Day 319: A quick tip, a little Dip & a big flip

Here in Ohio it’s Day 319 of a 15-day shutdown and Day 79 of a 21-day curfew. Let that sink in.

Deb and I are ok today.

Hey, check out that header image — it’s another knife. (Sorry, Deb.) I shot that while working in the business, when over the course of nine months I wrote nearly 400 articles on woods tools, woods skills, tips and tricks. This photo illustrated a 2014 piece I did about finding “fatwood” in residential suburbia.

For the the uninitiated, fatwood is the resinous heartwood of pines and the ultimate natural firestarter. Old pine stumps yield the best fatwood, the real thing, but even a live tree will push terpene-rich sap toward an injury when a branch breaks or is cut near the trunk. And since harvesting fatwood from a rock-hard stump or excavating a taproot is a whole lot of trouble, a much handier source of utility-grade fatwood is the stubs of lower pine branches.

The knife in today’s header image is a Kephart model hand-forged by fellow Buckeye and friend Lon Humphrey. To visit his website, click here. For a profile of Lon, which I did back in 2015, click here.

Productivity out in the bus has been severely curtailed by snow and cold lately. We did have a half-day window of 30s yesterday, just warm enough to fire-up one of Ernie’s heat pumps and just long enough to finish-up the security system.

The system’s original communicator turned out to be JANG*, so our friend the installer swapped the panel. Next came teaching the replacement panel to recognize the various peripherals — door contact, smoke detector, CO detector and a remote-control keyfob.

Our friend brought along the simple temperature-monitoring sensor we’d ordered, and we taught the panel that, too. I’ll mount it later — it’s a stick-on deal. Better to wait ’til the walls warm up some.

Then came creating our access scheme, which we weren’t able to complete last month because of the bad communicator, and configuring preferences for arming and disarming, notifications and such.

Done — we’re all set up. Basic as the system is, it’s still pretty damned cool. We couldn’t be happier.

Our little Dipstick continues to test us. (Hey, now.) Recently we took him to the vet to have a broken tooth examined, and while he was there they drew a blood sample and ran some routine tests. The results raised concern.

His ACTH and liver values were wildly out of whack. A urine test a few days later confirmed the vet’s suspicions — The ‘Stick suffers from Cushing’s syndrome.

He’s a textbook case, with all the classic signs — excessive thirst, the annoying tendency to forget he’s housebroken, hair loss, thinning skin, potbelly. It traces to the over-production of cortisol, which can be caused by a small tumor, usually benign, on either an adrenal gland or the pituitary.

Invasive measures, like surgery to remove a possible tumor, aren’t an option and probably wouldn’t be productive anyway. In consultation with the vet, we’ve chosen to treat his condition with medication that suppresses cortisol production, something that’ll need to be monitored closely and which we’ll need to do for him the rest of his life.

I can relate.

Treatment will be something of a challenge, since our plans will take us away from professional veterinary care, but our local doc is being really cool about working with us on that. The good news is that once we find the right levels, our little Dipper is destined to live a happy, relatively normal life. And that matters to us more than anything else.

Deb and I are absolutely eye-to-eye on that. Adopting a critter is a commitment we take seriously, one we fulfill to the best of our ability. Dipstick is grumpy and incorrigible, often exasperating — but he’s a life, not a lawn mower. We got this, Dip.

Lots of right-thinking Americans have been invoking the name “George Orwell” lately, and for good reason — the Left seems to view 1984 as an instruction manual rather than a cautionary tale. I posted an Orwell “flashback” myself last month, posing the question,

“Can we still call something ‘dystopian science-fiction’ after it comes to pass?”

Democrats and other progressives, in relentless pursuit of their totalitarian ideal, are quick to characterize our reaction as irrational, accusing us of succumbing to the fringe. Their success in fundamentally transforming America depends on marginalizing us.

Because we have eyes to see and ears to hear, however, we know better. We’ve watched a POTUS unilaterally kill tens of thousands of jobs he’d pledged to protect, sacrifice national sovereignty to a global elite, throw a grenade into American history, issue mindlessly repressive edicts in the name of “public health,” officially vaporize the biological distinction between male and female, and much more, strutting his new authoritarian moves for all the world to see.

To say that this is merely a shift to the political left, the natural product of going from a Republican executive to a Democrat, ignores the momentum spurred by the 2020 election. We’re not shifting away from American principles — we’re careening toward totalitarianism, enabled by a complacent populace and a complicit press.

For an example of the media’s role in fundamental transformation, look no further than what once was known as the nation’s “newspaper of record,” which earlier this week published an opinion piece entitled, “How the Biden Administration Can Help Solve Our Reality Crisis.”

I’ll make this simple — a “reality crisis,” according to the author, is anything short of universal groupthink. It’s what happens when progressive authority is questioned, when not everyone applauds Daffy McHairsniffer’s every mumble and fart, when more than 75 million citizens have the unmitigated gall to object to the destruction of a country we’d die to defend.

In short, until and unless America becomes “an endless present in which the Party is always right,” Houston, we have a “reality crisis.” Who would’ve thought we’d live to see a free press declare war on free speech?

The columnist goes on to propose “solutions” to the problem that we, by dissenting, represent. Easily the most breathtaking is the suggestion — developed after huddling with “experts,” he says — that Daffy appoint a “reality czar,” a designated permanent-stater to lead the enforcement of “reality.”

Their reality, of course. Thinkpol, anyone?

This goes well beyond garden-variety, every-administration-does-it propaganda. We’re talkin’ state-sanctioned, honest-to-George thought police.

If you’re not inclined to believe that could ever happen in America, you might want to consider that it already has. When your values, your opinions and your speech don’t reflect The Official Reality, you may be punished. You know I have been.

That newspaper, by the way, the one in which the sinister “reality crisis” column ran, now sports the tagline, “The Truth Is Worth It.” I suppose that depends on how one defines “it.”

When it comes to trading for “The Truth” — the progressive truth, The Gospel According to the Left, The Official Reality — I wouldn’t take that for free. I sure as hell won’t give up my Liberty for their contemptible “Truth,” much less my country.

Take care of yourselves, Patriots. Stay calm. Stay sharp. Stay free.

#WiseUp #LibertyOrDeath

*JANG = “just ain’t no good”

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