I have never been to Ukraine, though I did stumble across some Ukrainian mail-order brides in my former profession. Called to resolve domestic disputes by their awe-struck American husbands, I can assure you I was most impressed by the tenacity of the women who came over on the promise of Levis, western cigarettes, and fine weather.
It is axiomatic that all tactical training that is any good must involve rubber boats and cold water. If your training does not include rubber boats and cold water you cannot possibly be training for anything more rigorous than seizing a bicycle from a child. My own training involved far more cold water and rubber boats than I care to remember, but there is something in that combination that very quickly separates the wheat from the chaff, and over time builds incredible teams.
The Philosopher’s Stone
One thing I’m trying to avoid is the indignity of being wheeled into the day-room for group exercises at “Autumnal Leaves”, which is a raisin farm in Ricky Gervais’ excellent series After Life where his father—suffering from dementia—mostly doesn’t recognize him and makes increasingly inappropriate sexual commentary to the nurses.
My Kingdom for a Durable Tarp
They are apparently incensed that Joe Rogan has bucked the system, hunts his own meat, has eaten Ivermectin and beaten Covid, has a wildly popular podcast, and discussed all of these things out loud. And also because he smoked weed with Elon Musk on the air. Or something. It’s hard to know, except that the battle against irrelevance is on-going, and as a figure in The Madness of King George once pointed out: Character is required to endure the rigors of indolence.
Doesn’t it just seem, some days, that we are being outplayed and outmaneuvered at every turn? One wonders if the underwater cables have been tapped, the cyphers compromised, if there is a mole in every briefing room, or if we are just as inept and delusional as appearance suggests.
Back home, of course, we have other problems, not least of which is testing the winds, sticking to the shadows, and leaning into the whispers to avoid becoming Canned Goods ourselves. There is more truth in that than many would like to believe, our obsession with “safety” having now trumped any real concerns with fundamental liberty.
Shooting the Sky
It was a meal to celebrate a series of victories–over the madding world that overburdens modern humans with regulation and minutia, crushes us under the weight of absurdity, and tries like hell to prevent us from escaping the reservation to simply get out, get on a boat, and go fishing. To get from our homes and meet in Reno took 14 hours of combined driving, of dodging the world of yahoos who consistently overestimate their driving abilities, and any number of logistical hurdles between work, family, and the freight of modern obligations.
I’m not romantic about coyotes, at least not in the way that absolves them of their predatory nature, and so becomes blind to that nature and ends up doing them a disservice. I see a lot of people do that wolves, and the more they try to sell the warm and fuzzy routine the less credibility they have.
We live in strange times, which I realize is something of an understatement. But given the rarity of understatements in the current climate I am now a full-bore and unapologetic campaigner for understatements wherever, and whenever, I can find them.
Frank Lives in the Basement
Occasionally we get lucky and stumble across interesting works of art buried deep in the cultural mud—where they would probably stay—if folk like us weren’t out there dirt-fishing for hidden gems.
The Degenerate Art Show
But even teaching, which allowed the greatest latitude for my manias, often provoked my inner Younger Bear, and so I found myself frequently on maneuvers against the robotic administration, or dropping a lecture on Wendell Berry to teach my students how to build field-expedient claymores–mostly as a kind of anti-academic protest and also as an instructional aid on building narrative structures.
The Resolutions Will Be Televised
Things aren’t as complicated as we’ve made them. If you don’t want to get fat stop eating so much and go for a walk. If you don’t want to destroy your liver and wreck your personal relationships stop drinking. That’s not a message Americans want to hear. They’d rather believe that big pharma is going to produce a pill that can do all of that while they sit around on throw rugs in a cloud of incense, banging on gongs and worshipping photos of Noam Chomsky while being angry at big pharma.