April 5, 2014

Apologies for the fathomless silence...

NOTE: Comments are off, because I'm being deluged with spam, even with the captcha. And I just don't have time or skills to deal with it. Feel free to email.

For any old friends who may still be reading, I've been MIA because the Weidners have been engaged in our biggest and most difficult operation since the annus mirabilus of 1985, when John and Charlene got married, joined a church, had a baby and bought a fixer-upper house, all in one crazy year.

No more babies this time, but we've pulled up stakes and moved to the country. After more than 40 years in the big city. We are now living in Sonora, CA. A Gold Country town in the foothills of the Sierras, about 2 1/2 hours due east of SF.

I haven't blogged all this, both because of a superstitious dread that we might jinx things, and also because it's been horribly hard work. We've been pretty much working 7 days a week for more than 6 months.

We haven't retired. Charlene's lawyering covers N Calif, so she's no more out of things here than in SF. With an Internet connection she can do most of her work from anywhere. (Internet was a big problem. We ended up having a T-1 line laid in.) And I'm farther from my old customers, but have more space to work more efficiently and that may balance out. And I may find cabinetmaking work around here too.

It's a big upheaval for our kids, but their careers and lives were not flourishing in SF, so maybe a change will be good for them.

And frankly, we've been feeling like a lot of things in liberal SF, underneath a thin veneer of "niceness," are increasingly just evil. (And, worse than evil, downright stupid!) When we started our "urban project" long ago, we we thought our neighbors were too far to the left, but we assumed they we were all sailing on parallel courses. Turns out, not so. We have diverged. (For myself, the turning point was 9/11. I had always assumed that, disgusting as lefty anti-Americanism was to me, if America were attacked in a way similar to Pearl Harbor, we would all come together in her defense. To observe leftists claiming that the 9/11 attack was a result of our sins, and seeing how they hated the displays of American flags, was a huge eye-opener for me. It was sick and crazy. Evil, pure evil. I started this blog a month later.)

I feel like God has hugely favored us. I prayed for help to escape the tangles of many frustrations in SF, and the whole thing just unfolded. Deo gratias!

Anyway, we are loving Sonora so far. Working like crazy. Were having lots of work done on the house, we are planting trees and vines so as to not miss the year's growth. I'm getting my shop put together, and spraying herbicides on Poison Oak. We have ten acres, which should keep us busy for the rest of our lives.

Here are a few pix...

Charlene and the back of our house, where the gardens and terraces are... View from back of house

My sons moving rocks with our tractor, a John Deere 4310... Rob and will moving rocks

We get this every evening. We've never lived with a view before. That's East Sonora in the distance. Sonora sunset

For a rock-lover like me, this place is mind boggling. I could take a hundred pix like this... Rocks near tractor shed

Posted at 10:19 PM

March 19, 2014

"They feel left out of the good life, unable even to strive for it."

This is a great piece on Hernando de Soto, De Soto's Excellent Path . I was especially struck by this...

...The team discovered that, in the two months after Bouazizi self-immolated, 63 more men and women had done the same. They did it in country after country. Like Bouazizi, they were entrepreneurs, or would-be entrepreneurs. ILD talked to their families, and they also talked to survivors: Thirty-seven of the 63 failed in their suicide attempts. In the documentary, one of these 37 shows the scars all over his body. "I tried every possible way to get my rights in society, to find work," he says. "I tried a thousand things," with no success. He felt trapped, finished. De Soto testified to the U.S. Congress about the Middle East last year. In an understatement (as I see it), he said, "Mass suicide in defense of property rights is hard for the modern Western mind to understand." Why would someone like Bouazizi kill himself over the confiscation of some fruit and the scale with which to weigh it? But Bouazizi's act was motivated by a lot more than that, de Soto has explained -- to Congress, in his film, and to me: Bouazizi was under the whim of local authorities, who could choke off his every avenue. There was nowhere to go, no other authority to appeal to, no veritable rule of law. His last words, before he lit the match, were, "How do you expect me to make a living?" ILD asked Bouazizi's family what they thought he had died for. They answered, "For the right to buy and sell."

To Congress, de Soto said, "The average Arab entrepreneur needs to present 57 documents and faces two years or more of red tape to obtain a legal property right over land or a business." In Egypt, the legal opening of a business "requires dealing with 29 different government agencies and navigating 215 sets of laws." Arabs, like the majority of the world's population, lack basic property rights and related rights. They feel left out of the good life, unable even to strive for it. In his film, de Soto says that the Arab Spring amounts to "a huge shout for inclusion."...

Jefferson's original phrase for the Declaration of Independence was "life, liberty and property." We should have stuck with it.

Posted at 8:51 AM

link to WWI posts ****
Every high civilization decays
by forgetting obvious things.
A good man would rather know his infirmity,
than the foundations of the earth,
or the heights of the heavens.
  --Lancelot Andrewes
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