Just about every day now that I wake up, fire up the computer and begin reading, I am left in a state of mild depression after wading through the litany of bad news, disaster, corporate and political malfeasance which features on blogs, aggregator blogs and the established news sites. Public schools appear to be open hunting grounds for pervs and freaks, places where the intellectual development of children, tweens and teens must be cut down to the lowest common denominator, so that the lazy and disinterested must not be made to feel discomforted over being lazy and disinterested. The volunteer military demoralized and all but non-functional, our major and Democrat party ruled cities all but drowning in crime while the homeless routinely crap in the streets and stagger around while high on substances which our government has allowed to pour through an unsecured border. A former president has apparently been railroaded on ginned-up charges by a nakedly partisan effort. Our shining republic on a hill, the two hundred-year-plus long grand experiment of engaged citizens actually ruling themselves looks to have degenerated into the worst of a banana republic, where the inner coterie reserves privilege and riches unto themselves and brings criminal charges against any who dare protest … oh, and all the while a tame and sycophant national media licks the boots of the ruling class, and slavishly obeys every command issued by that ruling class, orders to play up some stories, play down and/or denigrate others. Mostly because a lot of the media class are married to or are the spawn of the ruling class … funny how that all works out.
As anyone with the slightest bit of Cassandra-talent would have predicted… there has recently developed a lack of patience and good sportsmanship upon being robbed and looted by a violently inclined and repeater criminal class punk, let off by an increasingly social-justice addled judiciary, and allowing said punk to go forth and do … well, more of what we have tiresomely become accustomed to expect of that demographic. Over the last decade or so, it has been suggested in various threads and blogposts that such a reaction is almost inevitable. So – not a real surprise to me that a punk that decided to rob patrons of a taco restaurant in Houston got a fatal caliber response.
Or perhaps and I dearly hope, only takes a small nibble and backs off in revulsion, once the target customers for the item in question have their say. I speak of the American Girl book imbroglio. A book by an in-house writer with all the proper and up-to-the-moment proggie qualifications and sympathies – has been distributed as part of toy behemoth Mattel’s American Girl brand. The book, aimed at pre-teens and tweens, openly suggests changing gender by chemical and surgical means, should they not feel comfortable in their bodies as girls. By the term girls, I mean the pre-mature of the female sex. (Honestly, looking at the picture of the author, I am not surprised at her proggie leanings. Facial piercings – anything but a small hole in each earlobe for earrings – now constitutes a social warning for me.) Look, puberty as it is, remains a miserable and confusing enough experience for many teens. Encouraging and enabling girls to take powerful drugs to delay puberty and have their breasts surgically removed if they are a little unhappy with the form that their bodies have or are assuming … this is not helpful. Appearing to countenance keeping parents in the dark if they do not support this chemical and surgical mutilation … even more so not-good. This development with American Girl is horrifying, but, alas, not particularly surprising, given how just about every long-time and supposedly family-friendly mass establishment such as Disney has gone all-in woke for the latest social media fad. Those fond parents and grandparents who buy American Girl merch for their daughters and granddaughters are not the least bit happy about this development – not the least because it’s coming on to Christmas, where indulgent generosity is expected, not least by retail outlets hoping to make up for an otherwise bleak economic year.
(Just across the street from where we had lunch – at Mama Mill’s Jamaica Kitchen, in busy downtown Cibolo, Texas. The jerk chicken is to die for, BTW.)
We took Wee Jamie on another road trip, this last weekend. My daughter and I have decided that we should dedicate one day a week to “Not Doing Work Stuff” – and have an outing of at least half a day, doing something … something diverting. This long weekend demanded a whole day of ‘Not Doing Work Stuff.’ My daughter suggested a road trip to Fredericksburg, and I thought that we should check out the Museum of the Pacific War, as it has been at least five years since I visited it. It was indisputably the last war which we won, after all. The first time I went to the War Museum was maybe in 1995 – when it was all still contained in the old Nimitz Hotel on Main Street, and an annex down the road – IIRC, a side-less pole barn. (And Fredericksburg was still a sleepy little town with an attractive Main Street, with local-oriented business situated in profitable commercial real estate, where they tended to close shop and roll up the sidewalks at about 5 PM. Well, that has come to a screeching halt, I assure you.)
We took the back way, to Fredericksburg, after stopping at a local restaurant for a breakfast which turned out to be more substantial than expected – a local outlet for the Maple Biscuit Company. The fresh-squeeze orange juice was fantastic, and yes, I would know about all that, having grown up with orange trees in the back yard. The biscuits and sausage gravy were so generous and so good that we were resolved to split an order next time. (This was the last place I saw anyone wearing a mask, BTW. The staff were all masked-up.) The back way to Fredericksburg meant driving up 281 to Johnson City, passing memories all the way; Blanco, where we had done market events at the Old Courthouse, and where once we scored some amazing deals at an estate sale at an old house just off the highway. Johnson City, where we had a wonderfully fun three-day long market one year, for the lighting of the Courthouse, the weekend after Thanksgiving. (We had to stay two nights for that in a cabin at the Miller Creek RV resort, which meant that we barely broke even.)
Johnson City, when I first went through in the late 1990s, was sad and depressing in comparison to Fredericksburg. It seemed to be hanging on based on the relation to LBJ, the Johnson ranch and various residences where LBJ’s family had lived. Now it is the beginning of the Texas Wine Road and has a new lease on tourist life. Some years ago, I had suggested that the Hill Country had all the components save castles, villas, and quaint hilltop towns to become the New Provence, since they produce such Frenchified specialty items as lavender, wine, olive oil, goat milk cheeses … and wine. Oh my gosh, have they gone into producing wine. Someone has even built a castle! The usual maps of the Texas Wine Road usually include only the top twelve or fifteen of the biggest and most well-established of the wineries along 290 – or at least, those with the flashiest central building. As we discovered, just about every commercial or retail business along that road was posted as a winery, and even a couple of places, like Wildseed Farms, which initially specialized in some other commodity – like peaches or wildflower seeds – had added on a wine tasting room. If you started at the two wineries just outside Johnson City to the south and stopped at every single winery or tasting room and had a single glass … your liver would be screaming for mercy when you got to Stonewall, and you’d be on the list for a liver transplant once you got beyond Fredericksburg itself.