Why Is Hungary So Anti-Immigrant?

Long story short – they have a history of being the conquered rather than the guilt of being the conquerors unlike Western Europe, a smaller economy without as much as the “fluff” (tourism, dishwashers, etc) as Western Europe, a strong leader on this subject (Viktor Orban) and most importantly, while Western Europe & the USA were shifting towards neoliberalism, multiculturalism and a consumer/individualistic society, Hungary was hanging out behind the iron curtain with only their national identity and the Communist Party – they had multiculturalism pitched to them but only at the international level a la “international solidarity”.


Excerpt from New World Made By Hand Novel Released



I absolutely love the World Made By Hand series by James Howard Kunstler and I believe this would be the fourth and final installment, considering he said he intended to make a novel for each season of the year.    The first one started off in the heat of summer and this one will pick up in the lean days of spring…

I don’t think in the modern world we really get how miserable spring can be without our contemporary systems of support.   Traditionally humans would store up food over the summer and fall to make it through the winter.   By the end of the winter even the most prepared were probably down to the least desirable food.   Other than dandelions and a few other spring greens, there wasn’t much to be had growing.   Animals were lean from the winter and often nursing new offspring.   In other words, mother nature wasn’t exactly giving up a lot of sustenance in the early spring which left a gap in the year where food was difficult to come by.

One of the most commented on aspects of the series has been the discussion of food in the post-cheap oil world Kunstler imagines, ranging from meager to downright appealing.   I imagine that this novel will be really grim, as human enjoyment in the other novels is often expressed through food…   There’s nothing to be happy about when you’re down to stored acorns and boiled dandelion greens.

I thought in “History of the Future” Kunstler was a little too hard on the “rednecks” (as usual – this guy hates the South) and as a guy from Iowa I always get a little nervous when people start bashing the South because I figure we’re next on the chopping block.    In this one it looks like the antagonists come in the form of yankee “social justice warriors” from Massachusetts, so it looks like that will probably balance out Kunstler’s involvement  the contemporary political battle going on for America’s soul.


I’m looking forward to the book released in June and I might do a video later…

First Alcohol in 7 Years…

So about seven years ago I decided to quit drinking.  Period.   No, not even because it’s your birthday.   Right, yeah, not even a beer.   Yeah, period.

I didn’t have a huge problem or anything, but it did get to the point where pretty much every night I was off work was spent on a bar stool with a Bud in hand and consequently every morning thereafter was spent loafing around dealing with a hangover and regretting the late night pizza.

I made a handful of live-improving choices within that previous year which made me feel like I was splitting off from the dead-end “let’s go get fucked up every night” mentality of a lot of people I was around and I increasingly became jaded with the idea of drinking or spending all night at a bar.   Although it sounds kind of strange to me now, I think I was also influenced by some of the straight edge people I was around at the time.   Not to say that they were people worth putting up on a pedestal (with all due respect), but I appreciated how they stood apart from the indulgence and tomfuckery of damn near everyone else that hung around the subculture world.

Anyways, a few months later I had my last beer.   Sitting in a cafe in Paris.  A Stella Artois, after a nice meal of duck confit, pommes frites and tiramisu.    I wasn’t exactly sure at the time it was my last and to be honest even though it was memorable, I always wished it was a good ol’ Budweiser and not some faggy European beer.

I wouldn’t say that I *lost* friends in the sense that people didn’t want to talk to me after quitting drinking, but it did make friendships difficult sometimes.   Being sober in bars gets old.   Listening to drunks feel guilty about being all fucked up around me and constantly telling me that they were “cutting back” got old (“cutting back” almost always means they were too broke to go out one night last week or something, btw).   Getting asked silly questions about if I was going to drink because of this or that occasion got old.   Although I had other bonds with my friends, drinking was definitely a big one that was hard to overcome.

For about five years I was married to/dated a girl that didn’t drink either.   Although after a short period of time I lost the temptation to drink, I’ll admit that made the time easier.  After we separated, I didn’t even think about taking up drinking again, although drinking does make being single a lot easier.   I did go to bars with friends during that period and generally enjoyed myself but at the same time I always felt a little out of place by NOT having a drink in my hand….and it sure as fuck would’ve been weird to go sit on a bar stool on my night off and pound water and I’m sure most women would send up an internal red flag if there was a dude hanging out by himself not drinking at a bar.

Anyways, on to my decision TO drink…

As everyone knows, a big set of interests of mine are things like unusual edibles, growing things, DIY stuff, food preservation, etc.  I would read about currant wine or making wine from kiwis, dandelion wine and so-on.   Although I never was interested in craft brews, the thought of them actually became interesting.   I would hear about this or that and think “Hmm, that sounds good” or “it would be cool to try to make this or that”.

The real enabler came this summer when Mary and I decided to pick up a six pack of O’Doul’s dark lager, almost as a joke (because she isn’t much of a drinker).    I actually enjoyed it and it wasn’t my last six pack of it either…   I liked the ritual of having something like that on my night off once everything is done and I’m maybe winding down, doing some work on my computer or whatever.

Although I don’t regret the decision to not drink, I do regret not drinking on SOME occasions.   I should’ve had champagne with my hockey team when we won our league’s championship last year – what an amazing event that was for us.   I’ve traveled to quite a few places since not drinking and should’ve done it just to partake in the local culture – why not ” ‘ave a pint” in a pub in London?    Get hammered on Brains (beer) in Wales and listen to the locals tell me about our culture.   Should’ve had some nice Argentinean wine or Quilmes and loosened up with the natives in Buenos Aires.    Should’ve downed some Tecates and screamed “VAYA!!! VAYA!!! VAYA!!!!” with the rowdy crowd watching the luchadores in Guadalajara.    Fuck, should’ve had a glass of wine with my mother on Christmas or a toast with Mary on some of our most important days.

Ok, so my first drink after all that time…   Mary is able to get decent wines at damn near wholesale prices through her job.    She had a bottle of a riesling that was apparently good but relatively cheap.   I forgot what it was, but I had about two glasses of it one night and it was a complete non-event. I thought I’d get tipsy, but it didn’t happen.   Two nights later was my hockey team’s Christmas party and I had two glasses of a moscato (which was really, really good), one glass of some red wine that was ok and two New Glarus beers (which are a hot commodity outside of Wisconsin, btw).   I figured that would be enough to put me under, but I just felt “bubbly” but still in control.  I think one more drink would’ve put me over though.

I’ve had a few drinks here and there…the grocery store has a “make your own six pack” for $9.99 of craft beer and I’ve purchased two of those (and drank about six) so far to try some things out.  I figured I’d probably go nuts for the next few weeks and then watch it taper off from there.   Right now I’m having a “Pumpkin Ale” which isn’t that bad, but I can’t see myself wanting to drink more than one of these.   I guess that’s kind of a good thing though…

All things considered, I don’t feel like I’ve caved or given in.   I think I’m at a point in my life where adding the occasional alcoholic beverage will only allow me to experience more things.   If a few months from now I’m downing 10 cans of Miller Lite a day, then we need to reevaluate this decision.  For now I like the idea that I can enjoy something of a special beverage in my home as I wind down for the evening or maybe after an afternoon of working outside or fully take part in some socialization rituals….and the fact that there are now so many more products that come locally and/or from small-scale agriculture that I can now partake in.

The Camp of the Saints

Since the Migrant Crisis in Europe has been raging on, I’ve been thinking a lot about a 1973 book entitled “The Camp of the Saints”, where a million migrants from India hop on some boats and head towards France, with millions more waiting in the wings.   The book was written as a dystopia, where the arrival of so many of the refugees (?) spell the end of the world as we/they know it in Europe.

When I first read it 8 years ago or so, it sounded outlandish, even though immigration to Europe was high then.   Today there’s a flow of over a million refugees streaming into Europe due to the turmoil in the middle east, so in a way we’re kind of living out The Camp of the Saints.   It’s a little eerie how much in the book lines up with what’s actually happening across the pond.

This video is my off-the-cuff review of the book and some thoughts on how it compares to the events of today.   I might make another one a little more refined later, but this is where we’re at now with it.    I have a lot to say about the book that probably didn’t make it into the video….I can’t believe how long-winded I can be!



Columbus Day Is The Worst Day On The Internet All Year

So tomorrow is Columbus Day 2015 and just like every year, the bullshit is already flowing on facebook.

If you want to say that Columbus was an asshole, genocidal maniac or whatever, that’s fine, but let’s address all the other trimmings that go along with that…

“He didn’t discover America, he landed in the Caribbean” 

Ugh…  “America” means “the Americas” which is NOT the same as “the United States of America”, although the US is part of America.   Basically everything from Tierra Del Fuego to the Canadian Arctic is “America”.   Toronto, Nebraska, Brazil, Cuba, Jamaica, Alaska, Paraguay, etc.   All “America”.   Now if someone says he discovered the United States then yes, they are incorrect.

“There were already people here, how could he ‘discover it’?”

There most certainly were other people inhabiting the Americas…and no one in Europe were certain that they were there before him.  No one is suggesting that he was the first human being to find this land mass.   What is being suggested is that his discovery opened up the Americas to Europe, which of course was an extremely significant historical event.   While the natives did have their own history, the overwhelming majority of what’s happened here since has been an extension of Western/European history rather than theirs.   I’m sitting here in Iowa right now.   I’m sure the tribes that lived here before the arrival of my ancestors were solid dudes, but all I know of them is some (presumably) butchered place names that we still use.  Just because I live here doesn’t mean that I inherited their history.   I’m a continuation of European history and pretty much all the nations and institutions of the Americas were formed in the image of Europe.

The impact of Europe on this land mass AND this land mass on Europe cannot be understated.   Columbus bringing back this info was not a trivial event…

“So what if I just walked into your home and said ‘hey, I discovered this!'”

First, I’d probably shoot you or kick your ass.    If I didn’t, it wouldn’t matter because your “discovery” wouldn’t have any impact on anything.  No one’s mind would be blown by knowing that my land I were there and you certainly wouldn’t have the gumption to build empires out of it/us.  When Columbus did it, it really was earth-shattering for all involved.

“The Vikings were here first”

True, but their voyages basically happened in a bubble.   They showed up, didn’t stick around long and that was that.  After they left there was no continuation of European settlement in the Americas and 99.999% of the American natives had no fucking clue they were even there.   They didn’t bring back any concrete info on what lies at the other end of the ocean to Europe.

I get the sore feelings about the atrocities and all of that, but let’s be smart about this, people.

Well, I Grew Kiwis in Iowa

Within the past couple of weeks I’ve harvested kiwis here and there.   Unfortunately something (birds, squirrels, the wind, etc.) took most of them but I was able to at least taste a few of them.

Holy shit, are they delicious!   They taste like the kind of kiwis you would buy in the store, but instead of the fuzzy coating they’re about grape size and with a skin similar to grapes.

Next year I’m going to have to put netting on them or harvest them early and let them ripen on the counter, because I started off with a ton of them and ended up with a handful.   Not cool, but at least I FINALLY got to taste them.

…and the horticulture guy on Talk of Iowa said kiwis don’t grow in Iowa.   Showed him.

The Searchers, Battle of Algiers and Red Dawn

So last weekend I did something very old-timey –  Rented a DVD.   You don’t hear about people doing that all that often anymore, except maybe Red Box, which is something I never even looked into.   Whenever I walk by them, all I see is new releases and there’s usually nothing that they come out with these days that I’m even remotely interested in.

Several months ago a fan of my Red Dawn book sent me an email and asked if I’ve seen The Searchers, a 1956 film by John Ford starring John Wayne.   Apparently Red Dawn director John Milius (lots of Johns here…) loved the film and there’s lots of references to it in Red Dawn.    I had never seen it, so I put it on my mental list to acquire.   Turns out the local library had it.

I’m a very casual John Wayne fan.  I like him and his characters, but I’m just a casual fan.  I don’t go out of my way to seek him out and I don’t know everything about him, but I enjoy The Duke when I get a chance.   One thing I really like about him is that his hero status is approachable to the viewer – what I mean by that is that you’ll never have super powers, the fighting prowess of Chuck Norris or Rambo or the strength of Conan the Barbarian but the things that make John Wayne John Wayne are things that people can emulate if they want to.   He’s just a gritty son of a bitch that’s been around the block a few times.  He can’t gorilla press a fridge or roundhouse bricks to dust, but he can take and throw a punch with the best of them.  His decision making skills are never clouded by emotion and he always seems to know what to do.  His sense of honor is unwavering regardless of the situation he’s in – he’ll sneer at superiors in the military, clergy, politicians, businessmen and unscrupulous peasantry when he feels they’re in the wrong.

Ok, so as far as the Red Dawn connection goes, I heard several phrases in The Searchers that were used in Red Dawn.   The cool thing was that they weren’t exactly significant phrases, which tells me that Milius must’ve had an encyclopedic knowledge of the movie, which is something I guess I can appreciate.   They were pretty much just things plucked out of the filler of the movie.

Some of the scenery of the film reminded me of the parts of Red Dawn that took place near Partisan Rock when the helicopters came after them.   I’m sure Milius had The Searchers in mind during this part.   I also noted a scene where someone was holding horses that was exactly like the scene when Jed was about to execute Daryl on top of the plateau.

I think the biggest thing that jumped out to me was how similar the character of Andrew Tanner is to John Wayne, I can’t believe I never caught that.   His wry and sardonic sense of humor, his code of ethics that didn’t seem to change with the situation and even the way he teaches and shows compassion through slight mockery and firmness.   Tanner wasn’t a larger than life guy that saved the day a la Chuck Norris, but he was a tough son of a bitch that did what he had to do, like John Wayne.

As far as the movie goes, I did really like it.  It’s a genre I’m not really all that well versed in, but I got into it.   It’s kind of funny how un-politically correct it is, with John Wayne constantly sneering about “half breeds” and the savage Indians and the overtly Jewish scummy merchant (Jerem Futterman) – I laughed when they made sure to get a good shot of his large nose and diabolical grin, it looked like something out of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion or something.  I don’t think they’d get away with that these days.


Coincidentally I also picked up Battle of Algiers which must’ve been a huge influence for Red Dawn as well.   Some of the shots of Col. Mathieu look exactly like Boroshenko & co. coming to town and even the mirrored sunglasses seen on the upper echelon of the occupation forces seem to be a nod to Col. Mathieu.    No doubt the subject matter of an insurgency had an influence on the screen play.    I also think the similarities between the rapidly moving scenes of the Wolverines attacking the Soviets around town and the FLN attacking various points around Algiers were more than coincidental.

Worrying About Predators – A Visit From A Red Tailed Hawk


Chickens aren’t quite at the bottom of the food chain, but they aren’t exactly at the top either.   Lots of things will eat them if they get the chance and it’s something I kind of worry about.   Whenever I’m out at night walking and see a stray cat nearby or a pack of raccoons I always assume they’re milling around coveting my chickens.

I figured we’d lose some along the way.   That’s why we got eight, assuming we would end up with a manageable 4 or 5.   Turns out I have eight…and I like having eight…   and although I’ve told myself that they’re not pets and we wouldn’t give them names figuring that someday we would eat them, it’s really hard to not treat them like pets and have concern for their comfort and well-being in almost the same way you would look after a dog or a cat.

They’re not THAT personable, but personable enough.   A few of them have distinct personalities and at this point they’re comfortable enough with us that they come running when we come outside and every now and then one will jump up on my shoulder if I’m sitting down.   They’re not afraid of us and they look to us for their survival and something about that does endear the inferior creature to us.   Although it happens to every chicken owner, I’m dreading the day when something gets one of them…or the day *I* have to get to them…

Although I live in a city, I’m not far at all from wild areas.   It’s one of the things I like about this specific spot.   If I cross the street and go through the neighbor’s yard, there’s a several acres of forest and then the river.   Lots of wildlife and I always see birds of prey.   About a mile away as the crow flies is a great spot for viewing bald eagles and there’s always a red tailed hawk in the sky.

Anyways, the other day I heard a commotion outside and look out the window and see a bird sitting on the chicken coop.   It takes a split second to register and I focus in on the giant claws and determine that’s not a fucking chicken! I rush out the door to throw something at it (killing one of these things is a crime of some magnitude or other….and I wouldn’t want to kill him, just let him know he’s not welcome) and he flies off.   The chickens are hiding in a patch of Jerusalem artichokes all freaked out….and they stayed there for about 15 minutes.

In a way it’s kind of cool to see something like that up close and personal.  Red tailed hawks are remarkable birds and I appreciate their craft.   They’re always soaring up in the open sky and I hardly ever see them come down to even tree level around here.   As cool as it is to have some form of interaction with the bird, I’d rather they stay away from MY birds.

Today I saw one dive down from high in the sky and then circle my property at slightly above tree level – he saw something, but they must’ve taken cover because he didn’t commit.  I came out into the open (with my trusty hound, of course) to let him know that some bigger and badder creatures inhabit this little patch of land and he flew off.

I guess that’s a part of chicken ownership, dealing with the prospect that half of the animal kingdom is vying for your chickens.   I guess I can take some precautions, but they do free range virtually all day in my backyard.   They have plenty of places to hide out.  I suppose I could keep them in a run, but I think that in a way “those who give up freedom for security deserve neither” applies here.   I think part of the reason that I have gotten attached to them is because they’re really, really happy chickens.  My yard is a great place to be a chicken.   They spend all day running around eating bugs and plants, there’s lots of things to perch on, places to dustbathe, cool shady spots to get out of the sun, lots of fruits and veggies to forage on and people that take care of them and give them food.   I’d rather they have a bunch of good days and one bad day than a lot of shitty ones cooped up all the time.   I guess it’s the least I can do for some creatures that give me six or seven eggs a day.


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