The Swarth of the Lie

It’s hard to make a pithy rhyme off that, but I’m trying to poke some fun at the redneck-right and their attempts to appropriate Independence Day. A communal holiday celebrated via explosive displays which, in theory, should be the quintessential melting pot of our national diverse cultures, is instead interrupted by white trash in Silveradoes and F-150s, adorned in home-made signs profoundly and profusely pontificating perversely on the perceived injustices of whichever Democratic politician has sparked their ire at that particular moment, all while ignorantly violating the flag code while they tow a Chinese-made Old Glory from their trailer hitch in the dark and rain.

Prior to home ownership, Liz and I lived in Kettering. I consider it to be generally working class, and until recently it resonated with our lifestyle. And even after moving to Centerville, Kettering seemed more welcoming. Their public service personnel, city events, and general means of living felt ubiquitously middle class. But recently, it’s become more hostile. Through either our own increasing economic means which disconnect us, or Covid’s impact on the broader community, it now feels…trashy. Maybe “dilapidated” is a better word, but I’m not obligated to be particularly magnanimous towards unpleasant people on my own blog.

Anyway – between that and the post-Covid lackluster fireworks trend, the kid losing interest in family outings, and the city deciding to develop the little hill we always parked on for the event – we stopped going.

Then Liz reserved a table at Centerville High School, directly adjacent to where the city hosts their own fireworks, along with a number of food trucks. And aside from the standard menagerie of douchebag teenagers that would be expected at a school-hosted event, the populous was remarkedly less trashy. Also buying a table helped. Yes – money grants privilege (and creates a redneck paywall).

I like money. It lets me avoid people I don’t like.

And our proximity to the fireworks themselves restored for a moment that small bit of magic we all used to feel as little kids. So much so, in fact, that I snapped nary a photo. But I did manage two to mark the event:

More purchased privilege: a Korean-style corndog. There was no breading. It was coated in mozzarella cheese and queso dip, then rolled in crushed spicy Cheetos. I did not finish this abomination, but I could afford it!
A candid shot. The kid was busy messing around with attaching her glowsticks in her desired configuration instead of watching the fireworks.

The pettiness in me will gloat at this change in circumstances. The aforementioned white trash who try to claim the holiday as their own and take the opportunity to shun those who they deem as lesser Americans are in this case themselves excluded due to a fundamental American value: The American Dream. They’re priced out of the community and the events it holds.

It turns out that we’re the true Americans, (along with the plethora of Indians and Asians present at the event with us who also figured out how to succeed in the American economy). And I didn’t even need to make a poster to feel self-righteous.

Happy 4th!


Havahart? Not likely.

Not when the integrity of my garden is at stake.

For weeks I’ve been watching this bastard groundhog mosey out of his cozy borough beneath my deck and take his thrice-daily constitutional into my garden and eat that which I’ve sowed.

Not noticeably an herbacious connoisseur, he ate everything from sunflowers to tomato plants. Every animal it seems must at some point sample a tomato plant, a plant that can’t taste very good. But they try it anyway and cause damage to my most prized vegetable, just to taunt me I think.

Please stop destroying the plants

Unfortunately for them, while I might be a typical Disney-reared suburbanite, I’m also an experienced hunter with a mere respect and appreciation for wildlife. I don’t worship them as a FernGully fairy. It was time for lethal intervention. (And the fairies were more concerned about the trees anyway.)

Unfortunately, the statutes of my dear city of residence state:


   (a)   No person shall discharge any cannon, pistol or other firearm, of any kind whatsoever, or any air rifle, pellet gun, gas gun, BB gun or other similar object within the City. This section shall not prohibit the firing of a military salute or the firing of weapons by men of the nation’s Armed Forces acting under military authority and shall not apply to law enforcement officers in the proper enforcement of the law; or to any person in the proper exercise of the right of defense; or to any person who has applied for and received special permission from the Manager to fire a cannon, pistol or other firearm, or air rifle, pellet gun, gas gun, BB gun or other similar object within the City.

(Ord. 50-71. Passed 7-12-71; Ord. 03-16. Passed 3-21-16; Ord. 04-16. Passed 4-18-16; Ord. 24-19. Passed 12-2-19; Ord. 23-20. Passed 11-2-20.)

   (b)   Whoever violates this section is guilty of a misdemeanor of the fourth degree.

(Ord. 59-74. Passed 7-15-74.)

I wouldn’t want to be guilty of a misdemeanor of the fourth degree! The punishments are actually fairly draconian:

Fourth-degree misdemeanors carry a maximum sentence of 30 days’ jail time and a $250 fine.

I’d probably just have to do some community service, but still. Geez.

So I totally didn’t try to shoot it with a pellet gun.

I’m sad to see this also applies to bows. I can’t shoot a bow in my backyard. People are prudes.

Anyway, so after my non-existent attempts to shoot the groundhog failed to prove lethal, I resorted to trapping.

Awww, what a cute little nocturnal omnivorous scavenger. Not my quarry.

Of course, untargeted trapping can have undesirable results. But the possum was freed to continue raiding my compost.

Eventually, persistence and modified approaches yielded the desired results.

Look at that stupid bastard. He even has stupid-looking teeth on his stupid face. Bastard.

So endeth the groundhog saga. Freed from his mortal coil by means which totally didn’t involve a pellet gun, to raid the gardens of wherever dead rodents go in death.



Calvin and Hobbes – Publication Edits, 2

This may or may not be an edit. It’s possible that it’s a minor printing error, maybe unique to my copy, but I noticed something odd in this strip. And it’s not immediately obvious that it wasn’t intentional.

April 3, 1988

From The Complete Calvin and Hobbes collection. I took this photo.

Notice in the 8th panel in the first photo, Hobbes has what appears to be a visual representation of a dream above his head. Here’s a closeup:

Now the question is: is that meant to be a recognizable object, or is it a printing error, given its color similarity to the background? It looks like a solid object though, with crisp lines and a defined halo surrounding it. Also of note, he was after tuna, explained by the final panel:

Given the limited resolution of hand-drawn reprinted comics, I could see that it is indeed a chunk of tuna that Hobbes is dreaming about. But if that’s true, it really doesn’t add much value to the strip to have made the modification later, so it hardly seems worth the effort.

Was it an editorial change, or a printing error? This one, for the time being, remains a mystery.


Cottage 2024

Yes – the return to Albatross Lodge. This time it was early enough in the year that the basic landscaping needed tending to. I bought a hedge trimmer, but next year I think I’ll buy a flamethrower.

Nature will attack and assimilate given the chance. Or kill you.

Or just make you really itchy.

Also this year – prep work for the bathroom. Yay demo work. I’m getting pretty good at removing drywall though.

My weak modernized body requires more frequent cleansing, and lake baths just don’t cut it. It’s amazing how much oil a set of human skin generates. May a shower be in the future.

On a more recreational note, fishing!

And food.

That about sums up the highlights from a week in Wisconsin. It’s not exactly a fast-paced environment. Which makes it a good vacation spot.

Once there’s a shower.