Is this for real?

Is Russia cracking, or is this story a crock?


High summer is upon us.

Laws Are For The Little People.

 The Hunter Biden plea deal proves that in our two-tiered justice system, only the connected are protected.

The Study of Beauty

 These give me hope; in spite of the ugliness of contemporary music and society, at least a few of the young study to keep the secret fire alive. 

An Important Day

Today marks both the 21st birthday of my only son, and also my 24th wedding anniversary. 

I spoke to my son this morning and congratulated him on making it to legal adulthood. "It only gets harder from here," I warned.

"Oh, I know," he said, which was the worst possible thing to say. Thank God he does not know how much harder it gets. 

Unfortunately all the planned festivities are offline because my truck decided to break down last night -- initially it looks like more computer troubles, the bane of my existence because I can easily repair simple mechanical problems -- and it is going to pour rain for days here in western North Carolina. Nobody's much inclined to ride motorcycles in a downpour for hours. 

It's a big day anyway. 

UPDATE: Relatively good news about the truck. In spite of showing all the signs of a computer issue, it was a mechanical failure after all. Got it back running this afternoon. 

Top of the Park

Happy Father’s Day.  

A Pleasant Day in Western North Carolina

Yesterday my wife and I rode out to Franklin, where the annual Scottish festival was underway. Ethnic festivals are always interesting in terms of what they have to say about the story the group likes to tell about itself and the kind of people they are. Scottish heritage festivals invariably feature Highland strength sports -- I believe the sheaf toss is underway in the background of this photo.

In addition, there was free axe throwing, and Atlas stone lifting. Stone lifting is one of the ancient strength sports of Scotland, which is also a major sport even today in Iceland. These are with natural stones, however. The Atlas stone is a spherical 'stone' made of concrete, which is quite hard to lift because it wants to roll out of your arms. It is a regular feature of Strongman competitions. There were about six of us there who were both Strongman competitors and also regulars at Scottish Highland Games, and we had fun lifting the big 250 pound stone. (My inner arms are quite abraded this morning, a feature that is called 'stone kisses' in the games.)

Then my wife and I rode up through the Cullasaja Gorge, and through various mountain back roads.

Cullasaja Falls

We went to both the city of Highlands and the unincorporated town of Cashiers. There we stopped for dinner at the Whiteside Brewing Company in order to attend a concert I'd heard about. This was by The Maggie Valley Band, which is built around a pair of sisters. They sing Americana with a psychedelic twinge. Their stuff is available on YouTube and Spotify, though I have to admit that the polished stuff there doesn't sound as good to me. Live, they have a very nice sound that is reminiscent of Mazzy Star. 

They know their stuff, too. They covered standards like Jolene and The Long Black Veil, as well as their own work. Every time they'd start a song I'd be wrong about which one they were going to do, because they were adept enough to adapt standard songs to other melodies or meters, giving a pleasant element of surprise to the listening audience. I'd still know the song, if it was one of the covers, but it'd be set to a tune I expected to be a different song.

Overall, a nice day for riding.