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Today is the day when traditionally people set up elaborate — and often ridiculous — hoaxes on other people.

I was never particularly fond of those that were actually designed for people to believe, mostly because I’m not fond of making fools of others, or humiliation humor. Perhaps I have more empathy than average, or perhaps I know that I am on occasion foolish myself, and don’t wish to inflict it on others.

To me the ideal April Fools joke is the one where it’s obvious from the beginning that it’s a joke, but people are amazed at the thoroughness and the trouble you went through to create it, so that they are, in a way, in on the joke and admiring your artistry.

That’s the kind I tried to perpetrate with the famous announcement of the eminent publication of my mystery Sharkdip Thieves. And my son, back when he did a comic, went through a great deal of trouble to do something similar when he claimed he’d been bought by an anime corporation which would be, from then on, responsible for the art. Or my husband, when he announced he’d sold the world’s stupidest book for a million dollars. I mean we were very careful so it was obviously absurd.

And yet, casual readers fell for it. And yeah, sure, they weren’t so much humiliated, as they came back and slapped their foreheads minutes later going “Oh, no. I should have realized.”

I considered doing something of the kind today, though honestly I can’t even think what. Or I considered doing an outright very silly one, and have Havelock-cat write this post and claim he’s holding me hostage until provided with an orange kitten friend.

The reason I’m abstaining is not just because I’m still trying to finish Bowl of Red (Yes, I know, but it’s hard to write fast enough (And not have to delete bits because I suddenly went off on a tangent for ten chapters, which happened there. Okay, only 5. Those will probably be used in the next book, All Hot) when I’m in the middle of an eczema outbreak that disturbs my sleep. Yes, it’s much reduced, and “not bad” in the scale of outbreaks, but I still wake up when my arms rub against the covers which they do, of course) and I REALLY need to get it to my editor by close of business today, if I’m going to keep my publication schedule. And then, after a couple of days break, I need to roll tout-de-suite into Dark Waters, the sequel to Deep Pink.

I could take an hour and come up with a fun post, since I’m taking it to write this, anyway.

But I found when it came right up to it, I didn’t feel up to honoring deception, even open, “obviously not deception.”

I’m too bruised and my nerves are too raw. Over the last ten years, in everything from culture to politics, we’ve been made fools of and been caused to repeat things we know are foolish, for the sake of survival.

Someone, either Herb or Snelson, during one of his depressive periods said he wouldn’t be surprised if he came here and found this site had always been a front and a deception, designed to take down the names of participants. For the record, it’s not, though I imagine all our names, handles and proclivities are written down by various interested parties. These days if you’re not on a list you’re not trying.

But I remembered my first reaction to that, which was utter indignation, and then I thought of all the sites that had effectively pulled that on me — and you — over the years. I won’t mention them because I’m not going to get in a war. But we all know them. In fact these days sites that are what it say on the tin are very few. (And in that spirit, this is the blog of a neurotic fiction writer of socially unacceptable opinions, trying make sense of a bewilderingly bizarre and stupid world.)

And I remembered all the friends I’ve lost over the years. And some of them probably have cause to think I was the one who changed. I never did, but by keeping quiet I allowed them to think I was a leftist and “one of the good people” which of course is their foolishness, that they assume anyone not actively fighting them agrees with them, or that the side that put over a hundred million thinking, feeling individual people in graves is the “good people.”

But others I was truly wounded by, because our relationship was not political at all. We never mentioned or thought of politics — that I know of — unless it was the fictional politics of a created universe.

Yet all of a sudden, over a plastic rocket and the standards for being awarded such, there they were, calling me all sorts of ist and ism, and reviling people like me…. for no good reason.

Lately I’ve been looking at pictures — not out of nostalgia, but because I’m unpacking framed pictures of us that were never put up int he house we moved to in 2003. These pictures are mostly of us in the nineties, with our kids and our friends.

Of that group…. none remain. Not in contact with us and friendly. I think one of twenty or so people have our current address. The others, I wouldn’t trust with it.

This is shocking to someone who tried to keep friendships even after moving to another country, and who always expected her friendships to be life-long.

I look at those pictures, of parties at our house, and I marvel. And the thought “How beautiful we were” goes through my head, having nothing to do with our physical appearance. There was an untroubled, carefree look, an ease of casual friendship.

Was it always a sham? Probably a double sham, honestly. Even though I was open about my politics with most of our friends, they either assumed we “didn’t really mean it.” Or that my opinions were silly and my being an immigrant, once I “informed myself” I’d agree with them. (Completely missing the point of my history.)

And yet…. How beautiful we were. We knew we disagreed. We knew some of those disagreements were fundamental. But we thought in time things would shake out and a consensus would be arrived at, and that there was no true animosity on either side.

I think those ideas started falling apart with the 2000 election, and were nuked to kingdom come when they joined with our active enemies to lecture us about how America had brought the 9/11 attack on itself by being…. mean? Free? Whatever. By being us.

That was when most of our friendships fell apart.

We’ve rebuilt. But we can’t seem to trust that carelessly again. I don’t know if it’s just us, or if it’s universal. At this point, another betrayal still hurts, but I shrug and go “What did I expect?”

Heinlein’s bastard son, Lazarus Long said (paraphrased because I don’t have the quote right here) that a mother’s illusions are functional. If mothers didn’t believe that their children were the most beautiful, the smartest creatures ever born, none of us would survive childhood.

In the same way, our illusions were severe, but in a way functional. They allowed us to subsist and be happy, in the belief our friends, our co-workers, those who shared our passion for our hobby were well-intentioned human beings, no matter how deluded.

With the illusion gone, we might survive, but not happily.

How beautiful we were. And what fools.

287 thoughts on “Illusions

  1. Didn’t you know?

    While Lazarus Long wasn’t Heinlein’s son, Heinlein meet him in real life. [Crazy Grin]

    1. Of course, if we can believe him, Lazarus Long was born Nov 11th, 1912 and RAH was born July 7th, 1907 so Heinlein would have been only five when he sired Lazarus thus it is obvious that Lazarus isn’t RAH’s son.

      Unless of course, Heinlein was at least ten years older than the records show. [Crazy Grin]

          1. Now, so I can travel back in time to before the Crazy had become endemic. I’d build up a massive fortune like Jobs and Gates did, buy up some of the media (less concentrated a few decades back, so easier), lobby against the 90’s China trade policy, and such.

            1. I’d go back to 1967 and give Gus Grissom a heads-up as to exactly when to call off the plugs-out test and order Ed White to undo the hatch, so the fire sparks just as they’re ready to get out and they come piling out amidst the flames like in the Grissom timeline. Enough to make it clear to anyone with two brain cells to rub together that the spacecraft is a deathtrap, but not something that will lead Congress to punish NASA by cutting it off at the knees so that the follow-on to the lunar landings will be small plans that lack the power to stir men’s souls. Tell him the future depends on his using this advice, and give him some info like a ball game score or stock ticker info for the next day so he’ll know I’m not full of hot air.

              1. If Congress did not cancel Apollo for killing 3 astronauts including one of the Mercury-7 and one that took part in the first US space walk they won’t cancel it for almost killing them. The lack of follow on issue was due to congress deciding it wanted more pork/ Great Society and Nixon not really caring one way or another about space. Apollo was built out to 20 pieces of hardware, but instead of going out to that they stopped at 17 and shut down the lines with the other hardware going to SkyLab and Apollo-Soyuz. I think you have to go back further to fix that. Perhaps have Gargarin fail (don’t like that no sense killing a man who showed a lot of bravery if not much sense, and later limited piloting skills) so we don’t go crazy? The problem is the goal of “Putting a man on the moon in this decade” meant everything was being done the fastest way possible. It was not Von Braun’s slower model with an earth station and then a lunar base (admittedly that was literally pie in the sky). The space race served much the same purpose as the concept of the Star Wars defense did later. It made the Soviets pull money from the guns, but not give it to butter pushing forward the time they would crash and burn and making it harder for them to charge into Europe. The USA also got the side effect of much improved weight/size reduced computers although ICBMs were pushing that too. How do you tweak the timerline toget to a 2001 like world with major Moon development? I can’t see an obvious path there. A D.D. Harriman model in the 60’s/70’s isn’t going to work as there is nothing valuable on the moon to make it worth short term investment. Trying to get get government(s) to go rationally and in a stepwise manner won’t work as they’re clumsy and inefficient to start with and it quickly ends up a pork fest (as the Space program did making Texas. Florida, Alabama, California and a bunch of other states feed at the trough of Federal Largesse). As much as the left hates Musk, Bezos and Branson they’ve each (along with a bunch of others that have pulled an Icarus) they (especially Musk with SpaceX) have pushed the envelope further towards a space faring future in 10-20 years than NASA/ESA/Roscosmos/etc have done since December of 1972 when Apollo 17 returned to earth. I wonder How much Musk sees himself as Harriman. He is a very odd duck and feels like he is WELL on the autism spectrum. I wonder if he grew up reading Heinlein, Asimov, Clarke et Alia as a young man. I hope he doesn’t suffer D.D. Harriman’s fate.

                1. Probably getting a world like the Grissom timeline would require convincing Andrei Zhdanov to outmaneuver and destroy Trofim Lysenko — but while Grissom might listen to me, there’s no chance Zhdanov would. In fact, even trying to convince him that his son Yuri (a geneticist) was in mortal danger if Lysenko was not destroyed might actually have the opposite effect.

                  But the Grissom timeline also does have a much earlier development of commercial space. One of my WiP’s touches upon some of it, but right now it’s back-burnered because it started to feel cartoonish, like it belonged in an anime ‘verse. It doesn’t help that some of the characters go waaaaay back, and others belong to the more hard-sf space side of the ‘verse.

                2. You don’t get recoverable boosters until you have GPS for precision navigation and fast computers to make real-time calculations. Around 1995 is the earliest it becomes possible.

                  1. Excellent point Mike M. I had started to think about that and had come to the conclusion that the recoverable boosters/tail landing rockets outstrip the capacity of human pilots because the decision loop is probably sub human response time. 1995 seems like a good estimate of miniaturized cpus with enough oomph to do the job. I think you can do without GPS as INS from that period is good enough for a intercontinental CEP of under 300m and then you can guide it in with either tercom(like the original cruise missiles used) if you’re over land or just a radio/radar beacon. Maybe you could push it back to late 80’s on the cpu front (’89 has mips 3000, some moderately impressive microvaxen and various hardware from other vendors).

                    But that leads us back to the side effects of the Space Race. Without it we don’t get the rapid development of ICs. Maybe going a little slower with derivatives of military DynaSoar design with a follow on like the original Shuttle design where a massive crewed flyback booster takes Shuttle to 80-100K feet and shuttle goes the rest on disposable tanks and SSME LOX/Hydrogen cycle engines helps some. But not much. And trying to get the computer stuff back much earlier than the 60’s is hopeless. Original transistor is 1947 (concept is 1926, but materials aren’t there until after WWII), and MOSFET stuff is like late 50’s (Wikipedia says 1959). No matter how much you love diesel punk Whirlwind/Eniac class computers just (pardon my language) suck ass. They’re large, heavy, power hungry, heat generating masses and have MTBF of hours to days. The only space ship you’re putting one of those in is an Orion (Not SLS, Freeman Dysons bomb pumped monster) and even there the bumpiness might be hard on the machine. You know I’m really starting to buy into the “You cant railroad until its time” theory of things. The old BBC Connections series really had a lot of things right.

                    1. The Reader will observe that the GPS smart bombs required very little computational power to function. Don’t ask how he knows. I suspect that if someone wanted to adapt the very expensive ICBM INS systems to this that it could have been done in the early 80’s. A shuttle class computer would have been more than adequate.

                    2. Be that as it may a smart bomb need only arrive at its target, it need not keep an naturally unstable object airborne and arrive with limited vertical and lateral velocities and accelerations. Having written software with a 5ms (200Hz) control loop even using mid 2000s embedded processors ( Instruction cycle in the GHz range) this was very hard. The equations of motion ate an appreciable portion of the computational ability. There are games you can play (e.g. look up tables for precalculated portions of the equations) but it will be tight indeed on a 6502/6800/680000/8080/8086 of early to mid 80’s. Memory constraints (Kb to low Mb vs 1 Gb on the processor I had) are also going to make life hard. You’ll have to go to assembly, C or Fortran from that era doesn’t compile down well (let alone the C++ and matlab C output I had). It MIGHT be marginally possible, but dang I really don’t want to ride it 🙂 .

                3. I thought of the simplest way you could keep Nixon on-board in keeping Apollo running and expanding the program further. Two words.

                  “Registered Voters.”

                  Have the head of NASA (who had to be someone other than James Fletcher) come into the Oval Office and point out to Nixon that expanding NASA would put jobs here, here, and here…all places that Nixon had issues winning in the last election. They’re places that people would get hired, have money, and it would be because Nixon put the programs into action. And those are votes, votes that would go for Nixon in the next election.

                  1. I just saw something that makes me wonder if it would matter. Construction of the Saturn V hardware and spares according to NASA and a On this day in history. So that’s at the tail end of the (lame duck) Johnson Administration as his VP Hubert Humphrey is running vs Nixon (to get spanked pretty hard 301 -199 electoral votes with 46 (!?!) to Wallace). That shutdown is Congress’ doing and Dems had a serious majority in the House and a filibuster proof one in the Senate. Technical stuff is the least of the issues to keep Apollo running and move ahead. To steal from “The Right Stuff”, No Bucks means no Buck Rogers.

                    1. OK purchase/Construction of additional Saturn V/ Apollo hardware stopped in August 1968. Some how I lost that in the comment. So it looks like even Johnson felt there was little more value to the porkfest.

          2. Have you ever thought about the first thing you’d do after inventing a time machine and then going forward enough into the future to get the perfected time machine?

            It’s odd what seems important.

            1. That’s not all I’d grab from the future. If it is available, better medicine, possibly even life extension tech, detailed investment data, lottery ticket numbers, etc.

            1. What – we’re Prime Material Plane (in our assessment, of course!) and want to travel to Plane of Darkness or something?

              Can’t recall where I saw this reasoning, but it goes something like this:
              – Parallel world travel is impossible;
              — were it not, we would not still exist, because
              — we had Nazi Germany, so many parallel worlds would, too
              —- in some of those worlds, NG achieved atomic weapons
              —– in some of those worlds, NG with AW, they get parallel world travel
              —— in some of those worlds, NG with AW and PWT destroy all the PW they can reach.

                1. Yup some of the nastiest wars ever are coreligionists wiping out the heretics. This is a case where Henry Kissinger’s “Can’t they all just lose?” becomes a fervent prayer. Of course they could be on their way, hell the Tranzi/SJWs see’s NAZIs all the time maybe some of the sightings are real 🙂 .

                  1. Pardon my crudeness, but Racist Weather Fairies that are compensating for something?

                1. I’m no expert on seventies rock bands, but hard work and desire and good timing must figure in somewhere.

        1. So long as it is not “All You Zombies.” Read that when I must have been like seven or eight – and even my medical parents’ books had nothing about the XXY condition. Small town, no internet, great confusion…

          1. Kleinfelters syndrome aka 47,xxy. Heinlein uses that at least one other time with Andrew Libby in “Time Enough For Love”. One issue with it is it tends to make a phenotypically male outcome with slightly more feminine features (including sometimes breast development) but almost all people with it are infertile. I wonder if Heinlein knew of it from cats, it is the ONLY way to get a male calico, but they are universally infertile.

            1. Klinefelter’s never expresses as a female phenotype in humans, actually. There is a conservative estimate that 1% are fertile males (without assistance). That is what Libby had. Took very advanced biotech for him/her to develop as a female when he/her was reincarnated.

              “Zombies” didn’t explicitly identify the issue, though (IIRC). I think that Heinlein was looking at “true hermaphroditism” – something like Turner’s syndrome. What I find very unlikely is that the protagonist was a fertile male after the surgery – testicles descend for a biological reason.

              There is, of course, one “real” transgender in Heinlein’s works – Johann Smith in “I Will Fear No Evil.” Transracial, to boot…

              1. Makes sense Kleinfelters has the Y chromosome so it will be phenotypically male, that turns on the testosterone production early in the process. Didn’t know some were fertile, but the desired issue in the cat world is reproducible calico males and that probably isn’t happening. Turners is X0, AKA 45X0 basically the sperm that won had NO sex chromosome of either type due to a failure in meiosis. Phenotyipically female, but with LOTS of health issues including infertility due to undeveloped ovaries and uterus. I thought there was a Y0 equivalent (egg fails in meiosis) but given there are some genes on the X that AREN’T on the Y this might not be a viable situation.

                As for “I will fear no Evil’ I’m not sure a brain transplant counts as Transgender at least in modern usage. Didn’t realize it was cross race. Of course I think I read that once back in high school it was never one of my favorites. At least a couple authors have had it possible to just move the mind body to body (John Varley I think) and people changes bodies like clothes. But here we start to run into metaphysical issues like Star Trek’s Transporter and I’m certain McCoy would be agin it…

                1. Some recent cases in the literature for Turner’s say that it can also be the result of a “normal” 45XY – but that the Y expression is suppressed. Either by a defect, or due to epigenetic influence.

                  DeForest Kelley is, sadly, long departed from us. But I can imagine his character coming out of that infernal device with different body parts…

              2. There is one — READ ONE — case in medical annals of an xy female. Fertile to boot, and her daughter was also XY female. She had fertility issues. No ambiguous genitalia, though. Highly inbred population, as is usual in those cases.
                No one knows. I stumbled on the dossier while looking for something else. Possibly xxy with the y conjoined.
                XXY are usually, but not always, infertile however they express. Sorry, yes, some express as female, but very rare. XYY are also usually infertile (also usually criminal.) I think the point is that “Outliers and deformities do not define the human standard. (And yes, ladies and gentlemen, that applies to our minds, as well, as you guys probably know.)

                And btw, though orange cats are almost always male and infertile when female, the mother of my beloved pixie was an orange female cat.

                1. From what I’ve read, the Orange Female cat is more likely to be fertile, though rare, than the Calico Male cat.

                  1. indeed. The thing to realize is that we’re in the very, very early stages of understanding genetics. kind of like 19th century physics. So the edge cases will be hard to explain. BUT that doesn’t mean that an object will not, in general, obey the law of gravity, metaphorically speaking.

                    1. If we ever do have the same understanding. A person was once very insistent that, if we only understood genetics, we would know all we need to know about life. Because it’s just like a very big computer program, you know.

                      I finally lost my interest, and agreed with her. Said that “Yes, it’s just like a computer program. With millions of users that constantly do things the program was never designed for. Not to mention the hackers.”

  2. “America had brought the 9/11 attack on itself by being…. mean? Free? Whatever. By being us.”

    At the risk of losing your friendship, we HAVE brought the 9/11 attack on ourselves. Jamal el-Jihadi doesn’t really care about the crusades, colonialism, or Kissinger’s handling of the 1973 war. But we invented technology that lets his kid, Fatma the fifteen year old female, communicate with whoever she wants, whenver she wants, with no supervision. The same technology gives her crazy ideas about having rights rather than responsibilities. About having the right to be sexually attractive to people who aren’t the husband her father will find for her. THAT he can’t abide.

    And this is why it’s hard to have peace with Jamal. We can’t be equals while we threaten his way of life. Since we won’t act in a manner he considers civilized, we have to make Jamal so afraid of attacking us he’ll give up on the idea.

    1. If it keeps up this way, Fatma might start to get ideas that she’s an actual human being or something like that. This decadent Western culture has to go!

  3. I’m pretty sure there are some friends who don’t know my actual opinions—probably because there isn’t a handy name for them, as all the most applicable ones have been warped. (I mean, libertarian has some facets, but even then it has some crazy cakes stuff I don’t believe in.)

    I’m sure some of them would consider me leftist, because they don’t have a frame that works better for certain aspects of my personality. (Or they don’t believe those aspects exist outside of leftism, sigh…)

    1. That not handly named opinions, not being able to predict your view on $FOO when I know your view on $FEE, is the real dangerous thing to have right now.

      I don’t admit anywhere what I’ve come to see as the biggest internal problem in the US.

  4. We need a law authorizing us to use lethal force against government agents in the act of denying us our Constitutional rights. The government is prevented from enforcing any laws or prosecuting us until they first prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that they did not deny us our rights. This whole deal of must obey police officers no matter what is nothing more than totalitarian crap.

    1. And that “rule” was pretty much invented by American courts in the last few decades…English law based on common law, was that you could resist false arrest with force, including deadly force, which was announced in a case where a Bow Street runner was killed during an arrest without a warrant…

  5. The problem I have this week is that, due to worldwide time zones, a lot of people kicked off their April 1 jokes at about 6PM Eastern time, yesterday.

    Which means I completely fell for two of them until I started reading a few paragraphs into the details…

    1. Apparently Purim net pranks are also a thing, which I guess I hadn’t realized until this year. One of the YouTubers I follow got caught by a fake Dead Sea Scrolls article from 2018.

      1. Well, it’s Purim so does not pranks go with it? (and what a Festival—let’s party cause it’s legal to fight back! 🥳

  6. Very timely topic. Over the next few decades, I would imagine, many many of our illusions are going bye-bye, and right quick. I have survived the last two years of covidiocracy illusions ( as an example- this applies to everything ), by never believing one single word I hear or see from the MSM. REAL EYES REALIZE REAL LIES Actually, I begin assuming the opposite, also, whatever is censored by social media is true, what Soros Shillary FJB et al say , just flip it over, thats true. It’s a good assumption, start your due dilly there you’ll rarely be disappointed.

    1. The opposite of leftist stupidity isn’t the truth. It’s always more complicated than that. Most of their illusions have so little contact with reality that reversing them is still a lie. Trust me.

    2. I did a case study here on fractally wrong a while back.

      An idea usually has more than one way that you can flip it around to an opposite.

      Left selects positions of convenience partly for utility if people accept them at face value.

      But sometimes they have a fractally wrong position, which has been selected so that some of the easiest opposites are also useful to them if someone commits hard to them.

    3. I got my degree in broadcast studies. (Long story short, cool equipment.) I’ve seen how the sausage is made, and how easy it is to be entirely and completely wrong without intent to be so. And the increasing speed of media—grabbing clicks in particular—has only accelerated the capability of being wrong.

  7. I wasn’t thinking once, and actually scheduled a book launch on April 1st. People still think it was a joke, starting with my writing group. They helped me work out the kinks, read the thing front to back, helped me with the cover, and two years later stared at me in shock at the announcement of my third book. “Why didn’t you tell us?” SMH

    People are funny.

    In my family growing up April Fools was things like switching drawers in the dressers (all our dressers matched, so the drawers fit, while it probably would have been easier just to switch the clothes around) or taping the handle of the sprayer by the sink. Practical joke type stuff. Some of the things people think are funny are just irritating.

    1. My first job after our son was born … I went to work on April 2, 1990. My immediate supervisor was wise enough not to start me on April 1. She said “You’d never hear the end of it.” She was not wrong.

      Fast forward to 1996. First official day of the division shutdown was … April 1. I called my immediate supervisor and asked “Are we sure this isn’t just April Fools?” He kind of laughed. Unfortunately, answer was “No,” Dang it. (We did get a whole month notice …)

      1. That happened to me – our medical director had to give our entire group our three months’ notice on April 1 1996. It was… not a good day.

        1. We got 2 months pay in lieu of full 3 month notice. Plus 2 weeks pay/year of service (14 weeks for me, some had over a year), plus on April 2, a Monday, everyone not kept on for the transition (including me), got unemployment benefits + (because timber) dislocated worker benefits. Last included up to a 2 year degree or skills updating. I got the latter via two seminars with mileage (like I needed another degree, already had 3). (Which at that time, was enough to pay my airfare + 3 nights accommodations for each week long seminar, and we were able to tax write off the remaining expenses; please note it was cheaper to come home on Friday, and go back down Sunday, between the back to back seminars in the same location than it was to say Friday and Saturday nights.) My next job I got because of one of the Seminars. Made out like bandits on the financial side. Extra $1200/month for 6 months. Then the new job was a $12k annual salary raise. Still irritated (okay kick in the pants to do something else in my new field, but still …) at the corporate PTB that shutdown that division … It was my dream job.

  8. And when they turn on you, they don’t inquire as to your meaning, or ask you what you’re talking about. They instantly go from ordinary person to spittle flecked rage creature. They suddenly know you are not one of them, and for that you’re the Other. Then they drop the mask and shout the most awful and horrible things to you.

    It’s like a light switch being flipped, and once the light shines on their furious hate-filled faces, I can never unsee it or be friends with them again. I’m okay with that. Sad, sometimes, but I’d rather know than not know who they are.

    1. Their eyes turn dead black and for just a fraction of a second they look hunched and shriveled, then after that moment everything looks normal again. But you can’t unsee the hatred and rage that distorts who you thought they were.

    2. or they call you a nazi for having a differing opinion on Kenosha.

      true story. Uber passenger…

    3. I’ve started calling it the rage switch myself and I always become much, much more cautious around people who display it around the cause of the day for that very reason.

  9. The problem with trying to make your April Fool’s joke obvious is that the universe is really good at making fools. There was one teacher we had who was convinced that our Mormon friend (who was a year older than us) was making a mistake by going to BYU because they only offered MRS degrees–she would be engaged by Christmas and married by spring break. So our friend asked for our help in sending a fake “marriage announcement” for April Fools that year. We made sure to make it ultra fake: the Mormon girl who presumably met another Mormon at BYU was getting married at “Notre Dame de Jour de Poisson” cathedral (“Jour de Poisson” is the French term for April Fool’s Day, and this teacher at least claimed to speak French). It wasn’t enough. It was all we could do to keep the teacher from rushing off to the reception…

    By the way, I’m really looking forward to Sharkdip Thieves. Is there some place I can preorder it.

        1. No, no, it’s a delicacy somewhat akin to shark fin soup. I assume that the plot is centered around the theft of all of the Shark Dip from Goldport, Colorado’s most exclusive restaurant.

            1. Carpapult 212 firing intertcontinental ballistic carp in 3…2..1…

              luckily carp don’t show up on radar.

                1. Each carp has a patented heat shield so that it’s well cooked when it impacts the target. 😉

            2. Disclaimer: I dance so badly I’d probably drop the shark while dipping, then stumble, and have to hop over it. Would that be considered “jumping the shark”?

          1. And if you do it wrong she’ll eat you, kind of like that prying mantis thing… And yes I assumed if you are leading you are male and the shark is female, no need to ask her pronouns. Them’s the rules except if you’re a dance teacher teaching young ladies to dance…

            1. A decade or so ago I actually came upon Mr. and Mrs. Mantis, ahem, consummating their relationship, and I can offer eyewitness testimony that it was physically and anatomically impossible for her to bite his head off and eat him during the act. Exoskeletons, don’t y’know, and he was an inch shorter than she was.
              Mind you, once he got off her back I suppose all bets were off.

              1. A few years back, I was getting set up for the evening at a campground in the Southwest (I think the Tucumcari KOA) when I heard a sound from outside. It wasn’t too loud, but it was odd. I went out and looked and found a pair of rabbits hanging out under the picnic table, very busy.

      1. Of course not. The actual book would be Carp-flip Sheaves, a story featuring the mechanical systems used to launch anti-pun munitions.

        1. Wonder how you’ll look when you’re ashes. [Curious Dragon Grin]

      2. Of course you aren’t writing Shark Dip Thieves. Everyone knows you dip sheep not sharks. Duh!

        1. Royal Lunch Milk crackers please, though this returns us to the time machine issue…

  10. I’ve been working in radio broadcasting my entire adult life.
    I can count the number of real friends in this business on both hands with fingers left over.
    I’ve lost friends over politics since 2016; some have wished death on me.
    I can’t joke about anything on the air without someone getting offended.
    If this company ever goes woke, I’ll be on the street because I’ve already determined I won’t go along to get along.
    Trust is an increasingly rare thing in our society, which Our Alleged Betters will play to their advantage.

    1. I only did radio broadcasting part of my life, and I still have a couple of show hosts who I’m friends with. One was the local snarky gardening guru, and the other had a show called The Cowboy Libertarian. (The latter has moved to Idaho with his beloved horse and a woman who also loves horses, so he is living his literal dream retirement.)

      But I hear you about the dangers of politics even at a theoretically conservative station.

      1. with his beloved horse and a woman who also loves horses

        Which one does he spend more time riding?

        (Sorry, sorry, I just couldn’t help it!)

          1. You think THAT’S bad? My first thought after reading balzacq’s comment was “And which one spends more time riding him?

            Complete with mental imagery of the damage caused by the horse being on top.

            …I’ve mentioned before that my mind occasionally goes to twisted places whether I want it to or not, right?

  11. Your experience with the photographs of people who are no longer in your life hits hard. One of the first things I (stupidly) did when I got a couple social media accounts was look up people from my past. I was treated to seeing people who had taught me empathy and compassion now raving about wanting people like me dead. Broke my heart to see one of my favorite teachers spewing such hatred. The past is truly a foreign country, and I regret that it’s one I can never visit.

    But thank you for the time you put into this site–it has helped this lurker more than I could express.

      1. He’s not alone. We cannot deny you your pain, but we can help you shoulder it, then set it down for a while.

      2. It was the community you’ve built here that’s kept me coming back. And it’s especially nice to have people like you guys around now, when I don’t have any like-minded friends or allies IRL.

        So if it helps you to hear it, Sarah, then thanks for making this place and keeping it going.

    1. No kidding – I made the mistake of checking the social media of some people in my own past, especially one guy whom I was quite fond of, back in the day … and holy moly, Batman – what a train wreck. Frothing anti-trump, adores Biden the Oval Office Potted Plant. I’m shaking my head, and wondering now what I ever saw in him to start with. We broke up, way back then, but if we had stuck it out, we’d have broken up for sure now.

      1. I’ve lost touch with everybody I knew from school (high school graduation was over 50 years ago..), and if any are on antisocial media, I’m not, so there’s not much to be worried about. Some years ago, the last friend I kept in touch with said I was the second-to-last person the homecoming committee was reaching. Fairly impressive for a class of 1100 people. Interestingly enough, the one person they couldn’t find was my steady girlfriend from high school. She moved to another state for college, and I assume she got married after we broke up. Her original surname is uncommon, and searching on it turned up dry.

        I never attended any of the homecomings. Don’t plan to, either.

        1. I went to my 10-year reunion, and got a prize for having come the farthest distance to attend – I was stationed in Greenland at the time, and on my home leave. I couldn’t do the 20th. as I had already gone out to California once in that year anyway and couldn’t afford the time or the airfare. Not planning on going to any more, as it means visiting California and I’m just not into experiencing the madness that my daughter reported on her visit to help out family two years ago.

          1. Our 50th class reunion is in 2 years. Yikes! Made the 10th and 20th, otherwise we tend to be out of town (no excuse, we live a whole mile from mom’s house, the house I grew up in).

            Mom’s has a reunion every year. Next summer will be their 70’th. I think they are having reunions with classes up through class of ’70 … very small rural school even now, that is combining two school districts for two towns.

    2. I found my way into some of the people I knew when I was serious into pen&paper gaming in the late ’90s and their social media.

      …it’s disturbing how much vitriol some of these people had. A guy that I knew, someone who made me look like the village idiot on a drinking binge, was spewing Critical Race Theory talking points like a fire hose. And, I knew he was going to be the first up against the wall when his allies won, because he was a smart, uppity black man. And the worst thing these people hate is a smart, uppity black man when they don’t have an immediate use for him.

      Another, who still is to me one of the best game masters I’ve ever played with, helped me to get out of my literary ghetto, one of the most read human beings I’ve ever dealt with, a true Renaissance Man…

      Made it brutally clear-with language that he got upset for me using-that if I wasn’t waiting to see Donald Trump being dragged out of the Oval Office in a body bag or in handcuffs to be impaled on the spiked fence of the White House, I was clearly a racist, bigoted, sexist homophobic Republican who wanted nothing more than to put black people in chains, drag homosexuals behind my truck, kill undocumented immigrant babies…

      I’m not sure if I should be sad that I learned these things about people I thought highly of…or glad that I found out now, rather than later.

      1. Sometimes you can tell how a person got to the (erroneous) conclusions they have. I know a few people that have been very much like you describe, otherwise intelligent, fun to be around people before.

        But the very moment something remotely political enters the conversation, all they have is the talking points and those are seemingly immune to question. That baffled me. On nearly any other issue (well, nerdy issues like D&D, WH40K, and sci-fi), they had no such hangups.

        I tend to think that this is a trained and reinforced behavior, not one carefully thought out. Reinforced in class rooms in school, layered on in social media, news media, and friends, all of that until the slightest deviation from the narrative becomes a symbol of evilbadthink-isms.

        Used to, you could question some things and get agreement. Sometimes even unpleasant self realization would occur. Now though…?

        1. I’m of the opinion that it’s necessary for some people like us. They have to fit in somehow with the muggles/mundanes and for some it’s church, some it’s sportball, and for some it’s politics.

          …I don’t really fit in anywhere. Not sure why.

          1. Closest I get is a few places like this. In some ways, it’s that combination of excess of stubbornness, lack of natural social ability, and deja poop (the feeling of you’ve seen this crap before), I think.

            Stubbornness, because if we weren’t, we’d have somehow fallen to peer pressure somewhere along the way. We’d have actual friend groups like normal people do, or at least I assume they do, and feel the social pressure to conform, and then do so. We wouldn’t so easily question the things that don’t make sense. We’d be normal. More normal. Ish. As much as an Odd can be.

            Lack of social ability meant that when young, I had to reverse engineer the rules of social behavior from observation, then test out the things I’d hypothesized to see if they worked. Normal people don’t do that. They just seem to follow along on whatever invisible script that normal people have and not worry about this stuff. And they don’t realize when they start repeating things they keep hearing on the news that plays on the way to work. They say the normal thing, normal people nod their heads and the other normals think “this one is one of us.”

            Folks like us don’t get that. We’re weird. We lost the herd long ago, and don’t particularly want to go back.

            The deja poop comes from a stubborn insistence on trying to find out things for ourselves, which often means studying history and remembering the last time that this or that thing was tried, and how piss poor the result was, and confusion that becomes intense irritation at the stone headed blind bloody idiocy that is intent on repeating the murderously stupid mistakes of the past. Which makes us very unpopular in politics, because even the Red team tends to go whole hog on stupid on a depressingly regular basis.

            Sportsball… Eh. Not interested. Closest I can get is a mild interest in Rally Races and F1, because the technical and skill based competition has some bit of fun to it, but that’s a personal taste thing. Maybe there are some folks like us that get, I dunno, hockey or something. Not me.

            It’s like when they were handing out the tools for life, we went through the curious line twice we liked it so much, and forgot about the social and getting along with regular people stuff that everyone else just sort of “gets.”

            In ancient (well, pre-internet) times, folks like us were probably the only ones if we didn’t have family like us around. Some can pass for normal for short periods, if necessary. Some of us cannot. But I believe that such folk as we have a purpose that meant that the gene keeps popping up that makes us, rare as it may be. Sometimes the community needs the crazy one to set them straight before they kill themselves or die to something stupid.

            Maybe we don’t quite fit in anywhere. But that’s okay. I don’t think I’d ever give up who I am for what passes for normal these days. Of late, I think that “normal” is on a dangerous path that’s going to get a lot of folks that really don’t know any better (because they’ve actively avoided the lessons that would teach them) killed. Or worse.

            The latest fads, the green energy and no nuclear, the groomer pedo peddling to kids, the eff’d up economy, the destruction of women and men, the p*ssing on traditional values… That ain’t gonna end well. I’m just as glad I don’t fit in that, to be honest.

            This group of self selected Odds, this is okay though. It is good for mental health, knowing that one is not insane, as certain “normal” people might accuse one of. Only they might call you an -ist, full of -isms, a Nuzzie, or something like that. It is good to be reminded that things can get better, as well.

            And if it so happens that one of us does create another place where folk of our sort fit in, I would suggest that we specifically exclude the sort of folk that have been gutting institutions and wearing them as skin suits for decades now? Because that sh*t needs to stop.

            Anyway. In the spirit of the best cat I ever knew, if you find a spot that you fits, you sits. And don’t give up that spot to anyone.

            1. Took me a while to figure out the rules of social interaction, because I kept forgetting I had a physical being that people perceived some way. No, seriously.

              1. Facial expressions still trip me up from time to time. Body language, that I mostly get. But the whole smile-without-the-eyes thing still bothers me.

                And for a long time, it seemed like every time I figured out what I thought was a social rule, the rules changed on me. Happened a lot growing up. What was okay and copacetic as a ten year old was absolutely not as a fourteen year old. And so on.

                Actually, I still get irritated when people don’t follow the rules that they set. This caused my parents no end of frustration with me as a child.

                1. “Facial expressions still trip me up from time to time. Body language, that I mostly get. But the whole smile-without-the-eyes thing still bothers me.”

                  I’ve found that forced smiles don’t work for me, in EITHER direction. If I try to act happier than I really am it seems to come across as creepy. And if someone else pretends to like me more than they do I’ll fall for it, and end up giving attention to people that I really should be leaving alone.

                  Normal social rules just weren’t designed for someone like me, I think.

              2. “Took me a while to figure out the rules of social interaction”

                Could you write them up for us, then? Some of us still haven’t figured it out.

            2. “Closest I get is a few places like this.”
              Same. In any IRL crowd of two, I’m always the odd one out.

              Though I suspect several others here feel the same way, which means I’m NOT the odd one out for once!

              “We lost the herd long ago, and don’t particularly want to go back.”

              And the herd wouldn’t have us if we did. Not at this point, anyway.

              “I had to reverse engineer the rules of social behavior from observation, then test out the things I’d hypothesized to see if they worked.”

              Female dishonesty drove me to celibacy, and I spent years being off-and-on angry about it until I finally worked out the reasons why each sex had to be the way it was. And once I got my head around that I calmed down like someone had hit a switch.

              For a while now I’ve felt like there needs to be an “Aspie’s Guide to Human Psychology,” which explains not just how people behave and what to do about it, but which explains down to the root WHY they act in such ways. I feel like it would save future generations of Odds a lot of pain.

              “And if it so happens that one of us does create another place where folk of our sort fit in, I would suggest that we specifically exclude the sort of folk that have been gutting institutions and wearing them as skin suits for decades now? Because that sh*t needs to stop.”

              *AGREED. *

              I don’t mind if most of the internet caters to other types, but we need a haven or two for ourselves as well.

              1. Argh. Fucking WP. The first parted quoted was supposed to be “Closest I get is a few places like this.”

                The part that did get quoted was actually meant to be part of my reply.

              2. “I don’t mind if most of the internet caters to other types, but we need a haven or two for ourselves as well.”

                Come to think of it, what other good communities for people like us are out there? I know several people here have personal blogs, but it seems like they mostly draw from the same pool of commenters. I haven’t had a true alternative to this place since ESR quit blogging.

  12. One of the finest such jokes was perpetrated by a radio host here in Atlanta. He announced on his show one day that the sculptures that are carved into the side of Stone Mountain would be painted to match the coming carving of Elvis on black velvet on the south side of the rock. That one persisted for more than 20 years as other hosts on the same radio station were asked about it.

    1. There was a wonderful one perpetuated by a radio station in Utah sometime around 1990 … the one about everyone having to wrap their land line phones in plastic and seal them up, because the phone company was going to blow all the dust out of the lines.
      And there were people who fell for it… 😮

  13. I miss ThinkGeek’s April 1st specials, some of which had so many accidental orders that the items became reality.

    Or the April 1 when you went to Amazon dot Com’s home-page and it had “reverted” to the very first Amazon website’s layout.

  14. So, a OT from me (here? Shocking)
    I’ve been trying to read Dave’s “Save The Dragons” and am having issues.
    WPDE style Kindle issues.
    The book is great.
    I’ve 3 of them (kindles), with one 7″ used as a musical device at work (downloaded streams from Radio Paradise) One 7″ is the original one I bought, and I have a 10″ HD from 2017 that I read from, and used to web browse while slow at work . . . but Kindle Tethering as an issue that if it manifests, you will not fix, and after 2 years of trying to get an answer out of Amazon, I finally got a “The techs are aware there is a problem.” not that any fix was forthcoming (other than on fix that seems to work once every 100 times). Lately, the 10″ started falling out of the books. Start reading, set aside for some reason, come back and the reader has ended, and reopening brings you to several pages before you stopped reading. If you let the reader talk the book, it likely will not read for you until you restart the device. Thought maybe it was bluetooth, but no, mic cord does it too. Then a few chapters into Dave’s book, the thing fell out of the book and refused to open it. Tried to open another and it looked to start opening it but took a long time. then shut down. Turned on and it fired up, looks at a few things and tried opening Dave’s book. No go. Did a restart, and this time trying to open the book shut down the kindle. Long holds sometimes get it to start, but before you can do a thing, it drops to the burning ‘Fire’ logo and left for 9 hours, it was still on that start splash.
    Fine, I’ll deal with it later, grabbed the original 7″ and it too refuses to download Dave’s book.
    Got one other book downloaded and it opened, but just that one book.
    So, put the ap on the phone and been reading it there, and on the computer at home.
    I was gonna just download the file and downloading a backup from Amazon is a no go.
    I’m tempted to say “Amazon has us on a list and hates us.” because I found those books I got from Sunday’s etc and folks lurking about here were the ones being read while this sort of thing happened most often, but then again, They are often what I am reading most often.

    1. Put the tablets in the refrigerator. Freezer works as well, but I’m not sure if that might damage something. The newest I’ve tried this on was a Kindle Fire (used the freezer for that one), so take that for what it’s worth.

      1. the 10″ has been in freezing temps from time to time, though not for extended periods. Hour or two at most. I’ll try.
        ain’t like it works now.

      2. Isn’t putting it in the freezer a technique to make an intermittent issue fixed so it can be diagnosed? (or I am remembering wrong?)

        1. Don’t know. I just know it’s worked for me in the past, from a cell phone to a laptop.

  15. I appreciate manic/depressive, need the downs to measure and enjoy the ups, else it’s all pablum. No need to agree, works for me’s all I’m saying.

    How beautiful we were cheered me immensely, reminded me how wonderful it is that I know who my friends are!

    1. Eh. I’m not manic depressive. I’m depressive-depressive. When I’m accused of being incredibly optimistic, it’s me reality-checking myself.

  16. The company Games Workshop posted a video today. I haven’t seen it, but it supposedly teases the return of a race that was removed from their biggest game decades ago.

    There’s a spirited discussion going on right now about whether the teaser is true. Yes, people know it’s April 1. And Games Workshop likes to do April Fools jokes every year. But some are pointing out that having an April 1 tease that everyone knows is fake, and then announcing the following day that said teaser is actually true, would perhaps be the ultimate April Fools Day joke.

      1. Number two son was talking about this yesterday. It was all over reddit. Evidently it was leaked or, maybe, wasn’t an April Fools Joke at all.

        1. There was a preview teaser released the day before. It wasn’t clear what was going on (docking codes were shown being received, denied, and then accepted on a terminal; note that this is part of the full video). But a lot of people correctly guessed beforehand that it would involve squats.

          Or, as I suppose I should now call them, the Leagues of Votann.

  17. Havelock-cat write this post and claim he’s holding me hostage until provided with an orange kitten friend

    Finally something useful and within my skill lset.

    Orange kitten inbound. Very fluffy and named Jibe.

    1. Not that I don’t want Sarah to get her orange kitten fix, but what about Valeria?

    1. You mean that you don’t believe that Lazarus Long was a real person that RAH actually knew?

  18. Huh.

    Psaki is apparently moving to cable news in May.

    We can speculate about Biden regime loyalists looking for an exit strategy. And that this is perhaps a sign that Psaki will in fact be decorating a lamp post before the end of April.

    There is an easy alternative explanation. Some insider may have decided that the regime’s problems are simply a result of Psaki not being an effective enough liar on their behalf.

    1. Rumor several months ago was that Psaki planned to leave by the end of last year. I think she’s been planning this for a while, and wouldn’t read too much into it.

      1. She’s going from being a Washington Wanda to the exact same lies on one network, that’s all.

      2. Other than it confirms that there is no “independent” “private” “mainstream” press; it’s all under de facto government control.

    2. In all honesty, I think her current tenure is longer than the average White House press secretary. Despite a docile press, it isn’t an easy job. It is probably much harder for her than anyone who did it for the Bamster. It might be as hard as doing it for an approved Republican.

  19. I have one friend (from college) for whom I am truly grateful. He militantly refuses to talk politics in large groups where he knows that only one or two of us (and he’s not one) are on the other side of the issues. He refuses to let politics or others tell him who he’s supposed to enjoy spending time with. There are very few like that and the circles of college friends that I have are very close. He’s a blessing.

    1. Yes, same here…Amazing how intelligent and reasonable people can make allowances and avoid conversations that would cause conflict…

  20. I share my opinions with very, very few. I learned the hard way, just as you did. Reading this makes me feel sad and nostalgic – and bitter toward my aunt who estranged herself from her family over sociopolitical differences, breaking my mother’s heart. At least they reconciled toward the end of their lives.

  21. Fortunately I’ve never had THAT kind of experience. We did have a couple we had been friends with for years, upon finding out we were Republicans, exclaim, “But you’re such nice people!” Sadly both her and my beloved companions passed last year, and his memorial service had enough folks of the “We are…we are.. the righteous!” types, but I just kept my mouth shut. All I can think of is John Prine coming up on my playlist:

  22. Public Service Announcement concerning the WILL NEVER BE WRITTEN Sarah Hoyt story “SHARK DIP THIEVES”.

    Please don’t poke Sarah about this.

    We really don’t want to get her to go FULL ANGRY DRAGON.

    Nobody wants to be near Sarah when she goes FULL ANGRY DRAGON.

    While Dragons sometimes need (for mental health) to go FULL ANGRY DRAGON, she’d feel very very sad if beings she knows & likes get killed when she went FULL ANGRY DRAGON.

    [Very Nervous Dragon Grin]

          1. Ah yes, “Full Angry Dragon” by Scarlet Maroon-Scaled.

            She tells various stories about what happens to idiots who get her insanely angry.

            It’s my understanding that our host owns a copy to give her ideas about what to do to idiots who get her angry. [Very Big Dragon Grin]

    1. The aardvark brings out bonbons.

      Fluffy is keeping watch to ensure the aardvark gets the ant ones, he gets the charcoal ones, the sea serpent in the minion pool gets the shrimp ones, and the rest of us — get the rest!

      1. “the sea serpent in the minion pool gets the shrimp ones”

        Umm… There’s no cannibalism issue here, is there?

        1. Huh? Serpents are vertebrates, shrimp are invertebrates. You are more related to the sea serpent than the shrimp are.

  23. On a long-ago April 1st, Mr. BTEG managed to get a bunch of people on his Adult Fans of LEGO forum to think LEGO was being bought out by MegaBlox. Eventually LEGO politely but firmly emailed Mr. BTEG and told him to retract the post.

  24. LA Police Gear pranked me with a “tactical quilt” that looked like it was made out of pants that failed QC and just happened to be full of pockets where you could stash your essential gear.

    It looked ridiculous, and rolled up in the trunk of a car it could even be useful. Perfect gag gift for the right target. Of course, the product does not exist. Clicking on it only gives you a discount code for today. Nice consolation prize, if their website sells anything you want.

    1. J&D Bacon Salt famously did a Valentine’s Day joke for “Bacon Lube”….. “Because EVERYTHING should taste like bacon.”

      They got so many requests for it that they actually decided to make it for real. 😎

      1. If the next one is a centrifuge, the Reader is staying far far away.

    1. I particularly liked this review: “When I forgot to take it out of my backpack before trying to board my flight the helpful TSA agent at the security area pointed out that by deploying the two larger blades and the jet engine on the back side I really didn’t need a commercial flight, just a runway and some goggles. Boy, did I feel dumb, but I saved $605 on airfare!”

  25. Cheer up some more, think of all the really good jokes that can be told about common sense and good taste breaking out. 🙂

  26. I have lost few friends, but there are some family members that I quit Facebook for so I don’t have to think less of them because of their hatefulness during the Freddie Gray et Al peaceful protests. I don’t want to see/hear horrible meanness from uninformed leftist bigots. I would be too tempted to reply in kind since I blame these voters for the current state of decline in the world. And meeting hate with hate is not something I want to live with in myself. There is certainly no reasoning with them so better if I ignore their ignorant rants.

  27. This is shocking to someone who tried to keep friendships even after moving to another country, and who always expected her friendships to be life-long.

    I barely have friends. In theory, I have old friends from Boston Netgoth and the gaming club at A&M and all the years running SJW, but honestly, the only people daily or even weekly in my life are C and J, and Z. I see J from trivia Tuesdays and Thursdays and trade mems on Telegram.

    I have left the door open for some, including some on the blog despite never having meant a one here in person, and even actually opened and invited a couple I know here is (we’re still friendly, but there isn’t a lot of motion to come through the door on their part).

    But beyond that there is no one not work-related I interact with on a reliable basis.

    That is depressing more often than not, but watching things like all the friendships, long-term ones, ended over stupid things like plastic spaceships awarded for telling adventure stories I think my introvert’s choices might have been the wiser choice for the age we’re heading into.

  28. Tangent, maybe.

    Last week I discovered a genre identified by Spotify’s algorithm system. It actually does a good classification job so going lobe to lobe based on artists I like is viable.

    The genre is Chamber Psych and it’s an artsy pop near things more widely recognized genres like shoegaze and dream pop. But it’s artsy so it has socially aware lyrics sometimes. Enough that C was surprised I really liked the song “Year of Love” by Jenny Hval (lyrics). Yeah, lot of lefty salad with an actual call out to “patriarchy” and the “happiness industrial complex”.

    I was listening to the album it is on and I realized something. I didn’t notice the social justice stuff. Not that passive letting it sink in, but because it is such a complete word salad it’s become closer to the lefty version of speaking in tongues.

    I wonder if this is a version of the educated to know nothing effect at generation n. The music is exceptional, which is what caught my attention, but the lyrics aren’t even real words anymore.

    1. This type of thing is why I only listen to EDM and House these days: no words. Shingo Nakamura for the win.

      Over at Lela Buis’s blog she’s been doing some short-story reviews, and she did one by a Known Name who’s won some Awards of late. Story and author to remain nameless, because it isn’t about that person or that story particularly. But the on reading the review, it was quite obvious that the thing had been written to the Awards Checklist Version 2022.03.A and assembled like a tinkertoy out of a box of pre-approved, interchangable parts. It’ll probably get nominated too. (That’s not what Lela said, that’s what I said, btw.)

      The people Sarah is talking about, that have exited her life in a cloud of sad puppy hair and recriminations, are righteously indignant that I would A) notice this and B) have a problem with it. To them, the purpose of SciFi in 2022 is to be propaganda for their political faction. Best propaganda wins.

      Music business, same-same.

      I know people like that too. I’m not friends with them anymore either. I can’t be. They’re not going to allow it, no matter what I might do or say.

  29. Heinlein’s bastard son, Lazarus Long said (paraphrased because I don’t have the quote right here) that a mother’s illusions are functional. If mothers didn’t believe that their children were the most beautiful, the smartest creatures ever born, none of us would survive childhood.

    :musing: I wonder if that’s part of why I dislike that character so strongly… he seems to thrive on creating issues so that he can cleverly solve them, with just enough reasonablility that there’s a flavor of truth, but when you go and look at it harder, it’s just dragging the world down so that he looks better.

    Yes, mothers do tend to rate their children rather highly. And yes, I have at times dragged myself out of a nice, soft bed, after far too little sleep, and been cooed at by the little ahem darling, and thought “being so cute is the only reason the species survives childhood.”

    But when trying to measure it fairly, rather than as a poetic flight of fancy? Hackles ariiiiiiise, red alert, etc.

    Which ties in rather neatly, from the opposite direction, to that sort of innocent and functional illusion you mention….

    Apparently, a lot of folks are not feeling the April Fools thing. I woke up to an inbox full of assurances that people were not foolin’, and this vide:

      1. “G-d knows there were reasons I wanted to throttle mine. Like, this morning.”

        I don’t think you’re allowed to abort them once they’re old enough to vote, Sarah.

          1. …And in one word, you managed to take all the funny out of it. Well done. [golf clap]

            1. It is kind of discerning, that knowing I heard the phrase “I gave birth to you, I can …”, more than once … 100% an idle threat then. Now? I’m beginning to wonder, with what some PTB are advocating.

              One of the sentences I swore never, ever, to utter or even think with mine. Kept that vow too.

      1. He’s in and from Brazil, closest I’ve seen is singing Sabaton songs and praising some stuff Peterson said.

        Does “sometimes I wish I was even more awesome than I already am” count? 😀

        1. There was that “If you are going to complain about me singing an American patriotic song, you can f&ck right off” video.

          That could be a fairly political opinion.

                1. Down, tiger. You already have a husband, so leave some for the other girls. 😛

                  …And YOU already have enough “adopted” “kids,” Sarah. Don’t think I can’t see you reaching for the duct tape again…

    1. RAH realized that, too – cf. Hazel’s dissection of his character in “The Cat Who Walks Through Walls.”

      Could be somewhat a case of overexposure. “The Charming Rogue” is one of those archetypes that can be easily cast as either hero or villain (or villain to hero, or vice-versa). You can even do it as a female character.

      Many of the Doctors Who were of this type – particularly the Tom Baker and David Tennant portrayals.

        1. OTOH, he had some redeeming qualities, too. Such as never abandoning a child (that he knew about) – and some that he knew, or had reason to believe, weren’t his at all.

  30. “The reason I’m abstaining is not just because I’m still trying to finish Bowl of Red (Yes, I know, but it’s hard to write fast enough (And not have to delete bits because I suddenly went off on a tangent for ten chapters, which happened there. Okay, only 5. Those will probably be used in the next book, All Hot) when I’m in the middle of an eczema outbreak that disturbs my sleep.”

    I just got a comment today that there aren’t enough introspective tangents in my story. The kind of thing that I write without effort, the kind of thing that I have to actively work to pare down when editing… I’m not putting enough of that in the story.

    Eh. Can’t please everyone, de gustibus non disputandum.

    I make friends slowly and with great care these days. Some I grew up with, I discovered things that made me lose respect for them. We parted amicably, but that sort of thing is something that hits pretty fundamentally.

    Politics used to not be such a thing. When my job was more customer facing, the few lefties that I dealt with often came away thinking I was some sort of naive and confused democrat, what with questioning why it’s such a bad thing to be rich, and what’s wrong with praising all women but those that want to be stay at home moms and all.

    This was years ago, but planting those seeds of doubt is something that could happen, could start a person questioning things for themselves. Tougher row to hoe today.

    My natural depressive tendency has led me to have a rather low opinion of other people in general for most of my life. It takes work to reverse that. And it’s wrong on the face of it, too. Most people are not mostly awful with slight seasonings of sort-of-okay.

    The sort of personality that weathers the storm of public opinion is not a weak one, nor easy to deal with at times. It takes a special kind of stubbornness. Pride. Faith in oneself as well as the humility to know that one can make mistakes and is limited in the information they hold at any one time in respect to objective reality.

    Such people are rare. Resisting peer pressure on the scale that exists today is no mean feat.

    There are those that I know and know of that are still largely ignorant and simply assume that “everyone knows” certain things. These days those things are being challenged more and more. It is breaking the sense of familiarity that people have with, well, real life.

    In some senses this is engineered. The Blue Team wants a crisis. Big as they can manage. The reasons for it are the same as they’ve always been. Distraction from power grabs.

    The news of the day is Urkaine. It is the economy. It isn’t the decline we are seeing in real time of the FICUS. Or the many gaffes of the VP. Or the laptop. Or the judicial nominee that is soft on, well, pretty much the worst crimes I can think of off the top of my head.

    And people are angry and scared. The ones that stayed locked in their homes, terrified of the WuFlu, they’ve been slowly going insane. The ones that went out and worked, kept the failing economy actually going so people did not starve, didn’t. This, among other things, has widened the rift between peoples.

    The forces in the other direction, the ones that are bringing folks together are there, too, though. It is not all doom and gloom, though things are currently darker than I’d like.

    There is widespread agreement that the lockdowns must end. There is somewhat lesser agreement (but significant) that the lockdowns didn’t really work anyway. If you get one of the maskers alone and honest sometime, not a few will tell you that they are sick of it all and just want to go back to normal.

    The dissatisfaction with gas prices is everywhere, but nowhere more prevalent than the suburbs and rural areas. Red or Blue, doesn’t matter, folks are pissed. Rightly so. This is a manufactured crisis. The things they are doing to try and mitigate the disaster are even worse than doing nothing. Gas tax holidays only show you the real price of fuel. That is both a tactical and strategic error on the part of the Democrats. Smart Republicans will be taking notes on that.

    There are those who’ve been lied to all their lives that honestly don’t know what we really think and who we really are. The inability to actually talk to us is a feature, not a bug. But those conversations are still happening, here and there.

    New friends may yet be made today, and in the future. As with all such social endeavours, it will be a risk of trust. Sometimes you have to take that risk. Sometimes, it even works out. Not with the hard leftist zealots.

    But you never know just who is at the point where their eyes are beginning to open to the lies. Just remember where your boundaries are. Those strong willed, stubborn people that the world needs? They are you.

  31. I drink to the past that lives only in dreams,
    And a world that is never quite what it seems.
    Beggars on high prance worse than kings,
    But the future is spun from fanciful things.

    Raise a glass to the past,
    Raise a glass to the sky.
    Such times never last.
    Raise your glasses up high.

    Glory has faded, and hope seems so dim,
    Yet, laughter still rises even when things are grim.
    A spark here of hope, a glimmer of faith,
    And a moment of glory shines on our face.

    Raise a glass to the past,
    Raise a glass to the sky.
    Such times never last.
    Raise your glasses up high.

    The darkness grows blacker. The storm looms above.
    The joy of the making, shelters the love.
    The love of the craft, and the joy of the soul,
    Reach out to that past, and make that time whole.

    Raise a glass to the past,
    Raise a glass to the sky.
    The joy still will last,
    Raise your glasses up high.

    So yes. The Poetry keeps coming. Not sure why.

  32. I’ve never been fond of April Fool’s myself for the reasons you mentioned regarding not doing one yourself this year. I always feel like I have to be even more on guard than usual knowing how some people get about their jokes. Thankfully most losses in that department on my part have been quietly fading away, mostly from me not bothering to maintain contact once I see that rage switch flip and I expect more of that to come however the current plans work out. These times, huh?

  33. I think C.S. Lewis said something to the effect that ideological distinctions get sharper as history progresses. So as history goes on proponents of various ideologies work out the implications of tenets and the incompatibilities between different ideologies become very clear and very dear, leading to more and more intense conflict. This seems to be part of what has happened in the past 40-50 years, especially the last 10-20.

  34. “We knew we disagreed. We knew some of those disagreements were fundamental. But we thought in time things would shake out and a consensus would be arrived at, and that there was no true animosity on either side.”

    Back in the day, it was socially acceptable to have a non-conforming opinion. And Lefties were pretty much forced to play along and pretend that the rest of us could certainly have the freedom to dissent from their boilerplate. They were the weirdo fringe, we were ‘normal’.

    IMHO, the first place that changed for me was the gun control debate. In the 1990s it became UNacceptable to be pro-gun. You got called a Nazi for that. First time I ever got called a Nazi was on my ancient GeoCities blog. (I thought it was hysterical, because the Nazis invented gun control. Buddy did not enjoy the short history lesson I gave him.)

    Some people in my circle of acquaintances became increasingly alarmed that I would openly admit to viewing shooting as a proper sport. Canada, USA, all the same. Didn’t matter what argument or statistic I produced, nothing could sway them. I stopped hanging out with them, they were getting a little weird.

    Now, 2022, the same can be said for everything from the internal combustion engine to xx/xy chromosomes. You like cars? You’re a Nazi. You think only women have babies? You’re a Nazi. You still like guns? You’re a SUPER DUPER Nazi. Now -they- are ‘normal’ and we are the weirdos.

    Here’s an interesting thing: Ontario only dropped the mandatory mask requirement last week. The first day, I made a point of going out to the store, a burger joint and a couple other places. I expected 99% of people would have ditched the mask Day 1. Nope. 2/3 ditched the mask. 1/3 kept wearing it. Now, a week later, we’re getting down to maybe 10% wearing them. Mostly weird old people.

    But you know, 10% are still wearing the damn things. To me, that means 10% of the whole population ever believed the mask story. 20% more PRETENDED to believe it, 60% went along with it rather than get stomped on by the cops and sent to jail.

    I think the Lefty causes phenomenon is going to shake out very similar. At most 10% are willing to entertain the notion that a man can have a baby. 20% more are pretending they believe it. 60% don’t believe it at all, but they also don’t care enough to make a fuss.

    And they don’t care enough to back me up if I make a fuss, either. They’ll let the 10% True Believers call me a Nazi and cancel my bank account. They’re Normies. They go along to get along.

    Normies calculate advantage/disadvantage in relationships. That’s why all our Normie ‘friends’ trickled away over the years. We’re the freaks who can’t read the room. We do dumb shit like leave our copies of Harry Potter on the bookshelf instead of packing them in a box like any intelligent Normie does. They consider it too disadvantageous to keep us around.

    Personally, I’m offended by the notion of pretending to like people as a competitive advantage. I like them or I don’t, how they affect my social standing is not something I would ever even think of. That’s one of the things that make me an Odd, square-peg weirdo. Also makes me pretty cool to overtures of friendship from Normies.

    Sucks, but there it is.

    On the bright side, I’ve been having some fun watching all the pious anti-gun windbags cheer for the Ukrainians and screaming WARWARWAR!!! at the tops of their wheezy peacenik lungs. Who knows, maybe there’s a future in knowing every damn thing about firearms, eh? ~:D

    1. but but future wars will only be tanks and nukes and flying saucers and unicorns

      salon and the army research lab say so

      1. Everybody thought the Russians would take Ukraine in a week. The Russians certainly thought that.

        It turns out, from my research over the years, that the hardest thing in the world to spot is a guy sitting in a hole with a tarp over him. Guys with nothing but rifles are screwing up the Russians all over the place. Sneak up, blast a few guys, run away. Rinse, repeat. All day, every day.

        I had some fun with that in my Demon Hunters book, the super nanotechnological robots and a mecha-suited human nearly trip on a medieval deer poacher sitting in a hole with a cloak over him. Hilarity ensues.

        1. This probably only works when the “front” has a very low unit density, or there is no front like in Vietnam.

          WW2 had a very high unit density, and partisans still caused a whole lot of trouble, but they had to spend almost all their time hiding and had a really crappy life expectancy.

          1. To get the WWII unit density you have to send an appreciable percentage of the male population of the world to war… On the other hand. Ukraine is small, at least by our standards of ‘country’ sizes. The troop density is very high, but it’s constrained. Anywhere you have constraints the small sneaky units are going to have an edge. Our infantry and various specialized sneaky versions there of are trained to do the same thing. Hunters do the same thing to deer all the time. Honestly, small sneaky units that know what they’re doing or are just crazy and inventive can do a LOT of damage. The Russian army is not currently displaying enough competence to effectively use their numbers to block the small, sneaky, and motivated.

            1. Note: /not/ living in a totalitarian shithole can increase level of inventiveness.

              Having the place you live turned over by a totalitarian who could easily kill your entire extended family can make someone a bit crazy.

        2. Not just sneaky guys with rifles, but sneaky guys with drones and manpack SAMs and ATGMs. Might help explain why the Russians have just resorted to blasting everything in their path, on at least some fronts. It seems the least safe place on the Ukrainian battlefields is inside Soviet-designed armor . . .

          Estimates of Russian casualties vary wildly, but there’s no question Vlad’s boys have had hundreds of trucks and armored vehicles destroyed, disabled or captured. And they still don’t seem to have managed air superiority over Ukraine, except possibly under intermittent and localized conditions.

    2. Nope, the Nazis did not invent gun control. They sure did like it, but they got it from pre-existing sources.

      Back in the Middle Ages, European aristocracy tried to impose crossbow control, for much the same reasons today’s left-wingers are all-in for gun control. Didn’t work then, either.

      Gun control in the U.S. started in New York as a way to keep those Irish and Italian low-lifes under control. After the Civil War, Southern Democrats imposed gun control to keep those uppity freed slaves from shooting back at the KKK.

      Gun control is always about making the world safe for tyranny.
      The Democrats trust violent criminals and terrorists with guns more than they trust you.

      1. You know, once upon a time I looked that up to see who really invented it. I got as far as the French in the 1700s banning the stiletto, mostly I expect because it was Italian. As I recall the excuse used by authorities at the time was that the stiletto was an “offensive” weapon only for stabbing and therefore Bad. Or something.

      2. The crossbow thing is a “creative” interpretation of an early attempt to stop war-crimes.

        Not only was it not about stopping peasants from shooting knights, it forbid invading nobles from shooting the guys going out to work in their fields, even though that was REALLY effective.

        The “deadly art” of crossbow and longbow men mentioned in the document was blanketing the field so you’d maim, not kill, because every wounded survivor on the other side was TWO people out of the fighting.

        Same document forbid a Christian burial for anyone killed jousting, basically because war-games to the death are stupid, you noble ninnies.

      3. In Japan, the Samurai class enforced sword control, not wanting competition from the peasants…

        1. Worse than that.

          After a period of civil wars, the Shogun basically outlawed guns (with had been used in the civil wars).

          The Nobles went along with this because it meant that the peasants wouldn’t have guns to use in any “disagreements” with the Nobles.

          Oh, how did the Shogun “outlaw” guns? Basically, to manufacture guns, you needed a license from the Emperor and when current holders of a license died (naturally or otherwise) few (if any) new licenses were issued.

    3. In the 1990s it became UNacceptable to be pro-gun. You got called a Nazi for that. First time I ever got called a Nazi was on my ancient GeoCities blog. (I thought it was hysterical, because the Nazis invented gun control. Buddy did not enjoy the short history lesson I gave him.)

      I had a similar experience the other day with an online Lefty going for the whole “allowing free speech let’s the Nazis come to power” argument. I pointed out to him that actually, Weimar Germany had all kinds of laws against hate speech and antisemitism, and they didn’t do a damn thing to stop Hitler. His response was to repeat that allowing free speech was the same as tolerating fascists, and more hate speech laws would have kept the Nazis out of power. It was like everything I said just bounced off his skull without making a dent. Leftists have some truly impressive protection up there.

      1. “His response was to repeat that allowing free speech was the same as tolerating fascists…”

        It’s always the same with these people. Seriously, you can’t -talk- to them. They are not receptive to a verbal exchange. Like, at all. They will simply repeat the first thing they said, louder, and add rude words.

        Sometimes they have an ulterior motive and they’re just lying. We’ve seen a great deal of that in SFF lately with awards. The same people who flipped out over Sad Puppies did not say boo about the freeping of the award location by the Chiccoms, and they’ve all got Ukranian flags on their Twittler feeds. You can’t engage that level of dishonesty in a rational discussion.

        Sometimes they’re just crazy. Try having the ‘masks don’t work’ conversation with a mask zealot. Their brain is unable to process your words, they’re too busy with their gut-wrenching and 100% non-rational fear.

        Either way, not worth the effort to put up with their crap. I’m to old to babysit liars and lunatics.

        1. I take it one more step: “Masks are a lie!”

          Seriously, they’ve known for a hundred years that cheap paper and cloth masks do NOTHING to reduce the spread of viruses. They found that out after a real pandemic killed 60 million people between 1918 and 1920. Using masks against viruses is about as much use as trying to stop fog with a barbed-wire fence.

          If you know a smoker, or somebody with one of those vapor thingys, tell them to take a big drag, blow the smoke or vapor through a mask and SEE how useless the mask is against particles hundreds of times bigger than the particles that spread viruses.
          A good Zombie Apocalypse novel is at least as believable as anything we’ve heard out of the ‘Publick Health Authoriteez’ over the last two years.

          1. Right? But you might just as well argue with a bridge abutment. The reinforced concrete is no denser or harder to penetrate than the True Believer’s solid-bone head.

            They -believe- the droplet story. Because the CBC said it! “I heard it on the CBC! They never make a mistake! You’re a [insert bad words here]!!!”

            Completely pointless to even speak to them. Utter waste of time.

            1. And you wouldn’t have to waste your time…. except they are not content with their believing it.

  35. Guess What?

    ODD MAGIC IS AVAILABLE and that’s no April Fool Joke. 😀

    1. Started reading it yesterday. Have Dave Freer’s Save the Dragons at the top of the stack.

  36. From my own blood kin I can say (because the kin never hid so you could spot trends); there are some that never cared what the non lib thought and would (if neccessary) see that wrong thinker sent to a gulag. That sort has become louder but other than that hasn’t changed. There are some that should never have watched the news because they drank the koolaid. And their ability to think critically diminishes annually. That set will probably cry when the wrong thinker gets sent away. But they won’t stop it. Politics is downstream of culture but so are personal choices and indoctrination happens.

  37. It appears to still be under the radar, but Team HarrisBiden began implementing the Green Leap Forward March 31, 2022 by issuing an executive order invoking the Defense Production Act to start imposing making of batteries for their “all electric” economy-

    As Nick Arama notes in his piece-“This fundamental transformation ultimately is the whole point — and this is about using this moment for their agenda.”

    I will an add an “as predicted” to this. Sadly it is no April Fool’s Joke.

  38. Who needs April Fools when the junta keeps trotting out the April Fool (and every other month and day)


    Speaking of illusions, Sue and Settle is BACK, baby!

    “The company, originally known as Jimenez Arms, made affordable handguns until filing for bankruptcy in 2020 on the heels of a lawsuit in which Kansas City claimed it was a public nuisance due to its alleged contribution to firearms trafficking, Newsweek reported. It later reincorporated as JA Industries and was reissued its license by the ATF.

    Everytown then followed up with a 2021 lawsuit against the ATF over its decision to grant the license to JA Industries, claiming that due to its alleged violations of the Gun Control Act, the gunmaker was ineligible to be licensed”

    Emphasis added. Nothing proven against the company, but hey…… Due process? Wat dat?

  40. “I think those ideas started falling apart with the 2000 election, and were nuked to kingdom come when they joined with our active enemies to lecture us about how America had brought the 9/11 attack on itself by being…. mean? Free? Whatever. By being us.”….yes. It was appalling to see how many people really hated this country and the majority of its citizens.

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