that he mentioned it over and over, trying to paint the whole movement as if that one guy -- that one faceless guy in a crowd of people with no masks -- was emblematic of the movement as a whole. He even accused a Jewish MP of 'standing with the swastika' for questioning his repressive measures. 

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland met with the co-founder of a far-right fascist party in Ukraine, which was styled off of Hilter’s Nazi Party, True North has learned.

Andriy Parubiy served as the equivalent of the legislative speaker of Ukrainian Parliament from 2016 to 2019, and during that time he personally met with Trudeau and Freeland several times.

Earlier in his career, Parubiy was an influential member of Ukraine’s far-right neo-Nazi movement. In 1991, he co-founded the Nazi-styled Social-National Party of Ukraine (SNPU) – a party focused on “racial nationalism” that even adopted the Nazi Wolfsangel symbol as its logo. 

Yeah, that's where we are with philosophical coherence and our leadership. There is none; it's just about power with them.

The Feast of St. Patrick

St. Patrick warns of dragons:
The Most High does not accept the gifts of evildoers. The one who offers a sacrifice taken from what belongs to the poor is like one who sacrifices a child in the very sight of the child's father. Riches, says Scripture, which a person gathers unjustly, will be vomited out of that person's stomach. The angel of death will drag such a one away, to be crushed by the anger of dragons. Such a one will the tongue of a serpent slay, and the fire which cannot be extinguished will consume.

I have read that in Ireland his feast day is generally somber, coming as it always does in Lent. 


A friend of mine recommended this series -- now filming its fifth season -- to me recently. We've been watching it; we're now on season four. It has a lot to recommend it. This fellow thinks it's biblical in scale, and in a way it almost is. To be truly biblical, God should play a bigger role.

Its critics in the media get it wrong, though. As that linked article notes:
Reason reports that “media elites” are mystified by the success of “Yellowstone”: “It is not… saying anything grand or sweeping about our world.”
That's totally wrong, and the linked article gives an account of why. What "Yellowstone" is about is resistance to the fact that our whole economic and political system destroys traditional ways of life, forces settled people to become nomads, wipes out communities and families and homes. Nearly all human meaning derives from relationships with others: family, church, community, home. These are the things inexorably destroyed by the very system that sustains us.

These forces are titanic, and we both depend on them and struggle against them with all our might. When they win -- the county I grew up in was completely destroyed by the expansion of Atlanta, its way of life gone, almost all the people I grew up with forced into exile by rising property taxes and costs that could only be bone by the richer new arrivals -- they destroy almost all the meaning in our lives. Communities and churches are broken up when the congregation splits up and moves. Maybe family can survive in other places; maybe they can maintain their relationships in spite of the new distance and the fact they never see each other anymore. No one visits my father's grave down in Georgia. My mother and sister now live in Idaho. I haven't seen them in years. I have no idea where the friends of my youth now live. They aren't the sort of people who join Facebook, so they have vanished as completely as a sailor slipping beneath the waves.

Nothing grand or sweeping? This is almost everything. Only the one thing they leave out -- God, the hope of the dying -- remains when all these things are lost. Even God, for those who are neither hermits nor prophets, is harder to hear and know without a church.

"Yellowstone" is a fantasy because we usually can't sustain and survive. But it does lay out the task: hold the line as long as you can. Oppose progress in all its forms. No more roads; no more improvement. No more government, no more control. 

No more of any of it. No more. 

It's Important to Know Where You Are

At last night's training the instructor asked me where I was from, and I mentioned Dahlonega as a reference point close enough by that he'd know it. He did know it, and asked if I'd heard the story of the two Yankees who visited Dahlonega. He said they were traveling through and stopped at the Dairy Queen to get a milkshake. While they were waiting in line they were arguing about how to pronounce the Cherokee name of the town. They couldn't agree, and so when they got to the head of the line they asked the girl working the counter how to pronounce the name of the place.

She looked at them solemnly and said, "DAY-ree KWEEN."

Will we fight? Will we even struggle?

From Glenn Reynolds:
Also in the mix, somehow: Chinese think tank: China should cut Putin loose ASAP and make nice with the invigorated west. Yeah, all this Ukraine stuff runs the risk of reminding westerners what they believe in and convincing them to fight for it. Can’t have that!
Once the NYT figures that out, they’ll go from jingoist to pacifist overnight.
Plus: “China may be gambling that the western appetite for punishing Beijing if it sends military aid to Moscow will be weak at a moment of high inflation and sky-high gas prices. Western consumers can stand only so much pain; the U.S. and EU won’t open another front of global economic warfare when they’ve already gone nuclear with Russia via sanctions. But here’s the question: Is China in a position to risk that at the moment? They’re hurting economically already. . . . Putin also believed that the west wouldn’t dare wage economic war on him for attacking Ukraine by freezing his currency reserves or isolating Russia’s central bank. How’s that working out for him? Does China want to roll the dice that it won’t be hit surprisingly hard too at a moment when the U.S. and EU are in a mood to de-globalize? When China and Russia announced their “no limits” partnership against the west just six weeks ago, Beijing hoped that the alliance would be a force multiplier that gained each of them a sphere of influence at the expense of the U.S. Suddenly, to its horror, China is learning that Russia is a paper tiger not just economically but militarily.”
Imagine what trouble China would be in if the United States had a functional presidency.

Partisan Politics

Tonight at the VFD meeting yet another candidate for sheriff came to address us and seek our support. There are five candidates for the office this year. Sheriff is not a very political office, not usually, so none of them have made much of which party they are running with in the primary. It turns out that there are four Democrats and only one Republican (who will, perforce, make the general at least). The candidates are all older men, each boasting of decades of experience in law enforcement. When they picked their party as young men, it was as natural for them as for me to choose to be a Southern Democrat. 

That was the subject of significant discussion after the meeting, among a number of us firefighters. It turns out that all of us are Democrats too -- Southern, mountain Democrats of the old fashion. It must be the last place on earth where this faction, the Jacksonian faction, still exists. One fellow said he was going to go down to the registrar and change his party affiliation; another, the oldest of us, averred that he was ashamed now of his party membership. There were no kind words for the party, its leadership, its direction, its vision, nor any other facet of what it has become. 

The candidate seemed like a decent guy for a cop; when he's not doing work as a deputy US Marshal he sells auto parts and performs vehicle repairs. Like a good Southern Democrat, he addressed the meeting wearing a t-shirt with pictures of classic muscle cars. He had the sense to see that we were conducting a training session tonight that would take hours of our time, and the courtesy to keep his remarks short. 

I still won't vote for him because his solution to the problems was to bring in more Federal law enforcement, and more of the Federal government in my community is the last thing I want. He said that currently the Feds consider this county an almost forbidden zone for their activity; that's sweet news to my ears. Ordinary decent criminals I can deal with; indeed, they've never caused me one moment of trouble in my entire life. The political criminals are far worse. 

I probably will never switch to the Republican party, which is full of scoundrels as well -- especially its establishment wing. But the old party of my youth, still for the moment strong in these mountains, is probably in its last hours. 

Dressing as a Woman to Escape War

This is a story that occurs from time to time; it was said of Jefferson Davis, for example, that he fled Richmond dressed en femme. (Davis hotly denied this for the rest of his life.) This is the first time I've ever heard of a biological female confessing to dressing like a woman to evade war, but these are strange times.
But as a transgender man — a man assigned female at birth — different questions raced through his mind about leaving his homeland. Andriy is a pseudonym used to protect his identity.

He read the news that all men in Ukraine, ages 18 to 60, were not permitted to leave the country and were obligated to serve in the military.

He told Insider he needed to stay with his mother and care for her. Leaving her to flee Ukraine alone just was not an option....

"If the border force saw him as a man, he would have to stay in Ukraine and not care for his mother," Dubilewski said. "It was very painful for him to dress up as a woman, wear his mother's makeup, but it would have been more painful to leave her in a foreign country to start her life over." 

Yes, very painful.

I suppose 'Andriy' adequately proved he wasn't a man by dodging his duty to fight for his country in the face of invasion, but it's ironic to see someone who has been so insistent on the point reach for that female privilege just as soon as it matters. As usual the duties and hardships of  manhood aren't what 'Andriy' really wanted.