Still absent

I’d say I was being kept in durance vile, but sitting around listening to lectures on how we might go step by step to the stars qualifies neither as durance or vile.

What it does qualify as is very little time at my computer to even get hold of one of the waiting guest posts.

For instance, right now I am typing g this on my phone which by a quick of screen won’t show me what I’m typing, which means I’m feeling lucky indeed.

If I can’t get the time tonight, I promise to be back on on Sunday.

Do try not to use the time machine again. Let me remind you that while it might be fun for you to have tea with the heinleins, they have/had/ will have work to do.

I’ll go back to learning how to take us to the stars, which some would argue is the only sane place for this blog.

88 thoughts on “Still absent

  1. I’d say I was being kept in durance vile,

    It is a little realized factoid that this phrase is the result of a German-born man speaking accented English and should properly be types as “durance while. It makes much more seance that way.

    1. Nope. It would be “file.” The “v” in English is pronounced as an F, while the “w” is pronounced as a V. Von Weißstein thus is “fon Vice-schtein.”

      Um, yeah, I’m drawing up a class proposal to offer intro German next year.

        1. Could have been. I’m operating under 1) flu shot 2) head cold 3) allergies, 4) way out of date bifocal prescription [am on my spare pair while main set are getting new lenses], so I may have mis-read RES’s original comment.

          1. It’s Durance While for me I had that retina surgery this morning, and am recovering at a hotel. ($SPOUSE had to stay home vor various reasons.) It seems the surgery went OK, with discomfort handled by Ibuprofen, so the big issue is boredom while I have to stay upright. TV isn’t my thing, and reading is a bit of a challenge (sure could use a bifocal monocle today), but it’s doable.

            The hard part is over, and I’ve done the aftercare for cataracts, so I’m thinking that prayers were answered. Many thanks to those who helped in that.

            BTW, re the pool paint: how about Aquaflage?

            1. We tried Aquaflage a few years back and ran into problems with divers missing the pool … and some of the pool denizens swimming out.

          2. That’s ok, one of my coworkers and I have spent several days (in one case a couple of weeks) trying to track down the source of a few issues which had thrown a monkey wrench in financial reporting at work, and they all turned out to be rather minor errors that produced severely outsized results. I figured I would have just been mentally crosseyed.

  2. What, I still haven’t finished listening to that 1953 Chesterfield show with Ray Anthony, Helen O’Connel, and Bob Eberly. The space-ish version of Let’s Get Away From It All is rather amusing, btw.

  3. Do try not to use the time machine again. Let me remind you that while it might be fun for you to have tea with the heinleins, they have/had/ will have work to do.

    Meh. All they will do they have already done. But I am thinking of ringing the doorbell of a certain noted opium-smoking 18th-Century English poet. Having suffered through that damned Rime of his in HS English I deserve vengeance.

    1. Besides, “use the time machine again” is forward-time-experiencer-ist, which is just another example of great-rack-privilege in action.

    2. Do try not to use the time machine again.

      That implies that I’ve used the time machine previously, which I haven’t, and a certain French philosopher needs to be kicked in the junk, at least twice.

      If I have tea with the Heinleins on the way back that’s just bad temporal navigation on my part. Really. Scouts Honor.

      1. What if I use the time machine to go back and stop myself from using the time machine the first time? Would that still be “again”?

      2. Or it may imply you tried not to use it earlier.
        I tried not to use the time machine yesterday, but I still arrived here today, so I must have failed at trying not to…

      3. > a certain French philosopher needs to be kicked in the junk, at least twice.

        Which one?

        Do you consider the postmodernists/post-structuralists “philosophers” or “frauds”?

    3. I’d rather sit in on a chat between Rudyard Kipling and Mark Twain. FROM SEA TO SEA ends with one such, and I believe they met again a time or two…..

  4. How will we get to the stars? Very slowly….
    Other than that, I wish my “durance vile” was as much fun

    1. Honestly, I would just be happy if we could get to the planets right now. Or even the moon. I want to stand on the surface of another world before I die, dagnabbit!

      1. Or comet. Or asteroid. Heck, I’d even be happy with a dwarf planet or three. C’mon folks. Cheaper cost-to-orbit, very now, more faster, and so on.

      2. Either I would like to stand on the moon before I die or non-violent aliens in their fancy space ships appear in the sky one morning.

        1. Just finished reading Childhood’s End… just because they’re nonviolent doesn’t mean it’s a good thing.

      3. I want to stand on the surface of another world before I die, dagnabbit!

        Oh, well, if it’s other worlds you seek, you can always go to DC or New York City or Berkley.

    2. We could try a fully automated seed ship loaded with your DNA and that of other humans and the various terrestrial animals and plants. Find a planet, grow some clones, upload memories, and a VERSION of you could be up there in a few thousand years. How’s that sound?

      1. Read the novel a long time ago…wasn’t impressed. :p
        (can’t remember the title of the book or author that wrote that idea. Read it in the 80’s I think?)

        1. The one in Analog from circa 1984(?) had frozen people not zygotes. In fact, I think it was people who been frozen for decades.

          1. Nope, novel. Premise was that these little ships were sent out with all the materials and information. Including mental imprints of a handful of the ships creators. Follows one such probe and the imprint of one creator that was assembled to repair a damaged ship on route. Still trying to remember the name of the book. Not having much luck even searching relevant terms. :/

  5. To Infinity and Beyond! or at least to the stars … sounds like the proper focus for a Science Fiction author. One could almost forget about silly old fashioned rocket shaped trophies for those who no longer seem to care about going to the stars.

    1. silly old fashioned rocket shaped trophies for those who no longer seem to care about going to the stars.

      Oh, they care about us going to the stars … and contaminating them with our vile presence.

  6. I have to use the time machine Saturday. My future self who went back to have that tea left me a note to insure I know it is in my Yet.

    You know what happens if one of us tries to defy our Yet.

    1. Sunday. Time Machines are for Sunday:

      “Solomon Grundy Walked on Monday,
      Rode on Tuesday,
      Motored Wednesday,
      Planed on Thursday,
      Rocketed Friday,
      Spaceshiped Saturday,
      Time Machined Sunday,
      Where is the end for Solomon Grundy?”


      1. Poor Grundy ended up with a broken time machine in the court of a European warlord named Arthurus and had to pass himself off as a magician. And that’s why the legends say he died before he was born.

  7. Sarah, anyone using the time machine should offer up a ‘book report’ on their activities, persons met, etc.
    That’s only fair.

    1. In that spirit…

      23SEP17 0200 Zulu:
      Realized I didn’t have any cold beer. Used the time machine to go back 8 hours and put some in the fridge.

    2. I’d love to take a time machine to the modern past of America to watch a few momentous and a few common place things. The momentous things are watching the Apollo 11 launch and the moon landing as they happened, any major city on VE or VJ day, and watching Charles Lindbergh depart on his momentous flight.

      The more commonplace things would be catching a few color photos of various things that disappeared before commonplace color photography, getting the ground truth on a few areas too rearranged by 50’s “urban renewal” or flooding and flood control engineering to untangle in the modern age. Witnessing a giant airship, or a crowded electric interurban train, or early automobiles trekking across the early Lincoln Highway. Heck, a ride down Route 66 in 1960 would be awesome!

      1. My father picked up a used book describing Chicago area roads in both 1837 and 1937. It’s somewhere in the history stack; which are off limits. I’ve been meaning to get some of those those books out of the barn mezzanine. Can’t go there for a few weeks.

        Dad also got a nice volume commemorating the 1893 Columbian Exposition. The neat thing is the original owner did a nice pen and ink drawing in the frontispiece when he gave the book to his sisters. These and others were picked up in the late ’30s along with some others; political books, IIRC, on various sides of the “do we resist Hitler?” genre Didn’t keep those, alas..

        1. OMG, yes, the 1893 Columbian Exposition would be a must see (though I’d not stay at the Henry H. Holmes’ World’s Fair Hotel), and so would the 1939 fair in NY. 1903 fair in St. Louis. With a digital camera and lots of extra batteries. 🙂

      2. Everyone knows the one event you simply MUST see is the birth of Christ.

        Please remember to pre-coordinate your gifts. It would not do to show up with 2 frankincense and no gold (not that that’s ever happened, ahem)

          1. “Indeed, some might be incensed if that were to happen.”

            It probably says something about my sense of humor that my first thought on reading that was a line from this:

    3. Report Temporal Travel Incident October 7 1749.

      Arrived at the abode of Mssr. Rousseau, and achieved entrance presenting an authentic looking calling card. Was present with a nice Bourgogne while I awaited the arrival of the subject. After meeting Mssr. Rousseau and exchanging pleasantries in my limited college French, Rousseau inquired as to the nature of my visit. At this point I forcefully applied my kneecap to his manhood, and he collapsed to the ground, eyes crossing in pain. When he asked my why, I responded (in pidgin Russian to throw off any temporal agents) the hard his political theories and idea of the noble savage would do. Then promptly kicked him in the testicles a second time.

      On return a small hiccup placed me in the Heinlein residence in 1984; Mr. Heinlein chastised me over tea for attempted interference in the time-line, but complemented me on using Russian to explain to Rousseau since he didn’t know that language.

      End Report

  8. > the stars

    What I find amazing is there are some relatively successful SF authors who have declared starflight to be impossible and therefore foolish to write about. But interdimensional travel, mind-eating Old Ones, and magic are okey-dokey.

  9. What? You mean you don’t want me to walk by their house some evening in 1954 singing a weird song about a “Tunnel in the Sky?”

    That could have very grave repercussions!

    1. I think the concern is that he may be catching on to us, what with dropping that copy of Astounding in the Lexington‘s wardroom and that “chance” meeting in that Philadelphia bar in 1946 when the loudmouth asked, “Why are you wasting your stuff on them pulps, Bob? Saturday Evening Post and some of those other slicks are where the money is.”

      I know I had a start when I first came across All You Zombies.

    1. Love the background music. 😛 I tried to lobby for that as my college (Round 1) graduation march, but the organist said while appropriate, it was not sufficiently dignified.

  10. You know, even if ISIS has historically not claimed credit for incidents they are not in some way responsible for, this behavior might be expected to change as the organization is eradicated. (Presuming such occurs. Maybe its whole existence isn’t due to Obama’s fecklessness relative to Trump.)

    If Poe’s Law News were to announce that ISIS has taken credit for Clinton, Steinem, or Barney the Dinosaur, how long would it be until we saw such coverage on regular media?

  11. A Blog In The Stars! or A Blog Among The Stars? The Little Blog That Touched the Stars? No, not the Hollywood stars, but real stars, twinkling away… except when you’re in space, the stars don’t twinkle, although they are sure shiny! Reach For The Stars — that would make a good blog title, or even a book title. Star light, star bright, first star we reached tonight… hum, there is a certain fixation on stars here. What about the other character, the black depths that make the stars so bright? Okay, I’ll quit wasting bits (can bits be wasted? Or do they just get recycled, in a tiny reflection of the giant dance of the star matter that we call our universe?) and go back to work. Thanks for the update! We’ll be waiting to hear how you are going to reach the stars…

    1. Isn’t touching the stars what has Weinstein in trouble right now? Don’t think we want to be that blog…….

  12. Attention Hostess:

    I’m sure you have a full schedule of things to do, and the Rocket Park at the Space and Rocket center is an amazing time sink, however…. let me suggest you make time to see something else while you are in the area you may not be aware of:

    U.A.H. has Robert Forward’s private papers in special collections. If you can make time to go look through them I think you’d find it worthwhile. They include some gems like two pages of calculations on if a heat pump to increase radiator temperature would improve space-based power plant efficiency (spoiler alert: no, which may be why he never published the results), an unpublished short story that is also an elaborate pun, and even one of his vests.

    1. I love the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville. Usually go there every time we visit my wife’s cousin who was a payload designer for the Skylabs. Come to think of it, may visit it again in a couple of weeks…

      1. There is a lot of neat stuff to see at Huntsville. The Space and Rocket center is probably the one I go to most often. Also, as I mentioned to Mrs. Hoyt, the University of Alabama at Huntsville has Dr. Robert Forward’s personal papers (and one of his famous vests) on file that you can go through. I think most Huns would get a kick out of that, as this is his personal papers not just his published works and contains unpublished work, hand calculations, raw grant proposals, letters, etc. They also have the papers of Wiley Ley, but I haven’t gone through them yet.

        In addition to the UAH library, Redstone has an AMAZING propulsion focused technical library. I could spend a week just lost in there (well, they kicked me out every day at closing time) going through obscure and sometimes ancient (by aerospace standards) technical literature. While a pretty spartan old gov’t facility technical library in decor it did have one large mural on a wall. Not space. Not sci-fi. It was a mural of what appeared to be the Fulda Gap in Germany on The Day the Balloon Goes Up seen from just feet behind the front NATO lines. In the distance charging towards you are menacing masses of Soviet tanks, armored vehicles, and helicopters. In the foreground all around you American Army soldiers are launching a massive, desperate barrage of all types of rocket-based weapons (it is Redstone, after all) to halt the Soviet horde. TOWs, Hellfires, Zunis, LAWs etc. While rocket-based artillery and anti-aircraft rockets streaked overhead from behind your POV.

        As for food. I recommend Gibson’s BBQ (any of them), Beaurgard’s chicken wings, and (of course) Ole Heidelberg for authentic German food.

  13. Aww, but I was in the middle of creating the Red Alert timeline.

    I missed out on stomping about with the Empire of the Rising Sun, so figured living it would be the next best thing… <.<

  14. “Do try not to use the time machine again.”

    But, but, I had that meeting with Poe and Conan Doyle all set up for the weekend. I had hoped to discus investigative techniques and forensics.

  15. Never operate a time machine without carefully reviewing, and then using, the operations checklist. More time travelers have met unpleasant ends by saying, “Hold my beer” as they hop into it without following the directions.

  16. I think we can get around the problem of us overwhelming the Heinlein’s by stopping for tea when each of us use the time machine. We create a pocket universe that consists solely of the Heinlein’s domicile. We can set up a schedule where each of the universes where the Heinlein’s exist take a turn in the pocket universe. Since the number of universes are infinite, we should be able to have each universe Heinlein’s take hourly shifts. Someone else can handle the scheduling. Perhaps the infinite number of monkeys in the basement of the Diner typing Shakespeare can help?

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