Sunday, September 13, 2015

A Walk in the Woods, Too Much Magic, and a new Military Surplus Annual.

I realize Robert Redford's politics may not go down well with conservatives.  I like his movies, in general. Jeremiah Johnson is one of my favorites.  So I just enjoy his pictures and don't give much thought to his politics.

A Walk in the Woods is the best movie I've seen in a long time.  I'm prejudiced to some extent because part of the movie was filmed less than ten miles from my house, and it's always interesting to see places you know in the pictures. There's one 45 second scene filmed at an Appalachian Trail way station that I drove past twice a day, every work day, for twenty years.

But even if that weren't true, the picture resonates with me because it's about men who are getting older, and don't like it.  I thought they did a good job of addressing the frustration and even resentment associated with that.  The scenery is spectacular.  Lots of movies are filmed in the Smokey Mountains because they are so beautiful, but not many go to the trouble this director did to really give people a look at the place.

It's funny, too. Really funny.  There's a lot of bad language in the film, so you can't take your kids and that' a shame, because if they hadn't done that there isn't anything else in the movie that was questionable, and I think it would have made a good family show.

Instead of going to the lake to the big theater, we went to our little theater, and that was a mistake. My county, as I mentioned before, is hyper religious.  So a lot of the previews of coming attractions were of movies that were very heavily christian in nature. The people sitting around us would say "praise Jesus" and things like that as the previews played and some scene struck their fancy.  I don't know why but that irritates me beyond words. Then a preview for "The Martian" came on, which looked interesting to me, and the audience started making fun of it.  The guy behind me rattled his cellophane candy bag all through the movie. Next time I go to the lake.

The new annual is out from Military Surplus. This one was really good. There were some articles on weapons that are not generally given a lot of attention.  They put a nice piece in on reloading for the Webley, and a good article on Viet Cong jungle workshop weapons.  I have been thinking about buying a Star Model B, and after reading the write up I think I will go ahead and get one.

I finished Kunstler's follow up to The Long Emergency.   It's not as easy to read, and seems disjointed in places. There's a reason for that. Kunstler likes to deprecate people who care about money, as if he himself were beyond such mundane concerns. But he took a couple of papers he wrote for presentations he made, and grafted them together to make this book.  The entire first half is concerned with the housing bubble and the derivatives scandals of 2008. Like everybody else who ever wrote anything on the subject, Kunstler assumes the reader is a moron with no concept of what happened so he goes into painstaking detail about every little facet. Frankly, it's pretty boring stuff and just a rehash of what you probably already know.  He also stipulates throughout his book that anyone reading it is  probably ignorant, or stupid, or both.   He is willing to serve as their guru, and enlighten them.

Part of his book does nothing but take a swipe at people and entities he doesn't like. There are a couple of pages of comments about mistakes the Democrats made, primarily concerned with allowing minorities and illegal immigrants to get away with anything they want to in order to insure a solid voting block for the party. Then there's virtually a whole chapter of carping about the evil Republicans. I'm not a Republican anymore, myself. But he takes it to extremes. One of the major aspects of James Howard Kunstler's personality is a huge ego, overweening arrogance, and a rabid dislike for anyone who doesn't hail his genius by slavishly agreeing with everything he says. If you want to stay on his good side, you should always cite his work. People who do that , but are still wrong, are just mistaken but not evil.

James Howard Kunstler

Kunstler is your typical Ivory Tower academic, living in Up State New York and with a visceral dislike for anything Southern.  In every book of his I've read, be it fiction or not, he manages to work in some way to deprecate people who live in the South.  They are "hyperindividualists" which is bad because Kunstler sees the post crash future as little hive enclaves surrounded by vast emptiness, where everyone will sing Kumbaya, beat the flower drums, and follow the guidance of some totalitarian power figure. So Southerners, who don't fit that mold, are bad.   Southerners are "militaristic" and probably the cause of America's wars because without them, America couldn't fight wars, so it must be their fault.  And on, and on.  Southerners are religious, and religion is one of the big causes of strife in the United States. So that's their fault as well.

Still, sometimes you have to put aside your dislike of someone's personality or politics to benefit from their grasp of their art.  Kunstler fits in this category for me.  The Long Emergency was spectacularly correct in it's predictions for the future.  This book, written some 6 years later, accurately predicts the devastation of illegal immigration, the folly of letting minorities become pampered groups with influence on the entire country far beyond what their numbers would dictate. Kunstler predicted the massive migrations out of the Middle East and Africa, and the marginalization of the white occupants of Europe and the United States as a result.  He wrote these things in Too Much Magic long before they occurred.

Although I didn't find this book as compelling as the first, I'm glad I have a copy and I'm glad I read it. Put aside my dislike for the man, and most of what he says makes perfect sense. If nothing else, it will renew your motivation to keep on getting ready for the Big Crash, which is coming as sure as God made little green apples.


  1. Kunstler sounds like so many in modern academia, he preaches collectivism for the masses while he tries to not soil his hands pretending to remain above the fray of the plebes. In doing so, he as all of them, makes two fatal mistakes. One is ignoring the folly of casting your lot to the vagaries of collectivist mass hysteria and the slime balls in DC who would take advantage of it claiming to be doing it for our own good, and the other is that by preaching this sort of message from his elite ivory tower he effectively betrays himself as a fraud.
    As for the Redford movie I think I will wait til it shows up on TV.
    I find it interesting that one of the three featured on the cover of the Military Surplus Magazine is the Polish Wanad P-38. I have had an itch for that one for a bit. Wideners is selling them for 200$. Not a bad deal. The Local Cabelas recently had a bunch of the Star model B with red grips, I think Spanish military surplus, for about 300$.

    1. AIM is selling the Model B, in three grades. I guess I will get mine there with my C&R, because there's nowhere within driving distance I can get one.

      I have seen the Polish gun in flyers but never paid much attention to it. I have enough pistols that something has to really catch my eye for me to buy it, if it's outside my 1890-1945 special interest.

      You have to be able to wade through a lot of philosophy and political dogma with Kunstler, but the core of truth in the middle of all of it makes the effort worthwhile for me.

  2. Hey Harry,


    I appreciate the full description on 'Kunstler' and his book. I am so inundated by books that I need to read, I have to pick and choose carefully.

    If anymore predictions come about in his books that you can give us a 'heads up' on. It would be appreciated.
    Its Ironic that the real backbone of this country is the southerners, westerners and people in the flyover states.
    Too belittle them is asinine. If this country was 'hollowed out' The coastlines, both east and west and border states (except for Texas) would all collapse inward on themselves without the economic, social and political support from within.

    On the Robert Redford movies......

    Its ironic that you were writing about this Harry. Today I sold a table on craigslist or $20.00. The guy that picked up the table was one of those short guys (about 5 ft, 5 inches) with a hint of the Neopoleonic complex that is frequent in short guys.

    This guy was about 30 years old. Fitness Nazi gym, weightlifter type with a large tribal tattoo on his arm that is so common among the "ultra cool people' that are concerned with image.
    He gave me the once over too that most men do when they first meet someone to try and gauge how they are and are they a threat etc, etc.

    He looked at my hair (the mass that has not been cut since October of last year) Its clean but I look like Jeremiah Johnsons trapper friend (the Frenchman with the bald head at the first part of the movie that did not want to be scalped) Remember later in the movie he grew his back in some kind of shaggy mess. Jeremiah Johnson asked him why he grew his hair back. That Frenchman said that he wanted to leave something behind in case of his death that he could be remembered by.
    Well that's what I kinda look like.

    I figure if I got scalped. It would be a 'fierce scalp' to be respected.

    Going back to what I said. I choose not to be mainstream and live I life by my own rules for the most part (within reason) I am not an anarchist by any stretch.

    I do get some funny looks from people sometimes. Its part of being a surfer too. Surfers in their core are individualists. Surfing is not a 'team sport' We all have our separate styles and so on and that leads to individualism.

    a precious commodity we have lost in this country.

    For now I will keep the mass on my head (at least until the squirrels move in:) I will continue the live the life I want to on my terms.

    1. I figure you can live any way you want, and look any way you want, as long as you don't have to please a boss or meet some corporations dress code. I wore a tie for a good many years and now I don't even own one. I don't own a suit.

      I wouldn't read as much as I do if I lived by the beach like you. I'd be out there every dawn, and every sunset, and probably a lot of the time in between. But here, on the mountain in the woods, I am essentially confined to the meadow, parking pads, the buildings, and the walk down to the mail box or the creek. The forest is so thick you can't just go traipsing through it at this time of year. I could go out on some of the trails behind the house, up into the other mountains, but to do that at my age, alone, would be asking for sorrow.

      So I spend a lot of time reading or listening to the radio.

  3. The Martian is a great book and I recommend you read it if you haven't. I couldn't put it down until I finished it, I think that film looks great as well. As for people talking in the cinema it is one way to make me snap and I'm a pretty calm person!

  4. I thought the movie looked pretty good. Here it's the custom, during the preview session before the movie, for people to make loud comments to the whole theater. I don't usually mind, because the comments are ordinarily humorous. But this little theater is owned by a very religious family and they attract very religious people. There were previews for "the war room" which is religious, and for a movie about a high school football team which was totally and completely religious, and then one about some guy who croaked in a wreck and then he came back to life because some other guy was at the wreck and prayed for him. You would have thought it was a revival for all the "Praise Gods" and "In your name, Lord" and stuff like that people were yelling. The name of the show was "Heaven is real" or some such thing. I don't mind religious movies for religious people, but damn, this was really uncomfortable. This never happens up at the big theater at the lake because they don't show movies like that, and the people who go there are mostly retirees from up North who moved to Florida then come up here for the hot summers and they are not demonstrative. Southern Baptists are VERY demonstrative people. I'm not knocking them, I am just saying that's one of their attributes in the mountains. I bet half the people in the theater last night were taking up serpents in church this morning. ;-)

  5. I used to think that god hated Southern Baptists. Every time there was a tornado a Baptist church got wiped out. After spending a lot of time in the south I've come to realize that there are so many SB churches that he can't miss.

    Kunstler is a strange duck. Some of his books were good -others . . . He also sees what he wants to see. In one of his short pieces he told about a New England trip he went on. As luck would have it he drove though a town near me. He described it as nothing but a strip of chain stores and fast food places. Yes, it has some of those, but he totally ignored things like the Independent Bookstore/coffee shop right next to the bike shop and the river rafting company. The side streets are full of little independent businesses grouped together in a walkable area with good public spaces. Somehow he missed all that -or it just didn't fit the point he was making.

    1. The South is bible belt country. Not in the cities anymore, because they aren't Southern. In the 1980's and 1990's thousands of black people from the North moved down here as industry up there closed down. They all went to the cities, as far as I can tell. So the cities are about like a city anywhere else, that is, black and a good place to stay out of if you can. But out in the country, it's a different story. People are fundamentalists here. They go to foot ball games on Friday night at the high school, to the grocery store on Saturday, to Church in the morning on Sunday then have Sunday dinner out. Nothing wrong with all that, it's just the style. If you are like me and don't go in for it, you don't surface that or make an issue of it. When I worked on that Senior program at the state park that summer, every Sunday some church had a sunrise service and a prayer breakfast on Sunday morning at the pavilion. If I was working that day I was required to go. So I went and I did what everybody else did. I figured it didn't hurt me to observe their rituals if I was eating at their table (whether I wanted to be there or not didn't signify.)

      Kunstler aggravates me but he sure can foretell the future. If he would write a book on race horses I'd be down at the track, copy in hand.

  6. Kunstler is like Stephen King. There is always a jab at the group he doesn't like, always putting them down in some way......conservatives, in particular. Doesn't Kunstler mean artist in German? Not that it matters, it just crossed my mind.

    I will wait until "Woods" streams on Netflix. Don't like crowds and the little movie house closed here last year.....and then there were always too many screaming and obnoxious kids.

    Guess I am in a bad mood, watching the Valley fire in Lake County, CA. Used to live where it is burning. Beautiful country.

    1. California is burning and that's no joke. My mom got out of there just in time. Most of fires in Oregon are not near Corvallis.

      I'm going to buy the DVD when it comes out, because I liked the movie. About the only thing we do anymore for a "date night" is go out to supper and go to the movie. It was my decision to go to the little theater because it was closer and I didn't want to drive anymore than I had to. I won't make that mistake again.

      I never liked Stephen Kings books. I tried reading one of them and didn't finish it.

  7. Yeah, in most places in the South, it's "praise the Lord and pass the biscuits" but up in the Appalachian Mountains it's "praise the Lord and pass the snakes".

    I'm very religious and that crowd annoys me as too. But in this day and age, if they suddenly get miliant against folks like you and wife, the worst you have to fear is getting hauled down to the creek and gettin' dunked.....and possibly YOU getting exorcised .... heh.

    1. They won't bother us, but the Catholics better watch out. When I moved here they were still burning down Catholic churches. Now nobody seems to mind Catholics, though.....

  8. The demonization of the south by the "Mainstream Media" has been going on a long time, and has been fairly successful. My business partner here (Female, raised in the DC area) has a deep "reaction" to southern accents etc. It has taken 10 years to break her of that...Pisses me off.
    I read the book "Walk in the woods" a while back, seemed OK. I refuse to support Hollyweird in any way, so when it hits TV...

    And a big "plus one" for living like you want. Gee is that a streak of personal freedom among the readers here? Shocking. I work from roughly noon until I feel like going home, midnight or later...Get a haircut every six months or so...I think I am becoming an actual anarchist,not a bomb throwing revolutionary or any thing like that, but a self governing person... So far I have not met anyone fit to govern me...
    Enough rambling on my part... Hope all had a good weekend.

    1. I've run into people like your business partner. They are sometimes surprised that I detest them as much as they dislike me.

      The movie is funny, but when it comes on tv they'll edit a lot of it out to get the commercials in. I almost never watch good movies on television, I buy the DVD.

      I'm cooking fried potatoes and eggs here tonight (just after 2330) and while the potatoes fry I'm checking the blog. You can ramble here all you like, never a problem.

      I concur with your rationale for being self governing. The clowns we have in the system aren't fit to check the air in my truck tires.

  9. Harry,

    I'm hoping hubby and I will go see this movie when we venture into town, "A walk in the woods". I've been a Robert Redford fan for many years.....I'm a little biased, my husband looks a tad bit like Redford in the face. The mountains up where you live are gorgeous, it will be nice to see footage of the area again.

    Have you ever tried putting some green chiles in your fried potatoes and eggs?
    Delicious, if you haven't tried should give it a shot :-)

    Hugs to you and yours,

  10. Its not that she hates "southerners", but her first reaction to hearing a southern accent is *stupid redneck*. My Mom, born and raised in"Richmon, Vuhginia" is quite the southern lady as is another old friend from SC. She KNOWS better, but it is hard to break the NYC media installed conditioning. She is coming around though. At least she gets the rest of the political crap going on.

    Not only are they not fit, I doubt they could do it without an aide reading simple instructions... And they think WE are the stupid ones...

    1. When my family moved to California in the early 1960's, my mother was forced to take a speech course before they would issue her a teaching credential, since the people there considered a Southern accent a "speech impediment." Bastards. They didn't have any problem with a Hispanic accent , even then.

  11. If you haven't read the Walk In The Woods book, you should do so.
    There's no way Hollywood can do it justice.