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It’s been a slow process getting used to the full version of Photoshop. Ten days in, I’m still trying to break habits ingrained over 17 years of using the simpler Photoshop Elements, and those habits are dying hard.

For images that I publish to this blog, all I really need is something that’ll clean them up and present scenes the way I saw them at the time. Photoshop is a powerful tool, offering capabilities I’m sure I’ll rarely (if ever) use. It reminds me of the time that a friend invited me to drive his 500hp 850i across Manhattan in rush-hour traffic — what I asked it to do was nowhere near what it could do.

Every now and then I play with the software’s “artistic” filters. Usually I’m only experimenting — filters never truly “save a shitty photo. Sometimes my fiddling yields an image that I can use for effect, and most of those become social-media profile and cover images, occasionally headers for this blog.

Shortly after we turned onto the road up The Mountain yesterday morning, to my left I spotted a splash of color, a clump of purple wildflowers among a tangle of brush and a fallen cedar. I rolled down the window and snapped a few shots. Later I found that none of the frames were worth much of a damn, even after my customary fluffing.

I should’ve gotten outta the truck and gotten closer to the subject. And yes, I know better. But instead of discarding the shot and moving on to another image, I kept fiddling, eventually landing on Photoshop’s “oil paint” filter.

Without messing with the sliders, using only default settings, suddenly I had myself a keeper (in my opinion, at least) that became the header image for this post. I think it’s pretty cool.

I’m not an incurable tweaker — that is, I’m not a slave to filters, either in Photoshop or on my Samsung phone. But I’m also not so simple-minded that I avoid technology just because it’s technology. These features and devices were created for a purpose, and as long as I don’t lean on them like a crutch, they can make my life better, easier or, as in this case, more beautiful.

The trick, it seems to me, is recognizing when their purpose intersects my own.

There was a time, back in the ‘late ’80s or the early ’90s, that I wanted a Subaru. It offered a near-ideal combination, I thought, of car-like agility and go-anywhere utility, and it had earned an excellent reputation for crash-worthiness and durability. Friends who owned them were fiercely loyal.

I never ended up owning one.

Even now, and to the best of my knowledge, the brand still has all of those tangible, practical benefits going for it. You’d expect, then, that its advertising would lead with that — but no. What do they say “makes a Subaru a Subaru”?


My first reaction, to be blunt about it, is you’ve got to be fucking kidding me. That’s not why I buy a car, a truck or anything else. From a marketing perspective, however, I have to admit that it’s smart — the company knows its target market.

People who buy a Subaru are young, mostly millennials, and they’re woke. They’re motivated by emotion, placing a premium on feelings over facts.

It’s a common approach in advertising these days. Not since before Scope took on Listerine have I seen such little substantive attention to why one product is better than another. And that’s a bad sign.

We’re about to see our third bank failure in recent weeks. Industry insiders (those who don’t have their heads up their asses) have observed that all three spent a lot of corporate energy on DEI, chasing their ESG score, and basically kissing up to Woke Nation instead of doing what banks are supposed to do.

More failures are coming.

I learned today that a young member of our armed forced had decided not to reenlist, despite being tantalizingly close to retiring with full benefits, because the military was no longer focused on its two directives — break shit and kill people. It spent more time pursuing woke initiatives than on preparing to defend the last best hope of Earth. This wasn’t the first time I’ve heard a similar story, and it’s clear that a woke military is a weak military.

Best of luck in World War III.

Life and culture are chock-full of such things. I’m sure you can think of more.

As you and I gather and prepare to restore America, we need to put our energy where it matters — merit and, of course, Liberty. Screw your feelings, and screw woke.

I ‘ve hinted a couple of times that we’ll have company next week — one of my high-school classmates and her husband will join us for six days. We camped with them near their Texas home in June of ’21, and four months later they were here in Harrison. This time it’ll be part of the “shakedown cruise” for their new rig, a diesel-pusher Class A motorhome.

With guests coming, it was time to tidy-up Ernie. As usual, I took on the role of Mr. Outside and Deb was Mrs. Inside. A lot of what occupied us was shifting from cold-weather glamping to warm — for example, I swapped the heated hose for the conventional one and fitted a new filter. After our hosts mowed the lawns on both sites, I re-set our outdoor furniture.

Anticipating joint road trips, I unloaded the back seat of the Silverado and spiffed up the interior a bit, most of that involving Smudge’s muddy paws and wet nose.

This afternoon I started the big diesel for the first time in forever and brought the big bus up onto its airbags. Then I bled off the air, re-set the jacks and leveled the rig. That served to stabilize things after sitting through months of fluctuating temperatures.

By 6pm or so, both Deb and I were pretty much flogged. We stopped for the day, and we’ll take care of the last few things tomorrow morning. But there’s no doubt that it’s a good tired.

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

#WiseUp #LibertyOrDeath

#LetsGoBrandon #FJB