Conceived in Liberty; Born in Revolution


Forget the NYT — pretty much always, really. They’ve become purveyors of bad, bad fiction — and their project to prove America is the most racist nation evah!

That kind of idiocy will only convince the feeble minded. (Of course none of us knows how many are feeble minded. After all the data is vitiated all the way down by people repeating nonsense to virtue-signal and vote fraud… never mind.)

Sure, there was slavery in America in the seventeenth century.  Bad news guys. There was slavery everywhere in the seventeenth century, pretty much.  And it is a failure of the American education system that most people assume that all slaves were black.  First of all, it depended where the slavery was.  Also, if you think slavery in the US was the worst thing ever, (which btw, is the new modified, limited hangout when you call them on their idiocy) you probably are ignorant of conditions in the rest of the world at that time, period.  Hell, it might have been better to be a slave in America at the time than to be a serf in France.  Alma mentions what we can infer about conditions for slaves in the rest of the world.

And no, guys, no. Slavery in Africa wasn’t kinder and gentler just because everyone was the same color. To begin with, the chances are really high that people didn’t consider themselves the same race, no matter what the similarities in coloring or even facial structure. In tribal societies, small differences become really exaggerated. But beyond that, if you study that time period in Africa well… The Dahomey liked sacrificing slaves over the tombs of their kinds. The ones they sold to the west were the lucky ones.

Which brings us, not only to “why the NYT are so stupid that they can only guess their own names two times out of three” but to how they consistently get things upside down.

As in, they get what makes the US different not just completely wrong, but inversely wrong.

It’s not that there was slavery in the US. There was slavery everywhere. It’s not that there was rampant racism in the US. There was rampant racism and tribalism everywhere.  And it certainly is not that there are some remains of racism in the US. The NYT writers, being provincial and stupid, might believe that there is more racism in the US than there is anywhere else in the world. That’s because the US tends to judge itself against the ideal, and our media and public life is a continuous critique of ourselves versus the ideal (which doesn’t exist) non-racist non-sexist etc society.  While Europe and the rest of the world use press and public voices to make themselves look good. And these people are so provincial they don’t observe daily life when they go abroad. No, they stay in top of the line hotels and believe what people tell them.

No. What makes the US special is the way in which it came to be.

The US was a new nation, conceived in liberty.  No, seriously.  Let aside the slavery thing, let pass the ridiculous idea that this is why the US was formed.

The US at the time represented almost unending land, room to spread out, room to try new things.  This combined with the philosophies of the enlightenment (heavily leaning on Greece and Rome) and with the traditions of English law to create…  Something different.

The idea that men should be free. The idea that they are entitled by G-d to their life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  An idea so strange that no one had hit upon it. Not for the common man and woman on the streets.

That is the true revolution.  Sure. I know that there was slavery, still when the revolution happened. I know that the revolution wasn’t a “real revolution” but a war confirming an internal change in the way people lived. Etc. etc. etc.

But the real revolution is right there, at the core.  Right here:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

After tribal chiefs, after the divine right of kings, after centuries and millennia of might makes right and the governed belong to the rulers, here is the world turned upside down.

Within it, these words — these revolutionary, crazy words — contained the seeds of real justice, contained the fall of slavery, contained… we don’t know yet, but contained the possibility of a future we can build, a future that’s more equitable than all the past.

Not all the crazy mess of Marx can equal those words. Nothing the NYT has done or will do can equal those words.

The left wants to revile and destroy our founding fathers in order to make themselves appear revolutionary and new, and innovative.

Ain’t never gonna do it biatches. Real revolutionary concepts are never going to be completely ignored again. You can’t put that genie back in the bottle.

Sure the founders were flawed and the result of a flawed system, the one before the revolution. That is no reason to erase them.

When you want to become sober, you have to fight from being drunk. When you want to fight depression you have to fight while depressed.

Yes, the founders were men who lived and died in a world full of slavery. But what they built had within it the end of slavery. All kinds of slavery.  It was a mental revolution. The kind that can’t be reset.

The revolution happened. And now in all the countries influenced by the US, slavery is abhorrent. The idea of representative government is at least waved at (though it’s often mostly the homage vice pays to virtue) and prejudice based on color or race or other irrelevant characteristics is considered bad.

Because of those ideas.  Those ideas codified up there.

It’s probably not true that they played The World Turned Upside down when the small, upstart colony defeated the greatest power in the world at the time. But they should have.

Because we were conceived in liberty and born in fire and blood.

And as long as anyone, anyone at all, believes in those revolutionary ideas, the world will never go back to one in which slavery is normal. Either the formalized slavery where a human belonged to another, or the slavery where it was assumed that of course people belonged to the state.

The world turned upside down.  We live in a highly abnormal state.  Where the left wants to take us is the “normal” world of the boot of the powerful on our necks. Only their powerful will talk about how they’re the powerless and speaking truth to power.

Only we won’t be fooled.

We remember.  Even if they succeed at erasing the idea this time, it will come back. Ideas are like that. They don’t die.  And this is a big, powerful idea.

The world turned upside down and we won’t let them turn it back.

Liberty and the Founders!

Ignore the disinformation. Carry the flag. As long as human life endures liberty will endure.

It is that powerful.

Be not afraid.


Give the Black Dog A Kick


I’m not depressed right now. At least I don’t think I am.

I keep losing track of the time and what I’m doing, but I think it’s just the ADD running wild, as it does, you know? Yeah, I need to get help for that (got massively worse after menopause,) but I keep forgetting too.

The ADD is problem enough because I drop things on the floor and don’t even remember I started them till I stumble on them months later.

But it’s not depression.  Which frankly is new.

I don’t know how much of the depression was first hypothyroidism and then side effects of singulair.

But I remember depression. Vividly.  And I have friends who are fighting it.

Today has got away from me, mostly catching up on a 100 things at once (Ah, ADD!) but a friend just said he couldn’t do something or other due to crippling depression.

And I want to point out that’s one of the best ways to FIGHT depression.  Look, I know, I’ve been there.  The black dog wants you paralyzed, unmoving, the better to lie to you about being a worthless human being.

The black dog lies.

Do something today.  Do it even though you think you can, even though the dog snaps and snarls at you every time you try.

It might be small and stupid.  Can’t write a novel? Write a paragraph.  Can’t draw a comic? Draw a sphere.  Just a sphere.

And then when the black dog lies and says it’s nothing, realize it’s a lot.  You did that against those ice-cold teeth fastened on your heart, and that evil mocking voice in your ears.

Sure, if you were free, it would be nothing. But you’re not free.  None of us is. And some are more crippled than others.

Pat yourself on the back.  You did SOMETHING. Tomorrow you’ll do more.  For now, kick the black dog in the teeth.  You called him the liar he is.

Tomorrow you’ll continue doing things.  Soon you’ll be so busy you won’t have time to listen to that evil, mocking voice.  You’ll have run away.

But it takes time. And patience. And you’re wounded. And sometimes you’ll backslide. And that’s okay.

Just remember, the black dog can’t keep you prisoner without your cooperation.  Don’t give him that cooperation.

Rage against the dying of the light, sure. But light a lot of little pin point lights, too.

Enough of those and the black dog will vanish. Clear away.

Baby steps.  Start now. And be patient with yourself.

On the How & Why of Amazon Reviews – by RES


On the How & Why of Amazon Reviews – by RES

We’ve all read them and on occasion most of us have written some.  We each have our signals for which to ignore and which we attend to, and why.  As there is little that a reader can do which will so much help move an author’s books (that is, keep the moolah flowing to encourage an author to give us more) as writing a good review, it behooves us to give some practical consideration to the mechanics of reviews, in order that we might write more and more helpful ones in support of books we’ve enjoyed.

Some elements of reviews seem obvious.  We’ve all seen and shrugged off the reviews that condemn a writer for Bad Think™ and denounce the author as an apologist for oppression of [Womyn, Homosexuals, Minority Religions, non-Cis-Gendered Persons, People of Venusian Ancestry, Other] and proves the author is a racist/sexist/something-phobe hatey-hate Mchater.”  Just so, we have also read and discarded reviews from obvious drooling fangits who will buy and praise the author’s shopping list.  [I take offense at this. My fans would buy my shopping list, and they’re not fangits- SAH] But the question remains: what should we put in a review?

The first step seems to consider what our intended purpose is in writing/reading any review.  For such things as DVDs there is useful information to convey regarding such technical details as whether the video transfer is crisp or so muddy that the action is impossible to follow, and whether the audio is mixed so that when the sound is turned up enough to follow the dialogue the music and effects will damage your speakers, eardrums, and relations with the airport three miles away.  But these issues are not relevant to books, which is the primary concern for the moment.

Mostly we want our reviews to promote sales of books we enjoy and ward off unsuspecting readers of books we found tedious and/or offensive.  Thus a positive review should offer some sense of the elements of a story; we might note that characters are clearly drawn or that it becomes difficult to keep track of them.  We would properly describe the plotting, employing terms such as fast-paced or intricate – or as unduly complicated, bogged down for pages on end, confusing or downright not credible.  We might even describe characters as stereotyped, two-dimensional, or tepid versus vivid, credible, multi-dimensioned and “people with whom we’d like share a bottle of wine.”

It is best to eschew spoilers, although it can be fair game to give away minor plot elements, such as “The section of the novel depicting Thorby’s assimilation into the Free Traders was exciting and thought-provoking.”  Such a statement does not give away anything critical and alerts the reader that there will be such a section without giving away how Thorby gets there nor how he assimilates.  Saying “I cried for hours at Old Yeller’s death” probably crosses the line into TMI.

It is certainly appropriate to warn readers that an author’s head has found its way into tight malodorous places, warning of such egregious inaccuracies/improbablities as having Hopi Indians raiding White settlements along the Ohio in the 1640s, but what about lesser transgressions?  A mighty swordswoman (e.g., Belit or Red Sonja) could be tolerable (as long as she isn’t wielding a claymore) where an entire legion of gorgeous gladius-wielding warrior-women is likely too much to accept.  Certainly any prospective reader deserves to be warned if elements of the book are likely to result in damaged walls.

It is sadly true that realistic review ratings are not really possible.  Anything less than five stars is often interpreted as negative no matter how hard reviewers strive to reserve that status for the truly exceptional reads.  A four star review with a very positive title (subject line) might be a fair route to go, providing a very positive response while still recognizing that the real five star book is rare.  Perhaps some among us is sufficiently familiar with Amazon’s algorithms to enlighten us as to how the stars affect sales?

I find in my use of reviews that some of the best information is found in the one star reviews, knowing that what infuriates an SJW is likely to delight me or, at least, be something which will disturb me not in the least.  Just as I often find the effusive praise of some five star reviews is as clear a warning as a Hugo nomination.

What are elements you rely on in judging reviews as guides for your book purchases?  Do you find brief reviews more effective than several lengthy paragraphs?  Keep in mind that a well written review is one of the main ways you can help a favored author move enough books to write sequels – and that as the publishing world moves further toward Indy the review becomes an increasingly important way of promoting the sorts of reading you like.  We are all likely insufficiently diligent about providing reviews, and a part of that is probably a consequence of early school experiences writing book reports.  The Amazon review acts more as a blurb and ought be approached as such.  Leave us work on ways to help our favored writers make more money and sell more books.

[Thank you, oh Wallaby of Wisdom.  And you guys: listen to him!]

UNUSUAL Vignettes and also Book Promo

Book Promo

*Note these are books sent to us by readers/frequenters of this blog.  Our bringing them to your attention does not imply that we’ve read them and/or endorse them, unless we specifically say so.  As with all such purchases, we recommend you download a sample and make sure it’s to your taste.  If you wish to send us books for next week’s promo, please email to bookpimping at outlook dot com. If you feel a need to re-promo the same book do so no more than once every six months. One book per author per week. Amazon links only.-SAH*

(Finally, you guys are writing again.  Yeah, me too. Now shut up.)

FROM PETER GRANT:  Gold on the Hoof (Ames Archives Book 3.


The Comanche and Kiowa are painting for war in the Texas Panhandle. The US Army is preparing to stop them – but it needs horses to do so. Lots of horses. Walt Ames knows where to find them, and breeding stock for his horse ranch, too. All he has to do is ride down to Mexico, buy them, and bring them back safely. That’s easier said than done.

He and his men will have to cover more than two thousand brutally hard miles, and deal with Indian raiders, Comanchero renegades, bandidos, and would-be horse thieves… not to mention a certain Irish-Mexican redheaded beauty who can make him forget everything else in the emerald glow of her eyes. Walt’s going to need every ounce of his grit and determination, plenty of firepower, and a lot of luck if he’s to convert the gold in his pockets to gold on the hoof.

FROM J. L. CURTIS: The Grey Man- Down South.


After too much action, too much peace gets on a man’s nerves. John Cronin’s back from Vietnam and bored, when Billy Moore suggests he check out the brand new Drug Enforcement Agency. He’d expected paperwork and meetings; he got on-the-job training in South America with stakeouts gone wrong and ambushes exploding into firefights.

This isn’t Cronin’s first rodeo, and now he’s taking the fight to the cartels, from the laboratories hidden deep in the highland jungles to the enforcers in the cities and secure compounds!

Novella 34,500 words.


Yes, Mary sent me “the word” but I forgot to do this before leaving home, and now I can’t access it.


Here’s a picture. Write the opening of the story and explain the scene. (Yes, it’s mine. yes, I put it here before. Now have fun.)




Kintsukori – by Cedar Sanderson

*Two days ago I was talking to a friend about how we’re better off despite/because of horrible experiences, and remembered this post of Cedar’s from her blog.  She very kindly gave me permission to reproduce it here. – SAH*

Kintsukori – by Cedar Sanderson

I often touch on social issues, and occasionaly very personal ones, on this blog. Earlier today I did this, writing not only on behalf of my children, but of every child of a disrupted family that has ever overheard adults dismissing them as worthless and hopelessly damaged because of it.

My dears, it simply isn’t true. Disruptions can come in many forms, whether they be the death of a parent, the deployment or other long-term job assignment of a parent, and of course, divorce. But hear me, children. You are not broken beyond repair.

When a potter is creating a bowl, he may drop it and break it. If it is unfired, the clay is put in a vessel of water, mashed up, and remade. This can’t be a comfortable process, if you are the clay, but healing is possible.

There may be scars, and a case of utter abandonment by a parent is doubtless a pain that will never entirely vanish. However, there are also many families that are re-shaped larger, odder, and with perhaps three or four loving parents rather than just two.

However,the children need support, not snide sniping at those parents who are trying to make the best of the situation as it is. There are few ideal outcomes in this world. As someone said to me recently “I realized that twenty years of bad marriage was doing more harm than cutting loose.” Sometimes life takes a left turn, and a family has to talk, try to keep communications open, and they will heal.

There is no broken beyond repair. I know I am defying some accepted truths: that a person cannot change. I do believe it is possible. I think that trust can be re-formed, and extended perhaps into something that is even more beautiful than the orginal, as the Japanese art of kintsukuroi shows. When a broken pot, which would would ordinarily be discarded as hopeless, is healed with gold to create a work of art.

We are art forged in the fires of pain. It is our choice to take that pain and create something beautiful with it, or something ugly and vindictive that wants to create an unending cycle. Just because your background was unpleasant, is no need to apply that to everything you see around you.

Dream, my children, and fly on mended wings. You are kintusukuroi, and you are loved by many.


By Ruthann Hurwitz – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,


Remove the Pants on Fire From Your Head!


I was going to write something completely different — sorry Phantom, again — but last night just before I went to bed I saw the beginnings of another Amazon panic. Again.

Look, I understand this. We’re dependent on and at the mercy of Amazon, and the more money we make, the more we fear what they can do to stop it.  I GET it.

But this case is even flakier than former panics.  So, stand by.

There is a whole thing making the rounds of all my writers’ groups involving a writer who was banned from Amazon for life because “he had too many KU reads” an answer that supposedly took him months to get.

None of this makes any sense, and I don’t mean the reason given. Yes, that also doesn’t make any sense, but the “nonsensical” Amazon actions usually have a certain logic this lacks.

So let’s go into the story AS I HEARD IT — and keep in mind I haven’t watched any of the author’s videos. I SERIOUSLY dislike listening to and/or watching videos on the computer, so I don’t do it if I can help it. That’s my first caveat.  However note that I’ve heard this story now from like 10 people, and they agree, so…

My NEXT caveat is that this is going to be a very long post.

So, TL/DR: There are enough holes in the story that I can’t regard the supposedly wronged author as truthful. So, this obviously is a big problem.

His experience with Amazon is entirely contrary to mine, and I have reason to believe they banned him FOR OTHER REASONS than what he chose to divulge, though what he chose to divulge is probably partially true.

IOW be not afraid. Amazon might go insane, but I have reason to believe this is not it, or even the beginning or it.

I’m not looking for a fight. I’m about to go away on a writing-and-cuddling weekend for the first time in over two years (almost three years) and I don’t want that ruined by an online fight.  But I’m tired of watching people run around with the pants on their heads on fire.  So I’m delaying departure to say this. (And yes, my husband is THRILLED. Why do you ask?)

FIRST and because I know some of you have caught Amazon-derangement from the left (heaven knows why, since you don’t trust the left on anything else. And yes, the left hates Amazon and would love to see it crash. TRUST me, I still lurk, unnoticed in a lot of writers email groups where the average politics are “Stalin or Mao?”): I neither trust nor love Amazon.

I don’t trust Amazon because I have now 21 years experience  of traditional publishing, and my last illusions about trusting anyone associated with my books (other than me) were destroyed over the last year.

Trust might not be POSSIBLE for me under these circumstances. If tomorrow Robert, Dan and Marshall, formed a company and offered to make an animated movie of one of my books, I’d immediately start suspecting them of skullduggery.

As for loving Amazon, I love the CONVENIENCE, particularly of overnight delivery or sometimes same day delivery.

But to say I love Amazon itself would be like saying I have a mad pash for Walmart, which allows me to buy cheap bras and panties when I forget to pack them for a trip.

Both companies, btw, have boards/owners that are at least soft left and occasionally hard left. Both have arbitrarily banned merchandise because those idiots at SPLC say it’s evilbad.

Not in love with either of them. Amazon is more efficient than B & N and Walmart is cheaper and less crazy than Target, but that’s praising with faint damns.

I do HOWEVER have experience with Amazon both as publisher and as customer. As customer, they have the best customer service EVER.

As publisher, they occasionally throw bizarre, mind-boggling wobblers which take sometimes up to a week to resolve. Important note on this: Their wobblers are never unjustified, though sometimes it is “How programmers think publishers work.” (Like, not letting me publish my collection because it had “bits stolen from other books.” because they didn’t get that short stories revert to the author after a year, per industry standard. Or take the problem LitRPG people had last year, where Amazon was pulling their books because it was afraid that their games were violating game-makers copyright.  The authors were justly incensed “It was a made up game.” BUT they failed to see the other side. There was logic. The logic is that SOMEONE used a real game, the game maker bitched because it was violation of copyright and threatened to sue Amazon. Amazon pulled anything that sounded real, or to close to real games for comfort.  Yeah, a wobbler, but there is logic.  And as far as I know, most of them eventually got solved)

Their wobblers are always solvable, even if it sometimes requires more time than I can give it in a day (hence the week.) I can get this stuff resolved by going on the phone. ME, with my accent and the voluble Latin temper. I’ve never had any other company ignore those as Amazon does, and still solve the problem.

Now, to this author’s specific case as I’ve seen it laid it out:

1- The most successful indie author ever. This should ring SO MANY alarm bells in the back of your head. No, seriously.

Why? Because how would he tell that? It’s not a claim you can even make. There is no way to tell, unless he’s been the #1 author on Amazon since indie was allowed. And even then, we know things other than sales influence the ranking.

So, how does he know? It reminds me of another figure who kept saying that he was about to publish the three “Biggest writers in SF/F” and couldn’t figure out why I was backing away fast.

Look, when there is no way anyone can know this, that kind of brag smacks of hard sales, and — at the very least — a looseness with the truth that should set off alarm bells.

I also know how Amazon treats high-selling indies — and you don’t need to be as high as you think, for that — and I have friends who are that. Not only do you get vouchers for stuff for free, but you have access to the highest ranks of Amazon often in personal visit, paid for by Amazon itself. So–

Not conclusive, but this type of sales-talk makes me doubt anything else the author has to say. Also to level set, the top tier of indie authors is making … millions, multiple. Keep that in mind for what he’s claiming.

2- Also went over to BN and took a look at his books there. What struck me first was there is no preview, at least not on my Mac. The second was file size for some of the books. The first one I checked had a file size of 3 MB.

It took several tries to find one under 1 mb.

Which means he either includes a hell of a lot of images or he is padding the books somehow–and that is something Amazon will get you for. If he’s not padding, he’s a damn liar.

He can’t be doing four of those a month. Hell, he can’t be doing one of those a month, not without hiring out a lot of it.

Look, this is ME saying it. And yes, I know John Ringo. There is a limit to what you can do, even when you have graphomania, which arguably I do.

For those who don’t know what those sizes mean: Witchfinder which weighs in at 170k words, meaning about two “normal” novels is approximately the same number of pages as the book I looked at. The file size for witchfinder is 1126 KB. He doesn’t seem to have pictures except for top of chapters.

So… what is going on? I don’t know, but it’s weird. And weird will get attention from Amazon programmers, period. Also it makes me suspect some kind of code embedded in the book to make each page count as more (Look, I haven’t heard of this, but LitRPG and anything bordering on erotica — supposedly this author always does harem — are always the leads in this kind of “how to game the system” innovation.)

3- The reason he gives makes no sense. No, bear with me on this.

Dark Sarah writes in a field where I usually sell NOTHING but make all the money in KU reads. I haven’t been very active the last year, so my money is down to nothing.

But at one time I was making most of my money from those, and it was ALL KU reads. No one even cleared their throat in my direction.

In view of the above, I presume 3 books a month or more this guy puts out are “Harem Fantasy” — so the same kind of thing — while Amazon might have an algorithm for “alarm bells, look at it” I DOUBT they’d pull his books, much less remove them and ban him based on an algorithm.

At most they’d send him a note going “Uh? What is happening, call us/email us.”

Now there is the possibility of those emails going astray, yes, and that causing a mess, but I DOUBT it would be instant. And a first step, I think, would be kicking him out of KU. NOT out of Amazon. Also, as me, sometimes I don’t check my emails for months (until recently, it wasn’t even close to my main income) so it’s entirely possible to get in big trouble. BUT again, you call, and eventually it gets solved.

5- He’s had books on Apple since 2016.The books he had banned, he had on Amazon on KU. Are those the exact same books? Because it’s possible to go wide and be on KU, but it’s very difficult, and 20% of content needs to be different.  Is it, or did he do what many people do and just put on Omnibuses on other venues, and hope KU doesn’t notice?  Mind you, even then the most they do is bann you from KU, but it is a violation of TOS.

That’s if they are the same books. IF they’re not, it makes his output even more unbelievable.

It’s not impossible nor criminal to have a “writing factory” of colaborators, and putting your name on the edited material.

But not telling your readers that is at the very least a “certain looseness with the truth.”

6 – His actions make no sense.  No seriously.  Keep in mind, he’s been making a bazillion, if his claims are true. And suddenly it’s cut off.

I don’t know about you, but my main source of income goes away, I’m going to try to replace it.

Banned for life? Sure. But see YOU are not the same as an entity with another tax payer number.  And if the ban somehow mentions that? I’m sure he has a wife, a cousin or a close friend who could become his publisher.  He’d have to change names, and lose income momentarily, sure.

BUT if he can write as much as that, it’s no big, and anyway, it’s only while he resolves things.  Now he might have done this and not be divulging it, but it sure doesn’t SOUND like it.

Also, again, remember he has a ton of money.

You guys more or less continuously get confused over Amazon.  Let me make something clear: you can get banned from Twitter or FB with no recourse.  BUT AMAZON IS NOT SOCIAL MEDIA.

Amazon is BY DEFINITION a public market place.  There are laws against those banning people because “oh, well, we felt like it.”

It seems to me the kind of lawyer he could hire with the money he has made would be making a federal case out of it.

LITERALLY.  Probably headed to the supreme court.

And that kind of case would be in EVERY paper.  We’re talking someone blocked from making MILLIONS of dollars.

It wouldn’t be some guy screaming on you tube and running a fundraiser.

Something doesn’t add up. It just DOESN’T.  There is no way to make this stuff make sense, and I mean his side of it, not just Amazon.

7- What I suspect he ran into is “the many ways to violate KU” AKA “Stealing KU money from other writers” but the perpetrators never view it that way. Given that he has to be loose with the truth (see claim of bestselling indie ever, also see the diddoonuffin on how they gave him no warning, whatever, also see claims of how much he writes,) if not outright lying, I don’t feel too bad about suspecting this, but I still feel somewhat bad.  However Harem and LitRPG are infected with more fraud than any other field.

The non-charitable thought is that he hired “bots” to read his books. Yes, this can be done. Yes, this will get you banned, because Amazon deals with Russians and Chinese doing this ALL THE TIME.  The pattern is discernible by programing, and if serious enough it damn skippy will get you pulled without warning and banned-for-life.

The charitable view, and it has happened to people before, is that he got hit by accident with a “the bots also looked at my books to throw off where they were from and whom they were favoring.”

This happens every so often and there have been half a dozen cases, including a well-known Romance writer.

It takes a couple of months to solve, because Amazon has to be SURE you didn’t contract the bots.

I don’t even know how you DO that – my guess is programming forensics to figure out what the bots were doing and where they came from, etc – but there has to be a way to do it, because all the cases of this I heard of before have been solved.  Yes, the writers lost a couple of months of income, but the cases have been solved.

8- That’s it. I have one version of it I can’t get to make sense, and the beginnings of the usual “Amazon has gone insane” panic among the usual suspects.

I’ll point out if Amazon has gone insane, it’s still less crazy than trad pub.  And yeah, Amazon NEEDS competitors, and I understand your fears. I have them too.

OTOH this is one of the flimsiest causes for panic I’ve ever even IMAGINED.  So you will forthwith (all of you, not John particularly) calm your bujungies and untwist your variform underwear.

Add to my reasons of suspicion that this guy is trying to cause just such a panic and stamped public opinion, instead of getting on with making a living, while solving this on a personal and if needed legal level.

NONE of it makes sense.

Amazon can be weird, but there is usually a rationality in the weirdness.  This has none.

Take a deep breath and see what happens next.

And now I’m off. All my bags are packed, etc.  There will be guest posts tomorrow, Sunday and Monday, and my presence here will be, G-d willing spotty.

Amuse yourselves.  (This post is duplicated at Mad Genius Club, should you want to have fun there, too.)

Is That A Ship On Your Head?



Humans aren’t rational. This is something that’s really hard for me to accept. I mean, I know it’s true. Is there anyone who doesn’t? But I don’t like it.

I mean, we’re not totally irrational. We can chivvy ourselves along towards more rationality too. But if I were wholly rational, I’d be doing a novel a week. I can write that fast, the problem is getting myself to sit down and persuading myself to produce instead of either going into brain lock or leaving in search of more interesting things to do or, if I prevent myself from leaving the office/desk, taking off mentally on chains of thought that have nothing to do with anything I’m doing, and emerging two hours later going “Uh, what? That much time?”

One of the most enlightening things was reading Pratchett’s book (I THINK “Once more with Ceiling.” in which he talked about his process, and finding out it wasn’t very different from mine. His writing process included what I call “Chasing myself around to make myself write.”  His, because that essay was written long ago, included “Clean typewriter keys.” Eventually at the end of the day there was “sit down and write” and then of course “Write till early morning.”

This made me feel much better, as I’d thought I was weird.

I also confess to laughing with sick delight (and recognition) at Peterson’s recommendation that if you’re bad at bribing yourself to produce (I AM) you’re a bad boss and a worse employee (to yourself) and should fire yourself and find someone else to be you.  There have been times I’ve started to write a want ad.

All this to say, humans in groups have this exacerbated.  No matter how much you try to be rational, you are still a social ape. And you will feel collective uncertainty and anxiety run through your surroundings, be they personal or professional, and you will respond.  Your response will often be what your colleagues and neighbors are doing. And you won’t pause to wonder if it’s productive, because, well, you know, there’s safety in numbers.  That is, if a lot of people are having the same response to a stress factor, you disappear in the crowd, and the crowd bolsters you.  All you need in times of stress is to be fighting your own band mates, right?  And they will fight you or shun you, unless you accommodate and fit in, because social apes.

On the other hand, if you exacerbate whatever the group has chosen to appease its stress with, you will probably end up being a leader, or at least looked at approvingly.

Which is how you get things like the massive and bizarre hairstyles of the nobility (and to be fair the rich bourgeois, but that’s because they aped the nobility) in France just before the French revolution.

As the industrial revolution and various other shifts (including truly disastrous harvests) robbed those whose income came from hereditary landholding of their ancient riches and prominence, even while the court demanded a complex set of “dancing attendance” for royal favor (A policy started and encouraged by Louis XIV in part to rob the nobility of wealth and prominence, not to mention keeping their minds off rebellion) the nobility felt insecure.  The fact that its ranks were being penetrated by people come from the bourgeoisie, who married their children or “simply” franked the nobility’s lavish lifestyles, made the nobles feel they were losing control. Even though rank remained a thing of birth, they were in fact, in the real world, losing rank.

The response were fashions so extravagant that they make us go “Wait, what?” and must have given people headaches.

You can see where wigs came from and were fashionable, in a society without running water and/or decent shampoos. It was easier to keep your hair ridiculously short and wear wigs, which is why they’ve been part of human fashion since ever.

But it took the French revolution to come up with wigs on armatures (or hair extensions, ditto) and hairstyles that incorporated ships and, at one point, bird cages with live, singing birds.

To look at drawings or read descriptions is to go “uh, what? who ever thought that was attractive?” and also “Boy their heads must have hurt.”

Yet the competition for the most elaborate and showy hairstyle, no matter how insane, did not stop until those heads fell to Madame Guillotine thereby stilling forever their status anxiety.

I was going to write this blog about something completely different, but I had to hit FB to message someone, and the posts…

It clicked with something.

See, noblemen in France (in the rest of Europe too, but France’s old kingdom was special for how wide the disparity was) were used to being by far the richest in their surroundings.  And they were used to the peasants being less than dirt under their feet. Or their chariot wheels.

And then that changed, in what, is a cultural eye-blink.  Forget the crazy slogan. Humans don’t like change. Particularly they hate change that challenges their status. Unable to actually increase their net worth (within the prescribed realms in which noblemen could do such) or stop spending, the nobility instead went for displays of wealth.  Big and extravagant ones.  And the wigs were of those and… quite, quite insane.

So what does that have to do with facebook?

For a few generations, since the left captured the academia, entertainment and the industrial-news complex, aka, the opinion makers, to be a leftist has been synonymous with being smart.

And being smart, since the renaissance, but definitely since the world wars has been the greatest social “good” there is.

No, I’m not saying the left was smart.  Increasingly, most of them weren’t, because as it became a matter of social display, the easily led started imitating it.

No, I’m saying that to parrot leftist ideas was to be considered smart. Partly because of the left’s conceit that Marxism was “scientific” there has always been, attached to the modern left the idea that to believe as they do is “rational” and “smart” and that their opponents are stupid.

Not only did they hold onto this while their ideas were proven wrong by reality over and over again, but having captured academia, they pushed leftist ideas as synonymous with being educated.  I mean, if you’d attended an elite school, you received these ideas, and the way to signal you’ve attended the school is to parrot it. Thus leftism became the old school tie (mostly around the neck of our economy, but never mind.)

While they had full control of the media, be it entertainment or informational, they could reinforce the message, as well as revile anyone who challenged them as stupid, wrong and illiterate, and GET AWAY WITH IT.

With intelligence being the highest status-good in our society, the left had secure status. Forever they thought.

The change has been very rapid. The fall of the USSR and talk radio were the beginning, and since the internet took off, they’ve been trying to hold on to the tail of the comet, as it streaks away from them.

I’ve said it before and I maintain it. If Mr. Obama had been president in a country where the information tech was the same as in the 30s, all his failures would have been hidden, and people would believe him a staggering genius, instead of the little man who wasn’t there. Because that’s how the industrial-media complex presented him.

And then… And then they went all in for Hillary! They were “With her” 300%.

Unbelievably, it didn’t work.

I think they’d suspected, before, that things had changed. But they could still tell themselves stories, dismiss the opposition, preen on having all the power.  And then… it failed.

Since then they’ve been running scared with social insecurity.  They display their “brilliance” for all the world, and it didn’t work? Oh. Must signal louder, larger, crazier.

All the “Wokeness” over everything possible (and mostly imaginary) in the last few years?  That’s social signaling by a social group losing power and trying to regain it.

The less it works, the more extravagant it will get.  I am in premonitory awe over what will happen should Trump beat the margin of fraud in 2020. You thought the Democratic Socialist meeting was funny? You ain’t seen nothing yet.  They won’t be able to open their mouths without announcing “point of personal privilege” and their pronouns, and interrupting each other with every finer intersectional victimhood.

If you think having a woman who won an SF award malign the person the award is named after with a bunch of ahistorical nonsense, and seeing the institution cave within days was peak wokeness, you’re deluding yourself.

Soon and very soon the “Wokeness”displays will be the equivalent of having live birds in your hair.

Because in their subconscious, if they just signal loud enough they’ll regain their status as “smart” and “educated.”

Meanwhile, we’ll be buying popcorn stocks and saying “Is that a ship on your head, or are you that insecure?”


And the Reason IS!


A friend of mine, on facebook, was posting the vexed question of why communists think nazis are right wing, and therefore accuse anyone to the right of Lenin of being fascist.

The discussion — as far as I could see of it — went all over the map, as it always does, but the question should still be fascinating: both of these are totalitarian regimes, both claiming to be in the name of the people (one, people singular, the other “workers of the world”) and both really favoring the well connected and/or powerful of one form or another (but neither of them much favoring the aristocracy, if one is in place when the regime emerges.)

So why call one “right wing” and one “left wing?”  Both are for central control.  Yeah, sure, communism theoretically expropriates the factories and gives “ownership” to the people, while fascism allows the owners to keep the property (or gives the factories to the well connected in their party.)  But we all know — we know. There’s almost 100 years of practice to look on — in reality communism too “gives’ the factories, or the profit of them to a handful of well connected.  The workers might theoretically own all of the factory, but they certainly aren’t taking weekends on their Dacha in the volga river, or shopping in the capitalist capitals of the world. No, those are for a few of the apparatchiks who are supposedly working tirelessly for the people, day and night.

They are two regimes more alike than not. And when you say that, people say “politics is a mobius strip. The opposites touch.”

Yeah, no. That is one of those things that was all over Europe in the seventies, pushing people towards the “sensible” mixed economy, which btw means private business retains theoretical ownership but is either commanded or hemmed in by the government. Aka socialism, various forms of crony capitalism, or even soft fascism.

So, why the left/right dichotomy?

My normal answer is that people who say fascism is right are relying on the European spectrum.  You see, in Europe the right is nationalist and blood and soil.  They can be (and at least in Portugal’s case, and probably in France’s ARE) as socialist as the left. But by gum, they make sure the fruits of the redistribution are given to people of the right genetic heritage, or at least people who can fake it. They are also likely to extol the homeland, and intend to defend it.

The left, OTOH is internationalist.  It turns out in its final phase this devolves to suicide through open borders and a pathological hatred of your own country (because that’s the only way to get people to agree to commit suicide.) but Marx, the father of most (even he couldn’t manage all) bad ideas thought workers of different lands had more in common with each other than with the “capitalists” of their own land, and therefore would unite across all borders and study war no more.

And if you believe any of that crap, I have a dacha on the Volga, free of ice two months a year, and you can have it for only a million dollars plus slave labor.

His successors, who figured out the workers weren’t going to revolt, at least not spontaneously, overlaid a patch of “ethnic justice” under which anyone from a shithole country is automatically exploited, and the revolution will come from them.  (It’s Magic Tan Human. Just add bigotry.)

In one respect, this theory fails. See, the right in Europe is blood, soil and G-d.  And the G-d in question is the G-d of the country.  Okay, yeah, they’re Christian, but still, the right wing in say Germany should be Lutheran.  In Southern Europe they should be Catholic. Etc.  Does this hold for fascists?  Oh, hell no.  Hitler invented a whole new paganism.  Mussolini was pretty hard on priests, (at least those who wanted to follow their religion), etc. Not very different than your average commie, in fact.

So, again, what is with the certainty they are so different?

To understand that, you need to go back to the beginning and how each theory sold itself.

You see: Marx thought he was creating a theory of scientific governance. The fact he couldn’t understand science if it bit him in the fleshy part of the butt is beside the point. THAT’s what he thought he was doing.

His system has all sorts of just-so stories — a friend told me Victorians liked making up these stories about everything, which is correct, but Marx still takes the cake — which sound logical and all encompassing… if you don’t pay attention to the fact that they don’t touch reality, ignore human behavior, and kick history around like an empty can.

But he thought he had science, and that scientifically we would end up in an earthly paradise brought about by the withering of the dictatorship of the proletariat.

And that’s how it was sold. It’s early adherents and the “culture” of the belief was that they were all scientific and full of reason; that communism was the outgrowth of the enlightenment.  I believe this is part of the reason, still, that leftists consider themselves “smart” and that they say things like “We believe in science” (while in point of fact treating scientific hypothesis or theories as revealed religion, but never mind.)

It’s because their system was supposed to take them to “reason.”

This is also part of the motive for a system that can’t survive without continuous war, both to subdue internal issues and to pillage and rob what they can’t produce thinks of itself as “peaceful” and as having war forced on them by those dastardly capitalists.

It’s certainly why our left feels a continuous need to denigrate the military and claim that war is “right wing.” (I honestly don’t think that our left knows the reason for this. They’re just acting on passed-down culture and indulging their parrot instincts. And the idea they should attribute everything good to their side and everything bad to the right.)

The fascists and Nazis, on the other hand, sold themselves not as scientific, but as a rebellion against all that.  Not as the heirs of the enlightenment but the heirs of the romantic movement. They were going back to das Volk and the Volk traditions. Their very unreason made them pure. They would each become the noble savage, and live according to the dictates of that noble savage, each man in nature.

So, you see, the left thinks that this means the fascists are right wing. They’re not scientific and they don’t use reason.  So they can’t be on the left which is all about reason.

Except of course, the left isn’t all about reason. There’s nothing sane or scientific about the hells communism creates on the Earth.  It’s just as animalistic and base as fascism. It relies on malice and hatred and will to power just as much. It’s just that the communist sanctifies envy, and the fascist sanctifies pride.

They’re still both totalitarian and they are still both horrors. A hammer and sickle should be no more acceptable than a swastika.

And that’s without considering the evolution of the communists (We’d consider the evolution of the fascists, but thank heavens, as a system they died seventy plus years ago.) since the fascists stopped being a competing system.  Since then the left has brought in:

Ethnic pride.

A belief that culture is innate.

An encouragement to give in to your feelings over your thoughts.

Ridiculous, touchy-feely stuff like veganism and other fads that fly in the face of scientific fact.

In other words, since fascists vanished, the left has slowly converged with them in theory as well as in practice.  I mean, if you think the crony capitalism of China isn’t, in everything but name, the most successful fascist regime on Earth (And it’s not that successful. As Dave Freer told me more than a decade ago, it’s a beautiful lacquered vase. The lacquer hides the cracks.)

Why would this happen?

Well, because the campaign used to sell each regime was never the truth.  The truth is that they’re both reactions of shocked cultures to the dual stress of a generational war and rapid change in means of production/ways of life.

They’re the result of the hysterical reaction of normal people to look for the man on the white horse, and of the powerful or power hungry to gather more power.

There is no functional difference between them. Neither was ever “Scientific”.  They are and always were screams of panic of entire cultures, and lashing out of those who felt helpless in the maw of history.

As such they each aggregate the various appendages of unreason, including bits of folk religion, which is why a vegan who uses crystals to decide the color of socks to wear is likely to think him or herself “communist.”

Heinlein called them “Red or black fascism.”  You can also call them “Red or black totalitarianism.”

I’m not that enamored of color.  And the red turns black as the blood dries.

If we must use “left and right” and we’re stuck with it, since the left is so gosh darn proud of calling itself left, which it equates to everything good, let’s use it in the American sense.  Left is collectivist. Right is individualist.

In which case, the fascists are, logically, all theirs (and they’re welcome to their kissing cousins. Maybe they’ll both lose.) while you and me and ours have a future to build.

Let’s leave behind the blood soaked insanity of the 20th century.  It has filled enough graves.

Make the 21st the century of liberty. May it become our ruling principle.

Because it is the only antidote to totalitarianism. And it works.

I’ve Tried to Do This

I’ve tried to do this, I’ve paid the price. But it IS powerful. I’ve seen ideas make it from here, half formed, and out into the world. It is worth it.
I’ve found largely what he says here is true.
Consider it.



*Turns out my dereliction of duty yesterday matched your dereliction of publishing. So, no promo post this week. And I’m alive. The cats are still sulking, except Havey who thinks we MUST be mad at him, so he keeps coming over and snuggling-SAH*

Every time we say something scathing about the boomers, RES gets justifiably upset and protests.

JUSTIFIABLY but not necessarily accurately, mind you.

While it is entirely justifiable at being tied in to idiots you have nothing to do with but the age, [I was born the year after Obama, and I resist any intimation that everyone born in the early 60s is like the little train that couldn’t but bragged really loud.] there are more factors that go into “Why I’m not a boomer and will beat anyone who says I am to death, with a wet sock.”  And I’m not the only one who feels that way. And there are reasons for that too.

Look, RES is correct that boomers as we see them are largely creations of the media. They invented this “baby boom” generation who was somehow, automagically, going to make the evil nastiness of WWII (and WWI before that) go away.

In a way, what the opinion makers and narrative creators were doing was the equivalent of a young woman who gets pregnant out of wedlock, and freights the resulting infant with all possible good qualities and a grand, predestined fate.  I’ve seen this more times than I can count, to the point I started calling it “the fated infant syndrome.”

They were doing this civilization wide, and trying to will a “fated generation” into being.

It worked about as well generationaly as it it does individually. The fated kid normally beats all odds to fail at whatever he was “fated” to do.

And here is where we get to “not accurately.”  (Not that I’m tying RES to the dunderheads of his generation. Look, frankly we Odds aren’t typical anything.  But we still follow trends — all my sins remembered — and respond to peer pressure, which explains where my “generation” comes in and also the fate of the echo-boom (poor things) which ended the year older son was born.

Before we begin this, remember that generations are not as they appear on TV. Not only the dates of starting and ending, because it can be WAY more flexible than that, but that individuals are individuals. RES is right in that. And most individuals are not media creations, even if they are influenced by them. Also that none of us can do anything about the currents of history we’re caught in, and which are sometimes very odd.

And about generations not being the way they’re portrayed, note older son was born the last year of the echo boom. The designation echo-boomer seems to have gone the way of the dodo, but if they still used it, would older son fit in?  Well… no, because his parents weren’t boomers, and by the time he was born were, in fact, divesting themselves of vestiges of boomerhood (as described on TV, she says before RES throws something heavy at her head). So his most influential cultural unit had nothing to do with the entire idea of boomers.

Dan is an echo boomer, since his mother was born just after WWII.  In that he is like Obama (a year older than us) whose mother was also a boomer.  The resemblance stops there, as Obama’s mother, perhaps more than usual seemed to have lived the tv-boomer lifestyle and Obama chose to embrace it, while Dan was the child of an intact family unit, and even though coming to adulthood with a bunch of second-hand-tv-boomer attitudes, chose to reject them.

But I’m very much the child of children born during WWII and by the time I was 22 was shedding the boomer attitudes I’d acquired from my brother who is almost ten years older and completely embraced boomer stuff.

Confused? don’t be.

Numbering generations by the years of birth is a creation of the mass media, and therefore stupid.  Most “mass” things are stupid.  The idea of “normal” sizes for instance, and that “normal” cuts should fit everyone is loony if you look at the variety of human bodies. But mass production has had people starve, cut and rearrange themselves with compression to fit what the machines could produce in batch lots.

This created other mental artifacts, because if people all should fit one thing, by gum, there should be a recommended diet.

The one thing we’re finding out — though Dave Freer tells me biologists who specialize in other species have always known this, but it couldn’t be SAID about humans. Was Verboten — is that “ideal diet” is almost individual. For instance, if I eat lunch, I’ll gain weight, almost regardless of anything else. Imagine how much joy I get whenever health professionals or well meaning people enjoin me to “make a good lunch.”

In the same way I suspect how each person is influenced by the “image” of their generation, and which image they choose to embrace and how is unique.

However, the TV boomer thing had an effect.  And it wasn’t the fault of the boomers.  Not really.  Just like the child born out of wedlock, they were propagandized from birth. And there was no way ANYONE could have fulfilled everything expected of them: they were supposed to study war no more, and yet they were supposed to achieve everything, including the stars. They were supposed to break all rules, and yet harmony should rule. They were supposed to have free love and it would work automagically. They were supposed to learn painlessly and joyously, and yet they would be SO SMART and educated.

Then there was the cold war, and other stuff. Read the beginning of Glory Road. He said it better.

Here’s the thing, though. coming in ten years after, I saw the trend in the generation in my brother’s children books that I inherited.  From comics to the advertisements in magazines it was all “your generations is going to break all the rules and fix everything going all the way back to a sort of prehistory, but one where we’re all noble savages.”

It had an effect. Impossible for it not to. Picture how much that kind of propaganda has to penetrate that in a little village of a country that was neutral in WWII (mostly through being bankrupt) the baby boom sounded loud and clear.

Look, I’ve also read books written by the boomers’ parents.  There was a lot there that was “we can beat Hitler, we can do anything by the same methods.”  The fifties weren’t the fifties the TV has dreamed, either, but they were more regimented and “collective” than we’d stand for.  And these people, kind of in rebellion, dreamed up their children as noble savages.

The long hair, discarding of suits? The silly attempts at “free love?”

The world had seen them and been dealing with them for a long long time. Every so often…

The problem is this stuff all hit at the same time that the USSR was winding up its propaganda arm and the kids were perfect targets, and many people in the narrative-building arms of the society from education to journalism were being paid in Russian coin.

So Marx wound his sinuous and scaly body around a dream of Rousseau and went traipsing through the west.

Free love became rejection of the idea of matrimony, became “marriage is slavery for women.” The idea of free and idealistic poverty became “all capitalism is evil.” Etc etc ad definitely nauseum.

And unfortunately humans are social animals. Enough signals were taken in to ruin a whole lot of people.  Probably not the MAJORITY of boomers, who were by and large normal, functional human beings, but a good number of them.

More than that, it was enough to plant this idea of “revolution” as an expectation in the mind of a generation. And to make people disdain the past, because they’d been propagandized that it was all bad. They weren’t going to study war no more. Or as it turned out, Latin, Greek or history.

So even the decent boomers carried that idea forward into their kids.  They’d been convinced the IDEAL was this tv-boomer creation.  And by gum, their kids were going to be those all wise peace makers.

Did I mention that Obama, born a year before me, was the perfect embodiment of what my son’s classmates were trying to be?

And this brings us to a problem: generations aren’t simple. Just because you were born a certain year you’re not a boomer, or a millenial, or whatever. Those are media-creations.  Which I remind myself of when my kids act like typical millenials.

But they’re not. They just have… bits of it.  In their case, mostly, little ones, like older son can’t spell things most of the time, without looking them up, because NO ONE EVER TAUGHT HIM TO SPELL.  I tried, I swear, but the school would tell him it was okay “so long as we understand it.”  (Which is why younger son did copies of texts till his eyes bled, and spells much better.)  And they’re starting on adulthood kind of late, because, Obama’s economy, etc.

In the same way most boomers aren’t typical. But they do have the hangover of being raised as the generation that was going to make everything right. Which no generation can, nor should be expected to.

And we, who came after?  Look, we’re just trying to rebuild.

Which brings me to the fact that no matter when we were born, all or us, in this blog, are of the same generation: Generation rebuild.

Or generation pooper scooper, if you prefer.

The disassembling of Western civilization wasn’t the work of a generation.  If you want to be candid, it goes back to the French revolution.  Oh, not for toppling the king. No. For the demand of equal results, which is a virus that destroys civilization.

The only reason we haven’t collapsed is that there are builders, among the wreckers.

We’re all the same generation.  We build.

Sure, thanks to the media propaganda, and the idea that generations were uniform, a lot of the TV boomer bs has done a lot of bad stuff to our society. Worldwide, really.

Fine. They didn’t choose when they were born, and we didn’t either.  And thank heavens, thanks to new tech, the idea of generations designated by mass media will soon be a thing of the past.

And we builders will find ourselves and each other, in spaces like this.

Which is why I tell you to build.  Build under, build over, build around.

The structure is weaker than it seems, and someone has to hold it up when it blows.

Be generation Atlas.

And this time, don’t shrug. Your shoulders won’t be holding up socialism, but a construction of our own devising, one that will give us a more viable future.

Not perfect, no. We’re not perfect, and our world won’t be.  And our kids and grandkids will have to continue building.  But a world that takes from the past, the future, and affirms the importance of humanity and the individual.

Square your shoulders, now.  One, two, three, get ready to lift.