Dec 30, 2012

Et voila. The Kharmic cycle renewed

It still 72 degrees, but I am warmer. It takes either a theoretical physicist or a metaphysician to explain that.

Note: While I can't imagine a reader dense enough consider  the TMR  a how-to manual, you never know, so:

This is not the way to run your fire. All that dancing flame has but two purposes. (1) to get the hardwood going and (2) to make a pretty picture for the internet.

It's the soft squaw wood burning with open drafts, extremely hot. Watch it with a hawk's eye and the same sense of terror Senator Feinstein reserves for shoulder thingies that go up.

In a few minutes you'll see the week-long fire you want, two or three hard logs on a red-hot bed, the logs themselves barely aflame. I report this at the command of the TMR Legal Review Department.

A fire-free funk

The little gas burner, running about half-speed, issues a hissy warmth, and the thermometer on my desk registers 72 degrees. I shouldn't be cold enough to require a jacket over a sweater over a shirt, all topped by my blaze orange hunting cap.

My wood fire is dying, down to a few smoldering embers, marking my hours of depression on a dead winter night. On the other side of the big window it approaches zero,

Still, 72 degrees? Such a swelter would have moved my ancient Gaelic fathers to throw wide the door to the thatched-roof drystone hut.

It must be as Yogi said: "Half  of this game is 90 per cent mental."


About once a week the ashes pile high, and you must haul them out. There is no workaround. You let the fire expire, get the special shovel, and carry it three times across the room, out the door, and along the deck. A deft toss deposits them in a pile.

Meanwhile, you briefly live like most other civilized Americans, with fossil-fuel heat, available at the twist of a knob. If you're me, you hate it. There is something inherently, atavisticly, wrong with comfort so easily won.

A thousand generations of human experience calls it good to loll by fire light and fire warmth. Hearthside is where a man bathes in a feeling of competence; he has mastered nature's cold by personal sweat, personal creativity. How do we praise highly enough that first human who reasoned that if he piled his wood around the fire pit he had a wind break, the first faint conceptualization of a house?


I could do that man, or woman, more honor by  getting up from the goddam computer and taking care of the fireless fireplace right now. But it's still dark, and the magic of the propane fairy is marginally more attractive than stumbling around in the outside night, dumping the dross and assembling kindling and squaw wood for a fresh blaze. I'll do it after sunrise, a couple of hours off. By eight o'clock three or four  large, dry, oak splits will be combustifying happily, and life will again be balanced.

Dec 29, 2012

In passing...

In a sane nation, "Contempt of Congress" would not be a crime. It would be a Pulitzer Prize category.

Dec 24, 2012

Brass Monkey Report

Christmas Eve day dawns just as I remember the season from my extreme youth. That was before Ayn Rand and Ronald Reagan warmed up the globe in order to flood the homes of women, children, and minorities in Newark and Miami.

One of those stubborn, damnable Arctic high pressure systems has clamped its fat and frozen behind on the northern plains. If the 30-day forecast is any guide at all we'll remember this December/January as the two moons of the shrivled scrotum.