The Weirdometer

I’ve been a science fiction fan since I found out it existed. This means I’ve always been unimaginably weird. No, I’m not calling you names. Trust me on this. I was more unimaginably weird than thou.

Why? Well, because when I fell into science fiction (and before it I’d been trawling even weirder experimental fiction stuff, looking for what satisfied the itch) I was a very young Portuguese girl. (ten or eleven.)

Reading as a pasttime was already fairly strange. At least in our place and class. I was supposed to devote my days to making endless yards of lace and embroidery against my future wedding. (Only I was clumsy and ADD and besides I was sure such an event would never happen.) If I must read at all, depending on disposition, it should be either lives of saints or romances. Or, if I must insist on being an insufferable blue stocking, then “litcherature, history and philosophy.” (SF saved me from that later fate. I once scared one of my brother’s friends by trying to discuss Camus with him. I was … 8. My brother found it terribly funny.)

Being unimaginably weird means you have to have boundaries and defenses, against letting it leak into the “real life.” Because once it leaks into the real life it’s all up. You become like my classmate (I never knew she was that interesting) who at 25 decided she was the reincarnation of a Portuguese Queen of centuries past, and then lost completely the thread of reality. (“They married her off,” mom says. “Because the fields and farms had to go to someone, and the guy didn’t mind if she wandered around with a vacant look and talked about the weight of the crown and her husband the king’s illegitimate children who might dispute the succession.” Could have been worse. I didn’t have fields and farms.)

Science fiction allowed me to do that, because it had no hint of being reality. It might, perhaps, become reality sometime in the future. But not in my lifetime, and anyway, it’s not as though most of what I was reading had any chance of coming true. Why, the dates had passed for some of them. (Most Heinlein.)

I compensated for my little, strange pastime (worse, I wrote it but that was even more secret, at least from the adults.) by being sane as a brick in real life. I knew what was possible, what was impossible, and stared unblinking at the depths of human insanity and depravity.

In fact I used to say I was never innocent. This is not precisely true. I mean, guys, like most people here I needed sky writing to understand the whole male-female thing. I mean, I was long on theory, but it took me till 18 to be kissed for the first time, and then only because the guy was also Odd and ASKED. I’m sure others had been trying to give me signs and I was completely oblivious. (The Irish side is obviously O’Blivious.)

What I was never was unduly credulous. I wasn’t niffy naffy about human depravity. I never clutched pearls and said Oh me, oh, my, no that’s too horrible to believe. Partly because the outer edges I’d been trawling before I ran away with the science fiction circus involved all the mythologies, including the unspeakably weird ones, the crazy that was Dr. Fraud, and all the other psychological theorists.

Also I was born with a broad streak of darkness through my soul, one I’ve been aware of since I was two or so. (I watch myself all the time. You really don’t want to see THAT let out. Sometimes she wakes me in the night with her thoughts. And truly, #teamheadsonpikes is just the beginning.)

I kept myself under strict parameters of acceptable behavior and thought. This included what I was willing to believe and not believe. And what I was aware other people believed that made the weirdometer oscillate really fast and then become a kumquat.

Naming it the weirdometer was courtesy of a real estate agent we contacted to find us something in Denver when we were moving from South Carolina, without the money to go and find a rental ourselves. She interviewed us and then decided — and was frank enough to tell us — we classified at the edge of the Weirdometer, and would be happiest in Washington Park. (For those who know Denver, remember we read “artsy” and “intellectual” and back then I made most of our stuff, from furniture to clothes to food from scratch and pinged everyone’s “earth mother” vibe. It wasn’t quite true, but there is no name for the weird I am.)

She explained the concept of the weirdometer, and what made it scream and whirr around, and it was pretty close to mine.

…. Okay, an example: I once went to the Natural History Museum in Denver (mild weirdness for a mom of toddlers, but not abnormal, besides, I had the kids as a beard on that one) and they had a big exhibit (one of those traveling things) on earth movements. I didn’t realize (then) there were continents before Pangea. (Look, I went through school in the seventies, in Portugal. I think the Piltdown man was still in our books.) So I went home, fired up the internet (imagine the modem screaming sign and coutersign, I think this was around 96) and went traipsing through the hamster infested darkness to find more.

I found this amazing site. Perfectly accurate on the geology for something like ten pages. And then …. and then the weirdometer screamed, smoked, and started gyrating. Because the last ten pages or so were about the intelligent dinosaurs orbiting the Earth in a spaceship, and returning to the home they’d left and–

That was the weirdometer. And I was probably too “tight” for a science fiction fan and writer as it was. Or as I told my (then) best friend, who broke in when I did “We’re too sane for this field.” (After enduring a publisher lunch that was all about crystals, auras and something crazier I no longer remember. Atlantis maybe.)

Because I’d trolled the outer edges at an early age, I was jaded and frankly not credulous at all.

So, what is this in the name of?

Well, it occurred to me today while washing all the dishes from the dishwasher (we do need to replace it, and when we do I’m tempted to take it out in the middle of the field and use it for target practice) plus yesterday’s dishes, which I didn’t even attempt to put in the dishwasher, that if you’d taken any of my serious posts from the last year and shown them to me when I started this blog, I’d have scrambled backwards away from it, and wondered if I had gone completely insane or perhaps found a hidden stash of hallucinogenics.

Look, let alone believing — knowing — the election was stolen, if someone had come to me back then and said you couldn’t believe any of the news reports, not even at their core, discounting the bias (I always knew they were left biased) or that what appeared to be a worldwide pandemic was really the spread of a relatively mild disease (which was probably cooked in a lab and expected to be more lethal) inflated and made scary by an international cabal who wants us to live in mega cities and hit bugs, while they outlaw agriculture and plot to have as many of die as possible, I would have said that person had broken the weirdometer.

I used to start laughing when someone mentioned vast international conspiracies, because…. well, three can keep a secret if two are dead, but more importantly because the things these alleged conspiracies wanted to do were so completely and thoroughly insane. And obviously could not and would not ever work.

…. Look, it’s like this: I saw cracks in what we were fed by the unified wall of disinformation of the news-entertainment-education industrial complex.

I can’t help it, seeing cracks in logic and “reality” is what I do, and what initially sent me trawling through the waters of philosophy, anthropology and deep history, before I was old enough to articulate what I was looking for.

But the thing is the wall was unified. And thus for the purposes of real life, which I was determined to hold onto was “real” and what must be followed.

I remember when I first fell into political blogs, instapundit (which if you guys remember, back then was way closer to “center right”) was my natural anchor, not Ace of Spades, let alone anything wilder. And a blog like mine has become would have scared the pants off me.


Well, the masks have been coming off for a long time. And I can toll the beads of my disillusionment with consensus reality in the monstrous rosary of the last few decades. A major one was figuring out that the fraud was immense, amazing, more than I could have imagined in my darker moments. In 2008. In Colorado Springs. Which is why I laugh and point when you guys — bless your hearts, you know who you are — tell me it’s something like 10%. Dear Lord, I don’t think the Democrats have won a clean election since Clinton, and that’s probably because I wasn’t paying attention when Clinton was elected. And right now I think they’re running solely on fraud, which is why they felt confident with a potemkin campaign in 2020.

But now–

Well, the last two years have been a lesson in what is real, and just how insane the so called “elites” have gotten.

Part of it is … almost painfully normal human behavior.

Create an impenetrable screen, and tell people that behind that screen they can indulge their worst behavior, impulses and fantasies, and people will. And after four generations or more with no punishment, those impulses and fantasies will get very…. interesting.

This is basically what the media/entertainment/education industrial complex has been doing for the very rich and the politically connected (particularly on the left) for the last hundred years give or take twenty.

It’s no wonder that behind that screen, they felt safe to become Cthulhu or whatever they think they are. Particularly when their weak minds (hereditary wealth and connections, or even the ability to become rich doesn’t mean they have a spec of introspection, self reflection or the ability to think and analyze reality. As we have proof daily.) were worked upon by the conviction that being materialistic and atheistic was proof of “smarts” and that they were, therefore their own gods.

They’ve run themselves into a place that not only do they think they’re above the rest of humanity, but they are free to treat humanity as a bad, invasive species, that’s in the way of their perfect utopia.

They think they can recreate the garden of Eden, if only they kill everyone else. (And the fact that they don’t realize each of them has a different idea of “everyone else” is in itself amazing.)

This is a madness composed of illusions of noble savages, of separation from reality by great amounts of money and power, of never, in their entire, sterile lives, having been told “no.”

The other day we passed a street corner preacher, who was telling us to repent, the end is nigh. That is not wholly unreasonable. I’ve lived in the South before. I know the “beats” of “normal” for the region. But I swear to you he was talking about lizard aliens being the minions of Satan.

Once we were out of hearshot, my husband made a quip and I told him the problem is that I could no longer dismiss this stuff. Not even if delivered in a crazy voice through a megaphone.

In the last few years, I have had to apologize (mentally if not in person) to so many people I used to consider conspiracy theorists.

And now, the weirdometer is broken. It has taken the shape of a little, yellow, fluffy chick, and intermittently meeps in a piteous tone.

Or, as I told my husband, “What do you tell the conspiracy theorist in the family? Well, you tell him: I’m sorry dude, you were right.”

At this point if I found out that the entire Biden Junta and a lot of their minions are actually lizard aliens wearing human suits? The weirdometer wouldn’t even meep. It might nod. Or perhaps take a nap.

I mean, I don’t think that’s true. I think the theory is crazy-cakes. On the other hand, what the heck do I know, really?
Perhaps I should find the website about the orbiting dinosaurs and send the man an abject apology.

As I said, guys, I’ve been a fan of science fiction since I knew it existed. I didn’t expect it to come true in my lifetime, but I could have accepted one of the Heinlein futures, even some of the more brutal ones, without too much confusion.

But how in holy h*ll was I supposed to guess the future was being scripted by Phillip K. Dick?

I mean, I enjoyed his work, while taking in account he was high as balls most of the time, and then found G-d in an ahah pot. (Which frankly is no worse than a burning bush.)

How was I supposed to know that if you pulled back the curtain of reality, the person typing it out on an old typewriter was intermittently popping Quaalude and horse tranquilizers?

My poor weirdometer has its head under a wing and is sobbing.

I think I’ll join it.

553 thoughts on “The Weirdometer

  1. Lace, eh? One of my occasional regrets is that I didn’t ask my oldest aunt to teach me lacemaking. She had the skill, and I figured it would be seriously neat for me (as a male) to learn how.
    It would have been even better after I emigrated, since lacemaking is an even more esoteric skill in the USA than it is in Europe. Oh well, another missed possibility.

    1. I did learn crochet, and I actually enjoy doing it, but my ADD is MUCH calmer now, so it’s feasible to do while on long trips and/or watching something.

    2. I’m a male Southern redneck engineer, and I sometimes tat.

      My great-aunts all did. We used to visit them in the nursing home regularly, and I had a couple of pieces from them – bookmark, snowflake, Christmas tree. My great-grandmother made doilies and pillowcase edging. It looked kind of interesting; I’ve always liked knots for the topology of it. I asked them to teach me, and it was like watching a mechanized loom “zoom zoom” “Did you get that?” “No!” So I went to the library, found a book, got a piece of rope (so I could SEE it), and practiced. Tatting is basically one knot over and over. I then copied the pieces my great-aunts had made, and could reproduce patterns in the tatting books. In college and grad school, it was a great way to take a break from intense math. This was 25-30 years ago, so it was REALLY strange to see a guy doing this kind of thing.

      I had a really good time, tatting in doctors’ waiting rooms and on airplanes (before going to either sucked so badly). I enjoyed pulling the roll of thread and shuttle out, and watching the women out of the corner of my eye. They would fidget a little, and then COULD NOT RESIST asking me what I was doing. Only maybe 5% of them knew what it was. I learned the Spanish (frivolité) from one of the girls (El Salvadoran) in my dorm, when she saw me in the lobby stitching away.

      My niece crochets. I need to teach her to tat.

      1. I learned to tat from my maternal grandmother. She did edging for pillow cases and quilts that were sold as part of the summer fair that supported the church. I never got good at it my lace looked like a spider on LSD and with poor fine motor control had created it rather than the delicate set of holes held together with string that was my grandmothers work. I have a couple of the shuttles around here somewhere including one Grandma got from her mother that I think is made of ivory as at has that lovely patina that ivory that is handled by human hands has.

      2. As the crazy craft lady who taught me explained it, “Tatting isn’t a lost art, it’s a lost sickness.”

        My grandmother tatted, but died long and long before I was born. I was named for her, but never really felt a connection until my aunt saw me tatting one day and went, ‘oh, my mother used to do that.’

        Tatting is just two half-hitches, one right handed and one left-handed. Over and over again. Anyone in the Treasure Valley area of ID who wants to learn is more than welcome. I have patterns for dragons, for a Tardis, for all sorts of crazy stuff. Tatting is terribly addictive (don’t ask how many hand-crafted shuttles I’ve managed to acquire) and marvelously portable.

        1. I have done tatting but haven’t retaught myself how again after I lost all my crafting due to a stroke. I have relearned to knit and crochet but haven’t done tatting since then.

          I wish you lived closer because dragon and Tardis patterns might just be the kick I need to get going with it again. They sound super fun.

          1. Tatted dragon:

            Tatted Tardis:

            Both of these are in the ‘advanced’ category because they use the split-ring technique instead of just ring and chain. This can be learned from the tube of yous, if a local tutor cannot be obtained.

            Ask around. I’d be willing to bet there’s a crafting circle somewhere closer to you. And once you find the local fiber crafters, it’ll be easy to ask around and find the local crazy tatting lady(TM). There’s more of them around than you might think.

              1. Oh, yeah, crochet’s easy. Been doing it since I was… 7, iirc. But Tatting is so simple and so logical that I’ve been copying things by sight almost from the get-go. Gotta say, though, that with the prevalence of ebooks, I get fewer and fewer people every year who want hand-made lace bookmarks.

            1. Ooohhh. Thank you for the pattern links! I do actually have a local person I could ask for pointers. She knits and tats lace for priest vestments but nothing so fun as this. However, if she can do fancy dancy lace for vestments she will, for sure, be able to assist me with these.

              Thank you again 💝

    3. I knit, taught by maternal grandmother.

      I crochet, taught by paternal grandmother. She even taught us her fine crochet that resulted in Christmas Bells and Angels, but I’ve lost the pattern.

      I embroidery taught by mom, and both grandmothers. Cross Stitching picked up on my own for all that it is a form of embroidery.

      Taught myself how to macrame and quilting (example set by paternal grandmother but not taught), machine put together patches, and hand stitching layers together.

      Did all in earnest early ’80s between career change. Haven’t done it in decades since started coding. Kind of thought of picking all up again. But how many wall pictures needed? Don’t use throw pillows. Have more than enough quilts, though I really need to retro make one for son (made dozen baby/toddler quilts and gave them all away in the decade before son arrived, never made one for him). Have enough afghans, which we also don’t use (so does son, no need to make one). We don’t wear knits, homemade of purchased (we itch). As far as making for gifts? Family was ready to help pay me to go back to school. They were homemade gifted out. Do and sell? Oh, heck, no. That is not fun, that would be Work (tried it for a nanosecond during ’80s phase, nope, no, and NO).

    4. I haven’t done it in a long while now, but I did a self-taught embroidered dragon on the back of a “CPO” shirt. Had a pattern, added my own wings and exhaled flames. Like many things, that shirt ‘shrank in the closet’ long ago; I don’t know what happened to it.

      These days, I sew on buttons so they stay on.

      1. Years ago, my sister asked our mother to show her how to tat. After winding the bobbin, Mother wrapped the string on her fingers, closed her eyes, and sat quietly – so long that my sister asked if she was OK. Mother replied, “My fingers are remembering.” After a short wait, she started tatting, eyes still closed.

        I love that word-picture of my mother.

  2. Oh yeah. Ooohhhh yeah.

    I can’t remember which of the Ringo books I read it in – I think “Yellow Eyes”, one of the Posleen war ones – but there was a back matter where he basically said: Stop thinking conspiracy, and start thinking consensus.

    If there’s a consensus among all the “right-thinking” upper crust people that “these are the habits of Deplorables, and these other things are what we do, because we are Good People” – then you don’t need a conspiracy. Everyone in the consensus will do what they think best to uphold their status, power, and worldview.

    In a sense, it’s much worse than a conspiracy because it’s more efficient. (For given values of efficiency, anyway. More efficient than government agencies – I know, low bar….) It’s… essentially taking free-market trade of information and turning it against itself, because if everyone in the Progressive Consensus takes the individual actions they think best make everything “fit” – then it’s hard to fight, because you’re not fighting one organized thing. You’re fighting a mob.

        1. The insanity, the envelope pushing- that stuff’s built in. Has to be. Because the friday night fright and and monday morning massacre have to be kept on schedule, there must always be a hate and a fear to prod the masses with. The engine just does not go without that. They cannot simply say “this time- this time only! We agree with the other guys. The economy is crap, and we need to cut spending a little. We just disagree on what to cut.”

          That will never happen. If the top D party loons don’t do it, the underlings will, and will eventually have their jobs. So they have to get ever loonier, ever crazier, just to stay in power.

          It cannot last. Of course it can’t. They’ve been kicking the can down the road a long time, and every so often an R gets in office and sets about to fixing bits here and there, and things get a little better. This allows them to cause more problems, which leads to more poverty, perversity, drug use, crime, and the like. Which means more D party voters. They need the crazy wing of the party to get out and vote, else they will get hammered at the polls.

          As Sarah says, in the end we win, they lose. This is quite true. They’re reaching the end of what they can do, what they can get away with. Really, they need to have Republicans, and not just uniparty Rinos, to take the wheel for a bit so there’s something for them to mess up later on. But they cannot admit that.

          Thus the ever increasing flailing, the even crazier things they are trying, just to see what might work. Cannibalism? Kiddie touching? Sex craziness has been done, what about child mutilation? How about ending policing completely, can we get away with that for a bit and maybe backdoor it away after the election cycle? Stuff like that is going on now.

          And like as not, they’ll find something that sticks just enough for long enough. J6 is played out, or near enough. They can’t get much more mileage out of it election wise, right now its just going on for fundraising efforts focused on the dumber rich guys and gals.

          Fortunate for us we don’t follow the ever changing crisis of the day. As the left gets crazier, more people get that not-so-little shock that puts them out of the comfortable herd. Often enough, those that weather the shock and start asking questions, digging for truth- those end up being the ones that, whether they are loud or quiet about it, will NEVER go back. They’ll never trust a Democrat, and they’ll never believe one either.

          Times keep on changing. Could you have imagined something like the Daily Wire being true in… 2013, lets say? Sure, anyone with a brain could see the corruption creeping in everywhere. But who could have honestly predicted Trump, and the response to Trump? Or DeSantis? Riley Moore? Winsome Sears?

          Never give in to despair.

          1. If they end policing completely, we INSTANTLY go to heads on pikes, for criminals at first.

            1. When all you’ve got is vigilante justice, a lot of crimes carry the death penalty. Really, you can’t afford not to. If you’re that hard up that there are no police, that is. If there’s no police there’s also no prisons. Means corporal punishment is back in style, too, for somewhat lesser offences.

              As I’d not like to see folks whipped for traffic offenses, having honest police that do their job and realize their place in the public is very much preferred.

              1. I’m not saying it would be better not to have any police. I’m just pointing out what would happen if that situation were to occur.

                1. My friend I fear you underestimate the power of alcohol addiction a smidge there… But while I can understand the impulse, I think the social good that comes with honest policing to include putting drunk drivers in the drunk tank and taking their licenses away for a bit is probably the better option, long term.

                  1. How about a compromise? If you get caught driving drunk, you are restricted to only driving a motorcycle. Very likely to kill you and no one else.

          2. Oh, dear stars, I just pictured Hannibal Lecter with hipster glasses.

            “I ate people BEFORE it went mainstream!”

            If I have to endure that image, everyone else might as well. I’m vaguely sorry.

            1. It’s okay, Lady, the Universe started it. It’s not your fault you can see to the inevitable conclusion.

            2. You have to remember the imagination level of folk who frequent Sarah’s weird dome is very high. Our minds are already stretched to the broken, so we enjoy it.

              My estimate of the death toll from the coming “civil” war is increased from 2 to 3 billion, since I could not imagine anyone intentionally cutting the supply of fertilizer. Even my imagination has limits. So I tell people, enjoy the golden age, while it lasts.
              Appreciate what you still have. Dr. Pepper went from $1 for a 2 liter on sale to $2.50 on sale, but you can still get it, for now. My wife gets upset when we have more than 30 2 liter bottles, so I can’t stock up.

              1. Oh, boy.

                I’m running out of candy in my ‘Sugar Mafia’ bad. I should probably fix that before the Dollar Tree goes from being the $1.25 Tree to being the $5 Tree.

                (Right. No filters needed here. Now, to find out just how weird my mind can get with no restraints…)

              2. Yeah. Cutting the fertilizer supply…

                I am an armchair historian for a lot of things, but the Green Revolution was a lifesaver for the whole planet. If I thought it’d work, I’d round up all the eco-warriors and tell them that without fertilizer people will have to plant everywhere, and what happens to their wilderness then?

    1. It’s understandable. They live in a bubble universe. They watch the same news, attend the same parties, went to the same schools that they now send their kids to. The ones that bother to have kids anyway.
      But that bubble universe simply does not line up with reality, and the farther it deviates from the real world the more frustrated and angry the inhabitants get.
      And the rest of us outside that bubble are constantly making decisions and acting in ways counter to everything they have believed their whole lives in that warm cozy bubble. So by definition we must be either stupid or evil.

      1. If I have to be one, I’ll go with evil. They have better outfits. And really awesome theme music, generally. Plus there’s the decor…

        And ignoring the side perks, someone who’s fitted into the ‘Evil’ slot but not stupid gets to be pragmatic about being evil. And pragmatism can usually find its way to something remarkably dissimilar to virtue. For example, a villain who doesn’t lie if he can possibly help it because lies are hard to remember and they breed like rabbits. (If someone asks you a question which would disprove the lie, you have to come up with another lie to cover it, and then another…) And then you have to make sure no one realizes that you’re lying, because no one trusts a liar.

        (But then I start thinking about Eternal Consequences, and the fact that real evil always leads to being stupid because vice is so much easier than virtue and slopes get oh so slippery… sigh. Okay, brain, it’s not realistic. Fine. But it’s fun to imagine being Megamind!)

        1. Stupid evil is a trope so old its original memes were cave paintings, I think. There are instances (in fiction) of Evil Virtues, like oh… Well probably just best to link the internet’s biggest time suck:

          The great irony is that while our political opponents often presume us to be both stupid and evil, stupid-evil, even, we generally view most of them with pity. As Uncle Lar said, it’s not exactly a surprise that they are the way they are.

          Any of us raised as a leftist as they were would be a leftist, almost certainly. Everyone around them thinks the same, more or less, and they get constant positive reinforcement for saying leftist things and acting in politically leftist ways. They families, their friends, their coworkers and bosses, their

          1. Weird. WP cut that one off somehow.

            Anyway, long ramble short, we pity those mired in the bubble because they had no chance. Not as kids, and damned little as adults. The situation they are stuck with is bad all around. Soft bigotry of low expectations and all that has been going on for decades, close to a century now if not more. The there’s the various perversions against children, the deliberate corruption of the concept of sex (male and female) and all that.

            Quite literally it sucks to be them. Its why I try to be patient with the ones that show evidence of trying to break free of that trap.

            Of course, like the other meme says, my evil plan must be to get them to… Clean Their Rooms! And Repair Their Relationships With Their Fathers! Might even corrupt them into… Not Having Indiscriminate Sex With Strangers! Or even Stop Lying!

            1. Bwa ha ha ha ha!

              Yeah, I was thinking about TV Tropes when I wrote the post. (That’s how I found “The Dresden Files,” incidentally. I kept seeing this guy called John Marcone pop up on all the Villain Trope pages I liked best, so I looked into the series. Absolutely loved what I found as a result.)

              And yeah. I pity them. Dear Lord, may these people fall into the pits they’ve dug for others so that from there they can look up and see Your light. Amen.

              1. Amen.

                Jim Butcher has some serious talent, and the work ethic he’s got made something of it. I haven’t been back to read the Dresden Files in years, but there’s a lot of things he did in that (long) series that are well worth studying, for a writer. Enjoyable for a reader, too, of course- definitely so for this reader. Urban Fantasy was hit or miss with a lot of the latter for quite a while there, and I do enjoy a good UF now and then.

                As to your last, every person’s journey to faith is an individual one. I was raised Catholic, then went atheist for several years before eventually coming back to the faith later on. Too much philosophy and ethics, later psychology and ancient history, they all drew me back in.

                I think you’re on the right track, there. What I’ve learned of cult deprogramming fits as well (I do call leftism a cult every now and again). There usually has to be some sharp shock that jolts them out of the reflexive patterns that insulate their minds. Something that kick starts the process of actual thinking, rather than mindlessly repeating talking points. If falling into their own pits does the trick and gets them questioning things, that’s a step on the right path.

                After all, questioning your way to faith works, at least for some of us. Charity, Honesty, and plain old common courtesy can’t hurt, either.

                  1. I think it’s against the law to not do the chicken polka after finishing your first liter during Oktoberfest.

                1. I’m through everything (except for the select few short stories that haven’t been put in collections and bought by my library yet), and waiting eagerly for Twelve Months and Mirror Mirror. I am somewhat reliably informed that those are the next novels.

                  And yes. Polka will never die! And for those who’ve been through Skin Game, may the Force be with you!

                  1. Eagerly waiting next installments.

                    “I used the knife.
                    I saved a child.
                    I won a war.
                    God forgive me.”

          1. Let he who is without typos cast the first stone. Unless the unintentional humor is just too good, I think most of us just gloss right over them.

              1. Hm. WP (DE) is deleting initial asterisks. I had a footnote on another comment and the asterisk disappeared there too.


                1. I’d guess it’s a side effect of WP markdown turning asterisk-surrounded phrases into italics and bold. So *test to see if WP honors the backslash escape.

                  *this is only a test

                  1. Weird, because to my knowledge WP doesn’t use Markdown-style anything. But it looks like backslash-asterisk works.

                    doubleAsteriskTest singleAsteriskTest underscoreTest /slashesTest/

                    *backslash-asterisk test

                    1. Well, whaddyaknow, WP does use Markdown, at least a little bit. Double asterisks = bold, single asterisks = italic, underscores = italic.

            1. Your mercy is appreciated. I’m still a little annoyed and amused, though, because usually my typos don’t end up meaning exactly the opposite of what I intended to say!

        2. l’m only a lurker but could not refrain from admiring how you entered into Machiavellianism and then thought your way out of it in the course of one brief post. The part about evil leading to stupid is a fundamental point that Ser Niccolo, with all his cold brilliance, never grasped.

      2. They’ve put all their stat points into ‘Manipulating People’ and didn’t allocate any to ‘Dealing With Obdurate Objective Reality’. They can convince each other the world is as they wish it to be, but they can’t deal with anything that doesn’t fit in their world. We on the outside see what they’re doing as trying to change facts by lying about them. Or by redefining words.

        “It’s not a recession!”
        “The border is secure!”
        “The most honest election in history!”
        “Our withdrawal from Afghanistan was a brilliant success!”
        “Green Energy will solve all problems!”
        “Russian Disinformation!!!”

        They never anticipated that everybody would instantly start calling their Disinformation Tribunal the Ministry Of Truth.

        1. Not really even that. They’re terrible at manipulating people, since manipulating people requires at least a tenuous connection to reality.

          Instead, they’re busy redefining words.

          Their version of “manipulating” public opinion is to change the meaning of every word that talks about the current problems so that those words mean something else, loudly proclaim the new definitions, and then neglect to have anything under the new definitions that fits the current problem.

          “Sorry, there’s no word for that. I guess no one thinks it’s really a problem except for ignorant people. Like you.”

        2. To become a lawyer one must possess a mindset (and stomach) to believe that words are tools, and that the value of those tools is not their truth but rather their ability to convince and manipulate people to do what the manipulator wishes. And that with enough skill in the use of those words you can get people to believe whatever suits your purpose.
          It is not a coincidence that the majority of our politicians just happen to have studied for the law.

          1. “To become a lawyer one must possess a mindset (and stomach) to believe that words are tools, and that the value of those tools is not their truth but rather their ability to convince and manipulate people to do what the manipulator wishes. And that with enough skill in the use of those words you can get people to believe whatever suits your purpose.”

            See also salesweasels, advertisers, actors, and other con artists. 😎

    2. Exactly. And it’s far more insidious.

      To eliminate a conspiracy, you just have to get rid of the conspirators. To eliminate a consensus, you not only have to remove all the True Believers in the consensus, you have to at minimum stock the swamp with True Believers in the truth to reprogram the milquetoasts, and at worst, get rid of the entire establishment and replace it wholesale.

      I wish we were dealing with conspiracies.

      1. The Founders provided a blueprint for that, too. There’s a reason the Loyalists left, and it wasn’t 100% voluntary.

        1. Too bad it sending them to Canada would be inhumane to the rest of Canada. The shipping would be cheaper than dumping them in Venezuela (as if poor Venezuela needs more problems . . .)

              1. I hear the lovely island of Greenland is nice this time of epoch. Let them try their utopian, glueball wormening, and social engineering ideas out there, in pristine nature, say I. May they reap the bountiful harvests of virtue signals there forevermore.

                1. I spent a year in Greenland, courtesy of the Air Force … and yes, it is lovely at this time of epoch. All but for winter, when at solstice, there is only half an hour of murky twilight at noon.
                  And temperatures well below 0 for weeks on end.
                  And dark. I did mention the dark, didn’t ?

                  1. Ooooooh.

                    Now I want in! One day, when I’m rich (or maybe in Heaven)… Greenland Lodge. Dark wood and stone for building materials, fur blankets (or at least faux thick and soft enough to pass muster), thick curtains, firelight, and lots of books.

                    Not the sort of place I’d like to live forever… I don’t know if I get seasonal depression, but that kind of seems like tempting fate. But to spend a month like that – time seemingly frozen with the sun locked beneath the ice – reading and writing and dreaming of other worlds… Sounds amazing.

                    1. It was bearable if you were the sort of person who could sit in a room and divert yourself with books and hobbies for weeks on end, and now with internet, it wouldn’t feel so cut off from the world. Most of the Americans coped by counting the days and working extra jobs at the BX, the movie theater, or at the clubs. The Danes coped by drinking heavily…

                  2. Global warming ought to start bringing those winter temps right up within the next…what is it now, 12 years?…and Greenland will be the perfect habitat for humanity in short order. I’m willing to let all the greenies have that future paradise. That’s just how nice I am. One condition, though: They all go and they never leave.

                    1. I’m getting “Rainbow Six” vibes…

                      To be clear, that’s a good thing; a feature, not a bug. 🙂

                    2. Oooooh, I liked that book! Particularly when the Russian agent took a look at the bad guys, went ‘These folks are crazy,’ and jumped ship. And John Clark has always been a favorite character of mine, in the Clancy novels.

                      (Especially in The Sum of All Fears, where he fixed the relationship drama with the same efficiency and no-nonsense attitude he applies to war. Dear stars, I’m an absolute drama queen when it comes to fun costumes, weird decorations, and gothic fantasy. But relationships? Heck to the no, please just solve the problem as quickly as possible and get back to getting along, please and thank you.)

                  3. Neighbor’s son was assigned (as Neighbor tells it) to Thule for his very first duty station:

                    Son: Are there pretty women in Thule?
                    Neighbor: Behind every tree!
                    Son departs with a gleam in his eye.

                    Neighbor answers telephone call from Greenland: Yes?
                    Son (on telepone): You son of a bitch!

    3. I saw a column in that not that long ago. The basic argument, as I can recall it is the bureaucracies are all set up so the only way you can get anything done is if all the bureaucrats are onboard with it, so they end up operating through self-propagandizment loops.

      And since propaganda can only sell simple things, it means every single problem also gets reduced to single axis binaries where either you support today’s thing and are good or you oppose today’s thing and are therefore bad.

      And without any limiting system attached to it, they tear off into these purity spirals to the point where the entire edifice is dedicated to, at best, emptying the sea with a spoon, or at worst, killing all the sparrows, because sparrows are now bad.

      And I’m not sure how one gets rid of them, even after they’ve caused the plague of locusts to sweep across the land.

      1. Taht’s why I hate omnibus bills. They take a portion of digestible legislation that everyone will support, and then they pour in a pile of rancid pork figuring that it will get passed too. And then they rake anyone who says “no” to the bill claiming they’re against common sense laws when in reality, they’re against the crap.

        1. That’s why pols hate line-itme veto; it lets everyone see the pork generation. And we do luvs our p’ok… 😦

        1. Is it time? If not, can we force it to be time? And can we apply it locally? Pretty please? With pikes?

          1. With pikes, you say? Mediaeval infantry, modern munition, or the piscines Esox?

            Yes! Drive them forth with sharp blows from a skillfully wielded muskellunge!

    4. Concensus means that it has become the cultural default. If it’s dysfunctional, then either the culture weeds it out, or the culture dies.

          1. The word for that is “totalitarian” specifically 20th century communist totalitarian. That’s how they operated. And trying to push it now, when we can see? The word for that is Romanian Christmas Gift.

    5. Kind of rhymes with the Adult Conspiracy in …argh, can’t remember the series or author, I can SEE the covers, ton of puns, mostly very bad jokes.

      It makes a lot more sense than any kind of secret conspiracy.

    6. This!!! So much like the wind blowing away the mist!
      I have been describing it as a cult or religion, but this describes how the belief system influences behavior without requiring spy behavior or secret keeping. When “everyone” believes there is no need for organization. yuck
      Thanks for describing this

  3. LOL. I was so weird at the age of 5 that my mother was told to take me to a psychologist to find out what was going on with me.

    Turns out I pinned not only the weirdometer but the IQ testmeter too.

    So don’t be so full of your own weirdness.

      1. I used to love conspiracy theories. I used them to calibrate my weirdometer. They were perfect for the task, logical progression, supporting evidence, just tangential to reality,

        And I’m extremely annoyed that so many of them turned out to be true.
        I was not prepared to spend middle age re-examining things I was sure that I already knew.

      2. I used to think I was normal, and the rest of the world utterly bonkers. Then I wised up with the help of friends and family. Later on, well, nowadays, I fully admit my pedestrian sort of weirdness, common though it may be. But I’m getting back to the idea that the rest of the world is utterly bonkers again…

    1. I have had friends and associates in the 160+ IQ range, and spent much time coaching “live among normals”.

      Heh. That is screamingly funny for those who know me.

      I got better.

      1. … grumble. CAN TOO PASS FOR NORMAL.
        Just ask my k–
        Okay. they wouldn’t know from normal if it bit them in the *ss. Don’t ask husband either, lately he’s been nattering about the mathematics of transfer between parallel worlds. Look, I don’t blame him, but it makes my head HURT.
        Ask …. well, ask any of the Huns who’ve met me in person.
        I’m perfectly NORMAL, right?
        It’s those guys, like the rest of the family, one deviation up, who are total spazzes. I’m normal.

        1. But Sarah, I’m the only Sane person around.

          It’s the rest of you who are Insane! 😉

          1. :steeples fingers while smirking evilly: “Oh, darlings. We’re all mad here!”

            :blinks a couple times, then shakes her head:

            Oh, sorry, did Darke Lady Eleanor get out again? Sorry about that, I can usually keep her better contained. Ignore the cackling and muttering from behind that mental door, I promise, it’s nothing to worry about.

          2. My grandmother used to say, “All the world’s mad save me and thee, and sometimes I think thee’s a little tetched.”

        2. Well, I rate as “normal” if one takes the geometric definition: “At 90 degrees from the plane.”
          (OK, probably not that far off. $SPOUSE thinks I have several normal* tendencies. I don’t know if I should worry about her. 🙂 )

          (*) As defined by ordinary people.

          1. > “(*) As defined by ordinary people.”

            Normal is a setting on the washing machine.

        3. > “I’m perfectly NORMAL, right?”

          No, Sarah, the sarcastic talking wallaby was the normal one (just ask him). And he’s not hanging around anymore, so normal is kind of out the window in this place.

          But that’s okay; I like the kind of weird we have going here. 😉

      2. Tell me about it.

        Fortunately I picked a profession where you can get away with being smart and make a living, although of course there were always backbiters and haters.

    2. Hey, I was always Weird, but nobody could figure out what kind of Weird until got to the wrong side of 50. Once I got a proper diagnosis, a lot of things all of a sudden started to make sense. I don’t know how exactly how high I pinged on the IQ testmeter, (they never would tell me in fear of inflating my ego,) but if PSAT and ACT results are a surrogate, pretty darned high. Not that it did me much good, practically speaking.
      So I go around (figuratively) telling the world, your weird is my normal, and your normal is my weird. Deal.

      1. Curse of the High IQ,

        He conflates ADD-syndrome behaviors with pure IQ, although my belief is that they are co-causal with each other. Otherwise it’s a good read. The main insight I took away from it was that anyone dealing with someone one standard deviation down the intelligence curve is often going to be an exercise in frustration, whether that’s normal -> lower or high -> normal, so accept it and find ways to mitigate it that don’t lead to social and interpersonal problems.

        1. I read that book and recall finding it too whiny and victimized.
          But on the other hand, I’m an extravert (MBTI spelling), which is unusual in this IQ range, so maybe my experience is atypical.
          It’s still whiny though.

                1. Unfortunately, Mjollnir and Gungnir were already taken by other “throwie” things, and one should never throw a sword, so Hǫfuð is Right Out…

        2. I’m going to have to recommend “Extraordinary Attorney Woo”, currently showing on Netflix. Far and away the best portrayal I’ve ever seen about the kind of difficulties a person with high IQ who is on the Autism Spectrum has dealing with ordinary society.

        3. You also can’t tell how smart someone is more tan one deviation up or down. Which is why we had younger son tested. “Is he slow or smart? No idea.”

          1. When I meet someone new, I generally assume they’re smarter than me at something. Because that’s usually true. Or has been for most of the folks I’ve met over the years.

            Why no, I don’t have much contact with politicians, actors, or activists. Why do you ask?

            1. Ditto. I never presume to be the smartest in the group. Even working with people who needed my support on the software I worked on … more knowledge about the topic they need help with, but not more intelligent. I’ve seen how not doing that works out, people are forced to work with that individual. I’d rather not have people forced to work with me.

              I haven’t had much of any contact with politicians, either. Aunt V doesn’t count (on city council after retiring form teaching, FYI, she’s the conservative vote). Uncle K doesn’t count either. Tried, but failed for state congress … he’s right of us Huns.

      2. Got that, too. They never would give me my results back when, but at the time they whisked me out of the slow classes and stuck me in the accelerated ones with an apology. I wanted to stick with the slow classes. There was more time to read ahead there, and spend time reading fiction or doodling or staring out the window. “Gifted” in the True Language means “Cursed,” of this I am certain.

        1. Well, they do say that sometimes, beauty is a curse. What I don’t hear nearly so often, but is nevertheless just and true and for the same reasons, that works with high intelligence, too.

  4. You have to look at each crazy idea and figure out what makes its purveyor think it. Some parts of it might be true. Or it might be in the neighborhood of what’s true. There’s a reason a crazy idea exists, even if none of the idea is true. Finding out the reason is the interesting bit.

    1. Interesting or scary. It’s been sinking in recently just how . . . both cold and hot the Powers That Think They Be are. They are cold in saying “the planet should only support 500,000,000 people at most and the rest and their pets and livestock can just starve or die of disease or freeze to death.” They are hot in their hatred for some people who stand up to their ideas, or who just disagree on how to go about reaching a similar goal. Most people are so far below their contempt it’s terrifying.

      I’m with Sarah. If Project Veritas, or Breitbart, or someone semi-trustworthy were to produce evidence that the WEF And Co-religionists are lizard aliens, I’d be a bit non-plussed but not overly surprised.

      1. The question is not whether or not they are space lizards in Edgar suits. The real question is, if they were, would they behave any different?

              1. I imagine anyone who dressed up in that Edgar suit would probably regret it, considerably.

                Clutch turtles are good, if curious, friends. Never make them an enemy. Bad idea that.

          1. Even the ones who proclaim (and even believe) otherwise. The work of Tash in the name of Aslan is the work of Tash, nonetheless.

            Of course, the opposite also holds true…

  5. Of course, much of the conspiracy these days isn’t hidden. It’s posted out in the open on the WEF website. Nothing secret about a good chunk of it (though I wouldn’t be surprised if there are elements not plastered out on display, and kept hidden from the proles).

    On another note, I remember back during the Obama administration, I made a comment about how crazy things were getting. It was an observation that I had to literally keep reminding myself that I was not wandering into tin-foil conspiracy land with things like Fast and Furious, or the IRS going after conservatives. These really did happen. It wasn’t a crazy cook theory.

      1. That’s one of their biggest advantages. Sane people can’t believe how insane the ‘Progressives’ are.
        The Democrats are willing to burn America to the ground, so long as they wind up squatting on top of the ashes.

  6. In my work, over the last thirty years or so, I’ve had the chance to meet a lot of powerful and influential people.

    Politicians, billionaires, creative folks, et cetera.

    The thing that sticks is that most of them just aren’t as bright as you’d think – or hope.

    They’re very good at the thing that makes them famous/rich, but most of them fail miserably the moment they step outside of their core skill set. So they hand that over to people who are better at those gap skills – but those people, in turn, tend to be very, very bad at other things (that they try to do anyway).

    It’s not even Potemkin Village thinking, either – it’s mostly like an entire empire of emperors (with not a stitch of clothing between them).

    1. It’s like the student who is brilliant in English, and writes the best prose in the class, and “can’t math.” The difference is, in school, there are teachers and standards and the student can’t use his English grade to fill in for math and science (or vice versa). Alas, Hollywood, and politics . . .

    2. Even worse, they believe that being smart at one thing makes them geniuses at everything — and worse still, they insist on sticking their noses into everything they don’t know about and screwing it all up because they don’t have a clue what they don’t know. The fact that their money, power and/or influence allows them to force their incompetence on other people is just icing on the crazy cake.
      ‘Progressives’ believe everybody else is even stupider than they are. This explains a lot.

      1. Unfortunately, you’ve just described almost every self-styled “expert” with an advanced degree in the US (and probably in Europe).

        1. Hell, most of our government ‘experts’ don’t know Jack or Schitt about what they’re supposedly ‘experts’ at.

          Lookin’ at YOU, Fauxi.
          If economists actually understood economics, they’d all be billionaires, and wouldn’t need to be supported by the government.

  7. My daughter and I sense a kind of tension in the air, hanging like a kind of fog. There are people most susceptible and the most tightly-wound are beginning to snap and do all kinds of crazy, murderous things. Road rage killings for the smallest and most inadvertent offences. Crazy people pushing other people off subway platforms. Mass brawls in fast food restaurants and in amusement parks. Ex-boyfriends and ex-husbands going berserk and killing or attacking women.
    It just seems like these incidents are coming faster and more frequently.

    1. Yes. I’ve felt that too. There is the feel of “about to snap.” I mean, we’re used to weird. We’re taking it with much face palming, but “normal” people aren’t, and feel…. lost and angry.
      And I’m starting to hoard again, which drives Dan nuts. Because I’m really bad at rotating supplies. I’ve been informed we do not in fact need either more fabric or more vitamins, of all things. Sigh.

      1. At this point, I am mostly hoarding food items: flour, canned goods, beans, pasta and oils. We’re also adding to a stash of educational toys and books for Wee Jamie.

      2. I remember seeing how my grandparents (paternal and maternal) as well as later my wife’s grandparents behaved and sort of scratched my head and even sort of quietly laughed at them. Everything was easily heck plentifully available with a 5 minute drive to various commercial outlets why horde pasta or corn flakes? Then 2020 happened. Where I am we never really got to NOT having things although weird things would be unavailable for odd stretches and you might need to substitute. Then I tied that experience to what the assorted grandparents had experienced being young marrieds/ settled families across the Great Depression and realized why they were that way. They were afraid/knew the feces could hit the whirling blades at any time. Once burned, twice shy. And now this pudding brained (and I apologize to pudding for the insult) brahmandarins and pols seem to be MAKING this happen. WTF happened? People like Tip O’Neill or Dan Rostenkowski could be absolute jerks about some things and were idiots about others, but when it came to making sure their constituents were comfy and fed and prosperous they were all for it.

        1. About a decade or two back, I experienced a lengthy power outage after the remnants of a hurricane blew through my area. Many of the line crews from our region had left a couple days earlier to go down South to help with the electric line repairs where the hurricane hit. Hundreds of thousands in our area were without power for days because it took days to get crews back to our area, so repairs went slowly. I was without power for about 48 hours, as were nearby grocery stores and gas stations; some of my friends went over a week without power. Driving further afield the first day was difficult because I was low on gas, there were road closures from downed trees and power lines, and about a third of the traffic lights were out. I took me three hours to get gas, and another hour to drive to a grocery store, which had crazy checkout lines that took me over a half-hour to get through.

          Ever since I’ve made sure to have enough of the basics to see me through at least a week. I try to keep at least a quarter tank of gas in the car, preferably half a tank. I keep a few gallon of water on hand in case the water goes out. I always keep at least a weeks worth of food that doesn’t require refrigeration, a good portion of which doesn’t require cooking, or require too much water to cook. Canned soup, veggies and meat are fine even if water, power, and gas are out. Peanut butter, peanuts, etc. are all fine, too. Rice, noodles, etc. are fine if I’ve got water and gas.

          1. Ah you have learned what many New Englanders learned in the blizzard of 1978. That is if the roads become impassable many things that are delivered constantly can get in short supply. These included Bread, Milk and Eggs. With the threat of a large storm folks start clogging the Grocery Stores to get these items. It is sometimes referred to derogatorily as a “French Toast Alert” by some wags. The funny thing is that many of the people participating in this don’t quite know why they do as they weren’t born yet in 1978 🙂 .

            1. I’ve been known to get snarly at folks who snark about getting milk, eggs and bread.

              Geeze, guys, tell me you don’t cook at home without saying as much, huh?

              Those are stuff that are hard to get when supply lines go down, that you use a lot of, and that don’t keep well. DUH!

              1. Bread freezes well. I have four of those extra-long Costco loaves in my chest freezer. Vulnerable to lengthy power outages, of course.

                Milk and eggs not so much.

                  1. I’d been buying Jovial einkorn flour and pasta via Amazon. Jovial has their own website which I’ve used once or twice. Poking around recently I found several places offering einkorn flour and even wheat berries (so you can grind your own if desired); I bought flour from Central Milling…. but I haven’t tried theirs yet since I still have some Jovial. There’s even places selling the seed to grow your own! (I’ve been having fun looking for seeds / starters for things that aren’t as common in backyard gardens.)

                  2. Combination of both. I don’t have room in the freezer currently for hubby’s and my bread. (7 cuft freezer + 208# of 1/4 beef does that. Inside freezer full too.) Only have room for 10# flour storage. (Won’t store just in bags, unless in plastic bags in freezer. Need big Tupperware type storage.) Refrigerator cold, non-freezing bread storage prolongs bread usage, too.

                1. If you have room, sure….

                  Oh, and eggs freeze fine, they’re not great for like sunny side up eggs but they’re good for baking type uses. Fit in ice cube trays pretty good, too.

                  And we accidentally freeze a lot of milk, the back corner of our fridge is over-cold.

                  1. Oh, yeah, I make a couple of desserts based on chocolate pudding. I divide a gallon of milk into 3-cup portions and stash them in the back of the freezer.

                    I can’t find chocolate pies with pastry crusts, so I make ’em myself. There’s also Mom’s old recipe:

                    Mix about 1/2 box of angel food cake and bake in a large casserole pan — should be about 1″ deep

                    Make a batch of chocolate pudding (1 box, 3 cups milk) and pour over the cake

                    Top with 1 pint of whipped cream mixed with a couple of heaping tablespoons of powdered sugar

                  2. ’80s we use to load up dozens of gallons of milk from DariMart to take to inlaws. One third to half what it cost them. They froze it. Horrible when it thawed. I wouldn’t drink it.

                    Yea. I can bake with powdered milk, but won’t use it for anything else. Will go without first. We won’t buy anything other than whole milk to drink, or really use. I use 1/2 & 1/2 for coffee.

                    Best milk ever? When I stayed with cousins during the summer. Cold milk after filtered, fresh from the cows.

                    1. You must have smaller eggs or bigger ice cubes than I do. It overflowed into the adjacent cubicles. However, if it thaws usably, I have ice sphere makers that will do nicely. And then vacuum pack them in bags of four.

                    2. Almost definitely bigger icecube trays, I think I used the big rubber ones that are almost like baking cup size, because then I could remove the eggs from the tray.

                    3. I’m so glad to hear you hadn’t heard of that one!

                      I found it out from a fridge being too cold in one section and freezing the eggs, so I shelled the things and experimented a bit.

                      Scrambles and baking was fine.

                      Shared that, and got uniform reactions of “….yes, of course they can be frozen. Didn’t you know that?”

                2. Can you make do with powdered milk and eggs? They keep well.

                  Helps to practice using it ahead of time. Another example is cooking dried beans. Best practiced before needed.

                  Avoiding the chaos-shopping is major risk reduction.

                    1. Wait. That’s a thing? That exists?

                      I… don’t know what to say about that. Wow.

                      Sorry if this is a bit of an overreaction, I just never heard there was such a thing. Oh, and while we’re on the subject, amusing thought exercise – what happens if Megamind uses a de-hydrating gun (kids’ sci-fi gun that turns anything into a small blue cube that turns back into what it originally was when in contact with water) on a body of water? Can one buy dried water?

                    2. Dried eggs, dried butter, dried cheese. Just about anything can be freeze dried.

                      And dehydrated water has been a joke among the preparedness minded since I was a kid.

                    3. We’ve used dehydrated foods. Problem is after a few days it affects the plumbing, big time. Does not matter how much water is drank. I start throwing up. OTOH the last time I lost 15#s in a week. Which is fine. But gained it back +5#s, in 10 days.

                  1. A lot of the preppish things I do are proof of concept exercises, from growing a tiny little crop of potatoes or carrots to baking a few practice loaves (even though I threw most of the bread away when it went stale because I’m only cooking for one). I don’t have to have muscle memory of how to do a thing I only really expect to do in an emergency, I just have to know that it can be done and where I stashed the manual or recipe.

                    1. I take a bread recipe, use the bread machine, but don’t bake the bread. I make rolls. Freeze the fresh rolls when we don’t use most of them. Cooking for 3, so really only last a week or two before they are gone. But still, works. Can be used for dinners or sandwiches or toast, or … Note, I can kneed bread, just it is easier and less mess if I use the machine, … I’ve baked bread in it exactly once, when first got it.

                    2. I don’t have a bread machine and I’m not likely to get one since I follow Alton Brown on dislike of unitaskers. I baked almost-no-knead bread in my dutch oven, so now I know if I have that one piece of gear I can make it in the range’s oven, over the stove, on a propane grill, in a campfire’s coals, etc.

                    3. I have made bread in dutch ovens too. We don’t have a dutch oven right now. Hubby gave both to the troop cleaning out the garage. They were a bit big for what we need now, since it’d likely just be us. But still …

                3. You can get quart sized frozen eggs. Don’t work for omlets (they stick) but fine for everything else.

              2. Madam we do cook at home. However, I doubt many of these folks do, It’s become an ingrained response to threats of snow over 18″ in New Englanders born and bred since then.

                1. YOU aren’t being snarly.

                  You were laughing at folks following a (good) tactic they didn’t really understand.

                  I’ve seen folks get flat out brutal about it.

                  1. Less laughing at them than being frustrated when I go out to a grocery store before a storm not realizing the weather folks have prophesied doom and find checkout lines wrapping around 2/3s of the store (yes that’s real it’s happened a couple times to me in the 90’s and 2000’s). I think it is lessening, mostly because snow prediction 24-48 hours out is less of throwing darts a dartboard random number generator than it used to be.

              3. Powdered milk is fine for cooking, but it’s nasty for drinking. Keeps forever in the freezer.

                Bread keeps for a month or more in the freezer.

                I saw a lot of frozen liquid eggs in the Navy. Are they available from normal sources?
                Governments can’t create prosperity; at best, they can refrain from destroying it.

                1. They are! Right next to the milk, usually.

                  But most folks don’t have them on hand when they’re not going to be home for most meals– normal times.

                  See also, the tp shortage when folks were using normal rolls at home, not industrial ones at work.

              4. UHT milk will keep. It was a big thing in Germany when I was stationed there in the 70s and is showing up in grocery stores here now (refrigerated because people won’t buy unrefrigerated milk).

              5. UHT milk keeps outside of the refrigerator. It’s in our local Kroger’s affiliate.
                It was big in Germany when I was stationed there, even in the commissary.

                1. Sorry for the double post, the first one didn’t show up until after I posted the second one.

              6. We don’t snarl, but we smile. If we get a forecast for two inches of snow the milk and bread brigade goes out. Now, if it’s an oncoming ice storm, sticking up makes perfect sense.

                1. I have a little portable BBQ, propane, like for camping.

                  That said, it doesn’t fix everything, but it is a reasonable preparation.

                  1. You can do a lot with those little propane jobs. Less than a full stove in a kitchen, yeah, but you can still eat good out and about with a bit of preparation. I love those little things.

                2. Gas stove and matches. I find gas ovens painful, so I got a gas cooktop and an electric oven. It only now occurs to me that baking bread on the grill eats a lot of gas. I wonder what bread would taste like made in the smoker (wood pellet fed). Flat breads cook fast. That will need to do, I suppose.

                  1. Look at the breads from cultures without much water/trees. Naan, Pita, Matzo: Flatbreads all and baked in things like tandoor ovens.

              7. I chuckle at the pre-blizzard stock up on bread,eggs, etc panic runs.
                But that’s more of “Doesn’t everyone have a stocked pantry at home?” and the three different fueled camp cooking kitchen equipment in the garage and basement?
                Wife and I are scout leaders, and I play in the SCA…

              8. Some of just don’t have milk, eggs, and bread as our high-priority buys for potential power outage situations. Though they’re definitely a better choice than the people buying mass quantities of macaroni salad, potato salad, coleslaw, etc. to see them through – although that might be viable in winter, I see people doing that in warmer weather.

                1. Whenever I read about people doing that, I’m reminded of the character in Lucifer’s Hammer whose useless wife prepares for disaster by buying tons of frozen food…

        2. grandparents (paternal and maternal) as well as later my wife’s grandparents behaved

          Grandparents, cousin’s paternal grandparents (uncle was an only child so they “adopted us”), inlaws (almost my grandparents age), hubby’s grandfather, great-aunts and uncles, … lots, and lots, of examples of having supplies of all sorts squirreled away, from purchased supplies, and garden preserves, against the next disaster be it natural disaster, depression, or world war. We have learned by example (grandfather inlaw, inlaws, grandmother, grandparents) helping to clean out homes after their passing, to not toss, burn, donate, or remove, anything from premises without thoroughly checking through, whatever. Inlaws found 10 of thousands of dollars hidden throughout her dad’s house when they moved him in with them. We didn’t find anything in inlaws house (after FIL passed). My grandparents we found some money, but not thousands. There was a lot to check through for all of them. My maternal grandparents a lot was flat out burned. The salvation army/goodwill would not take it. A lot went to the dump. Very little leftover for garage sales.

          1. Wow. That sounds like it’s a pain to deal with in real life, but exactly the sort of thing one would expect to find in adventure books/movies. (National Treasure, etc.) Or mysteries. Which of course strikes the “Cool!” chord in my brain, so…

            1. “pain to deal with in real life”

              When condensed into one paragraph … yes. But grandpa and grandpa J, heard the stories, but didn’t have to deal with directly (cousins grandparents), died late ’70s; they were in their 80s. Hubby’s grandfather’s estate was handled by the inlaws, we just got stories, that was early ’78, he died in ’80 at age 96. Paternal grandmother died ’87; she was a month short of 80. Maternal grandparents died ’05, they were 95. Thus, not entirely unexpected for all that it was a surprise, if that makes sense. (Wait! What? Aren’t they living forever?)

              I have grandpa’s service wallet from WWII with picture of grandma, mom, and sister (little brother was born 1949). Note grandpa was “deployed” back to his mining mechanic job in Colorado. As was paternal grandfather (Civil Engineer) and great-uncle. Latter 2 also had disabilities from polio and childhood accident; although great-uncle was headed overseas to Europe, when the war ended. We did find little “treasures”. Paternal grandmother was the quilter, knitter, and crocheter. For as small of a house she had (“3” bedroom, 900 sqft) we were pulling mostly saved fabric, some yarn, out of everywhere. Boxes and boxes of canning jars. We found two unframed charcoal and chalk drawings that great grandma had done. Then of coarse the ones they had that were framed. Then there were grandpa’s oil paintings, most of those, not all, went to the “little boys”, younger cousins (15 years younger) who were born after grandpa couldn’t paint anymore, and the great-grands. All the tools that had to be fished out of the pond, then were lost in distributed boating accidents (we’re a clumsy boating family). All of grandpa’s fishing gear.

              Note, not one thing above was “worth anything” to anyone other than family, and a few very close friends.

              Tell you one thing that happened. Everyone of us who helped clean out estates, went home and did major house cleaning of our homes. Everyone.

              1. “All the tools that had to be fished out of the pond, then were lost in distributed boating accidents (we’re a clumsy boating family).”
                Sounds familiar. After a great-uncle died a few years ago, so much stuff got dredged out of that pond that some of it even made all the way down the family tree to me. But alas, I too have discovered how easy it is for things to fall overboard…

                1. I hear you. Great Aunt had their pond dredged when great uncle died. Then mom and dad started Salmon Fishing … When dad died, the old (at least 100 years) .30-.30 of great uncles found itself dredged up and passed on. Just lately we completely dredged up all the stuff mom & dad had. Funny how it fell overboard again (hey wasn’t me being clumsy, this time, I was busy chumming water, boats and I don’t get along). Note, all of grandpa’s stuff got passed onto youngest child, and his boys (mom/dad, aunt/uncle, each have enough to pass on to all of us who care to dredge, to almost outfit the neighborhood, once dredged and cleaned). Might as well spread the wealth, so to speak.


                  FYI If state I live in, or at least a couple other destination states, has managed to pass the firearm law regarding how they can be inherited, or not, all said firearms were passed on to intended recipients before it was passed, just they all got lost in the same ocean/lake/pond/river/creek …

          2. Mom died of cancer in 2016. About a month before she left, she told me she had 30k hidden in the house. She wouldn’t tell me where it was because she was going to beat the cancer. We never did find most of it. A lot in books, some tucked in the emergency packs.

            1. Sigh both maternal grandmother and great grandmother stashed gold. No one ever found it. Now mom is doing it and mom is a genius, so most of it really is unfindable. AND she insists she showed me and another member of the family.
              She DID show me, but I’m across the ocean and have LOUSY visual memory.
              When she goes my advice is: Pull out every pipe, every electrical box, every mechanical fitting. Also, disassemble all the furniture.
              ….. Sighs.

              1. IIRC there was a Dean Ing novel with a WW2 Albanian vet who hid all his smuggled gold by building it into his (extremely beefed-up) Land Rover.

        3. O’Neill and Rostenkowski were standard-issue political crooks; they didn’t want to tear down Western Civilization.

          That’s the difference.

      3. The weirdometer got a workout at the grocery-store gas station today. Preliminary note: Oregon is either the only or one of a very few states that doesn’t allow self-service pumping. A younger guy (late 20s, early 30s, tats and an attitude) decided that he was going to fill the tank on the elderly Class C motorhome he was driving. (Oregon tags, so the driver should know better.)

        The attendant told him not to do so, but he kept on, with extreme incompetence. Seems he didn’t know that one had to put the nozzle in far enough to get past the gate to avoid splashing. Lots of splashing. He saw me looking and did the “what are you looking at?”. I refrained from replying something about the idiocy on display.

        Another attendant said he was going to get fined. By the time I finished, the motorhome was parked in the main lot. Not sure if he was cut off. FWIW, the bumper stickers on the back implied a retired owner, so probably this was a recent acquisition. OTOH, non-Oregonians know how to pump gas. (I’m starting to suspect this might be one of the Portland non-driving crowd on a mission. I didn’t say Pantifa, but…)

        After action thought: A pocket 9mm ain’t the easiest to get to. Maybe it’s time to take the Colonel’s advice and find a social purposes holster for the 1911. I’m not fond of IWB, and the external is better for ranch work than city.

        1. Oregon is one of 2 states that does not allow self fueling at public pumps (Cardlock sites, self pump is allowed). Heck I was born in Oregon and even I know how to pump my own fuel. That aside. Interestingly enough after Oregon dropped the pandemic allowed self pump, certain east side, close-ish to Idaho sites, didn’t. Some less close to Idaho than others, cough Baker cough, or hadn’t last fall.

          It is interesting when we travel. We stop for fuel at first stop outside of Oregon and wait. Look at each other. “Oh. Yea. Not in Oregon.” Reverse, first stop in Oregon, get out and reach to start … “Oh, yea, back in Oregon”, and wait. It is a mind set. Either way my role is the same. Get Pepper out for a potty walk and offer water.

          1. FWIW, there’s been permission to self-fuel in certain eastern counties (Flyover isn’t one of them), particularly late at night. IIRC, the justification was that there wasn’t enough business to warrant keeping somebody on site at night. I don’t know enough about the rules; might be good 24 hours. And yeah, it’s not widely publicized.

            So yeah, in really free parts of Oregon, it is actually legal to self-pump.

            Still, the weirdometer pegged when I saw the guy fumbling with the fuel nozzle. Was seriously considering getting out of there and at least going to a lane on the other side of the array.

          2. Once my sister and I stopped at a full service place during a snowstorm and hopped at once.

            She went for windshield wipers. Me, for the vending machine

    2. I work customer service and… the baseline of customer behavior just keeps getting nastier. With profanity coming out at the smallest or even no provocation. I’ve seen this shift drastically over just a few months.

      It’s a bad sign.

      1. I also work in customer service and I saw the same thing. It’s the reason I quit Walmart.
        People hate self scan, and it’s all Walmart has after 6 PM.
        I kept getting stuck monitoring 20 scan stations, alone, from 8-10 PM.
        The last night I worked a man arrived and immediately started shouting F-bombs–shouting–because his diapers wouldn’t scan.
        All hell broke loose that night. All the stations were full, at least 10 of them needed my personal touch to clear an age restricted item or fix an issue. And then I had an issue where I had to leave the area to try to find a manager/lead.
        That night, at least six otherwise normal people walked out of the store with $500 carts of food, for nothing. They just left.
        I expected physical violence.
        And it’s getting worse, in every store.

                1. Well, if 100 people walked out of Walmart with their stuff, after plunking down what they thought was the correct money for what they picked up, because the machines weren’t working/were indecipherable, that sounds more like mass rationality.

                  1. Happens in disaster situations. Flooding and the like, where power is out or network is gone. In some places, that’s normal rather than cause for raised eyebrows.

                    1. Some days, like today when Havey has been very weirdly vocal and wants something he can’t tell me what I wonder WHY I’m slave to these little pests, but hey.

                    2. [Looks at Fox’s meme]

                      This would be funnier if we didn’t have a rotting vegetable in the Oval Office.

                  1. > “I should go find an orange kitten.”

                    I thought Steve said he had one lined up for you?

                1. Feed the dog scraps. That is how dogs survived before commercial dog food was vogue (actually recent, for definitions of “recent”). It is how dogs survive in most the world even now. Better than multiple broken hearts.

        1. I’m sort of odd in that the self-scan machines don’t really bother me anymore; they let me avoid contacting other people, but I can definitely see how things could easily go very sideways at night with insufficient staff to handle things.

          It’s also remarkable just how little stuff it seems to require to hit that $500 milestone too…

          1. My kids PREFER the self-scan. I’m okay provided it’s not a ton of stuff.
            As for… well, yesterday we went in for dairy run, a little bit (REALLY) of meat, some frozen veggies. $100. I…. whatever. It will last us a week or two, but REALLY?

            1. Yeah. I’m pretty routinely doing $200 runs these days. Now, I am the one who stocks the long term non-perishables, but it’s getting really expensive out there

          2. I love the self-check-out– I can pack my stuff the way that works for me, so when I get home stuff gets put away in seconds, not an hour.

            But then, our Walmarts have really good setups, very accurate AI, and always have someone on duty if only to run the smokes checkout.

            1. Won’t shop Walmart. But otherwise agree. I only go through non-self checkout if I have a few items, lines are non-existent, and how items get packed are “I don’t care”. This includes Costco. Although with Costco, packing by employees generally make sense if I get boxes (it helps that I prearrange on the checkout belt). But I generally don’t bother with boxes, I just pack into the shop bags when I unload into the car.

              I can’t shop at Fred Meyer’s anymore without hitting $100, for two, maybe 3 shopping bags, and I’m not buying meat, milk, or staples. One shopping trip = $400 – $500 minimum. The “loop” is Costco, Petsmart, Fuel, and finally Fred Meyers. Could be adding Winco now (same “complex” as Costco and Petsmart) but unless willing to use their brands, the penny savings is not worth the stop, plus not being able to use CC to pay.

              1. $86 for three stores (Bi-Mart/Freds/independent), with some stocking, mostly canned soup. Normally, we’ll get a bit of meat on the semi-annual Costco trips, with the bulk from the restaurant supply. Sausage for pizza gets bought when it’s on sale, broken into two-link packs and frozen.

                Our dairy is limited to cheese, yoghurt and powdered milk. Haven’t had drinking-milk in ages, though our home-made mocha mix goes into the first cuppa coffee in the morning. (Alton Brown FTW)

                Stuff (soup) that used to go on sale for $1.00 is now $2.28. Other stuff (Kroger cranberry juice cocktail) is on indefinite backorder, though the Big Name stuff is there at a Big Name price. Nope.

                The independent is a pack-your-own, so that works pretty well. At Fred’s, I’ll stage with bags; some of the checkers override, while the older ones know what we’re doing.

                I don’t like to self-scan at the grocery. Home Depot, yeah if it’s practical, but looking up produce is a pain.

                1. At Safeway where we shop, produce section,price has a 4 digit code, I just write it on my pocket pad, unless I already have it memorized. Bananas 4011. Safeway knows the weight of every product, so if you forget, the computer nags you. Self scan is faster, but if you have alcohol Cali State law requires a checker.

                  1. Oregon law requires an override on Alcohol at self checks. Weird, with my white/gray hair getting carded at 65. Just roll my eyes. They have to enter a birth date at the checkout stand with the alert. Well hubby does, he’s 70. I rarely buy alcohol. Used to be they just had to override with a “yes, checked id”. That has changed over the last 3 years.

            2. > “I love the self-check-out– I can pack my stuff the way that works for me”


              Same here. Plus, it spares you the small talk with the cashier if you’re not in the mood.

        2. I refuse to use self scan unless there’s no alternative and have completely stopped at the local Walmart because they give no other option. Why should I save them a salary by checking myself out, they don’t give me a discount for it and that’s someone’s job, In any case, I’m tired of dealing with machines and try to deal with humans. It might be more expensive for the firm, but it’s much cheaper for me. Much less aggravation.

          The wife checked at the A&P back in the day when she was in HS before scanners.

          1. I used to hear this from many many customers.
            They are almost universally loathed.

            1. I usually prefer using the self-checkout unless I’m buying a lot of produce or have a giant cart full of stuff. Mostly because I chafe at the waiting and I’m faster than almost everyone else with the machine. I anticipate where my finger is going to need to be next, and I’m generally done running my card by the time the screen gets to the method of payment step.

              1. I’m the same. I’ll even do a fat cart if I don’t have to wait in line.
                We are unusual.
                I checked out more than a few people who got to the self check late at night and honestly didn’t know what to do. I felt bad for them.

                1. Yeah, it’s not like self-checkout machines haven’t been a thing for 25 years now. I don’t get those people, and they’re not all slightly vague grannies or third world immigrants right off the boat truck, either. What gives?

                  1. I have had problems with self checkout ONCE. Not the machine, me.
                    It was four in the morning and I’d just got to safe harbour city with a truckload of stuff from Colorado. I could barely keep my eyes open, and I literally couldn’t remember how to scan.

                    1. I had a problem at the Walmart in Anchorage last year where the scanner was oriented contrary to the direction of flow (as in, they put the right-side-of-aisle machine on the left side), so I dropped all my stuff on the bagging side, scanned it, and put it on the staging shelf. Unlike most such stations, it wasn’t clear which was which, and I was flummoxed because the instructions and error messages made no sense.

                    2. The biggest issues I’ve had are when the scales are touchy about weights , sometimes in weird ways. Costco is so sensitive my wife refuses to self checkout there, but we do everywhere else including Sam’s club. Sam’s club us nice because you can leave everything in the cart as you scan.

                    3. I talk back to the system. When I pay attention to the “looks”, just mutter “What! I wrote software for 35 years. I’ll worry when they actually talk back.” OTOH most comments are to the attendants, flagging them down “I know it is going to whine”. 🙂

                      Costco. They generally end up scanning over half my basket anyway. I tend to get heavy stuff: Pop/seltzer-water, cat litter, milk, etc. The few things that I scan and go on scales are few.

                    4. I try to limit the Costco self check to when I’m getting the hot chickens. My other passes through the registers entail a few hundred dollars (when it’s every 6 months, the shopping list gets impressive), and I’d rather the staff handles the stuff. The birds get bought last before I head for the hotel, so it’s easier to go self-check.

                      Once a year, the Costco run is tied to a medical trip, the other time, it’s Costco and the few things that are hard to get in Flyover Falls. (Trader Joe’s ain’t here, dude…)

                      The car looks like a modern day Joad vehicle on the way home.

                    5. > “I talk back to the system.”

                      Heh. Same here. One time the system at Winn-Dixie developed a stutter when it talked and I started calling it SHODAN. 😛

                    6. LOL. Then again, I ARGUE with my GPS, so…. “No. We’re not going that way. Do you remember the last time you took me that way? That’s where all the crazy people race. No.”

                    7. I talk back to Waze (GPS) too. “No, not going out RR, taking Expressway to the Freeway.” Sometimes I wish I could turn off the stupid voice. Don’t need directions, locally anyway, until we are a lot closer to the needed off ramp. Just easier to plug in just as leaving than wait until on freeway approaching possible exit.

                    8. “why do you want me to go that way? we’ll save two blocks and end up on a 25 mph street.”

                    9. “I would LOVE to take a left, but there is a three foot wall in the way.”

                      “No, I cannot merge on to the freeway from here. This is a road over the freeway, not an intersection, and there are no onramps.”

                    10. “No Uber, i cannot stop and let the passenger out at this location, we’re on a bridge and his apartment building is about 200 feet below us”

                    11. When my mom was a teenager in driver’s ed, iirc, they used to joke about changing gears to “jump” when passing was impractical. The advent of GPS gave the line a whole new life.

                  2. Dude! Most of the people who said they had never used a scanner were not old. Usually 45 or so. I was surprised.

                    1. I’m almost 60 and I’ve only used a scanner once or twice. I hate them. I suspect this is part of my neo-Luddite weirdness along with hatred of “the man”. Odd for an ex-investment banker, but there you have it. Maybe I hate them because I know them.

                    2. I use a scanner at our local little forest town grocery store because that is my only option. We want to keep our local grocery in business and they do a great job for our community and they put scanners in so their small staff can do other things. They didn’t let a single person go because of it. But the regular checkers run the scanners for people so it’s kind of like nothing actually has changed.

              2. Both Costco and Fred Meyers. Standard Procedure:

                .1. Run membership card.
                .2. Run CC.
                .3. Scan
                .4. click pay now.
                .5. Freds – click “No bags”
                .6. Freds – click coupons (maybe)
                .7. scan coupons (maybe)
                .8. Click CC.
                .9. Start loading cart back.

                Never worked as a cashier. Can’t beat Costco checkout’s at their job, but I can most the Fred Meyer ones.

                I’ve stated before, it isn’t that I’m not being paid to do someone else’s job. It is packing the way I want it, and I don’t want to have to direct someone else to get it right.

                Besides, the company I used to work for built and sold the original scanners at Fred Meyers … Spectra Physics … not anymore, well indirectly, maybe. PSC bought Spectra Physics and Percon (where I worked), then PSC went bankrupt (’02). Original Spectra Physics and Percon sections purchased by DataLogic (’03). Another (very, very, small) small section ended up reusing the Percon name in ’10.

        1. Wry That and management cutting hours on the people who are hired – if you only get 15-odd hours of work a week and you don’t know more than a week or so in advance which hours, what are you supposed to do?

          1. Most end up working two to 4 jobs to get 40+ hours a week. Which employer are they going to be loyal too? The ones that give benefits? None, not likely if less than < half time. Or the ones who schedule regular hours?

            1. Yeah. Turns out mandating things for anyone who works more than 40 hours just incentivises employers to make sure no-one works over 20h then double/triple book people.

              And because they can’t have anyone working set times, they just end up tossing all the names into a computer to spit out who’s most likely to actually show up when they need coverage. But people aren’t actually widgets so they just end up burning through staff.

              All because some “do-gooder” in gov’t thought it would be a great idea to mandate a ton of stuff no-one could actually afford to pay for.

                1. Locally it is more than less than half time sick leave is required. Which prompted two things. **Employers, put their employees on earned PTO (personal time) covering both sick, vacation, and holidays whether employer was open on said holidays or not. In addition, newly implemented there is PTO 1 and PTO 2, with the former being phased out. PTO is earned based on X/hour depending on your time in-service (i.e. yearly basis either 80 hours till 5 years, 120 hours till X years, supervisor, add 40 hours, etc.), to accumulate maximum based on in-service. Some employers allow employees to keep earning PTO by burning (requesting pay in lieu of time off), but they have to request it before they go over maximum (son was doing this a lot at last employer). Current employer doesn’t do that (I think). PTO 2 is if new employee shows up (IF), works two weeks, they don’t get paid their PTO. Must work 5 years and give 2 weeks notice to get unused earned PTO. I can think of easy way around that requirement with only half thinking about it, and still not burn any bridges. When son left, he was well over 5 years, he did give two weeks notice. Told his new employer he was giving two weeks notice. Heck when I retired (and I didn’t care if burnt bridges were involved) I made dang sure my accumulated vacation time was zeroed out before my last day (more than 2 weeks notice, technically, even if I was on vacation for over half of it before last day).

                  ** Not all employers. Mine didn’t. Just said make sure to note sick days taken in Vacation Schedule spreadsheet.

                  Other side effect is gee, seems no one wants to use PTO for sick leave unless forced because in hospital. So people still send kids to daycare, or school, sick, loaded with whatever to have fever at normal. They still come in to work sick. Or did. After the last two years? Who knows.

              1. Either that, or my situation, which is to be a permanent “temporary contract worker”. It’s nice working full time. But it’s frustrating essentially having no benefits no matter how long I work at the same place, especially when I’m once again trying to get ahold of someone only to discover that they just started a week-long vacation. And knowing that the situation for me is not likely to change anytime soon.

    3. To me, it’s a mix of “heaviness and electric feeling in the air right before a really nasty storm” and “rubber band stretched to the point it’s ready to snap.”

      When we went down to Tampa Bay Comic Con last year, my biggest worry was that we’d get there only to be told sorry, show’s not happening, go back home, and we’d have all those hotel nights and all the gas down the drain. This year, I’ve been worried that the balloon would go up while we’re on the road and we’d be stranded far from home, surrounded by people who have no good reason to give a d*mn about us, desperately trying to barter niche merchandise for survival necessities. We’re on the return trip now, but until we’re within a single tank of gas from home, I’ll still be on edge.

      At least our remaining events are all within a single gas tank’s drive, so the risk of being stranded is not as severe. But the feeling of “can we just get this Over With?” is getting steadily more intense.

        1. Agreed, I’m a days WALK from Tampa, or Orlando, and would welcome help at the barricades from people I’d trust at my back.

          1. Waaaay behind enemy lines near Vancouver, BC. Not much in the way of mutual support here, but we have supplies and plans laid in

            1. Nice to know.

              We tend to go to Banff/Jasper. Looking to go again this fall. This time think we are coming up I-5, whether we cut east in Washington to go across the border, or straight up I-5 to cross border. My vote is former. Drive a day, hotel it before crossing border, cross the next morning, then head up alternate route to Jasper. Why? I have a Service Dog. Service Dogs in US are not certified (no legally recognized method) by Federal Law. So, we can stay anywhere on US side. Recognition of her being a SD in Canada depends on the venue. We’ll get reservations in dog friendly hotels, but whether pet fee is charged or not is dependent on whether the take her training records, and my medical letter. We haven’t made exact plans, yet. When we do they will be bailable up to when we leave.

              My point is, while we hotel it, we also carry shelter (backpacking tent/supplies so better than plain “emergency” supplies). We could backpack over to you, over days if needed.

          2. Is there any chance of a Hun get-together in North Texas? I could use some local contacts.

            1. Yes. Very high, since it’s more or less in Sarah’s area/something like that.
              BUT someone else would have to organize it. And check with me on dates, or we might not be able to attend.

              We will be in Dallas for Fencon.

              1. We’re going to be behind enemy lines for a technical conference during the time that Fencon is running this year, unfortunately. That’s about the only time we couldn’t attend such a meetup.

                1. We might come by other times. We’d like to attend dinner with the North Texas troublemakers. Honestly, if someone plans it and gives us a few months warning, we’ll try to come.

                  1. I’m up for it if anyone else is. Now we have to figure out how to coordinate…

  8. I’ve been treating all the information that comes my way the way I have always treated information about markets. Why do I know this, now? Who wants me to know this? Why do they want me to know this? The truth or otherwise comes way down the priority. This is true of everything, not just left wing BS. The right wing conspiracies tend to do more damage to me. I know they’re all trying to manipulate me and i’m trying to make it harder for them.

    The fact that I’ve never given a tinker’s damn about what people think of me helps, a lot. My little family unit scores high on the weirdometer too, being prudent, paleo- conservative hippies. Russel Kirk classed himself the same way. The whole neo-con outsource, offshore, grift, eternal war leaves me cold.

    1. First principle in disasters and life-and-death situations is generally “secure your own gas mask.” I.e. don’t be a burden to others first before you even think of “helping” other people. Further, look after the people closest to you before charging out to help others that might need it less.

      When you look at it that way, the folly becomes clear, I think. Thus the ludicrous propositions of securing Ukraine’s borders but not our own, sending baby food to Afghanistan when Americans can’t find it on the shelves, and the like.

      Thus the neo-cons, the Rinos, and the Establishment uniparty hacks reveal themselves as what they are. They never seem to miss an opportunity to stab us in the back, do they? That, and as Ace said not too long ago…

      If all of your friends are leftist, if you never miss a chance to make the “Christian/Conservative Case for (insert leftist cause of the day),” if the only time you actually make the effort to sound like a Conservative is during election season, then the truth is you’re really NOT a Conservative. You are playing for the other team.

  9. It’s not the stupidity or even the ignorance that is the problem. Stupidity and ignorance have always been with us and ever shall be. The harm is in the righteousness and zeal. If they would simply righteous and zealous about Kim Kardashian’s anatomical proportions, we could happily ignore them. As long as the guy who proclaimed himself a Russian Count confined himself to running a restaurant, all was fine.

    I had always thought Heinlein’s Crazy Years were exaggerated, but now I wouldn’t be surprised to see the California governor wearing an Indian headdress and proclaiming that the state’s mandate for Gay Intersectional Native American Studies in 1st grade would solve all our energy problems.

    1. Even more apropos than the crazy years is the post-USA North American political situation in “Friday”.

        1. You may be right. I guess I’ll have to reread Friday again, as prophecy this time.
          I really liked it as fiction…

    2. Read “The Babylon Bee” .com

      Where satire becomes prophesy, often enough for “hmmmm…”

      And -funny-

      They also do news via ” Not The Bee” .com

      1. Oh, yeah! Two of my favorite websites!

        Not The Bee is basically where I’m getting all my news these days. I haven’t been on “The Babylon Bee” in a while – I used to read just about every article, then got overwhelmed.

        1. I follow The Babylon Bee on MeWe. Get the headlines, rarely read the articles themselves. Probably need to for Not the Bee too.

          Must admit really tired of them being fortune tellers, too dang accurate by far. OTOH maybe the demorats are reading them too … if so too many are going “Hold my beer. Watch THIS!”

  10. If this future was scripted by Philip K. Dick, he collaborated with Franz Kafka. 😛
    “Weep for the future, Na’Toth. Weep for us all.”

  11. Now, my own suspicion is that the universe is not only queerer than we suppose, but queerer than we can suppose. – J. B. S. Haldane, “Possible Worlds”, 1927 collection.

        1. My saying. “Einstein was wrong. God not only plays dice with the universe, He plays with loaded dice.”

        2. My belief is that we are all influencing the quantum state by all of our intentions.

          1. This seems to be the source of free will. We cannot know the state, yet can influence it.

            1. Correct. And to test this out, ask yourself “How does my intention to move my hand get translated from intention into action?”. Yes, there are neuronal paths that are somewhat understood, but how does it go from the wish to the first physical action, including those neuronal actions?

              1. It is even weirder than that. My subconscious does all the heavy lifting. When you drive, or type, and have taught your subconscious how to do it, you stop thinking about doing it, somehow tell/ask another mind in your brain what you want. This is why making a free throw can be impossible. You need to do it without thinking.

                I know my subconscious has a mind of its own. Back when I was trying to write, late at night, I would fall asleep. I kept typing. I was asleep. My hands kept typing words, sentences, paragraphs. Used metaphor.

                This was frustrating. I had to delete the work my subconscious typed while “I” slept.. If only my subconscious had kept writing what I was writing, it would have been useful. Instead, another mind took over. “He/IT/?” typed things that made “sense”, but had nothing to do with my story. Remember, actual words, strung together in real sentences. A mind put them together. Not me? It was my fingers.

                So its not just how do I move my hand, but how do we cooperate with the other minds in our brains. This stuff is weirder than most imagine. How did matter become aware? Why? When?

      1. > “Reality is not logical; it’s whimsical. – RAH”

        Nah, reality is fine. It’s people who are illogical.

  12. I trusted but started to doubt with JFK’s assassination. I happened to own a 6.5 mm Carcano at the time and found it quite hard to believe Lee Harvey Oswald, or anyone, could have shot such as rapidly and accurately as the news etc. said.

    None the less, since a blue ribbon commission reviewed all the available data and said so, hence I allowed it must be true, but based on my own experience with the rifle…

    BTW: an interesting essay at American Thinker about Ruby Ridge thirty years ago this month;

    Today, most anything, I Psalm 146 verse 3.

    1. The Carcano got a bad rap for accuracy because the American made ammo that most people were using was badly out of spec. Using the ammo that was made for it rifle is fine.

      This distorted the entire discussion around JFK.

      1. Hum, I bought mine in the fifties, fired Italian surplus ammo, speaking for the one I owned, I did find it slow and inaccurate.

        Of course that might have been just the one I owned, it was, they are, surplus and others might have been in better shape than mine. None the less, my personal experience with the weapon leaves me with doubts and questions.

    2. The time of six seconds starts with the “bang” of first shot, not chambering it. So a careful first shot, effectively “off the clock”, followed by two more shots in six seconds, is quite doable.

      Oswald was a lefty, which allows one to shoot a bolt gun lefty and cycle righty, off a support. Very quick and accurate.

      Easily done by a practiced shooter at such short range.

      I used to shoot “Highpower” rifle matches, (out to 600 yards) so some personal knowledge of riflery (besides the Army Infantry stuff). I still do the occasional “speed rifle” event at Cowboy Action Shooting matches.

      Even a Marine “marksman” (lowest qualification) like Oswald is a decent shot. The JFK event is easily within the ability of the stated player and weapon.

      And most successful assassinations are by either “bodyguard” or “lone crazy”.

      1. The time of six seconds starts with the “bang” of first shot, not chambering it. So a careful first shot, effectively “off the clock”, followed by two more shots in six seconds, is quite doable.

        Wait….. THAT is the legendary impossible timing!?

        So basically a bunch of fudds who take personal offense at the idea of shooting any faster than a battleship gun, and people who have never picked up a gun in their life all decided they were going to determine what was possible, and then write the major counter-narrative around JFK.

  13. The thing is, if you read enough and most especially if you are a writer, you can spot plot holes and McGyvering and Mary Sue handwavium instantly.

    If you can read a book in a sitting you have a much better grasp of the scope and sequence of it than if it takes you a week or two. I remember as a 6th grader being shocked upon hearing that my teacher had taken a week to read a book that I had gone home and read the night she assigned it. When I asked my mother how a person like that could be a teacher, Mom informed me that very few people read a whole book (novel) in one day and almost no one read more than one in a day. And she said even fewer could tell you the page and paragraph of some information in a book they read later on. I didn’t quite believe her, so I started watching and it seemed to be true. So, my theory is that since it takes people too long to read things, they tend to get information from video and audio sources which, because of time constraints, don’t cover the whole of a subject. So they have a very superficial knowledge of lots of things.

    And because they have lives, they don’t look at the source materials to make informed judgements. Too many still trust that the media is looking at the source materials and reporting the facts. If you are used to doing research yourself, you can see things aren’t adding up. Like COVID. Anyone who looked at the Diamond Princess data KNEW it couldn’t possibly be as deadly as they said. Even early on when nothing much was known.

    And as far as lizard people in government, wouldn’t surprise me either at this point. It would explain so much.

    1. . And she said even fewer could tell you the page and paragraph of some information in a book they read later on.

      I can’t do page and paragraph, but I can flip through the book for a bit– using the poke-the-middle method– and find it quick enough.

        1. Yeah. I can’t do it anymore either since my stroke.

          I had no idea how handy it was until I couldn’t do it anymore. But I can do the hunt and poke thing with a general idea of where to start looking.

          But not with an ebook. It’s got to be paper.

          1. Yeah. I only realized how good my memory was when it left me. It’s finally coming back, weirdly, in fits and starts.
            Docson says that the brain heals, but slowly and oddly.

            1. Yeah they told me in the hospital that whatever brain function I recovered in the first six months would be as much as I would recover, period.

              They lied. Even sixty year old grandmas have brain plasticity.

              OTOH, I am stubborn and kinda like a good fight.

              1. Yeah, but like any part of the body, you need to exercise it. Lack of work, and the brain gets flabby. Hmmm. Maybe that’s why Nancy Pelosi is the way she is.

    2. Half the folks out there have IQs under the average. Ponder the implications.

      Three-sigma IQ folks often forget the above, and wonder why folks act like they do.

      A book or more a day is definitely “welcome to team Odd”.

      1. At more than 100 pages an hour, a 300 page book takes less than 3 hours. The only problem is when you start a 600 page book at 10pm, and get sucked in…Weber, 738 pages is too much to read before bedtime.

        1. :chuckles uncomfortably, then sighs:

          Yeah. And fanfictions (that I don’t immediately get kicked out of because of formatting issues/spelling issues/unbelievable premises) are just as bad, for me. I end up awake until 3 o’clock or 4 o’clock at night because gosh darn it, I want to know how this ends! And that next one might be interesting too. And goodness knows I need something funny/fluffy after the angst of that last one… Then I look at the clock and think “Oh, it’s 3:14, this is a perfectly normal time to be awake. I’m fine.”

          “Wait, that’s AM, not PM. Frell.”

              1. My Hero Adademia
                So I’m a Spider, so what?
                How a Realist Hero Rebuilt eh Kingdom
                Goblin Slayer
                Teh Faraway Paladin
                Restaurant to Another World
                Skeleton Knight in Another World
                Sword Art Online ((of course)
                Re:Zero Starting Life in Another World
                How Not to Summon a Demon Lord
                Is it Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon (laugh)
                Jujutsu Kaisen
                That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime
                Black Clover
                Attack On Titan
                Ascendance of a Bookworm (really cute)
                Parallel World Pharmacy (starting to look good)
                So many others….

        2. The only real downside I’ve noticed is that it’s much easier to see when an author ‘repeats’, if you’re reading a series-per-week instead of a book. . .

          On the other hand I have a (seemingly) much larger tolerance for picking up on what the author is trying to do with his work, and it usually lets me forgive some overly purple prose or strange plot diversions.

        1. Until I had that stupid stroke I had no idea what it was like to read a paragraph over and over again because I didn’t get it the first time like some people said happened to them. Or what it was like to fall asleep reading something boring. I never started a book after 10 pm. Not even text books.

          I had literally never had any of these things happento me before then. I never knew how people could hate reading. I had lived to read.

          Luckily, since I knew what I was working toward, I knew what real reading was all about and had a goal to get back toward.

          Doing more than a mile on an exercise bike. Not so much.

          1. Yes. I am better, but most of the improvement has happened since we moved. The high altitude was… not good for me.
            Entire parts of my imaginary worlds disappeared. SOME are coming back.

      2. The number one answer to the question, “How many books do you read in a year?” On Family Feud some years ago was 12

        I had guessed 300 which is thought was low balling it.

        1. Wow. One book a month?

          My “low ball” would have been, 52. Even a big book I want to savor (cough, cough, Outlander and sequels, Dresden Files, Yellowrock or Soulwood, or Mercy Thompson), it is rarely takes an entire week to read one book. Normally I get sucked in, the book gets read in 48 marathon hours. Which triggers a reread, where I might be able to slow down and pick out nuances I missed in the first marathon read.

          I’d say weird that way. But I know I am not the only one. Not by light years. Others have self confessed too.

            1. I think (not sure, I don’t keep count) I average one book a day. if you count rereads. No wonder I’m Odd.

              My normal isn’t a book a week. Or two books a week. I read book 8 of Outlander series in 3 days, and I tried to slow down reading and take breaks. I did. I really tried. Normal can be one book a day. Working slowed that down a lot, especially when working in the woods. Taking a book just didn’t work out there, at all. Log Scaling, easy to have books, while there were days with no breaks, that wasn’t normal. Programming? Well lunch … Now that I’m retired, I still read a lot, but I do try to take time to read book.

          1. My record was 7 in a day, but I was pushing. Up through about 10 years ago I’d say minimum of 2 per week, often 1 or 2 per day. Staying up until 2 or 3 and then getting up at 6 wasn’t unusual or difficult until I hit 30.

            I like my own stories more, so I end up reading them over and over. I stuck them out on Amazon, probably some too soon, because I wanted my own copy.

        2. On the one hand, I tear through books that I start.

          On the other hand, I don’t start that many books anymore.

          I’m not sure why the change.

          1. Same here. I rarely read anything except stuff on the internet anymore, but I used to read novels a mile a minute, nonstop.

            When I do pick one up it goes quickly, a couple/three evenings, usually. Did a “read 50 books in one year” challenge a few years ago, dawdled, took my time, didn’t read for a couple weeks at a stretch several times, and still finished at 60+. Never kept track back in the day, but it had to be at least a hundred books a year, probably more. And I could remember everything about all of them.

            After a big ol’ brain surgery about 15 years ago, I can’t read as fast or remember as well as I used to. Still smarter than the average bear, but sadly nowhere near as smart as I used to be. I can still get to some of the same places, but not all…and much slower and with effort. Don’t remember books very well anymore, either. 😦 I don’t think that has much to do with the reading situation, though…it’s not like I don’t read. I’m always reading something, but for some reason what I read has changed.

            1. Hah. My .. grade 2? 3? class I remember we had a ‘reading train’ where you were supposed to read a book and report back when you were done, the teacher would add a train car to the train, and so on.

              I don’t think she intended for it to go all the way around the classroom. . .

              I loved the library, although the school one very quickly ran out of interesting books and by grade 7 & 8 I ended up at the local ‘Central Library’ where I’d just come home with the entire shelf of Anne McCaffrey’s books (the girls on the front covers were hot! And then the stories .. Brain & the Brawn series were something.). . .

              Although my Dad didn’t think that it was appropriate for me to read Pratchett for some reason. Looking back I think I just overwhelmed the parental filters after a while.

              1. The second Rincewind novel had an…. Interesting cover that looked like the balloon-chested lady was about to fall out of her oddly form fitting formal dress. Maybe that was it.

              2. Toward the end of Jr High (7-9 back then) I was called out of class and sent to the library. Librarians presented me with an Andre Norton book they’d purchased just for me. I might have spent a bit of time in there checking out the maximum number of books allowed, every Friday, Monday, and Wednesday, … Multiple books because otherwise I was in the library every single day. Repeated in HS, but the HS didn’t give me my own new book … Summers were withdrawal season … we did go to the city library, when city extended free services to county residents, but we only went once a week or two, depending on what we had was due back (well finished by then and likely read twice or more).

            2. “I rarely read anything except stuff on the internet anymore, but I used to read novels a mile a minute, nonstop.”

              I resemble that remark.
              My goal has slowed from 1 book a day to 1 a week, mostly non-fiction.
              Since 2008 (wonder why –), I have read very little fiction (much, much less than my usual), because the current news goes way outside any imaginary realm (as many have said, you couldn’t pitch today’s events to a publisher because no one would believe it).

              My sister and I were both fast readers, and always got books from Santa (the newest Nancy Drew and such).
              Some years ago, Mom confessed that those gifts were never wrapped for under the tree, because she knew they would keep us occupied until everyone else woke up Christmas morning.

            3. it’s not like I don’t read. I’m always reading something, but for some reason what I read has changed.

              100%. Translates into reading fewer ebooks (which for me is mostly novels, not 100% because I’ve been also reading history on St Helen, Dinosaurs, Space Exploration, etc.

            4. Our library (and a couple of local museums/businesses, I think) had kids’ programs whereby you could put a checkmark for every day you read a book, and get some reward if you covered two weeks. That was a regular source of tickets/rewards for my siblings and me when we were younger. There was a definite vibe of ‘oh, yeah, this’ll be so difficult.’ (Rolling eyes)

              1. LOL different reason but similar “check this box”. So Oregon has a “Drive and track 50 miles + take driver’s education while on learner’s permit” or “Drive and track 100 miles while on learner’s permit”. Or did, not tracking requirements now. Since our insurance gave a bigger discount for the latter with “watch this video and talk to the insurance agent”. (Paraphrased: “screw up and you are financially ruining yourself and your parents forever”. Kid is 33 now, and still hasn’t had a traffic ticket or accident. Whatever, it worked. He’s on his own insurance now.)

                Anyway, kid tracked over 200 hours, and that wasn’t all the driving he did after he got the learners permit. (What can I say? Only child. After the first few “Lessons”, if he was in the vehicle, he drove. Time adds up fast that way.) When it came to him going into getting his driver’s license, I signed it, and he handed it over with his birth certificate, SS card, and our insurance. They barely glanced at it. Um. No. I interrupted their action “Aren’t you even going to look at it? Really? If he has to go to the work of actually doing the requirement, you can at least review it.” The staff goes “Wait? You mean he actually drove these time? What is he an Eagle Scout.” (They meant it sarcastically.) Me, “100% and then some … that doesn’t count the ice parking lot ‘spins’.” (Not easy in the car he learned to drive in, as it had some anti-slip options.) “And, yes he is an Eagle Scout.” (Not sarcastic.) They were used to parents signing “not so truthful logs”.

                Sorry. I didn’t want what happened to the current 16 year old down the street. Nothing deadly, but 16, driver’s license less than 6 months, first accident with another 16 year old at an uncontrolled intersection. Or what happened to a friend of son’s, who totaled (and not just in the $$$ sense) an older Bronco SUV (that takes effort). The only way to cover every possible contingency is to let them drive. Logging the times was just extra work.

          2. I used to read a lot more books than I’ve been reading lately. I’m pretty sure that somewhere along the line, I got too scared to try new series/books. “Once burned, twice shy,” basically. I don’t try new adult series because although I can deal with cursing (see Dresden Files and Tom Clancy), I don’t enjoy it. I also don’t like reading about main characters’ romantic escapades. Fade to black, please and thank you. And then there’s the potential for political correctness nonsense…

            And kids’ series are either just too far below my reading habits to be enjoyable, or potentially politically correct because nothing is safe anymore, or I just can’t identify with the characters. I tried a new series recently because the author was personally selling books (autographed, too) at a town fair. I couldn’t get past the first couple of chapters. It was just… boring. And the prologue scene with the bad guys made me go “Oh, here we go,” and not in a good way. Something about assassinating an ‘idiotic, softhearted’ king because he passed minimum wage laws. Ugh.

            I am technically a young adult… but how many young adult novels are there that aren’t some combination of hopeless dystopia, emotionally fraught love triangle, Mary/Marty Sue protagonist, and/or politically correct high school problems?

            1. I think the explosive growth of anime and light novels can be tied to the tidal wave of crap that wokeism has created. At least they don’t seem to crudely shove current issue politics into their storylines. From the sales figures, the reading public is not terribly interested in another angsty token whinging about their sex life and the lack of Crayola surface level diversity in their dystopia made of thinly veiled current issue politics.

              Right now is actually a pretty darned good time to be a reader, though. Indie publishing practically did not exist until around twenty years ago. It has grown to the point that, absent a miracle, it will be the major source of new stories to read for the reading public, and the big publishing houses have so far missed out big time. There’s even a lot of free stuff out there that’s quite good, from things that have gone out of copyright and ended up on Project Gutenberg to web serials.

              Where before you might have gone months between finding something good in your preferred genre to read by obsessively haunting the libraries and book stores, now it is down to a weekly or even daily occurrence.

              If you’re looking for something good to read, you’re young enough that you might have missed out on some of the classics. Also the breadth of experience and taste in a place like this means if you ask for recommendations in the sort of genre you’re interested in, chances are good at least one person will have some (if not five or ten).

              There will always be more appetite for good stories in the reading public than there are actual stories written, though. That’s just the nature of humanity. You could take the plunge and start writing stories yourself, too. Which reminds me, I still need to write a few more chapters. I never intended to write a post apocalyptic zombies in space story, but that’s how it goes sometimes.

            2. Have you tried Brandon Sanderson, Orson Scott Card, or Larry Correia? Language is used with precision (so any cursing makes sense in context) and none of them much want to deal with explicit sex (From one of Larry’s blogposts “My kids read this stuff!”).

              If you need recommendations to overcome the once burned aspect, I’m pretty sure this crew of miscreants can help.

            3. If you haven’t read Mackey Chandler’s “April” and “Family Law” series, you need to read them, in that order. They are as good as any of Heinlein’s “juveniles”.
              Note: You may not be able to stop reading once you start. Note that there are 12 books in the first series and 6 in the second, at present, although he is still writing.

              1. I keep re-reading the “April” series trying to figure out why it’s so compelling – then I get caught up in the story, AGAIN. I think I KUed it three times before I thought to myself, “I really should buy a copy if I’m going to read it so many times.” Now I just buy everything he writes.

            4. Thanks for recommendations! I’m moving these comments into their own special folder in my email for later reference. (I’m two weeks away from being in another state, so I can’t really afford to check out books from our library at present.) I haven’t yet read Brandon Sanderson, but it’s been highly recommended by my sister and others in our social groups, so I’ll make sure to look into him when I have the chance.

              1. I suggest starting with Mistborn and going on from there. It is probably his most accessible series to a new reader.

                Also, the Rithmatist, if you like YA

                1. Mistborn is quite good, I agree. I’d like to put a plug in for Elantris, though, for the writer community. Sanderson does a lot of things well in that book. Well worth the study, and a fine tale to read besides.

                  1. Elantris is a good one, for sure, but it has some pacing issues, I find. I mean, as first novels go, it is pretty damned good, but it is definitely a first novel.

              2. I started with “Elantris”, when Brandon Sanderson was newly published, and my thought was “good, not necessarily great. Then the first of the Mistborn series came out, and I thought “Better”. Then he got tapped to finish Robert Jordan’s “Wheel of Time” series, tightened it up considerably, and became a Big Name in his own right. I trusted him enough to buy “The Way of Kings” before seeing it in the library (which I never did) and was blown away. Yes, it’s a goatgagger, but it’s one of the best. And, unlike certain other authors I won’t name, he has the respect for fannish expectations and the work ethic to finish what he has started

                Then there’s Jack Campbell’s “Lost Fleet” series (Military SF) and his “Pillars of Reality” series, in which magic works, but so does machinery, and the two are strictly incompatible. Or so it is believed.

                1. “Respect for fannish expectations and the work ethic . . . ” Oh, you mean not like [redacted] or [redacted] or [how long is book three going to take?!?] or [I thought {name} was dead], or maybe [yet another redacted]?

                  1. Yes, him. And him. I don’t know about the other fellows, but if they’re of that tribe, a pox on them too. if they were putting out widgets instead of works of art, that level of hype followed by nondelivery would be considered fraud. Death is reasonable excuse. Being cut off at the knees by a publisher is a reasonable excuse. Even drying up of the creative juices will do, if you’re mouse enough to admit it. But nothing? It’s enough to give a fan a case of sour grapes.

            5. That’s essentially why I don’t read new stuff anymore. But I stopped about 20 years ago. Bring home a dozen books, get more than a chapter in 2, finish one and regret it.

              I’ve been relying on my personal library ever since.

              1. I rely on Bookbuds anymore. Either get a few books in a series for $.99 or free first book in series. Usually find that they are “okay” but not going to buy anymore. Very few do I start and not finish, will slog through. Some, um are, “go and buy the entire series. Jean Johnson’s “Theirs Not To Reason Why” starting with “Soldiers Duty”, 5 book series is one. “Rogue Angel” published under Alex Archer, but actually multiple authors, some better than others, is another. Not the only two series either. (Note. Rogue Angel, good thing there was an ebook *rebate then, because there were over 40 titles released when I went and binge read. Picked up the released every 6 months published ebooks until series bought out by multi-format publisher, and not in ebook reading format any more.) Another ebook *rebate got me ebook back issues of stuff I’d read in dead tree format and wanted my own ebook copy.

                * Rebate – some sort of legal payback for shenanigans early in the ebook era, that my source wasn’t part of but perception is everything. Whom am I to complain? I had over $300 in credits before all said and done.

      3. If I had a whole day, that would be probably more like “a series or more a day.” Even now, after my reading speed has drastically slowed, a book a day is small change.

        As for the IQ thing, well. I have issues with the way the it is commonly used and applied, but as a source of data for general cognitive ability it’s not the worst thing that could be used. Two things, though.

        A person of below average IQ is not necessarily useless. They can get by through life with appropriate training. For some, it may just take longer for them to get from point A to B intellectually. It doesn’t really take much cognitive ability to spot a swindler if one knows what to look out for, for example.

        I blame parents and poor education for a lot of the problems. That and low-class culture are a seriously pernicious issue that grows into poverty, crime, drug use, prostitution, exploitation of government assistance, and trash behaviors galore. That’s easily enough to give an idea about those behaviors that the three-sigma IQ folks tend to forget about.

        The other thing is that for all having greater general cognitive ability (or raw intelligence, to separate that from education) comes with great boons, it also has dire pitfalls to it as well. The intelligent often fall in love with their own ideas and don’t want to see them perish. We’ve all met folks with pet theories that have a tenuous grasp of reality. Some of us may have even had such theories of our own, slain by ugly facts in the end.

        The other day Confutus was saying that people often forget that intelligence can be a curse, just as great beauty can. I believe the same. For those with the cognitive ability to perceive better, they are more exposed to temptations that more common minds gloss over or outright ignore. You might believe that the complex problems of today, for example, can be simply solved. Usually by giving more power and money to the smart people in charge.

        As an aside, it especially irritates me when economists fall into this trap. Politicians, I don’t have much expectation of wit from them. But any sane economist should know that a handful of even brilliant men at the top cannot command the economy and expect anything but ruin to follow. Just as climate models cannot contain the complexity they seek to emulate, economic models are quite often similarly flawed.

        Those cursed with greater cognitive ability, like those afflicted with great beauty, have likely grown up with the praise and adulation of others, and so inflate their own egos beyond all sense. And warp their personalities in sadly predictable ways, as well.

        It’s easier- well, simpler, I should say- to gain humility when the consequences of failure are low.

        1. “For some, it may just take longer for them to get from point A to B intellectually.”

          Higher intelligence is more about processing speed than it is about an ability to understand any particular thing. (Although there are also things that are just cognitively unavailable at a certain point.) This is what I’ve found after interacting with people of varying IQ, both less brainy and much smarter than myself. It’s something I’ve also heard/read in various places, and the discussion of reading here bears it out.

          Given enough time and a good reason to work at it, someone with average or even somewhat below-average intelligence could accomplish most of the intellectual feats we tend to associate with genius. The difference is that the very high-IQ folks do it so much faster. And tend to find more reward in following those threads than someone who’d have to toil slavishly and maybe also ignore other productive/necessary pursuits in favor of something that might amount to not much of anything when it’s all said and done.

    3. I agree with this so much. It is also nice to meet fellow voracious readers. In sixth grade we had a school-sponsored reading contest for six weeks. I read 42 books so I was reading a book a day for 6 weeks. And practicing musical instruments 2 hours a day. I still read fast. It makes a difference. And I worked in research for 25 years. It changes how you view all sorts of things.

  14. The actual no kidding for real prince of darkness running the show is the SANE theory. Perhaps it’s a good thing I’m no longer an atheist because you really need to be on the other side when the prince of darkness is running things.

    1. If a supernatural prince of darkness really was running the show, it wouldn’t be this stupid. No, this is a bunch of primates playing monkey games with organizations and technology far too complex for those in power to understand.
      Only idiots believe they know how other people should live their lives. The stupider they are, the more blindly they believe it.

      1. The supernatural prince of darkness is above all other things a liar. Even and especially to himself. It is impossible to live and die by the convenient lie and at the same time remain tightly connected to reality. Hence, not only cunning, clever, and malicious ,but also schizophrenic, self-defeating, irrational, and stupid.

        1. The devil is not creative. He just twists everything that God made out of proportion. Too much and too little of a good thing can be equally harmful, just in different ways. (With Truth, Goodness, Beauty, and Love being exceptions. But with them you have to be sure you’re getting the real thing. Goodness without Truth is just a pretense, Truth without Beauty can become deliberately cruel… And Love without Truth? Dear Merlin, stay away. That way lies obsession and abusive spouses… and sparkling vampires.)

          I kind of wish the bad guys these days were more impressive. Villains with virtues are both more and less dangerous – they’re more likely to accomplish their goals, but less likely to cause collateral damage. These are just… farcical.

          (Hi, I’d like to trade one of our current world leaders for a John Marcone? No? Okay, can I get a Rumplestiltskin from Once Upon A Time?)

          (I could settle for Loki. Honestly, President Loki might at least be entertaining.)

          1. I’m very happy that the villains are so stupid. That means they won’t be able to adapt when we start fighting back.

              1. Not as many as they could take out if they weren’t so incompetent.
                Always assuming they don’t start WWIII, of course.

                1. Extremely smart, in the CA-politics way. He has a column the SF Chronicle, Sundays I believe. He comes across as nearly sane (again, in the California way).

          2. I think we like the villains of fiction because they are intelligent, clever, and entertaining. The mundane villains of ordinary reality are boring, predictable, and just plain dumb.

            1. Seconded.

              And thirded, fourth-ded, fifth-ded, etc., by all the various bad guys living in my head. (Guys, I know you’re much better than these modern talentless hacks. Be patient, okay? I need time and experience to do all of you justice. You don’t want me to accidentally write plot holes that make you look stupid, do you?)

            2. “The mundane villains of ordinary reality are boring, predictable, and just plain dumb.”

              I seem to recall Sherlock Holmes making the same complaint. His remedy was a 7% solution….

        2. Not only that, he has already lost. He’s just trying to do as much damage as possible in his defeat.

      2. Yes, yes it would. It would be every bit this stupid. The Prince of Lies can’t even tell himself the truth, how in the world would that make for a well managed conspiracy?

      3. His goal is to make all of humanity to be just as miserable as he is. For him, the misery induced by a scheme is more important than running it long-term. And besides, deep down inside he already knows that he’s lost. That was resolved even back before the world was. And whenever he does manage to get a scheme running for a while, unanticipated events invariably happen to screw it all up (you might say that such anticipated happen almost miraculously! cough). The only thing that he can do is screw up the lives of everyone on the planet in the short term.

        Yes, that means that he’s quite happy to screw up the lives of those who follow him, too.

        1. Saturday my wife and I did our usual walk in the park, Bible reading and prayer. My wife started laughing when I finished praying because I said Bye instead of Amen. I was just talking to God, and finished just like any other close associate.

          You know it is God you heard when your response is:”You want me to do WHAT!?” Or after hearing “Go” Ask “Where”.

        2. I mostly get “We are unable to complete your call at this time, please try again later.” ;-P

          1. That is called “spiritual dryness,” and it could be called “spiritual leg day.” Getting to exercise faith without being able to feel any feedback. Not fun. Eventually it is good for you, but not fun.

            There are two ways to handle it. One is “keep doing what you are doing,” and the other is “dig in a little deeper on the love/charity side.” Trying to do too much new when nothing is happening is just depressing, and sometimes sets one up for failure, so it is tricky.

    2. Which makes it even sadder that the author I know of who is best at writing the Prince of Darkness as the villain, and having the heroes triumph over him, seems to be on the wrong side at last report. But maybe she has realized her error and just hasn’t said anything about it because of the possibility of being canceled.

    1. Very nice! BTW, to reduce the word count and simplify the text, you could leave out “or not”, i.e., it could say “the question is not whether they are space lizards”. /editor

      1. I almost never make memes, just distribute them. …. sometimes edit to remove useless obscenity.
        The “Excuse me” Garak from earlier excepted. ^.^

  15. I do know that there are people still trying, in various small ways, to get things back on track. It’s as small as fighting supply issues for a summer camp, and trying various ways to get around that. (I do have to ask them seriously what their limitations are on how they get the food supply, because if they’re ordering a certain amount of food and it is simply not being delivered, that’s unacceptable from a “feed the camp adequately” standpoint, and they SHOULD be allowed to bypass their non-supplier.)

  16. “the future was being scripted by Phillip K. Dick?”

    In concert with George Orwell, after borrowing notes from Aldous Huxley. sigh

    1. And as someone above said with additions by Franz Kafka. I would add with Illustrations by Salvador Dali and Hieronymus Bosch. My weirdometer is clicking like a geiger counter near the elephants foot at Chernobyl…

        1. Events making sense, and the villain’s plot making sense are two different things. You can have an absolute nut of a villain in a Hitchcock film. Brandon Shaw in Rope is an example of that.

  17. In person experiences are the most reliable information I have.

    And, I do a lot of fruitless worrying about that stuff. “I haven’t seen X in Y days, maybe I am in bad trouble, etc.”

    Do I really know what a large, aggregate thing like America is, or like Americans are?

    “This makes no sense, LOL theory X explains it as well or better than more reasonable theory Y.”

    This realization may be evidence that one is trying to model behaviors that one is not well equipped to model. Potentially, it may be happier and healthier to focus on other phenomena.

    OTOH, there is every reason to think that a number of people may be seriously dangerous, and that paying them careful attention is ideal.

    I dunno. Today is not a day where my spoons are likely to result in a coherent workable set of criteria for managing stuff.

  18. last ten pages or so were about the intelligent dinosaurs orbiting the Earth in a spaceship, and returning to the home they’d left and–

    You were ahead (same time? 1997) of ST:Voyager. On take from ST:Original where the native Americans were discovered on a world, not earth and not emigrated on their own, but plucked from earth and moved unbeknownst to the population moved. Voyager’s take was they are encountered by a space faring lizard society. First encountered by a scientist who has reason that both his society and the humans on Voyager have the same base origin. In the end proven they did. Lizard society were plucked from Earth to save emerging sapience from the killer asteroid. Lizard descendant from small/midsize Raptors. Contact didn’t end well, on the lizard’s side (inability to believe science fact). “Distant Origin”

    1. Then there’s Toolmaker Koan by John C. McLoughlin.

      Humans meet an ancient super-computer that is Pluto’s Moon Charon.

      He introduces them to a race of Lizard-People that had fled their homeworld after it was destroyed in a war (between different groups of Lizard-People) and were found by Charon (the super-computer).

      It finally turns out that the Lizard-People are Intelligent Dinos and after Earth destroys itself, the Lizard-People decide that the Solar System isn’t Big Enough for two intelligent species. 😈

    2. Oooh, that was a bit in the Dinosaurs! documentary.

      So, ’85.

      There’s a lizard-person that just really stuck with me. 😀

  19. Orwell is a much better metaphor for what is going on.

    To the best of my knowledge, almost all tragedies ended with a “return to the bad old days.” Hamlet died, but so did the villain Claudius, and as a result there was a political void filled by the Norwegian king, who was not a major player in the play. Macbeth descended into absolute evil, but was eventually killed.

    What they seemed to be unable to grasp was the final, absolute triumph of the devils, forever.

    Orwell, to my knowledge, was the first to write “permanent tragedies.” The whole point of 1984 is that of a boot stamping on the human face FOREVER.

    And that’s what we’re looking at now.

    1. No, Orwell isn’t. Orwell was a socialist. Which is why he expected them to win.
      Which is why you expect them to win, Kenny dolly. ye’r a socialist.
      The rest of us see the absurdist play of a dying regime struggling to survive.
      Y’er just stuck on dumb.

    2. What they seemed to be unable to grasp was the final, absolute triumph of the devils, forever.

      Which speaks to their ability to see reality instead of vomiting out masturbatory loser fantasies.

        1. “Look, everybody always figures the time they live in is the most epic, most important age to end all ages. But tyrants and heroes rise and fall, and historians sort out the pieces.”
          “Malak is a tyrant who should be stopped. If he conquers the galaxy, we’re in for a couple of rough centuries. Eventually it’ll come around again, but I’d rather not wait that long. So we do what we have to do and we try to stop the Sith. But don’t start thinking this war, your war, is more important than any other war just because you’re in it.”

            1. Oh, very well put! I like the reference.

              I’ve heard it said that Palpatine is basically the Star Wars version of the devil (tempting the Chosen One, corrupting what had once been seen as the Forces (hah) of Good in the galaxy), but he ruled for what? Thirty years? And then got deservedly killed because he was stupid enough to torture the son of a guy he’d corrupted SPECIFICALLY USING his love of family RIGHT IN FRONT of said guy?

              (Sequels? What sequels? You mean the Heir to the Empire trilogy? There aren’t any other sequels to Star Wars, after all…)

              1. There’s that sort of sequel TV series on Disney+. I mean, The Mandolorian isn’t a direct sequel, in that it doesn’t really continue the story. But it’s set after RotJ. And Luke showed up in it and did some cool Jedi stuff. So maybe that’s what people mean when they talk about a sequel?

                1. Oh, yeah. I haven’t seen it, but I’ve watched a couple of clips. I liked the name-drop of Grand Admiral Thrawn. And the scene where Luke showed up was awesome.

                  That makes sense. There’s certainly nothing else people could be referring to.

                  1. Mandolorian (and to a certain extent Book of Boba Fett) is the Star Wars we were promised. It looks like Favreau and Filoni are either true fans, or professional enough to understand what fans want. Don’t know, don’t care – watching it makes me feel like a 12 year old playing with Starfighters and action figures shouting “bam bam woosh!”

        2. Although admittedly Oceania had only existed since some time in the the mid ’40s or maybe early 50s. Eurasia had existed (presumably as a successor to the USSR) from the 1917 revolution. One presumes Eastasia forms sometime in the same period as Oceania out of the China/Japan/Korea. Given the mean lifetime of a communist state seems to be ~75 years with an unknown sigma (insufficient data captain) all 3 ought to be coming apart right now if that time line exists. As for which dystopia we are wandering into, we seem to have large portions of both 1984 and Brave New World with a soupcon of Dystopias (Mockingjay, Logans Run, Divergent, This Perfect Day, maybe even Planet Of The Apes) thrown in for seasoning. No one ever claimed the Brahmandarins were particularly creative… I rate it at 1 Star, do not like…Would like to complain to the Author as plotting feels weak/lazy, although I doubt that will go over well.

            1. Well there is that Trinity thing, but it’s not clear to us mere mortals in which the number of who and what numerically match how that all works.

              1. I think “The Father” is the one who keeps churning out plots. “The Holy Spirit” is encouraging Him by telling Him about all the great characters within whom He has lived. “The Son” would be the one trying to put the brakes on: “Hey, I’ve lived as a mortal, remember, and I can tell you that this is not in the least bit realistic…”

                1. This is the Writer who gave us kangaroos, platypodes, octopodes, and paleomammals. I try to keep that in mind when the next page turns and Tom Clancy spins in his grave.

                  1. He is the creator of all things good and evil, including our senses of humour. Are we truly startled that He indulges in the occasional bout of dad joke level writing?

                    1. Ask, and you will receive.
                      Seek, and you will find.
                      Knock, and the door will be opened to you.

                      ASK. He even makes future puns that no one will get for a thousand years and change.

                    2. > “He even makes future puns that no one will get for a thousand years and change.”

                      So just how big of a carp DO we need to smack God with, then?

                      “Bad omnipotent deity! No books for 10 minutes!” 😛

                2. Dorothy Sayers wrote something on conceptualizing the three Persons of the Trinity in terms of the writing process, I guess in The Mind of the Maker, but I’ve blanked on the details.

            2. Come on, you used to work with Baen, you know how this works. Capital-A Author (God) collaborating with a bunch of lower-case authors (humans, possibly good and bad angels depending on your interpretation of their spheres of influence) on a seemingly never-ending series. Complaints about lower-case authors being allowed to contribute are ultimately complaints against free will.

            1. OK I shall include “The Marching Morons” by Kornbluth, it did it first and better 🙂 .

          1. It’s Anthony in “It’s A Good Life”. Think happy, confused thoughts – like on Twitter. Try to avoid the cornfield.

          2. The USSR survived as long as it did in part because of grain shipments from the US.

            How long would Eurasia have been able to last without Oceania supplying grain?

            1. Remember to some degree O’Brien makes it clear that the triad of powers to some degree intentionally uses the opponents to suppress its own people. So while there’s war with Eastasia perhaps there’s trade with Eurasia so the Party members can get some of their dainties (caviar?) in return. Honestly as a world builder Orwell is pretty fricking lame

          1. “Evil will always triumph” implies that it has to do so over and over again, so no victory can be permanent

      1. I wouldn’t bother answering Ken. Ken is a troll I haven’t banned yet…. Mostly because he tells me what the other side really wants us to believe.

        1. …which is pretty much that they need us to think it’s hopeless and we’re doomed so we’d best just comply.

          Hope Ken’s chains chafe to the bone.

    3. That Hideous Strength is my go to. I can’t ignore the spiritual aspect of all this.

      1. I really enjoyed the scene where Mercury/Merlin shows up and confoggles the bad guys’ language. It’s just so much fun to watch the chaos unfold!

        (Sorry if spoilers are a problem, but honestly, the book’s been out for how long now?)

    4. 1984 is Dark prophecy. Read it if you must, but don’t believe it. The wearer of the boot stamping on the human face forever does not see the sword descending upon his neck.

  20. Might makes right or Right makes might? Remember that although “TPTB” Puppeteers may have the might e.g. reins of power), they are not RIght! Like a drowning man flails in the water grasping at anything or anyone with death grip, the elites are doing the same as they follow the death of the World’s Reserve Currency (sorry to inform you but it’s just green paper and electronic digits) due to the inevitable mathematics of compound interest that is skimmed as “financial rent.” Remember we have the Right! We are sovereign individuals with rights from our creator and that when we unite, we have the Might! They have divided us intentionally for our lifetimes but now the worm is turning as they can’t stop the Great Reveal that is happening among the people worldwide. Their fear will cause them to make mistakes and we must take advantage of them when they occur!

  21. The last two decades have been eye openers for me. And as much as my parents rail against the Democrats, they haven’t quite woken up to the idea that it goes well beyond those rats. Same with my wife.

    Oh well. We have other things to take care of now. We bought a new house and are moving in October.

    1. Congrats!

      Golf club owners where hubby golfs just bought 10 acres alongside the coarse. They’ve already completed one rural development (5 acre minimum home sites, west of Monroe, Oregon … very rural). They are talking about developing the 10 acres, originally 0.25 acre lots, now (because of county rules) 1 acre minimum lots. Dang it. Would be willing to go with up to an 1/2 acre lot, but 1 acre? ??? Same county we are in now, but at least gets us out of Eugene. Not sure which school district since closest school district is technically in Benton County (Monroe). Might be Alpine School, because south in Lane County. Wouldn’t be immediate anyway. Nice thought. Additional problem, selling … probably missed the quick sale boat. Market really has turned locally. Not quite buyers market but it is definitely visible on the horizon.

  22. You mentioned being willing to live in a Heinlein Future.
    When I first read Pournelles Codominium stories back in Analog I thought they were subtley dystopian. In the real year that his jump drive was invented I wished he had been right.
    My kids could go colonize. Shoot with the medicine he had in the stories I could have gone too. Instead we got Obama.
    The key is that there was hope.

  23. All I can say is that you came installed with a European-made wierdometer that was frankly lower class tech to begin with, and poorly calibrated to boot. You really do need to purchase an upgrade.
    Now, me, being the Oldest and Oddest member of a family that was rather Odd to begin with, I joined the Nerds and the Geeks before they became popular. I retain my membership card, although I try not to flash it around in public too much.
    Then I grew upon Story where criminal conspiracy turned into social cancer, nearly fatal until it was brought into remission by massive chemotherapy. It recurred, and the end stage was a divided society which attempted but didn’t quite accomplish Mutual Assured Destruction. The losers lost, and the “winners” shortly thereafter tore themselves apart.
    Then I joined the Poor..sometimes, the Working Poor, sometimes not, partly depending on how rudely my attempts at social climbing were being kicked over or frustrated at the intersection of Academic Bureaucracy and advanced Oddness. White privilege isn’t always what it’s cracked up to be. I never got to join the popular credentialed party set…not that I would have wanted to, by the time I saw past the glitz and the glamour to the drugs, brothel behavior, and political and financial armtwisting that was going on in the shadows.
    Suffice it to say that when I see familiar tropes in the headlines, my wierdometer barely registers.

  24. I’m old enough to remember when a lot of what we see around us would have gotten people locked in mental hospitals, sent to the County Farm to be deloused and sober up, and/or just beat the hell up “because we don’t talk that way about America.”

    And I grew up in California.

    The good news is that God is still in control. He will allow each of us a certain amount of leeway and if we’re His, issue corrections. If not, it’s greased skids to Perdition.

    Because we’re all sinners. And we need a Savior. And if we ignore Jesus dying on the cross, well, shame on us.

    I too have voraciously read science fiction since mumble mumble. I think that Sputnik and John Glenn and all the rest kindled the desire to see a bright future. But sadly, we’re surrounded by people just as imperfect as we are. And most of them are crazier.

    As in brain-eating zombies.

    Pray for wisdom. Get the whole armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-20) and pray for everyone you love. Then those you like, and so on through the ones you really hate.

    It might be their wierdmeter broke and God can fix it for them.

  25. “At this point if I found out that the entire Biden Junta and a lot of their minions are actually lizard aliens wearing human suits? ”

    Days I think this would actually come as a relief — it would explain so much that i have trouble wrapping my little middle-class mind around.

  26. Going thru the comments, they reveal this group’s weirdness.
    First we have an extensive conversation on knitting instead of weirdness

    Then, Hannibal Lector shows up ready to eat, revealing our dangerous imagination with no filters,with a weirdometer so she can “Pass for Normal”

    There is an extensive discussion of evil, the left, their bubble, lies, and attempts to kill man. Is evil stupid? Is Satan?

    survival prep: French toast and vigilante justice, the bee as prophetic,.

    We conclude with self scans, stupid government mandates, fast reading. and a meme or two.

    Cats are barely mentioned. How can we have 300 comments, with so few cats?

    1. 😀
      Not nearly enough cats. But I do have three at home and one of them is meowing loudly at me right now, if that helps.

    2. “Cats are barely mentioned. How can we have 300 comments, with so few cats?”

      This is a post about Odds getting weirded out.
      Cats are Normal, and nothing fazes them.

      They could chase the Lizard People for us, if they wanted to.

      1. No, Please! No cats! Well, they can chase the Other Lizard People all they want, but I still think the furry monsters are Evil.

        1. A chacun son gout, pet birds kind of give me the creeps. As for cats being evil I am unclear on that. Badly behaved and naughty, no denying it from time to time. Part of me says they’re just cats and neither evil nor good they just are.

          1. Havey is the sweetest cat we’ve ever had. I just wish he’d understand my bed is not made of TP. (He’s so fuzzy he has trouble cleaning himself.)
            We’ve had ONE evil one out of 12. And he wasn’t evil to the kids.

            1. Alright. I confess, I’m a bigot when it comes to cats. Especially after the incident when an adorable cute little kitten climbed my pants leg, then my shirt front, and nipped my nose and suddenly became neither adorable nor cute. Respectable Personages such as the Honorable TXRed don’t really qualify as Evil, either (unless they want to be), so if apologies are desired, consider them extended.

              1. I was a cat till the age of six. At least no one informed me otherwise.
                I’ve known a few evil one, but I think their percentage is lower than for humans. And the good are very, very good.
                Then again, my favorite cat in the world was a dog in a cat suit, so….

            2. I have met one cat who was either insane or evil I can’t decide. His name was Murdoch (tres apropos) and even I who had 35+ years of cat wrangling at that time could not discern when he went from friendly to biting.And not the usual warning nips a cat uses to say “cut it out human”. This was full on draw blood biting like cats do in serious fights. Very odd cat.

    3. In my defense, I was writing lessons on the early history of the Church in Scotland, and reading about Pictish governance of that half of Scotland, so I wasn’t really into the conversation.


    4. Cats ate barely mentioned because they are a fact of life and endemic. No need to discuss something that is self-evident (speaking of bubbles).

    5. We have 4 cats. One is often kicking the laptop off my lap. Another, when the other isn’t, is rubbing against arms and laptop forcing me to scroll or type one handed. The other two interrupt less frequently but they do. The dog, nick name “Jealous” at these times, butts in … Does this count? 🙂

      1. My cat Jimmy sang so loud today he interrupted the training call for my new job. To everyone’s delight.

        Don’t know if this fits the bill but I felt inspired.

  27. RE: “Particularly when their weak minds (hereditary wealth and connections, or even the ability to become rich doesn’t mean they have a spec of introspection, self reflection or the ability to think and analyze reality.”

    It’s well established that hemophilia was considerably more common than average among royal families in Europe because of the persistent inbreeding caused by royals “living in their own socially constrained group (aka “a bubble”; maybe the term is “semi-incest”?). Anyway, given that our artificial version of royalty – the so-called “American Elites” – practice, approximately, the same thing: grow up in the same communities, attend the same prep schools, attend the same colleges, attend the same social functions, work in the same, or very closely related and interdependent businesses, might a similar type of recessant gene be occurring with greater than normal frequency among them inside their “bubble,” but a gene that affects mental functionality rather than a blood illness?

    1. I don’t think so, simply because the bubble is too big. From the histories I’ve read, the Victorian-era royals numbered in the low hundreds at best, with a core bubble of maybe fifty who intermarried. That’s recessives-emerging territory. Our elites number in the millions. I’m pretty sure our elites are what they are due to an ancient tribal impulse toward consensus. Someone up-thread mentioned this. Tribalism requires consensus, or the tribe disintegrates. So consensus is demanded with slobbering, borderline murderous fury. It isn’t wealth or the Ivies or connections; I know a fair number of people who come from working-class stock, went to state schools and are now living on ramen and frothing at the mouth about any deviation from the Sacred Narrative. The true elites encourage those ramen-eaters to think of themselves as elites, even though they’re dirt-poor mental cases. This encourages loyalty to The Tribe. There is almost certainly a genetic component to tribalism. We may be in the process of purging it from the species, granting that social media has made finding and punishing heretics a great deal easier. A willingness to be weird is a sort of inoculation against tribalism.enforced from above. I consider myself a contrarian for that reason: The harder people push me to conform, the more I push back. Avoiding the pushers makes it all the easier.

      1. Historically, I believe that kind of obedience to the tribe was usually forced on, and by, the slave classes, with the usually misplaced hope that they might someday Join the Group.

  28. I’m drinking my morning coffee right now, enjoying the comment thread and all the different conversations.

    Also making a few notes here and there. I’m not preparing for the Fall, I’m preparing for the Storm. It will pass, and we will remain. Or I will die gloriously, surrounded by the bodies of my enemies. Whatever.

    1. I do find it comforting to know that our side is the one with the cats.

      Cats have a knack for landing on their feet.

    2. Yep. There is a lot of ruin in a nation, and there are enough people getting pissed off enough at the idiots that the backlash may reset things to some sort of reasonableness before things go completely to pot.

      Copybook Headings is not fun by any stretch of the imagination, but the odds of City of Brass are low, I think.

          1. Rudyard Kipling
            “The City of Brass”
            “Here was a people whom after their works
            thou shalt see wept over for their lost dominion:
            and in this palace is the last information
            respecting lords collected in the dust.” –
            The Arabian Nights.

            In a land that the sand overlays – the ways to her gates are untrod –

            A multitude ended their days whose gates were made splendid by God,

            Till they grew drunk and were smitten with madness and went to their fall,

            And of these is a story written: but Allah Alone knoweth all!

            When the wine stirred in their heart their bosoms dilated.

            They rose to suppose themselves kings over all things created –

            To decree a new earth at a birth without labour or sorrow –

            To declare: “We prepare it to-day and inherit to-morrow.”

            They chose themselves prophets and priests of minute understanding,

            Men swift to see done, and outrun, their extremest commanding –

            Of the tribe which describe with a jibe the perversions of Justice –

            Panders avowed to the crowd whatsoever its lust is.

            Swiftly these pulled down the walls that their fathers had made them –

            The impregnable ramparts of old, they razed and relaid them

            As playgrounds of pleasure and leisure, with limitless entries,

            And havens of rest for the wastrels where once walked the sentries;

            And because there was need of more pay for the shouters and marchers,

            They disbanded in face of their foemen their yeomen and archers.

            They replied to their well-wishers’ fears – to their enemies laughter,

            Saying: “Peace! We have fashioned a God Which shall save us hereafter.

            We ascribe all dominion to man in his factions conferring,

            And have given to numbers the Name of the Wisdom unerring.”

            They said: “Who has hate in his soul? Who has envied his neighbour?

            Let him arise and control both that man and his labour.”

            They said: “Who is eaten by sloth? Whose unthrift has destroyed him?

            He shall levy a tribute from all because none have employed him.”

            They said: “Who hath toiled, who hath striven, and gathered possession?

            Let him be spoiled. He hath given full proof of transgression.”

            They said: “Who is irked by the Law? Though we may not remove it.

            If he lend us his aid in this raid, we will set him above it!

            So the robber did judgment again upon such as displeased him,

            The slayer, too, boasted his slain, and the judges released him.

            As for their kinsmen far off, on the skirts of the nation,

            They harried all earth to make sure none escaped reprobation.

            They awakened unrest for a jest in their newly-won borders,

            And jeered at the blood of their brethren betrayed by their orders.

            They instructed the ruled to rebel, their rulers to aid them;

            And, since such as obeyed them not fell, their Viceroys obeyed them.

            When the riotous set them at naught they said: “Praise the upheaval!

            For the show and the world and the thought of Dominion is evil!”

            They unwound and flung from them with rage, as a rag that defied them,

            The imperial gains of the age which their forefathers piled them.

            They ran panting in haste to lay waste and embitter for ever

            The wellsprings of Wisdom and Strengths which are Faith and Endeavour.

            They nosed out and digged up and dragged forth and exposed to derision

            All doctrine of purpose and worth and restraint and prevision:

            And it ceased, and God granted them all things for which they had striven,

            And the heart of a beast in the place of a man’s heart was given. . . .

                        .          .        .          .          .           .          .          .

            When they were fullest of wine and most flagrant in error,

            Out of the sea rose a sign – out of Heaven a terror.

            Then they saw, then they heard, then they knew – for none troubled to hide it,

            A host had prepared their destruction, but still they denied it.

            They denied what they dared not abide if it came to the trail;

            But the Sward that was forged while they lied did not heed their denial.

            It drove home, and no time was allowed to the crowd that was driven.

            The preposterous-minded were cowed – they thought time would be given.

            There was no need of a steed nor a lance to pursue them;

            It was decreed their own deed, and not a chance, should undo them.

            The tares they had laughingly sown were ripe to the reaping.

            The trust they had leagued to disown was removed from their keeping.

            The eaters of other men’s bread, the exempted from hardship,

            The excusers of impotence fled, abdicating their wardship,

            For the hate they had taught through the State brought the State no defender,

            And it passed from the roll of the Nations in headlong surrender!

  29. “a lesson in what is real, and just how insane the so called “elites” have gotten.”

    You are not alone!

  30. I am embarassed to admit that in 1998 I actually thought that Tom Clancy had jumped the shark with Rainbow Six. The ecovillians with the plan to kill 99.999% of the human race and then jetset around the world in comfort watching the planet recover. Just too cartoonish.
    Now, I have to deal with several ecocrusaders firmly convinced that most of human race must die and are quite willing to push that button without a seconds hesitation. When I point out that they are going to get their wish because the science and engineering behind Trudeau’s plan to save the planet by carbon and nitrogen? reduction means most of Canada is going to starve and freeze to death one still frigid February they call me the usual names and tell everyone how weird I am.

  31. The first girl I ever dated, way back in 1968, was a blind date arranged by her best friend and best friend’s boyfriend. We lasted four or maybe five dates. She told her best friend that I was “too weird for words.” It got back to me, because best friend’s boyfriend was one of my friends. Connections, heh.

  32. You may have wondered why all our institutions are acting like members of the same creepy cult. The answer is simple: they’re all members of the same creepy cult. If this is true it explains lots of things, from every corporation supporting BLM, to Elon Musk being singled out:

  33. Great points!

    I’ve noticed over the years that groups of people often engage in very self destructive behavior based on delusions (see democrats voting for the worst possible candidates time after time as an example), but sometimes you see such groups collectively arriving at the correct conclusions far quicker that the supposed experts do.

    It’s that whole free interchange of unvetted information that the ruling class finds dangerous in open societies that allows this, occasionally, to happen.

    This relates to your article in that, over the past 2+ years many of those conspiracy theorists have been canaries in the coal mine far more often than I’m comfortable admitting.

    I mean UFOs are a thing again????

    Anyway, in short, some observers have been looking at the available information and arriving at the correct – though unbelievable by the majority of the population – conclusions.

    Now backtrack to even wilder conspiracy theories that were easily dismissed over the decades and combine that with the supposed entertainment Hollyweird has been putting out for decades.

    We all know the self anointed, who consider themselves elites, can’t help but telegraph things on occasion.

    It would not shock me to be informed that much of the outlandish sci-fi or fantasy we took for granted as fiction had nuggets of truth embedded in the plots.

    Might not even have been deliberate by the creators so much as they subconsciously keyed into and absorbed data from the larger society and used that information as just another plot element.

    So… much of the sci-if and fantasy media we’ve consumed as a society has such kernels of fact embedded within it?

    If we have lizard people coming down in space ships with a taste for long pork it won’t shock me at this point, though I would be more inclined to suspect something more along the lines of that John Carpenter/Rowdy Roddy Piper flick “They Live”…..

  34. I didn’t realize (then) there were continents before Pangea.
    The theory of plate tectonics and continental drift was still controversial when I was born: The similarities of the coastlines of South America and Africa were seen only as suggestive. Mechanisms were lacking. Every now and then an article would appear in National Geographic about such things as the mapping of magnetic field orientations in seafloor rocks, the discovery and exploration of mid ocean ridges, and so on.

  35. At this point if I found out that the entire Biden Junta and a lot of their minions are actually lizard aliens wearing human suits? The weirdometer wouldn’t even meep. It might nod. Or perhaps take a nap. I mean, I don’t think that’s true. I think the theory is crazy-cakes. On the other hand, what the heck do I know, really?

    Eric S. Raymond had a useful take on this a couple years ago:

    Nothing about this is in any way wrong, once you realize that “lizard” is code for “sociopath”. Sociopaths do, differentially, seek power over others, and are rather good at getting it. The few studies that have dared to look have found they are concentrated in political and business elites where drive and ruthlessness are rewarded.

    Actually, “lizardoid alien” has useful connotative freight that “sociopath” lacks. Sociopaths are good at manipulating the rest of us precisely because they have an outside view of human emotion – it’s mostly just mechanism to them, knobs and levers they’re not involved in. The SFnal mythology encodes knowledge that the sterile psychological term does not.

  36. The war on Odds is a subset of the war on Normal.

    The eagerly anticipated midterm elections, now in a countdown, will no doubt reveal vast electoral dismay and division. Inflation, recession, crime, and border invasions are half of it. The Democratic-inspired War on Normal is the other.

    However impressive GOP victories might be, the fifty-year-old progressive hegemon will endure. Identity hustles, handouts, lawlessness, and cultural rot won’t disappear after the midterms. Disparate impact, non-binary fantasies, and Supreme Court oppositionists in primal breakdowns will persist.

    Beyond November, cunning propagandists with opportunities at thought control unprecedented in human history will seek to discredit their adversaries. Militants will intimidate authorities. The commercial republic and its assets are the prize.
    Norms deal with social basics: family, education, beliefs, and public duties. Norms do not have to align with the Ten Commandments, the hopes of the Founders, classical Athens or renaissance Florence. Norms can be vile or outlandish, and they vary by social class, region, ethnicity, and system of belief.

    When politics comes unglued from consensus and the possible, and what works surrenders to what side are you on, when the principle of loyal opposition gets tossed, partisan hate pops up like a toadstool.

    1. Considering the Bee’s history of saying things just before they come true, I really wish they hadn’t said that.

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