From Pine View Farm

Personal Musings category archive

Meta: Connectivity 0

We’ve been having intermittent connectivity issues for the past few weeks.

We could restore connectivity by rebooting the modem (that’s a fancy way of saying pulling the power, counting to ten, then plugging the power back in and waiting about five minutes for all the LEDs to come alive). I feared that the modem was going bad, which might necessitate my having do something, like taking it to my local ISP store and exchanging it for a new one. Oh, the horror of it all.

Yesterday, I called my ISP’s tech support; the support rep told me that I was not alone–that a number of customers in my area had reported problems, that the problem was likely on their end, and that their staff was actively troubleshooting it. He went on to say that they expected the issue would be resolved by the early afternoon.

And it was.

I have a number of minor gripes with my ISP, but they are all on the theoretical side of things. Their tech support and their physical support are both excellent.


Stray Thought 0

Despite the apparent belief of many of my fellow citizens, being stupid is not an inalienable right.


Facing (up to) History 0

At the Greensboro News and Record, Joanna Winston Foley, descended from a Revolutionary War hero who was also a slaveholder, struggles with a renewed awareness of her ancestry in the light of the death of George Floyd and the cascade of events it triggered. It is a sensitive and moving piece, well worth your while.

I have long believed that one of the elements that make the myth of the lost cause and of the land of gracious living so tenacious is a desire of many Southerners to avoid facing the reality of what their ancestors did so as to profit from stolen labor.

I can empathize. Both of us are Southerners, both of us had ancestors who fought in the Revolutionary War and other ancestors who wore the grey. I think my turning point–not as regards my stand on civil rights or on treating other people like people, but as regards my view of my family’s history–came when, at the Harper’s Ferry Wax Museum, we were looking at an exhibit depicting one of my forebears defending slavery.

As we looked at it, one of my children said, “. . . he was on the wrong side?”

I had to agree.

Yes, he was.

In every possible way.

Here’s a bit from her article:

During my heritage visit to Greensboro seven years ago, these two aspects of his life — Joseph Winston’s public service to help build the new American nation and his private moral failure to live up to his Christian faith — sat side by side in my consciousness without quite connecting.

This blind spot, big as a boulder, remained in place until June 2020. The word “privilege” comes to mind — the white privilege of avoiding discomfort.

As those statues came crashing down, so did that blind spot that separated my feelings about my ancestor.


*Of course, that does not explain why those whose families did not participate in the war, indeed, whose families had not yet arrived here when the war was fought, bought into the lies. For that, look to a century and a half of one of the most successful propaganda campaigns in history, perhaps best represented by that over-the-top potboiler, Gone with the Wind.


Bear-Faced Cruelty 0

It’s no surprise, I guess, that some Trump supporter has resorted to animal cruelty and is putting Donald Trump bumper stickers on wild bears in North Carolina. Here’s a bit; more at the link.

The latest report was made Friday and involves a different bear, based on the position of the sticker, HAB (the bear advocacy group Help Asheville Bears–ed.) said. The person who photographed the bear was identified by HAB as “Shelia” and she was quoted saying: “No words can describe my anger and sadness.”

State wildlife officials told McClatchy News they suspect the person responsible for the stickers is using food to get close to the animals, which is illegal in Buncombe County (home of Asheville). It’s also illegal to deface state property, which is another law violated by the stickers, state officials said.

“It appears someone has been feeding bears on purpose and was able to get close enough to slap the sticker on,” according to Colleen Olfenbuttel, the black bear and furbearer biologist for the Wildlife Management Division of the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission.


Stray Thought 0

Anyone who thinks golf is exercise has never lived next to a golf course and watched the golfers.


“Smart” Homes, Dumb Home Owners 0

I wouldn’t have one of those “smart speakers” in my home on a bet.

If Big Data wants to spy on me, they can do it the old fashioned way and peer through my windows, but I will damned if I voluntarily invite their monitoring devices into my house. Heck, it’s difficult enough to fend them off in my web browser.

(I learned of this news story because I listen to Le Show and you should to.)


The Myth of the Middle 2

Ed at Gin and Tacos argues that our notion that the best course of action lies somewhere in the political middle of the road is a nosebag of hooey.


That might have been true before the Republican Party, under Richard Nixon’s loathsome Southern Strategy, devolved from the party of Ev Dirksen and Nelson Rockefeller to the party of Tom Cotton and Louie Gohmert. (And if you don’t know who Ev Dirksen and Nelson Rockefeller were, you will find a wealth of information, some of it accurate, on the inner tubes.)


Stray Thought 0

“Freedom of speech” does not mean freedom from criticism.

Nor, for that matter, does it mean that anyone is obligated to give a damn about what you spoke.


Yet Another Step . . . 0

. . . down the the path to pariah, as I have been predicting.


Maskless Marauder 0

Image One:  Man driving car says,

Click for the original image.

I have to agree with the masked fellow who was ahead of me at the drug store the other day. I overheard him saying to the clerk, “Why do they want to go around infecting people? I just don’t get it.”

On the other hand, I don’t get persons who are driving alone in their cars and wearing masks. I put mine on when I get out of the car to deal with people; the rest of the time, it hangs from my cell phone holder.


“The New South” 0

When I was in grad school for history, I wanted to concentrate on the ante bellum South.

I had several reasons for this, including an interest in the causes of the Civil War; the disconnect between history that happened and the “Virginia Cavalier” mythology I was taught in my all-white Jim Crow elementary school; a Virginia heritage that dates to the 1600s; and an ancestry that includes slaveholders, Confederate officers, and proponents of slavery.

In our first meeting, my faculty advisor, whose interest was “the New South,” asked me why I was interested in a society that was–I can still see him say it–“gone with the wind”

But, as we see every day, it was not gone with the wind.

It has not even gone.

And, ironically, that novel to which said adviser so sarcastically alluded was without question one of the most poisonous and effective works of political and social propaganda ever propagated.

Read more »


Stray Thought 0

I’ve started to reread The Lord of the Rings.

For some reason, it seems appropriate to these times.


The Miscount 0

The unemployment numbers that the BLS released last week were significantly lower than the actuality.


It does appear to have been an honest SNAFU, complicated by new unemployment situations resulting from layoffs and closures due to COVID-19 and stay-at-home orders. Nevertheless, the Trump administration’s (and Fox News’s) crowing about the figures released last week has been demonstrated to be wholly unwarranted.

A snippet (details of the SNAFU at the link):

The BLS admitted that some people who should have been classified as “temporarily unemployed” during the shutdown were instead misclassified as employed but “absent” from work for “other reasons.”

I find it quite credible that it was an error, rather than an intentional lie, especially as the BLS voluntarily–er–regretted the error.

We live in strange times and many persons are in unprecedented (un)employment situations.


Barefoot and in the Kitchen 0

From the intro to the radio program, Rocky Jordan, which ran from 1949 to 1951 and was picked up by Del Monte several months into its run.

Del Monte! The brand preferred by more women than any other line of canned fruits and vegetables in the world!

Not that it betrays any stereotypes or sexism or anything like that there.

Read more »


Stray Thought 0

The rule of law works so long as rulers believe that laws apply to rulers.


Stray Thought 0

I’m so old that I can remember when the Republican Party had a conscience.


Stray Thought, Long Time Out Dept. 0

You know the Sports Department at my local rag is getting desperate from the lack of sports news when they run the results of the Canadian Football League draft on the sports page where they would normally have box scores.

I can’t find it on their website, but I saw it with my own eyes.


Anniversary 0

Despite Disney’s attempts to turn today into “Star Wars Day” (whatever the heck that means, this is what deserves to be memorialized today.


Stray Thought 0

It is quite clear that the very very rich, ensconced in their multiple houses, ginormous yachts, and do-nothing sinecures, have no clue about what life is like for the rest of us.


Kludge 0

Someone not at all techy asked me to define “kludge” today in connection with a conversation about a kludge.

The best I could come up with was this: “It’s like prose by Dickens. You know there’s meaning in there somewhere, but you have to work very hard to find it.”


I tried to read The Pickwick Papers multiple times and never got past chapter five.