Ripples

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I was reading a book years ago about the medieval concepts of the after life, and came across the idea that you won’t be released from purgatory (at ease, the middle ages were by and large Catholic, of course) till the last ripple of your actions has worked itself out in the world.

The concept is terrifying, even for normal human beings.  That kid you raised well or badly raised another kid who perhaps got to be a king or a mass murderer or you know Karl Marx, and where do the ripples stop?  How long till they stop working themselves through in the world.

Now imagine if you are in a position of power of any kind, be it as a bureaucrat or a ruler.  That permit you refused because the paper wasn’t filled just so, the father lost his job because he couldn’t make it to work.  The children– you get the point.

Or take writers.  Heinlein was a great influence on me when I was young and looking for guidance, but I’m sure he wouldn’t want to claim responsibility one way or another for how I turned out.

The concept is also morally wrong, at least to an extent.  No one can be responsible for how their third or fourth order actions affect others because we simply can’t see it or imagine it, much less calculate it.

Unless, of course, your action was evil to begin with, so oh, hum, don’t be evil.

BUT the concept is fascinating.

Because we tend to think of ourselves, isolated in our own sphere, or as one of you told me about his/her blog “shouting into the internet like a crazy person.”  And we will look at our hit counters and go “dang.”

Or, as I used to back when, we read but don’t even comment on the blogs, and we live our little isolated lives and affect no one.  And when we vanish we vanish utterly.

But it’s not true.  As forensics says “every contact leaves a trace.”

I met — once — an adult who remembered me because, when he was 4 and in my son’s kindergarten class I took pity on him in the line to go in and wiped his nose and tied his shoe.  (He recognized me by my accent.)  To him at that time, with his family in some turmoil, this was a great act of kindness, apparently.  To me it was mommy-extension duty.

There are people who will write me about my posts, and say I pulled them back from a bad place.  Or people who write to me and say how my books cheered a dying relative.  Or pulled them out of a really depressing place.

During the year from hell (the first, the year after Robert was born) Jerry Pournelle saved my life and my husband’s sanity, because his books were stocked by the local library, and we didn’t have money to buy any books, and his writing was our road to sanity. (Look, they also stocked Piers Anthony, but after the fifth book I just wanted to scream at the puns.)

Sometimes just your being there and smiling at someone might make that person’s day better.  I know it’s happened to me once or twice, when really depressed and a stranger smiled at me or made a funny quip in the store, which was the beginning of the turn around.

Recently, my attempts at walking to lose weight — look, I was walking before, but some of us need special amounts of walking to actually get weight moving off.  This last week I walked 29 miles while controlling what I eat both for low carb and quantity.  I lost three pounds. — have been made more bearable by a woman about my age with whom I cross paths walking the byways of the suburb.  We’ve never talked, but we smile at each other, and that’s like “Oh, thank heavens, I’m not alone.”

Yeah, you can’t know how you affect others, but you can be sure you’re affecting them.

You’re not living alone and for just yourself.  Every contact leaves a trace.

When you’re done being exhilarated and terrified by that idea, calm down.

Just strive to be a decent human being: don’t hurt people, don’t take their stuff, and if you see the opportunity to be kind to someone don’t pass it up.

Yes, there will be times you are less than your best.  You’re human. Not all of your contacts will be positive, but there’s a good possibility most of them will, if you try to make them so.

And your legacy will flourish long after your name is forgotten.

You can’t ask for more.

227 responses to “Ripples

  1. I rejected eastern philosophy, where in you were responsible for actions you could not remember from you past lives and for the infinite workings out in the future of the actions you presently did (or did not) do.  Talk about a guilt trip…

    With it I also rejected the idea that man could create a perfect paradise on earth. There is too much in the ‘law of unintended consequences’ to bite us, we are finite creatures with finite minds — who have dreams of the infinite.

  2. Look, they also stocked Piers Anthony, but after the fifth book I just wanted to scream at the puns.

    Well, duh.

    I actually have enjoyed Piers Anthony. I found that his work does not binge well. It best consumed one at a time with intervals of other reading between. Otherwise, well, you know, the screaming starts.

    • Anthony has written a *lot* of stuff besides Xanth, some of it good, some not.

      In one of his postscripts he said he would have liked to write more serious SF, but Xanth and fantasies paid so much more, it would have been financially crazy not to keep cranking them out.

      Try “Sos the Rope” or “Macroscope” for some of his serious stuff. It’s early in his career and rough about the edges, but he coulda been a contenda…

      • His good stuff was okay, his bad stuff was . . .

        Well, let’s just say he had characters obsessed with teen girls’ panties before Japanese anime made it cool.

        -Albert

      • I read fairly far into the Xanth series, having been turned to it by the mention of the punning (what?). I agree things deteriorated as they went on. Not sure where I stopped but it was well along, as I recall.. but.. I saved the last book in the car’s trunk as emergency reading material if I should have shelter from a storm or such. Eventually it was chucked, having been beat up by the travel… and no latent interest in it found.

        • SheSellsSeashells

          I saved a couple of them for Kid to read when she was of an age to appreciate them (Night Mare and Dragon on a Pedestal, both of which charmed me as a bibliovoracious little girl) and tossed the rest.

        • I may have bought nearly all of those, used, when my son was 12-ish. He’d read all the Dinotopia books. We certainly found more of them than I’d read back when.

        • I quit after the book in which the golem weaseled out of a year’s service with Good Magician Humphrey to get his answer. It could have worked, perhaps, if done more deftly, he’d managed it before, but as it was, he was just junking the world for a moment’s convenience.

          I have to say that the wishing ring is one of the best magical things EVER. (“I’m working on it!”)

      • Macroscope was my first Anthony, and it got me through a *lot* of Xanth ’til I finally wound down . . .

      • “…coulda been a contenda…”

        Yes, a competent writer. When he didn’t try to push his message. Those read very much like “For Us, the Living” – but, unlike Heinlein, he never appeared to learn that “serious” writing is still story first, message second.

      • I read Sos the Rope a long time ago, and later tripped over the Xanth series. Did not figure out they were from the same author for a very long time.

    • Feather Blade

      I’ve always found the first three books of any of his series quite good.

      Anything after that tends to be not worth reading.

      • Mm, more or less. I will admit to liking the first five Incarnations of Immortality. OTOH, I’m pretty sure the only reason I got as far as I did in Xanth is that I read them out of order.

        • IIRC, I made it through the first 4 Incarnations. Did a fair number of Xanth, but the fan callouts didn’t set well. (Akin to bad fanfic.) OTOH, some of the cat puns appeal, but I’m a dog person. 🙂

          Looking at the hardbound library, all Anthony has been given away.

        • I found the Incarnations of Immortality series quite uneven. #s 1 (Death), 3 (Fate), and 4 (War) were good, and #6 (Evil) was perhaps the best he’s ever written, IMHO. Very few writers would even try to make Satan a sympathetic protagonist; fewer still would attempt it without playing down his evil-ness; and before I read _For Love of Evil_ I wouldn’t have believed there was anyone who could pull it off.

          As for Xanth, I read about the first dozen, then simply ran out of interest. I noticed a distinct shift in tone somewhere around the fifth or sixth one. I later found that that was about the time when he stopped writing them for the joy of the story, and started writing them for money.

          • You know, you’re probably right about those. #6 suffered from association with #7 (G-d), which I read immediately after. #5 (Nature) was just alright, and #2 (Time) was, well, told backwards. My teenage self thought the conceit was neat, but it made for a confusing story.

            • I always wondered how on earth that got published. daer ot drah yrev saw tI.

            • I read the Incarnations books pretty much as they came out, and there were a couple of years between #6 (Evil) and #7 (Good). When I read _For Love of Evil_, I wasn’t even sure there would be a #7. I can see how reading them one right after the other might make a difference. When you know the story continues, it can change your whole perception of a book.

              When I did finally read #7, I thought it suffered badly from the need to finish the main story arc and from Anthony’s desire to wrap it up with a major, and very politically correct, Dramatic Plot Twist. There simply was no good way to finish the story as it had developed over the first six books — but he had to finish it somehow. I suspect (with absolutely no evidence, mind you) that he felt the same, and that’s why he eventually went back and wrote a #8 in the series.

          • I read Green Mother, and didn’t care much for it. Then I read Evil, and thought it was pretty good. Finally, I read the one about Good, and…

            Ugh…

            Nowadays I remember bits and pieces of it. But the only thing that really stands out in my mind is the sexual relationship between the older man (who happens to be a judge), and the underage girl. You see, they’d fallen in love, but couldn’t consummate it because she was underage. And then she was away on a very short jaunt that only lasted a few days for her, while a year or two passed back home. So she was still physically and emotionally underage, but legal now…

            I liked Xanth early on. But as time passed , the books seemed to get more and more juvenile. And I don’t mean that in a “these books are for kids” sort of fashion. But instead it felt more like immaturity on the part of the author.

            • SheSellsSeashells

              This, exactly. Somewhere around book 10 (for me) they got to be less “goofy fun as written by middle-school boy” and more “dirty old man”.

  3. Bravo.

    The other day you were wondering why people sought out your opinions. You remember the really important things of life, such as:

    Just strive to be a decent human being: don’t hurt people, don’t take their stuff, and if you see the opportunity to be kind to someone don’t pass it up.

    Yes, there will be times you are less than your best. You’re human. Not all of your contacts will be positive, but there’s a good possibility most of them will, if you try to make them so.

    • “Never be cruel, never be cowardly…Remember – hate is always foolish…and love is always wise…Always try to be nice and never fail to be kind.”

      One of the best Doctor Who quotes there is. The show on occasion falls a little way down the SJW hole (I wanted to scream at the latest “but capitalism = mass murder episode nonsense) but it always manages to redeem itself with lines like that.

      • They’ve gone full SJW. Female Doctor. All the misandry.

        • Dang. I was so afraid that would happen. They could have done so many other neat things with it, but they took the easy, “popular” way out.

          • It’s like everything else. At best for them they convert it to part of their choir. At worst they destroy it and prevent it from being enjoyed.

          • Red, you have to understand: THEY DON’T CARE. They don’t have to. It doesn’t matter whether the public likes it or not: they have to PAY for it anyway since BBC programming is funded by the mandatory license fees. The management of BBC can produce anything they want and go dancing back to their rum-sodomy-and-the-lash frolics. There is zero market influence on them and total subordination to peer pressure within their tight little circles.

            • To everyone who dislikes the turn of the Doctor recently, and talkign about how ‘market forces don’t affect it, its BBC’ I would remind you…

              The BBC cancelled Doctor Who in 1989.

              • Yep, and didn’t care what the audience thought either. The BBC is incredibly cavalier about its works and its legacy; they ERASED entire generations of programming just for the value of the blank tapes.

                • Yup, there are Dr Who episodes that we only have because the 16mm film copies they sent to the US still existed in fragments at multiple U.S. UHF stations. My aunt recovered some of that footage.

                • BBC wasn’t the only one who don’t that – there was 4th US TV network early on that when it hit financial problems decided to keep going by recovering the destroying much of its stored film to recover the silver.

            • So it’s just another government agency. No accountability, unlimited power and boundless hatred

        • I heard the same thing about the Anne of Green Gables series on Netflix. Full SJW.

          • Umm, have they ever read the books?

            • A survey of movie and TV productions based on books will indicate that the makers have been frequently taken a rather cavalier attitude about sticking to source material.

            • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

              “But those authors got it wrong!” [Sarcastic Grin]

          • It’s actually not that bad. I’ve watched both seasons of it, and there are a few things that made me roll my eyes, it never rose above the level of “oh, please.” But the virtue signalling is minor and over with quickly.

            What they did do as a major change was have Anne be a touch more realistic given her pretty awful past as an orphan. She’s still Anne, but she’s an Anne dealing with some memories of beatings/emotional abuse from former ‘homes’ and from the orphanage.

            Some folks are using the minor instances to holler “full-SJW” but having watched it…no. The series is charming, and enjoyable, and more than makes up for a few “Oh, c’mon, guys, this is silly” moments.

            • I read an article that expressed annoyance with that, in the sense of “if they’d wanted to do that with a LM Montgomery property, they could have used Emily.” Who deals with a lot more nasty stuff than Anne ever does—she’s taken in by a relative through drawing names out of a hat (because they all know that somebody has to take her, but none of them really want to) and has several instances in which someone manipulates her into doing something she is ill-suited to. Not to mention getting a massive leg wound from a pair of scissors, which at the time that was set, had the strong possibility that she’d lose the leg.

              Basically, Anne is the sunshine despite everything, whereas Emily is more dealing with being unloved in a realistic fashion.

              • Sara Dickinson

                Most of the “I hate the new Anne” articles I’ve seen really boil down to “It’s different from the book/1980s miniseries and so it sucks”

                Anne is still sunshine, no worries there. (If adorably socially awkward at times.) The cast overall is stellar. They’ve made more than a few nods to the miniseries and the tv series Avonlea as well. (Matthew, in fact, is played by the same actor who played Jasper Dale in Avonlea.)

                And darn it all, if they didn’t actually vastly improve on the characters of Rachel Lynd and Mr. Lynd–as in, Rachel is still horribly mouthy, but she and Mr. Lynd are shown to be a very happily married and loving couple, for all that he’s much quieter than she is. I found it suddenly believable that she and Marilla were genuine friends, and not just friends because they were each other’s nearest neighbors, heh.

          • I read the blurb on their Anne series and it got a firm “nope.” Anne was plenty plucky on her own, thankyouverymuch.

        • I’m not going to pass judgement until I’ve seen the new Doctor in action. I have no objections to a female Doctor overall (it’s been more or less a possibility even since the classic Who days–if the Doctor could present as something non-human-looking, it only stands to reason). I’m not seeing any more misandry yet than there has been (and it’s no more than many shows/fandoms, and a lot less, in that there are many competent male characters.)

          • What little I’ve seen of that actor implies a heavy enthusiasm to come through the role, and it’s hard to dislike a Doctor who (yes, I see that) comes in with contagious enthusiasm.

          • Patrick Chester

            Is the misandry coming from the actual show, or from progs trying to use it to excuse their hatred. I.e. the usual “hah! The caricature my tiny overheated head created will HATE this female character” thing I see on Twitter and such, while the actual show or work of fiction is actually pretty good and/or doesn’t match what the prog thinks it means.

            • Not the show, but I’ll give you some of the more, hem, obnoxious “fans” using it as an excuse to claim anyone with any reservations whatsoever were only doing it because misogyny. (Which was not true, of course.)

              That being said, there WAS a certain amount of “HOW DARE THEY MAKE THE DOCTOR FEMALE” from some folks out there, but sensible folks would note that only a tiny bit of that was “no, because womenz”, whereas the bulk were of the “you changed the Doctor, now it sucks” brigade, which pops up every time the Doctor regenerates.

              A somewhat smaller group who hated it because they automatically assumed it was only done because SJWs–which no, it wasn’t, or at least not entirely. They’ve been setting this up in-show for four seasons, and then tested the waters with Missy, who was *amazing.* Because the actress they cast was amazing.

              And Jodi Whitaker is SO excited, and SO determined to give her all to being the Doctor–just like most of her predecessors–and it’s hard not to appreciate that. I’ve seen her in other things (Broadchurch, most notably), and she’s a very talented actress. So sure, they might have in part done it because ‘it’s time’, but they also were sure to cast the best person for the role.

              Also, after having seen how they handled the first truly gay companion (Bill), I became less worried. Bill was a perfect example of how do a character like that correctly–as in, her sexuality was merely one facet of her character, NOT the focus, and it was not used in any way for the usual virtue signaling. She’s actually become one of my all time favorites, because she was so wonderfully well-fleshed out, and the father-daughter dynamic between her and Twelve was beautiful.

              My major concern with a female Doctor? Not the actress herself, but the damn writers. They had better be on top of their game for *every* episode, because ‘female Doctor’ is a first, and so under such scrutiny. They can’t get away with some of the lazy-ass writing they have pulled off and on since the series relaunched, because the blame will fall on *her* instead of them (which would be where it should fall).

              • Sounds like the real geekdom resistance was similar to making Fury black, the Dr. Strange guy into a white woman or going back a little further the whole black Kingpin thing for that Daredevil movie.

                It’s “they are taking currently Unpopular Group character and making them Popular Group character, are they going full plaid and destroying the character?”

                I am, obvoiusly, not a fan of changing a character to Popular Group– that said, Fury was freakign BRILLIANT

                • tab enter is evil, Kingpin hit the character on the nose and I am not a Strange fan so I have no idea if that really f*d it up or not.

                • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                  From what I heard about the Black Kingpin is that they made him black for the right reason.

                  IE They were looking for an actor that could play Kingpin (very physically menacing) and the actor that they thought could play Kingpin correctly just happened to be black.

                  Don’t know much about the “why” of the Black Nick Fury, but the actor did a great job with him which in the end is what counts.

                  • Kingpin F*ing (if I were in person, and there wasn’t a compelling reason not to, I’d use the real word- and I seldom do that) knocked it out of the park.
                    He wasn’t black, he was THE KINGPIN.

                    Fury was,as I heard it, because someone at Marvel comics went “dude! You’d be an awesome fancast for Fury, can I base the modern day guy off of you?” “Yeah, sure, as long as I get to play him if you make a movie!” (Years go by) “Uh…so, you remember when we talked to you about Fury…?” “YES SIGN ME UP I AM BUYING MY TICKET NOW WHEN DO WE START FILMING?!?!”

                    Fanboy there y’know.

                    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                      Not a fanboy, but I completely agree.

                      While I didn’t see the Daredevil film, I have heard the actor was KINGPIN!

                      Enjoyed Fury in the Marvel Films. He was Nick Fury!

                  • In a nutshell, the black Fury thing: Some years back, some of the artists on the comic book side (before the launch of the cinematic universe) thought it would be fun and awesome to do one of the relaunch/AU/whatever books with Nick Fury looking like Samuel L. Jackson (don’t recall which one, I haven’t done much with comics since Crossgen went belly up). So they had to ask Jackson for permission to use his likeness, and because he is a huge nerd he readily agreed–on one condition. That if they ever did any movie that involved Nick Fury, he’d get offered first refusal for the role.

                    The rest, as they say, is history…

                    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                      And IMO Samuel L. Jackson was Nick Fury! 😀

                    • thought it would be fun and awesome to do one of the relaunch/AU/whatever books with Nick Fury looking like Samuel L. Jackson
                      And that’s why it worked, and became fucking amazing fun.

                      Because the people doing it thought it would be fun. And had fun doing it.

                    • And because they didn’t look at Nick Fury’s epidermis alone. They looked at what defined him as Nick Fury.

                  • the actor that they thought could play Kingpin correctly just happened to be black.

                    This is the only reason why anyone should be picked, honestly.

                • but the “There are no black Colonels” quip was totally WRONG. Cap would KNOW.

  4. loved this, helps to salve the guilt a little. I always worry about the things I do having a bad effect on my friends and family. I do try to do no harm…. but sometimes its very hard to take action where its needed, and avoid hurting anyone else  ” Sometimes I sets and thinks, and sometimes I just sets ” W.T. Pooh

     

     

  5. riteturn/ Mac'

    This burden of responsibility for every action is awful. It doesn’t allow for intent at all and some of the worst actions have the noblest intent. Also, how other people respond to your actions are out of your control. You may give a person a golden opportunity and they totally screw it up due to their own defects. I had to stop getting people jobs because they could not drag their butts out of bed and actually show up for work. Was it my fault they ended up in a worse condition for accepting my help? No.
    It’s even worse that the school teacher’s attempts to convince me I had a community responsibility with people I didn’t chose to associate with in the first place. Public school is a cesspool of people you would never invite into your home.

    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

      Haven’t had much coffee, but I’m also seriously annoyed at Liberals claiming that Conservatives are “responsibly for the assholes of the Right” (ie we must speak out against them) but refuse to do the same about the “assholes of the Left” (ie in the words of one Liberal “I don’t have to police them”). 😦

      • Alinksy tells them to hold the enemy to the enemy’s standards, not to have any themselves.

        But they _do_ hold each other to the virtues they value, it’s merely that their only observable virtue is one-way loyalty to the victim lowerarchy.

        • I just finished listening to a version of The Screwtape Letters (Andy Serkis’s radio play) and now you make me want to revisit the book again…

          So many books, so little time. SIGH! (What a marvelous problem to have, no?)

          • There is an audiobook version of SCREWTAPE read by John Cleese.

            How’s THAT for tempting?

            • The Spouse was able to get me the unabridged version some years ago. (The original release omitted two of the letters.) Although at first Mr. Cleese seems to start in a rather pedestrian mode, he quickly owns his material. He won an award for his performance, and rightly so in my opinion.

              Sadly it is presently available for purchase as used audio cassettes at great cost — or in sections on Youtube starting here:

      • Because that is by design. You make the enemy grovel at your feet, make him dance to your tune. Its a bullying tactic, just as Solzhenitsyn noted the KGB would use. Make your opponent admit to ridiculous assertions and you have broken him.

        • Unless like Trump, you own it and then tease your detractors with, “So what? Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha!”

          • It works if you have the resources to not be harmed by the bullies. Those who can have everything taken in a moment by the ruling class, especially ones that delight in hurting subhumans like us, cannot.

          • “You! You’re not even human!”

            “Thank you.”

            “….?!”

            (Alright, not exactly human. Not super-human, not sub-human, not anti-human, just… not exactly. Chances are, a good many feel the same, well, from time to time.)

        • This is also why Christianity, the genuine important parts of Christianity, are disliked by that crowd in general.

          Christianity isn’t about ‘being nice’ its ultimately about being saved, redeemed and forgiven. I remember as a child being cautioned that holding on to a sensation of guilt for a sin after going to the confessional doing requisite penance and having it absolved, was itself sinful, since punishing yourself over a slight which God Himself had eradicated was almost deliberately impious.

          Without the endless pile of sins of the past to bring up as a bludgeon however, they have to rely on actual logical arguments instead of trying to browbeat others into following along to avoid having their crimes (personal or social) revealed. When sin cannot be absolved, the demanded penance is never ending.

          As for themselves, to harken back to Chesterton that these folks well..
          “You only forgive criminals when they commit what you don’t regard as crime.”

          Therefore to these folks, burning down a building containing ‘the oppressor’ is entirely justified and must be ‘forgiven,’ because in their view nothing bad was done at all. And for any ‘real’ crime, they label it ‘unforgivable’ and get angry at the prospect that the people in most dire need of repentance might have gotten it.

          Man, I like coming here for the sci-fi talk and my posts are almost always theological..

          • Happens to a lot of us. In part because sci-fi can look at spiritual questions, and in some ways the best writing has to, even if the question is “good vs. evil – who has the coolest gizmos?”

    • There is an aspect of “intent” that I don’t think ought to get a pass. “She had good intentions” is a phrase only used when someone has done something really bad. It’s one thing if the bad results really are not predictable, and I think that almost anything has a mixture of good and bad results, so if more bad than good, *maybe* a person should be judged on their intentions. But there’s an awful lot done in the name of good intentions that are done in the face of people yelling, full out, that the results will be bad, that the good intentions will result in human misery. In those cases the amount of “Caring” involved ought not get anyone off the hook.

      You know, like Venezuela. :/

      • “I’m saving the planet.” Means back away slowly and grab a stick or call a grown-up. One of the things Jordan Peterson brings up is that the Columbine killers thought humans were a plague on the planet and should be exterminated, so they did their best to start “cleaning house.”

        • They didn’t “think” it, they were fed that POV repeatedly by parents, teachers and media, who were then SHOCKED at the result.

          • Granted, I think it was ‘would be one thing or another’ for the ringleader. Reportedly one of those cases where it’s not the victim or target that draws ire and has proximate causes, but a just want to kill case. Remember a similar case in NH, although that was just one death. Ringleader said he wanted to see what it felt like to kill someone. Those out of the blue cases are the most perplexing and examples of crime as not just a factor of raising.

            Dangerous part is that it, and the reporting on it, brought out the copycats.

          • I seem to recall that they were also bullied, which would likely have re-enforced that lessen.

            • Depends on the report. One said that was psychopath and they were more often the bullies. Also noted they were non idealistic or political refuting the arguments that neonazis that still float around. They literally saw McVeigh as a challenge to overcome.

              There is another that says there was some bullying and more revenge causation.

            • The folks that I heard from who were at the school said they were the bullies.

              Given the time and place, that would explain why the school records would list them as being bullied, since they’d have a pattern of getting into fights to “prove” every hand was turned against them.

      • Donald Stephens

        I hold that the declaration of “good intentions” is at its base, a claim to Godhood. Basically, the proclaimer is saying that either (1) their intentions and feelings are supposed to define reality, since they ‘want’ it to ‘work’ (it’s supposed to) or (2) their feelings define what is moral, without reference to anything outside their group.

        • There’s always option 3), they THOUGHT they’d done sufficient examination of the reasonable results.

          Reality is between the extremes– “I was just trying to make people laugh” doesn’t justify someone dying in an obvious risk to behavior, but neither can you blame someone for freak accidents. Say, a burglar breaks in and discovers he’s got a fatal allergy to dragon fruit when he snags one off your counter.

      • The calculus of how intentions factor in is — complex. Read a story recently in which one character told a monk that he had killed a monk who had come as a missionary to where he was. The monk, anxious, inquired further. The character explained that that monk had fallen into the hands of sorcerers who were hell-bent on torturing the secret of how he could dismiss their demons out of him. And would not accept the truth. The monk is relieved in that it was still wrong, but not so evil as he had feared.

  6. Well Hello, fellow middle-aged woman who is walking significant amounts while also eating lower carb and trying to be kind to someone every day! My eager Woodle (half standard poodle, half wheaton terrier) and I have been marching up and down the neighborhood hills on two walks a day, about 40 minutes each time. Have discovered this thing call “Blue Tooth” on my phone and audiobooks are key to my willingness to get out there every day—been listening to Markos Kloos Frontlines series and it’s perfect for this purpose. I sure hope that my everyday actions are leaving positive ripples. In a quote attributed to various people such as Mother Teresa, I have found a new motto: There are no great acts….there are only small acts done with great love.

    • Us too. I listened to the Prince Roger series by Weber and Ringo and have now moved to Nine Princes in Amber. (I’ve read it, but listening is different.)
      I’ve done 29 miles in 5 days, in twice a day walks.

    • Is there super-secret-squirrel middle-aged woman low-carb-and-walking club? Because if so, I am totally a member. Me it’s studying Polish that’s keeping me going at the moment (going to Warsaw in the fall, and, dammit! just once I want to be semi-fluent in my host country language. Which ain’t gonna happen because the damned cases are killing me, but I am giving it my best shot). I spend my days counseling folks on exercise and weight reduction, so I feel like I had better be practicing what I am preaching. The exercise part comes pretty easy. I *like* walking, it’s the weight that no longer shifts worth a tinker’s damn.

      • I’ve had good intentions about walking the fence line with a dog or two, but since mid-July, the air quality’s been bad enough to turn that into a health liability. One of the dogs would be clobbered right now, and I really don’t want to repeat the asthma that plagued me 20 years ago.

        There are so many flinking fires around us, it doesn’t matter which direction the winds are going. This morning’s crud is courtesy of British Columbia wildfires, but more often, it’s southern Oregon or California stuff. We have a 26K acre fire just northeast of us for the reverse wind patterns. Sigh.

        • Ugh, that’s the pits. On the East Coast so wildfires are usually not a problem, although there was the memorable year that The Great Dismal Swamp burned for most of a summer.

          • When fires get into Wilderness areas, the containment date goes out to when the rains will put it out. Between that and the impossible terrain in the Cascades and eastward, it’s a puppy-mother.

            • You misspelled “snow”, there, but other than that, pretty much how it’s going.

              Something’s deeply wrong in forest management, and I don’t begin to know what, not my field. I remember ’88, but other than that the West wasn’t this bad in the summer, every single year.

              • Lots of fuel, too few prescribed burns. And less water. To what extent the drought is natural can be questioned but this is a culmination of 100 yrs poor practice that only got worse when logging was banned.

              • We’re in southern Oregon; most of the time rain determines the containment date for low elevation wilderness and/or really nasty terrain fires. Actual “control” where the fire’s out, yeah, Snow is the best bet.

                Last year, the Chetco Bar fire (SW Oregon) was the huge one. A lot of the fuel was the standing dead and down wood from the Biscuit fire, dating to 2002. We moved to OR in ’03, and there was a battle between people trying to do salvage logging and the environmental nazis. The lawfare kept up until the trees were useless and the salvage people gave up.

                People in Brookings were pissed, both at the treehuggers and the more inept federal teams. I don’t think it was safe for a Sierra Club type to identify as such for a long time over there.

                • Oh yeah, the early, inept team was a NIMO, which seems to be deployed to fires that are to be “managed” not suppressed. After they idly stood by and watched a few houses going up, the residents were ready to kill. That got the team swapped out for a Type I incident team; generally the best ones available.

                  • SE Idaho, y’all sent us smoke from Chetco Bar.

                    Glacier National Park fires-some amazing fire photos. But I understand it’s pretty well destroyed. (If you can find the night photo with all the trees burning reflected in the water, I think that’s the best.)

                    • Just drove, today 126 E to Sisters, & back on Hwy 242. (Hubby was an fill-in invite for the Corvette Club golf “tournament” at Tokatee at Rainbow, OR).

                      So, Htwy 126 fire in 2003, the dead trees are mostly blown down & if you look at the under brush you can see the newer trees growing. Still areas of rock & dirt. Those cliffs that were covered with trees do not come back easy.

                      Hwy 242. That fire was last summer. Shut down the hwy early July & it did not open again until this last June, late. Really bad on the East approach. Not much left alive as you approach the lava flows. Lava Lake entrance, the hill on the N. Side of the Lake is standing black tree trunks. Even the limbs are gone. Not standing dead trees. Standing burnt trees. Underbrush is ash. Nothing growing. Didn’t go in to the lake, but you can tell it burnt to & around the lake (have the education & experience to know, without driving in), the camp ground is going to be just open spots. Don’t know how far it went beyond that without actually going in to the lake.

                      After that you hit the lava flows to Dee Wright Observatory. The splotches of trees from there to Scott Lake weren’t touched. Scott Lake wasn’t as bad as Lava Lake & approaches, but it definitely got scorched too. As well as the trail head into Obsidian Falls.

                      A fire incident camp was being setup at Tokatee when I came back to pick up hubby. Don’t know where the fires are at.

                      Smoke is horrible in lower Willamette Valley & only slightly better in Sisters. Willamette Valley collects smoke & it just hangs there. It wasn’t this bad when they were doing field & slash burning when I was a kid. So far last summer has been worse. But if there are fires in the Cascades …

                      Forestry. I am all for responsible forestry. That is why I went to school for Forestry**. As already mentioned, when there are fires, the environmentalists file lawsuit one after another until salvage is worthless & a new fire comes in & turns what is dead, down, or not into ash, plus anything that may have struggled to come in since. In a way the environmentalist take their example from “stopping” logging of Mt St Helens after the mountain blew. What is sad, they really didn’t win. Timber & salvage loggers just let them think that, bad choice. Reality, everything had been salvaged that could be reached before it was worthless to salvage; & wood was so cooked so deep, down wood went bad fast.

                      Good portion of the fires in the Cascades, unless they are contained really small, don’t get contained at all. Even if they do, they are not out until snows really heavy. FWIW. I’ve been on small wildland/woodland fires digging fire line with one foot in the Snow (not deep snow, but it was snow) & one near the creeping fire.

                      **Did not make a career in Forestry, but I did get my degree, & I did get experience.

                    • There’s a fire near Terwilliger Hot Springs at Cougar reservoir near Blue River on 126. It started on the 19th, but I’m not seeing much on the incident sites; containment date is the end of October, so that one may need snow.

                      Looks like it’s on both sides of the reservoir, so it’s likely to be another pain in the tail. Cause “under investigation”. TANJ!

                    • Okay. They are setting up the Incident Fire Camp at Tokatee Golf coarse in Rainbow, Oregon on Hwy 126; just west of there. With all the smoke already there, seeing smoke from that fire … nope saw nothing.

                      FWIW. It is steep around there. Definitely “snow will put it out” incident.

                    • When I graduated from my BS, I took the scenic route to California via US 2. Stayed at Glacier over Memorial Day, at which point the inadequacy of my gear was making itself known. Like any flatlander, I was surprised that the road over the Divide was closed, until I saw the snow at the closure. 🙂

                      It was a beautiful place, and really quiet before tourist season.

                    • My first trip to Glacier was a half-day trip on the summer solstice, where I got there very late in the afternoon. The park felt almost deserted, and much of the facilities at Logan Pass were still covered in snow. It was almost magical, with the ephemeral waterfalls dropping snowmelt upon the road, and the golden light of afternoon shining upon the mountains. Even a close encounter with a grizzly failed to detract to the experience.

                • We were in southern Oregon (@Mcminnville) for a family reunion two weeks ago … smoke just sort of generally everywhere. Wife out teaching some classes in the Fortuna, CA area a month ago and this coming weekend … smoke from the Mendocino complex and other fires.

                  We’re in north-central MN when not gadding about … smoke from Canadian wildfires affecting air quality out here for weeks now.

                  Did we forget a payment to something or other recently, or what?

              • Goats. We need goat brigades. They’ll help thin the stuff out. My recommendation would be to start with “fire lines”—areas half a mile or more wide, just clearing the underbrush in defensible patterns. Fill in later as you can.

                The problems with forest management are the delayed-action effects. We had, what, 60 years of total fire suppression, and though we haven’t had that for several decades now, we’re still feeling the effects. In California, the five years of deep drought exhausted the surface-accessible water for the plants, and stressed them out and dried them as well. You can see some Yosemite photos with lovely autumn colors—lovely, that is, until you realize that those aren’t deciduous trees, and that those are standing fire targets. (I think the valley itself has selective tree removal because those are major hazards to the huge numbers of tourists.)

                About the only hope is that the repeated burns will clear out the horrible fuel loads. I want to give walkers packets of native species to spread as they go a-hiking in the burnt areas.

                • I don’t think it was the fire suppression that triggered it– it was suppression and then 15-30 years of preventing anything else, including REMOVING DISEASED TREES. *shudder*
                  My cousin was on fire crew ten years ago, and saw the circles of borer beetle dead trees, and she didn’t need any special experience to realize this was a really bad thing in multiple directions…..

                  Stopping fires, preventing lumber being harvested, preventing dead trees being taking down and making controlled burns be done in natural positions rather than on slash piles well away from other risks…..

                  • Even during the suppression years there were at least some fire “mimic” patterns. Granted that wasn’t the intent. Some fire would have taken out just the under story & not the over story pieces. Over all, since the first trappers & pioneers got to the west coast, there is more timbered lands than natural.

                    Partly that is because there is no longer any valley burns, plus the suppression before. But reality check. Yellowstone & Cascades, especially on the east side are fire ecology systems. It is Fire, meadow, trees, fire, meadow, trees, & repeat. The Doug Fir ecology does the same, just not as frequently & the big trees survive. Coastal areas, even less.

                    Further reality check. Even during the aggressive suppression years, large fires were attempted to be put out, but success, not so much.

                    *Tillimook Fire, which was NW Cascades.

                    I know there have been as big fires but my google foo is gone & class time was 45 years ago. Did find a PDF from Starker Forests comparing fires since late 1800’s through 2015. Guess where the current years come in? (FWIW, just a blip.)

                    Technically fires suppression was in full force in 1988 when Yellowstone was burning. Remember how much luck they had putting that one out?

                    • Try TOF Spot blog, I believe he had a paper on the big fires.

                      And no, I don’t remember Yellowstone in ’88, because I was busy learning how to do my ABCs at the time. 😀

                      I just know things like how old the old houses in California and Oregon’s rural areas were, and that a lot of places were built after the big fires when my grandmother was a baby– and that proper management meant they didn’t burn enough to destroy houses until now.

          • There are some amazing photos from space of the impressive plume from the 2011 lightening strike fire in the Great Dismal fire in Virginia. Because of the prevailing winds at the time most of the smoke was blown east and south into the northern NC coastal regions and then out to sea.

            There have been fires in the Appalachian and Blue Ridge Mountains that have been bad enough that the particulates had notable effect in the Piedmont of NC. Paltry compared to what the west is suffering presently, but still not fun. I can only hope that the weather in the west will become more amenable to fire elimination very soon.

        • We got BC, CO, and OR/CA yesterday. Visibility was down to three miles for a while. Not a great day to go strolling around.

          • Washington and Montana are doing their share, too. Today has been disgusting; we haven’t had visibility better than one mile all day, and at 6:30PM the sun has a distinctly brown tinge. We’ve stayed inside as much as practical, aside from watering the garden and dewatering the dogs.

            I doubt that KLMT is running on VFR. The F15C fighter wing hasn’t been in our area since the latest big fire started. I assume they’re instrumented to handle bad weather landings at stateside airports.

            • TACAN, at the very least. It can use civilian VOR/DME signals, too, about three times as accurately as the civilian system.

  7. I can see that version of Purgatory being useful in reining in nobles and Church leaders, not so much the peasants who have little control over anyone/anything outside their immediate household.

    I had a rather severe shock the other day when I weighed myself. I’ve been trying to lose some weight just by cutting back on the snacking and stuff. I’ve been rather successful with it, losing about 1 pound a week since Christmas (I’m down a bout 25 pounds so far). I weighed myself and had lost 5 pounds in one week. Is something wrong? Weighed my self again yesterday, right back where I should be. I think it was the scale. In addition to snacking less, I think not working graveyards for the first time in 20 years has been beneficial.

    • Could be the scale. I’m trying to position my feet as identically as possible every time because ours definitely varies a good bit depending on where you stand on it. Could be water/bowel content fluctuations, which IIRC can account for 1-2% variation even if you are consistently weighing yourself in the same pajamas after the toilet and before breakfast.

      For the real losses, congratulations!

      • Scale position matters, unless you are on truly solid surface (basement or slab concrete, rather than, say, upstairs in a wood-frame house) where the leveling might be that little bit off between here and there.

        • I have a double-beam scale on concrete in the shop. When it’s sufficiently warm, I’ll get to repeatable clothing levels and weigh in. Mercifully for all, I work alone there. 🙂

    • It sounds to me suspiciously like a sales pitch for Indulgences.

    • Remember that water has weight: about eight pounds per gallon, give or take a bit. It’s easy to have your weight vary a couple of pounds if you happen to be a little dehydrated.

  8. And then there are counter-ripples. 🙂 I was thinking of how some people do deliberate evil because they are scorned, unhappy, or vengeful. I do believe in immediate karma (not sure this is the best word). The best karma happens in this life.

  9. After I lost Damien, I was in a seriously bad place. Foxfier and friends who’ve cross-pollinated here from my friends in LJ introduced me to your blog, just to read, and lurk for a while, and cheerfully told me “Yama is banned from there, long ago”, basically telling me it was safe to comment if I wanted to in time.

    Thanks to them, you, and Larry and MGC, etc helped me climb out of that pit of black despair. I had hope things weren’t as horrible as I thought.

    So, here’s a positive ripple result: me.

    • I sit here thinking of all the neat stuff and observations you have posted (including a lovely Iranian Fried Veg recipe – yum) and am glad you found this place … and decided that you were safe to comment. Thank you.

      • No, thank you, to the people here. Everyone helped me heal, rebuild and regain not just hope, but determination. And the stories…!

        Speaking of stories I thought I’d share this link: https://www.madmanfilms.com.au/mirai/

      • analytical-engine-mechanic

        Very much this. By my observation, whatever benefit this group may have been to you and even though it’s perhaps been more than even you know, there is abundant evidence you have literally given better than you’ve got.

        And isn’t that the central Ripple Effect Principle right there..?
        — — —

        “If we but look, we find what we need.”

        A line from a poem a friend wrote, that I find is true surprisingly often. (And it’s not all sunshine and butterflies, either; the last stanza is something like,

        I have walked alone through the last clean measured siftings of the snow
        The fiery toadstools of their wrath had scorched from the sky above them,
        I have watched the flowers spring up there in the dark tracks of my bare feet
        And known the end of their own dark winter was not far off.

        Nuclear winter as poetic conceit? That’s Isobel.)

        But notice: we *do* have to look, and sometimes keep looking.
        And before that, believe something is there to be found.

        If despair is a sin, does tbat mean hope is a gift?

    • Christopher M Chupik

      It’s good you found a place safe from Yamamanama. Too bad there’s still far too many places that give that piece of human debris space in their comment sections.

      • He’s been angrily haunting the PJM ones, recently screaming about how horrible Huns and Hoydens are in Sarah’s post about those two SJWs who died in Tajikistan at ISIS hands, because they were ‘determined to prove that people are universally kind’ or something. Mind, this is no different from his getting upset about Saint Pancake, because he himself has never had the courage of his convictions to actually do the things that these people do: go abroad and put his life on the line to obtain proof of his claims. If he had, we might have been well rid of him long, long ago.

        No, he’s the sort to point someone else in the direction of his target, so he can sit ‘innocent and clean’ and without jail charges, or so he thinks. He would eagerly murder every single one of us here if he could manage enough cat’s paws to come after us without it being traceable back to him, because he’s that much of a cowardly mockery of a human being. Well, that just makes him a more cowardly socjus zealot. Antifa tries looking for a fight; he’d love to be able to point them in our way, RL or online.

        And before someone says I give the shitstain too much credit, no he’s tried that tactic a few times before, and it backfired on him. Not just on me, mind. Prussian Blue when they were minors. His tendency to go after female conservatives harder than male ones is also indicative of that cowardice (like every other ‘male feminist’ out there.)

        • Christopher M Chupik

          Yes, I’ve noticed how male feminists get a bit weird where female conservatives/libertarians are involved. It really brings out their inner sexist.

        • Who is that piece of filth, anyway? I’ve seen him pop up on PJM spewing his garbage in the comments section, and I could swear I saw him on another blog making equally nasty remarks.

          • BobtheRegisterredFool

            Disabled man living in Mass. in the custody of his parents last I heard. That state passed a Cyberstalking law, and now there is a police order that he refrain from bothering certain persons. Not sure how much of second sentence is still true. He seems to post here, MGC, and MHN when he has the ability. Sometimes called Chlamydia or Clamps.

            Very boring man. Told Kratman that Kratman was a bad writer. Yama presented as evidence a story fragment Yama wrote about fish semen as proof that Yama was the better storyteller.

            Long time harasser, over the internet, of one of our regulars. She lives on the other side of the planet, which is probably why he felt brave enough to do so as intensely and persistently as he has.

            Yama/Clamps/etc… uses a variety of handles in an attempt to avoid being filtered out, then tends towards a very consistent use of insulting language. Check out the link below, Monty/Montana seems to fit the signature. But I’ve never had a very good eye for his postings.

            http://monsterhunternation.com/2018/07/19/last-chance-to-nominate-for-the-dragon-awards/

            • He’ll drive by my place and leave one sentence garbage. I delete it and make a note of his latest address. Romania was the last one, IIRC.

              • as I’ve pointed out before, attempting to use fake accounts to access a site which you have been banned from counts as….

              • Ms Red, those addresses don’t necessarily mean much; I can set my Avast firewall to make it look like I’m in any country, and it works well enough that both Blogger and YouTube start giving me site messages in that country’s language, and restrict content based on what’s licensed there.

                It also has a setting for Gotham City USA…. which those sites seem to think is in Czechoslovakia. 😎

            • Mention writers he doesn’t like (Larry, VolksDeutch Expat, or others) tends to set him off.

              • He was infesting/harassing at the Xpat’s blog until Law Enforcement paid him a visit. Worked for a little while, but now that blog is locked with (Let’s Be Evil) based registration required.

              • He’s taken to lurking at PJM, waiting for Sarah’s columns so he can be the first to comment. (Not that that means very much these days.)

                Fortunately, between Sarah and Charlie, the timing on those tends to be rather… peripatetic. He did manage to get in the other day for the interview column with Mackey Chandler. He seems to limit himself to somewhat less offensive comments (that one was “ugliest cover he’d ever seen”), so he doesn’t quite reach the ban threshold there.

            • I know that’s been said. I don’t believe it. The supposed restraining order etc. didn’t even have an effect. He was online within hours, and trying to get in here.
              BAH.

              • Yep. It’s one of the many reasons why I don’t believe he’s a cripple either. Or that he has minders. His father is dead, that much we know from one of my clanmates who’d been keeping a digital eye on him at the time (a daily google search alert, really) and spotted the obituary.

            • Thanks. Now that you’ve explained and mentioned a few of the other aliases, all is clear. I’ve definitely encountered this… creature before in several fora under other aliases.

              • His style is pretty dang familiar when you run into him, too– you keep wracking your head to figure out WHY DO I KNOW THIS GUY….then he goes crazy again.

            • I do not believe the ‘disabled’ part. Never have, never will. I would not be surprised if some of the local law enforcement ran a bit of interference for him as his father was a lawyer in the area.

              Of the two, Montana seems to be the Clamps spewdonym. (Yes, he has so many, we have given it a nickname.)

              • I’d say that all evidence indicates a disabled soul.

                • BobtheRegisterredFool

                  That. But the allegations I originally saw was that he was confined to a wheelchair and in need of caretakers.

                  I’ve been in some pretty difficult places, and could understand that driving unhappiness that then drives viciousness.

                  He seems to have spent twenty years sinking lots of energy into viciousness. If he were really so physically disabled, one might expect a spoons deficit to have interfered at some point. My current most favored theory is physically able, with some sort of bureaucratic cover that someone else helped him set up, and a major drive to bully perceived weaker targets.

                  • From memory, they were always very careful to say guardians, not parents— and if the local police are sympathetic to the poor weird disabled guy, and/or rolling their eyes about online harassment/assault*, that would fill in the disjoints.

                    * Remember, for assault, you just have to have reasonable expectation of imminent harmful or offensive contact, and we are all aware of SWATing.

                  • Possibly a Muslim operative, since that’s the best way to drive him crazy.

          • He used to haunt the blog that shall not be named but had to do with verdant sportsballs. Twenty years ago.

        • BobtheRegisterredFool

          I’d quibble about Prussian Blue really counting as conservative by American standards. But they were definitely victims that the Left would not condemn him for attacking. And when they were minors, they were basically presenting the politics of their parents. Kids have lousy political judgement, ought not be made political icons, and do not deserve to be attacked for the politics of their parents.

          • I do not consider the kids who were Prussian Blue conservative either. But they were the particularly glaring example of yama’s use of cat’s paws / other people to do the dirty work for him that was discovered by my friend (she used to post here for a while, as Oronoda) shortly after she decided to google the name ‘yamamanama’, who was, at the time, believed to be a 14 year old girl posting on Jordan S. Bassior’s LJ discussions. Why? “Because there is no way this person is just being annoying to us. I bet there’s more.” This was after yama deliberately twisted something I had said and started screaming that I was a racist pro-genocidal person that needed to die, when I failed to connect a sudden ‘but what about that Tajik girl’ gotcha attempt when I was talking about events happening in the literal other side of the planet (I believe it was discussions of the Rohingya visiting atrocities on the Buddhists until they started getting some of their horrible behaviour back.) Yeah, even back then, that’s what yama felt passed for arguing.

            Imagine our shock when it turned out that ‘girl’ was actually, at the time (2009) a 25 year old man named Andrew P. Marston, of Marshfield Massachusetts. The shock was because at the time, Yama DID sound like a very whiny 14 year old… and she found out his real name and age because the name was linked to his private blog, his facebook that HAD his real name, and forum, and photos, a whole page dedicated to warning people about him and his tendency to obsessively stalk and harass girls who rejected him, and an entire series of forum discussions where it was discovered that yama was the person who dug up a google map leading to where the Prussian Blue girls lived, and left it on a forum that was very much against neo-nazis and Stormfront.

            Except it backfired. While the people on that anti-Stormfront forum were fine with decrying the mother, and while they didn’t like what the girls were singing, they drew the line at attempting to target the girls themselves because at the time the two girls were still children, and from their interviews, just liked to sing and it was easily inferrable that being the singing group organized by the mother was how they COULD sing. The owner of the forum actually reached across to the Stormfront people, and told them what had happened, gave them the IP addresses and all the info they had available, including yama’s posts and behaviour, and had yama banned. The Stormfront people were surprised at that show of common decency, thanked them and said they’d handle it from there. Stormfront tracked the IP address to someone in Bridgewater University called Andrew Freely, and they went to have a chat.

            Except they actually hung back a bit, and observed the guy. Freely had a girlfriend, a social group, and notably did not sound like the vile piece of shit online. Acting on a hunch, they approached Freely, and told him why they had been scoping him out. Freely, once he listened, seemed unsurprised, and pointed them in the direction of Andrew P. Marston. Yep, even back then, yama had set up a fall guy, ‘just in case’. And if any of the behaviour I’ve described seems familiar, it’s because a lot of the tactics yama used have become mainstreamed SJZ tactics.

            There was lots, lots more, including that yama liked to pretend being an Asian woman online, and that he openly found Asian women to be far, far more attractive, and Oronoda thinks that’s why yama in particular hated me so much – I was something he held up on a pedestal and then was upset that I didn’t behave in the manner he believed I should be, and indeed, seemed the most furious when I would argue against things he’d say. Oro-chan gathered up the evidence carefully and presented them to Jordan, who was horrified just by the initial findings, but it was a long while before yama got his ass banned.

            Because Yama thinks that a lot of us were just sockpuppet accounts, he blames me for his being outed. More likely he couldn’t retaliate against Oro-chan, who was in the US military at the time. So he started stalking and harassing me, and was generally a piece of filth to the other women who participated in the discussions at Jordan’s. We eventually established that this was his default behaviour towards women he didn’t like full stop – women who he felt was getting more attention than he did in art or writing, or said something he disagreed with, etc. Sometimes the women in question wouldn’t even have much of an interaction at all. If the women had children, he would make not so subtle threats towards them – he did with mine, trying to pass them off as ‘song lyrics’ and quoted slogans, not that it fooled anyone there at Jordan’s (it’s one of the straws that finally got him banned.) Naturally, he acts like we’re the ones deliberately misinterpreting him.

            In a completely separate venue, namely an online gaming clan, I happened to make friends with the guy who eventually became The Housemate. I’d occasionally laugh about the stupid idiot yama over voice chat, and eventually from the conversations pieced together that yama and the idiot named ‘andthestarsshine/starshine’ on IRC was the same person. And because it’s yama, he came after the clan forum and started posting as ‘Sunshine.’ (Yes, that’s like, not super obvious.)

            By this point in time, Housemate was the Housemate. yama was saying some really horrible stuff and trying to dismiss something Housemate was saying, including that there was no way I would have friends.

            Housemate’s response was: 1) I live with her, you fucking idiot. 2) At the bottom of the forum listing (even public to you) is a list of the people who have visited in the past twenty-four hours. Why do you think they’re here?

            Sunlight/yama’s response was: So she’s opened her legs for someone else? Maybe you paid them to come here. Don’t be so stupid to think people actually want an internet creep like you to be friend.

            EVERY SINGLE WOMAN who read that – and the clan had several – had every single red flag come up at the sexual possessiveness in that statement, and the obvious enraged state leading to loss of grammar at the end. Housemate living with my husband and I was no secret – after all, we were in the same damn gaming clan, and everyone knew that the Housemate had become the Housemate because I’d just moved over, and Rhys was getting deployed overseas. We’d known each other for a good two-odd years at this point, and there was a lot of trust there (Housemate was protective of women and had, by that point, helped a few out of very abusive relationships, mostly by being positive moral support.) Believe me, in the years that he’s lived with us, he has proven his trustworthiness over and over. And the women of the clan were very, very glad that the clan leader lived with me, because they were convinced that yama would fly over with that one statement, and harm me, and likely the children. We didn’t think that he’d take such direct action, because of his past history of preferring to get other people to do things he wanted on his behalf.

            It was soon afterward that we learned that yama was harassing people like Sarah, and Larry, and Tom Kratman, and so on. And here we are today. Yama probably hates the Housemate as much as myself now, if not more, and he can never forgive anyone who’s given me ‘safe haven’, virtual or otherwise, or holds a positive opinion of me / the Housemate.

            • Again, when you make Stormfront look reasonable you are off the reservation completely.

            • BobtheRegisterredFool

              Thanks for the clarification.

            • Thanks for the detail, Shadow. That’s just so f’ed up, far worse than I’m used to on the web, and I’ve been on the web for a quarter century now.

              • Yeah. Yama’s a real piece of work, to put it mildly.

              • I gave a very, very potted and summarized history. There were lots more things, including an attempt by yama to get people at the Fundies Say The Dumbest Things to dogpile me by taking something I said so severely out of context it had no connection to anything I had actually said. I believe it was Chris Chupik who noticed that my name had cropped up there and alerted me. The post yama was using was one that was critical of militant lesbians condemning lesbians who became mothers, decrying them as ‘not true lesbians’, as well as other related things. I posted in the thread where yama’s attempts to gin up an online mob were being perhaps 75% successful and politely informed them they were being used in yama’s vendetta. I linked the original post yama was using, invited them to discuss with me, and a few of the cooler heads went to look. They concluded that while a few of my phrasings was ‘problematic’, my post was actually a valid criticism and was not in fact dismissive of lesbian choices, but highlighted inconsistencies for both lesbian and feminist credos, and that yes it looked like they were being used. yama’s response was rage, and accused the cooler heads of being Vox Day allies. The threads were deleted in the end and that stopped in its tracks.

                One of the things the gals noticed was yama/clamps often veered into very sexual overtones in his attacks of me. There were indications that he tried to also go after the Housemate’s female friends, and generally he seemed very, very angry that Housemate had so many female friends.

            • Professor Badness

              This is the first time I’ve gotten the whole story. Thank You.
              I asked your permission to have a character in my book called by your pseudonym, and it’s been written.
              The thought of angering him with this fills me with malicious glee.
              Is that bad?

        • He’s dropped a few turds at Chicagoboyz, once or twice, following links when I wrote about Sad Puppies there a couple of years ago, but we made such vicious fun of him that I think he gave up.

    • I always like seeing you around here. 🙂

  10. Micah 6:8 is one of those scriptures that encapsulates the essence of living righteously: Do justly and love [to show] mercy.

    I don’t think it’s a coincidence that Jesus’s anger was fiercest against those who pretended to be doing that.

    -Albert

  11. It’s a common observation that no one is evil in their own mind. For such rationalization and entitlement are their constant companions.
    Cheat widows and orphans in order to live yourself in luxury?
    You deserve it, your needs are more important than theirs.
    Molest children? You can’t help yourself, that’s just how Ghod made you, and besides it was done to you, and anyway deep down they will come to enjoy it.
    Burn down buildings and shoot cops? My many times great ancestors were made slaves to it’s my right to protest. Never mind that that their involuntary sacrifice is what gave me citizenship in the most desired country on Earth.
    Rationalization and entitlement, these sins do not earn you time in Purgatory, they, if there is a modicum of justice in the universe, buy you a first class ticket straight to the ninth level of Hell.

  12. “No one can be responsible for how their third or fourth order actions affect others because we simply can’t see it or imagine it, much less calculate it.”

    Unless of course you really are planning out that far ahead. I think it was the Abenaki people, or some other indigenous American tribe, that used to say that no decision should be made until the repercussions out to seven generations had been considered first. Talk about a conservative people! On the other hand, that doesn’t make for a tribe that can react quickly to an unknown, unplanned for, emergency. Which goes a long way to explaining why today they are a minute fraction of the population they once were.

    • In a static society, that’s not entirely beyond feasability.

      We, on the other hand, are on the rocket-propelled roller coaster into The Future, and dragging the rest of the world along in our wake, like leaves swirling behind a pickup truck.

    • Life is not “compatible color” NTSC, where things were considered to the 17th harmonic.

      And considering the harmonics of life… one would also need to account for the interferences, mixing, etc. of the lot. It’s the information problem yet again.

  13. One thing i can be sure of… if there is a heaven, a hell, and a purgatory, i know which ones Marx went to. It may have taken until 1916, but….

  14. Third attempt. Now three hours later and over 30 other comments posted. Almost too far out to make the ripple attempt worth it again … but here goes …

    The Ripple metaphor is perhaps better than it seems. People comment on their view of the ripple, the effect, but don’t comment that the ripple doesn’t take place without all the other water and objects that interact, block, pass it along.

    The people using the metaphor usually concentrate on a simple linear cause/effect relationship when it is actually a system where multiple causes and effects intertwined. Change comes fro small movements and their usually unintended consequences to the whole that shift momentum and balance, and often no one knows what really made the change, while an opportunistic group lays claim to something they didn’t cause or control.

    That is why the Micah 6:8 quote above is so good and cautionary. Whether we can see the impacts, to do justly, to love mercy, to walk humbly will only generate positives. Good intentions will override any of those to reach the means.

    And like the ripples there are too many effects to be able to comment on them here, so I think I will stop.

    (“If the end is right it justifies THE BEANS.”)

  15. Sometimes just your being there and smiling at someone might make that person’s day better.

    Gazes in metaphorical mirror.

    Slowly essays smile.

    Recoils in dismay.

    I strongly doubt anybody’s day is improved by any grimace smile of mine.

    • Bah. Bet there’s lots of folks.

      My tactic for brightening other people’s day is to drive through McDonald’s with rollers in my hair and then laugh when the kid taking my money tries not to crack up.

      • Drive through? Probably the best laugh I ever gave the staff at one of those was at a Chick-fil-A a few weeks back. I was stuck sitting at the window after placing my order because some {EXPLETIVE DELETED] had stopped at the curve where the two drive through lanes joined, blocking both from advancing even though the driver had three-quarters of a car length (at least) open in front of her, when rolling forward a quarter-length would have permitted following lanes to merge.

        After a few minutes and having observed the car ahead of her advance without any corresponding action on her part I forgot the speaker by my still open window was live and exploded, “Move your car, you bleedin’ cow!”

    • Eh, I have the same problem. But I do try to smile at people when out in public, as the family has told me my smile is at least less terrifying than my normal expression. (Usually. If I am very broadly smiling at someone, they tend to get the correct impression – that I am absolutely giddy that they gave me a good reason to rip them to shreds.)

    • A few years ago, I realized that making an effort to smile at people was part of a group of behaviors that I had missed in my never-ending quest to seem like a more “regular person” (along with things like making the effort to say “good morning” etc. when in reality I’m usually stuck inside my own head). It has REALLY helped. People used to think I didn’t like them. Now, interactions with people are a lot easier. YAY! GOALASSOOOO!!!!

      Now if only I could get my friends to quit trying to get me to ask out every woman that they see smiling in my direction. They aren’t interested… They are smiling because they see me smile. It’s a normal, built in, reaction.

  16. If my words did glow with the gold of sunshine
    And my tunes were played on the harp unstrung,
    Would you hear my voice come through the music?
    Would you hold it near as it were your own?

    It’s a hand-me-down, the thoughts are broken,
    Perhaps they’re better left unsung.
    I don’t know, don’t really care
    Let there be songs to fill the air.

    Ripple in still water,
    When there is no pebble tossed,
    Nor wind to blow.

    Reach out your hand if your cup be empty,
    If your cup is full may it be again,
    Let it be known there is a fountain,
    That was not made by the hands of men.

    There is a road, no simple highway,
    Between the dawn and the dark of night,
    And if you go no one may follow,
    That path is for your steps alone.

    Ripple in still water,
    When there is no pebble tossed,
    Nor wind to blow.

    You, who choose to lead, must follow
    But if you fall you fall alone.
    If you should stand then who’s to guide you?
    If I knew the way I would take you home.

    Ripple, the wine for those who don’t care how it tastes.

  17. analytical-engine-mechanic

    “And your legacy will flourish long after your name is forgotten.”

    From about the same time as that delay in purgatory comes the custom of doing things anonymously, as a matter of course, or simply signing DGD — which I believe is a Latin acronym for, roughly, “to the greater glory of God” (if memory serves, J.S. Bach was still writing it on his own work long after that).

    A similar attitude helps (still not “really” published writer, here) in “creating” or telling stories, at least for me — let the characters tell the story as much as they want, and do the hard work yourself only if you must.

    It’s amazing what can get done if nobody much cares who gets the credit…

    • AMDG. Ad maiorem Dei gloriam. (Sometimes spelled “majorum” depending on whether you want to deal with the I=J Roman orthography—it’s pronounced “my-or-um.”)

  18. A real Burroughs Martian: From

    Now who is LISA BARSOOMIAN? Let’s learn a little about Mrs. Lisa H. Barsoomian’s background.

    Lisa H. Barsoomian, an Attorney that graduated from Georgetown Law, is a protégé of James Comey and Robert Mueller.

    Barsoomian, with her boss R. Craig Lawrence, represented Bill Clinton in 1998.

    I was CERTAIN that ERB just made up BARSOOM as the Martian name for Mars! Boy, is my face RED (not the rest of me, nor my hair…)

  19. “Now imagine if you are in a position of power of any kind, be it as a bureaucrat or a ruler. ” If you want power accept resonsibility, and accountability for it. Imagine how different our world would be today if that actually was a scientific law…

    • Sadly it is the exact opposite, at least if you are not a subhuman like conservatives are to them.

  20. MadRocketSci

    The concept is also morally wrong, at least to an extent.
    Most things people expect God to do to other people are morally wrong.

    /heresy

  21. I was often told as a child that I was lazy, worthless, and good for nothing; frequently criticized, and seldom praised. My parents were trying to raise me to be a decent human being, but some of their methods were toxic. To this day I find myself occasionally trying to defend and excuse my very existence, not to mention my actions and inactions. How about a little Glen Campbell on the subject?

  22. madrocketsci

    WRT the original intent of the post though: It’s good to keep in mind that our actions affect others, and that they can help them too in a rough spot. I’ll try to be a positive influence.

  23. This called to mind a bit of Kipling that has become relevant to me lately …

    If you can bear to hear the words you’ve spoken
    Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools…

    Relevant because it’s happened to me twice.

    Conversely, I just spent an hour discussing a recent concern with my supervisor, and he ended the conversation saying “I learn so much when I talk with you. I wish we could spend a semester discussing this.” I don’t think I’ve ever had more lavish praise…

  24. I apologize for that exceeeeeeeeedingly long pasting. I thought what I copied was just the Barsoomian name and the link to the piece.

  25. I think I like Sixth Column more.

    Watch Out for the Puppet Masters
    By Sarah Hoyt
    I make very few bones that Puppet Masters by Robert A. Heinlein is one of my favorite books, and possibly my second favorite of his works (at least now, those change through the years.)

    Yeah, I know he wrote it to order and considered it hack work? So? To date, the work that has netted me the most royalties was a work for hire hack piece on Jane Seymour, wife of Henry VIII which I hated so much having to write that I banged it out in three days. (The title is Plain Jane, and it’s under the house name Laurien Gardner). I get a minuscule royalty at that because it was work for hire.

    Writers are the worst judges of their own work. Judging by the success of that book (despite an atrocious cover) it is the one thing I’m likely to be remembered for.

    I will also confess that as a fourteen-year-old what got me into Puppet Masters was at first the mention of secret means of entrance and departure, because I loved (okay, still love) such cloak and dagger stuff. It must be a human need to posit secret conspiracies. Partly because it absolves us from responsibility for screwing up. After all, against stupidity the Templars, the gods themselves supposedly strive in vain.

    But of course, it’s neat to posit and to read about for fun.

    • OTOH, the Proglodytes have been running astro-turf campaigns since before there was astro-turf, most of them with all the authenticity of Saddam Hussein’s “Baby Milk Factory” signage. Their is a Potemkin Village of America, created with complicity of the MSM, manufacturing public opinion like so much sausage — a little meat, lots of sweepings from the shop floor and abundant indigestible filler..

  26. Ripples, yeah. Nobody can ever know what effects all their words and actions will have, because the effects depend to some extent on their targets and I’m pretty sure God takes that into account. I wrote my computer books for money and fun, but I got an email from a young man years ago who told me that my assembly language textbook saved him from failing out of his CS program.

    I remember back on Ash Wednesday 2005, when I was at the ashes ceremony at our church, standing in my pew, thinking about my father who had died way too young, and gone to ashes before he could finish raising my sister and me. There were tears on my cheeks, and a young girl in the pew behind us (who might have been 9 or 10) tapped me on the shoulder and asked why I was crying. I told her I was thinking of my father, who was a good man who had died a very long time ago. She reached across the pew and gave me a quick hug. I doubt she remembers that day, but I’m sure I will never forget it. The memory has pulled me out of a lot of bad places, especially in the last few years when people I had known for literally decades called me a fascist simply because I supported SP.

    And of course, back in 2015 our honored hostess persuaded me to quit moping after a tradpub contract and just publish my damned novels myself. I did–and made considerably more money than I suspect I would have at Tor. After all, I was a publisher–duhh!–and knew how it all worked. It turned out to be easier than I had thought. Good ripples on that one, Sarah!

    As for purgatory, well, I have a fluky understanding of it that probably makes me some kind of minor heretic: We’re born into purgatory, we learn as we go, and when we learn enough, in this world or whatever worlds come after this one, God admits us to the Beatific Vision. Or as I prefer to put it: Hell is the journey. Heaven is the journey’s end.

  27. There”s an entire Dresden Files short story all about this. All the things Dresden did *in passing* as he was going about his busiNess of fixing things. Saving a little girl from a reckless driver, which had a knock-on effect later. A conversation with a softball player. Keeping a guy at a construction site who had been drinking because of problems at home from a near-fatal accident. Just stuff Dresden didn’t even think about, just being a good person while he was investigating bigger and badder things, none of which had a supernatural cause, just people being people.

    And of course for the opposite side, Crowley in Good Omens designing the highway interchange to get people in a constant state of low-grade peeevishness.

  28. I run the nursery for littles at my church. It can be exhausting and frustrating when they turn into shrieking demons. But then you get a parent who says “Thank you. He’s learned something that could only have come from here.” Or you see the kids in another setting and they don’t want to follow their mother to her next appointment because they want to be with you. And then they make their mom come back so they can say “Goodbye” at the end. Then you realize that the ripples are good. And it let’s you carry on.

    • “Remember my son?” I had tutored him and advised him not to go to college, but the seriously consider the military first. He needed to learn how to organize, and I thought the military could provide the framework that would let him bloom. I was right. He did two tours in Southwest Asia, met a wonderful woman, is raising a neat family, and got a job with an insurance company. He’s very happy.

      You never, ever know.

  29. Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

    Comments on Ripples.

    I’m not aware of the Ripples, good or bad, that I’ve made but I’m quite aware of all the good Ripples my parents made.

    Especially Dad’s. In many ways Dad was quieter than Mom but it became clear after his death about the influences he made.

    I still miss them both.

  30. “The concept is also morally wrong, at least to an extent. No one can be responsible for how their third or fourth order actions affect others because we simply can’t see it or imagine it, much less calculate it.”

    Its also wrong because it assumes no agency on the part of the higher order actors. Free will is free will, you either have it or you don’t.

    There’s a lot about the ancient Catholic church that makes me think of the DMV, or the post office.

    • A lot of the time the stuff that doesn’t make sense to us is from someone else trying to make things make sense.

      Sometimes they do it really badly, too…..