Sunday, November 30, 2008

Piano Man

Well....on my first blog 105 entries ago, I mentioned my decision to bring the piano out here. I unloaded most of my Uhaul this morning then Ronald came out to help me with the last two items - a big office desk....and the piano! The thing doesn't sound too bad considering the neglect - and it was nice to hammer on the ivories again. Hard to believe that the first time I took lessons and sat at this piano I was only 9 years old ( 40 years ago!!) Feels pretty good to have all my worldly possessions out here with me finally. Finished up unpacking and packing and organizing around 4PM. Now just taking in the wilderness. BTW - tomorrow night at sunset will be an excellent view of just a sliver of moon with Venus and Jupiter right next to it.

Saturday, November 29, 2008


Me and my BFF, Rachel - the coolest 13 yr old on the planet!

Very long day....up at 6:30...showered...hit the road to Austin with Peter. Picked up the Uhaul in Austin...we loaded by 1:15...then hit the road back to our homes...Pete to the big city and me to the middle of nowhere. I got home safe and sound to my starlit paradise at 9:30PM. Gonna sleep good tonight.

Friday, November 28, 2008


Got in to Houston at 5:30AM...train station was in a creepy downtown location. Not a nice welcoming view. Peter picked me up at 6:45AM and I have spent the day at his home - catching up with his family....All too quickly the day passed by and soon it's time to hit the sack as we are leaving early in the morning for Austin....Highlight of he day was loosing to his daughter Rachel at Guitar Hero on XBox...

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

On the road...spent the night at the Antelope Lodge in Alpine...couldn't find an internet connection until this morning at the Alpine Chamber of Commerce....My train leaves at 2:30 today and I get in to Houston tomorrow at 6AM...Probably a good thing that I got out of my desert yesterday as it's raining today. UPDATE: found a weak signal after midnight thanksgiving night...Im in San Antonio waiting for the train to take off for Houston at 1AM....good train ride for some sleep.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Paris Hilton

First half of the day was driving around looking for luck - but came across some great rocks to add to my collection. Half time was spent making a visit to my friend Ara...he had just returned from Odessa. His blog... We hung out for about an hour and got to know one another. His place is about 5 miles north of mine.

Came back home and FINALLY cleared my garbage pile I started when I got here....I have a few other things of vital importance to attend to before my one year anniversary out here. Been keeping an eye on the weather and made the decision to stay at the Antelope Lodge tomorrow night as we have a 30% chance of rain that might get me stuck out here and preempt my departure to Houston. Good new is, I have a Game Warden staying at my place while away - just in time for the beginning of hunting season.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Packsaddle Mountain

Got up at 5:30 AM this morning....just couldn't sleep any longer. Probably because I average about 9 hours of sleep per night. Killed time on the computer till 8 then the sun rose and I cooked breakfast outside. I'm pretty sure this is what they call "the good life". Headed over to Chucks to bid farewell to his weekend guests. Finished up and installed the new vents to cover my ugly fan pipes that circulate the air through my house. Now that I am on official countdown for departure - having trouble getting motivated to start the next project, whatever that is... Took a drive in the late afternoon to look for my longhorn buddies NW of me. Not a sign of them, but found lots of new interesting rocks'n'fossils. Just happened to be out in the north view of my neighbor Capt. Kirk's house and he drove his quad out to see what I was up to. I must say that we are both happy to be neighbors - especially in that we cannot see each others house and rarely see one another. We chatted about what's new and where to go for some good rock huntin'. He thinks he spotted Benita 2 days ago not far from his house. I will take a drive out to Terlingua Creek to look for her tomorrow. Above photo is the view looking back SE toward my property - Packsaddle Mountain in the background just before sunset.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

soft light

Started the day with an early morning visit from my friend Guy who just returned from South Dakota. He is a real scavenger and come back with a van load of stuff from scrap yards. Ronald called to see if I was interested in a trip to Ft. Stockton....I wasn't but Guy was so he headed home to meet up the the free ride north.

Cooked up a sausage, egg, and cheese sandwich for breakfast. Cut up some OSB board for some parts I needed for the moulding I'm installing over my ceiling vents. Gave them 2 coats of polyurethane as well as two coats to the diffuser frames I built yesterday. Got out the long roll of silk I've been carting around for 10 years. Found out that most of it was stained but found enough to cut out the two pieces I needed. Still a little dirty so I hand washed them and hung 'em up to dry.

Chuck, Kathy, Rhonda, and Frank came out for a visit...gave Rhonda and Frank the grand tour. They were planning on dinner at the Starlight Theatre tonight so I said I would finish up and meet them there later. Got the silk mounted on the frames and mounted my diffusers. Changed clothes and headed south for dinner. After me chowed, we all headed over to LaKiva for drinks. I left them at 8:15PM and headed home. Since Chuck is a professional designated driver - I reckon the drunk ones will get home safely tonight.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

HWY 118

Heard coyotes just outside last night for the first time this winter. Began the day with no real plan in mind. Coldest morning so far at 24 degrees. This time the sun began to warm up the desert right away. Met up with Chuck and Kathy and her daughter Holly and b-friend Todd at the Grub Shack at 10:30. They were on their way to Alpine for the ArtsWalk Festival. Decided then that I would head up a little later.

Came home and loaded up my solar shower bag with some water to heat. While that was underway - I cleaned my solar panels and built two frames to stretch silk across that will be diffusers for some of my interior lighting. Gathered up a couple of garbage bags of trash to unload up in Alpine. Was able to eek a semi-warm shower out of the bag and hit the road at 1:45PM. Took all of 5 minutes once arriving in Alpine to find the Terlingua crew along with Kathy's other daughter Rhonda and her husband Frank. I wandered through the area with them for awhile then went out on my own. Some very nice art on display but mostly crap. Found my buddy Ara scoping the crowds with his Canon Eos....going by to visit him when he comes back south on Tuesday.

Grabbed a few groceries and headed home. Was hoping to photograph some abandoned dreams (derelict homesteads) along the highway but the low setting sun was obscured just enough by clouds to ruin the light. Did manage to get this shot of the view toward my land from about 10 miles away. My estate is just about where the sign post crosses the horizon in the far background. To the right of the sign is Agua Fria mountain. The range to the left of the sign is comprised of Panther, Hen Egg, and Packsaddle mountain. Amazing that I can see this silhouette of my backyard backdrop from over 20 miles away.

Friday, November 21, 2008

crazy yucca

Well ...we did not have one of those days where the temperature jumps up after sunrise....cold and windy all morning. Only up to 48 by 11AM. Was planning on a trip to Alpine today but with the temps tending to be 10 degrees cooler there, I decided to stay down south. Took a ride to Study Butte with Ronald for lunch. Also stopped in the hardware store there to book my Uhual for next week...Tom at Study Butte Hardware gets a cut of the action if I book it through him. That is where I will drop off the truck after I unload. Now I'm all set for my trip.

Was 2:30 by the time I got back home. It's really hard for me to start any projects that late in the day. Managed to get back on the computer and figure out the weather station software I loaded yesterday. First thing I found out is that the software will run on Vista also - so shut down the desktop and loaded the software into my laptop. Got most of it figured out....will take a couple of hours to download the stats from my weather station back to late May. It can also give the current weather info to the laptop in a window. Lots of different options to explore. So much for today...last item I twisted my arm to do was wire up one of my ceiling vent fans to the circuit breaker.
Low this morning was 29 degrees. We only reached a high of 59 with wind all day. Right now at 7:45 its already fallen to 43 degrees. My heater works like a charm! Tomorrow is supposed to warm up a bit - to the mid 70's for a high. Photo of the day from the favorite crazy yucca growing on my property.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Wind = Hot Water

No....this little critter didn't come walking by to sell me a vacuum cleaner - just a relic from the archives. My dad brought this home as a present for me from a business trip to South America in the early 70's. What a way for a reptile to end its' life and spend eternity.
Just as I was finishing up the trim at Chuck's "Fancy House of Poop" got really windy. Gusty all afternoon and into the evening. Good news is, my hot water coil diversion load is working! The charge controller is sending the excess energy from my wind turbines to my make shift hot water heater....checked it this afternoon and the water is WARM.
Got my train ticket to Houston delivered by FedEx at 4PM. I'm heading that way on Thanksgiving day to visit my old high school buddy Peter Hill and his family - it's an overnight train so I booked a "roomette". He is driving me to Austin on Saturday and helping me load a UHaul with the last of my stuff in storage there.

Too windy to work outside so I did some think'n about the swamp cooler article I have to write for Make Magazine. It will be published next spring. Did manage to accomplish one more task on the list - wired up my desktop computer and loaded software for my weather station ( it only runs on XP, hence the desktop). I am now ready to download info from my weather station...readings at 15 minute intervals for indoor and outdoor temperature and humidity, barometric pressure, wind speed and direction, and rainfall....for the past 200+ days!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

good neighbor policy

Community service day today...that means helping out some friends. This morning, Chuck, Ronald and I went up to help our friend Charley load a Uhaul trailer. My years of experience packing photo equipment came in handy. Got it packed quickly with plenty of room to spare. Charley treated us to breakfast sandwiches before we started and ice cream when we finished. I got a tiny tree he had started this past spring from just a twig - it survived a hot summer with little water. It is about 30" tall now. I hope it takes to being transplanted to the field lab.

This afternoon I built and hung the door for Chuck's deluxe composting toilet outhouse....going back in the morning to put some trim on. Took a break in the middle of this job to come home and re plant the tree (will have to ask Charley what kind it is as I forgot) and pick up some extra tools and wait for UPS to drop off. Met up with UPS Jerry at the ranch supply store. He has got to be one of their best drivers. Twice I have passed him on the highway and he recognized me and my truck and turned around to meet me by the side of the road to drop off a package. Today he had my belt and holster for the shootin' iron. I ordered it a month ago - it took some time because the holster had to be made to fit my revolver.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Clutter be gone...

My new night time outdoor refrigerator worked very well last night. Cracked the lid when I went to bed last night and we had a low of 30 overnight. I have found that by keeping a lot of beer in the fridge - it holds the cold in longer. If I drink too much, I loose efficiency - the perfect balance. Positioned the new ice box just right of my front door on the porch. Cleaned up a few items around the building. No work on the solar oven today.

Finally ready to present some after pictures of my efforts over the past week. The interior wiring and lighting are done. Note the new cabinet doors - and kitchen, office, and bedroom task lights. Now that the latest chaos is unraveled, I see minor bits of chaos all around my that must be attended to. I reckon a fair bit of minutia is on tap for the time being. Now the big question is, "How long can I hold off the clutter".

Monday, November 17, 2008

Good Full Work Day

First chore of the now cold morning was to refill some small propane cylinders from my 20 pounder. I keep the master cylinder inside overnight and put the "slave" cylinders outside for an hour in the early morning to chill them down for refill. Now I know why I've been putting off the wiring job...anytime you try to get things more organized, you have to create quite a mess doing it. Everything seems to fall out of place but gets even more neatly put away when all is said and done. Plugged away all day but finally got the new wiring in and 2 new light fixtures installed - one over the center of my kitchen counter and one by my bed for reading. Powered up the new inverter, too. No annoying fans buzzing with this new one - and I can almost feel the purity of the true sine wave AC zooming out to my power strip. Once I got all the wiring up and working - I tried my best to get the house back in order. Also moved the ice box to the front porch as I am now in winter cooling season. Cold enough overnight to chill the fridge down now that it is outside. I crack the door for the cold night air to get in. Finished it up by 4PM and took a shower. Went down to the Starlight Theatre for dinner with Chuck and Kathy. Home at 8PM and now basking in the glory of my enhanced interior space. Just a few more tweaks then I will present the after picture.

Sunday, November 16, 2008


COLD morning! 29 degrees was the low overnight. Did in fact fire up the heater last night. This is the Mr.Heater Big Buddy propane for use indoors. This sucker puts out 4,000, 9,000, or 18,000 btu's depending on the setting. Just the right size for my little house for a slow/comfy temp or a quick warm up. Last winter I used it mostly on the medium setting. My heating bill was less than 100 bucks. Usually only have it on for about an hour in the evening and sometimes for a bit in the morning. Once the sun comes up the outside temps tend to jump at least into the 70's by mid day. Cooked myself a bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich with Texas toast on the grill outside once the sun started warming up the morning air.

Drove in to see my friend Julianne - in town for the weekend from her teaching job in Midland. Shot off some rounds with her .22 rifle, .38 pistol, and 12 gauge shotgun. My shoulder is a bit sore tonight. Still wasn't ready to jump in to the new interior wiring so I cleaned up all the trash that had blown around the last couple of days and worked on tweaking the solar oven. Still not up to temperature yet so I am going modify the overall interior size and the slope of the widow glass. Did get the reflector lid mounted with a 1' x 4' mirror. Was getting enough heat inside with the mirror attached to season a 6 qt. cast iron pot. Will probably "cook" the pot once more tomorrow before using in for a test meal. Probably heading the the Starlight Theatre tomorrow night for 2fer burgers so will try my first meal in the solar oven on Tuesday.

I think I'm ready to do the wiring job tomorrow.

Saturday, November 15, 2008


Excellent shopping day today in Alpine. Ran into Chuck and Kathy right after they picked up a used jeep they bought. Then while in the parking lot at McCoy's Building Supply, my new friend Ara showed up complete with pit bull in sidecar. Got everything on my list and then some. Just before I left town I went out to visit my Alpine buddy, Bennet Jones. I got hooked up with him via the internet before I moved out here as he is starting an alternative energy business in the area. Here is his website... When I read his bio on the site over a year ago, I discovered that we both attended the same college in NC at the same time but never met back then. Above photos of McCoy's and the view looking south of the highway 20 miles from home.

Got home and unpacked by 3PM. As it seemed too late to get started on any projects out here, I decided to do a load of laundry down in Study Butte. Even out here, the Jehovah's Witnesses have their reach. Found this Spanish language brochure in the laundry. They had quite a complex in my old Brooklyn neighborhood. Part of their deal is only a certain number will be taken to Heaven when the end of the world comes. I always figured when I lived in Brooklyn that all I had to do was grab on to one of them in the event that the world came to an end suddenly and I would get a free ride. Now that I am already in Heaven on Earth....don't reckon I need to grab onto one to go that next step. I'm not so certain they are all due for a trip to Heaven anyway...

Returned to the estate at 4:30PM and hung the laundry out to dry. Cool day today with a high of only 40 degrees. Made some free unlimited long distance calls to some friends late this afternoon into the evening. May just have to fire up the heater tonight for the first time this "winter".

Friday, November 14, 2008

Windy Day

Had a nice full moon plus sunrise this morning. A little bit of doin' and a lot of think'n today. Cold morning for the start of the day. 39 degrees. Went to Betty's Grub Shack for a sausage, egg and cheese sandwich. Headed over to Chuck's to caulk the seams of the interior of his new outhouse. As the carpentry was not exactly perfect ( sorry Chuck, but you know it as well as I do) ...I convinced him to allow me to fill all the cracks and crevices. All ready now for a final coat of paint and it will be a palace inside. I hope they think of me every time they go in there. A caulk gun in the right hands is a blessing.

Spent the rest of the day mostly thinking about my new wiring plan. Figured I should get the interior upgraded to spec by my soon approaching one year anniversary. Relocated the DSL modem and my 2 telephones as those where easy decisions. Because I am adding more interior lighting - the rest of the plan is still under consideration. Decided to make a quick shopping run to Alpine tomorrow morning to get a few more essentials and hopefully get it all figured out.

Super windy today....put the anemometer back up an we have averaged 18mph all day. The wind turbines have finally charge the battery bank to capacity and are dumping some load to the hot water coil. All this wind is really kicking up the dust. Winds from the north expected till after midnight and a cold front blowing in. Low of below freezing expected tonight. Last trip of the day was to Betty's house to photograph her funky wind turbine. Will be checking back with her over the next week or so to see how it is performing.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Grub Shack

Number one on the list was to finish installing the rest of my cabinet doors....mission accomplished. Took a bit of time to finish up but the day was spread out with work'n'trips'n'visits. Made a run down to Study Butte for caulk to run a bead around the trim Chuck put inside his new outhouse. I insisted on caulking the seams as I know from experience how much better the final paint job looks after sealing the cracks. Ran into a crowd of good ol' Texans heading out my direction on quads. They all stopped by for a tour of the Field Lab. I can't get over how friendly Texans are. Met up with them at our new diner by the mailboxes and the ranch supply store. Now I have an eatery just at the end of my 2.5 mile dirt road. A woman named Betty runs the place and now I have a spot just down the road to grab breakfast or lunch if I am so inclined.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


Slept really well last night in my own bed. Beautiful morning but no longhorns to be seen. Unpacked the truck then headed over to Chuck's to say hello and pick up my gun that we was baby sitting for me. Picked up my mail ( junk mail is starting to find me here) and headed home. Got 6 doors hung on my shelf units. Took a drive to check out a wind turbine that some neighbors were installing. I gave them some tips'n'tricks I have picked up - dropping off some of my leftover cable tomorrow morning to connect their battery bank...will go back tomorrow afternoon to check on the progress. Soon the last bit of chaos in my hut will be hidden. I decided on this to be the next project as I needed another boost in the quality of living in such a small space. Will probably take another two days to finish the doors and clean up the wiring for my office. Below is the before picture...

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

there's no place like home

Hit the road at 5:15 AM this heavy traffic weaving through downtown Phoenix due to Veteran's Day holiday. Made really good time getting home...under 12 hours including one gas stop along the way, a souvenir shop to pick up some cactus candy, and a grocery and gas stop in Alpine. Got home just as the sun was setting on my dirt road. All was well back at the ranch. Called the powers that be in Phoenix to let them know I made it home safely. Grilled a steak for dinner and looking forward to waking up in paradise tomorrow and getting back to work on my desert empire. Grabbed a couple of shots on the way home....granite boulders in Texas Canyon, AZ and the meteorological balloon out side of Marfa.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Crazy Aunt Jean

Now that I'm acclimated to big city life, traffic, and being around lots of people - it's almost time to turn around and head back to my desert life. I must say I'm a bit sad to go but sure I will be glad when I get home. Just finished packing the truck as I'm leaving early tomorrow morning and that has helped get me in the mood for the long trip. Spent the day visiting and driving - added another 130 miles to the odometer. Sure am glad the price of gas has gone down to around $2.35 here - can't imagine what will happen to a town like this that is so spread out if gas jumps over 5 bucks a gallon. I reckon folks will gripe and Exxon Mobil will report another record profit when that happens. Wonder how high gas would have to go to shut down this country. Decided it would be a good idea to get a picture of me and my Crazy Aunt Jean (it's a term of endearment that she reciprocates with by calling me Crazy Nephew John)....she's only 4'10 1/2" and is always the smallest one in photos so I gave her a stool to stand on.

Sunday, November 9, 2008


Well I've been in Phoenix for only 3 days and have already driven over 300 miles. Crazy. All I have done is run a few errands and travel across town twice. This town is way too big. Not much to report today other than a sighting of the biggest toad I've ever seen. Nothing in this photo to show it to scale - but this guy was about the size of a softball (albeit a sort of flattened green softball with four legs). My aunt wonders where he came from as she usually doesn't seen them in her back yard. This afternoon I watched him crawl through a crack in the base of a dead tree stump, so I reckon that's where he is living this winter.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

New boots for the truck

Got my new tires this I feel a bit more confident about the trip home and the many miles to follow. Taking the old (nearly bald) tires back to the desert with me. Did some more shopping but luckily no spending today. Came back to Circle City for a few house and helped with a few chores. Headed back to Sun City to pick up my step mother once again and headed to her daughters house for the big blowout....75 people there for the party. Managed to stick it out in the big crowd just fine. Actually met some nice folks - but I'm glad it's over. Looking forward to a calm Sunday with fewer people around.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Circle City

Had a good nights sleep away from home. Drove down the road to Discount Tire and ordered 4 new tires for the truck - they were kind of busy so I will go back tomorrow morning at 8AM to get 'em put on. Strolled around a Super Walmart and bought a couple pair of jeans and some shirts. $900 later I'm back in Circle City at my Crazy Aunt Jean's for lunch. Todays photo shows why they call it Circle city. Later in the afternoon I drove to Sun City to pick up my 93 year old step mother and we drove to her daughter Marty's for a pre blowout family only party. The blowout party is tomorrow - 80 people coming. That's more people than I see in a month back home.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Prada Marfa

Yesterday I said it was easy to get up and go from here...but I was wrong. It was rather difficult to hit the road this morning. Hard to leave this beautiful/peaceful spot knowing that I was heading to a huge sprawling city. 700 plus miles and just over 12 hours later, here I am in Circle City just north of Phoenix. It really struck me when I saw the lights covering the entire horizon as I neared Phoenix. Buzzing over the freeways past the hideous uncontrolled growth of the city made me long for my quiet/dark dirt road.

Putting all that aside - it will be nice to visit with family for a couple of days and the consumer in me has every choice imaginable within a ten mile radius. The long drive has its scenic rewards when passing through Texas Canyon in Arizona, but the highlight of the trip is this lone art installation along Hwy 90 in the middle of nowhere just outside of Valentine, TX.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Springtime in November

Slow day of getting ready to leave. So much easier to get up and go from my new desert life. Did a load of laundry this morning then cleaned up the grounds from my solar oven construction. Amazing how much debris forms from building something - even something small. Called my buddy who owns the mini storage in Austin (where my last bit of stuff is still hiding) to tell him a check is in the mail for November. We joked about how I figured out the whole mini storage scam - provide a place for people to put the stuff that they don't want to deal with, and you make a fortune providing the service for that very reason. Made arrangements for a visiting Sheriff friend of mine to run the show here and shoot intruders while I'm gone. Finished off the afternoon with 16 shots from my hand cannon. At 60 feet I was about 50% on target today. Best shot was the first one when I nailed a 8.5oz can. I have found target practice much more rewarding if the cans are filled with sand - that way they jump off the fence when hit. Otherwise - the bullet passes right through them and they don't even move. Cleaned the gun, took a shower, ate dinner and now some rest before tomorrows road trip to Phoenix. Photo of the day is a little plant that sprung up my the faucet on my water tank by the house. I dumped a little water on it the other day and yesterday I got thanked with some flowers. Springtime in November...

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Who is the next President?

Very good day today. No more politics, just the will of the people. Started off with breakfast at our new eatery ( The Grub Shack ) at the end of my dirt road by the ranch supply store. More on this after I get the official final photo. Finished the stand for my solar oven. Filled the side walls with sand and sealed them off. Last step is to add a mirrored reflector to it as the sun is low in the sky this time of year. No temperature test today. Speaking of tests - I mounted the new anemometer to the corner of one of my shipping containers at about the same height as the wind turbines. The display that is actually a bike computer read out accurate wind speeds compared to my weather station anemometer all afternoon. More on this after I get the official final photo.

Had my "B" group of longhorns by for a supper snack. Still no sign of Benita. From left to right we have Elsalita, Casper, Grey Ghost, How Now, and Seniora Halderson.
Just found out by email that the party I will be attending this weekend in Phoenix is on Saturday not Sunday so I have to get it together to get out of here on Thursday morning. So much for tomorrow...

Monday, November 3, 2008

Puff Daddy...

Took care of business today:
1. bought cigarettes in honor of Obama - he and I will both be smoking like fiends tomorrow night.
2. assembled the prototype solar oven - without insulation it reached 175 degrees ( was hoping for 200 ) Lined the inside of the box with Cine Foil....heavy duty blackened aluminum foil I used quite extensively in my NYC photog days. I am insulating the cavities around the box with sand to add some solar mass. Ultimate goal is 350 degrees.
3. Cut and did two coats of polyurethane on my last 3 cubby hole doors.
4. Received in the mail today the digital display for my anemometer - did a quick wire job and found it works! Installed the reed switch I soldered up a few days ago and fixed it into place with some silicon caulk. Final installation coming soon.
5. Went for a ride in the dune buggy to look for Benita. Didn't find her but ran across my neighbor Capt. Kirk and went for a tour on his back roads to Terlingua Creek. He has been all over the place out here. He joked about how my moving out here effectively doubled the population in our remote region.

Final very long countdown quote of the day from Melanie Phillips from the Spectator in the UK:
"The impact of the financial crisis on the American presidential election has somewhat obscured the most important reason why the prospect of an Obama presidency is giving so many people nightmares. This is the fear that, if he wins, US defences will be emasculated at a time of unprecedented international peril and the enemies of America and the free world will seize their opportunity to destroy the west.
Personally, I don’t give any credence to the ‘support’ for one candidate over the other that has been expressed by the enemies of civilisation (Iran and Hamas ‘support’ Obama, while an al Qaeda blogger ‘supports’ McCain). Their agenda is simply to sow confusion and promote American recriminations and disarray. Nor do I set much store by many of the remarks made by either candidate during the latter stages of this election campaign, since under this kind of pressure both will now say pretty much anything to win it. The New York Times has run a useful analysis of the candidates’ foreign policy campaign statements which shows how Obama has carefully tacked to the ‘hard power’ agenda while McCain has in turn nodded towards ‘soft power’.
No, the only way to assess their position is to look at each man in the round, at what his general attitude is towards war and self-defence, aggression and appeasement, the values of the west and those of its enemies and – perhaps most crucially of all – the nature of the advisers and associates to whom he is listening. As I have said before, I do not trust McCain; I think his judgment is erratic and impetuous, and sometimes wrong. But on the big picture, he gets it. He will defend America and the free world whereas Obama will undermine them and aid their enemies.
Here’s why. McCain believes in protecting and defending America as it is. Obama tells the world he is ashamed of America and wants to change it into something else. McCain stands for American exceptionalism, the belief that American values are superior to tyrannies. Obama stands for the expiation of America’s original sin in oppressing black people, the third world and the poor.
Obama thinks world conflicts are basically the west’s fault, and so it must right the injustices it has inflicted. That’s why he believes in ‘soft power’ — diplomacy, aid, rectifying ‘grievances’ (thus legitimising them, encouraging terror and promoting injustice) and resolving conflict by talking. As a result, he will take an axe to America’s defences at the very time when they need to be built up. He has said he will ‘cut investments in unproven missile defense systems’; he will ‘not weaponize space’; he will ‘slow our development of future combat systems’; and he will also ‘not develop nuclear weapons,’ pledging to seek ‘deep cuts’ in America’s arsenal, thus unilaterally disabling its nuclear deterrent as Russia and China engage in massive military buildups.
McCain understands that an Islamic war of conquest is being waged on a number of diverse fronts which all have to be seen in relation to each other. For Obama, however, the real source of evil in the world is America. The evil represented by Iran and the Islamic jihadists is apparently all America’s fault. ‘A lot of evil’s been perpetuated based on the claim that we were fighting evil,’ he said. Last May, he dismissed Iran as a tiny place which posed no threat to the US -- before reversing himself the very next day when he said Iran was a great threat which had to be defeated. He has also said that Hezbollah and Hamas have ‘legitimate grievances’. Really? And what might they be? Their grievances are a) the existence of Israel b) its support by America c) the absence of salafist Islam in the world. Does Obama think these ‘grievances’ are legitimate?
To solve world conflict, Obama places his faith in the UN club of terror and tyranny, which is currently fuelling the murderous global demonisation of Israel for having the temerity to defend itself and is even now preparing for a rerun of its own anti-Jew hate-fest of Durban 2, which preceded 9/11 by a matter of days.
McCain understands that Israel is the victim rather than the victimiser in the Middle East, that it is surrounded by genocidal enemies whose undiminished intention is to destroy it as a Jewish state, and that is both the first line of defence against the Islamist attack on the free world and its most immediate and important target.
Obama dismisses the threat from Islamism, shows zero grasp of the strategic threat to the region and the world from the encirclement of Israel by Iran, displays a similar failure to grasp the strategic importance of Iraq, thinks Israel is instead the source of Arab and Muslim aggression against the west, believes that a Palestinian state would promote world peace and considers that Israel – particularly through the ‘settlements’ – is the principal obstacle to that happy outcome. Accordingly, Obama has said he wants Israel to return to its 1967 borders – actually the strategically indefensible 1948 cease-fire line, known accordingly as the ‘Auschwitz borders’.
Obama would thus speak to Iran’s genocidal mullahs without preconditions on his side (the same mullahs have now laid down their own preconditions for America: pull all US troops out of the Middle East, and abandon support for ‘Zionist’ Israel) but has said he would have problems dealing with an Israeli government headed by a member of Israel’s Likud Party. In similar vein, it is notable that Obama opposed the congressional resolution labelling the Iranian Revolutionary Guards a terrorist organization, which passed the Senate by a wide margin with support from both parties. And had he had his way, there would have been no ‘surge’ in Iraq and America would instead have run up the white flag, with the incalculable bloodbath and strengthening of the jihad that would have followed.
Obama assumes that Islamic terrorism is driven by despair, poverty, inflammatory US policy and the American presence on Muslim soil in the Persian Gulf. Thus he adopts the agenda of the Islamists themselves. This is not surprising since many of his connections suggest that that the man who may be elected President of a country upon which the Islamists have declared war is himself firmly in the Islamists’ camp. Daniel Pipes lists Obama’s extensive connections to Islamists in general and the Nation of Islam in particular, and concludes with this astounding observation:
Obama's multiple links to anti-Americans and subversives mean he would fail the standard security clearance process for Federal employees. Islamic aggression represents America’s strategic enemy; Obama’s many insalubrious connections raise grave doubts about his fitness to serve as America's commander-in-chief.
The hatred that these Islamist connections entertain towards Israel is reflected amongst Obama’s own advisers. With one notable exception in Dennis Ross, whose late arrival in Camp Obama suggests a cosmetic exercise designed to allay alarm among Israel supporters, his advisers are overwhelmingly not only hostile to Israel but perpetrate the loathesome canard that Jews have too much power over American policy.
The former Carter adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski, for example, not only denounced Israel’s war against Hezbollah thus:
I think what the Israelis are doing today [2006] for example in Lebanon is in effect– maybe not in intent – the killing of hostages
but also supports Mearsheimer and Walt’s notorious smear that the Jews have subverted America’s foreign policy in the interests of Israel. Merrill McPeak, vice chairman of Obama’s campaign and his chief military adviser, has similarly blamed problems in the Middle East on the influence of people who live in New York City and Miami (guess who) whom no ‘politician wants to run against’ and who he says exercise undue influence on America’s foreign affairs. Most revolting of all is Samantha Power, a very close adviser whom Obama fired for calling Hillary a ‘monster’ but who says she still expects to be in Obama’s administration. Not only has Power has advocated the ending of all aid to Israel and redirecting it to the Palestinians, but she has spoken about the need to land a ‘mammoth force’ of US troops in Israel to protect the Palestinians from Israeli attempts at genocide (sic) -- and has complained that criticism of Barack Obama all too often came down to what was ‘good for the Jews’.
There are, alas, many in the west for whom all this is music to their ears. Whether through wickedness, ideology, stupidity or derangement, they firmly believe that the ultimate source of conflict in the world derives at root from America and Israel, whose societies, culture and values they want to see emasculated or destroyed altogether. They are drooling at the prospect that an Obama presidency will bring that about. The rest of us can’t sleep at night."

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Prince of Darkness

Took care of business today. Did some cipherin' with a pencil and paper and figured out how to make the most out of a 4 x 8 sheet of OSB. Got all the pieces cut for my solar oven project and had just enough left over for the last 3 cabinet doors I needed. A page of "cut list figurin' " from my off the grid manifesto is freatured to the left. May not really make sense now - but just wait till it's all screwed together. Took a lunch break for some barBQ at Chuck's. Got back home and cut a few more pieces for my solar oven then Big Smile Ronald and Hat Bailey came by for a visit. I gave Hat the full tour. Always fun to show off the progress in person. Went back to Chuck's tonight to sit around a campfire for awhile with Aunt Kathy, Cousins Holly and Tod and Mustang Sally.

Countdown quote of the day from yours truly...."Death and taxes...2 things we will never avoid. There has been a lot of talk about taxes in this election but not enough about death. I would like to talk for a moment not about life...or choice(chance)....but about death. Let's put aside why we are fighting the war on terror and how we got there in the first place - lets deal strictly with numbers instead. Since the war in Iraq began March 3, 2003 - 4189 American soldiers have lost their lives. In that same amount of time, Pro Choice Democrats have killed through abortion at a conservative daily rate of 3500 per day, since March 3. 2003 - 4,198,707 potential American citizens with untold potential. 95% of these deaths occurred as a matter of convenience or birth control. You tell me whose death has more meaning. These kinds of numbers have huge Karmic repercussions so please think twice before you think pro chance."

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Aussies get it...

Took care of business finally...Spent a brief time this morning summing up the "to do" list. Decided it would be a good day to cut doors to put on all my interior shelf cubby holes - I'm tired of looking at all my stuff no matter how neatly it gets arranged. Cut 12 doors and did two coats of polyurethane on them. Still need 3 more doors but decided to get started on the solar oven tomorrow and see what lumber I will have left over. Took a drive to the upper east side for dinner at Dan and Paul's. Steak for us and 3 T-bones for Otto, their dog. Followed the sunset with a nice campfire. They have an excellent burn pit. Shot a photo of Abe's wind turbines - it was an article I read in Make Magazine about these turbines that led me to this area in the first place.

Countdown quote of the day comes in the form of some political cartoons from Australia.