October 2018 archive
A few dogs that live on my block have no manners. They roam free and sometimes aren't nice to people.

There used to be more of them. You'd encounter four in a pack, as I did once while returning home with Lulu (a friend's Australian Cattle Dog I used to have on loan occasionally). We were walking in the middle of the road and four dogs in the middle of the road ahead glared at us and barked.

I walked as if the other dogs weren't there and told Lulu to heel. She matched my pace and didn't bark. We were outnumbered but she didn't show any fear. Maybe she sensed the other dogs were paper tigers. Or maybe not. Cattle dogs are known to defend you no matter what.

When we were about 100 feet from the pack of four I said "let's go" and ran toward them as fast as I could. Lulu joined in. The four turned tail immediately. I stopped chasing them, Lulu followed my lead, and we walked up my driveway. "They're not our friends," I told her.

It's funny, what did and didn't scare Lulu. She'd get spooked by any little noise when we'd go for walks on dark moonless nights.
Khashoggi achieved in his life and death something that nobody else in modern history has been able to achieve: Ordinary people, media figures, and politicians throughout the world now appreciate how it feels to be treated like a helpless idiot by an Arab power elite that believes it can manage its citizens with brutality and disdain, without any accountability or consequences.

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross on CNN in 2017, after returning from visiting Saudi Arabia with Tr--p:

There was not a single hint of a protestor anywhere there during the whole time we were there. Not one guy with a bad placard.
That may be not necessarily because they don't have those feelings there, but because they control people and don't allow them to come and express their feelings like we do here.
In theory, that could be true, but boy, there was certainly no sign of it, not a single effort of any incursion. The mood was a genuinely good mood.

"In theory."
Tr‑‑p, on Wednesday:
They're [Saudi Arabia] an important ally. But I want to find out what happened, where is the fault, and we will probably know that by the end of the week.
Translation: The plan is to make up a story in time for a Friday news dump.

The Saudi fistfight explanation came out late Friday afternoon (Washington time). Asked on Friday whether he found this pathetic joke of a cover story to be credible, Tr‑‑p said, "I do."

For good measure at a rally on Thursday, Tr‑‑p praised a violent act against a journalist on US soil. The crowd cheered.

Dark times.
My second favorite state motto is that of West Virginia: Montani semper liberi (Mountaineers are always free). Taken literally, it is arguably untrue. To be obsessed is to be a slave and mountaineering is definitely an obsession for some. But mountaineering/climbing has moments of attention to nothing but the task at hand and many of us find that experience liberating.

And for those of us who are easily amused, West Virginia's motto is great because when you ask Google to translate it into German, it renders "free" in the sense of "gratis": Bergsteiger sind immer kostenlos.

Most climbers on long hard routes use rope for safety. I've come across the occasional unroped climber but not often. I get that a climber's family and friends will miss them if they die but I don't presume to know better than someone else what they should be doing. I don't know what it's like to be a parent, much less a parent who loses a young son or daughter to an unroped fall. But doesn't every parent have to make peace with knowing that their progeny will make choices on their own?

I've climbed Bear's Reach (a 400+ foot granite route) a few times, always roped and in a party of two. It takes us a few hours, a good amount of that time spent on placing and removing protection. Accomplished climbers have done it in under five minutes unroped, Dan Osman for example. Why didn't he use rope? It's not the same experience. You might just as well ask why he didn't hike the trail to the top of the rock instead.

My favorite state motto is North Carolina's: Esse quam videri (To be, rather than to seem).
Lepus californicus, this morning
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