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.