Go Back To Where You Once Belonged

hand-296569

I have no clue where Mary’s word for the week is.  I know she said she sent it, and Mary is an honorable woman.  But my email appears to have done a disappearing act on it, so we’ll make do without.

Fifty words, the word is: root.

Speaking of roots I’m not swearing this will happen, but I’m going to try to find as many of the Argonauta collection books as I can and go back to my sf/f roots in order, to figure out, now as an adult and a professional, what about these books enthralled me and drew me in.  I think that’s important, going back to the root of your passion now and then.  Like anniversaries, renewal of vows and occasion weekends a way refresh a marriage, so getting back in touch with why you first loved something helps clear away the clouds that have gathered in the meantime.

I’ll probably blog about it, too, once a week or so, both what I liked and the things that are now outdated (not just scientifically) or that just strike me as funny now.  (Reading one of my favorite Agatha Christie’s — the moving finger — was struck with all the references to genetic hygiene. Granted in this case it referred to avoiding incest, but it’s a reminder the vocabulary was in everyone’s lips and not a Germany-peculiar disease.)

For those who wish to play at home, the list is here, and the text under the cover lists the actual title.  I’ll note I can’t find number one.  There is one of that name on Amazon and someone “scanned” the text in but not with text recognition, rather as an image, which means I can’t read it. Periodically I might post “wanted” posts here too.

Other things that will happen both here and at MGC will be changes in looks and format.  I promise nothing bad, so just sit tight.  (Not that I expect no bitching.  From this crowd?  I always expect bitching.)

I have a kitchen to clean and three chapters to finish, so go back to your regular insanity.

253 responses to “Go Back To Where You Once Belonged

  1. Christopher M. Chupik

    “Granted in this case it referred to avoiding incest, but it’s a reminder the vocabulary was in everyone’s lips and not a Germany-peculiar disease.”

    I believe it was Michael Crichton who pointed out that before WW2, lots of people supported eugenics, and after, nobody had ever supported it.

    • Yep. And you find it in the books of thoroughly conventional people in England and the US. Mysteries are great time capsules of life at a time, because they are supposed to be contemporary and full of details.

      • Christopher M. Chupik

        Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Venus series has a lot of examples. His Venus (Amtor to its inhabitants) is like a funhouse mirror of 1930s Earth, with analogues of communism (Thorism), fascism (the Zanis), and eugenics (the city of Havatoo).

      • It’s all through E.E. Smith’s stuff, and most pronounced in his later, 1950s/60s works.

        • Well, considering the Arisians were breeding humans, as well as several other species, as a weapon against the Eddorans, it’s not surprising that eugenics would be an underlying theme.

          • I was thinking more of the “Subspace Explorers” books.

            • ??? I… don’t recall any of that in those. Maybe some in The Galaxy Primes.

              • Might’ve been the Primes. For some reason they blur together in my mind.

              • Terry Sanders

                The Garthians were pretty racist. And I recall a streak of eugenics within their society–recall the protagonists undercover. The farmer they’d replaced had bought a “wildey” wife (despite the apparent danger) for exactly that reason.

                (Pretty messed-up place in general, come to think of it.)

                • OK, I’ll buy that there were eugenics elements in the Second Space civilization. I was thinking more along the notion of it being in the First Space group, when they were actually modified by the two superhumans.

      • That Peter Wimsey mystery, where he’s an extra and the protagonist is his girlfriend, has one of the workmen going on about Hitler in a very uncomfortable sort of way.

        • That was in Gaudy Night, IIRC. I think one of the female academics also opined in support of eugenics at one point in that same novel.

          • I believe that’s right– I can’t keep titles straight. Thank Himself I’m American…..

            • Terry Sanders

              So was Miss Schuster-Slatt.

              • ???

                I don’t remember her having a problem remembering titles, thus benefiting from being in a place where we don’t have ’em…..

                • LOL. He thought you meant book titles, and also that eugenics didn’t invade america. Why do I say that? It’s what I thought and I chalked it to “Foxfier having a brain glitch not worth arguing now.”

                  • *snickers* Ah!

                    I can kind of see that– nope, I was thinking about a rather clever plot-twist that brought that up front and center of my mind, that as an American citizen I ain’t got no titles. 😀

                  • Terry Sanders

                    More the latter. I didn’t remember a don talking about eugenics, but Miss Schuster-Slatt certainly did.

                • Miss Schuster-Slatt was
                  1. American, and
                  2. big on encouraging marriage among the fit and discouraging it among the unfit.

                  • All this for a mildly strained pun based on the word for the name of a book and the word for formalized social status being the same…..

    • I’m not saying you’re in any way wrong; the Left certainly dropped public support of eugenics with the alacrity of a,raw,recruit getting shut of a live grenade, BUT

      There is something about the Pro Choice movement that smacks of a sevret hunger for eugenics. I don’t know how much you-all may have followed the Kermit Gosnell case, but one point that jumped out at me was that the local Progressive Left panjandrums seem to have had at least an inkling that Gosnell’s operation wasn’t entirely kosher…and there are indications that they refrained from investigating further because they were worried that ‘poor women’ would be left without access to ‘abortion services’. Now, I may be being mean, but that smells to me like ‘so what if Godnell’s operation puts them at risk; so long as back babies are getting aborted’.

      • One of the guys who filed multiple complaints, that got “misplaced,” basically forced the section he was working with to not use that “clinic” because girls who’d gone in clean for basic female health services came back with nasty STDs.

        *********

        A lot of the pro-aborts are not subtle at all about the goal being eugenics. They’ll tell you that it’s OK, because there’s no camps involved, and the unborn, very recently born, or disabled aren’t “really” people anyways.

        There’s a reason that internet rule about “chances are Hitler will be mentioned” morphed into a “you lose automatically” that somehow never applies to, say, calling Trump Hitler.

        • BobtheRegisterredFool

          But Trump is an American of German ancestry and pretty near progressive politics. Calling him a Nazi is only slightly less defensible than calling an American of progressive politics and Italian ancestry a Fascist.

          • Bob, not to give you a hard time in particular, but I keep seeing this “Trump is German…” thing, and it annoys the hell out of me.

            Trump… Is an “American of German ancestry…”? Are we ignoring the Scots half of his family, now? Last I looked, his mother was pure, first-generation Scots, so calling him “…of German ancestry…” is more than a bit incomplete–And, let us not even get into the fact that the Trump German ancestry is from the Palatinate, which wasn’t ever that enthusiastic about even being a part of Bavaria, let alone the greater German Reich.

            One would do well to remember that the majority of the folks who became the Amish came from this part of Germany, and that there was significant out-migration from the Palatinate due to conscription. Quite a few of the Texas German communities were founded by people from this part of Germany, and the ones who stayed behind were notably never that enthusiastic about the Nazis, either.

            So, “Trump=Nazi” is really, really specious. Even calling him a “German-American” is inaccurate–To do so would be like saying Obama was white, because his mother was. Of course, we went the other way, in his case, but… Still, it’s literally only half the story.

            • And to me, his name is more Dutch – Low German than German-German. Think Admiral Troomp. *shrug* Either way, he’s the US president, the whole “{name} is a Nazi!!!” thing has gotten older than Methusalah, and anyone making that comparison has demonstrated a paucity of both creativity and historical awareness.

              • And one of the easiest way to tell the difference between Adolph Hitler and Donald Trump: the Israelis are naming things after Donald Trump.

              • Apparently some idiot at the PuffHo wants us to think the March of the Pussy Hats was the same as the Iranian Protests because “Across the world, people are fighting autocracies and oppressive regimes. @realDonaldTrump is NO DIFFERENT than the oppressive Ayatollahs in Iran.”

                The Washington Examiner’s Siraj Hashmi explains the differences so you don’t have to give the PuffHo a click:

                The worst Iran take (yet): The Women’s March and the Iranian protests are the same
                The protests currently ongoing in Iran are not even a week old yet, and we’re already seeing a handful of horrible takes coming from the American left (including, but not limited to former Secretary of State John Kerry and former Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes). However, the one that really takes the hyperbolic cake is equating the Iranian protests to the Women’s March and the resistance against President Donald Trump’s administration.

                That’s essentially the conclusion that was drawn by Alex Mohajer, a political commentator for HuffPost, when analyzing the recent protests that have spread throughout Iran. Both hard-liners and reformers in Iran began protesting the government over rising food and gas prices in addition to their declining economy that has yielded high unemployment in spite of lifted sanctions over 2015’s Iran nuclear deal.

                Here’s what Mohajer tweeted on Saturday.

              • Good Lord. If he’s Plat Deutch he’s related to a branch of my family that emmigrated to Brazil. What a funny old world.

                Well, I have to say, Mr Trump looks a LOT more Scots-Irish than he does Pomeranian.

            • BobtheRegisterredFool

              I’m pretty sure my phrasing, ‘of m ancestry’ , can legitimately be used as a short hand for ‘m, n, o, p, q, r, s, t, etc…’. I only know one identified ancestry component for the one or two people I’m malicious enough to seriously use such a pointless joke against.

              The number of Americans who don’t have German ancestry might be a minority. The number of Americans who could pass my political purity test, calibrated to fail Trump, is a minority. It is so broad a justification for calling people Nazis as to be useless.

              Furthermore, the Nazis were much further from the American Progressives than the Fascists were. And if Trump is Progressive, he is hardly a zealously doctrinaire one.

              But not defending it for general usage would probably be hypocritical, because of the few specific uses I am willing to make.

              There is no real need to call most of these Americans Nazis, because Democrat more than suffices. There were better reasons to support the Nazi Party during the ’30s and ’40s than there were to vote for Obama in 2008. Which isn’t to say that any of them were good reasons.

              And Wilson doesn’t seem of have cared about ancestral region when discriminating against German-Americans, and I don’t recall hearing that the Bund was that picky on the other side.

              • Well, I do have an ancestor from Germany. Thing is, the French-Canadian records will give you the parish a French immigrant came from. Germany? l’Allemand. (Also one from “Nouveau Angleterre.” Not even which colony.)

        • One of the things the Left likes to conveniently ignore is that the founder of Planned Parenthood, Margaret Sanger, was a HUGE pro-eugenics fan. Pointing it out to a Lefty will get the response that Martin Luther King Jr. had good things to say about Sanger, and that you’re just an uninformed misogynist racist who hates black women. e_e

          I have the book. It is sitting on my shelf, and I know I should read it, but the book about Gosnell is eliciting the same reactions I have whenever I try to read Rules for Radicals – skin crawling, blood chilling. It might be the knowledge that what is within describes pure evil, I dunno.

          • By behavior, he– and several other rather notorious abortionists– were serial killers.

            Just their targets were (mostly) legal.

            • The thing that gets me is he apparently delighted in his murders… and because he was serving in the narrative of the Left, whatever trial he had was kept out of the media HARD.

              • Took trophies, showed the whole pattern of ‘the rules don’t apply to me’– holy crud, find a check list of serial killer traits, and it’s FREAKY.

                That’s on top of the various harms done, besides the obvious, to the gals involved. In Gosnell’s case, largely abuse victims, if they got recognized or not. (What else would you call someone who’s told “get rid of the kid or I am gone” by the other parent?)

                *Shudder*

                Need a less depressing topic…..

              • BobtheRegisterredFool

                Gosnell delivered Will Smith. Absent Will Smith, I might never have been able to watch the MIB cartoon. I think about what I would have lost in the case of Ma Smith having been coerced into making a different decision. Or Kermit deciding that he could get away with ‘accidentally’ killing these two. I wonder what I’ve lost from those forty to fifty million. Which is maybe something like one in seven. Okay, maybe closer to one in eight or nine.

      • BobtheRegisterredFool

        Yeah, the fervor of the insistence that the poor have access to “women’s healthcare” is certainly suggestive.

        But since I first really noticed that, I’ve become convinced that the major driver is Hollywood’s Rape Culture.

      • Well, I’m not a woman; so I don’t think I have any right to tell a woman what she can’t do to with her body and her life. So you left the door open for a squatter to move in. You still have the right to evict them.

        After careful consideration, I don’t consider an unborn human to be a person; the mental capacity just doesn’t exist yet. Sure, they could become people, but current technology makes it possible for you to clone a duplicate of me from darn near any cell of my body. In which case, you can’t throw that appendix or wisdom tooth in the trash because it could be grown into a new human being! (Which actually sounds like a good theme for a short story – cut and paste into my ideas folder.)

        That doesn’t mean I think abortion is a great idea. I think abortions for spurious reasons are a waste of opportunity. But as long as the rest of us aren’t being coerced into paying for them, if a woman wants one and can shell out the dough for it, it’s her decision and her money.

        • If you leave it alone, it grows to be just like you. BEWARE striking at the root of what’s considered human. Right now we have “It’s human if mommy says so.”
          This is pure bullshit and not a stable ontological base.
          It allows EVERYONE to be declared non-human when inconvenient, and it’s already begun.
          Also, not her body. You see, I AM a woman and have been pregnant. If you felt the movements, it’s very much a human person moving.
          So, you’re allowed to shoot your office mate in the face if he’s inconvenient, because you were in the office first?
          Again, beware striking at the concept of “humanity”. It NEVER ends well.

          • This pretty much sums up a part of my opposition to infanticide. Other than things like my faith. And the psychological revulsion. *expletives deleted* It’s one of the pillars of being a man, to protect and honor women and children. Especially those who cannot protect themselves. And not one of us as adults is as helpless as an infant. *shakes head*

          • Interesting that you came right back to the vignette word. And right, too.

        • Sure, they could become people, but current technology makes it possible for you to clone a duplicate of me from darn near any cell of my body. In which case, you can’t throw that appendix or wisdom tooth in the trash because it could be grown into a new human being! (Which actually sounds like a good theme for a short story – cut and paste into my ideas folder.)

          You might want to brush up on the difference between a cell and an organism.

          • I’m aware of the difference between a cell, an organ, and an organism. The appendix and the wisdom tooth can be sources for those cells used in cloning; although it seems that skin cells are among the most frequently used. Maybe they’re easier to manipulate?

            • A cell that can be used as the starting point for a clone is NOT an individual. Arguably, once the process has begun, they are a human being, a person. But the skin cell, before it is cloned, is NOT.

              Just as eggs and sperm are not persons. The eggs are valuable, yes, but are also NOT persons.

            • I’m aware of the difference between a cell, an organ, and an organism.

              Then you’d better apply it to the nonsense you wrote above, because it doesn’t make any sense when one does know the difference.
              That a cell can become an organism does not make it an organism.

        • Incidentally, evicting a squatter is a poor fit, metaphorically speaking.

          This would be executing a kidnapping victim, since the person in your room that you do not wish to be there had zero choice in the matter.
          Generally, a kidnapping victim that you put there, yourself.

          • (Nods) Abortion, at its least morally problematic, is the equivalent of shooting someone bound hand and foot and thrown through your window because they didn’t leave the moment you told them to get out.

            • One of the things that well-meaning pro-life groups keep trying to do is get women who go for late-term abortions to simply induce and let the child be adopted– dangerous for the child, but nowhere near as dangerous as having your brains sucked out.

              From the mother’s point of view, it would be an identical situation, other than the body leaving hers would still have life in it.

              Very, very, VERY few ever take the offer.

              • Makes you wonder why few take the offer.

                • Because the baby would still be there. It would be real.

                  A “medical procedure,” where there never is a baby? It’s like it never happened.

                  See also, the guys who had girlfriends they knew had abortions, and it doesn’t really HIT them until years later, holding their new babies.

                • They don’t want the baby out of their lives. They want the baby DEAD.

                  I once saw a discussion between a woman who admitted that if the baby could be removed alive with no more ado than in abortion, she would have no right to an abortion, and one who declared that since it was still on her body, she had the right to demand that the baby die in the process.

                  • That’s… inhuman. And those same people who want the baby dead in the process GET SO OFFENDED if you say “Shame your mother didn’t abort YOU.”

                    • Mini-outrage going on because some really dark show had an episode that included the Morning After Pill, and it was mentioned that it causes abortion.
                      This…got a lot of folks upset. Even though the FDA’s site says right there, preventing ovulation is only ONE of the methods it works as labeled, and it’s not *as* effective as RUwhatever for disrupting well established pregnancies.

                    • *puzzled* Why did it get those folks upset?

                    • Because there’s been a push to redefine implantation as the start of a pregnancy, for political and social reasons– especially for funding reasons, since folks object to tax funds going to kill kids.

                    • It would also mean recognizing that the I.U.D. acted by preventing implantation of a fertilized egg, e.g., by causing abortion.

                      An surprising appalling quantity of Progressive policies depend on denying inconvenient truths.

                    • You’re probably right on that one– I’d forgotten the push to get people to think of it as a harmless nothing. For all that it’s supposed to be safe and near-failproof, I know an awful high number of folks IRL who had really bad outcomes, and one good. (She’s adorable.)

                    • …That’s not scientific nor biologically accurate. ~_~ Oiiiiii…..

                      I saw some videos a little while ago where this Republican said they’d double the funding for women’s health services as long as it didn’t go to Planned Parenthood (and I gather, didn’t provide abortions), and there was much spluttering from the PP representative.

                    • We *are* talking about people who try to pretend that the human organism after dozens of divisions is identical to a human egg cell.

                      Trying to be fair to them– a LOT of these folks, if they had to look at what they’ve done, what they’ve made possible, what they’ve talked others into doing… bluescreen would be a best-case outcome.
                      Oedipus would be shuddering, and saying “oh, dang, I thought I had it bad.”

                    • They’re going there.

                    • To be fair, I read an argument for it as much as ten years ago.

                    • You know, when the vile Left gets outraged these days, I see it as “SHIT! They’ve uncovered one of our end goals! QUICK! DISTRACT THEM!”

                    • My reaction is more akin to what to do with a colicky baby: let ’em cry it out. Nothing you can do will be of much help, and anything you do will simply reinforce the behaviour.

                    • Babies are capable of learning, RES. SocJus Zombies… not so much.

                    • https://www.campusreform.org/?ID=10332

                      Those stories in Dangerous Minds were originally exaggerations … but now… it’s the conclusion.

                      Those ethicists who did the thought experiment (by taking the pro-life and pro-abortion points of view and analysing them to their extreme conclusions) are well vindicated. Pro-life arguments are always for life. Pro-abortions… for death, no matter the ‘current’ limits they claim to have.

        • As you do not think you’ve “any right to tell a woman what she can’t do to with her body and her life” I guess you are okay with prostitution, especially by arguments no more tortured than your squatter analogy it can be claimed that marriage is simply a form of prostitution (and indeed is in certain cultures.) As others have noted, basing your standing on definitions of personal autonomy and definitions of humanity entail serious problems.

          I think you might find firmer ground in the libertarian “making illegal an act that people will continue to desire merely makes the problem worse” arena for this argument. Like drugs and gambling, laws seeking to curtail the practice completely seem to ensure the worst aspects of it will persist and we’ll have added the burden of legal censure and its innate tendency toward corruption.

          I do not think anybody should want an abortion; in my ideal world laws barring it would be as unnecessary as regulations barring granting pilot’s licenses to pigs. Of course, in my ideal world farts would smell like orange blossoms and elephants would host TV Quiz shows.

          • An ontological point here that I think is important:
            laws seeking to curtail the practice completely seem to ensure the worst aspects of it will persist
            “Ensure” is the wrong word there. It makes it the fault of the law that the bad action continues. The right phrase might be “be unable to eliminate”.

            I make this point because “ensure” feeds into a mindset of the perfect being the enemy of the good. The progs do that all the time, and it’s an unfortunate trait of too many libertarians.

            • Also depends on what one views as the worst aspects, and frequently treats telling someone who wants to do a thing ‘no’ as being on par with the enslaving of those who would say ‘no’ if they had an option.

              • Worst aspects in this situation being corrupt police, prosecutors and judges who turn a blind eye to women from “good” families who terminate their pregnancies for “the right” reasons.

                There should be no need for laws against abortion because nobody should ever want one. Until such a time the laws we impose to restrict that practice need to be crafted to minimize secondary effects.

                • That goes for more general murder, or any other violation of Natural Law; rather by definition, we’re going to be working in the “defend rights as best possible” realm as long as we’re in this fallen world.

                • There should be no need for laws because no one should ever want to do something so heinous that we make it illegal.

            • Shrug. I was writing hastily and trying to represent an argument which, while I do not hold it, was stronger than the one originally presented. I agree to your editorial recommendation.

              The fact is that the problem is not whether abortion is legal, the problem is that people are willing to murder for such reasons. Until we fix that the law is merely a band-aid on the body politic. There will always be a market for women who want to terminate pregnancies and all we’re doing is debating who will be able to afford it.

              Right now wealthy celebrity idiots such as Ms Dunham can proclaim regret over never having an abortion and expect acclaim. That is the problem with this culture of death.

              • While I admire the rhetorical flourish, I envision standing on top of one of the various mass graves filled with young noncoms that the last century provided so many of and declaring that the problem was stupid people saying they wish they could’ve shot one of the people in it, to acclaim. (I vaguely remember that being mentioned by someone during WWII, actually– or is it modern, in the middle east, one of the various “peace process” guys?)

                The culture contributes to it, yes, and the back and forth, yes, but the dead people rather outweigh cheap, posturing rhetoric.

                • the dead people rather outweigh cheap, posturing rhetoric.

                  Speaking of “cheap, posturing rhetoric”, IIRC, they outlawed war just about 100 years ago. How’d that work out?

                  • *nod* Yep. *sad*

                    And yet our “betters” keep at it…and somehow morph around to where they’re the ones saying they wish they could’ve shot one of the dead, rather than “gosh, this is terrible, let’s outlaw war.”

          • Oh, and I *perfectly understand* about the farts. But what’s up with the elephants? O.I

            • Stupid farking autocorrupt!I
              That was a o.O at the end.

            • Oh, just that I used to know a guy who traveled in elephants and I figured, what with PETA, his business could use a boost.

              And c’mon – like, who wouldn’t watch a quiz show with an elephant host?

          • William O. B'Livion.

            I have less a problem with Prostitution than with abortion.

            Prostitution (absent coerced prostitutes, which is an orthogonal discussion) involves two consenting individuals. Prostitutes serve a seriously useful purpose in providing certain classes of males (and females) with access to human companionship and a place to sake sexual drives that might otherwise cause more problems. It’s illegality (most places) , like the war on drugs causes as much or more problem than the service itself.

            The thing with abortion one of the individuals is not consenting, and not able to consent.

            Abortion is not about telling women about what they can do with their bodies, it’s purely about deciding at which point you wish to declare the zygote/embryo/fetus “human”. Some do it within at fertilization, some of us argue for “when they start paying rent”.

            Secondarily it’s about thinking through the second order ramifications of particular public policies and trying to optimize for upsides and mitigate the downsides.

            Which I think we’ve done badly on this question.

          • I think you might find firmer ground in the libertarian “making illegal an act that people will continue to desire merely makes the problem worse” arena for this argument.

            The same could be offered for the killing of born children. Yet, somehow we manage to live with those laws.

        • So, a man isn’t allowed to be concerned about a woman’s health and safety, because it’s not his body, and not his life? Gotcha. Also, the baby’s body is not the woman’s body. It’s separate, even though it is housed in her womb.

          And the men who were deeply hurt by their wives or girlfriends’ abortions, knowing that it was their children who died would argue against the concept of an unborn child not being human. Every. Single. Parent. who discovers they are expecting would disagree with you. Every single person who has had to care for an infant would disagree with you.

          Just because an infant is physically helpless does not mean that the brain is NOT developed and capable. Mental capacity is not what determines humanity; and by your argument, you would be perfectly fine with the wholesale execution of every single autistic child or down syndrome person, because ‘not human.’

          My limit on being able to hold back my rage in the face of your abject, indescribable stupidity in this comment is on the verge of snapping, and I would like to end this comment while I am still capable of being somewhat civil.

          • “Just because an infant is physically helpless does not mean that the brain is NOT developed and capable. Mental capacity is not what determines humanity; and by your argument, you would be perfectly fine with the wholesale execution of every single autistic child or down syndrome person, because ‘not human.’”
            And this is why that slippery slope is so fricking dangerous.

          • The question I’ve asked people who are pro-abortion and never received an answer to is: “At what point does the ‘blob of cells’ magically transform into a human being?”

            • According to our laws, when mommy wants it, so that if you kill a pregnant woman who wanted the child, you’re charged with double murder.

              • Depending on the state.

                There’s a few where beating her half to death, so she loses the child, is “only” assault.

                You can guess how I heard about that one….

            • I have leaned toward a slightly different tack: At what point can you assert that it definitely is not?

        • If it’s alive, and it’s human (scientific questions with obviously Yes answers), then how do you get it’s not a person? That requires a level of distinction that turns reason into a monster.

          And, no, the woman didn’t “leave the door open to a squatter”, she committed the act of procreation that has as its end goal one prime objective: making a baby. It’s not a squatter – someone who invaded her body of their own volition* – it’s someone her very own body made.

          (* Interesting you argue from the viewpoint that the will/mind is not adequately formed, but your analogy/metaphor requires that very will.)

          I hope that doesn’t come across as angry. But it is something I feel passionately about, as a thinking man, and as a Christian.

          • Terry Sanders

            The prime purpose of an act of procreation is feeling good. Just ask anyone who hasn’t been programmed by those Evil Old People who oppress us.

            The first psychologically addictive mind-altering drug…

        • You still have the right to evict them.

          Moot point. You don’t have the right to dismember the squatter and drop the pieces out to the window. Nor do you have the right to demand the squatter leave by the front door under circumstances when that would be lethal.

        • “Sure, they could become people, but current technology makes it possible for you to clone a duplicate of me from darn near any cell of my body.”

          Current technology? Not quite yet, unless somehow I missed the announcement of the first human clone and all the uproar I would expect to accompany it.

          Also, you ought to be very careful about defining humanity by intellectual capacity. One of those who consider themselves your intellectual or moral betters could conceivably someday use similar arguments against your own right to life.

          • There haven’t been any publicly acknowledged human clones brought to birth. Quite a few countries apparently have regulations against that kind of experimentation. But I seem to recall an article in one of the journals within the past 6 to 9 months where they took human skin cells, brought them back to a single cell state identical to a fertilized egg and let them develop to the blastocyst stage before they destroyed them.

            • I’ll try to rummage around in the hospital library this week and see if I can find it again.

            • You’ve failed to recognize the core ethical question here. Would a clone, once the process has been initiated and the embryo implanted in a womb (or replicator) have human status? Does an egg, fertilized outside the mother’s body and them implanted, have human status?

              Why or why not. Explain your reasoning.

              Ipse dixit will not suffice.

              • Simple. All identical twins are natural clones, and all identical human twins are considered individuals with human status. Therefore, a cloned human is an individual with human status.

                • And there are a rather decent number of IVF people walking around right now, too.

                  Scary thing is, the pope back in ’68 predicted like 90% of the stuff we’re dealing with right now…but of course he was just a nasty old stick in the mud who clearly couldn’t know anything, because he wasn’t in for free love. Or something. *eyeroll* English title is “Of Human Life,” which sounds like it’d be an awesome scifi collection. (Idea free to good homes, cloning allowed)

                  • Its all fun and games until the the “Attack of the Clones.”

                  • When we were trying to conceive (up until ten years ago) if we’d had the money, we’d gladly have “adopted a frozen embryo.” (Money is needed for the implantation.)
                    As it turns out it would probably be doomed, though maybe not, since I managed a child after my uterus was maimed by the caeserean.
                    BUT it struck me as something worth doing.

                    • *nod* It was one of the things Elf and I talked about, back when we thought we couldn’t manage on our own. Obviously, ended up not being an issue…..

                      IIRC, it works out to less expensive than traditional adoption, and the kids are going to die if nobody helps.

        • If you start doing CPR on someone to sustain their life, but then decide to quit before the ambulance arrives because you have to get to class, or have a date to get ready for… Is that OK? It is your body after all, right? You should be able to quit giving CPR if it becomes inconvenient, right?

        • You may not be a woman, but you damn sure have a right and an obligation to involve yourself in these matters. Getting pregnant ain’t like catching a cold; outside of cases where sex wasn’t consensual, both parties took part in the act that led to pregnancy. For you to stand aside, and say that “It is solely the decision of the woman” ignores the rights of the helpless fetus.

          Morally, I think we all have an obligation to preserve life, at whatever stage. I don’t want to have some officious busybody telling me when and how to end my mother’s life, and that’s where the mid-point of this slippery slope we’re on with legalized abortion ends. You can see the evidence in the rise in euthanasia going on in nations like Holland. Either a human life is of value, or it isn’t–Allowing gray areas to creep in little by little ends in places like Auschwitz. The Nazis got themselves to the point where they thought industrialized mass murder was OK by itty-bitty incremental steps, starting with eugenics, and ending in the death camps.

          I don’t know where “life begins”, but I damn sure am uncomfortable with the idea that a healthy “quickened” fetus is something that we can casually kill.

          I’m also seriously uncomfortable with the idea that experimenting with human-equivalent AI has no safeguards on it, in terms of legal rights for the AI. You get used to turning off a human equivalent in silicon, well… Turning off “real humans” themselves likely won’t be too far behind.

          It’s the disrespect for the potential that does it, for me. You want to play with the powers of life and death, like God? You’d better be God-like in your omniscience and compassion, too. I lack that arrogance, so I’m not going to casually end a life in flesh or silicon, and I think I have a moral obligation to do what I can to preserve as much of it as I can. I’m not God, and I don’t have the confidence in the accuracy of my judgment about who should live and die, in these contexts.

          Life is precious; ending it because the fetus would become an inconvenience, as a living person? That’s just wrong, and that’s the problem with abortion. Until we get something like Bujold’s uterine replicator going, I have to come down on the side against abortion. Saying that you have no right to say anything on the issue because you’re male is a cop-out–You are still, presumably, a human being.

          • I’m also seriously uncomfortable with the idea that experimenting with human-equivalent AI has no safeguards on it, in terms of legal rights for the AI. You get used to turning off a human equivalent in silicon, well… Turning off “real humans” themselves likely won’t be too far behind.

            I’ve got a moral objection to trying to make true AI at all– for the same reason I object to other human experimenting.

            It’s trying to DELIBERATELY make someone who has no natural safeguards– no mother, no father, not even distant cousins– who will then have to go through life alone in a very special way, unless someone else is similarly maimed.

            If I thought something might be a true AI– I’d be morally bound to protect it, just like any other person. For exactly the reasons you lay out.

            Either people are precious, and to be protected, or not.

            • I don’t think we’re treating the whole AI thing with nearly as much respect as we should, and that’s going to bite us in the ass. Imagine an AI coming to full fruition in a lab environment run by someone like Gosnell, and then extrapolate that out to what that AI is going to be like, and how it will see the rest of us that stood by and let it happen.

              Self-preservation says you treat other intelligences, especially ones that might come to surpass your own, with respect and dignity. I watch those videos of the guys kicking over the robot mules, and I just shudder. Sure, they’re inanimate and don’t meet the standards for being any form of life, at all, but… The slope is slippery; treat a robotic mule or dog with no respect or dignity, and you’re going to keep right on doing that past the point where you better have had some damn respect for what you were doing.

              On the other hand, you have the guys in the EOD community who named their robots, and held funeral services for them after they “died”, so maybe humanity isn’t beyond hope. Let’s just pray that the first AI that surpasses us comes from something like that EOD world, where the robots are part of the team, and respected–And, not from some lab where the idiots in charge treat them like Mengele experimenting on the Jews in the prison camps. I really don’t think that path would end in a good place, at all…

              • Isaiah 42?

                A bruised reed he will not break, and a dimly burning wick he will not quench. He will faithfully bring forth justice.

              • Feather Blade

                I watch those videos of the guys kicking over the robot mules, and I just shudder.

                Point of order – aren’t the kicking guys doing it to demonstrate the stability and recovery capabilities of the robots?

                Or are they videos of actual customers kicking them over for grins?

              • In the background of my short story “Phoenix Dreams” (available in the anthology Lazarus Risen) there’s the Dhaka Disaster, in which a runaway AI was destroyed by nuking the entire city. It’s strongly hinted that the Dhaka researchers regarded their creation as property, to which the AI strongly objected — and each side viewed their actions as morally legitimate self-defense.

            • While some people think that true AI is impossible, I’m not convinced. I have an idea for a framework for such a thing that just MIGHT be able to cross that threshold. Plus, some of the things i learned in Networking lead me to believe that the Internet backbone could conceivably achieve a consciousness of sorts, if it gets complex enough.

              I’m perfectly happy to work in the world of AI-level Expert Systems, that don’t use any capacity to be creative, or any other forms of actual thinking for itself, but once you throw in the capacity to learn actual thought processes, you’re asking for a world of hurt. If not careful, we will find ourselves in the situation of deciding whether a new life form is too dangerous to be allowed to live, or not.

          • Heading off a very familiar issue with definition– you do actually know when life begins, by biology. Thus my rather annoyed growl above about re-reading the definition of organism. This is rather old science. 🙂

            When the person begins is what’s argued. What humans (a biological category, which can be objectively verified) are people (those who have rights) is the argument.

            This is a vein that gets a lot of action from both well-meaning people and the folks who think the euthanasia slide is a really great idea.

          • Until we get something like Bujold’s uterine replicator going
            You mean Huxley’s uterine replicator?

            Given my observations of human nature, we are much more likely to end up with Brave, New World than Beta Colony.

            • We’ll likely get both. And, then we’ll see which path is more likely to flourish…

              • It may depend on who develops it, and why. I give it much better odds of a good outcome if it’s an outgrowth of NICU research. Already we’re hitting some hard limits on how young of preemies we can save without replicating the intrauterine environment.

                Once you’re able to effectively “put the baby back in the womb” to finish their growth, you can save any baby at any gestational age (assuming that there aren’t intractable problems with the baby, as opposed to the mother’s ability to carry to term). And then your biggest question becomes what grounds will be used by the gatekeepers in determining what is permissible and impermissible use of the technology, especially when it goes from experimental to ordinary NICU equipment.

          • Thank you.

            Also he avoids the fact that anyone else can claim he is not intelligent and therefore not worthy of life.

        • The lease incendiary way I can respond to this is to ask if you also think this way about laws against infanticide and child abuse. If you think such laws are justified, why?

          The entire matter of abortion comes down to one of two things: Either the unborn is a person, or the unborn is not. If not, then someone can do with the unborn as they please. If so, then anything done to the unborn is done to an individual. And the moment you start to define what constitutes an individual, you are on a slope most slippery. For the interesting thing about definitions is who gets to make them. And odds are it won’t be you.

        • Yes. The idea that some members of the human species are, as you say, persons, to whom rights and duties apply, while some are ***things*** to which you can do anything you want. Mighty seductive isn’t it?

          Who gets to decide YOUR personhood?

          And no, technically even squatters may not be summarily evicted, much less executed, without trial, for trespass. Talk to any landlord (oy!)

          Nonetheless, most women who abort want to kill their unborn offspring like a fox in a trap wants to gnaw off it’s own leg.

          I will note that all the Fox-happiness options: orphanages, marriage culture, private Religious charity are anathema to the vile progs and let you draw your own conclusions.

    • richardmcenroe

      Well, the Swedes did through the mid1950’s…

  2. Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

    “I swear! It’s take a dragon to root out these weeds. Oh sorry Fred. I didn’t notice you.”

    Fred shook his scaly head, “On Dragon-home there are weeds that even dragons can’t root out.”.

  3. Happy New Year! As for #1:

    http://www.baen.com/adrift-in-the-stratosphere.html

    Unless #1 referred to something else…

  4. A man walks into a theatrical agent’s office, “Ive got a great act for you! The world’s only talking dog!”

    He asks the dog, “What tops a house?”

    “Roof!”

    “The greatest baseball player?”

    “Root!”

    “Gedouddaheah!” shouts the agent, kicking the pair out.

    The dog, turning to the man, asks, “Dimaggio?”

  5. “You’re useless as an archivist! While you were rooting around in the back-stacks for the first volume, I found the second one, the one you were supposed to be looking for.”

    “Sir, please don’t open that without silk—”

    “These are just fi—” Poompf. “Ribbet. Ribbet? Ribbet!”

    “Sir, that is why you should have waited until I brought the counter-spell volume to you. And why we wear silk gloves.”

  6. C4c

    The tree that fell on the house in October had a strong trunk, but weak roots. Which is part of the reason we had so much damage.

  7. To quote Heinlein, PBUH:
    Witch, bitch, sing along with Mitch.
    Which as an aside, points out the risk in using a popular culture reference in your writings. Two points for anyone who knows which book, and two more for anyone who knows who Mitch Miller was.
    Of course we bitch, loudly and proudly, It’s implicit in the First Amendment, and you most certainly should have gotten your bitch card along with your citizenship papers at the swearing in ceremony.
    On a totally different note, tonight and again tomorrow night will be full super moons as luna reaches closest perigee of the year. As an added bonus we get a super moon again on January 31 and a full lunar eclipse on that date just before sunrise, at least in North America.
    Good tidings and a very happy new year to all those here.

    • I can’t place the quote, but singing along with Mitch was a childhood Christmas staple.

    • Same here; can’t place the quote, but Sing Along with Mitch was probably my father’s favorite TV show.

      The closing song, as borrowed from John Phillips Sousa: (“Washington Post March”, if I have it right.)

      “Be kind to your web-footed friends,
      for a duck may be somebody’s mother.
      And if you may think it’s the end,
      well it is!”

      • Nope: “Stars and Stripes Forever”. WP March might(?) be the theme for Monty Python, but I don’t have it in my mp3 hoard. Must root around for it.

    • Yeah, I sang along with Mitch. I was quite surprised to learn later in life that he was actually somebody more than just a TV host. A quick wiki check reminds it was at Columbia Records that he was head of A&R, and therefore one of the most influential people in the music industry in his time.

      Further revelations are that he was a nice Jewish boy, son of Hinda Rosenblum Miller and Abram Calmen Miller. He originally trained as an oboist and also performed on English Horn (on which he can be heard performing in the Largo movement of Dvořák’s New World Symphony in a famous 1947 recording conducted by Leopold Stokowski.

      Although he brought many well-known pop artists to the Columbia label he detested Rock & Roll, saying in January 1958: “Rock ‘n’ roll is musical baby food: it is the worship of mediocrity, brought about by a passion for conformity.” This attitude led to his causing the label to pass on such artists as Elvis Presley, Buddy Holly and The Beatles.

    • The quote was from Glory Road when Star calls herself a bitch and Oscar remonstrates her starting with that line.
      As for Mitch Miller and his sing along show on NBC from ’61 to ’64, he was a staple every Friday night at our house. We’d pop a big bowl of popcorn, and my brother and I each got an entire bottle of Pepsi of our own while we munched, drank, and sang along.

  8. “OK, you know that deep physics has been turning up evidence that hints at us being in a simulation.”
    “Right. Ratchety results that probably should be smooth and such.”
    “Yeah. So I got to thinking: If we’re in a universal-scale simulation, it has to be running on something – some OS. I’ve been poking around in some of the new subquantum interactions and I got this. Repeatably.”
    She was silent for a bit, looking at the screenful of data.
    “Is that…a login prompt?”
    “I think it is, but look here, and here.”
    “So… this is the root login to the universe?”
    “And if we can crack the root password…”

    • After learning A) later Intel CPUs have hardware backdoors accessible over the internet, and B) that at least two different groups claim to have found the way in, I’m less amused than I might have been. Serves me right for ignoring security stuff for a few years…

      I thought it was an unlikely scenario when I encountered the idea in Stirling’s “The Stone Dogs” back in 1990. Apparently someone at Intel thought it was a fine idea…

      • I’m no security expert, but knowing what I know the contention that HRC’s mail-server-in-the-bathroom was never, ever, ever compromised, mostly because when they bothered to look after it became a public issue they didn’t find any footprints, was just pitifully laughable.

      • The upside to Intel’s perfidy is a business opportunity for some intrepid chipmakers.

        I’m also looking forward to ad-hoc phone networks. Because people like Iran, Congo and Egypt keep shutting off their official internet infrastructures, there is a market for a self-erecting peer-to-peer messaging network. You’ve got a city with twenty million phones in it, that’s a large compute resource.

        Hardware is -cheap-. We should think about that. We don’t have to do it, just think of it.

        • Which is fine for messaging each other. But how do they get information from outside or send information outside? That ad hoc peer-to-peer doesn’t do much when it can’t reach outside that city.

          • Imagine it first, work the kinks out later. What would it take to make a thing like that web-accessible? What does one really want off the web when the government shut it down?

            • My point is that I think if you want the “world-wide” part of the web, you’re only solving the easy variable. The harder variable is getting across the border (or even out of the city).

              Gospace, a lot of places don’t have those old lines. Some places went straight to cell service to avoid need for infrastructure investments. But it’s worth a look.

          • William O. B'Livion.

            Cellphone networks in that part of the world, much like Colorado and Wyoming, have spotty coverage, making dual band GSM/Sat. phones a thing. http://www.networkinv.com/shop/satellite-phone/thuraya-xt-dual/

        • The show Person of Interest showed the protagonists using such a system that bypassed the all encompassing surveillance of commercial networks.

          In cities such a wireless network would be easy to establish with small low wattage base stations. For city to city communication? There are enormous numbers of extant but abandoned wires between cities. Mostly corresponding to rail connections. I forget the book, but after the alien invasion communications were established by telegraph using the wires that used to connect the clocks in railway stations keeping them synchronized.

          Rural communications? Not so easy. CB radios are licensed or banned in most countries that need them.

          • Forgot to mention- IAW with today’s theme- totalitarian governments have always attempted to root out personal radio communication. Far too dangerous to a regime to allow such unfettered communication.

          • Considering how hard it is to keep power up to my folks’ home valley, I wouldn’t expect abandoned wires to hang around.

            • Maybe the wires for telecom purposes are less appealing to thieves (poor ROI to steal?). I’ve often seen the decrepit wires on the pole lines along railroad rights-of-way hang around for ages. I’m not talking about utility lines that sometimes share the right-of-way, but rather the old railroad-operated telegram and telegraph lines used for dispatching purposes before radio took over. They’re clearly out of service – severed in places, sections dropping down onto the ground, a few entire poles and wire sections missing here and there – but some of it can stick around for ages.

              • I’m not sure on the theft angle, either, which is why I tried to think of a system that is just getting destroyed by environment– there will be hundreds of miles that are up, and it only takes one tree in one, what, hundred foot area, and the connection is gone.

                • Mel Brooks sometimes tells the war story where he and his unit were in a mopping up area, and got the idea of seeing who was the best shot by plinking some wire insulators. They got a pot together and started, with a guy from Tennessee winning the pot.

                  When they returned, they found the camp in a panic. “Some Germans have gotten behind the lines and have cut our communications!”
                  The light bulb immediately comes on, and they volunteer to “find” the Germans and repair the damage. They then go back to where they had their shooting match, and repaired their damage.

                  Now, consider that those old telephone and telegraph lines often have someone liberate the insulators. People have used that stiff wire for various things, too. All this means is that those lines are likely not going to be intact. No feasible communications there.

                  There is good ol’ fashioned pirate radio, though that requires someone to listen and limited and mobile broadcasts to make direction finding harder. There is also a type of low powered AM that can be transmitted through the power line itself. Not much interest these days, but since it was pretty much confined to the power line and whatever plugged into it, licensing was easy and may not have been required. It’s limited to a single phase on a circuit, though, IIRC (though I wonder about Delta banks). Supposedly it doesn’t pass through substation transformers onto the transmission line, but this is from hazy memory.

                  No, I don’t know how to make one. They were plug into the outlet contractions, though, so you didn’t have to mess with anything over 120v in the US (though 120v is plenty enough to kill you).

                  • That sounds a lot like the thing where you can wire your internet through the house wires.

                    • Probably is. I learned of it not through the utility, but an issue of Popular Communications. To pick up the broadcasts, you had to use a radio plugged into an outlet on the same phase of the circuit/feeder

          • It might have been Footfall, but I’m not sure. It does sound like one of the things they would have tried.

      • Eh…
        Having had the children lock me out to a computer that had quite a bit of work on it, there’s a definite benefit to being able to bypass the security feature and access the contents.

        There’s just a rather obvious trade-off involved.
        You used to be able to mitigate the security risk with firewalls, but I don’t think that’s been the case for awhile.

        • Yes, but you want it to be your backdoor, not someone else’s.

          • yeah, you want the keys to it, not the local fence and crackheads to have them.

          • From my experience, if there is a back door, it will be inevitable that people will find it, and eventually be able to open it.

            • A great number of people take the attitude of, “I have nothing to hide, so why do I care?”

              They should care because there are plenty of ****weasels out there who would trash their computer just because they could.

              The hack only has to get out *once*, and then every script kiddie will be running it, competing against each other for top score.

              • “You have nothing to hide? Fine, but do you have anything you don’t want destroyed? Documents, images, address book, calendar, etc, etc, etc?”

                • I’ve come to the reluctant conclusion that most people are resigned to losing everything they have every time they change computers. That’s why they’re so thrilled with webmail vs. real mail, and swoon over “the cloud.” Because, gee whiz, making backps costs money for a storage system, and it can take *hours*…

                  I try to talk to people about backups and data retention, and their eyes roll like I just claimed to have beamed down from the mothership. On the other hand, I still have files I created in 1986…

                  On the third hand, most people don’t actually *use* a computer for anything. It’s just a gateway to YouTube, Facebook, Amazon, eBay, and webmail, so all they have to remember is their password – they always use the same one everywhere – so any computer is as good as any other.

                  • I have files i crated in 1988 but i dont have an AppleIIgs to read them on

                    • [clickety] Three different IIGS emulators popped up in the first few search results. Embrace your inner geek and download one!

                    • emulators do not emulate the apple 3.5″ floppy drive i’d need in order to load the files

                    • *Someone* out there surely has a functioning IIGS… there used to be businesses that did that sort of thing, back when there were more than two PC platforms. 8″ IBM to 5-1/4 hard-sector DEC, and so forth. There are still companies who read old magnetic and paper tape formats, too.

                    • retrieval of 30 year old BASIC programs just isnt that important.

    • Terry Sanders

      “…then somebody will pull the plug.”

  9. “…so go back to your regular insanity.”

    RAWR!

  10. “This is unbelievable. I still can’t believe that my father became a vampire.”

    “Well, he still can’t believe that the little girl he raised to be a good Alabaman and say ‘Roll Tide’ grew up to root for Auburn. Families have to put up with a lot from each other.”

    – An MHI fan-vignette

    • Not caring for sports (at all, really) and not being in or near Alabama beyond a few brief visits to Huntsville… “Roll Tide” to me brings forth a mental image of a significant amount of paper towels being used in an attempt at dealing with a laundry detergent spill.

  11. “Look see this? Just stick this tool at the base of the dandelion and lever it out. You must get the whole root otherwise it will grow back.”
    “Grandpa, why don’t you just use weedkiller to get rid of the dandelions,” The little girl said.
    Grandpa looked down at his young granddaughter slathered with sunscreen and wearing a wide brimmed hat and smiled, “If I did that, then I wouldn’t be able to pay you a nickle for every full dandelion you pulled.”

  12. The clean up ‘bots collected the Squid’s body and hauled it to the stations morgue. Wyatt was tense as he watched the crowd as the ‘bots performed their function; but the crowd dispersed without further incident.

    The marshal looked at his companion, “Doc, I want you to find out where that Squid was lodging, root around and see if I can be expecting any friends or family to come callin’.”

    Doc’s head, so eerily reminiscent of a terrestrial river otter, bobbed up and down in the affirmative, and he scampered off. Wyatt shook his head, he doubted his historical namesake’s sidekick had ever been described as having scampered.

  13. Oh, bugger.

    It’s not a dribble, or a drabble, or even short short. It just *had* to be “root,” now didn’t it? This one’s going to take a bit. And will be very rough. But it’s one I’ve had on the brain for a while, and it’s (thankfully) wedgeable into an existing universe (less work, yay!), and I might even get enough of it down tonight to get to the… root of the problem.

    We shall see.

  14. BobtheRegisterredFool

    “By the Root” swore the alleged ‘Shirou Emiya’, in reality a thinly veiled authorial insert. A pointless and in depth digression followed, mostly involving the cosmology of the multiple crossovers. In the time it takes to read this, you grow bored and start imagining a much better story, with explosions.

  15. It’s fascinating to look at the author distribution on those translations. Most of them are ones, twos, threes… then you have Heinlein with 31 and Clifford Simak with 36.

  16. The Radix Quadrilateral emerged from null space, carrying a cargo of radishes, root beer, radical political tracts, roots music, genealogical data for those attempting to discover their ancestral roots, rooting hormone, printed tables of mathematical roots for those whose religious beliefs disallowed the use of computers, and exquisitely detailed etymologies.

  17. “Wait a minute, a black dragon! We’re only level two characters! Not fair!” The fighter’s player complained.
    “The innkeeper warned you.”
    “But we’re supposed to follow clues!” The rogue’s player joined the protest.
    The DM sighed.
    “How was I to know you’d put together two clues for the final confrontation this early and decide to go root around in the sewers? Now, roll for initiative!”
    “Twenty!” said the bard’s player.

  18. Looking at the surrounding tangle of undergrowth the boar shuddered, snorted, then turned quizzically to the man standing over him.

    The farmer pulled a pistol, cocked and pointed it at the pig’s head.

    “We are trapped by those briars, with nothing here to eat or drink. Root, hog, or die.”

  19. “Steak and onions sound good. Roasted peppers and squash are excellent choices also. Your mashed potatoes are okay. But I don’t like the way you prepare carrots, turnips, beets, or rutabagas.”

    “Why not?”

    “Because you have a pathological need to cut them into little squares; and I hate cubed roots.”

  20. BobtheRegisterredFool

    I forgot to say so last month, but it is the first of the month. If the regular donation thing isn’t up and running, and you feel like it, donate to Sarah.

  21. Actually reading over the list, I notice that Edward Bulwer-Lytton, of “It was a dark and stormy night” fame, has a book on the list.

    • E. Bulwer-Lytton was once a fabulously influential author, extremely popular (he was a favorite of the young Ulysses and Julia Grant) and source of the saying, “the pen is mightier than the sword” — a phrase given to the Cardinal in his play, Richelieu; Or the Conspiracy:

      True, This! —
      Beneath the rule of men entirely great
      The pen is mightier than the sword. Behold
      The arch-enchanters wand! — itself is nothing! —
      But taking sorcery from the master-hand
      To paralyse the Cæsars, and to strike
      The loud earth breathless! — Take away the sword —
      States can be saved without it![
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_pen_is_mightier_than_the_sword#Origin

      As any student of the Musketeers knows, Richelieu demonstrated the pen’s might many times.

      Other phrases originating in his pen include “the great unwashed”, “pursuit of the almighty dollar”, and “dweller on the threshold”.

      Per the wiki entry no him:
      “[Bulwer-Lytton] also wrote the horror story ‘The Haunted and the Haunters’ or ‘The House and the Brain’ (1859). Another novel dealing with a supernatural theme was A Strange Story (1862), which was an influence on Bram Stoker’s Dracula.

      “Bulwer-Lyton penned many other works, including The Coming Race or Vril: The Power of the Coming Race (1871), which drew heavily on his interest in the occult and contributed to the early growth of the science fiction genre. Its story of a subterranean race waiting to reclaim the surface of the Earth is an early science fiction theme. The book popularised the Hollow Earth theory and may have inspired Nazi mysticism. … Adopted by theosophists and occultists since the 1870s, ‘vril’ would develop into a major esoteric topic, and eventually become closely associated with the ideas of an esoteric neo-Nazism after 1945.

      [SNIP]

      “Among Bulwer-Lytton’s lesser-known contributions to literature was that he convinced Charles Dickens to revise the ending of Great Expectations to make it more palatable to the reading public, as in the original version of the novel, Pip and Estella do not get together.”

      Let one cartoonist pen mockery of you and see what happens to great authors’ legacies.

  22. I know that the ridiculous idea of so-called Sensitivity Readers has been brought up before here, but now PowerLine has noticed such and thus this:

    http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2018/01/the-volunteer-auxiliary-thought-police.php

    The comment that seems most fitting (and there are a few to choose from) is:

    “Organizing a society around the insane just seems like a bad idea. Some seem bent on that course.” — Alice Rodeo

    • BobtheRegisterredFool

      Sensitivity editor is the one kind of editor I’m currently willing to claim I have the qualifications for. (I don’t have a handy handbook of standards that I’m familiar enough with that I could copyedit.) This is because I am quite insensitive, and hence suited for doing the job as it should be done.

    • Darn – I had that queued up to post.
      It would be ridiculous* if it weren’t for the recent cases of books (already printed and ready to ship) being canned for “insensitivity” or “inauthenticity” because the author was not of the same intersectional demographic as the fictional characters.
      I think this is the (predictable) over-reaction to the exposes of purportedly “biographical” novels that turned out to indeed be fiction, with authors sometimes presenting a fraudulent identity to boot.
      *The self-descriptions of the readers offering their services, however, really are ridiculous.

    • OK, first, I thought the initial mention of “sensitivity reader” meant something to do with ESP. That would have been less depressing.

      Second, I think Sarah should hire sensitivity readers for her books. (And Larry certainly should.) If she can make them cry, then the book will be a hit! The more of them (because they evidently come in flavors of identity, like a 64 1024-color box of crayons) that cry, the more successful the book is likely to be!

      I would contribute something if it would lead to prog snowflakes crying and retreating to their safe space.

      • Oh, and to answer the semi-query toward the end of the post, about a “not-quite widow”:
        Her husband/partner/significant other only wishes they were dead.

  23. “Is this a dye job?” Sylvia asked.

    “Huh? Oh, black marble plinth, white statue. Not that unusual.”

    “George, look around. Every statue here has a plinth the same color as the statue. Except for this one. Why the difference? What’s special about this one?”

    “Sylvia… did the statue just.. blink?”

  24. The messenger started to root around in his bag. Solange’s gaze went to Astra, opening the letter with perfect calm.
    Her mother appeared next to her, and (Solange blinked) her face was white as salt. “Come inside, my dearest, come inside, you don’t want anything to do with their unpleasantness.”

  25. By day, Lilac saw the storm-felled tree that had made the clearing; its roots writhed in the air, and saplings grew about it. Behind, other trees lurked, more tangled than the roots.
    She told herself the forest could not be darker than nighttime. It was only the daylight and contrast.

  26. Then, at the root, it did not matter what man it was. Or even that she had no blame, as she had neither done the deed nor known the danger. The only humanly decent thing to do was to help anyone else thrown to this world, as she had been.

  27. Alternate Universes

    Take me out to the ball game,
    (can I just get it on YouTube?)
    Take me out with the crowd;
    (meat-people are creepy)
    Buy me some peanuts
    (I’m allergic)
    and Cracker Jack,
    (what the heck is that?)
    I don’t care if I never get back.
    (works for me)
    Let me root, root, root for the home team,
    (they moved to another town last year)
    If they don’t win, it’s a shame.
    For it’s one, two, three strikes, you’re out,
    (the instant replay shows the umpire miscalled it)
    At the
    old
    ball
    game.

  28. (Moving debris out of the way)
    “OK, I’ve uncovered the drain. Bring the auger and the extension cord.”
    (Feeding cable into drain pipe)
    “WHY did he plant that tree where the roots would get into the basement drain?”
    .
    .
    .
    .
    Oh, wait – this was supposed to be fiction. That was paraphrased from recent memory.

  29. We believe the name “Tharishon” comes from a root form “thasha-,” which appears to have been imitative of the rush of steam from a geyser. In that case, it would be related to the names of several regions of hot springs on Terra Ixilonica, with the characteristic -on ending meaning “world.” However, Franzetti and Goldberg have suggested that it is in fact of arithrae origin, and this is obscured by the difficulties of interpreting words that require a syrinx to properly pronounce.