Running Away

Obviously, I’m not the person to tell you to bloom where you’re planted. In fact one of my biggest problems with Wreck it Ralph (the movie) is that that appears to be its moral.

Not only did I leave my country of origin but I’ve recently left my state-of-the-heart.

The country of origin was not left due to politics. Sure, politics annoyed the heck out of me, but frankly, I was used to treating it as a scrum, and it was not really a problem for me by the time I left. For one things had gotten both a lot safer and relatively more free. It was left for no rational reason but a sense of the soul.

Years later I found this quote that comes the closest anything ever came to explaining why I left Portugal (and would have left anyway, even if I hadn’t happened to fall in love with an American. I had other options, including a job offer.)

“I have an idea that some men are born out of their due place. Accident has cast them amid certain surroundings, but they have always a nostalgia for a home they know not. They are strangers in their birthplace, and the leafy lanes they have known from childhood or the populous streets in which they have played, remain but a place of passage. They may spend their whole lives aliens among their kindred and remain aloof among the only scenes they have ever known. Perhaps it is this sense of strangeness that sends men far and wide in the search for something permanent, to which they may attach themselves. Perhaps some deep-rooted atavism urges the wanderer back to lands which his ancestors left in the dim beginnings of history.”

― W. Somerset Maugham

The dim beginnings of history thing makes no sense, but the feeling is otherwise much like this.

Recently I left the state I loved for 30 years, the state in which I had a dim sense I belonged before the first time I ever saw it. That one was health but also political, or at least partly political. Part of the reason for leaving was a sense of being unsafe, for which I have absolutely no explanation. My first name in the current house was the first time I slept well in months, perhaps years, and the first time I felt safe. Now, this might be related to altitude issues, as I have, since moving, come to realize how very, very ill I was at high altitude with worsening symptoms since I was about 35. Now I’m not a hundred percent better here, and allergies took a bit getting used to, but the trajectory was upward.

Now Colorado has become politically a wasteland, and Denver was increasingly less safe, particularly during the lockdown. All of which made it easier to leave. I still miss it, and I suspect much of the generalized malaise of the last year has been coping with depression from leaving the place that felt like a homeland. There were rational reasons for leaving including what can only be described as “next level f*ckery with our internet access” some weirdly specific threats, the fact that for years, for reasons known only to their psychiatrists, the Baen office used the author’s address when filing for copyright, so that was out in the open, and the fact that my health periodically throws wobblers no one understands and that Colorado has passed an euthanasia law that might rival Canada’s.

However, I’ll be absolutely honest, as bad as the political climate and crime have got in Denver, if it weren’t for the added incentive of my health spiraling ever further down, I’d have never left.

Anyway, from my history — to which there’s more — I have come to believe I am in a way an expert in “relocating because the country is going to the dogs and I have to get out of here.”

The more: over the end of the sixties and part of the seventies, the summers were devoted to very strange family reunions. You see, to no one’s surprise, every branch of dad’s mom’s family is given to immigrating. To be precise, each generation loses half to another/multiple other countries. Mom’s side isn’t perhaps as consistent, but still has a tendency to have far flung cousins, great cousins, etc.

My idea of summer, if you say the word unbidden is of lying in a deck chair in grandma’s patio, staring up at the canopy of vine leaves above while the adults nearby discussed foreign affairs.

What I didn’t understand is that the reason for these reunions and the import of many of the conversations that made no sense to under-10 me is that the various empires of European countries all over the world were in their final come-apart phase, and these people were often scouting the possibility of coming back to ye old homeland.

Some did come back. Others went to other foreign parts having determined they couldn’t stomach a return. So many people returned, though, over the next ten years, that we had a name for them “The Returned.” Most of them, mind you, from the newly handed to the Russians and their Cuban mercenaries independent Portuguese colonies, but many from a bit all over the world. When I was a teen, meeting someone with an accent in the grocery store usually meant a Portuguese-born person who had lived abroad so long he’d acquired an accent/foreign phrasing.

Here I’ll interject two facts: throw a pin at the map and I probably have cousins there, including in the most unlikely places Most of these though are distant enough that I come across them in 23 and me and can trace our connection, but never met them or their grandparents even. My mom sometimes knows who they are from people who left when I was little.

And two: staying in the countries you immigrate to is rare for Portuguese, and my family is rare in that. As are the various Portuguese-descended people here and elsewhere. For Portuguese maybe 10% stay where they go. The rest return when they’re old, with their pensions, to live out their lives amid the people they knew in childhood. There is also a tradition if you have kids, of returning as the older kid finishes high school, so they don’t marry a “foreigner.” When my oldest cousin in Venezuela married there (despite their parents best attempts to send them to Portugal every summer from age seventeen, in the hopes they’d marry locals) my grandmother said “I guess they won’t be returning.”

Note I’m a special (!) case. I married an American, and at any rate, my intent was never to return. We did consider, before marrying and decided my kids were better off growing up Americans. And so, here we are, and so they are. They’ve married/will marry Americans and there’s no idea of ever returning. Ten years ago, when I visited, my parents took us to a restaurant they like, and the owner having been informed I was their daughter asked when I was coming back, since the kids were then in college. I said “Never” and mom said “I think her husband would come live in Portugal before she did.” She’s not wrong, precisely. She is in essentials, in that Dan knows enough about the “real life of locals” he wouldn’t consider relocating there permanently, though he would probably be open to buying a beach house in the South of Portugal to spend winters there. I might be too, if things change/calm down considerably, simply because it’s cheaper and it’s nice, and we have enough contacts in the medical profession we probably wouldn’t die before being able to fly home for treatment. I’m not, mind you, as sanguine about this as I once was.

I might send my bones back, but only if I die before we make arrangements for burial here, and if it’s cheaper to fly me back to the family vault rather than buy a plot here. Honestly don’t know, but have given Dan that option. He says it feels wrong, and he’s probably right.

Anyway, those are my interests/experience/caveats.

Now, to get to the cold turkey, and it’s very deep frozen indeed.

Since 2008 a lot of my friends on the right have approached me at some time or other to say the equivalent of “I don’t think this is tenable. I’m going to move to X.”

Sometimes the X is outright crazy cakes –Brazil, say — and when I stop my horrified laughter and explain why they go and do research and stop the nonsense.

Sometimes the X is marginally crazy, or a place I don’t know much about. Or have heard stuff about and tell you but whatever, it’s your life. (I recently heard from someone who claims to have immigrated to the Philippines and be very happy. Well, whatever. I know a bit about life there through a ducttape son and wouldn’t touch it with a ten foot pole, in terms of being a foreigner abroad, but it’s his life, not mine. And it’s not someone I know personally.)

So, once and for all I’m going to lay down all the caveats about upping skirts and moving elsewhere to escape perceived oncoming political instability at home.

First: the older you are, the harder it will be to adapt. Our vets have informed us it’s cruel to move when our cats are over 12. They’re not wrong. We also, in general, haven’t had much choice. However, their point is true for both cats and humans. Look, moving to Colorado at 30 was a grand adventure. Sure, it also felt like coming home in many ways, but beyond that, we were just more…. flexible. The older you get, the more you fall into habits of “this is my stuff. This is where I do x. These are my friends.”

Second: That said, there is often reason to move, sure. In my case the health and politics combined put it over the top. My friend Charlie Martin moved to Florida, and seems to be doing okay. (I miss him rather terribly, but that’s something else. I mean we lived three hours away and saw each other four times a year, tops. Dan says we need to go visit. He’s probably right.) Other friends have moved from deep blue states to Florida or Texas, mostly.

Most of these moves were relatively happy, but I want to point out there’s always a cost, as there’s a cost for us. Things feel…. I like my landing place a lot, but it often feels like I’m in the witness protection program and not just because of relative secrecy, but because it feels like I’m living someone else’s life. And I know from friends who also moved in the last two years I’m not alone.

And keep in mind we moved withing the US. Most of us didn’t even change phones. Now imagine changing everything, in a country where you don’t know anyone, and the “every day life” things aren’t out in the open and easy to figure out because “everybody knows.”

True fact, in the 80s, when Portugal was pretty much “first world” my parents’ house was nearly impossible to find, unless you were in the know. Things weren’t very clearly signaled. Still true fact: even with GPS it still is. The GPS will take you through some no-go zones. Let’s say we got lucky.

Third: You don’t know about other countries from searching online. You just don’t. You also don’t know from visiting. As I pointed out sometime ago, if you visit Portugal as a tourist and stay int he tourist-areas you’ll be excused for thinking there’s practically no crime. The law is pretty hard on anyone attacking a tourist, because tourists are Portugal’s cash cow. You have to get to the nice suburbs (and know they are nice, that’s the other part) before you see the shutters over the bars on the windows, and wonder if there’s a crime problem.
Now, I know this because I know Portugal.
However, take it from someone who acculturated. It takes a good five to ten years of living in a country to even know what you’re looking at. This is why we took a bath on our first house sale. And also why I’m very lucky to be alive. Some of the situations I got into because I didn’t KNOW were that dangerous. And the US is probably the safest place a stranger can move. In general we’re non-tribal and not blood and soil. Save for certain zones. The rest of the world is not like that.

Fourth: “But it’s cheap.” Yep. There’s likely a reason for that too.
When we started scouting out places to move to, part of what we did was look at cheaper places. For obvious reasons. Here’s the thing: the cheaper the place, the less likely you’ll find the ‘conveniences’ you’ve become used to. No, seriously. When we first moved from Charlotte NC to the Springs, we felt like we went back ten years. And it’s the same where we’re living now. Little conveniences we’d become used to are gone. Things are a little harder. Now, it’s just a little, so it’s not a big deal. But it’s about ten years back in convenience and ease of finding stuff, etc. And the houses are less well maintained because the area hasn’t been in constant boom for 20 years, so you need to make more repairs, and some of the stuff is dodgy. Look, not enough to regret it. We really like the new house and the new area. But enough to be different.

Now imagine it’s a whole other country and it’s much, much cheaper. There are reasons for that. And the lifestyle will reflect it.

Fifth: “But I have dollars. I’ll live like a king.” Sure. Maybe you will. Do however remember that if the US collapses, those dollars might not go very far. Also, be aware that everywhere, pretty much, there are people who hate Americans, partly because Americans are prosperous. Partly because USSR propaganda was very successful. If the US falls, the world is going to be in a heap of financial hurt. Yes, the whole world. We are the consumers of the world. That means we buy a lot of things and keep a lot of places employed.

When things collapse, you might find yourself the target of resentment, without an embassy in reach.

Sixth: Connections. “But I don’t have connections here either.”
The thing is, in the US not having connections or friends nearby means you’re lonely. (And you should do something about that. Try a club or a hobby or something.) Abroad it can mean you can’t find a doctor. People at the store won’t sell you something you need, and you’ll have no idea why. At worst, you’re targeted for a crime, being known to be isolated and defenseless.
Dan laughs and says “Who are her connections” from Pride and Prejudice when we talk about Portugal. Because in Portugal connections are essential to figure out how to make things work, when they obviously don’t, in the open and by the rules.
Now, Portugal is Western Europe, kind of. These things are more so as you move East. You have to know who to call/contact for the most elementary things, from house repairs, to materials, to well, whatever you want to buy that week. And health care is definitely a point this. You have to know people. Having connections is essential to survive.

Seventh: You won’t even get the laws. No, seriously. The reason most other countries don’t have political bloggers is that the laws make it too difficult. This means stuff you think is perfectly normal/natural is criminalized, and you wont’ even find out till you trip over it.

Look, I have at least a couple of friends who live happily abroad. I want to emphasize, though, that both are married to locals, and for both it was a slow transition, involving a lot of decision points.

Running off half cocked because you have the impression some place is lovely is dangerous. It is doubly dangerous when the entire world seems to be on the verge of tipping into the bucket in the next ten years or so.

I’m not your mom. You’re not my responsibility. But before you decide to move to that lovely new place because you heard it’s wonderful, or you visited once and it seemed so perfect, do more research. Then do research again. And then do research another time.

Almost every country you could think to move to/retire in probably has several blogs of Americans who’ve done it and held on for a year or two. Maybe. Some might have even stayed for good. Find their blogs and read them, before you consider it.

If you’re American born and bred, you really don’t know anything about the rest of the world. No, I don’t want to hear it. Unless you have relatives abroad and have lived with them extensively, you don’t know anything about the rest of the world, how it works or what the pitfalls are. (In reply to Editor — this is not an insult. Just a fact of life. Americans are profoundly weird in a good way. If you grow up here, it’s impossible to fully understand the many modes of fail in the rest of the world, even in fairly “close to us” societies. And you won’t figure it out till you’ve lived there and hit them head first a few times. Oh, an exception would be maybe Mormon missionaries. They’re still sheltered, but they tend to see more of the pointy end than students or visitors.)

When you decide the water is fine and you should just jump in, you don’t even know if there are piranha or candiru.

Yeah, the downsides might be things you’re willing to live with. But you have to know what they are first. And you have to be able to make some extrapolation of what happens if the world’s economic wheels come off or if America collapses (which is more or less the same.) Just saying “Oh, they have plenty of fields, there must be food” is the way of insanity.

I’m not saying you shouldn’t go abroad. I’m saying you should research. Then research again. And be ready to be disappointed and markedly poorer than you expect to be.

The life you save might be your own.

310 thoughts on “Running Away

  1. When people ask me where I plan to go when the US is no longer worth living in, my response is Texas. “But you are already in Texas, and Texas is part of the United States,” they say. “Right now it is, but if the US ever gets so bad it is not worth staying, I’d bet Texas would no longer be part of the US. So why should I leave Texas?”

    Moved to Texas from Michigan in 1979, and everything Sarah said about moving into a foreign country seemed to apply. I made the transition (reading a lot of Texas history to understand the state), and plan to be buried here.

    1. How did that quote go?

      “Y’all can go to hell, and I will go to Texas.”

    2. I moved to SC from OH in 2005, and it was interesting – and, to be honest, a little difficult to fit in. Fortunately, my Dad was from WV, so I had some knowledge of tribal societies. If you aren’t kin, or at least very close neighbors, don’t expect to be treated as anything but strangers.
      They’ll be cordial, but – just not that close.
      I made friends, but they were often other transplants. Just warning you, fitting into a new culture is near impossible.
      When we tried to hire an electrician, we had no success. Finally, one of the teachers (a native) took pity on my and gave me her uncle’s number. He showed up – 85 years old – and did a hell of a job. Very professional. If I hadn’t had a good relationship with that women, I’d STILL be looking for someone to upgrade my wiring. Understand, most of the residents could either DO it themselves, or knew a friend/family member who could. Very handy people.
      Since then, I’ve lived in larger cities in SC, but the social life does tend to exclude us.
      That – along with the need to assist sibs in poor health – was a major factor in our move back to OH. Well, that and the grandkids.

        1. It’s that way in much of flyover country. I was a military dependent and saw too much of it. I was always the outsider. I live in the mountains of western North Carolina. I’ve been here sine the start of 2005 and am not such an outsider now, but most of my social circle is on the Cherokee reservation and Church. I’m OK with the locals because I don’t try to tell them about all the changes they need to make.

  2. Heck you have to be careful which states you move to, nevermind foreign countries as my brother found out when he moved to Hawaii for college. Once he realized that being mistaken for a “Portugee” was very much better than being a haole, he passed as non-haole for the rest of his time there.

    But until he figured that out he had a tough time anywhere but on the campus.

    Of course they are all smiles in the tourist areas. Because money.

    1. Haoles always forget the adjectival gerund part – it’s ‘f*ing haoles’. I had some Hawaiian friends in college in San Francisco.

      1. I’m sure he didn’t forget the adjectival gerund. But he sure as shootin’ wasn’t going to say that in front of his big sis.

    2. I usually get mistaken for Mexican around here. And in Texas. Florida, it was Cuban. New York, it was some kind of Arab (must have been the beard at the time). Folks that travel tend to guesstimate some kind of foreign, Turkish maybe. When I get too much sun, it tends to go more African/South American, for some folks’ guessing.

      Most folks around here are pretty well acculturated. Smallish town. Definite FIFO territory. But every now and then, when I’m working out of town…

    3. Wow, your comment took me back to college as well. Couple guys from Hawaii in San Bernardino CA. Called everyone Haole all the time. Some of us knew, I may have been one of the only ones to care if not much. My step dad was one of the Portugee you mention as well.

      He laughed about it when I mentioned it to him. Started calling them Haole back every-time they called me that. That stopped pretty fast from them. I’m in no case Portugee looking or anything close except white/sourdough bread.

      Got outta CA as fast as possible. moved to CO in roughly 1992 I think. Was in Littleton for a looong time. Then wife and I looked at Salida real close, and missed, ended up in Juneau AK.

      Bad aim? Serendipity? Not sure.

    4. I have college friends who were born and raised in Hawaii, but they’re still considered f*cking haoles. Another friend born and raised there is Polynesian… so he’s got no issues.

  3. Thirty-five years ago we moved as a family to Germany (wife’s job, me as Mr. mom, 9 year old step daughter, three month old daughter). We were there for about a year and a half. We lived in a regular German neighborhood. Step daughter went to regular German schools, rather than the international school. That was long enough to learn a little bit of the language and have a few local acquaintances, mostly neighbors and co-workers. It was not enough to get used to the country, make any close friends, or even get to know the area in any deep way. Biggest long term effect was being appalled at the taste of American beer for several years after moving back.

    Germany is at least partly similar to the part of America where I had grown up, but it would have taken a lot longer to really adjust to the local culture.

  4. Mrs Hoyt, you are an American. Your final resting place should be here, amoung your kind. No rush, but do stay. This is your homeland.

    You have more than earned it.

  5. Short story of my life; born in Ohio, raised in Florida, lived in NYC for four years which was a good reason to move to Alaska.

    It did take a while to adapt to the country, long, very long, winter nights, temperatures lower than -50° F., square tires, earthquakes, floods, more than a fair share of crazies (Hey, it’s the end of the road, they get here and can’t go much farther.), etc., but dang glad I ended up here!

  6. Over the years I’ve investigated things like flying, sailing, or even camping.

    The things I’ve discovered about all of them is while the promise freedom, for the most part it is an illusion. All of them are both tightly regulated and, since you are largely on your own, you are also under the control of whoever locally has the biggest stick.

    Feels like a sort of sick joke really.

    International travel feels sort of the same to me. International relocation is likely even worse.

  7. I work with a couple of guys who live in Central America and fly back to the US to work.

    One lives in Panama, and has a nice little island. He’s retiring there, and seems to like it fine.

    The other?
    He’s basically a rich landowner, with a ranch. Native Spanish speaker from the US. Horses, servants, et cetera. Lives well, if he’s not exaggerating.

    I still don’t think it’s a safe place to be because, well, Colombia.

  8. I’m in Texas, on the far fringe of one of the biggest cities – which everyone says is on the verge of turning blue, rather than purple or even red. Because – big city, which it seems are always on the verge of turning red, if not actually red. But, San Antonio is sort of a special case, because of the military establishment, and because of so many veteran retirees. I swear, you can’t heave a brick in any direction in San Antonio without hitting about fifteen retired senior NCOs and half a dozen colonels. So that’s one of the things keeping me here, instead of decamping to a small town in the Hill Country. (Well, that, and my books haven’t sold enough yet to permit me to buy my own Hill out there, and build a small family compound on it …) And the other thing – we have lived in our neighborhood for more than twenty years now – we know almost everyone, by sight or by their dogs, if not by name. We are all proud and protective of our bock of town, and in an emergency, we have our neighbors backs and they have ours. It was so, during Snowmageddon, two years ago, and true on the occasion of a double murder happening up the street and the murderer dashing away on foot … (Oh, lord, was that a panic! Every cop in the SE roaring through the neighborhood, and news helicopters rotating overhead. He was caught and convicted, BTW _ a life sentence) . In an emergency, the countryside might not be that much of a refuge – perhaps better to stay where you know everyone, and can guard each others’ backs.

    1. If I absolutely had to move, Hill Country is the only one on the list. If, say, hot war nukes kicked over the anthill nearby, and I somehow survived. I’ve worked in and around the area North/North East of San Antonio before. Good people there.

            1. If you aren’t allergic to it, you will be. Cedar pollen is sometimes so thick that the fire department gets called because it looks like a fire. Nasty, spiky stuff.

              1. When I lived in Japan it clogged my face up for months every year. It was awful. I don’t have that problem here in the Midwest, thank God.

        1. Eh. The view out the old shack’s front porch ain’t too terrible, neither. Even got a lake and all, too. Not a patch on the other one, truly.

          But my little mountains have their own charm.

  9. The way I think about it is that I know the problems here but I really don’t know about the problems elsewhere.

    Of course, the “problems elsewhere” are likely not something you can find out about on-line.

    We won’t go into the fact that I’m too lazy to want to change where I live. 😉

    1. When Beatrix Potter retold the tale of the Country Mouse and the City Mouse, she dumped the moral for one of her own: everyone is accustomed to the troubles of where he lives, and horrified by those of other places.

  10. Sometimes the X is outright crazy cakes –Brazil, say — and when I stop my horrified laughter and explain why they go and do research and stop the nonsense.

    Yeaaaaaah…. on his gaming stream a week or three ago, Dan Vasc– young-ish, healthy, etc– mentioned that he’s looking into moving to the US.
    Is… somewhat froggy there.

      1. I figure when young, healthy, brash, built guys start going “Hm, you know what, I may want to get out of here”– is not a good idea to head IN!

      2. Difference is, in Brazil folks are actually pissed off about the stolen elections. Here, they’re still backing down whenever the Leftroids call them ‘Conspiracy Theorists’.

        How many ‘Conspiracy Theories’ have been proven true, again? Oh, right, just about ALL OF THEM!! When are the Normies going to start pushing back? Because nothing will be much use until something gets the Normies off their fat complacent asses.
        “I have looked into the darkness, Na’Toth. You can not do that and ever be quite the same again.”

        1. Given the option, I’d rather have folks doing something instead of being “pissed off.”

          :gestures around Iowa: It is possible. I seem to remember Florida did good work, too.

            1. If folks can’t do anything constructive… eventually, they do something destructive.

              Which is part of why I keep pointing out that not only can we do things here, there’s examples of it WORKING.

              (Even if Iowa seriously pissed off the Dems by that. ^.^ )

              1. The first priority is to purge the rolls of all the dead voters, the ‘moved to another precinct/city/county/state’ voters, the illegal aliens, and the voters that never existed in the first place.

                But the instant you try, the Democrats start squealing “Voter Suppression! RRRAAACISSST!! REEEEE!!

                So far, that has stymied all attempts to bring a modicum of reason back to our elections.

                1. Bullshit.

                  I don’t especially like to be earthy about it, but when you’re given two examples of where people did identify a problem, and they did act, and it did work, it’s nonsense to say that it’s been prevented.

                  The screaming has been successful in a few places, MOSTLY the ones that they have control in, and heck yeah the media is desperate to sell that the raaaaaacists have been stopped, but are just menacing in the background. (Unless they lose, then of course it was the racists.)

                  1. They’ve had since 1993 — so why is this still a thing?

                    “Attorneys for PILF have had to file lawsuits against election officials in Pennsylvania, Texas, North Carolina, Mississippi, Minnesota, and Michigan to force state election officials to do their statutory duty to clean up the voter rolls.”


                    That many states (and the web site for PILF breaks it out in more details) represent a lot of places where screaming (or much more usual silence) has worked pretty well.

                    See also Judicial Watch and True The Vote. Each of them can provide another list AT LEAST that long.

                    1. I can’t speak for other states, but in Texas, voter registration is handled on a county level. With 254 counties, there is a lot a variability. Having taken a deeper dive than most people into the process of voter registration here, the problems can be surprising.

                    2. Which is a point I made last week when I posted this. Point being is that our election process is a flaming mess, and in lots more places than one or two. And they scream raaaaacism just as a standard tactic. Doesn’t make it true, but it’s a handy fundraiser. It can also help mobilize the troops.

                    3. They’ve had since 1993 — so why is this still a thing?

                      Because the enemy gets a vote, of course. What, you think that they’re going to just STOP trying to cheat when one way stops working?

                      AND the statement was not, “the fight isn’t won forever and ever.”

                      The statement was, “everybody stops fighting the second that they’re called bad names.”

                      And then you offer a link to proof folks have been fighting– and making progress— for decades, now.

                      Eternal progress? No. But it’s still progress, and folks are still fighting.

                    4. Foxfier, progress is not defined as seeing the fraud. Progress is defined by STOPPING it. And it isn’t stopping; it’s expanding. See 2020 and 2022.

                    5. You literally just linked to an article explaining how a group has, repeatedly, stopped fraud– and how they just won against an attempt to block them from doing more good.

                      I pointed out two different states that fixed identified problems going in to 2022.

                      What you appear to be upset about is that once a problem is fixed, it can ever need fixing again– which, sadly, is not how upkeep works. Or maybe not so sad, since if that was how it worked, then the Progs would be right in their stupid “oh we won and now we’re in power forever” nonsense.

                      This is cleaning a house, not flipping a switch.

                    6. No, what I’m frustrated about is that those same jurisdictions will be back in the news around the next election with news that they didn’t do it. or that after the initial ruling that everyone cheers a higher court says never mind.


                      followed by this in 2021, and never mind the Federal Motor Voter requirement.


                      And to top it off, WI was the place that decided two years late that the mail drop boxes used so effectively to turn the election weren’t legal, but nothing would be done about it.

                    7. No, what I’m frustrated about is that those same jurisdictions will be back in the news around the next election with news that they didn’t do it.

                      That’s worth being frustrated about.

                      It’s NOT worth ignoring every time that things DO work, much less declaring that they haven’t.

                    8. There are three problems with elections in Texas. The corrupt Democrats that control all the major cities and many metro counties. And the mostly corrupt Republicans that don’t do anything as long as they win their re-election and get that sweet money. And the majority of voters (70 to 90% depending on election), that don’t vote or even do their modest homework on the elections.

                      I’ve fought in Dallas, Denton and Collin Counties. I’ve audited voter rolls for groups that bring the lawsuits. I’ve helped get a law enacted to curb conflict of interest for elected officials.

                      I done with elections for a while. Hopefully some others can carry on while I recharge and work on more local issues. We have gangs moving into Denton County from Dallas, and Denton has Antifa (due to the universities), along a well known crew of trained cyber criminals that tie into some folks that have worked with TLAs.

                    9. It’s still a thing, because both political parties benefit. The Republicans aren’t much cleaner than the Dems, it’s just that the few Dems who aren’t corrupt, are crazy.

                      The last two states I’ve lived in have been supermajority red. Neither would survive a forensic audit. (Indiana doesn’t even have a papertrail, and this is a deliberate choice of the politicians. The voters aren’t fans.)

                    10. I’m starting to think Ace may have it right:

                      “How many times does the GOPe think it can lie to us and then tell us to make sure we all get out to vote because Voting Is Super-Important? Do they not realize that at some point — and for some of us, that point might have already been reached — we all collectively decide that voting is not important, that the Uniparty will have its way with us whether its the Red Team nominally in power or the Blue Team, and our only real hope for deliverance is for the whole system to just come crashing down?

                      And that maybe Voting Blue No Matter What You Do is the fastest way to achieve that?”


                    11. “Even LA County recently finished purging its voter rolls of dead voters.”

                      Yeah, that’s the claim. Wonder if it’s been verified by anyone? And that it will stay verified?

                      On a verification related topic, LA County is my current consulting assignment. They also just finished implementing a prototype system to scan via OCR and correct via AI any problematic language in title deeds where there are ANY written documents with “problematic language” such as restrictive covenants. Any title search will show only the corrected language, although they pinky swear that the paper originals will be “available on request”. Every CA county is doing this to comply with AB1466. Apparently reading the original language is “triggering”.

                      From the actual County Commission vote authorizing it last year.

                      The Department, as the official custodian of records for the County of Los Angeles
                      (County), is responsible for maintaining real property records. AB 1466 would require the county recorder of each county in California to establish a restrictive covenant
                      modification program to assist in the redaction of unlawfully restrictive covenants (clauses which mandate housing discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, gender, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, ancestry, familial status, source of income, disability, veteran or military status, or genetic information) which are in violation of subdivision (l) of Government Code Section 12955. This action will enable the County’s compliance with the State legislation.”

                      Click to access 166578.pdf

                      We were given a presentation on it last week. And they’re already talking with several other states that want to adopt something similar. Wonder what else they could seamlessly redact? Or add? The first thing that came to my mind is whether they could include language about “land acknowledgement” to turn the current owner into a receiver of stolen property. Get your paper copies now, folks.

                      What does this have to do with verification? Simple: in the electronic age, records are infinitely malleable, and the people who are having to be forced into doing the basic right thing of updating voter rolls will use that capability to feign compliance. Do we have enough monitors? And even if they see something, what then? We also have multiple court cases where fraud of various types was proven…. but the beneficiaries were allowed to keep their stolen offices.

                    12. I remember in 2008 when some were floating the idea that we ought to vote for Obama, because it might finally convince the GoP to clean up its act.

                    13. Yep. Putting ourselves in the hands of loonies only plays into the GOPe “Oh, look, we really are in a leftist country. We’d best move left.” For the love of BOB.

                    14. Larry Is Right, I’m gonna have to pick your brain. We’re currently in Collin County and looking to buy somewhere. Denton city itself has gone on and off our list, along with Ft. Worth and other areas… but yeah. Need to pick your brain.

                    15. I actually live there too, in Plano itself.

                      Generally speaking, Plano and DFW are expanding North; we live South. The county seat of Collin is actually McKinney, even though Plano is the largest city there. Overall, we’ve been pleased with Plano; the city services including street repair are good to very good.

                2. “The first priority is to purge the rolls of all the dead voters, the ‘moved to another precinct/city/county/state’ voters, the illegal aliens, and the voters that never existed in the first place.”

                  I still say that the simplest way is to just drop all of the voter records and require new signups on a regular basis. But even then, just doing it from scratch once (with appropriate ID to start) gets you a voter roll that is much better from the get-go.

                3. Yes, it is a problem. Most people who haven’t taken a serious look at the problem can’t even begin to understand it. Of those who have, many want to exploit it to their benefit.

                4. @Prof. Ornery

                  It all depends on your family makeup and if you need to commute . Children require good schools and that is problematic even in Texas. Frisco ISD school board in Collin County is have the same type of struggles seen elsewhere.


                  In Plano the West side towards the Tollway is wealthy and the East Side towards 75 is more middle-lower class. Check the demographics of a neighborhood by driving around in the late evening or weekend and look at the type and number of vehicles parked in driveway and on the street.

                  Older houses will have foundation/plumbing issues due to the soil and cheap tract construction of the ’80s and ’90s.

                  Most of the people that live in North Texas are not natives or are 1st generation Pseudo-Texans. It’s better in the smaller towns. All small towns in the DFW metroplex are getting consumed by developers. So it’s becoming homogenized suburbia.

                  The good thing is we do get a fair amount of decent people of other cultures.

                  1. We don’t have kids, so my only thing with school districts is potential resale value. We’re currently in an unincorporated area of Frisco/Little Elm. I’m writing and husband works remotely, so no commute either. We’re lucky that way. We’ve been looking at some of the towns to the east – Garland, Richardson, Allen. And southwest – Ft. Worth, Azle, Burleson.

                  2. “Older houses will have foundation/plumbing issues due to the soil and cheap tract construction of the ’80s and ’90s.”

                    Oh, yes they will. Camera inspection of the main drain is essential. Ask me how I know.

                    1. Sarah, on foundations, you’re probably correct. The plumbing issue (and half the houses on my block have run into it) is that when they were built (1974-1976) the pipe material for outflow was usually galvanized steel or cast iron under the slab. Pipe inside the house was mostly copper (if anyone’s interested, I’ll tell the story about the “copper termites” a coworker encountered). The problem is that eventually that will rust through, and not necessarily at the same place all at once. It took us three separate operations before we got all of it either replaced or re-routed.

                      Needless to say, having a hole in a pipe spewing water doesn’t really help your foundation either.

                    2. “copper termites”


                      We had PVC (house built ’73), running from the water meter to the house pipes. Tree roots took that out. Replaced with copper pipe (which discovered last winter that same roots from same trees had been working on taking out copper pipes, until we took out the trees, in ’17). Sewer pipes are thick black large PVC pipes (we saw them installed in ’90s when switched to new sewer line from backyard septic). Don’t know what is under the house, haven’t looked (we have crawl space, not on slab).

                    3. So, “copper termites”.

                      Basically, back in the early oughts, a coworker of mine built himself a new home in Wetumpka AL, and he had all the incoming pipes done in copper. The good stuff. 😉 Moved in and all was well, for about 3 months. And then he woke up one morning to a wet spot on the wall. When he opened it up, his brand new copper pipe had a round hole in it about the size of a mechanical pencil lead. No sign of trauma, no weather explanation. Just a hole. He replaced that section. And then the same thing happened again in a different section a few days later.

                      This went on for over a month, and we joked that he had been infested with copper termites. Finally, the contractor admitted there was a problem, and re-piped the entire house. No more copper termites. A couple months later, he got a call from the contractor, who said that he had gotten a letter from the pipe manufacturer saying this had happened to 6-8 other houses because the batch of copper for that lot of pipe had been “metallurgically unstable” and had little inclusions that would erode depending on factors like water chemistry. Eventually, holes would result.

                      Copper termites.

                    4. they don’t even have to be late 90s ones, ones built just a few years ago are having issues…

                    5. I think your black sewer pipes are ABS. PVC is usually white.

                      I had cast iron sewer pipes that were laid in the 50’s. Found an inspection tag inside the bathroom wall dated February 1953, so those iron pipes were marinating in sewage for more than 50 years. I ran a new 4″ ABS main sewer pipe out to the curb.

                      One 3 foot section of cast iron pipe was split from end to end and leaking under the slab. Rust expanded until the pipe couldn’t withstand the pressure.

                    6. Yep. What I mean by “camera inspection” is to put one of those fiber optic cameras in through the cleanout and see what the inside looks like. Flushing with a hose might help, or just flush an empty toilet.

                    7. My tenants complained of a wet spot in the hall carpet. After a lot of investigation, I determined that the water was coming from inside the bathroom wall. If I put my ear to the wall, I could hear a hissing noise.

                      Inside the wall, I found that when they built the house, one of the copper staples that held the water pipes in place had a sharp edge on the inside that nicked the pipe, just a bit.

                      60 years later, it sprung a leak.

              2. Also why I repeatedly try and point out to people that even if the 2020 presidential election wasn’t stolen, the White House needs to do more than just call people unpatriotic when the subject comes up. The White House needs to actually try and find a way to convince people (yes, I know, but this is about me having discussions with people who aren’t part of the government…).

                But the people I talk to don’t get it. They seem to automatically conflate “need to put Americans at ease over the election” with “election-denier!”. The idea that addressing the concerns of suspicious people in a rational manner might be a good idea when you’re talking about one of the bedrock institutions of our country completely escapes them.

                1. Have you tried the boyfriend route?

                  “Imagine your cousin was telling you about her boyfriend, and how she’d seen some stuff that might be nothing, but…. and how when she asked any questions about it he flipped out and screamed that she shouldn’t even be thinking about him cheating on her, would you tell her to totally ignore all the things she thought were suspicious?”

                  1. I have not, but I will now. That’s a very good analogy.

                    That said, from talking with some low engagement folks, it sounds like a lot of them did figure it wasn’t a fair election, but didn’t really care because they believed the new administration would be more normal.

                    So that may be another area we need to persuade one: why fair elections matter in the first place. That’s an area that worries me; a lot of people seem to be comfortable with general corruption and tribal alignment government. I’m not sure what to even do with that.

                    1. Good luck.

                      Given how poorly the “yeah, it was stolen, but…” went, kinda suggests that thieves are bad at doing government.

                    1. Kind of like the “translate it into a household budget to check the assumptions being applied” tool, it works for a lot of things.

                  2. This tactic also works for convincing people about using secure communications.

                    Most people are incapable of Getting It, until you frame it as “remember that incredibly awkward and sensitive conversation you had to have with $CLOSE_RELATIVE when $FAMILY_SCALE_EMBARASSMENT happened?”

        2. Well, there’s also the ever so slightly minor detail that the only reason why the guy who “won” the election wasn’t in prison on corruption charges was because one of his cronies gave him a government job while he was out of office (he’d been the president two terms ago), and a Brazilian judge ruled that while he held that office he couldn’t be prosecuted.

          So it’s flagrantly worse. Here people can cover their eyes and ears and pretend nothing unusual happened. There, it’s about as open as you can get it.

            1. The protection wasn’t as openly flagrant with Biden, though. I can’t remember the exact details of what happened in Brazil, but a good comparison would be if the Trump administration had been about to bring charges against Biden, Schumer suddenly gave Biden an official job in the Senate, and a Federal court ruled that the trial couldn’t proceed so long as Biden held that job. That’s much more of an “in your face” sort of thing, and I suspect we’d see some pushback even from some on the left (like Maher, who seems to be troubled by a lot of what his fellows on his side of the political aisle have been doing lately).

    1. One of my nephews recently married a Brazilian woman that he’d met on his LDS mission (they were both missionaries serving in the same mission). It took forever to get her visa so that she could come to the US and get married.

      Apparently this is a known issue due to bias by our State Department.

      1. The State Department makes it very very difficult to immigrate here legally. Apparently illegal immigration is literally not their department so they don’t care.

        1. All Immigration is good, unless it’s legal. It’s easier and more politically profitable to do nothing about legal immigration while grandstanding about the xenophobia and racism of those who object to the illegal variety. Never mind that those who object most strongly to illegal immigrants are often the legal immigrants who obeyed the law and did it right, in spite of the legal obstacles.

        2. My nephew’s family seemed to think that people trying to come over from Brazil have a particularly difficult time of it due to State Department attitudes about which countries are “okay” for people to immigrate from. Keep in mind that I don’t know the reason for them thinking that, but I don’t think it was just because of frustration with her specific case.

          1. My stepson married a German woman. It was just as bad for her (thry were successful, but she had adjustment problems. They’ve moved back to Germany).
            What really frosted us was our stepson reporting a conversation he had with an immigration clerk over instructions on filling out a form (the clerk had a pronounced non-American accent): “I guess you don’t understand English very well.”

        3. If you assume that the Department of State is chock full of folks whose very core ideals are inimical to you and yours, that want to destroy everything that makes the country they are sworn to great and promote every other country but that one, things begin to make a lot more sense.

          State is very high on the list of things that need to be reworked from the ground up.

          1. The Department of State is full of folks who got the best degrees from the best Ivy League colleges which are full of adherents of best European secular philosophers (Marx, prominently but not exclusively) America can find.

        4. My brother and his first wife tried to get a green card for her…. she’s British. The process was so f’d up that two years into they gave up. His second (current) wife is Irish and they don’t have any plans to move back to the States.

          1. The first time we got my wife a marriage visa (she’s Japanese) was when we were married for less than two years. The green card was limited at 5 years and the process took more than a year. We had to show up for an interview together at the US Embassy in Tokyo, and to the embassy staff’s credit, they were incredibly nice and our interviewer loved looking at our pictures and meeting our infant son. Yes, we moved to the US with a baby because we’re insane. Then we moved back to Japan a year later, made two more babies, and returned to the US for good to avoid the ridiculous Japanese education system. The second time, since we were married much longer, she was approved for a 10 year green card, but the process took even longer and although we flew back to the States more than a year after we started the application process she had to fly back to Japan for an embassy interview and green card approval. Horrid process, but since she’s here legally it beats crossing the desert with the unwashed masses and risking being trafficked…

          2. So, the AMERICAN AMBASSADOR to Portugal told me to marry here and stay here till I had my green card. Otherwise,t he bride visa would NEVER come through.

  11. Somewhere in the musty corners of the attic of time there was a man of Thrace that decided to step out of his normal routine. Slave, freeman, noble or elsewise is lost to time.

    From then on, he and his family fought and bled and died for Rome. When the wars with the Gauls started up, those men were there. Cursing and bleeding and killing and dying. When Hadrian’s grand experiment in the North was facing endless hordes, his descendants were there.

    When the Germanic tribes began to unite and the messy business of those Middle Ages came, they decamped the mainland and moved to the land of the Saxons. There they stayed until the colonies started being a thing, and from there came to the New World.

    Here, that man’s descendants have fought and bled and died in nigh every major war and conflict that America’s been in (and no few smaller ones) until today.

    But we are not, note, a military family per se. It just happens that every generation or so, at least one son (usually) or daughter (much more rarely) ends up there. We’ve sat in the same place we staked back in the early 1600s, making shine and hacking out farmland from these little mountains.

    That’s not to say there aren’t footloose wanderers in the gene pool. I’ve a cousin that made his chunk deicing planes in Alaska. Another was in Tailand last I checked. We’ve a few distant relations that didn’t make it out of England, poor sods, but we overlook that small deficiency.

    I believe that we were meant to get here, one way or another. Other places I’ve been, seen, and heard about just don’t attract. Texas is nice, mind. Canyon Lake is lovely, if a bit more urban than I’d like. Florida has its own beauty, if far too many mosquitoes. Indiana wasn’t bad when I was there- less so now.

    But here is home. Here dozens of generations of my forefathers are buried beneath the clay. Here we have lived, loved, and died, for the most part, because it is home.

    The rest of the world might be nice to visit, on occasion. Wouldn’t want to live there, though.

    1. Based on your tale of the family from “the time of the Saxons” until now, is it a good guess that a branch of the family goes by the name “Sackett”? 🙂

    2. “It is unbearable,” men say, “to lose one’s native land.” Look, I pray you, on these vast crowds, for whom all the countless roofs of Rome can scarcely find shelter: the greater part of those crowds have lost their native land: they have flocked hither from their country towns and colonies, and in fine from all parts of the world. Some have been brought by ambition, some by the exigencies of public office, some by being entrusted with embassies, some by luxury which seeks a convenient spot, rich in vices, for its exercise, some by their wish for a liberal education, others by a wish to see the public shows. Some have been led hither by friendship, some by industry, which finds here a wide field for the display of its powers. Some have brought their beauty for sale, some their eloquence: people of every kind assemble themselves together in Rome, which sets a high price both upon virtues and vices. Bid them all to be summoned to answer to their names, and ask each one from what home he has come: you will find that the greater part of them have left their own abodes, and journeyed to a city which, though great and beauteous beyond all others, is nevertheless not their own.

      Then leave this city, which may be said to be the common property of all men, and visit all other towns: there is not one of them which does not contain a large proportion of aliens. Pass away from those whose delightful situation and convenient position attracts many settlers: examine wildernesses and the most rugged islands, Sciathus and Seriphus, Gyarus and Corsica: you will find no place of exile where someone does not dwell for his own pleasure. What can be found barer or more precipitous on every side than this rock? what more barren in respect of food? what more uncouth in its inhabitants? more mountainous in its configuration? or more rigorous in its climate? yet even here there are more strangers than natives. So far, therefore, is the mere change of place from being irksome, that even this place has allured some away from their country.


      1. I’m guessing If you’re American born and bred, you really don’t know anything about the rest of the world.

        1. That’s not an insult. Oh, I wouldn’t say “anything” but you really don’t know how the rest of the world lives. Not at a the pointy end. Because you don’t know how WEIRD we are.

          1. It’s not an insult. It’s a prayerful warning.

            I’m American, born and bred, and there is literally no other place in the world I would want to live. Visit, sure. Live, not a chance in hell.

        2. Bunt maybe. Insult, no. Education can be painful with it destroys bad data that the person has internalized. But that doesn’t make it a deliberate put down.

            1. One of those cases where ignorance is bliss, right up until you’re hip deep in it? I’ve experienced low trust cultures and amoral familism before. I’m given to understand that other cultures are on a whole other level.

              And given the ones I’ve met and spoken to that escaped (yes, I really do mean that exact word) those other cultures, I expect that me and mine lucked out being born here.

              There’s a long way the US has to fall before it gets to the point it is indistinguishable from those other places. And if that horrible situation should ever occur, I expect they will be experiencing new lows, too.

              Fortunately, this latest experiment with dimentia Marxism seems to have shaken awake quite a few political sleepers, and not in a pleasant way. I’m sure the kleptocrats on the left and the quislings on the right will try and spin this as “well, it didn’t work because Sleepy Joe had the old man crazies! It’ll for sure work next time!”

              How many folks will actually believe that at this point? Doubtful that it’s many.

              1. I susprct that many blue cities are experiencing at least the beginning of that “indistinguishableness” (totally a Real Word) right now, which is why “get the he11 OUT!” is valuable advice.

      1. Been wondering that myself. Humans are weird. Some can take a “good morning” as an insult. Or having a door held for them when they have stuff in their hands.

        That sort of thing isn’t really worth worrying over. Some people, they punish themselves simply by living in their own heads. The reactions they get from other people are just the inevitable consequence of having the personality of an incontinent syphilitic skunk.

        1. My husband has been known to take “good morning” as an act of aggression….
          (only half joking, he … tends to go with “it is early.” Either in Japanese, or English. Has the joke down so folks don’t get upset at him not being fully awake, even if he is doing the walking-and-things.)

          1. I find it amusing that my simple “Morning,” greeting to other people is now a common thing, at least in my area.

            It is not a good morning, it is not a bad morning, but it is always A morning.

            1. I always liked Eyeore’s reply to a “good morning” from Winnie the Pooh.

              Good morning Pooh
              If it is a good morning
              which I doubt…

              1. I rather liked Gandalf’s:

                “Do you wish me a good morning, or mean that it is a good morning whether I want it or not; or that you feel good this morning; or that it is a morning to be good on?”

        2. Amy Schley figured out he took exception to “If you’re American born and bred you have no clue of other lands” (paraphrased.) I meant that in a GOOD way, but…. you know?

  12. Never been interested in living abroad, but just changing states here has its charms.

    Wife was born in CA; we did a sojourn out to the Midwest, then came back for 30 years.

    In 2019, Gavin Newsome took office. In 2019, we took advantage of circumstances and moved to Oregon. Connection? You bet! Insty linked to Matthew Crawford’s piece on corruption in CA – That’s later, but the writing was already on the walls in Sacramento.

    Having done ‘snow’ in the Midwest, principal criterion for someplace new was ‘no serious snow’; another was ‘convenient access to good medical care’; another was ‘city services for police, fire, water, garbage’ – did not want to live out in the boonies.

    And one other thing: voting records down to precincts are frequently on line. In 2016, CG went for Trump by about 25 votes out of about 4,000. Unlike other places, the inmates were not yet running the asylum here.

    Took almost a year to pick a landing spot. Even though OR has its political quirks – previous and current governors and the legislature are fringy, IMO – we’re better off here than in CA.

    1. California needs a thorough cleansing in Sacramento, on the level of a real “electoral bloodbath”. We’re running a massive (surprise) deficit this year, and the legislature is still pushing its super-expensive insanity ideas. Single-Payer health-care got shot down a few years ago, but not by as much of a margin as it should have (iirc, it would have tripled the cost of the state budget), and right now many are seriously talking about the stupid slavery reparations payments.

      1. I grew up in Sacramento, and have always been a bit annoyed that the rest of the state blames US for the people THEY sent.

        I also agree with my parents that any late budget (or hinky stuff) should be dealt with by mandatory legislature meetings… with the AC off.

        1. That’s also the DC suggestion – eliminate air cooling in the Capitol and all the government office buildings.

          ‘The House will be in recess until the Devil has returned to hell.’

          1. That was actually done once for theatrical effect. When Congress was holding hearings on global warming quite a while back, the leadership famously had the air conditioning turned.

    2. We landed in Eugene because hubby got transferred from Longview to here. At least we don’t pay Eugene property taxes. (Yet. Eugene has been trying to get Santa Clara since my folks built their house in ’63. They are 1.1 miles away.) No, we did not chose our house because it was close to mom & dad. We also didn’t chose the original rental because it was close (more like 3 miles). A lot of other reasons happened but biggest, easy to get to either the coast or the mountains. (Rental chosen because they took 4 cats and a German Shepard without quibbling. Does anyone know how hard that is? Just saying.)

  13. When one daughter was studying abroad, she discovered that to announce plans to travel is considered a serious risk. You are vulnerable and someone may hex you–so professors don’t announce when they’re going to be traveling.
    Somehow everyone else in her class understood the subtle cues and didn’t try to show up.

  14. You’re a Celt, mr dear lady. It’s in your blood, we all love to mourn our homelands, but not live in them. The Battlefield Band, lefties to a man alas, put it this way:

    My name’s John McKenzie, I’m a master at arms
    I carry my sword and my shield on my shoulder
    I’ve fought every fight from the Don to the Danube
    None braver, none better, none bolder
    I’ve stood with Montrose and against him
    I’ve battled with Swedes and with Danes
    And I’ve carried the standard of many’s the army
    Through many’s the b***** campaign
    But now as I sit in the firelight it seems
    There’s a distant horizon to the sword buckle’s gleam
    Till a pull at the wine brings an old soldier’s dream from afar
    For the rovin’ dies hard

    I’m Callum McLean, I’m a trapper by trade
    And it’s forty long years since I saw Tobermory
    Through Canada’s forests I’ve carried my blade
    And it’s pine trees could tell you my story
    Now my wandering days they are over
    But I’m thankful to still be alive
    For I’ve many’s the kinsman who died in the hulks
    At the end of the bold forty-five
    I’ve an Indian lass and I’ll never deceive her
    But there’s nights with my gun when I’d up and I’d leave her
    For the land where the bear and the fox and the beaver are lord
    For the rovin’ dies hard

    My name’s Willie Campbell, I’m a ship’s engineer
    And I know every berth between Lisbon and Largo
    I’ve sweated more diesel in thirty-five years
    Than a big tanker takes for a cargo
    Of the good times I’ve always had plenty
    When the whiskey and the women were wild
    And there’s many’s the wean wi’ the red lock o’ the Campbells
    Who’s never seen the coast of Argyll
    But now as the freighters unload on the quay
    The sound of the engines is calling to me
    And it sings me a song of the sun and the sea and the stars
    For the rovin’ dies hard

    I’ve tuned up my fiddle, rosined my bow
    And I’ve sung of the clans and the clear crystal fountains
    I can tell you the road and the miles to Dundee
    To the back of Alaska’s wild mountains
    And my traveling days they are over
    And the next of the rovers has come
    He’ll take all my songs and he’ll sing them again
    To the beat of a different drum
    And if ever I’m asked why the Scots are beguiled
    I’ll lift up my glass in a health, and I’ll smile
    And I’ll tell them that fortune’s dealt Scotland the wildest of cards
    For the rovin’ dies hard

    Brian MacNeill

    1. My paternal side of the family hit Oregon in 1843, and stayed. Left the cousins behind where the family hit the eastern shore from good old England in 1643(ish). Now the maternal side hit Montana in 1913 (great grandmother was pregnant with grandpa). Not sure when grandma’s family got to Montana, other than grandma was born in Montana in 1915. Grandpa and grandma hit Oregon via Colorado (where they spent WW2), in 1950. Settled on their place which they did not leave until dying in 2006. While my genetics are pioneers with wandering feet, they do tend to get somewhere then stick around for a long, long, time, before generations a few centuries down the road inherit the moving feed.

    2. Oh, YES! Celtic people do have the wanderlust. They may miss their kin, and talk of the places of their youth, but they are able to sink deeply into the new lands.

    3. His harp was carved and cunning,
      His sword prompt and sharp,
      And he was gay when he held the sword,
      Sad when he held the harp.

            For the great Gaels of Ireland
            Are the men that God made mad,
            For all their wars are merry,
            And all their songs are sad.

      G.K. Chesterton, “The Ballad of the White Horse”

  15. So, you’re an alien who landed here to steal our men. No wonder you are an SF author.

      1. That’s what the aliens want you to think. They have excellent mind control technology…

        1. Didn’t work on me, unless “women” are classed as “aliens”.

          Oh, wait. 😉

  16. When I lived in Phoenix I found that a lot of Companies there will not hire anyone from out of state that has not spent time there in the summer. Too many tourists thought it was lovely and decided to stay. Then left around the 15th of June because HOT.

    1. An old friend of mine has lived there for 25 years and is planning to move up into the mountains because it’s too damn hot and at 61 he just can’t do 115° any more.

      1. Yeah, went there for a conference (later, because my husband’s aunt and uncle lived there). Took ONE step out into the atmosphere, and thought I’d landed in Hell. Wanted to bitch-slap those who blithely said, “But, it’s a DRY heat.”
        Yeah, so’s an oven.

        1. Did you get the T-shirt? The one with two skeletons in lawn chairs captioned BUT IT’S A DRY HEAT!

          Or the joke about folks vacationing in Hell to escape Phoenix in the summer?

        2. At a certain temperature range, I’m not sure which is worse, wet or dry.

          My grandparents lived in Bakersfield, CA, so I’m aware of what 105° and dry is like — it was like that for a whole month one summer in the ’70s.

          But then I’ve been to Florida a few times, and stepping out of the airport at 95° is like getting slapped with a large wet dog. Hawaii is kinda the same, but at least it’s constantly breezy.

          1. I found Florida to be utterly miserable– it went from cold and soggy to way too hot and soggy without a “pleasant” point in the middle!

            (Of course, I also liked Bakersfield’s temps, and Death Valley, although I’ll vouch that after a certain point it doesn’t matter if it’s wet or dry heat because you can’t pump water out fast enough to cool off.)

          2. 85F in Willamette is comfortable. 85F in E. Oregon (east of just short of the summit of the Cascades, can be a little cool. Willamette has a tad more humidity than E. Oregon. OTOH compared to where there is Humidity (capital intended) there is none. 85F when humid, is unbearably hot. Of coarse 85F humid is usually accompanied by a heat index. Oregon rarely has heat index. Chill factor, yes. Heat Index, no. FYI. Willamette valley gets “hot” at 95F and higher; and yes, it is a “dry heat”.

        3. Well, I know a woman (online) who moved from Arizona to Pennsylvania. She thought the winter would be the issue — and she moved right before an exceptionally stormy one — but after a couple of years, she reflected and said, No, it’s the SUMMERS. The humidity. . . .

    2. Same idea about hiring newbs here in the mountains where I live. Lots and lots of people moved in after COVID because “free state” then we had the highest snowfall winter we’ve had in 3 decades.

      Lots of people selling at a loss and moving out.

      The poor dears can’t take a few hundred inches of snow I guess.

      1. Sounds like when I went to the Smoky Mountains. Clingman’s Dome is the highest mountain in one part of the park. There is a 45 foot observation tower at the summit, where you can get a great view of the surrounding mountains. The tower had a 35 foot radio antenna sticking up from the top.

        One of the rangers told us it got completely buried in snow most winters. Antenna and all. Sort of put me off ever wanting to go there in the winter time. 😀

      2. $TINY_TOWN in Flyover County, Oregon is like that. When we moved in 2003, we were told by a neighbor (who sensed we were going to stay, hell, high water, or knee deep snow) that newcomers aren’t really welcomed until they’ve spent a couple of winters here. Pretty much the case, but we fit in.

        We had a 2′ dump of snow in one storm our first winter. I learned how to plow snow with the utility tractor and the back blade (now accompanied by a front blade). Had some impressive berms of snow a few years, several impressive wildfires, heavy rains/floods and major drought.

        We’re staying, though we’re trying to get Idaho to move to us. 🙂

    3. True. The Reader was always annoyed that his suppliers in that area always seemed to have problems in July and August. I think once the Reader got to Phoenix in April, otherwise he visited Hell in the summer.

    4. Good choice, I think.

      I lived in Yuma for a couple years at ages 8-9. We lived in Sacramento for about 6 years. Our 30-year CA home was hot in the summers, but there’s this big ocean-thingy that influences the evening winds. But we were kind of used to running from air-conditioned house into air-conditioned car into air-conditioned stores.

      Phoenix area was on our first-cut list; we went to Spring Training (baseball) in March of 2017, and it decided to be over 100F. In March. We had to leave games because of heat exhaustion, despite being what we thought was prepared for that. Well, that got crossed off.

      Thought about Prescott, lots of CA folks seem to go there. Better heat, but failed the snow test, and I17-AZ89 failed the convenient access to good (in this case, ‘advanced’) medical care in Phoenix. And I don’t think I would do well at 5000 feet.

      1. Believe it or not, Oregon tends to run off people because of the Rain. Sure we get sun and cold, generally February (not as much this year). But when it is repeatably raining into July? It seems to run people off … Don’t know why.

        Yes, I like our weather. Generally not too hot. Or if hot, not for long. We can get some snow (’69 an extreme example) but only a dusting normally. Snow does not hang around.

        1. But that’s only the western 1/3 of Oregon, the “pretty” part that everybody thinks Oregon is like. The other 2/3 is semi-arid, dry and empty.

          1. It’s not empty!

            There’s just lots of elbow room!

            …. OK there’s a few places that are pretty dang empty, especially on the way through John Day or Shaniko.

            But it’s pretty!

            1. But it’s a stark, forbhidding beauty . . .

              Spent part of a summer chasing forest fires around Baker/Joseph/Imnaha.

              1. Aunt and Uncle have lived along Pine Creek (they have 40 acres) outside of Baker for over 66 years. I know Uncle Ron volunteered with local rural fire watch.

          2. Haven’t been to Oregon. But I did spend part of my LDS mission in the Washington Tri-Cities area, aka the great Washington desert.

            It’s actually quite nice there, which was likely why a lot of Californians were accepting jobs at the nearby Hanford Nuclear Power Plant and moving up there at the time.

        2. I don’t think it’s the Rain in western Oregon/Washington, it’s the Gloom.

          Our “rain” is more like “aggressive mist” most of the time, and I don’t think it registers as rain for most people from other parts.

          There was a Netflix series ten?ish years ago set in Seattle (but filmed in Vancouver) where it poured down rain PSSSSSSSSSHHHHH in every scene. I suspect that’s because Everybody Knows it rains all the time in Seattle, and Vancouver’s normal rain didn’t register as “rain” to east coast test audiences who think rain is either PSSSSSSSHHHH or nothing, so they went back and turned on the rain towers and reshot.

          In fact, Seattle has less rain in terms of inches than lots of parts of the country, but we have more overcast days than almost anywhere else (pretty much October 15 – June 1), and it’s the constant Gloom that gets people depressed. It certainly does me, and I’ve lived in the PNW since 1987.

          1. Rain in western Oregon/Washington, it’s the Gloom.

            True. Called the black months for a reason (nothing to do with no daylight, just persistent dark gray clouds and drizzle mist. Not a constant downpour. But regularly wet.

    5. We joke about it here, but sometimes it’s a grim joke. You can’t (usually) quite fry an egg on the sidewalk, but you can fry your feet. And other body parts that come in contact with, say, car door handles, steering wheels, black interior upholstery…

      1. I saw two guys in suits almost come to blows over a parking spot with a wee bit of shade…. the hobos downtown loved it.

      1. Nah, it’s quite nice right now in Maricopa (just south of Phoenix); 70-75 daytime, 50-55 nights, clear at the moment (a good bit of rain so far this year). And it’s like this for, oh, maybe a month and a half during the year. 🙂

    6. I never set foot in Arizona until Iguanacon in 1978. It was hotter’n hell outside, but when we walked as a group to restaurants I got used to it in a hurry and grew to like it in just those couple of days. I’ve lived in six states in my life chasing jobs and liked most of them (Maryland was nothing special) but Arizona was the best. Why? It was dry. I never knew how much I liked dry until we moved to AZ in 1990. We moved to Colorado in ’03 because there was work there, and mountains. We’d never lived near mountains. And it was dry. We built a spectacular house on the slopes of Cheyenne Mountain, maybe 2/3 mile from the Big Iron Door. But once I got to my early-mid 60s my blood oxygen was excursing down into the 80s. 6,700 feet is beautiful, but there wasn’t enough air there anymore. So my reason for leaving CO is mostly the same as Sarah’s. (And damn, I didn’t meet her until six months before we left!!)

      It may be genetics, but Arizona heat never bothered me. And now I see the heat as a kind of immigration filter: People who are used to California weather won’t live here. They all went to Colorado instead. Which is another reason that when I retired at 64, we came back to Scottsdale. I’m now 70 and don’t suspect I will be moving again. We’re literally a mile lower than our house in CS. I can breathe. And when it’s hot, I have a pool right outside my back door. I’m not an optimizer. This’ll do.

  17. “First: the older you are…”

    The wife and I just bought small acreage outside our hometown in the Ozarks. We have a few more years to work before we can make this move. And then it will be to unimproved land. There is a lot to do and I’ve been making lists. It’s a bit overwhelming. Not what has to be done, so much as joints starting to hurt. I’ll be building fence at 65…

    Still, I think it is the best decision we’ve made.

    Just saying “Oh, they have plenty of fields, there must be food” is the way of insanity.

    And yet that insanity is likely prevalent among urban Americans who have a vague notion that food comes from the country. Grocery stores have about a three day supply. Where will they go?

    1. The wife and I just bought small acreage outside our hometown in the Ozarks.

      I presume you watch “Homestead Rescue”. There is a list to make sure you have available.

      I have no idea why people presume when they finally get to settle on their land that drinkable water will magically be available and easily attainable. That growing food, both garden and animals, will be work but it will be easy to do. It isn’t. Not something I’d want to be doing at 65 (obviously, we aren’t).

      1. Never heard of it. I don’t spend much time with television.

        Our family did the same thing in the late 70s, difference that I was 14. Physically it will be more of a challenge, but in some ways it will be easier. I think I have a better vision of the end state than my father had.

  18. The ones that went roving in either my maternal or paternal families seemed rare. I went about 100 miles or so from CT to MA. I now have been a Massachusetts denizen for nearly 2x my time in my birthplace. One cousin from the maternal went as far as NYC and lives there. Another from the paternal side fell in love with a California dude and has resided there as longer than I have been in Massachusetts. Other than that all the cousins are within 20 miles of where they grew up. Maybe we really are hobbits and somehow I got a bit of Took. New England in general feels like home to me. However, all the states are funky. Vermont and Maine got so swamped with hippy types in 70’s that it threw their politics into serious weirdsville. Vermont gets worse as wealthy NY, CT and MA types move in and screw them up furtherafter 2020. New Hampshire runs hot and cold, they let the Democrats get a foothold in their statehouse and put same day registration and voting in. Thus the MA border (especially Durham with its university) tends to tank state wide races. Away from the cities all of VT, NH and ME feel like the small town I grew up in (before it grew 4x in size in 1970-1980) and feel like home. MA has just been strange since the late 50s, though again outside of the cities and university heavy areas it mostly feels like home. Rhode Island is so dominated by Providence and has such massively corrupt politics that it’s a mess though with pockets of normalcy. Connecticut was always overshadowed by NYC especially nearer the city and with the middle class flight in the 60’s and 70’s it started to change. By the time my Mom died in 1995 I really didn’t recognize the place politically. What had been a relatively fiscally conservative mix of liberal Republicans and Democrats had decided to outdo Taxachusetts in its spending and taxation. This was almost totally due to the growth of the parts that were bedroom towns for NYC.
    For the moment I stay here, I’ve been other places in the US and none ever felt like home primarily due to climate. I guess that’s the Baggins in me coming out 🙂 .

    1. Most of my beloved’s family has stayed in Massachusetts. One of his grandparents never moved off one street, never mind changing towns.
      He served in Thailand, lived 20-odd years in New Jersey and then we moved to Alabama and Tennessee….and he feels at home in our small town. But he also can’t wait to hit the road again. So I guess he’s the weird member of the family. (Though his younger brother took root in Ohio).

    2. Segue into another topic …

      Finished Woodward’s American Nations a couple days ago.

      Using his terminology, he’s a citizen of Yankeedom (in particular, Maine) and a ‘Public Protestant’. I could follow along most of the book, but once it gets to the 20th century I believe he Lost His Way. The afterword to the 10th edition outs him as an Obama and Biden fan.

      I kinda want to run away from such poor judgement.

      1. “Those [We] Yankees are just so gosh darn good and moral that they [we] just have to go around being a nuisance to everyone else because they’re Doing It Wrong.” — Woodward

      2. As I noted most of Yankeedom (which also includes NY, MI, MN and WI (and slivers of PA ND and SD but I buy none of that) is pretty blue, especially the newer residents in Maine. So no surprise he’s follower of Obama, many of the old school New England Republicans liked what he said and found McCain/Palin ticket unpalatable (Ms. Palin was so crude don’t you know, bunch of blue blood brahmins,,,) although some fell away as it becam clear obumbles had misrepresented himself.

  19. Tonight on Tucker Carlson — part 2 of his analysis of Capitol Building video the Democrats have been hiding for more than 2 years. Last night he showed Officer Brian Sicknick casually walking around more than an hour after he was ‘murdered by Violent Insurrectionists!’

    He did miss one question, though. Time and time again we have been shown video of thugs smashing in doors and windows at the Capitol Building. Why are none of them rotting in jail for two years without trial? Why have none of them been rousted by SWAT an hour before dawn? Why are the Fibbies not making any effort to find them? Why, it’s almost like they don’t want those vandals arrested.
    Some of the politicians nominally on our side need to be taught the difference between ‘compromise’ and ‘appeasement’.

    1. The fact that Sicknick was not injured on January 6 has been known for a while. It was revealed just a few months afterwards that the DoJ had gone over the surveillance videos and couldn’t find a single instance of him taking a blow to the head. IIRC, he did text his family and mention that he’d been sprayed with something. But other than that, the whole thing was obviously an intentional bit of misinfo “leaked” to the New York Times.

      1. Probably someone hearing the (accurate, and on video, was evidence for the trial of one of the guys from Iowa) report of a security guy being hit with a fire extinguisher, and the (accurate, but unrelated) death of the other security guy, and making an unsupported assumption.

        And then they kept lying about it because it was a heck of a story, beat the pants off of the arrested-and-released-at-antifa-riot guy breaking windows.

          1. Pretty sure the fall guy would’ve been blowing that trumpet if it had been scripted– they had to let the guy they’d already caught at an antifa riot go, and he was right next to Mrs. Babbet.

            1. Possibly. Not sure the trumpet would have ever been heard, though, which also seems to be a common issue in this clusterfark. Maybe the released videos will clear most of it up, unless Tucker somehow mysteriously “disappears” some night. Which I wouldn’t rule out; desperate and powerful people and organizations aren’t prone to rationality or restraint.

                1. The last line sums it up: “The officers did not suffer serious injury.” It’s a witch hunt. And “Twitter theory” rates somewhere near “phlogiston theory” and below “geocentric universe theory”.

                  1. Oh HELL no, that is not a standard we want to get rolling in general society.

                    I supported charges against the “cement milkshake” jerks who assaulted that journalist, and I support charges against someone throwing a fire extinguisher at someone’s head, even if they didn’t manage to cause SERIOUS injury.

                    I went through school with the f’nig nonsense about only serious physical injury being important in physical assault.
                    No, no, no– “the person I tried to kill managed to not die” is NOT an acceptable standard.

                    1. You misunderstood (or I wasn’t clear). Assault is definitely not OK, but claiming he killed the officer when he didn’t is even worse. Assault isn’t murder, or even manslaughter. And false accusation of murder is a witch hunt.

                    2. Not sure what your objection is, since the Heavy article is very clear about the claim being false, and coming from Twitter.

                    3. Not sure why you think I was objecting; my comments were about the overall situation: false Twitter garbage (as is common), refuted by facts.

              1. Hopefully for Tucker, Hillary does NOT appear in any of the footage.

    2. Carlson: This is what really went on. I have video, I’ll show it to you.
      Democrat Leadership: LIES! It’s All LIES! He’s a LYING LIAR who LIES! UNAUTHORIZED disclosure of GOVERNMENT SECRETS!!!! He’s showing carefully doctored propaganda!! REEE!!!
      Me: Actually, I thought that’s what came out of the January 6 committee hearings and approved media outlets.

      1. Left-wing media: “Carlson is showing cherry-picked video clips to construct a false narrative!”

        Me: “You mean like you-all have been doing for two years?”

        Here’s an idea, make all that video available to everybody so we can watch it ourselves and make up our own minds.

        LWM: “That’s RRRAAACISSST!! REEEEE!”

        I remember the Rittenhouse trial. Time and again left-wing media would show a clip of video from the trial, then sit there and lie about it. They told us we didn’t see what we had just seen. And nobody but Tucker Carlson called them on it.

        I still want to know why NONE of the hoodlums shown on video smashing in the doors and windows have been arrested. Why are the Fibbies not even trying to find them?
        Why do so many idiots believe that our problems will be solved by the same shitheads that caused them?

          1. That there, right there, so there.

            FBI: Federal Bureau of Immolation which just recently celebrated their burning a bunch of kids to death with a barbecue at/near the site of their crime.

          2. Now Lindsey Graham says they will be making all the raw footage publicly available, with ‘some redactions to protect National Security’. If it’s like the video we’ve seen with a few doors fuzzed out, that should be OK.

            Tucker Carlson said 95% of the video just shows empty rooms and hallways.

  20. States have feels. I’ve spent a couple of months, total, in New Mexico and I’m comfortable there, but I’d never permanently move. I don’t tan enough and am just too whitebread to fit in. But I love the landscape, even though what it “says,” to me is, “Yeah, I’ll kill you if I get the chance. Nothing personal, it’s just what I do. I do it to the natives, too.”

    OTOH, we traveled through Arizona in 2021, and while it’s probably a much better political fit I don’t care if I never go back.

    1. They really do. I’m from west of the Mississippi.

      I lived east of the Mississippi for a year, and that was enough to convince me that those who are east of it should stay east of it, and those who are west of it should stay west of it.

      1. 😀
        I’ve never lived east of the Mississippi, but most of the people I know of who’ve come to the mountain west and northwest from there have convinced me that you’re right. Same with California.

      2. I moved from east of it to west of it. But then the jump from WI to MN isn’t that big. Maybe it’s more, even though far from such in both cases, “Great Lakes” is Great Lakes….

        1. That is a good point.

          I was going from Inland Northwest to NoVA/DC/MD, so the “Should stay on own side” effect is probably more pronounced the farther from the River one starts and ends.

  21. “The law is pretty hard on anyone attacking a tourist, because tourists are Portugal’s cash cow.”

    From what I’ve heard, that’s pretty much the case in any place that has lots of tourists. Theft and simple burglary (i.e. taking advantage of stupid tourists who leave their door unlocked) are usually fine so long as it doesn’t get out of hand. But the moment a tourist so much as gets scratched by a criminal, the full force of the law will descend.

    “I recently heard from someone who claims to have immigrated to the Philippines and be very happy.”

    There’s a thing that I’ve heard about recently called “Passport Bros”, which are essentially American guys who’ve gotten fed up with the American women that they’ve been trying to date (and in some cases actually married until she left him) here in the US, get a passport, and move to a foreign country specifically to settle down and marry a local woman (and not come back to the US). Southeast Asia is a popular destination, and the Philippines in particular. There’s apparently enough of it going on that it’s a trend that people are aware of. Of course, it should also be noted that it has an advantage in that a guy who marries a local woman is plugged into at least one local community group – namely, his wife’s family. Doesn’t mean that he won’t get lynched by a group of American-hating locals at some point (or someone upset about “foreigners stealing the women”). But he does have a support group of sorts otherwise who will hopefully help him to avoid the worst of the things he might otherwise blunder into, and back him up if need be.

    1. On one hand, maybe they could have tried looking for a woman somewhere other than bars.

      On the other hand, less competition for sane women for me.

      On the gripping hand if they do get lynched it’s just a really long chain of causality leading to a darwin award.

    2. The problem with “marry a foreign girl and settle down in foreign” is that you are highly dependent on the foreign girl being a goodun. Now I have more or less done that and we’ve been married a quarter century now, but we were married a while before we moved to her country.

      I know PLENTY of horror stories where the girl (and/or her family and/or jilted former lover and/or someother local rando) gets upset at your presence and starts to cause trouble with the local authorities. At this point you (and possibly your spouse, if she isn’t involved in causing the trouble) are facing a bureaucracy that doesn’t speak your language, has rules you do not understand, may need bribes you don’t know how/who to pay and so on.

      If your spouse supports you then generally speaking sufficient application of money will solve the problem, but it may take years and if its her family/former close friends then she’ll be extremely miserable and that will take its toll on the relationship.

      If she doesn’t support you, you are in a world of hurt because she’ll be helping the bureaucrats and not providing you with interpretation help. You’d better hope in that case you have made some friends with people who aren’t directly associated with your wife who can give advice and assistance.

      1. “The problem with “marry a foreign girl and settle down in foreign” is that you are highly dependent on the foreign girl being a goodun.”

        And also her family liking you. As you note, if her family doesn’t like you then both of your lives will probably be miserable.

  22. You have reminded me of the archetypal American hero who has spent years in a foreign country (or the frontier) and is approached to lead “city slickers” or professors or tourists through the country to some particular destination. There is a reason the hero always laughs cynically in their faces and warns them before accepting the job; he knows the locals and the territory personally, while they have only the outside writing, descriptions, and published photos to go by. There’s a reason he laughs first, then goes into specific details.

    It would be wise to remember that reason.

  23. I’ve known for most of my life that I could never live outside the US, and even Hawaii would be dubious, based on the experiences of friends…If I had to, I would live in central France, since I speak the language…

  24. I suspect I’m one of the people our hostess refers to when talking about living abroad so I’ll chime in with my 2 eurocents, pennies, yen etc. Brief background: I have lived in the UK, Finland, Japan, France, Germany and the US (California) – owning property in UK, France, Japan and US. I have also worked extensively in Switzerland and somewhat in Italy. I have traveled to a lot of other countries (most of Europe, but also Oceania, Asia, Latin America and Africa) as well as over half the US states and 5 Canadian provinces.

    First the grass is always greener over there, then when you get there turns out it wasn’t quite as green as you thought. There are always tradeoffs. Some of them are fine. Some not so much. The only way to find out is to go there and try, but even a couple of months of stay won’t tell you everything, even if you do it in the area you plan to live in. Essentially the longer you stay the less likely it is you will find something new that is a no-no but that chance is never zero.

    Second you need to consider why you want to move. From context the hypothetical person Sarah is talking about is moving for fear of crime and/or social unrest etc. That means you will want to move to an area which is a high trust environment. That rules out most of Asia, all of Africa and probably all of Latin America. It also rules out more of Europe than you may think.

    Certainly the southern European countries are not high trust. Switzerland probably is, but Switzerland exhibits considerable variability as the cantons are quite independent. Also Switzerland is generally expensive and they absolutely 100% discriminate against foreigners who aren’t rich. Scandinavia was high trust (but urban Sweden certainly isn’t anymore and I suspect urban Norway is similar). Denmark seems better but it’s tiny, flat and cold. Finland (technically not Scandinavia …) is large, not quite as flat but colder and also seems to be better than Sweden but trending down too. Germany is mixed. Germany is also a political mess with an unsustainable energy problem that it won’t fix until people start freezing to death. Austria is similar but with a notably weaker economy. My knowledge of Eastern Europe is less, but my impression is that Estonia, Czechia and Poland are the best with relatively little corruption. Slovenia may also be good. Hungary is next. Slovakia and the other baltics are ahead of Romania and Bulgaria and the former Yugoslavia (other than Slovenia) and Albania is rock bottom. My strong belief is that unless you have ancestors from these nations (even Poland or Estonia) you probably don’t want to live there even if it is “cheap” but YMMV. Plus these countries are near a warzone or potential warzone.

    For US citizens the countries that are most similar as the UK, Ireland and Canada/Aus/NZ . You will at least be able to speak the language and the law is more or less the same. Unfortunately all of these are politically woke and green and therefore heading down the toilet bowl. Most (all?) of them have far fewer political freedoms than the US (no first or second amendments) and are generally more dangerous anyway. Australia and NZ are at least high trust countries, particularly outside cities, but as Dave Freer can tell you, they are expensive and have bureaucratic BS that can cause major issues.

    Israel is a possibility if you are Jewish, but wait until the current Netanyahu/supreme court thing sorts itself out. People are leaving Israel now to return to the US.

    The obvious high trust nations are Japan and to a degree Korea and Taiwan. I live in Japan. It is very safe. But it is also quite closed and the major cities are due to have a major earthquake any year now. In all three the language will be an issue. And the legal system is one misunderstanding away from deportation and/or jail for a crime you probably didn’t commit and if you did, didn’t know was a crime.

    1. Pixy Misa, the tech guy over at Ace’s blog (who posts about tech-related things every morning) lives in Australia. Some of the stuff that he relates doesn’t make me particularly keen on the idea of moving there. And I live in LA County…

      “But it is also quite closed and the major cities are due to have a major earthquake any year now.”

      Not that I’m interested in moving there, but I’m curious – how are the Japanese earthquake codes? California’s long overdue for a major earthquake, as well, but it’s probably the safest place in the world to actually ride out an earthquake.

      1. Japan’s earthquake codes are very good.

        You will probably not die from a building collapsing in the quake. You may not die from a fire afterwards unless you are unlucky. Now (post the Tohoku quake) you probably won’t die from a tsunami. But greater Tokyo and Kobe/Osaka/Kyoto are densely populated areas so if the power goes out for an extended period of time you may run out of food and water and you will be one of millions in the area who are equally short of the same. That’s not good.

        Mind you the exact same thing applies to LA. A decent quake could kill the power and block the half dozen or so freeways in and out. Without power there’s no water (even if the water pipes remain undamaged you need power to pump) and if the freeways are blocked by landslides or crashes from drivers exiting then you won’t get food in either

        1. The good thing about Japan is that since it is a high-trust society, people will line up and wait in an orderly manner for help, and even the yakuza gets their members on scene with blankets and water. I made many lovely friends when we lived there (nearly 8 years) and I speak and read Japanese decently enough that if I was dropped into the middle of a rural village I could make a life for myself somehow. But the work-life balance there is a nightmare and we moved back to the States to save our kids from that.

          1. No, the problem that’s being described with a Tokyo earthquake is the destruction of the internal transportation network within the urban areas themselves. You have the issue of needing to feed millions of people, but little ability to actually get the needed supplies to them because the roads simply don’t exist anymore. If you lived on the fringes of the disaster area, you’d be alright. If you’re in the middle of it, you’d better hope that the authorities start airlifting supplies in. The Japanese could probably get the roads cleared and semi-functional in record time. But even that takes time. And until then…

            Downtown LA would be screwed in a similar situation. The rest of the three counties… maybe. The Greater LA Area is a massive urban sprawl that’s built more out than up with lots of broad thoroughfares if you know where to go. Might make it easier to get stuff in and out.

            1. If I have to be in a major natural disaster in a city I’d prefer to be in Japan rather than LA. But I’d prefer not to be in any city if possible

    2. Rumint suggests that North Ireland may have at least the beginnings of issues with Americans being too present.

    3. Sadly, Korea and Taiwan suffer from “living next to unstable nuclear-armed country that covets the country’s land, and that’s highly dependent upon the whims of whoever is running Beijing”. And Beijing is likely going to start looking for distractions in the near future.


      They’re probably safe. But if they aren’t, one or both of those countries could be looking at wide-spread devastation in the next decade or two because either Beijing or Pyongyang has a fit of pique.

      1. Japan too for that matter. But I think the ongoing demographic collapse in the PRC (and in Taiwan, Korea & Japan) mean that there will be little appetite for conquest by the Chicoms. My understanding is that the PLA (and PLAN, PLAAF) is sufficiently undermanned that it doesn’t have the manpower to occupy Taiwan and meet all its other commitments.

        The Norks are a different matter though. They could be an issue but likely only an issue for S Korea IMHO.

        1. Japan’s only territorial claims issue is with Russia, and it’s been decades since the Russians pushed the issue, afaik. Further, the territory dispute with Russia doesn’t include the entirety of the country, as is the case for the RoK and the RoC.

          My main worry, though, is the fit of pique that I mentioned, along with nuclear weapons. I’m fully confident that Taiwan can resist an invasion even without outside support. Same with South Korea these days, given the sorry state of things in the DPRK. I’m more concerned about the leader in either Beijing or Pyongyang getting a mad whim to nuke one or the other.

          That could happen with Japan, as well (the PRC still demonizes Japan over WW2 to this day). But it seems much less likely.

        1. Ants the size of Buicks! ‘Them!’ was set in New Mexico. Then one ant got on board a shipload of sugar. Another one set up shop in the Los Angeles drainage tunnels.

  25. Other fun things to think about when moving (to foreign places) are the reliability of power supply, building codes, natural disasters and the like.

    A lot of countries have drunk the glowball worming koolaid and have therefore replaced reliable fossil fuel or nuclear power with intermittent wind or solar. At some point some major nation is going to have a grid failure and several days restoring power to a large portion of the country. In that case you do not want to be in an urban area (and you really really do not want to be in an upper floor apartment) or without stocks of food and fuel to heat it and you. As a foreigner you will be last on the list for assistance and probably first on the list to be looted (and you won’t have a firearm to help convince the looters to leave).

    One really good reason to avoid any corrupt country is that it is highly likely that the buildings will not be properly up to code to survive natural disasters like floods, hurricanes and earthquakes. See Turkey as a current example. Turkey has had building codes for decades that should have meant that the recent quakes did not see blocks of flats collapse into rubble. Compare this with, say, Chile where numerous massive quakes over the last decade have caused death tolls in the tens as opposed to the tens of thousand.

    A lot of these problems can of course be mitigated by careful selection of where to live and what to live in. Japan’s quake 12 years ago killed people because the tsunami was larger than expected (note that Oregon and Washington are due one of those any year now too), but if you didn’t live in a constricted inlet by the sea you were fine. Floods only affect people in river valleys. Wild fires only affect people who live in dry areas. Bricks and landfil and both bad for earthquakes and so on. None of this is exclusive to foreign countries but it’s a lot easier to get the information when it’s your own country/state

  26. i really wanted to belong out in CA but … it just took so much effort to keep my mouth shut as things went downhill.

    1. Hubby is from CA, Lemon Grove (San Diego). He won’t go back except for annual golf trip with the buddies from the local men’s club. He moved north at 24 (His folks sold and retired to property they bought in early ’60s, in ’72. A sister and brother followed them to Bend.)

    2. We left in 2003 when things were starting to slide and the odds of finding another job in semiconductor (or adjacent things) was low. I thought Grey Davis was a horrible governor, but I never anticipated the return of Jerry Brown.

      I was liberal(ish) when he had his first two terms, but the party deserted me and I took my chances with the GOP. (A major gun-grab initiative pushed me over the edge. Defeated, but we still had paper ballots. Go figure.)

      We tried to get a conservative elected to the county board of supes; he came in the leader with a plurality in the first round, but in the second, “If you want to do business with government in this county, drop any support for X.” His opponent won, then later went on to DC to cause more decline nationally.

  27. Sarah, my beloved the tax accountant says to tell you he’s getting clients who are being very, “cross every t, dot every i,” because they want to prove they have reason to be here, since they are emigrating from….Canada.

  28. I did spend a couple of years in Bolivia. I wouldn’t mind visiting again, see what’s changed in 45 years, but live there permanently? No way. Most of us have no idea how good we have it here.
    Research all you like but it’s what you don’t know that you don’t know that will get you. Even worse, it’s what you have always taken for granted and never thought to question that isn’t necessarily so in a green-looking foreign paradise.

    1. My recollection is that Bolivia was the first South American country after Venezuela to get taken over by a Chavez fan. Not a place I’d be eager to visit, given that.

      1. There is more than one reason it has been considered the poorest country in Latin America. It doesn’t help that leftist populists keep getting elected and turning out to be grifters and thieves. You might say that I have some idea what a violent overthrow of the government looks like, and January 6, 2020 didn’t.

  29. One thing you frequently miss in historical fiction, or fantasy, is how difficult it was to move about, and still more to settle in a strange place.

    Exile was not considered the functional equivalent of the death penalty without reason.

    1. Clarkson’s Farm. Caleb drives to London in episode 7 (I think), and the forty or so mile trip is further than he’s ever traveled before in his life.

      There’s also the language issue. Clarkson’s “Chief of Security” is barely understandable, even though he’s a native Englishman speaking English. And I’ve heard much worse in the past (I once saw a bit where Robin McNeal filmed a conversation between two English farmers speaking their local rural dialect, and literally could not understand a word that they were saying).

      1. I’ve done english to English simultaneous translation of Glaswegian to Brooklynese. I was the only one with both tongues. Fascinating that waa

        1. At one point I was called into a meeting in a room in Silicon Valley to be referee and interpreter between the hardware lead engineer (Chinese) and the software lead engineer (Indian) because they were so worked up that no one else could understand what they were saying. I could mostly understand both
          SW Eng:”Someting indian accented”
          Me: “Venkat says ….”
          HW Eng: “Some in chinglish”
          “Lee says … “

  30. The problem is…where I want to live is not so much a place as a time.

    I know the era. It’s the mid-to-late ’90s. It’s even, to a certain extent, a place. It’s the East Bay/San Francisco/San Jose area from that time.

    Back when you went to Fry’s Electronics and had to be stopped from buying a second spool of CAT-5 cable, because you already wired up everything you wanted.
    Back when the clubs in San Francisco were still awesome.
    Back when you could be a feral nerd and companies were willing to prominently hire you because they needed wizards.
    Back when the women were attractive and tried to be attractive to heterosexual men, even the transsexuals.
    Back when even the kink scene was art and not madness.
    Back when conventions were fun.
    Back when…for some reason, it seemed like a majority of things were working.

    I know a lot of it is nostalgia and my age (my new job…a decently trained High School graduate-a High School graduate-could do my job. I’m just glad that I owe no massive debts for my college degree. One I should have gotten ten years ago, minimum. I barely made it through then…I think I could have gotten the advanced sheepskin if I did my college degree program today). And frustration with a world that demands that I choose between two different breeds of…well, absolute f(yay)king cunts who just wear different tribal paintjobs if I want to live anywhere.

    (Seriously, I’m having a hard time telling some of the really terrible people on the Right from the Left other than dogmatic call-outs.)

    But, where will I go?

    I don’t know of anywhere that I want to go. I’m not quite at the point of “this is the hill that I’m going to die on,” but I’m finding some good hills.

    1. Time. Yes, that was indeed a factor in my Big Move. Not so much as finding an obscure Irwin Allen TV drama, but to finding the mores and morals that I knew from what was then Small Town Texas, and had slowly but surely degenerated into unrecognizable craziness. My wife and I endured it, textbook frogs in the pot, until the time came that we no longer had any reason to stay, and plenty of good ones to leave. So, leave we did. The place I lived for 50 years was no longer what it was.

      Luckily, we had the time to find a place that suited us before we left our old home. While weather and soil were a part of the calculus, the ethos of the place was heavily weighted. My wife found the perfect spot, and we moved to rural Central Texas in 2019. No one locks their doors here. Cars are left running with the windows down (weather permitting). Conversations are frequently had between persons in pickups sitting in the road. People pick up their trash. Things are tidy. In short, the place is very much like what I remember from my youth in terms of behavior and values. The people seem to have held the fleeting charm of the Old Ways, and keep them alive.

      Friends who venture out to our rural refuge are always shocked at the blase attitude about security. I tell them, “Most people out here are prickly, and well armed.”

    2. It started when women hit ‘a certain age’ (past their prime childbearing days), and realized that they were NOT going to attract a mate/replacement for their previous mate. It drives women nuts, in a way. They frantically start looking for something to give their lives meaning – and ‘Progressive/Radical Politics’, alternative religions/spiritual movements (where, basically, EVERYONE is a freak), and veganism/pet-replacement-for-a-child/Internet Weirdness (and, let’s be honest, that’s the place where Weird congregates) – were used to fill the void.

      Along with wine – a LOTTA wine – turning many of that group into alcoholics – and, because alcohol lowers inhibitions – sluts. Which further kept them from the marriage/dating market.

      And, now, those ‘diversity’ jobs, which kept them in their little luxuries, and from being a bag lady (because, none of their relatives – the Normal Relatives – would willingly take an aggressively obnoxious Progressive Karen into their homes), are being eliminated. Even in the Leftist strongholds. Even in the Never-Gonna-Fail Social Media companies.

      Is it any wonder that they are losing what is left of their minds?

      1. …this assumes that they had any minds to lose in general or in specific.

        I’ve dealt with far too many of them…they have a nasty habit of migrating into HR and any jobt that lets them get access to C-suite employees.

  31. Orthogonal to this post, but related to American’s not understanding foreign countries and not realizing just how f-cked up they are. Pakistan is about to join Sri Lanka in sovereign default with their chief creditor being ….. the China Development Bank. maybe the IMF will bail them out, maybe not. Don’t look good right now. South Africa is about to implode and the UK came very, very close not all that long ago.

    Everyone has been betting on China being the Keynesian savior. not going to happen, they came right out and said just that. Things are really bad,

    Nothing was fixed after 2008/9 but now we’re looking at sovereign defaults rather than just banks. Watch oil prices, which are now down YOY, in contango, with supply building at rates seen only during the WuFlu.

      1. Something not mentioned in the article –

        I’ve heard one reason why so many of the local Chinese municipalities are having trouble is because Beijing decided to dump the liability for the local pensions on the local governments, but didn’t provide any additional funds to pay those pensions…

        1. According to a couple of youtubers I watch (ADVChina), the central government seems to farm out all its hardships to the local boys, so everyone hates the local commie leadership with fiery anger while President Pooh Bear enjoys a higher approval rating. Or at least, this is how it has been in the past.

          1. Yeah, I watch The China Show, as well. They’re the ones that mentioned the pension issue. This is a brand new problem for the local governments, though, as up until recently the central government had taken care of it.

          2. Can’t be a challenge from a local power base if everyone hates their local power base.

            1. It’s a bit more than that. What often happens is that the locals get upset when the local authorities attempt to enforce a directive issued by the central government. The locals start to complain and get a little rowdy, and the central government then swoops in and “resolves” the issue that it created in the first place. Not only do the local leaders look bad, but the national government is also able to build itself up in the eyes of the population.

  32. Did you see Powell’s comments today? What I saw summarized felt really off to me: that due to the strong economic growth expected later this year, the Fed will be raising interest rates higher and faster than planned to keep inflation under control. What?

    1. The ‘strong economic growth expected’ — where, exactly? Do they believe the same policies that got us into this recession will get us out of it? What have they been smoking?
      “Stupidity got us into this mess; why can’t it get us out of it?”

      1. Well, I’m not yet persuaded of disproof of my old mad theory that the issue is pot.

        But, some things I might be still saying ‘no yet persuaded’ about in hundreds of thousands of years if a necromancer archeologist is compelling my bones to speak.

        1. Can’t be just pot. Must be laced with some really whacked-out psychotropic hallucinogen, too. They’re all off in another world that bears very little resemblance to this one.

          May it come crashing down on their pointy little heads soon! Before they bring the real world crashing down on ours.
          Today, every child in America is born $139,000 in debt.

      2. It’s not all bad. There is a lot of re-shoring going on. That sucks up capital to build stuff. We’re between Scylla, Charybdis, and the rock whats-his-name was tied to getting his liver eaten every night. The “COVID relief” funds created monetary inflation. The baby boomers retiring are creating supply-side inflation. Reshoring is creating demand-side inflation.

        It will be years before it settles out, but fewer workers chasing more jobs is a good thing, right?

    2. They always do this. Always, They’re talking up their book, it’s what they do, they can’t actually do anything else. Central planners actually never do anything but harm. It’s all the bully pulpit. Rememebr, they believe in magic and that they can talk the economy into doing what they want.

      The key thing is that the Bond market doesn’t follow the Fed, the Fed follows the bond market. I can actually prove that, but never mind. The recession is typically triggered when the yield curve uninverts, That’s when the bond market says yup it’s here. YC is at worst level since 1982.

      Right now, I’m still looking for a recession and still think it’ll be a doozy. The only fly in the ointment is that everyone else thinks so too and when all the experts agree, something else will happen.

      1. It felt very Soviet to me. “Here, comrades, is the good news! We will be raising interest rates to curb inflation because economy is so good! We have said it!”
        Which makes my skin crawl.

      2. Before Coffee thinking, but I have an intuition that we could see a new behavior basically inspired by all the shenanigans to control known past behaviors.

        I don’t understand economics or finance myself, but from the outside it looks like it might boil down to numbers and behavior. A lot of those numbers are on the real number line, and should have mathematical behavior that is reasonably comprehensible. (I am finding myself wondering if the labels effectively make some of the numbers into vectors.) Some of the meaning and behavior of those numbers comes from the transactions, a human behavior of changing several related numbers at once in specific ways.

        Left implies that they think behavior can change instantly, in any way, and infinitely. Left implies that they think it is mostly ancient super-conspiracies, peer pressure, and top down force. But people very often have other reasons for their existing behavior, that will still seem pretty good.

        Past events exposes a lot of behavioral possibilities. New extremes in gaming ‘the system’ as people understand it from previous events result in higher incentive to change behavior. At some point, this can exceed the motivation to stick with the status quo, but this is inherently unpredictable. Depends on the internal perceptions of everything by other people. These internal perceptions are a rate limiting factor for behavioral changes, and not even the person in question has complete information about future possibilities.

        Sale of land depends on rule of law, or whether the people in the area recognize the transaction, or refuse to. Force alone does not compel existing number response behavior to stay the same.

        Economics seems to develop naturally from using land to produce food, to keep people alive, so that they can perform transactions. Everyone dead, no transactions, no way to measure economic activity. Goods degrading in a warehouse should in theory lose value, but if no one exists to want them, doesn’t the value disappear well in advance of goods ceasing chemically or mechanically to be food, circuits, gears or whatever?

        One can make others crazy by abusing them and their perceptions, and sometimes it seems a bit reliable. Forex, the process of abusing girls trafficked for the sex trade. Some people are manipulative abusive enough that they feel confident in their skills. But, there is a problem with scaling that behavior, in the inner state space of the minds targeted. As you break people, the more people you are breaking, the more potential for surprise. If you break a small number of people, and are constantly observing their responses, you are more able to anticipate and head off what they do, but they can still surprise you. See all the folks surprised when their habitual victims finally snap and leaves or go on a stabbing spree. Abusing groups means that no one can closely observe the entire group.

        My silly forecast was that the finance types would learn about the complex number plane, change from using real to complex numbers, and start writing everything in phasors. I know that isn’t going to be close to what happens, but am amused by saying it.

      3. when the yield curve uninverts

        Can you give us a layman’s definition in short simple words of what that phrase means? I’ve been hearing about the “yield curve” forever but barely even register what it’s supposed to be about.

        1. Normally, long-term bonds and CDs have higher yield than short-term. You’re leaving your money tied up longer, so there has to be some incentive. If you put your money in a savings account, you can withdraw it any time you need it. Putting money in a 12-month CD means that money is tied up for a year. If you withdraw it early, you lose a lot of interest. You wouldn’t do that unless the CD pays more interest than the savings account.

          An inverted yield curve means short-term bonds and CDs pay more interest than long-term ones. In that situation, why would anybody buy long-term CDs? Because they expect interest rates to drop soon. When the short-term CDs end, interest rates will be lower than what the longer-term CDs offer now.

          We’re seeing the yield curve uninvert already. Most long-term rates are equal to or slightly higher than short-term rates, meaning investors don’t expect interest rates to drop.
          Governments can only print money; they can’t make it worth anything. They can make it worth nothing.

        2. The “yield curve” is yield over time. The most common metric is bills (monthly) vs bonds (10+ years) [“notes” live in the middle]. A “normal” yield curve is long-term debt having higher rates that short-term debt. An inverted yield curve is the opposite. We’re currently inverted.

          The yield on the US 1-month bill is 4.654. It’s been over 4.5 since mid January.
          The yield on the US 20-year bond is 4.1xx (it’s changing really fast, right now). It’s only been over 4 since mid February.
          That’s inverted.

          These move a lot. For example, on 3 Nov the bill was 3.074% and on 8 Nov the bond was 5.003%.
          That is not inverted – but it was the exception. Something unexpected must have happened in early November.

          Why, yes, I do work with this data for a living (mostly moving it about, not looking at it).

        3. I’m afraid I was out earning the living today, actually went into NYC, and so couldn’t answer. The other comments cover the basics, but the way I look at is the yield curve inverts because the bond market is concerned about present inflation and future deflation — recession..

          When inflation goes up, fixed rate things, like bonds, become less valuable in real terms — interest rates go up. If the market thinks inflation will be persistent then the whole curve will shift up in parallel. If they think it’s not going to be persistent they’ll sell the ST notes, which cause the interest rate to go up/price go down.

          The yield curve can uninvert by short term rates going down or long term rates going up. Typically it’s the former and the yield curve uninverting is driven by the market — not the Fed. The market — deciding the recession is here and flying into the highest quality, most liquid notes. — short term US Treasuries. The increased demand causes ST interest rates to drop/increase in price, LT rates typically stick and, thus, are higher than ST, which is the normal state of affairs.

          Hope that helps. It’s really not complicated once you come to grips with the jargon and ignore all the BS in the press. The FRB is trying desperately to look relevant whilst not crashing the market and the press is just a bunch of barking seals.

    3. Interest rates are still catastrophically low. I don’t much care what animism they use to come to the conclusion they should raise them more, but they need raising.

      1. I’m starting to see 5.x% CDs again after decades of 2% and 3%. Bought into a few recently. Savings accounts are paying 0.5% instead of 0.02%.

        I wouldn’t recommend buying any CDs with terms longer than a year. Higher-yield CDs are likely on the way.

        Fortunately, I refinanced at 3% fixed before interest rates started going up. Today’s mortgage rates are approaching 7%. Which would have been a bargain during Carterflation in the late 70’s. 14% mortgages, anybody?
        How do you get a million dollars day-trading stocks?
        Start with two million!

        1. I refinanced at 3.5% when I took cash out to buy Tierra de Balzacq. I thought it was highway robbery at the time, but now? Never. Refinancing. Again. 😀

        2. I refinanced at 3% fixed before interest rates started going up. Today’s mortgage rates are approaching 7%. Which would have been a bargain during Carterflation in the late 70’s. 14% mortgages, anybody?

          Raises hands. Current mortgage is 3.2%. Looked at refinancing, which the bank would have paid us the closing costs (I think, did pull the trigger so don’t know) down to 2.8% (another 30) or 2.6% (for 15, which is about what we were currently at). We got into discussion lock, we both wanted a lower interest, he wanted a lower payment, I didn’t want another 30 year loan. Even at the lower interest rate, a 15 year mortgage didn’t drop the monthly payment that much. It isn’t like we get the interest mortgage deduction anyway, I’d like to get the thing paid off.

          Oh the high interest rate? We started out with a 13.5% variable, 5 year balloon, on our original mortgage in ’88 (don’t remember what our ’80 mortgage was (I think 8%). The ’88 original mortgage we had the process started before the year was out. Then whittled down the interest rate over the last 34 years.

      2. No argument. Withdrawal from low rates is going to be painful, more so because they kept putting it off. I just found the “reason,” they gave off.

        1. The Reader’s sense is that Powell is tap dancing between the politicians (of both parties) and the markets all of which hate the interest rate hikes on one hand and his memory of the 70’s where the Fed wimped out 3 or 4 times after starting to raise rates on the other hand. He also knows that the real inflation level is a lot higher than any of the published statistics but has to keep Fed Speak going to be able to do what he thinks needs to be done.

      3. The reason they haven’t is that if they did we couldn’t afford the debt service payouts to the current bondholders.

  33. In other news, it turns out that Scholastic changed wording and plot points in the Goosebumps books, while RL Stine is still alive, without consulting him, and several years ago.

    Stine is just a tad upset.

      1. The added horror was that Amazon helpfully updated the Roald Dahl books on Kindles when the bowderized versions were released.

        With the current mix of operating systems and Amazon’s rights gubbage, I have to enable WiFi to get anything onto my Kindle. Used to be able to do so, but the Mark 1 Fire got a software “upgrade” a while ago. Things that were accessible no longer are. Arggh.

        So if I’m downloading a book, that’s a window for the ‘zon to “fix” anything else I have. Grr.

        1. This is a major concern I have with going to an ereader. I know that a lot of authors are doing very well with self publishing ebooks, and I don’t begrudge them that, but the ability of a major corporation or a government being able to retcon things at will really scares me. These are just test runs for the real Orwellian stuff that is being planned.

  34. I was in the Navy, and went to a few Asian countries. You couldn’t even get laid without a good Momasan on your side. The Momasan knew the rules of that society, mostly who and how much to bribe. The wrong bribe is as bad as no bribe at all. Too much and they become suspicious or demand more every time after that. Some might say that those parts of a society are not the real society. It is a very good reflection of those societies, the bottom being the most populated parts of those societies. To most sailors it was just some place else, not America. You obeyed their rules even if you didn’t understand them. When you had time to reflect you wondered how was it they put up with the stuff they did. The reason was they were not Americans. They were whoever they were and they were that way because that is how they evolved as a society and people. We Americans evolved much differently. We are still evolving. by the way, hopefully to something better.

  35. Maternal grandparents decided to be Christian missionaries to Africa. Mom was born in Mondombe, deep in the heart of the Congo. They spend five years in Mondombe and moved to Bolenge where granddad aided in establishing a college for the people in the Congo. Bolenge is located right where the Congo river crosses the equator. Mom came to the US in 1939. Dad left his home state to travel during the depression. Ended up joining the army before WW2. Dad was third wave on Omaha beach on D Day and in the reliving forces coming up from the south breaking thru to relieve the siege of Bastogne. Medals from both the Bulge and Omaha beach. Both haves of the family ended up in Indiana. So of course after some travel I stopped in Wyoming with an amazing girl from a farm in Minnesota. After 39 years in Wyoming (what a neat state) I moved to Twin Falls, Idaho. Twin Falls has an elevation of about 3700 feet which means I am a good 3000 feet lower here than I was in Idaho. Love Idaho. Love the rocky mountain west in general and Idaho may well be the best part of that. Started University in South Korea and added time at two other colleges in the US. Am so glad to live in a land of freedom even if it looks as if we might need to replace our self anointed and declared “Elite” because they refuse to do the job they said they would do.

  36. You wrote: “When my oldest cousin in Venezuela married there (despite their parents best attempts to send them to Portugal every summer from age seventeen, in the hopes they’d marry locals)…”
    What? Is your cousin ‘non-binary’, (which doesn’t exist)? Your cousin is either a boy or a girl, and you know which it is! So why did you switch to plural they/them for your cousin’s pronouns???
    Why not ‘his parents’ or ‘her parents’? Or ‘him/her’, ‘he’d/she’d’?
    Pronouns matter! Get it right!!

    1. No. I meant all of my cousins The parents sent all of them to Portugal for the summer. One married.
      Yes. It’s sloppy writing done first thing in the morning and not copyedited. DEAL
      Also, do endeavor to grow up. Unless you are actually 4.

    2. Or you can apply a little thought, maybe a bit of charity, or act like the guest you are, and figure out that the eldest cousin was sent back to Portugal with younger siblings, as their parents chose that over the other well-known route of “only send select children back to try to get them married.”

  37. This is outstanding. You capture my “the wheels are coming off” thinking about the US. I’ve given long thought to moving to Colombia or Panama or Costa Rica. Your cautions are wise.

    Thank you.

  38. I’ve lived, when old enough to remember the experience, in 2 west European countries and 1 African one. I’ve briefly visited maybe another 3 west European countries. I now live in one of the less exciting bits of the American Midwest/Great Plains region. I wouldn’t rule out visiting Europe again, but I wouldn’t want to live there. Or anywhere else in the US besides where I’m at.

    1. Say what you will about the Rust Belt, the culture – for those of us who grew up there – is predictably and relatively sane. There are changes, sure, but the core culture hasn’t changed all that much.

  39. The first eight years of my life I was an Army brat, wandering back and forth across this country. Then we settled in California. I consider it to be my home state. After grad school we lived in upstate NY and then 20 years in Philadelphia. Just over a year ago we made the decision to leave Philly. It took some thinking and research and we landed in Texas.

    We had been talking about moving back towards the west coast as that is where 99% of family for both of us lives. We did know that CA would be too expensive to move back to and we didn’t like the politics. We looked at several other potential landing spots considering existing connections and proximity to California, along with my hard and fast “NO SNOW!” rule. Texas fit the bill. It’s been an adjustment, but faster than we had in Philly. There are Diner friends here who I’ve now met in person, and we’ve even made a few friends, I feel comfortable her and safe. We’re not going anywhere for a long while, if ever.

  40. And it’s the same where we’re living now. Little conveniences we’d become used to are gone. Things are a little harder. Now, it’s just a little, so it’s not a big deal. But it’s about ten years back in convenience and ease of finding stuff, etc.

    It is possible this is as much how badly COVID lockdowns broke things. I was in the same place for nine years before last month’s move and even after the move I’m in the same area.

    A lot of conveniences, like late store hours, left with COVID and never came back. Same for some kind of specialist businesses.

    I’m not saying the cheaper isn’t part, but it might not be all of it.

    1. Aye, The Death of Convenience. Sure, it’s nice to be able to order stuff online (and for a while, get it next day, even) but SOME things it’s nice to have RIGHT NOW. And that… is receding into the past, dadgummit!

  41. Such an interesting article. I grew up on a farm in Upstate New York, but never fit in there. I studied foreign languages and spent my professional life living and working all over the world. After spending my whole life since age 18 moving every couple of years, I have somehow ended up retiring in Spain, and staying for 13 years. I never expected it — I have a long-time love of the UK, France and Italy, but the bureaucratic aspects of living in any of them makes them non-starters.

    My only child is married and lives in the US with no plans of ever moving abroad, so I am in a real bind. I have several houses in the US that I love, But I have ended up staying in Spain because the political and social climate in the US is so vile that I can’t stand it. I spent 1.5 years in the US during the pandemic and the 24/7 news cycle was so toxic that hopes I had of moving back collapsed. Spain is a very easy place to live. I have practically no contact with the government, don’t read the newspapers or watch the tv news, which gives me great peace of mind. I have a big circle of Spanish and expat friends and travel a lot.

    I agree that most Americans jump into moving abroad (and especially buying property there) without the least idea of the country they have chosen. They should spend an extended period in country, away from tourist attractions and LEARN the language!

    1. Why were you listening to the news cycle?
      ALSO why in heavens name do you think our political social climate is more toxic than SPAIN?
      I think you’re suffering from not knowing the US at this point.

  42. Where ever you move remember this! Tell your new neighbors:
    1) How grateful you are to be there
    2) That you are determined to be a good neighbor
    3) (IMPORTANT!) Tell them “I don’t plan on changing things! If I wanted the place to be different, I would have moved somewhere else!” And make sure when you tell them that THAT YOU MEAN IT. Keep your word.

  43. I agree Sarah, I think many Americans seem to forget that, if you are not local, when things get dicey, there will be very little help.

    Lefty’s are worse than righty’s on this blind spot. Lefty guy in the office, had taken a vacation somewhere in South America. He decided one day to loudly proclaim that all Trump voters were ignorant bigots because he actually knew personally South Americans from his Vacation (context: I had outed myself as a righty a bit ago, and I needed to overhear my evil ways). (Also: at no time in the office that I recall, did anyone ever disparage South Americans, or even illegal immigrants, so he was just talking to the crazy right wing voices in his head)

    The virtues of his South American friends were all virtues of excellent tour guides, waitstaff, and bed and breakfast staff. And it seemed to me that these are indeed nice people, as most people are, but that many of their supposed superior virtues to Americans was simply the effect of gobs of money being paid to tourist industry people. Being a tourist with gobs of money is more difficult for an American in America.

    I would not want to be an expat anywhere (unless I was maybe married to a local) if the money printer go burr problem finally reaches critical mass, if the US Balkanizes and the US cannot project force, or if WWIII happens and all our vaxxed and critical race theory depleted forces are inbroiled in either the Ukrainian or Taiwan fronts. The US media has done a good job at telling the world that we are there oppressors, I am sure people with chips on their shoulders will come out of the woodwork in foreign countries.

    Somewhat off topic, I’ve been thinking that in 50 to 75 years the US will have thousands of ‘Amish’ towns. What got me thinking about this was, I sometimes go to the Catholic Latin Mass, and one Lady I know said, “With the way things are going we were thinking we would all be forced to be ‘Amish’ in a few years”. And of course she did not mean convert to the Amish Religion. She meant found a small town with a little Catholic Church and make a living like the Amish or Mennonites(More tech) with the community not heavily connected to the grid. So then I had this vision of the near future in America with thousands of Catholic Amish, Jewish Amish, Mormon Amish, Evangelical Amish, Southern Baptist Amish, probably even Muslim Amish communities doting the landscape, after all whats more American than an Amish barn raising.

    I get worried, because I really don’t have any real connections locally. It’s just me alone with my aging parents. They, and by extension me, even though I was born here, are not locals, which makes me feel very insecure. I figure this is the best place to be, since my accent matches the area. But I’m an Odds Odd and just rub people the wrong way.

    Most of the local sci fi group are full on Covidians and I get mistaken for a lefty at 50 yards. I’m trying to build a network but it’s hard. I can’t even imagine doing that where I hadn’t grown up. I’ve thought of migrating up to Pennsylvania where my folks are from, but all the rest of the family got the shot, and regardless of previous political leanings have stuck their head in the sand since. Plus the weird family member which the Southern accent might be a problem.

    Also, I’m incredibly inarticulate, despite the occasional disjointed political rant, so internet and long distance friends are hard to make.

    1. If things get dicey where I am, I’ll probably be dead. So, I don’t have much to lose by moving. The isolation isn’t going to get worse.

  44. Finally got my computer in order to comment again, and fresh after moving a good distance away from the old hometown at that! Most of my living abroad was done as a kid when my now-former stepfather was stationed overseas and I did do some tourist stuff around Europe. I have no illusions about it being a nicer place to live and believe you about how bad it can be for outsiders outside the tourist (and US military) areas. As for my new location, I definitely feel more at home here than I ever did back in GA but meeting people outside the few I knew has been slow going no thanks to all the moving chaos that’s hit, and I do worry that’s going to undercut my job search in particular badly, but hopefully things will work out!

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