What A Long, Strange Trip It’s Been

I look back at 2013 and wonder if it’s me or the rest of the world that went mad.

 

First the personal: we spent most of the year wondering if the main income of this household would still be there, all the while knowing if he lost it it would be hard to find another, even as, from every magazine and newspaper – for years in a row – we are assured that we’re on the brink of a recovery.

To be fair, most of them say we’re on the precipice of a recovery, and perhaps they have read the dictionary definition of precipice, and just think we haven’t.

 

prec·i·pice

[pres-uh-pis] Show IPA

noun

1.

a cliff with a vertical, nearly vertical, or overhanging face.

2.

a situation of great peril: on the precipice of war.

 

We seem to be among the lucky few because our proposed doom has been postponed for at least a year maybe two, unless we all hit the cliff together – and in that case, well, we’ll be like everyone else.  “And we’ll all go together, when we go/and we’ll all go together when we go/ with the currency diluted/and our sovereignty disputed/yes, we’ll all go together when we go.”

Meanwhile, of course, this lays an obligation on us to write like demons, so maybe, just maybe if/when the main breadearning proposition fails, there will be lots of little others to take their place.  The kids are starting to pull their weight in writing.  Dan is making time for it.  He/us are also trying various other gambits.  I still think our future is multiple small streams of income.

“So, will we go over the precipice?”  — Who knows?  But even if we do, life tends to go on.  Look at places like Zimbabwe.  So, shut up and keep rowing.

 

Grandma used to say that “Where bread is short, everyone argues no one is right.”  Given how much groceries have gone up and salaries haven’t (good thing that food and fuel are no longer counted towards inflation, uh?) Much of the year can be explained in that vein.

There was for instance the amazing insanity of the SFWA glittery hoo-has trying to create a storm in a B Cup by accusing men of sexism for being men.  One wonders if they think the world would be better populated by castrati and women only.

I really wish we’d bring back single-gender schools.  Why?  Because any woman who has attended a girls- only middle school will not have any sort of illusions about a society composed of females only.  “Peaceful because there are no men” my sore big toe.

And to the extent that SFWA seems determined to kick out anyone who isn’t “different enough” (in a purely genetic way, of course, because diversity of thought is evil) I can see them fast becoming like the middle school I attended: Nasty, full of gossip, a place where no loyalty nor honor apply, and occasionally and unexpectedly unbelievably violent.

 

Then there was the shut down, because the republicans wanted to delay the onset of the Deathstar… I mean, Obamacare.  That was a moment of total surreal confusion.  “Wait, the people who’ll suffer the most from this craptastic “law” are the ones wanting to implement it?  The ones who have the most to gain from its implosion want to stop it?”  There was the Park Service taking orders to harass the citizens who pay their wages because Befehl its Befehl.  There was the news stations ASSURING us that the Republicans had lost from causing the shutdown (I’m still not convinced this bears any more relationship to the truth than the jobless figures do, or the inflation figures, either.)

But it turns out they’re drinking their own ink (no, seriously) and think that they really thought that their law HAD to work, because it was ideologically correct, even if it makes no sense, doesn’t apply to the real world, and can’t do anything that it said it would do…

The prognosis on this for 2014 is: I’m going to drink heavily.  But not as heavily as they’ve been, and not their ink.

 

We will pass over, with averted eyes, the bizarre notion of us becoming allied with Iran and getting them the right to enrich uranium, and the other… oddities of a foreign policy that’s come completely unglued from reality.  Never mind.  This too shall pass.  Hopefully without taking us along in a radioactive burst.

 

So, everything is in a mess, and so …  And so we forge on. This is no time to get wobbly.  They’re the ones that create the mess, and we’re the ones with broom and mop, who come in and clean up.

In the way these things work, this means we win, they lose.  Because if all you have to offer is chaos and destruction, you’ll never (duh) build anything lasting.  Maybe this is why the great statist empires, from the one that was supposed to last 1000 years, to the one that was supposed to bring in the Homo Sovieticus last a maximum of 70 years and reduce everyone and everything to sh*t.  Odd how that happens, uh?

Not to say I’m willing to give them even 70 years over the land of the free – no.  This is where we settle their hash once and for all, hopefully with a minimum of unpleasantness.

Be not afraid.  We win they lose.  But the times ahead WILL be interesting.  That I guarantee.  Fortunately, you ain’t seen nothing like us yet. And neither have they.

 

 

362 responses to “What A Long, Strange Trip It’s Been

  1. “The prognosis on this for 2014 is: I’m going to drink heavily”
    ” This is no time to get wobbly. ”

    ?????

  2. On a somewhat more serious note, “several small sources of income” has been my livelihood for several years. It has its advantages and disadvantages. You are more flexible, but at times you have to realize that you may not be able to keep regular hours, when the work is available it needs done. There is more low-level constant worry than a steady job, but not the high level worry of losing your only source of income that a jeopardized regular job can produce. Like most, my income has devolved into three or four main income streams, most dependent on some factors I can’t control, and then some erratic smaller streams. What this means is that if one of the main income streams dries up, well you may have to tighten your belt, but usually you can work at one or two of the smaller erratic streams, and at least partially replace the income lost through the larger stream that went belly-up.

    Frankly, I went this direction before the economy tanked, because I prefer it over a regular job. But, YOU NEED TO BE A #@%$ GROWNUP, because you are responsible for your decisions, and in extension you’re responsible for your own fate.

    • You need to be a grown-up???? It’ll never sell to today’s America. Most haven’t seen a grown-up in so long that they don’t know what one looks like. It ain’t as if they are on our television and movie screens, nor in our classrooms or halls of Congress.

      • You need to be a bit more selective.
        For TV I suggest Duck Dynasty, or that new reality show “Prospectors” on the Weather Channel.
        In movies you can’t do better than classic John Wayne westerns.
        Other than that, yep mostly dreck.
        At least Baen is still pumping out real SF. You can still curl up with a Kindle and escape to a better world where folks have sense and consequences matter.

    • Oh, yes – I’ve been doing the same thing for a good few years – writing my own books, income from my books, producing blog content for pay, transcribing, freelance editing, the Tiny Publishing Bidness … and I am working on holidays and weekends more often than not. I also prefer it very much to a regular mainstream employer. Setting my own hours, and having a brief commute to the office (about five feet) in the morning is a plus as well.

  3. “The prognosis on this for 2014 is: I’m going to drink heavily”

    I see that you and I have much in common, young padawan.

  4. Meredith Dixon

    Curiously, I wish they’d bring back single-sex education for a mirror-image reason. I went through hell in a co-ed middle school and a co-ed high school, and then I went to a single-sex college and the overwhelming majority of women there treated me decently. Sure, some people didn’t like me, but nobody was slamming me into the wall or pounding me into the sidewalk. Moreover, when I went there in the early ’80′s, we actually did have an ongoing problem with the men who came to the college’s parties: they tended to get drunk and disorderly and rampage through our buildings destroying things. Our faculty had had a long-standing tradition of leaving their offices unlocked so that majors in their subject could use their professors’ reference books; that came to an end after some drunken guys not only trashed some of the offices but sprayed fire-extinguisher foam all over a number of valuable books — not on a single rare occasion, but twice — it was after the second time that the faculty gave up. On another occasion, drunken guys deliberately (according to eyewitnesses watching in alarm from upper floors of the main building) drove their car into the college’s main water main, breaking it and disrupting all college water service for several days. And then there was the time drunken guys stole an oil painting of one of our college’s past presidents, and eventually threw it into a dumpster where it was badly damaged by sharp and messy things it landed on.

    The odd thing is that, of course, the college had been hosting parties for men since the 1930′s, and for fifty years the men *hadn’t* trashed the place when they came to visit. Alcohol can’t have been the only factor: they may not have been drinking on campus in the 1950′s but they were, per alumnae recollections and the school newspaper of the day, certainly drinking off of it.

    Anyhow, I think your experiences were colored by the fact that your single-sex school experience was in middle school, and any middle school is awful. And I’ll admit that *mine* were colored too, by the delight of finding a place where I could actually find friends after six years without any, and by alarm at the behavior of the drunken dates I saw around me.

    Do I think that all men are like those drunks? Of course not. My husband isn’t. He and his male co-workers don’t run around randomly trashing women’s office cubicles. But I think at least some of the women who mistrust men-in-groups learned that reaction not from their college professors but from their college’s parties.

    • But I think at least some of the women who mistrust men-in-groups learned that reaction not from their college professors but from their college’s parties.

      Leaving aside the social and cultural impetuses for some men behaving idiotically, perhaps some of those women need to, *ahem* learn to take men as individuals and not as ‘learned experiences.’ Just a thought.

      • Agreed. But some women need someone to hate and a scapegoat. Also they need a reason to be offended. They are professionally offended.

        • Of course they are professionally offended — that is the source of their power. Take away their presumptions of moral superiority and they have nothing.

          None of which is to suggest that there aren’t enclaves of men who are united in their dislike of the demands of women.

          It is generally easier to feel put upon when you view others as abstractions defined by broad categories such as sex, race, religion and class. Being the victim justifies anything done in the name of redressing the evils perpetrated upon you.

      • Well…I actually went to a mostly female college too, and it was way better than middle or high school, because it’s self selected. The bitchy backstabbing and power politics were the same though. As for males behaving like animals– most of them had it beat out of them (by other males) by middle school, and I didn’t associate with one’s who didn’t’ t. I have a brother and hung out with his circle a lot, sometimes while drinking heavily. I can honestly say not ONCE, drunk or sober did they “run around, breaking things” — that would seem to be a time and place thing and nowhere near “universal male”

        • But, my dear, your brother and his compatriots were not fed on a uplifting conceptual diet of such delightful programming such as Jackass.

          Long ago studies indicated that behaviors while drunk could be shaped by social pressure. If you knew that you would probably be punished if you and your buddies ran rampant through college offices then you would be far less likely to try such shenanigans.

          • Back when I studied Anthropology (which was shortly before Anthropology went off the rails) it was accepted that effect of alcohol was culturally bounded. In some cultures being drunk excused bad behaviour, but in other cultures being drunk was in and of itself bad behaviour and no justification for further transgression.

        • Meredith Dixon

          Sarah, yes, there were “bitchy backstabbing and power politics” at my college too, so the actual point you were making when you took a potshot at single-sex education is valid. I just had such a wonderful time at my college, in an all-female world, that I feel I must rise to defend all-female worlds.

          • Meredith, I too went to an all female college (the first time). I appreciated it at the time, and was disappointed in some ways that the gals didn’t take advantage of the opportunity it offered. I also bristled at some of the problems, half of which were exacerbated by a truly incompetent administration. I was just as happy to be overseas for what turned out to be the semester of chaos that led to major changes (some for the better, others just changes). We had problems when guys came to socialize, but we also had problems without any guys being present. I just wish there were more single-sex institutions, and that those still operating were not lurching to the left.

          • I’m not actually putting down single sex education. Studies show people learn better that way. I just wanted to point out that kicking all men out of SFWA won’t make it more supportive/nicer

            • Oh! So you mean they want it to be the Science Fiction Women’s Association. Got it….

              • Isn’t that what it is already? I mean the leader wears dresses.

                • I was confused, because the Socialist Feminists Whining Association had leaders wearing dresses, and everyone knows that liberated feminists don’t wear those oppressive symbols of the cismale heteronormative patriarchy.

                  • It’s all about destroying Maleness, and if it requires a dress to do it, then dresses are okay (for men only).

                    • Femaleness, too, though that may be secondary.

                      Each sex may only be a second rate parody of the other.

                    • Why is Maleness being attacked?

                    • Because many women and most “feminists” are scared of men.

                    • Guys are scary.

                      Not just because of the whole, y’know, bigger than me thing, but for the insecure there’s also that guys “make” you feel awkward, weak, vulnerable, and (if you’ve decided that a specific sort of public, male success is the only real one) like a failure.

                    • And when it gets right down to it, accusing men of “Making” you feel that way is merely avoiding responsibility for one’s own thoughts and feelings. Nobody made them do anything, they decided for themselves to compare themselves to an inapplicable standard.

                    • Birthday girl

                      “Why is Maleness being attacked?” Emily inquired quizzically.

                      Sarah interjected “Because many women and most “feminists” are scared of men.”

                      This is so literally true. Just a few weeks ago, I was visiting the matriarch of a leftoid man-hating clan that I’m tangentially related to. She was droning on scornfully about men and something she said caught at me … it was a passing comment about a furnace repair she had needed on her house and how she hated that “they” always sent the biggest men they could find to do her repair jobs … I asked “you sound like you feel physically intimidated just because the man is big” and she thought for a moment and admitted that was true. So I’m left wondering just how much of the man-hatred out there is physical fear of large strong men. Maybe I’m just as much an idiot in the opposite way … but being around large strong men who have a practical life skill like, say furnace repair, makes me feel warm and cozy. fwiw

                    • That’s how I feel too.

                  • Yeah, no matter how “liberated” women are, if you place your ego on being superior in all ways to a theoretical male, then your life and your ego is going to be crushed every time you can’t get the pickle jar (or mayonnaise, or better than bullion) open.

                    Thbbbt. I am secure in my femininity, and have no need to be affronted when I have to ask for help on large, heavy, awkward things, tall things, and things requiring hand strength. Or, occasionally, “Could you yell at him to do X?” (Look, men can do a loud, resonating bellow across industrial machinery much, much better than I can. My people joke with me that they can’t even hear me if they crowd close and crowd four deep, and management even bought a PA system so I “could be heard.”)

                    • Yes – men are useful. I keep one around for all those handy things (call him the husband). ;-)

                    • And, thus, you have obviously learned how to effectively lead men (and, other women…) without losing track of the fact that you’re a woman.

                      There’s a different path to successful leadership for a woman, one that quite clearly does not include emulating what successful male leaders do. All too few women placed into leadership roles seem to understand that, which makes working for them a massive pain in the ass.

                      What works for man will not work for a woman, especially when talking about leading men. I don’t know how the women take it, when a woman tries to run things like a guy would in an exclusively female realm, but I know for a damn fact that such conduct and behavior fails massively when applied in a male environment.

                    • Honestly, leading men when you remember being female is so much easier than trying to lead men as a deformed man. Guys, for mysterious reasons undoubtedly attached to “common” sense, respond to a female remembering herself (no, not in that way, either). And the really messed up thing is that people assume that “remembering one is female while leading men” means you have to be sexual or sexually aggressive. Which is totally %100 the wrong way about it. That tilts the power curve the other way. I have to wonder if the feminists really see themselves and just how viscerally painful it is to watch them try to lead– either as quasi-male eunuchs or as madams. Women have been heading up households and managing businesses since Eve discovered apples were marketable. How ironic that feminists of all people forget the seat of a woman’s power– on one side as mothers (not as sex objects) and on the other as managers of the home– which until the industrial era *was a business*– or a conglomerate thereof. Wiskey Tango Foxtrot? IT was they who reduced house management and child rearing to indentured servitude.

    • People are jerks– it’s the flip side of being able to be awesome– but sex brings out the most abhorrent stuff if not restrained.

      If culture won’t do it, mechanical work-arounds like single sex education will have to do.

      • Speaking of mechanical work-arounds: anybody else find it odd that the only solution found for rampaging idiots was to lock the office doors (thus punishing the innocent with no real impact on the guilty)? How’s about, I dunno, grabbing the idiots by the scruff and kicking their inconsiderate arses off campus?

        Perhaps their buffoonery was rewarded? Maybe noble women who found bad boys enticing? Else why indulge in front of the ladies?

        • Right, blame the women for not stopping the men.

          ‘cus it’s not like guys get in pissing matches and ramp each other up for that kind of stuff.

          • I prefer a culture in which males police males. But then the sob sisters say “no fighting”and “violence never solved anything” and we have I’ll conditioned puppies running around. OTOH, Fixture, 90 percent of the women LIKE savages and encourage them regardless of what they say. Don’t ask me. I’m an Odd.

            • Just finished reading Mansfield’s Book of Manly Men (My review: It was pretty manly.) and it makes Sarah’s point here. Men should be policing other men, and they will, if the culture encourages / allows it. It doesn’t have to be violent – and most often it won’t be – but if someone deserves a punch in the nose, then a punch in the nose should be an available option, and someone (probably a man) should be able to make clear that a) this behavior is unacceptable, b) a punch in the nose may be an appropriate response, and c) we are evaluating whether it’s appropriate in this particular circumstance.
              Instead, we have this crazy culture in which no matter how bad the behavior, a punch in the nose is never an option, and even if it was, no man can be allowed to suggest it, let alone deliver it.

              • One factor in this equation is that for a Man to accede to another Man does not entail loss of status amongst males, while for the Strong to accede to the Weak almost always engenders such a loss. Note the phrase “p-ssy-whipped” and all its connotations.

                The crucial point to remember is that there are both carrot and stick. Women can offer carrots but men must wield the stick.

              • Might have to go find that book. I’ve made this point here in the past regarding the famous chef, the bum pinch and the punch.

                If you won’t allow men to police their own you lose some authority in complaining about men in the generic.

              • Sad, isn’t it?

                When my Navy pod-mate was being stalked by her ex boyfriend, I was “allowed” to stand up to him when he tried to imply violence– and once I did that, it was “allowed” for the male pod-mates (it’s a room organization thing, think “neighbors”) to stand behind me ominously.

                But since she wasn’t dating any of them, they couldn’t be the ones to resist.

                It’s a more primitive form of the “all men are my brother, all women my sister, so I can possibly punch you in the nose for harassing her because that’s my sister, man” type philosophy.

                • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                  Chuckle Chuckle.

                  A scene of a book I read, The Lost Legion, came to mind. A young Roman woman has followed her husband (in her mind, not sure if it was a legal marriage) to the Legion. After she joined the Legion, a would-be pimp tried to get her to become a whore with him as her pimp. Well, he made the mistake of making the “request” in front of her husband’s platoon (likely not the correct term). All of the platoon refer to her as a relative and give him whack (her “husband” doesn’t but he’s not worthy of her). The final part of the scene has this former slave who has appointed himself as her guardian steps up. The would be pimp tries to be a smart-ass and asks the former slave which relative of her he claims to be. The former slaves says “I’m her dog” and gives the would be pimp a final whack. [Very Big Grin]

                • One reason I have doubts about the supposed rate of sexual assault in the military is that it contravenes everything I observed in the Army over 25 years. If it’s going on, at the rate they say it is, then there has to be some post where they’re running rape dungeons 24/7. I figure if we can find that place, and remove the “I was sexually assaulted during my assignment here” from the outprocessing paperwork, we ought to be able to lick this problem quickly.

                  The more typical sort of thing I observed was a case where one of my female medics was a bit of a ditz with who she chose to date. Seriously ditzy, and co-dependent. He’d hit her, she’d leave, she’d go back, he’d hit her harder, she’d go back quicker. No amount of reasoning seemed to get through to her, and the female NCOs I brought in to try to make her see sense were totally unsuccessful. One of them threw up her hands and told me that she was going to die before she came to her senses.

                  Whole thing culminated in her getting hospitalized for observation, one night. The following day, the junior enlisted men of the Combat Engineer platoon for whom she was the assigned medic made a short visit to the residence of her then-civilian boyfriend, and proceeded to do things that probably were not authorized under the UCMJ and the Revised Code of Washington state.

                  He wound up in the hospital, with broken limbs, severely damaged facial bones, and literally ruptured internal organs. They had to remove his spleen, that’s how bad he got it. Shortly after his release from the hospital, still in a wheelchair, he was observed to be leaving the state. Permanently. Someone had mentioned to him, in the course of his travails, that that might be a very good idea.

                  The whole thing was spontaneous, self-organized, and entirely performed by the junior enlisted men of that platoon. Almost all of whom were under the age of 25, although I do think that there was one prior-service older guy who’d been an NCO in a past life…

                  And, that’s actually more representative of what I’ve seen over the years I was on active duty than what the media is currently describing.

                  • My daughter and I can’t see this sexual assault thing either – I’m an AF career vet (1976-96) and my daughter a USMC vet (1998-2006), and it just doesn’t track with personal experience, unless the military forces have somehow radically changed in the last six years. Yes, there were incidents in both of our experiences, but we just can’t see what has been reported to be happening … actually happening. Either the US forces have turned into something resembling the Russians going into Germany in the spring of 1945, or the definition of sexual assault has really been extended to include lustful looks. Or something. YMMV may vary, especially if your experience is more current than ours.

                    • The stats are bad because they’re conflating things like “unwanted sexual contact” with actual sexual assault. It’s a case of figures not lying, but that liars figure.

                      When you start looking into things, you find that over 50% of the reports are coming in from men, which should be a very good clue that these numbers probably don’t reflect the reality they’re trying to project.

                      I mean think about it: If you’re a serial rapist, are you going to be raping women who you work with every day, and who you’re trapped on the same base camp with, when they have routine access to small arms? I know there are men out there who are really that dumb, but how many of them are there who managed to pass the winnowing process it takes to get on active duty?

                    • Actually, as Maj. Hassan proves, Access to small arms is NOT a regular thing on base.

                    • I’ve got no idea where this is going to fall, in relation to the message I’m answering, because we’ve hit the limit on the tree, here.

                      But, this is addressed to Dr. Mauser’s point about the prevalence of weapons on bases. While he’s right about stateside assignments, it’s a hell of a lot different on the overseas FOBs and bases I meant to reference. A lot of these reported sexual assaults are supposed to be happening on deployment, and the idea sounds good to someone who doesn’t know any better, I’m sure, but it just does not track. At all.

                      You take your average idiotic believer in “leadership through being an asshole”, and then put him into an overseas deployment where every one of the people he’s been abusing now has a 24/7 requirement to carry a weapon and ammo. Add in a good chance that he or she is now going to have to expose their backs to these now-armed victims, and it soon becomes clear why a.) a lot of the piss-ant martinet types are terrified of deploying, and b.) the idea that you’d rape someone on a FOB where you’re trapped with them, and have to sleep on becomes rather, ah… ludicrous?

                      I’m sure that there are people who are really that dumb, and maybe even a couple who have tried it out in real life. The reality is, however, that a lot of these assholes are smart enough to do the math, and figure out the likely consequences of them giving into their base desires.

                      I was always amazed at how many of the real assholes I worked around became wonderful human beings, about the time they found themselves issuing live ammo to their troops. As someone once said, the most honest subordinate rating came when you managed to return to base without someone having rendered a most permanent Officer or NCO Evaluation Report into your back.

                    • Happy days, the post went where it should have for replying to Dr. Mauser.

                      The other point, too, is what you have to take into consideration even when you’re “safely” in garrison or stateside. The military is an inherently dangerous profession, and the opportunities for someone to get theirs back from you arises with great regularity.

                      I’ve got a little cautionary tale I relate every time I hear someone fantasize about how infidelity and adultery are No Big Deal in the military.

                      Germany, mid-1980s. Young man and young, impressionable wife are assigned to a remote location together. It’s one of the missile sites, where the unit is small, and it’s really remote from everything and everyone else. Much responsibility is laid on the shoulders of the young lieutenant running the show, and he, unfortunately, did not have the good sense he needed.

                      Young, impressionable wife is also really, really attractive, and college-educated, to boot. She really didn’t have anything in common with her husband, in many regards–He’d had to drop out of school, and was in the Army to better himself, while she’d had the great good fortune to be born into a family where they were able to give her everything she wanted.

                      Early days in the service are rough, in any position, so hubby had other things to do besides keep wifey happy with being assigned to the back-ass end of nowhere. Wifey got all touchy-feely with the young idiot lieutenant, and over the course of things, they came to develop a relationship. Which led, in short order, to the idiot lieutenant using his position to keep the husband on duty at a remote location, and away from his wife.

                      As you can probably extrapolate, the husband found out. Confronting his wife, she told him it was over, and that she was leaving him for the much more her type young lieutenant.

                      Final denouement came just days later, when in the course of running a rifle range, the husband shot the lieutenant to death with his rifle.

                      As I pointed out to a couple of people I worked with, giving people who you hand weapons and high explosives a reason to want you dead is not what I’d term survival-oriented behavior. And, that there are damn good reasons we’ve traditionally punished adultery severely in the military. It’s just too damn destructive of good order and discipline.

                  • Everyone I’ve heard of that I believe actually happened– which is a non-significant subgroup, since you can ruin multiple careers at no risk and with no evidence– consisted of getting drunk and having sex with a drunk person, which when considered while sober was a bad idea.

                    • Yep. I was the S2 NCOIC for a brigade-size outfit, which was around 3000-4000 men and women. Part of my duties included personnel security, so I’d eventually see every single blotter report and investigation that pertained to our unit. In that timeframe, I saw three or four allegations of rape/sexual assault made, and none of them turned out to be “founded”, as the terminology goes. It was all “he said, she said”, and a lot of it was based on either alcohol or trying to hide consensual sex from a significant other. I talked to the CID agent investigating one of these incidents, and his rueful response was that, in his experience as an investigator, around 90% of the cases boiled down to being unfounded. Now, that’s not to say that there aren’t rapes happening, but it does point to the rate being a few exponential notches lower than the breathless news reports would make you think.

                      If the numbers were as reported, I must have been serving in exemplary units where it never happened, and my friends and peers were in the same boat. Which leads to my afore-mentioned conjecture that someone, somewhere in the services must be running rape camps, and if we could just find them, we’d be able to solve the problem.

                      The other option is that the numbers are bullshit.

                      What I think is going on is an unholy concatenation of bad statistics gathering and wholly imaginary numbers being generated and then thrown around.

                      Couple of data points that make me think that: One, I had a young lady come back to me after she’d gone over for her outprocessing interviews over at the Veteran’s Administration offices, since she was getting out with deployment-related health issues that got her a classification as a combat-wounded veteran, even though she’d never gotten off the FOB, and had never heard a shot fired in anger. She was incandescent with rage, and the reason she was stemmed from the interview she had with the benefits counselor.

                      She was a pretty smart young lady, and very sure of her own mind and what was right and wrong, and this guy had sat her down and basically coached her to report having been a victim of sexual assault during her enlistment in order to raise her disability rating. PTSD is good for about fifty percent, in some cases, and a sexual assault while on active duty will get you there pretty easily. Only thing is, the VA just takes your self-reported word for it. You don’t have to show an investigation, you don’t have to show anything in your medical records to support it, you essentially just say “I was raped, and never told anyone, ever…”.

                      I’m proud of my troop for seeing through the bullshit and doing the right thing, but I am almost certain that a lot of the reports are coming from just such sources. When it means a difference of thousands of dollars a year in VA benefits, people are going to lie their asses off. Period. And, when the VA doesn’t check stories? At all? Guess what?

                      Data point 1a: The VA is paying POW compensation to more Vietnam-era POWs than were ever taken, by some ungodly number. If I remember the ones I heard rightly, there were around 700-800 actual POWs from the Vietnam war. The VA is paying something like 1,200 men for having been POWs in Vietnam.

                      D’ya think an agency that is so inept that it can’t check on beneficiaries actual POW status (which is actually pretty damn easy–DOD has a very good database of the names, and there aren’t that many of them) is a good source to use to try to ascertain sexual assault numbers?

                      Data point 2 comes from personal experience with someone who claims they were raped on active duty, reported it, and then had no action taken. Turns out, I knew some of the same people she claimed ignored her reports, and I made a couple of phone calls. Per what I was told, not only had she not made such a report to their knowledge, but she was chaptered out of the Army for drug use and chronic lying. And, yes, she was using her self-reported rape to draw benefits from the VA.

                      Third data point: We had numerous reports of rapes and sexual assaults happening in the transit camps between Iraq and Afghanistan, enough that the local command sent out a letter on the issue. Both my boss at the time, who was female, and I just looked at each other, because we’d just come back through those very camps, and seen nothing of the sort. So, we did a little impromptu survey, using one of our subordinate units that had a lot of females assigned to it. None of the women in that unit had one damn clue that anything like that was going on, and had never seen or experienced it. By the numbers we had reported to us by higher, that was statistically very, very unlikely–We should have had at least two or three rape/sexual assaults from among our females who went through those camps on deployment, redeployment, and mid-tour leave.

                      Prior to our second deployment, we heard the same sort of stories. Nobody could tell us where they were getting the numbers from, and when you called up the commanders of those camps, they couldn’t tell us where these attacks were happening, either–Because, it wasn’t where they were. It was always somewhere else, and happening to a third party.

                      We’d call the transit camps in Kuwait, and hear “Oh, we heard there were a bunch of rapes up in Afghanistan, at Bagram… We haven’t had anything like that happen since I’ve been here…” Call Bagram: “Oh, no… We heard it was down in Iraq, at BIAP…” Call BIAP: “Nope, not here… We did hear of some in Kandahar…”. By the end of it all, we were completely unable to find any sort of real numbers, in order to figure out how to counter these issues. We were going so far as to start requiring our female Soldiers to take leave in buddy-pairs, and you can just imagine the cluster-fark that would have caused. Of course, when that idea got floated, the female senior NCOs and officers went apeshit, and told us to a.) quit worrying our little male heads, they could take care of themselves, thankyouverymuch, and b.) that they thought we were being a bunch of jackasses.

                      There are rapes happening, but the damn numbers they’re reporting cannot possibly be accurate, as to rate and prevalence. If they are accurate, then I must have been in a unit of saints, and so were most of my friends. Because, none of us ever saw anything on the ground that would support these numbers being real.

                      So, no, I don’t believe the numbers out of the New York Times. At all. This crap has all the signs of having an agenda, and that agenda isn’t to benefit our armed forces, either.

                    • Thanks, Kirk – that was about what my daughter and I were suspecting – a combination of rumor, always happening somewhere else, a widening of definitions so broad as to take in any sort of perceived misconduct … and people being urged to stretch the absolute truth beyond the breaking point.

                      My daughter and I racked our brains to recall actual rape cases among female personnel that we knew of personally – and I could only come up with two (by rumor) and another two seriously threatening situations, and my daughter with another two threatening situations after-the-fact. Both of my daughter’s stories involved alcohol – and one a situation where my daughter and another WM were badly frightened, but declined to press any serious complaint because… well, they had only been frightened. The guy was drunk, he was raked over the coals by his command. Any further complaint would have been superfluous.

                    • Pay close attention to terminology when dealing with official statistics. For example, “Sexual Assault” is NOT interchangeable with “Rape.” In some official rubrics, “Sexual Assault” equates to “I was made to feel uncomfortable.” Remember, the legal definition of assault is the perception of threat, and that perception can occur without any actual threat. We see the same process at work in academia, wherein a female’s claim that “He was looking at my breasts and it creeped me out” is sufficient to reach a conviction of a blind man.

                      We are exacerbating neurosis by catering to it.

                    • Now if she substituted ‘reading’ for ‘looking’ I could possibly see a conviction of a blind man.

            • yes!

            • This is a theme of many Westerns, from Louis L’Amour’s novels to films such as High Noon. The community needs a strong hand to deter those who would abuse their own strength, but once the peace is (temporarily) secured they too readily question whether those who tamed the town were not, themselves, overly forceful. An inability to distinguish between excessive* force used to preserve rights and excessive force used to assert privilege seems an all too human trait.

              “You didn’t have to hit him so hard!” is an easily made claim by those who weren’t tasked with stopping the bully. See recent New York city debates over “stop and frisk” rules.

              *Force is almost always insufficient or excessive — one rarely can know before hand precisely how much force is sufficient to break an opponent’s will to resist. Part of the distinction rests upon one side’s ability to recognize that force can be excessive. See recent Batman movies.

            • I think it’s far less than 90% of women– it’s more like “90% of women perceived to be in the market for guys” reward “Jackass” style behavior.

              Since they’ll go through men a lot faster than someone who is looking for a mate, and those who are open to finding a mate rather than looking for a horizontal dance partner are quieter, it just feels like it’s most women.

              The ability of people to lie to themselves about if someone is being a destructive jerk or being genuinely manly is also a problem, especially when those who want to not be a jerk are told to be gray dishrags with no spine.

              • This is one of the few situations where “perception is reality” (Really? And what if I perceive you to be a presumptuous martinet with delusions of adequacy, Chief?) is true. If it looks like 90% of the women looking for men are looking for jackasses, then 95% of men are going to be jackasses.

                • That would mean that only something like 2% of guys would be married, since non-jackasses don’t always get married, and at most half of marriages have guys who are jackasses.

                  Since a far higher rate than that get married, it means the sampling is bad– it’s not identical to “those viewed as in the market,” but it’s closer to that than “all of this sex” or even “all of this sex who are adult and not Of A Certain Age.” (How many folks know 60 year olds who are still acting like college boys? *raises hand*)

                  It’s true that here we have a way disproportionate number of those who are unusual, but it becomes almost circular in culture. “They’re being jackasses, so they must be looking for female attention; if they’re not being jackasses, then they’re clearly not looking for female attention.”
                  Similar with women and various levels of offering sex for relationships. If she’s not offering sex, then obviously she’s not looking for a relationship….

                  The only answer is to recognize that there’s folks who are looking for the opposite sex, but aren’t behaving badly to get it, and that sometimes it manages to succeed even against the culture.

                  • (How many folks know 60 year olds who are still acting like college boys? *raises hand*)

                    Jackasses do marry, often more than once. The first particular male of this category that comes to my mind has been married twice. He was quite happy to have a wife to take care of him, but he really had no desire to be a husband.

                    • But not more than 50% of marriages. (Clarify: at any one time. This Christmas I found out a family friend is having marriage trouble…not really surprising, since at the wedding they had something like a dozen former marriages between them.)

                      My first boyfriend was looking for a mom, too; my sister and sister in law seem to seek them out, then can’t understand why the boys aren’t men.

                  • I believe what Jeff was meaning was that if 90% of women perceived to be looking for men are looking for jackasses, then 95% of men who are looking for women (and I’ll add, 100% of those already in a relationship and looking for women) are going to be jackasses. Granted there may only be 30% of women looking for men, that are looking for jackasses, but if it is ‘perceived’ that 90% of those looking for men are, then most of the men looking for a women are going to be jackasses, since it ‘appears’ to them that nine out of ten women in the market are shopping for jackasses.

                • 90%? Heck, I suspect the portion required is much lower. Several factors in play here, after all, and the slopes of the graphs are not parallel. Most importantly, the two populations under discussion are not uniform, not in several dimensions. For example, there are reasons why a primary battlefield for female competition occurs over the definition of beauty, just as there are reasons that sports stars can get away with a level of jerkdom not generally available to other males.

                  If 25% of women* are willing to “put out” for a jackass, I venture to say that 75% of men** are willing, nay, eager to be perceived as jackasses.

                  *If those women are (generally) the ones that meet the social definition of “hot” then adjust the male proportion upward accordingly. If the population of women constituting this population fall into the category of “two paper bags” adjust the male response appropriately downward. Also adjust for varying definitions of “putting out.”

                  **stated proportion is not inclusive of the entire population of “men”, merely that portion seeking female interaction.

                  • For the purpose of this discussion, the above cited groups should probably be limited to the portions of the population defined by the age cohort of 14 to 30 years of age. Not a group commonly recognized for their maturity, thoughtfulness and rationality.

                  • **stated proportion is not inclusive of the entire population of “men”, merely that portion seeking female interaction.

                    This is not necessarily true of any interaction, but, rather a specific group of interactions. The group of males inclined to behave badly to get what they want which we have been discussing does not encompass all males, because, contrary to certain feminists assertions, men are not always libido driven animals on the prowl. But, the ones who are on the prowl, are behaving in ways to draw notice. If you had an old fashioned Mamma, like mine, you would have been raised hearing that, ‘one should not seek nor wish most kinds of notice.’

                    At one level, to quote the preacher, ‘There is nothing new under the sun.’ The Willoughbys, Wickhams and Crawfords and the Mariannes, Lydias and Julias are flashier and draw more public eye to themselves. People who act with reserve and propriety are rarely become the center of attention. Gaining attention in and of itself, in some circles, has become sufficient reason for praise. (Famous for being famous…) Presently society as a whole does not show disapprobation or scorn to those who behave badly. In some cases it actually celebrates them.

            • Amen. “Violence never solved anything.” Really? Um, you (the person who’d say that) LIKE living in the United States? That whole, kicking Britt ass thing really did cure tyranny– at least for about 100 years or so. Let’s not talk about WW II– that’s just unfair. But maybe it was unfair Axis aggression against the poor oppressed Germans… *headdesk*

              • There are sound reasons why strength and the ability to excercise controlled violence are important in raising boys. Boys will test their strength and seek their limits, and one of the things they respect is the ability to oppose their strength. If they never learn that there’s always somebody to oppose your impulses…

                Well, nobody here needs a lesson in what unrestrained boys can do to the social fabric.

                • Yep. This is why boys overwhelmingly get prescriptions for Speed from the public school. It’s the only way to for a grown leftist to oppose the strength of a prepubescent boy. *rolls eyes*

                  The sanest men I know grew up in competitive households– or figured out how to deal with competitiveness in other ways. This could manifest oddly in some cases, such as RPGs– somehow these work better than video games. Probably because the conflict involves real people. Doesn’t work for everyone, but I saw it work quite well for some.

                  • I find it interesting to examine interpersonal conflict and map out how often it results from natural points of competition between men. But nobody in the midst of the conflict understands it because it’s been supressed. When it’s out in the open and recognized we can find ways to deal with it rationally. When it’s classified as infantile and dismissed? Here we are fighting without knowing why again.

                    Sane and comfortable men generally understand their own competitive impulses and respond with conscious decisions, as I’ve seen them anyway. Others get to the point where no one actively opposes them and behave as they will. Here I think of famous chefs getting in the face of contestants and berating them. I’ve got news: the absence of a knife in your sternum has to do with the other guy’s restraint, not your superiorority.

          • Oh, yeah, that’s what I was doing. :-I

            Or, maybe I thought the responsible administrators of a college, you know — adults, could take the steps necessary to protect their property and charges? I dunno, maybe hire somebody capable of policing the idiots rather than simply locking doors against further depredations? Or not.

            In case it isn’t clear, your knee-jerk over-reaction and assumptions about my intent are remarkably irritating. I never said the ‘women’ ought stop, or the men are victims. The boys are idiots, perhaps I mentioned that? My solution? Get some men to kick their ignorant asses. And consider the possibility that all your students aren’t delicate flowers. Maybe they were, maybe it was an unprovoked demonstration of male idiocy. Or perhaps there’s more to the story.

            Whatever the truth, I’m not responsible for your peeves, so how’s about you check your attitude?

        • In case it wasn’t clear, I am SICK TO DEATH of every single mention of male bad behavior being an invitation to talk about how women should be stopping them, women are encouraging them, the poor widdle men are just victims of those big strong women.

          It’s possible, just barely possible, that men are capable of being responsible for their own actions, as individuals.

          • Women should be stopping male bad behavior. Everyone should be stopping male bad behavior. And female bad behavior.

            We should blame those who behave badly. And we also need to blame those, who through inaction, allowed evil to triumph.

            • This, I can agree with; the folks who behaved badly are responsible, and those who were actually in a position to stop them and didn’t have some responsibility.

              We don’t even know if they were guests or crashers at a party, though, much less if they just wandered off and found places to be destructive.

              • Meredith Dixon

                In most cases, they were guests, but not guests of any specific individual. At the time, blanket invitations were simply extended by our Dean of Students to nearby colleges and universities, and showing a college ID from one of those schools was enough to get you into the party.

          • It might strike some as strange. I believe that each person should be held responsible for their own behavior. At the same time I have seen that some pretty idiotic choices are made by both men and women when a member or members of the opposite sex give encouragement. “But it seemed like a good idea at the time,” is not anywhere near a rare enough thought.

          • If you read it over again (without the knee-jerk) you will notice that, far from blaming the women for not stopping the men he was blaming the women for encouraging the boys.

            Fact is, there is plenty of blame to go around. In a society it is absurd to isolate the dynamics of one group from those of other groups. Once a negative feedback loop has gotten established all elements of that loop must be corrected.

            Being “sick to death” of a subject does not justify mocking the valid recognition of component interactions. If anything, it exacerbates the problem by preventing intelligent debate.

            • If it was a “valid recognition,” it’d be fine.

              Instead, it was this:
              Maybe noble women who found bad boys enticing? Else why indulge in front of the ladies?

              Can’t be that drunk idiots traditionally find things to destroy, or standard pissing matches– nope, gotta be because being destructive idiots gets them positive female attention.

              I’d cop to knee-jerk reaction except that the only suggestion was that it’s because of girls. Way, way too familiar with the messes made by male only drunken idiot parties to think that’s plausible.

              • Can’t fault your reading comprehension. Must be the writing. I’m so glad my meaning is always what you say it is.

                • I’m so glad that reality will warp to conform to your notions, so that when you propose guys vandalize a school to get the favor of the students there, and only that, it’s “knee jerk” to suggest that men might possibly have reasons that don’t boil down to “because women encouraged it.”

                  Since it’s not like there’s an actual, objective reality out there where any mention of male misbehavior results in a chorus of “but females—!”

                  • I’m really pretty weary of having to argue against your interpretation of what I say. Knowing all along that despite anything I (or anyone else, apparently) say, despite any clarifications or counter-examples, you know what I really meant, cad that I am, and I might as well give up because you’ve so obviously proven me wrong.

                    I’ve actually followed one of those links you provided to arguments you had elsewhere. And I discovered you do this to others as well. And then you come here and summarize their arguments to the absurd and demonstrate how you showed them! It’s disingenuous at best, malicious at worst.

                    In this specific case you have taken equivocal questions and codified them as absolute statements. Thus having established the argument you wish to refute, you attribute to me the unstated attitude that men’s misbehavior is the responsibility of women and men bear no burden. Then you go on to use sarcasm and mockery to illuminate how you’re sick to death that some other people, some other place, said some other thing and you just have to stand up to it.

                    I am not those people, I did not say those things, I do not defend the pathetic behavior of boys misbehaving nor blame it on women and expect them to provide the sole solution. I do, however, hold women responsible for their behavior. I do believe examining the behavior of one group without considering ameliorating or exacerbating activities of another group is self-serving and pointless. And I do believe that trite examples of ‘x’ group doing ‘x’ thing as explanation for the complex dynamics of social interaction is a fine example of the previous.

                    You do not argue in good faith. And I’ve got other things to do this year.

                • And now that we’ve exchanged psudo-intellectual snark, I’m done replying to you.

            • What I am sick to death of is being wrong at all times whatever I do or don’t do. In the case of the college idiots we are discussing. 1 I can participate in the idiocy. this tends to get me laid, a short term goal and reward that is very appealing to young men but obviously the wrong thing to do. I will be blamed for being typical worthless male. 2 i can refrain from participating and be thought a wimp and not get laid and still be blamed as a worthless male for what happened.3 I can attempt to talk the drunken idiots out of their behavior, get my but whipped for my troubles and be blamed as an ineffectual worthless male. 4 I can try to stop the behavior and escalate to violence as necessary then go to jail and still be blamed as a worthless male going where he belongs. % I can become a hermit. Are there any other options I have missed for being a worthless amle and a drain on “proper” society in a world where women rule?

              • Join the Silent-Oh-Lord-I-Hope-We’re-A-Majority folks who are off doing their own thing? We’re stuck dealing with the idiots, too, but we don’t have to invite them into our livingrooms.

                Maybe, if we work hard, we can reclaim th

              • shifts sick two year old’s feet off the keyboard

                Maybe, if we work hard, we can reclaim the public areas. If only by being the only thing left alive and functional.

                That’s our advantage– since they eat the seed corn, they have to get it from somewhere else. We just have to try to keep the barn locked and guard the fields, so to speak.

          • You need to look at this through a lens of wildlife study, so to speak. Separate the behavior from your perception that these are fellow sapient, thinking beings, and analyze it as though you were examining the behavior of a colony of badly behaved monkeys. Because, that’s what you’re seeing.

            Outrageous behavior in males is a feature of preening, and mate attraction. That’s what those dipshits are doing, whether or not they’re even consciously thinking about it. They’re showing off for the females, trying to attract the attention they want, whether it’s sexual or whatever.

            Now, we’ve noted that things have gotten worse, over the years. Why is that? Men weren’t behaving like this in the past, why now? Well, it’s fairly simple: The sexual revolution, and the change in what women chose to reward, as a group, in terms of male behavior. Once upon a time, those guys who trashed the college wouldn’t have been invited back. Now, they are. Who set the incentive? Who rewarded the bad behavior with access to sex?

            Time was, the ill-mannered buffoon wasn’t getting the girl. Then, the girls started rewarding the ill-mannered buffoon with attention and sexual access. Other men took note, and started emulating the buffoon. Which led to a spiral of ever-stronger buffoonery happening. This has led us to where we are today, and why the behavior is so out of control.

            Trust me on this: Men, especially young men, watch and observe. When the buffoons are rewarded by the female half of the equation with sexual favors, the non-buffoon male observes, decides, and then emulates the buffoon.

            You want a check on male buffoonery? Talk to your sisters, because that’s where it lies. Believe me, if women weren’t reacting to this shit (as a group, mind you–Not specific individuals) by getting all damp in the panties, men would not be doing it.

            In other words, you get what you reward. And, as a gender, women have been rewarding this sort of behavior, so you’re going to see more of it. And, it’s going to escalate, because each bit of outrageousness has to be topped, for the next guy to get noticed.

            I never had much patience for the whole idea of “woman as civilizing influence” when I was younger. However, now that I’m older, less testosterone-driven, and more in a mode of observation and contemplation of what I observe, I’ve come to believe that that idea has a lot going for it. And, not least because I have seen the definite “de-civilizing effect” that many young women have created through what sort of male behavior they chose to reward.

            You may disagree with me on this, but from the single male perspective, I have to contend that this effect is exists, and that it is taking place. Go to any location where young men and women congregate, and where the men are trying to get the attention of the women. Very few of them are successful at getting that attention by being the “boring wallflower”, and not participating in the buffoonery. Act like a mature, thoughtful adult, and the girls ignore you, while flocking to the side of the guys who are acting like fools.

            • That is an effect of selecting for hookup spots when observing male/female behavior.

              If you pick the places where the goal is sex, rather than forming a marriage, then you’re going to get behaviors you describe. Those who manage to pair off successfully are removed from the equation.

              Media does focus on that group, heaven knows why. Maybe because being a grownup is hard?
              For whatever reason, the prior generations have mangled the lines of communication so that folks have to try to paint a rainbow when they’ve only got two colors.

              I “get” to see this from my old shipmates– they keep finding the same sort of gal, because they keep looking in the same sort of spot. I “get” to see this in my female relatives, too, and no amount of talking will work because they simply can’t understand.

              My brother was smart enough to realize that he didn’t want the sort of girl who is at the various hookup places you describe…and it was heck for him to find anyplace. Now amusing heck, since he and his friend-of-a-friend-introduced-them wife are eagerly awaiting their daughter’s birth any day now, but it sucks.

              A solution is places for people to go that aren’t about sex, but about socializing. Don’t ask me how to do that, though, I’m one of the folks that hangs out in the kitchen. All the successful relationships I know of were a “fell into it” type, not a “going on the hunt for sex” type.

              You tell both sexes that they’re supposed to be cads, you’re going to get more cads, especially when you deny the very existence of those who aren’t.

              • Ah, but Fox, you’re missing the point.

                Women are still, to a very large degree, the gatekeepers for who gets access to the sexual goodies. The biggest change that the “sexual revolution” made was in how the incentives changed for women. Once the risk of pregnancy was reduced, and the separation between granting sexual access and potentially being burdened with caring for a child on you own went away, women were more likely to emulate the baser aspects of male sexual behavior, and started to seek gratification for gratification. This was the starting point for the coarsening of our sexual civil society.

                It’s very much a case of a “Tragedy of the Commons”. The previously existing boundaries on male behavior were maintained by the realities of what women wanted, and what they chose to reward. Not all of them were smart enough to recognize the realities of what was going on, but enough did to enable the boundaries to be set where they were. Now that those boundaries are no longer being maintained by most women, the behaviors are now outside the limits we remember.

                It’s just as much a male thing as it is female. The older men used to limit the behaviors, but we’ve also done an excellent job of separating them from the younger males, via the same sexual revolution and easy divorce laws that left all too many men separated from their families. Also, you have the fact that if an adult male tries to involve himself with mentoring younger males, the likely result is going to be him being labelled a potential child molester. So, we have that as a contributing factor.

                On top of that, all messages that society sends these young men encourages this sort of thing. Can you imagine someone in the 1950s going to CBS or NBC, and saying “Hey, I have this great idea for a show… We’ll call it Jackass…”?

                That would never have happened. Today? The question is, what are the odds that someone at MTV, Fox, or one of the other networks would try to restrain something like Jackass from going on the air, out of a desire to prevent the coarsening of the commons? Were you to do something like that, you’d get fired. Also, in the 1950s, advertisers wouldn’t have allowed a show like Jackass to get on the air, because the public would have set fire to their offices with the reaction.

                It’s all of a piece with the times, and an example of the pendulum swinging. The libertine Georgian era was succeeded by the conservative Victorian one for a reason: The pendulum had swung too far in favor of the libertine, and what followed was a reaction to that. One thing you can count on: The further it goes in one direction, the further it will swing back in the other. At the rate these idiots are pushing, I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if we aren’t burning gays and pagans at the stake in a generation or two…

                • The pressures on women for what they’re supposed to do changed, too– now not only do they not have the “I’m afraid I’ll get pregnant” response, they can’t even say that they’re worried what their friends will say.

                  LIsten to Wakeup, Little Suzy and try to imagine it playing out these days.

                  Slut shaming? We have virgin shaming!

                  • Yep. And who is doing it?

                    We’ve allowed the cultural commons to become dangerously poisoned, and the reaction to that is probably going to be epic.

                    Which I find sort of frightening, because I fear all these new-age idiots are going to be susceptible to whatever reactionary faith comes along, and offers them the certainty that they’re going to feel is missing from their lives when the whole thing comes crumbling down around their ears.

                    Something like a dynamically fundamentalist Christian church, or Islam will be able to make vast inroads, once we find that antibiotics aren’t curing venereal diseases, and the outward symptoms of social decay become more and more obvious. The fools in the administration who are trying to move the ghettoes out to the “nice neighborhoods” in an attempt to reverse-gerrymander the electorate and “even things out” are not going to like the end results of what they’re doing. The social reaction to all these trends coming to a head is going to be just as massive a change to things, but it’s not going to go anywhere near the direction they want things to go.

                    Think race relations are bad, now? At the moment, the worst pathologies of the black underculture are not on display, or visible to the average American. Once they get done with the social engineering, and move inner-city thugs and criminals into formerly “nice” suburban neighborhoods, racial animosity and prejudice are going to come back with a vengeance, and the gains we’ve made in terms of racial harmony are going to go straight out the window.

                    I watched it happen in Memphis, through the eyes of a good friend I’ve known for years. In 1980, the very idea that you’d use the “n-word” in her presence was completely unthinkable. Now that she’s had Section 8 housing follow her every move around the suburbs of her formerly beloved home town? Sweet Jeebus… I wouldn’t be surprised to hear she joined the KKK or some other white supremacist group. Of course, when you’ve lost one of your kids, several pets, and God alone knows how much property to the goblins, you sort of lose perspective, I guess.

                    I suppose you could say she’s been converted by experience. Mom and dad were freedom marchers, she was supportive, and now her surviving kids think we ought to ship most of black America back to Africa.

                    All this in the name of social engineering. It won’t end the way the idealists think it will.

                    • And who is doing it?

                      Last generation’s population of Cadville, which now has enough of a grip on public conversation to attack those who told them they were making a mistake.

                      I don’t know why, but humans often get the most pissed at those who told them so.

                • Gosh, I hope not – some of my dearest and best friends were either gay, or pagan. I don’t think both – their sexual practices and religious beliefs were not much of my business.
                  But the pendulum does swing, and it stays in the swing until everyone who remembers how awful it was at first hand before has shuffled off the mortal coil. It could be that we are seeing the first intimations of a swing back to a less-libertine culture. I wish, I so wish that there could be much more of a balance, and a bit of toleration (toleration, not claque-clapping enforced approval) for outliers to the established norms.

                  I believe I will go and have another glass of Chablis. Happy New Year, y’all.

                  • I hope so, too. I don’t have any particular animosity towards anyone, based on religion, sexual preference, or ethnicity. But, I am more than willing to make pragmatic judgments based on experience and the demonstrated behavior of others.

                    The tragedy that’s coming for many of the people in these groups who aren’t the radical extremists is that they are represented by those extremists in the popular perception. This leads to reaction and counter-revolution against those extremists when they push too hard, and what we wind up with is a state of horrible excess when the pendulum swings back, as it inevitably will. And, thus, the folks who are just trying to be happy and live their lives out in peace wind up getting caught up in the firestorm.

                    To a degree, I think we’re potentially on the doorstep of a period much like what led to the conversion of the Roman Empire from being state-sponsored pagan, to being state-sponsored Christian. The true believers in the secular left-wing are pushing too damn hard, with too much vindictive brutality. Give things a crisis or two, akin to the various plagues and civil wars that surrounded that era, and we’ll be looking at some serious backlash happening.

                    And, since the most likely answer as to the reason for the crisis is going to stem from the poor governance that these idiots have perpetuated in service of forcing their beliefs on everyone else, the results aren’t going to be pretty for anyone who has identified as being in their camp.

                    It’s going to be very similar to what happened with regards to anti-semitism and communism. The Jews were heavily engaged in the promulgation of communism, so of course, they were blamed for it. Add in the residual ancient hostilities towards them, and cue the Nazi backlash against Jews, and the later Stalinist ones, as well.

                    All these little groups, gays, progressives, and other suchlike fools are going to wake up one morning in the wreckage, and discover that they are the designated scapegoats for causing the whole thing. What follows from there may well be very, very ugly.

              • Yes, being a grownup is hard, and guys have less and less cultural incentive to grow up and get married. There’s a reason we have sayings like “why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free?” It’s crude, yes. But it also gets at the heart of the matter. If the guy doesn’t have to grow up and get married before sex, why should he? Especially if the culture is encouraging young women to act out sexually? 

                As for places about socialization and not sex, let’s stipulate first that in any interaction between men and women, sex is going to be some kind of factor. It may not be out in the open, but it’s probably there. See: human beings, biology, millennia of evolution, perhaps the design of Deity, etc. 

                When I think about it, the place that happened used to be church. In some places, it still is. There’s a reason churches had socials. Guys and gals got together to share punch and cookies (under the watchful eye of a few chaperones) and got to interact socially without the hookup aspects. Those kids were encouraged to interact, form relationships, get married, and grow up. Nowadays, where can you go for that? Aside from friend of friend referrals or eharmony?

                Foxfier commented: “That is an effect of selecting for hookup spots when observing male/female behavior. If you pick the places where the goal is sex, rather than forming a marriage, then you’re going to get behaviors you describe. Those who manage to pair off successfully”

                • Nowadays, where can you go for that? Aside from friend of friend referrals or eharmony?

                  Oooh! This bounced off of something in my head– groups like the VFW and the Elks are dying. A lot of Church volunteer stuff, too, and they have trouble getting young folks to show up to the 2:30 on a Tuesday meetings. :D

                  Perhaps those of us who have managed to make a match could look into filling a similar role using the existing structure.

                  The biggest problem would be getting the Lady’s Auxiliary not to be heck, and letting the guys HAVE just-guys time.

                  • Actually, I think they are coming back. At least in my area. THose buildings had been empty and deteriorating for 20-50 years are now being refurbished, and I’m seeing more cars in the parking lots. We may be in for a change. Perhaps it’s local? But this is a tidewater area.

                    • Family member involved in the politics angle says that they’re shutting down a lot of the old lodges– perhaps the ones in your area are both getting folks from closed areas and getting a surge in “oh, crud! The ELKS is closing! Better join!”

                    • Probably. The only group I know of personally is the KoC which is… different. Those are very active and growing in this area.

                      We are in a commuter area, (that is, they usually travel to Chicago to work) and I think that people are spending more time locally. This might account for some of it. Also there’s lots of cheap venues to buy up for this sort of thing, because there were so many abandoned and the property market is saturated.

                    • sanfordbegley

                      The American Legion and the VFW screwed themselves. They wouldn’t take Vietnam vets without a fight and they refused those of us too young for Vietnam. They can go to hell and many vets of my generation feel that way. Expletives referring to the legion of swine redacted

                    • BUH?!? Oh, holy crap. That can’t be true for the national organizations! The American Legion is quite full around here– I mean over a thousand members. They have a bunch of young guys. I know this because they have a big motorcycle rally hosted by the park across the street for Vets, and they are mostly represented by vetrans of the Vietnam era and later– I recognize the camo from Desert Storm and more recent. There are young families there, and they wear the member badges. I’m confused now.

                      The VFW has been acting oddly for a while. I know because my grandfather, towards the end of his life (around 2001–possibly earlier) stopped doing talks for them for reasons he would not discuss. He was MAD to make that sort of decision.

                    • sanfordbegley

                      Of course they are courting the desert storm and later guys. The old bastards are dying. Those of us between 75 and 90 are scum. Like I said the Viet vets had to fight for admission that is why the VVA exists. Those of us after that were persona non grata

                    • Oh– now, I remember something about that. A friend of mine was a Marine, who did at least one tour in Vietnam, then turned around and wound up in Beirut. He had to put of with some insane stuff. Some guy put acid in his coffee– which is cruel and unusual punishment for someone who’s seen a lot of action. He was a munitions expert. Nuff said.

                      He still gets a tough time of it at the VA. At the VA! Everybody there thinks he’s crazy because he went to Vietnam.

                      Though a friend who had gulf war syndrome also got harassed, because the military wouldn’t admit it exists. She got a weird reactions from Veterans organizations, too. She was taken aback because they used a lot of the same words against her they used against Vietnam vets. She discovered this by accident because the only military member of her family who listened, was, surprise, surprise, an Uncle who’d been to Vietnam and understood. I was so glad when she told me she had his support. The family thought less of him because he had been homeless for a time after the war. But he crawled his way out and was a formidable man for it. He took care of her when things got bad.

                      So many of my dad’s friends were Vietnam Vets too. But he was in the NA, so he saw action in Detroit and a few other places– in South America, too. But he was always really quiet about it to strangers.

                    • I know the one in my mom’s home town is full of Vietnam vets, and has been forever– but it’s the same town where it’s true both that a sizable number were really worried JFK would start a Catholic revolution, and that the St. Patrick’s day parade is as big as the 4th of July. (with as many American flags, she hastens to add, and the worries about a Catholic revolution were put to rest by my grandfather taking his supervisor to the basement of St. Pat’s to show them it had dust, broken chairs and a pool table)

                      I keep hearing that the VFW didn’t want Nam vets, but nobody’s been able to give prime reasoning– I don’t doubt it happened, but was it because Nam wasn’t technically a war? An Old Boy’s Club thing where they didn’t want teenage punks their sons’ age? What?

                    • sanfordbegley

                      I am not a Vietnam vet. Though I am so close that some government departments classify me as a Vietnam era vet so my knowledge is very odd. Most of it seemed to be a combination on not wanting young punks. A dislike of the image crafted by the media. And arguments over whether it was a real war or not. Those of us who came after Nam were all that with no “haveing seen the elephant” credits. Whether we had done strange things or not. I know of a few cases where those who served at the same period as I did are not recognized as vets at all.

                    • A dislike of the image crafted by the media.

                      I know exactly ONE Vietnam vet who fits the image in the media, his siblings assure me that he was that way before being blown up (no physical harm, somehow, only survivor on the boat) and he’s gotten better since getting PTSD treatment in the last few years.

                      I suspect that if one could harness the outrage justified by that point, energy would be a major export.

                    • And thank you for something besides “it just IS” as an explanation. I know that my only sources are in unusual situations, but haven’t run into anybody with different sources who would actually offer some kind of info.

                      While I’d think it’s implied, seemed like a good idea to make it explicit. I do appreciate actually getting information instead of assertion, and that’s part of why I love this place.

                    • This is my assessment. Basically, it had to do with public perceptions. The unofficial reasons sometimes had to do with “an illegal war” by the Geneva Convention (or by some recognizable standard). This was rank nonsense, since we really got involved as a favor to France. We have done things like this before and since. (One can argue WWI & WWII was like this, for example.) There was some other nonsense about “real vets” signing up rather than being conscripted. What is ironic is that conscription happened in WWII, but because it was a popular war, a myth persists that no one was *really* conscripted. What my friend discovered was that a lot of Vietnam Vets were painted as crazy hatchet men for the government, and not fighting for principles. So, the “reasoning” goes, because they were crazy they weren’t “real american soldiers”. Though the song and dance for my friend was slightly different, the base rationale was the same. She couldn’t join because she believed in a given disease that “didn’t exist”, and therefore her decision to serve– and her honor– was in question. They get a cover because they use this charter to deny folks who were washed out of the military, so there’s squat to be done about it in real terms. It was awful.

                      I grant you, I have no proof that this is how it’s done elsewhere. I heard a lot of stories, and met quite a few Vietnam Vets in DC back in the day. Also, my dad knew a lot of people who got a raw deal. Logistics is a popular veteran job market. There was a lot of this going around– and bureaucracy is never creative until it comes to denying service.

                • Maybe something where guys get together to volunteer, their wives socialize; alternate that, and then have a “everybody works together/everyone socializes” alternating thing each month?

                • Back fifteen years ago when we were actively home-educating the Daughtorial Unit, one year a theme at the annual conference was emphasizing “Courtship” over “Dating.” (This was before the predominance of the Hook-Up Culture, Friends With Benefits or similar reductions of human interactions to sexual above all other intercourse.)

                  The difference in goals (and consequently in approaches) ought require no further explanation. The resulting differentials in socialization of home-educated and public-educated kids speaks to the effects.

              • “That is an effect of selecting for hookup spots when observing male/female behavior.”

                Since the original discussion was about college parties, I think we have already pretty much selected for hookup spots.

                • I went to lots of college parties with my gaming club, and pretty much nobody “hooked up” with anybody not already mutually involved….

                  Okay, possibly this is also self-selecting. :)

                • It expanded to pronouncements on all human males and females, though.

                  • Parameters not explicitly stated may yet be implicitly intended. This is the Interwebz; people frequently type hastily. When in doubt, ask.

                    When positively sure, ask.

                    When absolutely, positively, unquestioningly confidently sure, suggest that certain parameters might best be stated.

                    The alternative is blue-on-blue flame wars which typically have the collateral effect of annoying every-dang-body.

            • I have long maintained that the reason the US “lost” the Vietnam War was because it was much easier for a guy to get laid by not being in uniform. “Girls say Yes to guys who say No” is a pretty persuasive message when what the guy is saying No to is a trip to foreign lands laden with squalor, disease and a good chance of not returning intact.

              • I frequently look to incentives to evaluate human behavior (often because that’s the only way I can make sense of people), and so many of the incentives of modern gender relations terrify/baffle me. We are actively selecting for truly neurotic individuals. And to your greater point, corrupting society in the process.

                • I’m finding out there’s a whole movement related to the way my life is going (not that I chose it necessarily), the whole MGTOW – Men going Their Own Way thing. The perils, personal, social, and financial a man faces for even looking at a woman, let alone talking to one, bedding one, or marrying one (And isn’t it interesting that this is the order these things come out?) make it too risky for the reward. I’ve had friends whose lives have been severely damaged by a three year marriage that produced no children, and started off with her cheating on him at their reception.

                  Who needs that?

                  Hell, it’s been so long since I last had sex, I forget who gets tied up. :-)

                  • I’m familiar with falling into the lifestyle, unfortunately. Though I hadn’t heard of MGTOW, specifically.

                    I’ve seen some friends/acquaintances go through their own little horror stories, and it’s depressing, even from the outside. As you say, who needs that.

                    It’s the knots that get me. So many variations to remember…

                    • I was a good boy scout, I learned my knots… and also the theory, that if you don’t know good knots, know lots of them.

                    • Read Men on Strike by Dr. Helen Smith( Insty’s wife).

                    • Currently on the kindle. Reading until the rage meter pegs, then taking a break. The rage meter pegs frequently.

                    • Reading until the rage meter pegs, then taking a break. The rage meter pegs frequently.

                      I listen to recorded books while doing chores. I had to give up listening to Jonah Goldberg’s Liberal Fascism for just this reason.

                      I grew up in one of those liberal Republican intelligentsia households in the metropolitan northeast. I love my family, but … can’t they see that the expanding wreckage is the result of the progressive policies they have supported?

                    • sanfordbegley

                      And a lot of men are taking a tangential course. Picking up easy women once then never seeing them again

                    • Too much work, that.

                    • I was once given the venerable Ashley Book of Knots as a present at a company Christmas party.

                      I actually was an Eagle Scout too.

                    • Hmm. Then there’s the other variation, where men are most specifically not looking for female company, but if ladies (not just women, but actual ladies) happen to be where they are and interested in the same things, they may be interested in guarded friendship.

                      Ballroom dancing classes are a better place for being able to talk soberly to women than bars. They’ve led to range trips, which have led to spending time at each other’s houses, which have led to two serious relationships I know of – after two years of ballroom dancing, shooting, building a boat and watching movies with a similarly relationship-shy lady, my housemate went and bought a ring, and his wingman has found another lovely lady who likes shooting and doesn’t mind helping wrangle cows and drive a combine.

                    • Ballroom dancing classes are a better place for being able to talk soberly to women than bars.

                      *grin* My brother figured that.

                      Signed up for one, had a blast, made lots of friends.

                      Was the only one there under 50, of those who would admit to an age.

                  • My brother has never dated. He is 28 years old. He said he couldn’t find a single girl he could trust enough that he’d get to first base. And breaking vows was not his idea of fun. I think he’s given up. :( I really have sympathy for guys these days. I had to turn down offers on a daily basis, and for most of it I was a bit crazy– just less crazy than the usual, because I at least wanted a long term relationship, and was honest about what I wanted. I get a lot of ‘sister’ requests these days.

            • Agreed

    • There are two words that utterly demolish the idea that female society is somehow more peaceful, nurturing, and benevolent than male society: Thigh gap.

          • Put your knees together.

            If the flesh touches from crotch to knee, then you’re “fat.”

            It’s the latest “well, all the ludicrous measures up to now are actually possible for too many people– what’s next?” thing.

            • umm I thought the round belly showed that you were fat. I don’t see how this relates to the previous comment. Is it just evidence that women are bitchy?

              • That’s what “thigh gap” is; if you don’t have it, you’re fat.

                Never mind it’s not physically possible for most women– from memory, it’s less possible than a six-pack for all guys, but attempting to get it can (directly) kill you.

            • all this really means is that you have thigh muscles. Is the ideal woman once again tall and bony with no muscles?

              • From the male perspective, no. The only attribute that guys really care about is “will she sleep with me?” Anything else is, at most, useful for sorting.

                It’s one of those metrics created by (some) women so that those who meet the metric can feel superior to those who don’t.

                • silly metric.

                  • Yes, it’s a silly metric. But silly or not, it’s still the metric a lot of guys use. 

                    emily61 commented: “silly metric.”

                  • I think most women would be shocked at how little men actually care about most things that women obsess over, thinking that men care about those things in the first place.

                    The male mind is very simple, and very uncomplicated. If it gets what it wants, it doesn’t care what the package looks like, and mens tastes will come to conform with what their woman looks like.

                    So long as he’s getting the respect, the attention, and the love he wants, he just doesn’t care what she looks like. Period.

                    A friend of mine from when I was in my early twenties was a guy who had what we could charitably describe as “high standards”. He would not look at, or even date a girl who didn’t meet them, in terms of looks, weight and fitness. I remember having to listen to him expound on his desires on many an occasion, while we were on guard or some other onerous duty.

                    Assignments separated us for about ten-fifteen years. When I ran into him again, I was shocked to see him married to a woman who was the diametric opposite of what he had always expressed as his desires. They had three kids, and both of them were ecstatically, disgustingly demonstrative of their mutual passion for each other. Seriously–It was all I could do to keep a straight face when he introduced her to me, and the maudlin sentimentality with which he expressed his feeling for her when I ran into him on other occasions was completely out of character with the shallow knucklehead I’d known in our twenties.

                    And, yes, I had to ask, as delicately as possible, what the hell had changed. It was that big a difference, and I couldn’t restrain my curiosity. When I did get around to it, it was sort of like that Jack Black movie, Shallow Hal. He genuinely wasn’t aware of how out of conformation with his earlier tastes his wife was, until I gently reminded him. At that point, he just shook his head for a bit, smiled, and said something like “Well, I just wasn’t that bright, back then, was I?”.

                    And for the record? It wasn’t that she was fat, it was that he was once what they term a “chubby chaser”, and his wife was basically a stick figure. I’d had to listen to this guy expound for hours on the wonders of the gargantuan breast, and how he couldn’t understand at all how a “real man” could be interested in a girl who looked like a little boy, breast-wise. His wife was a damn AA-cup, if she was even that well-endowed.

                    Key thing? She gave him what he wanted and needed, and became beautiful in his eyes for doing so.

                    Every time I hear a woman go on about something looks-related or relationship-related, all I can do is wonder why they think that the male gender even notices, let alone cares. I mean, for the love of God, do you really think that the guy who doesn’t notice you got a hundred-dollar haircut even notices or cares about your hair in the first place?

                    Trust me on this: Once it gets past the initial attraction phases, y’all could grow warts, purple spots, snaggle-teeth, and a whole host of other imperfections, and not only will your guy not notice, but he’ll probably remain oblivious to any of it. So long as he’s still feeling loved, needed, and respected.

                    • Flo Zigfield, impressario of the Zigfield Follies, I’ve been told, would not hire a dancer unless she could hold a silver dollar between her legs, just above the knees, when her ankles and knees were touching.
                      That stupid gap, I can’t see the point. It is like celebrating being bow-legged or not having enough thigh muscles to stay on a horse.

                    • I had to make sure my lady saw this, it is the incontrovertible truth. Of course my lady is objectively beautiful but, like all women, she worries. She shouldn’t.

            • Hrm. When I was in high school it was how many ribs you could count. *scrunches eyebrows* I mean, bulimia was a life style there.This is why I considered them all insane and went my own way. No thanks! It was the hard road. I got beat up a lot and was scarred. If it hadn’t been for the resulting therapy and other unspeakable “treatments”, I would have turned out okay. In civilized living we forget just how tough we really are. Being comfortable is preferable than being free– for most people. :(

      • I get tired of folks saying that being fat causes diabetes. Could it be possible that being diabetic, or with the tendency to become diabetic causes obesity? We just don’t know….

        The whole fat-shaming meme interferes with actually finding out which is responsible for the other.

        • Obesity is a symptom, not a disease. For some it may be a symptom of something like metabolic syndrome, or an endocrine problem. For others (like myself) it’s a symptom of being lazy.

          I don’t see much problem with fat-shaming. For the latter group, it could provide impetus to say no to the super-sizing and yes to the treadmill. For the former group, it would prompt them into finding (and hopefully fixing) the underlying disease.

          • If you have metabolic syndrome some drugs make you fat.

          • If fat-shaming was a useful technique to prompting people with metabolic and/or hormonal problems to see the doctor, it would 1.) stop when they went to the doctor, and 2.) not affect the doctor’s view of the patient.

            Instead, as almost every ‘obese’ patient can tell you, if you go to the doctor with a problem, odds are that the doctor will ignore the evidence and the symptoms, and tell the patient to “eat right, exercise, and lose weight, and you’ll feel better.” Thus does everything from endocrine problems to cancer get ignored or overlooked to a knee-jerk reflexive diagnosis of “Oh, you’re fat, that’s your problem.”

            I wish I was kidding about the cancer, but an acquaintance had that happen – the doc completely overlooked the thyroid cancer causing the weight gain, because his symptoms were “clearly just symptoms of obesity. Eat right, exercise, and you’ll feel better.” And no, the judgement and holier-than-thouness didn’t stop once the baseball-sized cancer was really frickin’ obvious – his wife can attest that even after surgery, the nursing staff made many a spiteful remark and reduced their standard of care “because he’s fat.”

            Thus leading to the mantra many a patient has growled at a medical professional. “I’m not sick because I’m fat, I’m fat because I’m sick, damnit! Treat the bleeping sickness, so I can get rid of the bleeping weight!”

            But I understand. If you’re skinny and healthy and never had to eat what you dish out, it’s hard to appreciate that your scorn and snark are not the gold standard of social interactions.

            • There is a big difference between being obese, and being ‘fat’ or overweight. That line has been so grossly blurred that or idiotic first lady believes her kids are obese.

              • I know I guy I used to work with. Solid 280, 6’1”, built like a bear. His doctor and his wife had him trying every diet you can shake a stick at and all they do is make him sick and irritable. His dad looks like him, and so does about every male ancestor he can recall, all of them live long, healthy lives. This is a guy who I’ve seen pick up full fuel drums and sling them over his shoulder like it was nothing. But he’s “fat” and “unhealthy.”

                Riiiight. He’s probably going to outlive most of the rest of *us.* *shakes head*

              • It’s true. Even fat is dangerously obese these days. *rolls eyes*

            • Well the first part of the problem is getting the medical establishment to realize that obesity is a symptom, not a disease.

        • Type II diabetes symtoms are triggered in part by excess fat in the liver. As a type II, I have to keep my weight down or else. This is even harder as the disease is related to insulin resistance which tends to encourage glucose to form fat rather than being burned off. If you are more than a few pounds overweight, I would suggest regular checks of your fasting blood sugar (say every few months) so if you do develop type II, you can catch it fast and get on the appropriate diet/drugs before it gets too bad.

          • After you have diabetes II for 10 years it’s really hard to lose weight.

          • Scott, I was diagnosed with type II 10 years ago. Going low-carb has enabled me to stop taking the glimipiride. I am still taking the glucophage, but at least the disease is not progressing. I also lost 25 pounds that has stayed off all year. Of course all the charts say I need to lose another 70 to be “normal”.

            • I hate those charts. I should weigh 100 lb. I’d have to sacrifice all my muscle as well as the fat to get to that weight. Given my weight lifting and other activities, 130 is probably a better ideal weight. I’m still above that, but my doc doesn’t say anything after hearing what I bench and shoulder press.

              • Muscle weighs over twice as much as fat, which immediately shows the fallacy of those charts to anybody with the brains god gave a turnip.

              • I’ve got a friend who was into power-lifting in high school, and has kept up some level of lifting since (has to modify some, as she wrecked her knee in a motorcycle accident). She’s into crossfit, these days. Also works in an industry with a lot of lifting, firefighter/paramedic. Passionately hates those charts.

                At 5’6″ and strong, she’s never going to match the charts expectations, and some folks think the charts are the revealed word. Chart says you’re fat, you’re fat. Nope, she’s sleek and muscular. Chart says…

              • In my teens, probably when I was at my healthiest, my weight cycled between 170 in the winter and 160 in the summer when I was out riding the horse as well as all the regular farm chores. Note, I weighed 130 at the end of 6th grade! I’m only 5’3″ and all the charts always tell me that I should be between 110 and 125 depending on what allowances they make for bone structure. I look at them and laugh.

              • 200 lbs of plutonium stacked 5′ 10″ high has the same BMI as 200 lbs of marshmallows stacked to 5′ 10″ …

  5. We’re all crazy – the Times are driving us that way.
    Well, maybe not everyone. I do except myself.

    • Meaning I’m as crazy as I wanna be.

    • I don’t know about you but, I’m at least half-crazy.

    • I’m not crazy, I have a certificate to prove it.

      I’m the Nobby Nobbs of sanity.

      • I have a certificate too. This makes us special.

      • One of the fastest ways to clear a room/elevator — state in a clear, carrying voice “I AM COMPLETELY SANE!”

        Only show the certificate to the stragglers.

        What? I don’t like crowds.

      • Heh. I used to have a friend in a D&D Campaign who’d been discharged from the mental health institution, and carried the discharge paperwork in his wallet. So when someone would accuse him of being nuts, he’d climb on a chair, wave the pink slip, and yell. “I’m the only one here certified sane! It’s all you f**kers that are nuts!”

        I would have disagreed if I hadn’t been laughing too hard to speak, or coughing after having snorted coffee. (Don’t take a drink when S—- starts getting up on his chair!)

        • I used to work for a guy in the Army, who had the exact opposite thing going. He was a Vietnam veteran, and was still on active duty in the early 1980s, in order to get enough time to retire. He was still the same rank he’d been back in 1971, when he had his “little incident”, which was Staff Sergeant.

          The details were a little hazy about what he’d been involved with, because they seemed to change every damn time I heard the story, dependent upon how much alcohol he’d been taking in. I don’t think the story was entirely the same any of the times I heard it, either. What it boiled down to was that he’d been involved in an incident that combined insanely reckless bravery, well in excess of what would have earned the MoH, criminal behavior, and actual demonstrated insanity. The general thrust was this:

          He’d been involved in an engagement with his platoon, while acting as the platoon sergeant, saved several lives during it, generally being a bad ass, been hit while putting his wounded platoon leader on a helicopter, knocked out, and when he regained consciousness in the hospital triage ward before being evaluated, he’d immediately demanded to return to his unit, as he was the senior man surviving. Now, at this point, remember: He’d already done things that should have resulted in him being issued the MoH, several times over. Which is probably all that saved him from what followed.

          They wouldn’t do it, and told him that not only would he not be going back to get his platoon, they were going to have to abandon his guys who were still in the field. Which was when he took a totally rational course of action: He hijacked a medevac bird at gunpoint, having taken a couple of fairly senior officers from his unit hostage with a grenade. They had to mount a full-scale air assault and several airstrikes to keep that from turning into a case of murder-suicide, but they got what was left of his platoon out, and recovered most of the casualties. It helped that the people they were engaged with chose not to put up too much of a fight, when the obviously insane Americans came back with guns blazing just before dusk…

          FWIW, one of the guys who confirmed some of the details of this story to me a lot later in my life told me that this incident, and this specific guy, was why they developed the iron-clad policy of not taking weapons and other ordnance back with the wounded. When he did this, he was still wearing most of his field gear…

          On return to base, they mostly left him alone while they figured out what to do with him, and to let him recover from his now-noticed fairly severe head injuries. While that was happening, he took the time to self-medicate, heavily. After wrecking the NCO club on the base, they had to use most of a platoon of MPs to get him under control, whereupon they gave up the idea of ever prosecuting him, and sent him off for detox and evaluation. While under treatment for that, the doctors decided, based on his records, that he was periodically insane, yet still able to function normally at other times. They issued him a letter that amounted to a “Get Out of Jail Free” card, which he was keeping in his wallet, photo-reduced and laminated, when I knew him.

          I saw the letter, I talked to a couple of guys who knew him, or knew of the incident, later on in life. At the time, I thought he was just telling me a bunch of BS, but I saw the results when he lost his marbles once, and that letter was the no-shit reason they didn’t discipline him. Due to the initial head injuries he’d gotten when he was knocked out, the Army refused to hold him responsible for his actions whenever he committed acts of misconduct. Apparently, they also didn’t want to prosecute him for misconduct when he’d done something way over and above what they normally award the MoH for.

          As he put it, he was “certified insane, and not responsible for my (his) actions…”.

          Woe unto the 2LT who did not take that seriously, too…

          He was kinda fun to work for, as a Private. I’m pretty sure the commander didn’t feel that way, though.

          • I’m fairly sure that this kind of true story is what poetry and cycles of ballads were invented for. I trust that somewhere, Homer and Virgil and Milton are armwrestling over who gets to write what bits.

            • When you heard him tell it, you got caught up in things and believed every word, even though they were different every time you heard it. Walk out of the room with him, and you were going “No way was that true… That guy is the biggest tall tale teller I ever heard. Great story, though…”.

              Which was why I was so shocked when he went off on one of the lieutenants in the company, punched him out and decked him in front of witnesses, got taken away to the hospital, and then returned to the unit a week or two later with another bottle of “Happy Pills”, and went on with daily life as though he hadn’t assaulted an officer in front of witnesses. Said officer had apparently had a little talking-to from someone, because he made a point of coming up this Staff Sergeant, and apologizing to him for having goaded the Staff Sergeant into hitting him. If you think my jaw wasn’t on the floor, watching that, you’d be entirely wrong.

              That was all I saw when I was around this guy as a young Private in the unit with him.

              Years later, I got involved with a bunch of the Disabled Vietnam Vets and some other Vietnam veterans organizations, and I got to hanging around those guys and enjoying their company. While I was at a barbeque, I heard a story that sounded awfully damn familiar, being related by a gentleman who’d been a hospital medic in Vietnam. Again, jaw on floor.

              I got to talking to this guy about the incident, and got some more details from him. Apparently, this guy went through something very like what Phineas Gage did, and the head injury totally changed his personality. He’d been a very professional, highly dedicated hard charger before he got hit, and whatever the penetrating injury damaged completely removed his inhibitions and restraints. Oh, and nobody could remember ever seeing him drink so much as a can of beer before this happened, either.

              This hospital medic had seen some of what went on, and corroborated a lot of what I’d heard before. Why they would have kept a guy who had an obvious brain injury still in the camp, and then treated him as walking wounded, I don’t know, but he did say that they initially didn’t think it was that serious an injury–The shrapnel that caused it didn’t show up very well on X-ray, and the external wound where it went in did not seem very serious. I presume a reason they kept him around was that the command wanted to sort everything out before giving control of him up.

              Oh, and another detail: The lieutenant whose life he’d saved was the son of a fairly senior general, and who was married to the daughter of some political figure whose name I can’t remember. At the time I heard it, I distinctly remember thinking “Oh, no wonder they never did anything to him…”.

            • Actually, George McDonald Fraser wrote about a case very like this – only in North Africa in WWII – In the short story collection “The General Danced at Dawn”. Wee Wullie was a career soldier who had once done something so incredibly heroic that even though he did have his … moments … the regimental commanders took care of him, every time.

  6. I may write a blog post for Cedar for tomorrow. A scratching my head blog post sort of the opposite of yours. I see intellectually reasons why my life should be worse. things have been going to hell in a hand basket. However the last couple have been some of the best I’ve ever experienced. Sometimes personal triumphs make your heart out of step with public disasters

    • I met and married my husband in 2001. So it was a good year for me. In conjunction with that, 2001 was the year I moved out of NYC after years of talking about it.

    • Are you related to Ed Begley Jr. the actor?

      • Yes and no, The relationship is there but extremely distant. I only know that because one of the family genealogists wanted to know the same thing. He, of course, is probably unaware of the existence of my branch of the family. That works as far as I an concerned. I doubt we’d get along and I learned long ago that blood ties exist more in the minds of the believers than reality.

    • I didn’t say there isn’t underlying happiness — I’ve got my love to keep me warm– but the rest of the year … blah

      • With me it isn’t underlying happiness and it isn’t just my love to keep me warm. Because of personal decisions and life changes UI am better off financially and psychologically. Internal things to help me despite external failures of society

  7. I rarely drink, and never heavily. But I am going to several streams of income, as fast as I can set them up, and having been self-employed for long enough to know what that entails, it’s scary. But I have two years left to get a degree, and no guarantee that a job can be found even with it. So my goal for 2014 is to write more, learn more art, hang my shingle out as a designer, and try to watch the waves so I can change if the wind shifts.

  8. Sib and Co. have been visiting {grab that toddler!!} and we’ve been talking about multiple income streams. Sib is glad that I’ve got plans, back-up plans, and a few other ideas floating around, none of which start with “after I win the lottery.” Sib also has secondary stuff after the day-job, as does Spouse-in-Law.

    It’s interesting that the people I’ve talked to all seem to be dividing their plans between the very local and the international. Do handy-man work, or housekeeping, or working for businesses in town or in the tri-state area, but also e-publishing, graphics design for places across the country or in other countries, that sort of thing.

  9. It’s not a precipice, it’s the Rapids from Hell. You dodge one rock, hit the next, get dunked, spin around “Aaaaa! Big Jagged Rock!” paddle like mad to avoid it, the paddle the other direction trying to get to the easy route through, then the raft goes flying and . . .

    How far ahead is the smooth water? No idea. Just don’t lose your life vest. Err, wait, didn’t they issue . . . where’s my life vest!

    • So true – a friend of mine in the hospital is losing a lung– *BANG and then she was told her insurance was terminated *BANG while she is in the hospital. *BANG I call her every other day so that I can cheer her up… but I can feel the bangs in my mind every time she tells me something else that happens while she is flat on her back in the hospital.

    • The glaring truth is that smooth water is a fairy tale we made up to tell the kids. It’s all rapids, that’s what life is, one damn thing after another until suddenly there isn’t.
      The trick is, you keep your head above water as often as possible, take big breaths and enjoy the ride.

      • The smooth water is an illusion caused by the floods of history raising the surface level temporarily. A rising tide lifts all boats, moving the shore a little further off.

        Politicians concerned about distractions such as differences in the size and conditions of the boats tend to let the water trickle out, endangering the lower riding boats the most.

  10. One line in Sarah’s post, talking about the tempest in a B-cup at SFWA, made me want to comment on it, because I’ve been having quite a few debates on the subject recently:

    “One wonders if they think the world would be better populated by castrati and women only.”

    This is the inevitable outcome of the false premise that “the only difference between men and women is reproductive equipment, but they’re really no different inside.” It results in both men and women misunderstanding each other: women see men as, basically, incompetent women (why can’t he ever talk about his feeeeelings?), while men see women as, basically, incompetent men (why won’t she ever shut up about her feeeeelings?).

    If you start from the premise that men and women are fundamentally different*, as our esteemed hostess and most (I think all) of the Huns and Hoydens would, then you’re much more likely to understand the other sex.

    * Not immensely different — we’re not really alien species to each other, even if there are occasional days in every married couple’s life when it feels that way. We are reasonably close together in thinking processes. But not identical.

    • For the nth time, men and women are complementary not identical. They have different strengths and weaknesses and this is a very good thing.

    • Wait, you mean he’s not an alien? Well, shoot. The boys’ll be so disappointed! My sons have been insisting for years that they’re aliens.
      (I’m thinking that someone misunderstood ‘Resident Alien’ back when it applied, and understood it to be the science-fiction sort . . . or it could just be that they’re boys, after all.)

      2013 was a lousy year in a whole lot of ways. Right now we’re waiting to see if an entity that theoretically wishes to employ my husband can come up with a contract that doesn’t read like indentured servitude. I’m pretty sure the things they put in it are so egregious that they wouldn’t be legally binding but it’s not a thing to play around with, either.

    • Remember when the theory popular among the feminists was that men were suffering testosterone poisoning?

      Imagine the furor which would erupt over the suggestion that women suffer estrogen poisoning.

      All of this is part & parcel of the feminist hatred for Camille Paglia, a lesbian who appreciates maleness and decries their efforts to neuter males.

      • Well geez – women do suffer from estrogen poisoning– just watch what happens when girls go through puberty. *sigh

        • I do. It’s not pretty. I can redirect distracted guys. Obsessed girls are a whole ‘nother kettle of fish.

        • And what happens when the drug is removed … I risk offending many, but it has been my broadly general observation that women with apparently high ordinary estrogen levels suffer more through perimenopause, as well as experiencing and causing more emotional suffering lifelong. And those with lower ordinary levels have a smoother ride overall in those areas. So … what? For me, it makes it a bit easier to deal with certain women, who I can pigeonhole in my mind as suffering the effects of addiction/whatnot and not as just jerks.

          • I didn’t mention menopause although I thought it– and now I am glad I heard your idea because it makes a LOT of sense.

          • Actually when (due to certain issues) I suffered estrogen poisoning, all I did was get terminally depressed…

            • I think it’s almost more a matter of whether a woman has sufficiently internalized good manners enough to not say out loud the thoughts that the estrogen withdrawal mood swings are driving.

              • Yup. Just because I’m feeling totally bizarre does not mean I have to act on those feelings, especially once I’ve determined that my impulses are hormone driven and not “real.” (As in, not stemming from a deliberate decision/reaction on my part or a deliberate action on someone else’s part.)

            • And that is indeed suffering, my sympathies to (past, I hope) you …

    • * Not immensely different — we’re not really alien species to each other, even if there are occasional days in every married couple’s life when it feels that way. We are reasonably close together in thinking processes. But not identical.

      A female friend of mine has this theory, and it’s one I can’t really poke too many holes in.

      Her idea is that there were once two different species of human, related enough to interbreed, but not closely enough to think alike. At one point in our mutual pre-history, a sexually-selective disaster happened, leaving the males of one species alive and their females dead. Same thing happened with the other bunch, only it was the females who lived, while the males died.

      Fortunately, they found each other, and even more fortunately, they were able to interbreed. The bad thing is that the genders continue their differentiation, and that’s why we are usually staring at each other in mutual incomprehension.

      • I think it’s cultural not not two separate hominid species.

        • I might have agreed with you, once. After observing the kids of many of my compatriots, and my own very special nephews and niece, I have to reluctantly conclude that it’s inherent and biological, not cultural programming.

          My favorite example was this friend of my mom. They went to college together, and the friend was adamant that there was such a thing as a cultural gendering process. She was single, younger than my mom, and had no kids of her own. Didn’t stop her from giving advice, though. I remember her expounding on this in great depth, talking about how my mom shouldn’t let me play with “boy’s toys”, and that my sister shouldn’t be playing with “girly stuff”. Her other issue was how violence was solely a cultural phenomenon, and that if you raised boys to be non-violent and pacifistic, they wouldn’t be violent in later life. She was quite the pain in the ass, but was decent person otherwise, so mom put up with her.

          She came to visit us about ten years later, when I was a teenager. She’d been “blessed” with three boys, a set of twins and a singleton. All three of them were little hellions, and despite her still-apparent attempt to be gender-neutral and pacifistic, it was pretty obvious it wasn’t working. They didn’t have toy weapons, but every damn stick was a rifle, and they were throwing rocks at each other as grenades, playing war.

          My mom did everything but point at her and laugh, and asked her what her opinion the afore-mentioned issue was, now that she had kids of her own.

          That elicited a rueful, forlorn look, and a statement to the effect that “…I wish I’d had girls…”, muttered under her breath as she moved off to prevent the twins from ganging up on their older brother with clubs in hand.

      • Good scifi story, but doesn’t explain how a boy would display his maternal grandfather’s behaviors, or a girl her paternal grandmother’s. (I’ve got an uncle that could be a clone of his mom’s uncle– it’s borderline scary when you’re a little kid and looking at a black and white photo, even when family resemblance is already strong.)

        • Add in the twin studies where the separated-at-birth twins show a massive amount of congruency in their lives, and you have the reason why I’m very dubious that we have half a damn clue what is going on with regards to the way life actually works.

          Plus, there are the really alarming things you hear come out of the little one’s mouths when they’re younger than a certain age. I had just left from my mid-tour leave on my second tour in Iraq when my youngest nephew was born, and we nearly lost him and his mom. While my brother was at the hospital, and going around getting things done with my oldest nephew, the nephew turns to him and says something to the effect of “Mommy’s dead…”.

          Yeah, my brother was a little freaked out. He was more freaked out when he got back to her room and found a crash cart engaged in reviving her. Seems that they’d missed a major hemorrhage while they were doing the delivery, and she’d essentially bled out internally. Had they not caught it, and brought her back, Mommy indeed would have been dead, permanently.

          As it was, the doctor who was on-call did think that she’d been clinically dead, about the time my nephew turned to my brother and issued forth with that little line of his.

          This happened. Please, someone: Explain how it happened, and remain within the context of commonly accepted rational, scientific explanation, because I don’t know of any mechanism in that realm that could explain that little incident.

          The youngest nephew continued with the spooky. He’s already the spitting image of both my brother and my stepdad, who died back in 1990. At some point past toddlerhood, he apparently developed an imaginary friend, who would periodically visit him. Said friend was described to my sister-in-law, who then described the visitor to my mom. Mom heard the description, and said “That’s (my stepdad)…”. Old photo boxes were dug through, and a picture produced, which neither my sister-in-law or my nephew could have ever seen before. Shown that picture, my nephew pipes up with “That’s my friend…”.

          The kid is now demonstrating behavioral tics, gestures, and mannerisms that are almost precisely that of my stepdad, who is his grandfather. Learned behavior? How? There’s been nobody around who does that crap to model himself on, unless you count that imaginary friend. Genetic memory? Per the established science, it’s not supposed to be able to pass on that kind of detail into people’s lives. Yet, the evidence is before me every day with that kid.

          I don’t think we know even a fraction of what we think we do.

          • Dunno. I have a nephew who claims to play with a girl who looks like a young version of my mother, who he never met, and yesterday I learned that he told his mother that on Sunday, at my father’s house, he had seen my father in the kitchen, a couple hours after the funeral home people had been there to take his body out of the living room.

          • I choose to believe a very proactive, though not officially recognized, saint!

      • Pretty much every species of simian, you get robust males and gracile females, with a fair amount of sexual differentiation between behaviors and goals.

        It’s a feature, not a bug. :)

  11. I was watching the Ted Talks about the Head (some I like and some are extremely liberal– like always) and I heard something about happiness that impressed me. The guy (don’t ask me his name– I don’t keep that kind of info) said that we experience happiness in two different ways. The first is in the present. This experience of happiness is day to day living and how satisfied we are with that day to day living. Then there is the remembered happiness. This remembering of the past is harder to be happy about because this part of us needs new experiences to remain happy. Plus it forgets the day to day stuff– that provides daily happiness…

    Okay– so we can be happy in our lives, but we can be unhappy with what we have done or what we remember. One can overwhelm the other. My interpretation only–

    What got me thinking is that I have been extremely happy with my personal relationship with my hubby. I am extremely unhappy in my health and my writing. I seem to have stopped after November 12th (election) and been through a malaise. I tried to do other things besides writing to jumpstart. One– teaching– except I don’t have the health to continue– Two– Needlecraft –except I am not good at selling it. Three Writing– I couldn’t continue more than one day a week except for poetry. I’d either get sick or my brain didn’t work. Four- editing– the site I edited with decided to change– More work for less money *sigh

    So here I stand– happy in one aspect and unhappy in many more. *sigh Oh well– I just hope I have the energy and oomph next year.

    Hoping y’all are happy in both of these perspectives this year– Present and Past

    • When I am interested in happiness I go Dennis Prager, not TED, but it seems to me a matter of focus. Happy is focusing on what you do have, unhappy is focusing on what you don’t have. For example, I do have spasms in my back and nerve damage in my feet, but I do not have loads of cash nor rhythm. Who could ask for anything more?

      • LOL – well true– I will have to look up Dennis Prager … and yes, I need to learn focus although you do know that pain is its own focus. *sigh

        • The site is undergoing a bit of a redo, but try visiting http://www.prageruniversity.com/

          The two “lessons” currently available — “The American Trinity” and ”
          Is Evil Rational?” — are each rewarding of the six minutes consumed in their watching. Note that the transcript of each is now presented below the video for the convenience of those who would rather read than listen.

          … The uniqueness of the American values system, which has made American unique and has made the American experiment indeed the experiment for humanity. That’s why people who come here assimilate faster than in any other country in the world — without disparaging any other countries, and there are many wonderful people in every country, and many miserable people in our own, surely.

          But nevertheless the American experiment is unique. If you come to Germany, let’s say, from Turkey where many people have emmigrated from, you will find that most Turks remain Turks for generations. They are not considered fellow Germans or fellow Swedes or fellow Danes nearly as much as somebody from Turkey would be within a week in the United States. Why is this? Why is America unique.

          Well, we have a unique values system. I call it the American Trinity. It’s not to be confused in any way with the Christian Trinity, that’s a theological statement of Christianity. The American Trinity is the 3 pillars of American values. …

    • Somewhere back I saved a link to a little essay about happiness versus joy. The gist of the piece was that happiness is temporary and situational. Joy comes from the heart and spirit. You can be happy and sad but still joyful. I suspect we (as in society) would be better served by cultivating more joy and hunting less after happiness. It would certainly cut back on such foolishness as psychologists deciding that having a few down days means you need mental health treatment.

  12. The only thing I see above that I disagree with is the bit about us being the ones with the mop and cleaning it up. I mean, YES, eventually, but is it so wrong that I want to smack some of the worst offenders in the face with the mop first? I don’t want to be the one cleaning up a mess that wasn’t my fault, that I fought against, and that didn’t have to happen.

    No, it’s not very peaceable. But I have this image in my head of pushing someone’s face into the mess with the mop and saying “NO. DON’T DO THIS AGAIN. BAD.”

    • We could kill them all and improve the gene pool.

    • I have that reaction too–

    • I fight this tendency, frequently. I see behaviors in the world, the nation, the community and — my first, instinctual, knee-jerk response is: You wanna play that way? Okay. Wall it off and let it burn. We’ll bury the mess and build a playground when you’re done. (And more specific and less publicly acceptable responses)

      And then I struggle, mightily, against the impulse. Because what some see as a joke, a dark part of me might embrace as a solution. Because for my own better nature I have to have at least tried to save the world. Because — if I’m not standing, light in hand, as a bulwark against the darkness…

      So I guess I’ll grab a mop.

      • Isn’t that why, maybe, we want a system that maximizes individual liberty? The key difference between Us and Them? We know we might fail to keep ourselves in check. They know it too. They want a system that controls us. We know that no system can do that, that it is a matter of self control. That any system with the power to control us will only persuade us to turn our wills to destruction rather than the avoidance of it.
        The sad thing, of course, is that no system can keep them in check either. They just don’t recognize that they too, being human, have the capacity to destroy. Until it is too late.

        • Well, it’s certainly why I want such a system. But maximizing individual liberty requires understanding individual responsibility and restraint. And some folks just aren’t interested.

          You’re right, of course, externally applied coercion has inevitable points of failure, and they fail to see that essential weakness. Time and again. To the detriment of us all.

      • The solution lies not in our grabbing a mop; it lies in forcing them to grab a mop. Otherwise while we are busy cleaning up after one mess they are making three more.

        Cripes, while we’re engaged in cleaning up the Obamacare Charlie-Foxtrot those idiots are Moving On to “Inequality” and $50 minimum wages. Sometimes you’ve gotta rub their noses in their mess and slap ‘em on the rump with a rolled up NY Times.

        • Oh, I agree. I just don’t think I’m the guy you want to hand the rolled paper to.

        • Sounds suspiciously like living in a house with small children… the goal is to get it so that they’ll clean up messes, and then you turn them loose to go do the same unto the other little barbarians. (There’s an invasion each generation, they’re called “children.” Paraphrasing.)

      • “Who is John Galt?”

        Only a magnificent fool tries to fix something WHILE the barbarians are destroying it. First the barbarians must be disposed of either through walls & bars, their own suicide thought destroying what THEY need to survive, or violence. The first requires a civilized society that can build the walls and throw the barbarians behind them, the last requires a mass uprising and entails a lot of blood including innocent blood, the second just requires a refusal to build or fix what the barbarians destroy.

        “Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose.” Freedom is also more precious than posessions, comfort, or indeed life.

        May alll your 2014′s be better than your 2013 and for those of you that pray, please add a prayer that God still protects “fools, drunkards and the United States of America”.

    • No,of course it,’s not wrong. It’s human. But it would be better without violence. You can’t have everything you want. Where would you put it? Who would dust it?

      • You just need to want a dust-free Bag of Holding.

      • If I had everything I wanted I would have a TARDIS, which would make storage a snap. The electronic air filtration and electrostatic wands would take care of the dusting.

        It is the maintenance of inventory records that become the problem. Eventually you are so busy keeping track of everything you have that you no longer get to enjoy the having of everything. Of course, once I get the Inventory AI installed and debugged …

      • I want some progressive leftists to dust it… with a shock collar permanently installed, so I can reprimand them for slacking off or doing an inferior job of dusting.

        • Is it indicative of how dyspeptic is my view of human nature that I expect the leftists would soon come to enjoy the shocks and act up in order to provoke them?

          Given what they have already demonstrated their ability to accept and seek …

          • I don’t know what her politics were, but a local radio announcer said that one of the women in his sister’s graduating class at the Police Academy said the mandatory tasering that all Academy graduates were required to get (so they would understand what they were doing to someone else when they had to use it) was fun, and offered to take another hit…

            • Yeah… Been there, done that, and don’t want to do it again.

              That is emphatically not a normal reaction to a Taser or any other high-output stun gun. Either she didn’t get the full force of the charge, or there is something else going on that does not indicate a state of normalcy. Headspace and timing things…

              You tell me you want another hit of the juice, or that you want another shot of OC in the face? I’m going to move very quietly to one side and avoid the hell out of you. Why? ‘Cos you jist ain’t right, that’s why.

              An acquaintance of mine once took a girl we both knew on a date to a movie. The movie was “Alien”. When everyone else in the theater is screaming at the chest-bursting scene, she’s completely unmoved, and actually said something very much like “How cute!”, while making “Squee!!!” sounds.

              Yeah, that was the first date and the last, and yes, she’s now somewhere under restraint and heavily medicated. After having tried to kill one of her much later boyfriends for trying to leave her…

    • Sounds as if you are applying the wrong end of the mop to the wrong portion of their anatomy.

    • Rub their nose in it and tell them, “no, bad” while smacking them with a newspaper*
      :)

      *Or mop handle, which would be much more satisfying.

  13. I’ve been working on looking back on ’13 as the year progressives (social, political, religious, literary, what-have-you) overplayed their hand. The year where the willfully blind began (just barely began, mind you) to catch a glimpse of the progressive vision. And didn’t like it. The year voting Dems caught on to the lie of progressivism (some of ‘em at least). And maybe, just maybe, the year the vast go along to get along, just wanna live my life, don’t care about politics, status quo, fouled up MIDDLE figured out that some folks have a plan for them. And it sucks.

    I’m not terribly invested in this vision. I’m prepared to be drastically wrong. I’m fully willing to accept that people can be idiots. But, dammit, not only does the emperor have no clothes, he’s jumping around waving his dongle in your face! Surely they see?

    In other news, I’m seeking out multiple revenue streams, as well. Being me, I’m over-researching and over-thinking. But I’m moving forward. I tend to agree with our host, the economy has moved away from the ‘put your 20/30/40 years in and retire’ work structure, that’s been fading for a while now. And the next one slipping into history is dedicated full time career as a whatsis. Not that we’re losing specialists or anything. No, we’ll just be applying those specialist talents across multiple lines of revenue. Before I get skewered, I’m not saying the whole economy or everybody, just — more and more.

    • The thing is, progressives always overplay their hand. It’s what they do. Then there is a huge kerfuffle, wailing and gnashing of teeth, the occasional lynching or at least tar and feathers, then things settle out. The key is to pay careful attention to exactly where things settle. The dirty little progressive secret is that if the status quo rests even incrementally further on their side, they believe they’ve won and it’s only a matter of time until they fire back up and we rinse and repeat. It’s only when the resolution is dramatically against them that they may for a while fall into despair and despondency, but even then they always come back. In sixty odd years I’ve seen it play out over and over again. A peck here, a peck there, you’d think their little peckers would wear out, but no such luck. Lose focus and there they are again just pecking away.

      • It’s religious. They believe their way is the future though it never was.

        • It will be, though. For a brief shining moment as it explodes in their faces.

          Then they will blame conservatives for wrecking their house of cards.

          • Christopher M. Chupik

            This wouldn’t have happened if you hadn’t opposed us so much!

            • Can we then comfortably say: “True. It would have been worse.” ?

              I walked myself into a punctuation trap, there. But I’m gonna run with it, ’cause it’s the eve of a new year and I’m wild like that.

      • They are remarkably peristent little peckers, yes.

      • I have seen it too– you hit the nail

      • Louis L’Amour explains the White Man’s conquest of the American West as the result of difference in approach: the Amerindian fought battles, the White Man waged campaigns. Because Progs are invested in Politics they remain engaged while Conservatives return to their lives post-battle. In some ways the Reagan Era is the political equivalent of Little Big Horn — a glorious victory that merely delayed the defeat.

        Liberty must be won every day. There are no vacations from its defense. Happily, we can take turns on the ramparts of Liberty’s Fort Zinderneuf, and sometimes we turn it into Rorke’s Drift.

        • The White Man’s conquest of the West was a simple matter of numbers. The Amerinds were devastated by the Old World plagues, and their predominantly hunter-gatherer lifestyle couldn’t support the birthrates necessary to pose a significant threat. The White Man fought campaigns because he had the numbers and technology to do so. Vile progs do not enjoy such an advantage today.

          • However, remember that the so-called “Smallpox Blankets” were not true, and in fact, a myth crafted by none other than Ward Churchill.

            • Smallpox Blankets weren’t true, but from what I’ve read the New World lost somewhere in the neighborhood of 90% of its human population in the years following the Columbian Exchange. A major factor in the success of European colonization of the New World, compared to places like Africa and South Asia, was the near-total depopulation of the Amerinds.

              • Oh, for the love of mud don’t start that debate, please! If you want to see veins bulge and sides divvy up for the academic version of the nastiest bar fight you’ve ever managed to slink out of, announce the pre-Columbian population of the Americas and what percentage died from what causes. I’d rather be trapped in a stuck elevator with two Queer-studies ABDs than to go through that again.

              • That’s the new hot theory, but if I remember the guy’s appearance on Coast to Coast before his book went big his process was “well, X should be true in my world view, it isn’t, but of this, this and this happened then it could be possible….”

                Pretty standard for Coast to Coast AM, but I’m extremely unconvinced by claims of more than 75% mortality on two continents in a fairly sort time with only foot traffic and no evidence of massive trade, or the sort of numbers assumed.

                Tried to read the book. Stopped after three different claims were easily shown false with very little research– can’t remember what they were, other than one was about Catholicism and was incredibly easy to disprove.

                Good rhetorical style, though.

                • Forgive me if this seems a bit disjointed, I’m discovering the dangers of rum-fortified eggnog.

                  I’m not sure where you’re getting the no massive trade. The Mississippi watershed, which is the United States to a first approximation, would be a natural trade corridor. I mean, maize managed to find its way from Mexico to New England.

                  I also think it would be hard to overestimate the lethality of the Columbian Exchange. After all, that’s the original impetus for bringing slaves over from Africa. I have no idea what mortality rate would be necessary to make buying slaves in Africa and shipping them across the Atlantic – with the losses associated with that – economical, but I’m sure it’s not low. And even the groups not busy Obamaing the European economy would suffer. After all, a low disease mortality rate doesn’t do your band much good if most of the people are too sick to follow the buffalo herd.

                  • I’m not sure where you’re getting the no massive trade.

                    There was definitely trade, but there’s no evidence for it on the level of “basic daily stuff is traded regularly” that would be needed as an infection vector.

                    Wish I had some rum eggnog… I broke out the fizzy someone gave us, and it’s horrible!

                  • What I heard Jeff is that Amerinds made lousy slaves. They preferred to die.

                  • I am not arguing one way or another, ,but the one Anthro prof I had in school that had a cup of smarts did field studies in the Congo with the pygmies. While he was there they had an epidemic of measles, and though they had had contact in the past with it, the real damage came not so much from the mortality but from the disruption of the tribal group. His take on it was that societies are organizations and if you knock too many levels out the organization dissolves. If you are fairly labor intensive in your agriculture or resource extraction, and you need complex interactions to make sure that everything gets done. If the organization fails, so does your ag and your resource extraction. Also if you are a warrior society, and your warriors and peasants die, you loose ground both from loss of manpower and the resources needed to maintain the warriors in fighting conditions. And your healthier neighbors plow you under.
                    There are historical models for and against. The NE indians were hit pretty hard, the Pilgrims had land to settle and allies because the local indians wanted powerful neighbors – and Squanto was telling them that the Europeans were powerful indeed. Mexico was not so depopulated, but they had higher numbers to begin with. I suspect that such a single-cause theory like ‘Pandemics caused European expansion’ is about as accurate as blaming the fall of the Roman empire on lead poisoning.

                    • Bob, I have to ask… Have you read accounts of what happened in Central and South America? Or, am I missing the point you’re trying to make, which seems to me to be dismissing the immense effects that the pandemics had in Central America, or the way that the pigs brought in by de Soto devastated much of the Southeast? The archaeology is pretty clear, on both these issues: The Spaniards showed up, and the entire region in the Southeast went back to nature. In Central America, the more organized societies collapsed almost entirely. The latest explanation is that it was mostly zoonoses from the domesticated animals like the pig, because the locals didn’t keep agricultural animals that could transmit disease to humans on any large scale.

                      Cortez would have been a grease stain, along with his much-vaunted tribal allies, had the disease pandemics they brought in with them not gone through the Aztecs and their allies like flame front in a firestorm. And, despite the higher numbers, they were even more vulnerable to the effects of losing whole swathes of society to the diseases, mostly due to their far more complex organization.

                      It’s one thing to lose a bunch of warriors when you’re at a tribal-level, stone-age state. When you’re running what was actually a bigger city than what was in Europe at the time, you’re in a lot more trouble. Which was why the Europeans were able to take over with so few men, and why they managed to graft themselves into the culture so thoroughly.

                      Same thing happened with the Incas, but instead of the plagues hitting just as the locals cottoned on to the facts of life about Cortez, they hit immediately before Pizarro showed up.

                      Had they been immune to European diseases, neither Cortez nor Pizarro would have ever been able to do what they did. Especially not with the numbers they had. For the love of Mike, think about it: Cortez did what he did with a fraction of a percentage of the military power and potential he was facing. The only reason he’s not remembered as a Spanish William Walker is that disease quite literally wiped out his opposition at just the right time.

                    • Nope, just saying that blaming/celebrating a single cause is most likely wrong,. There are mechanisms that can cause a pandemic to lead to depopulation, but they ride on a number of other elements contributing to the effects. I won’t argue post-conquest population statistics as evidence one way or the other.
                      I think it was Ms. Bujold who talked about the “Hero Theory of Failure” where supposedly one person working against overwhelming odds manages to screw up, destroying everything worthwhile. Her comment was that in real life, failure at that level generally takes cooperation….er, you know what I mean.

                    • Perhaps the appropriate image is of a number of dominoes standing on end, each of them on a constantly rotating cog. At any given moment few of those dominoes are positioned such that their toppling will do much more than trigger a few adjacent dominoes (and in some peculiar instances, some rather far away pieces) but every moment shifts the positioning such that certain dominoes, at certain moments, could create whole cascades of fail. The human mind, drawn to the toppling domino, fails to recognize that it was the unique momentary interpositioning of it within the overall pattern that was the significance.

                    • That would work, but it is far too deterministic for me. It smacks of Newtons and Kepler’s universe of orbits written small.
                      I’d rather think of a Rube Goldberg contraption powered by stupid.
                      As in, “in retrospect, using the recovered AP mine to hold up one end of the bookshelf was not so good an idea, especially after we got the replacement manuals, and someone stole the arming pin to make a key-ring”

                    • Oooh, excellent!

                      I mean, horrible that it’s about people dying, but I can much more easily see both a high death rate and transmission if you add in assumption that at least some of the neighbors are waiting to attack, kill the men, take the useful women and objects. I’d also seen “their view of disease made them die more” floated, but it just didn’t sound right.

                    • Fox, don’t forget that there’s good science out there that points to New World populations having their immune systems optimized for fighting parasites, while Old World ones were optimized for fighting disease. In other words, the New World humans were primed for disease victimhood, while the equivalent effects did not take place with the Europeans who came in to supplant them.

                      Other problem was, New World agriculture did not include the same close domestic contact that Old World styles did. The pig was probably just as important to the conquest of the New World as the arquebus was, only nobody knew it.

                      In the Southeast, when you look at the middens, where you find the first signs of pigs being eaten, abandonment of those sites came soon after. Zoonoses are a bitch, when your immune systems are set to counteract things like roundworm and other parasites.

                    • Haven’t seen the science, so don’t know if it’s good– is it a deductive theory or is there physical evidence?

                      Simpler possibility for the pig evidence: it’s freaking dangerous to eat improperly cooked pig meat. Trichinosis.

                      I just checked the CDC, trichinosis isn’t killed when you cure the meat.

                • Fox, which book are you referring to? It isn’t 1491, by Charles Mann, was it? I don’t remember catching many mistakes in that one, when I checked on his sources… Did I miss something?

                  Of course, Mann doesn’t strike me as the sort to be going on Coast to Coast, either, but who the hell knows?

                  • Never underestimate what some author will do to sell some books.

                  • An amazing number of folks will go on coast to coast– money is money!

                    Like I said, I didn’t get even a full chapter in; maybe the stuff that wasn’t supposed to put you at ease was much better sourced, but I wasn’t going to spend my limited reading time finding out!

                    • If it was Mann, and 1491, I’d recommend giving him a second chance, as well as taking up his post-Columbian exchange work, 1493 a shot.

                      Both books suffer from the flaws of any popular work, but he does a decent job of sourcing things, and some of the theories he goes over make a lot of damn sense. The particular thing I remember the most goes over the Amazon basin, and the strange anomaly we have where the first Spaniards who came down off the Andes from the West describe finding huge villages and a comparatively huge population to what later ones found. Nobody has really got a good explanation for that, but some of the recent findings down there are pointing towards there having been a much different sort of agriculture and economy going than we’re familiar with. The information on the loma prieta soils and how they were formed is worth the price of the book, and fascinating to boot.

                      There’s some other interesting stuff in 1493, and the thing that struck me as being the most interesting described the effects of the agricultural innovations in China that were based off of New World plants, the resulting dislocations, and the manner in which the silver trade between South America and Asia caused so much confusion to the existing trade networks and the societies that they supported. There’s a fairly good description of the trade between the Spaniards in Manila, and the Chinese mercantile/manufacturing interests that sounds like it could be taking place today.

                      They may both be flawed works, but they’re both worth reading, if only for the sources and pointers he gives you.

                      I got to thinking, as well, that you might have confused Mann with Gavin Menzies, he of “the Chinese got here first, and even sent a forgotten fleet to kick off the Renaissance in Italy…”. Menzies, I have to conclude, is just a bit of a nutter. Mann, I think, is more of someone who’s bringing attention to some things we’ve taken for granted or ignored.

                      One thing that I’d like to point out about the pre-Columbian populations of North America: Anyone who has a.) done a bit of earth moving with minimal tools, and b.) actually stood on and comprehended just how much work had to go into the Mound Builder’s works, while knowing how widespread those works were, can ever really accept that the populations were as low as conventional wisdom put them. Those earthworks represent a truly massive quantity of man hours, and are far more akin to things like the pyramids, or the massive cities of Central America than most realize. And, when you consider the primitive tools they had… Sheesh.

                    • Nah, it wasn’t the “China First” guy, though it may have been someone that inspired Mann.

                      I don’t have a problem with the idea that the warm, wet, full-of-animals-and-plants areas had a bigger population, I have a really big problem with assuming it was huge, it was invisibly advanced and it was the same up into Canada.

                      The stuff that’s really interesting will be spread around– like when folks figured out that, hey, the Indians weren’t idiots about the buffallo, and burning the grasslands was a smart thing.

                      A lot of the “surprises” seem to only be a shock if you wholely subscribed to silly prior theories that made the most sense to folks who didn’t spent a lot of time doing land management or living outside of town. (Like, say, the theory that the Pit River pits were for animals, never mind what everyone who saw them used saw.)

                      I’m reminded of a book Mary C. praised that I read– it was horrible, because I wasn’t the target audience. It was about how we should have a practical approach to invasive weeds. I’ve been doing weed management since I was old enough to use a shovel, since my mom has always been big and even became an official weed board member. Once I figured out that the stuff that had me growling things at the book were designed to sway those who make me want to throw things at them on the topic over to a saner view, I stopped reading.

                      Funny thing is, I love books like Kicking the Sacred Cow and I listen to Coast to Coast, so I must figure it’s things that I don’t know about where the “new” theories are interesting. (My mom’s dad was a civilian archaeologist. You didn’t want to get him started on the stupidity of outlawing arrowhead hunting, nor get my mom started on the knowledge destroyed there.)

                    • Fox, you really need to give Mann another shot, and at least look at his basic theses, along with his sources. He may have gotten some details wrong, but the broad spread of what he had to say made me sit up and go “Whoa… Hadn’t thought of that…”.

                      One example of stuff that we missed was how the Northeastern Indians had things set up, which created an entirely artificial environment which we mistook for being “in a state of nature” when we arrived here. The natives did not use agriculture the way we did, at all. Where Europeans were looking for fields, growing grain, and other signs of European agriculture, the natives were doing things like burning the understory out of the forests to make more forage for deer, purposely planting nut trees, and a whole host of other things that didn’t look like planned agriculture at all, to our ancestor’s eyes. But, it was: That environment was totally unnatural. Compare what the first settlers found, when they arrived, to what has happened with the forests in the region now that we’ve abandoned them to nature. Where the European settlers describe what sounds like a wooded parkland, we’ve got a friggin’ jungle going on in areas of the Northeast that have been abandoned to agriculture.

                      Another point he brought out was about the passenger pigeon. There’s hardly any sign in any of the middens that that bird was ever a staple of the diet for any of the natives. The numbers, in fact, only show a rise in the passenger pigeon population at about the time all the native population dropped. The reason? There was a massive void that appeared in the food chain, about then, and the likeliest explanation was that nobody was harvesting and utilizing all those purposefully planted nut trees. Thus, massive population explosion of passenger pigeons. And, our not-so-observant ancestors went ahead and cut down most of those trees, and tried clearing land to run plows over.

                      I read somewhere else that when you run the calculations, and follow the implications of what the natives were doing, the use they were putting the land to actually produced more calories than what we were able to manage with intensive European-style agriculture.

                      In short, I think Mann at least has the bare bones of an interesting theses, and some very interesting information that supports those ideas. I’d never considered the idea that the passenger pigeon might have been just an anomaly unique to that post-European arrival, and that a good part of why they went extinct had to do with us chopping all those nut-bearing trees down as we moved west. But, there’s good supporting information for that idea…

                    • Oddlly, your exhortation illustrates my point; the parts that I’ve heard that are good aren’t news, and the ideas that are new aren’t persuasive.

                      . Compare what the first settlers found, when they arrived, to what has happened with the forests in the region now that we’ve abandoned them to nature.

                      We haven’t abandoned them, there’s a policy of actively suppressing fires.

                      Useful plants growing near campsites was old news when my WWII vet grandfather was healthy enough to go on long hikes with his kids– same as “if you find a lilac bush, look out for a root cellar because someone had a house right here.”

                      The question of how much was deliberately done because it supported a specific goal, vs what went on because it worked. Say, burning the grasslands let you easily hunt huge animals that have no sense, and as a side effect made sure that it stayed grassland, especially when compared to a policy of stopping all fires that are anywhere near people. Ended up with lots of food-trees by camps because Grandad would knock you silly if you used this tree for building or fire, but not that one, so you only have that one around. Willow groves because when you cut them for camps it’s easiest to strip off extra limbs right there, and if you jab them into the dirt some of them grow next time.

                      I’ve seen too many crazy “superior calorie” calculations with ranching that require ignoring facts on the ground to give it much credence. (Ever try to explain that land that grows good grass won’t necessarily grow anything else as well?)

                • You mean like the Robin Hood book that says until the fourteenth century all monks were rich and noble and find’t work with their hands?

                  • Not familiar with it, but I’ll give thanks for that… I’ve recently been finding out how many of the things I “knew” about that time were actually made up by angry twits, then repeated so often that folks assumed they must be true. (not counting the stuff that was a theory that folks ended up assuming was true)

                  • Oooh, is that like the book on the black plague that starts off by stating it struck royalty, bourgeoisie, and proletariat alike?

                  • Ppbbblt. You’d think an author who wrote history books and everything could look up “Cistercian”.

                  • This makes me laugh – I mean rich monks? in the beginning? NOT unless they came from rich families. And wealth then is very different from wealth now–

      • Christopher M. Chupik

        Remember, a few years ago, Obama was the future. The Great Lean Forward into Progressive Utopia was at hand. Now look at it. The Duck Dynasty thing blew up in their faces. MSNBC hosts are being forced to apologize or resign. No amount of evangelizing can make Americans love Obamacare. The Zero’s approval rating is lower than Bush’s and he has three years to get lower. The media-progressive complex is TERRIFIED by us, because they know they failed. Don’t get wobbly now!

        • Actually, I think what is terrifying the media is the realization that they spent all of their credibility on getting the current crew into power, and now that that bunch of idiots has demonstrated that they can’t manage their way out of a paper bag, the media is slowly but surely coming to the conclusion that they’ve pissed away their position and will have nothing to show for it.

          Witness the New York Times, once the flagship of American media, and the touchstone for accurate, meaningful reporting in most people’s minds (never mind Walter Duranty). Where is the NYT conglomerate going to be, in a decades time? Most likely, bankrupt and forgotten. Pinch Sulzberger has drained the last drop of useful credibility out of their legacy, and now people are pointing at them and laughing. Laughing hard, especially with this most recent Bengazi thing.

          They’re going to wake up one morning, and find that where they were once People Who Mattered, men and women who Steered Public Thought, nobody who matters is now paying them the slightest heed.

          • LOL – The NYTwits can’t shred their credabilty fast enough; witness this Powerline takedown:
            The NY Times Looks In the Wrong Place for Corrupt Academics
            Academic research of all kinds receives funding from a variety of sources. Does the money taint the research? That is a complicated question that sometimes deserves to be asked. But this hit piece by David Kocieniewski in the New York Times, titled “Academics Who Defend Wall St. Reap Reward,” is a disgrace.
            [SNIP]
            This is real jaw-on-the-floor stuff. The NYT has published an article about how academics who write nice things about Wall Street “reap rewards”, in the words of the headline — and its main illustration is donations to a business school where the academic in question doesn’t even work!

            • I used to respect the NYT, and would read the paper on a regular basis. Despite knowing the history with Duranty, I didn’t notice a huge amount of bias or outright bullshit in what I read. That changed about the time Pinch took charge, and I no longer find much of what I read there to be either accurate, or even remotely unbiased. They used to put a thumb on the scale when they wrote their articles. Now, they’re standing on it, and jumping up and down on the damn thing.

              That kind of thing can’t go on forever, and still have them maintain their credibility or market position.

            • The NYT crowd has learned from the President (or maybe they taught him), that pretending that something is so, makes it so. I think it was taught in school, beginning in the ’60s. They easily forget that we have eyes and ears, and can think for ourselves. Such naïveté on their part!

              My own response in one-on-one conversations/arguments is to no longer argue policy points, but to generally mock the point of view in its entirety (e.g. “Do you find it difficult to constantly defend such ineptitude from our leadership?”). My conversations are mercifully brief, and now rare, as there is no easy riposte.

              I apologize for butting into your conversation, I occasionally lurk, but am generally intimidated out of speaking, due to the intellectual firepower around here. You all allow me to privately say “Yes! Yes!” quite often, by your saying what I am thinking, and then you take it to places I would not have thought of going.

              • No need to lurk, come on in, the waters fine and the sharks are tame! Ish. Really, it’s the flying carp you gotta watch out for.

              • I’m kinda scared that you’re directing this at me, and not the rest of the people who post here.

                I apologize for butting into your conversation, I occasionally lurk, but am generally intimidated out of speaking, due to the intellectual firepower around here. You all allow me to privately say “Yes! Yes!” quite often, by your saying what I am thinking, and then you take it to places I would not have thought of going.

                The reason I’m scared is that a.) I’m the last person you should be intimidated by due to intellectual firepower, and that b.) there’s someone else out there that agrees with me. That’s probably the most scary thing to hear, to be quite honest.

                As to butting in? My friend, you’re not doing anything of the sort. This sort of place is like a very pleasurable free-form party, a modern day salon run by our hostess. If you find the place, and find the discussions that are going on here to be of interest, then by all means, join in. That’s what this sort of thing was meant for. Just follow the rules, and conversate with the rest of us. I’m sure you’ve got something to contribute, no matter how you may feel about it.

                One thing I think is going to happen, in years to come, is that places like this one on the internet are going to be seen in the same light that we look back at the salons of Madame de Pompadour–Centers of intellectual discourse and ferment, where world-changing ideas were born and discussed.

                Well, at least I like to think so…

                • Something in here is definitely fermenting. I refuse to engage in speculation as to whether it is wine or kimchee.

                • sanfordbegley

                  Also, being intimidated by the brainpower in this group is common to the majority of us, including those of us who pipe up loud and often. Lot of firepower here but, feel free to join. I am sure you have knowledge that others of us are missing

                  • Yup. Heck, I don’t have even a patch on the knowledge and experience that most of y’all do. Sometimes you’ve just got to speak up in order to cure ignorance (of which I know I’ve got plenty). *grin*

                    Glad to have you. Always good to add another member in good standing to the Horde.

                  • Yes, I see the same type of disclaimer coming from many of the people who I would make the same comment about. I think it’s related to what Sanford said above about having knowledge others are missing. You read something (or 10 or 15 somethings) by someone and think, “Wow. I never knew any of that stuff.” Then, when you have the similar reaction as many as 20 times in one thread, you start wondering if you have the chops to join in the conversation.

                    What you don’t realize, is that several of the people who are part of the intimidating volume of knowledge are having the same reaction to things that they aren’t highly educated on. Then you have people like me who just can’t resist putting their two cents in. :-)

                  • Me, I’m not part of the intellectual firepower. I’m the booby-trap set up on the blind approach to the firepower.

                    Or maybe I’m just mouthy. :-D

                    • So, what you’re saying is that you’re the mechanical ambush set up with Claymore mines, guarding the flanks?

                      Remind me not to try a flanking attack, if I’m ever so foolish. :)

              • John McDonald

                Dutch1960,
                The first two paragraphs of your comments show that you are quite capable of holding your own in our rather freewheeling discussions. Please butt in whenever you feel you have something to say, and welcome to the crowd.

              • Butt away – I have been hobbled by prednisone and chemo… but there are others who can take you on in the manner you may not deserve. ;-)

  14. Grand and happy New Year to all from my part of the world! And now that the fireworks have gone up I’m gonna go do something interesting…

    • May the New Year be kind to you and yours who read this, may the road rise up to meet you and the sun be always at your back, may your trials be spiced with laughter and your pains be eased with grace. As the end rolls into the beginning, as the warm spring grows from the cold, meet the challenge of the New Year with head held high, shoulders straight, as you move about your purpose with dignity and calm.

      Now that that’s done, there’s work to do- let’s be about it. *grin*

    • Happy New year. I’m going to bed.

  15. John McDonald

    My wife and I look back on 2013 with both thanks and trepidation. Trepidation based mostly on what is happening in the social/political arena (circus?) that our country seems to running. Thanks for both of us being able to retire, in that we no longer need to work full-time to maintain a comfortable, at least for us, lifestyle.

    Yes, it has been a long, strange trip. I offer no prognostications for the future.
    Based on the comments I’ve read, most folks here seem to preparing for an un-certain future, which is good. But the future has always been un-certain, so the prudent always prepare for it, at least mentally.
    So to all, we wish all a Happy and Prosperous (or at least stable) New Year!