Jane Haddam’s WordPress weblog

And The Colder It Gets

with 7 comments

Well, fortunately, it hasn’t been getting colder.

It’s been getting warmer all day today, so that after something like five days I have actually been able to sit in this office and work at this computer.

It’s not the coldest it’s ever been.  I can remember a time in around 2002 or so when it would easily hit -9 or -12 in January and February.

We didn’t get below zero where I am this time, although a c0uple of places to the Northwest and Northeast of us did.

Still, it was cold enough so that my office–the sunroom–wasn’t workable, even though the sunroom is heated.  I think I’m going to need to replace the auxilliary heating system sometime soon.

Since this didn’t seem like the time for it, I spent the last  half week trying to write a syllabus in the living room under a pile of quilts.

The living room isn’t the warmest place in the house, but the warmest place is the upstairs bathroom, and when I wasn’t doing that, or cooking, reading.

And I did get a fair amount of reading done, and a LOT of Stash Lemon Ginger tea drunk, and I finally managed to get over whatever it was I had.

What I read and completed while I’ve been holed up in the living room was:

6) C.S. Lewis.  An Experiment in Criticism.

7) John Fonte.  Sovereignty or Submission: Will Americans Rule  Themselves or Be Ruled By Others?

In terms of talking about books here, I think I’m going to let the Lewis pass.  It was interesting in some ways, but also sort of vague, and it was very short. 

The central idea was certainly worthy of discussion–but I think I’ll save it for a time when I feel like hammering away about Literature again.

The Fonte, on the other hand, was fascinating, and the next time I get on to write a blog post, that’s the one I’m going with. 

For one thing, it made clear to me things that I’d never been able to put together before–like why UN “human rights” conventions are always full of stuff that is a “global norm” only to global “human rights” activists and that is simultaneously anathema to 99.999% of everybody now living on earth.

It also gave me a whole new criteria by which to judge whether a politician deserves my vote, and a whole new direction (and a better and likely to be more effective one) to combat what up until now I’ve called the Professionalization of Everything.

But that’s a longer post than I have time to get to today, so I’ll just leave you with this.

It’s been very, very cold.  And downstate from me are a lot of people who were left homeless or half-homeless by Sandy who are trying to ride this out in shelters and temporary housing, and the whole thing is a complete mess.

We heard a lot after Katrina about the continuing mess everything was in.

We’ve heard very little about Sandy.

But in case you don’t know it, FEMA didn’t do much better this time, most of the places worst hit are still an unholy mess, and there is, at the moment, no end in sight.

Now I’m going to go worry about my chickens, and get back to the Syllabus from Hell.

Written by janeh

January 27th, 2013 at 5:17 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

7 Responses to 'And The Colder It Gets'

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  1. (groan) $14.27 for the Kindle edition of the John Fonte book. That would save me about $10 on shipping costs to Australia but I’ll wait for more information before buying it.


    27 Jan 13 at 6:42 pm

  2. Hmmm. I’ve read that particular Lewis, and he seemed quite clear and insightful to me. But it is true that when I read it, I’d just finished reading three other volumes of Lewis on literature: A MIND AWAKE, ON STORIES AND OTHER ESSAYS ON LITERATURE and SELECTED LITERARY ESSAYS. I don’t know much of the “vagueness” was our different approaches to lierature, and how much that I was familiar with specific examples and had already seen the ideas worked out in the long form.

    Fronte is new to me and will have to wait for your exposition.

    But as for Sandy vs Katrina, SURELY you aren’t implying that how an executive action is reported would depend on how well the media liked the responsible executive, are you? Because we all know that can’t be it.

    I continue to use the response to the San Francisco earthquake and fire as the benchmark for getting people under cover and essential services restored. So far, FEMA can’t get anywhere near that. But then that was just local executives and military men on the spot making decisions without professional emergency response staffs and long periods of consultation. They wanted to end the emergency, not manage it.


    27 Jan 13 at 6:50 pm

  3. Robert, Queensland (an aussie state) has just been hit by a bad hurricane. Lots of wind damage and flooding. As usual here, the state and local governments are doing the work. The Australian defense forces will provide helicopters and manpower as needed. (check http://www.smh.com.au) for details.)

    If you look up the Fonte book on Amazon, read the 1 star review. Its a classic example of “I hate my country”.


    27 Jan 13 at 7:35 pm

  4. I’ve read a lot of Lewis, but not that one, and I haven’t read anything by Fonte, although I looked it up and read the description and some excerpts. If I read the whole thing, what I have to say might not be relevant – and I might not get my thoughts down very clearly, either. But here goes.

    It seems to me that a lot of the people who write and talk about the dangers of world government etc. write as though there’s some sort of organized conspiracy out there. I’m not at all sure there is. I wonder if it isn’t more a case of certain ideas floating around, being grabbed and discussed by people who find the ideas congenial, and who then promote them. This doesn’t necessarily make the ideas less dangerous to people who value more local autonomy, and it certainly doesn’t make them easier to combat if their opponents also support the freedom of people to believe what they want and even act on them unless they injure others by doing so. But it does make me tend to dismiss outright any claim of a looming End of the World As We Know It discussion of evil cliques plotting in secret. It puts the whole thing in the category with people who think that they have to wear tin foil hats because the aliens are conspiring to take over the earth by reading people’s minds. And it’s not as though there’s any particular secret about the fact that a lot of people seem to think that a highly bureaucratic multi-national authority is a good thing! On another site I recently responded to someone who said in a discussion of whether or not an international legal system would be accepted, that the European Court of Human Rights (47 countries accept it!) was an example of one that worked. I responded with concerns over the use of positive as opposed to negative rights – I don’t think I got into judges or bureaucrats making law, which is something I worried about in Canada when we brought in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

    Anyway, now I’m rambling.


    28 Jan 13 at 7:06 am

  5. jd, quite right about the One-star. He was the fourth branch of the Coaliton that Give Me the Willies, along with outright black and brown racists, the ones who think any growth of government is a good thing and the REALLY scary ones who think a powerful and intrusive government is great–but only when they get to run it. Otherwise it isn’t legitimate. A book or so back, Al Gore laid the ideological foundations for the abolition of democracy, and it passed almost completely without comment.
    As Cheryl says, why bother with conspiracy? Lenin, HItler and Mao all did exactly what they said in public they were going to do. So too with this batch.


    28 Jan 13 at 9:07 am

  6. Hmm, I agree about not bothering to claim conspiracy but there seem to be a lot of what might of might or not be “unintended” consequences.

    For example, free travel between EU countries sounds sensible and convenient (just show your passport once) but does result in no control over who enters an EU country and allows mass movement of people from poor countries to rich ones.

    And an international court to try “war criminals” sounds good until I remember that a lot of the “I hate Bush” crowd called him a war criminal. What do they think about Obama using drones to attack people in Pakistan when the US is not at war with Pakistan?

    Please define “war criminal” and specify what countries will supply the judges.


    28 Jan 13 at 8:32 pm

  7. And which legal system they will use, and who gets to vote on changes to the legal system.


    29 Jan 13 at 7:39 am

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