Posted by Bob Wallace, who will never stop laughing.
Posted by Bob Wallace, who will never stop laughing.
Posted by Bob Wallace, who sez, oh yeah baby!
Maybe my youth made me idealistic, but growing-up in the ‘50’s we understood right was right, and wrong was wrong. The bad guys never won, and no matter what happened, after thirty minutes Ward Cleaver always reminded us of where the bar was set, and we didn’t compromise our values to meet objectives.
Life was good in the ‘50’s, but when reality slaps us in the face it can cause our starry-eyed ideals to fade.
As the hands of time slowly lifted the fog from my youth I learned:
What JFK really did in the White House pool.
That June Cleaver Smoked like a chimney, and swore like a longshoreman.
That Dan Gurney, no matter how wholesome wasn’t old enough to be president.
Why “The Rifleman” wasn’t married. (Eeuwww… and I even had a “Rifleman” gun!)
I didn’t chew gum in school, nor did I run in the halls. I behaved myself because I wanted to grow-up to be like mom and dad. Then I saw this ad and wondered just what mom and dad did behind closed doors:
A good many decades have passed and yes, maybe now I can imagine Ward spanking June, and I’m starting to wonder did June like it? Well…it would have boosted the ratings. “Leave it to…” a title change might have been in order.
Guest Posted by Max Speedwell who seems to have misplaced his filter.
DDT is great for killing skeeters, but in Africa apparently it killed tiny wasps that ate catepillars. So the catepillars ate thatched roofs and caused them to collapse.
Then DDT collected in the rats and killed the cats that ate the rats. So the British had to bring in about 13,000 new cats to kill the rats. Some say they were parachuted. Maybe not. But apparently it's a true story.
Posted by Bob Wallace, who prefers pugs to cats, because cats are EVIL!!!
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.
That was the real name but everyone calls it "the Monitor and the Merrimac."
It was of course the coolest sea battle of all time.
Wikepedia has the story:
The Battle of Hampton Roads, often referred to as the Battle of the Monitor and Merrimack (or Merrimac), was the most noted and arguably most important naval battle of the American Civil War from the standpoint of the development of navies. It was fought over two days, March 8–9, 1862, in Hampton Roads, a roadstead in Virginia where the Elizabeth and Nansemond Rivers meet the James River just before it enters Chesapeake Bay. The battle was a part of the effort of the Confederacy to break the Union blockade, which had cut off Virginia's largest cities, Norfolk and Richmond, from international trade.
The major significance of the battle is that it was the first meeting in combat of ironclad warships. The Confederate fleet consisted of the ironclad ram CSS Virginia (formerly the USS Merrimack) and several supporting vessels. On the first day of battle, they were opposed by several conventional, wooden-hulled ships of the Union Navy. On that day, Virginia was able to destroy two ships of the Federal flotilla and was about to attack a third, USS Minnesota, which had run aground. However, the action was halted by darkness and falling tide, so Virginia retired to take care of her few wounded — which included her captain, Flag Officer Franklin Buchanan — and repair her minimal battle damage.
Determined to complete the destruction of the Minnesota, Catesby ap Roger Jones, acting as captain in Buchanan's absence, returned the ship to the fray the next morning, March 9. During the night, however, the ironclad USS Monitor had arrived and had taken a position to defend Minnesota. When Virginia approached, Monitor intercepted her. The two ironclads fought for about three hours, with neither being able to inflict significant damage on the other. The duel ended indecisively, Virginia returning to her home at the Gosport Navy Yard for repairs and strengthening, and Monitor to her station defending Minnesota. The ships did not fight again, and the blockade remained in place.
The battle received worldwide attention, and it had immediate effects on navies around the world. The preeminent naval powers, Great Britain and France, halted further construction of wooden-hulled ships, and others followed suit. A new type of warship was produced, the monitor, based on the principle of the original. The use of a small number of very heavy guns, mounted so that they could fire in all directions was first demonstrated by Monitor but soon became standard in warships of all types. Shipbuilders also incorporated rams into the designs of warship hulls for the rest of the century.
Posted by Bob Wallace, who sez, when I was a kid this was taught in school.
The most horrible food in the world is of course haggis. Well, maybe blood pudding, which the English eat for breakfast. But what sort of maniac Scot ever decided to stuff a sheep's intestine with...whatever...and eat. I can't go on; it's too horrible to contemplate any further.
Posted by Bob Wallace, who sez, these are my ancestors?!?!
Time lapsed from the International Space Station:
posted by Tom Novak who thinks that by now space flight should be routine - thanks for screwing it up, politicians.
posted By Tom Novak who says, "who says I don't post anything here anymore"
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.
posted by Tom Novak who says this will all be different in a week...
Join Jazz on the Tube
posted by Tom Novak who says these boys are in Rome, doing as the Romans, or anyone else, couldn't...
Join Jazz on the Tube
posted by Tom Novak who says this one snuck back in to the queue, but it's so good that's ok.
Join Jazz on the Tube
posted by Tom Novak who says that's Joni Mitchell singing and Jaco Pastorius on the bass.