The Freedom to Dream

So the endless recovery – tm — comes with a load of depression. I’ve been assured this is normal (oh, no. Tell me it’s abnormal. At least I’ll feel like I’m unique.)

Part of the way depression manifests in me as thinking everything I do is bad, and everything and everyone around me is tarnished by my incompetence, and…

Yes, I do know what part is real and what part is Memorex, because being me requires me to spend an enormous amount of time watching myself and making sure I’m not telling myself stories. Because it’s so easy to do.

I have been thinking of that – for obvious reasons – because of the whole “drinking your own ink” effect of our elites, and also because I’m thinking of stories in relation to culture and how to change culture with stories, and how that is in fact the only way to change it in the long run.

Not that the culture is ever exactly like the stories. I mean, look, if you don’t believe me go read a bio of Leonardo Da Vinci from the Renaissance, one from the Victorian age and one from our own time. You’ll see the gloss that was “approved” at the time. (It is common to blame Victorians for doing this, but every culture does it. Ours delights in picking on scabs and trying to bring geniuses down to our pedestrian level.)

Part of what’s fueling the depression is that I really want to write, but even doing these posts makes me nauseated. I think that is partly the effort of thinking through painkillers and partly the fact that I bet my astigmatism has changed completely yet again (the sort of seasick nausea is typical of when my astigmatism is out of whack.) This is to be expected since it changes with every hormonal shift and has been in continuous change the last two years – so bad I can only drive for a month or two after new glasses – and there’s nothing to be done there, because I am not going to get new glasses until April 30th to make sure I’m past all of it, because I can’t afford to. So. So I’ll have to bite the bullet.

Anyway, so instead of writing, because I can’t force myself to sleep all the time, I’m watching a lot of documentaries while sitting on a recliner. If you want the full horror of this you should shashay over to mad genius club, where I describe some of the gems.

But the documentary I watched tonight is about the terracotta army, which was apparently built by the first emperor, a tyrannical warlord that conquered China by the force of arms.

Note that one of the things he did first (and a lot of his successors did) was burn books and forbid grannies to tell stories. This means he knew the importance of stories, and when he was making a country out of many warrying states, he wanted to make sure the only tales were the ones he allowed.

The other thing was the terracotta army. I don’t know how widespread belief in an after life was in China at that time, but it clearly existed, and he believed in it enough to conscript hundreds of thousands to build him an army to protect him after death.

None of us has been there. We might have experienced supernatural (I have) but these things are possible of other explanations. So what he believed in, heart and soul (and fortune) was a story. A story that (probably) turned out to be wrong (unless there are realms where those terracotta warriors mean something.)

The Egyptian elite did something similar.

I don’t want you to consider it (just) from the point of view of drinking your own ink, though both of these were insular cultures that considered themselves superior to every other. But I don’t want to mock even their religious beliefs, simply because that is a realm where none of us can say we know how others are dealt with or in what way things are arranged. Yes, I know what I believe, but I have friends who believe vastly differently, and Himself up there, if He’s there, is a multidimensional time-ignoring creature and who wants to second guess Him? Or who can even approximate His thoughts?

No. What I want you to think about are these powerful rulers, facing the ultimate oblivion. And all that stands between them and the eternal is ultimately a thin veneer of story.

Enough story to conscript massive resources he could have better employed.

Faith? I wouldn’t call it that.

He didn’t go willingly, precisely. He wanted to live forever, which seems to be a peculiar Chinese madness.

But he needed that story to take him into the darkness.

And he knew the power of stories because he burned the stories that opposed them.

For decades now, our gatekeepers have been involved in an attempt to forge a people without past (or future) by metaphorically destroying or making inaccessible all the stories that don’t support the narrative they want us to believe. News, History, Stories, even religion, they’ve tried to deprive us of all of them (one of these is the however many ways to die in the west, which is trying to destroy our idea of the old west as a land of heroes.)

And now we have the internet.

I don’t know how long the freedom will last (I would bet it will be restored, if it fails) but I know they’re trying to clamp down on it already.

I also know the more widespread the use of these free means of communication, in story and news, in history and eventually perhaps in movie, too, the harder for them to snuff it out fully.

So run like the wind my friends, and sow story to the winds in all your voices.

To change a culture in a short time (and they’re betting on a short time) they need that single focus. They need to “burn” everything they disagree with, by either making inaccessible or discrediting it.

Read the forbidden. It puts hair on your chest and gives the SJWs the vapors (not that this is difficult.)

Stay free.


394 thoughts on “The Freedom to Dream

  1. Human Wave! Human Wave! Let’s hear it for Human Wave! Yes!

    Meanwhile be encouraged Sarah, as you have encouraged so many of us. Remember, in spite of what the SJWs might tell you, feelings can lie. 😉

    1. As I’ve helped talk friends and family through a depressive episode, one of the things I remind them is that while the emotions are real, they are not “Honest emotions”..

      1. There are always reasons to be depressed but “being depressed” isn’t good for you.

        Speaking from experience.

  2. My therapist eschewed the use of the word ‘normal’. When dealing with people, the word is undefined.
    My Dermatologist advised me that he ‘Practiced the Art of Medicine’, and that he would continue to practice on me until he got it right.
    Freedom to Dream: It is not on the UN’s list of universal human rights. Indeed, it is one of the primary SJW’s targets. On the bright side, dreaming is free, and even the Obama administration will be hard pressed to place a regulatory burden on it.

  3. I’ve never been that bothered by the LIRPs minor obsession with undermining the Old West myth, possibly because I know too much history. The Old West is a creation of dime novels and Hollywood. The actual historical period is a good deal more interesting. Film Westerns are as realistic a Kabuki plays. And like Kabuki plays, if you wrench the framework too far out of shape, the result is a mess. Since the LIRPs have tin ears for mythologizing, most of their revisionist Westerns simply lie there like so many dead haddock. It takes a genius like Sergio Leone to make something like the Spaghetti Western work. Other attempts to “transform” the Western have been eminently forgettable.

    Hollywood pronounced the “Western” dead for stretch between the release of ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST and SILVERADO. That’s because they kept trying to make “Modern” westerns, and the public stayed away in droves. Then Silverado came along, and was moderately successful. Hollywood promptly went back to making “modern Western” stinker, thinking the Public wanted Westerns and wouldn’t notice the difference. So the Western was pronounced “dead” again. And so on. Somebody makes a classic style Western, like TOMBSTONE and it’s a success. Hollywood tries to catch the coattails with preachy LIRP trash, and the public flee, holding their noses.

    1. I believe you are either insulting dead haddock, or paying unwarranted compliments to the modern revisionist western. Haddock, at least, has nutritional value.

    2. I really like Silverado, not as a western per se, but as a fun movie that takes the tropes, bounces them off the Grand Tetons, and grins. IMHO, if you feel the need to put angst into your movie, you really shouldn’t be doing westerns.

      And the soundtrack is one of my favorites for road trips.

      1. That may be a very good dividing line…

        I can’t remember the name of the movie, I think it’s black and white, the sheriff is getting married and a gang leader is out of jail and will be there that afternoon. They repeat the same classic western song over and over, and I can’t remember a line…. Always takes a week to get it out of my head when I see it.

        Everyone tells him to leave, his wife packs up to go to the train without him, has that classic Spanish/Mexican beauty lady as her “competition” (really, the foil… awesome performance), there’s a huge shoot-out….

        If it was actually black and white, it got colorized later.

        Anyways. The entire thing is SOAKED in dread and anger, as one after another the sheriff is abandoned by those he expects to help and hold up their end of the bargain…but it sure as heck isn’t angst-ish.

        1. It’s High Noon with Gary Cooper, one of my favorite films. The song is “Do Not Forsake Me, Oh My Darlin” which was written for the film and sung by Tex Ritter. (It was black and white)

          1. Yes, that was a good one.
            I had a chance to watch it in my college class “History of the American West.”
            Part of our assignments was to watch westerns filmed in different eras and analyze how the portrayal of the old west was reflective of the time in which it was filmed.
            Oddly, we watched the Virginian three times, but filmed 20-30 years apart.

          2. And was colorized later. 🙂

            It has been years since I seen that, but from what I remember it isn’t very historically accurate, but that doesn’t stand in the way of it being a good movie.

            1. It blows the idea of “western fight scenes were all walking down the middle of the road and then back-and-forths of shooting” all to heck– they run all over the place, use improvised weapons, their actions have side-effects…..

              Also blows up the “females are all cardboard fainting maidens” thing all to heck. Both of his chickas head out of town, for starters…..

              (Yes, I’m being vague to avoid spoilers. I didn’t even mention who is having the gun fight.)

              1. I suspect that you certainly won’t find Skin Game (1971) starring James Garner and Louis Gossett, Jr.:

                1. Excellent movie. Surprisingly still pops up on the TV now and again. Turner Classics, maybe? Not sure which channel, but I just watched it last year.

        1. Saw that when it was first released. Joan Hackett cooks dinner and walks out with the main dish, terribly pleased with herself, and doesn’t notice she has set her bustle on fire. One of the best-acted comedy skits I’ve ever seen. That lady died way too young.

    3. There is still a HUGE audience for traditional-type or even historically accurate Westerns, as I can testify. There is a reason for readers adoring old Louis Lamour or Zane Grey books. (And fortunate that both gentlemen wrote so many of them. And I am doing my very darndest to keep the genre going …

    4. The Western died when it stopped being entertaining and started becoming a politically-correct screed about how nasty-bad America was.

      How . . . familiar.

      1. Like the Broadway Musical of legend, reports of its death are somewhat exxagerated. It revives anytime anyone with any talent treats the basic formula with something approaching respect.

        This seems to me to be true of just about ever genera of film. Hollywood tries to wrap yat another Social Conciousness™ Screed in the corpse of a well loved classic, and is shocked – SHOCKED! – when it falls flat on its face. Then somebidy comes along who just flat out loves the original, makes a reasonably respectful hommage, and if it doesn’t make money in the theatre it becomes a classic on hoke video.

        1. Or you get The Lone Ranger, which had all that, plus an Avatar-sized budget.

          One of my favorite Westerns is 1953’s The Naked Spur, starring Jimmy Stewart. There’s only 5 or 6 actors in the whole movie, shot entirely on location for about 1 million dollars.

          1. One of my favorite film watching exercises? Watch RIO BRAVO and ELDORADO back to back. Same director. Same star. Basically the same story. Two clearly different, and very good films. Or watch YOJIMBO, FISTFUL OF DOLLARS, and LAST MAN STANDING and try to understand why the first transformation works, and the second doesn’t.

              1. a LOT of them were filmed in a little area about 20 minutes from where I grew up, because it looks like an old west landscape. Italian companies, mostly. Dad used to go and watch them film.

              2. I am a big fan of Sergio Leone films — those he directed and those based on his story ideas. As to other of the genre, very few stand up all that well.

              3. Leone’s are great. A subversion of the classic Western, but great. Others, not so much. Fun, some of them, but tending to the very weird.

                One of the BEST, BTW, is the send-up of Leone’s stuff that Leone stood as Producer for; MY NAME IS NOBODY.

              1. I have heard as much. Akira Kurosawa was a big fan of John Ford movies. Look at his use of light and it shows.

              2. Red Harvest, supposedly, though Kurosawa stated The Glass Key more directly. Both were inspirations for Miller’s Crossing as well.

        2. Like the Broadway Musical of legend, reports of its death are somewhat exxagerated. It revives anytime anyone with any talent treats the basic formula with something approaching respect.

          Quoth the husband:
          “Nobody makes musicals? What the bleep do you call Disney’s movies?”

              1. Going off of the Disney section in the movie rental place when I was a teen, Disney’s big secret is the Buckshot Theory– make a gazillion movies, and you’re bound to have some really good ones in there.

                1. When I ‘taught’ film a few home educated kids I insisted that they read To Kill A Mockingbird before we watched the movie. One young lady, after reading the book, told me that there was absolutely no way that the book could be adapted.

                  Then we watched it.

                  1. Well, it wasn’t adapted. They shoot a courtroom drama of the same title as the original bildungsroman, which is why so many people think the book is about racism when it’s about Scout learning how to behave toward people.

                    1. The book is also about Jim learning to respect Atticus as his father. It also touches upon both classism and racism, as in the coarse of it Scout is learning how she is expected to behave toward all kinds of people she might encounter.

                      The movie quietly touches on this as well, consider the final sequence and how she deals with Mr. Arthur.

      2. And, naturally, the critics decide they hate anything that doesn’t fit that. (Which is why I don’t listen to movie critics 99% of the time…)

        I thought American Outlaws was fun. Sure, it fell into a few tired tropes (ie, the railroad mogul is of course ALL TEH EVIL), but it had fantastic action scenes and Timothy Dalton was absolutely, scene-stealingly awesome as Allan Pinkerton (doing the punch-clock villain routine here)

        1. Oh, and most of the TNT Tom Selleck Westerns are a lot of fun. Largely because, y’know, they’re based on Louis L’Amour novels. I especially enjoy Crossfire Trail. People are liable to forget that Mark Harmon was anything other than Gibbs, so it should not be forgotten that he was a wonderfully scenery-chewing, over the top villain in Crossfire Trail. 😀

            1. Have you seen the episode of Emergency that’s a pilot for Harmon as an animal control officer? It’s weird to see him so young.

            1. I haven’t seen “Catlow” I will have to see if I can find that one. I still think the best rendition of a Louis L’amour as a movie was “Hondo” with John Wayne. Of course that was probably because I believe L’amour was the scriptwriter on that movie and it followed the book practically word for word.

              1. Little bit different: Hondo is based on a short story by L’Amour, “The Gift of Cochise.” Screenplay was done by a screenwriter, but L’Amour wanted the rights to the novelization and got ’em.

                So — Hondo is a movie based on a short story and a novel based on a movie based on a short story.

                I only know this because I was re-reading some L’Amours last year and it was in the foreword.

                1. That is why I put the caveat “I believe” in there, I remember hearing/reading the reasoning behind why they were so similar, probably from that same foreword, but it was a long time ago and I knew my memory was a little foggy.

                  1. You were in the neighborhood, just a couple houses down.

                    What’s impressive about the movie, for me, is they kept the lean L’Amour writing in the screenplay. Movie to book and back again is not a jarring experience, it all feels very L’Amour.

                    I haven’t read the original short story. Want to.

          1. Sam Elliot, also. He and his wife obtained the rights to a number of L’Amour’s books, after he had played Tell in The Sacketts for TNT. They did some lovely adaptions.

            1. Personally, it’s one of the cinematic tragedies of the age nobody has ever gotten Ron Perlman or Clancy Brown on a horse.

                1. OK. It’s on my NetFlix list, but I haven’t watched any of the “Heroes” series yet.

                  Thanks for a good reason…

  4. On one hand, the terracotta army was his substitute for the traditional mass slaughter at the grave.

    On the other hand, the First Emperor also held that war should be endless because you needed to waste all the surplus waging war, otherwise your subjects will use the freedom to indulge in such nonsense as peasants eating well and officials concerning themselves with propriety.

    1. You know, reading about China is like reading about an alien world, sometime. And I’m not sure substitute is the right word. There are also corpses, including some of his family, and there’s a mass grave for the conscripts. But yeah.

      1. I have always found it informative to keep firmly in mind that Mao wasn’t anything new. China has been grossly misgoverened by a succession of grandiose and perverse madmen for all of recoded history.

          1. The first emperor was also playing with potions for eternal life with mercury as a main ingredient. Never ends well.

            I like the documentaries on Chinese opera. One is on why every village had a stage in their clan ancestor hall courtyard, and the Yellow River one is all about the different styles of opera all along the river, including rural areas. Apparently they have made a comeback now that the state is not pushing the commie version of Beijing opera down everyone’s throat. It is fascinating to see stuff like firebreathing stunts and quick changes domesticated into high art, as part of a drama.

            1. Mercury? Where was the EPA when we needed them? Playing with mercury will leave you as mad as a Hatter. If you don’t believe that, just look at the EPA’s guidelines for cleaning a CFL spill.

              1. Well, there’s a big difference between “exposure to mercury,” “drinking it every day and twice on Sunday,” and “allegedly having a big river full of it in your tomb.”

                  1. Yeah, but I’m pretty sure that mercury-based elixirs of immortality will make you need a tomb rather quickly. Although if your elixir also includes other chemicals, you might manage to embalm yourself at the same time, which is a price savings.

          2. China seems to be a narrow culture – has few traditional memes for dealing with problems. Leads to (if your only tools is a) hammer -> (every problem looks like a) nail. The Cult Rev replays old ideas, because for those in power those ideas (being the only ones much used in their history) are the ones that work; and people in power like most of what they DO to be low-risk.
            A broader culture, i.e. one that has ASSIMILATED memes from many others, has more ways to solve problems, a better chance of finding an optimal approach. Requires tolerance, which seems to be a hard cultural trait to develop and maintain. [This definition of a broad culture is the opposite of multi-culti, which is all about not assimilating.]

            1. I would say that the people of China as a whole have a lot of creativity in dealing with problems, but that traditionally you have to keep solutions on the down-low, or else somebody (the government, your family, other people in your business) try to make you sorry.

              Of course, when you’re dead, you can be designated a legendary hero or even a god for your solutions; but that doesn’t do _you_ much good. And a lot of times, it’s explicit that gods and legendary heroes are worshipped or honored in order to keep them from coming back and doing more disruptive stuff, bad or good.

              1. “I would say that the people of China as a whole have a lot of creativity in dealing with problems”

                Problems like insane Emperors, deranged and corrupt officials, and invading Mongols. When your government is a soap opera on acid, you develop coping skills.

                In fact, I think that this is a large part of why so much of the world is mired in poverty. Their governments – indeed their CONCEPT of government – never developed beyond the level of damn nuisance and general threat to lit and limb. They spend so much energy defending themselves against the State that they can barely create enough wealth to get along.

                1. “Their governments – indeed their CONCEPT of government – never developed beyond the level of damn nuisance and general threat to lit and limb”

                  While accurate, I’m not sure that most people’s first thought when government is mentioned is, “oh dang, I better hide all my literature before they try and take it away.”

            2. Requires tolerance, which seems to be a hard cultural trait to develop and maintain.

              Makes sense– it’s the Fire trait. Too much, it’ll destroy everything; too little, it’ll go out.
              So you have to tolerate only that which will cause no more than an acceptable level of damage…and make sure that it doesn’t change the acceptable level of damage so much that everything gets destroyed.

        1. Mao bragged of being the First Emperor on a grander scale.

          Try putting the First Emperor into your fantasy novel as the Evil Overlord and watch the screams of “unrealistic!” ensue.

                1. I saw on Moe Lane that he had plans for either seven more or a total of seven. If he is still alive, maybe indy is an option. If he isn’t, well, it is one more thing to hate big publishing for,

                  1. Barry Hughart can has all my money, pretty much any time, but I think the whole experience put him off writing for good. I’m just sorry I didn’t get off my butt and buy the Foglio-illustrated edition in hardback.

                  2. Sadly Barry Hughart committed suicide. It was a crying shame because he was such a fantastic author.

                    1. Arrghh. I go and double check myself and see that I was told bad information back in the 90’s. Oh well.

                    2. No, no, thank you for doublechecking now; and don’t feel bad! We have a high loss rate, unfortunately! Glad we didn’t lose another!

                      I saw a 2008 quote from him that says he’s also afraid of maybe repeating himself, and that he doesn’t feel he has anything new to say. But I wish he’d test that out on us, instead of assuming!

            1. Given how computers respond to my presence (i.e. with electronic cackles, program freezes, irreproducible glitches, and system crashes), I think I’ve got that skill set well in hand. 😉

              1. Given how much static electricity I produce, I’m surprised I get along with tech as well as I do.

          1. Now? You have to try to uncode them. People will really try to weasel out of Communists being the two biggest mass murderers in history to make the third biggest the worst.

            1. And, of course, you can’t point out that they were atheist either. I had someone tell me flat out that Stalin wasn’t and atheist.

            2. Point out that #3 was also a man of the Left in good standing – right up until he became inconvenient (I sense a common thread…) – and watch the apoplexy commerce.

              Because nothing screams right wing like National Socialist German Worker’s Party.

        2. And nowadays the lone traveler who stumbles on Peach Blossom Valley gets asks who sits on the Dragon Throne

      1. Feet of Clay. Notably enhanced throughout the Moist von Lipwig stories – Going Postal, Making Money, and Raising Steam.

    2. Is that the Emperor who executed a guy for handing him his coat… because the guy in question wasn’t the official “Hand the Emperor His Coat” person?

      I’ve heard that his system was set up to implement Confuscionism. If it was an accurate attempt, then it would probably explain an awful lot about what’s wrong with China.

      1. Nah, Confucius’s writings were to be burnt with the rest. A copy survived hidden in the wall. (Mind you, he kept two copies for the imperial library, but that was burned in the fighting at the end of dynasty.)

      2. The First Emperor dude executed and burned Confucian scholars and their books. He followed the philosophy called Legalism, or at least his own unique version of it. The entries on Wikipedia are routinely euphemized by Maoists and “patriotic” Red Chinese, but the bare-facts version is quite bad. As in the idea that punishment is pretty much the foundation of life. Or that if a tree is growing twisted, the thing to do is to use hot irons to burn off limbs and make it straighten out.

        To be fair, there were also more benign interpretations of Legalism before and after Huangdi; to them, it was simply the idea that nobody should be above the law; and that the Emperor was powerful by virtue of his office under the law, not in and of himself; and that good results should win reward and criminal behavior should be punished.. But… those folks didn’t seem to get into power much.

      3. Confucianism, Mohism, and Legalism were philosophies of the post Zhou dynasty ‘chaos’.

        During this time, Confucians were often employed as funerary experts, in line with Confucius’ social conservative teachings. Some of them got into politics.

        King Zheng, who later called himself the Qin Shi Huangdi, hired a Legalist to help him organize his kingdom. Then he conquered a bunch of places, and how he handled that may well be as the others describe. His big Legalist adviser had him kill his only competent heir, which would have ended the regime even if the stuff about revolting from extremely severe tyranny is not true.

        The confounding issue is that the following Han dynasty, which employed Confucians, also did year zero stuff with history, and had incentive to paint him eviler than he was. It also lasted longer, and had enough time to make things stick.

        The big argument for the history of the Qin being revisionist is some archeological work involving the graves of magistrates. Apparently, the actual law enforced during the earl Early Han was pretty much the same as under the Qin.

        The Confucians were largely able to write the history, and they did have a rivalry with the Legalists. The scholars executed may have specifically been of Confucian flavor, and the Confucians do seem to have been responsible later for the zero-sum economic thinking that has stifled Chinese prosperity over many dynasties.

        1. Well, that and an allegedly merit-based examination system that resulted, over the years, in several people widely acknowledged as some of the world’s greatest poets and scholars not being able to pass even the lowest level of a literary exam.

          In other words, the exam checkers were often pretty corrupt.

          Of course, it can also be argued that a literary exam is hardly the best way to “gather the talents of the people to serve the Emperor.”

          Yeah, I watch those subtitled Chinese documentaries on great poets and famous Chinese people, and I pretty much end up wanting to murder somebody every time.

            1. Only the universities that feed into the government-finance-academia complex.

              In Real America there are so many universities that you can find someone willing to accept you as long as you have money – and thanks to Sallie Mae everyone has money. Once you have the degree (or some other token of competence, like military service) your success is largely determined by your talent, ambition, and – humans being humans – skill at brown-nosing.

              1. To quote that wise Ghostbuster sage: Dr Ray Stantz: Personally, I liked the university. They gave us money and facilities, we didn’t have to produce anything! You’ve never been out of college! You don’t know what it’s like out there! I’ve *worked* in the private sector. They expect *results*.

  5. Storytelling is one of humanity’s oldest skills, and may actually be the true “oldest profession”. Being able to tell a story has always been of benefit to the species. I’ve always figured that it stretched the imagination, which is why Ogg looked around and figured out that instead of gathering all this food, why not snag the seeds and make it grow where they wanted it? Instead of hunting, take these animals and put them in pens where they could be kept until the tribe was ready for them?

    It wasn’t the pundit that did this, but the storyteller. THAT is who exercised the imagination and changed the world forever.

            1. Oh, yeah, you say that now…

              Next thing you know, we’ll have pimps shooting each other up over whose authors get the rights to which street corners!

                1. Magnetic sensors locked on skillet. Relativistic attack carp incoming. T-minus five minutes.

                  1. System Warning: Relativistic Carp Strikes present an unacceptably high probability of Earth-shattering Kaboom. Are you sure you wish to proceed? [Y/N]

                    1. System Warning: Studies have linked Earth-shattering Kabooms to adverse affects in women, minorities, and small woodland creatures. Are you really sure? [Y/N]

  6. My friend that suffers depression says this is a very good explanation of many of its manifestations:
    When you are feeling like you may be incompetent and simply getting away with it – consider the nature of your fans and friends. Have we ever been shy to tell someone they are brown eyed because it is a level indicator of how full of crap they are?
    If you write the sequel to the Empress thingie we shall let you know.
    And about depression. I well know it is a physical thing. I get sudden bouts of depression that last about fifteen minutes. I’ll go weeks without one and then suddenly – with no seeming relationship to what I am doing or my state of mind – I’ll get it like flipping a switch. The good thing is I know if I just sit and wait it’ll go away in a little. How people function through that ALL THE TIME, I have no idea.
    Another thing I was told by a doctor treating a friend, is that about two thirds of the people in residential mental health treatment got to that stage because of other physical ailments that overwhelmed them. Pain that left them sleep deprived or catastrophic auto accidents that destroyed their life structure.
    The reason I mention that is that a full recovery and improved quality of life from long term illness may in time lessen the depression. Part of that will depend on your ability to believe feeling better is a new normal without suspecting it will vanish quickly.

    1. I get sudden bouts of depression that last about fifteen minutes. I’ll go weeks without one and then suddenly – with no seeming relationship to what I am doing or my state of mind – I’ll get it like flipping a switch. The good thing is I know if I just sit and wait it’ll go away in a little. How people function through that ALL THE TIME, I have no idea.

      As I understand it, chronic depression generally (not always) manifests itself differently. It eats away at your ambition, your energy level, and your emotional range, so that you, in effect, become a couch potato with no interest in anything.

      1. SAD is depression with somewhat unusual symptoms, overeating instead of not eating well and sleeping way too much instead of the more common not sleeping well. Since I have that: loss of energy and loss of the ability to concentrate are the worst parts, I think. I have learned to deal with mine to some extent (vitamin D and daylight lamp help a lot) but I still get that loss of interest and loss of energy during the dark months (one thing it leads to is a lot of “I’ll do that tomorrow” moments, and sometimes “tomorrow” can come only after a few months, at least if the thing isn’t something critical in the way paying your rent in time is. Usually I truly mean to do it tomorrow, only when I feel exactly the same on that tomorrow I end up pushing it one day further. Always just one day. If there are several things that need doing at the same time – as there usually is – I can maybe manage one on that tomorrow, the rest get pushed forward again.).

        Think of what it feels like when you haven’t slept quite enough, when you are not at that stage when there is a risk you might fall asleep any moment but you are still feeling noticeably tired the whole time. And yep, nothing quite holds your interest. You may mildly enjoy a movie, or maybe even a book, but nothing fires you up, it’s always just mild at best, and sometimes even that goes. You are going through the motions, and that is all there is. Just waiting for that time when you can get into bed again.

        And this goes on for months. I know that it will end when spring comes and that makes it easier to deal with, but somebody with clinical depression doesn’t even have that.

        1. What works for me is to accomplish one thing every day. Doesn’t have to be anything big or important. Just something that needs doing. It keeps me from spiraling down.

        2. If you’re not on medication that disallows it (or, well, if you’re not male, since I gather it can have some…unhappy effects on men that are also somewhat long lasting…) I’ve found that St. John’s Wort helps combat SAD as well. 🙂

        3. I’d think that if at all possible you would be better off to find some way to spend the winter further south where the days are not so short. It may cost money but give you months basically lost otherwise.

      2. Ah yes, a family history of chemical depression. The gift that keeps on giving.
        I have the atypical chemical depression symptom of paranoia. While the rest of my siblings got the usual range of depression indicators, I grew up with the “knowledge” that “someone” was out to get me.
        Trust me, it’s not normal for a grade-schooler to keep knives under his pillow at night. Or to take different routes home from school to keep from getting jumped. Or practice moving stealthily because I “Knew” someone was trying to sneak up on me.
        I’m better now (marginally). Mostly because I prepare for all eventualities, (reading sci-fi has been very helpful that way.) It helps me cope.

          1. Really? I’ve known many people that had paranoia as part of their depression, but not the main focus.
            It made for an interesting time growing up. (It had given me an ulcer by the time I was eleven.)

            1. Mine is more unlocalized paranoia. “Everyone hates me.” by the time I was forty I figured out a great check on that. “They can’t hate me. Most of them don’t know me.” BUT it seemed to be the main component of my maternal grandfather’s depression and of mom’s depressive phase. (She’s bipolar.)

              1. So, do you check for cars following you? I still do, though not as constantly as I used to. A also catalog all the entrances/exits, (whether official or not) all potential hand weapons and routes home from any place I work.
                Again, it helps me cope.

                1. Okay, here is where I have to explain that because of the turmoil in the country when I grew up, my parents TAUGHT me to check for cars following me/taught me to look from a window to see who was ringing the bell, etc.
                  I can’t sit with my back to a window (though that might be ptsd) and the year I lived in a house with only one entry/exit was h*ll.

                  1. Back to the window or door – I can sit like that, but I don’t like it, and I don’t have any kind of experiences which would have given me a reason to feel like that. Unless we assume reincarnation. Or ancestral memories. Or maybe some sort of national/family trauma, which might perhaps be the most likely explanation all things considered, my parents were both vets.

                    1. I mean they never taught me anything like that intentionally, but they, as well as many others of their generation, did occasionally show something which on hindsight may have been ptsd symptoms.

                  2. I think the window thing is a matter of a decent imagination. My entire family has that problem– usually I’m the one that ends up sitting with my back to the window, because I know they’d notice something coming before I did. 😀

                2. Prepare for zombie apocalypse, alien invasion, murderers, robbers, muggers, rapists and third world war? Or Russian invasion, in my case, which is perhaps somewhat more likely than WWIII.

                  I’m only about half serious about all of that, but I am half serious.

                  Probably not that bad a way to live, as long as you don’t stress too much about it. At least getting into trouble is less likely because I am suspicious pretty much all of the time. Don’t get drunk when out alone, or rarely even with friends, don’t go with strange men who offer to show their etchings or to drive you to this great party – okay, less likely now, but I did get a few when I was young – watch around when moving out alone past midnight – which I admittedly do, have to due to work – and so on. I never assume I’m safe, especially that I am completely safe doesn’t matter where and with whom I am, so I am most of the time planning for lots of different fecal matter + fan situations. Including those which most certainly will not happen, but hey, might help with something which might. 🙂

                  1. I have some of that in most of my life – but mostly when driving. Had to take a defensive driving course once (job requirement, not a ticket). Instructor asked how far you should be looking ahead, and when you use your rear-view mirror.

                    She was not at all happy with my answer – “As far as you can see, and about twenty times a minute.” Didn’t change how I drive in the slightest; I have no idea how many bad situations and traffic jams I have avoided over my life, but its a bunch.

                    (Wife used to annoy me with “The light is green, go!” Used to. Until the time the idiot came through the red at about 70 mph and T-boned the rabbit starter from the other direction. I had looked both ways, and kept my foot firmly on the brake…)

                    1. Wife used to annoy me with “The light is green, go!” Used to. Until the time the idiot came through the red at about 70 mph and T-boned the rabbit starter from the other direction. I had looked both ways, and kept my foot firmly on the brake…

                      *shudder* I don’t even do it consciously anymore– if there’s not a solid line of cars that are stopped, I’m monitoring the speed of the vehicles. (the guys who go full speed until they’re nearly on the white line drive me nuts, and scare me to death in the winter)

                      A slow, steady start isn’t bad for gas mileage, either.

                    2. I am confused. I’m pretty sure that answer was literally in my driver’s manual, or maybe the basic driver’s ed course material. (Well, I think it was phrased as checking your mirrors every three seconds, but it works out to the same thing.) What on earth did the instructor object to?

                    3. Eh, it’s possible to be distracted. In my family, the line is “green.”

                      Unless it’s the car ahead of you, in which case it’s “beep the horn as soon as the delay is long enough that you have to consider the possibility of heart attack or stroke.”

                    4. “I don’t even do it consciously anymore– if there’s not a solid line of cars that are stopped, I’m monitoring the speed of the vehicles. ”

                      Then there are the traffic safety experts who solemnly advise you to wait five seconds because you can just look at the intersection. . . no, what you do is LOOK BOTH WAYS.

                    5. A “frenemy” once called me the kind of person who looks both ways on a one-way street– and it’s true. I did that even before the first time I nearly got hit by someone trying to get through the wrong-way as quickly as possible.

                3. Er… I don’t know what kind of build and aura you’ve got, but that’s not always a bad idea. I’ve avoided a couple of bad situations because I noticed the car behind me was acting oddly, and my sister’s ex is known to sit in other folks’ cars to do surveillance on her. (Heaven knows why, not like there’s anything that he’d be able to get out of it when he’s got the boy and his bastard was born before the divorce was even finalized, but… crazy people aren’t less dangerous for being crazy.)

                  1. I’m 6′ 4″ and 285 lbs. I’m also as agreeable as they come, (the cliched teddy bear). I don’t reasonably have any justification for my paranoia.
                    But there it is.

                    1. Well… not a lot, perhaps. The gentleman that got jumped at the Seahawks playoff was taller than my husband, and it didn’t keep him from being subject to what they suspect was “polarbear hunting.” (Not that “Random jackassery” wouldn’t cover it just as well.)

                    2. This is true, but I generally avoid the kind of places where you can get randomly jumped.
                      Again, paranoia.
                      But, I don’t consider it a bad thing anymore; not since I have it reigned in. Now it helps me stay safe. I consider it a trial that has become a blessing.

                4. Some of us DID have people following. The second time I had the windows shot out of my truck on the highway my insurance company dropped me… There is a balance between paranoia and being an oblivious victim.

        1. At which point I remember the psychologist talking about treating people for paranoia. You have to monitor them carefully after you successfully treat it, because for a good number, the thought that no one really cares that much about what they do is — depressing. Clinically.

        2. “Trust me, it’s not normal for a grade-schooler to keep knives under his pillow at night.”

          If it isn’t, you knew a bunch of abnormal grade-schoolers.

            1. Really? that was the only age where I slept with one under my pillow. As I got older I decided a nightstand, headboard, or holster bolted to the bedpost was a superior place to store a weapon.

    2. I don’t know about our hostess, but the “they’d tell me if I was full of it” thing doesn’t work for my family because we know that people tend to be nice, and only tell folks they’re screwed up if we think it’s something that can be fixed.

      So family and friends not telling us that we’re screwed up means that it’s hopeless, and we’re dragging them down with us because they’re too nice.

      Like Timid1 said– the important bit to remember is it lies.

  7. Sarah-
    You are not incompetent, you are temporarily inconvenienced. Your family loves you, and you have a smallish legion of adoring fans right here, who return every day to continue this odd, long-range conversation with you. You are a good writer – we keep coming back for more, and waiting for new chances to throw money to you in exchange for your words.

    This too shall pass, for tomorrow really is a better day.

    1. Smallish? SMALLISH? I shall have you know that I am not smallish! I am larger than life! My quack of a doctor told me so! 🙂

      (I laughed at him and told him that if I lost 75 pounds like wants, I’d weigh less than I did when I graduated high school over 20 years ago – a time when I was running several miles a week and playing racquetball for upwards of 10 hours a week…Larry has a couple of inches on my, but we have nearly identical builds…does that make me Larry-sized or Larry Bruce-sized?)

      1. Yep. they want me lose weight to something I haven’t weighed since 8 and I can post college pictures to show I wasn’t even vaguely fat (muscular, yes.) My kids call those “the famine year pictures”

      2. Oh, and in another take — I LOVE my brute squad. yeah, the boys, but you guys too. Robert is 5 inches shorter than Larry (6’2″) but he also is Larry’s mini-me.

      3. I am literally big boned. According to more than one doctor, there is no way I can reach the recommended weight for height without being ill.

        1. Nurse: “You need to lose at least thirty pounds. At your height you should be no more than 110 pounds.”
          TXRed [removing shirt]: “But then I’ll lose these.” [does weightlifter arm and shoulder flex with back to nurse]
          Nurse: “No, the stories about women losing bust size are . . .” [looks up from paperwork] “Oh.” Pause. “Do you work out?”

          1. *cackle-snort!*

            I’ve got a friend I’m going to share that with. She was a power-lifter in high school (blew a knee up in a motorcycle accident, had to stop) then got back into it with cross-fit.

            She’s never going to fit somebody’s BMI table. Nor should she.

            1. When he won Mr. Olympia, Arnie probably had single digit body fat, but was classified as morbidly obese by BMI.

              BMI, how do I hate thee. Let me count the ways…

              1. Arnie didn’t even have single digits. Arnie chased down every last fat cell and squeezed it ’til it screamed, popped and died.

                It’s why he’s such a good Terminator.

                  1. You’re positing some lipid Reese? Sliding in just in time:

                    “Come with me if — roll with m— um. Squeeze through here if you want to live!”


                    1. “Isn’t brain mostly some sort of fat… ?”

                      Remember we are talking about Arnie, I’m not sure how much that would raise his body fat count.

          2. Muscles, boobs, intelligent, articulate, and enough meat on you to be cuddly. Even as old and decrepit as I am I can still appreciate a fine figure of a lady when I hear of one. You go girl.

          3. Almost everybody knows BMI is mostly wrong, but they (medicos & insurance types) keep using it. So sad.

          1. Oh, and I think the weight charts, at the time, said that a man with a “Large Frame” should weigh 170.

            Then again, one of my friends in college, same height as me, weighed 120lbs, and merely looked thin, not starved.

            1. I’m 6′ and the one time I got up to 170 I was packing a few extra pounds. But I don’t consider myself large framed, and up until a year or so ago I had to watch what I ate constantly in order to avoid Losing weight. (apparently my metabolism is finally slowing down, and I no longer have to consciously make sure I am eating enough calories to maintain my weight. In fact I found out a year ago that I could gain weight if I continued eating 8-10,000 calories a day and didn’t do the physical work/exercise I normally do).

              Now I spent yesterday around a friend who is a few inches shorter than me, and at 200 I would be very surprised if his body fat count could see double digits with binoculars.

              1. Meanwhile, I’m 6’2″ and have a *very* large frame, and if i got down to 180 or so i would look… odd.

                1. See, that’s the issue. I’m 5’5″ (I’ve lost a couple of inches, but never mind that) and they want my top weight to be 110. I have PICTURES of me at 128 to 130. It looks just right, except my face is too thin. I once got down to 115 after pneumonia, and I looked BAD. Now, granted, I’m at 210 (though you’d probably guess 185 or so. I’m one of those people who fool weight guessers) and I NEED to lose 80 lbs. I think we found part of the reason I couldn’t, and it MIGHT be fixed (considering weight has been dropping off me so fast the theme for the week is “My pants keep falling off my butt” to the tune of raindrops keep falling on my head) BUT 100? 110? NEVER. And if I managed it, people would KNOW I was severely ill.

                  1. I was told directly by a senior drill sergeant that I would never be able to make the BMI specs and still feel well because they were optimized for a runner’s physique.

      4. We could all go on the Michelle O’s lunch program and we would be below those ‘recommended’ weights in no time! Yesterday, I passed a drink machine with a calorie counter posted for what was inside, as if anyone needed to know.

        1. The calorie counter is another ACA mandate. Of course, since most places allow you to customize your order with things of non-trivial caloric value, the menus simply have a range, usually 30-40%, making them useless for actual meal planning.

          “My ignorance trumps your knowledge” isn’t the battle cry of democracy, it’s progressivism.

          1. I liked their stupid idea of instead of calories telling you how far you would have to run to burn it off. Problem is, some of us don’t remember what running is. It is kind of a smug progressive hate meme, since they assume everyone is healthy enough to ‘run’.

            1. Or that all healthy people naturally enjoy running. Ugh. I only run when chased, and then it depends on whether or not I could beat up the person chasing me…

              Funny how they never mention how bad running/jogging can be for you in terms of wrecking things like joints, breaking down bits most of us would prefer NOT to sag until there is no other choice, and so on…

                1. So many jokes flicker through my mind…

                  But I don’t need a flogging today and I’m all stocked up on fish.

              1. I run for planes, ships, and trains. And not always for planes. There’ll be a later flight. …and not always for trains, if I know there’s a later alternative. As for ships, I haven’t been on one in years.

                Okay, when I was younger, I’d run from muggers. Now I live in a low-crime area, and I carry more protection anyway.

                If I set up everything right, I shall never have a need to run. Which is good, because running is a young person’s activity.

      5. The obesity epidemic prats are really annoying me. I’m overweight, I don’t deny it. I’m willing to make some small changes to combat it. I’m not willing to spend the majority of my time exercising and eat sawdust.

        The longr it goes on, the more persuaded I am that a lot of it is that the Baby Boomers (drat them, amd I am one) have fought all their damn lives to be thin, and now the fashionable body image is shifting, and they might be un-hip. Horrors!

          1. There’s a magazine I see in checkout lines called SHAPE. It’s extraordinary; in all the years I’ve been seeing it it hase never had a cover that didn’t feature a girl that had one. Each and every cover model has has minimal bust and no hips. You could take a piece of pipe 2″ wider than their waists and drop them right through without touching the sides.

              1. I’m not saying that skinny girls are icky. I’m just saying that the skinny body mage isn’t healthy, and I’d like to see a magazine that proports to promote health recognize that.

              2. I get a cold grue just looking at pics of top models strutting their stuff. I wish the big designers would just create a wire coat-hanger bent into a vaguely human shape, hang their designs on it, call it a day and quit tormenting the rest of us, male and female and whatever.

                1. Bing had that as a feature of the day a week or so ago– thankfully, the clothes were so ugly that it didn’t matter what the models looked like.

                2. You have Grues? Make sure to keep the lights on!
                  I never knew they were cold blooded. It makes sense, I guess. We know they hunt by smell and heat.

                3. Well, *I* wish designers would quit making designs that are only intended to be considered by themselves (with the model a walking mannequin, not really a model), and not by how they complement the person wearing them.

              3. Oh yes. I’ve stopped wearing US style women’s suits and such because there’s no room for me in there. And that’s not counting the closer cut of the fabric, so there’s 0 seam allowance anymore. I should not be able to wear a size 6 jacket from 1994 and a size 12 jacket from 2010 on the same day. Both wool blazers from the same company. Here’s to Ebay and “vintage”.

            1. I am used to it in cover models. What still gets me slightly is pants sold as “curvy fit” modeled by women who appear to have a waist:hip ratio of 1.

              1. That’s weird. A figure that has a minimal bust and hips seems male to me. Or possibly childlike. Who the heck is their audience?

        1. I checked the BMI table last night actually. Wow. I’m apparently “obese”, according to them. According to them, I should weigh 180 lbs or less. I don’t see how that is physically possible.

          Yes, I am trying to lose a little weight, but if you scooped every bit of fat out of me with a dental pick, it couldn’t possibly amount to more than 15 lbs or so.

          What is it about weight? It seems like some sort of weird cultural sadism to me, what they are trying to do to people. What the high school sociopaths are doing to torment their peers now that assault and battery carries legal penalties.

          1. Weight is easy and fast to measure. Just the thing when you’re processing millions of young men into the draft. “Stand up straight. Step on this.” Compare to chart and either 4F or welcome to the Army.

          2. I’ve been “morbidly obese” for years, by the BMI; between solid bones actually having decent leg-muscles (walking and lifting, not running) the system simply doesn’t work for me.
            My husband, on the other hand, shrunk an inch on paper before bootcamp so that he didn’t need a weight waiver– all bones and muscle, but I guess his bones aren’t as heavy.

            1. I’ve heard that BMI wasn’t meant to be applied to individuals. It was created as a statistical tool to be applied to populations.

              1. From what I’ve heard it was intended as a quick check starting point. Not a be all end all. Or more accurately the raw height/weight comparisons were. Actual BMI calculations can be done in a variety of ways and often involve calipers.

                I always thought the army’s tape test was vile until they came out with a new ‘better’ one that was even LESS accurate.

                1. Depends on how far you want to go back with it; the initial one was an attempt by a… Dutch guy, I think… to do a height-and-weight calculation just to have an idea.

                  It got picked up because it’s a quick and easy way to screen who might be at risk.

                  It got changed to make it even faster to calculate, and the guidelines flattened out.

                  And then some idiot decided it would be great to use “worth checking out, will catch most people who have a medical condition” as if it was “actually has the medical condition.”

                  For comparison, the glucose test for pregnant women is set at a level that will catch 95% of all gestational diabetes cases. Of those who fail the screening test, only 15% have even a single result of the actual test that’s outside of standards. Half of those pass the re-test.

          3. ” According to them, I should weigh 180 lbs or less. I don’t see how that is physically possible.”

            Sure it is, you just need to lose all your muscle, didn’t anyone ever tell you that muscles weighs more than fat?

            Seriously, BMI might not be a bad measurement for the desired weight for a vegan dietician who sits behind a computer all day and makes up reasons that a vegan lifestyle is healthy; but for somebody who actually works for a living (or does anything physical) it seems to be entirely ill fitted. Even I, which as I pointed out above, am very much on the lean/slight framed end of the spectrum, tend to weigh in towards the “large frame” end.

            You no the really idiotic thing about it? The Progressives have got a hold of it, and they now use the exact same calculator for men and women… because you know, gender is an artificial construct.

    2. Yes! Come Friday, I’m adding to your next royalty statement.

      I only give money (voluntarily) to those that I love…

  8. “…if He’s there, is a multidimensional time-ignoring creature and who wants to second guess Him? Or who can even approximate His thoughts?”

    (Quietly raises hand…) I used to. But then I turned 20 and forgot everything I knew as a teenager, literally overnight. It was so depressing…

    1. It’s like the t-shirt I saw years ago. It said, “Why couldn’t all of life’s problems hit me when I was 16 and knew everything?”

      I really, really wanted to get that shirt.

      1. There is not enough money to pay me enough to repeat my teen years a second time. Living through the extreme hormone shifts sucked and living caroled with other people who are going through extreme hormone shifts sucks.

        1. When I hear od read some prat saying that High School is “the best years” of his life, or life in general, I have to think “Holy Buddah’s Left Nut, but you life must suck mucky moose feet.”

          1. “The nice thing about being a teenager is that someone else picks up the tab. The bad thing is that someone else decides what and how much you’re allowed to drink.”

            Whenever I get tired of the juggling, I remember that little quote from Mom. (Anyone know, though, if that’s an original? I’ve never found it quite that way anywhere else.)

            1. Speak for yourself, I always had to pay for my own drinks as teen. Why do you my two favorite brands of beer back then were cheap and free?

              1. Um… I couldn’t enter a bar without several men rushing to pay for all my drinks. Last time I went to a bar without Dan — at 40 — it still worked. I doubt it would now, but… well, it was nice while it lasted.

            1. Not even his wedding or birth of his kids? Not anything since high school? I wonder how he keeps going if he feels that his whole life is one downhill slide.

              1. That would involve another human being. He wasn’t really big on anything that wasn’t about him being important.

                That’s the one that tried the “it’s not my job to teach you, it’s your job to learn” thing when we complained about him basically being a read-aloud text book that refused to answer any questions. Really didn’t care for the question of why he was being paid.

                1. I can just imagine hoe long that silly SOB would have lasted in any school I attended. Through my primary education, several “teachers” tried to pull the “well, I’M the Education Professional™ on my Father the full Professor. Not one of them lasted a full minute under the blast of his scorn.

                  OTOH, the real teachers I encountered had a dedicated ally in my Father. I couldn’t get away with any cr*p with a teacher who was actually prepared to do his or her freaking job.

                  I really didn’t deserve my luck.

  9. When our species first developed complex language, it then became possible (and advantageous) to pass wisdom onto succeeding generations. Stories are an effective instrument for this. They encapsulate hard-earned wisdom into a form that can stick in a person’s memory and persist over time. Poetry has a similar function.

    The modern tool of using stories (and other forms of cerebral stimulation) to imbed or alter mental habits is called memetics. And it’s well to note that all living things are creatures of habit.

  10. A significant factor in our favor, and one of the many reasons that we shall win in the end, is that nearly all of the components of the leftie narrative have the same relationship with reality as did the underwear gnome’s economic model. For anyone unfamiliar with the story (from Southpark of course) it’s a three step process. Step 1: steal people’s underwear. Step 2: ? Step 3: profit.
    The lib/prog version goes something like this. Step 1: seize absolute control. Step 2: massive failure, death, destruction. Step 3: heaven on earth. Oh, and Step 4: rinse, repeat. Eventually we will spend enough and care enough to get it right.

    1. Pssst. (whispering) The underpants gnomes have been branching out. Whole pairs of black socks have been disappearing lately, too!

      1. It’s the one footed aliens who have taken over the manufacture of dryers who are responsible for disappearing socks……

  11. I ran like the wind once. It wasn’t appreciated. Evidently, I was informed, the wind wears pants even though you can’t see them.

  12. Cheerful anime without many sad bits… ooh, Agatha Christie Poirot to Marple is on You Tube at present! You might want to skip around, because they do ABC Murders pretty early.

    Detective Academy Q is fun stuff, and so is Detective Conan aka Case Closed. The dub version won’t make you tire your eyes, even though the localization is silly.

    Shingu, Aria the Animation with gondolier girls on terraformed Mars… Angelic Layer has drama but is cheerful overall…

      1. Ooh, yes, rural Japanese monsters and ghosts, and a cat who’s not, and the things your family leaves you to deal with, and the relationship you have with people in your family who aren’t alive anymore for you to yell at them. 🙂 Albeit I don’t know about marathoning, because twenty minutes of Natsume makes me think really hard afterwards. Or sniffle and smile.

    1. Also, I love the name:
      Agasa Kurisutī no Meitantei Powaro to Māpuru
      Agatha Christie’s Great Detectives Poirot and Marple

  13. I’m a bit of the opinion that this particular culture battle is the most important one we’ve got going.

    In part because there’s a freedom in the moment unavailable in the past which may not hold in the future. In part because there’s an audience, not only primed for Human Wave but consuming equivalent narratives in other venues by the bucket-load. With a funnel.

    The bleak and negative narrative is a thin crop with little meat. There’s a hunger out there, a yearning, for strong story. More pronounced, maybe, in the younger generations who lack the memory of good story to sustain them.

    Feed ’em, I say.

    1. He’s comparing himself to Conan the Barbarian now. Cohen the barbarian comments aside, I think barbarians everywhere need to sue for defamation.

            1. Liberace had lots of female admirers. This was before the invention of gaydar, of course.

              1. Admiring a performer has nothing to do with his or her reaction to you. It’s I think all about your reaction to said performer.

      1. But…Conan is white. And male. And heterosexua–sorry, cisgender normative. I’m surprised the left isn’t howling…

      2. “I’m like Conan. Because I make friends easily with competent women… nope… because I’m strong and have street smarts and many accomplishments… nope…. because I think of my fighting men first… nope….”

    1. Now why am I thinking about stories concerning “Forbidden Books” that were “Forbidden/Destroyed” for good reasons? [Very Big Evil Grin]

      1. Because you have a couple of forbidden books tucked away in your hoard inside your dragon lair?

      2. I would have MUCH more respect for the regular (yearly? More often?) public library displays of banned books if they ever included MEIN KAMPF or THE PROTOCOLS OF THE ELDERS OF ZION. I don’t approve of banning books, ever. But it isn’t always a slam-dunk.

        1. You notice how the books are never ever actually banned? They mean that public school teachers are not allowed to assign them, under the impression that when you’re hired to do a job, you don’t have to do what the boss wants when you’re assigning literature.

          1. And of course, if the teachers don’t want to assign the books (and don’t), then the books aren’t considered “banned”.

            Likewise, if the people purchasing books for the school libraries decide to “not get *those* books”, *those* books aren’t considered “banned”.

          2. I’ve noticed over the years that the Left consistenly misunderstands the import of the Dayton Monkey Trial. Mencken didn’t. He made it clear in his accounts that Scopes was a guilty as a cat in a goldfish bowl, and that there was no chance of getting any other verdict. And Scopes WAS found guilty, and no appeal ever changed that. He had no more right to teach anything other than the curriculum he was hired to teach than a painter has to paint your house any other color than the one he was hire to.

            Yet I run into peopl who have the impression that either A) Scopes was acquitted or B) his trial was so,ehow unfair.


            Mencken (and Scopes’ defense team) didn’t expect or even WANT to get him off. The whole point was to mock the law.

          3. Also; the Left consistently conflates refusing to buy or to endorse with censorship. Declining to shell out publc money for something like Serrano’s PISS CHRIST isn’t censorship. Nobody advocates making the idiot destroy his nasty, sophmoric, anti-Christian “art”. We just don’t want to PAY for the vulgar thing. That isn’t censorship. That’s thrift.

            1. Also; the Left consistently conflates refusing to buy or to endorse with censorship.

              You forgot the “when they want you to” part; they’re really big on boycotts, after all.

              1. So they yell “censorship”. Yea, not being able to call people “counter revolutionaries” without folks laughing at them cramps their style some.

              2. Ace of Spades had a wonderful rant on this subject today:

                When the Rule supports the Left, they invoke the Rule, and claim there are no exceptions possible in it; when the Rule runs against the Left, they start telling you that the Rule is cruel and senseless, unless it is supplemented by lots of humane Exceptions and Caveats.

                In other words: They are always dishonest.

                And that is why we can’t live with them.

          4. I don’t think it even means THAT. A few of the lists even mention, if you dig around a bit, that it’s books where the assignment has been “challenged.” The challenges don’t have to have been successful, even locally.

            1. So they’ve adapted the same techniques to inflating the number of books banned by us horrible fundies that they’ve used for the last 30 years to inflate gun death stats, like including “children” up to 19. suicides, and justifiable shootings even by the police?

              See my comment here.

              1. Is there a place where I can go see these “horrible fundies?” I’ve known people who are hard-shell Baptist, Cumberland Presbyterian, primitive Presbyterians that make Calvin look like a slacker, Church of Christ folks, break-away Roman Catholics, graduates of Bob Jones University, and never managed to find one of the Fundamentalis Horribilis that the left-liberals et al keep going on about. Is there a preserve somewhere, or do they have a special hidden community tucked back into the hills? 😉

                1. Fundamentalis Horribilis are just Christians that vote Republican (or don’t support the Left).

                2. See, Leftists are kind of like Wizards. They live a dual life: One is in this special world that exists in a kind of parallel with the “normal” world, and the other is the normal world. However, some of them don’t realize this, and think both worlds are one. Thus, the Fundamentalis Horribilis is a creature of the special world, and some on the Left keep mentioning it in the normal world, leading to confusion and consternation in the people who only live in the one world.

                3. I’ve run into a few… they tend to get face palming from the individual congregations they infest. They are usually also quite long lived, persistent, and often off their meds. Unfortunately until they do something criminal most churches learn to simply steer them away from the Unwitting Newcommer to the Congregation until said newcommer is in the company of a Guide who can explain “Oh, that’s just X just smile and nod and walk away. You’ll be fine.”

                  1. Ya know, I consider that song a documentary, having grown up spending the summers attending a Southern (fried) Baptist church. 🙂 And wondering just how many frogs one could put into the baptismal tank (had a glass side so the elders could confirm that the new believer went all the way under, I guess) that was behind the altar. 🙂

      3. In one of the Discworld novels, they have a flashback to Vetinari’s youth in the Assassins Guild. The bullies grab the book he is reading and cast it into the fire. If remember correctly, his outlook on it was that there were only 4 copies of the book in existence, and burning that one made his other copy much more valuable.

        1. It’s from Night Watch, which is almost entirely set in the past.

          The issue was that he didn’t want them reading it, and preferred that word about the contents of the book not get around because it might actually make his co-workers slightly competent. He tells his aunt that if she’d actually read it, he’d have had to look for someone to take out a contract on her.

            1. I just want his weird camoflague abilities. Even if none of the spellings I tried for that word worked.

  14. My solo contribution, based on my own experience: Feeling bad doesn’t mean doing bad. Anybody can do the next right thing, and whether or not the depression ever lifts, that means you win.

  15. If any one is wondering about me: I made those accounts at a time when one of my user name systems was historic mass murderers.

  16. The accounts of the First Emperor were written by the Han who succeeded him (by Force) and are not considered objective.

    1. His tomb is supposed to have a scale model of China with mercury for water.

      I doubt the medical use of mercury was invented. He very likely died quite mad, however he started out.

      Was the tyranny of the last Shang king overstated? Maybe. I can easily believe that a lot of the dynastic failures were caused by arrogance, madness and evil.

              1. I’m thinking they started out on the bad end, and are slowly improving. How long has it been since on of them was implicated in a Fascist plot?

                  1. Guess I need to keep up with the news. Didn’t know Jeb had pulled anything that rose to the level of Grandpa Prescott.

                    1. Has there been ANY 24 hour period since Obama came into office when a Bush hasn’t been implicated to be involved in a Fascist plot?

                    2. Oh, I was confused, I was talking about implications with basis in fact, not implications in general.

                    3. I still say the Business Plot never happened, or at least never got beyond the “wouldn’t it be awesome” stage.
                      Mostly because I refuse to believe they would have been dumb enough to try and bring in Smedley Butler.

      1. And the ceiling is purported to have been set with pearls to reflect the zodiac and Milky Way. I’m curious what 1000+ years of exposure to mercury vapors does to pearls. Nothing good comes to mind.

      2. “Was the tyranny of the last Shang king overstated? Maybe. I can easily believe that a lot of the dynastic failures were caused by arrogance, madness and evil.”

        Let us say that the Chinese view of the Mandate of Heaven, that all dynasties start out squeaky clean and descend into evil when they lose to the successor has — influenced how emperors are presented. (The First Emperor himself is a problem in it.)

    2. The Chinese have found extremely high concentrations on mercury in the soil. Entry by a human would require a super hazmat suit carrying oxygen, and exit decontamination would be challenging.

  17. i refuse to lose weight because then I would have no place to put my Falstaffian joie de vivre.

    As for Westerns, I frankly blame the Yurpeens for the start of their slide downhill, as their own provincial sense of cultural corruption led them to populate their western towns that couldn’t have existed for more than five or ten years with a population of freaks, degenerates, and inbred monstritti fit for a 1,500 year old village in the Appenines.

  18. Freedom. Interesting this comes up, because over the past few days I’ve been writing (by hand, thus the slowness) about someone who discovers without warning that he’s been chosen since birth to take a certain role in his dynasty. If he had any dreams and freedom before, they are gone. He has access to power, both political and elemental, but at what price? He comes to accept what has been done, but still . . .

  19. Stories are thoughts– and perspectives.

    Some of the twisting of stories you see is a deliberate attempt to change. Some more is a change. And some more is just…looking at it differently, standing at a different spot.

    What’s the moral of the Boy Who Cried Wolf?
    Never tell the same lie twice?

  20. If you are having to replace your glasses that often, you really really need to be buying them online. You’ll still have the expense of the eye exams, but my most recent glasses purchase (single lens) was under $20 after shipping. Zenni Optical, though it’s far from the only one out there.

    (And make sure your eye exam place gives you your pupillary distance. You can do the at home with a friend and a ruler, but it’s more exact if you can get the professionals to do it.)

  21. Not that the culture is ever exactly like the stories. I mean, look, if you don’t believe me go read a bio of Leonardo Da Vinci from the Renaissance, one from the Victorian age and one from our own time. You’ll see the gloss that was “approved” at the time. (It is common to blame Victorians for doing this, but every culture does it. Ours delights in picking on scabs and trying to bring geniuses down to our pedestrian level.)

    You could read his notebooks directly. One gem that appealed to me, before he dove into a thousand page exploration of light, shadow, color, optics, the camera obscura, perspective, etc (and quite competently too, for someone who few teachers!) was this:

    “I am fully concious that, not being a literary man , certain presumptuous persons will think that they may reasonably blame me; alleging that I am not a man of letters. Foolish folks ! do they not know that I might retort as Marius did to the Roman Patricians by saying: That they, who deck themselves out in the labours of others will not allow me my own. They will say that I, having no literary skill, cannot properly express that which I desire to treat of but they do not know that my subjects are to be dealt with by experience rather than by words and experience has been the mistress of those who wrote well. And so, as mistress, I will cite her in all cases.

    Though I may not, like them, be able to quote other authors, I shall rely on that which is much greater and more worthy:— on experience, the mistress of their Masters. They go about puffed up and pompous, dressed and decorated with [the fruits], not of their own labours, but of those of others. And they will not allow me my own. They will scorn me as an inventor ; but how much more might they— who are not inventors but vaunters and declaimers of the works of others – be blamed.”

    Science vs. academic authority in two intransigent paragraphs – stick that in your pipe and smoke it! >:-D

  22. Part of what’s fueling the depression is that I really want to write, but even doing these posts makes me nauseated.

    Sarah, I just want you to know that I can completely relate. Rhys had to constantly reassure me I wasn’t being slack being gentle with myself in recovering from the cesearean, especially since when I forced myself to push beyond what I was comfortable with, I ended up with what I best describe as ‘full body overworked muscle seizure’, and screaming. I still get it sometimes, when I go beyond the ‘pushing my boundaries a little’ to ‘overmuch’ and EVERYTHING hurts like I have arthritis from the base of my skull down. It terrifies me because it’ll suddenly happen and I’m scared of dropping the baby. o_o And he’s heavier now, just over eight pounds of grumpy cute and strong muscles. So if that meant that I don’t do much beyond lie or sit feeding the bundle of grumpy, that’s what I had to do. The scar, happily, doesn’t hurt any more, but my muscles haven’t forgiven me for pushing myself too hard before.

    And I know how hard it is to tell the little voice in one’s head to STFU and stop being a guilt tripping nag. I’ve never been good at getting it to quiet down.

      1. Yeah, I’ll have to take another set of pics to send =) He’s put on that cuddly baby chub and it’s really visible now, especially in his arms. I’m glad you like ^_^; hope it brings some smiles while healing up!

        I did NOT like panicking when my whole body cramped up while holding Brandon in mid-step. So I’ve forced myself to ease up for Brandon’s safety. I might not have been able to type much but I made scribble-notes and reminded myself that he’s small only for such a short amount of time so I should enjoy it.

        Take care of yourself too! I’ll send more baby cute your way soon. =)

      1. He smiles and giggles only in his sleep so far, so, he’s rather grumpy.

        He’s gotten the nickname Bundle of Rage, actually, because when we can’t figure out what he’s upset about, he’ll build up crying to a crescendo, then suddenly go quiet almost mid-howl and has the angriest glare I’ve ever seen on a baby. It really doesn’t help him that he’s cute while upset, and there’s been repeat instances of him subsiding to discontented grumbles when he realizes / sees it’s his dad holding him – e.g. no chance of milk for comfort feeds. I wish I could record that.

        My mom says that he gets that dagger stare expression from me as an infant, so… ^^;

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