And Stories Are All We Have

Heinlein, towards the end of his oeuvre concluded that reality was not logical but whimsical.  Given various things going on right now, he might have had a point, but not quite.

Pratchett talked about a force “Narrativium” holding reality together.  And he was right, at least for humans.  The problem is that the rest of reality doesn’t really much care what humans see, and also that Narrativium can be an unwittingly deceptive force.

Pratchett played it both seriously and for laughs.  I.e. he was aware of how the “narrative” affected him, and he poked it in the eye with a sharp stick, even while making it work.

So, yeah, the one chance in a million is a guaranteed thing.  And the young man adopted by dwarfs really is the lost prince, but would rather be a policeman.

Which is how to treat this form of subconscious, pre-formed narrative in our heads.  Be aware of it.  Be amused when it works.  Use it for comfort when you need comfort.  BUT don’t think that impersonal reality really cares what the narrative thinks should happen.

We are more surrounded by narrative then ever, and I don’t mean “carefully crafted narrative.”  We have that too.  The left here, the inheritors of Soviet Agitprop HAVE indeed sold a bill of goods to a new generation.  Part of owning education, and mass media and even entertainment.  So people who are raised in this bubble, and whose work or real life never take them out of it — a minority for sure, but still a significant group — tend to see everything through the narrative.

This is how you see Sad Puppies and our supporters, with people like me, and Larry and Kate in it called “neo nazis” and accused of being “racist, sexist, homophobic.”  That poor little duckling was told in school that anyone who opposed the commands of the “intelligentsia” who gave their orders on “diversity” (of color or what you do with your pee pee on your time off) were neo nazis and hated women and gays and people of color.  She couldn’t even see the people on our side, but had to go with the narrative, because she’s been watching the world through it for her whole life, and if she let it go she’d have nothing.  Her sense of self would disintegrate.

And so, the Sad Puppies revolt must be NOT about taking down a small, insular corrupt group who use the sacred cows of their class to keep control and profit from a once-venerable award.  It can’t be about the fact that we’d like stories which will captivate the public and grow the field, as opposed to the current pseudo-literary and indigestible pap.  No.  It must be that we want to prevent women and people of color and gay people from being in the field.  Which, you know, is SUCH a powerful narrative that they can’t even see those holding the assterisk and trying to force it on others are the most powerful house in the field, or that those fighting them are largely outsiders, and, yep, some of us people of tan (or married to them) and women.

That is the force of constructed narrative.  But constructed narrative has its limits.  When people leave the bubble (for most of us end of college) or face something that really doesn’t fit it, it has a tendency to shatter like glass.  (If you can’t avoid facing it, of course.)  Which leads to sudden reversals and changes that seem crazy-fast.  Black swans and the avalanche started with a few grains of sand and which lead to those are the best way to understand how such narratives crack.

The more dangerous narratives are the ones that are so old that they have become part and parcel of the human race.  Yeah, they’re now part of our entertainment, bu they were part of fairy tales, they were part of … probably tales told by hunters around the fire in the Neolithic.

And the stories we tell ourselves.  Both of those sets will lead you astray.

Let’s start with the stories we tell ourselves.  Humans are designed to see patterns in things.  It’s how we managed to learn and become a successful enough species that we could invent and create and become what we’re now.

The ability to discern patterns is evolutionarily favored, because if you know that by the river you’re likely to find both easy hunting AND predators who might eat you, you’re more likely to be aware enough to come back alive AND with prey.

However, once you go past the little patterns that reflect directly on your life, they are crazy-making.  Hence the whole Trump-is-Reagan narrative that most people who support Trump have told themselves.  It ignores how different the two men are, and the policies that Trump defaults to, which are usually leftist, and the fact that the man’s word can’t be trusted as he says and unsays and dances all over the place.  It also ignores the fact that Reagan was the successful governor of a very large state, while Trump excels mostly in the wheeling and dealing of crony capitalism, which is very different from the side of the government than the side of the crony, and which will bite him in his fleshy behind when he catches the car he’s been barking after.

Instead it fastens onto “former leftist, claiming to be Republican [which Reagan had proved, but never mind], hated by the left” and then heaps on this unlikely vessel all the qualities Reagan possessed including a deep religious faith. Because that’s how the stories we tell ourselves work.  We fill in the blanks with what was there before.

This is most often seen in private life, when a man has been treated very badly by a brunette who yelled at him  and therefore fastens on a blonde who is all seeming sweetness, without noticing they are both equally manipulative.  He knows through the narrative in his head that if he looks for someone who looks and sounds totally different, he will be rewarded.  Alternately when someone loses a mate looking for one with similar superficial characteristics/circumstances.  “My Betsy was a secretary and I met her on Thursday.  I met Mary on Thursday and she’s a secretary.”

All these might seem foolish, but they’re not. As I said, this is how the human brain is supposed to work, and why so much of Marxism seems persuasive.  So many fairytales have conditioned us to “Poor but honorable wins in the end” that it’s easy to buy the idea of a sainted proletariat that gets rule and makes everything perfect.  In the same way, the search for the perfect leader (instead of one who will do and be our employee and get kicked out if he doesn’t perform) has its roots in the countless stories of the long-for king who restores everything.  Even the idea that poverty causes crime or that the destitute are only “forced” into crime by “society” is part of those narratives, some older than civilization.

And sure, those things probably happened that way at some point.  And perhaps third sons (the first inherited the house, the second was usually his second-in-command and stand in if something happened to the first) often made good better than the other ones.  Certainly, forced to leave and seek their fortune, some of them returned fabulously wealthy.  What story has forgotten is those that died, or were lost by the way side, which I’d guess was the vast majority of them.  But since they never returned, it’s easy to imagine they became rich in another country.  And perhaps the guilt of their brothers in having made them leave made them feel more desperately that something good must have befallen the youngest one.  And thus long-standing stories are born.  And story has a weight of its own, so perhaps the third son tried harder, and had an idea he must be more innovative. Which in turn increased their chances of doing well.

And perhaps the poor orphan girl with no dowry also had heard the stories, and was extra nice, which improved her chances of marrying, if not a prince, someone of substance … who had also heard the stories.

The modern era has added other narratives, some designed to make a necessarily short visual narrative more thrilling.   “One chance in a million” and “when all hope is gone” and “out of the ashes.”

Yeah, sometimes one chance in a million comes true.  And yeah, sometimes things turn around when all hope is gone.  And yep, sometimes groups and people come up out of the ashes.  However, there’s survivor bias in those tales, as in the tales of third sons  who make good.  To count on them, or to make things worse so they can come true is not only foolhardy but counterproductive.

Which brings us to the SINGLE most destructive myth of movie and narrative, part of it I think encouraged by the left and Marxists (but I repeat myself) to justify and help along “revolutions” around the world often promoted and pushed by the Soviet Union, covertly from behind the scenes.  But part is simply that it makes a better story.

This is the myth that revolution occurs when poverty and oppression is at its strongest.  In fact, from the French Revolution to the Russian revolution, to other spontaneous revolutions around the world (NOT helped by the USSR), revolution happens when an oppressive regime liberalizes and tries to moderate itself.

If revolution happened when oppression is at its worse, North Korea would now be a democracy.

That’s not the way it works.  Truly oppressed people have neither the strength nor the ability to rebel.

And why is this the most dangerous myth?  It encourages “burn it all down” and “the worse, the better.”  (Which was Lenin’s great piece of nonsense.) It encourages otherwise sane people to want to bring about collapse and destruction, because they’re convinced something wonderful will rise from the ashes.

It never has, it never will, except in Hollywood works not known for their relationship to reality.

But Narrativium doesn’t have to make reality obey it.  Only the minds of men.

Beware of what narrative controls you.  Beware of the infiltration of narrative into your thoughts.

Narrativium, like government and fire, is a good servant but a poor master.

 

 

286 responses to “And Stories Are All We Have

  1. Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

    IE Be careful of what stories you tell yourself and others. Some may have a “sting” in them.

    • The problem is that we aren’t going to change the stories, because the stories need to be the way they are. Sure, you could write about how the third son was driven away by his brothers, forced to make his way in an unforgiving world, was set upon by bandits, murdered, and buried in an unmarked grave, but it’s going to be tough to sell it. And you could write about how the rebels were faced with a million-to-one chance that was their only hope, and then it turned out to be one of the 999,999,999 times where they’re all horribly slaughtered, but again its going to be more than a bit of a trick to make this not the sort of downer ending where people vow never to pick up another one of your books again.

      • That actually isn’t that difficult. Have the protagonist of the story not be the leader of the rebellion, but a Johnny-come-lately brought in by some mid-level bureaucrat/officer’s corruption.
        Then, in the climax, when the rebellion is shattered, make sure he’s able to take his revenge. Survival is optional in the doing, but most people don’t flip as long as the bad guys don’t get everything they want.

        • Or look at Firefly. The story was about some footsoldiers in the crushed rebellion trying to make their way in the universe afterward.

          • Someday someone will write a “software Steadicam” I can pipe the .avi files through to get rid of the wibbly-wobbly bouncing camera effects, and I can actually watch Firefly instead of just listening to it.

            • FlyingMike

              Yeah, they purposely built the Serenity sets so tight that the only way they could shoot much of the ship parts of the show was handheld, but anything off the ship that uses shakeycam was purely a creative decision.

              • Anonymous Coward

                Shakey-cam is not nearly as annoying as the G-D lens flare.

              • well at least that’s the story. Wild walls kind of make that not work.

                • FlyingMike

                  The Serenity set was built vertically correct and connected as you see in the show, with rooms connected to passages and other rooms, and stairs leading somewhere, so the bridge and the galley were actually up there on the second level. This means wild walls on the bridge or galley sets would have to have had a solid permanent platform out where the movable wall could “wild” to for that to work, and as far as I’ve seen from on-set photos, there was none of that. I suppose they could have done scaffolding to get shots through removed panels, but from what I’ve heard they didn’t do that – they just went handheld unless they had lots of room.

                  Note that shakeyCam is not an unavoidable result of going handheld – you can get solid stable shots if you expend the effort. It’s a choice, and I contend a laziness, that to many use with the intent of being all avant guard and stuff. Just rent a damned steadicam rig and hire someone who knows what to do with it and you can run your shots up and down stairs all day long getting good steady results. Also, when you have to fake an explosion nearby and you move the camera, the viewers can actually tell something unusual just happened….

          • Sudden thought: Some of us have family stories of being on the losing side of rebellions, and there’s a strong narrative that if you’re going to fight a war, you do it to the hilt. So it was I heard some very sweet ladies propose turning Falujah into carpet bombing range. Could the two be linked? And how does this change the narrative of the plucky, successful, revolutionaries?

            • Those very sweet ladies proposing to turn Fallujah into a nicely-planed sheet of glass are probably Jacksonian Americans, and never mind what their stated other political beliefs might be. Jacksonian Americans do not believe in waging war on a calibrated dial. Either war, or do not war – but if you war, do it all-out. Stealing a phrase from the Second Chronicle of Luna City – do it to where all you need for a clean-up is some Windex and a roll of paper towels.

              As you might surmise, I am a Jacksonian American. War on a calibrated dial only burns through lives, needlessly. And those lives are hardly ever the lives of those loved by the lovers of waging war on a negotiated, tit-for-tat calibrated dial.

              • Possibly also plain-old “ladies who take the guys at their word that they want to kill said ladies and those they care about, who are responding appropriately.”

                The old saying of “never scare a small man, he’ll kill you” comes to mind.

                • All the Jacksonian observations may very well be true. Just that all the Civil War stories ended with the same three words. “It was war,” whether it was a skirmish or battle or a visit by Sherman’s soldiers. Never thought much about the latter until I read Sherman’s boast he would make Georgians never consider war again. The Georgians who experienced his march considered it a lesson in how to wage war, and took notes.

                  • The maliciousness of Sherman’s March to the Sea has been greatly exaggerated. Sherman’s goals were 1) keep his army fed while it was out of communication with the North and 2) break the economic – and thus political – power of the plantation owners he felt, for good reason, to be responsible for the war. Now 60,000 men marching together can do quite a bit of damage just keeping their bellies filled, and a group that large and that accustomed to violence are going to have more than a few people willing to commit atrocities without any official sanction, but that’s hardly unprecedented in warfare and Sherman did take measures to keep the collateral damage down.

                    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                      I hope that we don’t get into an argument here about “How Terrible Or Not Terrible Sherman Was”.

                      It’s as “Fruitful” as arguments on “Why The American Civil War Was Fought”. 😉

                    • I didn’t say it wasn’t terrible, I said it wasn’t malicious. Sherman did terrible things to the Georgians. He also did terrible things to the slaves who left their plantations and followed his army looking for freedom. He did those things because that’s what the situation demanded and by doing them he shortened the war and saved lives. It was the atomic bombing of the 19th century. At the same time he spared Savannah and tried to minimize the damage to Atlanta.

                      At the beginning of the war Sherman suffered a mental breakdown. I think it was because he was one of the few at that time who realize what horrors were coming and what he would have to do for his country.

                    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                      Nod.

                      I hear you but I’ve also heard too much “Sherman Was The Devil Himself” sort of thing. 😦

                    • There’s two extreme views on Sherman’s march. One claims you can still see, from the air, the path he took. No, you can’t, and that’s easily verified through Google Earth. The other is the only targets were war material. That’s not true, either. His soldiers had a habit of burning split rail fences and shooting livestock, and characterized it as one long Halloween. So it was that while railways and material to be used in the war effort was officially targeted, Sherman and his officers turned a blind eye toward vandalism, such as trashing stores and pouring molasses into pump organs. There was also the occasional trashing of churches, such as Christ Church, where John Wesley preached beneath the live oaks, on St. Simon’s Island. Harming civilians was very rare, and it’s worth noting that my ancestors who experienced the march had a greater fear of the “brigands” that followed, picking over what was left.

                      Foraging was accomplished by bummers, in the same sense as “bum a cigarette.” They had the habit of taking all food regardless of a family’s economic status. For Tara type plantations were on the rare side, and if you compare Sherman’s March through Georgia with a map of how county representatives voted for secession, you’ll see that it cut right through areas that wanted to remain part of the Union. Not that Sherman cared, because he had a war to win, and he took just about the quickest way from point A to point B. Years later someone from Augusta, Georgia, would write asking why he didn’t go through their city, and in his reply he said he could get the boys to make a visit.

                      Our only bummer story consists of food hidden before they came, and they counted it a miracle that the uncured pork buried between pine boughs didn’t rot and they were able to live off it. A friend has an interesting one where the Union sergeant noticed a Masonic symbol on some item on the mantel, ordered his men to put everything back, apologized, and went down the road to forage elsewhere.

                      My favorite was in a history of Sherman’s March, and comes from Tennille, Georgia. A man hosted some Northern investors after the war, and during the meal one kept eyeing a silver pot (coffee or tea – can’t remember) that had a dent. The hostess saw him, and said that their last guests had set up tents in their yard, and though they had hid the silverware, one found it, save for the pot that was under the tent stake, which caused the dent.

                      As she told the story, the man turned crimson as the others started laughing. Finally he sputtered “Ma’am, you’ll receive the rest of your silverware.” And she did.

                      Second favorite comes from just south of Atlanta, where a group of ladies watched some soldiers searching for loot dig up a dead dog. Then one of the ladies stood up and said “Put him back. That’s the third time he’s been dug up today.”

                      It was on this march that my grandfather’s folks took part in a skirmish against Union soldiers. By this time the only males left were boys and old men, and when the Union soldiers advanced and saw who they had fought, many cried and all gave what aid they could. And my grandfather’s folks called it “Where the Yankees Cried.”

                      It was also on this march that the Confederate Corp of Engineers rigged land mines. They were effective enough that Sherman marched POWs in front of his columns. And sometimes I wonder if all those land mines were recovered.

                      So it goes, from the brigand peeping in through a crack at the chimney at my g-g-grandmother to a young slave insulted by a bummer demanding water, to a Union officer assuring a girl that they did not hurt women and children. And each story from my ancestors ended with “It was war.”

                      There is one thing that tends to be forgotten about Sherman’s March. It wasn’t just from Atlanta to Savannah. Sherman then turned and marched northward through South Carolina. Because South Carolina was the first to secede, Sherman supposedly removed most of the restraints on his men.

                      All of which is very long for someone else’s blog, but maybe gives a slight taste of that event.

                    • Paul:
                      Can’t say I’ve heard Sherman called a devil. Arsonist, yes; devil, no. 😉

                    • You sayin’ you never realized “the Devil went down to Georgia” was metaphorical?

                    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                      In the more extreme talk about him that I’ve heard, he might have well been a Devil. 😉

                      Mind you, the “it was war” comment you’ve reported says it all.

                    • “that my ancestors who experienced the march had a greater fear of the “brigands” that followed, picking over what was left.”

                      This right here is the big problem. The “brigands”, often claiming to be fighting for one side or the other, have through the lens of history often been lumped in with Sherman’s men. Mind you Sherman nor his men were plaster saints, but there were restraints on them, unlike on those that followed. Also many forget that food, livestock, and warm socks are all “war material” necessary for fighting the war, so therefore were fair game to Sherman.

                  • Here’s the really interesting thing about that. Everyone talks about the March to the Sea–very, very few people ever talk about Sheridan in the Valley–and, as mentioned, almost no one talks about Sherman in South Carolina.
                    The reason we don’t hear about North Carolina, or so the legends have it, is that Sherman’s men were tuckered after going through the birthplace of the rebellion.

                    • Actually, I’ve heard the Shenendoah Valley mentioned quite a lot. Admittedly, it’s not mentioned anywhere near as often as Sherman and Georgia. But I do see it brought up whenever someone starts to list grievances against the Union (which happens often enough if you frequent conservative blogs).

                • “The old saying of “never scare a small man, he’ll kill you” comes to mind.”

                  I think that’s unfair to the ladies, to be honest. That old saying is basically to the point that frightening a coward is dangerous, because he’ll overreact.

                  The little old ladies are merely being traditionally pragmatic, and reacting as little old ladies will, in that they do not like people disrupting the peace and quiet of their towns and breeding plans. They’d rather those nice young men be at home, making grandchildren, but if you insist on making war on them, then they want it done quickly, thoroughly, and utterly without mercy. So that those nice young men can get back to the important things, like making grandchildren.

                  Never, ever piss off the little old ladies. They’ll do things to you that those strapping young sons and grandsons would never even think about doing, and you’ll never see it coming. Age and treachery will always outdo youth and strength, and there ain’t nothing more aged and treacherous than a little old lady who’s taken it into her head that you Need To Go(tm).

                  Don’t believe me? Ask the Japanese how well it worked out, pissing off all those little old lady Methodist missionaries in China. Got them a scrap metal embargo, an oil embargo, and then turned what should have been an exquisitely nuanced “signal” on the 7th of December into a probable genocide. If the Emperor hadn’t have rolled over on his belly and surrendered when he did, and Operation Olympic actually happened…? Yeah. Japan–One with Carthage. All it would have taken would have been for those first few waves of the invasion to actually encounter all the things the Japanese Imperial Army had planned for them, and Aunt Maude in Peoria would have been writing letter after letter after letter to her Congressmen, back when that sort of thing had effect.

                  I don’t think the Japanese militarists ever really figured out how badly they screwed up, by pissing off all those Methodist missionaries and others, during the 1930s. Public opinion was against them here in the US going back long before December of ’41, and they did most of the damage to themselves.

                  • That old saying is basically to the point that frightening a coward is dangerous, because he’ll overreact.

                    No, the point of the saying is that someone who is not on even footing does not HAVE the same “escalation of force” standards as a big guy.

                    A little man can’t afford to let a big guy get one free punch– it could kill him.

                    Same for women.

                    • When you’re trading punches with the Hulk and you get first blow, better make it count.

                      “Whether the stone hits the pitcher or the pitcher hits the stone, it is bound to be bad for the pitcher.”

                    • And if you’re pretty dang sure the Hulk is going to punch you– you’d better get that hit, first.

                      This is why restraint requires strength– you can’t afford to restrain yourself against someone that’s a dire threat.

                    • Terry Sanders

                      In *StarTrek: the RPG* that’s the justification for both the dial-a-gun phasers and the godawful firepower on a Fed cruiser. It gives you options beyond “Hit them with everything! NOW!!”

            • Kipling’s “Female of the Species” comes naturally to mind.

      • You’d have to have a solution that would save the day after the million to one thing failed. Preferably, one that is obvious in hindsight.

      • no, yes. BUT we need to be AWARE of the narrativium and be able to control it.

      • It can be done, but it’s difficult. In the film “To Live And Die In LA”, for example. The hero charges into almost certain death, and he dies. About 3/4 through the movie. For the last quarter of the film the hero’s partner pursues the case and wraps it up, but the audience is forced to confront the death of the main character. It’s a very powerful film because of it, but I suspect that’s also why it didn’t do terribly well theatrically.

        The original ending of the film “Dodgeball” (which is available as an extra on the DVD) had the scrappy underdogs loosing their final match and the gym that they had all banded together to save. I thought it was the perfect ending for a parody, but evidently the test audience convinced the producers to reshoot a happy ending.

        • Anonymous Coward

          Interestingly enough, Friedkin shot the ending to TLADILA and had it panned by studio management. He shot an alternate ending in which the hero lives. He eventually rejected this and kept the original ending.

      • Of course. Everyone knows that the brothers set on him. He doesn’t always come back from the dead, either.

      • People do write those kinds of stories. But the authors are typically the types who pride themselves on only writing “reality” and not that “fantastical nonsense”, and often have more than a little in common with your typical SJW.

  2. You mean we aren’t all guaranteed a fairy tail ending where we all live Happily Ever After? But Disney promised! That’s not fair!
    Two of my favorite quotes from Princess Bride are “Who says life is fair, where is that written?” and “Life is pain, highness. Anyone who says differently is selling something.” But people keep believing that sitting and whining about Fairness like a three year old will make it so.
    “Let us not rail about Justice while we have arms and the freedom to use them.” Frank Herbert, Dune

    • Randy Wilde

      From the movie Labyrinth…

      Sarah: That’s not fair!

      Jareth: You say that so often, I wonder what your basis for comparison is?

    • We learn the concept of fairness when we’re children, when it behooves the parents to split things equitably among the offspring (at least in theory, how often this principle is subverted in life and nature I’ll leave as an exercise for the reader.) I think it wears ruts in the mind that are difficult to get out of. What works in the creche just don’t play for real out in the wilderness.

      Some people never get over having the teat slapped out of their mouth.

      • From the way a lot of folks here respond to the word “fair,” I think your parents taught it a lot different than mine did….

        We didn’t have fair meaning equal, we had fair meaning just — morally correct.

        Hm. Maybe it’s less “parents” and more “educational professionals.” That “make it even” rather than “make it moral” twist seems to fit.

        • To my point of view moral grounding is a long game type thing. Harmony in the household is a lot more basic, stuff like “one cuts, one chooses” or “one gets to ride shotgun in the family pickup on the way out and the other gets it on the way back” (an example from my own distant youth). Kids start out completely self centered and a lot of parental refereeing, from what I’ve seen, is about satisfying the young barbarians that they aren’t being cheated rather than instilling altruism. It’s more about keeping peace than teaching propriety.

          • But “not being cheated” is part of building up to altruism– and only the former is about justice. The latter is about mercy. (Which rather nicely is built on justice in the same way.)

            The way most folks here talk about “fair,” they mean things like group punishment (if Bobby can’t have ice cream because he beat on Tommy, nobody else can either) or plain old lazy adulting.
            (Everybody involved in the fight gets expelled! Both the guy with the bat, and the kid he hit over the back of the head!)

            • Yeah, this is true. Like I said, instilling morals is kind of a long game. It takes stages. Just like “eye for an eye” was a big step up in Biblical times from “head for an eye” or “your whole family for an eye”. There’s a point in a kid’s progress where you can start introducing ideas like “You don’t like getting less than your sibling, how do you think they feel about getting less?”

              I think my original point was that for some folks the lessons of fair play as they apply in a family context are internalized as kind of a rote expectation that the same rules apply in the larger world, which pretty much is echoing Ms. Hoyt’s original hypothesis.

          • (full disclosure, I have DONE lazy adulting; sometimes it’s just not worth the effort to untangle who is the most guilty. It’s still a horrible default.)

            • Patrick Chester

              Well, sometimes it’s a good idea to do that occasionally. So kids learn that escalating something to the point that it gets Mommy really ticked off at the situation is not a Good Idea. 😀

            • The kid who gets tell the story to Mom and Dad first is never the one who started the fight. 😉

              Sad, really, how this principle still operates in the political realm.

              • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                I was “Big Brother” to my “Little Sister” so it was always my fault. 👿

                Seriously, I don’t remember much about the conflicts between me and my “Baby Sister” but when I was younger there was some of the “you’re older, look after her” thing. 😀

                Sometimes, she didn’t like that. 😀 😀

                • “Look after her, but you actually don’t have the power to tell her to do anything…”

                  • It’s never easy when you have to tame a town but aren’t given a badge and a gun. :-\

                    • Mm, there’s a point I’ll need to keep in mind, from your & Foxfier’s discussion, especially if I have more than one: delegating responsibility and authority commensurately.

                      (Will it always work that way in real life? No. Will I always get it right? No. Do I think it would be just to get wrong on purpose to teach that real life isn’t fair? Also no.)

                  • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                    It was helpful when I knew Mom & Dad won’t approve of what she wanted to do and she knew it as well.

                    Sure, I didn’t have the authority but I wasn’t afraid of “invoking their disapproval of what she wanted to do”. 😉

                  • There were a couple of times when, after getting seriously frustrated with one of my younger sisters, I sent her to her room, sat down in front of the doorway so she couldn’t leave, and waited for my parents to get home.

                    And then I invited my sister to explain to our parents why I was so mean to her.

                    😛

              • I never had siblings, but I had lots and lots and lots of cousins. Something I was taught by both my parents and grandparents, the kid who tattles gets a whipping, then they will decide whether the offense being tattled on deserves one, and whether the perpetrator gets a licking or not.

                • Had a cousin try to invoke that when he nearly burnt down the barn.

                  Dang was he surprised that my parents DID NOT punish people for being responsible.

                  • Would have to know more of the circumstances to say how mine would have reacted, depending on circumstances they may not have punished you if you were truly “being responsible” rather than tattling on someone else. I can’t imagine the circumstances that your cousin wouldn’t have been punished however.

                    • *shudder* You didn’t know that side of the family.

                      Town kid. He thought that nothing had consequences, so long as he said “I didn’t mean that!”

                      Pretty standard “took his mom’s lighter and was playing in the grass out behind the barn, because he wouldn’t get caught as quick” situation.

                      I not only knew that I wouldn’t be punished, I knew that if I didn’t tell an adult RIGHT THEN, before anything went wrong, I’d be punished as if it had been all my doing.

                      Some things are such that failure to act is owning their actions.

  3. One of Pratchett’s most hilarious tropes was when the Watch say “It’s a million to one chance, but it might just work…” and then start piling on handicaps to insure that it is REALLY a million to one, because no one ever says “It’s a 990,000 to one chance…”

    • Sara the Red

      And even better, having THAT bit not work…but they survived anyway, because that was an even MORE unlikely outcome.

      Gods, but I adore Pratchett.

    • Elan’s father in Order of the Stick fails by sticking to the narrativium.

  4. I think of Trump more like a carp, slapped in the face of the RNC.
    The personal myth in my family is don’t date a girl named Stephanie.
    College students get their first taste of the real world when they see how much government takes out of their first paycheck. Unfortunately, since anymore most of them are unemployed and unemployable they can live in fantasy forever.
    Fair: We should strive for fairness of opportunity. It is impossible to achieve fairness of results, which is why Progressives are not reality based. Human nature is such that telling someone ‘the man is holding you down’ is more palpable that ‘get off you *ss and work for it’.

  5. We are left with no good choices. Trump, Hillary, protest write in vote, or stay home. That’s almost certainly what’s been shoved in our faces barring a surprise from the Justice Department that would sway Bernie for Hillary.
    If we get Trump things will be bad, but he will face pushback from every direction.
    If Clinton wins, she will be full of herself, drunk with power, have the support of the Dems, her base, and most of the media. She will pack the Supreme Court with her toadies, and I fully expect wage frontal attacks on both the First and Second Amendments. Remember, one of the crowning achievements of the first Clinton term was the 1994 Assault Weapon Ban, which expired after ten years, and was not renewed because no one could prove it had any effect on reducing crime. Should she attempt to recreate those glory days, say with an implementation of the infamous Australian solution, it will be met first with passive resistance, and if pressed by armed revolt.
    People simply are not willing to place their security in the hands of an oppressive government that has proven time and again to not give a flip about their safety, placing idealogical caused above the needs of the citizens.
    It’s a rock and a hard place indeed. I’d move if there were anywhere better, but this country is still head and shoulders above every other option.

    • sabrinachase

      Hillary has also shown the entire planet she will leave her own employees to die when they become inconvenient, has less than zero comprehension of basic data security *and* the reason for classification of sensitive information (probably killing even more people who trusted they would be protected), and has a well-documented seething contempt for Secret Service and the military in general. The Secret Service is already falling apart. If she is elected and actually *in charge* of all this, the only people who will be willing to take dangerous jobs with the administration will be incompetent, corrupt, and precisely the kind of people who should not be issued a rubber-band gun or left alone with a fork and an electrical outlet. (Imagine Joe Biden, in bulk, running around trying to “help” with a shotgun.) Oh, and the nuke launch codes will be plastered on billboards in Karachi. So, no intelligence security AND no competent people to protect the country from her stupidity.

      • The Secret Service really, *really* didn’t like First Lady Hillary, and many of them said so after she left the White House.

        Indira Gandhi wasn’t the only politician assassinated by her own security people…

      • Hillary is what Evita Peron would have looked like at her age.

      • I’m convinced that Hillary, if elected, will likely be the first President thrown out of office on her ass. Think about it–With Nixon, Deep Throat did his thing with Woodward and Bernstein just because Nixon had the temerity to bring in an outsider to run the FBI after Hoover died. With all the graceless bitchery that Hillary performs on a daily basis, do you really think she can inspire loyalty and trust with the security agencies? Yeah. My guess is that there’s already a fat dossier prepared to drop on her, one that would make Watergate look like a minor affair. And, that the people holding that will attempt, at first, to use it to rein her in–Which likely won’t work, and then they’ll drop it.

        Electing Hillary is a certain recipe for another massive watershed moment like Watergate, and I don’t see a way past that. There aren’t enough loyalists in the government to keep that shit from hitting the fan, and someone is going to stab her in the back so deeply that it’s going to make what happened to Caesar look tame. And, of course, the resulting damage the country will take…? Exponentially worse than with Watergate.

        So, yeah… I’m thinking that a vote for Hillary is a vote for there being another inevitable Watergate moment, and that even as loopy as Trump might be, avoiding it by electing him instead would probably be preferable.

        I really don’t think Hillary is going to make it as a Presidential figure. She’s gonna get whacked, one way or another–Probably just the same way Nixon got it, and by the same mechanism: Pissed-off apparatchiks she’s trampled over in her course to the top.

        • I expected to see the knife in Obama by now, though, because he’s an easy target. And yet, that never happened.

          • Obama is black, and he’s still well-liked by a lot of people. Bill Clinton was liked. Hillary? Ain’t nobody likes that b***h.

            My guess is that if she’s elected, we’ve got an over/under to a Watergate-style event of less than a year or two, probably in conjunction with something external like the South China Sea mess going hot. Hillary is not well-liked, and is actually roundly hated in a lot of the security agencies. She’ll do something stupid, really piss them off, and the knives will come out. My guess is that it will surround her trying to put one of her people like Huma Abedin in charge of something, and the entrenched bureaucracy will pull a Nixon on her. Or, something else. Either way, she’s going to have a very hard time getting these people to do what she wants, and they’re going to respond to her graceless manner much as one would expect.

            Like I said, Obama has been immune because Black. Hillary ain’t got that going for her, and despite her theoretical status as “first woman in the presidency”, they’re gonna stab the ever-loving f**k out of that back, and love doing it. Hell, the ones doing it will probably be Obama appointees…

            • I think it’s a matter of personal qualities. Obama is actually good at faking dignity and folksiness, at least when he’s on stage and on script. And Bill Clinton, sociopathic bastard though he is, was even better at it.

              Hillary is a humorless bitch who has no ability to conceal the fact, and that’s going to be completely obvious if she wins and has the cameras on her 24-7. No matter how much a lapdog press tries to conceal it, because she’s so tone-deaf she doesn’t even KNOW when she’s singing off-key, and won’t realize she has to cover it up.

              This sounds cruel, but I have no difficulty understanding why Bill is unfaithful to her. He takes it too far, of course — sometimes to outright rape — but I can see why he strays.

              • BobtheRegisterredFool

                Cart and horse.

                Bill’s charm would have been developed in support of a desire to womanize that must have predated marriage.

                I submit that Hillary’s affect is a result of the very qualities that made her attractive to him as a partner in feeding his appetites and avoiding punishment. They seem quite plausible as closely matched monstrous deviants with a shared dedication to the victimization of women.

          • Dragonknitter

            *Biden*

            • Biden has held no terrors since Obama’s first term. I for one welcome President Plugs who shoves live weasels down his pants during public meetings. (A plausible explanation for his facial expressions.)

              • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                I agree but many may not.

                Of course, I wondering how many now “fear Biden”.

                Likely Obama continued survival now depends on certain people thinking “well he’ll be gone by the end of the year”.

                If he goes too far, those people might decide “Biden for a short time won’t be that bad”. 👿

                • Seriously, my daughter and I have both wondered for some time if Ol’ Plugs might be pulling a Claudius on us all – putting up an appearance of genial idiocy so that when all the sharks have finished tearing each other into chum, he will toddle into the Presidency unscathed.

                  • if he is, it would have to be very long term. I know people who met him years and years ago and say he is a nice guy and well meaning but dumb as a box of rocks.
                    Explains why dems keep voting for him . . . I guess . . .well.

          • If Hillary gets whacked, it will be while she’s walking backward in front of her Secret Service guards, screaming obscenities at them and telling them to stay away from her. I’m surprised no terrorist group has taken advantage of her contempt for the guards assigned to take a bullet for her.

            • The fact no group has, should cause you to doubt those reports. Look, I hate Hillary as much as anyone else, and want to believe those reports. But it won’t fadge.

              • I’m not sure which reports folks have heard– but the word of mouth stuff I heard was that…. what was that movie, The Devil Wears Prava or something?

                That kind of abusive bullcrud?

                She is, I hear, abusive and has no respect for those doing honorable service. Doesn’t mean she won’t use them.

          • FlyingMike

            The Secret Service folks may hate any current Oval Office Occupiers, but they will still jump in front of the bullet to protect the office.

            If it’s President Dowager Empress, the protection detail folks will have more binge drinking and foreign trip prostitution scandals and such as they try to cope with her abuse, but they will still take the bullet, up until her impeachment and conviction, when they will be falling over themselves to volunteer to do her perp walk for the cameras.

            Yes, I am in fact an optimist – how did you guess?

            If we end up draining that well dry, with the Secret Service Presidential Protection Detail folks standing aside for a hit, then you will know we are well and truly done. But if it comes to that point we’ll likely have an Imperator simply adopting the title of “President” along with the other trappings of the office for show, and that person’s close protection detail will be staffed with hand-picked bad dudes protecting them personally, not the office.

          • Of course not. He’s protected by the possibility of President Biden! Why do you think Obama chose Biden?

        • Watergate was helped by the fact that the media wanted Nixon’s hide. Nobody was pointing out that breaking into campaign offices was a tacitly accepted campaign practice used by the likes of LBJ. Instead it was presented as a crisis of government, a betrayal of American values.

          Watergate also helped give modern Progressives a foothold in power. At lot of the legislation causing us grief today, from the Community Reinvestment Act to the Clean Water Act, stems from that timeframe. Maybe a similar crisis featuring a Democrat would be a net positive.

    • Baron von Cut-n-Paste

      The choice that I am currently favoring is to vote Libertarian. There is absolutely no chance of getting the Libertarian candidate elected, but I am hoping (rather desperately) that if enough Republican refugees from The Donald (or Democrats who can’t stomach Her Majesty, although it may be a bit much to expect their protest votes to go Libertarian) do the same that we can shift the Overton window in the direction of libertarian principles.

      • Were Sanders to go rogue and run as the Green Party candidate or something, then Libertarian might actually stand a chance. I can dream can’t I?

      • I hate to say this (and I say it every four years, far too many times) but in our particular system, third parties damage the party they most nearly resemble, and thus draw the most votes away from. Ross Perot did this to the GOP in 1992, and Ralph Nader did it to the Dems in 2000. If the GOP were smart, they’d fund the Green Party. If the Dems were smart, they’d fund the Libertarians. We really are a two-party system, for good or for bad. It really is a choice between the lesser of two evils, and has been for longer than any of us has been alive.

        • Most of the Libertarian party supporters I know are Democrats…..

          • Rare birds, those. I haven’t seen a libertarian Democrat since I was in college 45 years ago.

            • Reality Observer

              Notice your differing cases, there, Jeff…

              At least here in AZ, you need a DNA test to distinguish a Libertarian from an Anarchist Democrat.

              • Heh! We’re in the process of moving to Phoenix, so I’ll have to keep my eyes open. Every true anarchist I’ve ever known voted Republican if they voted at all.

            • *wry* I didn’t say they were libertarians. I said they supported the Libertarian party….. (Meaning financially.)

              Thus the capitalization. It’s annoying as piss to try to talk actual philosophy with ’em, since it is basically “everyone is free to do EXACTLY WHAT I WANT.”

        • Though there are and will always be two major parties, the minor parties serve an important function — and though you denigrate it, they exercise that function by doing precisely what you dislike.

          The cancer at the heart of our political system is most vividly revealed by complaints that “voting for the LP candidate just helps the Democrat.” The GOP whiners act as if the GOP candidate has a right to those votes. Indeed, they often complain that those votes were “stolen” from the Republican candidate. They seldom ponder the possibility that he might have to earn them. They seldom pause to wonder whether the only reason those votes were cast at all is that the voters deemed the LP candidate worth the trip to the polling place — that those voters might have stayed home were he not on the ballot.

          The political dynamic functions properly only under conditions of competition — and the more competitive, the better. When the major parties succeed in locking the minor ones out of the battle, as they have often tried to do (and have occasionally succeeded), the dynamic becomes perverse: the major parties tend toward convergence. That’s been going on since the election of 1896, when the Cleveland Democrats, appalled by the party’s nomination of William Jennings Bryan, abandoned the Democrat Party and moved in a body to the Republicans.

          Electing Republicans is not our job as freedom lovers. Our job is the promotion of freedom, which we will not achieve merely by voting for the slightly less objectionable of two objectionable candidates. Get a Republican diehard to whom the only thing that matters is the emblem on the candidate’s lapel button to understand that and you’ll have made a real contribution to America’s political health.

          • Electing the candidate who is the least inimical to freedom is our job. There are only two electable candidates. In an electorate as closely divided as ours, small parties tip elections away from the desires of their members. This happened in 1992 and 2000. I can easily see it happen again.

            • Yes, but which one is the least inimical to freedom, exactly?

            • In this case? I’ll wash my hands and wish it on their heads. there is no actual difference. All anyone can do is guess and I disagree with most guesses.

              • I will probably only decide who to vote for when I’m standing in the booth in November. Well, I will make many mutually exclusive choices along the way. The choices will be graven in sand at low tide.

              • I have to look at both their records. Him as a flagrant crony capitalist. And her many years of a perverse and self serving sort of public service. Either will most likely do harm to institutions we hold dear, but in my mind Hillary ranks higher based on her having championed the 1994 assault weapon ban and her later willingness, perhaps salivating eagerness would be a better term, to sell indulgences to foreign companies and governments in exchange for outrageous speaker fees to Bill or donations to the Clinton Foundation. We all know that she would sell her soul for the right price, so it’s only a question of what it would take for her to sell us out.

                • Hillary is already promising to circumcise the 1st Amendment (see remarks on Citizens United decision) and gut the 2nd … I expect she will have us quartering Human Rights inspectors to ensure compliance with enlightened behaviour and self-confessional repentance of our various “-isms.”

                  it’s only a question of what it would take for her to sell us out.

                  Wales.

                  • Wales, RES? You give her far too much credit.

                    As to the Human Rights inspectors, I will claim my Third Amendment rights

                  • You do know that Citizens United was about an embarrassing to the Clinton Gang movie that showed how 9/11 was partially due to Clinton not killing Bin Laden. It was deemed an illegal political ad in 2008. Can’t show an anti-Clinton movie in an election year. Turns out, the Supreme Court said “Yes you can.”

                • Trump is, at least, more on the side of America than is Hillary. It’s rather obvious that Hillary sees patriotism as an antiquitated ideal. Too bad she won’t flee to some foreign regime and then wind up having them send her head back to us as a way of currying favor.

                  • BobtheRegisterredFool

                    Trump’s a flipping Obama voter and donor. He is wealthy enough that the level of due diligence it is reasonable to expect of him is higher.

                    Hillary at least might sell herself to pro-US interests.

                  • I’m convinced that Trump doesn’t respect, nor understand, nor wish to understand the US Constitution. I have a hard time accepting Trump’s claim that he loves America, because he doesn’t respect this critical document.

                    I say this as someone who is partial to the arguments of some anti-Federalists and Libertarians who are anti-Constitution. To the degree that these people are anti-Constitution, it’s because they believe that the Constitution doesn’t do enough to protect liberty — and (for the anti-Federalists, in particular) their stance is help us preserve liberty. Indeed, it is because of anti-Federalists that we ended up with the Bill of Rights! Their antagonism towards the Constitution was generally a well-thought out stance resulting from a deep understanding of that document and its purported goals.

                    The two differences between liberty-minded anti-Constitutionalists, and Trump, is that Trump doesn’t demonstrate a love of liberty (and even a willingness to trample on it), and Trump demonstrates a deep ignorance of that document, with an unwillingness to correct that ignorance.

                    • Whereas Obama taught Constitutional Law.

                      Not sure what exactly he taught it, other than words don’t matter.

                    • Randy Wilde

                      other than words don’t matter.

                      I think left-wing lawyers are taught how to get around the Constitution, not how to follow it.

                    • So a topsy-turvy of Sheen’s point on those who hate Catholicism? “not what it is…but what they think it is”?

              • Hillary will enable the Dems in Congress. Trump will enable the GOP side of Congress. The latter isn’t a blessing, but the former is the devil’s own army.

          • The mechanism you describe is the traditional way of things, and it’s a major reason behind the results in 2006 and 2008. However, conservatives’ general disgust with the GOP gave the Democrats enough power to ram through Obamacare. The Republic is fragile enough that it cannot withstand many more insults of that scale. There is a strong case to be made to put one’s goals aside and vote for the party that can actually oppose the Democrats.

            That being said, I have the luxury of being able to send Trump a message by voting Libertarian. I vote in Washington, so Seattle will ensure that my electors go to Hillary! no matter what.

            • Baron von Cut-n-Paste

              After watching the last eight years, I’d say that the Republicans imploding might be the best thing that could happen for those who oppose the Democrats. The remnants might coalesce into a new conservative party actually able to check the moves of their leftist counterparts. I don’t see how they could be any less effective than the current GOP.

              • It won’t. Not for a generation. This is “cutting off my nose to spite my face.”

                • It would also require that things get pretty bad under the Democrats, to the point that the vast majority of the population rejected the narrative that the media was forcing on them. And the media would stick with the narrative, because they’re cowards and would be subject to extra-constitutional pressures by the ruling party, and were inclined to agree with that narrative to begin with in any case. So, yeah — a generation or so.

                • Baron von Cut-n-Paste

                  With my nose, that actually sounds rather more tempting than it should. Damn post-nasal drip…

              • Jeff Gauch

                I doubt that building a new conservative political party would take any less time than turning the GOP into a conservative party. The biggest disadvantage is that while the new party builds to the point it could challenge the Democrats, the Dems would have unopposed access to power.

                • Jeff, we have been trying to move the Republican Party towards conservatism for years. With Trump as the apparent nominee, I think we have ended up going in the opposite direction.

                  At what point do you throw in your cards and get a new hand? The number of Republicans elected to Congress as conservatives and who remain conservative can be counted on two hands. The others have all turned into yes men for the “moderates”.

                  I want to see a conservative, competitive party before I die.

                  • Beth, PLEASE. “for years” While the communists started taking over the democrats in the forties. PLEASE. Perspective.
                    This is the reason we lose. They have patience, we don’t.
                    When do we throw in our hand? NOT NOW.

                    • The last really conservative presidential candidate was Ronald Reagan, I suppose. Before that, it was Goldwater. I have one conservative senator and one who had not lived in Kansas for over 20 years, who does not give one crap about liberty. I have a fairly useless, not very bright semi-conservative rep – until she votes on stuff.
                      I got involved for awhile – my husband and I were precinct leaders – and we voted in conservatives who seemed to immediately get turned by those with money or they became crazy alex jones conspiracy theorists. . And this was at the local and state level. Argghhh!
                      I am so freaking frustrated that I can’t stand it anymore.

                      We have lost our jobs. We have lost half our investment savings. All this by doing what we are supposed to do – work hard, save money. 90 percent of the politicians in DC today either lied to get there or just figure we are too damn stupid to pay attention once they get there.

                      And now it comes down to Trump and Hillary.

                      it’s a freaking nightmare for us.

                    • Sarah,
                      I agree, BUT, and it’s a big but, we need something to threaten them with. Conservativism, by its very nature has a rather limited amount of carrot for politicians, so there has to be a decent sized stick. They KNOW conservatives aren’t going to switch to the democratic party, so about the only stick available is the threat to leave the republican party wholesale and tear it down. I don’t want to do so, because it will mean close to a generation of democratic rule, but there has to be a believable chance of us doing so in order for the threat to hold any power. And to be believable, it might be required that at some point the threat is carried through on.

                    • Here, we vote for the most conservative-appearing candidate, they get elected, and nine times out of ten, they start introducing new bills that would increase regulation over farmers (this is a farm state). These bills typically give great advantage to the huge agribusinesses here, but put small concerns at great disadvantage.
                      But small concerns can’t donate millions to the campaigns, so once they are in office, they pretty much give us the finger.

                      The only party that seems to be anti-regulation is the Libertarian Party. Too many of them are libertarians only to get legal drugs, and don’t seem to really care about the First Amendment.

                    • Sometimes they’re just ignorant– the big guys are the ones that talk to them, so they think that what the big guys say is what will “help farmers,” so that’s what they do.

                    • Or is it that the big guys are the ones they will make time for? The party people advise them to make the big companies happy.

                    • It’s not like the big guys are going to phrase it like this:
                      “Hi! Can you put these rules in place that will either help me, or at least improve things at a cost that is not a big problem for me? Guys that don’t have an accounting department will be hosed, but– hey! Good stuff!”

                      Assuming the big guys with time/money to have someone show up and make a pitch even REALIZE that it hurts the little guys. I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s a secondary effect they never even though about.

                      This is going off of talking to some folks who are fairly big time guys.

                    • I belong to The Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance – it is an organization that fights a lot of legislation that is actually written by the big companies and handed to the congress critters.
                      Believe me, the giant agribusiness concerns do want to eliminate any and all competition possible. They are not necessarily nice people who just don’t think about how it affects small and medium sized farmers.

                      You are much more trusting than I am! LOL!

                    • Same in computers, Beth. They really don’t want that brilliant start-up to eat their lunch.

                    • You’re fighting guys who are actually malicious– I’m just pointing out that they’re not all jerks.

                    • It does make a difference, by the way– you can get some to stop pushing stupid stuff if you consider that they may just not realize it. That’s much less likely if supported somethign dumb=> malicious is the starting point.

                      (Note: this DOES NOT mean “pretend that someone who is obviously deliberately trying to use the law as a weapon is just a poor mistaken lamb.”)

                    • For example, for several years, the USDA has been trying to set up regulations that would require every single animal in the USA (eventually even your pets) have an RFID tag implanted.

                      Including chickens.

                      But, the big chicken producers would be exempt, they can ID an entire generation of chickens with one number.

                      This is all in the interest of food safety, supposedly. And for the moment, it has been delayed, perhaps permanently, perhaps not.

                      And I have contacted all my Congress Critters and they all seem to be of the impression that “Food Safety” is worth whatever it might cost. (This all stems from the Food Safety Bill, passed a few years back).

                      And if it’s not one regulation or bill, it’s another. I feel like I have to be constantly on my toes to know what the heck is going on in DC.

                      If Congress had not quit doing their jobs by passing actual laws instead of suggestions to be written by bureaucrats, perhaps I would not be so worried, but at this point, at least when it comes to Food Safety, the USDA bureaucrats are writing the law based on the Congressional suggestions that pass as laws.

                    • I’m sure you know, but they’re getting support from animal rights activists, too.

                    • Now PETA is going after wool, claiming that sheep are injured when they are sheared. They have a naked model holding a very bloody sheep, as if that is how shepherds treat their sheep.

                      A very clever Australian shearer made a video of him shearing a sheep while he is naked to show that sheep come out of shearing just fine.

                      And of course, they are against angora goats being sheared and angora rabbits being sheared for their fiber.

                      It’s kind of funny. Do all these crazy PETA people really think that natural fibers, harvested from animals for the natural life of the animal are harmful? They are freaking nuts. Nuts. Nuts. Nuts.

                      I sheared a sheep for a friend today. If that sheep was not sheared, she would be a huge mess in another few months. As it was, I got 15 pounds of wool from her, and that is only about 13 months’ growth.

                    • We should sheer Havey-cat. He keeps getting fur-twists from being so fuzzy. and his breed is called Angora for a reason.

                    • We had a wonderful Persian cat, Gandalf the Grey – he was abandoned, and we took him in and he lived another 16 years. His coat was much And oh, golly, keeping him knot free was nearly impossible. I found that I had to use a seam ripper to safely get his hair untangled.

                    • My parents seem to adopt the crazy animal people who decide that they really mean it— and move to the country.

                      One decided to raise sheep, cruelty free.

                      Starting by not cutting off their tails.

                      …. you know exactly what happened, don’t you?
                      Mom made the woman help get rid of the maggoty tails, and wash the wounds until they healed.

                      Cured her of the automatic “I don’t understand it so it’s just to be cruel” thing.

                    • The same idiots probably think it is cruel to neuter a dog or cat.

                    • Oddly, no. That they understand and support– so it can’t be cruel.

                      They also tend to be the ones who flip over hormones or even medical treatment for cows, but want all human women on Depo shots and have a medicine cupboard stuffed to the gills.

                    • In fact not only to they support it, in some cases they actually want it to be a de facto requirement of law for your pets to be ‘fixed’ unless you have special permits and licenses.

                    • There is a big push in South Africa to ban the practice of cutting sheep’s tails off because it just looks so mean. (I have sheepherder friends all over the world thanks to facebook). It’s a matter of city folk who don’t understand poop and flies and maggots.

                    • Speaking of looking horrible, dad use to have a skull of a cow where the horn had grown back around and in– it’s a known issue with angus. That’s why they take a hacksaw to the horns during branding. (I think the bulls are usually freeze-killed, if they have the buds at all. Not sure.)

                      Not sure if you’ve ever seen that, but it looks HORRIFIC! It’s a head wound, so it will gush blood, and the cows are mooing like you’re killing them…. mom makes a point to get folks to notice that they behave exactly the same way when all you do is trim the hair so you can see their bangs tag.
                      (That’s one source of support for you from big business– those stupid tags are loved by dairy farmers, who tried to get the bangs tag requirement changed to them, but you have to practically touch the spot to read them– it’s worse than an inch-long metal earring. So all the big beef producers, who ship cattle very frequently, oppose it. I had not heard when they moved it to all animals, but we haven’t had a chance to sub to dad’s ag paper yet, either.)

                    • It’s a matter of city folk who don’t understand poop and flies and maggots.

                      They’re typically full of the former and commonly are in the same general occupation as the latter.

                    • > and now it comes down to Trump and Hillary

                      And that’s why audiences stood and cheered when the aliens zapped the White House in “Independence Day.”

                      The electoral process takes place in the Party machines there the public gets no say. They present a slim menu of McCandidates so we can pretend we’re part of the system by voting for or against, but that’s just a difference in degree from having a single party select a single candidate for us to vote for.

                      Hell, at least Election Day was a holiday in the USSR. Several times I had to take half a day off work to stand in line, which counted as against me as “absentee”,

                  • Jeff Gauch

                    The biggest problem with DC is that it’s a Progressive echo chamber. Only recently has the technology existed to break that chamber. It will take a while to overcome the institutional inertia and get the GOP to use those technologies. Once that happens and the government-industrial complex collapses we’ll see a real conservative party. Until that happens a new party will do nothing but be co-opted itself. Remember that the GOP has never been a conservative party, it just seems that way because it’s the party that didn’t have its conservative wing purged, a process that took the Progressives nearly a century.

                  • We’ve been trying to pull it more conservative– and they’ve been trying to pull it more liberal. We can fight that– it’s obvious.

                    More importantly, there are the folks who aren’t really trying to move anything– they’re moving *themselves.* That old line, I didn’t leave the party, they left me? Kind of like that.

                    So we’ve got Californication going on.

                    Look at all the never-ever-go-Republican folks who are voting for Trump– and they’re not being tactical. They’re there because their views are least abused by him. The Republican party is the least offensive to them.

                • and make the building of anew party as difficult as possible.

            • The Republic is fragile enough that it cannot withstand many more insults of that scale.

              Indeed. What happens when the Democrats screwing up means American cities dying in nuclear fire? Even just one or two of them?

              At that point, you’ll have a Democratic President who got into power in part by misusing governmental authority to suppress the opposition vote (the case with Obama after the 2012 elections) and hence has less than fully-normal legitimacy. And he’ll be spinning things in such a way that it’s obvious that if he stays in power, this will happen again. And again. And again.

              And then, probably, some general who reacted well in the crisis, coming into Washington DC to “restore order.” You can’t assume in that situation that a populace afraid of further attacks won’t just go with the Man in the Helicopter.

              Throw away legitimacy, and we lose our special American Get Out of Coups Free card.

          • BobtheRegisterredFool

            Sir,
            I might be considered a Republican die hard. I have never cast a ballot for a Democrat in a partisan election.
            My original position was an Anti-Democrat who votes Republican with the goal of hurting the Democratic Party. I have a quixotic agenda of opposing Democrats for Democratic Political misconduct since the Civil War.
            I accepted the idea that we would have to reach out to Obama voters in order to win in 2016.
            If I were as dedicated an anti-NSDAP voter, I would not vote for Goebbels even in the event he should officially change his party affiliation.

            • I suspect a lot of Obama voters will not show up to vote for a white woman or a white man.

              They voted only because they wanted the first black President.

              • There is real concern that the youth vote Sanders is turning out will not show up for Hillary. Idealistic ninnies with no habit of voting are generally a very poor bloc to put your turn-out-the-vote investment in to.

                Hillary is counting on getting that historical vote vibe but a) she’s been around too long to come off as fresh, thus lacks the “historical vote” feel and b) women, men — there’s no real difference, is there? Any claims that there are differences are contrary to government Civil Rights regulation and may render you liable to fine, imprisonment or both.

                • There are Sanders supporters where I work who say they’ll vote Trump after Hillary steals the nomination.

        • Bull Moose Party.

        • According to the Libertarian site, “A Libertarian Future,” Johnson is taking more voters away from Hillary than Trump, per the polls they cited.

          • Baron von Cut-n-Paste

            I put zero faith in polls. Even for the ones whose methodology isn’t deliberately slanted, what they’re really measuring is the opinion of those people who are willing to spend their time answering a pollsters questions. These days that’s a significantly smaller subset of the electorate even than those who can be bothered to vote. And I suspect that a significant percentage of those who do answer polls deliberately give absurd and misleading answers for their own amusement (which I might or might not have done a few times myself).

        • Baron von Cut-n-Paste

          Which is the only real advantage to this election cycle. I can do as much damage as I want to the party of Trump and still sleep soundly. The main goal would be to help give libertarian ideas more mainstream credibility.

        • usually, but then Trump resembles what he is, a leftist dem, so it seems to be a toss-up. Sanders as a Green would make things VERY strange and it could be a very low percentage victory for whomever wins.

    • My problem is I see the exact opposite happening, I expect Hillary to face more opposition, than Trump if elected. Since I see little difference between the two (look at their records, not what they blather on the campaign trail) I actually think Hillary would do less damage than Trump, not because she doesn’t want to, but because she would get less accomplished.

      • I agree with the honorable Ursus Feline, unfortunately.

        • Yes, and if it be Trump, the conservatives and classical liberals get all the blame for the failures. P.J. O’ might be on the right track. but I find voting Hill to damned nauseating to contemplate.

        • At this point, I have no idea who is going to be better or worse. At this point, I think it’s a toss-up.

          Hence, #NeverTrump, #NeverHillary. Both are so awful that I cannot validate either with my vote.

      • Me, three. At least Republicans would fight her agenda vs rolling over when T proposes the same agenda.

        • yep. Because they’ll be so afraid of being called “cuckservatives” and compared to the people who “did nothing.”

        • Baron von Cut-n-Paste

          Because the Republicans have been so successful in fighting Obama’s agenda

          • If you think Obama got everything he wanted, much less everything his party wanted, your head’s on crooked.

          • You’re underestimating how successful they’ve been.

            • Baron von Cut-n-Paste

              Fair enough. What they’ve failed to accomplish is frustratingly obvious. What they have accomplished is probably not quite so readily apparent.

          • Consider, for a moment, all the shenanigans Obama, Reid, and Pelosi pulled with two years of close to absolute power, then what they pulled over the next six.
            Now consider what they would have done with eight years of that.
            I happen to sympathize with the faction that calls the senior Senator from Kentucky “Mitch McClellan,” but find “Vichy Mitchy” to be over the top and ridiculous.

  6. “This is how you see Sad Puppies and our supporters, with people like me, and Larry and Kate in it called “neo nazis” and accused of being “racist, sexist, homophobic.” That poor little duckling was told in school that anyone who opposed the commands of the “intelligentsia” who gave their orders on “diversity” … were neo nazis and hated women and gays and people of color. She couldn’t even see the people on our side, but had to go with the narrative…”

    Nod. Exactly – blinded by the narrative and trapped in the bubble. My coincidence last evening, one of the guys I knew from the local Tea Party sent us an email with a link to a recent textbook – assembled and written by someone who managed escape ever actually encountering a for-real Tea Partier or a local Tea Party organization. The caparison between the Tea Party and the KKK was drawn, repeatedly, at least in the snippets of the book that I was able to read.

    • Then you have the anti-populists who should know better, but have unfortunate tendencies towards remembering the first part of Churchill’s quote about democracy and forgetting the second.

    • The ILoH was quoting GRRM’s despondency over the fact that liberals always play nice and abide by the rules but get trampled on by sociopaths like the ILoH. GRRM lives inside a bullet proof bubble.

      • Randy Wilde

        The bubble also seems to restrict enough oxygen to allow for critical thinking from getting to his brain.

      • The Other Sean

        From the pictures I’ve seen, I got the impression GRRM was a bubble – or at least a gasbag.

      • FlyingMike

        Think “enormously rich hermit” for GRRM – he clearly doesn’t get out much…

        • He lives in Santa Fe (or near by). High elevation + a lot of odd stuff that washed up in the 1960s-70s and never left + NM state capital = some seriously weird moments. As of a few years ago, ABQ still had some patches of quasi-normality, but Santa Fe, Taos . . . Weird.

          • The Other Sean

            Thank you, I now think I shall be sticking to I-40 on my next trip through NM. 🙂

            • Yeah, but once upon a time… Zelazny lived there.

              • True. But that was before it was “discovered” by the West and East Coast cultural types (again). I watched it happen over several years, and still have a bunch of locally produced cartoon postcards making fun of the whole thing.

                Ya know, maybe I should write up something about a dragon, some Hispano locals, a California-nuts-n-flakes-type, and water problems.

              • And Donald Hamilton.

      • The “Liberals always play nice” line is self-serving booshwah. Their definition of “nice” is a very liberal one, as demonstrated by the respective coverage of TEA Party Rallies and Occupy Wall Street protests.

        Wisconsin senate candidate: Civility for me, but not for thee
        [SNIP]
        “How people think and develop a view about how they should conduct themselves as adults begins at a young age. So I think it’s fair to say I always tried to be civil. I will be civil,” Feingold said. “And I think we should encourage others to do that as well.”
        [SNIP]
        But in 2015, Feingold apparently took a different approach to civility, by calling his Senate opponent Ron Johnson an “SOB.”

        END EXCERPT

        Just as they always and forever believe “speaking Truth to power” is what they say, never what they hear.

        • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

          Nod.

          An individual on Baen’s Bar is complaining about the “childish insults” made by Conservatives.

          It’s interesting that he claims to not heard of “childish insults” (or worse) made by Liberals. 😦

  7. Pratchett talked about a force “Narrativium” holding reality together. And he was right, at least for humans.

    If you’d like to read a couple of terrific explorations of the dark implications of that idea, have a gander at Seanan McGuire’s books Indexing and Indexing: Reflections. “Mindblowing” doesn’t do them justice.

  8. This is how you see Sad Puppies and our supporters, with people like me, and Larry and Kate in it called “neo nazis” and accused of being “racist, sexist, homophobic.”

    It’s also the Left’s only play when both evidence and reason are against them. (See also this terrific Andrew Klavan video.)

  9. It is odd to hear an author worried about the power of narrative. As you say, it is an outgrowth of our ability to discern patterns, which is really necessary for any kind of abstract reasoning.

    But there are (at least) two sides to each story. The social justice warriors operate on one narrative, the sad puppies on another. Western agnosticism and Islam are two different narratives. The question is about which is more successful.

    Politics is based on narrative. The story of Trump is so far more successful than that of his opponents. I don’t think that that is because of Reagan, however. In fact, he is better compared to Eisenhower, since he was the last non-professional politician to gain the presidency.

    I am the last one to say that Trump is perfect, but one question should be asked. Who is more likely to fight against crony capitalism- the capitalist who has to pay the bribes, or the politician who accepts them?

    • Neither? One creates the other.

      • Randy Wilde

        The capitalist paying the bribes, after all, is getting his money’s worth in preferential treatment.

        • So if I put up a roadblock and charge you to go around it, we are both equally at fault?

          • Not quite.

            If you put up a roadblock, and I pay you to let me through not others, then we are both equally at fault.

            • This.

              Those “bribes” paid by the crony capitalist are actually more beneficial to him than a level playing field would be. In reality he isn’t paying to go through the roadblock, he is paying FOR the roadblock to block his competition.

            • Particularly if I helped design the road block and suggested to you where it might best be placed…

    • to become a general in the us army, you HAVE to be a politician. to become HMFIC of all europian forces (us and allies) means that you are a master politician. yes he did not get elected to public office, but he was appointed to one.

      • Agree. Most of Eisenhower’s job during the war was keeping egos like Patton, Montgomery, and de Gaulle fighting the Germans rather than one another.

    • Trump compared to Eisenhower? I fail to see any similarity.

      • The Other Sean

        They’re both white male American non-Marxists – that’s enough for the Left to see no difference. 😛

        • The left can’t discriminate between anything because discrimination is bad!! Doncha know!!!

    • I don’t know if it is fair to say that Eisenhower was a non-professional politician. You don’t get to the level of a 5-star General status without being pretty damned political.

      • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

        I think he was chosen to command the Allied Forces because he was “political”.

        IE He would be able to handle some very “temperamental” Generals in all of the National Armies. 😉

        • Patrick Chester

          Well, Patton and Montgomery didn’t kill each other. Ike might be able to claim some credit for that. 😉

        • FlyingMike

          Recall that Ike was a Colonel until just over a month before Pearl Harbor – he got his first star on October 3rd 1941. While he may have been a political animal, with his career mostly moving from staff positions under one powerful patron to another, it’s not fair to assign the modern 4-star required political machinations to Ike’s Army career.

          And all things considered, keeping the WWII “United Nations” alliance together was actually pretty good training for his presidency.

          • Being “political” doesn’t necessarily negate ones ability to be competent militarily, it just tends to make being militarily competent immaterial.
            I really don’t know that Ike was a military genius, but the Troops liked him (including my grandfather, who knew him during WWII) which tended to mean he at least wasn’t incompetent.

        • Churchill’s account of how Eisenhower wound up at SHAEF is entirely different from Eisenhower’s own, as presented in his “Crusade In Europe,” which seems to be constructed mostly out of Eisenhower’s ego-drippings. At least, it has only occasional points of contact with most other accounts…

          Eisenhower’s role was essentially administrative; all the strategic planning was done at the Pentagon or Whitehall, and most of the tactical planning was as well.

          • “Eisenhower’s role was essentially administrative”

            Which realistically speaking, is the same role a President plays, so it was actually “good training.” It just isn’t very glorifying, which could be why his accounts got shaded.

            • FlyingMike

              I was contending above that comparing Ike’s career political machinations to that required to achieve modern 4-stars was not on its face self evidently comparable, but I never said Ike’s ego was not comparable to the massively humoungously ginourmous egos of modern 4-star generals, such as, just to pick two at absolute random, Norman Schwarzkopf or Wesley Clark.

              • Ginourmous egos are an occupational hazard of generalship, as also with surgeons, fighter pilots and other professions where lives are at risk. Error can pose a greater danger than hesitation paralysis and a strong ego is often essential to decisive actions.

    • Trump’s narrative works because it is simpler –HULK SMASH — instead of Tony Stark’s Kumbayah Capitalism…

  10. And perhaps the guilt of their brothers in having made them leave made them feel more desperately that something good must have befallen the youngest one.

    Perhaps it is the guilt of those who ascended to the throne about their surplus brothers having gone on adventures only to have, um, ‘disappeared’ led them to put about that something so very good must have befallen the wanderers in distant foreign parts that they shall never return.

    • Less grimly, there’s also the standard “rich guy who came from a Very Long Ways Away.”

      • Heh. I met one of those once. He wanted me to cash a check for him as his bank didn’t have a local presence.

        • *laughs* My kids are descended from several of them, and that’s only up to great-great-grandparents! (Several variations, including the ever popular “marry the rich girl and get disowned” option.)

        • Back in the 80s my California bank routinely held my paycheck for three days because it was issued by a bank in Oklahoma.

          • The bank where I had had an account since 1973 got bought up by another bank. And one day several of my checks bounced.

            They’d made a “unilateral contract amendment” that gave them the right to hold any deposit for up to three days before posting it to an account. And they were using the hell out of it to collect fat bounced-check charges.

            They lost a long-time customer over that.

            • My bank did that, after I called and they assured me the deposit was in my account (I called, because I deposited it in the night drop). I made them reimburse me the bounced check charges, but it involved going to the bank manager and being rather unfriendly.

        • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

          The “Here Comes The Brides” TV show had a character visiting the town causing all sorts of trouble because he had this thousand-dollar bill which nobody could “give him change” for.

          It ended with the main two characters (usually enemies) joined together to get enough money to “make change”.

          By then the “rich guy” had made so many promises that he couldn’t afford to make good on them and left town in a hurry. [Very Very Big Evil Grin]

          • There was a (Charles Dickens?) story of a Briton with some kind of huge bank draft back in the 1800s, with a similar plot line.

  11. c4c

  12. FlyingMike

    Yeah, sometimes one chance in a million comes true.

    See, the thing is, anything along these line is like a lottery: At some point there’s likely to be a winning ticket, and if the odds for any one ticket being the winner are one in a million, that means nine hundred ninety nine thousand, nine hundred ninety nine other tickets were bought as well, and they all didn’t win.

    And sometimes none of the tickets sold wins the pot.

    A million to one odds is a sucker bet.

  13. Joe in PNG

    In regards to Revolutions, institutions tend to carry a lot of inertia. The older the institution, the more inertia. “Stick To the Devil You Know” is a teaching of the Gods of the Copybook Headings after all that people instinctively stick with.
    However, war will often put stress on the institutions of a government, and expose the flaws within- cronyism in the appointment of officers, preference in drafting troops, and shortages in items for the homefront, ect.
    This will often lead to the downfall of the established government. And this new government, new and weak, that the Revolutionaries will overthrow.

  14. Quibble: How much of the oppressed rise up in rebellion narrative stems from the American experience? True, the American Revolution was a revolt and not a true revolution, but it came after Britain started tightening the screws after the French and Indian War. After many of the Tories left, there was enough of an economic vacuum that some did well, but that arguably wouldn’t have happened if the Tories had remained.

    Yes, I agree about the French Revolution and Red October, and find it amazing few notice the leaders of both tended to be well off, as leaders of revolutions tend to be. But that spoils the narrative.

    This is speculation, but how much of the million to one chance narrative comes from the American experience as well? Sort of like criticism that Dickens relied on coincidence too much in his stories, but his whole life was filled with coincidences and he could have thought this was the norm. The US has been extremely fortunate in the past. Of course, it doesn’t mean this will always be the case . . .

    FWIW, most Trump supporters I’ve met don’t think he’s Reagan made over, but that “Hey, we’ve tried everything else.” I think they’re going to be disappointed. I’ll likely vote Libertarian so I can live with myself, but I may not vote at all because even Charlie Brown gets tired of kicking the football.

    • “After many of the Tories left, there was enough of an economic vacuum that some did well, but that arguably wouldn’t have happened if the Tories had remained.”

      There was enough potential wealth west of the Appalachians that once the British restriction on expanding that direction was eliminated plenty of people would have done well.

  15. This is the myth that revolution occurs when poverty and oppression is at its strongest. In fact, from the French Revolution to the Russian revolution, to other spontaneous revolutions around the world (NOT helped by the USSR), revolution happens when an oppressive regime liberalizes and tries to moderate itself.

    I’m going to have to question if the Russian Revolution meets that criteria. I’d argue the earlier failed ones such as 1905 are much more in that pattern. The actual Russian Revolution was driven not by oppression but by failure in war and arguably resembles the Paris Commune of 1871 more than the French Revolution or the Revolutions of 1848. In fact, the Bolsheviks only succeeded in becoming the major faction after the Revolution and heading into the Russian Civil War by being willing to end the war (eventually…that’s a messy subject) which the White Russians had not been willing to do. Even then the Bolsheviks relied on the Germans for a considerable amount of covert aid in the initial Revolution.

    Unless you’re considering the White Russians the reform and the Bolsheviks the Revolution which I consider more than a bit of a stretch.

    My point is not to say the ultimate oppression causes revolution but that it occurs at times other than as a flare up as reform begins. Reform can occur without it and well after reform has started revolution can be triggered by external events which often bring a degree of privation.

  16. There was a time when the professors used to encourage examining the author’s bias to reach a more objective understanding of what they are saying. Now they drill a narrative into the student to reject what the author says.

    • *nod* the problem isn’t stories, it’s stories where we’re looking at the wrong cues.

      Thinking you’re Meant To Be because you met your second wife on the same cruiseline you met your late first wife on: silly.
      Thinking “maaaaybe this is a bad idea” when you met your second wife on an Alcoholics Anonymous cruse, just like your prior divorce, not so silly. (depends on some details, but it was the first Bad Idea themed thing I could think of)

  17. This discussion reminds me of “You’ve got to be carefully taught.”

  18. Heinlein, towards the end of his oeuvre concluded that reality was not logical but whimsical. Given various things going on right now, he might have had a point, but not quite.

    *Grumble grumble* Because CLEARLY it’s more likely that logic itself doesn’t exist, rather than that something believed to be fact was wrong. Especially when you consider that a lot of facts are simply “close enough for the purpose.” (low-controversy example: the temperature at which water boils; people being in high or low enough pressure to make a significant difference is really not that important if you are in a normal human house and turning the burner to “9” so you can cook some pasta)

    • “low-controversy example: the temperature at which water boils; people being in high or low enough pressure to make a significant difference is really not that important ”

      Depends on the application, of course. For some things, you really DO need to keep in mind that the temperature of boiling water at your house isn’t actually 212 F.

      One of the most frustrating arguments I’ve ever gotten into on the internet wasn’t with an SJW trying to insist that up was down, boys were girls, and “If You Were a Dinosaur, My Love” was a brilliant piece of science-fiction. It was with a woman who simply refused to acknowledge that hard boiled eggs take longer to cook at high altitude. No matter how many times people tried to explain about air pressure and differences in temperature, she kept insisting that eggs were eggs and boiling water was boiling water and this procedure took exactly the same amount of time everywhere! Eventually, we just had to give up and leave her to her delusions.

      • Part of the problem might be what one means by high altitude, and the wide range of “perfectly cooked” for eggs at sea level, and different sizes of eggs….

        I’m sure there are other parts, too, but that’s variables off the top of my head!

      • Per “Better Homes and Guardans Gardens,” ‘high altitude’ for cooking is over 3k feet.

        A quick search suggests there are less than two dozen “cities” over that height, and I’m not spending the time to get exact population numbers. 😀

      • SheSellsSeashells

        I saw a woman once arguing that sexual dimorphism Just Plain Didn’t Exist, despite frequent examples in the form of insects, gorillas, lions, horses… ‘course, she also took Romulus and Remus for historical fact.

  19. It encourages otherwise sane people to want to bring about collapse and destruction, because they’re convinced something wonderful will rise from the ashes.

    It never has, it never will, except in Hollywood works not known for their relationship to reality.

    Thank you for saying that so succinctly. I’ve heard “burn it all down” here and there, and I don’t much care for the sentiment. It’s strength and resources and vision and hard work that builds things worth having, not destruction.

  20. Thank you for these words of encouragement during this dark time. 🚬

    >

  21. Captain Comic

    On the Puppy front, I was over at Bile 000 and there’s apparently the idea that eph and 4/6 won’t be enough to fully kick the pups so there’s discussions about what else is in the tolbox.

    Pretty much every item is a variation on exclusivity and a veneration of Toresa’s “The Hugos belong to us.”

    But they’ll never’EVER admit that. Because they are the Trufen.

    August is gonna be fun again.

    Stay tuned for Ribbon Revenge II: The Do It Againing.

    I really should work on that name.

    • BobtheRegisterredFool

      If you can pass out material suggesting that a failure to divest from the Democratic Party is an endorsement of the Democratic Party’s involvement in the Tulsa and Saint Louis race riots, and the Elaine, Arkansas massacre, there’d be an excuse whine to Finnish authorities the next year. If they have laws against such, and don’t know American domestic affairs very well. Especially if someone could get that message entered into the official record at the business meeting.

      • Good luck with that… 😦

        • BobtheRegisterredFool

          Yeah, I had trouble finding rules about white supremacism, membership in loosely defined terrorist organizations, or being in an organization that had previously massacred ethnic minorities. Almost like Finland is saner than some countries when it comes to speech codes. Thanks for the pointers. 🙂

    • I would suggest, since puppy 4 is called the embigginging .
      1- emribboning
      2 reribbining

    • The sun on the meadow is summery warm.
      The stag in the forest runs free.
      But gather together to greet the storm.
      The Hugo belongs to me.

      The branch of the linden is leafy and green,
      The Rhine gives its gold to the sea.
      But somewhere a glory awaits unseen.
      The Hugo belongs to me.

      The babe in his cradle is closing his eyes
      The blossom embraces the bee.
      But soon, says a whisper;
      “Arise, arise,
      The Hugo belongs ti me.”

      Oh Fandom, Oh Fandom,
      Show us the sign
      Your children have waited to see.
      The morning will come
      When the award is mine.
      The Hugo belongs to me!


      With apologies to Kander & Ebb.

    • I did like noting how it took a commenter to point out that they missed my suggestion.

  22. School’s out! School’s out! Teacher’s let the mules out!

    (I was tutoring a student earlier this week. The bell rang, and a loud, raccous noise erupted from a different part of the building. Student: “Was that the middle school or the teachers?”
    Miss Red: “Yes.”)

    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

      Mules out?

      Everybody knows it’s “the teachers let the monkeys out”. 😈 😈 😈 😈

      • Mules scans, monkeys does not. And I learned it from and English lit teacher, so . . .

        • BobtheRegisterredFool

          Fools

        • ‘Monkeys’ removes the rhyme, but it makes the second line iambic.

          • *Shrug* It fits the tune she sang (sings) it to.

            Anyway, classes are over, exams yet to begin, the freshmen are frolicking, the seniors are scarce to be found, and some of the teachers from the main districts probably cleaned out Benny’s Beer-parlor and Margarita-mall on the way home last night.

            • Free-range Oyster

              It fits the tune

              *lightbulb* Ah! I didn’t realize it was sung. Having never heard it, I somehow assumed a chant.

  23. Patrick Chester

    Everyone knows a million to one chance is a sure thing!
    http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0584.html

    😉

  24. “I will have order and law and logic if I have to turn the moon inside out to do it!” — Gordon R. Dickson, the Dragon and the George.

  25. [P]eople who are raised in this bubble, and whose work or real life never take them out of it — a minority for sure, but still a significant group — tend to see everything through the narrative.

    They are nuanced and we are simplistic, bitter clingers.


    “Got it.”

  26. The trick with the “Trump (resembles) Reagan” idea is not to thiink it is valid but to see it as shorthand for “Reaction to Trump (resembles) Reaction To Reagan.”

    The fact that a person exhibits identical responses to coral snakes and Louisiana milk snakes does not mean the snakes are similarly dangerous.

  27. The modern era has added other narratives, some designed to make a necessarily short visual narrative more thrilling.


    I’m particularly fond of this narrative.

  28. [T]he myth that revolution occurs when poverty and oppression is at its strongest.

    Revolutions are like pressure cooker explosions: they occur when somebody tries too quickly to open the pot.

  29. Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

    Off topic but it fits sort of with “Stories”.

    Several years ago, there was this song about “Fifty Ways To Leave Your Lover”.

    My sister was singing it in Mom’s Kitchen and I added a verse to the song that went “Take A Bike Mike”.

    Since my “Little Sister” was dating a guy named “Mike”, she was very annoyed with me.

    Worst of all (for my sister), Mom was there when I did it and Mom told my sister to calm down. 😉

    Oh well, my sister always “gave as good as she got”. 😀

  30. As late as I am here, it’s worth quoting G. K. Chesterton on this: The poor have often objected to being governed badly. The rich generally object to being governed at all.

  31. The problem comes when we ignore real life dangers and the nature of real life entities because they are never shown in the stories we read. The premier example of this that I see is in the romanticization of rebels because — in stories — the rebels are almost always right. After all, why tell a story about a rebellion unless the rebellion is well-founded and its victory will improve the situation?

    In real life, the rebels are very often wrong, and wrong in very destructive and horrible ways. And this is true even if they are rebelling against something genuinely bad — a conflict need not have ANY good guys. But in a story, there HAVE to be good guys for us to favor.

    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

      Chuckle Chuckle

      A few years ago, I heard this story about a school class that was being showed old time “news-reels”.

      Apparently the teachers were shocked by the students cheering when the news-reel reported “the rebels have entered the city”.

      The news-reel was about the Spanish Civil-War and the “Rebels” were part of Franco’s army and of course the teachers believed that Franco & his forces were the Bad Guys.

      But the students were “locked into the idea” that the Rebels were always the Good Guys. 😈 😈 😈 😈

      • And the Spanish Civil War is a good example of this. The Phalangists (Franco’s bunch) weren’t very nice at all, but neither was the Republic (against which they were revolting). What’s more, the Republic got worse and worse as the war went on, and as Stalin incresasingly dominated the Republican government. By the end of the war, the advance of either side’s forces reliably meant deliberate atrocities against civilians.

      • Not a particularly new idea …


        Johnny Yuma was a rebel
        He roamed through the west
        Did Johnny Yuma, the rebel
        He wandered alone

        He got fightin’ mad
        This rebel lad
        He packed no star
        As he wandered far
        Where the only law
        Was a hook and a draw
        The rebel, Johnny Yuma

        He searched the land
        This restless lad
        He was panther quick
        And leather tough
        If he figured that
        He’d been pushed enough
        The rebel, Johnny Yuma

        Fightin’ mad
        This rebel lad
        With a dream he’d hold
        ‘Til his dyin’ breath
        He’d search his soul
        And gamble with death
        The rebel, Johnny Yuma

    • Yeah. I’m working on a story that recognizes that. I’m new at this so it’s going to take a long time. Book 1 needs a complete rewrite, and a lot of the long plot arcs are still dangling. (I’m also a lot older than Christopher Paolini was.) I also have probably over a thousand moral-idiocy-of-the-Left notes to organize and work from. The irony? I’m a southpaw!