Reading the excellent Young Hegelians by Sol Invictus reminds me of how in the appendices of the Illimunatus! trilogy by Robert Anton Wilson there is an extension of the three parts of the Hegelian Dialectic (thesis, antithesis, synthesis) to round them out to the Erisian standard 5-ness by adding parenthesis and paralysis. While these are good additions, I think that two more could complete the cycle and make a nice 7-part sequence, to go with the days of the week: osmosis and catharsis. These would fit, because what better cure for logical paralysis than some judicious imbibing? And the aftermath on Sunday should by all rights be cathartic. This would also nicely align synthesis with Wednesday, which Mickey Mouse Club viewers will remember was Anything Can Happen Day way back when.

In other news, I played my first round of golf in over two years on Monday, with my Dad. I've been going to the driving range for the last couple of weeks and have had decent results. Now that I'm divorced I have time for such time sink activities. A few years ago I finally bought myself a modern set of irons and a composite-shaft driver, after starting with used clubs that didn't really fit me (I'm left handed, so pickin's were slim on the used market when I started). I then quickly replaced my 3 wood with a modern version, and all of those clubs have been good to me. I've hung on to a couple of fancy, handmade, actual wood fairway woods, a 5 and a 7 that were extras of my Mom's husband's. He's taller than I am, so they don't fit me like the other woods, and they have metal shafts. I could hit them well from time to time, so I've stuck with them, despite their alien feel compared to the driver and 3. They were disastrous on Monday, so I decided to replace them with clubs that have the same feel as my others. I found some today, Pinseekers like the rest of the set - a 5 wood and a 'rescue' 7 wood. Merry Christmas to me. They were great at the driving range just now! I now have actual hope of following decent drives with some distance from the fairway. The 7 is extra wide and has some extra mass, so I'm thinking it will be great from the rough, where I spend a lot of time and lose distance with the old 3 iron. I don't take the game seriously, but there's no sense having my equipment hold me back. I'm really looking forward to our round on Friday morning at Mission Lakes in Desert Hot Springs, where my Dad lives along the 15th fairway. That's a 'middle class' country club (Dad's description) in the windswept town across the valley from Palm Springs. Great in winter, hell in the summer. Still, they've got this huge expanse of green grass off the back patio that they never have to mow!

What little preparations I've had to do for the holiday were done yesterday, so I get to relax for a couple of days, for once, and no credit cards were traumatized, or even involved, for the first time in my adult life. Money isn't abundant, but proper prior planning and complete control over the purse-strings makes a huge difference. Listening to Agnus Dei in the truck yesterday and today has even got me in the mood, to a limited extent. I've been dark and stagnant for many months in the shadow of my marriage failing last spring, and today is one of the best days I've had since. I hope others are finding what joy there is to be had, and are managing to relax or are seeing that they will soon.

At 6:22 this morning my truck was idling in hopes that enough warmth would follow to melt the layer of ice coating all available glass. I had a shovel in my hand, trying to clear the driveway so I could head on outward to work.

The lights flickered three times, and poof. The sudden, unexpected darkness.

You may have heard about the winter storms in midwest. I am one of 268,000 Columbus, Ohio residents without power. With temperatures headed for below zero. Perfect timing, but then it is always wise to remember that wherever we are, and whatever we do, Murphy is with us. I walked outside and discovered that limbs had shed handily from the trees that led me to purchase ReBiltmore, my rather modest sub-sub-manse. Two were resting on my power lines, and the porcelain clevis that supported it had snapped like the tree branches.

Well, that's fixed. Being an electrician has at least prepared me for small problems like this one. I did what I could, set a couple faucets dripping to prevent further freezing and headed over to visit Lucy-S and Braunbeck, who do have electricity, heat and an outstanding DVD collection.

We logged onto American Electric Power's website listing power outages. They had updates on the outages at 4, 6 and 10 AM, with nothing else after that. I was one of the select 283,000 people who did not have to expend electric power to cool my beer. Braunbeck's sister might have to wait 72 hours before here family has heat. Three hours later (five minutes ago) I logged back on and the total without service was only 148,000. The 10:00 AM outages had all disappeared.

Could it be that electric service had been restored to the those people, who would have included myself? I called a nearby restaurant where the manager is manning the phones assuring everyone that pizza will not be made tonight. Something about the ovens still needing juice.

It seems like spin. Having 283,000 people without juice might be bad publicity. Sort of like suicide bombings in Iraq. I do have sympathy for what the linemen are trying to do. I make my living pulling wires and turning on lights. They probably have lines down everywhere in the freezing rain, and have to get rid of all of them in a given area before power can be restored. Their estimate of "well into tomorrow" seems prudent.

But the way to respond to large outages is not simply to roll back the last total, rather it is to add new totals as lights come back on. You don't subtract data, you add it. This either represents spin, or laziness on the part of the web managers. Of course, an energy company would never spin a problem, would they?

Update by 11:30 the power was back on and my house was warm again, my cats happy. Large splotches of Columbus were still blacked out and every mile of freeway had at least one van, SUV or truck wrong side up. Today is a good day to go nowhere. Many thanks to Lucy-S and Braunbeck for taking me in out of the cold, feeding me and showing me fine movies. Friendship rocks.
The dumbest customer of the day award goes to . . .

"Hello, I'm here to pick up a prescription for Sarah."
"Sarah who?" asked the young lady at the register.
"Oh, I don't know her last name. Her boyfriend is [name of some dude none of us have ever heard of]."
"But you don't know her last name?"
"Do you have anything here for someone named Sarah?"

Ding ding ding! We have a winner!

After more back-and-forth like this, we were able to obtain the mysterious Sarah's boyfriend's phone number and ask him for his girlfriend's last name. We can only hope he's not banging two Sarahs. You just never know.

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