Puppet Masters, by Robert A. Heinlein is one of my favorite novels.

Yes, I know. “It was just a metaphor for communism.” This is usually said with a superior air, as though the idea of communism as brain bugs that control the unwilling is such a ridiculous thing. Fine. You be superior. Me, meanwhile, am looking at the brain infestation of Soviet communism still wrecking the world after the Soviet Union was relegated to the midden of history, and I reserve the right to laugh at you for being an idiot.

Or “It was just a gimmick story, about a space invasion.” Sure. And most of Shakespeare is just gimmick stories, often told.

You can pose and strut as much as you think adequate to salve your intellectual pride, but I’m going to be here giving you raspberries. When you’ve produced anything half as good as Puppet Masters, and particularly anything that applies as a “make you think” story in so many dimensions, you can critique some aspects of it. Until then you will abide in patience.

Me? I’ve never written anything half as good. And I like it anyway. I don’t care if it’s a metaphor for communism as a brain virus, because I’m simple enough to think communism IS a brain virus. (No? Convince me.) And it has caused me not just to think over, but to become informed about “how things work” which in turn made me a better writer and a better citizen.


It started with that opening, when I was…. somewhere under 18. I’m still a sucker for secret entrances, and passwords to see the hidden/access the unspoken. I know this shocks you, right? At least if you haven’t read my books.

That’s all that grabbed me, to begin with. And then….

And then things came long, like the idea that if you could get in under the procedures and rules, you were safe, even if you were an enemy in the nest. The constitutional Republic has that weakness. If you appear to follow the rules, you can get in and destroy from the inside, and the rules don’t allow the good guys to get rid of you.

(As we have proof daily.)

But the thing that sticks with me and keeps coming back again and again is the corruption of information.

You see, in the novel — it’s okay to have spoilers for a more than fifty years old novel, right? — humans controlled by the alien brain bugs pass on corrupt information. So, for a long time most of the nation doesn’t even know that the invasion has happened, much less fighting it.

And this insidious corruption of information costs lives.

It preserves the idea that nothing is wrong, at the expense of losing the fight. The reality is so huge and scary people won’t believe it, unless confronted with it, face to face.

And here we are. Because most of the US — the world, really — media is infected with the brain bug of communism from their education (A lot of them unknowingly. A lot stupidly. For a while now it’s been fashionable to say something like “Of course, I’m not a communist, but Marxist analysis is just so useful for….” This is kind of saying that alien brain bugs are so useful for all sorts of things, even though they don’t in any way belong to or apply to humanity.)

So all our information is “filtered” through this complete lack of reality and truth. Which means what is true is distorted, but most of it just ain’t true.

Which gets us to “test, test, test.”

It is important to remember various things, one of them being Occam’s Razor. Sure, Covid-19 really might be the first bug where a)natural immunity doesn’t work b) masks miraculously protect from tiny viruses c) the virus can hang suspended mid air, outside, ready to infect you when you walk by hours later. d) locking up the entire population will cause the virus to stop being infective and just go home to sulk or something.

It might. Or you know, Occam’s razor: it’s all a big government/media propaganda operation centered around a bad flu. Looking at the case studies and casualties, starting with Diamond Princess seemed to support this simplest hypothesis, too.

Or you know, it’s entirely possible that suddenly in the dead of night after the count stopped, all votes found were for Brandon. It’s possible. It’s just highly unlikely. More likely is that the count was stopped and in the dead of night the brain bugs Marxists with the dead-alive candidate were frauded in. The fact this has happened all over the world and that the “victors” felt the need to be inaugurated behind barriers seemed to confirm this most likely hypothesis.

Another thing to remember in this day and age is that very seldom can they hide all sources of information. Some rando will have seen and blogged something.

So, you know, BLM riots might be perfectly spontaneous, but isn’t it weird that pallets of bricks “suitable for throwing” just show up?

And isn’t it weird that Antifa has to be bused from town to town, almost like there aren’t enough of them?

And on and on and on.

The thing to remember is that your sources of information are corrupt. And that whatever the mass-industrial-complex — aka the mind-control bugs — want you to believe is probably not true.

If you eliminate that, what remains, however unlikely, must be the truth.

I think these days the difference between conspiracy theory and proven truth is two weeks. Sometimes less.

If you reject the smug people telling you things like “Oh, that’s just a metaphor for communism” as if no one ever should be afraid of cuddly, fluffy commies, you’ll be ahead of the game. These people also tell you a load of nonsense, like that you’re just racist, or you just don’t want women to achieve, or that civilized habits are “White supremacy” or– If you ignore their supercilious air of unearned superiority and examine the arguments, you’ll find they have none. Just hectoring and posturing. Bah. I don’t have to listen to that. And I can turn it right around and laugh at them for being fools.

So, go forth. Laugh at the smug superiority of idiots. Test, test, test. And continue fighting the illusions of the Puppet Masters.

They hate humanity. They want to destroy us.

Unfortunately for them, we don’t destroy easy. And we’ve had just about enough.

Be not afraid.

154 thoughts on “TEST TEST TEST

  1. One idiot on Chris Nuttall’s blog decided that Chris Nuttall was too soft on Conservatives because of Chris’ “white maleness”.

    IE “Everything wrong in the universe is because of white males.”

    1. The Reader profoundly wishes that we could withdraw all of the hated white male items from their universe. Starting with their cell phones.

      1. Then the internal combustion engine, and indoor climate control. “Make Austin Sweat Again!” And refrigeration of food.

      2. How about going after some real fundamentals, like reinforced concrete? The Romans invented concrete, and several English and Scottish industrialists worked out how to mass-produce steel.

        White men invented antibiotics, X-ray photography and anesthetics. Let them get their teeth drilled without Novocain!

    2. And they truly do not understand how racist and sexist that is, because “racism is privilege plus power” has been indoctrinated into at least two generations of elementary students, therefore they cannot comprehend racism against whites, or sexism against males.

    1. Hey!

      I caught the “flyby” poster but what do I do with her?

      1. The Reader advises a catch and release policy for flybys. Maybe with a stern warning.

        1. I appreciate that! No classes today, but a lot of other things I wanted to pay attention to. And finals coming up, which are just. So much fun. Really, I’m jumping up and down in my seat right now.

      2. Weigh her, measure wingspan, photograph plumage, attach radio tracker, put it all in the database, release. Discover known associates – birds of a feather flock together.

        Oh, you asked what *you *might do; that above is what the gub’mint would do.

        We’re the known associates.

        I think OGH the ESP has it right. Though a churro has more energy than an apple for flying associates.

        1. The churro sounds much nicer than the aforementioned measurements – some things should remain between a lady and her doctor. Particularly since I’ve never actually had a churro. (A crime against humanity, I know. When I have money.)

          1. Good heavens! I thought deprivation was so last-century. I’d suggest a Give-send-go churro fund, but that would help only if churros were local to you. (If they’re not, you live in a Food Desert!)

            Fat and Sugar are two of the Basic Food Groups. (The other two are Alcohol and Caffeine, making Irish Coffee the Perfect Food.)

            1. I thought the other two were Salt and Chocolate. (I call them the four junk food groups).

              1. Much chocolate carries Sugar, Fat, and Caffeine, so it’s nearly perfect. Get up to 60% cacao and the Sugar usually is reduced. IMO 100% cacao is that rarity, Too Much Of A Good Thing.

                Once bought $100 in good chocolate bars for my wife for Christmas.

            2. Wait, everyone knows that the Four Basic Food Groups are Sweet, Salty, Crunchy and Beer. At least everyone at our fishing cabin near Lewistown knew that… 🙂

  2. The “goodthinkers” of the 1950s hated anti-communism. They had been seduced during the “Red Decade” of the 1930s by glowing accounts of “the future that works,” and hated admitting that those unfashionable people in the small towns and “flyover country,” who read Reader’s Digest and didn’t spout Freudian psychobabble, were right and they’d been led down the garden path. Unfortunately, the “goodthinkers” controlled the mainstream media, and used it to portray communists as, at worst, misguided idealists.

      1. I just read it for the humor. Really. Not the condensed book about the murder of the Polish priest by the government, or a few other things.

        1. Growing up, we would get the previous months’ Readers’ Digest from Grandma. Starting with the humor sections, I would eventually read it almost cover to cover. Except it took me far longer than I’d like to admit to realize that “Laughter, the Best Medicine” was a humor section and not an advertisement.

    1. Misguided idealists ARE the worst. No excuses and no forgiveness for anyone who hands innocent people over to psychopaths.

  3. The only thing that I disliked about Puppet Masters was the notion of everyone going around virtually naked. Especially Congresscritters and “journalists.”

    I’d never be able to watch the news again…

    1. Go back and look at street scenes or beach scenes from the 1950s. That wasn’t as awful a prospect then as it would be now.

      On the other hand, I recall a quote from another SF writer to the effect of (not exact wording), “Bob Heinlein could write better than most everybody with only one hand, but I wish he’d keep the other hand out of his pants.” 😄 I rather suspect that he was mostly imagining the distaff population when he postulated that bit.

      1. Oh, here we go: in the Wikipedia entry for The Door Into Summer, John W. Campbell is quoted thus:

        The novel “worried and bothered” John W. Campbell, who said “Bob can write a better story, with one hand tied behind him, than most people in the field can do with both hands. But Jesus, I wish that son of a gun would take that other hand out of his pocket.”[5]

    2. Well, I live in the land of snow, black flies, and mosquitoes. Running around in the buff ain’t exactly prudent. Strip for inspection to show I’m not hag ridden, well, that would be doable.

      1. IIRC in the Book there was concern about “what happens when winter weather hits”? 😈

    3. As with the polyamory in Harsh Mistress, Heinlein sometimes had dumb and dated ideas of what was sophistimacated. Unlike other would-be sophistimacated writers of his generation, he also had valid observations about how the world works, and the ability to tell a story.

  4. The left has made it clear their goal is absolute totalitarian power by any means necessary/ The lies, election shenanigans, etc., are in service to that goal.

    Yes, they are idiots and incompetents, nevertheless they will do a lot of damage before they and their power grab are stopped. Unfortunately the more power they grasp, the more they tell the general public to “eat cake” and spit on society, the more and more likely that the pushback will less resemble something orderly and peaceful, or if it ends up being less than peaceful, more lie Lexington and Concord, and much more like the Bastille. I hope I am wrong, but the left really seems to be pushing things in such a way that make such a scenario more likely,.

    1. Communists suck at making anything function for any length of time, but they are great at infiltrating and destroying from within (half the time without meaning to because they’re lazy idiots at heart). Their danger shouldn’t be overestimated, but not underestimated either. Their dream of trapping us all as livestock on AI-assisted transhumanistic neofeudal tax farms isn’t very likely, but they did manage to seize dangerous tools like all the government alphabet agencies, the entire school system, upper positions in mainstream religions, ect. The fact that they somehow succeeded in convincing the world to commit economic and societal suicide over the sniffles shows that they are very dangerous and shouldn’t be tolerated in society once we get things moving in the right direction again.

  5. I read Puppet Masters a loooong time ago, but I still remember the entire story.

    I read Red Shirts by the odious Leftist appeaser Scalzi and I recall NOTHING. Not a damn thing.

    This I would argue is the truth of “Quality!”, that thing brayed about by the likes of [insert prolapsed body part here] and other such Leftists. If the reader doesn’t remember anything, it sucked.

    By the way, speaking of mind viruses and information attacks, the word of the day today is “transhumanism.” It is a cult, as it turns out. Go look that up, and see if the crazy you find begins to look a lot like the crazy we’re seeing in the newspapers and particularly in books of late.

    Shout out to Alex MacFarlane of TOR fame, who drank the transhumanism bong water so hard that now she is the bong.

    1. There’s a test that can be applied to most transhumanists, which often has the result that they are dishonest idiots.

      The whole legal point of corporations is that they are fictive persons. They are persons that have existed for at least a hundred years. They do not fundamentally undermine ‘children of God’ theories related to personhood. They do exist, unlike imaginings with regard to modern neural net tech, and unlike forecasts about hypothetical future AI tech. They also fundamentally undermine civil rights arguments about hypothetical future tech, because the transhumanists are largely also fine with violating the civil rights and personhood of corporations.

      Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Whatever you might want to say about conviction of innocents and for profit abuse of chain gangs goes a thousand times more for the CFPB.

      Fundamentally, ‘Children of God’ theory can maybe handle some children having different rights under the law than others, as well as the corporation as a fake person. But, transhumanism tends to inherit the left pretense that personhood must come with uniform legal rights. (Which the left then quickly inverts to the tactic of “oppressed must have more ‘rights'” to support left divide and rule efforts.) Transhumanism’s theory of personhood is then maybe a bit more irregular.

      Expanding ‘racism’ to include ‘racism by those retrograde Christians against AI who are totally persons’ tends to imply that transhumanists are very often deeply racist against persons of incorporation.

      A lot of ‘transhumanist’ AI cults need for AI to function as spirits or ‘gods’ capable of ruling mankind as philosopher kings, or whatever.

      Corporations are maybe viewed as similar spirits, but spirits rivals to the faction that the cultists have selected as ‘gods’. I don’t have my headspace in the right place for a myth analysis, but greek and the titanomachy and gigantomachy. Would explain some of the treatment of corporations as devils.

      This line of analysis explains a lot about why the left does not do a really fundamental observation and theoretical study of human behaviors in bureaucracies corporate and governmental.

      1. You want to see where true AI and humanity would go (if we’re lucky), read Colossus and the two sequels by Dennis Feltham (D.F.) Jones. Some of you may have seen the movie adaptation way back int he ’70s.

        1. I just reviewed the Wiki. I read the first and remember it fairly well, and portions of the second (IIRC, one of the first times I encountered the Stockholm syndrome, though I’m not sure if Patty Hearst’s story was out there when I read it.)

          Yet another AI related story was from that asterisk, D. Gerrold. When HARLIE Was One.. I read the first version, though there’s another, one V2.0 (apparently revised from the 1972 original). An AI being devious and underhanded covers the conclusion of the first one.

          If I had to deal with AIs, I’d prefer Florence from Freefall.

      2. I have to differ strenuously with you on the notion that a corporation can or should have anything like “personhood.” (Yes, I know what the law says. The law is a ass.)

        1. Law can legitimately declare two tier standards of ‘civil rights’.

          Civil rights are ultimately a result of a civis choosing to recognize them.

          Personhood is in the realm of a universal morality.

          Morality alone does not uniquely determine the forms and specifics of law in a society.

          If people talk about civil rights for AI, they are talking of law.

          If people talk about personhood of AI, they are talking of morality.

          There are two arguments with regard to voting rights for whatever ethnic group of citizens.

          One is trying to argue a moral right to a vote, which is fundamentally unsound.

          The second is the legal argument that once a civis decides or ‘decides’ that born residents of whatever ethnicity are citizens, then they ought to be treated as citizens, and not defrauded of civil rights. This argument is sound.

          There are also moral arguments with regard to acting according to the law, once a law has been selected, and passed moral tests. These arguments may be sound.

          If a civis decides to treat fake persons as persons in some carefully limited way, then that same legal argument for respecting that comes into play. Which is fundamentally not a moral argument.

          Transhumanism is heavily a) trying to erode boundaries in protecting the dignity of human life b) trying to count coup against less ‘enlightened’ thinkers for being ‘discriminatory’.

          It is absolutely appropriate to point out that they travel a path of muddied distinctions, and that by the valid standards that they can appeal to, coup can be counted against them for being ‘discriminatory’.

          ‘But corporations are not really people’, and getting irate at the law over that, seems small mindedness based in ignorant or deliberate unwillingness to fully consider the workings of these matters.

          Corporation is simply a patch on law as practiced then, wrt money, accounts and contracts, to allow some newly desired behaviors without breaking other behaviors of the formal legal system then.

          Formal legal systems are merely behaviors that allow for resolving disputes inside of a peace.

          They fit to governments, and any government can potentially be admitted where an army is able to control a territory, and can extract a resources from it to support the army.

          Cyberpunk the genre, and transhumanism is heavily a result of looking at human behavior in isolated artifacts, instead of boiling it down to fundamentals and seeing how it must all necessarily work together. When you fully understand the behavior, the reasons why transhumanism as described will not work becomes obvious. When you fully understand the behavior, the reasons why cyberpunk as commonly described will not work become obvious.

        2. As Bob said, giving legal personhood to corporations is simply a patch on the law, to allow the same rules to apply to John Smith starting a general store as an individual, and also to John Smith and Bill Jones when they decide to pool their resources to start that same general store. Without that particular patch on the law, you would end up needing to write all the laws about property, risk, liability, etc. twice, and risk those laws diverging in the future when someone proposes a change to some property law for individuals but forgets to propose the same change to the law for corporations.

          No, the legal fiction of corporate personhood has way more benefits than drawbacks.

      3. :pinches bridge of nose:

        The folks who have had a system for figuring out if something is a moral being, explicitly including those beings who are not human, are “racist.”

        Against AI.

        Nevermind that AI hasn’t reached the point of being intelligence rather than automation….

    2. I read I think a chapter and change, realized it was at best a parody by someone who didn’t actually care for what he was doing (at worst, was someone who went and hit the tropes for popular kids, and functioned as someone who’d never watched the show much), and didn’t even check it out.

      Had no idea who the author was, just went “ooh, Red Shirts? This looks like star– oh, few, back to GalaxyQuest, stat!”

      1. Unfortunately, I purchased THAT book in e-format along with that idiot “Fuzzy Nation”. 😡

        1. I picked up ‘Fuzzy Nation’ at a used book store. Haven’t read. Is it really that bad?

          I did think ‘Fuzzy Bones’ by William Tuning and ‘Golden Dream’ by Ardath Mayhar were good extensions of the Fuzzy chronicles.

          Yeek! 😀

          1. I don’t have a copy of “Golden Dream” but did enjoy it. I still have a paper copy of “Fuzzy Bones” and it was a good read.

            “Fuzzy Nation” is a “modernistic” retelling of “Little Fuzzy” that pails against the original.

            The evil Corporation of “Fuzzy Nation” is a stereotypical leftish version of a Corporation (with the evil corporate head being the third of his family in charge of the Corporation).

            The corporate head is more the “Evil Baron/Lord” of Bad Fantasy than anybody realistically in charge of a corporation.

            I could go on about the idiocy of “Fuzzy Nation” but would have to reread the junkier to say more and I don’t want to reread it.

            Oh, the corporation was mining coal on this alien planet. That’s how stupid it is.

            1. Waitaminnit — coal? Seriously? WTF,O?

              I mean, if they were mining uranium or thorium carelessly, I could see that, but…coal? Isn’t the Federation supposed to be in the 29th century? Certainly not the 19th!

              Now, a need for organic hydrocarbons in the far future has been done before. The Nostromo in Alien was hauling a giant refinery loaded with oil because we’d foolishly used up all the oil on Earth to fuel our primitive energy technology long after we should have transitioned to nuclear power. Plastics and petrochemicals were still important in that future, so we had to import oil from other planets.

              Too, our massive coal fields were created by a one-time event that might not be replicated on other planets. Plants evolved lignin and grew into trees, but no organisms existed that could break down lignin. Trees grew tall, died, fell down and did not rot. More trees grew between them, died, fell down, and piled on top. This went on for 50 million years, producing vast tracts of dead wood more than a hundred meters deep in places, before a fortunate fungus hit on the formula for lignase. Ever since then, dead wood rots in a few years. No more coal fields will ever form on this planet.
              Jack wasn’t entirely pleased with the scientists naming this new species Fuzzy Fuzzy Holloway. Some folks were starting to call him Fuzzy-Fuzzy.

              1. Yep, Coal, oil and metals.

                Scalzi apparently lacks imagination concerning what a futuristic corporation would want on a very Earth-like planet. 😉

      2. I’ve read two decent but forgettable books by Scalzi, and a short story in one of Ringo’s zombie anthologies that made me want to commit assault (on Scalzi) for wasting my time.

      3. The worst part is that the premise would have been awesome if used by someone who approached the source material with love, rather than derision.

    3. I read Red Shirts by the odious Leftist appeaser Scalzi and I recall NOTHING.
      Consider yourself fortunate, then? And be more careful next time.

      “We are the Bong. Resistance is, like, harshin’ my mellow, man.”
      “There are four pipes!”

      To be read in the best cross of Star Trek and Cheech and Chong you can muster.

      Should transhumanism really surprise us, given a culture with ideas of trans humans?
      Vague gnosticism about human material reality being completely ruled by human will, incomplete, contradictory as it may be.

  6. And because I seem to enjoy tapping on mines to see why they didn’t go off, I’ll bite on the “why Marxism isn’t a virus”. If it (and all of its various predessesors and future versions) was a virus that would imply it could be cured, vaccinated against, or would eventually adapt to people to be far less destructive.

    I’d argue it is more a basic vulnerability in human nature (the pull of envy) that can be exploited if people do not constantly guard against it. So more of a prion.

    And because Western social software is so computationally demanding we have an especially strong pull towards the misfolded version. Envy is much easier emotional logic to run on then self regulation to constant rules. Envy lets one easily justify any want.

    And like prions, there isn’t really an easy way to unwind the infection once it starts. You end up having to cut out the diseased part of your thought and start over from true ground. And because it seems to be inherent to human nature, I don’t think we will ever have a true permanent cure: rather we will fight this fire for as long as we are still human.

    So not a virus: something much worse. 🙂

    Puppet Masters was fun. The only thing that threw me was the no cloths solution. I recognize it was a perfectly rational and reasonable response to the problem, I just don’t see people actually doing it, even in the face of such opposition.

    I don’t know how they would have solved it, but wearing things has been such a part of being a person for such an extremely large part of human history that I can’t see dropping all of that happening. That said, I have no idea what they’d do instead, so there’s that.

    1. Well, IIRC in Puppet Masters, “no clothing” was never seen as a complete solution.

      It was a way to identify the hag-ridden but even in the book, the problems with it as a solution were known.

      And yes, I agree that there would have been greater pushback against “no clothing” than there was in the book.

      1. Nudity seems to have been a minor theme through some of Heinlein’s work, whether incidental as in “Gentlemen, Be Seated” to fairly wide acceptance in Time Enough for Love.

        1. For some reason I thought that “Gentlemen, Be Seated” was by Clarke not Heinlein. 😉

          Mind you, I thought that the “nudity” in that story was “more to solve a problem” than anything else. 😉

          But then there was the nudity (partial) on Venus in “Logic Of Empire” which was the least of the problems that the main character had to deal with (and afterward, he didn’t think it was a problem).

    2. Marxism is a meme, in the original Dawkins sense. From Wikipedia:

      … [A]n idea, behavior, or style that spreads by means of imitation from person to person within a culture and often carries symbolic meaning representing a particular phenomenon or theme.[4] A meme acts as a unit for carrying cultural ideas, symbols, or practices, that can be transmitted from one mind to another through writing, speech, gestures, rituals, or other imitable phenomena with a mimicked theme.

      It’s a pretty successful meme at that, just like Christianity and Islam are successful memes: they replicate into new minds easily and rarely die once ensconced.

      “Successful”, of course, is not a judgment on the moral value of the meme or the effect on oneself or others of running the meme, just its strength and reproductive fitness.

      1. I now want to use Agent Smith’s “Humanity is a Virus” monologue and swap “Humans” with “Communists” and I’m pretty certain communism will match far better. 😀

        (Though tbh, Smith was bonkers and I think his logic was severely compromised by how much he hated being in the Matrix and how much he hated humans.)

    3. IIRC, the slugs attach along the spinal column and don’t seem to hide between the buttocks, so backless dresses for women and sheer tropical shirts for men should work as daily warm weather wear. Wouldn’t have gotten him the shock-jock points he wanted though.

      1. There was one case where the slug controlled a woman via a single contact with her hand.

        The person who spotted the problem noticed that the stark naked woman never took her hand out of her purse.

        The slug was hiding (and controlling her) in her purse.

      2. Schedule Bare Back turned to Operation Suntan (complete nudity) when Sam and Mary came back from their honeymoon. I can’t find the reference, (I believe a slug hit the lower spine and lived in the buttock area) but it was clear that a man wearing shorts was likely to be DOA. RAH had women wearing very formfitting/brief clothing.

  7. The advice to test-test-test will also help fight the “normalcy bias” and accepting what is being ‘pushed’ by the media and TPTB folks.
    Just had a discussion with the wife person and she was talking about how if you shoot someone in self defense ‘they’ are going to come after you and wreck your life. I pointed out that the current bias in media and reporting makes that “true” to an extent (it does happen) but there are a lot of defensive shootings which do not result in the defensive shooter being charged or prosecuted and when that happens it doesn’t get reported and is ignored by media. This is where researching, blogs, data on-line and evaluating several resources comes into play and the narrative is tested away and reality can be perceived.

    1. It really depends on your DA. Bragg in NYC will go after you, and has repeatedly demonstrated such. The DA in Topeka, Kansas, probably won’t.

      1. Note that it depends on your DA and not the law. Even in TX, even if the law is on your side, you can still be ruined by the whims of man, and not law.

        1. It was always ever thus, that we could be ruined by the whims of man. We are fortunate to have culture with the idea of the rule of law, that the whims of man would be restrained. Old Trainer, above, has the right idea in repeating that, and the everyday normality of that, that we might be immunized against the mind virus, and recognize, instinctively, the wrongness when we see the actions of a Bragg.

          1. “It was always ever thus, that we could be ruined by the whims of man. ”

            Which is not what the Founders fought for. Liberty under Law.

  8. The frogs don’t know they’re in a pot and the water’s getting hotter. OK, OK, disagree but I wanna talk about a different set of pots anyway.

    Back in the day, when they were first published, most of us agreed Heinlein wrote pot boilers. Ain’t noting wrong with that, I’m absolutely sure Shakespeare never wrote, never ever worried about his plays being produced in 2023, his interests was being popular enough to put a beer on the table and a bit of meat in the pot.

    In my opinion folks write (good) fiction for two reasons; ’cause they have to (Me occasionally, for example.) and to put food on the table. Not saying authors and/or their works, don’t resonate through the ages (Hello Shakespeare, who the hell is Edward de Vere?) but the aim is to put food on the table today.

    Of course I’m not suggesting we can’t learn from fiction, shucky darn, all, or if you wanna nit pick, almost all, fairy tales are cautionary tales. Most fiction contains a moral, a truth, a how to or shouldn’t do, but the tale’s the thing and there’s nothing wrong with it putting food in the pot.

    OK, wanna change the world? Man the barricades or like Paine (Thomas) produce a little Common Sense (http://americainclass.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/Common-Sense-_-Full-Text.pdf).

    1. I thought I heard somewhere the frogs not jumping out of slow boiling water only worked if the frogs had been pithed? I seem to recall hearing if you put frogs in water and slowly crank the heat, they do jump out when it gets to hot.

      Kind of goes back to the test test test though.

  9. Finally saw the full clip of the Irate passenger goes on angry mid-air rant over crying infant, screamed he was in a ‘tin can’ with a baby.

    Sadly, I wasn’t surprised that the man was Black. 😦


    Yes, I’m sure that a crying baby can be annoying any where, there’s no excuse for an adult having a temper tantrum over the crying baby.

    1. When we went to Romania, the flight to Brussels (where we transferred for the leg to Bucharest) had a crying infant – and it was an 8-hour flight. My beloved spent several hours holding the baby and explaining the wonders of double-entry bookkeeping to her. If he tried to give her back to mom she started crying again.
      The entire plane was probably grateful to him. I know Mom was. But when and if she’s ever exposed to double-entry bookkeeping will she feel like she’s heard it all before?

    2. Being in a tin can with a screaming infant is no picnic, certainly, but I have to imagine that being in a tin can with a screaming man-child is likely even worse.

      1. I confess to having been intensely irritated by noisy/crying children in similar situations and being tempted to say something about it. But I’ve been on the other side of that too, both as a parent and an older sibling, and I’m not an a-hole, so I kept my mouth shut.

        I’m almost surprised nobody offered to shut that puling crapsack’s mouth for him.

      1. A good reason for bringing earplugs every time you fly. (Especially necessary if you’re on a C-130 – in which case you’ll also want an extra coat and multiple layers to take off depending on where it’s going.)

    3. I do wonder if he was a claustrophobe. If he was already fighting claustrophobia, the crying may have pushed him over the edge.

  10. When I was growing up in the 1960s, my father was somewhat affiliated with the John Birch Society. We had a variety of anti-communist works laying around the house. I read many of them, and so I had an early exposure to the ugly reality of Communism as opposed to its bright shiny ideas. Not that ever wanted to join them myself….I though they were a little bit wild-eyed fanatical to begin with, and then they started really going off into the weeds. But they did correctly point out how bloodthirsty and murderous Lenin, Stalin, Mao, and their political descendants were.

    The leaders of my church were likewise anti-communist, but a bit more nuanced. They were more interested in how Communism was a devilish counterfeit of Christianity and the ideal of Zion, and deplored how the Iron Curtain was an obstacle to their interpretation of the Great Commission. They had begun pushing self-reliance principles on an individual basis and programs on a community basis as an alternative to FDR’s welfare state during the Depression, and were never seduced by liberation theology.

    So, I was inoculated against that particular brain virus, and having seen a great many of its mutated forms, was able to recognize them.

  11. When I saw the title, I was reminded of the old joke about the idiot pressing buttons, and he pushed one button marked “Press To Test.”

    It then lit up, saying, “Release To Detonate.”

    It took a while for anyone to get him free…

    We’re overdue for bad times, mostly because we haven’t had a culling of idiots lately. The Crow Flu might have been their last best gasp to stay in charge, but I think far too many people are seeing what the end results of their stupidity are. The local news here is seriously talking about how tourists are staying away from San Francisco because of security concerns. How business vacancies are going through the roof. And how the rounds of layoffs are getting worse.

    It’s going to be a remix of the 1970s, with dubstep and Karens and crappy yoga pants. Build your fortress walls well, slap people firmly on the back (to dislodge any alien brain parasites), and do the best that you can.

  12. RAH. I loved his juveniles. But I was shocked and horrified by “Stranger in a Strange Land” For one, there was the blatant disregard of traditional sexual morality (and the reasons for it). Yeah, the hippie generation loved it. But coming a few years afterwards and having seen the ugly legacy of “peace, love, dope!”, I was never so enthusiastic. For two, for all his apparent admiration of the Mormons, he got Joseph Smith absolutely and entirely wrong. Ever since, I can’t I look at his work other than cockeyed.

    1. Human sexuality in SIASL basically ignored that we are very possessive violent apes. The Martian Language would have to be (and evidently was) insidiously magical to change that aspect of human behavior. Even in an STD free environment, the notion of free love and lasting relationships without jealousy and conflict just isn’t possible with Homo Contemporary.

    2. Time Enough for Love, and To Sail Beyond the Sunset, are more upsetting, since both include incest.

          1. Still skeevy. I thought she turned him down. Maybe that’s because I wanted her to. Don’t care to go back and check, I don’t own (or want) a copy.

            1. Originally, Hilda had made a pass at Zeb (before marrying Jake). Then, when they learn Libby wants a child by Jake, Hilda insists he sleep with her, then suggests Deety spend a night with Lazarus and…well, that leaves her and Zeb.
              “Pursuit of the Pankhera,” leaves all that out (Lazarus has a small, but important cameo), which is one of the reasons I like it.

  13. I randomly started reading Atlas Shrugged two days ago after the paperback came in the mail.

    The dialogue could have been extracted from any corrupted media source or gossip column today, and I’m just in the very beginning.

    I was surprisingly horrified.

    Sometimes I get so mad at Himself I start to yell like Tevye walking with his lame horse in Fiddler. “Does EVERYTHING have to break down to the bare metal and ashes?”

    Apparently so.

    I treat the news like RAH learned to treat Russians. With contempt and rudeness.

    1. Yeah, anyone who’s read Atlas Shrugged in the past has been experiencing deja vu for a while now.

      1. It’s breathtaking how much it’s like today. I mean, the fool in charge of the company is causing rail lines to implode?

        1. The Reader has a dystopia shelf in his library. The current contents are Atlas Shrugged, 1984, Brave New World, Animal Farm, Fahrenheit 451, The First Circle and The Gulag Archipelago. There are days that feel like the union of all of them.

          1. Yow.
            I’ve not read the First Circle but I will soon. If I can stand it.

            It’s insane Flat out shoot yourself in the head as a cure for headache nuts.

  14. Speaking of TEST, TEST, TEST, there was Thursday’s glorious failure of the Falcon Heavy rocket.

    Once upon a time, NASA knew how to build, test, and fly until failure, redesign with new knowledge, and repeat, but forgot how. This is why SpaceX has made more progress in the last ten years than NASA has in the last thirty.

    Now SpaceX. has a new one to add to the collection.

    1. Since it got farther than they’d planned before it had a severe attack of kinetic disassembly, I’d call it a qualified success. And you do learn more from failure than from success. No one was hurt, they got the data, what’s not to cheer for?

      1. Discussion on Insty is saying the explosion was deliberate: the rocket was uncontrolled because of a Main Engine Cut Off failure, and wasn’t going to get back under control, so the Range Safety Officer pushed the big red button to blow up the rocket. The real problem was the MECO failure and the concomitant failure to separate the booster from the rest of the rocket. And as you said, they learned a whole lot from that. Including, probably, how to redesign the launchpad so that the engines aren’t getting pummeled by debris during the first few seconds of ignition.

        1. That sounds very likely and matches what I heard. It was starting to do multiple flips going into cartwheels like something from Kerbal Space Program, which is where the RSO would have needed to step in. The rocket looked fine, for the most part. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if the failure is traced to the Rapid Uncontrolled Disassembly of the launch pad.
          (I thought about posting the actual launch video, but my inner twelve year old prefers the ‘splodey rocket kaboom, set to the Liberty Bell March. Sousa is still the King.)

          1. So seven of the thirty-three engines failed, the launch pad disintegrated throwing chunks of concrete at the super heavy booster, the hydraulic pumps blew up making booster separation impossible. The whole stack was spinning around while traveling at Mach 2 and it was still intact until the destruct button was pressed.
            That’s some pretty darned impressive engineering. Most rockets tear themselves apart from much smaller stresses.

          2. “Where’s the kaboom? I was expecting an earth-sh……oh -there- we are! Better.”

        2. Agreed. Once a rocket starts dancing to its own music, it’s time for the RSO do his thing. Better a big boom over water than, oh, taking out the port of Houston.

    2. Elon Musk is well on his way to beating the pants off NASA’s safety record. He’s not afraid to run as many unmanned test flights as needed to get the bugs out. More power to him!

      1. I was rolling my eyes a little at a blogger today who was excoriating Musk for not making a better launchpad for the beast, and for (basically) just tossing money at things. Per said blogger, he’s a fool and it’s no surprise the rocket had to be detonated by the RSO.

        Well, no one was hurt, and now they know how much sturdier they have to make the launch pad. (I wonder if they scaled up, but should have gone up logarithmically rather than whatever they used.)

        1. Yeah, sounds like that blogger doesn’t have the faintest idea that Musk is doing a lot of the ‘slow and steady’ development and research that NASA jumped over by their fast, expensive, and dirty war time development methods for Apollo. I’m wondering if he has a reuseable SSTO concept somewhere down the line?

          1. NASA bent Columbia almost to the breaking point the first time they launched her. No one ever considered the energy input from both the main engines plus the boosters at launch, in terms of shaking her like a rag toy grabbed by an excited Labrador puppy.

  15. Occam’s Razor? Love it, but that old Arch Deplorable Kim DuToit dropped a new one on me a few days ago: Hitchen’s Razor. “Any claim without evidence can be dismissed without evidence.”

    Or as I say when you say “They say…”, I say, who They?

    1. I can’t remember what ti’s technically called, but that’s a sub-part of “any evidence can be met with the same level of evidence.”
      So, someone coming in here and saying XYZ, we can say no, and when they say prove it, we say them first. (Well, it’s us, we probably give good sources right after no. But we don’t have to!)

      An assertion is less than a secondary source is less than a primary source, kind of chart.

  16. Someone, somewhere, before RAH passed, claimed that the three books the future would most likely judge him by were The Puppet Masters, Double Star, and The Door Into Summer, because they were fully adult works but not overshadowed by RAH imposing his own beliefs on the narrative (as in TMIAHM and Stranger) or otherwise being overshadowed by concerns outside of the narrative. (No, it was not Panshin, my brain isn’t rotted enough to take that jackass seriously.)

    Without buying into the assumptions, I do think it’s possible to view those three as his strongest novels, considered strictly as novels. (For instance, Glory Road is at least as good a piece of metafictional critique as it is a stand-alone story. Friday is a much deeper reading experience if you have already read, at the least, Citizen of the Galaxy and “Gulf”, since RAH is re-examining thematic concerns from those books from a different perspective. Indeed, most of RAH’s fiction prior to 1950 fits into his Future History, and benefits from being read in that context, and post-1960 either benefits from a knowledge of the genres he’s playing with, or his body of work as a whole. It’s mostly the 1950s novels that work best standing on their own.) And The Puppet Masters is, in a way, easiest of the three to overlook, partly because despite being an alien invasion story, it doesn’t feel like SF. It’s a hard-boiled first person narrated thriller, that happens to have an alien invasion in it, and happens to have a few futuristic pieces of technology. It’s a book you can give someone who doesn’t read SF, and they can read it without being pulled out of the story, even with the alien brain slugs, largely because of the way it is told.

    Between that, and the never-questioned assumption that being against communism self-evidently makes something inferior, it just tends to get overlooked or under-appreciated and under-rated.

      1. Mine as well, most days. I wasn’t making a judgement of quality, but sharing a realization about the nature of his works, and how most of them are best read in a larger context than just the books themselves.

  17. So, you know, BLM riots might be perfectly spontaneous, but isn’t it weird that pallets of bricks “suitable for throwing” just show up?

    We had VERY earnest radio talk guys explaining that yeah, the Des Moines police had gotten calls about piles of bricks in down town Des Moines, but they had gone and individually verified that every single one of them were there for a legitimate reason, talking to the land owner and everything!

    I think it was a few days before the scheduled protest, but it may have been a bit over a week.

    Amazingly, when the protest happened, no bricks where out!

    …and the one idiot who threw something hard (I think it was a frozen water bottle) from the crowd was hauled out by the protesters and handed to the cops.


    1. Oh, and the fellows who were lurking admiring the many large windows, government buildings, identifying the federal building and its parking garage– law enforcement stopped to ask if they were new in town, if they needed directions or anything, since they were clearly new. Need advice on nice places to eat? Buzzard Billy’s is right over there-

      1. That’s great!

        I think I like that even better than Coeur D’Alene’s response, which was an impromptu gun show and mutual plate carrier admiration society in downtown by all the city’s residents, while a couple of very dispirited Antifa looking types sat on some body’s stoop with their placards.

        1. On consideration, I think agree– but only because in Des Moines, everybody did their job so nobody HAD to be awesome in fixing the problem.

          I have a very big bias towards finding “things worked great, no Big Damn Hero-ing was needed” being awesome.

      2. In Omaha Ne. a business owner shot one, BLM outsiders moved on after that. Didn’t stop the powers that be from going after the shooter and hounding him until he committed suicide. No more protests though.

        1. I listen to Scott Voorhees’ show a lot of mornings– he was reporting about local idiots showing up to scream at the guy that he was a murderer, etc, while the national news was doing the same.

          THAT seems to be what drove him to suicide, to escape it– his name being blackened nation wide.

          And that is what they tried to do that kid in Kenosha, and failed.

        2. …. wait a minute.

          I was looking up the guy’s name, to get some good examples…. I didn’t remember that Mr. Jake Gardner was found in Portland when he “committed suicide.”

          That is… a rather different spin on things.

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