The Future’s So Bright

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I woke up today filled with probably unwarranted optimism.

This happens so very rarely that I’ve come to believe it’s a gift of sorts.  And perhaps more.  You see, I’ve always had the embarrassing gift of “sensing” the future. I’m not laying claim to any paranormal ability with this, note. It’s just if you spend your evenings going over the news everywhere, and if your rational self is prone to pessimism (being rational and the nature of the world being what it is) at some point your subconscious takes over and starts communicating with you via hunches.

I loved the scene in Friday where the boss has Friday spend her time immersing herself into what we’d now call the internet, and then calls her in the middle of the night to ask her the answer to questions to which she should have no response, and she answers…. accurately.

My mind is a tug of war between lived experience — I’ve seen the movie of descent into (greater) socialist madness before — and my subconscious. When they both agree it’s a bad bad thing.

I still expect this fall to be tight, because too many things have been smashed with a hammer for it to be otherwise.  And that of course will put the election at risk of falling to the socialists.  On the other hand, my subconscious woke up singing.

Part of this is, I suppose, that I have cleaned out and tagged (and got rid of expired) emergency storage food, and found I have an extra, unopened #10 can of eggs, which, as those who’ve used it know, can last forever.  I’ve also a lot of freeze dried vegetables, and like the potato chip people I will make more. And I have two gallon cans of olive oil on order.  All of which adds up to: we’re not going to starve. If push comes to shove, we can survive on soup and bread — we have a lot of almond and coconut flour — for a long, long time.  What’s more, we have peanut butter to put on the bread. A LOT of peanut butter.  Which even my husband refuses to put on the tuna, which we also have more of than I expected.  However, we have a can of egg whites, and tuna soufle, or quiche is a thing.

Knowing this is a great comfort. Not that I expect the shelves to be bare — well, not now — but I do expect the occasional hiccup.  And while I don’t have the food to survive Venezuela — so please let’s not go there, kay thanx — for years and years and years, I do have the food to paper over gaps.  In fact I’m kind of impressed at how much we have already laid by, though of course I’m not just sitting back and waiting.

IF I’m grossly wrong and we come out of this in a V shape, i.e. if our ascent is as steep as the sudden drop off on stopping, I’ll take most of the laid by food and donate to the firefighters’ in Manitou and their Christmas program, because you see, almost twenty years ago, when we found ourselves unemployed and scrambling JUST before Christmas, they delivered two massive boxes at our doorstep, which saw us through the three months of scrambling till we had solid footing again. I keep meaning to return the favor, but yeah, either through being very tight at that time OR through being very busy, we’ve yet to manage it.

First I should say the last time I had this counter-intuitive  counter-rational feeling that everything would be all right was after the election in 2012. And I attributed it to “Can’t live with fear forever.”  If you go back over that year, you see the hope — real hope not the cheap glitter of hope ‘n change take hold slowly, that it would all come out all right after all.  But I had trouble working through it, because, well… you know, I don’t believe in magic.  And I knew the damage that has been done to this country, and the depth it went to.

And yet, looking back and considering the insanity of Pierre Delecto, it’s entirely possible the best man won. And that the damage done by an open enemy of our country in the presidency was less than what a false and deluded friend would have done.

Let’s remember it was a republican — but a statist — who set us up to be screwed by China for decades, something that no democrat could have managed, no matter how much they wanted to. (OTOH they would have rolled over and waved their paws for Russia, so in the end, in that one too, maybe the best man won.)

Thing is, we don’t see parallel worlds, and though we can tell how bad things turn out here sometimes, we can’t tell how badly they’d have turned if what we wanted came to pass. I.e. if the rational part of our brain had guided the future.

So, what’s my gut feeling today? (Note I’m not saying any of this is right. Only that my gut is right a disturbing number of times. At least more than my brain.)

Today my feeling on the lockdown is that BGE is right. The states will open up and everything will be back to normal within the month. Pence has already seeded this by saying that he expects all this to be behind us by May 25.

And yep, it will be at first slow, then very fast. (I mean BGE makes his living predicting the behavior of masses of people, right? So he’s probably right.)

The leftards and the media (BIRM) will try to hold on to their doom reality show, but if the open states don’t all succumb to Wuhan lung rot, it’s going to get harder and harder.

With any luck this opens people eyes to their governors and their proclivities.

But I’m also getting a sense that the president is going along with the insanity because it suits him.  I mean, what have we seen from him before?  The Democrats “corner” him and suddenly find that they gave him everything he really wanted.  It’s president B’rer Rabbit forever.

There are things happening that frankly wouldn’t be possible without the crisis. Not only is the border getting sealed, but we’ve somehow convinced Mexicans that the US is more dangerous. (SMDH. Who’d have believed it?)

Drug traffic has fallen like a rock, particularly international drug traffic.

And meanwhile our president, who has always done a ton of things behind the scenes is now, under cover of this massive reality show the left staged, frantically undoing the damage of a century of centralization and attempts to plan the economy.

Look, I’m not saying he’s a conservative (neither am I, except in the sense that I’m to the right of Lenin. Most of “severe conservatism” seems to be using the right boot, rather than the left, to stomp on your trachea. And honestly, these days “severe conservatives” are globalists, which is a disease, not a cure.)  I’m not saying he’s a Libertarian (again, these days, neither am I, except in the sense the founding fathers were.)

What I’m saying is that the president was (and is) a businessman.  He knows better than most how hampered, chained down and bogged down the economy is. How it’s a miracle that the US remains the power house of the world after importing so many “planned” ideas from communism since WWI (and accelerating.)

I think, ladies, gentlemen and small furries, that he saw this emergency as “don’t let a crisis go to waste.”

I hope he judged right, and that he turns the corner just in time, before popular sentiment turns against him, but while he can free the economy as much as possible right now, and set us on a path to free it more.

There will still be trouble, such as the loss of airplanes.  And there will be riots and issues in major cities, because, you know, the shortage of drugs will allow some number of addicts to get over it and recover and build their lives, but others are going to go crazy.  (Well both of those were mounting problems, that needed to be resolved. This is a sudden change, but perhaps what emerges is better. At least now we know the governors who were perfectly willing to put their populace under house arrest, cannot refuse to “violate the civil liberties” of dangerous crazies infesting every city and terrorizing law abiding citizens.  Yes, politicians, but in this case I mean the homeless.)

And maybe, just maybe, if B’rer Rabbit judges his landing in the spiney JUST right, he can get jobs to relocate to the US, can get us to stop giving our best jobs to what amounts to foreign slave labor, and can unchain the giant as much as he can be unchained in (hopefully) two terms.

Consider how well we did with just the removal of some hampering. Imagine what Americans will do if the chains of regulation that have accumulated since Woodrow Wilson are removed. You ain’t seen nothing like us yet! I imagine we’ll surprise even me.

And then there’s schools and colleges.  They’re going to lose a lot of audience. Given what they’ve devolved into, that’s not bad.

Hollywood and traditional publishing, too, either will have to do some creative thinking very fast or take it in the shorts.  Since they’ve spent most of their creativity for decades into how best to screw creatives, I predict the result will be ugly. And I’ll coast down the river of their tears in an innertube, with a bucket of margaritas by my side.

Look, indie is fine. And Hollywood? Well, I’m sure some indie moviemakers not raging leftists will find a path of opportunity soon. I’m keeping fingers crossed.

IF my gut is right — and do you know how rarely my gut is OPTIMISTIC?  Most of the time its optimism is “It could be worse.” — we’re going to come out of this insanity better than ever, and will actually have a massive Summer of Recovery.  It won’t be blared from the headlines, but honestly, people still know their circumstances.

Was this ideal? None of it was ideal. But you roll with the punches you’re given.

Look around you. There should be a lot of new opportunities.  If rumblings I’m hearing are right, there will be great opportunities in your field soon, no matter what your field is.

Be not afraid. Sure. Stockpile some tuna and some peanut butter and some bread fixings. Because you never know.  And there will be rough patches. Sometimes VERY rough patches, depending on where you live.

And let’s hope there’s some plan to explode the ridiculous and ever ballooning vote fraud around election time, otherwise we’re STILL screwed.  But I have some (slim) hope that’s true.

Build under, build over, build around. Most of you are creative, odd, and see the opportunities other people miss.  Go to it now. Your time has come.

365 thoughts on “The Future’s So Bright

  1. And while we’re talking about hope for the future, this is as good a time as any to mention that the Munn family just welcomed Munnion number two a little while ago. I won’t put names and precise birth dates online, but pictures and details will be available to any regular commenter who emails me at my first & last names with a dot in between, courtesy of the big G’s email service.

    1. The Tribe of Munn increases, huzzah! May the mini-Munns grow to be strong and capable, to better meet the world and its hazards. May they grow in wisdom and character to the benefit of themselves and those they hold dear. Congratulations. May you and yours meet this responsibility with the love, care, and patience. May Himself bless you all.

  2. And while I don’t have the food to survive Venezuela — so please let’s not go there, kay thanx — for years and years and years, I do have the food to paper over gaps.

    Ditto.

    Which I’ve been pointing out to the folks who are now starting back into their “preppers are stupid and lame” type jokes.

    Mental note: I need to point out that I follow basic, sensible gov’t directives to prevent disaster, like having two weeks worth of emergency food, and washing my hands.

    1. Also two weeks, normally. I’ve been stocking to four weeks lately, where possible – because you really don’t know what is going to be unavailable or when. Still looking for rye flour and no perfume color bleach; those have been out for weeks now. Nothing critical in short supply, but I may keep level that as the “new normal” for this household.

      On the food supply front – just read an article yesterday over at The Conservative Treehouse; Sundance does an excellent job of laying out the issues involved in the chain. (He also made the predication that the DPA would be invoked – which, Lo!, it was today.)

      https://theconservativetreehouse.com/2020/04/28/president-trump-may-use-defense-production-act-for-u-s-food-supply-chain/

      1. Part of it is also just hitting the jackals in demedia on nose with rolled up EO. They are so hard on nationalizing industries so by at least using the dpa it looks like doing something even if just offering a subsidy on their power bills

    2. SIL lives in semi-rural Nevada and never bothered to build up an emergency supply of food. *That’s* changed.

      We’re back to weekly trips to town for groceries and such, but if we had to, we could do all right for a fairly long time. In March, we had to go 2.5 weeks between grocery runs, mostly for produce and dairy (we loves our yogurt supplies). Costco lets us get some of the stuff we need (dog food, frozen chicken breasts, some canned) and the restaurant supply usually has big cuts of pork that we can use.

      Our main bow to SHTF was a #10 can of scrambled egg mix. We’ll miss chick sales at the farm & ranch store, but if/when the coop/run is ready (this summer, says the plan), we have sources. And, if the 2AM wakeup bark is because of the resident deer, some judicious poaching would stretch our protein a bit. (He says, not entirely in jest.)

      1. The eastern U.S. is overrun with deer… as are parts of the mountain west… one more or less won’t be noticed…

        So long as we have Hutterite colonies hereabouts, I can’t be arsed to produce my own eggs; they do it cheaper and better. If they disappeared, then I’d have to find some chickens again…

        1. I knew a guy many years ago in New Jersey who was out of work and kept his family in protein through year-round deer hunting (i.e., poaching). Didn’t blame him a bit.

          1. Known more than one Appalachian farmer with the (entirely sensible, in my opinion) attitude of “Deer et my corn, so I et the deer.”

            Then I moved to Alaska, where they call it “subsistence” and don’t even bother with permits, much less seasons.

            Now I’m down in Texas. Can’t say I notice much difference in attitude. If one of the boys were to make a nice, plump young feral sow depart this vale of tears, well, my main issue would be how much I’d have to bribe them with food to do the butchering and make it appear in butcher-paper or vacuum-packed form. I have a cookbook dedicated to such wild game (three, actually), and I’m not afraid to use it!

            1. Feral pigs have become a plague across most of the South. Hunting them is encouraged, most places.

              They should encourage hunting invasive pythons in the Everglades, but that would make too much sense.
              ———————————
              Sue: [nervously] “Is it…poisonous?”
              Crocodile Dundee: “Huh? Oh, yeah! Deadly! Not bad eatin’, but they always give me gas.”

              1. For feral hogs in Texas, there are no limits and no season. Killing them is considered community service, not hunting or poaching.

            2. If you own the land, “In season” is pretty much year round. The deer ’round here need a good culling every now and again to keep the herds healthy and disease-free. Any sensible conservationist knows that. But tell that to (State Capitol)? Bah.

              And to add to Imaginos1892, yes feral hogs are a bit of a plague. Gamier than store bought, and smart critters. A bit west of here some bright soul started thinning the herds with helocopters and tourism-hunts. Smart people, making money off the problem.

              1. I’d think the most efficient way to hunt feral hogs would be from a zeppelin.

                With a big sign painted on it: PIG KILLER

                1. *chuckle* Most efficient way to hunt hogs would be to put a bounty on ’em, and let the people surprise you. Trust me. There are quite a few capitalist souls amongst the hunting population. Some might even do it just to be paid in ammunition of strange calibers…

              2. Until the late 1980s or early 1990s (my memory is slow this AM), professional hunters from Europe would come to the US and shoot as many young feral hogs as they could, then ship the meat back to Europe to sell as game meat. For some reason the USDA put a stop to the export, with unhappy results as far as property owners were concerned.

            3. “Known more than one Appalachian farmer with the (entirely sensible, in my opinion) attitude of “Deer et my corn, so I et the deer.””

              That was the explicit law in Arkansas until at least the mid 80s. If deer were eating your crops, they were your livestock.

        2. Well, that finally explains the line in the Corb Lund song The Truck Got Stuck

          Well it was truck after truck, we all got stuck
          ‘Cept the big old four by hutterite truck
          We all thought “lord are we in luck!”
          But he wouldn’t come anywhere near us,
          Mighty neighborly, mighty neighborly.

          I never knew exactly what that meant and now I do.

      2. My Great-Uncle in Hayhurst Valley, south-west of Drain Oregon, had a year round pest control license. Any deer that got into his summer garden could be taken. Garden had a huge tall fence around it, but when meat was lean, somehow the deer managed to get in … This was true as of 1973. Don’t know if still true. Or if he was, lets say “grandfathered in”.

    3. The difference between a prepper and a deep-pantry-affficiando is…

      I was going to say maybe camo, but I’ve seen variants of good old woodland pattern in major chain store clothing for years now, and in use in public as fashion statements.

      Can’t be food stored in more than one place, at least out here – the recommendation for Earthquake Kits are to locate them where collapsing buildings can’t fall on them so easily – or at least where they are more easily accessible after said collapse.

      I guess a prepper in NYC is anyone with three rolls of TP given their space constraints – but that says more about their space constraints than preppering.

      1. I’ve never heard of a “deep pantry”?

        Poking around, it appears to be a simple cross between knowing how to shop (buy a layer of stuff when it’s a good price– AKA, cut your food spending 101) and the food side of being a prepper.

        1. Yeah, my term – basically do you A) keep a pile of long duration food and other supplies in a secure undisclosed location, or B) keep more of what you normally use distributed wherever you have space?

          Again given a location in Earthquake Country the answer is C) BOTH but having a deeper pantry lets a non-zombie-apocalypse event get handled by just carrying-on in place and avoiding crazed shopper extravaganzas.

          Obviously bug-out and other such extreme events are another story, but I figure things happen in a continuum, and only considering “the house falls down” is narrow minded.

          1. It’s a good term, since the easiest way to do it is to have… a deep pantry. Mine holds six or eight cans deep, rather than two or three, which can be a little annoying to restock to the back (I don’t have the cool rolling setup) but means I just flat don’t run out of, oh, “diced tomatoes.” I’ve got a week’s worth of tomatoes every lunch and dinner before I’m at the “wow, I really need to buy more” stage.

            1. Prices on the store-bought can racks are usually more than I’m willing to pay, but I’ve seen some interesting DIYable setups. You might do an image search in a spare moment.

            2. I usually end up giving away cans of tomatoes. We don’t grow a lot, mabe 1×1 yd square put together. But lordy do we do some canning in the fall. Good for stew base, casserole, soup, and gads of other things, like potatos, eggs, and flour it’s sort of a staple.

              Thing I watch for is sale of bulk spices. Staples, got. Spices, I like to have decades worth of extra. Because I am *definitely* going to use them. And honey, because honey and french toast I’m quite the fan of.

              My basement pantry, attic storage, outbuilding and garage could probably be considered “deep.” Never really considered that. I just thought everybody kept enough on hand for emergency picnics/family gatherings of upwards of a hundred people…

    4. I, too have some stock. When rummaging in the fridge for a jar of yeast I’d bought a long time ago (turned out to be expired Dec. 2019, which meant it was still good for now – I just tested it, and it’s fine), I found TWO more jars – unopened, which means that I’m good on yeast until 2025.
      Nice to be rich, as yeast is one of those things that is in short supply right now. If the economy does go south, I’m set, as I expect that price per batch-size will roughly equal the price of gold per ounce.
      Otherwise, we’re good – lots of rice, beans, and stored frozen food. Cans, too, and tuna and PB (which my husband HATES, but I love – we’re a mixed marriage).
      Some spotty shortages, and I expect meat may get dear, but, we’re done that vegetarian thing before, and could do so again without hardship.
      I’m glad that you pointed this out, Sarah. I had that feeling all last year. Just didn’t get all that excited about investigations and impeachment, because I had a sense that everything would be all right. I’ve got that feeling again. The more unhinged the Left gets, the calmer I get.

      1. I’ll probably be tasked to get a half-brick of Red Star the next time I’m west of the Cascades. Yeast sometimes gets killed in transit over here, especially in the summer, so I’ll go to the supply that’s closer to the distributor. (We’ve been burned a few times by dead yeast. I think the local supply comes from Reno, so 350 miles in a non-refrigerated truck. That’s a hard nope.)

        Our prime pantry is a 4 x 4 closet off the kitchen, plus we have stuff in the #3 bedroom and had the (Mormon) cabinet maker do a pantry cabinet for the #2 bedroom. We’re pikers by LDS standards, but we do pretty well.

      2. Oh, yeah – we had a vacuum sealed brick of Red Star yeast in the refrigerator for … umm … quite a while. Opened it up when everyone in our neighborhood was screaming for bread and couldn’t find it at the supermarkets.
        Opened it up, and made bread for weeks. Still good.

    5. If you’re laughing at preparedness after the events of the last month, you deserve to get eaten by the zombies.

      1. It’s part of the same wave of folks who think those of us who disagree about extending the lockdown are “whining about wanting Applebee’s open.”

        I swear, it’s been Applebees like six different places, WTF.

        1. It probably got mentioned as a “own the cons” at one of the left-wing sites. Journ-O-list for plebes.

          We *know* how original the progtards get. At least it’s not a Hitler theme. Yet. (Oh, anybody see my eyes? Maybe under the desk?)

          1. Only in leftist la la land are the people who oppose lock-downs imposed by executive decree that constitute effective house arrest of the entire populace the fascists.

            1. I saw one gov interview (just looked – can’t find it now) saying all the abrogation of intrinsic constitutionally protected rights he’s implemented could not possibly be fascist because of how he feels about the country.

              1. Oh, Jared Polis says he can’t be fascist because he’s of Jewish ancestry.
                May the rumors about Hitler’s ancestry are true, maybe they’re not.
                Jared Polis, OTOH, whatever his ancestry is a dumb tin pot fascist.

                1. Really? *inspects claws* I had no idea a “propensity to control others” was genetic. If so, then we need to start spaying and neutering on order to prevent the bad genes from spreading to more of the gene pool.

                  /sarc, just in case.

                2. Ummm. It’d be hard for him to be a Nazi, but entirely possible for him to be a fascist.

                  What an idiot.

                3. Well, I am reliably informed that there were a non-zero number of people of the Jewish persuasion in Mussolini’s party and even government, and it was only when Hitler pushed the topic that Benito turned over any to the Nazis.

                  I see that even wikipedia (hah) notes Jews marching with Mussolini in the Fascistii march on Rome in the 1920s.

                  So yeah, you could be an original Fascist (i.e. not the Soviet not-a-communist definition) and be a Jew.

  3. Here’s hoping we go down the right leg of the Trousers of Time, and not the one where everyone dies in a horrible fire.

  4. I think AMC Theaters just committed suicide. The latest Trolls movie (Seriously? They made more than one?) was apparently released right about the time that the Kung Flu hit, so Universal sent it direct to streaming services, where it made the studio something like $100 Million in rental fees.

    AMC’s response? Throw a temper tantrum and refuse to screen any more Universal pictures. This when the the chain is either on the verge of or just declared bankruptcy (I confess that I really haven’t been paying attention since I almost never go to the movies anyway).

    In the words of the dad from That 70’s Show: dumbasses.

    https://www.cnn.com/2020/04/28/media/trolls-world-tour-universal-amc/index.html

    1. Sounds like AMC has miscalculated who needs whom more in that business relationship. If the theaters went away tomorrow, Hollywood would take a hit but would have other income streams to survive with. If Hollywood went away tomorrow, where would the theaters get all their money from? Yes, the popcorn and other concessions are their major revenue stream, but why do people go to the theater in the first place? Hint: it’s not for the overpriced popcorn. And in ten years or so there may be enough indie movies to let a theater fill their showtime slots, but as of right now, the theaters are totally dependent on Hollywood, and a smart theater owner would know that.

      1. The amount of hubris and arrogance that AMC’s CEO seems to be displaying (seriously, read the quotations in the article) is absolutely staggering. He seems to be under the impression that his theater chain is the only game in town for Hollywood.

        Dude’s cutting off his nose to spite his face, and he’s either so stupid that he thinks it’s a good idea or so arrogant that he thinks it’s actually a good plan.

      2. > why do people go to the theater in the first place?

        I’ve wondered that myself. Next to the last time I went to a theater was in the late 1980s. Then we got a VCR, and who needed to put up with the BS?

        The very last time was in 1995-ish at one of the no-longer-extant theaters in Little Rock, with a curved screen and all the fancy audio. It was a Wednesday midnight showing of “Heavy Metal.” Had half a dozen punked-out teenagers there who seemed a bit lost. Otherwise, mid-thirties and up adults, no children (well, it was midnight on a school day).

        The crowd went dead silent as soon as the grainy old film starting rolling. There was some murmured conversation when the credits came up afterward, but almost everyone stayed in their seats until the screen finally went white.

        “Oh, and Hanover…”
        “Yes, boss?”
        “Goodbye.”

        1. TRX if I remember right Heavy Metal was R rated when it released, So combined with a midnight showing not surprising not too many small children. Every once in a while I see young kids at R rated movies. Last one I remember that had that was a mid afternoon showing of Watchmen when It came out. The sheer violence of that seems something NOT to show to a young child. I often wonder at my fellow humans…

          1. Well, it was animated, but it wasn’t ever intended to be a kid movie. At least, not in 1981. Nowadays it’d probably be on the cartoon channel.

            1. My memory of it is a fair bit of implied sexuality, several uses of obscenities, Animated nudity, and a whale of a lot of pretty gory violence. I’m not sure it would get an R today (Hell Fritz the Cat got pulled down to R from X) probably a PG13 but that didn’t exist in 1981 when it was released (PG13 shows up in 1984). You’re right it would probably run on Cartoon Networks Adult Swim without anyone batting an eyelash, but I doubt they’d run it in prime viewing.

              1. “a fair bit of implied sexuality,”

                Two of the vignettes (the “13-year old ‘world swapped’ as blue skinned Conan” and “New York cabbie” ones), it wasn’t implied, but it didn’t make “Tab A into Slot B” territory.

                1. Right, I said implied because there wasn’t explicit “Tab A into Slot B”. The lack of that (or a few other things) puts it in R rated not X (now NC-17) territory. What it had was well and away enough to kick it out of the PG category in into R in 1981. Even with PG-13 I bet it would rerate at R. Not surprising the original Heavy Metal comics were non-code independent stuff and the art was perhaps even more daring for its day.

        2. Not sure when we stopped seeing movies in the theater, but haven’t been to the multiplex up here, so ’03 at a minimum. I think I saw Phantom Menace in a theater, but not sure of Attack of the Clowns, while Revenge of the Schiff was DVD with liberal use of fast forward.

          Doesn’t help that a) decent SF and movies have been strangers for a while, and b) $SPOUSE would rather do anything else than watch SF movies or TV (though Person of Interest caught both of us; OTOH it might as well be current events).

          1. If you like good SF, may I recommend the anime series GHOST IN THE SHELL, STAND ALONE COMPLEX? Beautifully animated, and for a wonder the English voice-cast isn’t cringeworthy. Other iterations of the Ghost In The Shell franchise have been good but the two tv seasons and one film in the Stand Alone Complex strand are stellar.

            1. Ghost in the Shell was one of the animes that *started* the anime interest in the US, along with Akira and a few others. Worth watching if that’s your thing. I liked it.

              1. The Ghost In The Shell movie (anime) was big on spectacle and more allegory than anything else. The Stand Alone Complex, otoh, was sf in the core sense of taking a handful of scientific/technological advances and asking ‘what does this do to people’?

        3. I used to go to theaters fairly regularly. But those were decent sized, and around here…well, let’s just say my tv screen is bigger. The last film I saw in a theatre was JIRO DREAMS OF SUSHI (which I heartily recommend, BTW), and before that, CASINO ROYAL.

          If there was an old movie-palace with a balcony in the area, I imagine I’d go more often.

      3. People go –

        1.) To see movies on the big screen
        2.) To see certain high profile movies right when they come out

        AMC *must* do this. Yes, people might still want to go to see stuff on the big screen. But AMC also needs the crowd that wants to see Avengers: Endgame opening weekend with their friends. Those people might decide to go watch it on the 72″ display that one of them has instead of dealing with the hassle of going to the movie theater. If AMC loses that crowd, the chain is dead.

        That goes double since there are quite a few movies that don’t really benefit from being seen on a theater screen.

        The way I see it, AMC has two choices. It can quietly submit to Universal’s decision, in which case the other film studioes will likely do the same as Universal, and AMC will wither away as its business dries up. Or it can try and push back. It might still lose. But it might manage to convince the other film studios to not adopt Universal’s tactics (or at least wait and see before they do), and hold onto its business model.

    2. P.S. “They made more than one?” … It’s DreamWorks. The standard line in the Munn household is that DreamWorks only ever makes one movie, and just changes the names, character designs, and backdrops around. Oh, and half of that movie is fart jokes.

      1. Heh. I just searched for “DreamWorks fart joke” (without the quotes) and came on the TV Tropes page for DreamWorks, which contains the following entry:

        Strictly Formula: They have been accused of enforcing this trope in most of their CGI-animated movies during the 2000s: in the beginning, the main character is a grumpy or antisocial outcast (or at the very least is “different”). Throughout the film he becomes a better person. In the end, he saves the day and everyone accepts him for who he is. Add bonus points for pop culture references, fart jokes, and the occasional DreamWorks Face, and you’re good to go.

        Sounds like it’s not just my wife who has noticed the whole “DreamWorks only ever makes one movie” thing.

          1. Don’t remind me. I’ll be over here with my books, y’know, trying to forget most of the last twenty (okay, maybe thirty) odd years. Except for new books, I could stand to lose a few things… Well. Maybe not the night of Nov. 4 2016.

            That was a special case.

          2. Was at an appointment today and a trainee was getting quizzed. After the supervisor finished, I piped in with “What is the wing velocity of an unladen swallow?”

            Blank stares.

            If anyone wants me, I’ll be sitting in the day-room with my Jell-O.

            1. I feel your pain. Whenever something came up at work that was to be kept secret, I used to say, “Oh, I zee notzink, I heah notzing, I know nnnnnnnnnot-zink!”

              Crickets.

              And at my first job, we had an assistant manager who was the world’s biggest pessimist, to the point where I got fed up and started dropping, “aw, don’t be hittin’ me wit’ dem neg-ah-tiv waves so early in da mornin’,” and “Dere ya go again wit’ dem neg-ah-tiv waves!” whenever she’d start b*tching about something.

              The only guy in the department who got it was older than my father, and his response was, “you are too f***ing young to have even heard of that movie!”

            2. A few decade ago, it was “everyone knows” stuff. Well, if they were Odds, anyway. Being able to recite the Holy Grail from memory might as well have been a prerequisite for Odd-dom.

              Now, they’re like secret pass-phrases. Because a lot of it is stuff you can’t just type into the goog and have it tell you it’s from that movie; it’s so woven through [a different part of the not-a-monoculture] that it wouldn’t be easy to tell whether the phrases came from a particular movie, or if they were already in common use and the movie happened to use them.

              1. I have a confession; I have never seen ‘Holy Grail’. I have seen pieces, and have had the vast majority quoted to me over the years, but while I can acknowledge the brilliance of the Pythons, I don.’they actually LIKE Python all that much.

                Some of it has to do with a basic impatience with ‘surrealism’ in film. It is my theory that surrealism in a narrative art form is tolerable for 5 pages or 15 minutes, whichever comes first. It wasn’t until my folks took me to England that I realized that a lot of what looked like surreal humor in Python is actually fairly subtle satire of the BBC’s idiosyncrasies.

                Also, a great deal of Python is better as quoted than it is in the original. For example, the line from ‘Mr. Creosote’ is “How are you today?” “Better.” “Better?” “Better get a bucket, I’m going to throw up.”.
                This is commonly quoted “Better get a bucket.”, which is funnier. I have struck multiple other examples.

                I can enjoy Python in small doses. Not more than a few minutes at a time, and not one of the sketches that involves nattering at each-other (like the argument sketch). My favorite Python bit of all time is ‘The Crimson Permanent Assurance’ from MEANING OF LIFE.

      2. Half of the movies these days, I only watch the CinemaSins. 15-20 minutes, and usually WAY better than the movie. Lots of movies aren’t even worth the price when they’re ‘free’ on cable.

        When I do watch a movie now, there’s a voice in my head: “Logos!” “ComCast!” “Narration!”

        1. I loathe, hate, destest, CinemaSins. Did I mention I dislike CinemaSins?

          CinemaWins, making the “Everything Great About…” series, is far superior to that supposedly sarcastic, supposedly ironic, supposedly satirical, run-time padded, click-baity garbage, video marketing guru bullshit which is CinemaSins. The superiority of CinemaWins can be summed up in their tag line: “Because liking things is more fun than not liking things.” I would hate to watch a movie made by that cynical marketing douchebag Jeremy from CinemaSins.

          Did I mention that I’m not fond of CinemaSins?

          1. Now that sounds interesting.

            …I get really, really, REALLY freaking tired of the constant “everything sucks here I’m going to tell you why” videos. At least MST3K was having fun. I’ve noticed that they tend to train you to only see the suckage, rather than anything fun/good.

            1. Yeah, while there’s value in examining cinematic hubris, I find too often these kind of videos are just nitpicky and mean-spirited. Most of the time, I’d rather find out why someone loves something. Even if I think they’re wrong, it can still be interesting and a hell of a lot more positive.

              1. I had that brilliant realization when I clicked into a series about “huge plotholes” where…they weren’t plot holes. In some cases, they were even explained in the story, in most they were just obvious, but the writer didn’t like them.
                Check the first episode, it’s got OK points.
                At some point in the middle, it went from “hey, that guy has a point” and into “I am easily annoyed, and that annoyed me!”

                1. Oh yeah. “Plot hole” is not some catch-all descriptor for “things I didn’t like”. Some people nowadays don’t know what words mean.

                2. I am particularly annoyed by CinemaSins not understanding what Dues ex Machina is, and routinely calling (Fill-in-the-blank) ex Machina when the trope we’re seeing is plainly Chekhov’s Gun.

            2. I was too young to see “The Outer Limits” and “The Twilight Zone” when they were on TV, but a friend loaned me some DVD sets a few years ago. I watched season 1 of both, and a few of the later seasons, but almost every episode boiled down to “humans suck” and “technology is evil.”

              Yah, well, so much for that…

    3. Yes, they did. The hero and heroine must unite the previously unknown troll tribes, each of which personifies a particular style of music, before the personification of hard rock conquers the troll world. No, I haven’t watched it, but my Twitter feed has been running ads. To say it looks lame is to insult the lame.

        1. Not sure how rock’n’roll it is– It’s either 80s glitter-metal or KISS and Ozzy as bedazzled neon goobers, from what’s on the yogurt tubes.

          I don’t object to formula films, I just don’t like a lot of the cultural stuff I picked up from bits of the first Troll film. Like the Ninjago cartoon, it had behavior I don’t want the kids to copy set up in a way that they’d copy it.

            1. ….

              I think I had sort of mentally elided that as autocomplete getting its teeth into “Youtube ads” in a weird way. 😀

          1. “Just enjoy the Ozzy and keep your mouth shut. It’s amazing how much wisdom there is in that simple sentence.”

            “I’ve listened to preachers,
            I’ve listened to fools.
            I’ve wassailed with dropouts
            who make their own rules…”

                1. In the Database Database
                  I’m struggling in the Database Wow Wow
                  It doesn’t even matter if there is no hope
                  As the madness of the system grows

                    1. I picked up Log Horizon 1 on sale at some ridiculously low price from Right Stuf, but haven’t watched it yet. Your recommendation has moved it up.

                      Just finished watching InuYasha all the way through. Waiting for the next episode of A Certain Scientific Railgun T, supposed to be next week.

                    2. I took a closer look at that Log Horizon 1 box. Now I know why it was so cheap — it’s only 13 episodes. Half of the first season. The complete 2-season set, 25 episodes each, is ‘on sale’ for almost $100.

                      I will watch for a reasonable price, and stream it in the meantime.

                      Right Stuf does have some good prices, though. Got the complete Outlaw Star DVD/BluRay combo, and both seasons of GATE, for $25 each. 7 out of 8 disks of Moribito – Guardian Of The Spirit for $2.50 total. Anybody know where to get disk 5?

              1. Amen. And Nana got the girls into Frozen.

                Ok, Let It Go is a fairly pretty tune, and it fits the character’s development, but it is about turning her back on everything and everyone and doing whatever she wants. Which is not a great life choice for five-year-olds. Some teens and up it is, but not universally.

                I wouldn’t take ’em to Into The Woods in single digit years either.

                1. It was the Princess’ first big-girl movie, and she recognized it as the movie’s Villain Song.

                  Just, for once, the villain was not TRYING to be a bad guy, and the villain got saved– so it’s a pretty song that hits hard on a thing everybody can empathize with, but the entire point of the movie is that you can’t dump your brain and just GO with “letting it go.”

                  1. In the sequel, Elsa walks through a room with tangible memories, and makes a strong motion of embarrassment when she walks past the bit of “Let It Go.”

                  2. ….Good heavens, I knew the story about it being both the villain song and sympathetic enough for the writers to decide to make her less of one, but I just realized from another angle it’s “Hakuna Matata.”

                    1. Thanks, glad you enjoyed it, I’m kind of delighted with finding it and… actually oddly pleased to realize it’s a recurring approach; it feels like it reinforces both the sympathy and the need to brace up and go back.

                      Until this conversation, the “stop hiding/suppressing yourself” aspect (which can be taken a variety of directions, including our esteemed hostess’s explosion out of the political closet) and double meaning kind of obscured the parallels between the other side of it and Simba’s situation for me. Basically the transition via catchy musical number from running scared and despairing to more-or-less cheerfully abandoning everything for a while.

                      To be fair to Simba, trying to go home and face the music immediately would — though I don’t think he realizes it until adulthood — probably just get him killed. To be fair to Elsa, getting out of town (without dropping an out-of-season blizzard on everybody) and getting the hang of her powers so that they weren’t constantly threatening to get dangerously out of control might’ve been a good idea… um, sooner… but I can understand why she didn’t think of it.

          2. I’ve not seen any of the Trolls movies (no kids, and the trailers never interested me,) this one had just the tiniest of holds on my attention…

            Until I found out they couldn’t even be bothered to use a *REAL* 80s rock / metal performer for the Rock’n’Roll Troll (honestly, is Lita Ford SO busy now-a-days you couldn’t get her? Or one of the ladies from Vixen? Or Lizzy Hale for someone a little (lot) more recent?) and well, that’s all it took.

            1. Oh my gosh, that could have been FREAKING AWESOME!

              Can you imagine Alice Cooper showing up as a bit character to chew the scenery? Heck, Ozzy would probably do it! And I know Twisted Sister is still game for stuff like that.

              It could have been awesome at LEAST on par with the 90s-boy-band song in Frozen 2!

              1. The funny part? Ozzy *IS* in the movie already!
                He voices “King Thrash” who according to IMDB is the parent of “Barb” the female Rock Troll…
                Barb is voiced by Rachel Bloom (who I’ve never seen, much less heard of, anything she’s been in)

                But yeah, getting some of the older rockers in this might actually have helped the bottom line some, getting us 80s kids interested for no reason beyond nostalgia…

                1. She does mostly voiceover work as well as musical comedy albums and videos. One of her videos was a tribute to Ray Bradbury (really, it was actually intended as one as she is a fan of him” entitled “F,,k me Ray Bradbury”

              2. *90s* boy band? Oh, that was an 80s lyric ballad for sure! I was laughing so hard at all the tropes. The music in the sequel was underwhelming but competent, and that was a high point.

                (I was rather surprised at the depression life-hack in the movie—”just do the next right thing”—but sure, not a bad message.)

                1. The music was more 80s, but the style was very early 90s solo album video, juuuust past the “curtains billowing in the wind and hey so is his shirt” thing. Might be partly an age thing, teh other mom that I raved about it with is also an early-to-mid-80s-baby.
                  *******

                  I hadn’t thought of it as a depression hack, but yes, it is good advice. I need to make it a ring tone.

          3. Yeah. I try to give my godkids the sort of thing that is behavior that is *good* as well as fun. I may be the “so old he’s almost dead” godfather, but I get to introduce them to Heinlein, Asterix and Obelix, Lowell, and more for the first time. That part is quite entertaining and rewarding.

      1. I have to say, my gut reaction to the original movie was “I thought these stupid Troll figures were bug-ugly that last three times they were popular.”

        I don’t think ALL of the Dreamworks animation is rubbish. The first Shrek film was great, the second eminently watchable, and the third at least provided the ‘Snow White singing Immigrant Song’ scene. The Aardman animation films were good. OVER THE HEDGE was funny. And the first HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON was fun. So, the rest was drivel. That’s still not a bad record. It ain’t Disney, but Disney does occasionally poop out something like THE BLACK CAULDRON.

    4. We have 3 multiplexes in town, all owned by the same guy, and one independent theater that has been expanding. The multiplexes are split with one playing discount movies (movies that came out a month or two ago) and two playing the exact same first run movies (as in they each have three screens for Movie X). The indie theater shows indie films, out of date films, and holds concerts/plays in the main room, and other indie films or birthday/conventions in the 2nd smaller room. Part of why the indie has been successful enough expand while not running blockbuster movies is notoriety. It seems like every time someone posts something about Fargo, they have a shot of downtown with the Fargo Theater marquee. They might actually survive longer than the multiplexes.

      1. In the long term movie theaters are going to have to get creative. Several block buster movies a year is not going to happen that often in the future. All media consumption is becoming more fragmented. There is so much competition for audience that many people have never even heard of top rated shows movies and books. Many people are content to be entertained by free mediocre or poor content on their phone and don’t care to spend significant money on a trip to the theater. Now that most projectors are digital special event screenings could be profitable. Catered buffet Superbowl Sunday for example. Live Concert simulcast with full concert merchandise sales. Adapt and overcome or go bankrupt.

        1. Theaters have to sell the biggger-than-yours screen and the better than your speakers.

          Going to more comfortable seats and things like at-seat wait staff servers makes sense – but they also have to somehow strangle the youts with their phones. Spouse and I agreed to stop going to theaters almost totally based on phonal abuse by young idiots. And second place are the youts that were obviously speshul snowflaked into TALKING BACK TO THE SCREEN every damn time something happens. Shut up already, we all saw the same thing you did.

          Sorry, that was ranty, but I’m leaving it. And get off my lawn.

    5. Since I was scrubbing the basement anyways, I spent a lot more time thinking about this than it warranted….

      So you’ve been warned.

      Carrying on!

      I am pretty sure that the first place I heard the half-joke about how you’re losing money on each sale, but making it up in bulk, was for movie theaters. I know the last several times they raised ticket prices it was in direct response to studios charging more for the theater to be allowed to sell their movies, and there’s even been times the studios charged more and the theaters didn’t raise prices.
      Part of the appeal of the subscription setups that a lot of chains started doing is that it’s consistent money. It’s aimed at guys like my husband, who enjoy the experience of “going to the movies,” and it tilts things towards the “well it doesn’t look GREAT but I’ll probably be OK with it anyways” choice.

      I would suspect that this is an attempt by AMC to get some leverage to improve their contracts for distributing Universal movies.

      1. I liked going to the movies for stuff that really needs to be on the big screen. And then the [rude word] theater put in giant, comfy chairs that are pure misery for the vertically challenged. That was that.

        1. Admittedly only time I’ve gone to theater since 2013 has been at the theater with those seats.

          And full dinner and drink menu

      2. Ah! Now I remember the specific reason why we quit going to the local theater. It was when they decided to institute bag searches to prevent people from bringing their own food or drinks inside.

        “…and the horse you rode in on.”

        I note AMC also denies the Second Amendment rights defined in the US Constitution. Which makes them a no-go zone for a growing number of people now.

        1. For a long time I had a purse that was very deceptive as to its size, almost a Bag of Holding. (This was partly because one of the pockets was in the lining, and much bigger than it seemed, and since the lining was loose, I could hide stuff in the bottom without it looking like there was anything hidden.) It’s pretty worn now, but it had at least the capacity for a large bag of candy, if I’d been going to the movies at the time.

        2. I was at a store that wanted to search my backpack (I was riding a motorcycle). Gave ’em The Finger and walked out.

        3. Thankfully, in Oregon, there is no legal statute in place for No Guns. Aside from the federal stuff. So any place that says NO GUNS is just putting a nice wishing sign, and I thusly give that paper the respect it deserves.

    6. It may be a bit more complicated than that. Apparently all of the studios have told AMC that they will be doing direct to digital releases during the shutdown, but Universal told AMC that they planned to continue the practice after the shutdown is over. Still may not be smart business but at least more understandable.

    7. AMC is already floundering, so this might be the emptiest of all empty threats.

  5. Well, we did have a look at an alternate future in the form of The Last Centurion. Fortunately, we didn’t elect Hillary, so she wasn’t in charge for this fustercluck.

    -Albert

    1. I THINK that world is pretty close to ours, and that’s why we responded to this as we did. I think we SENSED the other world.
      BUT that’s a crazy sf writer theory, not realistic.

      1. God looks out for children, drunks, and the United States of America.

        I remember looking at The NY Times dial thing as the polls closed and seeing it swing. I couldn’t believe it. When I got up and he had won, I was giddy. I’m not a giddy person, but I was that day. We dodged so many bullets that day.

        1. I still get chills remembering it. I spent that entire day expecting what everyone was expecting. Then, I was out shopping with my wife that evening and checked the results online.
          “Wait. He just took Florida.”
          “Wait. He’s leading in Pennsylvania. And took Ohio. He’s got a chance.”
          “What just happened in Wisconsin and Michigan? This is all over but the screaming.”
          Now, granted, almost four years later I’ve gotten very tired of the screaming, but it’s a day I hope I never forget.

        2. Still dodging.

          Two headlines from National Review Online, with neutered URLs:

          Pelosi Rejects McConnell’s Proposed Coronavirus-Liability Protections for Businesses
          nationalreview[DOT]com/news/coronavirus-relief-nancy-pelosi-rejects-mitch-mcconnell-proposed-liability-protections-for-businesses/
          Such protections are a “red line,” McConnell has said, and must be included before he would consider Democratic demands that additional relief be provided to state and local governments.

          The obvious step is to extend Workers’ Comp to cover Wu-Hoo Flu, but that would be sequestering a tort lawyers’ jackpot.

          and

          Banning Mergers and Acquisitions: A Bad Idea at a Bad Time
          nationalreview[DOT]com/2020/04/coronavirus-crisis-banning-mergers-and-acquisitions-bad-idea-at-a-bad-time/
          AOC and Elizabeth Warren are from the government and they want to help.

          I am not saying that anything on which AOC and Fauxcahantas agree is a bad idea — there are matters of personal hygiene on which I daresay we agree — but they are an almost perfect counter-directional signal in economic matters.

      2. Assuming that this is all run by the Lord Almighty as a crib for His very young children, I suspect that any attempt to describe alternate realities is ‘lies children tell ourselves’ at best. But John’s tale is even more on-point than the dream of the seven fat kine and the seven lean kine, so I’m personally convinced that there was inspiration at work.

        Heck, in Mormon-specific scripture, there are a number of times when people were told of their own personal shatterpoints: That they would go one way or another depending on whether they kept their covenants with Christ. In The Last Centurion, the obvious shatterpoint was the election of not!Hillary, since it put her in place to make all the wrong decisions at the worst possible time.

        Instead we’ve got our beloved Trumperor, along with a taste of exactly why we don’t want to surrender our essential liberties to the whims of tyrant governors. Hopefully that taste is sufficiently bitter to a sufficient number of voters.

        Then there’s the whole ‘whom the gods would destroy they first make mad’ thing. It’s interesting to me that in Revelations 7, the angel with the seal of the living God is restraining the other angels from destroying the world. The DNC renounced God; have they lost essential protections from the maddening whispers of the Adversary? They sure _act_ like they’re going mad with pride, all together and en masse.

        -Albert

      3. I don’t wanna live in a John Ringo novel! Even if the ending is often happy, the body count is high.

        1. The ending is only happy for a few characters. The rest get to be zombie chow.

          Faith’s Rules For Surviving A Zombie Apocalypse:

          1. Do not get into an elevator with a potential zombie.
          2. Everybody is a potential zombie
          3. There is no such thing as too much ammunition.
          4. Even if all you have is a Barbie gun.
          5. Kukri don’t run out of ammunition.

      1. What we have is a bunch of very capable folks trained in the special ops teams: Seals, Delta, Rangers, etc. And an even larger group of serving and former military with recent combat experience. Very capable, loyal, and motivated individuals for the most part.
        BHO did his best to poison the upper ranks, but such stuff moves slowly and he only had those eight years.
        And I will note that the only reason President Trump has not pardoned General Flynn is that the good General is serving as the perfect stalking horse to expose the rotten actors in the FBI and associated agencies. I look forward to the day that Flynn can be celebrated as the hero he truly is.

        1. It is looking as if Gen. Flynn don’t need no steenkin’ pardons.

          Flynn’s Original Defense Team Repeatedly Rejected Congressional Immunity Overtures
          The original defense team for Michael Flynn rejected multiple congressional immunity offers, saying Flynn wouldn’t testify without Mueller’s approval.
          [SNIP]
          Kelner’s alleged rejection of congressional immunity overtures following Flynn’s guilty plea is especially curious given Kelner’s claimed attempts to explore congressional immunity for Flynn before Mueller had even been appointed to investigate the Trump campaign for illegal collusion with the Russian government to steal the 2016 election from former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. In March 2017, prior to Mueller’s appointment, Kelner released a public statement affirming news reports that Flynn had sought congressional immunity in exchange for his testimony.

          1. It is possible that his former counsel and certain FBI agents might welcome pardons but likely have cause for concern over the price for such. That is, unless they believe Epstein killed himself:

            Explosive New Flynn Documents Show FBI Goal Was To ‘Get Him Fired’
            New documents filed under seal last week by the Department of Justice provide the clearest evidence yet that the investigation and subsequent prosecution of former White House National Security Adviser Michael Flynn was a set-up from the beginning. Handwritten notes from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) that had been inappropriately withheld from Flynn’s defense team for years show that a key goal of the agents investigating Flynn was “to get him to lie so we can prosecute him or get him fired.”

            In early 2017, FBI agents planned to question Flynn under false pretenses and without his attorneys present regarding his conversations with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. At the time of those conversations, Flynn was the top foreign policy adviser of the president-elect of the United States. By the time of the ambush FBI interview, Flynn had already been appointed as the White House national security adviser.

            In the handwritten FBI notes, the note-taker, whose identity was not made clear in the document production, wrote that an alternate goal is to “get [Flynn] to admit breaking the Logan Act,” a reference to a 1799 law restricting communications between private citizens and foreign governments. The law is widely viewed as unconstitutional and has never been used to successfully prosecute a single American citizen. The previously secret notes do not explain that Flynn was not a private citizen, but rather the incoming national security adviser at the time of his conversations with world leaders. …

            1. We have long past the point where the answer to the question “Do We Need the FBI?” is “No.”

              They were almost useless as a police agency, but there are now *many* provable cases where they’ve not only shown political favoritism, but they’ve tried to influence elections and then take out an incumbent President.

              When the secret police – and the FBI is, de facto, such an organziation now – are not accountable to the courts and actively conspire against the government, this is commonly known as “a problem.”

              1. As the saying goes: one man’s problem is another’s opportunity.
                As a national police force the FBI has always had issues, but its blatant use as a tool for political advantage came to full fruition under the gentle guidance of Barrack Hussein Obama.
                And with Barr as Attorney General heads are going to roll.
                If Trump wins reelection.
                If Biden wins all that unfortunate business concerning General Flynn and other questionable activities will be swept under the rug with the full support of a compliant media.

      2. That we know of, yet. We’re still in the early stages of that story where he’s stuck in the ME trying to lock down an ammo dump. I’m hoping we don’t need anyone like him this time around.

    2. They had an inoculation; the problem was most of it never made it to the people who needed it.

      While the inoculation part is SF, the recent threats of using police or Guard units to confiscate masks and gloves show he nailed it as far as the fustercluck part.

      1. Mixture of five factors in that book completely SNAFUed things to BAD-
        1)Flu vaccine that year was “okay,” except for the military one that was “OMFG! We should have issued this to everyone IMMEDIATELY!!!” great. Even with the non-military vaccine, one in three fatality rate if you caught it in the US, usually by secondary infections.
        2)The Bitch completely screwed up the vaccine distribution by requiring it to be distributed only to COUNTY Health Centers (i.e. Government/Socialist health care), which didn’t have the space for a vaccine that required refrigerated storage. Shipping was done by “just in time” contractors that were renting the space that couldn’t leave the reefer containers. A few smart people shot or punched the tires out, or used secondary sourcing to keep the vaccine contained. Most didn’t, and it spoiled. Throw in that a lot of people didn’t know where their county health centers were, the health centers didn’t have the capacity to handle MASS vaccinations (even if it hadn’t spoiled), and you had hordes of people getting very close together. A few smart people works secondary distribution lines to places that could handle it-hospitals, urgent care clinics, doctor’s offices, fire stations, that kind of thing-to get the vaccine out.
        3)Ice age coming. BAD ice age, pretty much sounds like worldwide temps dropped about 10-15 degrees, enough to cause a lot of larger Northern areas that were food producers to lose crops and livestock.
        (Side note, I can’t find a single app on Google or Yahoo to simulate a climate drop, a’la a ice age. Climate rise, yes, but not drop…)
        4)China went tits-up fast. So fast that any slack in the supply chain died and there was no chance to stockpile or build a new supply/equipment chain before they ran out of things to build it with. The quick and massive crash of China might have also contributed to the oncoming ice age, by getting rid of a lot of atmospheric pollution.
        5)The Bitch decided to not let the crisis go to waste and started nationalizing a lot of companies and farms and such. Put people in that had ZERO clue how to do things, and they broke things that couldn’t be replaced because a lot of stuff was made in China, or was in containers that nobody knew where they were and how to get them from “A” to “B.” Oh, and she insisted that all the new farming had to be “organic” and no gen-mod crops, which cut crop yields by a third or more.

        Any would have been bad. All of them were terrible.

      1. If Biden wins, you almost certainly get a President Abrams or Whitmer, and that is if Michelle Obama is not his VP pick. Anyone of those three would be even worse than Shrillary:

          1. Abrams has a history of posing with New Black Panther Party members and makes Shrillary look conservative.

      2. There are stories out there that Jill Biden really, REALLY admires Edith Wilson, who is alleged to have run the country after Woodrow had his stroke. If you were, G-d forbid, to get Jill as First Lady to a disabled Joe, vs a Whitmer or Harris, we could be in, “I, Claudius,” territory quickly.

    3. For a long time I had a theory that anything published in fiction which more than a few people read/see/listen to inoculates that reality against exactly that thing happening.

      Thus Star Trek meant we won’t get warp drive in this timeline, nor the commie UFP, nor Vulcans or Klingons. And Black Tide means we won’t get worldwide mega rabies zombie apocalypse (Aside: Did Ringo ever get around to telling us whodunit?).

      But my baseline theory has unfortunately developed an exception for “pretty darn close,” as with Tom Clancy’s novel where a hijacked jetliner flies into a government building in DC – yeah, we didn’t get a Japanese airline pilot hitting a joint session of congress after an unfotunate conflict between the US and Japan, but what we did get qualifies as pretty darn close.

      I never saw if they found Debt of Honor on the shelf in OBL’s compound.

      John Ringo attempted the inoculation, but our timeline immunity was a little off, and here we are.

  6. Ah. Good.

    I seem to have slid into hard crazy at the moment, so it is doubtful that I will be up to trying to talk anyone down right away.

    Knowing that others are getting better helps calm me down, and gives me a little personal hope.

    1. Facebook and TV news are *designed* to get you wound up. And, really, even it wasn’t all lies, what would you be doing differently anyway?

      Turn the channel. Click off somewhere else. There’s a whole world out there beyond WE’RE ALL GOING TO DIE UNLESS YOU LET US BE TYRANTS FOREVER!

      I haven’t been exposed to a TV since 2016, the last time I was stuck in a waiting room with one. I don’t click on news sites. And “the news” makes *me* twitchy. People who mainline it straight into your brains, it’s a wonder they’re not just sitting there drooling.

      1. I’m feeling a little better now.

        Issue seems to be health and pain levels turning off some of my mental function.

        And a bunch of stuff I’m stressing about getting together.

        Talking, drinking water, and some other things did me some good.

        On the 0-10 “How crazy is Bob right now”, might’ve taken me from an 8 to a 4-6.

        1. Issue seems to be health and pain levels turning off some of my mental function.

          I hear you on that one. When I got (and shared) the totally-not-Coronavirus-don’t-you-know, between the wracking coughs and the sheer mental drain, it was nasty. I play a particular game of Solitaire (Mod 3), and I saw right away that my brain wasn’t firing on all synapses. $SPOUSE had similar issues, but physical weakness was the worst for her. Fortunately, I’m at least an adequate cook.

          1. There are some papers popping up describing neurological issues. Whether they are direct or secondary due to inflammation is up in the air, but they are widely reported.

  7. Oh, I always like those moments of foresight. Mine are not always so general, but they’re little gifts. Yes, I think your gut has the right idea.

  8. > Let’s remember it was a republican — but a statist — who set us up to be screwed by China for decades,

    If you’re referring to Nixon… that whole China thing made no sense. As far as I can tell he never had a word to say about China in his whole career, other than some warnings when they were supporting the Vietnamese. And then suddenly there’s this whole “go to China and make friends” thing. I’ve read most of Nixon’s books, and he never explains why it was suddenly important, and even the anti-Nixon books ignore the question; I guess it’s so obvious I’m unable to see it.

    The only theories I can come up with are:

    A) he hoped to make chummy with Mao and persude him reduce or eliminate aid to Vietnam

    or B) stick a thumb in the eye of the Soviet Union by buddying up with their former client state.

    But neither of those really fit. He got nothing for his actions, as far as I can tell. And Nixon hated Communists all the way down to his toes; it was personal in both directions after the Alger Hiss thing. Nixon would normally go down in flames rather than back off after taking a position; it hurt his career a number of times. So kissing up to the Commies is about the most un-Nixon thing I can think of. We’re talking “Sarah Hoyt becomes Nancy Pelosi’s campaign manager” level of WTF?!

    You’d think after Fillmore sent Perry to Japan, the Fed would learn to leave the foreigners alone…

    1. I wonder if he got a sudden case of legacyitis. As in, “Maybe if I do this they won’t hate me.” Or maybe it was the other way: “$#@! it. They’re going to hate me anyway, so I’ll just do what I want!” Which is where Trump is, I suspect.

      1. No, the China thing was February 1972. Later that year he was re-elected by the second-largest margin in US history. Pretty amazing for a man nobody voted for.

        The Narrative says one thing; the numbers tell an entirely different story; 520 electoral votes for Nixon, 17 to McGovern. 49 states to Nixon, 1 to McGovern. Nixon was on a freakin’ *roll*. He didn’t need to play legacy games.

        Instead of “collusion” they had “Watergate”, and instead of “Wuhan flu” he had “Energy Crisis” after OPEC turned off the oil and the US economy crashed. And the Deep State and the media hated his guts and worked against him continuously.

        “Gee, I get the idea I’ve seen this movie before…”

        1. Yeah, the bottom line was Nixon’s campaign didn’t need to send over the Plumbers to install those taps – the Dems were running McGovern in as scattershot a campaign as you will ever see, and were really destined to lose.

          It’s pretty clear that the Nixon campaign did it because both side always did that stuff, all the way back to FDR (well, break ins even further back, but with electronics since the 1930s). It was just expected.

    2. I think opening to China was strategic genius, though throwing Taiwan under the bus was too high a price to,pay. in the same way, I think Obama’s attempt to open up Iran could have been strategic genius. Trouble is Obama and Kerry bungled it. We paid a high price and got nothing.

      The contrast is enlightening and repays study.

      if you want to find a politician to blame for China now, Slick Willie. I can back that up, but not in a comment.

      1. A friend of mine was a nuclear engineer during the Clinton years. He said the Feds brought in groups of Chinese to copy entire filing cabinets full of documents classified beyond what he was allowed to see. Another friend worked at Los Alamos; he said almost exactly the same thing, except it was weapons stuff, not powerplants.

        Both were still blazing mad about it a decade later.

        Hell, the Chinese probably passed a bunch of it to North Korea; that was when Clinton was paying them cash money not to start refining uranium, and they took the money and kept on truckin’. (and Bush did the same thing later, with the same result)

          1. Yep. And was it all *that* dumb? Also yep.

            Unless and until the dynasty of Han gets revealed as the murderous frauds they were, are, and likely will remain, and the various Chinese people get a few small but significant culture shifts, dealing with the will be something rather fraught.

            Best way to deal with them is always, always from a position of strength. We’ve not been doing that until recently.

        1. Has everybody forgotten Johnny Chung, Charlie Trie, James Riady and how the Chinese were pouring money into the Clinton coffers? Or how Clinton donor and Loral CEO Bernard Schwartz offered technical advice to improve the reliability of China’s long-range rockets? [See: https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/clinton-foundation-scandal-echoes-clinton-china-controversy-from-1998 ]

          For that matter, we’ve never found been told how the Obama campaign’s online blocks on foreign contributions came to be disabled, nor whence those donations came.

      2. Obama was not attempting to open up Iran, he was attempting to empower the Mullahs so as to turn them into a regional hegemon, including empowerment of their genocidal goal of “wiping Israel off the map”. Obama and Kerry both believe that Israel should not and should never have existed, and that the entirety of every problem in the Middle-East and the cause of terror attacks on US is the existence of Israel and the presence of Jews in the Middle-East. Recall how openly anti-Semitic both Obama’s and Kerry’s friends are.

        Even without that factor, the Mullahs are religious fanatics who adhere to an ideology that believes that they have a duty to bring about the apocalypse so that they can bring about a Jihadist utopia. It was absolutely a certainty that the Mullahs would use the money they were given to finance attacks on the US and our allies and Obama and Kerry couldn’t fork it over fast enough.

        The Obama/Kerry policy was intended to give aid and comfort to our enemies and to weaken the USA.

        1. I don’t know.

          It could have been simply that Obama “needed” the treaty because George W didn’t get a treaty.

          IE Obama had to “one up” George W Bush.

          I don’t think Obama understood that Iran had no reason to accept a treaty that meant “they had to do something”. 😦

          1. I think the calculus* there was that the US always screwed everything up everywhere every time, but absent a regional hegemon to take over all the peacekeeping and nation building and suchlike colonialist roles in any region we would keep being forced to go in and do it.

            So for East Asia they picked China, and for the ex-Ottoman-Empire they picked Iran as the take-over-from-us hegemon designate.

            If you look at their actions through that lens it all pretty much makes sense.

            * Not saying either John Fing Kerry or Barry Soteoro thought this up – they both have a quite high opinion of their own really quite low intellectual powers, and that makes them both easy marks, sweet-talkable into these positions by “top men” who know how to run the con.

    3. “Ecthuallllly”

      While I loathe Nixon’s expansions of government power, cozying up to China was just realpolitik. Nixon was an anticommunist and when there were signs of a split in Communist International, the only reasonable thing to do was enhance the split.

      The world is not made up of just “friends” and “enemies” — and splitting up alliances between two adversary powers is a Good Idea.

      It wasn’t the political thaw under Nixon which was the real problem, it was the massive lowering of trade barriers and Clintons’ MFN status which really put China in the position of getting everything they ever wanted and then encouraging them to take a little more.

    4. You’ve got to remember the historical context.
      China had its first successful H-Bomb test in 1967.
      By 1969 we were having the SALT negotiations with the USSR. The fact that we were talking made accidental nuclear response to an attack that wasn’t real (a plausible and scary possibility throughout the 60’s) much less likely.
      And then there was nuclear capable China, openly supporting rebel groups we had boots on the ground fighting. And we didn’t even have good back-channel communication with them.
      Nixon didn’t want the U.S. to experience MADD. For all his faults he did love his country.
      Under those circumstances talking and trading was likely safer than continued shunning.

    5. The Soviet Union was not appreciating its puppet states, so we floated interest signals to all of the Warsaw Pact and China. China picked up on it. Heck, they even buddied up a little with Japan, back then. Turning two sided Cold War conflict into three sides was a good plan,and it worked.

      The trick is to throw in that wedge, and not to believe it too much.

      Also, don’t let the Democrats cut off funding to South Vietnam.

      1. Also, don’t let the Democrats cut off funding to South Vietnam.

        Well, don’t burn up all your political power defending your disavowable sacrificial political dirty tricks team when they get caught, so when disastrous proposals like cutting off our proxies/allies in South Vietnam comes up you have something with which to push back.

        Nixon should have just disavowed the plumbers and stated he was referring it all to his DoJ and would cooperate fully. And his secretary should have burned all the tapes in a tragic misunderstanding of record-keeping procedures. Nixon could have pardoned her if they came after her, but there was nothing in law at the time that said she could not do just that as part of managing any records under her control – I’m pretty sure all that stuff came later.

      2. The most rabid Trump supporter I know was a Vietnamese boat person at the age of five.

        He… does not care for Biden, based on his record at the time. (And seriously, Biden was in Congress THEN? Legacy politicians!)

        1. Term limits, by thunder! Give us term limits and an open season on lobbyists, send them to the free market and make them work for their supper for a change!

          1. “Term limits” is one of those things that sounds like a good idea, but it would require the voluntary cooperation of all 50 states.

            The Fed would be on shaky Constitutional grounds trying to *compel* term limits. All 50 states are independent polities, with their own Constitutions, their own laws, their own courts, and their own military forces.

            The Fed is going to tell them that their lawfully-selected Congressmen and Senators are not acceptable in Congress and the Senate? Denial of representation was one of the reasons the US isn’t British any more.

            1. Term limits would require an amendment to the Constitution. The requirements for Senator or Congressman are laid out there and the courts have consistently ruled that neither the state nor federal governments can add to them.

              1. A US Constitutional amendment would have to be voted in by the people who would be turned out of office by it. Who are answerable to their electorate and governors.

                The possibility of such an amendment happening is, in my opinion, so close to zero as to make no difference.

          2. The people we most need term limits for are not elected officials but unelected bureaucrats. Bring back the spoils system!

            1. Nobody outside the military should be able to draw a paycheck from the government for more than 10 years.

    6. They were trying to take advantage of the split generated between Maoist China and “capitalist roader” Russia pursuing different versions of Communism. There had actually been border skirmishes IIRC. Allowing China out of the box in return for keeping Russia distracted. It was referred to as “playing the China card”.

    7. Option B is what I thought it was. We should have let the Soviet Union invade China like they wanted too. to keep China from the Bomb.

      1. Back then was living in CH and friends with a bunch of Czech refugees as friends. They shared a joke which went: The russians and chinese start fighting. The first day 1 million chinese surrender, the second day 10 million chinese surrender, the third day 100 million chinese surrender, the fourth day the russians surrender.

    8. [Nixon] never had a word to say about China in his whole career …

      Has everybody forgotten Quemoy and Matsu?

      For that matter, the question of “Who lost China?” was a major campaign thrust in the early Fifties and beyond.

      The ploy was not a boon to the Chicoms but rather a golden apple tossed in amongst the formerly united communists movement. It was a knife to the Russian back offering little to Red China that wasn’t already de facto theirs.

  9. > Hollywood and traditional publishing, too, either will have to do some creative thinking very fast or take it in the shorts.

    I suspect they’ve been taking it good and hard for at least a decade now. Their bizarre accounting systems have been hiding that, but that’s not going to last forever.

    Consider: how much new tradpub do you buy, paper or electronic? How many new movies have you seen at the theater or bought on DVD, that Hollywood gets their cut? How many people do you personally know who are buying those products?

    I keep seeing enormous “first weekend screening” numbers for each new Hollywood “summer blockbuster”, but… we used to have half a dozen theaters in a 25-mile radius. As far as I know we’re down to zero now. And I keep reading about theaters closing nationwide, and how poor attendance is on the open ones, and because I’m distrustful and cynical, I wonder about those Hollywood figures…

      1. I haven’t been a customer of either industry since the late 20th century. I would be utterly indifferent to their fates if they had merely failed, but after they set themselves up at thought police, I will dance on their corporate graves.

    1. I think Hollywood, TradPub, and comic books have been surviving on tricky accounting, cash flow floating, and a monopoly market position for the last 15-20 years at least. The moment the cash flow slowed down a bit, they had bills that they couldn’t cover and all those markers got called in.

      (Mental note, if I ever work in Hollywood-certified cashier’s check only if I got paid, and print out all my pay stubs.)

      1. I’ve seen an article or two about the (sole) big comics distributor (Diamond) blowing off payments to publishers “due to the coronavirus”. Combine that with the lockdown and likely demise of comics shops, and I suspect trad-comics are going to be rare, at least in book form.

        I’m not sure if any of these businesses ever had honest accounting. I recall complaints about it from the 1980s, and the implication was it was not a new thing at that point.

        1. Well longer than that. A common rule for payouts for a long time has been if they offer a percentage, only accept a percentage of the raw gross; anything else, especially percentages of the net mean that you will get paid nothing. For decades Hollywood has taken films that gross many hundreds of millions above their actual out of pocket-cost and have them have a net profit of $0.00 and in many cases report losses on the movies to the IRS.
          Their accounting “magic” is far stronger than anything any serious sorcerer or Dark Lord has ever come up with

        2. Most comic book stores, pre-Winnie The Flu, were extremely dependent upon adult (not those kind) toy, Magic::The Gathering, role-playing game, manga, and pull list sales to make their nut. The requirements of Diamond-and by extension DC and Marvel-to buy comics they know wouldn’t sell (which, I suspect New Warriors was going to be) to get the comics that would sell (new #1 comics, variant covers, etc, etc, etc).

          That the comic book industry has been playing Mr. Magoo but with an even worse prescription is going to kill most comic book stores as they are.

  10. We’re just about down to picking DVSs of Marvel movies. And I don’t much enjoy current TV. I am thankful to CBS for putting the streaming ad for “The Good Fight,” up on my feed. Seeing their ritual, “Let’s mock President Trump,” scene completely confirmed my desire to never watch an episode.

    1. I see that now God Friended Me and NCIS are done for the season CBS is bringing back the Sunday Night Movie. Starting this Sunday with Raiders of the Lost Arc.
      The thing is, some movies translate well to TV with its annoying commercial breaks, and some really do not. I’ve also noted that premium cable such as HBO and Showtime are increasingly showing older movies and banking on their independent productions to attract subscribers. Apropos of nothing in particular I recently dropped both HBO and Showtime to reduce my cable bill, and haven’t felt the loss so far.

      1. Looks like CBS is doing reruns for the original NCIS, at least until the FBI spinoff is complete. Dick Wolf sure picked a great time for FBI shows. The one in the ’60s, at least a good number of people actually thought it was a decent outfit. (Barring those who got on J Edgar’s shitlist…) Doubt that’s the case now.

  11. “This is your bright future?”

    “Yep.”

    “It’s not bad, but why you call it a bright future?”

    “Because it’s a hundred times better that what I feared the future would be”.

    😆

  12. Yes, things are going to get icky this fall. The VileProgs are going to try and steal the election any way they can. Specialty food and things may get tight. I suspect my days of globe-trotting have just passed, which stinks, but we shall see. But people are rediscovering just who is really important to society, and who just thinks they are important. That . . . may start to shift things. (When college profs are trying everything that they can to keep parents from seeing what their tuition money pays for, something stinks. And word spreads.) I”m not looking forward to the rest of a cruel summer and long autumn, but hey, people are going to do amazing things, dreadful things, and we’re in this for the long game. [Does not quote Aslan about Sons of Adam and Daughters of Eve and what that means.]

    1. I’m just hoping I get to see my parents and visit grandma’s grave JUST once more in the land of the living. (In the other land, I have tea with grandma on my schedule already.)
      But if I don’t, the last time being for older son’s/first grandson to marry wedding? It’s all right. And we’ll catch up in 20 or 30 years, if I can keep this bug-infested machine (my body) running that long.

    2. And that is the real issue; if the Democrats successfully steal the 2020 election and regain the Presidency and the Senate, while keeping the House, they WILL go full Marxist, starting with packing the Supreme Court with people to the left of Lenin and moving on from there. They will ram through NHS style harmcare, massive tax increases and all sorts of micromanagement that is expressly stated to have the goal of achieiving “socialm, economic, racial and enviromental justice” with more identity-based Marxist initatives thrown in.

      That doesn’t even take into account how they will appease China and Iran (while working hard to implement Chinese style controls on the USA) or how they may instigate a war by throwing Israel under the bus and effectively inviting Iran, et. al, to launch a strike on Israel, including potentially with nukes. The Democrats have made it clear they support those who believe Jews have no right to live in Israel and that they have no right to access to Jewish holy sites.

      If Democrats win I think we get either totalitarian hell or full-fledged civil war.

      I find it difficult to be optimistic because I think the Democrats desire and ability to still the election cannot be underestimated.

        1. And this of course is why they are so insistent on nationalizing ballot harvesting . Expect Democrats to add this to every single Bill right up to election day.

          Likewise expect them to hold legislation hostage for a bailout of blue state governments and thei government employee unions for things well beyond the virus outbreak, such as underfunded extravagant pension plans which have been a fiscal calamity for decades.

          They are also pushing for massive cash handouts to illegal aliens and to release every single one from custody, including those who have committed violent crimes up to and including murder.

          Meanwhile Pelosi is now voicing support for a permanent national minimum basic income, never mind that using $1,200 per month per person even with only 200 million getting it (a serious undercount) would cost well over $3 trillion per year alone, not even counting the money they want for nationalizing healthcare into an NHS style system, their student loan cancellation, etc. They could confiscate the entire wealth of the American populace and not have enough money to pay for everything.

  13. Two quotes come to mind:

    “God has a special providence for fools, drunkards, and the United States of America.” – attributed to Otto von Bismark

    “You can always count on Americans to do the right thing – after they’ve tried everything else.” – Winston Churchill

  14. I don’t visit here very often – I read the emails instead of bothering to sign in and comment on the blog – but in the spirit of new opportunities and building under, building over, and building around, I really hope you’ll take a look at my new site, @accordingtohoyt (do @ tags even work here?)
    It’s an idea I’ve had for a long time to make some headway on the indie invisibility problem, inspired by how great the early days were for small businesses and indie creators on FB, Twitter, Etsy, YouTube and everywhere else before all those sites decided to throttle access to various crucial features and prioritize bigger businesses and monetization.
    It’d be rude to advertise in your comments but it’s relevant and I hope you’ll give it a look.

    1. You might get some benefit from putting something in your wordpress page, even if only a pointer to your site, since the WP name is the only link a post here has without manually adding such (and it wouldn’t be seen as advertising within a comment).

      I suppose having a numismatic dragon is safer than trying to keep a pneumatic dragon.

      1. Hey 🙂 Yeah, I need to clean up and make some updates… I just now put up a post with a link. I made this account ages ago and discovered I hated the interface. I guess I can put up with it for a good cause though 🙂

        1. Proper use of dragons as piggy banks also solves the burglary issue. Though the police and DAs get rather miffed when all that is left of a thief is some carbon….

          1. But why would the owner of the “dragon piggy-bank” call the police?

            Who is going to question the owner about some missing thief? 😈

            1. Depends on how enthusiastic the dragon is with the barbecuing. Enough screaming and fire jetting out the windows will get anybody’s attention.

              Or they might be one of those unlucky souls with a Gladys Kravitz living next door (or her granddaughter Karen).

              1. All the more reason to have a well-trained dragon “piggy bank”. 😀

                1. Of course. If there is screaming and flame jets, he’s just playing with his food. Preferably done out in the boonies where the nearest neighbor is ten miles off. *chuckle*

    2. (do @ tags even work here?)

      @s don’t work here that I’ve seen. Though the convention persists in various places anyway as a useful HEY YOU marker.

      but in the spirit of new opportunities and building under, building over, and building around, I really hope you’ll take a look at my new site, […] It’d be rude to advertise in your comments but it’s relevant and I hope you’ll give it a look.

      From what I’ve seen there is considerable leniency for limited self promotion if it would interest people here anyway. Of course with the varied fauna and weapons that inhabit the area a violation probably wouldn’t even leave a scorch mark…

      (also they tolerate me hanging around, so you are dealing with a patience-of-saints situation)

      It’s an idea I’ve had for a long time to make some headway on the indie invisibility problem, inspired by how great the early days were for small businesses and indie creators on [SITES]

      Welcome to the Age of Coase.

      1. Ian,

        You aren’t anywhere near as bad as some of the people that have really worked to get banned here and MGC.

        So tolerating you is a more of a ‘rough etiquette with some sense of reciprocity’ than patience-of-saints, IMO.

        Re: advertisement. I follow links in people’s handles, mostly depending on what I think of them as commentators. If I can’t stand reading someone’s comments, I’m not going to visit their blog.

        MGC I am a bit more likely to try to follow links to visit author pages. There’s always at least a couple of posts a week that are suitable for discussing the craft of writing, and if people impress me with how they think and behave, I’m much more likely to investigate their stories.

  15. I’m glad you are feeling bright today. Today is pre-op day for me so I’m a little anxious. I’m hoping that I’ll get better and I’m hoping that our country will get better too. I grabbed Trump’s coattails and even though I’ve closed my eyes several times, I’m hoping that my gut was right.

  16. Sarah, I’m pretty glad you perked up today. Being bummed out like you have been sucks, I’ve been through it recently so I had the crash refresher in suckage.

    Whenever everything looks fucked to me, I go look out the window. I see the guy’s barn across the street is still there. Nobody came and took it away in the night.

    Everything we had that was working before March15th is still sitting there and still working just like they left it. As soon as people decide to do so, everybody will get back to it and resume cranking out their production just like always. Doctors will doctor, mechanics will wrench, cooks will cook. Et Cetera. The kink in the supply chain is temporary and repairable, the means of production is all still sitting there ready to go.

    Some companies, like Barnes & Noble for a near and dear example, may not survive the year due to the loss in sales. But they wouldn’t have survived anyway, long term. Most will struggle through by shedding dead weight and pruning their thickets of company bureaucracy.

    Some, the best ones, will toughen up their supply chains and start pressuring the IDIOTS in government to incentivize the carrying of -inventory- so we don’t get stuck like this again.

    So yeah. Got some work to do, but overall, things could be worse.

    1. I happened to stray into the regional B&N recently. The manager is good. He’s moved cooking, crafts, and other really useful/popular material to the front, then new fiction, and so on. Most of the “stuff” is now in the back, aside from craft kits and some lingering LEGOs. They’ve got a person right at the door to manage traffic, give out orders, and take coffee shop orders if the store is at capacity. A second person is working “float” and taking customers straight to the area they are interested in, so they can get what they want/need (to keep flow moving because of the customer cap, I suspect). I hope they are able to hang in there, even knowing what I know about corporate.

      1. I have always liked B&N as a place to go and look for books. Same with Chapters here in Canada, I like the store. Its nice, its quiet, it smells nice, there’s coffee, there’s parking, there’s magazines and books to browse.

        Bookstore = nice.

        But since roughly 2010 there’s no books to buy. I browse, I look at covers, I read blurbs, I shudder and move on. Mostly I’ll buy Fine Woodworking and maybe a car magazine, because Canadian bookstore Chapters does not carry gun magazines. At all. I used to love Byte and PC Magazine, but they’re gone now. ~:(

        From a retailer point of view, they’re doing most things right except the one thing they are meant to do, which is have the book I want to buy. They used to be really good at that job, they’d have five or six I wanted every time I went in. I used to buy a ton of books every month. But now… no. Nothing.

        Some of that is clearly me, I’ve mostly stopped wanting to read other people’s worlds. I have my own world now, and it is more fun to play in. (When you’re me, anyway.)

        But some of it is clearly not. I still have favorite authors, but I’m down to maybe five. There used to be -dozens- of fun authors.

        So there I am in the nice bookstore with nothing to read. I strongly believe that this is the essential core of B&N’s most central problem. Their suppliers, the publishers, are screwing them.

        1. Ours has prospered due to benign neglect on the part of national HQ and a savvy manager who took advantage of every loophole he could. The demise of Hastings (RIP), Lifeway, and two specialty used bookstores helped, but B&N is really, really popular with out-of-town shoppers and families.

    2. Honestly, I think that the Wuhan Coronavirus crisis will just accelerate the wave of fail, to tottering businesses. Those that were on the brink – this will push them over. Those businesses whose bosses/managers have the wit to observe, adapt, adjust and overcome – will come through. Not entirely unscathed – but will come through.
      The thing that I hate the most about all this – is that the huge mega-corporation outlets were able to stay open … but the small businesses weren’t, in most places. Which gives substance to suspicions that the shut-down was deliberately fomented to kill small businesses.

      1. “Which gives substance to suspicions that the shut-down was deliberately fomented to kill small businesses.”

        I might suspect a plan to kill small business if the government response was more planned generally and more “reasonable” with proper use of protective equipment etc. But to my eye, this whole thing was a knee-jerk panic reaction. “CLOSE EVERYTHING!!!!” They freaked out, pretty much.

        Big businesses like Walmart are still open because they actually have inventory, and the peasants have to buy bread somewhere. The smaller guys can’t carry inventory, they’re living off the crumbs Walmart is too big to hoover up.

        Why the shutdown is continuing past its usefulness though, that might be signs of assholes not letting a crisis go to waste.

        But really, I doubt there’s a plan. These guys have been gliding on the long smooth post-war path since 1946, this is the first big thing this generation of Ruling Class has ever had to face that they didn’t cause themselves.

  17. A great example of how Democrats rule is Comrade Murphy in New Jersey:

    From NJ Advance Media:

    Murphy also dismissed their arguments that he was overstepping the Constitution.

    “This notion of fascism is ridiculous,” he said. “This isn’t a question of patriotism. This is a question of doing what’s right. … We’re in here trying to save lives, every single day. … We are absolutely, desperately trying to save every life we can.”

    “Our heart — trust me — is in the right place,” the governor added. “We love our country, we love our state.”

    Murphy’s argument that his actions are constitutional is that “his heart is in the right place” and his actions will save lives. He previously said that he did not consider the Bill of Rights when imposing his emergency decrees.

    These are things that many dictators have claimed and his statements are the perfect example of CS Lewis’ famous admonition that it is better to live under a robber baron because those who “do it for our own good” will never be sated.

    If Democrats steal the election in November expect to see “climate emergency” and “gun violence emergency” decrees that completely toss out our constitutional rights and a leftist packed Supreme Court will go along with it.

    1. > We’re in here trying to save lives, every single day. … We are absolutely, desperately trying to save every life we can.”

      Well, it’s a change from “Ir’s for the children!”

      1. I’m sure you’re familiar with the follow-up to “The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach” (said follow-up being “then up, under the ribs”).

    2. The Supreme Court is hearing a qualified immunity case. If it goes as it should, there is no qualified immunity or convenience of the government in the constitution, then we can hold Murphy personally liable for his actions.

      Otherwise Murderous Murphy the elder killer will get Re-elected gauleiter.

      How did this state elect an adolescent schoolgirl having a crisis governor? It’s embarrassing.

      1. Is this the one with the ideologically diverse collection of “friend of court” briefs from Cato, the Institute for Justice, and slew of federal judges appointed of diverse appointment?

    3. AG Barr is making noises that unconstitutional behavior isn’t limited to abuse of religious people, so there’s a chance (one hopes) that the banhammer will come down on our junior league SS-Totenkopfverbände. I’d prefer the Nuremberg solution, but tar and feathers would suffice for the milder cases.

      (Muses, does and epoxy additive make T&F more effective? If nothing else, it’d be more lasting.) Yes, I’m a bad person.

    4. “Our heart — trust me — is in the right place,” the governor added. “We love our country, we love our state.”

      ‘s Funny. Just last night I finally got around to seeing Gaslight for the first time — not that I didn’t long since know the plot. “Our heart — trust me — is in the right place,” has been said, one way or another, by every abusive partner ever.

    5. Somebody needs to point this moron at the Declaration of Independence and explain that it isn’t the government’s job to keep people from dying from a disease. It’s the government’s job to protect the rights of the people. If you think that the government should violate the rights to people to keep people from getting sick, you may love your country, but your country isn’t America.

      1. Democrats love their country-the problem is their “country” is Mao’s China, Stalin’s Soviet Union and 1984’s Oceania

        1. I think there would be a great reduction in unhappiness if we were to round up all the Democrats, interview them to identify their desired political state, and then relocate them to the country that best matched what they wanted. Ship their chattel to them and cut them a check for the value of their real property. Let them live in the world they desire and let Americans live in freedom. No matter where you are on the left there’s a country somewhere between Canada and North Korea that aligns closely with your politics. Americans don’t have any options, we are unique and have been since day one.

  18. I’ve spent 20 years trying to wrangle a full-time gig in Academia, with no success.
    Even so, I think the current Liberal Arts system of Higher Ed is a hollow skin suit of what it was decades ago, and it’s time for the corpse to be cremated.
    It seems to be time to leave the sinking ship, but I’m at a loss to figure out what else I can do, with my skillset and experience.

    1. I got a job with a college-prep religious school that has a dual-credit option. Since I have three letters after the name instead of two, I get to run my dual credit class unsupervised for the most part, and the local community college just nods and pays me. And I write academic articles and monographs to “stay engaged in the academic community” while writing novels to help pay the bills.

    2. I’ve tutored untold amount of young uns for a bit of spare change here and there. As Sarah said, book, youtube channel for education and info, so on. There’s a definite change coming in higher ed. Maybe you get on in the beginning and ride the wave.

  19. See, this is pretty much what I’m seeing. Rough patches here and there, but in the long run — decoupling from China will more than make up for it. Especially if we can become again what few other countries have the resources to manage: completely self-sufficient.

  20. Re Hollywood: This just came across the feed from Variety:

    https://variety.com/2020/biz/features/hollywood-coronavirus-entertainment-industry-unemployment-jobs-1234592106

    I wonder if this type of stuff will ever twig the general public how awfully this industry that positions itself as American Royalty treats it’s loyal minions – how much of the profit margin on these multimillion grossing movies rests on paying the bit players and production crews crap, and how much of the gloss and shine is covering “Forget it Jake; it’s Hollywood” level sleaze.

    1. In a past life I was the technical marketing manager for a three letter/six letter/two letter major computer manf. I marketed super computers into the H’wood studios, and practiced guerrilla marketing by sponsoring the VIsual Effects Society (VES), and The Writers Guild (WG).The latter were worked as chattel by the studios, interacting with the members gave me a solid understanding of why they are such rabid union members. IP is not something the studios want anyone but them to control, let alone have any profit from their work.

      The studios and venues fought Lucas when he tried to bring in improved audio, and film resolution. Then the venues waged a pitched battle against digital imaging and digital projection, followed by battles against seating arrangements and “dinner with a movie.” All of this was to “protect the consumer” from higher prices 8-(). Sure enough prices kept rising and the customers kept paying and losing.

      Digital was the bete noire of Hollywood because it would potentially allow “stealing” of the digital images from the screen, and then producing pirated copies of the movie. It happens in China on a daily basis, but the quality of the pirated copies doesn’t sell well in the US. DRM was a crippled way to “protect” the IP that they’d, in many cases, stollen from the original creator. As part of the 6 character mfg, I sponsored the The Writers Guild Oscar party. At the party, I had writers come to me with tears in their eyes that anyone would recognize their contribution to the industry. The same was true of the H’wood still photographers and cinematographers guilds – basically necessary evils for the studios. Mostly because occasionally the natives would get uppity and try to get a little more food on the plates in the corners of the plantations.

      Just like my view of Europe, what Hollywood (Europe) sells as Capitalism is just Feudalism warmed over. Rotary capitalism is close to more of the same. Give anyone the power to allocate favors and the basic concept of volitional human action is out the window.

      Hollywood has, for decades, tried to sell the viewing public on the idea that greed is the opposite from sacrifice. The funny thing is that they want you to sacrifice, not them. They of course are not greedy because they care… riiiight.

      If you want to have a marvelous libertarian reality broach (ht to L. Niel Smith) watch the Hunger Games series with Republicrates as the folks running the show. Our infiltration of the nations youth, many of whom have viewed the film repeatedly, starts by quietly pointing out the similarity of HG to the pandemic, and what the local despots have been doing.

      1. The purpose of encryption is to protect the data from everybody except the intended recipient.

        The purpose of DRM is to protect the data from the intended recipient.

        It is exactly as stupid as is sounds. It is also logically impossible.

        1. What do you expect from an industry that thinks suing its customer base is a valid business plan?

        2. DRM is extremely valuable and a good use of money. Oh not for the reason the MPAA/RIAA bought it, that was a ridiculous idea.

          DRM enabled us to unleash the full power of the free market on trying to crack one of the fundamental philosophical problems. The result is that it was uncrackable.

          Which problem you ask? The Simulation Hypothesis. Any piece of DRM must solve that to work.

  21. Today my feeling on the lockdown is that BGE is right. The states will open up and everything will be back to normal within the month. Pence has already seeded this by saying that he expects all this to be behind us by May 25.

    And yep, it will be at first slow, then very fast. (I mean BGE makes his living predicting the behavior of masses of people, right? So he’s probably right.)

    Disclaimer: Although I work in a quant shop I am still more of a programmer and mathematician than I am an economist.

    That seems to be what I’m seeing although my view is narrower. Looking at a forward interest rate curve shows cash rates having a nasty bottom in June and then turning around. To my simplistic analysis that tells me the money market expects businesses having short term cash needs, usually a sign of business activity, bottoming out a little before mid-June and then recover.

    At least now we know the governors who were perfectly willing to put their populace under house arrest, cannot refuse to “violate the civil liberties” of dangerous crazies infesting every city and terrorizing law abiding citizens. Yes, politicians, but in this case I mean the homeless.

    I wouldn’t count on that. They released prisoners who are already commiting new crimes while threatening to arrest people for going outside, both justified by COVID. They will figure out how to justify not cracking down on rioters after having cracked down on paddleboarding and playing catch.

    What might change is their ability to get away with such double speak.

    1. And that is what I think will change: They won’t get away with it. Also there’s a vast anger in this country that will bite them in the *ss if they keep this up.

    2. First slowly, then all at once. it’s what makes it so frustrating and hard.

      Full disclosure, I get it wrong from time to time. There’s always a third possibility we hadn’t even counted upon.

      In this case, I suspect it’s about political advantage, if Trump and McConnell don’t roll over and they kill the bill the lobbyists are writing the blue states will have to open up or go bankrupt, which they can’t do, but they can stop paying their bills.

      if you work In mortgage, you know what’s going on with the servicers and all the escrow.

      Europe is opening, the south is opening, hell even parks in NJ are supposed to be opening. There will come a moment when the political cost of staying closed is greater than the political cost of staying open. I think there’s a real possibility that burying the nursing home scandal under other news might be a catalyst or DeBlassio threatening the Jews who make up a big part of Nadler’s district. What a tool. I’m waiting to see what the NYPD, who him like poison, makes of that. I hope they treat it the same way FDNY treated Zucker’s DNR order.

      1. The SF Bay Area county’s unelected public health overlordlings just announced they are extending the lockdown again through the end of May, but apparently they are starting to feel some heat and are now deigning to allow “outdoor businesses” to reopen (basically all construction projects are OK, again, and nurseries and landscaping “mow blow & go” businesses, but explicitly not outdoor restaurants because “science” says if you are six feet away from someone and there is a plant nearby, you are safe, but if there are french fries, or worse, pizza nearby, you obviously die immediately).

        They are also opening up more childcare (heh – little germ factories) and “certain outdoor recreational activities” like golf or skateboarding.

        No word in the order on whether surfing or paddleboarding is now safe or not safe, but beaches may or may not be opened or closed for “outdoor recreation activity, including, by way of example and without limitation, walking, hiking, bicycling, and running, in compliance with Social Distancing Requirements” based apparently on the flighty whim of “Health Officer, government, or other entity that manages such area” (see section 16.a.iii.1).

        If you need help falling asleep the full order is at: https://www.sccgov.org/sites/covid19/Pages/order-health-officer-050420.aspx

        1. This is the problem with making all the rules “codes”. Urban planning is full of them. The city of San Jose has turned “code enforcement” into a profit center for the city. Code enforcement turns the legal system on its head. You are guilty until proved innocent. Have a duplex in a single family zone, if the city finds out, you must now prove it was “legal non-conforming”. In other words, that it was in existence prior to the code that made it illegal. The city does not have to do the work of proving it is illegal, the property owner has to “prove” it is legal.

          There is much justification for the health department checking with restaurants to make sure they are not killing people. The fire marshal making sure a grocery store does not padlock the required second exit at night. The building inspector making sure that the contractor dug the footings for the wall to the proper depth, the electrical meets code. So health and safety codes can have a strong justification, but they also can be abused.

          The problem with what has happened with this panic, is that faulty data about this virus has been used to shut down the nation’s economy. The infection rate and death rates are turning out to be similar to such rates for flu. The problem is that China lied to us about this virus. They hid their true infection and death rates, and never discussed how many cases with no symptoms they had. So their lies have been used to justify “models” that foretold millions of deaths if we did nothing.

            1. See, the thing is, they told us the lockdown would only prevent those deaths due to the medical system being overwhelmed – if you got sick and would have been savable using a vent but they ran out and you died, you would be an excess death due to no lockdown.

              But the number of infections and some number of deaths would just be stretched out to “flatten the curve”.

              So keeping with the initial advice based on lying rat bastard communist data from communist China where Winnie is God Emperor, when the curve got flat enough, the peak was nowhere near hospital capacity, and the trend was over the peak – not when the curve completely bottomed out – the lockdown could end, as the threat to the health system was over.

              Obviously now the goalposts have shifted by several miles, and somehow the number of new cases has to stay trending negative, in the face of a guaranteed rise after lockdown, while hospitals are furloughing staff left and right due to the absence of all the other patients.

              You want to protect the health system? Release all medical visits and treatments and in-person appointments and elective procedures. Get the docs and nurses and everyone else in the health system back to work.

              In fact, let anyone go back to work – after all this they will social-distance and mask and wash hands for a long long time.

              Public Health Pronouncements are no longer needed. Go back to tracking STDs.

              1. But they think taking the simplest and most effective precautions against STDs is too much of a burden.

          1. > faulty data

            More like “totally imaginary but supports our intentions to ride this for whatever we can get” data…

      2. Bad, bad situation in a Massachusetts veterans home. They mixed sick vets with the rest. Death toll over 80. If you want to be infuriated, the guy in charge has been removed and “placed on administrative leave.”

      3. I’m in post secondary mortgage. We support the desk that hedges our MBS and CMO (*spit*) portfolio (although we also support our originators secondary market selling operations), so I don’t see escrow.

        We do model prepay and I haven’t see seen prepay spiking (which here would be foreclosure) nor loans moving to non-performing. Then again, that usually takes a few months, so I figure we’ll see it come July and August.

  22. Fingers crossed, and hoping that it all works out better in the end. At the very least, the shakeup of the Usual Suspects might give us some more chances to do interesting things.

  23. … free the economy as much as possible right now, and set us on a path to free it more.

    Remember: a treatment for some illnesses is to cause the patient to run a fever, burn out the disease and then cure the fever.

    1. Oh those many times I started to feel ill, so took a shower as hot as I could stand, then went to bed, with heating pad as high as I dared, and plenty of coverings. Yes, I needed another shower when I woke up, but “burn the sucker out” has something to it, it seems.

  24. Federal Social Distancing guidelines will not be continued after May, 1.
    San Francisco is easing some lockdown restrictions.
    NJ may be opening parks on Saturday.

    Drip, drip, drip

  25. My state’s still trying to commit suicide, and the governor has anounced that people should expect schools to still be closed this fall so he can skim off the top for his own benefit/bail out a state that deserves to fail/stick his tounge out at Trump. I won’t be sticking around for it, though. This has been a good kick in the pants to move on to bigger and better things.

    1. Somewhat better here in FL. Our county (Pinellas) parks never were closed. Pools allowed to open today. State parks, Beaches, daycares, non-essential businesses (including restaurants but not bars, theaters, or personal services) at 25% building capacity allowed to open Monday. Restaurants may have outdoor tables 6′ apart.
      Given the Indonesian study that just came out, Noisome in CA closing beaches is just trying to kill people.
      In the Indonesia report, just under 50% of hospital admitted COVID19 patients had normal vitamin D levels. 4% of those died. about a quarter had somewhat low vitamin D levels – 88% of those died. The other quarter were clinically deficient in vitamin D – 99% of those died.
      Now some of that is going to be correlation instead of causation – already sick people don’t get out in the sun much – but at that degree of difference it’s unlikely that there isn’t a more direct link,

  26. My state’s still trying to commit suicide, and the governor has anounced that people should expect schools to still be closed this fall so he can skim off the top for his own benefit/bail out a state that deserves to fail/stick his tounge out at Trump. I won’t be sticking around for it, though. This has been a good kick in the pants to move on to bigger and better things.

  27. Justin Amash. NeverTrumper Justin Amash is “exploring” a bid for the Libertarian nom.

    2016 was the LP’s best shot at votes and publicity and they put out the wet blanket Johnson.

    I’ve been a card carrying member of the LP for a quarter century and I ended up voting for Daryl freaking Castle.

    If the party actually puts Amash on the ballot I might just have to shred the card and go back to being a little “l” libertarian…

    And a couple more months of all this feldercarb and I might stop being a Trump defender and end up as a supporter.

    This has been a weird ass four years.

    Hope you and Dan and the boys keep yourselves on the right side of however this ends.

  28. Good news from the northern district of CalOrWa: I went to my local brewpub for dinner today as I’ve been doing every week for the past 8 years. Since the WuFCI kicked in I’ve been enjoying a beer while my takeout order is being prepared. Today the manager brought out my meal and asked if I wanted to sit at the bar and eat it with another beer. People are getting sick of the lockdowns, there is an increasing awareness that this isn’t as bad as the media is making it out to be. I think a de facto opening nationally in a month is quite realistic.

    1. Orange County California reopening.

      Look at Florida Governor deSantis to see how the political argument will develop. The nursing homes are the key. I think a lot of the stupid stuff the governors are doing is smoke to hide their errors. deSantis is calling them out on that.

    1. “There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who, when presented with a glass that is exactly half full, say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty.

      The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What’s up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don’t think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass! Who’s been pinching my beer?

      And at the other end of the bar the world is full of the other type of person, who has a broken glass, or a glass that has been carelessly knocked over (usually by one of the people calling for a larger glass) or who had no glass at all, because he was at the back of the crowd and had failed to catch the barman’s eye. ”

      ― Terry Pratchett, The Truth

      1. There are two views of the “ideal” government. One is that almost everyone will obey the law almost all the time, because the law is “both ancient and just.” Exceptions can be dealt with by private, ad-hoc action, so no actual government is needed.

        The other is of a God-Emperor who decrees justice and virtue and thus causes justice and virtue to happen. Exceptions can be dealt with by special appeals to the God-Emperor who, with a wave of his hand, will cast down the evil-doers and cause justice and virtue to be restored.

        Classical-liberal and libertarian types try to approximate the first ideal via small, limited, and even minimal government, while recognizing that “Utopia is not an option.”

        Modern (as opposed to classical) liberals and progressive types try to approximate the second ideal via Benevolent Big Government, where the bureaucracy and the judiciary form a sort of synthetic God-Emperor that can decree justice and virtue into existence.

        1. There are at least a couple more.

          Government is what armies use to collect the resources they use to win the conflicts used to maintain control of the territories they extract resources from.

          Government is a mechanism to commit mass murder to satisfy the personal appetites of a despot, and to coerce people to excuse those acts.

          ‘Optimal for what purpose’ is one source of the ambiguity in ideal. Variation in personal taste once you consider the full range of human insanity and evil is another.

  29. I personally want to see Hollywood fall hard. And Disney in particular with their shenanigans about copyright law. Imagine the schadenfreude!

      1. I think we’re there. Things have started to come into the public domain again and people are aware enough to block the obvious copyright shenanigans. As I recall, there was a push by the usual suspects to extend copyright again about 10-15 years ago and the nascent online movement got it shut down.

    1. The next one in his feed’s pretty good too.

      I’m dyin’ here.Neighbors are co-op schooling while schools are closed. One neighbor, ex-Marine, is in charge of PE.He’s got elementary school kids lined up in his back yard doing burpees and air squats while chanting “I don’l know but I believe, Santa comes on Christmas Eve.”— Michael Haz (@Michael_Haz) April 28, 2020

      https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

  30. Oddly enough, I have been thinking (not all the time, but between worrying about the hiccoughs in the food chain) that there might be a soft coup going on, but not necessarily the one that everyone thinks.

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