Wednesday, September 30, 2009
I mean, this is really weird.
In the town of Hardin, Montana, a development group called Two Rivers Authority sold a bunch of bonds and built a 464-bed jail, for no apparent reason. It was finished several years ago and is still empty. Okay, well, little towns do weird things.
But now it seems this empty jail has been taken over by something called American Police Force, the logo of which, I shit you not, goes like this:
According to their web site, which plays a truncated version of Bolero at you while you read it,
American Police Force is dedicated to maintaining our well deserved professional reputation as a results oriented full-service private investigative and security agency by way of commitment, diligence, unique resources, creativity, and tenacity on behalf of our clients.Uh, yeah. Okay. APF seems to be (or seems to be presenting itself as) a low-rent version of the Company Formerly Known as Blackwater, which according to William Grigg, "Never heard of them."
So far it's strange, but stranger things have happened. Subsequent rumors abound: TRA's website has a streaming banner with the following:
There is no fence or gate being built around Hardin.:-) Y'know, when you need statements like that, you may have a small public relations problem.
People are not being put in jail for refusing the swine flu shot.
And our city is not being taken over by a private police agency.
There isn't a helluva lot of news about this, though (as the rumors prove) the black helicopter crowd is orgasming continuously and may simply explode at any moment. What actually is going on, is confusing. APF brass showed up in black Mercedes SUVs with "Hardin Police Force" decals. The decals disappeared, but the SUVs remain. A mayoral candidate named Kerri Smith, the wife of the TRA executive director, (who has been put on 'adminstrative leave' for unspecified reasons that I'm guessing have something to do with the aforementioned public relations problem) is making all sorts of soothing public statements that manage to sound pretty damned ominous: "'Don't panic, just go with the flow and everything will be fine,' said Smith."
In the meantime, a private police force either is or is not patrolling the streets of Hardin, Montana. The town has no official police force, and it's probably not true that the county sheriff's department has been disbanded because I'm pretty sure a city council can't do that. One thing we know for sure is that:
There is no fence or gate being built around Hardin.
People are not being put in jail for refusing the swine flu shot.
And our city is not being taken over by a private police agency.
Maybe just a little skepticism out there about "American Police Force"...
And it would seem the skepticism is entirely justified...
(duh DAH dah dum)
Wants to berm it with earth
(duh DAH dah dum)
Feels like I'm tyin' rebar
(duh DAH dah dum)
Since the day of my birth!
Cause I got the bluuuues
I got the desert suckage blues!
I got them hide the ammunition
Or I might pop this guy blues!
[/old-timey blues voice]
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
The first horizontal course being done, this morning we started the vertical course. In five hours we finished one side. Twenty junctions per bar, which means twenty wire ties per bar plus whatever we need to pull the mesh and burlap up flush with the rebar. M, W and I spent yesterday evening cutting up 1600 feet of wire: We estimate that this part alone will need over 2000 ties.
Have I mentioned how much I hate rebar? Really it can't be said often enough.
On the Fritz front, we went to the vet yesterday afternoon to get the stitches out of his ear. OMG it looks terrible after two weeks in that rig. The vet wrapped his whole head in that stretchy self-adhesive bandage to hold the ear flat for another week, but an hour after we got home Fritz managed to get the mangled ear halfway out the hole the vet cut in the bandage so that he could hear, and he came to me in screaming agony. Dogs can talk, you know, and this one was saying "TakeitofftakeitoffTAKEITOFF!" He was thrashing around so bad I practically had to lay on him before I could get it cut off. Once I had the bandage off, he settled down instantly and went right to sleep.
Except for the fact that it's now flat and no longer filled with fluid, his ear looks worse than before we let the vet have his way with him. He's still being good about wearing the clown collar so he can't scratch it, and as long as he doesn't drag it in the dirt when it itches it seems to me it's better to let the thing have some air and heal. I'm going to keep an eye on him and leave things as they are for now. So far he's being good, but if he starts not leaving it alone I'll bandage it up again. I've got lots of gauze, which can't be less comfortable than that horrible stretchy stuff.
Sunday, September 27, 2009
"This is how we'll wind up in a country with both the PATRIOT Act and National Health Care. The way things are going, there'll be a six month waiting list to get wiretapped, and you'll only be able to be waterboarded by a government-provided doctor. Folks will be sneaking off to Mexico for gray-market torture. "
- Tam at View from the Porch
Saturday, September 26, 2009
First there are these panels of six-gauge mesh covered with burlap. The house kit gives us all the panels cut to size. Took a while to decipher the code spray-painted on the panels, but M made short work of that. I was never any good at puzzles. Once we get a couple of panels up, they get covered with the first course of horizontal rebar.
Each of those gets installed right positively! The steel beams have these iron tabs that we hammered down over the rebar.
Lots and lots of mesh. And burlap. And...erg...rebar.
All the way around, and then...up. I hate heights.
Rebar's nothing without tie wire, of course. The kit came with
I hate tie wire almost as much as I hate rebar.
The first course of rebar makes a fair rudimentary ladder. It takes a three-pound hammer to bend the tabs over - a claw hammer will barely touch them.
We finished the second course yesterday. Today, we figure out how to cover the top of the dome. Then we'll be ready for...more rebar!
Seriously, though I bitch and moan about it, this is the fun part. After weeks of messing with the foundation, where after every day of work you still just have a hole in the ground, this is kinda fun. We can see things coming together now. Once we've got the rebar lattice put together, we'll need to build the front wall. More blocks and cement - and rebar, of course. But after that, it'll be time for the men to come and spray concrete. Watching other people come and do work is an attractive prospect.
It was stored in a falling-down storage building at one corner of S&L's property, and while on the way there from their house S told me he was planning to pull it down when he got the time - he'd just put up up quickly many years ago, and the weather was having its way with it.
So we opened it up to pull out the siding, and here was all this...fiberglass insulation. Good stuff, not doing a soul a bit of good, just infinite nesting for the mice that owned the place. S looked at M, and they both looked at me...and we're going back later in the week to pull it out. My ceiling insulation needs are met! Between that and the clothing, I think I've got everything but the under-floor insulation nailed! Weeee!
I lost interest quickly, but then M sidled up and said, "You know, they make insulation out of shredded denim." I said, "Yeah? So? We don't have any way to shred these jeans." He said, "No, but if we rolled them up tight I bet they'd fit between your cabin studs pretty neatly."
Hm! I've been hung up on insulation, having made some foolish assumptions about how available it would be as salvage, and (failing that) how much it costs. It costs a lot.
We bought the whole lot for $20. Filled up the pickup bed twice. M, W and I pulled out what little we wanted and could wear, and the rest of this mountain of old clothes is about to become building materials!
Thursday, September 24, 2009
This summer, two of the best-known combatants in this fight signed a surprising truce, with a big tissue maker promising to do better. But the larger battle goes on -- the ultimate test of how green Americans will be when nobody's watching.
"At what price softness?" said Tim Spring, chief executive of Marcal Manufacturing, a New Jersey paper maker that is trying to persuade customers to try 100 percent recycled paper. "Should I contribute to clear-cutting and deforestation because the big [marketing] machine has told me that softness is important?"
He added: "You're not giving up the world here."
I recently re-watched an old movie, “The Song of Bernadette,” about a young French girl from Lourdes who sees visions of “a beautiful lady” which bring her nothing but trouble. The story itself doesn't really grab me, though the film is a perfect example of the epics of its era, around 1943. If you like to study how creative things are done, as I do, it's a great teacher. It also has a lot to say about the misuse of power.
I'm always fascinated by one particular supporting character, a bitter nun named Sister Vauzous who spends most of the film making life hard for Bernadette for no apparently good reason. She claims to disbelieve in Bernadette's visions, and it only becomes clear toward the end that she does indeed believe her, and that this is the cause of her enmity toward the girl. The screenplay gives us a hint about the conflict right up front, when the nun declaims to a bunch of elementary students her belief that what makes a Christian holy isn't faith so much as suffering. The more you suffer, the more chance you have of achieving holiness. Her problem with Bernadette is really transferred anger at God: Here she has tormented herself with suffering and self-denial, undergone mortification of the flesh and mind for decades and gotten nothing for it, but God (or the Virgin, or whoever) has granted holy visions to this little girl who never suffered a minute in her life. Of course the film undercuts her complaints by relentlessly assaulting us with the ways the girl suffers, which to me is a script weakness since it seems to bolster the nun's rather perverse approach to a Christian life, but no matter. I'm fascinated by this notion that one must suffer to achieve holiness, or any other sort of worthiness - that suffering, in itself, for its own sake, is a necessary component of a worthy life. I've never believed that.
Of course a certain amount of suffering - in the sense of endurance - is necessary for the development of a complete life, but not because pain in itself imparts any sort of wisdom or worthiness. It simply teaches the complete person how to endure unpleasant things; how to complete tasks well. If you want water to flow to your cabin year-round, you have to dig a trench for the water line. This is tedious and strenuous and altogether unpleasant, and while you're doing it you can and will think of all sorts of excellent reasons to stop. You'll get sweat in your eyes, your back will hurt, and your hands will form blisters around every imperfection in the shovel's handle. Plus, it's boring. But if you want water to gush out of that pipe in the dead of winter, you'll bloody well keep your eyes on that prize and just do it. This is something life as a city-bred cubicle rat won't teach you – at least it didn't teach it to me - but it's necessary to learn it. Sometimes life has to suck for a while, but the suckage has a purpose – to give you something that, in the long run, will help your life to suck less. Every athlete in training knows this. In training an athlete puts himself through hell with difficult and repetitive tasks that actually break his body down and force it to heal stronger. But he isn't doing it because he loves suffering, he's doing it because he wants the pleasure of beating the pants off everybody else on the field. “No pain, no gain” - the old cliché implies that there really is some tangible gain involved, and that the participant knows precisely what it is.
Pain is a part of the vocation of athletics, or of ditch-digging, or of winter survival or whatever. But pain isn't the point of the exercise – it's only a tool. A lot of people enjoy cooking, and all cooks own spatulas, but no cook lives for his spatula. Living in pain for its own sake, actually seeking out opportunities to suffer, makes as much sense as taking up gourmet cooking as an excuse to have a spatula collection.
So far I'm writing in theoretical terms, really. Yes, there are religious people who practice mortification of the flesh, imagining that somehow by these means they'll earn passage to heaven or whatever it is they're after. But they're rare beasts these days: I've never actually met one, and if you have you've had a rare – and probably not all that wonderful – experience. Nevertheless, say what you will about such people as may still exist, at least they're only doing it to themselves. And they're doing it voluntarily. It's been a long time since The Church was in a position to impose “self”-sacrifice. But that impulse - to impose “self”-denial and sacrifice on others for its own sake - is very far from dead, and it has been co-opted by voices more sinister and damaging than that of some obscure Spanish Opus Dei saint.
The sinister voices come, as such things tend to, from our own government. Our would-be masters have determined that we, as a collective, are simply not suffering enough for our own good. As the possessors of all the organized guns, they feel themselves in a position to do something about that.
I will now proceed to rant. Sometimes I wish these people would just come out of their shells and be evil. It would be easier to live under the rule of an honest Boris Badenov than that of a hypocritical Mary Poppins. “Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive,” said C. S. Lewis. “It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.” These people who exhort us day and night to greater acts of “self-sacrifice” in the name of social justice, or the right of other people to 'feel safe,' or climate change, or anti-terrorism, or universal health care or whatever the crisis du jour may be, coerced and enforced by the guns of their ever-present agents, no doubt sleep like babies after a hard day of doing it. Why shouldn't they? They're only doing it for our own good, helping us to be better people - better citizens.
One of my heroes, Lysander Spooner, put it better than I ever could: “The fact is that the government, like a highwayman, says to a man: "Your money, or your life." ... The government does not, indeed, waylay a man in a lonely place, spring upon him from the roadside, and, holding a pistol to his head, proceed to rifle his pockets. But the robbery is none the less a robbery on that account; and it is far more dastardly and shameful.
The highwayman ... does not pretend that he has any rightful claim to your money, or that he intends to use it for your own benefit. ... Furthermore, having taken your money, he leaves you, as you wish him to do. He does not persist in following you on the road, against your will; assuming to be your rightful "sovereign," on account of the "protection" he affords you. ... He is too much of a gentleman to be guilty of such impostures, and insults, and villanies as these. In short, he does not, in addition to robbing you, attempt to make you either his dupe or his slave.” - from “No Treason”.
It's one thing when the government spuriously claims to be safeguarding our corporeal selves from outside enemies, even when it is the reason those people have become enemies in the first place, or when it simply invented the enemies from thin air. That's bad enough. But it's particularly galling when the 'notably ungoverned' people in the government presume to save us from ourselves. Recently Steven Chu, the Administration's Energy Secretary, said, “The American public…just like your teenage kids, aren’t acting in a way that they should act ... The American public has to really understand in their core how important this issue [reducing 'greenhouse gases'] is.” Given that the remedies the administration has prescribed for this global reduction would be so painful as to make the cilice and the flagellant's crop appear as pleasant as a day in the park by comparison, I hesitate to speculate as to what form imposition of this 'understanding' might take.
Our would-be rulers would now have us believe that they can lead us to some sort of secular 'holiness' by forcibly imposing their 'discipline' on us. And too many of us buy what they're selling for them to ever think they won't get their way. Go to any airport and watch people obediently take off their shoes and belts, watch while their possessions are rifled through, stand numbly and allow themselves to be manhandled and probed for contraband before being allowed to go their harmless ways. Building inspectors, zoning 'compliance officers,' tax collectors, law enforcement officers and a thousand other kinds of useless eaters impose themselves on people daily, and are quietly endured. Why shouldn't the people who presume to rule us think they have a mandate to do so? What else have we shown them?
So now let's move on to the next step: Father Visitor Obama and Msgrs. Chu, Sunstein, Daschle, Feinberg, Browner et al will help us all achieve worthiness as good citizens by imposing 'sacrifice' and 'discipline' upon our unworthy souls. We will pay for the health care of the less fortunate. We will squeeze ourselves into sardine can cars (when we can get permission to own one), walk to and from wherever public transportation deigns to pick us up and drop us off, pay through the nose the taxes that will help us more properly appreciate our fuel, our (carefully regulated) vices, our (intrusively monitored) entertainment and communication. We will thank government for the privilege of “owning” property (as long as we pay the annual property tax). We will send our children to be brutalized and slaughtered as we bring the blessings of 'democracy' to foreign lands.
We will hate every minute of it. But that's good! Only Through Suffering can we learn and grow! Only Through Suffering can we become more aware! Only Through Suffering can we develop character, and so become the good and obedient citizens our State requires us to be! And Sister Vauzous will be there every step of the way, steel ruler in hand, waiting to guide us with strict but loving discipline, through suffering, to achieve the greater life that only sacrifice - ours, not hers - can bring.
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Now, I don't know if the operating software on this ten-year-old, fourth-hand laptop is properly registered or not, and I don't care. I certainly wasn't going to connect with their site and allow them to "upgrade" my friend's kindly-lent computer into an inert paperweight. This morning Microsoft apparently tired of waiting for me to do the right thing, so they "updated" my computer without my consent and every five minutes or so tried to shut down and re-boot it. I wondered whether, after I shut it down this morning, it would ever work again. And when I booted up a few minutes ago, I got this: (Click for embiggenment.)
I've never been one of those who denounced Bill Gates as the antichrist. Until now: Now I'd like to string him up by his scrawny neck.
Sunday, September 20, 2009
If you answered, "the valuable one showcases some artistic talent," you'd be wrong. The difference, of course, is age. Pure age. I'm guessing the artist who drew that petroglyph on that rock was about six years old, and was justifiably spanked by his mother for doing it. But because it happened a thousand years ago, it's valuable. Priceless, in fact.
Second example. Here are two bits of litter I picked up this morning, more-or-less in my front yard:
One is a collection of small pottery shards, with examples of at least four ancient Hopi styles from widely-separated periods. (Not the dime, though. It was just in my pocket.)
The other is an old beer can, the pop-top style dating it to the very late sixties to mid-seventies.
One is an interesting, if locally common, archaeological find. The other is litter that sat out too long. What's the difference? Age again. I may have actually damaged the cultural inheritance of future generations this morning, when I picked up that beer can and chucked it in the trash. If I'd let it sit another thousand years or so, it might have been transmuted into a priceless archaeological artifact.
Of course, both the pot shards and the beer can were laying in the same rubbish heap, and for exactly the same reason. Somebody was done with them, and carelessly chucked them onto the ground.
I don't really know where to go with that: It just struck me while I was whiling away an hour looking for pot shards, and I thought it was kinda funny.
Saturday, September 19, 2009
She seems to be referring to the San Francisco murders of Democrats Harvey Milk and George Moscone in 1978, murders committed by a, uh, Democratic politician. She failed to mention what any of that had to do with political dissent, though I'm sure it's somehow very clear to her. Dementia is a terrible, terrible thing.
So every morning before it gets hot I fill in a bit of the trench. There's a little less than 300 feet of trench from the cistern to the yard, and I got lucky with the first hundred feet or so: A passing good samaritan with a tractor blade filled in that part. Things like that happen here. Of course that leaves 200 feet, mostly on a steep slope. I've been at it for three mornings now and am a little more than halfway there.
The lair has a beautiful view of the wash. I'm hung up on some big-ticket items like insulation and roofing, and seriously doubt that I'll actually be ready to move in before things freeze. But I'll keep plugging along. I've got all the windows I need but there's no rush to install them, and a few reasons not to which I don't choose to publicly discuss.
But boy! Do I have water pressure! It's about a 50-foot drop from the cistern to the faucet, and that gives me more pressure than I need. No electric pressure pump needed here! Which is good, because I'm probably years from having a serious electrical system.
Thursday, September 17, 2009
Yes, I got all muddy. So? You never play with me. You'll have to pay my therapy bills, you know. So I got all muddy.
This is what you have to go through when your mommy loves you enough to...make you go through things like this.
Yes, that's a gigantic, one-eared German Shepherd in an amazingly ridiculous collar, galloping right toward you. When he reaches you, he'll either tear out your throat for having seen him like this, or demand to be petted. Think fast.
Magnus had a bad recurrence of some serious health problems about three weeks ago, and for a time I was afraid I was going to lose him. But he's been bouncing back pretty well. He's got his legs back under him, and normally acts...well, normal. On the other hand, sometimes he acts like he's misplaced a few of his marbles. Not entirely sure if he's going to come all the way back this time, but it's awfully good to see him take an interest in Walky Time. Shortly after this pic, he decided he'd had enough fun and just headed home.
Flash flood aftermath, about three hours later.
Went to check on damage at the pistol range. Pretty clearly the water at this bank never got more than an inch or two deep.
A few minutes later, sure enough! The biggest flash flood I've ever personally seen the start of swept through the wash. Little Bear, of course, ran to see what all the commotion was about and was right in the path of it, but clearly not so very sure it was a good place for him to be because for once he instantly obeyed a command to "Come here!" Moments later, this:
I wondered if I was going to be searching for my pistol range's target stand downstream, but as it happened the water never climbed very high and so (this time) it just lapped the bases of the targets. Wouldn't be the first time we've lost stuff downstream in our "dry" wash, though.
These things can trap you at home, or they can trap you away from home. During the monsoon season, we tend to time our trips to town by the condition of the washes.
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
I'm gonna go collapse in the shade now.
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Poor guy has to wear this for Two Weeks. And it looks as though we might be able to keep it on this time. Assuming he hasn't borrowed a shotgun and blown his own pea brain out by then.
Seriously, if I felt friendlier toward our neighbor cop I'd send him a portrait of the New Fritz, just as a little bit of atonement for the biting episode.
But I don't, so I won't.
Oh, shit no. This is what Slim Whitman would have wanted to sound like, if he could sing. (Though "I Remember You" was haunting when I was a kid, before he descended into self-parody - "When my life is through/And the angels ask me to recall/The thrill of them all/Then I will tell them I remember you") But I digress.
Naw, "Lovesick Blues" is just a fun Hank Williams song, though he didn't write it:
The version I'm familiar with is a Don McClean cover from the '70's (of course) but I can't find a copy of it on the tubz. I've no idea whatever why it keeps looping over and over in my head - maybe I should go listen to some Led Zep for a while.
Monday, September 14, 2009
And a third strike against the idea of our local horse doctor ever getting near one of these dogs again.
Fritz has had a hemotoma in his ear for quite some time. We took him to the horse doc three times, and each time the syringe came out full of blood. "Still bleeding, come back in a week," the guy said. Yeah, then he just stopped answering phone calls.
So we take him to the real small-animal vet 45 miles away. 200+ dollars and a surgical procedure later, poor Fritz is all bandaged up and has to wear the Camo Flower for two weeks - which looks absurd, and which he is a master at removing. I wove the drawstrings through another regular collar, which I had to put on pretty tight before he stopped being able to get the Flower off instantly. 15 minutes may be a record, and it won't surprise me if it's off before I'm done typing this.
Oh, yeah: The vet stuck one of those special flashlights into Fritz' ear, and it turns out that all this time he's had a big old grass seed in there - the horse doctor looked in the ear and declared it clear.
So: The guy neutered my puppy and damned near left a gauze pad inside his sewed-up nutsack (I caught that while he was sewing up Little Bear). He failed to notice the foreign object in Fritz' ear, which he was looking right at. And then he fouled up the treatment and stopped taking my calls. Yeah, I think we're done here. Seven dogs on the property, and no vet at all locally, not even one I'd care to fall back on in an emergency.
Sunday, September 13, 2009
So, here’s the scenario:So yeah, some things don't change. Cops can do whatever they want to you, and your job is to respect their authoritah. No matter how thuggish - or how murderous - they become. Remember that, Citizen.
A man goes to court to contest a traffic ticket. At least three, and as many as seven, police officers are present. A “scuffle” breaks out between the badly outnumbered man and the police, which ends when one of the police draws his firearm and shoots the man in the back.
Question: Who gets charged with a crime, and what is the charge?
Of course, on this micro scale the "Citizens" had other places they could go, and they have pretty much gone there. Oh Little Town of Jericho is nearly defunct, with businesses having closed and residents having moved away as fast as they can to get away from the blood-sucking oppression that was clearly allowed to go on for years too long. What's left is in chaos now, and what passes for local officialdom is in full dysfunctional damage control mode which is really - I admit - kinda fun to watch. You might've gotten the impression that I don't actually care too much for "officialdom." You might've been right.
This is all so right in line with what David Codrea's been writing for years in his "Only Ones files:" IE, "We're the only ones who..."
Push madness far enough and the whole thing's got to fall apart. People finally remember that they're not that compliant. But if it really has to get this bad on a national scale before the reaction happens, we're in deep, deep shit.
Saturday, September 12, 2009
The tools were ready, and so were the goodies...
Every Evil Overlord's Lair needs a self-destruct mechanism, of course. So the charges were ready. (I'm told the Big Red Button will be labelled "Kill All The Puppies," rather than "Self-Destruct." M learned that in Evil Overlord School.
(Private to BATFE: Get a sense of humor.)
But the pumper...Not so ready.
It seems the fix for this actually involves jumping up and down on the hose. Oddly, this eventually worked.
At last we had concrete.
So we poured...
And we poured...
And we poured...
And it took so long that we weren't even done pouring before some of us could venture out on the concrete to smooth the surface...
And...well, it took a really, really long time. But we got the sucker done! M has a floor!
Now for the fun part.
I'll have pix later, after I've scavenged them from M's camera. A whole crew showed up before 10am, when the first of the trucks were supposed to arrive. And we waited...and waited...and finally the first truck arrived just before 11. The trucker got lost or something, despite our having positioned a driver in town to guide him. Then the concrete truck couldn't produce pressure for its water hose. Then the pumper couldn't move the mud, because it'd been in the !@#$%@! truck for so long. The subsequent trucks were backed up all day long as a result. At the bitter end, we were all standing around with curled toes waiting to run out of concrete before we ran out of the need for it. "It'll be close," was all the pumper operator would commit to.
But at the end, success! M has been running on adrenalin for the past several days, but his meticulous preparation seems to have paid off in a (at the end of the day, at least) perfect pour. Nothing that went wrong happened on his end, or affected final success. The weather cooperated beautifully - cloudy most of the day, never got hot, it was even a bit too cold for perfect comfort toward the end. We didn't finish up till 5.
The boys spent the day in Gitmo, getting more and more upset at all the diesel noises they were unable to investigate/interfere with. Fresh concrete 2 feet deep in places, and they can't jump in? Unthinkable! But they were good enough that none broke out to join the fun: I rewarded them with special snackies for afters.
We all seem to have spent the morning collapsed in various heaps, though I've heard stirrings here and there.