The Great Divorce

No, this is not a post on my marital status, which is fine thankyouverymuch. It’s rather a definition/sense of something going on in the culture, where the current situation comes from, what it means, and an exploration of where it might take us in the future.

If you think that’s too large for a post, yeah, it is.  For months now, I’ve been contemplating doing a series of posts about it, but getting slammed away to other things.

It’s going to happen now, partly because Dorothy asked me a question about a mechanism of political signaling, and how it has lost its power, but is still being followed, slavishly, by those for whom it used to pay off, and I realized it was part of “the great divorce.”

It will touch on science fiction, some of whose movements I’ve observed up close and personal over the last fifteen years, and more distantly probably for 35, but it is not a series per-se about science fiction.  Heck, in its largest arc it touches the upcoming elections and why we are in the basket, on greased skids.

If I can do it justice, the real topic is culture change on a grand scale, which is why I’m naming it after the divorce of Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon, an event that fed off myriad smaller, contributing factors, and which ended up by changing an entire country and eventually the world.

These might not be serially uploaded, so, because I’m lousy at tagging, I’ll title them all after this The Great Divorce and then the name of the post.

As you know, back in March, doped to the gills after the surgery, I kept thinking of the sentence “There was a war in heaven” to cover what was happening in science fiction.  This is because at one time, long ago, writers to me lived on a sort of Olympus, where they concerned themselves with nothing but writing the best books possible and there was a sort of collegiate fellowship among all of them.

So that illusion was shattered long ago.  And I’d had inklings people of different beliefs (not even necessarily “right”) were not welcome.  But the violence of the “war” took me by surprise.  It shouldn’t have.

It shouldn’t have because viewed in a larger social context it was expected and I’d seen “the mechanism” operate about a hundred times, and that was just when I was paying attention. Only I’d seen it happen with individual magazines, or newspapers, or clubs, never with an entire subgenre.  Nor could the things that I observed the mechanism on before be saved, as they were entirely in the hands of one side of the culture wars.  Science fiction is… different.

I also want to point out that other than the transformative power of the Aragon-Tudor thing, I’m not following the metaphor too closely.  I’m using “there were hidden factors, until it all exploded in this, and the world will never be the same.” I’m not labeling either side Catholic or Protestant, because neither current Catholics nor Protestants are what they were then, and also because I’m not going into religion or it history, because we have people in the comments way more qualified than I am.

I’m just going to note that Henry VIII was once proclaimed “Most Catholic Monarch”.  Everyone knows that he would never have separated from Rome without the wiles of Anne Boleyn.

Few people realize there were other factors (well a lot of people here do because we’re like that) including but not limited to “protestantism in the air” and the almost sure factor that Anne had protestant inklings from the beginning, because it was the cool, hip thing to do in the high circles.  Read the Bible, read books on religion not by Catholic scholars.

But that itself was a part of another, vaster change, including the fact that printing had become cheap enough to make reading a feasible and useful skill for middle class and above girls (I always laugh at historical romances where the girls of course WANT to learn to read in the middle ages, completely disregarding the fact, books were scarce, and there is no career path reading opens up.  Characterization, people.  Unless she’s going into a convent where a certain amount of literacy was encouraged, this was a millstone around her neck.) and it made books a possible means of encouraging dissent in religion and exploring religious ideas.

Then there was the rotten nature of the church as a structure at the time, with the Pope having a) become the arbiter of temporal disputes b) being weak enough to be dependent on the good will of kings.

I mean, Henry VIII was not the first king to demand a divorce.  Or weirder things.  He was, however, the one who asked at a time when the pope couldn’t afford to annoy the king of Spain, Catherine of Aragon’s nephew.

Which brings us to our portion of the culture war, incidental and minuscule thought it is.

We’d never have seen the revolt against the log rolling in the Hugos if it weren’t for indie.  A lot of involved in this are indie or hybrid, and those who aren’t, like Larry and Brad, are people who know they could go hybrid or indie.  Plus the iron band on book distribution got broken by Amazon.  Even if your book isn’t on bookstore shelves, you can make a living.  A good living. So defying the establishment has a price but not the price it used to carry, which was of being blacklisted and never working in the field again.  And by the field I don’t mean just science fiction, since of late agents wanted full disclosure of real name, etc, and said it was necessary to give this to publishers.  In fact, there was a scandal when an agent kept it secret that the new bestseller had a previous career as a midlister under another name.  (I think the book was The Seamstress.  The author name quite evades me, though.)

But the revolution in the last ten years is fully comparable to Gutenberg’s press, at least from the point of view of a writer struggling to make a living.  It’s a different world.  Nothing to do with the past.

And that means the choice of who “makes” it or even makes it big is no longer filtered through an oligopsony in NYC.  Which means we’re getting a greater variety of people in, not just in terms of skin color, orientation and whatever the writer likes to sleep with (which I don’t mind, but can we ease up on the lactation fetishes?  Every time one of those books comes up in a search for a time period I get a little urked.)  And we’re getting a greater variety of books.  For instance, I hear traditional publishing has declared UF dead.  I don’t think this will go as when they declared historical mysteries dead, or space opera dead, because I know tons of indie writers making a good living in UF and to them the pronouncement of the elites means nothing.

Which is what led to the war in our little patch of heaven. And why there’s a great divorce in progress. For many years we read authors who not only held idiotic and contra-reality opinions, but also lectured us about them in the middle of otherwise okay books.  We rolled our eyes and still read them because they were the only game in town.

They’re no longer that.  There’s a choice.  Traditional numbers fall and I know ever more people making a good living from writing.  That’s fine too.

But the reaction from and what is happening in terms of traditional publishing/entertainment/etc is the mechanism I wished to talk about and also will give you insight into what to expect to come at us as things slip more and more out of their control.

You see, for years being a leftist has been a positional good.  What I mean is for years (probably more than a century) it’s been assumed that the caring, etc. man is the one who wants to subjugate humans to the whim of the state.  This is partly because it is typical of humans to trust in the man on the white horse, and the peculiar form of it in the twentieth century was the “government bureaucrat.”  Possibly because the economic and industrial conditions meant the people doing the trusting (the “intellectual class”) were educated much like government bureaucrats.

But for years, certainly before I came here in the 80s, being leftist was the mark of education and breeding.

Because any views that disagreed with the left were considered “stupid” this by definition meant to be considered smart you had to make the right (left) noises.  A lot of upper class families, and certainly most of the intellectual establishment was all but communist by the 40s and 50s. (To believe Heinlein.)

And you’d think that they’d become less leftist since the USSR fell, but they didn’t.  They went around muttering that the good guys lost, for a while, and then set about carrying on their bizarre faith, now transmuted into radical feminism, radical environmentalism, etc, before they’d gotten far away enough from the debacle that was the USSR to come up with the witty idea that real “communism has never been tried.”  (I tell you what byotchs.  We’ll try it right after we try unfettered capitalism.  If the very fettered version of the thing we had in the US lifted the entire world out of historical misery, imagine what the unfettered version would do.)

Their social signaling remained the same.  The more left you were, the “smarter” and “more educated.”  (This is true so far as more educated in these days can mean more indoctrinated.)

So imagine someone in publishing (I saw this several times in magazines and not just in science fiction.)  Imagine a magazine that is known for publishing, say, fluffy romances.  It has an audience for fluffy romances, but as the editorial staff changes, you get a bunch of ivy-leaguers who want-to-make-a-difference.

At first the fluffy romances will just contain a sentence or two, like the one I walled this morning (we had to go out, early, again — yeah, yeah, probably last time for a little while) because of a sentence on page ten.  “War never solved anything.  We should negotiate.”  This in a regency referring to the Napoleonic wars.

Most people would ignore the line, and read on.  That’s fine.  But of course, if leftism proves you’re smart, more leftism is better.  So in search of the edgy and new, the crazy seeps in.

At some point every woman in every story is not only a suffragette but a modern feminist in petticoats.  Every man is either an abuser or a social crusader for “milk from the government.”  And readership drops off.

At which point you observe the following: the magazine (establishment, cabinet, Hollywood) rolls hard left before it dies.

Look, the fact is even leftists practice enlightened self interest, though they claim not to believe in it.

When the magazine (movie studio, talk show, presidential campaign) is about to go under, you have two choices.  You can list right or at least neutral and maybe it will sell again.  But what if it’s too far gone?  Well then the magazine (publisher, newspaper, radio station) is a lost cause, and what you have now left is a sauve-qui-peut.  That means you have to think of the people caught in the debacle, and of their pensions and careers.

If they list even a smidgen right before going under, they’re never going to work in that town/field again.  The crash will be attributed to their politics and their being “stupid.”

If however they go as hard left as possible, they’ve signaled they’re smart and idealistic.  There will be people lining up to hire them or give them venture capital.

I watched this happen in the culture for years.

And what you have to understand is that the culture is not a conscious or sane thing, nor one that can be “disproved” and thus changed.  Mostly it’s a series of things learned by experience, which would be denied by the fully-awake person who is not particularly introspective.

This means that the culture doesn’t change as quickly as the world, particularly in these days.  And the culture can become profoundly mal-adapted.

As it definitely has in publishing and in other forms of entertainment.

What this means is that there are a lot of people in the traditional establishments that relied on  the “roll left before death” maneuver to save themselves who know their establishment/field/endeavor is in severe trouble.

What they don’t know is how to get out of it.  And the excuses are always there and it’s never what is called in Portugal giving the customer “cat instead of rabbit.”  They’ve been trained to think of their positions as a pulpit with a captive audience and of their job as “enlightening” or “raising consciousness” or what have you.

Merely selling a product the customer wants is not even in their frame of mind.

BUT they know they’re in trouble.  So they’re rolling hard left because they know then there will be someone to pick them up, or at least admiration for their “bravery” and “intelligence.”

This later might be true.  The first is going to become more and more iffy.

Which means, straight head you’ll see a lot of hard rolls left and pitiful declarations of ideological purity as they die.  And the unhinged will become even more unhinged.

Fortunately we’re not only not dependent on them for our living, but we don’t need to pay them much mind.

Still, there are things beyond writing this affects, including the economy (as various bankers, financiers, etc — remember it’s become the culture of the upper class, period, not just the creative class — execute the roll-left-and-take-institution-down in expectations of a proffered offer and smooth sailing for them.

They won’t get it.  And eventually the culture will change.

The bad news is there will be hell to pay on the way there as people who believed the pablum they were fed and who can’t figure out what’s wrong with it take down institutions that are vital for survival in a civilized society.

If this were only science fiction, or only in writing, it wouldn’t matter.  But this is everywhere, and we must get past this.  Technology and reality are on our side, but I won’t lie to you — I think there’s no way to avoid the unpleasant portions.  We can shorten them.  We can work towards a better aftermath.  But I don’t think we can avoid it.

Built under, build over, build around.  And hurry, for the night is coming, where no man may work.

The good news is in the end we win they loose.

Be not afraid!

UPDATE: Welcome to Instapundit readers and thank you to Glenn Reynolds for the link!

635 responses to “The Great Divorce

  1. If you were a GOP candidate, John Fogerty would have a snit over your use of his song. 😉

    • He probably still would. I had someone lecturing me over using Simon and Garfunkel. I love liberal tears or outrage…

      • I mean, Henry VIII was not the first king to demand a divorce.

        Bzzt! Wrong. Henry VIII didn’t demand a divorce. He wanted a declaration of nullity for a marriage on the very grounds that he had pressured a pope to give him a dispensation for in order to marry Catherine of Aragon in the first place.

        A skeptic could suppose that Henry VIII just wanted to pick a fight with the Church in order to have an excuse to do what Protestants on the continent were busy doing, stealing Church property and further impoverishing the multitudes of poor the Church employed, fed, and housed.

        IOW, Protestantism was mostly about material greed, not a dispute about Christian doctrine.

        • I feel the need to ask a stupid question. How does Friday the 13th and the Templars figure into all that?

        • Sigh. He started by trying to get a divorce for infertility. There was a weird time in which he tried to get permission to marry Anne in addition to Catherine. (Such accommodations HAD been done or at least considered before.) THEN he defaulted to the annulment on the lie that she had consummated with his brother Arthur (ALMOST certainly a lie, but we’ll never know.)
          As for your thesis, you’re out. I guess you know as much about it as about the preceding. He only resorted to Protestantism and a separation from the church in extremes when Anne Boleyn was ALMOST CERTAINLY already pregnant.
          As for the motives for protestant breaks, yeah, in some cases it was greed — though in Henry’s case, the money was just an additional help — because these people WERE human.
          BUT most of it was people reading and interpreting the scriptures for themselves and trying to figure out what G-d wanted of them.
          Your view is both simplistic and insulting to a great number of people past and present. (AND btw, I’m NOT a protestant.)

        • I know that our esteemed hostess is quite capable of defending herself, particularly on this subject, so it is probably unnecessary to enter in on this point. I will anyway.

          It was Henry VII, with the aid of the Spanish ambassador who were involved in seeking to the original dispensation for his then eleven year old second son Henry to marry the widow of his first son Arthur. It seems that he thought that a continued marriage alliance with Spain was a very desirable thing for England, and Spain did not disagree. The younger Henry initially refused and only after his father’s death did he assent to the marriage.

          When Catherine failed to produce a much needed male heir* Henry VIII convinced himself that it was a judgement against the marriage and he sought to have it annulled. The Pope, in part being pressured by her family, ultimately refused to give him what he wanted. In the end Henry VIII had his marriage to Catherine declared null and void by the English courts.

          It is the divorce from Rome which Henry VIII insisted upon when he did not get his declaration of nullity of his marriage to Catherine from the Catholic Church which was really the great break. This, as out esteemed hostess observed, changed the pattern of history.

          *England had all too recently suffered through a messy war of succession for this not to be considered a serious matter.

        • IOW, Protestantism was mostly about material greed, not a dispute about Christian doctrine.

          You mean a lot like Rome’s succession from the Pentuarchy because it didn’t like being eclipsed when the Western Empire fell? After all it was the Latin church that asserted its power by breaking the “one bishop per city” rule that insured the two would separate. What is that about an action about greed?

          Or we could conclude, as most of the Orthodox do, that the transition from being within the Empire to without and having to engage in huge conservations as part of temporal survival created huge pressures on Rome that were major drivers of the split while greed was merely a lubricant.

          Also, how much Catholic missionary work have you done or do you just like sh!tting on Protestant for being greedy the same way you like sh!tting on people who disagree with you politically as do nothings when you are a no nothing when it comes to their work.

      • Which song?

    • Yeah whats funny about the ‘Barracuda’ thing? the McCain campaign could have commissioned someone to record a cover of the song and then Heart couldn’t have said much if anything.

      Besides, I guarantee that they cashed the checks from the campaign for ‘public performance and broadcast’ of the song…

      • Got news for you: None of them can say much of anything. It’s been published, and as long as who ever plays it acknowledges they wrote it and pays the ASCAP / BMI / whatever royalties, there’s not a whole heck of a lot they can do about it.

        And that’s assuming that some politician doesn’t hire a filker or three to write a parody of it and play it that way. Tom Smith (ironically as left a guy as you’ll find) could be intimidated by Disney from performing his parodies based on their tunes, because he doesn’t have legions of lawyers on retainer to prove he was covered by the Supreme Court ruling; Donald Trump will tell them to FOAD and keep on going.

        • I thought that they could, if they wished to press the issue, control the rights on their specific performance of it…

          • No. Mechanical licensing means that anyone can use any song with a license they paid for, so that people do not have to negotiate for every use of a song.

            Stuff like using songs in commercials or DVDs is different, but mechanical licenses cover public venues, airplay, etc.

          • Every case that I’ve heard about, they SOLD their rights, the candidate bought it, and theyt were basically covering their tail with angry fans.

          • subarbanbanshee has got it right.

            Mind you, there’s nothing that says a songwriter/performer has to put any particular creation under compulsory license with one of the agencies, but once they have they can’t unilaterally back out of that contract.

  2. There’s a bathroom on the right.

  3. See “New Republic,” “Newsweek,” and it looks like “Wired” is going under the same way — cut costs, tilt left, collect clicks, die. When you are replacing quality older scribes with low-paid young scribes out of the progressive mediocrity mill that is modern academia, the product suffers and then the quality readers leave. Quality advertisers notice and pull their ads. Doom! We were too good for the world!

    Spelling note: “olygopsony” should be “oligopsony.” Or “oleogopsony,” market by the oily.

    • Jeb, thank you on correcting my spelling. I know it’s late, but I’ve ONLY had one cup of coffee.

    • Wired has been way left for years, and their turn from libertarian left to left to hard left started over 16 years ago… one reason i stopped buying the mag.

    • Jeb, you listed mostly politically themed magazines, but you can add the specialty magazines to the mix. I had to give up my subscription to Outside. Runners World is probably going pretty soon, too.

      • We took Mother Earth News for a while, back when they first started. They always leaned left, but back then they had enough practical ‘how-to’ stuff to make it worth putting up with the left lean. Not anymore.

        • Yeah, I want to get the collection of their OLD issues, because of that reason, but a lot of the stuff that I read seems to fall in line with the same type of reasoning one gets -so I hear – at a Whole Food’s type store.

          • You might enjoy Backwoods Home Magazine for some but not all of the same reasons. I particularly suggest the September 12 issue of this year including Mas Ayoob’s column (available on line at http://backwoodshome.com/blogs/MassadAyoob/

            • I’ll have to look that up; but it’s a matter of being able to get what I can in Australia.

              • Kindle edition and on disc publications and back issues – there’s something to be said for a magazine whose announced philosophy in the current issue is

                “Can America be saved from stupid people?”
                A rephrased question
                So I’ve decided the question is wrong. The question should be: “Can you save yourself and your family from stupid people?” If enough of us do that, we will save America in the process.

                The link is well worth a click for a sample, even perhaps an endorsement?

              • Backwoods Home is available via Kindle, I’m pretty sure. It’s editors and most of its writers are all pretty much hard core conservative, but not too hardcore, heh, heh.

      • I still have a sizable collection of the old Mother Earth News mags, despite their hippy/leftie slant they were a great mag back in their early years.

        Now I take Backwoods Home and The Backwoodsman. Both are very good.

    • I kept reading “Wired” until this year, when I noticed an almost-complete absence of in-depth pieces on really new tech and science. That plus some ultra-PC pieces that could have appeared in “Scientific American,” one of the great magazines pre-2000 which is now politicized dreck.

      I think all newspapers and magazines are suffering, but the death rattles typically include cheap young progressive staff and no budget for real journalism.

      • Speaking of which, National Geographic just got sold to Fox / Rupert Murdoch. Much wailing ensued.

      • I stopped subscribing to SA in 2000

      • Scientific American had gone that route long before — as when they refused to review Hermann Kahn’s _Thinking About the Unthinkable_.

        • I started getting fed up with them in 92, but I was still getting some ideas for stories…

        • I remember the first signs of rot in SA that was obvious to me (there may have been some earlier when I didn’t recognize it) — a series of disarmament pieces that were very far from scientific, in the 80s.

          • Kostas Tsipis of MIT wrote on missile defence in Scientific American.
            A fellow I worked back in the 80s with was extremely irked that his ongoing security obligations (he was at Lawrence Livermore for a while) allowed him to say no more than “He’s lying, and he knows he’s lying.” That was my personal introduction to The Narrative.

            • I once prepared a paper for a friend of mine, to prove to him that the anti missile defense people were lying. I also made all the economic arguments and the rest.
              He was actually pretty impressed and asked why I didn’t put it up on the site were the argument was going on, and I told him that I didn’t want any part of those people, because they were all liars or idiots, and had no interest in the truth, nor the facts. It’s like the ‘American Federation of Scientists’ who are neither American, nor are they Scientists. They may however be a Federation.

            • That whole group at MIT was interesting. I had Henry Kendall for lecturer in 8.03 (basically electromagnetics) — Nobel Prize, co-founded Union of Concerned Scientists (the doomsday clock people), Philip Morrison, Hal Abelson, Gerry Sussman, etc. Great minds and great people. They must have been alarmed at the buildup of nuclear weapons and the urgings of other authorities to build more. Which seems to have eventually justified distortion of the science, for political reasons; the antiwar Ds began to use them, and every R administration saw demos and PR designed to make them look like warmongers. I remember at the time realizing that Reagan was engaged in poker — the Soviet scientists who tried ot halt the arms race ended up in the Gulag. Ours were allowed to speak and agitate, and no one took any action against them. Which is one of the things that makes (made?) America great. They were right but wrong and making it harder to implement strategies designed to overcome the Soviet machine…. I should write about them. Then there’s Nuclear Winter and Carl Sagan.

            • Tsipis also invented the anti neutron weapon argument that zombies make first class tankers, and even that isn’t his most ridiculous contribution. Scientific American almost went mad over Star Wars after my committee did our incoming Reagan administration papers in 1980 and Reagan began Strategic Defense Initiative. Everyone knew Tsipis was quite consciously lying but no one with the truth could say why we knew.

              But our council advising Reagan on space and high tech defense had Heinlein, Poul Anderson, Greg Bear, Dean Ing, Jim Baen and probably spanned the spectrum on domestic policy (which we didn’t discuss; I know Greg and Dean were pretty liberal) but there was general agreement on foreign policy. Containment and deterrence and defense were not fun, but they did get us out of the Cold War with 26,000 nuclear warheads aimed at the US without any nuclear explosions in anybody’s homeland.

              Without that threat there’s a lot less to cooperate on. Now that Iran will have the bomb, perhaps it will be different; they certainly make their goals clear. Death to America is a pretty unambiguous statement.

              • But, but we’ve been told that’s just posturing! They’re working to placate the populace! Who told us? Top men, sir. Top. Men. . .

              • Patrick Chester

                The presumption that someone dying from radiation poisoning would be full of Heroic Resolve and fight much harder or something like that?

                Maybe in some anime series I’ve seen…

                Oh and “Death to America” is just fluff, they’re really cuddly teddy bears deep down insi-ow… hurt brain trying to think like a prog again.

              • Jerry — I’d feel better if anyone with the power to do something about it believed it.

              • I ran into all those books Baen put out in those years a few days ago in my bins. I’ve also learned that the biggest reason all those lies came out was a concerted and rather ridiculous strident disinformation campaign from the Soviets. It was also the period when I stopped believing in the D’s

              • Jerry — I was a faithful reader of your BYTE columns. Reading BYTE dragged me into homebrew, then into software work. My first job after MIT was funded by DARPA under the Strategic Computing Initiative, which nobody remembers, but was the AI-supercomputing parallel to SDI. So thanks for the inspiration, in part, of my career. 🙂

              • As I recall, Fred Pohl also bought into the “a million kamikazes” arguments, according to his biography.

              • “Everyone knew Tsipis was quite consciously lying but no one with the truth could say why we knew.”

                Just like JFK’s “missile gap” during the 1960 campaign? What a coincidence!

                • I have always felt, that people who tell lies based on the fact that they already know the evidence that they’re lying is secret and can’t be revealed, should be taken out and shot.
                  Because the enemy KNOWS that they’re lying, and can interpolate what the truth is.

      • Scientific American, or as some call it, Two Lies, One Title.

      • I’ve found the IEEE’s Spectrum magazine to actually provide what Wired and Scientific American claim to.

    • We lost Science News some years back. You wouldn’t think a magazine that basically just abstracts the professional journal articles with a modest summaries and a full citation to the original could go full potato, but there you are. When they started adding in “filler” diagrams instead of actual news that were, in some cases, inaccurate, I knew it was time to cut my losses.

      Consumer Reports decided that what consumers need is a magazine advocating for environmentalism and social justice, so they’re going under.

      Honest to donuts, the progressives poison everything they touch.

      • way back in 1986 when I worked in a bicycle shop, folks would bring in CR when buying a bike to attempt to impress us with their research. The owner would then tell them what was wrong with all the testing they were doing and how not valid to the real world it was. He was the first person I heard use the Consumer Distorts moniker, but through the years, most of what I have seen from them just reinforces how much more accurate the moniker was than the actual title.

        • Yeah. I remember some of their reviews on bicycles. Remember a photo of a bicycle that would easily flip if the rider applied the front brakes. Bike shop bicycles come with different frame sizes- the frame was way too small for the rider. Of course it flipped over. CoG was in the wrong spot because the frame wasn’t sized properly to the rider.

          Of course, they also dismissed the Amiga as a game computer, not worthy of attention….

          • Sounds like the Samarai rollover tests.

            • How about the fact the US government destroys HUMVEE’s rather than surplusing them to the public, because of the rollover danger. Ignoring the fact that a civilian can buy an identical vehicle off the car lot, we’ll go right to the fact that the Hummer was intentionally designed to prevent rollovers… that is why it is wider than any other passenger vehicle.

              • The correct acronym is HMMVW” HIgh-Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle.” Don’t ask me how they got “humvee” out of that.

              • The most common cause of rollovers in HMMWV’s is, I believe, explosive displacement. You don’t see a lot of that around these parts.
                Those things can do a 360 on a 45 degree slope, and go up and down a 70 degree slope. I’ve gotten them airborne around corners on dirt roads. They’re really hard to roll.

                OTOH, they have almost no modern safety features. I’d never get in one again without a helmet. There’s no padding, miserable excuse for a seat belt, and plenty of sharp corners in the passenger compartment.

              • Actually that policy recently changed. They are now surplusing them out, the only catch is they are not allowed to be registered for road use. Still stupid but at least the government is not paying money to destroy perfectly usable property. So you can buy one right now if you want.

          • also, their ‘riders’ looked like they had never ridden a bike since they were about 10. They seem to get folks who have not a clue to test stuff. It’s a bit like a Clarkson “Sensible Car Test” spoof, but not intentionally funny.

      • Credit Where Due Department:
        Susan Sontag:
        At a New York pro-Solidarity rally in 1982, Sontag stated that “people on the left”, like herself, “have willingly or unwillingly told a lot of lies”. She added that they:

        believed in, or at least applied, a double standard to the angelic language of Communism.. Communism is Fascism—successful Fascism, if you will. What we have called Fascism is, rather, the form of tyranny that can be overthrown—that has, largely, failed. I repeat: not only is Fascism (and overt military rule) the probable destiny of all Communist societies—especially when their populations are moved to revolt—but Communism is in itself a variant, the most successful variant, of Fascism. Fascism with a human face… Imagine, if you will, someone who read only the Reader’s Digest between 1950 and 1970, and someone in the same period who read only The Nation or [t]he New Statesman. Which reader would have been better informed about the realities of Communism? The answer, I think, should give us pause. Can it be that our enemies were right?
        Wiki

        So the Left bought Reader’s Digest and look how well the magazine is doing now!

      • Bugger. I used to subscribe to Science News, but then economics had something to say about non-necessities and the format (type layout) change was unappealing. Haven’t looked at it in some time now, and it seems now I have no reason to do so.

      • In the last century Consumer Reports suckered me into buying a Subaru Forester then getting blindsided by what turned out to be a very common $$$ issue on that model. Never again. Now I look at online repair discussions before buying any stuff instead of at CR.

        • Independent Owner forums are great places on these sorts of issues. The one I am on for my bike has a massive tech section with the known issues, fixes and work-arounds, and lets you know of issues that are regional (like bikes winter stored in high humid places can have the alternator lock up, or the newer model can be a ball roaster in hot weather with the seat at certain settings) and after a time you seem to find anything and everything that might happen to things.

        • $HOUSEMATE had a Subaru Outback. Complained of it being underpowered. I did not realize how badly it was until I drove up a particular ramp in Mankato and found I had it floored and was wondering why it wasn’t even trying. And for reference, I normally drive a Corolla, not exactly a powerhouse, but at least it has some idea what of it should do.

          And why the Corolla (’98)? I asked a mechanic who could keep an old Jaguar running if he ever saw them. “Only for oil changes.” After the very used Hyundai Excel (what I could afford at the time) I wanted to be bored with reliability.

          • …I wanted to be bored with reliability.

            Nice turn of phrase. Yes, I do believe that this is major goal of mine with any transport I own. I have never understood the whole pride cult of owning a vehicle that spends more time with a mechanic than with you.

          • Dull is fine. I like dull. I could use more dull in my life.

          • why, for cars, I like certain Hondas, and for my truck, I couldn’t afford a Toyota so I went with a Nissan. not exciting, not powerful (2.4L in a 4×4) but except for a knock sensor, and a bit of carbon holding the emmisions solenoid open (fixed with a filter in the line), it just runs. 147,000 miles

    • True!! Wired has definitely declined in the last 3-4 years.

    • The thing to keep in mind about the “roll left before death” maneuver is that it does stave off death, for a while, even as it increases the magnitude of the disaster.

      Look at the money “invested” in Left-wing “feeds” like Salon, Newsweek, Wired, News Republic and others. We’re all of us aware of such “news sites” crashing and burning but their “pilots” ejecting and landing in even cushier positions. The financial backers (e.g., Soros, Steyer) don’t even notice the dink in their financial statements — in part because they are profiting by betting on the decline, selling elixer to those drunk on snake oil.

  4. And since we don’t know how bad the collapse is going to be, do the Mormon thing and stock up on essentials like food and weapons. (Brownings are required only if you wish to pay tribute to John Moses Browning as the patron saint of modern firearms.)

    • Done and done … and the chickens that we started talking about keeping, since everyone (including Our Gracious Hostess) seemed to think it was a good idea to stockpile supplies … they began laying eggs this weekend!

      At the end of the month, I’m going back to Wally-world and buy some more ammunition, too. One of those things, like cans of tuna and cans of tomatoes, and sacks of rice and beans that you can never have too much of…

      • Ooh. Congratulations on the chickens!

        • Thank you! Although sexing 10-week old pullets is not an exact science, apparently. One of ours turned out to be a rooster. But we don’t mind, too much. If necessary, we can now generate our own chickens.
          Tonight, I am going to make an open-faced country omelet with our first five eggs!

          • The only 100% sex-able chick are those with a sex-linked color gene. Sorry, if I’d caught that you were in the market I would’ve filled you in. They say 80% is about the highest correct rate on the rest. I wouldn’t know–I wouldn’t even bother trying to sex them myself–I’d rather eat the cockerels.
            Should I warn you? Yeah, I suppose. If you butcher and eat just one of your cockerels you will probably find yourself totally unable to eat store-bought chicken ever again. The difference in flavor is as great as that between styrofoam and grass-fed beef, and the difference in texture is even more extreme.

            • I can vouch for that myself. I grew up eating free-range chicken, not because my parents were environmentalists, but because my mother herself grew up eating free-range chicken (she grew up in a very remote area) and couldn’t stand the bland taste of chicken raised in coops. And now I’m the same way: I almost never buy chicken in America anymore. It’s bland and tasteless. Free-range chicken, if I can find it, is the only chicken that tastes right.

            • There was a hilarious commercial about Philippine Native Chicken flavored instant noodles. I do miss those.

              I miss also being able to sex the chooks from feather patterns; but ours had a mutation where some of the males would present with the female patterns, but otherwise looked male. ^^; One day I’ll have chickens again.

      • are you out in the country?

        • No … in the suburb without a spoilsport HOA, in a city which graciously allows us to have three chickens and two other non-traditional pet animals (goat, sheep, horse, heifer, llama or whatever) on our property as long as their accommodation is at least 100 feet from another dwelling. (Our one neighbor thinks the chickens are cool, and the other has four basset hounds, so he has no grounds to complain about any noise.)

          • Congratulations! That’s awesome!

          • how big is your property?

            • Relatively teeny — street frontage is about 40+ feet, and 100 feet deep. although I have an open greenbelt at the back. The house is a narrow cottage on a zero lot line. So, front and back yard and a narrow side yard abutting the next door neighbors. It’s in a street of relatively small houses, (1,200 sq ft.) but most of the neighborhood has larger houses. (Gosh, I see that according to Zillow, the market value has nearly doubled since I bought it.)

              • We have ~2000 sq ft’ in our backyard but we have many predators in our neighborhood: bobcats, coyotes, hawks.we also have squirrels and bunnies. 2 hours drive away you can shoot deer. It’s a very built up place our town has 250,000 people in it. But the animals haven’t left. 30 years ago it was all farms. So if we were to keep chickens we’d need to build a chicken run that was covered over. Protection from aerial and land predators. Sounds like a lot of work. Hubby and I are in our mid 50’s with numerous health issues. Maybe we’ll just buy chickens. A lady down the street from us kept chickens until the bobcat ate ’em.

                • The 200 sq ft is only the fenced in portion of our land. We are not a zero lot line. Our house is an average width. and we have an unfenced front yard. I guess we could do something if we had to. I’d rather have a source of income and buy meat and vegetables from younger folk.

                • 2 hours drive away

                  How about 20 seconds’ walk into my front yard? I live in one of the suburban cities around Tacoma, WA and we are absolutely infested with deer. I am completely envious of those few sane places like Cedar Rapids IA that have instituted an urban bow-hunting season for deer.

              • your house is only 1200 sq ft? Ouch! That’s teeny. Ours is 1900. 4 BR 2 BA LR, DR utility niche and attached 2 car garage with mini driveway.

                • Not really, she is single (or does your daughter live with you, Celia?). I grew up in a house that was 1200 sq ft, and know a lot of people who raised families in less. My house is 1764 sq ft. And as a single guy I have lots of room. Of course a lot depends on how much stuff you have, and what kind of outbuildings you do or don’t have to store said stuff in.
                  Throughout history though, most families lived in considerably smaller than 1200 sq ft homes. At least in part, the popularity of large houses has followed advances in insulation. Smaller houses are easier to heat, if not adequately insulated a large home is very difficult and inefficient to heat (or cool, but historically cooling your home wasn’t much of an option).

                  • No, it’s just my daughter and I in the house. Likely we could live very well with another 100 square feet of room, divided between the kitchen and the second bedroom, but as my mother so cogently observed once — the bigger the house, the more of it there is to clean.
                    Words to live by, in my opinion.

                  • Hubby and I have a lot of stuff. If we could afford it we’d love a bigger house. One floor Ranch only. If money were no object, our own shooting range. hot tub for our sore joints. Storage for our patio furniture. His very own park for our puppy. Many more closets to stuff into. More bookcases. Studio space for my arts and crafts. Wider hallways. Bigger bathrooms.make the house ADA accessible, because I may become wheel bound before I die. Bigger kitchen. Workshop and storage for my husband’s interests.

                    • We have a cleaning service. Our house in Montgomery was 1600 sq ft. 1200 would be much too squashed. Also hubby works from home on occasion. So more space is better. I fear we are both pack rats. We have gotten rid of a lot of stuff.

                  • Yep, bearcat, my(our) 95y/o house in FL was ~800sqft until a front porch was added sometime in the ’40’s. That added ~150sqft.

                • My Mother in law’s house was 880 sq ft for 3 people. It seemed perfectly fine to me back then. Mom and I had a duplex that was 1 bed, 1 bath with the landlady living in the other half. Total according to Zillow is 1194 sq ft so we had about 600. Wow. The rent is exactly 10 times what we paid back then.

      • My chicks that I bought this spring just started laying, too. The “red stars” which are some sort of Rhode Island Red sex-link are first. I’ve got a bunch of green-egg layers that haven’t started yet.

        This is not, it should be noted, a good way to get *cheap* eggs. 🙂

      • What breed of chickens?

        • Barred Rocks – those charming black and white chickens with bright red jowls and crests. We originally wanted Orpingtons … but Barred Rocks was what the poultry farm had available. They are very sweet and independent – one hen is decidedly more clever than the others, and much more human-oriented.

          • I’ve raised Aracaunas, probably the most intelligent and sweet natured chickens I’ve ever raised. Red Stars (cross between a RI Red hen and White Leghorn rooster) are the next.

            • Free-range Oyster

              Need to find out what breed my friend had: neighborhood cat intruded and barely escaped the flock with his life. Chickens are vicious, predatory dinosaurs deep down, and I approve of breeds that remember that.


      • well I R atheist so Amen and I’ll take some .45 acp, 308, and I’ll roll my own 7.5×53.5/54.5

    • The only Brownings I’d like to buy BATFE gets really pissy about.

    • Minor nit: The Mormons do speak of stocking up on food, clothes, and necessities of living. They don’t mention weapons. Prudent and sober preparation and planning for future bad times are encouraged. Chicken Little is not.

      • ” Prudent and sober preparation and planning for future bad times are encouraged.”

        Which for any thinking person automatically means having both a means of defending your necessities of life, and a means of harvesting God’s bounty.

        I’m not Mormon, but I’ve known plenty enough of them to tell you that; that dog don’t hunt.

        • Precisely. Despite stereotypes about Christians(and even some _by_ other Christians) Mormons are _not_ supposed to be stupid. Quite the opposite, in fact.

          You don’t get much negative attention if you counsel your sect to store food. You demonstrably bring down a _massive federal shitstorm_ if they think you’re encouraging your sect to stockpile arms.

          • a .22 is just one of many household necessities. It’s needed for light hunting and varmint reduction. Sometimes you gotta shoot those animals messing with your crops.

            • I agree, although for a true apocalypse situation a centerfire might be a better choice, because you can reload. But while you can cast bullets and make your own powder (at least black powder) primers are beyond the average persons ability to manufacture, so a 22 and a couple of cases of ammo are a perfectly reasonable alternative.

      • It is not Chicken Little to ponder what happens if food stamps lose significant value or especially if they get cut off entirely.

        And, well, there just aren’t enough Koreans in-country for everyone with sense to hire their own.

        • There are other means of dealing with ravening hordes than waving guns at them. For instance, an offer of “food AND a job” separates the merely hungry from the thieves, if you have food to spare.

          Absent the necessity of employers under our current legal codes to act as tax collectors, immigration law enforcers, and equal-opportunity-and-nondiscrimination agents, I daresay a lot more of them could be found.

          As for the necessity of guns, I’m inclined to think that the US already has enough and to spare.

          Every year or few, someone or other routinely comes through Mormondom selling panic “Disaster tomorrow” in order to separate the gullible from their money, and the leaders equally routinely go through and say, in effect, “Keep your shirts on, the sky isn’t falling…yet”.

          • I’ve never waved a gun in my life, and certainly wouldn’t start in the face of a “ravening horde.”

            You go ahead and offer “food AND a job” (doing what incidentally?) in the face of a “ravening horde”, I’ll offer aimed fire. We’ll see who is more successful.

            “As for the necessity of guns, I’m inclined to think that the US already has enough and to spare. ”

            I am inclined to support the theory that there is no such thing as too many guns, but even if that weren’t true. There being plenty of guns in the US isn’t going to help Emily, if none of them are available to her, when she needs one.

            Lets face it, if you have bullets, you can always get beans. Of course if you have beans, it might, just possibly, be a good idea to have bullets, in order to be able to keep them.

          • Not really. Here, have lessons learned from Katrina on “ravening hordes” and non-ravening hordes. Because history may not repeat itself, but it rhymes.

            http://bayourenaissanceman.blogspot.com/2008/08/lessons-learned-from-hurricanes-katrina.html

          • BobtheRegisterredFool

            That sounds mighty white supremacist of you Confutus. Widespread firearms ownership prevents the Democratic Party from using their rioters to burn down homes, groceries, schools and churches in most of America. However, there are not enough firearms in America, so minorities are disproportionately impacted when Democrats want to burn down their neighborhoods.

            • I don’t quite understand how or why I’m a white supremacist, sarcastically or otherwise.

              • BobtheRegisterredFool

                You’ve just come down on the side of the white supremacists that want to keep certain minorities from arming to match the rest of the population. Like the the white supremacists attempted after the civil war. Even as they have contrived to blatantly burn down minority neighborhoods this very year.

                • Oh. And here I thought I was on the side of the black supremacists who want all the white folks to disarm so they can rage, loot, and burn as much as they like. It’s so nice to be informed of what my opinions are; I never would have guessed.

          • A few years ago, we were discussing disaster prep with some like-minded folks, and we were talking about what we needed to stockpile. One guy said “I’m going to stockpile guns. And then I’m coming to yourhouse, because you’re Mormon, and I know you’ll have food.” Which everyone kind of laughed about, including me, ha ha dang.
            So, it’s not just ravening hordes. It’s potentially very calm individuals who also happen to be well armed, and have a slightly different viewpoint of who should keep what.
            As for references to “Disaster tomorrow” / gullibility of members, I’m reminded of the saying “When the time for decision arrives, the time for preparation is past.” But maybe that’s just me.

            • Standard joke around here is that an Idaho Survivalist has an AR and the addresses of 3 good LDS families. Standard retort is that it may take handcarts but Idaho will reopen trade dealing off the surplus of AR’s suddenly in LDS hands.

      • As I understand it, the idea is to have an entire year’s worth of supplies on hand. That Mormons aren’t looking at the news and going, Oh noes! panic! Buy canned goods! may well be true, but they don’t HAVE to do that, do they, because they’ve already got a year’s worth at hand. 😉

      • One trusts that prudent Mormons are aware that the term for people with well stocked larders and no weapons is “prey”.

        • I am reasonably sure that some of them do think that way. However, historically the Mormons have been able to pull together a remarkably well organized, disciplined, and effective volunteer militia on astonishingly short notice when a need has been perceived. ( IMO S.M. Stirling very badly underestimates them in his Emberverse)

          • IIRC, LDS are over represented in the military. I am pretty sure those with military experience have weapons as part of their prudent preparation for disasters.

            • Yes, they are. But it’s the bible thumpers that try to convert you. They’re also over represented. I vaguely remember that in the 70’s the service academies allowed LDS members to go on their missions between sophomore and junior years. Wasn’t automatic, had to be requested. Probably still do. Especially if the mission is in a foreign country. The cadet/midshipman will come back with experience in a foreign culture and a working knowledge of a foreign language. Valuable assets gained at no cost to the government.

          • “However, historically the Mormons have been able to pull together a remarkably well organized, disciplined, and effective volunteer militia on astonishingly short notice when a need has been perceived”

            Which they have been able to do by…. wait for it… having stocked up on weapons. A volunteer militia is only effective if it has weapons to fight with, sooo the prudent potential volunteer will stock weapons and ammo for said weapons.

            • I’ve been contending for several years a homeowner of means (ie, paid off house and reasonable supplies of his own) should own 4 (a fireteam) or 8 (two fireteams) AR-15, a decent cache of ammo, and know exactly which of his neighbors he trusts to arm. In a situation where civil society breaks down two fireteams could dissuade action against the typical two road entrance subdivision in favor of ones without it.

              The couldn’t stand up for a long period but often just being able to say, “you’ll have been luck robbing someone else” is what you need.

            • Weren’t they pretty much responsible for Merwin Hulbert staying in business as long as they did? The way I heard it, Merwin Hulbert were the only ones selling a short-barelled large caliber pistol, and Mormons at the time frowned on open carry.

          • And how, pray tell, do you have an effective militia with no weaponry?

            • Well, the Mormons don’t forbid anyone from stocking up on weaponry if they are so inclined. They just don’t emphasize it. One thing they emphatically do not want to do is feed paranoia about militant intentions.

              It’s hard enough to get people to take preparation for hard times seriously in times of peace and plenty.
              When the power goes down and the trucks aren’t going through, the possibility of looters and thieves is one concern out of many, and not necessarily the greatest.

              • Actually the possibility of looters and thieves is a primary concern. Why? because you can’t feed your family if these yahoos keep coming through and taking it all.

        • Well, Browning was Mormon, so…

      • Depends on the Mormon. (I’m Mormon.) I’ve got a few fellow-Mormon friends who are so left leaning that I’ve had to unfollow most of their stuff on Facebook (but they are excellent for discussing gardening and self-sustainability with, and when it comes to HOAs or other government-type entities interfering with self-sufficiency are hardcore libertarian), and I know a few who are very much of the bunker/militia/end days type. Myself (and most of my family) are more of the middle ground: we have food storage, etc, and also guns. That doesn’t mean we wouldn’t be willing to share our bounty with some–but any sharing done will be our choice and on our terms, backed up with weapons. 🙂

        Really, i think it depends where said Mormon lives/what their background is. I’ve known plenty when I lived in places like Denver that can barely boil water, and would fall apart if the grocery store or other supply lines fell apart. :p

    • (Brownings are required only if you wish to pay tribute to John Moses Browning as the patron saint of modern firearms.)
      Well if you want stuff, that’s for the most part, rugged, and works well, you would do well by sticking to J.M. Browning’s masterpieces for the most part. .

      • Or Kalashnikov’s, but Browning’s are more accurate. I’ve got a customized A-bolt that will shoot sub 1/2 moa at a 1000 yards… if I do my part.

        Browning’s come in a variety of actions, materials, and other choices. While I can pick a preference over a lot of individual Browning’s you generally won’t go far wrong with anything with the buck symbol on it, nor usually with any of the myriad other branded firearms based on Saint Browning’s designs.

      • When I discovered there was such as thing as a Remington Model 8, I bought one. Mine is 101 years old. I freaking love it.

        Later, I noticed that in the pictures where JMB is doing something with a rifle, it’s often a Model 8 instead of one of his more-famous lever guns.

        Having stripped my Model 8 and one of my AKs and laid all the naughty bits out, I maintain that the Avtomat Kalashnikov is essentially a Model 8 changed from long recoil to gas operation…

      • Mosin/Nagat here. Though my husband and I are a little low on ammo we’re building up. We’re also planning a range out back (though we’ll have to warn the neighbors.)

        • loud cracks are not enough warning? (~_^)
          If I don’t buy in town I hope to have a range myself when I move. A few of the places I have looked at online back up to a state forest.

          • Nah, we have some teens (we think) shooting 22s off on our back lot, and my husband hasn’t caught them at it while we’re there yet and the neighbor’s been getting irritated at them, and since he owns (at least) the square mile we’re on minus our property and our immediate other neighbor’s property we’d rather not piss him off too badly from the get go.

            • Ah, more of a “Hey it’s just us and not some trespassing fools” kinda thing

              • Yeah. Especially since we’re not around as much as we’d like to be (fun with living in a small town and working in the bigger city but hey… affordable 10 acres!)

                • looking at places at work, coworker says “Hey, not a bad house for $69,000 …wait. 20 acres?” That was one of those backed into the state forest land, so it is undeveloped, and open to hunting

                  • We’re about 5 miles north of a small town (1500 people and 3 or 4 old grouches according to the sign). One neighbor shoots skeet over his pond. The other’s half a mile away. We’re the LITTLE place in the area. (But about what we can actually manage ourselves) And yeah, ours was a bit more than that, but not much. We’re loving it, though there’s quite a bit of work to do. 🙂

                    • That 20 acre place was mostly trees, the Beach likely needs to come out (unless the owner already did that) and some of that could come close to paying for the place if there are enough.

                    • We’re trying to figure out if having someone pull the cedars would pay for the pulling and maybe a little bit extra. We’ve got some pretty substantial trees at least for this area, and it’ll be a fair number of board feet.

            • Look into the suppressor market; if allowed in your state. I have a .22 that is so quiet with the can that you can hear the bolt click when you fire it.

              • More the ‘we need to chase the trespassers off our property before they accidentally get shot and/or start badly damaging our property’.

                • I’d start with game cameras and if necessary move to cell phone enabled alarms for in flagrant delicto action for a record and to allow whatever action seems appropriate. Cameras for sure given the nature of today’s world and besides it’s fun to learn more about night life on the old homestead anyway.

                  For home use a range is nice for things that are inconvenient on public ranges including working from the holster and various action routines copied from IDPA or 3 gun and Gunsite style trail walks for rifle or crazy quail for shotgun.

                  For a bench setup it’s trivial to silence the bench rather than the firearm – think shooting through a row of tire casings. How to articles in old Gun Digests and on the internet. Unburned powder can over time accumulate in such a setup. It’s legal in that nothing need be attached to the firearm. Any number of quiet loads out there for .22 rimfire and subsonic loads from 9×19 through all the J.D. Jones designs.

        • I had a Nagant until my wife adopted it. So I bought a DPM, and she took that too. She can’t even *carry* the DPM… And then she bought a wooden crate full of 54R that nearly caused a marital breakdown; if I tripped over that crate ONE MORE TIME… it was going to be mine!

    • God made men and women. Sam Colt made them equal.

    • Working on the food supplies here hunting up good trees to plant. Unfortunately finding an apple tree with a rootstock that doesn’t blow over in our winds is a bit dicey since that means ‘bigger tree’ and pretty much everyone wants ‘smaller tree’ for the fruit kinds.

  5. 1. Critics suck at predicting high earnings. http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/08/14/reviewing-the-movies-audiences-vs-critics/

    2. The War Room tops box office: http://www.fandango.com/warroom_182431/plotsummary

    3. Rotton Tomatoes War Room: Critics 38 percent audiences 90 percent: http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/war_room_2015/

    (Observe, by the way, that War Room has both a Christian Conservative message *and* black leads.)

    • On comedies in particular, my wife and I long ago came to the conclusion if the critics don’t like it, we will. On action flicks, it’s more hit or miss.

  6. An earlier warning sign was the death of Old Media a la Lucianne.com, Matt Drudge, and numerous blogs. The Lame Stream Media is still burning with hatred for all those pipsqueak pajama-wearing ‘reactionists’ who defied chatter of the appointed arbiters of the news. Im only surprised that the publishing industry has taken this long to feel the heat.

    THIS times ten: “(I tell you what byotchs. We’ll try it right after we try unfettered capitalism. If the very fettered version of the thing we had in the US lifted the entire world out of historical misery, imagine what the unfettered version would do.)”

    • I’ve been an Ldotter since almost the very beginning, under an alias of course (because my opinions can cost me my job working on the left wing coast). Been following Drudge even longer than that!

      • You live behind enemy lines or in Diego? If I was forced to live in CA I’d consider San Diego. Enough military in the area that it isn’t screaming crazy.

        • Sacramento. And as my SO’s employer was sold, and they get laid off in December, I want to put the house up for sale and leave. Just not sure where to go yet.

          • Please consider Texas. It’s a large state with a good economy, no state income tax, with varied climates and opportunities.

            • I’ve been thinking about it, but the property taxes are kind of high, so I don’t know. I also know very little about Texas, I’ve not spent any real time there.

              • Property taxes vary depending on location I’m sure. I don’t think that are as high as CA’s. if you’re ever in the DFW area drop me a line.

                • Actually, California’s property taxes are about half of what Texas’ are, currently. The government is trying to change that, but so far Proposition 13, which was passed a long time ago, is still holding on.
                  It’s all the other little taxes that kill you here, and which they’re talking about raising (yet again).

                  • yes, but TX doesn’t have state income tax, does it? that isn’t a ‘little tax’ here.

                    • One cute little trick of the Federal income tax is allowing deductibility of state income and property taxes, which means that federal taxpayers in Florida (for example) underwrite the high (federally deductible) taxes levied in NY, CA and other states.

                  • The tax rate is less significant than the housing market. If it costs $1,000,000 to buy a 2500 square foot bungalow in California while you can buy a 3500 square foot house in Texas for $400,000 Teas offers more house for the money at a lower net tax bill.

                  • BobtheRegisterredFool

                    If Texas is too rich for you, how about Oklahoma?

              • The property taxes are off set by there being no state income tax. And there are a number of small to mid sized cities where the cost of living is relatively low.

            • Emily, Could you give me a little bit more information about the varied climates? I have decided, after six months in Bahrain, that I REALLY don’t like incredibly hot and very humid. Although that may also be an artifact of walking everywhere wearing a large black backpack, too.

        • We considered San Diego in 2000. Maybe we SHOULD have moved.

          • If you have to live in Ca then San Diego county is definitely the most sane part. All those sailors and marines help.

          • We finally sold our beach house on Mission Bay since we can’t use it after my stroke. You’d have liked San Diego.

            • We stayed there for two weeks with boys in 1999 and then Dan had a job offer and he wanted to move. Weirdly, I didn’t want to uproot the boys from the school. If I’d known what we’d face in middle school, I’d have moved. The only thing I hate about Colorado is how much I miss the ocean. It was okay while I could go somewhere near the ocean once a year, but it’s been too long.

            • San Diego is nice, especially to visit if you live in El Cajon during the summer. It’s too bad the crazy statists have a death grip California.

              I guess I’ll have to continue suffering in Houston’s heat and humidity, safe in the knowledge that the weather will keep the “beautiful people” out, and thus keep them from messing up Texas.

              • I don’t remember the base and it would be pointless to guess but there was an airplane patch in Southern California where leaving the base ocean side for standard menu fast food was just about twice as expensive as leaving the base desert side for the same national menu food.

                There’s an advantage to a pleasant place that is not bring your own money territory but I know people legitimately pinched to keep the wife at home with the children with the husband making well into 6 figures.

  7. It’s like the old saw about how academic disagreement is so bitter because so pretty.

    • I think you meant “petty” Pretty is as pretty does. Petty just doesn’t.

    • The smaller the stakes, the more vicious the politics.

      I believe the nastiest fight I ever saw was over whether a square dance group was going to wear calico dresses or gingham dresses. Pretty sure the two sides still aren’t speaking to each other 10 years later.

  8. “War never solved anything. We should negotiate.”

    Ah, but only when it’s the United States (or, more generally, the West) that they want to stop fighting. When it’s Che, or Mugabe, or Lenin, or Mao, or Pol Pot, or any of the scads of other mass-murderers on their side, it’s “brave freedom fighters” all the way.

    “At which point you observe the following: the magazine (establishment, cabinet, Hollywood) rolls hard left before it dies.”

    Viz. Tor giving a million buck contract to Scalzi, while their UK arm is busy handing out pink slips.

  9. Hard left – kinda like Nat Geo. (When you look at one of their textbooks and the maps are inaccurate or flat wrong, you know they’ve gone past the “circling the drain” stage.)

    • Nat Geo distresses me. Though it’s not sudden, nor particularly surprising — still…

      I miss what Nat Geo could have been, I think should have been.

      • Yup. I was looking at one and doing the confused dog head tilt. Something was wrong . . . Oh, this border should be over here, that one is more this way, and the Danube is too long. *sigh* Not that I’m going to say anything to the students about it, because the data they need to get from the map is kinda, mostly correct. But some of the others . . . And this is not a first, uncorrected edition, either.

        • Like all things Leftish, their maps reflect the world as it ought to be, not the way it is.

          Because the way it is is wrong.

        • Hah! None of the maps or globes we had in any of my elementary or high school classes had Cuba. Most of them didn’t have Puerto Rico or Jamaica either, but *none* of them had Cuba. I have books in storage with maps that don’t show Cuba.

          It was one of those things I’d never wondered about until quite recently, when I saw a map with a GIANT ISLAND south of Florida, where as far as I knew there was nothing but empty sea. After a “whaaat?” I found that it was Cuba. It turns out Cuba is the size of Virginia or Tennessee; a sizeable chunk of real estate to go down the Memory Hole.

          Exactly what Jamaica or Puerto Rico (which is, after all, part of the USA) did to be deleted is a mystery. Almost all the maps showed “Trinidad and Tobago” and the Dominican Republic , so it wasn’t a case of just ignoring the islands entirely.

          • Cuba was excluded to keep everyone from fleeing to the communist paradise within easy boating distance, thereby spoiling it. 😉

    • See my comment above — Murdoch owns them now.

    • I quit reading them about the time I started high school, at that time they had went from essentially accurate articles, written through a leftist bias, to articles that left out essential facts that disagreed with the approved message, and were starting to insert carefully worded falsehoods, that supported their leftist agenda.

      It has only went downhill from there.

      • I got really irked at NatGeo in the 1980’s at the puff pieces on leftist dictatorial nations and the concurrent slam jobs on right wing authoritarian nations. I cancelled my subscription in 1996 after a globull warming piece that was outrageously wrong and never looked back.

  10. Well said, as always.

  11. I’m afraid I have to slightly disagree with our esteemed host. Although I do agree that we are in a culture war, and am shocked that publishers are demanding real names in order to publish authors, I think that the enemy isn’t leftists, or communists, but SJWs.

    Why do I make a distinction between SJWs and leftists? Because one of the distinguishing features of SJWs is their total and complete ignorance of the topics that they claim to be championing, and their second distinguishing characteristic is their complete self-interest. Sure, they might claim to be in favor of helping the unprivileged, but what do they do? They stay in their cozy middle-or-upper class homes and write books that feature puerile lectures and give each other awards. They have the money to fly to a small convention called Worldcon each year, and to buy at least a hundred memberships to it so that the “proper” people could vote. The cost of those memberships could have paid for four poor children in Harlem to have 40 hours of 1-1 tutoring each, but clearly it is more important to them to have the proper people voting for the Hugo than to help poor children get a better education.

    Compare their behavior to Harlan Ellison, a leftist, who not only was in Martin Luther King’s march from Selma, but in one Worldcon slept in an RV in the parking lot rather than give money to Arizona state businesses.

    I think calling SJWs leftist is giving them far too much credit. Even if you disagree with them, leftists have principles. SJWs have nothing but ignorance and self-interest.

    • Reality Observer

      I had to laugh at the “Harlan Ellison slept in an RV” bit. I’m not looking up dates – but I guess this was when the Governor was resisting giving taxpayer (well) paid parasites yet another paid holiday that the vast majority of taxpayers do not get to this day.

      “Standing on his principles” by making absolutely sure that waiters, maids, and other minimum or sub-minimum wage workers got not one single dime from his presence.

      The Left has never had “principles.” They have but one “principle” – them on top, everyone else serving them.

      • This. All the leftists I’ve known have been big on chest-beating, or other useless but showy stuff like protests or parades, but when it comes to actually doing anything practical like volunteer work, or giving money, they’re no-shows.

      • No, that was Iguanacon, when Arizona had refused to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment.

        • And he took heat for going at all. He felt he had to–he’d signed a contract and taken money. So he ostentatiously did *only* what he’d promised to do, while ostentatiously *not* supporting that “bunch of fascists.”
          And still got yelled at because his protest wasn’t pure enough…

      • Oh, I wasn’t trying to support leftists, but complaining about SJWs. I think that the primary reason that Harlan Ellison isn’t liked by the SJW crowd is precisely because he shows them up — he was willing to make sacrifices for the things he believes in, while the SJWs aren’t.

        Story time: back in my university days, I was taking a senior level class. One of the SJWs in the class declared that after he graduated he wanted to go to other countries and “fix” them. I made the mistake of asking him how he was going to learn about their culture before “fixing” it. He started screaming at me: how DARE I suggest that there was anything he needed to know! “I know oppression!” he yelled. He was horribly insulted by the very thought having having to learn anything.

        I’m sure we all have encountered know-it-all teenagers, who at the age of 15 know everything about how the world works and will condescend to explain it to the rest of us. Well, take those know-it-alls, put them into college courses which teach them that they are, indeed, the experts in “oppression”, anyone who disagrees or inconveniences them is the enemy, and that they have the right to harm their enemies. Presto, you get an SJW.

    • They’re fourth generation red diaper babies. They ALL end up like that.

      • Toxic ideology always does, if reality is held at bay that long.

        It’s a great explanation for those corrupt trade cities that you need to justify a major quest hub in rpgs or adventure fantasy novels.

    • That WorldCon (Iguanacon, and Harlan was Taking A Stand against AZ refusing to pass the ERA) got me busted as a human trafficker. I was still young and dumb enough to take Harlan seriously outside his fiction, so I loaded up a ruck with granola bars (yes, yes) and bottled water, stuck my passport in my pocket (real NYers don’t drive) and hopped on Greyhound to Phoenix from NYC (An experience in itself). Anyway, on the way back I had to change buses in Albuquerque, and wound up sitting in the back with a whole bunch of people speaking Spanish. Being a hip, worldly New Yorker, I immediately assumed, “Hey, Puerto Ricans, cool,” and we settled in, sharing food and drinks and then somewhere in Kansas, I think, the whole freaking world turned flashing red and blue. State cops, county cops… and La Migra.

      I looked at my busmates’ bummed expression, and it occurred to me that, hey, these might not be Puerto Ricans. You can’t put anything over on a New Yorker, boy, Still, hard luck for them, no skin off my nose, right?

      The Immigrations officer disagreed. “Let’s see your ID, sir.”

      Did you ever try to explain to an Immigration cop in the middle of arresting of busload of bootleg Guatemalans why you need a US passport to travel from NYC to Arizona? “Because Harlan Ellison said so?” Strangely not the best explanation. So figured they’d caught themselves a coyote and hauled me off the bus.

      No, they ultimately didn’t charge me, but I told people for years after that the Government had declared me a Mexican…

      • OMg… Harlan Ellison said you needed a passport to travel to Arizona?

        • No, but he was loudly sure we would be Hassled By The Man for Standing Up, so I took the only legal ID I had in case I was busted for felony con-going. Especially since we were buycotting AZ I spent the weekend sleeping in the film room and under covered tables.

          • I would later come to realize Harlan had a slight tendency towards self-dramatization and it can be contagious.

            • Harlan is the oddest combination of really nice guy and total asshole I’ve ever come across. At the 86 Atlanta Worldcon, he was holding an auction to benefit Manly Wade Wellman’s widow. He and a bunch of native bearers were hauling stuff down when I was at the elevator. The door opened, I reached in and held it back for them. Harlan said “Get the hell out of the way we’re coming through.” I said “Harlan, I’m holding the door for you.”

              Harlan had at least the grace to look a little shame-faced as he said, “Oh, yeah. Heh heh.”

  12. c4c

  13. Watch the politics. England’s new Labor Party leader as a minor example. And . . .the change isn’t just confined to the left. The Right
    looks wonky as well. Culture shifts affect everything.

    • brian, a LOT of us on the right have simply reached the stage of a divorce where the faithful half has finally realized that his “loyal partner” doesn’t give a flying fuq as long as the paycheck is there.

      Donald Trump? We’d never marry him, but we’re pretty much enjoying watching him tell the GOPe…..

      • I’ve come to the conclusion the burn-it-all-downers are reaching for trump as some form of assisted suicide. YOU might not marry him, but a ton of burn-it-all-downers have gone all in.
        One of the good things about Trump X Sanders is I’ll stop paying attention and just write. The bad thing? They can’t both lose.

        • Don’t be so sure about Trump being a bad choice. I grew up in NY and he was famous for doing what he said he would do, and treating the people who worked for him very well. The pols all hated him, because not only did he make them look bad (by doing what he said he would, and usually under budget) but also because he couldn’t be bought off by them.
          Notice there aren’t a lot of people coming out of the woodwork saying what a bad boss he was, and what a terrible man he was to deal with (unlike say Ross Perot who treated most of the people who worked for him like crap). Yes, Trump has an ego, and it’s big. What politician or billionaire doesn’t however? Yes Trump says outrageous things, but he says them on purpose, this is the man who wrote -the- book on negotiating that -everyone- reads. He’s dealt with people a lot more deadly and dangerous than Iran, or Putkin (you build in NYC, you have to deal with the mafia, and those people -will- kill you and your family, and not think twice about it).
          I honestly never thought Trump would get this far, I still don’t think he’ll be the candidate, but don’t sell him short, there is a lot more to him than meets the eye. My only real beef with him, is that I don’t think he’s very conservative (as in support the bill of rights conservative). As an executive, he has more experience than anyone else who has been in that office in a very long time.

          • If he does what he said he’d do it’s worse. He doesn’t seem to GET the economy at all. I mean, it’s not the Mexican immigrants tanking it, okay?

          • “Don’t be so sure about Trump being a bad choice.”

            Oh, I’m pretty sure about that.

            Famous for doing what he said he would do? Maybe, but what happens when he says he’ll do two diametrically opposed things?

            As for dealing with the mafia, that is not real comparable to dealing with Iran. The mafia is essentially a business, something Trump undoubtedly understands quite well. Iran is a fanatical religion, they don’t keep their eye on the bottom line, and don’t use logic and reason to arrive at either their positions or their decisions. I’m unsure how well Trump would deal with that.

            He is, at best, a New York conservative; which means slightly to the right of Lenin.

          • I’d feel a helluva lot better about Trump if he was saying more “the government has to get out of people’s way” and less “when I’m in charge I’ll fix *everything*!”

          • He was usually under budget by paying his contractors 60% of what was contracted and then daring them to sue him. We’ve already got one of those in the White House.

        • A certain amount of this is true. Some of the regulars at Ace of Spades HQ have openly stated that the reason they’re supporting Trump is because they want to bring it all down faster.

          • Yeah, nothing like economic collapse to bring about freedom, instead of authoritarianism as it has over the last 5000 years that we know of.

            • and most of the fools who want it pulled down, are also the least able to survive the downfall. Fools. Idjits. Morons.

            • I think a no longer insignificant subset of the GOP’s theoretical base has decided voting GOP is the same as voting Democrat with a X year offset (hell, I agree with that and I’ve gone, based on Walker’s Obamacare “replacement” to thinking the offset is 10+ years to thinking it is 8).

              So, they see themselves as faced with a choice of socialist collapse in 20 years (Democrats) or socialist collapse in 30 years (GOP). All of a sudden Trump shows up with a third option, revenge.

              Given both parties are driving us towards tyranny in their view why not screw them back on the way to said tyranny. I may not agree but I do understand that thinking. If tyranny is inevitable aren’t your options:

              1. Make sure you’re the tyrant.
              2. Failing that get your shots in.

              That a part of their base has reached that point should tell the GOP elites something but they are denser than degenerate matter.

        • Maybe Ted Cruz will be elected President?

        • There was a recent recent Bloomberg Poll here: http://images.businessweek.com/cms/2015-04-19/150417_final.pdf

          Being me, I didn’t bother reading whatever nonsense the mass media journo was going to blather about it, I read the poll. It’s rather interesting.
          Particularly that the “seriously consider” is only 9% and the “might consider” = 26% for Trump – double-digits lower than every other Republican candidate.

          There’s other interesting stuff (like even Democrats think her Clintoness is lying) but take a look for yourself.

          • On many MSM news websites, the anti-Clinton comments I’ve seen recently are more coming as much from the left as from the right. On the left, they seem to be mostly either a condemnation of Bill and Hillary being too far to the right, or simply too elitist/inauthentic. Not too many complaining lefties complaining about her lies, except for cases where she’d promised some support for some lefty cause in the past but not delivered.

        • Imagine a country fair where no one sells meat products because it’s not hip anymore. Then suddenly one guys opens a hotdog stand and everyone starts buying. All the other sellers, instead if getting a clue and selling burgers and bratwurst, start yelling at the hotdog guy and calling his customers dumb.
          Trump is the guy selling hotdogs.

          • yes, but his hotdogs are tofu soaked in actual hotdog juices for taste. outside him fussing at the press and his border statements, what about him makes any sense in a base voter views?
            Part of the reason I tend to lean towards the stalking horse view is the press is so ready to reinforce the viewpoint he is a “Big bad conservative” when they know all to well how left he is. They see him either as an unwinnable, or a third party vote sucker (giving their side the win), or if he does by some chance happen to win, they know they get a supporter of much of their views (single payer, gun views, kelo, etc) in office, and those views they don’t like, they know will not be carried out. GWB bent and said we’d build a wall. where is it?
            What makes anyone think Trumpkin will get it built? He might make INS start to work again. that’s it. That would be nice, but we need oh so much more.

          • But he’s not. He’s selling rubber products that look like hotdogs, and a lot of tofu filler.

            • Consider the alternatives.

              • the press is concentrating on him so folks will not consider the alternatives.
                outside of Bush, Grahmnesty, et al, who would be worse over all than Trump? And it is debatable about the mega-establishment wannabes whether they’d be worse over all than him. Success wise he is 0bama with a better border policy. Narcissistic in the extreme, completely unqualified..

            • Yeah, who knows what’s in the stuff he’s selling, but the thing is, why won’t anyone else sell actual all beef footlong hotdogs since there’s an obvious market?

        • Not suicide but revenge.

  14. Sarah, is it possible that your post title was meant to allude to C. S. Lewis’s book of the same name, which was about the gulf between Heaven and Hell?

  15. Here’s the fun, kind of ironic thing- the new tech means that in media (books, movies, music), the Workers now control the Means of Production.
    And the old guard, many who would identify as socialist can’t stand it.

    • They can’t stand it, can they? Apparently, they were counting so much on being the nomenklatura, and all of us proles would be dutiful and obedient.

      • Well, the Leftist dream isn’t actual Socialism. It’s a nice, comfortable, socially acceptable, politically correct job with a six figure salary.

    • This. Because socialism is actually a means to power.

    • But it is the WRONG workers. It was supposed to be the worker collective, not individuals. That makes it look too capitalistic.

      • and they ignore the fact that even in the most commie places there is Always an underground ‘free market’ system at work

        • As I once said to a friend, Capitalism is not a pie-in-the-sky Utopian idealistic system. It’s what people do.

          • yep. take it away by law, and it will happen anyhow. Part of Russia’s problems are once the Soviet fell, the only ones who really knew what to do in a capitalist system were the mob guys who never stopped being capitalist.

    • Why would that surprise you? Their entire program is full of thing they would HATE, HATE, HATE if they were actually put into practice. Hell, the touchy-feelie “let’s consult everybody about what’s fair, amd reach a compromise” method of setting prices they claim to want is the Free Market.

      They. Want. Power.

      They want everybody to do as The New Men tell them (three guesses who The New Men are, and two don’t count).

      The Socialists, Communists, Liberals, Progressives, whatever-you-want-to-call-them are would-be aristocrats. Guillotine bait. Theyare the clerisy, furiously angry that being literate and mildly edicated doesn’t make them Special.

      It makes them Clerks.

  16. I had to laugh. My nickname at my first unit when I joined was “Bad Moon Rising”. Something to do with young, dumb, PV2 Schardt having no experience with Night Vision Goggles or what certain elements of the sky look like through said goggles. And a radio call that should not have been made.

  17. These might not be serially uploaded, so, because I’m lousy at tagging, I’ll title them all after this The Great Divorce and then the name of the post.

    I think that beats tagging anyways, since you’re not tempted to click on everything even vaguely mentioned…and because you can nicely ask your minions to collect some guest posts that are basically “Blast from the Past” theme packs to fill up the rotation.

  18. Hm… you know, the a reason that reading unapproved books was such a bad idea was because of the assumption that people had about stuff that was in a book being of a certain quality– sort of like the “Yes, Virginia, There Is A Santa Claus” bit about “if you read it in The Times it must be true.”

    That quality wasn’t there, but people were acting like it was– which ties in very nicely to Amazon’s books offering the quality that can’t be depended upon in modern “Best Sellers.”

    • There used to be a difference between Vanity Press and Professional Publishers; now that difference is largely reversed. Indie published works have to exercise greater quality control to overcome the public’s aversion to “unedited” work while “quality” publishing no longer spends on copy editing and such frills — and their editors edit to impress their peers and not the public (whom they are convinced can be hyped into buying any old thing — after all, they’re buying vanity press stuff these days!).

      They do a great Belle Darkin impression, I gather. the 2001 edition, not the one from 1970.

      • There’s still vanity presses. Writer Beware includes reports on them. PublishAmerica has merely changed its name.

  19. ” They went around muttering that the good guys lost, for a while, and then set about carrying on their bizarre faith, now transmuted into radical feminism, radical environmentalism, etc,”

  20. I agree with this, I’ve seen it coming for a while, and I think you did a better job of putting it into words than I ever could. The reason why I want to see this come sooner, rather than later, is the sooner it happens, the less damage will take place. The longer they hold on before they ‘roll hard left and kill everything’ the bigger the damage will be, and the longer it will take to recover.
    And I do worry very much about the aftermath. It used to be, places like California produced enough food and had enough resources that it could survive on its own. Now it has destroyed over half of its food production (which will take decades to replace) and displaced many of the working class and replaced them with leeches and criminals, that when the collapse comes, the state will disintegrate quickly into social unrest.
    Which is why I’m very desperate to get out of here, I’m just not having an easy time convincing my SO that it’s in our best interests to leave.
    But I’m working on it….

    • Free-range Oyster

      John, we recently got the last of the Oyster Clan out of the Glorious People’s Democratic Republic of California, and we’re still working on the Oyster Wife’s side. If there’s anything we can do to help get you and yours out, let me know. Things were bad when we left in ’08, but it just seems to keep getting worse.

      • The hardest part if finding a decent place to live, I want to move back to more country like settings, but my partner is a tech worker (network admin and such) so we need to be some sort of tech base. (I also do tech work when I do consulting, though I’m hoping not to have to go back to that ever again).
        So the basic requirements are:
        A decent sized house (with at least a two car garage, and maybe a barn to use as a shop).
        A couple of acres of land, minimum.
        Internet!
        Trees and some other green stuff (don’t want to live in a desert)
        All at a reasonable price. I keep seeing people wanting to sell their houses for a small fortune.
        Oh, and no stupid gun laws, no HOA’s, no group of lefttards telling me what I can and can not do on my own property.

        It’s just been hard recently to even try and check any places out. We were looking at Nevada, but 1) everyone seems to think their property is made of gold, so prices are ridiculous (and hence they’re not selling), 2) it’s all desert, and 3) a lot of areas have no tech base.
        May try to check out Texas this winter, to get an idea. I just want this next move to be the last one I ever have to do. When we came to California it was only supposed to be for a ‘few years’ and then the economy collapsed, and never recovered, so we’ve been stuck here for a decade 😛

        • Might not hurt to look at northwest Arkansas, should be able to get decent internet as long as you’re not too far from the Metroplex.

        • Course, someplace where I could raise another cougar or leopard, one last time would be nice too 🙂

        • Oklahoma city and Tulsa areas have some good finds. My place is a little far out for easy internet, but there are plenty of decent sized places within easy distance of a city and internet out here.

        • Check Ocala Florida. Middle of green belt in Florida with a pretty strong med-health basis for the local economy.

        • Look in the Texas Hill Country. Tech work in Austin or Waco, decent climate.

        • Colorado. Denver is urban and expensive (but still cow-town – I can say that because I live in downtown; evening porch-beers are a great way to meet neighbors). The Front Range metro area (I’d guess 4 million-ish people) still has lots of exburb space. There are small, country areas both east (farms, ranches, etc…) and west (in the mountains – beautiful, but the snowz!). Most of the trees are planted (i.e. it’s too dry for natural forests) or pine, but there are a LOT of them.

          The Eastern Plains are basically west-Kansas. I hear the Western Slope is nice, but I’ve not been there enough to say.

          • When I was looking for an apartment for the kid in Denver, we took a wrong turn in a perfectly urban area, and we’re staring at horses, in a fenced in… large large lot. And going “Uh?”

          • I won’t move anyplace that is starting to enact gun bans. So Colorado is out.

            • Texas loves guns and anything else that goes boom!

            • I second the vote for Texas. There are good spots 40-50 miles north of Houston, but in fairness I must say that the Hill Country is pretty, and it was Good Enough to lure David Burge (Iowahawk) away from Illinois.

              • Yeah, I noticed that on Iowahawk. I’ve been tempted to write him a letter and ask him about it, but even though I’ve been a fan of his since his first website, I never engaged him in any commentary back then, so he wouldn’t know me from adam.

              • Nothing wrong with the hill country but I’d suggest going north with it into the Flint Hills or maybe west to Winfield KS with access north to Wichita for jobs. It’s been more than 50 years and I don’t remember suffering from the heat when I was young and we had no air conditioning but I do remember one unusually hot month it was over 100 degrees F the whole month with no respite at all in Texas hill country. My own choice has been high country desert. Then again life at say 9000 feet avoids an awful lot of insect pests in exchange for a few weeks of cold short days and really cold long nights.

                • When the weather swings back to the 50s-era, you’ll also face some pretty epic snow drifts. My dad remembers some that “ate” the barn.

                  Not a problem if you make sure that the house and buildings have been in use since at least then, just something to keep in mind and don’t buy a barn or house with doors on only one side.

        • Free-range Oyster

          Well, our current area (Utah County) meets nearly all of your requirements, but we’re technically high desert. The canyons and smaller valleys have some decent greenery but nothing like the Sierras, and there are no urban forests to compare to Sac’s. I think the Provo River is prettier than the Sacramento or American, for whatever that’s worth. On the up side we have a thriving tech sector, affordable land prices, good internet including several fiber providers, little to no gun restriction (permitless OC, CC is easy to get), an extremely low occurrence of vile progs, lots of geeks… it’s a good place.

  21. We are, some have argued, on the cusp of a cultural change:

    Jonathon Haidt on Bradley Campbell and Jason Manning on Microaggression and the Culture of Victimhood</B.
    Posted on September 10, 2015 by peterhefti

    Jonathon Haidt writes about a newly published paper from Bradley Campbell and Jason Manning that attempts to explain the cultural phenomena of “microaggressions”:

    Haidt:

    “In brief: We’re beginning a second transition of moral cultures. The first major transition happened in the 18th and 19th centuries when most Western societies moved away from cultures of honor (where people must earn honor and must therefore avenge insults on their own) to cultures of dignity in which people are assumed to have dignity and don’t need to earn it. They foreswear violence, turn to courts or administrative bodies to respond to major transgressions, and for minor transgressions they either ignore them or attempt to resolve them by social means. There’s no more dueling.

    Campbell and Manning describe how this culture of dignity is now giving way to a new culture of victimhood in which people are encouraged to respond to even the slightest unintentional offense, as in an honor culture. But they must not obtain redress on their own; they must appeal for help to powerful others or administrative bodies, to whom they must make the case that they have been victimized. It is the very presence of such administrative bodies, within a culture that is highly egalitarian and diverse (i.e., many college campuses) that gives rise to intense efforts to identify oneself as a fragile and aggrieved victim. This is why we have seen the recent explosion of concerns about microaggressions, combined with demands for trigger warnings and safe spaces…”

    RTWT — it offers a paradigm for understanding and discussing what is going on. I do not know if I support it. Only a few more ‘graphs and it contains the link to the much longer Jonathan Haidt essay referenced.

  22. “…at one time, long ago, writers to me lived on a sort of Olympus…”
    In many cases, it’s seemed lately, it’s more like “Dunmanifestin, the stuccoed Valhalla”. 🙂

  23. Point where this roll-left-then-die maneuver had a real and serious effect on the world: Countrywide and Angelo Mozillo.

    Countrywide bought the line feed them by Jesse Jackson and the Clinton-era Federal Housing Authority and Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and the Boston Federal Reserve Bank that “racism” was behind “red-lining” — reluctance or outright refusal to loan money for mortgages in certain neighborhoods that histories of high default rates or declining property values.

    So Countrywide decided to go hard after these neighborhoods and these loans. Which worked for a little while (default takes time, and the early 90s was a robust real estate cycle). The feds, in turn, refused permission to merge to banks that did not engage in the Countrywide reverse-redlineing scam, and gave Countrywide permission to borrow and merge and grow and grow — and Bank of America, which was at the time based in the same California market where Countrywide was — noticed and decided to become a silent partner, and eventually a not-so-silent partner, and eventually prepare to take over Countrywide entirely in the summer of 2008.

    Which is when reality kicked in.

    Angelo Mozillo, head of Countrywide, had meanwhile seen the cliff from his perch atop the parade, and had done two very important things — turned harder left by lowering loan standards even more, extending the Ponzi scheme one more level while increasing the terminal velocity before the crash — and given very large “loans” to people termed “FOA”s — Friends of Angelo. The beneficiaries of the FOA loans included minor functionaries like the Chairman of the Senate Banking Committee Chris Dodds and the CEO of Fannie Mae and the son of the Democratic Speaker of the House, and the Republican Secretary of Housing Development.

    Angelo retired with a net worth somewhere around a hundred million dollars (a big letdown for him). Also, Condé Nast Portfolio ranked Mozilo second on their list of “Worst American CEOs of All Time”.

    The global economy collapsed.

    Consequences.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Angelo_Mozilo#Friends_of_Angelo_(FOA)_VIP_program

    • I actually think that the roll-left-and-die is not necessarily done in expectation of being rescued or rewarded for a turn extreme left. It could be just “oh, what the hell” as it seems to have been with Michael J. Weldon and his charming “Psychotronic Video” magazine. When trouble with the distributors and his ignorance or aversion to on-line (the first few issues weren’t even typed, they were hand-written and photocopied) spelled doom to the printed PV, Weldon started spouting more and more anti-Bush garbage and unspeakably weird conspiracy theories (such as that the 12 string Rickenbacker lead guitar work on the Byrds albums was not McGuinn but rather an anonymous studio musician) till I stopped buying it at the now to my great regret defunct magazine store in downtown Colorado Springs. Weldon knew that all that he was looking forward to was a video and memorabilia store in August (which I shall set aside a day to visit if I’m ever in Georgia), he wasn’t expecting anyone to reward him for this idiocy. I’m afraid this interpretation has grim implications in the cases of those with real power. What will Obama’s what-the-hell reaction be if a Republican wins in 16?

    • But the people in charge of the mess stayed in charge and that was the important thing. They just imposed more “fundamental transformation.”

  24. My first encounter with the liberal mentality (if you don’t agree with them, you must be stupid or ignorant) came as a young wife and mother. I was traveling across country on the bus with two toddlers and a newborn (poor, and a glutton for punishment! My husband, being in the Air Force, had traveled space available on a military flight.) We had a layover and change of buses in Chicago, and I spent much of that time in the large restroom, nursing the baby and caring for the toddlers. By coincidence, a lot of people were coming in to Chicago for a National Organization of Women conference or rally or something (you can see how much interest I had in feminism!). A young woman (black, but could just as easily have been white) accosted me in the restroom and asked me if I was going to the NOW event. When I explained that not only was I not going, but I didn’t believe in what they stood for as I was a Bible-believing Christian, she got ALL upset — told me that as a young woman, I should be too smart to fall for that nonsense. We had a pretty good discussion about the whole thing, but she didn’t convince me, and I doubt that I convinced her of anything, either.

    I should add, since I’ve seen the topic come up elsewhere, that I don’t believe in evolution, either, and, no, I am not a moron! (To the person who thinks only morons believe in Biblical creation, do you see the similarities between that attitude and the topic under discussion here? These beliefs — atheism, communism, and evolution — are all connected in a very logical way.) It’s kind of odd to be skeptical of most everything the government pushes, and yet swallow evolution and atheism hook, line, and sinker.
    And no, I’m not a hater just because I believe something is incorrect!

    • Just in case anyone really believes that Christian and scientist don’t go together, here’s a wiki article with a list of Christians who were scientists over the ages: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Christian_thinkers_in_science

      It’s possible that some of them, especially the more recent ones, did or do believe in evolution or old-earth Creation, but many (including nearly all the earlier ones) believed in Biblical Creation. I really don’t think they were morons, and it didn’t make them less scientific (if anything, they were more scientific, since they believed in absolute truth and were less likely to fudge things to fit preconceived notions! Also, when you believe in a God of order, and an orderly Creation, you look for the patterns which God built into the universe — this has led to many major scientific discoveries).

      I hope this all doesn’t fall too far into the forbidden category of ‘religion’, but communism/left-wing thinking and evolution are inextricably linked, and both need to be refuted as much as possible.

    • I’ve never met one of those people who got on about the conflict between evolution and Christianity who had better than a fourth-form Religion-class conception of theology, and I’ve never met someone who got on about the conflict between Christianity and evolution who understood the scientific basis of evolution.

      • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

        Many of the pro-evolution folks lack any real knowledge of evolution.

        • I have to say that a number of pro-evolution folks I’ve met would make very convincing circumstantial evidence for debunking “survival of the fittest” .

          • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

            Well, I’ve come to believe the SJWs are proof of evolution. They throw sh*t just like monkeys do. [Very Big Evil Grin]

          • Yeah, it’s people who claim to believe in evolution but want government to remove the natural selection process.

            Bring Back The Saber-Tooth!

          • Patrick Chester

            Except “survival of the fittest” doesn’t always mean what people presume it does.

            I think part of the problem seems to be that some atheists try to use evolution as a way to “prove” God doesn’t exist… and people like creationists fell for it. Instead of, oh I don’t know, calling said atheists out on that sort of lie.

      • I’ve met both types of people you haven’t; married the first type. It’s simply one of those subjects we don’t talk about. And I’m friends with a few who are very knowledgeable about religions, including their own, who also fully understand the scientific basis of evolution, and reject it. I must travel in different circles then you.

        What I don’t understand are the people who believe in evolution, and then tell me men and women are interchangeable widgets.

      • Haven’t met someone who claimed Christianity inherently conflicted with purely scientific evolution (as opposed to those theories which include unsupported conclusions) who did more than assert it over and over…..

    • Michael Brazier

      1) The only way to reconcile the chronology of Bishop Ussher with the empirical evidence supporting current estimates of the age of the Earth is the way George Gissing took – that when God made the universe He fabricated all the evidence so that rational investigators would reach a false conclusion. Which is bad theology; the Christian God does not deceive a rational enquirer.
      2) On the supposed conflict between evolutionary biology and Christian revelation I take the Catholic view: that God made use of the means that biologists investigate to generate the diversity of species, but the creation of human souls was (and is) a miracle. Since no scientists are anywhere near understanding the nature of the human mind or its origin, this doesn’t contradict anything known by science.
      Further, there are good reasons independent of Christianity to suspect that sapience is as qualitatively different from nonsapience as life is from nonlife, and therefore good reason to believe that it will never be possible to explain the human mind as a product of natural selection.

      • I may be getting into Deep Voodoo here, Michael Brazier, but it is important to acknowledge that the past does not exist. I think that there is a quote from Orwell’s _Nineteen Eighty-Four_, spoken by the interrogator O’Brien to Winston Smith, that goes something like “What do you think the past is? A place you can visit, that has people living in it?”
        Proposing slow changes over deep time allows us to understand the contemporary world in a useful fashion, “useful” meaning “more economically efficient.” Useful minerals are usually metamorphic, so we can concentrate on trying to find uplifted geography, rather than randomly digging holes here and there.
        If we talk about some volcanic mountain range that existed in Northern Minnesota a hundred million years ago and produced the basalt that we can see in the cliffsides of the Saint Croix river valley, that volcanic mountain range exists only in our imagination.
        I hope that I am not trying to make too subtle a point.

        • Once you get away from Sequentialist Heresy and embrace the Lord as simultaneous all of this evolution crap is revealed as an illusion caused by looking at things through Time, a dimension no more important than width, breadth or height.

      • I’m sorry to have to disagree here in Sarah’s place, but I must in good conscience point out that your 1 is a flat assertion that can be scientifically disputed. There is no currently existing human observer living today who saw the creation. The estimates that are claimed to support the age of the earth are in the end based on: assumptions, circular reasoning, or flat-out bad science- flawed methodology or data. Basing paleontological assumptions on geology, and ignoring that geological assumptions are at the same time based on paleontology severs the obviousness of the circular reasoning: that fossil age is based on strata, and that stratigraphic ages are based on fossil layering. (Also, there is no true stratigraphic column in existence in the world.)
        Decay ratio dates are similarly flawed, in that they assume starting proportions, amounts of originally-present isotopes, and that rates of decay are universally constant. Finally, the doctrine of universalism is asserted specifically to overwhelm the biblical models of catastrophism, not to disprove it, but to entice and induce people to unscientifically reject it.

        • AHEM, you guys remember the rules on arguing religion around these parts, right?

          • My apologies to you, and I would ask a favor – the above is my first response, and I would prefer it be deleted in favor of my second below. I am trying to answer not on grounds of religion, but on grounds of truth, logic and science, and I think my second response is perhaps a better one.
            Since it is your place, of course, and I am a relative new-comer, you may remove as you please, and chastise me as you determine I deserve. (If I do)

          • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

            Yep

        • I’m curious about a couple of things.
          First, with regard to radio dates, are you familiar with the term “isochron”? How familiar are you with the underlying principles?
          Second, with regard to the stratigraphic column, who developed it? How familiar are you with the underlying principles?

          • +1 (Geologist being quiet so as not to loose temper)

            • Free-range Oyster

              I keep forgetting you’re a geologist. I’m going to want to pick your brain about *checks notes* four or five projects from now. For later reference, how are you on vulcanology and metallurgy? And will you take payment in food? *grin*

              • A little rusty but with this much warning I can brush up. I’ve got several things I need to brush up on and post anyway. I have been slacking all around.

                • Free-range Oyster

                  No rush. Given how sporadic my progress on things is these days, and how often I get ambushed by shiny new ideas, it may be quite a while. 🙂

                  • What specific questions do you have? Right now I have VERY broad topics such as ‘cliffs’ and ‘Climate Change’ with a few more specific things (such as ‘rills’. More specific is easier to answer than very broad sweeping things.

    • I think it is fair to say that anyone who says “they believe” in evolution has self identified right there are a moron (unless there are mitigating circumstances about why they might have stated such- e.g. interviews with journalists who don’t do English well). Belief is completely the wrong word for a scientist to use and a “belief” in a scientific theory or hypothesis is about as relevant to truth and nature as a belief in the prophet X, messiah Y or god Z.

      Now if someone says they accept that the theory of evolution explains many observed events that is a good thing. It is also not in any way a statement that requires a disbelief in gods – particularly when combined with related statements such as an acceptance of quantum mechanics, gravity …

      There is, as I see it, and as do many scientists, no conflict at all between the putative existence of an omniscient, omnipotent etc. God (or gods or godesses or..) and these theories. Indeed there are a whole boat load of scientists who look at the creation myths in the book of Genesis and consider them to be pretty good allegories for how they understand the universe and the earth got started and humans showed up.

      The basic point is that religions say why something happened whereas scientists suggest how it happened.

      • Part of the problem is that there are at least five different notions that are gathered under the umbrella term “evolution”. The five (or more) that I’m thinking of now are:
        1) The notion that living things have changed over time, in accord with natural processes that can be discovered and elucidated, and so living things now are not identical to living things in past times.
        2) The notion that major groups of living things (and indeed, as near as can be discerned, all living things) are descended from a common ancestor.
        3) The notion that Darwin’s formulation was correct in every detail and nothing more need be said on the subject.
        4) The notion that living things advance through a Great Chain of Being from Poo Bah’s primordial protoplasmic globule through the animals, to man.
        5) The notion that not only is there no need for a supernatural explanation for evolution, there is no supernatural entity to invoke to explain it or anything else.
        6) Because we are descended from animals, we must necessarily behave like animals, lack of moral code and all. (And since plants are descended from bacteria, they must necessarily behave like bacteria.)

        Some of these are accepted science, some of these are not. Some of these are outside the realm of science altogether.

        Before engaging in any discussion of whether anyone “believes in” or “accepts” evolution, it might be useful to first specify in which sense one is using the word “evolution”.

        • Okay, how are #1 and #2 not simply sub and superset respectively? I don’t see them as that different.

          • You can have #1 without #2 if you have multiple lineages that never diverged. This is essentially what creationists are asserting when they respond to a demonstrated speciation event with “they’re still fish” (or whatever the superclass containing the two species may be).

        • BobtheRegisterredFool

          These might be related to 4. That the bits of the paleontological record we have are the whole of things, and that this implies a rope rather than a bush. That there is some underlying force such that fitting a curve to the past shows what the future must be.

  25. When I was a busy musician (80s, 90s) I would get sometimes 3 phone calls a week “offering gigs”. When I asked what it paid, it would be explained that it was a benefit. They would lay out the time and date, and I would ask what it was for. Invariably a leftist “March against hate” or “against censorship” or some such rot. I would politely decline, and be informed that there would be another gathering on another date, would that work better?
    I would explain that I did not espouse the cause, that I did not support public funds being used to display “Piss Christ”, that the poor innocent whose unjust imprisonment they were protesting had been convicted of murder before and should never have been released, or whatever. Always politely, always rationally, until it reached the point of being called a racist or fascist or whatever.
    Then days later, the SAME PERSON would call me again, to ask me and my band to play a benefit.

  26. If institutions go hard left before collapsing… Bernie Sanders… oh crap.

  27. Pingback: News of the Week (September 13th, 2015) | The Political Hat

  28. ==
    At some point every woman in every story is not only a suffragette but a modern feminist in petticoats. Every man is either an abuser or a social crusader for “milk from the government.”
    ==
    Even SF writers who are passionate lovers of history can get this wrong. The modernist perspective that is second nature to us would be an utterly bizarre, nonsensical way of thinking to most humans of just a century or two ago. It is not common sense to believe to believe in the equality of the sexes, equality of the races, and to view certain sexual practices as indicating a core identity rather than a repulsive behavior. The really nasty racism expressed in the 1920s and 1930s by R.E. Howard in “Black Canaan” or “People of the Dark” would have been out of place a hundred years earlier. We are technologically more advanced than the people of a hundred years ago (or even a decade ago) because Francis Bacon figured out a way to make knowledge of the natural world cumulative. That Bacon was one of history’s Right Bastards is a delicious irony.

    • I read a Doctor Who novel called “Asylum” that was set in approximately 11th Century Oxford. The story was fun, but far more interesting was the afterword where the author describes just how alien a culture medieval England was from our point of view.

      • Actually, Asylum is set in 13th Century Oxford. My bad.

      • Connie Willis probably did it better in _Domesday Book_. The weirdest thing about _Domesday Book_ is that the parts set in approximately our time (maybe 2130 AD) had no cell phones. _Domesday Book_ was written int he early 90s. A lot of the plot turns on people trying to call other people on lan lines and having to leave messages.

        • I wrote a mystery in the early nineties that will NEVER be published, because it turns on the same issues. It just didn’t seem like cell phones would ever be in general use. Yes, yes, d-oy

        • I ran across something a few months ago that summarized the big effect of cellphones pretty succinctly:

          Before cellphones, you had to know where someone was in order to call them. Now, you call them to find out where they are.

      • Most elves are 21st century humans with pointy ears, and you can find a more alien mind any day of the week by reading primary source.

        • Tolkien’s elves weren’t really the elves of folklore (I can’t remember if he gave them pointy ears). They were more like a lower order of angels. Tolkien’s elves were fiercely proud and considered themselves partners in the creation of the world to a far greater extent than men did.

          • Thank you for reminding me– I’d been meaning to look it up, and forgetting!

            Short form: in the elfish language that gives us Legolas’ name, the word for “leaf” and “ear” is the same. 😀

            http://tolkien.slimy.com/essays/Ears.html

            • A fascinating short essay, Foxfier! I conclude that Tolkien was far more interested in language than biology. Tolkien seems to have believed that the greatest differences between men and elves were that that the elves were created before men, and that they were immortal. I have an idea that “hope” was an attribute of Tolkien’s hobbits and men, but not his elves, I could be persuaded otherwise.

              • Tolkien wrote, in black and white, the difference lies in their souls, one of which was created to die and leave the world, and one of which was created to live in the world for its duration.

                • I think that Tolkien believed that the soul was language, or that language was an aspect of the soul. In “The Monsters and the Critics”, Tolkien wrote that he considered the greatest of human inventions to be the adjective, because it allowed us to conceive of things that did not exist (feathered snakes, dry water), and so created the possibility of imagination (I’m paraphrasing, of course).

  29. Charlie Martin wrote:
    “I’ve never met one of those people who got on about the conflict between evolution and Christianity who had better than a fourth-form Religion-class conception of theology, and I’ve never met someone who got on about the conflict between Christianity and evolution who understood the scientific basis of evolution.”
    What gets me is the Darwin fish. Is it supposed to signify that believing in Darwinism is somehow the opposite of believing in Christ? Or that having an ixthus bumper sticker is some bold statement against the scientific worldview that must be resisted and refuted?

    • Yes.

    • Or possibly that a whale ate Darwin?

    • It’s… look at how cute and advanced I am mocking believers…

      Nevermind that in context it’s a bit like doing something “cute” with the star of David or yellow triangles since the symbol represents a time when Christians were killed for their faith.

      • It’s worse than that. It is like having the “I’m the 99%” on the 2014 Saab station wagon in the reserved parking section.

        It is saying “I am virtuous” by having a sticker.

        Personally, I figure if you are trying to buy your virtue or indulgence, I figure you should get something in writing in purple from the Pope – or AlGore or Trumpka at least-, not a purple bumpersticker you got for free at an SEIU rally

        (yeah! not an OT comment for once!)

        • “It is saying “I am virtuous” by having a sticker.”
          Last week I saw a car with a “I’m the 99%” bumper sticker.
          Another bumper sticker on the car said “Skateboarding is not a crime!”, which seemed to me to be pure signaling. Who, over the age of twelve, brags about their wicked skateboarding skills? Isn’t that like bragging about your collection of Archie comics? (no offense to the Archie fans out there).

    • BobtheRegisterredFool

      I am ever so triggered by those.

      They can be understood as an endorsement of racism and eugenics.

      What did Darwin write about? Selection; breeding and culling for traits. What does the fish symbolize? Christians, which is also to say humans. The Darwin fish symbolizes the use of selection on humans, and is an endorsement of killing the unfit. The unfit being those the eugenicist finds ugly.

      I should go retire to my safer space for the night.

      • * slow clap * And the scoring for the Mental Gymnastics competition is: USA: 5, GBR: 5, FRA: 4, DDR: 2

        • BobtheRegisterredFool

          Well, the Eugenics movement is legitimately a fad that followed the industrial revolution and the spread of the theory of natural selection. It is scientifically bankrupt, and does draw from the science of both. (Well, it might be better to say ‘as engineering it rises to the level of wishful thinking’.) The folks who just call it social Darwinism, and fight it on those grounds, are missing part of the picture and the wider fight.

          The folks who stick to only the ‘made in the image of God’ model /are/ less susceptible to the ‘let us breed men like hounds’ argument. I think on examination that this and related schemes /are/ about getting rid of perceived ugliness.

          But the bumper sticker folks haven’t thought about that.

          • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

            Slightly off topic, the problem with the “humans are just animals” idea is that the powerful who believe that idea often treat the “less powerful” as they would animals to be “tamed” or “culled”.

            • I have often seen the analogy of breeding sheep and whether I would allow such and such sheep to breed.

              To which the obvious retort is — what am I in this situation? A fellow sheep? Then I have no say. The shepherd who raises the folk to fleece them and then slaughter them? Rather more, but if the sheep knew what he did, they would slaughter him.

            • I give you the Howard Foundation.

              • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                I don’t believe the Howard Foundation went around “killing” members of the Families who “didn’t measure up”.

                All the Foundation did was to pay people who had long-lived ancestors to marry others who also had long-lived ancestors.

                • ‘I don’t believe the Howard Foundation went around “killing” members of the Families who “didn’t measure up”.’

                  Indeed they didn’t. In at least some of the stories, they had special sanctuaries and caretakers for those who wound up with an unfortunate roll of the genetic dice.

    • Patrick Chester

      Pretty much.

      I find the Cthuhlu fish more amusing.

  30. c4c

  31. Their social signaling remained the same. The more left you were, the “smarter” and “more educated.” I”

    Another way of expressing this is that depicted in the Black Tide Rising series: the more military, combat training you’d had, the less your ability to adapt to the new tactics required for surviving a zombie apocalypse.

    • Another way of expressing this is that depicted in the Black Tide Rising series: the more military, combat training you’d had, the less your ability to adapt to the new tactics required for surviving a zombie apocalypse.

      That just doesn’t make sense to me at all. One of the things about being in the military (at least I found) was learning to change tactics when something wasn’t working, to be quick to adapt. I think people in the military are a lot less hidebound that the average civilian.

      • Don’t worry about it with respect to the series, spoiler military side does better than political side and watch for the forthcoming stories from that setting. The characters with the most combat experience and training – spoiler would you believe a Mustang? – are the most adaptable – spoiler watch for a combat patch and other such to come out of no place – on the other hand there is an element of military discipline – connected with survival in the face of disaster that reminds me of the lines from White Christmas

        [Susan and the General enter the ballroom to find two rows of soldiers forming a path to the stage]
        Bob Wallace: [Steping up to the General and saluting] Troops ready for inspection, sir!
        Joe, Adjutant Captain: [at his side] Just routine, sir.
        Gen. Thomas F. Waverly: [“inspecting the troops” at the inn] I am not satisfied with the conduct of this division. Some of you men are under the impression having been at Anzio entitles you not to wear neckties. Well you’re wrong. Neckties will be worn in this area! And look at the rest of your appearance. You’re a disgrace to the outfit. You’re soft! You’re sloppy! You’re unruly! You’re undisciplined!
        [pause]
        Gen. Thomas F. Waverly: And I never saw anything look so wonderful in my whole life! Thank you all.

        Perhaps in context with zombies hard and brittle go together, bearing in mind the Blackwater story focuses on butterbars.

      • Yes. I think the term “OODA loop” applies somewhere.

      • but while you’re trying to adapt Higher is telling you to hold still ’til they finish the PowerPoint…

      • I read it as TRAINING, vs experience– may be a brain edit, though.

  32. Sara Tuval Bernstein?
    The Seamstress

  33. Maybe Kipling has some advice for when the gods of the copybook headings strike.

  34. For instance, I hear traditional publishing has declared UF dead.

    Wait, it is? Huh. That’s … an interesting conclusion. Somebody had better let Jim Butcher know!

    • Christopher M. Chupik

      Larry and Sarah too.

    • I haven’t caught up on the Dresden files recently, but I only remember one that fits “urban fantasy” the way they figure it– most of his books don’t have ANY sex, let alone with vampires and/or other monsters.

      • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

        IMO you’re confusing “Urban Fantasy” with “Paranormal Romance”.

        Jim Butcher writes “Urban Fantasy” but not “Paranormal Romance”.

        Note, there may be people in the publishing industry who make the same mistake.

        • “May” make the same mistake?

          *looks at the shelves marked “urban fantasy,” most of which has more sex in the blurb than she wants in her stories*

          *wanders off to “Mystery” or “Detective story” to find Dresden Files*

          • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

            You can tell that I haven’t visited many “brick and mortar” bookstores to see how they label the shelves. [Wink]

            On the other hand, Charles de Lint is one of the people who started the “Urban Fantasy” sub-genre and the “sex” in his books were low-keyed assuming “sex” played a part in his books.

      • Yeah, I’d agree with Paul in that you’re confusing two genres. Urban Fantasy is a genre codified by inserting fantasy elements into the real world. Paranormal romance, on the other hand, is romance genre with fantasy elements in the real world. While there can be crossover between the two, both are different and distinct. Actually, the wikipedia page for “Urban Fantasy” actually has a sub-entry on it discussing how the two are not the same.

        It probably doesn’t help that a lot of marketing uses the two interchangeably and most readers aren’t that aware that the two are different. Which leads to some wonderfully confused readers and reviews on one or the other from time to time (my favorite being “I enjoyed this … but there was no sex!).

        • The history of words is the history of useful distinctions being lost to semantic drift.

          I note that SF romance writers tell you to try to get published as SF both because the editors will let you put in more science, and because romance readers read outside their genre (something like one third of their books), but SF readers don’t. Hence, bigger market that way. I suppose it applies to fantasy, too.

        • Problem both of you are missing:
          We’re not talking about what I would classify as Urban Fantasy, we’re talking about what the publishers who say urban fantasy mean when they say “Urban Fantasy.”

          It’s like when you talk to an extreme leftist who wants “ethical business practices,” but what they MEAN is “the business gives what I consider enough to the right people or causes, and doesn’t offend me.”

          • I would hazard that they are referring directly to Urban Fantasy and are not confusing it at all with Paranormal Romance, since they seem to be pumping the latter out at an incredibly rapid pace and identifying them as such.

            I’m pretty sure that when a publisher says “Urban Fantasy,” they’re indeed talking about something quite similar to what the authors and reading audience count as “Urban Fantasy.” The difference is that, like the music labels, the publishers have a clear vision of “this is or isn’t going to sell, even if it is, because that’s the plan.”

            • Your assurance does nothing to change what is actually offered, by said publishers, as “urban fantasy,” as can easily be established by looking at what they put in the “Urban Fantasy” section. (I’d classify it as “modern paranormal romance,” but I’m clearly not the target audience.)

              • Actually, it does, since I’ve published two Urban Fantasy novels. They are very much Urban Fantasy and pitched as such. I would expect that if I checked with other Urban Fantasy authors, most would correctly assign the proper genre to their books, as would the publishers.

                A good point was made above that language is subjective and changes over time, but in your case it sounds more like the case of a bookstore simply mis-stocking books under the wrong genre than anything else.

                After all, for what you assert above to be correct, publishers would need to be slowing the numbers of Paranormal Romance (which you suggest they’re holding as UF) since they seem disinclined to publish UF. Instead, the opposite is happening. PR numbers are fine and strong, but pubs are insisting UF is dead.

                Perhaps what you’re seeing is the refusal of pubs to send out UF books, and the bookstores are simply stocking what would otherwise be empty or sparse shelves with PR books.

                • They are very much Urban Fantasy and pitched as such. I would expect that if I checked with other Urban Fantasy authors, most would correctly assign the proper genre to their books, as would the publishers.

                  I put a link under Drak to Penguin’s Urban Fantasy page.

                  Go, look, click around– notice that the vast majority of the blurbs are are “woman with an odd name and a distinctive nickname has drama with her romantic partner in a modern, urban setting with magic and/or paranormal elements.” (Some lack one or two elements.)

                  This matches up with what is on the shelf under “Urban Fantasy.”

                  • I noticed Ilona Andrews on there.

                    I know she set the climax of one novel in a cool fight on top of my building. Haven’t read it yet although co-workers have given it mixed reviews.

                • “case of a bookstore simply mis-stocking books under the wrong genre than anything else.”

                  Bookstores don’t do cataloging bookstores do merchandising. Hence in the old days Glide Path by Arthur C. Clarke would go in with his other books in SF. A House is Not a Home might get lost in business histories.

          • No, Foxfier — that’s the UF they think is dead. The one that’s fun and not particularly sexed up. The rest they’re more and more calling PNR

            • Where is the sexed up line? Can anyone give me a series that straddles the worlds?

              I mean, I consider the Hollows Novels as being really close to PNR but still UF…same for the Kitty novels…then again, maybe I’m a closet romance fan and don’t even know it.

            • I think my current series would qualify at UF, and it’s selling rather nicely.

        • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

          The funny thing is that I read one Urban Fantasy that does contain some romance (the main leads will be getting married soon), but while I spotted the possible romance in the first book, there were reviews that screamed about them “not” getting together in the first book. [Very Big Grin]

  35. Does it bother anyone else how dependent independent publishing is on Amazon?

    Let the leftists “capture” Amazon… and what happens next?

    • BobtheRegisterredFool

      It’ll go down the tubes, and replacements will have a chance.

      • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

        What’s “Funny” about the screams against the “Great And Evil Amazon” is that nobody is really trying to create competition for Amazon. It’s all about “the Government Should Do Something”. [Frown]

        • If they were entrepreneurs they’d start their own company to compete with Amazon.

          • There are other companies. I go through Draft2Digital and am on several, even at the price of not being in Kindle Unlimited.

        • Well, yeah. After all, those who hate Amazon (and WalMart) haven’t an f’ing clue about how to do anything LIKE them. As far as they’re concerned, ‘Logistics’ is about the same as forestry. (Insert joke about not being able to tell the trees from the forest here.)

          And business experience? Like what’s needed to make a SUCCESSFUL business on the order of the two retail giants? Oh, THEY could do it better, despite not having any concept of how it was actually done in the first place, or how little they know of what they’d NEED to know to start and successfully run a small business, much less a worldwide one.

          So the government HAS to stop those big businesses from taking over – because there’s something pure and holy about the old Mom&Pop businesses that used to be on Main Street. (Which were usually badly stocked, didn’t have a whole lot of selection at best, and higher prices because there was no real incentive to keep prices down.) They want a mythological past that they’d reject in a heartbeat if they actually had to live in it.

          • What they object to, at base, is that Amazon and Walmart enable people to cheaply buy things that they, the Enlightend, have not approved. Mom & Pop’s mainstreet general store could be intimidated with half a dozen dedicated kooks. Walmart? That takes a,lot of seriously offended people, and the Liberal Establishment is at least dimly aware that they are going to be hard put to match numbers with, say, believing Christians.

            • Yep. “WHAT? The starving proles aren’t starving? They can buy big screen TVs for cheap? THIS CANNOT BE ALLOWED!!11!”

              How can you get people to rise up in dissatisfaction when they’re not dissatisfied?

        • And the competition is more interested in preening than competing.
          BUT so far at least Amazon doesn’t select what gets published, so they can be as lefty as they want 😉

    • That’s one of the nice things about Amazon – they’re more concerned with $$$ than ‘saving the world’. And they’re not stupid, I think – they can see what actually sells, and they’re going to enable people to sell it.

      An e-book that’s totes PC which doesn’t get bought doesn’t generate any income, and you aren’t going to keep the servers going on ideology.

      • Hi Jerry! How’s the writing going?

        • Not as well as I’d like – been busy, and I’m stalling out on a number of stories I’ve started. Gotten one done and it’s out at beta readers now. (GAAH! I just realized, I’ll have to make a cover for it! AAAHHHH!) (Runs away shrieking.)

          (Walks back, having gotten it out of his system.) 😉

          Now working on two that are intertwined. How in the heck do you defuse unrequited combat spells, and how many kinds ARE there? Plus figuring out the background to why they’re fighting (Priesthood – which may be alien – is very touchy about the honor of the Priesthood, and sends human armies out to avenge slights…) and why the humans are cooperative, and so on….

          How have things been going with you?

          • Eh, put a time limit on the combat spells, so they fizzle after a time.

            When they need to be actively defused, carefully work out a speed-up-time spell — which would probably have to be elaborate and long, in order to ensure combat doesn’t turn into a farce.

            • Aargh. Thank you, I think! 😉

              Now I’ve got to come up with a reason WHY they don’t do that… Hmmm.

              The Priesthood, which supplies the ‘munitions’, really don’t care at all about Humans, and it’s just a bit more complex to have a time limit. (In software terms, it’s kind of like adding an input subroutine that can detect whether a letter’s in upper or lower case and changing it according to where it’s going in the program. They didn’t care, so they’re forcing the user to adhere to THEIR specs, instead of listening to customer complaints and making modifications. After the first couple of requests (and the men making them) came back in pieces, the Armies stopped asking.)

              Which means a spell cast and unrequited fifteen, twenty years ago is still as potent. But you did give me a good idea for a couple of new combat spells. Thank you!

              • Meanwhile, I’m putting the refinements on a system whereby you can cast spells with a wand and a word, but you still sometimes do stuff like make potions or use rare and expensive ingredients. . . chiefly to do with power and permanency, I suspect.

                Though it’s interesting that your spells are immune to entropy.

                • Well, over the time frame we’re looking at. After all, they’re still blowing themselves up with WW1 ordnance, after all. With the Priesthood controlling ‘magic’ as such, THEY see no reason to give the humans much info at all on how things work.

          • recovering from breaking both my shoulders. Otherwise okay.

    • Amazon is a web site that takes payment for downloads. If the leftists take it over, it won’t be that hard to replace.

    • Now the way has been shown? We wobble a bit and something else takes its place. I could start it tomorrow. Look, Amazon will fall, unless the government connives to make it a monopoly. Natural monopolies are short-lived. When it falls something will replace it and out-compete the pants out of it. Probably half a dozen some things.

      • The problem is potential competitors are looking at trying to *be* Amazon, instead of being better than Amazon at *one* thing. Produce a better distribution system for ebooks, for example.

          • Actually the problem with Amazon is that it never makes a profit. And it only survives because of the volume of business it does… according to TheMarketticker.com

            • The only reason Amazon “doesn’t make a profit” is that revenues have heretofore been plowed back in to growing the business.

              That’s an entirely different situation from the business actually losing money.

            • Sigh. No. It makes a profit, but pumps it back in. Might be wise in that.

            • Free-range Oyster

              If they were showing a profit, they’d need to fire their accountants, old chap. *nudges the wallaby and winks*

            • Was it you who pointed this out a few months back and set me off on finding the (already mentioned) way that they don’t “make a profit” is because they’re reinvesting?

              If so, thank you! I thought it was really cool, and had no idea that someone figured “profits” after “paying to grow the business.”

              • Reinvesting to grow the business is wise to me, honestly.

                • Ditto. Amazon’s “thing” is that they come up with new stuff and try it– if it doesn’t work, it fades.

                  • I think Amazon and the continual reinvesting instead of showing huge profits is a throwback to the late 19th century. It seems to me a lot of the great industrialists thought of themselves more in terms of what they built than just the money they made from it. I think Bezos is in the same class. Amazon, for him, is much more about Amazon as a functioning creation than about Amazon making him rich.

                    Rich is the by-product while Amazon itself is the goal.

      • The Free-Market idealist in me thinks the same thing.

        The cynical paranoid crank living rent-free in the back of my head (in return for helping me think of ways to confound my protagonists) reminds me that that didn’t happen when leftists appropriated Universities, Hollywood, network TV, book publishing, and pretty much everything else. Heck, it didn’t happen when they took over reddit — and that’s a business model that should be trivial to duplicate.

  36. even leftists practice enlightened self interest,

    Eh, sometimes they practice benighted self-interest.

  37. Pingback: Monday, Monday | The Crawdad Hole

  38. Taking the “broken marriage” metaphore sideways;

    I’ve felt for some time that one of the big problems of the Liberal Left establishment was the way the Working Class left them at the altar at the end of WWII. See, all through the 1930’s the Left felt that The Workers were really With Them. As if the workers had an alternative. FDR pushed through a lot of stuff that made the Left moist in the groin, and The Workers (caps in hand) seemed properly grateful. The Left started spinning all kinds of utopian fantasies involving Planned Villages, where The Working Class would live under the benevolent guidance of (Guess Who?). And then alomg came WWII, and the State had even MORE power. Why the New Dawn was at hand!

    And then the Working class in America, drat them, declined to live in Council Estates, or go to work on Public Transportation. Or listen to Mahler, wear tweed with elbow patches, and Morris Dance. The working class wanted a ranch house in Levittown, a car with tail fins (Gods, how the Left hated those!), a TV, and Glen Miller on the hi-fi. The working class had been willing to line up and number off when there wasn’t any work, or when there was a war to be fought. But having WON that war, they had had a sufficiency of being told what to do. They dropped most traces of fashionable leftism like a recruit getting rid of a live grenade, and didn’t look back.

    And it seems to me that a lot of the pathology of the Left can be traced to that nasty surprise.

    • which in part explains why they think we should lose wars from here on out.

    • Hey, now, leave Mahler out of this…plenty of us listen to Mahler out in the ranch house in the ‘burd or while driving our SUV.

      Joking aside, the Left actively shot in the head the middle-brow culture of the immediate postwar era that produced people who read the Harvard 5 Foot shelf and listened to Mahler in their Levittown suburbs. They took all that improvement and cutlure talk seriously and set out to do just that.

      Phillip Glass, for example, came from just such a family where he learned the great modernist composers of the first quarter of the 20th century via his father, an ex-Marine who started an auto repair shop that morphed into a radio repair shop when cars got radios and then a record store. Glass senior, in an effort to understand why certain records didn’t sell, brought them home to listen and came to love Bartok, Shostakovich, and Stravinsky. He then became a salesman for their records to his customers.

      The Leftists couldn’t have families like that around. They were too afraid of too many of the workers actually aspiring to improve themselves would. When the son of ragpicker can open a business and set out to become educated only to have a grandson who could get early admission to U of Chicago during the high of the Great Books program how was being a college educated elite being an easy status going to be possible.

      Best make sure they listen to Brittany Spears in their tract home and find even adventure reading unbearable so they just watch TV.

      • Free-range Oyster

        I’ve bemoaned the loss of middlebrow culture since I found out that there had been such a thing. Sadly, that was only a few years ago. The corpse had been burned and the ashes mixed with clay for chamber pots before I was born. Most people of my acquaintance don’t even know that there ever was such a thing.

      • Complex issues. Educating the proletariat was a big deal for a while in the United Kingdom see e.g. a lot of Teach Yourself books. Rumor says that Arthur Godfrey (what a fascinating life he had including associations with other street children that remind us how desperate life has been at times and places in the United States of America that are still within the memory of living people) took the Reader’s Digest It Pays to Increase Your Word Power as a guide.

    • Flyover Pilgrim

      Hey, wait a minute…I like Mahler AND Glen Miller.

  39. I don’t mean to be the one who nitpicks every detail, but I just wanted to let you know that the link in your “UPDATE” takes me to the Amazon page selling unisex hospital gowns. Not sure that’s what you meant for it to be.

  40. Too much is still going on in my life so I try not to stress myself over the horrifying grey goo out there. I keep writing… and hope that one of my books may entertain.

  41. I must disagree on one point. If it hasn’t been mentioned above, the current model is that those leftists displaced by the market often find sinecures in government, academia, and NFPs. These refuges provide munificent salaries funded, often or eventually, by the taxpayer. They also require little or no actual work — but provide a platform to spread leftist ideology and a mechanism to reward conformers and punish the recalcitrant. And a power base which can constantly expand itself.

    Capitalism is expunged; communism/socialism is established. Then the deluge.

  42. A lot of people are buying Gold and Silver.
    If gold and silver are going to do you any good the supposed crash can only be so far. Try trading gold for Toilet Paper. Not going to go well for you.
    Ammo, Coffee, Tea, Toilet Paper, etc. make great trade items.
    So it also depends on how bad you think the Crash will be.
    Personally, Ammo, TP, etc. can always be used and have value, gold and silver only have value when there are people RICH enough to want them.

    • TP is awfully bulky. I would add nicotine and alcohol (also bulky) to your list.

      One of my favorite post-apocalyptic TV scenes is from Revolution: A woman carries a poisoned bottle of liquor in her pack. It worked; about-to-be-rapists drink it down and she escapes.

      My big question is: How can one test a fairly fast-acting poison? How much of do you need to put in a liter of alcohol? Too much probably isn’t an issue, but too little could be a problem.

      • I remember reading something along the line of what is a poison can be medicine and all that matters is the dose. I ran across a great blog some time back that talks about natural poisons.

        …Does anyone still teach that foxglove is poisonous? I remember reading that in a gardening book once and remember asking my mom why anyone would plant something so dangerous in a garden.

        • Digitalis. (Whole family, and the heart medicine made from them.)

          It’s easier to list the plants that AREN’T poisonous than the ones that are, especially if you’re not putting an upper limit on how much someone is ingesting, and how, and when! (A huge number of nice therapeutic teas mess with the female system if taken at the wrong time or in huge doses.)

          • Indeed. I read an article once in the Wall Street Journal about how the various potherb weeds chefs were fashionably using in their cooking were causing unexpected side effects on diners because of their medicinal properties.
            And doctors are learning to ask about herbal teas and other concoctions in addition to lists of medications being taken, since that nightly cup of Valerian tea has about the same effect as a daily Valium tablet. (I use a tincture of scullcap and motherwort as a sleep aid and as a muscle relaxant when I strain something. I’ve told two doctors about this. My regular one said he needed to learn more about herbs, and the one at Employee Health gave me a list of references he likes.)

            Oleander (Nerium oleander) is also quite poisonous, and a few flowers will kill a horse. According to the Handbook of Poisoning the chemical is a cardiac glycoside, and the symptoms and treatment are the same as for foxglve. So it occurs to me that if you run out of heart medication and there’s no foxglove* growing nearby, oleander might pinch hit.

            *Another bit of trivia: Although it’s possible to synthesize digitalis, it’s cheaper to grow it, so manufacturers cultivate fields of purple foxglove. Purple, because it has a higher concentration of the active chemical.

            • Cool on the synthisizing!

              I always feel torn between warning folks that yes, herbal medicine can be dangerous, and worrying about if it’s as insulting as going “by the way, don’t attempt surgery at home with home-made knives.”

              • It’s really not. Just do it. The life you save you may be your own.

              • One of the known issues with home made knives is that flint knives run out to a finer blade than a stainless 440C scalpel – that can be an edge when a sharp knife is needed – takes less pressure to push through tissue. Most of the flint knife use I hear about is with University faculty making a point.

                All that matters is the dose is often seen chez Dr. Pournelle. As I recall, looking it up is left as an exercise for the reader, the lethal dose for distilled water is about 5 gallons, less in infants. And most of the people who die from water overdose are malnourished infants and over hydrated marathon runners but they do die.

                • A lot of “heat stroke” could be re-described as water poisoning– hyper hydration. Too little salt-stuff in too much fluid.

                  Apparently the number is growing as doctors push the “reduce salt intake” thing on people who need more salt and don’t have the issues that require salt reduction anyways.

                  • I think part of this comes from some people thinking there’s one right way to be healthy. People differ.

                  • Every time somebody says something about me adding salt to my food, I mention that salt is a requirement, you NEED salt to live. And if you work hard enough to sweat in any quantity you need More salt. This is why energy bars are often marketed as “sweet & salty”, that salt isn’t there just for flavor.

                    • My husband had that argument with his (then) business partner. They’re masons, and my husband was downing a very salty lunch. The partner was complaining that all the salt was bad for him. (after they’d downed at least a gallon of water that morning… they quit by 2pm because the temps were too hot for the mortar). Guess who had the more heat-related issues?

            • ” According to the Handbook of Poisoning the chemical is a cardiac glycoside, and the symptoms and treatment are the same as for foxglve.”

              Treatment: bend over, stick your head between your knees, and…

              Foxglove is something I don’t see very much around here. Growing up on the coast, the idea of Cultivating foxglove earned you the same sort of looks as if you mentioned you wanted to grow dandelions to make wine out of. Foxglove grew everywhere. That is cool little tidbit that the purple has higher concentrations than the white, I had no idea of that.

              • When I bought a large batch of dandelion honey, the company I bought it from imported it from New Zealand. Apparently that was where they had to go for (a) large patches of unsprayed dandelions, and (b) a beekeeper willing to separate out the dandelion honey.
                The resulting mead has the distinctive character of the dandelion, but not as overpowering as the wine. It’s very nice, and I’m thinking it’s about time to see if I can get more of that honey.
                (Foxglove honey might be poisonous. Or it might not, since it’s supposed to lure bees and not have them keel over before they get to the next flower.)

          • Yeah… I sulk about having to give up peppermint tea whenever I’m pregnant but that’s how it is.

            • …Eep? Peppermint is not one of the ones I got warned about!

              • In normal doses, you’re fine; if you’re mainlining it at high concentrations or playing herbalist with the oils, it can trigger your cycle.

                It’s also only peppermint, the other mints are actually suggested in moderate quantities.

              • Yeah, it’s more an advisory, really, since a large amount of peppermint/mint being consumed could be abortificent, but likely at levels which would be harmful to the mother anyway. Being as I was being extra, extra careful with my pregnancy with Brandon, I avoided it in toto. I consoled myself with genmaicha and after-dinner little cups of chamomille.

                • Ah, I see. I can understand avoiding it in a precarious case, then. :/ But will probably not worry about peppermint ice cream this December. (I’m not even entirely sure how much of that is real peppermint, but I don’t think I could plausibly consume enough to be dangerous, anyway.)

                  I can’t seem to get the hang of mint teas at all generally. Or mint hot chocolate. They smell lovely and then I can barely taste the mint. I’m not sure whether the problem lies with my materials, my procedure, or my tongue.

  43. Reblogged this on The Arts Mechanical and commented:
    Another good piece from Sarah. Meanwhile Rush has been talking about how separated our elite classes are from the consequences of their actions. The fact is that we have this small bunch of monocultually alike people who don’t really work for a living and believe that things are fine because they are doing OK. But Things are not doing OK.

  44. Pingback: Blogline of the Day - Caring is forced to be on bended knee to the State - GraniteGrok — GraniteGrok

  45. Luce, Max, Ben, and Nat together still not as gay as Twilight… 😉

    Even riding brooms together… That book deserves a Hugo. Or maybe a Keeva…. (insert conspiratorial grin here)

    • Not quite sure what to make of this comment, but my gay characters tend to be based on my friends, (not directly, heaven forfend, but in spirit) and they tend to be MEN first. 😛