The Writer And Her State


First of all thank you.  I do feel somewhat better. Though honestly, I think part of it is this formless void of a semi-shutdown and social isolation routine.

As I said before, I’m an hermit. Mostly I live under a rock, writing novels. But–

But I used to go out, sometimes on a whim, to say the grocery store or Goodwill or the craft store because I was under the control of a Bright IdeaTM.  I no longer do that. I really can’t wear masks. This is not just because I think — on an informed opinion from reading a lot of things, including the reason they’re not recommended during wild fires in CO, like the season five years ago that destroyed my health for four years — they’re ineffective and counter-productive. It’s because I’m a mostly controlled asthmatic. As in, I can go for months without needing the rescue inhaler.  If I get an upper respiratory virus, or if we’re having a bad fire season, I’ll need it maybe once a day.  OTOH if I wear a mask, the re-breathing of my own exhaled air, plus the high humidity will have me using a rescue inhaler several times a day.  To be clear, that’s say 2 hours of wearing the mask for a doctor’s appointment results in days of needing the rescue inhaler all the time for a week or so.

It has other issues.  My oxygen saturation is marginal at best, one of the reasons we’re considering going low altitude in a few years, so I don’t need to wear oxygen all the time as I age.  But that’s something else.

Anyway, the on a whim “I’m not a prisoner in the house” trips to the store or the post office are not a thing anymore.  I have and use visors.  Weirdly restaurants are fine with this.  But with stores I never know when they’ll call the manager in a panic to stop me. Seems to be on a whim.  To make things worse — maybe that’s just my feeling — it seems to me everyone at the store is radiating fear and anger.  So if I go out — and I have to do it at least once a week — I tend to wait till I’ve run out of almost everything, and then I go at odd hours, and rush through the store, like I’m on a scavenger hunt.

Even walking in the neighborhood — thanks to Paste Eating Polis wanting us to wear masks everywhere outside the house — is fraught. No, most of my neighbors aren’t stupid. Most of them aren’t masked, either.  There was an incident with a lost puppy yesterday and we were all gathering to figure out whose she was with not a mask in sight.  So, the neighborhood in terms of my street is sane.  But outside my street….  while walking with younger son we met a woman walking her dog, with her two adorable kids running alongside.  As I usually do, I prepared to pet the dog.  And then she looked at us — yes, she and the poor children were wearing masks. I’m surprised the dog wasn’t. I mean, a papaya tested positive after all, which tells you everything you need to know about the tests — and scrambled away from us in a panic, to about 10 feet distance, while snarling at us.  One encounter like that is enough to make me hesitate to walk for a week.

And then there was our “fun.”

Look, I’m an incredibly dorky person — yes, I know, you already knew I’m a writer — and even when we were young, cute, and had the money, neither of us ever had much interest in “the glamorous life.”  Okay, part of this is our insistence in living within our means as much as possible and having no credit card debt. But still. We probably could have managed a couple of glamorous trips or at least semi-glamorous ones to the seaside. But out kids were “treated” to vacations in Denver, randomly because I had a search on when Embassy Suites had a sale. And it was Embassy Suites because we could have the kids in a separate room but only pay for one, and also because if we got up late enough (never a problem with kids. Though since we didn’t own a television at the time, they usually got up at around six am to watch cartoons, however getting them away from the cartoons took forever anyway) we could let the kids have an epic breakfast, which meant we skipped lunch and only had to pay for a meal a day.  And during the day? Well, we did such daring stuff like hit the zoo and museums (memberships are good value) or go to Lakeside, the cheapest amusement park in Denver.

THAT was our big, expensive fun.  Oh, we also, sometimes, took free tours of factories, or went for drives.  Oh, and we looked for books in used bookstores (I remember spending two such weekends in pursuit of comic bookstores with bargain bins. We made younger son VERY happy.)

Again, as I said, that was when we had more money and were young and cute.  Now? Well, we used to have dreams of shopping for cheap airfares and going to random cities for weekends of writing (or researching. It’s always good to have locations in your tool box) and meeting fans.  That — sigh — might never be possible again.

BUT we had settled in a very nice pattern.  I hate cleaning.  Actually, no. I get bored cleaning.  That can be solved with Great Courses and Audible.  It’s still a lot of work, particularly as, having lived here 4 years, we’re still organizing, so cleaning comprises a lot of other stuff.

To reward myself for cleaning, whenever I cleaned the house (usually Fridays) we’d take the next day (or more usually half a day) and do fun stuff, like go to a lecture or exhibit, or the botanic gardens or the zoo, and usually out to eat.

This was not only time out of the house, when I could see people and assure my back brain that we were not outcasts on an ice floe and that depression wasn’t called for, but time we weren’t interrupted by cats or calls, and didn’t feel we needed to be doing anything else.  I talked plots, he discussed his plans for music. That sort of thing.

Then there was church.

Anyway when we first locked down I thought “Whatever, I can not do this for two weeks. not the end of the world.”  It’s far more than two weeks.  Because Polis is dumber than most rocks, (or perhaps because he enjoys his stupid and pointless power) even the zoo and the botanic gardens, OUTSIDE, IN THE SUN require face diapers.  Also, you have to book a week or so in advance, and frankly, we’re never that organized (Sometimes my cleaning is on Saturdays, and Dan’s jobs can have emergencies.)  As for church, we’re allowed 10 people no matter how big the church, and again you have to book way in advance.

So I lost my reward system, but I also lost my anchor points.  Sometimes — I did tell you I was dorky, right? — if I was having a bad week, I focused on that date afternoon with Dan and planned what I was going to wear, where we’d go, etc.

All that is gone.

To make things worse it’s been a year of repeated punches in the gut, a couple completely unexpected.  And after a while, it gets to you, and you have no anchor.

Anyway, all this long explanation for why I hit a wall yesterday, and why it was hard to even think of writing.

And yes, it sounds like I’m whining about not being able to do fun things.  I am. Whining is better than growling, which is what I feel like doing.  Dorky though my rhythm of life was, it was mine, and I LIKED it.  Yes, I’d be quiet about it if it were a necessity or if were doing anyone any good, and not simply part of a tactic to stoke fear, destroy the economy, and enable Paste Eating Polis to pose in front of his mirror in his Hugo Boss uniform.  The pointlessness of it all, and telling me I should be willing to do it because my betters say is what causes the growl.

Yes, I need to figure out ways around that sense of utter isolation, ways that my backbrain understands. Turns out, for instance, having Kate Paulk on Skype, even if we only exchange a sentence or two a day helps a lot.  I don’t know why. I’m planning other things. More on that in a moment.

The rest of the state of the writer isn’t all bad.  I’m finally writing again, but it keeps getting interrupted by house remodeling.  We now have two rooms left to floor, and after that a major cleaning and culling of the garage and the storage room needs to happen.

After which I can get storage crap out of my library and be able to access my research books.  And also, maybe, use it as a broadcast room.

You see, our library is in the basement, so we can completely control the lighting.  And once the storage crap is out of it, we can put in an armchair, and I don’t care if you guys see the books I have on the shelves. (Yes, some of them are weird.)

Because of the stupid hits this year has given us, I’m thinking — for short term money — of teaching writing workshops.  Younger son says he can record them and perhaps edit the videos. However, he can’t edit the sound, because of his sensory issues, so we’re trying to find someone to do that (Though it’s kind of academic until we clean the library which will probably take a month or so.)  I will then offer lectures, but also will do “homework” correcting (i.e. reading people’s efforts and critique) probably once a month. I will confess this is half for the money, but half for human contact. Because of that, probably one workshop a month and unless I love them unreasonably, probably only for four or five months. Because I want to be a writer, not a teacher.

I’m also thinking of doing readings and meetings with fans via skype and/or zoom from my office. Probably evenings, maybe Saturdays?

Money-wise, I am finally collating a series of posts from this blog.  In fact, I have and have printed them to edit.  These are about acculturation and immigration, and will probably be called Coming to America.  I want to do on on America itself (“My country ’tis of thee”) but that’s harder to do word searches for, so it will take longer.

These will be published under A2Hoyt, so as not to confuse fans of my fiction.  Yes, I’ll announce them here when they’re done. Yes, there will be a paper edition.

I confess I have no clue what to expect from this, because honestly though a lot of people say they’d like it, it sounds like when people say “publish your books on paper, and I’ll buy them” and then you sell 2.  We will see.  I have roughly 8 years of daily posts, and even after editing out the passing commentary or the complaints about health and other stuff, it’s a lot of wordage that can be mined.  Again, we will see.

The money is not a systemic problem, btw, it’s the fact that our car broke down when we least expected it, our other car was in a stupid accident (Yeah, the car not the driver, as the driver was hemmed in, and had to go over something that damaged the undercarriage.) and stuff like that. Like basement shower will need to be replaced, because it was improperly installed. Etc. Also we’d like to recover from the hit taken for the boys’ education. And cats were stupidly expensive this year, which I wouldn’t mind except it ended in death in both cases.  The recovery part is not STRICTLY necessary, but well….  If we can, I’d like to do it.

Anyway, so that’s where things are.  I’ve had for some time now, also a plan of doing short (10 to 15 minutes) how to write videos for youtube.  Honestly, I don’t even know if anyone would be interested, and am even more doubtful on whether it would translate to book sales (Writers don’t buy your fiction just because you give them free teaching, which is why MGC has changed format.)

Then when I was going over posts to collate, I came across this:  Not Dead But Laughing.

I thought it would be great fun to do these as videos, with cartoons/ funny images.  Basically the narrated version of a GIF post.
The obvious problem is finding material to fisk.  While a lot of you are teachers, it would be bad to use your students’ stuff.  And while many “ridiculous essays and tests” circulate, most of those are fake, or not worth joking about.

I don’t think there’s a solution or a reliable source, but what the heck, I thought I’d throw it out there, because some of you might know of some.  Heck, some of you might know of the papers of a few professors (punch up when you can) that are on line and which are on that level of idiocy (I know of one.)

Anyway, it’s worth asking. I can then do a series of videos to amuse you.  And maybe it will cheer you up too.

Meanwhile, I’m feeling better.  Sorry for scaring you, but sometimes — very occasionally — I’m human and I have trouble even finding my bootstraps, much less pulling myself up.

And now, I’m going to finish flooring the room in progress.  After which I have to be in a zoom meeting for the Baen Corsairs anthology (which has the first/introductions to Robert’s and my Star Student universe.  Hopefully I’ll make it, as there is an appointment in between flooring and that, and if there’s traffic, I might not.)  And then I need to get paint and repaint the just-floored room because (wouldn’t you know it?) I got the touch up paint in the wrong brilliance. GRRR.)

After which, at 5 pm or so, I need to write.

But I am feeling somewhat better, and I’ll continue putting one foot — and one word — in front of another.




282 thoughts on “The Writer And Her State

  1. Take care Sarah.

    Oh, beware of the Black Dog. It’s attempting to be a bother.

  2. So glad to see you’re feeling more chipper. I confess that my thoughts have been filled with memories of forty years ago, awakening in hospital after half a knee was removed (well, not quite – a little cartilage and half the ligaments) and finding nothing on the television there except Day 1 of the DNC “Let’s Have Four More Years Of Jimmuh!” Convention. After an experience of that sort it is hard to get too far down, even for such a genetic inheritor of the Slavic Disposition as moi.

    The fact my knee is constantly aching mildly and limiting my sleep is another reminder.

    So stay cheery – things could get worse (and probably will)! No need to let the bastards see us sweat.

    1. Only 34 years since knee rebuild and a steel rod, but the guy in the next bed had control of the TV remote, and insisted on GOLD BELT POWER WRESTLING turned up to earthquake level. Who knew there was an all-wrestling cable channel? Not me… Which was particularly annoying since he spent 90% of his time asleep and the other 10% screaming for more drugs. Apparently he and a sibling had been fighting for posession of a .357, and he was the loser, and now missing something he had been rather fond of…

      The leg surgery hurt, but I was freakin’ *traumatized* by that TV… you could get dain bramage from that kind of stuff.

  3. > I’m also thinking of doing readings and meetings with fans via skype and/or zoom from my office. Probably evenings, maybe Saturdays?

    “A con panel in your own home!”

      1. Go for it!

        “Then shalt thou count to three, no more, no less. Three shall be the number thou shalt count, and the number of the counting shall be three. Four shalt thou not count, neither count thou two, excepting that thou then proceed to three. Five is right out.”

          1. you kidding? At this point, we need a host of Most Holy MOABs of Antioch and several squadrons of C130s to deliver them.

            and that’s just for Portland.

            DC might require a Fat Boy of Antioch

              1. fast typing and rushing, I didn’t read through and smooshed them up.
                Always wondered why all work to try and make Fat Man style bombs by despots, when it ain’t like Little Boy didn’t do a job. Just up the size. Not as efficient, but still a big and easy to make KaBoom.

      2. I think NaSFic in Columbus (now virtual only) is this weekend? (looks it up)

        Yup, starts tomorrow, runs until Sunday, and it will be free with a free registration. I’ll be working my job this weekend, of course, so I doubt I will see much of the filking!

        Of course some of the usual suspects will be on panels virtually, but the Columbus crew are pretty sane and I’m sure they put hard work (and some more veteran and sane panelists) into it. There will be chat and streaming video channels to represent meeting rooms.

        The sad thing is that Midwestern panels are supposed to be audience participation, and there is no telling if panelists will be able to include chat. (Maybe the YouTube streaming paradigm will help.) Also, there seems to be no final program info yet, except that there will be events. Most of the readings are not by the usual Ohio or big name authors, interestingly. Take a look and see what you think.

        There will be a Mike Resnick memorial panel.

          1. The Mike Resnick Memorial is Friday, 7 to 9 PM. Laura Resnick, his daughter, will be speaking, along with Kevin J. Anderson and some other solid fanizens.

            1. Saturday at 11 AM, Tom Smith will interview Juanita Coulson: sf/f writer, filker, encyclopedic sf/f reader, history researcher, zine publisher, and early media fan of lots of fandoms.

            1. Well, I would give you hard time except I got lost trying to throw old carpet away at the dump this morning. I blame fog.

  4. I think part of it is this formless void of a semi-shutdown and social isolation routine.

    As I said before, I’m an hermit. Mostly I live under a rock, writing novels. But–

    Introverts actually have this harder. That sounds counter-intuitive, but hear me out.

    We built our lives to get the required social contact in very specific ways to give us just enough in the most tolerable ways. Extroverts are much more likely to take social contact as it comes. Extroverts are also better at generating social contacts.

    That means while extroverts may have difficulty getting their needed higher level of social contact they are more flexible in two dimensions, the type that can fulfill their needs and their ability to build new methods to get social contacts.

    Contrast the introverts who lost big parts of their social contacts and less ability and smaller networks to replace it. I got almost all of my needed contact from D&D and weekly bar trivia night. D&D was killed mostly by non-plague things, but plague fears have prevented forming a new group. Bar trivia is gone for the foreseeable future.

    Even hanging out at a book or game store is hampered by shortened hours. B&N closes at 6 when my work day ends after 5. HPB is marginally better at 7. The local paperback exchange is open to 9. All three are made less usable by mask requirements. Similar issues exist for game stores, which have no in store gaming any way and thus much less traffic.

    I find myself using the treadmill at the gym for walks, as well as using the pool which is the reason I joined, to just be around people, although always with alternate treadmills empty.

    I’d even welcome a return to the office for the social aspect.

    1. Definitely true the introverts have it harder. The vast majority of my “social interactions” are things like the conversations with the clerk at the checkout counter, and I think she’d probably think it pretty weird if I asked her if I could Skype her while running my daughter’s plastic food over a scanner…

    2. That makes sense. As I explained to my mother a few weeks back, I don’t need to talk or interact with people, I just want to watch them in their natural habitats. And now my people-watching opportunities have been taken away from me (and I’m in FL, which has been a bit more reasonable than other states).

      My weekly bar trivia night is also gone for the foreseeable future. That’s the one event gone that bothers me the most. For one, I miss my team mates like crazy (even though we’ve been checking in on each other), and for second, the local beer scene used to be something to brag about and I’m worried because I know some of our bars and breweries won’t be coming back from this.

      1. I hear you, I got an annual Mouse pass to go peoplewatch (and eat around the “world”) and now I have to plan this normally last minute thing weeks in advance?

    3. Mom’s description:
      people who need people to show they don’t need people.

      We might prefer bleeding out to asking for help, but **** it we do still need to make eye contact, silly jokes at the checkout, or just walk around listening to people chatter like they do.

      The other day I did a Mental Health Drive (AKA, get out of the house before I kill someone) and ended up parked by a park shelter doing pokemon, and there was a batch of ladies of a certain age sitting up there just being… normal. Chatting and laughing and…
      I seriously nearly broke down. It was like when I walked into one of my favorite gas stations and the ONLY change was that there were dots with arrows on them showing where to stand when you were in line.

  5. my rhythm of life was, it was mine, and I LIKED it.

    That word is huge. The rhythm of life, the physical expression of it, is broken. Even work, done completely at home doesn’t have many changes in content, but the rhythm is broken. New rhythms are replacing it and work is doing better, but other rhythms aren’t.

    There is no walk to and from the train station at both ends. There is no longer drive to the station in the evening than the morning to allow me to decompress and decoule from work. Sure, I could do the lunchtime walk, but the markers of where to go each route and what a good lunch walk are have to be rebuilt. Plus, the house is more up and down territory than top of a hill with long flat one way and gentle down slopes for the out with the reverse for the return.

    My body feels like it has been thrown yet it is afraid to adapt because this is “temporary”.

    I’ve finally given up the temporary and building new patterns. If that means when we return to the office I’m as broken in terms of performance on the rebuild as I was on this, well, the company decided to do it.

    1. I honestly think that a lot of companies are going to decide to keep things more like this, post plague.

      My company was going through a very expensive set of remodelings and parking lot expansions to deal will all of the additional people they had had to bring on, but for the last 5 months, they haven’t had to pay the heating and cooling bills for all those people, and I’ve been paying the computer’s electric bill out of my own pocket. And they are still getting most of the stuff done.

      The factory work will definitely come back up, but a lot of the stuff can be done just about as well remotely, and in some cases better, so I think even when this thing is over, they’re going to keep a lot more remote work open, than they did in the past.

      1. Sure, until some MBA with more buzzwords than sense suggests “centralizing things for greater efficiency and more oversight.”

        And then we will know that order has been restored and everything is back to normal.


        1. I know some folks whose employers are already pushing them to come back in, in some cases because they don’t want to bother actually getting their tech up to speed for remote work. Which is too bad — more acceptance of remote work would be one of the good consequences if we can keep it.

      2. The eeeeevil call centers of Teleperformance have gone online and are hiring.

        (And might not be so evil if management can’t be nasty to you in person. They are money, so if you really need a job and can type fast, you might look into it.)

            1. Oh, and if you get hired, they pay you during training. No idea how long that is nowadays, but it could be up to a month. Could be a lot shorter, these days.

          1. It’s a big thing. in my day job I’ve been able to see how the transition was made. Its actually very impressive how quickly and seamlessly it was done.

            Evil will oft doth evil mar, I think one long term effect of the lockdown is going to be an expansion of family life. We had all grown separate going to work and school but now we’re spending more time together. I wish I’d been able to do this when they were younger. Friends of ours with young children are all telling us how wonderful it is once they adjusted. Our friends are mostly Odd so the reduction in bullying has been great too. Since destroying the family is one of the left’s projects, building it up again can only be good.

            For myself, I had a standard NYC commute, this has given me back 3-4 hours per day and I get to eat lunch at home, grab a catnap and take a walk within the company rules. All that’s left is getting rid of the f-cking masks, opening the restaurants, and filling the churches.

            1. Evil will oft doth evil mar,

              Massive digression, but I found it amusing: this is basically a really classy, G rated way to say that bad guys are prone to stepping on their own ****, and each-other’s, in the rush to do wrong.

        1. More lucratively in the future, Colorado Homebuilders Academy in Denver, CO has waived tuition for anybody who wants to become a house-type carpenter, because the demand is so big. has a video about it from Fox 31 in Denver.

              1. Exodus backwards (to Mexico)?

                I wish they’d implement the migrant worker program again. That is what we need. They are correct that there are jobs that US workers won’t take no matter how much is paid. But if you can convince migrant workers to go home after the field work is completed, win. Most illegal workers come, work, & save as much as possible to send home. They don’t go home between seasons because it is so dangerous getting here! There are a lot of ag jobs opening down south & they stay for those even with the pay not as good, they are home.

                I don’t think most construction jobs this applies to. Too many people want to work with their hands.

                1. They wouldn’t be able to find migrant workers to do the job if they have to follow all the same rules an American worker would– it’s not that Americans aren’t willing to do the ten people in a one bedroom apartment thing, it’s that legal workers will have laws enforced against them if they do that.

      1. Of course, my security-conscious self says, ‘Commuting on public transport unnecessarily, especially in these parlous times, while tuning out a major portion of your sensory input is contra-indicated’.

  6. > I’m planning other things.

    When friends get down I often try to persuade them to do something different, that they’ve never done before. Rent a Segway. Zipline rides. Bungee jumping. White-water rafting. Go-karts. Black Friday at Wal-Mart. Riding the mechanical bull. Renting a machine gun. Jumping into the pit of foam blocks.

    Alas, I’ve not yet managed to persuade one of them to break free and do something new and silly, but I still think it would be a good way to break the depression.

  7. Glad to hear you’re doing better. The post yesterday had me a little worried.
    You have my heartfelt condolences on the home renovations. I’m replacing windows now, (hail in July!) which isn’t nearly as much work as you’re doing.

  8. Reading the idiocy you have to deal with makes me realize how fortunate we’ve been in our wanderings. Of course, our original plans were to head west this summer; southern Utah, Arizona, maybe even Vegas before returning via either New Mexico or Colorado. And equally of course, WuFlu shot those plans squarely in the head.

    But everywhere we have been for any length of time – Wisconsin, Michigan and Indiana – have been relatively open. We can eat out now, though you have to wear the ritual face diaper into the restaurant. Nobody is seriously talking up outdoor mask mandates. Yet, anyway. And in two and a half months I’ve encountered just one mask Karen.
    On the downside, more stores are avoiding lawsuits -sorry, “serving the public”- by requiring masks to shop. On the third hand, tentacle or whatever, I see a lot of noses poking above the fabric and even a little, “OK, we’re in- take that stupid thing off.”

    I don’t know what’s next. But if there is no big spike after Sturgis, and I’m betting there won’t be, I do wonder just how threadbare this schtick is going to get.

    1. The youngest four were supposed to meet my dad’s side of the family, folks in Washington meeting the Contessa, see the town we lived in when I was their size, and oh yes, there was a biiiiiig list of “educational” stuff like thunder egg ranch (geode hunting) before we met with my husband to see his California grandmother.

      Now one of the folks we were supposed to meet is dead (kung flu by the symptoms, but he got it in January so the only treatment he was allowed since about March was ER visits) and everybody is flippin’ insane.

        1. My condolences, and here, I’ll let you vent at me.

          It’s easier for me to pray for God’s mercy on the Marxissists trying to destroy our society than for His mercy on the politicians who are supposed to be our servants.

          1. Mercy is a mistake unless preceded by repentance. It just allows them to be more evil, guaranteeing very bad things after death. Justice is better for everyone. Of course, IIRC, god is only merciful after repentance happens. Should I be wrong about this, please correct me.

            1. There’s some line about that… mercy to the merciless is merciless to the good…. Mercy to the unjust is unjust to the merciful….

              The point being that merch and justice have to work together, or you’re wronging the target of the mercy, and whoever they go on to damage.

              1. You’re probably thinking of Ayn Rand. Paraphrasing from memory: “Mercy to the guilty is treason against the innocent.”

                1. Possible, although you can’t give mercy unless someone is guilty.

                  Given her tendencies with mistaking the weaponized hijacking for the legitimate object, she was probably riffing on the same quote I’m thinking of.

                  1. As I said, I was paraphrasing from memory. I looked and the actual Ayn Rand quote seems to be “Pity for the guilty is treason to the innocent.“

                    1. Publius Syrus 1c BC. bonis nocet quisquis pepercerit malis. Whomever spares the bad harms the good

                2. Looks like Adam Smith said “mercy to the guilty is cruelty to the innocent,” so she may have been quoting him; I’m sure I’ll remember the quote I heard (which was probably more modern, but wasn’t as problematic)–

                  Kindness to the guilty is cruelty to the innocent!
                  I THINK that was it, it had the cruel/kind and guilty/innocent dynamic.

              2. “Kindness to the cruel ends up as cruelty to the kind.”

                I’m not talking about human mercy, limited by our intrinsic limitations. I fully agree that human mercy must be limited by the need to prevent harm, and that the ‘debt to society’ model is inherently flawed.

            2. Therefore it is merciful of God to illuminate their ignorance, however willful, of how evil they are.

          1. Well, I never met this lady. We think byblow of notorious philanderer father of paternal grandmother.
            She got on 23 and me saying her mom brought her to the US at 6 and married a British gentleman (her mom) who adopted her, but she wanted to know if she still had family in Portugal. Notable only for being around 110? so, you know…
            BUT my family wanted me to get in touch with her, because how neat is that? Plus she had kids, grandkids and great grandkids.
            So, you’ve been warned. A lot of people with some of my DNA loose in Boston.
            Mostly, grandma would have been tickled, were she alive. They’d have been close to the same age.

            1. Lots of Portuguese in southern Massachusetts. I miss being able to get the store-made linguica and chourico (not going to bother trying to find the funky letters) now that I’m in Florida I’ve got to settle for the lesser brand that Publix carries.

              1. Also lots of Portugese in Rhode Island, and some down in Connecticut (New Haven, Bridgeport). As far as I could tell originally LOTS of fisherman and their families. Many ended up running restaurants and fish shops, many of the restaurants were pizza joints (?) in competition with the Italian and Greek ones. If they would put linguica on the pizza you knew it was a Portuguese joint. I don’t think I ever saw one that did Portuguese dishes although there is at least on in Gloucester MA that claims to be Portuguese (what do I know I’m mostly British Isles, their idea of cuisine is boil until gray).

    2. Rural life in the flyover county has been impacted a bit, but not to the breaking point. Kate wants everybody outside to wear a mask if they are going to be within 6′ of one another (leftist protests/riots excluded, naturally), but even the guy with the so-so heart isn’t bothering to mask up at home.

      $SPOUSE goes to town as little as possible. Some of that is her profound dislike of masks, but one or another of the dogs has needed special care this year. The older dog doesn’t have much time left (she shows a steadily progressive lack of coordination. I suspect something essential will stop working, then it’s over. With luck, she won’t have any pain.) and she gets extra loving.

      We’re limited in diet, and one of our two(!) regular eateries closed its dining room for the duration. Not sure it it will open, but there’s one place I can have a sit-down lunch in peace. (There is another, but it takes more time than I’m willing to do while shopping.) I’ll chat with the ladies at the mail drop and some of the cashiers at various stores. Between neighbors and shopping conversations, it’s been enough. I get to see enough faces in town to stimulate the “hey, there are people I don’t know” pathways.

      The medical trips were something to look forward to. We seldom do grilled salmon or rack-o-ribs, but those were regular items at the hotel. Which is still trying to get the restaurant operation open. (I’m staying at the suites place next door. Looks like I get to try to do an omlette without a spatula; there’s a slotted spoon and a soup ladle, plus forks. ) Dammit, though, I went to that hotel more times than I can recall over the past three years. Some of the staff was consistently there over that time, and we’d chat at times. Can’t do it anymore. Plus, the mask-usage on the west side is more paranoid than in Klamath Falls. Sucks most of the fun out of the trip. (I’ll get a fluorescein blood vessel check. Peeing fluorescent yellow for the rest of the day wasn’t supposed to be the highlight of the trip, but I’ll take the amusement where I can. )

      Oh well, back at home, I’m ready to frame the roof. I still have to repaint the panels (didn’t secure them properly and they rubbed bare spots over each other.), so I have enough to do.

      The recall petitions for Kate Brown are due at the end of the month. I don’t think she’ll lose the election, but it should be sufficiently distracting to keep her our of our hair. I hope it’s distracting enough so that the
      Donk’s lose some sure-thing elections…

        1. Unknown at this point. OTOH could not find a recall petition in Eugene last time it was tried. This time locations to sign one popped up all over the place in Eugene … so better chance this time around, maybe?

  9. I’m glad to see that your morale has improved. I hope it stays that way for a while!

    See you at NASFiC!

    1. Indeed. I’m tempted to tell Michael I’m technologically DEclined. So it will all probably come out weird.
      Also, we’ll have an unscheduled appearance (or more) by Havelock Vetinari Hoyt. He LOVES my Skype and zoom meetings. I need to fix the camera so it shows him, because otherwise I look like an idiot, making faces at my lap….

          1. And now I have the irrational desire to interfere in elections by placing baskets of kittens with little red MAGA collars outside polling locations…

                1. I can’t recall if it was Antifa or BLM – I mostly just think of them as slightly different flavors of terrorist these days – but a group of one of them tortured a puppy to death on camera several weeks back. Sarah’s right; don’t leave ANY living creature you don’t want hurt to their mercy.

      1. Macavity avoids being high enough for the camera to see him, even if he comes by when I’m videoconferencing.

      2. My elder daughter is a teacher and was teaching from home via Zoom. One of our cats (Stoick a sturdy tabby cat) got the name Zulu Bravo Charlie (for Zoom Bombing Cat). He’d see her looking intently at the screen and immediately march in front of the screen and the camera. At this point the class would diverge into show and tell of her 8th grade students assorted pets from cats to dogs to assorted lizards.

        1. The new headmaster insisted that we stop all meetings and acknowledge the occasional cat who wandered through various people’s camera fields. His dog also made a few cameo appearances.

  10. This does seem to be one of those years when you keep getting knocked down. As if money problems and the loss of beloved pets weren’t bad enough, your insane governor seems bent on taking away most of your innocent pleasures in life.

    Feeling guilty about not writing under such circumstances doesn’t help! Trust me, I’m an expert on guilt!

    And I’m also a semi-expert on having the imagination stall out thanks to too many interruptions, too many illnesses, too many crises. That’s why I’m studying Czech now. It keeps my brain from self-destructing on the days when creative thought just isn’t going to happen.

    For you, going through your past blog posts and editing them into a book sounds like a good way to spend the necessary recuperating time while you look for those bootstraps. Although that’s a selfish judgement on my part, because I’d love to have that material conveniently available in one place. I’m looking forward to the book.

    1. I have Great Courses on demand. It helps if I listen to things for stuff I want to do books in. Right now I’m in Ancient Greece….
      I need a (preferably) video biography of Scipio Africanus for a different book. (long story.) There doesn’t seem to be one. It’s all Hannibal.

      1. Basil Liddell-Hart did a book on Scipio. It was published in the twenties but I have a reprint—. It might be public domain now. Liddell-Hart was a well known military writer who popularized the Strategy of the Indirect Approach and is supposed to be one of the main thinkers behind Blitzkrieg. Guderian certainly read him and so, probably, did DeGaul. he’s also given credit by the Israeli generals regarding their campaigns in the 40’s He wrote a very good, if biased, history of WWI and a much less good history of WWII. They were a book club item and you used to see them on the shelves in most middle class house in the UK.

        His biography of Scipio is a bit didactic about the Indirect Approach but he knows the source material well and gives a good overview.

        1. Several Liddell-Hart books are available on Looks like I have a new to-read list…

          1. To explain: I have a character… 5k years in the future whose father is a fan of Scipius and named him Scipius.
            I don’t know WHY, but I’ll have to familiarize myself with the original to figure it out.
            In other news, I want my subconscious killed. Anyone taking contracts?

            1. I got a guy, but he ain’t cheap, know what I’m sayin?

              Liddell-Hart uses Scipio as a vehicle to Cary his theory of the Indirect Approach. He’ll give you a nicely biased view that would serve a character well as opposed to straight up who killed who biography. hope it works for you.

              Given the world we live in, we would all do well to study Liddell-Hart since a headlong charge against the powers that be leaves them in charge and us dead. the book is Called Strategy. I have an old copy but I think it’s a mass market paperback too.

            2. Poor kid. If he has a life anything like his cognomen, he’s in for some disappointment and tribulation. The Punic Wars were no joke, and Ol Skippy was darned lucky to survive Cannae. Gifted commander, but his political skills were crap. That eventually did him in.

              Hope the new kid turns out with more sense.

                    1. Livy and Polybius are the primary sources. I suspect your subconscious is remembering stories. I’d remember reading about Scipio in British comics when I was a kid. He was a staple in the “boys-own” type books It must have been so in Portugal too.

                      I know Scipio went into what is now Spain but I don’t think he got as far west as Portugal. Goldsworthy has a story about the Roman general who did, Treacherous, murdering b-stard that one was.

                      damn, now you’ve got me going back into the bloody Romans! I don’t like the bloody Romans.

            3. Scipio actually had a pretty good reputation among early and medieval Christians, thanks to the essay “The Dream of Scipio”, which is the sixth book of Cicero’s De Re Publica. Chaucer did a translation.

              Scipio Aemilianus told Cicero that when he went to Africa, he was visited in a dream by his dead grandfather (by adoption), the general Scipio Africanus. Scipio prophesied his future and encouraged him to get to the starry heavenly afterlife through faithful service as a soldier, and then showed him the universe and its spheres, while also lecturing him on duty and the nature of the Divine, the soul, and Stoic virtue.

              1. I think I misremembered the Chaucer thing. SOMEbody translated it, I’m pretty sure I remember.. WIkipedia article in English is not as complete as one would hope.

          2. he’s worth a read. Beware though, he’s interesting, you know cranky and opinionated and not the best introduction, especially to WWI., Read Terraine to.

      2. Scipio is also covered in Adrian Goldsworthy’s In the Name of Rome. it’s a toss-up for me between Goldsworthy and Holland as to who is writing the best histories of Rome today. Goldsworthy wins as a pure military historian. He’s excellent and all the right people dislike him, very possibly because he’s an admitted Christian and isn’t afraid to be English both of which disqualify you from membership in the chattering class.

        1. I read Goldsworthy’s book on Julius Caeser and found it very good; it was both substantive and easy to read. I have the In the Name of Rome and have started it, and just picked up his book on Augustus. I highly recommend his work.

      3. If you can use a print bio, there’s B. Liddell Hart’s =Scipio Africanus: Greater Than Napoleon=. Not short, but not padded, and he has plenty of evidence for his case.

        1. Oops, late!

          As to Scipio and politics, Hart gives ghe impression that he was quite skilled, but did not want to play that game with the government of his own country.

  11. Not to kvetch, but I’ve not seen anything from you since Deep Pink which looking in my records you labeled as Magis 01 signifying a most probable 02 at least, perhaps more.
    You see, a writer writes, cannot help themselves, but an author writes for publication.
    So, I am but a pale if still rather plump imitation of your late whipmaster, the magnificent Greebo PBUH, but shall endeavor to do my best nagging.
    So, mama don’t write, nothing gets accomplished.
    Nothing gets accomplished, nothing gets finished.
    Nothing gets finished, books don’t get published.
    Books don’t get published, the entire Hoyt clan finds themselves starving under a bridge in Ghod forsaken Colorado.
    Beta reads, copy edits and all such ancillary functions available at our long standing agreed rates.

      1. As long as I don’t lose any of you.
        Digging back through the posts, I found Havey turns 12 on September 7th (Dan’s birthday.) I feel better as I thought he was 13 or 14. And I was worried because he is obviously at least half Turkish Angora…. And they’re not long lived cats.
        And honestly, he CANNOT die for a year or two.

        1. We’re still here. Abbott is a reasonable governor. Steve is dealing with stuff at work. He’s been working from home for years.

          all the best!
          Steve & Emily

  12. Yet Another entry for the Be Not Afraid files:

    The reveal trailer for a new Call of Duty just dropped. It is well worth watching, even — perhaps especially — for non-gamers:

    Can anyone honestly say that is CNN approved?

    1. CNN, not knowing who Yuri Bezmenov was, would instantly decide he’s a fictional person designed for the game, and that it’s just a game.

      To be fair, there’s probably a fair chunk of the COD audience that doesn’t know who he is… yet… but I have a feeling that a lot of them, searching for more info on the game, and walkthroughs, and hacks, and hints from the designers, are about to learn…

    2. That’s assuming that the developers play it straight. The non-WW2 COD games seem to enjoy having annoying (imo) twists that often leave me glad that I didn’t play the game (Modern Warfare 2 being the worst by far…). I wouldn’t be surprised if the protagonist turns out to be someone who believes this at the start, but ends up in the “both sides are just as bad!” camp by the end of the game.

      1. MW2 seemed entirely appropriate to me given the magnitude of what happened in the first game. And more importantly what wasn’t done about it.

        Because if you told me our IRL politicians had done the same thing I wouldn’t hesitate to believe it. They’re kind of cowards like that.

        All you really need at that point is someone in the right place to go *snap*, and travel into the land of Ends Justify the Means.

      2. That’s assuming that the developers play it straight.

        I got caught up in MW2 and forgot this…

        1. I think they will add twists, but play it straighter than you might expect.

        2. I don’t think it matters even if they go full upsidedown. Because putting Yuri deeper in the public consciousness can only result in good results.

        1. Well, hopefully none of those twists will involve being among the guys who are murdering civilians in an airport…

          1. Oh that!? I assumed you were talking about the real twist of the game. I suspect that what you think you know is the version filtered through the outrage machine, as there are precious few ways one could come up with the idea that it was a twist of the good guys doing bad things.

            The whole point of that mission is an attempt to infiltrate Bad Guys, doing Bad Guy Things, for Bad Guy Reasons, depicted in a way to show that the Bad Guys are Really Fucking Bad. Hell, the mission briefing even mentions that it will scar the soldier’s soul, but the infiltration has to be done because the Bad Guys *will* do worse if they aren’t stopped.

            Also the mission goes out of its way to have options for those who can’t handle it: you don’t have to ever pull the trigger, there is a skip menu that lets you skip the horrible part, etc.

            While we are at it let’s claim that Star Wars is about how Evil is better. After all, wasn’t it Vader who saved the day?

            1. No, I’m aware of the twist in the game.

              The airport scene just makes the game even more detestable, imo.

            2. They only put in any means to avoid it– even with bad effects– after a crap-ton of the guys who pre-ordered it informed them the company wouldn’t be getting another dime of their money.

              About two thirds of my admittedly very military heavy sample did not accept the “apology” of putting in a way to bypass it, those who shared their logic pointed out that if they did the “force the gamers to unequivocally do a deal-breaker on screen” trick once, they’re going to do stupid power games again.

    3. Did a defector from the Soviet KGB seriously use the word “schmuck”?


      Even more reason to like him above and beyond the obvious ones.

      At the very least, it ought to be interesting to see how Kotaku and all of the other “gaming news” sites react to this. They’re all owned by the same conglomerate, and are lock-step anti-gamer-gate.

  13. I know this feeling, as we’re having fires where the mandatory evacuation zones are nearing twelve miles from us. This was just coming up as I’ve gotten some purchase on the WordPress issues and the final formatting and the final “pry the writer’s fingers away from the keyboard” edits of the story. And, the fear that having my main character be herself is a Bad Idea in this time of Uzaki-chan. I am aiming for a September release…hopefully.

    And, we have had terrible weather (more like Florida than Northern California), we’re stuck in the house due to the Crow Flu (coming up on six months now), work is still “we’re waiting on things to happen,” and I want to do something remotely motherFYAY!KING normal, like an actual convention or such.

    The only thing I can think of doing is…well, “keep calm and bugger on, I suppose.”

    Hopefully, this all ends with an interesting election and many coronary events when Trump wins again.

    1. “the mandatory evacuation zones are nearing twelve miles from us.”

      Pack up NOW. Seriously. If you are still at your house, get the stuff you need into the car, have your documents box/bag right where you’ll trip over it, stock pet food, everything. If we were anywhere fire prone (suburban Sacramento, the two miles x 60 of artificial wetlands of the Yolo Bypass are in between us and the fires), I’d have all the camping gear in the cars by now, harnesses on cats with leashes and carriers by the door, and a few irreplaceable items in the cars along with our clothes etc.

        1. Northern California was mentioned. Many of the places with fires have hills and odd roads, and that’s where you get those freaky dash cam videos of driving through infernos.

          1. We had the remnants of a tropical storm go through NorCal last weekend in a line of thunderstorms that fired up about 3am, and while there was a spattering of rain (just enough to mess up the dirt on the cars), there were numerous lightning strikes that lit various fires all over the darn place.

            Yesterday morning the windows looked out on red light and thick smoke. My outdoor particulate sensor gizmo saw readings that ran all the way up to a 3pm AQI reading of 407, which is well into “Hazardous” – my sensor saw:

            PM1.0: 265 ug/m3, PM2.5: 359 ug/m3, PM10: 478 ug/m3, PM2.5 AQI index 407 (hazardous)

            Today it’s breezy from a good direction and the AQI is back down below 50 in spite of fires in just about every direction:

            PM1.0: 4 ug/m3, PM2.5: 7 ug/m3, PM10: 8 ug/m3, PM2.5 AQI index 29 (good)

            The current satellite fire map shows actively burning fires all over around the Bay Area:


            CalFire is currently reporting zero to five percent containment on those.

            1. I looked at the CalFire incident report; inaccissable areas with no history of burning. I used to cycle in that area in the early ’90s, and it was tough territory. Yikes!

            2. Yeah, I’m in Sacramento County, and while some people are worried, a smoke tunnel isn’t the same as a fire tunnel. (Plus the Yolo Bypass is a 2×60 mile artificial wetland in between the fires and Sacramento—if we’re worrying about *those* fires, we’re worrying about the wrong thing.)

          2. We’re pretty much a straight shot to 101, with two different two-lane roads going there. The only good thing about the last round of fires is that a lot of the potentially flammable stuff is gone between the fire and here.

            Like I said, not my first rodeo with this.

            I blame a whole lot of people-Earth First/Sierra Club for ending logging (and creating these massive densely packed forests of kindling), the Democratic super-majority that we’ve had here since ’98 that doesn’t understand basic forest management, and most importantly Michael Atkinson.

            Because he should be blamed for more things.

        1. I know. We’re packed and ready to go as needed. I have my one week bag packed, all my meds and paperwork in a single bag, a spare everything for my C-PAP, and it’s all ORGANIZED.

          Of course, we now have a new issue in that the AC is making the “small electrical arcing” noises in the middle of 100’s heat with high humidity…

          Fingers crossed that it’ll be an easy, quick fix.

          1. And that you’re running on a safe, “freon”-type refrigerant, and not the isobutane (2-methyl propane) that the greenies keep pushing.

            1. The Carrier tech on the phone is pretty much convinced it’s either a capacitor-which he has a couple of on his truck-or a new fan motor.

              Unfortunately, he’s not going to be able to come by until Wednesday at the earliest.

              The timing of all these disaster COULD be better, but I recognize how my situation is.

            2. On a moment’s reflection, the most like sources for that sound are a faulty relay/contactor or a fan motor with brushes. Otherwise a connection coming loose, either wire nut or screw type. The refrigeration compressor motor is probably sealed with lubrication in the refrigerant, the motor being a brushless induction motor. Hmm, failing starting capacitor or bad centrifugal start switch? I don’t know if a refrigeration motor has them, or if you could hear a gradual failure.

              Room A/C or central?

      1. This isn’t our first rodeo. Go bags are already packed, critical records are boxed up, and so far the fire lines have been going West and North (i.e. away from us).

        Pretty sunsets, tho.

  14. I’m glad you’re feeling better today, Sarah. That post yesterday worried me more than “a little.”

    You’re not whining. Whining is something that other people do. It’s one of those irregular verbs — you know, like “I am firm; you are obstinate; he/she is a pigheaded fool.” 😉 In the same way, we are “justified in complaining loudly,” while other people are “whining.”

    As for getting out: I am also introverted, to a degree that a cloistered monk would probably say was unhealthy. I’ve found that being alone in this idiotic lockdown is not the problem. The problem is being alone in the same environment all the time. So I’ve been getting out and taking walks at the local nature center at least once every couple of days. Long walk, short walk, just go sit by the pond and listen … they all help my mood enormously.

    And stop watching/listening to the news. Remember, their primary goal is not to inform you. It’s to depress you.

    1. That line about, “…and the lamentations of their women,” does have a nice ring to it.

        1. Girls surely. Mean, vicious girls.

          I’m very fond of women but I have always disliked girls.

      1. ” . . . and the lamentations of those who identify as women” just doesn’t ring as well. (Although I was teasing my mother about a melon-sized lemon cucumber that she brought home yesterday. “If it identifies as a cucumber, who are we to argue?” She gave me one of those “Mom looks.” Yeah, that one.)

        1. Did you see the little revolutionista-wannabe who was trying to bitch out a cop that he wasn’t allowed to search her for weapons because male… and then got all butt-hurt that another officer of the law said “How do you know he doesn’t identify as female?”
          Oh, she was so pissed that they mocked her, and even more so that they then laughed at her!

          I’d buy those guys beers.

          1. I have a young cousin with the disease. She went to progressive schools in NYC, think about that for a second, and just graduated from one of the seven sisters with a degree in anger studies. We were at a party and she asked all the people who “identified as short” to come to the front for a picture. My cousin at 6’6” and myself at 6’2” said “hey! that’s us.” The rest of my cousins lined up in reverse size order behind us. Little miss PC was furious. I suspect she was trying to be funny in a NYC progressive schools sort of way but her reaction is typical of the breed. They utterly lack humor since humor begins with identifying just how absurd we all are.

    2. I am also introverted, to a degree that a cloistered monk would probably say was unhealthy.

      I’m fond of saying that when the introverts get together, I’m the freak in the corner that they all point to and wonder why she won’t talk to anyone….

      1. I got my degree in broadcast studies (for my sins). That’s a good choice, and it has nothing to do with bias, but everything to do with the format. It’s impossible to be informed about much of anything (barring nearby weather events) through the short formats of television or radio. And yet, it gives the illusion of expertise.

        1. Apart from the format it has been my experience that even on a-political stuff that they want to get right, they screw up. Comes from using “reporters” who have no idea what they are looking at.

  15. To make things worse — maybe that’s just my feeling — it seems to me everyone at the store is radiating fear and anger.

    I’m getting that a lot more, too– even when folks can’t see me, like when they’re walking in to the store ahead of me and already have their masks on. They’re walking like they’re PISSED, and when I act normal*, about three quarters of the time

    I think part of it is that they’re doing everything that’s asked…and it’s not “working”. The news keeps hammering on how horrible things are, and there are places that have extended their “two weeks” into NEXT YEAR already.

    * For me, being polite, anyways, so inside of reasonably nonthreatening human parameters?

    1. DRopped the last half of the sentence…

      and when I act normal*, about three quarters of the time
      – folks kind of snap out of it, even if they’re wearing a mask.

      There are some where I can’t act normal, though– I’m doing the eye-dropping, shoulder-squared, have something in hand to intercept whatever they are about to launch at you thing. They’re just flat PISSED.

        1. It’s very likely they don’t know, either. The cumulative stress and frustration seems to boil down into unfocused anger – at life, at lost plans, whatever. Maybe it’s the “anger,” part of a grieving process.
          And yes, I’m writing from experience.

          1. I just realized part of the reason I’m mad. Our next move was supposed to take us to the nearest big city of wherever the boys end up, and to a condo. I HATE yard work, and am very bad at it, and I figured sans kids, a condo in a city, near museums and with good medical services.
            Well, it ain’t gonna happen. But that took away our plan for the “Without kids” time.

          2. I’m not sure if that’s an intended goal of the mask mandate, but it’s certainly a result. We are social animals, our little monkey brains are constant reading the expressions of those around us (even when the little monkey brain doesn’t talk to the main brain to well). Most of those expressions happen around the mouth, it’s the most mobile part of the face (and one of the most mobile parts of the entire body). With everyone wearing masks their monkey brains are all screaming THERE ARE NO HUMANS AROUND! YOU ARE IN DANGER! All. The. Time.

            1. I wonder about the ability to build a legal claim for damages based on the foreseeable consequences of the lock-down, the lies justifying the lock-down (e.g., you told us it was for two weeks. TWO weeks! TWO !@#$% WEEKS ended three months ago!) and the passive-aggressive phase games. Any semi-competent psychologist could tell you of the frustration and anger this would engender, especially as there seem to be separate rules for politically-approved protests.

              If they did not know the free floating anger this set of policies would produce it is only because they were negligent. Harm due to negligence is legally actionable.

              Yes, I am sure that they would plead Sovereign Immunity but that while that might be enough to to escape paying damages it might not be enough to avoid Discovery of the “scientific” methodology they claimed to be employing — and that’s where we get ’em.

              1. (e.g., you told us it was for two weeks. TWO weeks! TWO !@#$% WEEKS ended three months ago!)

                Gee, maybe someone in New York can indict them for wire fraud….

        2. Anger is like that. It’s undirected by nature, and hard to direct properly, hence the ‘kick the dog’ syndrome. The innocent takes the worst of it. Part of the animal nature we have to domesticate.

          1. I’ve identified “feeling helpless” as a major reason why I get angry. So when I get angry I repeat to myself a gloss on an Heinlein quote: “Be wary of strong drink and raging anger. They can both make you shoot at tax collectors and jackbooted Karenfuhrers… and miss.”

    2. No fear here, but that trip to Lowes’ yesterday, I’m pretty sure people were moving out of my path as my blazing cloud of anger led the way.

      Governor Jerkwad’s $500 fine was enough to get my compliance, but he comes up for re-election in 2022. I’m certainly not going to be over my mad that soon.

    3. I’ll confess to being one of those people.

      It’s deliberate though, because I’m not wearing a mask, and I figure that people will leave me alone if that’s the attitude I’m projecting.

      I’ll talk in a normal tone when I get to the checkstand though.

      1. See, I’m aggressively cheerful. Clears most of the angry out of the way, because they can yell at angry people, but they get flummoxed by aggressive cheerfulness.

        “Oh, I understand, and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone, as it did suck massively for the multiple-month recovery, but now I don’t have to worry anymore! It’s so nice to be back to normal and not have to care about masking or no-hugging or any of that! You have a wonderful day, now!”
        Exit aisle right, looking at my shopping list, “Eggs, and wonder if they have diet Fanta back yet?”

  16. The money is not a systemic problem, btw …

    Sarah, that may be the single silliest thing you’ve ever written. Except for the Extremely Well-To-Do money is an innately systemic problem. Even when the immediate demands do not exceed the available supply you need to be stockpiling some against emergency & future need.

    Like Time, there will be brief intervals when you’ve more than you know what to do with but be assured, those problems generally sort themselves out quite quickly.

    More revenue streams are always prudent, as you never know when one will become blocked up. Turning these blog posts into an additional (beyond the meagre amounts found in the Tip Jar) is eminently practical and well worth a little self-application.

    1. If you boil it all down, money is time. Pay someone to cut your lawn so the lions can’t sneak right up to the house and you have the time that task would have taken to yourself.

      1. Which is why looters who say “It’s only property” or “They have insurance” should be gut-shot and left. They want to take someone’s life on the installment plan? Fine, I’m happy to return the favor.

  17. BTW, I just had to thank you for linking to that old post on “Not Dead But Laughing.” I needed that. Someday, I’d like to visit that version of Portugal (or possibly Port of Kale.) Sounds like it would be a blast.

  18. I think your collected columns idea is a really good one. You have a different perspective from most columnists and you turn a mean phrase.

  19. And yes, it sounds like I’m whining about not being able to do fun things.

    That’s a funny way to write “objecting to people putting you in jail on your own dime.”

    1. Dear Hostess I’m with Foxfier on this. You are NOT whining. annoyance at this is fully justified It’s a major logistics effort to shop for groceries, You can’t go for a walk without a mask because of some stupid paste eating Governor. As much as it was a pain to get to work every day (20 minute car ride to the train, 30 minute ride on a train which had a rather loose idea of scheduling, 10 minute walk from North Station to the edge of the North end) I miss it. I miss being able to walk out the back door from work and have slices from a pizza joint thats been in the same place since 1926, or go find a nice cannoli and coffee and sit out on the Greenway on a short work day. Contrary to our “betters” ideas I don’t want a new normal I want the old one back. Like Petronius the Arbiter from Door into Summer I keep looking for that door back into normal. Here’s hoping its out there somewhere.

  20. it sounds like I’m whining about not being able to do fun things.
    Is it whining when a swimmer going down for the second time complains about not enough air? Then quit putting yourself down.
    Yesterday’s post worried me and there is nothing that I can do beyond assuring you that you are important to a lot of people.

  21. It’s not whining because they took something from you that didn’t belong to them. It’s not up to them to determine what’s important. It’s not up to them to determine much of anything. Your freedom does not begin where their fear and greed end, especially as their fear and greed are infinite.

    An’ Tommy ain’t a blooming fool— you bet that Tommy sees.

    1. We were griping about something at a Gunsite class in March years ago (probably it was too frickin’ cold for us coastal lowlanders in the early morning.)

      One of the instructors warned us about whining. The immediate response: “We’re not whining, we’re Bitching!” Fair enough. We have a right to bitch about lockdown theater, especially as we plot our revenge (shifting from soap box to ballot/jury or cartridge).

      1. No joke. Just when I thought it was safe, a giant bag of breaded okra bits appeared in the freezer at RedQuarters. I can’t get away from that veggie! Oh, 2020!

      1. A papaya and a goat, in Tanzania. Which sounds either like something from a game of the Dark Continent Edition of Clue or the start of a bar joke – “A Goat carries a papaya into a bar in Tanzania…”

  22. *grins* Hey, do you know how to get a really interesting reaction out of people? When they note you’re not wearing a mask, grin at them and say “I’ve already had Kung Flu and gotten over it, so I don’t have to worry anymore!”

      1. I’m not very large and not very muscular. But I am learning the art of being a Woman of a Certain Age who lost her last give-a-damn a long, long time ago.

        Especially when I can start going into TMI in a heartbeat, because, as my father warned me decades ago, “Never ask anyone over a certain age how they are. They’ll tell you!”

        1. My Great-Aunt Mary used to give us daily bowel reports. DEFINITELY TMI. And yet, the older I get the better I understand it.

        2. “Never ask anyone over a certain age how they are. They’ll tell you!”

          Have you gotten the “Oh. Are you in for it?” grin down?

          It is soooooo, much fun …. I remember realizing “I’m over 60!” (*not old). Realized, I can now get away with things. Use the power wisely. FWIW tears work too.

          *Because how can I be old when mom, her siblings, and 1/2 of dad’s siblings, and their spouses are still around? What! Still counts just because 3 of my uncles are barely older than I am and they married women younger than that (still a few months older than me, but still …)*

            1. Ugh. I’m the oldest of my brothers and sister – the only one left of the older gen is now my mother, in her 80s. She’s paralyzed and bedridden, and not in the best of moods.
              I really wish now that I had parked a tape recorder in front of my great-aunt, and my grandmothers. But all I can post now, is what they said now and again and what I can remember from when I was younger.

              1. wish now that I had parked a tape recorder in front of my great-aunt, and my grandmothers.

                What my grandmother said about her grandfather and great aunts & uncles, who traversed the Oregon Trail with their parents. Or rather had listen better. We at least have her book. We didn’t listen any better (after all the same stories over and over and over and over, again). But she wrote them down. Her daughters got it published after she died. Not much about what she remembered from their stories, but a little. More about growing up in early 1900’s.

    1. We’ve done that. The Karen switches to ‘you’re being selfish possibly exposing others.’ Or something. It makes no sense and we walk away.

        1. Oregon has an illegal mask order too. It was legal for the first 30 days. Then it had to backed up by the house & senate (republicans, bless their hearts, made it impossible to create a quorum). Then the state supreme court backed the HRH K Brown’s illegal executive order. Still not constitutional.

          1. Then the state supreme court backed the HRH K Brown’s illegal executive order. Still not constitutional.

            THANK YOU for understanding the fact, which seems to escape so many otherwise-intelligent people, that supreme courts can get things wrong. I mean people can have the example of the Dred Scott decision staring them in the face and still claim that “The Supreme Court said Obamacare is constitutional, therefore it is in fact constitutional” is a valid argument. Nope. To paraphrase Lincoln, if the Supreme Court rules that a tail counts as a leg, then how many legs does my dog have? Still four. Saying so doesn’t make it so. There. Are. Four. Legs.

            1. In its 1857 Dred Scott ruling the United States Supreme Court held that Black people “are not included, and were not intended to be included, under the word ‘citizens’ in the Constitution, and can therefore claim none of the rights and privileges which that instrument provides for and secures to citizens of the United States.”

              That ruling was never reversed; it was voided by Constitutional Amendments 13 & 14.

              Thus the people claiming that the Constitution means whatever the SCOTUS says have a legitimate argument if only they dare to make it.

            2. I understand it. To me the entire principle is 100% clear. I’m just a old retired software developer. Dang Logic. … I may never be able to make it clear to anyone else.

  23. I have the tools to edit audio from my aborted Youtube channel attempt. Email me.

    Also, while posting YT videos is a good idea don’t expect it to get monetized. Current monetization rules are fairly ridiculous (iirc, you need 10k subs in order to monetize a channel)

    1. Taking bets on how long YT’s far-left censors noticed the infamous Sarah Hoyt [The Puppymistress!] was posting videos and got her banned and the videos taken down.

      Place your bets in milliseconds if necessary.

      1. With the systematic purge of “conservatives” (anybody to the right of Lenin) and especially anybody known or suspected of having anything to do with Qanon, I’d guess Our Hostess would last hours.

        OTOH, Andrew Torba is expanding Gab to do a lot of roles, and Gab TV is high on the list.

    2. Youtube isn’t for the the money, it is for the promos for the videos that bring in money. The purpose of free samples is to whet appetites for the full meal.

  24. Well, I’ve figured out that part of my problem is that I’m trying to do four or five things in a space where I’ve stored the remains of several other things.

    I’m long over due on some clean up and organization.

    I’ve been taking walks to get out. I’ve figured out how to give myself useful rewards. I’ve even been sorta managing on the social interaction end.

    Anyway, the cleaning seems to be doing some good already.

  25. Sarah, this might be good news: a judge in New Jersey just threw out a mail-in city election due to blatant voter fraud.
    In New Jersey. Where you can hear a serious, respectful obituary of a former Congresscritter explain he hadn’t been back long since he had just finished his sentence for bribery….I heard that one myself, years ago and I very much doubt it’s changed.

    1. Gauleiter Murphy der Henker, has said he’s proud of NJ mail in elections. He’s also proud of his response to WuFlu even though NJ has the highest per capita death rate in the nation, topped only by DiBlasio der Arsche mit Ohren, The mind boggles at what he must be ashamed of.

      1. Nothing. He’s ashamed of nothing. I don’t know what the shrinks call it, but his ilk are immune to shame. That’s how they lie so blatantly. Their moral compasses point to themselves.

        1. I believe he once gave a quarter, from his own pocket, to a little beggar boy and has, ever since, been ashamed that he gave his own money rather than drawing from public funds.

  26. Official Faceless Minion prediction for the 2020 election:

    Due to the “Hold My Beer” way this year is trying to upstage 2016, I’ve only been able to pare my prediction down to two possibilities.

    Either Option A:

    November 3

    Huge margins for Donald Trump early in the counting lead to some states being called shortly after polls close. However, as the electoral vote approaches 270, several key states in the Great Lakes and Northeast regions report that large numbers of mail-in ballots have been discovered unprocessed.

    Over the course of the next sixteen hours, more than a quarter million such votes are found and when integrated into the vote totals, it is found that while President Trump had a small margin of a plurality in the popular vote, the Electoral College falls to Joe Biden 271-267.

    President Trump tweets out “Well, that was bulls***!” (sic). The Washington Post calls this a “psychotic rejection of reality” and “a plausible threat of a coup by martial law”, demanding that he be removed from office immediately as well as declaring Vice President Pence ineligible to take the office. This is not done, due to it being illegal.

    December 17

    President Elect Joe Biden makes the customary visit to the White House. Over the course of a half hour meeting, he:

    1) challenges President Trump to a foot race around the White House lawn
    2) asks President Trump if he wants to soak in the pool and see how his leg hairs float
    3) offers to take President Trump “Out back where I can really put you in your place, punk.”

    The sitting President declined on all three points.

    The Washington Post declares the meeting “A masterpiece of strength and humor, showing why Biden will truly lead us into the future.”

    January 7

    Several members of congress demand that federal agencies lock down all records, so as to avoid “contamination of the transfer process by bitter staff members.”

    The Washington Post praises this, noting that “there is a history of information being withheld in regards to the transition when Trump is involved.”

    The US Senate elects Chuck Schumer as President Pro Tempore. Normally, this decision would have been held off due to the 50-50 tie between Democrat and Republican seats, waiting until Camala Harris is sworn in as Vice President and casts the deciding vote, but Senator Romney (R – Utah) votes to approve.

    January 20

    Joseph Biden is sworn in as the 46th President of the United States. His inaugural addrress lasts seven minutes. In it, he repeats himself four times, mispronounces the names of his Vice President and wife, and misidentifies the city he is in.

    The Washington Post declares it to be “masterful” and “a breath of fun, sorely needed in these troubled times.”

    February 23

    President Biden is admitted to the hospital for pneumonia. Vice President Harris is sworn in as President temporarily under the terms of the 25th amendment.

    March 5

    President Biden dies in his sleep. The official cause of death is listed as “rapid liver failure”.

    When it is pointed out that this is not an affect of pneumonia (or the long-suspected dementia conditions) but rather an indication of poisoning, The Washington Post runs a multi-part editorial against conspiracy theories. President Biden’s body, as well as all tissue cultures and testing samples is cremated at the request of his widow.

    Jill Biden announces she will retire from public life.

    March 30

    President Camala Harris nominates former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for the Vice Presidency.

    The Washington Post celebrates this as “A bold, stunning choice that will elevate this nation, our standing and the public discourse.”

    April 7

    After slightly more than one week of debate and discussion, Chuck Schumer calls the vote on the Clinton nomination.

    There had been talk that this would institute a constitutional crisis as, without a sitting Vice President, a tie vote cannot be broken. However, when the roll was called, Senator Romney (R – Utah) votes “Aye” and Secretary Clinton is confirmed.

    The Washington Post hails this as “A monumental vote. This is a moment when our nation truly becomes great.”

    President Harris announces a bold slate of proposals, including gun control, employment standards and environmental proposals.

    June 1

    WikiLeaks releases a large bundle of documents relating to President Harris’ time as Attorney General of California, many indicating malfeasance of office and fundraising irregularities for her Senate campaign.

    The Washington Post reports on claims that this was orchestrated by former President Trump.

    Vice President Clinton labels the charges as “baseless and ridiculous”, promising her complete support to President Harris.

    June 4

    It is announced that in the early hours of the morning, President Camala Harris committed suicide. Shortly after dawn, Hillary Clinton is sworn in as the 48th President of the United States.

    The Washington Post’s coverage reads, in part, “Those leaping to the conclusion that this shows guilt should simply shut up and wait for the truth to be told. The ugly lies which drove President Harris to this act will be exposed and hopefully the perpetrators will be brought to justice.

    Meanwhile, we can all be grateful that for the second time in a very short period, our nation has been lucky to have a strong, vibrant leader waiting to fill the suddenly open position. In times past, Divine Providence would have been credited for this. While we tend to hold a more agnostic view of the world, these circumstances lead us to wonder if, perhaps, there might be an unseen power, a force moving behind the scenes, guiding events, nudging elements, making sure that everything is just so.”

    Or, Option B:

    President Trump is re-elected with a lead in excess of a million votes in the popular vote and an Electoral Collage vote in the 290 to 320 range.

    An overnight headline at The Washington Post’s website declares this “The End of the American Republic”

    1. * Kamala

      With a “K”.

      I sincerely hope this won’t reflect badly on my annual minion review.

    2. You forgot the part where Nancy Pelosi, now Speaker of the House, briefly declared herself Vice President before suffering a massive heart attack that somehow exploded her chest in a manner eerily like a bullet wound. But not. Totally not. And there weren’t any snipers, either.

      1. That would be interesting with the American snipers fighting it out with the Clinton snipers over who got to take the shot.

        1. Nancy Pelosi is in her limousine, driving through the central valley. As they go around a fenced curve, they come upon a cow in the middle of the road. Unable to swerve, the limo hits the cow.

          Getting out, the driver checks the vehicle and the animal. Getting back in, he tells the Speaker that the car is drive-able but he thinks the animal is dead, although it appeared to be sickly.

          At first, Pelosi is ready to just drive on, but she notices cameras mounted on the fence line. Not wanting to have it come back later, she tells the driver to walk up to the house and tell them what happened.

          The driver goes up to the house and comes back a little over an hour later.

          “What the hell kept you so long?” she asks.

          “Well, I told them what happened and they just broke into smiles. They invited me in and had me sit down in their best chair. The farmer gave me some really good scotch, while his wife made me some pie a la mode. Their grown up daughter was giving me a back rub and asked if I wanted to go out with her some time. They just seemed really happy and it took a while to get away.”

          “How exactly did you spin it that they were so happy?”

          “Well, I said ‘I’m Nancy Pelosi’s driver and I think I just killed the old cow.'”

          (Hat tip to Ace of Spades HQ)

  27. I would very much sign up for a writing seminar as well as a fan convention. If you need presign ups and some sort of deposit to decide if you can do it, I would definitely pay up front, assuming you could somehow refund if you didn’t get enough interest.
    Every time I look at writing seminars, I always have to wonder if A. they are going to be worth it and B. if they are going to preach at me politically. I love your work so I’m certain about A. and while I tend to agree with your politics and would at least not have to hide my reactions to your politics, I have a feeling you probably would just focus on the work at hand, that is, learnin’ me how to write gooder.

  28. Take care of yourself, Sarah. I need your posts to get through some of these days.

    As for _the_stupid_, I had a guy come rushing into the Police & Safety Office at the college yesterday, “I’m gonna be your guys’ worst nightmare this year. I’m gonna report every one of these kids walking around without a mask on.” Well, we may be sending out some of the emails about Covid on campus, but we don’t enforce anything with it. I politely pointed him in the right direction, and when he left I looked up where he worked. Turns out he works in the equipment shop in out in the plots. Unless he takes time off to go walk around, he’s literally blocks away from any of the kids who aren’t working in the fields. And who gives a dang if someone is working outside, in the sun, hundreds of feet from anyone else, and not wearing a mask?

  29. Sarah, I =will= buy your acculturation books. In paperback, if available. If you go over a dozen (well, okay, eight) I may space the purchases out a bit.

    And if you offer your skill for writing critique I might take you up on it. Our styles are very different, so I’ll have to think about it.

    1. [sigh]

      No, there’s no need to click the damned box. I’m sure it’ll all just magically work itself out somehow.

        1. WordPress really needs a visitor-side option to control how comments are sorted. Email isn’t a very good way to handle this.

  30. Feel the pain – as my daughter and I work our schedule towards the end of the year to various craft markets, some of them so long-established that I have had a place at them for a decade or more.
    A fair number of these events – Miss Ruby’s Author Corral in Goliad, a craft fair at the senior center in Bulverde, Texas, and a handful of others … they have been good for us, and rewarded the labor involved in participating in them.
    And now – probably a lot of them won’t happen.
    And because o

  31. Thinking about fear…I wonder if part of the “You must wear your mask!” Everywhere! All the time!” schtick is because these governors are afraid to let go? It could be a twofold thing: first, the fear the bug will pick up in the fall and they will be blamed if they’ve relaxed the rules. And second, the fear of what happens when they take the lid off the pressure cooker. Especially if people look around and decide this wasn’t necessary in the first place.

    Yes, they’re mostly Dems and hurting Trump is part of it but maybe that basic, visceral fear of what happens when the masks come off is playing a role, too.

    1. I believe we are seeing the end result of the combination of Helicopter Parenting and litigating every accident until leaving the monkey bars up in the playground is a legal risk.
      A generation of children grew up believing that perfect safety was not only possible but the normal state of things. Anything unsafe was someone’s fault. It’s not a belief that they were reasoned into so it’s very hard to change.
      So COVID19 comes and the media yells loudly about how unsafe everybody is unless they socially distance, wear masks & stay home. Of *course* these grown up children are afraid – and it has to be somebody’s fault!

      How do you teach standard, everyday risk/reward calculation to people who grew up internalizing that Government was supposed to keep them safe?

      1. *points* The folks who are most likely to die from this are the Helicopter Parents, many of whom are flipping out that they don’t get to control their Precious Darling’s one, late child.

    2. Since this all began I’ve been worried about the totalitarian allure of the permanent emergency. I mean, it was supposed to be two weeks to flatten the curve and now it’s been almost half a year.

      1. 2020 is a unique leap year, it has 29 days in February, 300 days in march and 5 years in April — but only two weeks in all of them!

  32. I’ve been thinking about both of these. I thought this stupidity would be over by the end of May but I hugely underestimated the bureaucrat fear factor, Even more than the power thing, these are totally inadequate and incompetent people who find themselves having to make a decision.

    I think a lot of us here think the bureaucrats know what the actual situation is. They don’t. I have first hand experience with this at a fairly high level of government. They have no idea. Notice how there are no reports on hospitalizations or deaths, just an endless parade of cases,

    One person died of WuFlu in the UK yesterday, one and there’s still hysteria.

    1. It’s powerful if you can hear the message. For too many people cognitive dissonance will plug up their mental channels.

    2. The only solution they can ever imagine to any problem, real or not, is taking choices away from people. Denying free will and subjugating everybody to the almighty State of their totalitarian fantasies.

      Of course, they believe they will be in charge of it. I don’t see a Stalin or a Pol Pot among the lot of ’em, so they’ll all be Shocked, Shocked! when they find themselves up against the wall. I don’t know where our Stalin is hiding, but I guarantee the bastard is out there somewhere just looking for an opening.

      The idiot Leftoids WILL make that opening. If we’re lucky, we’ll only get a Napoleon.

      1. My paranoid fantasy is if Biden wins, he checks out rather quickly (and millions of people who voted for him because “he’s so quiet and calm, and we need the rest!” will be truly shocked and surprised when it happens). President Harris then appoints a VP, and that VP will be someone we’ve never heard of but who will be represented as a “technocrat,” and “apolitical.” Someone whose only interest is in making sure everything runs smoothly. That’s the guy to worry about.

  33. I try to be cheerful at work, and most people are also cheerful back. I am sad to see so many masks and real worry, but a lot of people are wearing masks under the nose. My dinosaur and unicorn baby bib masks are still pretty popular, because they are pretty silly!

    I do cafe but help out with self-checkout, and informally, with distracting kids so the parents can get done. So today, a very young toddler was upset because she had held an ice cream carton long enough to get her hands cold. Since I was wearing cafe gloves, I was able to just hand Mom the ice cream. And then I showed the kid that she could rub her hands together and warm her hands. She tried it and was delighted, so there was crisis averted and new skill learned. Also it was super-cute.

    1. I mean, obviously I can touch people’s checkout items without gloves, but I noticed they were happier even in normal times if you didn’t get too handsy with food items. Maybe it is territorial, but disguised as a sanitary concern.

  34. Remember that Denver isn’t representative of Colorado, much less America. You are DEEP behind enemy lines and while that is incredibly stressful it also give you an opportunity to strike back. Maybe not now, but at some point.

    Also remember that, despite the numbers, you aren’t the abnormal one for avoiding masks. They’re the freaks who have jumped into the cult with both feet and checked what brains they have at the door. Their opinion is based on ignorance and thus completely irrelevant. If they do send the manager to talk to you, explain that you have a medical condition that prevents you from wearing a mask. If they still ask you to leave, pull out your phone, fiddle with it for a bit, and then ask them “Can you please state for the record your name, position, and that you’re refusing to serve someone with a medical disability?”

    “We’ve been looking for the enemy for some time now. We’ve finally found him. We’re surrounded. That simplifies things.” – Chesty Puller.

    1. Surrounded–once upon a time, the soldier’s worst nightmare. Today, a target-rich environment. We are not thankful enough for the soldiers and Marines whose training, weapons, doctrine, and logistical support allow them to stand between us and the enemies who hate our wealth, our freedom, our success, our security, and even our existence.

    2. Also remember that, despite the numbers, you aren’t the abnormal one for avoiding masks. They’re

      Been taking the kids to the park’s play area all week; there’s a couple of livingroom daycares that visit, and we’re still on summer break for the local schools.

      Zero masks. A lot of folks who look like they’re afraid you’re going to yell at them about masks and they just do not feel like dealing with it, though.

      A lot of people I recognize and haven’t seen for a while.

      I suspect they’re doing the eyeballing thing for the same reason I am– if someone does get pushy, I’m not sure that I will be able to respond in a civilized manner, rather than shaking, snarling and generally responding to the massive boundary invasion they are playing point-man for, and a lot of them are not going to be the actual enemy.
      The enemy is using folks who don’t have an option. (like the businesses that are going to be sued if they don’t go along with karen)

  35. Off Topic – or is it?

    Last night / yesterday was at least the second if not third time I woke up recently recalling a dream where my mail had been tampered with or horribly mis-delivered (as in ‘scattered on the lawn’ or ‘ left in a bit of a hole in the lawn’ AND opened. It might mean nothing. After all, at least once it was at my grandparent’s place as it was in the 1970’s or early 1980’s and another time my (young) late aunt appeared. Fwiw, nothing in the dreams was overtly political. Though I did/do wonder that the hatchets/tomahawks* that had exposed SHARP blades somehow remained. In the dream(s) the irritation was less “Oh, no!” and more, “Damnit, not again.”

    * Too small for Labrys.

  36. Yeah. I had a different version. I was telling my (deceased) parents the thing I most regretted was all the things we haven’t been able to do this summer because of the virus, and the person I thought was my mother turned to me, developed Asian features, and said, “Wait for the next one.”

  37. Read Lidell-Harts’ Strategy years ago, and was less than impressed.
    My thought then was that he studied Napoleons’ tactics, which were based on his study of Sun Tzu adapted to the circumstances Napoleon faced, and so, L-Hs’ derivative work was of limited use.
    Thanks for the info on the online Con, will try to do that.

  38. I agree that BLH is not original but think you have to remember the BLH was writing in the aftermath of WWI where Europe had spent four years throwing masses of men in full frontal attacks on fixed positions. He was reminding them there was another way. He did get too emotionally involved and probably overstated his importance.

    Nihil sub sole novum. It’s possible Napoleon read Sun Tsu, there was a translation. There’s nothing in Napoleon’s writings about him. He certainly read the Greeks and Romans since they were part of his curriculum. He also certainly read Saxe and certainly studied the campaigns of Eugene of Savoy and Frederick II of Prussia. Any of those would have given him his principles, did he need them. Napoleon was a genius and had D’Avout to command those independent actions for him.

    In any case, I think we overrate the importance of books since lots of people had read what Napoleon had read, including all his enemies, but only Napoleon did what he did. I think it was the Archduke Charles who upon being told that another officer had been named a general by the emperor said:: “the emperor has named you a general, but only God can make you one.”

  39. 2020 will not be anyone’s favorite year – it’s those INTERESTING TIMES I think are promised in some Chinese proverb or curse (interesting source coincidence.) Most of the world is unmoored from whatever routine they had, between masks, quarantines, job losses, and the alternate reality that has split the country is exacerbated by political opportunism. It’s hard to feel settled when you can’t even be sure of reality.
    It’s hard to see how any of this ends well – even if we get out of November with a clear winner, the crazies (being created in surplus) are going to keep at it. The riots we’re seeing may be nothing (my tin foil mind thought I heard the thinly veiled threat of this from both of the Obamas this week.
    I’m encouraged that a survey this week said Biden only had a 5% margin in New York. I believe most Trump support is hiding from the pollsters (you can’t even wear a red hat in this country, even if you’re seven years old; what chance Trump supporters come out of the closet in an alleged liberal stronghold? ); if so, that 5% won’t be enough for the Dems to hold NY against the silent Trump support.
    We’ll find our way through this eventually; it will not be pretty.

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