Dymphna and I have been cranking out the thank-you notes to people who donated during last week’s fundraiser. A donor from WYOMING wrote back to let us know that his state didn’t appear in the list of locations. He asked us to post a revised list that includes WYOMING, so here goes:
Stateside: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina, North Dakota, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia, Washington, and Wyoming
Far Abroad: Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Sweden, Thailand, and the UK
Canada: Alberta, British Columbia, Newfoundland, Ontario, and Saskatchewan
Australia: Australian Capital Territory, New South Wales, Victoria, and Western Australia
It seems that our Wyoming donor — who has been kindly giving to Gates of Vienna for a number of years —previously lived in other states (also way out West), and I had inadvertently picked up one of those states from the record of an earlier donation.
ALSO: My email to another long-time donor bounced this morning. The server at the other end notified me that it would keep trying for 72 hours, and it did; then three days later the final bounce message came in.
So if you’re a long-time (12 years!) donor who lives in Alberta and didn’t get a thank-you note, that may be the reason. I’ve used the same email address every time, but for some reason it didn’t work this time.
UPDATE: The mighty darkness and storm rolled through, shutting off the lights momentarily. Disconnected our wifi. Left over three inches of rain in a half hour or so. And then moved due east, even as it faded…
Ah, August rains. My flowers thank you, but ask for a morning drench instead. Me, I’m happy for what we got.
It has gotten quite dark, even Lear-like, outside. The storms are coming down from the direction of our electric company in the next county.
…will we lose our connection? It remains to be seen…
If all goes quiet, it means (the) Gates are closed for the moment. We’re home, but disconnected.
Most of you already know that we just wrapped up our summer fundraiser. As promised, here is the final tally of places from which donations came:
Stateside: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina, North Dakota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia, and Washington
Far Abroad: Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Sweden, Thailand, and the UK
Canada: Alberta, British Columbia, Newfoundland, Ontario, and Saskatchewan
Australia: Australian Capital Territory, New South Wales, Victoria, and Western Australia
The amount was a little thinner than usual, but we’ll definitely have enough to squeeze by for another three months. And the number of gifts was considerably higher than it normally is, with a lot of first-time donors in addition to the usual suspects. There were just lots of modest donations, and those add up. The turnout pleased me, because it means we have a robust, distributed funding base.
Anyway, now I can relax for a few hours, and maybe catch up on my sleep…
Dymphna and I are very grateful to you all for your generosity, both the recidivists and the first-timers.
This post was first posted on July 30 and was a “sticky” feature for a week. Scroll down for more recent posts, including death threats for a Dutch Muslim mayor, the latest repression of the Copts in Egypt, coverage of Tommy Robinson by the Hungarian media, “cuddly justice” in Germany, a report on Muslims in northeastern India who are being made stateless, and last night’s news feed.
Summer Fundraiser 2018, Day Seven
Dymphna’s Sunday Update: What Is Love’s Worth?
Okay, y’all. Time to step up to the plate and hit one out of the park. Inflation will be here any minute (or so they tell us), so might as well part with your denarii while they’re still meaningful, right? That’s one way of looking at twisting your arm.
As we come to the final day of the Summer Fundraiser, it’s good to see a mixture of new people among the old faithfuls (and some not so old, just enduring contributors). Our golden oldies’ contributions are heartening, and the newbies encourage us to believe that despite the Baron’s decrepitude, we’re still putting subjects and predicates together in a way that’s meaningful. Me? I’m Gates of Vienna emeritus.
I am also encouraged that our reach remains global. Two people in Virginia wielding keyboards on a less-than-speedy connection can still find Aussies and Kiwis and Eastern Europeans, plus the more ‘usual’ folk who’ve always come here. When we begin seeing new donors from New York City (as we have this time) we know we’re hitting all the right notes.
Or maybe they’re saying, “All right, shut up already.”
I will make a promise to all our donors: when any given quarter meets the previous quarter’s goal (plus inflation), we’ll quit at that point. I’ve realized it doesn’t need to be a whole week if our goals have been met. And yes, the B has spreadsheets galore to show me comparisons from previous quarters any way you care to slice it. He’s the numbers guy. But successful or not (and we always have been so far), when it’s over it’s over. We close up our sideshow and get back to whatever atrocity awaits all of us.
[But before we close entirely, it is always my great pleasure to send Vlad Tepes our quarterly tithe. The subject line is “Funny Munny” and I always admonish him not to spend it all in one place. Yeah, he thinks I’m real amusing… The funniest part is that he never remembers that we’re in the process of our quarterly, so the PayPal donation always surprises him. I like dependable people, and Vlad is definitely that, in more ways than I could name.]
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
The song I chose for my final Fundraiser update has a back story. Be patient; the nuances are complicated.
When I was five years old, I went to live in a girls’ “home”. St. Mary’s Orphanage was set up after the Influenza Epidemic of 1918, but by the time I arrived generations later, it had long since morphed into an institution for girls whose parents couldn’t keep them for one reason or another. It was the end of May when I got to St. Mary’s and it would be five years before I went home for good in August of the year I magically turned ten. Ten is the legal age for being a latchkey kid.
Yes, it was a long, long time, but it was the best my mother could do in the circumstances. As an immigrant, she wasn’t entitled to welfare. As a middle-class Irish woman, I don’t know if she could have borne the (self-inflicted) humiliation, but the law precluded her having to make that choice. And by the time she put me in Saint Mary’s we’d been through nightmares of temporary placements.
Back then, Florida had a small Catholic population at somewhat less than two percent. The nuns and priests were mostly from Ireland: what American would live in Florida’s climate and what Irish clergy/nuns could resist the temptation of living in America? So they came and suffered. Thus the majority of professed religious people I knew growing up sounded more or less like my mother. The few times I heard an American accent coming from one of them, I was certain they weren’t kosher.
St. Mary’s was part of the city parish which served Catholics mostly of Italian descent, and, during the week, working people who dropped in for daily Mass on their lunch hour. There was a school going all the way to 12th grade for the whole parish not just St. Mary’s, and a church with the number of priests needed for a full regimen of Masses, plus a rectory to house the priests. The teaching nuns from the school lived at St. Mary’s and took their turns raising us while they were at it. This whole plant took up a square block.
When I was six, a Dublin-born priest came to live at the rectory. I thought of Father Doyle as quite elderly, but that didn’t turn out to be the case. When you’re six, most adults look old. At any rate, he took a particular shine to me because I was so obviously Irish to the bone — to the freckle, that is, many of which dotted my face and arms. Like my mother, Father Doyle was Dublin-born-and-bred. Like my mother, he enjoyed making me laugh — I was usually searching for a reason to laugh. I was a perfect audience.
Father Doyle found out my weakness for Waldorf salad, so he’d have the rectory housekeeper fix it for me. Oh, heaven! The nuns, of course, didn’t approve of this “special” relationship, but a priest outranks a nun, so there you go: Waldorf salad on Wednesdays after school. And Saint Valentine’s Day cards with little girls with freckles on the front. [No, there wasn’t any funny stuff. Just a lonely old man homesick and longing for home but unable to afford the fare, so I was the substitute.]
The good father liked American popular music, though he was a better listener than performer, but his lack of talent wasn’t an impediment. He’d often sing along with the Big Girls (any girl over the age of ten was officially a Big Girl). Back then, genres weren’t so rigid as they are now; “country” music and “pop” were played on the same stations. One song he used to sing to me was “If I Had a Nickel”. He only ever sang the first few lines, since they were the most entertaining.
One cold, overcast morning — January 18th, to be precise — the nuns told us in chapel that Father Doyle had died in his sleep during the night. I was inconsolable for days. Not all the threats of punishments could quell my tears. No threats they could devise compared with my utterly bereft sense of loss. Children are resilient and eventually I quieted, but I never forgot Father Doyle. Every January 18th I recall our brief friendship, healing on both sides. He was only forty-seven when he died, and it would be many years before I considered that “too young”.
The first two lines of his song stayed with me, too, but it wasn’t until the advent of YouTube that I found the song, in its earliest versions:
If you read the comments on that song, you’ll notice that many people came looking for it because they remembered its fragments the same way: a song their father or grandfather sang, one they thought had been made up especially for them. It is a child’s song, I think, because of its simplicity.
I’ll bet each of my children remember that song. I sang it to them as babies — it makes a good lullaby. Maybe that’s why some of them became musicians?
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Saturday’s denarii arrived from:
Stateside: Hawaii, Massachusetts, North Dakota, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Texas, and Virginia
Far Abroad: New Zealand, Sweden, and the UK
Canada: British Columbia and Ontario
That’s it for the Summer Fundraiser! Sometime tomorrow the Baron will include an overall summary in the wrap-up post.
Summer Fundraiser 2017, Day Five
The Baron’s Saturday Update: I shoulda learned to play them drums
This was supposed to be Dymphna’s update, but she’s feeling poorly this morning, so I’m filling in. Part of the reason for her indisposition is Tommy Robinson’s situation — since she suffers from PTSD, Tommy’s suffering resonates with her to the point that her symptoms flare up.
For today’s money-themed video, I’m using the one she would have posted herself if she were well enough. But before I get to that, I’ll recapitulate what we’re doing here for readers who had to work all week and are just checking in for the first time this weekend.
This is our quarterly effort to wheedle you into donating money to help keep this site alive for three more months. Inflation is a scourge: what began as “Pennies from Heaven” on Monday became dollars by midweek, and they’re now twenties, as can be seen from the graphic at the top of this post. What will the image be tomorrow…?
[An aside: During the reign of Hussein it was announced that Andrew Jackson’s gloomy mug was to be removed from the twenty-dollar bill and replaced with the face of some politically correct chick of color — Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth, Maya Angelou, somebody like that. Does anyone know what became of that innovation? Obviously Mr. Trump will not be replacing Mr. Jackson anytime soon. But maybe The Donald was able to put the brakes on the Modern Multicultural $20 Bill.]
Anyway, your job is to drop a Trump or two (or six! Live dangerously) into the tip cup on our sidebar. Or, if you prefer, you can use this new direct PayPal link.
This afternoon I visited the retinologist for my monthly examination and injection to treat the flare-up of wet macular degeneration in my left eye. This is the fourth such treatment since the symptoms recurred three months ago.
The doctor says the eye is doing very well, so I don’t have to go in again for another six weeks. If I continue to do well, the treatments will get further and further apart, and hopefully cease altogether for a while, like they did from July 2014 until this past April.
As eye-pokes (that’s what I call them) go, this one wasn’t too bad. No annoying dancing air bubbles this time, which makes the aftermath much easier to get through. I can’t say I’m back to normal functioning yet, but at least I can read the screen fairly well.
Every time I get an eye injection, I console myself by visiting a nearby retail outlet that has some of the best deals around on wine. They have an astonishing selection of French wines at very low prices. For example, their Mouton Cadet (a lowbrow Bordeaux) is $9.99, whereas you normally pay at least $12-$15 at other stores.
I spent a while cruising around with my shopping cart, squinting at the labels. I got a 2014 Corbières and a 2015 Bordeaux for under $10 apiece.
I love that place! It kind of eases the heartbreak off of having to get a needle in the eye.
Looking at all that wine reminded me of a project that Vlad and I undertook some years ago (his idea, my execution).
Click the image to the right to see the full-size bottle of Château Kafir White Infidel.
The wine in the original bottle that I based the image on is gag-provoking stuff (by my standards). I wouldn’t want to drink it. But the digital version looks quite tasty to me, especially with the piggy on the label to remind me to have some pulled pork barbecue to go with it.
That’s about it for this evening. There will be a news feed, but probably nothing else before tomorrow.
As the public square becomes more and more degraded, as it is consumed by politics (as it once was inflamed by race or religion), it behooves us to pay attention to language. To paraphrase Jordan Peterson, our choice of words is vital to maintaining our own integrity.
Thus, on Gates of Vienna at least, we are going to enforce civility in our comment threads. Civility towards our friends is no problem; courtesy towards our sworn enemies loyal opposition is harder but even more necessary than ever – especially as those on the other side begin to melt in the middle and/or fray around the edges. Let’s take precautions against coming down with their viral infections.
What words will we ? Well, the usual scatological phrases, the ones we learned in the schoolyard but (mostly) knew not to utter in front of the adults. But also scrubbed will be the clever though discourteous ways there are of twisting people’s names or titles. Thus Obummer for Obama is a no-go. So is Shillary for Hillary (and all her variations). Libtard/leftard is another go-to that won’t get through here.
There are lots of sites – Breitbart being one – that don’t moderate their comment threads. You can tell because the IQ level drops precipitously the further down you go into that thread (the permanent Administrative State busy pulling us underwater is not the only Swamp. We have them on the Right, too).
Leftist sites are much worse than Breitbart. For instance, it used to be dangerous to your own personal health to call for the death of a sitting president. Not anymore: you even get to describe your assassination in gory detail, or show up on Twitter holding a papier-maché facsimile of Drump’s head for the camera. Then you’re fêted for your clever double hit. One would be the head, the other would be the twist on his name. No Secret Service agent or FBI employee will show up at your door, as they used to do.
If we’re not careful, we could end up like this doctrinaire leftist who doesn’t understand the basics of the hospitality business in which she is engaged.
“[…]It’s so easy if you just don’t care…”
But at Gates of Vienna we do care. And we request that our commenters abide by our rules for civil dialogue. No doubt you’ve noticed when the words start getting slung around like yesterday’s hash, real dialogue becomes impossible. When integrity remains paramount natural, unforced courtesy blossoms.
Oh, and the comment edits people think Dymphna makes? Guess again. The B tracks the great majority of them. My eyes are worse than his.
I went to the retinologist this afternoon for my monthly examination, and received another injection in my left eye (for wet macular degeneration). Everything went as expected.
I’m a little bit worse for the wear and tear, so posting will be somewhat light this evening.
I’m also cheerful and filled with gratitude, because just fifteen years ago there was no way to treat wet macular degeneration. By this point I would have been well on my way to blindness. A needle in the eye every now and again seems a negligible price to pay in the larger scheme of things.
I arrived home late last night after attending a family event, a relaxed but very hot outdoor gathering in a Deep Southern state. I was able to talk to some relatives I haven’t seen in many years — which was nice, but also disconcerting. For instance, a young lady I last saw when she was about fourteen is now forty, married with a couple of half-grown kids. How strange!
The trip down there and the return trip home were both long and unpleasant. I noticed that Dymphna mentioned in the comments my predilection for “shun-piking”, but that’s only practicable for journeys of 250 miles or less. This trip was much too long for that. I hate interstate driving, but the interstate was unavoidable for last weekend’s journey. Theoretically, it should have taken seven to eight hours each way using a combination of major highways and interstates, but it took much longer than that, both coming and going.
Going down there I hit major construction during rush hour, and did one of those horrible bumper-to-bumper creeps for about thirty miles — the kind of thing that makes travel on the interstate so much fun. It added about an hour and a half to the trip.
So I decided to take an alternate route home, through the mountains. Yes, it’s longer, but it surely can’t take any more time than the other route, can it?
The home stretch of the return trip was up Interstate 81, crossing into Virginia at Bristol. After I passed Marion, signs started flashing that said both lanes were closed due to an accident at mile marker 93. So I started watching the mile markers, and at about MM89 traffic slowed down and then stopped. As it happened, my car became motionless right next to an exit ramp, so I peeled off there and turned right at the stop sign, intending to go east and then north and eventually make my way past the blockage and get back on I81.
Even though I was still a long way from home, I was in an area of Virginia that I know pretty well, so I didn’t have to worry about getting lost. However, I didn’t reckon on the weather. I had watched the storm ahead of us get closer as I came up 81, but I didn’t know the accident that closed the road had had something to do with the weather.
A few minutes into the back country the nature of the storm suddenly became clear. With almost no warning — just a few splats of big drops beforehand — a torrential downpour began. It was like driving under a waterfall. And immediately the hail hit with equal ferocity. I didn’t stop, so I couldn’t really assess the size of the hailstones, but when they broke up on the windshield they looked like they must have been about the size of ice cubes. The sound of them was like gravel being poured out of a dump truck onto the roof of the car.
I was on a winding mountain road with no visible shoulder to stop on, so I kept creeping along, slowing down to 15mph in the worst of it, with visibility of maybe fifty feet or so. The people behind me did the same, except for one impatient fool who passed us doing about forty. I hope he got home OK.
The hail quit after about ten minutes, but the waterfall continued for a while afterwards, so it was slow going. When I came to a main road, I turned left, and not long after that the rain let up. I eventually arrived back at the interstate at Christiansburg. By then the sun had come out. I noticed the flashing signs at the southbound ramp said both lanes were closed at MM93. So for all I know, despite my massive detour through the deluge, I may have still been in front of those poor folks who had been stuck in the backup ahead of me when I left at that exit ramp.
For anyone who’s interested, there are brief articles about what closed I81 here and here. Apparently a tractor trailer jackknifed, and I’ll bet anything it was during the same horrific hailstorm that I was driving through just a little later.
So that’s why I was a couple of hours late getting home last night, and also why I didn’t try to throw together a news feed post before I went to bed.
P.S. The car doesn’t really have any dents from hailstones; the title is mere literary license on my part. This wasn’t real hail like they have out in the Midwest or the Rockies. It was wussy stuff in comparison. But it’s still the worst hailstorm I’ve ever personally experienced.
Our internet connection failed sometime Saturday night. It was the culmination of a week-long community event, with lashings of rain turning this plateau into a swamp.
All that water eventually moved down toward the river, leaving behind drowned server boxes (or whatever they’re called, those boxes dotting the landscape here and there, some of which can be seen from the road). Whatever genius designed this beta model of internet via phone lines planted those boxes smack dab on the ground, thus ensuring heavy rain would drown them. At least that’s what we suspect.
So we can keep our phone service during heavy rains… but the internet goes down in the deluge.
“How much water?” you ask. About five inches in the course of two days or so. But before that, it had been raining steadily for a week so; by Friday the runoff was impeded by the previous soaking. That box just drowned for a while.
[Due to some other glitch, we were without phone service for five days last week…yes, we’re a captive audience out here, ain’t no competition to improve this system. Satellite internet is too unreliable and expensive. The electric cooperative is working on a version that would come through their wires, but what with lines failing due to snow accumulation or trees falling on them, they go out of service right much during the winter, so probably not.]
We did try to have someone log on here and leave a notice, but our proxy firewall prevented their access. And also prevented the bad guys from using us for target practice while we were outside in our wellies, measuring the rainfall.
Anyway, we’re baaack! The sun is shining as though that grey wet week never happened.
I went to the retinologist’s today to get a shot in my left eye, the latest in a series of treatments for last month’s flare-up of wet macular degeneration.
It’s not fun, granted. But the symptoms receded a few days after the first shot, and haven’t recurred. So all I have to do is endure one more in a series of monthly injections, and then the doctor will assess whether I need any more, or can have a break for a while.
My eye is sore, but I feel pretty good, all things considered.
It’s been beastly hot here for the last few days and now we’re facing several days of severe thunderstorms…this current system starts in Washington D.C. and goes all the way down to south central Virginia. Lots of warnings about trees and wind and flooding.
Which means we may lose our power more permanently (it’s been flickering off and on) when the brunt of it hits here…
…so y’all know the drill: if it looks as if the lights are on and no one is home, the situation will be exactly opposite: we’ll be home sans electricity.
So leave your comments, they will see the light as soon as we do.