Homeward Bound

Not right away, but tomorrow around this time, actually.  It’s just that I have a strong feeling there won’t be time to write a post again before then.

I come back having got nothing written, but trying to convince myself that in a trip of more than 24 hours there will be time to write (we’re overnighting on the first layover. Thank heaven we secured in-airport rooms. I’m too old to sleep as I have, sitting up in a corner of the airport, really.)  And then from there we have 17 hours (with layovers) home.

There might be at that. I’m going to try very hard to do so.

I found out — somehow — a lot of things about myself and how things work here — I guess some stuff is so deeply set that it takes almost 25 years to see clearly.

Anyway, I’m integrating that knowledge and it is not a bad thing.  Perhaps I now understand more about why I had to live.  At least this trip left me no doubts that I HAD to leave.  I can’t imagine continuing to exist here, which is weird.  But I think I was always cross purposes here.

Anyway, part of the reason I didn’t write is that I can’t think of words in English (or Portuguese) while I’m talking in both languages more or less constantly. It’s like a traffic jam in my brain and both languages get the wrong stuff written/said. I also occasionally speak the wrong language to the wrong person.

My bookshelf in my childhood room — never most of my books, anyway — is verry weird.  Some of this stuff is incontrovertibly mine: a lot of Agatha Christie tpbs (That I have a vague memory I never returned to a friend after borrowing around the time she got married and went out of the country, anyway). Pearl S. Buck. Camus from my pertencious phase.  Books I abandonned in various trips.  Like, I have two Orson Scott Cards that I don’t remember reading, but I DO KNOW I went through a Card phase shortly after Robert was born.  I also have a couple of Patricia Wentworths in English, which I have no memory of leaving behind, at least not on purpose.  I have two Raymond Chandlers in Portuguese that I don’t remember ever reading, and one of those bubblegum mysteries I’m fairly sure I brought over, but don’t remember reading or abandoning.

There is some stuff here that is almost certainly my parents’: a lot of devotional books, moslty.

I have clue zero which of us had a Morris West in Portuguese, and it’s entirely possible I read it because someone gave it to me.

Weirdest is to find I had: Men and the world of tomorrow by Pro. A. M. Low, in Portuguese.  I have no memory of it.  I have a book called A Boy From Georgia I also don’t remember reading. No, the other Georgia.  Thank heavens not about Stalin, though. Then there is the book in Spanish with chosen readings in English. I was never at home in Spanish enough to read in it, and I can’t figure out how that even got on my bookshelf.

Not a surprise, but also forgotten and certainly mine because they’re in English, is a series of novels and non-fiction books about the founding of the US. I didn’t remember buying them or reading them. Walter Lord’s Dawn’s Early Light and Nathan Shachner’s Thomas Jefferson look worthy of re-reading, only I’m not taking them back becaus eof the weight.  Perhaps they are on kindle?

All this is amusing because recently a fan asked what of me was uniquely Portuguese and how Portugal had shaped my writing….

And I don’t know.  It amuses me greatly that someone, unawares, would try to piece my influences from this shelf, where my mom seems to shove books she finds around the house and THINKS are mine. Unless I’ve suffered some great break in memory these (Agatha Christie excepted) weren’t even re-reads of mine, but if read all the way through were read once and discarded.

In a way this dovetails — I think — with what happened with Portuguese culture.  I mean, I read it — mostly — I still do, in terms of knowing a street is not exactly safe or that the man wandering aimlessly down this suburban street might be casing the joint.  I simply was never plugged in enough to “get” it at a bone deep level.

Much of what I read (not reflected in this bookcase) was British or — mostly — from the US.  Even in translation, before I learned the language, most of my ideas came from the anglosphere.  There was a rightness about it, a way they fit my brain that made them less work, more effortless.

Then there was the process of acculturation and also of trying to understand how the American public would see my work (I still fail at that, at times, but no more than most writers. For my money a degree in literature did more damage to that than the foreign upbringing.)

If there was some uniquely Portuguese remnant, it disappeared in the avalanche.

There are thing in which I will always be different. One of them is the understanding of what a really deep past means.  This is not only because I grew up in Portugal, though it’s part of it, but because I read a lot of history. I thought about it and thought it would shape mostly historical particularly historical fantasy.  But I don’t think that’s true. I think it shapes my science fiction too, in that it tends not to be as neat, clean and logical as Americans make it, when they project things forward. Because I know most really old cultures are mostly built on their own ruins. Because I know what collapse and rebuild and re-collapse means.  Because…. Because history is complicated and I grew up surrounded by it.

I also wonder if that is why I’m less fascinated with fantasy of the heroic type as most Americans.

Anyway, there are other things I want to write about, one of them being the dog that didn’t bark in the night: For the first time since Reagan’s day, it’s hard to obtain dollars in this country and any dollars that appear are vacuumed off the market. Do they expect the dollar to appreciate more?  Are they afraid of a local collapse?  I don’t know, but it’s curious and not something I’d heard about ANYWHERE.

Also the same weirdness I’d noticed there, which is that as the birthrate falls, and even as population falls, people leave the countryside depopulated and crowd into the big cities.  Which, as my brother put it, “Is exactly the opposite of what Clifford Simak expected in City.”

What can I say? Making predictions is difficult, particularly about the future.  But when something behaves in an aberrant fashion, men and women of curiosity want to poke around and find out why.  Out of what the heck, if nothing else. I think we tend to follow our dogma or what we are sure is what’s coming a lot, instead of following our curiosity. Which of course, is how a lot of people on the left ended up starring in incredibly amusing crying videos election night 2016.

Other things have happened since I left, including the loss of Uncle Timmy, the founder of Liberty con and an all around wonderful man.  We’ve been afraid he was headed that way, of course, but I’d hoped to see him one more time.  I can’t do him justice on this pokey connection and in the middle of packing, so that will wait till I get home.

Because of the protracted travel back (continued fall out of the screw up with Norwegian airlines, which ALSO will get its day in the… not exactly sun) is that we only arrive LATE on the 15th instead of late on the 14th.  Which in turn means that I won’t be fully on till midday on the 16th or so.  Abide in patience.  In two nights I get to sleep in my own bed.  I’m assured the cats are well and the house is as I left it. (Unfortunately no fairies cleaned up in our absence.)

I will be back.  Keep things from collapsing till I am.  I won’t feel quite all right till I’m somewhere I can drive home if all else fails.  And I’ll try to update you then.

 

 

259 responses to “Homeward Bound

  1. Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

    Have a safe and peaceful trip home. 😀

    • Yes. Please. Have a safe trip home.

      Looking forward to “Why you never want to fly Norwegian Air” got to be a major story there. Heck, don’t know the story yet, and they are already on my avoid airline list. Not that we fly enough to affect any airline’s bottom line, but still, I know people who do fly a lot, regularly. While I may not give speeches, I’m sure this will be juicy enough to break my no gossip rule ..

      • Anonymous Coward

        In flight meals feature lutefisk ?
        Unscheduled stopover in Ireland to allow crew to pillage the locals ?
        Navigator uses sunstone rather than GPS ?

        • Actually, that all sounds quite appealing! 😉

        • Back in the day, some airline was prevailed upon to carry a sunstone and compare the results with the then current LORAN. The sunstone consistently got within 10 miles of the LORAN position. National Geographic wrote it up IIRC.

      • “We finally got our day in the sun…. what’s with the total eclipse??”

      • There’s already been a song about “United Breaks Guitars”….

  2. Don’t worry about us, Sarah. We’ve been keeping ourselves amused in your absence, with minimal destruction of property, social structures, or anything else. For certain values of “minimal…”

    • How about we define minimal as “anything less than the battle of Godzilla vs. Mothra”?

      • Well, I’ve been making sure only to use enriched lithium in my experiments to avoid issues with lithium-7’s tendency to produce tritium under energetic flux.

        • TheOtherSean

          If you’d use an Illudium Q36 Explosive Space Modulator instead you wouldn’t have to worry about such minor matters.

    • Hey, now, remember, after the last BBQ the fire marshal said that as long as we confined things to the three adjoining pockets of the space-time continuum, and didn’t have him getting calls from farther away than Lincoln and Pueblo counties, we were OK. So we’re still OK.

      Good thing the burn ban got lifted, though. Less paperwork.

      • The sea serpent got it all organized. Henceforth, the minion pool will flood the area around the BBQ to contain it. And if you weren’t on the islet before, why, she’ll let you climb over on a section of sea serpent.

      • Well of course there’s less paperwork with the burn ban lifted! That there paper’s darned flammable!

  3. Because I know what collapse and rebuild and re-collapse means.  Because…. Because history is complicated and I grew up surrounded by it.

    I grew up in what was considered an old part of Anglo-America — Philadelphia and it surrounding counties.  I recall a the house built in the early 1600s.  This was long settled country, with a history. 

    HA! 

    One visit to London altered that attitude, and a trip to Japan buried it once and for all.

    • As the saying goes: “In Britain, they think a hundred miles is a long way. In America, they think a hundred years is a long time.”

    • I went on a (church) choir trip to the East Coast and marveled at the gravestones from two hundred or more years ago. Where I grew up the gravestones started after 1900. At least for deaths. I might not have met the people who first settled there, but anyone born there and not dead of sickness or accident was still alive in my lifetime.

      The shocking shortness of that shows just how quickly history can move. The dopes my own age who thought the countryside was like Little House on the Prairie not excepted.

      • A tombstone near the place my grandparents are planted in central Minnesota always gives me pause.

        On one side : Abigail Johnson Beloved wife of John Mother of Sarah XX XX 1866* – May 17 1875

        On the other : Sarah Johnson Precious daughter of John and Abigail Johnson May 17 1875 – May 19 1875

        John is not mentioned as being anywhere nearby.

        Life was *harsh* back then.

        * Dates are approximate but the story is correct. 19 year-old Sarah died giving birth to her daughter who didn’t survive her by more than a couple of days, and heartbroken John left the area (or maybe killed himself and didn’t get buried in the hallowed ground). If necessary, I can get actual dates when I go up to caretake the graves in a couple of weeks.

        • I may have over estimated the dates, too. 1875-1880 ish might be the older ones. I do know that the one church that was burned down (arson, the teenaged son of a home-preacher who was mad at his father) was considered unthinkably old because it was almost exactly (but over) a 100 years. And that was probably when I graduated in 83 so I probably need to adjust my dates for gravestones back 20 to 25 years.

          Still, the arson was a Really Big Deal because nothing much at all was a whole 100 years old.

          And yes, the graveyards are full of the graves of young people and babies.

    • I remember the first time I visited Australia, and Rhys’ parents were pointing out the oldest church in Melbourne, saying it was probably around 200 or so years old, then noting afterward that Australia was a young country in relation to other places. They’re originally from England too.

      I forget where it was I read that the birth of Christ was ‘roughly 80 grandmothers ago’ and I have no idea how accurate that is given how young some folks had kids back in the day, but it kind of brings home the concept that distant history isn’t always so far away.

      • TheOtherSean

        Assuming generations of 25 years, then 80 generations x 25 years per generation = 2000 years.

      • Remember how old some people had kids back in the day. A woman would normally have a baby every other year throughout her childbearing years; it was perfectly normal in colonial New England for the mother of the bride or bridegroom to be pregnant at the time of the wedding.

        And a man could easily have a child when he also had great-grandchildren.

        Probably averages out.

        • Despite a male relative (gone before I got here) who remarried at something like age 70 and had more kids, that’s a point that hadn’t sunk in for the other half of the equation. Thanks.

        • Yeah, and if you had kids young (say, 17, or younger) it was entirely plausible for one to have the youngest present at the eldest child’s wedding.

          I recall that side detail in one of the Little House books where Laura and her cousin brought the laundry to the laundrywoman, and the woman was complaining that her daughter got married the day before and moved out (at 13 years of age) and the girls being quietly shocked because the girl who got married was about their age…

          • They didn’t get married, but the most Christian lady I know (think Jagi with a really horrific childhood home-life) was kicked out of the house at 14. Her future-husband’s family took her in (reading between the lines ,very very properly, he lived at another relative’s house) and he joined the Navy about six months later, SEABEEs in Korea.
            They got married when she was 18, but that was a nod to making sure nobody could call it improper, specifically because nothing would’ve been odd about her marrying at 16.

            (The mother that kicked her out? She spent the last four years nursing her through old age. And sincerely mourns the woman’s death.)

            • I knew someone who got married + became a Dad at 17 (and joined the navy the same year.) American fellow, we knew him from gaming. IIRC he has at LEAST 6 kids (maybe ten). The eldest boys have already expressed that they want to enlist as well, so they’re following a training regime to prepare them for boot camp, even though they’re 14 and 12.

              • Interesting, I plan to actively discourage my nieces and nephews from enlisting barring a war that does threaten the existence of the nation.

                That’s one reason I want to get the coming hot internal conflict out of the way. W turns 9 this year and I’d like to have it over before he can get involved in such foolishness…he needs to leave that to his uncle and get on having a life in whatever comes after.

                But barring that between great-grandfather, grandfather, great uncle, and uncle his family put over 70 combined years in uniform in the 20th century. He can let someone else’s family do it in the 21st.

            • snelson134

              Which is one of several reasons I considered the whole Judge Moore thing a load of hooey. In AL the whole time I was living there, his behavior as far as dating and even considering marriage between two people with that age difference wouldn’t have been considered out of line as long as her family considered him a suitable husband.

              • And rare is the family that doesn’t consider a lawyer a suitable husband.

              • Only became an issue when he was a Republican, too.

                • It became an issue because he lacked sense to handle it by saying”When I was a Democrat I behaved like a Democrat; that’s how I came to appreciate the superiority of being a Republican.”

                  • Or a bit more flowery, “I think the times have changed, and while I am honored to be my wife’s husband, I think the cultural shift is for the best. That is part of why I became a Republican.”

              • IIRC, at the time I was making cracks about how what folks were actually upset about was the guy actually marrying teen girls, instead of just sleeping with them.

            • There’s some discussion of an episode like that in one of the 1632 books. And one of the other characters was the center of some other family drama (not anything she did. The result of such drama). He definitely was able to capture the intricacies of family in those books.

        • snelson134

          As I’ve mentioned, my grandfather was the youngest of 12, and great-granddad wore out two brides in the process over a 30+year span.

          Another thing that you saw at the time was a number of December-May marriages between old Union vets and sweet young things. At least one of them was still around last year.

          https://www.floridatoday.com/story/news/2017/08/24/one-n-c-woman-still-receiving-civil-war-pension/594982001/

    • Yep. In Minnesota, the oldest buildings of Anglo origin date from the 1820s, and on my first visit to Fort Snelling I thought ‘Those buildings are really old’. Then I visited some friends in Boston and they took me to a pub in a building built in 16-something and thought ‘Now *that*’s really old’. Then in London I went to the Tower, and viewed the White Tower erected by Bill the Bastard in the late 1000s, and thought ‘Now *that*’s really old’, until I looked down and realized I was standing on the ruins of a Roman wall built about the time Christ was on Earth. And though I’ve never been to Giza, I met some Egyptians while I was in Saudi who scoffed, “Romans? Hah! Latecoming pikers.”

      • wolfwalker

        Romans? The City of Rome was founded in 753 BCE. By that time the Great Pyramid had already been standing for almost two thousand years, and Egypt had been a coherent nation under a single monarch for another five hundred years before that.

        As for the British Isles, I remember visiting Clava Cairns in Scotland, where the three large stone barrows are dated to around 4000 years ago. It’s one of the few places I’ve ever been that genuinely felt like a place where magic was possible… and not necessarily nice magic.

        • Isn’t there some sort of debate about if Egypt did some padding? I seem to remember in one of the “the Bible is clearly made up because there’s no record of the Hebrews in Egypt” fights that pointed out if you didn’t use Egypt as a known-good, a bunch of other ‘mistakes’ suddenly disappeared.

          • I’m not sure what you mean by “padding.” I know that there’s some disagreement over whether the Kings Lists for ancient Egypt are complete, and some confusion because the different lists we’ve found don’t always agree with each other. But there seems little doubt that Egyptian history goes back to at least 3100 BCE.

            • Padding, as in adding a king here and there, years to a rein here and there.

              • wolfwalker

                Ah, ok, I get it. I know the Egyptians tried to delete a king from history at least once: the pharaoh Akhenaten was declared a nonperson after he tried to institute a monotheistic religion very much against the wishes of the people and the priesthood. But that attempt failed.

                I know that some kings’ reigns can be correlated with certain events, and those events can be assigned specific dates using other sources. And some of the king-lists were written in stone (literally), so rewriting them after the fact would be difficult. But that’s about as far as I can go. I tend to believe the archaeologists’ reconstructions unless & until I have a good reason not to, but I realize that others’ mileage may vary.

                • I tend to mostly believe the archaeologists’ figurings, while remembering that everyone involved are simply human.

                  So it kinda goes in the “things that someone with an informed interest reasonably believes” category that isn’t actually ‘true’ or ‘false.’

              • Presbypoet

                I am struck by how often 40 shows up in the Bible. I wonder if this is an example of how a language that started with one, two, many, ends up with a word that meant a long time later frozen into an exact number. So we add up the 40s, and this produces an unrealized error.

                Or in the times of trouble, no one is writing things down. So it looks like a shorter period because it was more important to find food than keep track of how many years it had been since there had been a Pharaoh.

                • IIRC, a lot of the numbers are strongly symbolic.

                  Doesn’t mean they didn’t actually happen, just a consideration that what is being said includes more than just the number.

            • STandard issue “Oh, yeah, well YOUR kingdom of the lower left center area had four kings who ruled twenty years each? OUR kingdom at the top right had SEVEN that ruled for THIRTY!” type stuff.

              • (Plus the issues when one group captures another’s area, or the new king is descended from the group who was captured then broke loose then captured the original captor….)

                • The thing with Egyptian history was not that they padded or added. They smoothed away the bits that stuck out. So yeah, there was no queen/pharaoh Hatshepsut, there was just a guy who became king really really young. There was no Akhenaton. There was no prime minister of Tutankhamen who became Pharaoh Ay. There was no dynasty of Nubian descent. And so on. There were no Egyptian defeats in war, just victories closer and closer to the capital.

                  So yeah, if an ancient Egyptian historian watched the Exodus happen, he would never never mention it. There were never revolts of any kind, except if you find contemporary evidence that somehow was not smoothed away.

                  But the whole scheme of making sure that owned lands had only female children left to inherit, so their husbands’ families would get the land, or the farmland would pass into Pharaoh’s hands? Very Egyptian. A lot of Exodus details make sense only for people living in Egypt, at a specific time in Egyptian history. And there is some interesting archeological evidence that could point to Joseph.

                  • But the whole scheme of making sure that owned lands had only female children left to inherit, so their husbands’ families would get the land, or the farmland would pass into Pharaoh’s hands?

                    Oh, that is BRILLIANT.

                    Evil, of course, but brilliant.

                    And I just now connected the killing of the boy children to the plague where the “first born” were killed– I remember it was mentioned (Fr. Mitch?) that it wasn’t a totally literal, it was in terms of that being the heir.
                    So if Egypt had a habit of doing that…it’s just like the staff-serpent eating the other staff-serpents. Makes me wonder if the other curses were similarly overwhelming but poetic.

                    • Feather Blade

                      What I heard (somewhere, somehow) was that all the plagues were in some way related to showing up the Egyptian gods. Unfortunately, I don’t remember any of the details…

                    • I remember that, too, but Himself seems to like doing a dozen things at once.

          • Sounds like this one: Exodus – Myth or History? by David Rohl.
            Quoting from a book review I posted elsewhere:
            The author makes a persuasive case for re-setting the Egyptian sojourn and the Exodus to a date far earlier than the “orthodox” chronologies, which place it in the time of Ramses II the Great. Based on archeological finds that match the Biblical record, Rohl discards the time-lines derived from (in his view) a mis-identification of place and person in attempting to match Biblical names to actual locations and people.
            My biggest complaint is the organization of the book, and the jumbled way in which evidence is presented. Rohl (among many, many others) gives us maps which don’t show the places he talks about (some are better than others), assumes the reader has a knowledge of Egyptian dynasties and timelines equal to his own and doesn’t present any “grounding” data before going off on his own hypotheses, repeats himself and loops back and forth among chapters, asserts the thing to be proven before assembling all the evidence, etc etc etc.
            Nevertheless, I think he has some good data in his favor, and the pictures are superior.

            • I’ve had long an evil suspicion that scholarly attempts to discredit Exodus based on a mismatch with the “orthodox” chronologies means that it is the “orthodox” chronologies that are wrong. A more detailed examination is on my “someday” list of projects to undertake, should I live that long,

      • Chrismouse

        I climbed the (very high, very steep) hill up to the Parthenon during a portcall to Athens a few years back. The thing is, there are a LOT of ruins and still standing buildings in that complex. The amphitheatre is still whole, some ways down the hill. Other things are just foundations, or fragments of foundations, with a plaque telling you what they *think* they were.

        Athens was the portcall they finally decided on. Haifa was also on the list of possibles; that would have been amazing.

      • As a guy who did some digging around for a bit, I envy that sort of trip. Never got the chance to travel much, but stories like that of those who do make me smile.

        I do, however, live in some pretty old mountains. *chuckle* There are the cabins built in the late eighteens/early nineteens on land my family owns. When I was a bit shorter and had a lot more energy, I thought that was really old! Then I got into studying classics, and Latin was my new “really old stuff.” Then came anthropology. Heh.

        For instance, the mastodon those San Deigo construction workers dug up about seventeen years ago might be even older than we thought- carbon dating tends to peter out around 50kya. The possibility now is somewhere in the 100-130kya range. Hard to wrap the old brain around. More than fifty times as long as it’s been since the birth of Christ. Long enough for whole civilizations to vanish from memory and even myth into dust and potsherds. Time on that scale is boggling. My great grandfather was a great-great and almost a thrice great by the time he died at 102. A mere century is a tiny seed beneath the massive forest of such a concept. It’s not weight, nor history at that point.

        Up on the ridgetops near our land is a rocky shelf. The volcanic rocks born in the Appalachians now thrust up out of skin of the woods like bony shoulders, wearing down slowly. One such spot, an overhang swept clean by the wind, is where we used to build fires and tell stories. It’s an easy climb. The firs and pines lend many sticky branches to the effort. The rocks for the fire pit were already there, lighter hued and different from the shelf.

        One day the pines will triumph over the stubborn rocks, grind those old bones into dirt. There’s evidence it’s been going on for quite a while. Roots breaking into crevices, windblown dirt and rain feeding growth and all. The little cave down below, hollowed out by a slow trickle of snowmelt. It’s a good spot to spend the night. Clean water close by. Not too easily seen. Path up easily manageable by a short man or teenager. Who knows how long human beings have used that spot? Arrowheads may or may not have been found nearby. Or convenient chunks or stone molded by other teenagers in the past for the fun of it perhaps.

        We used to tell tales by that fire. The big rock in the back being used for human sacrifice perhaps. It was about the right size, and sort of flat. Or valiant natives holding off the invaders (or settlers cleaning out the riffraff), dying to the last man on that rocky shelf. There may have been a bit of Helm’s Deep affecting that one (it was about that time we rediscovered Tolkein). To us it was a place to get away from the adults and camp out for a bit. Who is to say it wasn’t the same for one or more folks in the past? And how deep did that past go? Such questions may or may not have nudged me in the direction of anthropology, once upon a time.

        • ROTFLMAO — you guys talk like Time was sequential when everybody knows it is as simultaneous! Just because we only transit it in limited dimension does not make it limited to that dimensionality.

          Y’all sound like Flatlanders trying to imagine Heighth.

    • I was playing an open-world video game set in Three Kingdoms era China. And as I was looking at the map with the ancient cities, I was suddenly overwhelmed by just how old that country is. Three Kingdoms was the period between the Han and Jin Dynasties – a few decades before 200AD to a few decades afterwards. And many of the cities in that huge geographical region that were important back then still exist (albeit rebuilt a time or three… Louyang, for instance).

  4. Remember chatting with an Englishman on a train in Great Britain whose home was older than our country…thought provoking.

    • Spent two weeks in the greater London area a while back. Came away with the impression that they seemed quite focused on history, but then they have so very much of it that it should not have been a surprise.

      • ” . . .they seemed quite focused on history . . .”

        Per4haps because their future looks so bleak.

        And yet our homegrown idjits seem to be bent on eradicating our own history . . .

        • A lot of Britons seem to be using interest in history as a sort of acceptable cover for patriotism. Kids of immigrant background also use it as a sort of indication that they want to be English, Scottish, etc., and can be trusted to be faithful subjects.

          Not sure about this, but I think that is why Doctor Who has been so offensive in their history eps lately.

          • Okay, I’m missing the connection between immigrants being interested in history as a form of patriotism has made Dr. Who so offensive. I thought the latter was just wokeness which tends to hate western history and patriotism.

    • I sometimes wonder who actually has the most 100+ year old buildings, not age but number. Not ruins, but places still in use. What % of buildings built 1000+ years ago last to today, 900+, 500+? And how much was destroyed in 2 world wars? Obviously more buildings built in the 1800s are still around today than built in 1700s both there and here. America’s population is/was greater so are more 100+ year old buildings here than in England?

      • 100, probably the US, simply because there’s a decent number of houses that are that old; I’ve lived in at least three, depending on how you figure.

        200 and it’s less obvious.

        • Exactly, its a bit of a numbers game. 200 year old houses America could have more than England because our population was greater at the time, so more houses/buildings probably survived, but can’t be certain. Its a bit of a fun mental exercise.

      • Many of those only look like they are that old. Some years ago, the wife and I had an acquaintance involved in the restoration of the Bird Cage Theater in Tombstone, who gave us a (somewhat, only the parts that were currently safe) behind the scenes look at the work. I didn’t have the heart to tell her that pressure treated lumber was not commonly found, certainly not in remote mining towns, in the 1880s.

        • Yeah, there is a touch of ‘My Grandfathers Axe’ in all older constructions, question is how much does it count? Will Notre Dame still be considered as old after the rebuild?

        • I would hate to attempt to date Independence Hall in Philadelphia by the lumber. Restoration work has been done on more than one occasion. My father had a small piece of one of the original timbers which had had to be replaced. It came with documentation. (I believe the pieces were sold not just for their sentimental value, but to help underwrite the costs of the work.)

  5. John Prigent

    I hope you manage to get one decent sleep in during your long journey, But I do know what you mean about trying to speak two languages at the same time. I’n bilingual English/French, read both of them easily, and am told that my French is very much upper-class Parisian, But although I understand spoken French I can’t switch between them when speaking, like you I get them mixed up, so family visiting me have to use English. In fact I seem to acquire the accent of wherever I am, which is also awkward because listeners don’t believe that I have such a small vocabulary in other languages – just enough to get a taxi or order a meal, but my perfect pronunciation confuses them.

    • My husband does accents for his D&D groups– he discovered that he can’t just jump back and forth, and for a lot of them he has to have a “get into character” phrase. (For example, Russian is “Merry Christmas.” It’s said as intimidatingly as possible.)

      • Years ago the San Francisco based Improv group The Committee did a skit in which a Stalinesque character recited “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town.”


        I’m not saying they were the inspiration for the above clip, but it shares the concept.

    • Being able to flip back and forth is very unusual, or so I was told. I startled one of our Spanish teachers by answering a question in Spanish that was asked in English, while skimming a German book. He couldn’t flip that fast, and he’s a professional translator as well as teacher. I just don’t think about it—the words are there or they aren’t, and since my thinking language flips, the spoken language flips. Although, if I am in a German-speaking place and get very tired, I start losing my English and defaulting to German. I’m told that that’s not normal, either.

      • Charles Krauthammer’s father was, we are told, fluent in seven languages and toward the end of his life (as dementia afflicted him) was prone to speaking them simultaneously. Charles was apparently the only person capable of understanding what his father was saying, a circumstance which seems profoundly sad.

        I know not whether this simultaneous commingling entailed speaking English and French with German grammar and Russian omission of articles and Hebrew nouns, and am glad to have never run into it.

    • There was a period in my life where I regularly mixed up German/French and English when actively trying to switch to one of the former. I don’t do it much these days, though my husband occasionally lets me know when my grammar stops being English.

      I can relate to the ‘acquiring accents’ bit, but I still talk to too many Americans to acquire Australian.

      • And which ‘flavor’ of American? When I pronounced ‘guitar’ as GIT-tar, my Mom (G*d rest her) said I’d been living in Oregon too long. And the Rs missing from Boston where they ‘pahk the cah’ migrated to South Dakota where they ‘warsh the car and change the earl’.

        • According to Americans I used to play with, I have a somewhat Midwestern accent. Aussies just either identify me as ‘American-sounding’ or “Filipino sounding, because they have that American-ish accent.”

        • I puzzle people because my accent is pretty neutral (Midwest/Central West) unless I slide into Central Texas, but my colloquialisms are Southern and Yiddish.

          • I knew Mark Rippetoe was pretty well known for getting folks into weightlifting, but it really hit home the day I happened to watch an interview with one of the world-class competitors at a strongman event. The very Nordic guy was giving an interview in English, but the accent was so think I had subtitles on… and then out of his mouth fell almost-Pure-Texan “Dew Yer Fahves.” (Do your (sets of) fives.)

            And I thought, “Huh! Rippetoe’s been here.” When trainers repeat a phrase often enough, it gets embedded in the original accent.

            Not the first time that’s happened; I was shooting an ILS (coming in to land at an airport on instruments alone, unable to see it) and having trouble staying precisely on track and target when my very Alaskan instructor opened his mouth, and pure Aussie came out. “Small smooth movements, not large late ones!”

            I did my best to comply, and only when safely away asked him what in the world… turns out one of his original instrument instructors, while he was over flying in Africa, had been an Aussie. Well over 40 years later, stuck in the exact same scenario? Out comes the same phrase he got over and over, in the exact same accent.

        • Which flavor?
          Texian, of course.
          The Illustrated Texas Dictionary of the English Language (multiple volumes) by Jim Everhart.
          Greetings: “Heidi, yawl”
          Geography: “Yewston’s a beg, beg city”
          Farewells: “Shore hite to say bah.”

    • I’m similar with accents… five minutes exposure and it’s contaged to my tongue.

      And in high school I took a year of Latin, then a year of Spanish, and I’m one of those people who automagically code-switches: if I’m speaking X, I think in X; there is no translation in my head. Anyway the result was I would sometimes produce sentences of randomly-mixed English/Latin/Spanish, which sounded perfectly normal to ME but were incomprehensible to anyone else.

      Also wound up with a bilingual dog, who was equally fluent in English and Spanish. Of course her vocabulary was only a few dozen words, but still… probably more than I retain today, 47 years later.

  6. Have a good trip! (At least as good as possible…)

  7. Safe travels…I would say fair winds and following see, but I plan to see you again.

    Which, as my brother put it, “Is exactly the opposite of what Clifford Simak expected in City.”

    Simak, like Asimov around the same time period with The Naked Sun failed to appreciate:

    1. Humans are social animals.
    2. We still have an instinct to cluster around the campfire with other people as protection against the creatures in the darkness.

    Even a confirmed misanthrope like me, whose website FAQ actually answers the question “Do you really like cats more than people?” in the affirmative can’t stand to be too isolated. When I was single I ate in sit down restaurants a lot just to have other naked apes around.

    Asimov might have done a bit better as Solaria is an exceptionally dysfunctional society and the sanest person Elijah meets desires to escape to where there are more people. Perhaps Simak understood this as well with his anti-social humanity leaving to become alien beings on Jupiter, arguing if man abandons social groups larger than the family he ceases to be man.

    • I have to speak to another human being every day or I get edgy.

      Saying hi as I walk by another neighbor on a walk does do the trick.

    • My instinct is to go forth into the darkness and hunt the creatures of the night… then again, I’ve gone weeks and sometimes months without seeing or speaking to anyone, and didn’t miss it. So I’m a bit odder than my tribe.

  8. maybe you aren’t that “into” Spanish but CAN deal with it? And with enough interest (or boredom) might have tackled it? I recall from Atoms in the Family that Enrico Fermi (Italian, so..) once a read a book in Latin without realizing it as he was that interested in the subject rather than the language. Only upon finishing the text did he realize the language of it.

  9. Oh, we won’t start nuthi’…

    Now, if something demands finishing… we’ll use at least three coats of shellac, alright?

  10. Most saddened abut Uncle Timmy. Lots of folk assumed we were related because of our nicknames, but I got mine from my stepsons long before I ever met Timmy. He and I had a good laugh over it a couple cons ago.
    So we can expect you to become somewhat human about midday Thursday the good Lord willing and the creek don’t rise.
    I will caution you with a fair amount of certainty that while the cats may very well be healthy, when you get home they will also be thoroughly pissed at mom. Where the hell have you been and what did you bring us?

  11. Such a nice post with so much to think about and what stands out to me?

    They have *rooms* inside airports???

    • FlyingMike

      Some places there are entire hotels inside the airport proper, so you don’t have to exit and reenter security perimeters to get a room for long layovers.

    • In Madrid, yes. And thank G-d. Because they don’t have hotels attached, as we do in the US.

      • TheOtherSean

        And even here in the US an attached hotel isn’t universal. From my own experience it seems about 60% have nothing, 20% have a hotel on airport property but physically separate from the terminal building, and 20% actually have a hotel that is attached to the terminal.

  12. Sheesh. Taken you long enough. One would think you’d made pilgrimage for some kind of religious ritual.

  13. FlyingMike

    Safe travels!

    …population falls, people leave the countryside depopulated and crowd into the big cities

    I wonder if there’s not something hardwired to key a forting-up response – if there’s lots of kids there will be lots of soldiers for the next Bad Times, so you can afford to live out where there’s some room, but in when the local kids are few you better move into town so as to not be an easy foraging target for the next “army” to roll through.

    • I’ve wondered that too.

    • At least in Oregon, there seems to be a bit of an effort applied by TPTB to decrease rural populations. (We do tend to vote Deplorable, so it’s understandable, if not forgiveable.)

      High estate taxes on farm and ranch properties, the removal of southern Oregon ranchers from the cheap Bonneville Power project, the expected removal of the dams on the Klamath River, already are bad. The state’s Byzantine water laws–based on seniority, with the Tribes being permanently the eldest, and with their power to call on water rights for (apparently) any reason–have made hay growing and cattle ranching in the river valleys a tough proposition. (The saving grace is residential wells are exempt, though the local tribes forced the town of Bly to go to a new well further from the river.)

      With lumber jobs almost gone (thanks to Spotted Owl Derangement), there’s not much going on for young people in the country.

      • Plus the ‘can’t build a residence in most places on a parcel of land under a certain size or producing a minimum amount of agricultural income from said property’. Kind of put the kibosh on my idea of getting @ 20 acres on the side of a hill in the Coast Range and building my castle. Now that it’s state-legal, I wonder if Marijuana cultivation would put one over the minimum . . .

    • It doesn’t even have to be hardwired. In areas where socialism has hit, people move to the cities not because of armies rolling through, but because there’s no effective way to defend isolated homesteads against banditos, gangbangers, tsotsis, and anyone else intent on hitting soft, low-value targets out where help won’t come. “Safety in numbers” is a thing.

      As well as sheer convenience: many tiny towns in farming country possess a core of families who’ve passed the farm on to the kids & grandkids, and retired three blocks from the shops and the clinic, instead of a 90-minute drive each way. And with the interstates, many small towns are failing as people choose to retire in the city with the Big Hospital, and more than one grocery store, and… because “a couple hours away” is a whole lot further than it used to be, in a lot more comfortable cars.

      (Tiny Town Texas actually is an interesting compromise: close enough to Nearby City with Good Hospital, all the docs, and all the stores, but far enough out that you have to check for traffic on horseback as well as kids on bikes and other cars. Amazon and other online ordering has made Tiny Town quite… comfortable, as we don’t often have to drive 3 hours to get to Big City with all the shops (and then another 2 hours in traffic to get anywhere inside it).)

  14. Driving home in a pinch. Hmm. Portugal to Calais, Chunnel to England, to Orkney’s, rent hovercraft for one-way trip, hovercraft to Iceland (stopover); Iceland to Halifax. I’ll leave renting a hovercraft as an exercise: size, speed, accommodations, range, etc. The one-way part could be tricky; if was a U-Haul or similar, they expect one-way trips, but car rental companies want their cars back to the same place.

    One a similar note, but reality: a Boeing 314 Pan Am Clipper got caught in New Zealand after December 7, 1941 (Pearl Harbor attack) and had to get to New York via Ceylon (Sri Lanka), Africa, and Brazil. That’s a trip.

    • And it was a journey that deserved a movie, if not a whole mini-series:

      View this collection on Medium.com

      • I am very surprised that there is not a novel or a movie or something. Been saying that for a while.

        *checks that notes for novel are still there*

        Wait, actually, that is a terrible idea for a book…silly story, no one would read it.

        • Bah. Just get Leonardo di Caprio to star in it; or who ever is today’s heart throb du jour.

          • Are we allowed to have a movie where competent, non-woke white people are heroes anymore?

            • TheOtherSean

              Sure. But good luck placing ads for it. And as soon as you start mentioning it on social media expect to be banned as a fascist racist sexist hate-monger, because they’re the only ones who would deviate from The Narrative. 😦

              • Hell, signs saying “It’s Okay To Be White” are considered racist AND White SUPREMACIST. Which shows you who the racists are. they think if they let white people exist unmolested, they’ll of course be on top.

            • ” . . . Are we allowed to have a movie where competent, non-woke white people are heroes anymore? . . .”

              Even worse, competent, non-woke white *men*. Reeeee.

              • Steve Rogers, Tony Stark. Bruce Banner … well, he maybe doesn’t qualify as white …

                • And Marvel just killed off, aged out, or therapied out, their characters.

                  • Awwww, c’mon, Dude!@ Spoilers!!! Some people are waiting until Memorial Day to see the Endgame, others have been out of the country. They only just lifted the Cone of Silence on cast members.

                    Besides, it is the last MCU film I expect to ever see.

                    • 3 full weekends since general U.S. release. I know people who’ve watched it over a half dozen times already. Not like I’ve given you any more than the tabloids have been running for the past 2 months. And we all know Disney is NOT going to let this cash cow property languish for long.

                      In the MCU, The Walt Disney Company is solely owned and operated as a subsidiary of Hydra International. All rights revert to Hydra. Unauthorized duplication of any and all materials is a violation of HI rules and will be dealt with as expeditiously and vilely as possible.
                      “HAIL HYDRA!”

                    • Shrug – what can I say?

                      a) some of us dislike seeing our movies in throngs of unkempt, unwashed, unmannered crowds, and so wait for the masses to abate somewhat ere seeing a film.

                      2: further, through some administrative error or other, some of us have been issued lives which we persist in attending to.

                    • 3 full weekends since general U.S. release. I know people who’ve watched it over a half dozen times already. Not like I’ve given you any more than the tabloids have been running for the past 2 months.

                      which does jack all for the vast majority who haven’t had the chance to see the movie and have actively avoided tabloids, or any other spoilers.

                      The jackass who spoiled the movie out front of a theater in Hongkong probably isn’t even out of the ICU, yet.

                      About the only reason I’m not tempted to curse your name to the heights of my admittedly lacking ability is because I could guess what you revealed.

                      Still, a total jackass of a thoughtless move, and the idea that the movie was released less than a month ago is some sort of an excuse– really?

                    • Normally I would accept your complaint. However, none of you have stated what an acceptable period of time after release is acceptable to begin discussing the contents of a movie. Three weeks seems more than adequate to not spoil anyone’s fun. Does any particular movie have to stop being shown at all before discussion; or can we take the average run time in theater for that period? In my area, the average time for a movie to run in the theaters is 2 weeks before removal, which means it can run from as little as a week, up to two full months if it’s still bringing people in.

                      How would such a concept apply to a book release? “I Loved It.” isn’t long enough for an acceptable Amazon review. Not to mention doesn’t provide any supporting evidence of why you might love it. “I enjoyed the chapter where the Mules attacked Athena’s spaceship and kidnapped Kit” could be considered a spoiler; so when would inclusion in a review, discussion or book report be considered appropriate after release in that case?

                      I’m not trying to rain on anyone’s parade, but to quote Hawkeye, “You and I remember Budapest very differently.”

                    • However, none of you have stated what an acceptable period of time after release is acceptable to begin discussing the contents of a movie.

                      You didn’t ask.

                      Since you have– when it’s beyond a reasonable doubt that anybody who wanted to see it, unspoiled, has.

                      Given that a lot of people here can’t go to the theaters, AT LEAST several weeks after it’s legally available at home.

                    • I think Foxfier’s dictum of waiting on home release is probably excessive, but waiting until it is no longer #1 at the box office, or perhaps is no longer among the top three films (five?) each weekend, seems a reasonable restraint. (N.B.: this informatiion is readily available at a single click via IMDb.)

                      Of course, as she noted, a SPOILER alert can also suffice, and in the specific instance “SPOILER WARNING” would have been all one needed to say about Avengers: Endgame, with specific details being superfluous.

                      I concede that, having read Marvel’s oeuvre since picking up Spiderman #2 (introducing The Vulture), Fantastic Four #4 (reviving the Sub-Mariner), and Hulk #1 from the newsstand I am rather impervious to spoilers and have learned to shrug them from my mind and enjoy the telling of the tale, thus the complaint was a trifle tongue-in-cheek (moi, tongue-in-cheek? How could that be!)

                    • maybe someday we’ll get a proper FF movie where Ben Grimm doesnt look like a rubber suit.

                    • How would such a concept apply to a book release? “I Loved It.” isn’t long enough for an acceptable Amazon review. Not to mention doesn’t provide any supporting evidence of why you might love it. “I enjoyed the chapter where the Mules attacked Athena’s spaceship and kidnapped Kit” could be considered a spoiler; so when would inclusion in a review, discussion or book report be considered appropriate after release in that case?

                      By the extremely standard format of going:

                      WARNING, SPOILERS.

                      Or, if you don’t want to type that much:

                      SPOILERS.

                    • Note on future topic for a post and discussion:

                      Proper form(s) for reviews on Amazon. I expect we’re all agreed that reviews of the style: “This book is demeaning to [Womyn, Homosexuals, Minority Religions, non-Cis-Gendered Persons, People of Venusian Ancestry, Other] and proves the author is a racist/sexist/something-phobe hatey-hate Mchater” are not helpful or particularly informative (beyond the principle that anything sending SJW ballistic is probably a fun read.) Similarly, complaining about spelling errors is likely not useful.

                      What is appropriate information for whetting appetites, warning off readers? “Strong characters, intricate plot” is useful if subjective (one reader’s strong character may be another reader’s overbearing bore.) Noting egregious technical errors, such as “The Hopi Indians were not raiding settlements along the Ohio in the 1640s and had the author done even cursory research …” seems fair game — but can we set standards for what scale of error is worth noting? A single swordswoman might be credible but is a troop of pike-women or a gladius-wielding* womens legion?

                      Sigh. I suspect this is something Sarah would encourage me to write up for a guest post, in which case y’all will see those words again, accompanied by several hundred more.

                      *contra-spellczech, that word should not be gladiolus.

                    • write it, write it.

                    • there’s actually a spoiler tag but it doesnt seem to work here

                    • A squad of gladiolus-wielding women are probably powerful sorceresses.

                    • @Mary, now that is something that would get me to stop watching women’s beach volleyball.

                    • Yeah, since the movie is what, 3 hours long? I can’t take the baby in there. I have to wait until it’s at LEAST DVD released in Australia. So I’m with Foxfier on this.

                      And I’ve been actively avoiding any place I would run into spoilers, so Pinterest’s been mostly about cute animals, random facts, tiny houses and food for me.

                • snelson134

                  You DID notice that Endgame….. didn’t treat them (as well as the most traditional female (Black Widow; she wants to marry Banner, the cishet slut!!!eleventy!!!! /SJW mode off) ) all that well. The actors playing them have all pretty much announced they won’t be back.

        • There is a book. I have it. It’s very good. I think I have the Kindle version… There it is: The Long Way Home.

          • And obtained.

            But that’s a history, not a novel. I cannot believe someone in the business of entertainment hasn’t run with this one.

            • Then there were the British sailors who wound up shipwrecked in one of the Russian Pacific ports during WWI, who dragged their ship’s guns all the way across Russia to attack the Germans from the east…

              Not something very cinematographic, given it was mostly freezing and brutally hard work, but the sheer WTF! of it boggles my mind.

              • Wait, what? Pointers please. This sounds like another thing to take notes on.

                Then there is the legend of Yang Kyoungjong, conscripted three times and POW three times. He was a Korean man supposedly conscripted into the Japanese Army, capture by the Soviets and conscripted by them and captured by Germany, then conscripted by them to man the Atlantic Wall only to be captured by Americans.

                That is an adventure story.

                And stop it, I can barely finish the book I’m working on and not sure I even know how to do the research for historical fiction.

                • That beats the gentleman I was acquainted with at my first post-college job – he was only drafted twice; first time as a teen he was drafted into the Wehrmacht from his native Germany and sent to fight on the Eastern Front in the infantry, managed to dodge getting sent to dig coal with his fingers in the mines in Siberia, after the war got into the US, became a citizen, and immediately got drafted and sent to Korea, naturally in the infantry.

                  When he got home he became a nuclear physicist so he would be less likely to be drafted into the infantry and sent to another cold place.

                • I was hoping someone else would be familiar with the expedition; it was in one of the WWI history books I read long ago and didn’t pay much attention to. It wasn’t until much later I had the “WTF?! moment” when I realized just how impressive it was.

                • Okay, it is starting to sound like he deliberately (but not obviously) was trying to get captured, if this was a manhwa.

                  • There isn’t a lot known and while there is a man of that identity who became a US citizen after the war the story cannot be verified.

                    As for trying to get captured, I am working from that assumption. He is the perfect example of why conscripts are bad. Notice, he never fought for his own country, for a country that values him, or by choice.

    • Presbypoet

      Saw the Instapundit tip, read the story by John Bull. Went looking for the book “The Long Way Home” by Ed Dover in the California Linkplus library system. Discovered only copy is at Occidental College, checked out until July 10th! Only $109 on Amazon.

      Story would make great movie. Imagine what taking off from the Congo River in a giant seaplane would look like on the big screen. So many dangers: People shooting at them. Only being able to land on water. Engines exploding. Flying into the unknown. Not knowing if 100 octane gas will be available at your next stop.

      But the heros are too white and too male for anyone to film it now. The guy who started Pan Am reminds me of Elon Musk, or a Heinlein hero.

      • Hollywood will just do a skin transplant, of course adding in the requisite deplorable as villain.

    • Talk about the hard way… just drive onto a cargo ship headed west, sleep in the back seat for the next three weeks, voila, you’re in New York with little effort and no pesky one-way boat rentals.

      [My sister actually did something like this when she moved back from Alaska… sent most of her household and the spare vehicle via cargo container ship.]

    • If you get kicked off the plane in Dallas you won’t have much further to go. DFW is a nicer airport to circle than JFK.

  15. Get home, throw your clothes in the washer, toss the luggage in the garage, go to bed for 24 hours.

    • That might sound insane, but it makes more sense than much else. Yeah, you’ll want a shower. Sleep first. Then shower. Then more laundry – let the machinery do it. And then, after some coffee or tea, and maybe some breakfast-oid foodform, write a bit.

      • I always throw the clothes in the dryer first to fix the bed bug, cockroach, recluse spider, scorpion hitchhiker problem. (Heck, I did find a gecko in the lining one time.) Ditto for throwing the luggage in the garage; although if you put them in plastic bags and stick them in the hot attic for a couple weeks they’ll be bug free that way too. Shower depends on how long I was on the plane/train/bus/car. If you’re sticky and can’t stand it or your own body smell, by all means shower first.

        • If bed bugs are ever a problem, Ed Nisley at softsolder dot com (his blog is titled The Smell of Molten Projects in the Morning) and search for his series on bed bugs. Lots of really useful advice.

          His family got hit by bugs on a trip, and it took him some time to develop a final solution for the bed bugs in the house. (Ed’s an electronics/3D printing guy, with a wide variety of other interests. Yep, he’s another Odd.)

        • Was working as an extra at LAX (perhaps not coincidentally, for an episode of the 1980s Twilight Zone). Bunch of us with nothing to do between shots were watching baggage containers go by in the next room, and WTF, is that a COBRA sticking its head out of that box full of luggage? Naaah, gotta be seeing things; it’s not moving, is it? So we went on about our workday and thought no more about it.

          Got home, turned on the news, and was informed that a live cobra had been captured at LAX, having apparently hitchhiked aboard a flight from India.

          So, yes. Beware of hitchhikers. Especially the ones you thought you didn’t see.

          • snelson134

            And Samuel L. Jackson nowhere in sight…..

          • Ayup. Friend who used to fly charter went into an airport near the border once, and found they had a terrarium full of tarantulas.Turns out to be a common passenger in the wheel wells from planes coming up from Mexico – they pretty well freeze in the wheel well at altitude, and fall out on the ramp (with a stick assist to dislodge.) Since they’re not very active after the cold-soaking, the ground crew picks ’em up, flips ’em into the terrarium, and occasionally called a local zoo “We got 3 blonde ones, 4 light brown, about 16 dark brown… what d’ya want?”

    • In consideration of Dan’s age, you might consider spending some portion of that twenty-four hours in sleep.

    • Joe in PNG

      I try to get on the proper day/night cycle of wherever I’m at- it’s hard for the first day or two, but you eventually get back into the groove.
      So, I force myself to stay awake during daylight, and force myself to sleep at dark.
      I’ve also found it easier to adjust going west than going east. Westward, the tendency is to go to bed early/ get up early, and reverse for east.

      • The average sleep-wake cycle of a person put into isolation with neither time pieces nor external input such as the sun — is 25 hours. That’s why west is easier

        • For younger folks it seems to be more like 28-30 hours… but if you look closely, it’s really two 14-15 hour days (given there’s usually a nap or other break at the halfway point).

          Now, consider: when light-sensitive life evolved, Earth’s rotational period was only about 14-15 hours.

          Some biosystems are really OLD.

          • Nope. Lock ’em up somewhere with no external time signals and they will never realize it’s not 24 hours.

        • I’ve always found it interesting that the cave studies end up observing a natural circadian cycle that pretty much matches up with the length of a Martian day.

  16. May your journey home be safe and may all the connections be on time. And may your cats forgive your absence when they hear the can opener (or equivalent). 😉

  17. Keep things from collapsing till I am.
    Looks around. “Dig faster, men!”

  18. Unfortunately no fairies cleaned up in our absence.

    I believe that is a task generally left to elves, although I’ve now this image of mafioso fairies using your home as a transient casino.

  19. BTW – call for a vote: are we generally agreed on the relative success of such short-form posts as have been featured the last few days?

  20. Funny thing about that collapsing business…..

    It seems that the mask has finally been ripped off the NRA leadership. And it’s bad. Very bad. IRS and NY AG stomping the NRA into the dirt bad.

    Main discussion and digging thread: https://www.ar15.com/forums/General/The-Breakening-NRA-internal-letters-leaked/5-2219519/?page=1

    Direct link to documents: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1ZCMqhkNC1auusQH9DJT5QFv2z9B8GmtB

    Wayne LePierre’s, ahem, “Intern”, appartment paid for by your donations: https://www.ar15.com/media/mediaFiles/421435/45815C54-3A6C-481E-A4E9-213A9C541BDC_jpeg-941621.JPG

    All in all, a lovely little dumpster fire.

    Who knows? With the NRA no longer sucking all the air out of the room and giving full throated support for it we might even start making faster progress on attacking gun control.

    • Honestly? I doubt it. The SAF and CCRKBA et al are not going to be taken nearly as seriously by legislators, and would be years away from being able to afford the number of experienced lobbyists that the NRA has. In the time it takes them to get up to speed, we can lose a lot of ground.

      NRA members are not going to switch to the other organizations immediately, and they are not going to switch to one en masse, which pure and simple means they won’t have the lobbying power the NRA has.

      And last, some of these other organizations have a ‘no compromises’ attitude that will mean that many congresspersons will not even be willing to talk to them.

      • It doesn’t matter if legislators get cold sweats when the NRA walks in if the NRA supports gun control.

        Given their recent – and not so recent – behavior it isn’t a wild accusation.

        The NRA’s “we will compromise on anything” attitude is one of the major reasons we kept losing. It wasn’t until people outside the NRA started fighting that the big reversals happened. The NRA of course opposed them, and then took credit after the success.

        And this idea that the NRA is too important to burn it to the ground if necessary is just another form of “Too Big to Fail”, or “Well he is a Man of God so we should ignore him raping little boys lest the Church be tarnished”. All that does is guarantee with perfect certainty that the organization will be maximally corrupt; because no matter how bad they get they can never be brought fully to account.

        • You do know that there is a benefit to all gun owners and 2nd amendment support organizations for having the NRA be the primary target of the anti-gun groups? I’d be willing to venture that about half the membership of the NRA belong to multiple groups, and while Brady, Bloomberg, MOMs, etc. are targeting the NRA, they’re wide open to attack from those other orgs.

          • They do make quite the convenient boogeyman.

            On the flip side they are a single target, will 50 state orgs be easier or harder to deal with? I don’t know.

            • 50 state orgs will be easier to *ignore*… like they already are in most states, especially the very anti-gun states.

            • Will 50 state org be effective at the Federal level?

    • For one thing, there’s a difference between the NRA and the NRA-ILA. ILA is our lobbying arm mostly concerned with 2nd Amendment rights, followed by 1st and 4th. The NRA itself is more concerned with promotion of shooting sports and safety training. I’m 100% in support of their fight against gun control as that’s just the other face of the same cloud of tyrants who comprise the woke crowd that try to control publishing.

      Interesting claims and links you provided; but I’ll have to wait until I get home because every one of those sites is blocked by work firewalls; which incidentally, immediately throw your sites into the suspected lies and disinformation bucket requiring extreme skepticism and scrutiny before I’ll accept them.

      As for Wayne LaPierre misusing funds for his own love nest, we’ll see. NRA is going through a real shakeup due to Oliver North attempting a coupe in retaliation for being called out for having major financial conflicts of interest. I wouldn’t cheer too much about that because if the NRA fades back, the National Association for Gun Rights (NGRA) is champing at the bit to step into the void and they are far less compromising than the NRA.

      DISCLOSURE: I am a National Rifle Association Life Member, occasional NGRA member, retired USAF veteran, middle-aged, married heterosexual, conservative, white, male, Catholic, former Boy Scout and Scout leader, blah, blah, blah, whatever other disclosures you want.

    • Accusations of a sex scandal are not anywhere near “zomga the NRA is DESTROYED!!!!!1!1!1!”

      • Sex Scandal is the small part. There appears to be rampant fraud going on, that is what will kill the NRA. And the idiots are registered in NY so any hope that they would have an easy time is rather far fetched.

        • Nope. The NRA will either issue a nothingburger not-apology, or simply ignore the whole thing. And the vast majority of their members will be OK with that.

          Even Jim and Tammy Faye would have been embarrassed at the NRA’s business model.

          • If Corruption In High Office(TM) were sufficient to destroy a political organization this nation would have NO political parties, NO unions, and less than half the corporations and churches we currently endure enjoy.

          • The IRS will have something else to say about the matter.

            As will the New York Attorney General.

            or simply ignore the whole thing.

            That looks to be what they are trying to do.

            As for the members that aren’t royally pissed; all they seem to be able to say is “They defend us!” (they don’t), or “You’re all a bunch of Bloomberg shills!” (no no no, you are supposed to say “russian bot”). NPCs gonna NPC.

            • BobtheRegisterredFool

              New York attorney general is a known adversary.

              IRS? We will see, they’ve been implicated in pro-Democrat shenanigans before.

              There are elements of the NRA internal matter that mean all information releases should be analyzed with awareness that they may be an information warfare product.

              In particular, North or La Pierre wrote a letter indicating that North had been informed of AM’s intent to release information upon La Pierre’s failure to resign by /Dan Boren/. Who is Dan Boren? Dan Boren is a figure from Oklahoma politics, son of the more famous David Boren. Both are Democrats, and David’s behavior running the University of Oklahoma speaks to being a liberal Democrat. David was also a Federal senator, and IIRC Governor of the state of Oklahoma. The chance you can trust surface impressions on this matter is basically nil.

              I can believe that La Pierre et al. are crooked and that this is mostly a Democrat political operation for 2020 at the same time. I could be persuaded that La Pierre et al. were mostly clean, just incredibly foolish to trust Dan Boren anywhere near the NRA.

              FYI emerging narratives on David Boren. David retired from being president of OU summer of last year, and was replaced by a Jim Gallogly. Boren was president for twenty years or so, and had recently pushed through a wave of retirements, and had been replacing a lot of senior officials with homosexuals. Gallogly was brought in to reorder the University’s finances, and uncovered some irregularities. A couple of sexual harassment claims against Boren were also made by some young men. Someone was apparently using the university grapevine for an information operation related to this. Gallogly has just resigned, claiming that resignation shows that he will obtain no benefit from bringing these matters to light. Possibly David had no hand in the University grapevine, and the accusations are not true. Possibly David’s role in this has no bearing on understanding Dan’s role in the NRA matter. I found out yesterday, so this is on my mind.

  21. Pish-tosh, m’dear. ANY time one of your posts opens the floor for comments before the Darkship Thieves link has scrolled by is short. Both “IT’S JUST THE PLACE WE BATHE!” and “WHAT THE ACTUAL HECK?” meet this metric.

  22. Weird how are lives are paralleling just now. I’ve got nothing drawn, either.

  23. Presbypoet

    You have just invited a few thousand odd people to contribute comments, with multiple rabbit holes opening up in the space time continuum. Just watch out for the white rabbit.

    So all you do is open the door…or is it wormhole?

    • Will somebody please tell Grace Slick to shut up?

      • Actually, she is the one rock star who did…around 50 she said, “rock and roll is for young people” and gracefully retired.

        It’ll be a said day for me when she’s gone, though.

        I just checked. She’ll be 80 this year. That’s weird as 16 year old me had a crush on 30-something Grace (who was 40-something by the time said crush developed).

        • In the ’70s, they played at the University of Redacted (as Airplane; Papa John Creech was with the band). Calls from the audience for “White Rabbit” were persistent, even after Grace said (politely) that “too much peanut butter gets old; that’s what WR is like for us”. So no White Rabbit.

          A week or two later, the Moody Blues played the same venue. They were quite confused at the calls for “White Rabbit”, and the audience laughing.

          • I have read that the Preservation Hall Jazz Band has a slate listing prices for requests, with “When the Saints …” running about ten times the price of anything else.

          • LOL.

            While there was some crossover, they were really were too very different bands. I enjoyed some Jefferson Starship bitd, but anymore if I’m listening to one or the other I am much more likely to listen to Jefferson Airplane.

          • I’m surprised she didn’t point out the “White Rabbit” and “Somebody to Love”, while both Grace Slick songs, are technically covers for Jefferson Airplane.

          • Joe in PNG

            White Rabbit wouldn’t be the same without Jack & Jorma anyway.

        • LOL. Yes, Grace Slick was on my list of women whom I wouldn’t kick out of bed for eating crackers.
          God. Was I ever young back then!

          • Yeah, when did we all get old? We are more or less twice as far from Surrealistic Pillow as it was from Grace’s birth and we are as far from the last Jefferson Airplane album as SP was from her birth (actually, just a tad further as that was 1989)

            • TheOtherSean

              Heh. At Easter, my Dad remarked on feeling old, and I mentioned a post I’d seen somebody make about feeling old when having to explain who Steely Dan are. My Dad says “I went to high school with Don Fagen.” Which is cool, but really only made him feel older.

            • Old? Old is when you have to use a cane for other than a fashion accessory. Old is when you need a walker, or wheelchair, with no above ground end in sight. Old is when you think it’s better to stay in bed doing nothing instead of sitting on the porch in the sun, drinking coffee and listening to the birds sing while trying to figure out which perfume your wife stuck behind her ears this morning. Old is when you stop taking joy in reading, anything. Old is when you stop looking at other women and wondering if she does or not; in which case you’re probably at room temperature already, and need to have people throw dirt on top of you. Old is when you stop. And when you stop, you drop.

              Never say never, and Death Himself is going to have to pry that stylus from my cold dead hands to write FINIS for me.

              • No, that is decrepit, which some of us reach before we get old. Old is needing three generations translating to explain a pop culture reference.

              • Glen Campbell got Alzheimer’s after a long career. He wanted to do one last tour, so some of his kids went on the road with him. By that time he was pretty far gone; the logistics were probably pretty grim. They’d lead him up on stage, put the guitar in his hand, and sometimes the band would have to play the intro two or three times before something clicked in his head and he’d pick it up.

                1967, 2017, it would probably have been all the same by then even without terminal dementia.

  24. Off Topic and not at all off topic, two jokes, courtesy of National Review columnist Jay Nordlinger:

    1:
    In the morning, Brezhnev walks onto his balcony and says, “Good morning, sun!”

    The sun says, “Good morning, Comrade Brezhnev, General-Secretary of the Communist Party of the Glorious Soviet Union!”

    After lunch, Brezhnev goes out onto his balcony again and says, “Good afternoon, sun!”

    The sun replies, “Good afternoon, Comrade Brezhnev, General-Secretary of the Communist Party of the Great, Historic Soviet Union!”

    Later, as the sun is setting, Brezhnev says, “Good evening, sun!”

    The sun says, “F*** you, Leonid. I’m in the West now.”

    B:
    East German leader Erich Honecker has this hot new girlfriend, and he’s crazy about her. He says, “I’ll do anything for you.”

    “Anything, Erich?” says this babe.

    “Yes, anything.”

    “All right, then. I want you to tear down the Berlin Wall.”

    Honecker thinks for a second and says, “Oh! I see. You want to be alone with me!

  25. I find house elves are better at cleaning. Fairies are too flighty….

    Safe travels.

    • I have two models for fairies in my head. The first is Peter Pan’s Tinkerbell. I’m not sure how effective she’d be at cleaning getting fairy dust everywhere. And being small and winged in our house the cats would probably nab her right off. The second are the Sidhe of Gaelic (particularly Irish) fame. Those are only slightly more desirable in your house than the Elder Gods. Fickle, bad tempered, legalistic and downright nasty, if they show up just hope they go away without too much drama. The Brownies/Elves of the “Elves and the shoemaker” story seem more like what you need, but somehow they never show up…

    • I’ve read Mutineer’s Moon and Ringworld already, more than once. June’s at least a half dozen stories away from now, so I’m not sure what I’ll be reading then. Order of reading is pretty fluid, but Kindle Unlimited selections usually come first, followed by low cost e-books. Any e-books priced at half the cost of paperbacks or higher often end of with my waiting until I’m wandering through B&N with a coffee cup in hand before I consider buying them.

      And I’ll be fencing in the Summer Nationals up in Columbus, Ohio the week of LibertyCon, so I’ll have a couple of days between events to get in some more reading while everyone is discussing how to fix a broken America.

  26. So after due consideration my response to this post is “EAT TOES!!!!”

  27. Safe travels home, Sarah!

    (and they have rooms in the airport? That’s pretty cool; and I remember reading some bits about those capsule hotels in Japan…)

  28. wolfwalker

    Kind of late now, I know, but re this:

    “… only I’m not taking them back because of the weight.”

    I recall a trip to Grand Canyon whereon I stopped in the Arizona Natural History museum and rapidly accumulated a couple of cubic feet of books and papers in their gift shop. Absolutely impossible for one person traveling alone to transport that massive pile of wordage, so I had it shipped home via UPS. Could you fill a couple of boxes with the books you want to take home with you and have them shipped, or would that be too brutally expensive?

  29. When life does settle down for you, you might want to take a look at this book

    It deals with life & death issues, and is one of the best books I’ve read lately. I can’t recommend it highly enough.

  30. richardmcenroe

    As we type, Sarah is relaxing in her window coach seat, luggage in her lap, trying to order a bottle of water past the tobacco-ridden 300 lb German sitting on the aisle…

    • Yet another reason to upgrade to coach-plus if possible. The four women with seven kids and five seats was the final straw… (Yes, the women held the kids for take-off and landing, and let them roam the rest of the time. Thanks be we didn’t hit any serious turbulence.)

  31. BobtheRegisterredFool

    I came here because an outline appeared for something with the following title: “Actually, Cuck is an appropriate term chosen carefully to discuss a serious set of political topics, and everyone who objects is victim blaming.”

    In a day or so I may stop posting to the internet for one week or a half week, until I am again confident of maintaining my current level of polite civil discourse.

    🙂