Sorry this is late.  It’s coming to you from the secret remote location in Colorado Springs (which might or might not be a library… ahem) because every few weeks we need to do stuff in the Springs (our eye doctor and banker and a dozen other things are still here) and so I come down with husband on his way to work, then hole up in a quiet place to write, while he is at work.

Anyway, on the way to the Springs from Denver — a drive that is used to punish the d*mned in hell, particularly when you do it at commuter hours — we were stuck on the highway going at the speed of a running tortoise, and I was looking at the side of the road, specifically at infrastructure on the side of the road: drains protruding from a berm, into a ditch by the side of the highway.  Or the train line running in just the sort of place where it won’t get overwhelmed by a flood.  Or–

There is a goodness to this, and also a sort of integrity.  It’s also almost unique.  (Not really.  English are decentish at it, and Germans are good at it.  But–) In most of the world this sort of work is done by despised professions and there’s no pride to it.  There’s also scant calculation and very little thinking associated with it.

Years ago in the blog that shall not be named, a frequent poster who had an SO in South America posted about taking a shower in his SO’s house.  He posted pictures of the shower too.  The problem was that no matter what you did, the bathroom was going to flood.  They just accepted it, and were going to clean it afterwards.  This ties in to someone posting in a private group on FB about how recent Mexican immigrants tend to throw the used toilet paper in the trash and how they “didn’t get it.”

I do get it. My parents house doesn’t have that problem, because the plumber was mom’s brother, and she watched every detail of it, and more modern houses don’t have that problem (in general.  There’s always fly by night construction) but in grandma’s house, we had to put the tp in the wastepaper basket because otherwise, the entire plumbing would have to be snaked.  And it’s not unusual in older houses.  I understand it’s about half and half in Mexico and these immigrants are trying to be curteous and not mess up the plumbing of shops or libraries or whatever.  The fact that it strikes us as gross beyond belief is not their fault.

But there’s other issues: hastily mixed concrete that isn’t the right mix and starts crumbling after less than ten years is a problem the world over.

And it’s not just construction that has an issue, either.  Dan was talking to me about some movie (I watch movies second hand, I swear) that featured the Favelas of Rio.  People in the US tend to view Brazil as a goofy and funny country, and it is that, but the poverty is worse than most of us can even willingly imagine, and what I was speaking to was a part of the movie where a middle class guy, with a job lived in one of the safer “favelas” (think slums.  But think third world slums, with hastily built houses of corrugated aluminum and plastic, often with stolen power and water.)

I explained it was a problem of permitting, by and large.  Portugal isn’t as bad, mind, nowhere near but in the seventies a lot of places were designated “green belts” everywhere, so that to build on them (and you had to build on them, or you were stymied in growth) you had to know who to bribe, and of course have the money to do it.  This isn’t the only reason why favelas end up housing even the middle class.  There’s a ton of other reasons, including but not limited to land ownership and property rights, and a shitton of stuff.  But permitting is part of it.

This is because people don’t view their public posts as something they do to make society better/serve society or even do a job, but as a way to enrich themselves/benefit their friends/make it easier to make money in the future.

Everything, from truly shoddy workmanship to rushed, corner/cutting work, to outright corruption comes from viewing a job not as something you take pride in and work to do your best at, but from viewing a job as an opportunity to enrich yourself and your family while doing as little work as humanly possible.  In fact in some societies, this is viewed as a duty.  As someone in comments cited there are places in Africa where locals can’t run a shop, because all their relatives near and distant will expect to be given merchandise for free… or even money out of the till.

A lot of this is because the idea of the individual as independent of the tribe and the family is a very new thing in most of the world.  We kind of have a head start on it because we are/are descended from those who left family and tribe behind.

The other part of this is that in most of the world people are stuck where I was when my only choice was traditional publishing.  There is no joy in mudville, because your doing well is dependent not on your own efforts but on the work of other people in a system that’s so corrupt that ninety nine percent of the time you’ll fail, regardless of how hard you work.  This eats the heart out from people — I should know.  A great part of the illnesses of the last 10 years started with giving up — and makes them into walking zombies for whom it is impossible to care about their work or really anything.

Also in most of the world working for money is vaguely shameful.  Particularly so if you’re working for someone else. (Except in my field where apparently the REAL shame is working for yourself without a publisher.)

And even here not only does that attitude persist, but it’s trying to make itself normal.  Particularly in politics.

So, take pride in what you do, and do the best job you can.  It’s not just important for you, it’s a building block of society.  Do the best you can, and control as much as you can, so maybe you will have just reward which is an incentive to do better.

This way is civilization built.  This way do things actually improve.


And under that heading, I’ve decided to publish my Austen fanfic for pay (because I can.)  I have quite a few stories either finished or hanging from a day’s work.  I’ll be putting it out as I get to it.
The first one is out under the pen name Alyx Silver (because it’s so different from ALL my other stuff, and such a niche market.)  Alyx might also end up doing romance.  Anyway…)


255 thoughts on “BUILD!

  1. Trying to do a job well can be very challenging even if you don’t belong to a union (where it’s verboten). Sometimes I’ve succeeded, and sometimes even the good work has gone for naught except for teaching myself how to do it. I still recommend doing it, it will be better for you in the long run even if the powers that be throw it away.

    1. I am reading my way through the 100+ page updated Employee Rulz. Guess what? It is now a (potentially) fireable offense for your gummint employees to come in early and/or stay late to work for you.

      So this is your reminder: WE WON!

      I need to get cracking on that comic of a mushroom in blue paint running down the heathered hills screaming FREEDOM!!

      1. because god forbid any little worker drone work any harder than any of the other little worker drones?

        1. It’s not about how hard they work, it’s about how much they accomplish. If you accomplish too much, you must be beaten down level with everyone else.

  2. Maybe it’s time we all do the job well; but when we get called on it and berated for it, publically and vocally shame the ones berating us for it as being lazy and trying to incite everyone into being mediocre and piss-poor at their jobs. Stand tall and proud, or slink away like weasels.

    1. I used to be MERCILESS on job sites. I’m a painter. If I see a painter slacking, or doing a crap job, I mock the hell out of them.

      Union painters are the worst, around here anyway. Those guys think they are God’s gift. I once saw a union guy spend nearly half a day painting one (1) door and frame. I made it my business to paint the door and frame next to him in under an hour, and make it look better than his. And the next door, and the next one. He didn’t show up on the site the next day, oddly enough.

      1. Were there times when you could tell that someone was doing a crappy job just because they were new at this and didn’t know how to do it right yet? Granted, with unions being what they are, I tend to expect that a union guy “doing a crap job” would stem from laziness or apathy rather than ignorance. But I wonder if you ever saw a guy who was just doing it wrong, who when he was instructed on the right way to do it, thanked you and absorbed the lesson?

        1. When I worked in blue-collar jobs, it was easy. That was the guy who was obviously concentrating hard on what he was doing. It was clear he was trying to do it right, but wasn’t experienced. The lazy ass who doesn’t care is easy to identify, too.

        2. You can always tell. New guys don’t know anything. You keep showing them until they do it right. Usually doesn’t take long. You share all the little tricks that old guys shared with you, like how to get the paint on the wood and not the window, how to keep your hands clean all day, how to store your kit so you can find that thing you want right now, all that stuff.

          Goldbrickers, that’s different. They know how to do it right, but they won’t. They’re dickheads.

  3. This is why I try to instill in all those I work with a bit of the ethos of being an engineer or craftsman. Heinlein (of course) mentioned it, the tradition of “Value for value” of building “on the square and on the level”. I won’t post “Sons of Martha” twice in two days, but that’s part of it. So is Mcandrew’s hymn “I am o’ service to my kind. Ye wadna’ blame the thought? Maybe they steam from grace to wrath – to sin by folly led –
    It isna mine to judge their path – their lives are on my head.
    Mine at the last – when all is done it all comes back to me,
    The fault that leaves six thousand ton a log upon the sea.” Gus Grissom, asked for a speech to the team building his spacecraft — “Do good work!”. Longfellow’s “The Builders” is part of it, too.

    All are architects of Fate,
    Working in these walls of Time;
    Some with massive deeds and great,
    Some with ornaments of rhyme.

    Nothing useless is, or low;
    Each thing in its place is best;
    And what seems but idle show
    Strengthens and supports the rest.

    For the structure that we raise,
    Time is with materials filled;
    Our to-days and yesterdays
    Are the blocks with which we build.

    Truly shape and fashion these;
    Leave no yawning gaps between;
    Think not, because no man sees,
    Such things will remain unseen.

    In the elder days of Art,
    Builders wrought with greatest care
    Each minute and unseen part;
    For the Gods see everywhere.

    Let us do our work as well,
    Both the unseen and the seen;
    Make the house, where Gods may dwell,
    Beautiful, entire, and clean.

    Else our lives are incomplete,
    Standing in these walls of Time,
    Broken stairways, where the feet
    Stumble as they seek to climb.

    Build to-day, then, strong and sure,
    With a firm and ample base;
    And ascending and secure
    Shall to-morrow find its place.

    Thus alone can we attain
    To those turrets, where the eye
    Sees the world as one vast plain,
    And one boundless reach of sky.

    1. > In the elder days of Art,
      Builders wrought with greatest care
      Each minute and unseen part;
      For the Gods see everywhere.

      I saw that in a Gordon R. Dickson(?) novel long ago, but he didn’t indicate someone else had written it.

        1. Kennedy Space Station Florida has a “Rocket Garden”, not the great big ones that went to the moon, but some of the smaller ones.

          Hubby to 7 year old son: “The ones from Convaire (spelling?), these ones” (points out specific models) “were designed & built by your grandfathers team**.”

          **As in the company your grandfather worked for & your grandfather worked in that department.

          Note son never did meet this grandfather as FIL died before kid was born.

    2. To me, the ethos is simple. This is a ship. When we launch it, it needs to float, and to stay upright. And to make sure it does, you the designer and you other folks who were the foremen will have the honor of riding it down the building ways.

      The Blood Warranty, in one form or another, has a very long tradition.

      1. I’ve heard those whose job it is to pack parachutes required to use one of the chutes they have packed, & they don’t get to choose which one.

      2. Back when I had a rocket company, and people rather wondered at our commitment to having the team ride on the rocket before the customers did, I used to explain to them the old tradition of the bridge-builder standing underneath the arch when the supports were taken away….

  4. When I worked at a convenience store part time, one fellow who showed up in the morning was a guy who transported those who law had found wanting to various job sites. We got to talking, eventually. “They just don’t ‘get it’. You don’t have to care about $EMPLOYER, really. But if you take pride in your own workmanship, you’re golden anywhere.” That might not be quite true (I want my physician to be competent as well as have pride of work, for example) but for many things.. it’s at least close enough. And, of course, there is that “show up (yes, every time, really)” thing that seems to be some Deep Secret to all too many.

    1. I knew a young lady who escaped from West Virginia to Baltimore. She loved college. Any time she had enough money for another semester, she would quit work at whatever fast food franchise she was working for and go study. And they kept trying to make her management ANYWAY.

      She was up front with them. They KNEW she was gonna quit the moment she had enough money for a semester. They didn’t CARE.

      Why? She showed up on time, in uniform and acceptably sanitary, and worked her shift. That’s all it took.

      When I hear some slack-jawed brown idiot jabbering (in barely intelligible pseudo-english) about how flipping burgers is a dead end, I don’t want to hit HIM.

      I want to hunt down each and every low-expectation ofay motherfucker who taught him that shit and dent them in the dome.

      We do not owe blacks reparations for Slavery. We do owe them for the shambles we allowed the Progressives to make of their communities and their schools.

      And I have no idea how to pay that, except that we could begin by raising money to pay for scholarships to private schools for any brown kids that want to go.

      1. “We do owe them for the shambles we allowed the Progressives to make of their communities and their schools.”

        Nope. NOT. ONE. RED. CENT.

        Personally? My parents, perhaps my grandparents, but not me; and I suspect not them either, and least not my father and grandfather. Grandma is probably a different case. I didn’t vote for those progressive programs. I’ve opposed them from the beginning.

        The ones who do owe them reparations, are the ones usually shouting the loudest for them: the combined population of Communists, Democrats, Fascists, Leftists, Liberals, Maoists, Marxists, Progressives, Pseudo-Anarchists, and Socialists of America.

        1. If we make no effort to undo the damage the Progressive Left has done to the Blacks, then we deserve to live with a dangerous underclass forever. Any real help we give them will be amply repaid if we can pry them loose from the ofay Liberal parasites and Black Quislings.

          1. Yeah, but sending them to private schools which are by and large “high class” meaning “we signal to the left of lenin” won’t help. They’ll just be told harder how bad they have it. Look at Obama. And Michelle Obama.

            1. There are a bunch of private non-secular schools keyed toward inner city children that do very well indeed with less money than the Public Schools. Most of the ones I’ve heard of are Black Baptist and pretty conservative.

              Ultimately, we want to see vouchers. That will create an explosion of voucher schools, all over the map politically. Yes, some of them will teach Afrocentrism and Ebonics. Call it self-selecting failure. If we make a lot of law about what such schools can teach we hand the process over to the Progressives, who excels at taking over that kind of bureaucracy.

              It won’t be perfect. But even if all it does is break the back of the Teachers’ Unions it will be worthwhile.

              1. From my sister’s perspective, the Teachers Union is worthless, & she’s a teacher.

                1. The Teachers’ Unions exist to protect hacks, drone, and ideologues, to pay their officers large salaries, and to funnel money to the Democrat Party. In a just world (but who among us really wants perfect justice?) they would be prosecuted as a racketeering organization.

          2. It’s a very, very rare person who ever truly valued something that was just given to them. Only when they’ve gotten aching muscles and aching head from working for it themselves do they really understand and value it. Create an opportunity, dangle the bait in front of them, but make sure you’re getting something of value from them in turn. I suppose getting them off the unemployment and welfare rolls might be considered getting something of value from them. It just that seems more like keeping value you earned that they’d been stealing from you in the first place.

          3. Ultimately, this is why they HAD to destroy Bill Cosby, and work hard to discredit any of the black conservatives, like Thomas Sowell, and the new batch of young and vocal ones.

            Apparently the black conservative movement is joining the #WalkAway movement by natural alignment, and the freakout over that has been pretty much the same – discredit these people as ‘real people’ by calling them ‘Russian bots’ and try use shutterstock pictures to ‘prove’ the movement is ‘fake.’

            1. I hate using Cosby as an example of anything, because that guy was seriously bent. Like, wow.

              But, even Stalin wasn’t wrong about -everything- he said. He did run a big country and win a war against Germany, after all.

              1. I remember when Bill Cosby’s book, which basically described the problems of young urban black neighborhoods and boiled it down to “no fathers involved in the kids’ lives” first came out, and the furor it caused among liberals. Calling him an Uncle Tom was one of the nicer things they said.

                That is why I spent several months assuming that the recent allegations against Cosby were false, because I’d seen that song & dance before, and I knew that he was someone the left desperately wanted to crucify. So, knowing how they had cried wolf before, I assumed that this was the same song, second verse.

                1. I’m still far from convinced that it isn’t. But I’m strange about accusations that come years after the fact; I strongly fell that they should ALL be discounted. I may suspect that the stories about Weinstein are largely true, but I’m not seeing an awful lot of evidence and they come far, far too late for a reasonably fair trial.

              2. No, Cosby is actually a very good example. No one in their right mind can deny that he worked his backside off, or that he was one of the best comedians and entertainers of his generation. All of us have our flaws, to varying degrees. I don’t condone what he supposedly did; but I wonder how many of us, including his detractors, might not have done similarly were we in his shoes? And I really wonder how many of his accusers really didn’t know what they were going into when they showed up at his place, or didn’t know that he was giving them medication?

                1. Someone or other talked about how George Takei had drugged him and was taking his pants off when he “came to” and he got up and left.

                  And I wonder, really, how much the idea of party drugs was normalized and expected (almost) during that time and sex was expected so that if you went to the “party” or a “date” you were sort of expected to have consented to the “scene”… or some such.

                  That doesn’t make it all something other than toxic and predatory but “this is the normal thing that people do in this environment” is a little bit different in the area of motivation. And I suppose that someone will say that I’m saying they “asked for it”, but I’m not. Having made minor but ultimately undamaging (to me, though things could have gone very badly) mistakes of complete obliviousness to expectations out of being naive… well, people are *often* naive. I’m saying that someone who believes that a person knew and accepted what they were getting into by “partying”… and the concept of a few drinks to “loosen up” wasn’t until recently seen as unreasonable either… that this is different from someone undertaking what they darned well know would be refused otherwise.

                  So Mr. Takei could be like, “You came home with me, was I not supposed to make you comfortable?” And very young innocent gay actor is like, “Sh*t, what are you doing, I’m out of here! Oh, and thanks for dinner.”

                  As for Cosby, I’m not on his jury so really haven’t seen the point of finding out what the specifics of the accusations are.

                  1. I am not a fan of Real-Life George Takei, but that #MeToo episode was such total horse shit. A gay man asks another gay man back to his apartment, and they get wasted on drugs, what the hell did he think was coming next? They were going to bake cookies?

                    This is why I’m not a fan of #MeToo. Somebody grabbed your ass twenty years ago? Well, you should have dealt with it then, don’t you think?

                    That’s how you handle guys grabbing your ass.

                  2. ” Having made minor but ultimately undamaging (to me, though things could have gone very badly) mistakes of complete obliviousness to expectations out of being naive…”

                    Yes. I resemble that. Looking back part luck, part “I don’t feel good. I’m going home.” Still extremely lucky, someone both above & here on earth were willing to go the extra mile.

                    Another time it was “No. Not taking the trip with you. Sorry.” Then, even after I learned the person was loony toons, I didn’t associate it with “oh crap I could have been dead.” NOW, oh yea. The one time my empathy took a hike, pretty sure saved my life. Looking back the color draining out of older co workers maybe should have been a clue, but nope “naive” thy name is me at (least) 18 – 22 or older.

                    1. FWIW. I didn’t party drink or do drugs. A lot of plants got drunk. But I didn’t touch the stuff … so not sure how I got the flu that weekend. I was sicker than a dog.

                      Only other time I got that sick was a glass of wine, & didn’t finish it. Married by then but symptoms were similar; I have NO tolerance for alcohol. So, I know something was slipped before in my water the prior time, but don’t know what. It was an “end of the season” party, & just down the road from where I was staying, or I likely wouldn’t have gone.

                2. “…I wonder how many of us, including his detractors, might not have done similarly were we in his shoes?”

                  Me. I wouldn’t. If the chick needs to be drunk/drugged nearly unconscious before she wants to do it with me, I take that as a hard “no.”

                  Really, when a man is that famous, there’s a lineup of fully sober adult women yelling YES!!! at them and throwing underwear. That guy can get laid any way he wants, any time he wants, with pretty much whoever he wants.

                  Coerce women against their will when there’s enthusiastic participants begging for a go? Disgusting and perverse, is what that is.

                  This of course makes me a -sexist- these days. Oh well…

                  1. Aye. It’s one thing if someone, for whatever strange reason, wishes to “do it” while intoxicated… BUT.. that decision to “do it” must be made stone-cold sober. That’s ethics. Note that I am not arguing as to morality.

                    1. He was knocking them out and then doing them unconscious, from what I heard. There’s no excuse for that. Its evil.

                      I’ve said YES! while drunk and regretted it later, but I’m not coming out of the woodwork twenty years after the fact and claiming I was coerced. I know I make stupid decisions while drunk. Nobody -made- me drink all that beer, and nobody -made- me take that weird girl home, or go back to her place, or whatever. My decision, my problem.

                      Getting drunk and doing stupid shit you regret later is the definition of a successful Friday night. Hearing all these tales of “It was horrible! And the next three times I went out with him, those were horrible too!!!” after twenty years, I’m sorry, I’m not buying it. You got drunk off your ass, you get to own it. Don’t want to regret stuff, don’t get drunk.

                      Which is SO sexist!

                    2. Agree with assessment: evil.

                      And perhaps ox simple creature, but it also seems rather pointless. Shouldn’t a ‘partner’ be a participant rather than… a (barely?) living doll-toy thing?

                    3. “BUT.. that decision to “do it” must be made stone-cold sober.”

                      Right. But one thing I’ve known since I was a teenager… I’M NOT NORMAL and I’m so adverse to losing control that I have never been more drunk than a faint “buzz” and have never even tried anything else. Nor did I sleep with anyone in my life other than my husband (even if I’m not going to confess *when*).

                      This idea that being just a *little* bit drunk removes a person’s ability to consent is very very very new. That some of us were brought up to avoid both drinking and sex outside of marriage and never once in our lives woke up in the morning wondering what we did the night before might mean we avoided some very bad mistakes but it remains that we were already sort of rare even 30 to 40 years ago.

                    4. “Nor did I sleep with anyone in my life other than my husband (even if I’m not going to confess *when*).”

                      Me either.

                    5. Same. I got drunk three times, all of them with a family member. I got pseudo-drunk once (and much worse than drunk, actually)because I forgot I was on medication and downed a bottle of wine.

                  2. I’d believe those stories more if they were told before the latest “#metoo” movement.

                    With all the “Uncle Tom” screams at Cosby, those women would have had an audience much sooner.

              3. The fact is, he was one of the most influential people in basically saying to the black American community – you’re responsible for yourselves, if you want better, work for better, etc. He was very anti-victimhood.

                I honestly still do not buy the claims of his drugging women at the Playboy Mansion. One of the people accusing him claims she was 15 years old at the time, that her mother knew she was there, and … yeah. No. She’d have to have lied about her age and fake ID to get in at 15, and if ‘her mother knew’ what the actual fuck, that’s prostituting a minor at the least. Nothing was ever said about these things remotely close to the time they were supposed to happen, which is a very big contrast to Bill Clinton’s accusers, and I’m not likely to believe that a liar who was willing to get into someplace she wasn’t supposed to be so she could get money and favors isn’t lying now to do the same. That’s tainting the credibility of the witness pretty hard.

                The case was dismissed last I heard, due to lack of evidence, and they’re pushing for a new one.

                1. I haven’t followed the Cosby thing at all. I stopped listening after 20 women all stood up and claimed rape. The allegations were sufficiently bad that I didn’t want that in my brain. I live in here, I want it to be nice and clean, you know?

                  But this is the nice thing about Due Process. If 20 women lied for money, which wouldn’t shock me in Hollyweird, then in due course Cosby will be exonerated, or at least they’ll admit there is no evidence to support a conviction, and I will readjust my cranial space accordingly.

                  And as you said, if one of them was claiming she was 15 and at a party in Playboy Mansion, that’s straining my suspension of disbelief. So there’s that.

                  1. I’d buy it if they said he had affairs. Rape? It sounded too much like metoo-ing at the time. Still does.

                    I actually hadn’t followed the Cosby thing at all in the later stages; I stopped reading after the ’15 year old at the time’ claim, mostly because it’d involve digging at this point, but I ran across an article while browsing the news and it was mentioned that the original allegations against him were found to be of insufficient evidence (duh, after this much time?) and the case was dropped by the court, but the prosecutors were trying to have it reopened or reviewed. I forget the term at the moment.

                    1. That’s okay, we have a brand new Lefty to throw tomatoes at: Les Moonves! He’s the head of CBS.

                      Which in America is pronounced “See BS.” ~:D

            2. The downfall of Bill Cosby were of his own making.

              That society choose to look the other way when the escapades of another man whom they favored were exposed is to society’s shame.

        2. No, not reparations.

          When people are graduating from high school without mastering basic reading, writing, arithmetic and civics — no less higher level courses — we are doing ourselves and the future no favor. For the sake of all of society we cannot afford to continue to render large portions of the population unable to take care of themselves.

        3. “…o not owe blacks reparations for Slavery. We do owe them for the shambles we allowed the Progressives to make of their communities and their schools.”

          This, with bells on. There’s a name for “white oppression” and it’s “VileProgs”. And if Mr. B. Washington is to be believed, there’s any number honorary “white” people in the mix.

          But that’s a very broad “we” and only includes those who had a chance to stand up to the LBJs of America, and didn’t. For all the rest of us: Not our circus, etc.

        1. The Gods of the Copybook Headings will take care of that. The challenge is not to suffer the punishment along with those who have invited it.

        1. I have been known to greet “it’s progressive!” with “so’s leprosy.”

      2. How about more charter schools? The more options the better. Sure some might fail. That happens in the standard public schools and few people are suggesting shutting down the whole public school system because some of schools fail.

        Make this real charter schools. Not, as we had had here for some time, with oversight by the county school system which only begrudgingly granted a permit, and then only if you agreed to run it using their pedagogical philosophy and with their scope and sequence.

      3. How do we convince them to appropriate WASP culture? They are terrified of being called Oreos. I’d start by figuratively blowing up every African-American Studies department.

  5. I’d heard that it was a real problem in Saudi… if your family had money, then you were desirable as a husband. If you didn’t have money, you couldn’t get a wife. If you lowered yourself to working for money, even if you became wealthy, you couldn’t get a wife.

    Americans who have worked in Dubai also report that no matter how high status your “work” is in the US, in Dubai you’re probably going to be treated like a servant.

    It seems to me that granting status by work and income might not be the worst thing to do after all. :/

    1. Hmm. That might explain that woman my mom met while she was studying in Mindanao.

      Said woman belonged to one of the stricter Islamic tribes, and would angrily, shrilly, insist on closing all the windows so she could not be seen working. They were working in a kitchen; Mom because it gave her a bit of extra pocket money and subsidy on her education then, this woman because she needed money. Said woman did not care how uncomfortable anyone else was, the windows must be closed, nobody from her tribe must witness her working, or she would never be able to find a husband.

      I’m not sure why everyone tolerated that, but if I had to hazard a guess, it’s because she probably belonged to one of the tribes that would get violent at a drop of a hat / get her male relatives to act on her behalf for ‘dishonoring’ her.

      1. If somebody was convinced she wasn’t going to get a husband if the windows were open, and if I believed her, I’d probably put up with keeping them closed.

        I’d also counsel her that she should really GTFO of that situation soonest.

        But then, I’m a racist. ~:D

        1. Dude, that’s not celebrating her diversity at all! And it’s totally not abuse if it’s her culture!

          1. Yes, some cultures ARE superior to others. At least according to my value system.

            1. You can measure it, actually. There’s lots of ways to evaluate cultures based on physical results.

              Naturally, the entire notion of measuring something like that is completely forbidden in modern Anthropology. Its racist, you know.

    2. No, the problem is that the Man must come up with the Bride Price.
      When I was in Saudi 1980. I taught Royal Saudi Air Force people to work on LASER Target Designators. There were a couple of them that got married while I was there. Both of them had to come up with about 25K in REAL money, Gold, Property, in other words Hard Value for the Bride Price.
      Normally the Father gives all or most of the Bride Price to the Bride but he doesn’t have to. Several said that the Father of their bride had kept the whole thing.

      BTW: For both of them the first time they saw the bride was at the wedding.

      One RSAF Sgt. thought his wife was getting to smart so he took her out of High School.

      Bride Price is different for the different Classes.

      1. See, stuff like that is why you teach daughters the finer points of knife fighting, and how to make “medicinal substances” in the Venetian style. Self defense takes many forms.

  6. It’s also one of the reasons that elevating the blue collar working class to “pillar of civilization” is not a bad thing either. When you’re doing hard, dirty, unlovely work (like digging ditches, or plumbing sewers) the right to view yourself as particularly important to the country itself is really not too much to ask.

    1. Once upon a time I met a fellow who had been dealing with the preparations and security issue for the Atlanta Olympics (they had not yet taken place) and was assured they had thought of everything. I think I scared him just a bit when I asked/suggested, “Even ‘flush bombs’ to knock out the sewer system?” I got That Look for a moment.

      It’s a good thing I’m not evil.

      1. Seriously, someone who was male and grew up in the US didn’t immediately remember at least *stories* about M80’s in school toilets?

        1. The elementary school a mile from my house suffered a good due to a homemade m80 that was likely far more powerful than a real one. A 6th grader iirc.

      2. Georgia Tech used to have a small nuclear reactor as an educational toy. The anti-nuke people had raved against it for decades, until they got various “authorities” working with the Olympic Committee to shut it down permanently, citing “safety of the Olympics.”

        Right. I guess it was as good as “I had to wash my hippopotamus” as an excuse…

        1. U of Illinois had a TRIGA reactor for a)training nuclear engineers and b) providing neutrons for the material science folks. I saw it at an engineering open house in the 70s, with it at idle; it might have had a faint glow. The docent said you could get one hell of a flash when the reactor was pulse-triggered. Of course, you wouldn’t want to be above the pile at the time. (Essentially, it was a critical-capable pile in a deep pool of water. Very flexible with control rods and a port or three for neutrons.) Very faint memory says it could put out about 10MW when pulsing. There was no active cooling, so it wouldn’t be a high duty cycle…

          It was shut down in 1998, with one reason (according to the search engine) “a lack of users”. Pretty sure it was the anti-nukeer, with one such website lumping it in with the 1000MWE complexes around the state. (No idea of the current situation in Illinois; I try to forget about the place.) The writeup and pearl-clutching was hysterical. (Both meanings would be applicable.) One would like to gift such people with some nice antique pottery. In yellow, using uranium glaze. [grin]

      1. Even the “This Old House” guys are getting into that kind of thing.

        Might have something to do with the youngest guys on the job-sites being in their 40s…

      2. I saw him interviewed by a just starting podcaster. Mike was gracious and forthcoming. Who knew he was an opera singer when young. Such a good guy.

      3. Apparently he was a recent target for the 2 minutes hate because one of his shows was syndicated on a right leaning network or something.

  7. The older I get, the stronger is my impulse to have THE WHITE MAN’S BURDEN made into a large iron plate, so I could brand the poem into the fat backsides of Progressives, so they would see it every time they go to jam their head up their ass.

    Seriously; what is wrong with most of the Third World is that the Colonial Powers left too goddamned too, and all to often allowed the locals to be infected with the Political Dengue Fever that is Socialism.

    I listen to my Liberal acquaintance jabber about international poverty and exploitation and I want to scream; “Well, if you’re so goddamned concerned about starving brown people, then have the guts to Take Up The White Man’s Burden, conquer their Kleptocratic/Parasitic governments, and teach them how to do it right. Otherwise please sit the fuck down and shut the fuck up.”

    1. At a certain level of survival it makes sense to operate in a “family based communism” sort of way. But it doesn’t take long at all before being compelled to “share” with anyone who feels they have a claim on you becomes profoundly damaging to the motivation to create *anything* since whatever you build or accomplish is “owned” by those people and not you.

      And that’s within *family* which you’d likely have emotional attachments to. Heck, it often doesn’t even work with spouses! Not if one person tries to build and the other person isn’t equally dedicated to building and just wants to use the joint funds for “stuff”. Quickly, extremely quickly, it becomes a rush to see who can spend the money before the other person spends it out from under them.

      But someone will come up with “Oh, just make sure everyone is educated on how to manage community fish farms and then they’ll quit eating all the fry before they get a chance to grow into big fish…” And of course that’s stupid because people AREN’T stupid and they know very well that there will be someone who can’t be trusted to wait, so if they want fish at all they have to get them before they’re gone.

      Respecting property is the one thing that ends that immediately, and delivers large fish to hungry people who trade more money for larger fish so that the person (not community) that owns the fish knows that 1) the fish will be there until *she* decides to sell them, and 2) people pay more money if they actually get fish.

      Unless her family just helps themselves, of course.

      1. I read an article about the problem of vanishing villages in parts of the Middle East. Each community was centered around one or more wells, which had been dug centuries ago. Some of them had quit producing for no particular reason, but others were no longer useable because they were full of blown sand, trash, or had been vandalized.

        Rather than dig the detritus out, the villagers generally considered the problem impossible to solve and wandered off to some other place that still had water. That their forefathers had dug them to begin with, often with sticks and bare hands, was irrelevant – *they* weren’t going to stoop to digging in a hole. There was a new religion and culture in town, and it didn’t favor that sort of behavior….

        1. Car breaks down in the middle of the desert? No, no looking under the hood to figure out what’s wrong. “Allah wills it.” They’ll sit down and wait to see what help will come. Usually in the form of foreigners.

          I once had a discussion with someone (maybe my Dad, I can’t remember since I’ve had this discussion more than once) how this is very different from the Filipino ‘bahala na’ (stemming from Bathala – old Filipino word for God) – mostly translatable to ‘well, it’s up to God’ in vernacular. Filipinos generally use it as a nicer version of “Well, fuck it” and try fix things anyway, before giving up.

          1. Also very different from the American “Lord willin'” which is basically “I’ll give it my best shot, but that might not be enough.”

          2. Inshalla – (I think) If god wills it.
            While I was in Saudi (1980) I saw almost new cars that had been towed to a repair shop. I asked one of the guys what was wrong. He said the normal. The Saudi had bought the car and had never done anything but put gas in it. The car could only go so long with no maintenance before it just quit.
            When you know absolutely NOTHING about how a car works, there is nothing else you can do but sit down and wait for help.

      2. It comes down to the question of how many dependents/pets you’re willing to personally support. The whole concept of Chinese obligation resonates through so many of Heinlein’s works, and sings ‘oh-so-true’ to yours truly.

        1. Mitchner’s Hawaii covers this. There is a resident from China or Japan, who has a wife back home, but takes a local wife of same ethnicity. Even after he died, she insisted on sending support money back to the “wife & kids back home” to the horror of her own kids.

          1. It is worse then you are saying. The Hawaii Wife was not considered the Mother of her kids, the China wife was. I believe Hawaii Wife was called Wo Chows Aunti. I don’t believe there were any kids in China. Just an obligation to send money to the China Wife. (Long after the China wife died)

      3. DO you know why “loosies” – single cigarettes sold one at a time – are such a big thing in some “vibrant urban” communities? Because if you buy a pack – which to an economist or outsider seems a significant savings compared to the high price paid for each cigarette – then your family and friends in that culture see you as having a store of goods that you should obviously share with them. And if you don’t share, you’re shamed and ostracized as greedy… So if you pay the price of a pack, you may only get two or three of them, which is higher per cigarette than the price of buying one at a time.

        Which is why people who want to do better move out of the ghetto. Nothing to do with skin colour, everything to do with culture.

      4. they know very well that there will be someone who can’t be trusted to wait, so if they want fish at all they have to get them before they’re gone.

        Seems to me that that’s the kind of thing that could be solved by beating the impatient ones…

    2. cspschofield:

      I program and operate a CO2 laser. How big do ya want it cut? I can cut up to 60″ x 120″ 😉

    3. I was scared to say this (for fear of being shouted at) that some countries were at their best for everyone when they were under colonial rule by the British.

      1. The British seemed to have been better than some others. (Spain *cough* Netherlands *cough cough*.)

        1. A) This is true but B) The horrible truth is that only Lefty sentimentality about poet-colonial independence keeps that news that even the Spanish and the Dutch were better than the current bumble of kleptocrats and psychos.

          1. Heh. Well, truth of the matter is that even if someone who looks like you is “in charge” the local people generally aren’t any more in charge than they were with someone else at the top running things. Maybe less.

        2. That’s why I specified British. I think that the colonists in Rhodesia would have done better to go to Australia. That’s 20/20 hindsight of course!

        3. Belgium.

          As shown by the writer of Beau Geste. He wanted to establish that the villainous Foreign Legion captain was an exceptional villain:

          “Rumour had it that he had been exiled from the Belgian Congo for behavior exceeding the tolerance of even King Leopold’s Merry Men.”

            1. Or perfectly appropriate, if past is prologue. That colony should have gotten them invaded. By everyone.

      2. Most of those “countries” didn’t even exist until the British welded together bunches of warring tribes, villages, sheikdoms, and whatnot together.

        Much the same for the other European colonial empires.

      3. Not shouting, but politely offering you a view from those same countries, that notes what you’re seeing is willfully slanted views of history. The countries ran better – for the benefit of the colonial rulers. They were far worse, in general, for the ruled. Do you know how many labourers were killed to build the Lunatic Express? No, because numbers were only recorded in direct service to the rail line, on the job, like noting the lions that stopped work because they were killing “too many” workers, and the survivors feared to go out (and even there, the official count is far lower than the accounts given by everyone else in the area.) There were plenty of death that happened outside of the record pages, and have disappeared into history because no one wrote them down. How many people were killed in India during the Partition? Nobody knows. Nobody but those on the ground cared.

        The bloody awful, appalling crime of Colonial Rule is that they had no interest in educating the locals – and often deliberately had policies not to educate them. The colonies were for the profit of the motherland, and to hell with everything else. They could have built thriving countries with educated populaces – they could have sunk some of the money the made back into the country, for far greater returns than the mother country got by squeezing every last shilling and sending it overseas. So when they could no longer afford to hold onto the colonies – there was a complete and total power vacuum. And power vacuums are filled by strongmen and warlords. Building a civilization takes time and effort, and cannot be done overnight, especially in a culture foreign to the idea.

        Let me tell you of the rise of Kwame Nkrumah. He was a ruthless thug, who saw the end of colonialism coming in Ghana. And he went to the Soviets, and said “If you give me backing, I will deliver this country to you in the UN.” So they gave him money – not a lot by Soviet standards, but a small fortune by African ones. And he used to to amass a band of bully-boys.

        Now Ghana had a few somewhat-educated tribes on the coast who worked with the British, and to whom they expected to hand everything to in a rigged election, along with a neat treaty that would keep the nation a de facto colony. But they’d put absolutely no money and no help into the illiterate, desperately poor interior. And they didn’t expect any of those illiterate tribes to vote, concentrating all their efforts on where their were roads and civil servants and trappings of civilization.

        Kwame went to the interior, skipping the coast entirely. And he went to a chief, and said “I will pay you a small pittance, and you will tell your people to vote for me.” The chief laughed at his upstart young thug. So Kwame’s bully-boys raped and tortured the chiefs entire family until they were dead, while forcing the chief and his tribe to watch… and then killed the chief.

        After the third chief and his family were tortured and killed, the rest fell in line.

        And so the interior voted, overwhelmingly, for Kwame NKrumah in the first, and last, free elections ever held in Ghana until the day he started killing enough chiefs and members of his own family that they threw a coup…

        And the rest of Africa, poor, misbegotten, uneducated, starved, and slaughtered by their colonial rulers, took notice. And so did the Soviets. And the continent descended into a hell that could have been so easily prevented if the colonial powers had bothered to ever, for a moment, care about their people.

        There is one shining exemption – a country that sunk a hell of a lot back into education and infrastructure, and bled the diamond companies for access (Oh, how De Beers screamed about it. They only wanted to give the country 3-5% of revenues for creating and abandoning giant mines in country.) Guess who’s still got one of the better economies of Africa, and is relatively peaceful compared to the rest? Botswana. Seretse Khama led that country with an eye to the future, and is rightly spoken of with reverence by those who see what he wrought.

        To say that countries were better under colonialism is… to speak with only half of a knowledge of the past, and a distorted view that absolves those rulers of the wasteland that they themselves set up and assured would come to pass.

        1. Depends on the time period of colonialism, Dot. Under later colonialism when the educate and build thing was in place (and where people lived there and viewed themselves as part of the land) it was quite different. OF course it was that place of soft colonialism that allowed the — often Soviet educated — thugs to take over.

        2. Er, Mea Culpa? I know very little about Africa or of history. Next time I’ll think twice before I say something on a subject I know very little about.

        3. You have just proven that things were MUCH BETTER under Colonialism!
          No One is saying that Colonialism was Great but at least under the British it was BETTER than what came after.
          And the British did try and educate the locals, if only because they needed educated workers. You even talked about those.
          I believe your expectations for what the British “Should Have Done” are to grand. The question should be – “Were any of the Colonial Powers BETTER than the British in their treatment of the locals?”. I believe by any measure that the British were the best.
          You shouldn’t judge them by Modern Ideas but by the Ideas of their time.

        4. I was talking politics with people working on the Gorgon LNG project on Barrow Island in Autralia in 2016. I was going on about how Bush and many American’s have this stupid faith that imposing democracy on a country will fix everything. How many countries had one election to choose the next dictator for life. I used Mugabe in Rhodesia/Zimbabwe as an example. I noticed a black man looking at me funny so I asked him where he was from. “Zimbabwe” he answered. Then added that he thought Mugabe was evil and his grandparents reminisce about good times in Rhodesia when they ate well working on the white man’s farm.

          1. imposing democracy on a country will fix everything
            It’s amazing how many people substitute “democracy” for “liberty, rule of law, consent of the governed, and all other good things of Western Civilization” in their minds, but never actually require all those things when they bring voting and expect that portion of “democracy” will make a country nice and western.

            Hey look at all the purple fingers! Iraq is solved, because… voting! *eyeroll*

      4. *snort* I got crap for pointing out that Americans were rather nice colonial rulers. The Spanish gave just enough education for reading the Bible, for the poor, the wealthy got better education generally. When y’all took over the Philippines, it was unthinkable that the poor stayed uneducated, and education was for everyone. English was the universal bridging language, and it kept everyone from getting upset that their regional language (there’s at least six) was ‘promoted to rule over the others’. I was lucky my teachers noted that as uncomfortable as it was, I was correct in my summary; and we owed our literacy and advancement to the religious schools and the Americans.

        Who knows what might’ve happened if the Philippines had stayed a US territory?

          1. It was something I regularly argued with my Dad about; it was one of the few blind spots he had for a long while, along with Israel (then he moved to Israel, saw the reality… and changed his mind completely on sympathizing with Palestine, condemning them wholheartedly from that point on.)

            The whole thing with Trump probably wouldn’t have surprised him though.

              1. I miss him a lot, but some days, I think it’s nicer that he’s dead. He would be absolutely appalled at the media now. No integrity whatsoever. He was irritated with the new breed of journalists he was encountering as it was, who were quite unable to give good interviews, and sometimes found themselves on the receiving end of an impromptu lesson of how to give a good interview by asking the correct and relevant questions to give the viewer/reader the most information and facts re: topic at hand.

                At his funeral, I remember being asked by young journalists sent to cover an Ambassador’s funeral, “How do you feel?” I am unsure if I was haunted at the moment, but I remember pretty much hearing in my head, my father’s indignant complaints ‘That is an empty, useless question! and what in blazes is a junior reporter doing on a job like this? *rant rant rant*’

                At that same funeral, several of his peers in journalism remarked that the first thing Dad (and his best friend, Larry Sipin, who had died before him) would probably do in the afterlife was go off and pester (insert name of interesting figure of history here) with questions and grill them in an interview.

        1. You could’ve ended up like Puerto Rico? Or like Hawaii. Subic Bay is in the PI, isn’t it?

      5. I read somewhere that there hasn’t been a single major rail line built in India or Africa since the Euros left. I can’t say that’s true with absolute certainty, but it certainly has the ring of truthiness to it.

        This is not to say that the Indians and Africans -couldn’t- build a rail line. I’m sure they could.

        But they won’t.

        1. Hmm. Did a web search and up came lots of different pages with “Chinese-built Railway” in the title: Ethiopia, Kenya, Angola, Djibouti, …

          1. Yep. The Chinese are building all over Africa. And they’re mostly importing Chinese labor to do it…

          2. Belt-and-Road Initiative. That’s what they call it. The modern Silk Road.
            (But mostly a way to capture economic value from other countries and provide themselves infrastructure for any future military endeavors.)

        2. “But they won’t”
          They have enough trouble building roads. The people in charge are stealing so much of the money almost nothing is built.
          I other places those in charge are satisfied with 10 to 20% and still build a good road but in Africa they aren’t satisfied with those LOW numbers they want 80 to 90% and the road doesn’t even get built.

    4. The problem is turning the World Empire of the United States into a profit-making enterprise. The British Empire ran off the profits from trade with India and China (and if you look closely, British imperial holdings were at the strategic choke points on the shipping routes).

      1. Sadly we lack the temperament to be good at running a Colonial Empire. I say that because I greatly fear that an Imperial U.S. is in our future. At some point (unless they be persuaded to take up basket weaving) the Jihadists are going to pull one attack too many in the U.S.. Then hell will go for a walk in the Middle East with the sleeves rolled up, and we will end up ruling much of it.

        It won’t be good for us, and it will be worse for them.

        What worries me is the existence of areas like Detroit where the social structure has broken down to a great extent. A cell of Islamotwits could operate there, making a large bomb, for some time with little risk of detection.

        Nuclear is probably beyond their ability to build without all of them dying of radiation poisoning, but a large conventional explosion isn’t. Say they blow up much of Detroit. It won’t hurt us much as a Nation, but a death toll of tens of thousands would get the public seriously angry, with dire consequences for due process.

        It won’t bother me much on a personal level; I’m over 50, white, and effectively retired. But ultimately it will be A Big Mess.

        1. I agree that Americans are lousy at imperialism. We’re both too idealistic, and too unfocused. Which makes the U.S. ideal as the dominant power, in many respects…we can’t keep focused long enough to abuse the power.

        2. There’s no money in empire. Unless we screw up our economy with socialism.

        3. > Say they blow up much of Detroit.

          Given what Detroit looks like nowadays, would anyone notice? Or care?

    5. Red hot chains of iron. But I seem to recall that was one of the punishments in Hell as described in the Divine Comedy.

  8. $SPOUSE was quite exercised when we had my family come to visit. My $SIBLING was making noises like he was entitled to a share of her modest inheritance. OTOH, said $SIBLING has the money smarts of Occasional-Cortex, though he claims to be a MAGA supporter. Supposedly.

    “What’s mine is mine. What’s yours is negotiable.” Arggh.

    1. People can be *extra* stupid about money they don’t perceive has having been “earned”.

      1. It’s worse than that. If they see money they might get, they will do anything to get it. Ask me about my father’s estate.

      1. I’m finding that my dedication to Truth seems to be slipping in my old age. I tend to favor “it’s all been invested, it’s gone, can’t get at it, sorry.”

        1. Yep. $SIBLING has zero knowledge of the extent of our half-vast modest miniscule (that’s the ticket!) horde of assets, and we plan to keep it that way. Doesn’t hurt that it’s a hell of a long drive from there to here, and also with the knowledge that he’d be put to work. VBEG.

      2. .38 in my case.
        I do need to raise the front sight; it’s hitting about 6 inches high at 50 feet.
        And the damn groundhog is still winning the war of the roses and zucchini.

        1. If the front sight is dovetailed, might be easier to file the rear down and notch deeper….. (no, I’m not a gunsmith).

    2. Had relatives like that. Learned early on to poor mouth, never EVER mention that I’d gotten a raise, or a bonus, or won a prize of any value, because of course everything I had including the contents of my wallet was community property. Funny thing was it never seemed to flow in the other direction.
      This was my very expensive and years long education on the difference between relatives and family.

  9. Japan has a lot of that infrastructure, too, and most home appliances are good. But they still have squat toilets in many public places. (To be fair, the squats of today are apparently lots better than those of the past. But still.)

    1. There are people who argue that squats are a healthier position. Of course there are people who argue that Veganism is a healthy diet, so research is called for.

      1. “A la Turq” is how I’ve seen them referred to in Europe. Generally not with approval (although, East German plumbing… Yeah.)

        1. I experienced my first squat toilet (ick. shoes!!!) in Italy. Venice, a nice restaurant, two equally appalled pre-school daughters. Back in the 1990s, before Mrs. Merkel’s invited invasion. So not a Third World environment, and still utterly disgusting.

          1. I used to get bad UTIs as a kid, and experience incredible discomfort because I never went into the school bathrooms after the first time, because, yes, squat toilets.
            I once peed myself on the front door mat, I’d been holding it so long (and was like, 10) but I would NOT go to the school bathroom even after that.

      2. Yeah, Probably easier with a kimono or thaub, but pants always looked like a problem with a squatter. Not to mention, with my knees it ain’t gonna happen. I always wondered how the elderly, crippled, or people with bad knees were supposed to deal with those.

        1. I suspect (but do not know) that people who habitually sit on the floor, Japanese style, retain functioning knees longer.

          Anyone know?

          1. People who routinely have occasion to adopt a stable squatting position, also, I think. The trick is it’s both strength and flexibility…. It’s a thing of wonder to watch my toddler squat flat-footed and realize there are adults who can do that.

            1. When I was a kid, and a teenager, I used to read books in a sort of half-squatting, half-sitting position on the ground. I can’t describe it in words very well, but I found a statue of a boy in exactly the same position I used to use to read books on the ground:

              That’s probably what kept my knees flexible as I grew older: I can still do a squat with flat feet and with my back basically vertical.

          2. They use bedpans and someone takes it to the toilet? They sit in their own filth?

          3. Most Asians I’ve met have ankles that flex more than European ankles. No clue as to genetics or lifetime of squatting flatfooted. Shops in China with no workbenches. They just squat flatfooted and work on the floor.

          1. WE couldn’t do it neatly and efficiently. They probably can. Although sit down toilets are making headway toward general adoption in Japan…..

            Still, a sit down also offers vast opportunities for making a mess of one’s garments. It’s just what we are used to, and deal with without thinking about it.

            1. The only place I’ve really seen the squatting toilets–and they’re basically porcelain funnel troughs–is in convenience stores like Family Mart or Lawry’s. Houses and apartments have regular toilets.

              Although mine also has a bidet thingie set in the tank above the seat. No idea why. I am neither that tall nor that bendy. I use it to wash my hands.

              And I purely hate that the toilet room on the second floor, where the bedrooms are, has no mirror or anything else but a sink. I brush my teeth there but can’t put in/take out my contacts. The shower room is on the first floor, too. Very annoying.

            2. Making headway? Criminy, the Japanese are the ones with the electronic toilets – flashing lights, warm seats, rotating nozzles to wash you backside….
              I’d say they’re past “making headway”.

        2. the squats of today are apparently lots better than those of the past.
          Porcelain and a flush mechanism, cover a multitude of faults, but…

          but pants always looked like a problem with a squatter.

          Pantyhose are nightmare.

    2. In the early 1980s I traveled in Japan with a group.  On a road trip up to Fuji from Tokyo we stopped at a Japanese rest area — with squat toilets.  I expect that if you use them regularly you would have developed the necessary muscles and balance.  The women who were wearing pantyhose had a hell of a time negotiating their use. 

      1. One of the weirder items in Irish cultural history is a book by an Elizabethan Englishman, who claimed that Irish women stood up to urinate, whenever they had to do their business outside.

        The rest of his info was reasonably accurate despite a biased presentation, and it can be done it one adopts a wide stance of has broad hips… But yeah, some people think he ran into a lot of ladies with middle-aged bladders — prolapsed, or whatever it is called. Others think it was huge long skirts and wet cold ground. Or maybe it was just going on outings with creepy English guests staring at you doing the necessary.

        1. I believe him. A lot of Portuguese peasants did it. I was shocked the first time I saw it at 6 or so. They just spread their legs and skirts and peed standing up.
          I’ve found there’s a ton of commonality between the North of Portugal and Ireland.

          1. It’s why I no longer say in the ‘gender’ wars, “If you can pee standing up…”. I now say “If you can write your name, without taking off your pants.”

  10. Problem is that in a society where power is the only currency and lying is the most successful route to wealth, the doer is not just working for himself, but being destroyed for it.

        1. Not quite. There are still people who work this way. My husband and I. I’m sure Sarah and Dan do. And lots of people we don’t know.

          1. Problem is that the direction of a country isn’t dictated by its people. It is dictated by the ruling class and the diktats and benefits enacted by them. To turn it around you need to make work acceptable again, and break the hold of the siphon industries like regulation and law. But those are currently the ones making decisions, and even though there is a fight against them, when they regain power, retribution will be heavy. Can try and prepare next generation to subsist with barter or to adapt to the ensuing culture.

            1. I respectfully submit that you are depressed. There is no way you’re looking at what the rest of us are looking and coming to that conclusion.
              SURE we’ve a lot of work ahead of us. SURE there will be setbacks. But we’re on the way back from the pit of progressivism that hit its worst around the 70s.
              Seriously. You’re not seeing clearly. You should look at what is causing this. Because you’re baffling the rest of us.

              1. I’m not so much baffled as worried.

                I have a couple reasons why my evaluation of someone might be false positive for ‘depressed, and political thinking making it worse’. One being a hole I’ve been in myself, and another being some business I don’t feel I have a right to talk about in public.

                I also have reasons right now for my evaluation of the political situation to be a false positive for ‘guardedly optimistic’.

                So I’m part worried and part “how do you know you are really sane? What makes you think your judgement is good enough to act on?”

              2. Just a case of going through the current evidence. The current actual outlook on things if you put aside the insanity of the masses is positive, I’ll admit, but that insanity has basically overtaken reality. The idea that you have continuous screams of anger and denunciation from media and peers, up to and including physical threats, gives the potential of death throes, but also that people will just give in, going back to comfort of managing the decline when there were no scandals. As to why I expect Queen Pelosi to return, just experience. I remember all of the expectations back in 2012 when the economy was limping along, that Romney would have to be elected. All the hoping and wishing over polls being skewed or within margin. Nope. Seen the same wishcasting numerous times since the election, every time of which but one where the non communist candidate got slammed.

                Right now communism has a death grip on a large plurality of the electorate, and that plurality is also highly concentrated around the capital. That is because that is who is running things. You get little tinkering around the edges but it’s one step forward, ten steps back since nothing but lying is done through the elected offices, but through the bureaucracy. The bureaucracy is the ones that used the IRS and government to persecute people who were brave or trusting enough to put their name behind any organization not full throated communist. Nothing has changed. Step out of line and you will have the full weight of government and media fall on you.

                Perhaps it’s just the schizophrenic nature of my environment where I can talk to my coworkers and they can see the same things as I can, the positives out there and the insanity in the mainstream. Meanwhile in my other sphere where I used to relax, another witch hunt has started from someone not tugging the forelock enough and quickly being dehumanized and destroyed. See the insanity daily from folks I once thought family and friend but now the spittle flecked rages have made it impossible to even speak to them.

                And since can’t even speak to each other or have any method of relaxation that does not become a political football, it just seems to me that this will not blow over easily, if at all. Success depends on being able to be ignored and the ability to lie, nod, and clap to the destruction of the Goldstein of the day.

                As for depression, been fighting it for 80% of my life. I’m not trying to look for sympathy or anything in these posts. Just calling what I see.

                  1. Been trying. But i haven’t been seeing much tuning out in public. And any sign of sanity gets overruled by two or three signs of insanity.

                    1. Let me give you a tip: the left acts saner when it knows it’s winning. Someone gave me this in 04, and I’ve observed since.
                      The louder they scream, the more they KNOW they’re losing.

                    2. As examples just from today, after Facebook’s stock drop, corps are gonna assume that it was all because of decreased activity since they allowed non democrats to use the service and supported it (Zuck’s call to trump.)

                      Meanwhile our Republican house has added an amendment to budget for DOJ that ICE has to “listen and believe” to any asylum cry. So now if your husband slaps you while you’re at home in Chile you and all of your closest friends get to come into the US.

                      And expectation of most, even with prior reliability of polls, is that DOJ will run out the clock on surveillance of the trump campaign and get a democrat house to cover for them as they start it back up. Meanwhile any jot on a tax form that could be looked at sideways as questionable will be trumpeted as the reason for impeachment. And you are much more trusting if you think there are not 20 Republican senators that would vote to convict trump even if impeached for jaywalking. So a nice reminder from the ruling class to the slaves. Know your place.

                      Mexico will probably have a higher standard of living than us in the next decade or two.

                    3. aacid…. facebook has issues.
                      MEXICO WILL NEVER HAVE A HIGHER STANDARD OF LIVING. Takes centuries to get THAT corrupt. It seems to me you’re assuming the talking heads are the PEOPLE. They’re not, or 16 would not have happened. Are you out of your ever loving mind? Seriously. You’re not well.

                    4. It takes centuries for a society to grow that corrupt, yes. But you don’t need to be corrupt to be destroyed. Its easy for a society to rip everything down. Venezuela probably the most recent example of how fast everything collapses. And its profitable for the politicians to do so. Puts more mouths on the government dime. These are people that would execute their own child.

                      As to 16, yes, i am aware. I also remember that 2012 and 2008 were spot on, and just how much hope hung on them being wrong. The midterms were off, but that was an intensity issue, one that i see working in the other direction as all the special elections have shown (polls had virginia not flipping, moore winning, etc).

                    5. I’ll put this in perspective with my aunt who immigrated to France on the “it takes centuries to get that bad”
                      “I prefer bad times there (France)than good times here (Portugal.)”

              3. Ah yes, the 1970s, with its full embrace of Keynesian economics, and its wage and price controls.  WIP buttons and window quilts, anyone?  Lovely time to come of age and enter the job market.  NOT!

                1. Try being in Timber in the late 70’s through the 80’s. Not the only Forester, or even surveyor (know at least one), who ended up switching to software.

          2. I admit, with my head I’m not the best person to give advice to future. Experience made me a horrid pessimist.

              1. I’m a depressive, so I double check all input all the time, particularly when I’m spiraling. I’ve noticed a spiral in aacid’s outloook recently. It wasn’t a personal attack, it was a “Check yourself. I’ve observed this.” MY writers’ group used to do this to me. “Sarah, three depressing stories in a row? Check yourself.”

            1. aacid,
              I’ve pinged you by email on the gmail address I have for you.

  11. “A lot of this is because the idea of the individual as independent of the tribe and the family is a very new thing in most of the world.”

    I have been reading about Hajnal Line recently, or Western European marriage pattern, and it is ever so interesting because it explains a lot.

    Between Catholic Church being quite strict against cousin marriages, which created nuclear family, and farming system known as Manorialism, Northwest Europe had unique society not found anywhere else in world.

    I think best person for Hajnal Line info and discussion is a woman on the internet with moniker ‘hbd-chick’ who has written lots about marriage patterns, agriculture systems and other influences on development of European society on her blog and twitter.

  12. I was in Brazil in 1992. The favelas were a shock. That country has a staggering difference in standards of living between the wealthy and the poor.

    As for the “working for money is low class” mindset, I suspect there may be more than one factor involved. Factory work involves a level of regimentation that was once associated more with slavery (hence the term “wage slave”). Working for yourself carries more status…but there are some tasks that NEED a lot of people. Try building an aircraft carrier in a Mom & Pop shop.

    There’s also the class issue. In pre-industrial society, wealth = land. And the upper class owned land, they didn’t work it themselves. Their jobs, if they had any, were associated with the government and military. Which meant that the rising investor class, where wealth=capital, were looked down on. We won’t mention the status of the poor schlubs who actually hoed the fields and worked the factories. Hell, in the English-speaking world, even the hard sciences and engineering are socially suspect.

    1. I was in Bogota, Columbia in 1975. Our group had made arrangements to parcel us out to individual homes and I stayed for several days with what seemed to be a middle-class family. The house was nice, except there were certain “things”. Such as the indoor fish pool that had an underwater light with exposed wiring. And the time my host walked across the darkened living room to reach a light switch on the far wall … except instead of a light switch it was just a junction box with two wires sticking out that you manipulated into contact in order to turn on the light. Eeew. And this was just the way things were.

  13. Spent fifteen years doing blue collar jobs. I learned that invariably in any union shop I worked that performing faster or better than the average was met with extreme disfavor. Until I smartened up I got routinely castigated for trying to make my fellow workers look bad. Never got beyone verbal threats, but that’s because I’m a quick study where it counts.

    1. This is why unions are a bad thing. Landlord of mine had lots of free time when he did union work. However when he started his own business he didn’t have free time. I think that his wife works with him too. Office stuff for the company.

    2. Oh boy. John Goodman would thoroughly castigate you for not supporting the unions.

      1. my opinion of unions is not printable here.
        I use the case of (iirc) the UAW vs Bear (Archery but had just started an auto division) as part of my argument.
        When the Union wanted rather unreasonable concessions, Bear refused, saying it could likely lead to closing the company, and made a counter offer that was okay, but not great, but hey, negotiations, right. So, the union declared a strike and lo, the company closed its doors, and what could be salvaged moved to Florida (a right to work state) and reopened with very, very few of the original workers told they were able to move and work. Many jobs were lost in a town where iirc Bear was the single largest employer, and Bear really never was the same (I think its automotive contract was the only thing that saved them at all), nor was Grayling, Michigan able to really recover.
        The UAW considers this a Win.
        Everyone out of work + Company closed = Win
        Have many many other reasons, (Dad was once head of his UAW local, then became management, yep)

        1. Some of the stories I have heard from Union supporters (ie, bragging about some of the horrible things they did) have made certain I want nothing to do with them.

          So you can imagine how I feel when I drive up the highway through Cincinnati and see billboards with, “Right to Work is a LIE!” on them.

          1. Ah, yes, those “wonderful” billboards on I-75. One’s often up on that electronic billboard outside that painters union building in Lockland, and there’s a fixed one down in the lower, industrial part of the Mill Creek Valley.

          2. I grew up in a city — Philadelphia — were it was successfully argued that the use of thuggery towards anyone who challenged them was the right of the union.

            There is much I love about that city, but I would not want to live there now. It lacks the political will to face down violence by certain groups and the repeated mess it has made of the school system does not bode well for its future.

  14. You…you…you’re actually commending the (spit) PROTESTANT WORK ETHIC??!! You…you PURITAN, you!!!

    (Not to mention racist, sexist, elitist, (um, what did I miss?)…

      1. Quite a few colleges are issuing directives that declare that stating one can succeed through hard work is “hate speech” that is subject to punishment by the school. Tells you exactly what kind of society the socialists are trying to create.

        1. Oh, hell. One of my son’s professors told him he had “white Privilege” when he was talking about how poor/tight on money we’ve been but let slip we always had books and we used to read to the boys when they were little.

            1. Reading to your kids is white privilege, having a work ethic is white privilege (see accusations of “acting white” against POC working hard and trying to get ahead), studying hard and trying to learn is white privilege (“acting white” again)…

          1. White privilege boils down to teaching your children the basic rules for a successful life.

      2. When I read Will and Ariel Durant’s History of Western Civilization, they touched on that…the “Protestant” work ethic is arguably even more of a Catholic work ethic.

        1. I’ve spoken of Michael Godfrey. I recently saw his claim that Max Weber’s Spirit of Capitalism got Calvin’s theology wrong, and became interested in a reread. Haven’t done it yet, but it’d also be interesting to read Weber in the context you mentioned.

        2. I’ve heard it theorized that the “Protestant Work Ethic” originated out of the Rule of St. Benedict.

              1. For some reason this came to mind:

                In tropical climes there are certain times of day
                When all the citizens retire
                To tear their clothes off and perspire.
                It’s one of those rules that the greatest fools obey,
                Because the sun is much to sultry
                And one must avoid its ultry-violet ray.

      3. It is the ethic of anyone who wants to succeed in life. Any other life philosophy will turn someone into a leech.

      4. While I don’t know the provenance of the term, I have heard it referred to many times as the “Protestant work ethic”. I know many people who are not Protestant, nor in many cases, Christian at all, who hold the same ethic, despite the common name.

  15. Yep, lots of countries have NO pride in workmanship, especially in the ‘building’ trades… Two quick examples. Italian military base, brand new HQ for a wing of Atlantiques, building is dedicated, the staff starts to move in, and lights don’t work… (they never ran power to the building). Neither did the toilets or sinks, there was no plumbing in the foundation. Second example. Alexandria, Egypt. We’re driving through slums, after passing through the cast off cardboard box houses, and the ‘tour guide’ points out how ‘nice’ the local housing was. We never SAW nice housing, because buses weren’t allowed within 4-5 blocks due to noise and diesel fumes…

    1. Yow. Every once in a while I think back to me somewhat strange childhood and how things were make-do and hastily converted and such. And then I see something like this and realize while it was perhaps awkward or at least a bit strange, it wasn’t genuinely bad. The roof kept the snow & rain out, the walls kept the wind out, the lights worked – with proper switches, the heating was more than adequate and there was even a small air conditioner that helped make Summer a bit easier to take. The car(s) generally ran, if not always well and needing more attention than would have been liked. There were some lash-ups, sure, but still… things were expected to work and if they did not, they were made to. Of course, there was this matter of (quiet) pride in making things work and no resistance to “getting dirty to get the job done.”

    2. When the LDS Church builds their chapels and temples in a country like Italy, they draw up very specific contracts about how good it has to be and inspect along the way. It has come as a surprise to some construction companies to be let go and work scrapped because things were done the usual way despite that clause being in the contracts. Companies that follow through to the last detail and on time end up with nice bonuses. Those companies do really well after being trained to get the job done right.

  16. People in the US tend to view Brazil as a goofy and funny country, and it is that, but the poverty is worse than most of us can even willingly imagine

    The average American’s ignorance of the living conditions elsewhere in the world, of what real poverty means is exceeded only by the invincibility of American Progressives’ ignorance, immune to all contrary information. For example, watch this video, a testament not only to the poverty and squalor routinely to be found elsewhere in the world but also to human adaptability:

    Note, this is one of many such videos to be found by a quick search. I could have as easily used similar videos from India, Vietnam and elsewhere.

    1. People in the US never realize that those we believe to be poor are at LEAST Middle class in the rest of the world.
      American poor are the only poor with cars, microwaves, big screen tvs, etc.

      It is so different in America that our poor are FAT!!!

      How can REAL poor people be FAT????

  17. I recommend the book “Poor Economics” by Banerjee and Duflo. Basically, it is about the research done to try to solve world poverty — how to help the people who famously live on a dollar a day. And they really do talk about research, and what actual studies have been done to come up with the best approaches.

    The book ends up making a lot of the same points that you do. The typical case is that Americans come up with a bunch of alternative solutions which they fight vigorously about. When people actually try to put them into practice, though none of them actually work because people in those countries do not think like Americans. Their culture is not American culture. Things don’t work the way that they do here.

    The book is rather depressing, but fascinating.

  18. The Left is going to hate me for saying this, but what you’ve described is exactly why colonialism was necessary and justified, and I hope it will become affordable to do again soon. I don’t believe that any race is inferior to another — but cultures where corruption and theft are not only accepted but expected are absolutely inferior, and destructive of all good in the world. They need to be overthrown, from within or without, ASAP.

    1. Eh, not really. Colonialism is bad for the colonizer, much in the same way that slavery is bad for the master. It’s also bad for the colonized, the same way that slavery is bad for the slave.
      It’s also worth noting that Europe was not colonized, yet it was Europe that developed the idea that corruption and theft needed to be got rid of.

      1. Oh, hell, 60guilders. WHAT DO YOU MEAN EUROPE WASN’T COLONIZED. Not only was Europe colonized by the Romans, but parts of Europe colonized several other parts in an ad-hoc and temporary manner all the time.
        BTW the imprint of Rome remains — unfortunately the imprint was CORRUPTION. Rome worked BY corruption. And it’s stronger where it lasted longer, like most Latin countries.
        Which is where South America gets it.
        Honestly, the anti-corruption thing is ENGLISH, not even British. It spread from there to parts (not all) of Northern Europe.
        Eastern Germany shows how fragile that is.

        1. Fair enough, fair enough. Although from what I recall the Dutch weren’t that fond of it either. (Turns out merchants like having accurate accounts. Who knew?)
          Anyway, now that you’ve brought it back to my recall, it’s worth noting that Europe took centuries to get back to where it was under Rome–and that it probably wouldn’t have gotten much past there, of it had remained under Rome.

  19. My first wife had a grandmother who lived in Mexico, in a shack built out of shipping pallets. Literally, pallets. Not pallet wood, taken apart and recycled. It was literally pallets, set on their side and nailed together. I never figured out what the roof was actually made of. Dirt floor, of course. So, I suggested that over Christmas, I take some leave from the Marines and we haul a load of lumber down there and I throw together something more livable. NOPE! Ex-wife (the first) wouldn’t have it. Apparently, the family all believed that the grandmother had poisoned her husband (the Grandfather) and that’s why nobody in the family would help her.

    No evidence, there was no autopsy, no police investigation, old guy could very well have keeled over from a heart attack, had a stroke, may have died from any of a million different perfectly natural causes, but no… it HAD to be poison… Mexico is weird.

  20. About the Pride and Prejudice genre. I have read your blog for years, many years, but your books are not the type I read. But I will read mysteries, and was eager to read “Be He turned out very Wild.” I loved it. I sent a text to my daughter, who does read your books and your blog telling her how much I liked it and recommend she read it. I haven’t talked to her so I don’t know if she has read it yet, but I did want you to know how much I enjoyed it.

    1. I write mysteries as well. You do know that, right? There’s the Musketeer Mysteries under pen name Sarah D’Almeida (an approximation of my maiden name) and Dipped Stripped and Dead, French Polished Murder, and A Fatal Stain under Elise Hyatt.
      There will be more on both and others.
      My next P & P Fiction is comedy and deranged, but then there’s a sequel (the story of the only daughter of Charlotte and Mr. Collins, called By Her Arts and Allurements) and a positively Gothic concoction called Oh, Hill! in which the two older girls are… of higher parentage and adopted.
      I will aim to put out one ever two weeks.

  21. Whoops, posted before I could edit. Sorry, you can see what I mean, I loved the novella.

  22. I’ve twice posted a reply to you but it isn’t showing up. Sorry, I’ll try to be a better reader. I’m an odd with a family of odds. Preemie, autoimmune, immunes, still I’m 81, so don’t be surprised when you live a long life. That was the gist of it. Love the blog, link to it often, etc.

  23. some movie (I watch movies second hand, I swear) that featured the Favelas of Rio
    When the USS Reagan visited there a lot of years ago, they had to anchor out a ways in the port, and they brought us in to a somewhat unused part of the port (security, I’m sure) for liberty (my crew was actually getting off there). So, to get to our hotels in the ‘nice’ part of Rio, the buses had to run through all the sortof bad places (we didn’t go through the *really* bad places, though we still had to hope the bus didn’t break down) to get there.
    The place is a wreck.

    (Oh, and the beaches were more crowded than the mosh pit at a death metal concert.)

  24. Sarah, thank you for putting “But He Turned Out Very Wild” on KU. After grabbing it, I took two days first to check out and re-read “Pride and Predjudice” from the library so the original was fresh in my mind. I really enjoyed your alternative explanation and that you did it without damage to Austen’s plot. Review posted.

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