Who and Why?

*A note to say that it was definitely the anti-histamine.  24 hours after the “time of effect” I could write again for the first time in months.  Of course, the plot immediately complicated.  Oh, what tangled web we weave when our characters don’t ask permission to go off the reservation.  Eh. SAH*

My mom, who is considerably paler than I am, who has green-hazel eyes and who, in her pre-coloring days, had hair of a pale walnut brown, came to dressing and buying me make up by a simple process: she knew what worked on HER.  And therefore the exact same thing must work on me.  Am I not her daughter?

Since she made most of my clothes until I got married, I was usually dressed in the wrong colors and with the wrong sort of cut.  (Mom is one of those women all boobs, no hips.  I used to be, in my skinny days, mildly pear shaped.)  Of course, when the clothes didn’t work, she was sure there was something I was doing wrong.  It was all “stand up straight.  Put your shoulders back.  I don’t know why the minute you put the dress on, you look terrible.”

I didn’t know either, so I couldn’t tell her it was all the plum colors, rusty browns, faded oranges and aqua greens she chose for the fabric.  She had for instance firmly planted in her head that I looked awful in red, even though by the time I came to the states I’d realized it was one of my best colors.

Anyway — I also realized the make up didn’t work, so she spent years giving me make-up kits (some expensive ones) that I quietly passed on to a friend.  Because for blush to work on me it has to sort of meld with my complexion, which means it’s a light sort of burn coral, not bright pink.

But it wasn’t until I consulted an advisor for buying clothes for a party that I found out I should be dressing in all the colors mom avoided giving me: reds, strong pinks, black and white.  Just about the only color we both could wear was strong blue.

Mind you, this was my mother, the person who’d known me since I was born, and these were characteristics that were obvious, in your face, and right there.  Not some deep psychological mumbo jumbo.  Not some hard to perceive differences.  No.  I clearly was NOT the same coloration or build as mom.  There was no argument over it.  We were just different.  But she couldn’t see it.  A lifetime of dressing herself and knowing what worked, had convinced her these were just the “tasteful” colors.

I’m not ragging on mom.  I find that unless someone has grown up as I did and has reason to know there are differences, they tend to assume the same.  My MIL too spent years sending me expensive make up kits that worked well for her.  I sent them to mom.  (What? I’m not a saint.)

By the time I was 15 I was very glad I didn’t live in the Old Portugal, where parents picked your fiance.  Because the guys mom liked fell under the same heading as the makeup mom liked.  Or should I say the guys mom liked for me.  Having decided I was lazy and sat around a lot doing nothing (you have to understand she disapproved of reading, so I used to toss the book under something when I heard her approach.  Took me years after I was married to break myself of it.  Dan thought it was funny.  So from her perspective, I sat around a lot, staring at nothing.)  So she thought I needed a man who was a “doer” and a “get up and getter.”  These were never, of course, men who liked to write or think or create anything elaborate.  They were men who socialized, schmoozed and used influence to advance.  IOW fairly mercenary.  I’d have murdered one within a week, if he lasted that long.

Again, I’m not ragging on mom.  And I’m sure other people here have similar experiences.

So how is it possible that people want “the government” to look after them, from housing to what they study, from the safety of their food to the medicine they’ll be allowed to have?  HOW?

Who do you think is in government?  Some sort of supernatural beings that can look into the hearts of others and guess what each one needs?

Science fiction writers of the golden age got around this by inventing mumbo jumbo.  Psycho mathematics, Socio dynamic calculations, etc.  All handwavium.  I believe FTL travel is more possible than all that nonsense.

And failing that nonsense, the pseudo-scientific qualities of a “planned” economy evaporate.  HOW do the planners know what people need.  Sure, they can figure in Winter they’ll need warm clothes, but what type of warm clothes.  Sure, they can figure a person with a bacterial infection needs antibiotic, but which antibiotic?

What we’re seeing happen in medicine, since government meddling and mandates is exactly the sort of nonsense mom did with clothes and makeup writ large.  Because reporting to government requires standardization, we’re seeing an enforcement of “the treatment that works best for the most people.”  This is terrible.  It’s sort of like formalizing bad medicine.

For instance, before children while battling infertility I was put on contraceptives for six months to regulate my cycle. (Yes, I find the concept weird too, but apparently it worked for some people.) The contraceptives were of a type that didn’t exist in Portugal but was very common here.  Instead of regulating my cycle, it made me bleed continuously.  When I told the doctor this, he told me I was forgetting pills.  He didn’t ask me.  He didn’t believe me when I said I sure as hell wasn’t.  No, he went ahead and gave me the ones with blank pills, because he was sure I was forgetting to resume it.  The nonsense continued, and he accused me of lying to him.  Yes, I found another obygyn, but right now, this is codified into regulation.  If you present with A they will treat the way that other people presenting with A are treated, even if there are reasons to doubt it, even if it doesn’t work.  (BTW, years later that particularly contraceptive was found to be very bad for people of Iberian extraction, in fact causing exactly the issue I had.  Which is why no one in Portugal prescribed it anymore.)

Now, it makes sense to try the most common treatment first, unless you have reason to be weary, or unless your patient tells you this didn’t work in the past.  BUT to codify that treatment is a piece of insanity.  It is however necessary to do medicine on a grand scale.

The same goes for “recommended food pyramid” which in my case while I was following it caused me to gain about 50 lbs.  Again, I’m not unique in this.  I’m just (perhaps) a minority.  People joke about recommended diet changing all the time.  It does, because they’re trying to find something that applies to EVERYONE.

Again, these are physical things, things that can be easily ascertained, if one bothers to, and doesn’t assume the individual is lying because it doesn’t fit one’s mental image.

What about other things?  What government can regulate for my happiness?  Again, my mom, with my best interests at heart has been pushing for years for me to go back and finish my doctorate so I can “teach in college.”  I’ve taught in college, and the paperwork associated made me run away.  My MIL for a long time wanted me to “write for children” being sure that “as imaginative as you are only children will understand you.”  I ask those who have read me, how happy those children would be.

Even my husband who knows me better than any person living, every once in a while (like this morning in the shower) comes up with a “neat plot” and tells me “you should write this.”  And — like this morning’s — they’re so wrong they’re not even funny.  It’s not a “I don’t want to write that” it’s a “NO, I CAN’T write that.  My brain doesn’t work this way.”

So, from each according to his ability to each according to his needs.  Very nice.  BUT who decides? And why?  Surely I know my needs and my abilities better than even my nearest and dearest? Surely I know it better than people who’ve never met me and for whom I’m a number in a spreadsheet?

And why would anyone trust them?

Yet every time you say “there ought to be a law” or “the government should take care of” you’re doing just that trusting.  You’re letting total strangers for whom you’re a widget decide what your needs and abilities are.

Not the best way to pursue happiness.  Of even continued life.

Remember all planned economies fail.  Some fast, some slower.  Any communal action is of necessity not a free bene, but a trade off between what must be done collectively (common defense) and what it will cost in terms of mismatched needs.

If you trust total strangers to dress you, feed you, and decide on your treatment from illness, carry on.  As for me, I’ll say “I’ll decide. Because only I know my needs and my abilities.”

 

421 responses to “Who and Why?

  1. It can be extraordinarily difficult to see things as they are rather than as we imaging/would like them to be.

    It can be even more difficult for a parent, who cannot look at their child without seeing the new-born who was dropped in their arms however many years ago.

    Recognition of this problem is a necessary prerequisite for fixing it.

    • “Who do you think is in government? Some sort of supernatural beings that can look into the hearts of others and guess what each one needs?”
      – For some, and often substituting “wants” for “needs”, this is exactly it: They want a government-of-perfect-elites to be the kind of god they looked for and didn’t find, & so rejected the one on offer.

      • What gets funny is a good many of these same folks hate the gov’t! I know people who have used the state run hospitals for treatment and hate them . . . too slow, lower quality, being racist they hate having to “Wait with all the N***ers”, or they qualify for using the VA but also refuse to go because it is run so poorly, but they all want single-payer.
        Why, yes, they are gun lovers who vote Democrat almost exclusively (the Louisiana ones all voted republican exactly Once. for David Duke)
        you know, Morons

        • Hard to explain folks like that. You’d think the tension between their ideals and their daily-living values would tear them apart!
          (One likelihood: their ideals are copied from other people in their social circle, not actually arrived at nor believed in by themselves.)

          • Part of it is almost certainly that people tend to project the negatives of their side onto politicians from the other side. Anything good that your politician does is an example of his moral fiber. Anything negative that your politician does is something that *everyone* does, so it’s no big deal.

          • You’d think the tension between their ideals and their daily-living values would tear them apart!

            Wasn’t that the realization that caused Harry Stein and David Mamet to “become” conservative?

          • no. these beliefs were held by them in full, and pointing out the folly was useless as they got more belligerently ignorant the more you tried to make them see the light of their folly

          • Been around a long time.

            Orwell — if you’ve read his collected letters and essays — had a lot to say about the idiocy of officials, but never let it perturb his belief in the wonders of putting even more power in their hands.

            He also thought that every occupation other than writer ran like clockwork so that the government just had to order ten thousand boots and get ’em. (The thought of sizes did not occur to him.) But writers had to be allowed some freedom.

  2. 24 hours after the “time of effect” I could write again for the first time in months.

    Yeah! Yippee!

    (Have your characters ever been meekly lead?)

  3. Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

    The following is not an argument for Big Government. 😉

    Yet, there are the times that we don’t see ourselves correctly.

    IE How we actually are and what we actually need.

    Of course, this doesn’t mean that the “other person” is correct.

    They may be as “wrong” as us but in a different way. 😀

  4. One size fits the person who designs it, and no one else?

    • A working system with its millions of individuals horrifies a control freak. Big Gov’t. is about the person running it not for the people. no matter what the leaders say.

    • “So how is it possible that people want “the government” to look after them, from housing to what they study, from the safety of their food to the medicine they’ll be allowed to have? HOW?

      Who do you think is in government? Some sort of supernatural beings that can look into the hearts of others and guess what each one needs?”

      Why, no, little missy! They are the “best and brightest, best educated and most smart” and just KNOW what’s best for them and then what’s best for US, too.

      • sure are. Why, most of those geniuses are so smart they couldn’t shoot a lame rat in a barrel.

      • They are the “best and brightest, best educated and most smart” and just KNOW what’s best for them and then what’s best for US, too.

        They have been far to schooled and indoctrinated to know what is best for them, or anyone else for that matter. How do you think so many are progressives and socialists these days? Because they are intelligent, observant and insightful?

        Right, left or in between, the true believers among humans tend to towards fanaticism.

  5. [R]ight now, this is codified into regulation. If you present with A they will treat the way that other people presenting with A are treated, even if there are reasons to doubt it, even if it doesn’t work.

    It has taken some time, but I have finally learned to control the rants that discussion of Standards Of Care would trigger. I no longer go off on the idiocy of standardizing treatment just as we are finally reaching the point of cost effective DNA analysis making true concierge care practical. Continuing to adhere to the mechanical model of human biology which dominated when Medicare was initially codified makes NO BLEEPING SENSE now that we’re decoding the biochemical processes which determine health, any more than presuming people of Samoan descent should have the same body fat percentage as Scandinavians makes sense. All this does is waste money, waste time and waste people!

    Oops. Time to call my sponsor, I see.

    • you’re assuming that the best care is the object of the standards. It isn’t.

    • They are trying for regulation via flow chart. Or computer troubleshooting over the phone. It’s all the same thing. Someone one thinks of the ideal way to do something without ever wondering …. why on earth that way is more ideal than some other way.

      • It’s not only that, since if you use a computer, your decision tree can contain all the variables and options you want. It’s that they’re using the Indian Call Center model, where a barely-trained human is reading steps from a book, and is prevented from deviating by the rules in place.

        • I have once—once!—encountered an Indian call-center tech who was willing to deviate from the script. I began the conversation (once I’d determined I was speaking to a tech not a phone answerer) by listing the diagnostics I’d run, my guess as to the cause, and asking which of two proposed fixes was better (DSL arcana, though not quite at the level of “do I sacrifice a chicken or a goat?”). She asked one question for clarification and then answered the question without running through her script.

          I offered to speak to a supervisor to praise her (half concerned she’d get in trouble). From what the supervisor said when I spoke to him, calls like mine could only help her career—I’m guessing over-adherence to the script is more cultural than actually required.

          • I think you’re right about it being largely cultural – our company has Indian s/w developers, and our biggest issue with them is a tendency to check all the boxes in the process without really understanding what the product is supposed to do. OTOH, a very nice Indian lady and her husband run our favorite pizza joint — I’m inclined to think you can find Odds in any culture!

            • A consultant who works for my employer was an Indian native who came here at the beginning of the H1B boom. After 15 years they made him an upper manager and asked him to take over one of their major teams in Mumbai. Within a year, he was begging to come back to the US because he literally couldn’t manage them according to the standards for performance and initiative he had become acculturated to.

              • Such “work from the checklist” behaviour is common among those who fear being fired for coloring outside the lines.

      • And they’re forcing doctors to serve as unpaid data entry clerks (or hire data entry clerks out of their own money) to theoretically obtain the information to come up with those best entry policies.

        A proper electronic medical records system would have *three* pieces of data entered by the doctor:

        1) “General description” (this can be freeform or chosen from a couple dozen options; there are pluses and minuses to both)
        2) “Patient information” (Freeform, long, must be able to accept sketches and photographs)
        3) “Important Notes” (Freeform, short but capable of scaling; the important point is that the next time the patient is seen by a doctor with access to the database, this information pops up and the doctor must acknowledge it and select yes/no about whether or not to view the patient information) in order to start his next session with the patient.

        If the government, or insurers, or whoever, want the information transcribed in some fashion that takes more effort than basic notes the doctor needs for his own purposes, they can hire their OWN PEOPLE to do their OWN DATA ENTRY. If the doctor didn’t think it was worth his time to ask the patient about shortness of breath, or if the patient has firearms in the home, well, he’s more likely correct about whether or not it was worth the time than the big institution at a distance.

        • And they’re forcing doctors to serve as unpaid data entry clerks (or hire data entry clerks out of their own money) to theoretically obtain the information to come up with those best entry policies.

          The amount of information required by a government department seems inversely proportional to the work that department actually does. Slack periods is when they have the time and desire to invent extra hoops, maybe to justify their jobs. When they’re busy, the last thing they want is more nit picky work.

          • Data entry clerks who get paid $10 an hour, btw, and who need to be conversant with medical terms. Because it’s rumored to MARGINALLY increase your chance of getting into medschool, they’re flooded with would-be scribes. Older son did his time. Actually enjoyed it, in ER.
            EVERY time someone flapped lips over making fast food workers work for $10 I wanted to beat them to death with a sock. Their stupid system created the need to have much lower paid, higher trained clerks. (They literally worked at the most the doctors could afford.)

          • The degree to which government employees passive-aggressively resist this kind of paperwork vs boots on the ground service tasks, probably should not be underestimated….

  6. Part of the problem is that once you ditch God or a “higher power”, you need “GOV” as a replacement even though it doesn’t work as well.

  7. “Oh, what tangled web we weave when our characters don’t ask permission to go off the reservation.”

    **blink, blink**

    Ask to go off the reservation? Yours ask? I’m lucky if I can round mine up long enough to get the gate open to get them *on* the reservation. Usually, by the time that gate is open, one or five have wandered away. (run like thieves in the night would be more accurate) Maybe if I could get them to stay put, I could actually get something coherent on paper.

  8. One size does not fit all, whether it’s diet, medicine, or just about anything else. Something I have been saying for a very long time indeed and why I cannot support just about any top-town government management.

    This always has been true and always will be true unless our descendants evolve into something bearing no resemblance to humanity. And shortly after they reach that “one size does fit all” state expect extinction as the Universe hands them a size they don’t fit anymore.

    A bare minimum of laws to keep the peace but beyond that leave things up to the individual.

  9. > A note to say that it was definitely the anti-histamine.

    Well, now you know at least one antihistamine you can’t take. See if your doctor will give you “sample packs” of a selection. The drug salesmen give them samples for that sort of thing.

    Blood pressure meds are the usual thing people have to play with. All of them have side effects, some bad, some worse. If you have to get on those, definitely ask for samples. Otherwise you’ll do the prescription and co-pay dance for a while before you find whatever works for you.

    • Antihistamines are interesting. The older ones cross the brain barrier, typically leading to drowsiness. The new ones supposedly don’t. One – I forget which – is similar to an anti-anxiety drug, IIRC, but I don’t remember which ones. Anti-anxiety drugs can sometimes cause the very thing they’re supposed to prevent, so that raises a question about whether it really doesn’t cross the brain barrier.

  10. Hmm. I thought I was the only one who reacted to birth control pills that way. Got so bad that I stopped taking them and just used other methods.

    As for the rest, I’ve definitely had the following conversation with my doctor:

    Me: Doctor, I’m suffering from symptom X.

    Doctor: No, people in your circumstance don’t suffer from symptom X. They have symptom Y.

    Me: But I AM having X. Do you want to look at all the records I have to prove it?

    Doctor: People in your circumstance don’t suffer from symptom X. They have symptom Y.

    Me: …okay, never mind. All my tests are wrong and I actually have Y. *Ignores doctor and just does what’s necessary to treat X*

    • I generally found that my personality provided all the birth control I needed.

      Well, that and being at least slightly discriminating about with whom I would partner. For example, anybody willing to “sleep” with me obviously had low standards and potential mental health issues.

    • I’m normally a very mild-mannered person, but if my doctor said that to me, I would tell him that if he called me a liar again, I would shove his sphygmomanometer down his throat and tie the end coming out of his mouth to the end coming out of his ass.

      • It’s not that she calls me a liar so much as she just doesn’t allow any information that doesn’t fit her preconceived notions to penetrate her brain. However, she does write the prescriptions that keep me alive, and as long as she does that, I’m willing to sit there and listen with a polite smile on my face and interesting plots going on behind my eyes.

        • Yes, effectively she called you a liar. No matter whether she said the word or not. She needs to listen to you, or even her well-meaning directions can kill you.

          Besides, it gets their attention, whether I actually meant to follow through or not, and they are more amenable to listening at that point, or else it’s time to find another doctor.

          • I got my doctor to listen to me by doing my own data collection, reduction, presentation, and explaining it to him. Several thousand blood pressure measurements over time, with better circumstance and time-of-day experimental controls than can normally be achieved in a doctor’s office. Along with leading him in how to approach controlled experiments with additional medications to make the final “drug cocktail”.
            May not work for every doctor, though.

            • If you’re not dealing with a med-sammy, this is an optimum first approach and can turn an average by-the-book doc into one who listens to you.

              Without getting into a screed about scientific illiteracy, some of the “patient-is-ignorant-and-I-know-best” effects are over-reaction to… well, serial Obama voters, and Judge Posner clone patients.

          • Idiot, usually.

            There’s a tone difference.

            …why yes, there IS a reason that I prefer male doctors. There’s still a high rate of “clear you are a moron” issues, but it’s lower. At least for ob/gyns. A lot of the guys seem to have gotten into it with wives who have a ton of kids, while the women got into it to keep anyone from having kids…..

            • YES. Worst obygyn I had was the one I gave birth to Robert with, and her whole attitude was “you’re a weakling” which almost killed me, because I wasn’t. So when I was complaining things were seriously seriously wrong.

              • The worst obygyn (we had a different one for each of the girls – my wife liked the practice) we had was a female – she was convinced that you could “cough the child out” – nope – she just didn’t want to cut, so wife tore instead – much longer time to heal. I had some harsh words for the head of the practice – but they got rid of her before I could deliver them. Best was the old Jewish doctor (pure stereotype). My eldest was born holding an arm over her head – the doctor announced (while the birth was taking place) – “see, that proves she is a girl – she is reaching for your wallet!” – it was clear the nurses weren’t entirely amused – but I think they also knew he was a great doc and so put up with him.

                • Yep. This one ALSO refused to cut saying that tearing healed “better”. Second son, doctor cut to the limits of possible, and then I tore. Guess what? Cut heals MUCH faster and better.

                  • Oh, yeah, SURE tearing heals faster.

                    Yeah, that’s why surgeons use the sharpest scalpels they can get, and now often use LASERS, which can cut SMALLER than the width of a single cell. That’s because tearing heals faster.

                    Sheesh. If that was actually true, they would take a sheet of metal and tear it off, then use the edge that makes without any kind of honing at all.

                  • Considering various experiences in life from cuts with well sharpened knives to tears inflicted from jagged metal edges … yeah sure, tears are better and heal faster … pull the other leg, I’m limping.

                • much longer time to heal.

                  For those wondering:
                  the standard “healing time” for when there’s ripping during delivery, vs when the mother is cut, is longer than for non-labor C-section*. (We had a really good nurse when I was recovering from emergency C-section, she talked a lot.)

                  It’s a different damage, of course, but just to give an idea of what kind of forces we’re talking about.

                  * A C-section during labor can be about the same recovery time as a normal C-section, or it can be the worst of labor and a C-section. wiiiiide variety.

            • Idiot? That’s reasonable enough. In my brain, someone telling me that what I just said doesn’t happen means they think I’m lying (It wouldn’t cross my mind that they think I’m an idiot when I tell them a factual observation about my own body), and that’s just about the worst thing for their health that they can say to me.

              My doctor, now, has sense, and listens. She might not agree with my assessments of what might be causing my complaints, but she doesn’t tell me that I am not experiencing what I say I am.

              I also told her I’m highly amused to be ordered around by a tiny little woman (she might be 5′ tall in her shoes, which have about a 2″ heel). She just shook her head.

              • Sounds like a GOOD doctor. 😀

                I had one (ER doctor, about 11pm) try to tell me that I was imagining things when my water broke. She sent me and a poor nurse to the lady’s room to get a sample of the fluid, which she was SURE was some other liquid. (Yes, it was AT LEAST as awkward and embarrassing as you might imagine. But “awkward and embarrassing” is pregnancy in a nutshell.)

                I’d waddled in with a large bath towel soaked in it, and… well, the nurse kind of flipped out and did a direct call to maternity when it was very obviously not urine, but we still had to give the idiot her sample.

                • Only problem I have ever had with her (well, except for some differences of opinion about younger son and how bad the symptoms of his allergies were), was the prostate exam.

                  Long(ish) fingernails are definitely contraindicated, there.

        • Suzette Hadin Elgin called these folks medical samurai. Or med-sammiess

    • why don’t doctors listen?

      • Because they’re smarter than you. Same reason elites don’t listen to you. They know what’s best for you better than you do. And to be fair, it isn’t all doctors.

        • Definitely not all doctors. We have some who read here and who are worth their weight in gold.

          • Definitely not all doctors. After I left active duty and started selecting my doctor, was when I discovered some didn’t listen. And left them and found ones that did.

            My doctor now, in particular, is willing to learn from patients. Used to visit him regularly for prescription anti-histamines. I heard about nasal irrigation, started doing it. And stopped visiting him for that problem. Told him all about it, even demonstrated it for him. Now he recommends it for those willing to try.

            • Oh, that is not my problem. the problem is the eczema. But I’m willing to live with open sores on my arms if I can write.

              • Have you ever looked into the biologicals? Humira, and I cannot come up with the name of the other one, they work almost the same way.

                Did wonders for my autoimmune problem, cleared up everything while I was on it. (You really do have to have insurance that covers it though – ~50K a year street price is beyond my means right now, so the flaking, itching, sometimes open sores are back again…)

                • Trying to get my doctors to give me ANYTHING beyond topical is difficult. They refuse to admit the topical doesn’t work and keep telling me to stop using clothes softener. I already don’t use it, and besides I get this on hands and arms, which have been uncovered for months.
                  Yeah, I need a new doctor.

          • I am very fortunate in my current doctor. We chat about the latest biotech marvels, swap favorite ICD-10 codes (she is DETERMINED to use “collision with spaceship, subsequent encounter”. We agreed someone injuring themselves on a museum display of an Apollo capsule would count. ) My personal favorite is “contact with toxic jellyfish, intentional self-harm”. Very no-nonsense, but respectful and doesn’t mind explaining things. She also thinks as she should about the current health insurance fiasco.

            • Once upon a time, in Huntsville… hrm.

            • … she is DETERMINED to use “collision with spaceship, subsequent encounter”. We agreed someone injuring themselves on a museum display of an Apollo capsule would count.

              So of course I had to look it up: V95.43XD. Trouble is that within the hierarchy of codes, this falls under “External causes of morbidity › Air and space transport accidents › Accident to powered aircraft causing injury to occupant › Spacecraft collision injuring occupant”, so the stationary museum display probably wouldn’t have this code apply.

              • Ohhhkaaayyy, so a visitor is *inside* the capsule, which was hanging from the ceiling, and the cables snap, and there was power inside for the lights. Powered air and space transportation! WORK with me here! Or, if you’re being stubborn about it, we can also try for “burn injury caused by flaming water skis” , also a real code. (I hear from medical professionals that while you can indicate which finger of which hand was bitten by a cow, you cannot indicate some actual, medically important things. Because bureaucrats.)

                • Sure: if the capsule is moving, the code should apply. Works for me.

                • ….which FINGER was bitten by a cow?

                  What the ever loving blazes?

                  I’ve had fingers “bitten” by calves– nursing reflex, sometimes you have to get them started before you can pour a bottle down their throat– and unless you’re doing something really odd, it should be more like “limb.” Never mind that I haven’t heard of anyone being BITTEN by cows, and hello, cattle rancher family. (Horses, yes, all the time– cows tend to stomp a mud hole in you, or just smash you.)

                  • “Never mind that I haven’t heard of anyone being BITTEN by cows, and hello, cattle rancher family.”

                    Hmmm. I note that you state “ranch”, not “dairy”. It may be that your family did not come into sufficient close contact with the cattle you were ranching, as I have distinct memories of being masticated by a certain specific Jersey dairy cow belonging to my sister. I will grant you that it was more of a “Hmmm… I wonder what this sweater-clad arm tastes like…” vs. a “Hmmm… I wonder what people taste like…” kind of thing, but it was still a bite. Although, having that damned prehensile tongue wrap around my arm and pull it into her mouth had a certain horror-show quality to it all…

                  • It’s so cute you think logic applies here 😀 How many people in the history of ever have tried to commit suicide by means of toxic jellyfish? BUT WE HAVE A CODE FOR IT! Also the flaming waterskis. Given their usual operating environment, how common is that?

                    Yes, in addition to the means of injury, there are location on the body codes. For specific fingers. My evil mind wonders how they deal with people with more than the usual set…

                    • Someone get me a link to these. I used to have it but lost it. I can run them as “punctuation” at insty!

                    • Lo, gaze upon the insanity!

                      Bitten by cow, initial encounter
                      Bitten by parrot, initial encounter
                      Struck by chicken, initial encounter
                      Exposure to ignition of plastic jewelry
                      Contact with hay derrick, subsequent encounter
                      Walked into lamppost, subsequent encounter
                      Fall from (out of) grocery cart, subsequent encounter
                      Accident to, on or involving ice yacht, subsequent encounter
                      Sucked into jet engine, subsequent encounter
                      Forced landing of spacecraft injuring occupant, subsequent encounter
                      Toxic effect of contact with sea anemone, assault
                      Toxic effect of venom of caterpillars, intentional self-harm
                      Poisoning by smallpox vaccines, intentional self-harm

                      for all three pages of spacecraft-related codes, try this link http://www.icd10data.com/Search.aspx?search=spacecraft&codebook=AllCodes

                    • IGNITION OF PLASTIC JEWELRY? LOL

                    • “What was the cause of death?”
                      “Assault with a sea anemone.”

                      “Cause of death?”
                      “Suicide by smallpox vaccine.”

                    • The spacecraft codes are used often in Houston and Huntsville?

                    • Story ideas, the lot of them. 😀 I’m still trying to wrap my mind around there being enough extant smallpox vaccine for anyone to attempt suicide with, let alone a) know where it is b) have access to it and c) think it would be a better way to go than, say, using a belt sander on your face.

                    • My husband could kill himself with that, just by not treating his reaction to the vaccine– not sure if that would “count.”
                      (He’s the high functional end of bad reactions to it– not “stopped breathing because of allergy to what it’s made with,” but “body responded REALLY EFFECTIVELY to the threat of the disease.”)

                      I have no idea if that’s repeatable, though.

                    • For specific fingers.

                      If I remember it aright, for specific finger segments.

                      I’ve got a specific finger for them. Two, in fact.

                      Go Longhorns!

                    • Patrick Chester

                      Is there a “bitten by moose” category?

                      (They can be nasty, IIRC.) 😉

                    • Free Range Oyster

                      If people would just stop carving their names in them with penknives, it wouldn’t be an issue!

                    • There is an “attacked by a duck”

                    • Is there one for sepsis due to squirrel used for a colonoscopy?

                    • A moose bit my sister once…

                    • Patrick Chester

                      …and then there was a llama infestation due to hiring a new subtitling company at the last minute. 😉

                    • Thank you for the link to the codes. OH THE FUN I SHALL HAVE.

            • My favorite is “walking corpse” syndrome.

            • When my stepmother taught medical coding at the local community college, she would use our injuries as examples for her students to practice on.

              Among other injuries, they got to figure out the codes for:
              Adult female nailing her thumb through the fleshy part (no bone contact) to the wall with a pneumatic nailer
              Adult male, accidental stab wound to the back of the hand with a knife, inflicted by another person
              And, the best one –
              adult male, bitten on the hand by a squirrel

              • Did he have to get rabies shots after the squirrel bite?

                • You know, I don’t remember.

                  I would think so, but some of the squirrels here are just aggressive because people feed them.

              • Oh, there’s better…..
                Montgomery, AL in 1977, so this was memorable.

                High school friend’s mom was ER nurse. Guy comes in unconscious, with a squirrel tail hanging from his fundament. It was not voluntary…. for him or the squirrel.

                I’d love to see the code for that one.

      • Not much of a fan of House, were you?


        The only variable is about what.

      • Because a lot of training is aimed at focusing horses and ruling out zebras and okapi. Except you also have to keep in mind that you just might see a zebra or okapi or two. (And the inability for various reasons to really listen to a patient’s medical history.) Or so says the retired MD in the family.

        • One really common event for people in missions is to have a malaria attack while on furlough in the first world, then have to struggle to make the medicos understand that one probably has malaria.
          Usually the poor person suffers for multiple days of every single other test until, hey- let’s check for malaria!
          Smart folks will take along treatment meds when they travel.

          • Alas yes. A gent I worked with in Really Flat State died of complications of malaria he’d contracted while a mission pilot in Central America. He’d missed one dosage cycle of anti-malarials because of delivery problems, and 15 years or so it finally did him in. (Stay away from me. I had a great-grant uncle die in ND of complications of malaria he’d gotten while working on the Panama Canal. I seem to bring out bad luck in people who’ve worked in the tropics.)

            • I had a friend who, while on a temporary assignment in Africa, managed to contract both malaria *and* cholera. They shipped him home to Oregon where he nearly died before some brilliant medico figured out it was an ‘and’ situation.

          • My dad has malaria from a year in Africa. My SIL has it from being born/growing up in Angola/Mozambique.

            • My mother had either yellow fever or malaria. She contracted it in Georgia. She doesn’t remember much about it, only that she was given quinine and remembers the taste to the very day.

              Note: I’m aware that quinine is given for malaria, but uncertain, given when she contracted her illness, whether it was also a treatment for yellow fever.

              • I read an article on a case where a woman came back from Kenya, was very sick, and told the doctors that it felt like when she had malaria.

                Several hospital visits later, and they had no clue. She went to her regular doctor and he diagnosed it: thyroid storm.

        • Sometimes they have the opposite problem too.

          In my father’s case, he’d never smoked and didn’t work in any dusty or hazardous environment (well, he did work for a company that designed dedication badges for a while), and he caught a chronic cough that lingered for 6 months.
          They were talking about testing him for exotic fungi and bacteria to find the cause.

          Due to his age and lack of risk factors, it wasn’t until that point that anyone had the idea of testing him for lung cancer.

      • It’s a trap all professionals fall into. It comes from meeting a large number of, ah, interesting people. Such as the lady, circa 1960s, who had her child’s hair in a tight up hairdo. She told the doctor it was to prevent the roof of her child’s mouth from falling.

        • *wry* Some of my relatives probably account for that– both on the sincerely strange side, and the “I don’t want to answer that, so I’ll give you a REALLY crazy answer” side.

      • I think Kevin J. Cheek has hit on one of the primary reasons. I have a good friend who’s an ER doctor, whom I’ve mentioned once or twice over the years. He often tells me stories about the more… obvious lies he hears from people who are trying to get him to prescribe them narcotics. Back pain is the favorite lie, apparently.

        So if your doctor has seen a bunch of people lying about having symptom X, and then you present claiming to have symptom X, I can understand why he/she might be suspicious at first. But when you show him/her the evidence, and it’s consistent with symptom X*, they should be intelligent enough to listen.

        * As opposed to all the people my friend sees with “back pain”. If I recall correctly, he will “accidentally” drop a pen near them while his hands are full, and ask them if they could pick it up for him. At which point most of them bend over, in a way that’s completely inconsistent with their claimed “back pain”, without a single grimace. Whereas if they gingerly squat down with a grimace and a carefully-straight back, he’ll switch gears and assume that their back pain is real.

        • I ask back pain patients to remove their shoes so that I can get a good neuro exam. It’s amazing how many folks who can barely shuffle in or bend over during an exam by me, will fold right over and start untying without a thought. The ones who try to remove one shoe with the opposite foot instead are much less likely to be malingering. Since I’ve spent a lot of time in both Occ Med and military medicine, I’ve had a higher than usual percentage of BS complaints due to the potential for secondary gain. It does wear on you after a while, and unfortunately does sometimes affect initial impressions, though most of us at least try to look at each complaint with a fresh set of eyes. Even frequent flyers sometimes come in with serious complaints and it’s important to not lose sight of that fact.

    • When my niece was a baby, she couldn’t gain weight and always had diarrhea. The doctor insisted that my SIL wasn’t feeding her correctly, and was ready to have Child Services come and take the baby away.

      SIL found another doctor, and the eventual diagnosis was a severe case of celiac disease. As it turns out, a lot of people in her family have or had it to various extents, but she was the worst. Once she got on a gluten free diet, she started to thrive. The original doctor heard about it and told SIL that he would have to study up on celiac disease. SIL’s response: “Not on our account.”

      As it turns out, my gluten-allergic wife married someone who proved to be gluten intolerant. (I won’t describe my symptoms; it’s lunch time.) Doing meals is a lot easier when we can keep the glutenous stuff out of the house. I was blessed with some patient doctors and the ability to figure out what I ate 24 to 48 hours before the horror-show started. Assembly line medicine will would probably kill me.

      • My wife is Chinese, so we had our eldest. She promptly came down with eczema – not a bad case – but you want your first child to be perfect. So we go to doctor and he asks what formula she is on – we say milk based. So he say change it to soy based. The eczema EXPLODED all over her body. We go back, doctor sends us to the allergist.

        Oldest was allergic to SOY (a half-Chinese baby, allergic to soy) – and Eggs and Beef. It passed with age – but I will never forgot the doctor making a rational choice like that – and turning out to be spectacularly wrong. You never can tell once people are involved in the equation.

        Well, she is now allergic to tree nuts – but loves steak. She came home yesterday and described how a friend had a bad illness and probably had to become a vegetarian, then she burst out with “I couldn’t do that – STEAK is LIFE!” (caps in the original from volume).

        -John

        • LOL. Older son is so allergic to soy milk I kept a package in the house to use as syrup of hipecac — which didn’t work on him (or me) at all. I too am allergic to soy milk. I can have tofu, but not soy milk. Go figure.

          • I have a friend who is allergic to everything soy. Not life-threatening, thank goodness (it just makes him miserable for a couple of days), but do you know how hard it is to find something with NO soy products?

            • restaurants with “free deserts under five” had to be avoided. Those ice creams and puddings are almost all soy-milk based. The learning of it made our car back then smell like vomit till we traded it in.

            • How about a wife who’s allergic to both soy and (cow’s) milk? We spend a lot of time reading labels, and bringing our own stuff to potlucks.

              • Does that include soybean oil? THAT is what is really limiting for my friend, since almost anything that says “vegetable oil” in the ingredients list contains soybean oil. If so, then I really feel for you and your wife. That’s a serious limitation.

            • My parents eat hardly any processed foods, and mom still gave up on even trying to avoid soy products. (Breast cancer survivor, you’re supposed to avoid all things that can act like estrogen.)

              It’s inexpensive protein– so it’s good for filling people up without piling on the carbs.

              So it’s EVERYWHERE.

              • yep. I had to explain to Dan why I no longer make this bread substitute I made out of soy. Because even though contained, the cancer was there, and I have to avoid anything that acts like estrogen.

                • I swear I don’t remember being told that for my wife. She has to take Tamoxifen for 10 years, but I really don’t think she was told to avoid estrogen-mimicking foods (and yes, hers tested positive for estrogen/progesterone affinity).

                  • Might be one of the doctors who doesn’t think it will make THAT big of a difference in the probable doses? I think there’s some doctors who insist that it can’t enter your system via digestion, too….

            • My sister is allergic to soy and peanuts. She now longer responds to the test after four decades of avoidance, but regards that as nice safety margin. Regards anything about New! Enriched! with horror, because — overwhelmingly, soy.

          • Not gonna make a “how do you milk soy” joke. Nope. Not gonna do it. Wouldn’t be prudent.

        • she is now allergic to tree nuts

          Yeah, that gal* who lived up a tree to “save” it from loggers nearly gave me a rash, too.


          *Julia Butterfly Hill

    • A good friend developed Scoliosis in the Navy, about six years in– so at about 24, she developed something that “only” shows up in young kids.

      She’s now spent about a decade arguing with doctors, and them doing all the checks over again, every time they transfer duty station. Because that “never” happens, so not only does she not have the symptoms she reports, but the HUGE PILE OF XRAYS is false.

      • If scoliosis is usually about imbalances in the muscle system (which it is), and if there are a fair number of occupational conditions in adults caused by imbalances in muscle development and activity (which there are), I think it could happen to adults pretty easily. Bones in the back don’t harden for a long time.

        • But but but THE BOOKS SAY….
          *wry grin*

          • One of my favorite lines from Nolen’s The Making of a Surgeon was him telling the doctor he was in residency with “It says here on the chart…” and the doctor telling him “Dammit, Nolen, look at the patient, not the chart. The chart isn’t sick!”

          • When I was diagnosed with migraine or vascular cluster headaches (there’s some debate among doctors here), a couple told me it was unusual because it was a textbook case, and they hardly ever see those.

            For the same reason they brought medical students in to see my father the last time he was in the hospital. He had a textbook case of his ailment, making it easy to identify.

      • “Oh, it can’t possibly be that, people your age don’t get that”

        I’ve heard that more than a few times in my life. And they’ve always been wrong.

      • Because that “never” happens …

        My ER doctor friend, whom I mentioned earlier in the thread, has another story that you just reminded me of. He occasionally takes short-term missions trips (about a month or so) outside the U.S., so he actually thinks about some of the “foreign” diseases that most U.S. doctors don’t think about. Like when a patient presented with flu-like symptoms: fever, muscle pains, and so on… but there was something that made him ask “Have you been outside the U.S. recently?” And when the patient said yes, he ordered a blood test for malaria. Came back positive, he gave the patient a prescription for malaria drugs, and the patient got better right away. But, he said, a lot of the other doctors he works with at that ER don’t think about malaria, so the patient was fortunate to get my friend as the on-duty doc that day.

        • One of the measles cases in the US nearly went that way. But there was a senior doctor on staff who said ‘no, measles, not chicken pox’. He was senior enough he got the rest of the doctors at that hospital too young to have seen a case in to check the poor kid’s symptoms so they’d be able to tell the difference.

          Source: Second hand senior doc’s sister was in chior with me when the topic came up. He had apparently had a full tilt ‘kids these days’ rant at her over the phone.

    • Me: I have strep
      Doc: You can’t have strep, you’ve had your tonsils out
      Me: And yet
      Doc: Fine, I’m prescribing you antibiotic x
      Me: Antibiotic x doesn’t work and Antibiotic y makes me sick. It needs to be Antibiotic z
      Doc: *hands prescription for antibiotic x*

      *two weeks later*
      Me: I still have strep, Can I have antibiotic z?
      Doc: It should have worked, you’re obviously drug seeking, I refuse to treat you any longer

      *Me, still sick, goes and finds a new doctor*
      New Doc: Hey, sounds like you need antibiotic z. Oh, and these other symptoms, has anybody ever tested your thyroid?
      Me: What the hell is a thyroid?

      And that is why we need to be able to choose our own doctors and care.

      • What on earth does strep have to do with if your tonsils are out?

        I only had it once– as an adult– and after much nagging by my mom walked into the jiffy lube type clinic, the lady looked, said “hey, that looks like strep,” did a swab, and gave me something to fix it.
        Only stuck in my mind because everything tasted like stale broccoli until I got treated.
        DEFINITELY never asked about my tonsils.

        • Strep was the reason they took my tonsils. I got it every other week for almost 2 years. It was supposed to keep me from getting it again. Instead, it cut it down to every 2 months.

      • Free Range Oyster

        Who the hell goes drug seeking for antibiotics? Muscle relaxants, psychotropics, ED stuff, pseudoephedrine, painkillers of course… but antibiotics? Especially a particular one? I mean I know of prepper types that would love to keep a stash on hand (I’m still torn on that), but that’s about the closest I can get.

        • Back in the day, doctors gave antibiotics with viral inflections to prevent secondary bacterial infections. That got a mind set that you always need antibiotics. Have heard this from people who you’d think would know better. They want an antibiotic whether or not it actually would help.

          FWIW, once one of ours had the flu and developed a worse bacterial secondary infection. I’ll never forget the look on the doctor’s face when he mumbled, “They say not to give antibiotics.” I knew he was thinking if he had, ours’ wouldn’t have caught the infection. My wife and I didn’t blame the doctor, but he sure blamed himself.

        • Seeking for sale is what I assumed– not high money in, but it’d be SOMETHING.

          Also possible the doctor’s an idiot.

        • Yeah, I was baffled too.

        • re: prepper types and antibiotics – not such a far reach for a lot of us, actually. Current “official” disaster-prep advice includes a bug-out bag with copies of essential papers and medicines. If you have first-aid training and expect it may be >1 week before services are working (earthquakes, Sandy-like storms, etc.), it’s not unreasonable to want to be able to treat self and family against cuts and other trauma, likely to occur in dirty environments. I.e. to include compatible antibiotics in your bug-out bag. Especially if you’re allergic to some, and your preferred antibiotics might not be available at emergency-treatment shelters.

      • Oh, yeah, btw I’ve had strep a number of times, and I had my tonsils removed at 3. WHAT the actual farg?

        • I’m not sure when I had my tonsils out. I barely remember it, so it was probably before age six. However, the funny thing is that, even though I had bad sore throats every few weeks for a couple of years, I was never diagnosed with actual strep. We would go to the doctor, they would test me, not strep. Finally they took my tonsils out and I got an immense amount of relief.

          Allergy shots soon after helped, too.

        • Ooooh, fun fact. Strep is a trigger for hashimoto’s thyroiditis which is an autoimmune thing that likes to imitate celiac’s disease and causes degeneration of the thyroid. Guess what’s impossible to get at my age. Yay! I’m an anomaly!

          • I used to get thyroid everytime the kids got it. I’m told I don’t have Hashimotos (no goiter) but have the goiterless version, which is just autoimmune hipothyroidism. Might also HAVE origin in last miscarriage. FOR certain that’s when the symptoms showed up, but I couldn’t get anyone to run the right tests.

            • They think mine was triggered around the time my tonsils came out. Since the first few symptoms tend to resemble “being a teenager”, they can’t tell but the thyroid problems were definitely triggered by my first pregnancy.

              • They kept telling me I was menopausal starting at 37. I honestly think that’s when the thyroid issues kicked in. It’s when my cycle went insane.
                BTW when I had surgery last year, lab report confirmed STILL NOT menopausal. No one ever tested. They just said “you’re menopausal” and sent me off.

                • Because that’s the one size fits all, easy answer. Never mind that 37 is the prime age to start having symptoms for things like that. I was told the tests aren’t recommended for anyone under 45 because they just don’t get it.

          • BobtheRegisterredFool

            Eeg. I’m going to need to remember that.

          • Meh. Everybody is an anomaly. Statistical Jones is an abstract, George Abnego* does not exist. Given the limited materials with which DNA can work it is truly amazing how much variance it contrives.

            Of course, DNA’s four proteins** is an order of magnitude greater than binary, and look at what can be done with simple on/off switches.

            *William Tenn reference

            **adenine (A), thymine (T), guanine (G) and cytosine (C)

            • “Everybody is an anomaly.”

              Read an article a while back. Back in the 50’s the Air Force was concerned that our fighter pilots weren’t performing as well in combat as they had previously. They studied the matter.

              One of the things they found was that the planes were being designed around the “average pilot”: not just average height and weight, but average arm length, average leg length, average torso length, average shoulder width, average hip width, average waist, and so on, all things that affect how the pilot will fit in and be able to easily operate the aircraft. But when they looked at actual pilots literally no one fit those “average” measurements. The planes fit nobody. And the result of an award reach here, a bit of fumbling there, caused a small but noticeable impairment in pilot performance compared to a “proper fit.”

              The same article pointed to an earlier item a contest to find a woman who most closely matched the “average woman”. Out of thousands of contestants nobody did.

              The “average person” simply does not exist.

              Oh, and after a quick look, I found the article (here’s hoping the link works):

              https://www.thestar.com/news/insight/2016/01/16/when-us-air-force-discovered-the-flaw-of-averages.html

      • Yep. I take several blood pressure medicines, and a few years ago had a low-grade persistent cough that wouldn’t go away. Happened to go to a walk-in clinic for something else, in reviewing my meds the new young doc in attendance, who just happened to have a major pharma interest, noted that one of my meds had a side effect of … coughing. Changed prescript, cough went away. Because somebody thought, as they say, “outside the box” of what my usual physician expected to see.

        • My lisinopril has that side effect, but fortunately for me, a cough drop once or twice a day takes care of it.

          • Yah, my Lisinopril on me, as well. I find peppermint altoids works well, although the peppermint oil can also tend to relax the esophageal sphincter, making acid reflux more frequent.

            Agggghhhhh, if it ain’t one thing, it’s another, amiright?

            • o/` If you take one more of those, you’ll get an overdose o/` — Mother’s Little Helper

              Once upon a time I developed a craving. For an Altoids Blizzard (or whatever storm name is preferred, place I went used ‘tornado’). Mom & Pop eatery made me one. I supplied the tin of Altoids (peppermint). The entire contents (less paper) was used. It was.. potent. very potent. Very very potent. I did manage to finish it – just. Oh, but it wasn’t over, no. For what goes in… well, the next day there I was, doing my business, “perched on the bowl”… and get… more than a whiff of peppermint. This experiment has NOT been repeated.

              • The cinnamon ones will have the same effect.

                • The curious thing is that I have eaten entire tins (of various flavors, including licorice – yes, I like licorice even at Altoids strength) in one sitting[1] and nothing similar has happened.

                  [1] Probably not a good idea for many reasons.

          • Yep, that’s what it was. Occasionally hard enough coughing while driving to be scary. Replaced with a similar-acting drug, Losartan.

        • The second doctor left private practice to basically become House except, you know, not a jackass and not willing to almost kill most of her patients
          . Half the time I went to see her, she was fixing or re-calibrating equipment because she didn’t think “acceptable parameters” were good enough. I still haven’t found anybody I like as much.

      • And it costs less.

        You’re right. With bells on.

  11. > If you trust total strangers to dress you, feed you,
    > and decide on your treatment from illness, carry on.

    It took me a long while to realize that, far from objecting, a large portion of the population is either just fine with that or actively desires it.

    • Aren’t there a few parts of the gov’t that will do just that, if you sign up? Of course, they tend to send folks to places NOT “generally recognized as safe.”

  12. > “recommended food pyramid”

    I saw an article about that a while back, written by someone who claimed to have been on the original study. I was mildly astonished that there actually *was* a study; the FDA and AMA have never had any problems shoveling “common sense” directives with nothing more than opinion backing them…

    Anyway, the writer claimed that the report they submitted and the recommendations the FDA promulgated were vastly different, which he blamed on industry lobbying or bribery.

  13. I can’t believe you don’t think Hari Seldon will invent Psychohistory which will work.

    • The thing is that psychohistory does work, it just doesn’t work as a basis for a system of government. Strange women lying in ponds and distributing swords is a more viable option.

    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

      It never worked as Hari Seldon had to create the Second Foundation to “work behind” the scenes to “make things go correctly”.

      The Second Foundation Must Be Destroyed!

    • Christopher M. Chupik

      Hari Seldon needed complex psychohistorical projections to tell him stuff that most people could figure out in a few minutes.

  14. > firmly planted in her head

    With my mom, it was various foods. More than once I came to dinner and she was proud to tell me she’d cooked all the things I’d loved… things like collard greens, which I’d been beaten for not eating as a child. Nope, they’re still slightly less edible than grass clippings, except grass clippings usually don’t come boiled in lard…

    Over the years I’ve talked to other people who had similar experiences. I guess it’s a kind of parental aphasia.

    • Such parental aphasia is one of the major factors contributing to most children surviving to adulthood.

    • I’ve got to wonder how many mothers actually _hear_ what their adult children say, rather than what they _want_ them to have said.

      • I have that problem with my wife and children regarding me. Apparently, when I say things, they are often easily misinterpreted, I suppose. I don’t know how else to explain them telling me that I had said something to them that not only do I not remember saying, it’s something completely at odds with anything I would have ever said.

        • I have a problem with telling people things, and then they blow off what I said, and then they get angry because I did what I said I’d do.

          After 35 years of marriage, my wife still hasn’t come to grips with the fact that I always mean what I say and I never say something I don’t mean.

        • Sometimes you can work it out as being from the telephone game but in at least one head. (Usually two. Or three. We’ve had some instances where there were notes left, so we know what was originally written… the person who wrote the note didn’t remember writing it in that phrasing, and the person who read it rephrased it as well, ended up in totally different directions.)

    • LOL. My mom did this when we visited this summer. It was like a hit parade of every food I hated. I BARELY stopped her cooking liver, which actually induces VOMITING in me. “But you loved it with onions.” said she. Guys, I’ve learned to eat onions, now, but in small quantities, and I still don’t particularly like them. And liver I despise.

      • The only time I didn’t loathe the idea of eating liver was when I was in the army… I usually liked it the way they prepared it. And I’m sure that the speculation of where they got it was unfounded.

      • My taste buds must be dialed way down or something, ’cause most meat doesn’t seem to have much flavor to me. Liver, on the other hand, _does_ have flavor, and I’m rather fond of it.

        None of us were ever shy about declaring that we did or didn’t like a particular kind of food, so _that_ particular parential deafness doesn’t afflict Mom and Dad, at least.

        And now I’m wondering what misunderstandings will happen between me and my children, should I ever find a woman to reproduce with. Hopefully I won’t look down on those whose hearts and minds fail to slip the bonds of Earth to go soaring among the stars . . .

        • None of us were ever shy about declaring that we did or didn’t like a particular kind of food…

          I am told that when I young I must’ve eaten my lifetime quota of bananas. I can’t stand them now (oddly, artificially banana flavored candies are not an issue). Mother once tried to sneak a banana into a chocolate shake. My response was to open the back door and give the offending thing the ‘woodland fling’. “There was a banana in that.” That was the very last time any stealth banana-ing was attempted.

        • I wasn’t shy! Heck, sometimes getting me to eat dinner was like breaking a prisoner of war. I think mom flipped “likes and hates’ in her head.

        • I’m wondering what misunderstandings will happen between me and my children, should I ever find a woman to reproduce with.

          Don’t worry — the World Health Organization has declared circumstances such as yours “infertility” and you will qualify for some kind of treatment or other, they’re not sure just what but it is sure to be a treat.

          • Recommended treatment: Cute Mormon girl in her early 20s who loves space and likes space-loving geeks.

            Which means I may need to head up to Utah for BYU and SLC Comic-Con access.

            • That would be wise. Figuring out what you want, then taking reasonable actions to achieve it.

              I would also recommend volunteering to work in places likely to be frequented by potential mates, or (next best) their relatives.

            • Professor Badness

              I gotta wonder how many of the young women their will in fact be single.
              Case in point, my wife indulges in many geeky activities, but only after we got married.
              (I don’t know exactly why she did not before, but I suspect much of her geekiness is an effort to make me happy.)

              • More than you’d think– I know we’ve got several ladies here, including me, who would go to geeky places without being in any sort of relationship with a geek.

                It might depend on the kind of place, though– from what I’ve heard of 70s style scifi conventions, I probably wouldn’t have gone then, if I’d been of age (…basically, my mom’s generation…) and had a clue, just because of a high risk of Bad Situations. (As much because of those who prey on the clueless, which sadly are an above average percent of geeks.)

              • I suspect much of her geekiness is an effort to make me happy.

                There are worse traits to have in a spouse.

                Many young women eschew such proclivities for fear of acquiring tastes which will diminish the range of available mates, men often having strong opinions about what they want in a partner (often exacerbated by an utter lack of clues as to with what women occupy their minds.) A woman who gives free rein to her inner geek risks shrinking the pond from which she fishes and of herself being thrown back for being odd.

                This is, generally, a consequence of men, as noted above, being clueless.

    • With foods, part of the problem is that it can be difficult to tell the difference between, “I will eat this politely and not complain about it because I appreciate the effort you went through to feed me” on the one hand and, “I really like this and would enjoy eating it again” on the other. I remember a professor who told us about the time he went to in-laws and they served some god-awful liquorice flavored liqueur. He choked down a glass to avoid offending them, and from then on, they decided that it must be his favorite drink and that they should always make sure to have a bottle on hand when he came over…

      • Birthday girl

        Opa!!!

      • Part of the trick of being a good host is learning that when somebody says a dish was “interesting” what they mainly mean is they are not interested in ever having it again.

      • Dad told a story: When working as a teenage farmhand in the summer, he went with his employers into town and happened to comment that a display of carrots was (his meaning) very nicely arranged. They heard,”likes carrots”. He didn’t, but sure got a lot of them to eat that summer as a result of that misunderstanding.

      • Anisette, probably. Yes, I have had it served, managed to drink it, and kept a reasonably straight face when I said it was interesting. Would not drink it again if I could avoid it. I have been told that it is best when served ice-cold, incidentally.

    • I’ve never had that issue. Not only does my mother remember foods I liked, she remembers how my tastes changed. I used to love gizzards and rice; now I can’t stand it.

      • I remember the first time I ordered a cheeseburger while out with my mother. She stared at me a moment and said “It must have been your brother.” I asked “It must have been my brother what?” “Who wouldn’t eat cheeseburgers.” I laughed “Nope it was me.” Until my early 20’s I wouldn’t eat melted cheese except as part of a grilled cheese sandwich. Tastes do change.

        • I was a total pain in the posterior of a picky eater when I was a kid. Transported back and given menu control, I would let me go hungry instead of jumping through all the hoops my Mom went through foodwise for me.

          • The thing is I had VERY FEW dislikes. still do. Liver. Fried codfish (I’m not amazeballs crazy for cod, but can take it otherwise) cold bean salad and octopus.

            • Never had octopus. Squid (calimari) though — in the average restaurant, can take or leave it; From the little rough whiteboard cafe out back of Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco – the cafe the fishermen go to! – umm!

          • BTW these were rare enough appearances on our menu that my only issue was once or twice a year. So, yeah, mom was doing it on purpose, and out of a sincere belief these were thing I loved and wanted to eat again.

            • Hmmm. So those were “special” meals. That could be part of the confusion.

              Now, in my childhood home, we probably had liver every two or three weeks. Mostly because that was the one thing that I would beg, nag, be a pain in the you know what for Mom to buy at the grocery store.

        • It took me years to figure out why I liked the green beans at school more than at home. In fact, it wasn’t until I started cooking for myself that I learned it was because my mother cooked them much longer, and I liked the less cooked flavor.

          Now, however, I like the longer-cooked flavor better.

  15. I suspect that if we ever _do_ get a working theory of ‘psychohistory’ it’ll prove that controlling history creates dark ages. That the way to prosperity is to let people do as they believe best.

    Granted, it’d need provisions for balance between contract enforcement and exit clauses (because abusive contracts are always a temptation to the guy with the upper hand, but weaseling out of future obligations will always be a temptation to just about everyone), as well as dealing with common law crime (because treasure may be replaceable, but theft of tools can ruin a fellow, etc.). And I’m not sure that advertising shouldn’t count as assault . . .

    Eh. Working psychohistory is clearly a lot way off.

  16. Roald Dahl wrote great children’s books, and he’s almost as bloody-minded as you. James and the Giant Peach has a pretty high body count. You would be aiming more for the Wednesday Addams kind of children than Pollyanna, but what’s wrong with that? *Goes off reciting the Gashlycrumb Tinys alphabet…*

  17. I don’t like this system. But it appeals to people running the system because they have immense power.

  18. The moment I realized Mom was *not* all-knowing was when she tried to get me into bell-bottomed jeans on our annual pre-school trip to The Cities.

    Mom: “But they’re the latest fashion! They look cool!”

    Me: “But they’re stupid.”

    Bell-bottomed jeans may have been fine if you were a sailor before the development of PFDs when they could be improvised into water wings if Man Overboard, or if you were a mod hipster trying to wow the college cuties, but on a farm those wide cuffs would just drag through the cow squat and get caught up in the pedals on the tractor.

  19. Good luck teaching this mindset to people now. I wish it was more commonplace but it isn’t.

  20. One of the great myths about the 1950s is that WWII veterans had learned that collective action was such a great power for good, enabling the US to help Uncle Joe win, that when the survivors got home they implemented collective will across the corporate world, and supported centrally planned stuff in government, because in the heat of battle they had glimpsed the Arrow Of History and knew which way it pointed.

    Talk instead to any actual WWII veteran and you will learn that they invented entirely new language, like FUBAR and BOHICA and so on, to describe the utter and complete train wreck that was the collective “planned” collective response – troops in Northern Europe in December 1944 with no winder boots or overcoats, vast quantities of cold weather gear shipped to the Pacific Theater, the nearly universal requirement to “scrounge” critical supplies as the official supply chains failed to supply what was needed to combat units, and on and on and on. Smart General officers turned Nelson’s blind eye to what was going on if they wanted to remain combat effective. And we only won because of Studebaker and Ford and the rest supplying massive quantities of materiel such that we basically overwhelmed the Nazi’s and Japanese industrial capability. It just ended up our centrally planned war effort was bypassable enough that it was less-worse than our enemies’ systems.

    But the academics, who on the whole stayed home, and those non-veterans who cited their writing since then, all came up with something that fit their Arrow, which as a completely unintentional side effect if implemented would leave them doing the central planning.

    • Yeah, we learned a lot of the wrong thing during WWII, and the years after.
      Likewise, the idea that American Businesses could get really cozy with the unions, and throw lots and lots of benefits at the workers. Listen to the Left get all nostalgic about the Post War days when Big Labor was king.
      That America was pretty much the only industrial country at the time because everyone else’s factories were smoking rubble doesn’t occur.

    • My father used to list the variants of SNAFU. Since he was Air Force in Okinawa, (8th, IIRC under General Doolittle) JANFU was a favorite (Joint Army Navy.)

      • Pretty sure that was 20th AF. 8th was in England and 15th in North Africa. I was assigned to two units that were reactivated from 8th AF B-17 outfits.

        • 8th was indeed in England, as my father was with it. And to nitpick, it was then the [i]Army[/i] Air Force. They did some clever rejiggering of the song when they grew up and became a real branch 😀 “Nothing can stop the Army Air Force” became “Nothing can stop the mighty Air Force”.

        • Actually, it might have been the 8th; after May 8th, they were being moved to the Pacific to support invading Japan.

        • Actually, the 8th stayed active after VE day, and moved to Okinawa in July, 1945. I don’t know just when my father arrived there, but he was mightily relieved after Japan surrendered. I think he got home some time in 1946.

          http://infogalactic.com/info/Eighth_Air_Force#Pacific_Theater for the details.

          I have my dad’s 8th AF patch…

          • Another reason for the relief: before he broke a collarbone doing a “perfect” parachute landing fall (according to the drill Sgt), he had been training for chemical warfare. After spending time in hospital (he developed a reaction to penicillin, the treatment being more penicillin [head applied to desk, repeatedly]), he was assigned as a draftsman, his civilian occupation. I suspect if the invasion had occurred, he would have had a very nasty reassignment.

    • Academics, by and large, occupy themselves writing history as they would like it to have been in order to support their current agenda.

    • Never heard that myth. But after 20 years in the AF I did learn a lot of (unusable in pubic) terms

      • Pssst. Your Freudian slip is showing.

      • I first encountered it as a Tech world founding mythos on why IBM conquered all until the PC revolution broke out – Big Blue was staffed, they said, with carefully selected WWII veterans who would happily wear the white-shirt-dark-tie IBM uniform, toe the IBM company line, and work in glorious IBM concert to fulfill the IBM goals as set by the benevolent corporate central planning teams.

        • Gee – I always heard IBM conquered all because their marketing side were experts at selling FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, & Doubt) – y’know, sayings like “nobody ever got fired for buying IBM”, etc.

          • When I was in FPGA technical marketing I loved writing FUD stuff – subtly casting deep doubt on the competition’s product lines beneath a thick layer of helpful information transfer, chocked full of actual sciencey engineering stuff, was really challenging to get right. I got more back channel attaboys for the effects of my FUD stuff from the salesfolk than anything else I did.

            Of course, by using my powers for the dark side I’ve piled up a hefty term in engineering purgatory, but at least I never went fully dark – like moving to sales.

  21. We shouldn’t be concerned about the Progressives wanting to take control over the most basic decisions of our lives — they’re the most loving, caring, compassionate people in the world! Just ask them. Only a neanderthalic troglodyte Hatey-Mchater with a heart filled with hate could dispute that!


    Scott Adams: Watch the Persuasion Battle
    1. Yesterday I announced my endorsement of Trump, primarily as a protest to the bullying culture of Clinton supporters. I don’t like bullies. And I don’t like that Clinton is turning citizens against each other. (My political preferences don’t align with any of the candidates.)

    Yes, Trump is a bully, but he’s offering to provide that service on behalf of the country. When leaders do it, we call it leadership. (Think LBJ or Steve Jobs.) Trump isn’t encouraging his supporters to bully Clinton supporters. But Clinton has painted Trump and his supporters as Nazi-like deplorables, and that creates moral cover for the bullying you see all over the country against Trump supporters. It wouldn’t be a bad thing to bully a Nazi, would it? That’s the dangerous situation Clinton has created.

    2. My anti-bullying message must have raised a flag somewhere in the Clinton campaign machinery. That means it hit a nerve and is seen as a persuasion reframing they don’t want to risk.

    3. Huffington Post, Salon, Daily Kos and other liberal outlets “coincidentally” ran hit pieces on me on the same day. That’s a sign of media coordination with the Clinton campaign. (Or a big coincidence.)

    4. Hordes of either paid or volunteer Twitter trolls descended on me with two specific types of attacks. The similarity of the attacks suggests central coordination. One attack involves insults about the Dilbert comic (an attack on my income) and the other is a coordinated attack to suggest I am literally insane or off my meds (to decrease my credibility).

    You’re also supposed to think I’m crazy for seeing these “coincidences” as coordinated attacks. You’ll probably see this blog post retweeted as evidence of my further spiral into madness. …

    blog.dilbert[DOT]com/post/152337049156/watch-the-persuasion-battle

  22. Flashing back to when I was 21 and got a job as an academic counselor (I help kids fill out forms for what classes they wanted) at a local community college. This was almost 40 years ago – you would get kids, high school grads, with absolutely no idea what they wanted to do. I would explain to them the various options, what would get them into a Cal State or UC school, what wouldn’t, fun classes, career training, etc. Didn’t matter – they had become so inured to being led by the nose that, finally let off the leash, they had no idea. They had no ideas.

    I can only imagine what it is like now.

    Thus we train up people to be on the receiving end of government care.

    • Of course, this helped inflate the Academia Bubble. A lot of aimless kids are funneled into higher education as pretty much Grade 13+. They then run up huge student loan debts for degrees in fields they really don’t enjoy, and can’t really use when they get out.

  23. Reblogged this on The Arts Mechanical and commented:
    The big problem we have right now is that the elites are still stuck in the 20th Century “mass everything” mindset in a world where digital technologies have mad individual everything possible. So the powers that be are constantly running behind and trying to force people to wait while they impossibly try to catch up or even worse try to turn the clock backward. Which only ends in misery all around.

  24. A possibly erroneous or even apocryphal thought… (and longer than I thought it would be when I started. Ah, for brevity I can only continue to strive.)

    It’s a Climate Change problem. No, really. Political and social climate. It is more advantageous for the average JoeBobSamDave to go along with these ridiculous things. In the short term, at least, it is.

    And it’s not just the SocJus screaming outrage-of-the-day. It’s “let some otherJoeBobSamDave” do it- as long as he’s from the government. Somehow- somehow? This is more advantageous. You might go off the rez and have a few lefty leaning habits- you like organic stuff and only buy those kind of eggs and veggies, think nuclear power is inherently dangerous, or the poor just need a “hand up.” Is the right going to riot when a Person of Beige-ness wearing a blue uniform happens to shoot dead a white guy who was robbing a convenience store? Nah. But swap that around…

    That goes all over the place. If there’s one hard-core lefty at a small shop, chances are that policies will tend his way on things like acceptable dress code- “that shirt objectifies wymyn!” “Dude, this is classic Frank Frazetta. It’s art!” You’ll end up walking on eggshells around that guy, and why? Because by and large we’re *not* that kind of person. We are willing to let other folks alone, no matter how crazy, as long as at doesn’t cross certain lines. And even then, we usually grumble and bend a little.

    Where we really split from the left is that folks on the (sane) right don’t want to eliminate that guy. We don’t want to make him an un-person until he finally realizes Frazetta is awesome. In fact, it goes against our principles to *force* a change in his *opinions.* His behavior, on the other hand, is free game once it starts shoving into other people’s exercise of free will.

    The groundswell of lefty thought isn’t all that large, really. Mostly it seems to be a lot of folks who just find it easier to act, speak, and vote left. The mob would turn on them (it has, in recent memory) if they uttered a non-approved thought. To change this, we need to create a climate where even folks who *do* want to put control of their lives in the hands of others find it advantageous to *not* force that on all the rest of us.

    To relate this to current politics, this is one thing, perhaps *the* one thing I can think of that would save a Trump presidency- make it wildly successful instead of a mediocre slog at best. If it benefits *him* to do the right thing, he will do it. How to make personal responsibility, good work ethics, and (at least the appearance of) a strong sense of honor and duty advantageous? Well, therein be the rub, folks.

    Fortunately, we’ve got some pretty good examples in history to go by. *grin*

  25.   I ask those who have read me, how happy those children would be.

    The refinishing mysteries could probably be made to work… Coming up with something that “works” like a murder, but isn’t, would be really hard.

    • There are a lot more thefts and kidnappings in juvenile mystery series. Also more historical treasure hunts.

      And then there’s Detective Conan, where little kids in the Detective Boys Club deal with horrifying stuff, and it is still tamer than the mysteries from the rest of the series.

      • Detective Conan? I enjoyed the Mystery of the Jewels of Thulsa Doom, and Rogues in the House.

        He was a detective who knew how to use brains!

        • BobtheRegisterredFool

          *Groan*

          Case Closed then. The manga.

          http://www.detectiveconanworld.com/wiki/

          • I keep wondering if Shinichi (Jimmy) will ever find a way back? Will Ran (Rachel) still be waiting? Just how patient and long suffering can a girl be? What will Shinichi do about all the school he has been missing? It is a nice ride, but how long can they beat this horse?

            • BobtheRegisterredFool

              It is clearly operating on some bizarre time scale, like a comic book. Or Pokemon. (Have you seen the analysis that discusses how old Satoshi should be based on the time events took in the anime?)

              It has been over twenty years, the tech has changed, but the cast hasn’t aged a year.

              Or you’re supposed to wait for the manga to end, go through the ‘Black organization over-mystery’ in reverse, culling those mysteries that do not pertain, and try to fit the rest into a short timeline.

  26. We have strange allergies in my family. Many of them are hereditary, even when the prevailing wisdom says that they can’t be. Our dentist prescribed penicillin to one of my daughters even after our protest that we don’t use it in our family because it is too great a risk. He told us that it isn’t something passed down so she will be fine. We spent the night in the ER after the first dose. How far back that one goes I don’t know for sure but my mother, my siblings, me, and my children all have the allergy. And that is only one of the ones we shouldn’t all share.

    • Everyone in my family is resistant to at least one painkiller. For me, it’s novacain. It works, but I need a much larger dose then most. Taking acetaminophen by itself is useless for anything.

      • Free Range Oyster

        I’m not resistant, I don’t think, but I had a procedure last year where the lady dosed me three times (twice beforehand and once during) and I was still in pain. I finally told her I wasn’t strong enough to tear the arms off the chair, so if she could ignore my grunts of discomfort I’d just power through. She’s one of those cheerfully cold-blooded medical types, so that’s what we did.

        • The dentist was a bit surprised at how fast I burned through the stuff he gave me during the two major procedures this summer. And then almost panicked when he found out that I worked the afternoon of the second procedure (hey, I uploaded cat pictures to the blog and proofed a chapter in a draft. Harmless.) Apparently I didn’t have the massive judgement suppression that also comes with the chemical of choice.

      • Modern anesthesia seems to default to intravenous Demerol. Last couple of times I had surgery I had the OR nurse write NO DEMEROL on the cover of the file in big black marker. Both times, the anesthesiologist, who obviously hadn’t even *looked* at the file, was preparing to shoot me full of Demerol when I asked them what they were planning to use.

        The key phrase here is “respiratory failure.” They don’t care about nausea so bad you’d kill yourself if you could find a sharp object.

        Oddly, plain old Valium works just fine – lights go out, lights come on, no nausea, nothing. But I’ve learned to call the anesthesia people ahead of time to make sure they have some on hand; apparently it’s so out of fashion many hospital pharmacies no longer stock it.

  27. ah, yes.

    I go for about two to three times the recommended dosage of fiber daily. and five or more times for Vitamin C. I just need the stuff in large quantities.

    • It was either you or SuburbanBanshee that mentioned D having great effects– I tried it, got an OK result but not awesome, tripped over some similar advice for B complex… gosh and golly, I wish someone had suggested it 20 years ago.
      Apparently I need it. A lot. Or I store fat like nobody’s business, even if I’m working like crazy.

      Looking backward, the times when I felt the best were when…. I was going overboard on the chocolate covered almonds, especially right after bootcamp. *wry* Guess what complex of vitamins chocolate and nuts are high in?

      I still almost flip when several of the vitamins in a supplement are in the thousands of percents for RDA. (Reading up on that was fun; they couldn’t establish a safe upper dose, because they couldn’t find anyone that was having bad reactions to megadoses…. there were two bad reactions that might have been to the pill casing. Can’t even remember which B that was, probably was the one that’s usually listed in the 6000+% of RDA.)

      • I did the vitamin thing for a while. I stopped when I grew a nice 12mm kidney stone.

        I don’t know that they were connected, but my kidneys were sure working hard dispensing with the unused vitamin supplements.

        • Not related to your experience– but reminded me of something folks will pull out that drives me up the wall.

          The idea that because we don’t totally absorb everything in the vitamin, it’s wasted. As if your body being so desperate for a nutrient that it manages to get 75% of what you take in, rather than only getting 15% of a mega-dose and actually filling the need, is a good thing.

          Vitamins are there as a means to an end, not an end in themselves! It gets even worse when you consider that they all interact… I got anemia in part because my husband can’t stand stewed tomatoes. Never had an issue with iron, because a staple growing up was pan surprise…cooked in cast iron, with tomatoes. As best they can tell, we can’t absorb that iron very well, but it was good enough for me.

      • It’d be nice if the DNA mapping could give one this kind of information.

        • I think it may end up being beyond what mapping can manage.

        • Free Range Oyster

          • TX Red wrote a novel about the literally lethal effects of disregarding the complexity of DNA.,

            • It is amusing to consider I am old enough (heck, the Daughtorial Unit is old enough) to remember when some 80% of DNA was dismissed as “junk” and “vestigial.”

              • “Was”? They’re still doing “Look, look! This DNA is doing stuff, and we don’t know wwwwwhhyyyyy” articles!

                • Um, I was talking about them thinking that the “junk” DNA wasn’t even doing stuff, just cluttering up the chromosome.

                  Sort of the same way they though your brain was fully “wired” at birth and afterward the little grey cells were simply dying off. Now we “know” the brain is growing neural complexity through the first few years, minimum.

                  Be wary whenever you are told “the Science is settled.” The hubris of scientists would, had it any mass, create a vast black hole which would suck in the universe.

      • Her. The one I tend to mention is that you want Vitamin C WITH your iron. It helps absorbency.

  28. Ronald Reagan spoke a lot about how big government didn’t work, but he was hired to run two big governments and didn’t shrink them any. Ron Paul never advocated taking the power to coin money away from congress, despite writing several books showing how it fails. Their actions spoke louder than their words. Who were these words for?

    What does work to shrink government is organizing to deprive it of good optics, snitches, and loot. Here are notes about a successful tax protest in Chicago:

    http://www.encyclopedia.chicagohistory.org/pages/1230.html

    • Fallacy of equivocation.

      “Big government” is, in common use, a phrase that deals with how expansive the powers they have are.

      Not the raw size.

      Additionally, we don’t elect dictators. If the president DOES do something all on his lonesome, without the cooperation of the other branches, that’s bad.

      As it happens, Reagan *did* work with the other branches, and got serious reductions.
      http://www.cato.org/policy-report/marchapril-2010/limiting-government-1980-2010

      • Everywhere in the argument I use ‘big government’ to mean more expansive, controlling a bigger percentage of total human effort in its geographical area. CA and USA were both more expansive than NH.

        Of course you elect dictators. What percentage of the many recent wars that presidents entered did congress declare war for in advance?

        Towards the top of the Cato link it says “Taking inflation into account, the Reagan cuts amounted to 5 percent of the total cost of government.” That disappears in the noise. I also remember plots I’ve seen of national budget size, which did not have a big dip in the Reagan years.

        • Everywhere in the argument I use ‘big government’ to mean more expansive, controlling a bigger percentage of total human effort in its geographical area. CA and USA were both more expansive than NH.

          That’s a ridiculous definition. By that definition, Cuba’s communist government would be “smaller” than America’s government, which though it’s gotten seriously statist over the past several presidencies (George W. Bush was not a small-government guy) is still FAR more free than Cuba.

          Your definition of “big government” is a nonsensical one, and it results in your entire argument being based on a false premise: that geographically-smaller governments are inherently freer than geographically-large ones. From a false premise, you can’t draw any useful conclusions, even if your argument is logically valid.

          • Case in point – HOAs that are far more controlling than any city or county zoning board or tax assessor.

          • controlling a bigger percentage of total human effort in its geographical area Which results in the comparisons Cuba > USA > CA > NH. If Cato is going to trumpet 5% reduction as material, the rest isn’t worth reading. You knew about Cato ejecting Rothbard in the past because he was too libertarian, and the recent control fight by the founding Koch brothers, I forget who they ejected this time?

            Support for your claims?

            MLK’s freedom riders was successful organizing to deprive it of good optics. Chicago tax protest was successful organizing to deprive it of loot. Everyday drug black markets, and the various incarnations of Silk Road, is successful organizing to deprive it of snitches and loot. The technological ability to expand black market ebay type things looks very bright. I expect electronic privacy defending stuff will remove the logistics from big centralizations until the restructuring looks like something you could recognize from _Snow Crash_ occurring simultaneously with _Diamond Age_. At this moment in history the arms race favors defense by small and distributed against large and centralized. In 2002 the US Navy did the Millennium Challenge wargame, in which the Iranian coastal fishing armed with Silkworm missiles defeated a carrier group. I do not expect a North American conquest by China or Russia, that’s just preparing to re-fight WWII because that story favors creating huge centralized pork.

            • If Cato is going to trumpet 5% reduction as material, the rest isn’t worth reading.

              This makes no sense. a 5% reduction is significant enough by itself, even if you don’t consider that the rest of the time, it’s increasing, often by MORE than 5%. Once you compare a 5% reduction to what would have been there had the increases continued, it’s VERY significant. Had it continued, we can’t even begin to predict how different the world would be now.

        • Support for your claims?

          And no, a one in 20 reduction does not “disappear in the noise.” Your following statement shows you didn’t do more than skim for something to toss out.

        • First you said:
          Ronald Reagan spoke a lot about how big government didn’t work, but he was hired to run two big governments and didn’t shrink them any.

          Then you replied to evidence that your claim was wrong with:
          Towards the top of the Cato link it says “Taking inflation into account, the Reagan cuts amounted to 5 percent of the total cost of government.” That disappears in the noise. I also remember plots I’ve seen of national budget size, which did not have a big dip in the Reagan years.

          First of all, as Foxfier points out, a 5% reduction is not lost in the noise.
          Second, when shown evidence that disproves your claims, just admit it and go on. Don’t move the goalposts. It makes you look as if you don’t even believe yourself. Rather, it looks like all you are doing is attempting to use any argument you can to “prove” the other person wrong, whether your argument is right or not, and are hoping they forget what you said before.

          • Wayne, if you haven’t been following his oeuvre, coherence is not MikesMoniker’s métier.

          • When I’m trying to summarize a major argument in three paragraphs, the length available is not going to provide two sig figs and ten pages of footnotes. When I’m looking for an 80%, 90%, 95%, 99% reduction in government, and a complete elimination of the pending bankruptcy due to the $200 trillion shortfall, a 5% reduction is no material change at all. (To be fair, the debt was not in nearly as bad a shape when Reagan may or may not have been the major cause of a 5% reduction.)

            Yes, $200 trillion, the amount necessary to set aside today in order to pay commitments as promised. The physical meaning of that number is three times total yearly human productivity on Earth. See Kotlikoff, here’s an NPR link: http://www.npr.org/2011/08/06/139027615/a-national-debt-of-14-trillion-try-211-trillion

            The goalposts are not moved.

            • When I’m looking for an 80%, 90%, 95%, 99% reduction in government, and a complete elimination of the pending bankruptcy due to the $200 trillion shortfall, a 5% reduction is no material change at all.

              I don’t care what you were looking for, I care what you claimed, and your claims were false. And all over the timeline.

              Also, you suck at math. “I want almost total elimination right now, so taking a serious chunk off isn’t a decrease” — that’s not logic, that’s emotion.

            • As far as I can tell, you’re new here, so I’ll repeat this for you:

              Words. have meanings.

              You said Reagan DID NOT shrink government any. Evidence was provided, which you dismissed as irrelevant, because it was not as large as you want, which constitutes moving the goalposts.

              Then:
              When I’m looking for an 80%, 90%, 95%, 99% reduction in government

              If you think that’s EVER going to happen in two, or even four, presidential terms, you’re beyond mere foolishness, and into the realm of wishing for an alternate universe. Even 5% over two terms, especially given the inertia from the previous couple of terms, is a HUGE change. It’s people who don’t get their pie-in-the-sky dreams and declare the people who are actually trying to make changes who make it impossible for true changes to be made over time, because you tear down the very people you should be supporting.

              • Erm, that should read, “… declare the people who are actually trying to make changes to be failures…”

                • Sarah, MilesMoniker has demonstrated multiple argumentative flaws, from unsupported assertions, incoherence, undemonstrable assumptions, argument from (private) definition, shifting of goalposts, incoherence, contradictory claims of fact and incoherence.

                  Moreover, he has repeatedly posted comments which are irrelevant to the topic of the post and which, even if we agreed with him, do not yield any kind of practical course of action.

                  I doubt he would be missed. This venue is not a soapbox for the benefit of demented cranks the general public.

              • Objecting that “any” means mathematically nonzero rather than material compared to the financial problems of the time is alternate-universe wishing. I don’t think any of the first world countries have repaired their finances in the last 500 years. They’ve just exponentially grown and then collapsed: Portugal, Spain, the Netherlands, France, Britain. Today the USA is far beyond the ability to recover. All the medicare recipients think they should receive $250K in healthcare in the last year of life, paid for by the smaller number of workers; but the best they will receive is hospice. Britain is already doing the nastier Liverpool Care Pathway.

                Golly, I’m sure glad this election season focused on healthcare financial projections instead of the candidates’ personal styles. That gives me hope the financial problems can be solved by 5% reduction over 8 years repeated 1 or 2 times.

              • “If you think that’s EVER going to happen in…” – well, there’s one way: hello SMOD! Or, more precisely, an external force exceeding the USA’s maximal ability to cope. ISIS would like to be one such, but they really are small potatoes compared to what it would take to so destroy this society that government would essentially go away.
                Re: Reagan’s -5% — the big thing was creating an inflection point, proving it could be done, proving for the “arrow of history” believers that the arrow doesn’t necessarily describe a constantly and inevitably-growing government.

    • The tactics of Chicago’s citizen’s are hardly replicable today. especially as a national strategy. Not what anybody would term a realistic approach nor a persuasive strategy.

  29. The fights I had with my mother were legendary. Everything from clothes to makeup to what clubs I joined (I started the Star Trek club, she thought I should be in Sports Boosters) led to a screaming match and slammed doors. There’s fewer slammed doors these days and the shouting happens via text but it’s gotten better. Probably helps that my dad put a list in the kitchen cabinets regarding dietary needs for the whole family since it seems like everybody is presenting different stuff these days.

    I have a really long fuse these days but it’s always interesting to hear the people who know how hard I fight to control my own life telling me I should trust the government to run it for me. My brother and I don’t talk politics much these days.

  30. sfgarbagefire

    That OBGYN sounds like a nightmare, I’m glad everything turned out okay eventually.

  31. You’re on fire.

    Speaking of which, you’d be FANTASTIC at writing non-fiction for kids.

    I hope you’ll consider it once your workload becomes more manageable.

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