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Hello, my name is Judas Gutenberg and this is my blaag (pronounced as you would the vomit noise "hyroop-bleuach").


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Like my brownhouse:
   morally-justified act of vandalism
Friday, November 11 2011

Today was a pseudoephedrine day, not so much because I wanted it to be one, but because it's a day I have to go through as a way to get to my caffeine day under the new rules. Still, it was a useful accelerant to my day, though I need to be more careful about specifying a goal that I need to achieve before taking whatever stimulant my rules allow me to take on a given day, because that's supposed to be part of the rules. Notice that I don't get my rules from Leviticus or the Dianetics; I have custom rules that only I obey. Talk about the long tail, how about a moral long tail: millions of "religions," each having only one member each. (And yes, in each of our pathetic one-person religions, all except those faithfully obeying the specific — and largely unwritten — rules of each will burn for eternity in hell.)

This evening Gretchen made another delicious meal, this one skewing Italian and featuring polenta with tomato-tempeh sauce (tempeh being, at this point, a culturally-agnostic meat substitute).
As we were eating this meal and watching the Colbert Report, our friend Tara showed up for her semi-annual "Gretchen fix" (or so it seems; she loves Gretchen but can almost never find the time to actually hang out). Tara expressed her condolences for the recent death of my father and kept returning to that subject long after most people would have let it rest. But I didn't mind. I actually was touched and honored when she requested that I tell my favorite story about my father. I didn't actually tell my favorite story (I don't really know what that would be from such a long and complicated history across so many years; instead I told one that seemed to highlight our mutual contempt for the normal confines of human society).
The story took place in 1990 or 1991 when I was about 22 and my father was about 66 years old. We'd fought a road widening project on Stingy Hollow Road (State Route 693) in front of our house for years, but the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) succeeded in ramming it through anyway. Most of our neighbors had supported the road widening (hillfolk never see the downside in such manifestations of "progress"), particularly Bobby Shipe, the guy across the street with whom we had been feuding since 1977 (when he opened an auto body repair shop). When Bob's Auto Body Repair joined the Adopt a Highway program and "adopted" 693 beginning at the landing of our land parcel known as Pileated Peak, VDOT decided to place an "Adopt a Highway" sign there, as if to block our access to our own property. When we complained to VDOT and they still refused to remove the sign, my father and I undertook a series of Adopt a Highway sign vandalizations throughout Augusta County. We drove around at night, and many dozens of signs were defaced with black spray paint. I even made a special spray paint can extender pole out of bike parts that allowed me to spray high up, out-of-reach places. At some point late in our crime spree, my mother went to the county office building for some reason and noticed a bulletin posted requesting information about the parties responsible for Adopt a Highway sign vandalism. As for the offending sign at the entrance to Pileated Peak, it was mysteriously removed well before we'd had our last word on the matter, and its inextricable post then found itself painted in the cheerful pattern of a barber's pole. There were also numerous bags of styrofoam popcorn (and at least one porcelain toilet) dumped along various adopted highways in the neighborhood. Thanks to our traditions of English Common Law giving the American justice system a statute of limitations, you get to read this story. And yes, my father was just as into that sign defacing as I was. He did the driving and I did the spraying. And let me tell you, there's no drug that can reproduce the high one gets from successfully pulling off a morally-justified act of fuck-you-asshole vandalism. (Some day I'll tell the story of the Field of Blood, a pasture in Fishersville studded with 3000 red crosses, one for each of the abortions performed every day in America.)

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