Lake is back.

 
Just look at the video he brought home with him. He wondered if he should stick it in the Adventure post. No. This IS the adventure post. Back from The Top of the World is a story all its own. I’m sure he’ll tell it in his own time.

Something caused Lady Laird yesterday to reference “Et in Arcadia…?” And for a humble fellow like myself it was but a moment’s work to shout: “Ego!”

The translation is, “Even in Arcadia, there am I.” Where Lake has been, Arcadia being a classical synonym for paradise. (At least until he watches the Icelandic cinematic wonder called The Sea.)

But I have to say a serious word about this. People tend to think you have to seek out adventure. Not true. The ones who keep their heads down, work their asses off, and try to be the best at whatever discipline often seem to have adventures thrust upon them. Life finds the living. Please believe this.

Everything mysterious will be revealed in time. Most important, though, is that until it is, you just have to give every ounce of your ability to whatever it is you’re doing.

A friend sent me this picture of a dog sold for more than a million dollars.

What a lug.

What a lug.

My wife observed that Tibetan mastiffs make Raebert look dainty.

No, they don’t. Raebert is anything but dainty. He just makes Tibetan mastiffs look fat, dumb, and stupid.

Nobody can carry the whole weight of the world. I worry about the Boss. But I can.

Nobody can carry the whole weight of the world. I worry about the Boss. But I can carry it. For now.

And Lake makes the silver spoon millennials look silly and pointless.

The Love-Love Game

Call this the tale of a Love Game.

Call this the tale of a Love Game.

Responding to a 6-0, 6-0 victor today on the most aristocratic court in sport:

Let me tell you a tennis story. Just so you know where I’m coming from. My dad was not rich but he was a tennis fanatic. We had an old property in rural New Jersey and my dad decided to turn a small adjoining field into a tennis court. We did it together. I was eleven. A neighboring farmer’s tractor plowed it even, we staked out the dimensions with string, and then we set the posts one by one for the fencing. He with the posthole digger, eighteen inches deep ten feet apart, me balancing the rough timbers while he filled and tamped. Next, chicken wire. Hammered into the posts with copper staples while he held the wire as taut as he could. His hands bled. I had never played a lick of tennis.

All day for every day of his vacation and countless weekends. We mixed concrete to set the net posts. We painted them green, the caps silver. All done?

No. The roller, from his father’s old tennis court, three feet in diameter filled with water, handles rusty from sitting for 30 years. It weighed a ton. We were recreating a court on which my father had learned all his earliest lessons about competition and fair play. Didn’t learn for years that he had once taken a swing at his own dad on that tennis court and gotten decked for his temper. The hell he was putting me through was actually all for me. He wanted me to have that same advantage.

So. The roller, the rake, the brush, everything it takes to turn clay into a playable surface. And the old-as-the-roller line bucket trolley, filled with lime water which has to be rolled along engineered vectors to keep the court lines true.

It became part of my chores, in addition to mowing two acres of grass, clearing the plates after dinner, and weeding the front terrace. I’m not complaining. I took pride in the lawn and the terrace, I liked helping my mother since my sister had the job of setting the table, and when we actually finished the court, I was introduced to a new world. I was put in whites, given a catgut-strung racket, and introduced to the game of tennis.

I had talent. My forehand was ferocious, sometimes so hard my father, who was still struggling to regain a game he hadn’t played since the war, found it hard to return. I was good enough that a coach was hired, and he told me I could go all the way, or if I didn’t want to, I could still be the best country club player for miles around.

We practiced at home and became members of a local country club where my coach was the pro and my parents had friends. I played and beat kids several years older than me. I was honored by being named a ballboy for an exhibition match between Davis Cup champions Chuck McKinley and Vic Seixas. I was going to be a tennis player. But then something happened. Not a big thing, I guess. But enough.

My parents, not rich as I said, nevertheless rubbed shoulders with the rich and even the very rich. Truth is, my dad didn’t need to build a tennis court at all. We had friends less than a mile away with a har-tru tennis court whose cyclone fencing had green canvas clothing. There was also an adjoining Olympic sized swimming pool and brick bathhouse where all friends were welcome to swim and play. And everyone did. Where I learned social conventions about winning and losing. Don’t use your hardest forehand against your parents’ female friends in mixed doubles. Don’t ogle the doctor’s faithless wife who has spent so many hours sunbathing that she’s literally made of leather — even when she accidentally drops her top in front of boys a fourth her age. Manners, we were told.

There were parties there. Huge liquid affairs. Lobsters, clambakes, pool parties, Swedish models who caused upsets we weren’t supposed to know about. Meanwhile, the roller, the rake, the brush, the lawn mower, and cedar thorns in my hands from weeding the terrace. I was exposed to these people on a regular basis, but I was expected to know better, be better. Why? Without ever a moment’s explanation of the contradictions or the issues involved. It was all just a matter of manners and our impeccable surname. Period. I do my chores without complaining, I ask no rude questions, never inquire into the behavior of the elders who were my parents’ friends, and that would make me a good boy.

But, as I said, something happened. One of my father’s friends, from college not the place down the road though they were sometimes there, was the sole heir of the Dow Chemical Corporation. He was the CEO, on top of the world, with a beautiful wife and child and everything to live for. He was, as my dimming memory suggests, headed somewhere for a Thanksgiving meeting with his beautiful wife, in the private plane he flew, another bond he had with my pilot father. But he crashed and died along with their four year old daughter, and their lives were just wiped off the map.

She, the beautiful wife, just disappeared. No more parties, no more appearances in public at all. My impression is that the lovely rich people were afraid to call her or didn’t know what to do about her, and she became a ghost, mentioned in sorrowful tones but never with any information. What do you say to a woman who has lost everything?

Then, suddenly, my father announced that Alice Dowes was coming to play tennis tomorrow, and we rolled and raked and brushed and rolled and relined the court, and she came in her tennis whites, and she played tennis with my father, who played better than he almost ever did because he didn’t want to unmask the camouflage of the game. I watched. She was still lovely but ravaged looking, her face lined and drawn though her legs were still lean and strong.

As I remember her.

As I remember her. Almost exactly. Half a century later. Reminds me of… Same mien.

She had a potent forehand and I’m not sure they did anything but hit them around. Then she had a drink on the crabgrass apron of the court and left. My parents shook their heads at one another. They had tried. They had reached out and done their best. She had come. She had tried. But there was nothing anyone or anything could do.

I’ve thought of this scene again and again over the years. This multi-multi-millionaire widow who could be playing tennis if that’s what she wanted in every glamorous spa in the world, playing not quite tennis in our field court with its chicken wire and rough-hewn posts. Why had she come? Because my parents asked and she was lonely? Because she wanted away from the invulnerable moneyed class? Because she wanted to lace into a tennis ball with no one watching who mattered a damn, no one who would interpret her behavior and try to play it?

I never became as good at tennis as my coach had hoped. I excelled for a while but I developed in my high school years a hitch in my once deadly forehand that only in latter years have I come to recognize as what golfers call the yips. Just before the ball strike, there was a quiver, tiny but fatal. Suddenly you’re no good at the game at all.

The yips. Connection? I won’t offer one. Despite my father’s hopes, tennis was never the great life lesson he had worked so hard for it to be for me. Not his fault. It was a game, a sport, but not a life. Being good at it would never be enough for the cost it would exact for trying to be great at it. I fenced saber for a time. Same thing. Why I moved on to words.

Mind, I started from the same place. In a plowed, fallow field with a post hole digger and rough timber, chicken wire, a rusty roller, a rake, a brush, and more chores to do. And an image of tennis whites against a background of black.

Adventures

Isola Bella. Island of the white peacocks.

Isola Bella. Isle of the white peacocks. What heaven looks like, I believe.

Hats off to our old friend Peregrine John, who said:

I hope Lake relates some adventures when he returns. Vicarious adventures are much more comfortable, I have found. In person they’re often nasty, disturbing uncomfortable things. Make you late for dinner!

Great idea for sharing of adventures. I think there are two kinds we’d all like to hear. The scary ones that really are better experienced vicariously. And the ones that are just transcendent, which are much more rare. I put up an image of the latter type at the head of this post. More than happy to share some of the scary ones too. But first I’d like to hear from any or all of you about either type.

The Internet is by definition a vicarious experience. Let’s get closer to reality. Talk about the big moments in physical, sensory life for a change. Thinking of Lake on the world’s newest major land mass… Give him a reason to stay in touch.

Yes, it’s a trap. Remaining silent means you’ve had no adventures worthy of the name. That’s not true of you, is it? Smile.

image

Seriously. Peregrine John is right. We want to hear. We’ll be richer for it.

What Boring Folk Like Lake Are Doing

Yeah. He’s got a quadcopter and he’s headed out to Iceland tomorrow to do some science and astronomy and earth stuff. Whereas the cool people are selling insurance in Kansas City.

Do any of you youngsters ever get the point that the opportunity to do cool stuff is not about sounding off like a total asshole but putting your head down, getting really good at something, and then pushing to the limit to achieve something?

Of course you don’t. Why the constantly bored are the most boring of all. Snooze.

Lake will be back. His timing is involved with the return of Instapunk. So don’t get impatient. We have the site skeleton up already. Biggest obstacle: agreement between Boudica and me on the appropriate site graphics. You know I’m more pacifist than provocateur. She, on the other hand, wants a jugular in her hand.

We’ll work it out.

But here’s a taste.

Okay, Winston?

P.S. For those who didn’t take the link from ‘taste,’ be advised that the site “Instapunk Rules” is now online. Here. Welcoming comments are permitted.

Antidote

Lest we forget...

Lest we forget…

Sick of hearing about the decline and fall of America? Hie thee to the Smithsonian Channel and the series called Aerial America. One thing corporate ronin get to experience that most don’t is repeated flights across the vast lands between the coasts. Sometimes at high altitude, sometimes in puddle jumpers on short commuter flights. It’s all beautiful.

Contrary to your road and highway experience it’s not all strip malls, McDonalds, and Exxon stations. Why the automobile and its romanticism is dying. Too often the car view is soul destroying. Not that there aren’t still thousands of miles of back country roads that are worth driving, with views that would pop your eyes and strain your noses, but we’re all being funneled somehow into a concrete tunnel that hides our own nation’s glories from us.

America is still beautiful. And amazingly still largely rural and parochial, in the best sense, meaning, where you are from in particular still matters in the grand sum of the nation.

The Smithsonian Channel, more than any other elitist cable offering, succeeds in remembering that the United States of America is not just Washington, D.C., home of its museum, but the entire expanse of experience, history, achievement, travail, architecture, and natural wonder that constitutes the home of all of us.

Aerial America is a shot in the arm. It doesn’t judge. It doesn’t preach. It remains true to its altitude. It shows beauty of all kinds, remembers sorrows and losses, but retains a lyrical tone of admiration for the home we all share. I cannot fault any individual episode. I can only fault the omissions so far — e.g., New Jersey, the most topographically diverse in the entire union — but I trust they will bring home that bacon someday soon.

If you’re feeling down and buried under images of destroyed Detroit and La Raza Los Angeles, watch this show. America has always been about the land and its healing power. This show, with very few exceptions, will make your heart beat again. It’s on Netflix if your cable provider doesn’t offer it. And, no, I’m not in anyone’s employ.

Raebert Speaks

I live with the guy. I should know.

I live with the guy. I should know.

He is not who you think. He is my friend. He loves me all the time unless I eat Mommy’s slipper. Which I do only when I forget I’m not supposed to.

Does he spank me? What is spank? He swats my rear end. Is that spank? Oh. Guess he does. But he is my friend.

Ya know? Ya don't know much, do you?

Ya know?

Maybe you don’t want him mad. Just saying. He gets a look in his eye and I go lie down. Usually after he says, “LIE DOWN!” Maybe you should all lie down when he gets that look in his eye. Just saying.

Instapunk Rules, the Website.

Older, nastier, better.

Older, nastier, better.

So. There will be two new websites. One designed to help Hotair and Breitbart and Fox News write better. And one that returns to our origins.

Instapunk Rules.

Deerhound Diary has been fun. An interlude. But the battle being waged is for our nation. I can’t stand down. And neither can the others who used to help me post at Instapunk: Country Punk, LocoPunk, TruePunk, the Glimmers, the XOFF News Channel, and all the rest. I’m also given to understand that Johnny Dodge will occasionally venture from his Last Chance Garage to post at the new site in return for my occasional postings at his. What do they call that? Win/Win.

It will take a few days to sort out the software. As I get older and wiser, I get less tech-savvy. Tell you anything about yourselves? I thought not.

I’ll never get arrested for texting while walking. I’m likely to be arrested or audited or quietly killed for thinking Obama is the worst disaster in American history. But they can come for me any time. They’re already inserting ads for my own Obama book into every website I visit. Would that scare you? It doesn’t scare me. I always knew that’s who they were. What’s important is that they not come for you, not scare you out of the fight. I’m Instapunk. Nobody intimidates me.

Why it’s time for me to go back to Instapunk Rules. No quarter given or taken. No sleight too slight to punish. No target too big to take down.

Shammadamma.

The Other Angel

Never any makeup. Just herself.

Never any makeup. Just herself.

The impossible one. She makes everyone mad. But her children are fine. How does that happen? Well, she’s incandescent. People keep firing her. Because she’s always been smarter than the people who hire her. And she’s beautiful. With no helping hands. Somehow, that’s not something anyone is comfortable with.

Life without makeup. Just being you. That’s being true to yourself. And to the rest of us. She is the mother of two extraordinary children. Not an accident. Life is an unexpected thing. She will be the first to tell you she screwed up and was determined her kids wouldn’t do the same. They think they thought up the solutions themselves. Ha ha.

Here’s the thing. She’s so physically strong… but I saw her trying on a bridesmaid dress, and it was so gossamer and she was so suddenly frail in appearance that I withdrew to another room. Didn’t want to see. I guess I’m that old-fashioned. Because she’s another kind of angel. The difficult kind. I could hear her complaining even in her see-through gown.

What you can’t understand. She is the smartest, most beautiful girl in the room. Always. And she will never let you forget it.

Why she keeps getting fired. And fired. And fired. And fired.

But I still think she’s great. The other side of the other angel. One with a light all her own.

Why we don’t need NPR or PBS anymore

This fatuous idiot has had her day and then some.

NPR’s Terry Gross. This fatuous idiot has had her day and then some.

National Review’s Jonah Goldberg caught NPR in a whopper this morning. Here’s his whole post from The Corner.

Just now on NPR’s Morning Edition (yes, I often listen), a story on yesterday’s failed vote on Debo Adegbile began “a handful of southern Democrats joined Republicans yesterday to defeat President Obama’s choice to head the Justice Department’s civil rights division.” For what it’s worth the Democrats who voted no:

Chris Coons (Del.)
Bob Casey (Pa.)
Mark Pryor (Ark.)
Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.)
Joe Manchin (W.V.)
Joe Donnelly (Ind.)
John Walsh (Mont.)

And, of course, Harry Reid (Nev.), who did it for procedural grounds.

Not exactly Sons of the Confederacy.

But some put up with this kind of crap because of the slow fruity tones of the oh so educated who populate NPR and the teevee version called PBS. Where else are we going to get the high culture stuff we need to keep going in this vale of faux trailer trash tears? We have to have some beauty and art in our lives, even if we have to wade through lefty propaganda to get to the staples they trot out during pledge drives — blind tenors, Celtic women, and rhapsodic tours of Europe as experienced by Americans who have always known we made a mistake severing ourselves from the old world. You know. The better world, which has stronger ties to WGBH Boston than Boston has to Ohio and Nebraska. And they’ll sell us DVDs of our favorite culture chestnuts for $59.99, because we’ll also get a PBS baseball cap for free. And maybe a bookbag too.

All done. Netflix is infusing the streaming universe with offerings far better than NPR/PBS has provided in a generation. There are more gripping Brit dramas than Downton Abbey. Jeez. Wasn’t this already done by Upstairs Downstairs and the Forsyte Saga a quarter century ago? Yeeeeeah!

For the record, Neflix has the newer version of the Forsyte Saga, also long and mesmerizing to watch. In addition, they have the following shows, which should be catnip for the intellectual set:

The Art of the Steal. About the scandal of Philadelphia’s outrageous theft of the greatest private art collection ever.

Wagner and Me. Stephen Frye, a Jew, grapples with his heritage and his passion for the composer he regards as the greatest ever.

Verdi’s Otello. Placido Domingo. Not the blind guy.

Imaginary Witness. A tough look at Hollywood’s blind eye toward the Holocaust. Or if not blind, fatally flawed in the rendering.

In Search of Beethoven. Why some think he’s the greatest composer of all time. Me, I still prefer Mozart. But you have to be willing to hear the views of others.

Genius Within: The Inner Life of Glenn Gould. What the hell IS genius? Maybe this.

And a whole bunch more. We don’t need the tired, antediluvian, money obsessed public channels anymore. I haven’t even scratched the surface here.

The free market can do high culture better than the command-propaganda system. Shouldn’t come as a surprise.

Instapunk Rules

Yeah. I have one of these.

Yeah. I have one of these. It’s called a trench knife.

Biff baff! The whole thing in a nutshell. Helk is a gifted physicist. His girlfriend is a dimwit communist. Apparently they find each other desirable. He’s brilliant. She’s a moron. In the great grand scheme of American egalitarianism, they’re the same thing. He votes, she votes, we vote, they vote, and let’s call the whole thing off.

Sad facts. The death of America is attributable to women. Why we’re doomed. Unless women wake up. It’s all simple. Women think they’re morally superior. Until they want to kill the thing in their womb. Which only they have the judgment to identify as cells or baby stuff.

I’ll say what nobody else will. Women are moral idiots. Without men, morality would never have been invented. Men knew that they needed some restraints on their own urges and desires. It never once occurred to women that they needed same. No major religion or moral philosophy has ever originated with women. Only the nastiness of witchcraft, lately dressed up as Wicca and Gaia.

What do you need to know? Women have babies. Mothers want babies. Other women don’t. More than half of babies gestated in New York City die. Really?

Yes.

Because women are so loving, blah blah blah.

But abortion helps the disadvantaged. Like Margaret Sanger the eugenicist promised.

Margaret Sanger wrote about her Ku Klux Klan speech in her autobiography, “I accepted an invitation to talk to the women’s branch of the Ku Klux Klan…I saw through the door dim figures parading with banners and illuminated crosses…I was escorted to the platform, was introduced, and began to speak…In the end, through simple illustrations I believed I had accomplished my purpose. A dozen invitations to speak to similar groups were proffered.” (Margaret Sanger: An Autobiography, P.366)

What did she say in her talk at the KKK Rally that led to twelve more invitations? Well, take a look at some of her past quotes:

1) “We should hire three or four colored ministers, preferably with social-service backgrounds, and with engaging personalities. The most successful educational approach to the Negro is through a religious appeal. We don’t want the word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population. and the minister is the man who can straighten out that idea if it ever occurs to any of their more rebellious members.”

So I’m the bad guy. I get it. I love corporations. Which I haven’t eschewed for years and years of accusations and disgust. What’s important is the protestations of someone who hasn’t the slightest idea how economics work. You just say, “Corporations!” And we’re all supposed to fall down in Gaian despair.

Grow up, girls. And grow up, boyfriends of imbecilic girls.

Too much to ask? No. A vagina is not a brain. It’s just a vagina. Fun but not intelligent.