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Sunni's Salon, July/August 2008

My word—it has been a full year since I’ve been here!

For those of you who’ve been patiently waiting, my deepest apologies. I really have no explanation to offer that covers all that time ... but it started with trying to catch up on things after returning from our European trip this time last year, and led into new projects to try to keep up with, and distractions and life changes and all the small stuff that happens day in and day out—all of which built into too much for this small-brained reptile to handle. As a result, I have let too many things slip through my fingers. One was this place—and I didn’t intend for that to happen. But I have high standards for what I put here; and I was willing to keep pushing this issue back rather than publish substandard fare.

All the same, I will make a strong effort to keep the interval between our visits much shorter in the future. Aiding that is a deeper appreciation of this space as an outlet for me, and a better understanding of how much some readers enjoy it. My deepest, most sincere thanks to those of you who inquired after this place, after me, and in doing so gently told me how much you miss our time together here.

The past year has been largely filled with good things. I’ve learned and grown and embarked upon new adventures. I think I’m a better parent, in part for some of those things. Musically, it’s been wonderful: my absolute favorite band—and yes, I can say that without equivocation or hesitation—released an album that I have been enjoying a lot; and I got to enjoy two shows in the resulting concert tour with some very special people. Given that part of my schtick here is reviewing books, one might think I’d be uneasy at having several author friends—but, given the quality of friends’ books I’ve read this year, I am honored to know such splendid, dedicated individuals, and honored that they share their works with me. I have seen friends take to wing, expanding their freedom in ways they wouldn’t have dreamed of previously; I have met new friends who provide intellectual stimulation and inspiration and many other of the good things that keep life fun and engaging.

My year has also seen its share of losses. Vince Miller’s untimely and unexpected demise was a blow I am still trying to assimilate; I knew Orline Grabbe and H. Ben Malliett less well, but valuing their comradeship in the cause of liberty, I mourn their passing too. Other losses aren’t quite as permanent, or even as obvious ... but as friends disappear from the web, or as relationships change, I feel the changes all the same; and I miss what once was, even as I understand the only constant in life is change.

The longer I live, the more deeply I grok that ... yet the harder some changes are to handle. I suppose it is so with every thinking person. Life is such an irony-filled experience—but certainly not without great beauty and joy too. I have no complaints.

So that is my state of mind as I enjoy the cool breeze and moderate temperatures of a Pacific Northwest summer. We do have a garden this year, but as the soil is rather more rocky and inhospitable than the rich upper Midwest soil I worked last year, we aren’t holding high hopes for a bumper crop of anything but lessons learned. Still, from the cool depths of my newest long-term project, from which the green and golden grasses can be seen, Tom and I would like to welcome you to another high summer edition of Sunni’s Salon. Partly from an attempt to try to catch up, but mostly in keeping with a theme that may exist only in my mind, I present a generous issue. I review Shaun A. Saunders’ collection of speculative fiction, Navigating In the New World, Paul Rosenberg’s excellent nonfiction 101 Mindless Slogans, and two books on mobile living solutions. For the music lovers in the audience, there are abundant riches: first, my interview with a professional musician and Porcupine who sometimes goes by the handle Ellis Wyatt; and another unusual constellation of bands in my musical maunderings. In the webby wanderings, I slither from pro-freedom blogs to architecture to gods to health care and then some.

In keeping with the seasonal bounty this region offers, strawberry milkshakes—made with fresh, sun-ripened strawberries and raw, unpasteurized milk— are offered for your pleasure. Tom and I thank you for your patience, and even more for your faith that we would return. If our hospitality is somehow lacking, say the word and we’ll do our best to correct it.

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