When You’re Strange


We have no clue what Odd is, we just know we are it.

It doesn’t seem to correlate particularly well with intelligence, not that any of us knows precisely how to measure intelligence ( which has been used to disqualify all IQ tests and is stupid. Treated as “aptitude” tests, and not used as a guide of human worth — because high IQ is not — we should be able to use them for hiring and higher education. Which might clear some of the fug.)

There is some indication we’re more creative, but it depends on what you mean by creative. Look, I know some of our people who can’t draw a straight line, never wanted to write a line of fiction, couldn’t design a new anything if their lives depended on it.  Though I’ll admit they are exceptions and there might be a reason for that. Hold on to that thought.

There is a temptation there to go down a really deep genetic rabbit hole too, because with genetic sequencing, we’re finding that most of us are heavy on the Neanderthal. (It seems weird that only 20 years ago reputable scientists argued that homo sap and Neanderthal had never interbred.)  But I want everyone to remember that genetics at the level we’re now doing them is a relative new science, and that the only reason to think Neanderthals were more creative is that we’ve found all the “inventive” primitive camps were theirs. But we’re probably dealing with a really SMALL sample.

What we do know is that “we who stick out” — Odds for short — are the sort of kids who get singled out in kindergarten/elementary, when instinct is at its strongest. I got on okay, because I was huge for my place and time, and built like the proverbial brick sh*thouse.  But I aggregated to me the small, the lame, the halting, everyone of them also singled out and everyone of them Odd.

Humans are an amazing thing.  No, seriously. One of our strange abilities is to identify things for which there is no sane definition.  Take art. “I’ll know it when I see it.”

To some extent the same is true of “Odds” and the population correlates pretty closely — creative or not — with what I’d call “Geeks.”  I’d call it that, before Geekdom took over the culture and we were surrounded on all sides by pretend geeks.

Geek if you extend it “Obsessed with subject or mission he/she has devoted life to” is a pretty good cognate for what we are. I used to be a language geek, and now I’m a writing geek. I geek out on ways to write things, new tricks, ways of creating story so it fools most people, etc. etc.  Recall — if you’ve been around a while — Foxfier saying in comments that Pope Benedict was a “religion geek”?  It’s like that. You can be a geek for anything, you can have multiple areas of geeking, and your geeking might change over time. BUT WHEREVER you’re interest and work at the time lies (and work can be a hobby that is really really important to you while work is just how you pay the bills) this is the important thing to do.  You’re a Geek. Or an Odd.

“But Sarah,” you’ll say “Doesn’t everyone care most about the thing they’re supposed to be doing, whether it’s a hobby or work, or whatever it is? Isn’t that what companies, hobby groups, jobs are all about.”

Sure, you’ll say that if you’ve never worked with other humans or, to be fair, if you’re a very nice person who tries to ignore and/or excuse what everyone else does.

Because, no, it’s not. Whenever two humans (or more, heaven help us, more) who aren’t Odds get together, the mission stops being “the thing” that is supposed to be the mission, and it becomes “Monkey power games.”  (Yes, I know we’re apes. Shut up you.)

I’m not sure what the overlap is between “autistic” and “odd” and I don’t think anyone else knows either, honestly. I think a lot of us who are odd would get diagnosed as autistic (the psychologists who have studied sf/f conventions say we have autistic cuing, etc.) But here’s the thing, I don’t think it MATTERS. Because I don’t think there’s anything wrong with my brain, or anything inherently organically wrong. I can and do perceive emotions (often better than the normals) and read the mental states of others just fine, thank you so much, with ice cream on top, please.

The thing is that normally I DON’T BOTHER and could care less.  Not because I don’t care about people, but because I’m obsessive about “the thing we’re supposed to be doing.” And mostly the monkey games just annoy the living crap out of me, because they get in the way of that. So I tune them out, and my behavior becomes close to “on the spectrum.”

I’d guess for most odds this is the case. We’re interested/fascinated/working at the THING THAT MATTERS so much that in the end we let the monkeys-games stab us in the back and block us from “the thing that matters.”

And that is part of the problem. Whether it’s organic or not, most of us read as “threat” to normal human beings.  We read as threat on two levels: we ignore the monkey games, without even acknowledging them, much less responding/parrying.  And this scares them, because it means we’re unpredictable. Also, we are obsessed with THE THING and they don’t much care about the “thing” and are afraid we’ll steal a march on them and look better.

Or of course, we get in the way of the plans they have to use the work on the thing (without ever doing what they’re supposed to) to get more group power.

This is evolutionary and part of the way humans just are, having been built on a frame of great (or at least pretty good) apes.  The group cohesion and group power trump everything else for normal apes. Which makes a certain sense when you’re a band of naked simians roaming the savanna, but sucks when you’re supposed to be a technological civilization building and achieving new things that help the species survive and get out of this mud ball, so we’re secure as a species.

And this is the point at which I find myself screaming at the ceiling (I’m usually indoors) “Lord, WHY apes? Why not, say cats.”  Answer there comes none, and I’m sure there would be other drawbacks. If you believe in Him that is, and not just that random chance picked us poor apes for intelligence (whatever the hell that is) and sentience.

At any rate, one of my friends was listening to Dr. Peterson (the fact that the left has identified him as “right wing” is one of those things that tells you they’re just monkeys trying to beat down the odd. And he is ODD.) and said something about a something or other ratio, where in every enterprise 20% of the people do 80% of the actual work.

This holds right, but what he isn’t saying is that those 80% aren’t just passively standing by. They’re actively trying to make the work more difficult and take down whoever is doing the work. Because Odds are threatening.

And of course, right now we live in interesting times, my friends. Very interesting times.

You see, even though it allowed great advance (by allowing judicious freedom to those who could do stuff – though not necessarilly top spot –) the era of mass manufacturing also allowed Monkey games on an unprecedented level.  I.e. it allowed those who are really power-oriented to get power like never before. Power to control what people say and even what people think. Power to change the language so that people can’t think clearly.  And of course power to “broadcast the one truth” so that all of those who disagree are “crazy and heretics.”

Only while they were playing their…. copulation-copulation games to make the power permanent, the people who cared about The Thing (And who usually when successful, yes, get browbeaten by the power monkeys and start spouting the same inanity.) created stuff.  Stuff they weren’t expecting (I mean, they did block off space, so we couldn’t escape, but they never thought of the net as a danger.)

And now things are tilting/shifting, and various fields they made non-functional are changing so much they have no power and no control.  Or are losing what they have.

Which, of course, makes them much more controlling and much more likely to try to destroy anyone who ever had an original thought, ever.

Which brings us to where we are.  We who are Odd by nature as well as by politics.  (Yes, there are a lot of Odds on the other side. A lot of them become scared and just want the attacks to stop. Others willingly join, because they want to “belong” and think this will give them — finally — a large group who loves them. Paradoxically when that doesn’t work, they become more convinced and work harder at getting everyone to knuckle under.)

Which puts us all in a bind. We who are for the cause of human freedom, individual dignity and real progress (not the bastardized use of the world.) We who are of the tribe of Heinlein and want the future to be better than the past, and also who are loyal to the human species, because they’re our species. (We hold no malice towards slime molds, provided they’re not in our way, but we will not commit suicide for the good of slime molds.)

Most of us are being hemmed in and beaten on all sides, no matter what our field of endeavor.  And it’s not that our kind was ever popular. We were after all the ones who stick out. It takes desperate times to bring us to positions of leadership.

And I understand, guys, I DO understand, those who want to go kinetic.  They see the games being played and they’re tired. They care about “the thing.”

But sometimes you need to pay attention to the games.  Not only should you yeet before you art yoten upon have we already lost; not only is the result in either case going to be “the same, with a different mask” and more monkey games than you can imagine, BUT the truth is we haven’t tried everything before that.

Our magnificent Odd President (What? You haven’t looked very closely, if you don’t see that.) has shown we can still fight with words, and speeches, and organizing. He has shown the enemy has gotten so used to winning monkey games that they’re in many ways a paper tiger.

I hear your frustration. Dear Lord, I even share it. Part of it is frustration with our peculiar moment, and part of it is frustration of having been beaten and hemmed in my whole life, and the attempts to control us getting worse every day.

But if you care about liberty and the individual, if that’s one of your things, you have to focus on the monkey games at least a little, and figure out when they’re stampeding you towards what THEY want you to do, while making it sound it’s what you need to do.

This is a critical moment. There’s many ways to fail, only one way to win.  Look, the monkey games, powered by the crazy Marxist theology which is all Monkey Games, have gotten to such a point that many of our institutions and enterprises are doing the opposite of what they should be doing.

If we don’t win this, the dark falls. And it falls for a long, long while.

So what can you do?  Well, you care about many, many things. And almost all of them are threatened by uber-monkey-games right now (Even knitting. KNITTING.) So you need to fight back.  You need to concentrate on the thing you do, and make it so much obviously better that even the monkey games can’t take it down. Look, I hate to say it, but Trump is showing the way.  They scream and they fling poo, and he does the things he cares about. Ruthlessly.  (While periodically hitting them where it hurts with his words. Learn to do that. Good Lord, they HATE to be laughed at. And they have no defense against it.)

Whatever you are, you Odd Geeks, you mass of strangeness, you nails that stick up, you goats amid the sheep, you are needed.

It won’t be easy, and it won’t be pleasant, but we need you to build. We need you to fight to stay in the game, and build and write and do.

You are the yeast and the leaven. Without it, humanity is just monkeys playing games, and sinking more and more into the morass of conformity.

Sure, you’ve been beaten so much you have no confidence. You’ve tuned the rest of the idiots out so much, you don’t even remember your way back to giving a f*ck.

But if you care about civilization, it’s time to make an effort. It’s time to fight. For you, or for the future, or just for humanity.

Fight with words, with art, with tech, with what matters.

Be not afraid. If we actually try and stop being scared and depressed, no one can stop us. The monkey game players know that and it’s why they work so hard at stopping us.

Don’t let them.


348 thoughts on “When You’re Strange

    1. And then Alderaan disappeared.

      This is the problem. Because they, just as we, have the power to break a technic society….. only they’ve already proven they will use it. And in that “long long ago, in a galaxy far, far, away” there were other star systems to go to.

  1. Hey! I’m Normal! It’s the rest of humanity that’s abnormal! 😀

    As for “why apes instead of cats”, well if it is hard to get apes organized, it would be worse (even for the Great Author) to get cats organized. 😉

    1. I’m not sure cats would have been better – most cat species are extremely solitary, and the few that cooperate at all, like Lions, impose and enforce rigid hierarchies with no tolerance for “odd”.

      1. Nod, cats are mainly solitary predators.

        Even Lions are a Male and his mates.

        Wolves hunt as a pack which in some ways close to human tribes. Which may be why proto-dogs started to associate with humans. They “knew” where they could fit in.

        1. Dogs would be a good base but, they don’t have thumbs and walk on their hands. Otherwise they are the best. Good Doggie!!

          1. The problem is Canids have hitched their fate to humans for something between 20K and 50k years or more, to the point we’ve both evolved specifically taking advantage of the others traits. I am not sure dogs could survive our departure.

            Their only hope is if we get the uplift process working before we go.

                  1. At least the human cosmonauts had an idea of what they might expect. To do it to an innocent, trusting dog…

                    Look, what they pulled with the cosmonauts is an atrocity (and I suppose it’s arguable as to whether or not the cosmonauts even had the option of saying “no”) but to me there’s an extra layer of cruelty when something like that is done to an animal or a child who truly CANNOT refuse.

                    1. It’s not that it’s worse that it happened to a dog– it’s what it says about the people involved to do it to a dog is worse.

                      Especially since it would be possible to make the death painless.

                      It’s like… eating dog isn’t as bad as eating people.

                      But if you find out someone tortures the meat-dogs to death, it’s a giant waving red flag, and you’re not really surprised if you find out they do it to humans, too.

            1. At least one group of feral dogs has attached itself to a tribe of baboons. There have been documentaries about it.

              We co-evolved with dogs for a long time. At one time there were some academics claiming that’s why sapiens won out over Neanderthal and Cro-Magnon.

              The dogs are probably still wondering why it took us so long to invent the automobile…

            2. I am not sure dogs could survive our departure.
              Cliff Simak seemed to think they’d do well. 🙂

                1. I’ve long been a big fan of Clifford Simak and have (fat as was available when I was acquiring more actively) every available thing of his. But I am not sure I would find persuasive a statement beginning “Cliff Simak seemed to think…”

                  I’m not even confident I would find “Bob Heinlein seemed to think …” persuasive, although I acknowledge it would demand rebuttal ere dismissal.

                2. I’m not entirely sure how much of that was Simak, and how much of that was “this is what you must write to pass the gatekeepers.

                  Simak’s writing got quite a bit more propagandistic anti-this, anti-that in the 1960s, when the SF publishers started making their hard swing left. It’s possible that this reflected his changing attitudes, but moving right-to-left with age isn’t very common, plus his day job was “newspaperman”, which ought to be enough to disillusion anyone of the inherent peace and goodness of human nature.

                  Also, Simak didn’t single out any particular demographics as deplorables or evil, as leftists often like to do.

                  On the other hand, the wood pulp printed with his later novels would have been better utilized as toilet paper, so I hope he laughed all the way to the bank.

                  1. FWIW I seemed to have enjoyed Simak-writing-for-Campbell for than Simak-writing-for-anyone-else

        2. Interesting things you learn from watching the livestreamed safari drives available these days: Male lions regularly team up in long term cooperative groupings, often starting with brothers from the same litter when they get driven out of the prides as they mature but also including other males who make it past the very rough initiation phase, in order to better control common territory of multiple prides of females. In Djuma in Kruger National Park, South Africa they regularly get male groups of four or five staking out and holding territories, and in the Maasai Mara in Kenya where the great migration passes through, larger male groups.

          Meanwhile in Hollywood they still write scripts with “Male lions never cooperate!” as a pivotal plot point.

          I know: Forget it Mike; it’s Hollywood.

          1. Interesting.

            I had heard about two brother lions sharing a harem of lionesses.

            Still I got to wonder how the experts knew the two male lions were brothers. 😉

              1. Actually I think they just ask the safari folks – the guides and the trackers are out there watching all the area wildlife year round in the accessible preserves and continuously communicating with each other on where they can drive guests so they can see the critters. Based on those livestreams* they know the lions (and the leopards) on sight. “Hey, that’s Gary and his brother Greg from the Green River pride on that Zebra kill – looks like they teamed up after getting kicked out by their Mom and the other ladies. They better be careful – the current lion males are pretty strong – they need to move along until they get bigger.”

                * safariLIVE or search for safariLIVE or WildEarth on YouTube – sometimes the streams are bird safari or bug safari or poop safari when they can’t find big animals to show, but sometimes its amazing, and it’s all live twice daily backs of their Land Rovers (or sometimes on foot) from all the way on the other side of the fricking planet.

        3. Domestic cats are far more sociable than most felines because of the way the prey (rats and mice) were concentrated (granaries) thus making fighting counter-productive..

        1. I’ve heard many times the idea of “How hard is it to sneak up on a leaf?” to deride the idea on herbivorous sentients… but that forgets: How hard is it to avoid being eaten, and have your more vulnerable ones also avoid being eaten? THAT is likely harder than hunting – and thus likely less often successful. But when it is… look out!

    2. Yeah a Feline based society would be, well, interesting. There is some social association between cats (particular the smaller cats like felis sylvestris) but not anything like the apes (especially the great apes). Lots more loners/introverts maybe? Slightly more aggressive perhaps though the apes can be darned aggressive when they want to be. Similar curiosity to the apes so progress. I think a small cat would be a better initial source as opposed to a big one. I don’t think an apex predator needs some of the observation capabilities that have to be present to survive if you’re somewhere in the middle of the food pyramid. There’s bunches of cat type species in Sci-Fi (Larry Nivens Kzin come to mind), but any I can think of seem TOO catty to be good exemplars. Over time to get to full sentience/self awareness some of that base cat behavior will rub away and become something utterly alien.
      As for why the Author avoided felines as a species basis my only explanation is that he knew how cussed and contrary the ape based group would be. He also knew that even his infinite patience would be tested beyond bearing by a cat based species :-).

      And lets not get into many of the physical aspects of felines (e.g. reproduction). The only species odder might be the duck family.

      1. On the other hand, you also get strange behavior from cats (learned from humans?) that result in things like…a mama cat adopting ducklings, instead of attempting to eat them. Or an owl and a cat who become friends, when normally they might arguably be either predator/prey (depending on how big the owl is or how small the cat), or at least competitors.

        (I enjoy reading about odd animal friendships. They seem…oddly common, especially where there are also humans in the mix and–this is probably the really important thing–competition for food resources isn’t a concern.)

        1. Our cat Pete (Petronius the Arbiter, Cat from Hades) who was the terror of the neighborhood otherwise, was broken in a peculiar way: he didn’t get bunnies weren’t cats. So he’d be friends with them, and babysit baby bunnies when the mommies were out doing whatever mom rabbits do.
          When his friend Cuddles caught a baby bunny, Pete beat the tar out of him and brought me the baby to raise. WEIRD cat.

          1. Since you’ve only mentioned having cats for pets I assume you didn’t actually take it in. Did you just release it?

          2. The also-amazing thing here is that the mama bunnies were OKAY with something that would otherwise set off all their PREDATOR bells babysitting their babies. (Though grant you, rabbits are at best…indifferent parents. At worst they eat their own babies. At least, domestic rabbits do, much to my disgust as a kid/teen.)

          3. $SISTAUR works (for now…) as a vet. tech. $HER_BOSS had a story of how she once saw her rabbit run, chased by her cat, chased by her dog – in perfect cartoon fashion, and thought, “Oh, now, now they’re…” and then saw they were playing… as the dog ran back, chased by the cat, chased by the rabbit.

          4. Well, if bunnies are cats, then baby bunnies are kittens.

            And if my two older boys are anything to go on, “you don’t hurt kittens (even when they completely deserve a good thrashing)” goes pretty deep.

        2. Cats do attach to their people (https://www.sciencealert.com/cats-bond-securely-to-their-humans-maybe-even-more-than-dogs-do) so why not ducks, or Owls, or even bunnies :-). And yes well fed cats will be less prone to trying to nibble their erstwhile buddies. Although they still might forget and lunge if their duck buddy waddles off. They’re a seriously hardwired animal, I’ve always felt they were the most hardwired animal that mad. a decent pet. It’s also part of what would bake a big cat (like a tiger) a real danger. no matter how attached they are if something snaps your in the room with a creature that can break your arm (or neck) wholly by mistake.

          1. Even my cat–who is the laziest creature on the PLANET–will sometimes be unable to resist batting a paw in the direction of my knitting yarn, particularly when I am winding a ball of yarn from a skein. (Although it’s my dog who is the real menace–my cat never has strung the yarn all over the room when I stepped out for a moment and left it in reach. The puppy did, and I usually have to physically shove her away when I’m winding yarn, because she attempts to get into the middle of it. Further proof, to my mind, that my cat is a reincarnated dog, while the dog is a reincarnated cat…)

          2. From a Calvin & Hobbes comic strip.

            We see Calvin & Hobbes in Calvin’s bed.

            Hobbes: I’m hungry. Get me something to eat.

            Calvin: I’m not. Go back to sleep.

            Hobbes: Some people might think it foolish to be in the same bed as a hungry tiger.

            Calvin’s eyes widen and then we see Calvin getting Hobbes something to eat. 😈

            1. Might be useful for Calvin to keep a tuna sandwich at the ready to appease Hobbes. I do miss that strip, but Mr. Waterston was probably right not to let it become a travesty like Peanuts did in its old age and quit before he burned out.

              1. That was an unusual strip. Usually it was Calvin who was appetite-driven. Unlike, say, Phoebe and Her Unicorn, where Phoebe and Marigold much more evenly split up the roles of person with desire vs. bystander with better judgment.

      2. I think a small cat would be a better initial source as opposed to a big one.


        The meerkat (Suricata suricatta) or suricate is a small carnivoran in the mongoose family. It is the only member of the genus Suricata.[3] Meerkats live in all parts of the Kalahari Desert in Botswana, in much of the Namib Desert in Namibia and southwestern Angola, and in South Africa. A group of meerkats is called a “mob”, “gang” or “clan”. A meerkat clan often contains about 20 meerkats, but some super-families have 50 or more members. In captivity, meerkats have an average life span of 12–14 years, and about 6–7 years in the wild.

        might be a possible alternative. Or Prairie Dogs — that would have some interesting story potential. Perhaps wolves evolving from their pack behaviour … they could have adopted a type of chimp and bred it as a companion.

        1. Meerkats (not cats at all) are a very interesting option.

          Note: All discussion here assumes some level of evolution in the process. If the Author says “I think I want a Intelligent today” and just makes one all bets are off, at that point literally anything goes

          So my thought on small cats vs large was from the point that the large cats are Apex predators. Nothing (but Man in his wierdness) is trying to catch and eat Tigers. The evolutionary pressure is almost all on who can catch and eat (and thus reproduce) the most. With the hardware already present (claws teeth muscles) I suspect that mutations which enhance that or the stealthiness of the predator will tend to get the biggest push. It might help to be intelligent to get more food, but I’m not certain it will help more than something that makes the predator quicker to the kill (getting injured during a hunt is a big issue) or able to close on the prey so might not get selected for as heavily.

          The small cats (and our meerkat friends) are BOTH Prey and predator. If you get eaten your reproductive chances go do exponentially :-). Intelligence might be VERY useful in solving that problem so has a real chance of getting propagated.

          The meerkats are quite interesting because they have many additional features beyond felines that be enhanced by intelligence. They have a strong social structure (like the apes), They occasionally become vertical freeing their “hands” to possibly use tools and have paws well suited to manipulating objects (better than the pure carnivore cats club like paws anyhow). The tendency to group for defense is also quite interesting. I think their society is matriarchal in nature (the females lead the groups) although my understanding is some apes (Bonobos?) bend that way too but apparently we and our ancestors didn’t as much as some would like to think so.

          If we ever get around to uplifting things meerkats might be an option, though as bad an idea as it is I kind of think cats might be first :-).

    3. Why apes? I think it may come down to apes having something closer to opposable thumbs. Sure, He could have done the extra work, but the tribal dynamics would probably have been similar once intelligence was added to the mix.

      And the better natural weapons we had, the less impetus to develop tools.

      In any case, if you don’t believe in Evolution alone, I think you have to admit that Evolution was the TOOL used. And you get Him muttering to himself ‘I wonder what happens when you push THIS slider all the way to the top’, and you get giraffes.

      1. >> “And you get Him muttering to himself ‘I wonder what happens when you push THIS slider all the way to the top’, and you get giraffes.”

        So, a process like this:

        That WOULD explain a few things…

      2. It’s a common Mormon belief that our pre-mortal selves were allowed a lot of input on how Terran life evolved, under the direction of Jehovah, so as to bring about the rising apes for us to descend into for our mortal experience.

        It wouldn’t break my faith to have this disproven, but I rather fancy the thought that we each had a lot of influence on how our individual bodies would develop, almost like building a character for a CRPG. Unfortunately, if true, I doubt I’ll be able to smack myself for disadvantages I picked; I do sometimes wonder what I needed all the extra build points for.


        1. IF I had input into how my body was pub together, when I get to the other side, I’m going to give myself sych a kicking!
          If bodies were products, mine would be covered by lemon laws.

          1. “Excuse me, God? I’d like to return myself and get someone new. Don’t worry, I still have my receipt.”

          2. Heh. I’ve heard of more than one patriarchal blessing that included something along the lines of, “as a pre-mortal spirit, you thought you knew what you were getting into when you volunteered for a life with (insert trials and tribulations here), but you didn’t. You really, really didn’t.” (Hearing about stuff like that is part of why I use the ‘character build’ metaphor.)

            If I ever get permission to go outside of linear time, I’m going back to my pre-mortal self to point and laugh at the idiot.


          3. I’m not sure mine would be under the lemon law, but it might warrant a stern letter to the quality control department.

          4. I keep telling people that if humans were the product of intelligent design, God clearly brought his “B” game into the process. Especially with women.

            (Too many of my female friends have issues that can be summed up as “bad engineering.”)

            1. Nah, that’s a side-effect of the original users deciding that they just had to edit the finished product, even though they promised they wouldn’t and were warned “hey, really, you don’t want to do this.”

              He was right.

              1. Iffy. I know just enough women that did everything right and still have issues. And, while I think we need a better option than hormonal birth control, having the choice between the pill and periods that CAN wreck a mattress even through sheets, mattress pad, and a towel…and “getting pregnant” isn’t an option to someone that has had her doctor tell her that she had a 30% chance of surviving a C-section, and there was no way she could do a vaginal birth.

                  1. If so, then let’s give them their ration of blame.

                    And, start to figure out how to use the tools of reason, science, logic, and keeping the willful and stupid idiots away from the tools to start fixing these things. Maybe not to help ourselves, but the next generations so that menorrhagia is considered in the same category as smallpox and polio.

            2. I think rather than bad engineering it can be summed up as design compromise. The need to be able to carry a wholly different genetic object for a fairly long period compromises a whole bunch of things. One theory I’ve heard is that the higher tendency of women to autoimmune issues stems from the need to be able to immuno-suppress during pregnancy to protect the developing child from your own immune system.

                1. We seem to be self upgrading (over several generations). However whoever created the checksum process skimped on the code and some weird stuff can happen. Sometimes the upgrade system goes berserk in an existing model (cancer) at other times it fails to properly checksum the results during producing a new model.

          5. Maybe it’s a point-buy system and choices had to be made to be sure that you got all of the friends you have, a family that gave you the foundation to be the person you are, not to mention the chance to be an author. That’s one that seems to have a rather high cost when you look at what other people dropped or took disadvantages in to get.

            1. And some people just started with lousy 2D20 rolls to begin with, and the 2D6 didn’t help. (“Short, pale, prone to bleeding and sunburn, and loves high elevations and scrambling over rocks. Yeah, sounds good!”)

      3. Once upon a time I saw an cartoon (I think it was Frank & Ernest) with the characters looking down from a cloud in The Heavens… caption, “He calls it ‘evolution’ – says it’ll put the whole creation business on automatic.” Which makes sense – Why wouldn’t an omniscient being automate things instead handling all the fiddly bits all the time Himself?

        1. Right basic coder strategy, if you find yourself doing something for a third time automate it, Because you’re sure as shootin’ going to do it 20 more times…

  2. … it depends on what you mean by creative.

    Theodore Sturgeon wrote a short story titled, “A Way Of Thinking” that nicely encapsulates the quality of Odd-Though. It isn’t that we’re smarter or more creative but that our approach skews differently from the common. We’re the Marchers to Different Drummers and this renders us approaching life at a different angle, a different tempo.

    1. If we are more thoughtful it might be because, lacking the instinctual understanding of most group responses, we have to think about fitting in.

    2. I read a short story in the past couple years that was published in an academic journal (which I can’t now find) set as a discussion between a manager and female engineer where it comes out the Neanderthals have been here all along, she’s one, and the Neanders are worried about how the poor Homo Saps will continue technical civilization if they finally die out since Homo Saps are so poor at focusing to solve problems like the Neanderthals do.

      1. I know I saw that recently– over at Insty when some idiot had an article that talked about neanderthals using the old ’50s caveman standards.

        From the POV of the male, implicitly not-Neanderthal DNA manager, who spends like a third of his mental “space” thinking about how the gal is just not very socially good at doing things, and it was focused around gene sequencing and the gal being smart enough to figure out that the normies would respond poorly…but telling him anyways.

            1. Knowing you, I’m guessing NOT being able to share is causing physical pain. My condolences. 🙂

              1. I like having things identified. ^.^

                Way back when, my shopmates called me the queen of google– I could find almost anything, fairly quickly.

                Still pissed they changed all the search techniques.

                1. Hey Fox, a question occurs. Is there some reason you prefer Google? I switched to DuckDuckGo a while back on account of them not keeping records of my search history.

                  1. I haven’t used Google in roughly a decade, specifically because their results were garbage.

                    Swapped over to Bing, which has slightly less bad results; duckduckgo does the same “fixing” to what I must “really” want that Google does.

                    What I want is the ability to turn off the thing trying to be helpful.

          1. My web fu is generally strong, but I spent a fir amount of time looking and have not found it. Frustrating, it is.


          On the one hand, thanks for the link. On the other, you occasionally terrify me.

          I’m just going to go read the story now. Don’t mind my slowly backing away without making eye contact, that’s just how I always like to leave a room. 😛

          1. I remembered that the comment system on Instapundit has a section where you can see what you previously said, so I had that load and did a search for Neanderthal. I had to be sitting here looming over the 8 year old while she battled division anyways.

            1. >> “I had to be sitting here looming over the 8 year old while she battled division anyways.”

              How did she take it when you burst into maniacal laughter on finding it? 😛

              Seriously, though, it was an interesting read. Thanks again.

      1. Now I’ve got the March of Cambreadth stuck in my head again. Not that it’s been more than a few hours, the kids asked for it to be on their MP3 players and we’ve got a baby monitor in the basement, so I get to hear it a few times a day. -.-

        1. There’s worse things to have stuck in your head. 😉

          Which version do you have? I’ve got the version from Keepers of the Flame.

      2. You’re not hearing the bodhrán?

        It’s right there under the pipes. Pay attention aboot the 0:20 mark.

    3. And the funny thing is that the MASS of the Progressives believe just as hard as they can that THEY are nonconformists, marching (in near perfect unison, damnit) to a different drummer.

      1. IE They Can’t Be The Establishment even when they are the establishment in the News Media, in the Education “Industry” and in the Entertainment Industry. 😈

        1. Also, the way they ‘hate’ Big Business, even when they are Music or Film Stars, as if the entertainment biz was part of the Arts and Crafts movement (which idea I stole from PJ O’Rourke, btw).

            1. Of course they hate big business — after all,they routinely see how miserably the industry treats the peons who do costumes, make-up, lighting, limo-driving, food service and other elements that make it possible for high school dropouts who emote before cameras pull down huge paychecks. They feel deeply for those poor abused serfs who need to stay the f— out of the stars’ way on set.

    4. I am reminded of Star Trek (NG…?)’s call for a “Standard Pattern” of fire…. the way to survive that is to NOT being in a ‘standard pattern’ targeting. ‘Thinking sideways’ is survival. Now, recall High School…

      1. or their numbered/code-named maneuvers… “maneuver delta 23” etc… yeah the enemy would never ever learn those pattern codes

  3. Hmmmm.

    I hadn’t thought of the Odd-Normal/PC-Rabid split as genetic, but it may well be. In fact, many of the big wars in the world may be, at least in part, due to the DNA differences.

    I always thought of myself as small-n normal. But, I’m increasingly coming to realize that I’m not.

    And, that scares me.

    Partly because those of my ‘tribe’ are scattered. I find them on the web. But, off it?

    Not so much.

    Two of my kids – and their children – seem to have a hefty dose of Odd. Not so much that they can’t function (except, sometimes, in schools, where both the kids and the staff work doubleplus hard to enforce conformity).

    This is something to think – and worry – about.

  4. I heard the term “seeker” to say something similar. I think there’s something in that metaphor.

      1. I find that particularly a amusing given that it was Cutter, not Skywise, that was responsible for all the changes to the Wolfriders’ lives. Although Skywise DID fly in the palace, and is probably pretty instrumental in shaping Cutter’s worldview, too.

  5. remember that genetics at the level we’re now doing them is a relative new science, and that the only reason to think Neanderthals were more creative is that we’ve found all the “inventive” primitive camps were theirs.

    Maybe the “creative” Neanderthals were the only ones who figured out how (were attracted enough to) mate with Cro-Magnons? The dumb, non-Creative Neanderthals were probably schtupping sheep, lizards, giant sloths, wallabies and other, easier targets, thus they were not contributing to Homo Sappy.

    1. Well, Neander girls are smokin’ hawt, so there’s that.

      My theory is all humans were so thin on the ground that any possible pairing was valid, especially given the genetic diversity benefits to any outside pairing to the entire band. Likely a lot was bride- or groom trading among neighboring bands as peace deals, or slave raiding between bands leading to the same genetic result.

        1. And after pro forma resistance she goes along with the deal because who wants to marry their cousin.

    2. H.Sapiens Sapiens scraped through a couple of not-so-ancient near-extinction events with a very shop drop in population. Our relatives might not have been so lucky.

  6. My Pastor isn’t into SF/F and sometimes wonders about my interest in it.

    However, after a discussion between us about SF/F conventions, he thought about the theology conferences he had attended and commented that others might think those conferences would be “strange”.

    I agreed and suggested that even in those conferences, you’d have people focusing on different areas of theology.

    Just as there are different areas of SF/F that a SF/F convention might contain. 😀

  7. “Odd” president indeed. My jaw was on the floor reading about his proposed MidEast Peace deal. Not that I think the loony–and, in the case of the “leaders”, invested in making their money by grifting off their fellows–Palestinians will go for it, but…Wow. It’s a great idea. (Even the rest of the Arab world, apparently, is going “Oooh. This is a good idea.) It’s certainly against all the ‘conventional political wisdom.’

    But yeah, he’s definitely an Odd. He’s an example of one who figured out how to (probably) pass as not-Odd until he got where he wanted to be.

    1. Abbas reportedly attacked the plan pretty much the moment it was released.

      Sad fact is, after turning down the deal that Sharon offered, there’s little chance that the Palestinians will ever agree to a realistic deal. And the Saudi representative present when Sharon offered the deal acknowledged as much.

      1. Well, there was no chance of a peace deal with the IRA before the Soviet money all went away, then it became possible.

        The importance for regional peace of getting rid of the mullahs in Tehran cannot be overstated.

      2. Per one comment that came from somewhere in the official chain (can’t recall where I saw it), there was no expectation that the deal would be accepted, but rather that its rejection would demonstrate once and for all that the so-called Palestinians want chaos, not peace, and should be treated accordingly.

        1. BINGO!

          Israel’s goal should be the swift extermination of every violent Palestinian they can reach. And the safety of every non-violent Palestinian from both accidental death during the control of the violent ones, as well as protection from the violent ones themselves.

        2. Yeah. I’m thinking this should be, if they reject it, their last last chance. Of course, the sniveling UN won’t view it that way, but…the rest of the world with a brain should. They don’t WANT a “homeland” they just want to wipe out the Jews, and so should go the way of the Nazis before them.

          And as Mike said, the separation of the non-violent Palestinians from their violent oppressors, and protection from retribution so they can ACTUALLY build a life instead of having it wrecked every five minutes by the terrorists in their midst.

          1. Oh, they do want a homeland.

            However, the other Arabs have no interest in getting them one that isn’t Israel, and the Palestinians want their fields fertilized by the blood of their enemies, instead of working for it.

        3. Sadly, there is no realistic possibility that the ‘visualize world peace’ idiots will ever accept that the Palestinians are little more than an Islamic tool with which to attack Israel. If the Islamic world gave a rat’s rear about the Palestinians, they would have offered to take them in decades ago.

          Cold hard facts; if you join in a war against your neighbors and lose, especially if your side started it, bad things happen to you.

          1. At the onset of the ’48 War the Arab invaders called for their relatives* in Trans-Jordan to evacuate the area, promising they could return after the Arab victory. At the same time, they expelled tens of thousands of Jews living in the countries surrounding Israel. The Israelis took in their co-religionist refugees but declined to allow the Arab refugees a right of return, adhering to the principle of not taking vipers to one’s breast.

            In fairness to the seven invading powers (Egypt, Syria, Transjordan, Lebanon, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Yemen) their militaries were vastly better trained and equipped (as we as being merely vaster) than the army of the newly declared Israel. I don’t recommend buying the DVD (but you might consider the book) Cast A Giant Shadow (description: “based on the life of Colonel Mickey Marcus ((Kirk Douglas)), set during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. Mickey Marcus, an American Army officer, is recruited to help the fledgling nation of Israel to form an army”) but the depiction of the disparity of forces is effective.

            *Nobody called them “Palestinians” at the time; that was a name asserted by Arafat somewhat later.

          2. The “Palestinians” are really very, very lucky that their claimed enemy has the ugly 20th century they do. (Almost?) ANYONE else would have lined up armored bulldozers, etc. and pushed them all into the Mediterranean decades ago and been DONE with them.

                  1. I guess they don’t believe that Americans are good at war. They should talk to the Japanese about that.

                    1. Americans are good at war.
                      But only if declared by Congress, who then steps back out of the way and sticks to just signing the checks while we get on with actually fighting and winning it.

                    2. Which they haven’t done since before WWII. Look up the infamous incident where a Congresscritter repeated what he was told in a classified briefing that the Japs weren’t setting their depth charges deep enough in a bond speech.

                      As Admiral Lockwood (COMSUBPAC) wrote to Admiral King, “I’m sure the Congressman will be pleased to know the Japs set ’em deeper now.” His comment after the war was that the remark was responsible for at least a dozen sinkings.

            1. It’s gonna take telling the Islamotwits ‘knock it off, or we turn Mecca into a sheet of radioactive glass and drive the lot of you sonsofbitches so far back into the hills that you have to get Amazon to ship in daylight’, and making them believe it. Not there yet, but the citizenry of the West (as opposed to the Elites) is clearly getting Fed Up.

              I don’t think I’m going to like what the doing will do to us much.

              1. All of that is entirely unnecessary! All that’s required is for them to become convinced that we will do that if they force us.

                That is why a president like Trump or Reagan deals more effectively with such people than presidents such as Carter or Obama. “He just might be crazy enough to do that!” is a wonderful negotiating advantage.

                1. Kind of like the difference between the Arabs’ reactions to, say, Golda Meir And Madeline Albright, Despite their general contempt for women in leadership roles, and interpreting that as a sign of weakness, at least Golda’s position was ‘(Mess) with us and we’ll kill you’, and could back it up, which earned her some respect while Maddie’s was ‘(Mess) with us and we’ll tell the UN on you.’

                  1. Maddie’s standard was “Mess with us and we will warn you about messing with us again with only slightly firm language.”

                    1. In (unmerited) fairness to Mad NotatAlbright, she was merely her boss’ puppet. Even had she favored a muscular foreign policy he reserved use of force for American citizens, (Waco, sending Cuban boys “home”) and distracting from impeachment.

      3. The Palestinians are to Israel as the Never-Trumpers are to the President. You can come up with the greats deal in the history of the universe, and they’d still reject it because, Jews.

        What Trump did was basically say, here’s your share of Palestine on a silver platter. You don’t want it, then you’re never really looking for a deal, just genocide. And now we ALL know.

    2. DJT got the Arabs and both parties in Israel all on board via backchannel before he announced the deal. Of course the Pals won’t go for it without arm twisting, they are purely a remnant of Soviet funding to oppose the US plus the influence of the Iranian’s money. But getting a deal that everyone but the financially strapped mullahs in Tehran and their mercenary proxies agree to when it rolled out is a massive earthshaking coup.

      1. No NOT Money, it is Islam. They WILL NOT accept anything less than the destruction of Israel. That has been their propaganda for 80 years. They are NOT about to change now.

        1. Jordanians are Islamic too, and they have been pretty stand up allies to the US for a long time, keeping any internal crap stomped down hard. Recall that the Pals are really Jordanians – Jordan owned the West Bank before they got pushed out in the 1967 war, and everyone in the West Bank at that point was officially a Jordanian citizen.

          It’s Iranian money propping up the fanatics. If the Arab states and the US and Europe dial back on aid due to the Pal’s not accepting this deal, Iranian money would be the only thing keeping them going.

          Those fanatics would be dirt poor fanatics with no resources, nothing to buy rocket parts or bombs or guns, if those pallets of cash Barry sent over had not been in part transshipped to Hamas.

          1. The Jordanians aren’t exactly Palestinians. There are a lot of Palestinians in the East Bank (aka Kingdom of Jordan). But it isn’t considered a Palestinian kingdom.

            Remember that the Palestinian terrorist organization Black September got its name from a failed uprising in Jordan that was brutally suppressed by the government.

            1. From memory, the modern “Palestinians” are largely made up of all the folks who got kicked out of Jordan for being psycho trouble makers.

              1. Some were but IIRC There are still some in Lebanon who were refugees and then there’s the Gaza Stripe ones who were also refugees.

                1. From what I remember it came up because there are “Palestinian Refugees” who basically fled the kicked-out group later on, and there’s Jordan citizens who share relates from just before Israel was refounded but they didn’t do the whole terrorism thing.

                  1. Could be.

                    The ones who found homes elsewhere wouldn’t be called Palestinians by the News Media. 😉

                2. Historically speaking, the Gaza Strip is the only REAL Palestine, being a modern term for ancient Philistia. Palestine is NOT the West Bank, or pretty much any other part of Israel, other than Askelon (sp). As mentioned elsewhere, those people claiming to be Palestinians are both true Palestinians as well as the rest of the original people who fled (or in some cases, were driven) from the fledgling state of Israel. Make no mistake, the Israelis weren’t lily-white either; but if you tally up the incidents and body count since WWII, you can lay the supermajority at the feet of the Palestinians, not the Israelis.

            2. There’s an argument that the Palestinians didn’t exist prior to the first Arab-Israeli War.

              When Israel was created, it was the area where the Jewish State was to exist (likely had most of the Jews in that area).

              Trans-Jordan was the area that was what became the Kingdom of Jordan and IIRC was intended to be the area where the Arabs that didn’t want to be part of Israel were to live.

              The current “Palestinians” are the descendants of the people who refuged out the line of fire (Arabs will say driven out by the evil Jews) when the various Arab nations (including Jordan) decided to destroy Israel (ie drive those Jews into the sea).

              For a long time, the Arabs didn’t take in the refugees (making them citizens of their nations) because the Arabs intended to continue their attempts to destroy Israel.

              Some of the camps later became part of territory controlled by Israel after Arabs continued their war and Israel took those territories.

              But still, those people were considered “refugees” (ie Not Palestinians) until the Palestine Liberation Organization was formed.

              Now, IIRC the Palestinians in Jordan (ie the refugees) outlived their welcome in Jordan for various reasons.

              1. The Palestinians are the people and the descendants of the people who sided with the attacking Arabs against the Jews. Plenty of Arabs either sided with Israel or pulled in the shutters until the Jews won. THEY are still in Israel, as citizens.

                Screw the Palestinians, sideways, with habanero lube.

      2. Presented with the more significant countries:

        Twenty-three nations embrace Trump peace plan, 7 in Middle East
        Nearly two dozen world leaders have signaled their openness to President Trump’s sweeping new peace plan for Israel and Palestine, ignoring claims in the U.S. media that it was dead on arrival to focus on it as a beefy starting point.

        A statement from Bahrain was typical of the reaction that has flooded into the White House since Trump unveiled the plan Wednesday. “The Ministry of Foreign Affairs commends the United States of America for its determined efforts to advance the peace process,” Bahrain said.

        Qatar said in a statement that it “appreciates the endeavors of President Trump and the current U.S. administration to find solutions for the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.”
        [END EXCERPT]

        Israel, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain, UAE, Morocco

        United Kingdom, Austria, France, Italy, India, Hungary, japan, South Korea

        1. I’d be surprised if Hungary remains the only Eastern European country to signal approval. IIRC, a few of them announced that they were moving their embassies to Jerusalem after Trump made the announcement about moving the US embassy.

          1. Oh, sorry – Poland and the Czech Republic are also on that list and I forget which others. It would not surprise me to find Ukraine in support; Zelensky did an interview with (IIRC) the Times of Israel in which he discussed the particular resonance of the Holocaust with Ukrainians, declaring that something like one-third of those killed in the camps were Ukrainian Jews. And, of course, he cited the Holodomor.

            Only two “nations” have publicly rejected it. Bet you cannot guess which two.

            Click on the link embedded in the headline.

            1. I was actually surprised by the absence of Poland from that list. Poland is where we should be moving all the bases and related local economy expenditures that we have left in Germany – the Poles are actual allies and individual Poles actually like Americans.

              And if the Germans were to decide to try and stop US resupply of Poland, we could roll over their current unmaintained, underfunded and untrained regular forces with a girl scout troop.

              1. It would be more fun to do it with Monster Trucks and WWE stars. We could make it a pay-per-view event.

              2. The only problem is that you can’t defend Poland without defending Germany as a consequence.

      1. Try this:

        Palestinians must wake up to new reality in Mideast
        By John Podhoretz
        On Tuesday, at the White House, President Trump formally enshrined his administration’s full-scale tilt toward Israel vis-à-vis the Palestinians with the release of his “vision to improve the lives of the Palestinian and Israeli people.”

        This document views the conflict through new eyes in a new century in a new millennium. It takes serious account of the efforts Israel has made, beginning in the early 1990s, to do what Bill Clinton once called “taking risks for peace.” It recognizes the rueful lessons those efforts have taught us and builds on them.

        Three times — twice in 2000 and once in 2008 — Israel offered Palestinians a state in exchange for a declaration of peace. What’s more, in 2005, Israel unilaterally withdrew from the Palestinian territory of Gaza and left it to the Gazans to rule themselves.

        The Palestinians met both the offers and the withdrawal with multiple wars, thus giving the lie to the ­comforting Hollywood fantasy that all you need to achieve peace is an outstretched hand and a reasonable ­posture.

        The Palestinians saw things differently. They had a feckless and fantastical conviction that the world beyond Israel would somehow intervene to give them what they really wanted: A state not alongside Israel but a state that took the place of ­Israel.

        No country commits suicide. Israelis responded to these aggressions by reaffirming not only their nation’s right to exist but their right to live in peace the only way possible: By defeating their foes militarily. All its efforts to do so were condemned by the cognoscenti of the West.

        Those fools. The bold and necessary moves the Israelis made done to contain Palestinian rage and blood ­furor have saved literally thousands of lives, including Palestinian lives that were not lost in direct martial ­conflict.

        So now the United States proposes a full-scale plan, the first of its kind, that takes account of Israel’s security needs and Palestinian aspirations for sovereignty and statehood. …

  8. has shown we can still fight with words, and speeches, and organizing

    See also Lindsey v2.0 and Cocaine Mitch, the Murder Turtle.

    Surely inspired by DJT, but there’s something there to leverage that inspiration.

    For me all of these, and others who continue to do so like that SEAL with the eyepatch, fall under the Lincoln Assessment; “I can’t spare this man; he fights.”

    1. SEAL with the eyepatch? Congressman Dan Crenshaw, who thinks the Second Amendment doesn’t apply any more?

      That’s at least two oaths he has repudiated. No, there’s nothing going on so dire that we need to spare an enemy like that.

      1. OK, not perfect, but one bad position on red flag laws does not turn him into Gov. Ralph “Jolson” Northam.

        And Crenshaw has not been afraid to politically mix it up, so I stand by my assessment.

          1. I am not persuaded that willingness to discuss potential “Red Flag Laws” constitutes “siding with tyrants” — but I am absolutely convinced that such phrasing as “siding with tyrants” tends to support persuadable voters’ view of our side as reactionary extremists.

            As “Diplomacy is the art saying ‘Nice doggie’ while reaching for a stick,” so can a willingness to discuss a proposed policy constitute a means of convincing its supporters the idea is wholly unworkable and its advocates the real extremists.

            There are occasions, indeed, when those on my side worry me almost as much as those opposed t me.

            1. I own zero guns, and my position is ‘If you want laws that abridge a legal citizen’s right to keep and bear arms, you must propose a Constitutional Amendment” the ‘Living Document’ theory of Constitutional Law is a dodge to get around doing the heavy lifting necessary to abridge the rights enumerated in the Constitution and its Amendments, and the State cannot be trusted with that power. Not OUR State, now. ALL States, ever.

              Red Flag laws are open invitations to abuse power. They would only work without harming the innocent if the State could be trusted.

              1. IMO red flag laws are firstly and primarily a violation of due process, before the second amendment even comes into the picture.

                1. Red Flag laws (supposedly) call for judicial hearings to determine whether the target is an actual public risk.

                  Yes, they are subject to administrative abuse, as are all laws, and they would not have prevented many (of any) recent mass shootings (certainly not Las Vegas) — but to convince people of that you need to walk them through a process and point out the flaws in the idea. It is much easier to do that if you sit down with them and can make them think it through.

                  Saying I am willing to discuss Red Flag laws is not saying I would agree to any such thing, any more than saying, “Let’s have a fun game of poker” is the same thing as saying, “I want to empty your wallet.”

                  1. in most cases, those hearings are *after* they take your guns. Good luck getting them back in shootable condition, or if you can’t afford good representation at the hearing.

                    1. That would be a good point to make to someone who thinks Red Flag laws are practicable — assuming you can get such a person to sit down and discuss the matter with you.

                      Now, I’m just spit-balling off the top of my head, but it seems to me that it is easier to get a person to engage with you reasonably if you do not initiate the discussion by denouncing them as a tyrant.

                      Same reason hostage negotiators do not start by calling the hostage-taker a low-life scumbag chicken shit pussy coward. It tends to get their hackles up.

                    2. Or if you were shot to death by the police who came to collect them — or by the person who filed the complaint because he wanted you disarmed for the murder.

                  2. Well, yeah, if you consider a fair judicial hearing to be one that you aren’t informed of, have no representation in front of, and all the testimony is from your accusers backed up by a court employed shrink who’s never laid eyes on you let alone conducted an actual assessment, and whose decision you are informed of when the battering ram crashes through your door……

                  3. And if you get them to sit down and work through it, you can frequently make them realize that making it a mental health hold– with all the legal protections involved in THAT– is more sensible than taking a weapon and dropping them off again.

                    That would be a useful “Red Flag” law.

                    1. If you seriously think that the only people who want to have a route to prevent known crazies from slaughtering people before there is a body-count, no wonder you keep yelling we’re all doomed and should start shooting now.

                    2. Well, I think some of the “gun-grabbers” are sincere in their claimed desire to “protect innocents” but they are also idiots because of the manner by which they are attempting to do it. 😉

                    3. Since anybody who is serious about killing others has a wide range of other options– from kitchen knife to hijacking a garbage truck– yep, they’re being foolish, at least.

                      They won’t get better without having a chance to hear what’s wrong with their arguments, or pretty much anything to edge past the magic wand aspect of fire-arms.

                    4. It’s amazing what people will believe if the lie is repeated often enough…. or it would be amazing, if it wasn’t commonplace.

                    5. Having seen some of your more extreme assertions of belief, I am not sure you’re in any place to criticize anybody. Do you ever wonder whether your rants will persuade anybody to your point of view before hitting “POST” or do you just assume your rants will silence all dissident views?

                    6. No, the point is that “crazies” is a rather subjective definition, as Stalin and his ilk proved. And if the system allows for a convenient tool to render your opponents disarmed without any evidence beyond differing opinion that someone is a “threat”, or due process where I get to confront my actual accuser, such as you, before my rights are infringed, then that system will be abused, and is being abused, and because it’s been ruled “legal” like slavery under Dred Scott, you’ll support it, at least as long as it’s used on people you don’t like, like me.

                      If there was a Federal “red-flag” law, or a “red-flag” law in Texas, you would have already reported me and how many others, and cheered as the SWAT team shot myself and my wife. Because the system you endorse will allow you and people like you to abuse it.

                    7. “Sure, I can’t get a replacement gun at 3 AM on a Sunday morning. But I *can* buy gallons and gallons and gallons of gasoline.” The smarts ones have a dawning of comprehension… the not so smart ones might CAUSE a ‘dawning’ thus.

            2. Do we have any reason to suppose that ‘red flag’ laws, in practice, will not act like civil forfeiture?

              Take your guns, charge you an arm and a leg to even attempt to contest the seizure, good luck getting them back even if acquitted.

              It’s not like there isn’t established precedent for how hard it is to get your stuff back when the government has sticky fingers.


              1. No, we don’t, because that’s exactly how they work. Someone (varies from state to state, but all the ones I’ve seen include LEOs, relatives including current and former spouses, and teachers. After that, some of them allow current and former Significant Others, bosses, co-workers, neighbors, and strangers off the street) is allowed to submit a complaint, in some cases anonymously, to a judge, who holds a hearing with everyone but you invited. Again, cops, psychologists selected by the court who have never examined you, etc. after which his honor decides whether the SWAT team shall be sent to the house of the armed and crazy person (you).

                If you survive the no-knock raid in the pre-dawn hours, ALL your guns and ammo will be seized, but you won’t be arrested (this isn’t a CRIMINAL proceeding, heavens no, so don’t bother bleating about those 4th, 5th, and 6th Amendment rights you don’t have, peasant). Anywhere from two weeks to two months later, you get to show up in front of the court to prove you aren’t crazy. Again, since this isn’t a CRIMINAL proceeding, you get to pay for any lawyer and expert testimony.

                If anyone considers gun confiscation sufficient justification to boogaloo, the passage of one of these is all the reason needed.

                1. Thus, locally, forget the canoe or small boat accident in the lake. “What guns? Oh H*LL no. Won’t have them things around. They aim themselves & go bang all by themselves … don’t ya know?”

                  Red flag laws already are in place. Thanks to the lovely current governor & the legislative minions.

              2. Careful on trusting the stories about civil asset forfeiture. I’ve found maybe one or two where there wasn’t obvious important information– such as proof that yes, the car *did* belong to the guy who was charged and found guilty of selling drugs out of it, or the person wasn’t charged because they did a plea-deal to catch their boss, or my favorite they were charged and found guilty under *federal* law rather than locally which was impressive because the complaint was about the local police bypassing the state forfeit laws by accepting a portion of the forfeit from the Feds– and follow-up on the cases is terrible.

                1. Unless you are in favor of confiscation without conviction, asset forfeiture is unconstitutional. After the trial, confiscate. Before trial and conviction, never.

                  1. Unless you are in favor of confiscation without conviction, asset forfeiture is unconstitutional.

                    Right, sure, impounding/seizing/confiscating evidence is unconstitutional, as is taking smuggled goods (hey, there’s no conviction because they can’t show who it would belong to), etc.

                    We already did this fight at least twice, pretty sure everybody is bored of it.

                    1. “Evidence” requires a crime, and a warrant in which the charges are specified, and you have to prove that the evidence you’re seizing is related to it before you can claim it’s yours to sell. Asset forfeiture as currently written requires NONE of these. And the last time we had this discussion, I cited law codes and proved that it doesn’t.

                      You are quite the totalitarian type, aren’t you?

                    2. You’ve essentially taken the position that not only would it be impossible to craft a Red Flag law that could adequately safeguard individual liberty, you’re arguing that even an attempt to discuss such law as a means of convincing others such law is unworkable is to give in to the totalitarian impulse.

                      You’re making jumps to conclusions that give not even Evel Knievel would dare — which is a particularly effective way of not demonstrating mental stability (as your “would have already reported me” accusation acknowledges.)

                    3. No, I’m saying that you COULD craft a red-flag law that would pass Constitutional muster, and I’ve explained how, by adding due process rights and evidence requirements before confiscation. No one is crafting one, because it would require

                      1. accepting a degree of risk vs freedom that too many people find unacceptable. You could stop the Parkland school shooter with it, if political correctness and the assumption that the shooter’s surname meant he was a member of a protected group hadn’t prevented his overt acts from being properly acted on.
                      2. and would not encourage the kind of systemic manipulation that the Left excels in.

                      As for your crack about my mental stability, that’s what’s called an uninformed opinion. I wouldn’t give two shits for it, except that laws like the one you and Fox are backing give you the ability to take your uninformed opinion and disagreement and have me prosecuted and my property confiscated (and possibly my life ended by some trigger-happy cop) by the state without any other evidence or a trial. Of course, I could do the same to you…. and we already have a large number of examples where false and malicious accusations acted on in haste have cost lives, reputations, livelihoods. How many are acceptable? Punishment on accusation is never a good thing.

                    4. The remark about your mental stability was informed by the tenor of your posted comments; apparently you haven’t read them.

                      Further, neither Foxfier nor I have advocated any kind of Red Flag law, so your reading comprehension wants re-tuning. What I have been saying, with great care, is that discussion of Red Flag laws is the most effective method of convincing people that such laws are not the panacea they imagine them to be. You assume facts not in evidence.

                    5. Oh, I have read them… and yours.

                      Now, why should your opinion of those comments be able to engage the machinery of the state to deprive me of my civil rights without due process? Because that’s what red-flag laws do.

            3. At least twice, he swore an oath to defend the Constitution.

              To some of us, “oathbreaker” is a serious thing. Particularly when that oath involves “the supreme law of the land” and my personal civil rights.

              1. Saying, “Red Flag laws are something we can discuss” does not strike me as violating the Constitution. Agreeing to enact such laws, yes. But the two are at least somewhat dissimilar.

                Or so I’ve heard.

                1. Considering some of the thing’s I’ve discussed here, equivalence of discussion and action would make me the same as Northam.

                  On the other hand, he may have meant the statement to signal flexibly.

                  Gripping hand, there’s been a lot of vindication of distrust of Republican politicians. (and a fair amount of egg on my paranoid face. Trump for example.)

          2. I tend to side with RES on this; and I’m a Life Member of the NRA. You can say, “No infringement”, but that means not only can everyone can have a gun if they want or need one, and can afford it; but also people who shouldn’t have any arms whatsoever. And that’s the problem. You can get 95% of the nation to agree that the various church and mall shooters should never have had access to weapons, much less firearms. You can get 95% of the nation to agree that none of the people who have murdered their spouses, after having been identified as mentally ill or with a court order against them, should have had unrestricted access to firearms. We just can’t effectively identify enough people who are dangers without denying their just rights to too many of those who aren’t dangers.

            And the one life saved argument is ALWAYS used wrongly. When was the last time you heard it argued that, “If a gun in the hands of a victim or witness saves even one life, we have to have unrestricted access for them to get a gun if they need it”?

            1. Nod.

              There will always be people who are a danger to others and society that shouldn’t be allowed to have guns.

              The problem is that it is easy AFTER THE FACT to know which they should be but would be extremely hard to prove BEFORE THE FACT who shouldn’t be allowed to have guns.

              And yes, the News Media tends to ignore the cases of people using guns to defend themselves and others.

              We hear about a few cases like the church shooter stopped by armed church-goers but even there the idiots tried to make the “armed church-goers” into “security guards” (ie armed professionals, not average people).

            2. When was the last time you heard it argued that, “If a gun in the hands of a victim or witness saves even one life, we have to have unrestricted access for them to get a gun if they need it”?

              For the sake of clarity, when it wasn’t one of us using it!

              That’s one of my go-to answers to folks wanting to restrict guns.

              (As I’ve pointed out before– I favor people control. Yes, some will still get through, but it’s a lot harder to justify locking someone up “just in case” than it is to disarm them. And yes, I did have a one-degree-removed death because it wasn’t justifable to keep her psychotic ex in jail, and she literally had the “pick up your new gun in two days from now” card in her wallet when the found the body.)

              1. Foxfier, maybe I’m misunderstanding your post but I don’t think Mike disagrees with you.

                1. Oh, I’m not disagreeing with what I’m pretty sure he MEANS– just pointing out that we’ve got a lot of smart-a***es here, including occasionally me, and I’m pretty sure a lot of us HAVE used that argument.

                  Exactly because it works so much better for our side than theirs.

                  As I understand it, he’s making a variation on the old observation that the folks yelling that this is no time to fight among ourselves, we all need to pull together, never follow that up by saying “and so I’m suspending X, Y an Z thing that I really, really care about until we take care of huge, we’re all gonna die crisis over there.”

                  1. To be clear, I’d rather let 10 bad guys walk away than to lock up a single, innocent man.
                    Likewise, I consider it a “fair” trade, for one bad guy to kill someone because nobody took his guns away, than to deny guns to 10 other people to protect themselves, just because they “might” not use them the way we want.

                    Yeah, approximately 30,000 people die from firearms each year in the U.S., 30% from suicide. Between 1 and 2 million times each year, a gun is used, even if not fired, to prevent a crime. But even if the figure was one tenth of that, it would still overwhelm the deaths. If it’s safety the anti-gunners are concerned with, then they’re mathematically, statistically, functionally insane and not competent to judge. Which makes this either an emotional decision, and not valid for real life; or a power play to deny the right to self defense.

                    1. Thing is, we’re not talking about 10 guilty men vs 1 innocent; we’re talking about literally hundreds of innocent but cannot control themselves folks, plus those that any sane person with the information would recognize were going to kill somebody, vs the innocent victims.

                      Frequently, innocent victims who realized that their killer was going to kill them…but the alternative is to kick them out to die, and kill someone who doesn’t have a chance to know that the attacker is a threat.
                      So your loved one can be punished for the murder they did, when not in their right mind.
                      If they don’t just die.

            3. Of course, it’s being deployed that way because the typical Lefty argument for any of their policies is that if it saves one life it’s worth it.

              Of course, when arguing over why we shouldn’t have guns they define “lives saved” as the Negligent Discharge victim who wouldn’t have done that, or the suicide who wouldn’t have been able to shoot himself. No mention that the suicide rate tends to stay constant no matter what the method. Also no mention of the undeniable fact that a life saved via armed self-defense should offset the body counts they like. No mention that the suicide rate has gone up when more people don’t have jobs. Maybe don’t push for policies (like banning fracking that don’t do that.

              It’s a thoroughly dishonest argument, and listening to lies gets tiresome. When those lies can be used against you with no chance for refutation (#MeToo, anyone?), that is a fundamental flaw.

              “We just can’t effectively identify enough people who are dangers without denying their just rights to too many of those who aren’t dangers.”

              Which is exactly my argument. Ever since Ben Franklin, the “safety vs liberty” argument has been going on. If you actually want a world that will be “ruthlessly left alone”, you’re going to have to avoid laws that guarantee it won’t be.

  9. Geek if you extend it ‘Obsessed with subject or mission he/she has devoted life to’ …

    IIRC, one of the identifiers of ADD is the tendency to become totally immersed in study of a topic, suggesting that there may be a statistically meaningful disproportionate ratio of ADD among Geeks. Of course, some areas of Geeking might be in socially acceptable venues; girls who geek out on make-up and fashion or social manipulation might go unremarked, just as boys who are “gearheads” might be considered unremarkable … although the reverse — boys into fashion and make-up or girls into mechanical intricacies — are likely t stand out.

    1. Also boys who “geek out” about sports and can tell you everything there is to know about football teams and whatnot. Once I realized that was what was going on, listening to people talking about the topic became a lot more bearable.

        1. Only thing I’d disagree with there is that fantasy football is for dudes who’d never play D&D. Pretty much everyone in my D&D group also has a fantasy football team.

          Oh, and one similarity that they left out is the desire to occasionally play a character/player that you know is at a bit of a disadvantage stat-wise but you just think is cool.

          1. Hey!
            I like playing ratonga or gnome monks (martial artists), ogre pickpockets, dark elven priestesses of good deities.

            I love making a GM roll his eyes and think, “Oh God, Mike is going to give me a conniption fit with all the curveballs he’s going to throw with this character.” or countering a mass of MMORPG players who scream that you can’t solo or pvp with an x-race and y-class character.

            The trick with a good GM (or game design) is getting the player to limit the character’s responses to what the character would logically know in game, and not the breath of knowledge the player has from outside the game. With MMORPGs, that usually means not allowing players to use cheats or game exploits.

            Is a 50 pound, 150 year old female gnome monk going to be able to kick the ass out of a half dozen, experienced, 500+ pound, fully armored and armed ogre warriors? In a fantasy universe utilizing whatever “magical” abilities the monk has, sure. In real life? Well, first of all, I don’t see many gnomes or ogres in real life. But that would be like sending a 9 year old kid against 6 sumo wrestlers. The kid would get squashed in a heartbeat. But if that frail old lady who was 4 foot 3 inches tall, and 60 pounds soaking wet, had a 1911 in .45 ACP, she’d have had the capability to making a half dozen 250 pound biker dudes back off.

            Yeah, I like underdogs, and I like playing them too.

            1. You game like my husband.

              Yes, I am generally the enabler; we duo-ed a lot of party-level stuff Vanilla and early BC WoW with a paladin and rogue-tank. (If he had to vanish, I could take the hits; I seem to remember that judgement of light was part of it– so he got healed every time his rogue hit stuff. But it’s been a long time, I just remember the fun, and folks not believing it until they saw it.)

              In no small part BECAUSE folks said “that’s not possible.”

              And characters…oooh, they’re fun. Have you heard the one about making a gnome, casting reduce on yourself, and then using mage-hand to fly?

              1. Something similar in Everquest where before they got too squishy on pvp, you took a small race, reduced size, and got a small flying mount and just went cruising. Look for one on ones and drop out of the sky on them. And yes, I’d occasionally grab the wrong target and get my butt whupped, and the other fella got to cheer about it for the next 90 minutes. 😉

        2. And THIS is why I refuse to play Fantasy Football. The lack of gelatinous cubes makes it the clearly inferior game.

  10. You know… I need to start drawing comics again.

    A few have been slipping out, on lined paper, in the interstitials. Maybe finishing up one of those is the first. But… you know, I really ought to actually try to make them again, instead of just failing to keep them in.

    (And it’s easy to use the kids as an excuse, but the baby likes to wander around the room on his own and I think the toddler would be down for drawing next to me now.)

    Thanks for the kick. 🙂

        1. With Trump, it is hard to tell what is ADD, what is intuition, and what is good planning and information synthesis; and he does it all while keeping others off balance, on purpose.

          1. Since they dose their children with it for any reason or none, I can only assume they approved of DJT using it.

  11. As a psychological observation, C and I decided a year or so back that we had to leave California, both because we’re being priced out of it and because its political culture is increasingly toxic, and we’re well along in preparing to do so. And that made us sad, because we’ve lost our home, the state where we both grew up; we looked at leaving with regret. And then California passed AB5 (the “gig law”), which makes it impossible for me to work at my profession, because no one hires copy editors as employees any more.

    And now part of me feels like Lot getting out of Sodom. California has tried to take away my profession, my calling. And on one hand I wish no harm to my Californian friends, but on the other I would like to see California become the kind of ruin that Detroit has been for many years; part of me feels that it’s what the state deserves—and its voters, who would be getting what they voted for, good and hard, comme on dit. But it’s taking my work away from me that did this.

    Expense? Yes, well, I don’t begrudge other people being rich enough to outbid me. Regulation? Stupid and to be avoided, which is why we’re moving to a very red state that other Californians are avoiding. But forbid me to work and it’s PERSONAL.

    1. As I watch more and more native Californians leave the Glorious Bear Flag Peoples Republic crossing the lines into free America, I start to understand the folks who waited too long to leave Germany in the 1930s – you are used to the good stuff, and the bad stuff can’t possibly be as bad as it appears.

      Then they take all your stuff and throw you in a camp.

      And given HS friends of mine’s parents were given just that treatment from this state in the 1940s, I know it can happen here.

      Given the efforts currently being implemented in the Old Dominion, however, I’m not sure where would be better. Texas?

      I hear Panama is happy to see gringo retirees and their money, and more recently (post peace deal) I’ve heard good things about Columbia, but my Spanish is minimal.

      It is a puzzlement.

        1. The bugbear and I are looking at Tennessee as well. It helps that my last few years in, we will be in very southern Mississippi, so we can look around. Probably be somewhere in the southeast anyway.

          We want somewhere that isn’t too very hot (or humid), but has mild-ish winters, and Tennessee seems ideal for that. Plus proximity to plenty of Oddtribe folks, too.

              1. meh. no. NC I had issues with fleas. If we manage to not have indoor-outdoor pets and WOOD floors, this might be AT LEAST somewhat mitigated.
                (And to be fair our neighborhood in NC might have been particularly bad. Not sure why.) I am allergic to fleas.
                The humidity played havoc with the autoimmune but that just means I need to keep stress down, so I’m not asthmatic, because when I am I’ve discovered cold is worse.

                1. Aaah, I’d been assuming plants. The flea (and tick) level definitely seems to vary. My in-laws and Ursula Vernon seem to be in very buggy areas.

                  1. Also, depends on how long ago too. Plus whether allergic to the newer prescription monthly flea treatments. Not sure what tick treatments there are for cats.

                    Son & I are horribly allergic to bug bites. Less so over the years. In that a 2″, or bigger, swelling due to bites and the resulting skin infection doesn’t look as bad on adults.

                    Valley is horrible for fleas. Huge difference between when I had to rely on dips, flea collars, powders, & bombing the house & yard, to options available now. I haven’t used a bomb on the house & yard in about 15 or so years, when I discovered Revolution for the cats (& dog, only dog is now on Sarolaner for flea & tick). Ticks not so bad unless you are in the farming fields & forests. Ticks still aren’t as bad as they are back east, but still there, at least timbered areas.

        2. Missouri and East Tennessee were our short list when it came time to finally migrate to America.

          We wound up in Missouri. It’s been great.

      1. We picked out a dozen states that seemed possible, and three dozen cities in those states. Then we narrowed down, step by step, ending with Idaho and Kansas. But Boise is getting increasing numbers of Californians, who are both bidding up housing prices to where they’re about like our part of California, and bringing in Californian political attitudes. Those are things we want to get away from! So now we’re looking at Kansas. Fortunately we have friends there.

        The Cato Institute’s Index of Economic Freedom (https://www.freedominthe50states.org/economic) was helpful in choosing among states.

        1. FYI: Kansas is sane, and PLEASANT, but it is very much lacking in scenery or outdoorsy things to do. Having come here from both California and Michigan I can tell you that I do miss water and mountains. Great schools, tho.

          1. There is the collection of rocky oddities at Mushroom Rock State Park in central Kansas and the Monument Rocks in far western Kansas, but that’s not much for a state of its size.

          2. Yes, well, when I visited Boise I was sad to realize that the capital city of a “rocky mountain state” had nothing on the horizon that I would call mountains. It had HILLS. We have better mountains to look at in Riverside. So either way we’re going to be missing scenery.

        2. bringing in Californian political attitudes

          All you have to do with Bear Flag Peoples Republic refugees is watch what they do when they get there: If they quickly locate the best local gun shop and stock up on firearms that are völlig verboten back in CA, I would think they’ll be fine.

      2. If you’re eager to vote Republican in a conservative state – one where the Democrats tend to be more conservative than California Republicans – Texas is happy to have you. Otherwise, we don’t need people who will try to open up our border even more.


        1. That’s where the ATF’s technical office is; when you come up with something that they might consider “questionable”, that’s where you ship your sample or prototype to they can ogle and fondle it.

      3. Huh. You remind me of a story in They Thought They Were Free: a doctor was on a train, and heard one man telling another to just stall on a debt he owed — and didn’t even use the word Jew — but the doctor still froze, went home, dunned everyone who owned him money, and when some paid in full, some in part, some not at all, took the money, and fled Germany. Which is how he survived the Holocaust.

        1. Texas would be proud to have the Hoyts! There many hospitals in Plano. Also numerous engineering firms. There’s a TI plant in town as well. DFW is homeport to American Airlines and DAL is home to Southwest.

  12. And here I thought it was normal to have a geek out topic. I thought normal just meant your chosen topic was socially acceptable. Like clothing and makeup. Or a particular tv show. I must be more sheltered than I thought.

  13. It probably can’t hurt to remind all of us that the USA (and other over there places) have always been the world’s dumping grounds for Odds, since pre-history.

    The weird thing is why we keep getting normals popping up here. Did that genetics come with the Odd genetics, or was it imported later?

    1. Both. Remember that each major wave of immigration had an easier time of it. Wave 1 had to (metaphorically) take the beachhead under fire. Wave 2 had to fight inland, but got off the ships in safety. Now we’re on Wave 6…who just have to move in and collect Welfares.

    2. Unfortunately Oddness does not breed true. Odd parents might have Normal children or vice versa.

  14. should you yeet before you art yoten upon have we already lost

    Please consider the History of Israel and the different strategies employed in the initial phases of Six-Day War and the Yom Kippur War. Why did they engage in preemptive strikes in the first instance and not the second?

    And, because it is Jooz!, there is the obvious fact that, in the long run, it makes not one damned bit of difference.

  15. if you care about liberty and the individual, if that’s one of your things, you have to focus on the monkey games at least a little

    Part of our problem is that while we can play the monkey games and play them effectively, they are not what we’re interested in doing. So, like the American Indians, we gear up, fight a battle, and go home. Our opponents, however, are good only at those monkey games, so they continue them in our absence. The price of Liberty is constant vigilance, rust never sleeps, and there ain’t no Sanity Clause. Every so often, like Dan Davis, you’ve got to look up from perfecting your toys and see what Miles and Belle have been getting into.

    It sucks, it’s no fun — but you have to do it because entrusting to another the safeguarding of your liberty may turn out okay but, historically, that’s not the way the smart money bets.

  16. “…so used to winning monkey games that they’re in many ways a paper tiger.”

    Not a paper monkey?

      1. He has such a lot of fun synthesizing common theology facts with obscure things you have never heard of, to make sense of interesting corners of salvation history. It’s an adventure to read his best books.

        Tolkien’s Lost Chaucer is a super fun geek read, too! It turns out that Tolkien was actually very much a force in Middle English as well as Old English studies, but hooboy did he have troubles with being too Odd for Oxford.

        Also, he did Chaucer cosplay and recited the entire Nun Priest’s Tale in character.

        1. The more I read about Tolkien himself, the more I think he must have been a hoot to know. “Puckish” might begin to describe it. And apparently an absolute menace to farm field walls and hedges and rabbits when behind the wheel of a car.

          I read that he also liked dressing up as a Viking to freak his students out. And playing other pranks on them, seeing how long he could string them along believing the nonsense he was feeding them (though he actually would own up to it before it was too late–unlike modern day professors–presumably with the intent to teach them to think for themselves.) C.S. Lewis would also cosplay with him, and they got up to all manner of shenanigans…as middle aged to elderly men. Pity video cameras and social media didn’t exist then–I rather think they’d have been a viral sensation.

          1. I never fully understood it till my friend Professor Tolkien asked me the very simple question, “What class of men would you expect to be most preoccupied with, and most hostile to, the idea of escape?” and gave the obvious answer: jailers.
            — CS Lewis

  17. Geek if you extend it “Obsessed with subject or mission he/she has devoted life to” is a pretty good cognate for what we are. I used to be a language geek, and now I’m a writing geek. I geek out on ways to write things, new tricks, ways of creating story so it fools most people, etc. etc. Recall — if you’ve been around a while — Foxfier saying in comments that Pope Benedict was a “religion geek”?

    *big grin* But it’s TRUE!

    I first realized it when I was watching some talk he was doing, and the interviewer hit an interesting theological point– and Papa Bene just lit up in a way that anybody who’s seen someone geek out would recognize.

    I think it’s got something to do with being so openly in love with a thing that the only way to hide it is to hide that aspect of yourself entirely; it’s a vulnerability. (Which is why bullies target geeks.)

    1. Been watching clips from the Graham Norton show. It’s a British celebrity chat show, but with the twist that he’ll often have 4 or 5 celebrities at a time and they get to interact, with the benefit of some alcoholic lubrication. It’s amazing watching someone like George Clooney talk about how much he actually liked going to Comicon, because the people there “they care. My god, do they care!”

      1. Well, Emily, there are the tos and the fros — everybody knows you can go one or the other but not both at once.

      2. A fro is the opposite of a draw knife; it cuts when pushed away from the user. I only know this because of watching a PBS program called “The Woodwright’s Shop” where the host uses hand and foot powered tools.

  18. Yeah, I’m glad I have more than one interest in life.

    Because some of them, I don’t see uses more productive than harmful.

  19. Let us be honest: One of the main reasons we yeet not yet is that the enemy is applauded when we are yoten upon by them; should we so much as yeet back in self-defense we are vilified for it.

    If the commie-scum were not in control of the legacy – and thus default – media, yeeting the enemy with prejudice would be hailed as a public good, per the defense of the state of my upbringing. But they have not yet collapsed in bankruptcy and gone off-air, so they continue to define the Overton Window in defiance of all reality.


  20. I love your insights, Sarah.

    “…monkey games…”

    A few years ago the group I work for needed a new database admin guy, but the Army being the Army, there was nobody available. The old DBA noticed some work I had done in Excel, and I was tasked with taking over the DBA position.
    In the course of three months I learned two computer languages and two database platforms at no cost to the Army. I became the sole DBA for my group with no external support. Within a year and a half of being the sole DBA for my group, I had created tools that were literally saving tens of thousands of staff hours per year. I naively assumed that the savings would result in re-tasking soldiers to other jobs that desperately needed attention. WRONG.
    Immediately the “leaders” in positions affected by my awesome tools, instead of thinking of ways to accomplish the mission in better ways with the massive new amounts of free time on their hands, took that freed-up time and began trying to justify their own employment with ever-more-ridiculous schemes. The end result was that the work environment for the average worker on the floor became far worse than before. I’ve since learned that one of the worst things in the world is a leader who mistakenly thinks he’s infallibly brilliant and has lots of time on his hands. We have met the enemy, and it is us.

    Luckily I think leadership realized I was getting close to automating THEM out of a job too, so the officers got together and transferred me to another shop that actually WANTS useful tools. I’ve landed on my feet, and I’m going to be getting an online degree in data science by the time I retire in a few years. My new goal is to be an obscenely compensated telecommuter.

      1. Heck, most aren’t even willing to join the union.

        You can’t loaf without joining the union.

      1. Him whom the Gods would destroy, they first fill with common sense and then place him in a building full of bureaucrats. Efficiency is the number one enemy of the garrison army.

  21. If I were going to pick a species likely to evolve intelligence in the absence of humans and other primates, I think I’d go with raccoons. They’re already quite intelligent, (almost) have hands, and do the Heinleinian “cooperate/act alone” thing very well. They even have their “odds”. “Crazy as a pet coon” is a thing, and one scientist who’s studied them extensively has noted that “typically, about 10-15% [of raccoons] will do the opposite [of what you expect them to do]”.

    1. Someone wrote an alternate-universe novel about a world run by intelligent raccoons, but the name escapes me at the moment. I think it was supposed to be a series but didn’t pan out.

  22. Never forget that Pournelle’s Iron Law of Bureaucracy is powerful. Staying focused on the mission is hard. Often dangerous. Playing bureaucratic empire-building games is much easier.

    But there is a force that can stand against the Iron Law. The Band of Brothers. A handful of heroes can do more than one man alone, cover each others’ weaknesses, and prevail. In the course of a forty-year career, I’ve had the privilege of working on two such teams. And they did great, formidable things.

  23. Sib-in-Law was talking about a guy who went through tapes of all the 2017 Astros games, looking at and listening to every Astros at-bat, to see if any signals were being given from the dugout et cetera. He narrowed it down to (maybe) someone hitting a garbage can lid. (I was half tuned out and missed the details). Talk about geeking out over a topic!

    1. There was something about banging on a can lid for transmitting signs, but I haven’t been willing to pay attention to pro sports for multiple years. (Surprised myself when I had to look up who made it to the Superbowl. OTOH, the owners of the local Fox station have locked out Dish Network over carriage fee disputes, so it’s not going to be televised.)

  24. Yeah, so I stared at the picture of dough being kneaded, and found myself daydreaming of making fried bread, and was so into the daydream I was imagining the delicious taste… and five minutes went by or more. And I hadn’t read anything but the title. Hungry AND weird! ^.^;;; Going to read the post now.

  25. I don’t know if the rest of you would consider me an “odd” but I doubt I’d enjoy hanging around this blog as much as I do if I wasn’t.

  26. Hopefully (and the post-McCain emergence of backbones in the Senate seems to indicate this) the Republicans have learned that passivity isn’t going to help them. The Democrats are out for their blood, and will change the rules to run them out of office, and bring about a single party state. There’s not even room for a token group of classic GOPe squishes to make a pretend show of bipartisanship.

  27. “We read as threat on two levels: we ignore the monkey games, without even acknowledging them, much less responding/parrying. And this scares them, because it means we’re unpredictable.”

    There is a type of woman that hates me on sight. The Bellwether. The Queen Bee or clique leader of whatever little group has grown up in a company or office. The hostility is often quite palpable. They’ll get right up in my face on Day 1 at the job and try to make me acknowledge their power. It happens all the time. Sometimes it happens when I walk into a store/company office and try to buy something. They bristle. Like, they friggin’ hair seems to actually stand up like a wolf.

    It used to be terrifying when I was younger, as a crusty old silverback its just tiresome. My fangs are very long these days, and I just don’t give a f- who sees them. A curl of the lip sets them in their place quick enough.

    I have -never- understood what’s going on. I’m pleasant, I say good morning, and I’ve got snarling she-wolf with her hackles up. What the actual hell?

    But with age I’ve figured out there’s some signal I’m not getting. They signal that they’re the Queen Bee, and I’m supposed to do my man’s obeisance to the Queen. Whatever that is. But I don’t get the signal, and I don’t do that thing I’m supposed to do that acknowledges their social position. I treat them as one more female in a room full of females. “Yes, hello, I see you, I’ve got shit to do so lets get on with our jobs, shall we?” And they go NUTS.

    Which leads us to the other thing: “Also, we are obsessed with THE THING and they don’t much care about the “thing” and are afraid we’ll steal a march on them and look better.”

    I’m there getting paid to do something, and being the f-ing MUTANT that I am I’d very much like to get on with doing it. I want to see the patient, or fix the machine, or paint the room. I want to do it fast, do it right and get on to the next patient/machine/room as quick as possible. Because time is money.

    But that’s a different universe to these people. They take the money but they play the Monkey Game instead of concentrating on the thing they’re getting paid for. I can’t work like that. I’m a bull in a china shop in that situation. All I have to do is walk in and it f-s everything up. All the carefully balanced relationships and little whisper networks are disrupted. Sometimes I think if I dropped a bag of horse manure in the middle of the place and set it on fire, it would be less uproar.

    I think probably 95% of the astounding stupidity we see in the publishing/book retail world is this stuff. Queen Bees playing Monkey Games and nobody is doing the job. Because all the smart people saw the iceberg coming and jumped ship already, leaving only the monkeys behind.

    1. I watched my mom deal with That Sort for years–she tended to only notice when they were in a position where she couldn’t just avoid them, or figure “it’s a bad day.”

      Called it hatred on sight; sometimes it was mutual, too. (That’s usually when she left organizations entirely. You can’t avoid a vendetta where the other one is determined, and it’s not fair to everyone else.)

      1. Yes, usually best to leave. I’ve had The Interview With The Boss where he (always a guy) asks me what the hell is going on and what did I do to piss off Queenie. Well, I have no idea. Its a pretty short conversation. After a few years it went: “Who’s more important to the operation, Boss? Me or Queenie?”

        Well Queenie was always completely indispensable. I’m a pioneer in the gig economy. ~:D I did find it amazing how many of those companies folded within a year or two of letting me go though. Monkey Games do not equal productivity.

        There’s a male version of the Queen Bee, but I never really had a problem with them. The Phantom isn’t challenging, he’s just oblivious. It doesn’t seem to bother them.

        1. I’ve had that effect on some people as long as I can remember.

          “What do you mean?”

          “Imagine Mr. T walking into a Klan koven…”

          My wife has the opposite problem; total strangers act like she’s been their best buddy forever. She sees nothing unusual in this. I think it’s borderline creepy.

        2. Well, when the boss is displaying that kind of poor judgment, small wonder their companies are going downhill.

          As to why you’ve not had that problem with guys, I think the reason for that is twofold:

          First, guys are a lot better at figuring out which guys are a problem than women are, kind of like how women are better at figuring out if a woman’s a psycho or not.

          Second, I think a much lower percentage of guys feel the need to have someone “acknowledge their authority”–most are just content to not have their authority openly challenged. Women tend to be a little more on the “demand obeisance” side, and I’m not sure why.

          1. Women tend to be a little more on the “demand obeisance” side, and I’m not sure why.

            I suspect (although I am an Odd Woman, so am not 100% sure) it’s to do with the fact that women don’t establish authority via physicality. Even though men, in a civilized setting, don’t do that so much any more I think that aspect is still there on some level. But it’s not ever really been a thing for most women, and so some do it by demanding total obedience. (It also may be a way for a physically smaller/weaker woman to, hopefully, defuse the physical threat nearly every man presents to her? “I demand absolute fealty, and so you will not attack me.” Much as I hate most of the #metoo insanity, it’s not entirely wrong, that saying about “Men fear women will laugh at them, but women fear men will kill them.” Though coming over as a psycho-Queen is not, I think, a good tactic either.)

            So yeah. I suspect that’s why–it’s an effort to circumvent issues down the line. But it’s not, I think, a particularly effective approach, even for non-Odds. Or at least, I can’t see it being effective amongst Americans, who tend to have a knee-jerk “MAKE ME” reaction to that kind of behavior, heh. I certainly outgrew that means of forcing cooperation when I was a kid, and prefer logic and/or persuasiveness instead.

            Or at least, it SHOULD NOT be allowed to continue as an effective approach, since it clearly is in too many settings, professional or personal. Being a tyrant isn’t good for anyone’s psyche.

            1. And now I have vague ideas about that 1960s “abuse manners” things being the chick version of the make-them-avoid-my-shoulder dude thing….

          2. At least in America, different standards of respecting authority.

            Getting even slightly pushy in the US– if it involves actual physical touching– is a huge no-no. It’s also a go-to stupid monkey-boy dominance game. Get into a position where you have to MAKE the other guy move so that he doesn’t hit your shoulder.

            I’m teaching my kids this right now– they’re small-ish, so I teach them that if you think you could touch someone by swinging your arm, you need to be paying attention to them; if you could hit them with your elbow, you need to back up. (Actually a bit of an issue, apparently rural Iowa has a slightly smaller personal distance, which I figured out after backing halfway around the table while talking to Nice Church Ladies. But the basic idea is good, especially vs 3ft what dodging between folks who are in an intimate conversation.)

            While girl stupid-dominance-games….

            are more verbal “make the other guy move so he doesn’t hit your shoulder.”

            *looks significantly at the increasingly insane more-woke-than-though junk*

          3. “Women tend to be a little more on the “demand obeisance” side, and I’m not sure why.”

            Most guys, rightly or wrongly, tend to operate on the theory that “if he doesn’t do what I’m telling him to do, I can always deck him and that will settle it”. Classic alpha ape logic.

            Women, and to a lesser extent smaller guys, don’t have that assurance. They realize that “the only reason someone does what I say is that the hierarchy / system / rules demands they do so. If I don’t get what the hierarchy says I should get as evidence that my position is valid, I have to call on that hierarchy for extra muscle…. and they might have other priorities.”

            My $.02 cents….. but it matches observed behavior.

    2. One of the ongoing themes in David Drake’s work is craftsmanship. He values it. He LOATHES people who are bad at their jobs.

      That strikes a chord with me. I feel the same way. It’s that way with my wife also, who also (I am a lucky man) reads David Drake.

      I’ve found it to be a fairly foolproof indicator of being what our host calls an Odd. Do you care about being good at your job? Do people who are bad at their job disgust you? Yes- you’re one of my kind of people, you poor Odd you.

  28. Re-reading this post put me in mind of something my nephew gave me. A quote from Timmy Failure: “It’s every man for himself in this monkey-throw-chicken world.” I think that pretty much sums it all up. Heh. 😀

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