Of Books, Compassion and Cruelty A Blast From the Past From June 2013

Yesterday I got caught up in a Facebook argument about public libraries and care for the homeless.

Well, I sort of got caught up – sort of, as usual I missed most of it, because a) I was hanging out here with you reprobates b) the time normally devoted to writing was devoted to sleeping.  [Long disquisition on what was going on at the time elided.]

This discussion got me thinking, and btw, you are warned this might be the world’s longest blog post because I’m zombified and therefore can’t write short to save my life.

It started with a fan linking a bunch of us to a site about libraries.  What he said was sort of true of me, though not really.

I have a very odd relationship with libraries.  First, to begin with, unlike most of you, I didn’t fall in love with a public library in childhood.  I didn’t, because there were none.  Portugal has a system of public libraries, and in fact, if you look on line, there is a picture of a very ornate library in Portugal.  When that was making the rounds of the net, all my friends linked me with “wow, you must know that place inside out.”  Well… um… the place was in fact in either Lisbon or Coimbra, which most of the time I was growing up were a tediously long train journey away.  So even had they been libraries as Americans view them, I probably wouldn’t have visited them that often.  And I’ll confess I was, briefly, for a few months, familiar with the Porto branch of the same library system.

The reason I was familiar with it, will explain to you why I wasn’t more familiar and the difference between Portuguese libraries and American ones.  I spent a few months, every free moment after school, in that library tracing the fluctuations of currency through the sixteenth century in Portugal.

See, the libraries in Portugal are repositories of original material – some of it very old.  If you want to do anything that requires primary sources you go to the public library.  The entire system is the equivalent of the section of libraries here devoted to local history and documents.

As in those, you can’t check books out, and quite frankly, you wouldn’t want to.  The few fiction books in there are those considered of historical and/or literary value.

There are of course other libraries, most of those being rather small and confined and private.  Most parish houses have a lending library at least for young people.  A lot of youth clubs have libraries.  Schools from middle school up have libraries.

Unfortunately, it is all tainted by the rather nose-in-the-air attitude that culture is something that’s too good for the common folk and also that the common folk must be protected from “trashy novels.”

With the best good will in the world – and remember I’m the kid who read Thomas Mann at eight simply because I was bored out of my gourd and those were the only books I could get my hands on (in the attic) which hadn’t been read yet.  Same reason I read Camus at 11 – I found myself hard pressed to discover anything in most of those libraries that I wanted to read.  Most of it was moral tracts and improving works, and it was therefore as dusty as it deserved to be.

I think I once found a book about a Portuguese Queen in my High School library which was only half bad.  I “think” because I might have dreamed it.

By the time I’d started tutoring I’d come to the conclusion not the only difference but a considerable one between me and most of the people I tutored was that they’d grown up without fun books.

This was particularly bad when the kids I got were geniuses (most of them were.  Not all) born to families of poor-but-honest-and-definitely-pious peasants.

Portugal is an odd country.  It is said that every Portuguese has a book of poems stowed away somewhere that will never see the light of day.  This is probably true – at least to some extent.  I would be very shocked if the guy up the street who forced his family to live in medieval squalor and farmed by medieval methods had one, but you never know.  Those romantic poets can get weird.

At any rate, most Portuguese will at the very least pay lip service to books.  It was a shock to me when I came to the states and people saw me reading and asked me what I was studying for.  In Portugal a lot of people read in the train, though for working class young men, in my day, that was usually comic books.

However, a certain class of people… let’s call it the wanna-be middle class, views it as their duty to keep their kids – particularly their daughters – from being corrupted with “trashy” stuff.  Portugal being a country with two feet, two ankles and heck, at least up to the chest in the past, “trashy” is anything written in the last hundred years, which hasn’t been given the imprimatur of either “intellectuals” or “the church.”

My family was always weird, in that mom disapproved of books about imaginary stuff (I think younger son takes after her, though he likes the meatier SF and some mysteries.  He prefers books about how things work/worked, and real history and stuff) but dad was addicted to who-dunnits and adventure books (Captain Morgan and Sir Walter Scott were his.)

Dad had spent all his pocket money since he was eleven or so (and this is a man who walked over an hour to school because buses were too expensive) in the used bookshops (known in Portuguese by the rather romantic and I suspect Arab-origin name of Alfarabios.  Normal bookshops were librarias (places containing books.)  I have no idea what Alfarabios means, etymologically, but like bazaar or kiosk it has a romantic taste in the tongue, a suggestion of something exotic and strange.)  Those weren’t very common when I was growing up in Portugal, because culture taints buying used with the same sort of low-class feel as selling your stuff in pawnshops.  But dad was broke, and he had to read.

His library was augmented by inheritances from his grandmother and great grandmother both of which I’m given to understand though nothing of feeding the family on vegetable soup for a week so they could buy the new chapters of the novels they were following.  (These were sold in chapters, with a hole on top, hanging from a loop of string attached to a pole.  The bookseller came through village hawking his wares, and sold novels to people a chapter at a time – they probably couldn’t have afforded a whole book at once.  They sold fun stuff – I think our Sir Walter Scott was originally bought that way – and villagers bought it, and once they had a book, they’d save and send it to be bound up.  This system had ended LONG before my time, but the expression “string literature” for cheap, accessible, exciting adventures stayed in the language.  My dad often teased me with it when I was little and devouring Enid Blyton by the yard.)  Then as my brother and I started reading, we started pooling our birthday and Christmas money to buy paperbacks: science fiction and mystery, mostly.  And since my dad still devoted most of his money to books – it was his secret vice.  Other men blew money away on drink.  He spent it on books – we learned to coordinate and strategize purchases.  This meant, yes, that my brother and I often bought dad the books we wanted to read for his birthday and read them very carefully and wearing gloves before we wrapped them for him.  It meant also that when going to the book fair, which takes place in large cities for a couple of weeks in summer, outdoors, in tents, and where books are usually offered starting at half price (and old stock that was in the back MUCH cheaper) we had to compare lists.  “Okay, I’m looking for this, this and this are they on your list?”  We also would do the first walk then call home and ask the others if they (if they’d gone before) had already bought x y or z.  This was hard learned.  The year I turned fourteen and had some money I’d made (it might have been the year I ran a neighborhood newspaper) and my brother had money from tutoring, we went to the book fair separately and ALL THREE OF US brought home the exact same books, which was a total waste of money.

But, anyway, when I realized a lot of the peasant kids I taught needed more fun books, I began starting libraries or enriching the ones that existed.  I convinced my Portuguese and English teachers to back me up in adding an SF section to the High School library, for instance.  It required them to convince the librarian that translations and science fiction at that could be “worthy”.  It leaned heavily to Bradbury, but I sneaked in some Heinlein under the radar.  I also started lending libraries in two groups I was involved with.  Whether they lasted past my improvement Bob (Heinlein) knows.

Coming to the States was a shock to the system.  First of all, my host family had no books in the house.  None.  I don’t mean to imply they were stupid, they weren’t.  But their entertainment ran to TV and magazines.  I suppose dad had technical books but there was no reading-as-fun.  This was odd even amid neighbors.  Dan’s family down the road always had books lying about.

But just as I started to go on a jag of withdrawal, my host mother said something like “Well, for heaven’s sake, why don’t you go to the library?”  I was still new and didn’t want to be rude, so I didn’t tell mom that I didn’t want that KIND of boring.  Instead, I let her take me to the public library.  And I fell in love.

Books.  Not just fun fiction, but fun non-fiction.  Who knew people would write things like the life of Shakespeare and other history, and books about quasars in ways that common people would want to read them?  (They came to Portugal, too, eventually, but at that time popular non-fiction was news to me.)

Yes, it was sort of like locking a kid in the candy store.  I ended up volunteering at the library because that way they’d trust me to take more books out, and besides, I’d discover stuff I’d never seen before.

Then I went back to Portugal and, shaky from withdrawal and also wanting to keep my English up, discovered that American tourists, bless their wealthy hearts, often abandoned the books they’d brought over to read over summer (understandable, since that meant they had more room for stuff bought cheap in Portugal.)  I’ve read more thrillers and beach romances than I care to admit to, but it kept both the English and the reading bug sharp.

Back in the states, newly wed and frankly broke, I both developed an unhealthy relationship with a used book store called The Bookworm in Rockhill, South Carolina, and I learned to drive PRIMARILY so I could drive to the library.  In Charlotte we routinely borrowed books from three branches, and when I was bed-ridden with Robert, Dan took our biggest three suitcases (the ones we took when traveling to Portugal) down to the library sale, with strict orders to fill them to the top and in the order of SF, Mystery, historical, nonfiction consisting of biographies, history and science.  I think he bought out MOST of the sale and all in those categories.)

Then we moved to the Springs and we were somewhat beyond broke.  I’d also abandoned 2/3 of my books when moving from the Carolinas (truck space) which left me HUNGERING for books.  Yeah, I had the local bookshops free-bookshelf where they put the books they didn’t think they could resell.  I used to go early in the morning, with Robert in a carriage, to snag the most readable stuff.  But there is only so much gothic romance a woman can read.

So I used the library.  We lived downtown, in a student apartment, and the library was thirty minutes walk away.  I used to make that walk every other day and the pouch at the back of the carriage was full of books for the return trip.  The library was also where I sought refuge on weekends, when Dan was watching the kids, to get a little bit of writing done (longhand.  No laptops.)

This was the period where my relationship to the library (practically living there) was the one described in the stuff the fan posted.

When we moved away from downtown that relationship became more distant.  I still did some library sales (it was at one of those I found Dwight Swain) when I was aware they were happening, and I still went to the library when the preliminary hints of an idea started bothering me.  Say “something about Africa.”  This allowed me to read forty or fifty books for free before I decided if the idea worked.

The last time I read the library out of books in one section was … must be 6 years ago (I was homeschooling the kid.  Might have been seven) when I was considering the idea of a series about women of the War of the Roses.

A little earlier, while we were working on the other house to get it ready to sell, I borrowed audio books at the rate of two a day.

But even then it wasn’t as essential as it had been, once upon a time.  I could now find the precise book or books I wanted on Amazon and often very cheap even with shipping.  This became more so with electronic books and the possibility of sampling a lot in the free section.  Also the preliminary reading on some theme or other can be done on line.

So, a year ago I needed to find information on a particular Romanian ruler, whose name evades me now.  I found hardly anything on line – a page or two – and usually just mentions in the books I could get hold of.  So I thought “library.”

My older son and I set off on an expedition.  It will show you the kind of hopeful idiot I am, that I took a shoulder-sack, convinced we’d fill it.

I should have known better.  The last time I tried to WORK at the library – four? – years ago, I couldn’t, because the place was full of homeless AND social workers interviewing them at a volume usually reserved for public speaking in a crowded room without microphones.

But they still had books!

A year ago… not so much.  Oh, there were still SOME books, most of them put in places they shouldn’t be and a lot of them missing that should be on the shelf.  BUT half of the space was taken up with music, games, videos and other things that, last I checked, weren’t BOOKS.

The library was also serving as an informal, ersatz homeless shelter, which made me afraid of going to some of the lower levels and looking for stuff.

I found not one book to check out, not even a tangentially relevant one.  I won’t be going back.  And while I’m sure the suburban libraries are better in terms of not having patrons urinating in the corner, I can check the stock on line and they too seem to be going video/game/music.

However, the festivities on line started with Bill Quick saying that his own library was unusable being full of homeless.  I concurred.

Enter the bleeding heart brigade, saying that if we had better services for the homeless this wouldn’t happen.

Bill immediately pointed out he lives in San Francisco, possibly the city with the BEST homeless assistance services.  And I pointed out that Colorado Springs is known in the region as having some of the best assistance services (many of them private) from soup kitchens to shelters.

We were then accused of being heartless and wanting to sweep poverty and need under the rug.

So…  I know it took me this long to come to the point, but I wanted you to realize what libraries as they used to be in America can mean not just to me but more so to people who have no books at home, and the theory of comparative scale of use.  (Also I’m ill and writing long is much easier than writing short.)

First let’s start with the fact that homelessness as it exists in America isn’t poverty.  In fact part of the problem with it is that it ISN’T poverty.  Look, regardless of what you’ve seen on the movies or tv, most homeless are not families fallen on hard times.  Yes, there are some of those now, but most of those while technically “homeless” aren’t living in your local park.  They’ve just taken over mom and dad’s basement, moved onto a friend’s living room or whatever.  Terrible – I’ve been JUST short of that at least three times in my married life – and humiliating, but NOT “stand in the park and wheedle on yourself.”

90% of the homeless in America and the hard core ones are people with mental health issues, people with drug abuse issues and people who have found they can live without having to do anything for it, and can be “free” and outside society.  I’ve overheard conversations in the park, and I suppose that most of the people who “dropped out” in the sixties are dead, but a lot of them are alive and going from soup kitchen to free clinic, with a bit of begging in between.

Yes, there are entire families in this system, including homeless children – but for them to stay in it, the parents need to have some sort of serious issue.  Otherwise, even if they can’t find work, there is assistance available to get them at least into public housing, which, nightmarish though it is, is not living in the park.

I’m not going to pretend this doesn’t happen to normal families too – see where I came very close to that level and more than once too – but normal families usually tend to bounce back.  They go through a few months of mess and horror, and then they claw back to some semblance of normalcy.  (This might change as our economy dives and programs of necessity get cut.  The ones for the DESERVING poor will be cut first, of course, since they rarely riot.)

The problem with this is that when people get appalled at the conditions the homeless live in and start offering “homeless services” there is an entire network, not just of homeless but of social workers who direct the homeless to the cities with better services.

I swear to you and I’m not even joking that right now there are plenty more homeless on Colorado Springs streets than in Denver, despite the Springs being much smaller.

The Springs also has its soup kitchens and other services downtown and within easy walking distance of each other.

This means downtown businesses are closing, except for bars and restaurants which can control access.  And that the library is of course a place to camp in the cool/warm during the day.

It means more than that.  We moved within easy driving distance of downtown, because when we lived downtown when we first came to Colorado Springs, I used to take walks every day.  When we moved to our little mountain village, without these, I gained ten pounds a year.  I used to love walking downtown, dropping by the deli and the three bookstores (only one left, and it’s MOSTLY a restaurant now) checking out the other little shops which ranged from yarn to weird import crafts.

Now those are gone.  Worse – the last two times I walked downtown alone (i.e. without commanding the muscle, aka older son to go with me) someone FOLLOWED me and I had to employ stuff from my childhood to lose them.  Once it was a large and addled looking male, and yes, he was following me.  And once it was TWO large and addled looking males.  For the icing on the cake – not related to this, but from a blog entry – I clicked on the sex offenders registry.  Yes, I know, a lot of people there are there because someone accused them and was never proven.  Our local one at least has notes on whether it’s accusation, trial or conviction and also whether the crime was against children or adults.

The downtown zipcode is FULL of registered sex offenders who’ve done hard time and who have committed their crimes against adults.  The faces are very familiar from my walks, and yep, one was the guy who tried to follow me.

Which means, if I walk I take the boy with me.  Even then at least once some guys tried to flank us.  You see, the vagrancy laws are not being enforced AT ALL because the city is “compassionate.”

Let’s talk about compassion – most of the shops downtown were mom and pop operations and many had been there since right after WWII.  But when customers are afraid to walk around (and when the stupid meters with requirements you move every two hours make it impossible to park close by and just go around the more popular area, because city planners don’t understand you don’t shop downtown like at the mall) and when you can’t keep homeless from coming in and peeing on your books, the stores either move elsewhere and close.  Which, arguably destroys wealth.

This same “compassion” makes it impossible for women and children to walk downtown in their lawful pursuits.  This same “compassion” makes the library which could help a lot of kids fall in love with books as we did, and meet other people who like books (even if they are reading them mostly online) into a dangerous no-go zone.  This same compassion is emptying the smaller office buildings that don’t have doormen.  The office I rented, which was the only one I could afford, eventually became unusable.  These are the times they are, and a lot of small businesses are going under, so when I moved in the office building was half full.  Only you know how it is…  small businesses, we worked odd hours.  Sometimes when I was there there was only me and two or three other people in a building with forty or so offices.

And then other people started moving out.  I didn’t understand why until the day I was alone on my floor and I came across a clearly homeless guy in the hallway.  I’d seen them there before.  They usually roamed in and roamed out, and you walked past them.  Only this one was… well… feral.  There was no human in the eyes.  I barely got into my office ahead of his jump for me, and then I was stuck there until I was sure he was gone (which took a lot of looking through the bulls-eye) which was about four hours, and the room didn’t have either water or a bathroom (those were down the hall.)  I had the presence of mind to play one of my audio books – with male voices – loud enough to sound like I had a guy in there with me (I talked in between) and he moved off very fast.

After that I didn’t use the office and let it lapse when the rental ran out.  That building is now completely empty and for sale.  Is that compassionate to the owner who is btw an immigrant and not particularly wealthy?

Is it a matter, as someone once preached at me, of my wanting “poverty and deprivation swept under the rug?”

Oh, h*ll no.  If these homeless people were the kind of down at heel families or working-class people the movies depict them as, I’d feel sorry for them, but I would NOT want them swept out of the public view.  Poor people – no matter how much maligned poverty is by being accused of causing crime or whatever – don’t usually try to attack people and rape them, poor people aren’t evil.  They’re just poor.  I know.  I’ve been poor a lot and some of my best friends are poor.

But instead, most homeless are … feral.  The sort of people who don’t recognize the social compact and don’t care about the rules of society.  At best they are insane and unpredictable (read My Brother Ron by Clayton E Cramer, for a look at what many, many of the homeless are like) at worst they are drug addicted and … how do I put this?  Contemptuous of those of us who play by the rules, have jobs, and make an effort for a living.

And that’s the problem.  The problem is most cities and private charities misdiagnose the issue.  They look at their mounting unemployment and they think “we must do something to help these people.”  Heaven knows that’s true and getting worse.

But then comes the non-judgmental gospel of the age, where you can’t judge, and you can’t ask what these people were doing, require that they keep clean, require they see a psychiatrist in order to get food.  No, you can’t do any of that because that would be discriminatory.  So you just give freely and as much as possible.

And the vultures come.

I pity the REAL “homeless due to need” families that have to raised kids in that kind of hell.  They should get help, but they shouldn’t be forced to get it next to sex offenders, chronic drug abusers and people who frankly couldn’t give a d*mn about getting out of that situation and getting better.

And I pity the businesses who have to cope with this invasion by feral humans, supported by other people’s money but not feeling the slightest obligation to other people.  And I pity the children who will never get to experience public libraries or the guidance of a friendly librarian.  And I pity the women and teens who can’t simply take a stroll downtown.  And I pity the owners of downtown buildings who aren’t wealthy enough to hire doormen.  I pity the drug addicted/mentally ill (often a covalent group) who don’t find guidance or help in keeping up with their medications and becoming functional again.

Compassion?  I’m full of it.  But not for those who are feeding the beast of dependence.  Not for those who make it possible for people to live off society but not in it.  Those false bleeding hearts just want to feel good about themselves.

And by being kind to the cruel and parasitical they are much more than cruel to the kind and helpless.

168 thoughts on “Of Books, Compassion and Cruelty A Blast From the Past From June 2013

  1. Tsk. This could have waited. We are Huns, we do not need a full feeding every day.

    I trust the Doctor confirmed that you are alive and likely to remain so for the foreseeable future?

    Nothing requires drastic treatment?

    Last time I was ill enough to require attention the doctor was heard to say, “Nurse! get this wallaby a book, STAT!” All I got was a magazine, an old issue of Cosmo found in the Nurse’s Break Room. Sometimes the cure is worse than the cold.

        1. Could be worse – she could be Canadian …

          Not that there’s anything wrong with being Canadian, other than the government.

          1. Thanks for posting this, RES. The more people know about the -reality- of socialized medicine the fewer of them will be sucked in by the “caring, compassionate” communists like Bernie f-in’ Sanders.

            1. My pleasure, Phantom (we’ve known each other so long, I wonder if I might presume to call you The?) In fairness, the Canadian Health System works terrifically well — for Canadian politicians and bureaucrats.

              Which was its intended purpose.

              1. Any time the government gets involved in health care, you wind up with the doctors filling out paperwork while paper-shufflers play doctor.

                1. “Any time the government gets involved in health care, you wind up with the doctors filling out paperwork while paper-shufflers play doctor.”

                  Anytime I hear “government would be better handling health care”, I think better than insurance agencies, which are, by definition, smaller than government? Uh, no. Government advocates say, “But government agencies don’t care about profit!” No. But they care about M O N E Y. There won’t be enough. There will never be enough. It will be rationed.

                  Also, I don’t believe in slavery. That is what will happen to the health care providers & institutions; those that don’t say “oh H*ll no, I’m out”. There won’t even be those who are stuck because of overwhelming medical school debt, because hmmm, hey, government forgave all college debt … no hammer now to keep them. I mean how easy is it for Veteran Services to get medical personnel?

                  Okay, now there are alternatives for some so they don’t stay. No alternative under government ran all medical. Short of a true diehard calling … most won’t stay in the system. Even the ones with the calling will find a way to full fill the calling outside of the system, because it isn’t about the money. It is about being a healer, and the definitely will not want to deal with the paperwork needed. They’d go insane.

                  1. But they care about M O N E Y. There won’t be enough.


                    And the bureaucrats will control how that money is spent, to a much greater degree than insurance companies do now. The doctors will of necessity be more concerned with appeasing the bureaucrats than with treating the patients.

                    On ‘SEAL Team’ last season there was a character, a former SEAL, with major neurological issues. The V.A. doctor agreed that all of his symptoms pointed to Traumatic Brain Injury, and an MRI scan would confirm the diagnosis, BUT — because it hadn’t been recognized as a Traumatic Brain Injury within some arbitrary time after it happened, the bureaucracy would not allow him to give his patient an MRI.

                    I know it’s a TV show, but the problem they illustrated is real. And, Mr. Socialized Medicine Himself, Bernie Sanders, was in charge of the V.A. for more than ten years. Hundreds of veterans died on waiting lists during that time.

                    In Canada, patients wait three months for an MRI. In the U.S. they wait three hours.

                    1. 3 hours at worst.
                      I waited 45-50 minutes and that was for a tracer to work its way into my system (Gastro-intestinal issue)
                      Oh, and at the time I had zero insurance.

                    2. Worst we’ve seen was when our son took a hardball to his left eye. After hours urgent care. Sent us home, because of swelling, needed to get swelling down. Called in regularly, persistent (to be clear, dad is blind in one eye due to a childhood accident, so persistent might be a bit of an understatement), at the 10 day mark, eye sight still not good, but swelling down, finally.

                      Sent directly to hospital for MRI, or whatever is appropriate for scanning for a broken the orbital bone. With instructions to wait for the results that were to be read immediately by the appropriate person, doctor called while we were waiting … “Yes. Broken. Here is the specialist’s office/location. There is an appointment the minute you get there from where you are.” Kid was in the hospital that night for surgery the next morning (specifically kid spent his 12th Birthday in Surgery). Surgery was at 7 AM.

                      This was 18 years ago. Don’t remember our costs. Couldn’t have been that bad or I’d remember. Had insurance. Insurance had NO warning, just the bills (well business offices had to been processing but nothing we were aware of). FWIW kid lucked out. Yes, broken. But not blown out. No plate required. Surgeon released the eye & let the thin bone cartilage break come back together where it could heal.

                      So no consequences. Well kid’s coach, still hears about it, rarely (it has been 18 years). But hey, what kind of mother would I be to ever let this go … if anyone hasn’t figured it out, dad was his coach … It was an accident, but still … The call I got (parental duty split) was “Kid (named) took a hard ball to the eye. Where is the after hours pediatric clinic?” Yea, I’m forgetting that one, uh, never. …

                      Right up there with the call the one time I don’t go on a monthly scout campout from the emergency contact. “6 of the older boys are missing. Your son is one of them. Dad (named, who was there) says NOT to come out to the site. Emergency personnel are assembling to do a search before nightfall as we speak.” All 6 were back at camp before emergency search teams were onsite, not sure where overall process was, not where I was focusing. Boys took the wrong “right” turn on their “mission” & took an unscheduled 10 mile hike. Found the first house & asked for help. Who knew exactly where they were suppose to be, so drove them back around to the campsite.

                    3. Yeah, but if it wasn’t so swollen, unless there was a line, y’all shoulda been in and out in no time.
                      The other end of that, is from my cousin’s daughter who operates imaging stuff, and has on occasion pointed out things to the Doc, he, and others have missed. Once it was a referred patient who had a few sessions worth of MRI images and she never says anything, just looks over the doc’s shoulder points (folks want the doc to be the one that tells them) from the first set found something, and could point to it in all the others too. He had her do another for clarity, and it popped out at him then.
                      Those of us who’ve known her all her life find this a shock (she was thick as a brick as a kid and still can be), but the girl can sort through medical images . iirc her Doc has moved hospitals twice but he pays her extra to follow.

                    4. Yes. It was the swelling. They were clear about that. Also was clear to watch to see what his vision was doing. Getting better as the swelling went down. Didn’t help that the problem was continuing to contribute to swelling because no healing could occur with the eye keeping the breakage open.

                      He (I swore we were going to have to bubble wrap the kid) had also, by then had: Broken finger, and broken both wrists (*not at the same time). Broken finger taught us to insure he told the story of what happened … finger, he slipped & fell playing basketball at a friends. Broken arm #1: Rollerblading down a ramp (also known as the school slide) … he did have a helmet on, no wrist protectors. Broken arm #2: What happens when bike suddenly stops & you hadn’t plan on it stopping … All three times scans occurred immediately.

                      * In our crowd “not at the same time” is important. One of his classmates, at recess, on school equipment, well to be truth, off school equipment, as in fell off, broke both arms. His mother was overheard muttering “I swear I’m getting a sandwich board for him to wear stating ‘It. Happened. At. School. Dang it!!!’” as multiple strangers would stop them and ask him if he was “okay”.

                    5. Back during the debate over Hillarycare one of the most insightful remarks I ever heard was an NPR* commentator who observed that in pretty much any case, the “least expensive course of treatment” entailed the death of the patient.

              2. It doesn’t even work for them. I notice that Trudeau didn’t shave his beard yet. When he shaves it, you’ll know that shit just got real, and he wants his mask to fit right.

                https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/hamilton/covid19-first-case-doctor-hamilton-health-sciences-1.5493530

                This case here is a physician going back to work after coming home from Hawaii, and testing positive the next day.

                Let me repeat that: Physician tested after flying international, and the test takes a whole day to show positive. Meanwhile, that physician was seeing patients. Cancer patients.

                That’s the Canadian health system in a nutshell. Not enough test kits, slow processing, results come too late.

                So wash your hands and stay the hell home. No restaurants, no movies, no visiting friends and relations.

      1. Make sure your Grays warm up the Kremlitznikbym Probe before they do their probing – the last time I was abducted for probing, that darn thing was cold.

      1. Also known as “forgot to eat, was reading a book” to some of us. Some of us are very weird. Why does my head hurt, my mouth feel dry, and why is my stomach asking if my throat’s been cut? Strange. Another chapter? Yes, please!

        1. Usually you could get me out of a book by waving your hand between my face and the page but sometimes you had to interpose the hand and leave it there until I blinked.

          1. Cue the cat … that works, usually. Still can’t get up, but I have to stop reading as cat is using reading material for a bed on my lap … even if it now is my eBook tablet.

            1. Daughter has a thing of acting like a cat. Including interspersing herself between your line of sight and screen/book/phone. Was talking to a repairman the other day and she even crawled up to join us, and made it a point to settle between my ankles so she could smile up at the guy.

          2. If I’m in town alone, I’ll take the Kindle and go to the taco shop (they do *not* call themselves a taqueria, though all the staff is ESL) and find a corner. Adobada chip nachos (or fries–think potato chips but at french fry levels) with a good book is heaven. It’s busy enough that I have to leave, though there’s been an additional chapter after I’m done eating.

          1. Forgetting to eat? This is something I’ve never experienced. Putting it off longer than I liked yes, forgetting NO. Probably why I resemble a hobbit on steroids more than a dwarf or elf. My wife would definitely forget to eat when we were first married and she was in grad school. I’d come home from work and stop at her lab to take her home about 5:30 pm. Sometimes it was 8pm + before I could get her attention (and she had skipped lunch many a time) and go get food. Utterly inconceivable to me.

              1. “blood sugar crash headaches would come and kick my arse for forgetting”

                Well there is that … come to think about it, not anymore. That is what Pepper (dog) prevents. Little Tattler … she not only tattles. But she herds me to the kitchen … granted she gets rewarded for it, treats & praise, which for her is incentive enough to keep it up.

                For me the symptoms don’t typically hit until I move/stand up. I just don’t feel the sugar low. Sleepy, but you know, extended reading. Just close my eyes. But I’d go to stand up, my vision would blur, wavy smoky lines, I’d also sway, and wham, where did that 2 by 4 come from?

                1. Yep, as described; but it’s a whole job lot of two by fours that land on me. All labeled EAT, FOOL!

                  And takes several cans of coke PLUS food to alleviate. And since I don’t hold that much fluid or food really, takes a while to do. Hours. Ugh. I’ve learned to stave off the worst with keeping sweets on me and in little caches EVERYWHERE in the house where I stay for long periods of time, but I also know my staving it off is only good for long enough to make a proper meal and eat. (eggs and rice, or an egg, veg, dim-sum supplemented instant noodle bowl.)

                  1. “I’ve learned to stave off the worst with keeping sweets on me and in little caches EVERYWHERE in the house where I stay for long periods of time”

                    I’ve done that too. But for me it just makes the second sugar accelerated crash worse …

                    1. “For me it just buys me a little bit of time, long enough to make a proper meal and eat it. I’ll hurt otherwise though, if all I have is candy.”

                      Yes. To the point where unless absolutely required, I skip the candy. I try to keep quick items available that won’t trigger a crash. So I can fix a proper meal. Also do this because I’ve been known to have to eat before we go out to dinner. I remember a couple of times we’d come off a hike, I was a asymptomatic. We’d already planned on stopping at a popular restaurant before heading back to the trailer. We sat down to wait for a table. When all of a sudden it hit me. I looked at my husband and said “uhhhh”, hubby looked at me and requested some Orange Juice. Our normal “cheat” was an hour back at the trailer (had already used what we had on the hike). They might have jumped us in the queue, but no one said anything to us.

                      Things are different now. One: someone said “why don’t you have a glucose meter?” (Uh, because that is for diabetics and don’t you need a prescription for one? Answers: No, & No). Two: Pepper. Mostly at home. Hiking she is invaluable. (Which is why she’s trained for Public Access. Because when traveling, I can’t just leaver her somewhere.) Between the two I have a better handle on the condition.

                    2. If I’m not stuck into drawing or writing/researching/reading intensely, I will feel the need to eat. Especially if I’m doing physical work, like cleaning, errands, household work.

                      Have to be a bit more careful these days though, because I’m still breastfeeding, and the boyo doesn’t like being set down as often as would be helpful just yet. It surprises me that it’s only been two months, but I remind myself that he’s little only for such a small while, and before I know it he’ll be another toddler, the baby chub has melted away and he’s no longer a baby; don’t see it as a bother, but see it as precious us time. ;_;

                    3. “the baby chub has melted away and he’s no longer a baby; don’t see it as a bother, but see it as precious us time. ;_;”

                      I remember. I miss that time. Enjoy.

            1. Since you were taking care of your wife you probably were paying enough attention to know what you’re talking about, but I know that I use to think that I never forgot to eat. (Also have the build to support that theory.)

              Started food journaling and found out that I forget quite often. -.- Had someone(s) accuse me of eating and not writing it down, I even thought they might be right, after a few weeks of most of the entries being stuff like “1/2 inch cheese while making kids’ sandwiches” and or “~1/3 leftover grilled cheese” and enumerating the (black) coffee and every glass of water, then counting the jelly beans, I finally realized that no, I just forget to eat. Fairly often, even. (I hate doing it, because it takes so much freaking time, but I do lose a lot of weight by food journaling and making sure I eat at least 1.7k calories a day; part of why I laugh at fitbit is because it’s sure that I burn at leaset 2.5k on a slow day.)

              Made the mistake of asking my husband to double-check me because sometimes the kids do keep me trotting and I thought I might be snagging stuff without thinking about it. I wasn’t.
              Mistake, because now every time I mention I have a headache his first question is “what did you last eat?” And the thus-and-such is usually correct, in all except his strange idea that coffee is not food.

  2. On “homeless families”.

    A few years ago, I saw a TV movie about a “homeless family” that the movie makers accidently destroyed any compassion that I might have had for the fictional family.

    After the father lost his job and the house, his brother offered them a place to stay in his home.

    The Idiot Father (apparently because of Pride) wasn’t willing to take his brother’s offer.

    Of course, his idiot wife was not willing to take up her brother-in-law’s offer and the children apparently weren’t much smarter.

    I’m supposed to feel sorry for that family of idiots? 😡

  3. the common folk must be protected from ‘trashy novels.’

    I wholeheartedly concur, which is why whenever I spy a “trashy novel” lying about I throw myself upon it.

    1. I volunteer myself to look through these trashy novels and be sure that they are fit for consumption* by the common folk.

      * = by which, of course, I mean that they are free of SJW preaching, that there are no political sucker punches that would cause the book to hit the wall (some of those common folk are pretty strong, and if they accidentally hit a living creature, could cause damage), that there are interesting characters, a compelling plot, and all in all the book goes somewhere and is not grey goo.

      1. I saw this great quote about entertainment on youtube.
        “Imagine watching a television show or film and not IMMEDIATELY knowing the creator’s opinions on Donald Trump.
        Once, we had that. Quality escapism. We want it back.”

  4. It is said that every Portuguese has a book of poems stowed away somewhere that will never see the light of day.

    I can think of a few books of English poems which ought never have seen that light.

    1. …many of them part of the torture inflicted upon the innocent by junior high English classes…

    2. Hell, I inflict original poetry on my parents for Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, but as it’s been known to reduce them to tears I wouldn’t ask anyone else to suffer through it.

      -Albert

  5. the expression ‘string literature’ for cheap, accessible, exciting adventures stayed in the language.

    The terrible risk inherent i such books is that when you reach the end and discover the author never had the least idea of a story and had been stringing you along. Angry mobs would doubtless be forming at the fringes of George R. R. Martin’s neighborhood.

    1. A.E. van Vogt for the win!

      It’s one of the great sadnesses of life that no editor was able to use the +5 Cluebat of Correction to make him stick to a storyline.

      Most van Vogt short stories and novels novels are packed full of enough “stuff” for a triology at least, yet he was seldom able to arrange the “stuff” into a coherent whole. Some authors lack imagination; van Vogt had so much, it got in the way of, you know, that “story” part.

      The weird part was, he wrote some non-SF or not-quite-SF that was just fine; The Violent Man and The House that Stood Still showed that he knew how to do put a story together.

  6. I think I’m tempted to use you as bait, while me and a handful of others do what should have been done a long time ago to those feral predators. Wait for them to attack, then step in and kill them in the act of apprehending them.

    As you say, most of these humanoids aren’t interested in getting better. Those of them far gone enough to attack you are no longer deserving to be either considered or treated as normal human beings. The “compassionate thing to do is for them to be exterminated so they no longer can prey on real human beings. How do you know the difference between a humanoid monster and a real human? By their actions shall you know them. I know, the Left and the foolish would say I’m the monster. Yet, who’s the one letting innocents be killed or assaulted? Who’s aiding and abetting the disintegration of our cities? Seems to me there’s a niche waiting for a Dark Knight, or a Rorschach, to do some “social” cleansing.

    1. And this is when, and why, you get vigilantes in real life.

      The “legal system” and “rule of law” have morphed into “anarcho-tyranny”, and they are being used as a weapon against normal people.

    2. We need the Seattle Demon.

      Oh, who is the Seattle Demon?

      A projective telepath mentioned in the latest “Wearing The Cape” novel.

      Nothing is known about “him” but apparently the homeless population of Seattle started to feel “unfriendly eyes” watching them along with a feeling being threatened.

      Within a few months, the homeless either left Seattle or accepted help for their medical/mental problems. 😈

    3. I’m surprised no fed-up vigilante has yet laced the local drug supply with something alluring yet lethal. (But I am not the only person I’veseen express this thought.)

      1. Maybe they have. Every now and again, you hear a story about a particular batch of drugs that poisons (worse than usual) the addicts using it. If a local vigilante was somehow responsible, would the media mention that tid-bit?

        1. Several challenges. Picking the poison. Procuring the poison. Learning enough about the illegal drug logistics to distribute the poison, and get away cleanly enough to repeat the act.

          1. Yeah, they tend to go to the reliable dealer — it’s hard to see how you could get into the stream without being a drug dealer yourself.

    4. I think I’m tempted to use you as bait, while me and a handful of others do what should have been done a long time ago to those feral predators. Wait for them to attack, then step in and kill them in the act of apprehending them.


      Yabbut that’s kind of hard on the bait.

      I’m working on a story, and there’s a chance my main characters might disguise a few battle droids as cute teenage girls, and send them out to wander those dodgy parts of town, looking for a little action…

      1. Huff’s Blood series (was a TV show for awhile, don’t know how well it matched the books). When Vicki the PI is finally turned, that is how she got, uh, take out. She’d go roaming the worst neighborhoods, female, & looking small. Imagine the predator who discovers they are the prey.

        1. Same concept that Anne Rice’s Lestat often used. Obviously Lestat loved it when then predators went from being 100% confident they were going to have their fun, to 100% terrified that they were now the prey animal.

          1. I hear that the adrenaline surge really brings out the flavour.

            Does anybody think vampires wouldn’t engage in long-term breeding of humans, same as we breed our food animals? I wonder what characteristics they might breed for?

      2. Actually, it’s not a problem for the bait. Either they know they’re being used that way and are prepared, or they have no idea at all that they’re being watched over by some guardian angels. If a pretty lady is going to take a walk through the park anyway ….

  7. if we had better services for the homeless this wouldn’t happen.

    Nor would it happen if we still had vagrancy laws.

    Nor if all men were angels.

    Still, while I agree that it wouldn’t happen if we had better services for the homeless I strongly doubt they’d support my idea of “better services” and by all available evidence I’m not about to endorse theirs!

  8. The “informal homeless shelter” is a big problem at the libraries, but at the Boulder library, the lack of books has reached almost crisis point. It isn’t even that they’ve been replaced with music/videos/games. There’s just nothing. The goal seems to be to create “an open community space” which basically amounts to a public cafeteria. Every time someone turns a page or takes a swig out of a water bottle, everyone in the building hears it. It’s useless for reading/writing/studying.

    Maybe the old model of libraries has become unworkable. Admittedly I can’t remember the last time I picked up a book on impulse and then actually finished it rather than just returning after having read a couple of chapters and deciding, “eh.” But still, I mourn for the loss of the libraries, not because of what they are but because of what they once were.

    1. My libraries are OK, but moving towards that model of “community center with games, toys, and videos, and a lot of computers – but not as many books”. The library of my childhood was awesome! Loads of great books, terrific librarians, and comfortable chairs – with no smelly, wild-eyed loafers scratching at God-knows-what to scare me.

      The used book shop I’m familiar with in Rock Hill, SC was the Book Nack (or was it Book Knack?). Large, filled with great choices. They moved, downsized, and are so-so now. I still shop there, but not like I did.

      If you want to read a tremendous book, set in Rock Hill (with werewolves and other scary creatures), try Jason Gilbert’s Wolfbane – trust me. It’s on KU, and also in paperback.

  9. This same ‘compassion’ makes it impossible for women and children to walk downtown in their lawful pursuits.

    With Liberals, “compassion” for some usually entails oppression of others. They tend to be very selective in their compassion and especially where it occurs. There is generally less exhibition of compassion where it personally inconveniences them, from which we can speculate about how often such compassionate people frequent libraries.

    1. It seems in general that they’re in favor of anything that would oppress or offend the “bourgeoisie”, and are completely compassionless towards the same.

      1. This is because one of their strongest motivations is the terrible fear that THEY are bourgeois. They go to incredible lengths to distance themselves from the rank and file, which is the major reason all the ‘art’ they favor quickly descends into a series of hip in-jokes that nobody with the sense God gave a turnip actually LIKES. This is also why they are never satisfied when society moves to join them on an issue. They CAN’T say to themselves, “Well, Gay Marriage is accepted now. We won!”, they HAVE to find some new position that the majority will consider insane. Because is they don’t then they are just like everybody else, and that would be Just Awful.

        I came to favor legal recognition of Gay Marriages. I still do. But I also came to realize that the vast majority of the Left didn’t support Gay Marriage because it was reasonable, or fair, or would (we hoped) provide a more stable existence for Gays. They supported it because it was a Cause they could be Superior about, and when it was won, they had to move on to something more extreme. Even if, and maybe especially if, that new Cause might undermine the previous one.

        1. Eh. I don’t have a problem with gay folks. Never did, to be honest. The thing that some people are finally catching up on is that the government should *not* be in charge of who can and cannot marry. Legal adults of sound mind? Knock yourself out.

          Government should witness and enforce the legal contract, period. No more, no less. There are far, *far* more things on this Earth that don’t need a single thing from government that do. And far more things it has its dirty fingers in that it by all rights should not.

          1. Before the redefinition, anybody could get married. Still can. There’s no rule against a marriage ceremony for anything, there was just no reason to involve the government.

            The government only got involved on behalf of the third party that can be generated without any paperwork in specific situations.

            This is me not being surprised that the folks who, as folks have pointed out recently, don’t seem to much like children — push redefining the very institution that protects their generation and maturation.

    2. Leftist ‘compassion’ almost always amounts to public emoting, and almost never involves analysis of the problem or any actual attempt to solve it.

      1. Public emoting plus a solution that looks good to them – like stationing social workers in the library – with no attempt to analyze the problem, the proposed solution and/or (most importantly) the second order effects of the proposed solution. After all, good intentions and feelz make such good policy … sigh.

  10. Allowing the feral homeless to roam free is destructive of those institutions which bind communities, a point Salena Zito makes some seven years after Sarah:

    What We Lose by the Closing of Community Department Stores
    PITTSBURGH — Five years ago, the sad goodbye to an icon began when Macy’s decided to close its flagship location in downtown Pittsburgh. The void, alas, still remains.

    For most of that building’s storied 110-plus-year-old life, until Macy’s took it 15 years ago, it was Kaufmann’s department store: a place where parents, whether they were working-class or well-to-do, took their babies to get fitted for their first pair of shoes; or purchased their communion dress, prom dress, wedding gown, back-to-school clothes; or bought them the sheets, furniture, toasters, pots and pans they needed to start their adult lives.

    It was also where young and old, rich or poor, went to the Adoria Beauty Salon to have their hair styled for the very first time. Or where they went to have their first special lunch with their parents or grandparents at Tic Toc restaurant. And maybe even where they have their first job.

    It was 1.2 million square feet of community, where people came together no matter their age or where they were from to experience dozens of rights of passage. …

    [END EXCERPT]

    We used to gather together in parks, libraries, shopping locales and elsewhere, seeing our neighbors and being seen by them. Funny how many of such institutions are disfavored by Liberals (although I gather they still like (and evict riff-raff from) union halls.

    1. That sounded familiar… it was in Simak’s “They Walked Like Men” when some aliens bought a huge department store and shut it down. The real estate was more valuable than the business, you know…

      My town never had such a thing. We had several department stores, but they were just stores. There *might* have been such things as the writer described in Little Rock, but they’d already been taken over by “youths” by the late 1970s, and too dangerous to enter by the late 1980s; long bulldozed now. There’s a generic indoor mall in North Little Rock that’s still going, somehow, despite being mostly empty. “Youth” were in the process of taking it over last I went there, more than a decade ago now.

      While saddening, the story is no more relevant to here – or, I suspect, most of America – than Simak, or an old episode of “Leave It to Beaver.” My parents were from rural areas; I doubt they ever saw anything like that during their lifetimes either.

      1. One of the earliest indoor mega-malls in OH – Randall Park, built on a grand scale, closed down due to “youths” coming in, intimidating other shoppers, stealing from stores, and hanging around to mug the exiting regular folk. The official story was that the mall was mismanaged.

        Trust me, I listened to those who stopped shopping there, for fear of assault.

        1. Same thin g happened to the malls in Montgomery AL…. except it started in the 80s, complete with our local Jesse Jackson mini-me, Alvin Holmes, showing up to protest the police trying to do anything about it.

          1. “Shopping malls are a public space, thus any impediment to free assembly and free speech is anathema.”

            AND

            “Shopping malls are private property, therefore the police have no authority to enter and act.”

            EQUALS Recipe for Disaster

        2. “The official story was that the mall was mismanaged.”

          Sounds like it was, although perhaps not in the sense that the officials wanted to pretend.

          1. You read my mind — an unhealthy practice which I recommend you not engage in. Try trashy novels instead.

  11. The people that make up the majority of the homeless population…yeah, the services they NEED aren’t available, anymore. About 1/3 need to be involuntarily committed to long-term residency in a mental hospital. Another 1/3 should be involuntarily committed to the prison systems–probably should have been hospitalized, but have been allowed to go feral and get vicious. The rest need to be reminded that their choices to drop out and live like that come with consequences. They’d probably shape up faster than the left thinks is possible.

    1. Well, the Democratic Party could scoop some up, host them off at the car wash, and run them for Congress and various state offices. The clown posse they have now are cleaner, but they don’t seem to be any less crazy and dysfunctional.

      1. Democrat: would-be homeless person who hasn’t yet figured out the “drop out” part of the instructions.

  12. I have a character trying to perform uplift (without any prior warning that he’d need to before getting Connecticut Yankee’d), so I’m absolutely going to steal the ‘string novels’ idea.

    -Albert

  13. OK, this post was from 2013. Does anybody here think the homeless problem has gotten better in the intervening years? I have zero reason to go downtown in even medium-size cities, but from what I understand most of them are literal cesspits. (Has anybody seen that app or website, I forget which, that marked downtown San Francisco with little turdpile icons wherever human feces was reported? As I recall, if you zoomed out far enough, they all flowed together and the whole peninsula turned brown.)

    It is beyond me what these city politicians are thinking. What is their end goal? Drive out the tax paying citizenry and leave everything go feral?

  14. It’s one of the things I’ll miss when I move–there are libraries in all the tiny towns here, and what I think they should be. Crammed with books, an active event calendar, and solid toys for my not-quite-readers to mess with. I’ve taught my daughter to hand the librarian my card and ask to check books out.

    (I do have hopes that Fairmont matches Ilion in this regard, because I mostly hear of this post’s issues in cities, but I certainly won’t assume…)

    It really does make me sad it’s not like this everywhere, though. X.x

  15. But instead, most homeless are … feral. The sort of people who don’t recognize the social compact and don’t care about the rules of society.

    A lot of the folks flipping out deny there is a social compact.

    What was that line… I think it was Shaw… something about a barbarian ‘cus he thinks his tribe’s customs are laws of nature?

      1. Heinlein probably expected his readers would recognize where that came from when he used it… I just now learned.

    1. A lot of the folks flipping out deny there is a social compact.

      And yet so very many of the things they argue for are premised on the existence of a social contract. If there’s no social contract, how can there be any problems with inequality, with unfairness, with privilege?

        1. Yes – on revisiting the assertion this morning I might make the slight editorial change:

          And yet so very many of the things they demand are premised …

          After all, they don’t argue they just employ the standard union negotiation playbook: these are our demands, agree to them or there will be pain.

  16. Well I was in the US Air Force which means there were limited on base libraries most of my career. I remember being stationed in Okinawa with limited money! (Saving money to get my first car. There was no real hardbacks in the library but they did have a good size mmpb library. I read out their SF/F books fairly fast then I got into their westerns finding Luke Short and Louis L’Amour. 🙂 Read those out and a few others. Then Agatha Christie’s and a few other mysteries went. I liked Miss Marple’s but not Hercule Poirot. 🙂 By the end of my stay I’d about given up on the library!

  17. My local library is actually pretty nice. It has far more books than computers, and though the building isn’t very large (the parking lot is something like 30 cars max, with overflow at a local church that took over a bank building) it is part of the county library system, which means you can reserve a book from anywhere in the system and it shows up locally. It’s also catty-corner to a middle school, which means a flood of kids right after school gets out, and they tend to be pretty well-behaved. They rotate what’s available regularly, so while a trip might only net me a few books, I’m not starved for choice. And they decided some time ago that a yearly sale wasn’t nearly as efficient as having a couple of shelves of perennial sale with dead-cheap pricing (25¢ paperbacks) and a lockbox. I found two books an elementary-school classmate wrote that way—don’t tell her.

    That being said, my kids aren’t as interested in going there. One of them has discovered Libby and would rather borrow books online than go in person—though she’s still technically using the library, so hooray for that.

  18. Our libraries range from really good to average. The central library downtown has police on duty, so those who might incline to mischief go elsewhere, like the shelter and resource center two blocks away. I’m not thrilled by the shift away from books to other media, but the books they do have a are generally pretty good. They try to cater to the local population, so the one closest to Redquarters has a large travel section, the one on the northwest side has lots of GED and professional certification books, the northeast branch has ESL and similar materials, and so on.

  19. I saw a posting on-line, and unfortunately I forget where, that used the mnemonic “CATO4321” to explain homelessness. I don’t know what studies support it, but it does seem to be accurate. It breaks down like this:
    “C 4” – about 40% of the homeless population are Crazy. They have some mental health problem that prevents them from normal interactions with other people and thus are unable to keep a job or stay housed. They need an asylum or other controlled environment, not social workers.
    “A 3” – about 30% of the homeless are Addicts. Due to substance abuse, these people are also unable to keep a job or housing. They need rehab, but of course that won’t work until they’re ready for it. Any assistance before they hit that point is useless.
    “T 2” – about 20% of the homeless are Tramps (in the hobo sense). Not crazy or addicted, these folks just don’t want to hold a job and are willing to live a nomadic lifestyle so as not to have to deal with the details and trivia of keeping a house or apartment. No assistance will help them become housed because they will use it to maintain their preferred homeless lifestyle.
    “O 1” – This 10% are the Other. These are the people who are fairly normal but are homeless for reasons beyond their control. Social programs, public housing, and other forms of assistance will actually do some good for these people, and they don’t tend to stay homeless for very long before getting back on their feet.

    So, the preferred liberal homelessness solutions are set up to help about 10% of the homeless. It’s wasted on the other 90%, except for where it provides cushy jobs for liberals. Which may be the point.

    1. The problem is your percentages add up to 100% … they should add up higher than that as a number of the crazies are also addicts after attempting to self-medicate. A number of the folks in the Tramps column may not be addicted but may well be heavy users of various recreational substances. These categories overlap significantly.

    2. So, the preferred liberal homelessness solutions are set up to help about 10% of the homeless. It’s wasted on the other 90%, except for where it provides cushy jobs for liberals. Which may be is the point.

      fify

      1. …aaand the strike tag didn’t work. WP delenda est.

        Let us try once again:

        So, the preferred liberal homelessness solutions are set up to help about 10% of the homeless. It’s wasted on the other 90%, except for where it provides cushy jobs for liberals. Which may be is the point.

    3. That IS the point… consider: various Left Coast cities spend from $35k to $80k PER homeless person PER year. If it were truly about helping the homeless — that’s enough to provide each ‘homeless’ a nice all-expenses-paid rental unit (even in the high-rent districts), plus a monthly stipend… but instead it goes to fund the business of homeless support, a career where one can acquire a very nice salary (not to mention pension and benefits) regardless of the results.

      And anything you’re willing to pay for, you get more of.

      1. It is all part of their war on the Middle Class, who they’ve never much liked any way, any time, any place. It justifies higher taxes while denying improved services.

        1. And where they did give poor people nice apartments with prepaid rent, it usually turns out that the apartment building got more discount on something than actual rent, while the rent was pocketed by some corrupt official. Or the corrupt official sent the homeless away, and kept the nice apartment for himself or herself.

        2. They define middle class different. To them the busybodies getting paid to promote homelessness is the middle class

  20. AND remember all those concerned citizens that want to “Help” the homeless, want to do it with YOUR money. The Old Charities would distinguish between the Deserving and the Undeserving poor and thus their money was well spent on people that would profit from the help. But todays Do Goodier can’t have THAT. You can’t JUDGE, you have to help everyone and because of the Do Goodier’s no one is helped.
    There is nothing that can be done because ANY change will be seen as Judgmental or Racist by the Do Goodier’s and the Media will STOP any hope of change by lying about the change.

    What is strange is that when the cities FAIL and FALL the Homeless probably have the best chance to survive.

    1. This is largely the problem with politics and the larger bureacracy itself. The money *isn’t* theirs. It is taken, by implicit force, from John Q Public. A fact not high on the minds of voters due in part to the fact that it is so far from April 15th, or so one of suspicious mind might presume.

      There are things that I deem legitimate uses of these ill-gotten funds. They are somewhat less than the tomfoolery that gets passed off as a “budget” by state and federal offices.

  21. Andrew Carnegie is largely responsible for the ‘Library’ Americans consider ‘normal’. He endowed thousands, and he did it very cleverly. He paid for the buildings, and set up a fund for the upkeep, but the locals were expected to buy the books themselves. And in consequence, the towns with such libraries were emotionally invested in them.

    It’s taken the Progressive Left a century to destroy that. Bastards.

      1. Has the political leadership changed (beyond the usual chair shuffling)?

        If not, the problem has gotten no better.

    1. I live in C Springs but have never gone to the downtown library. In fact I don’t go to the library very often here. I have my own 7,000 plus SF/F library! 🙂

  22. from https://www.dicio.com.br/alfarrabio/
    (this here blog being the only place I find the spelling Alfarabios; if I force “Alfarábios” on Translate, it produces the nonsense response “Alfarabs”, and absent the accent, it produces “Al-Farabi”)

    alfarrábio
    Significado de Alfarrábio
    substantivo masculino Livro grande e antigo; calhamaço, cartapácio.Livro velho que só possui valor por ser antigo.Livro antigo de teor pouco importante.[Por Extensão] Livro ou documento antigo, guardado há muito tempo.Etimologia (origem da palavra alfarrábio). Do nome Al-Farabi, filósofo nascido no Turquestão.
    Sinônimos de Alfarrábio
    Alfarrábio é sinônimo de: calhamaço, cartapácio, livro
    Definição de Alfarrábio
    Classe gramatical: substantivo masculino
    Separação silábica: al-far-rá-bi-o
    Plural: alfarrábios
    Feminino: alfarrábia

    Moderately hilarious and partially-informative Google Translate:

    lavender
    Meaning of Alfarrábio
    masculine noun Large and ancient book; calhamaço, cartapácio.Old book that only has value because it is old. Old book of little importance. [By Extension] Old book or document, kept for a long time.Etymology (origin of the word alfarrábio). From the name Al-Farabi, a philosopher born in Turkestan.
    Synonyms of Alfarrábio
    Alfarrábio is synonymous with: calhamaço, cartapácio, book
    Definition of Alfarrábio
    Grammatical class: masculine noun
    Syllabic separation: al-far-rá-bi-o
    Plural: carob
    Female: carob

    [Sometimes you gotta wonder about Google…]

    1. Hey, the google kids are rilly rilly busy pushing the US election off the left edge and simultaneously helping the ChiComms enforce their technological marvel of a fascist police state, all the while trying to forget that old worn out “don’t be evil” motto.

      You can’t expect them to also make sure their stuff actually works.

      Might try Bing’s translate just for giggles. At least Bill Gates’ company never claimed to not be evil.

      1. Yeah, you can only expect competence across a limited range… Google spent all theirs on Being Evil.

        There’s also DeepL translator, but I haven’t had all that much luck with it.

    2. Wiktionary in English says that it is named after the medieval Islamic philosopher al-Farabi.

      And yes, a search of the terms alfarrabio bookstore will find Portuguese and Brazilian bookstores named that. (I like Alfarrabio Shalom.)

  23. (Don McCollor)…I grew up in the 1960’s in a little town with the stores open every Friday night, including the Woman’s Study Club Library. I would be there when a nice old lady would open up and unlock the book cases. Often I was her only patron, and would check out as many books as I could, then sit in the family pickup under a streetlight and read a couple before I got home. Years later, it closed and the books were sold, I bought some that were dear old friends that I had checked out more than once, One or two, my mother had signed for me because I was too young…Time has turned full circle, and I am now the ([unpaid] volunteer City Librarian…

  24. Locally, care for the homeless has come in two forms over the years. One is simple mercy. Churches open their doors and feed people, give them warmth during the cold months, on occasion. They trade the duty out so no one location gets swamped. And two is pragmatic need.

    Local family’s house burned down, father lost his job same week, and were feeling the pinch. No family nearby, they were trasnplants. I believe they were given leave to use a house that was being readied for sale whilst one was *built* for them. A simple affair, but it went up inside of a couple of weeks. The family left the sale house better than they found it, and paid the builders back over three decades. Father ended up foreman of one of the builder’s crews. He had been a factory laborer, something like a chemist, before.

    Another couple had their trailer burn down in the fall. Within two days they were seen to be sitting outside the local wally world, carefully tattered cardboard sign saying “Please Help. Lost Everything.” For on two years they conned the rubes that come by from farther flung places. I hear tell between the two of them they pulled in about five times what I made in a year doing that, never residing anywhere close to a house. They were finally arrested for vagrancy and cleared out soon after to parts unknown.

    Larger city, where I worked while going to college, had a homeless problem. A problem, because there was not enough either political will or personal gumption to put a stop to it. They would urinate in public places, trash up the closer in alleyways and generally make nuisances of themselves. There would be a great show of force every now and again, if some gentile lady got accosted on her way to the booty-shaking club downtown, and the streets, parks, and alleyways would get cleaned up. For a time.

    I’ve not been back in a decade now, and I rather doubt the situation has gotten any better.

    Over time, people get used to things that are most definitely not in their best interests. As has been mentioned before, you get more of what you subsidize (viz Seattle, areas of California, heck, pick any decently large city in the US). To put an effective stop to it, one needs to do things to make it unwelcome and uncomfortable to be a vagrant parasite upon the public purse. Such things as will not happen as long as a certain party holds the cities.

    Catch a democrat in an unguarded moment, and they will tell you that they don’t like the situation. At all. But individually, they can’t do enough. And individually, they support the policies that enable the situation.

    With my small bit of training in cultural anthropology, I sometimes wonder if it would be possible to retain the urban culture that liberals find comfortable while excising the crazier bits that cause the problems. I have no problems with Starbucks lattes, internet cafes, niche clubs and suchlike. I rather do with things like anti-police attitudes, harming the public by allowing dangerous criminals to be set free unrepentant, and the kind of ruinous taxation it takes to fund the latest nonsense public works.

    The liberal flees the ruin he created, for the taxes are too high, the criminals run rampant (making zim feel truly “unsafe” rather than the fake use of the term more commonly mouthed these days), and he can’t find a job. But the liberal brings the ruin with him, for he votes for and agitates towards the very things which caused the ruin from whence he once fled…

  25. Dad had stories about the homeless and you can create a rough Venn diagram that can be split between-

    *The mentally ill
    *The addicts
    *The “lifestyle” homeless

    There’s a few smaller circles of people that…to be fair, do things like join the military and such because they need someone to manage their lives and military service allows for some management. If they don’t have the management, they just sort of slip…but, it’s a fairly small number.

    Of these people, I have the most sympathy for the mentally ill, followed by the addicts. Usually, the addicts are mentally ill and using street drugs and/or alcohol to control their issues. But, this adds issues that include things like unpredictability and bad trips.

    But, my sympathy is limited because I don’t know their issues or how to handle them or resolve them. I can’t fix this problem, I have to trust other people to fix it and they are not fixing it. I don’t want to be in SF on a regular basis. I don’t want to go to our libraries on a regular basis, or even downtown outside of certain parts of my local area on a regular basis and I’m a fairly large strapping male. What women would feel…I can sympathize.

    It isn’t going to be pretty or nice the solution to this now, it’s gotten too bad, too far. My only hope is that we can get to a merciful solution.

    1. But merciful by your standards, not by mine.

      Because by my standards, I would prefer being administered a painful death to a life of substance abuse. 😛

      I am thankful the Lord has made me aware that the reality of society is rarely so cut and dried as it seems when I attempt to define policy positions.

    2. The thing with using drugs to cope with neurological dysfunction is that some of those drugs can create neurological dysfunction. Amphetamines are famous for it, but even alcohol can mess people up. So the net effect is debatable.

      1. Aye. I knew a gal who needed some ADHD (or such) stuff… and knew, through trial and error (mostly error) which “energy drinks” and how much she could get away with while not covered, to at least partially compensate – and she knew what did NOT get taken care of. It was a tight-rope walk on the good days. The bad days? Well, bedrest was perhaps the least lousy option.

        1. Sure. But sometimes the treatment can have iatrogenic effects. Sometimes those are even worse than what you had to start with.

  26. Going to leave this comment under a different name, for ethical reasons. I won’t be talking specifics, but still don’t want where i work identifiable.

    Look. I work at a library branch that is quite near a homeless shelter, and very near certain mass transit places. Our homeless problem has gotten a ton worse over the last five, six months.

    We *don’t* see the 10% that is only homeless a short time. (the families and so forth, the people who actually want/can use help.) We’re mostly getting the ones who want to be homeless, (who aren’t much of a problem, usually, except perhaps minor hygiene issues, and who are there to actually use the library books and/or computers more or less as intended) the crazies, (who usually end up getting themselves banned within a week or three of becoming regular enough to be recognizable to staff) and the addicts. (The addicts… some of them end up banned, others are semi-functioning enough to last.)

    I routinely (legally) carry at work, and while I have never drawn my firearm (and I don’t particularly think I will need to anytime soon) there have been a couple times it came close. One involved a creepy homeless guy ‘mistaking’ a teen girl for his dealer and then following her out. (I followed him as closely as I could, and by the time I’d caught up at a transit point she had a knife out) Another involved someone getting angry enough that he took a swing at the assistant manager when they kicked him out.

    We have police there about a third of our total time open each day. (Afternoon – evening.)

    When we had an issue with someone coming back early from being banned and I asked ‘was it the one who was wrestling with the cops on the front lawn’ we realized that didn’t narrow it down enough.

    We try and keep the real problem ones out, but it isn’t doing enough, and it is consistently driving good people away, because there are always new problem cases that haven’t quite reached the threshold of being banned, and of course the lead up and inciting incident itself is enough on its own.

    Now, we at least do still have plenty of books on hand, it is a popular lending library, so we have a good selection of the new (trad published) materials, but that’s a bit cold comfort when the place isn’t welcoming to spend any length of time in.

  27. I’m not going to ask the question that came to mind upon reading your experiences with urban campers out of respect for your OPSEC. I will state that I ensured Darlin’ Daughter got her CCW permit the first day she was legally eligible. (She had her training , Glock and holsters months earlier) (Training started at age 8)

  28. We have a very good friend who used to work for the San Diego city library. She told us grim stories of homeless people hanging out in the main downtown branch, including one who urinated on a shelf of illustrated art books, and of librarians in the new library building having the job of going through the rest rooms after closing gathering up discarded hypodermics. Also, when the city moved from the decades old library building to the new, modern, larger building—they discarded a significant fraction of their collection, some of it in a rush at the last minute; it seems the larger building had LESS room for actual books, including older books that someone might want to visit a library to track down. (I wonder if they still have the history of the Golden Dawn I read, with membership lists for the various chapters, including an LA chapter with L. Ron and Betty Hubbard?)

  29. You may want to make this a guest post
    Practical information for the Corona virus.
    This information is from the ‘Gemelli’ hospital in Rome and is a must read (Google translated from Albanian lightly edited. Originally published in an Albanian newspaper )

    Given that Albania is also officially a country affected by the coronavirus, the advice and experiences coming from its neighbor, Italy, which is struggling with a strong epidemic, are worthy of consideration by Albanian citizens and institutions.

    The following information has been prepared and distributed by the ‘Gemelli’ hospital in Rome, which has long since become a major center for the treatment and study of this dangerous virus.

    Coronavirus infection does not cause colds with runny nose or secretory cough, but dry cough; this is the first thing you need to know. The virus does not withstand heat and is destroyed if exposed to temperatures of 26-27 degrees centigrade (80 F) ; so you often consume warm juices such as tea, soup or just warm water during the day; warm liquids neutralize the virus. Avoid water with ice. Whoever is able, you should stay in the sun as long as possible.

    1. Corona virus is large (diameter 400-500 nanometers) so any type of mask can stop it. There is definitely no need for special masks. The situation is changing in the case of doctors and nurses who are exposed to heavy loads of virus and need to use special tools. If an infected person sneezes in front of you, you must be 3 meters (10 feet) away for the virus to fall to the ground and not climb.

    2. When the virus is on the metal surface, it lives there for about 12 hours. So when touching metal surfaces such as door handles, home appliances, bus holders, etc., wash your hands well and disinfect them carefully.

    3. The virus can live and remain in your clothes for 6-12 hours; simple detergents kill the virus. For clothes that are not washed daily, preferably expose them to the sun and the virus disappears.

    How does coronavirus appear?

    1. The virus is firstly positioned in the throat causing inflammation and dry throat sensation; this symptom lasts 3-4 days.

    2. The virus moves through the moisture of the airways, descends into the trachea and enters the lungs. This passage takes 5-6 days.

    3. Pulmonitis occurs with high fever and difficulty breathing. Does not appear with the usual cold. You may feel as if you are drowning. In this case, consult your doctor immediately.

    How can you avoid the virus?

    1. The transmission of the virus most often occurs by direct contact, touching clothes or items where it is located; hand washing is essential as often as possible. The virus survives in your hands for only 10 minutes, but in those 10 minutes many things can happen: you were rubbing your eyes, nose or mouth, allowing the virus to get into your throat. So, for your own benefit and that of others, wash your hands and disinfect them very often!

    2. Gargle with disinfectant solutions to eliminate or reduce the amount of virus in your throat; in doing so, you eliminate it before it descends into your trunk and then into your lungs.

    3. Disinfect the computer keyboard and mouse! Take care of yourself and others!

      1. I have seen it before in a slightly different translation and have some doubts. A human-infecting virus with a maximum temperature well below healthy human body temperature?

      2. Well, it COULD be because a lot of actual doctors are saying that’s not true. Any of it. And I mean in pm not social or media.
        I would like to see some corroboration.
        It’s like the stuff from China. Yeah, that’s nice, but I KNOW their scientific standards. That’s not even true for Albania.

    1. The virus does not withstand heat and is destroyed if exposed to temperatures of 26-27 degrees centigrade (80 F) ;

      That’s almost 20 degrees below human body temperature… I think you got hoaxed.

      I looked up the Gemelli website and they do have a top ten list, but it looks nothing like that.
      https://www.policlinicogemelli.it/en/news-events/nuovo-coronavirus-dieci-comportamenti-da-seguire/

      Here’s the Microsoft auto-translate:
      In view of the recent circulars of the Ministry of Health (Indications for service operators/exercises in contact with the public and COVID-2019 – New indications and clarifications ) here are some information for those who provide their work in contact with the public.

      1
      Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or alternatively use a 60% alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
      Wash your hands often

      2
      Avoid close contact with people suffering from acute respiratory infections.
      Keep at least a meter away from other people especially when coughing, sneezing or fever.
      Avoid close contact with people suffering from acute respiratory infections

      3
      Do not touch your eyes, nose and mouth with your hands as they can come into contact with surfaces contaminated by the virus and transmit it to your body.
      Do NOT touch your eyes, nose and mouth with your hands

      4
      If you sneeze or cough cover your mouth and nose. Do not use your hands but use a disposable handkerchief or cough inside the elbow. In case of an acute respiratory infection, avoid close contact with other people, wear a mask and wash your hands.
      Cover your mouth and nose if you sneeze or cough

      5
      Do not take antiviral drugs or antibiotics unless prescribed by your doctor: antibiotics do not work with viruses, but only against bacteria.
      Do NOT take antiviral drugs or antibiotics unless prescribed by your doctor

      6
      Clean surfaces with bleach/chlorine-based disinfectants, solvents, 75% ethanol (alcohol), peracetic acid and chloroform. Your doctor and pharmacist will be able to advise you.
      Clean the surfaces with chlorine or alcohol based disinfectants

      7
      Use the mask only if you suspect you have contracted the new coronavirus, and have symptoms such as coughing or sneezing, or if you care for a person with suspected infection with new coronavirus (recent trip to China and respiratory symptoms).
      Use the mask only if you suspect you are ill or assist sick people

      8
      MADE IN CHINA products and packages received from China are NOT dangerous because the new coronavirus is not able to survive long on surfaces.
      MADE IN CHINA products and parcels received from China are NOT dangerous

      9
      Contact the 1500 toll-free number if you have a fever or cough and have been back from China for less than 14 days for information on what to do. If you are in contact with other people, wear a mask, use disposable handkerchiefs and wash your hands well.
      Contact the toll-free number 1500 if you have a fever or a cough and have returned from China for less than 14 days

      10
      Pets, such as cats and dogs, do not spread the new coronavirus.
      However, it is always good to wash your hands with soap and water after contact.
      Pets do NOT spread the new coronavirus

    2. This is SO completely different from everything else I’m getting, including from doctors on the longevity of virus on surfaces, the mask efficacy, etc. that I’m sorry. I’d need far better sourcing and considerably more backing.

  30. Love stories from a fellow reader. I was creating libraries for my friends when I was probably four or five years old. Daughter became a librarian.
    On another note, if you ever want to see a very good, private response to the homeless problem, come to Wichita, Kansas and visit the Union Rescue Mission here, where we are working with the homeless men to meet the need head on.

  31. Okay, the lack of information pissed me off. Here’s the 3M website for the full download from the manufacturer:

    https://www.3m.com/3M/en_US/worker-health-safety-us/all-stories/full-story-detail/?storyid=8855304f-01cb-4af2-8937-83096cdb4113

    TLDR, an industrial painting mask with a P95 or P100 rating is good (P100 is better at stopping smaller particles, it is used for dangerous dusts like lead paint), it will stop the virus just fine. A disposable dust mask will be good enough to capture aerosol droplets left in the air from breathing and sneezing. An M95 mask with an exhalation port will keep the wearer safe from inhaling droplets with the virus in them, it will NOT keep other people safe if the wearer is infected because exhalation ports allow what is inside to get -out-.

    Bottom line, your paint/pesticide filter P95 is more than good enough. You’re going to look like a frickin’ space invader, but for myself I’m cool with that.

  32. I enjoyed the library exposition. I grew up in very rural SC (near Saluda), on a dairy farm. In my case, outside of school libraries, we had this wonderful phenomenon called “the Bookmobile.” My mother, a big proponent of education and a teacher’s aide, arranged for this vehicle to stop at our house on their route every two or three weeks (exact memories have faded in the mists of time). Not only did they have air conditioning, they had BOOKS. It was a panel truck type vehicle, and the two ladies who ran it would happily take my requests and bring me books of a certain type or genre (mostly hard science, science fiction, military history, action novels) by request on followup visits. Even more wonderful was the fact that they had periodicals, including Popular Electronics. Somehow, they received two copies of that periodical…and they would bring ME the extra! Apparently I was the only one around there who was interested. I was (and still am) very science and engineering focused, and went on to earn BS, MS, and PhD in electrical engineering.

    It was like magic. Imagine having a decently-sized subset of a local (well, “local” was 15-20 miles away, and we did not go often to town in the early days) library come to your house, and take requests on top of that! I’ll never forget the people who ran that program, and it certainly aided me a great deal in my education, career, and teenage mental health.

  33. What we call “the homeless” have always been with us; I remember seeing them in Chicago in about 1969 or so on a trip there with my family. The “homeless crisis” was a perfect storm of badly-thought-out deinstitutionalization of the mentally ill, much greater difficulties in involuntary committal of the mentally ill, and the abolition of vagrancy laws. It became a Thing when the news media decided to use it to beat on Reagan, blaming GOP heartlessness for the increased visibility of bums sleeping in the streets. (Back in 2003, by the way, I was in Toronto, ONT, for Worldcon…and I was shocked at how many homeless beggars I saw in the downtown area. I wonder how Reagan did that?)

    These days when I visit my relatives in California, I see homeless people all over. Between the mild climate and the foolish governmental policies, it’s very easy to get by there as a homeless bum. I’ve pointed out in an upcoming article in The Libertarian Enterprise that this sort of thing leads to death squads, when the cops won’t enforce laws and won’t protect people.

    A recently-deceased friend of mine was very familiar with Central America. He told me that in Guatemala, people who were sick of the sort of shenanigans you’re describing would contract with one of the local death squads to take care of business. Ojo por Ojo was fairly mellow about it…they would “disappear” a few of the worst offenders, hand out a bunch of beatings, and suggest to the survivors that elsewhere was a better place to be. La Mano Blanca, OTOH, was a lot more hardcore. They would get a list, with ID pictures, of poor people who were allowed to be in the area—delivery people, servants, garbage men, like that. All other such folk who showed their faces would be disappeared.

    1. I’m starting to hear from my “liberal” acquaintances that these people need to be put in rehabilitation camps.
      This is the liberal arc, aka “the bad parent”. Indulge bad behavior until it’s out of control and intolerable. Then destroy the people misbehaving. Pat yourself on the back for being compassionate. repeat.

  34. I used to work at the Colorado Springs downtown library, (Penrose Branch). It was between more than a dozen soup kitchens, homeless shelters and community corrections/halfway houses.
    The entire downtown area was becoming an infested hole of panhandlers, junkies, muggers and wastrels. People were afraid to come to the library/downtown because of the human trash clogging up the sidewalks and streets.
    Our two security guards were occupied full time with keeping the homeless from sleeping in/on library property.
    It was a large enough library, we still had plenty of books, but every available seat was taken up by one of the homeless trying to get out of the heat/cold. They would camp in place for the entire day.
    Now, we had the destitute that were actually looking to help themselves, but we would see them a handful of times before they took advantage of available resources, (employment services, public housing, etc.), to improve their lot.
    The rest of them? Content to live a free meal or two each day and lay about, accomplishing nothing.
    A lot of them were on drugs, or just booze. Most of them had mental problems, (though I suspect for the majority it was from a lifetime of substance abuse frying their brains).
    In short, enabling the behavior only encouraged more people to live what they saw as the easy life of the homeless. Why get off drugs when suckers were willingly to pay for things you refuse to work for? Why get a job when clean clothes and hot food were available from the nearest charity?

  35. And you’ve exactly described why it’s getting very close to “time to leave Denver” for me. Still have the stop-loss order on the house and watching it closely. I’m not going to be the last one out of Detroit Denver.
    The (admittedly futile) War on Dust is a prelude to getting the house showable. When trying to remove ALL dust (I did mention “futile”, right?), one notices a lot of little issue to be taken care of. I expect a year or two longer.

    1. Oh, it’s not a futile war – and you will win it, by leaving the house entirely! (Eventually.)

      As long as I stay ahead of the dust front, my house does not worsen my standard of living (being allergic to dust mites is an incentive that brings about order and cleanliness in ways my teenaged self couldn’t envisage.) And totally feel you on the “great way to notice minor maintenance issues.”

      In fact, soon as I’m healthy enough to deal with it, I have a little caulking to do…

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