Dreaming In Esperanto

This morning in the shower, as we were discussing world-building (as one does. Well, one does in my family) the Mathematician reminded me of Esperanto.

So the cue was “But why would their writing be like that” for very odd world you’ll get by the by. And the answer was “because the language is synthetic and created by crazy people.” And then he groaned and said “Esperanto.”

I never learned Esperanto. I think I was in my forties before I stopped feeling guilty over that.

For those of you who weren’t around and aware in the seventies: half of my friends in languages and linguistics were also learning Esperanto in their own time.

I paid for courses in Swedish and Italian and to continue French after not in my curriculum, but I never paid for Esperanto, and back then I couldn’t tell you why. It might honestly have been that I hated — HATED HATED HATED — sanctimony and the whole “We’re learning Esperanto, because it’s the language of the future, when the Earth is united and there’s no more war” just rubbed me the wrong way.

In retrospect, looking at it, it was a completely crazy idea, on the same level as communism, or the UN. And btw, back then I was still stupid enough to think I should work for the UN because that would help with world peace. (This is a peculiar European delusion. They can’t stand to attribute their long stretch of peace of Pax Americana, so the UN it must be.)

And it was completely crazy in the way that even the Heinlein books before he took his world tour were crazy: because they assumed that the entire world would retool to take on the more “functional” culture of the US.

It was a beautifully insane delusion, which completely ignored the fact that cultures are real and stubborn things. To be fair, the left still doesn’t get that. They don’t understand that humans are social beings, and therefore are not just beings of flesh and mind, but beings of culture. And cultures, frankly — though I don’t know how much people get that — are almost like living, sentient beings. Which means they will find ways not to die, including but not limited to, infiltrating the conquering culture.

The only way that universal future culture would work would have been if the US — at the time it would have to be the US — had conquered the whole world in fire and blood and imposed our language and culture, including taking kids very young and raising them away from their parents. (Assuming you didn’t kill all the parents.)

Much less replacing a language with a synthetic language — imagining that synthetic languages would not evolve and separate and become organic — which falls under “if only everyone”.

No one is going to fall in with any of this, which is why Esperanto never happened. It’s why the UN where it does anything is with other people’s troops. (And because it’s a worldwide organization and the sh*tholes greatly outnumber the functional countries, the things it can enforce are usually horrendous, horrifying, and shouldn’t ever happen.)

It’s also why Communism would never have happened without force. The force mostly being financed by the rich of the world or the incredibly corrupt (China) or both, in so far as Communism is a great system to impose all sorts of totalitarianism under the flag of, from Fascism to Feudalism.

Without force, Communism becomes Esperanto. The thing you look at in a few years and go “Oh, yeah, I remember when that used to be cool.”

The thing is, even with force it’s not any great thing. Because think about it, ladies, gentlemen, and small furry animals: they’ve been trying to take over the world for a over a century. 1984 was predicted for… well, 1984. And the thing is, after a crest of looking plausible around the 1970s, they’ve been steadily losing ground.

Because they’re like Esperanto with an army. No matter how much force you use, people will still think its stupid, and they’re not going to learn your made up words. Or if they try they find themselves quite out of words for the functions of every day life, like swearing at your enemies or making fun of your cat.

We’re going to win this. It’s going to be difficult because in a way it’s a struggle as old as mankind. Most of us want to be left alone, but a few bright boys and girls want to dictate everything we do and say and think. (Spoiler, they ain’t that bright. Burned light bulb in coal cellar at best.)

But the current vehicle is beyond silly. And it is one of a parcel of ah… mid century modern ideas hinging on “If only everyone.”

Those just can’t work. They just can’t. Because they might be great for some species. But not ours.

The soonest they die, the best for everyone concerned. And the ideas have to die, not the people. (Sure, you can kill the people too. But that never killed an idea. In fact having martyrs to the cause tends to make the cause seem way more urgent, important and VIABLE than it ever was.)

So, put on your armor of irony and ridicule, and once more into the culture trenches my friends.

Let’s laugh them out of existence.

356 thoughts on “Dreaming In Esperanto

  1. The post-apocalyptic dystopias of the 70s and 80s are not the post-apocalyptic dystopias of today. (Usually they’re even poorer examples of worldbuilding today, but that’s not the only difference by far.)

    I’m a child of the 80s. We were going to have a global thermonuclear war before the turn of the millennium. We were going to be living in a dustbowl with no trees whatsoever. I even got a little bit of the global icebox trend, though that was usually attached to the global thermonuclear war.

    The ozone layer was being destroyed by Aquanet. Acid rain was going to melt away all the old cities in Europe. Smog would make it impossible to breathe outside—well, I’ll give you Beijing. Horror after horror.

    And… despite everything, it’s not so bad. Always places for improvement, but for example, L.A. has a massive drop in bad air days since the 60s, despite its huge increase in size and vehicles. Tule fog, the bane of Central Valley drivers, is much less—specifically because there are fewer pollutants causing it to form. Lots of stunning wild spaces to visit that haven’t burned down, and the firefighters seem to have a special place in their hearts for scout camps, since they have specifically kept those from burning. (Aww.)

    Yes, there are still massive problems. But it doesn’t seem as though they’re inevitable or completely insurmountable.

    1. I read a number of the “nuclear winter” things. They were trendy in YA for a while [and people wonder why Gen X came out strange?] Those and the Mad Max clones got old, quick. At least the Horseclans had telepathic cats and a culture that sort of made sense. And the writing wasn’t all that bad. (Granted, I was reading Doc Savage at the time as well, so my pulp-o-meter was pretty off-kilter.)

      1. Doc Savage is fun. Craig Kennedy is fun in a different way if you can find it. (There are collections on Gutenberg). Very gosh-wow, science! Plus culture shock when you discover the state of the art horse-drawn fire engines and using blood-pressure cuffs as lie-detectors.

    2. I had an aunt that raved about the acid rain stuff– once. (I am now pretty sure my mom pinned her ears back, in private.)

      I went between thinking it was utter nonsense, to being terrified… until I found out that it was “limestone and marble will erode slightly faster than expected. Maybe.”

      That… was really not impressive to someone who grew up going to Shasta Caverns and similar limestone wonders.

    3. The ozone layer was being destroyed by Aquanet.

      It took me a moment to get that one. My first thought was “Aquanet? Is that like Skynet, except built by dolphins?”

  2. Tolkien’s Elvish is cool. Klingon is cool. C++ is way more cool than Esperanto, and although not a conversational language, far more useful.

    1. I took a class on programming languages once, and one of the things it did was try to design the “perfect” language that had all of the features that programing language theory said were desirable. It was about as far from C++ as possible, which had none of these features and implemented everything in what the theorists would consider a bass-ackward way. And yet most of the world is written in C++, while the “perfect” language exists only in the appendix of text book that has “FOOL” in big letters across the cover.

      I trust the lesson is obvious.

      1. The Perfect Programming Language is Ada. Just ask the folks who designed it, and the DOD which once mandated its use in all government contracts. I think they quietly dropped that requirement a while ago.

            1. The 6809 was indeed a thing of beauty. Pity it was manufactured by Motorola, who had a unique ability to price themselves out of any market. The 6502 killed it on price at one end of the market, the 8088 killed it on raw power at the other, so the 6809 wound up selling mostly to the clowns at Radio Shack.

              1. The 6809 chip’s architecture, and the way the machine instructions were encoded and organized, were brilliant.

                Motorola started with the 6800, which had two 8-bit accumulators, A and B; one 16-bit index register, X; and one 16-bit stack pointer, S. The indexed addressing mode added an 8-bit unsigned offset contained in the instruction’s second byte to the X register. There were PUSH and PULL instructions for the A and B registers, but not for X. Branch instructions used an 8-bit signed offset. There was a ‘quick’ addressing mode with an 8-bit address which could access the first 256 bytes of memory, from 0000 to 00FF.

                For the 6809 they added a few instructions that joined A and B to form the 16-bit D accumulator. They added a Y index register and a U stack pointer, then gave all 4 registers 26 indexed addressing modes — signed 4, 8 and 16-bit offsets, A and B register offsets, auto-increment and -decrement modes, and an addressing mode relative to the program counter register, so a program could reference data tables embedded in its own object code. They added 16-bit long branches. An operand byte was added to the PUSH and PULL instructions so any register or combination of registers could be PUSHed or PULLed on the S or U stack with one instruction. They added a P (Page) register to extend the ‘quick’ addressing mode to any 256-byte block in the 64K memory space.

                All of those features made Position Independent Programming not only possible, but trivial. A properly written 6809 program didn’t have to be assembled and linked to run at one specific address; it could be loaded anywhere and passed a couple of pointers to its allotted data and stack memory. More than one instance of the same program could run concurrently from the same copy of object code — just allocate a different block of data memory for each instance.

                Microware wrote a UNIX-like multitasking operating system called OS-9 for the 6809. Radio Shack sold a version of OS-9 for the Color Computer. It was far more capable than MS-DOG.

                1. I think it would disturb hubby that I actually understand the above …

                  I mean, occasionally we (or hubby does) runs into people we associated with (’74 – ’79) at school of forestry and forestry club. General catch up conversations occur. Including “what have you all been up to?”, “Well. D is writing and designs software now …” (Or now, “retired from writing software for 35 years”.) Long stare by former class/school mate … Hubby: “I know! Right!”

                  It isn’t that I’ve gotten more naturally mathematical since then (always can do the math, just isn’t natural, and certain higher math I forget without constant usage without review), but I see patterns and can programmatically put them together. It isn’t like that process didn’t come up before, and even, sometimes, recognized. Just wasn’t “what would normally be done”. Sometimes I got positive credit, usually I didn’t (not within the acceptable responses). With software “if it works” is the positive credit.

                  To be fair. These people got to listen to me rant about the required computer class back then. I was not ranting in favor of computers and software. It would be another 4 years (’83) before computers clicked.

                  1. > “I think it would disturb hubby that I actually understand the above …”

                    I didn’t grasp all of it, but I know enough to know what I need to study to correct that.

                    Thanks, Imaginos.

                    1. Note. Didn’t say I could native program it in assembly. Just I understand what was written. I can muck around in assembly to trace, if I must (or could … It has been almost 7 years since any coding).

                    2. > “It has been almost 7 years since any coding”

                      ANY coding? I understand not doing it professionally or even as a hobby, but you don’t even write little utilities for yourself?

                    3. No. When I retired. I retired. Truly, when I first started coding, never thought I’d say or write.

                      Doing anything now is a rabbit hole I really don’t need to go down.

            2. I’ve mucked about in several weird assembly languages. One of the densest was the DEC Alpha targeted at the EV5 generation and later. Up to 2 integer and 2 Floating point instructions in execution with out of order completion. Also branches with speculative execution (not taken is fastest). 4 cycles to complete most floating point operations, well except divide that could take 15-60 cycles depending on single vs double and a bunch of other restrictions (IEEE float is rather complicated…). We had one guy that hand coded all the basic matrix operations for 3d Graphics. He consistently beat the (very good) DEC compiler optimization by 10 -25%. Trying to figure out his assembly would give you headaches.

              1. Trying to figure out his assembly would give you headaches.

                I can imagine.

                I’ve seen COBOL (supposedly human readable) code that gives headaches.

                  1. Some Cobol programmers were into Look At How Smart I am They Were!


                    There are always programmers who think they are “Smart & Clever” regardless of which tool they are writing in. I was very often heard “Well. Dang. That is efficient and clever. Now how do I change the code?”

                    I might have roamed that way, early in my career. But … I had to change my own code as user needs/wants evolved. Or worse as compilers decided my clever work around was a bug and no longer compiled. Always years after I last looked at whatever. I got cured. I figured out another work around. But documented the heck out of the code (what was going on and WHY).

                    1. And fact in the Python world clever is a pejorative. Unfortunately like many young programmers the python world has become quite clever. It’s something almost every programmer does often early in their career to prove “Mines Bigger than yours”, Honestly even the ladies participate. It’s got to be something about the culture or the mindset that sets it off. The only people worse I can think of are fighter pilots or Doctors (especially surgeons). Why this massive hubris fills your budding programmer I have no idea.

                    2. Why this massive hubris fills your budding programmer I have no idea.

                      I don’t now why now. But when I was in school for programming, nice tight, as few of lines of code possible, were considered better than clear written longer lines of code. There was a competition to do so.

                      Programmers are competitive. Even not just in programming classes. Pretty sure the Intro to Accounting fellow students got sick and tired of the 5 of us in the “Data Processing” (programming) career path, competing to see who could get done on tests, with the highest score, the fastest. Since all 5 of us were getting 100%+ correct. We might have been a tad irritating. (Not the only ones who do this. Ran into it before. But never was “part of the club”.)

                    3. Oh definitely very competitive. My question is more why are they competitive. In both the fighter pilot and the surgeon cases there is life on the line (Yours as the fighter pilot, someone else’s as the surgeon). The competitive edge can if used correctly hone and refine their actions for a potentially better outcome. But with programmers its only for “glory” and only in a very limited section of the populace, e.g. it is not going to win you a mate unless they’re part of the “club” and then they’ll just want to show you they’re better 🙂 (Think anything you can do from Annie Got Her Gun and you’ll have many of the dual programmer relations I’ve seen 🙂 ).

                    4. Think anything you can do from Annie Got Her Gun and you’ll have many of the dual programmer relations I’ve seen

                      No thank you.

                      I broke out of the competitive aspects once I actually got deeper into classes. I’m more of a helpful type. I tend to tutor instead of compete. To the point, with the 2 year degree where my GPA was the highest for our graduating year, no one could understand why I didn’t earn any honors. Yet the classmates I’d tutored (paid or not) had quite a number of them. Reason. Honors are issued based on Overall GPA. Which included my prior degree GPA, which wasn’t high (good enough to get the degree, just not high). Me? “It is what it is.” Them? “That’s not Fair!” Thoughts appreciated. Didn’t change facts.

                    5. Then d you are unusual in my experience (in a good way mind you 🙂 ). The ladies of CS tended to pair up with totally different majors and even related (EE electrical engineers especially digital focused ones) were avoided. I think mostly because the gents just HAD to be better, some kind of severe testosterone poisoning which afflicted them. Truly odd for a bunch of what tended to be nerdy nebbishes (I include myself in that).

                      My own feeling is that software types HAVE to have fairly strong self images/egos. Pretty much what we do is struggle with things failing until they fail no longer and even then things break over time as more special cases get reached. Without that intense streak of ego you’d probably find your self a tree and a rope in the first couple semesters of programming, especially when the first 2-3 courses in CS were meant as sieve to reduce the numbers as was done in the old days.

                    6. ntense streak of ego you’d probably find your self a tree and a rope in the first couple semesters of programming, especially when the first 2-3 courses in CS were meant as sieve to reduce the numbers

                      Ahhh. But I came into programing and the 4 year CSS program through the “basement window” (I skipped the first two competitive years). Already had a 4 year degree (which filled the “minor” requirement for the CSS, department gatekeepers weren’t happy, but the head CSS prof signed off on it), plus two years of pure programming classes (the two year degree, where I tutored). The second two years of the CSS program then taught team cooperation (although it really did not teach how teams work, that took Woodbadge, 13 years later. Too be fair neither did the Forestry program and our most important class was a team project. The team project concept wasn’t exactly new to me.) Didn’t have any time to tutor then. Not working full time, or working half time and full school hours, then I got pregnant. (When other women classmates “noticed”, it was “how can you get pregnant just before graduation? Ans: “Not our choice. After 10 years, we’re going to say, Not now?” I went back to school because it wasn’t happening.) Then by choice, I did not look for work that scramble senor year when everyone is competing for the first job, or for me the third (even then I was limited to the local area). I didn’t start looking for one until 7 months after graduation and it, more or less, fell into my lap.

                      what we do is struggle with things failing until they fail no longer and even then things break over time as more special cases get reached

                      Naw. That is just being persistent and stubborn. In all caps, italic, and bold: PERSISTENT and STUBBORN. That I have/am. Besides I still got to then tutor clients. (Now a call center? That would have involved a tree and rope, for someone else, and not those calling in. Luckily never had to deal with that. And yes, there were times with specific clients I wanted to pound the phone handset on the desk and let them listen to it. I was good, I didn’t.)

                    7. “Some” because not all Cobol programmers did that garbage. 😉

                      That is true too. But reality is that a Cobol program modified enough becomes spaghetti code, no matter what anyone does. One can impose resemblance of order by enforcing standards of where new loop called procedures are located, but it is artificial standard at best.

                      Used to irk me to no end to have to create a procedure for a loop that is only called from that loop. Where as any other programming language allowed the code to just be encompassed by the loop. OMG if there needed to be nested loops. That almost triggered complicated loop conditions. Which in turn was a point failure eventually.

                      But programmers can be clever in not only Cobol, but I’ve seen “clever” in RPG, C/C++, Pascal, etc. It is always a PIA for the programmer coming in after the original few away.

                    8. There’s a difference between wanting to optimize the object code, and wanting to squeeze the source code down to the fewest possible characters. I never had an aversion to verbose source code. I loaded mine with comments and notes. After I finished one program, the head programmer told me that for the first time ever, he didn’t have any questions about the code.

                    9. While I did very little APL in my classes, I was aware of the APL One Liners club, where the entire program was one line of APL code. I think the inspiration for the Dingbats font came from APL…

                    10. never had an aversion to verbose source code

                      Neither did I. In one case I even started out the comment with “Because I am tired of figuring this out again. This is how it is all put together. How I am changing it and why. (B-Star index against a flat file. Accessing the indexes, how the fix sped up searching, and why. Essentially last-accessed-first-out was not the correct method, should have been last-accessed-last-out. Plus “why the index file was 10x the size of the, pre-sorted, data file it was indexing …)

                      head programmer

                      I’ve heard of such people who checked others code. Never met one …

                    11. There’s a difference between wanting to optimize the object code, and wanting to squeeze the source code down to the fewest possible characters.

                      True. But I still get flashbacks to the days of 8-bit microcomputers, when the source code itself had to fit in the available RAM. If you wanted to write a program of any significant complexity, you had to make the source code illegible so it would fit.

                      I still had to deal with occasional outbreaks of this disease into the late 1990s. A certain programming environment for the Mac, which shall not be named here for the sake of mere Christian charity, would not accept source code in chunks longer than 30,000 characters, since that was the limit on individual text strings in early versions of the Mac OS. Every other program for the Mac was able to concatenate strings to handle longer text, but not that one. And if you ran over 30,000 bytes in the editor, it simply stopped accepting input.

                      I remember doing search-and-replace on variable names, making them one character shorter so that a handler would fit in 29,995 bytes of source code instead of 30,010. Of course I had long since deleted all comments from the code.

                    12. get flashbacks to the days of 8-bit microcomputers, when the source code itself had to fit in the available RAM

                      While I was coding in 1990s, that I did not have to deal with. Those writing the software for the handheld computer OS, did (specifically Falcon … more common units are Symbol or Intermec). Me writing the UI for the C generating code for programmers to use, not so much. Did learn quickly how to keep C programs smaller, if certain function types weren’t ever used. Unfortunately the biggest memory drag were the data and key file input/output routines. Required of 99.99% of the programs written.

                1. The assembly itself wasn’t bad, it was dealing with the out of order execution and keeping the pipeline full to get the performance that really made it a set of twisty passages all alike. There really weren’t good tools for that, and this gent could do it very well in his head.

                  1. really weren’t good tools for that, and this gent could do it very well in his head.

                    I know of at of someone like that. He also played concert piano (not professionally, for fun). I remember coming up with a crude password encryption. He looked at the output and translated backwards, at a glance. In the end, no one even used the program access password feature. Why it was a requirement, IDK; but it was.

                    The last job someone almost as good. At least when I took him a visible control that we’d been using before, but a change made it impossible to use it where it was needed. I was able to do the research to figure out what functions/processes MS C++/C was using but couldn’t figure out how to implement the same in the programing setup we used, or how to integrate a non-visible control built with C++ using our programming tool. (Well I could have, eventually. Eventually being the key word.) He had it researched and whipped out in a couple of days. Never did dig into exactly what he did. Should have. Just never had a spare second.

                2. I can relate to this. As a very green programmer just out of in-house training, I was assigned to find and fix whatever was suddenly causing an old ultra-reliable COBOL program to crash and burn. This was a critical production program.

                  I waded laboriously thru hundreds of lines of COBOL and finally managed to isolate the problem to 64 lines of consecutive nested IF statements that were triggered by UPSI switches. The latter being something neither I nor anyone else on the team had any knowledge of, nor could I discover where these were being set or what the incoming values were. This was spaghetti code in its most hellacious glory.

                  After several painful hours attempting to determine what value came out, without being able to track what was going in, I gave up. I knew the point beyond this mess after which the program always worked properly. So I put in a label at that point, and then just before those 64 lines I inserted a GOTO statement to the new label, bypassing the whole pot of pasta.

                  It worked. The output of the program was correct. It never crashed again. Nobody ever questioned me about how I did it.

                  Do you think I should call that my COBOLyashi Maru solution?

                  (Carp appreciated! I miss having fresh fish for dinner.) 😉

                  1. Generally switches are part of the OS program call as in “run program sw1, sw2, …” etc. Could be something the program was pulling out of specific area of the OS, or a specific file. Either way, early in the program those switches should have been pulled into a variable somewhere. Or maybe hard coded (buried) into included files. I’ve Grrrred more than a few times trying to find where those type of switches were buried myself.

                    My first job after getting the 4 year degree had a (by then) 30ish year COBOL program that started out on mainframes in the 50’s or early 60’s, first on university computers, moved to corporate computers, and eventually moved to in house division computers on Xenix run on PCs. It had been there for 8 = 10 years. My first task was to solve the Y2K problem because of 10 year growth models. That solution had a 30 year shelf life (the division “assets” were sold off, including the SQL GIS system that the old data was being integrated into with a program rewrite). I know the new programming department did have a solution long before the fix shelf life expired. We, all two of us, were working on the integration, but had barely started. We “weren’t needed” given the local company already had 10 programmers. They had no idea how many critical programs there were besides that one. (I might have rolled my eyes. Especially when I got called for some “consulting” 7 months later, on that one and a couple of others. Since I was barely a month into my new job … I declined.)

                    1. I took one COBOL programming course for S&Gs in the early 90s. It consisted of writing object-oriented code using COBOL. The intent was that by completing the course, programmers would have some idea of how to convert existing legacy COBOL programs into something more understandable and modular.

              2. I did some programming on a processor designed by Tracor. 12 bit instructions, 8 bit data and the Program Counter ran backwards. Still they got far more accurate navigation information than the “experts” claimed was possible. Some brilliant guys there, I was just writing diagnostics.

          1. We had a supplier who liked Forth. He wrote a spreadsheet program in Forth, for PDP-11, about the time Lotus 1-2-3 came out.

            I think I may have managed a ‘Hello, world’ program in Forth.

        1. When that nonsense came out, I was in Montgomery AL, home to the Standard Systems Group (SSG) of the Air Force. So naturally, the Alabama Department of Industrial Management wanted to make sure there was a supply of Ada coders, so they started offering training courses.

          The Ada IDE they chose was put out by a company called Meridian. It was so user hostile, with incomprehensible messages, documentation, etc., that ADIM actually hired some DoD tech writers to produce revised documentation according to DoD standard format.

          I’ll pause to allow drink to be swallowed, etc…….

          It was an order of MAGNITUDE better than what Meridian software produced.

  3. Volapuk is the one I remember. It was all part of that vaguely left wing middle class, improve things for the workers shtick. There was anther one that was Latin without flexion — Italian wasn’t good enough I suppose,

    Like socialism, Esperanto and the artificial world peace languages generally were all part of that world improver impulse that has done, and continues to do, so much damage in the world.

    1. Well, Italian is not “without flexions.” It has elaborate verb conjugations, like French or Spanish.

  4. I remember some behind the scenes short from a Star Trek movie about Klingon. Some writer had designed the language with no “To Be” verb because the Klingon’s were active warriors or some such. Then one of the actors needed him to cobble up some Klingon words for a Shakespearean type farce or other, and he needed “To Be or Not To Be”. I think the passive tense or something got added right there. True Story, at least as I remembered it.

    1. yeah, they went back to Okrand and had him add it, hence why there is pre and post ST VI versions of the Klingon dictionary.

  5. I never did quite buy the notion that there wouldn’t be wars if we all spoke the same language. Most of Europe’s wars for a thousand years were waged by one set of French-speaking aristocrats against another, and the American Civil War was between two halves of an English-speaking nation.

    If anything, a common language makes it easier to start a war: there’s no way an insult can be a mistranslation or misunderstanding, and rejecting an ultimatum or demand is obviously deliberate.

    1. The Babel Fish problem, as seen in the Hitchhiker’s Series. Once everyone understood exactly what the other side was saying, wars became far more common. “What did you just call me!?!”

    2. Jokes by Tom Lehrer aside*, I think the ACW is a pretty good counterexample.

      And I’m not getting any closer to that third rail than that. Wow! Neat corona discharge from it! What did you say the voltage was?

      (*) cf: “It Makes a Fellow Proud to be a Soldier”

  6. IIRC, the father of George Soros was a fanatical Esperantist who raised his son in the conviction of the utter necessity of Uniting All Humanity into a single state, language, and atheistic (well, duh) culture. According to the theory, the first separate identity that had to be ironed away was his family’s own. Good to know when the Jew-hating trolls come out to label Soros the Boss Elder of Zion, and also when the leftist shills label criticism of Soros as the only serious manifestation of antisemitism.

    1. > “the utter necessity of Uniting All Humanity into a single state, language, and atheistic (well, duh) culture. ”

      I’m a devout atheist (choice of words intentional) and even I know better than to try and ban religion. It’s disappointing that so many of my fellow atheists seem to be power-obsessed idiots.

  7. Now that English is a defacto universal language world leaders can get together and plot and plan their evil plots and plans.

    They don’t care if the plebes on the globe can understand each other. In fact it’s probably easier for them if we can’t. As long as THEY understand the memos when they come out.

    Why Himself should have had to destroy the Tower of Babel and confuse the languages makes more sense to me all the time.

    Himself can’t let us plot and plan too much. We always get up to no good.

    1. The phrase “one language and one speech” about Babel can be interpreted as one language and one culture. Totalitarianism always idolizes a static monoculture as an end goal.

      1. The five year plan must be followed by all at all costs!!

        You don’t want to be a hoarder or a wrecker, do you?

        1. Of course not!

          I want to be an evil machinator. I’m the one who plans all the hoarding and wrecking.

          Speaking of which… how’s that latest project coming?

          watches them scamper away to check

          All according to plan.

          1. I’m really surprised someone writing under the nom de plume of Gru hasn’t come out with an, “Idiot’s Guide to the Care and Feeding of Minions.”

            1. That is a very good idea.

              It’d need to be someone a little more wrapped up in the Despicable Me series than I am, unfortunately.

          2. > “I want to be an evil machinator. I’m the one who plans all the hoarding and wrecking.”

            Your words intrigue me and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter.

            1. I have trouble keeping up with Our Hostess’ posts, not to mention all the comments thereon. You think I have the time and attention span to write a newsletter?

              Of course, if I ever do, you get a complimentary subscription. We can bounce eeevil plots off each other!

              1. > “I have trouble keeping up with Our Hostess’ posts, not to mention all the comments thereon.”

                I do too sometimes, which is part of why I occasionally take a week or two off from the blog.

                It used to be more manageable than this, but things got noticeably busier after the 2020 election. On the plus side, someone like Sarah gaining more attention and influence is a good thing.

      2. > “Totalitarianism always idolizes a static monoculture as an end goal.”

        A single neck is easier to hang.

    2. There was a Twitter thread a while back discussing how, before the Tower of Babel story in the Bible, you get a bunch of stuff about how Noah’s descendants went off and formed their own tribes and spoke their own languages. This particular commentator interpreted the Babel story as totalitarian leaders attempting to force assimilation, and God restoring things to how they should have been by giving everyone back his own language.

      1. Genesis does have everybody forming their own tribes and founding their own cities, but the idea is that separate languages didn’t exist until after the Tower of Babel.

        However, the exact wording at the end of Genesis 10 is “These are the families of Noah, according to their peoples and nations. By these were the nations divided on earth after the flood.”

        Which folds directly in Genesis 11:1 — “And the earth was of one tongue and the same speech. And it happened as they moved from the east, they found a plain in the land of Shinar, and dwelled in it. And they said to one another, ‘Come, let us make brick and bake it hard.’ And they had brick instead of stone, and asphalt instead of mortar.

        “And they said to one another, “Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower, and the top in the heavens; and let us make ourselves a name, lest we be scattered abroad, across the face of the earth.’ ”

        The translation issues are stuff like whether we’re talking about the entire earth, or just “the land” as in the Armenia/Mesopotamia/Israel area.

        But there are a lot of other things going on, like “a name” as representing the name of a god, or of God. Obviously all your Sumerian/Babylonian towns were built around a “tower”/ziggurat temple, representing a sacred mountain/”high place”. And the top was supposed to be the heavens, where the town god lived (and where the king was often a priest who had sex there once a year with his priestess queen). And the rest of the time, the town god was represented by a cultic statue, an idol, made for themselves by the people of the town.

        The picture seems to be that the flood survivors’ descendants were all traveling together as a nomad band with flocks and herds, arguably from Armenia down to Mesopotamia, which was indeed the direction of travel of a fair number of peoples.

        And this is a picture of the beginning of Sumerian life as all being a big mistake (or at least, the part where they built a tower for a made god).

        The other interesting bit is that this is portrayed as being a group decision, whereas Sumerian myths generally have humans starting out as slaves to the gods, forced to do things for them as directed.

        A lot of Genesis claps back at the local mythic history of the MIddle Eastern peoples around them, whether that’s by design or whether Israel just had a different take and memory of what happened.

  8. Of course, in the Chinese culture, cronyism, nepotism and so on are so much a part of life that the idea of these things not existing is rather like explaining snow, or the taste of salt.

    I’m not precisely sure what point you’re trying to make here, but I assume it’s the restructuring of language for the benefit of the “good people.” Changing pronouns, removing history, redefining words so they don’t mean the same thing and (theoretically) the concept behind the original definition dies. Getting rid of some words entirely by making them “naughty.” Using Karen to enforce the new language laws.

    The other is the rebuilding of culture, which is part of the same paradigm.

    You said “But the current vehicle is beyond silly,” without defining the current vehicle in terms of the post. It wouldn’t be the first time I’ve missed something going on in the media, but if that’s the case please let me know what I missed.

    1. Rob Henderson remarked that speaking of pronouns and cultural appropriation simply signals you went to a “top” school, It’s just a status marker for middle class status anxiety.

      1. Ah. Law of contagion, got it. A status game for the middle classes because only the “best” and most important people care.

      2. My beloved is still smarting over being accused of, “homophobia,” because he didn’t use a woman’s “preferred pronouns,”…..when I’m not sure she had ever said what they were. Aside from silly. This is the guy who used to make desserts for the Pennsic Lesbian and Bisexual Tea, or as he put it (to the ladies’ delight), “tarts for the tarts.”

        1. Pronouns have a purpose, which is to identify the cultural identity of an individual. You do not need to speak to a person to know their pronouns, in a healthy language. Now, if someday there is a standard for an obvious transexual, it might catch on as a pronoun. But in order to use a pronoun appropriately, the identification must be made by sight.

          The structure of language is too inflexible to allow this for long.

          1. More than that. Pronouns are used to refer to a third person when speaking to someone. That third person, the referent of the pronoun, isn’t part of the conversation. And as such, to my way of thinking has NOTHING to do with what pronoun is used to refer to him (yes, the neutral pronoun when the person being referred to is indeterminate is “him”). So feel free to belabor your made-up pronouns to everyone who’s willing to not just walk away when you start, but don’t expect us rational people to actually buy into your insanity.

            1. Depends on the language. In some Far Eastern ones there are a lot of considerations that go into which “you” you use.

              So many that “you” itself has permeated some, as a neutral form.

            2. ” the neutral pronoun when the person being referred to is indeterminate is “him””

              Unless the person is question is a very young child. Then the pronoun for the indeterminate pronoun is “it”.

              1. > “Unless the person is question is a very young child. Then the pronoun for the indeterminate pronoun is “it”.”

                It’s possible I’ve just forgotten, but don’t recall learning this rule. Are you sure? What’s the reason for that?

                1. I don’t know if one would call it a rule, but it was common usage back when.

                  Couldn’t tell you when “back when” ended though.

                2. Tolkien used it when observing about the frightening quality of fairy tale, that “it [the child reader] wants to be a little frightened.”

        2. Sometimes, the game is

          Now I Got You, You Son of a B####.

          You are not supposed to comply. You are supposed to suffer.

    2. Not talking about any of that. I’m talking about how Esperanto, a synthetic language they were going to impose on us from above, is the same as communism, without guns.

          1. I believe the metric system has been legal to use in the US since then. People just choose not to.

              1. Better yet, we are buying “bulbs that put out the amount of light previously highly familiar, which was measured in a system that was made to function, instead of fit someone’s theory.”

                My LED bulbs all have WATT output equivalents on them. 😀

                That’s the real reason that metric gets mostly ignored in the US, you know– because it sacrifices the human utility for someone’s theory of what makes sense.

                Where it makes sense, we use it; when it would mean saying “one point five five meters” instead of “five one” for height, we use that. Four inch chunks of height are just too big for even a quick height description, and going out to two digits is clumsy.

                We’re now three generations in to trying to force a change-over, and Americans go merrily along using what actually works for what they’re doing, getting scolded for it, and doing better than the places that obeyed the demands for public change-over anyways.

                But some folks just really love a grand, unified theory, and ignore how people actually use them. I can even understand that, since theories are just so… elegant.

                Which would be fine, if they didn’t keep having hissy fits about how If Everyone Would Just doesn’t happen.

                1. For those curious, the measurement of light output is lumen, which is based on candela; candle power is one of the ways it’s put on products, and the history of that drama is freaking hilarious as they keep trying to change stuff to find a ‘scientific’ way to define how much light is put out and end up sounding like a love-lost Vulcan Tsundere grasping at straws of justification and explain how no really everybody needs to use THEIR measures, not anything else.


                  700 lumen is about a sixty watt bulb, for those interested.

                  1. If people are so determined to have a “scientific” set of units – which I admit I can see some value in – why not come up with base units that work well for BOTH day-to-day use AND scientific calculations? Has anyone tried this? What makes metric units so sacrosanct?

                    Of course, I realize where that will probably lead in practice:

                  2. I took the honors version of a senior optics class in the physics department at university, and one of the “extra” things we had to do was develop material for one lecture/class (lecture notes, exercises, and associated lab). So I did an entire class on…optical units. Because it took that long to communicate it all. Imagine my surprise to find out that such a lecture was not already part of the class… (They cared more about what HAPPENS to the light versus how much of it there IS, which made me channel Lord Kelvin for a SCIENCE class…)

                    1. Yeah, Harry Potter‘s very enjoyable as long as you don’t think about it too hard. It seems logic and magic are mutually contradictory.

                      In the real world, Obliviation should absolutely be freaking Unforgivable. If for no other reason than the sheer number of other crimes that could be concealed thereby.

                    2. Thinking too hard about Potter’s world is straight up horror– even good wizards treat muggles as second class creatures at best– but I meant the folks in Spy X Family.

                      Which is kinda similar, honestly, they’re both exaggerated to get a “feel” rather than be literal translations from real life.

                      One of the things that’s set off the headmaster in the video above is three or four complete outfit changes in the course of the blink of an eye, as they do things like stop charging bulls, etc.

                      It’s hilarious and a LOT of the fans sum up the central family as three people who are desperately trying to Act Normal when they have never met a single normal person in their entire freaking lives.

                    3. :claps hands: Oh! But if you’d like to read about magic in a world that actually makes sense, and can think about follow on effects and stuff, you may like Pearl of Fire by C. Chancy!

                      (that makes THREE TIMES today that it’s come to mind– also, ignore the cover, it doesn’t do the best job of selling the book, although I’m really not sure what would; it’s a good book, just not a NORMAL book)

                    4. > “just seriously warped, as are most of the characters.”

                      I’m reminded of something Scott Adams once wrote (can’t remember where): he loves writing dialogue for characters who are all equally broken but in completely different ways. This sounds like one of those shows.

                    5. > “Yeah, Harry Potter‘s very enjoyable as long as you don’t think about it too hard.”

                      A minor but amusing example of thinking about it too hard: a recent episode of Broken Crown discussed the new HP game. One of the podcasters pointed out that the emblem of St. Mungo’s hospital looks like a bone and an ice pick.

                      Makes you wonder what really goes on in there, doesn’t it?

                      > “In the real world, Obliviation should absolutely be freaking Unforgivable.”

                      Agreed, but if they banned it they could never keep the magical world a secret from muggles.

                2. A roughly thumb-width inch is easier to gut-feel than 2.54 cm,, and a roughly foot-long foot easier to grasp than 30 of the same . . .

                3. It’s hard to have universally useful units. I’m about 3.3 nano-light-seconds tall. I figured that out during an argument about unit precision and actually used it at the doctor’s office, once.

                  1. One nano-light-second, if I’ve got my math right, works out to just under one-third of a meter, almost exactly one foot. Are you sure you didn’t mean 5.3 nano-light-seconds?

              2. Metric doesn’t change electrical measurements. Volts, amperes, watts, ohms, farads and henrys are all used identically. ‘Light output equivalent to a XX watt incandescent bulb’ is a marketing blurb, not a precision measurement. Nor is it always true; some manufacturers like to pad their numbers.

                I wonder how long it will take before none of the people buying those ‘XX watt equivalent’ LEDs have ever seen an incandescent light bulb?

                Then again, people who have never seen a horse up close still use horsepower…

                1. The reason ‘metric doesn’t change electrical measurements’ is that electrical measurements are all metric to begin with. The watt is defined as one kilogram metre squared per second cubed. The ampere is a base SI unit.

                  The Imperial unit of power is the foot-pound per second. I don’t even know if there is an Imperial unit for current or electromotive force. You’ve been using metric units for well over a century; why be so stubborn about admitting it?

                    1. Then explain to me which English measurements the watt is derived from, and how, in those circumstances, it exactly equals one kilogram metre squared per second cubed.

                      I’m waiting.

                      (The paper you cite does not make any reference to English units at all. It refers to cgs units, which are metric but not SI.)

                    2. Why, thank you for such a gracious acceptance of the detailed explanation given to you.

                      Also, you’re welcome for the measurement which metric lifted from the English, and kept fiddling with into the 40s.

                    3. No, metric did not lift centimetres, grams, and seconds from the English. They were always metric units. So are kilograms and metres, along with watts, joules, volts, and all the other derivative units thereof.

                      You did indeed give a detailed explanation of how the English came to use metric units for electricity. That does not make them English units. They are and have always been metric, and they are defined as derivatives of other metric units.

                      Did you even read the paper you linked me to? Because I did.

                    4. No, metric did not lift centimetres, grams, and seconds from the English.

                      Ah, you’re in that mood again.

                      :pats on head:

                      ‘s all good, you trying to dunk on people let me find out something cool!

                    5. Patronizing me doesn’t make you right.

                      I repeat my question, and I suggest you either answer it, or admit that you were incorrect: State which Imperial units of measurement the joule, watt, volt, and ampere are derived from. Centimetres and grams are NOT Imperial units.

                      The paper you cited gives the derivation of electrical units from cgs metric units, not from English units. This is not a matter of ‘that mood’, and certainly nothing to insult me for. But if you want to see me in a mood, just keep on pretending superiority instead of addressing the facts I am presenting. I have had more than enough of that BS for one day.

                    1. Lets not get into the doctors they use some pretty odd units, NOT cgs not MKS but all sorts of weird intermediates. For Example Blood sugar is measured in Milligrams/deciliter. Not Grams/CC, not KG/Liter. I suspect its because that set of units means the number is just below 100 for normal, over for diabetic/pre diabetic. And radiation was in Roentgens and REM, though of late that moved to Gray and Sievert ( R= Gray*100, suspect there was a centimeter in the unit somewhere and we converted to meters). and all sorts of weird numbers in various blood tests. I think they choose the unit so no decimal/no exponent possibly to avoid confusion in reporting results?

                  1. The difference is, there weren’t any pre-existing ‘traditional’ units in widespread use. Electricity was new and thrilling, and making up the basic units of measurement didn’t spark a bitter controversy. Nobody had to be forced to abandon what was already working.

                    Some time ago, whilst perusing the Units Of Measurement pages at ibiblio, I learned that a ‘bind’ means 250 eels.

                    1. This is quite true.

                      Short-short version (snarky): Electrical units have always been metric, because English scientists like Faraday had to be able to explain their work to mere Frenchmen.

    3. The reason why nepotism is called so was because during the Middle Ages, clergy putting their nephews into posts was regarded as a PROBLEM. Hence, they came up with a name for it.

      1. It was a problem, even where sister-sons weren’t always regarded as the preferred heir.

        But a lot of people have always regarded any institution as a paycheck for any and all unemployed members of their own family, regardless of whether they did anything.

        Of course, this did backfire, as sometimes people’s nephews were indeed the most competent person.

        St. Charles Borromeo sure looked like a typical nephew hire when he was appointed a cardinal at a ridiculously young age. It looked worse because the pope at the time was a Medici, but had started a lot of big reform, and then had brought in this rich nephew.

        But Borromeo spent his whole career with a huge self-imposed workload, and he largely funded his charities and programs with his ridiculous wealth. He ended up insisting on setting a good example by going back to his titular see and becoming its real bishop, and then turning the whole town around by his various initiatives (including a mass, all-ages, secular education program in connection with his free Sunday schools to teach religion, and two printing presses to put out both pay and free books).

        OTOH, the first, virtuous Borgia pope also brought in a smart nephew to become a cardinal, and that didn’t work out at all. (Which was a big embarrassment to the Borja branches back in Spain.)

        1. But prior to that time, one might resent that the other guy got his nephews in, without thinking it fundamentally wrong, and least of all, something you should refrain from.

  9. I remember when the globalists tried to make the USA a metric country. They put up highway signs in kilometers rather than miles. Then they stopped, because we didn’t just reject metric, we shot the highway signs down.

    And I think Brexit succeeded because the Euro-weenies wanted to ban pints of beer. You could get a half liter or whatnot, but not a pint. And Britain rose up and said: “Not on your life, you wankers.”

    1. Some wise guy (in both senses) once declared: “The only metric measurements America has ever adopted are the 2-liter Coke and the 9-mm bullet.”

          1. I suspect that our guns use metric because at one point we had to buy large quantities of weapons from the Europeans. An example would be the M1 and M2 mortars (81mm and 60mm, respectively) which was licensed from a French company. The US had gotten into the habit of letting its military dwindle into nothingness when a war wasn’t actively threatened, so we were forced to buy and license weapon systems from the Europeans when we needed to rapidly increase the size of our army for World War I. The Europeans (with the exception of the British) used metric… and as a result, so did we. There is a rather glaring exception to this which I think adds weight to the argument. The Navy identified its gun sizes by inches. For example, the Iowa-class battleships carry 16″ guns in the main turrets. This is because the Navy has generally been of at least some concern to the US, and has never been reduced to the absolute bare bones like the Army occasionally did in the past. So US Navy ships were built using American designs and American equipment (with the occasional exception for something like anti-aircraft guns). As a result, the guns were always rated in inches.

            Though I suppose the fact that the Royal Navy was the reigning naval power during all of US history until World War 2 might have influenced that, as well.

            Modern naval vessels are missile combatants, of course, and so gun turrets are now strictly for anti-aircraft weaponry. As such, they use the same metric system that land-based guns use.

            1. In WW I we got small caliber artillery from the French, hence 75mm and 155mm guns instead of 3 inch and 6 inch guns, which is what we had before, Heavy artillery we got from the British, hence the 8 inch gun.

              The Russians are still using imperial sizes even though they measure in metric. 76mm is three inches and 7.62mm 30 caliber. Their heavy field gun is 152.4mm or six inches, closer than the US 155.

              1. Though the 8″ gun wasn’t the biggest land-based artillery piece that we had in World War 2. That was the 240mm gun, and was based on an older French design. Meanwhile, the smaller British guns were identified by the weight of the shot they fired (i.e. 2 pounder, 6 pounder, etc…).

                As for the Russians, the story that I was told was that the Russians used those “slightly bigger” sizes (the German counterpart of the 152.4mm would have been the slightly smaller 15cm) so that captured enemy ammo would be usable (sort of) in their own guns, but captured Soviet ammo would not be usable in their opponents’ weapons. I’m not sure how practical that would actually be, but use of captured ammo is already not exactly an ideal situation. And some Communist leader with pull might have thought it was a good idea. So maybe?

                They did have the excellent 120mm mortar in World War 2 (so good that the Germans and Romanians promptly copied it after Barbarossa). Based on the fact that it appears no one else was using a 120mm mortar at the time, it seems that the Soviets did have a preference for “round” metric numbers instead of the oddball decimals (from converted Imperial measurements) that much of the rest of their guns had.

                1. That was the agreement — I suppose the war changed things — then again the US built a copy of the British 18 pounder, which was 3.3 inches (85mm) as a 75mm why they didn’t just use the 13 pounder at 76,2 and save all the weight is beyond me. i think they might have been building the 18 pounder for the British and already had the tooling.

                  152.4 is 6 inches or 60 lines — the Russians measured artillery in lines or 1/10 of an inch if I remember correctly, I’ll have to dig out Hogg. Even Russian guns manufactured by the French well before the revolution were in inches as the 152.4 goes back into the 1860’s. no round numbers in metric I can find. Even the 76mm gun in the first model T34 was akshually 😃76.2. Three inches. I’ve heard the story of round numbers, it isn’t true. the Russians did have some oddball sizes that were not round numbers in real measurements, or in that metric crap, or the old Russian system like the 107mm.

                  The British bores were imperial. The 13 pounder was 3 inches, the 18 pounder 3.3 and the 25 pounder 3.5” , to confuse things, the 17 pounder antitank gun had a three inch, or 76.2mm bore, which is why the pounder thing makes sense, Once they got above 5 inches (60 pounder) they went by bore size in inches. They also tended to use the weight of the gun in hundredweight to distinguish between the marks,

                  the US 57mm antitank gun is a direct copy of the British 6 pounder.

                  1. The Soviet mortar that I mentioned was a true 120mm mortar. No indications that there was an “off by three tenths of a millimeter” sort of thing on that particular barrel. Though amusingly enough, now that I check the conversion, that’s 4.7″. And our closest equivalent mortar was listed as the 4.2″, instead of rating it in millimeters like our other mortars. Presumably it was another design inspired by (or copied from) the British..

                2. the story about Russians using ammo so that their stuff could use our ammo but not vice versa is, so far as i can tell, not true whether its said about their artillery or their firearms.

                  1. Germans, not us. This was supposedly pre-Cold War. I am a bit skeptical, given the unusual claim. But it is an interesting coincidence that most of the Soviet barrels were ever so slightly larger (and not ever so slightly smaller) than their German counterparts.

                    1. I’m saying i’ve heard several versions of both, and i give both stories the same regard, as in no9ne. Also, it doesn’t account for the fact that was (and every other country) all used slight variations on 75mm rounds, and also that artillery rounds largely have driving bands to engage the rifling, not the casing of the round itself.

            2. The other thing about the Navy is that the Constitution actually allowed planning spending over longer than two years. The rumor is that rolling all the services under DoD was intended in part to get around that provision.

        1. Failed.

          The only time we change the vehicles to metric is when we cross the border into Canada. At least until we get a feel for how MPK = MPH for the speedometer. Even then only sometimes as it messes with the MPG vehicle calculations … Liked it better when the speedometer had both MPH and MPK on the same dial/screen.

          1. I think the failure of persuading Americans to switch to metric is part of why the ruling class does everything by force now. They know better, so shut up and eat ze bugs, peasant.

              1. Seconded.

                With a helping of ‘singing a Nightcore of Halsey’s Control to myself and hoping that I’m saying “doggone” outside of my headphones, rather than… the other thing.’

      1. And there are way too many 10 mm nuts and bolts around- with the sockets and wrenches that mysteriously disappear.

        1. At least 10mm is common.

          Ford, just to be a pain in the posterior, likes to sprinkle 7mm and 15mm fasteners throughout their vehicles. They’re odd enough many metric wrench and sockets sets don’t even come with those sizes; you have to buy them separately.

          1. Distance isn’t too bad in Canada, but temperature measurements take some getting used to.

            1. Yeah, 0C is downright chilly, while 0F is bloody cold! 100C is deadly while 100F is a common summer day.

              1. Best ever was we had 2 gents over from DEC France ( which was in Marseilles) to get a couple months of training and take over some software. Their visit would cross winter and in late September we asked them if they had heavy coats. They asked why they’d need them, they had looked and it never got much below 0 in Nashua a little cooler than Marseilles but not much. The lunch table was baffled but I quickly realized they were thinking C but of course the reported temps were F. I noted this was ~ -15C and they went and got some coats 🙂 .

                    1. I once heard that the Australians did briefly use Kelvin, and the reason they dropped it was that the difference between 275 and 295 didn’t sound significant.

  10. The enemy does not understand us.
    We like winter, some of us, and we are a stubborn people.

    1. Winter? No. Just no. I have to endure it, but nobody can make me pretend I like it. But you’re welcome to it if you want it. Stubborn? Yes. (But not unhelpful; for instance, the Left and its ideas can go die in a fire, and I’m willing — nay, eager — to assist.)

      1. I think that’s the difference between us and them. We say “If you like winter, have at it but don’t include me.” They say “We like winter, therefore everybody must like winter. Or else.”

        1. True. And that is why the Left’s cherished ideas must die in a fire. A fire that will keep me warm in these cold global-warming winters.

    2. As I type this I am snowed/iced in for the third time this winter. So far.

      Autumn is great, but the winters up here can fuck right off.

  11. I would note that a fair number of people have learned Klingon or Sindarin, and maybe a few have even learned Laadan (Suzette Haden Elgin’s made up “women’s language”), because they personally thought it was cool. The first two actually strike me as more cool than Esperanto because they were made up to be interesting and they have more eccentricities. I wonder if, in a world with a universal language, people would start learning invented languages, or reconstructed languages such as Proto-Indo-European or Proto-Niger-Congo, or even historical languages such as Latin or English, purely because they thought those were cool?

    1. I like Proto-Indo-European! It’s a great exercise in linguistic history, and everyone admits that there’s a lot of gaps.

      1. Actually trying to learn it would mean learning how to pronounce laryngeals. That rather intimidates me.

        1. The laryngeals are a nothingburger. They were initially postulated by some fool who thought that of course PIE would only have had one vowel, because reasons, and there needed to be some invisible reason why all the daughter languages had more. But it turns out, based on better methods of reconstruction and more comparative data, that there always were more vowels. No human language ever heard or recorded has only one vowel.

          Latest theory I read (when I was still following this stuff) is that PIE had a pretty standard 6-vowel system, a e i o u and schwa, but many of the vowels were assimilated to e, o, and schwa to fit in with the astoundingly useful system of apophony. This makes intuitive sense to me. There is something right about Dizzy Dean’s trick of turning weak verbs into strong ones (‘He wung the ball’).

          Anyway, if the PIE laryngeals actually existed, they probably were highly similar to modern German h, Ichlaut, and Achlaut. (The same three varieties of h occur in Anglo-Saxon, with the same distribution.) If this is so, then it was the vowels that conditioned the h in different positions, and not the other way round.

          1. Anyone hanging out with babies should have known there were always lots of vowels.

            More to the point, most vowels within a given language are distributed according to the mouth and larynx production facilities, in some logical way; and they tend to shift when something bumps into that logic. Same thing with consonants in a given language.

            1. While babies make all kinds of sounds, languages spoken by adults have restricted sound sets, to different degrees (Hawaiian, for example, has five vowels and eight consonants, counting the glo’al stop as a consonant). Apparently one of the commonest vowel inventories is just a, i, u (pronounced ah, ee, oo), which is fairly minimal.

              1. I have read that the a i u vowel set is in fact minimal. No natural human language yet observed has fewer than three vowels, and if there are only three, they are usually those three.

                If you really want to go down an amusing rabbit hole, read up on Allan Bomhard’s reconstruction of Proto-Nostratic. He postulates that the common ancestor of PIE and Proto-Uralic had a system of vowel harmony like that found in the Uralic languages. There was a ‘high’ vowel set, a i u, and a ‘low’ set, schwa e o, which were interchangeable under certain conditions. The Indo-Iranian languages reduced most vowels to the ‘high’ set, but the usual scholarly reconstruction of PIE reduces most of them to the ‘low’ set. The choice of which vowel to use within each set is often, but not invariably, determined by the rules of apophany – that is, by the grammatical function of the word in question; which is similar, but not identical to the grammatical function of vowels in Semitic languages. (As you will know but some of Our Hostess’s readers may not, we see remnants of the apophony system in words like stink, stank, stunk.)

                Don’t get me started on how Bomhard incorporates Proto-Semitic into his system. It gave me some cute ideas for conlangs, but it also gave me a whanging headache.

    2. Latin is cool. Lawyers use it. Doctors use it. It’s the root of pretty much every Western language. It makes tracing etymological routes interesting. Why not study latin?

      1. After I’ve improved my French, my current endeavor, I’d like to make another try at Classical Greek. There are more Greek writers I’m interested in, from Sappho to Aristotle . . .

        1. I took two years of Latin in high school and the second year was fun; Fall Semester we read “Th Aeneid” and the Spring Semester we read “De Bellos Gallicos”. Gaius Julius is a good read in the original. Also, between that and three years of Spanish, I was able to pick up Italian quite quickly. It’s rather fascinating to compare the evolution of both Spanish and Italian from Latin, the Moorish influence on Spanish is quite evident.

      2. Indeed. Or ancient Greek.

        I actually studied ancient (Athenian) Greek as the foreign language for my bachelor’s and master’s degrees, and it was awesome. We read Aristotle, some of the Bible, a bit of Homer (older than Classical Greek, kind of broke my brain, but fun), Thucydides, Sophocles, Euripides, and I even got a job as a research assistant comparing different translations of Plato against each other for a PoliSci professor.

        Learned more about the English language, Western culture, and classic literature than I did from all my English classes combined…and both my degrees are in English.

        If anything, Latin would be even more useful than Greek that way. I always wanted to learn Latin, but didn’t have the opportunity to study it in school, and don’t have the gumption to study it on my own.

        1. It was. I took history, classic lit, and Latin together for six years. I do not regret a bit of it. One of the professors maybe, but not the material.

          There’s so much more… depth, and texture, I suppose when you study it like that. The complimentary nature of it gives you an appreciation that bare recitation of facts cannot. Reading (and translating) Livy while studying ancient Rome, and deciphering the Aeneid at the same time was a trip.

          I always thought that history class was unnecessarily rushed, though. Could have used more of that, and less of the what they called “social studies” in those days. A poor man’s attempt at civics, rather. I was lucky to get much better instructors for early Latin courses, emphasis on rote memorization and repetition helped lay the groundwork for more complex grammar and translating later.

        2. “Yes, I could have been a judge but I never had the Latin, never had the Latin for the judgin’…—so I became a miner instead.”

    3. Number one son took a course on Tolkien as an undergraduate. For his final paper, he wrote a paper on Quenya Elvish in Sindarin Elvish. His professor said it was the best piece of pure scholarship he’d ever seen from an undergraduate. Yes, Number one son now has a BA in Classics and Latin, an MS in applied linguistics, and is ABD in Linguistics. No, I doubt he’ll finish it, I think the current academic climate got to him. Yes, he’s on the spectrum, and proud of it since almost all human progress comes from people on the spectrum.

      His current project seems to be Spanish and restarting Japanese. He’d first done Japanese to read manga, but let it fall away. Having him do a living language that people actually still speak in large numbers has been … different.

      1. Hadn’t thought of it that way, but Feynman’s books do imply he was somewhere on the spectrum.

        1. I would bet a large amount of money that the first person to realize you could get fire by rubbing sticks together was on the spectrum.

          1. For one, because what kind of crazy talk is that? For another, why wasn’t he out doing something more useful.
            TBF I bet all of us here are “on the spectrum” the question is how far into it.

            1. I’m about as far out as one can be without it being obvious from casual acquaintance. Number one son is a step farther out.

              1. I’m able to run ‘not on the spectrum’ OS in a sandboxed emulator, but the energy consumed eventually becomes prohibitive. This is why I am an introvert.

            2. I can be normal!

              Until I get bored, or a really good story idea strikes me. Then I start ignoring the world and muttering half a dozen people’s dialogue under my breath. Or laughing at something that would take far too long to explain.

              It’s annoying how much the ‘s’ sound carries in speech. Mom and Dad keep having to tap me on the shoulder and let me know I’m ‘hissing.’

                  1. When someone asks me if I’m talking to myself again my response is “Yes, and don’t interrupt. It’s rude.” 😛

              1. > “I can be normal!”

                [confused look]

                You can be a setting on the washing machine?

                That’s quite a talent.

                1. Huh. Fair.

                  Unfortunately, no.

                  Not sure what I’d do with that talent if I did, to be frank. Shrink my enemies’ clothing to the point that it restricts their breathing? Thoroughly clean the blood and viscera off the clothing of my allies?

                  Maybe it would be more accurate to say ‘I can, under the right circumstances, hold conversations with strangers that fall within the boundaries of social politeness and good humor.’

                  1. It’s just a joke my uncle told me when I was a kid: “Normal is just a setting on the washing machine.”

                    > “Thoroughly clean the blood and viscera off the clothing of my allies?”

                    [raised eyebrow]

                    Do you… go through a lot of allies?

                    Not that I’m having second thoughts about our relationship or anything. 😛

                    1. Ah. My apologies, I thought that was phrased rather clearly. Apparently it requires some disambiguation.

                      My allies tend to get the blood and viscera of others on their clothing.

                      This statement, of course, not being at all related to the sorts of comments I’ve seen on this blog from time to time. wink

                    2. That would be “Thoroughly clean the blood and viscera of my allies off the clothing.” It is important to notice these distinctions, since allies are important and you don’t want to lose a good one, or gain a bad one.

          2. And annoyed the piss out of his family by doing it excessively before that point.

            (son’s thing is making finger guns, running on tip toe, and yelling ‘bang bang’; there is no off switch)

  12. I always thought Esperanto was a crackpot idea: Why not let one or two real languages become the lingua franca of the world? It’s a two-fer: Everyone can communicate, and those common languages have vastly rich heritages of literature.

    1. In the mid ’60s, German was still required for science majors in some universities, because German was the language of science. Um . . . Oops.

      1. The world changes. At one time French was the…lingua franca. 😉 Now it’s English. Some day maybe it will be something else.

        1. It’s much more likely that English will expand to fill whatever new roles emerge.

          “English doesn’t borrow from other languages. English follows other languages into dark alleys and mugs them, then goes for their pockets for loose grammar.”

          1. “English doesn’t borrow from other languages. English follows other languages into dark alleys and mugs them, then goes for their pockets for loose grammar.”

            I need to make a sign with this and hang it in my house for when my kids who are linguists come over.

            They will laugh. Ruefully.

            1. That’s an old quote which has been repeated in many versions over the years. I’ve heard the origin attributed to several different people.

              Just make sure you don’t include the same misteak I did. 😀

              1. It’s not that old. I was there when it was posted on rec.arts.sf.written, in 1990.

                James Nicoll may be a jerk now (not as much back then), but he did come up with it.


                “The problem with defending the purity of the English language is that English is about as pure as a cribhouse whore. We don’t just borrow words; on occasion, English has pursued other languages down alleyways to beat them unconscious and riffle their pockets for new vocabulary.”

                People immediately started coming up with their own versions, and I think the T-shirts came out within a year.

                1. I believe the T-shirts came from Off-World Design. They came up with a work-safe version of the quote, which was either created or approved by Nicoll. It was shorter and did not include the words “cribhouse whore.”

                  I don’t remember why I didn’t buy one. Probably lack of money.

            2. I believe the quote was “loose vocabulary” rather than “loose grammar.” English has its own sometimes-crazy grammar, but:

              Potlach isn’t an English word!”
              “It is now.”
              Samurai isn’t an English word!”
              “It is now.”
              Chutzpah isn’t an English word!”
              “It is now.”
              Schadenfreude isn’t an English word!”
              “It is now.”
              And so on and so forth.

              (And English is well stocked with near-synonyms for different shades of meaning: “Royal,” “Regal,” “Kingly.”)

              1. Coming respectively from Latin by way of French, directly from Latin, and from German and its kin. A lot of doublets and triplets are like that.

                I’ve read that Japanese has a similar situation with native Japanese words, Chinese loan words, and now English loan words—plus the odd Portuguese loan words like arigato and pan.

              2. Are you saying English doesn’t have loose grammar? Most of the time there are at least 3 grammatically correct ways to say the same thing. Often there are more.
                Mollari: “Do you know what the last Xon said, just before he died? AAAGHKK!” [makes a horrible strangling noise]

              3. Oh, and puns! English has the best (worst) puns by an order of magnitude.
                “Oh, no. You can’t-a fool me. There ain’t-a no Sanity Clause!”

                1. I’m not sure about that. English is a prolific generator of puns, so it has quantity going for it, but I have doubts about quality. French puns can kill at fifty paces. My two favourite examples:

                  Back in the 18th century, Palissot, a French playwright and disciple of Voltaire, got embroiled in a years-long flamewar with Diderot and the Encyclopaedists. Marmontel wrote an untranslatable and unforgettable verse telling Palissot to shut up. The last line is a lethal pun on his name:

                  N’écris pas… lis… sot. ‘Don’t write… read, stupid!’

                  In the run-up to WWII, Daladier, the French premier, was heavily influenced by his social-climbing mistress, Madame de Crussol, née Jeanne Beziers. Her father had made a fortune in the sardine business, and Jeanne used the family’s money to marry an aristocrat, the Marquis de Crussol. Of course the wits of Paris killed her with a pun, dubbing her la sardine qui s’est crue sole – ‘the sardine that thought it was a sole’.

              4. “We are the Anglos. Your verbiage will be assimilated. Resistance is futile, but please feel free to amuse us by trying.”

          2. Or, “Defending the purity of the English language is like defending the purity of an East End whore.”

            1. Yeah, that’s one of the variants. Nicoll is from Canada, so of course he has little involvement in weird English neighborhoods and class distinctions. (Or only peripheral ones.) But he does have a large Victorian vocabulary.

              1. The one university course I have absolutely no regrets about taking was on the history of English. It was hilarious listening to a linguistics professor explain Why What Did That.

                So you have phonetic spelling, which is pretty much all of Anglo-Saxon. Then you have loanword spelling, which is pretty much anything taken straight from French or Latin (and sometimes Norse, but that’s another kettle of eggs). Then double-loanwords, which are most often the Latin spellings of Greek words. Then there’s Orr’s reformed phonetic spelling (from the 11th century, no less!), which is where we get the practice of doubling consonants to show that a vowel is short. Of similar vintage is the silent e to show that a vowel is long.

                Slightly younger, the spelling -ing for participles, which (contrary to what your English teacher taught you) used always to be pronounced ending in -in. The -ing suffix was used to form nouns: as Professor Tolkien knew perfectly well, which is why he called a young Ent an Enting. But the Frenchmen who came over on King Willy’s boats didn’t know t’other from which, and got the suffixes wrong until finally everyone gave up and spelled both with the g on the end.

                Then we have etymological spelling, which is why dett came to be spelled with a silent b, and faucon with an l that was originally silent, until a subsequent generation of clods decided it ought to be pronounced as written: because Latin debitum, falco have those extra letters, and it is Very Important for everyone to know that you are aware that the English words in question came from Latin.

                But my favourite of all is spelling spelling, where a word came to be spelt in a stupid way because some other word was spelt in the same stupid way. So delite, which was borrowed exactly so from French, acquired a silent gh because a bunch of tyrannous midwits decided it should have the same foolish spelling as light.

                English spelling is what it is because a thousand years of Englishmen were totally irrational and damned proud of it.

        2. In Poland, Czechia, and Slovakia, German is the lingua franca. Perhaps Russian as well, but far more people than the guide books claimed would ask “Sprechen Sie Deutsch” when I tried to talk in Polish or Czech. We got along more easily in German. I suspect my terrible pronunciation of Slavic languages had something to do with it . . .

          1. What I was told when I lived in Hungary was that many people there learned Russian, but almost no one wanted to speak it. I suspect similar sentiments apply in Poland, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia.

            1. Maybe they were worried that if a lot of Hungarians started speaking Russian, Hungary would be declared part of Russia and assimilated. Ain’t like it hasn’t happened before…

      2. In chemistry, the German requirement lasted into the 1980s, although by the end it was a joke. (I know. I was there.)

        There was also one time, before I retired from my day job in Big Pharma, when I needed a translation of a chemistry paper written in French. One of the other project members was a neuroscience PhD from France, and I asked her for help. At one point she said, as we worked through the paper together, was “This isn’t written in French; this is written in Chemist.”

      3. Indeed it was still that way in Chemistry. My wife’s doctorate in the 80s included a translation test in German. Much of the early chemistry (especially Organic) was published in papers such as Angewandte Chemie. In general translations of the papers were rare. Even when she did that in the 80’s it was dubious though, as most of it had been distilled into various undergraduate Organic Chem tests and the modern Papers were in the various ACS (American Chemical Society) publications.

    2. Control the language, control the thoughts.

      American is the language of freedom and chaos-riding, thus the Left must destroy it.

      1. Ahh an outcome of the Sapir Whorf Hypothesis. That nonsense has been floating around for the better part of a century now.

        1. It’s an important influence on SF. Heinlein’s Stranger in a Strange Land, Vance’s The Languages of Pao, and Delaney’s Babel-17 all take off from it.

          1. Not to mention Nineteen Eighty-Four, where it is the entire raison d’etre of Newspeak.

            That doesn’t mean that the hypothesis itself is any more than a vat of low-grade peanut butter.

            1. Sure. Similarly, the theory of economic overproduction is central to such varied stories as Brave New World, Beyond This Horizon, and “The Midas Plague,” but it’s nonsense as economics (even though Keynes made it central to mainstream economic theory).

              1. There’s a reason why modern fandom is a hard Leftist enclave. So much of SF is based firmly on social science that is at best wrong and at worst gaga, from psychohistory to dianetics. Any fool can learn sense, but you have to be a member of the Sooper Sekrit Fen Club to know the correct kind of nonsense.

                1. On one hand, psychohistory doesn’t seem to be something that people actually believed in. It was a fictional invention that enabled a series of stories, much like inertialess drives or robots. It does have a sort of prototype in the real world, in that Hari Seldon is an analog of Marx and the Second Foundation of the Communist Party in the Soviet Union, but Asimov wasn’t pointing to those things to give his ideas credibility. In fact, his model for psychohistory seems to have been statistical mechanics, both in that in only worked with vast numbers of human beings and in that those human beings had to be assumed to be unaware of psychohistory; that’s a limited model (Donald Kingsbury explores its limitations brilliantly in Psychohistorical Crisis) but it’s better than the 19th century idea of economic “laws of motion” akin to those of celestial dynamics that lent credibility of Marx’s own “predictions.” The appeal of psychohistory seems to have been more that it fit the Zeitgeist than that it was widely believed to be literallly true.

                  On the other hand, science fiction as a genre was strongly influenced by the American version of socialism, Technocracy; consider Hugo Gernsback’s political views. I remember Charles Stross pointing out the connection and saying that the subsequent history of science fiction was as if communism had vanished in the Soviet Union in the 1920s and left behind only a thriving school of heroic paintings of tractor drivers (back in the days before Stross became embittered by popular resistance to what he had called the “beige dictatorship”). Technocracy was certainly wrong about economics; effectively it was an early version of the idea of “post-scarcity.” And there seem to have been a fair number of people who believed in it.

                2. I am glad to see that I’m not the only one who sees how woke fandom has gone. From being fairly libertarian to being downright authoritarian. They are not the only group like that. I am very tired of losing every single social group I used to be active in.

          2. Indeed I think Loglan is mentioned in some of Heinleins stuff (Moon is A Harsh Mistress? I think that predates loglan, maybe Number of the Beast?)

            1. I remember it as mentioned in The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress. Wikipedia dates Loglan’s creation to 1955, and it’s just the sort of thing that would have appealed to Heinlein.

              1. Thanks for some reason I had Loglan in mid 60s and Moon Is A Harsh Mistress is Hugo winner for 1967 (thought it was 1960 had it confused with Starshipp troopers). That makes sense.

    3. “…those common languages have vastly rich heritages…” which is why the one-world nincompoops wanted everyone to use their sterile manufactured language. A blank slate for the commie dream of the New Marxist Man.

      1. It fits their ideology well:

        Everything must be collective and everything in the collective must be identical

  13. I actually did learn enough Esperanto to be dangerous. Given a dictionary I could read or write most things I would want to with it. Not the most useful thing to do, but it did teach me more about English by learning it.

    Though, after about years of trying to make it universal, there were enough native speakers of it that were kids of kids of people who were trying to make it universal that many speakers just decided that they wanted it to be its own unique language with its own culture, rather than a universal auxiliary language. Not all though, still a lot of hard liners out there.

  14. “Without force, Communism becomes Esperanto.”
    The Esperanto advocates I knew were all communists of one stripe or another.

  15. When I way young, very young, I believed that the One Holy Catholic Apostolic Church was united by a common language. I believed naively, that a priest in, say Brazil could correspond and/or converse with one in Estonia in Latin. Oh well…

    I did delve into Esperanto a wee bit for a while, found it interesting but not compelling. The old joke; A person that speaks many languages is polylingual, one the speaks two is bilingual, what do you call a person that speaks only one language? An American. Hey, when it’s English from sea to shining sea why not!

    If only everyone, yep & if wishes were fishes or horses.

    & hey, if you don’t like Esperanto, try Loglan (http://www.loglan.org/), I was a student of James Cook Brown when he stared developing it.

    1. I remember there was a book about Loglan at the library when I found the Esperanto books, but I don’t remember anything about the Loglan book at all, or if I even checked it out. Given I was interested in that kind of stuff then I probably did, but… the only thing I can remember about Loglan is that was what Manny gave instructions to Mike in before Mike started talking to him in TMIAHM.

    2. Well, back in the 1200’s, Latin was a lingua franca. People had wildly different pronunciations, but they could easily adapt to each other. (And the inflected nature of Latin actually helps with that.) That’s why medieval universities worked, even though a lot of students tended to hang out in their own neighborhoods, by vernacular language. (Although of course the vernaculars had big internal dialect differences, too.)

      If the Brazilian and the Estonian priests both took rigorous Latin programs (by some miracle), it can still work. Especially if they did a lot of rote memorization.

      1. Not just the 1200s. Meetings of the British cabinet under King George I were conducted in Latin. The King spoke no English, the ministers had no German, and they could not make head or tail of each other’s French… but they all had a proper classical education.

        As recently as the 1940s, C. S. Lewis and Don Giovanni Calabria conducted an extensive correspondence in Latin, because Don Giovanni knew no English and Lewis was not productive in Italian. It wasn’t really until the aftermath of Vatican II that this sort of thing became passé.

  16. Wow. Never heard of “Esperanto”. Should have since it is a ’70s thing (I’m 6 years older than our hostess).

          1. Heck, even Forrest J. Ackerman was big on Esperanto. I think there were zines and apas within fandom that specialized in Esperanto, but I can’t remember clearly what they were.

            Because I never really wanted to learn Esperanto. It looks ugly.

    1. Esperanto’s been around since the late 1800s, but there was a fad for it in the ’60s and ’70s. Bill Shatner even starred in the only movie ever shot entirely in Esperanto. (The drugs in the ’60s were good.)

      1. > “The drugs in the ’60s were good.”

        How would you know? If you remember the ’60s, you weren’t really there. 😛

    2. There were some books about it in the library. I checked them out and went through them out of curiosity, but I didn’t actually learn any,

      A few years ago the local pharmacy went to the little LCD “check here to acknowledge you have been warned whatever we just gave you may have horrible side effects” terminals. As is often the case, the first prompt is to select a language. Normally, this would be English or Spanish, or perhaps French up in Yankeeland. But these were English and… Esperanto.

      I got a chuckle out of it, this being the first time I’d ever seen Esperanto “in the wild.” The clerk asked what was funny, and I tried to explain it to her, but I think she thought I was some kind of crazoid. Ah, well.

      1. I rather suspect someone meant that to be Español, wasn’t paying attention, and clicked the item just below Español in whatever list they had, which happened to be Esperanto.

  17. OT, but anyone in the south or Midwest, keep an eye out. Looks like an ice storm inbound.

    1. $SPOUSE said Texas (Dallas?) has about 0.3″ worth of ice already.

      I used to live where 1/4″ ice storms were present at least once per winter. Now, I’d rather have it damned cold and dry than universal ice rink. (Though I did practice coming to a stop at very quiet intersections with both my right wheels on the limit line. No other idiots were on the road…)

      1. Predicting a low of 2 here. Fahrenheit. That’s the temperature at which I start have to take precautions against a pipe freezing.

        And there’s no snow. The winter kill in the garden will be extensive.

        1. It’s positive, at least. The lowest for us so far this winter is -10F, which rates as frick’n cold.

          Had the master cutoff valve freeze at -10F a decade ago, because I hadn’t noticed that the insulation had been kicked out of the way in a propane (gas stove FTW!) installation. Got it thawed out with a milkhouse heater and the insulation replaced. Mercifully, no permanent damage.

          The next day, we got -28F. A bit too impressive for southern Oregon, and only 4000+ feet. (And the valve didn’t freeze up, either.)

          There’s very little that survives our winters. Grasses will come back, as well as the #$%^&! thistles.

          1. Coldest for us, so far has been > 20F, and a bit damp (resulting in black ice on bridges, and frost, so I’m told, on the golf greens, in the early AM). But no snow (cold pulls the moisture out of the air and ground. Willamette Valley has a LOT of moisture in the air and ground.) With the front moving in, for next week, this morning has started out at 45F. (If weather forecasts predict snow for the valley floor, can almost guaranty they’ve got it wrong. Valley gets cold and no rain. Or rain but not cold. Rarely get cold + snow.)

            1. We had some rain overnight, and Kat (the dog) was not happy that her favorite p-spot had the nerve to be wet. Barring some Cascade Concrete snow in early January, all the wet stuff has been going north or south of us for anything of note.

              I took the back blade and the snowplow blade off the tractor, in hopes that Murphy takes it as a challenge. 🙂

  18. I gotta say, the irony of Marxism being pushed by the world’s richest people never fails to blow my mind.

    1. Because the world’s richest people expect to be the Czars of the slaves people. Exception are the royal families of the British monarchy (might apply to other European monarchies, but they are less visible than the British monarchy). At least those at the top of the pyramid. That is because the British monarchy know what happens to them when the communist pushing oligarchs come marching in to dispose the icky capitalists. The monarchy gets slaughtered, least they rouse up the slaves people against their masters communist saviors.

    2. Not only the richest, the most corrupt. Few if any of them got all that money honestly. Which is probably why they don’t believe people who did get their money honestly deserve to keep it.
      There is no situation so F’d up that the ‘Experts’ can’t make it even more F’d up.

      1. THIS. The same way so much of their story telling is toxic, because very character is horrible. And the worst are the ones who pretend to be good.
        This is because none of them ARE good. and they can’t even imagine STRIVING for goodness.

  19. The key to most idiot projects of puffed up intellectuals, like communism and experanto, is an insensate hatred of the very idea of spontaneous order. The world, they are very sure, should be ordered and run by the Very Smart People. And they just happen to be the Very Smart People (weird, how that always works out). It offends them to the cores of their beings that idiot beer-swilling hicks, without planning, can come up in large numbers with better solutions than one Very Smart Person.

    This is why Very Smart People are always against capitalism, whatever rhetoric they may employ. Because real free markets let the idiot beer-swillers decide, and that’s Just Not Right.

    (Just to be clear, the Very Smart People almost never are actually smart. Just look at the loon-fest that wrapped up in Davos a week or two ago. And look at how they all ganged up on the man who has the most mRNA patents when he dared to say the vaccines were a mistake.)

    1. Plus what I imagine is a dream of complete predictability: never any surprises, no change, every conceivable situation with its automatic response. No need to think at all, just know the memorized responses.
      With the end result being the Poul Anderson story where exploers find a planet where the dominant species has become a mindless hive.

      1. I’m afraid your description is accurate for the majority. Too many people want desperately to believe there is someone “out there” who’s in control and knows what’s going on. They can’t deal with the fact that there is no such person. I had just this conversation with a financial advisor type yesterday who was asking me what I thought about the Fed. I told her I didn’t believe in magic so I didn’t think about the Fed at all.

        There are also the guilty children of the rich that want to hate daddy whilst having daddy’s money, and, maybe, finally getting daddy’s attention. Socialism is a luxury belief for them that gives them benefits while hurting the lower classes at the same time. They can save and despise their inferiors at the same time.

        I really despise them.

        1. David Friedman had a ditty that touched on ‘no one in control’ in The Machinery of Freedom

          In Washington there isn’t any plan
          With “feeding David” on page sixty-four;
          It must be accidental that the milk man
          Leaves a bottle at my door.

          It must be accidental that the butcher
          Has carcasses arriving at his shop
          The very place where, when I need some meat,
          I accidentally stop.

          My life is chaos turned miraculous;
          I speak a word and people understand
          Although it must be gibberish since words
          Are not produced by governmental plan.

  20. About 20 or so years ago, I penned this (to the tune of ‘Desperado’):

    Esperanto – Why don’t you come to your senses?
    You’ve been out fixing tenses for so long now
    You’re not a hard one,
    but I know that you’ve got your reasons.
    These things that are pleasin’ you
    are hard to pronounce.

    Don’t rewrite all our declensions, boy!
    We’ll beat you, if we’re able.
    You know a common lexicon is your best bet.
    Now it seems to me some fine things
    have been set up in your tables,
    but you only want acceptance that you can’t get.

    Esperanto, ah, you ain’t gettin’ no younger.
    Yet only freaks and fanatics speak you at home.
    English and Russian. That’s just some people talkin’
    You’re a knight errant walking through this world all alone.

    Don’t your words get cold in the garbage can?
    The phrase won’t flow, sentence won’t scan.
    It’s hard to keep pushing this thing all day.
    You’re gettin’ all these panicked looks.
    Ain’t it funny how the people back away?

    Esperanto, why don’t you come to your senses?
    Your head’s in the clouds, now, open the gate.
    It may be Spanish, Or maybe French, even Urdu.
    You better learn some other language
    You better learn some other language
    before it’s too late.

    1. I honestly don’t know whether to applaud you or fire carp out of a canon at you. Bravo.

  21. At some point in the Last Solist universe, I’m going to have to deal with the issues of the Imperial languages (High and Low) and how they relate (badly) to English.

    As I wrote in The Winter Solist

    “I hate High Imperial.

    “And this is from someone that can read and speak Japanese, all three major dialects of Chinese, and even handle Coptic and Tibetan script on a regular basis. I can even puzzle out Sanskrit and Egyptian hieroglyphics with a dictionary and time. High Imperial hurts my brain.

    “In theory, I shouldn’t have problems with it. It’s logical, uses base-twelve for math, you read it left to right, and there’s only two hundred written characters and four hundred punctuation characters in it. High Imperial is also phonetic-if you can read High Imperial, you can speak High Imperial. And my brain is augmented and built to handle the language-because for the Dawn Empire, High Imperial is the language of magic. You want to be a mage; you need to know High Imperial. Ability to do poetry slams in High Imperial at speed is optional but suggested. Especially if you’re a combat mage.

    “What I hate about High Imperial? The grammar. You can’t be imprecise-for an instant-in High Imperial. This is good for magic, good for anything you cannot make a single mistake in, but dear God in heaven does it make your head hurt.

    “Example-the following simple sentence you type over and over again to practice keyboarding, “The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.”

    “In High Imperial? You have to specify why the fox is quick. What particular kind of fox is it (and do you go by age or by species, which is another set of issues)? What particular shade of brown is the fox? How high is it jumping-enough to clear the dog or barely clearing? What kind of dog is it? And why is the dog lazy (with the implications of honest fatigue versus lack-of-will lazy versus malicious laziness)? And why is the fox jumping over the dog?

    “And, you have to be this precise all the time! Otherwise, the grammar fails, and you’re stuck with this mess of words that won’t work.

    “It does get worse from here.

    “Love poetry in High Imperial (and, yes, as an exercise, I had to write love poetry in High Imperial) goes anywhere from highly sweet and chaste to violently pornographic…and you can sometimes even pull that off in the same poem without losing your train of thought. Charles, for sheer comedy value, started to translate Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone so I could use it for training exercises. In English, the book is about 223-250 pages. In High Imperial, nearly 650 pages. Including Charles having to rewrite some of the faux-Latin into actual working spells because otherwise the story wouldn’t work.”

    I’d rather learn High Imperial than Esperanto, which I only recall because “Ace” Rimmer was trying to learn it and William Shatner made a movie in the language.

    Which is why the global elitists want the “Right People” to speak Esperanto. Because they need a secret language to use in front of the serfs.

      1. The only language for telling someone to go to Hell that is more satisfying than High Imperial is Arabic.

        High Imperial has the advantage that you can tell people where exactly you want them to go when they finally get to Hell.

        (And, High Imperial is more of a programming language for magic than a “working” language for human beings. If you want vulgar, Low Imperial is great for insults.)

      2. Vulgar is interesting, but you really have to work it to avoid the old Greek “bar bar” problem with how it makes up words. I keep hoping he’ll work on an evolving the language tool.

        1. Website for Vulgar is https://www.vulgarlang.com/. Not sure what the current price is, bit $10 used to give full access. Vulgar excels at the bones of the language: phonemes, grammar, etc. But you’re probably better off inputting your own word list such as a Swadesh and then populating the lexicon manually. Too often obvious related and derivative words have totally different roots.

  22. As a freshman at MIT, I was struggling with Russian, when three people came from Harvard with the offer “you will be speaking Esperanto in 2 weeks.” I thought that was impossible., so I agreed to try it. They proved their point. Simple grammar, completely regular pronunciation, and words chosen based on the most common roots in many European languages, with a standard set of prefixes and suffixes that can be added to any root.
    Zamenhof came from a border town with 4 common local languages. He spoke 8, I believe. I used Esperanto in informal “bed and breakfast” places in Europe which were listed in an annual yearbook of the Universala Esperanto Asocio. I even picked up a hitchhiker in Switzerland, and found that the only common language we had was Esperanto.
    Esperanto and Volapuk seem to have a competition on Wikipedia. They are relatively close in number of articles: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Multilingual_statistics with Volapuk at 17 and Esperanto at 22. That puts both of them far above very many languages. The last time I looked, maybe a decade ago, Esperanto was ahead. It is now adding 3 times as many articles per year, so it may catch up again. When I last looked, they also had a column that showed the number of distinct editors that were writing articles, and Esperanto had about 10 times as many as Volapuk.

    1. One of the selling points I remember from old Reader’s Digest articles about it was that it’s relatively easy to get a vague idea of what was written simply by speaking any of the European languages– it then had a paragraph to demonstrate which of course was possible to puzzle out because it’s not like they’d put one in that proved the opposite. Still, the idea of basically a built trade language is pretty cool.

  23. @ D. Jason Fleming > “Bill Shatner even starred in the only movie ever shot entirely in Esperanto”
    Steven Hayward at Powerline a couple of days ago referenced that flick:
    “So I Tweeted out recently the proposition that the great William Shatner was likely the only actor ever to speak two wholly made-up languages in film (Esperanto in Incubus, and Klingon in Star Trek III), but the Twitterverse quickly corrected me, noting that Ian McKellan spoke both Elvish and the dark tongue of Mordor in Lord of the Rings, while the much inferior Jean Luc Picard spoke more than one imaginary language in ST:TNG (including most famously Darmok).
    Still, I think Shatner deserves special recognition for being in the only movie I know of that was filmed entirely in Esperanto, and what was everybody thinking (or smoking)?”

    Includes a trailer for Shatner’s film.

    1. Shatner also did “White Commanche”, the single worst western ever filmed. It makes his “Goes Native for Strange” Trek episode look good.

  24. One of the reasons China became communist is that war and post-war aid to Mao was far greater than aid to Chiang Kai-shek (as in more than twenty times as much).
    The theory was that they were both fighting the Japanese. But Mao never did, only the Nationalists.

    1. It didn’t help that a lot of the aid sent to Chiang wound up in Mao’s hands, because Chiang’s officers sold their equipment on the black market and put the proceeds in their own pockets. Towards the end, Mao had entire divisions kitted out with Kuomintang equipment.

  25. Esperanto! There’s something I’ve not heard of in quite a while. I think my biggest exposure to Esperanto was the books of Philip José Farmer, specifically the Riverworld series where the whole of humanity spontaneously adopts Esperanto to communicate.
    No really, and believe it or not, this was not the most fantastical thing in those novels.

  26. Esperanto, yeah I remember that. Always seemed a bit ambitious to me, who never learned any French despite 6 years instruction. Not very realistic, you know?

    But at last I have the answer to “if only everyone”. It is the final answer as well.

    Bolt heads twisted off and stuck back on with crazy glue. On a -British- nuclear submarine. In the engine room. In dry-dock, no less.

    That’s it. That is the final reply to Esperanto and all the other One World assholes who think “but if we could just EDUCATE them all this trouble would go away.”

    No. It’s not going to go away. You can’t central plan your way around this one.

    Some super highly educated @ssh0le twisted off more than one bolt head in a nuclear submarine, and rather than extract the stub like he was supposed to, like he was PAID to do and threatened with all kinds of dire consequence if he didn’t, Mr. @ssh0le stuck ’em back on with crazy glue and called it good. Some suspicious b@st@rd found the sabotage while preparing to test the reactor a full power, I suspect he was going around checking all the bolts were done up to torque spec. Imagine being that guy and finding a crazy-glued bolt. And then finding another one. He must have had a cow.

    Just try to imagine something less important and less carefully maintained than a nuclear submarine. Like a water treatment system, just ferinstance. Open the wrong valve and sewage can get into the city drinking water.

    “What, Phantom? Open the wrong valve? That could NEVER happen! What IDIOT could possibly be so stupid?! People could die! That’s a ridiculous scenario, you’re making this up!”

    Nope. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walkerton_E._coli_outbreak

    It happens far more commonly than people think. Which is why I get my drinking water delivered from the reverse-osmosis guy. And my cistern water is filtered, and fitted with a UV system as well. Because I could die from some stupid idiot opening the wrong valve, know what I mean?

    I’ve seen the same exact thing in hospitals where people DID die. Lazy nurse, guy didn’t get his meds, died. Oopsie. Quick, back-date that chart. Oh yeah, they do it.

    We just watched the governments of whole Western World do it to us with the masks thing. They made us wear masks which they KNEW did not work. Couldn’t work.

    But I’m supposed to learn a whole made-up language because “if only everyone” did then there’d be no more war and stuff. And if only men were taught not to rape then girls would be super safe and everyone would be happy.

    It would be better and less pointless to learn Elvish. Or Klingon. Kaplah!

    1. Yeah.

      I was exposed to a later scheme with similar issues.

      The folks who complain about globalism as if it is a seriously dire existential threat to humanity, and intractable, are missing a bit. As well as the advocates of international law.

      All you have to do to defeat globalism is to trust and obey nobody who isn’t a fairly close blood relative. Of course, has costs, because a pretty good way to create or continue a massively screwed up society.

      There are a lot of plans that are basically self ruining, because the initial thinking was wildly blind.

      Probably there are some much less expensive ways to thwart the wannabe betters and masters.

      1. Foot-dragging and corruption brought the Soviet Union -and- Communist China to their knees. If not for the Americans (and the Canadians, and Europe) propping them up, they’d have both died off of natural causes decades ago.

        In my humble reading of history, no centrally planned state can survive more than 20 years without external inputs. The people in them just stop working. They drink instead, because they know they can’t get ahead.

        As well, the incentive to glue the heads back on broken bolts becomes irresistible. The ultimate form of sabotage. Nothing big and showy, you just consistently mix the concrete a little too lean, skip a little rebar, don’t clean the machine like you ought to, all that sort of thing.

        Pretty soon you have the Russian Army. 2000 tanks of which 800 don’t work because nobody greased that hard-to-reach fitting on the back axle and the bearings seized.

        That’s why the Russians failed to walk over Ukraine like they thought they were going to last February. Lots of seized bearings, broken bolts glued back on, and guys dragging their feet.

        This is the -real- “if only everyone” in life. If only everyone was depressed and didn’t give a shit, Western Civilization would grind to a shuddering halt. That appears to be what they’re doing to us.

  27. English has killed Esperanto.

    Brief history lesson: In the 19th Century, English was the international language of business, French the language of diplomacy, German the language of science. After the Second World War, English became THE language – of business, diplomacy, and science. EVERYBODY learns it as a second language, unless you speak it natively.

    I’ve long thought there might be a point in a “synthetic Latin” that would allow you to communicate in all the Romance languages. The grammar might be wrong, but you could make yourself understood.

    1. I once knew an Italian who spoke very little Spanish, but when he was sufficiently drunk, he would try just the same. You could say he was speaking ‘synthetic Latin’, and it was hilarious.

  28. @ Mike K > “EVERYBODY learns it as a second language, unless you speak it natively.”

    I read this as “everybody learns English properly UNLESS they speak it natively”

  29. Okay…so I play this game with guilds, and ended up leading a small one by default.

    And there is supposedly a “blacklist” of players not allowed to join guilds. And one of my guild’s players who just came back from a long period of inaction, is supposedly on this blacklist.

    And it turns out that it is based on some online forum on a discord about the game, that I am not even on, about things people said on the forum, and not sexual harassment or threats even.

    Argh. Does the cancel culture never end?

    I will investigate maybe, but I don’t really care about it if it was all trivial flame wars or something just annoying rather than dangerous. Especially since the player is a kid.

    I just don’t think conduct on one message board should mean cutting off contact in a game…

    And the “blacklisters” actually sent me an order, all high and mighty, when they are not even involved with our guild, and I do not even know them. So of course the kid would pretty much have to be the second coming of Yama Many Names, for me to kick this kid out now.

    Oh, and apparently there are a whole bunch of double secret rules for how to play the game, which supposedly were voted on by all the guilds… Except really only the big ones… On this discord. And you can only find the rules on that discord.

    And other guilds tell me that the big guilds like to enforce these rules, but not against their own members. (I have missed all this, I guess. Because nobody in our guild but this kid is on this discord thing.)

    Unfortunately this is a game with PVP elements, and I am low-level like the rest of the guild, so I intend to just go silent and ignore. But I would love to tell these people off.

    Is this a normal game situation, these days? What is the stick up people’s butts?

    I mean, either someone is bad enough to get kicked off the game by the game company (or arrested by police), or they have a right to play if they mind their manners in the game. That is my feeling.

    1. “Unfortunately this is a game with PVP elements, and I am low-level like the rest of the guild, so I intend to just go silent and ignore. But I would love to tell these people off.

      Is this a normal game situation, these days? What is the stick up people’s butts?”

      And this is why I don’t play MMORPGs. Single player mode only. The system is almost designed to be abused simply by having high level characters that are allowed and encouraged to kill off lower level ones either because they are easy sources of loot and xps or so the “original” players can serve as enforcers when the mods don’t want to be seen as acting directly.

    2. And the “blacklisters” actually sent me an order, all high and mighty, when they are not even involved with our guild, and I do not even know them. So of course the kid would pretty much have to be the second coming of Yama Many Names, for me to kick this kid out now.

      Check the TOS; that may be harassment, by the “blacklisters.”

      Given that he’s a minor, and following from elsewhere, and trying to cause issues, it may be actually illegal depending on what states are involved. (Stalking, cyberbullying and harassment.)

    3. Oh, on actual question:


      The biggest division would be “are the harassers being banned by the gaming company, or are they being ignored by everyone except themselves?”

    4. If I remember what state you’re in correctly– check the cyberbullying laws, you might want to reference them.

      Unless you can PROVE that nobody on that server is a student at the same school as the target– you really don’t want to get involved.

  30. Then I’ll learn Latin, quote Imperial System Measurements, and use Oxford Commas while writing quickly and quietly with adverbs…

    I was always a troublemaker.

    1. The password to get into the Ladies Lounge is whisper whisper whisper. All the good [redacted] is behind the false [redacted].

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