Change Change Change

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So, who had “Atlantis rises” on their 2020 bingo card?

No, no. Sit. Don’t go scouring news sites. That I know of, it hasn’t happened yet. But would anyone really be surprised?  How many of us have gotten used to shaking our heads and going “D*mn it, 2020.”

I mean there have been other years that had certain trends before 2016 was a stone cold killer, probably due to the fact that a lot of celebrities hit their terminus at around the same time. (Even the ones of different ages might have done the same drugs. Who knows?)

But 2020?  We just don’t know what to expect next, and certain government agencies proclaiming things like machines originating in other worlds isn’t helping.

However, the truth is that most of us — if we’re honest — saw a lot of 2020 coming.  Some of it was like a nightmare — I’ve been having a lot of what I call filthy nightmares (the kind you wake up from asking yourself what possessed you, perhaps literally — where you see the disaster coming, but you can do nothing to stop it.

I mean, we knew this would be an election year, so we knew things were going to go completely pants-on-head insane.

But I doubt many of us saw “entire country put under arrest for months over a virus that ultimately is perhaps as bad as a bad flu.”

The problem is this: We should have seen it coming.

Why should we have seen it coming?

Well, decades of apocalyptic fiction centering around viruses. General lack of science knowledge or understanding. A fetish of safety.

All of them coordinated with the press’s need to destroy the country’s economy in order to win an election for their leftist (and Chinese) masters, to create the perfect storm.  The fact that they are convincing people to wear what they’re told, eat what they’re told, and only interact in approved ways is just a bonus (for the left.)

In retrospect, we should have seen it coming, but of course we didn’t because it seemed completely incredible. Last year, you couldn’t have sold a story with this plot. Even the craziest of small presses (and I’ve worked for some of those, off and on) would laugh in your face at such a ridiculous idea.

And yet here we are. And hindsight is 2020, which is why it sucks.

However, we’re not leftists.  Leftists suffer from a curious tunnel vision which means they believe whatever they intend to result from something is what will result. Nothing more, nothing less.

We’re not like that.  And even though we know looking forward is difficult, there are things we can predict now that we’re here:

Publishing, education, entertainment in general is in trouble.

They were in trouble for decades, to be honest.  But this entire insanity has dealt them a much more severe blow than they would otherwise have suffered.  I expect those industries to hemorrhage jobs, not over the next decade, but over the next year or two.

As for the news…  Well, I’ve been waiting for people to stop believing them for twenty years now.  And to some extent it seems to have happened.  Otherwise 2016 would not have turned out the way it did.

But have they turned away enough?  Well, obviously not, since people think that 10% of Americans have died of Winnie the Flu.

So–

So, I think — believe — this is because people had learned not to pay any attention to the news when it came to politics, or international politics, or any of that. They had learned that the news lied in the service of the left.  They simply hadn’t processed that they would lie about something as seemingly non-political as a disease.

They’ve been used for years to, to some extent, believe warnings about the weather, or about flu epidemics in their area.  So it was easy to believe in this too.

I think — expect — what happens, as the massive hoax (not the virus but its lethality and the need for drastic measures are definitely hoaxes) is exposed — and it will be, though I expect not fast — the MSM will lose the last shred of its respectability. Whether that’s before or after most of the stations collapse, I won’t venture to guess.

And yeah, most of us know now that a lot of people are simply not going back to offices after this, not even if their job remains more or less intact.  One thing this has put paid to is the age old belief that people work better all together and in a regimented environment.

Now, I don’t expect everyone will want to work from home.  I know people who are gregarious and prefer offices. And people who have kids and no privacy.

However, I expect that the “default expectation” will flip from “everyone drives to work” to “people work at home, unless…”

The thing that’s bothering me though, is this:

I can see all these changes coming.  Most of them, however, amount to things dying.  And even if they were leftist dominated, all of them dying at the same time is a heck of a change.

All of them dying before “what comes next” is fully ready.

What comes next, when movies die?  What comes next, when colleges die?

My guess is things step in and step up and fast.  Because there are embryonic things underway for everything that will collapse in the next couple of years.

And after all, we’re American. The future comes from America for a reason.

BUT that is what REALLY worries me.  What’s at the back — I’m sure — of those filthy nightmares:

Are we still Americans? Will we be allowed to be?

The one thing that changed fundamentally in 2020 is our assumption that if you start a business, pour your heart and soul into it, damage your health to work enough to keep it alive, you will — most of the time, and barring freakish occurrences — be allowed to reap any benefits from it.  Whether those benefits are making a modicum of money or becoming filthy rich, you have some control over the business.

But in 2020 our government, for no good reason, forced most small businesses in America out of business, and destroyed what, in some cases, took lifetimes to build.

Can we trust they won’t do it again?

How?

As the elections approach, I urge you to consider that.  Because without confidence in private property and the freedom to pursue happiness?  The destruction will be permanent and nothing will emerge to replace what collapses.  We might as well be North Korea, where the whims of the leader make you or break you.

Think about it.  Then vote accordingly.

A republic. If you CAN keep it.

Covid – by Galaxy Jane

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Covid – by Galaxy Jane

As a medical provider (PA-C with ten years of practice and a focus in Adult Primary Care and Occupational Medicine) who was recently the poster child for physically fit, middle-aged adult with zero co-morbidities hospitalized with a severe COVID-19 infection, I’ve been given an unusual perspective on the disease process from the inside with lots of good colleague conversation and education from the doctors, respiratory therapists, nurses and others that have been on the front lines of the pandemic during the course of my stay. I came out of it with a strong desire to counteract the constant media fear-mongering by demystifying a highly-predictable disease process and help people understand what they may experience if they fall ill and some of the progress we’re making with treatments.

I’d also like to offer some practical tips that can help you make the best recovery possible.  We are almost certainly going to be living with this disease for a while and I think greater understanding can help us be appropriately cautious but less fearful as we go about our lives during this outbreak.

Nothing said herein should substitute for medical advice and care from your primary care provider or other medical specialist. I would also note that treatment protocols will continue to change as more data comes in, so any comments about current treatments is a snapshot in time reflecting practices in a specific East Coast hospital in mid-July 2020. All remain in stage 3 clinical trials, so are being implemented under experimental/compassionate use.

COVID-19 is a three-stage disease, following a predictable pattern and course over time. Each stage lasts approximately one week. Most people will not experience all three stages.

The first stage is the Viral Stage. These are your asymptomatic and mildly symptomatic people, who may never realize they had COVID-19. Symptoms are generally non-specific and include sore throat, low grade fever, post nasal drip, generalized aches and pains, nausea or diarrhea. The symptoms of this stage that are most specifically associated with COVID-19 are a fever higher than 100.3 F (38 C), and profound loss of the sense of smell and taste. Approximately 80% of those infected will not progress beyond this stage and will recover in approximately one week without further health issues.

The second stage is the Respiratory Stage. This is when cough develops, usually after about a week of non-specific illness, although it can be the initial symptom noted. The cough is usually dry and hacking, but can sometimes be productive. For most people who enter this stage, this is as far as the disease will progress and cough will remain mild. Mild disease simply means that you have good oxygen exchange on room air (i.e. without supplemental oxygen) and can range anywhere from a slight dry cough through mild viral pneumonia without respiratory compromise.  So you can be quite uncomfortable while still being “mildly ill”.  Most people who enter this stage will continue to be able to care for themselves at home and will make a full recovery without lasting side-effects.

The important thing about this stage is that this is where things may take a bad turn and if they do it will most typically happen around day 8-10 from the original onset of symptoms. This is the time to be extra scrupulous about monitoring your symptoms for worsening shortness of breath, chest pain, and to use a home pulse oximetry device (a small tool that clips to the end of your finger and measures the percentage of oxygen in your blood)  if you have access to one. Worsening symptoms or a sudden drop in oxygen levels should prompt you to seek immediate care through your local hospital emergency room.

If you require admission to the hospital during this stage, you may be treated with a steroid called dexamethasone that has been shown in European trials to significantly reduce the risk of death and may also prevent future complications by reducing inflammation in the body. If the latter is borne out over time, this is going to be the real game changer. Preventing deaths is important, but preventing lung, heart, and other organ damage in the survivors will affect more lives long-term. Fortunately, dexamethasone is also cheap as chips and readily available. If you are sick enough to require supplemental oxygen, you could also be treated with something called convalescent plasma, which is an antibody rich blood product from a recently recovered patient, that can help directly fight the virus.

The respiratory stage also lasts approximately one week and most people who enter this stage will recover about day 14 without any additional care. This is what they mean in the media when you hear that people with mild disease will fully recover by about 2 weeks.

The third stage is the inflammatory stage. Entering this stage is rare but very dangerous. This is the stage where inflammatory markers rapidly increase causing blood clots in small vessels throughout the body and other sorts of lung, heart, blood vessel and other organ damage if not controlled. This is also the stage where patients develop ARDS (Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome) due to damage to small vessels and alveoli in the lungs and may require intubation and ventilatory support. If this becomes necessary, outcomes are generally poor with both high mortality and lung damage in survivors.

If you enter this stage you may be treated with an anti-viral drug called remdesivir if it was not started earlier for decompensation (worsening ability to for the lungs to take in oxygen) during the respiratory phase. In an ideal world, we would start this medication even earlier, even before dexamethasone, but high cost and limited availability means that it is currently being reserved here for the sickest patients. It is given IV over five days (sometimes extended to ten), so if you are put on this medication you will have to stay in the hospital for the full course of treatment.

This stage also usually lasts about one week and is what is meant in the media when they say that severe cases usually resolve in a total of three weeks (although recovery in critically ill patients may be protracted). Even here most folks will recover, albeit possibly not without high level medical care and long-term health effects.

My own illness followed this pattern slavishly. For the first eight days, I still felt perfectly well and healthy, despite some mild aches and pains, nausea and the inability to smell or taste (which both sucks and is really, really, weird). Day nine, I developed a pertussis like cough which worsened rapidly over the next two days, but as my oxygen levels remained normal I continued to care for myself at home. Day twelve, I woke up feeling “not right” although not short of breath per se and when I used my pulse oximeter, discovered that my oxygen levels had dropped quite low overnight (normal is 95% or greater, mine was 88%), prompting an immediate trip to the local ER from where I was admitted.

According to my in-hospital pulmonologist, I presented right on the line between the second and third stages. I was developing respiratory decompensation, but while my inflammatory markers were high and rising, I was not yet to the point of irreversible inflammatory cascade. I received my first dose of dexamethasone upon admission and within twelve hours my markers were trending back towards normal. While my respiratory status did continue to worsen  and my oxygen requirements increased steadily over the first 36 hours of my hospitalization, the second night saw the beginning of rapid improvement in lung function and I was able to be released home without oxygen on hospital day four (day sixteen of my illness) to complete my dexamethasone treatment there while I recovered. By day twenty-one my cough had resolved and my lung capacity had returned to near-normal although I was still somewhat short of breath and extremely fatigued (also crazy from the steroids).

I’m now five weeks from my first symptoms, my chest x-ray has returned to normal and I started running and weight training again last week. While it will be a little longer before I am all the way back to my previous fitness level, I can say with some confidence that I am fully recovered and my PCP has no worries about long-term health effects because I turned the corner before I showed any signs of organ damage.

Very few COVID-19 patients are requiring ICU treatment here in East Coast City now, because slowing things down back in March and April not only succeeded in keeping the system from ever being overwhelmed, but it has allowed time for treatments to be developed and deployed so local patients are now pretty evenly spread between the Medical/Surgical ward (this is a general hospital ward, basically where you go for observation to ensure you are stable), the Intermediate care or Step-Down unit (so called because it is a “step down” from the ICU and is for people like me who need closer monitoring and telemetry, but do not require critical care nursing) and the ICU/CCU (An Intensive Care or Critical Care Unit, for patients who require close round the clock monitoring. This is also where any ventilator patients will be).

About 2/3 of those admitted here now are not getting sick enough to reach the need for ICU/CCU. They are also admitting patients now for observation that would have been sent home to care for themselves earlier in the pandemic, when we were worried about overwhelming hospital resources. While the hospital ICU was fairly full during my admission, I have it directly from staff that very few patients were there for COVID-19, it was simply full of the normal ICU things that ICUs are typically full of this time of year.

I am not going to talk about things we can do to keep from catching COVID-19 as I feel we are all well aware of risk mitigation at this point. The constant drumbeat of the last five months has been, “don’t catch it, don’t catch it, don’t catch it”. But with sustained community spread, it is important that we have get comfortable with the idea that eventually a lot of us are going to be infected, no matter what precautions we take. So what practical things are within our power to reduce our chances of a bad outcome? And hopefully also reduce our stress about the parts we can’t control.

Start exercising today. Just a walk around the block if that’s where you are. Then add a bit every day. I know a lot of us went into lockdown thinking it was going to be a few weeks at home baking sourdough and drinking wine (no judgement from me!) and now it’s 5 months gone and we haven’t set foot outside the house except to work or get groceries. That’s OK, start where you are. The better condition your heart and lungs are in, the faster you will be able to recover. And better lung health will better enable you to withstand the respiratory symptoms of the second stage of disease. I do believe that going into this with a high level of aerobic fitness contributed to my rapid and complete recovery.

Exercise, fresh air and sunshine also naturally boost immune response, making you more resistant to becoming ill and hopefully helping you throw off disease more easily. And let’s face it, outdoors is probably the safest place you can spend time right now, no grotty surfaces or enclosed air circulation to spread the virus around, and viruses don’t like sunshine. Take advantage while the weather is still good, because colder days will be around the corner before you know it.

Corollary to the above. Other than age, the greatest risk factor for a bad outcome with COVID-19 is diabetes, the next greatest is obesity. These outweigh even chronic lung conditions such as COPD and asthma. While exercise alone will not necessarily help you lose weight, it will help keep your blood sugars in a safe and healthy range. Blood sugars spike uncontrollably even in some otherwise healthy people during the course of illness and this is associated with significantly worse outcomes. Make sure all of your diabetes medications are optimized and that you are checking sugars daily to stay in the ideal range, this is not the time for poor blood sugar control.

Lose weight if you can. I know we always say that when you come in the office, but this time instead of it being an abstract thing that may lengthen your life ten or twenty years down the road, during this pandemic it may make a difference next month. No crash diets right now, but a steady controlled weight reduction program with the knowledge of your primary care provider  is a really good choice. I’m agnostic about how you choose to lose it, the best diet is the one that works for you.

Make sure you have all your chronic conditions under the best possible control. Diabetes, Blood Pressure, Heart Disease, Asthma, COPD, etc. Make sure you are staying in close contact with your PCP, even if this is telephonic or virtual, and ensure all your medications are up to date, you have any refills you need and that all your dosages are optimized for best overall health. Any co-morbidities need to be managed aggressively before you become ill.

As far as supplementation goes, if you do get sick, the supportive care regimen from the local ER for patients who can care for themselves at home is Tylenol for aches and pains, plus 500 mg Vitamin C and 220 mg Zinc Sulfate both taken 3 times a day for 10 days. I also was prescribed these during my admission and upon discharge. These supplements may have properties that slow viral replication and they are both readily available and unlikely to cause harm, so it’s not a bad idea to have them on hand to start taking if you become ill.

There is also growing evidence that low Vitamin D levels are associated with adverse outcomes. Most Americans are Vitamin D deficient, so in addition to daily walks in the sunshine I suggest supplementation with 2000 IUs Vitamin D3 daily. This is in addition to any you may be getting from a standard multivitamin. This you need to start now, and not after you are sick as it will likely take 8 weeks or more to get levels close to normal if you are currently deficient (and you probably are).

If you get sick with anything you believe could be COVID-19, no matter how vague and non-specific, STAY HOME, even if you choose not to be tested. CDC guidance for patients with symptoms is to stay home for a total of 10 days from onset of illness. At the end of that period if respiratory symptoms have improved (they do not have to be completely resolved) and you have had no fever during the last 3 days of your quarantine, you can return to work or school. This may seem obvious, but I was surprised how few people know the guidelines. Staying home if you are sick is the single most important thing any of us can do to slow the spread of this virus.

I do advise going ahead and getting tested if you develop symptoms, even if you are fully able to take care of yourself at home. This is both to give yourself peace of mind and because I suspect that in the next few months there are going to be situations where proving you have already been infected will just make your life easier. No, I’m not talking about “immunity certificates” per se, just that if my choice is between showing some business (say, an airline representative, or a conference organizer) a copy of my positive test result, rather than having a swab shoved halfway into my brainpan again 48 hours before some event, I know which I’d prefer. I would also get tested if a family member or close contact becomes ill, even if you remain asymptomatic. This can keep you from spreading the virus unknowingly and may actually allow you back in society more quickly if you test positive than if you don’t. The Virginia Department of Health guidelines for those exposed, but not symptomatic can be found here https://www.vdh.virginia.gov/coronavirus/local-exposure/ I think this breaks it down better than the CDC page and I include it here as the guidelines for asymptomatic contacts are actually more complicated than for those who get sick.

Testing options are going to vary by geographic location. Locally, we have one pharmacy chain that will test anyone, usually within the hour and another which is still using criteria from back in April and turning down most of those who ask.  If you have kids, be aware that many of the drugstore chains are unable to test under 18s and they may require a trip to the local Urgent Care instead. The best advice I have is to check websites or call ahead about requirements and see if you need to make an appointment wherever you plan to be tested.

Also be aware that, again depending on location, results may be coming back really slow right now. Mine took eight days (by which time I was already hospitalized) and I understand that the average in my state recently reached ten days, which is not super practical from a contact tracing perspective. It is still valuable information to have for yourself. As contact tracing cannot function when tests are this untimely, I urge you to do the right thing, and if you have any suspicion you may be infected, reach anyone you came in close contact with (defined as within 6 feet for more than 15 minutes) in the 48 hours before you developed symptoms. The faster you do it, the faster they can take precautions, and waiting for your local health department to be notified of a positive result may mean it’s two weeks before they have any clue they were exposed. You are most infectious in the 48 hours before and the 72 hours after developing symptoms.

If you become ill, and particularly if you enter the respiratory phase of illness, a home pulse oximeter (pulse ox) is a really useful tool for knowing if your cough is just annoying or becoming something dangerous. Always listen to your body first. If you are short of breath or having chest pain, go straight to the ER, even if the numbers look fine. Don’t be afraid of wasting their time, that’s what they are there for.

A normal oxygen saturation level (the percentage of oxygen dissolved in the blood, also referred to as sat) is between 95-100%.  If your levels are in this range you are most likely safe to care for yourself at home, but should keep in touch with your PCP so they can help you stay on top of your symptoms. They may also be able to prescribe medications to keep you more comfortable while recovering at home.

If you are between 93-94%, reach out your PCP, Urgent Care, or your local ER (who should have a COVID hotline) right away to let them know of the change and see what steps they want you to take next. If there is no response, go to your local ER for further care.

If your sats are 92% or lower, go straight to the ER. One of many weird things about this disease is that oxygen levels sometimes drop dangerously low without subjective symptoms of shortness of breath, so this may be the only early warning sign you get that things are going bad. In my own case, this was how I knew it was time to go to the hospital and upon admission, I was told that I had come at exactly the right time. A day sooner and they’d have sent me home, a day later and I would likely have been much further down the path of inflammatory cascade.

A very important part of this, is that you need to get the pulse oximeter before you get sick, and learn both how to use it correctly and what your normal is, in order to use it effectively when the time comes. Some important things to note are that nail polish or artificial nails can interfere with getting a good reading, your hands should be warm before you apply the device and you should give 30-60 seconds for the reading to settle before taking the result. But they cost around 20 dollars on Amazon or at your local pharmacy and should be sitting right next to your thermometer in your medical toolbag.

I don’t want to underplay that COVID-19 can be a severe disease with serious consequences. I am living proof that even the lowest risk can have an unpredictably bad course and there is very little we understand about why that happens. But I think the overall picture is encouraging and looking better by the day as we learn more about how this thing works. If I had been ill even a few weeks sooner, I would have had a far more protracted recovery, and possibly long-term health issues as dexamethasone was not yet being widely used outside of a handful of academic medical centers nationwide.

Getting as sick as I did was pure bad luck, rather like being struck by lightning, but my ferocious recovery was not accidental. It was the work of really good doctors and medical care team members who knew how to treat me, and the fact that I knew when to seek care instead of waiting to get sicker. And probably a little bit because I was in really good shape prior to my illness.

My hope is to give some knowledge and tools to aid in understanding what COVID-19 is, how it typically presents, the latest in treatments, and what steps you can take to ensure the best possible outcome if you get sick. It’s time to move from a place of fear to a place of cautious confidence. There is still a lot we don’t know, but we really are making progress.

POSITIVE!

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Yesterday, on the Denver Post (I think! It’s a Colorado Newspaper anyway) site I came across a headline that’s so wrong that wrong would be an improvement.

“US tops 500000 Covid-19 cases. Europe looks on in horror.” [For those correcting the “typo” via various means: I think they meant NEW cases.  The article was muddled, but that was the feeling I got. The headline was JUST that.]

Do I need to break it down?

Half a million cases means, of course, a half million tests positive right now. Which means we have almost 0.2% of people positive for a respiratory virus.

Let’s imagine that indeed Europe is looking on in horror — we’ll go into that part later — what precisely are they horrified about? Because such a low number of infected people means that our lockdown orders are fracking insane and the mandatory mask orders in many states (I suggest Jared Polis wear a whole-body condom. Sealed) are even crazier, even if masks did in fact do anything except make it more likely for people to get infected. So, Europe looks down in horror as we descend into psychotic destruction of our own economy over a bug that seems to be affecting almost no one? Is that it?

Needless to say that wasn’t their slant, of course.

Let’s then drill down into cases. What the hell are cases, actually? I bet you most people reading that headline think cases are deaths, or at the very minimum hospitalizations.

I want to point out right now even if we had a half million residents in hospitals right now, all it would mean was that the hospitals would not be laying off medical personnel, and perhaps it would cut down on the tik tok dance time for some nurses, but still no, let’s be clear cases aren’t hospitalizations.

And cases aren’t deaths — I have run into people who thought this too — and sure, if we topped half a million deaths it would be bad. Very bad. It would be about five times the mortality of a normal “bad flu year.”

Which when all is said and done would still leave us rather far of “condition zombie apocalypse.”

Why precisely Europe would be looking on in horror at that kind of numbers is something else. But of course, it depends on who in Europe they asked, which countries in Europe, and actually what the hell they mean by Europe or how Europe even heard about our “cases.”

Let me start by saying I have family in Europe. Despite their marked tendency to call me when there are fires in California, because this is “near” Colorado and therefore I must be at risk, I have yet to get a panicked phone call asking me if my sons — even my son who is a medical professional — are okay, or if I — who am notoriously hampered in the lung department and also have a tendency to catch everything that comes through town or even waves from the next town — am being careful, take all precautions, etc.

In fact, while my father in law asks us in every call if health professional son is okay and is taking all precautions, my family in Europe is more worried about whether we all have jobs, because of what this insanity is doing to the US economy. If they mention the dread plague from China, it usually starts with “I don’t understand why the US seems to be so scared. This is what is scaring our own government/s, that they think the US knows something special.”

Uh uh. To an extent, they are in fact looking on in horror, and wondering if we should have put anti-psychotics in the water a while back. In fact, their tone reminds me exactly of the tone I heard around me in 1968 (about the earliest I remember hearing the US mentioned) and it has this undertone of “Whatever the hell is going on in America, can you guys fix it already?” To the extent they are worried about the bug in their own countries, it is because they have this, totally unwarranted, belief that the Americans are possessors and learners of secret knowledge, and that if we are going ape shit, there must be something they aren’t seeing.

Now granted I only have regular contact with people in three European countries, but really…. what European COUNTRIES do these headline writers mean? Precisely? With diagrams?

Let’s be honest,t hat headline is very compelling to the average American born-and-bred who has never really thought about Europe, but to anyone who knows EUROPE it’s a belly laugh.

Who in hell is horrified? Poles? Swedes? Spaniards? Europe, despite the EU is — for purposes of culture and communication — not a version of the US with the countries instead of states. Europe, fragmented into languages and dialects and broken into very, very different cultures (yes, the US has very different cultures per state and region, too, but not that different. For those differences you need to marinade in insularity for a few centuries) is a fragmentation of peoples most of whom until the EU would need a passport (for the cat) to swing a cat, and would need a translator to tell their neighbor to duck while the cat is swung.

If Europe is horrified at our number of cases, exactly why are they so?

Is it because they have no idea that our population is somewhere between 300 million and 350 million? Or is it because their governments lie to them and tell them they’re doing much better? Or is it because their entire information about our country comes via CNN who makes up shit to make it seem like we’re all dropping dead in the streets and then is spun by THEIR individual press, in their individual countries who firmly believe the government in the US has some control over the press, and therefore what they hear via CNN is dressed up to “best case scenario?”

Yeah, I imagine Europe (Whoever the hell is meant by that) looks on in horror at the US. But they also look down in horror at our crime situation, which they believe to be something out of Fast and Furious, our gun ownership (speaking of fast and furious) because — I swear I’m not making this up — they believe we all fight duels in the streets all the time, and our health (in general, not just winnie the flu) situation, because they believe that our hospitals refuse to treat the uninsured, and therefore we’re all piling up dead at the door to the hospitals. (Which of course means they’re horrified. As many decades as they think we’ve been shooting/murdering/refusing care to each other, not to mention the fact that they take those idiotic “hunger” surveys from the Obama years (remember, when they asked if you ate everything you wanted to that day and took a no to mean you were suffering from hunger. (To be fair, most of us are dieting, so that too is not even wrong.)) and assume we’ve been starting for decades. I mean, at this point they probably think the last half million Americans just fell down dead.)

And given the silliness of that picture above, and the bizarre ideas of the trolls who regularly come here to school us about what is “really” going on in America, bring up the most interesting question of all: Who the f*ck actually cares if Europe is “horrified”? They neither pay our taxes nor are in any state to make war on us. They have nothing we want, and know nothing about us and why PRECISELY should we give a d*mn if they’re horrified, elated, jumping for joy, or picking their nose?

Of course, this plays on the insecurities of the pseudo intellectuals with journalism degrees, who have been taught that Marxist Europe is the be all and end all, the pattern card of perfection of which we will forever fall short. They’re afraid that some random European will tell them how backward America is.

I have a solution: leave. Go to Europe. Leave there. Only before you go give up your citizenship, because when you try to come back — and you will. It will in fact take tops 5 years — I want to be able to make sure you’ve learned better.

But this is the kind of nonsensical headline people are being scared with. The ridiculousness is at a point some survey found that Americans thought “10%” of Americans had died of Covid-19.

Think about it for a moment. 10% is one in ten people. It is in fact about what our unemployment level is right now. So everyone would know at least five or six people who are unemployed. Even in my highly competent and adaptable circles, I know 5 people who are unemployed, and a few more whose jobs are in doubt or in abeyance.

I know ONE FOF who died of this, and yes, there were other complications, etc. And again, not someone I know directly, just a relative of an on-line friend.

I do know two people who caught it (again, one online — I’ll run her post tomorrow–) and both recovered, one of them without hospitalization.

And I remind you my net on line is very, very broad. There are 4k of you who are regulars of this blog (Ah, if each of you gave me $1 a month… 😉 Okay, it still wouldn’t be a ton, given the paypal fee, but a woman can dream) judging by the hits and IPs that hit it regularly. Then — though there is some overlap — there are the 1500 or so in my fan group on FB, the people who email me regularly about posts on instapundit, etc. etc. There must be about 10k people who have some contact with me on the semi-regular. One death. Two cases.

So– what in actual hell? Why do people believe that ten percent of the population have died?

Well, it’s the news. In the few times I had to read a local paper for some reason, or was trapped in front of streaming news, or got input from the MSM in some way, they always fudge “cases” with “cases actually needing treatment” — the second is a fraction of the first — and “deaths” which is a much, much smaller fraction, and even that inflated by the fact that they are counting people dead while positive for covid, instead of people who died of COVID-19.

And always, always, our media sneeringly implies that other countries did much better/are doing much better. Even if they were — they’re not — when is the last time they told us we were so much harder-hit by the flu or the common cold than oh, Spain, and therefore Spain is better? Never?

But no, they’re not. In fact if you take away the cases in places that are hives of humanity, like NYC or Chicago (where being ventilated with a shot through the chest causes COVID-19) our cases are right in the middle of the pack for north European and Scandinavian cultures, whether they locked up or not. Which makes perfect sense, of course, because what actually matters is not the measures but the culture. And in the US, the chances of you coming cheek to jowl with humanity is zero or close to it.

Which, btw, bring us to “But Korea” well, yes, Korea — and other Asian countries — had to do a lot more control and be a lot more proactive because they live in density and proximity and social conviviality that would in fact make most Americans start singing “don’t stand so close to me.”

Look, guys, if this virus hasn’t actually utterly depopulated North Korea? No big.

Again the question is, though: WHY are they trying to terrify everyone and give them the impression that Europe, totalitarian, sclerotic, old-age-home Europe did so much better?

The answer is simple. They’re trying to fashion a saddle, and mean to ride us.

Refuse to be infected with statism. Laugh in their faces. Give them the middle finger. If the virus is so dangerous, ask them why it’s taking so long for them to die.

And above all? Be Americans. They can’t stand that.

 

 

Witch’s Daughter, Installment 11

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*For the previous chapters, please go here. These are posted first draft, as the brain dictates to the fingers which are remarkably stupid. Also there will be inconsistencies because until September or so, the timing on these is wonky, and I’ll forget stuff between posts. Eventually it will be cleaned up and fixed just before page is made secret/taken down and the book is published. At that time I will take lists of typos or volunteers to proof read. For now, it’s written in a hurry, usually an hour before it goes up. And, let me remind you, it’s free – SAH*

 

The Wolf Returns

Michael felt as though his head were reeling.

To an extent he — the part of him that was charitable at least — understood the frustration of the young man and how he wished they would simply do what he told them to.

To another extent– To another extent, the truth was that while trying to test one of his inventions, he’d been shanghaied into an adventure he’d not signed up for, and the idea that he should now risk his life on some ill-defined magical road for the sake of people so wholly unconnected with him made him feel both tired and put upon.

But he didn’t know how to express his problem without sounding rude, or as though he didn’t care for Al who had, in fact, saved his life twice over. Or had almost probably saved his life. While embroiling him in the most horrendous adventure, of course, but all of it — he was sure — unmeant.

As she told the young man how he was being rude, and sounded like she’d lost all patience, he put out a hand.  “No, I understand,” he said.  “It is just that I did not mean to be embroiled in any of this. I did not choose it,” he looked towards Geoff.  “And it sounds to me as though your brothers, with far better knowledge of the situation just got lost, so I can’t understand what I can be expected to do.” He realized he sounded whiny, something he was prone to do, at least to his own ears. Chalk it up to being the much younger son of — de fact if not in law — three boys, whose two older sons were far more powerful in their own ways.  He didn’t have to like it to recognize it. But mostly, he guessed he sounded tired, which he was.

Al must have picked up on the implication. She gave him the sort of look women were likely to give men when they over-exert. Michael had seen it from his twin, Caroline, who was bound to think she was much older than him — not a bare minute — and therefore entitled to looking after him as a second mother. But most of all, he saw it from housekeepers and nurses, and even maids, who all tended to think — he thought it was distributed as household rules to new hires — that he worked too much at his machines, and didn’t eat enough or take enough healthy exercise.

Al gave him that look, then looked back at her brother.  “Before we can decide what to do or how, we must have a bath, and clothes, and food too. You must understand we’ve been precipitated from adventure to disaster for what I would judge to be whole day, and we’re not going to set off on any magical road without resting and eating.”  She paused.  “At least I am not. Lord Michael is free to make his own decision.”

Geoff looked angry, or maybe puzzled.  Without knowing the young man better, Michael could not determine exactly what the frown that cross his face meant.  He opened his mouth as if to speak, but what came out of his mouth was “blert.”  It was exactly the same sound as you’d expect at the beginning of a trumpet fanfare.

Then, before Michael’s shocked eyes, the lad hiccuped, hiccuped again, made a sound that amounted to “blurt!” but which was not made by any vocal organs, but rather as if his entire body had imploded inward.  And trumped again.  Only the creature trumpeting now was a swan — had to be a swan, geese didn’t make that sound — standing in a welter of male clothes.  He put out his neck, and trumpeted again, indignantly.

At the same time there was the found of footsteps approaching the cottage door, and presently the door swung inward.

Michael had once seen a portrait of Tristan Blackley.  It was one of the very early portraits, where magic had first allowed the affixing of an image to paper, but it tended to fade and lose sharpness over a very short time.  It had been copied, many times over, in pencil and woodcut, and appeared in every schoolbook, under the heading of “Tristan Blackley, the father of modern magic.”

It showed, sketchily, a thin man with a patrician nose and heavy eyebrows, and a mass of unruly, fanning out dark hair.

Only–

Add several decades, make the hair white, and emphasize the nose.  Also give the nose a wound at the very tip that looked like someone had hit with a red-hot poker.  Or a fireball.  And you’d have the same Tristan Blackley.  Michael suppressed a sigh and told himself that hiding behind Albinia would be a despicable act of cowardice.

The man looked upset, very upset.  And his glare favored Michael, Albinia and the goo– swan with no mitigation.

To Michael’s relief, he was wrapped in a tattered, disreputable looking grey cloak. Seeing a legendary magician in the altogether was no part nor parcel of Michael’s ambition, frankly.

He said “Good evening,” but in the tone he might mean “The better to eat you with.”

The swan trumpeted indignantly and Blackley answered, in a mordant tone, “No doubt, Geoff, but I thought I was more suited to explaining what must be done and why.”

The swan made a half muttered “trumpet” sound that managed to convey sullen acquiescence.

Albinia, as far as Michael could see through the corner of his eye, without turning, at first looked surprised, shocked, then dejected and had now hunched into herself and become unreadable.

Tristan Blackley’s eyes, just as intelligent and piercing as in his portrait turned back to the pair of them, “I presume,” he said, “You got some version of our intent, but have not yet understood the whole.”

Michael cleared his throat, but before he could speak, Tristan hiccuped, and Michael fell back on his left foot, ready to leap in front of Al and protect her should this person turn into the wolf again.

Instead, Tristan covered his mouth, “Pardon me,” he said.  “Voles. Worst part of this business, I swear. Very erratic diet.  And now, what do you wish to know?”

Albinia stepped forward then, managing to project much older than her years, and said, “No, papa.  Before we wish to know anything at all, we must have baths, food, clean clothing and probably a bed. Because you are violating every law of hospitality of simple humanity and this will not stand.”

Tristan opened his mouth, closed it and swallowed.  Something like both shock and fear crossed his features.  Michael expected him to say something unkind, but all he said was, “Oh, very well!” in the tone of a great concession.

 

Vignettes by Luke, Mary Catelli and ‘Nother Mike and Book Promo

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*Note these are books sent to us by readers/frequenters of this blog.  Our bringing them to your attention does not imply that we’ve read them and/or endorse them, unless we specifically say so.  As with all such purchases, we recommend you download a sample and make sure it’s to your taste.  If you wish to send us books for next week’s promo, please email to bookpimping at outlook dot com. If you feel a need to re-promo the same book do so no more than once every six months (unless you’re me or my relative. Deal.) One book per author per week. Amazon links only. Oh, yeah, by clicking through and buying (anything, actually) through one of the links below, you will at no cost to you be giving a portion of your purchase to support ATH through our associates number. I ALSO WISH TO REMIND OUR READERS THAT IF THEY WANT TO TIP THE BLOGGER WITHOUT SPENDING EXTRA MONEY, CLICKING TO AMAZON THROUGH ONE OF THE BOOK LINKS ON THE RIGHT, WILL GIVE US SOME AMOUNT OF MONEY FOR PURCHASES MADE IN THE NEXT 24HOURS, OR UNTIL YOU CLICK ANOTHER ASSOCIATE’S LINK. PLEASE CONSIDER CLICKING THROUGH ONE OF THOSE LINKS BEFORE SEARCHING FOR THAT SHED, BIG SCREEN TV, GAMING COMPUTER OR CONSERVATORY YOU WISH TO BUY. That helps defray my time cost of about 2 hours a day on the blog, time probably better spent on fiction. ;)*

FROM C. J. CARELLA:  Twilight Templar: A LitRPG Saga (The Eternal Journey Book 1).

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Ben sat down to play a brand-new MMORPG, Eternal Journey Online. Next thing he knew, he had been transformed into his character, first-level Paladin Hawke Lightseeker, and found himself in a corpse-filled cavern complex crawling with monsters and undead. Armed with a sentient sword, Hawke must learn the rules of a reality where magic and power-leveling are as real as swords and knives, and where you only get a limited number of respawns before you die for good.

Follow Hawke as he explores the mysterious Common Realm, meets new friends and foes, battles to survive, and learns more about his growing power and inner strength.
Note to LitRPG Fans: This novel concentrates primarily on action-adventure, with a focus on power-leveling and learning new magic and class subsystems. Future novels will deal with town and stronghold management. There is also a harem (fade-to-black, non explicit) subplot that plays a part in the story without detracting from it.
Sample chapters can be found at my website: http://cjcarella.com/twilight_templar_the_eternal_journey_book_one

 

FROM C. J. CARELLA: Lord of the Dead: A LitRPG Saga (The Eternal Journey Book 2).

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The adventure continues! Hawke Lightseeker, Twilight Templar, prepares to confront the Necromancer who feeds on the souls of his fellow Eternals. Before he can lead his band of adventurers into the dread mountain fastness, however, Hawke must conquer a Lair, help organize the town of Orom, and raise his strength in a series of increasingly more difficult Quests.

FROM IAIN MURRAY:  The Socialist Temptation.

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Socialism is tempting, seductive, alluring. It comes in many forms and speaks in many different ways. It appeals to people who value fairness, who value freedom, and who value security. It comes in many varieties, sometimes clothing itself in the dress of nationalism, sometimes in the garb of environmentalism. Yet there is one single, unifying feature – subjugation of the individual to the collective. While Americans have always been skeptical of socialism, even in the progressive and New Deal eras, that is beginning to change. Large numbers of Americans now express admiration for socialism, and similar numbers are critical of the free enterprise system. The problem is particularly acute among America’s young people. This is not the first time we have been here. In 1977, when America was deep in an economic malaise, Ronald Reagan gave a speech in which he wondered, “Whatever happened to free enterprise?” Noting that the free enterprise system “for 200 years made us the light of the world,” he warned that freedom is “never more than one generation away from extinction.” He took the lead in preserving it for the previous generation. It is time for this generation to take up the torch. Reagan framed the defense of freedom as first and foremost a communications challenge. Today, a field of study known as cultural cognition theory understands that our political choices are guided by certain values. Americans generally fall into one of three value groups, valuing fairness (egalitarians), freedom (libertarians), and security (conservatives) respectively. The Socialist Temptation is an attempt to meet the modern version of the communications challenge posed by Ronald Reagan. There are reasons why socialism appeals to each of these value groups. The Socialist Temptation tackles these reasons head on and responds with a vigorous case for free enterprise as better matching American values.

FROM MARY CATELLI:  Treachery And Spells

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Two novellas of magic and adventure. . . Caught between pirates who would force him to use wizardry in their aid, and a king who would force him to spy, Alik will need every scrap of wits and wizardry to forge his own path. A curse of ill luck leaves Perriel and Gareth trapped in an endless winter, with only the faintest hope of breaking free.

Vignettes by Luke, Mary Catelli and ‘Nother Mike.

So what’s a vignette? You might know them as flash fiction, or even just sketches. We will provide a prompt each Sunday that you can use directly (including it in your work) or just as an inspiration. You, in turn, will write about 50 words (yes, we are going for short shorts! Not even a Drabble 100 words, just half that!). Then post it! For an additional challenge, you can aim to make it exactly 50 words, if you like.

We recommend that if you have an original vignette, you post that as a new reply. If you are commenting on someone’s vignette, then post that as a reply to the vignette. Comments — this is writing practice, so comments should be aimed at helping someone be a better writer, not at crushing them. And since these are likely to be drafts, don’t jump up and down too hard on typos and grammar.

If you have questions, feel free to ask.

Your writing prompt this week is: ADAPTABLE

The Wrong Story

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Having dealt with what I’m sure is yet the same troll in the comments, telling us that without Marxism the “upper classes” wouldn’t give a fig for the lower classes, world without end, connected with something that has been going on in my head all morning.

Let me explain to begin with that I feel very ill this morning, so this is bound to be a little disjointed and I’m going to try to keep it short.

On the ill: Almost for sure not winnie the flu, as I have no fever OR cough, but all three of us in the house hold have been feeling tired/sleepy/generally out of it, with occasional nausea.  Nausea is the only thing that racks to Winnie the Flu, and honestly, it’s not enough.  It could all be psychological. I’d like to drag son for a walk as that might help. My sense of taste and smell come and go, but for me that tracks to stress/auto-immune. Also note “come and go” sometimes several times a day.  This morning I couldn’t smell cat pee. Right now I’m overwhelmed by the smell of the cleaner I used on it, even though it’s downstairs and across the house.  So….

No clue what it is. This sort of extreme tiredness often tracks to my being stressed/autoimmune acting up.  But in this case the rest of the family is going through it, as well.  Eh.You know, lockdown does weird things to immune systems, and though we’re not, we’re effectively on lockdown since Fash-Boots-Polis instituted mandatory masks. Because I never know if I’ll be allowed in with face shield (masks send me immediately into accute respiratory distress but stores don’t seem aware of exceptions) I just stay in the house.

Anyway, this morning I was reading a book from a non-woke author who has been pounded in reviews for daring to tell the truth about pre-conquest Mexican history, and yet, in analyzing previous Mexican/indigenous societies he speaks repeatedly of “class warfare” and seems to think it’s a normal part of civilization.

Which made me pound my head repeatedly on the breakfast table.

Class warfare isn’t a thing. It was never a thing until Marx brought it to the vocabulary. Hell and damnation, it wasn’t even a thing in the French revolution.  No, I’m serious.

The fact that some people have more and some have less has never caused war or the fall of any civilization.  What causes war or the fall of civilization is closing pathways to “having more” to large segments of the population.

The French revolution wasn’t class warfare. Yes, aristo, aristo a la lanterne.  But what it actually was was the violent reorganization of a society whose ruling elite had become obsolete and unable to adapt to new economic circumstances, and also who refused to let society change normally.

Which I can completely understand is something that would make our current self-proclaimed ruling elites uncomfortable, since that’s exactly what they’re doing.

French aristocrats were often not the wealthiest people around. In fact, their means of wealth had been falling for over a century, and most of them were deeply indebted. What they had by law, though, was power over everyone BORN under them.  It wasn’t economic, but state power, ultimately.  And they not only refused to relinquish it, allow the bourgeois (often far wealthier) into their circles, but kept coming up with more and better ways to keep the “interlopers” out.

They were in fact doing what a lot of our soi disant “elites” are doing, trying to silence dissent and return to a way of life that hasn’t been normal or healthy for a century or so.  (The left’s ideal time is the 1930s for instance. Only with more sex stuff, and — in their heads but nor really since they’re now for straight up apartheid under the guise of safe spaces — racial integration.)

But it wasn’t “classes” in the sense that Marx preached them. It had nothing to do with wealth, income levels, or daily occupation. (The nobility QUITE lacked means of production, that being part of the problem, in the industrial age.)

It was more accurately castes: i.e. privileges given by the government depending on the condition of your birth.  Which, again, is what the left is trying to institute here.

Anyway, there has never been “class struggle” in any history ever, in the Marxist sense.  That was Marxist…. Well…. Marx was a high functioning autist and invented patterns even where they didn’t exist. And he wanted to plug in to the romantic ethos of the time and make the industrial revolution bad. So he came up with that load of fecal matter. It means nothing.

If you believe in Marxist “classes” and “Class warfare” and you’re not a leftist, kindly consider you’ve been profoundly mal-educated.

(If you are a leftist, you’ve also been profoundly mal-educated, but you like it, you believe in it, and by gum you’re going to wallow in it like a pig in muck.)

History could more accurately be described as a battle of memes.

Humans live not by bread alone. Regardless of how food and the other necessary goods of society are produced, that’s not what makes people happy/unhappy, etc.  It’s the story in their heads about the society and what makes it tick that counts. And the story always lags reality. And is often used for the rulers’ purposes.

Hence the romantics were an attempt to make life pre-industrial revolution wonderful. And convince peasants living in rural submission was better.

At some point, though, the story breaks, when its fit to reality (it’s NEVER 100% because human life is fluid) becomes glaringly broken.  This is when revolutions happen.

For instance, it was easy for rural French peasants to groan under the oppression of the nobility, because there was a unified narrative that you were supposed to serve in the place you were born to. And because honestly, the noblemen were different enough so as to be another breed, almost.

It was when the industrial revolution advanced enough that there was a vast group of wealthy people who were told they were inferior “by reason of birth” that the wheels came off. Particularly as the bankrupt nobility tried to push them back into rural subjection.

In the case of the book I’m reading, he talked about pre-Mexican peasants rebelling against the priests who lived so much better, because class warfare.  This is not real. Or serious. It’s more likely they rebelled (we don’t know for sure, as we have no written accounts) because the priests failed in their role according to societal narrative.

I.e. they were supposed to keep bad things away, and didn’t.

In the same way the current covidiocy and intentional crash of the economy is an attempt to reverse the clock and to implant the narrative that “we’re all in this together” thereby giving the Marxist intelligentsia of the west control over the story in people’s heads.

“The heroic people and their heroic leaders defeated the virus with the power of government and therefore the government must have more power and narratives must come from the top and be unified.”

This is their preferred narrative. It leaks out with things like DeBolshevik wanting a ticker tape parade “when we defeat” the virus. Or their being really upset at Trump for not falling in line with “government is the way to defeat this” or imposing unified solutions from the top.

It’s not going to work. In fact, it’s hitting hardest those places they have full control of: Arts, entertainment, news, education–  What they’re actually doing is destroying their areas of power to gain power. Which is a ghost dance typical of what happens when an “elite” displaced by a change in circumstances which makes their story no longer fit tries to hold on to power.

The more they do, the more they flail around, the harder the fall will be.  Which frankly is scaring the shit out of me, as I think it’s going to be guillotines and terror. Not their fake attempts at terror, but the real one, where people Have.Had.Just.About.Enough and have no way to make the bullshit stop except a massive spasm of violence.

This is the way civilizations DO fall.

But the picture in everyone’s head right now is “classes” in “permanent war” which is an invention of Marx and has no contact with reality.

History is not permanent class warfare.  History IS permanent change.  And when the story in people’s heads doesn’t match the narrative, a time comes when it is reset VIOLENTLY.

The Marxist narrative was never right — which is why it brings death, starvation and destruction wherever it gets power — but it made sense to people in a regimented post-industrial world.  It also poisoned them for any practical solution, but hey, the ruling classes could USE it to get more power.  So it worked, after a fashion.

Only in the information age it doesn’t. And people are buying it less and less. Ad know all the ways in which it breaks.  But still retain fragments of it in their head. Which means as it falls apart, it will fall faster, harder and more violently.

The more it has penetrated everything and cued people for the wrong reaction, the more violent the outcome.

But screaming the story louder, or having seeded it everywhere doesn’t stop its fall. It just makes the fall more violent.

Reality is a bitch. It always wins.

And the current “elite” inability to understand that, or even to process that they are in fact in charge and not bold rebels (which their Marxist upbringing insists they are) is setting us up for a “blood to our ankles” situation.

Pray that I’m wrong.

When Psychosis Took Over The Culture

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What seems like centuries ago, and was in fact in the last century, after the fall of the USSR, I watched as the wheels came off Science Fiction short stories, in a sort of mini-fit-of-insanity.

I kept bouncing between being horrified and being amused, all of it worsened by my being pregnant/nursing/raising toddlers which, for those who have never experienced such a state is its own form of altered reality.

So, what happened from my POV was this — note that things might be different from how you remember it, due to how I experienced things.  This is not to say (THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT) that reality was different for me, only that I experienced things in a different sequence due to spending some of the time in another country, and coming back and experiencing as new things that had gone on here for a while —

When I fell in love with SF/F in Portugal there were no magazines available in the language, and the books were available in jumbled ways.  This is because Portuguese publishers always published things in such tight batches that — like now — older releases (particularly) by popular authors disappeared. Unless you could find them in used bookstores, in forgotten tobaconnists in tiny villages you were passing through (how I found Glory Road) and/or in the back of your friend’s grandfather’s closet, while helping people clear the house.

This means that not only didn’t I have a clear view (still don’t except very vaguely) of trends/currents in sf/f, but I came it all at once, from pulp to new wave, and read it all uncritically and without knowing which was more recent. (What this did to my science education and my understanding of world history is something different. You should have seen my teacher when she realized I thought WWIII (nuclear) HAD happened “about fifty years ago.”)

But I HEARD of science fiction magazines.  And though this wasn’t my plan, exactly, on coming to the US and finding the little town in Ohio where I was an exchange student had an entire shelf of Sf/F, that I could buy Heinlein books I never heard of at the local(ish) Waldens, and that ZOMG Analog still existed and published every month, I immediately subscribed to Analog, Asimov’s and possibly others (look, it was 40 years ago and I’ve been busy.)

My months became determined by when those arrived in the mail. I.e. I’d grab the magazine from the mailbox and lose the next day as I read it cover to cover, which means I learned to do my homework early/late so that I could work around it.

A lot of the stories I read in those magazines were of the “the Soviets win the war/we destroy the Earth” nuclear war variety, and then we have to live/survive.

It didn’t strike me as wrong, precisely. I mean, we were “all waiting for the hammer to fall” right? I was a little upset there weren’t a ton of space operas and colonization stories, simply because I had enjoyed those, but not enough to be really upset.  Just a “oh, I wish.”

At the end of the year I went back and after an epic bureaucratic battle with the college system in Portugal (they really aren’t set up for stepping out of the system for a year) I went to college, and taught part time, and developed a social life.  So, things got rather busy.

Four years and a bit later, when I got married and came back to the US, I again subscribed to SF Mags, and at the time got irritated that all of the stories had a slant of “the west loses out”.

Okay this isn’t true and is a gross simplification, but I found myself little by little not reading those very expensive magazines, because they all seemed to me to paint a picture of the future amounting to “the future is worse than the present. Also rusty.”

There were still stories I liked, but not enough for me to remember this much later.  (Though some of the authors stuck and I found their novels later.)

Over the next six years and fertility treatments (talk of hormonal insanity) I popped in and out of reading sf/f as the spirit moved.  Some friends recommended epic fantasy series, but this was never precisely my thing, and I also found a lot of books I didn’t know were decades old and enjoyed those, while at the same time also reading a lot of mystery.  Oh, and history. And– whatever.

But I remember the years after the USSR fell, because I had a kid that year, and another 3 years and change later, and we moved to Colorado, I joined my first writers’ group and subscribed to Writer’s magazine and Writers’ Digest.

These events are tied together because getting pregnant meant deciding not to work outside the home, moving to Colorado destroyed my nascent translation business (look, here’s the thing, pre-internet it was local contacts, which I was JUST forming) and anyway, I HATED translation (don’t ask. I don’t actually hate the work. I just hated doing the work necessary to establish as a freelancer.  And it wasn’t QUITE my thing.  I like puzzles, I just don’t LIVE to solve them. I’d met other translators and become aware I was an odd one for the profession.) and my husband had said “Well, you always wanted to write for a living, so why don’t you try it while the kids are little?” (It SEEMED like a good idea at the time.)

We won’t go into how green I was. Very. Let’s say that.  So the ideas that you should a) first break into short stories seemed logical (it wasn’t) b) buy magazines to figure out what they published was mind-blowing (because I’d been raised with the idea of the genius around whom the world conforms. S, if I were good enough, I’d be published, no matter what the publisher wanted.)

So somewhere, while pregnant with #2 son I re-discovered sf/f magazines.  (We’d also just popped out of a phase where we could barely afford to eat, and finally had money for mags.)

And–

Dear Lord, what was I reading?

What I was reading was the same stories I’d read as an exchange student, now with a very thin veneer to explain why the nuclear war had happened and the USSR had won.

I remember being somewhere between horrified and amused.

It all culminated in a short story called The West Is Red, which was very well written and I THINK (I can’t be assed to look, actually) won all sorts of awards, and whose central conceit was that economics in a parallel world worked differently and therefore the Soviet model worked better.

I read the story — it was well written — and then sat there, mouth half open, not knowing whether to laugh or cry.

And decided the field had suffered a psychotic break.

Look, economics COULDN’T work differently, because economics, while a science, is a science influenced by a bunch of other sciences and the reality we live in.

While I can see that SF/F does that a lot, and have done it myself, with say alternate history, because history is too complex to say “if this didn’t happen that that would.” (There are always a million factors, some of which we don’t even know.) So we write high-level and ignore the details and dance really fast before they see what we’re dancing in front of….

Positing that top-down planned economies would be superior in another universe demanded…. a lot of things, starting with a species so different from humans that we wouldn’t understand them period. It also demanded different arithmetic and mathematics, all of which (behavior and math) are parts of economics that cannot be changed without changing the very fabric of the universe to such an extent you couldn’t have A story, let alone that story.

But I understood why the story appealed, and why it had become popular (besides being well written.)

I had at around that time come across something that said that after 45 people don’t change their fundamental view of the world, and I understood that was the problem.  You see, the generation before mine, the boomers who were then in charge of cultural institutions and academic institutions had grown up not just convinced that the USSR was superior, their economy better than ours, but that they WOULD WIN.

This was true on both sides of the isle, which is why eve republican presidents tinkered with price controls and regulations, but didn’t change the system. One way or another, planned economies won out in the end, right? The future had less freedom. The USSR won. It was all a matter of how we got there.

And then Reagan. Reagan and his crazy ideas, which if you remember, couldn’t work.  But did. And the USSR fell. And we found what a hollow, sad thing it had been, because PLANNED ECONOMIES and central control don’t and can’t work.

Only the people who’d bet their lives on it, the cultural vanguard of the generation that made “come the revolution” a saying couldn’t change. They were too old and had bet their entire lives on this believe system.

So instead of changing they found various excuses for why reality was wrong, history was wrong, and they were still going to win.

That short story, now that I look back, is perfectly emblematic of that psychotic break, that primal scream of irrationality.

They took the fight to watermelon “ecology”and bizarre implementations of language controls which were supposed to become thought controls.  They came up with the idea of making Marxism apply “of course, not to macro society and economics, but to specific fields” and applying Marxist analysis to literature and art and all sorts of crazy things.

And they raised their kids, the echo boom, that way.

In many ways, locked in their primal “but it can’t be true” scream, they started an attack on reality itself. And taught their kids that reality was optional.

Of course it’s not.  Which is why every field they controlled then is now in a state of total collapse, or being replaced.

But they haven’t given up because they — and the kids they raised to be quite literally reality-denying-psychotics — can’t give up.  To give up is to admit their view of the world was wrong. They can’t do that. And their kids couldn’t find reality with two hands and a seeing eye dog, because they’ve been told it doesn’t exist, and if it did, it would be oppressive.

Which is why we find ourselves facing people who tell us that math is oppressive and colonialist.

And also attempting to institute a system of apartheid and racial castes under the impression these are civil rights.

None of it makes sense, unless you realize that the “luminaries” of “intellectual” life might as well be locked in a padded cell screaming in a non-existent language at the oppression of reality.

The entire insanity that is 2020 was foretold by the fact that the science fiction establishment saw nothing wrong in positing that economics could work differently in another universe, so that they could have been right all along.

They’re not the majority.  They still, largely, have control of the “official” culture, though frankly they’re so bloody incompetent that we’re starting to do things under/over/around that actually count for more.

They’re also not really effective, in any way.

But they have enough power to give everyone the impression the universe is coming apart at the seams.

It’s not of course. THEIR universe is coming apart at the seams, because it was never the real world, but a construct of pseudo-intellectual-superiority, unearned smirking and USSR agit-prop.

Reality is that which doesn’t go away no matter how much you wish it to or scream at it, or denounce it as evilracistpatriarchaloppressive!

Which is why in the end we win, they lose.

But dear Lord, the screams and the literal poo-flinging is getting irritating.

Liabilities

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So, in a stunning demonstration of lack of reading comprehension, some rando left me a comment on one of the posts this week. It had a million (highly insane) links, give or take, so of course, it wasn’t approved. Besides, I think it was a first comment, so it was pending anyway.

In the post I mentioned I don’t think it will be as bad here as it will be in Europe. In the context it was obvious what I meant is that I don’t (at this point. More idiotic lockdowns or whatever these crazy people come up with next) envision us having actual starvation in the US.

The reasons for this are obvious: look, we are a continent-wide nation and also have some of the most productive farms in the world. In fact we can feed ourselves and most of the world. The fact that international trade has stalled and international charity is difficult in the middle of the aristo-imposed covidiocy doesn’t affect our food supply.  Food distribution might be something else, but Americans are actually contrary to various rumors the most generous people on Earth. Also, the most adaptable.

Most of us have been making arrangements to ensure we don’t starve (we really don’t expect much of government) and those who haven’t will probably still be taken care of.

Anyway, the first shock of this comment was the fact this person was disputing that America was better off (in the matter of feeding everyone) than Europe, because “no one accepts American bonds as collateral, not even for overnight loans.”

Uh, besides the fact that I know this is bullshit (yes, okay, our monetary system is jacked up. So is most of the world right now. And we lost less to covidiocy than… oh, Germany) because if it weren’t — if the world really stopped keeping dollars as world-currency — we’d already have collapsed completely as far as monetary value, the idea that he was disputing food or lack thereof with monetary system was almost awe-inspiring stupidity.

He then went on to reassure me even the poorest EU countries had access to cheap loans.  What? Are these people such complete nincompoops and children that they don’t understand the concept of “things money can’t buy”?  As in, if there isn’t enough food to go around, I don’t care what you’re offering for food. There isn’t any to buy.

Apparently the AOC school of economics now not only thinks you can print money indefinitely without affecting the value of money, but that money itself is food.  Government is like onto the Lord himself, able to pour Mana down onto them. In fact no one needs to toil. Things will just rain down on them.

Which probably would still have gotten approved (I know how much you guys love chewtoys) except for the very last paragraph about how he/she/it had a friend being taken care of by some sort of socialist national health boondoggle who “would have died inn the US, since she’s unemployed and doesn’t have insurance.”

I’m sick and tired of this article of faith on the part of various Europeans. We keep telling them it has happened to no one EVER in the US. In fact, most of our ICU beds etc. are taken up by people who not only can’t pay, but who aren’t even citizens or even legal residents of this country. In fact, a great part of why healthcare is so expensive in the US is that we treat anyone who crawls over the border, no matter what medieval diseases they’re carrying.

At one time, when my then nom the blog (took her out in the woods, shot her in the head. She was threatening to take over. Never name a thing) was on some site, I think Free Republic, we discovered that a bunch of Europeans commenting believed this, and we started yannking their legs.  I think we were all the way up to “live in a cardboard box, in the middle of the highway, drink a cup of cold poison, polish the dirt” before they started SUSPECTING we were pulling their legs.

It’s not their only bit of insanity, mind you.  A good number of them — despite the fact that their own mental health policy has saddled them with the same issue — believe our homeless are homeless because there are no jobs, and no charity organization will look after them. Instead of mentally ill people who resist or are refused treatment, criminals, and people with substance abuse problems. (Or some overlap of all three.)

And we won’t even get into the fact they believe our crime is much, much worse than theirs.  For that I blame Hollywood, mostly, because I remember believing the same. it was still a surreal experience to sit in a Portuguese shop whose windows had medieval-thickness iron bars, in a country where even nice houses in good areas have bars on windows and tall walls, and have the shopkeeper tell me — back then living in Colorado Springs, downtown, and often forgetting to lock my car or my front door, and more than once accidentally leaving my purse in the car for a couple of days, with no untoward incident — that America seemed like a lovely country, but she didn’t want to live with that much crime.

But those at least are not part of government propaganda. The health care thing is. I’ve caught programs while I’m visiting about how bad healthcare is in the US and how, without nationalized health, they’d be left to die, like in America.

Now, I have been watching Foyle’s war, and the last season they crawl up an ideological hole and die there.  The first episode is about how much NHS was needed, and how people were just left to die if they didn’t have money, and–

I have no idea. England right after the war was a strange place, and I can’t say I’m proficient.  Maybe it was true.

But I know what they say about the US and all my hackles rose.  Besides, I know that in Portugal in the 60s for those not covered by Universal health (long story) healthcare was expensive as heck. My parents often say that they could have built another house, twice as large, for the money they spent taking care of my various ailments and pulling me through childhood. I believe them, though most of the “being rushed to the hospital to be given oxygen” was before the age of 6 and therefore fuzzy.  However my parents who were more or less broke, were never turned away at the hospital (save that I was denied incubator space, which honestly I think it’s because I could have messed their statistics.)

I know they sometimes went into debt, and paid it off, but were never turned away.

So I have serious doubts about the heartlessness of pre NHS British hospitals. I mean, it’s possible, the past being another country and all, but at this point I’m not even sure we could find out if it was true. Because all sources have pretty much been corrupted.

But still, you might ask why a program in the 20tens (I don’t remember the exact time) needs to harp on how much NHS was needed, how bad things were before.  And why the continuous barrage of “if you were in the US you’d be dead,” even though it’s not in any way shape or form true. AND why they feel the need to come to OUR blogs and tell us that, as though, you know, if we were dropping like flies we wouldn’t know it?

The answer is simple, and what I shouted at the TV “at last pre-NHS no one actively prevented you getting treatment, if you could get the money.”

I.e. the more their system circles the drain, the more they feel the need to invent “how bad it was before stories.”

But our reasons to oppose a universal payer system are very simple. Besides the obvious throttling of innovation, besides all other issues, there is ALWAYS the main problem (which has infected some of the US system since Obamacare.)

If you’re not paying your own way, you’re not an asset, you’re a liability.

I.e. in the US if you come in even without money, if you agree to pay for treatment, you’re an asset. Eventually, you’ll pay (over three years, completely broke us paid 20k for first son’s delivery bill.) They will do what they can to take care of you because, ultimately, you’re taking care of them. The doctors are not slaves. They’re being paid for their work. It might be delayed, but they’re being paid.

OTOH when you are part of an universal system, you become “one more liability.”  “Sure we can save this person with marginal health, but they’ll just get sick again and cost us more money. I say we put them in the (what was it?) Liverpool (?) pathway. Humane death for them, no more trouble for us.”

Now for those idiots who want free housing, free college, free everything: the same inexorable logic applies to all of it.

When you are reliant on society to provide everything you need, you’re a liability to society.  You are going to be evaluated in terms of what you cost versus what you can give.

Imagine that, if you will.  How much can you give back in terms of creating houses or degrees or whatever for others, as you age?  And if you’re just receiving from everyone, why should they give you the best/keep you around?

Honestly, it’s easier to believe that tasty, tasty Euros will feed the Europeans through the winter ahead than to believe that society is going to love you and look after you in every possible way through a useless (or merely expensive) lifetime.

The reason socialism/communism always kills, either slow (no births, euthanasia, etc) or fast (the mass graves of communist dictatorships) is that in the end humans become ciphers in an endless accounting book.

And beyond those who love us and whom we love, all of are, after all, a lot less trouble and expense when dead.

So the all caring state ultimately makes sure each of its subjects gets to the grave fast enough not to cost too much.

And that is what the “free shit” brigade here and in Europe should think about.
Not that they will, since they don’t know history. And thus, as Heinlein pointed out, have neither past nor future.

Arise, You Sons Of Martha – A Blast From the Past From November 2012

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*So, what surprised me about this post: other than the fact that it’s still pretty much on point for what we need to do, is that now the left is helping us, by accellarating innovation and shutting down the institutions they took lifetimes crawling through.  Not that they think it’s what they’re doing. We have an entire briar patch situation going on.  And yet, they ARE helping us, and it’s a great opportunity to shape the future.  You know, it’s time. Go to work. Now. – SAH*

Arise, You Sons Of Martha – A Blast From the Past From November 2012

First, let me explain that right now my reading is full of French Revolution, for the second book of The Earth Revolution: Through Fire. Second that I have a cousin who was raised in France.  His parents came back briefly to see if they could establish themselves in Portugal when I was nine and he was three.  (It was a forlorn hope, and they went back and only came back to Portugal when he was in his twenties.  Fortunately for them he married a Portuguese woman and so they have the family nearby.)

Anyway, for that year, while his parents went back and forth to France to do legal stuff, he lived with us almost full time.  Among his accomplishments at three was the ability to sing the full La Marseillese.  The song impressed me immensely with its opening “Allons Enfants de la Patrie.”

The verse translated as “Arise” (or less grandiloquently) “Come on” “Children of the Fatherland.”

Of course, in English it has a very off-putting sound and for Americans it makes no sense at all.  This land is not our fatherland.  It might have molded our people, starting with showing the Pilgrims that if you don’t work you’ll die, but it’s not been the place where our DNA culled, filtered and mixed for thousands of years.

Anyway, this all came to me while reading Roger L. Simon’s rather dispirited article after the election, where he more or less says it’s all done, we’re no longer a center-right country.

As much as I like Roger, I’ll beg to disagree.  Even if that were true, we wouldn’t be a center-right country by less than one percentage point.  And if after more than fifty years of school indoctrination, media control, entertainment filtering, the left has only that advantage, it means at the very least that we’re a people with a hard head and that most of us find the way out of the plantation sooner or later.  This is confirmed by the fact that what gave the victory to Obama was the legions of (unemployed) under thirty years old.  These are people who, like him, are ignorant of business and the facts of life (I don’t mean sex.  That they know as much as previous generations, though they think they invented it.)  To him his rhetoric, the cooked unemployment numbers, the whole nonsense of needing more time because it was so bad makes sense.  They haven’t broken out of indoctrination yet.  And a lot of them want to be part of what they perceive as the “cool kids” (which at that age inevitably is the ones that curse more, have tattoos and have no visible means of sustenance.)  Most of them will grow up.  But the age group will be replaced by yet more indoctrinated youth.

Which means Roger is right about the causes: we must take back education, entertainment/arts, and the news.

I’m not sure he’s right about the solution.  His idea is that we need to go back, infiltrate, start our own long march through the institutions.

I have two problems with that.  The first is that it’s been tried.  Roger, as a recent convert, might not be aware of this, but the right didn’t give up on these fields.  Some of us even tried to infiltrate them by doing what we called “stealthing”  (which can be defined as “walk like one of them until you’re secure.”)

I still have acquaintances and friends (some of whom would surprise you) doing just that.

There are two problems with this approach – one is that the left, being a mystery religion, has so many signs, counter signs and symbols that it’s very hard to imitate the whole unless you believe it OR want to bring about their result.  The second is that they demand constant tests of loyalty.  It’s rather like infiltrating a criminal organization.

I might flatter myself that I had as good a chance as any, with my background, but I couldn’t do it.  Art is to a great extent a thing of the subconscious and things broke through without my meaning.  I also wouldn’t undertake the tests of loyalty, such as writing a book on how America had ruined my life.

The right let themselves be infiltrated because at some level the right had bought the left was the future.  It wasn’t that the people coming in weren’t obvious, it was that their bosses shrugged and sighed and said “Apres nous le deluge.”  Which left us in this fine mess. But the left thinks we’re evil.  They fight our infiltration with all strength.

The other objection to the scheme is that all of those fields are falling apart.  I think Hollywood lives, these days, mostly on foreign sales.  Part of it is that entertainment and the news are creating product no one wants.  (Which means I’m convinced that most people are still center right – where it counts.  Their wallets.  A lot of them just don’t consider themselves political and still buy what “everybody says” – never mind, the tribulation that’s coming will fix that.)

The other thing that’s hitting these fields is a wave of technological innovation that demands they adapt and innovate, something they’re UNABLE to do.

All of us in writing have watched with almost awe as again and again the publishing establishment balks the challenge and tries to force things back somehow to “business as usual.”

And this is because they can’t do otherwise.  It’s not in their makeup.

This is not cheap pop psychology.  It’s merely the result of how people become hard left, or anything to the right of Lenin.  Hard to center left don’t have to do anything.  They’re the good boys and girls.  They receive “wisdom” in the schools and they know by parroting it they’ll go far.  They never doubt, never stray, never go out on a limb.

I’m not saying they’re dumb.  Some of them are brilliant.  Some of them are even true artists and their product gives their spoutings the lie because their subconscious knows better than they do.

I mean, they are more creatures of the group.  Social approval is important.  They never strayed.

So their ability to innovate is limited to “improving on how things are done.”  When faced with the type of catastrophic change hitting  those three fields right now, they are flabbergasted and most of their reaction amounts to hands over ears and screaming lalalalalala.

Then there’s us.  If I had a dime for each conservative who starts with “I used to be liberal, but—“  Now the left trolls try to mimic this with “I am a lifelong republican” and that’s bs, and we all know it, because that’s not how things work.  But we all start more or less liberal, at least those of us under 60.

Heck, I was always anti-communist, but I didn’t understand why guns shouldn’t be regulated or why we shouldn’t have universal health care, or why–   Heinlein cured me, though it was a slow cure.

For most of us, coming to our present beliefs involved one or more Damascus Road moments.  (For those of other traditions, that was when St. Paul on his way to persecute Christians met with the resurrected Christ and changed completely – and no, I’m not as pious as I sound.  I was raised in a country where Catholicism is a course from elementary through High School, though full disclosure, my dad got me dispensation in High School because the priest who taught it couldn’t put up with my arguments anymore. He was a liberation theologist and I’m not a good person.)

A Damascus Road experience of the political kind involves suddenly trying to integrate an event or a circumstance that just won’t fit your mental map, being unable to, and then starting to examine all your received wisdom until you realize it’s all – or most of it a lie.  (I’ve had three, and yes, 9/11 was one of them.)

It involves walking around for about a year, wondering if you’ve gone completely insane, because “everybody knows” and yet…  And yet you can no longer believe it.  This gives you an impression of brokenness and loss of faith.

Those of us who survive it and stay the course are independent cusses.  People who are independent cusses socially tend to be creative too.  Or at least we are so far out of the box that we can’t find it.

This makes it easier for us to adapt when catastrophic change sets in.  And because the status quo establishment hates us, we HAVE in self defense to take to the new tech.

We’ve been doing so.  In droves.

However, Roger L. Simon is right and it’s not enough.

It’s not enough because the inmates just got four more years to run the asylum.  And with tech and society changing as fast as they are, these people have set the course to the 1930s, this time with more bizarre multiculti which also endangers us from abroad.

Guys, this ship is going to go aground and go aground HARD.  My friend Charles says that he doesn’t know what happens when a democracy implodes, but we do know: Empire.  Yeah, it’s possible that by being a different type of democracy we won’t get it, but I think it’s more likely we’ll just get a different type of Empire.  (Which, BTW, Soviet Russia WAS.)

We don’t have time to wait for them to die off and us to replace them.  IF we can keep the republic, we must accelerate this buggy.

Hence the title, which is actually from a Kipling poem, The Sons of Martha.  Again, if you don’t want to click through, it’s based on the New Testament story of Martha and Mary sisters of Lazarus, who are entertaining Jesus and his disciples.  Martha is bringing out the food and doing all the work while Mary sits and listens.  It’s in there to illustrate the difference between active and contemplative devotion, but that’s not important right now.  The important part is that Kipling picked up the tale and wrote a poem to extoll those who do real things in society: engineering, creating…

I think most of those who call themselves Sons of Martha in modern times are Engineers or scientists.  BUT it extends further.  They’re everyone who creates – everyone who works hard, breaks the mold, brings forth innovation.

We’re the sons and daughters of Martha.  And we must take up our heritage.

There’s not much point infiltrating the dying model.  It’s difficult, if not impossible.  It stains the soul, till you don’t know who you are.  And in the end there isn’t enough time for that.

But just playing with the new model isn’t enough.  We must consciously and vigorously push the new model forward in all ways possible.

I’ll propose some points, upon which you may enlarge at will and pass on to your several groups, which will enlarge them and in turn bring them back to us.

1 – Entertainment:

TV/movies: there is STARTING to be stuff on youtube that can compete with the commercial stuff.  This is not my arena, I don’t know what to do, other than wish I were twenty years younger and had time to learn animation.  The tech for that to be a solo thing is almost there but not quite.  However, this is not my area.  Those of you who are in the field, look to it, and come up with ways to go indie.

Books: Yes, I know tons of us do that, but a lot of us do it almost passively because it’s there.  Well, it’s time to put teeth in it. Accelerate, innovate, improve.  Let your beliefs through without preaching.  Write more.  Write better.  LEARN covers.  Help each other.  Make the traditional stuff look like the gray goo it is. Go.

Games: Those of you who know enough to supervise a team, create a pitch, put it on Kickstarter, see if you get enough to hire a team to make the games for you.  Again – GO, you have work to do.

2- News:

We have pundits aplenty.  Here and there a bit of news breaks through.  BUT believe it or not journalism is a craft, even if not practiced any longer.  There are ways to gather, test and filter news.  I was trained for it so long ago that it’s useless now.  At any rate, I think I’m more of the integrator/pundit.  Though I wouldn’t mind knowing how to do it.  If any of you know, teach the others.  Let’s start a blog or more of news-gatherers and (local) reporters.

We NEED that.  And if you have a face made for TV (well, let me lose another fifty pounds.  Am losing again, on new hormonal regime.  I MIGHT be presentable, unless all my skin sags and stuff… 😛 ) do your news in video format.  Make it professional.  GO.

3- Education.  I confess here, I expected to have more time and for tech to develop more.  It’s there, it’s coming, I expected my grandkids to be learning at home/online/self directed.

We won’t have that time.  Some of the entertainment and news have to cover for education.  I’m thinking a YA detective series set during the American revolution might help…  YA romances might help too.  (I don’t think YA erotica helps anything, but maybe I’m a prude.  But there’s sweet-romance, i.e. without sex, and let’s admit it, 11 yo girls dream of their wedding and the great love.  There’s a market there.)

However, for parents like me who can be home with the kids but lacked the time to properly homeschool, we need … Online homeschooling leagues?  Online schools?  Online resources that can help de-indoctrinate kids who went to public school.

We need this, and we need it to be good.  My expertise in the field is now so rusty as to be useless.  At best I can glimpse what it SHOULD be.  But there are many of you with training and expertise.  It is your duty, for the sake of our republic, to figure this out, get together, form groups, explore forms, work like h*ll and create serious competition to the state’s indoctrination machines.  Now GO!  You have work to do.

If we succeed this might be the weirdest revolution of mankind, but it WILL be a revolution.

Arise, Sons and Daughters of Martha.  Our only chance to keep our republic is to claim our individuality and work around the stifling government that would herd us back to the nineteen thirties.

Go.  Innovation is in your blood.  Creation is your heritage.  Claim it proudly.

Be not afraid.  Go forth and bring us the future.