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Showing posts from January, 2011

Musing on Directions I am taking

Most of you know that I love to read. At present, I am beginning to renew my acquaintance with Eric Hoffer, the American blue-collar philosopher who wrote a number of books on change, society, and extremism. Hoffer was an unusual man, spending much of his life on the road, sometimes as a hobo.
Born in New York in 1902, Hoffer left the city upon the death of his father, a cabinetmaker. He moved to Los Angeles where he lived on skid row for many years while reading voraciously and occasionally writing. He decided to become a migrant worker, and during a winter, he became a gold prospector and was snowed into a cabin where he read the philosophy of Michel de Montigne and was impressed with his writings. From this experience and his migratory lifestyle, he became increasingly interested in the American underclass. Hoffer was not formally educated, but read voraciously: collecting library cards wherever he travelled. He finally settled in San Francisco in 1941, where he worked as a…

Snow Days

Well, here we are, caught on top of our mountain for the third time this season by snow. I took much of the afternoon today with the tractor gradually clearing the drive so we can use it. Alex and Keila then spread chemicals on the drive and it is reasonably passable.
Being caught in one place is an unusual experience these days. We're used to being able to drive anywhere at a moment's notice, fly off across the world with a little planning...we're the most moble population the world has ever known. Even those of modest means in the United States have exceptional options for mobility.
A drive across the USA today is a matter of a few days: to fly it is a matter of five or six hours in the air, along with time at airports getting ready for the flight and receiving luggage at the other end. Even then, a day's time will allow us to span the three thousand-odd miles of our nation.
A few years ago an XR-51 Blackbird flew the span of the USA in just a couple of hours, ave…