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Musings

  • In a couple of weeks, Irish Woman and I will be celebrating the 20th anniversary of the day we met.  Where has the time gone?
    • Flirtation when Irish Woman and I first met – “Are you single?”
    • Flirtation today – “You’re going to miss that finger when I bite it off.”
  • Irish Woman wants a pool.  I do not want a pool.
    • We compromised.  The pool will be installed in March or April.
    • I will say this – I have no plans to ever get in the pool.  I may be a stubborn ass, but I’m a principled stubborn ass.  I will be content to sit on the deck and watch her clean the pool.
  • Plans for the garden –
    • Build four 2 foot by 8 foot by 1 foot raised beds.  Fill with dirt, peat moss, and acidifier, then plant tomatoes and peppers
    • Build 3-tiered 4 foot by 6 foot x 3 foot strawberry bed
    • Build and plant herb garden
    • Acquire and plant 3 to 5 blueberry bushes, probably in bourbon barrel planters
    • Plant blackberry patch after constructing something for them to grow up
    • Possibly plant some cherry trees
  • Writing continues, slowly.  I’m outlining several different things at the same time, and writing another.  Either my output is going to be a (brief) firehose this year, or I’m not going to get a darned thing done.
    • Novellette/Novella in the Via Serica series.
    • Next in the Boogeyman series
    • Several short stories for a collection I’m thinking of putting together.
    • Maybe, possibly, one more Minivandian.
    • Another project that is very much in the nebulous “Hmmm, I wonder if I can do something with that?” phase.
  • I had to go into my office to get something the other night, and I realized just how little I miss the commute and long trek in from the parking lot.  Maybe working from home semi-permanently isn’t such a bad thing.
  • We are hoping that Boo will be able to attend Boy Scout and Fish&Wildlife camps this summer.  If he can’t, I will set up a tent in the backyard for him, then use the dogs to drive wildlife through his campsite at all hours of the night so that he gets something of the experience.  If I can’t find wildlife, I will dress the dogs up and stampede them over the top of his tent.

Today’s Earworm

Today’s Earworm

Musings

  • So, Joe Biden and wasshername are going to be in the White House here in a couple of weeks.  Guess we’ll just have to see how bad it can get.  I’m not hopeless, but I’m not exactly hopeful either.
    • Look for any progress made in the last 4 years to be washed away in a few months.  ObamaCare is coming back, the Iran deal will be back on the table, and contracts to tear down the border fencing will likely be advertised by the end of the year.
    • Republican resistance will either be stubbornly ferocious or they will fold like a cheap suit.  Guess where the smart money is placing their bets.
    • We’re about to find out if all those judicial nominations were worth it.
    • If you’re not donating to your favorite political and/or litigation group yet, what’s keeping you?
  • Made a trip out of town on Saturday to buy bacon.  You read that right:  I drove almost an hour from home to visit a little ma-and-pa store to buy bacon for Irish Woman.
    • When our grocery store is selling decent bacon for almost $12 a pound, and better bacon can be had for $5 a pound, it’s worth the effort.
    • Picked up some Amish butter, because Amish butter, and a few jars of locally-canned jam.  Elderberry jelly reminds me of something my grandmother would have made, and Traffic Jam (rhubarb, strawberry, and a few other things) just sounded scrumptious.
  • While I was out there, I stopped at one of the larger gun dealers in the area to see what was to be seen.
    • The store was busier than I’ve ever seen it.  Folks weren’t lined up out the door, but it was almost to that point.
    • There were AR-15’s to be had, but they were priced well above my comfort zone.  People were buying them.
    • Nobody seemed to be bothering with short-barreled rifles or suppressors.
    • The only surplus rifles I could find were old, rusty Carcanos, and those were priced at $250.
    • There was a nice selection of pistols, and prices were only slightly above what I remember them being this time last year.
    • Ammunition was thin on the ground.  I saw no 9mm, .45, or .38/.357.  There was also no 5.56, although there was a limited supply of .308 and 7.26×39.
    • There was also some .22, 7.62x54r, and .30-06, but that was all going for about 50 cents a cartridge.
    • .25 was available, but it was even more expensive.
    • There was no buck shot to be seen, and only a few boxes of slugs were available. They did have lots of bird shot.
    • If you’re looking for odd rifle calibers, you’re probably OK.  There was also a lot of 10mm for hand held boomenmachers, if that’s your thing.
    • I picked up a new bore snake, because happiness is a clean gun, and a couple pounds of coffee.   I’m not really in the market for a gun at these prices, and while I’d like more ammunition, I don’t need it in the calibers they had available.
    • When I checked out, one of the employees remarked that they are getting a shipment of ammunition in every day, but they don’t know what’s coming.  Their distributor is just sending what’s available.
    • Apparently a pallet each of 9mm and 5.56 were put on the floor yesterday morning.  The 9mm was gone in an hour, the 5.56 was gone in two.
  • Well, it looks like my days of working from home are coming to a middle.  Our return to work date has been pushed out a few more months.
    • I’m not complaining. I miss seeing some of my co-workers, and my reading is down a lot since I don’t have a commute with an audiobook every day, but being able to roll out of bed, have a cup of coffee, get cleaned up, and then get to work in less than an hour is kind of nice.

Response from my Congressman

I received this in response to my message from the other day.

Dear Mr. Bear,

Thank you for contacting me with your concerns regarding irregularities and alleged fraud in the presidential election.  I appreciate hearing from you and share your concern.

Please find attached a copy of a letter my colleagues and I sent to President Trump on December 9th, 2020.  Our letter requests the appointment of a Special Counsel to investigate irregularities in the 2020 election.  As we state in our letter, the appointment of a Special Counsel would establish a team of investigators whose sole responsibility is to uncover the truth and provide the certainty America needs.  

Thank you again for writing to me.  Please contact me again with any additional questions or concerns.  To receive updates on my work for Kentucky’s Fourth Congressional District, please sign up for my email newsletter at https://massieforms.house.gov/forms/emailsignup.  
Sincerely,

Thomas Massie
Member of Congress

Letters to Congress

Below is the text of the messages I have sent to my Senators and Congressman. If you have any opinion about the upcoming events in Congress and our country, please reach out to your own Senators and Representative and let them know.

Dear Congressman Massie / Senator Paul / Senator McConnell,

As a constituent and voter, I ask that you support those of your chamber who will be objecting to the Electoral College vote on January 6.

Over the past few months, I have watched with alarm the rising tide of venom and hatred directed at anyone who dares to question the legitimacy of this year’s election. The shenanigans we have heard about, read about, and seen with our own eyes are unprecedented.

From witnesses who, under oath, testify that ballots were either altered or counted more than once, to video proof that votes were either brought in under shady circumstances or that poll observers were obstructed or lied to, we have seen more than enough to throw a significant amount of suspicion onto the results.

The state legislatures have, for the most part, allowed this to occur and possibly-tainted electoral college slates to be certified. The courts have abdicated their role as an impartial and non-political arbiter of what is and what is not legal. The options available to us to have narrowed and the responsibility for discovering the truth has fallen to the Congress.

If there is no there, there, then the light of an open debate and vote will help to assuage those of us who have misgivings about the integrity of this election. If something untoward is indeed found, then bringing it to light is of the utmost importance.

Please, support those who want to use the powers of Congress to find the bottom of this mess, and either give us proof that the election is legitimate or correct the egregious wrong of a tainted election.

Respectfully,

Daddy J. Bear
Somewhere, Kentucky

News Roundup

  • From the “Jackass in the Judiciary” Department – A man has filed a lawsuit against a baking company stating that because “Hawaiian rolls” are actually made in California, he deserves some measure of compensation.  The product was originally made in Hilo, but moved to the Polynesian paradise of Torrance at some point.  The makers of german chocolate cake mixes were unavailable for comment.
  • From the “Bed and Breakfast” Department – A home for sale in Vermont has the added perk of having several jail cells attached to it.  As a parent of children who rarely wanted to stay in bed after tuck-in time, I see this as a very desirable addition.
  • From the “Trawling for Trouble” Department – A man in Great Britain recently pulled 19 World War II grenades out of a river near Birmingham.  The gentleman continued to pull the devices out of the water one at a time, but only called the police after he noticed that two of them still had their pins in place.  Folks, you know I’m one of the first to say “That’s not the government’s job” for most things.  But, if you pull one grenade, with or without pin, out of a river, stop fishing.  Let the nice men from the bomb squad drag the bottom for anti-personnel devices.
  • From the “Urban Erection” Department – A gingerbread monolith, reminiscent of metal structures that have popped up in odd places around the world in recent months, was found in a park in San Francisco a few days ago.  Local authorities are looking for the person or persons who put the structure up, reportedly to fine them for lack of a permit, use of GMO flour and ginger, and the lack of signage on caloric, fat, and sugar content.
  • From the “Bad JooJoo” Department – Two people have been arrested in New York after deplaning using an aircraft’s emergency slide while it was taxiing for take-off.  One of the men took a Great Dane puppy along for the ride, which was probably a treat for the pooch.  Other travelers got the exquisite experience of trying to catch other flights to Atlanta from LaGuardia during holiday travel season.  Nothing says “Merry Christmas” like having an unscheduled layover in a New York airport.
  • From the “No Good Deed” Department – The Health and Human Services department has cancelled a proposed $14,000 fee that the FDA wanted from distillers who produced hand sanitizer at the beginning of the Covid-19 crisis.  The fee is normally assigned to companies that manufacture pharmaceutical products.  Anonymous sources tell this reporter tha the distillers’ association meeting about this issue included references to ‘revenuers’ and ‘shootin’ irons’.  In totally unrelated news, the FDA office in Point Barrow has announced an upcoming welcome party for several new members of its staff.

Thought for the Day

Good morning, Happy New Year.

Hindsight is now 2020.

That is all.

Go get some caffeine and report to the couch for the day.

Congratulations to our British Cousins

And for our French cousins, cough cough

Audiobook Review – Spymaster: Startling Cold War Revelations of a Soviet KGB Chief

If you’re looking for an intriguing look into the inner workings of the KGB from the beginning of the Cold War until its end, Tenant H. Bagley’s Spymaster: Startling Cold War Revelations of a Soviet KGB Chief should be in your collection.

From the dark days of World War II through the Cold War, Sergey A. Kondrashev was a major player in Russia’s notorious KGB espionage apparatus. Rising through its ranks through hard work and keen understanding of how the spy and political games are played, he “handled” American and British defectors, recruited Western operatives as double agents, served as a ranking officer at the East Berlin and Vienna KGB bureaus, and tackled special assignments from the Kremlin.

During a 1994 television program about former spymasters, Kondrashev met and began a close friendship with a former foe, ex–CIA officer Tennent H. “Pete” Bagley, whom the Russian asked to help write his memoirs.

Because Bagley knew so about much of Kondrashev’s career (they had been on opposite sides in several operations), his penetrating questions and insights reveal slices of never-revealed espionage history that rival anything found in the pages of Ian Fleming, Len Deighton, or John le Carr. This includes chilling tales of surviving Stalin’s purges while superiors and colleagues did not, of plotting to reveal the Berlin Tunnel, of quelling the Hungarian Revolution and “Prague Spring” independence movements, and of assisting in arranging the final disposition of the corpses of Adolf Hitler and Eva Braun. Kondrashev also details equally fascinating KGB propaganda and disinformation efforts that shaped Western attitudes throughout the Cold War.

Because publication of these memoirs was banned by Putin’s regime, Bagley promised Kondrashev to have them published in the West. They are now available to all who are fascinated by vivid tales of international intrigue.

Spymaster follows the career and exploits of Sergei Kondrashev as he wended his way through the different departments and intrigues of Soviet state security between the end of World War II and the fall of the Soviet Union. We hear about everything from the subversion of staff at the American embassy in Moscow to the suppression of anti-Communist movements in Hungary and Czechoslovakia. The author’s obvious personal connection with Kondrashev, as well as his own experience as Kondrashev’s competitor in the CIA, gives Spymaster a seasoned, well thought out perspective on the shadowy workings behind the scenes in some of the most important bits of modern European and global history.

Bronson Pinchot is a master storyteller, and his narration of Spymaster was just another example of his art. His pacing is, as always, in that sweet spot of not too fast, but not too slow. He does an excellent job of keeping the listener’s attention and helping to visualize the scenes and people that flow through the book.

If you’re interested in true-life spy-versus-spy stories, or are just a history buff who needs to fill in some blanks about the Cold War, I think you’ll enjoy Spymaster.

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