Deceptive Imagery

Went up to Garden Valley again yesterday to walk and look around a property with stunning views out over the South Fork of the American River, five mostly flat acres amid woodsy-piney trees and tall stands of manzanita. But the inside of the semi A-frame house (built in 1984) looked like the fevered dreams of a malarial hippie. Once inside the front door things stopped making any sense.
The layout was simply bizarre and bizarrely primitive. Ceilings were covered with rough, splintery, 1″-by slats and panels. One side of the lower-area was rough-sawn walls that were painted an uncomfortable beige-pink, and the other side was green. Instead of doors over closet areas there were bath-curtains. The 20-gal water heater was hidden in an inaccessible upstairs closet. Someone (a-someone, singular) might have been OK with it as a hermit-cabin for themselves and their imaginary friend(s) provided they were Breatharians and really didn’t have to prepare meals either. The unusually small electric stove had a vent-hood fan above it that sucked-up the cooking vapors, and rather than venting them outside (because it lacked a vent-stack) blew them right back into your face. There was virtually no pantry space, and the dormitory-sized refrigerator’s total capacity would have been consumed by a sandwich and a six-pack – and lacking that cold-storage meant that you would be constantly out shopping for food or eating out.
But all that could have been overlooked or repaired had the structure functioned at all. The cross-beams with giant bolts that held the walls apart were not “sistered” together for strength but about four inches apart, (apparently to run wiring to the multiple ceiling fans) reducing their load capacity and ability to re-orient the upper floor. The upstairs “loft” which should have been an expansive, relaxing, contemplative focal-point – a stage-area *at right-angles to the view* – was instead divided perpendicular the wrong way, and covered in plastic fake-wood laminate.
There were just issues that could only be addressed by tearing it all back to the studs and then igniting the debris pile on fire. Too bad really.

Gunbloggers Win II!

Uncle alerts us, and David Hardy says: We all know it’s going to appeal, but the government wanted to proceed in its usual way (pondering everything, with meetings and exchange of memos and alerting 10,000 people before officially reaching the only obvious conclusion, hey, I used to be a GS-14 and know the ropes). The judge said, no way, you’ll meet the deadline imposed on every other case.
And John Richardson adds depth to the CCRKBA release with, The Justice Department had requested a 60-day stay in Mance v. Holder. They had requested the stay while they decided whether or not to appeal the case.

This is the case that overturned that part of the Gun Control Act of 1968 that banned the purchase and immediate transfer of handguns by FFLs to out of state purchasers. Today, Judge Reed O’Connor denied the government’s request for a stay.
Mance v. Holder – Government Requested Stay Denied

From CCRKBA’s release:


Monday, March 2nd, 2015

BELLEVUE, WA – A federal court in Texas has denied a government motion for a 60-day stay in a case involving interstate handgun transfers in which the judge applied strict scrutiny to determine whether a ban on such transfers meets constitutional muster.

The case, known as Mance v. Holder, was filed by the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, and is financially supported by the Second Amendment Foundation. It involves plaintiffs residing in Texas and the District of Columbia, and the ruling last month by U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor of the Northern District of Texas, Fort Worth Division, found that “the federal interstate handgun transfer ban is unconstitutional on its face.”

The government had asked for a 60-day stay in order to decide whether to file an appeal. But Judge O’Connor ruled today that a stay is not warranted because the government could offer no other reasons for its request other than the court’s “inherent authority to manage its docket.”

“We’re delighted that Judge O’Connor is not going to simply allow the government to stall this ruling,” said CCRKBA Chairman Alan Gottlieb. “This case could have significant ramifications nationwide, and allowing a two-month stay while the government essentially claims it will be thinking about whether to appeal obviously was not warranted.”

CCRKBA and the individual plaintiffs are represented by Virginia attorney Alan Gura and Texas attorney William B. “Bill” Mateja of Fish & Richardson in Dallas.

Suburban Archaeology

valveThe sun was out and the chill has backed-off, so we went out to spread some tanbark around the lower oleanders now that they have been trimmed-back.
Once down there I realized the quasi-terrace needed a bit of rock-work to sustain said terrace.
Scooping around with a trowel I uncovered and discovered a heretofore buried drip-line valve with a clean-out, and further digging revealed a poured-concrete, rain-gutter water-diverter.

Always something new! I left the slab in place and worked on the rock-wall for a while, and then spread the bark. At another location the oleander had grown around the drip-line hose, and the rock-escarpment there also needed shoring-up, so I repaired that and fixed the dripper too.

Return of the Weatherman

Winter came back wet and cold. This morning we made meatloaf with grilled onions and the windows over the sink fogged up with the temperature differential. In the distance is a thin, turquoise line of clear-blue off over the Valley, and between that are rows and rows of stacked cumulus clouds advancing towards us.
Yesterday was clear but chilling as we drove out to see a bit of property with a house on it. We can’t afford to build a “dream-home” but would like to park some retirement money in real estate and not The Market or in Banks with no-return – nor in gold and silver. That just freaks me out. My own retirement account is static and UN-reachable for another few years. I’m not very astute financially and was never taught how money really works by my Leftist-religious parents or the schools I attended. I believe my parents liked to keep us shielded from The Root of Evil, and also they probably didn’t want us kids to worry about it since it was scarce for them too. But as a result I didn’t even know how to balance a checkbook until after College. Unlike many of my smart-money affluent classmates who were on the “Ski Team” and such, I think one of the “draws” for playing Polo and Swimming was the uniform costs were so low – all you needed was a swim-suit. Even a pair of soccer-cleats cost more than two Speedos. Football was gear-intensive and expensive. But I also didn’t know much how to go about getting and making money, and my HS retail-career consisted of scooping ice-cream. I hate ice-cream now and never touch the stuff.
So we went out on a search with our Real Estate friend, but the first house we went to was over-full with a party of stoners. Hey, I think I just invented a categorization, like a “Pride of Lions” or a “Murder of Crows”: “A Party of Stoners”…
Anyhow they were living in squalor. It was a sad combination of rubbish strewn everywhere, cigarette-butts in huge urn-like ashtrays dotting the landscape inside and out, hoarding-rubbish obstructing walkways of un-made laundry piled in every nook and corner, filthy floor-coverings, and the stench of marijuana, sweat, and urine. There was a sweet dog that needed a better home and owners. I had a BIG sad.
The neighborhood is immaculate, beautiful, neat as a pin with nice and neat neighbors. This worn-down hulking dump on the edge of a hillside would need to be nuked from orbit and the ground scraped three inches deep and salted before re-building could begin. There was already a skip in the front yard but no evidence that much effort was being made to clean-up and fill it. We backed-out carefully.
The next house was empty and because of the chill in the weather cold as an icebox. It was another one beyond our financial wherewithal to fix-up to a living standard. We’ll keep looking. It’s a fine balance between how-much major re-construction and the whole permitting process is required, and fixable livability – we’ll be staying there not renting it.

Property is Theft

“Property is Theft!” So-say the Socialists who expect other people to work hard toward the so-called “Greater Good” that they want for themselves and will kill to achieve.
And this this being the Old Gold Country, where life was cheap and the towns called “Hangtown” were so-too numerous to mention that the US Postal Office demanded it (this one anyhow) be called “Dry-Diggin’s,” instead or as opposed to Mud Diggin’s — and so finally “Placerville” instead, because of the method of placer mining. Whatever. Go enroll in the Colorado School of Mines and figure it out.
Here there were at one time VERY many independent “social equalizers” and “economic levelers” and “share-the-wealth’ers” – among whom we can count the educated and fastidious Black Bart himself (UPDATE: We know Charles E. Bowles could read and write poetry anyhow) – and many-many more other lesser non-famous types who plied the same trade of self-indulgent, semi-equalization, freelance-socialism and general spread-the-wealthism – (UPDATE: robbery) so much that the main local watering-hole was called (and still is) The Hangman’s Tree. Because the tree was there, and: Location, Location, Location. Keep your powder dry.
So lets go snag some land! Steal it as best we can. Yank it from the softly sleeping drunks and shepherds. Find a few acres. Maybe there’s still some gold up in there… It’s another kind of prospecting, and I’m bring my Sig. (UPDATE: or my .44-40 six-gun)

Directionless Travel

Back in the late 70’s when I was tramping around and wasn’t sure which road to take, where to go next, or even when to move-on, I would often pull out a small pouch with three Chinese coins from a shop in Chinatown, and consult the I-Ching. Fat lot of good it ever did, but it was a kind of time-out to acknowledge I had no clue. I didn’t pray to God for directional guidance, I prayed to Him for protection and perspicacity. The two things He couldn’t necessarily give to an idiot, a fool, and a knave I asked for – and the one thing that might work, I didn’t. I think I eventually got it but I wish I had prayed for Math skills and an ability to easily understand numbers…
I had messed-around with Tarot and other systems of divination including Color and Personality cards since Jr. High (probably weighted with significance because it had an unmlaut) – and you must include the dreaded and thoroughly bogus High School Career Guidance-Center Test among such methods of divination.
Later with enough knowledge and experience about how such ephemera workd, I probably could have set-up shop letting people tell their own stories back to themselves. As it was I eschewed a University path in “Psychology” mainly because I wanted to see how Society and Civilization actually worked and functioned, not how we wished it did. Apart from the Madame Zelda’s of the world who hustle poor shlubs for big sums of money, the method is mainly an internal reflection pool that draws up it’s own signatories from a person’s own internal daemons – and I kinda hustled myself. But there was a lot of that going around in the 70’s, really a lot.
At least I didn’t get into crystals and interplanetary nutzoid stuff, and my experience enabled me to avoid the Ashram-path to perpetual poverty and a pauper’s indulgences, or the amplified brainy aspect of Heaven’s Gate Scientism. Young people shouldn’t seek-out this pseudo omniscient “wisdom” crap but in a world of extreme competition with pressure for success, pressure for companionship, and pressure for acceptance, it appears as shortcut to at least some kind of Status and Achievement — and it’s been around ever since some idiot ate a green bug or a bad piece of barley and saw lights in his head – and didn’t die from it.
Somehow it didn’t kill me either.
UPDATE: It also REALLY didn’t help much either — not in companionship or achievement, and it leads to a lot of blind alleys worse than any DOS D&D game, black as night and fewer clues. I wish I had done something different or had some skills that provided work and a bit of money, but I was unemployable and couldn’t even get a job in the relative comfort of Retail, so I did manual labor.

Is Empathy Selfish?

Who benefits? Not the person who is the object of the passion, but the giver of it. Why is “empathy” such a prized thing? Because it enables the giver to feel an amplitude of emotional gratification for their conduct, regardless of the pitiful and marginal outcome received by the object of attention. Who wins when poor people in Africa receive attention from a hash-tag campaign conducted by millionaires? The millionaires.
The notion of “empathy” as a solution of any kind is as troubling as the idea that “raising awareness” is any kind of solution to anything. Raise you hand if you have heard and are aware of breast cancer, colon cancer, kidnapped women in Africa, malaria, measles, tuberculosis – or any hashtag-celebrity driven focus. Who benefits? (Hint, as they say in Hollywood, “There’s no such thing as bad publicity”) Only the person who shines the light upon themselves first, in order to reflect it upon the object of their “empathy”…
It’s like trying to get a tan from the light of the Moon, the UV rays are already removed from the light.

Drivin’ around

Gassed-up and we took a morning drive up to Swansboro, out Hwy 49 to the Georgetown Road fork, and up 193 through Kelsey up to Georgetown. Yeh, we missed the turn-off onto Rock Creek Road down by the South Fork and headed up too-far. Nice lady at the Stihl shop got us turned around instead of attempting the 4-hour drive down windy Rock Creek Road through the ass-end of the universe. T hat would have been a real missionary trip. Instead we went back down the road and then continued our drive. When we had passed through earlier, the turn-off had been obscured by a CalTrans road crew driving a couple of big trucks and gluing in-place reflector-dots, and escorted by two CHP cars. My eyes were on the cops and trucks and the on-coming traffic and I missed the cut-off.
Anyhow we found the bottom end of Rock Creek Drive where it intersects 193 and followed the basically one-lane road into the canyon along the ridge-side, suspended on the side-hill about halfway between the river and the canyon top, amid oaks and breathtaking vistas that I dared not watch since the drop-off was seriously precipitous. Sweet!!
Rock Creek and 193
Once in Swansboro we drove past the small air-park and around a bit, then out Mosquito Road. We had a vehicle ahead of us about a half-mile who’s brakes were on the whole way down to the one-lane bridge at the bottom and stank to high heaven, Unless it was my own brakes I was smelling. The switchbacks and hairpins along Mosquito Road (closed by a heavy steel gate during “weather events”) were also breathtaking, and I’m glad nobody was coming up at the same time because they would have had the right-of-way and my backing-up visibility was kinda really poor… Both were really neat roads, better on a motorcycle – but one with some good ground clearance and functioning suspension. I might even sell the Mighty KTM raw dirtbike and get a dual-sport with long-travel suspension for such jaunts, as I have not found anybody to go dirt-riding with. Another XR650L with The Button like I once had would just be about right, with the IMS tank and appropriate mods. Perhaps one day Honda will see fit to get EFI onto those things instead of a pumper-carb that needs re-jetting for altitude.