This guy has clearly loved Commando Cody since he was a kid.
Posted by Bob Wallace, who is still working on his flying suit.
This guy has clearly loved Commando Cody since he was a kid.
Posted by Bob Wallace, who is still working on his flying suit.
Posted by Bob Wallace, who sez, cool!
I am apparently the only person in the United States who saw this film when it came out. I don't get it.
Posted by Bob Wallace, who spends a lot of time in the pool just like Kiefer Sutherland.
by Bob Wallace, who is going "Wooba wooba wooba!"
When I was in college the best salesman in the world talked me into buying a pair of Allen Edmonds shoes -- specifically the Malverns. They cost $75.
They were the best shoes I ever had. Unfortunately I didn't take particularly good care of them. I wore them every day, I once dried them on the heat register (the toes curled straight up), and I didn't moisturize them enough. Still, they lasted ten years.
Had I take proper care of them, and have the company rebuild them, I'd still have them. Maybe they wouldn't look so great, but I'd still have them (I wish I still had my '67 Pontiac Tempest slant-4).
Then I bought another pair of Malverns. By then they were up to $150. They lasted about 13 years. I still didn't take very good care of them, specifically wearing them every day, which is a big no-no for shoes.
A week for so ago I checked on the price of Malverns.
I blame this almost exclusively on the Federal Reserve Bank, which is not federal, has no reserves, and is not a bank. It is in fact a legal counterfeiter which has 100% control over our money supply.
Of course, the Fed is thoroughly unconstitutional. The Constitution forbids anything but gold or silver being money On top of that, it also forbids Bills of Credit, i.e., paper money.
Central banks were tried in the U.S. in the past. Andrew Jackson, for one, swore eternal enmity against them.
"The bold effort the present (central) bank had made to control the government ... are but premonitions of the fate that await the American people should they be deluded into a perpetuation of this institution or the establishment of another like it," he once said. "You are a den of vipers and thieves. I intend to rout you out, and by the grace of the Eternal God, will rout you out."
Jackson engaged in a lot of duels. Perhaps we need dueling to be legal today, especially for traitors.
Since the creation of the Fed in 1917, the dollar has lost 99% of its value. That means what cost one penny is 1916 costs one dollar today. In 1890, for example, one silver dime would get you a seven-course meal at a fancy hotel. Today, a quarter will get you a piece of bubble-gum out of a machine.
Perhaps without the Feds Malverns today would cost..maybe a quarter? Fifty cents?
This acceleration of this loss of value really took off in 1973, two years after Richard Nixon went completely off the gold standard in 1971.
Not surprisingly, wages stopped going up in 1973, and have been flat or declining ever since. Except for course, for the one percent whose income has been skyrocketing -- and they accomplished this by using the State to enrich themselves at everyone else's expense.
Fortunately, Allen Edmonds is still an American company. And thank God for that. They haven't fled to China, where the workers make a dollar day, work 12 hour shifts, and live in dormitories.
Lots of American workers appear to make good money -- in nominal wages. If the Fed had never existed, the average wage might be $10,000 a year -- and houses might cost $10,000 (my parents told me they rented a two-story farmhouse in '67 for $60 a month, and they paid $141 a month for a 30-year mortgage).
American companies wouldn't be hemorrhaging jobs to foreign companies if it wasn't for this huge disparity in wages.
Sooner or later, the Fed will go. The first two American central banks had 20-year charters, and then they were gone. The current one needs to go. Sooner or later, it will go.
Unfortunately, I expect pretty much a complete collapse of the economy before the Fed is eliminated.
Posted by Bob Wallace, who is not happy about all of this.
I've read two of his other novels but Dwellers is the best one. It's not science-fiction but Lost World science-fantasy.
It's got tenacled monsters who want maidens sacrificed to him, seductive witch-women, and battles galore. Blood, Beasts and Breasts, as Joe Bob Briggs said is essential to good movies and good literature.
He was of course right!
Posted by Bob Wallace, who still dreams of Kalk-ru.
A kinetic bombardment is the act of attacking a planetary surface with an inert projectile, where the destructive force comes from the kinetic energy of the projectile impacting at very high velocities. The concept is encountered in science fiction and is thought to have originated during the Cold War. Non-orbital bombardments with kinetic projectiles, such as lobbing stones with siege engines such as catapults or trebuchets are considered siege warfare, not kinetic bombardment.
Project Thor is an idea for a weapons system that launches kinetic projectiles from Earth orbit to damage targets on the ground. Jerry Pournelle originated the concept while working in operations research at Boeing in the 1950s before becoming a science-fiction writer.
Posted by Bob Wallace, who heard about this from Jerry Pournelle
I saw "Real Steel" a few days ago and it's better than I thought it would be. It's based on a short story by Richard Matheson, who wrote "I am Legend," which so far has been filmed three times. Then there is "The incredible Shrinking Man."
The movie has guy stuff -- gigantic robots pounding each other into scrap. Then there's the girl stuff - the relationship between father, son and girlfriend. So they cover all the bases.
Posted by bob Wallace, who doesn't have a fighting robot, darn it.
Posted by Bob Wallace who of course has a pug.
Posted by Bob Wallace, who sez, oh yeah baby!
I first heard about Project Orion in college when I read John McPhee's "The Curve of Binding Energy. Launching 200-ton spaceships by dropping atomic bombs out of the bottom. Oh man!
Jerry Pournelle, who is still a supporter of it, once wrote a novel, "King David's Spaceship," about it.
If we had gone with it, we'd have colonies on the Moon...Mars...spacestations. But as usual, the people in the government are idiots.
Posted by Bob Wallace, who is still annoyed he has no flying car and a blaster.
I’m not a science fiction writer but I am a fan, and have been since a few months before I turned 12. So I’ve been familiar with the genre and the writers for a quite a while, and so have decided that science fiction writers should be in charge of the government. I’m not kidding about that, either.
I hold nearly all politicians in contempt and suspect most of them are intelligent psychopaths (dumb psychopaths end up in prison). There are some exceptions, of course. Ron Paul is one of them. But most politicians are self-aggrandizing liars, murderers and thieves. Oh, I forgot – they’re also drunks and sexual perverts.
Is there anything lower than a politician? A serial killer? A child molester? The damage they’ve done is a drop in the ocean compared to the millennia of wreckage left by politicians.
Government has killed more people in history than everything else put together. I’ve read estimates that in the 20th Century anywhere from 177 million to 200 million people were killed by the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse – another name for the State.
All governments are based on force and fraud, without exception. Force and fraud, the two things that sent most people straight to Hell in Dante’s Inferno.
Why should science fiction writers rule? Because they are far more intelligent, sensitive, imaginative and empathic than politicians or the average joe. Most of them have libertarian sympathies, which is a prerequisite for good rulers.
Libertarianism – or classical liberalism – believes in the smallest necessary government (except for the anarchist libertarians, who are leftist fools). If the purpose of government is to, as John Locke wrote, protect “life, liberty and property” then what automatically springs up is political liberty and the free market. And that maximizes the well-being of everyone.
Politicians always try to expand government, and for that matter, so does much of the Herd. The Herd, unfortunately, isn’t merely dim-witted. It has no brains at all.
This Blob-like growth of government is why it always collapses. It gets too big and destroys or absorbs everything in its path, like the Borg. There in fact hasn’t been a government that hasn’t collapsed.
The first science fiction novel I remember reading is Edgar Rice Burroughs’ A Fighting Man of Mars. It’s not exactly a libertarian novel but the Bad Guys are the power-mad rulers who want to conquer the planet and the Good Guys want freedom for everyone. I can’t tell you the effect this novel, with its swordfights and “radium pistols” and flying ships, had on my 11-year-old sensibilities.
There were other stories. Eric Frank Russell’s …and Then There Were None, a very funny story about a society that keeps its freedom by figuring out a fool-proof way to avoid being conquered: they just ignore their wannabe-be conquerors. In fact, they end up absorbing those who want to conquer them, just the way early America absorbed the Hessian mercenaries who wouldn’t go back to the Statist hell they came from.
There was A.E van Vogt’s The Weapon Shops of Isher, with its famous line: “The Right to Buy Weapons is the Right to be Free.” I still remember the frustration I felt that there were no Weapon Shop pistols, which threw up an impenetrable energy field about the owner and would not fire unless he was attacked. Imagine what that did for crime. Most especially, the crimes committed by the Empire, which, not surprisingly, hated and feared the Weapon Shops.
There are many others. James Hogan. Jerry Pournelle. L. Neil Smith. Neal Stephenson. I’m sure there are others I’ve never read, maybe even heard about.
When people are imaginative they have the ability to empathize with other people, to put themselves in their shoes. That’s why Stephen King is so popular: he can put himself in all of his character’s shoes.
I doubt a literal-minded person could easily sympathize with others, especially the more different those others are. I am reminded of something I read: the stupid don’t learn from their mistakes; the more intelligent do; and the smartest of all learn from other people’s mistakes. And you’ll certainly have a very difficult time learning from others unless you have some imaginative empathy.
Imagination, when united with reason, is my definition of creativity. And creativity is what advances all societies. And no society can go anywhere unless it has small government.
And who else besides science fiction writers are imaginative, reasonable and libertarian?
The world has given other types of government its chance. Kings, constitutional monarchies, republics. They’ve all degraded. It’s time to try something different. Just don’t ask me what kind of government we should have, because I don’t know. I just know who should be in authority.
It’s too bad those damn Weapon Shop pistols don’t exist. We wouldn’t need anyone to rule.
Posted by Bob Wallace, who should be Benign Dictator.
The first novel I read that impressed upon me the necessity of an armed populace as a bulwark against the depredations of the State was A.E. van Vogt's The Weapon Shops of Isher, published in 1951. I even remember where I read it: in Anthony Boucher's two-volume A Treasury of Great Science Fiction. Last story in the set, book two. I still have my copies.
It was an eye-opener to my 12-year-old self, who had never given any thought to civil government and the State, and the distinction between the two. At the time, I didn't know there was a distinction. It certainly wasn't taught in school, a bore-me-to-distraction quasi-prison which thought the best way to teach me to read was with Dick and Jane and Spot and Pony, and not Rudyard Kipling and Mowgli and Shere Khan and the Bandar-Log, the Monkey Tribe that put democracy into action by periodically getting together, shaking the tree branches and screeching, "We all say so, it must be true!"
It had never occurred to me that the State was inherently cruel and unjust and capricious, and ultimately would always abuse the citizenry, which it considered, more than anything else, as childish, annoying and expendable. If you had asked me, I probably would have said it was supposed to be our friend. You know, Social Security, the Best and Brightest from Harvard and Yale running the show . . . things like that.
Van Vogt saw straight into the nature of the State, just as he saw through the adults blind enough to believe it was their friend, at least until its fist crashed down on their skulls and knocked the pointy right off of their pinheads. These people, van Vogt informed his readers, always consider themselves patriots, and anyone who disagrees with the policies of the State as a traitor. Until the truth woke them up, a waking up that generally involved their property being stolen by that disorganized gang of criminals that pose as politicians.
The novel, set in the year 4784, is about the eternal conflict between those who want to be free, and those who wish to enslave. The first believe in armed citizens; the second, who wish everyone disarmed, believe only in the State. Ominously, van Vogt refers to the State in that far off year as "the Empire." Art imitates life, and now life is imitating art.
Let's see . . . 4784 minus 1951 is 2,833 years into the future. Even then, the eternal conflict between liberty and slavery still rages. Looks like there's no quick fix to the imperfections in human nature, a nature that if it wasn't imperfect, wouldn't create States in the first place. That certainly puts the kabosh on those who believe if society and civil government were destroyed, the essential goodness of human nature will shine forth.
In van Vogt's future, the only place citizens can buy weapons is the Weapon Shops, the motto of which is "The Right to Buy Weapons is the Right to be Free." The Weapon Shops recognize the Empress, but their weapons and defenses are superior to the Empire's. Because of this, the Empire can only not defeat the Weapon Shops, it can't even touch them.
There is a lesson here: Ideally, the citizen's weapons would always be equal or superior to the government's. That's the sole purpose of the Second Amendment: to make sure the people are as well-armed as the potential jackboots. That way, the wanna-be Gestapo will always think twice before trying to make inroads into people's rights. "An armed society is a polite society," wrote Robert Heinlein.
States always try to disarm citizens. "[T]o disarm the people (is) the best and most effective way to enslave them . . . ." wrote Founding Father George Mason.
Things have changed since then, for the worse. Now we've got Demo-Commies like Diane Feinstein stating, "If I could've gotten 51 votes in the Senate of the United States for an outright ban, picking up every one of them . . . 'Mr. and Mrs. America , turn 'em all in,' I would have done it."
In-between Mason and Feinstein we had Heinrich Himmler: "Germans who wish to use firearms should join the SS or the SA. Ordinary citizens don't need guns, as their having guns doesn't serve the State." Replace " State " with "Empire" and you've pretty much got the essence of van Vogt's plot in one sentence.
Into this mess 2,833 years hence, we find one Fara Clark, who thinks of the Empress as "the glorious, the divine, the serenely gracious and lovely Inneda Isher, the one hundred eightieth of her line." This is a mere human being he is speaking about, one he considers almost god-like, the way the Japanese considered the Emperor a god.
Fara is the pinheaded "patriot" of which I spoke. He waxes very wroth when a Weapon Shop shows up in his little village. The fact the weapons are so technologically advanced they are tuned only for defence, but not offense, doesn't even penetrate. His mind is as closed as a clam. To him, it's "my Empress, right or wrong" (about that comment, G.K. Chesterton wrote, "'My country, right or wrong,' is a thing that no patriot would think of saying. It is like saying, 'My mother, drunk or sober.'").
Fara's son Cayle is a different story. He says of his father, "He thinks we're living in heaven, and the Empress is the divine power." Father and son do not get along. Fara is the stand-in for the "conservative" who is blind to the true nature of the State and thinks it deals in fairness and justice, and that the people who run it are the Good Guys; his son, much more clear-headed, instead casts his lot with the anti-State, pro-liberty Weapon Shops.
There is no need to go into the plot in any detail, except to say one of the themes is that of Innocence to Experience, far more for the stubborn father than for the son. I do have a few criticisms of the book, though. Van Vogt assumes the Weapon Shops are so technologically ahead of the Empire that the Empire is helpless against them, and that the Shop's weapons are tuned to the owner's mind, so they cannot be used for aggression. It's a neat little trick that makes liberty invulnerable against the State. Unfortunately, we're not even close to the point. It's nice to imagine it could be true, though.
Still, for all its flaws, the novel had a profound effect on me. It made me realize States always deal in force and fraud, whereas the pro-liberty Weapon Shops used only persuasion, non-aggression, and self-defence. It's the difference between what Albert Jay Nock, in his classic, Our Enemy, the State, referred to as the Political Means and the Economic Means. It's the difference between slavery and freedom.
Every dictator and would-be dictator would not only despise this novel, but ban it. We need look no further than what Adolph Hitler wrote: "The most foolish mistake we could possibly make would be to allow the subjected people to carry arms. History shows that all conquerors who have allowed their subjected peoples to carry arms have prepared their own downfall by so doing."
The animal a person owns is an expression of their personality. For example, almost every pit-bill owner I’ve known as had an attitude problem and a low IQ – just like the dogs.
I, on the other hand, am a pug person. Pugs are playful, funny, and an exceptionally affectionate breed. The only way in which they do not mirror their owners is that they’re aren’t the smartest dogs. In fact, “pug” and “intelligent” is an oxymoron.
It’s pretty much become a cliché that a single or divorced middle-aged woman without children, and with more than one cat, is a red flag -- the women is someone for a man to stay away from. Why?
Because the cat is an expression of her personality –EVIL!!!!
Cats are cruel, narcissistic, selfish, inconsiderate little monsters who torture and eat helpless little things. Guess what? So are the female owners of these heinous beasts!
Even one cat is a red flag. Two and you’d better run away as fast as you can. You’ll save your soul from being eaten.
A cat is a walking personality disorder – “it’s not my fault; it’s yours!” Cats only pretend to be affectionate. In reality, they just want to use you. They believe you exist to serve them, just like people with character disorders.
No one has ever claimed dogs are the servants of the Devil. But cats? Yes. Black cats? Evil! Witch’s familiars? Cats! The symbol of Halloween? Cats!
Do dogs climb trees and eat baby birds? No. Do cats? Yes!
Women with cats, without exception, are cruel, evil monsters who want nothing better than to slowly torture you to death! And heartily enjoy it while they’re doing it!
You have been warned.
Posted by Bob Wallace, who, of course, is a pug person.
The coolest plane of all time is of course the Lockheed P-38 Lightning. The Germans called it a "fork-tailed devil," not surprising considering the armament it could carry and how fast it could go.
Charles Lindbergh flew one and was even able to improve it performance.
I had a model once but have no idea what happened to it. I probably blew it up with firecrackers.
Posted by Bob Wallace, who is still trying to build one in his garage.
There is a part of me that sees the US as "Homer America." As in "Homer Simpson." There is precedence for this name change: Saudi Arabia is named after the tribe which conquered the other local tribes and then named the whole place – originally Arabia – after themselves. This is exactly the same as if I conquered the US, called it "Wallace America," then renamed my relatives and myself as "royalty" and gave ourselves titles like "prince" and "princess." Although Homer America is a much better place to live than Saudi Arabia. And Wallace America would be the best place to live of all.
Homer is a particularly American archetype, just as Doug and Bob McKenzie could only be a Canadian one. I don't see anything similiar to the Homer in Greek mythology, but he does exist in the Judeo-Christian tradition, as a modern-day Adam (which means "Man").
Homer is good-natured, but stupid, ignorant, loud and obnoxious. He means well, but fouls up everything he does. He blames his problems on others, but every once in a while he has moments of self-awareness in which he realizes he is his worst enemy. His worst sin appears to be that of Intellectual Sloth (eyes rolled up toward cranium: "Brain, I know that you and I don't get along very well..."). If you were to take a million Americans, boil them down, then take the concentrate and morph it into a cartoon character, you'd have Homer. That is why he is such a uniquely American archetype. I think this is why he is so popular: the Homer in all of us resonates with the Homer onscreen.
Homer has his moments, but overall he is not likeable. He's not evil, just stupid (which reminds me of the comment by Spider Robinson and Robert A. Heinlein: "Never attribute to malice what can be explained by stupidity"). Homer is funny in fantasy, but like a lot of things which are funny while unreal, he'd be a horror in real life. Laughing at him allows us to defuse the fact he is a catastrophic symbol of ourselves.
Homer fits the archetype of Adam because he unconsciously blames his problems on other people. This is what Adam did when he blamed Eve for his trangressions. Homer, however, in his brief periods of self-awareness (always heralded by the now-classic "Doh!"), realizes he is at fault. He goes from an unconscious scapegoating to a conscious acceptance of self-responsibility, however transient.
This moving from unconscious scapegoating to conscious acceptance of self-responsibility is why I believe the story of the Garden of Eden to be the most powerful of all. The psychiatrist M. Scott Peck quite correctly called scapegoating "the genesis of human evil." And Homer, proving him right, has an almost irresistible impulse to blame his problems on everyone but himself.
I've often wondered if Adam had only gone, "Doh!" and accepted responsibility instead of blaming Eve (and had Eve not blamed the Serpent), then God might have said, "Well, okay, you can stay." In some versions of the story, Adam and Eve's scapegoating, and their denial of their responsibility, is what gets them kicked out of the Garden.
Since each of us has an Inner Homer, we are imperfect. In traditional religious terms, we are "fallen." Since everyone in The Simpsons is imperfect, the program can be considered in some ways to be a "true" conservative show, since true conservatives know that no one is perfect. This, of course, includes everyone in the government, which is why Chief Wiggins made the classic comment: "I didn't say the government couldn't hurt you. I said it couldn't protect you."
Since the program is very tolerant of everyone (and their foibles), it's also quite libertarian. Libertarian conservative, you could say. Except for Lisa, who in her youth and foolishness is a liberal. She's probably an example of that old saying, "He who is not a liberal at 20 has no heart, and if not a conservative at 40, no head."
Did the creators of Homer know what they were doing when they projected an aspect of the national psyche into this character? I have no idea. Like many artists, they tend to be, as Ezra Pound commented, "the antenna of the race." They can often see how things are (and are going to be) more clearly than most people, even if they can't explain how they know it.
Since Homer is a projection of our selves, he is Mass Man. The mean average IQ is 100, which is about what Homer's appears to be. And the more Americans you gather into a group, the closer the IQ drops to 100. This is one of the reasons I think the Essence of One Million Americans is Homer. Whenever you see some fat, yelling, shirtless, body-painted drunk at a sports event, you're seeing the Doh! made Flesh.
One problem for America is that this concentrated Homer archetype is what votes. Hence, Homer America. This is why democracy doesn't work, and why we get the politicians we do. Homer is definitely not part of Albert Jay Nock's aristocratic and educated Remnant. For that matter, neither are politicians.
Unfortunately, the bigger the group of politicians, the more they become Homerized, just like the average citizens. This is a great example of why government should be as small as possible. The bigger it gets, the more Homeresque it gets.
The rest of the world, sadly, tends to see the US as Homer: big, good-natured, somewhat stupid and ignorant, loud and obnoxious, meaning well, but screwing up everything it gets involved in. And every once in a while, the US has its moments of lucidity in which it realizes what it's doing.
The US and the average American weren't like this in the recent past. TV fathers like Homer didn't exist until the '90's. In the '50s and '60s they were Ward Cleaver and Andy Taylor. And the US was a lot more respected by foreigners than it is now.
If The Simpsons had been on the air in the '50s and '60s, would it have survived? I doubt it. It's too insulting to most people. The closest to The Simpsons was The Flintstones, and Fred wasn't a couch-potato quasi-drunk like Homer.
As funny as The Simpsons is, it certainly is quite a drop for the US and fathers to go from Andy Taylor to Homer.
What Homer may show is that the greatest sin of Americans is Intellectual Sloth. This makes a great deal of sense, they are consisting stumbling into all kinds of world catastrophes. A lot of Americans are afflicted with Intellectual Sloth of Homerian proportions.
What has caused this change? I'm not exactly sure, but I suspect the precipitous decline in education has something to do with it. This is why it is significant that Homer is ignorant and his worst sin is that of Intellectual Sloth.
Homer shows us at least four things: people are imperfect; they no longer understand (if they ever did) the death and destruction that unconscious scapegoating can lead to; that democracy is an awful form of government; and that the public schools should be closed down. The idea of Homer's hometown of Springfield growing like the Blob until it encompasses the US is not a pleasant thought, no more than the idea of public schooling engulfing the country is pleasant.
Oh, no, wait...
The Homer can be considered a warning to America: this is what we have become. And while he's been defanged by being turned into a cartoon, when he moves into reality, catastrophes happen. I shudder to think of the US being run by Homer.
Oh, no, wait...
Posted by Bob Wallace, who always preferred "Red Dwarf" to "The Simpsons"