Woodpile Report: Backdated Fail Followup

If you don’t get the “Waily, waily, waily!” reference from my previous post…

STOP! Drop everything!

Immediately read The Wee Free Men (Tiffany Aching). Do it now!

It’s a wonderful book. You’ll be glad you did. Sure it’s not Shakespeare but you weren’t doing anything important anyway and you’ve earned a break. Just kick back and read it.


P.S. If you’re all hinky about reading children’s literature (you think your high falutin’ friends will make fun of you?) just pretend you’ll give to some kid for Christmas. If the kid thinks he’s too cool for the book, find a better kid. Also buy him a copy for Christmas anyway. Take away his X Box and make him read it. Tell him the Curmudgeon said so. Also if you’re worried about your high falutin’ friend’s opinions why are you reading my blog? Crivens!

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Woodpile Report: Backdated Fail

Several weeks ago I wrote up a woodpile report. It had been a bad week with standard blues music luck and excessive general consternation. The post was 666 words of black depression. Who needs that? I decided not to post it.

Here’s a much shorter (but just as accurate) version:

Hot humid weather… tough working conditions… Blah blah blah…

Lined up help. Help bailed. Woe is me.

Plenty of wind-thrown wood. Big mess. Logs on the ground. Some logs bucked up, some not, some split, some not. Man I’m tired.

Crivens! I kicked meself in ma ain heid!

Waily, waily, waily!

Arm injured but not seriously. Blah blah blah…

No wood split or stacked. Blah blah blah…


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I’m Back / The Duck Is Back

I just returned from an “off grid” break. Didja’ miss me?

It was wonderful. I spent time with a respected elder (hopefully I picked up some wisdom through osmosis). I drank bourbon, sat by campfires, played with a bandsaw, ignored politics, etc… I deliberately did stuff that was enjoyable and good for me while ignoring the noisy and persistent outside world. Time well spent!

I’ve said it before and it bears repeating; a thinking person is well served to periodically go “off grid” lest they start taking bullshit seriously. I’ve gone through several definitions ranging from “self imposed media blackout” to “off grid” to “Dave’s not here“. Captain Capitalism called it “controlling your microenvironment” (click here). Frankly, this is a good time for it. The pre-election heavy petting will invariably lead to the primary season of crushed dreams and that’ll drop a steaming heap of post election regrets in our laps. Take care lest you let that shit into your heart. Remember, if you shape oak with a bandsaw you’ve built something but if you fret about Trump’s hair and Hillary’s server all you’ve done is kill brain cells.

So… after a couple weeks of reflection have I come up with any great cosmic truths? Yep! But I’m not gonna’ share them right now. Something momentous just happened and I need to report it right away!

Our stupid, idiotic, moron of a duck has miraculously returned from… somewhere. Quelle surprise!

I was walking, coffee in hand, toward today’s tasks when he waddled up, blocked my path, and quacked at me as if he had something to say. I was shocked. It was like meeting a loud, cheerful, and very stupid little ghost.

“Where the hell have you been?”


So there you have it. The little idiot vanished, then reappeared, and you know as much of it as I do. I was sure he was dead! (I assumed the pigs ate him. The pigs still aren’t talking.)

I dumped extra cat food thinking the little fool would be hungry. He ignored it, quacked angrily at the truck a few minutes, and then he seemed satisfied with life in general. He  hopped the fence to hang out with his pals the pigs and it’s like he never disappeared.

I’d give good money to know what the hell he was doing all this time.

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Scheduled Downtime

Posting has been light for a few days and the trend will continue a bit longer. I’ve got to do a thing at a place for a purpose. I may elaborate later. Or maybe I won’t.

Happy weekending.

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Bowling Pin Chicken Is Dead

The Foxinator foisted some ducks on us (see Homestead Update #2). The ducks were idiots (see Homestead Update #3). Like most stupid things they wound up dead (see Homestead Update #4). There was one sole remaining clueless idiot survivor duck that Mrs. Curmudgeon pushed identity issues on (in Homestead Update #1). (She did this by shouting at it:  “You’re a chicken understand? Just accept that you’re a chicken.”)

It seemed to work. The surviving duck, which had the size, shape, and intelligence of a bowling pin, started hanging out and acting like the chickens. Thus, his newest name, Bowling Pin Chicken. It really did seem to follow the lead of our wily seasoned veteran survivalist chicken (ironically named Fluffy).

The longer the stupid duck lasted the more I grew to like him. Each morning I found him standing around the back door begging for cat food. I’d be sipping my coffee and he’d greet me with a cheerful wag of the tail and a unique warbling sound that was his odd combination of duck quack and chicken cluck. He’d learned, under the tutelage of our hardened wilderness chicken resistance, to keep the noise down and try very hard to not sound like a duck.

Weeks passed and I grew fond of the little moron. He hung out under my smashed birdfeeder and quacked angrily at feeder raiding chipmunks that zoomed past him at twice his speed. Meanwhile the chickens (and the chipmunks) discovered a gold mine. The pigs!

Pigs are as lazy as teenagers and as sloppy as college students. Much of their feed ends up spread all over creation instead of becoming bacon (a waste that makes me fret). Fluffy figured this out early and started raiding errant feed from the pig pen. The other chickens took a month or so to figure it out but finally got the memo. Eventually I wound up with four pigs running and playing in the pen while a half dozen chickens hopped the fence and hoovered up any spare feed. (A sufficiently loosely run homestead is something of a self correcting system; wasted “bacon” feed was now becoming “eggs”. Cool!)

Bowling Pin Chicken, too dumb to figure out the fence, stood outside and looked sad for a week or two. One day his six brain cells fired and he followed the chickens, hopped over the wire, and started stealing pig feed.

A new balance ensued. Four pigs in the pen 24/7. Fuffy’s grizzled core of survivor chickens silently infiltrated the pen at dawn and vanished at dusk. The egg layers noisily joined the party when I let them out of their pen after my first coffee. In the middle of it all, a very confused duck with identity issues decided to become a pig.

Bowling Pin Chicken totally rejected the chickens and decided he was pals with the pigs. He had become Sub-Bacon. The pigs, each weighing a hundred times the duck, ignored him. The duck decided that a pig wallow was a perfectly cromulent place to swim and wound up with a mud colored bottom and an absolutely buoyant personality. He liked his new home and his pig buddies. He stopped leaving the pen. Why should he? Raccoons and such never mess with pigs. The pig ignored him. Plus the fence required too too many brain cells to navigate. His warbling odd pseudo-clucking noises went back to being a big loud quack. It reminded me of a combination of Gilbert Godfrey and Fran Drescher… but a very happy sound nonetheless.

I’d check on him over my morning coffee. He seemed to be thriving but I felt he was out of his league. Pigs are smart and they’ve got so much tonnage

Sub-Bacon got more and more comfortable with the pigs. When I brought them a treat, the pigs would come thundering over with a quacking moron left in the dust but chasing them earnestly. The pigs would form an impressive mosh pit, pushing and shoving to get whatever morsel I’d tossed. Fluffy and her raiders stood back and waited for the dust to settle. The idiot duck darted right in. Watching the cheerful little two pound mental nullity waddle around in a half ton of charging bacon was too much. The little idiot was going to get trampled!

…and then eaten? Pigs will eat anything. The pigs ignored Sub-Bacon like sharks ignoring pilot fish but I just had this feeling that sooner or later a pig was going to reach for a mouthful of feed, find a duck’s foot and…. slurp… there would go my cheerful little duck.

One day I grabbed Sub-Bacon and heaved him over the fence. This pissed him right off and he spent the rest of the day quacking angrily at my truck.

The next morning he was in with the pigs again.

Then… nothing. It has been three days. I see no errant feathers. No sign of a struggle. No duck bits. The pigs aren’t talking. I have no idea what happened.

I miss the little moron. Bummer.

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Dilbert’s Brain Groks Trump

I’m doing a shitty job at avoiding politics. As always, I beg forgiveness as I crash into the festering swamp. You don’t have to follow if you don’t want. I’ll be back in reality again sooner or later.

Today I want to point out a statement by none other than Scott Adams, the man behind Dilbert. Mr. Adams and I share an appreciation for good performances. Perhaps we both fish in the experience for what it says about mankind? Here’s a clip of Adam’s analysis of Trump’s salesmanship (click here for the full article):

“But how does a persuader know when to redirect attention to something specific versus being vague so the audience can fill in the blanks? Let me see if I can answer that for you.

A golden rule in sales is “Don’t sell past the close.” That means that once your customer says yes, you stop talking about the product because you might accidentally say something that stops the sale. You never add detail when the customer is already sold. The less you say, the more likely the customer (who is already sold) will continue talking himself into loving the decision because people like to think they are smart. (Google “cognitive dissonance” for more on that topic.)

Now review Trump’s empty sentence: We need to take America back.

From whom? Notice the intentional lack of detail? In this case, the lack of detail is the powerful part of the sentence.”

Well said sir! Who among us is opposed to taking America back?

I’d like to take America back too. Wouldn’t you? You wouldn’t? What are you, a stinking monster? Of course you want America back! It’s where you grew up. You have friends who live there. It’s where you keep your stuff. Your pal Trump and his hair are going to get gritty and claw America back from those (unspecified) bastards who took it! Go team!

From whom shall we seize our apparently stolen nation? Pick anything. It doesn’t matter.

Suppose I’d like to take America back from socialists, debt, whiners, and radioactive wombats? Maybe you’d like to take America back from politically correct eggheads, dumbasses, the Oakland Raiders, and Canada? Maybe my neighbor wants to take it back from war hawks, big oil, Dick Cheney’s evil influence, and con trails?

Normally we wouldn’t have a lot in common, yet Trump stepped over the media’s stunned twitching pulverized body to toss a sales pitch to all of us. Trump picked a masterful statement and is wielding it like a Samurai with a Ginsu.

It’s impressive to watch partly because it’s so foreign to my thinking. If I were running for office I’d put everyone who didn’t hate me into a coma. I’d start discussing fiat currency and even my strongest supporters would shrug, think “math is hard”, and start watching YouTube videos of cats on their smartphones. Trump could sell a brick to a drowning man and make him think it’ll float. There’s a reason why I’m an obscure blogger and Trump has his own jet.

This isn’t a new concept. When America went apeshit in 2008, Barack Obama was playing the same game. He promised “change we can believe in“. Really? Can we just vote for an amorphous thing called “change”? You’d better believe it brother! Can we simply express a preference for an unspecified verb? Yes We Can!

The electorate went for it and the faithful expected awesomeness to happen. The rest of us buckled in for the ride.

Don’t forget the heady feel of 2007. During the full phases of the moon you could watch  great steaming gobs of unspecified hope materializing out of thin air. In a room of faithful followers you’d hear a thousand things their new saviour was going to do. Some of them were attainable. Some were not. Some were beyond the purview of a President. Some were beyond the abilities of a human being. Some were mutually exclusive. Some might delight one member of the faithful but anger another member of the faithful.

Yet most people in his supporting cast spoke like their newest hope had created a package of ideas that was exactly what they wanted. Like a Buddhist chant, a single man became everything by saying (almost) nothing.

Nobody but God can be all things to everyone and even God hasn’t given me the solid gold house I was hoping for. So of course there was disappointment. Reality is boring and governance is hard. Obama blamed Bush a while, then whined that he didn’t have enough power, then (after a “shellacking”) claimed he’d work miracles with a pen and a phone, and finally he gave up and settled for running out the clock. America got some of the change that at least some of the electorate believed in but reality doesn’t comport with hope or change or belief. Now the other party is drinking the same elixir.

I felt the tide wash over me in 2008. I complained; “Obama has become a mirror in which you see yourself.” Adams sees it today but says it more clearly than I. Perhaps because people were really seeing the king’s clothes, few seemed to get my point. Few are getting Adam’s point. It was an interesting time. It remains an interesting time.

Trump is amusing but I don’t want to see him elected. My hope was that he’d encourage his competition to grow balls; a hope that may fade. (What is it with the major parties and gutless dweebs? I have an urge to get up there and start administering wedgies!) Initially I thought Trump would be eaten by a carnivorously biased press. I figured he had 8 weeks or less. I underestimated the power of promising everything to everyone.

Sanity might not get traction. Trump might pull it off. America has done worse. It’ll survive this too. Clearly Trump and Obama are more than coincidence. We’re seeing a facet of human nature writ large. People like to vote for their mirror.

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Freedom / The Glass Is Half Full

I’ve been trying to limit my exposure to politics. Much like I avoid dysentery. I extend that approach to my blog but periodically fail. Forgive me. There are a few things about “freedom” I want to say before Trump flames out and makes some of it a moot point. Here goes:

  • If Donald Trump didn’t exist it would be necessary to invent him. The guy serves a purpose. He’s a counterexample to vat raised political clones who’ve never held real jobs. He demonstrates what a spine looks like. Both parties need exposure to a man who doesn’t cringe, bow, or grovel. We’ve had too many inbred flabby creatures that were bred for office and can’t stand the sun. Trump’s buffooning forces his competition to walk on their hind legs for once. It’s better we all face Trump’s bluster now than both sides studiously avoid ideas until the sun leaches whatever soul out of voting that remains. Hopefully he’ll continue smacking some spine into folks a few more weeks before he flames out.
  • The absence of competition breeds its own demise. Protectionism is self correcting and hubris is reaping it’s usual reward. One party faced competition while the other has been groomed to its own detriment. One side has a plethora of candidates that (hopefully) will grow balls and tear into each other like tigers. (Have at it people! I want debates and campaigns to look like Thunderdome!) The other party has precisely one contender and she looks tired and worn. Even a flake like Trump could vaporize her in a true debate and she knows it. She did unnatural things with State secrets for no particular reason and was “protected” so well that nobody was ready to take over when obvious questions hit her glass jaw. Candidates that have been pummelled mercilessly by a biased press are strong or they wouldn’t be there. Hillary seems grossed out by Americans in general and her campaigning is embarrassing to watch. A person who is attracted to legal entanglements like a moth to flame should have been savaged by lawyers and either learned to fly straight or do time. Unlike the rest of us she was denied her opportunity to learn. That’s why she broke the law as if she were a dipshit hooligan instead just doing her job like a grownup. Lack of competition has piled skeletons in her closet and made her thinking stodgy. I want both parties to be rock solid but at least one has been honed by challenges.
  • Freedom is nowhere near stamped out. Politics can make a freedom loving American despair but don’t give in. Four states have legalized pot and forty two states are shall issue or better for concealed carry. That’s a great big “fuck you” to centralized authority. It’s also a “fuck you” to both parties. If the right had its way the “war on drugs” would last forever. It the left had its way nobody but cops would have guns. Even Stalin couldn’t stop the black market. As the behemoth expands it becomes riddled with holes.
  • You can’t stop the signal. Technology may look like the death star but it’s just machines. Despite epic NSA shenanigans it’s generally empowering. Want some examples?
    • Smart phones created Uber. Neither party could break an $800,000 taxi medallion cartel but nerds with smartphones will take down the system. What other Ubers will emerge in time?
    • Technology has freed up many things we scarcely notice. Stores with automated checkouts have short lines. Outside of Oregon (you poor bastards!) I haven’t dealt with a surly gas station attendant in years. ATMs can’t force me to stand in line during “banker’s hours”. My rural town’s economy is thin but anything I need comes from the internet. (Christmas shopping is done with a glass of whiskey and a mouse!) Craigslist and e-bay continue to thrive. Cheap kindle books broke the publishing houses that tried to force feed me derivative garbage.
    • The future may be even brighter.
      • If they raise minimum wage I’ll finally get a hamburger robot! (Do you hate explaining a Big Mac to the illiterate drooling airhead at the counter? Join me in rooting for a $20 minimum wage.)
      • What new freedoms will come when every home has a 3D printer? I suspect people fretting about “ghost guns” are missing the point. When prescription glasses, pizzas, coffee makers, and socks start coming out of a magic box on the kitchen table it’s going to make the Model T’s revolution look mundane.

Well that’s it. I wanted to post before Trump either self-immolates or is Dan Rathered. Stay sane out there.

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