I’m Alive And well

Hi. I’m alive and well.

Yesterday was crazy-busy, but I got to meet some of you in the flesh, so that’s cool

Right now, I’m trying to do the promo post, but Amazon keeps glitching, so I might have to do it tomorrow.

Anyway, don’t worry about me. I’ve got a Minotaur guard of honor, and I got to harass LawDog — TWICE! — (I need a button with that last) so, I’m fine.
If I don’t get the promo post up, I’ll do it tomorrow.

Taxonomy of Trolls

So, yeah, I do realize I’ve been running a little hot lately, and am more likely to get false positives for trolls and react to that sense than before. Part of that is the times we live in. Being in the stupidest timeline, and two years of lockdowns haven’t helped anyone’s temper. Part of it is specific-to-me circumstances, like us trying to get house unpacked and set up. A situation that tries my patience daily, because well…. Look, I do realize I need to cut back on the sheer amount of possessions. Partly because it’s not like I’m hoarding gold and diamonds, okay? I have an unhealthy number of worn sheets and towels with holes, which I’ve trouble getting rid of because “they might come in handy.”

It’s not helped by the current situation, where the back of my mind tells me “but will that be available again?” when I try to get rid of something.

Anyway I’ve got to deal with that to de-stress, and until then I’ll be a little hot on the jump. Indulge me. OTOH I thought what might trigger my troll alarms, just so you know. I’m not saying “never do this” because I’m not going to unduly restrict your speech here. (Though coming in swearing at me and other commenters, when a total unknown, will still get you banned.) Anyway, here “what makes Sarah smell troll and why.”

So, here is what I will call “a taxonomy of trolls.”

THE INADVERTENT TROLL: I realize I can’t demand that you have read the last week of posts or much less all the comments, but seriously–

Coming up with a complete doom scenario particularly one debunked over and over in posts will get the back of my head screaming “troll.”

Coming into an old post and being weirdly aggressive as to why it’s not true and we’re all doooooomed. Gets my head screaming “troll.”

Now this can be inadvertent, and even well-intentioned, or someone in the depths of the black dog and reaching for anything, but seriously? It feels wrong, particularly if you’re new and I don’t know you.
This brings us to:

THE DOOM TROLL- comes in screaming doom doom doom, we’re all doomed. Vomits wall of text. Will take no argument, or leaves a drive-by.

As I said, this might be inadvertent. It might be accidental as I said, and heaven knows, we’re all functioning weirdly due to the lockdowns and stupid.

So, if you’re inclined to a doom troll what I have to ask is what I used to ask my sons: what are you expecting to accomplish?

Look, yeah, maybe everything will be doom and gloom and commie-land forever. (If you reality-test, you’ll realize how unlikely this is, both because forever is a very long time, and because frankly commies can’t keep themselves going. And if we hadn’t helped the USSR– Anyway–) BUT at best what going black-pill right now will achieve is throwing the game when not only we could win, but we have reality on our side.

Yeah, I know, people try to doom so they don’t feel “exposed” and to spare themselves pain, but again, the real world effect on others is terrible.

I also have reason to believe — though I can’t be absolutely sure, of course — that some of the doom trolls are paid/subsidized by the left/foreign interests. Because you know if Americans give up or break up, they win.

So, kindly try to limit the amounts of doom. Yes, I do get some of you are very, very depressed and convinced of doom. I get that. Notice I haven’t banned the regulars who feel like that.

BUT if you’re a newby and relentlessly doomy, you might be mistaken for a troll. Heck, you might even be one.

THE ACTUALLY TROLL – comes in and “corrects” a minor point in the post.

Note that I’m not infallible, and these are often written early morning or late night, with me in a state of semi-somnolence. I do make mistakes. And my commenters correct me often, on historical figures, language, or whatever.

However there is a level of “You mention forks in the fifteenth century, and actually in the fifteenth century, the hand whittled forks of Bavaria–” that is a troll, because it diverts discussion to totally unrelated/unproductive point.

It can be particularly annoying if the commenter is wrong or its debatable.

It climbs to troll if it’s a drive by, and an attempt to discredit the whole post on an incidental point.

The grammar/typo trolls fall into this. Notice I don’t include those of you who have way too much fun with my typos, but those that come in saying something like “For a professional writer, you have a lot of typos, so I can’t believe–“

THE NOTICE ME SEMPAI TROLL- These are bizarre, and the one I’m thinking of was the guy who was extremely annoying so I put him on “approve me before I show” watch. He then, without posting here, went around every right-side blog calling himself things like “SarahHoythatesme” for years. I had no clue who he was, and frankly had no idea why he was doing this. Then he left comments here going on about how he was going to sue me or hit me for “blocking” his comments and “not answering me.”

I have no clue how or why he expected me to answer him on blogs where I never comment and rarely read comments, but whatevs.

This is the “Notice me sempai” troll, and that guy was not the only one. There are a few that have got themselves hard-banned by doing things like bringing imaginary arguments they had with me on other blogs or to other blogs (imaginary, because they referred to me, but I wasn’t there/didn’t answer/had no time for that stuff.)

I have absolutely no clue why I’m so important to them, but hey — diddle diddle! — I apparently am. For those that aren’t actually paid, they need to take their meds and get a life. (PAID? Well, day before yesterday my hotmail was under HARD brute-force attack, trying to break into it. No, they didn’t manage. But like internet shenanigans in CO, there’s indications that I’m not entirely paranoid since someone is trying to get me. Heaven knows why. I’m just a chick with a relatively small blog. Shrug.)

THE INCOHERENT INSULT TROLL – You might be Clamps/Chlamydia. Though frankly, a lot of lefties fall under this. With rare exceptions, this just gets you banned, hard, straight off the gate.

I think that’s pretty much it for trolls. The “notice me sempai” ones are, without exception, the weirdest ones, and I have no idea what they think they’re doing, but then I don’t claim to understand any trolls.

That’s it for today. Stay frosty.

The Arrow Is Plugging The Wound by the Writer in Black

*I will state my issue with this post upfront: The Writer In Black is right. In fact, he’s covered in reason, (as grandma would say.) I just don’t know that the Bidentia Junta is going to allow us to do it gradually or bring everything down with a roaring crash and make things very precarious indeed – SAH*

The Arrow Is Plugging The Wound by the Writer in Black

In other places I’ve made it pretty clear that I lean sharply libertarian and that the role of government should be sharply limited. “To preserve these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”  That’s it.  Going beyond what’s necessary to “secure these rights” is to go beyond “just powers.”

As I point out in earlier blog posts, a certain level of government actually helps to secure the basic rights of Life, Liberty, and Pursuit of Happiness (Part 1Part 2Part 3)

Obviously, we are far, far beyond that point.  To get there we need to cut government back, way back.

Here’s where I part company with many Libertarians.  They want to do it in one fell swoop.  Every part of government that is not part of the minimum necessary “to secure these rights” (which some consider to be “all of it”) must go.  Now.

That, however, may not be a good idea.  Oh, the end goal of getting rid of most of what government does may be a laudable one but the question is how.

Consider this analogy.  A man has been shot with a number of arrows and is lying there like a meat pincushion.  The wounds, if properly treated, are such that he can survive and heal.  If left as is he’ll bleed to death.

Some folk have the instinct to jerk out all the arrows since they’re what caused his wounding.

Very foolish that.  Those arrows are also plugging the holes so he doesn’t quickly bleed out.

This is where we are with government.  It’s bleeding free society to death, slow or fast depending on your perspective but it’s also “plugging the holes”.

Consider what President Dwight Eisenhower said about Social Security and other programs: “Should any political party attempt to abolish social security unemployment insurance and eliminate labor laws and farm programs you would not hear of that party again in our political history. There is a tiny splinter group of course that believes you can do these things. Among them are a few other Texas oil millionaires and an occasional politician or business man from other areas. Their number is negligible and they are stupid.”

Eisenhower was not endorsing Social Security and those other programs.  No, he was pointing out the reality that so many people had grown dependent on them that people would rise in such outrage that the “offending” party would be voted out of every office they hold, from President all the way down to dog catcher, and never be heard from again. [Ed. Note also what I had to say in Yesterday’s post, The Dismal Science.]

And the plain fact is that many more people are dependent on many more government programs than ever before.  Cut the program and people will suffer, in the short term at least.  Maybe, probably, they would if given time adjust to the new situation and the economic growth that comes from the increased freedom and less tying up of the economy caused by the government passing money back and forth from hand to hand with no new products and services to show for it would improve their lot.  But there’s the problem “given time”.  Most people will only see their immediate hardship.  As the line says from the movie Annie (the 1982 version; I haven’t seen the 2014 version and don’t intend to) “People don’t eat in the long run.”

There’s another factor as well. Even if you remove the arrows and stop the bleeding, infection brought in by the arrows through the open wounds they created can still kill the body.

What is the infection in this metaphor? Infection is the beliefs and ideas that are only government can solve problems or, perhaps more pernicious, government can solve them best. And so, even if you reduce the size and scope of government (or, miracle of miracles, get rid of it entirely) the moment problems arise (and they will, this being far from a perfect world) people will immediately turn to government to “solve” those problems. And how do you stop them, short of force, which would make you a government?

It’s a strange infection that causes people to stab themselves with the very arrows you just pulled out of them, but, well, it’s not a perfect metaphor.

The other problem is that the arrows are barbed. The organs of government, in the end, are made up of people and they are going to “softly and silently vanish away” because you are no boojum. They’re going to resist. Remember the Iron Law of Bureaucracy? The people in charge of most of the bureaucracies are “type 2” bureaucrats, those dedicated not to the goals for which the bureaucracy was formed, but to the organization itself. They aren’t going to quietly see it go down, and they’re perfectly willing to do untold damage in their fight for institutional survival.

We saw exactly that under Trump. The irony was that people claimed Trump was paranoid for claiming that the “Deep State” was working against him to undermine his Presidency (starting with putting surveillance on his campaign). And time and again during various hearings we saw witnesses describing how they had worked against Trump to undermine his Presidency, starting with surveillance on his campaign.

Thus, while reducing the size of government is a good thing–indeed, it’s something that must happen if we’re to remain anything resembling a free and prosperous country–great care must be taken in how its done.  It needs to be done gradually–we didn’t get where we are in an instant and we won’t get back in one either.  We must be prepared to deal with the “bleeding” that will come from removing each “arrow”, with the infection that it’s let into the system, and with the hidden barbs it contains, lest instead of a healthy, prosperous nation we end up with an exsanguinated corpse.

Recognizing this, of course, makes me a horrible “statist” who doesn’t care about freedom.  Or so I’ve been told.

The Writer In Black normally blogs at: The Writer In Black.

Also look for his books on Amazon under David L. Burkhead.

It’s Not On You

It’s not on you to save the world. It’s not on you to save everyone.

Or as my husband so eloquently puts it “You can’t hug every cat.” (It’s from a video. It’s also a lesson from our years as fosters. You can’t foster every cat.)

Some of us — and I think we’re probably overrepresented on this blog — realized there was evil in the world and ten seconds later decided it was somehow our fault and it was on us to save the world/mend all pains/heal all wounds.

This cannot be done. Not by any individual, and maybe not even by a lot of us. It’s impossible, and also hubristic.

That evil exists in the world is the result of humans having imperfections — or if you prefer, the Fall — and of the fact we each have free will. You can’t stop pain in other humans, except by making them stop existing. (Which is where every scheme for “heaven on Earth” leads us.

And that’s the grossest evil of all.

To the extent I’m doing better/less crazy than I was in 2020 it’s because I realized/internalized it’s not on me. Living in times of extreme madness doesn’t mean I’m responsible for stopping it/making people see sanity.

I can’t actually “change the world.” The world is big, and I’m only one person.

All I can do is all I can do. I can keep the lamp lit, so others see it. I can keep people from thinking they’re so completely alone.

I can work harder, or more efficiently, make more money, and help support/give work and pay members of our community who are in danger of going under right now. (And so many people are.)

I know that communism CAN’T work here, and I mean it can’t stay on for any given time. Not because we’re special, but because we are those that have enabled communists around the world by feeding them. No one is big enough to feed us. And it’s going to get bad, even here, which means the rest of the world is going to get into outright death and famine.

I can’t do much about that. I know the lights are going to go out for a time. I pray the time is short, but making sure it is so is not on me. I can help as much as I can by exhorting/helping/pushing, but I’m not the ruler of the world. And Americans don’t really have rulers, even if we have idiots who want to rule us.

It’s not on me.

All I can do is all I can do, and I’ll continue doing it. And when the black dog comes around, I’ll just work harder.

If you do likewise, maybe the landing will be soft, the darkness short.

All we can do is all we can do.

And hope and pray the rest goes well.

Be not afraid. In the end, we win, they lose.

In the meantime, just keep swimming.


Having learned an old language with many accretions, first, I knew the world puerile before I learned Latin and found that it came from puer — boy in Latin.

Once I knew that, though, it made sense. Puerile behavior is that of a group of boys, by which we should not picture the sober school boys, with much on their minds and a career potentially ahead of them, but a pack of village boys, illiterate and bored because even though they have to help with chores, there is nothing to occupy their minds.

So they run in a pack and are susceptible to impulse and sudden whim, which means they can as well save an animal from a ditch as stone to death a dog, but usually the later.

I don’t suppose most of you have had experience with that, because most of you didn’t grow up in real rural society, where the boys of the underclass were just allowed to run wild. The closest comparison might be to youts in the urban cores, but even there it is different, because they are more likely to be occupied with drug trafficking or selling at an early age.

Puerile is not just unlawful or wanton, it’s also…. futile. Childlike in the sense a bored child will do whatever comes to mind, even when it’s stupid, meaningless or counterproductive.

And it is the best description for the behavior of those who fancy themselves our superiors.

I suppose they have the acquisition of money and power as their goal, but the thing is that after a certain point money is just markers of success, and again, at a certain point the markers are meaningless.

These people have nothing to do. They have nothing to strive for.

Somehow, being utterly devoted to themselves, they are not connected to anything else, even their children and families. They don’t live FOR anything. They just live. There is no purpose to it.

Like bored village boys, they run in packs and do the craziest things because they’re bored. Like “spirit cooking” which no adult human being would consider for a moment on any level of seriousness.

This is reflected in the stories they write, which are boringly predictable and nihilistic. You start a story, and start following someone with interest and then of course, the nice mother must be adulterous or a murderer. The businessman is corrupt, etc. etc.

Because it’s easier to pull the cord on something, and make people feel emotion when you destroy something than when you build a more subtle end.

This was particularly effective when that turn off was a surprise, because no one did that. But that was a good 100 years ago. At this point, we expect the disillusionment and the spoiling.

The “Sudden and yet inevitable betrayal.”

So it no longer achieves a punch. It no longer means anything. It’s boring and dreary and gray, and an indication of why most entertainment branches are meaningless.

Like our politics and our politicians, they’ve become puerile. A semiotics that equates stoning a dog to death, or running pulling a stuck vixen out of a ditch.

The terrible primal force of bored boys, which made the “apprentices” in Shakespeare’s day a force of destruction, is now in charge of our cultural institutions and our politics, and most of our agencies.

Which is why we, alas, against our own better judgement, the adults, must build under, build over, build around.

Because that puerile force is evil, and yet meaningless, a nightmare that passes and leaves destruction in its wake.

And we must build.

In Praise of Dead White Males

The first time I saw a picture of one of my favorite authors, I was seventeen and an exchange student in the US. (I think I’ve made mention here, but maybe not, of how Portuguese did book covers: generic images, no author picture.) I borrowed a Clifford Simak hardback from the library, turned the picture over, and…. there he was.

And I was profoundly disappointed.

Look, I knew my favorite authors were my dad’s age or older. But did they all (I found other pictures later) need to look old and nerdish, and like they’d dismiss me with a “Little girl, we’re talking about important stuff here?” Couldn’t one of them at least be ravishingly handsome, rugged and about thirty if that?

Now that I’m well, old and one of the group — because the group of science fiction authors extends through space and time, and we don’t make much nevermind about vital status — I look at pictures of worldcons before I was born, and I can imagine myself walking into the hospitality suite, grabbing some stale peanuts and sitting on the floor, where the greats are talking, just to listen. And I know too that they wouldn’t have sent my 17 year old self away. Argued with me, to the last ditch, sure, but like my husband on the day they met and, for reasons known only to the psychiatrists we don’t have, fell into a heated discussion of parallel worlds from philosophical and mathematical perspectives, they’d be enthusiastic and happy to trade opinions. Oh, I’m not saying there wouldn’t have been flirting, some of it likely inappropriate. It was the times it was. But I doubt very much that it would have gone beyond that, without encouragement. (And heck, I grew up in Portugal.) However, there is to the vast SF geekdom this: that we forget everything in the presence of really compelling ideas, and I have always had a way of making men forget what I looked like, when I started talking.

Anyway, up till then, I really didn’t have a mental image of what the authors looked like, and I couldn’t care less. Just as I couldn’t care less if I read books that contained only male characters (Look, mostly not even science fiction, but dad’s World War I and II historical fiction library.)

What I cared about was that the characters be interesting, and the setting plausible and vivid.

I do realize that makes me a very strange little Portuguese girl, (wink, nudge) but I really didn’t need a Portuguese female character to be interested. Though I did sometimes wonder why everyone in the future would have English names. (Look, I was very young. I later found some French names, and Spanish names, too.)

And sure, I read only males — like oh, Anne McCaffrey, and Agatha Christie, to name two of them. — because as we know, in the past, only males were allowed to write.

Which is why nowadays, one by one “dead white males” are being erased from the curriculum, for equity or something. And why incredibly stupid people write about how males shouldn’t write novels, because you know, we have to make up for the hundreds of years that women weren’t allowed to write.

Need I clarify that there was never a time when women weren’t allowed to write or publish? I come from a very old culture, and the really old poetry (All literature starts with poetry unless it’s a nation born from a colony) was often penned by women, sometimes even nuns.

And there was no real discrimination about publishing women, though it’s entirely possible that in the middle-ages there was some sniffy stuff about women writing sacred stuff, for all I know. And sure, here and there some publisher might have been a pain in the butt, but here, listen, getting published for men, women or small striped dragons is not all beer and skittles. Either trad rejection or public indifference are by far the most common result of trying to get published. Getting published and/or known involves both skill and luck, the amount of each varying with each case.

So, why were most of the writers of the past men?

Well, because women often weren’t taught to write. Even in my childhood, it was normal for parents to save up, and send their sons to the best private schools available, while they sent their daughters to the village school. One step down from that, and women weren’t taught to read, while men were.

Unfair, etc? Oh, sure. I assume. Women in my family seem to be literate time out of mind, but you know, for most of a women’s life it wasn’t necessary. Even illiterate women could cypher and count money, which was needed. Writing, not so much, except for the occasional letter, and you could often get a neighbor to write one for you.

Mind you it wasn’t necessary for most men, either, and there’s a good chance most men in the past also couldn’t write. But for a few: priests, administrators, lawyers, it was essential. And if they chose to write on the side, they did.

Before you start screaming, as I said, a lot of the writing we have way back is from nuns. Or, you know, very rich women.

You see, writing, particularly fiction writing, is a thing of a very wealthy society. Societies that are living from meal to meal, barely scratching up a living, don’t have the leisure to write epics, nor frankly the leisure to read them.

So, by definition, only a small number of men, and a smaller number of women (let’s remember that until the advent of contraceptives, most women spent most of their lives pregnant) wrote at all.

Were these white people?

This is not a serious question. Depending on what you consider “white” — I mean, my people were writing plays, while the Northern Blonder People were painting their belly blue — if you extend it to the Mediterranean and middle east, yeah, they were white. On account of the rest of the world being largely illiterate or sunk in pre-history. (I know some South American civilizations had writing, but we don’t know how any of it worked, since it hasn’t been deciphered.)

It’s not like someone stood at the door, checking the paintchip color of people, before disseminating their writing.

No, that requires the modern age and a very expensive college education, because it’s an idea so stupid only the extremely indoctrinated could believe it.

The books, the stories, the biographies and histories we have are the only voices of their time. Were they written mostly by white males? Waggles hand. Probably a majority yes, and?

Will they have inherent biases? Damn Skippy they will. They were, you see, written by humans. And being written by humans, they will have the flaws of humans, which is being confined within their own time. And each time has its own notions, which seem ridiculous to other people in other times. (Yes, ours perhaps more than any other.) And yes, they would have their opinions as males. Which is not the same as the opinions of a woman of their time would be.

However, they are our past. You can often read around the edges and figure out the history of women in that time too. And at any rate, humanity is a whole, not different enough to rate separate histories. We are grown ups and can abstract the not-said from the said. Well, at least I can.

Here’s the thing, though, when you dismiss writers as “dead white males” or, I suppose “dead white females” and instead are prouder than anything that “women and people of color are getting published” and go out of your way to promote those, regardless of quality, you’re being more racist than anyone in the past. And more sexist too.

And you’re doing literature and history a serious disservice.

Humanity comes in many colors and our span of life is finite and confined in time.

But confining what’s available on purpose is exactly opposite the purpose of literature.

The purpose of literature is to get out from the space behind our eyes, and for a little while to be someone else.

Sure, narratives from a different perspective — if well done — are exotic and will appeal. But since we’re not all alike, what appeals to some won’t appeal to all.

During the late unpleasantness in SF there was a big claim that I or others like me didn’t want “women and minorities” to be published.

Besides being farcical (I have looked in the mirror, yes) that claim is also exactly the opposite of what we wanted. And what I want.

I want everyone who wants to write and be published to be so. Now, remember what I said above: most people fail at this, either traditional or indie. Instead of a triumphal march, the road to publication most often resembles a series of kicks in the teeth.

BUT those people who stick with it, and work at it? I don’t really give a good goddamn what their color, sex or sexual orientation is, I want them to be published. Because you know what? I read much faster than I write, and much faster than my half dozen favorites write. And I hate being out of new stuff to read.

Now, do I think they should be given priority in publication or dissemination ahead of “white males”? What kind of stupid question is that? I want good books to get published and distributed wide. I couldn’t care less about the personal characteristics of the author. Sure, if I like an author very very much, I will perhaps want to meet him or her. (This is mixed. Some of the people I met made it impossible to read their stuff again. And I liked it before…) But most of the time? I couldn’t care less. Terry Pratchett could have been a paraplegic lesbian pacific islander, and I’d have loved his books just the same.

To give priority to books because of the author’s color or minority status is rock-bottom-stupid. To get dumber than that, you’d have to be a nematode. Seriously.

The purpose of literature is to communicate. The purpose of fiction is to entertain and escape. Maybe to make you think as a distant third. None of that has anything to do with what a person does in the bedroom, what’s between their legs or their skin color.

And by the way, I know a number of men who write women better than women do, and vice versa, because humans are ridiculous and complex.

So, in defense of dead — and living — white males and even white honorary males, like all the women who wrote before 2000, in all the fields and whom present “women” are intent on erasing:

The only people who benefit from erasing the past of a field are those who know they’re not good enough to compete, and hope that by hiding the giants they’ll look way better.

This can be fixed by making everyone: male, female, hardvark, and white, black, purple, or polka dotted compete fairly.

Judge the book, not the author.

Anything else is the kind of stupidity that unmakes civilization. And none of these luvies would be as fond of pre-history as they think they would.

Write it all, market it all. Try as hard as you can.

Let excellence (and a bit of luck) determine whom our descendants get to sneer at.

Book Promo And Vignettes by Luke, Mary Catelli and ‘Nother Mike

*I’m going to make an appeal: since this next week and through about Wednesday the week after I’m going to be in the process of being nibbled to death by cats. I’d like to ask if you have a guest post cooking that you send it to me in the next 2 days or so, if at all possible. Either to the promo address or my other one. Thanks – SAH*

Book promo

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 (unless you’re me or my relative. Deal.) One book per author per week. Amazon links only. Oh, yeah, by clicking through and buying (anything, actually) through one of the links below, you will at no cost to you be giving a portion of your purchase to support ATH through our associates number. A COMMISSION IS EARNED FROM EACH PURCHASE. That helps defray my time cost of about 2 hours a day on the blog, time probably better spent on fiction. 😉

*Note that I haven’t read most of these books (my reading is eclectic and “craving” led, and apply the usual cautions to buying. – SAH*

FROM KATRINA LEGG: The Case of the Rollerskating Armadillo (Noir Good Deed Goes Unpunished)

Spacestation: Arcadia is a vacation destination for the rich and connected.

When a midnight call from one of the guests includes assault from an unfriendly lawn decoration, Deputy Corbin knows something isn’t quite right.

It’s not just the grumpy old man who needs his help but it’s going to take all his wits to uncover the other victims in the mess he’s stumbled upon.

This is a long short story, not quite a novella, and should not be mistaken for a novel.

FROM PETER GRANT: Wood, Iron, and Blood: A Classic Western Story Of The California Trail (Annals of Ash Book 1)

Sometimes wanderlust skips a generation… but when it strikes, it strikes gold.

In 1852, fourteen-year-old Jeremy Ash rises to his grandfather’s challenge and sets out on the adventure of a lifetime – the California Trail.

It’s four deadly months and 1,600 merciless miles from the Missouri River to the goldfields of the Sierra Nevada. There’s alkali water that’ll poison you; desert heat that’ll fry your brains; mountain passes that’ll crush you; swarms of biting insects that’ll drive you mad; deadly diseases that’ll plague you; and warrior tribes that may make it lethally clear they don’t want you there.

Will the California Trail kill Jeremy, like so many others before him? Or will it make a man out of him?

FROM CHRISTIAN TOTO: Virtue Bombs: How Hollywood Got Woke and Lost Its Soul

Inside Hollywood’s Descent into Dreary, Dull Leftist Groupthink

Hollywood’s Dream Factory is now a nightmare of woke restrictions, Identity Politics run amok, and freedom-snuffing rules and regulations. The Oscars are unwatchable, as are many films and television shows thanks to the woke revolution. Virtue Bombs breaks down where Hollywood went so wrong, illustrates the slow-motion disaster infiltrating the industry, and offers a glimmer of hope for a woke-free tomorrow. Award-winning film critic Christian Toto has all the receipts, showcasing Hollywood’s virtue-signaling follies and how it could get much, much worse before it gets better.

FROM J. L. CURTIS: Rimworld – Diplomatic Immunity.

Fargo’s latest attempt at quiet retirement is going haywire quickly.

Hiding the officially missing Dragoon heir at his cabin is about to get interesting.

A GalPat change of command brings new attention to his militia and their capabilities, just as he’s falsely accused of murder. Facing a stacked prosecution, he finds that friends have hidden abilities when they come to his aid, including hiding the heir.

When he comes back out, he’s got an agenda and an heir to get home in one piece… A young man thought lost, whose homecoming will shake an entire empire. And hopefully Fargo will survive the experience.

FROM CLAYTON BARNETT: Echoes of Family Lost: A Novel of Machine Civilization.

Alive! After four years believing her older sister lost and presumed dead in the horrible Breakup of the United States, Lily Barrett gets word from her dear friend, Ai – and Ai’s family of Machine Civilization – that Callie Barrett is very likely alive… but over 900 miles away in Knoxville.

Using the resources of her and Ai’s family, Lily puts together a search party to go find Callie: old, broken, and burnt Orloff – an expert in surviving in the Badlands, Ai’s little sister, Fausta – her machine mind controlling a Combat Android to protect her friend, all together in a cart pulled by their sturdy pony, Clyde.

It’s almost a thousand miles to go, with something very odd trying to limit their ability to communicate over distance and even to cross bridges. A chance meeting along the way in Huntsville, former Alabama, wrecks their plans, and puts all of their lives in danger.

FROM JOHN DAVID MARTIN: Charis Colony: The Landing.

Dr. Raj Mondal had it all. Born to one of The Landing’s founding families, he had a high-status position with the Colonial Medical Administration. He implemented the Colonial Governing Council’s eugenics policies, which meant he decided who was allowed to have children and who wasn’t, who lived and who died. He was a reliable, loyal citizen of Charis Colony. Until his patient, Mr. Singh, disappeared. Suddenly, Dr. Mondal was suspected of aiding a defector. He and his wife, Shirin, now found themselves in the crosshairs of a vindictive Chief Inspector from Colonial Security. Fleeing for their lives, they seek the help of the very people they were taught to fear most: The McGuire Point Rebels. But how far does the reach of Colonial Security extend? And were the rumors about the violent and barbaric people of McGuire Point true?


Big things were happening in 1957. The Cold War ratcheted tensions higher. The Russians launched the Space Age. Elvis bought Graceland.

For reporter Roly Allenson, it was the year her life changed. Forced to drop out of college, she struggles to find her place in a topsy-turvy world, starting with a weekly newspaper job in her hometown, a place as down-home as meatloaf and field peas, and just as dull.

What she actually finds is a dead body. In a cemetery. But in someone else’s grave.

Unraveling the mystery of the extra man in the cemetery plot leads Roly to realize her sleepy Southern town may be a lot more complicated beneath its smooth, nothing-ever-happens-here surface.

And maybe more dangerous.? After all, that dead man didn’t bury himself.


BZ is turning over a new leaf, working her first night as bartender at her Uncle Doc Applebreath’s Anti-Gravity Ballroom. She proves her deadly skill the first night. The bar attracts the attention of the Parkour Pickpockets, and BZ attracts their boss Teef. Shy Kenny runs the anti-gravity and the rest of the technology. After a number of high-profile jobs the pickpockets accidentally steal the Doomsday Device, and that attracts the creepy crime boss Salvatore who recruits the pickpockets and arms them with his high-tech tools. Through coast-to-coast robberies and budding romance, the final climax comes down to BZ and Salvatore in Dr. Applebreath’s bar.

FROM CHRISTOPHER WOERNER: 202206 Shaming of the True

The booklet of the month, collecting edited versions of the last several pamphlets I’ve released. It’s fun to write about sixty pages every month, even if the subject matter is the destruction of the world as we watch it unfold.

But this is about current events with a bit of history or popular culture thrown in. The economy continues to fail, the pretense that Ukraine is crushing Russia is starting to fall apart (slightly.) But our masters have just gotten started, they’ve got it as planned as possible, tearing down everything that really works so they can impose their fantasies on the world. This is what I’ve been covering for all these years, I’ll continue as long as I can. Here’s the latest summary.

Vignettes by Luke, Mary Catelli and ‘Nother Mike.

So what’s a vignette? You might know them as flash fiction, or even just sketches. We will provide a prompt each Sunday that you can use directly (including it in your work) or just as an inspiration. You, in turn, will write about 50 words (yes, we are going for short shorts! Not even a Drabble 100 words, just half that!). Then post it! For an additional challenge, you can aim to make it exactly 50 words, if you like.

We recommend that if you have an original vignette, you post that as a new reply. If you are commenting on someone’s vignette, then post that as a reply to the vignette. Comments — this is writing practice, so comments should be aimed at helping someone be a better writer, not at crushing them. And since these are likely to be drafts, don’t jump up and down too hard on typos and grammar.

If you have questions, feel free to ask.

Your writing prompt this week is: HOOK

Never Apologize

The left doesn’t believe in culture. It confuses it with race, which is why it accuses people of racism if they object to specific aspects of a culture: how they treat women, or gays, or other races.

To them — as to Hitler, from what I understand, and no, that’s not argument ad-Hitlorum, it’s just an observation — culture is like race or sub-race, bred in the bone. If you are descended from a certain type of person, you’ll belong in a certain way.

That confusion is manifested with their referring to behaviors from Western, post industrial culture as “white supremacist.” (And by the way, I know what I speak of with “post industrial”. You can track the presence or absence of such things as punctuality, quality control, etc by when a country was industrialized. They were present in England before they were present in Germany. In fact Germans were considered pretty sloppy until industrialization.)

There is no race to culture. There might be certain genetic traits that help or hinder your adaptation to a culture. My MIL, once, in exasperation (and I don’t understand why, btw) told me if I’d been born in an Islamic culture, I’d never have lived past adolescence. She was probably wrong. I’d have learned to keep my mouth shut. And my introverted awkwardness is masked in the US by the fact that I was raised in an hyper-social culture. There, they recognize me as introverted and odd, but here my halfway-adaptation to Portuguese culture in childhood makes most people think I’m extroverted. (They don’t see the exhaustion and all physical symptoms of the flu afterwards, while I recover from a con. Took me a while to figure out what it was. I assumed it was con crud, until I realized the same happened after a dinner out with friends.)

If — as many people do — I adopted a child from Africa, or China, as an infant, or probably (though this is less well-studied than one would like) any time under 3 years of age and raised him or her, the child would be American sub-genus geek. (Even better for this example is “if I adopted a frozen embryo from Africa or China and carried the baby to term. — even though or course I personally can no longer do that.) Because the child would be American, shaped by American culture and the English language.

That the left doesn’t understand culture is bizarre and puzzling, and probably the fault of Gramsci, who tried to revive Marxism by making “people who tan” the bearers of natural communism, when the workers of the world failed to unite. (Note that idiotic patch on the non-functional Marxist program only “works” because most people in the west have spent no time in third world countries living as locals. Living there working for NGOs or being tourists doesn’t count. IF looked at objectively the people of the world who can tan are probably among the most racist and less likely to “unite” but never mind. The entire Marxist fantasy is a patch quilt of idiocy and wishful thinking.) This requires them the deny culture as a shaper of outcomes and societies, and fixate on race and the fixed pie.

It is responsible for utter idiocy like “the global majority” which if China isn’t lying about its population figures (what are the chances of a totalitarian regime lying? Come on, man!) is Han, but if China is lying as it always does doesn’t exist. Because there is not majority of “Can tan from light brown to dark black”. Those people don’t consider themselves one. In fact, in Africa tribes we have trouble telling apart will tell you they’re completely different races. And Portugal before the highway would tell you it’s at least three races. (The highway means a lot more intermingling.)

But culture exists, like gravity exists. No amount of jumping off a window screaming “I don’t believe in gravity” will save you from going splat. And no amount of imagining culture is just some cute ethnic dishes, the way you wear your clothes, or folkloric dances will save you from being beheaded when you go on a bicycle tour of the Middle East. Or getting beaten up in an alley in Lisbon because you looked at some guy’s woman the wrong way. Or being robbed and killed in an “ethnic” area of Paris.

Of course culture is more than those extremes. Culture is what shapes you before you can even speak. (Hence my thing above about how we’re not really sure how much is there before 3 years of age. Three years of age was the accepted age under which conquerors desiring to obliterate the culture wouldn’t kill children. But who knows?) See above where I’m naturally introverted and have issues reading social signals, but few people in the US can see that, because to survive in an hyper social culture where everyone lives in everyone else’s pockets I had to learn and adapt. I don’t know when that set in, but I don’t remember working at it. (And I remember working to steal my mom’s smile, because mine was unnatural. I.e. I learned to imitate her smile. At around eight.)

Culture shapes you. It shapes you at an unspoken level. You might choose to break that shape later, to acculturate to another culture, or simply to another way of being, but that is work, and takes effort.

And a lot of what goes into culture is …. never spoke of. The way you walk. The clothes you wear at what age. What a mom is. What a grandmother is. What a father does and doesn’t do. What a man is. What a woman is.

Even across the vast expanse of western culture, there is a lot of variation in those “unspokens.” It will amuse people here (probably) that until recently (and only because mom can’t, really) dad refused to walk anywhere carrying a plastic bag. You know, your average grocery bag with stuff in it. On his way from the bus from work (or driving but that was different, because he wouldn’t walk through the village carrying a bag) he’d stop at grandma’s every day. And sometimes she’d have vegetables, or eggs or something to send to us. But he wouldn’t carry it down. He couldn’t. That was unmanly.

I have no clue why. But he way he reacted to it, that was something imprinted so deeply he could not break it. (And yes, Portugal is Western culture, though industrialized late.)

Marxism has been taking a hammer to western culture for the last 100 years. It started by questioning/mocking minor things at the edge. Some of them things we in the US don’t really give a hang about, but which are huge in the rest of the world, like class distinctions. Ways of dressing.

Then it progressed to bourgeois morality. And there is a reason that “bourgeois” is the worst insult in a Marxist’s vocabulary. The bourgeois work ethic and sense of morality is the greatest opposition to its nonsense. The noblemen, most of whose descendants are now communism, always had the morality of rutting goats, so they were at home with Marxism. And they never understood money, and certainly never created wealth. It is the bourgeois that stand as the epithome of Western culture, in opposition to Marxism.

This is particularly so because bourgeois are NOT noblemen and not born to privilege. Trying to reinvent bourgeois virtues as “privilege” is another of the left’s “saves” that are stupid and mentally twisted. Being punctual isn’t privilege. Saving money isn’t privilege. Learning useful trades isn’t privilege and teaching your kids to read isn’t privilege. All of them are values and behaviors that can be adopted by anyone of any race and any social class. Yes, they might be harder if not learned in childhood, but they aren’t impossible to acquire.

And the point here is that Bourgeois virtues and Western Civilization, with all their “narrow minded” assumptions about men and women, and children, and behavior, with their beliefs in decency and hard work and thrift have lifted more people out of poverty than any other culture in the world or in history.

In particular, the version of these values as embodied in America has lifted more people out of poverty and fed more of the world than any other civilization or culture in history.

So, where does “never apologize” come from?

If there is a weakness to “right wing” art (no, it’s not true that people to the right of Lenin are less creative. That impression was fostered by people in control of the establishment who kept artists to the right of Lenin from being published/publicized/seen. This is the equivalent of cutting someone’s vocal cords then saying they naturally can’t speak.) as it makes its first tentative steps onto the mass market, it’s a tendency to try to explain fundamental values of Western civilization; trying to justify why the nuclear family is important, or why father’s matter, or how free market improves things.

All art that devolves into apology is inferior. We’re seeing that with the wokerati (Though the fact that they were promoted for reasons other than merit doesn’t help those poor rats). But more importantly, why are you apologizing for/explaining the most successful culture in the history of the world?

Culture is that which is. Just because the left is now crazily attacking the most basic assumptions, beyond what is man and what is woman to “What is human” — you might not want to look up “cakeself” — doesn’t mean we have to explain the basics to them.

They weren’t reasoned into their position. They were scared, propagandized and screamed into it. The beacon they chase is acceptance, not rationality.

Some of the most effective counter to the present nonsense is the writings of Agatha Christie. Yes, she was a woman of her time, and gives way too much importance to heredity. She also treats communism as a sort of cute adolescent posturing, meaning not much. (I’m not actually sure that would be an error to do.)

We should do art as art. We should do art by being us. Right, paint, create as a product of Western culture and frankly the bourgeoisie. (Most of you aren’t descended from the nobility, or if you are you’re many generations removed. You’re descended from the scrappy people who raised themselves by learning and hard work.)

Write your assumptions, not as just so stories, but as the background of your stories.

And when the left objects (sensitivity readers are one of the most idiotic things ever) laugh at them.

“But the west had slavery!” “So did every human culture ever. many still do. Shut up child, the adults are talking.” “But the west is racist!” “So is every culture ever in the world, and some are way more so. Go away and grow up.” “But capitalism is unfair!” “And communism kills. Just stop being an idiot.” “But traditional morality and monogamy are stodgy” “Yeah, but we don’t collect STDs and our kids tend to be saner.” “You’re repressed.” “You’re insane.” (Or in Nero Wolfe’s pithy comment “Humans are more than the appetites they share with dogs.)

Don’t bother to refute their positions. They don’t really have positions. They have sneering and infantile discontent.

Write what and who you are — not literally. Not all of us are Obama, so “interesting” that we can write multiple autobiographies. Also, none of us have publishers who will pay us millions as baksheesh and eat the losses — and make it a good story. Ignore the left and treat them as the crazy people they are.

Write REALITY and don’t bother trying to explain other races are also racist, or that women aren’t inherently peaceful.

Write the truth in the light of Western culture and Western values.

And the truth shall set you free.

Tone Policing

I was going to write about memes and art, but since last evening, something has been working itself through my subconscious, and it will have to come out.

Back in 2015 — when I, and a few friends with more idealism than brains, were going through hell without galoshes, in a preview of what would beset the entire country these last two years, i.e. attacks on the fact that we dared defy leftist privilege, and accusations of the basest sort — I was subjected by our own side to bizarre attempts at tone policing.

When speaking of someone who’d accused me of being a white supremacist and using racial slurs — which might be laughable to those who know me, but it’s also one of the vilest things you can accuse anyone of, and in my field the death of a career even on rumors of it — I used a short hand for her name, and immediately our side descended on me like a pack of scolds because using a shortening (not actually derogatory of her name) was dismissive and mean, and “we’re better than that.”

Again, when I started referring to Occasional Cortex as such, I had people come and yell at me, because our side is better than that, and should stand above the fray.

This while these people call us horrible insults, attack us by every means imaginable, and fantasize about our deaths.

I notice some of that bizarre tone policing has receded, as have protests that no such thing exists, when I refer to massive voter fraud.

I take no joy in being proven right. Cassandra really didn’t get half the beating she deserved. I wish the situation weren’t so dire as to strip the well-intentioned of their innocence.

But I’ve been thinking about it. And I’ve been reading about Jane Austen and her time. If you haven’t read her — the movies and series tend to elide that aspect — you don’t realize how religious her work is. Which considering she wasn’t a “fundamentalist” (they existed in her time, as did very strict Christians of other sorts) but what would now be the “Semi-secular middle” strikes one strangely. (If you don’t believe me, read Mansfield Park which is really just a medieval morality play.)

However that’s where the society was, while we are — by their lights, and perhaps not undeservedly — post Christian pagans.

So, how did we get here? Not by rational argument. There was very little that rational argument could do against faith — as we’re finding when dealing with the left’s baked-in faith in Marx and Gaia that resists all proofs to the contrary — and there was nothing rational involved.

We got here by memes, by stories, by derision.

Humans are social apes. At the very back of our brains there is a terrible fear of being ostracized by the band and eaten by lions. And while the better angels of our nature might not abandon us all at once,t hey will, little by little, in the face of “everyone knows that’s stupid.”

Mostly it was a century plus of leftist dominance of entertainment and the media, portraying Christians (or Jews, or any non-Pagan religious faith) as evil and stupid and something to be made fun of.

Drip, drip, drip with jokes and derision and the assumption that such people are stupid and evil.

And now, people are more likely to talk about the power of crystals than their Christian (or Jewish) faith in public. Which btw, leaves those who talk about their Christian faith as the autistic extreme who will make ineffective arguments and mostly seem to prove the stereotype, by complete lack of social couth.

And we’d not dream of talking about how bad it is to travel or work on a Sunday — to cover one of the least intrusive bits of faith in Austen’s time — or to shun someone who has engaged in adultery or abandoned his/her kids.

Because only uncool people talk about that. People no one likes, because they’re stupid and…. and hypocrites because they’re not perfect, and and and.

People have let themselves be bilked out of a foundational stone of Western civilization over stories of how silly it was, and fear of being laughed at.

So– the tone policing….

You see, the thing is that the left also believes those stories they used to upend religious faith and living. They now believe that any opposition to their nonsense must be because we’re all super-religious. What religion varies, but what these people think constitutes an argument would be hilarious if it weren’t so sad.

For instance, on a thread about the ridiculous parents who take their children to drag shows, people kept posting an article about the Baptist Church covering up sexual abuse of children. And they thought this invalided the point that children at drag shows is wrong. … somehow.

The argument in that is difficult to fathom, unless you come from the POV that all adults abuse children, and those who claim not to are a) Baptists. b) hypocrites. (I wish I didn’t think that the person posting it really believes it is impossible to refrain from abusing children, and so might as well do it often and publicly. Seriously, every institution that works with children will have that problem because, duh, pedophiles go where children are. And every one of them will try to cover it up, because they don’t want to be killed. But that doesn’t mean there are a lot of pedophiles. Just that a few operate with inpunity in every institution. And I’d bet you a large sum of money the biggest cesspool is public schooling.)

But the point is, they are now in the position of being adherents to a cult. Unlike Christianity, their cult is not functional. It not only doesn’t lead to better living, no one really can live by it. It’s a collection of incoherence and stupidity that melts at the touch of reason…. or ridicule.

Look, they no longer hold a monopoly on story telling, or communication. Yes, they keep trying to get it back, but their very frantic flailing is evidence of impotence. No winning side in a culture war ever tried to get the government to silence the opponents.

And they are far more susceptible to ridicule than we ever were. Besides not having any clue who we are and what we do.

Live your life outloud, according to your values.

And when they try to attack and ridicule, treat them as the spoiled children they are. Dismiss them with a word. Laugh at their tantrum. Pat them on the head and tell them the adults are talking.

And stop tone policing. Yes, we’re allowed to be rude to those who are impoverishing the future of our children and grandchildren.

We’ve been polite too long. It’s time to let our inner brats come out to play.

It’s time to show just how utterly ridiculous they are. Mock them mercilessly and derisively. Show them for the incoherent hypocrites they are. You don’t need to do much for that, they are all that, and most don’t even have good intentions.

On with the motley. Here is your cushion that makes rude noises, your plastic hammer that goes “honk” and the sign that says “I’m with stupid.” Go use them all on the left. Hold up a mirror so they see that no, no one thinks they’re the good people, lest alone the smart ones.

And if someone tries to tone police, hit them with the plastic hammer, till they exit stage left pursued by a honk.

Laissez le bon temps rouler!

Being Difficult

Our would be overlords believe in magic words. They’ll decree it, and it will be so.

They have a plan, proclaimed by great international thinkers (who have no idea where food comes from, but that’s something else) and by gum, they’re going to herd us all into mega cities, and make us live the way they want, owing nothing, being happy, eating bugs.

Our would be overlords have metaphorical holes in their heads the size of the grand canyon, with the attendant problems that first their brain fell out, and then something — possible a dinosaur — took a dump in there, so it’s now full of crap.


I keep running into people waving their hands madly and going “They won.” And “We’ll have to do what they want.” If they’re close enough, I bitchslap them. Usually metaphorically, unless I’m related to them in which case they get telegraphed gibs slap.


Do I have to teach Americans how to be difficult for would-be rulers?

Remember I wasn’t born among you, and yet, mom said that raising me was more negotiation than punishing and giving me orders. Because if you tried to herd me one way, I very deliberately went the other way. I did so even if going the other way hurt me. Because I’d rather break than bend.

I haven’t changed much, (even after raising the child my parents wished on me. Sigh) and I know you guys aren’t any different, because that’s why I feel so much at home too.

But a whole lot of you went out and got you some book learning, unfortunately from the left, most of whom aren’t really Americans, not inside their heads, and you forgot how we deal with stupid laws and a government determined to exterminate the nation.

Repeat after me:


Hell no.

No with bells on.

You can’t make me.

You can kill me, but you can’t make me do what you want.

Sod off.

You have no right to order me. The bastard with the right to order me ain’t been born.

Look, yeah, they have the power to hurt us.

Realize they hurt themselves too when they do this, and this is before we take the bit between our teeth and take the fight to them, which will happen. It’s already happening at the word and litigation level a bit all over.

Then realize that we have ways to minimize their hurting us. Not stopping it, no. At least for now, though I estimate the time is very near when various states declare themselves “energy sanctuaries.” And when various people say if the Federal Government won’t let us drill on their land, the land is no longer theirs, and also come and get it. (Said in a Southern accent, with an emphasis on “get”)

If they don’t back down, I can see that time coming, because people know we’re not running out of oil, it’s being strangled. And we’re not all the hyper-rich and the illegals that populate California.

But their grand plans are even crazier. Like upping the mix of ethanol in gas to destroy cars. Because then you’ll have to move to the big mega cities, and live as they order, right?

My eyes have rolled on the floor, and the cats are playing with them.

Listen, guys: yeah, they can damage our cars. But what they — and a lot of you — seem to miss, is that we’re not going to sit by the side of the road crying and waiting for transport to the city. Cubans have kept fifties clunkers running for seventy years. Sometimes by using washing machine parts. We’re not less able to improvise than Cubans, for the love of Bob (Heinlein.) And yeah, maybe cash for clunkers was designed to get rid of junker parts. Mostly what it actually did was make used cars very expensive, but trust me, junkyards are still there and there’s still parts to improvise with. And I don’t know about y’all, maybe it’s the company I run with, but I know at least three people who, left to their own devices can improvise an entire engine from found objects.

In the same way, you know, one of you, who is a real life friend was somewhat despondent yesterday, because if Bidentia (rhymes with rodentia) passes the vaunted gun control law, then all is over. Alas, Alas, they’ll have us where they want us.


That would be fun. Are they going to drag every river and pond? Because we all know Americans are great marksmen, but lousy boaters. And we all take our guns for boat rides, now and then.

There are two possibilities there: The left is so insane, that they’ve convinced themselves the law will magically disarm us. In that case, buy great stocks of popcorn. Because well… “it was the time of f*cking around. It was the time of finding out.”

The other possibility is that they know very well they can’t door to door confiscation, but they hope to make examples of people when they defend themselves. Which is different from right now, how? We know what they tried with Kyle Rittenhouse.

Besides, there is a weird effect I doubt they thought about. Because if they’d thought about it, they wouldn’t be trying their J6 political prisoner bullshit, they wouldn’t have tried to demonize Kyle Rittenhouse, and they wouldn’t have been so shocked when he became a folk hero overnight.. Making examples of people works when what you’re making examples of isn’t a “crime” that anyone else in the public could have committed, because we all agree with the targeted and a majority of us are doing/would do what they’re being punished for.

When you’re “making examples” of people who are like the majority of the people you’re playing to, because they too aren’t submitting to your nonsensical tyranny and constitutional violations, then the harder you stomp down, the higher the chances you’ll get a Romanian Christmas present.

They don’t have the manpower to subdue us all. I suspect if they try the desertion level becomes …. well, unimaginable.

And they can’t get what they want. They can’t get it. Their ideas are based on a number of things they know that just ain’t so, like:

People will obey laws even if the laws kill them.

People will believe they’re legitimate even as they stomp down on political enemies for no reason.

People will give up their guns quietly.

People can’t invent or create new ways to make things run that aren’t the ways planned by our lords and masters.

People from poorer countries are natural Marxists.

All races but white live in harmony and joy with each other.

Growing food is easy.

Transporting food and goods is not necessary, because Marx never understood it.

They can take down America’s ability to grow food and transport it and that will never affect the rest of the world.

“Renewable” forms of energy will produce just enough to keep us poor but contented enough not to rebel. (THAT might be the stupidest of things they believe.)

If all else goes wrong, China will save them. (Snort, giggle.) Or Russia will. (SNORT, big giggle. That they might be starting to realize won’t work. But I doubt it. They tend to listen more to the script than to reality.)

We will listen to them, because they’re sooooo smart. (SNORT. GIGGLE.)

Look, yeah, it’s going to get nasty, as we fumble around for a way forward. And the worst time might be the rebuilding, because all the infected institutions will have collapsed. And we don’t even know what shape we want the future to be.

But we’re not alone. The rest of the world will have to pull up their socks, or they are going to outright starve, while we go on a little unplanned diet.

And though no one is telling you, the rest of the world is already in revolt, and in a lot of places on fire. And no, it’s not global warming.

Prepare, improvise. Overcome.

And stick your feet really hard on the ground and say “I won’t go the way you want me to.”

Because they are not a legitimate authority. They’re not “Smart”. Hell, they’re not even adults. They’re a bunch of little kids who swallowed a fairy tale and want really hard to make it come true.

But we’re the grown ups. And we don’t have to play their game.