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I need at least another millennium

So much for integrity

Our Lady with the Large Black Dog approached me on a delicate matter with much trepidation. It seems that her parents, both avid collectors, are retired, and wish to dispose of their stuff, said stuff being everything from an 1887 automobile to a coca cola bottle icecream scoop.

She has already hornswoggled me into doing a lot of work on this project by the tactic of using simple truths such as “you’re really very good at this sort of thing” and “you have all of that neat equipment” and such like. Naturally I had to reaffirm her trust in my many virtues.

The besides of which men are rather like dogs in this regard. Every so often, no more than twice daily, I take the Large Black Dog out for a frisbee session. I throw the frisbee, he runs and catches it, and then brings it back to me so that I can throw it again. Note that he does all of the work. Note also that this work is something he wants to do. With almost no effort on my part I can him to work hard on something he wants to do. Men are much the same; you can get them to work hard on something as long as it is something they want to do and you give them minimal reinforcement.

All of which has little to do with milady’s trepidation. Getting me to run around with a camera snapping pictures, gathering data, and constructing a website listing an astounding variety of items for sale was the work of a moment. However there was also the question of advertising. The obvious thing to do is to advertise the sale in various specialty magazines and newspapers. This is being done.

There was, however, another possibility. She knew someone who has a very active website, drawing about ten thousand visitors a week. Perhaps she could persuade that someone to run a discreet ad for the auction. That someone was me.

There was a catch. This is a very non-commercial, and even non-institutional site. I don’t do business here, I don’t have little pop-up ads, and I keep it clean of sordid commercialism. She knows, or least pretends to believe, that I value my editorial integrity. I am, after all, carrying on the finest traditions of samizdat and personal journalism. (Let us have no inquiries as to how fine those “finest” traditions are.)

More than that, she knows that I have a strong streak of quakerism and anti-materialism in my soul. I’ve been known to make sardonic remarks about the American propensity for consumerism. How I manage to reconcile these tendencies with the poseession of a 52″ plasma TV, a five thousand dollar computer, and sundry other toys is quite beside the point, and I will thank you not to bring the matter up.

Given my various beliefs about me and my site, it was only natural that she should approach the subject with some trepidation. It turns out, however, that she was in luck. This is, after all, “Richard Harter’s World”, and anything that I put that much work on is grist for the mill. As for this integrity nonsense, this is what I have to say about that.

Woof! Woof!


As I sat here writing I heard a clanging and a banging at my walls. I arose from my seat and went to see what the matter was. It seems that one of a local band of woodpeckers had landed on a thermometer mounted just outside the picture window and was busily trying to disassemble it. It’s a damn good thing this is a brick house.

If I’m dieting, why do I keep getting more behind?

Once upon a time in quite a different millennium, I thought I would retire to some out of the way, third world country, where I could catch up on my gardening, my reading, and the many projects that I have started over the years.

It was a theory. The first step in this ambitious scheme was to select a third world country. I settled on South Dakota instead. I admit that it is not precisely a third world country, but it is a reasonable substitute, except for one unfortunate fact – real third world countries have much better climates.

Having found the place and the vocation (retirement) I surely was ready to complete all of my projects on the shelf, a metaphorical pile that grows ever more taller and more rickety. Alas, I have discovered that in retirement one falls behind even faster than before.

I have a theory about this – I have chosen to retire in the wrong millennium. This simply isn’t a millennium in which one can get things done. Either that or everything that you do get done comes with two new things to that are attached. I think that I shall wait until the next millennium before I take catching up seriously.


This being an election year and all that, I suppose I should offer my valuable opinions on the course of coming events, and whom one should vote for.


That certainly didn’t take long, did it? Let’s go on to my less valuable opinions. It’s hard to see how anybody can win this election. Bush is, well, Bush. Kerry is, well, Kerry. Kerry’s advantage is that most people don’t know anything about him. If he can keep it that way until the election, his chances are pretty good. I fear, though, that he will think it necessary to make speeches.

Then there is our esteemed President, albeit not nearly as esteemed as he was before his little Iraq adventure. For my part I like to pretend that we didn’t elect a President in 2000; I shan’t quarrel with anyone who says that we didn’t.

All of which says that the campaign is likely to be a dead bore. It’s too bad that Dean turned out to be a rabid ground hog; he enlivened things for a while. What the democrats ought to do is to nominate Hilary. They are going to come to it sooner or later; everyone knows that they will. They might as well do it now and let the fun begin.

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This page was last updated April 1, 2004.
It was reformatted and moved September 7, 2006

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