Ah, To Be Extreme Now That Spring Is Here

Things have been drifting my way that make me raise eyebrows and say with Inigo Montoya: I don’t think that word means what you think it means.

Apparently believing abortion is wrong is out of the mainstream; believing gay marriage is wrong is out of the mainstream; believing transexuality isn’t the load of hogswallow that our society is being fed is out of the mainstream; being a Christian is out of the mainstream; and being convinced that you have rights as an individual which were granted to you by G-d and the government can’t take away is out of the mainstream.

What they aren’t actually telling us is: Out of the mainstream WHERE?

I mean, of course all of those are out of the mainstream in our better universities, where no one would go so far as to espouse one of those opinions, where they might be overheard and mocked — mocked! — as being gauche by their fellow socialist pudding heads.

And some of them are out of the mainstream in various places around the world. I wouldn’t advise you to go to a non-European Catholic country where faith is taken seriously and start babbling about how men can be women, women can be men, and it’s all about just saying so.

For that matter, I wouldn’t advise you to go and be flamboyantly gay or trans in an European country, out of the hangouts of the bien pensant, and where the authorities can’t hear you. Take it from someone who has crossed Europe, inconspicuously speaking the local language, and too poor to stay in even medium-expensive places: the urbane European is a myth. The woke European is a myth. There might be a few, again, in the academic hangouts, but if you get them to let their hair down and speak frankly, after hours, you’re going to find yourself blinking and being rather puzzled. Because the imaginary “hatey” rednecks of leftism’s fevered imagination have absolutely nothing on a “Sophisticated” European when it comes to hating anyone who sticks out and is not “normal for local populations. A lot of naive Americans have found that to their shock.

As for most of Africa and the Middle East? Well, you know, local tribal customs might vary on what is homosexuality and transexuality throughout Africa (and trust me, okay? EVEN what looks like transexuality to western eyes often isn’t and is in fact a rather horrible situation that works — maybe — as well as anything works where you live close to the bone and life is a constant struggle. It ain’t because they’re “enlightened” or “more tolerant.”)

In the middle East…. I have absolutely no idea what Islam’s view on abortion is, though judging from some of its other dictates, I presume it’s a child if the father wants it, and not if the father doesn’t. But pretty much all the other things, other than individual rights — and individual rights aren’t believed in anywhere out of the West, and even there…. mostly in the US — are not just “disapproved of” in Islam. They’re crimes. Punishable by death.

So, yeah, I do realize the US is out of the mainstream with most of the world. At least in believing in individual rights.

Because we believe in individual rights, we’re also way more tolerant of individual quirks. Mostly gay marriage didn’t raise a lot of eyebrows. I mean, a lot of us would get pissed off at forcing churches to officiate at gay weddings, and don’t get me started on the idiotic lawfare against Christian Bakers (Look, it’s idiotic on both sides, okay? You’re allowed to think a “gay marriage” isn’t a real marriage, but realize it’s real to the people celebrating and do the cake on that principle. Like, I have a friend who is Hindu, but he’s okay with buying fake leather sofas, okay? I have no idea if he’d design one for them, but I imagine if his avocation ran to couture he’d be quite happy to make a fake leather jacket. Now, when it comes to stupid cakes with the devil and dildos? The chick engaging in that lawfare should be taken out and beaten in the public square for having the worst taste since Hillary Clinton wore a yellow pant suit. And OF COURSE if someone doesn’t want to bake a cake for sale — for any reason or none — the client should go elsewhere. THAT frankly is the biggest stupidity ever. The courts should throw all those cases out for the plaintiffs being too stupid to not drown when it rains. “Waitaminute…. you know this person disapproves of your choice, but what will make your day complete is having him bake your cake. You’re either dumber than your common garden rock or you are trying to get someone to engage in bondage and domination play with you without their consent. I do suggest you withdraw the suit, before I throw you in jail for rape.” ….. yeah, I know, I have beautiful dreams.)

Sure. A lot of people think is a sin, but they also know they, themselves are sinners. Among my inner circle are gay couples and committed Christians, and believe it or not no bonfires have been lit when we all get together; no one has dragged anyone to the roof, or dropped walls on them. Actually, I don’t remember any harsh words. Mind you, the subjects under discussion are usually science fiction, fantasy, politics (and our POLITICS) tend to be in tune or house decorating, not what anyone does in bed. Because seriously, who discusses that at a barbecue? The essence of it being that most Christians would think their engaging in it is wrong (though some still do, because they’re human and broken) but they’re not going to judge, lest they should be judged. And we’re wealthy and well mannered enough to live and let live.

In the same way if you come into our group, claiming to be a sex you obviously aren’t, most people will shrug and go along, because why not? I mean this was true in the eighties when a six foot seven Marine who looked like his face was ripped with an ax off a mountain crag lived under the charming delusion that when he dressed in a dress or skirt, with a wig EVERYONE thought he was a beautiful woman. Even though he wore size 14 wide seven inch heels.

Our group of rather introverted geeks would shrug and go “sure, why not. At least he doesn’t think he’s Napoleon. Addressing him as Emperor with a French accent would get old.” I objected to his hitting on me in the kitchen, but not because at the moment he was wearing a dress and thought he was female. I objected to it because he was coming on to a married woman and being obtuse about getting it through his head I really meant “no.” (No touching, otherwise I’d have done something interesting with a knife — even though he was a marine — but really stupidly persistent.)

Was he really trans? Don’t know. Don’t care. I’m not paid to evaluate the minds of others.

I do sternly object to having children on puberty blockers, because I know someone whose children have to be on these due to a rare genetic condition. When they were first prescribed he acquainted us with all the side effects. And you know what? NO ONE SHOULD SUBJECT A MINOR TO THAT UNLESS IT REALLY IS NEEDED FOR A PHYSICAL, NOT A PSYCHOLOGICAL CONDITION. Adults? Well…. if one of my kids were considering it, I’d argue like hell against it, not just because they’d make the world’s ugliest women, bar none, but because — seriously — even in cases of “real” gender dysphoria, in the present state of science it’s a very high price to pay to be a pretend version of what your mind tells you that you are.

ONLY if you absolutely have no other choice, should you consider it. And if you really want kids, have kids before. I’m not going to say there aren’t cases in which transitioning isn’t actually warranted. I’m not other people. I don’t know. But I’m going to say the process is horrific, and most people end up stuck somewhere neither fish nor fowl nor good red meat. That means for a lot of the rest of their lives, they’re going to be given very weird looks. And feel out of place. Still, as someone who immigrated and also inhabits a limbo region, at least as soon as she opens her mouth, I’m not going to say some people won’t prefer that to the natural self. I’m not them.

And I think most Americans are kind of in the same place.

Abortion? I am out of the mainstream here, for various reasons. And have changed my mind on it over my life time. I don’t think anyone should have an abortion, unless it’s medically required. There’s a ton of reasons, including the fact that I knew within five minutes I’d conceived older son and that he was a boy. Never wavered. And never had that before, despite trying for six years. Younger son, OTOH? Well, I still can’t “sense” him. Possibly because he’s too much like me. Who knows? Anyway, between that, the fact that I’ve seen women in abusive relationships get bullied into abortions, and the fact that there is quite safe contraception generally available, I think the bar for “I want an abortion” should be much higher.

BUT note, please, that I’m out of the American (and possibly the west) mainstream here. Most of America believes an abortion is okay up to ten weeks, and after that it should be restricted/forbidden. Or at least that’s what polls keep coming up with. That is in fact the law in most countries that allow abortion.

The crazy “abortion at any point for any reason” is not majority opinion here or anywhere in the world. So Governor Northam and his post birth abortion can go right to extremist hell.

As for being a Christian, it is, if not a majority belief certainly a widespread one worldwide. It is still a majority in America. How can something most people believe make you an extremist? I don’t know. Ask them.

Then there’s believing in individual rights. And they’ve got us dead to rights, there, boys: in a world filled with absolute monarchs, satraps, petty despots, totalitarian horrors (and Methodists! — reference joke) we are indeed unique and “Extreme.”

Should we suppress our extremist beliefs that we have a right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness unhindered by an abusive and intrusive government?


The first question, of course, is who benefits. Certainly not individual Americans. So, why should we do it? In which way is it good for us?

Looking around at other countries where the belief doesn’t exist, what is in it for us?

I say often that the future comes from America. You might not get what I mean by that, but trust me. Almost all the innovations that make our life fat and comfortable started out in America. Sometimes Israel pitches in and more rarely another anglophone country.

However, most of what the rest of the world does is take what we invent and develop, or write, or put on screen, and try to give it some kind of a personal spin. But without us? none of it would exist.

Now, because America is a multi-racial nation, picking up the best from all over the world (and keeping it) this can’t be due to our vaunted blood lines.

So what is it due to?

Unless you’ve visited Europe, and, say, been sealed into a rapidly heating train in summer, despite the railway company knowing that the air conditioning is out in that carriage, you don’t appreciate how much that belief that individuals get to make their own choices matters in America.

The rest of the world, and those who are no longer our countrymen rail against central heating and air conditioning. Now, part of it is that none of these winnies know the climates most of us deal with. Sure, Portugal can go without central heating. Comeovertomytown and try it, in the dead of winter. Go to North Carolina in the heat of a very humid Summer without air conditioning. Then come and talk to us.

But the other part is “because we can.” And because individuals can choose to be comfortable. And most do.

Could we survive without those creature comforts? Sure. The pioneers did. And I once lived through a summer in Columbia South Carolina without air conditioning. You don’t want to know. Weirdly, too, I did no work all that summer.

And I remember being in Portugal — which is temperate if anything is — without air conditioning and/or heat, and let’s say most of my year was a lot less productive than it could be, because you’re not functioning very well when you’re dealing with extremes in weather.

So the American “extremism” of believing in individual rights is both more comfortable and more productive.

Therefore why call it “extreme” or try to suppress it. Unless you want to take those rights away so you can have absolute power, of course.

In which case you need to be aware you’re not G-d. Either real or imaginary. Your wants are not the law to me (no, not even if you’re a fat bastard who said that you believe in the rule of law and what you say is law. It ain’t. And I’m forever surprised you are smart enough to remember to exhale after each breath.) Nor should they be.

I’m not extreme. You are. You are an extreme, out of control loon who thinks that if everyone did what he/she said the world would be perfect.

I recommend you amend your extremism. Because in the path you’re taking us careening down, tolerance vanishes, and things get very very bad.

Places where there’s no bread, everyone argues, no one is right. Or if you prefer, societies that live close to the bone don’t believe in individual freedom. They also don’t believe in much of individual anything.

And the table is always set at the cannibal banquet.

Before you declare the US is “extreme” consider, in your heart of hearts what might happen to you if we weren’t.

And then, unless you’re as stupid as paste-eating Polis, you might consider giving thanks on your knees and fasting, that the rest of us are not in fact “extremist.”

512 thoughts on “Ah, To Be Extreme Now That Spring Is Here

  1. At your parties there are no roofs? No walls fall? Dang what do you do for fun? Pull up one match from a book and light it, then stand around in a circle and bet on how long it takes to light the others? Paint drying contests?
    Maaaaan, in my day we blew down walls for fun! mounted a .40 cannon on the roof on the fourth of July, and fired Whistling Chasers at the house across the street! We PARTAYED! to the point the neighbors came through the hedge next door and tried to punch us out! And that was on a Tuesday!

    1. Not bad Tim if you gotta party ’round roofs & walls.

      However 50 or more rafts built of 55 gallon steel drums floating down the Tanana River from Fairbanks, one year taking me over 24 hours and 3 cases of beer to get to Nenana (Hey there were 3 of us on my raft, 24 hours, 24 beers per person, that’s about right, ain’t it?), or 13 days canoeing the Yukon from Eagle to Circle, one of the canoes full of beer and booze.

      Ah to be young and dumb again…

  2. “Extremism” is any failure to support enthusiasticly the statements, actions, and demands of the Left.

      1. I recall House Majority Leader Dick Armey’s definition after the GOP finally won the House back in ’94: “The Democrats call for bipartisanship, by which they mean we should be bi and they’ll be partisan.”

        1. Why they love the PLO et al so much, only once beat into submission do they call for reasonable cooperation and an end to partisan actions.

      1. I felt terrible when I met one of the people I tuckerized and she asked me to sign her book. I actually don’t use a lot of real people in my books, but when I wrote that series I was running on fumes. So, E is my boys rolled together (Yes, they WERE adorable. I’d like grandkids!) and a lot of acquaintances dropped in.

        1. I can’t remember where I got this from, but character seeds are fine– you take a few points from this person, and expand, either with other people or just get inspired.

          Amusingly, one of the folks we do FF14 RP with is IRL and IC a romance writer. Who is constantly writing down notes because it sounds interesting.

          1. Might’ve been Vathara/COQ.

            IIRC, in Embers she mentions that tool in one of the author’s notes. I just did some searches in calibre, can’t find it.

            Vague impression in was in the vicinity of the NCIS gang as Fire Nation Marines. Or Han Solo.

            Didn’t even track down the author’s note that hinted the origin of the adoptive sister and brother who were Shinigami from Bleach.

            1. I seem to remember I recognized it when she mentioned it for side-character creation.

              I am still in awe that she made me NOT want to kill deNozo.

            1. Ew, I have no connection to Mr. Creepy Siegfried the Norse Hero!
              (There’s some shiny bits, but wow is there a lot of creepy in Norse mythology.)

                1. Since they made it so you can go to linked servers, it’s very much branched out, for good or ill. (Folks reading: there’s a lot of good RP. There’s also a lot of very, very, very bad RP. Of the “and then you start one-upping each other about bad groups” flavor.) Half the folks at FC events are from another server on the cluster!

                  1. “another server on the cluster!”

                    There’s a reason for that name for a collection of servers….. 😉

                    1. ::shudder::

                      There’s a reason our mains aren’t on an RP server– the kids play, too. MUCH easier to do light/fun RP on a standard server than to deal with poorly raised children publicly fascinated with their wahoos.

                    2. Balmung’s the server I picked when the game went live way back. I stay out of Uldah as much as possible, and particularly the tavern (even zone chat gets weird… and sometimes downright disgusting).

              1. Yeah, I’m frankly surprised Starlight Brigade doesn’t have its own TV Tropes page. Between the animation and the music it’s amazing how many tropes are packed into less than 4 minutes (if you don’t count the credits).

            1. Given all the stuff you’re always sharing, I take more pleasure than I probably should in having been able to introduce you to Starlight Brigade and Mystery Skulls Animated.

              Honestly, this might be a sign that I don’t have enough of a life. 😛

                1. Not a fan of FF14 or Discord, but I’m curious about the reaction now. If you don’t mind telling me, where’s this conversation taking place?

                  1. One of the big group RP servers– less a conversation, than I dropped the vidoes in there, they suddenly showed up in a bunch of other places, and I started notching various bits of shiny popping up from it.

                    I fully expect to see a white haired Roegadyn lady (basically Japanese Oni) with blue skin and a thing for gardening any day now.

            2. >> “Best AMV for an anime that doesn’t exist.”

              Hmm… That wording makes me curious. Are there a lot of those? AMVs for animes that don’t really exist, I mean?

              1. Decent number of animated music videos, adn some of them do look like they were very well re-cut from existing anime (and some look like they were badly done), just Starlight Brigade LOOKS like there’s a real anime and it’d be worth watching.

                  1. None stuck in my mind– popped up in the “you may also like” for Starlight Brigade, probably the best is the one with three punk cats going to a strip club and gang violence happens, everybody dies.

                    …I could probably find it again but the kids are up.

                  2. There use to be a German claymation with a gorilla in a top hat which I believe was titled “Ding!”, but it’s been gone a long time…..

                    Found the cat one without the kids over my shoulder, it’s Caravan Palace – Lone Digger, beautifully drawn, FREAKY.

                    Sabaton has some animated music videos, they’re more standard music videos.

                    And whatever the heck this is:

                    1. >> “Found the cat one without the kids over my shoulder”

                      You know they’re going to find out what you do online sooner or later. Best just prepare yourself to have your “cute kid” stories contradicted. 🙂

                      >> “it’s Caravan Palace – Lone Digger, beautifully drawn, FREAKY.”

                      Found it. And yeah, I agree. Little kitties should have just stayed home. Or at least kept their temper.

                      The anthropomorphic animals killing each other reminds me of the video for “Magnum Bullets,” which has the same singer and art team as Starlight Brigade. There are some real “what were they smoking” moments in the animation:

                      I do love the song itself, but I liked the animation and story in Starlight Brigade better.

                      >> “And whatever the heck this is:”

                      I saw part of that! Someone made a WallStreetBets meme out of the part of Putin dancing and I came across it back when I was trying to put together a WSB meme collection post for Sarah. Didn’t think it was worth using, but it’s nice to know where it came from.

                    2. I think the animators were going for maximum creepy there. But you’ve got to give the stripper credit for being smart enough to stay out of it and not draw any attention to herself.

                    3. The part where they got the movements right– but also made it pretty dang clear they realized the whole prey-nature of the dancers– just *shudder*

      2. Life is the crummiest book
        I ever read, there isn’t a hook
        Just a lot of cheap shots, pictures to shock
        And characters an amateur would never dream up

        Now if life would actually use 3d6 in order instead of 3d4 half the time, we’d be good.

          1. Years ago a guy I gamed with carved himself a couple four sided dice that were more like little square footballs than that triangle thing we all know and love. He said he made them because he was tired of stepping on caltrops (which is what we called the regular 4 sided dice). I had to ask why he didn’t just quit leaving his dice on the floor.

            They were neat though,

              1. Oh, those are cool!

                And now I’m thinking you could use that design trick to make d5s, d7s and so on.

            1. EVERY parent has lived through Legos on the floor.
              Younger son had legos, K’nex and other construction kits, because he often built things that were designed to move/play music, fly.
              He’d combine the kits and his electronic kits and parts of dead household appliances (the helicopter that killed my chandelier had started life as a mixer. I don’t remember how he modified it to take batteries. Sigh.)
              Walking across his bedroom, when he was between 3 and 14 was taking the life of your feet in your hands. Part of what cured me of going barefoot in the house.
              I’m not sure what to do with the fact that as we debate his possibly living with us a while longer, he’s saying “You know, if I had a backyard workshop, I’d do my best not to blow it up.”

              1. >> “He’d combine the kits and his electronic kits and parts of dead household appliances (the helicopter that killed my chandelier had started life as a mixer. I don’t remember how he modified it to take batteries. Sigh.)”

                Why does this suddenly come to mind:

                  1. I’d take any kind :). I was just having a little thought diversion about how if some sub-culture could get people to buy into actually *reproducing*, i.e. that having more children is a good thing and to be admired, that sub-culture would be more likely to take over in the long term. Who reproduces these days? The Amish? Do the LDS still have large families? When I was young Catholic families were large but that doesn’t seem to be so true these days.

                    Any culture that discourages people from having children is doomed in the long run. Yet another example of the suicide of the West, I guess.

                    1. There are non-LDS protestants doing it.

                      I suspect that estimates are partly skewed by small sample size, and by tendencies of one’s own circles.

              2. Perhaps that is the reason $SISTAUR & I never had LEGO at home. Much else, but not that/those.

                If not blow up, then what.. levitate? Glow (and in just which bit of the spectrum, hrmm)?

                  1. In me/our ($SISTAUR) case, I suspect it was a matter of economics. Chances are the other toys, being less established, were less expensive. I also now realize, that grandparents (including the set with my aunt less than 3 years older than me) didn’t have such, nor did Aunt & Uncle… (also with kids not too far different in age) huh.

              3. That’s what you get for having an aerospace engineer that isn’t a pure theorist.

                A pure theorist engineer is going to want space for books, and to work with them and paper.

                One who does numerical studies is going to want a computer.

                One with strong applied strengths is going to want space and materials so that they can work with their hands.

                And Aerospace uses fuels for powered flight.

    1. >> “Having just re-read Dipped, Stripper, & Dead…”

      “Dipped, STRIPPER & Dead?”

      I wasn’t aware Sarah wrote in THAT genre. 😛

  3. Thought Experiment Time: Ponder the alternate history if any other country (not necessarily an Axis power) was first with the atomic bomb.

    1. Somewhere, high in the Himalayas, at the edge of a mysterious desert region, there lies a temple which guards the secret of the energy source which drives the universe…

      “Indiana Jones and the Desert of Glass”, coming soon to a theater near you…

    2. It *could* have been Canada, but Mackenzie-King wanted no part of the British “Tube Alloys” project despite considerable pressure from Churchill. Probably thought the Brits would take it back after the Canadians footed the bill.

      The Japanese were, as far as I can tell, a bit behind the Soviets, but they didn’t have Beria’s pipeline into Los Alamos. The Germans, French, Poles, and Italians simply didn’t have the resources of men, money, or materials to make any notable progress before their time ran out.

      The Americans got it first, because the Manhattan Engineer District had priority over *everything*, including the War Resources Board. The bombs at Trinity, Hiroshima, and Nagasaki contained radioactive metals, but they were made out of money. America had more of it to apply to the problem than anyone else did.

      Even shoestring projects in South Africa, North Korea, and Pakistan successfully produced bombs on the cheap; what America bought with its money was *time*; there were many things that *might* work, but nobody knew what. So they pursued all of them at the same time. And isotope extraction is still slow. If you’re willing to wait years to accumulate enough metal for a bomb, no problem. Otherwise you just duplicate equipment until the desired output is reached.

      1. Aye, I do recall the claim that one (Euro) scientists had figured it was possible, not within the time limits of the War… without turning the entire country into a factory. And at the end of the war, the realization that’s, to a significant degree, what was done. Hrmm… kinda like that dual-slit experiment, over and over… “Which way to go?” “Both!” It’s almost surprising that it wasn’t until decades later that Np-237 was found/calculated to be roughly like U-235, rather than as tricky as Pu-239, if one wanted to try going that route… and supposedly nobody has. *tick* *tick* *tick*

        1. I didn’t know about the Neptunium thing. Hafnium is another path-not-taken. Plain old plutonium is where all the effort went, and nowadays money for further work is small.

          From what I gather, there’s been very little actual weapons research since the 1960s, and that was the source of all the data used for civilian applications, which mostly went away shortly after. Sure, two dozen nutters with signs are able to cancel a billion dollar power plant backed by city, county, and state polities and already funded… pull the other one.

            1. There’s a considerable amount of mudslinging there. The claim is that there are some specific isotopes that will go critical, counterclaims that’s bullshit, claims it has been demostrated in a laboratory session, counterclaims that *they* didn’t see it, etc. Considerable hot air, no public demonstration, lots of blocks of math slung about like monkeys flinging feces. Plus for some reason the conspiracy-theorist types have taken up the hafnium cause…

              All way above my pay grade; even if it probably worked, the entire infrastructure is geared for plutonium, and hafnium (or neptunium) would have to be shown to be a *lot* better or cheaper before it would make sense to change over…

              1. I have a whole book on the hafnium thing. It’s Imaginary Weapons by Sharon Weinberger. The idea is that some hafnium nuclei are significantly lopsided, and if the nucleus could be rearranged somehow (typically by some incoming energetic particles) to be more nearly spherical, it could release a LOT of energy. As best I know this has never been accomplished, but it would be a very cool hack if it were. The book is now 15 years old, and I’ve seen nothing in the research since indicating that it’s even possible, much less a done deal.

          1. Thing is, there are probably a lot of NBC or other status quo upsetting weapons technologies that haven’t been researched because of monolithic government funding being used for incremental improvements to the programs that have a bunch of officers employed as advocates.

            When the civilian world gets the tech level advanced and accessible enough, third world lunatics can come up with innovations like that really neat gas weapon delivery system that the mideast came up with.

            Even the absurdities of classification and ITAR are serving some utility. And the fact that some of these cultures are really too screwed up to manage the tech development. (It isn’t clear that the US can do what the US once did. Places like Syria, even China, are much more hugely impaired.)

            There is no doubt that we’ve missed some of the low hanging fruit of weapons tech, that it may emerge, and that tihs may make things exciting.

            There is a mad logic to my foreign policy thinking. As it is, China has a bit more bio weapons tech than is really desirable.

            1. And apparently “everybody knows,” the really cool way to deliver a bomb is as a warhead on a missile, so states like NK spend time and money working on missiles.
              One reason I half expect Europe to eat a nuke from Iran is if the mullahs want to go the shipping container route it would be easier to do it for Germany or France.

              1. In Ghost part 3 by John Ringo, a gang of Chechen terrorists delivered an old Russian bomb to Paris in a news van. Booby-trapped to a fare-thee-well, too.

                1. “Drive it in and blow it up” is stupid. A smart terrorist would have it in place for months before it was needed.

                  FYI, a ground-level blast isn’t very efficient. You’d want a crate of “air conditioning equipment” on top of a suitable building…

                  1. Plenty of aircraft that can carry a single nuke, even a fairly heavy one. And plenty of jihadi’s willing to make a one way flight to kill a million infidels at once.

                    1. Now that brings up an interesting thought: could WuFlu be an excuse for keeping all our big stadiums empty last year? Doubt it. But the reduction in big targets might be an unintended consequence.

                  2. Tom Clancy The Sum of All Fears had the nuke in a van trope, too. As I recall Clancy had the tritium booster aged out with the result of a fizzle.

                    Kurt Schlichter tried the nuke-on-the-arch in St. Louis in his Crisis. That series (People’s Republic) is one where the books and the headlines are spoilers for each other.

              2. Of course, that means the Mullahs get a free Instant Sunrise, probably from France returning the favor.
                Steward Slade wrote quite a bit about the use of nukes, and one of his points is that you automatically get membership in the MAD Club, even if you don’t have enough bombs to really play.
                Plus, you lose your Plausible Deniability privileges, no matter how hard that government tries to plead that they didn’t know the gadget they just spent tons of time, money, and effort to build just happened to wind up getting smuggled and used elsewhere.

            2. Wuhan wouldn’t even have been working on COVID if Fauci hadn’t payed them a lot of money to do the research. BTW: the US is STILL paying the Wuhan Lab a ton of money to do research. Why did Fauci pay Wuhan to do the research? Because the research was ILLEGAL to do in the US.
              Yes, this happened and is STILL happening.

        2. Hmm, I remember conversations during the cold fusion days. A coworker claimed that Lithium 6 had interesting properties, sufficiently interesting that the official energy statistics were jiggered in the late-40s or early-50s. His claim (and I never tried finding a sufficiently old CRC Handbook) was that there was a 150MeV (as best as I can recall) interaction that was covered up.

          He further claimed that commercial Li has little to no Li-6 in it. Now, if I had a mass-spec, it might be entertaining to get a sample from Lithia Spring in Ashland and see what the lithium isotope distribution looked like, then compare it to common sources of Li. Don’t have a pocket cyclotron (old radio serial MacGuffin) to check the first claim.

            1. Long ago conversation, and the coworker was Odd by even our standards. I’d still like to find a 1950 CRC and compare the reactions to my 1970 copy.

          1. > “His claim (and I never tried finding a sufficiently old CRC Handbook) was that there was a 150MeV (as best as I can recall) interaction that was covered up.”

            I am *very* skeptical of that. I am not close to an expert on nuclear weapons design but I’ve been told by men who are that yields are predictable. If one reaction produced and extra 150 MeV, I suspect the designers would know it. That would be pretty darned hard to cover up.

            > “Odd, it was Li-7 that had an unexpected “tritium bonus” that… made a big boom bigger.”

            Both Li-6 and Li-7 produce Tritium (He-3) under neutron bombardment

            Li-6 + n -> He-3 + He-4 + 4.78 MeV
            Li-7 + n -> He-3 + He-4 + n – 2.47 MeV

            However, both reactions are too slow to contribute more than a small amount to the energy released in the fusion stage. By far the most common reaction at fission temperatures is:

            H-2 + He-3 -> He-4 + n + 17.588 MeV

            As fusion temperatures are reached, the Tritium + Deuterium fusion becomes significant:

            He-3 + H-2 -> He-4 + p + 18.34 MeV

            1. Hmm, I’ll go with those numbers. I lost contact with the guy a couple of decades ago, and for all the sturm und drang of cold fusion, if there was any reality there, something should have shown up by now.

              OTOH, the guy was pretty good at first generation solar systems, so he wasn’t totally full of Schiff.

              1. I observe that it doesn’t matter whether there is any reality there or not. If it can generate enough heat to boil water, it’s a thing. If it can’t, it’s not. Raising the temperature of a beaker of water a degree or two isn’t very impressive to me even if it would require rewriting some laws of physics.

                A very parochial view, I admit, but I am what, and who, I am.

                1. I tend toward the view that science is best used when solving real world problems. At some point we have to build an airplane, turn on a light, or save a life. Technology is what links science to human experience making it real for people who do not understand the underlying principles. A jet aircraft, a light switch, and a polio vaccine are tangible cause-and-effect machines that turn phenomena described by science into technological outcomes.

                  That doesn’t mean abandon fundamental research, of course. The underlying scientific phenomena must be real or the technologies will not work.

                  1. I think my point is that there are real phenomena that simply don’t matter to our day to day lives. For example, I’m watching a YouTube series called “Even Bananas” which is about neutrinos. You can calculate the amount of energy released when a neutrino collides with an atom. Suppose, for a moment, that energy turns out to be immense, as particle collisions go. It still wouldn’t be a good solution for providing energy to the world because the reaction rate is so low. So, neutrinos exist and they do collide with nuclei, but even if they produce a lot of energy when the collision happens, a neutrino-based power plant would still not be a thing.

                    Of course, there are second-order effects. The fact that neutrinos exist and that they have weak-force interactions with other particles might mean something which could imply it’s possible to create endless energy sources or working warp drives or replicators or some such. But I’m pretty much a first-order kind of guy, as it sounds like you are.

                    1. > “I think my point is that there are real phenomena that simply don’t matter to our day to day lives.”

                      I agree and, in no way, am I advocating that such phenomena not be studied. Someday an engineering type will look at an obscure phenomena and say, “Hmmm. I think I can turn that into .” Keeping neutrinos as an example perhaps he will see how to modulate the frequency of a neutrino stream and apply it to communication.

                      I sometime wonder that had the government stuck to X projects we might have. SSTO, lunar cities and bases on Mars by now.

                      Science can be expensive and the benefits may be a decade or more away from the discovery. The only way ordinary folks will keep paying for something like that is if it delivers tangible benefits. Even as far back as Newton, most science was steered by its benefactors. The notion of science as the “free play of free intellects” is a pretty founding myth but no more true than the Biblical Exodus story. Scientific knowledge advances more quickly when it is directed toward solving tangible problems. Especially those problems related to technological innovation. Americans used to understand this.

                      Perhaps the most damaging effect from decades of politicized science is that the people who pay the bills are losing their “faith” in the ability of science to deliver real benefits instead of dire warnings and controlist solutions.

                      To me, that is a scary thought.

      2. Wasn’t there also an early fopah where the German scientists got it into their heads that they couldn’t use graphite as a moderator and ended up going all in on heavy water?

        I recall something like that crippled them early, by chance.

        I also seem to recall the Allies tan a rather bonkers operation to yoink all of the available yellow cake out of Africa before the axis relapsed what they had.

        1. Correct on the heavy water.

          My understanding is that when the German atomic scientists found that the Americans had been able to do what those scientists had not, the scientists came up with the plan to declare that they had *intentionally* run German atomic weapons development down the wrong path.

          Or in other words, “We’re not really idiots! We did it intentionally to help the good guys win the war!”

          The Allies were apparently secretly recording the meeting where the scientists realized they’d been idiots.

          1. Not so sure about the idiocy (intentional or otherwise) of the German (and also Japanese) fission bomb programs. There is a bit on each in Richard Rhodes “Making of the Atomic Bomb” which is a fair to middling analysis of the Manhattan project with some details on the opposition programs. A great deal of the issue is that they weapon materials are hard to get. U235 requires some darned
            complex strategies (Calutrons… man what a nightmare boondoggle) and PU is ugly to work with and has some nasty features. For example one metallic state where density increases sharply meaning you can get unexpected criticality as it transitions, Another feature is that PU240 has a huge capture cross section and generating PU makes some PU240. Its why you cant do a PU gun type weapon, you can’t assemble it fast enough to avoid pre detonation. We (and the Brits) poured money into the Manhattan project. Germany luckily didn’t ever commit in the massive fashion we did and their physicists were more on the theoretical side of things rather than experimental. It seems likely to me if they’d pushed harder they would have really gotten their ass in a sling as they rushed places without detailed experimentation.

            1. The thing that surprises me about the surprise from the west about the Soviet bomb in 1949 was that the US Intelligence Community apparently decided anyone else building a bomb would have to go down all the blind alleys and ratholes and redo the basic research that Manhattan did from 1941 to 1945 to get to a working weapon.

              Though the Soviets had active experimentation from 1943, and Beria was given the “acquire uranium” project in 1944, until the US dropped the bombs in Japan the whole thing was under Red Army control, which was otherwise occupied with killing Germans. After Hiroshima and Nagasaki the Soviet programs shifted to direct politburo management. The NKVD and GRU of course had spies all through the Manhattan organization, with Fuchs providing huge piles of detail including actual plans for the Fat Man implosion device in 1945, and even more valuable, results of the “tickling the dragon” critical mass tests so the Soviets didn’t have to do that basic research.

              But even with all that “how it works” espionage product, it still took the Soviets until August 1949 to build the working Pervaya Molniya device.

              So given it took the US 4 years, albeit doing everything with everyone and all the money *, and given the US knew the Soviets had an active experimental program from at least 1944, it’s classical CIA stupidity that the CIA ORE paper “Estimate of Status of Atomic Warfare in the USSR” dated 20 September 1949, three weeks after the Soviet Pervaya Molniya detonation, and two weeks after it’s detection by US air sampling flights, was still predicting the Soviet A-bomb “most probable date” of 1953, though they said it was “possible” by 1950.\

              The CIA never getting a thorough cleanout after major intelligence failures every generation, including it’s participation in the attempt to overturn a US Presidential election, is one of the mysteries that points at who has the actual power in DC. The only minor cleanout the CIA ever got was the post-Watergate Church Committe stuff in 1975, basically killing off the HUMINT and Air-America-type black side of the house at CIA, which I have been told is the proximate contributor to the Shah’s fall and Mullahs takeover, aided and abetted by the perfidy of President Jimmeh.

              * Note the B-29 program cost as much as Manhattan did – and the US funded both massive programs simultaneously while also conducting a two front worldwide war in which it armed basically the entire world

              1. And the Soviets copied the B-29, as well…

                (Using interned planes as the starting point, though)

                1. And the resulting Tu-4 “Bull” was pretty much an AND amalgamation of the interned B-29s; there were differences in things like where internal holes were drilled or various bits of internal mechanism were placed depending on when a given bomber was built, sometimes manufacturing errors, so they put them all in the Tu-4 as it was being designed and built. Just in case.

                  1. So, sort of the opposite of Chesterton’s Fence? “We don’t know why they did it that way, so we’d better copy it EXACTLY.”

                  2. Including duplicating the armor patch on one of the planes, apparently.

                    The cool bit, imo, is that the B-29 was built using Imperial measurements, and not metric. The Soviets generally used the latter. But since they wanted to make sure that the could get a working plane (and knew that their own aviation industry wasn’t up to the job of building something similar), they built entire factories and tool sets that used Imperial measurements just to build their copies. Pretty impressive.

              2. > it still took the Soviets until August 1949

                Isotope separators only work so fast, and they’re not really scaleable. The Soviets had everything that Los Alamos had; they *knew* what would work and how long it would take, but the USSR had more important claims on its resources than its atomic weapons project. A sizeable portion of its population was dying of starvation, plus the winter of 1946 was particularly harsh and bad for agriculture, plus trying to rebuild basic industry, plus trying to secure its beachheads in Eastern Europe, plus…

                They could have shaved a year or so off, but at tremendous cost. Someone along the way made the decision that it could wait until 1949, and that’s how it went down.

                Remember, the bulk of the US project was at Hanford and Oak Ridge, and they were HUGE, and they were primarily used for separation and processing. Los Alamos was just the research and assembly center. The Soviets eventually matched or exceeded US production, but it took time.

                1. Right – I’m basically wondering which analyst got demoted and transferred to the Iceland desk for suggesting the USSR could possibly have a working device as early as 1948 but most likely 1949 when the expert senior analysts were saying 1953.

            2. I recall an audiobook about various atomic curiosities (incidents, accidents, etc.) that made the claim that one of the two Japanese projects was pretty much just one guy and rather than ‘lose face’ by asking someone (such as a chemist) to or how to make uranium hexafluoride, he took a year to work out how to make a sample quantity. The Manhattan Project, having no such issue but with a drive of “can we get it yesterday?” upon realizing the stuff was needed, supposedly had the initial sample in twenty minutes.

          2. I’m not aware of anything like that in the Farm Hall transcripts, although I haven’t made a great study of it. Heisenberg, appropriately enough, is the one we’re uncertain about. He was somewhat cagey about discussion what he did and didn’t really know with the other scientists–understandably, since some of them were committed Nazis and as far as he knew might have had friends who would seek revenge when they were returned to Germany. But he clearly figured out roughly how a uranium bomb might be made–the question is whether he figured it out only after he knew the U.S. had done it, or if he had the idea all along.

            1. I recall the theory that the Manhattan Project had better and more engineers, not just scientists.

              1. The German program at max only had fewer than a hundred scientists doing basic research, with that peak reached early on before it was decided building a uranium bomb would take too long to make any difference in the outcome of the war.

                The Reich leadership pretty much turned it into a science fair project in 1942, even though they internally assessed the US could have a bomb by 1944 – they even shipped all their uranium dioxide stocks off for research into non-tungsten high-density penetrating ammunition in 1943.

                Though the heavy water work was a real effort, the German program was just not serious from a practical standpoint.

                1. It’s been a long time, but I thought Rhodes stated that the Germans were eventually focusing on fission as a propulsion power source, though I don’t know how far they got on that (if anywhere beyond papers).

                  The destruction of the Norway heavy water facility should have caused further disruption, but I don’t know how much. (Last read the A-bomb book in the mid ’90s…)

                  1. In 1939 they decided to try for a bomb. But by 1942 they were telling Speer that a bomb would take 3-5 more years and so could not be completed in time to influence the current war. After that Heisenberg diddled along with heavy water science projects, and they split off an effort on a “uranium motor” reactor project for the Kriegsmarine.

                    Good transcripts of the Farm Hall recordings of the German nuclear scientists’ various discussions and reactions after Hiroshima: https://germanhistorydocs.ghi-dc.org/pdf/eng/English101.pdf

                    1. Interesting and odd revisionist history bit right at the end of that transcript from one of the German Farm Hall internees regarding “uranium engine” reactor-based propulsion work, when WEIZSÄCKER mistakenly concludes from press coverage the next day that the US-British Manhattan Project work did not produce a working controlled-chain-reaction reactor (oddly, as the night before they discussed a reactor being a required prerequisite for the creation of a uranium bomb):

                      WEIZSÄCKER: History will record that the Americans and the English made a bomb, and that at the same time the Germans, under the HITLER regime, produced a workable engine. In other words, the peaceful development of the uranium engine was made in GERMANY under the HITLER regime, whereas the Americans and the English developed this ghastly weapon of war.

                      And the word Plutonium appears nowhere in the quoted transcripts.

                    2. Love the bit of turning a project failure into an attempt at virtue signalling. Obviously not a modern phenomenon.

                  1. Yes, and Leo Szilard, and IIRC a fair number of the others (including Edward Teller–what’s with all the Hungarians?) were Jewish.

              2. The Manhattan Project had more of EVERYTHING. Literally anything at all that was within the power of the fully mobilized wartime economy to deliver, up to and including new power plants whose output was devoted to processing fissionable materials.

                Germany probably had the capability of matching that effort up to mid-1943, but probably wouldn’t have been able to sustain the effort long enough to achieve success.

                1. Remember those Calutrons I mentioned? They need a large conductive loop to help separate the U235 from the U238 via a process like a mass spectrometer. But this was late war and copper was not to be had (lots of other military stuff needs copper). Some genius realized silver was an excellent conductor so they went to the Treasury Dept. They needed many tons of silver. Treasury folk were authorized to hand it over (though the Manhattan folks needed to specify the quantity in Troy ounces where it was several million ounces…)

        2. Possibly. There was supposedly a need in the Manhattan Project to either account for the boron (used in graphite production) that would absorb neutrons, or have boron-free graphite manufactured. If that wasn’t caught (once again, Manhattan got lucky, that someone who knew that production detail was in the right place at the right time).

        3. Part of that, I think, was that the German were thinking more along the lines of “The One True Way” whereas the American effort was “There Is More Than One Way To Do It” so find the best and cost be damned.

          1. I don’t recall how many isotope separation schemes were used in the Manhattan project. Off hand, I can recall gaseous diffusion and the mass-spec Calutrons. I don’t recall reading of the centrifuges in the histories I’ve read. Clearly it (and the entire project) was a shining example of the power of “and”.

            For that matter, the more successful weapons projects (see fighters, P38, P51, P47) used the more than one way to solve a problem approach. Thinking of the torpedo issues, where there was only one “solution”, it stunk.

            1. And the “It HAS to initiate!” trigger for the bombs themselves…
              Barometric trigger.
              Radar altimeter trigger.
              Impact detonator.
              And I might have missed something.

    3. Yeah, I’ve considered that from time to time. And I’m *extremely* glad it was the US. I’m pretty confident that no one else would have set it aside after Nagasaki.

      1. There was a *vast* Soviet propaganda campaign in the USA calling for limitation or abandonment of atomic weapons; lots of front organizations set up, paid influencers in existing ones, “talking points” for political types, etc. Some of the espionage books written after the KGB archives were opened in 1994(?) describe it.

        They didn’t get us to abandon nukes entirely, but they were successful at getting “arms limitation” support and killing power plants, though.

  4. Early days of my time with NASA working first Spacelab then ISS experiment operations experiment investigators had to come to Huntsville for the actual missions as we had not yet developed the technology for remote groundside data flow and commanding. It was not until well into the ISS days that we achieved that infamous goal of a Principle Investigator sitting in his garage at home on a laptop interacting with a payload on orbit.
    Anyway, a lot of our missions were partnered with international teams, primarily European Space Agency and NASDA (Japanese). And they would send teams to Huntsville not only for the missions themselves, but several trips beforehand to become familiar with our facilities and the mission cadre they would be working with.
    One team of mostly Brits had their first visit in November, and did quite a bit of good natured teasing about we pampered, spoiled Americans with our extravagant and wasteful heating and air conditioning. Well Bless Their Hearts as we are wont to say to such visitors.
    Their second visit was in August.
    For those unfamiliar August in Alabama is high nineties to low one hundreds every day with 90 percent or more humidity. And much the same can be said about Houston, home of JSC. They may have a slight edge being much closer to the Gulf Coast.
    Those Brits like to died, and were invariably most apologetic to we colonials.

    1. Good for the British that they had the grace to apologize. Did they ever get to see storm season?
      I worked in Huntsville in the late 70s and moved back in 1994. Wonderful area, but AC comes real close to being an absolute necessity.
      BTW, we might be getting some exciting weather tomorrow down here. Ah spring, when the sound of the tornado siren is heard across the land.

      1. Don’t remember specifically, but I do recall that as Huntspatch is in the Southeastern tornado alley we always ran the mission teams through extreme storm drills with shelter in place in designated parts of the building, ie no glass, no external walls, and at least one floor above you. Foreign folk were a bit dismissive so we wound up having to work up a video covering the F4 that took out a good portion of the center of town in November of 89. Scared them right proper once we assured them that these were newsreels, not special effects. For that one I was in my office on the eighth floor of a ten story building when in came right overhead, touched down to the East, and took out all electrical power to all of Redstone Arsenal and most of the rest of the city. Made a point of telling that story every time we did the storm drills.

        1. I spent some quality time in 1995 crouched in a ditch with my son while one apparently went by about 500 feet away. I was so focused on comforting a terrified four-year-old that I had no idea what was going on. I only know when we got out of the ditch, our route home was completely covered with uprooted trees.
          I took tornado warnings MUCH more seriously after that.

            1. He’s the only one. He has an older half-brother and sister.
              He was an unexpected blessing. I was 36 when I got pregnant and one of our acquaintances said to my husband, “Of course she’s going to have an abortion.” Thinking, I suppose, of possible Down’s Syndrome. My beloved didn’t tell me about the conversation until after son’s birth, to save the life of the acquaintance.

              1. I was 32 when second son was born. And 44 when I had a fetal-death at 6 months because of massive allergy attack (mine.)
                Sometimes I wonder what life would be like with a 14 year old daughter right now.
                Interesting, I suspect….

                    1. My daughter takes after me like I take after my father. I can see the same sort of harebrained schemes that I used to do and that my father did in the sorts of things she does. It’s kind of awesome. My son isn’t like that at all.

                    2. That’s younger son. He takes after me and my father. So he thinks I disapprove of him. It’s actually more of a “OH dear lord, don’t do that. I DID THAT. I know how that ends.”

                1. Grandma’s youngest two were born when she was 40 and 42. Then grandpa died when she was 50. Four of their 6 were still at home, including the 3rd born who had extreme epilepsy (went to group home when he was 26).

                    1. Definitely not considered mental illness. Even us nieces and nephews knew he had a medical condition he couldn’t control. Doesn’t mean that the episodes didn’t scare us, and in some instances deep psychological scar. He had very violent, grand mall seizures. If you didn’t know what was going on, it just looked like he was being violent, reactive, and out of control. Same type of physical control was needed too or he violently banged his head, which did cause physical brain damage.

                      I remember one episode at a holiday dinner where same age cousin and I bolted for the front door (how mom beat us to the front door to stop us had to be a “mom” reaction). We were around 10, I think. Wasn’t the first time we’d witnessed an event, just the first time we’d had a clear path to clear out. It didn’t matter that we knew that he’d never hurt any of us kids.

                      Confronted with the same type of violent reaction (not necessarily due to seizure) my reaction today (55 years later) is to bolt. The one time it has happened when hubby was around my bolting surprised him. Uncle Harry was in a nursing home by the time we met and married, so hubby never met him. Bolting was automatic. I had no clue what had triggered it, until I’d thought about it. At least now I know that type of reaction will trigger a bolt. Reason I retired when I did was this was exactly the type of violent tantrum the person was doing (drug induced). HIm I wasn’t so sure it was contained, wasn’t going to be collateral damage. So the reaction then was “Yep. I’m getting out of dodge. I’m sneaking out. Not a dang thing I can do. Not a dang thing I want to do. I’m out of here.” I wasn’t the only one either, not an overreaction.

                    2. It stopped being regarded as a mental illness when it stopped being defined as “people who thrash about uncontrollably” and became defined as “people who suffer brain storms of electricity passing between the two hemispheres of their brains.”

      2. “when the sound of the tornado siren is heard across the land.”

        One of the things we miss about Nemo is that he would howl along with the sirens. Woke us up at least twice when we didn’t hear them.

    2. When we were still located in the DFW area we hosted a Brit from BP for testing product.
      His complaint was we work too hard and too long, and DFW in July and August is reason enough to take more time off. (hey, at least it ain’t Houston)

      1. Brits on diplomatic duty in Houston used to get tropical climate hazard bonuses. Don’t know if that’s still true or not.

        1. Heck, Americans from North of the Red River should get tropical climate hazard bonuses for working in Houston.

    3. I’ve heard, before air conditioning was a thing, British diplomats stationed in Houston received tropical pay.

      It *is* at the same latitude as Calcutta…

    4. A friend of mine left from Fort Rucker in Alabama to stage in (Qatar?) for Desert Storm. He remarked how it was dry and cool compared to Alabama.

    5. Guy from India was complaining about how cold it was in October. Our lows weren’t even getting down to freezing.

      That year there was a COLD SNAP at the end of December. Single digit or subzero lows. and then next week he was talking about how it had warmed up when the highs weren’t getting above freezing.

      1. When there was that cold spell here in Iowa, when the patio said -20 at one point, I did a grocery run.

        There were locals going to the store wearing hoodies with maybe a vest.

        Then there are the guys from Pretty Sure Middle East, who were bundled up like eskimoes inside of the store.

        (I was somewhere between, with a hoody and my old Navy utility jacket.)

        1. I live in SE Minnesota, in laws lived in Livermore, CA (wonder where Father-in-law worked… never ever got to visit his office ;-D)
          Went to visit in January one year. -35F when we left Rochester, 58ish when we arrived at Oakland.
          Saw a guy walking in Oakland in a parka with the blizzard hood pulled all the way tight.
          Wife and I were debating shorts.

          1. I used to work with Art, who spent a year and a half in Antarctica. It was -60° INSIDE THE BASE, because heating it would use WAAAAY too much fuel and, anyway, the base was carved into the ice and they had to keep it from melting. He said he never felt cold again. Living at -60° does require certain…adjustments.

          2. We moved from south of the SF Bay area to central MN a couple years ago. One’s perspective does tend to change a bit. A 35ºF day in October here feels a lot colder than a 35ºF day, well, today. Maybe a light sweater or windbreaker day today, if it’s breezy.

          3. Wife and I were debating shorts.

            Every single time we’ve gone to CA south it has been Jan/Feb, we’ve worn shorts once we got there. Florida, only once, in Feb, shorts. Arizona, Feb., shorts, including Arches NP on the way home, although we were at least wearing light jackets. When we got out of the car at Brice (same trip), It was OMG Cold!

            I’m used to the Willamette Valley. I’ve discovered a dry heat is “cooler”, but a dry cold, minus ice/snow/wind, is not as cold. Thus running around in shorts and light jacket was doable at Arches NP at 50 &deg but not the same temp at home, even if it isn’t raining.

          4. In the last week I was walking, wearing sandals and no jacket at all — short sleeves — when a family was also walking with coats and winter hats.

            One girl was distinctly looking at my feet.

            1. That’s a weird business. When I was young (1960s and 70s) girls and women always had cold feet. (This was in Chicago.) My first girlfriend wore sandals in the summer–with socks. Her feet were always freezing. OTOH, the last winter we lived in Colorado, I ran into a dog groomer we knew, a young-ish woman (30s), in the supermarket parking lot. She was tromping through ankle-deep slush in 30 degree weather…in flip-flops. It didn’t seem to bother her at all. It must be what you experienced growing up. My niece runs out in the snow in Chicago, barefoot, to pick up the mail from the mailbox. I can’t figure it.

      2. Long ago, when I worked in oil and gas, my coworkers were being sent to places like Surabaya and Abu Dhabi and the part of Egypt (or possibly Libya) where you weren’t sure what country you were in because the border hadn’t been formally set. I actually looked forward to travelling the world on Baker-Hughes’s dime, and I wasn’t disappointed. I was sent to two exotic locales: Denver City, Texas, and Marshalltown, Iowa.

        Okay, maybe I was slightly disappointed. You see, I had gone to graduate school at Iowa State, which is in Ames, and Marshalltown is the county seat of the next county east of Ames. Once, while I was still in school, I had gotten a wild hare and driven to Marshalltown just to see what it was like. The point was it held no mystery for me. I mention this because, I was supposed to go there in mid-February and investigate some issues a pipeline company was having with their equipment. Now, having lived in that part of Iowa a couple of years, I knew what to expect. I was only there two or three days and when I left, it was about 50F and everyone was talking about how warm that was, which is remarkable only because when I arrived it was 15F and everyone was talking about how warm THAT was.

        I did have to break out the parka recently, but that’s more because it was 45 degrees in the house than because it was 10 degrees outside.

  5. I longed to be a boy when i was a child. Specifically, I wanted to be Tarzan. My brothers were stronger and faster, and I thought being a girl was just awful. Then I went through puberty and turned from a scrawny child into a woman, and hey! Being a woman is wonderful. Being a mother is the most glorious part of my life.

    Today, confused young girls are being mutilated and drugged in the hands of evil people. Those poor girls. Those evil, evil people.

    1. Similar here– I wanted to be a guy, they got to have fun.

      TV shows had girls that Did Things, but they always had to be in charge and were kinda bullies.

      Guys got to Do Things and be in a team without the constant pissing match.


      I like being a woman. Still a total geek, but I like being a woman.

            1. Handy skill that. She’s still a little too young to get a handle on that yet, but give it time.

              It’s also hilarious to watch her play with my old diecast airplanes. She does the whole whoosh whoosh with them flying around, then they kiss and go to aleep.

              1. I spent the summer I turned eight building balsa wood rubber band operated cars, and keeping careful note of which went faster, and hypothesis about why.
                But yeah. Older son, stuck in Portugal and having no boy toys, but only my old dolls available when he was 5 played with my dolls, but …. they were ninjas and fighters and things. 😀

                1. I’ve seen folks describe the Mortal Kombat video games as “boys playing with their toys but in a video game.”

                  Paraphrasing: “There is a character that is a cop. His name is Striker, but with a Y. His ability is ‘shoot’. There is a fighter named Cable, but we spell it Kabal, and he throws chains at people and yanks them.”

                2. Oh goodness. My daughter got a construction site playser with most of a dozen plastic cars/trucks/loaders/etc for the Christmas when she was 3.
                  She loved it! She put Peppa Pig stickers on the cars (two big, two little) so she could keep track of who was Mommy Car, Daddy Car, Brother Cat and Sister Car. They would drive up the hill of the construction site to meet their Calico Critters friends and have lunch. Sometimes someone would get sick and need to see Dr Belle.

                  (Her two-year-old brother basically took it over sometime in the last year. One car lost a wheel, the loader broke its bucket, and there are several big plastic screws missing from the play set at any given time. Daughter has instead colonized the Lil Nursery play tent, where the stuffed animals that live there seem to have one job: KEEP BROTHER OUT!)

                  (It is *hilarious* how different children are. Whoever came up with Tabula Rasa clearly never met one >.>)

              2. Yup, Being partially brainwashed we went to great care to make sure our two daughters had access to all sorts of toys both traditionally male and traditionally female. They had a car garage for hot wheel/matchbox type vehicles that they loved. They’d play with the cars zooming them around the garage, but when they were done they’d tuck the cars in to bed very lovingly 🙂 .

                1. I’ll admit, for me it’s more of a nefarious plot to get her interested in airplanes early, with an eye towards teaching her how to be a flight sim RIO when she gets old enough. Apparently the Navy doctrine is that the guy in back is the officer in command.

                  Yes, I am hoping for at least part of future daddy-daughter time to be dogfighting MiGs over the desert 🙂

                  1. A Noble Pursuit :-). My younger daughter loves FPS games (never could get either into flight sims), and will happily kick my butt in Battlefront 2 or similar. Somedays I think I was a little TOO successful.

              3. Yes, my daughters did the same thing. Their airplanes and trains and such would run around doing airplane and train things, and then get tucked in for bedtime when play time was over.

            1. Yeah, my mother was the numbers person, and did Linux installs as a hobby. My dad is the communicator and the one who, now, writes for a living.

              Even when he was working as an engineer, his specialty was translating engineer speak into “rest of the world” language.

              I rather suspect in modern times, both would have been pushed to transition. Heck, those online “what gender are you” quizzes pretty consistently got me swapped for the longest time.

              On the other hand, we are all odds, and relentlessly independent to the point of foolishness at time, so who really knows? It may have made a tilt at them and simply bounced.

              1. … those online “what gender are you” quizzes

                I wouldn’a waste my time on those as none offer the option I know is right: wallabee, bee, bee, not wallabi, bi, bi.is the one for me, me, me!

              2. Even when he was working as an engineer, his specialty was translating engineer speak into “rest of the world” language.

                Niece has a computer degree. Her last job with Disney, based out of Seattle suburb community, was interpreter between tech and creative. At least I think it is her “last” job. She, and a lot of others, are furloughed due to CCPFlu. Don’t know if she knows if she is ever going to be called back. She’s started her own online soap and bath bomb line.

            2. My wife is an engineer and I worked in a lot of restaurants when I was young. We have a perfect thing going. She fixes stuff, I cook dinner and pick up heavy things as needed I own the hand tools mostly. She likes power

              1. Both sons love cooking. Married one found a wife who also cooks, which let me tell you, these days is really rare. BUT– both of them are ready to pitch in if not.

                1. Hmm. My youngest is really good at both cooking and baking. My adult eldest was giving lessons to her similarly adult friends about how to make stuff like quesadillas and grilled cheese. I cook, but not outstandingly. Mr. BTEG was fortunate enough to learn cooking from his Italian grandmother. I think he taught the girls the most about cooking.

                    1. My wife loves to bake, she likes precise measurements and doesn’t like poking at things. I like to bake bread. My choice for a last meal would be good bread with lots of butter.

                      My daughter is a very good cook and a very good baker. My sons can cook. We can all sew on a button, iron a shirt, wash and dry clothes. Oldest is on the spectrum and is very clumsy but even he can wire a socket, do basic carpentry and drywall, change a tire, check oil. All those little skills that seem to be lost.

            3. My husband bought me a matched drill and impact driver set. Now he “borrows,” them, even though he has his own set.

              1. I asked my husband for, and got, a mouse sander (I was working on small furniture stuff at the time) for my birthday one year.

            4. My Mom was the one that got me hooked on computers, my Dad is the numbers guy (retired banker.) Grandpa on Dad’s side was the handyman (built a house, maintained the house, maintained his boat motor, built me a bike trailer when I had a paper route.)

              Between the three of them, I got hooked on more things than I care to think about.
              Been putting my own PCs together since before Cyrix chips were hot, can do a fair bit of home maintenance on my own (including some electrical work,) can change my own oil (but I hate doing that,) when we got a house with a basement, lets just say Lowe’s became my new best friend…

              The wife handles the cooking (slapping meat on the grill? I can do that. Chopping the veggies? Sure. Actually fixing something from a recipe? Erm, um, maybe-sorta?) She’s also the seamstress of the house, although I think she undersells her abilities so I try to “gently” push her to do more than she thinks she can.

          1. Treasure girls. I have 3 sisters. Also a daughter born male to years of over 20 surgeries. No way to be male, from day one. I treasure her survival and hormone treatments. She is all girl, but rather fond of violent computer games (which I always thought was pretty hot in a female).

            1. For the record, there are both true transsexuals and real instances of intersex.
              HOWEVER pushing it onto the culture as “if you don’t fit in you’re this” is fairly awful.

        1. Not fish, but hike, explore, cliff climb, carpentry. Now in retrospect this is because my relationship with mom sucked. So, you know, I needed to do not around mom things.
          As a married woman I found I love cooking and embroidery and — weirdly — even cleaning.

          1. My relationship with my mother isn’t really good. Nowadays I like crocheting, knitting, but I still don’t care for cleaning and cooking. I’ve gotten better at the cooking for one though.

      1. > I like being a woman

        Clearly you’re a victim of cismale patriarchal oppression, and you desperately need help… or you’re a traitor to the Sisterhood, and should be shunned or attacked.

        “Why can’t everyone else be miserable, just like me?”

    2. I wanted to be a boy for probably the most stupid reason imaginable.
      I didn’t have problems of being weaker or slower than the boys I played with because my family re outliers. I was slower and weaker than my brother, but he’s 10 years older, so “normal.”
      HOWEVER boys could pee standing up. And not have to go in to the bathroom in the middle of a game.
      On the serious side: I’m not a particularly “typical” woman but I love being a woman. Shoes are a religious experience, and I love being a mother. And it’s not like I could be anything else. I mean, if we’re going to pick, I want to be a dragon.

          1. I think of unicorns as the paladins of the mythical animal world. Pure, unbreakable, elusive, and… yes, pretty, lol. XD

            1. Story Time….

              Several years ago I was at a convention, and it was Friday or Saturday night as it was the Time of the Room Parties. I had the privilege of seeing a unicorn. And I got to see what an annoyed unicorn can do without impaling anyone… physically, anyway. It was impressive in how a great an effect could be had with a minimal effort. I should not have been surprised, as unicorns are fantastic (beyond even the ‘usual’ measures for them!) at language.

              So… no manure, there I was, watching as a unicorn entered a room party room. There was a bit of a hallway, which was a bit odd, but conventions are hardly noted for their normality. In this hallway were three young male humans. One of which attempted to interpose himself as some sort of gatekeeper. He asked if we agreed that some comic, which I had never heard of, nor evidently had the unicorn, was “the greatest comic ever.” Being honest creatures, we both admitted our ignorance of said comic. Of course this was unbelievable (moreso than a unicorn encounter!) to Comic Book Guy who… expounded, with vigor. Eventually the both of us made it past the gatekeeper(s) and to the alleged party.

              The unicorn found little of interest, and I’ve seldom if ever found a unicorn to be of poor judgment, thus we both made our way out. Had it been a simple, unimpeded, trip to the door I’d have forgotten this much as I’ve forgotten a good many things. Ah, but the three fellows were still there, peripheral to everything and signifying nothing. And that meant Comic Book Guy was also still there. And evidently was a True Fan(atic) – subject unchanged, effort redoubled.

              And then a thing of vicious beauty, a (mildly) perturbed unicorn in glorious form:

              The unicorn passed the first fellow… and quietly proclaimed, “Getting it.”
              The unicorn passed the second fellow… and again quietly proclaimed, “Getting it.”
              The unicorn passed Comic Book Guy… and slightly less quietly proclaimed. “Virgin.”

              And then Comic Book Guy made The Great Mistake, for he complained (loudly), “Damnit!” Which, of course, had the other two fellows erupting in laughter. As they laughed themselves silly, and Comic Book Guy fumed, the unicorn made his escape – and I took advantage of the situation to do the same.

      1. Pretty much the same reason I wanted to be a boy, except that there are no toilets when doing fieldwork or hunting and fishing and I had to bare my whole butt to pee behind a bush. (Home schooling plus.)

        Then puberty hit, and that sucked so bad. Boys had it so easy. (Being mom of four boys, half of them done with the puberty thing, half of them doing it, I’ll say it sucks way worse for girls.)

        And yet, I’m pretty girly as an adult. I’ve got more formal dresses in my closet looking for an excuse to be worn than I have a chance to wear in a year. I wear skirts and dresses in preference to jeans unless a job requires being down on hands and knees.

        1. It does suck. If you don’t see it up close as an adult, you don’t know that.
          Meh. I’m…. mixed. Partly because I never thought of myself as even passable, and still don’t. BUT I used to love dressing for date day/evening. When our lords and masters let us have those.
          And as you know from Kate’s books, being a demon, I LOVE sparkles. 😀

            1. Something awful happened to my hip when I had eclampsia. The bones retained water and…. well….
              This bums me because I can’t wear heels for any length of time, so my shoe collection is smaller and tamer.
              Before that husband SOMETIMES called me Imelda….

    3. I remember running with the boys before puberty. Jumping on haystacks and sliding down ropes. I was not impressed with puberty and then I grew six inches in one summer. I did like being a tall girl. 🙂

    4. I never really got that. When I was young, the girls wore dresses to church, and got corralled to the kitchen help when there were family gatherings. Otherwise, they climbed trees, caught frogs, hunted and trapped, played in the mud, fought bloody wars with us boys all the same. I was born in the era of “out of the house and don’t come back till supper” kids.

      We weren’t exactly unwatched, as there were adults everywhere. But it was less “no blood, no foul” than “walk it off, we’re still playing, numbnuts!” Yes, puberty meant we got split up and taught manners (some of which I still resent, even though they’re as much part of me as my beard and scars are now), but while kids we were just… kids, mostly. Girls got dolls. Boys got toy soldiers. We still played the same games, though.

      Perhaps my bunch were just plain weird, though. That wouldn’t surprise me none.

      1. My mother was born in the early thirties, and spent a lot of her childhood outside with her older and younger brothers. She was accepted by her brothers’ friends without question. She also learned a little about auto repair from my grandfather, and was better at it than my father. She is a mediocre cook, but her mother didn’t seem super into cooking either. My grandmother lived in extreme poverty as a child, though, so I imagine they cooked whatever they could lay their hands on.

    5. One of the surprising, at least on the surface, side effects of trans activism is the narrowing of allowable gender expression. A lot of lesbians talk about tomboys, who would often group up to be typical lesbians, are not being recruited into being men. We hear a lot about the disappearance of tomboys as a concept.

      Less discussed is the flip side. That could be because while tomboy is an acceptable social role, even if it is supposed to be a phase you grow out of, nancy girl or sissy has not had the same role. Still, there were places for men wishing to experiment with feminity. Not anymore. Any crossdresser is told he’s really a woman and should start transitioning.

      In a trans-accepting world there are strict “male” and “female” that if you stray from one you need to just be the other. There is nothing more pro-gender binary and rigid gender roles than transactivism.

      1. I got a little bit of crap for taking Home Ec in both middle and high school. I also took shop because it seemed like a good idea to know how to do different things.

        I can’t remember exactly what my Mom made, but it was something I didn’t like and she told me if I didn’t like it I could cook my own dinner. The look on her face when I did was pretty funny.

        1. I took craft courses when I was in school and often was the only male in the class. About the only thing I didn’t learn was crochet. I probably should at some point.

        2. Baking, boiling, microwaving, and pressure cooking are done by time. I can tell time. Frying is done by color; since I can’t see that, I have to watch for Burnt Crunchy Bits(tm) before taking it off the burner.

        1. I had guessed, but it is the lesbian community that did the first very public warnings and got stuck with the label TERP, which is hate speech if I’ve ever heard any, for their pains.

          1. The individuals doing that labeling deserve their own label: Feminist-Antagonistic Radical Trans. The acronym suits.

      2. You’ve mentioned this before.

        I’ve had success with wrinkling my nose and pointing out that I thought we were past that whole “only girls do this” or “only boys like that” thing.

        So, your point has been effective in helping folks. Thank you.

      3. My daughter has decided she is a man, is taking testosterone, and dressing as tomboy like as she can, with a rather curvy figure. She’s interested in dating guys who sort of try to present as girls, whereas as before she was interested in straight guys. I keep wanting to tell her that her Italian grandmother and great-grandmother grew better mustaches than hers.

      4. I’ve said the same thing regarding the gender essentialism of trans activists.

        Then there’s also the fact that “sissification” is a fetish among a certain segment of the population, and you quickly get into issues of such activism being about forcing acceptance of sexualities rather than identities.

        1. I’m aware of the fetish, but choose the word because it seems, in the USA at least, to be the closest term to tomboy in terms of “younger male with interests that are stereotypically female”. To avoid the confusion I’m open to suggestions.

    6. Guess we’re lucky to be sitting up here atop the world. My Savage teenage granddaughter is quite delighted to just be who/what she is and equally adapt at sewing and shooting.

    7. Funny. I have always wanted to be female. Prettier. Seems to have the better end of the deal for sex. And then the internet happened and I could be anything and I chose …

      An experimental UFP starship. NX2000. Excelsior!

    8. As someone put it…
      If your kid decided he was Superman, would you let him jump off the roof??
      No? Then why are you letting your kid decide to self-mutilate?

    9. While there are aspects of being a woman that I don’t enjoy, I am happy to be one.

  6. “The behavior of any bureaucratic organization can best be understood by assuming that it is controlled by a secret cabal of its enemies.”

    ― Robert Conquest

    I think we have a winner here. Our culture or should I say ‘Culture’ is currently in the hands of enemies of the people of the US. The quote above is especially apt, I think, because Pop culture is a completely manufactured marketing campaign. It has been for 100 years, or more.
    When they were told Jim Crow was the proper response to the friction of racial issues, primarily blacks getting jobs from whites, the followers of culture hated who they were told to hate.
    When they were told they were bad people for hating blacks, they changed their behavior (Yes, it took time. I know, I was there.) We arced toward a color-blind society.
    Now we are being told that white skinned people are innately evil, and everyone is to hate them instead, even those who were born with that particular skin tone.

    Apparently Jim Crow is to be replaced with Jim Snow.

    Anyone else see a thread here? Pitting groups against each other destroys their power to affect the course of their lives and the nation.
    Let’s not play “Name that Party” there’s plenty of blame to share.
    Rather It is the political-power class that is doing this. It’s the Scorpion’s nature.
    I modestly propose that any/all persons who aspire to hold public office be immediately barred for life from holding any position of power, trust or profit in the United States of America.
    Oh, and I would deny them Bread, Fire and Salt in the Kingdom of Ar.

    1. “Wilbur Whately,” he began, “this court is proud to announce that you have been unanimously acquitted of the charge of political irresponsibility, and of unjustified and excessive atrocity.

      “There was one dissenting vote on acquitting you of the charge of political irresponsibility; one of the associate judges felt that the late unmitigated scoundrel, Austin Maverick, ought to have been skinned alive, an inch at a time. You are, however, acquitted of that charge, too.

      “You all know,” he continued, addressing the entire assemblage, “the reason for which this young hero cut down that monster of political iniquity, S. Austin Maverick. On the very morning of his justly-merited death, Austin Maverick, using the powers of his political influence, rammed through the Finance and Revenue Committee a bill entitled ‘An Act for the Taxing of Personal Incomes, and for the Levying of a Withholding Tax.’ Fellow citizens, words fail me to express my horror of this diabolic proposition, this proposed instrument of tyrannical extortion, borrowed from the Dark Ages of the Twentieth Century! Why, if this young nobleman had not taken his blade in hand, I’d have killed the sonofabitch, myself!”

      He leaned forward, extending the belt and holsters to the defendant.

      “Lone Star Planet” by H. Beam Piper and John J. McGuire

  7. The people ignorant of the tribalism in Europe bemuse me. They have no idea how rare it is that the US has managed multiculturalism. :,

    1. “Multiculturalism” is purely a culture-war weapon. What the US managed was cosmopolitanism, with the extraordinary achievement of extending cosmopolitanism to rural areas. To the point where “flyover country” is now more cosmopolitan than the provincial view-the-world-from-ninth-avenue cities.

      Thus the confusion of many Americans re Yugoslavia back in the 1990s. “Ethnic conflicts? Those people are practically clones! We have more ethnic diversity in our family reunions! How can that place possibly be having *ethnic* conflicts?”

      1. We are both Multicultural and Cosmopolitan but not in the approved leftoid manner.
        We have many cultures (West Coast, Texan, Midwestern, Southern, etc as well as the Little Italies and Chinatowns, etc) blended in a Cosmopolity that has worked well at combining them into a workable situation with a few hiccups. Like everything about the leftoids, Multi-culty and Cosmopolitan means only what they want it to mean and any deviation can not be abided, especially if their definition doesn’t even come close to the actual meaning of the words.

      2. Yeah, multiculturalism is a culture war weapon.

        It says that we cannot forbid things offensive to American culture if aliens are doing them. It is a cheat; considering the full range of human cultures, if we cannot judge or condemn other cultures, if we must not impose the mores of our own, then recognition of common humanity becomes entirely optional. If I can believe the values of any culture, you have no grounds to tell me that I must understand the killing of someone not my own close blood kin as being murder.

        What we have that looks like multiculturalism is American culture. Yes, it is an explicitly negotiated consensus of lowest common denominator, a result of mixing a number of very different cultures. The difference between that and multiculturalism is that we killed a bunch of people along the way who acted on antisocial values. We killed people from the populations with endemic warfare cultures until the survivors learned to behave. Criminal justice reform and ‘tolerate the alien’ culture war have been counterproductive, building up a backlog of people we will probably have to kill. There is no reason that working through the killing backlog must result in as good of a consensus as was we had before.

        1. Well, things like adherence to rule of law helped a lot. Even while there was lawfare and shenanigans a-plenty, there were still a goodly number of rich crooks that got took in addition to the poor b*stards.

          I remember when the term “Multiculturalism” started getting traction, and where it came from. My discipline, anthropology, had a lot to do with it. Without getting too deep into the weeds of that particular history, yes, it was intentional, and yes, they know what they were doing.

          The term as it was used in anthropology courses was defined by “not placing a native culture below your own.” Left unsaid was “for any bloody reason, and thereby placing the native culture *above* your own by default.” I was trained by grizzled old veterans that taught me phrases like “never get so open minded your brain falls out,” and “just because they’re eating the flesh of their enemies doesn’t mean you have to.”

          Multiculturalism grew out of the Relativism mind-suck that came before, and underpins Critical Theory and the new racism that’s all the rage on the left these days. It has the bloody fingerprints of Rousseau on it, too, and you can see the stick figure of the noble savage leering in the background.

          The US is NOT multicultural in the sense that the word is being used today on the left. It is another motte-and-bailey definition trap where they hide the ugly truth of the matter behind a benign facade. What it invariably means is whatever club is handy for them to beat you with. When a leftist uses the term, there are no innocent uses of it. The history behind is that bad.

          1. I disagree with the specific context over in The Flat Now at MGC, but I really like Steffan’s observation on that.

            Edited slightly:

            “Yes, we should be worried when Bob makes sense to us. But don’t blame Bob when he makes too much sense. Rather, blame the society that ran off the rails. Bob was ready for that.”

            Though, in fairness to everyone complaining about how horrible it is when one of my awful possibilities starts to materialize, you can justly blame me for /wanting/ to be ‘ready for that’. I’ve been blessed with a lot of insight into crazy, and maybe also into evil. From that, I started looking for situations where things break, and tried to find answers to the breaking. My initial considerations are nuts, and so we can be sure that no matter how crazy things get, /some/ of my conclusions will still be destructively insane.

            But when other results from that same process start to look reasonable, it is disturbing like a bridge swaying during the early stages of a catastrophic failure. Your instinct is picking up on something that is wrong, but you have no idea what, except that it is bad. Instinct is trained on past experience, which means that we’ve generally found enough theory that we can fit linear models to most everything we notice. Non linear behavior, where we are used to linear, is noticeable, and scarily unpredictable.

            1. That is WHY we prepare for the ZOMBIE Apocalypse. If you are prepared for THAT you are prepared for ANYTHING. Besides it is fun to freak the normales. The Electric Green, etc. can always be covered by paint.

            2. Fear not that Bob suddenly makes perfect sense to you; fear instead that the world now make perfect sense to Bob.

          2. Yes, it’s gone from “Just Bob being Bob” to “Bob really has a point here”.

      3. Thus the confusion of many Americans re Yugoslavia back in the 1990s. “Ethnic conflicts? Those people are practically clones! We have more ethnic diversity in our family reunions! How can that place possibly be having *ethnic* conflicts?”

        Yeah, spent a lot of time explaining that to undergrads and faculty colleagues. The term us political science types use is “ethno-nationalism”. That brings in the real perpetrator which is nationalism.

    2. I like the words “melting pot,” instead of multiculturalism. Multiculturalism is used to divide Americans. I saw that in college (when I was getting my degree at 38).

      1. I think one of the greatest weapons the Tranzi’s use is the concept of cultural appropriation. This idea belongs to this culture and you may not borrow modify or meld it to any other. The number of things we lose because of this insanity is amazing. Almost all “American” music has influences from the African music (especially rythms) eg, Jazz, Rock, Gospel, Even Country that originally comes primarily out of English and Scotts/Irish has had influence from that strain. Our food which was once truly boring picks up things from many cultural sources and then mixes it. This was the nature of the “Melting Pot” that in exchange for the good features of the American Culture (rule of Law, helpfulness freedom of movement with respect to class/economic status) various attributes from the incoming cultures were intermixed. With the stupid Salad model (or worse yet what I shall call the separate partiton plate model now esposed) nothing changes or modifies so you can’t try different things. It’s a cultural caste system.

          1. I think its more than that. There is perhaps an analogy here, if you take an animal that is a purebred (be it cat, dog, horse or human) and keep inbreeding it you run into trouble. Want proof? Look at many of the large Dog breeds that have been inbred to get them closer to the AKC standards and their issues with hip dysplasia or a plethora of different maladies. Heck, look no further than the Crowned heads of Europe from about the beginning of the 20th century. What the Tranzis are doing is the cultural equivalent. America worked well because it had hybrid vigor. What the Tranzis seem to be headed for is the cultural equivalent of a nervous massively inbred Chihuahua that starts at its own shadow. Why they think this is a good idea I don’t know, but I suspect their own cultural bias and tendency to “Drink Their Own Ink” as our Hostess describes it goes a long way to explaining the issue.

            1. I agree with hybrid vigor. Since some of my lines come from those lines (crowned heads) I’ve encouraged my siblings to marry –out– out of religion, out of race (if possible). Those who have married (out)– have stronger children– physically and mentally.

        1. >> “I think one of the greatest weapons the Tranzi’s use is the concept of cultural appropriation. This idea belongs to this culture and you may not borrow modify or meld it to any other.”

          “Excuse you? Taking the best from other cultures is a part of AMERICAN culture! It’s a compliment, and how dare you tell us we can’t you cultural bigot!”

          1. Except that the Tranzis have their heads so deep into doublethink (and their lower colons) that they will never see it that way.

  8. “we’re also way more tolerant of individual quirks”

    And we can afford to be, because they are individual quirks. But when the individual quirks become fashionable, we end up with kids taking puberty blockers. I tend to think that one invariably leads to the other. Solution? Beats me. Be less tolerant and we become less of who we are, leaving less to save in the long run. My suspicion is that in the long run we (or some remnant of we) will have to become much less tolerant in order to save what can be saved. It definitely won’t look the same.

    On a related note, people at my school are celebrating the fact that we are “giving a student the support “he” needs” as he transitions from a girl to a boy. I would suggest that the support she needs is more likely a better mental health counselor. No idea if there are drugs involved at this point for the 14 year old child and we are forbidden from talking to her/his parents about the matter. Too much tolerance perhaps? Did I read somewhere that 90% of teenage transgenders change their minds and go back before they become adults? I’m not good at remembering statistics.

    1. Social disapproval of the potentially dangerous (or even just icky) quirks was part of what made the melting pot work. For the most part we didn’t ban those behaviors but they stayed at a low level because they lead to shunning instead of approval. Most people want to belong. They like approval. Shunning works.

      The Progs are using this knowledge to try to accomplish one of Marxism’s big goals – destroying the nuclear family. They shower praise and approval for being gay, trans, genderfluid, anything but the traditional husband & wife with children. Thus the violent pushback against those who try to discuss any of the documented dangers associated with transgender treatments.

  9. Because the imaginary “hatey” rednecks of leftism’s fevered imagination have absolutely nothing on a “Sophisticated” European when it comes to hating anyone who sticks out and is not “normal for local populations.

    Going off of their chosen vectors of attack– I have not been called a lesbian, a whore, been pressured for sexual favors or faced religious discrimination from anybody on the right, I cannot say the same of those tolerant progressives– their poses aren’t normal for the leftist, either.

  10. You’re either dumber than your common garden rock or you are trying to get someone to engage in bondage and domination play with you without their consent.

    Pretty sure you’ve noticed that MOST of their junk is consistent with the latter.

    They want to force people to do things they do not want, to degrade themselves, at no risk to the harasser.

    They’re flashers who aren’t even willing to risk it being pointed out that the shocking thing is their delusions anybody would want to see that.

    1. “Do you have that in an adult size?”

      – Terry Doolittle, in “Jumpin’ Jack Flash”

      1. Then there’s Spider Robinson’s bit of dialog where the speaker is telling of the time he tried to get a girl’s attention by whipping out hi tool and laying on her shoulder (she was sitting on a bench). “Do you know what that is?” he asked.

        Her reply:”It looks like a man’s pe.nis, only smaller.” (WordPress turned it into, “a man’s punishment.” Sheesh!)

  11. BUT note, please, that I’m out of the American (and possibly the west) mainstream here

    Back when they were actually doing surveys? Since the 90s, most common is “no abortion unless mom is likely to die or be physically maimed for life.” And as you point out, first trimester, no later.

    There’s a reason that the pro-aborts had to offer a definition of “pro choice” that made the Catholic Church pro-abortion.

    Then stopped offering the definition they’d given when folks asked for terms to be defined.

    And attacking folks as hateful for not wanting to slaughter the disabled while they’re easier to dismiss. (See how Down’s has been “cured” in many countries.)

    1. TBF some tubal pregnancies do hold on past first trimester. So if it will mom and baby, well, it’s not an abortion, it’s saving ONE of the lives.
      I’m told there’s other conditions, and I suspect what I had with Robert was one of those, because at any minute you could go into convulsions and kill both. (I was hospitalized three times)
      I made a different choice, but I wouldn’t even hold it against a woman who made the other one. Though I wonder if that is that common, since all the doctors felt the need to tell us that the baby would for sure be retarded, as additional inducement to abortion.
      BUT if not for the six years of infertility and the fact I’m stubborn as hell, I might have chosen differently.

      1. Sounds like he was a handful even retarded. If he’d been born with his full potential, you’d have had to explain to the authorities why you allowed him go about the neighborhood on a hoverboard he made from repurposed sewing machine parts…

      2. Though I wonder if that is that common, since all the doctors felt the need to tell us that the baby would for sure be retarded, as additional inducement to abortion.

        There is a known…issue…where doctors will tell a woman she ‘could’ die, when it’s the same risk as any pregnancy.
        As I’ve pointed out, both baby and I nearly died in first birth. Was textbook awesome up to that point…..
        Or ‘the child cannot survive’ meaning nobody has done so yet, even though that involves a LOT of “well, they survived, so they didn’t have the condition we thought.”

        Sort of like how COVID complications that are known to happen with any infections are a reason to Freak Out Now.

        1. I’ve told the story before about how my great grandmother was told for nearly a decade that she had two months to live, to get her affairs in order. Her response was “I’ll see you in two months.’ *chuckle* Doctors are humans too. Even the doctor that darn near killed me and my mother both while drunk. The make mistakes, assumptions, fudge the truth, and pick the easier option.

          Knowing the people alive today that weren’t supposed to be, or were supposed to be born severely retarded if we even survived at all, or were supposed to be the death of our mothers before we were even born… Well, should I ever marry and have a child with my potential wife, I’d look very carefully at any claims of such. And want at least two or three second opinions.

          Life has a funny way of coming out on top in the end.

          1. My great-grandmother married her father’s cousin and business partner (who was 15 years older than her) because she got pregnant when she was 16. They had eight children. He died at 84 (a ripe old age) and I guess she was convinced she would die too, because she kept a shroud in her closet for the next 30 years. She died at 99, a few months before her 100th birthday and outlived him by 30 years. Toward the end she had a hard time understanding why her oldest son couldn’t visit more often — he was 83.

  12. And look at Ezekial Emmnuel and his take that there’s no reason for people to live past 75, even if they’re in relatively good health. After all, he sees them hiking, biking and otherwise playing, and that’s wasteful.
    Aside from being a Satanic caricature of a Puritan (he favors not treating children or the elderly because they aren’t “contributing,” or “doing productive work,”) it occurred to me to wonder just what sort of Hell he went through in childhood to develop that outlook.

    1. From the final chapter of Jordan Peterson’s latest book, where he talks about people who believe bringing children into a benighted world is immoral:

      “But I cannot believe that it would be long until that impulse to cease production of new life was transformed into a similar impulse to destroy life that currently exists, in consequence of the “compassionate” judgment that some lives are so terrible that it is merciful to bring them to an end. That philosophy emerged relatively early in the Nazi era, for example, when individuals judged unbearably damaged by life were euthanized for purposes deemed “morally merciful.” The question this line of thinking leads to is where does such “mercy” stop? How sick, old, intellectually impaired, crippled, unhappy, unproductive, or politically inappropriate do you have to be before dispensing with you is a moral imperative? And why would you believe, once the eradication or even merely the limitation of life became your guiding star, that you would not continue down that road to its hellish end?”

          1. Man, is that the truth!

            It’s as if he started in the middle of a conversation we were already having in the first book. And it’s so meaty, and so deep, I read about two paragraphs and have to hold the book while my mind wanders to some event that he’s uncannily described.

            It’s really good. I start my day with some reading.

        1. It’s different from his first one, but still very good, in my opinion. Just ignore his rather Canadian academic use of “conservative” and “liberal.”

      1. It is also the galaxy sized (but very common!) ego of thinking that one’s time is The Uniquely Bad Era.

        As usual knowing a little history helps. Because the Wise* Ones have always thought that the world was going to hell in a handbasket and their’s was the worst time in history. On the rare occasions when this isn’t true it seems to result in an immediate backlash in the next generation of tripling down on TEH WURSTEST TIME EVAR.

        * actual wisdom need not apply, but volume most certainly does.

      2. ” “The question this line of thinking leads to is where does such “mercy” stop?” “

        History tells us at least one answer.

        When the whole corrupt, evil edifice is pulled down in blood and fire. The Gods of the Copybook Headings are hard core.

      3. Sounds like I should get his new book. Especially before it’s banned for wrong think.

  13. And OF COURSE if someone doesn’t want to bake a cake for sale — for any reason or none — the client should go elsewhere

    Don’t f*** with people who handle your food.

    I’m surprised there haven’t been a lot of food service errors around these cakes.

    You want to put what is supposed to be the grandest celebration of your life in the hands of people you think hate you? You’ll get what you deserve.

    1. “I’m surprised there haven’t been a lot of food service errors around these cakes.”
      I’m not, not really. I’d bet dollars to donuts the people who have been essentially forced into doing this also realize that if they did something “untoward” with the foodstuff in question, and got caught, they’d get obliterated by the lawsuits.

      Plus, there’s likely a bit of “turn the other cheek” in there.

      Now, are they doing their best work? Probably not, again I wouldn’t be surprised if the work they do in these cases is more akin to “get it done, get it done fast, and get it out of here. Done well? Don’t care.”

      1. While your second reason probably applies, the first is questionable. Most of these cases destroy the businesses even if they eventually give in.

        Plenty of people are happy to adopt “if I’m going down you’re going with me”.

      2. I suppose the baker could simply forget to put sugar in the batter… Trying to think of a non-toxic but slightly disgusting alternative for shortening in frosting. Bacon grease? Guacamole instead of mint icing?

        Other means of sabotage–too cold an oven.

        I wonder why there’s no countersuit or published attempts to get the plaintiff declared a vexatious litigant. OTOH, in the Oregon case, the state pushed the heavy-handed sanctions, and not too many judges at that level are willing to shut those creeps down.

        1. Vexatious Litigant laws usually require multiple failed lawsuits before the law can be used. The problem is that these idiots win.

    2. I’m surprised there haven’t been a lot of food service errors around these cakes.

      That’s why they target good Christians who are actually tolerant.

      Same way that spitting on Marines in uniform is popular, but throwing red paint at biker bars in protest of leather isn’t.

      1. “Why don’t the animal-rights activists protest against leather?”

        “Because hassling little old ladies in fur coats is a lot easier — and safer — than pissing off bikers in leather.”

      2. Or the way Penn and Teller admitted they picked on Christians because the Christians generally wrote nice letters and offered to pray for them, but offended Muslims might hurt them.

      3. I’m reminded of the scene in “Fallen Angels” where the plucky SF fans are preparing the SSTO for launch and a couple of enviromentalist / animal rights kids come tearing up with a Green Cop because of the noise.

        One of the fans ask the two why they only seem to care about furry cute animals and not other animals like cows, because they’re always throwing the red paint on women in fur coats, what about leather?!?

        I’d love to figure out how to set something like that up, I’d set up bleachers across the street from the bar and sell tickets and popcorn…

    3. The people asking for the Cakes are REALLY HOPPING for that.
      Just think of the case they would have THEN. That would be criminal and the DAs would love to try that case.

    1. Ah, a rant from RazorFist makes any day special.

      One of the comments cracked me up: “How did anybody find a gun and ammo to buy two weeks ago?”

      Another one was about how the FICUS can’t take questions because he only goes for a few minutes every time they pull the string. Has to be hustled off stage before he runs down.

      The media still hasn’t identified the gun, although one outlet mentioned that it was ‘a Ruger’. Might it have been one of those little Ruger .22LR auto pistols?

      In any case, that store was a ‘Gun Free Zone’, was it not? They want to turn the whole country into a ‘Gun Free Zone’. They are Evil Stupid.
      The Democrats trust criminals with guns, but they don’t trust you.

      1. Per WHO this morning, the guy’s family took the gun away from him about a week and a half ago, and the I think sister in law that mentioned this said he probably got it back in the next day or two.

        1. The World Health Organization (that’s a front for the communist Chinese)? That WHO?

          What business have they got sounding off about a crime? Or the CDC? We don’t go to the police for medical advice, WHY would we listen to medical bureaucrats about crime?

          1. Nope, 1040 AM out of Des Moines. It’s the political junkies station– basically center right, and they actually hold their liberals to the same standards. (They’re center left– that’s who I was quoting as freaking the heck out when states were doing stupid stuff on election day. The liberal was outraged, because That Is Cheating.)

      1. I noticed that too, although my brain interpreted it the other way around. I started wondering just what the hell RES gets up to when he’s not here incentivizing us to beat him senseless with carp…

          1. I found the thought so amusing I did a search for “wallaby punk,” and to my immense disappointment I found neither a genre of fiction nor images of wallabies in shades and leather jackets. I did, however, find this:

            No word on whether the police have questioned RES about any of this, though…

      1. “Join the Mercutio Party! In light of recent events, we have retired our previous slogan of ‘A plague on both your houses.’ Our new slogan is ‘Don’t stab me.'”

      1. Whenever I see “What would Jesus do?” I imagine tables being flipped in all directions….

  14. “What they aren’t actually telling us is: Out of the mainstream WHERE?”

    Um, who cares? I’m going to have to seriously go with who cares on this one, Sarah.

    Seriously, “The Mainstream”? You mean that sea of round pegs fitting neatly into the round holes prepared for them, slotting right in there and playing the monkey games that all the other monkeys play so well.

    I’ve been getting dragged though house-hunting lately. (I know about fixing things, they put up with me when I’m useful.) After going through city houses lately, I am firm in my conviction that These Are Not My People.

    There are no book cases. There are no work benches. There is no evidence that such things were ever in the houses at all. No marks in the carpet to show where a book case was. No scuffs on the floor of basement or garage to testify that work was done there. No threads to indicate sewing, no sewing machines, and indeed no evidence that cooking ever took place in the granite-countertop kitchens. (I friggin’ hate granite countertops.)

    None of them appear to read, cook or make things. What the f- do they do with their time?

    My kitchen is cooked in. My computer is mightily used and looks it. My workshop has shavings and sawdust on the floor. My bookshelves line the basement.

    I am a SQUARE peg. I rest in a gloriously square hole I mortised out myself. I notice an awful lot of similarly square holes around here, leading me to think that the people trying to tell me what’s “mainstream” are trying to sell me the Brooklyn Bridge.

    F- ’em.

    1. Now, did you use a sash mortice chisel, a true old english morticing chisel, a router, or a morticer? THERE IS ONLY ONE TRUE WAY!

      And that way is – what tools do you own? LOL

      1. I pounded it out of the native rock with whatever came to hand, one little crumb at a time. Lately the work has gone easier, I have steel tools. >:D

            1. Ha, I actually studied that in uni. Turns out it’s a lot harder than you’d think. I give major props to cave men, those guys knew what they were doing. ~:D

              1. *chuckle* BTDT. Physical anthropology was… hands on, in several (awesome) cases. Yes, it is harder to pick up than you’d think. But there is a… knack, I’d guess you’d call it. You need the right kind of stones, and grip matters.

                I’m with you on props to the cave dudes. Makes you appreciate cheap steel tools, power tools, and A/C in a real way. *grin*

                1. One of the things I learned immediately is that you can’t -pry- with a stone tool. Cut, chop, hit, yes. Pry, no.

                  That turns out to be a huge deal.

                  1. Oh heck yes. “There is no pry, only do.” My teacher was bad with the yoda quotes. *chuckle*

                    Another thing was that the old stone age dudes used quite literally everything but the squeal. The chips from flint knapping could be used to scrape hides (and that sharp stone edge does *not* last when you are scraping, no joke). Bones, brains, organ meat? From what we know of more modern hunter-gatherer groups, yeah, all used.

                    If I *had* to, I could get by with knapped axes and flint knives. Don’t wanna, though. Those dudes were seriously tough b*stards.

                    1. Yes, that’s one of the original ways it was done. Possible downside, you lose more of the grain and it isn’t as durable. And it is messy as all get out while you are tanning. But it *is* nice and soft.

          1. I’ve just finished a book where I had a great deal of enjoyment turning the lippy robot spiders and giant tanks loose on the Unseelie. Those pointy eared bastards took a kicking. >:D

              1. There are six books now, the first one is “Unfair Advantage” by Edward Thomas, available at Amazon. The second to sixth, I’m “working” on covers for. I’m extremely slow at covers, not my wheelhouse. But, we shall persevere. Sarah turned me onto Filter Forge, so things may proceed better soon. ish.

      2. No, the one true process/tool choice is the one that most offends the closest scot and irish person to the problem. 🙂

        Because I am an obnoxious contrarian jerk, and yeah, I should be speaking to my anti-Canadian prejudices where Phantom is concerned, but it is funnier this way.

        I have to concede that his original comment is mostly correct.

          1. See, this is why the Irish never prospered. You don’t punch them in the face, you HEADBUTT them. Glasgow kiss.

            Hands are for work. ~:D

          2. I do like the bit re ‘cancel culture’ of “Why aren’t the Irish trying to get rid of $POSSIBLY-OFFENSIVE-THING? Because they’re not whiny little bitches, that’s why.”

          1. All users. I don’t have to earn the living with them so I can afford to do it the old way

            1. It’s funny, lately I’ve been getting much more confident using the hand tools. Normally if I want something to fit nice I use the table saw, the drill press, etc. to get that sheet-of-paper fitment.

              But I’ve been doing some crazy splayed leg tables with a dovetailed stretcher that you can’t really cut on a table saw conveniently, found that using the chisel and saw with a bit of caution let me get a nice-enough fit. The recent purchase of a little router-plane will get it down to power-tool joinery clearances.

              But I also found a shaper at a very attractive price, so frame-and-panel doors etc. are now in easy reach.

              Maybe some dovetailed frames to go with those doors. ~:D

              1. There’s something about working with wood that is just plain satisfying. I believe every man should at least try it once in his life.

                1. Even just something not especially pretty.

                  I have a set of shelves I made to hold those big plastic tubs. Stacked six tall, two on a level.

                  It’s just 2x4s, but it’s square, and smooth, and it freaking WORKS, and I made it.

                2. I started as a kid living alone in Toronto with zero money. I wanted a carved walking stick. (Martial arts, kid, blah blah blah.) I got myself a weed ash sapling that was growing in the alley behind where I lived. Chopped it off, peeled it and damn well carved it. With a pen knife. It split of course, green wood, so I got a better stick and a nicer knife and I carved that. Turned out nice. Carved a few more. Then I got some training and things really took off.

                  40 years later, I’ve got some tools. (Okay I’ve got -all- the frickin’ tools. It’s an obsession.) But the satisfaction of turning out a completed piece, whether large or small, it never changes. About the most fun I’ve had during the Year of Pestilence has been making peg-leg Roman benches and a classic English saw-bench. Super fun that a determined lad could manage with nothing more than a chisel, a saw and a plane. More tools makes it nicer and prettier, not to mention faster, but you can still do it without all that, on the grass in the back yard. That’s how the old guys did it back in the day, still works today.

                  1. Point of order! One can *never* own “all the tools.’ One can take a mighty stab at it, and have most anything to hand that one could want… but it’s kinda like peak stupid. There is no peak. Only more tools, because sometimes there’s these tool catalogs that somehow, miraculously wind up on doorsteps, and tool websites, and tool shops that get way, way too much of my money…

                    1. Granted, having all the tools is not really possible. I have for example only recently acquired a router plane. But then I only recently had a need for one.

                      I have what’s needed to accomplish the type of thing that I usually work on, and I find that state of being deeply satisfying. Owning a router plane makes it possible to do certain things easily. I can get by with a rasp and a chisel, but having the plane makes things very civilized and enjoyable. And there’s the fun of learning a new tool.

                      Having a drill press is another luxury. You can (kind of) get by without it, but having those holes go in STRAIGHT is sooo nice. Watching Mr. Hipster on YouTube singing the praises of his brace and bit, taking 20 minutes to bore a hole that I zap into something in 2 minutes is amusing.

                      That said, a brace and bit will put a straight-enough hole right where you want it on things that the drill press can’t accommodate. Like logs.

                      The right tool for the right job. ~:D

    2. I’ll admot, I actually like cooking on granite counter tops: they’re all pan safe. 400 degree loaf out of the oven? Just toss the pan on the counter top and let it cool.

      Fire hundred Tom cast iron Dutch oven full of beer braized brisket? Just toss it on the counter until its cool enough to manipulate? Brother over doing his five pies brigade again? Just toss them on the counter.

      There’s no hinting for trivets, or concern at all about where to put stuff flaming out of the oven. Just don’t set it on something else flammable and you’re good to go.

      My only regret is we got a fancy pattern that does make it hard to tell at a glance if a spot is wet or not. But otherwise, it’s *really* nice.

      1. You don’t chip or break glass or ceramic dishes when you accidentally bang one against it??

        Cuz they look really nice, but in the kitchen I live in glass.

      2. I’m not a fan of granite, with all the sealing, etc. I much prefer soapstone for anything involving worktops and kitchens….

        Admittedly, I’m replacing the 70 year old laminate in my kitchen with Maple butcherblock, so there’s that as well.

        What can I say, I ❤ Wood. 😉

        1. Quartz, people, quartz. Granite wears, and needs sealing. Quartz is impermeable, and doesn’t wear with any use you are likely to give it. We use a lot of glass, and had no breakage issue.

          1. Yeah, quartz (though it doesn’t tolerate heat, but cork makes for wonderful hot pads). Easy to clean and doesn’t need sealing, stays nice and shiny and is strong (I’ve considered butcher block counters, but $SPOUSE has control over the kitchen configurations). I did tile for the last house reno, though I suppose it lasted 6 months before somebody got tired of it. (It was 2003, just as tile counters faded in popularity.)

    3. I dunno if that’s city folk or city houses so much as realtors demanding that houses look spotless to the point of sterility before being put on the market and shown to potential buyers. And I don’t get the “no bookshelves” thing either: one realtor (I’d call the dude an @$$hole but that would be an insult to rectums everywhere) demanded that we rip out our family room’s built-in bookshelves because “buyers don’t like them.” Papa Raptor said sure thing… so long as A-hole Realtor paid for it all.

      I seriously do not understand it. What the heck is wrong with a home looking like it’s, you know, lived in?

      1. They’re in cahoots with the outfits that rent furniture and stuff to make houses look lived in, because buyers are apparently too dumb to imagine what a house looks like with themselves living in it.

        1. Reziac,
          I’ve sold six houses. PEOPLE DO HAVE THAT PROBLEM. Hell, until I trained myself I had a problem realizing I wasn’t buying the LIFESTYLE, so in my second house I accidentally bought what I wanted. A “post infants lifestyle.” The house didn’t work at all.
          We’ve had houses sit until we furnished them. (Never had to rent. We usually hit the thrift store and use a lot of tapestries and pretty stuff to stage.)
          Most people can’t imagine themselves living in an empty house.
          BTW, on that, I suppose Raptor, they’re trying to sell “if you live in this house, it will be so CLEAN.”
          And I guess there are fewer serious readers in the population. But taking down built ins is ridiculous. You put up some showy leather books, some vases, and let it go.

          1. There’s also the optical illusion of an unfinished room looking smaller than it actually is. Hell, the same holds true for unfinished houses, which is one reason builders don’t want the buyer on site. I walked through the photography studio while it was being built and it looked tiny, but those crowded studio rooms are actually spacious when all the junk is in there.

            1. I’m actually good at this.
              And when staging Victorians we often used the child furniture. The weird thing is that, yes, Victorian rooms tend to be small, but not in the houses we sold. It was more we have really cute baby/child furniture (garage sales. We have a cherry colonial bassinet. Reproduction, of course, but gorgeous. and a wooden car-bed for a toddler room, and…) The point being we don’t use that furniture, so we can leave it behind, staged, and then collect when house sells.
              We usually tell a story with our staging. It starts with “What type of person would consider this house aspirational” and then we tailor the story to them.
              So, for instance, in our last house, we younger son’s room into the room of a girl about older son’s age (late college.)
              We had a very pretty antique single bed. (VERY pretty. The buyers bought it. Eh. We have a similar one in double, now) and we put it up with a pretty cover, and pillows.
              We put original fantasy art on the walls, because you know we have it from cons.
              Bedside and small desk mostly had son’s study-books from the previous year, and on desk a few brochures from the better medical schools son interviewed at. The prestigious ones.
              Older son’s room had the car bed, books for about a 10 year old level, and comics sitting on the bed, as though just read. Posters of super heroes and space, in retro style.
              Both intended to project “Gifted kids who do well in school.”
              Hallway had framed black and white prints from around the world (thank you pixabay.)
              Kitchen table had brochures for a couple of tours abroad and a couple of geeky mugs.

              The method to our madness: house was between college and NEWLY OPENED medical center. A lot of medical personnel are inherently snobbish, so the medschool brochures (the type they send when you’re invited to interview which is a huge step) were subconscious bait. The pictures of tour abroad were bait. etc.
              Let’s say it worked. Within a week.
              This house, depending on when we stage…. If it were tomorrow, I’m going to emphasize the “backs up to a natural preserve”, the wide open feel (as in sofa will face the broad windows.) Sparse furniture, very clean. My beloved “windows” (plaster windows of historic Portuguese buildings, all over the kitchen) will come down, and I will probably paint the walls a subdued color.

              1. Yeah, staging (even if inadvertent) can be mighty powerful. When I was looking for the last house in California (long time ago, Ronaldous Magnus was POTUS), I looked at about a dozen houses in the neighborhood I wanted. Older houses, many with expensive problems (the 2″ difference in floor height across one small living room was a quick nope), with others, sort of OK.

                The very last house was lived in (previous deal had fallen through, and the sellers did not have the money to close/rent their new place), and the furnishings were spot on for what I liked. I mean, *really* spot on. As it turns out, the house was a good fit for my needs, and I bought it. (Did major work on it before we left in ’03, but it was Good Enough at the time.) Moving day was, er, interesting, since they moved out the same day I was starting to move in. Got a chance to talk to the owners (the wife, as she was waxing the kitchen floor*) and the furniture style came up. As it turns out, her husband’s family owned an antique shop in the neighborhood. Yep, the one I did a fair amount of business with previously..

                Current house had a little bit of furniture in it when we looked. Some odd choices, like the conversation area where the dining room belonged (I think they ate in the living room. To each his own.) The two other houses we looked at by the realtor’s insistence: one was empty and a train wreck. (Protip: a hole in the laundry room floor does not encourage buyers) while the other was lived in, but on a totally unsuitable lot (half-logged side of a hill, with two very large dogs of dubious temperament on scene. (Renters, seriously not wanting to move. The seller also lied about the acreage, which blew one sale we know of.)

                Current house was what we previously selected, and works. I kind of wish the bathroom was fully ADA compliant, but I can live with it. Sigh. I’ll get a shower sooner or later.

                (*) (“Arggh! You screwed up my schedule!”, I carefully did *not* say.) Bless her heart, but it was a scramble–had to move some stuff, bike over to the U-haul place to rent a truck, then that evening, I had a bunch of co-workers I was bribing to help for the next two days. Pizza, beer and doughnuts the next morning for the win. Got it done, but the floor needed a bit of attention later on…

          2. This is one of the things that makes me a mutant. I can -see- what the thing will be like when it is done. I know by looking where the couch will fit, where the TV will go, what the room will be like after the hideous carpeting is gone, etc. (I’ve done pretty well over the years with fixing crappy houses. Pick the one that has the good structure and the crappy visuals, apply paint and SHAZAM!, profit.)

            The fact is, other people can’t do that. I always thought it was because they were dumb or not trying. But no, most people can’t imagine what the room will look like painted, or if the moose head on the wall is removed. They’re fixated on the moose head.

            Which makes it very interesting to me that book cases are so very conspicuous by their absence in staging. Also, not all the houses were staged and the occupied ones didn’t have books either. Seems weird to me.

            Something else to be considered is that these days, nobody wants to do anything to the house. I only saw a couple that hadn’t been completely renovated in the last 5 years. The contractors have been doing nicely by dropping a new floor, new kitchen, new bathroom and a light grey paint job on every crappy grandma house that comes on the market. I looked at one that listed for $899, and sold for $1.1 million. 1500 sqft, 3 bedroom side split built in the 1960s, not even renovated. No f-ing book cases. Spend $80-100 to fully renovate, sell in the fall for $1.5M.

            It seems to be working because none of the round peg dorks want to hold a paintbrush in their hand. They’re willing to pay another $150-$200 for the Home Depot kitchen and the stupid granite counter tops.

            But I am a mutant. I spent a little on a shaper, I’m going to have butcher-block tops and cabinets made of actual wood with actual proper joints instead of whatever MDF shite they have at Home Depot, and it’ll cost a lot less than $80k. Yep, you betcha. ~:D

            1. In building, I’ve learned to do a CAD drawing of what is going in there. The downside is if the needs change (I’d love to change one of the shop workroom benches to sitting height, but one will never come out intact, and the other is the one I’d rather leave at standing height. OTOH, when I did the pumphouse, I had the solar system pieces spotted ahead of time. Finished the pumphouse late 2017, and a year and a half later, the solar system was complete. Didn’t have to make any unplanned alterations, either.

              I’ve seen some of the CAD type staging programs on shows like Property Brothers and This Overly Renovated Old House.

              We had a local cabinet maker do the new base cabinets for the kitchen. Veneer core hardwood plywood for the win!

              Something learned in the late ’70s. If you say “I think this house doesn’t need anything done to it”, God is perfectly happy to stop chuckling and reveal All The Problems. Both instances where that phrase came up (I said it once, along with a good buddy), entailed major renovations. At least, on mine, I didn’t have to change the floorplan. On the last house, I didn’t say it, but might have thought it. Had to replace two loadbearing exterior walls in the back 1936-vintage bonus room, done as a family room/bedroom. Redo plumbing, Home-Depot flatpack kitchen cabinets with tiled countertops (still acceptable then). No idea on what the place is like in the interior; no changes to the outside according to Google Satellite-snoop-view.

              1. I once planned an entire retail store in Minecraft. ~:D And it worked. The store turned out very nice indeed.

                The shop I planned on graph paper with little cutouts of the machines. Then scrapped the whole plan and put everything on wheels, because one day I’m a cabinet maker and the next I’m an auto-mechanic and the day after I’m a gardener. Nothing sits still for long around here.

                1. My machinery (both metal and wood working) isn’t as portable as I’d like. Had hopes of getting some leftover stock into a storage shelf, and more wheeled storage, but that has to wait. This summer’s projects will be outdoors, featuring a walkway that will be reasonably safe to use in winter, and dealing with a couple of deck piers that are sinking–revenge of trees we cut down in 2007.

          3. “Bookshelves? Those? Those are for the Franklin Mint collectibles, not musty old books!

            Book! The very *idea*… harumph!”

            1. LOL.
              Not a joke, while drooling over beautiful, carved, unfinished oak bookshelves (we were so crazy we would have financed them, if there hadn’t been an error on our credit report) there was this young woman looking around and she said “what are these for? Who has that many knick nacks?” and no, she wasn’t joking. When we said “books” she looks at us like we’re crazy and goes “Who has that many books?”

              1. Joins a bunch of people here by raising my hand. One of the reasons I’ve gone heavily into eBooks is because I’m short of space to store dead-tree books. (The cost differential isn’t trivial, either. I have a soft limit of $10 for eBooks, though I was happy to spend $20 each for the three ARRL license manuals.)

                I’m trying to figure out how to get more of my non-fiction from the shop mezzanine (accessible under normal circumstances by ladder. Now, far side of the moon). Looks like a combination of weeding, scanning articles from hobbyist mags and getting creative with wallspace in the shop. Bulk water tanks are strong enough for medium sized bookcases…

                I had looked into selling some of the fiction, but the main used book store in the city generally wants titles no older than a few years old. The county libraries are willing to take books, even using some for loaners and using the rest for their own used book sales (both store and rummage sales). They got the first round of weeding.

                1. We have the same problem in our new digs in Scottsdale. No built-in shelves like we had in Colorado. I’ve given away a LOT of books in the last ~five years, granting that some were useless because the type was too small for 68-year-old eyes, even with readers. (The best part about ebooks is adjustable font size, full stop.) I had to covert half the pool shed to book storage, which includes 75 years of QST and ARRL Handbooks from every five years since 1955. (K7JPD here.)

          4. There’s also the folk what just got told they’re relocating and flew in to look at twelve houses in two days then make an offer. They’ve no brain space for such a decision and need all the help the seller ca give them.

            Our house came with built-in bookshelves and our response was, “That ain’t nowhere near enough, not even within ten percent what we want.” Then again, back in the day of local bookshops we tried to persuade our favorite to, instead of giving a free book with every dozen bought, to give a free bookshelf with every dozen punchcards filled.”

            But Sarah is right; just stage them properly: a few well-bound books, some (artificial) flowers in vases, a few objets d’art, a Bose or Bang & Olufsen receiver, a shrunken head, the testicles of your archenemy sealed in a plexiglass cube. No need to remove the shelves.

          5. Now that I think about it, I’m pretty sure the whole “rip the built-ins out!” was just A-Hole lawyer being a bully and tormenting Mama Raptor because he could (Papa Raptor having been forced to move before the rest of the family to start the new job). Dude was seriously Not Right. Seemed to get off on pushing Mama Raptor (and other women) around. I came home from work more than once to find her crying after having been verbally abused by A-Hole for hours.

        1. It’s an interior decorator thing; the spines of real books very in color, pattern, and font, and are therefore ugly. Turning them pages-out makes them all match, particularly when you arrange them by height.

          [not joking, unfortunately…]

      2. “You want me to rip out the bookshelves? Hmm. Fine. I want a new realtor. There are people out there LONGING for built-in shelves, and you just stomped on their dreams.”

          1. We custom-built a house in Colorado Springs in 2003, and I specified a library wall with rolling ladder in the great room. 12′ high, 12′ wide. Sarah has seen the house. (Alas, we lived 3 or 4 miles from her until six months before we had to leave Colorado, because I was starting to have breathing problems at 6700 feet.) When we went to sell the house in 2015, a realtor lady came in, and practically the first thing she said was (AND THIS IS A WORD-FOR-WORD QUOTE!!!) “Well, the first thing you’re going to have to do is get rid of all these ugly books.” Thank you, Ma’am; now please go find another house to haunt.

        1. It was a corporate relocation, so we were stuck with a-hole realtor until he became extremely verbally abusive to Mama Raptor (Papa Raptor having already moved to the new area due to work) and we uncovered compelling evidence that he was also working closely with the buyer. Papa Raptor told the relo people to either let us pick our own realtor or we’d a) ditch the company and pay for the move ourselves and b) file ethics complaints on the company and a-hole realtor up the wazoo until the cows came home. The relo company caved, and we did not rip out the bookshelves.

    4. I think the short version could be “Never make yourself less so other people feel like they are more”.

      I’ve known a few very attractive women that have played dumb because if they showed how intelligent they were, guys would lose interest in them.

        1. DUH.
          When I was a teen, my best friends and I would gather in the train for the train ride home (25 minutes) get out notebooks, and start solving physics problems from the book I’d stolen from my brother (or cousin, when we ran out of problems.)
          Whoever got there first would reserve six seats (three and three facing) and as everyone got in, the problem was read, then solved. Time and who solved it were recorded, because it was a long running competition.
          We could NEVER figure out why none of the cute guys in the train approached us.
          Now I know. They were the wrong guys. I mean, any of the guys here, as a teen, would have been drawn to that scene like a moth to flame.
          My husband says he’d have been like “Can I join if I stand next to the seats? Or let me sit on the floor or whatever.” 😀

          1. True this. Unintelligent women, while they may be pretty and occasionally nice, aren’t really worth a smart man’s time. As the mother of your future children, do you want one that is intelligent, curious, and well read? I can’t for the life of me think why it would be a turn-off, all other factors being equal. Intelligent conversation in addition to canoodling?

            Or more crudely put, there’s cosmetics, surgery, and such if one is *that* interested in it. But you can’t really raise a person’s native intelligence. Education, yes, intelligence, not that I can figure. Long as he’s wishing, a smart man wants a woman as smart or smarter than himself. For all the… difficulties this may create in arguments and ability to cut one’s ego down to size, it is still the better bargain in the end. Smart gals just make better partners in the long run.

            1. I think it may be more like– if you value intelligence, you need a smart wife. Preferably a different flavor of smart that you still respect.

              There’s also the issue of filling a need, something that you just can’t do. A lot of the very stupid people I’ve met that are in good marriages are nice. Their spouse is not– and knows it, and depends on the nice one to be able to DO that stuff.

              When I’ve listened to folks explain what boils down to “why I don’t want a smart one,” it’s either a judgement of motivation or of threat. Guys are more likely to be intimidated by a smart woman, gals are more likely to be intimidated by a confident man. Thus, the short-time demand for dumb women and dish-rag spined guys. (eventually, folks get tired of running both sides of the relationship, though)

              1. The different flavor is important. Both Dan and I can do math, but it’s natural for him, not me, since I am digit dyslexic. Both of us can understand the other’s work, but it’s not our natural mode. Even when we both write, we’re very different.
                So the poor man lives under the impression I’m smarter than him…. I’m sure it’s a functional illusion. he hasn’t killed me yet.

                1. *nod* Same way that the half-elf and I both think the other is smarter, kinder, better— because yeah, I can do stuff he can’t, but look at the stuff he can do!

                  Same way that a good marriage usually has both folks thinking they got the better deal, due to valuing different stuff.

              2. I don’t know if it is still, and this is way out of my field of expertise, but one of the leading theories for why humans have what we call intelligence used to be sexual selection. Like how swallows select for long tails even though that doesn’t promote, and may even hinder, survival. The theory goes that women like “smart” men and so women that did not prefer smart mates would not produce smart men and so didn’t get their genes reproduced. Since intelligence is not sex-linked, that meant we got smart women, too.

                Of course, even if that theory accurately models reality, what counts as “smart” is what the genes think of as “smart” and not what we think of as “smart.” So, you can have interested in solving problems or you might have good with words or you might have, oh, I don’t know what. Something else.

          2. Square pegs at play. “Solve the problem, super fun!”

            Round pegs looking at them, mystified, saying “psst, what are they -doing-?!”

      1. Specifically, “the kind of guys they were looking for” would lose interest in them.

        I’ve seen something similar, “Why is it that all men are jerks?”

        “It only seems that way to you because that’s the kind you always hook up with.”

      2. Not THIS guy…I married a woman who double majored in physics and English. And was glad of it.

      1. I am certainly not. I’m a weirdo, for sure. I’m -way- out of the mainstream. I can’t even see the stream from here. ~:D

        But, these people trying to tell us what the “mainstream” is and how we better damn well swim over there and get in line? They’re definitely lying.

        The mainstream is not composed of people who are going to be letting their 8 year old take puberty blockers because all the other kids are doing it. They may say they will, to get by, but they won’t really do it. What they’re really going to do is get married, have kids, buy a house, buy a car, watch Netflix and do what everybody else does. Mostly because that’s a pretty good life. It is what everybody wants. (Not what I want, but then we’ve established I’m “really out there”. I want to make stuff. Apparently it’s weird)

    5. For too many people, books are for show. They’d rather sip wine and gossip about the neighbors. Someone (Ace, I think) noted that the pandemic – and the resulting rise in video-conferenced meetings – had created a new kind of business. For a fee, people will come to your residence and put a bookcase filled with books in the background of what your camera shows when you’re video conferencing.

      1. My favorite was the shower curtain…

        I know if my company decide that video conferences are going to be the thing, I’m unpacking the Transformers collection and staging dioramas. And not just the normal ones either…

        These type: Yorick Prime | Why do I always have to play Yorick? | Harry Voyager | Flickr
        Yorick Prime

        1. That is awesome. It must be done!

          My background is [looks behind himself] two monitors and a spaghetti factory of wires. Very professional. ~:D

        2. Get some dinosaurs and you could make an entire Abbot and Costello routine to pull on the other people in the call.

          “What’s with the toys?”

          “They’re battling for control of This Land.”

          “What, you mean America?”

          “No, America’s a different land.”

          “Wait, I thought you were conferencing from America?”

          “I am. But it’s This Land the dinosaurs are fighting over.”

          Etc, etc.

    6. Is being a roundish peg in a roundish hole acceptably odd here if the hole is tapered and the peg has multi-axis twists between the decorative beads, coves, and fillets? Asking for a woodturning friend. 😉

      1. Round pegs in round holes are useful.

        The problem with mismatched pegs and holes, that you use anyway, is that it’s not useful, nor good for the peg, nor the hole.

        1. I prolly should have clarified that both peg and hole have matching Morse tapers, which hold well under pressure but can be easily separated when the task is done. Usually, anyway. 😉

  15. “Apparently believing abortion is wrong is out of the mainstream; believing gay marriage is wrong is out of the mainstream; believing transexuality isn’t the load of hogswallow that our society is being fed is out of the mainstream; being a Christian is out of the mainstream; and being convinced that you have rights as an individual which were granted to you by G-d and the government can’t take away is out of the mainstream.”

    I’ve found it illuminating the responses I get when people talk about gay marriage and I interject that I have a problem with straight marriage as defined by government anyway. When I tell them it isn’t the government’s business what people get married, and telling folks they can or can’t get married ought to be well beyond any government busybody (or non-governmental busybody for that matter), well, by that point you can tell the Tru Believers from the merely confused. And it sometimes gets people on the titular right, too.

    The proper role of government should be to register the contract and enforce it when absolutely necessary, no more and no less. One cannot form a contract with parties that are not eligible- fruit salads, for example, cannot give consent. Well, not that anyone would notice, anyway, which amounts to the same thing. Legal adults of sound mind can. Therefore marriage between legal adults of sound mind should never be a question, because if it is, then there’s your example of government overreach. Wasn’t it the left that, back in the seventies and eighties, was screaming about getting government out of the bedroom?

    As for abortion, y’all know that there is quite a lot of money invested in obfuscating the question on the one side. On the other is a few confused people and even more that have their priorities straight. If one believes that human life is sacred, and there darn well better be good and solid reasons if you are to end said life, then being on the side of life makes plain old good sense. On the other, the “clump of cells” argument never has resonated. If you truly believe that the unborn child *isn’t* a human being, there is at least some logical consistency, but I don’t get the ones that say they are Christians and are also very pro-death.

    As far as being Christian goes, I wonder about that. If you look at worldwide statistics- and you account for the amount of fudge and guesswork crammed in there- I’d say that between 60% and 80% of the world holds to some form of religion. And that figure, again from what I’ve read and researched, pretty much holds true for about as far back as I can tell. The decline in Christianity doesn’t mean that the country has fewer believers, I would argue. It just means they went somewhere else. Some “cult” perhaps. With nigh religious rituals, saints, sinners, angels, demons, and messiahs…

    1. > When I tell them it isn’t the government’s business what people get married,

      You have three different things all hiding under the same word.

      Marriage: a man and woman living together at their own convenience

      Marriage: a man and woman living together, bound by the rules of their religion

      Marriage: a man and woman bound by a lawful contract recognized by the state

      > The proper role of government should be to register the contract and enforce it when absolutely necessary, no more and no less.

      Ayup. Contract law is the basis of civilization. And to have a contract, you have to define limits and terms. What constitutes a marriage? Who can get married? Who owns the property? Who ia responsible for the children? Can a marriage be invalidated, for what reasons, and how could it be accomplished? “And much, much more.”

      You want to jump over a sword and say you’re married? That’s no business of the state. You want an equitable division of property during a divorce? Custody of the children after a breakup? The right to make medical decisions when your spouse can’t? Those are definitely the business of the state.

      1. If the government can legitimately restrain me from consenting to work for less than fifteen dollars an hour, no matter how worthless the work I am able to do is, why can’t other contracts between consenting adults be arbitrarily and capriciously prevented?

      2. I believe that that marriage should be between a man and a woman. However, none of the questions you ask have anything to do with whether the parties are one concave and one convex genitalia, two concave, or two convex. Certainly the state has an interest in how these questions are answered. But I fail to see what the sex of the parties involved has to do with it.
        I am a hetero cis male married for half a century to a hetero cis female, and I believe that is how God intended us to live. But the state has no business enforcing my beliefs.

    2. Problem being, the government wasn’t telling folks they couldn’t get married. I knew lesbians who had weddings way before that was A Thing.

      Government was registering some partnerships known to be very likely to produce third parties whose legal rights have to be protected to cut down on the amount of time and effort that would go into dealing with disputes that are known to arise from biology existing. You could have an option to have it registered via a non-government agent. They did not try to define which male/female marriages “couldn’t possibly” have a kid, because there are WAY too many folks walking around who are “impossible.”

      There was no requirement to tell the government you’d been married at all, although some places had methods of recognizing couples living as husband and wife for the purpose of protecting good-faith actors. (Common Law Marriage.)

      But that did not give the power to, as Sarah pointed out, force people to lie.

      1. Oh yes. I put it that way precisely because certain parties believe that was the case, even though it wasn’t. There was a time when some folks wanted to amend the government’s position on that to *prevent* gay marriage, i.e., to make it so the legal definition was between a man and a woman. My position was that giving government more power was a mug’s game in most cases and most especially in regards to marriage.

        As you and TRX mentioned, there is more than one thing meant by “marriage” in most people’s minds. And getting government involved any more than they already are struck me as a bad idea.

      2. Problem being, the government wasn’t telling folks they couldn’t get married. I knew lesbians who had weddings way before that was A Thing.

        Maybe not before the Progressive Era they weren’t.

        But then most of the modern left’s cause celebre are built on the backs of their ancestor’s cause celebre.

        1. You know, if you don’t have something useful/interesting/relevant to contribute, it really won’t kill you to not try to add in with a ‘correction.’

          If you’d offered some news stories of people being arrested for performing weddings for those who were not eligible for an official registered union (which did not involve child abuse) from the last, oh, 30 years, it might work.

          Losers who’d already lost the argument and then tried to force the matter and lost again two generations back is really not a relevant.
          (Literally two generations in this case, my mother was my daughter’s age when Loving vs Virginia was overturned.)

          1. What isn’t relevant about it? Government issued marriage licenses came from the Progressive social planners trying to make sure the “wrong” people didn’t breed.

            1. I do not have enough spoons to do the link-and-quote-where-I-already-explained-at-length-and-you-commented-with-implication-you-actually-read-it dance.

              1. Allow me to describe the spoons:

                1. Dan Lane brought up the issue of government control of marriage as a fools game.

                2. You mentioned some of the reasons why government was defining it.

                3. I pointed out that this came from the Progressive Era. Though somewhat indirectly, as pointing out that Marriage control / Minimum wage / Gun control in this country came from the progressive racists of yesteryear is becoming boring.

                1. 1) you are fully aware that is not how the metaphor works. That response doesn’t even make sense.
                  2) you have quite sufficiently demonstrated that you read what you expected to read, and did not read the reply; there isn’t even an audience reason to try.

    3. I will note that the state does have a valid long-term interest in ensuring that children are born to and raised by couples residing together in harmony under the same roof.

      But that’s the only comment I will make on your point.

      1. Stabilizing forces in society should rightly be items of interest for the culture in question. People who don’t understand that the marriage discussion is about that, and not about ‘justice’ or ‘fairness’ or ‘love’ will never be able to have reasonable discussions with people who are looking at the big picture overview of what the formalization of generative relationships is supposed to accomplish.

      2. But the evidence I have seen, both formal and anecdotal, would indicate given “living in harmony under the same roof”, the sexes of the couples are not a major factor.

        1. The effect on the children is up for debate. There have been studies indicating both for and against.

          Part of the problem right now is that the issue is so politicized that even if someone does a quality study on the topic, it will be instantly flamed into oblivion by people who disagree with the findings of the study. And many – if not most – of the studies on the subject probably already have the findings pre-determined even before the first data is gathered. Again, thank the politicization of the matter.

          But the point I was making is this –

          The state has an actual interest in encouraging stable family units so that children can be raised in those units. Given that, there is an actual reason for the state to view the matter as more than just another random contract between two individuals. The state is, in essence, investing in its long-term future.

        2. Thing is, accurately measuring or estimating humans is much more difficult than widgets.

          Studies are unreliable, because they are unreliable for significantly simpler human measurements.

          Anecdotes… 1. There are four major issues with me as a source of anecdotes. a) I may be too trusting b) I may be too paranoid c) I may know too few people d) I may know an extremely weird cross section of people. 2. So you have the most reliable observer in the world, they have met a large cross section of people. How long should the evaluation be done over? Ten years is definitely too short. There’s a case that thirty or forty is the minimum. Is your rate of staying in contact with people and their kids consistent for all types of people? 3. If the naturally occurring rate of homosexuality is rare, then pair-bonding rate and adoption rate would both need to be pretty high for representative anecdotal sampling to be likely. 4. What about sample size per couple? Some Christian male-female couples have a half dozen or more children. These can provide a better estimate of behavioral effects, because a) more samples b) genetically related. However, this behavior is a little concentrated, and not evenly distributed across all types of couples. Knowing two to four of these couples fairly well, and ten to twenty children, is not impossible. It might be fairly common to validate such type of couple by personal anecdote, while being much rarer to validate rarer types of couple to the same degree.

          What’ll happen is that we will have some different conclusions in twenty or thirty years because of the trans push. Push was political, and probably scooped up a number of ‘false positives’, for which it will not be the path to a happy and healthy life. The politics will be different then, and the taboo thoughts will not be enforced exactly the same as they are now. The trans anecdotes may sour people on the whole of lgbt, leading to different policy preferences.

          1. Thing is, accurately measuring or estimating humans is much more difficult than widgets.

            Especially if admitting to anything less than perfection means being disowned, shunning by the “community” and quite possibly personal destruction.

        3. Children only show up, unexpectedly, in one situation. The others the child is placed there, by formal agreements, where obligations are spelled out.

          Why on earth would it be reasonable to take the limited, legitimate interest of the government in the voluntary registration of the biologically involved to provide a framework for the two which spells out the obligation, and deliberately expand it to explicitly involve government in all sexual bondings?

          Even if biology does mean that there are only two involved in the generation, and that they are only male with female pairs.

        1. Because the state and its native culture can only continue to exist if a steady supply of babies are born and raised to a “stable” state of adulthood. All indications so far are that the family unit is the best way to bring this about.

          Ergo, it is in the state’s general interest to encourage willing couples to get married, have kids, and raise them to adulthood within a stable family environment. Further, this does not apply merely to the state. Civilization, and humanity as a whole, is improved as this process is carried out.

          1. Assumes the state is something that exists for its own ends.

            If you want Plato’s Republic or its ten thousand blood soaked descendants you know where to find them.

            1. Assumes the state is something that exists for its own ends.

              No, it really didn’t.

              The statements were completely consistent with the state existing only to serve its citizens. Same way that national defense and law enforcement serves the common good.

                1. Ah yes, the old “how dare the rights of prey be defended” argument, at the heart of the outcry whenever some criminal a-hole picks an easy mark the finds out that the second amendment made them not so easy at all.

                  The least invasive possible option to defend the human rights is not ‘social engineering.’ It takes the obvious effects of biology that result from the reproductive act, sets a framework for expectations, and formalizes the interaction for those who voluntarily choose to enter a situation where they are going to be doing the reproductive act and living as a family unit.

                  I know your family is F’d up, but that does not give you any sort of right or authority to demand that families be destroyed or treated as unjust creations of society, rather than a basic biological reality.

                  1. Ah yes, the old “how dare the rights of prey be defended” argument, at the heart of the outcry whenever some criminal a-hole picks an easy mark the finds out that the second amendment made them not so easy at all.

                    Who said anything about protecting criminals? Dealing with them is in fact one of the two legitimate functions of government.

                    The least invasive possible option to defend the human rights is not ‘social engineering.’ It takes the obvious effects of biology that result from the reproductive act, sets a framework for expectations, and formalizes the interaction for those who voluntarily choose to enter a situation where they are going to be doing the reproductive act and living as a family unit.

                    That is for the society around them to handle, not the state.

                    I know your family is F’d up, but that does not give you any sort of right or authority to demand that families be destroyed or treated as unjust creations of society, rather than a basic biological reality.

                    What in the ever loving blue fuck are you smoking?

                    The concept of family was not bequeathed to humanity from the state. It exists prior to any state, and is a far more important relationship than the ones built on top of it.

                    1. Who said anything about protecting criminals? Dealing with them is in fact one of the two legitimate functions of government.

                      Which is what you objected to; your unsupported assertion that a certain sub-class of criminal– rather, those who violate the inherent rights of another– is outside of the interest of the state and is in fact inherently wrong is not my problem.

                      What in the ever loving blue fuck are you smoking?

                      I’ve been wondering the same thing from the assumptions you lay down as contrasted with the ideals you then say you support, especially when you then blow the heck up without paying a minutes attention to what I actually wrote, when I took the care to be rather precise.

                    2. Which is what you objected to

                      No. I objected to the idea that the state has any right to “ensure stability”, beyond the stabilizing side effects of preventing invasion or crime. Cultural stability can only come from the culture itself and the people in it, at best the state can avoid actively destabilizing it (a bar which sadly seems to be too much to ask these days…).

                      And once you have accepted the idea that the state is an entity which has interests of the state, outside the individual interests of each citizen, then we already know what kind of government it is. We are just haggling over the body count.

                      assumptions you lay down as contrasted with the ideals you then say you support

                      Probably because I have N mutually contradictory systems in my head, none of which can yet be dropped for one reason or another.

                    3. Done chasing your rabbits.

                      You started with asserting that this:

                      Because the state and its native culture can only continue to exist if a steady supply of babies are born and raised to a “stable” state of adulthood. All indications so far are that the family unit is the best way to bring this about.

                      Ergo, it is in the state’s general interest to encourage willing couples to get married, have kids, and raise them to adulthood within a stable family environment. Further, this does not apply merely to the state. Civilization, and humanity as a whole, is improved as this process is carried out.

                      Assumed the state existed for its own ends, when called on to justify that statement you did a long loping trot through a bunch of unbacked and somewhat contradicting assertions packed with outrage, but no rational argument.

                      Probably because I have N mutually contradictory systems in my head, none of which can yet be dropped for one reason or another.

                      So you have repeatedly said, so I freaking allueded to, so you flipped out about me alluding to, and NONE OF WHICH GIVES YOU ANY STANDING TO ACT LIKE WE SHOULD PRETEND THEY MAKE SENSE.
                      Try making an argument to support the assertion your making, rather than demanding we respect the systems in your head that you flatly state do not work.

                      Or at the very least engage the arguments that people DO make, rather than the ones that some system or other in your head thinks we should be making.

                    4. This is not a request for clarification, but you should probably be aware that, as of several exchanges ago, I cannot tell the difference between your position and Ian’s. That being the case, I think you should probably just stop talking about it because you aren’t going to convince Ian and you cannot possibly convince someone who isn’t really following your argument, and so has lost the thread. So, the question becomes, who are you trying to convince?

                      That goes for Ian, too. Just give it a rest, will ya’?

                    5. You are literally replying to where I said I was done trying to discuss it with him, because he’s making a disjointed string of assertions.

                    6. Ergo, it is in the state’s general interest to encourage willing couples to get married, have kids, and raise them to adulthood within a stable family environment.

                      Sure, if the culture is healthy it may make the state healthier. But that runs into a definition rabbit hole of what counts as a “healthy” state, given that you can reasonably define the term as either an all powerful uber-state, or a scrawny half starved thing that is only just barely capable of performing its minimum functions.

                      When people talk about “the health of the state” or “the state’s interest” the entire outlook is based in the idea that the state is society, rather than an unfortunate cancer needed to stop worse cancers from forming. This is what Europe runs on, and is the idea that America rejected.

                      Further, this does not apply merely to the state. Civilization, and humanity as a whole, is improved as this process is carried out.

                      Cart before the horse: these things are the responsibilities of the families to teach their children, and “society as a whole” — to the extent the phrase has any meaning — to exert social pressure. I see no reason why the state exerting authority over that is anything but a usurpation of proper authority.

                2. Here they go again.

                  Maybe Sarah should set up a separate page for Ian-and-Fox fights? 😀

                  Or maybe a duel. Carp at 20 paces, at dawn!

      3. Also, the respective families used to have a long-term interest in the future inheritance (parallel to that offspring thing), hence the origin of marriage contracts.

    4. Some States are now saying Troikas (any sex) are legal. So much for the slippery slope.
      If the Gays had been smart they would have stayed with Civil Unions. Almost all of their enemies would have been allies. Marriage would have been a subset of Civil Unions. After a few years 99%+ would have been using the term Marriage to mean Civil Unions. Troikas or any other type would have just been a subset of Civil Unions. The only requirement would that all parties to a Civil Union would have to agree to the Civil Union. A new Wife is not just marrying the man, she is marrying the other wife’s. ALL have to agree.
      The Gays and others would have won, NOW they won in the courts. But what the court gives the court can take away.
      There was also the FACT that the Gays could have had a Civil Union Partnership Contract written up that Gays got signed and notarized. Then just went with Contract Law. When they were not given their rights under the contract, go to court to enforce their rights. A few cases and it would have been accepted.
      That Civil Union Partnership Contract would have been expanded for any number of people. Only adults can sign contracts, so that problem would have been taken care of.
      Either way, the Gays and others would be in a much better position then they are now. But the stupid activists would not allow it to happen. They wanted to rub the peoples nose in it and force it down their throats, and they got what they wanted. They better hope the tide NEVER turns because they made REAL enemies doing it that way.
      Just like the Activist wanting the cake keeps making enemies. I believe after losing once, it should have been enough.

      1. The thing was, they weren’t for just gay marriage. From what I’ve heard from folks- I know, third hand knowledge, etc- is that was never the point. It was laying the groundwork for destroying the nuclear family.

        1. That’s laid out in so many words in various Marxist screeds. To paraphrase — destroy the family, destroy the state, we win.

      2. The point wasn’t “gay marriage.”

        The point was destroying family formation.

        No fault divorce, marriage redefined to be eros, children belonging to the state, and even down to working hard to destroy childhood friendships. First by telling kids if the like someone and want to be around them, they must REALLY be sexually interested in that person, and then by insisting “fairness” means that you must be divided from any friends you have.
        There is no agreement, there is only violence.

        Scared people are easier to control.
        Isolated people are scared, because they now they’re vulnerable.
        And vulnerable people are much, much better prey.

        1. Bingo.

          Based on Dan’s comment, it looks like polyamory is now on the way in. Monogamy will probably increasingly come under attack as a covert way of exercising homophobia and transphobia. Pedaresty and pedophilia will be the final push.

          1. They’ve been trying to remove the age thing pretty much constantly, probably because it’s the one that required the least stupidity.

            There’s a lot less painful stupidity in insisting that there’s a bigger difference between a 16 year old girl and a 30 year old woman, vs a black woman and a white woman, vs the difference between a woman and a man.

            1. Actually, I think removing age restrictions is the MOST stupid, because…THEY GROW UP!! The restrictions are temporary. In a few years the exact same individuals WILL be old enough to do whatever they want to do, and much more likely to actually KNOW what they want.

              Which, of course, is the point. If the Leftroids can get to them while they’re still confused and inexperienced, it’s much easier to warp them into being what those ‘compassionate’ types desire. Superficially, at any rate. Forcing their own prejudices onto vulnerable children in order to ‘protect’ them from their parents’ prejudices.
              If everybody is thinking the same thing, most of them aren’t thinking.

              1. Less stupid than the difference between black and white is the same as between male and female?

                There are many reasons that California’s activists didn’t want to talk about how African Americans voted when they rejected redefining marriage.

                1. These days, the argument is that black and white are inseparable divides, but male and female are whatever you feel like at this moment.

                  1. Which is why I find it so incredibly stupid and evil.

                    An actual social construct that describes some ancestral patterns in a not completely inaccurate manner is supposed to be objective truth, a really obvious biological fact is to bow to emotion. *Shudder*

              2. Underage teenagers (post-puberty, but still a minor) seems to be a “thing” for many people If it weren’t, Epstein would have been a nobody. Ergo, waiting until they grow up defeats the purpose.

                1. Only because culture is out of synch with biology. Ephebophilia (which is NOT pedophilia) is a survival trait; delaying breeding several years past ability to reproduce is definitely a luxury provided by modern medical techniques and the resultant higher survival rates for both mother and child.

      3. The troikas are the first big step toward the kind of line marriages Heinlein described in “The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress.”

        Deliberate? Accidental? It will be interesting to see how the “inheritance tax” concept gets applied to them…

  16. I was in rural South America just after Obama won the first time and some locals asked me if I hated America. I said no, and they were surprised because all the other US tourists told them how much they loathed it. Then they asked me if I voted for Obama, and I said I didn’t, and they automatically assumed (wrongly) it was because he was black and I then heard the most racist comments and attitudes I’ve ever been around.

    The Americans lecturing them on how much better they were compared to the US were in some sort of delusion.

  17. The courts should throw all those cases out for the plaintiffs being too stupid to not drown when it rains.

    There are cases in which “The plaintiffs are full of shit!” should be an affirmative legal defense.

    “Your Honor, we move for dismissal because the plaintiff is a fewking idiot.”
    “Overruled. The plaintiff is a fewking idiot. Get out of my courtroom.”

    And, Judge Roy Bean was a misunderstood hero…

    1. It should also be a possible to use “he needed killing” as a defense. Of course the Jury would have to agree and set the punishment.

        1. But how many people on a jury KNOW about “Jury nullification”?
          If they even think you know about it that will strike you from the jury.

  18. Hum, I wonder if this is an Alaskan thing or if it’s true in the lower forty eight as well; I’ve known a lot of guys with PhDs up here working as laborers, plumbers etc. Guys justifiably proud of their education but not too proud to go where the money is, even if it’s in the bottom of a ditch.

      1. I remember one guy that worked for me as a wastewater treatment plant operator. As I remember his doctorate was in nuclear physics.

        His resume was quite interesting, it read something like: worked at Los Alamos, what did you do? Classified. Worked at Bikini Atoll, what did you do? Classified, worked at Frenchman Flat, what did you do? Classified, etc., etc.,etc.

        The plant was on a military base and yes, his resume was valid.

        1. The Voices keep rendering “Classified” in Agent Franks’ voice. At least, Oliver Wyman’s rendition of it…

  19. Does America still believe in individual rights? I know that Americans do, but too often I get the sense we may be a minority in our nation.

    1. The box had been clicked – how did it unclick? I hereby re-click the box; notify the heck out of me!

      1. Harder to tell when the media, education, and entertainment industries are but hollow skin suit puppets of a dead Russian disinformation/destabilization program, but I do agree. Not even including the ones trapped in occupied territories, afraid to speak out and possibly unaware that they are not alone.

    2. As a Canadian, I can tell you there there is a pretty big industry devoted to making you and I -feel- like a minority when we’re not. What we are is inconvenient, but not a minority.

      Like I said elsewhere, there are a goodly number of other square pegs around where I live.

  20. What they aren’t actually telling us is: Out of the mainstream WHERE?

    What they call the mainstream is actually just a minor side canal where all of the Intellectuals and wanna-be Intellectuals swim. It draw its waters from the flow of mainstream America and returns toxic waste. Unlike the mainstream, however, it is highly visible, well-exposed and emitting a noxious light all its own.

    – From the Beat That Simile To Death Depr.

  21. “Apparently believing abortion is wrong is out of the mainstream; believing gay marriage is wrong is out of the mainstream; believing transexuality isn’t the load of hogswallow that our society is being fed is out of the mainstream; being a Christian is out of the mainstream; and being convinced that you have rights as an individual which were granted to you by G-d and the government can’t take away is out of the mainstream.”

    Fine then. I don’t want to be apart of that mainstream.

    1. I concur.

      I know that I’m crazy. I know that this can take me to false places, and that I dislike both the dysfunction of madness and falsehood.

      But there are points where I’m quite comfortable saying that a disagreement between me and the rest of the world is the rest of the world being wrong.

      Abortion is most definitely one of those. To me, the logic of current abortion policy is the path to Gary Ridgeway. The most important thing can be the human rights of others, or it can be being able to act on sexual desires, and avoid a consequence.

  22. … they’re going to be given very weird looks. And feel out of place.

    There is no Constitutional (nor even Human) Right to not feel out of place. Get used to it and stop probing the differences microaggressions. Feeling out of place is mostly a subjective state which one can escape by extracting one’s cranium from one’s rectum.

    1. Fer some folks, removing the cranium from the rectum would MAKE them out of place, because that’s where it belongs.

  23. Should we suppress our extremist beliefs that we have a right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness unhindered by an abusive and intrusive government?

    Fealty to principle appears outside the “mainstream” – as evidenced by the Senate Democrats’ cries for abolishing the filibuster as a remnant of a racist system, after having employed the filibuster more times in the past administration than it had been used in the entire prior history of the Senate.

    Unless, of course, you grasp their true motivating principle is “power for me but not for thee.”

  24. Saw you linked to on AOS tonight. Forgot about you. You were the only voice of reason over at Glenn Reynolds pandemic porn shitshow until I quit that blue blooded 5 months ago. You still getting paid by that shyster? Hope not Sad if so.

  25. Today is the feast of the Annunciation, the traditional date of the creation of the world, and the day the one ring was destroyed. Let’s all look for the unlocked for help.

    1. Today is also the fast of the firstborn, when firstborn Jews such as myself remember the victims of the tenth plague of Egypt.

  26. We wish you a merry kulterkampf, we wish you a merry kulterkampf, we wish you a merry kulturkampf, and a happy new boog!

  27. Have you noticed that those who think murder of babies in the womb should be allowed for all, for any reason and paid for by all, are the same people who have their parties in a twist over capital punishment for vicious murderers, rapists,and murderous pedophiles? Somehow the murder of innocents doesn’t bother them but they find vicious criminals to be worthy of the life they deny the babies.

      1. You’ll lose more for shooting a burglar in your house than the burglar would for shooting you.
        If you call 9-1-1 and tell them that somebody with a gun is breaking into your house, they will send two cops in 10 or 15 minutes. If you tell them that somebody is breaking into your house and YOU have a gun, they will send 10 or 15 cops in two minutes.

    1. Do you remember the Bugs Bunny or Sylvester gag where he’s thrown the antagonist character outside, into the snow, and they’re now freezing next to the window, so he goes Oh… I can’t bear to see him like that…

      And pulls the blinds down?

      I think it’s half that, and half that they could be charged with a capital crime. They’re never going to be an infant again.

    2. In both cases, they regard an adult having to deal with the reasonably foreseeable consequences of voluntary actions to be horrific.

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