Good morning horde. Do you know what time it is? It is time to disappoint the snobs. It is time to grin in their smug faces. It is time to hoist middle fingers at their scolding. And it is definitely time to pffft pffft pfffft right in der Fuhrer’s face!

Now more than ever. Every day with gusto and twice on Sunday for good luck.

And if you’re scratching your head right now and going “It’s nine and a bit on a Monday morning, what in heaven’s name has wound Sarah up?” worry not. You’re about to be told.

Back when I was a sprout, knee high to a dictionary, for reasons known only to my psychiatrist, I took a Swedish language class. The teacher was a dual citizen, child of a couple consisting of a Swedish woman and a Portuguese man, had lived in Sweden part time for most of her adult life, and explained the culture as well as teaching language.

I no longer remember what the word was — I haven’t used Swedish in 38 years, okay? I can listen to it and pick up a word here and there, but I have no more clue what they’re saying than before I took it — but one of the words she taught us meant “enough” or “just enough” and it was apparently the highest compliment you could give a person. “You’re just enough. Your house is just enough. Your clothes are just enough. Why, you’re practically modestly adequate.”

I didn’t have giggle fits in class. I waited until I was politely out. But then I did have giggle fits. Look, I do understand that the Scandinavian countries are not the most fertile places on Earth (in either sense) and that for most of history having just enough was great and amazing. At one time an acquaintance was venting about how he’d like to have more kids but he and his wife couldn’t afford them due to extortionate taxes. When I pointed out that was the cost of socialism, he said something like “Well, it’s better than famine and cannibalism. There was cannibalism driven by famine in my grandparents time.”

Honestly, I don’t know enough of the history of Sweden to know if that’s true. I have a vague memory they were more prosperous (and way more innovative) before socialism’s death grip on their economy. Also judging by how many people of Scandinavian descent there are in the US, having kids didn’t seem that difficult back then.

Mostly I was sad that he saw nothing between famine and socialism, that the free market and the idea of striving had been so completely expunged from his mind. He was not a stupid man, so this spoke to me of a culture in distress.

I also know for an absolute fact that the scourge of the coastlines of Europe didn’t leave their homelands to go aviking because they were enamored of “just enough” and were looking for a bare sufficiency. Judging by the hordes people still find buried various places, they were looking in fact for lavish profusion.

So, socialism, not culture.

In fact a lot of what we mistake for “decadence” and losing the will to live for a culture, is just the iron boot of communism, or the spiky heel of socialism (more subtle but just as deadly) pinning them down till they expire. Because those take the overculture first, they act as conquerors taking over, and the conquered culture acquires all the pathologies of the vanquished: the men become ineffective, the women become whores, and there are very few children born.

Anyway, when it comes to socialists and their idea that the peasants should worship the concept of “just enough” (while the rulers servants of the people can have as many lavish dachas as they want and shop at the party stores for whatever they need. And if the dachas look like pokey suburban American houses, and whatever they want just means they get some protein, hey, at least they’ll have more than you, peasant.) there isn’t anything that infuriates them quite as much as Americans being Americans.

Wind up an European and he’ll break out of his smug superiority about decades of socialism, and foam and froth at the mouth about how tacky Americans are: too large, too loud, eat too much and own too many things.

If you want them to come close to striking you, smile sweetly and say, “Yes, it’s all true. Thank you.”

Because you see, they know that deep inside they too want to be lavish. They’ve been taught, primed and indoctrinated to think the only color is grey, and the best you can do is have “just enough” but inside them is the ancestry of Charlemagne and yes the Viking raiders screaming to get out. They don’t dare voice it, because then they’d be as bad as “those Americans” who are “So crass” but they want it all, and they can’t stand that you won’t be bullied into giving it up, as they have.

In fact, my fellow countrymen, having crisscrossed Europe a few times, I have to tell you Heinlein was right. They ain’t got nothing — except some very old, very expensive buildings, certainly nothing in the way of creature comforts — that we don’t have bigger and better in Podunka, Illinois.

In fact, one on one, in a head to head comparison, and if we pick someone not addicted to drugs, our poor live way better than the European middle class, in terms of what they do and have in everyday life.

Regardless of the screams and cries about “hunger in America” (Most of it, as you know, based on flawed surveys and insanity) we have a plague of wild geese in every public park. In countries where there’s real hunger, geese don’t honk around being tasty and made of meat while people wring their hands and wonder how to stop them pooping everywhere. In those countries, any goose incautious enough to come near a hungry human doesn’t honk. He sizzles.

And most of our poor eat more protein, have better snacks, more comfortable clothes, sleep in better beds, and just generally live better than the European middle class. They mostly have cars, and can afford to drive around (“President” Bifflé — you might not want to look that up. Then again, you might want to. I’m not your mother — and his Junta would like to stop that) they have houses of whatever description that are warm in winter and cool in summer, and they are just generally in better shape than their European counterparts, before you get to the rest of the world.

In fact, some years ago, a sociologist said in an article, in passing, that the way to calculate lifestyle in America vs. Europe, you had to assume Americans lived “two levels up” from their counterparts in Europe. So the poor live like the middle-middle class and the middle-middle class live like the rich. This stuck with me long after I forgot his name and what the actual article was about, because it scanned as true.

Which brings us to the Bifflé Junta — yes, it really is a very rude word. The French are way better at that than us. The verb, btw is Biffler. And I still say you shouldn’t look it up — who are, as you know — but they might not, though I think these idiots do — are Marxists.

Being Marxists means they’re brain damaged about the economy. Because Marx had rats in his head and never understood how the economy actually worked, which is why he considered intermediary sellers “waste” and never fully understood things like “distribution.” (The two are related.)

Part of how they have rats in their heads, is that they can’t understand how wealth can be created. To them there is just a finite pie, forever. They will come up with excuses — climate change; the hunger in Africa; the heartbreak of Psoriasis — but really what they mean is “I’m uncomfortable that people can just have unlimited abundance. (And at the back of it, I think, is the fear that people will enjoy themselves more than the socialists do. They’re a rather joyless bunch, and therefore envious of what they don’t know how to have.)

But being sure that the pie just needs to be infinitely redistributed, they’re convinced other places in the world are poor because the US has so much. So they’re trying to bring us down several pegs.

Hence the “you have to lower your expectations” and banning fracking, because they want our gas to cost the same in Europe, and the perpetual environmental scolds and self-panickers running in circles and telling us we must lower our impact on the Earth, while leaving India and China to pollute their merry way.

And then this weekend — I told you we’d get to what set me off — it seemed like every time I logged into my main computer (I haven’t taken the time to customize those browsers, yet.) I got another stupid article telling us how to stop being American, for our own good.

My favorites (BY FAR) are the one saying America will suffer more from Omicron than anywhere else, because it’s less “dangerous to the individual” but more “dangerous to the community.” They tried hard to square that circle but his makes no sense whatsoever. It’s about how it doesn’t kill many people, but if we just SPREAD it, being SELFISH it will cause the heartbreak of psoria– Okay, I”m making that. It will cause missed work, and people being miserable from the common cold. And therefore it’s time to give up our individualism, and think of the community.

Do you guys know how hard it is to touch-type with stiff middle fingers? It ain’t easy.

Anyway, the other one was about how we, like other countries, need to stop giving Christmas gifts to adults.

The whole thing seems to be that the writer is awful bad about picking gifts, and it’s wasted money, and therefore we shouldn’t do it.

I have in fact talked about how giving gifts is often wasted money, which is why socialism fails. (You can’t know what other people want.)

But that’s neither here nor there. I often fail at giving gifts to my nearest and dearest at the prescribed occasions, but that’s mostly because I give them “gifts” whenever I notice they need something or want something. And I love surprising them with just what they need, but better quality than they’d buy for themselves. In the same way, I love buying gifts occasionally even for casual acquaintances, or making them something I know they’d like. (It hasn’t happened for years, a combination of money (the other house was really expensive. And yes, we really need to sell it) and time/energy. But it used to happen fairly often and I hope it will again.)

The ideal gift is frivolous, extravagant, and something the person loves but would never buy for themselves. I’ve been the recipient of several of those, sometimes from you guys, even.

And anyway, seriously, what business is it of these killjoys?

They don’t want to give gifts. Don’t. But assume your full aspect as the Grinch and say “I didn’t feel like it. And I have a heart like a shriveled raisin.” Don’t lecture me about how it’s best for me and everyone else, too. I will give whatever gifts I want, and if I ever win the lottery, I’m going to buy big honking tacky gold necklaces for all my friends, with pendants in the shape of pooping geese, so we upset all the delicate, lilac scented feelings of the bien pensant.

Americans, they will find, are not good at taking direction and indoctrination.

I am not going to be convinced “Just enough” is a great compliment. Yes, sure, I am downsizing, because we’re done raising the kids. But it’s more like we’re compact-sizing and upgrading. Instead of three cheap/used/from thrift store coffee makers, we’ll have a single one, but good, and with a warranty. Instead f three thin quilts from thrift store, we’ll have a big, fluffy, warm blanket. And we’re so rich, so lavish that you can actually find all that, in good shape, in thrift stores, and it’s only a little more expensive.

In America, we know what we need to live lavish, unapologetic lives. And I want it all. And just to piss off Europeans and their ideas of tastefulness, I want it in big checkers, purple and red. Because.

Because I’m an American. I’m going to giggle at their lectures, and giggle even harder at their rage.

I’m not going to be brow beaten by publications no one reads anymore into feeling guilty for our prosperity.

I’m going to be loud, proud and lavish.

And I’m going to Pffft, Pfffft, Pffffft right in der Fuhrer’s face.

392 thoughts on “Lavish

  1. Someone just gave me the whole series of “The Scholar Walks at Night”. (Korean alternate-history vampire drama TV series.) Completely different from what I’ve been working on for a while, so it’s been perking up the brain.

    And yes, that’s how gifts should go, IMHO. Something you know they’d love but wouldn’t normally get, for whatever reason. And if it’s a case of “want to get them something, but absolutely stuck on exactly what” – gift cards are thoughtful that way, too!

    1. Food is always good – especially for someone who already has a houseful of nice things. I wrote a couple of weeks ago, about the last Christmas gift I was able to send to my English Granny Dodie – a lavish food hamper from the high-end Fortum and Mason department store

      As for Americans living comfortably, even lavishly … I am reminded of the apartment where I lived in Athens in the early eighties. An apartment with a telephone drop, but no telephone. My landlord and his family lived in the ground-floor apartment, I had the second floor, and the landlord’s sister-in-law and her family lived in the top-floor apartment. They shared a single telephone; the wait for a telephone through the Greek telecom system was about a decade long. So my landlord and his sister-in-law passed the phone back and forth, by means of a long rope and a plastic shopping bag. Many is the time that I heard them calling to each other, and the telephone going past my kitchen window, between apartments.

      1. “Why don’t you just go to the store and buy a phone?”

        “<mutter grumble> Americans <grump growl>”

    2. For Christmas one year, a friend bought me a square foot of land in Scotland. I would never have bought that for myself, but it makes me smile whenever I think about it.

      1. That’s what my wife gave me for my birthday this year. A great reminder of two years walking in the Scottish rain from nineteen to twenty-one…

  2. One of the great questions of European history is how did the Vikings become Scandanavians. The other is how did Romans become guys with hand organs and monkeys [And, I’m half Italian. The other half is Portuguese, a lethal combinagtion (see Billy Martin)]

    1. Well, first they decided to get involved in the 30 years war and everybody died, then a generation later they picked a fight with the Russians and everybody and his brother died. Over the next century they picked a fight with the Russians, The Prussians, the Russians again, and then the French, they did OK against the French because they got to steal Norway from the Danes after the Russians and Austrians beat the French for them. Over the next 100 years, anyone with any gumption came to the US,

      Basically, the gene pool has been truncated.

      1. And there were famines in the 1800’s. It comes up in shows on gene expression of Scandinavians (kids of kids who lived through famines are short, even if they shouldn’t be genetically).

        It also came up on the New Scandinavian Cooking show. Areas where people always managed have different food cultures than the famine areas of Scandinavia, IIRC.

        1. The Vesterheim museum in Decorah, IA, has a lot of stuff about “why emigrate,” and they basically said, “too many people, too little land, no one wanted to be a renter any more.” Now, this is about Norwegians, not Swedes, but there was probably some overlap. (Highly recommend the museum, and the gift shop, and the food, and the hiking, and . . .) Iowa had cheap/free land, better climate, cheap wood and transport, great soil, and didn’t care how you worshiped G-d. So over they came.

          1. The Amana Colonies are another great place to visit in Iowa. Good museum, good German food, great shopping.
            Also the docent was very blunt about the reason the Colonies gave up their communal lifestyle and turned into a corporation in 1932. The workers got tired of carrying the non-workers, and the kids wanted luxuries (like lipstick) they couldn’t getting the communal stores.

                  1. Which would be why we’re always for lowering spending and lowering taxes. And cutting regulatory bloat, and shutting down pointless departments, and simplifying the legalese… It starves that leeches out.

                    The next candidate that shows he’s willing and able to do the above, and has the stones to actually do it, that guy’s going to get rammed into office and not let out until he dies.

            1. You’re welcome. That was a good trip, even if I had to cut it short because of possible weather problems (had to be back at work on Monday, so I couldn’t risk getting caught on the wrong side of a possible snow storm. Which detoured. [Unkind words here])

      2. “anyone with any gumption came to the US”

        that’s my theory for the entirety of Western Europe, basically

        1. It would definitely explain the difference between Not A Cousin John’s dad (who came to America with my grandmother’s dad’s family) but ended up going back (true love), and … well, Scotland by looking at national behavior.

        2. Need a bumper sticker:

          Then Europe and the US by county, color coded to … oh, country that has the most folks with the most common European country last name.

          It’d be a big computer challenge, and interesting in a demographics way– and I’m pretty sure there are several last names where there’s more in the US than remaining in Europe!– but it would give a vague but easily available from public records means of comparison.

            1. I 1) don’t have the computer skills for this a
              2) don’t have the time for this,
              but it would also be really neat to have it where you could click on the county(parish)/name/country and have the other two light up….

          1. Thomas Sowell, in the title essay in the book “Black Rednecks and White Liberals” goes into how cultures from not just particular countries, but particular regions within a culture influenced the development of some regional cultures in the US and carries forward into…um…certain subcultures of certain ethnic groups in the US when it has actually become extinct in the country of origin.

            1. Beyond the “Redneck” one he famously pointed out (anybody bristling– he described it rather precisely, it’s not the usual “ew, icky worker people”) there are a lot of crab-pot type cultures where there’s a huge gap between the folks who came here and broke their cultural foundation, and those who came here with a cultural niche that enforced the norms they were escaping.

            2. A great discussion of the impact of regional cultures is central to Fischer’s “Albion’s Seed”and also in James Webb’s “Born Fighting”.
              Albion’s Seed: Four British Folkways in America is a 1989 book by David Hackett Fischer that details the folkways of four groups of people who moved from distinct regions of Great Britain (Albion) to the United States. The argument is that the culture of each of the groups persisted, to provide the basis for the political culture of the modern United States

          2. There are more of our family over here than left in Germany. and Moms side has disappeared in the Alsace-Lorraine. Only gravestones.
            Now the one left in Germany is wildly successful in farming but he admits it was the U.S. that helped develop that area it was dirt poor before the war ( Lower Saxony )

        1. “It has become a matter of future self-defense.” — Dilvish, The Damned by Roger Zelazny

        2. Ah, beloved of our three year old.

          She still isn’t clear why brother isn’t in trouble for hitting her when she hit him first…..

    2. In just about every western European country the “troublemakers” were encouraged to leave and take their issues and radical ideas elsewhere. So a great many chose to seek their fortunes in the New World. Those that remained mainly were content to live on the dead bones of past glories.

  3. I’ve seen articles about the woman who wants people to edit down their possessions. She can have our hundred shelf feet of books when she pries them from our cold, dead fingers. I admire Chaucer’s Clerk of Oxford who would rather have twenty books of Aristotle at his bed’s head than any (other) luxury, but I don’t want to live in an age when twenty books constitute wealth.

      1. If her criteria is “does it bring you joy?” – well, yes, all the things on my bookshelf that survived the latest move (which is almost all of them) bring me joy. Or are reference books. Or are cookbooks, and yes, the things made from those bring me joy.

        1. “Does it bring you joy” is a pretty good criterion for choosing whether you keep or don’t keep something. But that can be very, very different between different people. So the woman whose name that movement has does happen to be somebody who is able to be content with not having much, and that has become the criterion for the whole thing: you should keep very little.

          But if you are not happy with very little? What if makes you happy are full closets and lots of books, and all that old nice furniture you have accumulated through your life, every piece with some memory attached to it even if it is just the pleasure of finally finding what you had been looking for for a couple of decades at a price you could afford at that moment?

          Then what makes you happy might start to look a bit crowded, especially if you at some point needed to move to a smaller apartment. But it would still fit that criterion. It makes you happy. All those things do bring you joy when you see them. So…

        2. “Does it bring you joy?”

          This is why collecting yarn and fabric is just as legitimate a hobby as using yarn and fabric. That bin of beautiful squishy yarn brings me just as much joy as whatever it is I will eventually make from it.

    1. We’re “editing down” books by establishing a history collection at the local library. Around 800 volumes so far, with a growing number of interlibrary loans.

    2. Sure, declutter and get rid of what you don’t need. I defy anyone to say I don’t need Barry Hughart’s Bridge of Birds. That stubborn Ox and the Sage with a Slight Flaw in his Character have kept me afloat too many bad days!

      Books are necessary!

      1. In my case it’s Pride and Prejudice and The Sharing Knife and Aristillus and In the Country of the Blind and the Heinlein juveniles and Courtship Rite and Plain Tales from the Hills and Sabriel and the Vimes and Sto Helit novels and the Lord of the Rings and A Deepness in the Sky and Kipling’s collected verse and . . .

        And then there’s the 43 pieces of art, which we spent a fair bit on having framed once we had the wall space.

    3. Marie Kondo?

      That article (OK, flurry of articles) was actually a really horrible misrepresentation.

      Her thing is about not being owned by your objects, not “you’re only allowed X number.”

      The better summary is the mildly obnoxious and memed “bring you joy” measure.

      IE, you don’t have to keep that horrible but popular for your age book from your dead grandma when you HATED the book. You’re not insulting grandma by getting rid of it.

      1. This. I got tired of arguing about it with people on the internet who refused to understand what she was REALLY saying as opposed to what some meme SAID she was saying. Her advice is really good and has helped me clear away a lot of things I haven’t needed but have been lugging around the country for the last ten-plus years.

    4. About those books… I have my maternal grandfather’s 1905 Sunday School prize copy of The Swiss Family Robinson. I have my father’s bibles and prayer books. I have my mother’s and my aunt’s copies of When We Were Very Young and Now We Are Six. I have copies of my paternal grandfather’s books on Bach and Beethoven. I have my high school French dictionary, Chaucer, a couple of Gothic Novels, and Physics text book. I have a complete 17 volume of the Burton translation of the Arabian Nights. So much for only having 30 books. I’m over 30 on those alone. I wouldn’t part with them for any money.

      When I go to visit someone’s house for the first time, I look for their bookshelves. A lack of bookshelves or a manicured collection of matching and obviously unread “classics” is a pretty good sign that our friendship is not going to last.

      1. Agreed – I had a very dear friend (my professional mentor in the military) who pointed out that someone who had one kind of music, and one kind ONLY on the shelves — not a promising indicator. Someone who had jazz, old-style swing, classical, rock and musical soundtracks and more, all jammed together on their shelves … well, that was someone with eclectic, wide-ranging and interesting tastes, and likely someone who he would want to get to know better.
        His name was Mel, he was my best pal in Greenland, and one day when he had a perfectly frustrating day at his job – I played him a PDQ Bach album, and cheered him right up.

      2. We joke (?) that one way to tell if someone is SCA/fann.ish material is to look at their shelves. No shelves, or only a handful of books, not good material. Bookshelves everywhere, especially history books, yeah. My beloved says it’s really good if they have their books organized by the Dewey decimal system.
        We’re not that well organized, but I’d guess we’re north of 500, easily.

        1. I use Library of Congress. University libraries have a better selection of what I want to read (other than current fiction, for which I use public libraries, which don’t use Dewey Decimal for fiction); and every university library I’ve visited uses Library of Congress. So I have a much better feel for where things are.

          It looks as if my shelves approximate one book per shelf inch, so I’m going to say 100 shelf feet is 1200 books. The mass market paperbacks probably have a higher density, because a lot of them are from earlier years when paperbacks were thinner. My big nonfiction categories are philosophy, economics, linguistics, science fiction/fantasy criticism, and biosciences; C adds a lot of art criticism.

          1. I do library of Congress, mostly. We’re up somewhere north of 5000 volumes. Just had a cull and the children are starting to loot it. My daughter took all the Latin and Greek and left me the translations.

          1. At one point I had to box up most everything, but the stuff essential to work with.

            Now, after the latest move, I’m again mostly keeping around books to work with, at least in paper. I’ve bought a few novels, and picked a box of surplus references that are not immediately relevant, but someone was giving away.

            OTOH, I have bunch of stuff on various hard drives.

      3. My 29 volumes of the 1911 Britannica would count as one and my 13 volumes of the OED as the second. Add my 14 volumes of the Cambridge Modern as the third… well, they make me happy and that’s what counts happiness and harmony

  4. I remember from ‘The Liberators’ and ‘Inside the Aquarium’ how the Soviet intelligence services told the author everyone who left because they wanted a big house or mate oak wealth always ended up committing suicide or trying to come back when they realized that everyone in the US had the big house with two cars and a pool. You couldn’t lord it over your neighbors when they had it just as good as you did.

    What struck me was, he ended up defecting because otherwise he would have had to betray his friend. And he did not care that his new neighbor had as big a house as he did.

  5. I remember being fertility shamed back when I was pregnant with my fourth child. I was loading up a grocery cart with the two youngest and directing the oldest to hold onto the cart so I could keep track of him, and a woman sneered at me and said: “And you’re having another child?”

    “The more the merrier!” I responded, because that’s all that I could manage from my dumbfounded brain. How could you look at a pregnant woman without smiling at her? Or a group of beautiful children? This woman was brainwashed into thinking that children are harmful because of the planet or some other nonsense. This kind of progressive mindset leads to a miserable, pinched life. And they hate seeing someone be fertile and joyful. “Pffft” right in their faces.

    1. While being unapologetically male that’s obviously not a situation I would normally find myself in, if I were in such a situation my first thought (if not the voiced one, because standing in the line for checkout isn’t really a place to get into fights) would probably be “jealous someone will knock me up?”.

      1. Not that I have any kids, but I would probably run with a variation of, “They’ll take care of me when the Social Security runs out.”

        1. “My retirement plan …”

          We only had one. But did get the version of “How can you get pregnant just before (college) graduation!” This is after at least 3 miscarriages over the prior 10 years. My response was “Oops. Guess more job options for you.”

          1. Any chance you might be interested in an hourly part-time consulting project? It looks as though we may get funding for our software project. I’m the head of the company and a certified Odd; you’d be working with me.

            If so, drop me a line at

      2. “Bless your heart”, with or without the proper southern drawl might suffice. Either that or “I feel sorry for you”, then walking away.

        We married too late to have kids, but some grand niece/nephews are getting benefits…

        1. My cousin is just now getting married. He is 43 (10 years older than our son, 22 years younger than I am). Don’t know how old she is, or if she has children already. His nephew is married with a 4 year old.

        2. My mother once purred “Bless your heart and the horse you rode in on” at a particularly obnoxious customer. I was lucky enough to be looking that way when realization hit.

          1. $SPOUSE and $PUPPY are still sleeping. Must. Laugh. Quietly.

            “and the horse you rode in on”. 🙂 🙂 :)`

          2. (Snicker).
            That’s even better than, “And when you get home, I hope your mother comes out from under the porch and bites you.”

              1. I laughed.

                But. Stop insulting horses, dogs, and cats. At least pick on their snake parentage. “Crawl back to your Quiver”, or “Ooze back to your primordial pond”.

      3. Jealous that the mother had found a good husband and a good father for her children when the sneerer was still looking and hoping but seemed to end with men who needed her support, instead of giving it?

        1. If you are reasonably good with children for the length of a brief encounter, people tend to assume you have them.

    2. The Progressives have spent a century indoctrinating all they could to limit population growth or even outright shrink the population, and to control who breeds. Planned Parenthood, the Eugenics movement, the push for government-funded abortion and birth control, the push of unhealthy sentiments between the sexes, the push not for tolerance of LGBT but for active promotion, it all leads in that direction. And until the media-education-government complex is more thoroughly neutralized it will probably remain an element of the zeitgeist, and even after its demise it may linger for generations yet.

      1. If you could wrestle the education of children away from the progs you might be able to get rid of those attitudes a lot faster than “generations” because they personally don’t usually breed that much, they DO keep their ideas alive by indoctrinating other people’s children.

        Well, the best way might actually be to get to the situation where you could do your own indoctrination when it comes to the younger generations… it has, after all, been proven to be a very well working system. 😦

    3. It amazes me how in certain areas Dametortuga and I are treated as if we have second heads sprouting from our shoulders when we show up with our five (not so) wee Tortugas. The snide comments about “you know how that happens don’t you?”, etc. Some people are just too bitter and jealous to enjoy the beauty of family.

      1. The obvious reply to “You know how that happens, don’t you?” is “Of course, why do you think we have 5? Why, don’t you know how to do it?”

        1. Double + thumbs up for an awesome comeback. I usually go for the baffled look and reply, “No, how does that happen?”

          1. Spouse had our boy with him and a woman said to him, “What a beautiful little boy! I wish I had one just like him.”
            My beloved replied, “Well, for a small fee, ma’am, that could be arranged.”
            Thus ended the conversation.

      2. The snide comments about “you know how that happens don’t you?”, etc.

        My one-eyed crazy uncle tried that on kid #2.

        I smiled sweetly, looked him in the eye, and clearly stated: “Why, yes, and we’re rather good at it, thank you for asking.”

      3. My mother (at the time had four kids and one on the way) lived down the street from a mother of five. My mother would offer to take all the kids out to give the other woman a couple hours of alone time and sanity. She’d take us all to theater in the round, then for ice creams (free with theater tickets). One Saturday as she’s walking into the ice cream parlor with the kids, eight stair step kids, with one in a stroller and one in the ‘oven’, she overhears someone ask ‘doesn’t she know where they’re coming from?’

        Inherent in the question is the assumption that any sane person who understood what was happening would have put a stop to it a long time ago.

        I’ve just never understood that mindset.

    4. I’ve mentioned before that I pep-talked one of my male colleagues out of being reluctant to have more children. I’m a spinster (unfortunately), but I know good parents when I see them. They’re everything the world needs. They have four now.

      My down-the-street neighbors had their fourth about three years ago. Saw her pushing little fellow in the stroller while pregnant; she said she felt so much older than the other mothers and a fourth child was more than her peers. I asked her how many children were in her and her husband’s families: three and five. We had a little laugh trying to figure out how decided that four children was a “big family” and decided it was the car dealership.

        1. Unfortunately, not much low altitude in Utah. On the plus side, you could have been the International Lord Of Hate’s neighbor!

          “Hi, could I borrow a cup of .45ACP?”

          1. Heh. That was a line in the movie Johnny Dangerously. “Mrs. Capone” came over to borrow a cup of bullets. Johnny and his girlfriend Lil Sheridan were a little short themselves. Unfortunately, can’t find the clip (the _video_ clip, not misuse of the term “magazine”).

              1. He’s also gleefully embraced “toxic war weasel” now, which is a phrase that makes me giggle every time I hear/see it.

                1. I had missed that title. ROFL!

                  Of course, “A plan so cunning, you could attach a tail and call it a WEASEL!” is running through my twisted brain…..

                    1. Yeah, you’re right. I’m a sucker for alliteration and my subconscious snuck up on me. 🙂

          2. The first time JL Curtis (OldNFO) called me and asked to borrow a cup of sugar, I was giggling the whole half mile over to his house. Because there are certain hallmarks of community, and “Can I borrow some baking powder?” or me asking LawDog “When you come over for dinner, would you please bring two eggs, because I miscounted how many I’d need for the mustard sauce?” is definitely one of the fundamental ones!

        2. Or the part of the midwest where I worked. Although the largest family was 15 kids. They visited in shifts, once they grew up.

    5. At wife’s family reunion a few New Year’s Days ago. We were going around introducing ourselves and our kids. Her cousin and his wife have three kids, kinda space out. The cousin’s wife says “If you don’t have three, you’re a quitter.” Her sister-in-law immediately burst out: “I’m a quitter!” Everyone laughed loudly!

    6. If I had carried my second pregnancy all the way to term (both babies came early–8 weeks for #1, 4 weeks for #2), I’d have more kids and less sanity (and less patience and more health issues, probably). And I was planning the perfect, cheerful comeback: “Of course! I have to make up for the kids you won’t have! And I’ll raise them to be happy and productive, too!”

      As it was…I flat refused to risk the health of any more babies.

      1. That is a very good reason to stop. My mother in law had nine children. At forty-two she had a miscarriage. She knew having more children would be bad for everyones health. She went to her OB doc to talk about it. They both went to the same Catholic church. The doctor considered for a bit and then told her he couldn’t do anything but would send her to Dr. Schmitt who was a good Lutheran. This was in the early 60’s. There were no more children after that.

    7. When God decided we needed a son, I was 36. Some acquaintance said to my husband, “Of course, she’s having an abortion.” Thinking about the odds of Down’s Syndrome, I suppose. At any rate, he told whoever it was, “no,” and didn’t tell me about it until after the birth. As I put it, he did that to save the life of the commenter.
      Our boy is 30. Had a long chat with him yesterday about Marvel movies.

      1. I didn’t care about my age. I cared about not having another baby need extra hospital time. First one was five weeks in the NICU. Second one had the nursery asking me to stay an extra day for a little more observation for the baby girl from the doctors because jaudice. Not risking a third having something catastrophic–I don’t want to know *I* chose that for them. Not to mention I don’t think I could handle losing one.

      2. My parents got married when they were both in their mid-30s, and when I was born my mother was 38. As far as I know they tried for another, but my mother’s health got so bad early in the pregnancy that it was terminated for that reason – one of the few accepted reasons for getting an abortion in my country in the early 60s. (I’m in Finland, for those of you who have come here during that time when for whatever reason my comments always kept going to be checked before appearing, and I stopped commenting because I didn’t want to give our hostess more work – it may have been because she had to block some Russian trolls, or trolls coming the way of Russian based servers, and it seems the connection from here to there goes the way of some server farm in Moscov for me too).

        Being an only child was always rather lonely. I kept dreaming about having siblings my whole childhood. Okay, I knew even then that a lot of those of my friends who had them seemed to think that being an only child must be very nice, and told me that some sibling relationships can be pretty bad.

        But I still daydream what it might have been like if I had had them. Or at least one. If mother could just have carried that other pregnancy to the end… When, after my mother’s death – I was 26 when she died – my father found a new woman, a widow who had three adult children, female identical twins about 2 years younger than me and a son some years older than me, I was first so excited because I thought that maybe I finally, as an adult, could have those siblings I had always dreamed about. Unfortunately, after a few years when she had consolidated her relationship with my father well enough that she no longer felt the need to pretend she liked me it turned out she would much rather have me not existing at all, and of course her children totally rejected me too as a family or friend (I probably should have suspected something when they, even in the beginning, kept giving me the cold shoulder, she presumably made her opinion about me clear to them from that beginning even if she pretended with my father and me then), so that didn’t work out.

        And as said, I do know it can go very bad between real siblings too.

        But I still sometimes daydream. I do think it would be better for a child to grow up with siblings, not as an only one.

    8. My best-friend-growing-up and I had a long conversation about What’s Wrong With The World last time I was in Anchorage, and he strongly believed that the world had too many people and the population needed to come way down or the planet was doomed.

      I tactfully did not point out that he had two children.

      1. But of course! They know just how you should live your life; doesn’t mean it applies to them!
        There is no shortage of people convinced they can create the Perfect World. They just have to eliminate all those imperfect people who don’t fit in it.

    9. For what it’s worth, sometimes they’re lashing out because they hurt.

      The men, and the women– the listened to a lie, and chose to have two, one, no children.

      And they see someone who didn’t…they can’t fix what they chose…and sometimes it hurts.

      I only realized this when I THOUGHT I was going to get another of those and instead the lady broke down crying at me.

      It made the vicious ones make a lot more sense.

      1. Which is also why I’m making sure every young one in my family understands things stop working when you hit your 30’s, and better to have kids early and chase careers in your 30s/40s than try to do it the other way around.

        Also, the good apples get picked early.

    10. Given the temper I had when I was pregnant, I’m pretty sure that my first coherent thought after that comment would be, “Why am I being restrained by six large men, and where did all that blood come from?”

  6. “Wind up an European and he’ll break out of his smug superiority about decades of socialism, and foam and froth at the mouth about how tacky Americans are: too large, too loud, eat too much and own too many things.”

    Oh, you’ve met my boss. 😉

      1. No, but … he’s French/Panamanian and lived in Switzerland and Sweden most of his life 🙂 And if he sees this, well, I’m retiring in three years anyway… 🙂

    1. I see you’ve met at least one of my undergrad classmates. All were American by birth, sadly. The one who immediately springs to mind would scree to the high heavens about how awful America was and how much she hated America and how she was going to move to the paradise that was Dominican Republic the instant she graduated.

      Well, she graduated over a decade ago. Last I heard from her, she was still living in the United States of Awfulness. Strange, that…

          1. Bwah ha ha ha ha 🙂 No, he’s definitely not American. Lives here now, but no, he’s *definitely* not American 🙂

      1. Having participated in the LBJ invasion to make the DR safe for Resorts International I would suggest that your friend visit and when she finds it is not what she expected she should make the the trek (really not long) to the DR Haiti border an peer into a land of “not quite enough”.

    2. I think it was Bill Whittle who, years ago, said something like, “Walk into any cafe in Egypt and you’ll hear how evil, stupid, and greedy Americans are and how they cause all the troubles in the world, but throw a Green Card on the table and watch them scramble for it.”

  7. For some reason, a bit of dialogue from the criminally-underrated western (eastern? It’s set in Australia) Quigley Down Under comes to mind. Our hero, rugged American marksman Matthew Quigley is meeting a rather snobbish officer in Her Majesty’s Army.

    Snobbish Officer: “Americans are uncouth misfits who should be run out of their own barbaric country!”

    Quigley: “Well, Sir, we already run the misfits outta our country. We sent ’em back to England.”

    Seems to me that if these Europhiles venerate Europe so much, they ought to go to Europe. And if they won’t go, we oughta run ’em outta our country.

    1. Raptor, yes! I’ve used that quote many times, and I couldn’t help thinking of it when through the vagaries of fate I ended up working for a British company for a while. I had thought I’d liked the British, We speak the same language after all, even if they don’t know how to spell it. Our founders were once British. But the constant newsletter references to Lord Hoohaw and Sir Umptysquat disabused me of that notion.

      1. I worked for a British company for a while. Everything was good until they got bought by the Germans. Now, I really like Germany and have German friends but working for a German bank? Run, don’t walk. Seriously, the combination of arrogance and stupidity would make a DC bureaucrat proud.

        They bought an American bank a few years later. The Americans stole them blind. lakes ya proud.

        1. I consulted for a German company in 2001-2. They weren’t as bright as they thought they were (and the founder got sucked into Edifice Complex–once they got into the brand new factory building, the bankruptcy happened a few months later).

          Let’s just say I take “German Engineering” with a few grains of salt. David R. Palmer had a great rant on such in his Emergence.

          1. The Germans KNOW the right way to do it. Their smugness is only exceeded by that of the Swedes who are the platonic ideal of smugness.

            Still, The Germans are absolutely necessary in the investment biz. Someone has to be the greater fool.

            1. I have some German ancestry, which perhaps explains my smugness and foolishness. 😉

    2. I also liked the line in _Return to Snowy River_ about pedigrees. The banker is trying to insinuate himself with a military officer by insulting the station owner’s (rancher’s) ancestors. The officer intones, “Indeed. Back when my ancestors hanged yours for cattle rieving.” [Types she who had ancestors chased out of Scotland and northern Ireland for liftin’ t’ kai.]

      1. One of my ancestors was suspected of stealing grain from an English squire. He shipped his family off to America, sold the rest of the stolen grain, and caught the next boat before the law caught up with him.

        1. *snicker* My sister and brothers and I always entertained a speculation that the original ancestor on the maternal side was a horse thief, and legged it from Wales before he was caught … alas, as it turned out, he was boringly respectable. Rated a land grant from William Penn and all.
          All of his descendants that can be traced were always boringly respectable, too. Although one of them, being a ferocious Abolitionist did get thrown out of his Quaker meeting for being altogether too enthusiastic for Mr. Lincoln’s war … which is why we’ve been Lutherans ever since.

          1. One of my father’s uncles learned he was descended from $FAMOUS_MINISTER. Since great-uncle was a devout atheist, there was a brain explosion…

            1. Spouse’s great-great- etc. grandfather founded the Baptist church in Nova Scotia. He kept getting in trouble in New England because he refused to pay the preacher’s tax and wouldn’t shut up about the Evils of Drink.

          2. There is a Geoffrey Leigh Withnell in Australia. Got to know him (electronically not in rl) when my Dad was doing family tree research. We are distantly related. I always tweaked him that we were the successful sheep thieves in the family – we weren’t caught. Weirdly enough, even though our last common ancestor was in Great Britain in the late 1800’s, in photos my youngest daughter looks exactly like one of his daughters. Right down to the same style glasses!

          3. Most of the family is boring German shopkeepers and farmers, but on my dad’s side, Nth paternal ancestor was in the service of a German Principality when he had a Significant Emotional Experience in a battle and decided that the Prince’s choice of religion was incorrect. At the time, that meant it was necessary to skip town and he ended up in America with enough time to spare that he and a couple of sons served in the militia during the Revolutionary War.

            Now, my wife has Jesse James as a patrilineal relation, but that’s a different kind of story.

    3. I wonder how many of the wanna-be Europhiles start making plans to leave for {Insert Euro Country of the week} when they finish their {Insert fancy-sounding but totally useless in the real world} degree, only to find that the Euro countries won’t let them in because they bring nothing of worth to the table beyond being REALLY good at slinging over-priced coffee at Starbucks…

      I think, many years ago, I annoyed one of my nieces (love her, but her and her sister are lefties through-and-through, or at least the last time I chatted with them) when I pointed out, to her comment about moving to Canada etc, etc, that even I, with a Bachelor’s and a technical skillset, didn’t qualify to emigrate to Canada unless I could find a company willing to hire and sponsor me. Ah, I recall more details, she was advocating for no restrictions on immigration to the US and such restrictions were horrible, mean, awful things.

      Pretty much shut down the discussion on that topic…

      1. $500,000 (loonies) to “invest” in a Canadian business that hires their clients will do it. It was $1MM US for the US last I looked. I think you could do it for less if you found a face that tans.

        One of my first cousins was going to do it, different one than the diner fan bellow, he wanted out of the UK where he owns a kitchen cabinet business. Was going to open one here. Got divorced and pfft went the money. Too bad.

        1. All those celebrities screaming they were leaving the US if President Trump won. My first thought was “don’t let the door hit your ass on the way out.” My second was “dammit, they won’t take you, I don’t care which country it is”. None left. Was it because the target country said “oh hell no”?

          1. At least one did. Then rushed back a few months later to escape the tender mercies of British National Health’s maternity care.

            Just think about that. A rich big-shot celebrity couldn’t get decent service out of British National Health and chose to return to the fascist tyranny of Trump. 😛

            Don’t forget the kid whose parents tried to bring him to the U.S. for treatment, entirely at their own expense, but British National Health got an injunction to prevent them from taking him. The kid died while the legal wrangling was going on.

            That’s what they want to bring here. Because it’s BETTAH!! 😦
            If a business tries something and it doesn’t work, they either stop doing it or they will go broke. If the government tries something that doesn’t work, they just keep shoveling our money into it forever.

      2. Pretty much the same everywhere here in Europe as it is in America – if you can walk to the border as a “refugee” (looks like only a rather small percentage of those migrants are what that word originally meant – in real danger in their original homelands – while most are just after better standards of living and think they can get that easier, possibly without even having to work, here, than they could there. And some want to conquer/bring the fight to the enemy lands…) you can probably get in, and then even shop around for the country with the best social services provided for migrants even if you are supposed to stay in the first one until processed, at least.

        But if you are a white person from a white country with a western culture you better come with a fortune, or with rare and much wanted knowledge or skills, before you can get in easily, and it’s not always guaranteed even then. Unless you manage to woo one of the locals well enough that they will marry you, or at least are willing to live with you so you can claim a permanent relationship, and even then there most times are several obstacles to be fought with before your status is secure. Oh, some students from those countries are accepted as students, but if you go back to your original country after that having studied or graduated in some European country it gives you only some advantage if you try to come back to live there permanently later.

      3. Heh. I used to work for an immigration lawyer, and I mock the hell out of all those “America is soooooo prejudiced and won’t let in minorities because RAAAAAACIST!” Let’s just say I know why Douglas Adams considered “Belgium” the foulest of all expletives…

          1. They may have changed it, but we had a client who, once a year, would send one Upper Management dude plus family over to their Belgium office for Seasoning. Because Upper Management was going to be drawing a paycheck, Belgium required Apostilles. For everything. That had ever happened. In that individual’s life and their family’s life. And their DOG’s life.

            I am not making this up. An apostille is a certificate and/or stamp issued by the local State Department saying “yes, this is the actual thing that happened, we promise”. And I had to get them for marriage certificate, any previous divorces, THOSE marriage’s marriage certificate, any reissuing of driver’s licenses, birth certificates for kids both natural and step-, vaccination certificates if there were pets coming (only once, thank God), et interminable cetera. What this meant in practice was that 1) I had to obtain a valid Certificate of Whatever (some copies count. Some don’t. The ones that count are embossed, and the ones that aren’t, don’t.) If, as usually happened, the customer didn’t have a workable certificate, I had to call the Department of State for whichever state in the Union that particular blessed event had taken place in. This generally meant 30-45 minutes on hold, 20+ minutes of explaining myself to whichever Dear Old Thing was manning the phone lines, another 30 minutes waiting for Person Who Knew What Was Going On to talk to me, then 15-20 minutes of explaining what we needed in excruciating detail. Then they had to issue me a valid certificate, which they would mail to me, THEN we mailed it back to a DIFFERENT part of the SAME Department of State so they could stamp it and put a pretty gold sticker on it. This took six weeks if I was lucky. Four if the State in question was one I could drive to with certificate in hand. (I have many unfond memories of reading the afternoon away in stuffy little governmental offices. My boss did, at least, pay mileage and overtime). Multiply this by every single significant event Upper Management had ever experienced.

            And then we bundled it all up and mail it to Upper Management dude, insured six ways from Sunday due to the extraordinarily hefty fees my boss was demanding for it.

            It’s been about 20 years. I have yet to forgive Belgium for any of it.

    4. Quigley Down Under takes place, when late 1800’s, early, 1900’s? So Quigley couldn’t alternatively state “annnnddddd where would you all be without us uncouth Americans?”

      1. The movie is set in the late 1860’s according to Wikipedia. The writers had to consider both American and Australian history to find a time appropriate to the story.

        1. The rather prominent role cap and ball revolvers played in the movie along with Quigley’s Sharps rifle would set the time period as between 1865 and 1873.

  8. My ship pulled into Trondheim, Norway in 1989. Prices for EVERYTHING were at least three times what we paid in the States, including beer (42 kroner for the cheapest draft, which translates to $7, while bars in Norfolk offered $2 drafts). One of my guys struggled through the math and complained about the price, whereupon our “African-Norwegian” barkeep launched into a twenty-minute diatribe about “the idiot Socialists” and “all these damned Africans coming forth free medicine” as the cause of those high prices.

    1. Still remember the 30-guilder steak I had in Amsterdam in 1981. A tad chewy, but the flavor was OK. I do wonder if it neighed when it was alive, though. (I think it worked out tomabout $10 American).

      1. Western Europeans do have a very different cultural attitude about horse meat than we do in America.
        A ten dollar steak doesn’t sound so bad these days until I recalled that back in 1981 I could feed the four of us a full meal at Mickey D’s for that same ten bucks, including two ravenous young boys.

  9. My ship pulled into Trondheim, Norway in 1989. Prices for EVERYTHING were at least three times what we paid in the States, including beer (42 kroner for the cheapest draft, which translates to $7, while bars in Norfolk offered $2 drafts). One of my guys struggled through the math and complained about the price, whereupon our “African-Norwegian” barkeep launched into a twenty-minute diatribe about “the idiot Socialists” and “all these damned Africans coming forth free medicine” as the cause of those high prices.

  10. I play Scandinavian fiddle and have spent quite a lot of time with colleagues from Sweden in the process over the last 30 years. Very nice people, but rather, …um … domesticated. When you describe how some Americans are go-getters and ambitious and independent, the general reaction is “why would you want to be?” So, yes, this is part of the “enough” modern culture to which you refer.

    I have a simple explanation for the “how did Vikings come out of Sweden” question — it’s the old immigrant issue of “all the goats left for places with more opportunity, and only the sheep remained.” I can’t think of a better illustration of that claim than Sweden & Norway. All the Vikings came here.

      1. First, the Vikings raided. Next, they conquered Britain and France. Finally, they moved to Minnesota.

        1. Actually, the sheep moved to Minnesota. You’ve never seen a more docile bunch. Our governor put the entire state under house arrest, banned the free exercise of religion, banned political gatherings, banned eating in restaurants, limited travel on the Fishing Opener, even tried to ban Thanksgiving and Christmas, all in the name of The Deadliest Plague Ever Known. Everybody nodded and said, “That’s okay, we’ll manage, we have enough.”

          Even when BLM and Antifa burned down stores and police stations in riots after Saint George Floyd died of a fentenyl overdose while in police custody, everybody nodded and said, “That’s okay, they have a right to be upset, we’re several blocks away, we’ll be fine.”

          The sports team name was chosen for marketing.

          1. Alas, in that there is Truth.
            Heck, WI did better simply because while (Never vote for) Evers is also such a Gubernatorial goober, the WI courts have at least a semblance of a clue and shot his nonsense down a couple times.

          2. I really meant the North Central Plains generally, but chose to say Minnesota because of the football team. Alas, you are far too right about sheep-like behavior.

          3. One does have to wonder if and how much the dynamic will be changing now that BLM and Antifa rioters are no longer on the protected species list. I expect that one show trial reaffirming the rights of their victims to self defense will give at least some of them pause.

          4. Minnesota is populated by Irish, Hmong, angry Communist Finns, a small collection of random Scandinavians, and a large number of Germans desperately pretending to be Swedes. I lived there for 25 cursed years. I know.

        2. No, they did build a fairly strong and big kingdom before Minnesota. Sweden was a veritable superpower, at least locally, for a few hundred years (partly depending on Finnish soldiers when they had Finland as part of their kingdom…). But then they started to lose ground.

      2. Grampa Pete left the farm in Denmark in the early 1910s (worked with/made TNT during the war…). He was a colorful character (putting it lightly) who made a comfortable living as a carpenter/contractor in Chicago. Definately one of the goats. Both of his sisters and his younger brother stayed in Scandahoovia–at least one sister in Sweden.

        I still miss the rogue.

    1. I once put up 3 Swedish musicians for a teaching session, and when they arrived after midnight, I took them to a 24-hour diner just off the nearest highway exit.

      Their reaction to being able to order anything on the (12-page? longer?) menu, even breakfast, at 3 AM was incredulity. Alas, unlike Boris Yeltsin when he visited the grocery store in Houston and proclaimed “Even the Politburo doesn’t have this choice. Not even Mr. Gorbachev.”, they didn’t draw the obvious conclusion that maybe our “way of life” had some advantages over the system they were used to.

      1. My first cousin became an unabashed Ameriphile (he’s British) when I took him to a diner at 3:00 in the morning. He was blown away.

          1. One of the few things I missed moving to Ohio from the Northeast was the 24-hour diner with the giant menu. They are much rarer on the ground. In the decades since I moved, though, many of the diners back East have either closed or gone to more limited hours, and Waffle House and IHOP arrived in force here. I still prefer the diners of my youth over the chains, but if I ever do get a craving for a hot restaurant meal at 2:30am at least I can go get one.

          2. Or Wal-Mart at two in the morning…

            The local one went 24-hour back in the 1980s, but now they’re 0800 to 2100 because of the ‘rona. Or something.

            They went 24-hour because they had contractors and stockers in there all night anyway, so it was a chance to pick up some “free” sales, as Sam thought of it. But apparently they’re willing to forego the money to protect themselves from the murdervirus, which apparently sleeps 0800-2100 when the store is open.

            1. I wonder how much of late night closure policies are a result of “creative shopping” by those unwilling to pay and inclined to violence. Needing fewer security guards might be a factor.

              1. Officially, we don’t need to stock on the night shift anymore, but I think maybe they just couldn’t hire the truckers anymore. Officially, we’re all supposed to be on block shifts also, but that went away as soon as it got more difficult to staff the stores.

            2. I’m inclined to put it down to a fear of government regulators rather than a fear of the murdervirus. “Nice business you have there. Be a shame if anything happened to it.”

              To put it another way, the limited hours, the masking requirements, and the obey-or-else-the-virus public service announcements are non-monetary bribes paid to power-corrupted public officials in order to stay in business.

              1. That’s been in play a lot in Oregon. A woman who was running a beauty parlor in defiance of the edicts suddenly found her charged with all manner of regulatory violations. It got nastier when they sicced Child Protective Services on her.

                F’n Despicable Kate Brown

    2. One of my dear friends, the Dr. Babe, married a Norwegian. Charming man, been here in the States for nearly forty years now with no intention of becoming a citizen as he plans to retire in Norway for the government retirement benefits. When I asked him if he felt it was wrong to dodge the lifetime of taxes that he has not paid to Norway while he has been a resident here he was incredulous that I would be so foolish.

      1. Well, heck, why not have the best of both worlds if you can get it? For me, simply not living in America would be too high a price to pay for said government benefits, but to each his own.

      2. I know dual citizen American-Canadians who plan to leech the Canadian system after they make a small fortune in the US. Several years ago, one of them whose parents were from India IIRC, was fat-headed enough to write an editorial in the Detroit area about how people should want more dual citizens like him. He got an eyeful from both sides of the Detroit River, particularly when First Nations that straddle the border can’t get dual citizenship to benefit their children.

    3. As a descendant of Harald the Great on one side, and Charles Martel on the other…. yep. We’re all here in America.

      Think it was the Heritage Foundation that did a comparison of lifestyles, American poor vs. European middle class…. and actually, our “poor” came off quite a lot better, starting with half again more floor space than the average reasonably-well-off European, and at least one more car.

      1. One of the studies I saw was summed up in that if Sweden and Germany were US States, they would be among the poorest. Various leftist sites attempted “debunkings” that basically amounted to “But they didn’t account for…(when they most certainly did, right there in the study)” or simply “Nuh, uh! You’re a poopy-head for saying otherwise.”

        1. Sounds about right. I’ve seen some of those attempted debunkings… they boil down to “We pay lots more taxes than you do so we can have less of everything.” Uh, wut??

          1. But — say the Eurosuckup apologists — they have such better quality of life there, with their picturesque trams and their picturesque squares and their picturesque buildings and their cozy cafes and their cute little shops and and and…

            Mostly, American Eurosuckups are people who spent a year abroad during college, so (a) they had lots of dollars sent by Mommy and Daddy to spend, and (b) they didn’t have to worry about making a living. So they could spend their days and nights when not in classes shopping and traveling and eating out. Hell, Cleveland is probably picturesque if you can live in the gentrified part and someone else is paying all the bills.

            1. Actually, it occurs to me to wonder if the Anglosuckups have morphed into Contintental-Eurosuckups since the British committed the national sin of leaving the EU…

            2. Only rich or well connected people live in those picturesque places. The average European lives in badly built post war brutalist towers. Picking on Sweden again, the waiting list for what will turn out to be a small rather run down, badly maintained flat in Stockholm is over 20 years. The public spaces, at least the older ones, are nice the private ones are cramped and usually fairly ugly. 1200 square feet is a very good size for a European house with flats much smaller.

              I’ve lived abroad, both Europe and Asia, for many years. We sent our kids to local schools so unlike the average American lefty, I know what life is actually like. Rather ordinary Americans live in bigger houses, drive better cars, eat better food, and wear better clothes than quite well off Europeans.

              I suppose this is another one of those things that the left tells itself lies about because the truth is so unpleasant for them.

              1. “But the Europeans are just so sophisticated, and besides, American houses are too big and Americans waste too much.”

                I have literally heard these exact statements come out of people’s mouths. When their only experience was a year living in a flat in central London or Paris during college or grad school. (Very definitely not Wolverhampton or Strasbourg or someplace unglamorous like that, heaven forbid a council estate or banlieu.)

              2. The average urban European lives in what we would call “the projects”. Cheap, low income, mass apartment buildings. I want to say about 10 to 20 percent live in very small single family dwellings (1000 sq ft or less) like the homes in Harry Potter (suburbs and small villages). And even then, none of them are what we would call cheap. Demand is too high to be cheap.

              3. My husband floored a brit friend when he off handedly mentioned we only have 10 acres. She was beside herself in confusion (not jealousy, to her credit.) It both helped and did not help when he pointed out that we were the SMALL fry out here and the guy across the road from us owned the square mile (it’s ranching country).

                1. Dundee 2 “Just a little hobby farm. Mostly swamps and gators. You can walk across it in a little over a day.”

                  Response: “You can walk across New York State in a Day!”

                  Eastern Oregon around Baker you need 40 acres to feed a few head of horses and cattle, and even then you could be supplementing regularly with hay.

                  Willamette Valley you only need 5 to 10 acres, for the same head count.

                  1. 10 acres around here will get you about 5 head, or 2.5 horses if you use the whole of it for that. Practically we’ve got about 6 for that sort of thing

                    1. Never had the pleasure. No matter how much I wanted a horse growing up. Now? Might be able to handle a miniature, if that. Cats aren’t quite as bad if you want to travel. Dog, well she is a service animal so a lot more flexibility. Doesn’t mean she should go, just because she can (at least from this side of the trip). Aunt & Uncle have 40 acres outside of Baker, Oregon. Implications from them is they wouldn’t need as much acreage if they were in Willamette Valley. They had 3 or 4 horses if they had foal and a two year old. Three cows with 4 or 5 calves. Two pigs. The pigs were penned, and never free roaming. But the horses and cattle were turned loose into pasture to forge. They supplemented with hay.

        2. This isn’t the article I wanted, but it’s yet another comparison…

          And then there’s this summary:

          www DOT heritage DOT org/poverty-and-inequality/report/how-poor-are-americas-poor

          and this 2010 blog post with a Handy Chart… click to enlarge:

          coyoteblog DOT com/coyote_blog/2010/01/us-vs-europe-standard-of-living.html

          The figure I remember most starkly from the chart I’m TRYING to find is that the average poor American lives in a single-family house of about 900 sqft, while the average well-off Eurotrash lives in an apartment of about 600 sqft.

          If this is poverty in America, we’re doin’ it wrong.

    4. Do you know about the Laws of Jante? When I read about them they explained a lot about the Nordic countries to me. They have some admirable traits, but Janteism is so evil I find it hard to imagine how any human being can adhere to it.

      1. I’d never heard of it before, so I looked it up. Holy carp. I couldn’t even make it through the entire article. It sounds like one of Chairman Mao’s or Pol Pot’s wet dreams.

        1. It’s not so much them going crazy I mind, it’s how they’re dragging the rest of us along for the ride.
          Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!!

        2. Pretty much the way Chinese are. Well, most Asians. The nail that stands up gets hammered. Consensus is important- everyone should agree on the next step Even if deep down you know it’s wrong…

  11. Further, Socialism/Communism/Marxism/Whateveryawannacallitism is an ideology that mixes selfishness, greed, and laziness. “I want that thing right now, but I can’t afford that thing right now, therefore NOBODY should be able to EVER have that thing EVER!”

    Capitalism isn’t perfect (and the corporate cronyism that is trying to supplant it even less so), but the underlying thought process is, “I want that thing, but I can’t afford that thing right now, therefore I will work my butt off until I can afford that thing.” Which is a hell of a lot better, and a hell of a lot more mature, than the ideological equivalent of an underdisciplined child having a temper tantrum in the middle of a toy asle.

    1. I think it’s vital to distinguish “You have that and I want to have one too” (aspiration) and “You have that and I want yours” (envy) and “You have that and I don’t, so I don’t want you to have it either” (resentment) and “You have that and I want you not to have it even if that makes me worse off” (spite). Socialism claims to be aspiration, but confuses aspiration with envy—and in practice it turns out to be spite.

      1. Like the difference between admiration “Ooh, I want that sports car!” meaning one like that one, and coveting. “I want THAT sports car,” and I will lie, cheat, steal, perjure, whatever it takes to get your car for myself.

      2. My da used to call it Irish envy. They didn’t want what you had, they wanted you not to have it. he said that that, not drink, was the actual national curse.

        1. This is alive and well on the r/Ireland subreddit, which explains a lot. Also, blaming the British for everything, even the things they themselves screwed up.

    1. Years ago one of our hosts in Chinatown treated us to a meal of squab. After that I annoyed my wife by stalking the ubiquitous pigeons in Chinatown saying, “Here, tasty, tasty pigeon.”

      1. At least with most predators they taste awful (or so I have heard). Maybe Coyote would make decent coat lining, although their fur usually looks darned patchy.

        1. Maybe the bad taste helps keep them from eating each other.

          Unless they’re really desperate, anyway.

          1. Eh. Less fat on the meat, bit more gamey. It *can* be made quite tasty. But you do not cook it like you do meat you buy from the butcher or the grocery.

            You can make some quite delicious smoked jerky out of such meats, use it in lovely stews, and so on. Just have to know how to use the ingredients to bring out the flavors you want.

              1. Heh. I’ve heard that advice before, somewhere… But in all seriousness, coyote, snake, bear, deer, elk, rabbit, squirrel and so on aren’t bad eating. Maybe I’m just not too picky when it comes to some things, but making tasty food out of whatever is available is a useful skill to have. Just have to have access to proper spices in some cases.

                You can make nigh anything edible with enough hot sauce, true. But to make it tasty you might need honey, pepper, mint, salt, and so on. Stewed tomato base, some potatoes, some sweet corn, peppers, onions, honey, salt, jalapenos, smidge of chili powder, beans and fresh meat makes for good eating.

                Dang it. Now I want to make some white chili again. And I don’t have anywhere near enough jalapenos for it.

                1. Deer, elk, rabbit, and squirrels are herbivores; never had problems with eating them as long as the meat wasn’t allowed to go rancid. Rattlesnake reminds me of pickerel; long thin strips of white meat that’s a pain to fillet off them. On the other hand, those Burmese pythons ought to produce a lot of meat. I’ve only had bad bear (improperly treated and prepared.) My understanding is you have to process a bear the way you process a hog; dress it and cool the carcass fast, then butcher while cold.

                  1. Yep. Cooling it fast is the way to go- depending on when your proper hunting season is, and where you are, I’ve had good luck with snowpack. You’ll want to drain them, too, pretty quick. I’ve heard that gator isn’t too bad, either, but you’ll want to stay away from sloth.

                    Some more experienced and outfitted hunters go with the refrigerated truck method, where applicable. Drop your kill, butcher and cool it right down on site. Less waste that way, too. Snake meat is pretty darned good. Wild hog may be too gamey for some, but prepared right it hits the spot, too. Bear, well you hit the nail on the head there. If you don’t take care of your kill right quick, it’ll spoil. That holds true for most anything, too.

        2. Depends on the time of year. You’ve got about four months when you can get a quality pelt.
          (Although I’m certain the price has gone up from the $45/cured pelt we got when I was young.)

          Coyote fur is often used on hoods, because ice doesn’t stick to it. But it’s not generally used for whole coats, because the color is anything but uniform.

          1. MomRed has a coat with a coyote fur hood. I loved to borrow it back when. Much better in winter than other coats we had at the time.

    2. Once upon a tyme, the old parkland near my little towne had a great plague of feathered beasties. Several hundreds of ’em, congregating in all weather and seasons. They were “protected” or “endangered” or some other nonsense, I think. And the people fed them. One of those was the cause of the rather excessive population contained within that small area.

      Now as any good conservationist knows, overpopulation is nigh on as bad as underpopulation. Something had to be done. They weren’t starving, no. Not *yet* by any stretch. But what cannot go on…

      Came upon the flock a good few years later on. Much reduced. But more well mannered, for goose. A good thing, that.

      Now it may have been that they stopped getting fed- the park folks aren’t fools, even if certain members of the public are (children, most of them, but a few adult children amongst them, too). But it is also possible that certain folk were heard when they opined that such a humongous bounty of feathered Christmas dinners, it’d be a shame if some didn’t appear on a few hungry tables. Turns out you *can* hunt such beasties if given proper dispensation, it seems.

      And at that time the SA wasn’t quite as gobsmackingly stupid, and local hunters weren’t nae fools either. It may have been that several families what were down on their luck a bit ate well that Christmas.

      Any lines one might draw between this hypothetical and the wages of political dumbassery that we’ve discovered in this latest foolishness must be purely in the reader’s own noggin. /sarc

        1. *grin* ‘Tis indeed. It’s sad to see the flocks and the herds suffering, starving, and diseased. They may be wild, but it’s a cruel soul that would rather that then an honest hunter that knows how to manage the population properly.

          1. I just get the giggles out of it being horrible evil to do culling by hunting season, but totally OK to pay someone and waste the meat.

        2. Won’t somebody think of the good of the Uniparty, and give the Uniparty a good culling? It’s for their own good, really, I insist.

      1. One of my former co-workers had a fantasy involving a wetsuit, snorkel, goggles, a sack and the Officer’s Club golf course pond…and geese.
        Da-dum, da-dum, da-dum….

      2. Poaching tip for preventing hunger: All large birds have exceptionally vulnerable heads and necks. Throwing sticks, boomerangs, bows and arrows, and pellet guns are all very quiet.

  12. Barack Obozo loved saying “You didn’t make that”, or implying “You didn’t earn that or deserve it.” BLM loves to claim it’s the fault of the White Supremacy that so many blacks aren’t king of the hill. The truth is, anyone, of any race, gender, ethnicity, creed or religion could have exactly the same things I have if they had made the same decisions I made; or even better, since I’m a rather lazy sort of fellow who likes to sleep late rather than milk cows at 5AM. CRT and 1609 are both extravagant lies from racist con artists.

    The Democrats, the Biden Administration, and the Progressive-Socialist Left are trying to crush the American Middle Class out of existence with their immigration, economic, and law policies and programs. And how they ravage any of their own who dare to question or oppose them. Manchin being one of the latest for poking holes in their Build Back Better pork barrel.

    1. Heck. We’ve never been rich. Most of the time we’ve lived at the edge of disaster. BUT better than my relatives in Europe who had the advantage of their degrees being recognized AND family connections. AND what I wanted to do was write books and have them published. In my THIRD language. AND maybe make a middle class income. Points at curriculum vitae. Dusts hands. Grins.

      1. Define “rich”. We’ve been at the edge of disaster at least 3 or 4 times. Started out there. Where is rent coming from? How can I manipulate what is owed to ensure that I’m not kiting checks based on when money is coming in. Pulling out the change jar to buy groceries. Yet we are considered *rich. Never been to Europe. Mexico? Does crossing on foot from San Diego to the popup markets count? If so, yes, otherwise no. Heck, never been to Hawaii or Alaska. OTOH been to Yellowstone, Yosemite, Utah National Parks, Grand Canyon Rims, Rainer and St Helens (lived < 60 miles from them), Glacier, Olympic, N. Cascades, Crater Lake, Giant Sequoia and Kings Canyon, Redwoods. Lodging costs? Max $35/night, because we've camped, and now it is half cost. Life time pass into for fee national parks, $10, 8 years ago when hubby turned 62. ($80 for me to get one. Missed $10 by this * * much. As long as we don't each need one, I'll wait. Still a bargain.)

        * We are considered at least upper middle class if not rich, especially when one checks what we've saved over the last 43 years. IRA's weren't an option when we got married. Started them immediately when they became available. I didn't have access to a 401(k) until '90. Hubby didn't have access to one until 1996 or so, company didn't offer one. Again. Anyone could do what we've done on average < $100k/combined gross (max $115k combined gross salary). We did. Provided they made same choices. They'd be in the same financial straits.

          1. I have a family. They have a roof over their heads. They have clothes on their backs. They’re not hungry. I have the freedom to do what I want, as long as I don’t excessively break the law. That’s pretty damn rich compared to over 90% of the humans for over 90% of the time we’ve been around.

            (Everyone breaks the law. That’s because we have too many of them. Of course it’s partially set up that way so the Prog-Socs have justifications to say that’s why it’s not so bad for illegal aliens to sneak into the country. So what if they break the law, everyone does!)

    2. Barry the Unready said that because it was entirely true for him and everyone he knew, Non-productive drones the lot of them

    1. I looked it up too. Actually sounds as painful to the abuser as it is insulting to the abused. I like to think my appendage has more noble purposes. 🙂 Insert Noble Savage joke here. Sorry, I’ll stop now. Sarah, you can’t throw that out at a bunch of scholars and expect us to listen to you.

      1. I had a fun time looking it up. The first few references went “WordA- Noun version of WordB”. Going to the reference: “WordB- verb version of WordA”.

        I finally found an etymology and got a clue.

        I think I needed to find the French version of the Urban Dictionary. Would have been faster.

        1. I looked it up on Wiktionary, which derived it from “bifle” and gave the etymology of “bifle.”

        1. Eh. A woman what makes the right enemies in life has got to be doing something right. When you’re taking *that* much flak it just means you’re over the target area.

    2. Yeah, me too. Now I can’t un-look it up. Bad Sarah! 😀

      Of course the French would have a word for that. Might I presume that the Bifflé would be the one who got Biffled?

  13. This fits with one of the odd things I’ve noticed when corresponding with Europeans over the years.

    They have a strong tendency to say things like “You don’t need that sort of thing unless it’s for business,” or “You’re buying that for professional reasons, right? The company should buy that for you.” I bought a stupidly expensive graphic card (mostly for games and VR, but partly for work), and a few of them were frankly horrified that I spent the equivalent of a month’s expenses on something for fun.

    Many, if not most Europeans, can’t comprehend the American tendency to have big, expensive hobbies. Part of that is that they can’t comprehend a non-rich person having that much disposable income, but part is also a cultural passiveness that borders on neurosis.

    1. Most people have no notion just how rich we Americans are. Sweden per capita income is about the same as Oklahoma and not much higher then West Virginia and Sweden is rich by European standards.

      Since prices in Europe are significantly higher then here, the gap on a Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) standard is even worse for them.

      1. The last time I was in Vienna, the very nice lady at the bookstore near Stephansdom (Tirolia Press books) boggled at how casually I grabbed archaeology and history books. She had no way of knowing that I’d been saving my money and had budgeted for just this, because I never know what treasures I’ll find at that bookstore, but they are always a gold mine. Looking back, I shudder to imagine how much of what she would have budgeted as rent and grocery money I spent there. For me it was saved up fun money.

    2. What the company buys for you, the company can in theory take away once employment ceases.

      The tools of your trade are a capital investment, may last decades, and when you buy them yourself you can take them to whatever position you have next.

      1. Gee, sort of like ‘What the government gives you, the government can take away’.

        But they’ve been conditioned out of making that connection.
        Bring out yer dead!

    3. They also tend not to have what I call “work hobbies.” Hobbies that require work to master and play with. I mean,t here are some Europeans who do that, but they’re VERY rare.
      Say, master a rare embroidery style, or learn to cook an obscure cuisine, or refinish furniture (my mom was HORRIFIED) or tinker with cars, or–

        1. They told her she should be useful when she was a little girl. Apparently they didn’t mean that particular kind of useful.

        2. The ones I’ve met are ashamed to admit they have that kind of hobby. “But I should have a better job. This is for people who can’t make it into University.” That was a refrain I heard a LOT. They may see the use of it. They may want to do it. But they’re terrified of being CAUGHT at it because, to translate, that’s Peasant work and no one wants to go back to being a Peasant.

      1. I have European friends who have skills-based hobbies, but we met through our love of SF. Perhaps they’re eccentric? Ha! Who am I kidding? They must be eccentric; they’re my friends.

        Possibly the most talented European “work hobbiest” I’ve ever met was a Saami girl from Finland. Traditional crafts and building computers were somehow on the same continuum for her.

      2. A major exception is model engineering (frequently miniature gasoline or steam engines). That was a British thing at least since the late 1800s. The hobby is in the US, though not as popular anymore, but the exhibitions are around the country. NAMES (N American Model Engineering Show) is springtime near Detroit, and Cabin Fever is somewhere in the east (PA, OH–not sure) in winter. Haven’t been to one myself, but I belonged to a club of active modelers. Some amazing work, engines, clockwork, and such.

        I think that hobby tracked manufacturing in England. It’s mutating in the US, with more of the 3D printing playing a part.

  14. And it is definitely time to pffft pffft pfffft right in der Fuhrer’s face!

    “Well, it’s better than famine and cannibalism. There was cannibalism driven by famine in my grandparents time.”

    There’s cannibalism driven by famine TODAY.
    In North Korea.
    Not related to a lack of Commie flavored actions by the gov’t, though…. I seem to remember that one of the countries in that area had really horrible famine caused by the National Socialist German Workers’ party.

    1. Check der link. It presently redirects to xhamster, a porn site.

      Tho perhaps not entirely inappropriately, given the Slang of the Day. 😀

      Also, WPDE has been intermittently deciding I’m someone else.

        1. It might be that you and I have some anti-forwarding thing enabled (I’m honestly not a TOTAL idiot on technology, but I’m terrible at remembering the words for stuff), and the site I linked is auto-forwarding to the other site to prevent that thing where a site links images from elsewhere to cheap out on bandwidth.

        2. Nope. Same problem on the linux box and totally different browser. (And it uses a different DNS server, so it’s not some server with a poisoned cache.)

          However… it’s something asinine the root domain is doing. When I go to patriotminear DOT com — I see it for a few moments, then it redirects me to a pastebin page that informs me:

          “You wound up here because you have the Gab Comment Plugin enabled and Javascript turned off.
          I could have redirected you anywhere.”

          Yes, javascript is disabled by default in THIS browser. But I don’t have the Gab plugin at all.

          On the linux box I can see the root domain and it stays put, but can’t directly access the JPG. (Nor does it display on this page.) If I try, it’s off to xhamster again and “chicks with dicks”.

          I think it’s an anti-linking script that’s both poorly written and exceptionally rude.

          1. Pretty much the same here.

            Nothing shows on Pale Moon on a Linux box (not surprising; I have strong blockers, and PM doesn’t always show things), while Firefox shows a busted link icon instead of the picture. Clicking on it directly, it starts to the meme site, then is redirected to the xhamster CwD page. Didn’t let it load further.

            Firefox is bog-standard with no blockers.

    2. (Bear with me for a moment; I’m going somewhere with this.)

      Some people complain about “Merry Christmas” saying it’s exclusionary of non-Christians or those sects that don’t recognize Christmas as a holiday. Some people object to “Happy Holidays” as a campaign in the “War on Christmas.”

      I propose we go with “Happy Battle of Trenton Day.” It’s a holiday any American should be able to get behind. 😉

      (Yes, in case there’s any doubt, I’m joking–but there’s an edge to it.)

      1. [falls over laughing]

        And that one pokes ’em TWICE.

        Maybe three times.


        A whole bunch.

      2. Every February 14, I honor the birthday of Frederick Douglass. Is there something else going on that day?

    3. I read a memoir – think it was “A River in Darkness” – of a NK man who managed to defect. Broke my heart six ways from Sunday, between the epilogue of “I don’t know how my family is and I’m afraid to find out” and the casual “first we looked for edible greens, then we looked for bark, then we looked for ANYTHING green”.

    1. There was a Canadian woman who used that in the name of her blog, which was about living minimalist lifestyle. Which began to look more and more like a relying-on-the-kindness-of-relatives lifestyle.

  15. “I’m going to buy big honking tacky gold necklaces for all my friends, with pendants in the shape of pooping geese”

    Oh my gosh! Made me laugh so hard!
    We love you, Sarah.

  16. When Sarah has visions of sugarplums, they’re Yuge, Beeyooteefull sugarplums. The Best, most Luxurious sugarplums.

  17. Gee, and here I just spent my Christmas bonus getting gifts for people. Adult people. I already got stuff for Red 2.0. And yes, Christmas is for spoiling people a little, with nice things that are needed. And a few fun, frivolous things just for fun.

    1. Oh, and speaking of making the Sourplum Fairy cry, I’m going to be traveling and away from the computer for a while. Alas, I will be going by airline, so I have to do the mask-irovka and act like a harmless little kitty.

      Mostly harmless. *taps faux halo back into place*

      1. For some reason I misread that the first time as “tapes faux halo” and snickered at the image of any of us here going undercover with taped-on halos to get past the Self-Righteous hordes….

        1. The-walking-trouble daughter (her picture is in the dictionary under “imp!”) was chosen to be an angel for the Christmas play…. I think that the teachers MAY have been having a little fun; not a hint of malice in her, but lots of highly energetic mischief.

          Anyways, SOMEHOW her halo (a headband with two wires going up to support a wire hoop that had very sparkly tinsel wrapped around it kept going cockeyed, or having a little bit popping loose, or you get the idea.

          Now I’m picturing a red cat doing exactly the same kind of constant adjustments. 😀

  18. ” if I ever win the lottery, I’m going to buy big honking tacky gold necklaces for all my friends, with pendants in the shape of pooping geese, so we upset all the delicate, lilac scented feelings of the bien pensant.”

    I know, it’s Nickelback, but…..

    1. Why does Nickelback get so much hate? they’re actually pretty good.

      Not so bad at the satire, either.

      1. Something I heard is, people don’t like them because the lead singer (Kroeger) re-records and tunes what they record until it’s JUST right instead of going for “this is how we sound.”

        Myself, I like them, and the fact that they make fun of the hate they get in one of their videos (This Afternoon, right at the start) just reinforced it.

        1. That’s what turned me off of them; to me, most of their stuff sounds like they’ve polished the life out of it. On the couple/three songs I’ve heard where they just let ‘er rip, the result is truly kick-ass.

          I don’t like most of their stuff, but I freely acknowledge that they are very good musicians and songwriters. I’d be willing to bet they put on a hell of a live show.

      2. I’ve always wondered about the hate for Nickelback, too, given how many directions I’ve seen it come from. I did a little searching of the web and didn’t see anything that jumped out at me.

      3. The folks I know who find them obnoxious, it’s because their route to success was “not completely sucking and being from Canada,” which meant that every station and its affiliates played it like crazy. (They have a quota for the minimum amount of Canadian content they MUST carry.)

        1. “They have a quota for the minimum amount of Canadian content they MUST carry.”

          Well, Canada does, but I hadn’t heard that it had come south…

          1. The numbers do cross the border for figuring out how popular things are, the cash is fungible, and you end up with a combination of that annoyance with things because they’re popular *and* a case where they really did not get popular due to inherent quality.

      4. Nickelback, Alice Cooper, Leslie Fish, Sabaton, Dan Vasc, and VNV Nation are known vectors for the spread of far-center moderate-wing extreemism:

        Beware: If your children listen to these, they may be at risk. Watch out for the following signs of Far-Center Moderate-Wing Extremism.

        10. Disbelieving that Trump properly appointed Hijikata Toshizo, Dai Li, Lucius Cornelius Sulla Felix, Oliver Cromwell, Augusto Pinochet, Kim Jae-gyu, and Rafal Gan-Ganowicz as officers of the Committee of Vigilance and Public Safety over the unorganized militia of the United States of America in suppressing the insurrection which attempted to seize power on January 6, 2021, and in ensuring that the laws of the United States of America would be duly enforced.
        9. Believing that there are more than three Star Wars movies.
        8. Failure to nail 99 theses to the doors of local universities, castigating them for betrayal of public trust, and proposing that their senior administrators be burned alive at the stake.
        7. Not recognizing that Adlai Stevenson II should have been thrown on Tarpean Rock.
        6. Opposing the abolition of the Sherman Anti-Trust Act
        5. Not applauding the explosion in “Peace, Little Girl” and not booing the voiceover.
        4. Objecting to the bombing of abortion clinics, especially given the apparent possible success of the Texas heartbeat lawfare.
        3. Not supporting the forcible removal of the Frankish occupation from Trans-Alpine Gaul
        2. Lack of interest in killing the mutant, burning the heretic, and purging the xeno.
        1. Not thinking that the tasteful display of Edith on the White House door to be a multicultural message of appropriate respect and caution.

        1. Dang, Bob, now we’ll start having kids actually, you know, listen to the lyrics on the music just so they can play Sabaton too loud and make their parents good and mad!

          Or more fun, listen to Sabaton and VNV Nation very, very quietly and make the adults wonder what the songs REALLY say . . .

        2. Hey now, I like VNV Nation. Most of his songs are about love and loss, and the political ones are well enough camouflaged to not be annoying.

          1. I hadn’t even known he had political ones.

            Basically, after Dorothy Grant mentioned him, I got to really liking the “When Is The Future” video.

            I’d be interested in knowing if he has any more that are similar to the lyrics of “When is the Future” in content.

            Anyway, I had people in mind here to tease with that selection, /and/ I sorted for a) perhaps not being serious supporters of correct American politics b) probably not being communists who sincerely want to murder us all. I mean, Alice Cooper is supposed to be conservative, but I don’t know that he has figured out the crud that seems to be really going on right now.

  19. A prime example of how Euros don’t really understand us is when they refer to us sneeringly as “cowboys”.

    They never quite get that we don’t thing of it as an insult.

    Or as a certain person told a sneering Eurotrash type once “Yippie Ki Yay Mother ….”

    (Not sure when Darlin’ Daughter has that on the Christmas Movie rotation, Thursday or Friday… Whichever one, the other night will be for Scrooged, having already had our annual viewing of Miracle on 34th Street and Donovan’s Reef

      1. Named middle Tortuga after that movie! Dame Tortuga allowed it was the amazing thing to me.

    1. “They never quite get that we don’t think of it as an insult.”

      Unless you’re from Philadelphia.


  20. Recently, while reading a pal’s Twitter feed (I know), I somehow got to read a comment by a German explaining that he had health care, affordable housing, etc. and all Americans got was “a dream of being rich one day.” I don’t have an account, but I texted my pal that I have never dreamed of being rich, only of having a permanent home and – I know this sounds cheesy – being loved and loving in return.

    If it were up to the government, I’d be living in a drafty, noisy apartment and “escaping” to nearby restaurants, bars, or cinemas with friends in the same boat. (The Polish and Chinese tenants didn’t mind, because it was better than where they came from.)

    1. I bet that German has no idea just how expensive his health care and housing are.

      In America wears the rich because we got em. In Europe they tax the poor because they got em.

      1. I wonder how many manhours goes into paying taxes and how much one receives from them in places like Germany and Italy. I thought Trump was on the right path by calling for transparency in pricing for health services and medical supplies. I would like to know how much Medicaid and Medicare pay on average.

        1. I’m double covered- TRICARE for life and BC/BS. Picked up a premarin prescription for my better half today- copay $0.00. The sheet from Walgreens says the insurance saved me $533. WebMD says over $400 without insurance. I take Metformin, get a 3 month supply of 180 pills. WebMD says about $60.00 without insurance, $25 or so with their free coupon. $8.00 copay when I pick it up with my insurance…

          The pricing and copays make approximately zero sense to me, but we’ve noted that the more expensive the drug, the less we pay with the double coverage.

          Transparency in pricing would be good.

        2. Well, when I was at university in Germany, most of the locals who could carried a card in their wallet/purse saying “In case of emergency, do NOT take me to [local] hospital. Take me to any place else instead!” Any place else cost more than local government ER. Make of it what you will . . .

        3. Having been in billing, how much they pay is only one of the elements–there’s also the likelihood of *getting* them to pay. There’s a lot of stuff that seems mostly set up to gum up the works of actually getting the government to pay. :-p

          (I was a rockstar in January for having sat through the training sessions that taught you how to bill NY Medicaid secondary when the primary insurance deductible hadn’t been met… Medicaid means that you can’t bill the patient for the balance, deductible means that the primary insurance wasn’t paying, and Medicaid had set it up so it required a different form when you were billing secondary. But do it right and they’d pay the entire amount the primary insurance was knocking off the deductible, instead of the half to a third Medicaid would pay as primary or the nothing they’d pay for not submitting the special form!)

          1. When I got my standard colonoscopy at age 67 (because reasons), the doc found something odd, so he took a biopsy. No medical problems, but Medicare freaked out. The procedure was originally coded as “standard screening”, then recoded as “diagnostic”. Their systems barfed all over it, and I got a statement saying I was on the hook for all of it.

            Several phone calls later, plus 5 or 6 months for the hospital billing people and Medicare to figure out What To Do, and the bill was settled; what Medicare didn’t pay, my Medigap covered.

            One wouldn’t think that was a corner case, but I get the impression that the programmers/administrators are selected for a distinct lack of imagination and/or initiative. Sigh.

            1. “One wouldn’t think that was a corner case, but I get the impression that the programmers/administrators are selected for a distinct lack of imagination and/or initiative. Sigh.”

              No, as someone who actually worked at testing a couple of state healthcare software packages, one of the things that made it so much fun is that there was a bias built into the software to deny claims / shave payments….. until it came time to calculate whether or not someone was eligible for Obamacare rate discounts. Thus you got the phenomenon of people qualifying to GET it cheap but actually NOT PAY claims.

              Coverage != Care. Grrrrr…… 8-(

              1. Let’s not discount the clearing center processing either. This is before the insurance even sees the claim.

                1. Yeah, what we were billed was the retail price for the procedure. IIRC, there were other line items that didn’t have the conflict and were paid “right away” (by Medicare standards. You think USPS is slow?) After we convinced them to pick one code and only one code, it went through, but with the standard (huge) discount for Medicare payments.

                  So yeah, there was an incentive for them to screw it up. Sigh.

  21. Anyway, the other one was about how we, like other countries, need to stop giving Christmas gifts to adults.

    The whole thing seems to be that the writer is awful bad about picking gifts, and it’s wasted money, and therefore we shouldn’t do it.

    UGh, yeah.

    “I don’t want to bother with this, but I don’t want to do it by myself so EVERYBODY has to do this so I’m not being a jerk.”

    …news flash, you’re being a jerk.

    1. If we stop doing that, we’ll make it shameful for needy adults to receive necessities at Christmas. I know the government should supply all the necessities of its citizens – ha! – but older people enjoy unwrapping socks, underwear, and specialty foods as much as kids do toys.

      1. Same way that “getting rid of Santa” (which, come to think of it, is basically a different face of this) means that you can’t give gifts that EVERYONE KNOWS have absolutely no strings attached, and attempting to USE them for manipulation is just simply beyond the pale.

        1. I never thought of it that way, Foxfier. You’re right! There are so many Christmas-time giveaways and charity events even in my little community that could be taken over by NGOs and advocacy groups to deliver a message.

          1. I had a couple of relatives that my folks spent YEARS making sure we didn’t accept gifts from, they always came with strings attached. Couldn’t do that with “Santa.” Guess how many Christmas gifts they sent out. 😀

        2. As I explained to Athena when she reached the age where the tale was wearing thin: Santa is real, not as a guy in a red suit at the North Pole but as that place in our hearts that gives to others for no other reward than to see the joy on someone else’s face. Having “Santa” as the public face of that gift giving removes any expectation of reward or even of gratitude.

          1. We decided to not lie exactly. But “Santa only comes to those who believe. Think you are too old to believe in Santa. Well Santa is busy … ” Kid is not stupid or an idiot. Santa has never missed a Christmas yet.

  22. A related aside: I had to get a prescription and on the way to the pharmacy, there was a huge back-up behind the police station/post office. Food was being given away to poor families, many of whom came in older model cars. It’s almost impossible to explain to Europeans that yes, except for the worst off or those near a bus route, the US working poor have personal transportation.

    1. And a lot of the families have more than one car. All of them older, some of them astonishingly beat up and being held together with spit and bungee cords, but they’re needed because everyone needs to be at a different place at a different time, and it’s good to have at least one backup if one of the cars breaks down. Sometimes I go through the neighborhood and see someone working on their car in the driveway — and the ability to do your own work on older cars may be as big a reason to keep them going as the expense of replacing them with something newer.

  23. This made me laugh so hard!
    I’m thinking of the Spike Lee (?) song where the chorus goes “Heil! Pttht! Heil! Pttht! Right in the Fuehrer’s face!”

    I’m also remembering being stationed in Stuttgart and living in Bietigheim-Bissingen, on the economy. I loved my neighbors, mostly, but it was so easy to make the random German red faced mad by just being gregarious, happy, and unapologetically rich (by their standards). I loved it. And I kissed the ground at the tarmac when we came back home 3+ years later.

    Off to cook and bake fresh tasty things for the family. Even if you’re broke you can make some really, really good stuff. So that’s my gift–my cooking/baking talent.

    Plus, Imma be 62 this Friday and it’s just the hardest and greatest time to be alive.

    1. It was originally a Disney WW2 propaganda cartoon. I forget which character sang it:
      “When der Fuehrer says we ist the master race
      Then we Heil phhht! Heil phhht! right in der Fuehrer’s face.
      When der Fuehrer says we rule the world und space,
      Then we Heil phhht! Heil phhht! right in der Fuehrer’s face.”

  24. “Also judging by how many people of Scandinavian descent there are in the US, having kids didn’t seem that difficult back then.”
    My grandfather came to this country from Norway. Including my mother, he had 8 kids. So, yes, it wasn’t difficult.

  25. To them there is just a finite pie, forever.

    Someone tried to make that argument with me. I responded by noting that along about 1760 the total population of the world was about 1/10 what it is today. (Note: This is just using generally available sources with no consideration of how accurate they might or might not be.) Would they then say that the average person was ten times as wealthy in 1760 as the average person today? In what way?

    Totally left them without a response. Don’t know if it made them think beyond the fixed pie sound bite but maybe someone watching was inclined to think. Internet Argument, after all, is a spectator sport.

    And, of course, in a blog post I make explicit how even the poor of today know wealth that the richest man in the world could never have dreamed of 100 years ago:

    Benefiting from Prosperity. (Originally “The Poor get Poorer”): A Blast from the Past

    1. I listened to a Thomas Jefferson reenactor once, after he broke character and we were doing a Q&A. He said one of the most thoughtful questions he got was from a third grade girl, who asked what Mr. Jefferson would take back with him to the 1700s. His answer? Antibiotics, to try to save his wife and children. That . . . gave the audience a very long pause.

      1. My grandparents would willingly apply the slap to the back of the head. They grew up in the early 1900s. They all went from outhouses to having bathrooms. From horse and buggy, being a requirement if you lived outside of town, or you walked, to having a vehicle, and horses are a luxury. Dogs and cats used to have a job. Now they are luxury. Heck paternal grandmother talked about having to take days, leaving the oldest two in charge of their younger sister, while they took their 4th child to the train station so they could spend the day traveling by train, Drain to Portland. Next day for one specialist doctor appointment (grand mal seizures from around 3, cause unknown), and a third day traveling home, again by train. A trip that while a long day, is now doable in one day by vehicle. Maternal grandmother talked of getting water from the creek downhill from their cabin all year, in Montana (which meant digging through snow, breaking the ice, to get to the creek water in the winter). She not only did this for years, she did this with a 3 year old and a newborn. I don’t want to give up plumbing (I like Daily showers).

        None of this includes readily availability of antibiotics, the MMR, Polio, DTaP, etc., vaccines.

        1. Not that long ago, Howard Hughes, one of the richest men in the world was incapacitated by OCD. He spent the last years of his life holed up in his Las Vegas hotel room. There was nothing that could help him. Today there are drugs that everyone can afford. We take so much for granted. Yet every age thinks it is the “cats pajamas”. One book we inherited is from 1900, called “Modern Illustrative Bookkeeping”. So “modern” is nothing new.

          This does not mean life is easy today. Living in Mordor west means there are many who get their “news” from MSNBC. So you see people driving alone, wearing masks. In a church sanctuary( 300 capacity), with 30 people, you must wear a mask “OVER YOUR NOSE”, because rules. Yet after church, in a tiny social hall, because you can eat without a mask, no concern. Swallowing camels, straining gnats. “We are safe as long as we follow the rules.”

          It is hard to deal with a virus that is infectious without symptoms. I still remember the guest post from the nurse about the norovirus outbreak. Just remember “news” from the left has a hidden agenda. “What is truth?”

          1. If it is often infectious without symptoms, it may be rarely fatal, and not really worth the worry over it.

            At best, measurement error.

            At worst, a bunch of folks are in need of some capital punishment.

  26. Off topic, I am amused to see that they are trying to rehabilitate the Hugo awards by giving them to video games.

    1. Given the attitude of most gamers toward the SJW crowd, I don’t think that’s a good idea. Gamers should be the one crowd that the progs should be keeping as far from the Hugos as possible.

        1. Perhaps. But gamers have a tendency to notice such things. They’ll come sniffing around even if they’re not invited.

  27. Heck, last year I posted a picture of a 9mm round on FarceBook and shocked some of my Euro friends. They just don’t understand the responsibility to provide for and protect yourself. I don’t expect the gov’t to do anything but get in my way. Sad how much they’ve sunk in just a few decades.

  28. Because Marx had rats in his head and never understood how the economy actually worked

    I’m going to go with termites. Even more destructive, but far more insidious. Marx, Engels, Lenin and Rousseau all had termites in the noggin. They were all a bunch of spoiled brats that never had to grow up because their parents were rich. They could believe the stupidest bullshit because they never had to perform.

    They did not understand work, because they never did any. They did not understand value, because they never created any. They did not understand money, because they never earned any.
    Communism and socialism do not create, they only take, and they collapse when the kommissars run out of things to steal.

  29. Another question- do Europeans do DIY? We finished painting the master bedroom today and now we’re waiting for the waterbed to heat up so tomorrow we can sleep in it. But we did it all ourselves: spouse cut the moldy section of sheetrock out, cut a new piece to fit, put it in, taped, spackled, sanded, spackled again, sanded again, then we moved furniture and he edged while I rolled. We preferred to do it ourselves over hiring a painter.
    But is something a professional class Euro would do? Or is it beneath him? I have no idea.

    1. They do., certainly the brits and French do. Pottering around the house is a common hobby. On the other hand, a lot more Europeans live in rental or public housing than Americans do.

      1. I remember a conversation on alt.sysadmin.recovery many years ago where we were discussing moving and all the Americans were like “Oh, I rented a truck and just hauled my stuff” and all the Europeans (and the British) were like “What? You pay people to do that!”

        1. Thing is, how often do you move, and how much of your furnishings are inherited crud that is basically an obligation that you will get in trouble for breaking?

          Learning curve to everything, a risk of breaking furnishings, and the replacement cost of furnishings.

          1. They moved a very few things very often. I moved a lot of things rarely. I suspect both groups didn’t move very far. I mostly hauled stuff a few boxes at a time and rented a truck for the stuff that wouldn’t fit in whatever vehicle I was driving at the time.

            My point is that it would have been trivial for them to move themselves, but wouldn’t ever considering doing things that way.

    2. Finns do. At least most of the ones I have known during my life, including people much younger than I am. But our upper class – back when being a noble meant something – were people who had sworn their fealty to the conquerors, first Swedes, then for a while Russians. I think that has made a difference, because when Finland finally managed to become its own nation, not a part of some other one, it was not in one’s best interests to flaunt a membership in the “bättre folk” (that phrase is still more of an insult today, mostly meaning well off people who are well off because they were born to a family with accumulated wealth, possibly dating from the time when that accumulation was much easier for those people who gave up being Finns for it, or came from those other countries to lord it over Finns), much less coming from a family that had been promoted by the better remembered Russians.

      The exception being individuals like Mannerheim – and people related to them – who went all-in for Finnish independence, no matter what kind of cost from Russians they risked, if getting it had not worked.

      So yes, here being one of the peasants, or former peasants, has been the thing to be after independence. There is some curiosity about our fossilized remnants of noble classes, but they usually mostly try to downplay it as something that only matters due to history.

      The down part of that is that here showing that you have been successful, even if it is all due to your own work, is also rather disapproved, or has been until the last decades, so the rich mostly used to pretend being just like everybody else, they maybe had a bit better cars and a bit better houses and so on, but they didn’t quite dare to go for anything really ostentatious. After Trump got the presidency there were hell of a lot of stories about his gilded residences and how tacky his tastes in anything were.

  30. I want to be just enough in some areas, and ridiculously extravagent in others. Like I don’t want a huge house that I need to spend every spare minute cleaning, and work nonstop just to cover the taxes, but I do want my little cozy house surrounded by a massive perennial garden so varied, luxurious and oppulent that you can hear the bees happily humming away from a half-mile away in any season.

  31. I spent nearly two weeks in England, around 2010 or so. And, I remember looking at apartment costs.

    Now, I understand that a lot of European apartments are small. Comes from living far too long in times when your housing had to fit behind the fortress walls and all that. But, a straight comparison of apartments in London vs. SF…for the same cost as a okay one bedroom in SF, I could maybe get a crappy studio in London. Or a decent studio in most of New York.

    I wonder if how much of the hate is because they realize just how constrained they are, they know it, even if they couldn’t admit to it.

    1. Good heavens, “IRC didn’t do fandom”?

      That is a… great level of special… I was *in* fannish groups who had IRC channels. I’ve still got my mIRC chat logs, somewhere.


      More directly, not sure if it’s a troll or not, but while we share our fannish stuff with the kids, we also try to make sure they get to pick their own stuff (rejection is for reasons besides “no my fandom”) AND know how to interact with “normal” people. Politely, even.

      That family sounds like they do the mildly-embarrassing-in-my-cultural-background level of religious devotion to fandoms. Ew.
      (For those wondering– there’s religion IN everything, but it’s not supposed to be OBVIOUS most of the time.)

      1. Don’t the kids have their own fan stuff ffs? Seriously, how f-ed is this mother?

        We’ve got all kinds of posters and fan stuff around Chez Phantom for movies, video games, anime, etc. Some denizens here are all about Spiderman, some (me!) like SAO, some won’t stop mocking SAO, some love them some Nintendo, others collect Pop figures, and one looks a the rest of us like we’re crazy. Which is fair, really. ~:D

        But you know, The Phantom does not force everybody to watch SAO all the time. That would be weird.

  32. There once was a man from California who moved to Texas. He loved his old home; but it had changed too much, and there was no work to be found. That was about 33 years ago. He has traveled for business; but the town he lives in has over 1,000 restaurants, dozens of corporate headquarters, shopping to suit nearly every taste…

    Yes, it is lavish. Even for those labeled “poor” by the bureaucracy.

    1. Russian paranoid, apparently.

      Obviously correct on a few things, but that analytical bias…

      1. Yeah, I think Russian expat. But in a position to see inside some of the inner workings high up. And an exact mesh with information I’d gleaned elsewhere (notably about Ukraine), which makes him worth listening to.

        Ten years ago we’d have thought Michael Yon was paranoid. Now he seems optimistic.

        1. Presents as a Russian expat in the UK.

          Interesting mix of interests, interesting explanation for the interests.

          Went a bit further back than I really had time for.

          He may be seeing some true things, but I think his models are missing some key bits of strong interest to me.

          I’m pretty confident he is wrong about some things.

  33. There was an immigrant couple in Toronto that told me that “we Europeans are so much more sophisticated than you North Americans, we all know three or four languages!” My response was “and we poor benighted unilingual North Americans have to keep crossing the Atlantic to stop you sophisticates from slaughtering each other!” They didn’t have a response to that.

      1. I’ve been known to get a sneering “you Yanks are always late to the party” regarding our waiting a while to come in on the Allies side in the World Wars. My response is: “We shouldn’t have to come in at all. You Europeans/Brits/Whatever should be able to deal with your own messes without running to us to bail you out. Frankly, I would have just left you to your own devices, win or lose.”

        After the sputtering stops I usually find myself unfriended and/or blocked. But that’s okay. It’s almost like the trash takes itself out.

        1. I do wonder what the great-grandfather who came over here because his mother decided They Were Getting Out Of This Horrible Place thought about registering for the draft not too many years later, so they could go back and fix the freaking mess. And then his son-in-laws did it A-FREAKING-GAIN, after they did the same brainless nonsense…..

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