I don’t feel like doing a post

Even a blast from the past.  And I’m out of guest posts.
I’m going to play with fiction.

And Texans on the route of Laura, sound off!

Y’all be careful out there.   ’cause I hear these guys are riding today… and it’s like only we can see them:



The Gods of the Copybook Headings


AS I PASS through my incarnations in every age and race,

I make my proper prostrations to the Gods of the Market Place.

Peering through reverent fingers I watch them flourish and fall,

And the Gods of the Copybook Headings, I notice, outlast them all.


We were living in trees when they met us. They showed us each in turn

That Water would certainly wet us, as Fire would certainly burn:

But we found them lacking in Uplift, Vision and Breadth of Mind,

So we left them to teach the Gorillas while we followed the March of Mankind.


We moved as the Spirit listed. They never altered their pace,

Being neither cloud nor wind-borne like the Gods of the Market Place,

But they always caught up with our progress, and presently word would come

That a tribe had been wiped off its icefield, or the lights had gone out in Rome.


With the Hopes that our World is built on they were utterly out of touch,

They denied that the Moon was Stilton; they denied she was even Dutch;

They denied that Wishes were Horses; they denied that a Pig had Wings;

So we worshipped the Gods of the Market Who promised these beautiful things.


When the Cambrian measures were forming, They promised perpetual peace.

They swore, if we gave them our weapons, that the wars of the tribes would cease.

But when we disarmed They sold us and delivered us bound to our foe,

And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: “Stick to the Devil you know.”


On the first Feminian Sandstones we were promised the Fuller Life

(Which started by loving our neighbour and ended by loving his wife)

Till our women had no more children and the men lost reason and faith,

And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: “The Wages of Sin is Death.”


In the Carboniferous Epoch we were promised abundance for all,

By robbing selected Peter to pay for collective Paul;

But, though we had plenty of money, there was nothing our money could buy,

And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: “If you don’t work you die.”


Then the Gods of the Market tumbled, and their smooth-tongued wizards withdrew

And the hearts of the meanest were humbled and began to believe it was true

That All is not Gold that Glitters, and Two and Two make Four

And the Gods of the Copybook Headings limped up to explain it once more.


As it will be in the future, it was at the birth of Man

There are only four things certain since Social Progress began.

That the Dog returns to his Vomit and the Sow returns to her Mire,

And the burnt Fool’s bandaged finger goes wabbling back to the Fire;


And that after this is accomplished, and the brave new world begins

When all men are paid for existing and no man must pay for his sins,

As surely as Water will wet us, as surely as Fire will burn,

The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return!



171 thoughts on “I don’t feel like doing a post

  1. Em an I are fine. My late grandparents farm and house in AR, OTOH, are getting hurricane force wind and rain. I hope the house survives, and the dam that made the pond.

  2. I’m getting tired of the political garbage.

    Yes Sarah, I know you post about it to “get it out of your mind” but I need “fun things” to read. 😉

    1. Not sure how “fun” this is, but I bought some TUL discs and a punch. I’m using 28# paper and crafting supplies to build a custom bullet journal/notebook/planner.

    1. The NOAA’s headline for Little Rock boils down to “YOU’RE ALL GOING TO DIE!!!!” +TORNADOS++!! but the detailed forecast showed just rain and occasional gusty wind on the way. The map showed Shreveport as being in the worst of it, but Shreveport is showing “light rain and gusts to 11kt.” The peak gusty wind is already supposed to be here, but we haven’t felt any despite being smack in the middle of the track. And there’s no sign of tornados on any of the NOAA’s pages, in Louisiana or Arkansas, other than the warnings.

      The local city used *another* “emergency” number to hit our land line with apocalyptic weather warnings, which terrorized Mrs. TRX when she answered the phone. They seem to have an endless pool of those damned numbers.

      I repacked the go-bags just in case, but from how I’m reading the information, it looks like another Weather Channel style alarm.

      1. Just remember convective precipitation/storms can be very hit or miss (and that is the stage Laura as a weakening now tropical storm is at) and thus some areas can have relatively calm weather while other areas can get hit hard, and the watches and warnings are over broader areas.

      2. I’m looking at the NOAA interactive radar map, and it looks like the most severe stuff just went north of Little Rock. There was some moderately intense stuff, but as of now the most, er, interesting weather is near the Mississippi.

        I don’t know hurricanes, but judging by the radar returns, it’s wet, windy, and (looks at lightning map) a fair amount of T-storm activity. Not a “Y’awl gonna die!” event right now.

    2. Lucky you. When Isaias sideswiped us, we got some rain. More wind. A lot more wind. Uprooting shrubs, knocking off boughs, splitting one tree in half, and — desiccating the garden.

      1. I was living in a rental house when hurricane Rita happened. Said rent house had one of the most disreputable garden sheds you’d ever seen. One of those corrugated steel sheds where the paint was holding together the grains of rust, and as far as I could see, it was held down by wishful thinking. We never got any rain from Rita, but the wind blew all day and all night and I had hoped that the ugly thing would get blown off to be someone else’s problem.


    1. Kinda yes on both, and no– “two and two make four” is about as simple of a fact that cannot be reasonably be argued against as you can get. So denying it is like the whipping-the-ocean of science.

      1. The sophist have been out in force on Twitter arguing it is just a social construct. Some of their “scenarios” and “Schemes” to show it doesn’t have to be make my head hurt.

        I’ve dealt with 5 year olds who were clearer thinkers.

        1. One of those scenarios was something like: Factory A makes 1 car without the engine, and Factory B makes 1 engine. Add the car from Factory A and the engine from Factory B, and you get just 1 car. So, obviously, 1+1=1.

            1. Commonality of units. Yep. Fourth grade Catholic school, I think it was. Right before introduction to fractions, adding and subtracting same (segued into common denominators quite nicely).

              It’s like saying haircuts make you less human, because you’ve lost something of yourself. Unpossible on the face of it, laughable, even. But somewhere, sometime, some educated idiot is going to argue something like that, and worse, someone else is going to take them seriously.

        2. I seem to recall that somebody actually managed a proof that one plus one equaled two. I think, though, that it involved symbolic logic, so it’s not only beyond these nitwits, it’s beyond ME.

          1. I once read through the proof of why one is different from zero – and that two is different from one in a different way.

            The only thing that it proved to me was that one Tylenol is different from no Tylenol – and that two Tylenol ARE different from one Tylenol in a different way.

            1. I recall doing a proof that square root of (1 divided by 0) equals infinity… turns out that’s extensible to any number equals any other number. (Which I took as a lemma indicating the proof was nonsense, but it was still interesting to play with.)

              1. Are you familiar with the Numberphile video where they show an argument that the infinite sum 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + … = -1/12 (negative one-twelfth)? It’s totally wrong (45-minute video), but it wasn’t until recently that I actually found out why. They start by looking at the sum of the infinite series 1 – 1 + 1 – 1 + 1 – 1 + 1 …, which clearly alternates between adding up to 0 and adding up to 1 depending on where you stop. They then claim that since this alternates between 0 and 1, you can consider it to be equal to 1/2, and that’s the mistake. Because you’re not allowed to assign a value to an infinite sum unless it converges; if you throw away that rule, you can end up with an easy proof that 0 = 1, and therefore 1 = 2 and in fact any number equals any other number. Here’s how:

                First, the infinite sum 0 + 0 + 0 + 0 + 0 … really does equal 0. Now look at the non-converging series 1 – 1 + 1 – 1 + 1 – 1 + 1 … Let’s call its value (if we’re going to assign it a value) the value S for “sum”. You can group it with parentheses like this: (1 – 1) + (1 – 1) + (1 – 1) + (1 – 1) … and reduce it to 0 + 0 + 0 + 0 … = 0. Or you can group it with parentheses like this: 1 + (-1 + 1) + (-1 + 1) + (-1 + 1) = 1 + 0 + 0 + 0 + 0 + 0 … and then the 0 + 0 + 0 + 0 … part reduces down to 0, so that’s equal to 1 + 0 = 1. So if we group the parentheses one way, we find that S = 0. If we group them another way, we find that S = 1. So S = 0 and S = 1, therefore 0 = 1. And by adding 1 to both sides of that “equation” we see that 1 = 2, and so on.

                As explained in the 45-minute video I linked, you’re not allowed to assign a value to a non-converging series, and stuff like this is exactly why. You end up with mathematical nonsense if you follow it out to its logical conclusion, including the mathematically-nonsense conclusion that 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + … = -1/12.

                1. P.S. It’s true that if you throw away the rule that “non-converging series don’t have a sum”, then S = 1/2 is the best value to assign to the non-converging series 1 – 1 + 1 – 1 …, but the exact same logic leads to assignign -1/12 to the series 1 + 2 + 3 + 4…, and that should be a clue that you’ve done something wrong. Assigning sums to non-converging series gets you into a world of non-standard math, which is like non-Euclidean geometry. There’s some interesting conclusions you can draw, and things that are pretty self-consistent, but in the end it does end up with some nonsense results that mean it’s not actually correct.

                2. You do know that the “mathematical nonsense” conclusion has to be true or quantum mechanics doesn’t work, right? That was where the Numberphile video began. We’re pretty sure quantum mechanics works.

                  The dispute that Burkard Polster has with the Numberphile video is of the “stupid physicists don’t know how to do a proper proof” variety rather than a refutation of the result. He, in fact, confirms the result in the video you link to, after going through several more steps and defining some terms, like the meaning of equality in an infinite series, more precisely. He also talks about how changing the grouping of the terms in an infinite series can change the result, or maybe that was in a different video. Infinite series are weird and infinite series where the terms don’t converge to zero are even weirder.

                  Now I’m not a mathematician, or even a physicist. I’m just a computer programmer with delusions of adequacy. However, I understand that in addition to demonstrating that result using various gyrations to infinite series, you get the same result using the Riemann Zeta Function, and the whole Riemann Zeta Function thing was covered by Numberphile, Mathologer, and 3blue1brown so it seems to be on a fairly sound basis.

                  For the uninitiated, the Riemann Zeta Function is a complex function whose original definition only converges in the complex half-plane where Re(S)>1. However, you can use that definition to define a new function that gives a finite result in the entire complex plane, except where S=1. This new function is what is normally called “the Riemann Zeta Function” and is the basis for the Riemann Hypothesis (which is as yet unproven, but which seems likely to be true) which says that all of the zeroes of the Riemann Zeta Function lie on the line Re(S) = 0.5

                  Anyway, it turns out the terms of the infinite series 1+2+3+4+5…. is exactly what would be evaluated by the original iterative formula for the zeta function at S=-1 and what is normally called the Riemann Zeta Function evaluates to -1/12 at that point.

                  Sorry for the clumsy constructs. I understand the concepts well enough, but I can’t remember the wording that is normally used.

                  1. I watched the rest of the video after writing that comment about halfway through it, and yes, “totally wrong” was a little too harsh. I should have said something along the lines of “it’s wrong if you’re sticking by the rules of normal math, and only by breaking some of the rules can you get that result.” (As I mentioned in that PS). So it’s wrong to say that 1+2+3+4 = -1/12; rather, what they should have said is that in a different kind of math where you’re allowed to assign values to non-convergent series, that’s the number that would get assigned to that series. Kind of like how in non-Euclidean geometry, several of the normal rules don’t apply and you can have parallel lines that meet at exactly two points, or whatever… this is like “non-Euclidean math”. Where you can prove that 1+2+3+4 “equals” -1/12, and also that 0 “equals” 1. But you have to remember that you’ve broken some of the fundamental rules of normal math before you get to this point, and so you shouldn’t draw any inferences from those conclusions that would be valid in the normal realm.

                    I don’t know why quantum mechanics would depend on the 1+2+3+4+… = -1/12 equation, but if you’re saying that quantum mechanics depends on the Riemann zeta function, then sure, okay. A quick Wikipedia search convinced me that I’d have to study way more before I could understand more about the Casimir effect, but I did at least understand the part where the equation ends up with a term including ζ(-3), which “equals” 1/120 according to the analytic continuation of the zeta function. And when the very next line after substituting 1/120 for ζ(-3) is “The analytic continuation has evidently lost an additive positive infinity, somehow exactly accounting for the zero-point energy (not included above) outside the slot between the plates …”, well, the fact that you’ve ended up dropping an additive positive infinity from your function persuades me that it no longer describes anything in the physical realm, but rather something theoretical that corresponds to the physical realm as non-Euclidean geometry corresponds to Euclidean geometry: interestingly in theory, but not at all in practice. Which means that I remain somewhat skeptical of the analysis, because dropping a +∞ term, or subtracting infinity from your equation, strikes me as the kind of obviously-wrong step that invalidates anything that comes after it. If you arrive at a correct conclusion (that is, one that corresponds correctly to something measured in the physical world) after doing that, then you’ve managed to get the right answer by incorrect methods, and should go back and rethink your theory to find a better way to reach that conclusion without doing any obviously-incorrect steps. And if no way is known yet, then that just means that our understanding of quantum physics is still at the “epicycles” level, and we need the equivalent of Brahe and Kepler to figure out the elegant simplicity of the underlying equation that accounts for all those epicycles.

                    1. First off, according to that universally recognized font of absolute truth, Wikipedia, I misspoke. Quantum mechanics does not rely upon that result. String theory does, but whether or not string theory qualifies as anything scientific is subject to debate, so the strength of that part of my point is lessened.

                      However….when you say a “different kind of math where you’re allowed to assign values to non-convergent series” you’re overlooking something kind of important. That is, no infinite series has a value because it is not possible to calculate any value for a series that does not end. For convergent series, you use the same sort of dodge they use to determine the derivative of a function. You determine the limit of that function as the number of terms goes infinite. A limit is what a mathematician uses to calculate what the value of a function would be if you could calculate it at some place, but you can’t because it has no value there. A limit of a function as it’s argument approaches infinity is weirder than that because there is no such “there” as infinity, but the way it was described to me was an infinite limit was not viewed as being “close to infinity” but rather “far from zero.”

                      Anyway, once you accept taking the limit for a function as it’s argument approaches infinity as a stand in for it’s value, you can’t just turn around and say “this operation (taking a limit) is legitimate, but everything else isn’t.” That’s not how math works. Math works by defining new sets of rules and seeing where the implications of those new rules leads. Sometimes you get these awesomely useful results (complex numbers leap to mind and jump up and down waving their arms for attention) and sometimes you don’t (nearly all of the catalog of integer series.)

                      For what it’s worth, all of the “proofs” that 0 equals 1 that I’ve seen involve contradictions, most often division by zero. There is no such contradiction in calculating the sum of all integers and concluding that would be -1/12. Infinities are weird and have counterintuitive properties, this is one of them.

                      Anyway, I think I’ve said my peace.

          2. As I recall, that took hundreds of pages

            By carefully restricting things to integer-countable items, it should be obvious (I know, ‘obviousness” is a dangerous concept) that 1+1=2 or 2+2=4. There are fiddly ways to get exceptions, but those are fiddly.

            An example: 1 Liter of distilled water combined with 1 Liter of pure ethanol does NOT result in 2 Liters – for the liquids are miscible (“they dissolve in other, to put it crudely). Now, go by weight rather than volume and things make (simple) sense again.

            Addition of relativistic speeds…. well, did I mention fiddly?

            1. plays well playing gallons vs weight and density
              then again the highest density is their skulls.
              For real fun try explaining how 37 gallons of crude oil yields 42+ gallons of products to one of these numbskulls.

    2. As I recall, wasn’t he writing this when the progressives were doing their thing in Britain?

      I recall they showed up quite a bit in the Narnia books as well.

    3. But if you take an extreme outlier and declare it equal to the standard, you’ve invalidated the standard!

      Checkmate, Kipling!

    4. They are indeed that predictable. And the people who usually tsk-tsk about alleged anti-intellectualism on the right? Oddly silent on this. I mean, if *Trump* said this, they’d all become born-again mathematicians.

      1. Is it time for me to talk about about my intellectual journal to anti-intellectualism?

        Because it could be argued that I am both on the right and anti-intellectual. 🙂

          1. This joke is a littke too suble for me, but I repeat it for my betters: “I will not argue epistimology with you until you can prove you are arguing epistomology with me “

          2. See, Tom Kratman is someone I take as a sort of role model. Let’s say a mental role model, so that I can avoid using the most correct and accurate word.

            One day, many years ago on the Kratskeller, he explained that he was not an intellectual, because he thought the activity was profoundly constrained in its use, and an intellectual is someone who attaches excessive value to the activity.

  3. I think Pelosi-Roni has meet with Biden recently …

    Headlines –

    At Washington Examiner :
    Now that Pelosi wants to cancel the presidential debates, can we stop saying it’s just a right-wing meme?
    washingtonexaminer . com/opinion/nancy-pelosi-just-made-jerks-out-of-some-reporters-by-saying-the-presidential-debates-should-be-canceled

    Pelosi suggests Biden should let the press debate Trump
    washingtonexaminer . com/opinion/pelosi-suggests-biden-should-let-the-press-debate-trump

    At The Federalist:
    After Watching Three Days Of RNC, Pelosi Says Biden Should Stay In His Basement
    thefederalist . com/2020/08/27/nancy-pelosi-says-there-shouldnt-be-any-presidential-debates/

    PJ Media:
    Pelosi Comes to Slow Joe’s Rescue: ‘I Don’t Think There Should Be Any Debates’
    pjmedia . com/vodkapundit/2020/08/27/pelosi-comes-to-slow-joes-rescue-i-dont-think-there-should-be-any-debates-n854362

    ‘I Don’t Think There Should Be Any Debates:’ Nancy Pelosi Says Biden Should Not ‘Legitimize’ Trump
    nationalreview . com/news/i-dont-think-there-should-be-any-debates-nancy-pelosi-says-biden-should-not-legitimize-trump/

    They. Are. Scared.

    1. I love the return of 2016’s “it would legitimize Trump” line.

      He is the President. The argument that he is not legitimate is, to my ears, an admission (as if we needed another) they rejected the 2016 election.

      As they did the 2000 one and the 2004 one and will the 2020 one if he wins.

      The last Dem to actually concede on election night when the results were know was Michael Dukakis.

      1. What do I want? I want to live just long enough to see Biden and the down-ticket races devastated as a warning to the next ten generations that pandering to some special interest groups comes at too high a price. I want to look in their crying eyes and wave, like this. Can you and you associates arrange that for me, Mr. Trump?

          1. Londo’s character arc is one of my favorites in all of fiction, right up there with G’Kar’s.

            1. At the beginning G’Kar was just a tick away from becoming a very bad person. He ran on anger and desire for vengeance, and had just achieved enough personal power to turn his dreams into reality. Instead, he wound up as an itinerant philosopher…

              Londo was living the life of a modestly entitled functionary in a dying polity. He could have just rocked the playboy lifestyle and watched things slowly sink, but he wound up staking – and mostly losing – everything he had to try to hold off the end.

              Neither had a “road to Damascus” moment; their changes were the results of many small decisions, changing their courses over time.

              Londo: “Isn’t it strange, G’Kar? When we first met I had no power and all the choices I could ever want. And now I have all the power I could ever want and no choices at all. No choice at all.”

              G’Kar: G’Quon wrote, “There is a greater darkness than the one we fight. It is the darkness of the soul that has lost its way. The war we fight is not against powers and principalities; it is against chaos and despair. Greater than the death of flesh is the death of hope, the death of dreams. Against this peril we can never surrender. The future is all around us, waiting, in moments of transition, to be born in moments of revelation. No one knows the shape of that future or where it will take us. We know only that it is always born in pain.”

              1. I think Londo had a “road to Damascus” moment with the bombardment of Narn. That’s when he realized that he, and his nation, were going down the wrong path and started working to change it.

            1. Amazon Prime has all 5 seasons, the movies, and the pilot for the attempted series B5 The Lost tales available in their Prime videos

  4. Noticed this ‘cane was under pushed most of the time. Cat2, well it might make a Cat3 by landfall (this was yesterday AM when doing my early morn links) to Hey, it was a Cat4. That from the normally attempted panic inducing headline writers at Accuweather
    Didn’t look at whoever is Mayor of Grand Isle, and if they are as good as the old one (or if it is still the same guy), but they used to be a good read for how the storm was going to be.

    1. I went and looked. Same guy. a D with a bit of common sense . . . or was back when I lived in Louisiana. Something that tends to only happen at a local level The previous one wasn’t too bad either (can’t recall if a D or R).

      1. A chief executive, whatever the party, who cannot manage a hurricane is unlikely to last more than one term in Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina or North Carolina. It is of low probability in Virginia and Texas, but apparently it isn’t a big deal in New York.

    2. Generally storms that are intensifying as they near/make landfall are more destructive than ones that are weakening as they do so, in part because the winds at the lower jet level are more likely to be mixed down to the surface in an intensifying storm (intensifying storms also tend to have bigger storm surges than weakening storms at the same nominal intensity, in part due to dropping air pressure)

      1. Yeah.
        When I lived in NOLA and the Burbs thereabout, I was able to predict storm tracks better than the National, and most of the Local weathers. But back then getting all the weather info was easier. They hide it now (can’t have people knowing what is coming).
        It was like the NWS didn’t take Highs and Lows, and the younger weather guessers in NOLA just riffed the NWS

  5. Whatsoever, for any cause,
    Seeketh to take and give
    Power above and beyond the Laws—
    Suffer it not to live.
    Holy State—or Holy King—
    Or Holy People’s Will—
    Have no truck with the senseless thing.
    Order the guns and kill!

    (From “MacDonough’s Song”)

    1. Odd days…Fish is an open anarchist, but I have more kinship with her than much of the conservative movement, especially Conservative, Inc., the GOP, the Democrats, or the Libertarians.

      I am starting to think libertarians, in particular, are as bad as the normal “left” and “right”. They may be in quadrant II of the Pournelle chart, but damnit, they are blind believers in the power of human reason to remake human nature.

      Those of us in the unnamed and, politically, unloved Quandrant III, who reject faith in the state or reason to immanentize the eschaton, leaving it to never happening (the more atheist view) or to be the province of God, and just want to be left alone are odd bedfellows, but I’m happy with that crowd.

      1. Friend of mine calls herself “conservatarian”…that seems to fit what you describe. I’m with you in Quadrant III wanting to be left alone.

      2. Libertarians lost me sometime before the 2016 election. Some things we agree on, same as I agree on some things with conservatives. I just don’t trust politicians. No, I don’t mean politicians of this party or that, just politicians in general.

        I get proven right in my cynicism far too often to enjoy it when it comes to politicians.

          1. Brother, I live in a state that’s elected lyin b*stards *willingly* because they don’t want a good man to get stained by the office. Most folks in Appalachia believe that the government not just might but *will* lie to you, so they often play the dumb hick card to get away with staying free.

            There’s also the “one useless man is a disgrace, two are a law firm, and three or more is a Congress!” from a musical, I think it was. Politicians of both parties have attempted to plumb the depths of my already low expectations with distressing regularity. The never sleeping cupidity of such persons to “help” is more irritating to a man who just wants to be left alone to pursue liberty and happiness with harm toward none than anything that comes to mind presently.

            I was, and am, pleasantly surprised by Donald Trump. May there be many more like him. He was the wrong man for me, in the primary. Yet he did the right things, and continues to do so. The wrong man can do the right thing, and I will be thankful for it. If more politicians could learn that lesson, I might someday become more the optimistic person that has always only come with grim determination for me.

            Not that I expect it, of course. But a fellow can dream, right? *chuckle*

            1. Louisiana Bumper Sticker from the Republicans: “Vote For The Crook! It’s Important!”
              David Duke(R-for that election) v Edwin Edwards (D-Federal Pen). The Crook won, and got jailed for actions in office that term.

            2. There’s also the ‘one useless man is a disgrace, two are a law firm, and three or more is a Congress!’ from a musical, I think it was.

              That may be from a musical, but that musical drew many of its lines from the actual writings of the main characters. For example, John Adams did actually write that he was “obnoxious & disliked.”

      3. Once, in a conversation with a good friend of mine, I chose to describe my political beliefs. I largely failed, but I managed to convey that there is no good name for what I believe.

        1. Hence my “Third Quadrant” (not to be confused with “third way”).

          It stems from the Pournelle Chart:

          I try to get people who are using the Nolan Chart to embrace it instead.

          I call the low faith in the state, low faith in reason area “Third Quadrant” based on the quadrants in the coordinate plane of analytic geometry.

          I’m also finding as I age I identify with what Pournelle calls “classical anarchists” much more than libertarians, precisely for the faith in reason part.

          Note, the faith in reason is very much “faith in the ability of reason to solve the problems of human nature”. I do not think those problems are solvable, by reason any more than by the state.

          1. Belief in reason does not entail total commitment to the idea that reason can answer any question by deducing the answer from axioms, any more than disbelief in reason entails total rejection of addressing any issue rationally. There’s a lot of middle ground on both sides of the horizontal axis.

            I’ve always found Pournelle’s axes a bit odd. They give you communist anarchists at lower left, and communists and socialists at upper right, two groups usually called “leftist”; and they give you libertarians at upper left and (European-style) conservatives at lower right, two groups usually called “right-wing.” So I don’t see obvious predictive value for which groups will support which other groups. Unless you want to say that American conservatives are NOT at the lower right, because part of what they want to conserve is the Constitution . . .

            1. It’s mostly a way to describe tendencies without looking at behavior or “wings.”

              In real life, you could get self-described “libertarians” that are all in different quadrants.

            2. The positions come from using the Cartesian plane.

              Left/Right is a distinction whose origins are the end of the Ancien Regime in France. They are long due for a change and obfuscate more than not.

              Also, Pournelle admits he never got a good name for the vertical access. Clearly he did not object all use of reason. He was after a specific mindset that you saw in Marx and, yes, Rand about reason being the end all.

              Perhaps it should be the Spock-McCoy access.

              I have to check the Wikipedia chart, but Pournelle in his longer essay put, circa 1980, US conservatives at (1, -1), mildly supportive of the state and mildly suspicious of the belief in reason to solve all problems. He has US liberals (mainstream Dems of the time) at (1,1).

              No major US group is at the corners. That middle ground of the chart is where 90% of people lie.

              If we call the range -5 to +5 on both, I’d put myself at (-3, -3), which puts me well out of the mainstream.

              1. That still puts conservatives in the lower right quadrant, whereas libertarians are in the upper left quadrant.

                And while I agree that the left/right distinction has historical origins, nonetheless it’s an observable fact in American politics that conservatives and libertarians tend to agree on a lot of issues. And this goes back a long way; the opposition to forced sterilization, for example, came partly from religious believers (who would probably be considered conservative) and partly from strict constitutionalists (who were analogous to libertarians), and that was a century ago. Pournelle’s categories don’t seem to predict that those two groups would agree. So I’m not sure what their utility is in dealing with actual political culture, at least in the United States.

                1. Just because you are in different quadrants does not mean you can’t agree. Distance between points, not quadrant.

                  You could probably put US conservatives circa 2016 more at (-1, 0), putting them closer to libertarians and explaining that affiliation.

                  Also, when Pournelle wrote the chart, the Cold War had a unifying effect on Libertarians and Conservatives that has broken down since its end.

                  Also, specific points are less models for mass movements the curves enclosing areas would be. I suspect the libertarian and US conservative curves intersect at some point.

                  Finally, Pournelle’s goal was not a perfect model on given issues, but a map that put unique political groups in their own spaces. Unlike the Nolan chart, which winds up with Fascists and Marxists on top of each other, despite being different movements in key ways (despite being identical in murderousness and opposition to freedom), the Pournelle chart achieves that.

                  Issues may make strange bedfellows, explaining why hippies, hard core quadrant III, voted Democrat through the 60s and 70s. When immediate issues broke down between the two, so did the voting of much of the Counter Culture, which went apolitical to a large degree with a residumum of Democrat voting.

                  1. My concern is not so much whether the model says that two groups can’t agree, as whether it plausibly predicts that they will agree. In Pournelle’s model, American groups in upper left and lower right seem to agree, and so do groups in lower left and upper right, even though in both cases their tendencies are in opposite directions. And there doesn’t seem to be any explanation for why this should happen. I don’t just want a model that isn’t provably wrong; I want one that actually gives me greater understanding.

                    My own assumption is that there is an ideologically unified and conformist left wing, with what political scientists call “constraint.” And there are a bunch of disparate groups that disagree with them: fascists, racists, nationalists, king/church/army conservative, constitutionalist conservatives, libertarians. And the left wing call everyone they disagree with “right wing” and accuse any one group of being equivalent to any other group, treating all they have to say against the left as the expression of a unified philosophy, as if the right wing were the “Evil League of Evil.”

                    1. It’s not a good model for alliances, no; it’s looking more at motivations/values.

                      I don’t find it especially useful outside of classification by a single person to figure out relative locations.

                      Of course, the left/right thing could have the same problem for figuring out disagreement… could fix it by adding a vertical modifier for “violently opposed” vs “apathetic” on there, and it would be closer. Theory being that if you’re in adjacent squares, you may ally.
                      “Libertarian” would still be all over the chart, but you’d be able to identify, say, those whose opposition to religiously based principles will over-ride their philosophical positive positions (free association and non-aggression, for example, were over-ruled last time by the big-Ls because icky SoCons need to be punished) and those who don’t give a fig, you agree on this issue, let’s work together.

    2. Oh, my, yes. Just what I was thinking.


      All we have of freedom, all we use or know—
      This our fathers bought for us long and long ago.

      Ancient Right unnoticed as the breath we draw—
      Leave to live by no man’s leave, underneath the Law.

      Lance and torch and tumult, steel and grey-goose wing
      Wrenched it, inch and ell and all, slowly from the King.

      Till our fathers ‘stablished, after bloody years,
      How our King is one with us, first among his peers.

      So they bought us freedom—not at little cost
      Wherefore must we watch the King, lest our gain be lost,

      Over all things certain, this is sure indeed,
      Suffer not the old King: for we know the breed.

      Give no ear to bondsmen bidding us endure.
      Whining “He is weak and far”; crying “Time shall cure.”,

      (Time himself is witness, till the battle joins,
      Deeper strikes the rottenness in the people’s loins.)

      Give no heed to bondsmen masking war with peace.
      Suffer not the old King here or overseas.

      They that beg us barter—wait his yielding mood—
      Pledge the years we hold in trust—pawn our brother’s blood—

      Howso’ great their clamour, whatsoe’er their claim,
      Suffer not the old King under any name!

      Here is naught unproven—here is naught to learn.
      It is written what shall fall if the King return.

      He shall mark our goings, question whence we came,
      Set his guards about us, as in Freedom’s name.

      He shall take a tribute, toll of all our ware;
      He shall change our gold for arms—arms we may not bear.

      He shall break his judges if they cross his word;
      He shall rule above the Law calling on the Lord.

      He shall peep and mutter; and the night shall bring
      Watchers ‘neath our window, lest we mock the King—

      Hate and all division; hosts of hurrying spies;
      Money poured in secret, carrion breeding flies.

      Strangers of his counsel, hirelings of his pay,
      These shall deal our Justice: sell—deny—delay.

      We shall drink dishonour, we shall eat abuse
      For the Land we look to—for the Tongue we use.

      We shall take our station, dirt beneath his feet,
      While his hired captains jeer us in the street.

      Cruel in the shadow, crafty in the sun,
      Far beyond his borders shall his teachings run.

      Sloven, sullen, savage, secret, uncontrolled,
      Laying on a new land evil of the old—

      Long-forgotten bondage, dwarfing heart and brain—
      All our fathers died to loose he shall bind again.

      Here is naught at venture, random nor untrue—
      Swings the wheel full-circle, brims the cup anew.

      Here is naught unproven, here is nothing hid:
      Step for step and word for word—so the old Kings did!

      Step by step, and word by word: who is ruled may read.
      Suffer not the old Kings: for we know the breed—

      All the right they promise—all the wrong they bring.
      Stewards of the Judgment, suffer not this King!

  6. >> “And I’m out of guest posts.”

    Yeah, sorry about that. I was planning to do another LP Promo post focusing on Interactive Fiction (text-only games), but despite many such games being played at Something Awful it seems hardly any of them got put in the free database. And there aren’t any other sites I know of that package finished LPs in such a convenient way.

    It’s probably still worth doing, though. Not only because it might be of interest to the more traditional readers here but because people make money at it (no programming/art/musical skills needed) and I thought some of the writers here might find it useful to know about. It’s just that there’ll only be 2 or 3 actual reading recommendations instead of the longer list I had last time.

    But while looking for material I had another idea. There’s one game in particular that I think some of the brainiacs here would appreciate and it occurred to me to try LPing it for you guys. It’s text only (no images for you to deal with) and short enough that we could probably finish in a few days (before the post rolls off your “THE WEEK IN POSTS” list). You’d just put up the guest post and I’d handle everything from there. Interested?

    1. The best Interactive Fiction LPs are by Club Floyd:


      They do a game with a chatroom running where they can discuss it and suggest what to do, and their transcripts have the game text (commands and responses) on the left and a chatroom transcript on the right (synced up to the game text so that it’s clear what was said when). So you can either just scan down the left column and read the game as they played it, or look at both columns to see their discussion and the game at the same time.

      There’s so much there, I don’t have a clue where to start recommending things: I used to play IF, but when I decided I had to give up computer games because I was getting too addicted to them, that unfortunately included interactive fiction (which is just as addictive to me as other computer games are). So I haven’t played any IF for a decade and I don’t know which games are good and worth reading and which are totally skippable. Therefore, if you want to recommend some IF LPs from among the Club Floyd list, that would be of great interest to me at least.

      1. I didn’t know about Club Floyd. Thanks for the head up! However, having taken a look at it I find I much prefer SA’s format.

        As for recommendations, the one game they have that I know is worth looking at is the same one I just offered to LP here. Sarah hasn’t said whether she’s cool with that yet, but if she is I don’t want to lead anyone to another LP of it beforehand. It’s a game built around experimentation and discovery and spoilers will wreck it.

  7. and Two and Two make Four

    And here in 2020 our “betters” have a whole wing arguing this is social construct.

    Indeed the Gods of the Copybook Headings are about to return.

    1. Meh – Gravity is obviously a Social Construct; that’s why it is called The Law of Gravity.

      All good post-modernists will demonstrate this by stepping off a (very tall) cliff and proving their faith in the falsity of social constructs. Only those whose faith is insufficient need fear falling.

  8. Has anyone considered that in calling the directive to stand 6 ft apart “social” distancing, instead of physical distancing, they were admitting their goal/rubbing our face in their goal.

    There is no reason that should be called social distancing, but the real damage they have done has been to social bonding.

    1. When you get your character card and the alignment says “Chaotic Evil” with a minor in “Leftism” you get an automatic +25 to weasel words. Twisting words -especially other peoples is a primary skill.

    2. I saw those clips of CNN anchors* and “Anal-ists” fretting over the lack of socialist distancing at Trump events and couldn’t help but think about how those [people] would laugh about the deaths of those deplorable conservatives.

  9. Glenn Reynolds wrote something the other day that I find succinct and profound, “The whole point of leftist politics is to give people an excuse to feel good about being mean.” I may have to make a mural.

  10. So how are ya’ll liking this Carboniferous Epoch thing they got going on now? Weather is pretty good but the political yo yo’s are some of the worst we’ve had since the gilded age.

  11. What do you get when you have two physicians fighting over two ten cent pieces?

    A paradocs contending with a paradimes

  12. The Gods of the Copybook Headings are going to get a lot blood in the coming months I’m afraid. I know that most cities won’t escape, but I think that the blue cities, as they are already demonstrating, will bear the brunt of it. And while I can appreciate the karma for those government official types in those cities, I worry about the ordinary folk. And I worry about how long it will take to get those cities back in working order. Detroit is still a hell hole for the most part. It won’t take much for NYC, SF, Seattle, Portland, DC, and Philly to hit that same end. I’ve watched Philly claw its way into a fun and cool place to live with a thriving small business environment and growing restaurants and small shops. It was starting when we moved here in 2003. But that 17 years of hard work has been almost completely destroyed in the last 4 months.

    At the same time I’m hopeful because we as a people are resilient and while it may get bleak for a while I have faith that we will rebound.

    1. I have conflicting feelings about that. C and I got out of California just in time to avoid having my work taken away from me by AB5 (Kansas doesn’t put barriers in the way of freelance work). And on one hand I have to feel that Californians ought to suffer the painful consequences of bad policies and of electing Democrats who support them, to make them an example of destructive governmental excess. But on the other it was my home state and I was happy living there for many years; and I have friends who live there, and I’m sorry to see their lives made hard by the bad policies so many of them supported. But I think in the last analysis shielding people from such consequences makes it less likely that they’ll learn anything from them.

      But when you come right down to it, I think C and I uprooted ourselves just in time.

      1. I grew up in San Diego area (La Jolla) and consider that to be my hometown and CA to be my home state. About 90% of our combined families live in northern CA. We have so many friends still living there and I worry all the time for them.

        Hubby applied to two jobs in the San Diego county area because he knows how much I’ve missed living there. But the more time goes by, the more I realize that moving back is not an option. I’m going to get my SoCal beach time for two weeks a year in an AirBnB…

        1. Many local governments have banned AirBnB, and the Leftoids in SacraDemento are trying to ban it statewide. There is a proposition on this year’s ballot to repeal the ban on Uber and Lyft.

        2. We lived in San Diego until 2016, when we moved to Riverside. But we aren’t going back. When we crossed the Colorado River I felt as if it were the Red Sea . . .

    2. … 17 years of hard work has been almost completely destroyed in the last 4 months.

      The important thing is we know it can be done. We know, for example, that New York City is not ungovernable except that those in charge lack the will to govern. We have the knowledge, we have the tools, we have the understanding but do we have the will? The answer to poor governing is to govern better, not to stop governing.

      That was, at root, the theme of the Republican convention these last four days.

  13. “I hear these guys are riding today… and it’s like only we can see them:”

    I skipped the work I had planned for today. Didn’t feel like it, for I see terror and slaughter approaching.

  14. I was thinking about the Carolingian Renaissance, and Alfred the Great. Alfred is one of my personal heroes. He wasn’t supposed to be king (he was the spare, spare, spare heir). He had a chronic medical problem that flared up under stress (possibly Crohn’s Disease). He lost almost everything and had to hide in a swamp. He also re-ignited education in England, founded the Royal Navy, regained his kingdom, fought the Vikings to a truce, translated Latin philosophy into Anglo-Saxon with his own observations and commentaries, re-organized the defense of England for faster local response and supply, and died in his bed. He wasn’t a saint, he had lots of flaws, but he never, ever quit. He wanted Rome, and dang it, he was going to claw Rome out of the wilderness and restore the glory.

    Chesterton’s long poem “The Ballad of the White Horse” is about him. I like it, but I like the history better.

    1. The gates of heaven are lightly locked,
      We do not guard our gold,
      Men may uproot where worlds begin,
      Or read the name of the nameless sin;
      But if he fail or if he win
      To no good man is told. The men of the East may spell the stars,
      And times and triumphs mark,
      But the men signed of the cross of Christ
      Go gaily in the dark. . .

      The wise men know what wicked things
      Are written on the sky,
      They trim sad lamps, they touch sad strings,
      Hearing the heavy purple wings,
      Where the forgotten seraph kings
      Still plot how God shall die. . .

      But you and all the kind of Christ
      Are ignorant and brave,
      And you have wars you hardly win
      And souls you hardly save.

      I tell you naught for your comfort,
      Yea, naught for your desire,
      Save that the sky grows darker yet
      And the sea rises higher.

      Night shall be thrice night over you,
      And heaven an iron cope.
      Do you have joy without a cause,
      Yea, faith without a hope?

      1. (of the left)

        “They shall not come with warships,
        They shall not waste with brands,
        But books be all their eating,
        And ink be on their hands.

        “Not with the humour of hunters
        Or savage skill in war,
        But ordering all things with dead words,
        Strings shall they make of beasts and birds,
        And wheels of wind and star.

        “They shall come mild as monkish clerks,
        With many a scroll and pen;
        And backward shall ye turn and gaze,
        Desiring one of Alfred’s days,
        When pagans still were men.

        “By this sign you shall know them,
        The breaking of the sword,
        And man no more a free knight,
        That loves or hates his lord.

        “Yea, this shall be the sign of them,
        The sign of the dying fire;
        And Man made like a half-wit,
        That knows not of his sire.

        “What though they come with scroll and pen,
        And grave as a shaven clerk,
        By this sign you shall know them,
        That they ruin and make dark;

        “By all men bond to Nothing,
        Being slaves without a lord,
        By one blind idiot world obeyed,
        Too blind to be abhorred;

        “By terror and the cruel tales
        Of curse in bone and kin,
        By weird and weakness winning,
        Accursed from the beginning,
        By detail of the sinning,
        And denial of the sin;

        “By thought a crawling ruin,
        By life a leaping mire,
        By a broken heart in the breast of the world,
        And the end of the world’s desire;

        “By God and man dishonoured,
        By death and life made vain,
        Know ye the old barbarian,
        The barbarian come again—

        Let us be thankful to and for GKC.

      2. One of my favorites. Along with this:

        “His harp was carved and cunning,
        His sword prompt and sharp,
        And he was gay when he held the sword,
        Sad when he held the harp.

        For the great Gaels of Ireland
        Are the men that God made mad,
        For all their wars are merry,
        And all their songs are sad.”

      3. Thank you, Sarah, njc and snelson134. I’ve been focusing too much lately on “the sky grows darker yet and the sea rises higher.” And not enough on Him, “the men signed of the cross of Christ go gaily in the dark.”

        Put off work again today. Need to go gaily in the dark.

        1. Yeah. I love that bit of the poem. And it runs through my mind a lot.
          As RES put it, we’re not from here. We’re not staying here. While what we do here is important, it’s just a way station.
          Gaily into the dark we go.

        2. ….Yeah, me too. I try to remember to keep going to “joy without a cause, yea, faith without a hope,” but it’s really easy to focus on “yep, this is going to be miserable” and if anything feel guilty for not being cheerful about it.

    2. I wish I were a jelly fish
      That cannot fall downstairs:
      Of all the things I wish to wish,
      I wish I were a jelly fish
      That hasn’t any cares,
      And doesn’t even have to wish
      “I wish I were a jelly fish
      That cannot fall downstairs.

      I do love a triolet.

  15. I went into SF today.

    10 AM in the Financial District should have sidewalks full of people and streets full of cars. There was nothing there. There were more homeless than “ordinary” people out.

    Most places that weren’t an immediate service (groceries, food, coffee, etc, etc, etc) were closed and shuttered. Permanent-seeming, long-term homeless encampments pretty much anywhere South of Market.

    On the drive home up 80, permanent encampments and parked RVs anywhere that they can be put.

    I miss San Francisco and it depresses me to see how the city has fallen.

    Take a mulligan day, Sarah. God knows we all need one.

  16. More Leslie Fish, very appropriate for the day when “The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return!”

    And something I needed to hear right about now. Part of me just wishes the day would get here and we could separate the wheat and the chaff. Sure, I fear I’ll wind up being chaff, but better to know and have the waiting over no matter which side, wheat/chaff, live/dead, hero/outlaw, I wind up on.

    1. Somehow the line of it all that hits me hardest is in this bit…

      A smack and cocaine pusher
      Handed us his whole supply.
      The quality was lousy,
      But a few more didn’t die.

      Not sure if that indicates anything… good or bad or other.

      1. I would suggest it indicates you have internalized that sometimes you made choices in a fallen world to keep it working that you normally wouldn’t make.

  17. Heard a new ad today, the Dem who’s trying to replace Ernst — the selling point was she will work with Trump.

    Talk about someone being pretty sure 1) she can’t win without Trump voters, and 2) Trump will be there.

    1. Watching some of last night’s convention coverage on Fox I spotted two commercials attacking Sen. Mitch McConnell as ‘Swamp Turtle’, a swamp creature, abused by Trump. I hit the pause on the second commercial to confirm it was Democrat Amy McGrath, displaying the tact and sensitivity for which fighter pilots are known.

      I don’t think she’s running a strong campaign but I bet she’s raking in lots of Coastal money for the campaign.

  18. Well.
    In other news, the CDC has issued instructions on avoiding violence in the market… little things like, don’t try to force your customers to put on masks in your stores. There must be a LOT of, ahem, “incidents,” out there.

    1. Sometimes, yes. Mostly, no. The trick is to be as polite as possible, to accept claims of medical reasons with swift acquiescence, and to mind one’s own business as much as one can.

      That said, it’s easier for stores to bend for their customers if customers don’t get too sporty. Right up to the line of sportiness is okay, and maybe even appreciated.

      That said, Sams Club decided that they’d hire security contractors, just to stand around at the entrance door and discourage disgruntlement. And it’s working well, mostly because it makes things so boring that it looks silly to have a uniformed security guard standing at the door hanging out with the greeter.

      1. Some of the shops here say if you can’t wear a cover, they’ll do curbside service. Since it’s Oregon Gov Edict, it’s hard to jawbone around it. OTOH, some people enter masked,but then it slips.(raises hand).

        It’s more sheeplike in Medford than over here east of the Cascades, but Kate is more thoroughly despised here than westside. Sofar.

        1. both sides of the river are now “Masks in Public Spaces” but really just indoors and I’ve dealt with the local police (Wisconsin side), who were not masked (one was appreciative when I had my own pen to sign the warning (oops 42 in a 25 where I thought it was 35, nor that I was going that fast)

        2. Protip for Wal-mart shoppers: before I started wearing my plague doctor mask I was able to go in and out through their automotive center without being bothered about it. That entrance wasn’t guarded by Karens and no-one gave me any grief once I was inside.

          Just be aware that they lock the door after the automotive center closes, so make sure you’re out by then or you’ll have to leave the normal way and walk around the building to get to your car.

    2. I just got back from some lab tests. Now, the lab I go is well known for the bitchiness of its staff but when I was told today that I was “too close, move back” — no please — I walked to the other side of the room and shouted my information at her.

      I used to have a filter. No more.

  19. Actual CNN chyron:




    The Onion could…

    The even. I just can’t.

    1. So, aside from all the vandalism, looting, arson, beatings, shootings and mob violence, the protests were mostly peaceful. That’s sooo reassuring.

    2. Wait! I’ve got it!


      August 27, 2020

      Humor Websites File Suit

      Today it was announced that the satirical news websites The Onion and The Babylon Bee are filing a lawsuit against CNN. The suit alleges infringement, restraint of trade and plagiarism.

      “What do they think they’re trying over there?” a spokesman for The Onion was quoted as saying. “They changed a chyron in REAL TIME to remove the word ‘violent’ to describe protests. As if people wouldn’t notice it happen. That kind of preposterous statement is our bread and butter here. They’re taking food from our tables by pulling a stunt like this.”

      A lawyer representing The Babylon Bee in the suit added “Today they had a banner at the bottom of the screen reading ‘Fiery But Peaceful Protests’. I’m not joking: ‘Fiery But Peaceful Protests’. This is clearly taking the parody form my clients are well known for and simply pasting it on their second-rate television channel.”

      While the monetary demands of the suit are still being determined, the two sites will be seeking punitive as well as compensatory damages.

      [Poe notification.

      Not real.

      But it should be.

      (Side note: I still got it.)]

    3. On the bright side, a search engine on “Fiery but mostly peaceful” will turn up a lot of news articles about how they did this dumb thing.

  20. ah, yes, the anthem.

    Odd. Was a time when someone would post it in the comments once or twice a month. . .

  21. “The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return!”

    And the Americans said “We done told you once, you son of a bitch, we’re the best that’s ever been.”

  22. I remember her hearing a speech by David Brin where he suggested as the first American ehips to enter the China trade sailed away the Chinese cursed them with, “May you live in interesting times!”
    And the Ameicans called back, “Why, thank you!”

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