I Need a Secret Lair. And Minions. And Piranhas.

Sorry guys, but things just got serious. I’m going to need an underwater lair, piranhas and five trillion dollars in unmarked coins or I’ll destroy the entire world.

(Note that it’s very important to make sure that the lair is in an extinct volcano, not an extinct Vulcan. Because when you set the Vulcan on fire, he gets all upset, and when you try to douse him with water, someone is going to end up Vulcan nerve pinched and it ain’t gonna be him. Just saying. And I warn because I love. Also, because I also make that mistake. ALL the time. – Weirdly “The Vulcan is erupting!” just gets people looking at you funny. Probably the problem in Pompey.)

Here’s the thing, I love Larry Correia like a brother, but if he thinks I’m going to give him my world’s worst person trophy he’s got another thing coming. It’s bad enough I have to share it with Kate Paulk. I’ll spend my half of the week polishing it and shining it and getting it positioned just so on the mantelpiece and then I have to give it to Kate, and it comes back all encrusted and smelling fishy. I think she’s using it as a cat food dish. At least I hope that’s it.

So, if they think I’m going to share it three ways with Larry, they have another thing coming. He has small kids. Heaven knows what it would come back all encrusted with – Ovaltine, if I’m lucky.

But there goes some critter named Damien Walter, in this outmoded tabloid that Brits seem to think is a newspaper – something called Al The Guardian though heaven only knows what they’re guarding and if they think it’s the right to say who’s the world’s worst person, I want them to tell me they and whose army – calling Larry all sorts of things, accusing him of hate, and furthermore putting words in his mouth that Larry didn’t say.

Of course Larry doesn’t need me to defend him. Last I checked he was the Master of Fiskishness and High Lord of the Burn.

Even if he needed me to defend him he wouldn’t need me to defend him against someone so out of it as to proclaim that “The Future Is Queer.”

Even given that we have all sorts of reproductive assistance, most babies are born because they happen to be made. Make it absolutely volitional and not coming naturally from what people do for fun, and the future is mostly short. Beyond that, why in heck would the future be “Queer”? No, seriously. Why won’t the future be… Mediterranean?  Or purple?  I mean, if we’re just to randomly throw out “the future will be”.  I say the future will be pointillist, and I say to h*ll with it.

Okay, I understand from Damien’s sniveling about how people used to tell him to cut his hair and man up (like he’s the only one who was ever told to man up. I was. Still am at times. Then I shrug and do it. It’s an expression, not an actual literal order. Maybe all these people are in the autism spectrum?) that it’s likely a reflection of what he thinks is his orientation No, I’m not saying he might not be gay. He can be whatever he wants. And I never question people’s self definition even when they start looking at the other flavor after three glasses of beer. I’m saying his concept of “Queer” is weird. I have friends of various sexual definitions and some who haven’t decided yet and not a single one of them would take offense to the injunction to “Man up” much less think it was some sort of heterosexual oppression. As for their hair, if anyone told them to cut it or grow it or do anything to it they didn’t want to, they would just give the advising entity the middle finger. Because that’s what my gay, straight and totally confused friends are like. To assume someone is a sissy for being gay is stupid, so Damien, poor chap, is already on my bad side.

But the fact that he then goes to say gender is entirely a social construct, puts him… No, okay, it doesn’t put him anywhere except on the side of the painfully ignorant. It puts me in the position of fixing my desk after I dent it with my forehead. And that doesn’t make me happy, because it’s a nice oak rolltop desk, and sooner or later the putty will show.

Yes, I know Damien is European, and I know this ridiculousness is taught in Europe, but for heaven’s sake, he can’t be in the fourth form. He actually is paid for writing for the Guardian. (At least I hope he is. Left Wing Publications and web sites tend to get funny about that, and heck, no one should spew this much goofiness without getting paid.) Presumably he has internet access. Presumably he can check out how boys born with crypto orchicism and raised as girls are profoundly unhappy, or he’s figured out why we no longer give babies sex changes at birth.

THE EXPRESSION of gender might be a social construct. To an extent. BUT gender is chromosomally determined.

What does this mean, exactly?

Well, it means if you’re a male in a certain class in the Western world, you’ll like fast cars and sports, while in tribal Africa you’ll like hunting lions. And if you’re a woman in a certain class in the Western world, you’ll like the shopping network, while if you’re a woman in the Amazonian jungles, you’ll like berry picking and gathering.

Now, is this a hundred percent iron clad? Well, no. Humans are individuals, which means you can’t make them into widgets. Some women probably like going hunting with the guys, and some men would probably be much happier berry picking. (And they’re both, in general, out of luck, since, unlike the dreams of the vile progs, tribal societies are usually a lot more rigid than anyone in the west can even imagine – though in extreme cases they might make accommodations, which are usualy both humiliating and restrictive.)

Does this invalidate gender? Oh, my no. Gender is a statistical distribution, not a box. (I still think a lot of these people’s issues are caused by never having sucked on an unsterilized spoon and never having eaten anything that came without a label. They literally think of “gender” as a label, and if you’re a girl, you’re supposed to like pink and play with dolls and if there’s any variation, that invalidates the entire concept. This is a lovely idea, except it fits nothing human, ever. They are Pratchett’s auditors, trying to understand people.) What your gender is is a major, blinking clue to where you’ll fall on the spectrum.

Pretty much everywhere in the world, if you were born with an outie (and aren’t some genetic freak) you get to do the risky, strenuous, outdoor labor. And if Western civilization has robbed you of this then you get to be obsessed with risk, strenuous, outdoor sports, mostly vicariously.

And if you were born with an innie (and it’s not a birth defect) you get to like detailed, often monotonous but also often social activities, which explains all my friends who are good housekeepers.

Now some people fall so far on the opposite end of the spectrum to where they should naturally be that they decide to surgically rectify the situation. It’s an imperfect solution, and it will be until we get a way to make the change real and fertile, instead of cosmetic. That’s life. I’m fairly sure that the peasant dying of consumption in the middle ages because there was no treatment for TB and no antibiotics had a harder lot. But what do I know? I’m not either of those cases. I just get to feel sorry for both, and wish we had better options for them. (Okay, for the peasant it would involve a time machine.)

BUT the extremes don’t invalidate the whole distribution. Sure, if all I know about you is that you’re a guy, I might be wrong in assuming you like fast cars. OTOH the way to bet is that you WILL like fast cars.

All of these are known facts. As I said, we used to think otherwise, which is why babies got sex change operations in the seventies. Now we know there is more to gender than social construct, that there are biological factors like the hormone baths in the uterus which depending on your gender change your brain, so that if you’re XX or XY determines how the thoughts behind the eyes go. (Even if there is a wide distribution and, again, you individually, might be closer to the other side.)

To pretend otherwise is vile, because parents who actively counter their kids natural inclinations or try to force them to be “gender neutral” are committing child abuse. They’re also going to reap interesting rewards, but that’s their lookout.

So, Larry doesn’t need to be defended from Damien Walter, even though Damien Walter put words in his mouth, like Larry saying if you write a book with a gay character, it will be less commercially viable.

I want to note right now that Larry helped me pimp both A Few Good Men and Witchfinder and never told me they’d be less commercial because one has gay main characters, and the other a strong secondary gay character. (I almost wrote that as a strong gay secondary character – but I don’t even know what “Strong gay” is – and no, I don’t want explanations. This comments section is enough of a mess, already.)

I read Larry’s post that set off this hissy fit, and here’s the thing, Larry said that science fiction books that are all about being gay are less commercially viable. DUH. People buy books because they want stories. If you let some part of your story become so overpowering that it consumes everything (say, because you were told to cut your hair and pull up your socks as a little boy – is this where I tell everyone that my brother (built like my kids. Picture that) in Portugal in the seventies, got told to cut his hair ALL the time. This didn’t make him feel queer or like people were gender intolerant. It made him feel superior and smug, because he matched the fashion abroad, and was therefore more enlightened. But that’s a conversation for another day, right? Also, he did it to get the foreign chicks.) and that part of the story isn’t an obsession of the majority of the population, your work will be less commercially viable.

I teach that in workshops all the time. Be aware of which of your obsessions are commercially viable. Take Larry’s. He likes guns. This means in the US (and much of the world) he has a built in market. Take me. I like Shakespeare. No, I REALLY like Shakespeare. If I let my obsession take over (cough, the Shakespeare trilogy, cough) I’m writing for the ten people in the world who are as crazy as I am. So I learned to control it, because I want to be a commercial writer. I don’t take to the pages of a newspaper to whine that the future is Shakespeare and that people should be forced to listen to my obscure jokes, like the page where Marlowe and Shakespeare talk exclusively in each other’s lines.

(Oh, sure, all ten of those people sent me gushing fan letters, but one can’t live on $5 a year.)

Allowing the mind to become clouded when one is defensive about one’s orientation is no excuse for saying that readers should be bored and like it.

Anyway, now that I’ve spent three pages not defending Larry, we get to the meat of the situation:

Why is it that when a vile prog disagrees with anyone they call the person a hater?

Note that Larry and I, or any of my friends when we dissect some piece of strangeness, don’t call the person a hater. We might call their thoughts silly or vile. We might call the person infantile (they so often are) but we cast no aspersions on their intentions and character. We don’t say “they’re evil” or “they are haters.” And we never say they should shut up. For one, how much fun would that be. No fisking fodder! For another, as strange as we find them, we don’t wish them to shut up because we know our ideas can trump theirs.

So, what is with the side that pins the “tolerant” medal on their own chest going around calling people “The worst person in the world.” I mean, seriously, I was awarded that for saying that wishing to kick someone out of the human race is a bad thing. Let’s suppose what I said is terrible (though I still don’t understand why, because well, common humanity is what keeps us from killing each other just because there’s nothing good on the telly. Well, keeps most of us.) Let’s suppose I’d said something really vile like “All witches should be burned, and that includes aunty Witchy Pooh who reads tarot and hangs her house with crystals.” How would SAYING it make me or anyone the worst person in the world. Or even a bad person? I have said all kinds of stupid things I didn’t mean in my time. Like yesterday, after I had a sneeze fit caused by cat hair up the nose, “I’m going to kill that cat.” Does this make me a cat hater?

Let’s suppose I meant what I said, or at least wish to burn Aunt Witchy Pooh for more than her really sucky taste in home decoration. Does that make me a bad person? Oh, h*ll no. Not unless I act on it, or form an association dedicated to burning people that hang crystals where they have no business being. And does it make me the world’s worst person? Kids… I think if you stack me up besides Maduro, my crimes are much smaller. And if you allow for all of history, I don’t even rate against Caligula, and he was a piker stacked up against Mao.

So why the desperate need to call us, not just wrong, but evil?

Well, we’re back to never having sucked on an unsterilized spoon. That’s part of it. These people are very up on the idea that if you say something they don’t like you’re a “bully” and therefore you’re in the wrong and you’re evil (possibly because the worst evil they ever faced was a playground bully. No unsterilized spoons, after all.)

But there is a world of difference between criticism and bullying. Bullying is running after you berating you with exaggerated claims about you (or outright made up ones.) Bullying is a tactic to make you fall in with the group.

Legitimate criticism is telling you that you’re being an infant, or an idiot, or a bully – if you really are being those things.

I don’t care how much Damien resented it. Maybe he really needed to pull up his socks and man up. Believe it or not some of us on being told that examine the claim and sometimes (about fifty percent of the time on this side of the screen) find that what we really need to do is pull up our socks and man up.

Telling a person that isn’t bullying.

On the other hand telling someone they’re the world’s worst person or a hater for an opinion that doesn’t involve setting fire to anyone, or beating anyone, or in fact hurting anyone or taking anyone’s stuff, just might be …. Bullying.

Because it’s a tactic designed to make the outlier fall in with what the speaker believes to be the group majority. And also, because it’s not designed to correct individual behavior but to enforce conformity with exaggerated or erroneous claims.

You don’t have to be a big hulking male to be a bully. Tiny girls can manage it with aplomb.

So if you’re screaming slurs on other people’s fundamental character (telling you to grow up is not a slur. It doesn’t mean your whole character is flawed. Calling someone a hater is a slur) and saying they should shut up or go away (or in the case of the SFWA kerfuffle, die) perhaps it’s time you looked in the mirror and realized you ARE the bully. And an ineffective one at that.

Now, pull up your socks and examine your assumptions.  We’re not going to shut up.  Learn to argue like an adult, or we’ll mock you again.*


*Well, I won’t.  I have a book to finish and also I tend to go all serious and barely refrain from quoting Shakespeare at you.  But Larry will.  And then you’ll declare him the world’s worst person again, and then I’ll have to share the trophy. And I’m not having chocolate milk in my shiny trophy, so you’ll just have to learn to argue like an adult.  Sorry.




264 thoughts on “I Need a Secret Lair. And Minions. And Piranhas.

  1. Sounds like something a toddler would say, except usually it’d be “I hate you! You’re the worst mommy in the world!” But occasionally these things are broadened, when the kinship isn’t as easy to remember in the heat of toddler tantrum. I think I remember that I was the worst person in the world to my little cousins, several times.

      1. Has the Guardian ever published anything other than twaddle? It seems a bit like decrying celebrity photos in the National Enquirer.

        1. Or the “Page 3” girls in The Sun.

          “The Guardian is read by people who think they ought to run the country.”

          1. You know it’s a good bit when even the actors involved have a hard time controlling their laughter.

        2. The Enquirer is at least fun. This guy isn’t. I don’t like whine even with cheese.

    1. Well, this just trumped anything grandiose I was gonna say. ‘Cause that’s it exactly, innit?

      Sarah’s ” never having sucked on an unsterilized spoon” and your toddler, perfect encapsulation. They have no broader context and no perspective.

      That I think they blinker themselves to avoid that perspective, thus avoiding the need to ‘speak power’ to any of the scarier elements of the world is a thought for another day.

  2. I went by Pit, Lair and Beyond to see about some piranhas but somebody stuck the sharks with lasers in the same tank and things got — messy.

    Costco was supposed to have a special on bulk minions, I’m headed there next.

    1. For whatever reason, I’m very partial to the little yellow minions from the “Despicable Me” movies, which manage to be mostly entertaining.

      1. My only complaint is that since then, whenever I refer to my spawn as my minions, people think I’m referencing the film. I’ve been at this Evil Overlord business since before Grue was a twinkle in an artist’s eye!

    2. Don’t you get the mail coupons from Bloodbath and Beyond? And for heavier equipment, there’s always Home Despot.

      1. Budget overlording. I can’t really afford ‘evil’ so I get a lot from Dullards. Occasional forays to Office Despot, but Home Despot is really beyond my reach right now. Dinner at Toxic Hell is a treat, ya know?

        1. Dullards? Is that anything like the Dullard Store? I mean, if you really want evil on the cheap….

          (but seriously, I missed that ref.)

          1. Dillards (may be regional). Typical mall anchor store, primarily clothing, like J.C. Penneys, Kohls, Bealls…

            Hope that’s what you were looking for. Dullard Store woulda worked better…

        2. Oh, that reminds me. Hurts Rent-a-Minion is good for the thick-necked bruiser type. Not too bright, but good for crushing the opposition. Just don’t go to Horrible Foods for their Minion Chow. It costs an arm and a leg. Literally!

          1. I tried Hurts, but the walk-around checklist! I mean, it’s a minion, it’s gonna pick up a ding or two in use, right?

            Starts out a bargain and then they start totaling their checklist… Fabric cleaning is the worst. You know the kind of stuff your average minion gets on a shirt, and here’s this skinny guy with a clipboard sniffing around the minion shirts. Felt like an episode of CSI. I swear the guy was gonna break out his little spray bottle and one of those lights…

                    1. Practically no one has, outside the Greater Cincinnati Area. Not good for you, because of the oats adding carbs. You could probably substitute something if you wanted to make it yourself, though.

                      Eamon ( I see your comment down there) – since you were asking for recipes before, I added the one I use to make my own to the shared recipes I gave you earlier. Here it is:


                    2. I grew up with a different regional specialty served up besides my eggs. If I could still digest meat I would be missing Habbersett’s Scrapple. (Then again I now know what goes into it.)

                    1. Yeah, I just Goggled,* talk about a regional dish: “Greater Cincinnati Area.”

                      Also, hungry.


                  1. Cold eggs, stomach. Warm eggs, sinuses. Hm. Difficult choices.

                    I’m gonna vote for the one that doesn’t have you making that snorking sound people make when they’re trying to get a cat hair (or eggs) back outta their nasal passage. ‘Cause I hate that sound. But cold eggs…

                    I feel the pain, I do.

      1. If you’re accepting applications, I would like to be the minion who says “D’oh!”

        I’ve long fancied d’ohminion.

        1. When I am a evil right wing world-domineering warlord, the punsters are going to be dealt with looooooooong before I get to the poofters.

          1. and er… oh, Julius, exactly WHAT will you do when you get to the poofters? Three words: King of Bythinia!
            Just, you know, inquiring minds. Also remember that was before tabloids. Caveat Snogger.

        2. Does anyone here know how to properly prepare venison? Sarah will need a good doe-minion…

            1. If anyone wants something other than sourced from the local grocery, I’ve got a copy of “Flattened Fauna” to lend. Recipes usually work better if you know what you’re putting in the pot.

      2. A personal wizardess? Although I refuse to wear a pointy hat. I’m more into black capes with a cowl. And I’ll rather use a sword than a magic wand. A magic sword is a multipurpose tool.

        1. No thanks. Or rather, both/and. A sword (even a magic one that can only be picked up by the Chosen One. the bastid.) can be … less than accessible given the appropriate narrative contortions. I’d like to have the killing words lodged firmly in my gray matter. Of course, I’d MUCH rather have both options available. And a plasma cannon in the 40kW range. And a dragon. And a fleet of capital ships. And divine intervention. For preference.

  3. Could I interest you in a *dormant* volcano instead? Because we have a few up here in the Pacific Northwest, and they are cheaper. Me, I’m scoping out Puget Sound for my island lair with underwater submarine tunnel. And I find having pirhanas on staff really blows your budget. I hire the local killer whales on a piecework basis. That way I don’t have to worry about healthcare or retirement costs.

    Oo, Costco has bulk minions?? (Scraps writing plans for the day).

    1. With a few minor refurbishments it is a simple matter to render dormant volcanoes once again mint, especially if you buy dragons by the job lot. Carefully emplaced and calibrated nuclear devices are also useful in reigniting your volcano.

      1. Oh, they reignite themselves every 25,000 years or so (Mt.St. Helens is an exemplar). A little bit of retrofitting, a pressure relief valve or two, some lava pumps, and you’d have a pretty good system that *wouldn’t* suddenly blow up and ruin your decorating budget. I think they are pretty good value, as volcanic lairs go, but you have to be willing to do some remodeling work first.

      2. I’d consider somewhere on the north or west side of the Valle Grande caldera. Yeah, you’ve got that nature reserve in the caldera to deal with, but most people don’t really get around, and you can blame any “interesting” problems on LANL. And the folks of Northern New Mexico are used to ignoring weird things as long as you don’t mess with the water.

    2. I recommend sea lions for the everyday work, and just using the killer whales to remove the occasional sea lion that proves itself untrustworthy (or knows to much and could be in a position to prove itself untrustworthy).

  4. I read what the bloke from The Guardian wrote about Larry, and I found it interesting that Mr. Walter did not provide a link to Larry’s post on writing what sells versus writing message fic. However, he provided links to the original post, and Mr.Hines’ attempted fisking.

    From that observation, I figured that Mr. Walter wasn’t interested in an arguement, he was attempting an act of propaganda. And it was a poor attempt.

        1. I have the perfect solution to that — don’t wear socks. Besides, my dwarfish toes cut holes in them.

        2. In Japan girls at school are required to keep their school uniform knee socks up. So as an act of rebellion they wear them just high enough to pass inspection. The trick they use is a ‘sock glue’ to keep them from falling any lower.

          At least so I have been told. Someone may have just been pulling my leg in order to make me limp through life with an even more muddled head.

          1. Sock glue is a thing. Irish dancers use it to keep THEIR socks up at competition.

            And the Irish Dance version of tar-and-feathers is sock-glue-and-sequins. Which seems to fit this situation in a weird way.

    1. Vile progs are never interested in an argument.

      What they are interested in is the frisson of unearned moral superiority derived from ritual denunciation and exercise of a 5-minute hate. That they can only achieve this through flailing fatuously at straw men is evidence of their mental feebleness. All they can muster is the intellectual equivalent of a slap fight. [Insert your own bleedin’ gif, guv’nor, I’ve already used up my outside link quota.]

  5. BTW I concur with the dormant volcano rec. Dormant volcano means you have hot springs for hygiene / general sybaritic lounging and, if you drill it right, pools of lava instead of piranha ponds for James Bond wannabees to swim in

  6. Don’t hold back Sarah. Tell us what you really feel. [Wink]

    On the other hand, if you tried, you might destroy your computer. [Evil Grin]

        1. I loved the week both of our computers caught fire at the same time. No, seriously.
          Pam, only ONE of my computers spontaneously combusted. Two just turned into rocks.

  7. I read the opinion piece (I refuse to call it an article) plus another for measure and some of the comments to both.

    In my opinion – which is no less valid than his – the bloody sod is an idiot, not worth the time. A paid troll.

    On a different note, after seeing how much of the SF/F crowd is going .. .. weird, I am glad I found this site, the MGC, and assorted associates that can act as a sanctuary of sanity. ((Yes, I said sanity.))

      1. Ah, yes. Excellent instruction manual, that. Still, the large number of fools who fail to follow it *does* weed the competition down a bit…

  8. I always wonder how these secret supervillain lairs are built. Are there contractors who build rocket silos in volcanoes and install shark tanks and death-traps no questions asked? And how do they keep the construction a secret while it’s in progress?

    1. You hide it in the paperwork. A rocket silo becomes an experimental sustainable GMO-free organic hydroponics demonstration facility, the shark tanks are rainwater retention cisterns, and the sharks are spirit guides. Then you shove all of it in with the seismology report, the hydraulic report, the electrical permit request, and the lead-free certification, etc. and hand it off to the government bureaucrat, along with a contribution to the beer fund to simply sign the bolus of paperwork and misfile it.

        1. Nah, people look in locked filing cabinets. Especially if they have to get past a leopard. But nobody’s going to look in a file labeled “SunTan Inc. Tax Returns 1985-1990.”

          1. As proof of the gentleman’s assertion that even a hint of a leopard only draws attention I give the following conversation recorded from your planet’s historical record:

            Prosser: But the plans were on display.

            Arthur Dent: On display? I eventually had to go down to the cellar.

            Prosser: That’s the display department.

            Arthur Dent: With a torch.

            Prosser: The lights had probably gone.

            Arthur Dent: So had the stairs.

            Prosser: But you did see the notice, didn’t you?

            Arthur Dent: Oh, yes. It was on display in the bottom of a locked filing cabinet stuck in a disused lavatory with a sign outside the door saying “Beware of the Leopard.” Ever thought of going into advertising?

        2. Those are so easy to find and steal from. After all, you have to keep the leopard fed and the poor leopard is easily bribed by fresh meat. [Big Evil Grin]

          I would talk about how I keep the secret lair plans safe but it’s safer for my customers if I don’t talk about it. [Very Big Evil Grin]

                1. I’m in Alvarado, from what my now moved neighbor told me it covers from about San Antonio up to Weatherford and east to Longview, so Austin would be affected.

        1. You know … Walt Disney lived in a residence on “Mainstreet” in Disneyland in Anaheim.

          Think about it.

          1. Well, Uncle Walt did buy a ginourmous tract of Florida after the neighborhood in Anaheim got too crouded, there’s documentary evidence of lots and lots of excavation, and nobody ever has had a good explanation for that giant golf ball thingee at Epcot…

            1. Epcot has hydroponic gardens as well. We were there a couple of years ago (during Hurricane Isaac), and I remember thinking a small band of people could probably hold out there for quite a long time if civilization collapsed.

              On Mon, Apr 14, 2014 at 12:42 AM, According To Hoyt wrote:

              > FlyingMike commented: “Well, Uncle Walt did buy a ginourmous tract of > Florida after the neighborhood in Anaheim got too crouded, there’s > documentary evidence of lots and lots of excavation, and nobody ever has > had a good explanation for that giant golf ball thingee at Epcot…” >

      1. If you would rather not deal with the additional paperwork for religious exemptions you can classify the sharks protein recycling receptacles.

    2. Well, a few decades back a very rich guy decided to go into the “evil overlord business” and after he built his “secret lair” using very loyal minions, another would-be evil overlord saw his “secret lair” and asked him to build one for him.

      Well, the first guy decided why waste time and money in conquering the world when people would pay him to build them secret lairs.

      He and his heirs have become very rich and no would-be James Bonds come after them.

      Of course, there’s a few things they don’t tell their customers.

      If the customers pay their bills and avoid “messing with them”, they’ll never learn that the builders included “back doors” and “destruct mechanisms” in the secret lairs they build.

      Of course, if the customers cheat the builders or otherwise mess with the builders, the secret lairs become death traps. [Very Big Evil Grin]

        1. I’m thinking of writing a story. I’ve never written one before. I know where to go for grammar etc. help but, where do I go for the utter basics of story writing? Writing for the utter newbie.

                  1. Ha! I seem to recall earnest encouragement of people who are self-avowed non writers to pursue at greater length various bits of things which they have posted. Not everyone can be a writer, despite the promises one once read inside matchbook covers. You do realize that while some of us get fleeting thoughts that, due to the very rocky maze of our brains, will never bear full fruit. Oh, look a bunny! I think I’ll just follow this trail…

              1. be forewarned that if you use the techniques mentioned to save ideas and then start writing, you will soon find yourself deluged with more ideas than you could ever write.

                1. That’s why the little old lady in Schenectady started her monthly newsletter – too many good ideas cluttering up the place.

      1. There actually is a HUGE market for Used Evil Lairs. Usually after the Forces of Justice ™ kill off the Evil Genius, the mortgage company re-possesses the tiny private island, or sometimes the master just goes broke. Do you have any idea what the cost is to supply a tiny tropical island with food and fresh water and fuel oil and nuclear material? You can go broke very quickly unless your Instant Gold Teleportation Beam works on the first go.

        1. Sigh, I’ve tried to tell some of my customers that their idea for secret lairs are poorly thought out but they insist on some stupid designs. Still, as long as I get paid, no problem.

          1. The biggest problem with most Lairs is that they’re in the middle of nowhere. The nightlife sucks, there are no good restaurants near by (I once drove 956 miles to find a Mexican joint), and stepping out for a pack of cigs can take several days.

            1. Thanks to recent changes in the laws of such states as Colorado and indifferent enforcement of Federal laws, I think you will find Mexican joints much easier to find.

            2. True story: when my wife was pregnant with our oldest, she had a craving for tacos. I was a young airman stationed in Enid, Oklahoma. Tacos were not available in Enid in 1965-66. The closest taco restaurant was in Oklahoma City, 70 miles away. Yeah, I went there.

        2. It is so unfortunate that so many Evil Geniuses don’t know anything about terraced farming, and desalinization plants. Right there they could cut their costs, after the initial investment is recouped.

        3. De-trapping and making suitable a Used Evil Lair is something of a growth industry, actually, as Hollywood elites, Wall Street bankers, and others are seeking for a little more privacy in their home life.

          1. They also make fine resort spots for families with budding young Meddling Kids. Mom and Dad can enjoy the beaches and (crooked) casino while the young’uns can explore to their heart’s content, at least until the residual mutagens and background radiation get to them. (That’s what Dr. Mauser does with his, about ten chapters from now.).

        4. The solution is looking you right in the face. One reason to build the lairs on volcanoes: geo-thermal energy. Volcanic islands have the added charm of tidal energy.

          On pre-owned evil lairs: where do you think those places that advertise as providing you with ‘the time of your life’ got started? (Remember Dr. No’s spiffy little Caribbean hangout?) When properly sold, the tourists are willing to plunk down a lot of money for a proper exotic experience.

  9. “Gender is a social construct” is a perfect example of how vile progs routinely lie by distortion. In sociology gender refers to the set of behaviors that are considered masculine or feminine, and those are constructed by society. Masculine and feminine are descriptive terms and aren’t necessarily carried from one society to another. You could have a society where fast cars and risky behavior were considered the domain of women. It wouldn’t be terribly efficient, since it would be running against some deep-seated biological optimizations, but it could last at least a little while.

    But then the vile progs take the statement out of the narrow field in which it is appropriate and try to apply it to the general language, where gender and sex – where your dangly bits, er, dangle – are synonyms, leading people to “think” that the effects of dangly bits are completely irrelevant and that biology can be conquered by mere force of will.

    1. “Gender is a social construct” is a classic example of a fact not submitted in evidence. It is an intellectual stacked deck.

      Such twits are also prone to think Reality a social construct and will end up redefining pi as 3.0 for ease of calculation.

      1. They would probably try to avoid answering Sarah’s actual points by going on and on about how she meant Sex, not gender here and there. I remember seeing that in another argument about one of Larry’s posts. They can’t debate you out in the real world, so they will always drag the discussion back to their imaginary world where they set the rules and the meaning of words and you can’t win by definition. At which point they pat themselves on the back for their cleverness at avoiding the issue at hand.

        1. Not a new problem. From Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There by Lewis Carroll

          “…There’s glory for you!”

          “I don’t know what you mean by ‘glory,'” Alice said.

          Humpty Dumpty smilled contemptuously. “Of course you don’t — till I tell you. I meant ‘there’s a nice knock-down argument for you!'”

          “But ‘glory’ doesn’t mean “a nice knock-down argument,'” Alice objected.

          “When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said in a rather scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.”

            1. T’was not the first time I have posted it, and I doubt that it will be the last time someone will post it. Why? Because it is too applicable to the manner in which some people treat language and meaning.

              The two Alice works shaped my mind in my formative years. I still read them with pleasure. Nothing like cutting your teeth on fantasy written by a mathematician/logician. (For those that know, Cyril Ritchard did a marvelous recording of the books. My first audio books — on long play vinyl records. Loved them. One rainy afternoon while listening I did try, multiple times, to curtsy whilst jumping off the mantle piece. Sigh.)

              I was quite pleased when the theme was picked for this year at the Anime Con: Alice in Wonderland/Gothic Lolitia. (Although when it comes to Goth I prefer ‘Elegant’ to Lolo.)

              1. “The two Alice works shaped my mind in my formative years. I still read them with pleasure. Nothing like cutting your teeth on fantasy written by a mathematician/logician.”

                Me too. They’re two of the great works of English literature.

                If possible, read them in “The Annotated Alice”, as they’re also full of jokes that you’re unlikely to get if you aren’t an expert on Victorian England. (Almost all the poems are parodies of non-humorous poems, for instance, ones children of the day would recognize).

                1. Yes, I am quite aware of the references, such as the mock of Isaac Watts’ How Doth the Little Busy Bee. Also, check out the Tenniel illustrations. For example the two characters in the train carriage with Alice in chapter 3 of Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There titled Looking-Glass Insects are references to Gladstone and Disraeli.

                  (The Annotated Holmes is similarly useful for the explanations of items, etc.)

  10. I have had issues in public with Damien, whom I don’t know personally, because I do think he ought to write an actual novel – and get it published – before telling everyone else what to do. I’m appalled that any uni would hire someone as a creative writing lecturer when their output is so slight, but I don’t think he’s working in academia any longer. We have mutual friends who seem to have conversations about ‘why Damien is an ass online’ even though they share his politics and I can only conclude that he is trying to be some sort of cut-price Cory Doctorow, and thinks that controversy will fill the gap – the Grauniad does encourage this on occasion (he will have been paid for the column, btw, but it’s not enough on which to, er, retire). He’s managed to irritate the majority of female fantasy writers in the UK because he consistently leaves them out of his ‘analyses,’ and he doesn’t seem to read all that widely. I just find it impossible to take him seriously. (Liz W).

    1. Hi, Liz — nice seeing you (we used to be in an email list together years ago. Might still be. I haven’t checked the list in a while.)
      If I were on the same side as Damien, I’d be doing what I do to some people who occasionally post here (NOT the regulars.) I’d be hiding behind my hand going “Please, don’t help me.”

      1. You too – and I think we met at a couple of Worldcons back in the day? And…..yes. I am always wary of people who haven’t actually done a whole lot, but presume to tell others how to do it. I get irritated regardless of the politics, because a lot of the people getting criticised – like Larry – have been publishing for years and might be assumed to know what they’re doing.

        1. And frankly, as someone who does write a lot of sexually non standard characters which no one — on any side of the divide has ever given me trouble for (and which I can’t control, because I write the characters that are there) — I’m getting pretty testy about “you must write queer.” Because then what I write becomes a political matter, when it isn’t. My characters are JUST my characters, dang it. I know other people audition characters. I can’t. I have some control over plot, but characters are just characters.
          Either we met at world fantasy or we exchanged some emails.
          I’m hoping if I can actually deliver three half finished books to MAYBE make it up to Loncon. Some of my family might skip over from Portugal, and I can go see dad after. So, there are reasons ;).

          1. Aw, thanks for the rec, Masgramondou! Sarah, agreed about the writing – at least two of my novels feature a (not very nice) all-female society, so the default sexuality would be homosexual, but as soon as you prioritise message over story, you’re lost. DW seems to be ignoring a lot of the female-written SF and F over the last 20 years in favour of a straw man.

            1. One of the things I’ve complained about before is that these people seem to be complaining about a science fiction field that never existed. Even in the fifties there were woman working under their own name and doing okay, if not well. (Of course, most writers as now do okay, not well.) And let’s face it, we’ve always been sexually odd. Okay, not us, but our books. That’s part of what sf/f does. Turn reality on head. Not because we “should” do it, but because those are the people attracted to the literature.
              And oh, yeah, meant to say, here too most of the writing teachers have never published anything except a couple of short stories to “pays in copies.” Kevin J. Anderson who was selling in college was almost flunked because, such as his sales were in those days, and such as his tact was, he’d make another $20 and come into class and brag to his unpublished teacher. This is why I warn my fledgelings to stay away from creative writing degrees. If they need something that will pay the bills take tech writing, but NOT creative writing.

    2. He’s the same amateur who did the “troll” piece on me and was dumb enough to admit on Twitter that he’d intentionally avoided getting a quote from me as per the newspaper guidelines. I thought he had a book coming out from Tor at the time, but if so, they must have dropped him.

      He’s just a wannabe trying to score points with the Pink SF/F crowd by attacking me and Larry. You’re probably next, Sarah.

    3. “Cut-price Cory Doctorow”. Ouch. I don’t even like the original myself.

    1. If I ever make a ton of money, I plan to buy the house across from the one that used to be grandma’s. It was for sale last time I was over. I think 100k and will need as much in renovation, but it’s actually a complex of houses (a large extended family used to live there, and they rented cottages to strangers, too) with orchard, vineyard, vegetable garden, etc. My plan was to set a friend up there as caretaker, and run it as a writer’s retreat.

      1. What does one need as a writers’ retreat? Internet, a close reference library, lots of light and heavy curtains, meals and range access comes to mind. But I must be missing something.

          1. DPICM? An excellent IT guy to handle all manner of software issues. I’m sure he could find you a hardware guy.

          1. I am hopeless. The only reason I have Win7 is because my XP box died. I work on a DOS computer at work. I have a Sony reader. I have no idea what a Roku does and had to look it up. I have turned into my father.

  11. “So why the desperate need to call us, not just wrong, but evil?”

    Besides the obvious, that ‘argument’ is work, leftism today really has no clue what it actually ‘believes’ in. Instead modern leftism is about finding someone ‘safe’ to hate. For it is in being certain to hate the correct people that their moral worth is defined. Not by actually believing anything and far less actually accomplishing anything.

    And I am serious about finding ‘safe’ things to hate, which explains why the last people that they condemn are those who actually want to kill homosexuals. Far safer to hate people whose sin is not to accept the idea that LGBTQwhatever represents the highest form of evolution.

          1. I think they avoid maturity like the plague because of the saying that I vaguely remember goes that you vote Democrat when young and then become Conservative when you’re older or get mugged. So maybe they avoid growing up for that reason?

                1. “A conservative is a Liberal who’s been mugged by reality” is how I heard it, and I’ve seen the quote attributed to Irving Kirstol.

              1. I believe I first read it in Ringo’s Ghost (although I’m sure that isn’t where it was first written) and I can’t imagine anyone needing to, uhh… sanitize… any quotes from that source.

            1. Given American society’s worship of youth and beauty? That makes a twisted kind of sense. And I’ve had similar thoughts. I dunno, though. I mean, I got over that nonsense at about age 17. Does that make me old?

              1. No, it means you were improperly raised according to the progressive standards.

                The thing to remember is that by teaching the young that youth is ‘where it is at’ you can remove much of the influence of the more experienced people, and you can denigrate, dismiss or ignore the thoughts of previous generations as it suits. Meanwhile you can blame what is wrong on the certain institutions, the older less enlightened people and reactionaries who persist in hanging on to the old customs, myths and superstitions, which, happily, will die out with them. Then we will see the promised glorious future.

              2. I did the same thing you did in my teens. I like to think of it as maturing as we’re supposed to, as opposed to staying eternal children. That’s why when I give my kids new responsibilities, I tell them it’s because they’re old enough to do either start learning or start doing something right. Doesn’t stop them from getting cuddles and snuggles and having time to play, but that’s growing up.

                Mind you, I’m someone who gets very excited about every single silver hair that I’m getting these days.

                1. I’ve actually gotten more libertarian and less conservative as I’ve gotten older. Which interestingly enough means that I was more strongly opposed to legalizing drugs when I was a teenager and doing them, than as an adult who won’t even touch aspirin. But then teenager and logical are mutually contradictory terms.

                2. I quit getting excited about finding silver / grey hair when I was, oh, maybe 20. (Of course, I found my first at around 16… my mother was completely white-haired by the time she was 40-ish, as was her mother before her.)

    1. True, but incomplete. Vile prog’s (Thanks Sarah for the term) project. They project massively. If they say something bad about someone else, it is at least 90% certain that that applies to them.

      I first realized this when one of the organizers of the “Million Mom March” (against gun control) got hold of a firearm and did exactly what she had been screaming that gun owners would do (she murdered a suspect of a crime against one of her family as I recall).

    2. The funny part is, we’re retrogrades when we talk about evil. When they talk about it, they’re forward-thinking.

    3. Jonathan Haidt, after studying moral reasoning in conservatives, liberals, and libertarians, brought in some of each to take his tests of moral reasoning as if they belonged to the other groups. Conservatives could do it, for either; libertarians could do it, for either; liberals could not do it all.

    1. I have single cell cloning experience. Given enough time, money and lab access I might be able to work up to multi-cellular organisms.

        1. Which minion style do you want? More like a butler, or more like a tough guy?

          “So you request speech with Madame Bagley? I will see if the mistress is in.”

          “You wanna talk to the lady and her husband, you talk to me first, punk.”

          1. Can you build an Igor?

            “Tho you requetht dithcourthe with Madame Bagley? …”

            1. Igor says it’s best to hire an Igor from Igor, otherwise Igor will get upset (no, not that Igor, his cousin Igor).

                1. Zathras used to being beast of burden for others. Very sad life, probably have very sad death, but at least there is symmetry…

          2. I like tough guys 🙂 plus I can listen in and use it for the hard-boiled fantasy detective stories I am thinking of writing in the future– if I can get all the other stuff written first.

          3. Sigh. The key to a good minion that’s give the tasks of greeting guests, victims, etc. is that they don’t look or talk dangerous until they need to be dangerous.

            One evil-overlord that I know managed to escape capture because his “butler” looked & talked like a pansy and the James Bond type completely underestimated how well the “pansy” could fight.

            1. As I heard it, it wasn’t so much that the pansy could fight as he was deadly in the clinches.

            2. Can I have one that is part Godfrey ‘Smith’ Parke, part Reginald Jeeves, part Mervyn Bunter, part Harry Callahan and part Kato?

  12. Since a cation has a positive charge and an anion has a negative charge, I suspect that the minion has a non-zero charge that is less than +/- 1.
    (This by the way is why I did poorly at chemistry)

  13. And did y’all see the response of the Fellow with the Significant Hairstyle to my comment? I used Larry’s checklist, quoted two short paragraphs from Larry’s essay that showed his entire point to be a pants-on-fire lie, and pointed to Larry’s counter-fisk of the “excellent dissection”. Here’s Damien’s response in its entirety:

    Counter-fisking? Hmmm…sounds kinky.

    I have to admit: that’s an excellent point.

        1. Interesting, they deleted a Tom Kratman comment.

          Link doesn’t work so well now that your comment is on the second page.

          Were I to comment, I’d point out that the guy playing a female elf on World of Warcraft is NOT dabbling in his innate desire to experiment with transgenderism. It’s because he wants to stare at a hot elf-girl’s ass, because if he were playing a male character, he’d be staring at a guy’s ass, and that’s too gay for the average gamer….

          But I’m not going to waste my time on that idiot.

          1. Dear husband frequently complains about how utterly, objectively ugly male character models usually are, and thus rolls female characters most of the time. (So he can complain about the inability to get them less than, uh, awesome lungs.)

            He’s been known to simplify it to “so I don’t stare at a dude’s **** for 60 levels.” Hard to argue with.

            1. But lung capacity is very important. It is so important in fact that many guys factor it into their mate selection.

            2. For the same reason, I’ve been known to roll male characters, if I find them sufficiently attractive in design. (Main reason why I played Lineage II and still do on occasion – both genders are quite easy on the eyes.) I’ll generally play female, but when I’ve played male characters, I’ve had female players very disappointed to find out I’m not actually a guy.

              I also know of women who roll male characters to avoid the sexual harassment that goes with.

              Off topic but, Landmark is ridiculously addictive, though the controls really do take some finangling. After seeing the massive trees though, I’m planning on treehouse XD

              1. Did you spot the faces yet?! I nearly spat out my drink!

                I roll about 50/50, depending on which bugs me least in the way I plan to play ’em. A favorite was my Dranny mage, built like a brick outhouse. Had him do emotes like “If my spell misses, I can always just hit you over the head…..”

                1. I’ve seen my character grimacing when using that powered drill thing or when she’s bouncing up a cliff, but other than that, I haven’t really seen faces. Is there a way to implement either facing character/behind character/first person POV?)

          2. My first SWTOR character is a female smuggler. Oddly enough, it was the voice that did it. I’m running a male smuggler through currently and he’s funny too, though I must admit I like the female smuggler’s snark more during cutscenes.
            *Confronted by bounty hunter seeking to capture the smuggler*
            Bounty Hunter: I polished my armor just for this occassion!
            Smuggler: Uh, that spot right below your elbow? Pretty ratty.

            Either way, I see them as characters in a story.

            (Though I found a longcoat-like armor looked better so I guess I can’t say I’m looking at her rear end all that much.)

  14. Weirdly “The Vulcan is erupting!” just gets people looking at you funny. Probably the problem in Pompey.

    Pompey or Pompeii?

    After checking out whether my recall of history was correct this makes a kind of very strange sense. Or mayber it just proves that I suffer from some form of twisted logical connections. Anyway, it undoubtedly makes me want to find where The Spouse has stored the copies of Asterix and Obelix.

      1. Hmm, a Roman general/politician with a Vulcan erupting inside of him? There’s gotta be a story there, though I can’t for the life of me figure out what it is.

          1. I expect the story involves him eating chili & beans.

            Crossing the streams — Cincinnati is heavily endowed with “narrow” regional dishes, although they’ve tried mightily to export (some would say extradite) Skyline Chili.

            1. Impostor!

              Your mind is entirely too far from the gutter, what did you do with the real RES?

              1. Clearly you have never experienced 5-Way Chili, nor ridden an elevator with someone who recently has.

  15. I’ve staked out the [redacted] River Valley as my secret lair. It has water, a decent growing period despite the altitude, takes effort to find, and already has lots of cattle. And neighbors that will turn blind eyes to small amounts of detonations and such as long as I lend a hand with the volunteer fire department, show up for the community meetings, and keep my part of the road clear and my fences in good condition. They’re not fond of the state or federal government, either, so they probably won’t help if someone comes snooping. “Who? Crazy Red? Nah, she runs a few cattle, keeps to herself, good to have when you need weight on the firehose. Don’t know a thing ’bout her.”

  16. Ha! I was once voted “Worst Person On The Internet” back when the Internet was only available on dial-up modem tubes.

    And I have a lair. Don’t ask about Teh Armaments, or minions. Let’s just say that there is a sufficiency of both. Teh Piranhas are on hold because the stupid county didn’t sign off on the moat permit. So we went with Teh Baby Landmine Option.

  17. The problem is that for some the ‘Quo Vadis?’ is the operative question, and generally settled by ‘what we really really want it to be, and damn the torpedoes ahead.’ If what serves your agenda is ‘The Future is Queer’ never mind that it would be peculiar or impractical.

    The following, which came to mind is someone else’s fault. The guilty party should know who they are and be properly repentant – ;-). At any rate I highly recommend the book from whence it came: Comrade Don Camillo by Giovanni Guareschi. The speaker, who is not a communist is addressing one and is tweaking his listener, a communist who has been hit in the face with a dose of reality:

    Truth? Truth is whatever coincides with the interests of the working class. Comrades, you trust your eyes rather than your reason. And your reason is weak, because there are too many capitalistic cobwebs in your brain.

  18. You also need some of those two-man carts for your minions to ride around in. Also: matching coveralls.

  19. I think it’s a failure of empathy. I mean, if vile progs are unable to comprehend the thinking of conservatives / libertarians, (and studies have shown this is more difficult for them, at least), then it’s easier to think that the other side is inhuman. They literally can’t understand the thinking. So that thinking cannot be valid. Which means that in their minds, all conservatives and libertarians are horrible liars, because no human being would think/act/feel that way.

    Which also might explain the massive amounts of projection. Maybe.

  20. Well, here’s one where I actually disagree with you on at least one point. (A rare occurrence, and worth pointing out). If you say “I think Aunt Witchy Poo [who’s misguided but harmless] should be burned” and mean it, I would say that does make you a bad person. The worst person in the world? No, of course not: actually doing it, as opposed to just thinking it should be done or planning it, would be worse — and there are plenty of people out there who do kill the innocent on a regular basis, making the “worst person in the world” title impossible to apply to someone who only opines that innocent people should be killed. But that doesn’t mean that opining such wouldn’t be a bad action.

    From bad to worst: thinking that innocent people should die, planning the death of innocent people, carrying out such plans. But all of them are, at the very least, bad actions.

    1. well, saying it, and not meaning it doesn’t make you a harmless person. If you mean it, yes, I think it makes you a bad person — but I don’t think it makes you the worst person in the world. Sorry, you’re probably not disagreeing with me so much as my muddled writing early morning…

      1. Sorry, you’re probably not disagreeing with me so much as my muddled writing early morning…

        Looks that way, since everything you said just now is something I agree with completely.

      2. Saying and meaning, for example, that every person in America should have all their health care needs provided by the government might qualify you to be the Worst Person in the World. Falsely blaming some poor dolt of an incompetent film-maker for fomenting a riot in a Third World country, causing the death of an American ambassador and several others, whether you mean it or not might qualify you as a WPitW finalist. Saying and not meaning something — if you like your doctor you can keep your doctor, for example, or ostentatiously drawing a “red line” places you in the WPitW finals, too.

  21. “Why is it that when a vile prog disagrees with anyone they call the person a hater?”

    They’re projecting.

  22. Apparently I’m a typical male, since I like to eat berries but despise picking them. So hurry up and get that bucket filled, so you can bake me a pie 🙂

  23. May I suggest an active volcano, where people actually live near, around and apparently on the crater? Also has a few fun facts, such as being described “an island in a lake in an island in a lake in an island in the sea, being a well known tourist area, known for it’s delightful restaurants and hotels, and a multitude of venues used for religious and meditation retreats. I only read about the farms in cooking magazines, but…

    Oh, well, I don’t know about it’s suitability for Evil Overlord lairs – not sure you could have the base inside the lake-caldera; I’m sure you could build one around the area and have an outer facade that’s theme-parked to be an Evil Overlord Lair hyped up on the cliches. After all, hiding in plain sight is fun! And the hotel gives one a ready supply of perfectly legit funds…

      1. Let that be a lesson to you, never trust promises a guy makes when he is trying to get you to lift tail.

  24. “Probably the problem in Pompey.”

    I rarely–RARELY–really “LOL” at anything I read on the interwebs, but that resulted in a LOUD “LOL”. Thanks. I needed that. 🙂

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