Friday, October 26, 2012


1. Hurricane Sandy, the "Frankenstorm."

One of the reasons I've endured this region for as long as I have is the historical paucity of major natural catastrophes. No earthquakes. No volcanoes. No tornadoes. No tidal waves. Infrequent hurricanes (about once every fifty years). But "infrequent" doesn't mean "never."

Hurricane Sandy has been upgraded to Category 2, and might gain further in power as it advances along the East Coast. Current tracking predictions have it veering north by northwest , such that the eye of the storm would pass almost directly over New York City. The storm is very wide -- a radius of at least 200 miles -- so Long Island will feel at last some of its wrath even if the projected track fails to materialize.

I have to say, it does look bad for New York Metro, Sunday night through Tuesday morning. The mildest of the predictions forecast gale-force winds and eight inches of rain. As there'll also be a full moon, that bodes ill for the tides, with obvious implications for water's-edge residents and boat owners.

We'll be battening down the hatches later today and tomorrow, as far as possible. However, certain things are beyond our control, among them electricity and Internet access. Even communications will be endangered; the winds might become strong enough to take down cell towers. The bottom line: If you live within about 200 miles of the Atlantic Coast, get cracking on your preparations as soon as possible. If you have loved ones or friends along the Eastern Seaboard, spare them a prayer or two.

Hey, at least the weather is unlikely to be this bad.

* * *

2. The Election.

Matters electoral are closer than I like. Though the Romney/Ryan ticket is doing better than was once predicted, especially in the "swing" or "battleground" states, the most recent polls indicate that its edge is within the margin of error. More, with eleven days left before final balloting, there could yet be surprises of many kinds.

The most disturbing forecasts center on Ohio.

You might recall that Ohio decided the 2004 election. The Bush/Cheney margin there was fairly substantial: about 150,000 votes. Whoever takes the state this year is unlikely to enjoy that wide a cushion, which means that the results might be challenged in court. Most Americans would hate to see that, but with so much at stake, were Obama/Biden to win Ohio, and thus the country, by a few thousand votes, I'd want to see Romney/Ryan contest the results -- especially given the importance of vote fraud in the previous quadrennial elections.

The title of Hugh Hewitt's book -- If It's Not Close, They Can't Cheat -- has never been more apposite. The presidential contest of 2000 was a radical exception to an important pattern: In every other case of which I'm aware, when an election has been within the "margin of lawyer" (Mark Steyn), the Democrat has been seated, even if the ultimate results favored the Republican. So if you can contribute to the GOP's "ground game" in any possible way, I exhort you to do it.

* * *

3. A Personal Note.

These past few weeks I've received a fair number of emails whose general tenor has been "Your production has fallen off noticeably. Is everything okay?" Rather than answer those queries individually, I'll do so here.


My health has deteriorated markedly. I have far too much to do, too little time, and no one to help. Stresses of several sorts are piling up on me. Squeezing out seven or eight hours per night to sleep has become a significant challenge. Perhaps I should have written "to try to sleep," for that, too, is becoming more difficult, for both physiological and psychological reasons.

I've had a good run: here, at Eternity Road, and at the old Palace of Reason. (Only my longest-term readers will remember that last one, which I shut down in 2004.) Writing for these outlets has been far more a pleasure than a burden. But as that underappreciated philosopher Chad Stuart has written, "They say that all good things must end someday / Autumn leaves must fall." I have entered my autumn years; I cannot reasonably expect to keep everything going as I have for very much longer.

I must practice a sort of writerly triage. As I've committed to producing two more novels, I'll be giving those efforts precedence. I'll post essays here as often as my other commitments and burdens allow, but I fear that will be substantially less often than I have in the past.

Fortunately, Liberty's Torch has a bevy of top-notch co-contributors, upon whom I can rely to keep things lively. It's up to you, Gentle Readers, to let them know what you want and how you want it. (Hm. That sounds like a line from a porn novel. Well, anyway.) Yes, yes, we're all "old farts," and none of us is without his own unique challenges and burdens, but hopefully the sheer number of us will count for something!

Keep the faith.


pdwalker said...

Two novels? Oh goodie. I'm going to get to read more of "The Warmlands"

(no,no, don't spoil my illusions and tell me the truth. Allow me my fantasy of your fantasy)

Be well.

Kirk said...

Fran, I am indeed saddened by your last item here. As a long-time reader of yours (from mid-Eternity Road forward), I have found you to be an insightful and conscientious commentator on current events and expositor of classical conservative thought. To hear that your voice may be be diminished here is, to me personally, a great loss. Your reference to your esteemed co-conspirators is somewhat cold comfort. While I enjoy much of what is written by most of them, none of them truly holds a candle to you at your best. And, as a practical matter, all this leaves me with a bigger issue: based on the actual frequency of contributions here, Liberty's Torch will, in effect, be Mark Butterworth's blog, and the rest of you will be occasional contributors. While I don't dispute Mr. Butterworth's rhetorical skills, when he uses them, much of what he has posted lately has precious little to do with the original purposes of this blog or either of its predecessors. And one can hardly say that Mark's opinions are representative of classical conservative thought. If Mark's is to be the loudest voice here, I will, I fear, be visiting less and less.

Francis W. Porretto said...

I'd rather not promise anything, Kirk, but I will be posting here -- just not every day. Concerning the recent spate of somewhat unthematic posts by Mark B., He and I have discussed them, and I expect them to diminsh in frequency.

Liberty's Torch will remain dedicated principally to politics, political economy, general philosophy, and cultural trends. There'll be some off-axis material too -- we can all use a breather now and then -- but not to the extent of the most recent weeks.

"Be not afraid." -- Pope John Paul II

Kirk said...

Thanks for your response, Fran. I take some comfort from it, and will continue to visit for the time being, in hopes that you will continue to be a strong, if not frequent, voice here.

Alex VanderWoude said...

I'm very sorry to hear about your declining health. I too will miss the accustomed frequency of your thoughtful and occasionally pungent insights. But I won't complain; when the ice cream is free and all that.

Here's hoping that things will get better for you, or at least no worse.

KG said...

First, take care Francis. That storm looks like an evil beast.
Much as I enjoy most of your co-contributors, yours is still the 'core voice' of Liberty's Torch and less of that voice is no good thing.
But we still have the archives and the books to explore and enjoy so we're hardly sorely deprived.
Hamba Gashle, as the Zulus say.