When Things Break

I’m old. That’s a given. Okay, so mom says I’m now middle aged. But she’s 87 almost 88 so, you know? She might be somewhat biased.

But here’s the thing, I know all the things that don’t work on writing and publishing, at least the traditional version of those, but like everyone else, I kept deluding myself that other fields worked fine.

You kind of have to, if you want to sleep at night.

Only it’s become more and more obvious that other things don’t work either. Take academia and scholarship. Sure, the soft sciences/social sciences are worse, but the whole publish or perish has not only led to a lot of “scholarship” that isn’t — look, guys, I was shocked when in class we were told to write a poem. Not everyone can write a poem, okay? Asking for one written on command is like asking for “an advance to mankind’s knowledge” on command. Just because you can teach, doesn’t mean you can do THAT — but worse it has led to the government subsidizing a lot of this research which in the soft (and sometimes hard) sciences means your results have to conform to the government expectations. Which leads to false science and reproducibility issues. Worse, it leads to universities hiring because they think you’ll do “research” which in turn, you know, means sweet, sweet government money.

Now, you can survive some of that. Like you can survive a few hyper-pushed books no one reads but everyone talks about how great it is. It just, over time, accumulates into an erroneous and counterproductive idea of what the whole field does and what it should do, and how to achieve it.

Now sit back for a moment and realize this isn’t just hitting things like writing, or you know dance like that sorry spectacle yesterday at mid-time in Superbowl (who knew that “spazing out” qualified as a dance to quote a certain literal video.)

It’s also hitting medicine. Psychology. Education. And you start seeing the full length and breadth of the problem we have.

This is when I get black pilled, btw, because things are so bad that the left’s efforts at DIE and other nonsense almost can’t make it worse.

And it’s easy to — and frankly I like to — blame it all on “Because they hire leftists” which they do. But you know that’s not the problem. The problem is “government being administer by ‘experts’ far away (both physically and mentally) and that has been with us since the creation of vast nation states in the 14th century.

Which is the other side of the black pill, btw, it took this long to break things, and we’re still doing okay, really. I mean better than we were, though the line might be reversing around here if not already.

AND along the way we managed to create a constitution which, if followed would obviate most of the problem.

If followed….

It’s my full belief it’s going to get to a point we’ll have no choice but to follow it.

However things are going to get very dire not just for us but for all of mankind in the mean time. Right now, like in the picture above, the glass is shattered but holding together. But that only lasts so long before the inevitable kaboom which leaves everything in shards.

The everything includes every human life, and all the ways we do things.

And all we can do is keep working and pushing for the outcome from this mess that allows civilization to grow and thrive.

…. Even if it will take a good long while, and a lot of work on civilizational health to get us over mid-game spaz shows.

207 thoughts on “When Things Break

  1. The Chinese, you know, came up with government by experts, or by intellectuals, back in the BCs. Their administrators stopped their fleets from exploring the world a century or so ahead of Europeans . . .

      1. Gets even sadder when you read through and find the fleets weren’t even meant to explore – they were to show off China and why every other nation should pay tribute to it. Job done, no more need for them, end sea travel. Argh.

        1. Chinese tribute was an odd thing by our standards. The typical pattern was that an embassy from another country would visit China, acknowledge the Emperor by kowtowing nine times, and be gifted with large quantities of silk and porcelain (which were some of the most high-quality products in the world at the time) to take back home. The gifts were usually seen as a sort of status symbol back home. And if the regime was a bit shaky, a sign of Chinese Imperial Favor as provided by the gifts could help shore up support. Or, as sometimes happened, a claimant in a civil war or some other form of domestic rivalry might visit the Imperial Court in hopes of being rewarded in a similar fashion. The Chinese Imperial Court usually (though not always) stayed out of the local politics of its “tributaries”.

          This was in complete contrast to how the Europeans handled things, of course. And the culture clash was on full display when the British sent their two embassies to the Imperial Capital (which I believe was in Beijing on both occasions). Contrary to what is often claimed, the Emperor on each occasion did not insist on the full kowtow. He was very much aware of how valuable the British were as a trading partner. And while it’s not clear that he and his court could fully grasp what the British wanted (and likely would have refused in any case), he was willing to (and did) bend on this particular point.

          Unfortunately, during the second British embassy to the Imperial Court, it appears that the courtiers arranging things thought otherwise, and were unyielding on what they likely saw as an affront to Imperial prestige. This was likely a contributing factor (one of many, I’ll note) that ended up dooming the mission.

          Surprisingly, there might be a modern parallel to that last bit of history. As you might recall, one of President Trump’s meetings with Kim Jung Un ended up falling through before the meeting could take place. Kim was apparently outraged, but held his own staff – and not the Americans – responsible for the debacle. IIRC, at least one member of the North Korean staff responsible for arranging things was executed. I’ve a sneaking suspicion that, much like the Chinese officials who helped to doom the second British embassy against the Emperor’s wishes, the North Korean who was executed was likely attempting to force some sort of protocol by the Americans for the sole purpose of exalting Kim Jung Un, and ignoring the fact that Kim was more interested in meeting President Trump than he was in the protocol.

          1. So much of Chinese history starts off as “Oh, so that’s just like/mostly like [western thing]. Therefor, this other thing should be [whatever].” And instead it’s just the outward form that’s similar, with very different reasons under the surface. “This other thing” is even more different, much to the confusion of outside observers and historians.

        2. Reminds me of the USA’s manned space exploration program.

          Yup. We went to the Moon a few times. Been there, done that, no reason to keep doing that.

    1. Yes indeed, and the “experts” were chosen by difficult exams on the minutiae of Confucian written works and thought, which had absolutely nothing to do with practical administration of government…Aspirants studied for years to pass those exams…

      1. Yes, and no. Much of what Confucious wrote was about the types of virtues that a member of the government should possess, and how a member of the government should act. As such, the civil service exams were seen as a way of testing whether an individual understood how he should act while serving as a member of the government.

          1. No, the problem is the same one that’s confronted every nation with a bureaucracy. Just because a man knows how to be ethical and moral doesn’t mean that he is ethical and moral. A new dynasty would come in, upset the apple carts, and take over. The dynastic founder would bring the bureaucracy to heel by cutting off heads (if the executed man and his entire clan was lucky…) as needed And for a time, the bureaucracy would work more or less in the best interests of the government and the people. But unless you were lucky enough to be born into the Imperial family, the bureaucracy was where the power was. And it was well-known that becoming a bureaucrat was a sure-fire way to enrich yourself and your family. So people who wanted power and influence would flock to it, and families would use every advantage at their disposal to guarantee that their sons would get civil service positions. Bribes were often involved both with the civil service exams themselves, and the positions that might be available to someone who had just passed the exams. The whole system would rapidly become corrupt A strong emperor might have been able to sort the mess out. But you rarely got a strong emperor very far into a dynasty.

            Confucius, of course, would have been horrified by such things. They went strictly against his teachings. But people are people, and power is power, so things work as they always have.

            I’ll note that Confucius was hardly perfect in his teachings. For example, he believed that a minister that was dismissed by the king (he lived before the first emperor) should commit suicide. There are some obvious flaws in that idea.

  2. Sometimes things break.

    And sometimes assholes break them, and then break the pieces, and then break the pieces of the pieces, until you wonder if they will ever stop, if only from sheer fatigue.

    Our assholes-in-charge aren’t tired yet.
    The government subsidizes failure. Successful enterprises do not need subsidies.

    1. The Constitution was doomed by the “necessary and proper” clause and other broad delegations that undercut legislative authority and the Bill of Rights..Then the FDR Court held that Congress could delegate almost everything to administrative agencies..which left the public almost helpless against a swarm of regulations…Patrick Henry pointed all this out and opposed it, but Hamilton and his bankster friends managed to get the Constitution ratified, though with considerablle difficulty…

      1. Nod.

        But it worked as intended up until the Progressive Era started (around 1896).

        And yes, FDR definitely increased the power of the Federal Government.

        Oh, IMO Hamilton and his Federalists would have been shocked by what happened under the Progressives and FDR.

        1. Agreed, except that the War Between the States demonstrated that the Feds could ignore the Constitution when it was inconvenient, and that was never forgotten…

          1. The War Between the States demonstrated that if you’re intent on following the Constitution it’s a Really Bad Idea to do something which can be interpreted as something the Constitution does address: “firing on (or near) a federal fort” and “rebellion” come to mind. If the SC hotheads had just stayed cool and let matters take the course they were on they would almost certainly have gotten what they wanted; as I read it the Congress, seeing nothing in the Constitution regarding secession, and after arguing it for months, were ready to capitulate.

            1. Don’t think we’ve reached the danger point yet this time, but Sarah does prefer that we not discuss the American Civil War. 😉

        2. 16th and 17th amendments, in the early 1900s. Whether they knew it or not, that’s when the American people killed the republic the founders meant them to have. Benjamin Franklin said we had “A republic, if you can keep it.” Just over 100 years later, 3/4+ of the nation’s voters said, “We don’t want it.” And instead, just over 100 years afterward, we have…this.

          1. Interesting historical note. The people were “told” that the top tax rate would be 1%, and would only be paid by the wealthiest. It took less than a year to overturn that. They voted for the verbal promises rather than the written words. As usual.

    1. Safety glass does that (slow, then fast).

      A bb went through the sliding glass door when I was in high school.
      Tink – a little hole in the glass
      Then a slowly expanding network of cracked glass.
      About the time the cracks got to the edge, the corn kernel sized chunks of glass started falling out.
      Then a cascade of glass falling to the floor.
      Took about 8-15 minutes.

  3. So my expertise would be largely in the tech world although I am also a middle school librarian.

    Both fields are hosed.

    I’ve got 2 kids who are industrial engineers. Engineering, especially industrial, also hosed.

    One kid is a botanist. Moved to Istanbul where botany is less hosed, but, even there science is becoming more political. I told her, you can run but you can’t hide. She’s beginning to believe me.

    Husband runs an automotive parts store. Several family members have repair shops. Can’t get parts, can’t get help and they are hosed more than the rest.

    One son is a plumber. His field is doing just fine. Mostly because people know immediately if their toilets aren’t working and wokies don’t work in fields that require getting your hands dirty. But long term we’ll see how plumbing supplies last. And whether there will be a new generation of plumbers to replace these.

    1. Ran into an interesting article called The Market for Lemons:
      The Market for Lemons – Infrequently Noted

      It’s about how web interfaces turned into garbage, but it cross-applies. Basically in any system where the customer does not have useful information about a product, inevitably the product turns to garbage.

      Making and marketing bad product takes less time and effort than making and marketing good product. If the customer cannot tell the difference, expensive and bad products rise to the top until they’ve wrecked enough customers that they learn to identify good product.

      I think we are seeing that in a lot of fields right now.

      1. Being in the communication/creative end of marketing, and having dealt with bad, mediocre, and excellent products of varying sorts, I’d say it ‘s harder to market mediocre products than either good or bad ones. Bad ones, it’s easier because the link between marketing claims and the truth tends to get severed; it’s relatively easy to tell believable lies about most things. Good products are easier than mediocre ones because you can tell the truth instead of just part of it; mixing truth with lies by omission, as you generally have to do with a mediocre product that works (but not all that well), takes a fair bit of judgment and skill. (The entire university I used to work for could be classified as a mediocre product.) However, designing and building any product, let alone a truly good one, is far more difficult than the marketing of it could ever be. Which, combined with the aforementioned, is how we end up with such an abundance of slickly marketed garbage.

    2. Not sure on the plumbing supplies, but I’m cautiously optimistic on the next generation of plumbers, mechanics, welders and other skilled trades.
      What I’m seeing with my kids and other kids their age (19 to 25) is that a lot of the boys are skipping the standard 4-year liberal arts college experience. Instead, they’re doing trade schools or OJT or specialized certifications.
      It’s an easy sell for a lot of young men (and women) who didn’t thrive in traditional academia, like working with their hands, and want to make $50,000/year less than a year after graduating from high school.

      1. One grandson is an electrician apprentice, one an apprentice chef and one is in engineering school for an undeclared engineering degree.

        A 4th grandson is 10 and planning a career in the NBA.🤣

        We also have one who would like to be a Nascar mechanic. His mother tells him that electric cars are the future. He doesn’t believe her. He also refuses to become a vegan.

        So maybe the kids WILL be alright.

        I certainly hope so. But it does look like tough sledding for a while.

    3. Welding. Mechanics. Plumbing. Electricians. Power techs. Telecom hardware. OTR trucking. Carpentry. Anything that would be taught in a technical school, more or less. Anything dirty, dangerous, and difficult. Most things with a high rate of lethal accident and injury on the job.

      These things are rooted firmly in reality. The further the left gets from reality, the more they alienate those who live and work in the real world. I’ve been working with my hands for several decades now, getting to the point that I can’t anymore. At least not as much as I could in my thirties. There’s no chance of wokeness infesting the trades unless and until they control the world.

      And they don’t. Can’t, even. Because the world collapses when things like food, power, sewer, and the building trades falter. Houses stand strong because they are made strong. Good materials, proper planning, and workmanship matter. Same with mechanics, plumbers, welders, and so on. Real world consequences follow failure to do those things.

      Not so much in the intellectual trades. Sure, finance and business have their consequences- but those can be hidden much easier than shoddy welds and weak foundations. And the latter exist, too. But the consequences are right there in front of you. Bad framing makes weak structures. Bad mechanics make cars that aren’t reliable. Bad plumbers cause leaks.

      Bad politicians just become millionaires.

      But there’s only so far things can slide. Only so much of the economy they can loot before it becomes untenable. They are losing. Most people just can’t see it for all the damage they are doing.

      And strangely enough, WP keeps not wanting post these comments. Hidden censorship? Or just WPDE? Bah. Probably just idiots somewhere. Foolishness before malfeasance.

      1. What Dan said – the future belongs to whose who can actually build things, weld things, plumb things, fix things, sew and weave things … plant things and have them grown.
        (A brief tear for the tomato seedlings which died in the windowsill between one day and the next … but I have plenty of tomato seeds, and the bean and potatoes are sprouting…) The future for those who have only mind-skills … better take up a craft, dear.
        About the only sensible thing that I took from “The Door to Women’s Country” was that the members of that awful feminist and man-hating utopia were expected to have a practical and usable skill… in addition to whatever intellectual interest they had.

      2. WP frequently goes through pauses, where no comments are updated for seconds or several minutes. If one of mine gets hung up, I’ll scroll down to the number of comments and wait for the refresh to show a change.

        Murphy seems to have an effect, too. Longer comments are more likely to get caught in the WP delays. I don’t know if it’s real or perception, though.

        And it’s worse in prime time. Posting at 0 dark hundred (4AM PST) isn’t that bad. Usually.

    4. I suspect the woke will end up inserting themselves into the plumbing logistical chain, and cause their havoc from there.

      1. They already have. See for example, low flow toilets, water saving dishwashers, various mandates limiting the permitted temperature water heaters can reach. The delusional left cannot win, if winning means create their desired society. They can; however, break our desired society.

        1. Don’t forget the ‘Water Saving’ washing machines that don’t actually wash clothes, with an ‘agitator’ that doesn’t agitate. Most ‘Water Saving’ toilets have to be flushed 2 or 3 times to do the job. And why do we use drinking water to flush them in the first place? Toilets should be flushed with ‘gray water’.

          I’m in favor of saving water, just not of doing it in stupid ways.

          1. “Toilets should be flushed with ‘gray water’.”

            The physics for plumbing that would require that a) the toilet be (physically) on a lower level than the drains that supply it and b) that no chunks of any sort be part of the gray water, lest it clog the supply lines.

            And unless you are generating gray water every time you need to fill the toilet tank, you’re going to want a reservoir for the gray water where it sits until you need to flush the toilet.

            Which reservoir is going to need cleaning as whatever sludge and particulate is in the gray water settles out.

            Either that or you need to add a pump to move the gray water from the reservoir to the toilet.

            Any or all of which is doable, but it introduces needless complexity and extra points of failure to a system that really really doesn’t need those, especially in an urban or suburban setting.

          2. FWIW, I find the “comfort level” or sort-of ADA compliant toilets flush better. Home Desperate lists a “flush rating” for toilets (or did–haven’t needed to buy one for a while), and the higher comfort-level toilets always rate better. We have a 1.6 and a 1.28 gallon one in the house, and both work quite well.

            For some people (raises somewhat arthritic hand), the higher toilet is a lot more comfortable to get on and off of. I don’t know the actual difference in height; if there are little kids in the household, best to check.

            1. “Standard height” was 14 or 14.5 inches 15 years ago when I was buying a new toilet. “Handicap” toilets were 16″.

              All that were available then were the 3-gallon and less designs. The water level is high enough that splashing happens often. Which is another reason “gray water” isn’t all that good of an idea.

          3. By all means save water if you want. I don’t object to conservation. I object to doing it via laws or regulations, both because such regulation is inherently tyrannical as it brings the state into areas that are purely personal, and because solving this type of problem by fiat necessarily forecloses any options not considered by the regulator and frequently does more to prevent solutions than to create them.

    1. We live in interesting times. Those times call for us to be more than we’d like. More than we’d ever hoped or feared. Because it is on us to fix what is broken. Because there’s no one else to do it.

      If America falls, the world falls with it. So America shall not fall. Not so long as we stand.

      1. Progress on the 2nd, working on the 1st… now we need to start questioning that congressional favorite… the commerce clause.
        Getting congress OUT of the states internal businesses would free up some breathing room for everyone.
        Then we return senators to being appointed by their state legislatures.

    2. Don’t forget the wokie to hold the rope straight.


      Just kidding

      ( very feral grin)


      (Sharpening axe)

  4. I was having dark thoughts about our messed up elections. And then it struck me: would I rather have clean elections and just a secular life of the mind? Or take all the stresses, along with my Great Awakening experience over these last awful four years. To me, phrasing the question is its answer.

  5. I finally understood a huge problem with “research universities” when I learned that the university keeps between 20-60% of the research grant. So you have to ask for far more than you need if you are going to get enough to fund your project. That means you have both the grant funder and the university pushing things in certain directions, even before you get “must prove need for more Diversity” or “must prove CDC director’s pet theory” or whatever.

    Full disclosure: I received a very, very generous post-doc research grant. When I had to change research directions mid-project, the grantor was very tolerant, and I remain on good terms with the organization. [Data were unavailable due to events outside my control. I showed the grantor the stone walls I’d collided with, and they permitted the shift without requiring me to return the funds thus far disbursed.]

  6. Just about every successful academic economist worked at the Fed at some point during their career. My nephew did economics at an Ivy and then, yep, the Fed for two years.

    My sister did not think it funny when I had told him to become a male prostitute rather than an economist since at least rent boys provide a valuable service. She tried pointing out that I was, technically, an economist since I have a graduate degree in it. I told her that’s how I knew how valuable it was.

    Like most lefties, she has no sense of humor, never mind a sense of the absurd — so bloody po faced and earnest they are. fearful of their “position” too.

  7. One word. Protocol. We followed the protocol. We did not have to think.

    You are over 75, the protocol says you should not have surgery. You did not take the jab, the protocol says you don’t get the the organ. You smoked, the protocol says you don’t get a new lung. You are a “girl” who thinks you are a “boy”, the protocol says to drug you and cut off your…,

    Mindless protocols. Protocols don’t know. They just allow bean counters to control.

    1. Don’t forget the other evil ‘P’ word, policy. Nobody has to take responsibility, it’s the policy’s to blame.

      “Then change the policy!”

      “Oh, no, can’t do that; it would be against The Policy!”
      Today, every child in America is born $139,000 in debt.

      1. The protocol is more powerful that policy. It is based on “SCIENCE”. Don’t you belive in SCIENCE? Wear the mask in the hospital. It is the PROTOCoL. The CDC “recommended it”. So we must follow their PROTOCOL.

        1. At this point, “It was revealed to me in a dream” is more trustworthy than “the science says”, “experts state”, or “studies show”.

      2. Heh. I remember the first time at an assignment at a USAF MAJCOM HQ when I asked “this policy was stupid and outdated and who do we go to to fix this?” Turns out it was the office I was in! Stupid policy got revised forthwith before anyone came up with a reason I couldn’t do that.

        Every once in a while if you get lucky you can put a small pin prick into the beast.

  8. Interesting analogy with the glass, considering that picture.

    It’s tempered glass, which is used in doors and windows where the glass may be subject to impacts, and overhead windows where falling glass could be deadly. Tempered glass is treated under heat and pressure to become very strong, to the point where a hammer blow will bounce right off it. When it does break, the same internal stresses that make it so impact-resistant make it shatter all at once into very small pieces—so that when it does break, it causes only superficial injuries instead of turning into knife-edged slabs like normal glass.

    It won’t withstand ALL blows, however. You can hammer it hard enough to break it if you have a big enough hammer or enough brute strength. And because anything that breaks its amazing surface tension will instantly shatter it, it’s vulnerable to quite small impacts on the edge (since it’s also very brittle). And the smaller the surface area of the impact, the easier it is to get to the shattering point, which is why those purpose-made emergency glassbreakers with pointy tips exist.

    Tempered glass can also just sit there in place after it breaks, but it only takes a small push to topple all the tiny puzzle pieces.


    If there’s one country that’s more like tempered safety glass than any other, it’s the USA. The hammer blows that broke other places didn’t break us, so the weak edges had to be attacked instead (the long march of Marxism) and with the blatant election fraud in 2020/22 they might have found their sharp pointed glassbreaker.

    Where are we now? Is the tempered glass still unshattered? Or is it already broken and indeed broken and only awaiting that tiny final push? If so, it’ll hurt when it finally collapses, but at least the people it falls on won’t be taking fatal wounds from big, jagged glass knives. And maybe we’ll have enough vitality left to build and temper another one, with better protection for the vulnerable edges.

    1. It’s not just the edges. The tiniest scratch or chip anywhere on the surface will cause tempered glass to shatter. I once dropped an EPROM — one of those old 28-pin 600 mil ceramic DIPs with the quartz window for erasing it with UV light — and when I tried to catch it, instead wound up batting it against a nearby window.

      Which instantly shattered into a spiderweb of cracks, then went on clicking and snapping for hours as new cracks formed.

      “Oops.” What else could I say?
      At my house, the ‘things that go bump in the night’ are cats.

      1. I was working on a VW bug and was removing the passenger window. Dropped it, and had a small explosion of window bits all over the driveway. Not one of the good days.

    2. One of the side lights in our previous house got hit with something — we don’t know what, suspect pebble thrown by mower while we were away and lawn service came by — we didn’t notice for some days.
      It stayed in place for FIVE years. We only replaced before selling…..

      1. Wow. That’s longer than I’d expect. But if it’s not too big and has another pane of glass to lean in against, as it probably did, I guess it could just remain like that indefinitely. That’s maybe an even better analogy: a double-paned thermal glass window. When the second pane breaks, that’s when all hell really breaks loose.

      2. We had the inner section of double pane skylight window crack (we thought someone had thrown something at one of the front windows). Then it shattered. Have no clue what triggered it.

  9. I had a variant on this conversation with Better Half this morning. We were musing on the notion that the world had achieved peak or near-peak complexity, overreach, and widgetization of persons … not just in government. In software, every time they update the corporate system, Better Half can’t work for a couple of days until they fix it … whatever it is they broke this time. Every Time. Can they hire better IT to save the time of the big-bucks SW engineers? I’m not so sure they can … they’re piling SW on top of SW to meet everyone’s needs in a centralized corporate system … nobody has background in all these ditties … methinks that might be the crux of the problem right there, but what do I know, i first learned to program in Fortran, i identify as a fossil. And i stripped my not-so-smart phone (forced on me by family plan carrier) of everything i could strip off it … then when i went to donate blood, they really really wanted me to log in by phone … sigh, no … so they had to let me touch their precious laptop to answer the health screening questions, so incredibly inconvenient for them … everything is a sh*tshow … sigh …

    1. Now you’ve got me started on donating blood. I’ve been told that I need to donate blood (too many red blood cells). When I checked with the place the doctor’s office recommended, We Are Blood, I found out that I am not allowed to donate blood there because I’m a cyborg. Their medical director is seriously out to lunch, but it’s “policy”.

    2. Spaghetti code has become the norm in many places, because “patch it” has become the default process. Like you, I learned programming in Fortran 77 (on an HP1000A900 writing radar system tests), and also like you I don’t use a “loaded” stupidphone; the only phone besides the flipphone I use as a phone, which is all I need is a hand-me-down Galaxy S7 Edge, with no SIM card, in permanent Airplane Mode, which I use for things like the software to run my chronograph, which is wire-connected.

  10. You are tempting me so much to dust off my blog and respond. LOL. I really should do that but I just have so much reading and writing to do!

    I’m reading a book called “Thinking Orthodox” by Gina Constaninou at the moment that has given me some insight into this. There’s a thing called “phronema” which often gets translated as “thinking” but is really more like “mindset” and is a big reason why Orthodox Christians (like me) have a hard time talking theology with non-Orthodox Christians (like Catholics and Protestants). Orthodox phronema is very different than non-Orthodox phronema since the non-Orthodox are heavily influenced by Augustine and Anselm (and while Augustine is one of our church fathers, he’s also kind of an idiot) and makes the assumption that God can be understood through reason and logic and the Orthodox are like “wait, what? Noooooo. Those are tools to understand a lot of things but that’s like saying God can be understood through the opposable thumb, yo.”

    Anyway, to stay on target: I think us liberty-minded folks have a different phronema than a lot of non-liberty-minded folks. We view the Constitution differently, we view government differently, and our foundational axioms are so different that it’s like trying to use the rules of Russian grammar to do algebra. However, as long as there are enough of us with the same phronema, well, we have a chance to maybe make our own “island of the sane” and a big moat with gators to eat the stupid. 😉

    — G.K.

    1. Obviously logic is not the only way to understand and love God, and God’s thoughts are infinitely above our thoughts.

      But. Just as Jesus the Son, incarnate, can have pictures made of His humanity, even though He is unseeable divinity too, so God has chosen to reveal some aspects of His order and measure and ineffable reason. He is the Logos, so logic is integral to Him.

      And every early Church Father was into that. They mocked the pagans for not having reason in their religion, or gods who didn’t contradict reason with their conduct. St. Justin Martyr, and St. Clement of Alexandria, are particularly fond of a reasoned approach to knowing God intimately, and they were well before St. Augustine was born.

      Obviously everybody needs balance. But the emotional approach, and the negative approach to mystery, are both unhelpful for many people. There have to be many other different ways to go at it. And it seems like there always have been, which is kindly of God for everyone.

  11. “Well Doctor what have we got, a republic or a monarchy?” Elizabeth Powel asked of Benjamin Franklin on September 17, 1787, the last day of the Constitutional Convention. He replied,

    “A republic . . . if you can keep it.”

    If we can keep it will require people to reject nonsense. The experts will always seek to baffle us with bu11sh!t but we need to laugh and ridicule them and also take their government-provided money away. They are insufferable! They need to become pariahs.

      1. ‘Clawing back’ is a phrase that I saw often when I lived in the UK/Europe. Definition: “To recover or retake, with great effort, something that was lost.” That’s exactly the correct operative verb. Perpetual funding should be the exception not the rule.

        1. Perpetual funding by the government should not be the exception, it should simply be impossible. The government has too much money.

          1. Quibble. The government does not have money. The people do. The government is supposed to use OUR money, supplied by taxes, to fund things like the military, pay our debts, and suchlike.

            The government therefore taxes us too much, and wastes the supermajority of what it takes from us on frivolous things. Then the fed prints money like an African country. What we need to do is prune the government back to a healthy, neutered state. And fire a whole bunch of bureaucrats. And close a bunch of useless, problem creating departments.

            1. Agree all. Get rid of the income tax (repeal the 16th) and the Federal Reserve. And while we’re at it, repeal the 17th, and rebalance the powers).

            2. Did you agree to that $32 TRILLION debt? I didn’t. Let the 535 assholes that took the money pay it back.
              Governments can only print money; they can’t make it worth anything. They can make it worth nothing.

  12. Yes. The best I’ve heard today, this between me and my sister is “Things are shit. Hold on.”

    People are breaking. Things that used to work aren’t working, so people are trying to find workarounds, and ways of doing things that makes everything look like a kluge.

    I work to keep the black pill at bay, but it’s there all the same. Every morning I do a check in with myself, asking “how you doing today” and all I did this morning was bawl, hard, for about 10 minutes. Then I journaled about the fear of ill health (I have a huge head cold) and the fear of being 63 and working retail with a lovely micro managing lady boss. And it’s Union Gospel Mission so I can’t say “F***” till I’m in the car on the way home.

    These posts and this tribe really help me feel not-alone and connected. Thanks, Sarah.

    1. {{{{Hugs}}}} Kathy!

      Prayers. Lots of prayers.🙏🙏🙏

      Don’t let the Karen’s get you down!

      1. HUGS back atcha! I just feel horrible, and it’s a transition time, so it’s just tough right now.
        I sure appreciate the prayers, though. Man. I could spend all day on my knees and it might not be “enough”.


    2. Down on your knees, head bowed in prayer,
      Shoulders bowed down by burdens of care.
      Down on your knees, eyes on the floor,
      With never the hope you might lift them once more.

      Yet through the window, that stands just ajar,
      A trickle of light has come from afar.
      A trickle of light has journeyed to you,
      And bring in the day shining and new.

      The light of that day the sorrows may show,
      The light of the day great joy may know,
      The dark of the night will yet fly away,
      And in through the window pours the new day.

      Lift up your eyes to that trickle of sun,
      Some things are over, some just begun,
      A life time of worry and deep years of care,
      Leave them still kneeling bound by the prayer.

      Lift up your eyes to the journey’s long way,
      Come to your feet in the light of the day.
      Stand from the kneeling the prayer in your heart,
      Begin all the things the cares never start.

              1. Oh they will and are.
                This junk started in 2013 and is winding to a close. Lots of loose ends and threads.

      1. Wow it sure is dusty in here all of a sudden, wyrdbard.

        Thank you. My eyes needed a good rinsing.

      2. If we’re looking for verse I’m going to offer one by Arthur Hugh Clough. I don’t share his faith, but this one speaks to me.

        Say not the struggle nought availeth,
        The labour and the wounds are vain,
        The enemy faints not, nor faileth,
        And as things have been they remain.

        If hopes were dupes, fears may be liars;
        It may be, in yon smoke concealed,
        Your comrades chase e’en now the fliers,
        And, but for you, possess the field.

        For while the tired waves, vainly breaking
        Seem here no painful inch to gain,
        Far back through creeks and inlets making,
        Comes silent, flooding in, the main.

        And not by eastern windows only,
        When daylight comes, comes in the light,
        In front the sun climbs slow, how slowly,
        But westward, look, the land is bright.

        1. “My shame you count and know
          You say the quest is vain
          But you have not seen my foe
          You have not counted his slain
          Surely he fights again, again;
          But when you prove his line
          There will come to your aid my broken blade
          In this last, lost fight of mine!”

    3. I’m seeing the cartoon somebody (Foxfier?) posted a few days ago with the two snakes.

      Snake A: “What are you doing?”

      Snake B: “Screaming into the abyss.”

      Next frame: Two snakes screaming into the abyss.

    4. Just remember that Americans are so used to kludges that we don’t even notice anymore.

      After all, look at the popularity of “hacks.” That’s basically “it doesn’t work right; here’s a way to make it work better.” For everything. Social, business, craft, whatever. Other countries point this out in bafflement. “Why do you modify your out-of-the-freezer foods?” “To make them better… why wouldn’t you?”

      1. One of the reasons I know God has me well in hand is that I work in a thrift boutique. UGM funds its recovery centers and programs via the stores. So, our prices aren’t thrift, and we decorate the store like a boutique.

        And lots of people are coming in looking for basic stuff, and ways to do what they want to do on the cheap’ish. It can be fun if I have the energy to play with it.

  13. The powers that be pushed the Lock Downs not just to destroy Trump but, also to destroy their own burgeoning conservative movements, Yellow Vests etc. The problem is when they do that they just push the inevitable down the road, and the more they delay it, the harder the push back will be when it comes. Think Bastille Day on a world wide scale. Welcome to ignoring history. Why they ignore history is simple arrogance, they know better and are so much smarter than those other rulers in the past. Hubris on the rocks with a twist of lime please.

  14. Things are terrible.

    Hold on.
    Keep where you are, what you are, working as much as you can.
    Don’t let the vultures in.
    Teach the children, quietly.
    Have thirty days of supplies ready at all times, minimum. Ninety is better, space permitting.
    Keep your clothes and weapons in the same place so you know where they are in the dark.
    Make at least two friends with people with back-hoes. And know where all the big open fields are.

    1. Every writer should know where the bodies can be hidden!

      …For fictional purposes, of course. After all, if we want our fictional detectives to have enough challenge for the whole book the bad guys had to have been smart about it, right?

      That’s my story, at least. 😉

      1. On a more realistic note, the rangers in the Auburn Recreation District know there are a ton of bodies in there, from the time period when the Auburn Dam was a viable project. After all, “buried six feet down under a few hundred feet of water” is a pretty effective hiding technique—if you get the water.

        1. Years ago, I saw a Mike Royko column about the building of the Stevenson Expressway (for Left Coasters, it’s a “freeway”). The Mob was taking advantage of the known pace of paving and buried about one body per mile as the concrete was going in.

          There is a lot of forest around here, and I’m told that some places are favorites for the 3S perps in the area. Those usually go unsolved unless somebody gets drunk/high and talkative.

          OTOH, some are more stupid and less creative. A local “lady” shot a much beloved, alcoholic regular in $TINY_TOWN, buried his body in her dump pit, and talked a neighbor-with-bulldozer into doing a new layer of dirt. AFAIK, the NwB didn’t know there was a body there (at least at the time), but somebody figured it out. She claimed that the drunk regular made a pass at her, and she decided to take offense. (He had a reputation for being a “nice drunk”, contrary to her reputation….) She lawyered up and got a long stay in the state-run loony bin*. I think NwB wasn’t charged.

          (*) An unrelated case happened where the perp also pled insanity for unspeakable with a pre-teen girl. If he stayed out of jail, he’d have been 3S’d himself, or as a child molester, got shivved. Protip: in a tiny town, it’s a bad idea to molest somebody people really like. The guy’s father couldn’t understand why nobody local would donate to the creep’s defense fund. Duh!

          1. And if course Jimmy Hoffa is alleged to be interred somewhere in the Meadowlands. ( My preferred urban legend is, ” in a pillar in the parking garage.”

      2. I’ve long ago had notes (hand-written, obviously!) for how to properly dispose of a body. For research purposes, obviously.

        Not the least of which is keeping it from being found for a good long time (pro-tip-cayenne pepper or something similar to keep animals from digging it up for a while, national parks don’t get a lot of construction changes).

  15. An almost five hour power outage yesterday evening, I’m feeling pretty upbeat today. Superbowl? Didn’t watch any, didn’t plan to so the dance, ads, flyover, etc. just don’t affect me none.

    Last evening, reading Alan Moore’s Jerusalem (Plotless but amazingly interesting read.), Adrian Tchaikovsky’s Children Of Time (Eight legged Portia, a delightful lady through all her generations.) by kerosene lamp light.

    Say what you want but in my opinion, as long as I can rally Against The Day, and have a Third Wish (& OK long as there are a few Dark Ships out there.), I find it hard to accept a lost world of publishing, or academia, or or our Republic. Washington D. C. etc. yep lost but, really, ain’t no lost to the rest of us if you think about it.

    So! Made it through the night. Today I can’t get excited by the fall of civilization, we’ve been there, we’ve done that before, often. Actually I’m rather hopeful this morning. A fair chance we just might save and savor it.

    If not, we had a good run, maybe it’s the cockroaches or the arachnids turn.

    Blackpilled? Not at all, just delighted that I am, right now, no matter if I am tomorrow.

    No matter what, we’ve got now, savor it.

    1. We had a water outage last night, from about 7 to 10 PM. Other than for a few minutes during the day while they were working on the pipes, this is the first water outage I remember in my lifetime, and I’m over 60.

  16. The news is all about that Chinese spy balloon and the other ‘flying objects’ they’ve been shooting down.

    Everything we know about the situation can be summed up in 5 minutes, and has been, repeatedly, but they’ve been yammering about it nonstop for 3 days. At this point. even if there is some new bit of information, it’s not worth sitting through all the yammer to hear it.

    All the issues that were going on before The Great Spy Balloon Caper are still going on, but we don’t hear about them any more.
    They’re the Experts! They only sound stupid to you because you’re not as Educated as they are.

      1. Don’t know if you saw the bit making the rounds, but if you haven’t, I believe the speculation is the whole UFO thing the USGov was doing last year was a limited modified hang-out on the prior batch of spy balloons. I.e. seed “it’s aliens” into the wild and hope people just think those were that.

        This is probably to paint anyone who remembers all that, and points it out as lunatic alien hunters.

        Who knows if it will work, but I’m not sure they’ve got other better options at the moment. Though it may be they just think they need at least a fig leaf for branding people as lunatics, and any leaf in a storm, I guess.

      2. A few thoughts.

        China has been sending Spy Balloons over the US for some time but the military for “unknown reasons” has been ignoring them (especially if some happened during the Trump administration).

        We learned about that one earlier this month only because it was spotted by a civilian and now the silly people are making a big deal about “shooting down” the objects.

        Of course, part of my cynical nature is wondering if they’re lying about “shooting down” those objects. IE They don’t exist but the silly people are lying about the existence of the objects.

        1. I’d say it was unlikely they’re lying about shooting down the new ones. It is very easy to get into a habit of not telling your boss about things you don’t want them to know. It is much harder to invent stuff that didn’t happen.

          My guess is this is more of a knee jerk response to getting caught. They’ve flipped from “what they don’t know won’t hurt me” to “if I’m really vigorous, it will make me look better.”

          1. But what if your boss wants you to make things up? [Sarcastic Grin]

            Seriously, I don’t know that the US government is “making up” the “shoot-down”. I just believe that the “Powers-That-Be” might be making things up.

          2. That would be the classic reaction. It’s also seen a lot in China.

            However, the sheer profusion of objects suddenly being spotted all over the US makes me suspect that there’s a bit of exaggeration going on in an attempt to assure the American people that the Federal government is all over this foreign balloon business. Thus, imo there’s a high chance that the number of balloons actually shot down has been inflated for public consumption.

            Of course, that’s also a classic response often seen in China these days…

        2. I suppose they could be lying. Certainly the balloon they let cross the country was real and the shoot down seemed very real. There’s live independent footage of a contrail with a separating trail and then there is a clear action that destroyed something leaving something large and white flapping (most likely a balloon). The Alaska and Canada ones there’s no visual confirmation and they’re effectively in the middle of nowhere so lying gets easier. The Lake Huron one was more likely to be seen aviation buffs knew something was up due to NOTAM, radio comms and suchlike. No footage has appeared official or not yet. If it was a shootdown it’s going to be hard to hide as there is going to be one very excited ANG Viper Driver who got to live fire a sidewinder. I suspect at a 1/2 million or so a pop you don’t get to do that too often (or at all ) in your ANG career. He or she is GOING to want to tell the story and there’s all the folks that set the plane up. We have photos of the F16 in question missing a sparrow off its rails so something happened to it. I suppose you could just dump it, but more than just the pilot knows that was the plan if it was so. As the old saying goes 3 people can keep a secret if 2 are dead.

        3. My own WAG: the Chinese noticed a hole in our surveillance. It wasn’t useful for offense unless they wanted to start a bio-war, but it was dandy for loitering surveillance. So they did balloons–and our radar, tuned for fast stuff, missed the slow. Somebody eventually spotted one, with results we know.

          Somebody in the back rooms took a hint and started scanning old satellite images, and found that the Chinese had been doing this for a while. There are some extremely egg-faced people trying to stay behind the scenes (“You never told us to look for balloons, just nukes!”).

          They’ve adjusted their monitoring to spot balloons now, and are seeing lots of things they had been missing before: amateur stuff, research systems where a grad student never got around to filing the flight paperwork, and the odd spy probe here and there.

          And to prove that they’re taking the bogeys seriously, they’re shooting them down as fast as they see them.


            1. Correction: our spineless government jumped in on the Communist Chinese side, against the American people.

        4. A few days ago, an anon posted maps on Gab. The Yukon object looks like it could have been part of a group of NOAA weather balloons launched from western Alaska. This was before the Montana/Lake Huron one.

          I’m assuming they’re trying to look good, even if it’s weather balloons.

          The Albuquerque hot air balloon rally might be more exciting than normal… /sarc

  17. “…I know all the things that don’t work on writing and publishing, at least the traditional version of those, but like everyone else, I kept deluding myself that other fields worked fine.”

    If you have a couple of hours free to listen to me scream and froth at the mouth, let me tell you about health care. Profoundly f-ed in the USA, but literally nothing compared to Canada. I’m not even talking about the WuFlu.

    I’ve listened to similar screaming and frothing from my accountants (in two countries), from real estate agents (in two countries) and my contracts lawyer (in Canada.)

    Engineer acquaintances and also military and police acquaintances begin any conversation with “Holy F-, you are not going to believe this but…” and then scream and froth for quite some time about the latest outrage making their lives impossible.

    I conclude from all this that I better be damn well ready to do an awful lot of things on my own (like repairs) because things are getting very rickety. But also that I’m not the only one looking at this nation-wide sh1tshow and saying it looks like enemy action.

    Consensus is the lunatics are running the asylum. How long before we all quietly stop cooperating and the whole thing resets, can’t tell. Maybe quite a while. Maybe not.

    And it is not just us. Season 2 of Clarkson’s Farm is out. Ten episodes of Clarkson screaming and frothing about the state of agriculture in England. The clip of him (ex-fighter pilot multi-millionaire media guy with back-channel info sources we can only dream of) -swearing- the Russians were never going to war with Ukraine was worth it all by itself.

    So watch Clarkson’s Farm 2.

    Do -not- watch Black Panther 2, the CGI doesn’t come close to making up for the #BLM boilerplate and Woke Goodness. Seriously, it is filled with fast-forward cringe. I rate it just as bad as Aquaman, and worse than Justice League. I FFed through half the movie, thank God I didn’t get stuck watching it at a theater.

    I greatly fear for Antman 3.

    1. Yeah, the one part of Justice League that might have made it worthwhile — Superman beating Steppenwulf like a rented mule — got about 10 seconds of screen time.

      In the last Avengers movie, the epic battle between Captain Marvel and Thanos was… a two-hit. She hit him, he batted her off the screen. All that build-up, and she’s a cameo.

      Dammit, if you’re going to have superheroes, let them be super!

      Don’t they know how to make movies any more?


      1. The proper order for that is:



        Bang! (Head pulped)

        “I REMEMBER YOU! …”

        Monolog to their corpses. Preferably from back in the lair, much later, over freshly baked brownies.

        1. She didn’t have a gun.

          What she did have was an overwhelming advantage in power — the reverse of their previous encounters, when she was mostly helpless. She needs some payback, and gets it.
          “It wasn’t only for revenge, or even to protect the people I love. It was…catharsis. I— we, both, knew I needed it. When he attacked me in Orcadia, and made me feel helpless, when he made me know I was going to die, he took something from me. I had to take it back, to be whole again.”

          1. The zorch is irrelevant. Sucker punch the foe to oblivion. Skedaddle.

            I don’t want my foes to understand me. I want them no longer foes. Late parrots, pining for the Fjords.

            Monologing is inviting defeat.

              1. Nah, a person isn’t Really Dead unless you can see the dead body.

                Orbital Strikes and Ballistic missile strikes allow for the possibility that he wasn’t there to be killed. 😈

                  1. Or in the old serials…. seeing them on TV daily meant the week-long time to forget wasn’t there and it was painfully obvious that the ‘next’ episode got away with it by NOT being continuous with the ‘previous’ all too many times.

                    I suspect most caught on to that back when, but ignored it (mostly) for the sake of much-needed entertainment during the Depression or such.

                1. Nah, a person isn’t Really Dead unless you can see the dead body.

                  Sometimes even that’s not enough. What you find could be a clone, or a construct. In fantasy/horror, a doppelganger or skinwalker.

                  In this case, though, there is no question that the man-thing is Really Dead. She slugged him into a barrier of blue light and got to watch him stick there and disintegrate. When it was over, there weren’t two atoms left connected to each other.
                  Once again, she kicked him in the balls. Yesterday her merely human strength had been ineffective. Tonight the Pyxis lent her nearly unlimited power; her kick stopped the man-thing dead in his tracks and he hunched over, screeching with pain and rage.

        2. One of the things I liked in the movie Nobody was the protagonist explaining his backstory and motivation to his mortally wounded opponents and having them expire while he was talking.

      2. Eh… the MCU thinking likely was that the fans would have been upset if Captain Marvel showed up largely out of nowhere (Endgame was her first Avengers movie, after all, and she’d had exactly one movie prior to that) and saved the day. So she helps (she single-handedly destroys Thanos’s ship), but it’s left to the familiar faces to do the heavy lifting in the film. The point was likely to introduce her for the following phases, where she is supposed to (but hasn’t yet) have a bigger role.

      3. “Dammit, if you’re going to have superheroes, let them be super!”


        I do my best. (I had fun in Through A Mirror, Darkly)

    2. LOGISTICS. Supply chain situation. Massively eff’d the effing eff up. Completely, unequivocally avoidable. Some of the biggest own-goals in modern history. Massive consequences that you’re just getting to see now. Worse ones in the pipe.

      Despite all the well meaning, intelligent, capable, and on-the-spot people pointing out the problems, the dumb effs in charge “knew better.”

      Pardon me while I scream into an abyss. The butt kickings that are owed for this might have a line that stretches from coast to coast, but by all that is tasty and shiny I would wait my bloody turn to shine my boots upon those that perpetrated this travesty.

      1. We have a siding in out small town where surplus train cars are stored. Currently parked there, for more then 2 weeks now- over a mile of unit railcars for carrying containers. Unit railcars, for those that aren’t familiar, 5 cars, 6 sets of wheels. Some of them are only 3 car units, but a mile of railcars is a LOT of freight carrying capacity. Never seen any container carrying railcars on the siding before.

    3. Healthcare is badly broken. I think it was broken earlier but Covid put that on steroids. At this point, I can’t even see a place to push to put it back together. I’ll keep doing what I can for the patient in front of me, but I’m not going to fix the system. The students we are training are taught things that aren’t so, and Hippocrates is no longer taught. “First, do no harm” is passe. Everyone goes by the protocol, and you get emails telling you how often you deviated from what is required. This gets old, and I’m getting old…..

      1. So many doctors, nurses and health techs are leaving the field. So many have already left.
        How long until we don’t have enough to keep hospitals open?

        1. We are close to losing our GP (retirement). Which means we’ll be assigned one. Try changing GP’s to someone else on your own. Not happening. Most are not taking new patients, especially if you are on medicare (w/ or w/o supplemental insurance). Right now, with the same GP, hubby and I can have the GP share information about each other. Better the GP can do the same for mom as she has the same GP. (Signed consents between hubby and I, and I have mom’s consent for her.) The last time we lost a GP, we went through 6 new ones over 4, or so years, before one stuck around. This time it will be worse.

          1. When I started in medicine, it was the rare physician who retired at 65. Most of them went way longer or dropped on the job. Now everyone I know is pushing to see how soon they can get out of patient care. Retire early, or move to administration, or some other job altogether. I never thought I would be one of them (still love being a doc) but the costs are getting higher and higher…..

            1. We still see a retired Chiropractor, occasionally. We pay cash. Keep expecting him to just not be available one day. He is the chiropractor that got hubby’s back fixed without surgery. Took 2x/day, 3x/week, for months, until muscles finally were properly retrained. GP and other specialists said he needed back surgery. Back surgery meant at minimum 6 months off work. Someone at his work mentioned a chiropractor. What the heck? Worth the chance. I have had the same problem hubby does, but never have had to go in for the extensive long term treatment. Go in once. Get appropriate adjustment. Tender a bit. Then good for months if not years. (Knock on wood) It has been years since last adjustment for either of us.

        2. So many bureaucrats practicing medicine while doctors waste their time filling out government forms. That’s what we got from 10 years of 0bamacare — fewer doctors and nurses, and hordes more bureaucrats. And now they’re Shocked, Shocked! that health care is more expensive and less available.

          Not to mention the medical resources they’re wasting on ‘Gender Affirming Care’ while people die.
          Under socialized medicine, each patient incurs expenses which end when the patient dies. In private practice, each patient provides profits which end when the patient dies. Which patient would YOU rather be?

  18. Sarah, you can’t be old. We’re about the same age IIRC. And while I may be broken down and disabled, I ain’t old! Heck! I still have all of my teeth (less the one crown, but that was the result of an incompetent Army Dentist. I should have put up with the pain and waited for Monday morning to go into AF sick call).

  19. Getting some preventive medical stuff seen to Wednesday. It’ll leave me even broker temporarily, but my thought is that if I get it handled now, then if Things Get Worse I at least won’t have to worry about that on top of everything else.

    Fingers crossed, knock on wood.

        1. I’m on the 3x a year dental visit plan, because my teeth suck. (Amazingly, I still have them all, even the one that is basically a stub after fracturing, being left fractured for a few months*, getting capped, getting capped again, getting an abscess**, and basically being no end of trouble.) But I always get compliments on my dental hygiene. Only took me several decades to get it perfect.

          My old wonderful dentist sold her practice to a new dentist who is actually *better. Unfortunately, when the switchover happened, everyone decided to get their teeth worked over by the new guy, which meant several months of waiting. I have ridiculously high pain tolerance, so this was annoying rather than devastating.

          **The abscess was shortly after getting the crown replaced, and the root canal folk said it must have been building for months. Uh, no. It came on like a freight train. I mentioned to the assistant that I’d just gotten the C-vaccine, and that this seemed like an opportunistic infection jumping in while my immune system was otherwise employed, and she agreed that is a thing with major vaccines.

  20. (Sigh) It’s time to flush the black pill down the toilet. The whole bottle of them.

    Nobody ever won a Culture War by wringing their hands about how bad things were, and casting about desperately looking for ways to survive. No! The winners seized the opportunity and charged home to victory! Hard fighting, maybe – if you want to win your Battle of Austerlitz, expect to advance uphill to take the Pratzen Heights – but do-able.

    This is a time to be on the hunt for opportunities. Political, cultural, financial, and in every other way.

    If you read Clausewitz’s book, “On War” (allow me to recommend the Howard/Paret translation), he writes of the “culminating point” of an attack. The idea being that an attack can overextend itself…and become vulnerable to a lethal counterstrike. Think Patton at the Battle of the Bulge. Or what Patton WANTED to do, which was not to drive due north to relieve Bastogne, but northeast…to cut off every German solider in the attack and collapse the entire front.

    The Left has overextended itself. Badly. This is the time for the counterattack. And for profitable investment.

    1. Patton was never going to be allowed to strike northeast to cut off the Bulge. From Eisenhower’s perspective, Patton’s proposition was a no win offering for the coalition; Patton fails and Ike has a second ‘Bridge too Far’, Patton succeeds (far more likely) and Montgomery throws a temper tantrum that might split the coalition. By late 1944, the British were on their last manpower legs and Montgomery still wanted to make up for Market Garden. There was a reason that Patton’s 3rd Army was as far away from the British as Eisenhower could put it.

      1. On the other hand, if Patton succeeds – the war is effectively over. Except for the argument over who got the goodies like Hitler’s Mercedes.

        And, of course, the credit. It’s REALLY interesting to speculate on that…Patton realized by early 1943 that Eisenhower had the Presidential bug, and could not have abided a really successful subordinate.

        1. Maybe. Patton was not presidential material, and likely knew it. And I suspect he also knew that he’d be unhappy as a politician. As such he’d never have been a direct threat to Ike’s ambitions. The question, of course, is whether Ike knew it. Of course, that doesn’t address the actual issue, specifically Patton’s willingness to be outspoken on topics that he felt he knew a thing or two about.

          In any case, with Patton dead before the end of 1945, none of it would have mattered anyway.

          1. “Maybe. Patton was not presidential material, and likely knew it. And I suspect he also knew that he’d be unhappy as a politician.”

            However, at the height of the Sicily slapping incident, he was also writing in his diary that if he was relieved / demoted over it his next act would be to resign from the Army “so I can speak freely”, go home, and dispense some home truths on how Ike’s being an Ally rather than an American was increasing casualties and prolonging the war.

        2. Not only is the war over, but Yalta is still two months away, which means that we might have been able to prevent some or all of Eastern Europe from going Communist.

          Given the obvious Soviet sympathies of our government, there’s probably another reason Patton wasn’t given the green light.

          1. It was a bit late for Eastern Europe at that point, as Romania had switched sides late that summer. And there was already an understanding of some sort in place between the Allies by then. From what I’ve read, elements of the Romanian government (not Antonescu himself, but other elements that were led by the King) had reached out to the Americans to try and forge an agreement. But the Americans had reportedly ignored the Romanian attempts, apparently because Romania was part of the Soviet sphere. As for the rest of Eastern Europe, with the time saved by the Romanian capitulation (and the Romanian oil now denied to the Axis), the Soviets were able to rush ahead and grab most of Eastern Europe. A pre-Yalta victory might have allowed the West to take all of Germany (which would not have been inconsequential). But I suspect otherwise the lines would have ended up more or less where they did historically.

    2. No one really believed Patton could relive Bastogne in a few days, so they were not going to belive in attacking deep into the Geman flank for a fatal ending. Instead they chose the lesser risk, the lesser victory, and extended the war.

      Midway is the counterpoint. That fatal vulnerability you see may just be the enemy ambush you could not imagine.

  21. As I was putting together The Margins of Mundania, I was surprised at just how much dystopian flash fiction I’d written over the last three years. I knew I’d written a few, but I was surprised to discover I’d accumulated enough to fill a substantial section — and even the other sections had a number of stories full of longing for what has been lost. Definitely my thoughts have been going down dark paths.

  22. Not everyone can write a poem, okay?


    I want to argue this one, even though I know what I’m pretty sure you mean, because I WANT to say that yes, anyone who can read can write a basic like Dr. Seus type poem, but I’ve got some of the new Cat in the Hat books where I had to line out the poems and re-write them so they scanned.
    (Rule: same information.)

    So entire publishing groups have nobody who can write a basic freakin’ by the rules poem.

    1. I’ve posted some of my doggerel here in the past. My poetry isn’t, well, poetry, But at least it scans and rhymes. If you can’t be a poet then be a poetaster.

      Dum de dum de dum de dum
      De dum dum de dum de dum

    2. If you’re going to make kids try to write poetry, I honestly favor also teaching the kids the structure of a haiku (5, 7, 5 syllables), or better yet, tanka (5, 7, 5, 7, 7). That way they’d at least get some idea of how hard it is to condense your thoughts to a few short, coherent phrases. And they might have fun.

    3. The bane of my existence is children’s authors who think they can make a viable poem when they really can’t. (And I absolutely adore Karma Wilson because she CAN. Breath of fresh air.)

    4. I’m still blinking at that. Then again, until here, I didn’t think it was all that strange to reel off a rhyme with little provocation.

      1. Same.

        I may do really horrible poetry– there’s not going to be any great bardic products of ever-flowing soul from me– but I can at last make it fit the measures and rhyme.

      2. Portuguese believe in poetry as a bardic gift, I guess. I’m not saying you can’t be taught to write stuff that rhymes. Everyone can, except me in English, because I don’t HEAR the rhythm (That’s most of my accent, to be honest.) BUT REAL POETRY is a gift.

        1. FWIW, it was clear enough to me that you meant REAL poetry (the stuff where your soul sings with it) not just rhyming, mostly was grumbling at myself because of the impulse to argue, and then argued with my own argument because clearly enough folks don’t know even rhymes-poetry-with-rhythm that the bad-Seuss-book exists….

        2. Thank you for the explanation. I was definitely thinking more the form than the function. As you say almost anyone can be taught basic metered rhyme. I didn’t think to think beyond that.

  23. IIRC, in original D&D, the first and quickly replaced Dieties and Demigods book included Lucifer. According to my questionably-accurate recollection, anyone who tried to kill Lucifer fell immediately into his power, no saving throw.

    From som military training I heard about, the interrogators in various Asian PoW camps loved to be confronted with “The John Wayne Approach,” as those folks were the easiest to break and turn.

    We need to be at least as wise about the serpents in our garden as they are. We need to know how to blunt their fangs. We need to BE the antidote for their poison.

    And we need to recognize that some (many? most?) of our family and friends will join the other side. Books like The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress and You Can Trust The Communists describe ways to recognize and counter this. But some are walking into it with their eyes open, not deluded but purposely.

    So don’t shout your plans from the rooftops. Even later “when it’s safe.” The fall of the Berlin Wall really did not change anything, for us.

    To get rid of my cancers, I had about 7 surgeries, 19 weeks of radiation therapy, five 7-day inpation rounds of strong chemotherapy, multiple blood, plasma, and platelet transfusions, and above all, the grace of God.

    We’re going to need patience, endurance, courage, collaboration, mental / spiritual / emotional strength and faith. You know my take on faith; but unless we have faith that our efforts will be successful, we won’t be able to stick it.

    “Be strong and courageous.”

  24. @ Sarah > ” I kept deluding myself that other fields worked fine.”
    Gell-Mann Amnesia Effect
    View at Medium.com
    “Briefly stated, the Gell-Mann Amnesia effect is as follows. You open the newspaper to an article on some subject you know well. In Murray’s case, physics. In mine, show business. You read the article and see the journalist has absolutely no understanding of either the facts or the issues. Often, the article is so wrong it actually presents the story backward — reversing cause and effect. I call these the “wet streets cause rain” stories. Paper’s full of them.

    In any case, you read with exasperation or amusement the multiple errors in a story, and then turn the page to national or international affairs, and read as if the rest of the newspaper was somehow more accurate about Palestine than the baloney you just read. You turn the page, and forget what you know.”
    – Michael Crichton

    The corollary is interesting as well.

    1. Not so much anymore. Now I read news articles knowing they’re fake. These days I read to find out which way they want me to look. Then I look the -other- way to find out what they didn’t want me to see.

      Newsies are talking about Chinese balloons and UFOs up high in the sky, look DOWN.

  25. Speaking of broken things – does no one ever check to see what they are writing?

    Seen just today, in different posts by commercial news pundits aka “experts”:
    Kirby said the military shot down the three objects since the first because they wanted “to air on the side of safety” since they couldn’t rule out the possibility of them spying on the country:

    He said the budget wants to “sure up” and strengthen Social Security, not cut it.

    If y’all don’t see what I mean, there’s no hope left for any of us.

    1. I see that a lot in comments in various places; people use something faintly resembling the right word, so it’s not necessarily a surprise that people who are paid to write do the same thing.

      Muses about training AI to do a decent copy edit pass on stuff like the above. Another nail for Trad-pub’s coffin, perhaps?

    2. If one never reads anything from when people knew how to write, one will have no idea what other people are actually saying.

    1. And Pothole Pete is addressing the disaster with…Mandatory Diversity. That’s the most important item on the Department Of Transportation agenda today. Not the toxic chemicals poisoning the Ohio River, naw, that’s not disproportionately affecting minorities. No problem there.

      ‘Diversity Hires’ nearly crashing passenger airliners two or three times a week is not a problem either. When they’re not satisfied with ‘nearly’ and actually do crash a few, will it be a problem then?

      It seems a lot of those ‘Diversity Hires’ are flying the Illegal Alien Midnight Specials around the country. Will it be a problem when a few of those crash?

      Tucker Carlson asked if there is anybody competent in the entire Biden* Regime. I’m wondering if all of them put together have enough functioning brain cells to form a quorum.
      There are forms of stupidity that businesses can’t indulge in. There are no such limitations on the stupidity of government.

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