Hey, Microlimp

Solitaire is not a social game. If I open a Solitaire game I don’t need to log in. All I want to do is play the game.

I deleted your stupid Solitaire game because instead of letting me play it started doing something with “save data” in “the cloud.”

Why the hell do I need to save missile-firing Solitaire games in the missile-firing CLOUD???


Is It September Yet?

<checks to see if college football has started>


Of Wolves and Men

Having recently posted a “filk” of a song by Steppenwolf, I thought I ought to finally get around to reading the Hermann Hesse novel that the band’s name cites.

First I looked the work up on Wikipedia, and found that it

reflects a profound crisis in Hesse’s spiritual world during the 1920s while memorably portraying the protagonist’s split between his humanity and his wolf-like aggression and homelessness.

Both of my e-published short stories have touched on this human duality, so I was immediately interested.

I found it available as an ebook but given the Wikipedia description I decided to hold off on buying it until I had read the free sample. Unfortunately I didn’t get far.

In the preface, Hesse’s protagonist meets the man, Harry Haller, who is the “Steppenwolf,” when the latter takes a room at his aunt’s house. He invites Haller to a lecture by “a celebrated historian, philosopher, and critic, a man of European fame,” who instantly disappoints Haller merely by flattering the audience. Hesse’s protagonist somehow manages to read an entire, eloquent critique of early 20th-century Western civilization in Haller’s fleeting expression. I couldn’t help but imagine the “Steppenwolf” having an identical disappointment upon reading the paragraph.

I’ll say this about the theme as described by Wikipedia’s editoriat, since I doubt I’d ever get through the novel itself.

As the story begins, the hero [Haller] is beset by reflections on his being ill-suited for the world of everyday, regular people, specifically for frivolous bourgeois society. In his aimless wanderings about the city he encounters a person carrying an advertisement for a magic theatre who gives him a small book, Treatise on the Steppenwolf. This treatise, cited in full in the novel’s text as Harry reads it, addresses Harry by name and strikes him as describing himself uncannily. It is a discourse on a man who believes himself to be of two natures: one high, the spiritual nature of man; the other is low and animalistic, a “wolf of the steppes”. This man is entangled in an irresolvable struggle, never content with either nature because he cannot see beyond this self-made concept.

One of the things about cowboy fiction that distinguishes it from most other genres is that it often places the characters in a wild situation where whatever civilized sensibilities upon which they might have built their self-image will be challenged, with life-or-death stakes. This is not to say that cowboy stories were the first to do this; James Fenimore Cooper’s Natty Bumppo tales, of which only the last actually takes place in what we now think of as cowboy country (though several decades early), may be the first American examples.

The usual outcome of a cowboy story is that the good guy, who champions the moral code of the civilized but resorts to lethal necessity in extremis, wins out over those who have shed not only the trappings but the ethos of civilization. The latter have resolved the duality issue by going all-wolf; the former, by recognizing and to some extent domesticating his inner wolf in service to his humanity.

The theme is that people need both facets of their humanity to survive in a world of blood and dirt. Civilization is no better served by those who keep their monster irretrievably caged even in case of need, than by those who feed their inner angel to it and let it rampage uncontrolled.

Update, a few hours later: I’ve resumed reading the sample, still in the preface. Hesse has his prefatory protagonist and the Steppenwolf speak of being caught between two ages.

To me, the time between ages is itself an age. Having been born when I was, I’ve been through at least a couple of these; they’re easier to get used to than Herr Hesse might have believed.

That droll hippie observation about “…there you are” could be just as apt about when.

I have long believed, though, that very little of German philosophical writing has aged — or exported — well. This isn’t doing much to challenge that opinion.

So why has so much German philosophy gained such wide currency? It’s not always easy to see the holes in inapt criticism when one does not yet know oneself. Today especially, inapt criticism has found fertile ground in recent generations deprived of a complete background in their own history.

Obviously though, this is by no means new.

‘Nother update: Turns out the preface is the most readable part of the novel.


So earlier today I texted to Mrs. McG: “Would a retired wine lover call his hobby vineyard a cru de coeur“?

To which she replied, “If he also grows tea leaves it could be a cru de thé.”

We seem to deserve each other…

It’s a Western Thang

Yesterday on The Weather Channel’s coverage of Harvey’s aftermath in Texas, I watched Jim Cantore interviewing evacuees — who seemed to be reassuring him more than he could them.

One of my rotating sidebar quotes is, “Westerners don’t complain about bad weather; we brag about it.” I’m also on record against gratuitous drama.

Of course, I wouldn’t live on the Gulf Coast for anything. When there’s a choice, living in what the weather geeks call a “brown ocean” is gratuitous drama.

Born to Be Riled

Apologies to Steppenwolf and music lovers everywhere. The SJWs can suck it.

Got my outrage runnin’
In the middle of the highway
Seekin’ validation
For always havin’ things my way
Oh golly gotta make it happen
Or I might as well fade away
Shout my every grievance at once and
Ruin the whole world’s day

Gonna put chains on you
Don’t waste time trynna ponder
You deserve to lose ’cause
My opportunities I squander
Oh golly gotta make it happen
Or I might as well fade away
Shout my every grievance at once and
Ruin the whole world’s day

Like a true tantrum child
I was born, born to be riled
Roll your eyes and sigh
As I stamp my feet and cry
Booooorn to be riiiiiled!

Upward Mobility Ain’t What It Used to Be

I can remember when upward mobility meant upward in terms of income, and the attendant opportunities to do the things you wanted to do.

Now it’s upward in terms of the esteem of the hive mind? Is this how we Boomers raised you kids?

Premium mediocrity is a pattern of consumption that publicly signals upward mobile aspirations, with consciously insincere pretensions to refined taste, while navigating the realities of inexorable downward mobility with sincere anxiety. There are more important things to think about than actually learning to appreciate wine and cheese, such as making rent. But at least pretending to appreciate wine and cheese is necessary to not fall through the cracks…

Clearly, premium mediocrity is a generational thing, something you “had to be there” to experience in full. It is not for the comfortable-in-your-own-skin, because all skin is off-the-rack and therefore very much not premium.

Actually, though it’s a long slog, read it all. I’ve been riffing above on my initial reaction to the piece, because it’s easy to quit partway through and come away misunderstanding it. For myself, if I had kids, I would want to know that they are dealing with real circumstances sensibly and practically, rather than putting up a front. But my parents lived through the Great Depression, and the skills and attitudes they picked up then had a lot to do with how we made it through our own hard times in the ’60s and ’70s.

Quit Beating Around the Bush, Lefties

Move on to burning books, lynching deplorables, and fire-bombing people’s homes, already. Drop the mask and show your true colors.

It’s not as if your allies in the media have any integrity left. Of course they’ll keep covering for you.

Addendum: Today’s soundtrack: “Born to Be Riled” by Goosesteppenwolf.