Open Floor

If you’re looking for me at the con… it’s going to be a couple of hours. I was hungry and peopled out, so I’m hiding out in the room and cilling for a little while. We’ll be back in a couple of hours.

Because I woke up late and I had a panel and a signing that went on double the time I expected, I’m going to throw the floor open.

So, I’m throwing the floor open and giving you some things to chew on:

Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy, its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery. – Winston Churchill

“Anybody can look at a pretty girl and see a pretty girl. An artist can look at a pretty girl and see the old woman she will become. A better artist can look at an old woman and see the pretty girl that she used to be. But a great artist-a master-and that is what Auguste Rodin was-can look at an old woman, protray her exactly as she is…and force the viewer to see the pretty girl she used to be…and more than that, he can make anyone with the sensitivity of an armadillo, or even you, see that this lovely young girl is still alive, not old and ugly at all, but simply emprisoned inside her ruined body. He can make you feel the quiet, endless tragedy that there was never a girl born who ever grew older than eighteen in her heart…no matter what the merciless hours have done to her. Look at her, Ben. Growing old doesn’t matter to you and me; we were never meant to be admired-but it does to them.” ― Robert Heinlein

“I like living. I have sometimes been wildly, despairingly, acutely miserable, racked with sorrow; but through it all I still know quite certainly that just to be alive is a grand thing.”
― Agatha Christie

When fate is got it in for you, there is no limit to what you may have to put up with. ― Georgette Heyer.

203 thoughts on “Open Floor

  1. “When fate is got it in for you, there is no limit to what you may have to put up with. ― Georgette Heyer.” This is the quote I can most relate to at the moment. I would add to it, “… and put up with it you must!”

    1. Indeed..and you do have to put up with it….and this, too, shall pass…I’ve had a lot of practice in this area during the last 4 years…Believe it or not, it’s a growth experience…

  2. “I like living. I have sometimes been wildly, despairingly, acutely miserable, racked with sorrow; but through it all I still know quite certainly that just to be alive is a grand thing.”
    ― Agatha Christie

    Even through divorce, multiple layoffs lasting months, multiple kidney-stones, multiple cancers, and all the negative bits provided…

      1. The aardvark is handing out self-opening parachutes.

        This does lengthen the time period spent falling.

            1. “Gory, gory what a h-lluv a way to die/And he ain’t gonna jump no more.”

              Um, yes, Grandpa Carl taught me songs, why? (He was a paratrooper in WWII.)

      1. I wish I could drink like a lady
        One or two at the most
        Three I’m under the table
        Four I’m under the host

        — Dorothy Parker, maybe

      1. It was just fun. And since I was living in New Jersey at the time, having a film set there was also fun.
        The key was everyone played it totally straight.

        1. My drama teacher way back in high school told us that comedy must be played completely straight, because mugging for the audience destroys the effect.

          1. Absolutely.
            OTOH, talking to the audience, in character, can work. Still remember Christopher Plummer as Iago, and suddenly realizing (with the rest of the audience) he was inviting us to join in the fun of ruining Othello’s life…and we were on the verge of agreeing.

      2. Buckaroo Banzai was a shout-out to the good old days of good guys versus bad guys in a fun light-hearted movie.

        In other words, couldn’t make it today on $200m budget.

        Ditto Blazing Saddles, which did all that plus Message. (Don’t be a bigoted asshole. They look stupid.)

    1. Great movie. The Red Lectroid spaceship appears in my books. ~:D The Valkyries made one because it looks badass.

      I met Peter Weller one time. Very cool, unassuming guy. Highly under-rated as an actor, IMHO.

    2. “When you’re on an electric bus, uuhhh, it’s a bus, and, it’s electric, and you’re on it.” — Kamela Harris, the other squatter at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue

      1. If I’m recalling right, it’s actually the Naval Observatory, AKA Governor Abbott’s DC bus stop for illegals.

        “That’s not faiiiiiiiiiiiiiiirrrrrrrrr!” — every virtue signaling progtard

            1. They don’t realize just how much resentment they have been (and are) generating with their condescending attitudes.

              1. “When they go high, we go lower” – Michael Obama

                Next PressSec also needs to be a trans, pedophile, illegal alien and in a wheelchair to check off ALL the intersectional boxes of The Woke Left…

          1. AOC says flying 50 illegal aliens to Martha’s Vineyard is a ‘crime against humanity’.

            That dingbat needs to open a real history book and actually read the words inside.

            And understand them. I know, that’s a lot to expect, but still.
            ‘Progressives’ believe everybody else is even stupider than they are. This explains a lot.

        1. In her case it is one of those kiddie wagons that has a handle to pull it along……with a broken wheel.

    3. You’re close, but the EXACT wording is: “No matter where you go, there you are.” I have it on a button. Also buttons with “Don’t look now, but I think we’re being followed,” “Save the Males,” and “Question Authority: Ask me anything.” Just saying.

      1. I know, but “wherever you go” is the wording used in most other quotes of the aphorism. I thought about using the BB version, but decided to try to split the difference with the “(among others)” part of the attribution…

  3. “Sometimes you just need to scan the operational area and engage the targets (potential goals) one at a time until you find the one that is going to be your obsession, the one that drives you day in and day out.

    The point is this. Shoot for the stars. You can aim as high as you want, at anything you want and adjust your fire from there. Sometimes you will need to walk the target in until you hit the black, the bullseye, and figure out what you are truly passionate about, your overall objective. Some things in life look glamorous from the outside, but the blood, sweat and tears involved to reach that objective may not be for you.

    The identification process and the journey are different for everyone.”

    Front Sight Focus
    By David Havens

    (I love this book. It’s like… if Jordan Peterson were a Chief Petty Officer.)

  4. I Like RAH’s comment on Artists. To add to it A truly skilled artist takes a woman who is perhaps average in Looks and makes it clear that she is beautiful and desirable. One of my favorites in this is John Singer Sargeant. Two classic examples are “Portrait of Madame X” and “Lady Agnew of Lochnaw” . In Madame X’s case she is in a rather daring dress for the Edwardian period. She has a rather angular face not classically beautiful and is looking away from the artist in Profile. She is heavily powdered making her very pale. And yet she is still alluring and striking. Having seen the portrait in person it is quite striking probably 6′ tall Madame X is probably taller than she was in person. Lady Agnew I’ve only seen in books but as portrayed she is a young to middle age woman (35 to 45 maybe) . She is seated in a dress that covers her ankles to neck and yet still portrayed quite strikingly. And it is clear that although quite handsome she was VERY striking as a young woman (plenty of photographs. And the portrait gives you that feeling. If you were a lady of wealth in the Edwardian era you wanted Sargeant to paint you so you remain beautiful for the ages.

    1. Looks are one thing.
      But does she sound like a woman?
      Does she move like a woman?
      Does she smell like a woman?
      Does the artist fully engage the senses even while limited to just sight?

  5. I’ve always remembered that RAH quote on artists ever since I came across it as a kid. I am not sure which book anymore- Stranger in a Strange Land?

    1. Yes – “Ben” gives it away.

      Interesting line of musing that draws in SISL.

      I think we could use a corps of “Fair Witnesses” today.

    1. “He who breaks a thing to find out what it is has left the path of wisdom.”

      Said no Infantryman, ever.

      1. Infantrymen who think they are in the business of figuring out things philosophically either learn it’s a hobby or don’t last long.

        1. Infantry Philosophy runs to Laconic and Practical.


          (It) don’ mean nuthin

          Place sucks… It’s ours.

          Embrace the suck.

          1. Exactly. We all of us have our vocations. It is unwise to assume that your vocation’s knowledge gives you knowledge in general.

          2. Oh, yeah.

            That reminds me: I need to explain to my coworkers that when a rather… kinetic… type of gentleman responds to an explanation with “Easy Day!!”, he’s not making fun or them, or making light of the work ahead.

              1. You can indeed. Addressed by #37 (which assumes the supply train is working).

                Plus, it’s from Schlock Mercenary. You expected reality? 🙂

                1. Cite them as good rules, and you assert their reality.

                  No prudent soldier assumes the supply train IS working or that it will STAY working.

                  1. “Cite them as good rules, and you assert their reality”.

                    Interesting belief. Luckily I made no such citation. But they’re as real as a spaceship full of mercenaries, I guess. And no, I’m not interested in an argument about the “reality” of what amounts to an excerpt from a comic strip.

      2. “Said no infantryman ever.”

        Seeing as the quote was from JRR Tolkien – a veteran of the Somme – I’ve got to disagree.

          1. Gandalf could get in there and mix it up with the best of them, and he’s the character who most consistently knows what’s going on and the right thing to do, so I feel confident in taking Gandalfs word for closest to reflecting the author’s beliefs.

  6. A rather prophetic offering from Mr. Bradbury.

    Do you know who’s talking to your children? Whether in school, on the internet or even from underneath a bush?

  7. I’m glad to see the Churchill passage tying socialism to envy. C and I take it that way, and it’s remarkable how few people see it.

  8. Spent 2 hours at Granite State Comic Con before I got peopled out. Obviously not used to crowds anymore. It’s going to take repeated exposures to build up the tolerance levels again. /laugh

    Wore my 2nd Amendment t-shirt, and Keep America Great hat. Zero derogatory comments. 2 compliments on the shirt, 3 on the hat. And got to give my oldest son a hug.
    It was a good day TO LIVE!

    1. FenCon has a lot of people, all peopleing. It was fun, but as you say, I need to rebuild my tolerance. Saw Sarah, Free Range Oyster, and a few other Huns and Hoydens.

  9. A mystery reader, confronted with a large mass of sudden detail, is going to go—subconsciously, at least— “Aha! somewhere in all of this the writer has planted a Clue!”, and look for that; a reader trained exclusively in mainstream literary fiction is likely to say, “Aha! all this emphasis must point to something of Thematic Importance!”, but an experienced reader of science fiction is going to assume that he or she is meant to take all of those details and out of them construct a world.

    Which is why the writer of a science-fiction mystery with literary ambitions is trying to do a quadruple somersault off the trapeze without a net.

    ― Debra Doyle

    1. “Which is why the writer of a science-fiction mystery with literary ambitions is trying to do a quadruple somersault off the trapeze without a net.”

      There are a couple of good practitioners of the SF mystery, without the literary ambitions, but still (because of?) darn good reading.
      Isaac Asimov – The Black Widowers Club stories, and some stand alones; also, some of the Robot stories have a detectionary element.
      Randall Garrett – Lord Darcy

      1. Of course in some of his stories Mr Garrett is cribbing off of the master. “Napoli Express” is a clear homage to Ms. Christie’s “Murder on the Orient Express”. Some of the others also feel vaguely Poirot like. Certainly we often end up with the cliche of all the suspects in a single room with Lord Darcy and Master Sean. And of course Darcy is also leaning on Sir Doyle’s mysteries. But Garrett does an admirable job of world building AND writing a mystery, but I think he didn’t shoot for the Literary side. So only a triple somersault in Ms. Doyles anology.

    2. Just picked up, “The Price of the Stars,” for a reread.
      That one’s also example of how to successfully file off the serial numbers and make something your own.

  10. I was going to say that people in this area were staying remarkably sane, but today I got threatened (tone of voice and body language-wise, anyway) because I refused to make an after-hours cheese pizza.

    Apparently he thought better of it, because he didn’t stick around to talk to a manager as he had threatened… but dude. It’s a cheese pizza. You can get a cheese pizza on Saturday night, all sorts of places. You do not need to start a monkey dance over cheese pizza.

    AFAIK, this was a native-born American with no religious need for cheese, but at any rate, he didn’t plead any religious need. Something was wrong with him, though, and I hope it was just a bad day.

    Anyhoo, I obeyed the true crime buff rules, hung out with others, and made sure the managers knew.

    1. “You do not need to start a monkey dance over cheese pizza.”

      It’s happening all over the place for trivial reasons.
      Glad your guy left peacefully.
      “I don’t know what happened to start this fight, but I do know that man decided to take out a hatchet, smash up a restaurant, threaten the lives of everyone around, and terrorize a woman. Praise God no one was hurt… this time.”

      1. While it might have been a spur-of-the-moment fit of anger, he was carrying a hatchet. In a backpack. In NY. I doubt he was planning on cutting kindling to start a campfire. I believe “big dude with hatchet threatening people” probably qualifies as worthy of lethal force in most sane jurisdictions; a shame this wasn’t one of them.

      1. Oh, yes. I still remember a nasty incident working reception at my beloved’s tax office and losing a client. Officially, she was incensed that a lowly receptionist would even think to look at her information. Thinking back, that’s probably part of it but she also wanted an acceptable excuse for walking out, and that one worked.
        (Now I wish I’d had the chance to say, “Ma’am, I’ll forget everything I see five minutes after I finish putting it in. You’re just not that important to me.” In for a penny…)

    2. Nie moj circ, nie moje malpe.

      (Polish: Not my circus, not my monkeys.)

      Of course -I- seem to be the local ringmaster, wherever I go.

  11. Truth. And we will be there soon.

    “The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people’s money.”

    ― Margaret Thatcher

  12. I wish to live to 150 years old, but the day I die, I wish it to be with a cigarette in one hand and a glass of whiskey in the other. – Ava Gardner

        1. Thank you!
          An obvious title but I just couldn’t bring it to mind.
          From Wikipedia:
          “The book displays a dystopic near future, when computer animation and sampling have reduced the movie industry to software manipulation.”

          I think we’re nearly, if not already, there.

            1. …until it’s either licensed out of existence or banned outright. “National Security”, doncha know…

              (Hey, it works as an excuse for everything else!)

    1. “I’ll settle for a woman in one hand, glass of whiskey in one hand, and a willing woman in the other.”
      “You said woman twice., and that’s three hands.”
      “I’m a guy who hangs around moties. I like women.”

  13. Day two as a fencon vendor has come to a close. I’m soooo tired! Talking to … people, smiling ( makes my face hurt) omg who knew authoring was so much work!
    It’s exhausting!

  14. Space opera, as every reader doubtless knows, is a pejorative term often applied to a story that has an element of adventure. Over the decades, brilliant and talented new writers appear, receiving great acclaim, and each and every one of them can be expected to write at least one article stating flatly that the day of space opera is over and done, thank goodness, and that henceforth these crude tales of interplanetary nonsense will be replaced by whatever type of story that writer happens to favor — closet dramas, psychological dramas, sex dramas, etc., but by God important dramas, containing nothing but Big Thinks. Ten years late, the writer in question may or may not still be around, but the space opera can be found right where it always was, sturdily driving its dark trade in heroes.

    Leigh Brackett

  15. In the matter of reforming things, as distinct from deforming them, there is one plain and simple principle; a principle which will probably be called a paradox. There exists in such a case a certain institution or law; let us say, for the sake of simplicity, a fence or gate erected across a road. The more modern type of reformer goes gaily up to it and says, “I don’t see the use of this; let us clear it away.” To which the more intelligent type of reformer will do well to answer: “If you don’t see the use of it, I certainly won’t let you clear it away. Go away and think. Then, when you can come back and tell me that you do see the use of it, I may allow you to destroy it.”

    This paradox rests on the most elementary common sense. The gate or fence did not grow there. It was not set up by somnambulists who built it in their sleep. It is highly improbable that it was put there by escaped lunatics who were for some reason loose in the street. Some person had some reason for thinking it would be a good thing for somebody. And until we know what the reason was, we really cannot judge whether the reason was reasonable. It is extremely probable that we have overlooked some whole aspect of the question, if something set up by human beings like ourselves seems to be entirely meaningless and mysterious. There are reformers who get over this difficulty by assuming that all their fathers were fools; but if that be so, we can only say that folly appears to be a hereditary disease. But the truth is that nobody has any business to destroy a social institution until he has really seen it as an historical institution. If he knows how it arose, and what purposes it was supposed to serve, he may really be able to say that they were bad purposes, that they have since become bad purposes, or that they are purposes which are no longer served. But if he simply stares at the thing as a senseless monstrosity that has somehow sprung up in his path, it is he and not the traditionalist who is suffering from an illusion.

    G. K. Chesterto

    1. Chesterton’s gate swings both ways. If a reformer wants to put up a gate across a path, he should be challenged to give the use of leaving the path as it was, without a gate.

      And some reformers will note that the gate was only put in place relatively recently, maybe a mere matter of a century ago or less. They’ll then point out that they’ve never heard the old gate-erecting advocates explain the use of leaving the path without a gate, and will insist that those who want the gate to stand make that explanation now.

      1. “William Roper: “So, now you give the Devil the benefit of law!”

        Sir Thomas More: “Yes! What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil?”

        William Roper: “Yes, I’d cut down every law in England to do that!”

        Sir Thomas More: “Oh? And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned ’round on you, where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country is planted thick with laws, from coast to coast, Man’s laws, not God’s! And if you cut them down, and you’re just the man to do it, do you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I’d give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety’s sake!”

        ― Robert Bolt, A Man for All Seasons

  16. Apart from such chaotic classics as these, my own taste in novel reading is one which I am prepared in a rather especial manner, not only to declare, but to defend. My taste is for the sensational novel, the detective story, the story about death, robbery and secret societies; a taste which I share in common with the bulk at least of the male population of this world. There was a time in my own melodramatic boyhood when I became quite fastidious in this respect. I would look at the first chapter of any new novel as a final test of its merits. If there was a murdered man under the sofa in the first chapter, I read the story. If there was no murdered man under the sofa in the first chapter, I dismissed the story as tea-table twaddle, which it often really was. But we all lose a little of that fine edge of austerity and idealism which sharpened our spiritual standard in our youth. I have come to compromise with the tea-table and to be less insistent about the sofa. As long as a corpse or two turns up in the second, the third, nay even the fourth or fifth chapter, I make allowance for human weakness, and I ask no more. But a novel without any death in it is still to me a novel without any life in it. I admit that the very best of the tea-table novels are great art – for instance, Emma or Northanger Abbey. Sheer elemental genius can make a work of art out of anything. Michelangelo might make a statue out of mud, and Jane Austen could make a novel out of tea – that much more contemptible substance. But on the whole I think that a tale about one man killing another man is more likely to have something in it than a tale in which, all the characters are talking trivialities without any of that instant and silent presence of death which is one of the strong spiritual bonds of all mankind. I still prefer the novel in which one person does another person to death to the novel in which all the persons are feebly (and vainly) trying to get the others to come to life.

    G. K. Chesterton

    1. “Viktor Petrenko is under my couch!” — “Cathy” comic strip by Cathy Guisewhite. (Bizarre though the situation was, he had not been murdered. It just came irresistibly to mind.)

  17. There is something…impressive isn’t the right word, but nothing really comes closer, about the Biden* Regime. Between all the various Cabinet and other government positions, you would think they’d have wound up with at least one of them being semi-competent at something, but somehow they have managed to avoid contaminating their clown-show with any detectable trace of competence. They’ve all got their heads so far up their asses they’re almost back to where they belong.

    1. Staggering in the… whatever-the-photon-it-is.. way, ain’t it?

      In normal times (yeah, yeah) they’d at least someone right once in a while by accident. The lack of such might be a Great Indicator of…er… how to put this… Evil Forces at work. And I do NOT mean something so mundane as Soros (evil though he be), but the Things that pull Soros’ corroded strings.

      1. From Ghoulies and Ghoosties, long-leggety Beasties, and Things that go Bump in the Night,
        Good Lord, deliver us!

      2. Considering that the US, Canada, the UK and almost all of the EU displays a simultaneous “lack of competence” we must consider this quote:

        Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. Three times is enemy action.
        -Ian Fleming

        And also consider that the saner conspiracy theorists are batting well above .900 the last few years.

    2. If I thought they were in any way capable of pulling off the smallest part of the simplest plan, I would be sure they were doing this on purpose.

      However, they seem to actually be baffled that things are going badly and rather afraid that the plebes will begin to notice.

      I envision an evil mastermind ranting in his Lair of Doom, “Why am I surrounded by such morons? Can’t you fools do ANYTHING right?”

      1. Not that I’d tell that “evil mastermind” the following but it says more about him/her than anything else that He/She Chose those morons to be his minions. 😈

      2. “Evil cannot create anything new; they can only corrupt and ruin what good forces have invented or made.”
        -JRR Tolkein

      3. A true Evil Mastermind would set a minimum bar for skills and ability among his minions and hench-critters. Even if they also had to meet a checklist a-la-HR. Either 1) the administration’s administrators didn’t bother with the first bit or 2) someone is absolutely terrified of the possibility of competence creeping in and making him/her/whatever-the-heck-today look bad, and so went for Checklist Uber Alles.

    3. “you would think they’d have wound up with at least one of them being semi-competent at something,”

      Considering how much they have destroyed to date, it’s a GOOD THING they are so incompetent.

      1. Is it possible to say “It was a beautiful morning at the end of November” without feeling like Snoopy?
        Umberto Eco

  18. It is necessary to create constraints, in order to invent freely. In poetry the constraint can be imposed by meter, foot, rhyme, by what has been called the “verse according to the ear.” In fiction, the surrounding world provides the constraint. This has nothing to do with realism (even if it explains also realism). A completely unreal world can be constructed, in which asses fly and princesses are restored to life by a kiss; but that world, purely possible and unrealistic, must exist according to structures defined at the outset (we have to know whether it is a world where a princess can be restored to life only by the kiss of a prince, or also by that of a witch, and whether the princess’s kiss transforms only frogs into princes or also, for example, armadillos).
    —Umberto Eco

      1. Yeah, no is right.
        I loved the poem, however — vintage Kipling!

        From the page about the “sestina” form:

        The common form of the sestina has six stanzas of six lines each, with a terset (three-line stanza) at the end. There is usually no rhyme, but the stanzas are based on six end-words, which are the same in all stanzas; in the terset three of these words are used in the middle of the lines, and three at the ends. The order of the end-words changes in each stanza according to a complex system: thus (in the common modern form) if the end-words of the first stanza be represented by: 1 2 3 4 5 6. The order in the later stanzas will be as follows:

        second stanza: 6 1 5 2 4 3
        third stanza: 3 6 4 1 2 5
        fourth stanza: 5 3 2 6 1 4
        fifth stanza: 4 5 1 3 6 2
        sixth stanza: 2 4 6 5 3 1

        However, I loved this comment:

        “It seems paradoxical to this Editor that Kipling should permit an uneducated man to express his views on life in such an esoteric verse-form – especially when it would not mar the scansion if correct English were used: the views expressed bear some resemblance to his own life as Dobrée seems to imply. Is it possible that Kipling is cocking a snook at the critics, and showing them that he could do it, and to irritate those that found him vulgar; and, to add insult to injury, to do so in a dialect that he knew would irritate the literati even more ?”

        Well, yeah.

        1. Took a writing class once where one of the assignments was a sestina. Hated it. Far too many of them came out repetitive and mind-numbingly boring.

          I once had a brain in my head,
          I read lots, and kept it well-fed.
          Till the sestina’s word scatter did make my mind shatter
          And now, my poor brain, it is dead.

    1. “It is necessary to create constraints, in order to invent freely. In poetry the constraint can be imposed by meter, foot, rhyme, by what has been called the “verse according to the ear.” – Eco

      Robert Graves was one of the “modern” poets who still insisted on using formal poetic strictures, claiming that they disciplined his use of words to convey his message, instead of just going with the first thing that came to mind.
      Whether you like his novels or not (I do), his poetry is worth taking a look at.
      This is one of his most popular, a poem about writing poetry.
      Now I begin to know at last,
      These nights when I sit down to rhyme,
      The form and measure of that vast
      God we call Poetry, he who stoops
      And leaps me through his paper hoops
      A little higher every time.

      I also like ‘The Cool Web’ at the same website.

  19. That image has me wondering a bit. Looks like an attic, the gal holding what seems to be a candle lantern, and… mini aliens(?) on an old lathe? I know, likely a pixabay something, but it screams there is an untold story.

    1. “it screams there is an untold story.”

      Maybe that’s who the Borrowers really were — obviously, the book illustrations were misleading on purpose, to throw the UFO crowd off the track.

        1. A few years ago, I read a horror novel titled Brotherkind (by J N Williamson).

          The idea put forth by the novel was that there was a species behind all myths held by humans, including Fairie Myths and UFO Mythology.

          They (called the Brotherkind) feed off of human imagination and when one myth begins to fail, they create a new myth.

  20. So…
    It appears that my wife of twenty-two years is going to pull a long-threatened trigger.
    Should that happen, I would likely need to find a new home for a St. Bernard or two.

    Since it’s an open floor, and we discussed a similar hypothetical event recently, it seems like a good time to send out some tentative feelers.
    (Shrug) Some sort of proactivity is better than denial.

    1. Damn, dude, that sucks. I don’t have any solutions, but I hope you find them, whichever way it shakes out.

    2. Well, nuts. I don’t have any direct contacts up that way, but I’ll keep my ears open. I hope things work out for the best for all involved.

    3. Can’t help; the Arizona desert is no place for St. Bernards. But however it turns out, especially if a miracle stops the trigger-pull and things work out, best of luck.

    1. Well, I believe that the Queen’s funeral is “invitation only” and I thought I saw that it is unlikely that any of our former Presidents would be invited.

      As for going uninvited, he wouldn’t be able to “get” in and what’s the real point of going to England “for the funeral” if he couldn’t actually attend?

        1. The British government likely wouldn’t want to insult the Biden* Maladministration by failing to invite a representative of it and inviting Trump. 😉

          And I doubt that QE left instruction to invite Trump and to not invite Biden*. 😈

  21. HUGs… I am so sorry it has been so difficult, Sarah! I was looking for you today but could not find you! I hope you have a better day! Come by my book table and say hi if you get a chance; I am at the WATCHER of the DAMNED Table!!

      1. I did! But I missed Sarah completely! 😦 we were as two ships that passed by in the night

        I toot tooted to no avail. But perhaps next year!!

  22. Two sorts of folks are drawn to socialism.
    Most long for a strong parental figure that will provide and care for them and take responsibility for making all the hard decisions of life off their shoulders.
    But some see socialism as the scam it is, that true socialism or its kissing cousin communism is a goal that never arrives and so must have “temporary” controls administered by themselves. It’s nothing more than a facade that allows them to seize power over the masses.

      1. One line really jumped out at me:

        hypocritically preaching social equality and practicing a carelessly brutal snobbery.

        Now, where do we see that?

        There is a difference between the major political parties — Republicans are fighting against the government, and Democrats are fighting against the people.
        When police arrest violent criminals to protect innocent people, they are Jackbooted Fascist Stormtroopers.

        When police arrest innocent people at the behest of corrupt politicians, they are National Heroes.

      2. The only thing I disagree with is her statement that nice people never go Nazi. And I agree with all her actual cases.

      3. Wow, good find Dorothy!

        The second paragraph stands out:

        “It is preposterous to think that they are divided by any racial characteristics. Germans may be more susceptible to Nazism than most people, but I doubt it. Jews are barred out, but it is an arbitrary ruling. I know lots of Jews who are born Nazis and many others who would heil Hitler tomorrow morning if given a chance. There are Jews who have repudiated their own ancestors in order to become “Honorary Aryans and Nazis”; there are full-blooded Jews who have enthusiastically entered Hitler’s secret service. Nazism has nothing to do with race and nationality. It appeals to a certain type of mind.”

        There’s a multitude of people on the international stage that fit this profile…

    1. Eh, the most beneficent socialist Utopia would require someone to direct. And who better than their wise and benevolent selves? So some who do believe the dream also want the power.

  23. “He can make you feel the quiet, endless tragedy that there was never a girl born who ever grew older than eighteen in her heart…no matter what the merciless hours have done to her. Look at her, Ben. Growing old doesn’t matter to you and me; we were never meant to be admired-but it does to them.”

    Okay, I think this is one of those “woman” things that I absolutely do not understand. No, I absolutely don’t want to nor ever wished to be or remain eighteen in my heart or my body. I would absolutely like to have the full vision back in my left eye, I’d like to be able to hear without a hearing aid, yadda, yadda, so probably mid twenties, if I were going to pick an age. Back when my body came closest to working the way it’s supposed to.

    But don’t all men feel like that, too? That when things start deteriorating or going downhill, you wish everything still worked the way it used to?

    This thing about being admired — no, I don’t get it, at all. But maybe that’s just part of how I’m not like most other women. There are some things I just have to understand that I don’t understand.

    1. If I could have the body I had at 22. 5’4″ 125#s, good shape, nothing hurts after doing, well anything. Sigh.

      1. I’d pick 36. In better physical shape than I was in my lighter college years (I was too thin), but without the later back problems. My knee was bad then, but heck, it’s been bad since I was 18.

        1. I think I’d choose 31. Slimmest I ever was and fairly in shape (though I want my 20’s knees and hair back, Fencing in college was hard on the knees and at 31 hair was definitely headed for a tonsure 🙂 ).

            1. Yep. Although with a wish the Reader would like to be 40 again. Physically health and mentally past the stupids of my 20’s and the various stressors of my 30s.

          1. I’d probably choose somewhere 37-40. I was still slim but no longer painfully skinny, my hair was still long and full and dark even if it had started its long slow march to the rear, I could still exert myself and not feel decrepit the next day, and I had a degree of gravitas that I lacked as a younger man.

            My avatar was taken on my 40th birthday, as an example.

            1. No, but my knees do have hair 🙂 . My concern was a bit of vanity that at 31 my hair on my head would have been suitable for joining the Albertian order of Liebowitz. At this point some 30 years later my hairstyle is more akin to that of Jean Luc Picard… Does keep the expense of haircuts to a minimum.

      2. I know exactly the date I’d chose for my body: right when I arrived in Alaska, and it needed another 60 pounds of muscle, but before three shoulder dislocations (out of five), it got frostbitten, was too close to a propane pressure vessel when it lost containment, before the getting caught in a forest fire (long story. Crown fires are impressively scary and dark from inside), and most especially before it was inbetween two large pieces of machinery having a kinetic disagreement about right of way and displacement.

        The brain? I much prefer where I’m at now. Older, wiser, saner, with a love that was such a miracle I found him in the first place that I wouldn’t risk changing anything if it meant I would miss the incredibly fragile chain of coincidences that led to our meeting.

        …that said, I do get the women wishing they were still of a beauty to be admired thing. I have never been a great beauty, but I had a housemate who could and did stop traffic. Literally. She didn’t really understand how much of her life and her world was integral to being so beautiful, and how many doors it opened, and how much grace and attention she was given because of it… because that’s like asking a fish to understand water. At best she could grade the quality of the attention that always surrounded her.

        Women age out of their beauty, right along with their biological clock. I know that as it faded, so did the attention – and it left her feeling invisible and bereft of understanding how the world had gone strange and cold, and uncaring. She… she had to learn a whole new way of dealing with the world, without truly being able to grok why or how, because she had never known the lack before. It’s a harsh world out there, and time will have its due.

        In this, I am lucky in my relatively awkward plainness… as I never could command that attention, aging has not significantly changed how the world responds to me. I have always been just another person, and know how to do what I need and get what I want without commanding attention.

        1. getting caught in a forest fire (long story. Crown fires are impressively scary and dark from inside)

          Been on enough small wild land fire lines … they were excitement enough, no thank you.

          I never could command that attention, aging has not significantly changed how the world responds to me. I have always been just another person, and know how to do what I need and get what I want without commanding attention.

          Same. Never considered myself a great beauty either. Or skinny (even at 125#, know better now …)

          Oh the times hubby and I took advantage that they’d focus on him and ignore me. Great way to shop big ticket items without attracting sales people.

        2. Grass and brush fires are bad enough, but then just training for ship-board fires and flooding made it a bit more serious.

          The instructors actual set real fires in the simulators and you get to put them out. Fun bit is being the member of the crew that gets to open the hatch, the Access Man.

        3. Actually, my experience was that “plain” but not ugly was definitely the sweet spot. At least for women in tech in the 70’s. I knew several girls / women in college who were beautiful, and they often seemed obsessed with their appearance (and I don’t mean in a vain, trivial way — it seemed to be of vital importance to them). And they seemed to worry a lot about whether men were interested in them for themselves or their body. They seemed very unhappy and prone to eating disorders.

          Some men are just attracted to women in tech, and while a “10” gets their attention, their criteria seem to be very flexible if the woman honestly shares an important interest or dream. And then, well, yeah, when a man loves a woman, she becomes beautiful to him. My experience. YMMV.

          So like Dorothy, the world has never really changed in the way it responds to me. My attraction has never been primarily based on physical attractiveness, so I haven’t really lost anything in that perspective as I’ve aged.

          1. I was noted for people thinking I was older than my actual age, because of my bearing and vocabulary. Now it’s the opposite, because of my appearance and personal style. I’m attractive (when seen face on. My profile is, well, notable for the lack of jaw. I’m the anti-Habsburg that way) but not beautiful in the classical sense.

            I tend to play up my hair when I describe myself, because it is long, still sort of thick (I stress-shed during 2020-2021, like many people), and very red with silver streaks at the sides.

    2. Might as well say “Nothing she’s done between then and now has any meaning because WE no longer admire her.”

      Ignore me, I’m pissed off today.

    3. I’d like the body I had at 28. Healthy, two eyes that were good (with glasses), 190 pounds of newly promoted black belt. (Though I’d prefer to shoot the way I did a decade later…with the mental calm I had TWO decades later)

  24. “I like living. I have sometimes been wildly, despairingly, acutely miserable, racked with sorrow; but through it all I still know quite certainly that just to be alive is a grand thing.”

    Good times. Bad times. Neither lasts forever. Use the good times to set aside something for the bad and use the bad times to learn how to better use the good. Through all of it stay alive because dying is a suckers game.

  25. “I’ve told my wife never to call me when I’m in the Eighteen Hundreds.” Docent/reenactor at Los Ranchos de Las Golondrinas, October 11, 2008.

    “Time is a cruel thief of pleasure. If we worry excessively about time spent going, coming, or staying, it’s nearly impossible to enjoy the simple things around us. It’s only natural that our instinct to enjoy life is diminished when that instinct is made a slave to the clock.” Rod Machado, AOPA Pilot Magazine January 2004 (page 46).

  26. WRT the Heinlein quote, I’ll offer my own.

    Men weather. Women age. That is the tragedy of feminine beauty.

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