How Things Have Always Been

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Part of the problem with humans is that we tend to get used to “how things have always been.”

And when those “things” are comfortable for us, it’s hard to imagine them changing.

Sure, the human animal is adaptable, but sometimes it takes us a while to figure out how to work around when things change. For instance, say we move the furniture in the house: if I come downstairs in the middle of the night to get water or deal with screaming cats (it happens) I will walk carefully around where the sofa used to be and then walk right into where it is, or perhaps trip over the coffee table and fall on the cat. (In addition to my being completely night blind, I’m usually without my glasses in these excursions.)

And then there’s the bigger patterns. I mean, you eventually learn to walk around the new place for the sofa.

But if you read fiction — or non-fiction — written around big historical transitions you’ll hear a great lament for “how things used to be.”  For instance Agatha Christie’s people often lament the quality of something “post war” (and that the first world war.)

However, I think right now we’re in the middle of such a large and…. strange change, not immediately obvious that most people who were comfortable in the previous conformation are having trouble adapting.

What do I mean by the nature of the change?  Take blogs, or ebooks. Same thing really.  When they were first considered, talked about, everyone was full of “this is the new thing now.”

Only it wasn’t. I attended and sat at the most panels on how ebooks would change the industry back in the early nineties.  And then nothing happened. Because reading ebooks on your computer was cumbersome, and as a friend put it, “Who wants to carry even a laptop (they were bigger then too) to the bathroom to read their novel?”

As for blogs, those of us who were on them right after 9/11 expected them to have this huge impact on the elections and… well, everything. Because this new distributed media was so self-obviously better than the clearly biased and lying newspapers and networks.

Only, nothing happened.  Until it did.

I think they call this the mechanics of the sand pile, where the grains of sand are shifting slowly, inside, but the outside looks completely immobile, and steady.  And then suddenly the whole pile shifts over.

I understand it’s how a lot of social change occurs.  And though in this case the change was partly technological, it was still a social change, a breaking of habits and ways of doing things.  For instance, I used to subscribe to three newspapers which I read religiously every morning before getting to work. (The Gazette, the Denver Post and the Wall Street Journal.)  And honestly, I dropped them one by one, more because I hadn’t got around to renewing, and then realized I was reading my news on line and didn’t need them.

Kind of like that but society wide.

Ebooks finally started coming into their own in 2010. I’m not 100% sure we’re done with their peak yet. I think there are things to come that will make all this seem like early days.

And the first revolution in which the traditional media showed their impotence was 2016.  And even then I’m not going to say it was blogs. Might not have been. Europe seems to be caught in the middle of the same thing, and as far as I can tell, for various social reasons, they don’t have blogs like we have blogs. (Explaining to my mom what’s now a big part of my life is nigh impossible.)

Anyway, I think this is causing some confusion, blindness and otherwise inexplicably stupid behavior in people who never seemed stupid before.  This is what I call The Years the Masks Fell off.

Look, take a just-now thing: the DNC says that all precincts in Iowa WERE counted. The app recorded every vote, they say. They just need to tally them.

Turns out that’s probably not precisely true.

As a friend noticed, that’s not precisely a lie, that’s just ‘making sh*t up.’

We’re seeing that a lot from the other side of the isle suddenly. Unbelievably stupid behavior like the sham wow impeachment.

They keep telling us “Who you gonna believe, me or your lying eyes?” and being shocked and appalled when we choose our lying eyes.

In the non-political side, my calling, as it were, writing and publishing, we’re seeing equally unbelievably stupid behavior from publishers: from trying to play the same old “push” games and being shocked and appalled when they don’t work, (even though Barnes and Noble is a spent force, and the traditional reviewers eclipsed by Joe Schmo with a blog.)  They heed the once a year (at most three times) schedule, even though indie has changed expectations and people expect at least four to six books in a series a year.  But more importantly they do crazy stuff like overprice ebooks because that will SURELY force us to buy hardcovers. Or, my absolute favorite, they will scream at us how ignorant and what terrible people we are for not reading their precious pushed Polly.

And then they’re shocked, nay astonished, when these tactics don’t work.  While we who are standing outside this look at them and go “Who would think that would work? Some two year old?”

I mean half of the bizarre behavior of our government and its agencies falls under that heading too.  “Who could think that would work/wouldn’t be found out/made any sense?”

But the thing you have to understand is that you’re not dealing with stupid people. Not by half. You’re dealing with people who were very competent and comfortable in — for lack of a better term — the previous paradigm of politics, or publishing or whatever.

The more comfortable they were; the easier it was for them, the harder it is to accept that it’s gone and it’s not coming back

For instance, the dems could trust the media would cover for them absolutely and completely, and that their pettiness, idiocy or outright corruption would never be revealed.

They got used to it, they got comfortable. They got to believing it was their natural right. It was just the way things were. They were the good people. Their hearts were pure. No one would ever look into their behavior outside the limelight.

If some psychological tests are correct, they grew to believe they were entitled to corruption and unethical behavior for all the “good” they did, such as Clinton thinking he was entitled to all the women he wanted for “fighting for women’s rights” (Which for men like him always mean abortion, but never mind.)

They can’t adapt. They can’t believe things have changed.

In the same way editors and publishers in traditional publishing were in a privileged position. They didn’t even have to be nice. Writers would still be nice and subservient to them. Because, well… it was the only game in town.  And they didn’t need to be THAT good at their jobs. There were enough super readers out there with an habit to feed, that unless they published dud after dud after dud (some of them managed it) sooner or later, they buy a big hit, and make their reputation.

In their heads this is still the world they live in. They can ignore writers and what writers want, because, well, what are writers going to do?  And they can kick you out and your career is over, right? And if they want a book to do well, they just do a lot of publicity and get all the right reviewers to praise it, because what are the readers going to read.

If they could for a moment forget the experience of a life time, and see how things are done now, past the noise of twitter for the left, past the still-fawning authors-who-hope-for-validation for publishers and editors, they’d see not only has the world changed completely, but the old world is not coming back. Not ever.

No matter how many reassuring, whistling past the graveyard articles Publishers Weekly and the other rags write, we’re not all going back to buy our stories in paper bricks, from a limited selection of publishers, and waiting a year for the next opus. Not. Gonna. Happen. Not ever.

But these people can’t move on past their lived experience, their ‘it’s always been this way.’ and “it should be this way.” And the “We deserve it to be this way.”

Like deposed kings in the late nineteenth and twentieth century, they walk through packed rooms wearing their crowns, trailing their robes, and they can’t understand why no one is bowing and scraping, except maybe a few sycophants.

But the rest of the crowd is moving on, creating the future. And if they look at them at all, it’s either with mockery and pity.

 

354 thoughts on “How Things Have Always Been

  1. Remember Card in “Ender’s Game” thought with a global communications system ‘Locke’ would influence vast crowds of people with his obviously superior and persuasive speech? HAHAHAHA

    1. Even in the book, that wasn’t right. Demosthenes was the one who gained the most influence, despite Peter intending for Demosthenes/Valentine to be nothing more than a strawman that Locke could demolish.

  2. People never change, just the tide pools they inhabit. The sad part of it is that so often dreams and expectations are washed away, when they could have made a difference if achieved.

  3. that’s not precisely a lie, that’s just ‘making sh*t up.’

    AKA, ‘If I say it, it’s so!’ Syndrome.

    They’re accustomed to operating in the dark and now that the sun is shining they hope that by keeping their eyes closed everything will remain the same.

    This is known as a sub-optimal strategy.

    1. It is *now.* Whilst we were all in the dark, they could manufacture a narrative that an entire country (or at least, a hugely significant portion was at the very least aware of, if not following daily) would consume. And if the common narrative was “He’s a crook!” it was certain that he was. If for no other reason than because everyone said so.

      The ripples of a connected world have not ceased. Not in the least. Generations from now they will *still* be felt, as technology changes and cultures interact on a scale never before seen. Why should you pay for a newspaper, or watch a show that pays for itself through annoying commercial breaks, when some guy with a cell phone and a blog who was *right there* has video and commentary available *right now* for free?

      Idustries that stood for centuries are not reacting quickly enough. It is likely they will pass in my lifetime. Who can know what the future will bring?

      1. Oh, they’ll still be able to “manufacture a narrative”. Or evidence.

        https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2020/01/31/deepfake-audio-used-custody-battle-lawyer-reveals-doctored-evidence/

        “‘Deepfake’ audio was used in a custody battle to try and portray a father as threatening, a family lawyer has revealed, as he warned that doctored evidence is being submitted to courts.

        Byron James, a family lawyer and partner at international law firm, Expatriate Law, said that voice forging software was used to create a fake recording of his client threatening another party to a dispute over their children.”

        1. Photography used to be accepted as evidence, but digital editing and re-printing got good enough fifteen, twenty years ago that knowledgeable judges sometimes disallow photos now.

          1. But— but— what about the twenty-seven color glossy photographs with the circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back of each one tellin’ what it’s about? We can’t have a fair trial without those! Officer Obie might even cry!
            ———————————
            Don’t ask about Group W. Just don’t.

          2. Hell, photographic fake ‘evidence’ propaganda was used widely in WWI, and so much of the fakery came out that a huge amount of public distrust plagued governments all over during the period between the wars.

            1. One of the reasons for so much skepticism about early reports of the Holocaust was memories of false reports of German atrocities from WWI

    2. Another name for this is “The Big Lie”. The “We Have always been at war with EastAsia” type statements. The Fascists were famous for this, but others (Any body remember Baghdad Bob?, How about the whole MSM) have used it as well. Tell a (mostly) unverifiable whopper. Then keep telling it and make sure anyone that contradicts it is ostracized. Works AS LONG as there isn’t something to contradict you.

  4. People don’t change, but society/culture does. Attitudes are adjusted based on society. I’m no expert on people who lived 100s of years ago. What I know comes from books and movies, so who knows how accurate that really is without heavy research. But it does seem that people’s attitudes towards generic violence has changed. Is there really much less killing in the world these days compared to a few hundred years ago? That’s what we’re told.

    Side note – rise of ebooks. For me, it was kindle (and other readers). Having a lightweight, easy to ready, easy to carry everywhere reader made a big difference. Plus the ability to change the font size matched my changing eyes quite nicely!

            1. I used to read a lot. I’d have to bring (or buy) a dozen books on vacation. No more! National borders are part of the digital world. There are things I can’t buy on amazon.uk. I don’t know if it has to do with Arnold’s death (previous webmaster for Baen) or using forms of the ‘net I don’t like, but I can’t stand the current Baen website. It’s user hostile and hard to find info on. I prefer it the way it was ! I miss mIRC! I used to talk to Euros, Aussies and Kiwis when I was up in the middle of the night. I hate being an old codger. I qualify as one at 58 because there are people younger than me than older than me. People my age are grandparents and greatgrandparents! GRRRRR! Get offa my lawn!

            2. Never know. Might get lucky. Mom had been all but legally blind, but correctable by glasses. Thick heavy glasses. Since her cataract surgeries, & a couple of other procedures, that weren’t even available more than about 7 years now, she can legally drive, now without her glasses (restriction has been removed). She’s not quite 20/20. She’s worn glasses since she was around 5. With needing readers, she’s more comfortable with her progressives. Although if she’d remember how to adjust the font on her eBooks, she’d be fine. She still reads printed books, mostly because that is what the neighbor reads, who loans them to mom; but the font adjust feature isn’t available on printed books … 🙂

              1. Right, I had a run in with the usage of some very high continuous dosage prednisone. That combined with a tendency to hang out in bright environments as a youth (sailing small boats) meant cataracts. My left eye went first. Got it fixed last March My heavens what a change. Clarity is amazing, who knew things (including the sky were that color. And the lens corrects my severe vision issue (9 diopters of near sightedness+ 3 diopters of astigmatism). Literally for the first time in my life I do NOT need my glasses for basic sight, left eye is 20/20. Of course nothings perfect, still need a reading prescription, but I’ll take that. Even though its a bit expensive (the special lens to correct for astigmatism is NOT covered by medical insurance thats ~ $1600 extra) i’m sort of cheering on my 20/50 right eye lens to need a replacement
                so I have true 20/20 vision. I will note the procedure is darned strange including the Doc having to mark the eyball with a special pen so the astigmatism lens is lined up right.

          1. I’ve used Dragon Naturally Speaking 13 and it works well in terms of vocabulary and recognition. But the autopunctuation is poor, so it’s annoying to dictate: “This is the sentence I want to write (Period) (Space) The first three letters of the alphabet are A (Comma) B (Comma) and C (Period)”. Kind of derails the train of thought repeatedly.

              1. Heh.

                There once was a Portuguese writer
                Whose dictation software would fight ‘er
                She yelled Write what I say!
                It wrote Right one esse!
                Thank God her keyboard did not often spite ‘er

      1. I picked up several different strengths of reading glasses at the dollar store. 1.75x makes the computer screen look normal, 2.5x works for reading a book sitting in a chair, and 3.25x is good for kicking back on the couch. 4.0x is adequate for moderately fine work. In a pinch, it’s possible to ‘stack’ the 2.5x and 4.0x for a short time and really zoom in on something.

        Stronger glasses up to 12x can be had from other sources, but they cost a lot more, like $20 – $30.
        ———————————
        “Oh, no. You can’t-a fool me. There ain’t-a no Sanity Clause!”

        1. Um….
          How do I put this?
          My vision is doubled in both directions. No, we don’t know why. it happened one day about five years ago. I woke up and had to close my eyes, it was so bad. Never went normal. Apparently absolutely normal for women my age. Go figure.
          Second, I ALWAYS had severe astigmatism.
          So, yeah, glasses but not from the drugstore.
          And then somewhere around 40 I picked up presbiopia. Look it up, though I might have misspelled it.
          That’s the one that makes reading on paper more difficult than the kindle paperwhite. And don’t ask me why, though ophthalmologists can explain it. Most people get presbiopia at 40. which is why the Kindle paperwhite is popular with the older set.
          Mine is not actually set very large. It’s about normal size type. BUT the presbiopia makes real paper exhausting.

          1. Presbyopia (looked it up). Yeah, that’s what I got, and why all the reading glasses. Never needed glasses before, grumble grumble grumble…

            Most thankful I don’t have that other stuff, and most unfortunate that you do. Too bad there’s nothing I can do to help. Outside of reading your books, that is. Oh, and going through your links next time I buy something from Amazon. Yours or Larry Correia’s, anyway, and it looks like you need it more. He keeps bragging about how much money he makes as a D-List Author, and you don’t even have an Evil Mountain Lair.
            ———————————
            Governments can only print money; they can’t make it worth anything. They can make it worth nothing.

            1. Presbyopia (looked it up too). I have it too. Started creeping up on me when I was still wearing contacts, oh 15 years ago or so. Got headaches working on my computer wearing my contacts. Was okay if overlaid with proper reading glasses, which were different for reading print (of coarse).

              Points. I tend to get visual migraines without this additional problem, eye fatigue headaches do not help. Turns out I could not wear progressive contacts … they make me “sea sick”, nor can I split contacts, one for close, one for distance. I despise, hate, glasses. Always have since I started wearing them at 15. Turned out, if I wasn’t wearing my contacts, I didn’t have a problem. Not working on my computer, meant not working … I wrote software … So, went (back) to glasses. Would use glasses to drive, but otherwise don’t wear them.

              Went progressive glasses (those I can handle) when I got tired of taking off glasses to read fine print in grocery stores; eventually as the Presbyopia gotten slowly worse, the progressive part became necessary for the fine print. Now, occasionally first thing in the morning my eyes won’t properly focus for reading on, well anything. Either I use the glasses or I force the font sizes. My glasses are also photo sensitive, so that helps too, even when not super sunny (at least while outside a vehicle).

          2. That presbyopia sounds like what I am going through, almost. My nearest sight is not great anymore and I used to be able to bring things up real close to see tiny things. I have to let my eyes rest after using the computer to read / watch for hours too now and swap to books for a bit.

            Rowan is doing the hyperattached to Mum and food source thing.

            1. Presbyopia can hit anywhere from late 30’s to early 60’s (I want those latter peoples Grandparents 🙂 ). It happens because as you get older the lens gets less flexible . Human eyes are truly astounding the lens is flexible and to focus up close the muscles in the eye stretch or compress the lens to change its focus. As the flex goes away over time you get stuck with focus at infinity, i.e. far sighted and need negative diopter lenses to correct (which is why reading glasses are like -1.0 to -2.5). Also as we get older the muscles are more prone to exhaustion so reading and close work becomes tiring. Low light doesn’t help. Usually the first hint of presbyopia is reading menus in restaurants where the lights are low.

              1. I am giving myself a bit of time though because this could be pregnancy related quirkiness. My last few previous pregnancies, my eyes shifted so badly I needed new glasses each time. And with the grade of each eye being so different I needed expensive lenses each time (the left lens is so heavy it will tilt the glasses off center otherwise.)

                1. Certainly with the weight gain and six billion other things that change with pregnancy that seems a more likely source of the problem. I’d say mean age for first signs of presbyopia is 45-50+. I was taught that it is impolite for a gentleman to ask a lady’s age, so I shan’t. However, seeing you think this might be related to pregnancy I suspect the odds that you lie within that mean are somewhere between slim and none :-). I certainly know that even moderate weight shifts (15-20 lbs) I have experienced could affect my prescription (especially the angle of the astigmatism) so that may be some of what you are experiencing. In addition pregnancy does all sorts of weird stuff to connective tissues and such like so the lens may be less flexible or perhaps TOO flexible and doesn’t hold shape well under tension. Should/when I get through the pearly gates I want to talk to someone about this reproduction design. Parts of it It seem darned slap dash and thrown in at the last minute.

                  1. And if you have any hint of diabetes (gestational or otherwise) changes in blood sugar will also affect vision.

                  2. I don’t mind anyone asking my age (I’ll be 40 this year) largely because IRL people are regularly surprised when I say I’m ‘that old.’ And even if I did look my age, I wouldn’t mind.

                    The bit about pregnancy doing weird stuff to connective tissue is why I’m holding off; though the bit about weight gain being also a cause of affect (especially astigmatism!) is news to me, so (insert grumbling here) there may be a compounded issue (due to the previous birth resulting in Jaenelle and the most recent pregnancy that resulted in Rowan being just eight months apart) and I only started noticing the problems by Jaenelle’s first birthday. I’ve two babies’ worth of weight to lose; so not quite ‘moderate’ for me.

                    I believe that we’ve already discussed my likelihood of reaching the pearly gates (I have reservations for a room at least overlooking the fiery pit/lake) so possibly send me a heavenly messenger with the results of your chat. A lot of the concepts and the effects of reproduction on the woman seem unnecessarily aggravating.

                    1. Not quite 40 would be early for presbyopia but not impossible. Mind you I am not an ophthalmologist nor do I play one on tv. But I’ve been working with them and optometrists for 55+ years. And almost ALL glasses corrected issues are due to the eye shape not matching the lens focus. If the eye is too long (oblate) the point of focus is in front of the retina, too short and the image is out of focus on the retina, not properly spherical but oblate at an angle (astigmatism) the image is out of focus across most of the retina. Weight gain can change the tissues around the eye and thus change the forces on this thing that’s kind of like a squishy grape. so it squishes a little differently and the prescription goes all over the joint.

                1. I have cataracts developing too. Very minor at this point. Plus I have Glaucoma, minor for now, but being treated.

          1. I’ve worn bifocals for 15 years now. The eye doctor recommended that I read less. “I’m a history graduate student.” NeeeeeEEEEEvermind, here’s the prescription, have a nice day.

            1. My doctor said the same thing when I was first diagnosed … my response was “I write software” … also “never mind, here is a prescription”. Didn’t go with the progressive right away, but did eventually. (My comment above went into delay mode, we’ll see if this one does or not.)

                1. yeah luckily the docs really dont question me wanting seperate near distance glasses that are set to arm’s length distance….

                  1. Why would they? Regardless, I have a pair for computer work and they’re the best eye-related thing I’ve ever done (PRK 15 years ago is #2).

  5. The sadness shouldn’t be underestimated. A long time ago, one of my closest friends gave me a recent Encyclopaedia Britannica, knowing that I regarded it as the One True Encyclopaedia and consulted the library’s copy regularly. And it was a treasure of the house. But then, two moves ago, when we were downsizing to the smaller apartment we could afford, I realized that I really hadn’t looked anything up in it in a few years, because I had Web searches. (Hell, want to know the administrative structure of France’s ancien régime? I found it in Wikipedia. Want the mass of Earth’s atmosphere, or the density of solid nitrogen? I found them in Wikipedia. It’s not reliable for everything, but it has information on obscure topics that no one has yet tried to politicize.) And so I let go one of the treasures of the house.

    Affordable housing? We decided a year or more ago that California was ceasing to be affordable—and rents have risen faster than we feared; there is no place at all in San Diego that we could afford any more. So we’re preparing to move. And we’re going to be sad to leave. But it’s not just that California costs too much for the median national income; it’s that its legislative and policy climate is insane, with water rationing, power shutdowns by companies that aren’t allowed to clear out the undergrowth with controlled burns, and now the gig law. And that the political climate is massively progressive and increasingly intolerant. It’s not our state any more. And it’s sad, but we can’t let the sadness keep us from choosing what we must do with the time we are given.

    And you know, if it comes to that, we’d rather be in a state that’s on the right side of a second American civil war.

    1. You’d be surprised how many people I meet locally that have come here from the west coast alone because of the relaxed political climate and cost of living (one of the lowest in the US currently).

      California is a beautiful state. My sister used to live there. It makes me sad to see what it has become in the last twenty- or thirty odd years.

      1. There are increasing numbers of displaced Californians in Arizona. The problem is they brought their progressive politics with them, seemingly unable to connect the dots to their problems in California.

        Not a local phenomenon. Canada is no better. City people moving to the country and voting Liberal, not realizing they’re going to re-create everything they left the city to get away from.

          1. When I lived in Phoenix full time in the ’90s I used to enjoy visiting Starbucks in Scottsdale with my pistol in open-carry. So -many- offended liberals. ~:D

          2. Insanity consists of fleeing dysfunctional political states and voting to enact the same policies in your new state.

            Some might see a consistency in their refusal to demand acculturation of immigrant communities.

            Back when I got stuck with training new hires the one inevitable statement was, “That is how we did it where I used to work.” Happily, my boss had no problem with me replying, “This ain’t where you used to work.”

          3. I wonder how much of that is intrafamily dynamics, where one spouse eventually successfully sells the get-the-heck-out-of-the-Glorious-Bear-Flag-Revolutionary-Green-Peoples-Republic move on various arguments, but when they get there the other spouse starts missing the comforting embrace of nannystate and so sets about “just changing one thing”.

            1. *nod* I get you. WAG says there is some of that, but less than the “I can’t afford to live here anymore” and “It’s getting bloody dangerous out there, but I’m not going to say that out loud” who then move to Texas or Colorado, or Oregon, or Georgia even. They move to the cities because they’re most comfortable there. And the politics are more left leaning.

              They’re used to left leaning. So they lean a little more. Out and away from the situation they fled from, maybe there’s a bit of rosy glasses. More likely there’s the social network that they never leave, the one that lauds the most woke, the most left, and most especially the most progressive. So they push what they (think they) know.

              Generations of this, and you get Austin. Or Atlanta. Or Richmond. Heavily blue islands in a sea of red rural citizens, comfortable in their social media and big-city superiority. From there, they can look down on the rest of the state.

              Places they go, if they were anything like I remember, politics isn’t discussed much. Do your job with professionalism and that is what counts. If a lefty gets in power, well, you-know-who isn’t going to get the promotion. But buddy-of-mine over here, he’s the right sort of guy, who cares if he’s a little sloppy in his workmanship. Or even if he’s just as good as the next guy, he gets it because his politics are the right (left) sort.

              Enough of that over time, and, well, cities turn blue rather quickly. Doesn’t work that way when things are a lot more spread out. More ways for our prospective young progressive to find himself with no friends ay-tall, and no sympathy besides.

              Just a thought, though. Because as time goes on, things are a-changing. As a body can hold a certain disease load without becoming symptomatic (and slow to show definite symptoms even when active), lefty politics have entered the consciousness of the normal person.

              Think it was LawDog where I saw it first, but every time they block a street during rush hour to protest the latest fallen piece of sky (and how we’re all gonna die), they lose a voter- or make one guy p*ssed off enough to go vote *against* whatever you’re trying to sell for the first time ever. The impeachment sham was just the smelly icing on a muddy cake. They’re even losing lifelong default Dems, old school liberals, these days.

              A lot can happen in nearly a year. But if the polls were open tomorrow, I’d lay good odds it’d be a landslide. And very few people, after this week, would be surprised.

        1. Yes. That was the biggest reason we decided against Boise at the end: too many Californians moving there, bidding up housing prices and changing the political climate. Same issues with Austin, which we eliminated earlier. Their policies toward homelessness are just crazy.

          But at the same time—it’s been observed that you can predict people’s political outlook from their cultural and lifestyle preferences, without asking any questions about political issues. And I’ve taken online tests based on that. Quite predictably, I come out as moderately leftist. And that really is accurate in my case: I’m an atheist, I’m in favor of informed consent as the sole legal standard for sexual conduct, I want abortion to remain legal (and I’m resistant to “sensible” limitations on it for the same reason I’m resistant to “sensible” limitations on firearms ownership), and beyond policy questions, I used to be able to talk more congenially with progressive than with conservatives, until they all became obsessed with Trump. (I don’t say any of this to start an argument over those issues; that’s really off topic for this thread.) On the other hand, I’m strongly in favor of free markets and of constitutional government founded on rights that are prior to law, rather than being created by the power of the state. So I’m strongly opposed to nearly all the policies that progressives now favor.

          So the best choice seemed to me to move to a university town in a very nonprogressive state. And that’s what we’re doing. I’ll get access to an academic library, decent broadband, interesting restaurants, and a cultural climate that’s closer to my interests; but I can hope that the harm the local leftist vote will do will be limited by state laws. And I’m going to be voting against Democrats and against a lot of their policy preferences.

          Really it seems to me that the United States has a “left wing,” all right, but we don’t have a true “right wing”: We have several disparate groups that are brought together by opposition to the tyrannical intentions of the left. But I think we have to find common ground in that opposition.

            1. Lawrence, Kansas. I visited in November and it was quite livable, and I’m flying back in three weeks to look at apartments.

                1. Well, it certainly seems to be. But culturally and in terms of lifestyle, I seem to be a bit more “left” than “right,” even though legally and economically I’m more “right” than “left.” And the state of Kansas as a whole has a pretty good rating on economic freedom, so I’m hoping that will counterbalance the local progressive vote.

              1. I’m considering moving to Pensacola, FL for similar reasons. Plus, the Naval Air Station, white sandy beaches, and Gulf sailing waters.

          1. We kindasorta have a right wing; but as has been noted, those include not just traditional conservatives and tea partiers, but also various white supremacist and other highly discriminatory groups. As Trump noted, and was reviled for over his Charleston comments, there are good people on both sides; just as there are bad people and total nutcases on both sides. The White supremacists support Trump because at least he’s for SOME of the things they want, while the Dems don’t support anything they want. But that wing runs from the solid root attached to the plane, all the way out to the very tips that bounce all over the place.

          2. I’m not atheist, but on lifestyle questions? I prefer cities. I like being near places where I can visit art museums, and go to lectures. I like to take art classes. I like to write in coffee shops. My favorite form of transport is shanks pony.
            That pretty much places me center on leftist areas. It’s just what it is.
            Maybe they’ll change in the big upheaval ahead.
            Me? I am what I am.
            BTW FB has me pinging as moderate (i.e. swing voter) which is bizarre until you realize I belong to artist groups, I belong to writers’ groups. I belong to groups where I’m the only female and the only straight person (Now, these are conservative groups, but you think FB will believe that?) I have fans of all religions and none, etc.
            By leftist ways of looking at the world, I’m unclassifiable. 😀

            1. I’ve lived in cities and suburbs for 50 years, and the 16 we’ve spent rural has been a godsend. My favorite museum is in Chicago (Museum of Science and Industry), but I haven’t been there in over 50 years. We have several smaller scale museums (mostly historical), and a really good logging museum that’s part of a state park (Collier, north of Klamath Falls. Live demonstrations of steam, gas and diesel equipment every Father’s Day).

              I like watching the resident hawks (and occasional eagles; we’ve had some Balds in our trees, and we’re also in Golden territory). Plenty of wildlife, though the two-legged variety can make Friday nights a little noisy. Local government tries to stay out of our hair, though the state variety is a pain in various spots, including the wallet. OTOH, Despicable Kate Brown is slowly but steadily pissing off a lot of people. She avoided a recall attempt last summer (not enough signatures), but I doubt she’s happy with the trends. I don’t know anybody who was dumb enough to go went to Malheur, but the sentiments resonated.

              Hi, we’re the Deplorables, and damn proud of it.

              1. I don’t do well in the country. No, seriously. I go slowly insane and fat. Because if I don’t have anywhere to walk to, I don’t.
                Blame it on my ancestry: the romans were urban a long time ago.

                1. When my body is cooperating, I’m on the “13 acre exercise plan”. Not so much last year. Looks like I’ll be doing a lot of landscape stuff this summer and improvements to the garden, so lots of physical labor is in my future.

                  Maternal grandparents were both raised rural, though they ended up in an outer neighborhood (at the time) of Chicago. One aunt lived rural for 50 years, while the other aunt and my family were more suburban. I figured I didn’t like cities by the age of 13, but it took a while to get out of them.

                  Sanity? That’s aspirational for me. 🙂

                  1. Consider where I grew up. I don’t even like being in the backyard of our very safe suburb without either younger son or husband being able to watch from a window.
                    Because a woman alone, where she can’t be observed is at great risk.
                    Even if she carries a knife, which I always do.

                    1. Yeah, we’re safer, to an extent. Our town has more than a fair share of crazies because reasons, but it’s generally considered fatally rude to go onto a stranger’s land. It’s pretty much the concealed carry version of herd immunity.

                      Local shootings (our town, not the city or the nearby one on the big highway) tend to be domestic or well-acquainted disputes. I can’t think of any local* home invasions, stranger robberies or drive-bys. Parties or affairs gone wrong, several. (We’ve developed a non-aggression pact with the people who might have attacked us, and the worst of them disappeared years ago.)

                      $SPOUSE will work in the meadows without obvious protection, though she does stay out of the far hollow that has no line-of-sight to the house or shop. (4 footed intruders are a concern; I’ll not go far from the house at night without a good flashlight and a firearm.)

                      And yeah, this attitude and strategy isn’t portable. Sigh.

                      (*) Not quite so local, some. Proximity to a major highway or to California makes the difference.

                    2. Because a woman alone, where she can’t be observed is at great risk.

                      It’s funny– we really are insanely safe.

                      Heard a knock on the door yesterday, look up– it’s two guys in heavy black canvas pants, and black Carhart style winter jackets, who I don’t recognize. I did pause a second before opening the door, but all factors considered– I knew it was safe enough. The thing that gave me the most pause was that I couldn’t see their vehicle.

                      Window install guys. One of the GPS thingies thinks our house is that of someone down the road who is doing MASSIVE updates to their house– new septic, windows, etc. They’d parked (unmarked white van) in the back loop of the house because their write-up (which the small guy, who was by the door, was holding) said that’s where the windows they’re replacing are.

                      That said, I really appreciate the local plumber company that literally has that-day selfies of their guys, and sends you a text and/or email of it with up to the 15 minute update of when you can expect them, and has very brightly colored vehicles.

                    3. Sure. And our suburb is extremely safe.
                      BUT I can’t quiet learned instincts from childhood. I feel better walking where LOTS OF PEOPLE can see me, etc.
                      Suburbs mean I stay indoors unless I can get someone to walk with me.
                      Doesn’t make for a happy Sarah.

                    4. Exactly, our “training” is totally different– I grew up in an area where one of my folks’ go-to stories is being stopped by at least 100 law enforcement, with guns drawn, on the way back from checking cows.

                      Dad stepped out of the car and said “hey, we drove around a plane stopped in the middle of the road back there about four miles, might that be of interest to y’all?” and several of them went “****, that’s (Lady Reporter’s) son, not the right guy, later, gotta bad guy to catch!” and 30 seconds later there was NOBODY left at the road-block.

                      We didn’t have many bad guys, but the ones we had were “and then never found a body” level.

                      But I still go “Oh, hey, two guys at the door, it’s cool.”

                      As Elf pointed out this morning, and I actually noticed at the time: the big guy was WAY back from the door. They were aware that they might spook someone and trying to be polite.

                      ….

                      For folks worried about us, I actually carry a pocket knife that I could flip out and stab someone very quickly, and I was ready to stamp my foot down and stop the door from opening further than I wanted in a quick manner.
                      Plus, they didn’t even open the “screen” door. I R Careful.

                    5. I actually carry a pocket knife that I could flip out and stab someone very quickly

                      I am no expert on knife fighting, but what I’ve read (Travis McGee, W.E.B. Griffith and others) stabbing is not recommended technique. Most sources seem to indicate that slashing is the preferred mode.

                      Of course, jabbing the knife toward the opponent’s eyes then retreating and locking door is probably optimal.

                    6. To expand:

                      This is one of many items that came up in a search on “video knife fighting technique” and, like most of the others, demonstrates knife v knife. Many others claim to offer “Israeli”, “Krav Maga” or “Filipino” demonstrations. As with any martial art, watching videos is no substitute for actual training.

                    7. Going off of my uncle’s training, slashing is preferred if you’re not at a choke-point; if there’s a chance of making them freak the f out, and/or blocking the door, stabbing is OK.

                      It’s a matter of psychology. Slashing is less scary but you can do a lot more causing a hire /san roll requirement.

                    8. In our case, GPS location is preferable. Some of the maps (and map databases) don’t recognize our private road. (A septic tank outfit insisted that we had to live on a listed road parallel to ours. Took $SPOUSE several minutes to convince them that we knew what road we lived on.) Further complicating matters, the zipcode maps have us on the boundary between two codes. One centers a third of a mile away, while the other is centered 24 miles away. The latter used to cover our area until a substation was built some years ago.

                      OTOH, when people use the GPS, they find our place quickly. On the gripping hand, navigation tools in the on-board GPS can be quirky. My Honda thinks I should take a route 6 miles longer than the equally good one I use.

                    9. “navigation tools in the on-board GPS can be quirky”

                      Reminds me of when we had the troop meet us for a week at Yosemite. Hubby TOLD them to not take a specific route in, to use another one. GPS shows the do-not-take-route as shorter. Mileage wise it is. But it is narrow, steeper, with a lot of sharp curves, ultimately takes 1/3 longer time, or worse if they get behind RV’s. Guess which route they took because the loaned vehicle’s on board GPS said it was shorter? Which made them almost 2 hours later than we expected them. No cell coverage to be able to coordinate. Worked out in the end, but we were getting worried … (would have been okay if they’d been in the same campground that first night, but couldn’t pull that off …)

                    10. >> “For folks worried about us, I actually carry a pocket knife that I could flip out and stab someone very quickly”

                      Why not a gun?

                    11. Because it’s an entry-way where our kids go– and the Empress is not to the point I’d trust her with easy access to a gun.
                      I’ve got a gun in the bag, in our room, in a couple other places– but there’s no way to put a gun so it’s fast to get for “I open a door to people” and not “and the reasonably intelligent 4 year old can get it.”

                    12. I don’t carry a gun right now for the same reason I don’t drive right now. My eyes are all effed up.
                      Working on it.
                      Also, honestly, for various reasons more comfortable with knives. (NOTE THAT I DON’T HAVE ANYTHING AGAINST GUNS, on the contrary.)

                    13. > why not a gun?

                      That’s actually a case where a “smart gun” would be useful; when the choice is between “smart gun” and “no gun.”

                      Unfortunately the whole smart gun thing is so political it’s pretty much a dead issue.

                    14. And I’m just the opposite. I grew up in rural suburbs. I enjoy going into the city (heck I work in essentially the edge North End of Boston. But LIVE there? That many people sets the hair on the back of my neck up. My house growing up had an average .5 acre back yard. But I live across the street from a couple hundred acres of undeveloped land that I roamed as if it were mine. As for safety, I used to ride my bike to grammar school (1.5 miles or so) and across town to my friends house (4+ miles) in the summer or nice weekends This was as a 3rd-4th grade student (7-8 years old I think). Biggest worry was traffic to the beaches on Rt 1 (Main Street) in the summer. Had a friend that grew up in Weare (North Weare actuall so No. Weare 🙂 ). I think his hous wa over a mile from the main road, He thought my Home in suburban North Shore Mass was too crowded. All depends on what you’re used to I guess.

              2. Mind you, my favorite museum hired a “victim” that “didn’t feel comfortable with Trump” so all their programs are bilingual and frankly shit.
                I hope they enjoy the dive in profits.

                1. Ugh. I miss museums but the lefty dive into PC crap has me leery of going to them these days. And I have only been to a few museums here in Oz. The few times we went the exhibits felt very thin with loads of digital displays to fluff it up. This makes me very sad as I cannot expose the kids to the ‘cool things’ I used to enjoy when I was their age.

            2. I’m not a moderate; I’m extreme in all directions.

              Probably the closest political descriptor you could use for me is Catholic Engineer. (And yes, I am an artist—but I was raised by an engineer and a paleontology enthusiast, and that means I have been described as “the most practical creative person I’ve ever met.”) Somewhere in the balance between faith and practicality.

              1. I am very much the definition of moderate and am constantly puzzled at how extreme everyone else seems to be.

                l’Centre, C’est moi!

              2. Heh, I *am* a Catholic Engineer. I’m about as fiscally and culturally conservative as an American can get (I don’t count the supremecists as right-wing). I like being near the resources of a big city, but I’m most comfortable in a rural environment. I compromise with my wife–we live in suburbia. /:

                1. And Phil I understand. I’m a evangelical Baptist Engineer. I suspect short some theological details oursocial views might be awful similar. I would like to not have to see ones neighbors, but that was impractical (either too expensive or way to long a commute for my wife) so compromise rural subirbs (1/2 this town is grazing/haying land for the local Dairy/ Ice Cream manufacturers 400+ cows).

            1. We looked at Moscow, but it was too small; there wasn’t much selection of psychiatrists. It was hard enough to find a decent one in Riverside.

            2. No offense to Mr. Stoddard, but the last thing Moscow needs is more progressive atheists.

              The ones that are already there tend to be far too happy to stomp all over other people’s religious and constitutional liberties.

              … go Vandals. *waves silver and gold pompom unenthusiastically*

                1. Thank you, Sarah. (Bows.) I do hope to be judged as an individual, and not by being assigned to a collective group that are assumed all to be alike—especially one that I fit as poorly as I do “progressives.”

                  1. Not trying to be offensive, but pretty much nobody thinks of themselves as stomping on other folks’ liberties.

                    Even while they, to use a recent example, scream “bake the cake.”

                    1. (a) You might note that it’s not I, but Ms.Hoyt, who said that I don’t intend to trample other people’s liberties. I wouldn’t make such a claim on my own behalf; it could too easily be disbelieved on such grounds as you advance. But you might accept her as a character witness, given that, as she says, she’s been seeing my opinions for years—and not always agreeing with them, which if anything ought to add to her credibility.

                      (b) It’s ironic, though, that you brought up the cake baking example, because that is precisely the point at which I decided the gay “rights” movement no longer deserved my support. I believe in liberty of conscience, and not just for people who share my opinions—after all, I want the same liberty from people who don’t share my opinions.

                    2. Part of why I’m willing to bother saying anything is because I remember you here, and being willing to take the whole “not stomping on other’s liberties” in a direction BESIDES “Well, it’s for a good cause.”

                      thus I’m not surprised to find out that you consider the “bake the cake” thing a breaking point. 😀

                  2. Are you nuts? Judging people as individuals instead of representatives of arbitrarily designated groups? Have you no idea where such a system might end?

          3. Bozeman, Montana. Besides, it needs more not-liberals moving in.

            On the downside, until you get out a ways, housing prices suck.

          4. I suppose the question is, when you have to, will you side with the native Kansans against the assorted perversions they hate (wanton infanticide being the worst) when you’re forced to choose, or will you just “know better” and go with the other University Town invaders with whom you feel more comfortable ?

            Few immigrants are terribly respectful of the cultures they invade anymore. Mrs. Hoyt’s generation is probably the last that contained such.

            1. Let me tell you that I had to FIGHT to acculturate. While all the institutions of the culture fought against it. It’s not always the immigrant’s fault. Or not all his/her fault, at any rate.

              1. I agree. All the powers that be conspired to knee-cap you, and like the other useful idiots of MY generation I didn’t realize what I was colluding in until it was too late. Mea culpa. All the more reason to speak up.

                Because there is NO excuse for any of us – particularly any of us NOW – for continuing on that path.

                Stay put and fight or move and assimilate. No “but my views on blah-blah-blah are more enlightened.”. FIOFO.

              2. I still recall with some grim amusement the expressions of the two white Aussie women interviewing me for some immigration related support thing when I said I had no intention of raising my kids Filipino. You could almost hear the gears hard locking that the food was pretty much it, while the good parts of my culture had overlap with good Aussie traits.

            2. Saw something interesting over at Insty’s– apparently there was a to-do because an Iowa caucus voter didn’t know what’s his name Buttiguy is gay.

              She found this to be relevant information, and asked for her ballot back.

              There was a pretty big bunch of mocking of her for even being a Dem when she disagrees on social issues like that… but I can’t help but wonder, how is she any different from the Libertarians who side with the Dems, who are militantly hostile to the Libertarian foundational ideas about government, when a Repub is just less than perfect?

              1. I’m afraid my attitude about her was “where have you been that you hadn’t heard that he was gay?” 😉

                On the other hand, there is the “Hereditary Democrat/Republican aspect”. IE My grandparents were Party-Name, my parents were Party-Name, so I am a Party-Name. 😦

                1. I’m kind of boggled that she didn’t hear it, too, but several of the other folks pointed out that they hadn’t heard anything, either– which suggests that the Dems are (duh!) not as likely to go looking for outside information, and are funneling their message to sub-groups very precisely.

                  I can even see how you could manage it, there’s nothing about a guy in a suit standing up there with him that means he’s got to be a gay lover.

                  1. To be fair. It is not like is someone waving “He’s gay”. Just causal talk about the first “first husband” if he is elected. Just like having a first “first husband” if Warren, or one of the other women, is elected.

                    1. I didn’t actually hear the “first husband” stuff, I am just connected to the “gay is a moral plus” folks so I saw him kiss his live-in in video.

                      Kind of like how the first thing I remember about Obama is seeing him on TV, on the mess decks, calling Michelle his “baby mama,” and finding that insanely tacky– but most folks totally didn’t notice it.

                      On further thought, that kinda suggests that yeah, they did the “first husband” thing and folks kind of mentally smoothed it out– like you do when someone obviously does a minor mis-speak.

                2. Back when I was campaigning for a Libertarian state house candidate in a rural area, I stopped at a farmhouse with a DFL (Democrat Farmer-Labor, the MN version of the Demonrats) candidate (incumbent)’s sign in the yard. In a brief conversation with the farmer, I asked why he was supporting the D. it seems that Grampa voted D, Pa voted D, D was good enough for he. When I pointed out that the Ds were enacting all kinds of restrictions on farming, and that ‘his’ gal had *written* a bad one (had to do with odors from pig farming IIRC), he was flummoxed.

                  The DFL isn’t really for Farmers or Labor anymore . . .

                3. Right not knowing Buttigieg is gay is almost as plausible as Mssr. Renault not knowing that there was gambling at Ricks Cafe Americain. I smell a rat of the false flag flavor here.

              2. No different. Could be just different shibboleths, I suppose. Depend on why the taboo is there and what part of the project unravels if you don’t respect it. Politics is downstream from culture, after all.

                The latest Film Theorist has a good take on the inner workings of a SocJus cult.

            3. You would have to ask my progressive California friends how ready I am to go along with their opinions, or even give consent to them by silence.

              1. Don’t perceive the relevance – what am I missing?

                The issue is whether you’ll undermine your new State when you disagree with the local yokels and side with the other imported city folks with whom you’re more comfortable.

                1. What you are missing is that you said, “go with the other University Town invaders with whom you feel more comfortable.” I was pointing out that I find my progressive California friends “comfortable” in many ways—but I don’t share their political opinions, nor do I remain silent about my disagreements. I’m not going to adopt a view to be part of the comfortable herd; I’ve been not fitting into the herd my entire life and I don’t expect to change. Indeed, my original comment that started this whole subthread was about the irony of my registering as “left” on culture and lifestyle, but being strongly in favor of free markets and constitutional government, which I think is a pretty good case of not fitting in.

                  And I don’t think there are many Californians emigrating to Lawrence. That’s part of why we chose it over Boise.

        1. I cannot answer for Dan, but I live in the state of Disbelief. A surprising number f residents fled here from the state of Credulousness, having been badly burned.

        2. Varies. Lived in Va for a bit, then South Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee. My usual location is the Va-Tn-NC area. For purposes of above, the people were moving to one of those little border cities that’s most like home to me, which I consider “home” even though it isn’t where I lay my head at night.

    2. Yep. I got rid of a lot of books when we moved. We are looking at a downsize move in no more than six years, and I’ll probably need to purge more. There are research books I’ll never get rid of, but….

    3. Tangent alert!

      The really GOOD Britannica, the one scholars like my late Father still use, is the 11th, and it is not only in public domain, it’s available online.

      1. Yes, my grandmother had that one. I read it all the time as a kid. Do you have a URL? I’d like to reread the zoology article.

  6. “But more importantly they do crazy stuff like overprice ebooks because that will SURELY force us to buy hardcovers.”

    Not entirely crazy. Price an e-book at 20 to 25% of the cost of a hardcover for a best selling author, and you’re going to see at least people seriously considering buying the hardcover instead; provided they can get it the next day at the latest if ordering on-line. Their biggest problem is they see some people buying, and think that they’re the only ones buying books.

    The real question is, are most readers when faced with an $8.99 price for first release of a best seller in a popular series going to pay that for the eBook, or go for the hardcover version; or are they going to instead buy 4 other cheaper eBooks for $0.99 to $1.99, or go for as many as they can get on Kindle Unlimited? Beleive me, Heaven can wait, and so can consumers for the popular book to drop in price. They might even go so far as to shrug their shoulders and say, author so-and-so got too big for his or her britches, so I don’t read him or her any more.

    In the end, Heinlein was right. An author needs to tell a good enough story to get the average Joe to part with his beer money. You want to take all of his beer for the week, he’s likely to say, “Screw you.”

    1. Yesterday, as Semi-Snowmageddon was starting, I went by the regional B&N and got four little pocket editions of poetry and such to have as “I’m trapped without anything else to read” books, and the new John Ringo collaboration. Because I had three gift cards I could use to trim the prices. Otherwise I’d just have waited for either the library copy to come available, or until the e-book price dropped.

      1. It has probably been around six years since I last set foot in an actual book store (excluding used book stores, obviously). They’re about an hour away, the new brick and mortar places.

        I still like my library of old paper books. Kipling. Heinlein. Tolkein. Cherryh. Drake. Butcher. And so on. Once I get the fireplace rebuilt, I will have a proper reading space, with comfy chairs and shelves full of books, tea kettle and potted plant.

        One day soon, library rooms in houses will be either the affectation of the rich or the sign of being old and/or decidedly weird. More so than it was a few decades ago, when I was a young bookish geek. Times change.

        But the stories within those books? Stories transcend the bonds of time. Good stories will last. Even if they’re no longer commonly found on the printed page.

        1. Once I get the fireplace rebuilt, I will have a proper reading space, with comfy chairs and shelves full of books, tea kettle and potted plant.


          Plus, a handy place to throw the truly rotten books! 😀
          ———————————
          Sanity is like most things — best practiced in moderation.

          1. Burning Rotten Books?

            Better done outside.

            Otherwise, you’ll never get the smell out of your home. 😈

        2. > transcend the bonds of time

          Look up how the Epic of Gilgamesh was recovered. From being able to translate it by pure chance, to the utter unliklihood of “Oh, we’re missing some pieces, we’ll just go to Persia and dig them up!”

          Have the networked djinni read it to you from from the aether: https://youtu.be/IPYf8AwNvKg

        3. I don’t know. Even after my move to (nearly) all e-book, if I were designing and building a house today I would include a library room. There are always SOME books that we keep for reasons, and a strong “Be quiet and don’t bug people” rule for that room, along with some comfy reading chairs, would be awesome!

          Why, I AM an old guy… why do you ask?

          1. We’re mostly ebook. We also have a library, with a floor to ceiling “library” shelves, fourteen by eleven feet, another half way to ceiling which I intend to change as soon as I have money, and piles of books on the floor.
            AND we donated four thousand books.

          2. We have a libraryroom. It’s called the livingroom. 😀

            We also have a reading nook, and the kids have bookshelves in their beds… that’s probably largely a change-over thing, electronics are expensive and we get most of our kid books second hand.

            Just spent $30 on books… at Goodwill. (Probably a bit more, actually, but that was the only pile I noticed– not the weekly color.) Why? Because the bigger girls can get popcorn books like The Babysitter’s Club, and the Baron can get that Stilton mouse book series, for less than a buck.

            On the other hand, we have Education and Starfall dot coms which also have books in them, and the kids would read those in bed if, say, they had something like my phone to read it on. (Since I can’t disable the phone aspect, at least for 911, oh heck no.)

          3. I did a book weedout a couple of times, once giving a boatload to one of my SILs, and another time to the local library branch. Still, I have more books than I want to reread, both in the house and in the shop/barn.

            My goal is to get the fiction and non-technical non-fiction (mostly history) in the house, which means about half the fiction has to go elsewhere. The used-book store won’t take “non-classics” older than 5 years, so that’s a no. I can donate to the library system; they might shelve stuff like the Tom Clancy books, and send the others to branches for rummage sales.

            I’m hoping to get the shop-related stuff down to a single bookshelf, so it can sit on the main level of the shop. I don’t mind keeping some seldom-used-but-useful books in the upper level (ladder access; I’m getting too old to do that often), but I want to have that collection a) limited, and b) cataloged. I’d also like to do a glass-front case for those books (maybe modify an existing case); the local dust knows no limits.

        4. MY SONS TOOK MY HEINLEINS. I lost all my Heinleins TWICE. Three times, if you count the ones I left behind in Portugal that my NEPHEWS swiped.
          Damn whipper snappers. GET OFF MY LAWN.

          1. Oh you poor woman. No one should have to deal with that. The good thing about hardbacks is the sleeves. I’ve a good many “cover” sleeves somewhere that I made with a high quality printer back in the early nineties to hide my books the oncet. Doesn’t work too well when the no-longer-wee-ones *know* where the good stuff is.

          2. I don’t have a complete set of Heinleins any more, but if you want a good paperback starter set I’d be happy to mail you a box.

                  1. ah. that.
                    The puzzling one is why the heck younger son took my Italian English dictionary.
                    I mean, is it possible he’s taught himself Italian somewhere along the line? Sure it is. I mean this is the kid who was reading for five years before I found out and only because he didn’t know how to alphabetize books, so I unloaded on his older brother about messing up my bookcases, and heard a laugh coming from younger’s room.
                    BUT
                    why does he need MY dictionary? This stuff is online.
                    I told him the dictionary is mine, when I saw it on a shelf in his apartment and I got “nah uh finder’s keepers.”
                    Honestly. What do you do with a kid like that?

                    1. When a friend’s oldest daughter said Hogfather was boring and bailed out, he told her she was the adopted one…

                    2. Thank G-d that you raised a good kid?

                      When my kids started reading my books (and, admittedly me reading theirs, too), I was sooo proud. As a very avid reader (reading is one way that I can keep my mild ADD under control), I’m always reading (even while cooking!) and my wife and I were so excited to see them take up the same extreme habit. Still got ticked off at the little buggers when they refused to return them to the bookshelf when they were done. Something about making a book fort out of all the books they read over the summer.

                    3. I used to panic when I didn’t have a paperback with me. I love my paper-white so much. It fits in my jeans pocket. It goes EVERYWHERE with me. Even if I don’t think I’ll have time to read. There’s five minutes here and there. 😀

                1. See, no filetype so it does not work – the site has things coded so it loads as an image, but does not look like an image file.

                  1. Our Patroness Saint of Obsessive Meme-Sharing (AKA Foxfier) clued me into that shortly before you did, but thanks anyway. 🙂

          3. They are your sons, Perhaps guilt could be applied 🙂 ? The nephews are a different issue although perhaps there it’s just a trick to Bring them into the Odd Culture?

            At least you can get new ones for not too much. I loaned out my Randall Garret Lord Darcy (SFBC edition) to a friend who moved away. I have it on Kindle from Baen, but now there is NO new paper and some SOB broke it into 3 $10 Kindle books,so I’d best not lose my Baen .mobi copy :-(.

        5. There are some weird holes in what’s available as an eBook. Robert Lawson’s RABBIT HILL isn’t available, for some reason. Also, there are one hell of a lot of books not in eBook that are seriously worth the time to read, like Chester Anderson’s THE BUTTERFLY KID, that won’t make it until somebody gets the bit in their teeth.

          And eBooks of comic strip collections have some problems.

          1. Yeah. Comics and the like work better with something ipad sized. And there’s always someone (Project Gutenburg comes to mind) working on putting old books into digits.

            Side note, one thing that makes me curious is how, with massive changes in format even in the last twenty years, we are going to be able to read old *digital* files without legacy hardware/software to run them on. Perhaps AI could help with this, but that’s still firmly in the “I’ll know its happened when I see it with my own two eyes” territory.

            1. As long as the text is there it can be read and then reformatted. But It is like publishers with some formats I understand that the text is not readable. Stupid but normal. It is like publishers just buying paper not caring if it was acid or base paper. Once saw a book that looked alright except for the middle third that was brown and brittle. First edition SF by a known and popular author. The brwn pages were far to brittle to read.

              1. Way too much of my paperback collection is now too brittle to read. At least it has made it easier to part with them.

            2. Calibre for the rescue. Most of mine are still all ePub, but I should be able to “convert to text”, as I’ve stripped the locking mechanisms, where needed (not all are published with that little feature). They will lose the chapter links … and, so? Probably won’t bother with majority of “oh, that looks interesting, especially for $.99 or free” … but my go-to-reread, definitely.

              Hmmm. Almost 2k number of books. Probably should see if I’m right, sooner rather than later.

              1. Calibre seems to retain the chapter links on the ones I convert from .mobi or .epub to HTML. It doesn’t always work on .pdfs, though.

                There are a bazillion settings you can twiddle, might be worth giving them a try.

                1. “convert to text”

                  Pure Text files that can be displayed without a reader of any kind, on any OS, loose the links by definition. The link definitions may still be there, but they will show as strange embedded combinations & they will not do anything.

                  I can see the files keeping intact working links when converted to HTML or PDF, as the links are typically standard, so the readers for these type of files recognize & use the links properly. HTML nor PDF are going away anytime soon at this point, OTOH, text never will.

          2. I finally broke down and bought a paperback of the Gulag Archipelago–I’ve been wanting to read it for years now, but Amazon seems to be continually playing silly buggers with the ebook versions of it. (Part of it is available, but not all of it–supposedly having been pulled for “quality control” reasons. Given that I’ve been waiting for it to turn up in its entirety for, oh, probably going on FIVE YEARS now, I smell a rat.)

            Mostly, though, my paper-versions of books are hardcovers of most beloved books when I can find them–and sometimes, even, a leather bound version if one exists and is affordable. (I’m still annoyed that they only did ONE of the Riddle Master trilogy in leatherbound–the first one, to be sure, but. FINISH THE TRILOGY DAMMIT.)

    2. The last book I bought, I bought the hard cover instead of the ebook because it was cheaper – these days I see little reason to buy a $10 or $15 ebook; I have enough trouble spending $5 for one!
      Publishers are raising most of their prices and keep claiming that ebooks have to be expensive because the costs don’t change much – but indies and others do ok at a much lower and more palatable price point.

      Price have also risen on in store paper back books; why has the basic paperback gone from $5 a couple of years ago to $9 or $10 now? But at least with printed books I can wait for a sale! Expensive ebooks don’t seem to drop much…

        1. I first went to E-Books over over 10 years ago because of Baen’s “First Taste Is Free” trap for addicts like me.

          Now I find that the only things I read regularly in hardcopy are the few magazines I get (all for organizations I have a life membership to) due to it being easier on my eyes to read my tablet.

          I’ve even bought E-Books of books that I have on my shelf and can readily find, because it was becoming a pain (literally) to read them in hardcopy.

          1. Home Shop Machinist is paper only until they get the wherewithal to get eMag versions on line. The last time that the USPS screwed up delivery, they said they had no idea when (or if) they would go that route. Small circulation magazines are probably looking at really hard times.

            1. I have a few copies of HSM. It, and Practical Machinist, and Strictly I.C., and Model Engineering, and… but I simply don’t have room for much of that sort of thing any more. I had to dump the other periodicals years ago.

    3. They’re also ignoring people with aging eyes. Unless your last name is Butcher, I’m not going to buy that hardcover. I CAN’T READ IT.
      For say F. Paul Wilson I’ll spring for the ebook, despite being more expensive.
      The others? There’s indie.

      1. I hate saying it in this venue, but for the majority of readers the majority of authors are irrelevant. There are multiple reasons for reading a book and for the most part they don’t involve the author’s name. While some (alright, here: most) readers pursue particular authors the majority pay about as much attention to the author’s name as they do the the directors of favorite TV series.

        Which makes the achievement of Big Publishing in rendering Authors as brands while simultaneously treating them as interchangeable, disposable components.

        There is no shortage of stuff to read and an abundance of readable authors.

        1. You must not have looked lately. Yes there is a lot out there to read but well over 90% I would not want to read. Finding books that are readable and that you are interested in is NOT easy or quick. Yes, there are authors that I buy their new books as soon as I see them. But that might be 5 books a year. Not even close to feeding my habit. It is like a book I saw today “Trump 2034” about Trump has become President for life. The Lefts fever dream of what Trump is and of course the West coast is a Free Peaceful Progressive Utopia that succeeded years earlier. Does anyone really want to read that? Sorry the blurb was so bad You could see what would be in the book.

          1. Quoting Sturgeon’s Law: “90% of everything is crap.”

            OTOH, there are ways to skirt that law. For me, I read ATH, MGC and other blogs by associated authors. TXRed has several series (Familiars and Shikhari and the Merchants and Empire series are active now). The ATH Sunday Book Promo is a good place to start, as is the Mad Genius Club, and I’ve had success with books recommended by other readers of the blogs. I have no idea where I ran across the Yankee Republic series, but Book I was a hoot. The others are in the stack.

            $SPOUSE turned me onto a true-ish crime novel by a retired cop in the region. The promo appeared on local news, and she gave it a try. Struck gold, and I read my first true-ish crime novel in forever.

            TL;DR: Look around, see author’s blogs. If you like their blogs, give the books a try. Look at recommendations, rinse and repeat.

            I had 3 months of enforced idleness late Summer into Fall, and binge-read using these guidelines. It worked. Didn’t want to wall my Kindle on any of them. 🙂

          2. 1. We Huns are not typical readers. My statement about “the majority of readers” by definition references typical readers.

            2. Readers are not restricted just to current output; I could happily spend the rest of my life re-reading books I already have and not come close to plumbing the depths. I expect the wealth of material which has escaped copyright is more than ample for my reading needs. Hell, just revisiting SF/F published before 1980 would be an amazing abundance.

            3. I would maintain that in view of the vast quantity of books published in all venues, ten percent of the available material exceeds by far what I could reasonably read.

            1. There are some people who are alliterate. They can read but don’t. They’re more into music and posssibly TV.

      2. You might consider the audio book– Audible has Spike from Buffy reading them. (OK, no, it’s the actor not the vampire– but know that the real guy has a California surfer accent, and extrapolate from there on how good of a job he does as a reader.)

        Biggest problem is that you have to use the Audible app or a recognized MP3 player, unless you jailbreak and I haven’t figured out how to do that yet.

        1. “unless you jailbreak”

          Oh. That is what you call it.

          I “jailbreak” all my ebooks; they are MINE, I bought them, dang it. Not all of them are locked up, including Sarah’s by her request.

          Don’t have any audio …

          1. No Audio? SAD.

            Every night once I log off the computer I slip in the earbuds and listen to a book while I head downstairs to lay out the morning pills for all, set up the coffee maker, clean up the work areas then hie myself up for washing of face, flossing teeth (I use an electric toothbrush and do’t want to learn the effect of that vibrating my teeth while my ears are blocked, so I switch to dead tree for those few minutes) and then listening a little more as I transfer the corpus into nightwear. Typically I read 40 – 50 minutes a night.

            In the car I play it through the audio system and feel less inclined to install laser cannon to handle other drivers mosey-ers on the road. I will sometimes even listen while doing the grocery shopping, an activity fraught with tedium.

            I am of the firm belief that the police much prefer that to my reading a book while driving, but that’s mere speculation on my part as the topic has not arisen.

    4. I’ve gotten to the point that I rarely buy new physical books, and usually won’t buy an ebook priced over $5.00. There are exceptions, but not many. There are already more books available within my constraints than I’ll be able to read before I die, so I just can’t see spending that much extra. We still have about 3,000 books in the house, so our next move is probably when I’ll have to do the major, painful culling.

        1. As a consumer, that is pretty much my price point range. The only time I spend more than that is when I get a Baen monthly bundle where the price per book drops to where, even if I’m not interested in a few books in the bundle, it’s worth it for the 2-3 I do want. Even with Correia and Ringo I wait until they come up in a bundle before purchasing.

        2. I’m glad to hear it, but actually you’re one of the exceptions (along with Larry Correia and Eric Flint’s Ring of Fire series).

  7. Sand piles, slipping…

    We saw one slip last night on the State of the Union Address. That was a big one, a full avalanche.

    Rush Limbaugh got a medal from the President of the United States. I remember Rush from 1993 when I used to listen to his broadcast at a gun shop in NY. We would all sit around and listen to the show, and talk about the topics of the day. These days my blog looks like Rush Limbaugh’s show prep, that’s the technological revolution Sarah’s talking about. In 1993, I did not have access to all that stuff. I needed Rush to do it for me.

    People who can’t adapt and can’t believe things have changed…

    Nancy Pelosi, standing there ripping up the State of the Union speech on national television. Her most hated opponent, the man who symbolizes rebellion against her and her movement just got the highest medal there is for a civilian. She’s lost, she knows it, she knows WE all know it and she’s unable to control herself. That was probably the most truthful, authentic thing any of us have ever seen that woman do. She expressed the truth that is in her heart. And a very blackened, shriveled little cinder it is.

    “I think there are things to come [in e-books] that will make all this seem like early days.”

    Well, right now I can tell you that as a brand-new author, this e-book thing is both excellent and crap at the same time. I feel like the woodcarver at the craft fair. My wares arrayed around me represent years of hard-won skill and sheer work. People are walking past, not even looking. The word is “disappointing.” But at least I got a booth, and at least there’s a fair.

    The one thing I have going for me is that I knew it would be like this going in. Nobody looks at my car at the car show, because its a weird car. Who drives a 1964 Buick? Well, I do. But nobody else does. Except the odd one, maybe three in a whole day, who love to admire the ancient Nailhead. I bring my Buick to the show for those three guys.

    Same with my book. Its a little weird. Not the usual thing. But I have three reviews already, so that’s a pretty good day at the show for me. I’ll take it.

    The future of e-books is probably pretty bright, given that I’m going to keep publishing new things without the slightest expectation of return on investment. Multiply me by every other guy out there with time on his hands, zillions of them, there will be no shortage of books to read.

    The big breakthrough will be sorting. How does the Buick-lover find a 1964 Buick Riviera in the sea of cars at the show? Right now, he has to ask around randomly. The key piece of technology is the map that leads him right to the thing he wants.

  8. One of the things my late-hubby did when I started getting sick was digitally (they had these cards in 2003 before streaming) record Prairie Home Companion. During the pain, it helped me through and made me happy during my most emotional times. A few years later he bought my first kindle. It was him that encouraged me to post and to publish. So I give him the credit for pulling me into this new wonderful stage. So when I see some new application of this technology, I tell him that he would love this new technology. And he would if he were still here.

    1. Back in the oughts, I bought C her first iPod. It was the best gift I ever bought her; it let her spend her days immersed in music, which did amazing things to raise her spirits. About the same time, two friends of ours gave her her first Kindle. All this technology really has made our lives better.

      1. He is– was– It was the variety and the music that kept me happy. I also had Benny Hill collection with a small DVD player with screen, I haven’t listened to PHC for years.

        1. Heh. Prairie Home Companion has been off the air for quite some time now—the replacement variety show has a new name, Live From Here, and has a similar vibe, though obviously quite a few new schticks. No more Lake Woebegone or Guy Noir. Instead, there’s a guy who deadpans through an adventure in the place where they’re recording: “Have you ever crashed into a bicycle bar? I have.”

          I’ve caught a few bits while traveling places on the weekend—my default radio setting is the classical station, which runs NPR programming on weekend afternoons.

      2. For me Keillor’s Leftism was never a problem … but when he couldn’t keep it from overbalancing PHC it was akin to a Chinese restaurant’s serving Sweet & Sour chicken that had no sour, just a mouth-clogging, stomach-weighting noxious cloying flatness of flavor.

        When they no longer even give a nod to the power of “and” it is time to stop.

  9. A sand pile might be exceptionally apt as analogies go. A “mass movement” in geological terms is when everything just – goes. All at once. A hillside or a cliff collapses in a huge landslide (or under water, even more enormous sea slides) all at once. The thing about it though is that no matter it happens at once, it happens at the level of, oh, lets call it granularity. For sand it’s a single grain of sand. The friction that’s been holding out against gravity keeping everything in place gives way on pretty much a particle by particle level. It might be with the help of water saturation between grains. It might be because more sand has been poured on the top of the pile. It might be sound waves jiggling the snow and ice particles on the side of a mountain.

    And then it all goes.

    All at once.

    1. Every few years, that kills someone in this region. There are some sand-dune parks that are popular. Usually it is kids, digging under the dunes to make a fort or cave. All’s well, all’s well, and then . . . Frantic adult digging ensues.

      1. There is one dune location where you can be walking on the dune & suddenly have it open up under you, then straight down you go. What happens is the dune over time shifted over a grove of trees. Trees died, & disappeared. Covered stumps rot out under the sand, leaving a void. Everything is okay, until it isn’t.

        I think Oregon Coast Dunes have same problem, but don’t think this is where it was found. Also, the sand at the Oregon Dunes, doesn’t dry out much beyond, maybe a few feet, at best.

  10. Related to a discussion I was having on line on another topic.

    Was thinking about “why do SF authors reach for FTL so quickly; are there not enough stories to tell without it?”. One of my “hats” is actually working on starship propulsion for the Tau Zero Foundation, so this strikes close to home. Yes, we don’t know how to get to FTL today (or even if it’s possible), but we can see ways to get up to, for example, 40% of the speed of light, which is 40 year trip time to a respectable, five parsec radius from sol (53 star systems currently known in that radius). Are there really not stories to tell?

    But ….

    But there is no living cultural memory of a time when all the outposts of humanity were much closer travel time than that. We don’t know how to tell those stories. We don’t know what that means any more.

    Marco Polo set out from Venice, made it to China, and came back 25 years later. During Classical civilization, I suspect (but can’t prove), that voyages to China or sub-Saharan Africa would have taken a long, long time. The idea of human civilization consisting of discrete units which may communicate, may do a little trade, but which one does not “visit” and which one hears about only by stories is very much part of the human experience. Just not part of the *current* human experience.

    So I suspect the dearth of stories like that isn’t because they’re “unsatisfying” or “not what the audience wants”. We’re still Mark I Mod 1 human beings and the Odyssey and the tales of Gilgamesh proved popular for a long time. I suspect that modern humans simply can’t conceive what it would be like; they swim in the water of the modern, small world and they aren’t aware of it.

    1. I recall reading of how if we sent ANYTHING to even the nearest extrasolar star (whichever it might be at the time/by arrival time) it would surely be beaten by something that came after. But… something has to be the first attempt. Even if it’s “just” a ‘let’s put a big telescope a LOT closer to things for a better look… ‘ I suspect many of the things that make the next attempt that much better, would be learned (perhaps painfully) from the first attempt.

      Pioneers 10 and 11 were quite impressive… but some of those earlier Pioneers? OUCH!

      1. The “Wait Problem” (as this is called in the small literature on interstellar flight) surely does argue for why one shouldn’t send multi-century probes, but analysis shows that because of relativistic limits, there’s a point at which it’s better to go than to wait for a faster trip. I can make a similar argument based on time-value-of-money principles. It turns out that the optimum answer is in the 20-60% of ‘c’ range for STL travel. Slower than that and it would make sense to wait for better technology or invest some more money to make the ship faster so you get the results sooner. Faster than that and the extra energy you invested isn’t really worth the shorter trip time. So a sort of “half to quarter c” travel system is realistic enough to be worth telling some stories about.

        1. 20% might be the low end of the ‘sweet spot’ but I suspect even 5% would be enough to get interest.. even if it was “can this propulsion even DO that?” And why NOT run the test in the most potentially beneficial direction? After all, while rare, beneficial errors DO happen now and again. “We goofed. We’ll get data in UNDER a(n extended human) lifetime.” Alright, NEVER *bet* that way…. but if you can rig the game, ALWAYS rig it in your favor!

        2. I’m confident I am not the only Hum who recalls reading Niven’s short story, Like Banquo’s Ghost … where the alien visitor arrives at Earth in time to join humanity for the first transmission from the interstellar probe.

          http://news.larryniven.net/biblio/display.asp?key=33
          Summary; First appeared in Worlds of If, September 1968.A short story about the first meeting between humanity and an alien race that destroys Earth’s slower-than-light probe, and then arrives for a visit in faster-than-light ships.

          1. Ah yes.

            If you had just mentioned the title (with or without the author), I won’t have remember it.

            But with the summary, I do remember reading it. 😀

          2. I don’t recall that particular story, but this thread did but me in mind of RAH’s Time For The Stars

      2. Energy storage is still an issue. We already have rockets that are far better, more efficient, etc than the energy type we’re using to push them with. Better batteries, fuel, etc means go faster, longer. A revolution here would mean literal *tons* of things we could do *right now* with the technology we otherwise have.

        Higher/longer output with lower mass will change the world.

    2. Mostly, Jeff, I do that when I’m doing space opera. And no, I’ve not forgotten our intended project. I don’t see how to get to it before next year (mostly due to health crap that might be nothing, like my eyes going weird, but until I chase it down and fix it I can’t promise anything) but it will happen.

    3. Back when the Daughtorial Unit was wee the family would routinely pile in the car for routine jaunts to nearby towns for shopping — fifty miles to Chapel Hill for Intimate Bookshop (a sadly past state-wide institution for readers: three stories of everything a household of readers could want well before Borders and B&N) or twenty miles to High Point for the only decent newsstand in the area, or the hundred miles to Charlotte for the museums and restaurants there (back when Indian, much less good Indian cuisine was rare) … We always made it a point to impress upon her that such trips were an amazing event, doing in a day journeys that a hundred years before constituted major efforts requiring days of arduous travel.

      Laura Ingalls Wilder’s books helped establish in her mind a benchmark for the challenge that travel had represented i the majority of human experience, encouraging an appreciation for our present luxuriousness.

      1. But of course Laura Ingalls Wilder is a non-entity at the moment, given that Little House on the Prairie contains the sentence, “The only good Indian is a dead Indian.” The fact that Pa and Laura explicitly reject that sentiment is irrelevant; merely seeing those words in print would cause the little darlings to fall on their fainting couches.

        1. By the same dolts who figure that because Huckleberry Finn uses the “n-word” (and it’s NOT ‘nuclear’…) that it’s a racist screed.. rather than precisely the opposite. [I have a lingering dislike for the text due to it being forced on me, but I can recognize what it is and what it ain’t. And a racist, it AIN’T!]

          1. My copy of Huck Finn is long gone (Grampa and Gramma Pete encouraged youthful readers with some nice books), and it was a favorite. Every once in a while, I’ll cue up Roger Miller’s Big River, a pretty righteous take on the book as adapted for a musical. (Yes, the “King of the Road” Roger Miller. Tom Sawyer needs to be able to sing scat…)

        2. I will admit I did censor “Little House on the Prairie” a bit when I read it too my daughters. Not directly for the “The only good Indian is a dead Indian.” statement, but because both of my daughters were sensitive and as 5-8 year olds the intensity of Ma’s terror would have given them nightmares for a week. As it was I read them Lord of The Rings and forgot to censor Shelob in “The Two Towers” . I paid for that I tell you. My wife said “You read it to them YOU sit up with them” :-)..

      2. What are you talking about? On the Southeast coast going 60 miles is a really big deal. I was in Myrtle Beach and going to Charlette to just look around nothing planed. My South Carolina were asking me what I was going shopping for when I said nothing they were shocked. The idea of going that far for no real reason was just strange. As I talked to others and people from different parts of the coast, I found the same mindset. It blew my mind. I had put over 100 miles just shopping around Austin or when I lived in Waco going to DFW, 100 miles each way. On the East coast they seem to have a completely different concept of travel.

        1. We found the same thing when we lived in New England. In Texas, we would travel 150 miles to see a good movie that wasn’t likely to show up in our town. Each way. In Massachusetts, we saw a newspaper article about the good things to do on Cape Cod (for Bostonians) mention that if the 1.5 hour round trip was too much for one day, there were plenty of hotels available on the Cape.

        2. Going sixty miles is a big deal, maybe, but generally those people who think it so don’t understand the appeal of a good bookstore. But that isn’t the point: it is that travelling such distance is casually possible. I will note that folks who thought it odd to drive all that way for a bookstore seemed to think it entirely within reason to do it for an amusement park, such as Carowinds, Kings Dominion, or Busch Gardens or NFL game.

          It ain’t like Colonial America when a trip of more than ten miles was a major journey. Where I live is midway between Washington DC and Atlanta GA, about a six hour drive to either one and in me youth Beloved Spouse & I would team with another couple to drive that far for a concert, one couple driving out, the other driving back, with dinner and a concert in between. Hell, for a chance to see a classic film, say by Buster Keaton back in those days before DVDs (or even VHS) we’d give it a thought and check our schedule.

          The point is not whether such a thing is casual it is that it is not entirely impractical.

      3. I recently re-read The Age of Gold by H.W. Brands, and the speed of travel is contrasted very precisely. You have the settlers, trudging along at the pace of the slowest oxen—about three miles an hour. It took months to get to the West Coast, and so many 49ers had to jettison most of their goods in the Carson Desert. A few short years later and Mark Twain did the same distance by stagecoach in six days—passing wagon trains along the way.

        And in fact, the transcontinental railroad ceremony to hammer in the last spikes, in 1869, also featured a wagon train. The distance from Sacramento to Promontory Point, Utah is about 18 hours by train now—and the route is almost exactly the same as it was in the 1860s. (It’s a bit longer going west to east, since they put in a line with a better grade, but left the original line for the second track downslope.)

        1. West of the Great Salt Lake, it is true the line is not too far off, though there were some substantial revisions around Donner Pass. Near the Great Salt Lake, OTOH, there were extensive changes. Most traffic was shifted off the line through Promontory Point within a few years of the 1904 opening of the 102-mile long Lucin Cutoff, which involved a more direct route via a trestle over the Great Salt Lake. By 1942 the original line in the Promontory Point area was removed, the scrap metal going to the war effort. IIRC, they added a few thousand feet of track circa 1969 to allow a centennial re-creation, but otherwise the Promontory Point area is devoid of track. Being so arid, the original rights-of-way of the Central Pacific and Union Pacific (parallel in some areas) remain visible.

          1. I realized just after I hit “Post Comment” I sort of confused Promontory, site of the golden spike, with Promontory Point, a point along the cutoff route about 30 miles south of Promontory. Sorry.

          2. You don’t have to be that arid, either. Some of the rest areas along I-80 in Nebraska reflect the pioneer route. At least in the ’80s, they had plaques that said the ruts from the wagon trains were still visible in spots.

    4. “why do SF authors reach for FTL so quickly; are there not enough stories to tell without it?”.

      For the same reason why Star Trek has transporters. It moves the story to many new environments quicker that way. And it often maintains near real time continuity with the home station/planet/Earth.

      1. The story goes that Roddenberry was on an airplane fight and was sitting next to one of the astronauts.

        The astronaut ask “just how do you land the Enterprise”.

        Roddenberry apparently said that he hadn’t figured that out. 😆

        1. HMM the Story I heard is they started looking at cost for special effects for landing a shuttle weekly and realized even their rather generous (for 1965/66 when they were starting up) per show budget would get swallowed up in the landing (and to spare) with nothing left for the show.

      2. It also reduces the scale of the galaxy to something like 18th century maritime, which most readers can grasp.

        1. Right Rodenberry wanted to write Horatio Hornblower in space. He wanted the Captain to end up a plenipotetiary representative for the Federation because communication was to long so the captain was on his own.

          1. And then promptly realized that he couldn’t have the kind of socialist command society with that level of communication, so subspace radio.

            That’s why Weber did so much better with not having it.

            1. True and Weber even got the initials of his protagonist correct, though I think Horatio might be a little surprised at his namesakes plumbing.

      1. And they took forever to get there. Had to use suspended animation for the passengers. Same problem Jerry Pournelle and Steve Barnes had with their Heorot stories iirc.

        1. That one has FTL travel (via black holes) but it obeys time dilation so battles can cross centuries.

      2. Right one of my favorite space battles is with bussard ramships in Niven’s Protector against the Pak Fleet Scouts. Of Course Niven has to cheat and come up with Stasis fields so Truesdale doesn’t have to age, and so we don’t have to have pages of nothing for the months between interactions.

    5. I think part of the problem with a sub-light journey story is the emptiness of space. Yes, Odysseus took a decade to get home, but he met all sorts of interesting people and visited interesting lands along the way. (And it only took so long because he was a braggart who pissed off Neptune.) Yes, Marco Polo took 25 years to get back to Italy, but only a couple years of it was travel time, and the traveling involved going to exotic cities like Samarkand. The journey to Alpha Centauri will consist of … nothing. Just endless blackness, uninterrupted by anything external. That’s why the few stories I’ve seen that use sublight travel between stars make them suspended animation ships; any drama on such a journey would be interpersonal, which, well, isn’t what most people read sci-fi for. Just say folks spent the last couple hundred years in transit and talk about what happens when they get to their destination.

      I’ll admit; I do appreciate any universe where faster-than-light doesn’t mean “traveling at the speed of plot.” Even with the ability to go many multiples of lightspeed, space is still huge. I like seeing people deal with delays in news transmissions and multiweek journeys to get to distant destinations

      1. Or you build an O’Neill colony, live there a century or two until you’re sure you have all the bugs works out, and then set out at whatever boost you can muster. So it takes a few thousand years to get to Alpha Centauri; who cares? You never left home.

        1. Ooh! Ooh! Everybody does research, and then the rest of the time they’re gaming and chatting in a virtual world, using that for exercise, etc. Lit RPG gaming pods and sf also! Politics with your fellow passengers/crew!

          1. I just remembered “The Saturn Game,” although they n my defense it did not get much followup. But you could use the concept.for generation ships, mental preparation for living in planets, etc. Or just a way to pass.time, team build, etc..if you have crew and passenger input on the content and tone of game or games, they would be a thing too.And you could do.all.sorts of things with it, without having too explain how people have time or funding to game so.much.

        2. Just don’t have any bodies of water in your cylinder. They’re fine when one is just sitting there rotating, but don’t deal at all well with longitudinal acceleration.
          I wonder if you could move one sideways. One side’s gravity would get a bit higher and the other a bit lower, but the sloshing might be greatly reduced. Of course, from the the inside the “bow” and “stern” would be constantly changing. It might feel weird if it was sufficient to change one’s apparent weight.

        1. People also disbelieved continental drift until Plate Techtonics got researched and accepted. I remember a passage from a library book (read it circa mid 1960s, don’t know the age of the book) talking about how absurd to think the continents could move because basalt.

          No idea who said this: “The universe is not only stranger than you think, it’s stranger than you *can* think.”

          (OK, Walter Heisenberg. Internet to the rescue.)

      1. And boy did the moralists hold forth on the silk!

        (They called it Serica, after its inhabitants the Seres, who are the people who make silk.)

  11. Or, my absolute favorite, they will scream at us how ignorant and what terrible people we are for not reading their precious pushed Polly.

    That’s nice. I’m not sure if they realize that most people don’t know who Polly is, have no clue that the publishers are pushing her/him/zhim, and don’t even notice the screaming. Not only are they a child having a tantrum, their a child having a tantrum in an empty playroom after the adults have all left the house and gone out to dinner.

    1. I keep seeing review after review of Polly of the Moment and all it ever induces in me is a reinforcement of my inclination to ignore reviewers.

      The genius of the Siskel & Ebert format was that, once you learned their bets you could factor their recommendations. Reviewers now are like the Hugo Awards: a flashing Reader beware warning.

      The current American Dirt kerfuffle is a perfect example of a screeching choir driving everybody from the church.

      1. I forget now who was which, but I recall watching Siskel & Ebert and it was clear that one desired simple entertainment, and the other desired “a message” of some sort, and something had to REALLY be loathsome for both to despise it.

        1. Siskel liked entertainment; Ebert liked message. I could rely on “Siskel liked it” and “Ebert hated it” to steer me toward what I’d enjoy watching, and v.v.

          1. I thought it was the other way around–at least when Bill and I looked up the review of Barbed Wire (and then a few other classic episodes for yuks). Siskel hated everything, and Ebert kept saying, “At least don’t be boring,” and most managed that.

            (caitliniwoods, just not logged in right now)

        1. No. Polyhymnia definitely and Polychrome probably could write good books — and Polychrome would have the sense to not publish a bad one.

          1. Mention of Polychrome reminds me: Audible has ALL fourteen of the Baum Books of Oz in a single package, all 64 hours and 20 minutes of them, priced at $2.04!

            Reviews on the site seem mostly high, although one mentions an egregious error:

            With regards to Audible. This “Chapter 8” happens in Chapter 179 (34:10:31) of the Audio book. “Chapter 9” starts at Chapter 180 (34:15:48) of the audio book. This issue is several pages of the book are missing between (34:10:31) and (34:15:48). I have a physical book and a lot is missing. Chapter 8 prematurely cuts to chapter 9.

            This is an UNABRIDGED version so nothing should be intentionally shortened. Either the publisher or Audible made an error. The publisher might have made a complete recording of Chapter 8 and accidentally chopped a chunk off during the edit or maybe part of Chapter 8 got lost in the transfer of the audio book to audible regardless this chop definitely wasn’t intentional and needs to be fixed. it cuts to Chapter 9 MID SENTENCE!

            Past experience with Audible suggests that this may merely be a flaw in this particular user’s download. The collection is so large that they download it in six units, so possibly that contributes to the loss

            The site even lists the breakdown by audio chapter:

            The Wonderful Wizard of Oz Starts at Chapter 1,
            The Marvelous Land of Oz Starts at Chapter 25,
            Ozma of Oz Starts at Chapter 49,
            Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz Starts at Chapter 70,
            The Road to Oz Starts at Chapter 90,
            The Emerald City of Oz Starts at Chapter 114,
            The Patchwork Girl of Oz Starts at Chapter 144,
            Tik-Tok of Oz Starts at Chapter 172,
            The Scarecrow of Oz Starts at Chapter 197,
            Rinkitink in Oz Starts at Chapter 221,
            The Lost Princess of Oz Starts at Chapter 245,
            The Tin Woodman of Oz Starts at Chapter 271,
            The Magic of Oz Starts at Chapter 295,
            Glinda of Oz Starts at Chapter 318.

  12. Yeah all those e-books that are rented – not owned – as has been proved over and over again. That’ll work out well in the end… But ya can’t fight progress, heh, heh.

    1. eh. Not really. There are ways around that. As for proved over and over again? popycock. What’s been proved is they don’t police every book going up and some people sell books without having the right to.
      PFUI.

    2. Not if you download them to your computer, then side-load them to your reader. Which is no different than making a back-up CD of music that you purchased – belt and suspenders because “stuff” happens.

        1. Not wishing to lose my status as a barbarian, I need to point out that when I sold the house I ended up throwing out about 10(?) of the 30 or so Xerox boxes of paperback/hardcover(those were mostly children’s books) because Florida attic climate is not conducive to preserving paper and covers – not to mention the small critters that seem to like using themfor food and shelter, heh, heh.
          None of this matters of course because we are all going to die in 8(?) years due to climate hotting/colding/uping/downing/Goreing/whatevering…

      1. Yep. I have copies of all of my e-books on a backup drive, on my tablet, on my laptop, and on my phone.

        I also bias to non DRM files when possible to avoid certain issues in the future.

      2. My “reader” is a tablet so old it doesn’t even have “ebook” software; I convert the files to html and use its pitiable web browser.

        It’s approaching the end-of-life for lead-free soldered mass market electronics. I’ll miss it when it finally dies.

      3. Trying to port Kindle for PC onto my Linux machine was a bust, though the satellite link might be an issue. (Installed it, but could not get a valid registration from home.) I’ll have to try it again on the laptop when I do a trip over the Cascades. Speed-of-light lag can be a righteous pain in the tail.

      4. The gotchya is the ability to actually *DO* that. And no, not everyone is running fscking g*damnned Windows. Been there…still haven’t found a big enough hammer to get Audible to do the right thing.

  13. The dam caused the Johnstown Flood was reported to be failing slowly, then all at once.

    That description seems to apply to a lot of things.

    1. That “last straw” is really something, ain’t it?

      “One more psi won’t hur- *BOOM*”
      “It’s just ONE more more degree C, it won’t matt- *BOOM*”
      “One more volt won’t hur- *KZZZZZZZZZT!!*”
      “The neutron count isn’t that-“

      1. “One more percent tax won’t— *FWUP*”
        “One more lie—”
        “Just a little more vote fraud—”
        ———————————
        My grandpa voted Republican until the day he died, but he’s been voting Democrat ever since.

  14. Look, take a just-now thing: the DNC says that all precincts in Iowa WERE counted. The app recorded every vote, they say. They just need to tally them.

    Counted, recorded, and chucked out the back door…..

    1. I was amazed to see one county in particular come in for Klobuchar, then Warren, then the first male candidate far, far behind. That county is darn patriarchal in terms of religion and culture. So either something really interesting has happened to the demographics, or the active local (D) voters were seriously peeved at the national party.

      1. A story tonight had Deval Patrick *unexpectedly* getting delegates. Turns out they were Sanders votes. Similarly, some of Liawatha’s votes were getting allocated to Steyer.

      2. “I don’t care who does the voting as long as I do the counting.”
        — Boss Tweed

        My county *used to* do everything on paper ballots, counted every half hour at long tables staffed by (mostly) senior citizens. And all the ballots were stored for a while in case a recount was needed.

        Now we have Diebold voting machines. Nobody quite seems to know why or how that happened, but they must be better because they have touchscreen displays.

        1. I don’t mind the computer voting. BUT it must be Paper Printed Backup, required, as in the print must occur, BEFORE it is accepted.

          I don’t mind ballots going out before day of voting. But it shouldn’t be mail in. It needs to be drop off & verified signature on Envelop with a sign in sheet (like original vote on-site) verified. Maybe then they’ll decide to only one day for personally turn in (no mass turn in), but still give exceptions for mail in for military.

          Oregon requires the outer envelope to be signed by the person whose name is on the envelope & voting. I know they are checked as my husband & son are regularly called into verify it is their signature (their signatures are lousy).

        2. That’s Stalin. More or less. Tweed didn’t care who voted as long as he nominated. (hmm. Also applicable.)

    1. Now I’m sad…

      As a puppy, one of my dogs reminded me of Kirk Douglas, so his official name is Longplain Spartacus.

  15. Unbelievably stupid behavior like the sham wow impeachment.

    I am wondering how the voters of Utah are feeling in aggregate about their junior Senator tonight.

      1. A Utah State Senator introduced a bill to add a recall provision to Utah law just so they could recall him when it looked like he was going to vote for witnesses. I doubt this cost it any backers.

        1. Maybe it’ll give us what Montana needs next time around, to vote Jon Tester out. We knew which way he’d vote, because yellow dog Democrat, but still.

          And gotta wonder why the senator from flyover country gets the most lobbying contributions of any congresscritter, by a wide margin.

        2. Sadly, I think a state law calling for the recall of a Federal Senator or a Federal Representative would be found Unconstitutional by the US Supreme Court (for good reasons). 😦

          It would require an Amendment to the US Constitution for it to be valid.

          Note, I seem to remember that at least one state attempted to institute term limits for their Federal Representative and/or Federal Senators and the US Supreme Court found it to be Unconstitutional.

            1. Yeah, you would think if the people of a State can directly elect someone, they should be able to directly unelect them too.

              1. Federal Offices (Terms, etc) are under the control of the Federal Constitution.

                The Supreme Court has already ruled that term limits are a Federal matter and can’t be imposed by State Law.

                The odds are good that the Supreme Court would rule that recalls for Senators & Representatives would have be mandated by the Federal Constitution not by State Laws.

                Note, direct elections of Senators was set up by an Amendment to the Federal Constitution.

                1. I understand the current guess as to how the Supremes would decide this question based on the term limit precedent – I’m just saying that it lacks a certain symmetry.

                  An amendment to allow direct vote to recall a sitting Senator would be something I’d support, and I’d think that would be more likely to get through than a repeal of the 17th Amendment.

          1. Word Press Must Die!

            I attempted to “follow up” this post but I forgot about the “two links” limit so it’s stuck in moderation.

            Word Press Must Die! 😡

          1. A recall does not have to be legally permitted to be effective. A petition for his resignation supported by seventy percent of the state might not be legally biding but it would certainly be chastening — and what would it say for a popularly elected senator to take to the courts to obstruct such a move? Even a vote of censure or “no confidence” by the state legislature (or state GOP) would be an embarrassment to his standing.

            OTOH, hold to the devil you know, as some would say, rather than risk pushing him into Chuck Schumer’s arms.

            Might not hurt to start referring to him as Mitt Specter or Arlen Romney …

            1. I saw something along the lines of ‘Mitt “Benedict Arnold” Romney’ yesterday.

              I am guessing that since Mittens 2018 Utah Senatorial election vote margin was 62.6% while DJT’s in Utah in 2016 was only 45.5% (thanks to Evan McMuffin), Mttens can’t be touched.

              Personally, I think he has chosen poorly.

              1. I think Trump did relatively badly in Utah because of the Mormans.

                Usual caveats that I am out of my depth give how badly educated I am in theology. I think the decorum/personal life argument may play better with Mormans, because of theological differences from the other mainstream Christian denomination. I think Romney has made calculations on the basis of what turned off Morman voters in Utah during 2016.

                Thing is, in 2016 the primary arguments against Trump were relatively fresh, and the Melania pics had been run in Utah, because focus groups indicated that they were a negative for Morman women. The Dems running against Trump and using the pics this time might make the demographic go the other way in 2020. We know how she has presented herself publicly as First Lady, it is not new information, so it might come off as crass if done again.

                I think the unknowns are a) do the Democrats manage to come off as an existential threat? b) do the Democrats nominate someone worse on the decorum/lifestyle angle than Trump?

                I think the Mormans don’t care much about outrages against the office of the president. I suspect that family that got murdered in Mexico is on their concern radar. Are the Democrats going to look like they will be coming after the Mormans? Probably important to that political calculus. Inside baseball of political in fighting? Good chance not.

                The Democrats seem primarily concerned with their left wing, so they may run on stuff that will worry the Morman voter.

                I think Phillipe Mitt Romney aspires to being the Petain of the GOP.

                Not my circus, not my captives.

                1. Quick correction: It’s Mormon, not Morman 😉

                  And realize that may in part be specific to the Utah Mormon, who is a different creature to the rest of us Mormons elsewhere. Not QUITE as insular as the Star Valley Wyoming Mormon (who take “Utah Mormon” to appalling new heights), but…yeah. They are their own species (and NOT, as I have told people many, many times, representative of us members of the church as a whole).

                  I’m a Mormon (NOT Utah) who, admittedly reluctantly, voted for Trump in 2016. At the time, largely to vote against Hillary, and also because I could not for the life of me remember the libertarian candidate (who was also Mormon, though that wasn’t the reason I voted for him)’s full name to do a write in. However, in the the 3 years since, I’ve become quite a pleased Trump supporter.

                  Yeah, some of it is the whole “Trump’s bombastic nature makes a lot of American Mormons uneasy”–because our church’s culture has deep, DEEP roots in the cultural reserve of New England Puritans. (See Gladys Knights hilarious and good-natured attempts to bring a little gospel verve to her chosen religion’s congregations. I don’t think she’s entirely given up, but she did laugh and say we’re all too damn white and stiff here in North America, and we should loosen up, dangit! Generally, we agree, but no one has quite managed to overcome it. I’d like to think that her home ward is a good deal livelier than most US congregations, though. 😀 ) But…he fights. He stands up for many things we agree with. I still know those who turn up their noses at his marriage record, to which I usually cough something about “Let he who is without sin” and “right because all the OTHER politicians are so much better behaved?”

                  Frankly, most of us church members outside Utah sneered at Mittens running in Utah, and rolled our eyes when he actually got elected. I did vote for him in 2012, reluctantly, because he wasn’t Obama–but I’ve never seen him as anything more than an elitist, squishy, and potentially corrupt politician (because there is not, in my opinion, a politician that ISN’T corrupt. Not career politicians, anyway.) Until yesterday, I might have argued he was a smidgen less corrupt than some–but after learning that one of his top advisors was ALSO on the Burisma board? I’m all for Utah passing some recall laws soonest, and I think that Mittens should be thoroughly scrutinized. But then…he’s the son of a corrupt politician who ALSO banked on the squeaky-clean Mormon image, so…(And sure, he was a bishop and even a stake president–that’s a regional leader–in our church. But anyone with sense knows that while technically, yes, these people are supposedly called via much prayer and requests for divine guidance that probably doesn’t often work in the breach. We’ve got our share of corruption, it’s part of the price of humans being involved. Even with a lay clergy like ours, power is power is power. And having never spoken to anyone who actually HAD the man as a bishop/stake president, I’m not gonna automatically assume he was a good one.)

                  Also: I should point out that there are actually more non-Mormons living in Utah (especially SLC) than Mormons nowadays. It’s still viewed as “bastion of Mormon-ness” but for that you probably actually want Idaho. And even the ones in Utah AND Idaho are but a tiny percentage of the worldwide congregation, so…we don’t vote in lockstep. The membership outside the USA surpassed the membership within almost twenty years ago now.

                  But yes, Utah Mormons are weird, and that’s partly why Trump didn’t do so well there in ’16. However…I’d bet he does a lot better there in ’20.

                  1. I also misspelled Philippe.

                    I caught myself writing Mormen while composing it. I suspect my thinking was messed up. Probably should have scrapped it.

              2. Evan! Yes, that was the dude I was originally gonna vote for in 2016. Glad now that I didn’t, as he soon after went totally bonkers with TDS. Yeesh.

                  1. Might have?

                    Known CIA.

                    Obscurity. Shows up when he does. Runs third party against Trump as a true conservative. Afterwards doesn’t shut up, and makes public statements whose utility can be estimated.

                    I don’t recall hearing anything out of him post election that would have harmed the Democrats.

                    Either information operations were more widespread than has yet been broadly established, or it is an obnoxious combination of losing his mind and a mid life crisis.

                    What seems more plausible?

                    That he was genuinely conservative enough to retain conservative contacts who can tell him from the grapevine how badly his behavior reflects on him, but has either utterly lost his mind, or was never a professional enough CIA man to work out that there is a time when you need shut down, and move away, rather than attract more negative attention? Or that he is a professional CIA man, either interested in power or by conviction a liberal Democrat, who was the best man available for presenting himself as a plausible conservative?

                    That said, there is a bunch of hearsay that the CIA is actually super incompetent.

              3. > chosen poorly

                “He’s dead, Jim.”

                He has a history of shooting himself in the foot, but that was the last straw, I suspect…

      1. See that’s the thing – it was a safe protest vote, announced after everyone else that was in question so he already knew he would be voting with the losing side.

        A non-effectual spitting in the face of the President. Like ripping up his speech after it’s been given.

        If Mittens had a spine he would have announced his vote before the other squish R senators, just like if Nancy had any she would have ripped up the speech just as DJT started.

        As it was they were both just tantrums.

        1. And this is why I am not sorry that Mittens lost the bid for presidency. (Not happy we got 4 more years of Obama, but…at this point, I’m not sure Mittens wouldn’t have been worse. At least Obama meant the masks slipped so far we got Trump, and the masks are now all the way off.) The man has ZERO spine. He keeps trying to hide it under the “I’m a man of religious convictions” to which I say “Bullcrap.” He’s hiding behind his faith–but that is not the faith of Brigham Young, or Joseph Smith, or many others who stood up with an unpopular opinion or stance in the face of those who could–and sometimes did–actually kill them.

          Nor would they have thrown a fit because Trump is “rude.” (Clearly, Mittens forgot about the existence of J. Golden Kimball. Who probably could out-rude Trump–and just about anyone else–were he still alive and of a mind to do so. I’m pretty sure the entire point of J. Golden Kimball was to shock the life out of the rest of the church…we need another one of those.)

    1. I am not pleased with our ex Governor of Massachusetts. Not to say I’m surprised,he was a weasly sob, Probably goes with the territory of buying companies to tear them apart.

      1. they ‘fixed’ just as many insolvent companies as they broke up… unfortunately, some of those companies then ditched those changes and with it their profitability (I’m looking at you, Guitar Center)

  16. “I used to subscribe to three newspapers which I read religiously every morning before getting to work. (The Gazette, the Denver Post and the Wall Street Journal.) And honestly, I dropped them one by one, more because I hadn’t got around to renewing, and then realized I was reading my news on line and didn’t need them.”

    Meh. We kept the local rag because the independent delivers still were collecting monthly. Sure it was less expensive to pay yearly, but you see I took advantage to pay just a little extra every month to the hired help. I mean we still read Dear Abby, Comics, checked out the classifieds, read sports page (well hubby did), & usually at least skimmed the rest; no to mention the weekly ads, & the extra Sunday sections. Besides if nothing else, still good to start fire. Then they prevented the paper people from doing the collection. Not long after we dropped the local paper.

    Regularly get calls of extreme promotions to get us to come back. Just cheerfully say “no thank you, please do not call again”. Not that they listen, to the last half.

  17. The only reason I buy hardcover is, well, I’ve always bought first printing David Weber, David Drake, John Ringo hardcovers…

    (Had to get rid of most them when I moved-no space.)

    It doesn’t hurt that most of the stuff coming out in dead-tree format, I wouldn’t use for anything but toilet paper in desperation. Even manga these days is getting very hit-or-miss (but, I wonder if that’s a translation issue, i.e. the translators are more interested in earning Woke Points(TM) for their eventual Netflix script treatment sale).

    I am happy with my iPad Mini-with something like 200+ books on there. I wish I had more Heinlein books, especially his short stories, available. And a few other people, but I can scratch 75% of my itches…

    1. David Weber will sell you a signed hardcover direct via his web site. And his staff are wonderful to interact with. His web people have generated some truly weird errors in the ordering section in the past, though, which is how I know about interacting with his staff.

      Dunno if Oh No John Ringo has a similar operation. He should – I’d buy them there instead of from Bezos.

      But those two are about it for me for physical books these days.

      1. Most of my physical book purchases are reference materials and things I can’t find in ebook format. And, travel books (I am a big fan of the “Not For Tourists” series, since it gives me a lot of compact information).

  18. Pingback: THEY’RE NOT STUPID. NOT REALLY. THEY JUST CAN’T GET OVER: How Things Have Always Been…. – The usa report
  19. For days now I’ve had this song from the 1970 Broadway musical Purlie whispering in my ear. The show ran 688 performances with a cast including Cleavon (Blazing Saddles) Little, John Heffernan, Melba Moore, C. David Colson, Sherman (George Jefferson) Hemsley, Linda Hopkins, Novella Nelson, and Helen (Good Times) Martin — and Robert Guillaume replacing Little later in the run.

    That’s the way it goes
    Everybody knows
    That’s the way it’s always been
    And how it’s gotta be.

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