Duck! and Gather

Archive for September 27th, 2006

I was listening to NPR yesterday morning. The show was going on about the midterm elections, how the Democrats were doing, and what their “strategy” was for gaining seats in Congress. The discussion came around to the absence of any sort of positive or affirmative policy or stance or position coming from the Democrats.

This is nothing new. The Democrats have been without purpose for the past 20 years. So why this lack of purpose was even a topic for discussion on NPR yesterday was a little puzzling. Maybe its because even Democrats retain a niggling suspicion that at least one core purpose of a political party is to promote an affirmative political vision.

Anyway, after a bit, everybody on the show seemed to agree that the best approach for the Democrats for these coming midterm elections would be to keep the focus on Mr. Bush, and otherwise keep their heads down. Basically, the thought is that Mr. Bush is sure to shoot himself in the foot some more, and the Democrats could only make their case worse if they started talking about their visions or purposes when they don’t even have any.

In other words, in these dire days of the new milleneum, with all of the forces of chaos and despair gathering at the gates of this nation, with the historically malevolent Bush junta in dire need of being taken out behind the shed and given a good whacking, the primary reason to vote Democrat this November is that …

… we, um, have no other choice. They’re the only other warm body around.

Look, I realize that America is the fattest nation in the History of Mankind. I’m fully aware that intelligence is not particularly widespread in this Great Nation of ours.

But I just find it hard to believe that the Democrats will be handed power, and everything will keep on going as it always has, simply because our political system is anachronistic. Call me crazy, but I just have a bad feeling in my gut about those pathetic Democrats. As I’ve predicted, they just seem to be demising.

  • In: predictions
  • Comments Off on Republicans in Decline

With the 2006 midterm elections coming up a little over a month from now, even the Red Wall Street Journal says the Republicans seem to be in decline. Well, it’s too soon to tell. But, you know, I did predict that Americans would “throw the bums out” by the end of Mr. Bush’s second term. Perhaps these midterm election will give a preview into whether that prediction will prove out.

I just came in after an hour of chopping wood. Pretty boring, right? Like you should care or something.

But perhaps I’m not your typical wood chopper. For example, I did this wood chopping at roughly solar noon, in the full sun, shirtless. I could have worn a shirt, but that would have defeated one of my purposes. That purpose was to allow my body — with its Mediterranean olive skin — to receive maximum UVB sun rays, and thereby maximize my body’s production of Vitamin D. In another month, with the declination of the sun, I’ll need to start supplementing with Vitamin D throughout the winter because my body won’t be able to synthesize it from the sun during these months. This is all part of my self-reliant health practices. Why I think this aids my health is discussed at

Second, I could have just hired a laborer to do the chopping, or, like a neighbor of mine, rented an electric wood splitter, and finished my whole pile in a day or two. But I did neither. Instead, I use a simple maul, and just whack away at the rounds in rhythmic motion. This is a form of exercise that strengthens my upper body and increases my heart rate to around 100 beats per minute, give or take. I believe 100 is near my maximal fat buring heart rate. Again, this is part of my self-reliant health practices.

Third, the wood I am splitting comprises rounds from our own land. Our house is in a clearing in a forest. Part of our land is forest. The forest has lots of trees — e.g. oak, poplar, maple, black walnut, madrone, douglas fir — that fall or lose branches in the winter. Moreover, when we bought the place, the forest was taking the house back over, and we felled some of the trees that were too close to the house. So right now, I have backlog of rounds waiting to be split.

One reason we bought this place was because we love forests — the look of them, their smell, their function as habitat for wildlife, and the peacefulness inside them. And in addition, they’re bloody convenient fuel sources. So one of the key changes we made to the house was to replace the wasteful fireplaces with high efficiency wood inserts. Now, between the two fireplace inserts, we can heat the whole house simply using the firewood from our land that I split with my maul. This is part of my self-reliant energy practices.

Here’s why this boring story is interesting to me. It’s interesting because it runs counter to convention. Convention tells us to wear clothing and sunscreen in the noonday sun in order to avoid skin cancer. Convention doesn’t have a whole lot to say about Vitamin D. Convention tells us that if there’s a quicker, easier, automated way to do something, then do it that way. Convention tells us that if we want exercise, we should pay money to a health club where “no pain, no gain” is the rule. Convention tells us that if we want our homes heated, we should depend on multinational corporations to provide us the fuel.

In splitting this wood today, was I being ultra-liberal or hyper-conservative? Or do these tired labels have any meaning anymore?

for the money has gone too far

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September 2006