• Chemical atrocity. The Syrian government allegedly unleashed another chemical attack on its own people last weekend. Russia is warning of “most serious consequences” if the U.S. strikes Syria over the attack. Get the feeling that we’re walking along the crumbling edges of an abyss? From the New York Times: BEIRUT, Lebanon — Dozens of […]
It is no small endeavor to race from sea‐level to the mountains, throw on a heavy pack, and start climbing without a minute of real preparation or training–it’s probably stupid, in fact– but purpose is a powerful engine. I had studied the topos, conferred with Don, an accomplished mountaineer, and set my sights on a peak in the 10,000 foot range above the valley. The map is never the territory, of course, so I wasn’t under any illusions about the challenge. I expected, and wanted, a brutal climb as the necessary price of admission.
I like big things: Big mountains; vast swaths of desert; endless forests lorded over by towering, majestic trees. Big steaks. Big‐bored blackpowder rifles that make a big boom and a tremendous cloud of white smoke. A big, steaming mug of coffee on a chilly morning. Big books. But big human organizations suck. A great many of modern civilization’s discontents […]
It occurred to me, as I performed a kind of kabuki dance with the ponderously heavy and awkward bag containing our spike tent, grotesquely dragging it from one corner of the shop to another, that the vows of silence adopted by various religious orders are increasingly understandable
“…When fixing items is actively discouraged by manufacturers, repair becomes a political act.” — Stuart Ward, repair café volunteer My grandfather made his own electric lawn mower out of a pair of scrap metal blades and a washing machine motor that he pulled out of one of the machines at an apartment complex he owned, and repaired. […]
No matter how a man alone ain’t got no bloody fucking chance. — Ernest Hemingway, To Have And Have Not On March 1, 2017, I did something dumb. Call it an error of judgment. The winter had been hellacious: Unusually cold and one heavy snowstorm after another. We were measuring the stuff in feet, not inches. […]
Living in one place for any length of time supplies a kind of general knowledge, but that tepid way of knowing is often vague to the point of uselessness. I may be able to see and identify, for instance, the particular song of a western meadowlark, and I may thrill at the extraordinary memories it calls forth from my youth on the Great Basin desert, but other than the sound it makes and the emotionally pleasing memories stirred up in my brain, what do I really know about western meadowlarks?
The social and economic fabric of the 21st Century world is a highly complex, interconnected web. And all complex systems are fragile. Best to keep in mind that we’re ALL no more than a few days or weeks of disruption from the world of Max Rockatansky. Those charged with holding the lid on the cauldron can testify […]
For long‐term thinkers, the most alarming part of our failure to have the right conversation about the causes of predatory mass killings is that our civil liberties are put at risk. The seductive anodynes put forth by short‐term thinkers require that law‐abiding citizens sacrifice their own freedoms in a well‐meaning but clearly improbable effort to stuff the predator genie back into the bottle.
I see a bad moon rising I see trouble on the way I see earthquakes and lightning I see bad times today — John Fogerty The “bad moon” Creedence Clearwater Revival songwriter and frontman John Fogerty saw on the rise in the fall of 1969 would become an eerie, unsettling Blood Moon as the tumultuous ’60s […]
Consumerism is killing us. This is known. The oceans are choked with plastic from billions of packages, used once and discarded. Landfills are crowded with acre upon acre of … stuff. Our insatiable appetite for more and more stuff is not just burying the planet; it’s killing us spiritually. We know this, too. We feel […]
Those of us making a deliberate choice to resist these pernicious influences in our lives had better accept that we will, eventually, be made into outlaws and Indians. Our insistence on remaining reasonably self-reliant—and vigorously defending the benefits of independence–is ultimately threatening to those who would exploit us for profit and notions of progress.