|Talent on loan from God, paid back with interest
Rush Limbaugh is gone. And if there are sadder words to write, I certainly can't think of them at the moment. Rush was a personal hero of mine, and we'd listened to his show for so many years that he really felt more like family than a radio personality. His presence in our home on weekdays was simply a given, albeit never taken for granted - especially during his final year of broadcasting while waging a tremendous battle against an unbeatable health condition.
When I heard Rush Limbaugh's show for the first time, I wasn't a conservative - I was a political idiot and too dumb to even know it. I more or less believed that Democrats were good (hey, they're against lynchings!), Republicans were bad (they only serve rich people!), and all else was unnecessary detail. With that level of ignorance, I would never listen to a radio show about politics - but fortunately, I turned in for a different reason.
I'd heard that this "Rush Limbaugh" fellow was something of a radio wild man - a "shock jock" agitator and lunatic who made people crazy (rather like broadcaster Joe Pyne and his ilk, who provoked guests into screaming matches). So I turned on the program expecting a complete freakshow...and found something entirely different. Limbaugh was funny! And smart! And the things he was saying didn't inflame me - they made sense. And the more he spoke, the more I cared...and the more I realized that it was important to care, and not to be an unthinking tool of the political/media spin machines.
More than any other individual, Rush Limbaugh is responsible for shaping my worldview and appreciation of genuine conservatism and Constitutionalism. Without Rush, this blog would have never existed.
Using logic, wit, and unmatchable broadcast skills, Rush brought millions of people back to classic American moral virtues over the course of 30 years. He united us and reminded us of the power for good we can wield as a group. And most importantly, he gave us hope - every day, no matter what. Circumstances both political and personal threw seemingly insurmountable challenges his way, and he not only carried on but did so with strength, optimism, humor, and an infectious faith that things would eventually go our way.
Rush Limbaugh will never be replaced - some shoes are too big to fill, and that "golden microphone" gleamed not because of its color, but because of the voice it transmitted. Happily, Rush changed the landscape of conservative broadcasting (he arguably created it) and so the void he leaves will be filled with other voices rather than silence.
Rush will be desperately missed, but the many lessons he taught me about politics and life will carry on. And for that, I'm truly and deeply thankful.
MANY ARE COLD BUT FEW ARE FROZEN
The year 2021 is still showing outstanding initiative when it comes to being a complete pain in the rear end. On a personal level, the latest affront was the Great Texas Freeze and the unsurprising discovery that the Green New Deal (now known as the Gangrene New Deal) will be a really, really effective means to kill people.
For multiple reasons - but primarily the near 100% failure of electricity-generating wind turbines in Texas, followed closely by the closure of many coal-fired generators - a freakish polar vortex knocked Texans for a loop as our power grid went down.
Here at Jarlsberg Manor, we lost power at just after 2 AM on Sunday night/Monday morning. And it got cold in the house fast. This kicked off three days (and long, long nights) of "rolling blackouts" which sometimes consisted of 8 or 9 hours with no power, followed by a half hour of electricity with which to raise the ambient temperature by about 5 degrees before being plunged back into darkness and arctic cold.
The Jarlsberg family coped by wearing layers upon layers of clothing and swaddling ourselves in blankets and, whenever available, dogs. For some reason, our gas fireplace sucks more warmth out of the room and up the chimney than it returns - so that was out. Our one source of heat was a small propane heater which would glow for six hours on a one-pound propane tank. And the heater was rated for indoor use (and used with caution bordering on paranoia), though also cautioned "may create carbon monoxide which is odorless and colorless and will not only kill you but make your neighbors mutter about what a stupid way you chose to die."
Adapting to the unpredictable rhythms of brief electrical service, we kept a large pan of hearty soup on the electric stove, and fresh grounds in the coffee pot. At the first "queep!" of electrical activity, we'd scramble to get things cooking and brewing. First pot of hot coffee went into a thermos, and hopefully we could squeeze out a second for immediate consumption.
Even for the brief periods we had electricity, our Internet, cable TV, and landline phone service were out (it turns out that the repeated power outages destroyed some component common to all three services). We had radio, but didn't listen that often; we knew things weren't going to warm up for days, and we were already depressed enough without getting more news of the world.
Eventually, the periods with electricity grew longer and more frequent (yay!) and as of Thursday morning our other services were restored. Not that we're completely out of the woods; owing to so many pipes bursting in local homes (not ours so far), there's an extreme water shortage in our area. We've been told "no showers, no laundry, no dishwashing, no "trickle of water to prevent pipe damage," and so on. Being community-minded, we're doing our bit by making our scotch and waters out of scotch and scotch. And yes, we KNOW we could use snow, but where's the fun in that?!
In all seriousness, the experiences of the past few days will be something for us to reflect on for a while. It's surprisingly focusing to be freezing in your home, in the dark, cut off from communications with the outside world. Which, considering the "outside world" in 2021, was at least a minor blessing.