When The Masquerade Breaks

This is the part of According To Hoyt in which you get reading assignments. I want you — yes, even you in the back who don’t read science fiction to find and read two books.

Robert A. Heinlein’s Puppet Masters and Clifford Simak’s They Walked Like Men.

No, you don’t actually need to read them to get this post, but you might want to read them, if you haven’t, after you read this post.

I was kind of surprised about 20 years ago when even Heinlein aficionados started running down Puppet Masters. It was just a “Hackneyed space invasion” and it was just “to capitalize off the red scare” and it was “just.”

What it was just, as I had long ago figured out was a perfect analogy of a society whose top levels and communication means had been taken over by enemies.

Was it “hackneyed space invasion” or “capitalizing off the red scare.” I don’t know. Dear Lord, people, you could give me letters from Heinlein saying it was so and I’d still not know. Writers, particularly writers working for traditional publishing often presented the books they were working on as “this or that” because it’s what the publisher wanted to hear. (For a prime example of this, find some of my interviews on why I wrote the Shakespeare trilogy, or my favorite reading, at that time. Look, I wrote it because it sold on a one-page pitch. Did I always love Shakespeare and Shakespearean biography? Sure. My library records going back to my exchange student year, let alone my purchases prove that. But did I always want to write literary fantasy. AHAHAHAHAH. I like space opera and mystery. That’s what I always wanted to write, though some crazy fantasies also come through. Literary? Not so much.)

The thing is, the way Heinlein’s mind worked, you could give him a hackneyed and stupid prompt and he ran with it making it as plausible as possible. (We have proof of that in Sixth Column) which meant that along the way he created a pretty good thought experiment for “if this were really happening, what would it look like?”

Which is what he did with Puppet Masters. (We’ll get to They Walked Like Men towards the end.)

And the world we lived in, with mass media controlling what we saw and did and what “everybody knew” was as close to the world of the Puppet Masters under the “masquerade” as anything could come that wasn’t actual brain parasites from space. And anyone — this persists in the areas taken over by the left both virtual and physical — telling the truth came/comes across as a complete loony.

Except the Masquerade is breaking.

There is a terrifying scene in Puppet Masters, where the parasites are exposed, and the entire office that is working perfectly normally and looking completely humdrum breaks. The scene shatters, and these very ordinary secretaries and stenographers go for the characters with bare nails and teeth.

There are other places where the masquerade shatters in the book, until finally when the brain parasites realize humanity knows of them, the masquerade breaks completely and the aliens start living the way they really want to, and it’s horrific.

Right now we’re somewhere in between. With COVIDiocy and the stolen election, there are parts of society that are just going “Fine, we stole it, you’ll never have a say again” (This is particularly in your face in blue cities and states that vote by mail fraud) and letting it all hangout. (Same in Canada, with little Castreau.) They’re dancing in the streets, metaphorically, screaming “you’ll eat the bugs and DIE and DIE DIE DIE.” And it’s such a horrific display that the person in the street is providing cover for it by refusing to believe this can EVEN be happening.

And the other parts, the parts like the federal government and the incredibly corrupt agencies, are those secretaries. They’ve realized that we can see them, we know what they are, and they’ve lost all pretense of sanity. They’re just attacking, hands and claws, and biting teeth, raiding private homes, stealing cell phones, and being completely crazy, because they realized they’re EXPOSED and they can’t be exposed and survive.

The point, and the analogy though, is that they were there a long time before. They’ve been there at least 20 years, and in many places, let’s be fair, over 50. They kept up a pretense of legitimacy and process and law. Until we saw them. And then all hell broke lose.

Where do we go from here?

I don’t know. We don’t have a magical martian disease to get rid of them, so I don’t know how many of them are salvageable. Those of us who believe can pray for them. It might do no good, but it will do no harm.

And the thing is, we don’t need the martian disease, because these are humans, just humans. They’re corrupt and crazy, and we’ve thrown off other corrupt and crazy aristocracies before. Which they know. And why they’re going crazy and wounded-animal, in their attempt to survive.

The other side of this is They Walked Like Men. Clifford Simak was, I have it on Jerry Pournelle’s authority, a conventional liberal of his time, which is to say far left than us.

But in this book, he captured perfectly what happens when a force that doesn’t understand symbology and confuses the symbol for the thing uses the symbols to take over society.

The fundamentals, underneath, are fine. It’s just the symbolic structure that’s borked.

Now, in this case the symbolic structure of power, unlike the mere money of the novel (and seirously, if no one else thinks of BlackRock I’ll be sad. Also, what kind of idiots named their company after the meteor of Islam, again?) is also the various institutions that symbolically run the economy and the society.


Well, yes. You don’t actually need a doctor to have the seal of the AMA to have a good doctor. You don’t need a lawyer to have the stamp of approval of the board to have a good lawyer, and when you get down from there, there are people walking around who know more about any given subject than those holding the credentials from an accredited university. (I swear we’re a country of weaponized autists. I probably know more about Shakespeare than people who teach Shakespearean biography. And may plumber ten years ago was the world’s foremost expert on Civil War weapons, if you could get him talking. And any number of the rest of us, in the middle of our humdrum lives get a question about our passion, and the eyes light up, and we start talking, and the problem is for the casual bystander to avoid getting graduate level education on whatever it is, from ladies underwear in the 14th century to the specific composition of Martian sands.)

The accreditation, the power, the structure is symbolic. And that’s what the left has seized, thereby claiming you can’t be a whatever without drinking deep of their poison. Which they then use to claim “all smart people are with us.”

But that is breaking too. I read an article recently saying we’re doing a disservice to conservative kids by telling them to stay out of colleges.

But are we? Are we really?

It’s not that we fear they’ll be contaminated. If you raised them right, they won’t. They might get angry. But that’s about it.

It’s that colleges each year become more of a scam to make you waste time while paying Beardo the Weirdo a comfortable retirement stipend and building really massive buildings around campuses.

Yeah, indoctrination too, but they’re in it for the money.

I’ve seen this kind of sclerosis, of institutions eaten from inside and forgetting what they’re meant to do. Yes, traditional publishing toddles on. But notice that’s because German companies (and Europe hasn’t jumped on the ebook revolution, just like they didn’t jump on political blogging, which only proves we are, yes, different.) But it is not what it was. It no longer holds the stamp of approval of the culture. And it sells less and less every year. Meanwhile, it is entirely possible to become a mega-bestseller and influential as a pure indie. It’s not guaranteed, but it never was. But it is possible.

When institutions are seen to be eaten out; when the throne is revealed to be thin sheet gold over rotted wood, it doesn’t last.

I don’t know when the flip will come, but it feels like it’s really close, when the “official credentials” will mean nothing, and employers will be scouring high and low for those who know and can do.

Because we’re in the middle of the masquerade falling apart.

And that’s both terrifying and disgusting, but it’s also, objectively, the end of what the masquerade preserved: The steady erosion of all structures, under cover of normalcy.

Thing is, once you see the enemy, you know where it is and what it is. And you see, in full display, its grotesque vileness.

And it doesn’t stand a chance.

359 thoughts on “When The Masquerade Breaks

  1. Was “They Walked Like Men” the story where the Simak hero was trying to debate the invaders using moral arguments and the invaders’ response was “that’s your morality not ours”?

    That was the only realistic portrayal (IMO) of what would be the response of somebody who had a truly alien morality.

    Too often, people who claim to have a “different moral system” will still argue that “their morality is better than our morality”. 😦

      1. But even what you said about it (and what I could find) reminds me of a Simak invasion story where the hero had that debate.

        Unfortunately, I can not seem to find an e-copy of “They Walk Like Men”.

        1. A search on it shows the Simak once was on Kindle, but is “currently unavailable”. Haven’t found any other ebook versions.

          I’d been thinking of picking up Puppet Masters and just got it. Haven’t read it in a while, and I don’t recall the office attack, so it’s next in the queue. My TBR stack is running LIFO for the while. I’ve read one of the Prince Roger books, but the rest will have to wait.

          1. Try a used book store. That where I got my copy of Puppet Masters over 20 years ago.

          1. Phui, between you all, Correia’s blog, Isaac Authur’s crew and FB Market, I may finally have to get back on facebook…

            I wonder if they’ll ban me if I use the maritime flag signal for the equivalent of “plague ship, do not approach” as my avatar?

            1. I refuse to bookface. Or twatter. Or tiktok. Or instagram and all the other strange kooks and kinks that the interwebz has got all het up about lately.

              That’s probably not a good marketing strategy. Eh. Best work on finishing the book before worrying too much about that. Least I got another chapter hammered out today.

              Why do some chapters take forever and stop and start a eleventy-dozen times and others pop right out on the page like they’re impatient to get to the world? Stupid writer brain doesn’t want to do an honest day’s work.

              1. I’m with you about (anti)social media. Of course, as a non-author there are no monetary considerations; the only thing I give up is the ability to comment on the insanity I see on all of them, which is not really a problem for me. 🙂

                1. Wags hands. I’m on FB, but rarely post anything. Do follow a number of groups. Mostly National Park, Service Dogs (SD). Try to stay off politics. I do get nailed on “politics” combining the two. I mean post a picture of my SD in a NP where it is obvious pets aren’t allowed? Watch me get “slapped”/comment get deleted for violating group standards. Never mind she is marked as a SD.

                  Otherwise I get a kick out of some of the “photographer way too close to take that picture of” Bear, Bison, or other wild animal, comments, despite the photographer making it clear photo was with extreme telephoto. One photographer posted this is the “normal picture” with an arrow to the spot of next picture (as in couldn’t even state “that black dot is a bear, honest”, no black dot). Next picture of the mama bear with twin COY, was labeled “Money shot” taken with telephoto on steroids. Last picture was the camera setup (Huge telephoto lens).

                  1. So, we could have posted a beautiful picture of baby mountain lion. In our previous house, little SOB came bouncing off the neighbor’s yard, in front of our car. Son slammed on the breaks, and the kit sat in front of our car and cleaned himself.
                    Our first thought was “large house cat” but the proportions were wrong. And then we REALIZED WHAT WE WERE LOOKING AT.
                    He finally looked up, like he’d heard something, and went bouncing across the road to the unbuilt area of the subdivision where mom was probably residing.
                    Oh, also now that I no longer live there: the next development over was Coyote Ridge.
                    When coyotes were rampaging through OUR subdivision, Dan used to stick his head out the window and yell “What are you? Illiterate? Coyote Ridge is to the south.”
                    It never failed to make me giggle. I am simple that way.

                    1. I get a huge kick out of the meme’s that get re-posted regularly, when cougars are videoed, trail cam shots, in neighborhoods. Happening more and more locally. South Hills, west and east side of valley, have always had cougars, coyotes, and bears, in their neighborhoods. After all that is where the deer, turkeys, etc., are abundant. But the river corridor neighborhoods are seeing them on webcams now too. We are a bit west of there still, but wouldn’t surprise me if coyotes aren’t a problem. Cougars or bears? A bit lacking of shelter and camouflage places. We’ve seen turkey flocks but no deer.

                      “Found lost cat. No collar. Can’t get close enough to scan for chip. Looks healthy. Can’t keep dog is terrified.” – Cougar curled up on porch.

                      “If you are cold/hot, they are cold/hot, let them in.” – Cougar on back deck.

                      Cat with caption, “Mom let my friend in to play” or various comments of same. – Again Cougar on back deck.

                      Probably won’t think it is so funny if we actually see cougars on cameras in our neighborhood. But for now, funny.

                    2. Saw a video today from (I believe) Custer National Park; a pair of mature bull bison in a dominance battle. On the road. With a couple of idiots apparently trying to get as close as possible to get pics. They were about a car length from the bison when someone off-camera yelled at them to get the hell away because “BISONS KILL PEOPLE!” Which they do. Luckily they listened and backed off. And no, telephoto lenses were not involved; the video appeared to be from a cellphone by someone standing about 2-3 cars back from the action; closer than I’d want to get in those circumstances.

                    3. I suspect there’s an element of “Once they develop a taste for people…” in that; while bison (or for that matter Cape buffalo, elephants or rhino) might create toe cheese from idiots who annoy them, they are unlikely to make a habit of seeking out people. Carnivores, OTOH, have been known to do so repeatedly, and I suppose omnivores such as bears are also viewed as being potentially maneaters.

    1. I am still amused by the title ‘They Walked Like Toasters’ but, alas, still have NO IDEA how that might work at all (or I’d at least attempt to write vignette-oid of it…).

    2. “Be it so. This burning of widows is your custom; prepare the funeral pile. But my nation has also a custom. When men burn women alive we hang them, and confiscate all their property. My carpenters shall therefore erect gibbets on which to hang all concerned when the widow is consumed. Let us all act according to national customs.”

      1. Lord Bentinck (the one who force through the ban on suttee) is said to have considered his very soul in peril should he allow the practice to continue one day longer. The practice largely fell out of favor in later years, even after the British left India.

        But it wasn’t until 1987 that the practice was outlawed there once again, this time, one hopes, for good.

        The fight against abortive child sacrifice isn’t the first time that such evil has raised its ugly head. Alas, I doubt it will be the last.

        But a diligent study of history can help one to avoid such missteps, if one’s the wit for it.

  2. Where do we go from here?
    Resistance is NOT futile.
    I notice that the FBI got the acquiescence of Trump’s SS detail before they descended upon Mar. Otherwise, they’d likely have been met with gunfire; and rightly so. (Personally, I’d fire the entire SS detachment for letting them in, and wander around unattended. How many bugs were planted in the place? What else was stolen by the FBI?)
    Two things if you think you’re vulnerable, well three actually.
    (1.) Get a good attorney on retainer and brief him or her on why you think your vulnerable.
    (2.) Get a cell phone and put the attorney on speed dial
    (3.) Arm yourself and be prepared to kill alleged law enforcement officers. I’m not talking about your local cop you drink coffee with each morning; I’m talking about some unknown fed in a suit who’s not acting kosher. Or people in black uniforms with guns out running across your lawn and nobody calmly knocking on your door, presenting a warrant for you to read (Holding it 10 feet away isn’t legally presenting it – the FBI royally screwed that up.)

    1. So, parsing Attorney General Garlands statement about unsealing the warrant, I’d like to know why it was ever sealed in the first place. A secret or sealed warrant that the defendant cannot read, and monitor that it is being complied with sort of defeats the purpose of even having one, does it not? When did this abomination sneak into the law?

      1. I Am Not A Lawyer (or Legal Expert), but generally a “Sealed Warrant” isn’t to be made publicly available.

        The owner of the property is still supposed to get a copy of the Warrant but can’t make it public.

        Oh, IIRC there is an aspect of a “Sealed Warrant” where the owner is only to learn of the Warrant when it is served.

        There is some question about Trump’s lawyer not getting a copy of the Warrant but even if it was Sealed, he should have gotten a copy.

    2. The staff at Mar-a-Lago ignored the FBI order to turn off the surveillance cameras. The staff and Secret Service should have a pretty good idea of what the FBI was doing during the raid.

      1. AFAIK the FBI has no legal authority to issue such an order, or to refuse to provide the search warrant readably (10′ doesn’t qualify), or to insist that either the owner’s lawyers or the owner leave the property if no arrests are made. I’m beginning to believe that TPTB are unaware that actions just may have “Unintended Consequences”, to coin a phrase… 😦
        And I wonder how long before “Who Is John Galt?” gets augmented with “Who Is Henry Bowman?”; the stickers for the first are freely available on Amazon.

  3. As it turns out, the Mar-a-Lago raid wasn’t even the worst thing done by the FBI this week. Ace of Spades covers how they have been demanding sheriffs hand over the full lists of people with concealed carry permits. It only got into the news because Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt sent the FBI a “fuck you and the horse you rode in on” letter, but it seems highly unlikely that Missouri is the only state where they are doing this.

    Obviously there is a mass confiscation being set up. And yes I realize that there are many constitutional carry states now, but they most likely still have records of concealed carry permits before they became so.

    1. If they try to do such a confiscation, I really do think it’ll be a giant instance of “F*** around and find out!”

        1. He isn’t wrong about the news from MO. And the assumption that they have done it elsewhere is not a stretch.

          Also the [I’ve spaced the name… census bureau related department] has demanded sales records from holster companies.

          Two data points is enough to start sketching possible lines.

            1. Hey, I just bought a bore laser sight (that bullet thingy with a laser dot) to make sure my sights are alighted and zeroed as best as possible without spending a fortune at the range. That should help with squirrel hunting at 100 yards or 5 yards. Those squirrels are mighty small and you have to have deadly accuracy to hit at that range or beyond. Methinks there are a LOT more of us than they expect.

                1. Unfortunately it takes a12 squirrels to replace a chicken in every pot. Hence the need for a lot of ammo! Hey but but Live Oaks are teeming with tree rats as they call them in Florida. Lol

                    1. My ammo stocks are considerably lower than I want…. I’m starting to rebuild them.

                      Not that I’m in any sort of position to turn them into food.

                    2. During the COVID lockdown, I used a single action “break barrel” air rifle single shot at 100 feet on a hungry bunny. Single shot. Head shot. Collapsed like a cartoon character. Actually, the Chickens (or squirrels) that need hunting are more of the liberal or elite species. Ultimately, THEY are Chickens and only know how to use their enforcers teams (Anti fas/B ell M/effin b eyes/etc.) to do their dirty work. They have no courage. Remember Courage is contagious!

                2. Consider one of the high velocity air guns, in .17 or .22. Remarkably effective on small meals, and fairly cheap practice.

                  1. Agreed. Those little air guns can also help teach you basic rifleman skills, too, that translate well into larger calibers. This is something I fully support. Have extras. Arm the kids you’ve taught, neighbors, random guests, should a practical need to hunt for the pot arise.

                  1. Yep, that’s why squirrel stew leaves you pretty hungry! 1 wild rabbit is maybe half a chicken (depending on rabbit species… There will be such an awakening when times get that hard…. In North Carolina during the Great Depression, the whitetail deer were almost extinct!

                    1. There’s a maxim in the North Country, “starving to death on rabbit”; it’s about the lack of fat. I believe that squirrels have much the same problem.

                  1. There are quite a few people I think we could do without.

                    I rather doubt their list of “expendables” matches mine, because mine has a lot of them on it.

              1. I’m trying one for a situation where a telescopic sight is absurd and the effective range of the round would be maximum 100 yards. We have the standpipe for the garden considerably further away and lower than the garden, so when we’re done, the hose back drains into a birdbath. Seems there’s a lot of hoofprints nearby, so…

                The forest rats think our land is safer than going to the river. They’d be right most of the time.

                1. “forest” rats? I have alley, driveway, and front lawn rats. They’re everywhere. Sitting in the hot tub at dusk, I can watch a herd walk down the alley. It just became legal to bow-hunt, in the city, on one’s own property. My former-game-warden brother recommend a crossbow. Apparently, they’re much easier to learn. I’m thinking about it.

                  1. They’re actually in forest land here, with a fair number jumping over a couple of fences to get to the river in winter. Most of the time, they’re in ranch/forest land south of us, but we have enough trees so they feel comfortable in off hours. Note to self; try relocating a game camera now that the water bowl is at the farm pole.

                  2. Flatter shooting. Crossbows are indeed much easier to learn. If you already know how to properly clean your kills (with an ex game warden brother, that’s likely), I’d say have at it.

        1. Any attempt at ‘gradual’ confiscation will fail. If they grabbed a million of our guns a year, it would take 600 years to get them all. We buy more than a million guns a month.
          The Democrats trust violent criminals and terrorists with guns more than they trust you.

        2. I don’t think they’ll come to confiscate weapons. After the pharmaceutical controls start to bite, everything else will be handled through food distribution and banking. They’ll leave gun owners to wither on the vine, so to speak.

          1. And they’ll FAIL at that, darling. How do you think they’re going to distribute food? Robots? How are they going to seize it? Palestinians?

          2. An attempt to control the food supply (via the “Hunger Domes”) in Bucharest is one of the major triggers for the Ceaucescus’, ahem, Christmas present in 1989.

            People will put up with a lot for the sake of “normalcy”, but threaten to starve them (or, more to the point, their children) if they do not bow down…well. There aren’t many cultures on Earth where that would work. And especially not in the US, where despite the wokiest of the lefties adoring the idea of perfect subservience to the government…most of their voter base is, when it comes to their children, as much a bunch of unruly goats as the rest of us. (See also: the WIDE backlash to CRT–and the push for grooming–in schools.)

              1. And you can bet that the gangbangers and other criminals–ie, the ones most likely to be armed in those cities–aren’t going to be interested in starving (or seeing their children/families starve) at ALL. And are pretty much guaranteed to respond violently…(And for once, would probably have the normal folks cheering them on…)

    2. They don’t need to check with sheriffs in California. Sacramento threw a hissy fit after the Bruen gun decision was handed down, and “accidentally” published a list – with personal info including addresses – of everyone who had requested a CCW within the last ten years.

      The list included LE personnel and judges, btw.

      It was available for free to anyone who clicked the right link on the website of the state department that’s responsible for handling gun stuff. And iirc, it was up for close to twenty-four hours

      Lawsuits are being discussed.

      1. “Lawsuits are being discussed.”

        Single or Class Action? I would think a high percentage are well past the “discussion” phase.

        1. This just happened within the last few weeks, and lawsuits take time to get rolling. And this lawsuit promises to be huge.

          It’s also occurred to me that this might be related to the same stuff that’s being reported in Missouri. Instead of requesting records from the individual sheriffs (who would likely either not have many people to report if they live in blue counties, or might blow the order off if they live in one of California’s red counties), the state authorities might have decided to just leak all of the information. This would make it easy for the Feds to sweep up in one go. And an “accidental” data release would bypass possible rules (I don’t know whether such rules actually exist) about transferring the data directly to the Feds.

          To a certain kind of lawless bureaucratic mind, something that can be plausibly claimed as an “accidental” rules breaking is preferable to a blatant rules breaking.

          1. Nah. The court will rule that the citizens have “no standing” to press a suit, and that’ll be the end of that.

            No court has to hear any case they don’t want. The Supremes’ ruling of ‘no standing’ over the various states’ class action suit over the 2020 election is a good example.

    3. And I heard a credible story that some gun store owners have observed BATFE inspection agents photographing their log books. And character recognition software has advanced to the point that those photos could easily be processed into a digital database, something I believe is in violation of laws passed by Congress. But then what’s one more law broken in a host of others, particularly when your agency are the ones enforcing them.

      1. They’ve been photographing logbooks since smartphones became a thing. If they were doing it before then, I didn’t notice any reports. But reports ATF snapping shots of logbooks with their phones has been a regular thing on gun forums for a long time.

    4. I agree.
      That whole “back the blue” thing is going to take a hit, I’m thinking.

      1. Another hit. Me, I was never behind it because it’s a stupid division. Ideally evil people should fear good ones, not good, evil, but there’s only so much you can do that way.

  4. I think we are getting very close to ‘interesting times’. I have a little trust in our local, county level, authorities (red county). State level, zero. Federal level, HELL NO. I know I’m on the Fed’s list.

    1. So far, the Flyover County authorities have been reasonably well behaved, at least with respect to 2A issues. We’re still seeing the tension between the citified GOPe and the Deplorable Rurals, with one DR county commissioner bailing because of lack of cooperation. (Grr. He was good at getting the illegal grows broken, but they’re like cockroaches right now.) I have some guesses about that lack, but I suspect the non Soros DA might weigh in sooner or later. Perp walk optional.

    2. So am I. But thank heavens, I’m no longer in Colorado. There is an off chance that here the authorities won’t cooperate. Not guaranteed, but an off chance.

  5. “You don’t actually need a doctor to have the seal of the AMA to have a good doctor. You don’t need a lawyer to have the stamp of approval of the board to have a good lawyer, and when you get down from there, there are people walking around who know more about any given subject than those holding the credentials from an accredited university.”

    I have had the misfortune to encounter all too many degreed imbeciles. BUT also the good fortune to have met some un-degreed geniuses. Not everyone with a degree in an imbecile (even yet..) and not everyone without a degree is a genius (even by comparison). But NEITHER is a solid indicator either way. Gee, maybe people is people?

    1. Got my weekly covid test. Fall under the not vax, I will not give feds my personal med records.
      Drive thru test wants mask on the person being tested. “Protocol you know… Useless, but we were just following orders.

      I no longer trust any info from my doctors. My walk in assumption is to not trust. When you can’t trust your doctor, people die. I told that to various med minions. They agree, but must “follow” “protocol”.

      This may be the major damage of the Wuhan panic. Fewer vaccinations that actually work being done. Fewer well baby visits. Fewer cancer screenings. Fewer eye exams. People going blind and or dying. Welcome to medical theater, now on the same bill with security theatre.

        1. Oregon. In Eugene, no less. Went to dentist this week. No sign regarding masks. Staff wasn’t wearing them unless in patient rooms, working on patient, but that has always been the case. So fingers crossed. (I know vote by mail and Portland are our problems.)

          Troubling is Measure 17 on the ballot in November:

          “The measure would ban large capacity magazines over 10 rounds — except for current owners, law enforcement and the military — and require a permit to purchase any gun. To qualify for a permit, an applicant would need to complete an approved firearm safety course, pay a fee, provide personal information, submit to fingerprinting and photographing and pass a criminal background check.

          The state police would create a firearms database. Applicants would apply for the permit from the local police chief, county sheriff or their designees.

          The National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislative Action has denounced the initiative, saying on its website that “these anti-gun citizens are coming after YOU, the law-abiding firearm owners of Oregon, and YOUR guns.””

          Even if every rural, every suburb, even those in the outer reaches of Portland, vote against this, vote by fraud will have it passing. Time to out to purchase the high capacity soon-to-be-banned clips, for what fell overboard, and ammunition, for same. Here is hoping I am wrong (on it passing).

  6. It’s not just Heinlein’s Puppet Masters getting the “it is a paranoid fantasy that needs to be forgotten” treatment; just about any work of fiction that has similar themes is being attacked, because the themes are way too close to the reality that the left has been pursuing since it began its long march and the manner in which it is using the power it has accumulated to target and destroy opposition. It is no accident that the timing of the aggressiveness in doing so coincides with the fall of the Soviet Union and its aftermath.

    The last thing the left wants is people thinking, even in terms of fiction, of being ruled by a group of overlords who are wearing the skin of the institutions they have taken over.

    1. “They Live” (while we sleep)

      Great movie that certainly seems more and more realistic with the passing of many years.

      Where are my glasses…..

      1. A move which the left is wearing the skin of while acting like the alien rulers of the movie.

      2. I thought that movie was a waste of film when I saw it, not long after it came out.

        Strange how my opinion has changed on that…

        Alien News Anchor: “The feeling is definitely there. It’s a new morning in America… fresh, vital. The old cynicism is gone. We have faith in our leaders. We’re optimistic as to what becomes of it all. It really boils down to our ability to accept. We don’t need pessimism. There are no limits.”

  7. The story about how Galileo offered to have people look through his telescope and see what he saw, and they wouldn’t? I believe it absolutely. I have encountered the like. The whole field of formal mathematical logic has been barking up the wrong trees since about 1920, and I know exactly who, what, when, where, why and how the authorities everybody cites but no one reads anymore came so painfully close and missed the boat. Except I gave up trying to get people with degrees to even read what I wrote. “I shouldn’t have promised to read your paper because I don’t have time for it”, and “I’m too busy. I’m trying to get tenure” are my favorites, Another choice one was “This paper’s symbolism doesn’t go beyond high school”.(No, because the ideas are so simple they don’t require anything more complicated, you overeducated numbwits. If you would bother to work a truth table a good high school sophomore could do, you could see it yourself, but that kind of thing is evidently behind and beneath you.) The answers are blindingly obvious in hindsight and too simple to be believed, but to get to them took a breadth of knowledge you won’t get in any one college course. Thus endeth my rant. Did anybody even ask to see my pet grudge?

    1. That’s kind of how I feel about the whole dark matter/dark energy fooforall. It’s “Oh, our theories and laws don’t comport with what we observe! There must be something out there that’s completely unobservable, that is much more prevalent that the bits we can actually see and measure, that make our theories work!”

      No, fools, you need to change your theories to fit what you can see. A few people are working on such theories, but the majority of the astrophysics community is refusing to give them any credit.

      1. General relativity and quantum electrodynamics along with subatomic physics never have played well together and still don’t. Since we have problems getting close enough to neutron stars and black holes to observe how gravity really behaves in such extreme conditions, we’re mostly confined to mathematical speculation. People qualified to engage in and critique the speculation are so few and far between (compared to the general public I’m certainly not one of them) that I’m willing to leave it to the pros to battle it out, without even wagering on the outcome.

        1. As a physics teacher (retired, but still active with the associations), I can follow SOME (very little) of the more high-level physics reasoning. A good place to check out, should you want to learn more about quantum and other advanced topics, is the Perimeter Institute – https://perimeterinstitute.ca/
          Lots of interesting videos. They are dedicated to breaking down complicated topics into bite-sized and digestible fragments.

          1. My formal education stumbled and ground to a halt about one semester short of a BS-Mathematics (Scientific Computing). My linear algebra almost got to the level where I could do basic quantum mechanical calculations. Most of it has rusted away since then, and my self-education priorities shifted away from mathematics and physics,

      2. Sometimes yes. Sometimes no.

        Possibly the most famous example of tossing in something to make the theory work was Wolfgang Pauli in 1930 invoking the neutrino to explain how beta decay could conserve energy, momentum, and spin. Fermi published a theoretical framework for investigation a couple of years later but the neutrino was not actually detected until 1956.

        Dark matter/energy doesn’t bother me much. It will stand or fall on the measurements.

        There is a lot of weirdness in both Quantum Mechanics and General Relativity. Perhaps the greatest is that they are the best tested theories in modern Physics and they do not always agree with each other. Plenty of room for folderol and discovery.

          1. Come on, one has only to look at the senior leadership of the Democrat Party to know dark energy is real. How else can there be Dark Brandon? (Runs)

      3. Yes, I agree, Exotic Dark Matter, is just a fudge factor to make the observations match the incorrect equations. I looked into MOND awhile ago, the idea that G is not a constant but an equation seems much more plausible. 🙂

        People get attached to their theories.

    2. DO NOT get Dan going on the supposed solution of Fermat’s last theorem. If you’re in poor luck, you’ll also be treated, with pedantic and extensive bile to a definition of “elegant.”
      He goes extremely “patrician New England and cold” too. It’s kind of amazing.

      1. Advanced number theory is out of my league, and I’m afraid my intellect has become too ossified for me to ever catch up. My way of thinking is so alien to the established traditions, that I’m not surprised that those with PhDs in the recognized interpretations can’t easily follow it. (Dismayed that they won’t try, but not surprised). But isn’t that how science usually progresses? The generation educated in the old conventions gradually dies off? Then again, it took much labor for me to accept what the algebra was telling me,and even longer to make sense of it. Now, I do understand it, but it may have permanently warped my brain.

      2. A bunch of the theories and models that underpin semi conductor behaviors don’t entirely work either. One of the fundamental methods for figuring out where gates peak actually predicts that the whole thing shuts off at that spot, rather than just going to a fixed current.

        But, we’re engineers here, so we just kinda shrug and say, “Yeah the theoretical model’s borked, and we don’t know why, but the spot it predicts is useful, so we’ll just run with it and tweak things as we go.”

        Or day one of the class where the professor puts a huge differential equation up on the board, and tells the class, “We can’t actually solve this, so this is the 3/4th we’re going to pretty much try to ignore.”

    3. They expected to see the same misleading things. After, obstructing your vision is no way to improve it.

    4. Heck, in the Old Testament when the children of Israel were struck with a plague while wandering, Moses was instructed to raise a brass serpent on a pole, and all who looked at it were healed.

      A surprising percentage flatly refused to do so, even if they ended up dying from the illness. Many humans really hate it when their worldview is threatened…

      1. They had to get rid of it. People were worshiping it. We worship the created, not the creator. Part of our current problem. Related to Jerry P’s Iron law. Priest comes to do good, and does well.

      2. Well yeah, but that came later. Prior to that, there were those who refused to look at simply because either they refused to believe that God could heal them in such a manner, or because it was too “simple.”

  8. I am also reminded of the Slitheen from Doctor Who’s “Aliens of London” episode, who were farting aliens in human suits, who’d infiltrated the top levels of the British government.

  9. I read this all from about 8th Grade on and have been paranoid, curmudgeonly and very skeptical ever since. But I’d forgotten Puppet and Walked, thanks for the reminders!

  10. I have been reading C.S. Lewis ‘ Perelandra series the last two days. I had read it as a teen on the advice of someone who said,”Oh you like Science Fiction? You’ll love this!”.
    I couldn’t make much of it at the time I confess. I was too young to get it. Although, some small bits of it really did actually inform my ideas of marriage to the good I will look for these others forthwith. .
    I lent it out and forgot about it but someone here mentioned That Hideous Strength and I thought I read it again because I didn’t really remember how it went. I blamed my stroke.
    Nope I was too young to understand it. I’m halfway through That Hideous Strength now. It is so very much closer to what’s going on today than 1984 it is scary. I will look for these others forthwith.

    1. Puppet Masters also has a very good version on Audible. Its the unedited version of the book. There’s a little bit of stuff that got edited out when RAH published it it gives it a much more Noir/ Sam Spade feel. Just listened to it and it is creepy. There is also a 1990s movie version. Give it a pass. It is NOT as much of an abomination as Verhoeven’s Starship Troopers, but it certainly tries to be…

      1. Well, that was the problem with the “Money Men”.

        The people who wanted to make the Puppetmasters movie wanted to be close to the Heinlein novel as possible but the “Money Men” kept meddling.

        It wasn’t like that idiot “Starship Troopers” movie where the producer wanted a Giant Bugs vs Humans movie but heard about the RAH novel and decided to mock the novel in “his movie”.

        1. Verhoeven is one of those “elite” (read idiotic) people that saw the society of Starship Troopers as a paean and endorsement of fascistic society rather then the commentary on our society and its failings that it was.
          So Verhoeven made it a world wide facvist government and then mocked it. Also when he did the movie the special effects for the Powered Armor couldn’t be done for the minimalistic budget he had (if at all). Certainly the Powered armor is what caught my attention when I read it in 6th grade, although as I grew my interests changed. I have always enjoyed that Tom Kratman had his characters find references to History and Moral Philosophy for the “A Desert Called Peace” series the Discussions with Col. DuBois really honed my worldview in High School and College.

          1. I was thought his movie was satire-it was intended as a mock propaganda film that basically made fascist government and society look ridiculous. I don’t think he made it intending it to be a faithful adaptation of the book. Just look at Robocop. His futuristic films are heavy on sarcasm.

            1. Indeed but I think that he intentionally was ridiculing RAH. That was certainly a viewpoint in some parts of the SciFi world especially on the more modern literary side of things. I know that admiring Heinlein ESPECIALLY Starship Troopers got you put in the “icky” part of the Sci Fi Fandom.

              1. That’s right: Verhoeven has stated publicly that he read (partway through) the book, decided it was thoroughly fascist, and thus decided to make the movie an anti-fascist satire of the book.
                It’s telling that Verhoeven could see military-service-as-a-duty-of-citizenship as fascism, considering that one can find that principle all the back in the radical democracies of Classical Greece. And that professors and intellectuals could, too. (But of course these Smart People never signs of fascism in the highly militarized communist tyrannies of the 20th Century.) But stupidity and mendacity are very popular on the left.

                1. Also seen as fascistic: How Starship Troopers honored (maybe even glorified) the ordinary infantryman.
                  It’s been a very long time, but I think that was also one of the things at which Delany and Disch pointed the Finger of Righteous Reproval.
                  Of course, none of these intellectuals ever saw Worrying Signs of Fascism in the over-the-top heroic war sculptures and paintings of the Soviet Union, Communist China, Cuba, and so on.

                  1. As if Delaney could actually write. Feh wasted 45 cents (1/2 price of list at a used book store long ago) on one of his thick tomes. Most turgid craptastic thing I’ve ever tried to read and I tried to wade into Joyces “Finnegans Wake” at one point. I’ll never get that 45 cents or the hour I wasted back…

                    1. His earlier, far shorter, novels are fairly good.
                      Then he started to slide into ever-longer, bizarre stories dealing with gay S&M, Marxist theory, Postmodern B.S., etc.
                      Some of his essays offer good insights into various sf writers, which reminds us that someone can be wrong about many things and right about a few others.

                    2. Not sure, I think it was either Babel-17 or Dhalgren, likely Babel-17 given the 95 cent cover price. whichever it was it left such a bad taste in my mouth I never went back. Not like 13 year old me wanted much. Give me a story and some interesting science or gadgetry and I was there. Maybe just not my cup of tea…

                2. Yeah, stupidity, mendacity and hypocrisy is what they’ve been wearing for the last century.
                  ON THEIR FACES, like some kind of bukake. And they wear it proudly.

            2. I don’t know I’m certain of that. From the interviews he gave, he was a kid in occupied Scandinavian (I think) and remembered seeing all the WWII German hardware and thinking how cool and awesome it all looked, and was really aiming to recreate that in the film.

              He kind of sounded more like a Wehraboo, than anything else.

          2. Verhoeven had a story that he wanted to tell that involved a war between humans and giant alien bugs. People heard his story idea, and told him that it sounded similar to Starship Troopers. So he bought the rights. I suspect that most of the fascist trappings of the setting were already in place in his story idea before he got his hands on the move rights.

          1. Sorry No Can Do. If you’re going to use the name of a book, be it Little Women, Persuasion, Starship Troopers or The Hobbit use the story as created by the author and do honor to that author. I have the same trouble with I Robot. They had a script, they had Will Smith and then they just bought the rights to the Asimov stories. The damn shame is Harlan Ellison had an awesome script (albeit unfilmable until recently, AND you would have had to deal with Ellison 🙂 ). If you’re bound and determined to make an Alan Smithee special don’t sully the name of a decent author.

    2. I just finished a Hillsdale free course on C.S. Lewis, and it focused on his “space trilogy.” I’m really looking forward to reading it. At least I think I am. I can’t read The Last Battle at all anymore, it’s too close to what’s happening today.

        1. Larry Arnn does a couple lectures and makes me cry at least once every time. Enjoy!

      1. The Last Battle was always my least favorite of the Narnia books (but perhaps the most relevant these days). If you’ll pardon me posting an old review of the book that encapsulates the feelings it evoked:

        Tash is on the move…

        That’s the summary that comes to mind on re-reading The Last Battle. It was my least favorite book in the series, and I can’t say I enjoyed it much the second time around, but I appreciated it more.

        I say Tash is on the move because The Last Battle is almost a twisted inversion of the Narnia books that came before. In those books, it was Aslan working mainly behind the scenes (except for the Lion, Witch and Wardrobe) rarely seen except in key moments and/or by certain people, keeping our main characters on track when they could easily falter and fail, and a bunch of unassuming and unlikely characters do what’s right and snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.

        But in The Last Battle, everything goes wrong. The characters’ best instincts are turned against them, every time it seems they might turn things around, disaster strikes, and there is no real, central, earthly enemy to concentrate on. No figure of forboding majesty like the White Witch or even the seductive menace of the Lady of the Green Kirtle. Instead, the foes of Narnia are all petty, venial and consumed by their own ambitions, yet they continue to thwart the heroes even though the seem to serve only themselves,.

        Because this time it’s Tash pulling the strings and moving the pieces. He only directly appears in a couple of scenes, but his menace permeates like a noxious fume and a sooty pall over the sun. He is a wholly negative force that doesn’t even try to build anything, as the White Witch tried to create and maintain her own tyranny, but only rots, corrodes and destroys.

        No sooner does one of his tools cease to become useful than he discards it, because there is no shortage of unwitting servants to enslave themselves to him by seeking to gratify themselves.

        Being in such a creature’s power is truly the stuff of nightmares.

        Of course, those of a believing frame of mind have the hope that ultimately it’s Aslan at the back of everything, and even Tash’s malevolence will ultimately serve a greater good no one can see coming…but for me it’s hard to see any assurance, and most of The Last Battle had the feel of a prolonged delusion Winston Smith might experience in Room 101.

        1. And that, I think, is one of the points of the novel. Corrupt people are like that. Our great enemy is like that. Things are going to get really, really, really bad right before the end.

          But no matter how bad it gets, it will all turn out well in the end even if we don’t understand how that can happen until after it’s over. With one exception, everyone is dead by the end of The Last Battle. EVERYONE is dead. By the end of The Last Battle, every last character that we’ve come to know and love over the course of seven short novels has come to the end of their mortal life (except for Susan, of course, who is the exception I noted above).

          And yet, the ending is a happy one.

          1. And Susan has been left, alone, to find her way back to Aslan because she’s wandered away and isn’t ready.
            Phillip Purlman claimed he wrote “His Dark Materials,” as a response to Lewis because, as a good atheist, he wanted to do an atheist counterpoint, and one reason he gave was Susan, whi was being punished “because she used lipstick.”
            BTW, tried to read that trilogy and gave up. There is something repellent (aside from the theology and the fact the “heroine,” is a pathological liar) in every volume.

              1. Well, yeah. Susan being obsessed with beauty (which she had already) and conformity, instead of acting like a queen in her own right who had skills, was weird. She would of course be better off coming back later, when she was saner.

              2. That brought tears to my eyes. I agree — that’s my headcanon too. I started an FMA/Narnia fanfic called “To Save the Queen” dealing with the same question, but didn’t want to continue it until I’d re-read all the Narnia books, so I never got around to it.

                Pullman’s an idiot — of course Lewis wasn’t saying Susan couldn’t go to heaven — just that she wasn’t ready yet. And not, for all the idiot explanations to come up with, because she’d discovered sex. Because of course, what else could it be? Sheesh! She’d become worldly, was all. And that fanfic described the real problem so beautifully.

                And such a beautiful solution. And so in keeping with Lewis’ own way of writing those books. Thank you for lifting me up today.

                1. Anyone who wants it, should get it soon. The author has a note on the page that it will be withdrawn soon.

                  1. That note is out-of-date: the fanfic is from 2006, and if you click through to the author’s page there’s a note from 2007 saying essentially “I changed my mind”. But it’s still a good idea to download any fics you really like and want to save, because you never know when something might be taken down.

                2. I’ll have to give it a read.

                  A lot of people were angry about Susan’s fate, but I was more angry that all the Narnians who served the false Asian (and so were complicit in all the killing and enslaving) got to go to heaven while the Dwarves got stuck in a shed. I can sympathize with not wanting to be credulous after having your faith and trust abused.

                  1. I’d have reread Last Battle but I’m not sure about “Those Who Served The False Aslan Going To Heaven” (note if they repented, that’s another story).

                    The Aspect about the Dwarves is that They Had Completely Rejected The Truth and Aslan couldn’t get through to them without completely Breaking them.

                    They had put themselves into a Hell of their own making.

                    I’d note that in Lewis’ “The Great Divorce”, he had people seeing Heaven but rejecting Heaven and thus accepting their place in Hell.

                    IE It isn’t really G*d/Aslan sending people to hell, it’s people rejecting Heaven thus choosing Hell.

                    1. This. Lucy (I think it’s her) explicitly pleads with Aslan on the dwarves’ behalf. Aslan’s response is to show her that even he can’t help them as they have completely shut him out and cut themselves off in their own little world.

                      Puzzle, the False Aslan, genuinely repents. He’s ashamed of his role in the whole affair, and tries to make things right later in the book after Jill leads him out of the camp. Shift, on the other hand, not only never repents, but doubles down on his transgressions. We are told that he was devoured by Tash.

            1. I liked the first two HDM books, but only because I was expecting more from Pullman, or thought there was more and would be more than there was.

              That was during my more hardcore atheist days, so I appreciated him taking swipes at corrupt religious institutions that misused peoples’ trust and saw demons under every bed – somewhat justifiable, even if time has taught me some of those demons might indeed have been there, figuratively or literally.

              But as I read the first two books i always assumed Pullman’s protagonists would realize the enemies of The Authority were just as bad, if not worse, that Asrael would get some comeuppance for his murderous ruthlessness and be shown up for a would-be dictator and the fallen angels who moved the golden compass were untrustworthy and manipulative. I thought there were clues sprinkled throughout the first two books: Asrael’s behavior and how the golden compass called Will a ‘murderer’ (he wasn’t a murderer, he fought back in self-defense and his would-be kidnapper fell down the stairs, Will didn’t even know for sure if he’d died).

              Then I get to Book 3 and…huh? I was supposed to be AGREEING with the villains-in-all-but-name on the other side???

              Then I learned about Pullman’s interpretation of why Susan couldn’t go to Narnia, and realized he didn’t even know what he was criticizing in the first place!

              And don’t get me started on Pullman’s offhand comments that Tolkien’s work doesn’t have any worth.

              I think I lost the last shreds of respect I still had for him when he joined the Greta cult.

              1. Pullman hated his dad, and his dad was an Anglican priest. I don’t know why he hated his dad, but apparently his dad was a C.S. Lewis fan. But yeah, apparently the whole Golden Compass series was about hating his dad and Oxford.

              2. I read the first one, picked up the second, and realized I did not care, so put it down again.

      2. You might not like “That Hideous Strength”.

        I would imagine that you should be fine with the first two novels, though.

        1. It took me a long time to appreciate That Hideous Strength.

          Most of Lewis’s work, including his scholarly works (those that I’ve read) have a certain flavor to them. In That Hideous Strength, the Lewis flavor is much reduced.

      3. Ok that is intriguing. And yes “That Hideous Strength is far more applicable to the modern world, and if you have experienced the working world with a bunch of woke drones it becomes far more cringey.

        1. Yeah. Well, it’s Lewis. So I’ll give it a go.
          And I recollected that Hillsdale has two Lewis courses. I lumped them together in my head.
          One is about the space trilogy and the other is about his Christianity, and how it was reflected in his work.

          1. It’s got some themes that are shared with The Last Battle. But at the same time, it’s not just The Last Battle rehashed into the modern world. It’s a distinct novel with a distinct plot.

            And many of the characters in it are disturbingly familiar.

            1. It shares themes with The Last Battle because both are analogues/allegories for the Second Coming. Last Battle hews far more to a literal interpretation of Revelation and related bits of scripture, whereas That Hideous Strength has far more on how the Foe got us there and how his plan comes to naught. Lewis REALLY captured the nature of the woke state/ company long before it was so obviously exposed (That Hideous Strength predates 1984 as it was published in 1945 and written in 1943 or so). I called Lewis a prophet and to some degree I mean it. The biblical prophets were not (solely) to tell the future like Cassandra, but are essentially legal figures (think counsels or lawyers) sent and used by the Author to call (usually Israel) back to the covenants they made with him and to warn of consequences if they didn’t repent and benefits (rarely) if they did. To some degree Lewis is doing that showing the failings of church and society under the New Covenant (I.e. that created by the sacrifice of Jesus as part of the godhead) and warning of the consequences should we fail to return to the covenant. As usual much of the intended audience didn’t listen and in many cases ridiculed Lewis for his statements, At least we didn’t stone him to death…

  11. The disease was Venusian; She used to nurse it “back home.” The discovery was the result of full conscious cooperation after the professionals pushed hypnosis hard and hadn’t quite got it. Part of bringing Sam and his wife to the fore in moving the story along.

    Seems to me the uncut version pushes the suggested we have met the enemy and he is us analogy with the cooperation of some not hag ridden with the parasites and the bloody amusements of the parasites. The cut version omits some material that characterizes the hag ridden as nasty people and leaves the two species of alien as more alien and that’s all.

    1. Yes. It was Venusian. Fingers were running on their own.
      The uncut version does not do that. It gives humans credit for imagination, good or bad. Not all of the hag ridden are bestial.

  12. Found both on Amazon… yeah but anyway – Heinlein was available on Kindle and I got a hard back of Simak from an Amazon book dealer too. The Kindle is ‘here’ as it’s just a download and the book should show up next week.

    I have been thinking and saying for sometime now that TPTB are crazy and delusional and now I’m sure they are just Lizard people but have contracted some virus and it is making them act crazy in the way a rabid animal will.

    Being in fly over country our state and local authorities are not swept up with the goofy defund ranting or being pushed into doing unreasonable things. Are they perfect? Aw hell no. There are a lot of good ones out there however and we don’t deal a lot with the Feds. Time will tell and while it may get ‘bad’ for awhile, I think we Usaian will come out OK in the end.

    1. There is growing evidence that domestic pets (and pests) can spread toxins and virii that infect/disturb humans. Toxiplasmosis is just one of these – it is associated with the growth of personality changes that turn people into “crazy cat ladies”. I would not be surprised to find that keeping house animals might cause mental/emotional disturbances in many people (particularly those that call such pets their “fur babies” – they are holding these critter close for extended time periods, breathing in the mites that infest them, and letting them sleep alongside them in bed).
      To have a dog that is in the house is one thing; to carry it around everywhere you go is another. My dad may have had something, back when he insisted that the dog sleep in the basement, and not get on the furniture.
      The same with many raw foods and foods not grown close to home; some of them may be carrying organisms from far away, and those little ‘bugs’ may not be benign.
      So, those old sci-fy stories may have some basis in reality.

  13. Hubby’s career until recently, required at least a 2 year degree in forestry. Then required a 4 year degree in forestry, because the 2 year programs were dropped by (most) local colleges. Now the only requirement is to be over 21, if they haven’t dropped that yet. If you can hang on, base salary topped out at $48k, after 10 years (+40 hours sick accumulated to 6 months, and up to 5 weeks vacation + 2 weeks paid instead); or was 10 years ago when hubby retired. Salary, not exempt, so even being laid off a part of the year (either winter or act of god summer fire shutdown caused) one could earn well over that. Note, it is unionized but the union lost clout at least 3 decades ago.

    Programming. I don’t know about the big shops, the HP’s, etc. At least one of the smaller shops aren’t credentialed crazy. Hire 6 months to prove ability, either make it or you are gone. Why? Because those with the degrees often won’t stick around anyway, that is what the small shop, that I retired from, saw before and is seeing now. I did have the degree and experience, but I still beat out someone with a PHD in computer science (not sure how that happened but it did). Why did I stick around? … I despise looking for work. Job had it’s downsides, but it had a lot more upsides too.

    1. It is frankly stupid the degree requirements for fedgov jobs (and possibly state as well, but I don’t know much about state jobs–and I’m sure they vary from state to state)

      In order to qualify for a Grade 11 they want you to have a MASTER’S degree. And frankly, those grade levels are pretty middle road (high end of the middle, but even so). Sure, they state on the applications “or equivalent experience” but most of the time they don’t really mean it. My now-supervisor got a position based on her experience…but then they made her get a bachelor’s degree anyway. And I don’t think it mattered WHAT bachelor’s degree, just that she had one. Same issue with the petroleum engineers: anyone with a degree in engineering qualifies. Never mind that there is a HUGE difference between, say, a civil engineer and a petroleum engineer…

      I mean, to fill our front desk receptionist position? They want you to have a frigging bachelor’s degree. That’s just ridiculous.

      1. Training was a lot easier if one had a forestry degree. Job required knowing tree species based on the log (cut end, bark, and some smell … Achoo, dang Alder … ). When St Helen was being logged (pulling everything they could reach before shutdown), late ’80 – ’81, the tree identification books were dug out of storage and put to use. Everything was cooked 6 inches into the log. Everything was white. Other part that made job easier is if you’d already memorized the different size and grade qualifies used on logs. Hubby and I were (he stared a few days before me, only because I was finishing finals) out of training in 3 months.

        Yes. Well aware of the Federal, State, governmental agencies requirement. Something that was very much resented in the small towns that most USFS districts are located. Degree personnel came and went, but the locals rarely rose above crew leads, and couldn’t get on beyond extended seasonal. And that is before the owl shut everything down. Wouldn’t surprise me if the district sales I worked on in late ’70s, never sold. One district, last year, those areas went up in smoke.

        1. It’s one thing if the job itself is more easily done with a degree (although refusing to promote just because someone does NOT have the degree is not okay–and it’s just silly to claim that one cannot do forestry at ALL if one has not gone to a university. If they’re that worried about it, a skills/knowledge test ought to be offered). It’s just that–in the BLM at least–all too often it doesn’t matter what KIND of degree. If you want to be a natural resource specialist (NRS)…you have to have a bachelor’s of science. It doesn’t matter a.) that it doesn’t have to be any kind of science that touches on any particular natural resources, and b.) that so far as I have ever been able to tell, there isn’t actually any science involved (or very little science). They have to be able to do a basic NEPA analysis–and given that the approach is ctrl+v/ctrl + c from NEPA documents already done in the past and then changing the relevant details, one doesn’t really have to be able to do that…

          I have a bachelor of arts (graphic design). Which means I can apply for a realty specialist position. Even though my degree hasn’t actually got anything to do with any sort of stuff we deal with in that department (I’m in realty, albeit in a different position–which is basically glorified clerk, but they still want you to have a 4 year degree….) In fact, you canNOT hold the realty specialist position of you hold a current realtor license.

          1. When it came to that company, that job, promotions were from the ranks, to supervisor, and from supervisor to top job. I don’t know what the requirements were for the USFS, BLM, State, or company, supervisor equivalent. Hubby would not accept advancement … He joked he didn’t want the lobotomy the advancement into management required. 😉 (I went to programming in ’83, one of us had to get out of timber.)

            I haven’t had any recent insight into the USFS/BLM requirements since late ’70s. Not surprised by what you stated.

    2. IT in the private sector has alternate non-degree credential options. Most of the big vendors offer certification exams for their stuff, and CompTIA offers vendor-neutral certifications that are recognized throughout the industry.

      1. True. Not the least of which is because IT industry tool changes so rapidly. Be on a job whose tools stay the same and you are locked into that job. Been there done that. There are some techs that don’t go away no matter how hard the industry tries to kill them. C/C++, COBOL, Pascal, DOS**, come to mind. I have reason to know. Never time to keep up, company goes away, scramble to figure out what is your best bet seminars for local jobs, and/or how to parley your experience to get potential employers to look at your resume in your cover letter. (Never left a job voluntarily, except retiring, jobs left me, companies/divisions evaporated). Other than my degree, I never pursued any certifications, I might have been a bit done with Testing. Learning no problem. Tests, forget it.

        ** Training seminar I went to, between ’96 – ’02, someone asked what I worked on. Answer “programming tool to allow developers write C code for DOS program”. Reply “What? C and DOS are dead!” Um, no. In fact DOS didn’t die on the target machines until around ’10/’12 when Symbol and Intermec finally stopped supporting their DOS units (the tool in question was shelved ’08 or so when DataLogic pulled support for the DOS Falcons). Even then the units didn’t just evaporate until desktops were replace with no serial ports (serial to USB, none of the IT’s on clients end were able to get that to work). Even then the tool development went from C -> C++ Embedded -> (finally) C#. I am sure there are still some legacy system out there somewhere that has not been updated.

              1. Tell me about it. “Sabbatical” in ’96, due to timber division shutdown we were offered “dislocated workers benefits”: college (two year) … Yea, sure, already have two Bachelors. Or “Training Skills Update”. Took door number 2. Then Java and Visual Basic were the trend that employers were looking for. Got money for two seminars plus mileage (paid for airfare and half week hotel). Visual Basic seminar got the next job. When that job went bankrupt, computer company, so nada with help. I remember nothing about Java/JavaScript.

                Note, the benefits including “determining best career path”, and was required to get the above. My results? First 25 job types listed were Forestry, Computer, or combination of them. When the job advisor mentioned that it was all I could do to say “Oh really?” and not say “No sh*t dumb a**.” Advisor hadn’t looked at my prior work history and education, yet, because didn’t want to influence the test results. It was after the above statement that the advisor and I went over that. There was a bit of silence before the money was offered for skills updating. Couldn’t blame the advisor, procedure walked him into that corner.

            1. I like Java too and have done a fair bit of it. JavaScript on the other hand is some bizarre Scripting language that pretty much shares only the word Java with actual Java. It is an absolute kludge of epic proportions. Oddly there is a scripting language called Groovy which really is a Java like scripting language. Given half a chance programmers will create a new language for the pure amusement value. Hell take this one for example (apologies for the rude name): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brainfuck
              Some days I suspect many of my fellow programmers have way to much time on their hands…

            2. Java and Javascript are completely unrelated, other than both being C-like in their syntax.

              Personally, as a web app guy, I love Javascript. I program in it all day every day, and have evangelized the company as much as I can to move our backend services from Java to Javascript in the form of Node.

  14. I see the DOJ is trying to run some cover now, asking for the warrant/subpoena, whatever it was at Mar-A-Lago, to be unmasked and made public. To me, this indicates that they’re either a) realizing they went to far and need to show something about how they think it’s all above board, or b) the left hand doesn’t know what the other left hand is doing and they don’t even have control over their supposed allies.

    1. THIS. They’re idiots who refuse to coordinate with other idiots. And they are sure everything will work out just as they’d hoped.

    2. I believe Tom Fitton went to court and forced the magistrate to order it, and DOJ is trying to smokescreen what happened.

      1. Yeah. A judge already announced in response to an FOIA request that the warrant needed to be publicly unsealed by the end of Monday.

        1. Which action tells me that the POINT of the raid was to get the accusations that they used in the warrant OUT THERE. When Trump didn’t fall into their trap, and demand the warrant be made public, they had to act.

          1. Nah. There was an FOIA request files shortly after the raid by a conservative group to get the warrant unsealed. A judge ruled in their favor, and ordered that the unsealing be done by the end of the day on Monday. I think this is just the DOJ trying to pull an “I meant to do that!” moment. If they’re forced by an FOIA, it casts more suspicion on them than if the warrant were voluntarily unsealed by the DOJ.

            1. The problem I see is that while the warrant will be unsealed, the DOJ (Merrick the Moron) is adamant that the justification for issuance of the warrant, the “probable cause” documentation, must not be unsealed. Without knowing what supposed “evidence” persuaded the judge (or, as I’ve read, “magistrate”) to issue a warrant against a former president, we can’t justify shaking out the rope. And there’s now a bunch of crap about “Nookleer Weapons!!!” beginning to circulate, with zero justification beyond “Orange Man Bad”. It’s getting closer all the time… 😦

  15. Let me quote you here, “The accreditation, the power, the structure is symbolic. And that’s what the left has seized, thereby claiming you can’t be a whatever without drinking deep of their poison. Which they then use to claim “all smart people are with us.”” This is very ‘right on!’ I was on a conservative talking site and someone suggested, “The whole Mara Lago raid was signed off on by a federal judge,” as if that gave it all the legitimacy it required. I pointed out that ‘a federal judge’ puts his or her pants on like everyone else. That a federal judge was not appointed by God. And certainly a federal judge does not rule over us.

    The other thing about what you said above is that it applies very much to ‘traditional’ publishing. That too is a molecule-thin gold leave over a worm-eaten wooden chair of a throne. Those worms have seized the power in those organizations, and made sure that no one who doesn’t ‘drink deep of their poison’ EVER gets published (in the traditional way).

    I’m not sure that writers (of social fiction, not ‘westerns in space’) who are shunned by Big NYC Publishing can ever achieve the numbers and status anymore of a Tolstoy or a Ray Bradbury or a (your fav Great American author). Just as an honest account of the trials of Trump can never be allowed to be on 60 minutes or in the NYT, serious, well-written social fiction will never get past the soy boyz and femmigurlz manning the gates at Big Publishing. But, just as in the Soviet Union of old, when serious writers had to secretly share mimeographed copies of their heretical writings, the walls will eventually collapse. When and how that happens remains to be seen.

    1. I’ve known too many judges to have a high opinion of any judge whatsoever.

      How many judges, you ask?

      Two. I’ve known two judges.

  16. They shouldn’t have rummaged through Melania’s closet. Well, they shouldn’t have done the raid in the first place, but the closet sniffing is one of those moments that engraves itself into the culture and brands it forever more.

    The body public (and women in particular) are revolted by the thought of the FBI thugs playing in Melania’s underwear drawer. The FBI can protest all they want about how they were looking for illegal files, but the only thing people are going to remember is grown men fondling her things. My outrage hit 11 a while ago, but this made me carve a new number on the dial.

    1. Not just women in particular. Makes me think the FBI has more relationship to it’s first director J. Edgar Hoover than I really want to contemplate. Given the couple FBI agents I’ve known they did tend to be supercilious jerks (and that was on their good days) and doing that just to discomfit Melania or Trump himself is they kind of petty crap they might do to show “who’s in charge”.

      1. Possibly, but I’m kinda leaning towards the idea that Trump got one of his people to pass along some disinformation to a suspected FBI plant. The possibility that he – in an impish moment – also told them to add in the idea that Trump would have secreted some of the most vital paperwork in Melania’s stuff, is not beyond likelihood.

    2. The whole incident reeks of “We’re the FBI. We can do whatever we want”, to which the proper American response should be “The hell you can”. At first, I could not believe the FBI would do something so stupid…I really thought it was Fake News for a couple of hours. But no, it was confirmed, and every scrap that came out sounded worse.
      I haven’t seen an organization perform such a nuclear strike on its own credibility since WorldCon gave its Hugo “No Awards” to keep the Puppies out.

      1. The whole incident reeks of “We’re the FBI. We can do whatever we want”, to which the proper American response should be “You can die like everyone else”.


        1. “Mess With the Best, Die Like the Rest”? I believe I’ve heard that somewhere… 🙂

    3. Dial it up to thirty seven THIS. And THIS. Again.
      The outrage on this item is so foundational to who I am…. I think I’d beat those agents to death with a rock.

    4. Melania’s underwear drawer must not be off limits to a search, else every criminal would hide the loot in his wife’s closet. But, it should have been handled with great sensitivity, as in female agents only, under supervision of the agent in charge and the Trumps’ attorney. Clearly it was not.

  17. It just occurred to me, I’m slow, that the “leaders” of the three major nuclear powers are all completely isolated from the truth on the ground through cult of personality and/or mental impairment — I’m not sure about Xi.

    Both Russia and China have just had major, possibly world historical, loses of face which have resulted in a lot of dead and maimed Slavs, boo, and a lot of dead fish in China’s case.

    I wonder what Biden’s little parasites will,produce.

      1. China launched several billion dollars of ordnance into the sea to show the world that yes they are a bunch of spoiled children and to show the US and Taiwan that if we PO China they’ll fire billion of dollars of ordnance into the sea. It killed a lot of fish.

        CCP and Xi lost a great deal of face. They got dissed by Nancy Palsi and Jo Bi Den, that’s got to hurt.

        1. That must have left a whale of a mess in the water. I mean, just the scale of the postmortem piscatorial pile must be unfathomable.

          races to get tarp upon which to collect incoming bounty

      2. The PRC military forces have been shooting a lot of ordinance into the water around Taiwan ever since the Pelosi trip. There’s at least one spoof video around (sorry, no link) purporting to show Xi Jinping ordering a great operation to kill all of the marine life.

        1. This is a really good year around the world for ocean life, so I suspect China has just given any surplus fish the incentive to scoot over from China’s waters into Taiwan’s. Ha.

          1. It’s actually saner and more reasonable than anything Biden, Obama or Hillary are doing.

            They’ve heard about this thing called a gorilla whale, that is friendly with the Japanese.

            They’ve worked out that it is the most solvable obstacle in the way of them finally overthrowing the legitimate government of China.

            So, they are shooting into the water to kill the gorilla whale.


  18. Think I need to go back and read Puppet Masters. I hope it ends better than the Invasion of the Body Snatchers (the remake with Leonard Nemoy), an effective horror movie, but are real downer.

    I’ve got a paperback and a kindle version, but they read very differently, I think one must have been edited or abridged. I never got through PM, I think Heinlein’s style turned me off, or maybe I was primed for the slow, creeping, helpless horror of Body Snatchers.

    I liked Have Spacesuit Will Travel and Glory Road, and Friday was…interesting…to my then-teenage self, but Stranger In a Strange Land definitely put me off. The only other Heinlein I read was the one about the generation ship and the two-headed mutant, but it was so similar to Gene Wolfe’s Book of the Long Sun I got distracted by trying to figure out who was ‘inspired’ by who.

    But anyway, seeing some competent heroes take action against the Puppet Masters might be just the thing I need right now.

          1. There’s the 1951 version published in Galaxy, the 1951 version published as a novel, which is a bit longer, and the 1990 “restored” version. That I know of.

      1. Thinking back, I believe I lost interest in PM when I got to the part where the characters figured out how to tell a puppeted person from a free one. After that, I considered the story over and the rest was just wrap-up, and the central conceit of these alien infestation/invasion stories – the fear and tension that comes when you don’t know who you can trust, and anyone could suddenly turn into an enemy – was gone. It didn’t occur to me that seeing how the puppeteers act when they stopped pretending could have it’s own horror.

            1. For the “hidden invaders” trope, try Campbell’s “Who Goes There?” novella, published in 1938. The first movie (“The Thing”) was just OK (James Arness as a giant carrot really doesn’t do it for me), buth the remake with Kurt Russell was really good.

      1. Leonard Nemoy is in the remake, so have to disagree.

        And in terms of creating a story of absolute, inescapable horror that can make a viewer feel claustrophobic even in a crowd, that starts off with creeping menace in whispers and builds to a literal screech at the end, you can’t top the remake.

  19. Read this out loud to my husband when he asked why I was laughing so hard: “I swear we’re a country of weaponized autists. I probably know more about Shakespeare than people who teach Shakespearean biography. And my plumber ten years ago was the world’s foremost expert on Civil War weapons, if you could get him talking. And any number of the rest of us, in the middle of our humdrum lives get a question about our passion, and the eyes light up, and we start talking, and the problem is for the casual bystander to avoid getting graduate level education on whatever it is, from ladies underwear in the 14th century to the specific composition of Martian sands.”

    He confirms that Americans are indeed nuts like that. And he laughed, and mentioned a couple of our kids’ obsessions.

    That’s what he gets for coming here.

  20. You guys are now living through what I went through in February when the Shiny Pony invoked martial law over truckers with bouncy houses. You can’t believe it, but there it is. Like an elephant taking a dump on your driveway.

    We Canadians have seen a lot of Antifa/Indians/PETA/#BLM/etc. burning shit and beating people with impunity over the last 15 years, but the cherry on top was calling down the Emergency Act because some truckers were illegally parked. Because it wasn’t THEIR protest.

    Truckers with bouncy houses? Those are not our people, we can’t have that! Call out the Emergencies Act!

    Raiding Trump? Yeah, the puppet-masters just stopped pretending, is what that was.

    Where do we go from here?

    Mockery. Because this is the Interwebz, and a good meme will do more damage than an airstrike. Let’s go, Brandon!

    1. I think it’s the WSJ who is saying that they were looking for top secret nuclear information.

      Quick, Melania, hide the nuclear bomb plans in your pantie drawer !

      The memes write themselves.

      1. In other words they were planting such information because that is the one thing it is unlikely Trump would take; the stuff he would have taken would have been stuff that proved that the alphabet agencies, DNC and Team Obama and Team Hillary conspired to concoct the Russia collusion hoax and to stage a de-facto coup to undo the 2016 election and rig the 2020 election in Democrats favor. In other words, he took nothing that any prior president hadn’t taken on leaving office and probably a lot less than the Clinton’s or Obama’s did.

        Given that the FBI has been proven to falsify documents and to lie on warrant applications previously to get Trump, anything they assert is simply not believable and should be presumed false unless proven otherwise.

        1. I’m sure he took way less, considering that the Clintons (and, iirc, the Obamas) took off with actual furniture and antiques…

          Trump might be crass in some areas, but I’m pretty sure he would never be THAT crass.

        1. No, this is how they do everything.

          You ever wonder why the USA has so much crime? Because the cops are f@t donut munchers who couldn’t organize a two-man rush on a three-hole out house. Uvalde Texas is not an exception, it is the rule. That’s normal. That guy applying hand-sanitizer in the famous video? He’s a star employee. Not kidding.

          I’ve been at the range in AZ when Feds were shooting. Oh, my ghod. Those men were not hired for their skillz, let’s just say. More because they will do what they’re told without thinking about it.

          Seriously, these people have benefited from years and years of propaganda. When you look at what they -do- it leaves you shaking your head. The only difference this time is that we get to see them doing it.

          1. Re: Feds at shooting ranges (I assume poor shots)… That’s what I call a feature, not a bug. Who wants idiotic Nuremberg-candidate crooks who can shoot? Not me!

          1. That FBI in Melania’s clothes was fabulous. I thought the hats were especially well done.

  21. “Now, in this case the symbolic structure of power, unlike the mere money of the novel (and seirously, if no one else thinks of BlackRock I’ll be sad. Also, what kind of idiots named their company after the meteor of Islam, again?) is also the various institutions that symbolically run the economy and the society.”

    Two options, really. Either 1a) they were completely clueless, 1b) they thought they knew, but had the wrong idea (which is effectively 1a), 2a) they knew precisely what they were doing and didn’t care, or 2b) they knew what they were doing and did it purposefully.

    None of those are really good options, to be honest.

    1. Did they name it after Black Rock Desert in Nevada?
      Wikipedia, the font of all wisdom, says the original company was Blackstone. I suspect any connection to an ancient idol is purely coincidental.

        1. Itch powder in a p-suit?

          Nah. Hack the the audio. Add an intermittant faint high pitched whistle. Like an air leak.

    2. I do wonder. Especially since immediately after, the Hildebeast started selling swag with “But her emails!” on it.

      That really boggled me. Gloating THAT openly about how she was above the law just because she’s a democrat. In the long run, that ain’t gonna work out the way she thinks it will…

  22. Well, some guy is reported to have taken a rifle to the FBI’s Cincinnati office and launched a rant, then got into a gun battle (off-site?) and killed. I’m sure there’s more to it than that.

      1. Always allow three days for the details of such dramatic events to come out.

        “Witnesses” are often … inaccurate. Initial news stories are usually inaccurate, if not flat wrong.

      1. *a nail gun, which he reportedly fired *

        How? I’m not aware of any model of nail gun that you can fire without depressing the tip against a solid object. And it would have to be a relatively recent model that was battery or fuel-cell powered, because otherwise he would have to have been dragging an air compressor around with him.

        I think this is an illusion and I disbelieve it.

        1. It wouldn’t take that much to disable the interlock. I have a very vague memory of some nail guns offered (25+ years ago) where the interlock wasn’t included, though I can’t figure out a good reason to skip the lock. I’ll take it back; I’ve had some toenail tasks where the interlock was more pain than useful.

          OTOH, a semiauto assault nailgun doesn’t strike me as one of the more likely weapons in the insurrectionist’s arsenal.

        2. balzacq, I have personally seen and used nail guns powered by blank firearm cartridges. It’s been a few years, but they used to exist.

          1. They still do. I’ve used such a couple years or so ago. Probably be terribly inaccurate at any range beyond halitosis. But it’d sure as heck hurt getting hit by one.

          2. Hadn’t thought about that, but the Hilti/Ramset nailers would fit the bill. Still would need some way to deal with the need to shove the tool into the surface for firing, but that doesn’t strike me as unpossible.

            I have a bog-simple one that needs a hammer blow to set off the cartridge. Not useful as a weapon, though aiming to misbehaving with one would be doable.

        1. Hey, Antefa and BLM were there too. I suspect they were the ones actually smashing in doors and windows.

          If this bozo had anything to do with the Fibbies, it was as an FBI stooge confidential informant, not an actual agent.

  23. Meanwhile, I’m still shaking my head at another conversation my beloved was having with some old friends. A woman was there (employed by the friends). She lives in Eastern Washington….and she just doesn’t know if she and her wife will be able to keep living in the US. She was vehement about how the Federal government should control abortion law, and marriage law, because -well, because the states are full of Bad People, who might take their rights away! Yes, the cities in Washington are blue, but they’re surrounded by a sea of red counties. Surrounded! And there are white supremacists in Idaho, you know, and just a sea of awful people all around who can only be prevented from destroying all goodness and progress by the unending vigilance of the Democratic Party. It’s just not safe for a persecuted minority (which just had an entire month of public attention) in the U.S.

      1. Yes, I agree she needs to go overseas. And she needs to visit areas off the tourist list. Heck, just getting a block or two off the main track at the tourist traps can be really eye opening.

        1. Ooooohhh yeah. The closest I came to being assaulted (not counting the protest that got violent) was two blocks off the main square in Mainz, Germany. The only thing that saved me was being aggressive at the guys, in German. They apologized and said they’d thought I was a tourist. I got my little self back to the main square pronto.

    1. the states are full of Bad People.

      I hope she can hear us breathing in the dark.

      I’d hate for someone to come upon her all unawares.

        1. What she said about her partner made her sound even more frightened and irrational. I really had to bite my tongue. Totally different mindset, held with utter conviction.

            1. And then she should try any country in the Middle East outside of Israel and see what the treatment in those countries are.

      1. I doubt she gets out much. You couldn’t pay me enough to head up to Eastern Washington. If she heads out to rural Idaho, well, that’s her lookout. Even if she’s not got the sense Himself gave baby ducks, bless ‘er heart.

    2. Do not try to dissuade her. In fact, a comment about how lovely Venezuela is at this time of year would be appropriate.

      1. She might also like Venus. I hear we have a nice colony there.


        Oh wait … been done before. Heh.

        1. With blanket trees and ham bushes? Yeah, but just keep in mind what happened to the guy who thought of it… 🙂

  24. It’s just…sad.

    Went to the local comic book store today, and the comics were unreadable. Why? The agenda was there in every single book and it’s all weird gay creatures wearing the heroes skins. And, they’re not even the fun sort of gay, they’re the ones that will flaunt their deviancy as proof of how virtuous they are.

    Was it Great Aunt Sarah who said that a lot of the efforts to create conservative alternatives for a lot of creative products have failed because most of the people that they hire are cultural Marxists in one form or another? And hide it until they get enough power?
    Or how Texas and another state are suing Blackrock and a few other money market funds because the funds are doing ESG investing, which is against what they’ve requested?
    Or…just how people that claim that they’re in this for profit are not doing the profitable thing in far too many fields?

    You understand that sense of psychic fatigue in dealing with these people, Martians in all but name. Aliens wearing human flesh.

  25. Looks like Puppet Masters is the next Heinlein for me to reread. I read all the Heinlein I could find between 1963 and 1967, but I’ve only reread a few of them recently.

  26. Tangent to your first, but have you checked out Cyberfrog, Deathdeathdeath, or the various comics of Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files or Ringo’s Black Tide Rising? There are comic artists and creators that aren’t mired in the DC/Marvel swamp. That grand suckage that they’ve made of every classic comic book hero they could get their greedy mitts on.

    To the latter, yeah. It is tiring. Every new space they invade and corrupt can just make you go “Really? Again?” and “Can you not just build your own things, instead of hollowing out beloved characters and wearing their former powers and presence as a mere skin suit?”

    Because of course they can’t create compelling, original characters. The very idea would not be woke enough.

    I am certain you or any of the other writers here could write an entertaining story with characters, even main characters, that would at least appear to tick the stupid boxes that the cult of leftism demands. And they would be good, or at least good enough to entertain, because you write characters that are human.

    Wokism denies humanity. All they want to create is corrupted versions of the things that once captured the imagination of generations. The Rings of Power was born dead because of that lack. Star Wars was killed by it. Wheel of Time is getting a wokified prequel, from what I hear- it’s popular, or at least it was, not that I ever watched any of it.

    Take heart. At least some souls have learned by the burned hand that teaches. Zaslav’s shaking things up at Discovery Warner. Time will tell what comes of that, but at least it’s not the continuing slide into obscurity and oblivion that was.

      1. Was that the group of proposed characters with names like “Snowflake” and “Safe Space”?

            1. Not that kind of a joke, anyway. They were dead serious about it.

              Maybe not directly related, but somebody also floated a pudgy, out-of-shape Wonder Woman concept. Fortunately, it sunk.

            2. Sadly, those Woke “New Warriors” weren’t a joke and two of them had the code-names of SNOWFLAKE AND SAFESPACE.

              1. Snowflake would not be a bad name for an ice powered superheroine in itself. Except….

                The other would have to be Sanctuary. Very useful for bystanders

    1. Because of course they can’t create compelling, original characters.

      That’s not the point. Taking over beloved characters and destroying them to demonstrate their power to humiliate you is the point.

      1. They do try to create new characters. But the characters that they create are invariably disasters. A few of those can be excused. Most new comic book heroes don’t do well. It’s just the nature of the thing, and most new characters will be a quick flash in the pan. But with these characters, none of them succeed. The mass market doesn’t want characters named after woke concepts, or that appear to plagiarize elements of Japanese live-action pron movies (and not in a sexy and/or perverted way).

    2. They can’t create. Not really, because it requires that requires them to think, to consider, and to actually figure things out.

      And, they don’t know how to do that. They can’t. Their mindset has forever been driven away from that concept and they think that there’s only repeating of the chant that they’ve been taught over and over again.

    3. And if you want superheroes, there’s prose ones out there. Marion Harmon’s Wearing the Cape. Jeremy Kraatz’s The Cloak Society. My own little Through a Mirror Darkly.

  27. When the Masquerade breaks, the Kine (mortals) suddenly notice all the Kindred (vampires) in their midst, and rise up and destroy them.

  28. That’s what I always wanted to write, though some crazy fantasies also come through. Literary? Not so much.

    You forgot cozies where the protagonist/detective doesn’t like mysteries except for some musketeer series by an author whose name she can’t remember.

    Weirdest. Self-insert. Ever.

  29. Just a nit on a great column but I think it was a Venusian disease in Puppet Masters.

  30. Those of us who believe can pray for them. It might do no good, but it will do no harm.

    I know the Liturgy includes this prayer: “Remember, Lord…those who love us and those who hate us;” It is a reason, and not a small one, that I found my way to Orthodoxy.

    Let, while I know the truth of this prayer and it’s importance in our journey to Christ, I am not yet far enough on my own journey to Him to be able to embrace that fully, especially with TWANLOC who hate me.

      1. Because that is what repentance is. You only repent when you know you truly did wrong. That dawning realization of what you did, said, and supported, what it actually meant, the meaningless pain and suffering it caused, the complete and utter fool you were to be so prideful and arrogant.

        It’s painful, shaming, awfulness. No one wants to think of themselves as having made so many mistakes and so many of them so profound. No one wants to think themselves the villain, the author of so much pain, including their own.

        It is a terrifyingly humbling experience. It can break the human psyche in ways utterly profound, for those who’ve fallen so far.

        That’s why you’ll sometimes see the ex-leftists that turn out to be such firebrands. They know.

      2. I’d never considered that perspective. I’m not sure if G*d will fall for that sort of reverse psychology (is “prayerology” a word?), but I’m now motivated to give it a try!

      3. In my books I use the light of satori as a weapon.

        “You would be surprised,” she said philosophically. “The light is not a cute little birthday candle on a child’s cake. It is the fire of Creation that started the world and keeps it turning. When the light shines, everything burns.”

  31. Say you have a “homeless not for profit.” One of the services they provide for the homeless is a mailing address. On voting ballot day they get a pile of hundreds to thousands of mail in ballots for their homeless. The homeless are heroin addicts, and have no desire to vote. Therefore, “Since they would have voted democrat anyway,” the homeless not for profit fills in the ballots for the homeless and “layers” the return ballots through drop boxes throughout the city using mules who spend days doing this, wandering around drop box to drop box dropping off 7 or 8 ballots at each.

    Further, every election cycle the homeless not for profit re-registers every homeless person under a slight variation of their name. Bob Jones becomes Bo Jones. Mary Davis becomes Mary Jackson Davis. If a homeless person moves or dies, they also stay on the voter rolls and they vote from beyond the grave. This tactic is what 2000 mules exposed. So…. how to combat this level of corruption?

  32. “I don’t know when the flip will come, but it feels like it’s really close, when the “official credentials” will mean nothing, and employers will be scouring high and low for those who know and can do.”

    That’s how I got hired in IT 28 years ago. Boss only cared that you had a four-year degree, he didn’t care in what, because it proved you had staying power and would complete things you started. My degree was in History, but I knew a lot about tech and I learned a lot more after I went to work for him. (I’m still there, FWIW, and he’s still got the same attitude today.)

    So I could see this coming on a more wide-spread basis. Though I think it will work only for companies small enough to truly manage such people. It would never work at Google, for instance.

    1. Alas now-a-days, sticking to it all too often is all it shows, as too many are dumb as a Bois d’arc fence post and about as thick skulled. Though he sounds like he would send those “qualified” folks packing. This place would hire a “masters in puppetry” because “degree!”and put him in charge of manufacturing, or engineering.

    2. I also have a degree in History, not CS or anything similar. I’m pretty sure I got my first job in tech in 1999 because my code sample was well-commented and properly indented.

      I didn’t really learn anything in that job about coding per se that I hadn’t learned in CS classes 15 years earlier, but I gained a lot of practical knowledge about programming as a profession.

      1. I think some of the most fun I had when getting the CS degree was listening to the um, less programming experienced, classmates scoff at the client stories told by Profs and TA’s. Note the profs and TA’s were naive to the extreme. Heck I wasn’t a whole lot more experienced with clients for all that I’d been working with them for 5 years by then. Even then my next 12 years I was more or less isolated from the worst (first working directly with co-workers, second because clients, technically, had to go through support first). Last 12, OTOH … A lot of laughing. You could tell which of the students had more experience with clients, smiles, but little laughing. Note, at least then, somehow the employer horror stories didn’t come up, ever.

  33. Weird thing reading through the Puppet Masters, only about 15% in and I’m already pretty sure the guy they’re trying to convince to do something about it is already a collaborator.

    I don’t knowing that speaks to my cynicism, or the signs of the times.

    The weird thing is, the framework for the thing I’m working on also, effectively has the powerful and highly ranked sheep deep into The Aristocrats territory, and I wonder if I’m on the verge of using the people in power being corrupt reptiles as a trope, or if it really is the state of humanity?

  34. This is one of the best you’ve ever done.

    I would only add that now the masks have come off, it’s do or die. For us and for them. Expect immediate war.

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