Rendered Fat Content


Umberto Boccioni: The City Rises (1910)
" … such issues get "disgusted," a pitch perfect description of the human condition."

A subscription to the local paper seems essential to life in this small city. I've long written letters to the editor, engaging in a decades-long arm's-length conversation with my fellow citizens, some of whom complained when they published my letters sent from Takoma Park, Maryland or Golden, Colorado, but the editor explained that I am a hometown boy. The letters run from apparently originally scribbled in fat crayon by someone unfamiliar with the difference between more and fewer to third person twice-removed scolds from retired college professors. All letters are welcomed and almost all published, though they rejected my back-handed ode to Gerard Manley Hopkins "I Think That I Will Never Know Anything As Lovely As A Light Pole" written to complain about the power company savaging our lovely trees. I rewrote it as rhyming prose and in it went. I probably qualify as a frequent offender and feel damned proud of my contribution to civil discourse and exasperation. I take particular pride, like many submitters apparently do, poking at the other side, though I prefer a certain subtlety when I chide. The outright attack shows little tact and probably fails to impress or convince anyone it's actually aimed at. I prefer a certain humbly-professed ignorance as if I didn't actually know best, though I usually believe that I do know better than the fat crayon folks.

Most days, the paper features three or four fresh letters.
This week, a few have complained about the editorial page's obvious progressive bias and reminded the editor that she has a responsibility to represent all perspectives, a claim I know for a fact is false. Plenty of fairly wacky perspectives do appear, like the one where the submitter had taken umbrage over some other writer's suggestion that hunting rifles might be dangerous weapons. He delivered an absolutely bizarre little tutorial on muzzle velocities ending with the suggestion that anyone who thinks hunting rifles too dangerous shouldn't own one. That left me scratching that spot on my head where unanswerable questions sit. I figure that it's nobody's fault if facts tend to favor so-called progressive perspectives over the more obviously regressive ones. Claims that a fair election was stolen do not fall under the standard definition of a difference of opinion. It's just not true, however otherwise convinced a reader might have already been. Evidence well supported by data naturally trumps cynical manipulation. The trickle down tax cuts were quite objectively an abject failure. No evidence suggests that granting anyone equal rights undermines Our Constitution. Guns actually do and repeatedly have killed people, but only when wielded by actual people who, data strongly conclude (along with repeatedly observed experience), should have been denied access to any weapon, foreign or domestic, however much they might have otherwise revered Our Constitution.

There's considerable FutureTension here where the future has taken notice and bestowed great and unexpected blessings upon us. Unlike many peer communities, our local economy has been booming. We didn't ever have an economy based upon smelting lead or silver. Harvesting virgin forest had never been our competitive advantage. A few kids experimented with growing grapes on wheat land almost too steep to plant or harvest. They won a few awards with wines they'd fermented in their basements and an industry awakened. Private jets from Europe started landing at our airport and wineries, world class ones, quickly manifested. Most of the newer arrivals brought in progressive values, ones at least capable of discriminating between thirteen distinct varieties of red wine rather than just between Coors Light and Old Milwaukie. The new folks brought money and plenty of it. The natives were left behind just staying at home. They understandably ache for how it used to be here, though few seem to remember that it was never actually very much like it used to be here, even back then. We've been in constant flux since they took the territorial capitol away from us.

When a red place inherits blue prosperity great curiosity results. Still represented by stalwart sons and daughters of a moribund status quo who vote by conscience against their own interests, representation works backwards. Benefits trickle in thanks to progressives on the other end of the state and seem like tyrannical intrusions rather than improvements essential to their own sustainability. The beneficiaries become complainers, taking moral stands on issues of little consequence like guns and taxes, certain to lose, mostly representing privilege. No future belongs to any past. No past properly informs very many future decisions. Worlds collided when those kids took a gold medal with their basement experiment and quit their day jobs driving lift trucks. Others just lost their jobs without recourse. Net prosperity improved but the human condition remained unchanged. Perspectives trade off in Letters To The Editor columns where nothing ever gets decided. My dear departed daughter Heidi used to say that such issues get "disgusted," a pitch perfect description of the human condition.


Fridays seem to also hold a progressive bias, always showing up and pushing forward regardless of how sweet or savory the prior week was. One must keep moving on, forward never backward. This universe is a vast one way grid where actual regression's not allowed, fueled by, I suspect, FutureTension. This writing week seemed no exception. I wonder if I seem to be complaining more than reporting, for I have been carrying a few complaints. If I've grown annoying, please let me know and I'll try to pay closer attention to the universals and less to transitory complications. SettlingInto has overall been a delightful experience so far, with certain notable FutureTensions.

I began my writing week describing the two primary classes of chores, those which will I will likely complete and those I probably never will accomplish in
Stymie "I'm almost convinced that almost nothing actually works without us making up partially fictional stories about how they do."

I next noticed that SettlingInto's a negotiation between me and my possessions with my possessions getting at least equal say about every resolution in
StuffSettling "I much prefer simpler puzzles, but we inherit the puzzles we probably need."

I then reported on an example of a common difference, between what I imagine my future might hold and what it actually held when it showed up in
FutureClash "I'll settle for what the present offers and keep dreaming forward."

I caught myself looking into a mirror that was not there as I expected in
Unmirroring "Even absent mirrors reflect something."

I noticed myself lacking the judgement to avoid
OverDoing "Damned whatever I do for now, I must diligently continue OverDoing while hoping the resulting damage will be modest. I cannot not engage and I lack the judgement necessary to avoid OverDoing, so I will remain an accident actively happening until I'm not."

The most popular posting of this period described how I reacted to my cage door opening in
Staying@HomeSyndrome "We are the survivors but we're not unchanged by our common experience."

I ended my writing week relating to Thomas Alva Edison's experience finding a suitable filament for his light bulb
Filament "… it's an infinite search and we remain mere finite beings."

This week marked the ending of our formal sequestration portion of This Damned Pandemic, but not nearly the end of our caution. The Muse and I will be traveling via TheSecondCar to Portland this weekend to see two grandkids and my son and son-in-law after a year and a half's absence. We'll be wearing masks but hugging, a vast improvement over mugging via GrumpaTV. This foray will represent a critically important part of the SettlingInto Story, for anyone living in this small city understands that life here depends upon periodic trips to Seattle or Portland to recalibrate the old compass. SettlingInto any valley can mute some of the essential senses. Respites are required. My writing, however, will continue in continuing earnest. Thanks for your continuing interest.

©2021 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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