A Wednesday rundown

AT 8:30 A.M., I was parked in my post-pajama attire outside a tire outlet on the ring road with the intention of buying four new tires.

I arrived just moments before the joint opened and purchased Goodyears. My previous tires lasted the kilometer equivalent of about 30,000 miles and 2.5 years. I would have preferred more of both those measures. This new set cost the peso equivalent of about $367 U.S.

Having no point of comparison, I don’t know if that’s good or bad.

The new tires mean one thing:  I will be keeping the 2009 Honda indefinitely, not switching it for a new Kia Soul, which I’d been thinking of doing.

The Honda runs fine, so …

* * * *

Perhaps you know that a cabal of social media providers simultaneously threw Alex Jones, the Infowars fellow, into oblivion this week for no reason other than they do not like what comes from his mouth.

This is a very bad thing.

Jones is an objectionable fellow, I’ll grant, but the left-wingers crushed him because they disagree with his opinions. I heard something interesting this morning. It’s that virtually all of the world’s social media comes from within 300 miles of San Francisco.

Chew on that.

Some are calling Jones the canary in the mine.

Though Trump sits in the Oval Office, the Bolsheviks still control most of the important sectors of society in the Western World.

It’s a good time to be old and approaching death.

* * * *

It’s a lovely, cool August day here. After picking up the Honda at 10 a.m. and smooth-riding back to the Hacienda on new rubber, we ate cereal. My child bride cooked pinto beans for lunch this afternoon. We always have roasted chicken and beans on Wednesday.

I showered and dressed, did some plant trimming in the yard, swept the veranda, and now I’m going to the Jesus Patio and put my feet up.

* * * *

The news from yesterday was that I had a gold crown fall off one of my back molars. A few hours later I walked into a dental office on Romero Street, and a pretty young dentist reconnected it lickety-split for about $15 U.S.

 

All shrugged out

I MET AYN Rand, briefly, at a talk she gave in 1963. It was in a smallish meeting room in a second-floor walk-up in San Francisco. I was 19 years old.

I do not recall the circumstances of being there. I had not read Rand and only knew she was famous, and the talk was free. She was there with her sidekick Nathaniel Brandon.

Flash forward more than half a century. About a month ago, I decided to read Atlas Shrugged, her magnum opus. I skipped the warm-up novel, The Fountainhead, which is somewhat less wordy, and went directly to the 1,188-page Shrug.

One of my few conscious objectives on retiring 17 years ago was to read more books. I have always been a reader, but I decided to do even more. Before retiring, I had generally avoided extremely long books for no better reason than shiftlessness.

Plus, it interfered with my drinking.

Since moving over the Rio Bravo, however, and sobering up, I turned to some really lengthy works. War and Peace, Anna Karenina, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, etc.

All great books and, brother, are they long.

Tolstoy, I like. Dostoyevsky, not so much. I bogged down in Crime and Punishment. I made even less progress with One Hundred Years of Solitude, which I tried to read long before moving to Mexico. Maybe I should try again, but doubt I will.

Back to Ayn Rand. She’s famous, so I thought I should read her main work. I bought it on Kindle for under $5.

And I dove right in.

A wag described Rand’s works as twice as long as phone books and half as interesting. Shrug was interesting enough to hold my attention but just barely. A couple of times I decided to abandon the effort, but I soldiered on … and on … and on …

Until this week. I made it 67 percent of the way through. Kindle tells you that. I can go no further, pooped out.

Rand’s take on things is not complicated. She calls it Objectivism. You owe nobody anything, and nobody owes you anything. There is nothing metaphysical, no afterlife, no way to know anything except by reason. Your main interest should be yourself.

* * * *

My philosophy, in essence, is the concept of man as a heroic being, with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life, with productive achievement as his noblest activity, and reason as his only absolute.

* * * *

It was surprising to see her curse notions (in 1957) that today are known as political correctness. For instance, the requirement to embrace the “correct” opinions and even, to a degree, the proper personal pronouns.

Rand and I do, however, share quite a few values of the libertarian stripe —  an aversion to taxes, a love of capitalism, minimal government and a dislike of obligatory altruism, something that should be a personal choice.

But I also believe in an afterlife. Rand did not.

Rand and I are polar opposites of Pocahontas Warren, Red Bernie, Crooked Hillary, Screaming Dean, Weepy Barry and all the other heroes of today’s Democrat Party, the party of income redistribution and pink “pussy hats.”

But if you’re ever tempted to read Atlas Shrugged or The Fountainhead, I suggest you go instead to CliffsNotes.