So, It’s the End, And the Beginning


So it’s the end of 2019. Not the end of the world. The rest promises to go pretty much as always, ticky boo. Even if ticky boo for some people includes getting crazier. Honestly it doesn’t bode well that 2020 is the year of the rat.

I told my husband I remember being very excited at the end of the 70s.  Now part of this is that I got to write a retrospective of the decade for the newspaper, (which no longer exists) because I was interning in the morgue. (Newspaper morgue, where the old issues are kept. It was in the basement, cold, dark, and surrounded by dead news.)

Now we tick over a new decade and I yawn and go “D*mn it, I’ll have to remember to change that 1 to the 2.”

He said it’s because the eighties were the first time we remembered changing decades. And also I had the promise of an exchange student year in America come June, and also, honestly, who didn’t want to get way from the seventies?

He has a point of course. And yes, a lot of it is that I know how this game works. And also that time is going faster every year. (Actually though there’s an argument for it being an effect of the aging brain, there are physicists who think time is in fact accelerating. This theory makes me feel better when I realize next year I’m going to be the age at which Shakespeare died and yet my accomplishments don’t come close. You see, he had the advantage of slower years in which to learn and think. Temporal privilege!)

A lot of it, on the other hand is that the world is not full of possibilities. I’ve chosen my track, and while that has a lot remaining to be explored (next year, indie with both feet!) it’s not like — absent rejuv — I can suddenly take another track and become an aerospace engineer, or a doctor. I hope some day to get a doctorate in classics, but since that’s mostly a “I want to have it, and teaching classics in community college beats being a greeter at Walmart in my seventies.” it might very well never happen.

And I’m okay with that. Sometimes the roads not taken were not worth the toll. Almost any other degree I could take would be as useless in the states as Languages was. And Languages, to be fair was only useless because I don’t ENJOY translating and ran away with the writing circus as soon as I could. It pays less, and was way more stress because of traditional publishing, but I did enjoy the work, until the stress shut me down.  (Yes, it’s coming back. It doesn’t look like it from the outside, but it took me almost two years to enjoy writing again. Putting Deep Pink out was a major victory, but now the way looks easier. Hopefully Winter Prince and the first Rhodes mystery out in January.  In reverse order, since Rhodes will take less time to finish. And then we’ll see. I warn you I’ll be doing closed pen names. Nothing shameful, I just want to run an experiment to see if rumors of my politics hurt my sales (not the real politics, mind you. The bullshit in wikipedia about SP, for one.))

But you know, the US takes MDs from Syria but not from Portugal, even though Portuguese training is identical with England. Whoever decides that stuff is insane. Or perhaps has an agenda of importing people from certain countries. (Who, they? Biased? Nevah.)

Anyway, this new decade thing: I hope to write a lot. I hope to start teaching, once I’ve established my writing routine, so one doesn’t eat the other.  Mostly, I suspect, weekend workshops on specific topics, done via Skype. (We still have a hole in our finances from the flight debacle — yes, I still need to write about it — and the house needs repairs urgently before things get worse.)

I will also — at last, yes — assemble a collection of essays from this blog. First volume to be called Joining The Freedom Gang. It will be released under S. A. Hoyt mostly so it doesn’t go to my author page or show up when you search for fiction.

I was going to have a private sale of those, but tax laws for online sales (I’d have to collect taxes from each of you and KNOW your state’s tax laws) make that impossible. It’s almost like our laws and regulations are designed to hurt the little guy and protect large tech monopolies.

So, anyway, that’s what’s ahead.  Also, everything working out both boys will be moving on to fully independent lives next year, which is a major change for us. Not so much to empty nesters, as we’ve been largely alone for a year or so, but to just us, not responsible for others, even if we help them.

It will be interesting.

And who knows, maybe someone will invent rejuv and I’ll get to be a spaceship captain in the next millennium. I don’t want to live forever, but for now the adventure is fun.

If I don’t post tomorrow (we’re going out to dinner with the family and probably staying downtown to watch fireworks) have a happy new year, and may your adventures continue being interesting.



280 thoughts on “So, It’s the End, And the Beginning

  1. Do have a blessed New Year everybody!
    About that whole decade thing, not to reopen a can of worms, but technically from one way of looking at things, the new decade doesn’t start until Jan 1 of 2021. First decade was years 1-10, second started with year 11, etc. don’t you know.

      1. I’m recalling the old After Y2K web comic and remembering the story arc with the Real Millennium Bug (featuring Arthur C. Clarke, no less).

        Got to write the last check of the year today. Just have to go 2020 for a while…

    1. The 203rd decade A.D. begins Jan 1 2021.
      The ’20s begin Jan 1, 2020.
      Use whichever one which is most useful in communicating with your audience.

            1. Not sure how the Charleston is gonna look with the Civil War era beards that are becoming the fashion. Also, if we go back to the Big Bands, do we have to follow that with Jitterbugging and Be-Bop?

      1. This.
        “The 20s” starts with the first day of 2020 (or 2120, or 1920 or… whatever).
        The decades don’t have to line up with the century or millennium.

        Oh, and you can define your own “decades”. I had one that started in 1984.

        1. *grumble* was supposed to be at the end……
          maybe I should greet the new year again a little later when it’s light out

      1. All of this is pretty arbitrary, but the truth is that we don’t care about the “correct” beginning of the decade/century/millenium/whatever, we just want to watch the 9s turn over into 0s.

        Also, the whole debate is an excellent exhibit for the computer scientists who think we need to be 0-indexing…

        1. That would be correct annually; for decades we want to see the 1s become 2s. And in ten years, the 2s become 3s.

    2. One of the short-hands for how terrible American education is, is that the class ahead of me styled themselves as the “first class of the millennia.” They spent a lot of money, most of the teachers at the school were involved in this biiiiiiiiiiiiiig graduation event.

      That was for 2000.

      I don’t get it; there’s so much fun and cool stuff you can do as the crowning close of a year, a century, a decade, a millennia– but folks want to skip it. /sigh

      1. Also, the singular is millenniuM, daggonit. I saw someone today post about “millennias” on FB and I nearly burned the place down.

        I should probably eat something. Rageful is not a good way to start the final year of this decade.

        1. *laughs* Direct quote from the Empress this evening:

          “Deers don’t exist. Does exist, and bucks, and fawns, but there ARE NO DEERS. Only deer are real.”

          1. That’s adorable. Same with sheep. I’m trying to recall if I’ve ever seen “fishes” used anywhere but the Bible story. I’m sure I have, but I can’t recall off hand.

            1. Legitimate plural, more commonly used if you are particularly talking about multiple kinds of fish rather than just more than one fish.

          2. “Softwares” makes me grit my teeth. And “emails.”

            You email your emails to an email with your email now. I guess the next step is “ug!”

            1. *runs down a few trial lists*

              Huh, I use email as a plural, unless it’s really important that it be clear I’m talking about a bunch– “did you get my emails?”

              I love English. ^^

              1. Yeah, I will say “emails” if I come back from travel and have 100 emails from the CDO about tropical weather disturbances in the south Pacific. And then hit “delete” on all of them.

      2. Millennium, daggonit. I saw somebody post on FB this morning about living in two millennias and I had to restrain myself from burning the place down.

        I should probably eat something. Hangry is no way to begin the final year of this decade.

    3. I gave up trying to explain it in 1999 …

      Like many words whose meanings change over time I have had to accept that aside from a few of us who are more particular that first decade is now viewed as having been only nine years long. Or more humorously put it was like all of us were when we started — short.

    4. Okay, I get the idea and stuff but since we count both forward *and* backward, is there really and truly not a year zero? It goes 1BC to 1AD with no year in between? (Googles) Well, all I can say is that’s STUPID. I am not comforted at all. Some cultures count a baby 1 year old when they’re born. We don’t. We get the zero year when we’re counting years. It doesn’t matter what we’re counting years for. My first wedding anniversary was *1*, not *2*.

      This makes me think of people who insist that when you add blue, red, and yellow, you get white. Yaaaaas, you DO, but arguing it is not actually useful.

      1. I think its partially because its Anno Domini, in the year of our Lord. Conceptually its an ordinal number (first year of our Lord, second yearof our Lord, two thousand twentieth year of our Lord etc). 0th only comes to mind to oddballs and computer scientists with long exposure to the C language. Of course then there’s the issue that the best date for Jesus’ birth is in the 4-6 BC range because the Venerable Bede screwed the pooch in figuring the date of 1AD out in the 7th century. And yes 0 as a numeral isn’t in use although certainly 0 as a concept exists for folks such as Pythagoras at a minimum.

        1. > Anno Domini

          Which I make a particular point of using among the dweebs who insist on “Common Era.” Turns out a lot of them don’t even know what “A.D.” is an abbreviation for.

          No, changing the name isn’t going to scrub the Jesus cooties off. It’s still Anno Domini. If you wanted to decouple the year count from Anno Domini, you could at least have used the Julian origin date, the Founding of Rome, or “Atomic Era.” Losers.

          1. If you wanted to decouple the year count from Anno Domini, you could at least have used the Julian origin date, the Founding of Rome, or “Atomic Era.” Losers.


            I wouldn’t object to making a new calendar, if only because it would make it simpler to remember that the calendar has been adjusted several times, but I don’t even like it when video games do the “copy something completely but change the name on it” thing.

          2. O prefer to count the days from the beginning of the universe, which is to say, the day of my birth. All ere that event is PMA (Prior My Arrival) and AMA (After My Arrival).

            However, as this tends to make synchronizing schedules with others distinctly tedious I do not insist they adhere to the only sensible method of distinguishing eras and instead utilize whatever calendar is mutually convenient, whether the Christian one or the ones used by Jews, Muslims, Chinese, Hottentots or whatever..

        2. The “had to be before 4BC” thing turns out to be not as well supported as one would hope given more information– kind of like the “Jesus was of course not born anywhere near Christmas” thing, it’s mostly caught on because the exact date matters more to the folks who don’t believe than the ones that do, even when the evidence points otherwise. (Sorry to link something I wrote, but I don’t feel like posting three or four different posts with the links, sorry.)

          The lack of a year zero is because it’s based on the way that they measured a ruler’s time– there’s the first year of ruling, not a zeroth year of ruling.

          1. Latest date of death for Herod I’ve seen is the 1 BCE/BC one you quote still a solid year before when Jesus is supposed to have been born as supposed by Bede. 2-3 BCE is more common date for Herod the Great’s demise with some folks going back to 4 BCE. In any case Herod’s death is supposed to be some time after the visit of the wise men told in Matthew. It is distinctly NOT clear if the visit of the wise men was the same time as the visit of the shepherds described in Luke. Mary and Joseph are still in the vicinity of Bethlehem/Jerusalem as Jesus is dedicated in the temple 40 days after his birth as told in Luke. But at some point The Holy family head for Egypt as told in Matthew and Herod the Great instigates the slaughter of the innocents slaughtering all boy children under 2 years of age. Neither Mark nor John’s gospels have any birth narratives (so much for the Synoptic gospels being the same, Mark, Matthew and Luke all differ on the birth narrative). The answer may be we don’t absolutely need to know the date, just to know who that little baby is and who He’ll become. If we needed more the Author would have had someone tell us.

            1. The date from Dionysius Exiguus (had to go look up how to spell dude’s name that Bede was going off of) of December the 25th in 1 BC, being like a freakin’ week before 1 AD, isn’t exactly earth-shaking.

              1. True, because we start the year at January its just 7 days. Not sure if the Romans started at January at that point, March (with the start of meteorological spring in Italy) sticks in my head. Still only a few months one way or another. Ultimately it has little to no effect on the theological issues it is nice to be able to say to the idiots that say Jesus is a “fairy tale” to quote on CNN talking head that these people were as real as we can tell for anybody in that period. And for the child of a minor artisan in the first century Jesus stands out head and shoulders above anyone else but the Apostles and the early martyrs as being well documented.

                1. Belatedly, thank you, because while I knew that the dates lined up for Jesus to be roughly 1 AD I had never gone and THOUGHT about the days involved, right up until I was typing about how it was only a coupleadays.

                  No, it doesn’t actually matter. For heaven’s sake, the YEAR isn’t even equal, how can it matter? We’re talking about He who is outside of time, for goodness sake.

                  But it is pretty dang cool.

                  Also, I can’t get over the sheer awesome of the Lamb of God being born during the lambing time for the sacrificial lambs. ❤

                  That is… well, I'm not sure it will make sense for folks who don't know animals. Even Suffox sheep have lambs in early january, sometimes. Especially if they're old. But it's rare.

                  That the Israel local breed has them in Dec?

                  And I can look, now, and see that it's summer-night warm?


                  1. It is very cool that the Lamb of God is being born at the same time as some of the lambs that will be used for the next Passover. The lamb stuff is all over both the New Testament and the Old. It’s MASSIVE foreshadowing by the Author. Of course given the Author KNOWS what’s going to happen is it really Foreshadowing? Gah I hate predestination/omniscience stuff as much as I do time travel or Quantum Physics. Every bit of any of them give me nasty headaches.

                  2. I was curious. I’m not a city boy per se, but lambing is something I know NOTHING of. Apparently Ewes start estrous based on day length to wit (

                    Ewes are mostly “short-day “breeders. When day length becomes shorter (in the fall), this triggers the ewe’s brain to release hormones that jump start her reproductive system. The further away from the equator the sheep breed originated, the more likely it is to exhibit these seasonal breeding patterns.

                    Conversely, sheep breeds developed in the tropics or nearer to the equator are less likely to display seasonal breeding patterns. Breeds in the U.S. that have less seasonal breeding patterns include the Dorset, Rambouillet, Polypay, Karakul, Merino, Finn, and hair sheep.

                    Jerusalem is about 31 degrees north latitude (Compare to Charleston SC that is about 32 degrees) so its possible the breeds common in first century BC or so Israel might be less day length sensitive.

                    Gestation is a nominal 145 days (about 4.5 months) so the sheep would have had to have been mated like mid August Days are shortening (towards the Equinox) from the summers peak. The odds that ANY information on first Century sheep behavior can be gleaned from existing records probably approaches 0 as outside the new testament the number of intact records is minuscule. I think we just fall back on
                    1) it really doesn’t matter
                    2) it’s a matter of faith

                    Still fun to think about though 🙂

                    1. The sheep they had in that area are known as the Awassi. (don’t ask me how to say it!)

                      IIRC, there are actually a lot of really good records, same way that Egypt kept good grain records (well, everywhere kept good grain records)– that’s folks food, folks are ALWAYS interested in food, and if you’ve got any kind of taxes or army you have to have a clue about it! They’re just all the boring stuff.

                      The article where I found out about the shepherds lambing in December followed almost exactly the same route you did, but she was able to find breed information:


                      I never understood the idea that shepherds wouldn’t be out with their flocks, because it’s not like you can put them in the barn. My great-grandfather’s sheep stayed out all winter, too, and that was in northern California. You have a shepherd there because sheep are edible, and valuable, even if they’re not lambing.


                      It’s like any of the other puns Himself put into stuff– no, it doesn’t have to work to support faith.

                      It’s just really, really cool when it does.

                    2. OK replying to my own stuff because WordPress (Delenda Est!) will not let me reply to Foxfier. I looked up Awassi sheep and found this:
                      ” The breeding season of Awassi ewes starts as early as April and lasts through September.”
                      That puts them smack dab in the middle of the August timeframe we need for December lambing. As the Awassi
                      are a local breed
                      “Awassi is the local breed of sheep in Jordan and is the most important breed in the semi-arid regions of the near east countries. ”
                      And seem to be tailored for semi-arid climates those are likely either the breed or derived from the breed of the 1st century. The traditional date for Christmas sounds pretty darn plausible. QED I’d say.

                2. It was Julius Caesar who shifted the New Year to January 1st from March 25th, so yes, one week.

                  1. Right nearly 50 years before Our Lord Shows up. Been >40 years since I was in a Latin class and learned this stuff had to look it up on the Interwebs. Some days I wonder if I could find my way home without the Internet :-).

          2. Theoretically it’s easy: $PERSON was born in the 9th year of the reign of King Alf, which was the same as the third year of Tyrant Bob, which was the 4th year of Emperor Cal, which was the 43rd year of Pharaoh Don, which we know from other records is 3 B.C.

            Except not everyone agreed which year was what, or the news hadn’t gotten around when a particular tablet or scroll was inscribed, and really, a year or two or three one way or the other wasn’t a big deal. So the 9th year of King Alf could be anywhere from 3 B.C. to 3 A.D. Maybe.

            1. And for added fun, a lot of the rulers got their heirs involved in ruling before they actually took over– we know Herod had his sons doing stuff with him years before Jesus was born.

              1. The Roman Emperors were not quite to crowning their successors in their lifetime, but it was barreling down the pike.

      2. I once got a correct answer marked wrong on a history quiz in junior high because the history teacher, not being a math teacher, didn’t fully grasp the implications of there being no year zero. She taught us, correctly, that there was no year zero, and the calendar went from 1 BC to AD 1. Then on the quiz, she gave us a question like “If a man was born in 20 BC and died in AD 30, how old was he when he died?” The answer everyone else gave, which was the answer she was looking for, was 50 years old. The answer that I gave, which was correct but she mistakenly marked as wrong, was 49 years old. When I got the test back, I told her that the right answer was really 49 years “because there was no year zero”, but I wasn’t able at the time to get her to understand what I meant.

        (I later learned that she subsequently went to the faculty lounge and asked the math teachers whether I might have been correct after all, but I never found out about that at the time).

    5. techincally any ten year period is a decade. Even if it starts at 9:15 am on March 25 1993 and goes to 9:14 am March 25 2003

        1. It’s 2038, not 2040 – – and it’s only partly fixed. As with the Y2K bug, the most challenging issues are going to be with legacy systems that have been in place for decades because nobody wants to touch them. The fix involves using a 64-bit number for times instead of a 32-bit number, and all modern processors are 64-bit processors. (And on 32-bit processors, you can set up your Unix installation to use 64 bits for times if you know what you’re doing). But there are lots of places where 32 bits were used for times, and finding them all is going to be a very, very large engineering effort. Which will, human nature being what it is, not really get underway until about midway through 2036, even though the problem is already well-understood today.

    6. I gave up.

      What’s the first day of the week?

      Oh, now there are competing international standards… it can be Sunday *or* Monday. Which breaks a buttload of Sunday-indexed software, among other things

      1. What’s the first day of the week?

        Oh, now there are competing international standards… it can be Sunday *or* Monday. Which breaks a buttload of Sunday-indexed software, among other things

        This one is easy. Have the setting be variable by installation set by client. Sometimes by shift. What drove me nuts is which pay period does Friday fall in? When the first answer “It depends”, I was perfectly willing to excuse myself, put the client on hold, and go pound my head on the wall, for a second or two. Hey headache might as well be legit (client was one that tended to be more difficult). Did get it figured out eventually, but boy was it a PIA. I pity the programmer who has to maintain it now.

      2. I’ve been dealing with that for the backup setup on the new computer (named Mycroft. The laptop is named Dora. OTOH, the old desktop is named Illiac, while the to-be-replaced shop computer is named Jethro. Consistency isn’t always important. 🙂 )

        Turns out that for crontab (the *ix mechanism for scheduling events), Sunday is Day 0. Or Day 7. It Doesn’t Care. sigh

      3. The first day of the week?

        It varies individually.

        For example, a quick [searchengine] of the date of my birth reveals I was born on a Friday, so for me Friday is the first day of the week.

  2. Choices are the death of possibilities.

    But you can’t go forward to those possibilities without making choices.


    1. Same as writing a novel. Which is why so many novels die halfway through. They’re not really dead. You’re just morning the possibilities you excluded by making choices. Forge on. It will be fine.

      1. Sometimes they die because they didn’t have enough ideas.

        I started outlining to force my stories to cough up that they were complete before I wrote them.

      2. You didn’t write a novel. You just selected out all the things that didn’t fit the story you wanted.

        1. Yep, the song Freewill ” If you choose not to decide you still have made a choice”

          From the Snakes & Arrows Tour 2007

  3. I got the Shingles booster yesterday, slept a meagre four hours last night and was just heading toward a nap when found this in my mail. I cannot even feign wit, so half-witticism must suffice.

    The box has been clicked and I look forward to receiving issues of your newsletter.

      1. Thanks — I have some left-over Indian food I plan to eat. Cinnamon, turmeric, chili peppers, ginger and garlic are all good for inflammation.

      1. You’re reading it. April First is a variable feast around here.

        (She’s also on Facebook, but I’m not, so no information on that.)

  4. “Who didn’t want to get away from the Seventies?”

    Ha, I almost missed them entirely by being born slightly after Reagan became president. Unfortunately, early Eighties styles didn’t differ much from late Seventies. By the time most of the distinctively Eighties things became prevalent, it was almost 1990.

    1. I’m mildly nostaligic for the 70s from time to time. It is when I engaged the passion I have kept my entire life, gaming in general and RPGs in particular, and added music which I keep unchoosing and then taking back.

      I am glad 13 year old me from 1979/12/31 can’t see me. He was going to be the first man on Mars or at least an astronaut.

      1. Sigh… I was all set to be a movie stunt man / bounty hunter at that age. Yea…. 13 year old me would be very confused and disappointed (not to mention would wonder what happened to all the tattoos I was supposed to get but never did).

          1. Oh, the whole tattoo thing is my “be weird on the cheap” in the aughts. I dressed normal, had no tattoos, and wore little to no makeup but hung out with the goths.

        1. By the time I could afford the specific artist I wanted for the full-back tattoo I wanted… I already had a body that I didn’t want to show off. And a mortgage that seemed more sensible to sink money into the principle anyway. Sigh.

        2. in the aughts.

          I’m with the British bloke who calls the 2000 – 2009 decade ‘the naughties’. 😀

          And I am ever so glad I did not get any tattoos way back when. Being young and stupid is one thing, but getting stuck with the stupid for life is quite another.
          Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!!

            1. Then you have a patch where you obviously USED to have a tattoo, and people are likely to imagine something much worse than what you actually used to have.

              I don’t have a tattoo because of bad skin (would you paint on rotting canvas?) and a strong aversion to needles.

              1. There is a place that has seriously epic tatt ads near us– and the other side of the doorway is removing tats.

                Elf is considering it, because he has badly spelled Chinese tats on either arm. (best translation, “hope sinks”) and I can’t decide if I want them gone or not. They are pretty.

      2. 13 year old me would be shocked, but enthusiastic.

        “Wait, you are married, to your best friend, have a ton of kids, and you HAVE A FANTASY TV SHOW VIDEO GAME YOU CAN PLAY WITH FRIENDS ALL OVER THE WORLD?!?! Yeah, right, and you’ve got a magic book that can be whatever you want to read, too.”

        *pulls out phone*
        “Well, not exactly, but it does have a really wide selection, including a bunch of reference works.”

      3. 13 Year old me on 1974/12/31 wanted to be an Astronomer. Actually I wanted to be an Astronaut, but knew a combination of severe asthma and poor eyesight ( 20/60 in my GOOD eye) made this nonsense. Somewhere in the next year or two I ran into an actual astronomer who convinced me this was not a great field due to limits of Optical and Radio astronomy making further advances hard. I also ran into an assortment of computers and programmable calculators and found a new obsession. Ultimately the Astronomer I talked to was wrong, proving Clarke’s First Law : When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong.
        It’s been fun anyhow and astronomy has made a lovely hobby.

        1. > eyesight

          You were too early. Modern astronomy is all computer imaging.

          Radio astronomy was always my favorite, though. From the dawn of Man to the 1950s, nobody had even suspected that the sky talks to us all the time…

          1. Yes and all the tricks of analysis of both Optical and Radio Astronomy are computer processing aided by numerical methods. But in 1976 almost all of the current major optical observatories were either in early planning or not even thought of. Hubble has some funding in the 70’s but even best case date was early 80’s and Challenger and schedule issues push it to 90 (and 93 to fix the optics Perkin Elmer screwed up). So yes I was probably 10 years too early. And the ability to build large (>200″ palomar ) terrestrial scopes and actually get decent data from them (Unlike the Soviet Palomar which just produced fuzz as it never hit thermal equilibrium) is dependent on computer control of mirrors which really doesn’t get sufficient until the late 80’s.

      4. For whatever reason of memory’s tricks, I was reminiscing t’other day about a favorite childhood series of books — by Donald Wollheim, as it turns out — about an American Astronaut: Mike Mars.

        Michael Mars is my name.
        America’s my nation.
        Space-flying is my game?
        and Mars my destination!

        The series of eight books, published between 1961 and 1964, enjoyed such sensational titles as:
        Mike Mars, Astronaut

        Mike Mars Flies the X-15
        Mike Mars at Cape Kennedy
        Mike Mars in Orbit
        Mike Mars Flies the Dyna-Soar
        Mike Mars, South Pole Spaceman
        Mike Mars and the Mystery Satellite
        Mike Mars Around the Moon

        Apparently these are still purchasable, in used and collectible status, HB & PPB but I fear to revisit these as I am confident the writing would be cringeworthy to today’s adult reading tastes.

        1. It was a juvenile, but it wasn’t cringeworthy for an adult. I did a review of it for an SF blog a few years back.

    2. ’70s: Met first girlfriend. Later met second girlfriend, and married her. Got pix of me in ’70s clothes. No, will not post them!

  5. Well, for one, Shakespeare didn’t have the ‘net to distr—Squirrel!

    Ahem. I don’t know. Year of the Rat seems quite apt for an election year. When I teach about the events of 1979, it boggles the students how much of our current national mess(es) first appeared that year. I guess the 70s were giving us the Hawaiian Peace Sign on their way out the door.

    We could always ask Shadowdancer how 2020’s going, since she and Dave Freer are already there. 😉

    1. So I’m I. It’s quite a bit cooler than it was yesterday, but sunny and cheerful.

      Had a nice sleep, no weird atrocities or monstrosities to wake up to. So far, quite nice. Recommended.

    2. The ’60s & ’70s are back. Don’t you know? Just listen to Biden … “hey man …”, “don’t ya know, man …”, “listen man …” … nothing to see here, just your average over the hill hippy …

      1. G-D forbid Biden should win the presidency, but if he does I pray the oath of office is administered by the current longest-serving active Justice, Clarence Thomas.

        1. If he wins the real issue will be is how and how radical is his VP, who will very likely be the one serving part of Biden’s term. Also, if Biden wins, Republicans must keep the Senate to prevent the Courts from radicalized by identity based Marxists

  6. You can be a starship captain.

    I’ll fly a starship
    Across the Universe divide
    And when I reach the other side
    I’ll find a place to rest my spirit if I can
    Perhaps I may become a highwayman again
    Or I may simply be a single drop of rain
    But I will remain
    And I’ll be back again, and again and again and again and again.
    Johnny Cash’s portion of The Highwayman

  7. “I was going to have a private sale of those, but tax laws for online sales (I’d have to collect taxes from each of you and KNOW your state’s tax laws) make that impossible.”

    Couldn’t the Patreon thing be used to get around that? Make it an eARC reward instead of a sale.

      1. SubscribeStar. Herb, would you send me this on email, or I’ll never find it again? I have a Patreon but don’t use it period. I wasn’t the one who set it up, etc.
        But we were talking about how if my writing program for this year works people might want the earcs and that would be a great “prize” for subscribers/supporters. BUT I don’t want to use Patreon. And it’s not just that you can be evil-bad-banned, it’s because their use rules might leave me open to claiming my IP. I already have trouble with trad house holding on to it forever because contract is F*CKED, I don’t NEED THAT.

        1. Email incoming. As soon as it is setup I’ll subscribe.

          Seriously, even a $2 or $3 no reward level. Having here to come to alone is worth that (wait, am I becoming an objectivist?).

        2. We will not publish any more of your single author books because your sales don’t justify it. Best of luck, but you’re fired.
          We cannot allow rights to your current books to revert to you because they are still making us money so quit asking. Oh, here’s a collaboration or two to get you off our case and shut you up, but if they sell well we will give the subsequent books in series to someone else.
          Sweetie, you simply fail to comprehend the deep complexities of the modern publishing business. After all, you’re just a lowly author, barely worthy of notice by editors and publishers.
          And /sarc for anyone still not clued in on the whole chitshow.

          1. I once heard Orson Scott Card talk about that issue. One of his books (Treason, iirc) had the rights held by a different publisher in perpetuity. After he realized what was up, I believe he stuck a reversion clause in his contracts with book publishers going forward. He also mentioned that he changed agents. Presumably he held his first agent responsible for not noting the rights in perpetuity thing.

            The issue ended up being resolved when his current publisher acquired the other publisher.

            Of course, it’s probably easier to get publishers to agree to a reversion clause if you have the level of sales that OSC had back then.

            1. Yep. These contracts were signed on the “take it or leave” it principle. And I knew they would be trouble. Unfortunately I trusted the house so I thought “it can’t be disastrous.”
              Meh. Live and learn. Eventually there will be money for a lawyer. but first, I write a lot.

              1. That even Baen did this does not bode well for publishing. They abused the power they had over midlisters on the way up. Now, on the way down, they are going to find very few allies in trying to save themselves.

                Karma is a bitch, and she’s back in heat.

                1. It is amazing how grabby people and businesses get when they feel.insecure. Even when they know it would be cheaper and cleaner to play fair, they don’t. It is smallmindedness, and smallheartedness.

  8. My politics do not align with yours; I don’t consider myself an SJW, but you and many of the people who read your blog, might. That being said, I care much more about writing ability than politics. I thoroughly enjoy reading your books and your blog. I look forward to reading your blog essay collections, just as I love reading your books. I hope that you will be sharing your pen names for the new stuff, too. I wouldn’t want to miss them. Oh, BTW, I don’t purchase reading material according to awards (Hugo, etc). I had never even heard of the SP stuff before. And thanks to your blog, and your followers, I’ve been introduced to writers I would not have heard of, otherwise, such as Larry Correia. Thank you. I’m a librarian at heart (and someday officially); I have very strong moral objections to one group deciding for everyone else what’s worthy of being read, or permitted to be read. I believe censorship, whether de facto or de jure, is one of the greatest evils. I look at any list of books that someone – or some group – thinks I shouldn’t read, as a “Books to Buy” list. I respect the opinions of those I read, when they suggest another author, but no one will ever say to me that I shouldn’t read someone, because their politics are not mine. “When any government, or any church for that matter, undertakes to say to its subjects, This you may not read, this you must not see, this you are forbidden to know, the end result is tyranny and oppression no matter how holy the motives. – Robert A. Heinlein ”

    Teresa Williams 760-583-3163

    “Heaven is where the police are British, the lovers French, the mechanics German, the chefs Italian, and it is all organized by the Swiss. Hell is where the police are German, the lovers Swiss, the mechanics French, the chefs British, and it is all organized by the Italians.”


    1. I feel pretty darned confident that no one here would consider you an SJW, which is all about holy motives for telling others what to do and very little about wanting everyone to get a fair shake and be welcome at the party, which we can all agree on. Unless someone is personally a tool, of course, but those of us who are “odd” have an issue with social skills anyway. 😉

      My publicly stated new year’s goals (as opposed to those I need to be sneaky about in case I sabotage myself) are to read more of the authors who hang around these parts. Seems like I never get very far into my to-be-read pile but whatever I do read is great.

        1. I am really impressed by how expressive your cartoons have gotten. And I am sure that it the least of it.

          I have run into you online for a long time, but this “new” side to your talents is like finding that a rose bush also grows oranges!

    2. don’t consider myself an SJW, but you and many of the people who read your blog, might. That being said, I care much more about writing ability than politics

      The second statement proves you are not what you fear we think you are.

      The essence of the SJW is not the progressive politics, but the commitment to achieving said ends via whatever means necessary including and, it seems preferably, authoritarianism.

      1. The essence of the SJW is … achieving said ends via whatever means necessary
        And this is why some of us call them SJZs – Social Justice Zealots.

        1. I like using SJW because, although they will deny it now, they were the first to call themselves that. Kind of like how CNN now hates “fake news”.

      2. The difference between Progressivism and SJWism has become microscopic, which is kinda too bad. Progressivism, like most isms, had a few decent ideas, but they got eaten by the dogma. Which is being run over by Karma.

        History repeats itself, and often as Opera or Slapstick.

        Or both.

    3. Um…. I’m not a Marxist. That’s right out. The man was a moron on economics. To believe him on economics, you need to treat him as holy writ and I don’t treat anything as non-examinable/arguable, including that which I consider holy writ.
      Other than that, I believe in maximum individual freedom, yes, including the freedom to destroy yourself if that’s your choice. (Doesn’t mean I won’t try to talk you out of it, but it is your life.) That of necessity includes religious freedom.
      And I don’t believe ANYONE should be discriminated against for characteristics they couldn’t choose and can’t change, like race, sex or iQ. Everyone should be the same under the law. That’s not to say you don’t need a certain intellectual ability for certain jobs or, say, that a worker with abused women could/should be male and burly. Rationality and appropriateness is a thing.
      You’re not an SJW unless you believe broad categories of people need to be compensated or excoriated for things experienced and done by people who look vaguely like them.

      1. And besides that, this line pretty much throws the SJW label out for you:

        “I have very strong moral objections to one group deciding for everyone else what’s worthy of being read, or permitted to be read. ”

        As B. Durbin mentioned above, that’s in the realm of “Classical Liberal”, whereas SJWs are authoritarians first and foremost.

        1. I would use the word totalitarian, which is pretty much the opposite of those who have strong objections to ne group deciding for everyone else what’s permitted to be read, and thus spoken or thought.

        2. Yep. AND that’s how we got crucified as exclusionary and wanting to keep minorities, women and gays out of sf/f (What sense does that even make?)
          BECAUSE we wanted to make it an open play field and recognition to go on to whatever people enjoy, no matter who wrote it.
          Yes, that is the kind of upside down world we live in.

          1. What I got out of the controversy was that the gatekeeping publishers had their thumbs so firmly on the scales of “fan” preference that anyone who wasn’t sufficiently politically correct was getting the cold shoulder.
            So, of course, when they were called on it, they had to go all DARVO and slander and threaten everyone who didn’t bow down and worship them.
            *spit*. OK, big publishers, if you *will* publish trash, then I will exercise my right to burn before reading and find stuff that isn’t. Even if it is e-books from small presses and Indies.

            1. Now, now. No book burning, unless you’re dealing with mold damaged copies of former bestsellers. I’ve burned a copy of PEYTON PLACES with zero guilt. I found it in an unseated open garage, and nobody who valued their sinuses was going to read THAT copy.

              Let them gravitate to their natural environment; the bookshelves of thrift stores, where folks look at them and say “Gee. Six copies in this store alone. That MUST be a stinker!”

              1. Let them gravitate to their natural environment …

                I thought their natural environment was the tables of church book-sales — you know the type: fill a shopping bag for ten bucks on the last day.

                I have noticed that while there are some very cherce items to be found at those, there are also a plethora of piles of what were once-popular books of the sort nobody would ever read twice. Browsing there can be a useful reminder of the staying power of modern best-sellers.

      2. or, say, that a worker with abused women could/should be male and burly.

        A year or two ago Sargon interviewed one of the early Feminists, who started the “women’s shelter” concept (as something explicit rather than the informal neighborhood system). One of the important parts of that was the they brought in men to work there who were decent people, because all too often the women sheltering there had no idea what that looks like.

        Needless to say when the civilization destroyers took over that was among the first parts they got rid of.

  9. teaching classics in community college beats being a greeter at Walmart in my seventies.

    Does any place that isn’t a Great Books program teach classics anymore?

    Will they when we’re in our 70s? Will universities and colleges beyond some tech schools for licensed professions (engineering, accounting, nursing, etc) still exist when we’re in our 70s?

      1. Every September I say, “I’m going to follow the St. Johns College (Annapolis and Santa Fe) reading list” and don’t. I can’t do it at that pace.

        So I’m going to just start it and blog my thoughts (as I can’t do the SJC seminars…I wish, wish, wish I could go back and go. I didn’t even apply because of the “but what kind of job can you get” argument).

        Actually, I want to be all pretentious and blog my thoughts as dialogs. Started one on the Illiad books I-VI with some characters based on people around these parts might know.

        1. Duuuuuude. Latin 101 and Greek 101 from the Great Courses. Either one will make your life better. They also have Biblical Hebrew but I haven’t attacked that.

          I just like being able to read all this stuff on Google Books, and I really wish it had been around during my high school Latin days. And the Bible is full of new depths of coolness when you have even a tiny bit of Greek. It isn’t everything, but it makes you feel so connected to the Western intellectual tradition in such a good way.

        2. CPA. Air Force Officer. IT guy. Physician’s assistant. Insurance salesman. Writer. Editor… Those are the careers of half a dozen SJC classmates, off the top of my head. Oh how I hate the “but what kind of job can you get” thing, which turns away so many! The answer is, anything you want. You just have to start at the bottom, without the *slight* boost a career-based degree gives. On the other hand, you have the bigger boost provided by a classically trained mind, which can turn itself to whatever is needed and learn it.

          If you ever have a surfeit of time and money (what are the odds…), there is a Graduate Institute for “late bloomers.” It’s never too late.

      2. AMU (American Military University) has a Classics master’s I’m looking at because reasons similar to that. And other reasons.

        I can totally see an online classics discussion and tutoring thing, especially geared towards homeschoolers and retirees. The big disruption in education is coming, after all, and I suspect self-selecting learning communities will do better than online courses offered by universities, with unwieldy setups and unserious, unuseful discussion requirements. Not that I have any experience with that.

    1. Texas Tech University. The local JuCo has a Biblical Greek class, and once in a while a stray Latin class wanders through. I don’t keep up with the Classics field like I used to.

    2. > still exist

      Certainly! The managerial/political class will still have to buy the proper credentials to separate them from the proletariat.

      Though if you look at the number of fuster-cluck Presidents who had Harvard degrees, you could make a strong case of nuking it from orbit.

    1. RAH would be do busy working for either SpaceX or Blue Horizon to bother dealing with the trad houses.

      After all, both land rockets the way God and Heinlein intended.

              1. When we have a date for that the Huns need to rent a space and watch it together.

                The Mercedes Benz Dome should be big enough.

      1. It was lovely to see. I use a picture of the double booster landing as screen wallpaper.

  10. I start working on Groundhog Day Resolutions tomorrow having taken the post 12/12 period off. Some of the same thoughts, about paths and trying to change them and being regretful about pretty much everyone chosen to date will certainly be part of that.

  11. If I don’t post tomorrow (we’re going out to dinner with the family and probably staying downtown to watch fireworks) have a happy new year, and may your adventures continue being interesting.

    There was a day and a time where this would have been the start of a very interesting adventure.  I am thinking of those who used to take advantage of your absence to remodel the Hun’s lair.  (That paisley paint never did work as promised.  Not only that, but it aged horribly.)  

    Me, I’ll remain tucked up warm and cozy here in my wing back chair, with my pot of earl gray and my reading stack. 

    If you post tomorrow I’m sure I’ll enjoy it.  If you don’t I’ll enjoy myself thinking that a refreshing time is being had by you and Dan.

    Happy New Year to all!

      1. I like Lady Grey as an evening tea. I need something stronger (greater than Earl Grey, less than Russian Caravan or Prince Vladimir) in the morning.

          1. Russian Caravan here, too! By the pound!

            Because I can’t get it in teabags, we have three tea-delivery systems set up on the counter by the teakettle:
            1.) standard bagged tea in caff & decaf.
            2.) Peter’s import British teas
            3.) Jar of loose leaf Russian Caravan, with disposable one-cup filter bags

            …and only then does it go on to instant vs. pour-over coffee delivery systems, and an orange squash at the end. Thank goodness for online ordering of things not easily available in Tiny Town, TX!

      2. Ooh, I thought I was the only one who loved that stuff! We used to go out to tea every Christmas, and I would get about three pots of that, but alas, that tradition fell when my carb consumption became an issue.

        1. Yeah, I’m considering doing high tea with the DIL sometime in January, if I make my deadlines, but it would be a one off, because I really shouldn’t be having carbs at all.

      1. Oh, geez. One of the tabloids was saying in a headline that William was king, and I was like, “What!!?” They were speaking figuratively, and claiming Will had been named their over Charles.

        1. Oh, I figure he’ll be about the mean of the two preceding Charles in quality. The arena is smaller, so he’ll do less damage.

    1. Currently hooked on bigelow’s “Lemon Ginger with Probiotics!”– got it on sale in hope that it would be a sinus clearer.

      It isn’t, but it is a very nice tea, heavy on the licorice.

    1. I got to hear a reading of it at Liberty Con. 🙂

      Maybe gruesome, but an absolute blast. (This is also where I get to “get your reading done in the New Year” goal. It’s important!)

      1. Just bought it, looking forward to reading. After I finish Fat Vampire 3: All you can eat.

  12. The private sale may not be out of the question. (I’m a tax professional.) The requirement to file sales tax returns with the state of every customer only applies if you have a physical presence in that state or do a certain amount of business there in a year (the threshhold varies by state, in California it’s $100k).

        1. Yes, the no-physical-presence taxation decision is a big problem with a lot of small and even not-so-small businesses. Lots and lots of nasty issues…for example, some states have a sales tax holiday on school supplies in large August & early September. Even if the software provider is keeping track of all the various state and local actions of this sort, recognizing the products to which the tax holiday applies requires SKUs to be appropriately coded.

          The Trump administration should really focus on this in the deregulation push…would probably require legislative action, but the right thing to do, and might even gain some support from small-business-owning lefties.

          1. Perhaps if a state wanted tax from other states, a state that wanted money must post a single percentage for all transactions. At most 49 possible numbers, (Since not all states have sales tax, it is now less than 49). Then it is up to a state getting sales tax to decide how to spend it.

            It is interesting, two places where fed legislation would be helpful, there is no interest in doing anything. This, and travel with guns. Actual interstate commerce, not just fake.

        2. The software that most companies use has… holes.

          From experience, I know most of the commercial tax databases simply go by postal address instead of physical location. And they’re *not* the same.

          1. The story that Insty linked to had some gruesome traps revealed. The worst I saw was that bugs in the software still left the seller liable for the true amount, and that some jurisdictions were perfectly happy to go full Shylock on the poor seller, even for small dollar amounts.

            This decision looked like a mild pain for TBTF companies, and an absolute showstopper for the little guys. (One wonders, is there a way to offshore the sales, say to the Cayman Islands? Asking for a friend.)

            1. “(One wonders, is there a way to offshore the sales, say to the Cayman Islands? Asking for a friend.)”

              In a word, No. All of these are now part of the Uniform Commercial Code, meaning that even if you don’t have any seizeable assets in the state collecting the tax, they can get a judgement enforced in any other state — and if your warehouse is in the Caymans too, they’ll just get your merchandise held up at Customs.

              Or they’ll just have a garnishment laid on your business and personal accounts at TBTF Bank. They’ll just see any deposits before your balance does.

              That’s assuming the Caymans considers your business to be worth catching a cruise missile, as one of the MPAA shills suggested when people wanted to move BitTorrent music servers there back in the 90s.

              That’s something they have to seriously consider, since we’ve established the precedent under President PenAndPhone that an American citizen can be declared a terrorist and drone-struck overseas without a trial. “Government of laws” my Aunt Sally’s Ass.

          2. Tomorrow morning I’ll head out at oh-dark-thirty to update a client’s tax database for the next quarter. Maintenance of ancient software that they don’t want to replace… anyway, I had them call every customer and find out whether they were actually within the city limits of whatever their address was; maybe a hundred weren’t. Doesn’t matter what the Post Office says, your tax liability follows city and county lines.

            Auditors pounced on “errors” in the company’s tax paperwork until their accountant pointed this out to them. Turned out it was news to them, or so they claimed. And then when the auditors wanted a copy of my database, she told them they ought to have that information already, and if not, it was private company intellectual property, so no.

            They went off mumbling, and a good laugh was had by all.

            (they’ve butted heads with the tax goomers before, and have all their ducks in a row)

    1. I still say the “internet tax” thing should be handled in reverse. After all, if you have a small store you have to charge tax on every purchase according to where you are, not where the customer is from. And that’s true of every store in every state.

      Why in hell would you think it’s correct to apply the buyer’s location when applying sales tax, even over the internet?

      (Yes, I know why – because my state is missing out on the sales tax when I buy online, and they gotta get their cut. And, of course, almost no one obeys the “use tax” stuff.)

        1. You overlook a primary point in levying sales tax: if you are a citizen of Y, they believe your money belongs to Y and you shouldn’t be able to spend it without them getting their piece.

          Besides, if they did the taxes as you suggest you might figure out that it costs you less to by product G in Community X than in Community Y and that would create pressure among Y businesses to demand Community Y’s taxes be reduced to the level of Community X — depriving Community Y of its much-needed share of your spending.

          For example, look at the issues related to New York losing cigarette tax revenues to sales by Indian Reservation shops.

          1. You get that in spades for California buyers of big-ticket items in Oregon. California sales tax on a car is painful, as is registration. There’s a bit of an underground economy for California residents to fake Oregon addresses for such.

            I still remember the dunning letters from California DMV insisting that we pay registration for the car we traded in (in Oregon) the day after we moved into our new place. $SPOUSE took pity on them and sent a go-away letter to them. I was going to let them burn postage.

            An acquaintance was buying Reservation cigarettes (mail order, I think) from Washington. Oregon Department of Revenue figured out what she was doing and presented her with a large tax bill. Oops.

            1. You get that in spades for California buyers of big-ticket items in Oregon. California sales tax on a car is painful, as is registration.

              Especially RV’s. Don’t know how many RV’s are stored off season in Oregon RV storage lots. They can’t take them “home” or they get caught. All the states around Oregon watch for that. Happens just enough that it hits the papers. Romania & Guaranty locally got heavily fined for “promoting” this (waves hands, not so much as promoting as didn’t care and two of the bigger RV sales locations in the state). If you buy it and keep it in storage for the # of months that make it now “used”, you still get nailed. Just moving an RV to Washington or California means you pay the value sales tax even if you’ve owned it for years. Ask my BIL. They moved from Bend to tricities in WA. They were allowed one vehicle (excluding RV’s, Motorcycles, & Boat & Trailer) per licensed driver sales tax free. They moved: two vehicles, a pickup, a RV camper, two motorcycles, a boat on a trailer, & an unlicensed utility trailer. Expensive move. The fun part was the unlicensed utility trailer that the boys helped their dad build when BIL was about 14 (putting younger brother at age 9). Never been licensed, wasn’t required when built in CA, and again when used in Oregon. The kicker? By the time it was move up there, FIL had died three years before, & MIL had just died. They ended up getting a “letter” from the estate on when & where it had been built, estimated cost to build (in the early ’60s), then used over the years.

              The above is why when hubby ended up living in our TT in Randle, WA, then commuting in our new car over the weekend, we were waiting to get “The Letter” from the state of Washington; not like we were hiding it. Reality check. Vehicles were (also) in my name & I was still a legal resident of Oregon. Like heck I was paying Washington Sales tax.

              Think I also mention once about the ’58 Power Wagon we had when we were in Longview. Oregon plates, never licensed it up there because the first thing we did was buy a replacement vehicle & park the ’58 (for eventual restoration). Took about 3 years but did get a letter (pretty sure neighbor who was tired of looking at it turned it in). State was miffed when I asked when they were going to come pick it up; they never did. Never got another letter on it either.

      1. True story. The job I retired from was a Cost Accounting Management Software System targeting governmental agencies. Also true, the software is installed in 50+% counties in Washington, Oregon, & California, with a total of 3 (yes THREE) installations in Oregon, only two counties, third is a city (plus they are adding Federal Tribal installations, which is really cool, but Sales Tax doesn’t apply). Why, because there is a “free” software Oregon counties can use if they are with the Oregon County Association. Not as extensive or comprehensive, but it meets the State & Federal Public Works requirements. Regarding Sales Tax and Use Tax. Company in question is based in Oregon.

        My joke when someone called about Sales Tax (or rather how to modify the rate after a rate change, then how to recalculate since they didn’t do it soon enough. Or worse, if they finalized without making the change …) Anyway the joke “What’s sales Tax?” Sequence on the other end of the phone was generally, silence, stutter, then a “what?”, I’d laugh, give them a minute or two. Then add “you know where we are located? Right?” If they knew, it was an instant laugh. If not, when told, got them to laugh; although you’d be surprised on how many don’t know Oregon doesn’t have Sales Tax. Why was the laugh important? Because if they’d finalized before realizing the Sales Tax percentage hadn’t been changed, we were in for some PIA corrections (“we” because every dang time it was hand holding time).

        OTOH Client did have to explain to me what “Use Tax” was, and why it was important. Whether GQ public pays attention to it & pays it, governmental agencies definitely does. I was not an accountant. I wrote on the software & the programmers had to support it. I definitely know what Use Tax is now. Only paid it in Washington when we had to register vehicles, or had something delivered, when we lived up there (we lived just across the Columbia River, most things not worth jumping across the river for, even after we could haul it). Interestingly enough never heard it called that.

  13. Time seems to go by faster as you get older because each unit of time is a smaller and smaller proportion of your life.

    When you’re five, a year is one-fifth of your life. When you’re 50 a year is one-fiftieth of your life.

    (To say nothing of the effect of having more stuff to do that makes time pass without you noticing it.)

    It would be stranger if time didn’t seem to pass any quicker as you get older.

    1. Sure, and older son has explained it in neurological terms, as well.
      BUT as I said, there is a physics-theory that says it’s passing faster, anyway. Which I’m not sure I believe, but it amuses me GREATLY.

      1. My guess is that if time is in fact accelerating, it’s probably at too slow a rate for us mere century-living creatures to notice it. But like you, I find the idea amusing.

  14. Our sense of time is relative. Every year we accumulate experiences. The fewer experiences we have to compare against, the slower the time seems to progress.

    Celebrate the passing of another decade and all of the experiences that went with it!

    Have a joyous New Year!

    1. Sure, and older son has explained it in neurological terms, as well.
      BUT as I said, there is a physics-theory that says it’s passing faster, anyway. Which I’m not sure I believe, but it amuses me GREATLY.

      1. Except that you are inside time like everything else, so unless you have different time speeds across the distance between your hand and the clock it is holding you wouldn’t notice. And somehow this isn’t detectable except by humans? Which just so happen to also be the single most unreliable clocks imaginable? Yeah…. No.

        Making that theory work without some high grade unfalsifiable nonsense would be an Einstein-at-minimum level project. Alternatively your Nobel prize for discovering clear and unambiguous proof of the existence of souls is waiting.

  15. I’ve always thought of it as the older you get, the smaller percentage of your life each year represents.

    I recently had a similar realization about changing careers. I took one of those stupid online tests that were supposed to gage your education level. This one in History (I loves me some history). I nearly aced it. It said I had a PhD level of education in history. And me with my puny little AS degree. LOL!

    There was a time when I seriously thought about being a History teacher. I didn’t because the history teachers I had in HS were total jerks about knowing the exact date for everything. That’s the freakin BORING part as far as I’m concerned. Who cares if something happened on June 3rd, or May 20th in 1756? But WHAT happened, and how that effected the rest of what was going on. That’s the interesting stuff.

    BTW… Deep Pink was AWESOME!!! Darnit… I read it in ONE SITTING and couldn’t put it down till I was done, so I’m all sleepy at work today. Not that I’m getting much of anything done anyway being it’s the last day of the year. Can’t wait for the next one. 🙂

    1. I require a few key dates, to use as pegs to hang other things on (1066, 1492, 1588, 1618, 1789). Otherwise it is events, people, and how they all fit together.

      1. I hated the date part, because I was/am digit dyslexic. Memorizing numbers is HARD.
        So I memorized Leonardo DaVinci’s Birthday and then remembered how everyone’s birth/death/event related to him.
        When we were supposed to turn in scratch paper, teachers looked confused at the extensive math on the side, but never asked.

      2. Knowing the dates is useful but not essential. If you are off a decade or so on the occurrence of The Glorious Revolution it matters less than knowing the issues involved and the influence America’s reasons for demanding independence.

        1. And that it happened before the Revolution. Dates are just there are help us keep the chronology straight.

          There’s a thing we do in the Navy, “time/distance feasibility” to determine where ships might (or could) be. It really messes you up thinking about that in relation to history. Stuff like “how soon could person or organization A know about events in city C at distance D, and be prepared/ready to respond?” Did the fact that they were already ready indicate that they knew it was going to happen, or did they just have a contingency in place?

          That’s the fun part of history, but sometimes you need to be able to figure out the rest of it in order for it to make sense. Focusing on the chronology specifics alone just to have something objective to grade people on is just lazy teaching.

        2. As long as you manage to keep it more or less straight without them. Some people clearly confuse “medieval” as if the entire thousand year period were one thing.

          1. Or as if all of Europe was the Same in a given time period.

            One thing that has cropped up in 1632-verse discussion is that customs/laws were the same as customs/law in parts of “Germany”.

            Of course, such things differed depending on where you were in “Germany”.

    2. Timelines only get interesting when you stack them. Any given one is linear so if you know the order of events, then who cares? But if you’ve got more than one and stack them up you start to get the idea of what *else* was happening at the same time and can start to wonder how those events impacted each other or at the least, explain odd alliances. Goodness, my memory of US History was that the fledgling US got assistance from various sources for *ideological* reasons rather than the more reasonable *eff England and the horse she rode in on* reasons.

        1. Yes. I taught a whole Bible study where I related the rest of history to what was happening as related in Scripture. We tend to radically separate those two things in our modern world, almost as if the one isn’t real.

      1. That’s why they get a few key dates. How does the start of the 30 Years War compare with the Time of Troubles (Russia), civil war in the Ottoman Empire, and the collapse of the Ming Dynasty? They are all linked in part by the onset of really horrible weather as the climate swung cold.

    3. I’m fairly sure that the current “Make History Boring By Focusing On Dates” method is deliberate.
      And if you get a kid who still persist in being interested in the subject, you can still ruin him by making him read Zinn.

  16. I cared when the 80s changed into 90s because it was my first decade change. I cared when the 90s changed to the 2000s because it was fun to watch all three 9s turn over. I’m not sure I really noticed the oughts turning to the teens, and I didn’t even realize that we were about to hit a “decade change” this time until my husband commented that that Las Vegas seemed ridiculously crowded this year, even as compared to last time we were there around New Year’s. The “oh, yeah, ’19 -> ’20 is one of the bigger ones, isn’t it?” hit around Day 2 of the vacation.

    A lot of it, on the other hand is that the world is not full of possibilities. I’ve chosen my track, and while that has a lot remaining to be explored (next year, indie with both feet!) it’s not like — absent rejuv — I can suddenly take another track and become an aerospace engineer, or a doctor.

    This has been hitting me hard recently. I don’t think I’m very happy as I am, and it feels that too many paths have been closed off and for me to choose a new way. I keep wondering what life would have been like if I had made different decisions 15 years ago and wondering if, at not quite 40, I’m just stuck in a place where I’ll never be happy.

    1. Take a gamble. Go for it. I’m 58, tenured. I’m leaving academia. Granted I have a support system in place (a husband who makes money), but I’m leaving a career I’ve wanted since high school; I’m not happy in it. I have a friend who went to medical school in her late 30s. She was one of, if not the oldest in her class. She’s an ER doc now, having a blast. Another friend is contemplating career number 3 right now at 56.

      Start with baby steps and keep moving forward. I use Scott Adams’ idea of have a system rather than goals. In other words, I decide to write every day, even if it’s only 15 minutes. My system is get up, read, get ready. Write at some point during the day. Eat well, sleep well, destress. The book is coming along under this system. First one is done, second is moving (albeit slowly), short stories are coming out; it’s working. I just keep writing every day.

        1. Forty (which still nine months away, thank you) is when I will be starting the wind-down of my present career path. My final duty station. Which means this is the year to start getting set up for the next ones. I have already signed up for a retirement-transition class in February and as I get closer to moving back, I will be making other moves.

          Some of it is as simple as streamlining my belongings, which would be UNBELIEVEABLY and ridiculously complicated if I tried to do it here. I can’t even clean out my refrigerator without complication here, still less get rid of books and clothes and extra or old/broken furniture.

    2. “oh, yeah, ’19 -> ’20 is one of the bigger ones, isn’t it?”
      I think a lot of that has to do with the last time we had “the 20s”. It was a big deal then, and I think a lot of people hope this one will be, as well.
      (People then certainly had the same level of narcissism that our society seems to, today. Things would never be the same! Peace! Prosperity! On the brink of paradise! THAT is why you learn history – humility.)

      1. I think a lot of that has to do with the last time we had “the 20s”.

        The last time we had ‘the 20s’ Woodrow Wilson was President, and the Volstead Act kicked in. Written and supported by ‘progressives’ from both parties.

        Trump is definitely not Wilson, and the Democrats have not yet managed to impose a ‘Volstead Act for guns’ despite decades of unrelenting ‘activism’.

        At the end of 1920, Warren Harding was elected President.

  17. 2020 is the end of the decade– new one won’t start until 2021.

    Which gives us a lot of room for the awesome of being in a nat crit year!

        1. Is it 2020? Is it?

          Sure, that’s what the calendars say, but Who prints the calendars, eh? EH?

          This wouldn’t be the first time they left out a huge block of days, would it?

  18. Happy New Year– I didn’t think I would reach 2020 so I am amused and happy. I noticed this year that from January-September the days seem to be slow and slower. I bet it was because I was packing and preparing for a move.. and I never enjoy slimming down like that. Then September to present seems like it was only a couple of days. I think that might be that I like where I’m at. I complain less… plus I am not allowing myself to worry about the kidneys. It will come eventually. Enjoy each day.

    On the other hand-I am planning on having a “roaring 20s.” I want to enjoy every minute and maybe do some things that are different from the past. I might not get the opportunity– if the health goes… It doesn’t mean I can’t plan it though.

    May the 20s bring you love, joy, and success.

      1. I have new coworkers. They’re in college. I’m all “Best New Year’s eve I had was when I was in college – we had a really great Y2K party.”

        “What’s Y2K?”

        “Year 2000?”

        “I was potty training?”

        *mutual stares of horror*

        1. Woman! You just have to make me feel Ancient!

          My last major Information Technology Job involved Y2K! 😈

          1. Heh. It was for my second degree, and it wasn’t a college party; it was a giant geeky blowout of “Oh Thank G-d that’s over, we haven’t slept in 6 months from coding patches…” (I didn’t code. I fed coders, and sometimes out of self defense did their laundry. I was beloved of them anyway.)

            The poor kids… I’m not sure which was the more horrified look – when I was telling them about the party, or the way I had to quickly go back and explain that my house was full of Playboy’s IT staff, not any other staffers or employees. Because one of my housemates worked there. This is not the Playboy party you’re imagining… not unless you’re imagining someone triumphantly breaking out the Symphony & Metallica release and putting it on… and the Steve Jackson card games and Cheapass Games (Pass me the Brain!) going on…

          2. My first major IT job included Y2K, in 1990 … those pesky 10 year annual growth models were breaking (the 10 year ones for 100 years had been fixed, just not the annual ones). Everything else I was involved in made sure it was 4 year digit from the get go, no matter how much someone whined. This was a second career started in my early 30’s.

            I’m happy where we managed to get ourselves. Both retired, if not at 55, both of us at 60 (5 years apart, he’s older). Enough finances that we can afford to do what we want. Buy what we want (although “things” are clutter these days).

        2. first time I felt “Old” was when the “We I.D.” signs at the registers said “You must have been born on or before today’s date in 1984 to purchase Alcohol” 1984 being when I graduated Highschool.

            1. barely noticed it other than I had been given a fifth of Jack and could finally “legally” finish it off ( I was living in Louisiana and was 19 when it was legally gifted to me as part of a xmas bonus, and yes, I still had 3/4 or so of it when I hit 21, so I owned it legally before they raised the drinking age)

              1. Meh. I was living in Michigan when I turned 18 and could legally purchase — but because of a gift of nature had been buying alcohol without ID for a year or more … then I went South to college and had to wait three years to meet their legal age – not that I was deterred. Either nobody cared or I looked twenty-five for a decade or more.

                My favorite marker was once told me by a college friend and which I’ve since amended:

                You first know you’re getting old when you realize you’re of an age to imagine you could date (or be) a Playboy centerfold.

                You next know you’re getting old when you realize you’re of an age for your kid to date (or be) a Playboy centerfold.

                You next know you’re getting really old when you realize you’re of an age for your grandkid to date (or be) a Playboy centerfold.

                You finally know you’re getting old when you realize you’re of an age to remember when dating (or being) a Playboy centerfold was something.

      2. I was citing the year that the last Saturday before Christmas was NOT the busiest shopping day of the year, and realized it three years ago. (Because it was also Christmas Eve.)

      3. My memory doesn’t naturally fix events in sequential time. It can take me a while to date a memory among the expanse of “the other day…”

  19. A Happy New Year – Decade – Tens – however you want to think of it – to all of the Huns.

    We know not what is coming, but we shall persevere, or enjoy, or both, as the situation demands.

  20. Well, it might be 2020 here yet (only 7:28 pm) but I just changed my wall calendar to the 2020 calendar. 😀

    1. I did mine this morning, primarily for the reminders (appointments, prescription refills) that warrant advance notice. ‘Sides, I was getting tired of the Guide Dogs for the Blind calendar. Way too many Labs. The Border Collie was getting jealous. 🙂

  21. Madame Hostess you said “I want to have it, and teaching classics in community college beats being a greeter at Walmart in my seventies.”
    I hate to say this but that Walmart greeter job may pay better (and will have better benefits) than being ANY sort of an Adjunct (i.e. Non Tenure per class payment) Professor. The colleges/ universities really kind of abuse adjuncts…At least most of them here in Mass (Private and State) do.

    1. Not just Mass., in Arizona they do it as well.

      And if you’re at the UofA and try and get tenure but fail, then they “punish” you by not letting you go back to being an adjunct. (This happened to my ex-wife’s father’s partner (in private practice) when she tried to move from adjunct to tenured in the UofA Psych department.)

      1. Tenure is up or out here too. If you fail of tenure you have to get some upper level dean to approve letting you teach each semester and the department has to say why they MUST have that candidate. Although most professors that fail of tenure just hit the road.

    1. Nah, the world ended with the Long Count back in 2012 and we’re all revenants. Except nobody cared, so everything works pretty much like it would have anyway, except Hillary isn’t President and Epstein didn’t kill himself.

      1. Yup too socially inept and stupid to notice I’m gone, that’s me. Now if we can just get all the silly SJW’s to notice they’re gone the world will improve at an amazing pace…

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