A Fundamental Lack of Trust

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I’ve come to the conclusion I’m a very suspicious person.  I don’t trust anyone absolutely, myself included. And that’s — mostly — a good thing.

The part where it’s not a good thing is the part where my back brain is convinced I’m a lazy shirker.  So I often miss the first few days (weeks, months, okay for the hypothyroidism years) of illness because I think I’m just malingering.  “Oh look, I just want to sleep and can’t think straight.  Must be because I don’t want to do work, lazy bitch that I am.”

Apparently this comes from a fundamental misunderstanding of my character.  Apparently it usually takes two or three illnesses on top of each other to stop me cold.  And even then, I’ll still be trying to crawl towards the goal.  Of course part of that is that I suspect I might just be lazy, so I push.

But anyway, you’re going to ask, how can suspicion be a good thing.  It’s like I think paranoia is a virtue.

Nah.  I don’t think most people are trying to fool me.  I just think most people are impaired by their perceptions and preconceptions (as I am) and therefore rarely can know the whole truth.  So I examine things.  And then examine them again.

Perhaps it’s a side effect of growing up in the village, again.  Most people there were likely to have explanations for things that went back to… oh, probably Greece.  Yes, yes, the pebble falls faster near the ground because it wants to be there like a horse in his stable, type of thing.

So I would hear that explanation and then my dad would blow it up when I asked, and tell me the real explanation.  And then at some point I started seeing (early 20th century) holes in his explanations.  Which led to… well, I guess “Trust but verify” as an attitude to go through life with.

It didn’t help/helped? that my schooling had books change every year in the mid to late seventies, depending on who was in power, to reflect a completely different picture of history and the world.

So, why is it a good thing that I can’t just lean back and trust and must forever be in an … informationally adversarial relationship with the world?

Human beings are meant to absorb a lot of stuff and just take it unexamined, I think.  Tribal lore type of stuff.  It’s best for both group cohesion and well, it allowed little ones to know not to pull the tail of the tiger, before they’d seen anyone eaten.

But a lot of what we take in in the modern era is fiction.  We’re surrounded with fiction more than at any type in history.  Even the Greeks who memorized Homer from the cradle weren’t so immersed in story.  Even the apprentices who hit the Theater every afternoon to watch Shakespeare or Marlowe or for that matter Green, weren’t that immersed in story.

We get story from songs and movies, from news articles (that narrative) and well… everywhere.

And since human beings are designed to accept lore, when the story was fairly unified (mid to late twentieth century) through the centralization of the means of communication, it meant most people were going around with a mind-picture of the world and history that had only a few contact points with reality.

It also means even now people are having trouble discarding that picture, because it’s tribal lore.

Hell, even I need to root through my thoughts now and then and go “How do I know that?  Have I ever examined it?”

All sorts of stupid, ridiculous stuff, including the romantic illusions came from writers and painters into the culture in the eighteenth and nineteenth century and has facilitated the rise of leftist mush-heads.  Stuff like “everyone can be rehabilitated” and “children grow best with no restrictions or rules” and “real learning should be fun” and “if you punish your child he’ll be violent” “The natural man is peaceful, communitarian and healthy.”

There was never any proof that any of this stuff worked.  EVER. It just sounded really good in books, and so people wanted it to be true and repeated it until it became an assumed and basic part of the culture, despite the fact that it’s completely and utterly wrong.  It’s wish-casting and what a lot of people over centuries wanted to be true.  It is also completely contrary to human nature and the world.

And of course, the whole noble savage and communitarian past and “the natural man” isn’t greedy and doesn’t want possessions bullsh*t plowed the field of the mind for Marx’s poisonous seed.

Which made Stalin think if he only killed enough people the “natural man” would emerge.  Or no, he just liked killing people, but it gave the left in the US a reason to not utterly repudiate him.

You still run across custard heads who think that if we dropped “capitalism” — aka the natural system of trade and value that humans always use, even when it’s forbidden (which is why not EVERYONE in communist countries starves.  There’s always the black market) — then humans would be like onto angels, with no greed, selfishness or hatred.

Of such illusions is hell on Earth made.

And these things tend to be particularly prevalent among Odds, (which is why they’re so prevalent in SF/f.  Oh, my people!) because we obviously don’t fit into the current world.  It obviously wasn’t made for us.  Or at least it’s what instincts and history tell us.  And they’d be right.  By definition, we’re Odd.  We stick out.  We’re not like those other people.  (Even if, like with penguins sometimes only we know the difference.)

So there’s a tendency to believe that if only we smash everything, what will emerge is a world we would fit in.

History is full of “radical losers”, of brilliant misfits who left a path of destruction in their path.  Yeah, probably the French Revolution was the work of our people, and we know at least the beginning of most communist revolutions was.

That bright vision of the perfect world, once all the people who don’t get us are gone is so alluring that school shooters are probably the least destructive action taken by Odds and misfits throughout history.

But it’s not true, you know? In fact, when all is smashed and enforced from the top, there is less room for us; less room for deviation.  Only prosperous and not-stressed societies tolerate misfits and suffer Odds to live.

And there will never be a world for us, unless we found a colony on another planet.  (And not I can’t tell what that would be like, though I suspect a tribe of our sort would make for a very strange civilization.)

It’s natural of humans to want to fit in.  And some of us will always be askew with the world.  It’s a bitter pill to swallow.

But you should swallow it.  You should not trust the beautiful bright visions of a world that belongs to us, and you shouldn’t trust yourself when you want to believe in it.

It is the prosperous world in which most people look at us like we wear our underwear on our heads (even when we don’t) that has the most room for us and the most possibility for us to find at least some of our tribe.  It is the world in which millions shun us that allows us to live.

It is what it is.

Ignore the lies your self tells you.  That critter is just not trustworthy.

 

313 responses to “A Fundamental Lack of Trust

  1. Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

    Ignore the lies your self tells you. That critter is just not trustworthy.

    I know he isn’t trustworthy, but the “world” seem determined to prove him correct. 😉

    Only partly kidding above. 😦

    • He isn’t trustworthy, but he’s not always wrong. A minor case of paranoia is useful in many professions (including law). That being said, is it really paranoia when they are actually out to get you?

  2. Heading off to start a colony somewhere else for Odds has the built in problem of the next generation coming along with their own ideas.

    • Not for the Shakers.

      Heh, actually they did have that problem, via adoptions and conversions.

      • Actually, that’s a pattern one sees repeated often in American history; Religious communal communities can work…for a generation.

        • William O. B'Livion

          When *everyone* is supposed to be celibate the second generation is a bit tougher to get together.

          • As long as you can be a functional part of a larger community, it can work. With periodic reform.

          • Actually, the commonest pattern is some degree of polygamy. Mormons, Onida, Branch Davidian…all polygamous, at least with the head priest. Not sure about the Amana.

            No, what stops it after one generation is that communes ONLY ever work with all volunteers. They don’t always work then, either, but the presence of e second generation that did NOT volunteer is usually a disaster.

    • Being Odd doesn’t seem to be a genetically dominant trait. Most of the kids in such a colony might be normals. Being grown in a system with weird rules might make some of them obey those rules as that’s all they know, but it would presumably not be a particularly stable system.

      • Terry Sanders

        THIS.

        Four generations of my family line, with 6-8 aunts and uncles on each side, 30-plus first cousins on each side. And *one* third or fourth cousin on my paternal grandmother’s side who was within a statistical deviation of my Oddness level.

        And you want the two of us to define the society for the other hundred-plus? I only met her once, but I am quite sure she would refuse the office as vehemently as I. In the name of self-preservation, if nothing else.

      • Eh, it might depend on family culture; “they’re just like cousin so and so” can give people a role and hide the Oddness.

        • Terry Sanders

          Or, like my extended family, they can just shake their heads and say “Well, that’s Terry for you.”

      • That’s actually the plot of The Scarlet Letter. Hester Prynne is clearly an odd, and she continues unrepentant in her resistance until she realizes that all her daughter wants is to belong, and then she makes her truce with the world as it is. It was a really sad ending, I thought.

    • Yup. Also, there’s all the baggage everyone brings in their heads that they think they’re leaving behind. Which is why so many tribal immigrant neighborhoods look far more like the place they came from than the place they’ve moved to.

  3. Glad you are feeling a bit better!

    Most of the French Revolution was the work of middle-class lawyers. But not as sensible as our American ones back in Revolution times. They had issues with being middle class, instead of being happy about it.

    • To be more specific, they had some issues with how the so-called “upper class” behaved, issues with how France’s various adventures abroad were going/had gone, issues with an ineffective ruler, food shortages/small famines, etc.

      I will actually disagree with Sarah here. I don’t think Odds were leading the French Revolution (or the Communist Revolution(s) after that). I think Odds may have established the theories that later organizers used, but one of the classic stories/narratives about the Odds is our inability to organize ourselves (or others for that matter). For better or ill, most of the time, Odds are not great politicians or party leaders. And when trying to lead or organize Odds, the term “herding cats” appears very much applicable.

      As to the school shooters, while many of them may be social rejects and/or majorly alienated, I don’t think I’m going to agree that they are definitely real Odds either. For example, the improvised explosives at Colombine HS (and several attacks after that) didn’t work, fizzled, and/or were under powered for the task. I’m sorry but I’m willing to bet 90% of the folks on this forum (which weighs heavily to Odds) could have managed to engineer (or otherwise acquire) explosives and/or other pyrotechnics which would not only work when desired but would result in the desired outcomes.

      We’ve had this discussion before where I outlined a more serious multi-pronged attack on a soft target like a school a while back (using nothing more than common/already used tactics). The reality is if a group of our folks (Odds) really decided to burn a school down/destroy XYZ, then I’d be really amazed if the school or XYZ would be still standing when they were done. Some of the stories that came back reinforced my belief that at least this group of Odds could be incredibly dangerous.

      From Gordon Dickson (and quoted in Lucifer’s Hammer in connection with Prof. Forrester):
      “Trouble rather the tiger in his lair than the sage among his books. For to you kingdoms and their armies are things mighty and enduring, but to him they are but toys of the moment, to be overturned with the flick of a finger.”
      For the record, yes, the sage referred to in the quote above is clearly an Odd…

      • Mark, trying to rename the names of the week and re-order the hours? DEFINITELY ODDS. Psycho, but odd.

        • But I got to cement my Awesome Random Knowledge creds because one of the dates I looked up I had no idea what it was– so I looked it up.

          Two days later, a D&D campaign manual mentioned it and the three guys making a character said roughly “a what?” and I was able to tell them. Then make Elf laugh by telling him I knew because the French are freaking STRANGE.

          For an example, the 4th of July is tobacco. (ctrl-f Rural Calendar)
          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/French_Republican_Calendar

  4. So when you were a kid and got sick, did anyone accuse you of malingering?

      • Well, that’s where that comes from, then.

      • I got the same thing. Malingering. Scottish, its a thing with us. My response was to malinger harder and faster. As a child my shoes had no heels, due to me digging them in all the time. ~:D

        To this day when I’m sick I retire to bed and refuse all contact with others, lest they suggest that I’m not as sick as I feel. For their safety, of course. 😀

        • I was always a born contrarian. Tell me to do something and I’d do my best to figure how to avoid doing it, those times I didn’t just outright refuse. Although I am also conflict avoidant, so most times I don’t go the latter route but instead act sneaky. It’s not even on purpose, a lot of the time, I just dislike obeying or doing what I am told, unless I first chose to get into that situation (like work – if I voluntarily sign up to do a job then I’ll do that job, damn it, but exactly _how_ to do it can sometimes be a bit different question…).

          • “born contrarian” Sounds familiar, somehow. But have to watch out for those that “know you”, manipulating B*sta*rds. Good thing I didn’t go into the Services.

            • These days they are diagnosing it as “Oppositional Defiant Disorder” and it is no accident that it acronyms as it does.

              • William O. B'Livion

                One of my Aunts is convinced that I have Oppositional Defiance Disorder.

                She had my mother convinced of it.

                I was (and am) pretty much the only person in the family that will tell her she’s wrong, or stand up for myself to her.

                So my mother tells me this.

                And I ask my mother how I could get through 4 years of the Marine Corps, 2 1/2 years National Guard, 4 years Air Force Reserves, one year in Iraq, and about a half dozen jobs over 15 years where I was never fired for my attitude or refusing to work on something, and no arrests that were my fault (long story) if I had ODD.

                Apparently making that kind of argument just proves I have it.

  5. Well, I’m pretty sure that I AM lazy or at least perpetually tired. OTOH, maybe conserving energy is a survival benefit for cavemen and it’s not my fault. 🙂

    But while I was being lazy this weekend and doing the ultra lazy social media thing, I was struck by “story”. I try to question just how prevalent certain attitudes are and consider if it’s just some random wack job but oh dear lordy. Story! The lies people tell themselves and apparently believe that their story is true.

    I saw a quote of someone who’s Story involves the “bad behavior” of an author and the inability of another author to “empathize” with the people who might be affected by that “bad behavior.” Except that in a truly objective sense the author in question does not have any history or evidence of “bad behavior” so what is one supposed to empathize with? People’s delusions?

    But their Story causes actual and real distress within them. It’s real. But shouldn’t the solution be to stop telling yourself lies if your lies distress you?

    • I think they LIKE being distressed, honestly.

      • The more you suffer, the more it shows you really care, right?

      • It gets rewarded. If it just caused discomfort it would be avoided. But because today it let’s you get payback its rewarded.

      • Probably for the same reason why so many people like horror stories.

      • Being distressed by the “pea” proves you’re a princess.

      • There’s a certain satisfaction, even pleasure, in being self-righteous.

        • On the plus side, it is far easier than being actually righteous.

          • I was thinking about all the classic church personalities and how people dump the church and keep all the church personalities.

            The Holier-than-Thou. The person who’s heart is always bleeding and lets everyone know it. The fellow who prays “Thank you Lord, that I’m not like those people over there!” The control mechanisms of public shaming and shunning.

            None of it goes away.

      • William O. B'Livion

        According to John Lydon anger is an energy.

      • Well, yes. Feeling good and happy, content and pleased – especially about accomplishments – is bad and wrong in their world, so all they have left is the pursuit of the negative, the seeking of pity, and the discreet emotional uplift that results in.

  6. A random note on “empathy”. A person who is empathetic is compulsively empathizing with everyone. All sides. Always. They can’t help it. Picking a side is not empathy. Caring about the distress of one person while refusing to see the point of view of the other is not empathy. If someone does not find themselves wondering what it’s like to be lied about, and how that feels – they aren’t an empathetic person, they’ve just chosen a side.

    This was another thing I noticed about Story this weekend. If your Story serves to explain why it’s necessary to hate someone or excuse extremely bad behavior (not just imaginary bad behavior) because somehow the person attacked deserved it… or if a TV show “empowering” women shows one sex being violent towards the other over and over and you cheer instead of shrink back in horror… your STORY is broken.

    • You have to be able to understand where people come from. Otherwise all you’re doing is making a ‘just so story’ that excuses your actions. See it with a lot of the gatekeeper actions. Toss around nazis and kkk as the opponent while crucifying people for supporting Brexit or trump. Meanwhile ignore the negative actions of your own side. Another example is how the “good people on both sides” quote is truncated. The line before it denounces the neonazis but gets ignored. Otherwise beating an octogenarian isnt aa photogenic.

    • Your point on empathy rings true. Consider the movie, Spiderman: Homecoming. I found myself strongly empathizing with Michael Keaton’s character, The Vulture.

      Hard working guy, who heavily invested in his company to get a lucrative government cleanup contract; only to have Stark yank it out of his hands and get the government to renege on the contract. Unable to get compensation from either Stark or the government, he has no choice but to turn to crime to make a living by stealing back from the government and Stark Enterprises. It’s not that we don’t empathize with Spiderman, we do. But we also understand and can feel the things that motivate the Vulture too.

      So we empathize with both the hero and the villain. But when the villain steps over the line, killing and attempting to kill even more, both deliberately and in ignorance, we choose (hopefully) to side with the hero.

      • I agree with you about being sympathetic toward Vulture. I will quibble with you about him having no choice but to do what he did; I think you used that phrase as an commonly used expression, but it’s an important distinction to make that he *was* free to choose another course of action.

        However, I think that’s what makes his character so sympathetic. At first, he played by all the rules, but they were arbitrarily changed by the people who made them, and who refused to compensate him at all, even though they were morally obligated to do so and had the wherewithal to do it. So Vulture’s thinking is, “Why should I follow the rules when the rulemakers don’t?” So a good teachable moment from the Marvel Universe that can apply to the Actual Universe.

        SPOILER ALERT

        And to prove Vulture does have (1) the capacity to choose his course of action and (2) some honor and morality, after he’s caught, he protects Spider-Man’s identity.

        • I particularly liked the government agent’s call-back to Hillary with that line about not being responsible for every under-capitalized business out there.

  7. All sorts of stupid, ridiculous stuff, including the romantic illusions came from writers and painters into the culture in the eighteenth and nineteenth century and has facilitated the rise of leftist mush-heads. Stuff like “everyone can be rehabilitated” and “children grow best with no restrictions or rules” and “real learning should be fun” and “if you punish your child he’ll be violent” “The natural man is peaceful, communitarian and healthy.”

    Since they first emerged people have embraced the social sciences. It gives them the feeling that they can understand and can manage their world for the better. It also provides excuses for exercising control over others.

    The social scientists need to be justify their continued existence, therefore they formulate explanations of behavior, and based on this prescribe solutions. Much of it would be recognized as the nonsense it is if anyone thought about it for more than a moment.

    The leftists and the social scientists between them have caused an awful lot trouble.

    • I was an Odd, and since we moved often, I was mostly the new kid in a school. “Not fitting in” was my default.

      I read every sociology and psychology book I could find, tried fitting all the pieces together, and finally came to the conclusion that the authors of those books had no clue either. And eventually I learned that most people have *no idea* where they got some concept from, or why they did certain things, even when those concepts or things were active liabilities. In fact, they were usually rabidly defensive about them.

      As far as I could tell most of them were even more clueless about how social interaction worked than I was, but they’d found some slot where they weren’t actively unpersoned, and they were going to defend that no matter what.

  8. John Prigent

    I remember back in the days when HIV was known as the ‘Gay Plague’ before idiots let it spread into the general population by not quarantining it, being regarded with horror when I said that it had been contracted by people who knew the risk they took by sleeping around so I had no sympathy for them. ‘Oh no, we have to to accept their different lifestyles and be sorry for them’. Sorry, but the only ones I felt sorry for were those whose partners played fast and loose and then came back to infect tthem. I maintained that only THOSE betrayed people should get treatment or sympathy, and I still think that. And in case anyone wonders, I was spending a lot of time in HIV infection hotspots in those days and, being strictly monogamous, rejected every approach I received.

    • I will somewhat disagree here as I knew Dr. Paul E. Gray, who died of AIDS related illness/complications. His physician(s) gave it to him. He had hemophilia and was prescribed medications (blood-derived) to deal with it. Thus what helped keep him alive was also the thing that wound up killing him. If his wife (or children) was (were) affected, that wasn’t him being faithless, but his medication not being truly/sufficiently disease-free.

      And I recall GRID… and when it was just a peculiar uptick in Kaposi’s Sarcoma in a population that should not, as it was understood then, have been afflicted with such.

      • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

        Nod.

        It’s one thing when the person gets AIDS via blood transfusions.

        It’s another thing when the person gets AIDS via shared needles or anal sex.

        The problem was that the Narrative was “Anybody can get AIDS” but nobody said “how you get AIDS”. 😦

        Oh, it is my understanding that the US blood supply is currently safe.

        • It was all a bit bipolar. “Anyone can get AIDS! Be afraid!” was an attempt for funding and of course trying to get people not to just ignore the problem. But then when people completely freaked out about getting AIDS and were in hysterics about that poor kid who got it from a transfusion attending school then it was, “You’re a bigoted hater. It’s next to impossible to catch AIDS from someone who has it.”

          I think that at first a lot of people didn’t know and a lot of people were reacting to those conflicting messages.

          Oh, and another good one… “A condom makes you safe from AIDS.” Contrasted to the lecture a women got if she mentioned using condoms for birth control. Which is more of a disaster? A pregnancy or AIDS? Which ought to get the biggest lecture if you’re using a method that sometimes fails?

        • We had whip-lash lessons in school– on one hand you weren’t supposed to worry about being around people who had it because you couldn’t catch it by normal exposure, but on the flip side any body fluid or the faintest prick of anything could infect you, and all the examples were of the “stepped on a needle that was infected by someone who had no idea” type.

          • I find it far more interesting to identify such “lessons” as “That’s what [X] wants me to believe” and then considering the motivations for that desire.

            • Don’t see much use in figuring out internal motive, at least at any level I can manage; mostly focused on tripping away the flowery elaboration and drilling down to what objective claims of fact they offered, and what the evidence was, and if they conflicted.

              • When somebody is trying to stampede me it is amusing to note which buttons they’re pushing (it reveals much about them) and in what direction they’re attempting to head me. I’ve no doubt your entertainment values differ from mine.

                • It can be entertaining to see obvious manipulation attempts– especially when they respond to having it pointed out by screeching that no, you’re a booger head.

              • The smartest thing to do. Back when AIDS was just becoming a “thing,” I worked for a very small software development company. Right across the hall from us was the Tucson AIDS Project. So, for both myself and my young family (only one daughter at the time), I researched it for the truth about communicability.

                So I never had a problem with using the common restroom (very cheap offices, obviously). But I wouldn’t drink from the same cup as a volunteer over there. Well, AIDS or not, I don’t do that except with family.

        • FeatherBlade

          Oh, it is my understanding that the US blood supply is currently safe.

          For the moment.

          Until the activists convince the lawmakers that active gays should be allowed to donate blood.

          It’s totally safe, they say.

          All the blood is tested, they say.

          Because they’re too stupid to understand the concept of “multiple layers of containment.”

      • Asimov apparently died of AIDS-related complications. His wife only talked about it more than a decade later, as it was still a political firestorm when he died. (He’d had open-heart surgery and got infected then.)

        • A friend’s brother got AIDS the same way, through a transfusion at the hospital, before they started screening the blood supply.

          I have a feeling there were a *lot* of cases of that, that were written off as “well, they couldn’t prove they got it from us, so we’re okay.”

      • Mike Houst

        John does have a point. The political campaign by the gays to hide the HIV plague is mostly responsible for our inability to stop it from becoming endemic in the community. The secrecy, the non-reporting, the glossing over of usual transmission modes, the deliberate prevention of quarantine procedures were all in my opinion, criminal. The other, perhaps lesser half of the problem was our own sexual revolution, our own promiscuity. They made a deadly combination. Had the AIDS epidemic been treated like contagious deadly disease was supposed to be treated, the death toll would have been far, far lower. And children, family members, and Prof Asimov would have had the chance to live out their full lives.

        Doesn’t mean that the money that’s been poured into HIV/AIDS research hasn’t yielded benefits. There were probably some benefits to the medical research done by the Nazi’s. Doesn’t make what they did to get it ethical or right though. The price was too high.

        Reminds me of one of the ST:TNG stories where a medical researcher discovers some miraculous cure, but does so via some genocidal practice. In the end, Captain Picard erases all the research results saying the cost was too great for us to benefit from it. Me? I’d say he was an idiot who rendered worthless the deaths of all those innocent people, and condemned to death all those future victims who won’t be cured.

        • Sanctimoniously self-righteous idiocy was a hallmark of TNG.

          • Yeah, I had to stop watching TNG or I was going to hurl something hard enough to break the tv screen.

          • This is merely accepting that Picard erased all of the data rather than transferring it t a different storage device which allows him to sell it through back channels.

            Just because they claim they don’t use money does not make that true, any more than Iran’s claim of having no homosexuals and the USSR’s claims of having eliminated inequality can be taken at face value. After all, as we know the simplest way of reducing infant mortality rates is to define infancy as starting at twelve months after exiting the womb.

            • 😀 That is a great idea for Picard. I, well, hated is probably too strong a word but I definitely disliked that pious prick. Thinking that maybe he actually was a total fraud, with plenty of black market and such dealings going on behind the facade makes him way more tolerable.

              • WARNING: That which is about to be read cannot be unread!!!

                It does make him more interesting to think of Picard as the Bill Clinton of Star Fleet.

                The brain bleach is in the cupboard over there.

                • Mike Houst

                  RES, you need to order another pallet of brain bleach. I used every container trying to remove that William Jefferson Picard image from by brain and it’s still not working. Clinton in a Star Fleet Captain’s uniform! Argh!

                  • Why is that a problem? That was Kirk in a nutshell.

                    • Naw, unlike Bill, while Kirk wasn’t against breaking the rules when necessary, he was competent, and he wasn’t corrupt. And he never needed to have women provided to him by his staff. (And I can’t imagine him ever saying “I did not have sexual relations with that woman.”)

                    • Yep – I see Trump as more nearly Kirk. Both seem willing to sleep with anything, both are crude and disdainful of any limits on their legitimate authority, and both appreciate the usefulness of breaking rules/norms to achieve necessary ends. Just think back over all those TOS episodes* with Trump playing Kirk …

                      I’m thinking George W Bush as Sisko. Obama? Not one of the series-leading captains. Perhaps he would be Federation cultural observer, Professor John Gill in Patterns of Force**, TOS?

                      *e.g., from TOS Season 3:
                      The Enterprise Incident
                      An apparently insane Capt. Kirk has the Enterprise deliberately enter the Romulan Neutral Zone where the ship is immediately captured by the enemy.

                      **Season 2:
                      Looking for a missing Federation cultural observer, Kirk and Spock find themselves on a planet whose culture has been completely patterned after Nazi Germany.

                    • Kirk was enthusiastically in favor of consensual sex with women, and chivalrously in favor of making sure that women were able to have consensual sex, and that nobody forced anybody into having sex.

                      So yeah, pretty much the opposite of Bill Clinton. I think Kirk would have a fistfight, armed phaser combat, and an impassioned speech about that.

                    • Dude, no. Kirk loved women, seduced them and broke their hearts, but he did not ever rape them, was quite chivalrous and protective of women – very much unlike Bill Clinton.

                      Faced with Rapey Billy, there would’ve been combat, and the Kirk Summation of Reasons Why Clinton Is Scum.

                    • Again, Trump resembles Kirk. Trump said that when you’re rich and a star you could grab women by their [redacted]s — not that you should. And that they would let you — not that they should. He was merely recognizing the fact of female hypergamy. Feminists denounce such expressions not because they are false but because they are true.

                    • Skipping merrily off on a tangent:

                      I noticed that Kirk chased the girls; and the girls chased Spock. I had a crush on Scotty.

                      And the Professor from Gilligan’s Island. I think it was the same crush.

                    • snelson134

                      “Kirk loved women, seduced them and broke their hearts”

                      Well, that’s one way to look at it…..

                    • Sounds like the male Firefly viewers who preferred Kaylee over Inara. Yeah, being an exotic courtesan was interesting, but a girl that can rebuild a warp engine stands out…

                    • Robin Munn

                      Wasn’t just the viewers; in-universe, Kaylee attracted a lot of male attention too. This scene comes immediately to mind, for example:

                    • “Perhaps he would be Federation cultural observer, Professor John Gill in Patterns of Force**, TOS?”

                      Ouch, but yeah, this fits.

                    • Not to mention Illya over Napoleon — which I think would also be the same crush.

                  • The aardvark warns everyone NOT to use the industrial-strength stuff in the north wing. That’s for Fluffy’s laundry.

                    There’s more, however, of the regular grade in the east-south-east corridor.

                    • Why does Fluffy’s laundry need brain bleach? Has Xhe been out playing with the zombies again?

                    • Mike Houst

                      /sigh

                      Let the dog out last night to do his business. Must have been out for 10, 15 minutes. Barked a couple of times, so I figured there was a raccoon or something. But nooo. When he finally decided to come back in, what’s he got in his mouth? Some damn zombie’s twitching forearm. Drops it at my feet and sits there wagging his tail like he brought me the damn Medal of Honor. Dogs! What would we do without them?

                      Had to use the fireplace tongs and dump the arm in the compost bucket so I could take it out in the morning. Let a note on the fridge door to remind me to call pest control to come spray the yard with anti-zombie virus solution again. Well, it had been 3 months since the last spraying, and it doesn’t last forever.

                    • Why does Fluffy’s laundry need brain bleach?

                      For the same reason that the enormous fire-breathing and scaly dragon is called Fluffy. No one wants to argue with him.

                      (I can, however, assure you that he uses it on his linens. Go figure.)

                    • How to get a thinking cap really clean?

              • That actually would make an interesting plot element…the Captain is making a few credits on the side. Even more interesting (if not quite ST)…the Captain is doing it legally – the British East India Company ship’s officers frequently would do some trading on the side.

                • snelson134

                  Prize money too — and how tempting it was for a captain to neglect his duty rather than give it up.

                  Which is one aspect Weber has never explored — despite at least a couple of scenes in the Hornblower novels he modeled for his books where that temptation was definitely there.

            • That is precisely why the US has “atrocious” neonatal mortality rates (not counting the abortion issue, not touching that). Because if they take a breath, the baby is counted as living, be it 17 weeks gestation or 42. Some countries don’t count babies under a certain weight. Some don’t count until a certain number of weeks gestation. Some don’t count until twenty four hours after birth. Any baby born alive but under the cutoff and dies is not counted as a live birth.

        • Agreed on the logic being bad. I think that was one of the cases where I was eventually shocked to realize that such a “tough moral question” had been worked out…hundreds of years earlier, with very easy to follow logic about balancing the harm which cannot be undone with the benefits that can come and not encouraging further harm.

          And with less stupid emotional stuff.

        • There were probably some benefits to the medical research done by the Nazi’s. Doesn’t make what they did to get it ethical or right though. The price was too high.

          Reminds me of one of the ST:TNG stories where a medical researcher discovers some miraculous cure, but does so via some genocidal practice. In the end, Captain Picard erases all the research results saying the cost was too great for us to benefit from it.

          We don’t know if there were any significant benefits, because any use of the Nazi research is verboten. The Nazis did a tremendous amount of research on the effects of starvation on the human body. Not opportunistic observational “oh, look, there’s somebody starving, let’s study them” but the deliberate “let’s starve these people and see how it affects them” research. The problem we have is it is illegal and unethical to really research all of the various forms of food and nutritional deprivations and their impacts on the human body. Part of the result of this is our vastly overblown concerns about “the dangers of overeating” versus the dangers of malnutrition and starvation.

        • Had the AIDS epidemic been treated like contagious deadly disease was supposed to be treated, the death toll would have been far, far lower.
          Exactly.

          And that ST thing was repeated in a Voyager episode. A Cardasian, I think, who operated in the camps, and they could actually program him back into existence as a hologram. The Emergency Medical Hologram then went through a lot of pain and suffering dealing with using that knowledge.
          Difference between Picard and Janeway is that Janeway’s response was basically “welcome to reality.”

    • “I was spending a lot of time in HIV infection hotspots in those days and, being strictly monogamous, rejected every approach I received.”

      That’s the thing about monogamy, isn’t it? Less exciting than picking up a new prospect every night (for a while, anyway) but a far superior survival strategy for yourself, partner and prospective progeny. (Alliteration ftw!)

      The world is a harsh and dangerous place. We need all the backup we can get. Lefties like to pretend conservatives frown on promiscuity because we’re a bunch of killjoys, but really its more that we’ve seen the TRAIN WRECKS that result from it.

      • This! I had an AIDS scare back in the 90’s. I was working ‘disadvantaged youth’ and got cut on a kid’s razor (kid had a history of IV drug use). The test results were delayed a week for reasons never disclosed. That weekend spent wondering if I had AIDS from getting distracted ended any desire I had to sleep around.

        Add that in with a college research project dealing with STD’s in the state I was living in. . .Nope. Last thing I want to do is tell someone I love ‘Well, I screwed up and in the process I screwed you in the not enjoyable way’.

        • There’s nothing like that coppery fear taste in your mouth and that stomach-drop so bad it makes you nauseous to keep the fantasies in the fantasy realm. Look, enjoy, fantasize… then go home. Best idea ever.

          Don’t ask how I know. I’m not telling.

          • Pretty much! Besides, as was once pointed out, if someone you just met is willing to go home with you right away, that’s saying far more about them than it is about you.

            • It’s saying you’re both idiots. Because holy crap, can that go bad quickly. Comment above should read “go home -alone-.”

              Again, not telling. ~:D Exercise for the reader.

              • Getting talked into something, not quite understanding the direction of conversation, but once realized the direction, willing to ultimately say, no, no way, & continue to say so, no matter their ‘argument’.

                Also, not telling.

          • Frankly, I think my fascination with disease and its vectors (I liked reading about this stuff, as a preteen, dunno why) was enough to keep me from sleeping around ‘for fun’ when there were folks around me giving in to their peer pressure crap. (That, and knowing that sex can lead to babies.) (Hurray, biology lessons)

      • I entered the sexually active age long before HIV came on the scene. My “tribal wisdom” said monogamy was the best option, but my education added to that bias quite heavily.

        Syphilis? Curable, but who wants a bout with it? Genital herpes? Not curable – and, at the time, not remotely “manageable.” Hepatitis is also a sexually communicable disease, and back then just as fatal as AIDS, if just slower.

        Note that all of these “old” diseases were far more prevalent in the homosexual community then, and are now. But that is an artifact of the ability to easily distinguish homosexuals from all of the other promiscuous groups – Hollywood, hippies, etc.

    • With the essential caveats for infection by medical accident… I tend to sympathize with people who express bafflement or annoyance at both real-life or fictional people whose problems are all basically driven by recurrent unwillingness to keep their private parts private, but the number of people who tag or comment or just open by stating that this attitude is associated with asexuality make me facepalm. I mean, sure, it makes sense for people who aren’t interested in sex to find this behavior alien, but surely it isn’t really THAT rare an insight for people who are.

      Except that in some circles it really seems to be, and while I can understand distinguishing between “doesn’t find it prudent to engage in physical intimacy with a stranger” and “really doesn’t feel it until after getting to know the person,” I still cannot help but think identifying as demisexual often says things about one’s social circle.

      • “doesn’t find it prudent to engage in physical intimacy with a stranger”

        That’s an orientation now? I thought that was called common sense.

        Damn kids. Get off my lawn.

        • No, no, I want to be scrupulously accurate here — the… identity is supposed to be “isn’t even tempted,” and some of them are very emphatically against being credited with prudence or chastity. Although I certainly wouldn’t rule out people in circles where any kind of alternate sexuality is a positional good claiming it to avoid the fallout of claiming to be prudent and thus implying that their companions are imprudent.

          • Just because I don’t engage causally, doesn’t mean I think you are a (pick correct word). My choice. Any value you think I subscribe to is you putting it on yourself, because I sure haven’t even thought it, spoken of it to you, or in gossip.

            Again, don’t ask.

          • Right. That’s what I was going to say. It’s not acceptable to feel one way but choose to act another because nothing is more important than feelings. And any implication that other people’s choices are unwise is double plus ungood. (No doubt someone is going REEEEEE right now.) But orientations are always acceptable.

            For example, I’m not even slightly attracted to man-sluts. Is this an orientation? I very much doubt it. Is the fact that my gut has made evaluations of biological value in a man-slut as a mate an orientation? Is it an orientation to want someone to love you before trusting them with intimacy? Is valuing intimacy above rutting an orientation?

            No.

            But “OMG, I’m not a complete idiot!” is not acceptable, and “sorry, this is my orientation, I can’t help it” is acceptable.

            • The whole premise of identity/orientation politics is to fit people into templates for convenient handling. Bollocks! I am a u-effing-nique individual, there are no others like me and I will NOT conform to your presumptions of how I ought behave.

              Your imperialistic efforts to exercise hegemony over my personal references is an expression of your character flaws and my “failing” to conform to your categories is an expression of individual autonomy. I disdain your efforts to do my thinking for me as I see no, zero, nada, zilch evidence your thinking would prove beneficial to my happiness as it clearly has not in yours.

            • (No doubt someone is going REEEEEE right now.)

              I sincerely hope so. Waste of a perfectly good provocation otherwise. ~:D

              Bwaha, that made me laugh. REEEEE!!!

            • “sorry, this is my orientation, I can’t help it” is acceptable.

              Apparently, it isn’t if it results in feminazis NOT getting what they want; ergo, sex from a man they desire. That’s ‘rape’ now (a man refusing to have sex =’denies the woman their sexual agency and choices’.) Claiming asexuality is seen as ‘you’re lying’ and taken personally.

              • “Punch a TERF” is getting to be quite a thing in teh gays circles apparently. Women who don’t like men are NOT ALLOWED to say no to guys cosplaying as girls. Its misgendering, or so I’m told. Boils down to men punching out women though, no matter how hard you squint.

                Kinda makes you wonder what happened to the “all PIV is rape!” people. Not care, really, but wonder.

          • Heh. That’s the big benefit of the idea of having all these different whatever-sexualities today. I am not always totally uninterested even if I do seem to have a pretty low sex drive for real (which, who knows, might actually be one symptom pointing towards a thyroid problem 😦 ). But I am prudent (admittedly a low sex drive does make that a lot easier). And definitely not going to have sex with strangers any more. Claiming to be an asexual is a usually a good enough excuse nowadays.

            • I’m just old. Best chaperone ever, that is. 😡

              • Yep, works, I haven’t gotten pestered by men in years. But well meaning female acquaintances still have occasionally tried to get me to go out more so that I could “find a man”. Most times they have meant for sex, as in my generation at least it is still is thought that nobody normal can live without sex… however as most also seem to have kept abreast of the fashions they usually accept the idea of different sexuality types, and “asexual” works as a way to get them off my back. 😀

                • And I’d guess for those who might get pestered by men/women it could be a way to reject somebody without insulting their self-esteem too badly (as long as you are not known as somebody who definitely is not asexual). Sorry, not interested, you are a stud/very sexy but I am asexual so unless you are into spending evenings discussing Jane Austen/horse breeding/muscle cars/growing tomatoes… 😀

              • Old, mostly bald, cranky… Works better than the wedding ring.

                Way back when, I had to dig out the pictures of the wife and children to get a few to back off; the ring meant nothing to them. Not sure if even that works at all anymore (and in no position to test).

          • Can stop being pestered about it.

            • Or to stop somebody or your friends trying to “help” you by “freeing” yourself and your sexuality…

              Yep, it’s kind of stupid, and should be nobody’s business but you can’t change the world all that easily and it’s easier to use what there is (especially you can’t change the world in one night when you just want to have some FUN).

          • If anybody thinks this is an exaggeration– it really isn’t.

            There are seriously folks who will screech that not wanting to have sex with a stranger means you’re a sexual deviant. They’re not the generally accepted psychos, either.

            • Does anyone do that besides would-be seducers/seductresses?

              • Pretty sure most of the folks who did accusations against me had no interest in my body….. might have been “defending” them hyper-sexuality as “normal,” though.

                The old “I’m not a freak, I’m just honest. Anybody who doesn’t agree with me is either lying or a freak” type defense.

                • Oh. That nonsense. I’ve never run into anyone willing to claim that to my face.

                  • *wry smile* It’s just vaguely possible I am slightly less formidable in most situations than….oh…. 90% of the people here.

                    Generally, folks act shocked when I do not instantly bow to them. Even when I have NEVER bowed to their whims.

                    • Formidable? Well, it has been said I kill scorpions by glaring at them.

                      Utter nonsense, of course. I’ve never killed anything larger than a fly that way. Scorpions usually scuttle away before I’ve even destroyed three of their legs.

          • I live with someone who is openly … and medically… asexual. The Housemate has an odd condition where his nerves have a delay in transmitting signals to his brain. This means that some days, he doesn’t taste any food flavors. He’ll also not notice that he’s been cut and bleeding. The number of times he’ll come out of his room to fetch a drink while he’s working on some repair, and I’ll say “You’re bleeding” “Where?” *look* “Huh. When did that happen??!” is something I’ve lost count of. He has a story of how, when he was walking home with some friends, a crazy man with a machete came running towards them, swinging. Housemate did the two-handed katana catch out of pure reflex, and didn’t realize he had been cut until after the crazy man fled – without the machete, as it was 1) embedded in Housemate’s palm and 2) Housemate wouldn’t let go. The pain for the deep slice in his hand hit him a good half hour after the fact.

            That might sound cool and all, but apparently, this also has the effect of, and I quote “I feel nothing down there.” Yes, if he gets kicked in the balls, it has no effect. it also means that because nothing is felt there is no pleasure, no sexual desire, no sexual attraction, nothing. He’s had a poster lose a thumbtack from a wall, rolled onto it in his sleep, and wake up with the thing embedded through what should have been very sensitive skin. He’ll just frown and pull it out, and stanch the bleeding, and ask me for antiseptic when he comes out of his room, dressed and annoyed.

            That’s apparently something most people cannot imagine. Oh, he appreciates beauty and has a certain standard for feminine beauty, but that’s pretty much it. “She looks hot,” and … that’s that.

            (My reaction was apparently a fairly uncommon one. “Oh? Huh. That must suck.” Him: “I don’t feel that either.” Me: LOL I walked into that one, didn’t I?” Him: Yep. Wanna go XP at Giant’s Cave?)

          • thus implying that their companions are imprudent.

            Especially when it’s true, no doubt.

        • So if I don’t drop my pants to the first person who wants to have sex with me, I’m sexist, racist, trans-phobic, homophobic, or some other progo-phobic. But if I even so much as smile at a woman, I’m a sexist, racist, rape-cultured, white-male privileged creep that needs to be locked up and re-indoctrinated.

          Can I see what’s behind door number 3, please?

          • But if you act in fear of being labeled “trans-phobic, homophobic, or some other progo-phobic.” you are clearly phobic-phobic.

            Door #3 reveals the only other option: stand up to the Kafka-trapsters and declare them nutters.

      • …the number of people who tag or comment or just open by stating that this attitude is associated with asexuality make me facepalm. I mean, sure, it makes sense for people who aren’t interested in sex to find this behavior alien, but surely it isn’t really THAT rare an insight for people who are.

        QFT.

      • Demisexual aka having standards.

    • The problem is of course you could not know how somebody got it. I guess that was one reason for the drive towards “anybody could get it” as an effort to remove the stigma – if somebody got it through lots of sex most times they would probably not be talking much of that, and if the idea would have been that sleeping around was the most likely reason then those who hadn’t were more in danger of becoming a Judas because a lot of people would have assumed that was the reason even if they said it was something like a blood transfusion – especially if they could not themselves say for sure it was a certain blood transfusion or other hospital procedure or whatever and due to that could not prove that they had, for example, sued said hospital.

      And then you’d have lots of guilty but also some innocent given hell.

      • Life demands that we act on imperfect information. Even in the ’80s 95%+ of AIDS infections were due to “imprudent behavior” on the part of the individual being infected. Sorry, but giving a free pass to the 19 idiots because of the 1 tragedy is a recipe for disaster. Nowadays, at least in the First World, it’s 99 idiots and 1 tragedy, and that’s being charitable.

        And the effort to destigmatize it was NOT really driven by any sense of compassion for the tragic victim, it was in order to protect the Judases from both the consequence of their folly (the public resources directed towards this disease are vastly out of proportion to the actual public threat once the transmission methods were understood) and the rational public reaction.

        The Left/Libertines have successfully weaponized compassion, leveraging it to make the exception the rule. Whether it be the “rape and incest” exception for abortion, or the SCARE QUOTE – “medical marijuana” / SCARE QUOTE exception, or the accidental non-stupid-behavior AIDS infection exception, compassion for the victims of tragedies has been used to obliterate both social and legal norms the rein in heinous stupidity that makes up the vast majority of abortions, toking, and AIDS infections.

        Not only have the restrictive norms been obliterated, but the script has been flipped so that the rest of us are expected, demanded even, to rescue the fools from their folly, else we be the mean bad-thinkers. And to celebrate them for “bravely enduring” the consequences of their foolishness.

        The bulk of these “progressive” notions are idiocy that only the wealthy can indulge. Until they’re no longer wealthy, a change in state of affairs that is often directly attributable to the notional indulgence. We are in the midst of a grand experiment of whether or not decadent dissipation scales from the individual to the national level.

        • True, but it probably worked/works as a reason for a lot of those people who do not want to protect the guilty. They will do it anyway because they think they are protecting the innocents from being thrown into the trash with the guilty. We have been indoctrinated with the stories of that, such as the raped girl being treated as a slut and thrown outside of society with the child she conceived as a result. So maybe those stories get told as a propaganda, but it is because they work so well. Most people will feel sympathy, and a lot will avoid accusing just for that reason. They don’t want to make the mistake of piling on a genuine victim.

          • They don’t want to make the mistake of piling on a genuine victim.

            Problem being that, now, we’re at the point where they WILL pile on a genuine victim– the person who told the truth, when someone is falsely claiming to be a victim.

            *********

            It took me a depressingly long time to start questioning how every single danged time folks were the “innocent victims.”

            I mean, it’s possible for folks who are known to indulge, openly, in risky behavior would be a victim at some point…but every damned time?

            • Yep. But as said, as propaganda it works. Quite well. We’d need more stories of the guilty using that idea, and of those victims who, as you said, told the truth. What we still get is vastly more stories of the innocent who gets falsely accused.

              • And I think part of that is the fact that it can be a bit hard to comprehend the idea of a scoundrel who cries and whines of being a victim. When most of us think of somebody evil we think of a bully, or of somebody like, well, Darth Vader, a menacing figure or a thug. In almost all stories characters who play the victim are usually written as unreliable cowards who may betray the hero but rarely act as the main antagonist in stories, and are usually often also depicted as at least somewhat sympathetically. Oh he is weak, he can’t help it. In real life they often enough could very well help it, and taking on the role of victim is quite deliberate.

                • Need to start making that guy a villain– oooh, would be a great way to have a charismatic villain that you can redeem by showing them how they’ve been lied to.

                  • Terry Sanders

                    Agatha Christie’s last Hercule Poirot novel featured a variation on that villain. He told Hastings he was on the trail of someone who’d developed a foolproof method of murder and was going around England thrill-killing.

                    –SPOILER–

                    The serial killer turned out to be a quiet nebbish who’d learned to do Iago without the handkerchief. He’d find a domestic situation with a certain tension amd ratchet it up with little side remarks and expressions of concern and…

                    After he almost got Hastings to poison his daughter’s fiance (for her own good, of course. Poirot stepped in. He couldn’t prove a thing, so he poisoned the b******, and then stopped taking his heart medicine. After all, he still didn’t approve of murder.

                • This has just given me a brilliant idea for a character in my next book – the one set in the American Revolution! Thanks!

                • There’s also showing the villain in his self-pitying moments. I’ve got a work in progress where the fairy-tale villians are full of self-pity at how those nasty heroes and heroines are so hard to keep from their happy endings.

                  or the villain in A Diabolic Bargain

          • snelson134

            “They don’t want to make the mistake of piling on a genuine victim. ”

            Which is why “feminist” heads explode if anyone suggests that going out to a party and getting blitzed may not have been the optimal course of action.

            For the sane, it tends to put those nasty quote marks around “victim”.

      • This was one of the problems Levay pointed out with his research into the “gay brain”. They had all died of AIDS – and therefore there was some reportage on whether they were homosexual. But, even then, he couldn’t really know if the ones who identified the source of their AIDS as something else were also homosexual. Some admitted so, some might not have. There was still some to and fro over acceptability.

        So, all his statistics about the third interstitial nucleus of the anterior hypothalamus might not have any relevance at all to the sexuality of the former owners of said brains. But, it was the only thing he had to go on.

  9. Many people have what worked through the years, both in hunter-gatherers and historical agriculture, the burst labor idea of work. Do small amounts of work most of the time, then burst labor for harvest, the salmon run, reindeer migration, etc.

    I noticed this is the way my life has went, doing little, then in emergencies working some 30+ hour days. Of course, I also was the one they tended to call at 2 a.m. for strange things.

    • So many times I recall the first episode of Night Court where the way Harry got the judge job was revealed – he was the one who answered the phone. There’s a fair amount of that, even when the phone is no longer tied to a house or such.

      • There’s a fair amount of that “luck” all over the place.

        How’d you end up here?

        -I was in the lobby when they came out and said “I need someone for X today”

        • Thet waren’t luck, thet war Fate!

          (Fate vicious hag and any what denies it don’t know @#!$ about crones.)

          • William O. B'Livion

            Isn’t cronies where your lower intestine gradually falls apart and you wind up with a colostomy bag?

        • Sometimes it seems that at least half of all the celebrity performers – singers, actors, supermodels, what have you – have something like that story. Some influential agent just happened to notice somebody in a restaurant or dance competition or on the beach or in a karaoke bar or whatever, approached and persuaded her to do a test screening or singing or portfolio or whatever, and voila!

      • Mike Houst

        The old, “80% of the job is just showing up.” Wish I had a nickel for every time I’ve heard someone complain about a millennial not showing up for work because they didn’t feel like working today.

        • And you can even TELL them that “secret” and so many won’t comprehend.

        • *Snickers*

          Oh, I wish you could’ve been there when my sister figured out that the “kids” who were not showing up at work…were in their 30s. Solidly generation X. Five to ten years older than herself.

          But they ACTED like kids, so everyone assumed they were feckless 20-somethings.

          My folks have gone through a lot of ranch hands who are Boomers and have this same issue.

          Less amusingly, it’s a common dodge for casing the joint. Get hired, show up enough to know the security information, and then get fired for not showing up.

        • And finishing the job… a few weeks ago I was persuaded by my cleaning foreman to do my weekend cleanings with somebody she’d find to help me when I was having a cold and intended to get the paper for a sick leave, as I was for real feeling way to weak to do them, but boss could not find anybody who would have been familiar with the places I do. The idea was that I would mostly just supervise and do the lighter parts.

          The cleaner she found was a young student who does occasional gigs to supplement her student loan or something. The day was Sunday. After a couple of hours she asked me if we were going to get doubled salary, as it was Sunday, I said no, the salary is doubled only when the job has to be done on Sunday because that is the only day when you can do it, the places I do are officially Friday or Saturday jobs (that time left for Sunday because there was nobody free to help on Friday or Saturday). After hearing that it took about an hour and then she suddenly started to complain that she is feeling sick and seems to be developing a fewer. Left for home after the second place was done, I had to do the third by myself because boss could not find anybody else to help and I didn’t want to quit in the middle as I had gone to work.

          Maybe the girl really did get sick, but the impression pretty much was that she just wanted to quit after she heard the pay wasn’t going to be as good as she had assumed it would be.

      • I got my job as a Plant Utilities Engineer for the state because I showed up in the boiler plant where PUE2 was told- you have to hire someone today! He was an old Navy Boiler Technician . He had a stack of resumes about 3″ thick (with some written in PENCIL!) and this guy who just retired from the Navy walk into his office looking for a job. Read all those resumes- or hire the guy who showed up in person. I didn’t even know there was a vacancy. I had already visited a dozen boiler houses. Timing is everything.

        This was just a few years before all job postings were put online…

        • First job I got after I retired from the military was when I went by a place and personally dropped off a resume’. Mail, e-mail, web site, you never know if someone actually reads the damn thing unless you get one of the rare responses.

  10. Years ago I had a friend who worked in the state prison system as a counselor. One day we got to talking about the whole “self-esteem” movement, that claimed that prisoners needed to have their self-esteem raised to rehabilitate them. She got pretty vocal, saying, “They’ve already got loads of self-esteem! They think they’re always right, that anything they do or did that rebounded badly was someone else’s fault, and that they shouldn’t be punished for anything! What they really need is less self-esteem!”

    • I think we all know a few folks with self-esteem in excess. Some are genuine criminals, some are those, not (quite?) criminals, but best described as.. uh… well… mineshafts owned by donkeys, once might say.

    • That’s what I have heard as well!

    • Some of the best work I’ve seen on Criminal Psychology was from Stanton Samenow. His book ‘Inside the Criminal Mind’ is fantastic. (Sorry if I’ve posted this before). Details the thinking errors that pretty much all of us have to a degree. It’s just people that are criminals have them to a much greater extreme.

      Fairly short book and an interesting read if this is an area you have any interest in. If you want the more in-depth treaty he’s got a massive 3 or 4 volume set that goes into great detail.

    • Sounds like a corroboration of the kid I know who told his dad “I’m the only guilty person in here”. He’s in the Fed Pen in Lower Michigan.

      • Heh. At least once somebody gets convicted in criminal court most people will assume they are guilty. Which of course then can make it a bit harder for the genuinely wrongly convicted to get help.

        Especially since even with the true ones it’s often enough that their case of “wrongly convicted” is true only for that particular case for which they ended in jail _this_ time. There probably aren’t that many totally completely for true innocents in jails.

        • Not here, sadly.

          They usually assume that anybody they’ve gotten sympathetic towards is Really A Victim, and ignore/find a way to deny the relevance of any other evidence.

          Look at the “Innocence Project,” the stuff that isn’t openly corrupt, for examples; I can remember reading the brag sheets in high school and going “Wait, they didn’t prove that guy was innocent, they got one piece of evidence thrown out.”

          • I have always assumed things like that project are run by the exceptions. Generally at least most people I know go by the idea that if somebody is found guilty it’s pretty likely they are, at least of something.

            • But then, yep, the story of wrongfully convicted innocent fighting to get justice is a good story. So easy to fall for.

              • And again, those are the ones which get written down, and made into movies. Perhaps we could use more stories where the guilty manage to fool people to fight for them. In a movie type story you’d presumably need to end it when somebody figures this out and manages to find the proof that keeps him in jail after all, but that would be a pretty good story too and seeing more of those might not hurt.

                Nevertheless, innocents do for real sometimes get wrongfully convicted so I don’t think it’s too bad if there are “projects” looking into potential cases. They should just be pretty thorough, and aim to find the actual truth, not just something that like maybe went technically wrong in the process of convincing the person. So something like, well, still kept DNA evidence from some older cases which at the time could not be studied, but now, with improved techniques, can, or similar.

                • I want a movie about environmental activists spiking trees to make chain saws explode and cripple loggers, destroying filters on plant waste systems in order to “prove” how dangers corporations are, and setting fires in warehouses to “expose” corporate polluters.

                  Then we make a movie showing animal rights activists killing kittens and puppies.

                  • Sounds like the woefully underreported stories of the PETA-run animal “shelters” that tend to kill off the animals under their care. (I guess they just can’t bear to have a puppy or a kitten under the care of an ordinary person.–was going to write “control” instead of “care”, but “cats under control” is nonsensical.)

                  • Off topic, but history bit from where I spend my childhood: there was one small stand of old pines which could not be logged, according to the father of a friend who lived there, because during the 1918 Finnish civil war there had been some intensive fighting there and the trunks were said to be full of lead, enough to be a potential hazard for the use of chainsaws.

                    Another neighbor had an old grave on their yard, of a German soldier who had died during that fight. The war was between the Reds who wanted to turn Finland into a fully socialist state, and the conservative Whites, who got some help from Germany which send a few troops here. The area had been occupied by the Reds for several months, but was taken by the Whites in that fight.

                    • Many wood species are harder than lead, and the copper (or sometimes steel) jackets are too small and thin to be of consequence. You probably wouldn’t notice a bullet using a hand saw, much less a chain saw.

                    • Steel, yeah, lead, not really. OTOH, if there was a lot of shrapnel from grenades or artillary, it would be rough on saw blades. I have to deal with ancient nails (old mill/company town, with some interesting things fastened to trees. It’s rough on (destroys, actually) chainsaw teeth. (IIRC, the real danger from spiked trees is if the mill is using a large circular saw. Hitting a spike could cause the blade to shatter.)

                    • Hm. That hill is pretty close to the railroad, which was there back then too, and the German troops involved had at least one armored train. No idea if there were any guns mounted on that train, but at least something sounds likely.

                • Regular NCIS had an episode the latest season, where convict was able to convince a lawyer he was innocent of the charges, which was “proven”, but the proof was false & incomplete. FBI agent looses job, then “good guys” learn they were played & work together to prove bad guy’s proof was bogus. Don’t remember if ended with convict back in prison or dead, after they had their proof.

                  • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                    Years ago, there was a TV series about a Law Firm and after the trial the crook remarks that he was guilty as sin and THEY GOT HIM OFF.

                    As he’s getting into a helicopter to fly away, the lawyers are talking about how they can (legally) give him what he deserves.

                    But then the helicopter blows up in mid-air.

                    Apparently the crook had annoyed the mob so the mob decided to “take care of him”. 😈

                    • I don’t want to be giving any plot spoilers, but if you’ve never seen Witness For The Prosecution you really ought address that lack.


                      Billy Wilder directing Charles Laughton and Marlene Dietrich, based on an Agatha Christie work – is any further persuasion required?

                    • Or read Agatha Christie.

            • Maybe a generational thing? I know folks my mom’s age tend to be that way– though it might just be the gadfly effect?

        • He hasn’t met anyone he thinks was probably wrongly convicted. A few that were guilty and over punished, yes, he does what he can for those, to ease their time, but pretty much everyone he deals with are definitely in need of being there or many he thinks should be put out of everyone’s misery. He has a twisted sense of humor and has sent xmas or birthday cards to his mother and got everyone in his area to sign it. Some rather notorious names have showed up on her cards.

        • Exonerated people, it turns out, serve longer terms than guilty. They refuse to tell the parole board they did it and are sorry.

    • I worked in a minimum security prison and was required to have an inmate assistant. One such assistant was my age, mid 50s at the time. Had been in prisons half his adult life, a year or two at time. Told me what a great father he was. All the time. He had 10 children from 10 different women. All his male children were on the incarceration merry-go-round, and all his female children single mothers on welfare. But he knew he was a great father. I had 5 (and have) 5 children. None of whom have spent a day in jail. 4 are now successfully employed and one in college. And I’m still certain I could have done a better job….

      • The thing that scares me is that he probably got a lot of support– while there’s a good chance you at least got glared at for having “so many” kids.

        Kind of like that football player, Rivers for San Diego, who was asked what it was like having “so many” kids… he’s not even in the top ten for number of kids, he’s just had them all with the same woman, and they’re married, and were before they started……

        • All the kids were from the same woman, and they were married?

          By modern standards, that’s downright creepy…

          If they all have the same last name too, it might even be eeewww enough to get Child Services involved.

  11. Social scientists were inspired by success in the natural sciences, who achieved great success by carefully observing, recording inanimate matter, regardless of what the ancients had said. However…1) people are immensely more complicated. 2) The study of people by people is far more susceptible to interactive effects between the observed and the observer, 3) Social science like any other is subject to fads, fashions, and fetishes. Those are relatively harmless when applied to chemicals, crystals, or caftish, because the next generation of scientists can re-observe, point, and laugh, but ridiculous errors can produce deadly effects and reactions when applied to or forced upon living societies.

    • “The act of observing disturbs the observed.”
      … and many are disturbed enough already! ♉

    • Mike Houst

      “caftish”?

      I assume you meant ‘catfish’, but I couldn’t rule out your using an obscure or foreign language term for which I can’t find the definition.

      • Catfish was intended, but I claim dyslexia of the fingers.

        • Would that be dysflexia?

          I spell immaculately but type execrably.

          • That is weird. Typing, that is. I seem to be quite capable of typing a completely different word even when I “see” the word I mean and can spell it right.

            • And yes, sometimes I do that even when I am typing from a written text, like when I occasionally try to improve my typing speed by using those tests you can find online.

              • Mike Houst

                Doggone brain sees enough of the pattern and fills in the rest to match what it expects to see; even if the interpolation is wrong. Seems like I’m reminded almost daily that what we see isn’t what necessarily is; but what we think it is.

    • Most natural phenomenon don’t actively try to mislead researchers to make themselves look better either.

      • Bosons, borosilicates, and bacteria tend not do much “hold my beer and watch this” when you try to predict what they will do next time in similar circumstances.
        One problem with trying to manipulate crowds with social science is to keep them ignorant they are being manipulated, otherwise the attempt generates resistance.

      • They also don’t self-interpret.

        Adjusting for your own bias is one thing; adjusting for the bias of someone else– who may be adjusting for YOUR bias, and there’s likely misunderstanding on both sides– is a sizable problem.

        • I believe it was Twain who was credited with this example of declension of an adjective: I’m firm, you’re stubborn, he’s a pig-headed fool.

          • I had a book in High School that called it “Conjugation of an irregular verb”. Some newspaperman had submitted one very like this one as a a sample and had readers submit their own creations.

            My favorite of those was:
            I have about me something of the haunting, subtle, mysterious fragrance of the Orient.
            You rather overdo it, dear.
            She stinks.

            • Sidney J. Harris (columnist for the Chicago Daily News, and later the Sun-Times) did a lot of these I,You,He bits. Wiki says he did several books; I don’t know if these were in the books.

  12. “Nah. I don’t think most people are trying to fool me. I just think most people are impaired by their perceptions and preconceptions (as I am) and therefore rarely can know the whole truth. So I examine things. And then examine them again.”

    I like to see how things work for myself. I’ve also noted a serious tendency for what “everybody knows” to be extremely convenient for some people, usually not for me.

    When I was a kid I was taught that the government was there to help you, that government people never cheated, and the police always did what was right. It was the 1960s, and that’s what they told us. 1967 was a hell of a year in Canada, 100 years old. I remember all kinds of special signs, people participating in official celebrations, etc. It was a big deal.

    2017, Canada was 150 years old. That was -not- a big deal except if you were hooked up tight with the Liberal Party of Canada, and had a piece of advertising contracts.

    What have I discovered since 1967? The government exists to help the government. Police always do what is convenient for the police. Any good that comes out of the apparatus is incidental to its function.

    What changed? Well I did, of course, its been a long time. But also Canada changed a great deal. The country of my youth is gone. So I examine things, to see if what people are saying matches reality. Mostly to see where the fix is in, so I don’t end up on the wrong side of a moving Liberal steamroller.

    • I suspect that despite the different countries, we both want the same thing in a way: The country we were told about when oh-so-much younger.

      • I’d settle for the one I had, where it was safe for a ten year old to get the bus to Hamilton by himself and go to the YMCA for swimming lessons on Saturday. That’s the one where in the summer kids showed up for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and Mom didn’t know or care where we were or what we were doing the rest of the day.

        It ain’t like that no more. Not even here in Nowhereville Ontario.

    • Mike Houst

      Unfortunately, today I have discovered that it is quite possible President Lyndon B. Johnson conspired to murder the crew of the U.S.S Liberty.

      One more coffin nail in my old ideal of the government being here to help you, that government people are all honest, and the government never doing anything wrong. And who put that idea of such a government in my head? Mostly the public school systems.

      • Just read up on that, it sounded a lot like Hillary’s response to Benghazi. Also sounds exactly what a DemocRat would do. Politics first, last and always.

        • Politicians, particularly those of the Democrat persuasion, are usually highly principled — that principle having been memorably enunciated by Governor Lepetomane: “We’ve gotta protect our phoney baloney jobs, gentlemen!”

        • William O. B'Livion

          I think that’s a little unfair.

          There’s a lot of Republicans who are “politics first and last and always”.

          • That’s true, but during my lifetime the Republicans seem to find a way to make the citizens of -other- countries die for their politics.

          • The main difference is that Republicans are embarrassed when caught out and the Democrats are proud of it.

            Look at Schmuck Chumer’s recent attacks on Trump for causing higher gas prices by abrogating the Iran deal — a deal Schumer voted against and gas prices he said needed raising to prevent the ice caps melting.

            • It’s showing they have the power to avoid the normal consequences for their actions.

            • Uhhhh. Last time I checked in our area: OR & CA, gas prices are up because gas TAXES are WAY up. Stupid state. Might be a penny or two due to Iran, but that is hidden in the rest.

              • And gas prices were going up before that because one of the few refineries we’ve got was damaged, and because Russia joined in with OPEC’s attempted market manipulation.

                • I was also going to add “were we actually getting oil from Iran?”, but darn/s**t if I know … I thought we were getting close to oil independence, due to abundance of continental oil resources (even tho some of that is in oceans). Which has to tweak off the Arab countries, one & all.

                  • IIRC, we’re netting less than we produce– just that the market is rising, so people aren’t going to choose to sell gas for $2/gallon here when they can ship it out and get $3/gallon, or whatever.

      • Okay, that was a radical enough claim that I felt compelled to seek more information.
        Yes, there’s a book that makes that claim. It is mendacious conspiracy-mongering, based on wild speculation and zero actual evidence. Roughly in the same category as books which claim that the CIA invented AIDS or that Nixon assassinated JFK.

      • Eeehhh . . . ‘Conspired to murder’ may be going a bit too far for my tastes. Conspired to cover up the act of our ‘friend’ in the ME is IMHO right on the money. Accessory after the fact, if you will.

  13. BobtheRegisterredFool

    Being a stubborn opinionated ass, I realize that I can be crushed should I cross the path of the wrong crowd.

    This world has no place for me? There’s no law of physics that says there has to be one, or that such a place is even possible.

    Never give in to any thing but reason and good sense, and make the choice one can live with.

    We are not made solely for this world.

    • Mike Houst

      Remember physics.

      A crowd of 200 going at a velocity of one has only half the momentum of a single individual going at the velocity of 400.

      If the world has no place for us in it; then we have two choices. Leave, or by God, make a place for ourselves!

      We have a republic, such as it is. It’s up to us to rejuvenate and restore it, if we can. There certainly isn’t anywhere else we can go on this planet.

      Plenty of places were those who like socialism can go though. Which is why they should be encouraged to leave the country, instead of us.

      Stubborn people of the world unite!

  14. > History is full of “radical losers”, of brilliant misfits
    > who left a path of destruction in their path.

    It wasn’t enough for the headmaster to tell the teenager he wasn’t good enough for art school. He had to ridicule the kid in public, too.

    The kid, who really wasn’t that bad of an artist – I’ve seen some of his work – wound up doing stoop labor, hauling bricks and cement. And then enlisted in the military and became a bona fide war hero. And then went into radical politics.

    And shortly after dismissing the elected legislature, he sent his minions after all the people who had wronged him.

    Maybe the kid really didn’t meet the school’s standards, whatever they were. It didn’t mean the headmaster had to be a dick about it.

    Because sometimes, that sort of thing can come back and bite you.

    • Rejected the fellow, twice, didn’t he?

      See… there’s a less murderous (we hope) use for a time machine… a quiet little bribe to get the fellow into art school… maybe he might have gotten somewhere. Or maybe not, but at least have had the safety valve blow instead of the boiler explode, as it were.

      The scary idea? This *IS* ‘Engineered History’ and this *IS* the least murderous/callous timeline. Which might confirm the idea that this is indeed Hell, but people are cursed with an ability to imagine even worse so fail to realize the horror of the situation. Not a cheery theory, admittedly.

      • That’s evil. You should write that story. >:D

      • Mike Houst

        Probably not. You see, if he’d gone to art school, he’d probably have run into some socialist elitist spouting Marxism and got roped into it. And then all those bad things that come from it would have happened all over again.

        • That is why he should have been sent to art school in the states, where he could have gotten training as an illustrator. From what I’ve seen of his stuff he likely could have become a very successful illustrator in SF, maybe even writing a novel or two. I gather his technique would have worked very well for post-apocalyptic dystopias — maybe he could have sld a few stories to Judge Dredd.

      • Not art. Architechture. Neo-classical (if grandiose) versus Bauhaus.

      • Of course, there’s also the short story “Wikihistory.”

    • With a vengeance.

    • There was a man who immigrated from a tropical island to New Jersey (talk about drive and motivation) to make a better life for himself. He applied to a college, but was rejected. Just a few years later he was ordering artillery fired at the front door of the college.

      • Mike Houst

        Good Lord in Heaven! If moving from a tropical island to New Jersey was making a better life, I’d hate to see what that tropical island was like!

      • Okay, who is this guy and how have I never heard of this incident before?

        • I left out a few details. The young man went to Boston first, then New York, and finally to New Jersey. Just before the Revolution he applied to Princeton* and was rejected. Several years later, during the Battle of Princeton, a number of British soldiers fled into Princeton University’s Nassau Hall and barricaded themselves inside. And so it was that a young artillery officer named Alexander Hamilton was sent to “persuade” the British to speedily exit the building. A cannon ball into the front door was indeed quite persuasive.

          * Princeton University was then known as the College of New Jersey, which should not be confused with the former Trenton State College that renamed itself to the College of New Jersey in the 1990’s.

  15. informationally adversarial relationship with the world

    To do otherwise is to emulate a wild animal – that Leopard may want to either chase down and eat or run away from much of what it sees, but it accepts everything it sees at face value.

    The questioning thing is pretty much the definition of sentience.

  16. I’m just a cold heartless bastard, at least according to my most recent performance review. It’s not that I can’t empathize with people. It’s that most of the people calling in with problems are dumb-asses that need someone to put a boot up there posterior to knock their brains loose. Your lack of planning on your end doesn’t make for an emergency on my end!

    I browbeat myself all the time over being lazy. Like yesterday I didn’t get the lawn mowed and the landscaping around the tree finished like I should have. So, lazy me. Never mind I spent four hours trying to get my new phone set up.

    I don’t know that I would want to live in a society run or dominated by Odds. We need people who can look at something and say “That’s a dumb-ass BS idea. We’re not trying that because it obviously won’t work like you think it will.” That actually might be the issue with a lot of our current problems. Too many times we’ve relied on “The Smartest People In The Room” and didn’t listen to the people who understand how the day to day stuff works.

    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

      Then there’s the times that we are the “Smartest People In The Room” and that’s scary. 😈

    • “I don’t know that I would want to live in a society run or dominated by Odds.”

      Oh God no, you really wouldn’t. It would be SO screwed up. A society run by people who have ten Exciting New Ideas! every minute, with the power to actually -do- them? Close approximation to The Inferno.

      • As a so-called smart person (or so my scores say), I speak from experience when I say that smart people can be really, really stupid. Stupid in a way that even a dumb person would say, That’s stupid.

        Interesting observation from Moira Greyland’s The Last Closet – her father was brilliant, and lived the hell of being a brilliant kid in rural Texas, which, among other things, gave him the idea that any idea that popped into his head was always going to be correct. This might have worked for him in school, but it was a disaster in the real world.

        • “How can a kid that’s so smart be so stupid?”
          Reportedly said by a close relative about my younger self.
          I once decided that If I went in for a life of crime, I would most likely show up on “America’s Dumbest Criminals” because I overlooked something really, really, obvious.
          Of course I’m right. Most of the time. But I’ve found some real “gotcha’s” when I’ve been wrong.

    • Mike Houst

      Yesterday: Mowed the lawn. Trimmed the walkways and stone wall line. Moved the lawn furniture. Ran the barbeque for 3 hours to feed the church crowd. Helped clean up from the party. Rototilled half the garden. Read about half of Call to Vengeance. Snuck in a 50 word vignette. 24,387 steps on the Fitbit.

      Sometimes the smartest people in the room are those who don’t listen to the people who understand how the day to day stuff works. Just because “Everyone knows” doesn’t necessarily make it true. Which is a good reason for you to not trust yourself all the time. BE that pink monkey and ask, “How do I know?” and “Why do I think this?”

  17. Only thing my two grandmother’s agreed about was that children were savages, nothing noble about them, who needed to be heavily socialized to become decent adult. My two nan’s thought children, especially males, were barbarians or neds and that they need strong guidance from older family members to become adequate adult, I am glad they made effort with me and my sister.

  18. This world is not my home,
    I’m just a’passing through.

    (Or, from the cartoon version of the Tick, “You can’t destroy Earth! That’s where I keep my stuff!”)

    • That reminds me of the old George Carlin sketch.

      • Mike Houst

        Destroy the Earth? That would be a disaster of unparalleled proportions! All the women would immediately have to go shopping to replace their wardrobes and redecorate their new homes; and all us guys would have to go shopping to replace our toys, err, tools, yeah, tools.

  19. The natural isolates. Those who, in prior times, would have stayed in the hills, poor but self-sufficient, and taught their own children their family skills and lore.
    Could have been good enough people, although with no talent or inclination for socialization.
    Could have been semi-feral, still-tending, clannish people.
    Or, something in-between.

  20. We get story from songs and movies, from news articles (that narrative) and well… everywhere.

    We daily have unprotected intellectual congress with hundreds, thousands of people. Good hygiene demands we maintain a good regimen of healthy thought, frequent washing with strong disinfectant beliefs and consume a balanced diet with lots of high-fibre concepts.

  21. But anyway, you’re going to ask, how can suspicion be a good thing. It’s like I think paranoia is a virtue.

    Test everything; retain what is good.

  22. Had an interesting conversation with my friends Saturday night. We were at a bar, people watching (as we do), and there was a young could-have-been-pretty woman (guessing ~25) who was wearing (very) light pink lipstick. Not really a big deal, wear what you want and all. No business of mine. Except it was AWFUL. The lipstick was just a nick lighter in shade than her face, and totally washed out the whole bottom half of her face. It was just enough of a difference that it drew the eye so the ONLY thing you notice is the weird washed out clown face.

    It all reminded me that people don’t actually see what they see. They see what their BRAIN TELLS THEM they see because light hits the eye, is turned into signals that hit the brain, and the brain runs those signals through a bunch of squishy wetware in an attempt to interpret what it all means, and that’s what your consciousness gets. That’s how those brain teaser visual trick work, and how a perfectly nice (guessing, since… lipstick shutter) looking young woman walks out of the house looking like a grotesque weirdo fashion victim. She probably had a “look” pictured in her head, so that’s what her brain told her she was seeing in the mirror.

    The real sad part was how her friend just let her do it without staging an intervention.

    • Men don’t go in for makeup much, so it’s hard to tell if it’s a sex-linked thing, but what a lot of women see in the mirror *can’t* have any relation to what they see in their minds.

      “But it they said it looked good on the model, so it must look even better on me, even though I look completely different!”

      • Then there is the probability that women don make-up for the benefit of other women, who can respect their competence, stylishness, and inventiveness.

      • Mike Houst

        What was the level of men’s makeup use during the Renaissance?

      • A phrase I find myself mumbling quite constantly nowadays is:
        Whoever told you that looked good on you is NOT your friend!

    • It is amazing how gawd-awful prior era fashion ca look, a fact which ought make us leery of contemporary fashion trends. Mullets and shoulderpads? Really?

      • FeatherBlade

        How else are the blondes supposed to protect their heads from high-speed impacts with their shoulders, when someone asks them a question?

      • I’ve always thought that the timeless conservative preppy look is the safest bet; no, never quite in fashion, but never risibly out of it, and fodder for one’s children to giggle uncontrollably when they look at your wedding pictures. My brother was in a lot of weddings as best man and groomsman in the 1970s, and holy hell … were there some ridiculous outfits on display. Pastel tuxedos with excessively-ruffled shirt-fronts … and don’t even get started on ghastly bridal and bridesmaid dresses.
        Play it safe – go classic preppy, and at least your children and grandchildren won’t be laughing themselves into fits.

  23. If you’re an Odd, you won’t fit in. Anywhere, anytime. Accept it. Then excel. May as well not fit in for a reason…and the pursuit of true excellence is as good a reason as any.

  24. My grandmother was raised with the notion that a rebellious child was full of the devil and that it could and should be beaten out of her. That doesn’t seem markedly better than the modern “Children should have no restraints at all”…which is a lie, because society will restrain them, one way or another, and often brutally, But now we seem to be expecting children to independently and successfully re-invent the whole moral code of ten thousand years of civilization in the half-dozen or so years they are learning fastest, which is pure idiocy.

  25. My grandmother was raised with the notion that a rebellious child was full of the devil and that it could and should be beaten out of her. That doesn’t seem markedly better than the modern “Children should have no restraints at all”…which is a lie, because society will restrain them, one way or another, and often brutally,

    It is markedly better, because the difference between the parental/grand-parental beating and the societal check is the parental correction is directed at improving the child. The societal check is often directed simply at eliminating a problem… Don’t be surprised if in the next couple decades, non-governmental resolutions to severe and extreme anti-social behavior by adults become more common.

    • Bit of a miracle such resolutions aren’t more common yet. Especially in places like Europe where in most countries the punishments are pretty light. 😡

    • I’ve seen the “beat the devil” out approach give shocking abuse of children for innocent, even healthy behavior when applied by thoughtless adults, when little bit of kindness and understanding could have been much more effective. It’s evil. On the other hand, the permissive parenting approach popularized by Dr. Benjamin Spock has been taken much too far and resulted in practically wholesale abandonment of parental responsibility for teaching their children. A couple of generations of that, and now we have a crop of ignorant young neo-barbarbians utterly convinced of their own virtue and ripe for recruitment to twitter mobs and the like. I’m don’t believe this is The End. There are still a lot of good, responsible parents, but they are mostly invisible on social media. The fools who get on social media and prate about how tradmoms are Nazis…I feel a desire for something heftier than withering scorn to throw back at them.

      • One wonders who they expect to pay for their retirement.

      • My dear mother – for which I give all thanks, even though she didn’t have much in the way of maternal instincts (and her slender supply of them gave out at some point between my younger sister and youngest brother) never bought in to the mania that was Dr. Spock, when he was all the rage. Mom and Dad were refreshingly retro when it came to raising and disciplining the four of us. She thought Dr. Spock was full of … stuff. She was blunt to the point of cruelty on the topic of so-called child-raising experts who based their theories on a lab based on a selective university day-care creche full of the spawn of professional academics. Or theorists who came up with their golden thesis and rejiggered their findings to fit the thesis … rather than looking at actual children…

      • I’ve seen the “beat the devil” out approach give shocking abuse of children for innocent, even healthy behavior when applied by thoughtless adults, when little bit of kindness and understanding could have been much more effective. It’s evil.

        Wrong. As a categorical, absolute indictment of corporal punishment, this is pure, flat out wrong. It CAN be evil. Just like “some folks need a’killin'” so to do some kids sometimes “need a beatin’.” The reflexive “it’s evil” is just as absurd and counterproductive as the idiot parent whose FIRST response is to beat the tarnation out of the kid. The abused, innocent kid is another one of those “exceptions” that’s been used to tear down the very social structures, norms and practices that built our world. The social structures are, by virtue of being created and implemented by fallen Man, not perfect, but they have gotten us this far. This hoisting high the flag of exception goes far beyond “permissive parenting.” It has brought forth a regime where children are virtually undisciplined, where they have the ability to destroy their family through state intervention.

        I want to be crystal clear here, I’m not defending abuse. I’m simply saying that not all that is called abuse IS abuse We would be far better off as a society if we spent more time and effort teaching discernment on what is abuse, on what deserves a “stern talking to” and what deserves a wallopin, with it clearly and unequivocally communicated that THERE ARE things that will get the hell beat out of the little snot. Unilateral disarmament in the Parenting Battle is as insane, if not more so, as it is in any other realm.

        Sometimes, Violence IS The Answer.

        Respectfully submitted.

        • And agreed. There are some kids who, seriously, do not respond to scolding or non-corporeal punishment, and are far more behaved and respectful of adults they are very sure they could not terrorize into giving in. I’ve seen some, and holy crap the damage they do doesn’t just go to their parents, it’s everyone around them.

          Some kids really need a belt or a switching.

        • I suspect that when Confutus is talking about “beat the Devil out,” he’s referring to the kind of approach that leaves bruises, scars, and results in kids going to the hospital.
          Not the occasional application of the hand of learning to the seat of knowledge.

          • There are various styles of household governance. Among them are the totalitarian style in which a junior Lenin, Stalin, or Hitler rules by means of force, fear, and terror. It’s easier to do with children on a small scale than with adults on a big one. Back in a more religious age, they tended to come with more of a religious flavor. Nowadays, these do tend to run afoul of CPS agencies.

        • SheSellsSeashells

          As a preschooler, Kid would sometimes wake up with a look I titled “child in search of a boundary”, and I knew there was going to be no peace until a spanking had been delivered. It made for hair-raising days, because 1) she was going to throw out provocations until she got her butt swatted and 2) she’s a *smart* Kid, so all the provocations would be subtle.

    • As parents, we do the best we can with the tools we have. Kids don’t come with a manual, so the choices are “do what your parents did”, or “making it up as you go along”.

      Doing what your parents did might or might not work out. Ask yourself, did it work for you? Is your kid exactly like you? Maybe, your kids have (usually) half your DNA after all. The problem with those Dr. Spock et al books is they seem to ignore is that kids are individuals, and they certainly didn’t know YOUR kid when they wrote them. Something that works well for one kid and produces a happy, healthy, well-adjusted results can practically be all but torture to another kid. This is something that I’m currently very aware of because I have two girls of “being parented” age, and they are different as night and day. For one of them, I think my parenting style is working incredibly well. For the other, I usually feel like I’m flailing about in the dark. Still working on it. I continually have to remind myself that patience and listening is the key to understanding (especially when she’s trying my patience to the last thread), and there is always a solution to every problem (I hope).

      • Robin Munn

        I expect my son to turn out sort of like me: my wife and I are both highly intelligent, so unless he suffers some kind of damage to the brain from an accident or illness, I expect him to turn out to be a geek as well. But whether he’ll go into programming like I did, or get into engineering or biology or particle physics or rocket science or something else… I’ll have no clue until later. The idea that your kid will turn out to be just like you because he/she has half your DNA is easily disproven by looking at any large family you know. For example, my wife and I often babysit for some friends of ours who have four children and a fifth on the way. Their four are all very different from each other, despite each one having 50% of their dad’s DNA and 50% of their mom’s DNA. (Same mom & dad for all of the kids, of course, otherwise this wouldn’t be a good example to illustrate the point).

        • The fun thing– a sibling may have nothing but mitochondrial DNA in common with you. 😀

          It’s not incredibly likely, but it IS possible–isn’t that cool!?

      • There certainly is a solution to every problem.
        The issue is that some of them involve jury trials and rope.

        (And, yes, there’s about 4 ways to take that statement. And I think I mean all of them. 😉 )

  26. By eliminating any middle ground between worshiping their idols and being Nazis they will force people to become Nazis.

    The Left Needs Nazis
    By Sarah Hoyt
    Today a friend shared this photo, which had been shared by a no-longer-as-of-today friend of hers on Facebook. Not to endorse it, but to show how crazy people have gotten. You see, my friend, thinking that her friend was misinformed, or perhaps too technologically incompetent to use TinEye, used TinEye and shared with the poster the information that this picture is from the Obama era and is simply Border Patrol processing central American immigrants at the border. …

  27. To get down to examples; I was told of a child whipped for *obedience* to a parent’s instructions…when the finished job wasn’t quite what the parent wanted. I know of another who was frequently whipped for incontinence attributed to “laziness.” I have seen more than I care to of punishment based on serious overestimation of a child’s ability to function on an adult level.

    In contrast, I once saw a 3-year old girl walk up and hit her infant sister, for no obvious reason. Should the 3-year have been promptly spanked? I thought so then and still do. “As you do to your defenseless baby sister, so shall it be done to you” is justice, not abuse, and the principle taught far more effectively and efficiently corporally than verbally.

  28. Related to the core concepts of the post, this thread is worth reading.
    https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/1003233125751840769.html

    Some of the stuff screencapped and illustrated is actually rather stomach-churning. it’s the Left eating their own, yes; a lot of it unsurprising, but… wow. The entitlement people have – especially to other people’s bodies and choices – is frighteningly common over there. And the thing is, reading a lot of that, all that seemed to come to mind are the Woodstock rapes, where ‘free love’ was often used as ‘you don’t have the right to say no.’

      • Gotta have some name for the undesirable. And the increasingly violent rhetoric is not gonna end well.

    • First lists of “potential rapists”, now lists of “known terfs”? Unsurprising.
      What goes around spins up to working speed before it’s meatgrinder nature is obvious to everyone rather than just us evil paranoid punks.
      Without external interruption there are only two outcomes – Stalin clogs it or Pol Pot spins it up so fast it runs out of meat.
      The only difference is that this crowd made their meatgrinder with dildoes instead of hard metal parts, and thus incited more of hysterical laughter than usual.

    • For a while people were going on about bonobos and how wonderful they were and non-jealous and never violent and just had sex all the time and why couldn’t humans be like bonobos.

      But really, bonobos don’t say “no”.

      • Yeah, and for all the supposed boinking, they’re an endangered species.

        The surviving branches of the larger primates live in just a few equatorial habitats, other than Sapiens, which ranges from Arctic to antArctic to near-Earth-orbit…

        People make a big deal out of Sapens’ brains, but the rest of the great apes have brains too. What they *don’t* have, and what Sapiens alone has, are… feet. Four hands are great for brachiating, but not so hot for getting about on the ground. Maybe “Homo Sapiens” should have been “Homo Podiatrus” or something…

        “These feet are made for walkin’…”

    • Feather Blade

      “From each according to her abilities, to each according to his needs.”
      Or vice-versa, as the case may be. /sarcnotsarc

      Logic is a bitch, no?

  29. I love your style of writing, and on the subject of trust; it is quite fascinating to learn how many lies we tend to believe, I have found that being a bit skeptical about almost everything pays in the end

  30. >I’ve come to the conclusion I’m a very suspicious person. I don’t trust anyone absolutely, myself included. And that’s — mostly — a good thing.
    There’s no point in trusting anyone more than you think they should trust themselves, is there?
    And since the more observant you are, the lower is your opinion on how much people fool themselves…

    • We’re all experts at fooling ourselves.

      I have some theories that this is related to sapience which probably requires an ability to conceive patterns in abstract concepts, as opposed to merely recognizing them in concrete reality. So we’re all liars, lie to ourselves most of all, can create stories and fictions and use them to order the world. And most likely any sapient alien species we ever find will have the same issues.

  31. Three current examples of why we lack trust, both based on the loud protestations of those who have betrayed trusts:

    1. James Comey, John Brennan, James Clapper, Andrew McCabe, et al proclaiming any challenge to their besmirching of the FBI’s reputation as an attack on that reputation.

    2. Bill “The Meaning Of Is” Clinton becrying his leaving the White House $16 million dollars in debt without acknowledging the causes of that debt in his own behaviour.

    3. This speaks for itself:
    SOURCES: WASSERMAN SCHULTZ SCREAMED AT HOUSE OFFICIALS TO KILL HACKING PROBE, INTERVENED IN PAKISTANI CRIMINAL MATTER
    Luke Rosiak | Investigative Reporter
    Ex-Democratic National Committee head Debbie Wasserman Schultz said she intervened in a Pakistani land deal involving her then–IT aide Imran Awan, according to two House employees. The dispute came after Awan’s father was charged with fraud in relation to the deal, and the mysterious exertion of political influence resulted in Pakistani authorities instead targeting the elderly alleged victims, according to a local report.

    And when a House Office of Inspector General cybersecurity investigation found that Awan made “unauthorized access” to House servers, including the House Democratic Caucus’ shortly before the election, Wasserman Schultz became “frantic, not normal,” “making the rounds” to House officials in an attempt to kill the investigation, one House employee told The Daily Caller News Foundation.