Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Diary

I've made a little progress in the book I'm reading on Milosz, but not enough to comment at length. I have been thinking about why I am interested in him, and it is probably because he seems more admirable to me than most, and I may have some similarities to him. His family structure was vaguely similar to mine when he was growing up. His mother's side was gentry, with a bucolic country estate, but without much money; my mother's family wasn't gentry, but they were well-off for a time and better-educated than my father's family. As in my family, Milosz was an introvert and his parents were extroverts. Like me, he identified with his mother much more than his father, who, like my father, tended to be frivolous. His mother, like mine, was a flirt. This is only background information which may explain why I have an affinity for Milosz, and the more interesting parts should occur much later in the book. I have always felt that my life could have been enriched somewhat if I had known someone like Milosz, but I never ran into anyone like him, and, at this stage, I probably never will. I find nearly everyone in the U.S. shallow and superficial, and my own generation tends to be narcissistic. Generally, I have not encountered people who have had many thoughts beyond their careers, hobbies, social status, material acquisitions or family activities. Even academics and intellectuals seem to set very low standards here, and I have not found any solace within that group. You have to look to Europe or elsewhere to find adults with a grasp of human history.

In this vein, it is rather depressing to observe the current political attempts in the U.S. to reform the tax system. If you examine the rhetoric, it's hard to see any underlying ideas, but, as has been the case since the 1980's, the Republicans, exactly in accordance with the work of Thomas Piketty, are attempting to distribute more wealth to the rich. There is little or no concern about the long-term consequences of the legislation, and I think that Congress and the president may as well be a group of chimpanzees. I have also been reflecting on this article about how only thirty-six percent of Americans know where North Korea is located. It is no coincidence that actual Americans elected the current members of Congress and the president, and I continue to ponder why, exactly, people think democracy is such a good idea. Fortunately, there are a few intelligent, informed people in the world, and I remain somewhat more optimistic when I think about CSER, the organization which is nicely explained in this video. Unsurprisingly, CSER is not headquartered in the U.S.

My mouse-elimination campaign has been more time consuming than in most years. I've made several trips to the roof and cut a hole in a wall in order to access one of their entry points (which was created by poor carpentry a few years ago). In this round I have blocked two definite entry points and several other potential ones. However, they may still be gaining access from somewhere, though I can't be sure yet because I don't know exactly how many were in the house at their peak. At this stage I have begun to escort all caught mice to Cobble Road, about three miles away, where they can live out their days with their kin near the edge of a quarry. Whether or not I eliminate all of their existing points of entry, they should all soon be out of the house for the winter. Deer mice prefer to live outdoors during the warmer months, and it may take them several generations to find any entries to the house once the current invaders are gone. I think that with two warm winters in a row there may currently be a local mouse population explosion, which has caused the mice to seek new nesting areas nearby as the mouse ghetto expanded.

I also seem to be spending increasing amounts of time on equipment care as my property maintenance arsenal grows. Prior to moving here, we had only an electric lawnmower and an electric string trimmer. I now have all-gasoline equipment, including a lawn tractor, a lawnmower, a string trimmer, a regular chainsaw, a pole chainsaw, a backpack leaf blower, a snow blower and a power washer. These all require maintenance, some annually. And I have to install my snow tires before we get a heavy snow.

I hope to take up less mundane topics on my next post.

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