No. 163: Transmissions from the Snow Bunker

⁂ Nashville's Alt-Daily ⁂ Snow Bunker · Weather from the Past · Harvard Address · A new Tale from the ER · Much More!

Good morning, everyone.

This morning's newsletter comes to you live from the snowed-in hovel of the Pamphleteer. Left with only the food in his fridge — a gallon of milk, a dozen eggs, a couple of onions, and a pound of beef liver — it's likely that later today, the Pamphleteer will make a break for it. Gathering all of his necessities in a rucksack, he'll trek out to the main road to observe the general conditions and make an executive decision on where to venture off to in order to salve the jitters of restricted movement. The prospects of further self-isolation and its unfortunate connotations of ill-health as a result of that COVID-19 thing stir the spirit to action. Sitting still is death. To wait is to die. If you're not busy living, you're busy dying. Etc.

Below, we take a tour through Nashville snow days past and excerpt a portion of Alexander Solzhenitsyn's, of Gulag Archipelago fame, 1978 commencement address at Harvard because it's a timeless reminder. We've also got a new "Tale from the ER" involving poinsettias and the most toxic show and tell gift known to man.

In political news, today the Supreme Court holds a hearing on Biden's OSHA vaccine mandate for companies with 100+ employees. A decision is expected as soon as today and as late as Monday. It goes without saying that with all we know about the virus and vaccines that a vaccine mandate would do nothing except punish those who didn't get vaccinated. It would also set a mighty precedent for what employers can tell workers to do with their own bodies. Hoping for the best here.

You can follow us on Twitter (@realpamphleteer), LinkedIn (@realpamphleteer), or Instagram (@realpamphleteer) for additional content.

Thanks for reading.

Nashville

❆ STORIES OF SNOW DAYS PAST ❆

Temperatures plummet into the teens today as The Department of Transportation is left taking care of 20 vehicles abandoned along various shoulders throughout the county — a reminder of the disorienting effect of the flash-like snowfall yesterday. Tennesseans are equally in awe of and tired of mother nature and her manic ways. From flooding to tornadoes to snowfall, it would be nice to have seasonal transitions that are a little less extreme as we head into a very turbulent election year. Is that too much to ask? Apparently yes and 6.3 inches of snow fell yesterday to prove it, making it the snowiest January 6th in recorded Nashville history.

Here are a few more weather records for Music City.

  • Most snowfall, 24 hours: 17.0", March 17, 1892
  • Lowest temperature: -17°, January 21, 1985
  • Last Cumberland River freeze: January 25-29, 1940
  • Highest temperature: 109°, June 29, 2012
  • Largest Tornado Outbreak in Middle TN: 24 tornadoes, April 3, 1974
  • Most rain, 24 hours: 6.6”, September 13, 1979
  • Highest Wind Speed: 94MPH, April 1, 1974

Have a safe weekend and remember that brakes don’t work the same on slush and ice.

HEADLINES

◢ LOCAL COLOR ◣

  • Local off-road enthusiasts offering free rides for essential workers (Homepage)

DEVELOPMENT

  • Germantown building near brewery sells for $8M (Post)
  • Midtown apartment high-rise sells for $158.72M (Post)
  • Residential tower eyed for SoBro site last home to brewery (Post)
  • Germantown building home to restaurant sells for $12M (Post)
  • Nashville home prices expected to increase further in 2022 (Post)
Nashville

Today’s post is the latest installation in the “Tales from the ER” series by Doc Paracelsus. These tales are based on real cases. Identifying information and certain medical details have been altered to protect privacy.

Tales from the ER #5
Poisonous Poinsettias & Toxic Show & Tell

PAST STORIES

  • Tales from the ER # 1: Los Paquetes (Read)
  • Tales from the ER #2: We Got a Runner! (Read)
  • Tales From the ER #4: Freshly Baked Cookies (Read)
National

⇤ SOLZHENITSYN'S THE EXHAUSTED WEST

In 1978, Alexander Solzhenitsyn, famous for his publication of the stern rebuke of Communism, The Gulag Archipelago, was asked by Harvard to deliver that year's commencement speech. The audience that day, expecting a celebration of Western liberty and its contrasts with the totalitarian East, instead received a thoroughgoing rebuke of Western materialism and condemnations such as, "It is time, in the West, to defend not so much human rights as human obligations."

The entire speech is well worth a read, but I wanted to emphasize one part in particular that stuck out. It roughly traces the decline of the West. After reprimanding Western leaders for their cowardice and "basing state policies on weakness and cowardice," he traces the origins of this fall and the elevation of material comfort above the spiritual needs of man:

How has this unfavorable relation of forces come about? How did the West decline from its triumphal march to its present sickness? Have there been fatal turns and losses of direction in its development? It does not seem so. The West kept advancing socially in accordance with its proclaimed intentions, with the help of brilliant technological progress. And all of a sudden it found itself in its present state of weakness.
This means that the mistake must be at the root, at the very basis of human thinking in the past centuries. I refer to the prevailing Western view of the world which was first born during the Renaissance and found its political expression from the period of the Enlightenment. It became the basis for government and social science and could be defined as rationalistic humanism or humanistic autonomy: the proclaimed and enforced autonomy of man from any higher force above him. It could also be called anthropocentricity, with man seen as the center of everything that exists.
The turn introduced by the Renaissance evidently was inevitable historically. The Middle Ages had come to a natural end by exhaustion, becoming an intolerable despotic repression of man's physical nature in favor of the spiritual one. Then, however, we turned our backs upon the Spirit and embraced all that is material with excessive and unwarranted zeal. This new way of thinking, which had imposed on us its guidance, did not admit the existence of intrinsic evil in man nor did it see any higher task than the attainment of happiness on earth. It based modern Western civilization on the dangerous trend to worship man and his material needs. Everything beyond physical well-being and accumulation of material goods, all other human requirements and characteristics of a subtler and higher nature, were left outside the area of attention of state and social systems, as if human life did not have any superior sense. That provided access for evil, of which in our days there is a free and constant flow. Merely freedom does not in the least solve all the problems of human life and it even adds a number of new ones.
However, in early democracies, as in the American democracy at the time of its birth, all individual human rights were granted because man is God's creature. That is, freedom was given to the individual conditionally, in the assumption of his constant religious responsibility. Such was the heritage of the preceding thousand years. Two hundred or even fifty years ago, it would have seemed quite impossible, in America, that an individual could be granted boundless freedom simply for the satisfaction of his instincts or whims. Subsequently, however, all such limitations were discarded everywhere in the West; a total liberation occurred from the moral heritage of Christian centuries with their great reserves of mercy and sacrifice. State systems were -- State systems were becoming increasingly and totally materialistic. The West ended up by truly enforcing human rights, sometimes even excessively, but man's sense of responsibility to God and society grew dimmer and dimmer. In the past decades, the legalistically selfish aspect of Western approach and thinking has reached its final dimension and the world wound up in a harsh spiritual crisis and a political impasse. All the glorified technological achievements of Progress, including the conquest of outer space, do not redeem the 20th century's moral poverty which no one could imagine even as late as in the 19th Century.

And, on the spiritual purpose of man:

I am not examining here the case of a world war disaster and the changes which it would produce in society. As long as we wake up every morning under a peaceful sun, we have to lead an everyday life. There is a disaster, however, which has already been under way for quite some time. I am referring to the calamity of a despiritualized and irreligious humanistic consciousness.
If humanism were right in declaring that man is born only to be happy, he would not be born to die. Since his body is doomed to die, his task on earth evidently must be of a more spiritual nature. It cannot be unrestrained enjoyment of everyday life. It cannot be the search for the best ways to obtain material goods and then cheerfully get the most of them. It has to be the fulfillment of a permanent, earnest duty so that one's life journey may become an experience of moral growth, so that one may leave life a better human being than one started it. It is imperative to review the table of widespread human values. Its present incorrectness is astounding. It is not possible that assessment of the President's performance be reduced to the question how much money one makes or of unlimited availability of gasoline. Only voluntary, inspired self-restraint can raise man above the world stream of materialism.

⚔ MISSIVES ⚔

  • 🤡 A Canadian law banning so-called conversion therapy is poised to go into effect on Friday, making it a crime to provide or promote services intended to change or repress a person’s sexual orientation or gender expression.
  • Australia has rejected the visa of Serbian tennis star Novak Djokovic over its allegedly inadmissible medical vaccine exemption. A nine-time champion of the Australian Open, who abstained from receiving the shot, Djokovic is expected to be disqualified from competing to defend his 2021 title by the country’s authorities for improper entry paperwork.
  • Six members of the advisory board that worked with President Biden during his transition period before taking office are now calling on him to take a different approach to the COVID-19 pandemic than the one he is currently using.
  • A federal judge in Texas on Thursday ordered the Food and Drug Administration to make public the data it relied on to license Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine, imposing a dramatically accelerated schedule that should result in the release of all information within about eight months.
Entertainment

Don’t trust Big Food? here are Nashville’s year-round farmers’ markets: Downtown (Fr-Sa), Richland Park (Sa), Franklin (Sa), and Green Door Gourmet (Th-Su) on River Road.

THINGS TO DO

View the full calendar here.

⭐  Cheekwood’s Christmas lights exhibit is running until January 9th.

🖼 At the Frist, Medieval Bologna: Art for a University City is running until January 30th.

TODAY

🎸 Kelly’s Heroes @ Robert’s Western World, 6:30p, Free, Info‌‌+ Best honky tonk in Nashville

🎻 Bela Fleck @ The Ryman, 8p, $40+, Info

🎸 Allman Brothers Tribute @ Brooklyn Bowl, 8p, $12-$15, Info

⏳ 1971 - The Greatest Year In Music @ 3rd and Lindsley, 8p, $25, Info

🎼 Dvořák & Mozart @ The Schermerhorn, 8p, $23+, Info

TOMORROW

🐖 Nashville Farmers’ Market @ Nashville Farmers’ Market, 8a, Info

🐖 Franklin Farmers’ Market @ Franklin, TN, 9a, Info

🐖 Charlotte Farmers’ Market @ Richland Park, 9a, Info

🎸 Kelly’s Heroes @ Robert’s Western World, 6:30p, Free, Info‌‌+ Best honky tonk in Nashville

🎼 Dvořák & Mozart @ The Schermerhorn, 8p, $23+, Info

🎷 Brook Sutton & Friends Play Charles Mingus @ Rudy’s Jazz Room, 10:15p, $22, Info

SUNDAY

🐖 Nashville Farmers’ Market @ Nashville Farmers’ Market, 8a, free, Info

🎼 Dvořák & Mozart @ The Schermerhorn, 2p, $23+, Info

Entertainment

NEW THIS WEEK

Tales from the ER #2
We Got a Runner!
Polite, a Poser, or a Pain in the…
A tour through some of Tennessee History’s more colorful characters
The Dollar Tree Economy
Dollar Tree has become the go-to symbol of Bidenflation and a scapegoat for corporate greed. But it’s the discount giant’s role in rural America that is most telling about our nation’s cultural divide.

FROM THE ARCHIVE

Book Review: In Trump Time: A Journal of America’s Plague Year
Peter Navarro. All Seasons Press. $28.00
The Sanity of the South
In an era of unhinged rhetoric and destructive ideas, the history of the South offers perspective
Around the Web

⚰︎ Yale and Princeton Take a Stand Against Student Freedom The rise of omicron seems to have caused two elite American institutions to lose their moorings.

☌ The liberal fantasy of the Capitol coup Just like after 9/11, America's elites have weaponised their trauma

Political Theater Highlight Reel
  1. TN Rep. Jeremy Faison attempted to pants referee during basketball game
  2. Joy Reid suggests Republicans hate Biden because he was VP to ‘the black president’
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✈ B2 Bomber caught on Google Maps somewhere over Kansas (Link)
Words of Wisdom
The man that hath no music in himself,
Nor is not moved with concord of sweet sounds,
Is fit for treasons, stratagems and spoils.
The motions of his spirit are dull as night
And his affections dark as Erebus.
Let no such man be trusted.


Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice, Lorenzo, Act 5 Scene 1