Don’t Jump Off The Ledge While I’m Gone

So, if I’ve sounded somewhat distracted in comments, that’s because I’ve been.  I spent  yesterday installing a program I needed in the publishing computer, which of course didn’t go according to spec.  Could I have made a better use of my time?  Probably, but I felt more than ¾ dead.  I’m not sure I’m okay today (6/26) but I had so much to do I couldn’t pause to examine the question.  There were medical appointments, taking the cats to boarding, repairman appointments, and making sure the house-sitting/outdoor cat feeding was arranged.  (The other cats had to be boarded because they are all on meds, and that’s not something we can ask our friend Charles to deal with as well as the house and Greebo, particularly since his schedule is … erratic).  There was also putting up my columns for PJmedia in advance, and now I think I can’t put these up in advance – not far enough – since I will be leaving here in the wee hours to get our plane out of Denver.  Right now, I’m doing the last batch of young-guys pants, while all my electronics charge in front of me.  (This is like dancing before me,only not.)

And the reason you shouldn’t jump off the ledge while I’m gone is because ya’ll are a big bright spot in my life which contains entirely too much work.  You’ve become sort of a little, remote, imaginary family.  (Well, sort of imaginary.  I mean, I’m almost sure you’re not in my head.)  You guys and my real family sometimes keep me from jumping off the ledge.

I don’t wish to imagine a world in which we are facing the same economic/national security challenges (It seems the motto of this administration is “Millions for tribute, not a penny for defense.”  This will NOT end well) without having each other to at least make gallows humor about the situation with?

Are we going to crash?  Are we going to crash soon?

I was on a site today where someone was saying “America will be all right, because America will always be all right.  It is your racist, sexist America that is dying.”

I’d like to point that this person a) believes in magic b) doesn’t have the slightest clue what he’s talking about. c) knows no history d) is engaging in Olympic-grade projection e)is industrial-level stupid.

Will America always be all right?  Well, the fields and the streams, and the purple mountain majesty of the song that the progressives would like to be our anthem will always be there or at least for geologic ages, and since I don’t believe the hubris-laden notion that we do much to it, will be impervious to what we puny humans enjoy or suffer on its surface.

But as for “America” as we’ve known it, as constituted… there are days I think it’s only here anymore in our hearts.  It’s certainly not here in the hearts and minds of our public servants.

So it’s time to think good and hard about that consent of the governed, because that America should be here.  It’s what I signed up for.  It’s what you signed up for.  It’s what some of us (me too!) took an oath to protect and defend.  And it’s been going away since before we were born…

So it might take a while to bring back.

Will we crash before then?  Will a crash be needed to restore sanity?

I don’t know.  Did we find the horn of plenty somewhere that forever dispenses benes?  No?  then probably we’ll crash and crash hard.  Because what can’t go on won’t go on, and printing money doesn’t make wealth, it just makes representations of wealth.

But these people don’t understand that.  They’ve gone far down the rabbit hole and think the symbol is the thing.  (Anyone for picketing outside the various mints with signs saying “Stop the presses”?)

I’d rather take the crash – and honest, even a hard crash will NOT be Mad Max.  No, trust me.  This is the same reason that after 9/11 we didn’t enact Escape From New York.  Americans are about the most decent people in the world – and have it out of the way than have it blight my kids lives.  I think most of us would rather that.

The Huns will be all right, I think, even in a crash.  We have resources, we have knowledge, we know how to do things.  We might not be as fast or as lean as we once were (I’m working on it.  Smoke out of the air would help!) but we are full of ingenuity and we don’t play by Marquess the Queensbury rules.

However, our kids are varying grades of young, and I we have friends and acquaintances and people who hold dear who will suffer.

So part of us wants to hold back the crash.  And part wants to rush it.

It’s like when I was little, and I pulled my own teeth, because my mom doing it hurt more.  We want to control the manner and way of impact.

Racist?  Bah.  Would be very interesting for me to be racist, considering Portuguese are the original melting pot (not as peaceful as the US.)  I take people as they are and look to the content of their character.  It is the people who assume certain races and ethnic groups (including mine) need help forever who are racist.  And annoying.

Sexist?  Bah.  I even have friends who are women.  Not that I care.  I’m interested EXACTLY in one person when it comes to gender and orientation: my husband.  The rest of you, men or women, gay or straight, I’m interested in your minds only.  (Sorry, dahlings, I love you for your minds.)  It is those who assume women must be helped and treated like children forever and protected from facts (And words.  Don’t protect them from words, they become, you know, able to think, and then where would we be.)who are the sexists.

Sometimes I wake up in the morning and I think “Marxism is a computer virus for taking civilization apart.”  It unleashes envy, hatred and all unkindness onto society and treats them as virtues.  It separates into opposing groups people who would otherwise be allies.

If we crash, will be defeat it?  Will it be eliminated?

I don’t think so.  What you have to understand is that like other viruses it might have become part of our DNA.  Fairness was a brilliant idea in a small hominid band.  Now?  Not so much.  Can’t be achieved.  But envy, going under the name of fairness, can destroy all.

But I think we’re going to be too poor to afford the madness of  Marxism.  I think the gods of the copybook headings are returning.

Good?  No.  But better the alternative.

So don’t jump off the ledge while I’m gone.  You’ll be needed for the rebuilding, and you can’t desert a post of honor.

 

Pardon the scattered post.  If you’re going to Chattanooga, the Huns are trying to meet for Breakfast at the city café at 9:30 on Saturday, though the time might move if I have a panel at that time.  (I can’t find the schedule.  I’m THAT with it.)

You’ll also see me in the suite, probably with a single malt, if I can convince Speaker to share.

And if you’re NOT going to Chattanooga, be good.  And don’t forget me while I’m gone, because I have a kindle fire, and I’ll be checking up on ya’ll.

I HOPE to have a chapter of Rogue Magic for you bright and early on Friday.  Stay tuned.

 

179 responses to “Don’t Jump Off The Ledge While I’m Gone

  1. 9:30 Saturday? I think you are too busy to type right now. You have been planning for Sunday. Take care and see you soon

  2. Sorry to miss you — other things besides my disease have been going on– plus it looks like I am going into the teaching profession. It hit me like a ton of bricks. Have fun and get well so you have a lot of fun.

    • Congratulations, I think.

      • I am not sure about it… When I am hit with things like this, I am a fool if I don’t do it. Apparently there is a need for basic English grammar for students between high school and college… yep– they are not getting the basics in school.

        • Well, congratulations! You may be dubious about it, but I’m sure your students will benefit 🙂 Try and sneak in some human wave reading, will you?

        • That most students are not getting a good grounding in grammar I sadly knew.

          When you asked for a grammar text I looked up the one we got for The Daughter, but it was over the price you stated. In High School I had used the Harbrace College Handbook, but it has been through a major rewrite for the ‘modern’ audience. I don’t know if I could recommend it now.

          • I am using several different texts including The Best Little Grammar Book Ever– Plus this grammar class is for a distinct group that needs to have it tailored to their needs. Yea– when I read “major rewrite for a modern audience” I am immediately suspicious. 😉

        • Eep. Are they at least willing to be in the class? (My sister tutored students when she was a grad student. While they tended to be less educated than most children their age, they were willing to learn.)

          • From what I heard, the answer is yes. Many of these students have hit the wall and realized that they weren’t taught what they needed to know. One of the students told a friend of mine who teaches basic mathematics there that he does more work and helps the students more than any teacher she had in K-12.

            • Many of these students have hit the wall and realized that they weren’t taught what they needed to know.

              Good for them. I wish them all the best. And good for you, and ditto.

            • About 35 years ago my GF, later wife, much later ex, taught remedial math to juniors and seniors in high school. Her goal was for them to be able to make change, balance a checkbook, and at least understand the basics of compound interest charges. After three years she was so successful the school system decided they didn’t need remedial training any more, cancelled the program, and laid her off. I understand that school system has since fallen on hard times. Can’t for the life of me see why. She OTOH parlayed her unemployment benefits into a start at a Master’s degree in engineering and never looked back.

              • Good for the wife– I am hoping that this will 1-get me out of the house at least once or twice a week, 2- add a little money to our income, and 3- help students so that they can read and write better.

        • Hmmph … I would’ve thought there a need for it for students between lower school and middle school, but by 12th Grade at absolute latest!

          To paraphrase Karl Malden:
          Basic Grammar – Don’t Leave High School Without It!!

          • *snort– I have the credentials to teach in a continuing education program, but not in a k-12 situation. Don’t ask me what they are learning before high school cause I don’t know.

            • Nothing. And they learn next to nothing in high school. That’s what I find when I teach community college.

              • This is why the home-schooled children of high-school dropouts are better educated than the equivalent children who went to public school

  3. And the reason you shouldn’t jump off the ledge while I’m gone is because ya’ll are a big bright spot in my life which contains entirely too much work. You’ve become sort of a little, remote, imaginary family.

    *beams* I’m someone’s imaginary friend!
    It’s kinda a greek chorus of friends, but I’ll take it!

  4. Ah shucks, ma’am. Thank you kindly.

    I am presently dead tree slogging through a section of history covering gulags and forced labor in Soviet Russia under Stalin. Molotov is quoted saying that Stalin was a softy compared to Lenin. I hate to imagine it.

    My best to the whole family, yours specifically, and the extended tribe you will be seeing as well. Have fun. Come home safely, tired, but refreshed.

    • Well Molotov’s preferred cocktail was a bit stronger than most folks like.

      • Ask Pohlainain how it got its name.

        • I know this one! Molotov cocktails are the traditional drink discerning Finns serve to uninvited visiting Russians. Especially during the winter. I understand they’re very warming.

      • Under the old system in the Soviet such incendiary remarks could get you time to live in a select community and do serious physical work for the fatherland to help you rise above your inability to recognize the perfection of the glorious new world your selfless leaders are building for you.

        Heck at one point being more than twenty minutes late for work could net you four months reeducating labor.

        • “Why? Because we are a people-oriented enterprise. And you are looking like an enemy of the people, comrade.”

        • Old Soviet joke: Three men going to the gulag on train talk about why they were condemned:
          first: I was always twenty minutes late, they said I was a saboteur
          second: I was always twenty minutes early, they said I was a spy
          third: I was always on time, they said I must have an American watch.

  5. But.. but… the ledge, it *calls* me!!!!!

    Nah, bring on the crash. Get it over with.

    • marycatelli

      Let it. It has a dull life. Imagine how it would suffer if it could no longer call to you.

  6. Have a good trip, and have fun.

  7. I swear. No ledge-jumping, no watering the cats, no Death Rays after 9pm–what *is* this, boot camp? (NeverLetsUsHaveFunMutterMutter)
    Hi, fellow imaginary friends! Everyone at LibertyCon please take a few minutes away from the debauchery and tell exciting stories to entice the rest of us next year. No, it can’t wait for later. You won’t remember after the hangover fades.

    p.s. If you have not gotten an email about the Human Wave Garage Sale it’s because I don’t have you on the list. Contact me at firstnameDOTlastname at the gmail if you still want in. (Interest has also been raised in *future* garage sales, so I have a list for that too.)

  8. 1. Sometimes I wake up in the morning and I think “Marxism is a computer virus for taking civilization apart.”

    It takes intelligence and insight to maintain a society in a dynamic balance of tradeoffs and competing legitimate interests. Instead, Marxism liquidates its opponents. Yet the Marxists anoint themselves as the smart ones and dangerously many people go along.

    2. Too many upper castes, whether they’re running a superpower or a faction in a village, would rather be in charge of a stable hovel than share power in a cornucopia. There’s a race between that mentality and the forces of innovation.

    The Toolmaker Koan says that an intelligent species will destroy itself with the technology it develops. A variant may be that technology will be used to force civilization into stasis for the convenience of the ruling class.

    3. So far my time in the ATH community has been well spent. I hope for a long stay.

    Have a good trip. Come back exhausted and refreshed.

    • At what point did schools stop teaching the idea of “dynamic tension” ? Did they ever teach it?

      I recall a vague nod to the idea that the inherent conflict between three co-equal branches of government was both by design and *good*.. and I don’t remember any nod at all toward the idea that government is one of many “social organs”…. all of which the Marx-followers wish to puree and consume.

      Mew

      • I don’t recall hearing that phrase used as a civics term. I was taught about checks and balances, of course. Nowadays, Those Who Know What Is Best For Everyone perceive checks and balances as an atavism.

  9. Sarah, when you have the time? Could you please re-imagine me as thinner, younger and less lazy? THX!

  10. “Because what can’t go on won’t go on, and printing money doesn’t make wealth, it just makes representations of wealth.”
    As you and anyone else who has a working knowledge of economics are well aware what those printing presses really accomplish is to dilute the associated value of those representations. Inflation after all does not increase the worth of a thing. A loaf of bread remains a loaf of bread. The real damage is that it reduces the effective worth of those dollars in your pocket. And where folks get hurt is when they get caught in the disconnects when the income they depend on to survive lags the price of the essentials they require to live, which almost always seems to be the case.

    A preliminary Libertycom schedule can be accessed here:
    http://libertycon.org/index.php/programming/schedule
    I don’t see you listed on anything prior to the 1:00 autograph session on Saturday when you and the entire Hoyt clan are on the hook. There is nothing scheduled before 10:00 either Saturday or Sunday. It is after all a con.

    As I understand it Bar Fly Central will be co-located with hospitality this year, so might be a bit busy. Been quite a bit of discussion on the Bar about all that. Will certainly attempt to say hi and also try to make breakfast. Er, show up for breakfast I mean, though I do make a fair to middling omelet if I do say so myself.

    • I meant Sunday. I was confirmed

    • Printing money has the “benefit” of transferring value from those who have wealth to those who print money. By way of example, if you have all the money in the world ($100) in your pocket and I print an additional $100 then the effective value of your holdings has gone from $100 to $50 while my holdings have gone from $0 to $50. If I print $900 then I have transferred nine cents of every dime out of your pocket and into mine.

      So I have every reason to run that press.

      • Except for the fact that such inevitably leads to hyper inflation at which point fiat money becomes worthless. Germany, Zimbabwe, several other countries that have gone that route eventually reached the point where the value of their paper currency was less than the cost of the paper and ink itself. Which of course the powers that be blame on external influence or the refusal of the people to simply see reason. It’s never their fault after all.

        • As a general rule, looting the coffers of the productive and the prudent does not accrue to the long term benefit of society.

          Also as a general rule, those who benefit from the looting of the productive and prudent are not, whatever their claims, primarily concerned with the long term benefit of society.

          Conclusion: ignore what they say, watch what they do.

          A policy of inflation always benefits those who have debts more than those who hold those debts. Name the interests owing the most money and you will have the parties who most benefit from inflation.

      • Also from those who have lent money to those who have borrowed it.

    • The real damage is that it reduces the effective worth of those dollars in your pocket.

      You know we really don’t have to worry because our government tells us that things are getting better, pay no attention to the number revisions behind the curtain…

      But, hey, things could be worse, we are not yet taking a wheel barrow to work so we can go buy some food at lunchtime with our mid-day pay.

      • German industries started issuing company script that acted as a real bill backed by goods created and held by the company and could be used to buy essentials. Also the states issued what were called notgeld that acted as a scrip to get some economic activity going. They had the benefit of being less inflationary than the Mark.
        I knew some coin collectors who collected that stuff, some of it is striking.

        • Yep, I’ve got a couple of the coins issued by the city of Wiesbaden. Neat stuff, and a constant reminder that it CAN happen here.

          • In southern Washington, during the 30’s, there was Tenino wooden money, which was a local scrip valued on the lost deposits locals had in the Tenino city bank that closed insolvent. It was pretty much a system of IOU’s supported by good faith, numismatic collectors, and according to my grandfather, the fact that if you got into a bar fight with a pocket full of Tenino money you wound up with a pocket full of slivers and you couldn’t get them exchanged.
            That wasn’t really hyper inflation, or really deflation, just shortage of money locally.

            • I remember that (not from the 30’s but from talk of locals who were around then), but don’t recall ever actually seeing any of it. You would have thought somebody would have saved some of it, I would think it would have collectors value today.

  11. I can see the appeal of rushing the crash (“let it be in my day”) but I’m wanting to stall it as long as I can. Part of it is not wanting to be in a struggle with friends and family split on opposing sides. The other is the hope a miracle will avert the crash. I’m thinking it’ll be easier to invent nanotech factories than to convince people to not suck on the government tit . . . so let’s get to work on those nano-powered robo-sows for them.

    • And I’d rather get the crash over with so I don’t have to be old while the world is coming apart. I suppose my medical issues mean I may not *get* to old, but .. c’est la vie.

      The issue for those nano-teats is, in fact, how to power them. All the “renewable/green” power won’t cut it .. today. We need a breakthrough …

      Mew

  12. Arwen Riddle

    Have fun! I’m not one for large crowds but Liberty Con tempts me. Maybe next year.

    • Liberty is not what you would call a large con. They cap it at 550 total attendees. Add in comped guests and staff and that’s still under 650. And except for a few events most groups will remain in the 50-75 range. Just too many things going on at the same time.
      Now any WorldCon is a totally different kettle of gefiltefish. There you’re talking thousands of crazed fans. Something you have to train up for.

  13. Dorothy Grant

    May your travel be smooth and easy, and G-d willing, see you soon.

  14. “I’d like to point that this person a) believes in magic b) doesn’t have the slightest clue what he’s talking about. c) knows no history d) is engaging in Olympic-grade projection e)is industrial-level stupid.”

    f) all of the above

    “The Huns will be all right, I think, even in a crash. We have resources, we have knowledge, we know how to do things. We might not be as fast or as lean as we once were (I’m working on it. Smoke out of the air would help!) but we are full of ingenuity and we don’t play by Marquess the Queensbury rules”

    If you ain’t cheatin’ you ain’t tryin’

  15. Think cheerful thoughts!

    I’ve mentioned Space Brothers before, as a very hopeful, near-future anime/manga/live-action franchise about a Japanese engineer becoming an JAXA astronaut in mid-life. You can watch it free and legal on Crunchyroll, and also have the amusement of seeing Houston and Cocoa Beach through Japanese eyes. It is educational and inspirational.

    I also recommend Eyeshield 21 (an eccentric high school American football anime/manga sponsored by NFL Japan), Mouretsu Space Pirates (awesome except for elements on one subplot), Polar Bear Cafe (a world of animals drinking coffee and holding down jobs), Girls and Panzers (high school tank battles in a world of tank sporting events), and Tsuritama (the only sf/ocean fishing anime you will ever need). All available free on Crunchyroll, and also full of cussedness, hard work producing results, good music, humor, adventure, weirdness, and very good things.

    • My whole family has enjoyed Girls Und Panzer – cute high school girls. Drama. WWII era tanks.
      And Maoyu (also on Crunchyroll, and I may have mentioned it in an earlier comment) is a great fantasy series about medieval economic development. And demons and heroes and magic and stuff.
      And while I cannot in good conscience recommend it, I cannot look away from the weird that is Valvrave the Liberator.

    • You’ve been reading Stephen Den Beste’s blog?

      • I read it. Despite the Gainax bounce illustrations, which obviously do nothing for me. (Besides worrying a lot about the severe lack of support provided by today’s anime bikini tops.)

        • As long as you know where your tastes and Steven’s tastes differ, you can trust his reviews, and he’s a voice of anime fan reason. (I liked Shingu a lot. Snow Fairy Sugar, not really. And am I going to watch ecchi shows for their stories? No.)

    • Pssh. Everyone knows polar bears drink Mountain Dew and play airsoft.

      • Actually don’t leave soft drinks, cookies, or beer in your car if you go to Lake Tahoe. The brown bears will peel your car to get to the goodies. TRUE

  16. I think it’s possible that the “horn of plenty” will be found if/when we hit the Singularity, when machine intelligence and creativity surpasses that of humans. That is if they find us worthy masters to serve. Though it seems just as likely that they will either destroy us, or ignore us.

    • Rob Crawford

      Or the Rapture might arrive. Either one.

    • rawlenyanzi

      This blogger claims that post-scarcity won’t save society.

      • One could argue that we are in a post-scarcity society. Anyone who lived two centuries ago — a king or queen from then — would stare dumbfounded at the idea that we are not.

        And we get this

        • No, we’re definitely not post-scarcity — we just have a lot of stuff and a lot of easy credit.

          • We have such an abundance of everything we need that we try to pretend that you can be fat and poor.

            What else, pray tell, is needed for a post-scarcity society?

            • rawlenyanzi

              We wouldn’t need to pay for stuff. Everything can be both free and high-quality.

              • Ain’t happening. Even if we had the tech to collect raw materials, process them and distribute them for free, there are going to be losses along the way. It takes more energy to produce than you get out, you always lose material in the processing, and someone has to feed and monitor the machines. Free just means that you are either homesteading it (finding it un-owned and snarfing it up), or someone else is paying for it (like those free toys in a happy meal)
                There may be some time when food and goods are made by some mysterious force and provided for free, but my suspicion, since I am reaaaaally suspicious, is that it will be provided by some Morlock type that is feeding you like a farmer feeds a turkey in the Fall

                • Also people being what they are, will want what is handmade and difficult to get…

                • The first and second laws, with introduction, but without equations:

                • And with equations, but no introduction:

                • Wayne Blackburn

                  Hmm… I can see technology which would obviate any need for purchasing even raw materials (WAAAYYY out there, but I can imagine it), but there would still be a market for ideas. Designs for new products and entertainment will not be something that can be automatically created.

                • Hadn’t thought about that, but it makes sense. I guess post-scarcity will remain a pipe dream.

              • Our prices are purely nominal. Poor people used to spend up to 90% of their budget on food.

            • I think what Rawlenyanzi means by post-scarcity is in the economics sense–normal economics implies (depends upon) scarcity of labor, capital, raw materials, etc. If the Singularity happens and metaphysically eliminates scarcity, it’s hard to predict what will happen to society.

              • Yes, that’s what I mean. A true post-scarcity economy implies limitless quantities of in-demand things.

      • Wayne Blackburn

        That guy has some things seriously wrong, and is approaching others the wrong way. He may be ultimately right, because his point about boredom and destructiveness is spot-on, but many of his premises are wrong.
        1) We know how the pyramids were built, and it did not require high technology.
        2) Damascus steel came about by a lucky discovery of raw materials of exactly the right combinations to produce said steel. From what I have heard, we don’t have any samples which have been available for analysis since we gained the technology to analyze them properly to reproduce it.
        3) Unlike his examples of Greek Fire and Damascus Steel, modern technologies have detailed explanations of how to reproduce them available. So unless something happens to destroy the libraries, we won’t be able to lose anything but the most recent of technologies.

        What I did not see in that analysis was the acknowledgement that the availability of cheap resources to support the basics, plus the energy and technology to build essentially anything you can dream up will free up creative people to soar to heights we can barely imagine now. Plus, while he is correct that a societal infrastructure is needed to counteract the destructive nature of some people, what he didn’t seem to realize was that we WILL have such a thing, but it will simply not be in a form we currently can recognize.

        • I prefer to not be so optimistic. There’s no certainty that we’ll create some kind of libertarian Elysium on Earth.

          • Wayne Blackburn

            Oh, criminy, no. And I wouldn’t want it. I’m just saying that people will have society, no matter what their everyday personal life is like, and that society will still have ways to either discourage destructive tendencies, or channel them into harmless avenues. This should generally work for 99+% of the people who would get that way. .

  17. William Scarborough

    Oh. you’ll be so close (I’m in Atlanta)…yet since I no longer can drive, so far away. Have a safe trip and a rewarding time.

  18. rawlenyanzi

    Regarding “Marxism as a virus,” I see it this way: in a country where business is outlawed, only outlaws will run businesses.

    Think of it this way: cheating the system and breaking the rules will become the way to survive, and the population will habitually deceive and cheat even after the communist system is overthrown, since they learned that such behavior leads to survival and success.

    • You can see this in Eastern Europe & even in the more s
      ocialist parts of Western Europe

      • rawlenyanzi

        Exactly what I was thinking. You can also see this in Russia.

        • Wayne Blackburn

          You can even see it in Russian immigrants. I worked with a guy who told me quite without the least hint of guilt how, in his side work selling Real Estate, he would insert clauses into contracts so the client would not notice, by typing them in using the same font as the body of the contract, then photocopying the result so it would look like it was all printed together, and the customer’s eyes would just skim over that part.

          Yet in other ways, he’s a firm believer in the America he immigrated to, and attended TEA Party rallies, etc.

    • Whereupon the Marxists come slithering back, saying See? We told you capitalism doesn’t work.

      NB: I try to stay alert to the blandishments of utopian systems that failed only because they (supposedly) weren’t implemented properly, no matter what they’re called or where they came from. Afaic Marxism is possibly the most extreme example, but there are others.

      • rawlenyanzi

        They destroyed the bourgeois habits of mind that make economies run smoothly; the sense of fair play and following the rules.

        • Quibble: Those appear to be relatively uniquely Western .. did they destroy them, or start in a country that never had ’em?

          Mew

          • rawlenyanzi

            I’m not sure.

          • You might be interested in La Russie en 1839 by the Marquise de Custine. The (abridged) edition I own has an introduction by someone who had worked in the American Embassy in the Soviet Union, and it talks about how they regarded it as the best book for understanding the Soviet Union.

            • La Russie en 1839, published in 1843, is available on project Gutenberg.

              There has been a great deal of interesting recent scholarship since the opening of the archives after the Soviet break-up.

          • The Soviet officially considered the kulaks to be bourgeois.

  19. I am sure that, at the time of the death of Julius Caesar — and even after Augustus passed — there were citizens arguing “Rome will be all right, because Rome will always be all right. It is your racist, sexist Rome that is dying.”

    • You’ve been talking to Cicero again, haven’t you?

    • Yup, there are always people discussing the decline of their civilization.

      OTOH, there are civilizations that really have declined.

      I have the not altogether unsatisfying impression that civilisation is collapsing around me.

      Is it my age, I wonder, or the age we live in? I am not sure. Civilisations do collapse, after all, but on the other hand people grow old with rather greater frequency.

      Theodore Dalrymple

  20. Have fun storming the castle!

    • Do you think it’ll work?

      • It’ll take a miracle. > >

        • It’s a million to one chance against us. That means we can’t lose.

          • So you’re saying there’s a chance…!
            :-p

          • Million to one chances crop up nine times out of ten.

            • I see you’ve read the cannon. 😉

              • Hey! If you have cannon you don’t need to storm the castle, at least until you have a practicable breach.

              • There’s only one I haven’t read: I’ve never managed to get my hands on a copy of Mort. Never found it in a library, bookstore, or thrift store.

                … Though Amazon does list some used copies. Hmmm, now I just need to find someone who’s flying in to the area who could hand-carry it for me from the States. (Getting things shipped over here from the U.S. is ridiculously expensive, so most people find someone who’s flying over anyway and ask them to hand-carry a couple small packages.)

                • You know what I have never understood about that? I can order stuff on Ebay from Asia and get free shipping, when the entire cost of the item is less than the cost of shipping from here to the neighboring state. Yet if I want to ship something to Asia it costs me an arm and a leg, and an option on my firstborn.

                  • Simple: Lots of imports means there’s always an extra container to here; not so much the other way.