Lay Down Your Bets – a blast from the past from September 12 2012


Lay Down Your Bets – a blast from the past from September 12 2012

This is not a post about world building, though it is that too.  It is mostly a post about life – though I’ll come at it through writing, which might make it easier to understand.

It is a cliche, tired and worn, that one has to remind new writers that magic must have a price.  This is because, particularly when you bring in something that doesn’t exist in our world, it is all too easy for young – in age or craft – people to get carried away and think all laws of reality can also be suspended.  While these books can be lots of fun to write, (kind of like those Saturday morning cartoons where your character suddenly achieves the ability to draw things and make them come to life), they are tedious to read (even that sort of cartoon throws in an archenemy or someone who’s chasing the kid to get the wondrous crayon.)

This is where life differs from writing – maybe.  I think – because acquiring that sort of power in real life would be a blast.  Well, okay, maybe it would grow tedious after a while, but frankly that’s the sort of challenge I’d like to have “how can I stop life from growing wearisome while I have everything I want and a magical pony on the side?”

Annoyingly, it is also the sort of challenge no one has.  Not in real life.  Probably part of the objectionable (or obnoxious) nature of the books where there’s no price for magic is that it’s not nice to taunt us with images of a world we can never live in.

In fact, humans so much wish they could live in a world where there’s no prices, that we often pretend those prices don’t exist, because it makes us feel better.

I don’t mean by this the price of goods and services, though the most amoral among us like to pretend that those have no cost either.  This is where the bright idea comes from that one should just take goods and services and give them to other people, in a sort of fairy-godmothery way, because…  Because when you’re a morally blind idiot you don’t realize the people who produced or acquired goods or who provide services pay a price for them – in learning or sacrifice or even a narrowing of life options – and therefore you don’t realize what you’re advocating is nothing less than slavery.  (All objections of course are removed when people voluntarily share with others things or services for which they’ve paid the price.  That’s their choice.)

It goes both ways of course.  Businesses engaging in “Hollywood accounting” (including those in Hollywood) are engaging as much in theft of another person’s life as those in the bureaucracy who legislate that type of theft.

It’s very easy to think “oh, he’d write screenplays, anyway.  And we paid him.  He doesn’t need the extra howevermuch.”  But while the screen writer might have written screen plays anyway, trust me, to get to the point you want to make a movie of it, he engaged in learning his craft, he wrote a lot of unusable screenplays, and he sacrificed time and effort without which you wouldn’t have that play.  So when taking the extra compensation that accountants make disappear, you are in fact engaging in stealing years or months of his life.

No, I’m not endorsing the Marxist theory that labor equals value.  I’m simply saying that nothing of value was produced without labor – or without learning, or without talent, or without…

I’m saying there is a price to magic.  There is a price to anything and everything in life.  You pays your dust, you takes your chances.  And, as I’ve said before, in the end you always get more or less what you want. … unless what you want is the magical crayon that can draw things and make them come to life – because that violates the rules of life in this particular universe.

Do you want to be the best runner ever?  Well, you exercise, you practice, you put in your effort and you’ll be a very good runner.  You might not be the best ever – or the best in your team – because you have the wrong body type, or because you fall and break your ankle, or…  But you’ll still be a million times a better runner than you were when you started out.  The same goes for playing an instrument, for writing, for any of the arts, crafts or sports.

Most people understand that price.  Most people even understand what we’d call “the price of fame,” where the character becomes ruler-of-the-world or the most famous musician since Elvis left the scene to open a diner in Arizona.  That type of price has been shown again and again in movies, and even though it’s a variant of “poor little rich boy/girl” we know it by heart now.  You become rich and famous, and spoiled, and you lose the contacts in your small town, and your best boy/girl (or for the more edgy movies, both) sends you a Dear John.  You either chuck it all to go back to your origins (happy ending) or you die of an overdose (unhappy ending.)

But Sarah, you say, I never want that kind of fame, so why should I consider that kind of price?

I don’t want that kind of fame, either, and – Praise the Lord, Brothers and Sisters! – I’m very unlikely to ever achieve it.

However, what most people – myself included a few years ago – fail to grasp is that there is a price to more mundane achievements, too.  For instance, having children.

Robert and I were talking yesterday about some woman about my age who said she had to find herself.  Although I despise that trite phrase, when Robert said “How do you EVEN lose yourself?” I had to point out you do.  You can’t help it.  When they’re little you’re not you, you’re mommy.  H*ll, even when they are teens, you still are giving up a major portion of your life to being mommy – to being the adult.  Someone has to do both of those.

I remember the first time I went to the grocery store without the kids, because they were old enough to be left at home alone.  It felt weird.  It was like I didn’t know how to be in the store alone, by myself, anymore.  My habits of shopping from when I was childless were quite gone.  Ditto, the first time I took a walk alone.  The first time I sat down and read a book because I wanted to (and the kids were both at school.)

It’s not just time or habit, either.  During those intensive child rearing years, my thoughts were different.  I wasn’t me.  I was Robert-and-Marshall’s mother.

As the child-rearing pressures ease (do they ever go away completely?) I’m starting to re-find myself; to see the outlines of the person there, who is Sarah Hoyt, not Robert-and-Marshall’s mother (though she is that too.)  This is not the same as the Sarah Hoyt many years ago.  For one, she doesn’t look nearly as good anymore.  For another…  She’s changed through the years and the experiences.

There’s a price.

When I chose to really try to write and publish, I started devoting vast chunks of time to it.  This means I lost some of the kids’ childhood.  There were days I wanted to just take them to the park and watch them play, but I was on deadline.  There were times I wanted to sit around and enjoy them, but I had writing to do.

Now, a lot of what I paid to have a writing career was dictated by the boundaries of the old model.  However, Indie will have its own boundaries too.  Sure, you can write and put things up there, but if you want to sell significant number, you’d best learn the craft.  (And if you haven’t read Dwight Swain’s Techniques of the Selling Writer, why NOT?)  And that will take time.  More than that, it will take effort.  You’ll emerge on the other side, not just as a selling writer, but changed.  Years will have passed that you weren’t even aware of, and you’ll be a different person.

This is true even if what you choose to pursue is a more normal career, like, say, cab driver or server.  You will have to train, and then you’ll have to practice and your rewards are likely to be commensurate with your effort.

The same is true for every hobby, at every level from casual to serious.

Achievement – magic – has a price.  It always has a price.  Mostly what you pay is your ability, your vitality, your time, your life.  But you also pay all the things you could have been doing instead.  For instance, when I chose to be a writer, I chose not to be a translator anymore.  Now if I tried to be a translator, I couldn’t.  The ability is gone.  To get it back would take almost as long as to learn it in the first place.

Ah, you say – but I won’t pay. – I’ll just sit here and do nothing.

But then you pay the price of doing nothing.  You won’t learn, you won’t do, you won’t BE.  In the end, doing nothing, choosing nothing, deciding nothing has the highest price of all.  You find yourself pushed aside from the world.  You find you have in fact paid your life, your time, your talent… for years and years of doing nothing and being nothing.

So, when you’re considering doing something, learning something, trying something; when you’re considering what you wish to concentrate on; when you think one path has no cost and the other is expensive; when you shy back from doing things and take the path of least resistance, remember – everything has a price.

Yes, sure, magic has a price.  It might take years of the magician’s life.  BUT if he doesn’t use the magic, he might instead lose his home, his friends, his kingdom.  He might have to live out his life in vile slavery.

Everything has a price.  Action and the lack of action have different prices, but nothing is free.  TANSTAAFL.

You pays your dollar.  You takes your bet.

What will it be?

147 thoughts on “Lay Down Your Bets – a blast from the past from September 12 2012

    1. Sarah recommends reading, reading it again while taking notes, and reading it again, I think after a wait.

      I’ve read it twice, with a significant wait in between. I will have a while before I can reread, and I think I might benefit.

  1. Yes but… What about when it is everyone else who pays? Joey the Soiboi is bored. He goes downtown to the protest just for fun. He cares less about Blacks, Lives or Mattering of any sort but the glass beneath his feet gives a satisfying crunch and there’s really nothing better than a brightly burning building. At dawn as the charred remains of a black person’s livelyhood smolders, he returns home to wash the soot off his sneakers have some cheetoes and dream of having a girlfriend. Cost to him =0.

    1. …wash the soot off his $200 sneakers…

      Which didn’t cost his worthless ass anything.

      That’s one of the biggest problems — they have everything, and understand nothing, because they never made any effort of their own to get it. They don’t understand work, because they never did any; they don’t understand value, because they never created any; they don’t understand money, because they never earned any. They’re 20-something babies, accustomed to getting whatever they want with crying and tantrums.
      “Weep for the future, Na’Toth. Weep for us all.”

      1. Sure they earned money! they work the 11-3 shift at Starbucks three days a week, and they work HARD for those twelve hours!

      2. I think it’s a mistake to say they’ve never worked hard. Like many hobbyists, they probably put a great deal of time and energy into their hobby, and not just when they’re actually out ‘protesting’. It’s misdirected energy, to be sure. But to say it isn’t hard work….


        They’ve been told all their lives that this kind of ‘political action’ MATTERS. For the most part, it doesn’t. Or it has negative impact on the problems involved. And it never, ever STOPS. The people driving it NEED it to go on forever, because it validates them. Which is why a sizable chunk went from working for Gay Marriage (which makes some social sense; stable homosexual partnerships are better for society than constant turnover) to Trans Rights which is an absolute minefield of fail.

        And because they’ve never been taught to analyze and evaluate their passions, the energy will continue to be misdirected. But it IS a real effort. And making the assumption that it isn’t will lead to bad analysis on our part.

        1. And never do they notice that ‘protests’ — even truly peaceful ones — are a form of coercion: you interfere with other people’s lives until they get tired of trying to work around your interference, and give in to whatever you want.

          1. The price comes when the other people don’t give in and decide to take out their mad on the Protester.
            The cost is not known until the other people are thru. It can be a beating, simple killing or much worse.
            And that is for Peaceful protesters, add a little violent protest and it can happen much faster to ALL the protesters even the Peaceful ones. After all that is what the violent ones WANT for the Peaceful ones to be violently attacked, hurt or better killed. It serves the CAUSE.
            You see the price can be extremely high. No one is sure when the payment will come do.

            1. From Kam Hamilton, via Larry Correia:

              I’m SHAKING as I type this.
              For weeks now people have asked, “kam what are your thoughts with everything going on with the BLM movement?” And for weeks I have been silent, and to be honest I wasn’t planning on opening up until tonight’s event.
              I was at dinner with a friend IN DOWNTOWN PROVO, when a protest group decided to block a portion of center street. Annoyed, I decided to walk closer to do a head count. Out of the 50 or 60 people at this protest, 5 of them were black, let me repeat that… 5 PEOPLE WERE BLACK at this protest. I sat and listened as they chanted things about police officers, and as they chanted things about “justice for blacks”. As cars sat there honking, the protest group didn’t move. I watched them hit and throw things at innocent cars. As the group marched further down center street, I watched a truck blaze through them, and then guns were shot. AND THIS IS WHERE I LOSE IT.
              As gun shots were fired, I watched an innocent couple, holding a baby run for their lives. AN INNOCENT COUPLE AND A BABY. My heart shattered, and I instantly became pissed.
              This movement is suppose to be for me? All this rioting and protesting is suppose to support me and the black community? You guys are doing this to show your love and support to blacks?
              If this is the way you guys want to show support and love, then count me out. I never want people to fear me because of a movement that’s “supposedly” supporting me and my kind. You guys are saying “black lives matter” and I am here saying “all lives matter”. You want to retaliate with “yes all lives matter, but right now it’s about black lives”, then I say this:
              If you think that going around and causing fear is a solution for black lives, you’re wrong. It’s only adding to the problem. Fear is what started this, and what these protesters are doing is only making things worse. I never want people to fear me because of the color of my skin. I never want people to feel uncomfortable because I’m black. FEAR IS NOT THE WAY TO SOLVE THIS PROBLEM. It only makes this situation worse for everyone.
              If you think that making one race a priority over another right now is the solution, then I say that only makes things harder. We can’t make other races feel guilty or bad or LESS in hopes that they will start treating the “priority” race better. IT WON’T. And this will forever be an ongoing issue as we rotate different “lives” that matter the most “at this time”.
              If you think that all cops are the same, then I say you need to grow up and stop categorizing. One bad cop DOES NOT MAKE ALL COPS BAD. One illegal immigrant DOES NOT MAKE ALL IMMIGRANTS ILLEGAL. There are good cops and there are bad cops, and it makes me sick that innocent cops, that have been protecting us and serving us for years, now have to prove themselves. They have to protect their innocent families now because people want to vandalize their homes. They now have to be seen as “murderers” just because OF ONE COP. For all my friends that are cops…. FROM THIS BLACK MALE, I WANT TO SAY THANK YOU, and I would like to apologize for any wrong, violence, or hate crime that has been directed towards you or your family.
              I’m a black male that just had his heart shattered because of what I just witnessed with that innocent couple. For a movement that is suppose to be making me feel proud of the color of my skin, it’s only making things harder for me. I get stared at more as I go into places for work, and not the good type of stares, the awkward type. The type of stare where I can just tell they are already afraid because of everything going, and now they are in the presence of a “black guy”. I get asked a thousand times “what are your thoughts” every day now, but before “my opinion” on blacks didn’t matter because I was only “half black”. When I got booted a few weeks ago the cop couldn’t even look me in the eye and the sad part of that moment, I was completely in the wrong for parking in a spot that needed a permit, yet he was afraid to do his job and give me the ticket. My friends don’t even know what to say to me anymore because they are afraid it’s going to come off racist. MY OWN FRIENDS, not random people, but people that have known me for years ARE SCARED TO EVEN TALK TO ME because they don’t want to be considered racist. I get phone calls asking “if I don’t post anything about what’s going on, are you going to feel like I am a racist? Is it going to come off that you don’t matter to me if I don’t share anything?”.
              So again, is this movement really for me?
              Is it really for black people?
              Are these protests helping at all?
              I can’t see how burning stores down, flipping cars over, and harassing innocent bystanders helps us blacks feel important.
              Again, I am black male and I don’t feel like the way we are going about “black lives matter” is helping at all. If anything it makes me sick that our world is falling apart, yet so many people are feeling like they are making a difference in the community.
              Take it from a black guy, you’re not helping, you’re only making the world fear black people and that is still making life hard for us.

              1. This is why I hope to see a substantial number of ‘Black votes’ going away from the Democrats in November. Not enough; it won’t be enough until Black communities start voting against the race pimps in hoards. But if even 10% MORE than voted for Trump in 2016 decide they have had enough, it would be wonderful.

                Of course there’s an ugly part of me that would like to see one or more Black Quislings like Sharpton get the snot beaten out of them by the people they batten upon Like bloated ticks. It would sure be satisfying, but probably unhelpful.

              2. Again, I am black male and I don’t feel like the way we are going about “black lives matter” is helping at all.

                He’s probably already perfectly aware of this– but they don’t care.

                The views of the symbol being helped, much less if the “help” is actually not HARMFUL, don’t matter.

                What matters is that they feel like they are trying to help. (if it’s even that non-malicious)

                1. It has been observed elsewhere that there is a difference between “black lives matter” and “Black Lives Matter”. The former is a misguided notion that black lives are more important here and now than any others. The latter is a subversive Marxist terrorist organization. The danger is that supporting the one and failing to note the distinction can easily suck you into supporting the other.

              3. Ah, but what are the protests trying to help? The lives of blacks? Or the lives of the power-mongers?

            2. It was right by the temple too. I live just south of Provo and the whole thing makes me sick.

          2. That’s what all protests are, on one level. Notice to the State that a group of citizens are annoyed enough to make a fuss. The problem with the Left’s protests is that (as has been alluded to by myself and others) they have become a form of entertainment. College students ‘protest’ the way they used to, say, stuff phone booths. Or go to pep rallies.

            1. Nothing new. Eddings in “The Shining Ones,” has the Emperor ( who has just survived an attack on his palace) comment that the nobles are upset because so many of their sons were killed. It seems that protesting against the Emperor was a hobby that gave them status points: the Emperor admitted he had protested against the Empire to get girls and tried his best to get arrested.

              1. Occupy Wall Street was exactly that for the first bit. Until the girls went home and the skells moved in. All the picturesque bums made mint charging photographers for sitting. You could smell it blocks away. FIrst week, pot smoke, after that eau de skell.

                Conservative girls are beautiful but radical girls are easy. Learned that when I was very young. Radical girls are also usually nuts which tended to be the other lesson a young man needed to learn.

                1. Then there were the questions I fielded as to whether I “‘Supported’ OWS”. Of course I supported the right of OWS to protest – peacefully. Everyone has the right to prove that they are eedjits. Lord knows I’ve done so a time or two in the past. What I did *not* support were the views or goals of The Movement.

                  Unfortunately, soundbite culture doesn’t have the patience to parse that distinction. Kind of like how we’re being asked today to agree with the phrase ‘black lives matter’. Of course black lives matter. At the risk of being canceled, I will state that *all* lives matter. Black Lives Matter, OTOH. doesn’t matter.

                  1. Even less room for those who would point out that “peacefully” means they’re not allowed to restrain others from using the public walkway, much less trap them inside of buildings, or take other folks’ stuff, or violate any other public property use laws– much less take over private property for their own use.

    2. Strongly disagree. Two ways to look at the cost. Cost to him, his soul, or cost to him, the ability to live in a civilization. With his outlook, no-one will trust him and that is the kiss of death in a cooperative culture. It does not matter that “no-one knows” about the arson. The attitude behind it shows.

      1. Glad to see this point having been made while I was attending to life. There’s always a cost, even if it is not directly realized. The example given may imagine himself a brave revolutionary but come the Terror (and it will come, it always comes when the animal spirits are loosed in the streets, he will pay the price and never understand why. Before you add kindling to that bonfire be sure it won’t engulf you.

        N.B. – you can’t ever be sure it won’t engulf you.

    3. Oh, he cares about Mattering, specifically that he matters.

      Having lost the ability to create and those matter by giving or exchanging value (I’m starting to sound more and more like Rand) he will matter to some specific person by destroying their property up to and including their body.

  2. My econ prof in college (the first time) said that there are only two “free goods,” meaning things that are so common that no one will pay for them. Those being adult cats that need a home, and squash in August-September. You know, the months when you lock your car and house doors to keep from coming out and discovering bags of produce in the morning? I’m not so certain about adult cats anymore (not in the market) but I can attest to the squash, even out here.

    Everything else has a cost, even if it is hidden. The soiboi in Tim’s example will find his insurance going up, and his rent, and a few other things that he won’t recognize because he doesn’t see them on the bill. But he’ll wonder why things cost more, and why his landlord is complaining about taxes and fire insurance key rates soaring.

        1. First question to ask a woke darling is how old were you when Daddy left. It’s striking to me how much money it takes to live a boho lifestyle in America and how little they earn. Daddy bribes them, but they hate him especially since mommy called him a b@Start and daddy called her the b*tch when dear child visited.

          1. Two cousins (much younger than I am) just had their youngest hit 18. None of the kids are going to college, so child support is done. The twins, will do fine. Their parents were cordial during the divorce, she’s remarried. Step-dad also stepped up.

            The other child the comment when learning child support was ending was “But mom depends on that money.” Cousin’s response. “Not my problem. That money, legally was intended to provide for you. What your mother did with it after I gave it to her, was up to her. If she didn’t use it to provide for your needs, but used it for her own. You have a legal action. But I’m out of it.” I suspect the child support was used for housing and transportation, which now mom can’t afford. Oh well. To be fair to the cousin, the baby mamma went looking to get pregnant. Between her parents & his they did get married. She really, really, didn’t want too (price of having her parents support after the divorce). Cousin would have ended up paying child support, but at least marriage/divorce-after-child’s-birth gave him parental and custodial rights. Baby mamma didn’t get spousal support.

            1. Oh. Least she thought she was picking the “rich family”, boy did she screw up. Aunt and Uncle weren’t poor. Cousin was barely employed. Better off now that they are retired, because two SS, and her public pension. But trust me, rich they aren’t. Not the way baby mamma thought. Cousin’s employment is much better now too. But at the time? Not so much.

        2. Yet still has to finance him.

          I think about 2050 we’re going to have a huge issue when millennials have their parents die and have to completely support themselves.

          1. Let’s hope they don’t breed. have a look at the new Mercedes commercial putting forth what millennial parents “owe” their children. Shudder.

            My father refused to move us up to Scarsdale back in the day because he didn’t want me to grow up among privilege. He, quaintly, thought I should earn my way. Great man, my father.

            1. Guys, can you please keep in mind that the Millennials are the ones who signed up after 9/11, and have kept doing it, until the militaries had to put so many restrictions on entry that I would have had trouble getting in? The guys who stayed in are nearing retirement, including my little brother.

              That “Millennials” didn’t become a nasty word until after that eternal “youth vote” disappointed the self-appointed leaders of the Boomers?

              And the guys the news keeps pushing as the real face of the Millennial generation is– just as when I was a kid and the generation in question was X– amazingly similar to the hippy-flavored rebels without a cause?

              1. a loooot of late genXers signed up after 9/11 too. Esp prior service guys who had already done their bit for king and country.

                  1. technically? most genXers from my day could have gone… some did.. others, their wife/husband said no, or they weren’t physically able.

                    1. I figured that if you weren’t still in at the time, you had the same line of thought as my dad as far as desire vs practical application.

              2. My children are millennials and I have no issue with them. My problem is with Mercedes Benz.

                Even the Antifa crowd are a a tiny minority. Take away twitter and they’re nowhere. Take away MSM and they’re no one.

                Poor little rich kids and poor little slum kids being used.

                I never had a problem with whores. Johns? Yeah, I have a problem with Johns. Pimps … I hate bloody pimps.

                1. As long as sex and money exist, they will be exchanged.

                  Our only choice as a society is whether that exchange will be controlled by the law, or by lawbreakers. Prohibition has never succeeded in eliminating prostitution, or even significantly reducing it.
                  The world is full of self-important, self-righteous, obsessed assholes, tormented by the conviction that Somebody, Somewhere is Doing Something they don’t approve of, and driven by a compulsion to Do Something About It at any cost.

                  1. Our only choice as a society is whether that exchange will be controlled by the law, or by lawbreakers. Prohibition has never succeeded in eliminating prostitution, or even significantly reducing it.

                    It has succeeded in making it so you can throw the entire library at the guys who are so nasty even the pro-prostitution guys think they’re scum.

                    Much like how laws against theft and murder don’t eliminate that, either, but they DO make it so you can raise the cost to the criminals and even help some of the victims.

                    1. I’m not in favor of prostitution. That said, it’s been around always and everywhere. As with narcotics, making it criminal increases the price and concentrates the rewards. The law hits the hookers, seldom hits the Johns and almost never hits the pimps. Pimps can pay bribes.

                      in any case, we often call politicians whores. They’re really not, they’re pimps and I hate bloody pimps. The media are the whores, the donors are the Johns.

                    2. As with narcotics, making it criminal increases the price and concentrates the rewards.

                      Do not neglect that it focuses the costs more closely on those directly involved, and increases the cost to the point that the reward is less than honest work, for those who aren’t looking for something more than money.

                      The law hits the hookers, seldom hits the Johns and almost never hits the pimps

                      That hasn’t been true for decades, minimum, although it is a favorite claim by female pimps, usually after their string has been “stolen” by being arrested– and offered treatment for their addiction, help rebuilding their lives, and are NOT released right back to the pimp or her associates.

                      One of the nasty things that jumped out when I looked at things that were supposedly “not punishing the hookers” was that it looked a hell of a lot like dumping them right back into the hands of the pimp. Then they wonder why the hookers didn’t turn in their pimps…because THAT is a great survival mechanism. “That’s the guy. Now arrest him, and put me out in the middle of all of his friends. Oh, and he’ll be out soon on bail.” If it was actively created to help the pimps, what would they do differently?

                      Laws against prostitution are very effective at stopping the slavers, no matter how much abuse they heap on their victims to make them believe they deserve it.

                    3. Pimps are a product of prohibition. I have been to countries where prostitution is legal, and there are no pimps. The ‘working girls’ can seek the law’s protection from assault and extortion like any other citizen.

                      When someone is robbed by a thief, or killed by a murderer, there is a clear victim, who is involuntarily harmed.

                      When someone voluntarily accepts money in exchange for sex, who is harmed? You can go on about morality, and spiritual contamination, but if the prostitute and the customer do not agree with your morality, do not believe they are being harmed, you are forcing YOUR values onto people who reject them.

                      Sort of like the leftists are forcing communism onto those of us who reject it.
                      Complex questions never have simple answers. Hell, most simple questions don’t have simple answers.

                    4. Pimps are a product of prohibition. I have been to countries where prostitution is legal, and there are no pimps.

                      As you are apparently working on entirely different set of facts, the conversation is at a dead end. There are human trafficking statistics and data and the reports from those women (and girls) who escape, all over the place showing exactly the opposite of what you believe.

                    5. Don’t those abuses take place in dysfunctional regions where the law is irrelevant because it is blatantly for sale?

                    6. If you knock “dysfunctional regions” down to where it includes areas of neighborhoods, and “blatantly for sale” to the point where it includes “they feel secure in being able to exploit the existing legal system.”

                      AKA, criminals tend to work where they think they’ll get away with it. Same as any other predator.

                    7. I believe we need to prosecute people who knowingly employ illegal immigrants, those who enslave illegal immigrants, and also johns because they are into trafficking as much as pimps. If I had my druthers, there’d be a lot of prosecuting.

                    8. There are laws against hiring illegals, and they’re actually enforced…when the evidence can be gathered.

                      Part of the problem is local or state governments “protecting” employees from having their identity stolen to give cover to illegals, and in some places they’ll knowingly hire illegals, then turn them in to immigration when the job is done.

                      Trying to identify who is paying 100% under the table is hard, too, because there’s an insane difference between a trained worker’s picking, and an off the street office guy picking. Enforcement used that to hold a bunch of fresh fruit hostage on work violations a few years back. It was ugly…..

                      The rings doing identity theft are usually plea-bargained down, too.

                      For solicitation, there is a lot of prosecuting. It usually doesn’t hit the news unless it’s someone famous, or the cops mess up, or both.

                      Getting the evidence is tough, too, obviously.

                    9. Ugh, yeah. And there’s a whole lot of scumbags with a whole lot of money that want it kept that way, never mind how much it costs EVERYBODY else. They’re the ones that need to be in jail.

                  2. I was writing about about politicians being pimps, and I apologize if I wasn’t clear or lost that notion as we went on. I think we can all agree that pimps are scum.

                    I would have to disagree in part with both my interlocutors. There are pimps wherever there are hookers and French maquereaux are no better than NY pimps.

                    I also disagree that criminalizing prostitution concentrates the cost on those most closely involved. Crime is bad for neighborhoods and the secondary effects of street hookers and the violence that follows is the same, and overlaps the violence that follows dealing drugs. It’s often the same people. That has massive effects on the surrounding people.

                    Criminalizing does concentrate the rewards, the poor hooker doesn’t see the proceeds, and pimps pay other pimps and so on Infinitum. Top levels pay into organized crime and that’s big, big money. Still, technically, the prostitute is covered by the law about beating etc., but not about the pimp taking the wages. There, there is no protection in the law at all. There must be clean hands in equity.

                    I don’t agree that prostitution is victimless nor are drugs …. or alcohol, or tobacco, or refined sugar to take an utterly trivial example I simply believe that it is not the business of the state to criminalize them. I do think that people who beat, rape, torture, and murder should be prosecuted and I think that having prostitution criminal reduces the likelihood that those prosecutions happen because of the concentration of money and the corruption attendant on every action by the state.

                    FWIW, When I was a young man I did some volunteer work at Covenant House in NYC before It came out that the head was just another pedo. Later, I worked on 53rd and 3rd — my friends still tease me about it. DeeDee Ramone used to sing about it. Look at the lyrics to find out what it meant. I won’t pretend I have direct experience of prostitution because I don’t, but I know people who do and you’d have to go a long way before you found a bleaker view of the whole dirty business than mine.

                    With that, I think we’re at an ending.

                    1. Sorry. t just occurred to me that Bernie Madoff’s office was on the corner of 53rd and 3rd. Oddly appropriate.

                    2. Your point about concentrating the rewards of crime is extremely perceptive, and I’ve never seen it put quite that way before. I will remember that.

                      Every proposed law should be analyzed for how it might concentrate the rewards of crime.

                    3. If a service is not valued, but having the service convenient is valued, the service provider will make money but the employees won’t make much. Consider McDonalds.

                      Pretty much everywhere that prostitution is legal, there are pimps. And since pretty much all prostitutes have some bad thing going on in their lives, or they wouldn’t be prostituting themselves, most pimps feel free to act worse than any manager anyone ever had at McDonalds.

                      Also, generally one’s manager at McDonalds is not in a position to make employees have sex with him/her when business is slow.

                    4. ….. And no-one has got around to “throw the book at the Johns” It’s all just “prostitutes” vs. pimps. Heh.

                      I’m support of the “it’s just like prohibition” argument, is the case that while Demon Rum is the cause of many a woe; wine and beer are baked into the fabric of human eating customs. Even a mass spasm of moral panic won’t do much to get people to criminalize what they don’t seriously believe is wrong. Though they might pretend to, for fun and profit.

                      So too, most of modern American, Canadian and European culture. Whoring yourself out has become baked into everyday life. It is probably true that making it illegal does more harm than good. Damnable shame for any pockets of civilization that yet remain, mind you.

                      Our free republic was made for a moral people. So long as one’s desire to buy sex, intoxication, etc. handily trumps the damage caused by normalizing fornication, adultery and prostitution, blind intoxication, degenerate gambling and unlimited gluttony, prohibition will merely allow the criminal class and the oligarchs to profit from our license.

                      Legalize prostitution is a plan for a society of mules. Which, in fairness, we are.

                  3. I object to women being told that their unemployment is cut off because they refused a reasonable offer of work from a brothel.

                    Also, remember the California legalization of marijuana? You’d get that here. There was a case a few years back where a serial killer preyed on prostitutes on the UK and some people argued for the legalization of prostitution on that ground. Other people sagely pointed out that his victims would still be streetwalkers because no legal business would hire women with their pasts to work.

              3. Agree. Totally. The ‘protesters’ of the 1960’s (which, if you look at it means up to about 1975) were only a small fraction of the generation the Fascist Left has made them the symbol of. This current crop of idiots is only a small fraction of the population now. Keep in mind, the Democrat Party commits massive vote fraud in pretty much every election of any size. Their numbers are fake. And I think that may (please God) come crashing down on them when they try to steal the 2020 election. Trump FIGHTS BACK. And if he manages to expose even a little, the whole thing could unravel…or enough to seriously wound the Fascist Left Machine.

                1. New Jersey just had two officials get a take-down for having HUNDREDS of ballots.


                  From the pictures, the state AG filed it, and he’s a Sikh. So he’s not likely to roll over, nor are they going to have an easy time with the usual “destroy him” thing. ^.^

                  1. He’s a democrat machine tool. I suspect they did this to get out in front of the Feds. Easier to bury.

                    1. There have been dozens of vote fraud cases filed, prosecuted, and even convicted, but the “never happens” thing has not changed. The entire Democrat party could be imprisoned for vote fraud and it would still “never happen”.

              4. And there are lots of “millennials” (me own self being one) who are the new core of the trades? I’m 3 years older than my boss, who is the co-owner of the Design Build Company I have worked for the last 8 years. 21-23 people in this 30 person company are millennials. I don’t know many people who work as hard as these lazy entitled millennial snowflakes.

                As to the military – 0.4% of population have served, active duty. I tried. I wanted to have the honor of serving my country – didn’t happen. Pacemaker and Congenital Heart Defects and bad eyes and knock knees all conspired to say no. Still upset, but a calmer upset.

          2. I keep wondering how someone I knew will fair when his remaining parent dies, assuming there is no trust fund or such set up. He’s intelligent, yet stupid. Knows many facts, etc. Talented artist, too. But hasn’t ever held a job for long as he never found anything that let him do what he wanted and not much else. Well, that doesn’t happen, at least not right off. Either there’s a trust fund or such, or he’s in for a “learning experience” in mid-life. And both is indeed a possibility.

  3. Lois McMaster Bujold has a nice dichotomy between “price” and “cost” in one of her books. “Price” is more of an external thing, what you’ll give to get something. “Cost” is more internal, and what is taken away. It’s the more sacrificial of the two—in the example she gave, it was honor of the most pure sort, sacrificed to necessity.

    Obviously, “price” is the more voluntary of the two. You spend time to get something. “Cost” is what you sacrifice to do something necessary.

    1. Value is the killer. Marx got that bloody labor theory from Smith and untold mischief has been the result. the Austrians got it right that value is subjective, as is cost in Bujold’s usage. Prices are objective bid, ask, and settle.

      Anyone complaining about bank bailouts is indirectly criticizing the orthodox economic theory of value. Odd to see marxists doing it but I’ve not met a Marxist who really understood Marx as an economist and I’ve met a lot of Marxists. I suppose Marxism is just a pose. I don’t rally blame them since plodding through kapital was one of the worst times of my life.

      1. ” I’ve not met a Marxist who really understood Marx as an economist”

        It’s been a long time since I tried to read his drivel, but it was my strong impression that MARX didn’t understand Marx as an economist.

        1. Marx was only an economist if your definition includes “non-working flights of fancy pulled out of his posterior.”

          As proof, I point to the complete lack of polities with functional Marxist economic systems despite more than a century of trying.

        2. Early in his career Thomas Sowell admits to having been a Marxist.

          Which suggests the proper phrasing is, an economist who understands Marx ceases to be a Marxist.

          1. Reminds me of a Reagan quote: “How do you tell a communist? Well, it’s someone who reads Marx and Lenin. And how do you tell an anti-Communist? It’s someone who understands Marx and Lenin.”

  4. Re: Hollywood, it’s also possible that the person discovers that one can live a grounded life in Hollywood, and be part of the working town and not the partying town. It’s not a cheap town to live in, but some people manage to keep their lives safe and boring (in a good way), or to have outside interests that aren’t destructive.

    But many people (druggies, predators, parasites, and idiots, for instance) have a vested interest in getting new stars to throw money around and throw common sense away, and to separate them from their family and existing friends. I’m sure blackmail is one of the handles. And then there’s L. Ron’s little legacy, which promises to protect stars from the drugs and crazies, but at the low low price of giving up everything else but the new religion.

    I suppose one could argue that most “masquerade” fantasy and paranormals are also about giving up your ties when you join the wizarding or vampire or werewolf cult, because your old friends and family “don’t understand.” Obviously there’s good reason to cut ties if you are getting away from abusive family, but good family gets treated like a burden in a lot of books.

    1. I saw an article about celebs who choose not to live in Hollywood as soon as they are successful enough to not need it for career reasons. It seemed to be exactly to avoid the party town part.

      As for the masqueade parts, that can be written as “good” or as “price”. I think the Dresden books do a good part on the price, beyond the fun part of no tech. He is one of the few writers I’ve read who deals with the disconnect longer lifespans provide, although I haven’t seen any characters suffer from the excessive memories it brings along.

    2. I suppose one could argue that most “masquerade” fantasy and paranormals are also about giving up your ties when you join the wizarding or vampire or werewolf cult, because your old friends and family “don’t understand.” Obviously there’s good reason to cut ties if you are getting away from abusive family, but good family gets treated like a burden in a lot of books.

      I’ll admit that this was one of the things that bothered me in the Harry Potter books, the way that Hermione treats her parents. Much ink has been spilled about her erasing their memories in the last book, but starting in about Book 3, Hermione spends even less time with her family than Harry does with the Dursleys.

      1. I was thinking exactly about Hermione’s family. Although to be fair, that seems to be a mixture of “I’m an activist now!” and “superheroes can’t drag their families into their adventures!”

        But the mind control thing — that’s what I can’t let go. Hermione didn’t trust her own parents, and basically committed mind rape on them, without knowing if she’d survive to erase it. She also may have been doing it out of depression and a wish to erase herself; but come on, that was big time evil.

        1. It also potentially puts her parents in a really bad situation. I presume her spell wasn’t powerful enough to change memories and documents throughout the world, so what happens when people whose minds weren’t altered ask them where their daughter is? How will the authorities react when recordings and government records prove the existence of the daughter they claim they never had?

          1. Ah, but they’ve been having to provide SOME sort of cover story for her being away at Hogwarts outside of holidays for literally years, so they already have the vague “Oh, she’s away at school.” That covers 90% of the Muggle world right there. After that, who’s going to think to ask?

            1. Except that after Hermione wipes their memories they won’t even realize that an excuse for her absence needs to be made. To them, there is no such person in the first place. They’re not going to say “She’s away at school” when asked, they’re going to look puzzled and say “Who?”

              And then things will degrade from there.

    3. A lot more pleasant to decide that it’s your family that doesn’t understand and the problem is not you.

      1. Especially if it’s true. And every actual Odd has had that experience.

  5. it is all too easy for young – in age or craft – people to get carried away and think all laws of reality can also be suspended.

    It is especially bad when our political leaders think that.

    1. I don’t think our would-be leaders DO think that. I think they believe that they will be able to ride the Headless Monster for long enough to retire comfortably.

  6. the most famous musician since Elvis left the scene to open a diner in Arizona.

    That is the oddest spelling of “new age store in Colorado” I’ve ever read 🙂

      1. Secret or sacred.

        And yes, I might be a total fanboy of a certain White Morman male writer with an awesome rack.

        1. Hey, now. Occasional-Cortex upgraded Sarah to a BLACK Morman male writer with an awesome rack, remember? Let’s give our hostess credit for the progress she’s made!

          1. ROFL.
            Weirdly, according to 23 and me, that’s closer….
            No, I’m not black. We knew of a black ancestress in the 19th century, but 23 and me says there is 9? 10% of me of African ancestry from various places. Mostly bantu. Which explains the butt, I guess.
            I’m too lazy to check but I think in the US that LEGALLY tracks to “black.”
            No, I’m not going to claim it.
            Greek, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, English, Irish, Scottish, French, Indian, (dot and trace amounts of feather which is a puzzle) Middle Eastern (Sephardic ancestry is hard to trace. Mostly shows as Egyptian and half my blood relatives in 23 and me identify as Jewish),ashkenazi (know where that one came from), Scandinavian.
            In a direct line of mothers I’m descended from a Norwegian woman who commanded her own boat and raiding party (Probably after being widowed, one assumes.) but it was many centuries ago, so only minuscule amounts of her DNA remain. The berserker side, I assume.
            Anyway,, you guys see why I say I’m American? Born to throw my lot in with you mugs?
            I’m a mutt.
            Whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people

  7. In fact, humans so much wish they could live in a world where there’s no prices, that we often pretend those prices don’t exist, because it makes us feel better.

    Going to be a bit egotistical and say the most adult thing I have ever done, and it happened this side of 40, was changing to where I quit wishing things had no price.

    Somewhere along the way I learned that I only truly valued that which came at a price. Pride, a word I wish I had a better synonym for because of religious connotations, exists only after a price is paid. I’m proud of the not very good jointer’s mallet I made out of scrap construction lumber because it is the most shaping I’ve done and the first time I’ve used dowels as pins. It took a lot of work, cussing, and waste of scrap word to make a mallet out of improper materials that won’t last too long, is uneven, and is just plain butt ugly.

    And I value it more than a fine mallet I’d bought with money. Why? Because of the price.

    Price in this case is short for “what of me did I put into it”? Yes, there is time and energy; there is opportunity cost. There is also soul. Paying that price shapes your soul, depositing a part into the work and replacing it with what you have shaped. When I stand before the judge of all he will weigh my soul and part of that weight will be that mallet. I believe the courage to fail and to do bad work on the way to good work will result in that piece of my soul having more weight than had the original piece stayed.

    This is true of all things. In writing we like to pretend the Dostoevsky and Faulkner put pieces of their soul into their work, making it literature, while Robert E. Howard or Lawrence Block did not to their works, making it merely genre fiction. To that, I say you haven’t read a Conan tale or a Scudder mystery. Each man is woven into those stories, some more obviously (Scudder’s alcoholism) and some less (Conan as a symbol of barbarian vitality compared to civilized decline).

    Perhaps that is where grey goo in science fiction and fantasy originates. Mere genre fiction isn’t real art so there is no need to put a piece of your soul into it, just mouth whatever petites you think you should. That is how competent users of language write unreadable fiction while poor wordsmiths unafraid to tell a story will write things read decades after their death. Shaping words does not require soul, ready any press release, but can be improved by it. In contrast, any telling of a story, even a joke, requires a piece of soul to succeed. The story teller must be invested and engaged in the story to tell it.

    1. > (Conan as a symbol of barbarian vitality compared to civilized decline).

      I’ve seen variations of that idea many times, but I disagree. It wasn’t any special vitality or prowess – he ran up against some very strong civilized opponents occasionally, and there didn’t seem to be hordes of other Cimmerians stomping around – but that Conan was an outsider. The “civilized” men he opposed or fought were bound by layers of duty and obligation and the blind spots created by their socialization. Conan likely had just as much baggage… but it was all *back home*, leaving him a free agent as he wandered the civilized world.

    2. Yeah, but you got more than a mallet. You developed some skill at *making* a mallet, which is different than just looking at web sites or books that talk about making mallets.

      Next time you make a mallet, or some similar article, that will pay off. And you’ll level up another skill level.

    3. This is a bit of a tangent, but this talk of artists putting pieces of their soul into their art reminds of a horror adventure game named Ib. It revolves around the work of an artist who did this a little too well…

      It’s short, fairly good and free, so for those interested:

    4. That would be nice. But there are indeed authors who crank out miserable hackwork and achieve immortality with it — and who pour out heart and soul into some other work, and it vanished into total obscurity.

    1. Where does it end?

      It doesn’t!

      Every time politicians appease the mob by giving in to their demands, we are rewarded with — MORE demands! They will never run out of demands, because the mob violence is not their MEANS, it is their END. They WANT to riot, loot and burn and will always have more excuses for doing so than the politicians have concessions to offer. The more weakness shown by the quisling politicians, the more insane the mob’s demands will become.

      The politicians don’t give a rat’s ass. Appeasing the mob costs THEM nothing. They just make another noble speech while throwing the people they’re supposed to represent under the bus. They believe we’re too stupid or lazy or brainwashed to take notice.

      The longer this goes on, the uglier it will get, and the more horrific it will be when we finally have no choice but to put an end to the madness. Shooting a dozen looters, arsonists and instigators three weeks ago would have stopped the riots cold. More than a dozen people have died in the riots since then, most of them innocent. What do the left-wingers say about ‘If it saves just one life’?

      They’re going to let the riots go on until hundreds or thousands die to end them. They will blame ‘conservatives’ for everything.
      Those who do not remember history are doomed to repeat it. Those who do remember history are doomed to watch everybody else repeat it.

      1. They had better be careful. If you have just killed hundreds or thousands, possibly including your own blood, what is one more death of the ones who pushed this.

        1. That is not what I mean.

          Eventually, the politicians will run out of concessions, and the mobs will come for them. THEN they will panic call out the National Guard, the mob will shoot, and after a few of the Guard are killed they WILL shoot back, orders or no.

          At which point the mobs, accustomed to getting their way, will go ten times as batshit crazy as they already are.
          Firepower is not a thousand bullets that miss — it’s one bullet that hits.

            1. It seems a city council member was leading the mob, and showed them the way. Now the mayor wants Kshama Sawant expelled from the council, and charged with years worth of political and financial shenanigans that don’t seem to have mattered until just now.

              I guess it’s all in fun until they turn on each other. Popcorn?
              Long ago, when men cursed and beat the ground with sticks, they called it witchcraft. Now they call it golf.

              1. Oh, they mattered, just the Open Socialist was being protected by bullying the Not Openly Socialist members.

                *passes the popcorn*

    2. What she is missing is just war theory. Had it not been for that I would have boogaloo’d years ago. She has given up on the soapbox, she has given up on the ballot box, she does not say so, but I would bet that she has given up on the jury box. What is left? And what will using what is left do to us? And would it make a difference anyway if she, or I, or you did use what is left?

  8. “Everything has a price.” Especially in magic because it’s too tempting to “just wave a magic wand.” Wife even got called out by a moderator at one convention where she was on several panels in a jocular way, “There’s Sharon and her price!” That’s one of my problems with the Potterverse. Although the Hogwarts students train, too often the magic is too easy. That problem in Rowlingville is ameliorated of course because the characters obviously pay a big price in their personal lives even if not directly connected to their practice of magic.

    1. Gee, I never thought about it but your right. No one has to manage their Manna in Potterville. IT makes you wonder where the energy came from to warp spacetime like they did with such nonchalance. In the Manga/anime “Full Metal Alchemist” they discovered to their horror that they magic the performed came at the price of life force in another dimension. Sucks to be on the receiving end if that I am sure!

      1. If magic is a natural force, used by natural creatures operating solely by instinct, then using it should be pretty much a natural act for magical humans, and not overly difficult.

        Of course, the obvious thing would be to provide Muggles and Squibs with magical prosthetic devices, if one could do it without interfering with electronic devices.

        And if magic is a real natural force, one would expect scientists to have discovered it. (So yeah, the masquerade is up to no good, and we’d have a grand unified theory by now if they didn’t keep messing with physicists’ memories.)

      1. No, it’s a personal anecdote that I’ve shared before. Way back in the dark ages when I had recently graduated from college and wanted to become a professional SF writer, I went to TusCon IV at what I remember as a Motel-6 in Phoenix (or something close to that). There were about 20 of us BS’ing in a large motel room. Among those there were a self-pubbed writer, a large fellow (in every way possible) who went only by his SCA name of Baldrick with his hand-made chain mail shirt and throwing stars who wanted to be a cop on the first space station, the rest of us non-descript rabble, and Ted Sturgeon. When Mr. Sturgeon found out I wanted to be a writer, he said, “I have a guaranteed method to make you a published writer.” I bit on the unresistable hook, of course, and he replied in perfect Zen fashion without further explanation, “Write 50 stories in a year. By the end of that year, I guarantee you will be a published writer.”

        It took me 3 years, but I did sell my 32nd story. I have since realized why his method works, but it’s probably best to leave it just as he said it.

          1. My wife started working on the same project, but the 8th story just kept going. She’s what you call a pantser. She prefers organic writer. After a month she asked me, “How long is a novella?” I looked it up, and told her. After another month, she asked, “How long is a novel?” I looked up average novel length, and told her. After another month, she asked me, “How long is War and Peace?” OK, I made that last one up, but it ended up being 412 pages of wonderful, terse writing called China Harbor: Out of Time. We tried traditional publishing with no success. One top agent lamented that it was too long for a first novel, but that it couldn’t be cut, so she declined to represent it. One publisher had 3 first readers give it a thumbs-up with one calling it a work on the order of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance but passed due to misplaced political correctness. Betty Ballantine (long story) offered to give it a “hard edit,” but my wife didn’t want it gutted to fit page requirements. We gave up until Amazon started their self-pubbing program. Now she has it on Amazon along with her collection of short stories–ordered by length of story. She’s quirky and says that way you can pick a story based on how long you have to read between other tasks. She has a bunch of collected stories in her head to write next, but is trapped in a dysfunctional body at the moment. Sarah, you know what that’s like all too well.

            1. Have you sent Sarah a link for the promo? (I might have missed it.)

              Then, A Diabolical Bargain snuck up on me. Partly by pretending (TWICE!) that it would end at a point where it would then refuse to end.

              1. No I haven’t, although if you click on my name, it will take you to my wife’s Amazon page. Also you can see my review on GoodReads here: .

  9. 1984:

    War is Peace
    Freedom is Slavery
    Ignorance is Strength


    Men are Women
    Colorblindness is Racism
    Speech is Violence

      1. And in 1933 and in 2020 the left was screaming and still screams “it’s the fault of the Jews” and “death to the Jews”. Some things don’t change.

  10. When I look at the cost of something that very nearly approximated magic gifts, to wit, getting better at cartooning, I note these things Like Mrs. Hoyt said, I live in a finite, entropic universe, so the cost of time spent on that was not time spent doing other things with those I love. Were we immortal? Hmm…..

    Pain. The cost to my body: Were I given a body that age and disease could not cripple? Well, now. Effort? Without the nagging doubt that this time, when the Writer says “I need a look of determination. Stern but with a hint of compassion” I’d fail him and the atory ( “Are you expletive kidding me? It’s a deleted mushroom.”) ? I bet I’d just dive joyfully in. Like I did when he wanted a Twinkie in an ice cube. See the previous two entropic limits.

    So… I think a world like that would be pretty cool. One where the cost of magic was no longer a little death. Though of course, my superstition about the Unknowable is that it’s going to be Narnia, and every book you were willing to share freely will be there with you. I don’t really spend much time thinking about what happens outside of space and time. Waaaaay above my pay grade.

    But I can say that people who pretend entropy does not exist and think that THIS time they will achieve Heaven on Earth (Instead of a tolerable working state based on following the cheat codes from the Guy who designed the game) have a consistent track record of building Hell.

  11. Just beside the point, but I read a story from the Daily Mail that claimed to show a scientific study on “why homemade masks don’t work.” WIth scarrrrrrry photos.

    Well, here’s their experimental protocol. They had a guy wearing a mask sneeze, or cough, or allegedly talk or sing, in a mask. And this produced all kinds of photos of plumes of goo in the air.

    But what was the goo?

    A plate of runny agar held directly in front of the nose, mouth, etc, and also in front of the mask. Not behind the mask, mind you. Not under the cloth. In front of the cloth.

    So basically, there’s no way to tell what is going on with -actual air particles- allegedly traveling through the mask, because they are showing you much heavier and gooier particles.

    Also, they are showing the ballistic effects of not just air, but drastic local changes in air pressure and air currents, caused by the sneeze, cough, etc, as well as the bobbing of the head, hitting the agar.

    There is no way to tell what actually happened to the particles inside the mask! No way at all! Every single air particle and droplet could be sitting nicely inside the mask, and we’d never know!

    All you can see is the external mighty wind gust, not what is going on with the nose and mouth.

    1. So basically, they are showing you one of those chains of dominoes falling over, and then claiming that the first domino multiplied and teleported 1000 feet, and that every single domino in the chain is actually the first one.

  12. I never want that kind of fame, so why should I consider that kind of price?

    Sometimes that kind of fame comes to you whether you wanted it or not. The Beatles certainly didn’t want that kind of fame, and had to give up performing as a live band because of it. Professor Tolkein was just writing an amusement for his son away at war and his colleagues who’d already served in their war; he certainly wasn’t anticipating the kind of fame that came his way.

    The problem with lotteries is sometimes you win the grand prize, not simply the couple hundred thousand you were wishing on. Sometimes, like (Yankees shortstop) Tony Kubek the easy double-play grounder hit to you that should end the World Series … takes a bad hop, hits you in the throat and allows the Series-winning run to come to the plate. That wasn’t the kind of fame he wanted when he was a six-year-old kid breaking in his first glove — but Life doesn’t always deliver what you expected.

    Fun Fact: Life Isn’t Fair.

    Historical Note: that bad hop actually occurred in the 8th inning of Game 7, putting two on instead of two-out, nobody on, enabling the Pittsburgh Pirates to mount a 5-run rally, erasing a 3-run deficit, in a game they eventually won 10–9 on a ninth-inning walk-off home run by Bill Mazeroski after the Yankees tied the game in the top of the 9th. I took some liberties to make a more dramatic event.

    1. It would seem that having a Socialist Councilwoman lead a protest rally to Mayor Jenny Durkan’s front door has the tendency to focus the mind remarkably.

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