We WILL Do

I’m about to say something my younger self would kill me for: work is essential to making a human capable of living in any form of democratic government.  (And no, no one here – inside my head.  We have a quorum, trust me – advocates for pure democracy.  Well maybe Good Man Simon St. Cyr who is, after all, a member in good standing of a secret organization called the Sans Coulottes.  Don’t fret.  His lesson is coming, and in spades.)

I was meditating on the subject of hotel maid service – in this case prompted by the fact that I think I understand our hotel maid worse than if I didn’t speak a Romance language or two.  Between her attempts at speaking English and my attempts at speaking Porto-Spanish we ended up grinning at each other like lunatics and nodding a lot and pointing.

This reminded me of when we hosted an exchange student, years ago, and shocked her by “talking to shop people like you’re trying to make friends.”

My smiling and bobbing like an idiot at the hotel maid would probably shock my mom, too, now that I think about it.  It is part of the reason she tells me things like that I don’t value myself and don’t give myself my own respect (It’s not only an untranslatable Portuguese phrase, it’s one I don’t get.  “Nao se da ao respeito.)

Of course the reason I don’t think I’m above the hotel maid is that I’ve done her work, when I spent a summer in Germany.  And I’ve worked retail, and as a field hand, and of course, I cook and clean all the time.

Which brought back the memory of buying our twenty fifth anniversary ring (part gold, part silver) and liking a very pretty one, and having my mom say “it will look like tin the first time you put your hands in dishwater.”  This shocked the shopkeeper who said “but, surely, the young lady” she has known me all my life “doesn’t put her hands in dishwater.  She has a maid!”

My mom delighted in telling her that not only did I put my hands in dishwater, but also in paint, solvent, garden dirt and just about everything because I delight in being contrary and not hiring help.  (My mom seems to think it’s much cheaper than it is, or my writing pays a lot more – for the record, I do hire help, usually on a task-basis.  I’m just lousy at it.  And my run of housekeepers has been dismal.  First they become friends, then I don’t want to fire them even when they’re bad, then…)

It occurred to me, though, that in the States no one assumes that just because you have a degree or your ancestors weren’t poor as dirt, you should have a maid.  Oh, sure, if you’re a millionaire, you probably have someone who does almost everything for you.  I’ve never been a millionaire, but I have very briefly been in a position where we made more money than strictly needed and I found it necessitated our spending more money, too, because just dealing with issues preceding from the money made it so we had less time – so we went out to eat more, got someone to clean… that sort of thing.  However, I wonder if even millionaires treat their servants as though they were a different caste.  Maybe hereditary ones – or ones brought up abroad.  But in the states, chances are even if you come from a wealthy family you worked summers scooping ice cream or walking dogs, or something.

Our kids haven’t, mostly due to the lousy economy, these last few years, but when they were very young, they used to hire out to our friends for yard work.

And it’s not even that I think you need to work “beneath yourself” as it would be considered in Europe, but just that you need to have worked at some point in your life, to know that other people work very hard also.  I know my hotel is cleaner is probably not writing novels in her spare time (and if she is I wouldn’t be able to read them) but I also know she works as hard as I do.  Harder, in many ways – a different kind of hard – if she has to do 100 rooms before ten, as I did.

I know this sounds goofy, but people abroad worry about losing face and keeping their “class” far more than Americans do, and they just don’t GET us – perhaps I’m attributing it all to the wrong cause – it wouldn’t be the first time – but I think it’s because most Americans have worked at real work, at some point.  By which I don’t mean just manual labor, but… work that produces things or does something needed.  What I mean here is most of us have had one or more jobs outside my bureaucracy (no, that is not normal in the other developed countries.)

We’ve cleaned, we’ve cooked, we’ve produced something, we’ve fixed, repaired or created.  In other countries, other than farming, which everyone regularly views as the lowest occupation, most people view their jobs as sinecures, as “posts” as something they do which confers status upon them.  (In fact in Portugal even retail clerks are now calling themselves “functionaries” – the title that used to be given people in the bureaucracy.  Because it is far more “important” than “employee.)

Again, I’m probably attributing it to the wrong things, but, for all our divisions there is among ourselves a brotherhood – a baseline understanding – that not only doesn’t exist between classes in other countries (Other colony-countries like Australia probably excepted) but that no one there wants to exist.  And it’s probably chauvinism, or jingoism or chauvinistic jingoism, but I think that improves our chances of survival.

America works.  Let’s not lose that, even when they make it d*mn difficult for us to.  It’s one of our more charming characteristics.

And it is why, though I think we’re in for a storm of cack and rotating objects, in the end, I think that we will do.  Or to quote poor Simon St. Cyr “Ca ira.”

The future will be better than the past.  Because we’re willing to work to make it so.

Update, unrelated: For sheer fun, head on over to Mad Genius club where my friend Amanda does fifty kinds of shredding on Fifty Shades of Gray.  Mind you, she’d read the sample and told me it wasn’t porn.  I’d read that from other places, too “not enough sex to be porn” — HOWEVER she has more… er… substantive issues with it.

350 responses to “We WILL Do

  1. However, I wonder if even millionaires treat their servants as though they were a different caste.

    There are the rich, the really rich, and the we-live-on-another-planet-than-you-do rich; the same exists on the other end of the bank account spectrum.

    I have observed my wife’s grandparents who became nouveau riche in the early 80’s after barely eking out an existance prior. Sure, the grandfather owned his own kitchen and bathroom company, but I spent five days with the man on a drive down to the tip of Florida and back one summer, and they barely made ends meet. Having eight kids in a large Catholic family didn’t help, certainly.

    The point is…while the grandparent’s money has granted them access to all the trappings of wealth here in St Louis, they were definitely different people than those I people-watched when I was able to attend the swankiest of swanks. There are most definitely people that treat others as if they were a different caste up in those ranks of income. Strangely enough, the worst offenders tend to be immigrants.

    • That is most interesting, I wonder what made them change? My husband’s family had “help” that was as much family as they were servants. Arveila started with his grandparents when she was a very young woman just before the 1929 crash. Even though they could no longer afford her, she stayed because she would be able to eat. She took care of the house, laundry, cooking, groceries, and the kids. When my MIL left to marry, she went with her and raised my husband and his brothers. In fact, it tore Hal up more to lose Arveila than to lose his mother. Arveila stayed with the family until my husband was 14 or so, and they moved to the west coast. She retired, along with her husband who was the family driver and gardener, in Oklahoma. When she retired, Hal’s grandparents made sure she had a good income from her investments etc.

      My family had a nanny in Germany when we lived there. Again, it was more for the steady meals than much money. During the aftermath of WWII, a lot of people were starving, even in the early 1960’s. I don’t remember much about her, but I do know that I learned to speak German from her and from her parents. They were like grandparents to us.

      When we moved to Hong Kong, we had a helper. She cleaned and did the ironing for us, and occasionally babysat for us in the evening. We all loved Gina, who is Filipina, and sure to miss having her help here.

      So in our experience, servants, helpers, were part of the family. Never looked down on or treated with disrespect. I imagine if we had, both Hal and I would have had very sore bottoms for a while.

  2. Ditto that – about Americans being willing to get their hands dirty doing work, and foreigners being rather shocked that they would. My next youngest brother was briefly married to an Iranian girl (from a very wealthy and kinda snobbish family) and she was just humiliated beyond words that my brother would pop the hood of his car and work on it … in the driveway in the front of their place, where everyone could see.
    My brother actually loved to work on cars (he now works professionally at restoring classic VWs, after some years as a white-collar laralegal) which apparently she found even more baffling.

    • ‘paralegal’ – serves me right for posting while having only one cup of tea in me….

    • my mom had strong vapors when she visited and saw me leaving to make a quick run to the store in jeans and a t-shirt, which are my summer uniform. (In winter it’s jeans and a sweatshirt. Yes, I love to dress up but not everyday. Besides, as is, I ruin half my jeans with bleach from cleaning cat messes unexpectedly — well, randomly, not unexpectedly. Which means I don’t even wear the “good jeans” everyday.) HOW were people to know I had a degree and was a person of consideration, if I insisted on running around in my grubbies.

      A funny counterpoint — I once took a flight out of NYC highly discounted — after flying there from CO — which seemed to be full to bursting with Portuguese immigrant women who were cleaning ladies in NYC. I derived considerable amount of enjoyment from their talk (since I was reading in English and speaking English to my family, they assumed I didn’t speak Portuguese and were QUITE free and since my favorite hobby is hiding and listening to people, it as fun) about their “ladies” they clean for. The funny part? If an uninformed — Portuguese — person had come on the plane and looked around and they asked him who there made their living cleaning houses, I would be the one they pointed at without hesitation. I sat there with my hair in a bun and wearing my comfortable travel jeans and t-shirt. EVERY OTHER woman was wearing stuff either suitable for a night at the opera or a power suit and wore enough jewels to damage your sight. I started to understand why my mom tears her hair out when I visit and says all her friends think I’m living homeless or worse in the US. So, I dress a little better when I visit and go to my hairdresser before I leave. Not because I care, but because she does. I still find it hilarious, though.

      • The common insistence by academics that they be addressed as Doctor This or Professor That is a basis for much snide humour amongst those who actually work.

        • Oh yea – RES— my experience with the academic community was short (3 years) and funny.

        • In Portugal I would be “doctor” as a matter of fact, even though my degree is NOT a doctorate. Everyone with a college education is “Doctor” and all highschool teachers are addressed as Doctor. :-P

          It only annoys me when I’m with all my ex-classmates and they get called doctor and I’m Mrs. Sigh. The price of convictions. And I had better GPA than they did and all…

        • Wayne Blackburn

          Yes, and at least one person in one of my Anthropology classes was very offended when the half-Amerindian professor refused to be referred to as “Doctor” Hawk.

          He was great, too, in that his side stories were likely to contain a good portion of material directly relating to the class material of the time, rather than being only tangentially related to it, as a lot of such things are.

          • Sounds like a great professor Wayne…

            I remember my first semester when I was twenty in a college that I will not name. At the time I wanted to be a professional musician. I realized that the professors either didn’t know how to present the material (bore fest) or were doing the minimum of teaching because we were just freshmen. I was not impressed. I had had better teachers at our community college.

            • Wayne Blackburn

              I actually had several good professors at the little Community College where I went.

              One of my math professors seemed to have perfected his delivery so that he would start a subject at the beginning of class, work through the proof, and conclude with 5-10 minutes left over to answer questions. Every. Time. It took me until halfway through the semester to realize it, but when I did, I was amazed.

              Another was my History professor, who was the first to ever present History in a way I could pay attention to.

              • There are a lot of reasons why Community Colleges offer superior education. The students tend to be more mature and better motivated — they aren’t attending in order to enjoy a bohemian life style a few years longer. The instructors tend to be better versed in their subjects from having “real world” experience, and they are less prone to the academic BS games that so frequently occupy university faculties. (Additionally, most university classes in the first two years tend to be taught by grad students.) Because they are not “research” institutions they focus on a core mission: imparting information. It is an idea so crazy it might just work.

                • That was my experience, too – doing the first two years at a community college and then transferring to a state uni for upper division. One of the community college history professors gave such riveting lectures that there were people sitting outside the classroom, just to listen. He was that good.

              • One of my fav. English Lit professors would have “office hours” in the library where anyone in any of her classes could come and get advice on a paper, subject to write, or to talk to her.

                She is great… I haven’t seen her in seven years.

          • Perhaps things are different now, but when I was in school the only reason I would have failed to refer to a Ph.D. professor as “Doctor” would be as a sign of I-don’t-care-if-you-fail-me level disrespect. A few of my classmates did this to a professor they didn’t care for: I made a point to call him Doctor, because I *did* like him and was appalled at the rudeness of it. (I knew why they didn’t care for him, and it had more to do with them than with him.)

            I actually do have a “Doctorate” degree (Juris Doctor) but I wouldn’t dream of asking to be called “Doctor,” cool as that sounds. Perhaps I should move to Portugal.

            • It depends on the situation, eh? When you are on campus the “Piled Higher & deeper” should be addressed. When you are dropping off your dry-cleaning it is somewhat pretentious to demand the title. When you are attending a conference, other attendees might ought recognize your academic achievement, but it comes off badly to demand the desk clerk or the maid do so.

              • This is what my mom objects to, that I don’t go through life buttonholing people and saying “do you know who I am?”

                • ARG. Really? That would get exhausting. “hey, do you know you I am?” Nope not fun at all.

                  • In America those who ask, ‘Do you know who I am?’ are called prats. Or possibly certain politicians. Or is that simply redundant?

                    • Yea prats, or getting above themselves, or think too well of themselves, or… and the list go on. They are not quality people.

                    • There’s a funny story about “Do you know who I am?” A CEO found somebody loafing in one of his company buildings. After the loafer “mouthed off at him”, the CEO informed him that he owned the company. The loafer responded “Do you know who I am?” and the CEO was taken aback and said “No”. The loafer’s response was “Thank God” and fled the scene. [Very Big Grin]

                  • Even more, in America it opens you up to all sorts of responses along the lines of “Why, have you forgotten?”, “No – and I don’t care, either” and “No, you stupid git, this is NOT where you can get you a huntin’ license.”

      • LOL. Momma did have trouble with what she called dungarees being worn in the city. Daddy took me to buy my first pair of jeans. He was teaching a class in courtroom procedures at the time and assured my mother that all of the students wore them. I understood your mother’s saying, because of Momma. She used to decry the way people let themselves go, as if they didn’t have any respect for themselves. She saw it as part of being in a polite society, particularly when it came to bathing and personal cleanliness.

        • bathing was never a problem. I routinely had to be reminded how much it cost to heat water, otherwise in summer I’d bathe three times a day. I just like to be comfortable. Not really GRUBBY by our standards, just comfortable. The idea of putting on nylons, high heels and a skirt suit to go buy onions still makes me giggle. Oh, and makeup, of course. (Rolls eyes.)

        • Oh yes. To this day I have “work clothes,” “work in yard or on airplane” clothes, “do not be seen leaving the house” clothes, and “Sunday best.” A person is supposed to dress in such a way that they show respect for other people, meaning you do NOT wear pajamas or bedroom slippers to class/grocery store (for example). Gotta love growing up in a Southern family. :)

          • Well, let me tell you, I ABOUT died in Germany to see people in the grocery store in their robes, with curlers in their hair. I don’t even do that when we stay at Embassy suites. I’m in street clothes when I come down for breakfast.
            No, the problem was rather that my mom would insist on “Sunday best” whenever I go outside the house, which … Eh. No.

          • At the local university I had often spotted a young woman in flannel PJs and fuzzy bunny slippers. I mentioned it to The Daughter, who told me, ‘Oh, her. Yes. She’s in the classics department.’ I was never sure whether the answer reflected that she was that well known about campus or was meant to explain the woman’s attire.

            • Coff. Yes. As someone whose college shared quarters with the Classics dept (colleges in Portugal are divided by subject, but they lumped foreign languages, classics, philosophy and geography (!) together) … our esteemed colleagues in the dead languages were… a little odd. (Crazier than a cat on amphetamines, that is, mind. I’m being polite.) Which is why if I ever get a doctorate, it WILL be in classics. YES!

      • Wayne Blackburn

        Show your mother the “Most Interesting Man in the World” meme picture that says, “I don’t often talk to people with Degrees in Liberal Arts… but when I do, I ask for large fries”. Then, of course, you’ll have to explain it, but the reaction should be funny, if she doesn’t have a heart attack.

  3. I am given to understand that it is a peculiarly American expectation that our political leadership comes from “humble” background. Even with a race like our current presidential one, a main issue is which candidate is better able to “connect” with the middle class.

    Do kids in any other culture set up lemonade stands? In America entrepreneurship is in our core.

    • It does appear to be a folklorish value that we hold, though at least on the local and state level, nobody begrudges a businessman that decides to run. Had we held to the “rotation of office” that some of the Founders had envisioned, questionable behavior in office would be tempered by the fact that the serving official would know they would have to enter back into the non-political fold at some point, becoming answerable to their fellow citizens on a very real, personal level. The amount of insulation our officials have enjoyed for decades now is one of the main reasons a good many of them feel no threat to behave.

      One of the most infuriating things I’ve heard a pol say in my life happened just recently. “Elections should matter as much as they do.” It gets in the way of our betters doing better for our betterment, you see.

      • The inestimable Britcom Yes, Minister reminds:

        “All governments departments are lobbies for the pressure groups they deal with. The Department of Education lobbies the government on behalf of teachers, the Department of Health lobbies for the doctors and hospital unions, the Department of Energy lobbies for oil companies and so on. Each department of State is actually controlled by the people it is supposed to be controlling.”
        http://www.jonathanlynn.com/tv/yes_minister_series/yes_minister_episode_quotes.htm

        It is important to keep in mind the distinction between the elected and the permanent government.

        • Thus the only good argument against term limits: bureaucratic empire building. What we need is some sort of benevolent king…

          • What about a “Sunset” commission whose only purpose was to clear out dead wood?

            • Free-range Oyster

              Forget a commission: the inestimable Glenn Reynolds has proposed on various occasions that the Constitution be amended to create a third branch of the Federal legislature empowered only to repeal laws. If such a thing could be brought into being without touching the current cesspools (ie the House and Senate) I am certain it would be very popular. Even most statists can identify government efforts that intrude on their lives in unpleasant ways. It would also make every head in the newsrooms of MSNBC, CNN, ABC, the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Guardian, et al, explode in rage and confusion. *blissful sigh* But it would require marshaling too many state legislatures for me to hold out hope for such a thing. I’ll go back to daydreaming now…

              NB: anyone offended by my joy at hypothetical, metaphorical violence to the proponents of fascism, marxism and all their filthy philosophical cousins can go watch that commercial that came out of the UK depicting the murder of a child dissident from the Party line, then shove their opinion in their… ear.

          • Or the Patrician.

          • I hope you are joking Scott because George Washington understood well that a benevolent king only lasted ONE generation, which is why he accepted President and refused it as a lifetime appointment.

            If you are joking then – haha

          • Turn the country over to NASCAR — the only effective “benevolent dictatorship” in human history. (And “Big Bill” France knew how to deal with Labor Agitators…. >:) )

      • Yep, government began to go South when we quit hangin’ Congresscritters for bad behavior. “Outgrowing” that kind of behavior is the reason we have Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, and to an extent, even John McCain. If we hanged those three tomorrow, the shock waves would clear up a lot of the current stupidity we have to put up with. It’s simply that politicians have managed to insulate themselves from the consequences of their behavior, and have no external pressure to NOT do as they please. Restoring consequences would restore good government. Nothing else will work.

        Also, they have to be REAL consequences. Anthony Weiner was forced to resign, but he still gets his retirement income of $150,000+ every year. Even Chris Dodd, who should have been convicted of multiple felonies, collects his Senate retirement. There are NO consequences on these people, and no restraint on their behavior. That is the primary reason our government is such a mess. (I’ve used Democrats as examples for the most part, but there are equally guilty Republicans.)

        • Nope, can’t agree, no way. Hanging Pelosi and Reid won’t do squat because — based on public statements from each — they are both lighter than air. Neither would put enough pressure on the trap for it to open, and if it did the noose wouldn’t be drawn tight. I don’t know about McCain – he’s so dense he thinks the MSM likes him rather than likes his attacks on conservatism.

          • Also, they might ALL be undead.

          • I respect McCain’s service, but I violently disagree with his politics. Plus I still think he did us a disservice to allow Obama free reign in the last election. Ugh… If I meet him I will tell him myself. Shake his hand (I wouldn’t even touch Pelosi or Reid cause I might get cooties). And tell him thanks for his service in the military, and no thanks for his service in Congress.

            • Plus I still think he did us a disservice to allow Obama free reign in the last election.

              I’m more cynical than that. I believe he did his greatest service by doing just as you mentioned. While it will never go away entirely, the information age has the extreme left side of the political spectrum in retreat on a number of fronts. Without a huge and disappointing (to some) example front and center, as the Obama administration provides, we could have incurred far more damage than can be rectified. I am not so pessimistic to believe that our current circumstances are a bridge to far by any means; quite the opposite. I believe the current administration, its minions, and the wannabe hangers-on (ie Occupy types) allowed the majority of Americans to see just enough of what the Left is really all about that the door will probably slam closed on them for well and good…for a few decades at least.

              I do not believe that this race is as close as most national polls would like us to believe. I think we’re looking at a 1980-style rout.

              • Heh – I doubt McCain’s domestic policies would be all that much different than Obama’s, although I am sure he would have treated the military better, been much better on foreign affairs and at least have been embarassed (as opposed to cavalier) about the deficits. I suspect McCain SCOTUS appointees would have been worse than Obama’s, hard as that is to believe (think Souter.)

                • It’s really hard to say with the SCOTUS. As far as domestic issues go, though, I’m not sure McCain would have been so cavalier with his Executive Order pen. Maybe, but who knows. It just goes to my point, though. A McCain presidency as bad as this one would have damaged the GOP brand even further, making it even harder to get someone fully backed by the Tea Party types come 2012. Given that it was a Democrat that did it/is it, it damages THEIR brand, the more so because the things that have been happening are usually attributed to the left. Brand reinforcement, if you will, reinforcing just how awful those things are.

                  He’s got to be the most frustrated man in the world. Nothing is working like he was led to believe it would all those years. All the unicorns dancing in your head can’t make unproven technology the gold standard overnight.

                  • I figure open hard Progressives on the SCOTUS are better than secret squishy ones — at least we are under no illusions and unlikely to be disappointed.

                    No, McCain would not have pushed executive authority into new vistas — vistas which history tells us will be open territories for future expansionists. (The Progressive fretting over “Imperial Executives” would be laughable if it weren’t so sadly obvious that their concern is over “our” empire, not theirs.)

                    I quite agree on the significance of brand damage. McCain is the very personification of go-along/get-along deal making and likely would have eased us into National Health Care in a way that would have not been such a chock to the system that a sizable portion of the populace woke up long enough to say “HEY!”

              • I hope Scott – I was part of the 1980s route. It was my first election.

            • By greatest service, by the bye, I mean in it terms that McCain did it even though he didn’t mean to. I don’t think people deserve credit for unintended consequences, but it should be pointed out.

              • This is where the cynical Aussie comments that in the equivalent situation in Australia people would be suggesting that a certain President be given some kind of prize (a statuette of a horse’s rear end, perhaps?) for “services to the Republican party” on his forced retirement.

                • I’d like to give him the prize of a one-way ticket to Kenya, with a lump sum retirement payment of $0.25 – par value for services rendered, minus excessive spending by his wife and staff. Also, revoke his passport, and pass a law refusing to allow him or any of his heirs to return to the US.

                • The West I grew up on would send him on a rail or tie him backwards on a horse’s ass and run him out of town. (or was it the 1800s) Anyway, I knew people who remember those days anyway. So same meaning I bet Kate.

            • Yes, I agree completely, nothing I can add to that.

        • When I was in Panama the congress there had diplomatic immunity in their own country…. go look out our Congress, they act like they have diplomatic immunity–now I am getting my bad bad temper back. Thanks I had it in check Mike.

          • If we could link their pensions is some meaningful way to the two factors they have the greatest ability to foul up — perhaps a multiplier of growth in the economy over growth in national debt — it might encourage better stewardship by our congresscritters. Or we might link it inversely to the growth in the pages in the federal register — the more laws and regulations, the lower their pensions.

            Glenn Reynolds has had some entertaining ideas for taxing income earned post-government service which are worth developing. Pare pensions each year by 50% of post-service income from speeches, board memberships, etc.

    • No. Though, being a displaced American from birth, I did — I always had some money-making scheme in hand, most of them as daft as this writing thing, mind. But it kept me in books and peanuts.

  4. This is something I’ve noticed in my conversations with people from other countries, and in my reading of foreign travel guides to the USA. We are crazy stupid for work here. We define ourselves by what we do. Give us time off and we’ll take up a second job or even start a business. During the 20th century’s wars, we didn’t try to prevail by courage or sacrifice, we just made stuff. (Late in WWII, half of humanity’s entire economic output was the American war production effort.)
    I am a very lazy person, and an atheist to boot, but I still feel guilty when a day goes by without any work.

    • Wayne Blackburn

      I read something about that a while back. According to the story, somebody basically sat down and calculated, “We need X many tanks, Y many planes, etc” to defeat Germany. Then someone got it to the people who could make it happen, and that’s what we did.

  5. I may be wrong but. I think there is a hill billy equivalent to ““Nao se da ao respeito.”. I’s called “Gettin’ above (or below) yer raisins

    • Begley – the Appalachian hillbillies were subjected to FDR’s socialism experiment (lNew DEAL) so they have some problems associated with that. Eleanor Roosevelt. I have a link but it puts a positive spin on uprooting farmers and putting them in settlements so here it is–

      http://www.gwu.edu/~erpapers/teachinger/glossary/southern-tenant-farmers-union.cfm

      • Yea! Someone else who knows about the Farm Security Administration (FSA) and the Resettlement Administration with their experiment in collectivizing agriculture.

        • I know about it too. (Sulks.) I admit mostly I know about it through my friend Charles, who posts here sometimes. He starts foaming at the mouth talking about it. His family is from that area.

          • Charles should foam. It was a disservice to an entire community.

          • That’s the problem with those Appalachian hillbillies: they cling to outmoded ideas like “individual rights” and “property” rather than taking the advice of government experts — EXPERTS!! with letters after their names! — and falling in line like they were told to so the rest of us can have nice things.

            • Well I could now understand the stereotypes of a hillbilly shooting at a government agent. I wonder if I would do the same in the same situation.

              • Be wary of strong drink. It makes you shoot at revenue agents. And miss. — Robert A. Heinlein.

              • There are counties in the southeastern mountains were national political candidates from either party do not go.

                • One of my former bosses had previously worked for the US Geologic Survey. Field mapping in the Appalacians. With his government provided jeep. The one with the large round thing on the door that said United States Government. And below in tiny letter USGS.

                  He said that every time he started working in a new area, the first thing he ever did was hit every single bar in the area, buying drinks and talking his head off. Said he never got shot at, so it must have been worth the time, money and hangovers.

        • Thank you CACS. I saw it on a documentary on Netflix this year and it finally clicked why the people in that area were so economically depressed. It was an eye-opener. Socialism at its not-so finest.

      • And what really makes you wonder is that plans for redistributing the agricultural and timber resources of the US go back into the mid 1920s, The 1926 USDA Yearbook has a 300+ page essay/statistical study/ planning paper about how the US government has to start allocating land better, moving the farmers out of the High Plains and much of the Great Plains and restrict the land to grazing only, shifting some Southern farms into timber to try and rehabilitate the land, et cetera. Because otherwise the country will be unable to feed itself. Governor Franklin Roosevelt was very interested in forestry, and that led to interest in reforming agriculture for the maximum efficiency. So you had the Resettlement Administration trying to get people off of farms and the Soil Conservation Service trying to keep the same farmers on their farms. Ah, government efficiency.

        • In fairness, it was being done by ALL the most progressive governments, and it never turned out badly. Sure, a few kulaks got trampled but what the heck – they were only kulaks, after all, and if they were too stupid to realize how much better their lives would be if only they listened to their enlightened leaders, leaders who had spent their lives studying agriculture, even if they had never actually set foot on a farm and had no idea which end of the bull to milk …

      • And the involuntary eugenic sterilization program.

        • The beginning of that long pre dates FDR, and it was only recently that the final reparations case in NC was settled. From Wiki:

          The first state to introduce a compulsory sterilization bill was Michigan, in 1897 but the proposed law failed to garner enough votes by legislators to be adopted. Eight years later Pennsylvania’s state legislators passed a sterilization bill that was vetoed by the governor. Indiana became the first state to enact sterilization legislation in 1907,[31] followed closely by Washington and California in 1909. Sterilization rates across the country were relatively low (California being the sole exception) until the 1927 Supreme Court case Buck v. Bell which legitimized the forced sterilization of patients at a Virginia home for the mentally retarded. The number of sterilizations performed per year increased until another Supreme Court case, Skinner v. Oklahoma, 1942, complicated the legal situation by ruling against sterilization of criminals if the equal protection clause of the constitution was violated. That is, if sterilization was to be performed, then it could not exempt white-collar criminals.[32] The state of California was at the vanguard of the American eugenics movement, performing about 20,000 sterilizations or one third of the 60,000 nationwide from 1909 up until the 1960s.[33]

          While Califorina had the highest number of sterilizations, North Carolina’s eugenics program which operated from 1933 to 1977, was the most aggressive of the 32 states that had eugenics programs.[34] An IQ of 70 or lower meant sterilization was appropriate in North Carolina.[35] The North Carolina Eugenics Board almost always approved proposals brought before them by local welfare boards.[35] Of all states, only North Carolina gave social workers the power to designate people for sterilization.[34] “Here, at last, was a method of preventing unwanted pregnancies by an acceptable, practical, and inexpensive method,” wrote Wallace Kuralt in the March 1967 journal of the N.C. Board of Public Welfare. “The poor readily adopted the new techniques for birth control.”

  6. New Hampshire Millionaires wouldn’t hire maids. They’d also run around in Very Well Made clothing till it fell apart — and then go buy more Well Made clothing to wear into the ground again. (The well-made stuff lasts longer than the cheap stuff, see.) They might well go out to eat every day, though; it depends on the person.

    I don’t know about transplanted Massachusetts Millionaires, though. They’re from that weird liberal state down south. (As opposed to NH, which is historically weird conservative with a dash of libertarians who never really get much traction but keep trying anyway like scrappy underdogs you can’t help but kind of feel for.)

    • My husband’s family were Connecticut blue bloods — same as New Hampshire millionaires.

    • and hey, we libertarians ARE like that.

      • If only they’d turn out a candidate with my libertarian preferences! But, of course, get five libertarians in one room and you’ve got about ten different stances on everything…

        • the libertarians ALWAYS fail to organize. It’s our charm. I tell you, I’m going to rise to absolute power then leave people completely alone. Only way to do it.

        • I think I saw something at Instapundit yesterday about the Libertarians achieving second party status in Louisiana. Given they finally threw off the yoke of corrupt democrat politicians (and how Obama’s environmental ploys have buggered the Gulf economy) it might just happen. Perhaps the opportunity to be more than gadflies will encourage party-building? We can but hope, eh? (And expect that there is at least ONE thing in national politics on which Democans and Republicrats can agree.)

          • those are the two parties I’d like to see, and I could be a true independent, now hitting one, now the other.

            • Most political parties want hitting, regularly. Preferably with a large electoral stick. BAD party, Bad! Go to your corner.

            • I’d like to have the time, energy, and money to form the American Independence Party, and make it my central plank that only those laws which conform to the US Constitution (as amended) would be enforced. I’d also want to whack a half-dozen Supreme Court justices — either forcefully retire them (that “good behavior” clause) or hang ‘em if they balk. For some reason, though, I clash with most “libertarians”.

              • We need to vote at least one of the amendments out (I can’t remember which one) but its the one that takes away State’s rights and makes Senators elected through a general election. Now I am having a brain fart… please someone continue this who remembers better–

                • We’re headed for a constitutional convention, either fast or slow depending on a bunch of factors. And if we’re lucky we avoid a hot civil war (we’ve been having a cold one for years.) My opinion. YMMV.

                  • Heaven fore fend. There is no way enough independent thinking people would be appointed. There is a reason the Constitution convention is referred to as The Miracle at Philadelphia. I suspect we would not fare much better than the Europeans, with their micro managing document. Too many people at the present still believe the myth of the best and the brightest and think that we can make things better if we just legislate it correctly.

                    • Think of the last people you would want participating in such a convention, then be sure they would not only be in attendance, they would be presiding. And the TV networks would bloody INSIST on putting the sessions on the news, with pet talking heads to explain what every proposed clause would do!!!!

                      Just shoot me now, please!!!

                      Now, if you could assure me the convention would consist of Brit Hume, Michael Barone and Glenn Reynolds (maybe Eugene Volokh, too) and a case of single malt … with NO CAMERAS … and Tom Sowell would have to sign off on it … AND NO NEWT GINGRICH!

                    • I didn’t say I wanted it. But I see it as inevitable.

                • 17th Amendment … or 18th; not worth Googling. Sadly, I doubt it would help (OTOH, it couldn’t hurt.) Direct appointment of Senators would have meant my state, NC, would have never sent Jesse Helms to Washington. I expect several other states would have similar examples. The Senators best able to loot the public fisc for their state would be able to build and maintain their party in power at home.

              • I like the idea of a proctor standing by with a yardstick to whack any Justice that goes Colin Clive on the Constitution. Bad! Bad Justice! Go to your quarters!*

                The Constitution is a contract by which we the people designate the Federal government to act as our agent. Contracts are governed by the plain understanding of the words as of the time the contract was formed. It is the responsibility of the Primary to see that any agents do not exceed their delegated authority. Failure to reign in agents results in their becoming authorized to represent their apparent authority as actual and may make it actual. (Sara has book agent make deal for her; book agent also, in Sara’s presence, arranges ancillary rights for film; Sara’s failure to prevent agent from exercising the ancillary rights authority effectively grants that authority.)

                (*I recognize I used a variant of that joke recently, but some jests are multipurpose evergreens.)

    • They’d also run around in Very Well Made clothing till it fell apart — and then go buy more Well Made clothing to wear into the ground again. (The well-made stuff lasts longer than the cheap stuff, see.)

      Some kind of Corollary to the Sam Vimes Boots Theory of Economic Unfairness?

      • Theory be-damned. It’s fact. You buy good quality stuff and wear it/use it until it dies – with judicious repair along the way – and you will spend much less than someone who buys cheap stuff.

        At present my pumps are over 10 years old. My hiking boots are about 5 years. The sneakers I wear all the time are a good 3 years and just got the soles glued back on again. Their predecessors lasted about 6 years, and the ones before that I got a good 10 years out of them. My dress boots are 3 years as well.

        Paying more for the good stuff when/where you can means you do without for a while (we currently have one chair in the living room. It’s hubby’s. We’ll get its partner when we’ve recovered from some other unexpected expenses). You still pay less in the long run.

        • True, especially in boots. That said you need to know the difference between quality and expensive. Just because something is expensive doesn’t mean it is wellmade.

          Also think about what you are going to use something for, if it is only going to be used once or possibly twice and then never used again; the Wal-Mart el cheapo product is probably the way to go.

        • And, eventually, if you buy solid quality, take moderate care, don’t discard, are fortunate enough to avoid fires and some part of the family stay in the area, a desencent in the future may just find out that plain old chest of drawers that grandpa pulled out of the attic to use is nearing three hundred years old. ;-)

      • yep. Same the world over.

  7. Momma, with her strong old south influences, taught me that no one who worked should be regarded with disrespect. She also drew a line between being friendly and becoming chummy with everyone you met. She would argue that there are proper business and social relationships, and they can not always mix. Everyone you dealt with deserved to be treated pleasantly and politely within context — even when you had a complaint.

    • Many times in my ill-spent life I have been dealing with some poor retail clerk or cashier and due to some vagary of the Universe – or an honest mistake – things were not going to my liking.

      When this happens, I smile politely and say, “Will it help if I yell and scream?”

      The response is always, always a smile in return and the answer “Well, no.”

      I answer, “Then I won’t bother. How can we fix this?”

      This has gotten me any number of discounts, free drinks, etc. Now, if they are being deliberately problematic, that’s a different situation. But until you’re rude to me, I will be exactly as polite to you as I am to my mother or my boss. The difference is, if they tick me off I still have to be polite to them. That doesn’t go for you. :)

  8. When my grandfather moved from Spain to Mexico (a brief stop before they came to the states), he was appalled by the behavior of his Mexican servants. He “knew” he was better than them and did not understand why they weren’t as subservient as they should be. Compared to the utter horror he went through his first four or five years here in the US, however, Mexico was a lot like Spain.

    I think it was around year three of the Cordoba invasion of the mainland US that he decided we needed to be “real Americans”. He stopped having maids (it wasn’t as though they could afford it, really: Franco had pretty much cleaned them out during his “revolution”… bastard) and started doing things the “American way”. He built his house, forced my grandmother to learn to cook and prepare meals (if she hadn’t been so devoutly Catholic, I’m pretty sure that would have led to a divorce) and forced all of the kids to speak English only in the house and around town. He started saving money and doing more charity work at the church and around town because that was what his American neighbors did.

    Granted, I grew up speaking more Spanish than English because my grandmother was a very stubborn woman, but they wanted to be like the other Americans. And you know what? They succeeded beyond their wildest dreams.

    It’s why I get so frustrated today when I see people coming here and waving their national flags and yet take full advantage of our liberties. We have those rights because we are so very different than the rest of the world.

    I like being different. It makes me feel authentic.

    • Oooh on the flags. Yes. The melting pot works only IF you melt.

      • What a grandfather!!! I really like those stories. My g???grandparents came from their respective countries in Europe and worked when they got here. My one g???grandmother was a midwife. In her former life she was a monarch’s illegitimately conceived daughter. Plus she was married to a minor nobleman. He liked the US so much so that when he divorced and remarried his new wife, he built a house just a few yards away from his first wife. Okay they were nuts… but they pretty much melted into the American West.

        • Sounds like the Baron von Richtofen who became a dairy farmer in the Denver area. His great nephew was the Red Baron of WWI fame.

          • Yep.. I have family who came from Norway, Denmark, and England. (The English side came with the puritans of Mayflower fame). My hubby’s side of the family were the group who chartered the ships and came on the last ships. So most of them came over with some money. None of my family came by servitude.

            I do have a friend whose family were indentured. She just found about it a few years ago. Her family were so worried that it would be a stigma that they tried to keep it suppressed. Plus they think that there might be a black person in the pile somewhere. ;-)

          • yes. And he built a replica house in Denver which was for sale just the other month and, sigh, my fans failed to spring forward and put forth money for me to buy it, even though it would really help me write the “Red Baron book.” SIGH. ;)

    • A century or so ago, Chesterton commented on the difference between the US and England. Such as the word “help” — which, he realized, reflected a real difference in the status of the servant, who was not set off by a difference in social status and was a lot more like a neighbor who came in help with the chores.

  9. Until the late 20th century, I’d posit that most of the US did not have a caste or social class system, meaning that you might be born lower working class, or the youngest kid on a hard-scrabble farm, but nothing locked you into that forever. Yes, yes, perception vs. reality in parts of the country and for certain social and ethnic groups, but the American Dream meant that anyone could improve their lot, in part because no one was tied to a location or profession by law. Even in the South there were ways for sharecroppers’ children to get out of the system (see Booker T. Washington’s parallel economy ideas). Economic classes existed but most people assumed that they were temporary and that people could and would (and should) rise via their own work, or with a temporary hand up. No wonder so many Europeans and others think people from the USA are all crazy and unrealistic.

    • I was reading the other day that poor people in the rest of the world behave as if they’re somehow poor by reason of inferiority and behave as peasants. Meanwhile, an American who is flat broke behaves as a millionaire in temporarily distressed circumstances. I can’t remember where I read it, now.

      • We do have class in America, but it’s about education and manners, not money. And manners are the more important (and they’re cheap, anyone can have ‘em.)

      • Wayne Blackburn

        Well, I found this. Maybe someone quoted it recently:

        “Socialism never took root in America because the poor see themselves not as an exploited proletariat but as temporarily embarrassed millionaires.” – John Steinbeck

        • Wayne Blackburn

          Unfortunately, I found that on a page telling me, “You aren’t rich and it’s very unlikely you ever will be. The economic and power systems of this planet are not designed for you to get rich. The American dream doesn’t exist and it never did. Stop being a temporarily embarrassed millionaire and just be a person.”

          To heck with them. I’m gonna be rich someday.

          • The meanest peasant has probably had some daydream where they were the lord. The difference between this and the American Dream is that that really wasn’t gonna happen. There is a difference between “unlikely” and “impossible.”

            The American system may not be designed to make it easy to get rich, but it is not designed, or at least historically it was not, to actively hinder you. If you are willing to work hard, that’s all the chance you need. You may not get absolutely rich, but you can certainly get richer. And that is why the stupid ordinary people keep “voting for their masters’ best interests.” Because they don’t believe they are as helpless as their educated Progressive betters think they are.

            • 1776 yet again:

              DICKINSON: Mr. Hancock, you’re a man of property — one of us. Why don’t you join us in our minuet? Why do you persist in dancing with John Adams? Good Lord, sit, you don’t even like him!

              HANCOCK: That is true,
              He annoys me quite a lot,
              But still I’d rather trot
              To Mr. Adams’ new gavotte.

              DICKINSON, speaking, continuing to dance: But why? For personal glory? For a place in history? Be careful, sir. History will brand him and his followers as traitors!

              HANCOCK: Traitors to what, Mr. Dickinson — the British Crown? Or the British half-crown? Fortunately, there are not enough men of property in America to dictate policy.

              DICKINSON: Perhaps not, but don’t forget that most men with nothing would rather protect the possibility of becoming rich than face the reality of being poor. And that is why they will follow us…

              • Now I’ve got the song in my head – which isn’t a bad thing, mind you ^_^ We cool cool conservative men.

                According to what I’ve read, Dickinson fought bravely in the war and lost everything.

                • Yup and no. Dickinson had written the influential Letters from a Pennsylvania Farmer and was one of the state’s first delegates to the Continental Congress. After leaving the Congress he was appointed an officer in the militia. He subsequently left the service when two of his junior officers were promoted above him because of his opinion about independence. He freed his 37 slaves in 1777, which was costly. He went on to serve as the President of Delaware and President of Pennsylvania (where he worked himself to exhaustion). Further he represented the state of Delaware in matters relating to the Constitution. He did not die a ruined man.

        • um… I wasn’t reading Johnny S. so it must have been second hand.

      • The “Peasant” mindset doesn’t really work for Americans. I have heard this cited as one reason why we have fewer riots than other countries: rioting is for peasants. When Americans rioted, historically, it was because they were very, very angry about some specific grievance, not because they were bored. Alas, this is becoming less true by the day. Both the peasantry, and the rioting.

    • and writ large (and given that some of our people no longer believe this, but a lot of them do) THIS is what will save us.

    • Hmmm … President Wilson was a Southerner (in the sense of endorsing Birth of a Nation) AND an Ivy-league university president. His ideas about progress (ah – but progress toward what, eh?) certainly had their roots.

      • Do I need to mention his failures? I took German history from a German professor (he taught in the American system… a really nice person). He claims that cutting off the head of Germany (firing the king) only delayed the war and caused untold suffering. Plus there was some social experimenting going on… I don’t remember all the details–a chemo blank–but he is not a loved name there. (Of course he was the President during WWI).

        • oops I swear I didn’t italicize this… RES did you leave an open italic?

          • I think WP is acting up. I notice a number of posts here appear fully italicized. I blame the government for not erecting regulatory fences to pervent [sic] this sort of torture.

            • In glancing across the terrain I see I did fail to close the italic after the what in my comment about Wilson and progress. My regrets. First time I ever saw it bleed over into following comments and WP instructions …

            • IOW ladies and gentlemen, it’s all RES’s fault and he’s trying to distract us with his War On Italics. (Runs.)

              • Yes, I confess: I let the italics out. Now please, help stop them before they take over the boards! (I swear, I thought sure if I took an axe to that demmed broomstick until there was nothing but splinters the onslaught would end.)

        • Heh – engage Col. Kratman on this topic and sit back and enjoy. His thesis is that American involvement in WWI made the ultimate resolution worse. Our European allies would never have attempted so excessive a settlement if they had not been emboldened by Wilson’s support.

          • I’ve thought that at times.

          • Our European allies would never have attempted so excessive a settlement if they had not been emboldened by Wilson’s support.

            This is quite true. Your European allies probably would have lost the war altogether if it hadn’t been for Wilson’s support. Remember that in the early summer of 1918, the Eastern Front had collapsed, Germany and Austria-Hungary had outright annexed about one third of the population (and most of the industrial capacity) of Russia, and after three years of stalemate, they had returned to the offensive on the Western Front. (Second Battle of the Marne, 15 July–6 August 1918.)

            Von Hindenburg candidly admitted, in an interview given just after the Armistice, that the war was decided by the timely arrival of several million American soldiers. It wasn’t that they were good in combat; it wasn’t that they were brave — it was that they were there. The Allies had fresh divisions to throw into combat at any point they chose, at a time when the Germans had no source of reinforcements except for wounded soldiers returning to duty upon being discharged from hospital. The French and British were not much better off than the Germans in this respect. The war was effectually decided by fresh meat.

            • of course, the question is — what would the difference be NOW in the twenty first century, absent WWII and a few million corpses (and possibly, under the silver lining, killing the idea of genocide and eugenics as a “good thing”) As a Portuguese writer once put it “Germany is the owner of Europe” (he then went to call Portugal “the owner’s dog” something I’d disagree with.) Mind you, Germany is in deep trouble, and I shouldn’t be taken as an admirer of the country (I’m not) but compared to the basket case that’s Europe? What would the difference be between winning WWI and the EEC? Bueller? Anyone?

              • What would the difference be between winning WWI and the EEC? Bueller? Anyone?

                I don’t know the entire correct answer, but I’m betting a British horse is involved.

                • I’m not saying we SHOULD have let Germany win — but I think everyone knows how I feel about the EEC (it will end in tears! It’s a late-hit 20th century idealistic bit of nonsense.) My question is how much different — after the fall of monarchies, etc — would Europe look now, had the Kaiser been allowed to do his thing.
                  The only thing I can imagine is that people would be less inclined to believe pacifism if possible or workable. (But I could be wrong.)

                  • My question is how much different — after the fall of monarchies, etc — would Europe look now, had the Kaiser been allowed to do his thing.

                    Well, to begin with, the fall of monarchies would never have occurred. That was not a historically inevitable development (nothing is). The German and Austro-Hungarian monarchies were overthrown by the victorious Allies, chiefly on Wilson’s insistence. The alternative to the EEC, in the long run, would probably have been a German empire ruling the rest of Europe frankly as slaves. The history of the conquered populations in Eastern Europe in 1916-18 is instructive: they were used as disposable slave labour every bit as frankly as under Nazi rule a generation later.

                    • I’m not sure the monarchies wouldn’t have fallen. Part of the reason that precipitated WWI was after all an anti-royalist (anarchist) assassination.

                    • I imagine we could have seen a Hapsburg Commonwealth, much like the British Commonwealth. And without Poincaré insisting on the continuation of reparations from Germany and Austria after the point of financial collapse, it could have taken longer for the radical fringes to come to power. Not impossible, but more difficult. 1) Keep Emperor Charles as emperor over an alliance of nations, which he might have been willing to do. 2) Much lower reparation requirements, and 3) less emphasis on “national self determination” that ignored the past few hundred years of history, and Europe could have been much more stable in the 1920s-1940s.

                      And if the Austrians had won the Battle of Sadowa/ Königgrätz, as almost happened, a very different set of alliances might have existed in 1914. Granted, that’s not what happened. But the possibilities were there. (Yes, I’ve been researching an alternate European history.)

                    • I did but it was years and years ago, and now my head is in a different space.

                    • Part of the reason that precipitated WWI was after all an anti-royalist (anarchist) assassination.

                      Ah, but it was Serbian anarchists assassinating an Austrian royal. They never lifted a hand against the King of Serbia. That was nationalism talking (and Serbian irredentism), not republicanism.

                    • Germany went into debt to go to war because it figured it could wring reparations out of France when it won. You could have ended up with France being the furious one.

                  • Has Turtledove written on this?

                    Relevant issues might be:
                    The extent of a German victory — Limited or Total?
                    Demands for reparations, and their cost to the Allies
                    Financial, direct and indirect
                    Effect of loss of colonies – India? SE Asia? Northern Africa?
                    Degree of loss of confidence in political leadership in France & England?
                    Effect on rise of Communism with a powerful German bulwark in Eastern Europe?
                    How would Germans handle their Russian puppets?
                    What would be the effect on fascist/socialist movements in Europe? Does Mussolini rise? Does Franco?
                    What would be the effect on America’s position in the world?
                    Would Wilson retain power and influence by maintaining America’s isolation
                    Would the progressive movement in America have gained greater strength or lost influence?
                    What would be the effect Turkey’s collapse in the Middle East?
                    Would a victorious Germany drive its Jewish artist and scientists to leave?
                    Would a fallen France (remember: France’s rampaging through Europe under Bonapartism was still fresh in the European heart) drive out their Jews?

                    That is just a start, of course, but I think the argument could be made that German victory in The Great War could have precluded many of the horrors that afflicted the 20th Cent. It has been a long time since I had that discussion with the Col., but he had some very interesting (likely) answers to those questions and more.

                    • Piffle – all my effort to insert Tab Right HTML … wasted.

                      WP is the Aquaman of blog software.

                    • but with all that, it is more effective than the competitors. Scary, uh?

                    • I think it could make SEVERAL interesting stories…

                    • Turtledove did one book about the South getting modern-ish guns in the War of Southern Secession and has built a career of it, with at least a dozen more novels (depending how you count) in that series. If you can churn out an alt-Hist in time for the 100-year anniversary you might be nibbling Godiva chocolate truffles for a long time. Heck, you might even be able to swim in them! I bet Baen would love to package it, especially if you invite Tom & Eric to play in that pool.

              • Unfortunately Germany had the chance to use a similar constitution to the US and blew it big chunks. I still like the people. When I see them at soccer games I shudder though.

              • Sadly, the Eugenics movement might not have been so easily discredited if WWII had not occurred. Its roots lie in the idea that you could breed for a better human, just as you bred for a better horse or cow. Early proponents included Teddy Roosevelt, Vernon Kellogg and Carnegie. I shudder to mention that Winston Churchill was in attendance at the First International Eugenic Congress in 1912.

                Real problems occurs when you start considering what constitutes a better human? And here, with this consideration, we get to both a lovely and nightmarish play ground of science fiction.

                • yes. WWII might have been the price we paid to lay that bad vampire. What we’ll pay to lay marxism, I shudder to think.

                  • I know vampires are currently very popular in paranormal romance, but I doubt marxism would be that good a lay. /runs/

                    • stake through heart type of lay.

                    • stake through heart type of lay.

                      Only if it’s in a Ménage à trois with private ownership and free enterprise.

                    • You know, I had crab for dinner last night, which apparently the people in the regency were right about — it DOES give you nightmares. I spent the night dreaming I was a plastic artist getting ready for a big show… I was cutting naked people out of tin and was going to strategically hang them in a mobile, so the slightest breeze made into an orgy. It would be shown to the tune of O Fortuna. (WHY I wanted to do this remained unexplained. My older son was threatening to disown me if I went through with it.)
                      I haven’t had any coffee. I’m not up to this.

                    • I haven’t had any coffee. I’m not up to this.

                      Sorry, but that’s probably the best you’re going to get from Yours Truly today. The muse was beating the shit out of me last night and, as a result, I was up until 3am. While it was tres créatif, I hope, I’m going to pay for it in spades today.

                    • At least you didn’t have crab. You’d be writing about naked people.

                    • At least you didn’t have crab. You’d be writing about naked people.

                      The setting was too cold for naked people. Well, the fully living ones, anyway.

                    • But what were the naked people doing in the tin? Given their fate, I am sure they were not exactly grateful for being freed. What offence had they committed to deserve hanging?

                    • OK, I see it. It is the 1980s. The Americans sent a whittler to whittle it, the British contributed a branch from some ancient and venerated oak and the Pope sends a silver cross to set into the stake. The stake was named Liberty. Poland was freed and The Wall fell. Now we re-join our story as we seek find the father of all vampires and slay him.

                    • Wayne Blackburn

                      Now wait… according to The Librarian, the stake must come from an Aspen tree.

                • as is I’m afraid the idea will come again as we get a better understanding of genetics. As should be obvious.

            • First: America does not have “allies” in war — it has “paid clients”. Don’t believe me? First: Look up how much the US handed over in Lend-Lease aid in WW2 alone. Second: Go to Europe, and look at all the cemeteries filled with American soldiers killed to save Europe; now go to the US, and look at all the cemeteries filled with European soldiers killed to save America — oh, wait, no, you can’t, because there *AREN’T ANY*.

              Second: US doesn’t send troops to WW1 — Germany “wins” WW1 for all of about thirty seconds; the country was already starting to fall apart due to the blockade, and the “infection” of Communism was taking root. The chaos which overran eastern Europe extends all the way across the continent, and even into the British Isles. End result: Europe goes Commie a couple generations earlier than historically. (Germany: When something absolutely, positively has to be screwed up beyond repair…. :P )

              • The NAZI party was the German Socialist Party. One of the major arguments of the 1920’s was international socialism vs. national socialism. The communist party the NAZI fought in Germany was tied to the Soviet. Germany could be held at fault here, as they quiet purposefully sent Lenin back to Russian with the intention of unsettling that nation and taking it out of the equation of WW I. (I am amused to ponder that, while the Germans of WWII proclaimed for national socialism, they were quiet willing to make that nation all of Europe.)

    • Free-range Oyster

      Excellent point! I will quibble about your timeframe a little – my understanding and perception are that the introduction of an effective class system took place in the beginning of the twentieth century with the ascendance of the so-called progressive philosophy. It was and is predicated entirely on a class system, with the “right” people telling the rest how to live their lives.

      Now I say ascendance, but I think that it was an ascent to power, not to popular acceptance. Yes some of it has leeched (or been shoved) into our values and beliefs, but most Americans still hold to the values of work and social mobility. That, as we’ve all been saying, is what makes Americans so unique and effective.

    • There has been a class system in this country from the beginning. Ask any landed Virginian at the time of the revolution. The characteristic that made this country different, and still does, is that you can change your status. Being a Lee of Virginia or a Vanderbilt or a Rockefeller does not mean what it once did.

      • One of the funniest things when I saturated myself in the revolution, while writing AFGM was reading what the patricians from CT thought of the Southerners, particularly the Green Mountain Boys. It was made all the funnier by KNOWING one of my husband’s direct ancestors — and a name sake — was in the CT volunteers. I have a low sense of humor.

      • There has been a class system in this country from the beginning. . . . The characteristic that made this country different, and still does, is that you can change your status.

        Contradiction in terms. The whole point of a class system is that you cannot change your status. In a true class system, membership in the upper classes is conferred either by birth or by legal fiat; there is nothing you can do to earn it. In the anciens réǵimes of Europe, the nobility had legal privileges forbidden to the general populace, and the only way to become a noble was to make yourself sufficiently useful to the king that he would give you a patent of nobility, disregarding the opprobrium he would surely suffer at the hands of the blood aristocrats.

        Even in the comparatively open system of the Roman Republic, voters were sorted into five classes, theoretically by wealth; but you could only move from a lower to a higher class by applying to the censors, who could refuse your application for any number of reasons, or simply because they didn’t like the cut of your jib. And Roman censors were very particular about jibs.

        Nothing like this has existed in the U.S. since colonial times. The main power of the F.F.V.s was to complain that people who weren’t F.F.V.s were getting uppity. And as they found to their incalculable cost, snobbery is no substitute for legal privilege.

        • Cough, cough. Once upon a time land ownership was required to have the privilege to vote.

          For a long time the older settled east coast cities did their best to imitate Europe. As a Philadelphian I can tell you a bit about what it took to break into The Main Line — no less the upper reaches. Boston had its equivalent of the ton, which was finally broken by the decedents of Thomas Fitzgerald of County Limerick. New York had its 400. I have a friend who married into a Charlestonian family: what stories she can tell. It is the lands to the west that saw the real change, when simple survival is more recently on the line it changes things.

          • **** dyslexia :-(

          • Er – the decedents exercise power in Chicago politics. In Boston it is the descendants of Honey Fitz who’ve wielded power, especially the bastards that were grafted to the family tree by Joe Kennedy.

          • Cough, cough. Once upon a time land ownership was required to have the privilege to vote.

            And do you know what was required to have land ownership? Money — or, in many localities, squatters’ rights. Sorry, you can’t construct a class system on that.

        • In Rome you could gain citizenship. In Europe you could earn patents of nobility. And, of course, in countries like England which had several kerfuffles the right to grant ownership shifted and subsequently so did the land. Part of my family left England because they took the wrong side in an argument about the Stewarts and the throne.

          • In Rome you could gain citizenship. In Europe you could earn patents of nobility.

            Well, no. In Rome you could happen to have a patron with the power to grant you citizenship. (And even then you would be enrolled in the lowest class of citizens and have to kiss your way up.) In Europe you could be granted a patent of nobility by the king.

            In neither case could you actually earn these things by your own efforts. And until the Powers that Be granted you the citizenship or the title, there were things you legally could not do, and professions you legally could not enter, that other people could. That, my dears, is a class system.

    • Wayne Blackburn

      Reminds me of the “Newhart” show, where the daughter’s boyfriend was a snotty Ivory Tower type, but when his parents were there for Christmas and everything had gone wrong, the groundskeepers (Larry, Darryl, and Darryl) invited them all for Christmas dinner. The son was shocked at the suggestion, but his father told him basically to get over himself and accept the invitation. He then did basically the same thing later when they learned that the main course was (I can’t remember exactly) either Possum or Groundhog.

      • Wayne Blackburn

        Well, that didn’t work, how about at this level.

        • Wayne Blackburn

          Heh. Maybe I should look further down and see if someone else tried first.

        • Wayne Blackburn

          Ah, it strips out the closing tag if there is no opening tag. How about seeing if I can sneak it through?
          </i>

          Yeah, I am probably crazy thinking this will work.

  10. I think there were times in US when some people had more European attitudes about class – particularly before and after 1900. My grandmother’s generation could be very class oriented and insisted on standards (those were also some of the most racist times in the US as well and I think there was a connection). But this was a time before America was such a world powerhouse, and European aristocracy represented the pinnacle everyone was aiming for. World War II in particular blew that away – that and the GI bill making college available to everyone.

    But even then, there’s always been that basic feeling that all people are equal and overcoming humble origins is a virtue. I was amused when I found out how radical and revolutionary American etiquette books were, because they gave away the rules.

    • At the turn of the last century much of the US and European world was in the sway of progressive ideas like eugenics. In the US this gave rise to a new KKK and justified much to be regretted. In Europe the results were even worse.

      • Yes, most of the early socialist movements were heavily into eugenics. As much as I detest socialism, I’d like to say eugenics need not be a requirement. Although, when everyone is (supposedly) taking care of everyone else, people get picky about just who “everyone” is.

        • Yes, and you don’t want sickly people who won’t do their fair share, and…

          • ‘s funny how many people take that attitude right up until the day their health fails.

            • That’s when they get all “compassionate society” about stuff.

              • LOL – talk about “compassionate.” I learned some valuable lessons when I was in a German hospital. I was treated compassionately by my nurses (one was from Russia). I had never seen that level of care in my life. So kudos to the nurses (who work hard to care for patients). I just wish I was more compassionate. I am a more thinking person (although it is harder since my meds of messed with my brain). ;-)

            • indeed. In my case, I never had that luxury. Had this lemon of a body when I was born, and like an old car it’s fix and kick to get it going, but hey, it ain’t stopped yet. So far so good.

              • I had a pretty strong body. A flu-bug every couple of years. Strained my ankle once slipping on ice. And, I used to gain muscles just by running my mile and a half for my military requirements. I had a few problems in my childhood (measles, scarlatina (I had the less acute form of Scarlet Fever), and I went to sleep and didn’t wake up for three days. My mother took me to the doctor that time and they didn’t seem to find anything wrong except I was close to anemia.

                So as an adult, I was doing pretty good until 41… and three months before I became too weak to move, my eyes went red. Next my kidneys failed. It was really really scary. To have a strong body and then to lose it was also saddening.

          • I was against eugenics from the first time I heard of it in South Africa. Ugh. My baby sister who is about 27 now would have been killed. She is one of the most loving people I know (Down syndrome). I would be dead now with my disease, etc, etc.

            • I find there are far more people without Downs’ Syndrome I would eliminate before I even began considering the Downs’ crowd. Watch Jimmy Stewart in Harvey and pay attention to what is being said …

              Elwood P. Dowd: Well, I’ve wrestled with reality for 35 years, Doctor, and I’m happy to state I finally won out over it.

              http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0042546/quotes?qt0420608

              Elwood P. Dowd: Years ago my mother used to say to me, she’d say, “In this world, Elwood, you must be” – she always called me Elwood – “In this world, Elwood, you must be oh so smart or oh so pleasant.” Well, for years I was smart. I recommend pleasant. You may quote me.

              http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0042546/quotes?qt0420610

              Veta Louise Simmons: Myrtle Mae, you have a lot to learn, and I hope you never learn it.

              http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0042546/quotes?qt0420612

              The Taxi Driver: …I’ve been driving this route for 15 years. I’ve brought ‘em out here to get that stuff, and I’ve drove ‘em home after they had it. It changes them… On the way out here, they sit back and enjoy the ride. They talk to me; sometimes we stop and watch the sunsets, and look at the birds flyin’. Sometimes we stop and watch the birds when there ain’t no birds. And look at the sunsets when its raining. We have a swell time. And I always get a big tip. But afterwards, oh oh…
              Veta Louise Simmons: “Afterwards, oh oh”? What do you mean, “afterwards, oh oh”?
              The Taxi Driver: They crab, crab, crab. They yell at me. Watch the lights. Watch the brakes, Watch the intersections. They scream at me to hurry. They got no faith in me, or my buggy. Yet, it’s the same cab, the same driver. and we’re going back over the very same road. It’s no fun. And no tips… After this he’ll be a perfectly normal human being. And you know what stinkers they are!

              http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0042546/quotes?qt0420622

              Elwood P. Dowd: You see, science has overcome time and space. Well, Harvey has overcome not only time and space, but any objections.

              http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0042546/quotes?qt0420630

      • Interestingly I think the new DNA mapping of the races have shown that we have the same roots. I hope it puts a stake in eugenics.

  11. Free-range Oyster

    Here, let me fix that for you.

  12. I recommend to your attention the book “The Millionaire Next Door” that points out several counter-intuitive attributes of millionaires. The one I best recall is the car most commonly driven by millionaires: Ford F-150 pickup truck. The central thesis is that in this country there are people who live within their means and prodigiously accumulate wealth. This is in contrast with the people in the nicest neighborhoods with the nicest cars sending their kids to the nicest schools who live paycheck-to-paycheck.

  13. My parents were poor, and remained that way because both Mom and Dad were always the ones that were asked to help out the rest of the family. Dad practically supported his mother for the last 30 years of her life. His garden fed half the neighborhood. Yet I was given an appointment to the Air Force Academy, and would probably have graduated if it weren’t for a closed-head injury from boxing. Most Americans CAN, and frequently do, live better than their parents. College, which is available to everyone who can pay the costs (student loans, Pell grants, working, parents), can prepare the children of even the poorest for high-paying positions. Anyone with the determination and a little seed money can start a business, and by hard work and an understanding of the marketplace, become a very rich man (Steve Jobs).

    One of the things that shocked me so much when I lived in Panama was the number of children of very poor people who were sent to college by their parents to become either doctors or lawyers. The problem with that was that as soon as they got their education, they moved somewhere else to practice. At the same time, the Canal Zone Administration could not find a single Panamanian engineer to train to take over operating the canal. It wasn’t an “acceptable” position. Ninety-five percent of the doctors and lawyers in Panama were locals, but only five percent of the engineers – and those had gone to school in the US. From what I saw, many of the lawyers would have been better off getting an engineering degree.

    One other thing that most of the rest of the world doesn’t understand is our military. The military is considered only slightly higher than farmers by most Europeans, and only the officers have any “esteem”. Most of the non-commissioned officers in the US military have more responsibility – and more respect – than junior officers in the military of most European nations.

    • When von Steuban was drawing up the regulations for the nascent army at Valley Forge, he took — I think the British as the basis, and altered them, giving more responsibility to the more junior officers and non-coms.

    • John Ringo’s “Troy Rising” books have as a major sub-plot a huge culture clash between “sailors” (military space pilots/crews) from South American countries and North Americans. Assuming Ringo’s characters have any resemblance whatsoever to how “Suds” actually think about these matters, it is really quite an eye-opener to someone who grew up immersed in Midwestern American notions about how people should act. Never mind about how soldiers should act in the face of the freaking enemy.

  14. Australia has a similar attitude to class, best summed up by: “The bloke beside you at the pub who’s wearing a blue singlet, stubbies (brand of shorts) and thongs (flip-flops) and swearing like a wharfie just might be a millionaire. Of course he also might be a wharfie.”

    Australians do have a slightly different attitude to work – the general view is that you get it done right so there’s no need to do it over and you can enjoy your free time without any objections. Work hard, play hard, and have a beer, basically.

    On the flip side, the employer who tries to control employees is in for every possible form of hell said employees can devise. This largely explains Australian politicians. The useless bastards can’t do anything else. (mostly joking. Mostly…)

    • It’s the same in Texas, too. The guy who is wearing a tattered work shirt, faded blue jeans and battered cowboy boots, and driving a lamentable rattletrap of a pickup truck might be the third richest man in Texas, an accomplished neurosurgeon, or the senior partner in the biggest law firm in town … or a former President of the USA. Or he just might be a roofer, ranch hand or small business owner.

      I think it must be one of their favorite indoor sports; taking the mickey out of snobbish headwaiters or sales-staff by wandering in, looking like a hobo, and then whipping out a credit card with a large limit or a wad of $100 bills.

      Sometimes the boots or the belt-buckle give a clue, if they might be very, very high-end.

      • Yup. The usual assumption is that someone who’s got money got it the hard way. If you didn’t work your way into it, in Oz it’s polite to acknowledge that you got lucky.

        Which reminds me of a story, allegedly true. Way back in the Great Depression a fellow applied for a job driving (horse) the dunny cart in a small town. (Dunny cart – the cart that carried the trays of… deposits from outhouses in towns before they got modern sewage systems). He didn’t get the job because he couldn’t read.

        So he goes off and ends up working cutting trees. Builds himself a multi-million dollar business, hiring people to read for him.

        Ultimately gets interviewed by a wet-behind-the-ears youngster who makes the mistake of commenting that he did all this despite not being able to read, and where would he be if he had been able to read.

        The reply? “I’d be driving the shit cart in Cloncurry.”

      • I used to work in a store in Des Moines, Iowa that sold knives. Unlike some of my co-workers, I treated everybody who came in the door (other than a-hole kids, which were easy to spot and couldn’t buy knives anyway) exactly the same. And it was very common for me to sell a hundred-dollar pocketknife to some scruffy old man in beat up clothes – who happened to be a farmer with more money than God who knew the value of good tools. (They were usually taking the wife “into town” to go shopping.) I grew up around those guys and knew they were real. My co-workers were “city kids” who knew that people with money wore nice clothes.

        • *giggle* And sometimes you even had to be careful with the teenage kids. Just after I retired from the military, I spent a few fun months working retail, going up to Christmas, in a big department store fur salon. (Yep, I sold furs for a bit – fun job, actually.) And one weekday afternoon, I was all alone in the salon, and that corner of the department store was practically empty, and this kid wandered in. She looked about my daughter’s age (sixteen or so) but very polite and well-dressed, and she began to ask about the varous fur coats. So I went into my usual informational lecture about furs, and showed her around to all the various coats and jackets … hey, it was afternoon and I was bored! And at the very end of my spiel, the kid asked to try one of them that she liked … and she explained that she had just passed the bar exam, and been offered a position with a high-end law firm (this was in 1997) and so she was going to buy a fur coat to celebrate and to reward herself.
          And she did, too. But I’ll bet you anything she is still getting carded in bars.

          • This reminds me of a legend about Stanley Marcus, of Neiman Marcus – a dirty barefoot woman came to the store and none of his staff wanted to wait on her, so he did so personally, giving her the same attention and courtesy as any wealthy customer. And at the end, she bought a very expensive fur coat and paid for it in cash.

            • Everyone who has worked retail in Texas knows that story … and the follow-up is even better; sensing an opening, Mr. Marcus also sold her a pair of shoes!

    • Free-range Oyster

      When I lived in Brasil it was popular to tell stories of salesmen or other businessmen snubbing or condescending to what they saw as some poor hayseed farmer with dirty jeans, a straw hat, and that atrocious caipira accent only to have the noveau riche landowner go to their manager – who was always wise enough in the stories to treat the man with respect – and pay cash for the new imported Cadillac or buy the restaurant or what have you. Those who believe in work – and subsistence farmers do – treasure stories of those for whom those values paid off. I have heard similar stories in the States but I have never heard them told with more relish than I did down there. Brasil, like France and apparently Australia, is a nation of hardworking, decent people shackled for decades or centuries to a government comprised entirely of idjits.

      • Actually, I think Aussies deliberately put the idjits into politics. They do less damage there (Australian attitudes to rules are… If it makes sense and/or the Aussie in question thinks it’s moral, it happens. Otherwise, it’s only observed when there’s a chance of getting caught. Or it can be observed in a way that will damage whoever’s making the rules. Old convict mentality: screw the overseers ever which way you can.)

    • Australia has a similar attitude to class, best summed up by: “The bloke beside you at the pub who’s wearing a blue singlet, stubbies (brand of shorts) and thongs (flip-flops) and swearing like a wharfie just might be a millionaire. Of course he also might be a wharfie.”

      The one millionaire I ever knew at all well was exactly like that. Only his singlets weren’t usually blue; and this being in Canada, he had to wear more than that for about nine months a year.

      • The blue singlet is the unofficial working uniform for any kind of physical labor in Australia. A really good one is more hole than fabric and sort of covers a hefty beer gut attached to a something in the vicinity of six foot of solid muscle with skin like old leather.

        Of course, the Oz climate being what it is, Oz workers aren’t going to cover up anything like Canadians have to.

        And I figured Canadians would be mostly class-blind as well.

        • And I figured Canadians would be mostly class-blind as well.

          Much more so in some parts of the country than in others. Southern Ontario used to be in the hands of the United Empire Loyalists, who tried (and ultimately failed) to form a permanent aristocracy in much the same way that the F.F.V.s tried (and failed) to do in the southern U.S. Western Canada has always been much more egalitarian, with the inevitable result that the rest of the country looks down on us and calls us rubes. (Alberta has the most educated workforce in the country, and it is precisely these educated Albertans who get unanimously slanged as rednecks and yokels by the Toronto media.)

          • This is the second time the F.F.V.s has come up, who were they?

            • the First Families of Virginia, ‘cat. they have a wiki page I haven’t yet read. I blame my messed-up left-coast public education for my ignorance in this regard. /cheers

              • Ahh, perhaps it is a left coast thing, that’s where I was educated also, and wasn’t aware that Virginia HAD any First Families. Of course from what I recall in history we were taught Revolutionary War, Civil War, WWII, Vietnam; skipping such unimportant wars such as the War of 1812, WWI, and Korea. I still recall asking about WWI and getting the answer, “It was basically just a precursor to WWII.”

                • 1776 again:

                  My name is Richard Henry Lee!
                  Virginia is my home.
                  My name is Richard Henry Lee!
                  Virginia is my home.
                  And may my horses turn to glue
                  If I can’t deliver up to you
                  A resolution — on independency!
                  For I am F.F.V.
                  The First Family
                  In the Sovereign Colony of Virginia.
                  The F.F.V.
                  The Oldest Family
                  In the oldest colony in America!

          • Hey hubby and I like Western Canada particularly Vancouver Island. I was born in Bella Coola… I looked it up one day and it is 2/3 the way to the north pole. (or at least it looked like it from the map)

      • I always snicker when my Oz friends say thong. *snicker thanks for the enjoyment

        • D’oh!! Now I have Burl Ives singing “Thong thlung blue, dilly, dilly” in my mental music … and now words rhyming with thong are occurring, including a certain Yiddische word beginning sch .. must stop. Find alternate soundtrack, stat. Here a Lee, there a Lee, everywhere a Lee a Lee, there’s Bobby Lee …

          • oh, wonderful. I NEEDED that while working on Noah’s boy. RES! Honestly. We can’t take you anywhere.

            • Happily, I don’t want to go anywhere. Going elsewhere defeats the whole point of having a home. AND it interferes with my reading.

            • Please don’t encourage him. He is quiet clear he has no desire to leave his carefully collected reams of print. He will do what it takes to convince most any sane person, and probably most any less than sane person, to leave him alone.

        • Well, since we Aussies get just as much amusement from you ‘Merkins talking about ‘fannies’, I think the score is pretty much even.

          (for the confused: the Aussie – and Brit – usage of ‘fanny’ refers to a female-only part of the anatomy)

          • I think it is an area thing about thongs, where I grew up I had never heard of flip-flops, they were thongs. So, thong to me just means two different types of apparel (both held on the body only with a string) and it is entirely according to context.

          • Merkins? I understand that these days clean shaven is the preferred mode. ‘Cause that’s such a comfy place to have stubble, I guess.

            • I think she means Americans. And btw I totally agree with you. Also the preference for the pre-pubescent look gives me the creeps, in cultural terms.

              • I think she meant the pun. I long ago acquired the icks over the fashion industrial complexe’s fancy for females who have the hips and butts of boys (and not in the Hannibal Lecter sense — that would be less creepy.)

                • Wayne Blackburn

                  …females who have the hips and butts of boys…

                  As opposed to me, who always found women’s jeans more comfortable to wear. Awkward asking the the woman at the specialty shop (only place I could find them big enough) if I could go try them on. :-p

                  • Wayne you made me laugh… thank you

                    • Now you are just like all the stylish young male hipsters! (Though it’s kinda creepy for even scrawny guys to wear as skinny of women’s jeans as some wear. Sort of a male version of the heroin waif look.)

                    • Wayne Blackburn

                      Dude. I wasn’t saying like Jodie Foster. I was talking about Kirstie Allie before the diet and DWTS.

                    • Point of order, I could be wrong, but I think suburban is a dudette. (BTW, I know what she means in the name — I think — but my favorite car to drive was an old suburban and I always imagine a banshee haunting that.) And I totally got what you meant.

                    • Wayne Blackburn

                      Heh. It takes me quite a while to get all the aliases straight with no face-to-face. ;-)

              • Me too – I watch a show every once in awhile that puts small modeling agencies into a network called remodeled. I like the snark… However it really makes me mad that they are only looking for men and women who are five ten or over and that they all look like boys. It is an androgynous look imho. The normal age is between 14 to 22.

                So plus models are girls who have small curves. It really makes me mad that I have not been able to find anything that fits me properly since Twiggy walked the runway.

                So why are children selling clothes, makeup, sex, magazines to women? There should be outrage.

              • Wayne Blackburn

                Dammit! After reading this a half-dozen times, I finally decided I had to find out what the word meant. I REALLY didn’t need to learn about such things. Now they’re going to be stuck in my head all day, and I have work to do.

                • I found out about them on a writers’ list. I don’t know about RES. He probably hangs out in low dives or at least his mind does.

                  • Britcoms, such as Black Adder, and relentless curiosity driven by the knowledge that there are jokes there I am not getting.

                    My mind is not permitted in low dives, for fear of driving off their regular clientele and giving them bad reputation.

                    • Ummm… I understand some of the jokes (having lived in and around Brits for most of my adult life). But, there are some royal jokes that pass over my head. :-)

                    • The 17th Amendment is the one that changed the method by which Senators got their jobs:

                      The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each state, elected by the people thereof, for six years; and each Senator shall have one vote. The electors in each state shall have the qualifications requisite for electors of the most numerous branch of the state legislatures.
                      When vacancies happen in the representation of any state in the Senate, the executive authority of such state shall issue writs of election to fill such vacancies: Provided, that the legislature of any state may empower the executive thereof to make temporary appointments until the people fill the vacancies by election as the legislature may direct.

                      This amendment shall not be so construed as to affect the election or term of any Senator chosen before it becomes valid as part of the Constitution.

                      It is Section 1 of the 14th Amendment that has been so often used to undercut the 10th. This amendment was passed after the late great unpleasantness. The first section had the intention of protecting those who had been emancipated from being re-enslaved or being given second class status by any state. Section 1 reads:

                      All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

                  • Words are fun. All sorts of word. The whole family loves them. The Daughter has collected all sorts of dictionaries, including those devoted to colloquialisms and slang since I don’t know when. She has read at least five dictionaries of maledictions. Funny thing, The Daughter does not and never has cursed to my knowledge. She sure can tell you when someone else has.

          • LOL Never used the word fannie in my life. My grandmother did though. It was the butt or the broadside or the bum. It depends on where the “MeriKan” is from.

            • OK, deep slow breath. Now take your piece of underwear called a thong. The Brits and Aussies would say that all that was covered was the fannie. The Americans, on the other hand, would say that the fannie was what is exposed.

  15. Unrelated off topic:
    I clicked on you link to the “Fifty Shades of Grey” shredding, miss-read that title as “Fifty Shades of Yarn”, rather than “Fifty Shades of Yawn”, and got all excited for a moment. ;-)

    • Oooooo! A fellow yarnie?

      • you people are scary. Everyone knows the only threads to pursue are — white — crochet cotton thread and a cool variety of multicolored embroidery threads (though even there, I prefer white on white — don’t say it, don’t say it. I’m only racist in needle work.– unfortunately white on white, like black on black is hard on the eyes and the eyes are going.) However, CACS a yarn shop that looks bewilderingly vast has opened up blocks from my place, and if you’re looking for something hard to find in your area, I can take a note and my ignorance and ask the owner. Who knows?

        • The Daughter has been working on a Victorian style lace sampler knit of white cotton crochet thread on ridiculously small needles for some years now.

          If you are working on black cloth it can be easier to see the lie of the warp and woof of the fabric if you cover your lap with a white or very pale yellow lint free cloth. It might work to use a similarly contrasting lint free cloth under your white work. (Should I dare venture to ask, what white on white do you do? Candlewicking? Pulled thread? Needle lace? Hardanger? ???)

          Yarn shop? Sigh. I really appreciate your ridiculously brave offer. Yarn buying for me is a very personal thing. Sight and touch are very much in play. But on the very off chance that I should ever get in your neck of the woods, and you have not moved too far away, Please point me to it.

          • Candlewicking. Pulled thread. But also … um… it might be a Portuguese thing? Like tudor embroidery on wool, but white silk on white cotton. Very nice on pillow cases and sheets, though I don’t do it on sheets, just pillow cases, for display. It used to be done on handkerchiefs.

            Actually it’s been very long since I’ve done any of it, because of the writing, and now I can’t find my magnifying glass. There will hopefully come a time.

      • Yarnbenders Unite! (My friend knits. I crochet. We are both yarnbenders and cannot be left alone in craft stores or yarn shops without adult supervision.)

        • Knotty girls!!!

        • Wayne Blackburn

          So if you knit a cat, does it purl when it’s happy?

        • Add my wife to that list, Beth. She knits, crochets, and makes bobbin lace. Now LACEMAKING is an expensive hobby! She learned it in adult education classes in England, then followed up with a week a the Kantcentrum in Brughes, Belgium. When the average piece requires 120-300 bobbins, and unless they’re plastic, cost from $1 to $60 each, you KNOW I shudder every time she goes to someone’s lace day… I still have to keep an eye on her or she’d buy out the yarn section of Hobby Lobby AND Joann’s

          • Mike can you or any in your household work wood? There is more than one husband horrified at the costs of a lace maker who has learned to turn bobbins in their ladies support and in defense of their personal economy.

            • CACS – I made about 400 for Jean, but my nerve problems keep me from using my lathe any more. I used to make pretty good money turning bobbins. Not enough to support us, but very good spending money. I lack the feedback sensation necessary to do that intricate kind of work any more.

              Jean isn’t averse to trading patterns… 8^)

  16. The italics seem to be gone. As god is my witness, I will never italicize again. Not ever!

  17. Another blow – My virus scanner quit working – If anyone is using McAfee, they screwed up the last update so you have to remove the product and reload. Good thing I don’t have my big stick cause the straws in the last two days are ready to turn me into the beast. I think I need to go eat and then do my shopping.

  18. One unusual place where Innate European-style Bigotry crops up: Auto racing. In European-style auto racing, having the right nationality is more important than having any driving talent — a French team with a French sponsor will prefer a French driver who crashes every race over a non-French driver who finishes on the podium every race; Germans, same; Japanese, same. Americans — they’ll take whoever performs, and can bring the sponsor dollars. It’s why there’s almost no American presence in European racing series, while “American” series are being overrun by Foreign Hordes.

  19. My first job, at 13, was a full time after school babysitting job. At 16, I started my own cleaning firm. At 20 I sold it, along with my client list, to a former employee. From then on I have been, wife, mother, teacher, VP of a start up consulting firm, VP of a small business, Organization specialist, farmer, horse wrangler, and stall cleaner. That meant I shoveled horse manure for a living. Like most Americans, I was raised to work, didn’t matter at what, but I was expected to get a job, and support myself. Working our way into our dream job is not always possible, but working is possible, even if it is cleaning toilets for other people.

    • Back in my college days I worked part-time at a locally owned movie theatre. Usual thing: shovel popcorn, pour soda, sell tickets, pick-up trash in theatre, sweep halls, clean restrooms. (Being even more pompous then than I am now) I was wont to remind co-workers that while we were doing a menial job, we were not ourselves menials.

      Oddly, that aphorism did little to alleviate the annoyance of cleaning up after some punk puked in Ghostbusters. But it was helpful and choking back the reflexive response springing to my lips when somebody walked up to the concession stand to as for “a medium.”