Diverse It Gets

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Diversity is an important thing.

Stop looking a me like I’m completely out of my mind.  I’m not.  Diversity of thought, of opinions, of experiences is drastically important for any endeavor that requires checking.

We were talking here, in the comments on the post on art and craft about how important honest feedback is to develop your craft.  This is true.  What they don’t say is that it’s also incredibly hard to get.

The problem isn’t even “honest” it’s “informed”.  If everyone in your writers’ group is about at the same level and working on the same things, the “informed” will be the hardest thing.  I mean a group like that is great for telling you that you’re progressing on x or y (if they see it. They might not even register it.)  But they purely suck at telling you the things you don’t know.

I know, I had a group like that.  I used to get the “Fix typos, send it out” type critique, which was kind of useful, but not really, because then I had to work out for myself what was actually wrong.  (This usually happens in the middle of the night, when I’ve just read a book and wake up going “My story needs to be more like THAT scene”  And then I’m up and typing.  Sometimes I’m up and typing before waking up.  This, btw, is why having your office be half of your bedroom is a bad idea.  Eventually, Dan and I hung a thick, blackout curtain between the two halves of the room.)

The group was useful, mind you, for getting me to produce on time, and for all sorts of other stuff, but the glaring errors escaped them, because they weren’t a “diverse” group.  In the sense of writing they were all at about my level of apprenticeship. (We had people of very diverse backgrounds, etc, but not in writing.

And this brings us to diversity that matters: Diversity in the head.  By which I mean neither that you need crazy people (neurodiversity has its place.  Every project should have a perfectionist aspie.  Every project, particularly the ones that can kill people.  But people who think they’re a little teapot, or that they are an ornate building and a wingless dragon probably aren’t contributing much.  I mean people used to pay good money to go see the crazy in Bedlam, so maybe they’re contributing something.  But not much. An aquarium will probably serve the same function) nor people from such profoundly dysfunctional backgrounds their input is useless (not just from the left.  I had an early writers group in which a very “Christian” gentleman tore a story to pieces because it had an hermaphrodite humans subspecies [that story is in the collection just out, see end of post, and it’s actually part of a universe Les Johnson and I will be developing, one in which lots of “alien” planets are humans who bio-modded or diverged for various reasons.  In the story I added instant “transport” between worlds, which probably won’t be in that world.  Maybe.  We’ll see.]  The point is he couldn’t see beyond the genmod to the story because it offeded his sensibilities.) nor people who are going to be offended/triggered by random stuff that makes no sense.

And this is not only in writing.  It’s arguably worse in companies devoted to actually accomplishing a goal.

This is why the left’s type of diversity — which consists of a range of tans, most of whom have been convinced that they’re owed something because people they never met were treated poorly; people so neurotic they identify as random things and live to be offended; and women who think that men are somehow boggarting all the cool stuff — turns companies, industries and all fields into a vast waste land.

Because not only is it required that those people all think alike (think should be in quotes, because actually you’re required to feel and follow the same directives from abroad every day.  And the directives change, and no thought is involved) but because any disagreement or even accidental trampling of someone’s chosen form of insanity is considered an attack, and will get you attacked in turn, sometimes physically.

They keep singing the song of diversity, but the only ways they can find it is “more and more protected minorities.”  …. and more and more conformity of thought, because anything non-Marxist is supposed to sear the unprotected/downtrodden little darlings like a cross on a vampire.

Which means that the only way to be MORE SPECIAL on their side is to take offense at smaller and smaller slips in dealing with you.  I wait eagerly the day when each of these people invents their own language and hands a sheet of it to a stranger, demanding they study it before trying to communicate.  At which point, my grandmother’s saying when someone tried to force insanity on her comes into play “I wouldn’t even go to heaven with crazy people. They’d be sure to push me down.”

This “diversity of crazy” is very far from true diversity and at best accomplishes a unified singing choir.

Once more, I’ll kind of quote this Reiner Kunze poem which I haven’t run across yet, in my book-clearing, and which at any rate, I only read in German and so will quote from memory, possibly with omissions/additions.

The trees grow top on top

None is taller than the others

The branches filter the rain so the

Torture of thirst is avoided

The trees grow top on top

None sees more than the others

To the wind, they all whisper the same.

And that’s the best possible result: that we’ll create things from such a place of conformity and lockstep there will be no one to point out the king goes naked.

This is awful for fiction, sure, but it’s truly horrific for science and industry and the things on which lives depend.

This is the way civilization dies.  Not with a bang, but with “chosen pronouns.”

Which means those of us who retain a modicum of sanity and who understand that The Gods of the Copybook Headings haven’t been abolished but are only sleeping, have to be ready.

Sure, some of these profoundly crazy and non diverse (where it counts) people will survive the apocalypse. Most of them will turn pirate, but that’s something else.  But they are, fundamentally, incapable of creating or building anything useful, having suffered a castration of the thought.

Build under, build over, build around.  Get ready to take the weight when she blows.

[Oh, the world’s worst promoter strikes again.  I mentioned the short story collection, but didn’t link.
This went up yesterday:
512b3-cuiunl

It’s a collection of my short stories, ranging from about ten years ago till now. I seem to have culled them for science fiction ranging from the absurd to the plausible.  It’s been ready to go for three years, (hence my “seem”) and it finally went up.]

184 responses to “Diverse It Gets

  1. “I wait eagerly the day when each of these people invents their own language and hands a sheet of it to a stranger, demanding they study it before trying to communicate.”

    I wrote a short story once about an HR department that decided that the one thing that all harassment complaints had in common was that they involved the interaction of two humans, and therefore, human interaction was forbidden. Each employee was assigned a communications robot, and rather than Bob talking to Alice, Bob would give the message to his robot, the robot would remove all possible badthink from the message before passing it on to Alice’s robot, who would make sure that everything was phrased in a way that wouldn’t offend Alice before telling her what Bob had to say. I’m not sure if this is more or less absurd than each person having their own private language and demanding strangers use it.

    You know, maybe I should get that story out of the drawer, polish it, and submit it while it’s still science FICTION…

    • With “design your own gender nomenclature”, we’re heading in that direction already.

      Plus the number of words and phrases some groups have managed to redefine into something different from their dictionary meaning…

      • BobtheRegisterredFool

        I identify as a bigot.

        • I identify as Sane. Identifying as something you are notor some nonsensical made up “gender” is therefore telling me you are insane, and I shall accord such the disdain it deserves

          • BobtheRegisterredFool

            Technically, I am a bigot where recreational drug use is concerned. Quite prejudiced and quite irrational.

            • not sure about your thoughts on the square root of 2, or factoring pi, but I’d bet you have some logic, reason, founding etc, involved in your feelings about Rec Drugs and the usage thereof.

              • BobtheRegisterredFool

                There is logic and reason, and there is also quite a bit of personal baggage. (I grew up knowing a lot about the fragility of the human psyche from an early age.) I wouldn’t have gone looking for the sane and rational side of the issue if not for the emotional.

                During a period of my life that wasn’t much fun, I was very angry at myself, and very frustrated. It turns out that some of that spilled over onto the recreational drug users, who I felt justified venting it at.

    • Sadly, I suspect it might be the first widespread employer usage of AI. (“Intelligence” and NOT ‘insemination’.. sheesh.)

      • This is like how I read Bureau of Land Management everytime I see BLM, isn’t it, Orvan?

        Makes the news pretty funny, at least!

        • You are NOT the only one who read BLM thus.

        • I do it every time (and I work for the Bureau of Land Management). Before I got used to it, I’d see some headline hollering about how the BLM rioted or did some other form of mayhem*, and would blink stupidly at it going “…wait, what?” before I remembered the OTHER group with those initials.

          *This is not to say the federal BLM isn’t perfectly capable of mayhem. Most of the folks I’ve known/worked with over the last seven years are decent folks just looking to do what is usually a boring, tense, and thankless job. There are a few, though…

          • BLM was/is a swear word to the off road lot out west. I recall editorials about some race cancelled to “protect the environment” even though it was on existing roads, and those roads were in well used shape by some company doing something (mining or salt or something) and traveling the roads as well as making some new lanes when trucks met or the roads paralleled highways.

            • Well, but most folks also forget that it’s not necessarily the BLM doing that entirely of their own accord–they’re sort of required to be overcautious lest they get buried in lawsuits (which it does anyway, because environmentalist nuts and other groups). Same with “wild” horse stuff: the BLM *knows* they’re overpopulated, and damaging the rangelands, and it’s rightfully pissing off the ranchers…but ANY effort to cull, control, or otherwise reduce the population of the invasive critters gets met with torrents of lawsuits and screaming. So any efforts in that direction are slow in the extreme.(Also, not following policy/regulations can lead to Bad Things for the employee. At least, for the lower level employee, and sometimes even for the higher level ones. The BLM has to follow the laws/regulations that exist, not the ones we’d all prefer to exist. Which means having to follow any number of the more insane ones that came out of the environmentalist legislations.

              I have to also point out that while, no, definitely not all ranchers/private companies, there *are* several of them who would happily wreck the local landscape to make a quick buck, and have, in some areas. (Especially in the realms of, say, not reporting some truly nasty oil spills until caught red-handed…or until they spread far enough to get onto federal lands and were noticed. Or people who dump their trash onto federal lands–in huge amounts. I’m no crazy tree-hugger, but I do firmly believe in being responsible stewards of our environment, and stuff like that is Not Cool.)

              This is not to say there aren’t petty jerks–and plenty of ’em–in the BLM, because they’re everywhere and especially in government agencies. But having seen both sides of the coin, as it were, both sides are not wrong, and they’re not right either. I see the Bundy thing in Nevada, for example, as being a case of both sides being spectacularly in the wrong. (Though the responsibility for ham-handedly escalating things lies pretty much with the bureau.)

              • The BLM is our back neighbor. Every now and again, once a decade or so, they engage in fire prevention. The boundary line is somewhere out on the scree slope. I suspect they’re made a better neighbor by the total valuelessness of the land to anything but wildlife, and the fact that best access is through the county dump.

                My folks’ve gotten on great with them for thirty-odd years now. Think we’ve seen them two-three times total out there.

              • Re. Wild horses. I once heard Michael Martin Murphy say that “Wildfire” was one of very few songs he regretted, because of the overly-romantic image it gave feral horses.

                • I like horses, I really do. They’re beautiful, though nowadays I can’t get within ten feet of one without turning into a sneezing, dribbling bundle of hives, but they’re lovely creatures.

                  Doesn’t change the fact that they are, indeed, feral, and invasive, and they have NO natural predators out here on the high desert other than humans.

                  And it irks me that the so-called ‘wild horse lovers’ don’t seem to care that their efforts to ‘save all the horses’ means that most of them are dying a slow, awful death of starvation/dehydration, because there just isn’t sufficient forage or water out here to support that population. (Not to mention the formerly people-owned horses who get dumped out there when times are hard. 😦 )

              • I was here for the Bundy thing as well. The bureau did some dirty tricks i.e. breaking water tanks that were for the wildlife as well as cattle. (and shooting cattle)… The bureau was spectacularly wrong… and kept ante-ing up.

                • Also– I learned a lot of this from my late-hubby who worked for the Division of Emergency Management in Nevada. A lot of stuff that was done by the BLM did not make the news. Plus both sides were heavily armed. We really thought there was going to be a war.

                  • I’m extremely surprised there wasn’t. Even more that a court slapped the feds for perjury

              • One part of my family has land that is used for grazing. In order to get to that privately owned pasture, they have to pass through BLM land. Despite the right of way having been agreed upon and been in existence for decades, some BLM bureaucrat decided that they needed to “save the land” and decided to block permission to cross. Meaning the ranchers couldn’t check on cattle, move cattle (all done via truck so they weren’t wandering the BLM land during moves), or anything. Unfortunately for the BLM, this particular piece of property could only be accessed by crossing private property via those old right of ways or by helicopter. So when right of way was denied the ranchers, the ranchers denied right of way to the BLM. Eventually right of way was re-established for everyone.

          • I can verify JP Kalishek statement about the BLM. In fact it is still a swear word in Nevada (i.e. Bureau of Land Management)

            • If memory serves, “Controlled Burns” dropped from the lexicon due to BLM letting some getting out of control. Now it’s “Prescribed Burns”. To be fair, I’ve seen some really sloppy “control” happen in several agencies and private parties. One of the big employers around here figured they didn’t have to obey no stinking rules on slash burns. Overnight burn, no supervisor on the premises. They might have fugured out they got busted when they saw the broken padlock (when our fire brigade had to check it out…)

              I’m not sure if the realty description of “backs onto BLM land” is supposed to be more a plus or a fair warning to the prospective buyer. I suppose it’s both.

              • “I’m not sure if the realty description of “backs onto BLM land” is supposed to be more a plus or a fair warning to the prospective buyer. I suppose it’s both.”

                Yes. Just a bit. 30+ years ago when we were starting to look to buy a home locally, we flirted very briefly with purchasing a lot in a subdivision up the McKenzie. Nice acre lot that looked up the subdivision road to a nice paved rural road. Two problems with the lot. 1) “Up” the road. Already had learned the lesson of having a house where the road came (more or less) into the front yard/driveway (yea, no thanks). 2) On the other side of the rural road was Weyerhauser land. Real Estate dealer said (with a straight earnest face) that it would be never logged. We’re both Forestry trained. We declined to buy the property.

              • I’m into “fair warning.” I had the opportunity of writing the Hazard Mitigation plan for Nevada a few years ago. BLM had allowed 1.2 million acres to burn in NV one year.

        • richardmcenroe

          RANCH LIVES MATTER.

    • My first reaction to your story outline was the think that the result would be no messages at all being passed.

  2. Some people are all for diversity, unless it involves thinking different than they do…

  3. Pa: If tomorrow everyone woke up and were straight, white, anglo-saxon, protestant, male, etc…. they’d have a second shock: ya STILL gotta work like hell to get anywhere!

    • Worse; if tomorrow they woke up straight, white, anglo saxon, Protestant, and male (etc), they would STILL be at a disadvantage with those who were all that yesterday because the vast majority of the whining little sonsofbitches have never gotten an honest grade in their useless lives.

    • Not only do you have to work, but you get to be the whipping boy, too.

    • I don’t think they know that. These flakes imagine that everyone else is not working.

      • Well, why wouldn’t they; THEY seldom work. Not hard. They have all the excuses in the world. They just think that WASP boys don’t get sidelined for it.

    • If tomorrow everyone woke up and were straight, white, anglo-saxon, protestant, male, there would be immense consternation at the lack of women. 😛

      • I think if we were to parse the initial supposition slowly we could infer that only those twerps (of both sexes) who considered themselves victims would be changed.

        THAT would sure change the mating dance; the relative to complete disappearance of what Fred Reed christened “The Chip”…the one feminitwits have on their shoulders at all times.

    • But, but, if everyone was male, they’d be the last generation of humans. And the Greens among them would cheer.

      • Might could be that they would be cheering until reality actually penetrated their mental fog.

        Panic, not to mention severe depression, would then ensue, at least for some of them.

  4. I cannot seem to wrap my poor head around the dichotomy between the left’s push for diversity and their abject horror at cultural appropriation. Seems to be that everyone must be different, but no one is allowed to be different in the same way. Makes just about as much sense as socialism.

    • What’s the problem? As usual, the Left has covered all possible kinds of behavior as verboten, and thus ensured that they have a handy club with which to beat anyone they don’t want to argue with…which is anyone.

    • It’s the drug culture that they neither see nor admit to. For while the usual drugs would be detectable and, with rare exception, have an overdose risk that would result in injury or death, there is the peculiar (non?)substance that while it sounds like one of the barbiturates, is not. For an excess of amobarbital, phenobarbital, pentobarbital, secobarbital, etc. would likely be fatal (esp. if mixed with alcohol) this stuff is cenosensital, and there seems to be no direct LD100 or LD50 for it. Indirect is another matter, of course. A potential antidote, dopeslapamine, has legality issues, alas.

      • I’ve read about a compound named cluibiforupsidabranepan, which is apparently promising, but they haven’t yet solved the side-effect problem of terrible headaches.

    • Uncle Lar, it’s quite simple. “Diversity” is one of those code words like “Progressive” and “Liberal”. It has nothing to do with diversity of thought or belief as far as questioning The Party. Instead it has to do with creating an ever-increasing series of categories in to which people can be divided so that they identify their interests, not with the whole, but with the group. Narrowly defined groups are small and therefore powerless to challenge the State. If the groups all see each other as enemies so they do not collaborate, and no one group is large enough to challenge the State, the State (and the Party that controls the State) is secure. If any one group is large enough to confuse itself with the whole, new points of division must be found and “other” groups must be imported, forcibly if necessary, to dilute the power of a shared culture.

      This is of a piece with the hostility of collectivist movements to any form of private association. Fraternal organizations, churches, groups of executives who golf together, are anathema to collectivists, not because of their sins (the sins are called on as needed to justify the hostility, not the other way around), because all such organizations present a challenge to the State. So they are rightthink if they are private organizations that support the State (but still not trusted, unless fully infiltrated so they are in fact Party organs), but wrongthink if they are private organizations that are likely to oppose the State.

      All right out of the collectivist playbook, certainly as far back as the early 1900’s, probably back to the French Revolution, arguably to the transition of the Roman Republic to the Roman Empire (though in the latter two cases, it was much more a case of people being divided by their economic interests than by genetics or belief).

    • Uncle Lar, consider. We all realize that a person’s trappings don’t determine their thoughts or opinions, that you really can’t place people on the basis of those things. To channel part of a Ted Talk I recently saw – we know that there is not just One Story. But for someone who does believe that diversity of origins IS diversity of thought, those things define the person themselves. Those things define the One Story. “Appropriating” culture is stealing a soul in a way that no photograph was ever able to do.

    • No, no. Every _group_ owns it’s distinguishing characteristics and no one from another group is allowed to appropriate these characteristics. Oh, and everyone in each group must think and feel the same, preferably left progressive style. Only the Wrong Think Groups are encouraged to change the way they think, and _might_ be allowed into a different group if they have sufficiently atoned.

      • No, no: Everything is owned by the collective, so no group actually owns their own story, only the collective, as represented by our betters in charge, can decide who can use what, based solely on ultra effective but of necessity secret rules and never on who is related to whom.

    • Comrade! Surely you aren’t such a kulak and wrecker as to succumb to bourgeoisie LOGIC?

  5. The poem you quote makes me think of Rush’s song “The Trees”:

    The trouble with the maples,
    (And they’re quite convinced they’re right)
    They say the oaks are just too lofty
    And they grab up all the light. . . .

    (with its brutal ending)

    • ….Wow.

      I thought that group had lefty fans….

      • They probably do. I’m a fan of some groups with leftish political slants, after all. And some of them may just have been ignoring the influence of Ayn Rand on many of their earlier lyrics, including “2112,” whose basic storyline is a takeoff on Rand’s dystopia “Anthem.”

      • It has fans of all political stripes, and many of their songs, particularly older ones, are very much pro-individual. I think another song line that is very appropriate these days is from Farewell to Kings: “The hypocrites are slandering the sacred halls of truth”.

      • Rush actually dedicated one album to Ayn Rand. This dedication was abrogated in later years when the band changed their philosophical leanings to more typical Canadian.

        2112 is actually put forth as a Randian space opera. The story revolves around a world (The Solar Federation) that provides everything, music, food and culture through their priests in a temple dedicated to the computer god Syrinx. They do so because apparently the ‘Old Ones’ destroyed the world in times past.

        The hero finds an old guitar and learns to play it and takes his discovery before the priests of the Temple of Syrinx. They cast him out and smash his guitar indicating that such individuality is what resulted in the destruction of society and why they must now rule it.

        .He goes off and commits suicide from despair. And then a radio message comes through, declaring “Attention citizens of the Solar Federation. We have assumed control.” Which optimistic fans believe is the Old Ones returning, and pessimistic ones believe is the Priests tossing out all illusions and openly declaring their rulership.

        Still, not a spectacularly ‘Lefty’ approach. I think Rush ended up buying too much into the ‘Bright’ angle in later years though.

        A lot of lefty fans try to rejigger the Temple as being ‘opiate to the masses,’ and this actually comes through in a collection of short stories based on rush songs, where the Watchmaker from their Clockwork Angels story (who rules through a panglossian deist philosophy), ends up being the head priest of the temple of Syrinx who escaped through a dimensional gateway when the Old Ones showed up specifically looking for the guitar player, and were apparently monstrously pissed about how he ended up.

        • Well, people do change their views. Heinlein’s early economic ideas were a lot like Keynes’s, starting with worry over the prospect of a general glut; his later views were much less so.

      • Rush has been libertarian their whole career. 2112 is a clear example.

  6. “This “diversity of crazy” is very far from true diversity and at best accomplishes a unified singing choir.”

    It doesn’t even accomplish THAT , since they’ve apparently decided that singing on key is some awful kind of ‘ism’.

    Seriously; the Activist Left of the moment is the largest concatenation of discordant twerps and twats I can remember see of hearing of.

  7. Since I do have the kind of crazy where different parts of my mind identify as different people, I am very grateful that I am old enough that when I went into therapy the response was *not* “we need to make sure that everyone accepts your alters and uses the right name” but was “you’re broken, dude, we need to fix that.”

  8. “Stappers will get you. Or be you Slanduch?” ((old classic, Boucher’s “Barrier”, which popped to mind reading this thread))

  9. You are not the world’s worst promoter. I won that trophy in perpetuity a long time ago. But enough of that.

    Diversity of thought is important, no question. When everyone agrees, no one learns from anyone else. But there are other aspects to diversity, especially within a writers’ circle or critique group, that are valuable:

    — The grammar, spelling, and punctuation nitpicker. Every group should have one…and he should be restricted by group consensus to only five minutes’ speaking time per meeting.
    — The “show, don’t tell” maven. His function “should” be “obvious,” but as I’ve said many times before, obvious really means overlooked. Consider how it’s actually used.
    — The guy who notes flaws in second-level mechanics: bad symbolism, inept similes and metaphors, fractured parallel structure, and the unwitting – surely it was unwitting, wasn’t it? – use of hoary old cliches.
    — The gal who focuses on timing and cuts between scenes. The adept handling of these things can take forever to learn. Some writers never do.
    — The guy on the lookout for “Mary Sue.” No one can afford a Mary Sue character. It destroys plausibility faster than any other error in character construction.
    — The PC patrolman. His job is to object to violations of political correctness – and to be whacked across the snout with a rolled-up copy of The Nation or Mother Jones every time he flaps his lips.

    As a critique group should be limited to seven persons at most, there’s one space left: yours. Don’t waste it.

    • “The grammar, spelling, and punctuation nitpicker. Every group should
      have one…and he should be restricted by group consensus to only five minutes’ speaking time per meeting.”

      I’d argue that rather than five minutes, he should learn to speak when spoken to. Nothing is more annoying than the guy who sits there and nitpicks your grammar when you want high level comments, and nothing is more valuable once you’re getting the final draft ready.

      (Okay, he can chime in whenever he wants with covers and blurbs, on the grounds that those need to be perfect in order to avoid turning off the reader).

    • I like that last one. 😀

    • For the PC patrolman, we have a squirt gun that looks like Donald Trump and we spray him when he gets over-excited.

  10. “The Gods of the Copybook Headings haven’t been abolished but are only sleeping”

    Sleeping? I assure you, they are not quite awake, alert, and out to turn your life into a living hell…and then kill you in a variety of ways, most quite painful. It’s only unrelenting work and watchfulness that fends off disaster. Thankless work, for the most part – at least thankless in this life.

    • To an extent our tech and wealth hold them at bay. Otherwise some mewling cowards would have died abirthing instead of running around screaming about micro-aggressions.

      • Okay, time to paraphrase Malcolm Reynolds.

        A year from now, ten, they’ll still be whining about privileged this, BLM that, guns are bad and Trump was worse, and that that they can make people all different the same way. And I do not hold to that. So no more running; I aim to micro-aggress.

        • Had I the energy and the time I might be tempted to macroagress. The Anfifidiots in particular need the application of some good old fashioned whup-ass. While I have scant patience for White Supremacists, Confederate Nostalgics, and so on, I still wait to hear the case put at the trial of the twerp who ran that women down at the Charlston SC Protest cum riot. If he just went berserk and ran his truck into the crowd, clobber him. But if, as Antifa crowds tend to do, they were attacking his vehicle, I have some (not much, but some) sympathy. We’ll see what comes out at the trial.

          The Left needs to learn that fighting in the street sounds a great deal more romantic than the reality…especially when your targets fight back.

          • “But if, as Antifa crowds tend to do, they were attacking his vehicle,”

            Don’t know if SC is one of them, but more than a few places “stand your ground” laws would have protected him had he had a gun & his vehicle was being attached. Just because he was inside it & they were outside does not mean he was or felt safe. Almost can guarantee his lawyer is going to assert he was under assault & was trying to leave but they stopped him. He had no choice to do what he did or he was going to die. His view of what was happening is all.

            OTOH if he’s discussed his feelings with anyone & it was essentially ** they pissed me off **, he is so convicted.

            If he gets off under “stand your ground” laws where a car was used instead of a gun, look for cries of “Ban All Cars”.

            • I just saw an article claiming ownership and use of cars is what is causing the great cultural and political divide in this nation. Of course, he was only looking at major metro areas and urging public transport, biking and walking to save the nation. Suburbs were of the devil. Public transportation was correlated to richer areas, more education and more innovation. Car ownership was correlated to the opposite. So all our I’ll would end if we would move to public transportation. But when he quoted the numbers of Republicans, Democrats and Independents who said they couldn’t do without cars, unsurprisingly, the numbers weren’t very far off of each other.

              • Eugene has two school districts. One already has removed school buses for all the HS. You either walk, drive**, or use your student body card for the public bus transport system.

                The other one, district we are in, tried it. Got a group of parents together & we showed up for the hearing. Our statement: “You realize of coarse (no they didn’t) that ALL the kids east of 99, & those north of Jerry’s, will have to take LTD downtown to transfer to the bus going to the HS (one & only). Repeating in the afternoon in reverse. That is an hour to hour & half one way, minimum. Oh, & we are not car pooling the kids.” The fact that, on average, the areas mentioned are much higher demographics than other areas in the district might have had something to do with it, but maybe the listened on the merits. They dropped it.

                ** Drive – either parents drop off, or Jr/Sr can purchase a parking permit, I mean a “parking spot hunting license”. We still had to drive our kid first couple of years in the Spring because he was not allowed to take his golf clubs on the school bus (no idea why 🙂 ).

                • Sure you can remove the school buses. But you’d damn well better reduce the school taxes by at least the amount you’d save from terminating the bus contracts and administration.

                  • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                    That’s reasonable.

                    However, it is unreasonable to expect reasonable actions from school administrations. 👿

                  • ROFLOL … oh you’re serious … yes, no reducing taxes based on what was saved was not part of the plans.

                    • Because it wouldn’t have reduced the number of buses, or drivers. Just the number of trips & driver hours. They were just “copying” that other district “over there”. That or that other district was hinting again about combining.

                      Funny thing about combining. We live within walking distance of 2 grade schools, one is in 4J (other district), the other is in Bethel (our district). 55 years ago (or more) surrounding rural subdivisions & farmers wanted to send their children into nearby 4J schools. Guess who said loudly & condescendingly “NO”. So Bethel formed their own school district. NOW, & for awhile now, Bethel, still consisting of rural & still county subdivisions, also has newer subdivisions within city boundaries, has m-o-n-e-y, for all that we pay less per thousand than they do & contains some of the poorest areas in the city (way more economical diversity), & are more likely to pass school bonds. So far the attitude on Bethel’s side is a resounding “HELL NO.”

                    • Behtel, huh? You live in the same area as my husband’s niece (grown; he’s the late kid of his generation and is closer to the generation below.) The best street name in the area is Haviture Way.

                    • Yes. NE of there about 6 miles, depending on which route you go. Irving Elementary.

              • One would think that might have been a clue to the article’s author that maybe, just maybe, he was talking out of his fifth point of contact.
                Of course, then again, he also managed to overlook the fact that we had a civil war before the invention of the automobile, so he’s probably not very bright. (Also, what are farmers supposed to do?)

              • Car ownership + driver’s license = freedom of movement.

                What a LOT of people don’t realize is the Progressives love public transportation because it gives them immense control over the movement of the population. Now think of Ukraine during the Holodomo; bunch of people starving to death and no means of transportation other than shank’s mare, and not allowed to escape even if they wanted to.

                • O|ne of my firends recently posted a meme with biill maher talking about all the people killed in religious wars, so I immediately said “And atheists never killed anyone, except the hundred million or so killed by communism.”

              • Well, our car culture has its drawbacks. And I would say that a loss of community is one of them. But moving us all into urban areas and forcing us to ride the bus is NOT the way to solve it.

                The only real way to solve it is to have individuals re-establish communities, try to move back from “super-stores” to more local establishments, and to move gov’t closer to the individual and to reduce the size of municipalities.
                Note: I am not saying that any of that should be imposed from above. And the last should only be imposed from below.

            • This happened in VA, not SC. And see my comment elsewhere on this article about the results of an independent investigation.

          • Charleston, SC? You mean Charlottesville, VA?

            At his trial, the video evidence will shot she collapsed before the car touched her, iirc.

          • Mr/Ms Schofield, the ones who need to be in jail are the Democrat VA governor, and the Democrat Mayor of Charlottesville, who didn’t want to issue a permit for the “alt-right”, were forced to issue it by a federal judge under the First Amendment, and promptly set up their minions in the VaSP / CPD to allow and encourage violence against it.
            https://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2017/12/04/charlottesville-report-tells-us-what-happens-when-police-fail-do-their-job-glenn-reynolds-column/917521001/

            “Now an independent report has come out link in article, suggesting that much of the blame for the clashes, injuries and death lies with poor police work by the Charlottesville Police Department, the Virginia State Police and the University of Virginia Police.

            The report, authored by former U.S. attorney Timothy Heaphy for the Charlottesville City Council, found, as reported by USA Today:

            • Charlottesville police didn’t ensure separation between counter-protesters and so called alt-right protesters upset with the city council’s decision to remove the Robert E. Lee statue from Emancipation Park.”
            • Officers weren’t stationed along routes to the park, but instead remained behind barricades in relatively empty zones.
            • City police didn’t adequately coordinate with Virginia State Police, and authorities were unable to communicate via radio.
            • State police didn’t share a formal planning document with city police, “a crucial failure.”
            • Officers were inadequately equipped to respond to the clashes between the two groups, and tactical gear was not accessible to officers.
            Furthermore, though no specific evidence of a “stand down” order was found, as some have charged, the report did find that police didn’t do their jobs: “We did not find evidence of a direct order to officers to ‘stand down’ and not respond to fights and other disorders. Even if there was no explicit ‘stand down’ order in place, CPD and VSP both failed to ‘stand up’ to protect human life.” Areas where conflict could be expected to occur didn’t have police officers assigned to them; areas where police officers were stationed were out of the way.
            When violence first broke out, according to two witnesses Chief Thomas reportedly said “let them fight, it will make it easier to declare an unlawful assembly.”
            When the police finally decided to shut the rally down, they did it in a way that forced the protesters and counterprotesters into each other, instead of separating them, making violence far more likely. Meanwhile police who could have deescalated the violence stood aside.

      • I’ve long thought about a fictional world set either during or after the Revolt of the Engineers. The basic idea being that the Engineers (and most likely the Mechanics) got fed up with rule by lawyers and liars…and pulled the plug. Plunged society into pre-industrial darkness, and would not turn the lights back on until they were firmly in charge.

        It’s a different world.

        • BobtheRegisterredFool

          Thing is, Engineering is also riddled with nuts and technocrats. If you ever got a consensus among the technically adept what the correct order of society should be, it would be a wrong consensus. Yes, probably even compared to the current nutjobbery.

          • Spoken by graduates of other elite engineering schools: “You can tell an MIT graduate, but you can’t tell him much.”

            My “favorite” person was a designer who was micromanaging a small circuit layout. He’d obsess about packing the analog sections tighter and tighter, driving the layout person nuts. I suspect he spent far more resources than he ever got in cost savings. Finally had to tell him that his latest and greatest tweak wouldn’t count, because his 1 micron squeeze didn’t matter when the die had to be on 10 micron increments.

            FWIW, he dropped out ot the industry and took up dentistry. Yikes.

        • Engineers feel the need to *FIX* things. That is not conducive to a small gov’t, nor to a non-technocracy.
          (Nor to relationships)

    • They are sleeping with regard to civilization. Although its arguable that for individuals as well. Govt papering over the great recession for example.

    • Are they anything like Great Old Ones, waiting for the stars to be right? If so, will there be Solstice carols about them?

      • Gimme That Old Time Religion, Cthulhu version. (not mine)

        We will worship mighty Cthulhu
        H. P. Lovecraft’s big old hoodoo
        (1930’s fiction voodoo…)
        But that’s good enough for me!

        Let us sing to Lord Cthuhlu
        Don’t let Lovecraft try to fool you
        Or the Elder Gods WILL rule you
        And that’s good enough for me!

        Of the Old Ones, none is vaster
        Even Cthulhu’s not his master
        I refer to the unspeakable *
        and that’s good enough for me!

        And for those who follow Cthulhu
        We have really got a lulu:
        Drop a bomb on Honolulu!
        ‘Cause that’s good enough for you!

        We will worship Great Cthulhu,
        We will worship Great Cthulhu,
        And we’ll feed him Mr. Sulu
        ‘Cause that’s good enough for me!

        We will sacrifice to Yuggoth
        We will sacrifice to Yuggoth
        Burn a candle for Yog-Soggoth
        And the Goat With a Thousand Young

        Well it’s good enough for *
        He’s a mighty kinky master
        When you pray he goes much faster
        And that’s good enough for me!

        Let’s go worship Great Cthulhu,
        And run naked like a Zulu,
        You and me and Mr. Sulu,
        And that’s good enough for me!

        * – well, do YOU want to say it?

        • Ooookay. Cute song. But I’m going to carp someone if it shows up in the next MHI book.

          • That filk, or a version of it, was in the Hopsfa Hymnal I helped unbox for distribution in 1979, If it turns up in Larry’s world, I decline to take the blame.

          • scott2harrison

            OK, but would Franks fall down laughing, or just look puzzled, then kill them all?

    • Christopher M. Chupik

      I think one of Them must be in the black sarcophagus.

    • The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return…

      Actually, the Kipling for our age is much more “Sons of Martha”; what is allowing people the luxury of pretending their fantasies are reality is the tremendous wealth produced by the people who are working their backsides off to make it so — “wary and watchful all their days”. Our politicians, our media personalities, our Hollywood starlets, and our graduates of “studies” programs — Sons of Mary, stem to stern.

      In fact .. not too long to quote in full:
      ——
      The Sons of Mary seldom bother, for they have inherited that good part;
      But the Sons of Martha favour their Mother of the careful soul and the troubled heart.
      And because she lost her temper once, and because she was rude to the Lord her Guest,
      Her Sons must wait upon Mary’s Sons, world without end, reprieve, or rest.

      It is their care in all the ages to take the buffet and cushion the shock.
      It is their care that the gear engages; it is their care that the switches lock.
      It is their care that the wheels run truly; it is their care to embark and entrain,
      Tally, transport, and deliver duly the Sons of Mary by land and main.

      They say to mountains “Be ye removèd.” They say to the lesser floods “Be dry.”
      Under their rods are the rocks reprovèd—they are not afraid of that which is high.
      Then do the hill-tops shake to the summit—then is the bed of the deep laid bare,
      That the Sons of Mary may overcome it, pleasantly sleeping and unaware.

      They finger Death at their gloves’ end where they piece and repiece the living wires.
      He rears against the gates they tend: they feed him hungry behind their fires.
      Early at dawn, ere men see clear, they stumble into his terrible stall,
      And hale him forth like a haltered steer, and goad and turn him till evenfall.

      To these from birth is Belief forbidden; from these till death is Relief afar.
      They are concerned with matters hidden—under the earthline their altars are—
      The secret fountains to follow up, waters withdrawn to restore to the mouth,
      And gather the floods as in a cup, and pour them again at a city’s drouth.

      They do not preach that their God will rouse them a little before the nuts work loose.
      They do not preach that His Pity allows them to drop their job when they damn-well choose.
      As in the thronged and the lighted ways, so in the dark and the desert they stand,
      Wary and watchful all their days that their brethren’s ways may be long in the land.

      Raise ye the stone or cleave the wood to make a path more fair or flat;
      Lo, it is black already with the blood some Son of Martha spilled for that!
      Not as a ladder from earth to Heaven, not as a witness to any creed,
      But simple service simply given to his own kind in their common need.

      And the Sons of Mary smile and are blessèd—they know the Angels are on their side.
      They know in them is the Grace confessèd, and for them are the Mercies multiplied.
      They sit at the feet—they hear the Word—they see how truly the Promise runs.
      They have cast their burden upon the Lord, and—the Lord He lays it on Martha’s Sons!

      • BobtheRegisterredFool

        But remember, please, the Law by which we live,
        We are not built to comprehend a lie,
        We can neither love nor pity nor forgive.
        If you make a slip in handling us you die!
        Rudyard Kipling, The Secret of the Machines

        We have no heart for the fishing – we have no hand for the oar –
        All that our fathers taught us of old pleases us no more.
        All that our own hearts bid us believe we doubt where we do not deny –
        There is nor proof in the bread we eat nor rest in the toil we ply.

        Walking along the wreck of the dykes, watching the works of the sea!
        These were the dykes our fathers made to our great profit and ease.
        But the peace is gone and the profit is gone, with the old sure days withdrawn …
        That our own houses show as strange when we come back in the dawn
        Rudyard Kipling, The Dykes

    • “and the Lord he lays it on Martha’s Sons.”

      “Jubal sang of the Wrath of God
      And the curse of thistle and thorn —
      But Tubal got him a pointed rod,
      And scrabbled the earth for corn.
      Old — old as that early mould,
      Young as the sprouting grain —
      Yearly green is the strife between
      Jubal and Tubal Cain! “

  11. I was, briefly, in a script writing group. I didn’t stay in it for various reasons but it was informative to me on how blind people can be to how they’re portraying the “other”, which in the case of this group seemed to be “military”. I’ve also seen people commit the same character development error when writing “religious”. Certainly “political” is a pit fall.

    Diversity is the only real solution to that. No, not sensitivity readers, but just people likely to notice that every soldier that walked onto the page was made of identical cardboard even though other characters were “real”. Or that the “religious” characters are portrayed as uniformly one thing and not as individuals. Or, yes this too, your cast is made up of Bob who is intense, John who is fascinated by nature, Sam who loves machines, Frank who falls for ever girl they meet, and Luke who is black. (Or a soldier, or a girl, or any other “package” character… which is why there can be only one of whoever it is, on account of two would be redundant.)

    By definition people do not see their own blind spots. It doesn’t make them bad people but it makes their writing bad. And if you truly can’t get inside the head of someone who walked into a recruiters office (out of boredom, patriotism, a need to escape, expectations, etc., etc.,) you really do need someone around who can point and say, you know, this character is noticeably thin compared to the others.

    • Some of us former military members managed an entire successful career even though as odds, we stuck out, often like a sore thumb. Mostly because we got results, in spite of the system trying to cram uniform mediocrity down our throats. Odds that didn’t get good results were, of course, shown the error of their ways and encouraged to find some other career field.

      • A young woman (teenager, whatever) once told me that she didn’t think she could ever be in the military because she was too creative and individualistic. I laughed.

        She knew me. Knew I’d served. But still couldn’t see past her own stereotype.

        Uniform mediocrity will get you through. Creativity and initiative will allow you to excel. It requires a high social intelligence, not low.

        And yet it’s not at all uncommon to portray military members as utterly uncurious, unengaged, cardboard standees to walk on stage any time a warm body is needed to obstruct the progress of the hero.

        “Halp us Jon Carry – We R stuck hear n Irak.”.

        • BobtheRegisterredFool

          My really weak social intelligence was one of a number of issues I calculated would be in the way of my being very highly functioning in the military.

        • One of the reasons for the “utterly uncurious, unengaged, cardboard standees” stereotype, I think, is that for very many militaries in the world, the lower echelons are full of conscripts just doing their time. ANd those folks tend to be unimaginative and unengaged – not because they’re bad people, but they have no desire to be any more tightly involved in the misery than they have to be.

          And, of course, demographics is the other big reason for the stereotype. Because, quite simply, there are a LOT of “utterly uncurious, unengaged, cardboard standees” in the real world, and some number of them become military. 🙂

  12. A note from the “roll left and die” file of diversity-is-required-but-all-the-same, from the world of comic book publishing:

    “Gee, we put in all the mandatory-universal-conforming-diversity items as required, but readership keeps dropping. Hm. Must be smartphones fault.”

    • Considering how BAD the comics have been, I can easily see Disney (whom owns Marvel these days) and WB (whom owns DC) shutting down their comic book companies beyond being a vanity plate, and licensing out the IP to other comic book makers such as IDP or Dark Horse or similar.

      But, the other comic book companies are as bad, if not worse, than Marvel or DC… 😦

      • Hmm. I recall recently saying that I’ve gotten fed up with CW beating viewers over the head with Progressive indoctrination in their superhero shows. I finally scratched Supergirl from my watchlist due to their putting a trans hero/heroine/hero-someone in the show.

        • I don’t know why they don’t like the word “hero” – after all, it has “her” in it.

          I was going to add a bit about the correct trans hero word being xero which is, of course, pronounced zero, but I won’t.

        • At some point, sanity (or at least the people putting up the money wanting an actual return on their investment) will break out and some of these shows won’t get money anymore.

          Hopefully.

      • Considering what their circulation is these days, it basically *is* a vanity plate.

        • I want to pretend that it isn’t, at least because I want to believe otherwise.

          • top circulation now is what used to get books cancelled in the 90s… its kinda sad.

            • It is very sad, and it is the sort of thing that angers me because it’s like nobody cares. These are characters with history (okay, some better than others), and I hate seeing them reduced to a few quips and an excuse to cast Adam Baldwin.

              • Oh, sorry. Ya’ll were talking comics. Well, novels is more so.

                • Oh, I can SO believe that novels are more so. When I can walk into the local B&N and not find ANYTHING I want to read (seriously, I tried the new book science fiction section last Sunday and left in disgust), that should be a sign that there’s a problem. Book buyers for B&N should be seriously asking “why isn’t our product moving?” and demanding better product from the publishers, because if they can’t sell books, they wont’ be buying books from the publishers.

                  • Yes. Getting most of my new book recommendations thru Bookbud, even letting them track new releases from Author Series I don’t even think about not purchasing when they first are out. Figure with Bookbud, for a buck or 2 if it is meh, don’t have to buy the rest of the series. Most are that way. Have found a few series I’ve put on maybe buy list. After awhile, may come off that list, may not.

                  • Yep. I’ve had that issue since the late nineties.

            • are you kidding? Top circulation now didn’t even register in the 90s. In the seventies? Blockbuster circulation now got you cancelled.

              • When I collected/read comics, I used to read the publisher’s statements a lot to get ideas for circulation numbers. Mind you, I read mostly Marvel and some DC. The top books (mostly the X-Titles) did 800k-1 mil a month, *before* they started with the ‘six different holographic covers’ kind of gimmicks. At the other end, ‘low selling books’ like, at the time, Captain America, sold around 50,000 a month, and cooks with 25k circulation tended to disappear.

                • I thought you were talking about novels. Ignore.

                  • Its ok, I understood that. I was also going ahead and adding actual numbers for reference.

                    • Okay, in the 70s, on novels, less than 100k got you cancelled. Early 2ks? 7k distro got you cancelled. Now, a midlist novel sells about 3k. (I sell more indie.) SERIOUSLY.
                      And the blame is always TV, movies, games.
                      To hell with it, even serious reading addicts like me are finding less and less to read every year from trad publishers.
                      THE DOGS JUST DON’T LIKE THE FOOD.

                    • They were citing the same blame in the 80s (some people remember, big 5!), the 90s, and now. whats funny is those old novels by dead white guys still sell enough to mess up their sales charts…

                    • YES. And indie is eating their lunch because it’s like those old novels.
                      BTW collection is doing surprisingly well (I’m always surprised mind.)

                    • TBH, haven’t bought it because its a tight month financially.

                    • I understand. As possibly deduced from my MGC post yesterday we’ve had a TIGHT year. Because, you know, kid finishing school.

                    • yeah, things got tight when i was finishing college in 2007. I almost didnt go to graduation because it cost $200 I didnt have…

                    • Never walked or when to college graduation. Couldn’t afford it first time, plus (thanks to parental units paying for it) was moving to first job. Second 2 could afford it, just didn’t bother. Second one we were moving due to hubby’s forced transfer. Like my 3rd excuse better – was busy bring son into the world 😉

                    • in my case, the Faculty Association paid for it because i was getting one of their Honor Society awards…

      • Grammar nitpick: that should be “who owns Marvel”; using “whom” is a case of hypercorrection. The way to tell whether it should be “who” or “whom” is to substitute the pronoun “he/him” in the sentence: if you’d use “him” then you should use “whom”, if you’d use “he” then you should use “him”. Since the sentence would be something like “Jeff Bezos (he owns Amazon)”, it would also be “Jeff Bezos (who owns Amazon)” rather than “whom”.

        Hope this helps in the future!

        • And of course I make a mistake of my own: classic. The second part of the rule should have read, “if you’d use “he” then you should use “who”.”

    • Recently overheard one of the staff at my local public library comment to another user that the person in charge of procuring comics is now purchasing *only* material produced by wymunz, POCs, and other ‘less represented’ groups. And said staffer seemed to think that this was a good thing . . .

  13. So I am having trouble with the image. In what world does the Lynn Cove Viaduct end up dropping one in the middle of a short grass prairie?

  14. Years ago, a psych professor (Jungian) was a guest speaker at a management class I was attending. He argued that: You will be tempted to hire people with personality similar to your own. Do not give in to that temptation. If you do, then all of you will have the same blind spots, and you will all happily walk off the cliff together.

    Much truth in that, I think, and it’s a kind of Diversity that doesn’t get much attention these days compared with the other kinds.

  15. You reminded me of a principle I picked up when I started writing. When I was a lad my father drove the family all around (mom refused to drive) and I noticed the scenery while being blissfully unaware of the various little tasks my father performed while driving. Once I got my drivers license, I became aware of how he navigated to the destination, how he went into corners, etc. And I was like this as an avid reader UNTIL I started writing, then my reading had a whole new dimension as I saw the problems the narrative presented to the writer and how s/he went about solving them.

    You are fortunate to have had a story underway at the moment when your reading showed you how someone else did something you overlooked. Of course, we all have our own different styles/voices/whatever and the really, really smart folks can translate the other dude’s style/voice/whatever into their own.

  16. Christopher M. Chupik

    On a related note, I see WorldCon is having some problems this year and they can’t blame us.

    Anyone want some popcorn?

  17. One way that “diversity” is bad is that you do not want diversity of purpose: if the leaders of an organization can’t agree on what the purpose of the group is, that’s bad. Ironically, when SJWs claim that “studies have shown that diverse teams produce better results”, what said studies actually show (in all the cases that I’ve looked at) is that teams selected on the basis of skin color and sexual orientation are less cohesive.

    Ideally, what you want is a group of talented people with diverse skillsets and aptitudes all coming together with a single purpose. The astonishing thing about SJWs is that they value untalented people with identical skillsets and separate purposes coming together, as long as they have different skin colors and sexual idiosyncrasies. The results are usually horrifically poor.

  18. Of course, a lot of writers find the most useful side of writers’ group is doing other writers’ work, not hearing other writers do theirs.

    That may be stronger when you are all at the same level.

  19. for just a moment, I read that as it being a bit from a Kaiser Soze poem.

  20. I really enjoy your short stories. Thanks for the heads up.

    • She might have forgotten to promote it, but I found it and bought it already (Kindle).
      🙂

  21. Somewhat loosely related, we had a scare with one of our dogs. She’d been having some problems with her left rear leg, and we thought it was joint issues. Saturday, she was acting like she just had a stroke; severe loss of coordination (shake her head and fall over), and a “where am I now?” look whereever she wandered. And, she wasn’t recognizing her own name. (Sara, after the CSI character. Our other dog is named Angie after the character on Bones. Deal.)

    Sunday was even worse. Our regular vet practice wasn’t on call, and we’ve had less than stellar service from a substitute the last time we had a weekend issue, so I called the vet’s office and told them we’d be in at 9AM on Monday. We then spent the rest of the time preparing to lose her.

    Monday, she was very slightly better. She could shake without falling over, but needed to be introduced to her food bowl before she’d eat. (She’s half lab–usually eats anything she can, with a loose definition of food.)

    The drive into town was sad, and I had to carry Sara to the waiting room. Still, she started to wiggle. They were able to see up, and the first thing the vet said was that dogs usually don’t have strokes. The cardiovascular system is plumbed a bit differently, and what we were seeing were probably seizures. He guessed a liver issue and asked to do blood tests. He gave us hope she’d make it.

    We did some shopping and returned after a while. The tests showed she had a major liver issue, but her body was recovering. So, she needed liquids and some medication to help liver function. She’s not out of the woods, but we’re seeing improvement.

    One of the neatest things was the way Angie acted when she saw Sara again. Border collies can do a happy dance.

    So, consensus at the RCP household was grim, but the pro showed it wasn’t necessarily the end. I’ll take that. And now, I get to see my cardiologist tomorrow. (First visit. Whee.) I’m trying to get my body back together, but it’s a long road. We’ll see what happens.

    • I know it was a tough day yesterday. Wasn’t until this morning that the pun in the title actually registered. We’re getting better, though.