I have talked before about how my parents were not well off when I was growing up. Though with them, it’s always hard to know where not well off ends and “must save because we both have major security issues” begins. But probably 50/50 on that, because even though I was born 10 years into their marriage, they got married young, neither of them had much, and they got married during an economic downturn where dad had trouble finding work, and mom had to do a lot of things like buy a knitting machine and knit sweaters from previously unraveled sweaters for local farmer families to survive. (She’s paying for that work now, as it more or less destroyed her shoulders. But we survived.)

So they were still really tight when I was little, and were saving and investing and slowly turning things around. By the late seventies they were doing okay.

Anyway, this is going to sound really weird to an American audience, but–

Portugal when I was a kid had a class system for education. I don’t mean as in school classes, I mean classes classes. If your parents could afford private school, you’d be going on to college unless you really, really, really screwed up. If you were in public school…. well, not so much.

This has all changed but back then there was only the public university which was “free” — the catch being if you had the grades to get in, you had the grades to get scholarships in the US back when scholarships were by merit. For my degree, which was not highly coveted, btw, the rate of applicants to those admitted was half of one percent. Things like medicine were tighter.

At various times grades, exams or a combination were used to get you through.

And along the way in the schooling there were various points at which you were shunted away from the college path as hopeless. The first was fourth grade, second was ninth, etc.

And yes, a lot of it was discrimination, and economic discrimination. Because the public schools didn’t teach, or not at the level you needed to get to college. If your parents weren’t wealthy enough to send you to private school but wanted you to succeed or even get to ninth grade, they hired “explainers” — aka tutors. Without those your chances were tiny.

Now, looking at it, you’ll go “Shouldn’t the schools be reformed?” Well, sure. But …. unions, etc. I know it’s different now, but I suspect it’s mostly lipstick on the porcine critter and the fact there are private colleges which offer a lot of …. more or less useless degrees. (A degree for everyone, seems to the the international version of a chicken in every pot.) Mind you I had some excellent teachers, who performed above and beyond the call of duty, and a number of them who are still on the little list — though they’re probably dead, the cowards.

One of those went on a rant to my 11th grade class (keep in mind not only had we gone through 3 cullings already, but that class was actually in an academic magnet school. Never mind) telling us we shouldn’t be there. If we wanted to go to college we should have been born to parents who could afford private school. The lot of us, the children of petit bourgeoisie should become cabinet makers and seamstresses (note the recommendation of professions that were, in the early eighties, being made obsolete by factory made, and you have the measure of this woman.

She was our socialist Sociology teacher, and yes, I hated her cordially and found ways to insult her that she never fully understood.

Yes, I made it to college. Yes, I completed my degree way faster than average (by about three years) and was if not top near the top of my class.

And do you know why? I did it because no one told me I lacked privilege and should be given special breaks, special considerations, and that the children who had been lucky enough to attend private school should be hobbled to give me an opportunity.

To be honest, I also did it because I lived in fear of what mom would do if I didn’t. It’s like, I’m not the fastest runner in the world, but if I were running from a man-eating tiger, I’d probably put on amazing speed.

Oh, my other bit of luck? I wasn’t a different “race” from the rest of the people. So my success or failure couldn’t be laid at the feet of privilege or racism. And I couldn’t have horrendous and unredeemed racists tell me that I was naturally inferior, and other people had to stop being competent so I could catch up.

At fifty eight, I know precisely what I am and what I am not, and the limits of my intellect as much as the limits of my body. I’ve tried a lot of things that didn’t work because the couldn’t work because my mind shouldn’t bend that way.

And I know that the degree I got ultimately pushed into was entirely unsuited for the way my mind works. I am — despite all appearances — not good with languages. I am good with Portuguese and English. All the rest takes so much effort and maintenance that I let it rust away.

Honestly, I shouldn’t have entered college, much less graduated. But I worked unreasonable amounts of time, put forth more effort than anyone should, and…. well…. It worked.

Though at that age, I’d very likely have taken the “They shouldn’t be allowed to be better than you.” I’m glad no one offered it.

What I actually studied was much of a waste. I have worked a total of 2 years out of 35 in my actual field. And all the literature part of the studies did was make me have to unlearn a ton of idiocy before I could write saleable stuff.

But learning to learn; learning that I could succeed despite my natural (and social) disadvantages; learning habits of mind and of scheduling? That was invaluable. Without it, I certainly wouldn’t ever have been published, or persisted despite several boots to the face and kicks in the teeth all along. And that– that is invaluable.

This is brought to you this morning under the “I’m so tired of this sh*t” as some bright boy at some university has decided cycling is “racist”.

It brought to mind all the other insults, including that exhibit — where was it? In the Smithsonian? — about how punctuality, studiousness, effort, were all “white supremacy.”

And I’m soooooo tired of this sh*t.

If you had to come up with an idea/philosophy designed to put everyone not-white (meh, depending on the light and if I’ve been in the sun, most people assume I’m not white. Though I’m not that dark for Portuguese. Some of these dingbats only consider pale people “white” being as racist as Hitler. And yet, they also talk about whiteness of many colors, because being racists they can’t conceive of anyone who tans succeeding) in a place as second class citizens, convinced they can never succeed, convinced their ancestors have ALL been victims forever (and proud of it, which boggles the mind) and unable to help themselves, what would you do different from Critical Race Theory. And if you took CRT seriously, WHY wouldn’t you be a white supremacist, since whites are held to be the only ones who do anything useful? Or can do anything useful?

Mark my words if that evil philosophy is tolerated and taught, we’ll see real white supremacists in power and pogroms of anyone who can tan before the century is out.

But, more importantly, we will have destroyed the minds, the abilities, the lives of countless people who are deemed victims and in need of help simply because they don’t blister in the sun.

Well, you know, I never told that teacher, back in eleventh grade where she could put it, but I want to tell all the lefties who call themselves anti-racists while promoting myths of racial capabilities that would make Hitler cheer that they can put it where the sun don’t shine. With spikes. Covered in ghost pepper juice.

I guess when they said “they want to put you back in chains” the left was projecting as they do. And mental chains are the worst of all.

As for me and mine, and for everyone out there who is willing to live and die as free men (and no, we’re not playing that game anymore. Men in this case is gender neutral, for the whole of humanity), no, we are not going to let ourselves be limited by our economic situation, our lack of access to information, or — of all stupid things — our degree of tan.

We will reach as far as our minds and our ability to work will take us.

We’re casting off our shackles and flying free. Privilege? What privilege? No privilege has been invented that can’t be matched with the mind, the willingness to work, the sheer can-do of a free American of any color. We don’t want other people hobbled. We are removing our own shackles.

Anyone having a problem with that, please address themselves to my uplifted middle fingers. I’ll paint them red, white and blue for the occasion.

207 thoughts on “Hobbles

  1. People jawing on and on about Hispanics having white privilege are awfully silent when I point out that accents create discrimination the moment you open your mouth.

    It’s all just tiresome and grotesque. The right story to tell yourself when the system is against you is ‘then I must be the hero of an epic because that’s the only kind of story where EVERYONE is against the guy who’s going to save the world and become king.’

    1. I find their ‘the system is against you’ risible.

      First, the word system is vague. It gets used in a bunch of fields of academic theory, for things that are wildly different, and do not all have the same essential qualities. I do not know enough to understand the proper definition, but some of the definitions mean ‘x is reliably assured’ or ‘we can mathematically model the components to predict the behavior of the whole of device y’, and these may not, or do not hold for usages in other fields. This is a problem when there is a focus on inter disciplinary research. You have humanities majors trying to work with engineering majors, and the humanities faculty seen as fit to dictate to the engineering faculty about how engineering is to be learned. This is a recipe for industrial engineers or electrical engineers to graduate without the necessary understanding and skills, among other things.

      Second, the people who take this stuff seriously are reifying anything they stick a ‘system’ label on, and unnecessarily making assumptions that may be poorly founded. They take ‘things may be very difficult’ and treat that as ‘might as well not bother, because impossible’. This is bad strategy for personal goals, and a terrible historical model. If it were an accurate model, we would be able to show that before women’s suffrage, or Roe v. Wade or whatever, that there were no educated women, and certainly no college graduates, scientists, etc. Likewise no hispanic, black, disabled, etc., scientists, engineers, lawyers, etc. If it were true, the NAACP would never have been formed. I refuse to treat this ‘strategy’ as valid where achieving my own goals is concerned.

      1. It’s worse than that. The pitch seems to be, “White Europeans have corrupted all aspects of education and employment so that their spawn are automatically chosen for any position of importance. Their entire culture is biased so that you, person of color, are unable to truly succeed. If you do, it is because white people find promoting racial traitors corrupted by white values into token positions valuable or reassuring. They use those race traitors to “prove,” their biased system is actually fair.”

        It’s both viciously racist and depressing.

        1. Oh, I also know about that stuff, and dislike it.

          I just have a special dislike for the misuse of the word system.

          It is a word with some genuinely useful applications, plus a bunch of other applications that confuse the issue. Forex, are eco-systems really systems?

        2. Indeed – I cannot imagine a system more calculated to do untold damage to the self-image and intellectual development of both white and black students. Anyone doing that to a single child of whatever race would stand accused of emotional abuse.

        3. Also active, actual oppression. Because I have no doubt that the ones promoting this–at least a goodly chunk of them, it’s with the idea of “And if I can get this more-talented-than-me non-white person to give up, *I* won’t have to work hard to achieve that high-level position that *I* want and clearly deserve more.”

          Because if you cripple your competition, you don’t have to work so hard, or indeed, at all!

      2. A lot of “minority members never [whatever]” history is easy to demolish if you start digging away from the accepted Narrative. For example, women in the trading cities of the Hanseatic League could become full citizens, legally equal to men, with the same military and municipal duties. They were rare because unusual circumstances had to be present, but they existed. Ditto women running businesses in later times. However, you have to look outside the Usual Places to find them. Like, oh, tax records and trading ledgers and the like, instead of lists of business owners; German and Latin sources instead of English.

        I’d love to see a face-off between the widow from Lübeck and a hyphenated-studies or educational theory prof. The gal lived in the 1100s. She had five living children, all too young to take her late husband’s place as head of the business, so she became a citizen and member of the militia. She ran the business, raised the kids, and served as part of the city defense force as well as participating in what we’d call civil court juries. The widow wasn’t the first or last woman to do that in one of the Hansa cities. She’s just one I remember off the top of my head.

        1. In my first historical novel, I had the fictional-but-based-on-historical-precedent female character who was a full voting member of the wagon train company going over the Oregon-California trail in the 1840s: the initial company meeting put into the bylaws of the company that heads of families and wagon-owners had full rights of the franchise. And she was the head of a family, and owned a wagon, her children were not anything near of age … and so she had the voting franchise, to the discomfiture of certain more traditional male members of the party.
          Curiously enough, women in the far West possessed rights to vote in local elections, quite early on, based on being property owners in their own right. After the ACW, a fair number of women also homesteaded in their own right.

      3. If it were an accurate model, we would be able to show that before women’s suffrage, or Roe v. Wade or whatever, that there were no educated women, and certainly no college graduates, scientists, etc.

        Ah, but that is exactly what they do show, by the simple expedient of erasing nearly every such woman from the shared historical record. Kristine Kathryn Rusch had to create and publish an anthology just before the Campaign to End Puppy-Related sadness because the fore-sisters and -mothers of SF&F erasure was so complete. In a field in which one of the top Hugo-winning writers is female (and earned them)

        Nice trick, eh? Remember that the saying “History is written by the winners” was made by a Marxist.

        We have plenty of lady scientists here: Who is a big fan of Lillian Gilbert or Barbara McClintock?

        1. Jumping genes!

          I especially like the revelation McClintock and others found that the endosperm and the seedling itself can be pollinated by sperm from two different sources – and in that case the seed tends to self-abort. No free riders!

      4. Honestly, I think the woke believe that “systemic racism” is like an evil version of the Force — y’know, it penetrates everything, and binds Amerikkka together — so when white people meet a black person, a little voice inside their head whispers “use the racism, Luke”.

        Because they certainly can’t point to anything tangible like laws or regulations or anything else that anyone rational would recognize as a “system”.

      5. Everyone knows about Ada Lovelace: She was programming computers since before there were computers to program. Of course it helps being a noblewoman.

        There’s Sophie Kovalevsky (may be spelling it wrong): She developed a very interesting way to look at partial differential equations that gives insight into domains of dependence and effectiveness within a boundary, and how interior points tie to boundary conditions. Not privileged, IIRC, faced many obstacles, but obtained advanced education and made many contributions to math.

        There’s Mary Tsingou: Another computer programmer that did the programming for the Fermi-Pasta-Ulam numerical experiment, back when computers were multi-room things and not very user friendly.

        1. Ah! But! No, not everyone knows about these women. I’m only familiar with Ada Lovelace–and I only learned about her, oh, long after I was out of any kind of school. See, they don’t talk about these women because they disprove the current Narrative.

          Marie Curie barely got a mention in all my years of schooling, for crying out loud. And no, admittedly, I was not in the hard sciences or any programming classes–but these are the sort of people who SHOULD come up even in basic history classes. Or, hell, the average grievance-study class (of which I took a few, because electives, sigh). But they do not. Because the Narrative prefers to erase them and claim that womyn are soooo oppressed and can’t break into the hard sciences/tech even now because SEXISM/PATRIARCHY.

    2. They also often have to have stage names if they want to act. They get rejected sight unseen on the grounds the casting director doesn’t want someone who looks Hispanic — and then, for other roles, they get rejected on first sight because they do not, in fact, “look Hispanic.”

      (There are diversity quotas for photos that state that Hispanics don’t count unless their hair is dark.)

      1. Don’t I know it. The shock when I point out that there are blond Hispanics with light eyes is tiresome.

        1. Not to mention his son Emilio, who kept the name but does not visually code as “typical Hispanic” being light-haired and having….what, hazel eyes? Not particularly dark, anyway.

          Whereas Charlie looks more typically “Hispanic.” Or at least fits the “swarthy, handsome Latin” type, heh.

  2. I only raise one middle finger. I might need the other hand to implement more forceful forms of refusal.

  3. I just read Walter Jon Williams’s Aristoi for the first time. There’s a delightful line in it that has the protagonist making the “one-fingered mudra of contempt.”

    1. Oh, they view Glampers as horrible, of course. They simply do not grasp the entirety of that story. They just don’t get it.

      1. They don’t believe they will be affected only other people or they think they’re Glampers.

    2. I was just thinking that somebody should put that story into song … but the Vonnegut estate would never grant rights.

      Demmed pity.

  4. I once asked a budding socialist just how many of his friends it would take to “manage” me into their socialist utopia, and he said something on the order of “as many as it takes.”

    Then I asked him how many of them he thought would still be alive when they finished.

    Apparently, he’d never considered that part.

  5. Just an observation, young lady, I can go along with the spikes where the sun don’t shine but the ghost pepper juice?

    Jalapeños maybe, Tabasco sauce OK, but ghosts, a bit too far.;-)

    1. Nah, don’t waste good peppers on ’em. Just use a big knot of old rusty barbed wire. 😛

  6. The whole point of adversity is to call you up into greatness, whatever your greatness looks like.

    It’s supposed to be hard, that’s why we’re built for struggle.

    1. And the problem with the lefties is that in their opinion, if you ever fail, even once, you aren’t allowed to pick yourself up and try again. Hell, if your ANCESTORS ever failed, you aren’t allowed to even try–hence the whole basis for their worship of victimhood. ::spits::

      one of the things I sneered most at during Trump’s presidency was how many people went “But he’s gone bankrupt number of times! He’s a failure!” And yet…still he kept rebuilding. But of course, that’s verboten to them.

      1. Yeah, I wanted to dig out that meme story about Lincoln and how many times he failed before getting elected as president.

          1. “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
            – Thomas Edison

      2. That’s why they never do anything themselves and place themselves in fields with no objective content. They are terrified of failure. They’re terrified of everything, that’s why they need stasis since they can’t handle change . Collectivism is all about fear at bottom.

        1. I see it as more about envy and resentment. “Somebody’s got MOAR than me! I wants it, I wants it!”

      3. If they were in charge of developing the lightbulb, we’d all still be using candles…

        I seem to recall Edison supposedly saying something to the effect that he hadn’t failed xxx times to develop said lightbulb filament, he’d discovered xxx ways not to do it. But deity(ies) of your choice forbid that anyone now be allowed to fail ever, they have to be able to do it right the first time or else never try again, because no one has ever learned from doing it wrong the first xxx times and we can’t let their precious self-esteem be harmed.

        1. Proving the Null Hypothesis is frowned upon, even though it is sometimes more valuable than the experiment actually “working.”

        2. For a real-world example, see NASA’s commercial crew contractors Boeing and SpaceX: The “safe bet – it’s shaped like Apollo!” award of $4.2b to failure-averse Boeing, and the “radically risky” award of $2.6b to failure-embracing upstart SpaceX.

          SpaceX has completed all unmanned tests and their third manned Crew Dragon launch to ISS, with two successful manned reentry and recovery iterations under their belt.

          Boeing and NASA just recently bumped the retry of the Boeing CST-100 Starliner’s initial unmanned test flight to 30 July 2021.

          1. I forget where I can find it, but somewhere (maybe here?) someone shared an amusing screenshot of someone joking online that the government agencies are horrified if there’s “failure,” and strive to avoid showing it, or anything like unto it (even if it means nothing ever happens) while SpaceX is like “Whoo! Look at our stuff blow up!” And had Elon Musk himself show up and go “Yeah. It’s true.”

            But that’s just it: sure, for a given value of it, “stuff blowing up” is a “failure”–but is it really? It might be a bit expensive, but so long as one learns from it and uses it to do better on the next stuff…that’s not failure, that’s a fine way to make actual progress.

            NASA’s failures in the last forty years or so seem to stem more from bureaucratic screwups–and using aging equipment, and failing to innovate–than anything else. And that really IS failure.

        3. “Results? Man, do not speak to me of results. I know several thousand things that do not work.”

          That was my email signature for a while.

      4. Exactly what you said. The enemy has contempt for trying hard, trying again, coming back, and just perseverance.

        I read all POTUS Trump’s books after I learned he was a serious candidate. Magnificent, and fun to read. My favorite is the Art of the Comeback.

        I’m doing my own art of the comeback. 🙂

  7. Wouldn’t admit it at the time, but my first profession wasn’t the best either. Better off doing what eventually ended up doing. Something I was really good at. Then play in the other. It isn’t that I couldn’t do the work, but wasn’t brilliant at it either. Where as in the profession I did end up working in, while there were definitely others who were brilliant in certain aspects and I wasn’t, I was still very, very, dang good. Even at that I could do stuff they weren’t very good at too.

    1. I realized, far too late in the game to change my major, that I did not in fact have the right temperament to make it in that field. I wasn’t left enough, and wasn’t competitive enough (I’m totally okay with people out there being better than me at something–I prefer to do as good a job as I can and not worry about it. That…is not a good outlook in graphic design…)

      had I a time machine, I’d go back and make Younger Self major in programming, and minor in design, sigh…

      1. I staggered a bit in my 20s and 30s. The good: ignored my mother and majored in electrical engineering rather than prelaw. She wanted me to be a lawyer in the worst way. I thrived in engineering in college but didn’t go to grad school. The top of my EE class was a bit skewed – when I graduated I was in the top 2% of my school wide class, in the top 5% in the College of Engineering and the last person (by a good deal) in the top 10% of my EE class. No one told me that success in grad school is a grind and not a function of brilliance. Went to work and got into management young. Then it took me more than 10 years to figure out I hated it. At 40 I went back to technology and thrived for 25 years mostly doing things that no one in management had the technical chops to do and most narrowly focused engineers weren’t interested in. I consider myself lucky. Now I’m trying to figure out how to ride out the oncoming time of suckage.

        1. I think most everyone is studying how to ride out the coming suckage.

          1. Plant More Potatoes.

            You can live a long, long time on nothing but potatoes.

              1. Or has kidney issues, or a family history thereof. (And my mother, bless her, has BOTH. And I suspect that if I tried to live on potatoes alone for very long–much as I love them–I would soon be diabetic.)

                They’re great things, though, taters. But…alas…

              2. True. But they’re still a solution against starvation for most folks, that can overproduce sufficient to feed your neighbors too, and require no powered equipment. And that is something we may need to consider, if Things Fall Apart.

                For folks like yourself, goats (for the butterfat) and rabbits (for protein) might be a space-effective solution.

                1. Lamb’s quarter seeds. For everyone. I have like a gallon. Hit me up at trufox at the positively charmed mail and I can snail-mail you some (plus instructions on what to do with the little monsters).

        2. Flexibility is powerful. And being both capable enough to lead by example, and willing to do so, is a very strong combination, especially in times of conflict.

        3. I majored in EE as well. My mother wanted me to go back to school and get my MBA, but I was so relieved to get out of school the first time around (not learning, I LOVE learning, but school sucks) that going back again did not appeal in the least, and I’d rather chew glass than be in charge of anyone other than me.

          And I barely worked in my field anyway, what with graduating in Cali in ’02. When I finally got a full-time job it was in data analysis, which it turned out I liked rather a lot more than I ever expected, and satisfied my craving for creation by writing and doing crafty stuff at home.

          My mother kept telling me that I would do fine as a manager. I knew she was right. But I also knew myself well enough to know that I’d be miserable and unhappy the whole freaking time, and I like myself enough to not put myself through that for a slightly bigger paycheck.

      2. First degree Forestry. Still love the outdoors, and would have been decent at the work (stupid owl). Changing majors to what I was really, really, good at, in the Forestry time frame wasn’t happening. Weird. I know. No way could I have gotten into the Computer program. I back doored into it as it was.

        Programming class Winter ’76 – Hated it. Hate and despise doesn’t even come close. Scraped through.

        Fast forward, between Owl and St. Helen, one of us had to get out of timber. Since I wasn’t working, went back to school. Supposedly for Accounting. Hey, it was easy, at least for me. Can’t do what I think I wanted, do what was easy, right? Counselor insisted I’d be a good programmer. Insisted I had to take the intro computer programming anyway, keep an open mind. Counselor was right. I sailed through, even tutored. Two year AA.

        Hubby then gets transferred to Eugene just as I’m finishing. Job market bigger than where we were (without a 2 hour commute). Employer there wanted the 4-year Computer Science degree. Whatever, he paid for most of it. Had to take as many math classes as computer science classes. Program wasn’t going to take me. Lack of the undergraduate math, and overall GPA, but local software company … By the time the company left the area, I was established in the program and had earned my place, even with working full time. Am I a hacker? Hell no. Can I compete with the guys who can read hex and byte code by sight? Hell no. But neither can they talk to clients and deliver user applications exactly what the *client needed (not “wanted”, needed) from start to finish. Reason? Ability to communicate with clients. Which, at least the ones I worked with, really were not good at.

        * Because clients are good at explaining what they want, but lousy at explaining what they need. There is usually a difference.

        1. Oh God yes. This, so much this.

          Had a customer complaining about a function not working right. We tested it up one side and down the other, and that part was working fine.

          We finally got to sit down with them and see what was actually happening. The function was fine; it was everything surrounding how the function was used was fubared…

          We fixed that and the customer *loved* it. Best thing since sliced bread.

          I liken it to being like a (good) doctor: they can tell you where it hurts. They may not know why it hurts, or how to fix it, but they are the only ones who can tell you where it hurts.

          1. So much this.

            Had a client who called and complained that over thousands of transactions reported on a report that:

            round(Sum(Expense * overhead %)) round(Sum(Expense) * overhead %), by a lot. Other clients would complain about pennies, maybe 10 cents difference, because of rounding individual records. But this client was off by hundreds. Mathematically the above works, if not rounding. All bets off if rounding.

            PIA to prove. But once I saw the report and did minimal research I knew what was happening. The difference with this client was they were splitting the individual expenses into multiple cost centers. To a point where the split expense * percentage = 0 overhead charge. Compounded by the known rounding problem. Not only did the calculation had to work at the bottom of the report, but had to work for the individual (billable) cost centers.

            Report wasn’t “broken” by the rules. But it really kind of was.

            Fixed it. Then the complaint was the report took twice as long. Well duh. Had to extract the data ranges, splitting original expense, and summarize by the billable cost centers, then run through the collected summarized data, running the overhead cost calculation, which varied by cost center or project expense was sourced. Also helped with the few cents off. That trade off became is the runtime of the report worth the pennies accuracy? There was a switch added, to use original method or new method. The complaining client was forced to use the new method.

            1. Also, while I am no programmer (I know a teensy bit, and would like to know more) I do know that the users can find and break the most astonishing things in a program that the programmers never even thought was possible 😀

              1. users can find and break the most astonishing things in a program that the programmers never even thought was possible

                “Nothing is user proof. Users are ingenious.”

                Trust me. (Only original quote user = fool.)

                1. Well, yes. I mean, even as someone who is primarily a user myself, I know that user = fool. Sometimes, though, so does programmer, lol. My old boss and I were asked down to the National Operations Center in Denver to test their newfangled weed management computer program.

                  Turned out, it had never once occurred to them to check and see what might happen if multiple users were in the program at the same time (even though it was supposed to be a nationwide, internet-based program)…not until they had a bunch of us all using it at the same time in the same room, anyway…sigh. (The program sucked, it always sucked, and they never did fix the problems that came because it was a program designed by a SMALL field office that dealt with ONLY range-related/grazing stuff, and that did no good for those of us–much larger–field offices who did mostly oil and gas related stuff on federal lands, dammit–and now, I gather, it’s defunct and never fully launched. Quelle surprise…)

                  1. Seen that too.

                    Never participated in one of those. But know of them.

                    Been more than a few times I wanted to take a clue 2×4 to a colleague or two. “Wait! What? You changed how this one thing works and you didn’t take into account the other 6 programs that also deal with the same concept?” (Not common code, and reasonably not expected to be.) OMG!!!! Then they were surprised when problems multiplied across multiple clients.

                    Same person who broke something then was “too busy” to fix it immediately, after I took the clients report, and verified the problem, AND verified it was going to affect a dozen other clients where this feature was critical. At almost 60 (was my last battle with the guy) I all but threw a tantrum. Client in question got fined if the information was passed on incorrectly. Also, it was a part of the program the person who broke it chose to be the “expert in” on how the coding worked. I could have figured it out, eventually, but not timely.

                    Then there was the conversation regarding using the program on cell phones or remote laptops. Luckily when finally put on the docket to implement the County footing the bill was one of the ones who this was not “trivial”. How does one implement this when there is no internet coverage from your location? Okay. Download data, and match/approve changes uploaded. Now genius, how do you deal with data that overloads the remote device? I didn’t quite say “I told you so.” (Note: New Starlink access will help, eventually, but not solve the problem.) When I retired they were still in the “Well that was less than successful.” Phase.

                    1. I swear, some of the folks who do not think those kinds of things through must all be from more densely populated areas and just cannot get it into their worldview that may not work everywhere.

                      Like a few years back, they announced that for all the folks in our state who used BLM cell phones for work they were…going to be switching to Verizon. (I presume because some idiot in DC got a good price on the contract.)

                      This was met with disbelieving laughter. See, outside Cheyenne, Rawlins, Laramie, and Casper…Verizon doesn’t really work. Nor does AT&T, or T-Mobile, or…the only thing that works reliably over almost the entire state is the phone company based here. But of course, HQ wouldn’t believe us, so people had to “test” it over the course of a field seasons and circle the areas where Verizon phones didn’t work…(It was easier to circle the few small bits where they DID work…)

                      At some point, all the talk of switching to Verizon sort of…evaporated…

                      (They do work a bit more broadly now…but only a bit. Verizon’s attitude is “There aren’t enough people to build receivers enough to cover the state–why should we bother?”)

        2. Because clients are good at explaining what they want, but lousy at explaining what they need. There is usually a difference.

          Ironically, that skill is one I would have been REALLY good at in graphic design (which has the same problem, heh.)

          If I can stop being so bloody exhausted all the time, I plan to teach myself stenography–which has just the right intersection of language and music (ie, ability to keyboard strangely) skills that I think I could be really, really good at it. (I have the machine and everything, it’s just…finding the spare energy, sigh.) Likewise with computer programming–I suck at the math, but now I finally know WHY I suck at the math (discalculia) and programming is a much language as it is other…and I’m really, really good at language.

          Will it ever become a career? Maybe not. (Though I have hopes for the stenography, if things don’t go totally pear-shaped.) But…it’s interesting.

          1. Likewise with computer programming–I suck at the math, but now I finally know WHY I suck at the math (discalculia) and programming is a much language as it is other…and I’m really, really good at language.

            I Never would have gotten into the CS program on my math. Not even after I spent 6 terms (one class/term) of math, before taking one upper level undergraduate CS class; grades be danged (I did bring the math GPA up to the required level, not the point). Even had fun taking the two graduate level (choice) math classes after finishing up the CS classes (okay, full disclosure, the last one, Number Theory, the not-yet-born “woke” up, mid-class, and would play; born 7 days after final). Oh I can do the math when taking the class. For awhile I even retained the Matrix Math (even used minimum path matrix math in a program). Boolean Math? Don’t think of it as math (maybe the problem?). But dang if I’m not darn good at recognizing patterns. Be it user interface, user need VS want, and coding. Just don’t ask me to apply the relevant math principles … because I can’t.

            Anyone who meets us and discovers that I programmed for 35 years, starts talking about the math? Hubby (who started out as a math major, and is still good at it, teaching was the problem, not the math) just shakes his head. My problem with hubby and programs, conversation goes like this: Him “Why did does this work this way?” (Latest was why the Nikon 7000 NEF files show without additional download codes, but the 7500 NEF files don’t.) Me: “They obviously changed the embedded codes. Dang if I know why. I didn’t write the specifications.”

            1. Although I will say, from the little study of CS I’ve done–thankfully, it’s more on the visual end of things than math, or so it seemed to me. I could be wrong–I don’t know a lot about CS. Javascript, on the other hand…(Which I actually took a class in a few years back and squeaked by, but only just, because math. Well, and apparently me + online ‘live’ class did not mesh well at all. Argh.)

              Though at least computer languages have to maintain fairly rigid logic, unlike human languages 😀

      3. I recognized it early enough, but not early enough to go into a major that would take more than two and a half years to complete the pre-reqs. Wish I’d known how close I was to a philosophy minor, though. Philosophy and improv were actually two of the most useful things I did in college, especially improv. (Do not underestimate the power of learning how to discard your preconceptions instantly and work with what you have. It saves SO much time.)

        1. two and a half years to complete the pre-reqs

          This is why I think a lot of state schools are a grift. You have to declare your major on matriculation when you have no idea what you’re really interested in — but they have to allocate their budgets by number of students, don’t they, so they make you decide. And then when you realize that no, you’re not really interested in X, the requirements for Y are always different enough that it’ll take you an extra year or more to start over in Y. While paying tuition every year.

          I don’t know if I’ve ever met anyone who graduated from a state school in less than five years, and 6 1/2 or 7 is common.

          At Williams in the mid-’80s, we didn’t have to declare a major until the end of sophomore year. If you were smart you already had most of the beginning courses for the major you wanted done already, but for many majors you could just super-concentrate and still get them all in.

          1. When I was at Montana State, there was so much overlap among clumps of hard science tracks that switching from one to another, or tacking on a second, was often a formality. But it’s a science and engineering school, and most of the first couple years off in a given direction are going to necessarily cover a lot of the same ground. (Like, first year the only difference between Chemistry, ChemEng, and Microbiology … was whether you took calculus. Only long-term diff between Chemistry and Microbiol was whether you took upper-level Microbiol and Physical Chemistry; in fact one could declare a double major with only a couple extra classes.) So yeah, we declared majors, but for the first year or two they were pretty fuzzy. And you could audit whatever you liked; just show up for class.

            So… we had a majority of 4-year graduates; the main exception was Architecture, which was really a 5-year Masters degree (and is now recognized as such).

            Of course this was all before the guaranteed student loan crap sent everything into max money extraction mode, but MSU still hasn’t gotten completely stupid. (Sister is on the Architecture Board, or whatever they call it, and does not like Stupid. Tho she’s long since completely given up on considering candidates from other universities.)

            1. University of Redacted was similar for engineering courses. We had both ENG 100 and EE 100 survey courses freshman year, but specialization wasn’t blatant until second semester sophomore year. EEs were not required to take drafting (had it in high school, and later got familiar with the pro-drafting equipment in use in the early 70s). Beyond that, a good bit of overlap, though that was steadily changing at that time.

              Perhaps my only regret in undergrad studies was that it was pretty much impossible to take multiple engineering programs within a reasonable timeframe. Financial considerations played a part, though I had a free tuition ride for 4 years as an undergrad, and after Dad died, had enough SS payments to keep me going for a year in an MSEE program, but after 4 years, I was ready to graduate and get to work. Hated debt at the time. After some stumbles, I hate it again.

              For grad school, starting 12 years after my BSEE degree, I had a bit of flexibility, more math and almost all the circuit analysis courses I could take (skipped the RF, which would have been useful later in life). The school was weak in programming. The C course was as hard to find as Sasquatch, so I did Pascal and a tiny bit of Forth. C was an extension course–not sure who offered it. The rest was on the job. Lots of OJT.

              Post retirement? Lots of on the job training, less the paycheck.

          2. UGH THIS. When I transferred to a state uni, I wasted TWO WHOLE YEARS, because they refused to accept most of what I had already done. And I had an associate’s degree already IN MY FIELD! I had to fight tooth and nail to get them to accept at least some of the higher level courses I’d done to cover a lot of the “for a rounded education” crap. But even then, with the “basic” art courses (which I’d already done)…they informed me “Well. You can try to test out of them, but we’ll tell you now that we pretty much never make an exception no matter what you get on the test.”

            It was utter garbage, and started my loathing of university bureaucratic crap that is ONLY designed to keep extracting money from you.

            1. Eldest Brother had that issue in the ’60s. Not all of his AA credits were approved, but his advisor said he could take a correspondence course (Advertising, as I recall) to make up some of the deficit. Naturally, after he passed the course, the department disallowed it.

              Mom got into action and brushed off her executive secretary writing skills. The Certified Mail, Return Receipt Requested letter politely but firmly asked if the department actually talked to the advisors about course suitability. I didn’t see the letter, but I suspect Nomex gloves and tongs were necessary. They relented.

              Mom had some skills with that. The only time I saw it fail was on a complaint about a manufacturing screwup. Apparently, the problem was sufficiently bad and widespread that the company went under, so no recourse for that.

              1. Suitability.

                I had to take Statistics TWICE … I hate Statistics. All because the PTB would allow that Biometrics was Statistics, everything covered in Statistics + as it applies to Forestry. Sigh. This one I lost.

                This one I didn’t. (At 28, mom was not fighting my battles, darn it. She’s good.) Then the CS department required a minor … “Wait? What? I already have a degree.” Nope. Still require non-computer based minor. “Okay, then. Forest Management, co-major.” UofO doesn’t offer Forest Management.”, “That’s okay. OSU is only up the road. I’ll commute.” Pause. “Okay. Done commuting. Already have the Forest Management co-major degree.” … Note, minor requirement was waved … with grumbling that the two would never mix. Ummm. My first job after graduating, 9 months later (maternity leave), required “FM and CS degrees and experience in both.” Raises hand. Not that they actually expected to find one by their own admission. (Don’t know why. Turns out a lot of us foresters turned to computers during the Owl problem.)

            2. At the dawn of time at MSU we were only required to do Well-Rounding the first year — everyone had to take Economics 101, and next quarter pick something else (Anthropology was popular). After that, one such class per semester, tho judging by the class sizes (sometimes in the single digits) at most spottily enforced.

          3. Being able to graduate in four years was a big reason why I did not look at the UC system. It was going through one of those periodical meltdowns where you couldn’t get your necessary classes, and I knew that wouldn’t work.

            As for me, I was a scholarship student—but my scholarships were for four years, so I had to get it done. And I did, with lots of extra classes and time to spare, and a job a month before graduation.

      4. And instead of where I went, I’d have gone into, say, range science with a specialty in grass management, or something like that. As it is, I’m one of the world’s foremost experts at what I do… trouble is, what I do is not worth much on the open market.

        1. Man, given that most of the range folks in my field office seem more interested in sucking up to the local ranchers (so they’ll allow them to hunt on their property) than in doing a good job of grazing management…we certainly could have used someone like you! 😀

          1. Went down to the extension field office that does grass research, and spent such a fascinating afternoon with the agent there, that I realized I might have missed my calling. — Yon ranchers would have a hard time bribing me… while I’m a natural predator and go into hunt-and-kill mode at the drop of a target (rattlesnakes, beware!), I don’t much care for wild meat.

            Unfortunately the grass I’d prefer in my pasture is WAY EXPENSIVE SEED…. what do you mean, $40 a pound??!

    2. I’m glad I went into aviation. I love flying, I love working on airplanes, but I do not have the spatial visualization skills to be a good instrument pilot. I became one, even after having to relearn a huge amount of stuff because of a really bad initial instructor. Sweat equity, determination, and not wanting to starve to death played a role. And the little voice in the back of my memory of a flight instructor who once asked if, since I had mastered a certain task, did I want to quit? Nope. I dug in and became competent and proficient. Never great, especially at instrument flying, but safe and proficient.

      Then Life changed my plans . . . And I finished a PhD in what appeared to be record time (6.5 years for MA and PhD when the average was 9.)

    3. I was well on my way to becoming an academic, which would have been disastrous. My father got me a job at a big NY bank and everything changed. Sometimes I regret a working life that produced nothing tangible, I think that’s why I bind books and don’t like ebooks among other practical things, but by and large it’s been a good life, I have had the great good fortune to find myself in a job that’s occasionally interesting and well paid. How many people can say that?

    4. I had things all figured out in college – Aero degree than a fixed path of career. Didn’t happen. Never used my degree as work basis.

      After a high-speed low-drag pass through a startup (short version: Startups Always Suck) I ended up in semiconductors as the odd not-an-EE (also not-a-semi-process-engineer) so I was not pigeonholed and got to do a whole huge pile of All That Other Stuff, including managing. Bounced across to another semi after the 2000 semi bust and learned some technical marketing, then got riffed again and jumped completely off the semi rollercoaster into where I am now. Since it’s a completely different field the run of the mill technical skills I picked up in non-elegant SQL coding, mundanities like Excel functions and making pretty charts from real data are alien superpower stuff here, so even with the CCP work gap we’re currently in I’m fairly secure.

      Plus I was working from home 6 years ago so last year was not a work shock, just all the rest of the 2020 Glorious Peoples Bear Flag Republic shocks (I’ve been living here for my entire life and I never saw anything like the wildfire smoke event in the SF Bay Area the past several years).

      For a long time I believed I had screwed up by not hammering my head harder against that first post-college wall until I broke it down to stay with The Plan. Of late I’ve decided that would have just hurt my head.

      1. These days, I laugh at some of my early goals, rethink my current goals, and so far have continued to chase the current set.

        Anything like tech development, you can’t have the information to plan a career twenty or thirty years out. You have to make some guesses, go for them, learn all the stuff that you discover along the way you need, and accept that things will radically change on you.

      2. Dang sir, you are channeling my career. Timber career ended because of Owl and St Helen. Hubby kept the same job with the same company for 33 years, but it was close, a number of times. Me and 99 others lost our seniority. So, computers up and coming. Learn it. Get a job. Don’t jump companies. Good forever. Right? HaHaHaHa I left ONE of 5 jobs voluntarily, the one I retired from. In order: company moved 100 miles north, downsized drastically to owners (I was the last one let go because pregnant, and taking leave anyway), sold facilities (okay, technically this was a timber company, but my job was coding), sold & bankruptcy. Was only off any length of time between jobs in 2002 to 2004, the bankruptcy one. I know people I worked with who got riffed before I did in 2002 who never did another tech job.

    1. For 99% of history, it hasn’t been. It’s what made the U.S. so great, up until the last few years. It’s what the Leftroids are trying to destroy, whether they admit it or not.

  8. One of those went on a rant to my 11th grade class telling us we shouldn’t be there. If we wanted to go to college we should have been born to parents who could afford private school…. She was our socialist Sociology teacher,

    It never ceases to amaze me how many of these “we need socialism to make everyone equal” types are the first ones to tell the peasants to stay in their place. I mean, I know that socialism has always been a favorite of the aristocrats, but I used to think that they’d stay quieter about their superiority complex. I do wonder how that woman justified it to herself.

    1. Socialism is all for equality (officially). But it also requires a certain amount of “ambition is bad”. After all, ambition causes people to become dissatisfied with equality. And since places of work *must* have supervisors, and having ambition to become a supervisor is bad, the only thing left to do is to use those who are most familiar with supervisor-type things by accident of birth (because their parents were supervisors).

      Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

      1. Indeed. Their “equality for all” is just camouflage for the neo-feudalism. (Hell, i’m pretty sure actual, not-totally-screwing-it-up feudalists would be horrified–after all, technically speaking a noble had obligations in return to his serfs/peasants, and was supposed to face consequences if he failed to live up to them. Granted, I’m pretty sure that was rarely enforced, but…Socialism barely even pretends to nod in that direction.)

      1. My oldest brother went to a parent-teacher conference where the woman tried to tell him that his middle son was ADD. My brother looked her in the eye and said, “My son is not ADD. You are boring. I’ve only had to sit here for fifteen minutes and I’m bored to tears. He has to deal with you for over 5 hours. I can only -imagine- how bored he is.”

        Teacher did not take it well. Erik wasn’t the perfect little automaton, so she wanted him medicated or moved out of her class.

        1. Initially I too was a bored student looking for something more to do, and nowadays would probably be diagnosed as some species of ADD, and doped to the gills. But hieing as I do from the Before Times, I also had great good luck in my teachers, including the first grade teacher who noticed I was bored (and that I already read proficiently and could print well enough, which was about all 1st grade intended to accomplish anyway), sent me off to be evaluated, and next thing I knew I was in 2nd grade, where there was a lot more to occupy my attention. Best thing that ever happened to me.

          And all through school, I had teachers whose response to bored student was — give that student more learning or more responsibility. (Good at math? bored with algebra? yonder is calculus.) Occurs to me that’s much of why my schools very rarely had discipline problems (the rest being we had rules, and they were enforced).

          1. I entered kindergarten at 4 and then skipped second grade, so in third grade I was six years old. It was not the best thing that ever happened to me; I was just too young to be around the other kids. My parents belatedly realized that, and I ended up repeating third grade for social reasons — I was reading at 6th/7th grade level, acing math, etc.

            Unfortunately my repeat of the third grade was with literally the worst teacher in the district, who believed in corporal punishment and making miscreants write “I will not [whatever]” hundreds of times. She was a new hire, and of course it took them several years to get rid of her, but they did get rid of her.

            So I ended up being only one year young throughout the rest of school instead of two. I can’t imagine how I would have dealt with college at 16, although I knew a few people there who did.

            As it is, being a year young gave me rather specific self-image damage: I assume that peers are older than me, and my mental image of male peers is that they’re taller than me, even though I’ve been 5’10” since I was 17.

            1. ^THIS. For all that I was bored in grade school, and came out of it all more than a bit of an underachiever, I am SO GRATEFUL that my parents refused the pressure to skip me ahead two grades. I was already socially awkward (and, at that point in my life, undersized). Moving me in with older kids would have probably wrecked me entirely.

              1. No pressure on me (was more like — sure, why not?), and it was also noted that I had absolutely nothing in common with my agemates and had zero interest in socializing with them … being the youngest ever after really had no impact, given that we nerds flocked together and didn’t much care about social development anyway. And that the school environment was so heavily skewed toward academic achievement — the chief nerd was also the school hero.

                It also put me on a lucky track to have the best teachers all the way through. I had only one who at the time I’d have rated as bad, and in retrospect, and remembering his densely-packed choice of textbook — he was more trying to be old-fashioned thorough, but instead achieved dusty-dry (a bit too much so for 8th grade American History).

                1. You were truly lucky. I suspect, had my parents bowed to the pressure, it would have been bad for me. I managed to avoid getting bullied–barely–but definitely would have been with older kids. And I had a lot of crappy or only mediocre teachers. :/ I’m glad it worked so well for you!

          2. I still fondly remember my second-grade teacher (it jars, badly, to realize she’s in her 80s when she was just out of school when I had her). She gave me books to keep me quiet during nap time. I stil. Have the thoroughly battered copy of the Reader’s Digest summer collection she gave me- 8th grade level and kept me happy.

            1. I was lucky in teachers; partially because unions didn’t start until around senior year. Not sure I liked Miss G (near retirement in 1963), but she was good for me. Liked most of the rest of the teachers and did medium well. Didn’t get along with the advisors–they seemed to think that smart kids shouldn’t be interested in things like drafting and metal shop. I insisted and my parents packed me up. OTOH, I knew enough dirty jokes to get along with the hard core greasers in metal shop. They sensed an odd (OK, Odd) kindred spirit.

              And the shop classes are still paying off…

      1. He was rather familiar with socialists, and it’s not like that group is all that innovative.

        1. He was one but was able to see the flaws especially the flaws of the Glorious Soviet Union.

    2. That teacher self-justified by telling herself she was yelling at them to spare those poor students the pain and embarrassment that would inevitably occur when they failed in college. It’s never that they have a superiority complex, it’s that they’re simply being objectively honest about the possible futures for those poor peasant children.

      Additionally, I would suggest that it’s not a superiority complex but rather an inferiority complex fueled by the fear that the students will outshine the teacher if the students are not hobbled from the outset. Teachers like that truly fear, and are secretly convinced, that they are NOT the smartest person in the room, so they adopt the superior thing in order to hide their own failings from themselves and whoever else they can snowball. I had a grad prof like that. He actively tried to get me to implode and not finish my dissertation. I completed it in part to spite him. While he may have had a more successful academic career as those are measured, I have a more successful life.

    3. Marx is an aristo-aspirational religion, where the useful idiots always think they will be the ones in the Politburo running things, yet they always end up in a camp in the Siberian Arctic chopping trees with no shoes if they are lucky when the revolution comes.

  9. I wait rather impatiently for the long anticipated day when so many of the left achieve free college for all.
    For then what that will turn a college degree into will be precisely what you paid for it rather than the obscenely inflated price currently being charged for what for many are feel good participation certificates that do squat all to get you a decent job or train you for such work should you manage to get hired.

    1. For bachelors degree in many fields that already happened – the inflation into masters-required happened in the semiconductor industry while I was working there, with bachelors-degree-only job candidates generally interviewing at the box-of-rocks aptitude level in the details of their chosen engineering specialty. There were exceptions, but the baseline ended up being “stayed a year or two more and finished their masters”.

      And I say this as a proud “thank ghu all that is finally done” when I finished my Bachelors of Science, as I dodged mammoths and sabreteeth on the way to my graduation ceremony.

      1. Had a cousin who started his own business by creating data storage bus analyzers. When he moved out of his garage into an actual building and started hiring people who weren’t immediate family, he had a lot of problems with Stanford grads who couldn’t do the work. I asked if he’d let me do a summer internship, so he handed me the skills test he’d started making people take during interviews. I asked him if he wanted me to use a mux or a decoder to get the signal out response requested in the problem. He told me I was over thinking it and to just use and/or gates. I shrugged and sketched it out in under a minute. He glanced at it and told me he’d had college grads that couldn’t do it, which flabbergasted me at the time. It was 100 level class stuff at best. This was summer of ’98 or ’99 iirc.

    2. What you are describing is exactly what happened to the high school degree! Back in the early 1900’s, you paid for high school, had to qualify to get in, and came out at 18, depending on your focus; a teacher, an accountant, a secretary, ready for more advanced study at college, etc. Then it became free, and high schools had different level of degrees to try to accommodate the different learners. But that was discrimination. Heck, now it’s considered evil to not give a student a diploma for just showing up a percentage of the time, grades don’t matter.

      Meanwhile, this is a waste of four years of an individuals life. Four of their better years of health and energy!

  10. Today’s convolution is realizing I really have no productive idea what to do with people who really honestly don’t care whether something was just or not, so long as their side won, no matter how horrible the injustice was.

    Just “they win, I lose” is all that matters to them at all. It would be sad if it wasn’t so destructive.

      1. I really wish that people would realize that if we stopped freaking out every time some loser sprayed a swastika on something we would very quickly see losers stop spraying swastikas on things. Nazis are not coming back. The only thing a swastika represents these days is that there are morons present, which shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone paying attention.

  11. The cycling guy is professor of Africana studies with a PhD in Sociology. He’s not an Africana, if Africana means female African, though in what language I don’t know. It must be some sort of mock name like sillius soddus or biggus dickus. He does look North African and ex Africa novi aliquid. I suppose he has to say that BS to stay employed. That said, he probably believes every word of it and it’ll get him tenure since saying whatever the majority of your peers think is what passes for bravery in these decadent times. Nietzche was right, alas.

    It’s actually very sad that one should waste ones’s life on such trifles.

  12. CRT: Exactly why do you want to make white engineering graduates say that blacks cannot learn mathematics? Is it because you are a bunch of innumerate humanities majors, who will not be the blacks trying to get hired into engineering positions?

    The colossally moronic faculty spouting this stuff do not realize that they make dismembering the universities the best way to preserve what little value there is that remains in universities. There should be no management shared between legal instruction, medical instruction, engineering instruction, accounting instruction, and several other areas of ‘instruction’. Some or all of the professional instruction programs need to have licensing adjusted, and credentialing changed, to account for the fact that privileges have been granted to organizations too dumbass to tolerate.

    1. Perhaps it is past time to go back and rework the system so that we have Liberal Arts colleges, Engineering and Ag schools, and Pure and Applied Science schools, along with vocational (advanced skilled-trades) schools. That way the people who are doing stuff don’t have to be bothered by the hyphenated-studies and rarefied pure lit’ra’chur crowd.

      1. IIRC Jerry Pournelle was on the commission to set up the Cal State system as a “vocational” accounting-and-business type of university, but the faculties all wanted the prestige of working for a “research” university so it became a half-assed clone of the UC system.

        1. Friend went back and got a second masters in a new area, and did all the field and lab work that would have let her write and defend a well-grounded new-knowledge dissertation for a PhD, but she did so at a CSU campus – she would have had to go convince a UC or private university to honor all her work to let her defend it there, and none of her profs had enough pull anywhere to make that happen.

          She taught labs for a while and eventually quit.

  13. OT: why I came here today.

    Apparently, they are finally pulling the national guard from DC.

    So, either they plan to stage another incident, or they have something else in the works.

    1. It was down to 2,000, housed in actual human housing facilities, and not being fed scraps from the congressional cafeteria at the end (reporting says the general in charge of the NG regionally started visiting troop mess locations at mealtime and eating what they got, and lo, miraculously, the food improved). As usual with “milady Pelosi, I have a clever plan!” the “no request to extend received” announcement from the Pentagon is pretty much the ending with a whimper that rational people expected.

  14. Happy Day in Texas. House and Senate passed Constitutional carry.
    They also passed a bill that says Suppressors made in Texas, Sold in Texas, Used in Texas don’t come under NFA 34. Because of the 10th and These are not covered by Interstate Commerce.

    1. Wickard v. Filburn is still the obvious precedent; that’s the one where the Feds argued (successfully!) that a farmer growing wheat that he sold to no one (fed it to his own animals) was subject to congressional lawmaking on that wheat production.

      In the last three decades some exceptions have been carved out, usually when an enumerated right comes into conflict with Congress’s vaguely defined commerce clause powers.

      1. To be just, the main effect of that law was to govern interstate commerce, even if the outlier was absurd. The problem is that they ran with it to laws where the main effect is absurd.

  15. If you’re sociopath enough to believe that only you have agency, then generalizing about deplorables, entire races, classes, or left-handed redheads comes naturally.

  16. if you took CRT seriously, WHY wouldn’t you be a white supremacist
    I’ve been wondering that for years. Not only did Europe conquer the world, they did it DRUNK! Tea and coffee came after the conquering.

    1. And of course it’s the culture. Which anyone can ACQUIRE.
      I mean, look, I know Latin culture. And if you don’t back engineer….
      Welllll I know on Amazon if someone with a Latin last name says “this didn’t work and I followed every step” it’s a fair bet they didn’t follow every step.

      1. The case for at least half the astronauts I would work with both during practice simulations and in actual orbital operations. Those with a history as fighter jocks in particular. Incredibly intelligent, capable, and arrogant.
        Experiment crew procedures printed out on laminated cards in excruciating detail, step by step. They were always wanting to skip “unneccessary” steps and take shortcuts. One of the reasons we always manifested extra experiment samples to make up for those ruined by such shortcuts.
        To their credit, most learned extremely fast and to our credit we learned to “arrange” such events during ground practice which cut way back on in flight events.

  17. When I saw that Smithsonian thing (and it’s all over the place, they were just the most prominent example) about how logic and math and reason and planning and timeliness were “white,” I thought, “Why do they hate black astronauts so much?”

    Math and planning and so forth aren’t “white supremacy”, they’re job requirements for astronauts. One second late on your reentry burn and you miss your landing zone by five miles or more. Calculate the delta-V wrong and you’ll burn to a cinder twenty miles up, or skip off the atmosphere to where your recovery team will never find you. This isn’t because “structural racism”, it’s because Mother Nature is a stone bitch. And if you want to call Her racist, well, you got freedom of speech, you can rant all you want, but She ain’t listenin’.

    1. Honestly — little known fact, we only know because our son was part of calibrating of the test since they had his math scores — to remove the “math is taught stupidly in a lot of schools, so how do we find if this kid has math ability? — they have a test that tests math ability with music. (I know that sounds bizarre. Go with it.) You don’t have to know math to test, (but it probably works against people with hearing problems, still…)
      Using that test, researchers I know (I don’t think they’ve published. Pour raisons conue.) SWEAR there’s a vast untapped reservoir of mathematical genius in America’s black population. Except for, you know, lousy school systems, black culture that discourages learning because it’s “white” and the ass wipes of CRT telling you it’s better to be a victim forever.
      Thinking about that makes me foam at the mouth.

      1. Given the well known links between math and music I’ve often wondered about this myself.

          1. Well, it makes sense, because it tests raw processing power, without worrying about whether it’s more on the geometry or algebra sides, or whether a person has actually learned any math. And you could probably calibrate with physical stuff too, but that would go against physically disabled or incidentally awkward people.

            I imagine they used rhythm a lot, to get around the tone-deaf problems.

            1. I do well with applied math, but not pages-of-numbers math. I need to see the reason for the work. Then I’ll do it, sometimes happily. I suspect a lot of kids are like that, black or otherwise, but minority kids never get the chance to see the real-world math. Hear it, yes (music) but not see it.

      2. That’s the problem with genuine *-isms (racism, sexism… that really are, not just imagined nonsense): They waste brainpower.

        Sure, not everyone will be a Great Thinker or inventor or such… but switching off a measurable percentage from even trying is a Bad Idea.

      3. I’d believe it (about the music thing.) Music is INCREDIBLY mathematical–but it’s often not a connection made, even for people like me, who spent the better part of sixteen years doing music of some kind or other. (Especially the ten years of piano, beginning when I was six.) And I had/have a moderate natural talent for music, but I admit I fought tooth and nail when the teacher tried to make me do music theory (which is the most heavily-mathematical bits of it.) I suspect I wouldn’t have had half so much trouble with the math if I’d stuck with the music theory…

        When bored/too tired to do anything else, I like to watch reaction videos to music on YouTube. There is one fellow in particular–a black guy, I think he does do some stuff with music (though not sure, there’s several that do, and several that are just looking to broaden their listening horizons.) At the very least, he has a basic working knowledge of how music works, and why he finds things appealing. He’d never in his life listened to any classical music of any kind, but his followers on YouTube persuaded him to try out Beethoven. And then Mozart. (By now, he may have done Vivaldi, I haven’t checked in awhile.) He was THUNDERSTRUCK. He’d always bought the lie (cultural or otherwise) that classical music is boring/white/not worth listening to. HE LOVED IT. He was amazed by Beethoven and awestruck by Mozart, and it was a joy to see him discovering the complexities of it. The reactions themselves can get a little ‘boring’–but only because once he turns the music on he basically closes his eyes and becomes lost in it–which is what one SHOULD do. 😀

        All I could think is “You had teachers out there, buddy, that failed you if you’ve gotten to somewhere in your 30s/early 40s and had never listened to Beethoven or Mozart.” (Granted–so did I. My exposure came more from my parents’–especially my mother’s—love of that music than anywhere else.)

        1. I just learned about reaction videos because I wanted to do something like it.

          I went to YT, the training ground for all important things. I found dozens of excellent tutorials for how to choose videos to react to, how to use iMovie to record, all the technical details in iMovie and other softwares.

          Every video was created by one or two black people, usually with fully pink weaves, interesting clothing that left nothing to the imagination, and wonderful commentary. Talented. Useful. Creative. And really fun to learn from because they look at things very differently, and it helps me focus my perspective.

          1. I can’t bring myself to be on camera, but if you do reaction videos, let me know! I’ll check ’em out.

            And if you’ve never listened to/encountered Nightwish, doing a reaction to Ghost Love Score (Live at Wacken 2013) is a fantastic way to get a lot of subscribers, because the Nightwish army (myself included) LOVES reactions to that (and all other Nightwish songs) 😀

    2. Its about getting minorities to refuse to develop the moral capital necessary to be successful so they’ll remain a permanent underclass to be exploited by the Left. It is profoundly evil.

  18. I’ve never “worked in my field”. My plan was to go to a top tier college, major in something interesting, then go to law school, graduate in 1989, get a job for $40K (1989 dollars) at age 25, and go on to bigger and better things forever.

    Yeah, didn’t happen. I studied History because I loved it, then when I got to law school I realized I was totally burned out and massively depressed. When I dropped out I got a crappy job as a legal secretary and realized that I would have totally hated the actual practice of law; only the 1% of the 1% get to do the interesting complex litigation-type stuff, the rest is just stupid repetitive drudgery.

    And then I kind of randomly fell into a job in computer prepress, worked that for 6 years, got bored, and jumped into tech in the dot-com boom. I was able to do that only because I also took some CS courses in college and was able to learn practical programming pretty quickly. (In fact, over 32 courses — Williams is on the semester system, not the credit hour system — I took at least one course in 17 different departments. I have an old-style “liberal” education and I’m proud of it.)

    1. Oh yes – we must be intellectual soul siblings, or something. I majored in English because I loved it, a minor in history because I loved that, too … and wandered off into the military, where the English degree was a good fit for the field I was in, because it meant that I could sit down and write anything from a script for a thirty-second radio spot to a letter of instruction about something or other, to an Airman Performance Report. Then … upon retirement from that, into office admin, because I had a high level of literacy and an organized mind … and the ability to learn new and/or the most recent computer office- finance – graphic management programs almost instantly. And then I got taken into partnership with a local Tiny Publishing Bidness … and there I am: editing, formatting, dabbling in cover design…

      1. One of the webcomics I read (The Fortuna Saga, when it updates) is written by a guy who basically did that. He got his degree in Creative Writing, couldn’t find a job and ended up joining the Army. (I think the Marines, but will have to check).

        Because in the job market, you’re just another lit major who doesn’t know anything useful, but in the Army, you’re that corporal who can write. And by the time you’re done, you have experiences to write about.

        “And you are prepared to go to war with the Zuini?”
        “No one is going to war young man. We’re burning everything down in our path. I intend to evacuate, strip, and burn Tesver as well, with your help.”
        “You’re mad!”

        1. And if you get commissioned and then drink too much, you can also be a lit major.

    2. “I would have totally hated the actual practice of law; only the 1% of the 1% get to do the interesting complex litigation-type stuff, the rest is just stupid repetitive drudgery.”

      This explains why so many lawyers are Democrats, and v.v.

  19. When they come up with this utterly bat guano crazy stuff like furniture and cycling being racist I’m never sure if they realize how racist they come across, or if they do and that’s the intention of writing/saying such tripe. It’s perplexing that their arguments almost always come down to, “Little brownie can’t succeed without my help because he’s brown.”

    1. Most black kids are pretty darned good bicyclists, if they live in a neighborhood where bikes aren’t ripped off.

      But when black kids grow up, they generally drive cars. Or sportscars. Or trucks. There’s none of this “Let’s bike to work to save the environment” silliness, especially if they live somewhere with cold weather. You can’t pick up girls/men on a bike, even if it’s a racing bike.

      There’s probably some small percentage of black people who join bicycle sports, just like there’s a small percentage of white people who get into adult bike sports. But geez, why would they want to force that on black people?

      1. when I was a kid I biked all over the place, including the mall on the other end of town, which included having to go down the hill on one side of town, across the river, and up the hill on the other side, and then another 5 miles to get there. Once I got my drivers license I pretty much quit biking until after college.

  20. I want Sarah A Hoyt to give the keynote speech at my birthday party this year. Even if it’s just me and the wife and maybe the folks next door. I want to hear from people who love America.

    1. YES. I place a marker for a future event. $1,000 for a birthday speech. My birthday is Christmas Eve every year. Never hurts to plan early.

    1. Maybe it’s the positive mojo from the house situation, moving, positive motion, progress? I see it, too.

  21. Something similar happens in the US. It’s called ‘tracking’. Children and parents never learn what ‘track’ their child is in. This determines which teachers the kids get. What subjects they are pushed towards. Which ‘version’ of the set standards (math, English, history) the kid sees.

    There’s also a few states with free college for in-state students, but they play the same shell game, requiring specific electives to get that ‘free tuition’ knowing full well over half the public schools in the state don’t offer said electives.

  22. I have a scene in my head with a person not from our world, with no memory of her past, facing reporters:

    “Why are you white?” a woman demanded belligerently. “Is everybody on your planet white, or just the privileged ones?” Her skin was a moderately dark color and her brown hair was tied into dozens of snakelike ropes.

    The ‘Space Girl’ shook her head, sending ripples through her long purple hair. “I do not know. I can only conjecture that my ancestors did not live in the equatorial region of their world.”

    “Whaddya mean by that?” Even more belligerent now.

    She frowned slightly, puzzled by such hostility. “I have learned that skin color is an adaptation to environmental conditions. Yours is adapted for prolonged exposure to intense sunlight. Mine is adapted for less exposure. It is therefore likely that I am what you call ‘white’ because my ancestors did not live in areas exposed to intense sunlight. Does that answer your question?”

    1. I’m coming to the conclusion that racist can be usefully defined as anyone who believes there’s such a thing as race. Sure, there’s skin color, but that’s about as meaningful as eye color (it has an impact on skin cancer risk and vitamin D levels, but that’s rarely important). Everything else attributed to race is actually culture. Take a persecuted minority that values education and you get a highly successful (though sometimes still persecuted) minority – see Jews and Asians. Take a persecuted minority that actively discourages education and you get, well, Detroit.

      1. Overlapping meanings– there’s “shorthand for appearance” and the “thinks race is a Real Thing, which is directly correlated to behaviors, and that it matters.”

        And less, the latter is racist, as demonstrated by things like “identical twins of different races.”

          1. It’s not exactly *skin color*, either, though– that’s part of the “race is culture” thing.
            Ethiopian doesn’t look like African American, for example. (Or even African Canadian, like The Rock’s dad.)

            It’s as silly as grouping Scottish with German, they just *don’t* look similar. (Irish and German is a little closer, but….)

            But there’s minor defense in that “Black” means something like “darker than like the Godfather in that movie, and has at least medium brown to darker hair that’s kinda fizzy or slicked down or braided tight, rather than curly or wavy or straight.”

            1. But there wouldn’t be any grouping, the grouping is the core of racism. Nobody groups people by eye color. It’s simply used to describe a physical attribute. One would simply say that Bob has dark skin in the same way they’d say that Sue is a brunette.

              1. Nobody groups people by eye color

                Not maliciously, no; generally, oh heck yeah. Heck, Japan groups folks by blood type as well.

                It’s the “This matters as a Know Something About Person Besides Physical Attributes” that is evil.

                Like going “Jock thus dumb. “

                1. And I think the best way to get to that point is to stop talking about race as a thing. Get rid of White and Black and just talk about light-skinned and dark-skinned, and only in contexts where you’re trying to convey an appearance. So “Police are looking for a light-skinned male approximately 6 feet tall with blond hair” would be appropriate (though vague) while “A group of dark-skinned youths robbed a convenience store. Police have made several arrests” wouldn’t be appropriate.

                  1. But “light” and “dark” skinned are freaking MEANINGLESS for the actual racial classing.

                    SEVERAL of the TV stars who do “Black History Month” are darker skinned than a couple of my kids; the Empress is darker in hair and skin than half of the folks on IHeartRadio’s lineup.

                    But she is classically Italian, for all she burns like an Irishman.

                    The problem isn’t “shift to the less useful,” it’s “shift to the more useful.”

                    Chinese is more…uh….rounder….ish? Korean is round but eyes are… just different… Japanese is just SHARPER.

                    Irish is over-all more round and red on average, Scottish is kinda sharp-ish, English is like… skinny? And like they’re sharp but layered over?

                    The problem with “race” for description isn’t that it’s wrong, it’s that the idiots beat it half to death because they’re fixated on skin tone, not HOW FOLKS LOOK.

                    Evidence, look at anything written pre1950s that talks about “race” in fiction. There’s a ton of stupid stuff, but the stupid is in going “oh, they look thus, therefore they ARE other thing.”

                    Which is moron on par with “oh, they have purple eyes, so they’re a super hero!”

                    1. Which is why we need to stop talking about race. The whole idea of race is that physical, intellectual, and even moral traits are all linked. When we say that Bob is Black people start making all kinds of assumptions about his diction, politics, education, and religion as well as assumptions about his appearance. Just stop doing it. Instead of saying that Bob is Black, say that he’s dark-skinned and has curly hair.

                    2. You’re not going to stop people from being idiots by telling them they’re not allowed to notice groups of common ancestry, no matter what you call it.

                    3. They aren’t groups of common ancestry, at least no more so than we all share common ancestry.

                    4. Look, Jeff, you’re going “hey yeah Black vs Not” and the not psychos are going “all the other groups”.

                      Yes, the psychopaths screaming “black” are evil, and wrong.

                      Doesn’t make the folks who actually look like Irish, English, Spanish, German, Finnish, Japanese, Korean…. etc… bad.

                      Just makes the screamers liars.

                    5. No, I’m pointing out that appearances can be deceiving. There are plenty of people who look Irish who aren’t as well as more than a few Irish who don’t look it at all. Any assumption you make based on looks is quite likely to be wrong, so we should stop pretending that there are meaningful traits linked to appearance.

                    6. Oh, good! You’ve come around to what I said nearly a week ago!

                      There’s shorthand for appearance that would be much more complicated to describe, and there’s “race is real and meaningful,” (with a side of race= culture nonsense) and the later is false. Yay!

                    7. I haven’t come around to anything. As I said a week ago, using race to describe the first use only feeds the latter use, and it’s not like the first use is really accurate enough to be useful.

                    8. You also argued that it didn’t exist, and several other things.

                      If you don’t find it useful, that’s fine, but I’m not going to pretend that the shorthand’s utility doesn’t exist just because you believe it’s a bad idea.

                    9. Now you’re just being silly about it.

                      When people are able to identify, with fairly high accuracy, that someone has ancestors from a specific place– Japan, Ireland, Germany, Ethiopia, etc– by looking at them, they are most assuredly noticing an ancestry group.

                      That some idiots try to hijack it for stupid stuff doesn’t matter for that fact.

                    10. Since 100% siblings can have anywhere from 1% to 100% identical DNA, the genetic evidence is not exactly relevant. Related, sure, but not relevant– especially when, as I already pointed out, there are examples of identical twins who are “different races.”

                      Race isn’t a genetic ancestry category, it’s an appearance ancestry category. (Which is why I have been growling about the DNA ancestry tests for so long.)

                      Here’s an example of genetic inheritance; note that they are including the nationality-markers with ‘race’, although at least that’s not as bad as having like three uber-groups:

              2. “Nobody groups people by eye color.”

                Actually. . . .

                For obvious reasons, generally used to define smaller groups among whites.

              3. “Nobody groups people by eye color.”

                Look up the phrase “Blue-eyed devil” and consider revising that statement.

            2. It IS mostly skin color, though. If you change the color on Obama, he looks like a super prissy white dude.
              If you change the color on me (When older son was drawing me a very realistic avatar he did it by accident) let’s say the ancestress from congo is OBVIOUS.
              If I didn’t have straight hair and medium olive skin Americans would be seriously puzzled.
              Older son has similar issues, only he also has dad’s Amerindian eyes which for some reason look like “Anime eyes” with the type of glasses he wears, a paler skin than we do (mostly because he’s not out in the sun) African features and straight hair.
              Not joking that people stop him on the street to say “What race are you” Or “Where are you from?”
              And then he grows a beard and looks INEXPLICABLY Irish. Eh.

              1. Other than the hair, yes, sort of English and German. Same with Idris Elba, a few tweaks and he could look Irish.

                And if you took Jacky Chan and got rid of the eye-folds, lengthened the jaw a little, he’d look Italian.

                Heck, there are folks who headline for “Black History Month” that I had no idea considered themselves black, because they look Mexican. Well, not counting the “trans-racial” folks…who sometimes look more “black” than “really black” people…..

                Part of the problem is that the folks who WANT it to be important only have like three or four categories– which boil down to “black” and various flavors of “not black,” mostly “not black but useful” and “not black, OK to hate,” AKA “white.” The “people of color” thing demonstrates this very well– other than “obvious African ancestry” it’s really hard to tell who will be classified as “of color,” because it sure won’t be off of ability to tan!

                1. Of course, ‘African-American’ also includes Maori and Tongans. Funny they don’t ask how the Maori and Tongans feel about that…

          2. Better examples, ********IF******** you have been around the groups in their own countries, is Japanese vs Korean vs Han (archtypal) Chinese.
            When I was a teen, I couldn’t figure out what folks were seeing.
            Now, I can *see* that buddy W is half Korean– he got the classic features– and that former co-worker lady was pure Han Chinese, and that Anime Character X is classic Japanese but with pink hair.

            1. And that may be useful descriptions IF you’re talking to someone who knows those differences. For a generic American audience you’d be better off simply using “Asian.” Similarly, I’d suspect that describing someone’s appearance as “Irish” to a group of random Japanese wouldn’t be terribly successful.

              1. Goodness, yes– they’re limited. Kind of like “that fat guy over there.” Or “that big lady over there.”

                They’re just not the moronic “everything is white if it’s not black unless it’s useful to the race haters.”

                That said, most Americans, faced with “They look Japanese,” will just look for someone who looks Asian-ish.


                *gleeful clapping* Oh I actually have data on that Japanese thing!
                They basically go, by my bank, “oh American type person, red hair that means Irish!”
                ….the funny thing is do you have any IDEA how broad the Japanese idea of “red hair” is…..? I was like VAGUELY auburn. Pre-henna. They went: “RED HEAD!”

      2. It’s a LITTLE more complicated than that. One visit to a local park I was noting that I could instantly tell whether a person’s immediate ancestry came from India or Africa regardless of matching skin tones. (And there was a whole range of skin tones, with samples of both.)

        1. That just reinforces my point. There are cultural differences, and those differences are the biggest source of the world’s problems, that have only a weak correlation with skin color. If we’re going to talk about skin color, let’s be explicit that we’re talking about skin color. If we’re talking about culture, let’s be explicit about that.

    2. I’ve heard that someone went and put black Kryptonians on Krypton.

      Which has a red sun.

      The odd thing is that Superman has black hair.

  23. I was taught that we can choose how to respond to our circumstances, whatever those circumstances are. I was also taught that some responses empower and embolden us, while other responses demean us and weaken us. As such, it’s a good idea to remain aware of this choice, to weigh alternatives, and, other things being equal, to make the choice that empowers us.

    If the system is against you, then fight the system! Note — there was never a society that so empowered “fighting the system” more than the United States does.

    Apropos of nothing in particular, here’s a term we’ve been using more and more in my household — GOGAWS, pronounced “go-gauze”. It is our acronym for the “Game of Getting Away With Stuff”. We use that term because too many people treat it as a game, and become addicted to it, so that they can’t stop playing the game, even if they see how very toxic it is. In every situation, they are looking to Get Away With Something… and will self-sabotage, and sabotage those around them, to get that thrill of having Gotten Away With Something. So we learn to recognize people who play GOGAWS… and we avoid them as best we can.

  24. … in the US back when scholarships were by merit.

    Scholarships in the US are still by merit … for certain values of “merit.”

  25. It brought to mind all the other insults, including that exhibit — where was it? In the Smithsonian? — about how punctuality, studiousness, effort, were all “white supremacy.”

    Timely, if unfunny:


  26. I went to a four-year university to get a technical and professional writing degree (mid-90s at SJSU), and it just…sucked. There was this one point where I was lying in bed in January, and I had to decide if I wanted to get out of bed and register for classes (back in the day when you had to pick up a class schedule from the bookstore, call in at a certain time, and punch the numbers in your touch-tone phone), or suck-start a shotgun.

    The shotgun was much more tempting.

    I dropped out that semester and bounced around the tech industry back in the days before the big Microsoft lawsuit (’98? ’99?) and while I wasn’t making good money I was able to have some money. Entirely contracting, was able to get medical by my family somehow, and it was okay for a bit. Lost my contract job, saw the writing on the wall that things were going to be bad “for a while” and got a job I found on Craig’s List.

    Pay was…okay. If I wasn’t living where I was, it would have been awful. But, it kept paying the bills. Got a real, full-time tech job-and lost it because I was still getting used to getting into the office at 5AM (part of the job was answering calls and e-mails from international customers). Got the job back from Crag’s List, and stayed with that until about fourteen months ago. That was my last tech job and the company I worked for got bought out by…Dell? HP?…and almost all of the work was either moved to India or China.

    When I started the job, they guy running that office was a hoot and a good guy. If I’d finished everything that day and didn’t have anything else, he’d list me and one or two other employees in the same area as having done eight hours of work and let us leave early. I was motivated to get my stuff done early and right as fast as possible. I had quite a few days when I’d be in at 8AM, done by noon. A few times, 11 AM. Then, they bought out some of our competitors and the job started to become a lot more “corporate.” A few years of being the only white guy in an all-Pinoy department (where I had at least one or two physical throw-downs with my supervisor and pretty solid suspicion that he was either moving drugs or a dealer). Move from a pretty good office to an even better office that was huge, then to a middle-sized office that was inconvenient for everything we did. Cubes , then an open floor plan, solo then a shared office.

    Tried to go back to school, San Francisco State, and avoid the worst of the idiots for a TPW degree. Dodged most of them, but I knew I was going to have to take a “straight white male bad!” class at some point. Dropped out again when I got a new supervisor that hated the idea that anybody wasn’t doing anything and one class for the program that was only taught at 3PM, Tuesday and Thursday, in the Spring semester. Almost all of my other classes were in the evening-in fact, the program bragged about how you could attend school in the evenings and still get your degree. Official reason was that the class had a relatively low attendance. Rumors in the student body was that there was only one teacher willing to teach the class for what the school was offering, and she didn’t want to be out late.

    Kept my job, lost where I was living, had to move home to a three hour commute to work and waking up at 4AM. At least I was a supervisor and didn’t have to stand in lines that often. Then, the Crow Flu, then the “fourteen days to flatten the curve” and a work furlough, then in August we were formally laid off. Got my unemployment paperwork in early, so I avoided most of the disasters that happened when California got slammed with layoffs. My industry, assuming the best, won’t be “back” until 2023 at the earliest.

    One family member immune-compromised, so I couldn’t get most of the “time of pandemic” jobs out there. Put in resumes every day, still putting in resumes every day. Took a marketing class at our local JC, and thought about using it to pivot to getting a four year degree. Discovered that I’d have to do the whole Business program at our local four-year school-and the classes I took wouldn’t count for a degree program. I could take about a quarter of my classes at the JC level, but I’d still have to take about four years of classes.

    Oh, and I’m also fighting for any marketing jobs or internships with about two years of college grads that are desperate for anything.

    I’m looking for an Any Job right now that we’re all vaccinated. Writing my next novel. And…hoping to make it through the days lately.

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