Minor Slide Backs

It’s very hard for people born and raised in a country to actually see it as it is.  It is even harder for people in a country and in a culture to have a dispassionate view of their own culture and the state of it.

This is particularly hard for the US because we’re such a great big country, (as a friend said about my older son, once “larger than life in all directions.”)  Our pop culture even projects outward, appealing to people who frankly don’t get most of it save for the fact that it’s “new” and “cool.”  Our language is spoken — for varous values of spoken, and particularly UNDERSTOOD — the world over.  We can leave our enormous country and still be home, as the people talking to us are to a great extent influenced by the image the US has created of itself in the media and everywhere else.

As for history: we are a nation of fanatics. I neither know nor care whether there is a higher incidence of aspergers in the US than in the rest of the world.  There is however an almost “aspergers” culture.  Part of this is that the people who came here by choice are the kind who are more likely to take principles seriously.  yeah, sure, some came for the economy or someone they married, or a well boiled egg, who nows?  But assimilation is hard; until recently it was required, and people who came here and STAYED had at least some interest in principles and how things were run.

One of the things we’re fanatical about is our history, but unfortunately history is very badly taught in the US.  It’s a memorizing of dates and events, with no informing of what was really happening there, what the public sentiment was, etc.

The teaching of other countries’ history is even worse.  I don’t know if this has been endemic since the founders.  It would seem to make sense not to expose our kids, THEN to just what a purple elephant with polka dot stripes the US is.  Now…  Well, it would be nice to channel all those constructive impulses constructively.

Both of the above, the isolation of the culture and the complete lack of historical perspective contribute to everyone’s impression the US is in an irreversible decline or “doomed.”  Both of the above, from the point of view of someone who’s been all over the world and grew up elsewhere are slightly more than fruitcakey.  They’re batty.

Look, I first came here in 79, the last year of that golden age that was the Carter presidency, when everyone in the US was homeless and in soup lines.  Yeah.  That was what I got from media coverage in Portugal.  Both that Carter was teh awesome and that the US was circling the drain.  I felt a little sad I was coming here for a year in the twilight of the gods.

What I found: yeah, things were tight.  My host mother had to get a job because my host dad hadn’t had a raise in a while.  However, I understood for the first time my aunt’s saying (she immigrated to Venezuela.  I wonder what she’d think now) which was “I’d rather the worst there than the best here.”

The US “circling the drain” was more wealthy than anywhere I even knew of in Europe.  Oh, perhaps not in reserves or in factories, or in who knows what, but in the day to day living.  People here lived better, easier, and had more modes of entertainment available to them than anywhere in the world.  My host mom, who’d gone back to work to help with groceries, spent a little of that money and bought a little TV for the dining room.  (Yep the family watched TV at dinner.)

In Portugal my parents had spent eight years saving for a TV, an effort ended when a friend gave them a TV.  And also even if you wanted to get a job to supplement income, there often were no jobs.

We’re now arguably where Portugal was, re: jobs.  Not really, though, because our laws are still looser on starting something small, and while it’s a problem to grow a business, by and large you can still feed yourself and your family.  And we still live better than 90% of the places on Earth.

I want you to consider that and also the fact that during the regency, England, both people and the supposed government were in crisis.  They had a hell of a time finding an heir with a legitimate heir. People were drinking too much, the lower classes were in crisis since those values that made the British countryside such a great place, had been replaced with those of the city slums.

Idle, hard drinking, wenching and worse was the lot of their “upper classes.”

Any Englishman would be right to give up.

England’s greatest days lay ahead.  This is not isolated, but it’s the best example you will know.  In similar circumstances, Portugal was absorbed by Spain for 60 years, a thing only reversed with revolution and civil war. There too its greatest days were ahead.

In all these cases both the elites and the government were in crisis and often the people were dealing with undigested immigrants and a break down in culture (weirdly in regency England, Portuguese and Spanish Immigrants.  A common sentence in a letter to hire domestics was “please no portuguee.  Eh.)

They recovered.  Will we recover?

I don’t know.  We are not in the same time, in the same place.  And each episode of national decadence is its own self.

All I can tell you is what Richard Fernandez told me yesterday on face book (and keep in mind he’s depressive, as am I, so any time he’s even vaguely optimistic, even twisted and backwardly optimistic, it’s a great thing.)  So.  What he said was “I have no doubt they will lose.  They destroy all they touch, because their principles are toxic.  In the end they will lose.  The question is, can we survive till then?”

I enjoin you, very strongly, to do whatever you can and more to survive till then.

Remember they worked for DECADES to take over the media, education, the writing and entertainment establishments.  They dissembled and betrayed to get control and power.  That’s their strength.  And then someone created a way for anyone to reach the masses directly and instantly.  Because that’s what builders do.  They build.  (Even if some of those builders mouth the platitudes of the left, but then rich people do, because it’s a positional good.)  Just that is making all their gains shaky.  So may it always be.

Build under, build around, build over.  Have our structures ready so that when the official ones collapse, it defaults onto ours, which are ready to take the weight.

Be not afraid.  In the end we win they lose.

Now go forth and build.  It’s what we do.



270 responses to “Minor Slide Backs

  1. Invest in fabber tech. The sooner we have that at a high enough level the sooner we can ditch the entire rat-race that the statists depend on.

    • Can’t fab without raw materials and energy.
      China’s sucking up all of the first, and our own gubmint via the EPA is doing their level best to restrict the latter.

      • Waiting for the first CHON fabber (thank you Fred Pohl!) that is powered by a radiothermal generator and takes waste feedstock.

        That actually makes me wonder – has anyone done the numbers on how large a RTG would be practical, in terms of powering remote communities and such?

        • It’s not quite an RTG, but Gen4 has pretty much what you’re looking for:


          • Unfortunately, the NRC has not reduced the regulatory requirements for small reactors to the point of making them cheaper to operate than the big 1200-1400 MWe plants. That is why none of the utilities are doing much for license extension for the smaller plants (<1000 MWe), because you have to have the same number of people to run them as you do the bigger plants, and people are the major cost of operating a nuke power plant.

            Under the current government, all bureaucracies are expanding and the NRC is no exception. I am seeing much more foolishness, especially on the post Fukushima stuff, from the NRC than I have ever seen in the past. ALL the agencies are out of control, and they are no exception. I have been contemplating getting coffee cups made showing a Klingon cruiser hovering above the containment domes firing disruptors with a caption on it saying "Embrace ALL the possibilities!!!"

        • RTGs suck, relatively speaking. But if you keep adding mass you get something called an Atomic Pile that is much much better as a power source. In addition to the gen4 noted below, also look at the 4s, traveling wave reactor, RS-MHR, NMR, and Flibe designs. Now once we make it legal again to reprocess the ‘waste’ from these piles the use of Personal RTGs sounds possible. The cost could be free if you agree to house the cask of heat-generating waste while it decays. Thermocouples could reliably use the heat to provide small emergency power for your house (keep the ice cream from melting and charge your VR implantables) and you could have it buried under your driveway if you live up north so that you’d never need to shovel snow again. Sure you’d soak a few more rads, but not as much as if you’d gone with a brick exterior instead of the anti-ballistic siding.

        • The regulatory regime for RTG’s in private hands is pretty strict. Also, they are not very efficient or high power producers. The fuel for them has been rationed because with the demise of the nuclear weapons reactors, the supply of PU240 has decreased so much NASA has to ration for deep space probes.

      • IIRC, NASA is studying a RTG at a power level of 10 kw for a manned Mars landing.

  2. Just remember – these are the Crazy Years. We’re in the fifth decade or so of them, so if Saint Heinlein is accurate, we should move out of them in 10 or 15 years. Unfortunately that moves us to the Interregnum, except that I suspect that Heinlein, PBUH, got this one wrong. Nehemiah Scudder will likely be a social justice warrior, and the office of the inquisition will be punishing any deviancy from whatever is currently politically correct.

    • Isn’t that kinda the French Revolution?

    • Joe in PNG

      I’m thinking we’ll be seeing more of a “Conservative” snap back. People will get sick and tired of all the SJW self righteous hectoring.
      Trump’s popularity for instance.

      • Yes. Constantly being accused of racism/sexism/etc has gotten really old. I’m very tired of them projecting their own flaws on us. The more I listen to them the more I can see a case for Freud’s defense mechanisms at work (Projection as mentioned and Reaction Formation).

        • Anonymous Coward

          Rather than Freud’s defenses, I simply respond to such accusations with the “F U Reds” defense.

    • The SJWs aren’t well enough armed to establish a rule like Scudder’s. And they aren’t in a position to change that in less than five election cycles.

  3. Yeah. The history of America is a series of highs and lows. It’s usually some disruptive technology that creates America’s boom times. Then the Good Government types tie everything up in red tape. I’d love to see the next boom created by trimming (cutting? hacking?) back the regulatory red tape that is strangling the economy.

    • How? Nullification? Restoring the concept of feds as “revenuers?” (Actually, I kind of like that second one…)

      • Well, my hope was electing Cruz, but that chance was shot down. How the Constitution is restored is a puzzle. I fear that an Article V convention would like as not gut it as restore it. SMODs on the coasts is as possible as anything else. We just need to answer when opportunity, whatever it turns out to be, knocks.

        • Well, I think a Article V convention would be worth trying. The rest of the options would still be available if it didn’t work out.

          • State level Republicans seem to be a bit less progressive than the GOPe. But I’m still not hopeful about an Article V convention. Maybe it would work if we elect the Unicorn Party candidate that our host prefers to Mr. T.

            • Our Constitution is the masterwork of a bunch of very smart, dedicated winners. Presently, we would be hard pressed to find smart, dedicated, or winners in actual “public service”, and they would surely produce the same quality product as everything else from government for the last several generations. If we would just observe and use it, our existing Constitution would do fine, even though it is not perfect…

        • The crossing law suits between NC and DC will show us if the states have any rights left.

        • Vote the down ticket. Now more than ever we need the checks and balances of the tripod to kick in and counter the imperial presidency.

      • DragonKnitter

        Already have a runaway Article V called the Federal Bureaucracy, that rolls on no matter what we do; just so frustrated with those who diss the people who propose one actually according to the Constitution to take the country back. The founders put that in for a reason, to ‘build under, around, over’ as Sara says….

  4. I’m just going to point out that the Regency was time that the steam engine started changing things, the hot blast became a thing, textile mills got their start and Brunel and Maudsley started playing around with engineering. None of which the swells noticed. When they did notice, they got scared as hell. See “satanic mills.”

    • They were too busy looking down their noses at the new industrialists, many of whom had started on the factory floor or as other sorts of manual laborers or small businessmen.

      • Birthday girl

        Recently I’ve read 3 novels by Anthony Trollope – Victorian stories of the upper classes, contemporary with Dickens – and I’m often startled by how much scorn there is for farmers, working people, merchants, innkeepers, etc. How in the world did Britannia become the world power they once were with this attitude toward the people who actually made it happen? Yet they did. It puzzles me … and of course we see its echoes today with the “clinging to their guns and religion” and “The minority of people who pay close attention to politics” type comments you hear from our modern-day upper classes (so to speak).

        • Because the entire British upper class was not Trollope. A bunch of those types actually liked to get their hands dirty. Very dirty and greasy it the stories I’ve heard were true. It was just the romantics who had the scornful attitude, but since they were the ones that created all the literature, that’s what we have. Fed down to us by all those regencies of course. Maybe steampunk will change that.

          • So… the folks who viewed folks who do stuff with contempt were loud and overwhelming, if you listened, and meanwhile the non-contemptuous were busy getting things done?

            I can live with this….

            • BobtheRegisterredFool

              If the upper class had such contempt and unwillingness to dirty their hands, they would not have died in such numbers in the trenches of WWI.

              • I think you missed a few years between the two points, and there’s a big difference between the battlefield and trades, and the whole point being made was that they were not as unified as the Talkers acted.

                • BobtheRegisterredFool

                  Eighty to a hundred years. Taboos maybe can disappear over that time, but I wouldn’t think a cohesive demographic could entirely change directions in so little time. A group that only produces poets sniffing perfumed hankies probably doesn’t produce very many infantry officers, even junior ones. Even if people are complicated.

                  Likely a mixture, as you say.

                  • Look at the way this country has changed even in the last 10 years. 10 years ago I wasn’t really happy with what Bush was doing in office but I at least had faith he was trying to keep us safe. Now. . .we have a President who is actively helping our greatest enemies get the tools required to destroy millions of lives and has pretty much set the stage for making the next world war inevitable and he’s being celebrated for it since the people in his camp refuse to see anything but the myth that the media has built.

                    • BobtheRegisterredFool

                      We had the sub-population that supported him in that for decades prior, and they’ve been going down that road for some time.

                  • If you read the history of the Napoleonic wars, and what the English did, you’ll find you’re OH so wrong.

                    • BobtheRegisterredFool

                      Wouldn’t be the first time I’ve screwed up that badly. Any particular areas that would illustrate that?

                    • yes. Pretty much all the nobility that served in Portugal and SPain. (Well, not all.) I”d recommend books, but they’re packed.

                  • Ah, but remember – the first son inherited, the second went into the Army (or Navy), the third into the clergy, and the fourth into law. So you’ve got a goodly core of gentry and nobility who have to go into the military. Granted, they ranged from “excellent officer” to “ye gads, make him go away,” but they did serve, going back to the time of the Duke of Marlboro (1700) and beyond.

                    • BobtheRegisterredFool

                      Yes, but were the good infantry officers also men who could not bear stench?

                      I may be prejudiced by the sort of personalities I’ve seen in the sort of American men who get to Col. or Lt. Col. these days. Especially for infantry.

                  • Those junior officers were out in the colonies and the back of beyond, fighting people who had nothing better to do than fight.

                    • They looooooved fighting, the natives did. The good officers put up with the stench; they had to bear it. BobtRF, you have a valid point there. May I suggest you peruse http://www.jqpublicblog.com/ Air Force, not Army, but beset by the same demons and SJWs of their own.

            • Fox, there’s a strong thread in British public life of the classes not talking to each other in the workspace.

              I’ve dealt with the wonders of British industrial practices since the 1970s, and I’m here to tell you, they’ve got some huge problems, mostly ones where the people running the show at mid-levels don’t listen to the guys actually doing things down on the factory floor, and those guys actively playing stupid in return. Result? You’re in Kuwait, and suddenly informed that, gee, the Mabey-Johnson float bridge set you were told to ship north into Iraq? Yeah… The list of containers it was in was incomplete, and they actually need another 45 containers on top of the 200-plus you sent north, along with the 100 or so pontoons. And, oh-by-the-way, none of those containers are marked, they’re not on a list, and… Good luck in finding them, Sergeant K! We need them today…

              Then, there were the British boat engines we needed parts for, out of our bridge erection boats that were being used for riverine patrol ops, wearing the engines out to the point where we had gone through a 12-year stockage of peacetime parts usage, and we thought, well… Don’t they sell to the Kuwaiti oil industry? Yeah. Interesting thing, there… The UK used to own that market, and then, the Kuwaitis found out that they could get parts in from Japan and Taiwan quicker by boat than they could by having the Brits air-freight the damn things in, when they got off their asses in the factory to ship them. The Kuwaiti importer for those things gave us an earful, and recommended that the smart thing for us to do was just replace everything with Nissan Marine engines. Because, if he ordered us the parts from the UK, he’d likely have them in three weeks, and they’d be the wrong ones, which would have to be shipped back, and then the right ones would be shipped, only, no… They’d be a different kind of wrong, entirely, and then, if we were really lucky, and made the proper sacrifices to the dark gods of the marine engine world, we might, maybe, get the right parts in. He predicted, based on his experience, that he’d require at least four months to get the damn things in. We did the math: Quicker to have the parts fabricated in the US, and shipped in, than to try to get anything from the UK.

              When the Brits are good, they’re magnificent. When they’re bad…? They’re a whole separate order of screwed-up. When I was a kid, and my stepdad ordered in parts from British Leyland? Yeah. Standard policy was that the customer needed to sign a statement saying he understood that the parts orders were likely to be screwed up beyond all recognition. Even with a large British Leyland dealer, and the regional parts depot being in Portland, Oregon, they still screwed things up like you wouldn’t believe. I’ve got a box of high-value parts we couldn’t get them to take back in the 1970s, sitting in our garage still. It would be a crime to scrap them, they’re such wonders of machining, but… They were the wrong parts, shipped on the third order, and they sent us six of the wrong part instead of the one right part we asked for. Contacted them, and the attitude was “Oh, well… Just keep ’em, we’ll ship the right one out, again… Cheerio!!”. Gave one great insight into why British Leyland went bankrupt under Margaret Thatcher.

              You run into things in British industry you just don’t see, anywhere else. The crap I’ve seen? Yeesh. Mind-boggling–And, I can point to a continuous thread where they’ve been doing this crap since the beginning. British design and craftsmanship–Top notch. British follow-through, down on the shipping docks? Horrible. There are reasons that Dyson moved production of their vacuums to Singapore and Malaysia, and they weren’t due to the labor costs, either. Root problem was, the middle management didn’t listen to the guys doing stuff like packaging and so forth, and by the time the whole thing reached the crescendo, the Dyson management just said “Screw this…”. Same problems have led to British automobile companies going bankrupt, while Toyota is coming in and hiring the same employees and building excellent cars.

              British design? Great. British craftsmanship? First-rate. British logistics? LOL… A litany of horrors. The stories I could tell… And, most of them stem from that middle-management/labor force interface down where the rubber almost meets the road–Mid-tread, so to speak. Class? Dunno, but there’s a huge disconnect in performance between potential and what they accomplish. It would be the work of decades to trace out the reasons for it, and why it happens, but fixing it? Dunno… I think the UK is doomed to remain a second-rate manufacturing country because of it. They’ll build shed-loads of bespoke items, but churning out consistent, quality products the way Japan or the US does? Beyond them. And, it’s all down to that mid-level management issue, I think.

              • Have you considered selling the parts off? I’d think you’d be able to get a decent price for them from some classic car enthusiasts.

                • Yup. British Leyland as in MG? If so, I know there’s a healthy market for the parts. If some other BL, it’s still likely.

        • Jane Austen shows a bit of this in some of her characters in Pride and Prejudice. And yet, how much it matters varies from character to character. While there are no manual laborers among the cast, Mr. Gardiner is notable as being a lawyer (and thus, someone who actually had to work for a living), as opposed to being landed gentry like almost everyone else. And yet, he and his wife probably make the best impression – out of all of Elizabeth’s family – on Mr. Darcy.

          • Sara the Red

            I always figured it was Miss Austen’s way of lampooning the pretentious snobs–like Caroline Bingley, whose own fortune came from trade–to ‘true gentry’ like Darcy, who didn’t care what a person’s social status was so long as they behaved like civil, intelligent human beings. (And possibly this was because Darcy himself was an Odd–he was clearly a bit of a social awkward or something, in that he did not exert himself to be charming and witty in public settings, and so was considered to be a high-in-the-instep snob himself. I saw it pointed out, I forget where, that in current modern views, a brooding sarcastic type is considered sexy, whereas Elizabeth Bennett’s initial impression of Darcy was perfectly understandable in their own time’s social views, because ‘brooding sarcastic type’ was considered to be just downright rude.)

          • One thing I always disliked about Emma (which I only managed to read once) is that the final blow to Emma’s vanity is discovering that Harriet is a tradesman’s daughter after all.

      • The Industrial Revolution started with Darby’s steel refining process. The French and Germans, among others, jumped aboard, but there was little government interest and there simply wasn’t enough available private capital to move very fast.

        Britain, on the other hand… despite its navy and empire, the British crown was pretty much the booby prize of the European nobility. Mostly, because centuries before Parliament had grabbed the purse strings, and the monarchs of Britain were trailer-park poor despite their grand titles.

        The Crown’s “personal income” was mostly from customs duties, and the monarchs realized that the more stuff Britain could export, the more money went into their own pockets. So they gave royal approval to industry and granted titles to inventors and industrialists to encourage them.

        The rest of Europe caught on after a while, but by then the British had amortized their expenses and everyone else was playing catch-up.

    • It’s interesting to note that, contrary to the popular narrative, the workers in those “dark satanic mills” were better fed and less ignorabt than their rural parents. Not WELL fed, nor well educated, but better in both regards.

      That’s something the Proggies work hard to ignore: that working in a Nike factory for the equivalent of $1 a day is an improvement on spending all day knee deep in a rice paddy fertilized with human excrement for a handful of rice and a space on the dirt floor of a hut.

  5. Re. teaching non-US history at a low level. I think one problem is we (the US) are too used to our moats. And we tend to chop history up geographically, which makes perfect sense in US history, because we’re dealing with common cultures and languages and a short span of time (500 years). One thing I’d love to do is teach a world history series by region. All of Europe in one go. All of Africa in one go. All of Asia in one go, and so on. Instead we do a little bit here, then move over to a different region for that same period of time, then to a different continent. Another option would be to do a true straight chronology of world history and show how the fall of Constantinople affected the Renaissance AND the development of the Russian Orthodox church AND the idea of the Tsar as the political and spiritual defender of Rome AND affected how the Holy Roman Emperors looked at their duty in Eastern Europe.

    I can dream. And try to make those links whenever possible, given the materials I have.

    • For a good overview of American history, I recommend Daniel Boorstin’s “The Americans” trilogy. The first two volumes, “The Colonial Experience” and “The National Experience,” are quite good although the last one, “The Democratic Experience,” begins to slant toward his political beliefs as it approaches the present day (that being 1973 🙂 ). But that’s easy enough to recognize and factor for.

      I’ve also found Joseph Ellis to be a very engaging writer of history, who seldom lets his political views color his historical accounts. I especially enjoyed “Founding Brothers” and “American Creation: Triumphs and Tragedies in the Founding of the Republic.”

    • H.G. Wells’ “The Outline of History” tried to do something similar.

    • “Another option would be to do a true straight chronology of world history”
      That’s what we’ve tried to do with the kids, though admittedly it’s stronger on western civilization than say, sub-Saharan Africa or Indo-China. There are a couple of programs out there for this. One we’ve used is rchistory.com (Catholic pov, so includes a fair amount of church history — which of course has had a huge impact on Europe in particular).

    • I’ve been attempting to listen to the “A History of Rome” podcast, by the same person who does “Revolutions” (which I learned about here, many blog posts ago). I had no idea how much there was to Roman History, nor how much it has shaped European, and later, our own ways of life! And this, despite missing maybe three-quarters to nine-tenths of it, because I’m trying to debug software while listening to it, and my attention doesn’t focus on what I’m trying to listen to.

      In listening to these blog-casts, I’m inclined to think that the best way to learn history is to find good story-tellers, and find a good time period and/or region, and then tell the stories as straight, truthful and as interesting as possible…and, if the revolutions and empires are any indication, you have *plenty* of down-right *wacky* stuff as source material, to keep things interesting…

      • ?…the best way to learn history is to find good story-tellers, and find a good time period and/or region, and then tell the stories as straight, truthful and as interesting as possible…and, if the revolutions and empires are any indication, you have *plenty* of down-right *wacky* stuff as source material, to keep things interesting…”


        This is why I write historical fiction – heavy on the historical, of course. The best way to get people interested is to make a ripping good yarn out of it. And yes – the wacky stuff is sometimes even more bizarre than what any author can imagine.

    • I’ve heard of home-schoolers doing a BIG time line. As the author advising this observed, the long stretches of white will impress on the child how little is known of ancient times.

  6. Reblogged this on The Arts Mechanical and commented:
    Truly disruptive time are scary to the people living in them. We live in disruptive times. The Blue model social structure is failing and falling apart all over the place. The good part of that is that the blue model’s self destruction will provide new outlets and opportunities for liberty. Carpe Diem.

    • VERY disruptive. I think future historians will view the twentieth and twenty first centuries as one roughly continuous “search for governance” time. And we know what happened in the 20th.

      • One thing is that the Progressives and SJW types have no clue what technology is going to do to them. If the stuff I’m seeing hits when it looks like it will, It could be as big as the early 19th Century in Britain and the US was. Energy, manufacturing and just about everything else is going to get some incredible stuff. To say nothing of social changes. We are going to see individuals, in large shops and garages, with access to more manufacturing capability than all of Britain in 1780.

        • We’ve already seen some of it with the increase in 3D printing. But I don’t think a lot of people really grasp what’s coming just from that. And you know that the government is going to try to regulate the heck out of it (and has already started to do so in a few cases).

        • We already had the big breakthrough in energy in the 1940s and 50s. We went from being able to generate power only with chemical reactions to being able to harness the atomic forces in matter itself to do it. It was quite literally as large a leap above what was previously possible for mankind as when Prometheus gave us fire. And the SJW have done a very good job of smothering any attempt to harness it with regulation, protest, and bad movies. Someone who is not me should write a story where the Greeks go back to Prometheus, hand him back Fire, and say “Thanks, but no thanks… it burned down Aischylos’s house last week. Sorry about the whole liver thing.”

          They’ll do their damndest to destroy anything else that is half as innovative an energy or industrial tech. The only ways around it are 1. Keep any description or name of it sooo technical that the SJWs are too bored by it to learn what it is until it is too late. (which I think is what happened with computers) or 2. Political machete to the red-tape machine. We are at the point technologically now that there are NO technical or financial barriers to the sort of Bonestell / Syd Mead sci-fi world… only social and political.

  7. The golden years of the Carter Administration? How did ANYBODY get the idea that the CARTER Administration had any “golden years.” Malaise Carter was an utter disaster for almost everybody. The only good thing to emerge form the Carter Administration was Ronald Reagan.

    • At the time, I thought Carter was pretty bad. Gas rationing, malaise, American hostages in Iran.
      Fast forward to the Obama Administration, and yes, the Carter years, killer rabbit and all were golden.

      • No matter how bad it gets there will always be someone or something waiting in the weeds to prove that you ain’t seen nothing yet.

        • Gosh, think we will be pining for the ‘Obama Years’ after 8 of Trump? Now there is a nightmare scenario for Sarah.

          • Baron von Cut-n-Paste

            My friend said of the Obama administration, “and I thought nothing would make me nostalgic for the Bush administration”. I feel dismally certain that that is how we’ll feel about Obama whether it’s Trump or Clinton who win.

            • My observation of Bush was that he spoke the truth, or at least what he thought was the truth, and then followed through. The Media, having never met a man of honor and conviction did not know what to do.
              I did not support all of Bush’s decisions, but even 2004, I knew what decisions he supported, and it was my decision to support him in spite of what I disagreed with.

      • The press enjoyed belittling the “Peanut Farmer”. The totally submissive behavior the World Wide Progressive Media towards the Bamster is astoundingly discouraging.

    • Because Europe. “Carter has all the right ideas, so he must be good.” Yeah, I agree with you.

      • Well Europe didn’t have to live with all those “right ideas.” To them it may have looked like all the “right ideas.” Over on this side of the pond it was more like total screw-up.

        • Reality Observer

          Not sure about that. They were, by and large, living with all of those “right ideas” and were happy to see the US (apparently) finally adopting them. All too many thought it was the best of all possible worlds.

          That is my POV from here, of course – I was not living there, and am subject to correction…

        • They do live with them. They still like them. Part of the reason I’m here.

          • I think that that might be the result of two centuries of the rowdy and creative types leaving the continent for open places and better opportunities.

            • No, more like losing two generation of men on battlefields – wet and dry – while the not-men stayed home and passed their not-men genes on to the next generation which did the same…

              • I think its a little of both.

              • It has something to do with it. At least in some places like France. BUT let’s remember human genetics are not that simple. Cowardly (Or perhaps lame) soldiers have brave sons.
                I think it is more likely the culture caused the change. Humans are more maleable through culture than through genetics.

          • And everything I’ve seen makes me look as if Europe is in “total screw-up” mode. The only reason is that that has been able to last as long as it has is that the US was footing the bill for keeping Europe and the seaways safe. The problem is that if the US keeps going down the path of “right ideas” we won’t be able to do that anymore.

            • Exactly.
              And I am thinking there is less and less enthusiasm among Americans for keeping Europe safe, any more. Oh, maybe the seaways. at least for a little longer.

            • Well, the US government is filled with past masters at creating a dependent class and enabling bad habits that destroy lives. Our support and leadership of NATO has enable civilizational destroying policies. Who knew we were that powerful.

    • (psst! Turn the “sarcasm” knob up a few notches)

    • Carter signed the law that allows micro and home brewing.
      There, something good from the Carter Years.

  8. scott2harrison

    Oh, veiled and secret Power
    Whose paths we seek in vain,
    Be with us in our hour
    Of overthrow and pain;
    That we – by which sure token
    We know Thy ways are true –
    In spite of being broken,
    Because of being broken
    May rise and build anew
    Stand up and build anew.

    I thought that some Kipling that was not “The Gods of the Copybook Headings” would be appropriate.

    • BobtheRegisterredFool

      Now we can only wait till the day, wait and apportion our shame.
      These are the dykes our fathers left, but we would not look to the same.
      Time and again were we warned of the dykes, time and again we delayed:
      Now, it may fall, we have slain our sons, as our fathers we have betrayed.

      Walking along the wreck of the dykes, watching the work of the seas!
      These were the dykes our fathers made to our great profit and ease.
      But the peace is gone and the profit is gone, with the old sure days withdrawn…
      That our own houses show as strange when we come back in the dawn!

      Rudyard Kipling, The Dykes.

      I’ve been distressed since Indiana, but I cried much of it out over this poem.

    • Well, on the Litechur question:

      The Three-Decker
      “The three-volume novel is extinct.”

      Full thirty foot she towered from waterline to rail.
      It took a watch to steer her, and a week to shorten sail;
      But, spite all modern notions, I’ve found her first and best —
      The only certain packet for the Islands of the Blest.

      Fair held the breeze behind us — ’twas warm with lovers’ prayers,
      We’d stolen wills for ballast and a crew of missing heirs.
      They shipped as Able Bastards till the Wicked Nurse confessed,
      And they worked the old three-decker to the Islands of the Blest.

      By ways no gaze could follow, a course unspoiled of Cook,
      Per Fancy, fleetest in man, our titled berths we took
      With maids of matchless beauty and parentage unguessed,
      And a Church of England parson for the Islands of the Blest.

      We asked no social questions — we pumped no hidden shame —
      We never talked obstetrics when the Little Stranger came:
      We left the Lord in Heaven, we left the fiends in Hell.
      We weren’t exactly Yussufs, but — Zuleika didn’t tell.

      No moral doubts assailed us, so when the port we neared,
      The villain had his flogging at the gangway, and we cheered.
      ‘Twas fiddle in the foc’s’le — ’twas garlands on the mast,
      For every one was married, and I went at shore at last.

      I left ’em all in couples a-kissing on the decks.
      I left the lovers loving and parents signing cheques.
      In endless English comfort, by county-folk caressed,
      I left the old three-decker at the Islands of the Blest! . . .

      That route is barred to steamers: you’ll never lift again
      Our purple-painted headlands or the lordly keeps of Spain.
      They’re just beyond your skyline, howe’er so far you cruise,
      In a ram-you-damn-you liner with a brace of bucking screws.

      Swing round your aching searchlight — ’twill show no haven’s peace.
      Ay, blow your shrieking sirens at the deaf, grey-bearded seas!
      Boom out the dripping oil-bags to skin the deep’s unrest —
      And you aren’t one knot the nearer to the Islands of the Blest.

      But when you’re threshing, crippled, with broken bridge and rail,
      At a drogue of dead convictions to hold you head to gale,
      Calm as the Flying Dutchman, from truck to taffrail dressed,
      You’ll see the old three-decker for the Islands of the Blest.

      You’ll see her tiering canvas in sheeted silver spread;
      You’ll hear the long-drawn thunder ‘neath her leaping figure-head;
      While far, so far above you, her tall poop-lanterns shine
      Unvexed by wind or weather like the candles round a shrine!

      Hull down — hull down and under — she dwindles to a speck,
      With noise of pleasant music and dancing on her deck.
      All’s well — all’s well aboard her — she’s left you far behind,
      With a scent of old-world roses through the fog that ties you blind.

      Her crews are babes or madmen? Her port is all to make?
      You’re manned by Truth and Science, and you steam for steaming’s sake?
      Well, tinker up your engines — you know your business best —
      She’s taking tired people to the Islands of the Blest!

  9. Well, we can hope that the upcoming election (with no good presidential candidates evident who have any chance of being elected) will cause enough of our fellow citizens to say, “to hell with it, the federal government has become an unsustainable monster and something has to be done to stop it!” that we will take meaningful steps to do so (an Article V convention, secession by some states, rampant nullification of federal edicts, etc.). No, I’m not confident this will happen soon either.

    But some way of lessening the fedgov’s power over us has to happen, or you may just start to see east Tennessee (to take my part of the woods as an example) assume again that any federal employee is a “revenuer” and is to be treated accordingly.

  10. I’m always amazed when people don’t know US history, because I grew up with a house full of history books and a parental practice of stopping at every free historical site that was close to where we were driving. (My dad was a history and social studies teacher, and he still is a Civil War, military, and Irish history buff.) I also had several excellent history teachers during my schooling, because my mom was a substitute teacher in the district where we lived (not the same as where my dad taught), and made sure we got into their classes.

    I also got an excellent foundation in both world history and Catholic Church history in my 5th grade history class at my parochial school. (Yes, Virginia, once upon a time there were decent textbooks for this sort of thing, produced by mass-market publishers.)

    But even with a good foundation, it’s amazing what kind of stuff that the teachers can miss out on teaching, and the student miss out on learning. The problem with a common narrative is that sometimes it’s wrong, or has forgotten a lot of important bits.

    • I know when my son was in elementary school and had to do some school project about history, we created a diorama of the Boston Massacre which he had to explain to his class. Part of creating the diorama was reading accounts of the incident and understanding it as a story and event (sort of like a news story), which made it much more vivid and alive to him than any short paragraph in a textbook could have done.

    • If you’re at all interested in Civil War history, visit any of the preserved battlefields and tour them using the U.S. Army War College Guides to Civil War Battles book for the particular battlefield you’re on. They were initially written by Jay Luvaas and Harold Nelson, but were continued by Matt Spruill and others after Luvaas died. They are amazing aids in understanding what went on during the various battles.

      • My nephew was interested in Civil War history while in middle school. Living in Richmond VA, the hands-on history is scattered all around.
        That was, until his Teacher sent home the note about his ‘excessive’ interest, and encouraging his Parents to make him stop.

        • That wasn’t a real teacher. That was in indoctrinator who couldn’t abide a child who was actually interested in learning something not on his approved list of things to be crammed into his head.

          • Which is unfortunately the rule rather than the exception in today’s American education system both K-12 and university.

          • Also a child that was willing to read. That too seems like an ancient art. Our Family always figured, as long as you were reading something. I got away with Comic books, a Cousin got away with ‘Torrid Romance’ novels. After that, a kid reading history was impressive.

        • Waitwaitwait. What the–?
          I literally cannot imagine any of my teachers saying such a thing. And I was in public school.

          • Sara the Red

            My parents were informed that youngest brother was a problem and “disruptive” in the classroom because he asked too many questions.

            One of many reasons he shortly thereafter requested to be homeschooled, and made excellent use of an online school program.

            • And this, folks, is why it’s a good idea to do your homework on your local public school system. It might be functional and helpful.
              Or it might be a re-education center.

          • Shift your mind away from “he was really interested in the civil war” and into “he won’t stop asking a lot of questions about battle field amputations, how muskets work, what the wounds would look like, how most people died in the field hospitals rather than the battlefield”….

            I wasn’t all that interested in the civil war, in part because it was so hard to find any topic that didn’t involve mutilation. (War. Duh. But even for that, it’s pretty unavoidable relative to other wars; familiar enough to really get the idea, different in ways that are horrifying, especially if you don’t know a little about the differences in medicine between then and now.)

            • The funny part is that it’s modern books that emphasize that stuff. You read contemporary stuff and while it’s there, the people writing don’t dwell on it with the kind of fervor that the moderns do.

    • Joe in PNG

      Regarding the teaching of History:
      Think of a good block of sashimi grade tuna. If you dip it in a bland batter, and over fry it in stale oil at too cool a temperature, you get a horrible meal.
      Most schools teach History about the same way as they fry fish- poorly.

      • I know. That’s why I’m trying very hard to do otherwise. Thus far my boss is pleased, as is the Dean and my department chair. And the parents like me, until I bust Jr for not doing homework. Then they grumble, then like me again.

      • As taught in all of the various schools I went to, “history” seemed mostly intended to make sure no one who suffered through those courses would ever voluntarily pick up a history book afterward.

        • Joe in PNG

          Too much of tedious memorizing of names and dates, with lots of politically correct nonsense.

          • We had a 9-week “history of WWII” course. We learned it was all America’s fault. The final exam was to name all of Truman’s cabinet in alphabetical order.

            No, I am not exaggerating.

            The other courses were worse.

            • Joe in PNG


            • Why Truman’s cabinet? FDR was president when American got into the war.

              • Maybe to know who to blame for nuking Japan?

                • The Other Sean

                  I blame Tojo, Hirohito, and associates.

                • There was one history textbook up for adoption by Texas back in the late 1980’s that had as a fact that we dropped the first atomic bomb on North Korea in 1950. When that wonderful old couple from Lufkin objected at a public meeting that the textbook author was at, his answer was “The actual date and who we dropped it on are irrelevant. What is important is that we have these horrible weapons and we have used them on innocent civilians.”

                  • I trust that the book was not adopted?

                  • And now I’ve just broken the family rules re: cursing. Dagnabit. Forget not adopting the book, was the gentleman run out of town on a rail? Were there tar and feathers? It seems to me that this would be a good justification for both tar AND feathers.

                    • Joe Wooten

                      No, all the history textbooks that year had serious errors in them and none were adopted. There were quite a few who wanted the author of the one I mentioned strung up in front of the local courthouse….

        • Yeah – the usual method of teaching history seems to be effective in absolutely discouraging an interest in history as-it-actually-was-experienced-by-those-involved. Which is sad, sad, sad. I have lost track of how many times I have posted an essay on some fascinating-to-me bit of history, and had commentors saying basically, “Wow – I never knew that! That was fantastic – and why didn’t I ever learn about that in school?! Gee, couldn’t you write a book or something?”

          My hope for interested amateurs learning history is placed in reenactor groups, though. Those are people who are serious about it, from the atomic-particle up. I think of them as ‘open-air historians’ and in the way of being a ground-level reaction to academic historians, especially those of a SJW/Marxist mind-set.

        • Sounds like I could make my living going around teaching “History that Won’t Bore You To Death” classes. 🙂

    • > (Yes, Virginia, once upon a time there were decent textbooks for this sort of thing, produced by mass-market publishers.)

      Even on a science fiction blog, that twangs the suspension of disbelief…

      • The Catholic school market used to be pretty big, so some of the textbook manufacturers went to a lot of trouble. It was weak on Africa and Asia, but better than my World History class in high school.

        (That HS teacher basically was trying to give slower kids some kind of exposure to history in a class that they couldn’t fail, so the videos and lectures were interesting but the exams were a joke. Actual fill-in question: “Attila _____ Hun invaded Europe.”)

        • Mind you, my public high school also featured the incredibly rigorous AP American history class that helped me a ton in writing college papers, as well as other good history classes. I just had not correctly identified the purpose of that particular one.

  11. BobtheRegisterredFool

    Wretched? I count him a great teacher.

  12. My concern is the growing complexity of our world, and the relative ignorance of anyone to understand it all.
    When I was a teen, my Father decided we would rebuild the engine in a Rambler station wagon. That was when ‘shade tree mechanic’ really meant anyone could indeed perform the work. Fast forward to today. Car repair is run diagnostic, replace faulty part. There is no ‘fixing’.
    My Mother sewed both wedding gowns and Barbie clothes for fun and profit. Do any American women know how to sew anymore? I suspect I am better than 1/2 of them, and that isn’t very good.
    While a College education prepares youth for Starbuck baristas or McDonald’s french frying legion, there is very little interest and skill sets for people that really make things. Thirty years ago, I got one of the few remaining plumbers that would still plumb with copper pipes. They were old farts then, and didn’t have anyone in training. Notice that the hard parts of Windows OS are now written in Israel? They have a tech-savy production country and we have tech-savy consumers. Makers and takers, and of course, the biggest taker of all, the Federal Government.

    • That’s why I drive a fiftytwo year old car. I also expect it to start and run after an EMP.

      • thephantom182

        Ford 6.9L diesel from about 1986. That is the bulletproof gold standard for post-EMP Zombie Apocalypse. It will run on anything from french fry grease to the crappiest diesel mixed with old gasoline. Or Kerosene, heating oil, JP4 jet fuel, you name it. Just strain out the lumps and she will drink it.
        Fire it up and it will pull your little red wagon. I used to have a 1986 Ford F-350 crew-cab long box in Arizona with the diesel in it, I loved that thing. Some towing company stole it, of course. Sonsabitches. 😦

      • Can you still get replacement parts? I’m sure your vacuum tube AM radio will stand a better chance with EMP than a modern one.

        • thephantom182

          I got my truck completely serviced after I bought it around 2010 in Phoenix. Perkins Diesel Service, http://www.perkinsdieselservice.com/
          They rebuilt the whole top end for me and replaced a couple of injectors. The transmission joint down the street re-did the automatic. It was in great shape, some landscaper dude has a really nice truck out there right now, let me tell you.

          But yeah, you can get everything for those trucks. No problem.

          1964 Buick Rivieras, that’s a bit tougher. 🙂

        • It’s not a show car. It’s practical. Modern stereo. HEI distributor. Had to upgrade to disc brakes when I spun a front wheel bearing. Amazing what you can buy for old cars in the internet age though. Lots of old Chevelle stuff here http://www.ecklerschevelle.com/?cm_mmc=Google-_-Chvl_General+Parts-_-Broad&s_kwcid=chevelle%20parts|1385334532

          • The Other Sean

            Its amazing what you can find out there for everything, these days…. thought you may have to spend a lot of time searching to find a good deal. After months of searching for a reasonably-replacement for a window on a 1949 Airstream, I happened across one on eBay for less than a third (including shipping!) of the best-priced previous hit. I’ve also found on eBay and Amazon books that had limited print runs back in the 1945-1965 time frame, with prices from ridiculously cheap (less than original purchase price, accounting for inflation) to ridiculously expensive – and sometimes checking back in a few days gives better results. Always be sure to check out shipping costs on any of these – sometimes you can pay less overall for the higher-priced item due to differences in shipping prices.

      • Other than the radio and the trailer brake controller, the only electronics in my Malibu are in the HEI module in the distributor. It’s a pretty tough piece; I’d place a modest bet that it would survive an EMP. If not, I have a point distributor out in the garage.

        The other cars… they’d probably wind up as storage sheds or chicken coops.

        • thephantom182

          Anything can survive an EMP if it’s inside a steel box. That’s why I have a steel barn building. ~:)

      • DragonKnitter

        My two favorite vehicles: 1969 Camaro and 1972 Chevy Cheyenne pickup with the big block 454 and headers–i can fix anything on either one, and have!

    • I sew – and this very minute I am making a reproduction Edwardian walking suit to wear when I do author events. It’s a fully-lined number, and the pattern is rated “advanced.” And I created a hat to go with, and I aim to make a small beaded handbag.

      When I was working in an office and had to make a good appearance, I did quite a few ‘Vintage Vogue” outfits, which are VERY challenging.

      • SheSellsSeashells

        How are you planning to make the handbag? I bead semiprofessionally and may be able to assist. 🙂

        • Drawstrings, with purchased bead trim – nothing complicated, although I may ask my daughter to do some bead-looming applique for it.
          Thanks for offering – I will post pics of the whole fetching ensemble on my book blog, with finished!

      • I trust that small handbag will have an 8-ounce lead slug in it, and 550 cord inside the straps.

    • I can mend and sew a little . . . by hand. The sewing machine hates me. It even tries to smash my toes when I’m just moving it out of the closet so I can get to that coat waaaaay back in the back.

      • I can sew a corset, period correct, by hand. Including seed pearls. I refuse to ever do so again.

        I can’t use a sewing machine. I have so little inclination to learn that I don’t own one. Besides, if I can’t fix it with a little hand stitching, it’s officially time to throw it out.

        • I can saddle stitch leather. I’m about halfway through a pair of boots that should be on display (on my feet) at LibertyCon in July.

    • > Notice that the hard parts of Windows OS
      > are now written in Israel?

      Back before the internet took off Microsoft put development teams in ireland and Saudi Arabia, among other places. It kept them from being poached from headhunters.

      The question is, “are these Americans working in Israel, or Israelis working for Microsoft?” Geography is almost meaningless in the Connected World, so I’d guess the developers are Israelis…

    • My mother just made a wedding dress for my youngest sister and another gown as well.

    • Sure–but then again I went to junior high school far enough back there were still non-optional home ec courses that taught sewing.. I happen to like the textile arts; I sew, quilt, knit, have my own spinning wheel and am learning to use a floor loom. I think a large part of it is choice–“back then” everyone knew how to do a lot of these things but not everyone LIKED doing those things. My mother used to sew our school clothes but as soon as it became cheaper to buy she stopped. And time–my daughter has two children under four, and works full time. She prefers to use her little free time doing something else, I am the one making things she wants! 🙂

  13. thephantom182

    “Remember they worked for DECADES to take over the media, education, the writing and entertainment establishments. They dissembled and betrayed to get control and power. That’s their strength. And then someone created a way for anyone to reach the masses directly and instantly.”

    Have you read the news today about Facebook?

    “Trending” on FB means some little jerk decided that’s what we -should- be interested in today. #Blacklivesmatter is apparently entirely a creation of this process.

    Shocking, right? Especially considering Zuckerberg has his own bedroom at the White House, who could have seen this coming?

    Time to build something again, they’re f-ing the social media infrastructure and doing the same with web search. Anybody who thinks Google isn’t meddling with searches for conservative stuff is dreaming in technicolour. They don’t have to do much to have a big impact, just move stuff from Page One to Page Two of searches. Some huge number of people never look beyond Page One. (I always mine down four or five pages on a search I think might be meddled with, but even I don’t go out to ten or twelve.)

    On the bright side, it isn’t like they own the hardware makers, right? Like Apple, Microsoft, Intel, AMD?

    … oh, wait…

    • That is why I rely on Instapundit for my news, now made even better when Sarah is on the night watch.
      Night Watch…. sounds like a great title for a Prachett novel.

      • Sarah will be back to night djing more reliably next month. House, and preparation for move means I often run out of steam around 9 pm.

        • thephantom182

          I think it’s a miracle you can still walk and talk. I’d be sucking my thumb in a corner, faced with what you manage every day.

        • Hell, better than I’d be doing.

        • You make me feel like a slacker. But then I have been “lazy” for the past two weeks, so maybe you don’t get all the credit. 🙂

          • This is all completely and totally Larry Correia’s fault. COMPLETELY. This is part of my dream last night. Don’t ask me why (because it makes no sense) but I got the idea I was in GRANT’S head.

            I followed the directions on the map, crossing the big plaza, marked in my phone’s map an Avenue. I’d already come to the conclusion that thinking too hard about Portuguese classification of buildings and streets would drive me to drink, if I weren’t here to try to lend aid to someone pretty important. And that was without getting into how they didn’t mark places to get off the highway to get to monuments.
            This avenue (“dos aliados”) had some pretty nice statuary in a middle section that made it look like a plaza, or perhaps a small park.
            Well, the statue of the naked woman was pretty nice, even if like all Portuguese images of females, she was flat chested. There was something forthright about her expression that made me think of Julie, but this was neither the time nor the place.
            Across and up on this avenue-plaza I passed the most amazing McDonald’s I’d ever seen in my life, with a massive statue of a gold eagle over the door, and all marble tables inside. I got a feeling that in the States we did McDonald’s all wrong.
            Not a ball pit in sight, but I’d noticed there were very few children around, and the balance of people with white hair was way higher than in the States.
            I was following the directions on my phone so carefully, I didn’t notice that I’d reached it, until I almost ran into a shoe shine stand. Which is when I stood there, blinking stupidly.
            Because the address I’d been given looked like one of those narrow pastry-shop-and-deli combinations they were so fond of here. Well, tell the truth I’d become fond of them too. The pastries were amazing and the coffee was incredible. One shop window, refrigerated, showed artistically arranged pastries, so many of them I’d never seen half of them in the States. If I stayed here very long, I was going to get fat. The shop window on the other side displayed hams and sausages and more deli-like stuff. A peek through the door showed me that it was full of older Portuguese men, drinking coffee, arguing over newspapers, and generally doing what Portuguese men did on a quiet Saturday afternoon in summer.
            I looked at my notes again. Nothing about a deli in this address, and this certainly didn’t look like the headquarters of a monster hunting outfit to me. The only thing weird in my notes was “ask for absinthe.
            Ooookay. I had no intention of drinking absinthe, not being prone to getting myself doped into seizures, but I walked in, hesitantly, and asked for and espresso — pingo — and this pastry that was made of flaky phillo and caramel, with a caramel crust, inexplicably called a Jesuita — that is a Jesuit — which let me tell you meant that Portuguese were not cannibals, because no friar ever tasted like this.
            It was only after I paid and was handed my change, that I found the courage to say “And… and… absinthe.”
            The man frowned, though that might have been just decoding my accent, then looked cross like “why didn’t you SAY?” And motioned for me to come with him, opening a portion of the counter for me to step through.
            He led me briskly, chatting incomprehensibly in Portuguese to a narrow hallway choked with boxes, and then another narrow hallway even more choked with boxes. The air smelled of coffee and exotic spices, and my guide stopped at the end, turned to me and spoke volubly, ending in “Nao e?” which was spoken as a question. I knew that meant “Isn’t it?” but I had no clue what else he said. However, I had mastered the Portuguese Shrug — a more relaxed and polite version of the French one — and the head nod, and I had gotten used to the idea of handing over some amount for every favor done to me. So I slipped him twenty euros. He looked surprised, but I didn’t know if at the tip or the amount. But he didn’t complain, slipped it into the pocket of his apron, and started pulling boxes — big wooden boxes — around at the end of the hallway.
            I would have helped, but I couldn’t understand what he was doing, not precisely. And realized he’d been moving things according to some code as the back wall swung inward on wheels, leaving a … a square hall open.
            In here the floor tile was probably 200 years old, and formed patterns of Roman Mythology scenes. As the door to the hallway swung shut behind him, I realized my only way out was an elevator, in the center of this space. An elevator that was really a wrought iron cage.
            I made a point of feeling for my guns, all of them, and slip my hand in my pocket, so I could have the semmerling to hand.
            Seriously, Grim Berlin had told me these were the people to see here, but had they been joking? First of all a monster hunter group in the middle of Portugal’s second largest city? And second a cage elevator.
            I got in the elevator. The door opened manually and there were no controls. I looked around for a rope to raise the cage manually. And then the elevator started climbing. It climbed with the sort of hesitations and sounds of an elderly asthmatic climbing a flight of stairs.
            It stopped on the second floor, with a little jiggle, as if it were not sure where the floor was. I gripped the gun and opened the door. I stood at one end of a long, narrow room with ceilings at least fourteen feet tall. The architecture was late nineteenth century. The furniture was prosaic.
            Nearest me was a sectional that looked like it had come from someone’s garage. A guy set on in, playing solitaire on a side table. At the other end of the the l-shaped sectional was a young woman dressed all in black, taking apart and cleaning some type of rifle. In the dim light, it was hard to see, and she had one of those miner’s lamps on her forehead, which lit the sharp planes of her face but left the rest in shadow.
            Further in from that was a sink, a refrigerator, a large battered table. Several people sat at the large battered table, reading the paper or playing with their phones.
            Nearby was a large untidy pile of what looked like musical equipment. On the wall hung several dark cloaks. And from the ceiling hung a plethora of weapons and armor that would make even MHI in Alabama jealous. Particularly since most of it looked to be WWII vintage and would be worth a mint, that would allow MHI to buy much more up to date and effective stuff.
            One of the guys at the table jumped up and came to me, hand extended. He said, in a strong Portuguese accent, “Are you the man grim Berlin sent?”
            I hesitated. “Yeah. He said you were Fado Negro?”
            “That’s right. We dress all in black when we perform.”
            “Perform?” He smiled an inexplicably point-seeming smile.
            “Music or Monster hunting, really.”
            “Black FATE?”
            “Fado is also a style of music,” the man said, all dignified. “Our company… no, wrong word? Corporations? Cooperative? Something like that — was started when the favorite Fado singing group of Don Joao VI, back in the eighteen hundreds, had a few monster encounters. Things were really a mess after the Napoleonic wars, you know, and they survived, and he gave them a charter as royal monster hunters. There’s been other charters since then, but we kept up both sides of the business.” He looked pensive and scratched at his chin “You won’t believe the weapons you can sneak in things that look like really big amplifiers. The “negra” came from when our predecessors sang student fados dressed in black and square cloaks. Capas Negras.”
            I nodded, as though I understood all of this. “This is all of you?” I asked, disappointed. I’d been assured they were a large and effective group.
            “No, no. About a tenth. And I only stayed because I expected you. The rest are out responding to events, or interviewing survivors. Events always ramp up leading up to Sao Joao.”
            “San Joao?”
            “Summer Solstice,” The woman spoke up from the sofa. She had a low, raspy voice which made shivers go up and down my spine. “Not saying it’s anything magical, though it might be, but a night where the entire city builds bonfires and stays outside singing and dancing always leads to some THINGS thinking it’s happy hunting grounds. And you know, the lead up, when they get all excited about it already makes them all a bit bold and crazy. This time of year is a nightmare. I’m Silvia, by the way.”

            • BobtheRegisterredFool

              Monster Hunter Guardian, Grant bit that isn’t viewpoint, and absolutely not ever intended to be final product? Yup, totally Larry’s fault, you workaholic slacker.

              • This wasn’t MHI Guardian. It has its own story. BUT if I ever wrote in (by poaching Larry’s world? AH. He has a tank! It would be from the pov of one of the two women. It couldn’t be Grant, as I’m fairly sure it was set in the 80s. It just FELT like Grant. Because dream.)

                • BobtheRegisterredFool

                  If tanks, and feels like Grant. Perhaps something Sherman? Jackson Sherman, Franklin Sherman, Johnson Sherman, Adams Sherman, Thomson Sherman, Hancock Sherman, Hall Sherman, Livingston Sherman, or Rodney Sherman?

                  Wait, is it Jefferson Grant or Grant Jefferson?

            • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

              More Story!!!!!! 😉

            • No absinthe, since you wish to remain… lucid?

            • Dang, that Straw Larry guy sure is a jerk, making you dream such cool . . . Oh, real Larry? Er, let me think about this one for a while.

              If it makes you feel any better, Alexi’s daughter is currently colliding with a Slavic Studies prof at CO State who thinks she shouldn’t use Alexi’s last name since she’s not “pure” Slav. Cue p*ssed off C. T. Zolnerovich with two firebird feathers and a chip on her shoulder . . .

            • Ooookay. I have to ask for some clarification here because you wrote that you “in Grant’s head”.

              Did you dream you were writing about doing this from Grant’s perspective, or did you dream it as though you were Grant?

              In other words, were you actually confused about Portuguese street designations? Did the girl in the statue make you momentarily reminisce about your old girlfriend / fiancee? Did you have to have the term “San Joao?” explained to you?

              Or did you just dream about writing about a character who was doing those things?

        • Did you find a house Sarah?

          • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

            Not Sarah, but Sarah has commented on FaceBook that the short-sale is going through.

          • the short sale, after so many ups and downs came through. We should be totally moved by the middle of next month. (We’ll have possession end of month, but need to have it cleaned and some work done.)

            • Dawn Dreams

              Ever so glad to hear this!

            • Reality Observer

              The world just got a bit brighter! Excellent news.

            • Now this is good news, truly. Folks don’t seem to put the conscious importance on stability these days that I can remember, but it *is* important.

              Thoughts and prayers, good lass. You’ll do fine, but a little extra never hurts.

            • Conga Rats. Mine is in that 45 day period because paying cash means I need to wait or something . . . that aughta stop those foreclosures for ninja loans! (our gov’t’s thinking in action). Well I got a killer deal so I will take the wait, and I can work on it a bit before moving in.
              I’m mid move, packing my carp and cats into a 26 foot U-Haul . . . about to eat breakfast and get back at it.

            • Yippee! Finally. I am so happy for you.

            • YEAH!!!!!!! *offers low five*

            • Free-range Oyster

              Woohoo! *does a happy dance*

            • Wonderful!

            • Oh, so glad to hear this! Prayers for the move to go smoothly.

              • Well, we have contractor go by later this week to see how much repairs will cost us. (Short sale, we’re the only ones who’ll do them.) Hopefully nothing too crazy.

            • the short sale, the place with the nifty shelves?

            • “Short sale”, heh, friend of mine(a commercial realtor BION) bought a house through a short sale – typical circa ’60s Florida ranch style. Then started the remodeling/renovating. The other day I asked him what he figured he had spent on that so far and the answer was “about a third of the purchase-price”.
              ‘Course I can’t talk ’cause I’ve done that twice – and they weren’t even short sales.
              Enjoy your new(and hopefully) permanent new digs.

              • And we might not get it. We had the contractors look at it, and it might be impossible. At the price it’s at, it’s close to our reserves. Serious fixing… well… yeah, I’m grieving. I’ll get over it. So long as my husband is with me, I don’t care where we live.

    • Google screws does memory-hole things, some of them pretty obvious.

      I got tired of not being able to find stuff that I knew I’d seen, and switched searches; bing isn’t great, but their bias is pretty dang obvious, it tends to shift things forward and their crawlers aren’t as good.

      Someone’s going to recreate Google’s old “everything, no filter” setup and eat both of their lunches.

      • Faster, please.

      • What do you think of duckduckgo?

      • DragonKnitter

        DuckDuckGo doesn’t track you…

      • Jerry Boyd

        Wouldn’t bet the ranch, Foxfier. I’ve been waiting a long time for someone to put Altavista’s interface that understands + , – and ” on the front of Google’s search engine.

        • Use Google’s “advanced” search page. I think all the search modifiers work with the regular search too.

          It gives me better results than the default page. Not great, but better.

          Google “partners” with almost every ISP; they get data right from the equipment rack, so they know what IP address is DHCP’d to what billing address. They can differentiate between different users on the same computer by looking at their search strings and the URLs they go to. They shape your search results according to that, for the benefit of their advertisers, which is how you pay for “free” search.

          Despite that, every now and then Google’s database goes funky. Most often it will think I’m in Australia, and I get vastly different (and often more useful) results. It generally takes a day or two before it starts returning .us results. And then, even if I go through google.au or google.ca, Google “knows” I’m in .us, and will automatically pass my search back to .us.

          More rarely, but at least once every couple of years, it doesn’t matter *what* I type in as a search string; Google returns pages of zoophilia and bestiality. Best as I can figure, some customer at sharing the same Comcast equipment rack *really* likes animals, and every now and then when they force a new DHCP lease on everyone, I wind up with the IP address that person had…

  14. There is hope. There is much talk of the two party system in the United States and how “It’s always been that way.” The truth is a bit more nuanced than that. The fact of the matter is that while there have historically been two parties here, they haven’t always been these two parties.

    A quick search brings up the
    Democratic/Democratic Republic Party (actually the same party)
    The Republican Party
    Whig Party and
    Federalist Party

    as having elected presidents. There have been others as well.

    I’ve been upset about the last few elections. I voted for myself in the 2012 election, not because I thought I’d make a GOOD president, but because I thought I’d make a better president than Obama or Obama-lite. Now I’m looking at an election between two liberal Democrats and I’m hopeful for two reasons.

    One: There is no Constitutional requirement for a two party system. Actually, there is no Constitution requirement for anything regarding parties. Yes, it is your Constitutional right to join one but you don’t have to. This is a good thing because it increases our options.

    Two: Existing parties have been replaced before. While this isn’t something I’ve studied extensively it has happened. Recently, the Libertarian Party has seen an uptick in interest. Granted, traditional conservatives are going to be shocked stupid by some parts of the Libertarian platform. A lot of them are used to thinking of the Libertarians as being basically the same as them. That’s just flat out not true. There still exists the possibility that this could be either a viable third party or a replacement for the Republican party.

    The fact remains that the Libertarian Party needs a better PR department. If it got one it might actually be able to recruit some of the saner Democrats as well. Many Libertarians, after all, do believe in legalizing marijuana and other drugs the way many Dems do. Many also favor a pro-choice stance because they don’t want the government making those kinds of decisions. There really is room for people on both sides of the Repub/Dem debate here. Now, you’d have to work very hard to get most Dems to see that. Most of them believe that Libs are more Rethuglican than the Rethuglicans and are against women’s rights and want a theocracy here in the US on top of wanting to expand the military and use it all over the place. I know it’s that none of that’s true but that’s the perception. The Libs need to fight that.

    A new party would not necessarily have to be the Libertarian Party either. It could be another party or a new party. Honestly though, if the Republican Party won’t give us a decent candidate we need a party that will. It’s time to find or create one. This election could finally provide the impetus for those of us who want to see things get better to go our own way and find a way to get it done. Lord knows the current two parties aren’t doing anything that’s going to help.

    • ” quick search brings up the
      Democratic/Democratic Republic Party (actually the same party)
      The Republican Party
      Whig Party and
      Federalist Party

      as having elected presidents. There have been others as well.”

      Other parties that existed, not other parties that have elected presidents.

      • Joe in PNG

        Note, pretty much all of that was done within the first few decades of the Republic. No 3rd party has had any success since before the Civil War.
        Even Teddy couldn’t get elected, and he was pretty dang popular.

        Most people tend to stick to the “devil they know”.

    • thephantom182

      “Many Libertarians, after all, do believe in legalizing marijuana and other drugs the way many Dems do.”

      A quibble if I may, the Dems don’t have anything as crass as “beliefs.” They have stratagems, policies, tactics, plans. They will run on banning MJ just as quick as they’ll run on legalizing it. Or anything else. A woman’s right to choose looks like the closest thing to a sacrament the modern Liberal has, but they’ll throw that under the bus along side Sarah Brady in a heartbeat if they think it would get votes.

      The one and only thing they seem to really believe in is that they’re the smart ones, and that everybody else is stupid and can’t be trusted, they have to be controlled. DemocRats and other forms of modern socialists believe in the Firm Hand.

      I’m not a fan of the firm hand, myself. I’m much more the “get out of my face” type. I figure I can f- up my own life just fine without any help from professional life-f-ers.

      • “A woman’s right to choose looks like the closest thing to a sacrament the modern Liberal has . . .”

        Umm, no. Only if you choose the correct thing.

    • BobtheRegisterredFool

      I’m tempted to legally change my name, and run as Pat Buckman of the ‘Wake Up America Party’ in 2020. Will have to see if the de-Trumpification of the Republican party is viable, or if there is another productive option.

      • thephantom182

        I expect Trump will de-Trumpify the Republican Party all on his own, particularly if he -wins-.

        • Yes. His legions of fans are going to be in for a bit of shock if he manages to get elected and doesn’t do any of the things they seem to think he’s going to do. Starting with not actually building that wall he keeps talking about.

          • thephantom182

            That’s the thing, isn’t it? There is a reason why the border has been thrown open. I don’t know what that reason is, but there’s a big pile of money involved. Big as the national debt kind of big.

            That means it’s going to take a lot more than the President’s say-so to get it closed again. Deals to be made, back rooms full of smoke to be placated, brown bags fulla money to be distributed.

            He hasn’t got the pull to get that done, particularly with the Federal bureaucracy middle management and lower echelons being 100% DemocRat and unionistas. They’ll EAT him.

            Scott Walker I’d have believed, because he actually -did- it. Trump? Not so much.

            • BobtheRegisterredFool

              Long term, it is employment regulations.

              Those rules give a minimum cost to the employer, and a lot of work has a maximum benefit below that. Cost of regulations separated out apparently is something like the fourth or fifth largest economy in the world.

              There is money in evading those regulations by fraud. I’ve been desperate enough that I’d accept extremely low pay just to have a job. However, I’m a bad risk for that sort of scheme. If I had instead come over the border illegally from Mexico, that gives me just the right sort of legal liabilities to make someone a viable co-conspirator.

              Put a bunch of illegals in mass graves today, and there will be more tomorrow.

              Also, consider the H1 (?) visas who the tech industry uses to decrease their cost of labor. Some of that savings is above and beyond cost of regulations.

              Short term: Obama is a maniac, the Dems think they can lock in a permanent electoral majority, and I forget my third point.

            • Cheap labor is a part. I also wonder if some it of is guilt. America’s love of narcotics has not been a benefit to Mexico.

              • It’s not so much America’s love of narcotics (and other exotic substances) that has caused so many of Mexico’s problems as the American government’s insistence that those substances be made illegal, not only here at home but everywhere within our sphere of influence..

                • Violent do-gooderism always has unforseen costs. Wars, even on drugs, has collateral damage.

              • I think it’s more likely to be “drugs aren’t really bad” combined with the power of the drug lords.

                Has anybody tried to draw up a map of what Mexico’s government “really” is, with the druglord cartels and their rough boundries?

          • BobtheRegisterredFool

            If I had money, I’d be tempted to run a ‘creative’ Spainish translation in California to see if any primary votes for not-Trump could be found there.

            We can make a barrier, and force Mexico to suffer for it. Go South across the border burning and killing, making sure to destroy or poison any water sources.

            At 10% of voters, if fanatic enough, Trump supporters may be numerous enough to flout the law with impunity and accomplish such.

    • DragonKnitter

      Fully half of the Precinct Committeeman slots in the Republican Party are currently unfilled, and most could be filled if folks would just look up their county and follow the instructions…we could have a bloodless coup of the whole darn thing if people would just take the party over! Just think of what we could accomplish by diluting the Establishment and out-voting them!

    • The Libertarians would do a LOT better if they started running for some of the lower level political offices like county commissioners, clerks, city alderman, school boards, etc and build grassroots organizations off that.

      • Trying to be fair– and failing horribly– but the big-Ls can’t.

        The folks that can and will do the work, at that level, and would advance the Libertarian party theories in a functional way… are Republicans.

        There are exceptions, but even those exceptions tend to be either “Ornery guy who won’t align with any party” or “I am in a Republican area and this is the only way to identify I’m different.”

        This resulted in some very annoying big-L cousins who will go around telling people that they are “really” Libertarian.
        This tends to fail because it isn’t too far separated from a lecture by the same relate about how they’re wrong because Libertarian Philosophy.
        (I came by my rage at argument by special definition honestly, and it wasn’t all via self-described libs/progs.)

        • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

          Another problem that I’ve seen with the Big-L types is that they’re “uncompromising” in their view of “How Things Should Work”.

          But any Politician (Local, State or Federal) has to “get things done” for the voters if he’s going to be re-elected.

          However, to “get things done” requires working with other people and Big-L types don’t (in my experience) work well with other people.

          They are more the “I’ll Lecture You Until You Do Things My Way” types and few people enjoy being Lectured when they are trying to get something done.

          By my understanding, to get things done in legislative bodies (on any level) require give-and-take. IE if you support me here, I’ll support you there.

          So unless you manage to get a majority in a legislative body of Big-L types who want the same thing (note Big-L types often disagree), then the Big-L types have to support things they dislike in order to get support for what they like & want.

          Yes, I know all about the “We Mustn’t Compromise Our Principles” but to get things moving toward smaller government it may be necessary to show other politicians that “you” can be worked with on other issues.

          • *lightbulb*

            To “get things done,” you’ve got to have a mental lineup of priorities; with the Big L, if they’ll admit something is important, then it’s just as important as everything else. (From observing, anyways.)

            Thanks, Drac; I finally have a reason for abortion support among philosophical libertarians that doesn’t have a “what can you do for me?” basis. It also makes some other things make more sense.
            If all rights are equal, then the right to life is just one right among many– and the mother would have privacy, property and do-harm-to-self rights over the kid’s one right of life.

            So the basis is “no compromise on any rights”– which ends up wiping out the rights of the outnumbered.

            I don’t agree with it, but it makes sense.

  15. Speaking of the bad old days . . . Alexi Zolnerovich vs. Koschai Chernobogovich has been submitted to the ‘Zon.

    Yes, Sarah, I will post it on Azounding as well as send FRO info and put it on my blog. Yes, I am thinking about what to do for a Memorial Day Sale if one is planned. No, I am not writing fast enough. Yes, the cover art is not great. No, I don’t have time right now to do it right – GIMP is being a pain and it is two weeks, three days, eight hours until the end of final exams. Not that I checked the countdown clock in the faculty workroom before I left today. 🙂

    • I want you to write, and I want to start a small publishers group, but right now, move. Also right right now I have a fever.

      • *catemplates WKRP joke, decides against it* Get well soon!

          • Why?

            • The Other Sean

              Maybe there was an ox-ident?

              • But he’s a bull? Wouldn’t more cowbell need a cow instead?

                • You *always* need more cowbell!

                • I have, on occasions, worn a bell. And handed out smaller bells, to some seeking such. That human women don’t wish be called cows seems to conflict with the eagerness of some of the bell-seeker. Probably one of those psychology things best not thought about too seriously. And then there are those who willingly add the ‘Orvan’s Herd’ ribbons. I refuse to speculate on the men seeking such.

                  • Even without a cow in the household the cowbell can be a very useful item. When I was young my Momma used to ring a cowbell to call me in from play — the range I was allowed to wander was dictated by my ability to hear and respond to it in a timely manner. (Other mothers in the neighborhood soon employed other noises specific to their household.)

                • So? We put pink bows on his horns.

        • WKRP was a great show with good actors and great writing.

          • Anonymous Coward

            My family’s Thanksgiving tradition is watching the infamous WKRP Turkey Drop episode. “As God is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly”.

          • Jerry Boyd

            It’s a wonder the Phone Cops haven’t shut this place down.

          • There’s supposed to be a new DVD set coming out with the original music. Now I won’t have to watch .avis of grainy VHS recordings…

            Music rights were a major problem in the early days; the standard contract terms often didn’t specifically license the use of music for recordings, just broadcast. Or something like that. So a lot of stuff hung fire for decades until the lawyers got done posturing.

            I made do with a VHS recording of “Heavy Metal” for many years. And when the rights finally got cleared up and it was issued on DVD, I bought the DVD. Then I had to go out and buy a DVD player to view it with.

            “Back home I’m nobody. But here, I’m Denn!”

    • DragonKnitter

      LOL…..May 25th here!

      • I have the last exam on the last day of exams (5/26). Y’all probably heard the groans when I announced it to the classes.

        • The Other Sean

          Was that the stranger sound I heard the other day?

          • Probably. That or you heard the class’s reaction when the Voice From the Back of the Room unleashed a pun barrage. I’ve been able to one-up the VftBotR every time this year, but it’s getting more of a challenge.

  16. Pingback: Minor Slide Backs | Western Rifle Shooters Association

  17. You talk to Wretchard on Facebook? And he answers you!! How cool is that? I’m moving you up several notches on the Ladder Of Impossibly Awesome People Who I Wish I Knew Personally.

  18. Sarah,
    I received my primary education back in the ’60’s. (that old) Even back then, pre internet, there was not much emphasis on ‘other cultures’ as a class of instruction. We were a big place and it was highly unlikely most of us would ever venture beyond its borders, so why bother?

    There was also the ‘want to know about the old country? Talk to GrandPa’ mindset. Which I have to say was a pretty good way to learn. I learned rudimentary Russian from a relative. Many of us picked up oral histories of friends and neighbors strikingly vivid.