And Now For Something Completely Different

Yesterday something made me look for #1 son post on cons.

Maybe because I’ve been editing the last two of Kate Paulk’s con stories (and yes, begging her to finish the next) this struck me as immensely funny.

One of the things that really got to me, besides the fact that he and Kate both decided G-d attends cons as a writer, is the fact that my son in 2008 (before Denvention, btw) thought that writers’ cons were the same as science fiction cons. This makes perfect sense if you think about it from a writer’s child point of view. I.e. when he attended the conventions, as a young child, he wasn’t doing what kids his age do: running around in packs of fans, focusing on his fandom, and having fun.

Because when we started taking him to cons he was seven and already intending to write stories and get them accepted (even if not for a living) he attended as a writer. His brother, who was 3 OTOH ran away to train with the Klingons (they promised not to eat him!) and generally has looked at cons as a fan and had fun, while #1 son was going to dinner with bestsellers and editors, and learning.

So to him, science fiction cons were writer cons, and he had no clue that writer cons are far more serious and incredibly snooty (and usually more main-streamy.)

BTW, everyone coming to the conclusion G-d is an author. This is a peculiar thing. Mostly, people think of G-d as what they are. I think the whole formed of clay thing has to do with that was something most households did, for “disposable” pots, so everyone knew the process, for instance. I guess none of us can think in four dimensions, so we do the best we can.

BTW this amused me immensely. Particularly asking an angel for McGyvering material. I have to admit that particularly 2020 and 2021 have all the signs of a writer reaching terminal stages of deadline insanity.


Eventually, almost every writer comes to the conclusion that G*d is an author. It makes some sense, when one considers the nearly soap-opera-like setting many people, especially authors, seem to live in. Since the plot is moved along by the problems that the characters encounter and face, and humans in general come to a unanimous consensus that there are way too many problems around, we can make the safe extrapolation that whatever celestial plot we are taking part in is zooming along at a merry click.
And then it occurred to me that we are always assured that said plot is not going to go wrong. Most plotters can immediately see the problem, because no matter how carefully you plot it, stories come out the way you were expecting only if you were very lucky. And one could probably assume that, if we are to believe G*d can make the proverbial kidney stone even He can’t pass, in the form of free will and such, then by logical dictate we can assume that the universe could well be a technically demanding job even for the omnipotent. If you plotted it out ahead of time, when all you can do in the end is manipulate the circumstances around the characters and let them be themselves, the chance you’d end up where you were going would be infinitesimal. Given the assumption that you could see the future, you’d still be seeing all possible futures when the actions of the subjects were variable. This, I thought, presented a quandary, and I was not about to settle for the typical “C’est la vie” theological answer of its being a “mystery”. 

And then, as I was watching McGyver, suddenly the mystery was solved. McGyver said that he didn’t plan things out in advance, because plans could go wrong… the very problem I had been pondering. Would it not be possible, then, that G*d solved the problem the same way McGyver does? I do not mean that on some higher plane, G*d is sitting there looking at earth and telling an angel “I need a paperclip, some bubblegum, and a fourth dimensional divine sphere”, but certainly a plan that you make up as you go along cannot go wrong. After all, if you aren’t certain what you are supposed to do next, then it’s hard for you not to do it according to plan; there isn’t a plan until you make one up, and then, of course, your actions in doing so almost necessarily assume you are going according to plan. Especially if we think of the universe as being, in a sense, a tremendous, complex game of solitaire, it’s impossible to know what cards are coming, but the skillful player excels in dealing with the cards as they come.
End conclusion? Our Author, who art in heaven, is in all likelihood a Pantser. He has a divine plan for you, certainly, but He might not know what it is yet. I was actually somewhat relieved upon coming to this conclusion, since it meant that the universe may be screwed up at times, but, if you take the long view, it’s awfully hard for it to go astray. Unfortunately, we probably ought to worry that, in the long view, history is also inexorably a story like “The Moon is a Harsh Mistress”, and not like “Pride and Prejudice”, which would be a wonderful thing if not for the fact that we are the characters, and so ineffability is weighted towards our living in interesting times. Any historian can easily confirm that history is very rarely boring, and in fact has more sex and violence then a Brazilian soap opera. 


And this bit, honest, I swear I WAS at that dinner, before Draw One In The Dark was bought.


It was while contemplating this train of thought that it occurred to me that most writers eventually go to a writer’s convention. Since Gd is reputed to be everywhere at once, we can probably assume that transportation would not be a problem in His case. Granted, your standard writer goes to a convention to network, maybe pick up some pointers on writing, although it is not unusual for them to go just because they want to have a good time and see some old friends. In most cases, Gd probably wouldn’t find that necessary. He already has the ultimate network, for starters, and I wouldn’t imagine He needs many pointers. But let’s face it… what’s the point of making a world if you can’t play in it occasionally? Most writer’s conventions are a lot of fun, even if they’re nerve wracking and even if you do go for business.

So, next time you look around a convention, be on the lookout. Don’t worry if other conventions are going on at the same time, He’s probably attending both if He’s going at all. He’ll be the quirky bestseller who you can never quite remember the nametag of, although you’ll come away with the strange impression it said “Mr. Jaho Vah”, and subsequently determine He was Swedish on this basis (speculation as to Gd’s nationality ends there, although it might explain a lot if He eventually turned out to be American. I will say, however, that although it’s a lovely country, Gd is almost certainly not Canadian.). He’ll be the largish man who sits at the back of the inevitable “How to Build Convincing Worlds” panel, giggling occasionally in a strangely unnerving way. He may, perhaps, express slight disappointment with the angel food cake in the hospitality suite, and is adamantly certain He can do it better. He will know all the secret parties and show absolutely no problems with staying up all night during the convention. He will know all the editors and agents, perhaps hinting incredibly subtly at some shady events in their past that no one could possibly know about during casual conversation, until eventually they include Him in the dinner party out of self-defense. You can spot instantly whether you have also been included in this dinner party, because one member will order the fish and be very fond of the dinner rolls (if the restaurant did not serve either of these prior to your party’s arrival, this is another dead giveaway), and no matter how little of either you originally had you will need several doggy bags for what’s left over. Writers in attendance who have previously had careers that dropped dead will miraculously see them revived, and people who were previously condemned to the slush pile with good reason shall be healed.


And before this one, I must say that the only filker son knew was someone who used to babysit for us and inflict her singing on the boys, so he thought everyone was like that, which kind of explains this part. NO real filkers were harmed in the writing of this post.

This, however, raises an uncomfortable possibility that there will also be demonic intervention. It is well known that the darker side of the occult attempts to thwart all things that the almighty does, which may well include taking a vacation. This is why preparation is of the essence. Firstly, be aware of evil forces when you see them. Keep in mind that small press editors, animé fanatics and filkers rarely invade cons en mass or travel in groups. Perhaps mischievous little tricks like the guest of honor being unable to get a badge will give it away, or if nothing else, loud groups of people who manifest outside your door at three AM to torment the three hours you have allotted for sleep.

If demonic forces do invade the conference you are at, it is important to keep in mind the con-goers basic handbook for occult defense and survival, which I will include some excerpts from.


1: The basic field kit for a con-goer should consist of at least one standard bell, one book, and one candle (Your standard issue BBC. It is very rare that you will be able to see Monty python on this kit, however.) The bell can be of any description the user wishes, although a shop bell is not recommended unless one is fighting demonic influence in the dealer’s room. Religious books are preferred, although in most cases a Heinlein book or in a pinch even something by J.K. or J.R.R. can be used by a true believer. Care should be taken with pronunciation in versions of the bible written in the original Klingon, and throat lozenges are recommended. Sadly, Manga has not shown a great deal of potency although ones with higher age ratings may be used to amuse demons with short attention spans while you run away. For the candle, use your own discretion. Something suitably impressive is usually available in the dealer’s room. Flame throwers are effective, but you shall have to convince con authorities they do not work and put a big orange tag on them. NOTE: You should not include garlic, protective herbs, or silver bullets. In the first two cases because they have absolutely no effect on the forces of darkness, and the best usefulness you can expect out of them is they may be used to flavor you. Silver bullets would only be effective against werewolf demons, which are, unfortunately, a completely unconfirmed species. If you do choose any of the above, you should take the precaution of wearing a large, noticeable protective amulet. Not that this will do you any good, but it will make IDing your remains simpler.

2: Stay away from Foci of evil. If you feel an irresistible urge to go watch the filking hour, take a few deep breaths, and look up train wrecks on YouTube. You will receive the same perverse satisfaction, but with less danger.

  1. Know your way around the con hotel. Because nobody needs to run into the middle of the J.K. vs. J.R.R. pajama challenge panel when they’re looking for the exit.

4.No matter how great the urge, do not attempt anything you saw on Buffy the Vampire slayer on actual demons. You should not take advice on fighting the forces of darkness from a girl who apparently went to the afterlife primarily to unwind in between huge climactic battles.

5.Avoid being badly plotted. Most writers know exactly what I mean. Do not do anything that you would not write a character doing because it would be obviously stupid. Do not under any circumstances become the best friend of anyone, since there are fifty-fifty odds that you will die in a crucial battle with the con-demons if you do. Do not develop a love interest, and if you start to, find the section of the hotel which still has cold running water and use it.

And finally:

  1. Do not do something to annoy someone who can crush your career like a bug on a semi truck’s windshield. Because the prospect of being out of work in this business is probably worse than facing Satan himself. You are planning to survive, so be as plastically jovial as you usually are with people you don’t like and who have power over you, so that they remember how nice you were even in a crisis. Certain editors and bestsellers are probably at least as powerful as G*d, so even if you run into Him, do not bet you are saved.

Above all, remember that if you do run into the almighty, the little touches make the difference. For Catholics, a cross in your Starfleet insignia may garner some favor, for Jews, perhaps a nice yarmulke with Klingon sayings. Since writers tend to work on a “share and share alike” system, and helping newbies is common, you could get some sympathy from our Heavenly Author and become one of the few writers who actually appears to have G*d on their side.


And while on that, might I say I miss the fun of conventions. That had palled for me long before 2020, mind. Heck before 2015.

Conventions used to be a mix of fun and terror, as I was always afraid I’d say the wrong thing and unwittingly reveal my political bend. Which would be the end of my career. (Was in fact, when I got tired of it.) But they were still fun, and we used to meet all our friends. The picture above is of me and Dave Freer when we first met in the flesh…. 15 (?) years ago. (People who wouldn’t now want to be associated with us were cut out of the picture since this is my blog.)

I miss that part. And look, it’s not just the fact the cons have gone politically insane that made it bad. To an extent they always were, the masks just fell off. It’s the fact that the cons have gone irrelevant. (Which in turn allowed them to become politically insane.)

What the fans always saw was the fun, the camaraderie with similar weirdos. For the pros it was work time and we knew if we came in twenty years ago that the market was corrupt and the industry insane. (Honestly, only the darlings didn’t see it, and mostly they pretended because it favored them.)

But the pros continued attending, because that’s how you met editors. And fans attended because that’s how you met pros. And–

Well, most of that happens on line now, and frankly publishers are becoming largely irrelevant.

So I do one con, and that’s Liberty con, and it allows me to meet my fans in person. (Yes, this year too. They’ve assured me that a face shield or half a face shield is all right, and LC has been very good to me, so I try to return. If you guys decide not to do it because restrictions make it non-fun, I get it and I don’t judge. Honestly, the fact we have to drive, because planes don’t allow face shields, is almost a deal breaker. Except, you know, we have to do a cannonball run cross country around that time, to see FIL. G-d willing, anyway, we’ll be a little closer so it’s not a grueling effort. We’ll see.)

And mind you, I love my fans. But there is a certain nostalgia for the insanity of the big cons, while not missing the bad sides.

There is a certain nostalgia for a time when SF/F pretended to be collegial, even if those of us on the right knew very well to keep our mouths shut.

But in this, as in everything else, there is no going back. There is only a going forward and keeping our minds and hearts engaged to create the new awesome.

Let’s forge new cons and new gatherings where the fun flows, and indie writers get to promote without having to fear ending their career by a single, ill-considered remark.

The future waits. And it’s ours to build.

185 thoughts on “And Now For Something Completely Different

  1. I’ve still managed to have a good time at conventions, but I have very little at stake. I don’t have a career worth torpedoing, nor am I the type to get into politics beyond a discreet eye-roll. It probably doesn’t hurt that I’m more interested in the creative track things, such as the costuming, the art, and, yes, the filking. (The 2018 Worldcon had Spider Robinson as GoH, so I took part in the Tall Tales competition and won—with true stories! There’s nothing that said they couldn’t be true…)

  2. I have this strangest idea that G*d was hanging around ConVent (the con in Kate’s book). 😉

  3. I’ve been thinking something along those same lines about God for awhile now. Of course, when you’re a parent, you can see how God is THE parent…when you’re an artist, you see God as THE artist…when you’re a writer you see God as THE writer…! And I do like how modern technology allows us all the freedom to be exploring different ways of connecting and building new things.

    1. Rather interesting that the Tech Lords wonder if He’s the programmer & we’re all computer constructs, and that they take the concept seriously enough to pay others big bucks to explore the possibility.

      01010011 01101001 01100111 01101000 00101110

      1. Hmm, G*d as Coder. Certainly it feels that way some days. DNA is the classic case, The old statement is that human and a watermelon share what 90% DNA? That is some awesome code reuse. On top of that there was a while we thought there was lots of “junk” DNA in our Genome. Any coder knows about abandoned obsolete code. But come to find out its NOT junk, all that stuff does something with lots of obscure conditions turning it on. And of course the DNA is self modifying code. I’ve written self modifying assembler (under duress, there was a space constraint) and self modifying Lisp (for a class in college, the intent was to self modify, it was a requirement of the project likely inserted to teach you how tricky/dangerous it was). And self modifying stuff is mind bending (and a nightmare to maintain/debug). The Coder in Chief seems to have no issue with it, that takes Infinite Capacity. Of course no Matter what we view the Creator as we’re wrong. How can the finite constrain/comprehend the infinite?

        1. One of the most important paradox is:
          The finite can understand the infinite.
          The finite cannot understand the infinite.
          Both “halves” of this paradox are 100% true at the same time.

          It helps if your mind has been stretched by “trying” to understand quantum mechanics and how the “simple” electron is 100% particle and 100% wave at the same time. Or stretched by understanding that Jesus is 100% God, and 100% man, not 50/50.

          I know God is a good writer. When I listen to Him, and write His words, they are better than anything I can write (paradox). All we have to do is to learn how to take dictation perfectly. You can tell it is God you hear when your response is: “You want me to do WHAT?”

          The four sundays of advent are all infinities. The hardest to understand is JOY. It is not happiness. All four are not affected by circumstances. They simply are/is. A related paradox: free will and predestination are both 100% true at the same time.

        2. Hmm. I suppose that you could then view the Flood as a major code base rollback. Maybe that cleaned out a lot of bugs in the code, but there are certainly an awful lot left.

      1. I was reading this today, from Miracles, about how the just CS and the visionaries get these real positive glimpses of the First Cause; the unmoved Mover. But the are not words in a bounded-space for the Unbounded Person outside it. So… Along come the clever boots:

        Let us suppose a mystical limpet, a sage among limpets, who (rapt in vision) catches a glimpse of what Man is like. In reporting it to his disciples, who have some vision themselves (though less than he) he will have to use many negatives. He will have to tell them that Man has no shell, is not attached to a rock, is not surrounded by water. And his disciples, having a little vision of their own to help them, do get some idea of Man.

        But then there come erudite limpets, limpets who write histories of philosophy and give lectures on comparative religion, and who have never had any vision of their own. What they get out of the prophetic limpet’s words is simply and solely the negatives. From these, uncorrected by any positive insight, they build up a picture of Man as a sort of amorphous jelly (he has no shell) existing nowhere in particular (he is not attached to a rock) and never taking nourishment (there is no water to drift it toward him). And having a traditional reverence for Man they conclude that to be a famished jelly in a dimensionless void is the supreme mode of existence, and reject as crude, materialistic superstition any doctrine which would attribute to Man a definite shape, a structure, and organs.

        Also Ecclesiastes check 8 & 9 by purest chance. Very much, O my brothers and sisters, what Mrs. Hoyt was writing about yesterday.

  4. Re the politicization and crazy of cons, we had a weird situation last year that I am now really wondering about. One of our biggest and best anime cons accepted us as vendors in July, with a promise that an invoice would follow. Several days passed with no invoice, so I wrote to the Exhibit Hall contact, but got no reply. When almost ten days had passed without an invoice, I wrote to their financial department, wondering if the e-mail had gone astray and they might be ready to decide I wasn’t interested. I got back this e-mail from the Exhibit Hall contact that “several people” had expressed concerns that I was going around claiming they were invoicing vendors so they could get an interest-free loan on the rollovers when they had to cancel, and if that was how I viewed their convention, they weren’t going to invoice me. I was completely taken aback: while I *had* participated in such a discussion on a private group, I had been carefully avoiding any statements that could look like an accusation. So I assumed it was a misunderstanding and wrote back explaining and asking that they reconsider. An e-mail to which I got no further reply, not even a “the decision is final.”

    Now I’m wondering if the issue they cited was just an excuse, and their decision to yank my acceptance was actually political, based on one or another thing I’ve posted somewhere on the net, whether on social media or on a known conservative site. But given that they’re giving me the silent treatment and I’ve pretty much removed their convention from our list of cons to apply to, I’ll probably never know. And I’m not sure i want to know.

    1. Well, I would expect personal axes to grind before political, and goodness knows that you don’t actually have to have done anything to be frozen out. Or to be the object of envy, rumors, and lies.But of course it could be political now.

    2. It seems very possible in this era that somebody denounced you to the con, whether by invidiously slanted fact or out of whole cloth. Could be political, could be a erstwhile customer disgruntled because you denied a refund for an obviously mishandled (by purchaser) good, could be a low competitor, could merely be an aesle.

      The con’s failures in addressing you do not bespeak a high level of professionalism and suggest that something of this sort would have eventually arisen.

      1. Which is why we won’t be applying to get into future years’ vendor hall, unless I hear that it’s under new management. Which is a shame, because it had been one of our more remunerative conventions. But we don’t have time to play stupid high-school clique games.

      2. My first thought was that the con was, in fact doing exactly what they accused Mrs. Kimmel of “going around and saying” they were having on.

        The Wizard of Oz rule: you usually can get away with calling any nan a pinhead, but an actual specimen of the same.

        1. The standard operating procedure of the left is to accuse others of doing what they are doing themselves, so yeah.

    3. People can be jerks and cut you off for virtually nothing. That’s the simplest answer.

  5. So this is intended as a serious question, along with some personal commentary…
    What’s the view on a “non-pro” con? I’m thinking that Dragon Con falls into that category, as most all the panels (OK, the few I went to, I spent the majority of my time people-watching) seemed to be fan-run. Or am I off-base and even Dragon Con is more “woke” than I thought while the wife and I were there (2018. Got to meet and briefly chat with the ILOH and John Ringo in the vendors hall at a book booth)

    Now the personal commentary.
    When the wife and I went to Dragon Con, to me, it didn’t feel like it was “woke,” granted there was a floor in the Westin for “gaymers,” but we didn’t see much political stuff. I do feel, at least for non-pros, a con is what you make of it. If there’s a lot of “political” messaging of one sort or another, you can largely eye-roll at it and move on. Now, if the con itself is “pushing” such messaging, that would quickly move it from a “we can ignore it,” to a “we won’t be back again.”
    We’re not major con-goers, right now it’s at most one a year and we’ve decided for us, the more “commercial” cons are not our cup-of-tea (Sorry FanExpo Toronto, Dragon Con just stomped you into the ground for fun,) although I want to give GenCon Indy a chance (we had fun when we went way back when GenCon was still in Milwaukee.) Having seen mention of LibertyCon on ILOHs blog and now Sarah mentioning it, I think we’ll add it to our “lets give it a chance and make the trip.”

    1. Just a word of warning about LibertyCon. Registration is limited to 750 attendees (as I recall). And since most of the attendees view it as akin to a family reunion, the registrations tend to go extremely fast once they’re open. I think all registrations were bought within 30 minutes for the last convention.

      1. Especially since they rolled over last year’s tickets to this year. I’m crossing my fingers for a cancellation slot (not that I want anyone to have to cancel, but alas, Life does happen.)

        1. It’s the excuse I keep making for not trying to go, and therefore having to make the case for the hell-and-expense that is travel post 9-11 and Red Chinese Doom-sniffles to the family. All of whom are more nerd adjacent than trufen

          I don’t really miss the World- and fan- cons, because I’ve been working at least one every year for about a decade. Bot Liberty and the Dragon have been on my fannish bucket list.

    2. Mr. BTEG and Younger Daughter have attended GenCon several times in a row. They go there to play Pathfinder Society. Youngest had also been involved with Pathfinder Society Academy, which gets kids into roleplaying PFS. They’ve always had a good time. That and Origins were their go-to cons.

  6. And remember that not everyone with horns, hooves, and is a demon.
    Or at least, not a bad-forces side demon. }:o)

  7. I’ve been to one con as a fan (Star Trek, friend wanted to go so I went with her). It was fun. But that was years ago. I don’t think going to anything this year is in the cards. We’re likely moving so that will absorb a lot of otherwise disposable income. And, my understanding is that tickets/passes to cons are sold out within days if not hours of going on sale?

    1. It largely depends on the convention.
      the big commercial conventions, the San Diego / New York Comic Cons, I’ve heard you might not even be able to get a day pass unless you’re in line for them the day before and spend the night on the sidewalk. And getting a hotel nearby? /insert maniacal laughing cat meme

      Now, Dragon Con / more fan-oriented cons? Day passes are easier to get, but the host hotels for Dragon Con? Yeah, they’re booked solid nearly the week AFTER the con ends. Rooms will tend to open up over the months before the con (it’s how we scored a Westin room in 2018,) but you need to be ready to pull the trigger on a room the instant they announce they’ve got openings.

      Smaller cons, and I’m going to put FanExpo Toronto in this category, are MUCH easier to get tickets for (weekend passes or day passes,) rooms nearby(ish) are easier to get, but it’s also a smaller con. There’s not as much (I feel) to *DO,* not as much in the way of vendors (although that can be good for the wallet,) the panels are fewer, and there’s less cosplay.

      Of course, take all of the above with the following caveats:
      1. I’ve only been to a handful of conventions of various stripes: a few Star Trek conventions when they were in our area, GenCon gaming convention a couple times in Milwaukee, FanExpo in Toronto a couple times, Dragon Con once (so far.)
      2. I’ve only gone as a fan, and largely wound up people watching (OK, except for GenCon, I was in several different games)
      3. We (wife and I) are going back to Dragon Con this year (was supposed to be last year, but, well… China Flu)

      1. The last ComicCon I checked, tickets sold out in less than three hours, six months before the con. You had to be waiting in line, ON line, to get one.

        When a con gets over 200,000 people, it’s just too much. You can’t see a fraction of what’s there and the mobs are overwhelming.

        1. Dragon Con 2018, when we went, reported afterwards there were some 80,000 attendees. But it’s spread out through 5 hotels / convention centers and the LARGE vendor center / gaming space, so it didn’t *quite* feel like that many people. That was also total attendees over the course of the 5 days of the con…

          Yes, a fair bit of walking (if I recall, Google maps timeline said I walked some 10 miles over the 5 days, I think,) but the sidewalks were never unnavigable, except possibly during the parade (during which we stayed in our room and watched it on TV,) but I never got to the point of “OK, that’s enough people for me for now, I’m going back to my room.”

        2. Did one Worldcon, cuz it was relatively handy. 6000 people. Too much, too big, couldn’t find anything, not really all that fun. Greatly prefer the little 1000 attendees one-hotel cons, with semi-regulars so your old friends are there every year.

      2. You’re overoptimistic about San Diego. It hasn’t been that easy since before we moved out in 2016. To get into its Comic-Con, you had to wait until the Web site that sold memberships went live, and then try to buy yours within the first day or so. I got in as a low-end pro until we moved away, but I heard about it from friends who went through that routine.

        1. I remember when you cold just amble over to the San Diego Comic Con with your D&D buddies on a whim and buy a Saturday day pass with your babysitting money.

          Now get off my lawn :😋

        2. Just from some of the tales of SDCC I’ve heard (gee, lets wait in line for 16hrs to get into Hall H for a panel!) I think the wife and I will hard pass on it. I think the longest either of us had to wait to get into a hall for an event at Dragon, was she had to wait around an hour to get into the kilt-blowing (me, I got to wait in the nice, warm, cozy, guys offering you all SORTS of booze, “green room” for the event!)

          I’d say all of my best memories from Dragon were the encounters with various pros throughout the weekend…
          Larry Niven twice
          Timothy Zahn once
          Mike Resnick once (same elevator as Zahn)
          Jennie Breeden once (wound up carrying the leaf blower to the kilt blowing)
          Mike Stackpole once (the wife took his writers workshop, I thrilled him by bringing my old FASA books he wrote to autograph)

          And keep in mind, those are just the ones I recognized going through the con, who knows how many pros I passed without knowing it…

  8. Boskone is virtual this year. God can stay home and interact in complete anonymity.

    I have a love-hate relationship with cons. I love the energy at them. I love looking at stuff. I enjoy listening to some of the panels. I even buy stuff, once I see what’s available, and in my price range. (No Michael, you may not put in a bid on that life-size shuttle craft used in the show.) But I get antsy in crowds, and am always evaluating how I’d conduct a terrorist attack on the place.

    1. Yeah, but does God pay $25 fees for going to a virtual convention? (Seriously, I understand having to make up your outlay somehow, but NASFIC managed to be free.)

  9. Why, I wonder, do I see Satan manifesting as an obnoxious thirteen-year-old boy, challenging Himself during the Writers’ Panel: Creating Credible Characters?

  10. I’m happy to hear that you’re planning to go to LC. I had finally managed to get tickets, and the anticipation of finally being able to go was helping me get through our (Canadian) national house arrest. I attended World Con once, when it happened to be in my little burg (I got to see a panel by Spider and Jeanne Robinson but this was back when things were laid back and interesting; the wokeratti had yet to infiltrate and infect it). It was fun, I made it into to some great parties and met many folk who would no longer meet the sensitivities of the current PC (Pearl Clutching…can I say pearl or is that being insensitive to bi-valves?…these “rules” make my head hurt…) kabal.

    At this moment, leaving the country for “non-essential” purposes is verboten, and given their decision to close Canadian sea ports to pass ender travel until 2022, I don’t see them letting us out any time soon. June may be too much to hope for, and I can predict with a high degree of certainty that attending something called “Liberty Con” would not fall under that category.

    1. Ack! All this raises the idea that G*d has Quantum Supremacy, so is able to harness all atoms in the Universe. This idea will rattle my brain forever.
      The impact of the Wolkerati seems to be very similar to the work of Satan, who has access to the atom based Universal Calculator . My brain does hurt.

  11. If one really wants to troll the leftists, how about organizing a convention called Sad Puppies Con 🙂 As we know the actual guest list will check all of the superficial “diversity” check marks that the left thinks are the be all and end all of “diversity”, but will be denounced by the usual suspects because instead of the guests having lockstep conformity of thought, there will be, gasp, diversity of actual viewpoints and opinions. Imagine that. A gathering of people who don’t believe Conformity is Diversity, or any of the other principles of Amsoc.

    1. Knowing the Puppy kickers, they’d probably call a SWAT team to raid the place, out of sheer spite.

      1. I believe police departments these days let you register your address with them if you’re an online personality so they know to be extra careful if someone reports you. If you tell the local sheriff/police department when and where the con is in advance and warn them it’s the sort of thing that might get SWATed it should lower your risk considerably.

    2. I would go to the Homogeneity, Exclusivity, and Square Deal* convention in a heartbeat. Even though we’d get fire-bombed. By everyone.

      *Only registered fans who disavow SocJus (no DI), and no special rules for Special People (however defined) e.g anti-“Equity”

  12. OMG do you realize how very much that description of the Deity resembles my every observation of John Ringo at the last several Libertycons!

  13. I still haven’t decided on LibertyCon this year. I do want to go, but I don’t want to deal with lots of stupid mask rules and all the rest of that.
    I’ll be driving if I do go, because I don’t want to deal with the mess that is the airlines anymore either.

    1. Do come, John! I personally don’t intend to play the mask game, regardless of what the recommendations are. Look us up at the IRG (Interstellar Research Group, formerly TVIW, the Tennessee Valley Interstellar Workshop) panels.

      1. Now that I’ve seen just how much the con is going to be cut back due to the BS ‘social distancing’ I’m probably not going to go. It’s supposed to be friggin’ LIBERTYCon not ‘GulaggCon’.
        Yeah, I know times are tough, but either take a stand or just give up. Knuckling under to the brownshirts never gains you anything.

        1. Where are you seeing that the con will be cut back? All I see is a post that they will follow the rules: “The decision to require masks or not will depend on local, state and federal mandates, hotel rules and any requirements from our event insurance. If there are no mandates, no hotel rules and no requirement from our event insurance (all three) then masks will be optional. “

          1. They are cutting back panel sizes because they can’t have that many people sitting close together.
            They are going to make everyone in the audience sit 6 feet apart.
            And the mandates NEED to be IGNORED. They’re not legal and they’re not the law, and even if they are, I’m not going to follow them.

            1. “no hotel rules and no requirement from our event insurance”

              And there’s the fascist “muh private business” loophole.

              1. I would think a lot of people will ignore them. But it’s certainly true that lots of people (small businesses, cons, civic organizations) are afraid, whether of blowback or being canceled or just of difficulties. All this nanny-state stuff and “safetyism” that’s inculcated in the schools has made this a fearful society.

    2. Clear plastic spit guards are a fine way of dealing with a weird new CCPox if you have to get within spitting distance.

      And unless you’re a lot more friendly with strangers than I am, staying out of spit range is choice.

      1. I won’t wear -anything- for dealing with this cold. I’m not gonna wear a mask, a spitguard, or anything else. My biggest fear is just what I’ll end up doing to anybody who gets in my face about it. Because I’m pretty much at my wit’s end with these people.

  14. Vis-a-vis the description of MacGyvering, I found this on a t-shirt from Bad Ideas:

    “I don’t like making plans for the day. Because, then the word ‘premeditated’ gets thrown around in the courtroom.”

  15. You do realize, of course, that this essay provides data confirming that RAH is God, or at least one of his avatars.

  16. I used to enjoy the book/writer cons before the SJWs destroyed most of them.

    I had fond memories of listening to Jim Butcher late one night in a small group chat in a side lobby. This was before he was super successful and had cos-players of his characters. I really didn’t know who he was at the time. But I just sat there and let the story tellers talk. There was a mention of fire fighting, so I shared a bit of my experience of flame, smoke and getting soaked while on the farm and shipboard.

    Then there was the time David Gerrold was desperate and made a pass at me, probably because the con committee didn’t have the budget to supply him with any twinks or tops. I told him that I was strictly hetro, not interested and he was way too old if I had the inclination to swing that way.

    And then then was a lovely lady who showed me her top notch Cthulhu tattoo on her world class body. I still wonder if I made the right decision in declining to pursue carnal knowledge, but the exquisite Elder God ink threw me for a loop. Had the image on that sweet canvas been a dragon or butterfly, I wouldn’t have declined. Apparently no else even saw her that night even though we met in the middle of a crowded book release party for an forgettable book by trust fund kid who got a vanity press to release his ordure. Maybe that act did conjure a demon…

  17. I used to really look forward to LTUE when it was still on the BYU campus, not least because at the time I was a student there (lo, these many years ago) and getting day passes was dead easy.

    And since my campus club was known for our entertaining ways, we were even asked once to provide the dinner entertainment for the GoH dinner. At which I felt horrible, because I managed to make the GoH weep at the table until he came over to thank me because what I had performed had reminded him of his dear mother who had passed.

    Anyway, for a student living below the poverty level, there was no better way to get good writing advice than to lurk at LTUE after getting comped tickets for dressing up and making grown men cry.

    1. Haven’t been to a Ham con, per se, but a handful of Hamfests when I was a teen. Not sure if SemiCon counts, though I’ve had my eyes glaze over several times. Only so many exhibits and the wafer probers start looking like epi reactors.

      FWIW, license studies in satisfactory progress. I’m planning on going for the trifecta in a couple of weeks, if I can get the tests graded and such in the two-hour slot allocated. I’ve studied the ARRL license manuals for all three (and submitted an errata gripe on a missing feedline table). Practice tests for all three going on daily, and I’m happy with the scores.

      1. If you can get a consistent 85 percent or above on the practice tests, you are ready.

        Once you have the ticket, the learning really starts.

        1. I finished studying the Extra manual last night, and am now getting the Extra practice tests up in the 90s. Never needed RF (much) in my career, but some old memories are coming back. (Nixon was POTUS when I was taught Smith charts, so the rust is a bit thick.) OTOH, most of the basic electronics was stuff I used through my career, though obscure terms (susceptance, for one) need memorization.

          Agreed on the last; the manuals get just far enough to describe a concept, but the rest is an exercise. Right now, grounding is my concern. We get interesting thunderstorms around here, so I have a strong incentive to get it right.

    2. Library cons used to be fun too. But… When people stopped making printed copies of of their parody papers available because it might cause them trouble with the bosses back home… The writing was on the wall.

      1. In my experience with convention center and hotels, writing on the walls will get you immediately thrown out and very pointedly not invited to return.

        Besides, unlike printed copies that can be passed around, having readers crowding up against and past one another as they read the walls at different rates is just a trampling awaiting happening.

  18. I lately bought Dorothy Sayers’s The Mind of the Maker, a book-length discussion of the concept of God as an author. Well worth reading. I particularly like her typology of writers who have too much or too little of one of the three hypostases.

  19. The problem with “God as an author” is that in the end that makes the characters serve the story. It is the story that has to be interesting and characters serve to make that happen. And what role does a particular individual have in the story? If the story has a great hero then there must be a great villain as well. The great, overpowered hero who never faces a real challenge (the typical Mary Sue) does not exactly make for a good story. So the author has to stick in a villain, a villain that would not need to be there if the author had instead decided to write a more lighthearted piece rather than some epic struggle of good against evil. And what about the poor schmucks whose suffering and even death is simply a plot device to motivate that hero, or to show the villain’s villainy? Or worse, is just an incidental side note, passed over without notice?

    And since I look at the world and come to the conclusion that I’m definitely not the hero of any ultimate “story” written by some ultimate “Author” then it follows that I’m a simple plot device at best, or more likely one of the faceless background characters, little more than animated scenery. As are most of the people around me. And all because it was written that way.

    (Cue Jessica Rabbit reference.)

    1. If you go to a Commedia dell’Arte play, all the actors have perfect freedom to say and do pretty much whatever they want, because it’s improvisation. But the nature of the plot points, situation, and characters create a somewhat similar play every time. (And they generally strive to get to the same plot points at about the same time, and there are certain key jokes that almost always recur. So there’s unity.)

      1. When spouse was a founding baron in the SCA, he believed courts should be entertaining, so there would usually be some form of “schtick.” We knew what the trigger was, and how it should resolve, but what came in between was up to the participants. So it was essentially commedia. Our main rule was, “always know how to end it.”

  20. Me, I’d be happy to go a con, a real, actual, physical con. Any con. I really miss being able to wander around and look at stuff and meet people. I miss masks being purely optional and for fun. I miss crowds.

    1. Aye. It’s like how pre-schlockdown I didn’t care about Hooters, but now that I *can’t* go… I have this urge to dine on chicken wings, drink cheap (which is not the same as expensive) beer, in a crowded place, that has a certain overt theme. I know I’ll look back on it and ask myself, “What the HELL were you thinking?” and I want to do it anyway. Damn the torpedoes!

      1. Just drove past our local Breastaurant and they were doing a fine business. Florida’s been relatively sane about the whole thing, suffereing from the lack of international tourists though.

        1. Alas, I am in the land of Tim Jong Walz (Minnesnowjob) and while Iowa is only a dozen miles or so away, anything of note is Much Further Away. A bit less than a year ago, $HOUSEMATE & I decided we Had Enough and made the the 2+ hour trip to Tea, South Dakota (Sioux Falls was being stupid, Tea was not) to just Get Out. The downside of that was we encountered a Very Bad Accident (driver had NOT survived*, alas) on the way back. Should we (need to) make that trip again, I *will* carry a fully charged stupid-bright LED flashlight with me — and HOPE that I have NO need to use it.

          * As far we know, whatever happened was ***NOT*** the result of drugs/alcohol.

      2. My friends and family have been escaping WA for ID now and again when the stupid becomes too much to bear. I currently hail from SD and things are almost normal, depending on the establishment.

  21. Have you seen the Times article yet? It looks like the Villains are bragging. It feels like I’m in the end of the book where the villain brags before the hero wins. Dang it– I hope G-d has a better ending for us instead of a the VILLAIN winning.

    1. Yes, I’ve seen it. They’re basically saying, yes, there was a conspiracy to steal the election, and we’re proud of it. They really don’t seem to see anything wrong with their crime. And they definitely don’t realize how it’s being taken by us normal Americans. As someone has said, you can vote your way into socialism (or communism), but you have to shoot your way out. I wish we weren’t going down that road, but we certainly appear to be doing so.

      1. They even used the word CABAL to describe themselves. Didn’t anyone ever tell them that is a negative word? And no, I didn’t vote for this — It just shows how most people don’t understand manipulation– and are sheep.

        1. Possibly this is the gloating to prove their position of power is so invulnerable that they can get away with it?

          1. I’ve only seen the summaries*, but I gather that the Dominion issues and blatant vote fraud was skipped over. That gives the vibe of the Nixonian “Modified Limited Hangout”, where they had hopes that by confessing to a minor part of the scandal, people would ignore the rest. The other strategy that could be applied is the disclosure by drip, so by the time they get around to the massive bits, they hope the pitchfork and torch crowd will have gotten bored. Looks like they goofed, big time on that.

            OTOH, the rope and lamppost crowd are getting antsy.

            (*) I’ve gotten allergic to leftist smug.

          2. Actually my guess is that it’s not gloating that they feel… they’re just so absolutely damn sure that they are in the right and that they “saved” the country from the Orange Bad Man and his bigoted deplorable supporters, that they’re just rejoicing in how their “plans” worked out. To use their own terminology, they’ve “othered” half of the country to the point that they barely conceive of us as human anymore.

            I’m not too happy with how human nature and its interaction with the internet is turning out. Instead of “free information” and knowledge and wisdom being more widespread, we’re getting all the intolerance of a small village but with the busybodies and totalitarian inclined petty functionaries operating on the scale of the whole country. The whole world. At least when you used to run into that sort of rigidity in small villages you could escape to other countries and bigger cities or the frontier. Now there is no escape. Though there are a few places on the internet, like this blog, where you can find communities that help.

            1. Say, you just gave me an idea for a new word: Dysfunctionaries. Meddlesome government drones that seem to have no other purpose than making your life difficult.
              There is nothing so simple that the government can’t fuck it up.

      2. I think they revealed it now because they’re afraid of how it would have looked when it came out a few months from now. Like Sarah has been saying, they’re panicked, like it’s the last days of a regime instead of the beginning of one.

      3. I imagine they see themselves as the Glorious Saviors of the Fundamental Transformation, totally justified by doing it to the Bad Orange Man. What drives me into a fury are the “true conservatives,” who might even agree that in this one case, the end justifies the means.

        1. Instead of the Villains. And yes, they don’t feel they are appreciated as the heroes they think they are. There is a reason the villain needs to monologue

          1. You can see them monologuing all over yootoobe as they praise themselves for being the best everything’s ever.

            While people are downvoting and shiite-commenting and having a great time…. much to their dismay.

        2. What’s the point of pulling off a masterful plan if no one appreciates the work that you put into it?

          1. Oh, I think it will be appreciated, but not in a way the perpetraitors (totally a word) were planning. I think I should memorize “Danny Deever”.

          1. Left one out:

            “Some people did something and that all of us were starting to lose access to our civil liberties.” — Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.)

            That needs to be on a T-shirt, perhaps with a picture of Q-Shaman.

      4. They do not think of themselves as having stolen the election — they believe their crap about preventing voter suppression and about there being no innate problems with mail-in voting.

        Equally, they imagine that quashing “disinformation” is just protecting the public interest. Never underestimate people’s (especially powerful people) capacity for self-justification.

    2. Posted a link in the post below. My jaw literally dropped when I read that thing. The worst part is that the gaslighting will continue like nothing happened.

      1. …the gaslighting will continue like nothing happened.

        While I’m not going to hunt for it now, as I remember it, there’s one of Herr Zoeller’s lines (yes, the nasty little NatSoc guy) in “The Sound of Music” that goes something like this… “Everything is different, in today’s Austria, but nothing has changed.”

        Here I’m going off of a few comments here and elsewhere and a small fraction of today’s “Dark to Light” podcast at uncoverdc dot com — but it does really seem that “The Secret History of the Shadow Campaign that Saved the 2020 Election” truly and simply is the next best thing to a signed confession that yes, our election was stolen, yes, they meant to do it, and yes, all of those “possibly inflammatory” (Twitter) accusations of the foregoing were… true.

        Bond villains. They really are, or are interchangeable with, Bond villains.

        “We want to rule the world” and all.

        So right now, I’m thinking about another (far better remembered) set of lines, that fits this situation just about perfectly.

        “You flatter me, Captain von Trapp.”

        “How clumsy of me, Herr Zoeller. I did not mean to flatter, I meant to accuse.”

        1. Reminds me of some Canadian singer/comedian who’s identity I have never found out. Only know his works from an unlabeled tape I was lent in the early 1980’s.

          “There’s a new British joke over here: ‘The pound has fallen, but the penny hasn’t dropped.'”

        2. And speaking of Sound of Music, Christopher Plummer has passed away at age 91. Of course, in addition to that role, we got to hear him talk about the joy of reading Shakespeare in the original Klingon.

            1. Yes. Growing up, I missed the class trip to see him and James Earl Jones in Othello because I got sick (high fever type sick) right before the trip.

            2. I saw him on Broadway as Iago. What got me was during one of his monologs I suddenly realized he was inviting the audience to enjoy destroying Othello with him: making us his accomplices.

              1. Kenneth Branagh did the same thing in a clip I watched of his performance as Iago (haven’t seen the whole thing). It was a film production, and as he gave his monologue, he stared directly at the camera, talking to you and inviting you to be part of his plan.

    3. Of course they’re bragging. They’re home free. Every election from now until the last trump (hee!) is going Dem. It’s the Thousand Year Riche! Or so they think, anyway.

      On a completely unrelated subject (I swear!), got your titanium hair stabby things yet?

        1. The problem, as I see it (and we have the same problem here in canaduh) is that these people all think they saved the country from the Great Unwashed. The Unenlightened. The beer swilling, pickup-truck driving, red necked lynch mobs running around clinging to their guns and religion.

          They don’t understand that they put a gun to the country’s head and tried to kill it themselves.

          But they will. Eventually, they will.

    4. Theory domestic says that they are morons who don’t grok a bottom up country, and think that the imminent decapitation move has won it for all time. Either that, or Lucy wants Charlie to try to kick the ball next time, instead of stringing her up.

      Theory foreign says that this is the same kind of grinding victories in the face of the loser that modern chinese power games favor.

      I spent today raving at Old NFO’s about one of my usual hobby horses. Realized something as a result. Modern China is a sh!thole, and it is the result of the communists. But that realization is not something they encourage inside China; they instead encourage saltiness about things like the Opium Wars.

      As such, the Chinese foreign policy establishment is likely to think in terms of returning the favor to the whole western world. So, the combination of what we’ve learned about Chinese influence these past few weeks, and the stuff we picked up on last year about PRC support to the drug trade point to one thing. The drug crime problems in America are partly the result of a complicated basket of foreign interventions.

      The ‘we can afford to legalize this substance, and then the problems go away’ arguments were always unsound, because the Chinese communists would have always found something we could not afford to legalize, and made sure it got shipped into the US.

      So yeah, kill the druggies, exterminate the Chinese, or eat the cost of the Chinese playing these games.

      Extermination is the only way to change back to a long distance away from China. Possibly their government can be overthrown. Failing that, we get our own house in order, or we accept these games being played with us.

      1. Drug problems in the US long pre-date friction our current frictions with the PRC. Yes, Beijing appears to have a hand in the fentanyl mess. But Chinese Communists had nothing to do with the spread of crack.

        The drug problem would exist even without Beijing’s meddling. But Beijing is making an already bad situation even worse.

        And “exterminate the Chinese”? Uh…

        1. Yeah. I think that was the point: we can’t do that, so no legal using drugs anytime soon. This is Mr. Registered Fool after all.

          But… exterminate the CCP? People use “China” (as in “Don’t trust China. China is asshole”) to mean not merely red China, but sometimes jyst whole apparat.

          For my sins, I have to go all “not exterminate the Chicom leadership ” … But I’m also not going to shout about anyone, particularly any Chinese people, who insist otherwise.

          1. Another sign they’ve got problems brought out on Rush today: the government is mandating the schools do more to develop “manliness,” in the young men. Seems military heroes and sports figures are not resonating with the current generation of young men.
            Well, if you tell a culture that values sons they can only have one child, one unintended consequence appeals to be you get a generation of overprotected young men.

            1. It seems that a most of these poor boys have low testosterone— It could be a lot of reasons including food. But I bet we’ll be seeing something about that sooner than later. And what a delicious dilemma. Do they want men or do they want soy boys that are easier to manipulate.

              1. Note, I thought Dorothy was talking about the Chinese Government not American Progressives. 😉

                1. Oh right. WPDE. Didn’t get the threading right. Still… They do have a lot in common. Maybe our progressives will get to the same point. That would be…ironic.

                  1. The CCP at least has SOME notion of what is needed to hold power. The progressives think it’s supposed to fall into their hands.

            2. And I’ve seen articles about how the Chinese population fears “toxic masculity.” sigh

              I wonder how deeply the Pill has spread. Women like less masculine men while on it. (It also makes them pick bad matches for mates.)

        2. While I haven’t read about the Opium Wars in many long years, I suspect the Chinese take complaints about flooding our communities with drugs with at least a hint of amusement.

        3. No, exterminating the Chinese is technically something that might be physically plausible. And it is a subset of my ‘kill the foreign populations’ proposal, so you’ve known for a while that I might be that nuts.

          But if you are not willing to consider extermination, and are not in principle really willing to work towards it, you should be willing to see why legalization might be a non-starter.

          After China briefly shut down, drug traffic from South America briefly decreased. Because the Chinese stopped being able to supply the drug gangs with the chemical precursors.

          So, we can be pretty sure that they have been supplying the drug gangs for at least a decade, and laughing at our crime problems at the same time.

          Peaceful coexistence with the PRC is not possible. That doesn’t mean that our answer should be going to the domestic foreign policy debate with the position that anyone who isn’t pro xenocide is an active and knowing traitor, but that position is an option.

          We are heading into an ugly civil war, the Chinese are meddling on Biden’s side, and the Democrats spent four years accusing Trump of being Russia’s patsy. The safest position from a ‘being accused of foreign sponsorship’ perspective is wanting to kill all of the foreign populations. The foundation for the foreign policy status quo is gone, and we are in no way ensured a nice replacement.

          One way to ensure that China cannot long rule us as a satrapy would be a broad base of support for exterminating the population of the PRC.

          Nuance is easier and more sound in a position of strength.

          1. So you’re suggesting that we’re the battleground in a proxy war between Russia and China? Hmmm…I might be able to buy that. But, whichever one wins, we’re the ones that have been propping up their economies. What happens when they destroy ours so thoroughly that it is no longer capable of supporting theirs?

            1. My current belief is that Russia is not a major player. (Caveat, during the 2016 primary I was suspecting Russian influence on Trump.)

              There was no limit or system to what Democrats accused Trump of. Therefore, the lack of accusation that he sold us out to the Chinese was the first clue that I noticed of Chinese subornment of American elites.

              If the US is proxy in a Chinese-Russian conflict, Russians don’t have much influence to play with. There is a case that the Magnisky act is unjust, and that Bill Browder is a fabulist who robbed a Russian bank. Even if this is true, I dislike Putin enough to wonder if it is wrong to rob Russian state banks.

              As for what makes sense with regard to economic consequence of intrigue… a) crazy leading the crazy. The consequences they foresee have nothing to do with a reasonable man, or any other competent standard. b) Chinese bureaucratic thought may well be that extreme Chinese poverty is fine so long as the US is poor, but a relatively wealthier US is always a threat.

              Mainly, I was trying to argue that since ‘policy y benefits country z, therefore y is evidence of improper support by z’ has been allowed to stand, the American political meta game has changed, and that the changes 1) probably aren’t reversible 2) significantly change the nature of viable political strategies.

              1. Democrats’ drive for power is sufficient cause for events, it is not necessary to suppose other nations playing a role.

                If both political parties were focused on better lives for Americans and defending our liberties other nations would not be able to influence our politics.

                You cannot hope
                to bribe or twist,
                thank God! the
                British journalist.
                But, seeing what
                the man will do
                unbribed, there’s
                no occasion to.
                — Humbert Wolfe

        4. Big thing pushing me to speak was the ‘aha. Now we can /know/ that legalization was never a viable strategy.’, combined with knowing that revisiting the most appropriate venue, Old NFO’s, had too high a risk of leaving me ridden by my temper.

          But the following three things are all true.

          I think that the raw population numbers are not the full picture of how feasible it is to exterminate the population of the PRC. Three Gorges Dam. Yes, we do not now have the force multipliers necessary, but that is tech. The necessary human element that was lacking may actually develop in the relatively near future.

          It is better to fight a nuclear war, even if it fails in killing the whole population of the communist countries, than it is to go from coexisting with a communist nation to surrender.

          I’ve calculated that if I can compel someone to sign off on the murder of over a billion people, that they will have less resistance to murder the much smaller numbers that would go on my domestic targeting list. IE, the druggies.

          Because of personal baggage or psychological damage, I cannot make myself abandon the desire to kill all of the druggies. Or, I’ve chosen not to. So, I continue to try to persuade people, even when knowingly choosing to attempt to persuade people to do evil things. I may frame it in terms of necessity or self defense, but if my desires were only the licit ones I could just drop the issue where that logic did not hold.

          Doesn’t help that the original framing on Old NFO’s is ‘dealing with pain versus self defense’. Pot is not the only way to cope with pain. My pain levels have been high these past few days, so I find that approach more risible than usual. (I think medical use is the black salve of the painkiller world. I really do see that trade off as being akin to removing a wart by bathing in napalm, then igniting. Wart is gone, but retaining skin coverage is kind of also an important goal.)

          1. The thing about “medical” marijuana use: Did I miss new about all the FDA-driven studies? (yes, that’s my smart-*** face I’m wearing)

            1. IIRC Speaker (To Lab Animals) said that at least one of the ingredients of marijuana has valid medical uses but apparently research into said uses are hampered by some people who also smoke the garbage. 😈

            2. When they first started pushing the medical maryjane thing my first thought was that for anything to be “medicine” it is essential to administer controlled dosages — something impossible with smoking pot. Weed does not contain consistent amounts of THC, either from batch to batch nor field to field and smoking ensures uneven dosages of even THC “normalized” pot because of variances in how much is inhaled, how deeply inhaled and how long it is held in the lungs.

              It is BS on the level of “If they believed in Global Warming they’d not lead the lifestyles they do.”

              1. But, but, the Elites are few in number, so their overall impact is minimal. It’s the Unwashed Masses that have to cut waaaay back, because in aggregate they produce far more ‘greenhouse gas’ than the Elites!

                Now I have to wash my hands…
                “The Science Is Settled!!” we are told, again and again — but then ‘The Science!’ changes every week, and somehow it’s always exactly what the politicians need it to be.

  22. .Let’s forge new cons and new gatherings where the fun flows, and indie writers get to promote without having to fear ending their career by a single, ill-considered remark.

    The future waits. And it’s ours to build.

    In this connection — and although it’s of design completely virtual and also rather “low bandwidth” (text and occasional audio or still / moving pictures) as compared to the in-person and face-to-face “real thing”…

    This blog and its comments are very much like a “con suite” which seldom if ever closes, where the Resident Writer and several / many others (incl. at a lower level many other trainees / aspirants) are often in voluble attendance, where refreshment at least emotional and spiritual seldom if ever runs out, and which in general fits the definition of “hospitality” (e.g., classical Ireland) very well…

    So, “think of this as [convention] evolution in action”..?

    (And yes, I do know that’s a very specific and much longer way of saying, “Thank you, Sarah” — but some of us tend to be a little, ah, prone to writing long.)

  23. Hey, thanks to Foxfier for recommending magnesium the other day. It does help a lot with muscle aches. Apparently my multivitamin was only doing 25% of the RDA, and I guess I wasn’t getting enough in my food.

    1. Most supplements are short on magnesium because, while important, more than some minimal amount causes “intestinal distress” to many people. For example, look at how many laxatives contain it.

      Magnesium is difficult for the body to absorb and is quickly flushed by the kidneys, just to make things more fun. There are several common types; magnesium oxide, magnesium chloride, or elemental magnesium in a carrier liquid. Sometimes one kind may be less of a problem than the others.

      Spreading the dose out two two or four times a day may also help some. And there’s an overpriced product called “Slow Mag” that’s a time-release version of magnesium chloride.

      1. The best way to get highly bio-available magnesium is to take ZMA. It’s a supplement very widely used by body builders and athletes. You also get a balancing amount of zinc.

  24. One interesting observation is how often you see “plan” in the Bible vs how often “prepare” appears.

      1. You know, Older Son was friends with a very religious VERY SHELTERED young man in high school.
        He kept asking son about cons.
        It wasn’t until he asked “Tell me more about these cons you and your family run on other people” that son realized
        1-His friend thought it was the OTHER kind of con.
        2- was intending to denounce us to the law.
        After he was done choking on laughter, he explained sf/f cons. He’s not sure friend ever got it. He looked VERY confused.

      1. Speaking of which: Sarah, did you get that e-mail? I need to know if putting images directly into the .rtf works.

  25. The Liberty Con hotel reservations are available now. There are 1000 membersips this year. I was on the waiting list for 2020, so I was contacted in October to move off the waiting list. The website doesn’t work very well though. It makes me nervous that something will fall through.

      1. The hotel reservations are fine. I was talking about the memberships, which still says “processing” after 3 months.

  26. Then God being eternal and not temporal has abilities to revise that we characters can only vaguely imitate. Introducing the gun on the mantelpiece in Act 1 isn’t “going back” and doing it, for Him.

  27. From Instapundit this morning:

    “THE REAL QUESTION OF COURSE IS WHY LEFTISTS LOVE CHOO CHOO TRAINS: Another Climate Friendly High Speed Rail Project Bites the Dust -Posted at 5:00 am by Sarah Hoyt”

    Answer: Because trains can carry a lot more people to the gulags and concentration camps then planes or buses can. Side benefit; THE STATE decides when and where you can travel.

    1. Um. Perhaps because of the opportunities for graft. Just sayin. That and being able to take other people stuff.

  28. FYI, the last I heard, a coast to coast (New York to Long Beach) cannonball was down to thirty or thirty-one hours, during the pandemic. More usefully, I had an Army buddy who did California to northwestern Alabama solo in four days in his Mustang GT 5.0 liter; we were 1-1/2 to two hours west of Atlanta if that helps.

    Said buddy and quite pregnant wife drove 600 miles to my wedding, btw.

    1. 25:55 by a single guy driving a rented mustang with added tanks, and a team holds the fastest overall with a 25:39 in an Audi S6 disguised as a White Ford P.O.S. Taurus.
      Check the VinWiki video channel for the stories on that

  29. That moment when, after forty years, you see an episode of Fonzie and the Happy Days Gang, and immediately realize that Cupcake’s time machine is a UFO with a TARDIS console inside.

    And you realize that, yes, Doctor Who was being shown in syndication in LA back then.

  30. I just wanted to say it looks like that chick in the photo at the top of the post knows how to have fun. ;p

  31. God as author raises some questions about reality and writing it as you go along. Is a robot that is an exactly accurate simulation of a human entitled to the same moral treatment as a human? Is an exactly accurate simulation of a robot entitled to the same moral treatment as a robot that has physical existence? Is it possible to predict the future without exactly simulating it? If a God can only plan the best of all possible worlds by running exactly accurate simulations of proposed worlds is there any moral difference between practicing with physical worlds and practicing with simulated worlds? Perhaps this entire universe and its history is just an idle thought in the mind of a God to whom that level of detail and calculation is an idle “what if?…” Or if this universe is real and not the best of all possible worlds, perhaps that is because working out the best of all possible worlds would involve simulating so many imperfect worlds as to be less moral than just making this us as they went along.

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