Dept. of Literary Takedowns

Patricia Lockwood eviscerates John Updike, deservedly so, in this longest piece at the London Review of Books. Make time, book nerds; there are few literary traditions more delightful than this sort of body slam.

A bit:

In a 1997 review for the New York Observer, the recently kinged David Foster Wallace diagnosed how far Updike had fallen in the esteem of a younger generation. ‘Penis with a thesaurus’ is the phrase that lives on, though it is not the levelling blow it first appears; one feels oddly proud, after all, of a penis that has learned to read. Today, he has fallen even further, still in the pantheon but marked by an embarrassed asterisk: died of pussy-hounding. No one can seem to agree on his surviving merits. He wrote like an angel, the consensus goes, except when he was writing like a malfunctioning sex robot attempting to administer cunnilingus to his typewriter.

The whole thing is brilliant. My hat’s off to Lockwood, for the piece and for the sacrifice of reading so much Updike in order to write it.

Trumpian Conspiratorial Thinking Claims Train

An insane doofus railway engineer took control of a fucking TRAIN and used to to try and ram the USNS Mercy in an LA port on the grounds that it’s “suspicious” and that he does not believe “the ship is what they say it’s for.”

The train crashed into a concrete barrier at the end of the track, smashed through a steel barrier and a chain-link fence, slid through one parking lot and then a second lot filled with gravel and hit a second chain-link fence. It came to rest after passing under a ramp leading to the Vincent Thomas Bridge. The train remained in that position Wednesday.

Also:

He allegedly made statements to a CHP officer that included “You only get this chance once. The whole world is watching. I had to. People don’t know what’s going on here. Now they will.”

The best part of this, if there is a best part is that he “has been charged with one count of train wrecking, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. The charge carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison.”

I love the specificity.

So you’re working from home…

Let’s talk about working from home.

So the whole damn world is on lockdown, or should be, and those of us that can work from home are doing so. This is good! It’s better for the economy — which is absolutely going to take a hit, so having some portions able to continue to function and those employed in those portions able to keep spending money will help the recovery.

(And, let me just say this out loud: If you’re in a job that isn’t impacted, and you expect to keep getting a check, SPEND SOME DAMN MONEY at places that are hurting.)

But working from home is a new idea to lots of you. You might never have really done it before — sure, that one time little Sally Sue had the sniffles, and you “worked from home” to take care of her, but at the time it meant you called into a staff meeting and sent 12 emails. This, candidly, is not that.

I, on the other hand, have worked from home for most of the last 19 years, in a no-shit home office. Let me tell you a few things I’ve learned about being truly productive away from a communal office environment.

  1. Work your regular day. It’ll be tempting to drift in and out; that just sabotages you. Try to get some shit done. Nobody’s gonna come by and chatter about some stupid reality show! There’s no big play to discuss from last night! You can be hella productive!

  2. Use a chat tool. Doesn’t matter what it is — my company just uses plain old Skype — but by signing in and being available, you signal to folks that you’re In The (Virtual) Office. This is useful. There are lots of options for this; ask a nerdy coworker if one of them seems to mesh better with your office than others.

  3. Get dressed. This varies — not everyone needs to do it — but I’d advise y’all that are new to WFH to go ahead and get up at your normal time, take a damn shower, and put on adult clothes. You don’t need to dress in full biz-casual, but do put on a pair of pants and a decent shirt. Then, you can signal to yourself that you’re DONE working by changing into lounge clothes after quitting time.

  4. Establish boundaries. There’s a real tendency in new WFH folks to let the barrier blur a LOT between work-time and family/personal time. Don’t do this, at least not at first. Again, you’re new to this mode of work, so take care to avoid disrupting either home life or work life by allowing one to intrude on the other. (I do this by only RARELY taking my laptop out of my home office.)

  5. Designate a work space, and keep to it. Not everyone has the space for a true dedicated home office, but everyone can establish a place that is Work. Don’t make it the couch. Use one end of your kitchen table, or put something together in a corner that is now Your Office. Stay there when you’re working. It’s waaaaaay too easy to let “I can work ANYWHERE” get in the way of actually getting shit done, so don’t vary from this rule until you have a pretty good handle on it.

  6. If this becomes an ongoing thing, buy (or expense!) a desk. A chair, too. I’ve seen some WFH setups that made MY back hurt just looking at them. Ergonomics still matters if you’re at home; take care of yourself here. You don’t have to go nuts on this stuff; just get something that’ll work.

  7. Buy a headset. Seriously, buy a damn headset. Don’t be the guy who joined the telecon on a speakerphone and introduces crazy echo into the call. They’re not expensive, and don’t have to be giant heavy affairs. Mine is super light.

  8. Upgrade your home internet. Since I work at home full time in a major city, I have the fastest internet connection you can buy (1Gbit symmetric). This is probably more than you need, but if you’ve only ever been occasionally streaming Netflix and scrolling Facebook, you may find the demands of constant conference calls and screen sharing and VPN connections to exceed the capabilities of your package. Talk with your provider about a bump, especially if your office will subsidize the increase.

  9. Bring your second monitor home, if you’re used to using one. This is self-explanatory — just do it. While you’re at it, grab your mouse and keyboard, too, if you prefer them to your laptop.

  10. Close the door. If you’re not at home alone during the day, close the door to your work area if you can. I realize this may not be possible if you’re also juggling your suddenly un-schooled kids, but if you CAN do this it’s a good idea.

  11. Embrace the flexibility. You’re at home! This means you can, if you want, get a load of laundry done, or put something in the slow cooker, or do something similar with your coffee breaks. Don’t slack off this way, but you absolutely can and should lean into this aspect of WFH — it can be a real game changer. (At our house, if I didn’t do some of the laundry during the workday, we’d DROWN in workout clothes.)

  12. Finally, you CAN and SHOULD (if it bothers you) say NO to video. Video rarely adds much to a conference call, and makes many people feel self-conscious. It also clobbers your bandwidth. Your camera can be “broken” or “for some reason it’s not working” or, if you’re senior enough, you can just say no. Video is great for talking to your mom or other loved ones, but in a biz context it’s mostly sizzle with no steak except in pretty narrow contexts. Avoid.

Solnit on Harvey Weinstein: “To be a woman is to be forever vigilant against violence.”

Rebecca Solnit has long been one of the most important voices writing in the 21st century. The first two paragraphs of her piece on the Weinstein verdict give you an inkling why I say that.

There was a man who was in charge of stories. He decided that some stories would be born, expensive, glamorous stories that cost more than a hundred minimum-wage earners might make in a hundred years, filmy stories with the skill of more hundreds expended so that they would slip in like dreams to the minds of millions and make money, and he made money and the money gave him more power over more stories.

There were other stories he decided must die. Those were the stories women might tell about what he had done to them, and he determined that no one must hear them, or if they heard them they must not believe them or if they believed them it must not matter.

More Media Archeology: Sideshow Tramps Edition

Looking for something else on my laptop, I found a folder of very, very old pictures taken with, I think, a Palm Treo. (At any rate, they’re all VGA-resolution pictures, which means 640 x 480 pixels. By contrast, the pictures I take with my iPhone are something like 4000 x 3000.)

The timestamp says these are from March 11, 2005, but those of us that were there remember it as “the night the Tramps played through a convenience store”:

Jeff, agog:

Photo 031105 001

The Rev (l) with nudie mags:

Photo 031105 003

The now-famed Mr Mueller, bassist to the stars, wearer of excellent jumpsuits:

Photo 031105 004

Mr Lauder:

Photo 031105 005

Craig again:

Photo 031105 006

“Anonymous” Big-Fiddle witch:

Photo 031105 007

Shane again:

Photo 031105 008

No such thing as too much banjo:

Photo 031105 009

Long-haired monkeyman!

Photo 031105 010

Back “home” on the stage at Alabama Ice House:

Photo 031105 011

Who smokes?

Years after an indoor smoking ban here in Houston, and after spending a LONG time in the endurance sports community, I can almost forget people still smoke.

So imagine my shock to read this, about how smoking intersects with Coronoavirus, and in particular about the shocking smoking rates in China:

First, 52.1% of Chinese men smoke. That is quite high. Smoking in the US peaked in the 1950s at around 45%. It’s now just under 15%. (Since smoking at the time was heavily gendered, the total for men was likely significantly higher.) […]

But this wasn’t the number I found most surprising. It was how deeply gendered smoking is in China. 52% of men smoke but only between 1% and 3% of Chinese women do. In other words, smoking in China is an almost exclusively male phenomenon. The delta between the two numbers is what surprised me most.

Smoking in the US used to be highly gendered. But that is much less so today after decades in which tobacco companies marketed smoking as a form of female empowerment. Today about 14% or 15% of Americans smoke – 15.6% for men versus 12% for women, according to this recent CDC data.

There’s so much to unpack there — really? MOST Chinese men smoke? — but one of the real icky facts is that the assholes at tobacco firms marketed to women as empowerment. I mean, damn.

Your tax dollars at work

The ATF and DEA just love using fake entrapment cases; see:

Federal judges appear to be tiring of the government’s long-running entrapment programs. One of the federal law enforcement’s favorite “enforcement” efforts is creating crime in order to bust “criminals.” Agencies like the ATF and DEA find someone in need of cash — usually a minority someone — and use undercover agents and confidential informants to convince them to raid a drug stash house for some easy money.

The twist is the drug stash house is fake. There are no drugs. There are no armed guards protecting the drugs. Once the mark arrives with a weapon and a plan of attack, the ATF arrests the person for thinking about robbing a fake stash house to steal nonexistent drugs.

The other twist is the prosecution. Since the drugs never existed, the ATF is free to claim the targeted stash was large enough to trigger mandatory minimum sentences.

The LEOs here are literally creating a fake crime just to sting some hapless and down-on-his-luck type. They’re doing nothing to improve safety, or pursue actual predatory criminals — I mean, that takes work! — but they still get to crow about convictions.

As noted above Federal judges are getting tired of it.

Dept. of Heathen Cultural Archeology

So, the insanely talented bandleader on James Corden’s Late Late Show is a guy named Reggie Watts. Astute readers of Heathen should note that the first mention here of Watts or his output is actually in the long-ago era of 2002, when I hipped you all to Watts’ prior band Maktub; here’s a YouTube clip of one of their songs.

Watts came up again in as a solo performer in 2007 here; that video link is dead, but the clip is available at YouTube.

Somewhere along the line, Watts pivoted to comedy; you can see he’s there already in his 2012 TED talk, which I just saw (again) on a “best of 2010s” list, and so here we are.

Josh Marshall Lays It Out

You should go read this piece, which ends:

[T]he President isn’t really on trial here. His guilt is too obvious and established. The question here is whether the GOP, his party, will take any step to restrain an obviously bad acting President. The answer to that is pretty obvious at this point. But it’s that more than the President’s guilt that needs to be elucidated, proven. This may be a subtle distinction. But it’s an important one. Getting it right can, I believe, put right what seems intuitively out of balance in these proceedings.

Democrats are going through the motions of trying to convince their GOP colleagues, even if in practice they know this is not going to happen. They need to shift gears. This isn’t about convincing their Republican colleagues. It’s about showing them up, indicting them for the decision they have very clearly made. Frustration, outrage, befuddlement are all in their way expressions of weakness. Republicans are committed to defending President Trump at all costs no matter what he does. That’s not something to try change. It’s what you’re trying to demonstrate.

This Just In

No greater honor has this humble blog ever received than the news from longtime Heathen Ear O’Corn that this site is blocked at Shell due to “adult content.”

Here’s something we missed

A while back, the longstanding Mac developer and blogger Brent Simmons noted that his site, Inessential, was now 20 years old.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t note that, well, MiscHeathen hit 19 years on 29 November.

In that first short month, I posted only one other time; it amuses me greatly that this first proper entry is actually about Lindsey and her journey to Russia. Lindsey was then the (relatively new?) girlfriend of my longtime best pal Eric. 19 years later, she’s been his wife for 13 years, and is mother to Heathen Godchild E. B., with whom we trimmed a Christmas tree on Sunday.

Obviously, I post way less in these days of social media than I did before, but as folks realize what a cesspool Facebook is I’m endeavoring to share things here more often.

“I will neither help nor hinder you. My friends and family will assist you and my enemies will find you soon enough.”

Oh, definitely go read this. The title is a quote from Beckett, as told by his biographer Deirdre Bair.

The linked article begins:

“So you are the one who is going to reveal me for the charlatan that I am.” It was the first thing Samuel Beckett ever said to me on that bitter cold day, November 17th, 1971, as we sat in the minuscule lobby of the Hôtel du Danube on the rue Jacob. I had gone to Paris at his express invitation, to meet him and talk about writing his biography. We were originally scheduled to meet on November 7th, and for ten days I had no idea where he was, because he never showed up and never canceled.

Go. Read. It’s an excerpt from Bair’s new book, Parisian Lives, about Beckett, Simone de Beauvoir, and herself, which may go on my to-read list.

The Brimley/Cocoon Line

This Twitter feed will inform you when certain parties pass what they refer to as the (Wilford) Brimley / Cocoon Line, which means they are now as old as Brimley was when he starred, as an “old person,” in the 1985 film of the same name.

Here’s a clip.

At that time, Brimley was 18,530 days old, which is about 50 years and 8 months. (You may be surprised he was that young at the time; I know I was.)

Some recent entries:

  • Jennifer Aniston
  • Bobby Brown
  • Mo Rocca
  • Patton Oswalt
  • Jason Bateman
  • Dave Grohl (as well as every member of Pearl Jam)
  • Marilyn Manson
  • Brendan Fraser
  • Lucy Liu

Also, Lenny Kravitz is 4 years older than Brimley was. Keanu Reeves is a year older than that.

(Before you ask: Quick match suggests I’ve got about 13 months; Mrs Heathen is even farther.)

While you weren’t looking, everyone else got old

This excellent performance of Bowie’s “Five Years” by the Cowboy Junkies is worth your time.

But if you haven’t seen them in a long while, you may — as I was — be taken aback by Margo’s white hair. You shouldn’t; Timmons was born in 1961, just like plenty of the musical idols of our shared youth (I mean, she’s younger than all the members of R.E.M., for example).

The Trinity Session is, of course, over 30 years old now.

And then there’s this: Have you looked in the mirror lately? Odds are, you’re getting older, too.

Things Nobody Remembers But Me

Everybody remembers the juggernaut that NBC’s long-running ER was, but NOT everyone remembers the short-lived sitcom by the same name from the mid-1980s (don’t click these yet).

What’s fun about this is that George Clooney had roles in both of them. Obviously it’s his turn in the later show as Doug Ross that made him GEORGE CLOONEY; in the sitcom, he was a mere (recurring! not regular cast!) ER tech (which makes sense – he was only 23 at the time).

The question I put to you, anonymous reader, is this: What other famous actor appeared in multiple episodes of both ERs?

(The Wikipedia link for the 80s show gives it away, so think hard before clicking.)

Today in Pop Will Eat Itself

Ric Ocasek, of course, has died. He was 75.

His age is only one of the several surprising things I learned about him in the wake of his passing. The Cars were an earlier, more established band than most of what I listened to growing up, so I understand they’re likely to be older (ie, born in the 1940s, like the members of Blondie, not the 1950s or 60s, like bands that hit in the mid-80s), but still: Ric Ocasek was 75? I mean, damn; that puts him in the same age cohort as folks who hit in the early 60s, like the Stones. (Benjamin Orr, who died of cancer in 2000, was only a little younger (b. 1947).)

The second surprising thing is this: though estranged for about a year or so, he and Paulina Porizkova were still married. Rock musicians and supermodels aren’t the sort of folks you think of when you say “thirty year marriage,” but here we are.

Finally, I found this morning that the song I most wanted to see — well, the video I most wanted to see — was “Magic” from 1984’s Heartbeat City. You know it: it’s the one where Ocasek appears to walk on water in a fancy swimming pool behind an even fancier home.

Here’s the fun part: That house is the west coast family home for Richard and Kathy Hilton, i.e. Paris’ parents. Paris, born in 1981, would’ve been about 3 when they shot this video.

Weird.

Set the Wayback Machine to September, 1998: Lawyers, Guns, & Money

In 1998, I went dove hunting with some pals from Dallas.

I wrote about it for my own amusement, and ran the piece on my web site at the time (the ancestor to Miscellaneous Heathen, which didn’t go online until two years AFTER this piece was written).

It’s fall again, and I realized that it’s utterly criminal that this little bit of fun has been offline for quite some time, so I present it here, again, for your amusement. Enjoy.

Lawyers, Guns & Money

Return of the Native: Wherein our Intrepid Texas Correspondent Rediscovers His Hunting Roots

I am part Cracker, though you wouldn’t know it to look at me. I grew up in Mississippi, where my family has lived for generations. I hunted, camped, and fished; I drove a pick-up truck to high school; I owned boots. It was something of an oddball combination, though, at least – certainly – to outsiders. Weekends might begin in a field west of town shooting at birds and end with dinner at the Country Club, all with the same assortment of bankers, lawyers, doctors, and real estate developers. There’s an odd sort of gentility to these things in the South, so it never struck me as odd that Larry Foote would drive his Porsche to both dove hunt and dinner, or that Cadillacs matched pickups at most expeditions.

Somehow, I lost much of this in college. I left for Alabama at 18 and promptly became a tortured (okay, mostly just drunk) intellectual type, perfectly willing to discuss the meaning of life or the existence of God until 4:30 in the morning during the week as long as the other side of the conversation was cute enough or there were drugs enough to make it interesting. Both if I was lucky. I stayed in Tuscaloosa most of the time, venturing home rarely, and lost – to some degree – a bit of the old-school Faulknerian whiskey-soaked hunting ambiance of my youth. I should have known, however, that this wasn’t to be a permanent state.

By 1994, I’d moved to Houston. Houston is hotter, flatter, and more muggy than anything in Alabama or Mississippi, but I fell in love with it anyway. The combination of international business, flabbergasting amounts of eighties-style oil money, and old-fashioned Texas-dialect Southernism agreed with me, and still does. Slowly, I noticed I was becoming more like home than I had been in Alabama, and I didn’t mind. My drawl returned with a vengeance, particularly with alcohol. I bought boots again. I drank local beer. So when a pal from Dallas invited me on a dove hunt – my first since high school, easily – it didn’t surprise me at all that I jumped at the chance.

What follows is a rough chronology. The participants were Patrick, a college pal who has ended up in Dallas married to a local; Dwayne, his brother-in-law; and Richard, his father-in-law. Both in-laws are attorneys; Patrick is an administrator with a local college in Dallas. The events transcribed occurred over August 31-September 1, 1998, and are represented here more or less accurately. As best I remember.

Monday:

12:30 Leave office. Drive to Academy Sports to purchase Hunting License I didn’t buy over weekend because wallet location became a problem; one must have photo ID for a hunting license in Texas.

1:00 Leave Academy. Express dismay to any listening deities at amazing process required to obtain state permission to shoot things from the air.

1:30 Arrive Hobby Airport. Attempt not to look suspicious carrying gun case into airport.

1:45 Check gun into loving arms of Southwest Airlines. Casually inquire as to insurance coverage for firearm.

2:50 Plane departs; order cocktail in response to somewhat exuberant toddler.

3:30 Arrive Dallas-Love Field. Encounter remaining members of hunting party. Wave goodbye to toddler with outstanding lung capacity.

3:50 Accidentally notice that my luggage – and gun – merrily riding the carousel for flight 119, not flight 34. Pounce on luggage while attempting to NOT step on aforementioned toddler.

3:55 – 4:15 Attempt, with 2 lawyers and a college administrator, to get shotgun, briefcase, and suitcase into already-capacity-loaded Pathfinder. Express wonder at the sheer volume of equipment required for 1-day hunting expedition.

4:20 Depart Dallas for wonderful downtown Brownwood, Texas. This will take 3 or 4 hours, so we stop for beer. Driver abstains. Lawyers and consultant do not, and continue to fail to abstain well into West Texas.

5:00 Remember, with college administrator, that Warren Zevon once sang of “lawyers, guns, and money.” Express pleasure that all three are present in at least token quantities, so no bad things can possibly happen.

6:00 All terrain for miles now visible. No meaningful trees present, though cactuses and scrub are plentiful. Toast landscape with beer.

7:00 Stop for restaurant suggestions at somewhat vague looking minute mart in Comanche, Texas. Elect younger lawyer to “work the clerk” for information re: culinary adventures in Comanche. Upon discovering all food in Comanche apparently unacceptable, purchase snacks at said store.

7:05 Convenience Store declared to be “lucky” by younger lawyer. All parties purchase Lotto tickets.

Dialog:

Younger Lawyer: “Has anybody won here yet?”

Karla-Faye-Tucker-lookalike-Clerk: “This is Comanche.”

This, apparently, explains it all.

7:45 Arrive Brownwood, Texas. Locate Tuesday’s rendezvous point (the Section Hand Restaurant and Boot Store). Select alternative cuisine for dinner.

8:00 Narrowly avoid Golden Corral dinner in favor of Blue Cactus. Everything is still fried, but at least a little spicier. And they serve beer. In theory. Waitress unable to serve beer for reasons unspecified but probably linked to age, so manager does. Several times.

8:45 Locate liquor store for purchase of after-dinner cigars.

9:00 Adjourn to Best Western poolside lounge area, still blissfully unaware of stock market gyrations. Enjoy cocktails and hunting stories. Return to hotel room for A&M v. FSU football. Note that all is right in the world, as the Trinity of Hunting, Football, and Cocktails are present. Express belief that this trumps earlier hat trick of Lawyers, Guns, and Money.

9:30 Channel change during commercial leads to discovery of stock market gyrations. Mix another drink. Remind self that investments are long term in nature.

10:30 Remind self again that investments are long term in nature. Advised by attorney to mix additional beverage.

11:45 Sleep.

Tuesday

05:00 Annoyingly cheery clerk delivers wake-up call. Stumble into clothing, gather firearms, and reload truck. A total of 7 degrees still required to shoehorn everything into vehicle. Collective need for coffee reaching fever pitch.

05:30 Arrive at Section Hand restaurant. It does not open until 0600. They are, however, serving coffee.

05:40 Purchase local newspaper.

05:42 Complete local newspaper. Opt for second paper.

05:50 Over discussions of market with other hunters, drink at least as much coffee as you did beer the night before. This is viewed as karmic balance, at least in terms of hangover reduction.

06:15 With addition of biscuits, sausage, eggs, and grits, begin to feel almost human despite the hour. Lawyers and administrator agree. More coffee administered.

06:35 Caravan of well-armed personnel leaves Section Hand restaurant for parts unknown. Guide wonders out loud which of 2 waitresses he should give his cell phone number to for late arrivals; another local opines “It don’t matter; they’re both stupid.”

06:45 Paved road ends. Caravan continues.

06:50 Now officially in the Middle of Nowhere. Gather ammunition (50 rounds) for first phase of hunt. Privately certain this is more than enough.

07:00 Discover Timberland boots not nearly as waterproof as advertised. Vow to never eschew more thematically correct Red Wings again.

07:10 Select position on east fence row under small mesquite tree.

08:00 Return to truck for additional ammunition with 1 for 10 record. College administrator by this point certain his initial stash of shells loaded with blanks, a theory shaky at best as same shell pool fueled aforementioned 5-bird hour.

09:30 Birds wisely decide field to be questionable. Appear to dining elsewhere. This, combined with additional supply shortages (e.g., shells) send hunting party back to hotel, 19 birds in hand (Sr Lawyer: 9; Jr Lawyer: 4; Consultant: 5; Administrator: 1). An average of three boxes of shells per hunter were consumed, however.

10:00 Return to hotel for much needed shower and nap.

12:45 Depart hotel for Wal-Mart for additional provisions. Attempt to not be stereotypes of city folk in Brownwood Wal-Mart almost certainly a failure, though markedly more successful than the prior year, when Senior and Junior Lawyers and Administrator made trip in Jaguar.

1:30 Return to Section Hand to sample lunchtime offerings and attempt to corner market on coffee. Chicken-fried steak deemed most appropriate meal.

2:45 Guide rendezvous at Section Hand; depart again for field after much discussion of temperature (now hovering in mid-90s). Provision check reveals almost certainly enough shells, beer, and Gatorade.

3:00 Arrive at same field. Guide informs hunting party that birds are probably 2 hours away, if tradition holds. Guide departs.

3:05 Upon hearing this news, junior lawyer strips to boxers and hunting boots and settles in the sun to drink beer and review Wall Street Journal.

3:30 Birds arrive, apparently hoping for a sneak attack. Junior lawyer continues mode of dress, perhaps not the best for running through tall grass and weeds to retrieve birds.

4:00 MORE birds arrive. Logistical problems ensue. Am unable to return to selected (and shady) post after bird retrieval due to continued bird overflights and subsequent retrievals. Crouching in weeds amid the field becomes de facto post despite lack of cover.

4:30 After taking a double, note that limit for group is likely looming large. Suggest inventory. Creative accounting brings group total to 59, though this fails to include the 9 birds total lost in brush and the 5 or so simply discarded as uncleanable due to unfortunate proximity to firearm barrel. Shotgun shell consumption at this point no longer worth examining. Express dismay at number of birds still eating in far end of field, occasionally fluttering up several hundred at a time.

5:15 Load truck. Again.

6:00 After gas, food, and beer, depart Brownwood. Consultant and lawyers resume lack of abstention.

10:30 Arrive Dallas. Purchase antihistamines to make up for squatting in weeds all day.

10:45 Arrive Patrick’s home. Collapse on couch after cursory hello to his lovely wife, who finds this all terribly funny.

UVA is taking their house.

This story is horrific.

For example:

The $164,000 billed to Waldron for intestinal surgery was more than twice what a commercial insurer would have paid for her care

Oh, and it gets even more awful, because not only are they taking houses. In another case:

Nacy Sexton, who is in his 30s andl ives outside Richmond, hoped he might get a break on his medical bills as a student enrolled at the University of Virginia. He was close to finishing a bachelor’s degree in 2015 when he was hospitalized for lupus. When he was unable to cover the reduced bill offered by the hospital, the university blocked his enrollment.

You can’t get blood from a stone, but by god they’ll do everything possible to keep you poor!

Fuck these bloodsuckers.