Life, the Universe and WTF?

Or if you prefer, what a long, strange trip it’s been.

Because my life is a novel, there is an overarching theme playing itself out throughout all the events right now. I’m not going to rewrite the report of it, because I just did it over at Mad Genius Club.

If you want a detailed-ish report of what is going on, head over, I’ll wait.

Back? Cool.

I feel a bit like I was hit on the head with a spar today. Now a great part of this is that I have slept about 3 hours, and unfortunately that’s been going on for a couple of weeks, because of ongoing death in the family and its affecting Dan’s sleep and work cycles, which in turn affect mine.

I feel like I should be telling you something deep, profound, earth-shaking about all of this, but mostly I just feel loopy.

On the other hand, years ago — Dear Lord, my kids who are now thirty something and closing in on thirty, when did that happen, were toddler and pre-schooler — Kris Rusch told me that staying alive in writing is a matter of rolling with the punches and reinventing yourself.

And in a way, I was born for this. I grew up in unstable, sometimes outrageous times, and came of age — in my thirties — at the beginning of the age of catastrophic change.

I’ll let Deej hit it in the comments, but yeah, I’ve seen empires fall and a new age be born. I’ve seen promising beginnings brought to nothing, and things despaired of return, stronger than ever.

And we all know what I’m hoping for for the Republic, right?

I’d link the Ragehaolic’s rant on Lincoln, but since it’s a forbidden topic in the comments, I won’t. Let’s say that the Republic has been dying since it was born, and it’s gone through worse times than this. Again find good contemporary writing on Woodrow Wilson and FDR. Someone who has more time than I do and doesn’t have his/her mind eaten by worlds trying to come to life that have waited far too long should do the research and write something about how bad and how dark it got — governance and freedoms wise — during that time.

In many ways we’ve been clawing the republic back since FDR. And our progress has accelerated the last thirty years, partly due to catastrophic technological innovation.

But catastrophic is there for a reason. It feels like our world is ending. And in a way it is. It’s just not OUR world. It’s the world we grew up with; the constraints we accepted and thought were eternal.

This throws us in a soup of possibilities that’s both exhilarating and terrifying.

As I pointed out in Mad Genius Club, it’s weird being considered an old woman of the field. Particularly since in many ways I’m just starting out.

Heck, I’m only now writing a series that I conceived of at 14.

Human life on this Earth is a blink. Life is eternal. The movement of humanity is slow and very long.

What we do today, even though it might not look like it, even some little things, echoes into forever.

And all we can do is make the moment count, and make those echoes ring loud with freedom and joy and humanity.

Let’s live forever!

*The images are copyright by me, and are released under CC BY to anyone who wishes to use them. Have fun.

149 thoughts on “Life, the Universe and WTF?

  1. Wilson and FDR both fought in world wars. I really hope that particular bit of history doesn’t also recur…

      1. I’m seeing bits that the Senate’s anti-tik-tok bill is really a, “we can now look at all your stuff because national security, ” bill. Hope not.

          1. My preference would be–Kill it with fire and write nothing else…That applies to most of the poison coming out of the Capitol….I’ve worked there….

          1. That bill is the dictionary definition of “why you never trust anything the government and the media tell you.” Bill to ban Tik Tok? OK, we already know it’s a data harvester and turning our youth into teh gayz blah blah blah or whatever people think, fine. Oh, but what’s this little paragraph over here…and over here…and over here? Hmmm. Sneaky Washington hobbitses, yes. Call it the Law of Damn-Well-Intended-but-We-Didn’t-Want-You-to-Know-About-Them Consequences.

            1. Just watch, they’ll pass the bill and won’t even ban TikTok. I mean, would Xi even let Biden do that?

    1. “Fought.” Roosevelt never saw anything close to action in WW I. LBJ, btw, did one mission over the Pacific in WW II in a bomber (B-26 I think) and somehow got an award out of it, never to darken the door of a combat assignment again. Now Truman, at least, was a Captain in the army artillery in WW I and did see significant combat. (And Wilson is the only President that I, a proud native of Virginia, the Mother of Presidents, refuse to claim.)

      1. In one alternate universe novel, a young LBJ joined a navy task force (as flag LT) only to enhance his political career.

        He found the idea of the task force actually fighting a superior force to be extremely scary but the Admiral didn’t let that stop him (the Admiral) from Doing His Duty.

        The superior force was defeated but the Admiral (and his flag LT) didn’t survive. 😈

        Oh, the novel was “The Lone Star, The Tricolor, And The Swastika” by D. A. Brock. 😉

        1. I think that’s why John Kerry went in. He thought his value as an anti-war protester would be enhanced by being in combat.

          1. I had thought he went in to increase his political viability, Pt109 and all that. The anti war stuff was just opportunism. In different times he would have been a hawk. He’s a real piece of work is John Forbes Kennedy.

              1. Yes and if one was an ambitious Harvard psychopath in the 60,’s who would you pattern yourself after?

    2. A minor correction. Wilson and Fascist Franklin blundered us into two World Wars on very disadvantageous terms. And CHICOM Joe is bent on blundering us into a third.

      1. FDR, for all his faults, was very much on-guard against Hitler (albeit largely because he seems to have hated Germans and Germany in general). He did the best he could to strengthen the military before Pearl Harbor.. The main reason why the military was horribly weak was Congress’s stinginess with the military budget. The prevailing view at the time throughout the nation was that the oceans would protect us, so an effective army and air corp wasn’t needed. And naval treaties from the previous decade limited the size of the navy. Once the naval treaties became null and void, FDR started the build-up of the Navy. Hornet was ordered, and design work start on what would become the Essex-class aircraft carriers that pushed the IJN back to Japan.

        The invasion of Poland provided the wake-up call to the citizenry in general that the non-naval components of our military should be strengthened.

        1. The problem being that FDR had such a case of tunnel-vision with regard to Germany that he neglected the conflict with Japan…except to order the Pacific Fleet to move from San Diego to Pearl Harbor. Which put them within easy range of the Kido Butai’s carriers.

          1. Pearl Harbor was not within “easy range” of the IJN. It was at the extreme ranges of the IJN’s operational limits (which is why Midway was so important; capturing it would have made subsequent strikes against Hawaii much more feasible), required taking a roundabout route to avoid getting spotted, and would have caused the IJN to be caught flat-footed if a number of mistakes and errors hadn’t been made on the American side. In short, there were very good reasons why the US considered an attack on Pearl Harbor absurd. Unfortunately, those reasons also caused the US to lower it’s guard, which made such an attack actually feasible.

            It also made the US Pacific Fleet an actual threat to Japan. If you assume a hypothetical where Japan invaded the Philippines but didn’t sink the US Pacific Fleet, forward deployment at Pearl Harbor instead of San Diego would have shaved weeks off the amount of time it took the Pacific Fleet to arrive on-station to support the Philippines.

            1. I beg to disagree that we considered an attack on Pearl absurd. There were several studies done in the 1930s, they all showed that the IJN could mount an attack that had a decent degree of success.

              1. Possible, but also very risky. Yes, it could be pulled off. It was even done on more than one occasion in USN fleet exercises. But the logistics were difficult for the IJN (for example, the only battleships escorting the attack fleet were two of the light Kongo-class battleships, because none of the larger battleships could make the trip), and the slightest bit of bad luck could easily cost the entirety of the attacking fleet. If the USN had been paying attention instead of asleep at the wheel, the Japanese could have experienced a catastrophic loss instead of a great victory.

                So yeah, absurd. Absurd to the point where the only reason you’d try something like this is because you didn’t have any better options, and this one was so gutsy that your enemy might not properly anticipate it.

                1. Not quite.

                  Our forces were over-matched, badly. In two key areas, fighters and torpedoes.

                  The torpedoes didn’t detonate. The magnetic proximity fuses were almost entirely duds. The contact exploders failed most of the time. The torpedoes ran significantly different depth than set. Net result was “essentially useless”. Big scandal, and it took a long time to fix. Some sub voyages had 100% dud hits. And the naval ordinance folks fought correction tooth and claw, blaming the crews, not the defective junk they approved.

                  Thus, our torpedo doctrine, and all such torpedo effort, was going to fail utterly in a battle. So no effective subs in a “Battle of Hawaii”.

                  Second, our fighters were grossly outmatched. The aircraft themselves were inferior, and many were obsolete. Our pilots were inexperienced. Our doctrine was lacking the later team tactics, such as the Thatch Weave, that would be essential to overcome the opposing forces.

                  So our torpedo planes get massacred, carrying duds. Our fighter losses would not be as bad, but would have been heavy enough. We do not get anything effective through, other than by sheer luck. And they can trade carriers one for one and still win.

                  We were not going to get one for one. Maybe we get one, two if lucky. Thus a net loss, bigly, stinking, humiliatingly.

                  In short, we are obscenely lucky the IJN made such a catastrophically bad decision to attack us at anchor, in shallow harbor.

                  Thus, they missed the essential targerts completely. Luck put the carriers elsewhere. A battle would have made them available to sink.

                  We were thus able to re-float all but a few “sunk” ships. A battle would have sunk them beyond recovery.

                  The men aboard were largely saved, many simply swam to shore, or to the swarming small craft. Many trapped below deck on “sunk” ships were recovered.

                  Having wrecked us at anchor, and missed the carriers, the IJN still had to worry about a carrier counter-strike, thus they omitted the final strike on the most important targets left: repair shops and the priceless drydocks. They also missed much essential fuel storage.

                  Take out either the drydocks or the fuel farm, and Pearl Harbor ceases to be a Navy base until rebuilt. Back to San Francisco go the remainder, including the missed carriers.

                  Had they stuck with their “one decisive sea battle” doctrine, they would have instead lured us out of the harbor with a “discovered” battleship task force, ambushing us with one or two other forces based on their six carriers.

                  That would almost certainly have sunk most of our carriers, and probably several battleships in deep water, along with most of the men.

                  At which point, they own the pacific. By the time we reconstituted from such debacle, they had secured the resources to take and hold Midway, and to sustain fleet operations anywhere.

                  In short, unless we abandoned Europe to the Reich, we lacked the resources to keep Japan busy while we defeated Germany.

                  Even if a “Battle of Hawaii” had been a draw like Coral Sea”, political pressure to “defend California” would have almost certainly been vasty stronger, thus pulling the fleet back to SF anyway.

                  So we ought to thank the Good Idea Fairy once in a while, for spreading its wisdom with the IJN.

                  1. That is a very cogent post, which connects the dots on a lot of stuff that I hadn’t.

                    There is such a thing as a severe mercy, or at least a severe wakeup call.

                  2. Interestingly, the magnetic exploder failed in the Pacific because the Naval Underseas Warfare Center (Newport RI) only tested in in the nearby Atlantic. No one in the 1930s realized that the intensity of the earth’s magnetic field varied significantly across the world. The firing pin in the contact exploder would crush instead of deploying because the heat treat spec for it was incorrect. The depth setting issue was yet another subtle problem not brought out due to lack of testing. The problem wasn’t brought to a head until mid 1943 when Charles Lockwood (commander of subs in the Pacific) ran a set of tests off Hawaii with Nimitz’s approval and crammed the resulting data up the backside of a bunch of folks in DC. The subs didn’t get good torpedoes until spring of 1944. It can be argued that the lack of working torpedoes extended the war in the Pacific several months. Japan’s commerce should have been strangled in 1943.

                    We were much quicker to provide new fighters that matched the Zero.

                    1. What I’ve read is that the depth setting issue was because the torpedo was only tested with a dummy warhead, and the dummy warhead was significantly lighter than the real thing. The weight difference (and possibly a change in the balance) caused the torpedoes to run deeper than what the depth settings were set for.

                  3. A few odds and ends…

                    The issues with the Mark XIV and XV torpedoes weren’t known to anyone at the start of the war. The reason for this is because there was no money in the budget for practice torpedo shots. Congress had so tightly hamstrung the military budget -ad I previously noted – that the Navy couldn’t afford to buy torpedoes whose sole purpose was to be expended in tests The result was two torpedo designs with numerous improvements and features that worked well on paper, but that didn’t work in practice.

                    The previous torpedo design worked just fine, and was still in use on older submarines (due to the lack of funds), much to the IJN cruiser Kako’s sorrow. S-44’s Mark X torpedoes worked as advertised.

                    As for the fighter issue –
                    The Zero was the latest and greatest design. So yes, it did spectacularly well. The AVG (aka Flying Tigers) had no problems using their P-40s in China against other Japanese fighters. It was only the Zero that was an issue. And the Zero itself was cripplingly over-specialuzed, as was discovered when we recovered one intact in the Aleutians. It was optimized for maneuverability, and as a result had no armor and very little ammo for it’s cannons. While there was plenty of ammo for the light machine guns, those had trouble with the armor on the Wildcat. Further, American pilots quickly realized that they could be successful in the Wildcat against the Zero if they resisted the temptation to get into a turning match. That was playing the Zero’s game. Utilizing proper tactics and teamwork against the Zero in ways that played to the Wildcat’s strengths often produced a Wildcat victory.

                    As for “one decisive battle” – wasn’t as simple as suggested Half of our carriers and battleships (including the newer, much faster and more heavily armed and armored battleships) were in the Atlantic. The Japanese would have had to sink our fleet twice – with minimal losses on their part – in order to remove the threat.

                    A sally between the Pacific Fleet and the Pearl Harbor strike group would have been a messy affair. And yes, the Pacific Fleet might have lost. But with lots of fighters (US carriers carried more aircraft than their IJN counterparts – considerably more once you got past the two Lexingtons) in the air and targets that were actually under way at the time, it would not have been the auto-win mess that the actual attack was.

                    Most importantly, any ship losses suffered by the IJN in such a battle would be irreplaceable. The IJN only completed one more large fleet carrier -Taiho – during the war (there were also the two Hiyos and three Unryus, but those were all smaller). The USN, on the other hand, had an entire other fleet available to draw from as needed. Finally, if we’re still talking “near Pearl Harbor”, then the only IJN battleships present would have been the four Kongos (two of which were historically present). The Fusos and Nagatos didn’t have the range. And the Kongos were outclassed by everything the USN had aside from Texas and Arkansas (who weren’t at Pearl). If the battle lines somehow got into cannon range (yes, unlikely, but carriers got caught by battleships twice during the war; it did happen) the IJN would have been wrecked.

                    1. “the Navy couldn’t afford to buy torpedoes whose sole purpose was to be expended in tests”

                      They were also expected to find the funds to purchase / raise and repair any target ships used in the tests. Torpedoes they could afford, but not that.

                    2. Even without target ships, the Navy still could have fired the things at rocks out in the middle of the ocean, or found something similar to use as a target. From what I’ve read, they didn’t even do that. This is supposedly why they were unaware of the running depth issue.

                      Worst come to worst, they could have pulled a couple of destroyers out of the huge mothball fleet, and expended those to test the torpedoes.

                    3. “Worst come to worst, they could have pulled a couple of destroyers out of the huge mothball fleet, and expended those to test the torpedoes.”

                      If you read Clay Blair’s Silent Victory, that’s exactly what they tried to do with the magnetic exploder tests. The Navy agreed….. again with the proviso that the Torpedo Station was prepared to raise and repair them if they were damaged or sunk.

                    4. Again, nothing would have stopped them from shooting a rock. The point I’m making isn’t about theagnetic detonator. It’s about the depth running settings. Just firing the thing even once with a real warhead would have revealed the problem.

                      But it never happened until the war started.

                    5. The IJN designed their planes for long range, and the Zero delivered on that. But the sacrifices made to achieve long range and high maneuverability were a small engine, no armor, no self-sealing tanks, and limited ammunition for the 20mm. Their twin engine bombers had similar problems brought on by designing for long range – Nell and Betty were both very vulnerable to fighter attack.

                      Check out the distance that the Zeros had to fly, day after day, from Rabaul to engagements over Guadalcanal. Compare that to the combat radius on the F4F and P40.

                  4. You can “lure” someone somewhere. OR you can launch a sneak attack.

                    Any “lure” would result in the Navy knowing you were ready to fight. Even if you managed to deceive them into thinking you were trying to sneak by without a fight (that is, without committing an act of war FIRST), they would have known it was in the field of possibility.

        2. FDR loved the Soviets. His lackeys gave them 95% of the tools, material and information to build the bomb. Rosenbergs and others gave them the rest.

  2. Let’s live forever!

    Why am I thinking of that Greek guy who got eternal life but not eternal youth? [Crazy Grin]

    Still, Let’s live life to the fullest and look forward to our forever home with the Great Author! [Very Big Grin]

      1. “Because of you, the Marine Corps will live forever! Because the Corps lives, you will live forever!”

    1. I think quite a few folks have made that deal these days, if you take a look at the creatures ruling us. They seem to be making up for the lack with forced transfusions of blood, organs and fetal matter I suspect.

        1. If they are doing that (and I wouldn’t put it past them) it isn’t working. Pelosi, Schumer, Boxer all look like zombies (and not the fast kind), McConnell and a couple on our side aren’t much better off. Boxer and the Turnip in Chief seem to never know where they are or what they are doing. Fetterman can’t even put on a convincing performance of “Putting on the Ritz”. The back half of Caligula’s equine senator would be of more use than any of these, at least it would from time to time produce fertilizer which is of some minor value.

          1. I keep mentioning that all of the folk in power have been in power for decades now, which is looking increasingly strange. The last thirty years have featured all but one President born in the 1940s, which is a heck of a streak. (The exception would be Obama, 1961 I think.)

            And they KEEP running them. The last two Presidential elections, I’ve been saying I want to see someone under 70 run. It’s looking to be “under 80” is the new target.

            And you know they’re going to jump straight from Boomers (with the media definition, though they fit the profile) to Millenniums when they have to. Gen X never got a chance with their death grip on power.

  3. In response to increasing frustration at my lack of production relative to my point in life, I’ve reached the stage of: make the outline, write whether your “in the mood” or not and worry about making it good in the rewrite.

    Trouble is, even when fitting writing “in the cracks,” as I remember one commenter saying, there’s precious little time. More people have quit at my workplace, and guess who’s left to pick up the slack.

    Also, my doctor told me I can’t have caffeine anymore or I’ll die.

    One word at a time and hopefully I’ll have some finished stuff to sell one day, before the AI writers take over.

    1. “In response to increasing frustration at my lack of production relative to my point in life, I’ve reached the stage of: make the outline, write whether your “in the mood” or not and worry about making it good in the rewrite.”

      I did that in my middle writing years. Nowadays I don’t need it. The idea is there, in my head. It’s sitting down and letting the words out, and that’s hard when I’m unslept.

      1. That last bit, yeah. I can work without sleep. That’s let’s be honest, just muscle memory and pre-baked rote responses. Brain only minimally involved, if at all. I could probably write a script for it with the decision tree. Long, but doable.

        Writing’s different. Writer brain wants to play in all sorts of things, all at once, at the same time. Writer brain is active (hyper-active?). Writer brain is at the moment trying to narrate the convo between a slightly PTSD teen that wants to talk to girls and be a hero, and a psychologically damaged introvert workaholic with massive survivor’s guilt and maybe just a bit of autist focus.

        Things are going absolutely swimmingly. Not.

  4. Regarding Razor’s vid, John C Wright’s gone hard against that and on Lincoln’s and the Union’s side. There’s been some interesting debates in his comment sections.

    1. Honestly, the other reason not to link it is that I don’t have time to do due diligence to give you the full “on the other side.”
      I have books to write.

      1. Lincoln has a complex legacy that is often over-simplified on BOTH sides. I think that’s a fairly neutral way of putting it, as a Southerner.

        1. My only comment on this is that plenty of the “stuff” that Lincoln was blamed for actually started much later than him during the Progressive Era.

        2. Yup. And the desperate situation in 1861 must also be taken into account…Maryland was on a knife-edge of secession, which would have put his capital 50 miles behind enemy lines. Evacuating your capital on the first day of the war is a really bad way to start.

  5. Some absolutely glorious images there, ma’am. Thank you!

    And I hope your lives fall back into some semblance of order soon. Good luck with that series! Goodness knows I’ve got a lot of ideas that will probably never be written, but maybe some of them will come back later…

    1. Sometimes those come in handy. Don’t lose ’em. I’ve used trashed story concepts as campaign settings, flashbacks, infodumps, and interesting “look over here!” mechanics to distract the reader from shenanigans happening in the foreground.

  6. “I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo.
    “So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”

      1. I was once in an assembly for students at a certain place when a speaker dropped a reference into a speech that he knew his audience was unlikely to understand. He then said, “This is an institution of higher education. Go look it up. ” Alas, I didn’t because I couldn’t remember what he was referring to. So put it up, and don’t explain.

    1. My favorite spin on this, from Twitter:

      “I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo.
      “LOL,” said Gandalf, “well it has.”

      1. A neat take, although Gandalf being a Istari (or perhaps a Maiar) has a lifespan like that of the elves and has likely been around since the First Age. He seen some serious stuff go down. To some degree this RIng stuff is just a continuation of that. From his perspective perhaps all of time is blighted. Probably one of the disadvantages of being effectively immortal.

        1. There’s a line in the Silmarillion which suggests to me Gandalf was a Maiar, somehow related to Nienna, the Vala of pity and grief.

        2. I recall hearing a theory that one of the big reasons Gandalf did not fail and head down the paths a number of the other wizards did was because the particular power of the ring of power he was given was to kindle hope. And that help keep him going even through everything.

          And that was also why the shipwright gave it to him. He understood what the gray wizard had been tasked with, and figured he would need it.

          1. Indeed Gandalf is the only Istari/Wizard who is of any use. Radagast just sort of becomes a nature lover and is of minimal use. The Blue Wizards seem to have wandered off into the East never to be heard from again. Saruman gets too chummy with Sauron’s knowledge from Morgoth and ultimately becomes a tool of Sauron and evil. Whether it is Narya that sustains Gandalf or just staying the course or his relation to a particular Valar or doing what he was sent to do isn’t clear. Likely this is one of those cases where embracing the power of and is the correct solution.

  7. Mentioned I’ve been doing a bunch of digging into personality types, an particularly, a system called the Ennegram.

    I’ve concluded the US culturally is a Type 9: Peacemaker.

    Basically, pacemaker want peace, and to be left alone, and they will go to great lengths to get there. That include negotiating for ages, up to and including making a desert to call it peace.

    When they are healthy and at their best, they end up being extremely productive. When they are unhealthy and under pressure, they retreat to factions and a good bit of paranoia. But to goal is always back towards some sort of equilibrium.

    Given all that, the last few years especially have poked the county in the most painful places to be poked, and continuing to do that will not even make it hurt less.

    Still trying to figure out the most complete way to say this, but we bite out tongues and suffer indigities, not because we will remain silent, but because we hope we will be heard without unleashing the hurricane. But we will be heard, one way or another. And no pressure will stop that.

    1. Blast, another rabbit hole.

      The wife says I’m not a control freak, I’m an in control freak, so long as I’m in control of myself, others can do whatever they fancy.

    2. “Basically, pacemaker want peace, and to be left alone, and they will go to great lengths to get there.” As my wife said, “Beware the fury of a patient man.”

    3. “Peacemaker” LOL!

      “Meddler” is a more apt description, especially when you consider the foreign wars, coups, “color” revolutions, and economic hit jobs especially over the 70 years.

      Remember what Major General Smedley Darlington Butler said.

      1. Most of which are run out of our State Department which seems to be staffed by a marvelously unhealthy assortment of types.

        And completely alien from the larger American culture. Which is why when they turn their attention on the US they are behaving like a clutch of lunatic cookoos.

        1. A wise man once said we need the State Department to have an embassy to the US. Maybe then they’ll represent us for a change.

  8. “Someone who has more time than I do and doesn’t have his/her mind eaten by worlds trying to come to life that have waited far too long should do the research and write something about how bad and how dark it got — governance and freedoms wise — during that time.”

    Not it. But anyone that wants a brief look, try the Mises Institute:

    “There’s no doubt that Roosevelt changed the character of the American government—for the worse. Many of the reforms of the 1930s remain embedded in policy today: acreage allotments, price supports and marketing controls in agriculture, extensive regulation of private securities, federal intrusion into union-management relations, government lending and insurance activities, the minimum wage, national unemployment insurance, Social Security and welfare payments, production and sale of electrical power by the federal government, fiat money—the list goes on.”

    FDR was bad on toast. Crappy toast made with sawdust and arsenic. Biden’s a piker compared to FDR. Every D president of my lifetime has been, as well.

    Things have been VERY VERY BAD before. I don’t recommend time travel to 1932-1944 for obvious reasons, including FDR in large letters. Guy was a bad deal. Do not want. Zero stars. Would not recommend.

    1. I remember people bashing Larry Correia for bashing FDR. Then Larry started citing FDR, with context. The screams about that stopped right quick pronto. beatific kitty grin while sharpening claws

    2. It gets worse. I’m currently listening to the Audible book of “Dupes” by Paul Kengor. I’m currently on one of the chapters where FDR is getting absolutely roasted for sucking up to “Uncle Joe” Stalin and for turning a blind eye to hard, concrete, overwhelming evidence–PROVIDED BY THE ENVOY HE SENT FOR JUST THAT PURPOSE–that the Soviets committed the Katyn Massacre. He just would not believe that Uncle Joe was capable of such a thing. And it didn’t help that FDR’s White House and Executive agencies were absolutely infested with KGB moles for all four terms.

      I hate to say it, but I think it’s true…we’re damn lucky he died in April 1945. I don’t know if he would’ve had the stones to use the atomic bomb on Japan or not. And if Truman hadn’t, I wouldn’t be here, because my dad was sitting as a Tech Sgt. running a motor pool on Leyte in mid-1945 and had already been told he was going to get yoinked into gruntville and handed a Garand if we had to invade Japan.

      1. Actually we are damn lucky a couple of forgotten Democratic pols maneuvered to dump Henry Wallace from the ticket in 1944 in favor of Truman. Wallace was a closet communist and would never have used nukes on Japan and would have given the Soviet Union half the occupation of Japan. BTW the Reader thinks FDR would have used them with less thought than Truman gave it,

      2. Allow me to recommend Sean McMeekin’s book, “Stalin’s War”. He tells the whole story…including how the United States poured 12% of our entire GDP into supporting the Soviet Union. The jackboot the Red Army ground into the face of Eastern Europe was Made in the USA.

        1. I do recall in The Liberators, the author talked about how the only good trucks the Soviets had, even into the 70’s were the Ford trucks from WWII.

          1. Gent I worked with in the early 1990s had nothing but praise for Truman. Said gent was told he’d be fixing planes on the Japanese beaches during the invasion, under fire. Then they heard about the Bombs, and the surrender.

      3. Same here. My dad was training for the low level firebombing missions to burn Japan to the ground when Hiroshima changed his future.

      4. Poland hasn’t forgotten Katyn, or the jackboots of their “Liberators”.

        Most of NATO cheat on their military expenditures requirement. So did Poland.

        By overage.

        They have been hiding their total expenditures. Hmmm.

        Yes, they remember well.

          1. And the Russians haven’t forgotten the time Poland sacked Moscow, and rode it like a rented mule.

            Lots of payback checks being drawn up, all around.

            1. Waaaay too much history in that part of the world to be a comfortable place. Beautiful, great people, fascinating place, but too much history.

              1. Yep. I think that the cultures involved also matter, in this case. While certain other cultures may be, to my eyes, functionally insane… At least they’re mostly functional.

                There are others that survive mainly (almost entirely) upon the largess and gullibility of more wealthy nations. Should the US go badly for even a decade or so, other nations will swiftly sink into chaos, starvation, tribal warfare, disease, and all sorts of nastiness.

                But folks what think left vs right is bad in the states… Ask a Pole what they think about Russia. Might want to put in earplugs before.

      5. My grandfather served on the Pacific front. He would probably have died in a land invasion of Japan.

    3. “Every D president of my lifetime has been [bad]”

      Yup. For the last 125 years, the Democrat Crime Gang has run a succession of personality cults for President. All of whom have been Fools, Fascists, Crooks, or Sociopaths…and all too often a mix of several of the above.

      The last decent Democrat President was Chester Arthur.

      1. Uhhhhh … I’m hoping a joke didn’t just sail over my head, because Arthur was a Republican. Perhaps you’re thinking of his successor, Grover Cleveland, who at least by today’s standards does seem quite sane.

        (If your joke did go over my head, my apologies. Aim lower next time.)

        The personality cult phase of Democrat nominees did start almost exactly 125 years ago, with William Jennings Bryan. I will leave debating whether free coinage of silver was the Modern Monetary Theory of the 1890s to others.

        1. I thought Arthur was a Democrat. Working from memory here…

          But I agree that the personality cults began with Bryan. And the Democrats have not been able to break the habit since then.

    4. FDR and the dems of 32 were sold to the country on false advertising. Take 5 minutes and read the Democratic Party Presidential Platform of 1932:

      “We advocate an immediate and drastic reduction of governmental expenditures by abolishing useless commissions and offices, consolidating departments and bureaus, and eliminating extravagance to accomplish a saving of not less than twenty-five per cent in the cost of the Federal Government. And we call upon the Democratic Party in the states to make a zealous effort to achieve a proportionate result.

      We favor maintenance of the national credit by a federal budget annually balanced on the basis of accurate executive estimates within revenues, raised by a system of taxation levied on the principle of ability to pay.”

      You can look it up!

      Also no pictures of FDR in a wheelchair, the prototype for FICUS perhaps? Then there’s Alger Hiss at Yalta–the devout communist whispering in the feeble president’s ear.

    1. To work!

      (And building off something a relative was told recently… I strive to become competent to a vaguely threatening degree. After that, competent to a very threatening degree.)

      1. I have achieved competence to an uncomfortable degree in one narrow field: i.e. other experts avoid talking with me about it. It has not yet progressed to threatening.

        1. That may be my favorite XKCD ever, and not just because of my unfondness for wind turbines for large-scale applications.

      1. (Singing, half-decent, loudly)

        “…To reach the unreachable, the unreachable
        The unreachable …… star!”

        … … …

        The Impossible Dream Lyrics
        [Orchestral intro]

        To dream the impossible dream
        To fight the unbeatable foe
        To bear with unbearable sorrow
        And to run where the brave dare not go

        To right the unrightable wrong
        And to love pure and chaste from afar
        To try when your arms are too weary
        To reach the unreachable star
        This is my quest
        To follow that star
        Ooh, no matter how hopeless
        No matter how far
        To fight for the right
        Without question or pause
        To be willing to march, march into hell
        For that heavenly cause

        And I know
        If I’ll only be true
        To this glorious quest
        That my heart
        Will lie peaceful and calm
        When I’m laid to my rest

        And the world will be better for this
        Oh, that one man, scorned and covered with scars
        Still strove with his last ounce of courage
        To reach the unreachable, the unreachable
        The unreachable star

        [Orchestral break]

        Yeah, and I’ll always dream
        The impossible dream
        Yes, and I’ll reach
        The unreachable star

        1. The song is the best thing about the movie, which totally missed the point of the book. In a way it’s a cautionary tale about being overwhelmed by romantic fantasy. Don Quioxte isn’t even on stage for a good part of it and he dies repentant and shriven. (I read it, all of it and it’s a chunk, in high school).

        2. I imprinted on Gordon Lightfoot’s “Don Quixote” before I ever heard “Impossible Dream.” Two rather different takes on the character.

  9. I know your dissonance at being the old woman in the field – and I know part of that is choosing to be an instructor, so I’m dealing with kids so fresh they still have an eggtooth and bits of shell behind their ears. I don’t feel like I’ve really done that much, not compared to the people I look up to, and it is profoundly disconcerting to see anyone looking up to me.

    In indie, the fact that Peter has just kept plugging away despite all setbacks, health and otherwise, means somehow we’ve been publishing for… in a little over a month, it’ll be ten years now. Huh. Time flies.

    Man, I need to do a riff on the tears in the rain speech that covers B&N deciding almost everything indie was porn, the KUpocalypse that collapsed the serial market, the plagarism scandals, the decoupling of the free and paid lists, the rise and fall of Smashwords…

    1. Bogs, I have thirty year old children looking to me for advice. Yes, children. Weren’t brought up right, still don’t get the basic “do right, speak truth, work hard, and suck it up” that is adulting.

      And folks like that looking to you for advice and like you have all the answers? Bah, I have some that I stole from smarter, wiser, and better men and women. I can repeat wisdom with the best of them.

      But lo, though you can lead the ignorant to knowledge you cannot make ’em think. They must do that all their very own selves.

          1. Better half a wit than no wit at all, may Himself save us from such a terrible fate. Humor amongst Odds is weird anyway. Grace must be given, because some of us need it.

  10. I’m in a bit of the same situation. Retired from the Federal Government not quite two years ago…and have found that retirement is less than fulfilling. It’s not the money (though money is always useful), it’s the purpose. Or lack thereof.

    Yes, I’m looking around – but I have a fairly specialized skill-set that limits potential employers. And while I could get a job around Edwards AFB, the contents of Vault A would get me thrown into a California prison for the rest of my life.

    1. Avoid the gulagopagos, unless your dream retirement gig is “revolutionary”. (And if it is, have a cool cover job and…)

      Ahem. Scuse.

      If a churchgoer, look to unmet volunteer needs. Never enough hands to do the work. Mine drafted me to run the sound board. Because I am good at fixing things and un-futzing things. Eventually, I kept a wander-in weirdo peaceably occupied until he left. (Thence he went into PD custody.) Now I am drafted for security.

      If not a churchgoer, still gobs of volunteer opportunities. Show up to Habitat for Humanity, and you will do useful. Find a disaster recovery crew. Help with troubled folks. Find out who needs your pro skills.

      Civilization doesn’t maintain itself by itself.

      Idleness is death by boredom.


      1. My dream retirement job is Mike-Emperor. 🙂 Ruling with Liberty for the Righteous and Justice for the Wicked.

        1. Perhaps start with King of New Hampshire? A nice laissez-faire government here in the Northeast would certainly be appreciated especially since I’d like somewhere to retire to in the next few years :- ) .

  11. I don’t know about thecrest of you; but after surviving two cancers, I just can’t get worked up about SpongeJoe PoopyPants.

    Or any of the rest of them.

    We’re here for such a short time and everything they’re doing is merely adding to their own eternal punishments as they writhe in an unquenchable fire attacked by worms that never die.

    On a lighter note, my 24th wedding anniversary is on Easter, the day we celebrate new life.

    May the illegitimi emasculate themselves and miss wherever you and your loved ones happen to be.

  12. The song is the best thing about the movie, which totally missed the point of the book. In a way it’s a cautionary tale about being overwhelmed by romantic fantasy. Don Quioxte isn’t even on stage for a good part of it and he dies repentant and shriven. (I read it, all of it and it’s a chunk, in high school).

    1. I found the play (and movie) far more appealing than the book. Then again, I’ve never been fond of cautionary tales. They tend to leave out the best parts of human nature to make their points.

  13. I was thinking about the phrase ‘creative destruction’ just the other day. For the first time in my life it kind of feels like that’s what’s happened to the fences around here. I thought the biggest little tragedy I had ever seen was the destruction of the Cub Scouts. Now that just feels quaint.

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