The Perils Of Prejudice

Yesterday, in the comments, conversation strayed to whether or not we’d interact well as a group in meat-space, followed by the strong doubts that we wouldn’t.

I’m not sure about this, because now that we’ve met, in the mind-space of the internet, we can probably carry that over into real life and enjoy ourselves immensely.

The thing about the internet is that we get to meet as onto angels, mind to mind and thought to thought, as if the incidentals of life counted for nothing.

As someone whose external looks have always been somewhat at odds with her mental processes (ones exist, the others are sporadic, yes.  Well done.) this is a boon.

What I mean is that bc – before children – and massive weight gain from bed rest for six months (something no figure seems able to survive) I was passably good looking, petite, female (I still am that), and liked to dress up.  Since my particular fixation when money permits (i.e. bc) runs to high heeled shoes and lace stockings and since I know how to apply make up, I could on a good day make heads turn.

This lead to my finding myself in any gathering of trained professionals (I was a multilingual technical translator.  No, that wasn’t my title, but it was what I did) or any group of people who met for intellectual pursuits, from book groups to investment classes, and being asked the question “Who are you here with?”  I can’t convey the tone of it, but let’s say it wasn’t an attempted pick up.  The idea seemed to be that if I were in a group of people pursuing something more complex than what type of shoes to wear, I must be there to please a man.

Well, the prettiness, as all the philosophers (and Will Shakespeare in his sourer moods) warn is transitory and beauty is vain.  That passed.  People don’t run screaming into the night when they see me, but as an overweight chick ™ I was allowed to have brains.  Except…

Except that I also had one or two kids in tow, and we all know that women take the mommy track when they can’t cut it in business.  No?  What do you mean no?  Known fact that.  I have mentioned haven’t I, the recent college graduate from a humanities degree who joined our writers’ group years ago and ASSUMED myself and the other co-head of group were at best high school graduates and at worst, high school drop outs, because, you see, we had kids and stayed home to raise them rather than farm the task to strangers.

As it turned out, at the time my co-head-of-group, Rebecca Lickiss had a bachelors in physics (she’s now either working towards or has finished her doctorate.)  And while my degree was humanities, it was not – as this young lady’s – a degree in my own language (something that always struck me as a cop out) but a degree in a foreign language, with another five languages coming along for the ride.  It was also a degree that translates between a masters and a doctorate here, and, let’s face it, foreign languages are arguably the most rigorous of humanities’ degrees.  Or at least they are if you want to do something useful with them, like scientific translation.  You can’t argue on the meaning of “is” after all.  At least not unless you are a highly placed politician.

However the young lady looking at us could not imagine ever giving up a possible career for which one has trained for the sake of training the next generation and making sure they have the tools to make it in life.  She also missed – most single people do – the inherent possessiveness in being a mother, the “I made him, I get to raise him.” And likely she missed the joy in it too, poor thing.

But more important, she failed to get that both my friend and I were writers.  Writers can train for good jobs because we are fairly sure the writing won’t carry us for a while.  And we can put on a good show of working at those jobs, too.  But those of us who are driven to write always view the day job as just that: a way to make money until writing can carry us.

So when given the chance to stay home, raise your own kids AND have a few hours a day to work on what we hoped would become a career, both my friend and I (individually) took it.

None of this mattered.  All this stranger saw, looking at us, was “mommy” and therefore that must be all we were equipped to be, mentally.  (Years later, I found out this was aggravated by my habit of crocheting through meetings.  Dan has forbidden me from taking this to cons, because he says people will think it’s rude and that they’re boring me.  In fact, I crochet so I can concentrate on what is being said.  Doing something with my hands while listening/talking prevents my mind wandering off.  It’s not that people/conversation are boring, it’s that I need to be engaged in at least two activities to be able to sit still.  Back before low-oxygen-level for days pneumonia and concussion, I used to need to do three or four things at once, or my mind wandered.)

Then there’s the other layer.  A couple of people here have tried to get my goat (oh, come on, guys) on the subject of the government now considering me Hispanic.  Eh.

My first boss in the US – okay, retail, young and low education, but still, if you meet me you’ll see how silly this is – thought that I was Mexican.  You see, he’d gone on a cruise where they sang Feliz Navidad.  My given name then was Alice, which – in Portuguese – is pronounced like Elise.  (That duality of name/pronunciation and having to pick one, plus my hating both names led to my naming myself after a Bible verse “And Sarah laughed.”)  To this man Alice and Feliz were the same word.  Therefore, I must be Mexican.  (Well, also, I was a variety of foreigner, and the only one he knew was Mexican.)

Since then, I’ve been used to myself and the kids being referred to as being “from another race.”  (Inexplicably, the boys are darker than both Dan or I, but coming from the North of Portugal, my ancestry contains a good bit of Celtic, French, Germanic, the unavoidable Greek and Roman and the inevitable bit of Africa [Although both my parents will have words with you if you mention Moors, because THOSE are the ancestors of the SOUTHERNERS in Portugal and my family ain’t no Southerners – think Civil War around the same time as the US, issue of absolute versus parliamentary monarchy instead of slavery, and the sides reversed geographically, and you’ll get that bit of insanity.])  This is particularly insane since, even if you concede we are Latin (Rome did very well in Portugal.  It scored) or, at a stretch Hispanic, (the kids do have a good bit of Amerindian,) not even the federal government calls those races.  They call them “cultures.”

Except for the dark hair and eyes (and now it’s only the eyes) I look largely Celtic.  Or maybe not, since while drawing my portrait, my kid found out if he used a shade too dark, I looked African.  Whatever.  I look like a hodge podge.  That is, American.

However, something in our demeanor, the way we look – who knows – leads people to lump us off as “another race.”

I learned early on that saying I was from Portugal (where most people decide it’s Porto Rico) made people hear a Spanish accent, including a twit who swore I sounded just like Ricky Ricardo.  (Now, if you guys find one of the recordings of me – there’s some around – I sound more like I should be saying “please show me the way to the nuclear wessels.”)

So… What is this all about?  Grievances?

Oh, h*ll no.

Am I saying you shouldn’t judge people according to stereotypes?  Well, yes, but no.  To be blunt, stereotypes exist because nine times out of ten they are right.  And what the heck if you apply the Latin woman stereotype to me, you’ll hit about half the notes.  I am… er… excitable (or as my mom put it, boil in very little water) and I do like to dance (or did, bc) and I like to dress up, and I have a preference for bright colors.  I also clean like a demon and run the kids with an iron paw (and a lot of rapid speech.)

Here’s the thing, I also apply stereotypes, everyday.  If I am at officeish, and in the elevator alone, and see a woman rushing to catch it, I might press the hold button.  With a man, unless he’s much older and smaller, I’m pushing the door close button.

Is every man in the building a rapist?  I doubt any of them is.  Is every woman safe?  I doubt that too.  BUT a woman is less likely to overpower me in a small enclosed space than a man is.  And women are less likely to attack women, sexually or otherwise (except psychologically, and if a woman comes in the elevator and says “that shirt, really?” I’ll glare at her.

And if I didn’t tell you about when Robert was thirteen and walking home from school and I was going to the post office to mail a contract, I should.  I was about halfway to post office, head down, with peripheral vision scanning ahead.

I became aware of very large, dark dude with three-day growth beard, in black leather jacket, walking towards me and instinctively, started scanning for chance to cross the street.

And then potential threat said “Mom!” and it was my high school freshman.

So, was I wrong to apply stereotype?  Well, in Robert’s case, certainly, but my scan and switch strategy has kept me safe in some much rougher cities than the one I live in.

I apply stereotypes, we all do, because when you look at a person it’s almost impossible to see what is inside them.  And while it might be stupid to assume most stay at home moms are uneducated (that REALLY is stupid, btw.  Particularly from a politically-correct person) it is also dumb to assume most of them are physicists (I think most of them are a mix like other people.)  But it is incomparably dumber to assume every dangerous looking dude walking towards you on the street is a thirteen year old who plays piano and pursues Roman history for fun and wouldn’t hurt a fly unless in self defense. The first one only marks you as a twit.  The second could cost you your life.

That’s ultimately the issue, see.  Humans are wired to deal in stereotypes.  It’s just the way it is.  We don’t have time to evaluate everything we come across everyday in terms of threat-or-help (or in my case, I’m threat-or-menace, natch.)  Instead, we learned broad categories early on and shove people and things into them.

The little nerd who followed Robert halfway home from football practice taunting him about how all football jocks were wrong and while Robert was a “mountain of flesh” this kid had “brains” was wrong, of course.  However, he was betting the right way. Nine times out of ten he would have been right.  (And nine times out of ten he’d have had his nose broken, instead of the kid enduring it, because he was laughing inside.)

What most “tolerance” people do is simply replace a stereotype with the other.  Instead of the evil foreigner, they throw in something that looks like the twenty first century’s cousin of the noble savage.  (I was going to say instead of the dumb stay at home mom, they have the stay at home mom who saves the world from a lair in her basement, but that’s just something I want to write.  I don’t think that is a stereotype ANY politically correct person has ever doubted.)  Instead of father-and-protector they see evil oppressing patriarch.  Instead of—

The thing is that their stereotypes aren’t in any way more correct in the real world.  (It’s called political correctness, not real correctness.)  In fact, their intersection in the real world is smaller.

And as someone who is often subjected to both kids of stereotypes, let me say that the person who tells me to go back to Mexico (to paraphrase Larry Correia – I was standing around in a Home Depot parking lot and Toni Weisskopf drove by in her pick up, leaned out the window and said, “I need three people to write novels.”  I hopped on the back of the truck and have been stealing American jobs since) has a better chance of being abashed and becoming human – and eventually even a friend or friendly acquaintance – when corrected than does the politically correct busybody.

Total strangers who ask me why I don’t teach my kids Spanish so they know their heritage, and/or who start telling me about the inequities of Americans towards “my people” (well, I do think science fiction writers are unappreciated and would it HURT you to send us chocolates?  Have a ticker tape parade for us?  I mean, really?) are not only wrong, they are usually deaf when corrected and – because I’m Latin and excitable – bring forth my wish to cuss them out in three languages.

Because, you see, the second group thinks they’re being KIND to me.  And they’re being that KIND to a total stranger because my country of origin is sort of a soft handicap, a “poor thing” type of situation, that requires I be helped.

This is why G-d gave me middle fingers.

I will be misjudged and victimized, of course.  All of us will.  White privilege is a myth, a poisonous one.  There is such a thing as “wealthy privilege.”  And our image of wealthy is often a well groomed white male – because so many of our politicians are white males, I think.  And all of them become wealthy.

HOWEVER if a well groomed, well dressed black man wanders onto a car dealership at the same time as a scraggly bearded Charles Manson look alike white person in cutoffs, no shirt and barefoot  (Or even in a cheap suit) salesmen will swarm the black man.  And they should.  Yes, the black man might be there to sell them encyclopedias, and the white guy might really be an eccentric millionaire.  But that’s not the way to bet.

“White Privilege” besides being a Marxist sledge hammer, was invented by people who know they’re discriminated against and IMAGINE other people aren’t.  Other people are.  One of the things that made a huge difference to me as a teen was to realize that other people judge you at first sight.  So while you might really like your Cthulhu pendant, which you wear ironically, strangers will think you’re either a Satanist or some sort of squid fancier (in Portugal, H.P. Lovecraft is not that well known.)  In the same way while you might not have time to fuss with your hair, if you wear your hair tied back, no makeup and jeans, your sweet old lady teacher is going to think you are “some kind of radical” even if the most radical thing you’ve done in her class is question her interpretation of a poem.

But most people only know what they experience and imagine other people must lead charmed lives.

In a way, I’m glad I have something obvious about me – foreign origin – for people to fixate on.  It allows me to know what they think they’re seeing and work for/against it.

In meat space, out there, where people have bodies, we all have to deal with how people react to our bodies.  And we all have to make the best gamble we can based on other people’s appearance.

The way to deal with it is not to replace stereotypes with other stereotypes, but to stay open to changing our mind, when it’s proven that the soul in the all too solid (and large) body is that of an angel.  Until then, we should bet with the higher likelihood and stay safe, or not annoy the already-on-the-edge writer by lecturing her about HER culture.

And we should be grateful for the internet, where we can meet, mind to mind.

UPDATE: Kate Paul, who should know better, asked me to post for her at Mad Genius Club.  So if you feel like making fun of this strange lapse in judgement on the part of a fairly sane writer, go read Kate Paulk Is Not Permitted To Associate With The Rest Of Us.

609 responses to “The Perils Of Prejudice

  1. I crochet through everything that doesn’t require me to use my hands for something else. Some people do object, which lets me know they have an exaggerated view of the concentration required to follow them — not that crocheting interferes at all with listening to people. Maybe people who don’t do handwork have a hard time believing that.

    • Wayne Blackburn

      Your second possibility is more likely. I’ve tried my hand at crocheting, but I never got to the point where I would be able to do it and listen to someone and actually fully understand what they were saying.

    • No, but some of us have attempted crochetting, and regardless of the amount of concentration expended were unable to come up with an acceptable product, so it is more likely that our view of the concentration required to crochet is exaggerated.

      Of course most of us who have attempted it are probably like myself and grew up with grandma’s who normally sat in a chair drinking coffee and crocheting whenever anyone came over to visit, so we should know better.

    • My wife crochets while watching a movie and carrying on a dialog.I can watch tv OR carry on a dialog – but not both at the same time, or they both suffer. But she also touch types.
      Did I mention I am sometimes envious of her kinesthetic abilities?

      • I have been known to knit in movie theaters, during the movie. Mind, I don’t take lace projects to the movies. 🙂

        • What kind of lace, CACS? Jean makes bobbin lace. They wouldn’t let her into the movie theater with all those pins… 8^)

          • Knitted. (I also do crochet.) Bobbin lace I know how to make in theory. I have yet to invest in a cushion, pins and bobbins necessary. Someday maybe.

            • I want to learn wire crochet for jewelry.

              • Now I have a image of a cartoon version of you crocheting chain mail.

                BTW, if you ever make up near Seattle I can show you some nuclear wessels, though I can’t take you on them any more. Come up after 2015 or so and you can even see the Enterprise.

                • 😦
                  A long time ago i volunteered to work security at a con which benefited the ‘Trek Rec Deck’ on the Enterprise. Got to meet Majel (worked security for her autograph line for two hours) and got a smile and a handshake and a heartfelt thank you for wrangling fans.

            • Let me know when you do. Jean has several dozen books, and hundreds of patterns. I’m sure she’ll share. It’s a shame I can’t make bobbins any more, or I could supply you with those fairly cheaply. Be warned, though, that it’s an expensive hobby!

      • I’m almost incapable of watching a movie without crocheting. I almost never go anywhere without a crochet project, in case I have to sit still somewhere. I can’t do it while riding in the car, though; it makes me motion-sick the same way reading does. For long car rides, I require a bushel of crowder peas to hull.

        • astigmatism. If you correct it, you might be able to crochet in car. Did it for me!

          • Interesting; I’ve never heard of that. For me, unfortunately, it doesn’t matter whether I’m wearing my glasses or not. I have to look out the window. I’m OK on an airplane, though, I guess because the road is not whizzing by at close hand.

    • Crochet is less irritating that twitching. I twitch, I fidget, I tap things, I click the joint in my big toe. I hum and arrange things. Mom used to forcibly take clickable ball-point pens away from me. I had a girlfriend who said I twitched all day long, but she could tell when I fell asleep by when I stopped fidgeting.
      Crochet would be a blessing. But would you be concerned about being mistaken for Madame Defarge?

      • Oh thanks. I wanted the earlier scene where they establish the pen thing, but this will do:

      • But would you be concerned about being mistaken for Madame Defarge?

        As a knitter I can tell you Madame Defarge knitted. In the Ronald Colman version of <Tale of Two Cities Blanche Yurka, the woman playing Madame Defarge, knits in character!

        • Part of the reason I stopped knitting is that too many of the fibers gave me issues either respiratory or fingers. That’s also why I crochet with thread, not yarn. Well, that and yarn curtains look funny.

          • I don’t know the name of it, but there’s a painting of an old-salt nineteenth-century sailor knitting, and staring at the painter with a deadly, you-want-to-make-something-of-it? glare.

            • Rosey Grier (look him up, ya young ignoramuses) famously did needlepoint on long plane flights and elsewhere. I doubt anybody challenged his masculinity.

              • I have some beautiful cross-stitch made by my hubby– he likes to do eagles, bobcats and other animals. My father knitted. 😉

                • I have patterns of eagles and mountain lions in fillet crochet, if he decides to branch out 😉

                  • He gave me a dirty look when I passed that one on– so I guess it is a no. 🙂

                    • Oh. I wasn’t teasing. It’s a similar mental space. Lots of people (me) do both.

                    • I didn’t think you were j/k. He has a lot of things on his mind lately– (computers, cameras, and security cameras) so he hasn’t been into crafts lately. Since he does a good glare though– I get a good laugh. Before we were married that lovely man had other people bamboozled. They thought he was grouchy. 😉

                  • In the past charts for filet crochet were also used for cross stitch in a style reminiscent of Assisi work. (Oh, if your library has the latest issue of Pieceworks you might want to check out the article on filet crochet.)

            • I knew one surgeon who used to embroider, said it was good practice for his work. Helped him to keep his stitching neat.

              • I flew a orthopedic surgeon who knitted. We’d be cruising along at 7,000 feet over Minnesota and “click, click, clickity, click” came from the back seat. He said that it kept his hands warm and limber.

    • I tried it once–but the people I was talking to kept getting distracted by the way the threads strangled my fingers and turned them blue.

    • There are so many crocheters and knitters at Arisia, that anyone who claimed we weren’t paying attention at a panel would be looked at as if they had three heads, I ‘spect. I do try to glance up now and then, and if I’m really paying attention, I do pause in the hookin’. But. Really. Sheesh.

  2. “In the same way while you might not have time to fuss with your hair, if you wear your hair tied back, no makeup and jeans, your sweet old lady teacher is going to think you are “some kind of radical” even if the most radical thing you’ve done in her class is question her interpretation of a poem.”

    Radical? I would have viewed that as practical, I have an automatic aversion to women who must fix their hair fancy every day (special occasions are different), which just goes to show that while everyone has stereotypes, people from different backgrounds tend to have radically different stereotypes.

    • My problem is that I grew up in Heinlein books, my teacher didn’t. They were old school Portuguese, and they wanted (modest) dresses and nicely curled hair and such. Meh.

    • One of the biggest turn-offs for me is women who wear more than a minimum of make-up. In my personal opinion, most women would look very attractive with just a hint of make-up, or none at all. As for the “radical” in jeans, that’s what most of the women in the classes I took on military bases wore all the time. They also ranged in age from early-20’s to late 30’s, with an occasional older woman in the class. I didn’t spend much time on a traditional college campus…

      • “One of the biggest turn-offs for me is women who wear more than a minimum of make-up.”

        Yes, make-up looks best when you can’t tell they are wearing it. Oddly truly out there make-up like goth doesn’t bother me (isn’t a turn-on either, total wash, as far as I’m concerned they may as well not be wearing any) but caked on traditional make-up does.

        • Heh. One of my favorite tee shirts has a multicolor smear on the front with the words: I ran into Tammy Faye Baker at the mall.

          • I WORKED at the mall nearby when she was a celebrity and you know, when she entered the mall, everyone left their counters and went to see her, like… Like someone important had come in.

            I never GOT it. And I stayed where I was.

            • So you were in Charlotte/Rock Hill at some point?

              • I lived in Rock Hill the first two years after my marriage — 85-87? Maybe only one year to 86 (hard to remember.) And then I moved to Charlotte, where we lived till 91 (I worked at Eastland Mall) then a year in Columbia and now… 20 years in Colorado.

                • I recall visiting Eastland Mall back when we used to drive down to Charlotte. GOOD bookstore, for its time.

                  What!? Like you never drove two hours to get to a good bookstore?????

                • Friend of mine lived in Ermo for a couple of years. He used to say that SC was a different planet. *Real* low orbit but a different planet…

                  • Columbia… The shoes mildewed in the closet… The side of the fridge mildewed. Ew.

                    • Reminds me of jungle living (Panama City, Panama). We couldn’t keep leather because it would rot (eaten by fungi) completely in three months. Everything smelled wet. We would dry our towels in the dryer before using them after a shower. 😉 We would come to Florida to dry out.

                    • The Atlantic side was 2-3 times worse, Cyn.

                    • Ummmm for the leather…. Mink oil.

                    • I’ve never been at all impressed with Mink Oil on leather myself, I have several times put Mink Oil on boots in a wet climate, and if they sat for as much as 2-3 days without being on a boot dryer they would grow mold right on the mink oil.

                  • My southern history prof at Flat State U. quotes an antebellum writer who claimed that South Carolina was too small for a country and too large for an asylum.

                    • “South Carolina was too small for a country and too large for an asylum.”

                      So they just turned the inmates loose?

      • I was always told that if you could tell someone was wearing makeup, they were doing it wrong.

        • Depends. Wifey used to model a bit. For most purposes, yes, it’s true, but there is – and the correct term escapes me – such a thing as exotic, where the make up is kind of the point and the woman’s not a lot more than a canvas.

          • Well, there is always body paint when I make up my face it is *quite obvious* and the last face design featured buttercups and alpine strawberries. Then again, this isn’t something most women walk around in public wearing.

            On Fri, Mar 22, 2013 at 1:11 PM, According To Hoyt wrote:

            > ** > Tom Kratman commented: “Depends. Wifey used to model a bit. For most > purposes, yes, it’s true, but there is – and the correct term escapes me – > such a thing as exotic, where the make up is kind of the point and the > woman’s not a lot more than a canvas.” >

            • Wayne Blackburn

              But there’s also the non-natural colorings, where, say, a person adds some blue shading to green to highlight her cheekbones, or lavender eyeshadow, or what have you, which sometimes, in some circumstances, looks very appealing.

              It’s when someone uses the type of makeup that is supposed to “look” natural, but doesn’t, that it’s off-putting.

              • This lady came to my attention when she did a series of Avengers-inspired eye designs that blew up all over the Internet (in a good way). Her artistry is impressive; while I don’t wear makeup (having left the stage far behind), I wish that I had the sense of color and shape to create things like that. Like you and Tom said, Wayne, the issue is bad imitations of natural coloring. Elaborate makeup for its own sake is another matter.

              • Gotta love the “make-up” that makes the person look like a corpse in New Mexico… with clay on their face.

            • No, not body paint. True story; The wife’s an unusually good looking woman anyway – the pics on my site don’t do her near justice – and there was an occasion where we had a formal thing to do with the Army. Mother made an appointment for the wife to get made up at one of the department stores in Boston, Jordan Marsh. I drop her off, then go find a place to park the car. By the time I get back to the store’s makeup department, the girl doing Yolanda’s face is about 35% complete, and Yoli has a crowd of solid people fifty feet deep watching the procedure. She looked quite extraordinary, but not entirely human.

              • Dorothy Grant

                Last time I had that done to me, there was an incident with dog-training a malamute the day before I was a bridesmaid. I walked into Nordstrom’s, scabs, black eye, fat lip and all, and paid them do my face and sell all appropriate makeup so it could be touched up right before the ceremony.

                When I left, it seemed I was more wearing a beautiful eggshell-thin porcelain mask, than just wearing makeup. The pictures looked good, the bride was happy, but “not quite human” is a great way to put it.

                • My dad’s cousin (actually a couple of them) had their makeup tattooed on, lip liner, etc. She had fat lips for a month after having it done, and every time I would see her I would ask her if she had been mouthing off to her husband again. 🙂

          • Dorothy Grant

            I ended up modeling yesterday. I just trust the photographer to do makeup-like correction in photoshop after the fact. This way, the retouching doesn’t have to deal with imperfectly applied makeup, and can just adjust it all at a go.

    • I think it’s a matter of time and place– if my mom had done that in high school, they’d have had the same reaction. By the time I did it, it would’ve been more radical to wear a skirt and do my hair without trying to look sexy.

      • yep. And because I was dislocated in time and place, I didn’t GET that until late adolescence. Of course I never got it quite right. I sped right past “good girl look” to loose long skirts that felt comfortable and made teachers think I was a hippie. Then in college I went 30s retro. Honestly, in a strongly conformist country, the big wonder is no one ever killed me!

  3. Wayne Blackburn

    I became aware of very large, dark dude with three-day growth beard, in black leather jacket, walking towards me and instinctively, started scanning for chance to cross the street.

    Normally, even though I’m a hair over six feet, and have a large frame, no one looks twice at me and tiny women would let me in an elevator with them by themselves at night with no one else around. I can’t explain it. The only way I ever intimidate anyone is by catching them off-guard with my “drill sergeant” voice (no, I haven’t been in the military. Totally got it from learning to project). I have quieted a bowling alley with it.

    Except one time. I once had an argument with a co-worker while working at a screen print shop in a bad part of town. I took a walk to cool off. Apparently, something about my body language changed since I was really pissed, because after a couple of blocks, I noticed that people were crossing the street to avoid me.

    • That is known to my relatives as my “command voice.” It is of a tone and cadence (excessive volume not required unless there are high levels of background noise) that requires instant attention and obedience. It can be very quiet or of parade ground level volume – it’s not the volume that does it. It’s the tone and the undertones that say you are In Charge, they WILL pay you immediate and complete attention, and you WILL be obeyed – obedience is required and is NOT optional… and it carries with it the Assumption of the Right To Command.

      I don’t use it often – but even at low volume it has quieted large rooms full of people, and of course commanded company formations of 80 sailors.and when I used it on the kids, there was no argument. ;-D

      • Forgot – shifting from normal voice to command voice is usually automatic – I just don’t think about it.

      • There’s a wonderful scene in I forget what film of a children’s classic that has a British Master Sargent-type confronting a hopeless rider on a horse that will not emerge from the margin of a pond (Hyde Park or something similar). He takes one look at the recalcitrant equine, then does a splendid “Get on out of that there” command and is rewarded with astonished and immediate obedience.

    • You’re a dad. You’re such a dad that, on the instinctual level, everybody just knows it. Alpha Dad. 🙂

  4. cedar sanderson

    I think you just gave me a way to explain why i *can’t* just sit and watch a movie with my family. Granted, last night i was formatting a novel and putting finishing touches on the cover, which might have been a touch much, but i was following the story on the screen. It is almost painful to do only one thing at a time.

    And you know, i hit the same issues while I was a stay-at-home mom. Even though I was running a successful business from my home office. I got it the other day, sitting in the waiting room at my mechanic’s garage i got into a long conversation with a gentleman

    • cedar sanderson

      Sigh… commenting from my phone. Anyway, at the end, he looked at me and asked, what is an intellectual like you doing as a clown? (I’m not, but it is a common misconception)

      • Is clown a slang for something, or are you actually commonly mistaken for a circus clown?

        • I am a professional family entertainer if *I* am the one describing what I do. Since this translates out to I paint faces, make balloon animals, and occasionally add a little magic to a comedy routine, yes, I get called a clown, even without the face makeup. Since I also have a tendency to perform with a yarn wig on, and a bright costume, I do blur the lines.

          • Wayne Blackburn

            I went to college with a guy who did a clown act at his local children’s hospital.

          • Your also apparently multiple people 🙂 For some reason I hadn’t connected Cedar Sanderson and sanborntonfarm, before now.

            • Yes, I am more than one person! Not as many as our gracious hostess, I might point out. I try to keep it consistent, but replying from email, or my phone, and, well, it all gets muddled.

              On Thu, Mar 21, 2013 at 11:14 AM, According To Hoyt wrote:

              > ** > bearcat commented: “Your also apparently multiple people 🙂 For some > reason I hadn’t connected Cedar Sanderson and sanborntonfarm, before now.” >

        • She does face painting 🙂

          • Face painting is easy. Just take a largish barn brush… dip it in the bucket, and swipe it on the face from top to bottom. (Top to bottom is so you don’t scrape the brush off in their nose.)

            And Viola! The face is painted!

    • the thing with the crochet was this girl thinking that because I crocheted and was a stay at home mom, I MUST be dumb. I still don’t get the correlation.

      • R eally odd stereotype from Ravelry, if you knit, you’re probably liberal, while if you crochet, there’s a good chance you’re conservative. If you’re bi-stitchual, you could be either.

        I don’t know if it’s the same in the real world, though.


        Facts are stubborn things, but not nearly as stubborn as fallacies.*

        On Thu, Mar 21, 2013 at 9:51 AM, According To Hoyt wrote:

        > ** > accordingtohoyt commented: “the thing with the crochet was this girl > thinking that because I crocheted and was a stay at home mom, I MUST be > dumb. I still don’t get the correlation.” >

        • Er. I haven’t knit in years, but I used to. Mostly I crochet, embroider and sew.

          • It’s been a long time since I knitted too. I used to knit sweaters. I haven’t crocheted in a long time because I was getting finger cramps. But I do embroider and cross-stitch. Sewing is another skill that I haven’t practiced in a long time.

            Plus I am the girl who liked wearing jeans and T-shirts without make-up. Make-up, jewelry, and some types of soaps gives me rashes now. sigh. I used to wear rings and necklaces. Not any more.

            • I used to love experimenting with make-up – see how much I could change my looks with it, try different styles, all that – but I have never been able to wear it for a whole day. And with age the allergies have gotten worse, I can still use some but only for a couple of hours, usually. Near eyes is worst, especially some eye shadows will give me a nice case of red eye and swelling in minutes if I put them on at all, so I usually don’t, now, although I still use mascara and pen eyeliners sometimes. And occasionally get my lashes dyed, although I’m scared using that too often might end up with me being sensitized enough to those dyes that I might end with a serious reaction at some point. And everything I use better be stuff which is not in powder form, anything which might get into my eyes is a risk. I have occasionally gotten bit of a reaction on my skin too, but at least that’s still pretty rare.

              Irritating. 🙂 I had become pretty good with the subtle style of make up, something which was pretty unnoticeable, just made me look a bit better. If I could I’d use that daily. Now it’s only for special occasions, and preferably ones which do not take too many hours. I do wear jewelry, but some, especially the really cheap trash, can give me bit of a rash if worn long. Nickel’s the culprit, presumably. Gold, silver and bronze are usually okay.

              Knitting – I know how, but the last time I tried to make a pair of socks it took me nearly three years, and the one I finished first was found by moths and got rather holey before I finished the other, so they ended up in trash, not in use. I have, however, occasionally managed to finish embroidery projects. With that I’m decent, not really good but decent. But I would never be able to do that while also doing something else. Even listening to music can sometimes be stretching it. I’m no good when it comes to multitasking.

              • I have a problem with jewelry, make-up, dye (and hair dye)– and some types of laundry soap. *sigh

                • The more chemo I use– the more sensitized I get.

                • Perfumes? Some make me sneeze, which can be fun if you happen to end up in some place like a lift with somebody who seems to have taken a bath in something. 😀 Not all though, I could use some myself, except I seem to have funny skin chemistry or something, most start smelling kind of like mouse pee on me after a few hours (I know the smell of mouse pee because I did keep pet mice for a while as a kid). Sometimes I do use diluted essential oils as a perfume, with them I don’t get that reaction.

                  • We must have a common ancestor somewhere because there are only a couple of perfumes I can wear (and now none of them lol). I used to wear Shalimar. Most of the perfumes turn a horrible chemical smell on me.

                    One time a woman walked into a store wearing the Poison (a perfume). I tried to help her but had an immediate allergic reaction to it. My eyes started to water, and my skin started to welt. I asked someone else to help her and ran to the bathroom to wash my face. I had welts for the rest of the day. That was my most severe reaction.

                    • I knew a guy, and one day his wife was telling a story about when they were first dating. She really like him and wanted to make an impression, so on one of their first dates she dressed up really nice, took extra care with her hair and make-up, and put on her favorite perfume. They get to the restuarant and he starts sneezing during dinner, after dinner when they got in the car his eyes started watering and swelling up, and he couldn’t stop sneezing. Turns out he was allergic to her perfume, she made an impression alright, just not the one she was wanting to. 😉

                    • There are certain perfumes that start my eyes to water, nose to run, throat to constrict and get scratchy. Like many of you, I have found that my sensitivity has increased with age and exposure. The worst, for me, are American made with a heavy floral bouquet.

                      There is one woman at church, who is new to my class. She seems to like to sit next to me. There is something so pathetic and earnest about her; she has an air about her that is a cross of a small frightened bird and a kicked puppy. I know she will be truly mortified (to tears) to think she caused me any discomfort. I have yet to figure out how to gracefully say to her that I have trouble breathing in her presence.

                  • When I was in college I frequently found myself walking into buildings behind one or more young ladies who had apparently perfumed themselves with Raid. My surmise was that the propellant their perfumes employed had something in common with that used by most major brands of bug spray.

                  • Ahhh…. perfumes…

                    It wasn’t so bad when I was young, but as I age it gets worse… the nose starts to burn… the lungs start to get less efficient… If a lady uses the stuff lightly it’s not a problem and I enjoy the light floral scents. But I cannot be in the same room with someone who smells like a hazardous waste chemical spill.

                    And now a caution for y’all – if I am set upon for my over-boldness… for here’s where I tread on dangerous ground.

                    Ladies. As you age your nose will probably become less sensitive. So when you’re getting ready to go to church, or to a concert, or wherever, you want to look nice and smell nice. So you put on your glad rags, you hang baubles upon your ears and about your neck, and you get out your favorite scent – the one that drove men WILD in your younger days. And you do what you did back then and you put it on until it smells JUST right… and as you walk down the street you don’t notice the birds falling dead out of the trees, the dogs cowering with their paws over their noses, the cats yowling and running for the animal shelter for shelter.

                    Do us all a favor. Stop putting the stuff on according to what it smells like to YOU. Put a small dab on with your finger.. and use only a small dab in those three strategic pulse points… and then put the cap back on the bottle. I know… you may not think you put enough on… you may wonder if the perfume/cologne/bourbon has lost its kick but believe me when I say it ain’t the perfume. I beg of you, HAVE MERCY!!! (I have actually had to leave events because of the overpowering chemical stench.

                    And is it only that it was the first place I noticed it? Was I developing an allergy? Or do Italian women use perfume instead of soap? I had to flee from the the Sistine Chapel as a 21 year old when the chemical smell was shutting down my lungs and I was getting claustrophobia! Kinda cast a pall on the whole Vatican experience!

                    You may now muster the duty firing squad…

                    • I am of the same opinion. I smell that cloud of perfume and will gnaw my arm off to get out of there. Yes, I am a middle-aged woman with a better smeller than when I was in my 20s.

                    • Certain perfumes have bothered me from when I was a teen through to today. This is how I know I can still hold my breath while traversing the entire length of the cavernous perfumage department in any of the Macy’s stores in the bigger malls around here.

                    • Perfumes don’t bother me other than annoying… but don’t ask me to stand around the laundry detergent aisle…

          • I want to learn to tat. I have taught myself all kinds of needlework, but for some reason my finger simply refuse to cooperate when I try shuttle tatting. Get glorious knots, though.

            • Tattooing ain’t hard if your following a pattern, and most people won’t let you tat them freehand. Drawing the patterns is what requires real talent.

              • LOL. No, she meant Tatting.

                I gave myself a prison tattoo on my thumb in fourth grade, by cutting my finger and smearing ink. I was THAT bored.

                • I have given others tattoos but never myself, although I did get one when I was eighteen, I had it professionally done.

                • Yes. Thank you kindly.

                  Oh dear G-d, you must have been bored.

                  • Yes. It was taken out by a later accident — I tend to do things to my hands because I tend to do things WITH my hands, and lots of it involves chemicals or heat or bladed implements — but Dan used to joke he’d always know my thumb, if not the rest of me.

                  • I I should explain my teacher dealt with my family by moving my brother from first to fourth grade. She tried to do the same to me, but because I was very sickly and at best was confined to bed/hospital/whatever a week a month — at worst three weeks a month — my parents decided not to allow it. (The other complication was that middle school involved taking a city bus alone, to the next village over, dark in the morning in winter, that sort of thing and I was a girl. So it was a no-no. Not at seven.) They were probably right both on my health and also on my being too unorganized for anything but the village school where they cut me a lot of slack. but dear G-d I was BORED.
                    Then my dad’s godfather’s son who owned the general store, was cleaning up stock from his father’s time in the attic came across a HUGE case of copy books with bright pink covers. The paper had never been very good. I think the equivalent here would be newsprint. The actual name, sebenta means “dirty” and this type of notebook was used for rough work before you copied it clean to your “real” exercise book. So… it was about fifty years old, and VERY yellow. He couldn’t sell it. So, he said “Antonio, your daughter is always scribbling. She buys these all the time, and I know she sometimes runs out of money for paper. So, why don’t you give her these?”
                    Those notebooks saved my life. They lasted through high school. It looked like I was taking notes, and I wrote short stories, novels and poems by the notebook full.
                    Interestingly, not in elementary school, but in high school, my class caught on. I think the person in the next desk read over my shoulder? Anyway, next thing I knew when I finished something I HAD to pass the notebook back so the class could enjoy it, one at a time, lest there be a revolution.
                    Also, because the covers were SO VERY PINK, everyone knew when I’d got so bored that I brought out the pink notebook to write stories. This tended to cause the class to laugh and once, to my embarrassment the teacher told them off. “You think it’s funny she wants to take notes?” Urgh. Funny in retrospect, but also cringe-making.

                    • So you were like Jane Austen, entertaining your friends and family with your fiction early on. It’s hard for me to imagine. I write constantly, but never fiction.

                    • Grade school was Resist Authority mode (mostly by reading unauthorized material and lipping off, and early grade school was to unconsciously use big words so the teacher had to get out her dictionary mode.)
                      Junior High (Middle School) was a mix of Resist Authority Mode and Read Constantly mode.
                      High School was Get Through and Get Out mode – and in my Sr year, skip 4th period classes to go to Drake University at lunch hour and sit in the Girl’s Dorm Lobby with a buddy of mine and watch the ladies on parade… Spring was a WONDERFUL time of year!!!

                      I didn’t start writing (badly) until I was in the Navy and bored out of my skull on late night watches with nothing to read that I hadn’t already read 3 or 4 times. I think I’ve since hunted down everything I wrote then and consigned it to the 8th dimension where it will never be seen by human eyes. (8th dimension people can’t tell the difference between good writing and bad writing – so the stuff seems to be a hit there. Unfortunately they are unfamiliar with the concept of money…)

                      40 years after HS, I learned (from a female friend) that there were a number of ladies in my class who had the hots for me – but being clueless I never knew… {sigh}.

                    • I tended to scribble stories and/or story notes into my school notebooks, specially in high school. Most of my YA story ideas are… developed versions of those.

        • “Really odd stereotype from Ravelry, if you knit, you’re probably liberal, while if you crochet, there’s a good chance you’re conservative. If you’re bi-stitchual, you could be either.”

          I can crochet (a little), I cannot knit at all, and I have tried. What I can do, and will occasionally do in public, is chain maille (jewelry, not armor). Now, that will start conversations!

          • You HAVE to teach me. I always wanted to learn to do that.

            • The Daughter can do chain maille jewelry work. She want to teach me.

                • The problem with learning something else at this point, and I am sure both of you share this problem – is time. I’m happy to teach it, but it’s something that’s best done in person. There are a ton of online tutorials I use to learn new designs, but I learned the initial stuff from my then-boyfriend. I’ve put doing it on the back burner, as selling it didn’t go anywhere, and I am too busy with family, work, school, and writing.

                  On Thu, Mar 21, 2013 at 11:29 AM, According To Hoyt wrote:

                  > ** > CACS commented: “wants” >

            • I can bring some rings to LibertyCon, and give you a lesson or two. Assuming there’s time.

        • My wife knits, crochets, does counted cross-stitch and other forms of needlework. I think she is more conservative than I am, even.

      • I used to get the chatty sales men who, once you say “stay at home mom” drop their vocabulary to about the fourth grade level. Gah!
        I didn’t have children so I could hand them over to a complete stranger to raise.

      • She must be from the wrong tribe (probably a scrapbooker). Our tribe respects the ability to multitask.

        • There are some scary tribes out there! A landlord of mine who came into my apartment to fix something goggled at the number of books I had. I think he had 6 in his house including his wife’s cookbooks.

          • When guests come in and realize we have no t.v., but three walls BURIED in books, we get a similar reaction. (“Oh, hell. This dude’s from another tribe. Uh, what do I do now?”)

            • You should have seen the face of the customs officer when The Spouse and I returned from England with suitcases stuffed with books …

              (Ah, the joys of travel before the airlines started to limit your suitcase weight, or the TSA made you take your shoes off, and The Spouse could still stand travel.)

              • I sped through customs at DFW when I was coming back from being an exchange student in Germany. I’d gone over the $250 limit and so filled out the import fee form. The nice agent looked at my form and asked what I had. “Books. Mostly dictionaries and grammar and German history.” He picked up my suitcase, set it down with an “oof,” tore up the form and shooed me through. 🙂

              • Oh, I usually get that b/c I’ve a suitcase full of swords, arrows, bows, etcetera. The airport guys in TX don’t blink — the guys at LaGuardia, otoh, blink a lot. Well, okay, let’s be honest. They just plain freak out.

            • When we moved last fall, I donated 1500 (50/50 hardback/paperback) to the Friends of the Library store. Cut me by a third I think.

              • I’m cutting down to half. Will have a yard sale. My issue is this: since I had two scary incidents with stalkers… six? years back (way before I thought my “fame” justified it) I protect my address. If you have my address and — for those who live in/have been to town — if you have come to the house, you’re part of a very small circle. I don’t let anyone know where we live, unless I am sure you’re a) not nuts b) We’d like to associate with you as friends.
                Anyway, the problem is “booksale” will bring every reader in town to my yard and some WILL recognize me. So… I’m wondering if a friend will loan me her driveway for ten percent of the take or so. I was thinking of doing $1 per hardcover and 50c a paperback. I did a rough count and I think we would make — if we sold everything — around 14k. So… considering the tax thing, it best be soon…

                • Most of those will represent a loss, Sarah. By the way, I could never sell my books. It would be like selling friends into slavery.

                  • Ah, but surely being a book is the most benign of slavery.

                  • I can because I now have them on e format

                    • Okay, here’s my take wrt ebooks. When I die, one of my issue shall get the office furniture. Another will get the guns. Another will get the swords and assorted cutlery. Yet another will get the books. The one who gets the books will be able to open one and say, “Gee, I am reading now exactly what Daddy read and off the same medium.” And they will, at the moment, be close to me and comforted by that while I, for that moment, will live again. This will not be said of ebooks, and e-readers will likely not last into the ages.

                    • True. But when we moved to this house we had 245 boxes of books. That was ten years ago. I’d guess if we moved now we’d have ten times as many? We can’t afford that, and we do need to move/downsize for money reasons. As much as I love my books (and I’m keeping the important ones — probably 245 boxes 🙂 ) in the ultimate instance, having been brought up in Heinlein books, I’m prepared to start again just me, Dan, the kids and the cats. (In fact our plan for the CO wild fires involved saving JUST that, documents, the laptops and backup drives, and great grandma’s china (on Dan’s side) because well, that goes to one of the boys. The rest is fungible. Imortant and cherished sometimes, but fungible.

                  • If it redeems me even a bit in your eyes for my sin of selling books, I kept all of yours. 😉

                • You could wear a Guy Fawkes mask.

                  More seriously, we put a set of Oakley sunglasses on you with one of my NRA ballcaps, and no one will recognize you.

                • Oh, and Tom’s right, your prices would be too low by at least 2x.

                • There should be no tax consequences of such a sale. Most (not all) states have no tax on the sale of used books. As you have previously invested money in the books and are selling them at a loss the receipts do not properly represent income (according to the classic definition: gain on sale of inventory.) As a person not ordinarily involved in the sale of personal household items you ought not be subject to sales tax requirements.

                  OTOH, always be careful of statements in the subjunctive case. While there should be no tax consequence that does not mean your state is one of the reasonable ones. However, IIRC, most governmental attempts to extract their pound of flesh from yard sales have resulted in angry mobs waving pitchforks and torches, so it is unlikely you would be prosecuted, dunned or otherwise pestered for taxes on a yard sale.

                • Dorothy Grant

                  The best way I found to get a friend to help with yard sale was to pitch it as “we can do a joint yard sale, both get rid of all our extra junk, and with both of us and our spouses, we’ll all get a break instead of having to spend all morning out there. Know anyone else we could get in on this?”

                  This makes even more sense if they have room for putting out the stuff and parking, and you don’t. (Who, me, use this tactic when living in an apartment? Of course!)

                  There’s a lot of great advice out on the search engines, and I know it really helped to have at least one person on the selling team who loves to haggle, and one to play the heavy “no, no lower.” It also helped to have a spare person who could run to the store and get change (how many 1’s and 5’s do you need? All of Them. People hit sick of and never wanted to see again. ATMs and come with 20’s, to buy a single item. And strange how, on a hot summer day, one of our fastest sellers was the cans of soda in the cooler for a dollar each!)

                  The best part was when the yard sale was officially over, and the ARC truck pulled up to take donations of all the random junk left that we were thoroughly sick of!

                  • Dorothy Grant

                    Argh. Line I’m typing on keeps jumping to different line. People hit ATM’s and come with twenty dollar bills, I meant to say, and the line “sick of and never want to see again” should apply to the items that went into the donation truck at the end of the day.

                  • Sarah,
                    I don’t know about your area, but most of the cities around here have a citywide yard sale once or twice a year, often in the local fair buildings or some other such place where stuff can be kept out of the weather.
                    Also have you thought of selling them on ebay? Separate them by genre and sell them by the box, I got all of John Ringo’s books (even though I already had several of them) by buying a box of 50-60 SF books off there. It gave me the idea and now periodically my mom drops off a box of romance novels she has read and I will sell them on ebay. It gets a little tiresome typing out a couple hundred titles and authors at once, and some people just line the books up and take pictures so shoppers can read titles off the covers, but I have found I get tired of trying to read a hundred titles in out of focus pictures and apparently so do others, because those with title and author printed out consistently sell better.

              • My wife would slay me. Good on you! But my wife would slay me.

          • Dorothy Grant

            *counts* I have… 30 cookbooks. Not enough. I really, really want to complete my Alton Brown collection, and pick up Hand Shaw’s latest…

            • As I am moving and sorting out my library to bare minimum, I just had one of my best friends over and we went through my cookbooks. She went home with at least 30 🙂 I told her I was keeping my Alton Brown! He’s worth moving with me.

              On Fri, Mar 22, 2013 at 1:56 PM, According To Hoyt wrote:

              > ** > Dorothy Grant commented: “*counts* I have… 30 cookbooks. Not enough. > I really, really want to complete my Alton Brown collection, and pick up > Hand Shaw’s latest…” >

              • My most used cookbook is my BH&G “New Cook Book” – with the gold cover. that’s the one with my famous “Old Fashioned Fudge” recipe in it – and the one I used when learning how do make chocolate fudge and do it RIGHT!!!

                I don’t use many recipes as most of them require too much work, both in the preparation and the clean up. If I were a chef with a kitchen staff to do the dishes, I’d probably do more of them… but as I’m not and don’t, I lean heavily toward one pan, one plate food. (Things like “cowboy hash”, hamburger stew, broiled pork chops with nuked potato and a nuked veggie (which is a complete meal in under 15 minutes), pot chicken, Squeal Parmesan w/o parmesan, etc.)

            • These days, except for antiques, I use stuff online. But then, I’ve always been awful at following recipes.

              • Dorothy Grant

                The sad part is, I mostly use stuff online, too. It’s much easier to plug a list of what I need to use up into a recipe site and get a list of options than it is to look it up on paper. But for pure browsing, just for inspiration, and for those reliable standby recipes, I go to 1 for indian cooking, 1 for crockpot, 4 for everyday, and prior to low-carb, 3 for breads and other baking. The rest I keep because I like the stories, or the world they offer. A cookbook dedicated to the wild plants and local game of the Rocky Mountains, and a cookbook of collected recipes and notes from Alaska in its frontier days, are stories and worlds in their own right. (So, too, the cookbook of dehydrated/dried/pre-prepped food for long distance hiking, where the weight of the ingredients is as important as the cooking time.)

                • Anyone feeling adventurous? The next meatloaf you make, don’t use bread or saltines – use about a doz club crackers per half pound of hamburger instead. And toss a couple of handfuls of grated cheddar cheese in it. And for the glaze, mix 1/2 & 1/2 catsup and KC Barbeque sauce.

                  And the next hamburger you make, add a handful of finely chopped broccoli florets, an egg, and a bit of that cheddar cheese to it before frying.

                  • Oh, pfui. use ground turkey. It’s as cheap as bread if you get it on sale, and has fewer carbs.

                  • I grind my own hamburger, and add about 1 pound of bacon ends to 4 lbs of lean meat when grinding. Makes delicious bacon burgers, and adds a little bit of flavor to spaghetti or chili too. Although my chili tends to have enough peppers in it for the bacon to be hard to distinguish.

                • I started collecting cookbooks before I was out of high school. It is a terrible hobby, it takes up a great deal of shelving space and it costs ever so much to move all that poundage about. (The Indian cookbooks I have collected include several given me by someone who had acquired them in India.)

                  Still, when The Daughter was young I found that cookbooks were excellent reading. There are short self contained sections and if you couldn’t get back to it for ever so long you don’t loose the plot or the character development.

                  So, ah, a site for Indian cooking?

  5. I think Ringo’s comment “Judge by culture not race.” Respectable vs. Thuggish, is appropriate here. It’s from Last Centurion.

    Is an IQ of 115 the low end around here?

    Sorry for the TMI.

    • “Is an IQ of 115 the low end around here? ”
      Depends on the topic!!!

      • Stipulating that IQ is a measure of processing ability, it also requires data to process. Having a deep knowledge base counts for more than being able to learn quickly. (Umm, perhaps “knowing what you’re talking about matters more than being really really smart but full of misinformation” is the appropriate phrase?)

        If you know what you are talking about the IQ don’t matter. If you don’t know what you are talking about the IQ don’t matter.

        IQ measures something, but what it measures don’t matter ’round here.

    • If you feel comfortable around here, then the IQ number doesn’t matter. ODDs are of all intelligence levels and sizes. 😉

    • Around here it’s not the IQ, it’s the openness to new ideas and the enjoyment of stretching the brain.

    • Before getting too wrapped up in the number, Emily, contemplate this: Our world is being run by people who do very well on standardized tests, and then use those scores to get into the most highly regarded schools, which they they parley into positions of wealth and influence. And those people are running our world into the dirt. Whatever the scores measure, it does not seem to be intelligence and whatever the schools are teaching it does not seem to be worth knowing or having.

      • Agree whole-heartedly.

      • Actually, our world is being run by people who do pretty pitifully on standardized tests, compared to those who do really well. That’s probably part of why today’s standardized tests are so dumbed down — it was embarrassing to have people who went to average colleges having higher standardized test scores than the Harvard and Yale types.

        I’m still trying to process that part in that lame Levinson guy’s fantasy novel, where he claimed that the best test takers work really hard and grind away. All the really high scorers I knew — they thought it was effortless to take a standardized test. The only hard part was deciding if you needed to go meta to pick the “right” answer.

        Now, admittedly, the grinds do better _in life_, and the popular kids who test okay are the ones who probably run the world. But they’re not people who “do very well on standardized tests.”

        • Standardized tests are best understood as a specialized genre of puzzle book. That’s why they’re not hard, if you have a good background in the subject matter and are familiar with the features of the genre.

          • One of the best things my step-mom ever did for me was to teach me how to take tests. She’d been a teacher for years so she could communicate the things to look for..

        • “The only hard part was deciding if you needed to go meta to pick the “right” answer. ”

          Sorry. Wrong meme. Taking standardized tests does NOT involve picking the right answer. It’s all about deciding which of the answers is wrongest, wronger, and wrong, and “choosing” the last one, the only remaining answer, through this process of elimination. (The “least wrong” answer.)

          So the thinking process is one of elimination, not selection. And on a lot of multiple guess tests, there will be at least two answers that are obviously incorrect, and two that are correct and mostly correct – which is why you eliminate the “wrongest” to find the “correct” answer.

          Unless you’re like me. Most of my classmates in college “Physical Science” class hated me – I would be reading a question and suddenly realize that there was no correct way to answer the question due to something like “insufficient data” and so state and give the reason. The rest of the class who didn’t “get it” would miss the question. (Like one I remember dealt with red shift and violet shift – but you could not determine which it was because the question failed to label the spectrum chart as to which end was which. By the end of the term, there were several of us doing that – so ultimately a few were happy, the rest were not. ;-D)

          • which is why you eliminate the “wrongest” to find the “correct” answer.

            …of course taking into account the bias of the test writers – you gotta think like the enemy to be able to figure out which answer they would think of as the “correct” one.

            • My usual technique was to pick the obvious right answer (if there was something sane to pick). If there wasn’t an obvious one, that’s when I’d eliminate. (Though of course you always have to read all the answers, in case there’s a trick.) And the sad thing is that I was very good at understanding the biases of the questions.

              It was a weird thing. I knew that they were stupid and pointless, but I enjoyed doing them just because I was good at ’em. The GRE was probably the most fun, and yet I never used it for anything because I really didn’t want to go to grad school. We also had some state tests that turned out to be fun stuff (the English test that had Cavalier poetry in it, for example — that was like a drop of cool water). And AP History essays are pretty amusing, because you know there’s an extremely bored audience of test graders out there.

        • If you mean there’s a lot of nepotism going on, yeah, sure. Nonetheless, the premier schools, the one’s putting out Enarchs in France and the French-Empire-by-another-name, as well as our and other peoples’ equivalents, do take in mostly people who do quite well on the standardized tests. They don’t, most of them, do as well as, say, I do, but still very well. And they are still running the world into the dirt.

          You used some odd terms there. “Pitifully?” What is pitiful? 1560 SATs are not pitiful, even compared to 1600s (yes, I use the old scales).

          • There is a new scale on SAT’s? What is top score on them?

          • Clark E Myers

            Many will know but some may not have internalized that there are many feeder schools to the elite in the U.S. of A.. As with price discrimination some are more demanding of high scores and some of legacy connections.
            In the same town in Massachusets frex Phillips Academy and Brooks School coexist, Andover is more selective than Brooks and with more money will go farther afield looking for well qualified students who might not think of applying – but Brooks where after Harry Clement Stubbs taught science will turn out well drilled students who are adequately smart. The well drilled students, from prep schools most have never head of, tend to perform well and meet expectations in demanding colleges while many applicants with good test scores but inferior preparation will perform less well. At one time graduates from the best prep schools had a problem with loafing for a couple years and losing the edge. With grade inflation I doubt that matters today. FREX there’s a senior essay from a Princeton graduate floating around on the web that isn’t very good.

            • We went to an ivy league recruiting meet in Denver, when Robert finished 12th grade. He had excellent grades and scores.

              Not only was he one of only two students who were NOT in an expensive, private school, (the other was Asian) but DESPITE THE FACT WE WERE INVITED we were literally not given the time of day.

              Also, all the parents clearly were wearing clothes I couldn’t afford even for a one-off.

              We are no longer a meritocracy. things like weighing essays to enter colleges (which is why the very rich pay “fixers” to get darlings into schools — as much as 20k or more — allows them to pick “the good people.”

              So Tom is wrong to an extent. But these people still have medium high scores. Just not the top.

              • Which doesn’t really refute that the tests are not measuring intelligence.

                • Mostly what it proves is that intelligence, however defined and/or measured, is not what the schools primarily seek.

                  • I was talking with my sis-in-law yesterday about my brother. He is the one that is dyslexic and has sensory problems. When he went for his engineering certificate for boilers (on merchant ships), most of his competition were from MIT and other technical schools. My brother could barely read, but he had been working in the boiler room for most of his adult life. He was able to pass the test because he had a great memory and he already had experience with boilers.

                    He was at the top of his class in the end (I think he was actually #2 in the class ahead of the MIT graduates)– and is now an Engineering officer (once again w/o a college education). Intelligence tests are only as good as the writer of the test. Some intelligence cannot be measured that way.

              • People frequently mistake the purpose of colleges and universities. Such institutions do not exist to advance the intellectual and social development of students.

                They exist to produce wealthy graduates who can be induced to donate funds to their beloved alma maters.

              • Another e-book recommendation:

                “Poor Man’s Fight” — a basic “adolescent goes to boot camp, grows up, and becomes a hero” story, but some interesting twists in the society. Everyone can go to school — but it’s on credit. You have to take a “standardized test” when you come of age to see how well it “took” — the better you score, the more of your education loan is forgiven.

                But the tests aren’t “standardized”. They’re individualized — against your strengths. Unless you somehow had the cash to join the “young scholars” programs, which apparently gets you a test that plays to your strengths.

              • I’ve got a friend studying for Ph.D. in Yale. American mother, Finnish father. Middle income, as far as I know, but an impressive sounding last name because father is from one of the old aristocratic families. No idea what her American family is like. She is both smart and very hardworking. Leftist liberal.

                • BTW, most of my friends are university educated because most of the hobbies I have been drawn to have been ones which, at least in this country, mostly seem to attract that type of people (SCA, for one). Most seem to be ones for whom how I make my living really doesn’t seem to matter one bit, but there have been a few who occasionally made me wonder whether I’m their ‘black friend’. You know, ‘some of my best friends are…’, just replace race with social class. Lib creds. I suppose I might make a reasonably ‘nice’ blue collar friend for that purpose, being one who is a university dropout.

                • Clark E Myers

                  Jonathan Adler at The Volokh Conspiracy has a nice comment on Yale long after God and Man at Yale (Buckley)

                  ….When I was an undergraduate at Yale, I had several long discussions with my senior essay advisor about whether to pursue my PhD. My advisor, who was himself quite liberal, cautioned against it, largely because of my emerging, right-of-center political views. As he described it, succeeding in the liberal arts academy is tough enough as it is without the added burden of holding unpopular views. To illustrate the risk, he noted that one of his colleagues on the graduate admissions committee explicitly blackballed each and every candidate who had ever received financial support (scholarships, fellowships, etc.) from the John M. Olin Foundation because, his colleague insisted, the Olin Foundation only funded people who thought like they did, and Yale did not want any graduate students who thought that way. …..

                  Hardly shocking that the graduate admissions committee did it but surprising that it be done overtly even proudly

                  • I find the idea that the committee member would be proud of it quite easy to accept — it is a characteristic trait that they expect to be admired for their fealty to their Faith, and such undermining of antagonists is for them as praiseworthy as chopping up a saloon was for Carrie Nation.

                    What I find amusing is a) your adviser essentially doing the same by discouraging you instead of opposing the blackballer (not saying such opposition would work or that the adviser was wrong to act as he did, just noting the end result was the same.)

                    And b) after blackballing and frankly discouraging conservatives from pursuing academic careers, they use the scarcity of conservative academics as basis for arguing they are smarter than conservatives because so few conservatives become academics.

                    But then, Logic is not generally a strong point of the Left.

                    • B) is also used for why we’re not in the arts. We’re not imaginative, see…

                    • Well, few of “us” have the imagination required to believe Socialism feasible … at least, as return to Eden.

                    • Clark E Myers

                      I suppose I’d better make the effort to format as expected on the web. Not my experience but quoting the named source.

                      The adviser was to Jonathan Adler now an attorney and teacher of law who blogs on the Volokh Conspiracy – which I strongly recommend perhaps because the original Volokh was somewhat disliked by many at the LASFS for his views (though LASFS tolerates Dr. Pournelle and others go figure).

                      Any experience I might have had in New Haven is 50 years in the past – though it was my own comment that I personally am surprised that folks would be proud of breaking faith with their job and with the University community, But then I was a little shocked at student and faculty celebrations for the fall of Saigon too.

          • Clark E Myers

            Whoops make that Milton for Hal Clement though I distinctly recall an association with Brooks – the point is valid though my memory be ever so dull.

      • Andrew Drummond

        “Whatever the scores measure, it does not seem to be intelligence” (Tom Kratman, above)

        I once argued with a co-worker that the replacement for IQ was something like “electability.” And, that in the US at the federal level at least, we were selecting electable people at the 1:500,000 level from the population. And that that is several sigmas out from “normal”. And that most creatures with a skill that highly developed had to have foregone development of other abilities. My conclusion was that a return to 1:20,000 or so would bring enough electable people who could at least vaguely relate to normal people.

  6. A stay at home mom saving the world from her basement — this could have possibilities, Sarah!

    • Yes, it does. *rueful* I now have a story running around in my head… hopefully I can subvert it into being part of one of the current projects.

    • In the spirit of “there’s nothing new under the sun” I direct your attention to John Ringo’s “Princess of Wands” and “Queen of Wands.”
      Stay at home soccer mom, highly religious, who is also combat trained and fights demons in her spare time.

      • Some years ago — I THINK before Ringo — I started a science fiction novel on the plane back from world fantasy, called The Mom Squad, about five geniuses moms (with areas of specialty, natch) who protect the world from aliens, counter experiments gone awry, etc.

        I never finished it, not from lack of interest, but because other things pushed to the front of the queue. (The voices, the voices, AHHHHH)

        Sometime (not this year) I’ll make enough money to pay someone to freelance edit my stuff, so that I can write more. Or maybe I’ll win the lottery. Then I could REALLY write.

        (Moans — OMG, I’m a SICK woman.)

        • Are you looking for simple grammar, punctuation, the kind of word swaps that spell checkers ignore, and basic continuity type editing, or the more inclusive service Toni and her minions provide?
          I’ve done a fair amount of informal copy editing in the past as well as generated a plethora of government documents. (not a plus I know, but fair warning)
          Now that I’m retired and fairly comfortable with pension and investments I’d be willing to take on a project or two pro bono.
          And yes, young Portagee, you are indeed a sick woman, and your point? Would seem to be de rigueur for these lofty climes, don’t you know.

        • If you write them at some point could you make them, or some of them, a bit older? Many young or youngish, good looking heroines around, would be fun to read some older, not so hot looking ones. I’ve been hoping I’d find some good stories where some dumpy looking middle aged mommy type (actual children optional) (or a group of such women) turns out to be the scary smart martial arts type with strong gun fu (or just plain old fashioned good shooter…) and totally blind-sides the bad guys who had hardly noticed her, much less assumed she might be a threat. Non-heroic looking male heroes, yes, but I haven’t found many such women, if we dismiss the occasional Miss Marple types who only use their brains. Something slightly more actiony than the old maid cozy sleuth. Not necessarily ‘beats men twice her size with kung fu’ action, that actually tends to irritate me, especially if it seems to be too easy for her and she is not some sort of extraordinary, at least slightly superhuman type, but rather some sort of ‘drives cars, defuses bombs and picks locks, plus occasional shoot outs, brainy version’ action.

          • Grandmother who’s good with cane fu might be a fun character too.

            • On the show Grimm Nick Burkhardt’s Aunt Marie was a total BAMF! Dying of cancer she fought off assassins.

              • Yep. Liked her. Pity they couldn’t keep her around a bit longer, but since the point seems to have been a story where the hero has to start doing the job without no training for it or not even quite knowing what exactly the job is… (has anybody else ever felt a bit pissed about these Obi-Wan types who seem determined to let the most likely heir to their job grow up without giving him any hints as to what he might have to get into in the future, except at the very last second when it’s already way too late to give them any actual training, just some last gasp few sentence long cryptic dying words? There seem to be quite a lot of them around :D).

                • I much prefer the “deconstruction” where the person that they pass it on to is the fifth or sixth or the “oh, dear Lord, there’s no other option….” choice.

                  Gives you the same dramatic entry without making you think the Wise Old Teacher was flippin’ idiot.

                • Has Grimm become watchable, then? Beloved Spouse & I tried really hard to watch it, first season, but gave up after about ten episodes. The characters never quite caught fire for us and the result was one damp squib of a story after another.

                  • I find it tolerable, in occasional doses, some of the supernatural beasties are sort of interesting. But not actually good. I liked aunt Marie as a character, might have liked the whole series better if they had kept her around a bit longer, teaching the nephew.

                  • I had the same problem with Grimm–

                  • The guy accepting the were-bear’s whining about how Grimm just couldn’t understand how it felt to have one’s culture suppressed…by not being allowed to torture people to death… really killed my enjoyment.

                  • RES, you could have said exactly the same thing about Babylon 5, and for the same reason: The writers are apparently trying to set up a long term story arc, which has begun to kick in for Season 2.

                    With B5, you had a first season of fairly disjointed episodes where JMS was hanging the pistols on the wall (Adira the dancer from episode 3 turned out to be a pivotal event in Londo’s heading for the Dark Side). Same thing with Grimm: the “Wesen of the Week” in the first season gave you the range of possibilities and now the arc in Season 2 is gathering up those loose ends.

                    • I guess it is a good thing for the producers and fans of the show that NBC has nothing better to do with its time. Regrettably for them, I found that I do. I will consider it when S2 is available all in one set, either DVD or other mode, but we don’t watch more than a few “live” TV shows at any given season and Grimm wasn’t justifying the effort.

                      I hope they find their way. I know of several other shows that have spent season 1 spinning their wheels, only to take off in S2, but at the moment ST:NG is the only one that comes to mind.

                • Wayne Blackburn

                  Those DO irritate me, but I also see why they are common. When one is well-trained, it’s harder to make a series of stories exciting, unless there is a really high-power bad guy who the hero does not come into direct conflict with until many other adventures have passed (rather like Moriarty in Sherlock Holmes) , and it’s simply easier to write exciting stories involving the hero not knowing how to do what would have made the job a whole lot simpler, had he known it at the beginning of the encounter.

                • It is a form of world building. It gives the author a framework to introduce the reader to the world and the characters.
                  Also, if you have a superman type character with unlimited powers, it gets boring: “ah-ha, I’m in full control of my powers and I crush you bad guys like ants. Well, that was fun, who’s up for Canasta? Anyone?”

          • I suspect Sarah would have difficulty not making such a character derivative of Granny Weatherwax or Nanny Og, although her space opera might well provide room for a Helen Stone.

            It is useful to recognize that not all heroes and heroines look the part (just as villains are often charismatic, accustomed to bending others to their will and prone to narcissism.) There is a 1940s Charles Laughton movie featuring him as a small town schoolteacher whose oratory and stubbornness make him the focal point and leader of the village’s resistance to Nazi takeover. The name escapes me at the moment, but the point the movie makes is an excellent refutation of the Triumph of the Will. Leaders of resistance are often the least likely looking people.

            • Actually, I’d make her like my grandmother — the problem with that is that grandma was part grandma aching, part Granny Weatherwax.

              And yes, she was the SINGLE greatest influence on me (and all my cousins, and my brother) growing up.

            • I love the usual hero types – good looking, smart, charismatic, often exceptionally so in every way – but I also like variety, so at times I like to search for stories where the hero is somebody less likely, and the least likely as the heroic protagonists can sometimes make for very enjoyable stories. And while different types of men, of all ages, are not that difficult to find, and younger women are often fairly easy too now, older women still seem to one group which hasn’t been used much, except for the occasional Miss Marple. Something like a future resistance movement ran by a bunch of old ladies who plan their strategies while ostensibly having a meeting of their crocheting club or when knitting socks for charity, and who include individuals who once were something like spies, so not only can they do the planning, some of them also make quite capable field agents… please, could somebody write something like that?

              • I have an epic fantasy that I am writing that has an older mercenary woman– with an inn. I am about a half the way through… 😉 I want to write more characters between the ages of 40-50 or thereabouts. Of course mine have more energy than I have lol– I think it is wishful thinking on my part.

                • Yep. Probably the reason why I like the Ripley clone in the last ‘Alien’ movie (didn’t much care for the movie, but liked the character), hey, well into middle age looking female character who is scary capable physically – talk about wish fulfillment (plus she had a good reason for being that way, having some of the alien DNA in her). Still physically able to do things protagonists also are a bit easier to write, I think. Although of course one who really is feeble would be easier to put into scary situations, if she can’t run well or at all or fight surviving a situation where, say, she is being chased by an able bodied man would not need rooftop chases to build some tension. But also harder to think up how exactly she would then get away from the villain in a believable way. Unless we also had, say, a healthy, strong and well trained nephew or daughter or a bit younger friend who helps her and can occasionally save her. And then there are always guns, they do even the odds, so if she was very good with hers and good with figuring out the best tactics in a situation for somebody with her limitations against somebody able-bodied…


                  Remember to tell when that mercenary with an inn story is done and available.

                • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                  Well, Patricia Wrede in _Caught In Crystal_ had a retired swordswoman with an inn (she wasn’t a mercenary however). The fun-and-games was that while she was in good shape considering her age and having two children, she had not kept up her training with the sword since before her kids were born. Thus she doesn’t have the quickness of her younger self and lacks the muscle tone that a woman her age who kept up the training would have.

                  Mind you, a middle-aged swordsman who hadn’t kept up his training would have been in the “same boat”.

                  • I haven’t seen that one from Patricia Wrede– I’ll have to look it up. Yea 😉 I used to do karate. I can’t stand on one foot now. lol– I blame it on prednisone– it is hard on the muscles and balance. I am dealing with the aftermath now.

              • Wayne Blackburn

                Do you watch NCIS Los Angeles? The Director of Operations, Henrietta Lang, is this type of character. Short, significantly older (don’t know how old, but well over 60), and everyone in the unit as terrified to cross her, because she a scary-bad former espionage agent.

                The actress is the person whom the character of Edna Mode in The Incredibles was modeled after.

                • Yes, I do, but while those characters exists they are pretty much always in supporting roles. Now if those NCIS stories were told from Henrietta Lang’s POV, and she would sometimes accompany the field teams… (she probably would have to be somebody lower in the commanding structure then, but anyway).

                • That woman on NCIS: Los Angeles is Linda Hunt. I really liked her performance as Stella in Silverado. She won an Oscar for her performance in The Year of Living Dangerously.

                  I believe that Edna Mode was a reference Edith Head.

                  • Wayne Blackburn

                    You’re right about the reference. I looked on IMDB and found that later, but was too lazy to correct myself. I made that statement based on a rumor, which had appeared to be substantiated at the time.

              • I had a title pop into my head with a thumbnail synopsis a few months back: “The Bitch Club Meets On Wednesday.” Paranormal urban fantasy about a support group for female werewolves, run by a total baseline normal gun nut.

                Came to mind because of all the macho, self-indulgent BS that werewolfism is used to excuse in male characters in some bad paranormal stuff…..

                • I like it, when are you going to be finished 😉

                  • Shortly after I figure out how to do this whole “write a plotline” thing. (Assuming that comes after I manage “showing the action, instead of just telling you what happens.”)

                    • I think the title lends itself to serial short fiction. Perhaps the written equivalent of something like Buffy. Upside is you don’t really need to plot too hard with a “monster (challenge) of the week” kind of thing.

                    • I actually got to sleep early– catnapped on the couch while my three year old did stuff– and got everyone to bed early, got another nap… and kept half waking up with plotting and world-building going on.

                      I don’t know if I should curse you, or say thank you in the hopes that I’ll finally 1) figure out how to write something readable, and 2) finish a story.

                  • Feel free to adopt it if you like. As long as it’s not a Pr0n-mance, I’m happy.

              • Dorothy Grant

                For unusual hero – that’s one reason for my love of Bujold’s writing. Her fantasy in Chalion, her writing of the mental and the physical limitations and the courage that springs from having to go on, every step, every day… She drew Cazaril in a way that many a patient of far too much physical therapy could vividly identify with. And in the next book, in the dowager royina, she proved that a strong woman does not have to be painfully young, sexy, self-centered, and full of witty one-liners in order to stand firm.

                If I find another writer who can express that iron core you develop after enough pain and tragedy, that way that you go on because there is no going back, no stopping, no end – that’s what I’ll read at 3 in the morning when a passing storm front wakes me with my joints aching.

                • One of my fav. writers– I go back to read Chalion and then the Dowager– often. The books give me strength when I am in the middle of a lot of physical pain.

            • This Land Is Mine (1943) — along with Laughton there is Maureen O’Hara, George Sanders, Walter Slezak and Una Merkel.

          • Have you read Monster Hunter International by Larry Correia? The receptionist lady who checks the newbies in is a scary old lady complete with artificial leg.

        • You know, I loved Eastwood’s movie “Space Cowboys,” but the characters should have been old women. There wasn’t really any group of test pilots I know of who were replaced as spacemen by chimps, but the first group of US astronauts in training were all women, the tests said they were better, at least at the little capsules of Mercury to Apollo. Some senator demanded they be replaced by men. The lady who owned the 4 Corners/Gateways/Book Broker bookstore space was one of them.

      • Lar,

        You left out the best part! She’s a gun geek and channels into her ammo.

        • Ooooo! AMMO!!! Useful stuff – turns a short club into one with longer reach! And if you don’t store it properly, you can still use it as a weight when you go fishing! :-/

        • Did I mention that I’ve been a shooter and hobby reloader for over 40 years? Given my surly demeanor and lack of the more refined social graces I suspect many of my friends and family tolerate me only because I keep them in ammo. That, and I tend to lose at poker, always an endearing quality.

          • Never play poker with a guy named Lucky.”

            • Farmer: “I don’t gamble.”
              Ben: “Neither does Willie.”
              Ben Rumson talking about gambler Rotten Luck Willie in “Paint Your Wagon.”

          • Is the thing that includes the bullet, but isn’t the gun, a round?

            • Clark E Myers

              Strictly speaking no, that’s a cartridge (notice cartridge goes back a long ways and has had varied forms depending on ignition system). Like clip or assault rifle folks are abusing the language to appear knowing or to use Aesopian language, A round properly is once around a battery each gun (technical term) firing once. For a single gun as the battery a round is fire one hence by extension one cartridge for one round.

              • And a clip is not a magazine… 😮

                • Another dumb gun question. what’s the difference between a magazine and a clip?

                  • A magazine, shortened from "box magazine", are a boxlike construct that contain cartridges and feed them into the action of a firearm. Most modern firearms use magazines – some get inserted all the way into a firearm (see most semiautomatic pistols, all the way back to the 100 year old 1911 pistol) while others get pushed into the firearm partway and otherwise hang out in the breeze (see M-16/M4 pattern US-designed rifles or AK-47 Russian-designed rifles.)


                    Clips are a bent metal affairs that hold cartridges in a certain alignment but neither contain nor feed cartridges into the firearm – two good examples of clips are in this photo – an "enbloc clip" used in the M1 Garand rifle from WWII (forever associated with the phrase "Ouch! My thumb!") is on the left, and a "stripper clip" used to quickly load a number of cartridges into a firearm, is on the right.


                    The term "magazine" originated in the age of black powder cannon as the separate room or building in which the gunpowder was stored – thus a container for the boom-making stuff separate from the actual boom-making equipment (the cannon and carriage, plus gun crew), so that the boom making did not inadvertently set off all the boom-making stuff at once, such occurence known as "a bad day".

                  • The magazine is where the cartridges are held, there are many types of magazines, rotary magazines, tube magazines, revolving magazines (yes different than rotary),box magazines, detachable magazines, etc. Detachable magazines are commonly called clips, including by myself, but technically clips are used to load magazines, they will load an entire magazine at ones (or half of one in the case of revolver half-moon clips) generally speaking a clip is a required part of the functioning of a gun designed to use them, and it will not perform the firing sequence of load, fire, and eject without them.

                  • A magazine hold ammunition for the firearm to feed into its chamber. A clip holds ammunition to feed into a magazine. Sometimes the clip stays with the ammunition – M1 Garand and Mannlicher bolt rifles are examples – sometimes the clip has the ammo stripped out of it as its fed into the magazine (some then call such “chargers” instead of clips however). The latter example being a SKS or the Swiss K31 carbine.

                    Example of a clip would be the 8 round clip that feeds an M1 Garand.
                    Here is a photo of one being used to feed a Garand.

                    Magazines have feed lips, springs and followers. Clips lack them.

                  • …and as the time on target salvo of multiple simultaneous overlapping explanations thundered across Sarah’s comment section, Emily could be seen making great haste, her silhouette receding rapidly into the distance…

                • Dorothy Grant

                  and while revolvers can use moon clips, they never use magazines.

                  • Clark E Myers

                    “What, never?” “Well, hardly ever!”

                    See e.g. the Dardick 1500 but the point is essentially correct

                    • I would argue that even though the feed rotor in a Dardick revolves, it is hardly a revolver since the ammunition (Trounds, not rounds, since they are of a trochoidal cross section) is fed from a charger loaded magazine and not held in a cylinder as in a revolver.
                      The Dardick has been called, “the boon of the uneducated mystery writer” since it can be called an automatic revolver, but we all know that the only true automatic revovler was the Webley- Fosberry.

                      (There is one prominently shown in Zardoz, if you can get over seeing Sean Connery dressed as Cohen the Barbarian)

                    • Clark E Myers

                      Folks, certainly me, now that he’s in his mid 80’s forget that Sean Connery was quite a successful body builder in his youth – maybe there’s a connection with body building, speaking with an unusual for Hollywood accent and success in films? – but no not interested.

                      As Google will testify there are any number of people out there who agree on calling the Dardick 1500 a revolver (also the maker) – some of the larger potentially aircraft cannon used rotating open chamber barrels with multiple feed to fire more than once per rotation. You may be right but that’s not the consensus.

                      For folks who might be curious I commend the video Review: the Dardick Model 1500 magazine-fed revolver as found on You Tube site omitted to avoid moderation.

                    • Dorothy Grant

                      But the Dardick is neither fish nor fowl, neither pistol nor revolver. It was also a one-off never made in mass quantities, and so few are left today – collector’s pieces all – that it’s largely irrelevant as well.

                      …then again, I’m in a gathering a writers. Just my luck that one o’ you would, just for the challenge, craft a story where the design of the firearm is cruical, and it manages to avoid some sweeping gun-control curse invoked by wizards trying to rule through sword and sorcery. Heh.

                    • Which reminds me that I believe New York’s new gun control law outlaws owning revolving shotguns. I wonder if there is an exception for antiques like the Colt revolving shotgun made in the 19th century?

                    • Dorothy, the Tround is made out of thermoplastic and, outside of the primer, only uses one or two manufacturing stages to make it in its entirety, unlike the 10-27 steps needed to bump, draw and trim a conventional cartridge. Aslo, the Dardick has only a couple of components that need to be machined, like the barrel and rotator and springs, the rest can almost be made out of plastic or laminated steel sheets bolted together. I’ve always wondered if with sufficient planning you couldn’t make one with a CNC cutter and Philly screws.

                      Of course now with 3-d printing….

                    • The _real_ potential with the tround is in rate of fire. Ordinarily, with an automatic weapon, a lot of things have to happen in sequence. The tround permits them to happen simultaneously.

                  • I love – LOVE – full moon clips for my revolver. Makes reloading a breeze. Also: way, way cheaper than magazines.

                    • Full moon clips are good for shooting werewolves (she nods sagely.)

                    • Only the silver one, unfortunately. The cheaper spring steel ones just tend to piss ’em off.

                    • No Monster Hunter for you after that pun.

                    • Silver hollow points in 45ACP can be tweaky about feed ramps in a 1911, but using full moon clips in a S&W 645 or a Colt 1917 New Service takes care of all your werewolf needs, and reloads go right fast too.

                    • MMike gave me wood-core ammo, for shooting vamps. I have them SOMEWHERE.

                    • err- S&W 625 (not 645)

                    • Werewolves can be big critters and hard to stop immediately, even with silver, so I prefer something with a lot of stopping power like a Super Redhawk in 454 Casull. If you want a real Monster stopping handgun, and have wrists big enough to handle it you can always get one of these

                    • I think I’d go with a M-4 chambered in .50 Beowulf, jam a silver bead into a hollow point round. My wrists wouldn’t be up to that monster handcannon. I’d get off one shot and who knows where the bullet would go.

                    • Because some rituals must be performed and proper obeisances made:

                    • The Swedes manufactured a lot of 6.5x55mm wooden bullet ammo for their service rifles. Must have had more vampires in Sweden that I would have guessed.

                    • It’s the norther latitudes: winter is a bad time to be prey when it’s dark most of the day.

                    • I saw 30-30 ammo with wood bullets at the last gun show I was at, and the guy actually had it labeled as vampire ammo. 🙂

                    • Dorothy Grant

                      Random interesting fact: the Japanese army, circa WWII, issued wooden bullets in (some of) their training ammo. When, on some islands, the defenders ran very short of supplies, they started letting the US soldiers get very close, then opening up with the training ammo (despite only being effective inside an extremely short range, it was all they had left.)

                      At the time, soldiers thought this was a fiendish new war development – wooden bullets could not be located inside the body via X-ray, and so were extremely difficult to find and extract…and if they fragmented when they encountered bone, it created very bad potential for infection.

                      (My husband’s researching stuff. I get the interesting factoid, he gets the information.)

  7. “where we can meet, mind to mind.”
    Some got ’em, the rest of us don’t. WHAAAAA!!!! Even here I’m handicapped!!! 😦

    An Idiot’s Understanding of a country to which he hasn’t been… (AKA “An Idiot’s Understanding”)

    Porto Rico – Pronounced “Poo ‘air toe Ree ko” – “Rich Port” – (Used to be in the days of sail, but not so much now. Things change over the centuries.)
    Portugal – Pronounced “Poor Two Gace” (gace rhymes with Case). Does NOT sound like Poo air toe reeko. “Brazil writ small?” Nope. But if you speak Portuguese you’d be able to get along in Brazil since they say they speak it too. (I think they lie! I did pretty well with my poor HS Castillian Spanish there… more on that later.) Portugal is a country that hid from the Spaniards (thus avoiding various contaminations) for a long time behind some mountains on the Iberian peninsula.

    Many of the Great Explorers of the New World came from there – but are usually called “Spaniards”.

    The language is fluid… by which I mean if you speak any Latin language, after a couple of bottles of vino you’ll do very well in Portugese. For example, I found my HS Spanish was functional in Italy after only 1 1/2 bottles of a cheap table wine!!! Even the French tolerated me after only a half bottle! So wine is the equivalent to the Star Trek Universal Translator.

    Okay… enough foolishness for now… ;-D

    • Portugal (rimes with call) is the country. Portuguese (what you transcribed) is the language or someone from the country. My kids confuse this too

      • Good, when I read Michael’s post I thought I had been pronouncing it wrong all these years 😉 I will note that I have more commonly heard Portuguese pronounced port-a-gee, with a hard g, but that seems to be a California mutation.

        • what he transcribed is Brazilian pronounciation. Continental Portugal’s is Portoogeese.

        • Kipling has New England characters calling them “Portagees.”

          • That’s a British thing… Probably from the Peninsular war.

            • British? Everyone I’ve known from California called them Portagee, can’t recall ever talking to someone from England where the subject of Portugal or the Portuguese came up.

              • British in the seventeenth century and eighteenth. My guess is it came over with the original immigrants to new england. Same reason the city I come from is called OPorto agglutinating the article with the word.

              • I’ve always heard the Portuguese families around here (I’m behind the lines in Silicon Valley) refer to themselves at “Port-uh-gee.” This matches the folks of Portuguese descent from Hawaii as well, including my step-Dad’s common usage.

                • Um… wonder if it’s an Azores thing? Most immigrants in CA (don’t know about Hawaii) come from Azores. I honestly never heard this anywhere else but in the US and assumed it was derogatory fun-poking.

                  • Actually that fits – now that you mention it I think my local friends family are from the Azores. I recall comedic stories from when one I went to school with took her totally Americanized 2nd generation Japanese heritage spouse to visit family in the (Azores) islands.

                    • The culture is almost scarily different and we actually had trouble understanding people from Azores when I was growing up. (I THINK — not sure — dialects are becoming more homogenized with travel and all.)

                • And sorry, I got confused it’s not Portugeese, natch, unless we’re speaking English with an accent but Poortoogaish. (I also wonder if it’s something to do with the difficulty of making the correct final sound (it’s more like geesh, but instead of the ee a sound like e in fez) for second generation and later, leading to abbreviating and twisting it.

                • Yes, I did a poor job of phonetically writing it, port-uh-gee is exactly how everyone I’ve heard from California pronounces it.

          • Yeah, the Melungians, the folks who were already occupying the Blue Ridge Mountains when the NEXT white people showed up, said they were “Portagee.”

            • That is truly weird, since they couldn’t have come from an established culture in Azores.

            • It’s of course entirely possible that’s how English-speaking ears heard it/recorded it, the same as Oporto which Englishmen assumed was one word, though the pause is distinct to everyone who speaks Portuguese.

            • Much to the surprise of the families that volunteered to participate, one of the conclusions of the Melungeon DNA project has been that one of the few groups from whom they were not descended are natives of Portugal.

      • Yes… “Pour’ chew gaul’.” I knew that but missed it anyway. My brain on a roll can be hard to steer. Sorry… I was in HS Spanish mode… 😦
        (pls read the first part of the post – about being the handicapped… :-o) {sigh}

  8. Clark E Myers

    There’s at least one woman who crochets at cons and in groups of fen (or did) and also made the NYT paperback best seller list with an SF book. (Dean or Kris could name her with a little thought) Perhaps fans were once slans and are no longer

    • Do you refer to Vonda McIntyre? I have one of her crocheted anemones, (she bragged immodestly). The beaded nudibranchs are quite pretty too.

      • Sabrina — send me the post again. I tried to whitelist you and it somehow ate the post. BUT I think you’re whitelisted now!

        • Post re-sent. Maybe it doesn’t like attachments?

          • Nah. It just thinks you’re a suspicious character…

            • Well that just proves it has good sense.

            • It’s a fair cop, guv’nor 😉 I mean, just look who I hang out with …

              • Hey! Yer ‘onor, she’s misjudging us. Innocent lambs, we be.

                  • Not innocent, or not a lamb?

                    • bah. He’s just saying that.

                    • Mmmmmm, lamb. Not a safe thing to be, this week and next. *goes to see if there is any mint sauce left in pantry*

                    • Mint sauce is an abomination onto noogan. Lamb should be marinaded in red wine and garlic and then slow roasted in a wood oven. Next house, I want an outdoor wood oven!

                    • Lamb marinaded with red wine and garlic? Sarah, I’m sending my keyboard-cleaning bill to you. There’s no way I’m going to get all the drool out of it without professional help.

                    • Sarah, if you have a back yard, access to cinderblocks, mud and perlite, and children who like engineering, why don’t you have an outdoor wood oven?
                      Me, I’m putting in corn this year, but maybe come Fall …hm. I admit I’ve been looking at plans for a backyard cob oven.

                    • Because I don’t have a back yard. It’s about two feet long. The front yard is six feet — the side yard too.

                      Also because we hope to downsize our house this coming year, and most people would be puzzled by that.

                      I’ll have to ask the boy who builds things, but I THINK brick is better than cinder. The sort of brick my mom calls “donkey brick” — the one filled through all the way.

                    • Lamb is to be rubbed with crushed garlic, then larded with same (but not too much) and perhaps rubbed again with basil infused olive oil. Slow roast in the oven, basting with the pan juices ever so often to keep it nice and moist. Serve with barely mashed new potatoes (to soak up the juices), the green vegetable of your choice, and with mint sauce or a barely-sweet vinegar reduction on the side. I like an apple-infused balsamic vinegar, but I got a bottle as a gift.

                      This is all assuming that you can find lamb for under $11/lb (the local rate).

                    • Our neighborhood store sometimes puts it on firesale, but usually I end up buying the stew meat…. not good for roasting.

                      You used an expression I don’t understand. What is this “too much” in conjunction with garlic? I have never run across that!

                    • “Too much” is when you have stopped serving lamb flavoured with garlic and begun to serve lamb-flavoured garlic.

                      Not that there’s anything wrong with that, says the person what deems “ham-flavoured salt” the highest praise possible for a Smithfield Country Ham.

                    • Well, then the pig-roasting pit is out too, then.

                    • What is this sick obsession with ruining perfectly good meat by putting mint sauce on it?

                    • Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. The defense rests.

                    • Construction brick or block whether hollow or solid is fine for the supporting structure, but if you want your outdoor altar to the gods of animal protein to survive multiple seasons you need to line the fire chamber with something called fire brick. Much more resistant to the deterioration caused by the repeated heating cooling cycles.

                • Lambs? Ooooo. Fleece! Spinning yarns! And knitting too! O fun! O joy!

                  Tee hee.

                • Wayne Blackburn

                  I think you broke my sarcasm meter. And it WAS tough enough to withstand a RES onslaught. (runs)

                  • Sarcasm? Moi? I don’t know the meaning of the word!

                    S’truth — I tried to look it up in the dictionary and all I found was a picture of Me!

                    Hmmmm … a surprising lot of words in my dictionary have that same definition; they can’t ALL mean the same thing, can they? Perhaps I need a new picture.

              • Sabrina,
                When is Scent of Metal coming out in deadtree?

                • As soon as I can sit down and format the silly thing. THAT doesn’t take long, but the proofing takes a while.

                  Oh, did I forget I to mention I have a new book out, she said casually… The Scent of Metal is now available at the usual electronic outlets, and features the revenge of Pluto and computer geeks in space. Thanks for the excuse to promote, bearcat 😉

    • well, it’s the crochet I do — it’s white work. Also, this kid well… had the prejudices of her generation. Crochet was feminine and therefore I was dumb. (Why is it that feminists degrade traditionally feminine skills and occupations, while seeking to “elevate” women? Women have to stop being women to be powerful? What sense does THAT make?)

      • Dorothy Grant

        It is their shriveled little shrunken souls, allowing their shrivelled little minds only the narrowest of worldviews. They think men are better than women, and seek to make women equal by making women do all the traditionally male things, while forbidding the men from doing, saying, thinking, or displaying anything that shows how innately better they are.

        Because men are better than women, in their twisted little world, anything traditionally feminine must be nothing more than the scrapings and leaving and burdens cast on the weaker sex by the better one. After all, if they ruled the world, that’s how they’d treat the men – so they reason that’s how the men must treat the women, and value it accordingly.

      • Jean is, and has been for much of our married life (47 years – no short time) a stay-at-home mom. She knits, crochets, and makes several different kinds of bobbin lace. She also probably knows more about unattached children (Timmy was unattached) and how to build attachment than half the psychologists in this world. She’s often considered “low-IQ” because she has both auditory and visual dyslexia, and has a hard time choosing the right words in both oral and written presentation. Right now, she’s also about 60% deaf. Anyone who knows her for very long soon realizes she’s pretty darned intelligent!

        • She also probably knows more about unattached children … and how to build attachment than half the psychologists in this world.

          ‘T’ain’t much uv a hurdle there, Mike. My deceased feral cat knew more about attachment than half the psychiatrists in this world. If she knows anything (as I am confident she does) that probably puts her in the top 25%.

          Your observation about Jean’s processing difficulties points out the fallacy of IQ: it is primarily a metric designed and developed as a predictor of how well kids will do in school. Its calibration is predicated on that basis. Thus it mostly measures input/output rates and the ability to engage the sorts of mental processes that our pedagogy values. It values a large vocabulary above knowing the right thing to say.

          It is useless as a measure of wisdom or thinking in depth.

  9. A large pearl from Chesterton, Sarah:

    To be Queen Elizabeth within a definite area, deciding sales, banquets, labours, and holidays; to be Whitely within a certain area, providing toys, boots, cakes and books; to be Aristotle within a certain area, teaching morals, manners, theology, and hygiene; I can imagine how this can exhaust the mind, but I cannot imagine how it could narrow it. How can it be a large career to tell other people about the Rule of Three, and a small career to tell one’s own children about the universe? How can it be broad to be the same thing to everyone and narrow to be everything to someone? No, a woman’s function is laborious, but because it is gigantic, not because it is minute.
    –Chesterton, What’s Wrong With the World

  10. The incident with your man child strikes a chord with me from the other direction. Because I’m 6-3 and a big, beefy hulk, and given to surly (read: thoughtful, but they’re hard to tell apart) expressions — and self-aware enough to realize it most of the time — I generally give women a wide-ish berth when out on foot. I’ll hang back so’s not to crowd them, or even cross the street.

    Even though, any one who’s more than ten years younger (or less) than I can probably kick my flabby, couch-potato ass.

    Just seems the gentlemanly thing to do.


  11. Of all the Barflies I’ve met in person, I think only two failed to match their online selves. Oh, there’s always surprises. Especially voices. Tones, accents, or lack thereof. I think I have “US regional prejudicial expectations.” The guy from Georgia didn’t have a southern accent. And how the heck can someone from Boston not have an accent? But it wasn’t at all like meeting a stranger.

  12. “This is why G-d gave me middle fingers.”

    Just so we’re clear: I will be stealing this from you. And thanks.

  13. Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

    I once saw a cartoon (Family Circus?) where a young female poll-taker asked the mother if she worked outside her home. After the poll-taker got a “no” she asked “As a *non* working woman…”, we then see the mother thinking of all the things she does. Then the mother slams the door in the poll-taker’s face. [Very Big Evil Grin]

  14. Dorothy Grant

    If we were to try to redress the wrongs toward your culture, oh science fiction writer, what kind of chocolates should we send? Milk or dark, nuts or fruits or caramels or plain? For the other major food group, which kind of bacon?

    To me, I’m afraid, your accent lands on my ear as “Huh, that’s not quite Russian Far East… where is it?” To my darling husband, you sound refreshingly delightfully Portugese, an accent as familiar and homey as the cry of the fish eagle. I can’t even claim my own locale; since marrying him and moving south, my accent decided his was more fun to pick up than the local area.

    Which actually lands me in a hard spot, sometimes: due to the elitist’s love of everything European over anything American, some new hires assume I’m a nose-in-the-air elitist due to a British colonial overlay on my accent. *facepalm*

  15. People who think only unintelligent women should stay at home have no knowledge of US history. During the early republic era (1783-1820ish), “republican motherhood” was a very hot topic in the papers and political discussions. Mothers had the vital duty of raising the next generation of citizens, which meant that women needed to be educated in both the domestic arts and political ideas, so they could teach their children and prepare them for participation in civil society.

    My eye doctor gives me grief for wearing glasses with large, heavy frames. “Those styles make you look old.” Yes. That’s the point. That and needing room for the bifocal inset.

    • I hated glasses of any kind, which is why I saved up my money and got lasix when I was twenty (back when you had to go to Canada to get it done). But I remember the annoyance of having clear vision through the lenses, and a blur around the outside, so I really don’t understand the new style of having these dime sized glasses perched halfway down your nose so that you have to hold your head just right to see through them.

      • I have been waiting at least 15 years for large glasses to come back into style. (Based on the fact that when we got married, I had large glasses, and the next time I went in to get glasses, they refused to sell me the ones I wanted.)

        At least large sunglasses are coming back into style.


        Facts are stubborn things, but not nearly as stubborn as fallacies.*

        On Thu, Mar 21, 2013 at 12:34 PM, According To Hoyt wrote:

        > ** > bearcat commented: “I hated glasses of any kind, which is why I saved > up my money and got lasix when I was twenty (back when you had to go to > Canada to get it done). But I remember the annoyance of having clear vision > through the lenses, and a blur around the outside, so I ” >

        • “At least large sunglasses are coming back into style.”

          Yes, you now see women wear dinnerplate sized sunglasses with cheap plastic frames. Personally I prefer wraparound sunglasses that keep the sun from shining aroung the edges when you turn your head and blinding you, plus they help keep dust out of your eyes. But since my Bolle’s wore out I haven’t found a pair that is comfortable for a price that I am willing to pay, so I generally don’t wear any.

          • Because someone must, and I am a giver:

            • Ah – ZZTop – the smartest band from the 1980s: They are the only ones who established a stage look that they can still use to this day with no alterations, and using it no one can see if they look older than the trees.

          • Dorothy Grant

            Have you tried the DeWalt safety glasses that are smoke-tinted? They work very well for my fit and comfort, and are cheap enough (being safety glasses) that I don’t mind tossing them if they get broken.

            On the other end of the scale, I’m looking at the ESS sunglasses with prescription inserts, so I can use them for flying, shooting, driving, and general life.

    • A few days ago my sister posted something on Facebook saying that western and muslim cultures were equally dominated by men. One of my points was that the only people who would think western culture was male-dominated were misogynists who thought that the physical power exercised by men was the only one that counted. The power to raise children, either directly or indirectly by hiring the nannies and tutors, is incredibly powerful. Our Revolution is due in part to the exhortations of a mother to her son.

      • Not to insult your sister, but any woman who believes western and muslim cultures are equally dominated by men needs to go live in Kabul for a year, then get back to us and tell us if her opinion has changed.

        • The conversation ended with me calling her a vile and pathetic person in thrall to a hateful and murderous ideology. There’s very little you can say about my sister (intellectually) that I haven’t said.

          Of course, now I have to explain to my mother how and why I made my sister cry from 1200 miles away.

          • And yet you were right. American women who want to believe they live in a patriarchy might have better success convincing me we live under water or on the moon. No, seriously. They’ve bought Marxism hook, line and sinker.

            OTOH you have my sympathy. When my brother told me that China was less racist than the US, I beat all records of speed to his basement, where I could laugh my head of without getting in a physical fight with him. (Particularly since the time when we did, our father had to step between. BUT he short circuited my brain by saying vile, hateful things about America.)

            • She is one of my first data points for my theory that liberals don’t think, they emote. The next dozen are my extended family. It makes for entertaining family reunions, if you like to argue.

              The thing that gets me is that I don’t think she still understands the contradiction between her opening statement denigrating western culture and her taking offense to me pointing out the failings of muslim culture.

              • It’s not 100 percent clear that many or perhaps any of us, right or left, thinks in preference to emoting, or going with our instincts. The difference is that right wing emotions and instincts tend to be more in line with the objective facts on the ground, and are based on a total input of values, while left wing emotions and instincts are mostly fantasies of what they deeply wish were the objective facts on the ground, and further are crippled by a highly limited set of values. But reason, in any case, rarely enters into it, however much rationalization may. I commend to you all, once again, recovering liberal Jonathan Haidt’s The Righteous Mind.

                • Very true, the right can find many more logical facts to rationalize their emotions.

                • That’s one reason I value argument so much, it allows me to stress-test my ideas and the process I use to develop them. I also spend quite a bit of time playing the “What could possibly go wrong” game. Yes, emotion and prejudice come into play, especially when operating on incomplete information, but I think one can identify where the spackle is, if one is paying attention.

                  • It’s not that we _can’t_ think; it’s that we rarely do unless forced to it, and even when we do, if we run into something that insults our instincts and emotions, we’ll tend to reject it out of hand.

                    • I agree. Someone once said that common sense was common because it used to be the minimum required daily amount of intelligence to survive. That is no longer the case. Just look at the last election.

                    • Clark E Myers

                      True enough but just maybe assumes a particular definition or maybe category of thinking – I strongly suggest looking at Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman (he did after all get the banker’s prize called a Nobel for his work on decision making) for the category of thinking fast (aka jumping to conclusions – occasionally useful as when followed by let’s didi) and processing little or not at all . If at all interested at least read the NYT book review. I’d say there’s more based on observation – revealed thinking – than the mechanisms of thought (cf talk of meatspace meetup like a certain mailman I might not pass Turing in real time but at a keyboard…). Nevertheless this book (and a companion volume on Judgment Under Uncertainty) might even be useful to Patrick Carrera as he builds a better world than he found. Let’s all be Bayesian out there ever willing to consider and change.

                    • Sadly, even before Obama got the Nobel for not being George Bush, nay, even before Rigoberta Menchu got it for creative fiction, the Nobel Prizes – all of them – had lost a certain amount of luster. Still, it sounds like something that should be read along with Haidt.

                    • Who’s Haidt?

                    • Clark E Myers

                      Quite right Jonathan Haidt once again a quote this time from Wikipedia this date:

                      “The observations of Social intuitionism, that intuitions come first and rationalization second, led to the Elephant and Rider Metaphor.[5] The rider represents the conscious controlled processes and the elephant represents all of the automatic processes. The metaphor corresponds to Daniel Kahneman’s Thinking, Fast and Slow.[6] This metaphor is used extensively in both The Happiness Hypothesis and The Righteous Mind.”

                      I’d suggest the Kahneman’s book as better based and going far but certainly nothing new for a perfect reasoner – save perhaps in the scheme of the writers no perfect reasoner can exist so we will have to make a physical journey from a single rain drop to see our Niagras.

                    • A good intro, from the only best columnist at the NY Times:

                      Social Scientist Sees Bias Within
                      By JOHN TIERNEY

                      SAN ANTONIO — Some of the world’s pre-eminent experts on bias discovered an unexpected form of it at their annual meeting.

                      Discrimination is always high on the agenda at the Society for Personality and Social Psychology’s conference, where psychologists discuss their research on racial prejudice, homophobia, sexism, stereotype threat and unconscious bias against minorities. But the most talked-about speech at this year’s meeting, which ended Jan. 30, involved a new “outgroup.”

                      It was identified by Jonathan Haidt, a social psychologist at the University of Virginia who studies the intuitive foundations of morality and ideology. He polled his audience at the San Antonio Convention Center, starting by asking how many considered themselves politically liberal. A sea of hands appeared, and Dr. Haidt estimated that liberals made up 80 percent of the 1,000 psychologists in the ballroom. When he asked for centrists and libertarians, he spotted fewer than three dozen hands. And then, when he asked for conservatives, he counted a grand total of three.

                      “This is a statistically impossible lack of diversity,” Dr. Haidt concluded, noting polls showing that 40 percent of Americans are conservative and 20 percent are liberal. In his speech and in an interview, Dr. Haidt argued that social psychologists are a “tribal-moral community” united by “sacred values” that hinder research and damage their credibility — and blind them to the hostile climate they’ve created for non-liberals.

                      “Anywhere in the world that social psychologists see women or minorities underrepresented by a factor of two or three, our minds jump to discrimination as the explanation,” said Dr. Haidt, who called himself a longtime liberal turned centrist. “But when we find out that conservatives are underrepresented among us by a factor of more than 100, suddenly everyone finds it quite easy to generate alternate explanations.”

                      Dr. Haidt (pronounced height) told the audience that he had been corresponding with a couple of non-liberal graduate students in social psychology whose experiences reminded him of closeted gay students in the 1980s. He quoted — anonymously — from their e-mails describing how they hid their feelings when colleagues made political small talk and jokes predicated on the assumption that everyone was a liberal.


                      “If a group circles around sacred values, they will evolve into a tribal-moral community,” he said. “They’ll embrace science whenever it supports their sacred values, but they’ll ditch it or distort it as soon as it threatens a sacred value.” It’s easy for social scientists to observe this process in other communities, like the fundamentalist Christians who embrace “intelligent design” while rejecting Darwinism. But academics can be selective, too, as Daniel Patrick Moynihan found in 1965 when he warned about the rise of unmarried parenthood and welfare dependency among blacks — violating the taboo against criticizing victims of racism.


                    • Col., that suggestion is so offensive, insulting and dehumanizing that I reject it out of hand. Only a fascist puppy-hating poopy-head would say such a thing.

                      Next con we are both at, I think I owe you a shot of Jameson’s.

                    • Yes. Thinking can be hard. Occasionally quite frightening and painful. Years ago, after hitting a critical mass of contributing factors, I had to conclude that my entire world view I was raised upon was based on a paper moon in a cardboard sky. Having the rug of ‘how things are’ pulled out from under me as such left me wobbly on the legs, until I learned to ‘walk in the light,’ so to speak.

                • I think that Haidt has some good points, but makes the same sort of error that you find at the root of various education fads– he confuses what folks do with how they got there, in this case. (Digression: IIRC when I read the reasoning, I disagree with some of the baseline beliefs he has, even while agreeing with where they took him when he applied reason. Nothing like different basic assumptions!)

                  Of course folks don’t think about stuff they’ve already made their minds up about, same way I don’t have to sound out the words here on the page– the problem comes when you look at something they haven’t considered before.
                  To very broadly generalize, conservatives often tend (I’m sure there are more qualifiers that could fit in there somewhere) to work from metaphors, while liberals do the same from empathy. They are both thinking through the new thing, but in very, very different ways.

                  • I suspect that’s not it at all. I suspect that leftwingers start from a) a firm faith in a kind of magic, which b) leads them to faith in the easy, reliable, certain, mutability of man, through training, education, propagandization, and relentless bloody nagging. Short version: nurture. Real rightwingers, Nazis or British tories of the most old-fashioned kind, tend to believe in the mutability of man through breeding. Nature. There is an intellectual sleight of hand going on with both wherein they deny this but insist that either our iniquitous and unjust society has made otherwise excellent mankind into the vile and venal creature we see, or that downbreeding has done the same. A _conservative_ on the other hand, has faith in neither, tacitly believes that both nature and nurture have their effects but are not reliable in the slightest. A conservative is actually middle of the road, and only the political optical illusion man is prone to make him seem radically rightist to some.

                    • Real rightwingers, Nazis or British tories of the most old-fashioned kind, tend to believe in the mutability of man through breeding.

                      Your notion of “real right winger” doesn’t match any functional one I’ve seen– Goldburg rather infamously illustrated nazism and eugenics were not right-wing, starting with calling the group by their proper name, National Socialists, and leftwingers in the US are rather infamous here for the odd notion that race is culture. (That is, that breeding has crazy solid categories.)

                      About the biggest difference I can draw is that an introspective rightwinger will try to figure out how much to simplify things, and a leftwinger will think things can actually be planned.

                      Slightly changed– right tries to lower or raise probabilities, left tries to make things happen or not. They think things CAN be made to happen, we think things can be made more probable, but folks will dance naked on mailboxes.

                    • I’m familiar with Goldberg’s theory. I reject it. He seems to miss that very different diseases can have very similar symptoms. He also mistakes the tactical for the strategic. We had Soviets, for example, totally dedicated to the creation of Lenin’s New Soviet Man through training, education, propagandization, relentless nagging, and creation of a “just” society, _still_ engaging in eugenics experiments to enhance the likelihood of that society prevailing, while never giving up an iota of their belief in the mutability of man, the perfection of man, through the aforementioned factors, just as we had Nazis manipulating culture to enhance the chances for their eugenics programs.

                      And, no, I don’t think your thesis gets to the ultimate question. Or, rather, that you’re mistaking the tactical for the strategic yourself.

                    • Rather, I disagree with your nature/nurture divide.

                      If it was a ‘there is a basic human nature’ vs ‘people are infinitely malleable’ divide, it might work (though I’d still say it’s a kludge) but eugenics– the idea that people can be bred for tendencies, which would broadly encompass racism and Europe style “this country’s people are inherently different than THOSE” as well– is simply too broadly distributed.

                      Possibly a “theory” vs “practice” scale would work– like the old joke, in theory, practice is the same as theory; in practice, it seldom is.

                      I suspect we don’t agree on the “ultimate question” itself.

                    • Clark E Myers

                      Maybe so. I’d say the folks on left and right who set out to build Utopia by killing likely share some faith in the mutability of human character by selection (Ukraine to Khmer Rouge – my observation of folks who survived the selection process is that they were not improved rather the reverse but folks will keep trying on the this time for sure thoughtful basis for such action)

                      Rather like ordinal and cardinal preferences where maybe with my wife I could approximate cardinal preference and maybe not but certainly not with anybody else and maybe not with myself. I’m no mind reader and I don’t know how to check the hypothesis. One of the points of Kahneman is that there are some experiments, by no means conclusive but consistent with the hypothesis of a common two part mechanism for thinking. (where there is no test for elephant – a metaphor for sure)

                      I knew any number of people who served pick one (or more) – their class, their country, the Third Reich specifically or Hitler and his followers – one Italian Count who took a division to the Eastern Front and brought back his headquarter’s company but he wasn’t an acknowledged fascist and likely enough was just meeting expectations.

                      Maybe emotional thinkers are just flat more susceptible to demagogues- sounds good and feels good and people internalize without checking. Checking is hard and so passed over.

                      The lone former true believer (cf Eric Hoffer) Nazi explained himself by saying – “What did I know? I left school at 11 to be apprenticed as a baker. When we (not editorial, he was there) swept through Poland so quickly I began to believe. By the time I paraded down the Champs Elysee along with so many others I was a true believer. When you Americans saved me at bayonet point from being stoned/beaten to death by the French – and I looked into the French eyes – my Nazi faith was abandoned, dead forever.

                    • Poking at it some more, the unspoken question is “Why are we making the map”?

                      It’s obvious that the map isn’t the place, but the problem comes when we’re trying to make a map that’s as accurate to reality and still useful as possible– the use matters.

                      I’m headed out the door, but wanted to get a mental image down– figured that “level of control” would be the most useful horizontal measure, going from “total mind controlled robots” on the far left to “anarchists unwilling to be bound even by their own agreements” on the far right. That solves the “nobody’s actually there” problem by being exaggerations of positions folks are inclined to when it suits them. (Ever meet an anarchist or totalitarian that thought someone else would be a threat?)

                      Problem came when I looked at the vertical axis, and realized it should have at least three directions, or maybe four, and trying to clarify them into one or two word concepts, and then some sort of color intensity for how strongly someone thinks a thing vs the fact that they believe it’s an influence….

                      Total mess.

                      So the next question is, how simplified do you want the map to be for the purpose…..

                    • Oh, and the reason for making the map is to a) understand and b) predict. But in order to understand and predict we have to also understand some of the philosophical and political optical illusions people are subject to. One is “I am in the middle, the reasonable and logical middle.” This is most unlikely, though it may be true for a few people here and there. What happens is people mistake being in the middle of their peer group for being in the middle. Another illusion is the blending together. Thus, a hard leftist looks right and conservative and nazi seem all the same to him. A super hard rightist might also look leftward and conservative blends in to social democracy which blends into…you get the idea. A third is to add someone’s vociferousness as a bar rising above or perhaps sinking below the left right line, then tilt that bar in the opposite direction. Thus, that semi-myhtical middle of the roader, if enthusiastic in his denunciations of both Toryism and Leninism, is seen by each of those as being way far in the direction of the other.

                      The “map,” as in left right, is not necessarily useful to understand any given individual, of course; people can be and usually are illogical, unreasoning, inconsistent, stupid and outright mad. But it is useful for seeing the broader trends, how the up down differences become submerged by the greater differences along the line, and how the extremes organize people against each other.

                    • Too broad. Understand and predict what?

                      Going back to the map metaphor, a road map’s purpose is for driving, a geological map is for figuring what you’ll find there, a political one is for laws and such….

                      “To understand and predict political actions” is way, way too broad.

                      For that matter, we don’t even seem to agree on what’s being measured– the notion that the “extremes” organize folks against each other, rather than “people organize against things they strongly disagree with,” has a lot of stuff baked into it.

                    • I would have thought that would be self evident, or require only a little thought. We wish to understand and predict how people organize themselves, in groups, politically, how will they act, politically, what they will support or attack, politically. Is there some other measure of particular importance to _you_?

                    • Like I said, too broad. “How people organize themselves in groups and what they do after that” is a half-step from “predict what people are going to do” in general. You either have to simplify so much that it’s not very useful, or collecting the information– and the assumptions you have to make to do it– makes the problem too big.

                    • Okay, I’ll concede that _you_ can’t get any use from it. Oh, well.

                    • I should hope you wouldn’t try to insist that the model you think would be most useful is universally useful, especially when the built-in assumptions are so specialized.

                    • I think it’s unversally useful for anyone who wants to use it.

                      Something I’ve found a lot of, among those who dispute the left-right model, is a kind of outraged hysteria, or sometimes hysterical outrage: “How dare you suggest i am not unique and uniquely important, but just an assemblage of instincts and emotions, who reasons only incidentally and only if forced.” But I _do_ think that the speaker, you, me, everyone, is just that.

                    • You’re welcome to think that, of course, but when trying to get around Seattle I’ll stick with a roadmap of Seattle over a globe that tries to incorporate roads, land elevation, political entities and points of interest.

                      That something is useful doesn’t mean it’s useful for all things.

                      Disputing “the” left-right model is useless information; doesn’t tell you what model is being used, or even the context it’s being disputed in– I’d quickly dispute “the” left-right model if it’s applied to what food I’m going to make for dinner, but it can be accurate enough to explain what political movements I’m more likely to support. If calibrated correctly, of course. If the assumptions are wrong, then the predictions are very likely to be wrong– such as the relative that thinks conservatives believe gov’t is evil, and thus are just crazy because they support the military.

                      It’s possible that what you see as people believing they are the “center” is actually people checking to see if your map is accurate– if I’m going around Seattle, I’ll check the map against what I can actually see. If it can’t accurate describe what I can see, then I won’t use the map.

                    • Nothing in my left right model forbids you from using those same ups and downs – landmarks, if you will – that I mentioned.

                    • That something is not “forbidden” doesn’t mean it will work well.

                    • So you have just claimed to want to see all the landmarks and are now rejecting the landmarks? Are you just trying to be contrary?

                    • I did not say I wanted to see all the land marks.

                      I singled out trying to shove everything into a single map as an especially unhelpful idea.

                    • I have a most dificulty time imagining the use of two maps, one of which had the grid lines and the other of which the elevations.

                    • I cannot take responsibility for your imagination, but I can tell you that I have used multiple maps of an area for different purposes. Not “frequently,” but enough to be familiar with the process. Translation between them can be hard, but not nearly as bad as trying to make sense of a map with too much information in too little space.

                    • And there I thought it was women who were willing to stop and ask for directions. So much for that theory.

                    • Very hard to do when there is no-one around, and if there was they probably wouldn’t understand the question.

                    • Actually, my husband stops to ask for directions. I drive h*ll for leather down unknown roads, hoping to magically get where I want to go (sometimes with Dan shaking his head and sighing from passenger seat.)

                      We probably horribly confuse the kids.

                    • I find willingness to ask for directions directly correlates to a) confidence that random people asked will be able to provide adequate directions and b) confidence that people will give adequate directions.

                      In my experience, people will give false directions.

                      Translated to politics, I would not ask Paul Krugman for directions and if he offered them I would not follow them. Charles Krauthammer, OTOH, sure.

                      One critical element in drawing your map is what reference points are used, nicht wahr? A reader of The Nation, Tikkun and Mother Jones probably inhabits a different political reality than the readers of Weekly Standard, Commentary and National Review. Thus they would give different directions to get to the same goal.

                    • I think the reason I don’t stop to ask for directions is that I’m deaf and often don’t understand dialects. People will give me long strings of directions and I hear kind of like what Charlie Brown’s parents sound like on the cartoon…

                      We use GPS, even though we have reliable proof it’s trying to kill us. (No? Then why did it order us to make doughnuts in the middle of the busiest intersection in town? “Do a u turn, then do a uturn, then do a uturn” It sounded peeved when we just turned right. “Re- CalCULATING” it said, cold and menacingly.

                    • I call mine, “Miss Bitch In The Box.”

                    • I thought we were unique until we had Les Johnson and his wife in the car and I talked back to the GPS and they started laughing and said “we do that too!”

                    • First order of business when I turn on a new Garmen: turn off the u-turn option. And then the “toll road” option.

                    • We HAD them turned off — I tell you, the thing is trying to kill us!

                    • The problem with the left/right model, or the X-Y model, is that is isn’t of sufficient complexity. I’m a bit more comfortable with an XYZ model, but that’s because I have trouble graphing things in four-dimensional space.

                    • And, see, I am quite skeptical that it’s really very complex at all, or that complexity helps in understanding. If the core of the thing is a simple question, or a simple assumption, then complexity would, if anything, lead you astray.

                    • I used to think the ultimate question was nature/nurture. I’ve gradually and somewhat reluctantly come to the conclusion that that’s only the ultimate _articulable_ question, and that below that articulable question are just unreasoned and unreasoning assumption, emotions, instincts, and, of course, fantasies, that then give rise to that articulable question.

                    • I think nature/nurture is still part of the equation; however, imho it is too simple to expect them to be the entire equation. For instance if nurture is a big part, then why can you get two people from the same family with entirely different views? Plus if nature is a big part then why can you get two from the same family that are built entirely different (take a pic of two siblings in my family and you’ll see what I mean). So there must be more to it–

                    • There have been reports of studies (so discount appropriately) of identical twins, separated at birth, who have proven remarkably similar in all major indices of life: occupation, religion, hobbies, spouse. Probably too small a sample size to be reliable, and I mistrust the reporting, but the implications are tantalizing all the same. If true it would strongly support the nature side of the argument, although I am very confident in the ability of people to misinterpret and misrepresent and generally draw unsubstantiable conclusions.

                    • I mistrust it too– because it turns out that ??? every twin is like that???? No– I don’t think so. There are usually exceptions to most rules (notice I don’t say every– which is my education coming out).

                    • The weird thing is that my brother and I, as different as we are, can call each other and find out we’re reading the exact same book at the same time 9 times out of ten. Even weird things like histories of China. when we were young (almost said kids, but he’s almost ten years older than I, so we were never kids together) we had to check with each other before going out to the book fair, or we’d end up with double copies of everything…

                    • I read– my sister (closest to me in age) doesn’t read. In fact none of my sisters read much (4 of them). My brothers do read, but not as much as I do.

                    • There’s not particular inconsistency, Cyn, to two people from the same family having wildly different views, within that family. “I got the good genes.” “Mom always liked you best.” It’s only from the outside that we may have problems with that family. Unless, of course, we’re conservative, in which case we don’t have a problem with the notion that both nature and nurture have effects and neither is reliable.

                    • huh 😉 I am only on my second cup of coffee– did you say not so… but if you are conservative it is so?

                      To give a more personal example my sister is dark skin and dark haired. I am light skinned and blonde hair. My sister believes she is entitled. I believe in personal responsibility. We are a year a part so we had pretty much the exact same training, parental attention, etc.
                      So that is my reasoning that nature/nurture are only a small part of the equation. What the rest of it is– I have NO clue. 😉

                    • Well, you have a choice, Cyn. You can decide, as a Tory, that your batzen sister’s genes run liberal, or you can decide, as a liberal, that your parents spoiled her, or you can be a conservative and decide, “we note the difference, but don’t understand it, and certainly don’t expect it to be reliably indicative that I am a heller and she is a batzen, or that I was born first.” (for explanation, look up the German Army song, “Ein Heller und ein Batzen”)

                    • Never have– never will be a Tory– don’t understand it and don’t think the psychologists understand it either. 😉

                    • I couldn’t either, of course, being a (small r) republican conservative minarchist timocrat with a strong dose of militaristic hyenaism, foreign policy wise.

                    • Miltaristic– check (Navy). Republican- check (although I am pretty upset with them right now and maybe leaving it). Conservative (more libertarian –small l, but am really a Constitutionalist). Anarchist? no. Truly believe that all of the power used in government rests in the people. I am of the opinion that the police should be arrested by the citizens when they violate rights of search and seizure.

                    • *lightbulb* Perhaps “view of gov’t” would be the biggest variable? It wouldn’t fit on an x/y, but add it to the can/should change people variable and you’ll get decent predictability.

                    • Actually, that’s a part of the Pournelle X-Y graph. (There are arguably differing versions of the Pournelle chart, so I wouldn’t presume wiki has it right..) The problem with it isn’t unique to Pournelle; any time you posit the kinds of opposites he does – and others have – you get largely unihabitable corners, that leave relatively narrow ovals. In his case, the problem is that there are very few if any people with a belief in planned social progress who lack a highly positive attitude toward government. (The other problem with it is that “reason enthroned” is a fraud. Illusion of reason? Sure. Self deception about how rational one is? No doubt. Mistaking fantasy for reality, even calling it “ojective” reality? Happens regularly. But that’s just emotion in a mask enthroned, not reason.)

                    • It’s in the diagram, but isn’t very well described by it.

                    • As mentioned it seems to have gone through a couple of permutations over the years. One version I saw was, IIRC, attitude to government vice attitude to planned social progress. Since the government is the only oganisim withe the power to force the plan, it’s hard to have a very negative attitude to it and a very positive attitude to planned social progress, hence that empty corner.

                    • You know more 😉 It might work.

                    • I know she wasn’t spoiled because I was there and she had the very same treatment I had– I have talked here about what happened to me. 😉 So I could go with souls like Sarah– I just know that children are NOT blank slates (a theory my father had when we were children). He thought he could write on us– and change us– 😉 It was very different than trying to civilize us.

                    • I will note, from my biologist son, that you and your sibling might not share any genes. Weird, but true. (My brother and I do. We look alike.)

                    • 🙂 You would think I would share some genes with at least one of the nine. lol My brothers who look more like me (2 of them) are more ambitious.

                    • Given the biochemical basis of life, the more interesting question might be whether your brother and you smell alike.

                    • The soul informs the body. It’s my theory and I’m sticking to it.

                    • I put this in the Kratskeller a couple of months ago, Sarah. It has a certain appeal to me and is not inconsistent with what you just wrote about souls:

                      As mentioned more than once I tend toward the religious. Well…Sunday’s sermon covered Vatican II, wherein the hope of salvation was held out even to atheists. I’m so innately conservative that I basically left the church after Vatican II, at age 14, and only went back reliably after a series of events you really just wouldn’t believe.

                      In any case, there are a number of things I tend to believe. One is that Christianity is polytheistic by any possible human understanding. This does not rule out understandings above the human, but I have to work with the limited tools I’m given. God will understand. Another is that Catholicism is reincarnationsit, as are some kinds of protestantism. Bubba if you believe in Purgatory, that IS just a version of reincarnation. A third is that faith not only permits of a degree of doubt, but truest faith requires it. A fourth is that among the sillier atheist theories, the notion that God had some kind of obligation to make Earth a paradise is the silliest of all; the place is for learning and testing.

                      You needn’t believe any of that, of course.

                      Anyway, what hit me this morning, just as I woke up, was this: consistent with other personal heresies (or verities), it is not impossible that atheism is a necessary last stage of salvation, as in, “Okay, boyo, We’ve seen how you act when you expect reward or punishment. Let’s see what kind of person you are when you expect nothing, either way. Oh, and you will promptly forget we have had this conversation. Now into the womb with you.”

                      And I woke up thinking this and thinking, “My, isn’t Christopher Hitchens in for a BIG surprise?” It would also tend to explain Eric. 😉

                    • Regarding Christianity as polytheistic … and assuming you refer to the triad deity: extending index, middle and ring fingers of one hand, pass them through an imaginary plane we will call Flatland. Inhabitants of that plane will perceive those fingers as separate entities, although acting in concert.

                      Living in the flatland of four-dimensional reality we lack the ability to apprehend what an entity existing across n-dimensional reality would be like. Certainly such an entity would seem god-like to us.

                    • Not just the Trinity, Richard. There are saints. There is Mary. All derive their powers and influence from God, but that is expressed independently. Moreover, there is clearly a superior-subordinate relationship between Christ and God, that is different from that between my brain and my hand, insofar as Christ is selfwilled. Mind you, the problem mostly goes away if one accepts that God lives in the eternal present and looks down upon time as we would look down upon a map, but that is acceptance, not understanding. I have to work with the limited tools I’ve been given, so….

                    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                      Well Tom, as a Protestant, I’d say there’s a polytheistic element to Catholicism not to Christianity. IE, Protestants aren’t big on saints especially the Virgin Mary. [Wink]

                      As for the element of superior-subordinate relationship between Christ and God, IMO the evidence for that relates to His life on Earth. The relationship likely is different for Him as part of the God’s Head.

                    • So Anglicans and Episcopals aren’t Protestants, eh? How upset the shade of Henvy VIII will be, how horrified all those Orangemen and -women….

                      Yeah, I understand the approach…sorta…kinda…but I am not convinced by it.

                    • Henry VIII — speaking of purgatory… 😉

                    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                      Not much knowledge on Anglicans and Episcopalians, but I’ve gotten the impression from C. S. Lewis that Anglicans don’t see the Saints as important as Catholics do.

                      Of course, some of the modern Episcopalians give the impression that they don’t believe Christ is part of the God’s Head. [Sad Smile]

                      I’m American Baptist and the saying is “two Baptist, three opinions”. [Wink]

                    • Ah, yes. Having been raised in Judaic tradition (read contracts closely) rather than Catholic I tend to overlook the saints etc. who are, I guess, infused with the Holy Spirit and thus acting as agents of Him/Them?

                      I might quibble that the hierarchical relationship between Father and Son you describe is an illusion caused by the fact of the incarnation (accepting the limits of the flesh) rather than inherent in the relationship, but as we are not privy to the intimate aspects of the relationship it can be naught but speculation.

                      I agree that the conception of a deity unbounded by Time makes any human ability to comprehend His nature futile.

                    • I have enough of a duality that I feel odd about the saints. Except Saint Jude. Because appealing to Saint Jude when you think something is impossible is just sense 😉 I mean, there HAS to be a go to guy for the impossible. (Grins and runs.)

                    • I by and large ignore the saints, barring only a couple of martyrs and patrons. However, for reasons you know, I pay close attention to Mary.

                    • I am not Catholic, but I was given a St. Christopher medal from friend when I was in Japan. I don’t know what happened to it– but it kept me safe for many years. 😉

                    • Ah, yes. Having been raised in Judaic tradition (read contracts closely) rather than Catholic I tend to overlook the saints etc. who are, I guess, infused with the Holy Spirit and thus acting as agents of Him/Them?

                      More like Naggers in Chief. They ask Him to do stuff, and He might. More powerful in appearance because part of being a saint (or angel) is that your will is aligned with His.

                      Living saints…agents works good, yeah.

                    • It strikes pretty close to what I feel (including the odd reincarnation side trip) complicated by the fact that family seems to be conversos on all branches (since mom and dad’s marriage was very far from arranged, it’s just lucky I guess) with varying experiences, and that the grandmother who influenced me most seemed to have some very odd Jewish legends aggregated to Catholicism. (I waver, I do, often.)

                      As for faith, I’ve never been good at unquestioning faith in ANYTHING, so I have negotiated faith.

                    • I ultimately decided it does not matter what I think, what matters is what He thinks, so I try to do the best I can with the cards dealt and learn what I can from the experience.

                      Younger brother once offered consoling “Maybe God wants you to have a better job” words upon my entering a period of unemployment. I don’t think he understood my response that “Maybe He thinks I need to spend some time living under a bridge in order to learn humility.” Of course, younger brother thinks he is Daoist, so I accord his views on the Deity all the respect they merit.

                      ‘T’ain’t my dance, I didn’t hire the band. I can dance to the tunes played or argue about the repertoire — makes no never mind nohow. If the band takes requests I have no evidence of them taking mine … and ample cause to believer the bandleader has an ironic sense of humour.

                    • On the note of reincarnation– I have mixed feelings about it. I do know that I was born in Bella Coola in an Indian hospital there (Canada). One of the basic beliefs of the Indians there (they are mostly gone now from that area) is that the spirits would come back into the family through the children. (At the time I was born many of the new babies were being abandoned.) After learning this, I have wondered if this was why I have felt like an outsider from the day that I can remember. And then, I go back to disbelieving reincarnation. lol

                    • It’s not a sane theory and you should not believe in it. This doesn’t mean it isn’t true. (And now you know why I have faith issues. I CAN and do think these at the same time about just about everything.)

                    • YEP– As the hubby says a lot– somethings are important for your life now and some are just speculation and will be fun to learn later.

                    • Some sort of a can/should variable, where nobody is at the far extremes, perhaps?

                      Also depends on if you’re trying to describe what’s there, or build a new design that happens to use the same designators with a small amount of overlap.

                    • The problem with that is factual. There _are_ people at the far extremes and they loom large to people between the middle and the opposite extreme, causing them to organize past their trivial little up and down differences.

                    • What you seem to be hearing isn’t what I’m saying.

                      Belief in absolute malleability can’t survive contact with humans; ditto belief in absolute inborn determinism. An additional issue is just because you think that the twig can be bent into a pretzel shape and grow that way, it doesn’t mean you think the gov’t should be allowed to do so.

                    • You don’t seem to be hearing what _I’M_ saying. Belief in complete malleability does survive contact with actual human beings. WHat might not survive – though often does; see the Khmer Rouge – is the simplistic tactical approach originally in contemplation.

                    • I believe we’ve reached a point where we disagree on basic facts.

                    • (Which is like “agree to disagree” but is more realistic.)

                    • Mention of the Khmer Rouge suggests that “belief in complete malleability does survive contact with actual human beings” better than actual human beings survive contact with belief in complete malleability.

                      Which might just be the underlying issue: the willingness to adjust observed facts to theory versus adjusting theory to observed facts. Topics for discussion: the insistence of some political factions to declare themselves a “reality based community” and to declare any who fail to share their superstitions as “anti-science.”

                    • As I’ve had occasion to say before, there is nothing, NOTHING, that is beyond the pale when it comes to keeping communists out of power in your own country. A bit like unions, they’re a nice little threat in being as long as they’re powerless, mind you.

                    • What might not survive is some of those human beings…

                    • Incidentally, there’s a factual problem with the causing folks to organize past their differences– it’s easily an illusion based on the chart. Of course wildly different groups are only going to organize against something that is opposed to both of them– and counting how many dogs don’t bark is, at best, very difficult.

                    • My wife will use a map. Usually as a napkin, she certainly can’t read one.

                    • I can’t read a map either. Drives Dan bonkers. Mind you, I also can’t navigate without one. NO sense of direction.

                    • Talking maps are awesome.

                      Even though it meant a lot of snide comments from my little brother when he gave us ours… so worth it when his “navigator” managed to send us on a wild goose-chase… still beats maps.

                      I’m good with maps, but I’m also usually the one driving, and my ability to read at a distance isn’t as good as it could be. Heaven forbid that I need to keep a series of names in my head, too.

                    • For some reason I look at the map and then point the exact opposite direction. The hubby takes this into account when he listens to me. Also I need to wander a neighborhood and then I don’t get lost– I guess I memorize landmarks.

                    • Some time back — 20 years or more — there were studies purporting to show that men and women navigate differently (insert standard disclaimers when referring to large groups defined by a single factor), with men using vectors (go East five miles and turn right) while women use landmarks (drive along that way, then take the first right after you pass the Piggly-Wiggly.)

                    • Make sense– I only know East– and then I have to see the sun come up to remember which way is East lol–

                    • Clark E Myers

                      Much of the vector vs. landmark work was done in university steam tunnels replicated by psych classes many times and the results are pretty robust. Always amazes me that some folks on the Front Range can’t keep towards or away from the mountains straight as a proxy for west or east just as some folks in Miami can’t keep toward or away from the ocean as a way to remember east and west.

                    • Beloved Spouse cannot distinguish Right from Left to save my life, but if I call out First Base or Third Base (or even “Who” and “I Don’t Know”) there is no hesitation and no error.

                    • Well– I knew my directions in the small area I grew up in (mostly NorthWest Utah area around Vernal). However I have been traveling a lot since then. I have to reorient every time I move. 😉

                    • A friend told me the following story. She and her former husband are easterners. He had a conference in California. They flew in and picked up a rental car. At some point she noticed that they were headed in altogether the wrong directions and she, hesitantly – he was rather tetchy about such things – mentioned it to him. He grumped, ‘but I am headed north, the ocean is on my right …’

                    • Robert and I both transpose directions. This means I can navigate perfectly where he’s concerned. I say turn right, meaning left, and he turns left thinking it’s right. Makes Dan pull out his hair, but we’re fine.

                    • ” I’m a bit more comfortable with an XYZ model, but that’s because I have trouble graphing things in four-dimensional space.”

                      If four-dimensional graph paper wasn’t so dang hard to find, your troubles wouldn’t be nearly so bad.

                    • But we all know the proper representation of the political spectrum requires non-Euclidean graphing. One look and you’d go mad.

                    • Right. The proper representation of the political spectrum is the necronomicon. ALL is clear now. (You guys are scary, you know that?)

                    • Its just another way of representing the same data.

                      I hear the tablet from MHI actually just had the mathematical formula that allows global warming to happen when the temperature is actually going down, written on it.

                    • *buries bearcat in lovecraft*
                      Necronomicron =/= necromancy.

                    • Now you’ve done it. What do you expect to happen when he finds his way back out of Lovecraft? Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn

                    • Lovecraftian space opera.

                    • It ain’t over ’till the fat cephalopod sings.

                    • We’re scary?

                      I realize getting the dead to vote is a time honored tradition in some political circles, but none of us brought necromancy into the conversation.

                    • It has been a long time since I looked at any Lovecraft, but wasn’t the Necronomicron supposed to mean ‘call of the dead’ or ‘law of the dead’ or something like that? Written by some mad arab who talked to the dead?

                    • I understood that it was the manual for the dead. 😉 Well, I didn’t read it, but I had friends who were dumb enough– One of them went mad–

                    • If being dead requires I read a manual, I’m not gonna do it!

                      Betelgeuse! Betelgeuse! Betelmmphh.

                    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                      Well, it’s about the Old Ones that once ruled Earth and if/when they return you better hope you’re dead. [Wink]

                    • The one person who read it– started thinking he was invincible. He jumped from down a stairwell and broke both his ankles. Other things happened– and he ended up in psychiatric care. The guy was in the AF.

                    • Wayne Blackburn

                      Pft. I’ve read it. The only reason one would “go mad” is if they start believing that they can use the things in it to become big-time sorcerers.

                      My older son says Lovecraft wrote it as a sort of a backstory for his Cthulu books. I hadn’t looked into it, but it makes sense. I had assumed that he had read it and then used it as the basis for them, because the things described there match up pretty well, but according to older son, it was the other way around.

                    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                      Wayne, Lovecraft never *wrote* a complete version of the Necronomicon so any version of the Necronomicon that you might have read was created by somebody else.

                      According to the Wiki article, at least one version of it has little to do with Lovecraft’s Necronomicon.


                    • Wayne Blackburn

                      Interesting. So Lovecraft only wrote references to it, plus occasional passages supposedly quoted from it. I certainly hadn’t known that there were multiple, basically unrelated, versions. I’m pretty sure the one I have is the Simon version, since that’s been the biggest seller (I don’t know where it is right now to check).

                    • I know because my friend Charles used to manage a New Age Bookstore. There was an entire shelf of true and authentic Necronomicons. Sold really well to teens.

                      Semi-related — while Charles was renting our spare room, we got the most fun phone calls, including the man who thought we could tell him how to become possessed. Why did he want this? Well, he’d been raised fundamentalist and was trying to “get away from all that.” (So, you know, becoming a vessel of unholiness, etc, seemed a good idea to him. Head>desk.)

                      Semi-related — when we lived in SC I painted the extra large mailbox with a dragon and Dum Vivimus Vivamus. Fortunately, while Charles was visiting (we had Robert, and he came by once a week to see Robert, if we didn’t make it to Charlotte for the weekend) since Dan was working sixteen hour days and I didn’t want twits to know I was alone in the house most of the time: two seriously HIGH teenboys rang my doorbell. They knew the illustration and the motto were from the necronomicon and they wanted me to teach them the dark arts.
                      As I was telling them to go sleep it off, Petronius the Arbiter, black cat and shoulder rider, chose that moment to leap on my shoulders. They immediately looked at each other like “We have the right one.” Fortunately at that moment Charles, who is six six wandered up from the bookroom, and then skeeddaddled.

                    • There are actually about fifteen “authentic” Necronomicons, which Lovecraft never wrote. Yeah, I agree with Wayne, someone had to be several bushels short of an apple tree to take any of it seriously much less go mad from it.

                    • Well– yea– he thought he could be sorcerer– he didn’t have a good grip on his ego. 😉

                    • that too– or anything– Now I look back and think that he was already showing signs of reality impairment when I met him (in Japan). By two years, he was in the hospital.

          • If she’s like my mom, she’ll both understand and yet still be upset with you….

            • I doubt she’ll understand. She’s almost as liberal as my sister. I think she’s more concerned that I’ll go Kaczynski. I can’t say the idea hasn’t crossed my mind, but the scope of the task is daunting, I’m lazy, and drinking is easier.

              • Not likely– Ted Kaczynski was extreme Left– left– left– left– Also he was a professor at Berkeley in 1968 … can’t get any more LEFT than that. 😉

                • Which goes to explain his fortunately low body count. I used the name because for some reason there’s a dearth of serial killers motivated by right-wing ideology. Much as the media would wish otherwise.

                  • Clark E Myers

                    Nothing on the Pournelle axes about living at Walden Pond and Thoreau was hardly a fan of state action. Any number of what might be called right wing types living a Unabomber lifestyle in the woods but without getting their wires tripped.

                    • The problem with the Pournelle X-Y diagram, if that’s what you mean, is that it doesn’t actually describe the way things work. Why? Well, there are two corners of the graph, upper left and lower right, that are uninhabited by anyone neither a moron nor insane. When you plot out a substantial number of people, what you end up with is an oval running lower left to upper right. Rotate that 45 degrees clockwise. What have we then? Another left-right diagram with relatively minor up and down variances.

                    • Clark E Myers

                      Straying too far afield. Not an assertion of the validity of the Pournelle axes but an assertion that Walden or Life in the Woods cannot be placed specifically on either of the Pournelle axes or any political axis.

                      Insert whatever terms you choose and if you believe Life in the Woods be either left wing or right wing by current usage say which and show your work. Alternatively pick your spot in the French Assembly where again I’d say Life in the Woods might fall anywhere but the mountain (smiley face) which would be limited to mountain men.

                      No doubt Euler would do a good job with the proper numbers on the proper axis as I remember e to the -i pi and I’m sure the proper location for some involves imaginary numbers and alternating currents of thought.

                    • I suspect it can be placed, if you go to what I also suspect is the penultimate, which is to say, ultimate articulable, value/question/issue: what is the nature of man? That, however, is only a suspicion or, rather, a pair of them.

                    • It wasn’t his hatred of technology that made Kazcynski left wing. It was his desire to use force to make everyone live based on his unique prejudices. There are plenty of right-wingish types who loath technology. They drop off the grid, live in the woods, and don’t bother anybody. They don’t have the deep-seated sense of inferiority that drives liberals to use violence to validate their ideas.

                    • Timothy McVeigh … John Brown … George W. Bush.

        • Maybe some sort of mind-bendingly strange definition of “domination”?

          The same way that somehow “feminist” means “woman who acts like a cad”?

          • Thank you, that is an excellent definition of a modern feminist.

            • Credit a pop-feminist cousin who demanded, on facebook, why there was no equivalent of the word “slut” for men.

              Never did respond when I pointed out that there was a word, it just wasn’t used much.

              • Wayne Blackburn

                And here I was always told that the male version of “slut” was “man”. 😉

              • Never did respond when I pointed out that there was a word, it just wasn’t used much.

                I get the point of the joke, but now I’m curious which word you were thinking of.

                • Cad, I’m sure, although manwhore is the one I here more often.

                • Rake is another word that comes to mind. A quick hit on synonym search offers up bounder, cur, heel, louse, rotter, rounder, scoundrel, stinker & worm. I am fond of blackguard and there is one often found in conjunction with -hound which I will not use outside of in relation to a certain ex-president. (Come to think of it, you could have answered her question with “clinton” and truly flamed her.)

                • an ill-bred man, especially one who behaves in a dishonorable or irresponsible way toward women.

                  Funny thing is, I do know folks who use the word; they’re all conservative…and much more likely to be sympathetic to a woman who sleeps around because she’s lonely than a guy who uses women because he CAN.

                  (If I’m reading the history of the words right, has a funny– “slut” comes from the word for a kitchen maid, and “cad” from “cadet,” or later born noble sons…which comes from the latin for “little head.”)

                  • Slut, usually meant slovenly and unkempt.

                    You know, in Portuguese the word Camafeu started by meaning Cameo, but it now means slovenly ill bread woman, from using it ironically so much it became the new meaning.

                    (Yes, this IS how writers amuse themselves. E.g. The lonely lives of writer.)

                    • Highly amusing when there are other, same-time quotes of folks calling their kitchen maids “sluts” while complementing them, though. *grin*

                      Kinda makes sense– if you WEREN’T a kitchen maid, and you had the whole been-slaving-over-hot-fires-and-boiling-pots sort of look going, you would be a slatternly woman indeed.

              • “When a key opens many locks we call it a master key. When a lock is opened by many keys we call it a crappy lock.”

                Oddly enough, the topic that started the entire conversation with my sister revolved around the idea that western women dress to please men because of the Patriarchy. She didn’t take it too well when I pointed out that women trying to shame other women into not taking advantage of the fact that men get significantly dumber in the presence of attractive women was really nothing more than an updated version of slut shaming.

                • She would have probably taken it even less well if you would have pointed out that the women doing the shaming were generally significantly less attractive than those they were trying to shame and it really boils down to jealousy.

                  That being said, those women that simper and pout to try and get me to do something for them are liable to find themselves standing on the side of the road in a cloud of dust. At least use some subtlety when manipulating me 😉

                  • I’m her older brother, of course I pointed it out. I think she just missed it. Or deliberately ignored me.

                    Women can certainly overplay their hand. An attractive woman showing up to a job interview in a lace teddy is going to hit the “I’m being manipulated” tripwire, but if she wears a skirt a little too short and forgets to button the top button on her blouse she’ll do better.

  16. Stereotypes are generally monaural; people don’t abandon them so much as they substitute more fashionable ones for less socially accepted ones.

    Intellectually, they insist on employing the planetary model of atomic orbits rather than accept a quantum model.

    All a stereotype is is a conjecture of probability based on experience. The intelligent employ it as a predictor, subject to adjustment as more data accumulates. The unintelligent demand that others conform to their stereotype, as when people insist that “Black/Gay/Latin people can’t be conservative” or “Christians can’t be Liberal.”

    And yes, that is stereotyping intelligence. To deny stereotyping is to declaim pattern recognition and category formation; to insist on forcing individuals into categories is to commit the equal and opposite error.

  17. “…conversation strayed to whether or not we’d interact well as a group in meat-space, followed by the strong doubts that we wouldn’t.”

    I’m pretty much the same flaming ass in person as in e-space.

  18. “Meat space” = Benderism.

  19. But you are of a different race. Me, I’m a mongrel of three different races: Irish, French, and Italian. (Plus a few stray bits. German. Micmac.)

    At least, unless you take the twenty-first century view of races as the obviously true one, in which case you are dissenting from most of history.

    How finely we chop the races is a matter of degree, because there are no sharp racial delineations out of fiction.

  20. In 390 BC the Celts sacked Rome…

  21. Arwen Riddle

    The thing with stereotypes is that additional information can cause someone to put you in completely different set of them. For example, I am an unmarried white woman with a bachelor’s degree in Anthropology and a master’s in Library Science. All that suggests certain stereotypes.

    But I am also a devout Mormon and political conservative which brings its own set of stereotypes.

  22. At one time in the far distant past, I could usually deduce within five or six sentences what part of Europe anyone was from by their accent and the way they used words. For some accents, I could narrow it down even further. I once shocked a young lady by asking what part of Haarlem she was from. She asked me if I had lived there (I hadn’t), and was amazed that I knew where she was from (I was in uniform, flying back to Germany after being home on emergency leave, and she was one of the stewardesses). I cheated — we had a guy in our unit that had married a woman from Haarlem, and we’d visited back and forth several times. The people that live there have a fairly distinctive inflection that carries across to when they speak English. My own hearing has deteriorated so badly now that I probably couldn’t pick ot the various differences.

    • Word selection often reveals a great deal, too. Soda or pop or even coke used generically, whether you call ’em flapjacks, griddlecakes, pancakes or a dozen other alternatives. I have seen a skilled philologist spot a person to within fifteen miles simply from a few sentences.

      • But I have seen the great Labov turn both red and pale, simply from hearing the magical name of Dayton, Ohio…. 🙂

        Well, maybe not that bad. But the Great Telephone Survey established the exact same thing I’d told my own American Dialects teacher, which is that people from Dayton have absolutely no problem pronouncing wash both ways in the middle of a sentence, and using every dialectal term for truck within three major dialectal areas. Because Dayton is where dialects don’t just collide, but smoosh together without giving up anything. 🙂 Of course, this in itself is a distinctive.

      • Great Moments in life in the Souf’:
        “Hi Hon, what can I get y’all?”
        “Burger and Coke, please.”
        “What kind of Coke?”
        “Dr. Pepper.” 🙂

        • YES! Doesn’t matter if it’s Pepsi, DP or Nehi, it’s still a coke.

          • Don’t forget Cheerwine.

          • Sorry… Nehi Can’t be called “coke” – it has to be grape… I know it came in other flavors, I remember orange and strawberry, but for most of us there was only grape. (As validated by Radar Reilly – who was from Iowa!)

          • Sorry…. also we civilized people only use the generic word “coke” for cola – never flavors. ;-b

          • Reminds me of spending 10 minutes listening to my cousin try to explain to a bunch of guys from the Carolinas that not all chewing tobacco was skoal. It all started when one of them asked if he had any skoal and he replied, “No, but I got some Copenhagen.” Then the guy replied, “that’s the kind of skoal I chew.”

  23. Billy Oblivion

    I wonder, if one were to assemble a team of intellectually honest sociologists (don’t laugh, it could happen) and statisticians, how much “white privilege” would still be left after one subtracted out all the old-skool middle class values and practices.

    You know, like showing up to work on time properly shaven, bathed and attired.

    Like putting off going out to clubs until the weekend and focusing on homework.

    Like not going out drinking during the work week.

    Like putting money in a 401k or a savings account instead of tattoos and rims.

    And I wonder how much “white privilege” is basically going to evaporate now that almost no one does that stuff anymore.

    Now, I’m not saying that minorities do all or most of those things, but the “minorities” I’ve know that have been successful were the ones who could do math (compound interest is a double edged sword) and who embraced (or their parents embraced and handed down) the sorts of middle class values and middle class behaviors that lead to success in life.

    The “minorities” I’ve known who weren’t were the ones who showed up for work still smelling like the bar, or wearing sweatpants and a t-shirt (it was silicon valley to be sure, but there are limits). They’re also the ones that get their furniture from “Rents-for-less” and drive late model cars with rims on them.

    I’ve also know a lot of “privileged whites” who were living in dumps and couldn’t get ahead because they had 50k jobs and 60k of credit card debt and a body full of tattoos meaning they’d never get a mangement position.

    Yeah, there’s something to “white privilege”, but it’s not skin color.

    • The economic paradigms are changing. What used to be smart and that would “lead to success” in the USA is becoming rarer and rarer due to governmental negative reinforcements. And the “bad” behaviors are becoming the keys to a “better life” on Uncle Sam’s Dime. 😦

    • I thought only rednecks didn’t have rims on their rigs, and even they usually have at least one with rims on it, otherwise it is really difficult to keep the tires on.

    • In many liberals’ minds there is white privilege. It has nothing to do with money or access or anything like that. Whites, especially white men, are privileged in that they are the only ones who can withstand criticism. Look at the gun control debate. Liberals have no problem asking questions about violence in white communities, but ask Adam Corolla what happens when you talk about violence in black communities, even though the latter kills an order of magnitude more people. For some reason we cannot question minority cultures, never say why they’re performing worse than the most successful culture, never give the people the opportunity to improve their lot in life by editing their cultural software. The Left is deeply, profoundly, irredeemably racist. Probably why they accuse others of it so readily.

  24. I sound more like I should be saying “please show me the way to the nuclear wessels.”

    When I first heard Sarah’s voice (in her Prometheus Award video) I immediately had two related thoughts – #1: Aha! So Natasha was a Portuguese spy! and #2: If ever I luck out and meet Sarah in person, I wonder if I can get her to say “Moose and Squirrel Must Die!”

  25. I’d really like to hear your voice.

  26. OT Sarah, but last night (early this AM?) I had a dream about you, Kate P, and Pratchett’s three witches all going to a tea shop for brunch. Wish I could remember the rest of it.

  27. Poking at it some more, the unspoken question is “Why are we making the map”?

    Starting a new line because this has gotten smushed against the wall …

    Two mapmaking suggestions.

    At the extremes, why not use the caricatures of the “enemy”? Thus one end of the resistance to authority axis would be the conservative’s (using generally understood American terminology) cartoon of the liberal while the other end would feature the liberal cartoon of conservatives. Although, now I type that it seems to me the two are essentially identical, just wearing different uniforms.

    Which leads to the second suggestion. Taking as our premise that people are generally just reactive — supported by multiply replicated studies showing people supporting Republican policy proposals until learning they are from the GOP — why not map the world according to the (mis)perceptions the actors have of those they perceive themselves opposed to? Measure by how they describe others.

    • It’s certainly an interesting proposal, Richard. I don’t know that I have the expertise for it.

      • I am confident I do not — I can barely formulate the concept. But “What do you fear?” may be the most fundamental question of political alignment.

        • It might well…but I am suddenly picturing it as just a rephrasing of existing fantasies. Forex: “I am afraid we will never get socialized medicine.” “I am afraid people will continue to have access to firearms.” I can still picture it being useful, but no more easily than I can picture it being perverted.

          • Wayne Blackburn

            I don’t know, those two answers would probably be fairly indicative of their leanings.

            On the other hand, if you created it as a questionnaire, with a scale of fear level, you might get more useful information.

  28. “I have a most dificulty time imagining the use of two maps, one of which had the grid lines and the other of which the elevations.”

    replying down here because it is to much of a mess to sort out up above,

    I have actually quite often used two maps exactly like that for surveying. It is sometimes a pain to have to shuffle between maps, but unless the scale is large enough there gets to be so much information on the map, that it is stacked on top of itself and nothing can be read. Oftentimes if you get it scaled up enough to read, then you don’t have a big enough picture to see far enough in any direction to do you any good. Kind of like trying to use one of those new GPS’s with a 2″ screen. You can zoom out and see both where you are and where you want to go, but either the screen turns black with all the topo lines, roads, etc smashed together, or so much detail has to be eliminated to make it legible that it doesn’t show you what you need to see. On the other hand if you zoom in so you can actually see details the screen only covers about 300 yards, and when you need to go somewhere 5 miles away it can be a real pain.

    I think that is a good metaphor for what you and Foxfier are arguing about, she wants two maps, you want one with all details included, both can get you to where you need to go, but neither one works well, they both take practice, persistence and a lot of headaches to use successfully.

    • Ever try to navigate across country, in an armored vehicle, at high speed, in the rain (note : NO windshield) in an armored vehicle with two maps? Neither have I but I wouldn’t recommend it.

      • No I haven’t, I have however navigated with two maps while driving down a bouncy logging road, and looking for mile markers at the same time to call out to log trucks and pay attention so I don’t meet one on a blind corner, it is a royal PITA. But so is trying to do the same thing with a map with so much detail crammed on it you can’t see anything while bouncing down the road. Personally I think it is a wash, both are possible, but difficult and entirely to prone to errors. In other words any method used will cause you to miss a turn if used often enough, but either method is better than not using a map at all.

        On the other hand using the wrong map is worse than using no map.

  29. The difference, or a difference, is that when surveying you had a precision instrument, and a logical set of procedures that worked in the objective universe, to use to sync the maps. When we’re talking people, and politics / philosophies, there is no possible precision instrument, and no set of objective procedures that we can use to sync them. What I want is something that shows me relationships, both tactical and strategic, from which I can say, “X group is here…they are close to Y and unutterably opposed to Z. From this, on issue W, I can predict with a certain amount of confidence that they will support A against B.”

    • It should be possible to model in two dimensions a variety of factors relating to the basic questions of political/economic/social orientation, looking at, for example, whether you support an issue and how strongly you support it.

      For example, many people support limiting access to firearms in a general, “it would be better” kinda way. But those who oppose it oppose it strongly. Term these dimension volume and mass: pro-limit supporters have much greater volume but opponents on such limits have far greater mass. In this instance, mass represents the importance of an issue come election time, so that high mass issues will cause people to vote against a politician on that single issue. Abortion is a similarly dramatic issue.

      High mass issues are “deal-breakers.” Moderate mass issues are ones which, in and of themselves may not induce voters to decide for or against a candidate but which, in combination with one or two other moderately massive issues, can decide a voter’s support.

      Thus an issue might be mapped along the red/blue spectrum, the color indicating whether more voters align with the Republican or Democrat party position on the issue — pure Red means more than 75% of voters agree with the Republicans, Purple indicates 50-50 split, pure Blue means 75% Democrat agreement.

      The size of the dot might be used to indicate the degree of intensity the issue is held in — a small Red dot means at least 75% of voters agree with the Democrat position but it isn’t a major factor in deciding their vote. A large Purple dot means the issue is significant but split between the two poles.

      We might add a third measurement by different masking elements — either using hue and intensity for different metrics or overlaying a black (or white) pattern to indicate this third dimension (users of Excel graphs will grasp the potentials here.) Or we could, instead of circles try columns, width representing volume of support and height representing consistency across time.

      All of this assumes a few minor things. One is that we can measure issues sufficiently to graphically represent them and then array those representations in meaningful ways. (Possibly depict a variety of issues on a graph measuring +/- government control, thus “gun control” might be a large Reddish dot on the – control axis, or even two dots, one medium sized deep Red dot on the – control axis and a large pale blue dot on the + control side.)

      Another is that people in fact know their own minds when polled on issues. On this matter I have very little doubt: they do not.

      • Maybe…but I think we start running into the law of immeasurability: All the really important things aren’t very measurable; all the really measurable things aren’t very important. There are levels where that’s not true, I think, or not as true, but once we start going to real specificity on things where people probably don’t even unstand their own positions, we start running into that “law.”

        • Clark E Myers

          How strongly is functionally the problem of Cardinal Utility, long regarded as insoluble at least for a general solution. But notice that if you find a general solution to Cardinal Utility then Arrow’s Impossibility theory pretty much collapses in favor of weighted voting and lots of other things become possible including a realistic approach to the work of Hari Seldon and the rational government at the end of If This Goes On. I await this utopia with folded hands.

          • The important thing about colour-volume coded graphical presentation is that it greatly helps create the illusion of knowledge. It is even better if you can addend a table claiming to present measurements accurate to two decimal places.

            Presented with such compelling presentations most people never even look at the underlying data, much less the methodology by which it was developed. Shucks, you could practically hit them with a hockey stick and they’d never notice.

            • Shucks, you could practically hit them with a hockey stick and they’d never notice.

              I see what you did there.

              • You dint see nuttin, you unnerstan. You ain’t gonna say nuttin, neether, if youse knows what’s good fer you, ‘less youse wanna end up playin’ saxophone in a girl band in Miami.

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