2020 Vision

…A total portrait with no omissions.

Happy New Year, everyone!

The weather here isn’t at all like that shown in the photo at the top of this post. It’s been mild (and mostly dry) for more than a week. I haven’t seen any snow so far this winter.

It’s just that I like that picture a lot. The future Baron took it a number of years ago during a road trip to Southwestern Virginia, one of the most Deplorable regions of our sovereign Commonwealth.

Merry Christmas, Everyone!

The above photo was taken here at Schloss Bodissey ten years ago, on Christmas Day of 2009. It’s not at all like that today; the weather is quite mild, with no precipitation.

I’ll be involved in family doings most of the time today and tomorrow, so posting will be light. However, I hope to post a news feed tonight — God willing and the Creek don’t rise.

Joyeux Noel!

Seneca III sends his Yuletide greetings.

May I wish all you GoVers a very happy and joyful Christmas, hopefully amongst your family and friends; if this is not so either through Service or misfortune, may my thoughts and prayers and those of many others walk beside you this night so that you will not be alone.

I also wish to thank you all for the abundant and thoughtful comments you have appended to the various articles and reports published throughout the year for these in so many ways define our community.

Seneca III, in Middle England on this wonderful Silent and Holy Night in the year of our Lord 2019

For links to previous essays by Seneca III, see the Seneca III Archives.

The Vision Thing

I had my appointment with the retinologist this afternoon to assess the condition of my left eye (which has wet macular degeneration). It has remained stable for three months now, so he is going to switch from a scheduled injection every two months to a situation where he monitors my condition every two months with scans, etc., with no injections unless the situation changes.

That’s all I had to do today — have my eyes scanned, and then a look-see by the doctor. No injection! It’s a good day.

My pupils were still dilated when I got home, which is why I haven’t gotten down to posting until now.

The Forbidden City

Chances are, anyone who is having the problem described below is unable to read this post.

I’ll explain what happened: Late Monday night I started to get reports on skype and by email that people were getting a “403” error when they tried to access Gates of Vienna. The actual text of the message varied, depending on the browser and operating system, but it would look something like this:

You don’t have permission to access this resource.

Additionally, a 403 Forbidden error was encountered while trying to use an ErrorDocument to handle the request.

Since I am a technical dunce when it comes to website mechanics, I consulted with Vlad Tepes and Henrik Clausen about what was happening. They looked into it, and it seemed that a crucial setting on the site was disabled for some reason, and needed to be enabled. Henrik enabled it, and over the next 36 hours people reported back to me that they were once again able to access Gates of Vienna. So everything was fixed.

But only for about 36 hours. I started getting messages today from the same people, and also additional ones, that the same error message was popping up when they tried to visit this site. It’s only happening in Europe and Israel, as far as I know. I’m getting no emails from the USA, Canada, or Australia about the “403 Forbidden” message. Countries affected include the UK, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Hungary, Romania, and Israel. And probably others that I’m forgetting. But not on this side of the Atlantic.

I consulted at length with the hosting service, and the setting that Henrik enabled was still enabled. They can’t recreate the problem, since they’re in the USA. So there’s nothing more they can do unless I can give them specific instructions about what needs to be changed.

Something is fishy here. One time could be just a random glitch, but twice? And all within less than 48 hours.

My paranoid intuition says that when whatever it was the major ISPs in Europe tried to do two days ago failed — that is, when Henrik enabled the setting. So they decided to try something else to accomplish the same purpose. I don’t believe this is a coincidental, accidental malfunction — I think it is deliberate.

But then, I’m paranoid.

So… If you have friends, relatives, or acquaintances that report this problem, please explain what I have posted here. And most of the significant content I post is also posted at Vlad’s place, so they can go over there to stay somewhat up-to-date.

I don’t think this is an issue in the USA because not many people are very interested in what’s going on in Europe. I don’t report on Adam Schiff, Jerrold Nadler, Nancy Pelosi, Bill Barr, or any other facet of the impeachment circus. I leave that to the specialists, and that’s where all the American traffic tends to go.

But this blog has a wide readership in Europe. Or rather, had — I think my European traffic is probably significantly reduced by now.

All the Leaves Are Brown…

I’ve held off posting this wrap-up about the Autumn fundraiser because I was kind of waiting to see if more of my thank-you notes would bounce. However, I’m still writing them, and I’ve got quite a ways to go. So this is an interim update, and if anything else bounces, I’ll post a further update.

Just three thank-you notes have bounced so far, after two attempts apiece. The intended recipient of the first lives in Southern California.

The second one listed no address with PayPal, so I can’t tell you his location. All I know is that his name makes it likely that he is an Anglophone.

The third is in Georgia (the one in Dixie, not the Caucasus).

If you’re missing a thank-you note, that may the reason. On the other hand, you may be one of the people I haven’t written yet!

The most interesting comment I got in reply was this:

In your fundraising posts, you may wish to consider bragging a bit more about niche, reach, influence, etc., e.g.: “The ONLY/BEST daily roundup of news from non-US sources, with UNIQUE videos and translations.” I know of no other source for this info.

He’s probably right. But I told him that I’m a severe introvert, and not inclined to brag. It just goes against the grain. Yes, more self-promotion would probably be a good idea, but this dog is too old to learn new tricks.

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Here’s the final tally of places (leaving out donors with no listed address):

Stateside: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina, North Dakota, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia, and Washington

Far Abroad: Brazil, Croatia, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Kuwait, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, New Zealand, and the UK

Canada: British Columbia, New Brunswick, Newfoundland, Ontario, and Saskatchewan

Australia: Australian Capital Territory, New South Wales, Queensland, and Victoria

The Well of Memory

This post was a “sticky” feature and was on top throughout fundraising week. Scroll down for the whole week’s worth of more recent items.

Autumn Fundraiser 2019, Day Seven

Sunday’s Update: Madonna and Child

At last! We’ve arrived at the final day of Gates of Vienna’s quarterly fundraising week. After today I’ll stop bugging you for three more months.

Tip jarBut this morning I’ll take this final opportunity to remind everyone what this week is all about: Modest donations from lots and lots of readers provide enough wherewithal to keep this website going. The generosity of our donors has enabled us — and now it’s only me — to get by every quarter. Just barely, but I get by.

I’ll have to postpone indulging my taste for champagne and caviar until one of my relatives gets elected to high office and arranges a place for me on the board of a Ukrainian energy company, with a nice seven-figure annual stipend…

If you’ve only just discovered this fall’s bleg, or if you haven’t already hit the tip cup, please go over to the sidebar and make it clink. Alternatively, you can use this handy link.

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My final installment concerning Memory for this fundraising week will be a few more reminiscences of my time with Dymphna.

The photo at the top of this update shows Dymphna and the future Baron. It was taken in the late 1980s, in the late summer or early fall. That summer had been hot and dry — there was a devastating drought early on, in May and June. In some of the photos from June the grass is utterly withered and brown. But by the time this photo was taken there had obviously been some rain, because plenty of green is visible in the background.

When I came across this photo recently, I looked at Dymphna’s face, and it seemed so recent — there she was! And then I looked at the fB — he obviously wasn’t yet two years old. That means that more than thirty years have passed since that early autumn afternoon.

I can remember a lot about what happened between then and now. A few years after the photo was taken I taught the future Baron to read and write, and made him do his sums. Then Dymphna’s mother came to live with us, and I took care of her for a year until she died.

All through the ’90s we were quite poor. I was painting pictures, and not making any significant money doing it. Dymphna was a social worker, and then later had her own housecleaning business. She kept us afloat, but all those years were pretty lean.

Yet we never lacked for anything. My son had no idea we were poor. He had a VCR and lots of videos. I made sure to take him to the beach at least once every summer. We didn’t get to stay at any high-toned beach accommodations, mind you, but that didn’t matter to him — he was just a kid. Staying in a little cabin and eating at Burger King was fine with him.

Just before Y2K I had to stop home-schooling him, because my skills in chemistry and physics were minimal. We sent him to private school, and I found well-paying work as a programmer so that we could afford it. The Lord provided. It worked out.

Just before he graduated from high school, his sister Shelagh, Dymphna’s daughter, died of a methadone overdose. The fB went off to college, and Dymphna went into a tailspin that she never really recovered from.

The foundation of this blog was my idea: I thought it might help her work through the pain of grieving. And it did. Most of you have seen her early work on this site, either when she originally wrote it twelve or fifteen years ago, or in the reposts I’ve been doing since she died. She was a powerhouse of a writer, and putting her heart into her essays help bring her back to the land of the living. Even as her condition worsened (she suffered from fibromyalgia), she kept at it as much as she could, right up until the end.

And now here I am, maintaining the site by myself and dealing with my own pain of grieving. My wife is gone, but she lives on in her writings, and is ever-present with me in this empty house that we shared for forty years.

I will always remember her, as long as memory remains.

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Gentlemanly Conduct

In the last few weeks I’ve noticed a number of new commenters, so now is a good time to revisit this site’s guidelines for commenting.

It will also fulfill a request by Dymphna. Months and months ago she asked me to post the rules for comments used by Mark Steyn’s website, which are similar to ours, and ones that she greatly approved of. I feel guilty that I didn’t do it before she died, but better late than never. Here are the Steyn Rules:

SteynOnline greatly appreciates your comments. We do not, however, publish comments containing: profanity, ad hominem insults, off-topic remarks, overly lengthy responses, commercial or other promotions, ALL-CAPS COMMENTS, incitement to violence or unilluminatingly insulting generalizations about various identity groups. We greatly value comments that are to the point and civilly expressed. Please do not simply put in links. Mark is interested in hearing YOUR comments. A URL is not a comment. Commenters’ email addresses will not be displayed publicly.

These are pretty much the same as my guidelines. The main difference is that I sometimes redact comments that violate the guidelines. If there aren’t too many violations in a single comment, and I’m not pressed for time, I’ll replace the profanity or ad-hominem slights with an acceptable synonym inside [square brackets], or just indicate that a word or phrase (or an even longer section) has been [redacted]. Recommendations that people or groups be tortured, slaughtered, etc. are generally replaced with [intemperate recommendations redacted].

If I don’t have time or am out of sorts, I’ll just delete the comment, which is of course much easier. Repeat offenders — people who just can’t seem to get the hang of the rules, even after having their comments redacted a few times — tend to annoy me, so I just delete such comments.

My habitual shorthand for our guidelines is this: “Gates of Vienna’s rules about comments require that they be civil, temperate, on-topic, and show decorum.”

See also: Guidelines for comments.

Dust Off Those Rusty Keys Just One More Time

Today is the fifteenth anniversary of the founding of Gates of Vienna. It should be an auspicious occasion, but the fact that Dymphna can’t help me commemorate it has kind of taken the starch out of me. I just don’t have that much to say.

So we’ll have some music instead. Thinking about this anniversary made the song “Stella Blue” by the Grateful Dead came into my mind. It was a staple of their live shows for more than twenty years, from 1973 until whatever the last one was before Jerry Garcia died. The studio version was first released in the summer of 1973 on the album Wake of the Flood, but I first heard it at a live show in Philly in March of 1973.

This version is from 1977 at Winterland. It doesn’t include any video footage, but I chose it for Garcia’s fine guitar solos, even if he does blow the words in a couple of places:

The lyrics are below the jump (the official version from Robert Hunter’s collection A Box of Rain):

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Keeping an Eye

I returned a little while ago from the retinologist’s office, where he gave me the latest periodic injection in my left eye, which is being treated for wet macular degeneration.

The good news is that my eyes are doing so well that I don’t have to go in again for three months. Even better: if the condition of my left eye remains stable till then, I may be allowed another hiatus in the ejections. I went almost four years without one in the past (2014-2018), so I remain hopeful.

I’m not back to full functioning yet, so posting will be somewhat light for the rest of the evening. However, I may post a couple of items, and there will be a news feed.

An Autumnal Interlude

I returned late last night from a three-day weekend at an undisclosed (and rustic) location in Quebec. It was more of a retreat than a conference, and there was no agenda as such. A group of like-minded “red-pilled” people simply got together at a picturesque rural venue to eat, drink, and talk.

This enjoyable occasion enabled me to make contact with people I hadn’t seen face-to-face in a long time, and I also met some folks that I’d only known previously through their videos or in email and skype exchanges. I’m a severe introvert, so meeting new people is hard, but it seemed easier when their faces were so familiar from watching Vlad’s videos.

Some of the material that was discussed over the weekend will be made public in due course, and I’ll post it when it becomes available.

It was the last gasp of summer weather in those latitudes. I hail from a southern clime, so when the sun wasn’t shining it felt quite cold by my standards. I stayed inside a lot of the time, but some of the hardier folk from Canada and Europe actually went swimming. They said the water was warmer than the air.

The temperature was 82°F (28°C) when I stepped off the plane last night in Virginia, and it felt WONDERFUL.

I came in too late to post a news feed, but I’m in the process of extracting a lot of items from the email backlog to make an extra-large news feed for tonight.

Going Where the Climate Suits my Clothes

I’ll be leaving shortly on another road trip, and will be gone for a few days. Once again some of my colleagues have volunteered to moderate comments from time to time while I’m gone. However, there will be no news feed until I get back.

This one’s more of a busman’s holiday than the last one, but it will still be something of a break.

Later, dudes and dudettes.

The Dead Letter Office

The thank-you notes for last month’s fundraiser have all been written, and only two of them bounced. One was for a first-time donor in California (it’s amazing how many gifts we’ve gotten from the Left Coast over the years, considering the condition of the state).

The second one was from a recidivist in Alberta. I don’t know what went wrong with that one — I’ve written to him successfully a number of times in the past.

If either of those descriptions fits you, and you haven’t received an acknowledgement, that may be why. And if I missed anyone else (which is possible; I had a lot of notes to write), please let me know.

And then there’s the mystery snail-mail donor in Illinois — you know who you are, but I sure don’t!