Dancing on the Edge

When I was little, the room in which I spent most time — being of a sickly disposition, in a society not yet used to the existence of antibiotics — didn’t have a window. Well, it kind of did, but it was a slit high up on the wall behind me, to capture the light that came into the living room through the two sidelights on the front door.

But on the wall, in front of me, there was a picture of an angel walking behind a boy and a girl, while the boy and the girl, blithely walk at the edge of an abyss.

I feel like right now I’m sitting here, in my office chair, typing at the edge of an abyss. I sure as hell hope there is an angel ready to save my butt, but I’m not going to tell you there is.

For once this doesn’t make me even vaguely special. Right now, this morning, whatever you’re doing, including sitting on your chair reading this blog, you’re doing it at the edge of the abyss.

I remember similar times, when I was very young, and we were not sure what the rules were or how they were changing, and we definitely didn’t know what came next. And I remember my mom complaining to her friends about how hard it was to concentrate.

… I’m having a heck of a time finishing BOR because who cares about made up fights and perils of dragon and lion shifters, when we’re not sure what is going to go boom where, but we’re sure it’s any second now, and we’re sitting here, waiting for the crack and boom.

The only thing I can say is that unless you’re a person of more power and influence than I think reads this blog, whatever you do today, in the normal run of your life is more important, overall for your future than what is going on over our heads, in the beleaguered and plagued entrails of our poor Republic as it attempts to purge itself of the Marxist infection killing it.

Unless you are in a pivotal position, at a pivotal time — and if you are, you will know it — you’re better off dancing at the edge of of the abyss and ignoring the howling winds than trying to pull everyone along with you back from the edge.

Yeah, it’s not easy. I’m not going to claim it is.

But even my day job, which is mostly making up entertaining lies is important to someone. How do I know?

I have the letters. “Your books kept me going when my family was falling apart/I had cancer/my father died.”

And I’ve experienced it from the other side myself. Sometimes, in the years of hell, the only thing that kept me together was books, and honestly, at the point? The more amusing the better. If they could manage to slip in one or two comforting verities or a bit of hope even better.

So even my work, even the sillier books matter.

And other things matter. Because I’ve been fighting this novel to the finish, (And at my age, what business has a plot running away from me?) my house looks like Pompeii after the volcano. Only with more dust and cat hair. As soon as I finish this thing, there’s going to be such a cleaning as has never been seen. Well, not recently.

That matters too, because living in confusion and mess affects me and my work. Jerry Pournelle, as we headed into the dark in 2008 told me if I couldn’t concentrate to write, or do anything else, just “Work on making things organized and very clean.”

For one, if there are supply/energy disruptions, cleaning will be much harder — trust me on this — and starting from a clean place helps.

So, as you hold your breath and wait for a crash; as each fresh bit of news makes you start up and go “What fresh hell is this?”, unless you’re in a special place at a very special time — and you and only you will know that — dancing is the best you can do.

Keep dancing.

And for the love heaven, unlike Wile E. Coyote in the cartoons: Don’t look down.

As long as we’re not away we’re on thin air we won’t fall.

And we must keep dancing.

455 thoughts on “Dancing on the Edge

  1. Sarah and everybody else, please take care.

    Oh, I’ll try to take care as well. 😉

    1. Amusing, I suppose, but it REALLY brings up the question, “Whatever Happened to Music?” (I’d link to a video but evidently what I recall is memory-holed…)

      1. Don’t know about your video, but a few Opera singers I’ve seen are saying their music is trying to kill itself, and many are becoming metalheads.

        1. Not so sure about the music itself, but the stagings, settings, and “making it relevant” is going to kill Verdi and Puccini deader than whatever killed them in the first place. Modern “opera?” Um, I’ve not been impressed by what I’ve heard.

          1. The last exposure to “modern” opera (circa 197x) was a POS called Talla Obtusities, ostensibly derived from Dicken’s novel. IIRC, it was Marie Antoinette whose voice was put through a ring oscillator, and it went downhill from there. What they did with Mme Defarge is lost to memory. Mercifully.

            I’d rather hear a dwarf signing about a ring, thank you.

            1. Modern opera, like Modern art, is a pale shadow of what we had a century ago or, better still, two or three centuries ago…

              1. Not quite. 17th century opera became quite filthy which is why the Opera Seria movement with librettists like Metatasio and composers from Vivaldi to Handel to Haydn to Gluck came along after the 1720’s to clean things up a bit–think of them as a Hays Commission for opera. Most people now think opera seria is DULL–think most of Gluck—but I like it.
                BTW the popular operas staged in late 18th century London are NOT performed today because their style turned out to be duller than dishwasher—but that’s what sold then, something that no one other than the Historically Informed People go to (I would)!
                As for modern stagings–they do vary a lot. The wisest have been a sort of simultaneous telling of parallel stories, as in Peter Sellars’ Handel’s Orlando at the ART in 1982 which I saw 3 times. Thankfully 12-tone composition is rapidly disappearing, practically the last new example is that awful “Burke & Hare” the Boston Lyric commissioned a few years ago. It’s by Julian Grant–avoid it if you can. Warmed over Hans Werner Henze basically.
                I shudder to think of what the Metropolitan is going to do in a few months to Cherubini’s “Medea” from 1787–which they’ve NEVER done before! Fortunately I saw a great production in 2011 at Glimmerglass—no, while Medea was covered in blood at the end her children’s bodies were offstage but sorry that’s the libretto.

          2. Not just “making it relevant”, but the changes in style have made it less appealing to the average listeners ear. I’ve come across a whole YT channel on what Opera used to (and in her opinion, should still) sound like, and how the modern version isn’t just jarring but muddies the feelings of what was intended.
            “I – I – I just think that the, uh, their appeal is becoming more selective.”

            1. A lot of that change comes from being able to have unobtrusive amplification for the singers via wireless Microphones. The whole point of the Opera singing style was the ability to project a single human voice above a middling to large orchestra so that the test could be picked out. Light Opera and later Broadway had the same issue and solved it in similar manner although with a different sound. Broadway quickly gave in to the amplification as its style was using more amplified instruments (guitar and drums especially) and the techniques either didn’t work or quickly destroyed singers voices. Opera resisted, but over time they gave in and the singing style changed. If you sang like a full bore opera Coloratura into a little boom mike you’d saturate it almost instantly so the style changed, to its detriment I think on average.

              1. :perks up:

                That might explain why the opera singers get interested in metal so often– there’s a lot of cool stuff going on in making microphones accurately convey unusual voices, especially the really deep or vibrant ones. the guy who did a bass version of 16 tons has a video on it, I think….

                His name is Geoff Castellucci, I can see three or four videos that might be the one I’m thinking of, but I’m reviewing a video to get the kids writing essays (and going aaaaargh because it’s the second in the series that is making the point that hey, the standard “here is your essay thesis statement” is bass ackwards, and I’m wondering if the “here’s your conclusion, get the evidence” might be WHY we have many issues iwth higher education) .

                1. There’s another aspect: the operatic vocal techniques also develop a series of over tones that allow the opera singer’s voice to stand out from most of the instruments used in metal.

                  Basically guitars are on the same frequency range as the male voice, so without the over tones, you can’t differentiate the male lead from the guitar line.

                  I suspect this is also why female fronted bands have a noticably different sound: the average female voice is about an octave higher and, even without training, has better frequency separation from the instruments.

                  I know someusoc visualizers are just a frequency amplitude graph, and its fascinating to what the frequency spectrum going on during some of these pieces.

        2. Elizabeth Zharoff (aka <a href=”https://www.youtube.com/c/TheCharismaticVoice/videos>”The Charismatic Voice” ) is one. She raves over Dio. And to be honest, the man does enunciate quite well.

          1. I love her. Her hubby is a lucky man. She does geek out on voices though. Her trip to Salt Lake with Will Ramos was cool. She’s also a gamer geek (I think they do D&D twitch streams) and I forget who it was she interviewed, but they knew her singing voice from a video game she had done work on.

          2. She just put out a piece on an early live performance of ‘Magic Man’ by Heart where she raves about Ann Wilson’s voice. Worth checking out.

            She has also done ‘Silent Lucidity’, ‘Suite Sister Mary’ and ‘Eyes Of A Stranger’ by Queensryche. She raves about Geoff Tate’s voice, too.

            I’d like to see her go through the whole ‘Operation: MindCrime’ album from beginning to end. You can’t really analyze the individual songs on that album in isolation; each one builds on what has gone before to tell the overall story.
            I used to trust the media to tell me the truth, tell us the truth
            But now I see the payoffs everywhere I look
            Who do you trust when everyone’s a crook?

        3. There is no video of which I am aware. An old Demento playlist said “Whatever Happened to Music?” (the one i think of, anyway) was done by “Mister Murray.”

    2. Some of the fellows in that video are my age or older. I used to be able to move like that. Dancing with a nice gal was quite fun. Well worth it.

    1. I am normally unimpressed by pastiches like that but this one was pretty cool. Thanks.

    1. I love those. I’m terrible at figuring out where the original dancing came from because I’ve seen so few old movies. I think there is a clip from the now-banned Disney Songs of the South in the Footloose one. Someone has a very extensive library of ripped movies, or at least their dance scenes.

  2. Who cares about made up dragons and panters? I do.

    The Wizard of Oz books were written and set in the days before the world went mad. It even had the great ball of the Kings and Queens of Europe (which is a little eerie in retrospect) but even after that world wiped itself away of blood and death, Dorothy and The Wizard of Oz still remain.

    I sympathize though. Right now it’s hard to focus on work, because if things go open loop, everything we’re working on may come to nothing as well.

    Writing contemporary stuff feels weird too. I had a section where the characters took a plane on a trip, and it felt like I was writing about something that may never actually happen again. It was like, “I know this. I’ve lived this, and I may never see this again.”

    Just such a strange feeling.

    1. And now I have a Reason (beyond wondering what all I missed way back when…) to (re)read the Oz books… providing that they can be had sans wokeshyterie.

  3. The Horse and His Boy suddenly comes to mind. Specifically, Shasta’s trek along a dark road trying to avoid getting eaten by the lion that had inexplicably decided to walk right next to him.

    And then in the morning light, Shasta was able to see the deep abyss running along one side of the road, just past where the lion had been.

    1. Perfect scene. The good Aslan scares Shasta to death, then the next day reveals the real goodness.
      After reading Sarah’s post, this almost makes me emotional.

  4. Women will recognize this behavior as the “nesting” instinct. As in the well recognized phenomenon of a pregnant woman, who hasn’t had any sleep for weeks because of the bowling ball on her bladder, suddenly has the energy to in one day clean and rearrange every closet in the house, mop and wax all floors, do every scrap of laundry, put meals in the freezer , and next day goes into labor. I, myself, did this 8 times, although 2 times I didn’t bring a baby home and 2 times I went directly to neonatal intensive care units and wasn’t home for a while. It had been all the more important to not leave things in disarray at home. You just don’t know what is going to happen for sure.

    A new Day is preparing to be born. We haven’t seen the whites of it’s eyes yet so we can’t name it for sure. But we need to do our best to be ready to take care of our family and friends. So, as per our Good Sarah’s advice, let’s get our fall cleaning done to the best of our ability so we are ready to settle in for a cozy winter of indeterminate length.

    And, always know where your towel is. We may be getting to the Don’t Panic phase.

  5. “And for the love heaven, unlike Wile E. Coyote in the cartoons: Don’t look down.”

    It was MANY years ago, but I once had a dream that I walking through a path in a woods and came to a log bridge that spanned a stream/river too wide to jump too everything else to cross by simple means (wading, swimming…) and the bridge had a gap or two where the ‘floor’ logs were absent, the gasp also too wide. The in-dream solution was Cartoon Logic: just don’t look down. It worked…

    Yeah, yeah, someone will say that’s because I’m Looney Tunes.
    Eh, could be worse.

    1. I used a trick something like that like that in a D&D game. It was a staircase that magically became a slippery ramp precipitating the player back to the bottom if he looked where he was putting his feet. It was really one of my better puzzles.

      1. I made a magic portal. After you found it, you could walk right through into the secret rooms, but you had to walk through backwards to get out. Took ’em a reeeeally looooong time to figure it out.

        1. > “you could walk right through into the secret rooms, but you had to walk through backwards to get out.”

          Interesting idea, but shouldn’t it be the other way around? Wouldn’t you want a SECRET room to be harder to get into than to leave?

      2. How did that work in-game, specifically? Did the players tell you their characters were looking at their feet? Did you assume that by default the characters would look down at some point unless the player specifically said “Okay, this time I’m NOT looking at my feet at all”? I can see some definite potential for GM-player miscommunication with this setup.

        1. It was little tricky.

          There was a short hallway earlier on the level that was annoying if you weren’t careful where you stepped. Pressure switches in the floor triggered jets of dirty, smelly water. Next there were some hints on a map that the staircase leading up to the next level was booby-trapped. So the players were primed for a perilous passage.

          In such places the players were expected to tell me how they planned to proceed. If they were inspecting the wall for traps they would tell me. If they were watching where they put thier feet, they were expected to say so. I’d roll a few dice (misdirection) and, if they looked down at the steps, I let them get about halfway up before the staircase became a slippery slope.

          After a couple of mistrials, the gal who figured it out used a stick she carried like a blind man’s cane to locate each riser so she could climb with her eyes closed. After that, the staircase was just a staircase.

          I did have a plan B in case the players weren’t making any progress. I’d let one random player make to the top and the staircase became just a staircase. Not very satisfying but most of my puzzles had an escape clause in case the players seemed stumped. No point in frustrating them.

          Oh, and I gave extra experience points for clever solutions.

    2. Hey I had a dream after the 2020 election that I was in Washington on some big stairs and some pervert started grabbing me from behind. It turned out to be Biden and I pushed him down the stairs! Lol.

  6. my house looks like Pompeii after the volcano. Only with more dust and cat hair.
    You, too? As a drywall patcher, I make a fine cook. I’m sanding off nearly as much as remains. Second painting quote should come in today, which will give me a deadline. I hope to be done this weekend.

    On the bright side, I will be busy baking Oreo cake for the next two evenings, so I can forget about the remodeling for a while.

    This is new: I cannot login. The “Log in to use details from one of these accounts” tooltip is covering up the WordPress icon and I cannot move it. Oh well.

        1. WPDE? Forget D, what’s the Latin for “nuke it until it glows and shoot it in the dark”?

  7. When I started reading I was getting ready to give you, as an elder (Shucky darn, I expect I’m more elderly than most anybody here.) sage advice but… you nailed it yourself; if you can’t change this or that just do what you do as best you can.

    So! Not sage advice, just my thoughts on it.

    OK, in the long run it don’t make no nevermind, in the very long run nothing does (Entropy, the bottom of the hill everything rolls down to.) but in the short run, one or ten thousand life times, it just might make a difference.

    Me, back when I worked for a living, I mostly shoveled shit, barrowed coal or bucketed water. In other words, I worked in the utilities field, power generation, sewerage collection and treatment and drinking water treatment and distribution. Hey, sometimes a dirty job but someone has to do it, might as well be me.

    On the edge but dancing along, yep we are but so did our parents, grandparents, etc. dance a lot of edges. If they hadn’t, we wouldn’t be here now so, me, I’ll keep on dancing as long as the Creeks don’t rise and my knees hold out. How anyone else deals with all is their business.

            1. Curried goat, it’s good for your ills mon. Can’t be a Jamaican restaurant without curried goat.

                1. Any day we can get you to mumble is a win in my book.
                  Cheer up, the worst they can do is kill us, and given their demonstrated level of competence that is bloody unlikely.

                2. Yep. If you walk into a BBQ joint in Texas and it says cabrito on the menu, you’ve found authentic.

            2. Yup Lamb or Goat vindaloo. Yummy although I’ll regret it later :-). And no not much Indian food with beef. Although Thai curries are known to use beef. And Sichuan shredded beef is luscious Not a curry in name, but certainly in effect.

    1. “It don’t make me no nevermind” brought back fond memories of the South Carolina low country and my Aunt Addie Mae making biscuits and head cheese from our pig, Wilbur.

      1. Biscuits I’ll take, Head cheese, not so much. Mom loved that kind of stuff (and scrapple and a dozen other similar things) but I never grew up with it like she did.

  8. I’ve not listened to the rest of this, just the title.
    Holding that, and since you are a writer, and I’m a person that is a writer if unpublished, perhaps you’ll understand why the first things I hit upon are “Passage of wings,” by Father Alsonm, and C. S. Lewis’ “The Silver Chair.” The part in the Silver chair were the girl is dancing near the edge and Eustice tries to save her and falls, and the lion comes and blows him away to save him, seems real significant at the moment. Fath Alsonm’s seems even more so, but that book talks about the expectation of trials to come, which has less of the happy ending of TSC. The useless, Rorschach test of a blind guy from a blog title.

    1. I missed something somewhere. When did ‘rosary’ get deepwoked or whatever strangeness hit now?

      Mind, I was raised Lutheran and one ‘teacher’ was all but fire-breathing about it, and even so the whole Saints thing and rosary seem, at worst kinda silly, but not actually BAD. Just… kinda weird.

      1. Being Roman Catholic (and using the Rosary) is Now Evil In The “Minds” Of The Woke. 😡

        1. Alright, when did we re-legalize LSD? I musta missed THAT, too.

          And I will NOT look into ‘Artificial Wokeness’ – I fear it could be implemented in under a dozen transistors. Hrmm… a few relays might even suffice.

            1. And don’t let the “of Padua” deceive you. Genetically he was a Portuguese nobleman.
              And yes. I’m sort of going that way. I mean, list of things I never thought I’d do: Exhort people to do knee time praying the rosary, at INSTY.
              They won’t like me when I get filled with the spirit.
              No, they really, really won’t.
              To quote granny Weatherwax, which grandma was much like, and which I become more like everyday “If I really believed there was a G-d who cared for His people like a father, and who would sacrifice for us, what would come out of these mountains onto the world below?”
              Mostly we only half believe, because He’s too big for us.
              But I know the b*tch within, and if she ever finds the purpose within and gets unleashed on HIS task….
              Well. I’m not sure what happens. But I know those cheering evil on won’t like it.
              They won’t like it.

              1. Oh heavens that’s a riot. The biggest festival in the IMMENSELY Italian North End of Boston is for (wait for it…) A Portagee. The (mostly) Portuguese fishermen up in Gloucester must be laughing their asses off. St Anthony’s Feast (https://www.stanthonysfeast.com/) is a BIG deal, sponsored by many of the local businesses (E.G. Pizzeria Regina has been sponsoring it since they opened in 1926, but it goes back further than that). It was crazy enough that when I worked in the office at the North end I’d take a couple hours off on the Friday it started to go out and walk through the festival. Heck you’d gain 5 lbs just sniffing the air.

                1. Village in CT had what was, at the time (before 2010) the last “private” (non-corporate?) fishing fleet in the Northeast, and it was Portuguese. My one day off that TDY (we were working Saturdays and it was real work) happened to take me there on the day of the Blessing of the Fleet. Street festival, lots of food and a public dockside service before the fleet headed out. Was told the “real,” blessing was held off-shore.
                  There was also a memorial to all the men lost in previous years.

                  1. Gloucester does similar. Much of the fleet and processing was Portuguese owned before large corporate groups (Looking at you Gortons…) bought it out. CT where I grew up had LOTS of Portugese population for some reason. Lots of fishermen, but that had been dying out. Lots of independent business, oddest was pizza shops. You could tell if the pizza shop you were in was Portuguese as one of the offered toppings was often Linguica (sp, and I think I’m missing an accent on the C). Mixed nicely with pepperoni.

            2. Interesting gentleman but why the hammer and the phrase “Hammer Of Heretics”?

              I looked him up but there’s no mention of him with a hammer.

              1. St. Anthony of Lisbon/Padua. He was a doctor of Catholic law. Hence hammer of heretics.
                He was also a young bon vivant nobleman once. Rumor has it this is why after he died only his preaching tongue was preserved, and not the rest of his body.
                (Yes, I know you protestants find all this silly. Heck, I do on odd Tuesdays and always on Saturday, but bear with me.)
                It gives me hope that one day my preserved typing fingers will be in a reliquary somewhere. 😛

                1. Nod, I finally did a search on “Hammer of Heretics” and found the reference to him.

                  No comment on “silliness” of Catholic Saints from me here. Don’t want you to use a hammer (or iron frying pan) on me. 😀

                  1. Meh. It’s a profoundly silly faith. I don’t think there’s ANY non silly faith that is true. Humans can’t translate the divine very well. It’s this monkey brain in our heads.
                    But I am told G-d loves to laugh. And in my own life I have evidence he loves Dad jokes. JUST THE NAMES and coincidences…. well.

                2. The hammer in question was his tongue. He was a really really really good speaker. And since he was an Augustinian before he became a Franciscan friar, he was trained to have an answer for everything.

                  He also kept getting asked by heretics or militant medieval to prove stuff by doing a miracle, and then he would freaking do a miracle. Raised the dead, ate poison without harm (after pointing out ahead of time that it was poisoned, which the poisoners had done on purpose to try to kill him), changed a toad into a tasty dinner, healed the sick and blind and lame, found lost objects by praying for thieves, and basically changed people’s minds a lot.

                  He also miraculously commuted from Italy to Portugal by hitching a ride with an angel, because his (old geezer) parents were framed for burglary. And then somebody framed his dad for embezzlement, and he just bilocated home to defend his dad in court.

                  And he preached a very technical, Scholastic sermon to a bunch of fish, about how being a fish is important in Biblical history.

                  He was an interesting guy, because he was both very intellectual, and also full of charismatic gifts and Biblical-type prophetic acts. So he kinda freed up Franciscans to do ridiculous amounts of intellectual work, as well as the evangelical counsels (poverty and such).

                  1. He also spent the last month of his life meditating in a treehouse, because some medieval Italian lords liked to build treehouses.

                    Well, okay, at least one did. And he had a kind of weird career, so the bit where he built a treehouse for St. Anthony with his own hands was very wholesome.

                3. I’m more of a fan of Santiago Matamoros, but that’s just me. (And I started saying a modified St. Michael’s chaplet two years ago. It helps, if only as a form of spiritual spite.)

                  1. I’m fond of Saint Teresa d’ Avila, even if she did think I’d automatically go to Hell (as a heretic).

                    1. She had to do a lot of proving that she was not a heretic herself. Especially because she was from a Sephardic Jewish converso family.

                      (The kind of family who did convert, not the kind who were hunkering down under protest. But that just made a person open to criticism from all directions.)

                    2. It was always mixed, in all families. Some actually converted, some didn’t but pretended. And some, frankly weren’t sure. I think that’s my branch. The mess I inherited….

                  2. Speaking of Chaplets, for those fellow Christians who may find saying an actual Marian rosary a bit uncomfortable, there are other prayers that use the rosary beads to keep track of progress as you go.
                    The St Michael chaplet is one. But one of the most famous is the Divine Mercy Chaplet whose prayers are directed to God The Father.
                    There is one Haily Mary and it could easily be skipped if it’s too much for you.
                    Here is one of my favorite versions to pray along with.

                    You can get a rosary to use at any Catholic church. There will be some most likely at the entrance of the church and pamphlets to explain the prayers. If not at the first church you go to, try a different one. Or ask someone there. No one will guess you aren’t Catholic and try to stop you. 😃

                    1. ….actually, saying “I am not Catholic, but I would like to get a rosary to pray on” may result in someone going and finding one for you.

                      That’s how I ran into Rosary Army, I was looking for instructions on making a rosary and they have a charity for folks to make hand-knotted rosaries and donate them.
                      Video instructions here, and also a place to request if wanted.

                    2. I’m not Catholic but I have a rosary I bought from a Vatican gift shop. It just didn’t seem like the kind of thing to pass up.

                      Unfortunately I got muddled and missed the Sistine Chapel part of the tour, and there wasn’t time to go back around.

                4. Anthony is my confirmation name, probably because I would forget my head if it weren’t attached to me so I ended up praying to Saint Anthony …. a lot.

                  Would Sarah be the patron Saint of Odds? Lots of competition there since being a Saint is sorta odd in the first place. Having to live a life of heroic virtue counts me out anyway.

                  When Mother Cabrini was canonized, they had one of her students, now an old man, recount how he’d had his ears boxed by Mother Cabrini back in the day. maybe Ken the Troll could talk about how Saint Sarah schooled him. that would be Bonny, no?

                    1. Besides there is no way your sharp tongue and insurrectionist ways has escaped the notice of Father Odin. I’m betting He’s reserved a seat at the table in Valhalla for one fine Portagee warrior wench. Some Valkyries ride winged horses, others ride a keyboard.

                5. You should hear some of the arguments protestants have. It’s crazy, and people get all super mad about whether or not TULIP is real, or Calvin didn’t love it, or whatever. Catholics are just fine as far as most of us are concerned. We feel like we have way more in common with Catholics than most other denominations.

                  1. I agree. I’m a semi-lapsed Southern Baptist/independent Protestant, and while I have issues with some Catholic doctrine, we agree on the really big things. So you do you.

                    1. Another comment of C.S. Lewis was the people at the center of any faith have more in common with the people at the center of other faiths than they do with the people at the edges of their own.
                      (For Evenstar).

                    2. > “Another comment of C.S. Lewis was the people at the center of any faith have more in common with the people at the center of other faiths than they do with the people at the edges of their own.”

                      I wonder if that applies to atheists too. I’d trust certain religious people here more than a militant fellow atheist.

                    3. I’d guess it would depend on where you fit the center, wouldn’t it?

                      FWIW, I think CS Lewis was at best only partly correct, and not in the sense of meaning folks would get along; but he was also partly correct, since we’re dealing with humans, and be the faith human-made or made for humans, it’s going to have some design similarities that overlap.
                      (Natural Law is probably the best shorthand for that overlap, and yes it’s Catholic, but that’s because we’ve got some 2000 years of many many much autistic classification being poured into the questions. 😀 )

                    4. Natural Law predates the Abrahamic religions by millions of years. They are the rules that allow hominids to live successfully in cooperative social groups. Rules like:

                      Don’t kill members of the tribe.
                      Don’t be greedy, or take what you have not earned.
                      Support the tribe, and the tribe will support you.

                      I’m really tired of one minority group of religious folks pretending they made up those rules, and own them.

                    5. :Rolls eyes: Quit working so hard to get offended, it makes you look silly.

                      No freakin’ kidding they predate Abrahamic religions, which was the entire point of stating that they are elemental to BEING HUMAN.

                      That does absolutely nothing to change that the last several thousand years of working on the theory and trying to describe it, under the term “natural law,” has been done by a specific group.

                      Even if we do have religion cooties.

                    6. I’m not ‘Offended!!’, just annoyed after encountering all too many individuals associated with certain religious sects fatuously lecturing me that they own the principles of a civilized society; that they invented those principles, and graciously bestowed them upon us filthy heathens, at the behest of their invisible magic man in the sky, and are utterly impervious to the possibility that there could be any truth other than what they Believe.

                      Then they tell me that because I do not worship their invisible magic man in the sky, it proves that I worship their devil.

                      I don’t hate them, but it is all quite frustrating.
                      Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!!

                    7. Again, the trigger for this fit of “annoyance” was quite literally my pointing out the theory of a baseline human tendency morality, and apologizing for using the technical term from a specific religious philosophy.

                      I don’t care if you think you hate “them” or not, but you are most assuredly not acting in a rational manner about it.

                  2. Ehh, as a Latter-day Saint, at this point I feel like I have more in common with a devout Catholic than I do with progressive Mormons.

                    1. I understand. I was raised Anglican Episcopal, converted to Judaism as a young man. I am much closer to devout spiritual people of other religions than Jewish progressives. Including an Asatru friend of my daughter. Anybody else here attended an actual blot?

                  3. Ok raised (orthdox) Congregationalist, as I’ve aged I have moved to a Baptist/Evangelical viewpoint. But some of my coreligionists go WAY overboard. Yes doctrine is important, without it lies in wait the heretical mess that is modern liberal Christianity. But some times it seems to turn into a “My b*lls are bigger than yours” contest. Predestination vs Free Will, Grace Vs Works, I suspect the truth is something else. That in these dichotomies we are behaving like the physicists of the early 20th century, is Light a Particle or a Wave? And the answer is Both and Neither. Light is Light and waves and particles are models for that. To say Light is one or the other is to mistake the map for the territory. The Author is far bigger and stranger than we know or can know.
                    As for saints of the faith (little s, hagios in greek) it has been my honor to meet many of them. I spent time with many of them in Episcopal Cursillo, I’ve spent time with them in churches I’ve been at. Denomination doesn’t seem to matter, the person does. One of the most saintly I knew was a priest at a parish in Worcester. I sang there as a paid chorister (high tenors are rare, and the choir master had a budget and was the conductor of the Glee club at my alma mater so I got $10 a week for singing, decent beer money in 1979, he got a tenor that could read music and sing a b flat without effort). I spent much time talking with the priest after Mass while waiting for my ride back to the other side of Worcester and got to know him well, what little I know of the Catholic faith I know because of his time and generosity with it. I’ve come to the belief that if you fall under the bit in John “For whosoever believeth in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life” you are my brother or sister, and I expect to meet you in the great by and by when we get there. I suspect we’ll all be surprised by the actual members of the Church Invisible. Please don’t rush to get there there’s all eternity :-).

                    1. What turned me off to Church. Not faith. Was a relative that essentially shotgunned her son to marry the bio-mom carrying the grandchild … okay, her mom was just as bad. Marriage that didn’t last much longer past the birth of the child.

                      Note. OTOH it did give paternal grandmother more rights. It isn’t the marriage, exactly, or the reason behind it, it was how it was done.

                      (What the bio-mom was after was a free ride, financially (oh boy did she pick the wrong bio-dad and family, made of money they were not, she got some child support, nothing else “financially”). Essentially grandma helped raise the grandchild, 1/2+ custody. Every other week + daily childcare even during bio-“mom’s week” when she worked or not, and anytime bio-mom “needed” a vacation (which was a lot, because son lived with mom & dad until child turned 18). When child turned 18 child support stopped (didn’t go to college). Comment to dad was “how will mom survive?” Dad’s response was “Not my problem. Child support was money to pay for your needs.” We aren’t getting the gossip on whether child took up the slack out of her wages or not. I suspect not, because if she was I think she’d be saying something to grandma and grandpa, and grandma would pass it on to my mom. OTOH their response would be “Don’t. Not your job.” So maybe not. Do know she still has a relationship with dad and his parents.)

                      Least anyone feel for paternal grandmother. Grandchild was the girl they never had (3 boys). Grandma was in 7th heaven.

                    2. For whosoever believeth in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life” you are my brother or sister, and I expect to meet you in the great by and by when we get there.”

                      Exactly this. While I enjoyed all my Bible studies in Baptist and Presbyterian churches, and a few semesters at online Liberty, I could never get worked up about any of the “arguable” topics like covenant theology bs dispensationalism, or baptism for babies or adults, all that stuff. The idea that we can know enough about it to even argue makes me laugh.
                      And check THIS out: I went active duty US Army in January of 1979. Because I was technically a reservist I had get out and return and head for another school/training.
                      In my case it was Morse code training. At Fort Devens. Fall of 1979.
                      It snowed on… the 14th of October I believe.
                      I remember Worcester too well. I think we got in trouble for something there. They disliked us, for some odd reason. 🤔

                    3. Neat, while you were In Ft. Devens learning Morse I was 20-25 miles SSW in Worcester learning Calculus, Fortran (Watfive to be precise) and Basic Music Theory. That was Freshman year in college. And yes fall of 1979 into winter 1980 was unusually cold and snowy, even Worcester/Devens doesn’t usually see accumulating snow before Halloween. I remember it because it was enough snow that a snowball fight broke out between some of the dorms. Campus police came to break it up and all of a sudden They become the focus of ~75-100 people throwing snowballs. They choose to strategically advance to the rear (RUN AWAY!!!).

                  1. @ Orvan Taurus “In the Realm of Middle Finger, there lived a…”
                    Bunch of veterans from the Forever War.

                    1. A good book JohnS, but its Earth run by the UN where (after 3-400 years of time dilation) the protagonist returns to find humans raised in creches and out of artificial wombs and heterosexual relationships are shunned to the point the protagonist is reffered to as the “Old Queer” is sometimes a little to much what the Davos types want. I think going and Settling on Middle Finger might not be a bad idea except that even in that the Tranzi/SJW hordes would not let us be…

                6. It’ll be something like, people go to your chapel where a typewriter sits in front of your statue.
                  They put a piece of paper that they brought with them (you can buy paper for this purpose in the gift shop if you forget to bring your own) in the typewriter, type a prayer request for St. Sarah the Loquacious, then take the paper out, fold it and stick it in the slot in the wall high up in the rear of the chapel.

                  You’ll know your prayer will be answered if you get a distinct smell of wet cat fur in the next 48 hours.

                  1. This is a wonderful example of why I love this blog. It is participating in, or laughing with a most wonderful impro comedy. In this case about the truth of Sarah’s sainthood.

                    Having been brought up by a saint, I know of what i speak. Her idea of fun was to drag her grandson along to visit shut-ins.

              2. It’s a title, like how the Dominicans are the Hounds of God. (…yes, it’s a terrible pun, and I inflict it all over at the least excuse.)
                It’s a matter of how effective he was at arguing with people and winning them over.
                Especially those folks for whom arguing with them was a rather dangerous business.

                  1. An effective one…. but yes, I did have a moment of going. “Oh, Lord, someone was WRONG and he was going to FIX THAT.”

                    1. perks up
                      Did you just carp Our beloved Hostess?
                      Bravo Zulu!
                      Welcome to the club! Now, scamper away at high speed, and not in a direct line from her! She returns fire!

                1. “the Dominicans are the Hounds of God. (…yes, it’s a terrible pun”

                  Domini canes? Really?


                  1. Yes, there’s an adorable viral video, I found out about the pun because they’re making snapping motions with their hands….

          1. I’ve become more orthodox myself, along the protestant lines. Orthodox Presbyterian.

              1. So are two of my ducttape brothers, but as we speak I am expecting them to email me “Okay, I got a rosary. How do I PRAY this thing?” Because they’ve had it UP TO HERE with the intelligentsia.

              2. I’m an atheist, but unlike most atheists I’m not an ex-anything and I’m not mad at God.

                1. I was raised Catholic so, strictly speaking, I suppose I am an ex-Catholic. However it is kind of silly to be angry with an entity I don’t think exists. Kind of like being mad at Bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster, or an Honest Politician.

                  1. > “However it is kind of silly to be angry with an entity I don’t think exists.”

                    This. A real atheist shouldn’t have any strong feelings about God or gods one way or the other. Although you might have strong feelings about people believing in such.

                    If you find someone who claims to be an atheist but is angry at God, that’s probably someone who believes more than they want to admit and doesn’t like it.

                2. Well, I do get mad at God sometimes. Doesn’t mean I’m in the right. It means that I don’t understand what He is doing, and He doesn’t expect me to, so it’s OK, as long as I don’t make it a habit.
                  It’s the ones who hate everybody who does believe that get obnoxious.

                  1. Learning you must forgive God is a very important step in developing intimacy with Him. When your brother dies leaving 3 children under 10, when your son dies, if you know that God could have saved them. You should be angry with God. The pain is real.

                    When Lazarus dies, Mary and Martha send servants to alert Jesus to rush to heal him. Jesus tarries. Martha the one in charge, meets Jesus on the road when he/He finally shows up. Her response to Jesus, was expressed with white hot anger. She is Mad. Jesus has killed her brother. He has chosen to let him die. Her pain is real. For all the days Lazarus lies in the tomb, Martha experiences real pain. Jesus caused it.

                    This isn’t a problem for those who don’t believe. It is a major problem for believers. “How can I trust you when…” I recently talked with a friend about this. He knew 3 men who are estranged from God because their fathers died when they were children. It did not end well. If you don’t trust God it is hard to have an intimate relationship with Him.

                    Yet going through the pain with God can draw you close to Him. That is my experience. When my son was diagnosed with the cancer that killed him, like Mary, I offered my grief to God as a gift. He walked with me during the 6 months we fought to save my son. I had many divine appointments.

                    1. But Martha also gives a profession of faith that rivals Peter’s, while Mary is still too overcome by grief. Mind you, Martha backsides when they actually open the tomb, but still…
                      (I have a warm spot in my heart for Martha. And John gives us glimpses of character we find nowhere else. As when Thomas is the disciple that guilt-trips the others into going to Bethany).

                    2. “Jesus has killed her brother. He has chosen to let him die.”

                      That’s certainly an accurate reflection of what Martha was feeling, but I’m not sure she was right. The text says that when Jesus heard the news, he waited two days before setting out for Bethany where Lazarus and his sisters lived. When they got there, Lazarus had been dead for four days. So unless Jesus also dawdled on the road, then by the time Jesus got to Bethany Lazarus would already have been dead for two days, even if he had set out the moment he got the news.

                      We’re not told his reasons for delaying setting out, but I have thought that it might have involved demonstrating that God’s power to raise the dead is not time-limited. When he raised Jairus’s daughter, she had only been dead a few hours at most. But Lazarus had been dead for four days and his body had started to decay (when Jesus gave orders for the tomb to be opened, Martha was worried about the smell). Yet Jesus not only raised Lazarus from the dead, but also reversed the decay process and restored his body to its normal healthy state. If Jesus had set out right away, and arrived only two days after Lazarus died, it’s possible some people might have thought that God’s power to raise the dead was limited. But by waiting, so that by the time he arrived there would be physical evidence that Lazarus’s body had started to decay (the smell), he proved that God’s power to raise the dead is not limited. It’s not just people whose body would still be capable of sustaining life (and the only problem is that life happens to be absent) whom God can raise from the dead, it’s everybody.

                    3. The four days may have given Martha the time to be able to make that amazing statement of faith, that she was absolutely sure that He could have saved her brother, if He had been there.

                      For someone we’ve already been shown is very practical? That’s a pretty big statement of faith.

                    4. To reply to Robin (WP wont let me reply there WPDE).

                      I’ve heard it said from sources I trust that there was also something special in the first century Jewish faith about 3 days dead. So to steal from a movie at 4 days Lazurus was not just mostly dead he was ALL dead. It’s also part of why Jesus is specified to rise on the 3rd day.

                      To reply to Dorothy
                      And yes even though Martha gets chided for telling Jesus to tell Mary to get off her posterior and help at an earlier point, it is clear she understands in a way that does rival Peter’s response to “Who do you Say I am”

                3. I thought I was an agnostic once, but God hit me with a clue-by-four. Himself has a sense of humor, one suspects Mycroft in TMiaHM was modeled after Him, complete with Funny Once and Funny Forever.

                  1. Also a reply for Robin, but the option is closed off for some reason known only to WP.

                    @ tregonsee > “I’ve heard it said from sources I trust that there was also something special in the first century Jewish faith about 3 days dead.”

                    I thought of that also, and went looking to see if the internet knew anything.
                    Grabbed the top search return, but it looks like what I remember.

                    The belief that the soul lingers for three days after death seems to have emanated from the texts that make up the Kabbalah, notably the Zohar.

                    The Kabbalists speak of Hibbut Ha-Kever, a three to seven-day process of separating the nefesh portion of the soul from the body. The Zohar states: “For seven days the nefesh goes to and from his house to his grave from his grave to his house, mourning for the body…and it grieves to behold the sadness in the house.” This is the reason for immediate burial of the deceased. Jewish folklore suggests that the soul will become confused and linger around the body for those three to seven days. The body must be laid to rest, so the soul can move on and find peace in the afterlife. In his book “Jewish Views of the Afterlife,” Simcha Paull Raphael says: “Immediately following death, there is a period known as Hibbut Ha Kever, pangs of the grave. During this period, the soul is confused, lingers around the body and tries to go back to his home to be with his loved ones. After this, there is a maximum period of 12 months in Gehenna, which is a realm described as fiery, where the soul is purified of its sins.” After the twelve-month period, it is believed the soul rests permanently in the afterlife.

                4. How can an atheist hate a god? Any god. Or gods.

                  I don’t hate people who believe in gods, either, as long as they don’t try to force their beliefs on me, or use their beliefs to hurt others.

                  1. Do you not get out much? 😀 Most so-called “atheists” I meet were raised in a religion but now reject God and refuse to worship him by saying he doesn’t exist. Many of these people were abused as children by exemplars of that religion — their parents or a minister/priest/etc. — and hold the entire religion, or the entire idea of being religious, responsible for their pain. (Remember that I hang out mostly with goths, who most frequently were nonconforming even as kids.)

                    On the other hand, I was not raised to be religious at all, I seem to be missing the spirituality gene, and after calling myself an agnostic all through high school (mostly to get along with the very religious kids common in Anchorage at that time) I decided that was being wishy-washy and started considering myself an atheist in college.

                    I think religion is endlessly fascinating, although I can certainly tell that even if I consider all religions to be more or less equally delusional, some are much worse for their adherents (or their adherents’ neighbors) than others, and I’m perfectly happy to swim in a Judeo-Christian cultural sea as opposed to most of the alternatives.

              3. How is that different from the ordinary atheist? Not to start something I shouldn’t, I’m just curious. I know almost nothing about atheism.

                  1. That’s all I thought it was till people started making a big deal about Richard Dawkins and some others.
                    Good to know the simple version.

                    1. I haven’t read Dawkins so all I know is the impression I get from people who quote him, etc., but it rather sounds like he and the New Atheists are yet another iteration of people who (1) don’t believe in God, (2) think people who do are stupid and deluded, and (3) insist on being pests to them about it. I.e.: teenagers.

                    2. I will grant Dawkins one nod of respect– he did, at least occasionally, notice actual outrages from Islam.

                      There’s even outraged articles about his “unrequested advice” to “a religion of “1.6 billion people,” which is freakin’ hilarious….

                    3. One atheist on Baen’s Bar calls those types “Anti-Theists”.

                      While they seem “Angry At God”, they also see All Christians in a Very Bad Light.

                      And yes, those types are very bigoted (IMO) against Christians and “Organized Religion”.

                      Strangely, they rarely “Attack Muslims/Islam”.

                    4. Sometimes, I think Christians should go Full Out Old Testament on them. 😡

                  2. That is pretty much about how I see it. My best friend of over thirty years is an Evangelical Christian. When he asked my about the Bible, I told him I considered it an interesting cultural dump of Judaism and the Judaism lite know as Christianity. I consider it a collection of stories about God but not stories by God.

                1. It was really a flippant remark. Under other circumstance I might have said I am a New Reformed Agnostic. I used the word “heterodox” because I do not fit the conceptual primitives believers often seem to have about atheism. That is all. I am comfortable being an armed, godless heathen even if some folks think that make me part of the Evil Atheist Conspiracy.

                2. there are as many flavors of atheism as there is Christianity or any Theism, really. Some are more benign than others, and some should be drug out back and put out of our misery.

        2. The Reader did love the opening line of the Atlantic article (he didn’t bother to read the article). “Just as the AR-15 rifle has become a sacred object for Christian nationalists in general, the rosary has acquired a militaristic meaning for radical-traditional (or “rad
          trad”) Catholics.” The Reader wonders how he came to share the same universe with the idiot who wrote that.

          1. I wonder if “Christian nationalists” are like the ever-undefined “Evangelical” political bloc? I have yet to meet a live member of either species.

              1. 1911 owners is right. God’s prophets are named John Browning and John Garand, God’s calibers being 30-06 and 45ACP. AR15 owners are at best a heretical sect.

              2. You know how Chik-fil-A is God’s Chicken? .45 ACP is God’s Handgun Caliber. And John Moses Browning, blessed be his name, is God’s Armorer.

                1. “And John Moses Browning, blessed be his name, is God’s Armorer.”

                  That is literally true, if you are a Latter-day Saint.
                  “It is not now known precisely what role Jonathan Browning [father of John] had in caring for the Mormon refugees or what his relationship to the church was at that time, but we do know that a few years later he traveled to Nauvoo, Illinois, a town the Mormons established about fifty miles upriver, in order to meet the church’s founder, Joseph Smith, Jr. Browning was impressed enough that he converted to the faith and relocated his home and business to Nauvoo.”

                  AesopSpouse and I were in Nauvoo just last month and were able to tour the restored armory where Brother Browning made weapons for the Mormons to protect themselves.
                  The missionary docent did a brief demo on shaping a gun barrel, using an amazing jig that turned them out to a reliable pattern, but it was still very much a painstaking elbow-grease activity for each one.


                  Personal note: my father was in a Browning machine gun unit in WWII, and there was a display case that contained the model he probably used. He was promoted from raw private to 2nd lieutenant after one battle, because he was the most senior soldier remaining.

                2. Humanity needs to submit him for Sainthood, but Pope Communist I would use something silly, like him being LDS or something, to shoot it down.

          2. I’m left wondering if one must say the Pater Noster and Ave Maria in order to be rad-trad, or if English will do. Hasn’t the current pope outlawed Latin? It’s all very confusing.

        3. I saw that. I’m a nice Congregationalist/Baptist evangelical, but it may be worth my time to learn the rosary just to tick these idiots off. WTAF? How did anyone manage to get that screwed up? If you’re an atheist why the heck should ANY prayer to any deity matter to you from your perspective its just pointless babbling. We’re just wasting our time talking/communing with something that’s not there. We’re as dangerous as a child with an imaginary friend. But perhaps your gut tells you something else hmmmm? Feh, they’re so sad I can’t even rise to have any pity on them.

          1. Again, as I said “Tell us you’re possessed without telling us you’re possessed” — now to add to that, in the seventies in Europe, Catholics told each other daily rosary praying was the best way to combat communism, and enlist the forces of G-d on our side.
            Was it true?
            Looks at Atlantic.
            You know?

            1. …just might be. The devil cannot abide people praying and meditating upon the will of the L-rd, and walking in the light.

              1. Yeah, I kind of think so, too. The enemy of souls cannot stand against a people on its knees, calling upon the L-rd.

            2. Madam you make far too much sense. This is my rational part wanting to understand what purport to be rational people. But yes even if they are not possessed (or ALL possessed) they have bought into the lies the Father of Lies has been telling them about the Authors people. Given history they’re really not going to like where that ends up.

          2. I’ve wanted a rosary forever just because they can be breathtakingly beautiful. I learned the Hail Mary because all my friends growing up with Catholics who had to go to CCD every Wednesday.

            I’m tempted to get a rosary and carry it around and use it in public, ostentatiously, just to spite the crazies. But I’d have to travel to Seattle or Boise. Up here people would kneel beside me and join in.

            1. I’m considering starting a rosary group on discord. I am also in possession of a book of novenas, (I think that means I’m super-extra-extremist) and there’s a novena for America. If I start the group, we’ll be saying novenas for America back to back. Because, chilluns, this sea is perilous as all get out.

              1. I read the divine office as often as I can. That would make me an ultra!

                They really are stupid, narrow minded, badly educated, badly brought up, badly informed, careless, sneering little pissants.

              2. My beloved likes to tell the story of Loretto chapel in Santa Fe. When the Sisters realized they had a lovely chapel with no way to get to the choir loft (the architect had suffered a mischief from a jealous husband), they prayed a novena. Then an old man leading a donkey came out of the desert and offered to build them a staircase. When the Mother Superior returned from a trip, the old man was gone, after refusing payment, and they had a gorgeous and totally improbable spiral staircase. No center pole, perfect helix, 100% wood. And the local lumberyard swore up, down and sideways they hadn’t provided the wood.
                They prayed the novena to St. Joseph. Just sayin’…

                1. So you’re saying someone did a novena to St. Jude Thadeus or St. Rita, and we got Trump?
                  Okay, boys and girls, let’s find a novena to JP II and pray the commies off the Earth. (Or converted. Either way.)

                  1. I dunno, but it’s as good an explanation as any.
                    I keep thinking prayers to St. Dymphna would be appropriate. (Patron of the insane if I remember right).

                    1. Our Lady of Fatima. Communism was her thing.

                      I’m rather fond of Saint Philip Neri though Saint Josemaria Escriva, who’s sor of plowed the same row, is a bit too too for me. Opus Dei just isn’t my thing. Though the Jesuits don’t like it, which tends to raise it up in my estimation. Nothing cures Jesuitry more than being a Jesuit boy, let me tell you.

                    2. There’s the Litany of the Saints, which of course concludes, “All you holy men and women of God, pray for us.”

                  2. I’m having a weird feeling WRT Augusto ‘of the Whirling Blades’ Pinochet. Cannot and will not put it into words ATM.

                    I am also reminded of three other things.

                    Nothing bears fruit without His will. If the almighty wills it not, no harvest will be fruitful.
                    That it pleases Him greatly when we seek Him, and put Him into our thoughts and feelings.
                    That He does not work in fixed mechanical ways, but enjoys surprising us when He again shows us the truth of things.

                    1. Checks bibles on the bookcase, and one of J.M.Browning’s creations nearby.

                      Am I ready? Hell no. OTOH, I’m expecting something.

                  3. > “So you’re saying someone did a novena to St. Jude Thadeus or St. Rita, and we got Trump?”

                    Sometimes I think “He works in mysterious ways” is just a euphemism for “Okay, so God’s a bit of a smartass…” 😛

                2. I visited that chapel many years ago, and the staircase is breath-takingly beautiful.
                  AND you can buy a hand-made Kewa rosary from their gift shop!
                  From the Our Story tab:
                  “The Staircase has two complete 360 degree turns with no center pole for structural support. The entire weight of the staircase rests on the bottom stair. The banisters were added approximately ten years later due to the difficulty of climbing the tall, tapered stairs with no railing.”

                  1. There is a certain amount of evidence that the chapel stairway was built by a well to do retired geezer from just outside the local area, whose hobby was carpentry, who brought his own wood, and who modelled the stairway on one from his home area in Europe.

                    This doesn’t really make it less miraculous. It just shifts it over to Providence providing. I mean, it is not super likely for a man with particular skills, cash, and lumber to be pre-positioned in the wider local area, for the convenience of religious sisters who hadn’t even arrived yet.

                    1. This is what impresses me most with God, that He can be subtle. With a sense of humor, sending the exact amount I told Him i did not have. Just a coincidence.

                      If this is “just” a “man”, with just the right skills, lumber and timing, that seems a greater miracle. For St. Joe to show up, as requested, is less miraculous. But, “It is just a coincidence.”

              3. Do it, i will bring my scary black military assault rosary … it’s what’s in my EDC.

              4. I’d be there for sure. I’ve got a book of common prayer if the novenas run out.
                I knew a man from the Philippines who was turned down for service in the US Navy. He and his family prayed novenas for nine days and he was mysteriously accepted into the Navy.
                Where he spent 30 years as a cook.
                Mr. Salinas’ lumpia is the best on the planet.

        4. Wokeness is a jealous ideology and will tolerate no other religions, faiths, or God before it.

          At least, not unless the Woke are in danger of getting bombed or beheaded. Then it’s okay,just ask them.

        5. Its essentially no matter how “woke” church leadership is, not only the Catholic Church, but any church, exist outside the state and are an association of people outside the state. This simply cannot be tolerated by the left, as their ideology believes “all within the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state”. Any power centers, church, family, etc, that are outside the state must be crushed.

                1. Hmm had to look up the meaning of Particular Baptist. Given I (mostly) hold to TULIP I think I qualify. So perhaps only Particular Baptists may Compl.ement each other in that fashion. And I think if we go any further in this vein our gracious hostess will tell us to get a room 🙂 .

              1. I wonder if the thought was they would go after the rosary pray-ers first on the way to picking off the Bible readers.

                Major miscalculation if so.

              2. Hmmm. The only physical copy of the Geneva bible I’ve ever seen is the replica one the reenactors had at Plimoth Plantation. Dropping that on someones feet would hurt.

                1. This is a facsimile. It is a tome. And slow going because of the type-face and the language together. (I got it because I needed a reference copy for a story. And kept on reading.)

                  1. As you know the Geneva bible is an early one and an odd one, but very important in its time. It uses some of Wycliffe’s new testament which was also used in the Great Bible commissioned by Henry VIII, The Bishops Bible commissioned by Elizabeth I, and the Authorized (i.e. King James) commissioned by James I. All translate primarily from the extant Greek texts of the time (textus receptus) and Hebrew texts supplemented by the greek OT translations (Septuagint) and the Vulgate (Latin bible) where bits were missing or unclear. It has a VERY protestant/predestination bend to its translation as Geneva was the home of Calvin among others in the protestant church and that group was a large part of the translation “team”. It was favored by the Separatists and Reformers of the Anglican church, and Elizabeth’s Bishops Bible was a direct response to it. Its wording ranges from slightly funky to just downright weird. for example here are the first 5 verses of the Geneva from the Gospel of John. On top of that replicas use the original typeface which looks closer to German Fraktur than to what we are used to

                    In the beginning was that Word, and that Word was with God, and that Word was God.
                    This same was in the beginning with God.
                    All things were made by it, and without it was made nothing that was made.
                    In it was life, and that life was the light of men.
                    And that light shineth in the wilderness, and the darkness comprehendeth it not.

                    compare to a more modern (NET) translation

                    In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was fully God.
                    The Word was with God in the beginning.
                    All things were created by him, and apart from him not one thing was created that has been created.
                    In him was life, and the life was the light of mankind.
                    And the light shines on in the darkness, but the darkness has not mastered it.

                    Similar thoughts, but odd usages e.g. “it” vs “him”. “This Same” vs “The Word” that one might be a difference between the Greek texts used. Many earlier texts (3-5th century with some 2nd century partials) were found in the 18th and 19th centuries and those are reflected in the texts modern translations (e.g. NIV, ESV, NET et alia) use as earlier texts are generally considered better witnesses.

                    Some spots are just fricking weird. Elder Daughter and I spent time talking with the reenactors at Plimoth plantation and one brought up a bit of scripture and neither of us recognized it. We asked him where it was from which is when he dug out the one book in the house and we stepped out into the sun. It was a fairly familiar passage from the Beatitudes I think (long time ago), but it looked/sounded NOTHING like what I expected it to look like as most modern translations still try to keep the flow of the KJV as the language in many of its passages is just beautiful and so ingrained into modern English.

          1. He’s not kidding. It was a feature story in The Atlantic to start the week.

            They even had a drawn picture with bullet holes replacing the major beads.

            1. Apparently their research was so bad that it was an Anglican rosary with a different number of beads per decade, which I didn’t even know was a thing.

              (There’s about five zillion different chaplets, which is the general category name for saying prayers on beads on a chain. And I knew some were even Protestant, but I didn’t know there was an Anglican one.)

              1. Could be worse. Many faiths use beads to count prayers or to remind one of things. Both Islam and Buddhism (at least some flavors, Buhddists are nearly as bad as we Baptists for divergent groups) have sets of beads used in pryaer.

                1. I have mala beads (Buddhist prayer beads) for sale. I don’t currently have them available online, but I’m seriously thinking about taking pictures of the different designs, inventorying how many I have of each, and listing them on eBay.

          1. <Preens.
            Well, grandma DID tell me the rosary was a potent tool against evil. I should know better than doubting grandma, since she obviously knew EVERYTHING.

                  1. Cicadas (although I don’t think we’re in the right cycle). Then we could feed them to some of their compatriots.

                  2. The coyotes will mass order things from ACME and meet their untimely demise using them. 😉

                  1. “Driven Off A Cliff”?

                    Nope, they’re more like Lemmings are said to be.

                    Their Leaders run off a cliff and every one of them follows the Leaders.

          1. There is a copy of the Geneva Bible 1560 on Aechive.org
            Small fee to join, apparently free downloads after that.

              1. If you want varying translations https://www.biblegateway.com/ is the king. 50+ english translations (Geneva included), Vulgate, Koine Greek (several), Hebrew Tanakh, hordes of Spanish, 1/2 a dozen Portuguese and some obscure ones (cymraig I think that’s Welsh.., Cherokee. Maori) Sorry thay don’t appear to have the KLI Klingon version of the Gospel of Mark 🙂 .

        1. Lord help them if they should ever read the Book of Mormon (instead of making mocking satirical musicals about it) and how a gang of robbers got voted into the highest offices in the land. After they were forced out, they still didn’t quit. “Out of the goodness of our hearts and our tender concern for you, we demand that you surrender everything you have and give it to us. Or else”. Yes, they actually said that. At one point when the conflict came down to civil war, God essentially said “You want death? I can arrange that. Here’s this famine…”

      2. Apparently, the Wokees think Rosary Beads are an extremist symbol, the AR-15 or Gadsden Flag of religion.

        In other words “Wogs! Stop praying!”


        Baptist, but may just go acquire some beads to annoy the Wokees.

        Hm. Hang a yellow Star of David on the string and pin to my shirt? “No Step Beads!” Hmmmm

        1. For other Christians considering the rosary– I know that asking Mary to pray is usually the stumbling stone.

          It might help to think of it as no different than any other very good human you’d ask to pray for you.

          The scriptural rosary may be the most helpful form, too. (I know it’s my preferred format on car trips– helps keep a mental focus on the miracles being prayed over.)

        2. @ 11B > “Apparently, the Wokees think Rosary Beads are an extremist symbol, the AR-15 or Gadsden Flag of religion.”

          Last night a vision entered my head of a Gadsden flag with the snake composed of an animated Rosary.

          1. And in a totally unrelated and silly/stupid vision when I read that I saw the Gadsden flag (Actually I think its the First Navy Jack snake on stripes with don’t tread on me motto) with the snake made of yellow Legos. Any one who has stepped on legos will know what I mean.

  9. This needs to be said and repeated. For most of us, there is so very little in this world that we can actually affect that we need to concentrate our thoughts and actions on the things that we can. So take care of yourself, take care of family and friends, and don’t give the rest of the world any more attention than it has to have to do that.

    1. All big problems are just small problems ganging up. So solve a small problem. Do a minor thing here and there. Pull one lousy straw from the camel’s back. Will it be enough? Who knows? But… it’s easier to sleep with “I did at least that.”

  10. Late in pregnancy a woman, who hasn’t had a good night’s sleep in weeks because of the bowling ball on her bladder, will suddenly have the energy to clean every closet, mop and wax all the floors, do the bedding and curtains, wash all the clothes and put meals in the freezer in one day. Next day she goes into labor.

    Well known phenomenon. So is the urge to do spring and fall cleaning. It just is.

    Looks like a winter of indeterminate length, if not a birth of some sort. So we’d best get our fall housecleaning done so we can settle in for a cozy winter or welcome the new family member. Whichever.

    It’s also very important to have good entertainment available lest we get cabin fever while we are snowed in. Just as important as food to keep us from cannibalism if you ask me. Keeping up morale and all that.

      1. Must boil water!

        Although that directive may have been invented to get the menfolk out from underfoot, chopping wood and carrying water so they would have something important to do while they wait.

            1. I was taken along to “assist” with births from six on, because grandma was convinced my gift was midwifing (It might have been, if pregnant women liked to be cussed at and treated like marine recruits, which I SUSPECT is what I’d have done if I were a midwife. As is I never even started to learn.) The things one heard (I wasn’t actually allowed in the birthing chamber. As far as I can tell my job was to provide endless amounts of tea for the midwives and neighbor women.) BUT THE THINGS ONE HEARD.

              1. I am now envisioning an R. Lee Ermey style rant as the pregnant mother is giving birth : “That baby isn’t going to just deliver itself; any time now sweetheart” 🙂

              2. And I was envisioning Sgt. Zim from Starship Troopers (rereading it now).

                I can see it now
                “Shut up Birthing person and Birth!!!”

  11. Also, WordPress is being stupid: it’s not letting me log in or stay logged in on the blog after I post a comment. Other blogs and my own WordPress page aren’t having this issue, just ATH.

    WP Delenda est.

    1. Okay, scratch that. Brave browser is being stupid. Again.

      Can anybody recommend a web browser that isn’t Edge or Chrome that doesn’t suck and doesn’t give all my Data to Big Tech?

      1. Probably not. I rather like Vivaldi, but it is chrome-based… though the Vivaldi teams claims they strip a lot of GoogleSpy out of it. Enough for you? I’ve no idea. I really wish the OLD Opera hadn’t been [EXPLETIVE DELETED] over.

      2. Pale Moon (fork of Firefox before Mozilla went for the shiny) works most of the time for me, though Tube of Ewe and other video formats defeat it. Some of the aspx extensions also cause it to puke, so I have a copy of FF for whenever that happens

        1. I use FF. Then have added: DuckDuckGo (recently gone woke, but still supposedly keeping searches private, OTOH go ahead and be “watch paint dry” bored). Also have uBlockOrigin, AdBlocker Ultimate, and AdBlock Plus, installed. Some sites hate one to all three. If site won’t let me read because of one, okay, won’t read. There are some I will white wash, but dang few.

          1. I have AdBlock Prime and ematrix (the leading ‘e’ is a greek “nu” in the logo). The latter gives control over scripts, cookies and whatnot. The FF I use is vanilla, so it doesn’t get used much, but it’s OK for videos and the more obstinate sites, some of which I want/need to use. I don’t watch much video, but that’s a bandwidth limitation.

            For a search engine, I’ll use qwant for the main, though I like Bing’s maps better. I have Yandex in the list but haven’t tried it yet.

          2. Yeah, and VPNs are getting useless; any VPN has a known and limited set of IP addresses / servers, and most sites (my bank, Amazon, etc.) have just labeled them as spam and block them. CloudFlare is especially bad about it.

          3. “DuckDuckGo (recently gone woke, but still supposedly keeping searches private, OTOH go ahead and be “watch paint dry” bored).”

            The question is a lot less in terms of “privacy” and a lot more “what will you be allowed to see”.

      3. As the Ox says, Vivaldi works pretty well, I can’t get Brave to not crash instantly.
        I use FF for the few sites that refuse to work with Vivaldi, or my 3 updates or more ago Opera (Motortrend, MavTV that just went away, and Amazon video)

  12. Dammit, tested + COVID this AM; mainly headache, chills and minimal dry cough.Cognitive Function however at Level 3 on the Biden Scale. Got out some Alka-Seltzer in middle of night, dutifully filled glass with water, and popped the fizzies in my mouth. Fortunately I am not a seagull. Aspirin lasts about 4-5 hours. If HHS asks, I am not taking ivermectin and quercetin.

    1. LOL on taking alka seltzer. This is me on ADD, if I’m unslept at all.
      AND OF COURSE you wouldn’t use ivermectin. You’re, after all, not a horse. (Nods in completely convinced.) Well, unless you identify as a horse. I’m not a biologist.

      1. When we got the original Xi-flu flavor, we used copious quantities of the Kirkland Guaifenesin mucus thinner. It helped. Mucinex might work better (preferably without the fancy additional meds), but we had the Kirkland.

        1. Tylenol PM, a lot of NiQuel, and the electric blanket a lot higher than my now normal. (Oh who am I kidding. Unless my feet are ice, I don’t use the electric blanket anymore … Blanket on, Blanket off, half uncovered, swap uncovered side.)

    2. If you’ve got chills — heating pad. Wrap up warmish, but put a heating pad right on your chest (well, with a towel between you and it). Suck down a lot of water, take a lot of hot showers, do whatever you have to do, but keep your chest warm.

      Corona-chan hates heat.

      1. “You used the heating pad, after a HOT shower, and had ALL the quilts and blankets?”


        And that’s for ‘regular’ colds… which I’ve not had since adopting a particular supplementation regime. That is, course, anecdotal, rather than antidotal.

    3. Update on my case that started last week: Three days of high fever, two days of minimal fever, now I feel much better except I still have a lot of chest congestion and a bad taste in the back of my mouth and my fever occasionally goes up to 99°. Never lost my sense of taste or smell, not particularly fatigued. Will be happy when the remaining symptoms clear up.

  13. Thank you for the essay and also, the comments! I’m not so good at dancing, never was, but I can sort of shuffle along with the rest of ya. The videos and commentary are just an example of strolling along the edge and it’s ok.
    Saw this on a meme (can’t figure out how to post it):
    So embarrassing when you stare into the abyss and the abyss stares back at you, so you wave, but the abyss was staring at the dude behind you.

  14. I live with my mom and sister. When we study the scriptures together, they point out all the instances of “fear not” and “fret not” and “be of good courage” to me. It’s a good reminder to me.

      1. “Irish aerobics?” I used to do that when I was in college the first time, before my knee got worse. It was much fun.

  15. This morning, I folded all the clean laundry. Even the small load that had been languishing in the dryer, and the sheets that had piled under “Why bother, you’re making the bed again in a few days with these.”

    I also went to my neighbor’s, and fed the kitchen scraps to the chickens. The layers greeted me with eager clucking, as they know me on sight; the poults had the most amazing peeping as they couldn’t decide whether to be excited or terrified of carrot peels.

    My Calmer Half thinks he’s finally found the last sneaky formatting error, and the print version will finally get uploaded today, along with the typo fixes to the ebook. Then it will be out the door, off my to-do list in the brain, and that stress will be gone. On to the next story!

    (May we all be as sneaky, stubborn, and hard for those dead-set against us to root out as formatting errors and typos!)

    1. This feels optimistic, but I’ve re-started work on a series of short stories that I’d like to put into a book. I’m not sure what to do once I finish and am ready for copyediting and everything else.
      Can you point me in a good direction? I honestly don’t know where to go or look, and there’s so much garbage on the inter web, I don’t trust it.
      Any help you can offer would be very appreciated by yours truly. 🙂

      1. THis is a good rough primer – keeping in mind that some information is now outdated, but if you pop into the comments with “Hey, I’m now here, and I’m looking at this step and counfounded about X? Then people are friendly and generally helpful.

        Navigating from Writing to Publication

          1. Eh, like I said, a chunk of it is out of date. The page on formatting is from 2014, for heaven’s sake, and that’s forever in internet years! But it’s a decent “Here’s an idea of the lay of the land” that you can then use to have the lingo to look around, and evaluate the good from the bad.

            1. Just what I needed, so thanks again. 🤗 (I don’t even know what that emoji means I just like it.)

  16. Last night I had a nightmare: a messy device goes off on some patch of rural farmland, the media of course reports a bunch of filthy MAGAts were trying g to build it, screwed up on themselves, and in one fell swoop we’ve got a national emergency, curtailed or cancelled elections, justification to strike the dissident population with everything they’ve got, some ruined farmland, and they won’t even have to sacrifice one of their precious blue cities to make it happen.

    If something like that is in the works, our only hope would be some armed good Samaritan sees.something unusual going on, steps in and stops it.

    1. They are going to blame the one the Iranian backed terrorists set off on “UltraMAGA Trump supporters” and crack down. There is a reason why they are essentially aiding and abetting the Mad Mullahs of Iran and its not just because they see Iran as being the means by which they hope to see Israel destroyed.

      1. > “They are going to blame the one the Iranian backed terrorists set off on “UltraMAGA Trump supporters” and crack down.”

        What was the name of the theory that some politicians don’t see foreign threats as something to be stopped, but rather as an excuse to expand their domestic power? “Irrational nation theory” or something like that? I know there was a post here on the subject a while back but I’m blanking on the name.

        1. A while ago I posted:

          They can only see foreign enemies as clubs to beat their domestic political enemies with. The notion that outsiders could pose a threat to the political system itself is unthinkable.

          Like the High Ridge regime in ‘War Of Honor’ refusing to end the war with Haven for local political advantage. That could never bite them in the ass, oh, no way…
          “You’ve spent three years preparing this shit sandwich and now you want to share? Oh, no. It’s all yours. Bon appetit, asshole.” — what Queen Elizabeth should have said to High Ridge after the Haven attacks.

          1. What she “should have said”?

            IMO That’s basically what she did say. 😉

    2. More likely a small to mid-sized Southern city they can tag as being a haven for “white supremacists.”

    3. I assume you mean “only hope to stop it before it happens”. Because that still isn’t a fight they can win, and they would be doing the world a favor by sending the balloon up for everyone to see.

          1. “Thanks for turning…us.. on and thanks for tuning…us…in. Just do not drop out. Here’s a new, and strange tune by the Trans-Dimensional Orchestra, Sideways.”

    1. It may not be what Sarah had, but I’m sure that it is the picture that I was thinking about when she mentioned her picture.

    2. My grandma had this picture in her house.

      I also have this picture in my house. I’m a grandma too but I’ve had it since my sister gave me one when my first child was born.

      1. Image search for “guardian angel cliff” and you’ll get a wide variety of Victorian images like that. The kid with the butterfly net is particularly hair-raising.

  17. Not much of a dancer, either, but every time I start to get overagitated about politics, I get a gentle reminder: You are performing a mighty work. Get back to it.

      1. I wish I had that assurance.

        Sarah, not to be rude in any way at all.

        But just how many people does He have to send to tell you?

                1. OT: What do you call that flex plastic thing that’s like a coil? You can make bracelets and stuff of it, but it’s very flexible. I need it for a shifter.

                  1. Like these?

                    Although Amazon may or may not deliver to Goldport CO. Might be big enough for a human but not sure if it is going to cut it where the shifter is in lion form. and of course none of those colors really are decent match for lion fur so it’s going to stick out like a sore thumb.

                    And yes PLEASE keep going finally read Noahs Boy late last year and I am patiently awaiting BOR. Just the thing to get my mind off the world.

            1. Yeah and these are just the people that put their money where their mouths are.

              There are others. If you listen closely, you can hear them checking Amazon for new books in the series.

                1. Came from? Asking Sci fi fan Odds?


                  Well they didn’t. …. cone from….

                  ( must …. not … name … that …. planet…..)



        1. This made me laugh because I was trying to figure out a way to politely ask Sarah how many of needed to remind her that this blog and her writing are great works. 🙂

  18. Remember this line from Zorba the Greek:

    I exclaimed. ‘Planting an almond tree? ‘ And he, bent as he was, turned around and said: ‘My son, I carry on as if I should never die. ‘ I replied: ‘And I carry on as if I was going to die any minute.

    Those are the choices. Carry on as if you will never die (even though you know you will) or carry on as if you are going to die any minute. As for me? I plan to plant the damn almond tree.

    1. I have planted close to a dozen trees and two dozen shrubs in the past year and a half. I have no idea if I (or anyone else!) will harvest anything from the trees. Going to keep planting and such anyway.

    2. @ Seawriter > “Those are the choices.”

      They aren’t mutually exclusive.
      You are planting the trees for those who come after you, whether you live to see them mature or not. See Johnny Appleseed.
      So, yeah, plant the trees.

      AesopSpouse and I were in a college production of “Zorba” the musical. A very interesting experience. Our director took the cast down to the Houston docks to a Greek tavern so we could see authentic dancing and absorb the gestalt.
      I have it on good authority that Retsina tastes terrible if you aren’t brought up to it.

      I didn’t realize at the time that the musical play had debuted on Broadway only about 6 years before we did it, although there was a very popular serious film adapted from the original 1946 novel 4 years before that. The famous “Zorba’s Dance” is from the film, not the play (trivia I didn’t know at the time).


      1. There is a clip from the movie in my link to the dance, but here’s a more recent example. The Syrtaki (Sirtaki), at this point, is just as authentic as any older dance.
        They call ’em folk dances because folks dance ’em (paraphrased from Tom Lehrer).

        “The Ottawa Greek Community perform a flash mob in the Byward market to promote the 2011 Ottawa Greek Festival.”

  19. I’m working on a book for Steve Jackson Games. I hope that it will actually be possible for it to be published, but in any case, it’s work I agreed to do.

    1. @ William – I went to college with Steve, and my kids were GURPS fans.
      It gave me a few cool-points at a time when most parents are considered as unredeemably square.
      FWIW, he was president of the Young Republicans club, although Nixon and Watergate were a challenge to all of the conservatives on campus, back when there were some in any university.
      At the time, I was flirting with the Democrats, but I got my head straight in graduate school.

  20. Psalm 91:5-10, Amplified Bible

    You will not be afraid of the terror of night,
    Nor of the arrow that flies by day,

    Nor of the pestilence that stalks in darkness,
    Nor of the destruction (sudden death) that lays waste at noon.

    A thousand may fall at your side
    And ten thousand at your right hand,
    But danger will not come near you.

    You will only [be a spectator as you] look on with your eyes
    And witness the [divine] repayment of the wicked [as you watch safely from the shelter of the Most High].

    Because you have made the Lord, [who is] my refuge,
    Even the Most High, your dwelling place,

    No evil will befall you,
    Nor will any plague come near your tent.

    Note: When it refers to “you”, Dear Reader, it doesn’t necessarily mean “your earthsuit”. That has an unknown expiration date. But the “you” that God loves need not worry.

    And if this isn’t your way, well, each of us is—must be—free to follow our own conscience…

    1. Kinda new at this Christianity thing. “Amplified Bible” first suggested to me “Metal Psalms – RIIIIIFFFFFFF!”. Hadn’t heard of that version before. Thanks.

          1. Stryper, Theocracy, Narnia, August Burns Red . . . all are Christian metal bands. Stryper is the original, back from when Petra (!) was considered a bit edgy by some church youth leaders.

  21. This afternoon I was up at our storage unit, sorting the t-shirts for the next two shows. I have no idea whether they’ll even happen, or if we’ll be able to go to them (at an earlier show, husband threw out his back picking up a box that was too heavy, and he’s still having trouble), but I wanted them prepared.

    After I get dishes washed, I have writing to do.

  22. In other news, Lizzard Chicanery is getting walloped 60% to 35% in the Wyoming primary.

    What do the Democrats keep telling us? ‘Elections have consequences’? ‘The People have spoken!’?

    Let’s repeat those back, as many times as necessary.
    “It’s an ass-kickin’. It’s supposed to hurt.”

    1. Now, Utah, do Mitt Romney. I could swear I first heard of him in the early 1980s when I was doing political polling, during the Reagan administration, and there was talk of him going up against Ted Kennedy for Senator, but that didn’t happen for ten years after that, so I don’t know. Anyway, he was described as a Northeastern big government Republican, no strong conservative. The more I saw of him, the more I agreed. Although I was firmly in his support during his Presidential campaign, like many others, I was dismayed by his lukewarm approach to the essential issues: he was a McClellan, when Republicans were looking for a Grant. Then, when he got into the Senate, he turned even bluer. (What? After the way Democrats savaged him, he still trusts their good intentions??). I don’t hate him, but no, he doesn’t represent Utah very well. Mike Lee is more like it.

      1. I hereby apologize to Utah and the US on behalf of Massachusetts for saddling you with that bozo and his ego. Hey but at least he’s not Ted Kennedy, he kept his women in binders not in Buicks under 6′ of water. And yes Jellyfish and Nudibranchs Mock Mitt for his apparently pointless spine.

      2. Larry Correia’s take is Utah keeps electing bad choices because they see themselves as “nice.”

        1. Utah isn’t exactly homogenous. It’s about 50% LDS, and there are several varieties of those with different political tendencies, which would take too long to summarize and discuss, and may not be of general interest anyway. “Nice” accounts for part of it, but it’s more complex than that.

          1. Slightly OT/somewhat related Q: Why do I drink Old Fashioneds?
            A: Because there’s not a drink called a Reactionary.
            Although my politics might be tending to a Counter-Revolutionary, or a Restoration.

  23. When I was in High School the doom and gloomers were running rampant. I at least partially bought into the Population Bomb and Eco-disaster narratives that were being pushed by our teachers. I walked to school on the first Earth Day along with hundreds of other students and at least a handful of teachers.

    I think part of why I didn’t buy these things completely was all the SF I had read as a pre-teen and teenager (especially Heinlein). I had a basic optimism and always assumed that however bad the Population/Ecological Crises got, it would be overtaken by general human progress in at most thirty years. When the predictions of doom failed to materialize in the seventies and early eighties I was ripe for a reassessment. I fairly quickly transitioned to a sort of skeptical libertarianism, then drifted more toward conservatism as the inherent flaws and contradictions of “capital L” Libertarian thought became apparent to me.

    The current abyss we are dancing on the edge of is pretty dangerous, but I think we may yet get past it without complete collapse. Sometimes the edge of the cliff looks more dangerous just because it is close, but at the same time it is easier to see and focus on and might thus be a little bit easier to avoid.

    1. I wasn’t in high school yet when the first Earth Day came, but I never bought into the Population Bomb. I was also aiming for STEM before it was a thing, and the older the Eco-narrative got, the more it started to smell. My grandparents started their families in rural areas during the Depression, and it left a mark on the next generation. I’m not convinced a collapse is avoidable at this point, but when I estimate its probable magnitude, I start to shudder. I’d rather delay and mitigate it as much as possible.

      1. I suspect it’s much like an earthquake — the longer it’s delayed, the more pressure builds up and the worse it will be.
        The government can mandate stupidity, but they can’t make it not be stupid.

        1. Possibly, but if you can see it coming in advance, you won’t be caught totally unprepared. As we were discussing only yesterday, I do believe. I’m in the segment of the population that’s likely to be hit worst…aging, poor health, poor family connections, low income, dependent on Medicare and Social Security, and scrambling for a better way to live, disaster or no.

      2. I remember hearing about the Population Bomb and eco-disaster when I was a kid too young to really understand it. By the age when I could have begun to, I was already reading science fiction and had stumbled across Jerry Pournelle’s “A Step Farther Out” columns in Galaxy (and later book) and was thoroughly inoculated against it.

        It also helped that my dad was a petroleum geologist who regularly inveighed at the dinner table about “tree huggers”. 🙂

    2. You were in HS about the same time I was, maybe a little earlier, or later. I too bought into the, at least Eco-bomb. Always walked or biked to school, no choice. Didn’t have a vehicle until age 19, and 3rd year college. Took part in the first integrated Science/English/Social Studies, class that was half a day. But then this was when rivers were burning, skies were raining ash from field and slash burning, couldn’t fish in the local river through town and north, nor able to fish many of the feeder creeks. So, yes, ecologically things were a mess.

      Now rivers don’t burn. We don’t have ash in the air from field burning or slash burning (forest fires, but that is a different topic). We can fish the local river, in town and north, and tributary creeks. Recycling was implemented. Locally the bottle returns.

      In a lot of ways ecology improvements have come a long way. In some instances too much. Don’t get me started on Forestry Practices, or lack thereof now. The top down, one prescription, or lack of, is wrong. Managing a NW Forest is different than a California Sierra Forest or forest in the NE or south.

      Population bomb? Not sure if I bought into that or just felt we’d be solving the same way when mankind reached across the oceans. Only this time we’d be reaching across the stratosphere and into the stars with Heinlein, Clark, and the others showing us the way through our fiction.

      1. Remember the filthy, polluted America of 1999? When cancer clusters spread across the land like a zombie plague, when birds fell from the sky, when fish gasped on every beach?

        Yeah, me neither. Roll back everything the EPA has come up with in the last 25 years in their quixotic pursuit of diminishing returns to achieve truly homeopathic levels of pollutants.

        1. No by 1999 things had gotten much better. But I do cut them a bit of slack on the pollution front. In the 60’s when I grew up I lived indoors large portions of the Summer as a child because the pollution from NYC and its environs would float down the coast, and with my severe asthma (and the crap drugs available in 1960’s, I say Adrenaline suppository and leave it at that) it was literally life threatening for me to play outdoors on bad days and that was 1/4 to a 1/3 of them. If you fell into the Connecticut river (or the Charles or Merrimac or almost any river in the Northeast) you had to check if your diphtheria and similar shots were up to date. In the harbor of the little town where I grew up boats would dump their black water tanks out in the Sound and it would float around and take a while to be broken down. As annoying as the early EPA changes were they did improve things a whole lot. By the 90’s the Connecticut and Charles were swimmable. Severe pollution days downwind of NYC were down in single digits for a summer. Go to a car show with 60’s and 50’s cars. You’ll smell unburnt gasoline in the exhaust as you walk by in even on the best tuned of cars. A decent car got 12-15 MPG. Compare to a modern gas vehicle where the output is h20 Co and CO2 with minimal NOx and O3 and other pollutants.
          Problem is the eco weenies succeeded beyond their wildest dreams, but they still want to be relevant, they still want power. So they push more and more ridiculous things and the Brahmandarins LIKE to control the populace so private vehicles and the freedom they create are anathema to those evil controlling bastards so they keep feeding the eco weenies need to destroy everything made by man.

          1. @ tregonsee314 > “Problem is the eco weenies succeeded beyond their wildest dreams, but they still want to be relevant, they still want power. So they push more and more ridiculous things”

            Because, Pournelle’s Iron Law of Bureaucracy:
            “..in any bureaucratic organization there will be two kinds of people: those who work to further the actual goals of the organization, and those who work for the organization itself….in all cases, the second type of person will always gain control of the organization, and will always write the rules under which the organization functions.”

            The Steel Law of Bureaucracy should be “Every organization, whether government or private, even (especially?) those founded with good intentions, MUST be closed down after ten years.”

            If there is still work to be done on the original problem, start a new org.

            Mockery is in order — although, in the sixties, Lehrer was drawing attention to the situation that you & d & balzacq describe, before the EPA even existed, and certainly before it got delusions of grandeur.

            “Tom Lehrer wrote this song in 1960 for the satirical television show “That Was The Week That Was” where he was the resident songwriter.
            Spoken introduction:
            “Time was an American about to go abroad would be warned by his friends or guide books not to drink the water. But times have changed and now a foreigner coming to this country might be offered the following advice…”

            The final stanza of the original doesn’t have as much punch as the one I remember from the TW3 record, which apparently was tailored to California.

            1. For fanatic devotees of the Professor, you can download everything he wrote from this site. Lyrics for all songs, sheet music if he also wrote that, audios from multiple published versions.

            2. Love Tom Lehrer, my best buddies parents had “That was the Week That Was” and “An Evening Wasted With…”. TW3 had so many great songs on it.

          2. So much this. In a lot of ways Oregon was better over all than what you are describing. However, had you lived in the Willamette Valley, particularity southern end, Coburg and south, you’d rarely been outside between late June (as soon as lightening storms hit) – October, even November (burning seasons), unless it had rained, or been really windy. Pollution pools and stagnates in southern Willamette Valley. That doesn’t count the pollen count from trees, bushes, and farming.

            Yes. By even the ’80s as the last of the pushes went through for air and water quality, the environmentalist had really completed their missions. They just pushed way, way, past. They have now angered those of us who were on their side. Do we need to be diligent in not letting reforms made slack? Yes. What they are pulling in the name of environmentalism now? No way in Heck.

            1. And of course, any time you say “maybe the EPA has gone too far” you get responses like “oh I guess you want no regulation and pollution everywhere, then.” Sigh.

              1. You ought to hear the rant I get for admitting I went into Forestry … A few times (and I don’t use the F word, well rarely) when I’ve even bothered to reply “Why do you F* think I went into Forestry?” I might even add “Idiot”, but generally silently. Usually after stating (100% true FYI), “there is more timberland now than when my ggg-grandparents got to Oregon”, the trees you are whining about them cutting weren’t here, or were barely seedlings, during WW” (gets moved up, another 10 years it’ll be “planted during the depression”, and another 20 years it’ll be WWII), “What about the Tillamook, Bandon, or Oxbow, wild fires?” (on “how bad” the current fire years are. Heck I’m likely to state “Hubby put himself through college fighting wildfires. I got my share of overtime on district small fires to pay for college too.”) I usually restrain because, as much as I love the brats, they are my nieces, and nephews.

                “oh I guess you want no regulation and pollution everywhere, then.” Sigh.


    3. Yesterday I wanted to go fatwah on powerline for a podcast guest suggesting in twenty years America won’t exist. Instead, I clutched my piece of flag and got all militant.

      1. 20 years Eh? I give good odds I’ll be around then to still show him my matched middle fingers. Sod off Swampy!!! The USAins and the USA will be here long after weak sisters like you will!!
        Two thoughts for him from Sam Adams (The REALLY grumpy Adams )

        “Nil desperandum, — Never Despair. That is a motto for you and me. All are not dead; and where there is a spark of patriotic fire, we will rekindle it.”

        “If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen.”

        ― Samuel Adams

  24. Hi Sarah, I’m Carol Stoddard, William H Stoddard’s wife. I read this blog and the comments. You and the Huns help me. Your posts bolster my courage. You have good guest bloggers, as well. Everyone is an agent of God, and you have a special place with Him (and me and the Huns) because of what you write. Thank you very much.

      1. You’re welcome! (It did cross my mind to write “agent of God” as “Agent of G.O.D.” 😺)

    1. > “Everyone is an agent of God”

      If I am, He must be laughing His ass off at the irony. 😛

      Anyway, welcome to the comments.

  25. Chief Superintendent Reginald Bright : “A moment’s courage or a lifetime of regret – that’s always the choice.”

    They want you to be afraid, they want you to fear them! Why else would they organize a private army for the the IRS. But the objective reality is that they are the ones who are afraid, they fear the people. This is no way to live.

  26. “Salman Rushdie and the defense of hate speech”
    by Jonathan Zimmerman – an academic but not an idiot (a little misguided, maybe*).

    “Professor, why should we allow hate speech?”
    Over the past few years, that’s become the most common question that students ask me in class. My reply is simple: Human beings have different understandings of hate, love and everything in between. Almost any statement can be perceived as bigoted or offensive, depending on the context. So once we prohibit “hate speech,” we won’t be able to speak at all.

    And if you disagree, I have two words for you: Salman Rushdie.

    That’s the cry of the censor, in all times and places: A word or idea is insulting what is most sacred to us, so it’s our duty to shut it down, lest it promote depravity — especially among the young.

    Witness the book bans suffusing American school districts right now, mostly targeted at material about sex and gender. Critics allege that these texts threaten students by depriving them of sexual innocence. Some even claim that the books “groom” children for sexual abuse.

    Or consider the spate of GOP-sponsored bills in state legislatures barring the teaching of critical race theory, the 1619 Project and other curricula that deal with racism in the United States. Republicans say these approaches teach students to hate their country. They argue that we must censor the curricula, or America won’t be America anymore.*

    Most of my students are liberal Democrats, so they’re appalled by these measures. But they often support their own brand of censorship against hate, aimed at protecting America’s minority groups rather than the nation writ large.

    Starting in the 1980s, hundreds of colleges and universities promulgated codes to prohibit negative remarks about minorities. The most famous one was adopted by the University of Michigan, which barred “any behavior, verbal or physical, that stigmatizes or victimizes an individual on the basis of race, ethnicity, religion, sex, sexual orientation, (or) creed.”

    But as a federal judge ruled in 1989, when he struck down the Michigan speech code, “what one individual might find victimizing or stigmatizing, another individual might not.” Black students at Michigan were charged by whites with violating the code in 20 cases. One African American student was punished for using the term “white trash.”

    You might not think that’s stigmatizing, but other people did. And lots and lots of people think that Rushdie stigmatized them too. Once you have decided that some speech is too hateful to be expressed, you won’t have a leg to stand on when they come after Rushdie — or anyone else.

    *Speech to captive audiences of impressionable, uneducated children is NOT the same as speech to adults who can choose not to listen, or can answer back.
    ALL school curricula must take that into account, and all school curricula are censored by one side or the other.

    1. Whoops – that goes on today’s post about Speech vs Violence.
      Well, people who confuse the two ARE dancing on an edge of sorts, I suppose.

      1. One notes that he also objects to the notion that teachers, in the course of their employment, can be told to not say things and not tout books.

        The idea you have to do your job is another restriction allowed.

        1. Mary, this is NOT directed at you.

          Dear Humans, if you MUST make ox head hurt, go with Quantum Physics or Relativity or Rocketry or Neuro…well ANYTHING… or at least make the nonsense entertaining (See classic Warner Bros. cartoons) and not this… whatever it is. For I have FLUSHED better than that. And ox figure that much out. Please, be at LEAST as smart as ox? PLEASE!

  27. As long as we’re sharing dancing videos, I found this thing a while back:

    The title is misleading as that’s clearly not the moonwalk – apparently it’s called the circle glide – but whatever. It’s still lovely and I wish it went on longer.

    I’m guessing the lady had some skill in dancing already, but if she really did that well on her first try after seeing the move once it’s still impressive. I doubt I could do something like that anywhere near as well on the first try.

    Here’s the full song, for thsoe interested:

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