Stop Me If You’ve Heard This …

J: So glad to see you again, Ragnar. I treasure our little chats, they come around so seldom.

R: Well, being a disembodied spirit is not all fun and games. I’ve got lots of territory to cover.

J: There’s a great demand for your advice?

R: You better believe it.

J: Enlighten me.

R: The problem most people have is perspective. But when you can call on a man with centuries of experience, well, what can I say – it sharpens things up a bit.

J: As in?

R: All this fuss about January 6, 2021, for instance. The whole story just makes my axe-arm itch.

J: Yes?

R: The problem is with the lawyers dragging things out, you know

J: I do, indeed.

R: Back in Kattegat, where there were none of those, we would have had this all settled by January 7. It would have been clip-clop and the whole business would have been behind us. Then we could get back to pillaging as quickly as possible.

J: I see.

R: And for a Viking, pillaging is where it’s at, you know. We’re men of action, not farmers.

J: There is poor soil in Norway?

R: You bet. I’d rather have freezing salt water in my face for a week than scratch in the dirt for one hour.

J: I didn’t realize you felt that strongly about it. But could we get back to the January 6 proceedings? What would be your advice to the United States?

R: Clip-clop. And the sooner the better.



I have almost reached maturity, and am of an age where I believe that I don’t have to make any accommodation to b.s. any longer. If I am at a public gathering and someone begins to spout nonsense, I grant myself carte blanche to get up and walk briskly to the door. If I see any in print, that page goes to the bottom of the birdcage.

These days it is hard to decide where in our fine country that the greatest amount of b.s. is being produced, but right up there hustling for the #1 slot has to be the state of Texas, which is presently trying to enshrine in law statements that should be a complete embarrassment. That providing evidence-based medical care to children with gender dysphoria is child abuse. The hearings are a circus, where the sputterings of clownish M.D.s with no experience or expertise in the field are being put up against the testimonies of doctors who are actually knowledgeable.

At some point in my long career I began to notice that many of my colleagues were dunces. Oh, they had made it through med school and residencies, but that can require little more than a good memory and a willingness to put in the time. Getting that M.D. degree does not at all guarantee that you are a thoughtful person. Many of these ignorant bozos are now testifying in Texas. There is no reason to give more weight to the utterances of such men and women than to those of somebody you find sleeping it off in an urban doorway. (A problem for M.D.’s especially is that if enough people listen to you, you begin to get the idea that what you have to say is important. Not just on subjects that you know something about, but on everything.)

Who knows how the mess in Texas will come out? It is one more instance of the anti-science and anti-knowledge campaigns that have become so popular on the political right being passed off as truth. It’s not really about the care of children. People are using the issue to press their claims that there are men and there are women and that’s that. No variations allowed. Unless Bobby and Sally have a regular old nuclear mommy and daddy it gives these people such a headache. To try to sort out trans from cis and gay from straight … well that’s just too much trouble.

I confess that I am unsure as to what is the very best way to raise an LGBTQ child. I am also unsure as to what is the very best way to raise a straight child. But in both instances, I have no confidence at all in the ability of a clot of politicians to inform me.


The Story, by Brandi Carlile


On the well-worn subject of bathroom confusion. Signs like this one that are popping up I find amusing, and perhaps say all there is to say. No matter who wanders into the restroom that I am using, as long as they don’t bother me they are welcome to the next stall. If they need paper because their dispenser is empty, I will help in any way that I can.



Reading a fluff piece this morning, it was about a man who was described as a soccer player, entrepreneur, and influencer. It came as a sudden shock to me as I read it that I am so far out of the mainstream that I am no longer being influenced. By anyone.

I am basically a shoddily preserved version of my 1950s self. I’ve only changed my haircut, and that had to happen because the amount of scalp hair had thinned to where I was forced to do something different to avoid being snickered at as I passed.

And one absolutely hates being snickered at when one passes.

But here I am wearing the same styles of clothing, listening to the same sorts of music, using the same slang phrases that I did in high school.

Maybe I should be looking into some of the modern alternatives. Tighter pants … looser pants … higher or lower rise jeans … more bling … this scent or that … exploring the world of mascara … it’s exhausting to think about.

But, I ask myself, why bother? Who would even notice or care? To tell the truth, if I were to show up nude in the public square the shopkeepers would probably call animal control.

Maybe it’s not such a bad thing to be locked into the 1950s after all. At least the parts like where Bill Doggett’s most famous composition was drifting over the hot asphalt of the streets of West St. Paul MN on summer evenings in 1956.

Honky Tonk Part 1, by Bill Doggett
Honky Tonk Part 2, by Bill Doggett



The Christmas Village is now up and running on the sofa table, which declares the holiday season open here at BaseCamp. At one point, several dwellings ago, we had around 30 buildings in the set. We’ve given most of them away as our living space has grown smaller, and are now down to the ones you see here.

There are going to be no further reductions. No mas. Even if we moved to a tiny home or a remodeled shipping container, we are bringing these with us.

To us it’s the small stuff of Christmas that we enjoy more and more each year. A little Christmas Village here, a pine garland there, bake a few cookies, you know the drill. No longer are we the prisoners of competitive home decoration, outlandish gift wrappings, and having to bake enough cookies and pastries for the regiment. It’s good riddance to all of that, as far as I’m concerned.

This is going to be an unusual Christmas, since we will actually have several guests over the holiday. On one day or another, we are hosting Ethan, Sian, Justin, Jenny, Kaia, and Leina. That will be lovely, but even when it’s just Robin and I, we happily sit ourselves down and talk over Christmases past with one another. Not only the ones we have shared, but all the way back as far as our individual memories can take us, way before we got together.

It never gets old for me. Of course part of that is because my memory has so many holes in it that I hear every story for the first time. When a friend says “Stop me if I’ve told you this one,” I never stop them. It’s all brand new.


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