Going Down Easy

Sorry this is late. Last night by the time I was ready to write a post I was so slap-happy that I started auctioning the destruction/sparing of countries in the Diner on Facebook. (Which isn’t entirely a bad idea, since with money for moving repairs, money for renting somewhere while this house is for sale – you can’t show a house with cats in it, one of them a geriatric cats who keeps getting close to the box but not in it. You also can’t show a house with my sons in it. The problems there hinge more on “What book did you leave in the bathroom again? Honey, you’ll scare people” and “Honey, dirty clothes belong in the hamper, not in a trail leading from your room to the bathroom.” – and I’m still late with the books, probably the latest I’ve been, and yeah part is recovering from being sick, and part is just having time in the middle of the madhouse, but anyway, with one thing and another, Number One son is graduating in May and I’d like to take him somewhere nice without feeling guilty about it – if I thought you were stupid/crazy enough to do it, I’d auction the destruction/sparing of cities and countries for $6 a pop, and the one (destruction or sparing) with the most votes would win. Would sign you for Rogue Magic, too, which only has about ten subscribers, I swear. BUT I don’t think you guys are that stupid/crazy, and you all know in DST there is very little trace of our current world, so I’d have to get creative and describe how they were destroyed long ago. So, ah well. As I said, I was slap-happy.)

Anyway, tomorrow I’m flying out to Ravencon, so if any of the Huns are in Virginia and within reach come out and say hi, would you? Kate Paulk will be there and Speaker To Lab Animals, and a bunch of other people, including number three son by adoption David Pascoe, and his lovely wife (Number one Daughter In Law by adoption). Speaker and Dave and I promise to protect you from Kate Paulk. Really.

I’m looking forward to the con, among other things because it’s a new one I’ve never been to, but I find myself wishing it was a week from now, because I never know if going to a con is going to stop my flow on a book as I’m nearing (I swear to heavens I really am) the end. And because we’re trying to be out of here and have the house ready for sale by late June, and it’s sort of weird as we don’t know where we’ll end up, because it depends on what number one son is doing next year, and I’m trying to finish the book, and I’m trying to figure out what furniture to sell/donate (and books. You don’t want to know about the books. I think our attic is mostly books. And not INTERESTING books – not to us – but stuff we bought long before we had kids because “our children will like this” and which now makes me wonder about exactly how stupid we were. No seriously.)

There’s also stuff like processing the backlog of clothes. In case ya’ll haven’t noticed, my guys all wear button downs. In the younger son’s case that’s because of sensory stuff. For whatever reason, knits next to the skin disturb him. In older son’s case it’s because he was born starched up and stuck at age 53 or so. One of these days a young lady– Never mind. Anyway, so, they all wear button downs, and I iron them. No, it’s not a war on women thing (rolls eyes.) They would quite gladly go off having spun the shirts in the dryer to minimize the wrinkles. But I was trained by my mother, okay? These men are yours, they belong to you, and how they present to the world reflects on you. Yeah, I know it’s stupid. But then take into account that ironing is the ONLY time I watch any television/movies (mostly through prime. We don’t have cable.) Without ironing I’d never have watched Buffy or Stargate. So, there it is.

Only with being sick/trying to catch up, there’s a massive backlog of ironables. Five baskets full (consider a basket an hour, just about.) Some of it is table cloths from the holidays (all of them) last year, and some are short sleeve shirts, which the kids haven’t needed till now. So, normally I’d catch up whenever, but not knowing where #1 son is going to be as little away as a month or two makes a difference, and also the fact we need to start boxing things (like rarely used elaborate table cloths) to put in storage until we have a place of our own again – hopefully after this sells. So I’m trying to do at least half a basket when I wake up, then do some book/furniture processing and/or fix something in the house before I sit down to write. And then I’m trying to write like a demon, something not facilitated by one of the hardest-to-write characters I’ve ever done.

Last night when I went to bed – after the slap happy had worn off – it occurred to me it was a wonderful time to feel sorry for myself.   Here I am so busy, and I’m fifty, and it’s too late for me to have to deal with all this stuff, and and and boo hoo.

I assure you this is not my normal mode, and that about ten seconds after that thought, I started pointing and laughing at myself.

Given the rest of the world, or even America right now – I read this week my age group is the one moving in with their parents fastest and NOT because parents need looking after, but because with job instability, utilities, insurance, we’re mostly broke and losing houses at a record pace. – even if the absolutely worst happened (and trust me, it’s not LIKELY. It would take something like a fire running through town) and we lost everything, we still have training and jobs, we’re still making money, and we’d find a place with a roof for over our heads, and we have a nice family and four … four cats (nice might be too much), at any rate (plus Greebo who is not our cat.) And we would have our jobs and our minds, and books and music, and—

Yeah. Ain’t nobody going to be pitying me – or at least nobody should – just because I had a lousy health year last year and I’m slowly crawling out of the hole which involves working my behind off. Some people – most people, probably – in the world work like this all the time, and never get the rewards, like days at the zoo and dinner at Pete’s.

And heck, my very super busy days don’t compare say to the day of a cleaning lady when I was a kid, let alone in the Victorian age. They just don’t. Or even to my grandma’s days, up to the last year of her life, cleaning the house, looking after “the creation” – chickens and rabbits, mostly – and whatever strays she’d adopted, and the little backyard mini-farm.

I was thinking about this and thought about someone who claimed you know, being a white male is going through life in the easy setting. In a way he was right, because being a white male of the US middle class is easy compared to just about anyone in the world ever. Being an American of any gender and color who is born to two parents, in a place where people don’t shoot at each other in the night streets is easier than just about anything. Hell, even being an American in the worst parts of Chicago (I’ll destroy Chicago. Cheeep. Six dollars!  And you get Rogue Magic.  Kidding, kidding.) is easier than life in most of the world. This reminds me of the PJ O’Rourke joke about people being willing to trade a state apartment in Moscow in the eighties for a sleeping bag on the streets of NY city.

More than that, it shows a becoming awareness on that writer’s part that no matter what struggles he’s had are minimal compared to most people.

This is at least much better than the critter who was running around Facebook this week attacking people then accusing them of lack of compassion for swiping back, because she had broken her arm, and had we no decency. Colonel Kratman, who, like all men, has way too much Ruth (I didn’t even know it was that popular a name) said the silly git must be high on pain pills and we should cut her some slack. I don’t think so. First her page showed that this is fairly standard behavior. Second, I’ve been on pain pills – and fever – and it never occurred to me to use it as a magical shield. I’m more likely to post about seeing pink lizards and leave the politics and politicking over awards for when I’m sober. (Though I confess to having done the gifferic post while high as a kite on fever.)

It occurred to me the true tragedy of the human race, as individuals, is that we can’t SEE into each other people’s lives. We see some things, and interpret them, but there’s no guarantee what I see matches what it is like for YOU. So according to my temperament, I either decide I’m veeeeery unfortunate, or the most blessed person in the world, compared to others, and it has nothing to do with reality.

Take every time someone posts here or sends me an email saying “I don’t know how you do so much” and I’m thinking “Me? I’m a slacker. Just yesterday I took a two hour walk for the heck of it” or something. And then I look at #1 son who ALSO claims to be a slacker and who for years has run double the credits recommended, written Ninja Nun, written stories, contributed substantially to house upkeep, and taught himself things like game programing, and I think “Uh.”

This is why making statements about entire (Marxist) classifications of people is silly. You really don’t know what other people’s lives are like. And also – having gone through times of being very ill, where I couldn’t do half what needed to do – you don’t know what they can do. What might look easy to you could break other people. On the other hand, what you think is very hard, I guarantee some people are shouldering, every day, without a complaint and probably thinking they’re doing nothing.

Note that the wise man said “Pick up your cross and carry it” not “expound on what weight the crosses should be, and make regulations as to who should carry how much to make sure it’s evenly distributed.”

It will never be evenly distributed. And this is not even a matter of temperament but biology. I’ve known since I was very young, for instance, I’m on the high end of capacity for lifting weights for a female, and was even when I was a little slip of a thing who weighed 100lbs soaking wet. This doesn’t mean that should we be on a forced march with weights the woman next to me should have to carry exactly what I do. As an ex-marathoner and rather muscular woman, I guarantee it would break most of them (heck, what I could carry as a kid would break me now.)

And this is why an entire society based on redistribution of the ah… burdens of civilization is crazy. No one can know what others can carry. No one can know when others are being crushed. We can guess, but we can’t know. And we certainly can’t do it by numbers. Humans are not widgets.

What we need is a decent understanding that all of us are supposed to do our parts to the limit of our abilities – pick up your cross and carry it, if you will – and that reliance on others (when not mutual) is vaguely indecent; coupled with the understanding that when we need help we SHOULD be given it, because if someone is that broken as to be asking, then it’s a desperate situation.

Will there be abuses? Oh, of course. As I said, some people think “I broke my arm, your argument is invalid” is a proper trump card.

Some people will think being made to earn a living is a terrible imposition. Which is why we can’t do it by the numbers and charity – all charity, even government charity if that’s to continue (and we all know my opinion on that, right?*) — should be as local and as granular as possible, because we might not be able to see inside each other’s lives, but to the extent we have limited visibility, it helps to be close enough to see it day to day.

Will the system be gamed? What, because it isn’t now? Sure it will. But at least we won’t be treating people as widgets, and we stand a better chance of helping those who really need it.

And yeah, I know this entire idea and $2 (I’ll destroy Chicago for $2!  Sale) will get me a cup of coffee.

And now I’ll shut up and go iron clothes.


*I’m against government-run charity not because I think we should let the poor starve in the gutter, but because government is a blunt instrument for such a fine tuned purpose. Or to put it another way, government is force, but charity should never happen at the point of a gun. Yes I know “Government is the word for what we choose to do together” but how much choice do you have, when a majority vote is treated as a reason to disregard almost half of the population and you’ll be thrown in jail for disobeying? “Choose” is rather a loose term. If a mugger holds a gun to my head I choose to give him money for instance – and government is more intrusive and less subtle than a mugger.



127 responses to “Going Down Easy

  1. “Government is the word for what we choose to do together”

    Another phrasing is “Everything inside the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state” — which was Mussolini’s own definition of totalitarianism.

    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

      Government, at its best, is the group/individual that the overall society acknowledges its authority to enforce society’s standards and to protect the society from enemies both internal and external.

      Individuals within the society may disagree with a decision/action of the agents of the government, but the government has legitimacy when the vast majority of individuals see that the government has the authority to decide or take action in the matter.

      Sorry for the “political speech” but on another board people are talking about the “glories” of purely “Voluntary Societies”.

      IMO “Voluntary Societies” aren’t able to deal with the Rogues that any society has let alone the outside groups that will exist.

      IMO it’s one thing to say “Private Charities” do a better job than “Government Charities” (which I agree with) but another to disregard the valid & necessary roles of government.

      • Mutual protection — sure. Charity, not legitimate.
        And Drak, if the vast majority agrees with something immoral (say, forced abortions) it is still immoral.

        • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

          “You’re A Traitor To Your Sex”!!!!! [Evil Grin]

          Seriously Sarah (and it may be too early to be serious for both of us), “Government Legitimacy” is a funny thing and is most noticeable when the government has lost legitimacy but rarely noticed when the government retains legitimacy.

          When governments lose their legitimacy, all that remains is “naked threats of force” for them to remain in power.

          We can argue (and should argue) about which actions/areas are or are not part of the “proper role of government” but I think we can agree that governments with “general acknowledged authority” are better for society than “governments” who must threaten force or use force because nobody acknowledges them as having any authority.

        • “Truth is not determined by a majority vote.”

      • Zigong asked about government. The Master said, “The requisites of government are that there be sufficient food, sufficient military equipment, and the confidence of the people in their ruler.” Zigong said, “If one had to dispense with one of those three, which should be given up first?” “The military equipment, ” said the Master. Zigong again asked, “If on had to dispense with one of the two remaining, which should be given up?” The Master answered, “Give up the food. From of old, death has always been the lot of men; but if the people have no faith in their rulers, they cannot stand.” Confucius

        • Huh. Had to post that twice, with tweakings, because when I log in, the system is eating my posts — and claiming I already posted them.

        • I am still trying to figure out whether you agree with this quotation or not.

          • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

            I think Mary was posting the idea “the confidence of the people in their ruler” as support for the idea that “legitimacy in government” is the acknowledge of the government’s authority. IE if the people lack confidence in their rulers, they won’t acknowledge the authority of their rulers.

            Think of it this way, traffic cops are “agents of the government” and when a cop car flags us down, we have confidence that the cop isn’t going to ask for money or invite us to his wife’s Tupperware party. [Smile]

            Because we have “confidence in the traffic cop” we accept his authority to ask us to stop.

            • Some of us don’t have confidence however that he isn’t going to ask us for tobacco. Knew a cop in Forks that used to pull people over fairly regularly to ‘bum a chew’, somehow that never got integrated in the Sparkly Vampire books. 😉

    • “Government is the word for what we choose to do together”

      One word: Religion.

    • Corporatism is the word for what we choose to do together. Government is a subset; Obama’s assertion is akin to saying “a square is the word for an enclosed geometric figure comprised of two sets of parallel lines.”

      What his statement reveals is Obama’s failure to comprehend the difference between the public and private spheres and the little armies of compassion that occupy the space between the two, creating our civil society.

  2. How about 2 dollars for Detroit? Yea– I think I am breaking and then I get a second wind. Not sure if that is a good thing or not.

  3. Government run “charity” isn’t any such thing. It’s theft by threat of force. But I do understand the appeal. It is ever so nice to feel virtuous by giving away other people’s money, now isn’t it.
    Speaking of value for value OTOH, was thinking the other day it was time to send you a little something when I saw that PayPal had gone ahead and sent you the annual subscription payment I set up a year ago. Since it was well over six bucks I humbly request you go ahead and raze Chicago. No two blackened stones upon each other, and the earth beneath salted. Or just shove the whole bloody mess into the lake for the Asian carp to feast upon.
    I have that warm fuzzy feeling of affection for Chitown typical of most downstaters. Spent more than 30 years with that ravenous leech stuck metaphorically speaking to my backside right in the vicinity of my wallet.

  4. I broke my arm three or four years ago. I think I used up my give-people-health-advice credits and my drink-5-zillion-milkshakes credits; but nobody told me there were victim credits, much less win-arguments-by-default credits. In fact, I’m pretty sure that I lost a lot of arguments with my family during that time. So somebody needs to inform us about these benefits, preferably in the ER.

    Also, it would seem that white male athletes who break bones are not being informed of their victim rights, particularly the ones that allow them to go to parties and drink heavily, and have sex without legal consequences for them but with rape charges for anyone of the opposite sex who takes advantage, or indeed who was at the party but has no video proof of never touching the guy, or who simply goes to the same college and is accused.

  5. I hadn’t planned to attend RavenCon for budgetary reasons, but I guess I can drive up to Richmond for a day.

  6. It took me longer than it should have to learn this, but life ain’t fair and no amount of legislation is going to change that. It’ll always be unfair for someone, so you can either get bent out of shape about it or just soldier on and make do.

    Since getting bent out of shape doesn’t actually accomplish anything, you’re going to have to do the latter anyways.

    • We put some of the Disney movies to good use with our kids, particularly the Lion King. “That’s not fair!” was always responded to with, “And I’ll never be king!” We short circuited that argument many a time.

  7. physicsgeeky

    Anyway, tomorrow I’m flying out to Ravencon, so if any of the Huns are in Virginia and within reach come out and say hi, would you?

    Since you’ll be in my neck of the woods, I plan to stop by. I’ll be the dork wearing a t-shirt with upside down -to you- physics equations on it.

  8. Can we get a discount for more than one? I’ll throw in for Pyongyang, Moscow, Tehran, Mecca, Medina, Riyahd, Damascus, Mogadishu, Benghazi, Cairo, Paris, Manhattan, Chicago, St. Louis, San Francisco, LA, Beijing, and Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon). Hmmm, 18 cities at $6 a pop (HA! Pun intended), that works out to $108. With a little creativity you could almost do a Shoemaker-Levy 9 on us (it hit with 21 chunks).

    • Now that raises an interesting question. If asteroids took out Mecca, Medina, and Karbala, would followers of a certain religion take it as a hint that perhaps their, or their earlier spiritual and military leaders, had been in error of interpretation? Or would they decide to level Jerusalem, NYC, and the other usual threat targets on the assumption that someone not divine had steered the asteroids (the Juice, as one famous sign-holder put it)?

      • sabrinachase

        Of course not. They would interpret it as Allah’s punishment for not being hardcore enough. (and then the rivers of blood, etc. as they try to do it right)

        • During the pilgrimage…Yes, the reactions might be interesting.

        • Point. Especially if Riyad got hit as well. (“See! All-h smote and extinguished the decadent House of Sa’ud for daring to allow unbelievers on the soil of the peninsula and for not fighting hard enough!”)

          But the thought of an asteroid whopping the K@bb@h amuses me greatly. It has a nice symmetry.

    • You forgot Seattle, how could you forget Seattle? I’ll even pay for it, if you’re running short on cash.

  9. William O. B'Livion

    “Government is the word for what we choose to do together”

    To paraphrase Tanto, what “We” white girl?

    Seriously, anyone who says that needs to get beaten with the cluebat until the wielder’s elbows swell from the impact.

    *MASSIVE* parts of our current government (at all levels) are completely free of effective oversight and are manufacturing the data that justifies their existence.

    The poor have not, in this country, ever “starved in the streets”. There might have been a few in extreme poverty who starved to death, or folks who shunned civilization and moved out into the hinterlands who were unable to feed themselves, but we have always been a nation of both opportunity AND charity.

    Then came the Progressives determined to run things “better”.

    Good intentions will always be pleaded for any assumption of power. TheConstitution was made to guard the people against the dangers of good intentions. There are men in all ages who mean to govern well, but they mean to govern. They promise to be good masters…but they mean to be masters.

    –Daniel Webster

    Or to quote Lenny Bruce “…Fuck the Government”.

  10. Rob Crawford

    How much for taking out Peoria? I know the fithp took it out once, but it deserves a second pass just to be sure.

    (iPad autocorrect does not like “fithp”.)

  11. masgramondou

    Well, it seems like paypal just paid you a subscription from me just like Uncle Lar. Please remove those smug belching, toxic hypocrisy emitting cities of Paris & San Francisco. San Francisco can die in flames but Paris does have some nice architecture and artwork so maybe poison gas would work? Though feel free to blow up La Defense and the Pompidou Centre with extreme prejudice.

    • That execrable pyramid at the Louvre. That … THING … is a crime against humanity.


      • masgramondou

        yeah add that too. Though I’m not as vehemently against it as the rest. And whatever method of destruction occurs should leave Paris’ airports standing as object examples of how not to build an airport

        • OMFG THE CHAIRS AT CHARLES DE GAULE. THOSE HORRIBLE CHAIRS. We had a lay over for 24 hours years ago. The chairs LOOK PRETTY but are designed so you can neither sit nor lie in them with any degree of comfort. They’re like some medieval torture device!

          • masgramondou

            CDG’s purpose is not actually to be an airport, as you know if you had read this blog post of mine – http://www.di2.nu/200506/06c.htm – from 9 years ago:

            For example, what the %#%$* is up with Paris’ Charles De Gaulle airport?!

            You were clearly misled. CDG is not intended to be a practical airport, it is actually a museum to style, modern French architecture and concrete.

            For those that doubt me I suggest taking the guided bus tour otherwise known as the shuttle between T1, T9, T2 and the station. You get wonderful views of excitingly styled buildings, curved flyovers going nowhere and other monuments to modern living and just like all good museums the tour is free, although in France it is quite acceptable to tip the guide if he performed an adequate service. The fact that millions of people persist in trying to fly in and out of it is a cunning French ploy to get visitors to the CDG “musée de l’art concret” to participate in the largest performance art installation in the world. Without such a constant stream of humanity the exhibits would look too austere and it would be hard to judge the proportion and scale of some of the more dramatic monuments. Moreover the performance artists often perform amusing vignettes that provide a scathing commentary on the callousness of the modern propensity for horological exactitude and the deplorable habit of dehumanising personal interactions.

            I particularly recommend the T1 exhibit which has a cafe on the “Niveau de départ” where you can both admire the atrium and the dramatic cross atrium escalators as well as watch the artists provide moving renditions of many human emotions. I particularly recommend showing up for an “en grève” annoucement where the artists graphically show the stresses and frustrations that are inherent in the modern globalised capitalist economy. If I have one criticism of the museum it is that it has become excessively commercial with far too many shops selling far too many knick-knacks, but even this can be taken as a part of the performance art as the store clerks show that charming Parisien arrogance and lack of customer service that is such a refreshing contrast to the subservience displayed by their counterparts in real airports or shops.

            • I always assumed CdG airport is France’s way of getting even with travelers for daring to visit in person, rather than just sending our money. If I have any option, I’ll take Frankfurt. Not great (security procedures are a, ahem, challenge,) but much better signage.

              • masgramondou

                Frankfurt for quite a while post 2001 did not require you to show ID to board a plane to another EU destination. You did have to go through security and (as one might expect) security was run with teutonic efficiency, but it wasn’t yet as moronic in it’s demands as the wonderful TSA. Hence, presumably, the lack of ID check. What, after all is the point? surely the issue is to detect weapons not whether or not you have a government ID that matches your credit card and ticket.

                I believe that this logical idea has now fallen by the wayside and that Frankfurt now has just as much security theatre as any other airport

                • It does, and the design of the airport doesn’t fit well with the new checkpoints (like KC Intl but worse). If I have less than a two-hour lay-over, I just assume I’m going to miss the flight. The whole “change terminals – go through security again” things just boggles my poor little mind, since you are not leaving the security bubble. (But DFW has/had something similar, so thppth! on all their houses.)

                  • KC Intl is God Awful! I flew in and out of there one time, and swore it would never happen again!

                    The idea of the bathroom being OUTSIDE security? Really?

                    • Have you been to either of Dallas’ airports? DFW or Love field?

                    • Never have. Frankly, I’ve not flown all that often. I like having my own car where ever I am, so driving is usually easier.

                    • I’ve been through both, Emily. DFW’s OK but be prepared to trot long distances, it tends to sprawl, and customs can be slow (not as bad as some other places but not rapid). And there’s lots of shopping and food. DAL (Love Field) is smaller, harder to get lost in, had a great gelato shop the last time I went through, and you don’t have to worry about changing airlines and losing your luggage. No Customs service for airline flights, though. 😉

                  • I’ve been flying out of DFW since 2006 and I’ve never had to go outside of security to move between terminals. You might have to hike a ways (or take the Skylink train between terminals, but you don’t have to go back thru security…

                    • The last time I flew the AA puddlejumper from Amarillo to DFW, we had to go through security again. Not sure what the deal was. This was, eh, ten years ago, though, when the turboprops docked at a shed and we got bussed to the main terminal.

              • Frankfurt headed to Portugal is iffy. IF I had the money I’d go London every time.

              • Not a Frankfurt fan myself. I think Amsterdam airport pleasant of the large Euro airports I have been through. (So far – Charles de Gaulle, Frankfurt, Munich, Prague, Gatwick, Heathrow, Brussels)

                • Trying to get a KLM connection direct through to Schiphol is nigh unto impossible from here (DFW, HOU, DEN), so I end up on Lufthansa, thus Frankfurt.

                • Now that Colorado has passed the new laws there should be no need for you to visit Amsterdam anymore.

                • I’m fond of Schiphol (or I was, been a while since I was there), actually felt like it was designed for humans. Lockers and lounging couches and museum displays. And I had a nice layover in Zurich, once. They actually have small rooms for rent, with beds… Heavenly when you’re in the midst of a journey that does it’s best to take 24 hours one way. (All the ways airport furniture can numb the human ass — boggling.) Oddly, I can’t remember anything about Prague’s airport, either way. Guess I liked Prague too much to care. My experience in London is colored by the shuffle necessary to fly in/out from the ME and the attendant security. Longest, slowest lines I’ve seen.

                  CDG tops my list of PITA airports, and I’ve flown in and out of Baghdad multiple times. I’ve done an emergency landing back into Baghdad after boom-smoke-and-fire-was-that-the-engine? (Crazy Russian ex-fighter jock pilots can handle the heavies.) I’ve done combat spirals into a military airport outside Balad (Mortaritaville), couple of times in an old, decrepit Turkish jet packed with Turks (you’ve seen those pictures of buses in random third-world countries, with all manner of WTF packed in? With the notable exception of nothing strapped on the outside, this was the flying version. Smoke filled Turkish back-room, steward walking across all the luggage piled in the aisle with a tray of chai. That plane later pancaked into Balad, killing some folks I knew.) I’ve been through O’Hare when the weather was looming. I’d rather revisit any of those than go back to CDG. It was just so irritating.

                  As a related aside, KLM and Emirates Air have been my two favorite airlines.

                  Reading through, some of that sounds like I was a pilot or something. Nope. Just one of the schmucks tied to a chair in the back.

                • masgramondou

                  Well I like Heathrow, but that’s mostly because of being close to god status on BA and not having to leave T5. The other terminals are pretty ratty

                • Schiphol Airport is one I regret not being to see for long. It was HUGE. I remember being there for a two hour layover from a Paris to the US flight and using up that whole time to find my departure gate. However, the sheer ease in which I was able to do so (Maps everywhere! Trolleys everywhere for use for free, and not inconveniently hidden!) made it far less annoying than it would have been otherwise. Though, I’ll admit, I haven’t been there since 1999.

                  I am not extraordinarily fond of Charles de Gaulle but it’s not inconvenient in my memories. Probably because I just got used to using the thing.

                  Manila International Airport isn’t too bad.

                  The airports which I despise the most, probably due to recent memory and how inconvenient they are for people traveling with children, are the Melbourne and Sydney Airports. It’s not easy to find trolleys for pushing, and Gods forbid you’re traveling with small children or babies. They’re the only airports I’ve ever been that have had you disembark and embark using the roll-up-to the doors stairs and the security checks were nothing short of hellish, with the singleton business travelers treating you like scum for daring to travel with kids and holding up the line, and there being practically no space to repack after having to show what you have in your diaper bags and carryon are indeed for the kids and not bombs.

                  Best airport I’d ever traveled through, and that’s with a child and elderly mother? Dubai.

      • At least Saint Petersburg and Moscow? (Hey, I have to ask 🙂 )

        • Make sure of a westerly wind when you hit Moscow, I would prefer no more fallout at my house than necessary.

          • Er, Moscow Russia.

            At least one of them? Preferably Moscow, Saint Petersburg is admittedly bit close (pretty please?).

            • Moscow, Idaho not on your list?

                • Eh, probably. A lot of the idiocy ends at the city limits, so precision munitions might be in order. Inside it is a strange mix. The best way I can explain it is to look at the U of I; how many schools do you know of where the majority of students are one of two majors; when those two majors are Liberal Arts and Forestry?

                  You want to see a real interesting crowd, come by when Ron Paul is campaigning on campus.

              • Anyone want to recommend a history of Idaho? Or Wyoming or Montana? I’ve suddenly been possessed by the desire to learn state history.

    • As another April eBay autorenewal guy, and one who has just become employed again after 3+ years out of work (Yay!), I have a request re San Francisco: If you are going to zap it, can you have the zapping miss the Presidio and Fort Point and leave the street formerly named “Army St.” intact for ironic purposes? I would love to see the only thing left standing be the stuff that all the correct-thinking denizens of “The City” want to eliminate or at least rename.

      Also, could you please keep the collateral damage/next splash centroid away from the southern direction where I live, but instead perhaps up towards Napa/Sonoma, possibly on the site of Sean Penn’s abode, again for the sake of irony?

      Thanks Sarah. I appreciate it.

      • I was wondering if there’s a way to have the disaster start in the basement of the building housing the hyphenated-studies department at UC-Berkely. Or the Ed Department at Columbia U. Considering all the other destructive things that have come out of those two places, having Godzilla and Mothra burst forth would be appropriate. Maybe a visiting professor from the Miskatonic University School of Oceanography, Innisport Campus opens up an old book and . . .

        • Godzilla is female and asexual, no need of a male to reproduce. And no need for any of that icky PVI. I was going to say she would fit right in the hyphenated studies, but she doesn’t have that willful evil thing going for her.

      • masgramondou

        Hmm where do you live? there are some chunks of the peninsular that could use some similar smug elimination methods, e.g. a startup getting rejected for funding on Sand Hill road and leaving a little bioengineered gray goo present would be fun.

        I like the idea of the bit of SF that survives be the presidio. Just be sure to burn out all the hipster enclaves and add special attention to the pelosi neighborhood

      • “I have a request re San Francisco: If you are going to zap it, can you have the zapping miss the Presidio and Fort Point and leave the street formerly named “Army St.” intact for ironic purposes?”

        Oooooooohhhh. Fort Point. OOOOOHHHHHHH!

      • (Grrrrr. WordPress and inability to correct …) CONTINUING: As a fairly recent graduate in the Bay Area for a week-long training session, I got out of class — The FundRaising School, conducted on Mills College campus — and did tourist-y things on a nonexistent budget. I’d heard of Golden Gate Park, and after some gyrations ended up there on foot. AND, across the way, at the edge of the sea and not quite in the shadow of The Bridge, was the brick mass of Fort Point.

        I *barely* got there in time to swing through at speed and marveling at the whole of the thing. And snagged a thing or two from the gift shop… stretching the budget insanely, but the map/sketch plan was a PERFECT gift to one of my old wargaming buddies.

        Have always wanted to go back, just haven’t had valuta or time (and that was in 1982).

  12. Christopher M. Chupik

    I know you don’t intend to destroy Canada, but could you do something about Toronto? They can be a bit full of themselves sometimes. 😉

  13. Sarah, I know it may be a bit late now, but… Teach the spawn how to iron their own fersheluggina shirts. Please?

    It’s a skill I only half-learned, and seldom use, but it is a darn useful skill to have available when one is on the road on business and ya just CAN NOT wait on / trust the local cleaners to follow your preferences.

    (That said, I thoroughly loath and detest neckties other than clip-ons — but still like button-down collars. Silly rabbit, I know. BUT I also deliberately invest in wrinkle-free / no-iron-required clothing, where the shirts have pockets… I like pockets. AND “Hawaian floweredy shirts”. And, recently, pretty much live in T-shirt and shorts. Would be less than that, but the house rules do not extend to clothing-optional at this time…)

  14. Iron? What is this thing called ‘iron’?

  15. But I was trained by my mother, okay? These men are yours, they belong to you, and how they present to the world reflects on you.

    I don’t think it’s stupid. I fuss about proper presentability because while they’re under my roof, I’m taking care of them. If the little boy comes home looking like he’s jumped in every mud puddle and happily stomped through every sand pit wet from his school to home, that’s fine (and I can hose him down outside, which he finds fun anyway) – but by George he’s getting sent out with collar buttoned and turned down.

    I reckon it’s coz we don’t have pelts (…well, the children shouldn’t, and the hair on top of the head counts some…) that proper grooming and appearance are some of the indicators to us Humans as being healthy and cared for.

    (This brought to you by early morning ANZAC breakfast food coma…zzz)

  16. Pingback: What goes on in there? | What About the Boy

  17. I’ll see you at RavenCon tomorrow. Or if not Friday, then definitely at the Baen Roadshow on Saturday.

    Safe travels.