Open Post

April 2019 Open Post

This week’s Ecosophian offering is the monthly (well, more or less!) open post to field questions and encourage discussion among my readers. All the standard rules apply — no profanity, no sales pitches, no trolling, no rudeness, no long screeds proclaiming the infallible truth of fill in the blank — but since there’s no topic, nothing is off topic.

As we proceed this week, I’d like to ask the assistance of my readers on a small but, I hope, useful project. The issue of this blog’s prohibition on profanity was raised yet again over the last month, and it occurs to me that a list of helpful alternatives would be worth compiling, and putting in this website’s files section. For some years now, the words “frack,” “shale,” and “borehole” have been standard usage on my blogs, and fine bits of hot language they are; such solid terms for nonsense as “malarkey” have also seen some use — but there’s a lot more where those came from, and I think it’s time we gave a boost to the use of more interesting invective. After all, if you call someone “a sniveling sanctimonious nincompoop with a brain that would gag a maggot” — just to pull out the first example that comes to mind! — I suspect they’ll know they’ve been insulted, despite the lack of obscene language…

So help me out here. What are your favorite bits of non-profane salty language?

With that said, have at it!


  1. Dear Mr. Greer,
    First, thank you for your books and blog posts. I have been an avid reader of your work since 2011, although I rarely comment. I was hoping I could ask you a question in this month’s open post.
    I’ll start by introducing myself. My name is Chad A. Haag and I am an ex-academic philosopher living in the rural village of Uchakkada, India. I recently published a book-length manifesto on Peak Oil Philosophy. Peak Oil Philosophy is a new genre of Philosophy which I have deduced after years of seriously reading you, Richard Heinberg, James Howard Kunstler, Dmitry Orlov, and Michael Ruppert, as well as the anti-technological theories of Ted Kaczynski. I have used my classical training in Western Philosophy to situate Peak Oil in relation to the philosophical rigour of thinkers like Heidegger, Husserl, Aristotle, Plato, Descartes, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, and the other great philosophers. As a PhD dropout with no academic affiliation whatsoever, I have been able to conduct this research ethically and without intellectual dishonesty, in that I am under no pressure to conform to some academically-fashionable but questionable theory such as Marxism, Psychoanalysis, Gender Performativity, Postcolonialsm, or Neuroplasticity (all fads which will be forgotten after the student loan bubble bursts and removes the unspoken financial “teleological cause” from these movements.)
    In my recent 400 page book on the topic, Being and Oil Volume One: Peak Oil Philosophy and the Ontology of Limitation, I analyse your publications extensively in order to situate Peak Oil Literature in relation to Western Philosophy and sketch out an image of what an original Peak Oil Philosophy would look like as a result. I noticed in the process of writing this book, though, that I would be interested in asking your opinion about carrying my analysis of your work to a full book-length project of its own. May I ask what your opinion would be of my attempt to write a book on The Philosophy of John Michael Greer, a philosophical work on the Epistemology, Metaphysics, Ethics, and Logic implicit over your body of writings? Because your body of work is so impressively vast, I would likely have to break this up into two volumes (the early years of 2000-2012 in volume one and the later years of 2013 to the present in volume two.) At any rate, please let me know what you would think of such a project.
    Thank you sir for your time,
    Chad A. Haag

  2. So, recently, Rod Dreher over at “The American Conservative” has been going on about how current trends in technology and business will result in ever increasing surveillance of the average American:

    This, of course, worries me. I know that if they could they would, simply to increase their own profit margins, and also for the simple fact that people with power will almost always, wittingly or not, endeavor to increase the amount of power that they have over others. If technology keeps going the way that it is going, I will almost certainly see the rise of increased data surveillance and automated behavioral control discussed within the aforementioned article during my lifetime. I would also have to add to this the fact that no one seems all too concerned about this, and the fact that I suspect that the vast majority of people would blithely go along with it.

    The only real hope that I have regarding this sort of thing is that it all somehow goes wrong and just sort of falls apart in some unforeseen manner.

  3. Personally, I think the creatively impaired who make broken records sound fresh won’t benefit from this project. I, however, look forward to seeing what we can come up with!

    Do you have a source that discusses Einstein’s 1900 paper showing the atom could theoretically be split? I’ve looked into the history of atomic physics a fair bit and never found any reference to it. I’d like to see the paper, if only to figure out why it would vanish like it did.

  4. Oh, also, on the topic of the Mueller Report, I’ve now starting hearing that Mueller didn’t find anything because of course he didn’t actually want to, because he was *gasp* A Republican! *faints* Talk about shifting the goalposts….

  5. Hello! I write a blog about James Joyce’s Ulysses, and I’m currently working on a post about Joyce’s interest in 19th century French provocateur Leo Taxil. I would love to hear your take on Taxil’s hoax regarding the Freemasons. I’ve read several others online but appreciate the unique perspective you bring to various topics. Thanks!

  6. My friend who taught 7th grade English gave her students a similar challenge several decades ago. My favorite offering:
    “Lower than a snake’s cloaca.”

  7. For a novel obscenity, I propose: ‘Uptown Funk’.

    Credit goes to my 2-year old son, who mispronounces this in a way definitely not fit for this blog… 😉

  8. Waffles,

    I’m sure our host will have plenty to say on the matter of your worry – in fact his response to a commenter here last week? about how strong dictatorships don’t need to resort to propaganda and instead just roll the gunships to quell dissent does a fair job of encapsulating what I imagine will be his response – but I’ll just chip in my .02 real quick anyway.

    When you lose power you gain volume. I deal with the FDA and EPA occasionally because of the nature of our business, and they both tend to get more draconian with their rules in lockstep with their inability to enforce those rules. I think they figure if they demand 10 they’ll get the 7 they’re after without the need for expensive enforcement. They can’t really get the other 3 because of the law of diminishing returns and their own budget shortfalls…so they resort to flexing.

    That said, the surveillance you’re referring to is completely voluntary on the part of the end user. You can always just close your Faceplant account and never look back…


  9. My kids use the swear “oh parachute!”

    Me, I could see a whole slew of swear words come out of the names of current politicians –

    Oh Trump! I forgot to lock the house. Or,

    That girl is a real Pelosi. Or,

    Her Clinton is showing. (That almost sounds dirty even without the negative connotation of the name!)

    Cant wait to see what everyone comes up with.

  10. All,

    Has anyone else been accused of being sexist for not watching porn? The argument there is frankly absurd, and I’m wondering if it’s just one weirdo, or widespread. My searches haven’t turned up much, aside from feminist sites arguing it isn’t sexist (when it seems like the industry is, at least to my view)

  11. An idea occurred to me at the very end of last week’s cycle which might appeal to those with a more mathematical imagination. Since this week is an Open Post, I take the liberty to repost it… In epidemiology, a skewed sample can be weighted to make it more similar to the base population. It occured to me that one might look at the representation of the disadvantaged in a similar fashion; I will make the example about Brazil, since I have never lived in the US.

    Even 15 years ago, there were very few students and professors with any visible African ancestry at the university where I did my PhD, I’d say less than 5%, when the fraction in the total population would be at least 60%. In a discussion about social and political questions, it seems fair to me that one should give ten times more weight (e.g. microphone time) to the opinion of those few, in order to make the resulting spectrum of opinions more similar to that in the total population. However, the others would not be silenced, they would still do at least 40% of the talking. In actual fact, quotas were then introduced, which have elevated the proportion of students with visible African ancestry (a very thorny question to decide, by the way…) to something like 30%. In my opinion, today the opinion of those students should get twice more weight, in order to represent more nearly the total population. They have become less “special” as they have become more numerous.

    About 11% of congresspeople were women. In certain debates, especially about abortion, those female representatives and senators should be weighted more highly in order to conduct at least 50% of the debate (others might propose 100%…). In actual fact, changes in campaign financing have slightly increased female representation. If such a trend continues, congresswomen would need to be weighted less strongly in the future.

    The representation of multiple intersecting identities makes the point clearer. If a group defined by three intersecting identities (and of course Violet is right that this is a very poor way of defining a human being) makes up 0.1% of the total population and 0.01% of people in power, then those 0.01% could be given ten times more weight, but they would still only carry 0.1% of the debate.

    All of this is of course just a way of thinking about the desired end state, not a mechanical prescription. People with rhetorical talent and charisma will always carry more weight, and that is not a bad thing.

  12. As much as I like the f-word and its cognates (even Samuel L. Jackson advised me to tone it down once), my favorite insult is to call someone a “rocket scientist” with full sarcasm.

  13. First of all thank you for hosting this space! I very much appreciate it. Is it within the bounds of propriety if I were to ask you if you received my submissions for _Love in the Ruins_ and _Liber Telluris_? If so, I’d be delighted to ask if you received them! There was something of a glitch in the submission of the latter and I want to make sure that both may be considered for their respective anthologies. Of course, I’m happy to resubmit if need be.

  14. Common and popular imprecations at our house have recently taken the form of cheap candies, those made with hfcs and commonly given out at parades. There is a certain amount of romance in the teen male soul that can come up with delightful curses if properly motivated, say by threat of a five page paper, twelve point font, on the history of cursing in the Christian world, if he doesn’t clean up his potty mouth.

    No one’s using “God’s wounds” yet, but a dash of chivalric fandom makes that a strong possibility here, and that, I feel, would be acceptable at my home. Of course, the four letter word starting with D gets a raised maternal eyebrow and a “do you really intend to condemn that to eternal damnation?”

  15. There was a very funny comic series in my youth called ‘Knights of the dinner table’ which followed a dysfunctional group of DnD players, and the writers of that came up with some gems. My favorite was probably ‘Leaping hurdy-gurdies!’ as an expression of terror. And speaking of expressions of terror, ‘Fnord’ from Shea and Wilson’s classic fiction series never fails to delight when I encounter it in the wild. Just don’t spell it backwards…

  16. @ JMG – Not to beat a dead horse (I love that saying, BTW), BUT, are submissions for the love in the ruins contest accept by email? I remember that I was able to email my submission for Merigan Tales, and wondered if I could do so again?

  17. Just read John Myers Myers Print in a Wild Land, a history of early newspapermen in the Wild West- ‘Old Cootie’ for the Devil.

  18. Migrant Worker-so by inference “downtown funk” would be the white collar sweat of bankers, lawyers, and politicians vainly striving to maintain business as usual?…

  19. Dear JMG,
    On a recent post, you alluded to the ghastliness of pagan, or pagon, poetry. Is Pagon poetry related to Vogon poetry?

    I wish to confess, before all, that I am a pagan and have been writing poetry…

    Here is my offering titled Hyacinth.

    You are named after,
    a lover of Apollo.
    The Spartans,
    had a festival,
    just for you.

    You come with,
    the first grateful lush pasture.
    Heavenly fragrance,
    glorious colour blue.

    Maxine Rogers

  20. Re: salty language; I’m fond of “must be dumber than a box of rocks” and “must be a special kind of stupid.” I also like “horsefeathers!” and “poppycock” for nonsense (if that last one passes your censor). Then there’s this Victorian expression “stuff and nonsense” that I also like, precisely because it sounds stuffy and nonsensical to me.

  21. I have to admit, the other responses in this week’s Magic Monday about others getting shingles earlier than what was considered “normal” and also the peculiarity of it starting on the ear which i (and the others) hold the cell phone to floored me. So, in the interest of gathering more data, allow me to throw it open here on an open post.

    I am only 46 and had shingles last month. It started on my left earlobe, and I thought I was having a bad reaction to a bug bite – we have biting bugs about 10 months out of the year here in centralish Florida. The triage doc at the VA hospital’s ER said they have been seeing younger cases of shingles in the past couple decades, some even as young as their 30s.

    Barefoot wisdom posted that a late-30s friend of his/hers (?) had shingles this year, and also started on the ear the friend holds the cell phone up to. Temporaryreality chimed in, saying she also had shingles, on an ear this year, and is 48, so about the same age as I am.

    Hubby and MM were the *only* two places that know about my hypothesis that cell phones may be somehow involved, perhaps the signal interferes with the immune system’s ability to keep the virus in hiding (it hides in the nerve cells, where the immune cells aren’t allowed).

    So, anyone else have experience or knows someone who has had shingles before (let’s arbitrarily say) 50 years of age?

    Of course, the really sticky wicket in this is: if there is a causal link (as opposed to just correlation) then how do we untangle the (*bleep*)in things from our lives. I know our esteemed host will suggest simply roundfiling the things, but these days not only are they much cheaper than a landline (I use Tracfone and literally spend only approximately $250 per YEAR on minutes) but there’s the convenience/emergency factor of having one in the vehicle when going more than walking distance from home.

  22. A friend recently posted or reposted a long screed on Facebook about the importance of the upcoming election–since the last one was, according to the writer, not a mere election for the presidency but “a battle to save humanity.” According to this person, the Democrats lost because they wouldn’t attack with the slimy rock (I assume this refers to H. Clinton) and therefore this time we must be willing to ignore the slime on whoever is nominated and vote for the Democrat no matter what. In my reply I suggested that “maybe we need to analyze the slime on the rock and make sure we don’t pick one covered in the same slime–i.e. completely compromised by corporate interests, a warmonger and really bad at campaigning. This call to become ‘yeller dog’ Democrats is profoundly disturbing.”

    I was disturbed, but not surprised by the reply that the poster would vote for Kermit the Frog if he is the nominee. Wow, so your standard for future leader of the US boils down to “any sentient being who is not Trump or, I would assume, not a Trump voter.” For the non-US readers I will explain that a “yeller (yellow) dog Democrat was used to describe post-Civil War Southerners who would proverbially vote for an old yeller dog on the Democratic ticket before they would vote for any Republican candidate. This drumbeat for party loyalty is going out in many forms before we are even close to having a candidate. Very disturbing. It certainly makes me suspect that the powers that be intend to force the nomination of yet another Republican in Democratic drag, like the Clintons or Obama, and will then try to frighten the voters into electing that person.

  23. How would one reconcile sympathy for the white working class with a belief in ‘karma’ and the destiny of the ‘higher self’? Don’t laborers need to experience their dispossession in their current incarnations? Why interfere by improving their lives?

  24. Dear Mr. Greer – Being a frequent contributor to a family friendly blog (Hi! Chris!), I have to get pretty creative with “bad” language. One of my favorites is “What the horse left behind.” or, horse apples. Another one I use is “It’s a pain in the …. ear.” One of my all time, old time favorites is, “piffle.” “Poo” and “Poop” are frequently flung around. Yiddish slang is also a rich field. Lew

  25. If it is appropriate to ask here, I would like to know if it is normal that a Tarot session results in cards which say more about one’s inner state than about the actual occurrences of that day. I mean this in the context of a simple three card reading.

  26. Some politicians look like they spend their night sucking on dead people’s noses.

    Or maybe they should given the death toll they produce.

  27. Putting in again a good word for the potluck. Also, I’d like to share a decision I’ve made recently. I quit Facebook. And I’m supposed to be a gigging musician. I was warned not to do this. But I did it because in the end, who am I accountable to but the best part of own self? I’ve been reading Solzhenitsyn, The First Circle, and it made me feel small that I have held on to Facebook in order to secure a tenuous place as a bar gigger who rarely if ever even covers expenses to play. While I hated the role Facebook played in it. It’s not like I had a career to even destroy by giving myself some peace. Everyone has to make these decisions on their own, I guess.

  28. Two items: 1) Do you have any plans to publish The Well of Galabes in book format? (apologies if I missed any earlier announcements regarding that.

    2) I have a new blog I am starting that might be of interest to you and readers of your blog – the url is . Some of the themes that I will be exploring will likely be similar to those found here.

    Thanks for all your work!

  29. I almost forgot! The most satisfying mean thing I ever said to someone was, “I give you an F minus!” Obviously, context is important here LOL

  30. Back in December JMG piqued my interest with the upcoming project, “Love in the Ruins,” which would include poetry, preferably in “old fashioned poetic forms.” Not having written in such forms in many years, I thought I’d give it a try. Unfortunately, romance has never been in my wheelhouse and still isn’t. But having started, I felt compelled to keep going, and ended up with a future fiction saga in verse. It’s probably not something that would fit in any upcoming projects, but some readers here might find it interesting.
    I’ve posted it on WordPress, where it will remain for a while. If our host will indulge me, here is the link.

    Any comments, favorable of otherwise are welcome; left there, not here, of course.

  31. Good afternoon Mr. Greer, I’m going to apologize in advance for the wall of questions, I’ve wanted to ask these for a bit but have never been sure how to ask but here I go.

    First of all, I had become interested in the occult oddly enough due to hanging around ‘the chans’ which made me think back to some previous experiences, with a few things in my life making me all the more curious. With that I obtained a small collection of books on the subject, (Golden Dawn, Secret Teachings, Three Books etc) but my problem is that I have this rigid personality quirk of feeling like I need to go in “the right order” so to speak. I’m sure you have probably discussed it elsewhere in a post I haven’t gotten to yet, but since I had other questions I may as well ask what is the best to start with?

    My other two questions though concern things in my life that I wanted your perspective on. The first had to do when I was stationed in Alaska in the Air Force. This sweet grandmotherly lady from panama I worked with was into the spiritualism used to always beam at me saying I had a, “blue and white aura,” and, that I was a shaman, or a warlock to use her words. Fast forward five years and another coworker I had who was also into the occult said I had a greenish silver aura and thought I had some sensitivity after reading a short story for a contest I was entering.

    The last question I have is in regards this feeling I’ve had in certain circumstances which inspired the short story. The story came about after I had visited the ruins of my childhood home after 15 years on my birthday. When I walked up to the doorway I felt this enormous pressure in my head that made me feel dizzy and made it difficult to catch my breath. The rest of the day I just reflected on it remembering what may have been my earliest dream, one which at the time disturbed me. I personally wrote it off as my mind readjusting to a reality that so contrasted the perception in my memories, but I was wondering if there was spiritual dimension to it and I was very interested in any opinion you may have.

    My apologizes if the questions are rather boring or self-answering, as well as the messiness of it all, I’ve wanted to ask for a while but have never found the right way I wanted to ask. Thank you for your time and writings, I’ve just read Decline and Fall, and Dark Age America and could not put them down.

  32. Chad, good heavens. I figured I’d have to wait until I was at least fifty years dead before anyone tried that. By all means give it a shot. Is the first volume of Being and Oil available anywhere? I’d be intrigued to see how you’ve approached the varying philosophical underpinnings of the peak oil writers you’ve named,

    Waffles, the things I’d point out are, first, that participation in this sort of thing is voluntary — nobody’s forcing you to own a “smart”phone, buy into the Internet of Things, or ask your computer dumb questions; and second, that the more complex it gets, the more dysfunctional it’ll become for its owners as well as the rest of us. Theodore Roszak many years ago noted that the high-tech society of the future would end up with all its computers suffering chronic electropsychoses, and I think this is one very large step in that direction…

    Bill and Bob, thank you, by gum!

  33. In a previous column, the subject of getting one’s books into print came up.

    My husband and I self-publish. The gatekeepers of traditional publishing would never publish any of our stuff: we don’t fit and we don’t make much money.

    Traditional publishing offers editing, covers, book layouts, jacket copy, blurbs, and hand-holding. The effort that a traditional publisher puts into marketing is directly related to how big your advance is and how big you, the author, already are. You are expected to use your advance to pay for your marketing. If they give you lots of money, they’ll work harder to sell your book, If you get $500, you’re on your own.

    You earn royalties on your book (assuming it sells) only when you have paid back your advance in full. If you do not sell out, you earn nothing but your advance. You will probably not get another contract if you don’t sell enough copies to earn back your advance and then some.

    You will have earned some money because, to date, traditional publishers don’t ask for the advance back.

    If you self-publish, you have to do your own editing, develop a cover, format your book, lay it out, write jacket copy, and have your long-suffering spouse hold your hand.

    You have to do all your own marketing, just like with a traditional publisher, with your own money (since you have no advance to spend).

    However, you get the vast majority of any sales you might make.

    The important thing to remember with self-publishing is that if you lay out $5000 to a book packager, you earn NOTHING until you’ve paid back that $5000.

    Small presses vary wildly in quality. Some are very good. Some are terrible and the author would have been better off self-publishing.
    I belong to my local chapter of Romance Writers of America (RWA) so I see many, many small press works.

    To be blunt, my husband and I put together a better book, every time, than some of these small presses do. We don’t leave a typo on every page for starters and we keep our fonts consistent.

    If you go with a press (of any size) read your contract. Do not sign anything until you understand exactly, to the last detail, what you are giving up. The minute you sign, you lose all your bargaining power.

    If you want to stick with a traditional publisher, start by reading an entire year’s worth of Writer’s Digest magazine. Your library will have a subscription. It’s loaded with information about query letters, finding agents, improving your writing, what have you.

    If you want to self-publish, the internet is loaded with information. However, much of it is from book packagers looking to sell you services you can do yourself. As an example, you don’t need to pay someone to copyright your book; you can easily do that yourself for less.

    In the end, the hardest part of writing a book isn’t the writing. It’s finding your market and then selling enough books to pay the mortgage.

    I hope this helps!

    Teresa from Hershey

  34. Predicamented and last in line at a luck sale could be synonyms for snafu and up a stinky creek.

  35. Do artificial gemstones have the same magical properties as natural ones?

    When I’m angry and don’t want to swear, I sometimes raise my fist to the heavens and exclaim “Cats!” But then, that’s often a literal description of the source of the problem.

  36. I’ve always been a fan of “zounds!”, but seeing as it’s an abbreviation for “God’s wounds” it might technically be profane, depending on your views on how much circumspection one should use with regards to divine injuries…

  37. Once you accept the idea of a slow motion collapse then when you look around the signs are everywhere. I minor but very telling one for me was in yesterdays newspaper here in Portland. Just before I was born ( I am about the same age as you JMG) the Portland Zoo built a small scale 2 mile railroad for the kids to ride from the zoo, over the hill to Washington Park ( Portland’s Iconic hilltop park with rose gardens, japanese garden, etc.) It was built in about 9 months with donations from school kids ($1 each) and donated ballast and labor from Burlington Northern. This construction included tunnels, trestles and 2 stations. They shut it down in 2013 to refurbish it ,but just this week announced that they could not afford fix it and it would be abandoned forever. This leaves only a puny little loop of track out around the elephant pens and back for kids to ride on. Not the keystone of a civilization mind you, but a small piece of infrastructure that was easily accomplished back in the late 1950’s when Portland was a third the size it is now but is now beyond our capabilities. The reasons are many but they boil down to a civilization that is stair stepping down the road of decline.

  38. @dfr1973

    I got shingles when I was 9. Sometimes, it just happens. It was the classic pattern– one-sided (left) and around my middle. Took a while to get treated for it, because it was at first assumed to be poison ivy (after all, “only old people get shingles” ha!). But after it failed to behave like poison ivy, and the cousins I’d been visiting came down with chicken pox after a suitable incubation period, I was taken to a doc. Definitely shingles. All that’s required is a history of varicella, and a compromised immune system (in my case, the stress of a long road trip).

    One does wonder if having electronics up against one’s head is immune-compromising. I’d hazard that in addition, just like house phones, nobody bothers to clean the things. They’re probably dirtier than your toilet, but there it is, right up against the face… I reckon that might be immune-compromising all by itself.

  39. My sojourn in the UK reminds me that I was always fond of the British “git” as an insult. Short enough to be dismissive, not obviously profane, ends in a nice clipped “t”–good stuff. “Twit” is similarly useful: you can draw out the “w” and come up sharp on that final “t” for good withering effect. “Blithering,” or “gormless,” pair well with either, as does “feckless,” though that one, I admit, applies too much to me for me to use it on anyone else. 😛

    My mom used “balderdash” as a substitute for BS, and also was fond of sarcastically referring to us as “Charlie Brown,” when we were being obnoxious and “Lady Jane” when we were getting above ourselves.

    I’m also fond of the indirect insult–“bless your heart” is the standard Southern version, and “God love you/him/her,” the Boston Irish version, or at least the version I know from Mom’s side. (That tends to be a more affectionate insult, as I’ve heard it used, with the meaning being that the person being discussed is deeply loved and has many good qualities but is driving the speaker round the bend in this particular way: “Your father, God love him, is determined to get me to use an iPad.”)

    In college, when I knew more willfully-helpless women, I was prone to calling them “ambulatory lichen,” and I’ve used “sapient trucknuts,” for the sort of guy who seems very set on proving himself by very specific masculine standards.

    “For the love of little apples!” is a good intensifier, and if mild blasphemy doesn’t count as profanity, I always liked “Jesus, Mary and Joseph!” as an exclamation, ideally in the most Bostonian accent I could manage, as I know I can’t do an Irish one. (Similarly, I always enjoy “Jesus H. Christ!” because…why H? Holy? Howard? Wiki says it’s from the divine monogram, which is pretty cool in and of itself.) Though, really, if I’m going to invoke gods in an exclamation, I should go the whole bad-Conan-imitators route and start swearing by the ivory breasts of Ishtar and the surly beard of Mrifk.

  40. All right. For nonsense used in obfuscation, “stable sweepings.” For the petty, nitpicking version of the same, “henhouse sweepings.” For neomedieval, “you weeping pustule on Satan’s [whatnot].” More as I run across them.

  41. Hi JMG

    Thanks for another open post. A bit random this, but do you perhaps have any tips or advice for improving the speed at which a person can read; particularly with fiction? I have a long list of novels I want to get through, and time is preciously short. I sometimes get impatient at my reading speed, even when enjoying the book. I also have a tendency to get frustrated if I can’t easily visualise what is being described, in prose with detailed imagery. This tends to slow me down a bit and I wonder if I shouldn’t “try” to visualise but let the words automatically conjure the scene, and if they don’t always conjure satisfactorily (as my visualisation powers aren’t always great) just carry on anyway…?

    Many thanks, Morfran.

  42. Hello JMG,

    Years ago on the Archdruid Report, in “The Care and Feeding of Time Machines” you mentioned a method of gardening outlined in “Big Crops from Little Gardens”, and it caught my attention. I recently remembered it, have been reading up on the method, and am thinking of using it in my garden, but I have one big doubt about using it – water. I live in Central/Southern California and our dry season coincides pretty closely with the best growing season (about May through November). In that period, we get essentially no measurable precipitation. If I am remembering right, at the time you wrote that post, you were living in Ashland, which also has a substantial dry period in the summer – how did you address the water demands of that type of garden? Or was rainfall adequate for you?

    I also have a second, unrelated question – do you have any suggestions on sources where I might learn about trends of racism throughout history? I have friends and colleagues who talk about the racism present in modern day America as if it is unique in history, and while I have a sense that it is not, I am not informed enough to actually claim that with any confidence and back up that claim.

    I am similarly interested in manifestations of colonialism throughout history, and I imagine they might be closely related.

    Thanks for offering this space!


  43. On a completely random note–

    When you look at the matter-of-fact way that pre-modern writers often treat things that seem fantastical to us– the example coming to mind is the way that entries for dragons and basilisks sit alongside entries for snakes and frogs in Hildegard of Bingen’s Physica, but of course there are countless similar examples– do you ever wonder if they were simply describing the world as they saw it, and that consensus reality itself may have shifted at the beginning of the Modern era?

  44. I favor archaic, half-forgotten words and phrases for this purpose of intensifying one’s disdain, like “(S)He is a double-barrelled, brass-bound blunderbuss of an [insert the insult of your choice here, e.g., “idiot” or “crook” or “cockroach=brain.”].

    One of my older friends, now long deceased, used to challenge his teen-age sons to be creative rather than banally obscene, and he provided them with a few choice examples. The one that branded itself onto my mind when I first heard it from him was “Up your nose with a rubber hose!”

  45. John,
    Am slowly making my way through your printed Archdruid series, am on year 2013. Slow going with pencil, highlighter and numerous side excursions.

    Have you seen Alistair Crooke’s latest piece: “When non-rational trumps the rational”.

    Given your discussions of theist and civil religions, circular and linear processes, apocalyptic thinking, ignoring feedback in systems theory… It’s ALL there! Your work helped me parse it – thanks!

  46. I used to live in Lancashire and they have a very colourful dialect. Here are some examples: I told my husband that he was as useless as a chocolate fire guard and he said that I was as subtle as a flying bottle. Then I really went pot bally raj on him. He ended up looking as if he had been dragged backwards through a hedge and made love to by a badger.


  47. I find that with sufficient enthusiastic intonation, most any phrase can stand in for cussin’. Recently we had a problem with rats in our barn, and I gained a new appreciation for why that’s an interjection. Likewise, over half of my hand-knit socks are wearing through at the heels (my fault for using pure wool and not a blend reinforced with nylon) and boy do I ever understand why “Darn!” is an expression of frustration.

    Others I employ: Nuts! Bother! Blast! (sometimes paired with Botheration) Doggone! Drat! Hogwash! Horse hockey! (thank you, Colonel Potter of M*A*S*H) You retarded mongrel! (I have had some pushback on that one, but I think the chap in question was a member of the PC police) Oh, for the love of little green apples! Sweet ever lovin’ Louise! Why that hemmorhoidal, syphilitic peckerwad!

    I often import British-isms as well: Are you DAFT? Well that’s RUBBISH.

    And I do love to project my own shadow (with a nod to my eldest brother, who used to fling this one at me): Why you obstreperous and obfuscatory little peon!

    And perhaps the one that garners the most appreciative attention for creativity and unexpectedness: Son of a motherless goat!

  48. For general swearing purposes, I’m partial to loudly saying “Shostakovich!”

    For insults: “The lights are on, but nobody’s home” and “The windows are open and the doors are banging” work well.

    I know longer use “Dumber than a box of rocks” because that’s insulting to most rocks I’ve met.

  49. @dfr1973

    Oh my…at the age of about 47 years old (I am nearly 49 now) I had what was quite possibly a small case of shingles on my left earlobe!!

    Not sure what to say, don’t have a lot of time at the moment…but needed to put this out there. I managed to get rid of it and use my phone much, much less now, but always worry it will come back. Wow.

  50. Addendum: Isabelcooper mentioned “blithering” and that reminds me that I often refer to my younger son with fond exasperation as that “blithering bonehead.” (I do love alliteration) I describe my rather overbred Golden Retriever as ‘dumber than a box of hair.’

    Also – re: the Art of Manliness list of 50 insults that should be ‘brought back’ – I personally use some 15 of those 50 on quite a regular basis!

  51. Will, I’ll have to dig up the reference to that. As for the Democratic reaction to the Mueller report, delusions of reference that florid and intricate used to be considered pretty solid evidence of serious mental illness…

    JeffinWA, by Frith, that’ll do!

    Shout, Taxil’s “Palladian Order” hoax was one of the funniest practical jokes of its time, and that was one of the great ages of the practical joke. On the off chance your library has a copy of my Encyclopedia of Secret Societies, there’s a substantial entry on Taxil and the Palladian Order; my views haven’t changed noticeably since I wrote it.

    Susan and Migrant, thank you.

    Tripp, good! And that’s without even reference to Pete Buttigeig… 😉

    Will, I’ve been told repeatedly that it’s sexist to watch porn. If it’s also sexist not to watch porn, then obviously you should do as you wish, and ignore the dithering dorkweasels that are waving around the word “sexist” as though it still means something.

    Dal Makhani, yep. Barbarian raiders always use the available technology, whether that’s horses or jets…

    Matthias, the difficulty there, of course, is that it gives minority individuals a strong incentive to exclude other members of the same minority. If I have a bigger vote so long as my group is underrepresented, it’s in my interest to make sure my group stays underrepresented, since that maintains my personal power…

    Chris, good! That’ll work.

    Violet, I got all five copies of your submission to Liber Telluris, but I don’t find a submission from you for Love in the Ruins. Perhaps you should send it five times. 😉

    BoysMom, hah! I like that. Home schooling really does have its advantages…

    Christopher, I managed to miss that comic, though I’d probably recognize my youthful self in one of the characters.

    Ben, yes, you can.

    Engleberg, good heavens. Do you happen to know if that was the same John Myers Myers who wrote the giddy fantasy classic Silverlock?

    Maxine, yes, Pagon poetry is related to Vogon poetry, but usually worse. Yours shows that there are exceptions to every rule.

    Victoria, thank you! “Stuff and nonsense!” is a definite keeper.

    Dfr1973, I know several people who have cheap cell phones that they keep in the glove compartment while on the road, and have one only for that purpose. As for the cost, well, there’s at least some evidence that cell phone radiation causes other health problems, too; how much is your health worth to you?

    Rita, I’m pretty sure that’s the playbook the Democratic establishment is running this time. Their sole shot at holding onto power is to run some suitably Obamanable business-as-usual stooge on an “at least he’s not Trump” platform. (I’m guessing Biden-Harris, but we’ll see.) I suspect it’s going to backfire on them catastrophically, but we’ll see.

    Horseneck, how do you know that they don’t need the experience of being helped by someone else — and how do you know that you don’t need the experience of being helpful to others?

    Lew, if poo and poop are frequently flung around in your neck of the woods, I’ll remember to duck!

    Booklover, if that’s what your cards want to tell you, that’s what they want to tell you.

    NomadicBeer, a good colorful bit of invective. Thank you.

    Aron, congrats on your liberation from Faceplant!

    Roy, 1) I’m mulling over projects that will use the Well’s essays as raw material. 2) Duly noted!

    Aron, good! In the right context, that would work.

    Cat, got it — you’re in the competition.

    Klcooke, when I try to access your piece, I get a request to sign in to WordPress. You may need to log out and then get the URL…

    M.R.Hubbs, thank you. First, a lot depends on what kind of occultism you want to study and practice; the three books you’ve named, for example, come from three different systems. If you’re interested in any of the systems I’ve written about, you’ll find a listing of books in order toward the bottom of the Magic Monday FAQ. Second, you may well have some degree of psychic sensitivity — a fair number of people do, either because of heredity or as a result of past life experiences — and other sensitives would tend to notice that. Third, it’s hard to tell from what you’ve said whether that was more likely to be an emotional reaction, a psychic experience, or a combination of the two; all three are definitely possible.

    J.L.Mc12, thank you for this! I’ll pass on the Irish spelling, though.

  52. Am I the only person left alive who makes a distinction between profanity & obscenity?

  53. A few of my favorites: You obstinate hobgoblin, you recalcitrant turd, you’re a dingdong, what a load of twaddle.

  54. JMG way back when we were discussing eating from your essay “The dream of a perfect diet” you mentioned that diet really isn’t the most important factor in health. You mentioned that other things are as or more important. So what are those things?

    Thanks as always.

    Blasted works for frack as well.

  55. In “a sniveling sanctimonious nincompoop with a brain that would gag a maggot” do you think if you substitute “person” for “nincompoop” the target would not know there is an offensive intent?

    Alternatives for profanity can be similar enough to the original to allow them to be recognized, in which case they are the same thing–it’s the kind of wording you don’t use to qualify the mothers of other people–or they are just snarls.

    One should be able to express anger without made-up words; I call using them bending the rules or incompetent writing.

    Yes, I am obviously triggered by such stuff, just in case this is not clear.

  56. JMG and all –

    Some meta-obscenities to hurl:

    “Thou art nothing more than a wispy egregorial plague.”

    “Fie on thee, thou lower astral soul-sucking barnacle!”

    Obscenities aside, I’m wondering what your take on capital punishment is. I’ve haven’t heard it much discussed in recent years, but it certainly was a lively issue back in the days when Phil Donahue was an active presence in the media. It flared up when Gov. A. Schwarzenneger allowed the execution of Crips gang founder Stanley Williams, a guy personally responsible for hundreds of murders and all the ensuing misery that those murders brought to the LA inner cities, to go through, but then the issue quickly faded in the news.

    Personally, I don’t seem to have much of a problem with the State executions of the imprisoned when they are the worst of the worst, recidivist murderers and rapists, Nazi war criminals, and the like. I think it can be viewed as a societal/civilizational affirming act, and not, as the West’s Ruling Class would have it, a low-brow act of barbarism.

    I’m not entirely sure, though. One occult-based objection to State executions I found interesting – by executing a criminal who’s relatively young and still in the flush of life, we are perhaps allowing the soul of the criminal to become an earth-bound ghost, capable of malevolent influence, particularly on those who are prone to criminal activity. By allowing the imprisoned criminals to live out their normal life spans, we are increasing their chances at some moral redemption or at least a certain mellowing when old age overtakes them, thus less of a chance of their becoming earth-bound malevolent entities.

    I once had a discussion re: the morality of State executions with a fellow who had what I found to be an intriguing idea. He was dead set against State executions, thought that executing criminals, no matter how heinous their crimes, was morally, spiritually wrong. He was no puppet of the mewling Ruling Class though. Here was his alternative – isolate the worst of the worst in a facility in the wilds of Alaska, basic food and medical service, no lawyers, no family visits, no tv or movies or exercise rooms, and sentenced to hard labor for life. Escape would be suicide by freezing or grizzly bear.

    His variation on the isolation theme – dump the worst of the worst on some Pacific atoll with basic food and water. No guards necessary. Let them sort out whatever community they want for themselves, and if that involves a lot of killing, well, that’s their business. Would save the State a lot of tax-payer money as a bonus.

    For me, that last option has a certain appeal. For one, it echoes the long-ago penalty for wrong doers when humans lived in bands and small tribal units – isolation from the community which probably meant death by starvation or animal attack. Also, the isolation of the worst from a civilized society reflects, as I understand the process, a divine justice in that that’s exactly what happens when we make the transition from earthly life to the the realms beyond. The bad guys are separated from the rest of us and they can’t influence us in any way. If they want to continue with their malevolent thoughts and deeds, they are free to do so in their own isolated version of a community. To me, that’s justice.

  57. Hi John Michael,

    (Hi Lewis!) How about adding: Such and such is an old fuddy-duddy! 🙂

    Thanks for providing this forum. I have had a predicament weighing upon my mind of late. As you know the house here is provided with electricity from the sun using solar photo-voltaic technology and batteries (plus some other stuff). As far as I can understand the different components in the system, the weakest link is the batteries. I should be able to get possibly at best case, another 10 years of life out of them. There are various responses that I can take to extend the life of the system, but I’m struggling with the implications that in the very long term, it may well be that I have electricity at my beck and call, but I might have very little use for the energy source due to a lack of appliances and / or the very real risk that electric lighting at night could be akin to drawing moths to a candle. Dunno. Do you have any advice for me in this matter?

    My thinking is that the best use for electricity is pumping water and refrigeration, both of which take very little energy to achieve.



  58. As much as I enjoy your political side, I miss the esoteric side. Since The Well of Galabes is no longer, do you have a new blog spot for the content that you were putting up there? Also, do you have an explanation/theory for crop circles?

  59. @Will: Wait, what? Do I even want to know how *that* logic works? Being judgmental about women who work in porn is likely either sexist (if one isn’t judgmental about men who do) or just annoyingly puritanical, but not watching it? Like, does this person know that asexuals exist? Are they supposed to watch it for the thrilling plot and compelling saxophone soundtrack? What if someone prefers their stimulation written, or doesn’t want to either deal with an adult video store or risk getting five thousand pop-ups and a virus? (Adult sites nearly always show the most up-to-date web design that 1998 had to offer.) And how does that even come up, anyhow? As a pro-porn* feminist myself, I’m pretty darn confused.

    From minor experience and more reading, BTW, I’d say that the industry is about as sexist as any other low-paying, not-very-well-regulated field, which is to say: fairly, as part of being generally unpleasant. The author of “The Porn Clerk Chronicles,” who worked in a video store that rented porn tapes, described some fairly misogynist attitudes in much of the box copy and occasional themes of the mainstream stuff, but that was back when video stores were still a thing, so I don’t know if that’s changed or not. The niche/amateur field seems to be more egalitarian, and non-porn-but-titillation stuff like burlesque and pinup is very much female-dominated these days–again, from what I know of things.

    * In theory. In practice, I myself don’t watch it much: most of the production values/stylistic choices don’t align with my tastes, and I don’t have the time or money to find those that do. Your acquaintance can take that to the bank, should they wish.

  60. Teresa, thanks for this. The reason I don’t self-publish is that I’m not a businessman, and I’m willing to let a publisher take their cut in exchange for their handling all the business end of things.

    Lunchbox, those work very well!

    Steve, “Cats!” is a great outburst; thank you. As for gemstones, good question — I don’t know that anybody’s done the necessary experimentation.

    Ryan, “Zounds!” is perfectly acceptable here. So, by the way, is “Odds Bodkins!” which is rounded down from “God’s bodikins,” i.e., God’s little bodies, i.e., the consecrated Host in the communion ceremony.

    Clay, I’m really sorry to hear that that’s going away. They used to have one at the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle, and it was one of the occasional delights of my childhood, but it was torn up years ago — too old-fashioned, the flacks insisted. You’re right, though, that that’s another marker of decline.

    Isabel, by the surly beard of Mrifk! My emerald orbs glared lustfully at that utterance, I’ll have you know. 😉 More generally, many thanks for a fine collection.

    Patricia, very good. “You weeping pustule on Satan’s backside” would be fine. Alternatively, “on Satan’s left buttock.” By all means keep ’em coming!

    Morfran, I’m probably the last person on earth to ask about that, as I learned to read at the age of two and a half, and read very quickly. (Though my wife reads faster than I do.) Does anyone else have anything to suggest?

    DutyBound, we had to water pretty regularly while using that method in Ashland. We used soaker hoses running along the beds, with very good results. As for sources on racism and colonialism, I haven’t studied either one apart from history in general. Anyone else?

    Steve, I’ve wondered that rather more than once.

    Robert, a fine thumping insult. The alliteration helps, too!

    Jim, no, I haven’t seen that. I’ll look it up.

    Maxine, “made love to by a badger” is rather cleaner than the version I heard… 😉

    Michelle, a fine collection. Thank you!

    DJSpo, duly noted about the rocks. I suppose “dumber than a box of technocrats” doesn’t really have the right zing, though.

    JillN, by cracky, that’ll do!

    Candace, likewise!

    Michelle, there’s much to be said for alliteration, “Blithering bonehead” is a keeper, for example.

  61. @Clark
    Regarding crop circles, the best discussion you can find about them is in the book Daimonic Reality by Patrick Harpur. You will need to read the whole book, not just the chapter on the subject.

  62. @ dfr1973

    My wife was 24 when she got shingles. She was in graduate school at the time and the doctor performed a biopsy because she was so young. That was in 1995, well before she had a cell phone, so that wasn’t the cause. She was under an immense amount of personal stress at the time, which the doctor thought was probably the cause of the outbreak. It’s the earliest case I’ve heard of, though I’ve never researched how early it can happen.

  63. Not-bloody-likely, you may well be. I recognize the theoretical distinction — profanity is about religion and obscenity is about bodies and things you do with them — but in practice, at least in modern English, it all basically runs together.

    JMA, those are fine specimens! Thank you.

    Phutatorius, it has much going for it.

    Will, heredity and environment are the two primary sources of health problems; everything else is secondary to them. Among the secondary factors, adequate water intake, good deep breathing — far too many people take little shallow breaths that leave their blood half-oxygenated and their lungs full of stagnant air — and regular relaxation are as important as diet. There are others, but those are the ones that come to mind right off hand.

    Packshaud, I didn’t invent “nincompoop.” Here’s the entry from the online Merriam-Webster dictionary; its first recorded usage was in 1688. It’s a good old-fashioned bit of English invective, and thus very much the kind of thing I had in mind.

    Will M, I consider capital punishment a valid option for the most heinous crimes. It’s the one punishment that guarantees that there will be no repeat offenses, and in certain extreme cases, that’s appropriate. One of the reasons why the hanged were typically buried in unmarked graves inside the prison walls is that it makes it less likely that any predatory ghost will pester anyone outside.

    Chris, that’s a tough one. A lot depends on how soon you expect the grid to go down in your part of the country. As long as the grid stays up, you won’t attract undue attention by using electricity relatively freely, but how long will that last? Your best guess determines your timeframe for the lower energy approach.

    Clark, not at this point; one blog is keeping me quite busy enough. My Dreamwidth journal hosts some occult-themed material, though it’s also a mix. As for crop circles, Jim Schnabel’s book Round in Circles seems to me to provide the best explanation.

  64. For profanity, I often turn to the animal kingdom, where practically all my favorite things are. Of course, borrowing their precious names for abusive purposes requires a mandatory apology to whichever of God’s darling creatures got saddled with such a ridiculous name on account of human self-centeredness in the first place. But it is a rich field.
    There is “slow loris,” the cuddly looking primate with big eyes that makes up for lack of haste by being deadly poisonous. There is “bufflehead,” the tiny seaduck with a huge head that is thrust back and forth in a charming mating dance. There is the unbeatable “yellow-bellied sapsucker,” and I’ve even heard “orange utan” used pejoratively recently. And for idjits that can’t make up their mind, there’s “fritillary,” a delicate, bright orange butterfly that can’t make up its mind upon which flower to alight, or the similarly spangled lily that was thinking about being a butterfly but got stuck as a flower waiting around for its friends.

  65. Given the state of current politics and politicians, the old sayings hornswoggle and lickspittle come to mind more and more often lately, respectively.

  66. All—

    I’m on the road for work at the moment, so I’ll have to wait until I get back to my other computer for my monthly energy beat news round-up.

    John, re alternate phrases, my father (a most unusual Navy sailor, I admit) used “Puppy-dog ears!” when my brother and I were little.

    On a different topic, I hesitated to share this initially, but I was interviewed recently for a local podcast regarding my writing (three whole stories!). There are other points that are relevant here, so I got over my embarrassment and decided to share it anyway.

    (With apologies to our host for the video, of course.)

    The podcast is just under an hour and a half. The first 20 mins is local news and events (Two Rivers is a happening place) and then there are three guest segments. I’m last, about the 65 minute mark. (The other guests are our Main Street director, followed by our senior center director and volunteer of the year).

    I have to say, seeing oneself is a sobering experience. The reason I hesitated to share the link was that I felt I came off as borderline pretentious, which is neither how the interview felt nor how I see myself. But it is educational to see oneself from the outside and observe how language and mannerisms of which one may not even be conscious impact how one appears. Certainly, there were class markers which showed (the Miss Fisher reference, for example). In any event, that is me.

    One of the reasons I wanted to share, however, involves the two hosts, both local business owners very committed to the community. More significantly, given their camaraderie, is that they are on opposite ends of the political spectrum. Todd is very much a classic liberal, whereas Darla is an Iraq veteran and member of the county Republican Party. (They are also both members of our D&D group. Todd plays Durga the Plain, a human thief of great daring, if little intellect. Darla plays Kitten With Whip, a human fighter whose hobbies include stabbing, killing, and did I mention stabbing?) Yet, they are united in their efforts to promote our local community. I think this illustrates how these political divisions tend to dissolve when we deal with issues of immediate and local nature.

  67. Mild language from my teen years. When parents were in hearing range we would say “guy” or “Oh guy” instead of “god”. Bitchin’ was a word of approval but also unsuitable for parental scrutiny, so we would substitute “botchin'”.

    Going back to a classic–what about “fug” as in _The Naked and the Dead_?

    Latest in the surveillance technology front is that a young man in NY has sued Apple for 1 billion dollars after their facial recognition falsely identified him as a thief in Apple Stores.

  68. Isn’t compassion overrated? “Do as thou art told shall be the whole of the law,” said Cecil Rhodes.

    You’re definitely pretty spergy if you can’t pick up on my irony.

  69. I’ve recently had some success growing culinary mushrooms in a relatively small space, with relatively simple tools and inputs. Obviously this isn’t going to save the world, and the amount of high-calorie grain I turned into low-calorie mushrooms is a little obscene, it was still a fascinating experience. However, mushrooms are tasty, some species (especially lions mane) are a good substitute for seafood, and so I expect there is the potential for a business here, especially as the oceans are strip mined down to plankton and jellyfish.

    Worst case scenario, psychedelic mushrooms are considerably easier to grow than some culinary species…

  70. There’s the Shakespearian ” ‘sblood!” which can be found somewhere in Hamlet, although I haven’t looked it up to verify the spelling. Someone can correct me if they like. Swearing by the blood of God as in this contraction of “God’s blood” is pretty serious stuff. Plus the very sound of it, akin to “splutter” really adds to its savory foulness. You almost have to wipe your mouth after uttering it.

  71. I hope this doesn’t fall under the ‘no promotion’ clause but I discovered this fellow on Youtube a few weeks back. I have no ties to him at all. I get the feeling he is familiar with JMG’s work or at least the same issues that have been raise in that he has come at the worlds problems from a resources limitation perspective. While he is usually doing weekly updates on oil production and other materials, he occasionally addresses some of the more political issues. It is very clear that he is aware of the technical limitations that stand ahead of us in terms what we are using and what is proposed.

    I though this video (almost podcast) would fit in here wonderfully. ‘The Green New Brain Damage’ is an excellent summary of why things like ‘The New Green deal’ are completely unattainable due to the resources required to pull it off. It is 20 minutes long for those who are interested.

    As for obscene language, when ever a modern contraption goes wrong, my go to is “You infernal platinum platted nincompoop!”

  72. @dfr1973,
    I have never had shingles, but I have never had a cellphone either. I discovered more than 20 years ago that I react with unpleasant symptoms to their mere proximity. One of the ways I react to modern wireless technology is reduced immune function, such that a cold will steadily worsen unless I can get into a safe environment. The mandatory imposition of smart meters throughout Japan next year may force me to live without utilities and commute to a shielded office to work.
    It is simply amazing how completely the public has been shielded from any knowledge of the well-documented biological effects of radiofrequency radiation. If you Google “Alasdair Phillips Powerwatch” one of the top offerings is “Bad Science” but have a look at this for a start: The Bioinitiative Report of 2012 is also a good start. Lloyd Burrell of ElectricSense and investigative journalist Nick Pineault have good information for people starting out from dependency on modern technology and making sensible moves to improve their living environment.

  73. JMG, I was wondering why you choose to rent rather than buy, and why an apartment instead of a house? You’ve explained before on why you wanted urban over rural, and why you moved from west to east. I’m re-evaluating my own situation: paying a mortgage, dealing with maintenance (which I have to pay for, as I am not a handy-woman), etc. I know if I was renting, I’d still be paying for all that in my monthly payment, but I wouldn’t have to handle the details. I’ve also considered whether a smaller town (pop. 5,000-10,000) might be safer than the city I live in now (pop. just over 100,000) where there have been shootings of people simply driving down the street. I would have to do my research of course, as small towns can have their own dangers and problems; some are so tight knit that you can live over 10 years and still be “the new guy” in town. Just like city neighborhoods, small towns have their own personality (egregore?) and only you can decide if it will fit your own personality. Rural is out; as a single gal, I couldn’t swing a rural homestead on my own. I know you always say “your mileage may vary” and I agree, but was just curious as to your own reasons for how you chose your living arrangement.

    Joy Marie

  74. On the subject of creative insults – many years ago, when we were teenagers, my cousin used “high-tech” as an interjection, when speaking in our native Tagalog language. It doesn’t quite have the same ring to it in English:

    “Ano ba yan! High-tech naman ‘to!” -> lit. “What the… this [thing/person/situation] is high-tech!”

    I have no idea why, but perhaps because rhymes with lintik, which literally means “lightning”. As in, “I hope [this thing/person] gets struck by lightning!” when interjected. In context, it’s considered to be a relatively mild but forceful insult.

    Appropriately enough, lightning is an elemental weakness of many of our high-tech stuff!

    “This useless high-tech contraption!”

  75. Many have shared links to free books and essays online, although I can’t remember if anyone has shared a link for LibriVox, an online source for audio books. This would be great for those with sight disabilities, young children, for listening to while doing jobs around the house (doing dishes is when I like to listen to CD’s or online audios) or just for a relaxing hour of listening to the latest chapter while cross stitching or doing some such hobby. They have an interesting assortment of books: science fiction, myths, legends, history, philosophy, etc.

    I haven’t listened to any recordings yet, but I think my first choice might be this one: 1900 or The Last President by Ingersoll Lockwood. “The year is 1896. The United States is rocked by the election of an unlikely president. On election night, riots broke out in the streets of New York. The city was paralyzed with dread. Mobs organized under the lead of Anarchists and Socialists. Farther South, people celebrated. This was a President elected by the working class and he was a President who followed through with his commitment to fight for the rights of the people. This president would fight to end the enslavement of the people by money lenders, big bankers, corporations and government overtax. But can he be successful in a society that is rapidly absorbing socialist ideologies?”

    LibriVox recordings are Public Domain in the USA. If you are not in the USA, please verify the copyright status of these works in your own country before downloading.

    Joy Marie

  76. not-bloody-likely—-I distinguish profanity–which uses words referring to deity or holy things, God’s wounds falls into this category; obscenity–refers to sexual functions, the ubiquitous “f” word and it’s many variations are the obvious example here; and scatology–which references excretion either human or animal, horse hockey and bull poop. Spending several years with a man who grew up in construction did have a coarsening effect on my vocabulary. When my two-year old came home from preschool to inquire what “poop” was I had to explain that it was what other families taught their children to say instead of “sh*t.” Now she has a six year old who has picked up some choice expressions from an older brother who is a Marine. When I was a graduate teaching assistant in the late 90s I could astonish students by telling them that I had never hear the “F” word until I went to college in 1966.

  77. Thank you for the response! In regards to the different systems, I’m going to pick up some of your works out of the golden dawn list, though with respect to The Secret Teaching of All Ages, I was under the impression that wasn’t so focused having picked it up after reading some of you entries, I’ve only just started it though. Otherwise while I wait to get paid would it still be advisable to just start with the Golden Dawn 7th edition I have in the mean time, or should I really wait?

    Another thing in avoiding any bad things from happing I’ll be forthright here. I used to be a heavy cannabis user in order to deal with existential depression and I’ve read some places to wait a while after quitting to get involved in any sort of thing. The depression itself isn’t my reason for study, for background the whole 2016 thing shattered that iron clad perception I had of reality. Going from Scott Adams and his reading lists to other books and blogs in different fields I’ve wanted to better ‘understand’ (this being the closest word I can think to use as I don’t fool myself into an idea of absolute knowing). I’ve also known that I’ve had a draw to the spiritual side of things before any of it’s vocabulary sat waiting on my tongue. From experiences with what could only be spirits in my home to noticing the syncronicity in my life these past few years I want to learn, but to do so properly as I’ve had experiences that have been poor to say the least.

    Again, sorry if this is answered elsewhere, and thank you for your time.

  78. JMG,

    I am reading through Christopher Booker’s The Seven Basic Plots now.

    I wonder if you’ve read it and what you make of it or other theories that humans retell the same stories again and again in different ways in different combinations of themes.

    So far I’ve gotten some insights out of the book, like monsters usually representing the worst aspects of human behaviour, but I find the idea that all cultures have the same basic stories unconvincing.

    I’d read Witzels’s The Origin of the World’s Mythologies once before and while I don’t remember everything, I found his historical explanation of Laurasian and Gondwanan divergence more intriguing.


  79. Can anyone explain just what is 5-G technology?

    I have never been able to take workplace and other electronic spying seriously. Where are the controllers going to find anyone able to monitor the results? Without dying of boredom? I have read that big, bad NSA only reads about 10% at most of what it vacuums up. Workplace monitoring seems like a joke to me. A supe who won’t believe his or her favorite is guilty of malingering won’t believe it on camera either.

    My Mom had a fine fund of colorful insults, such as dumber than a plank, and doesn’t have the brains she was born with. The phrase can’t boil water refers to an incompetent woman. Ears flapping describes eavesdroppers. Snake in the grass is a backstabber. Then there is the prismatic prevaricator, courtesy of Harry Truman.

  80. It always seems like cheating to drop to the bottom of the page to scratch out My solicited contribution, but I’ll likely backtrack to mine the gems in the thread.

    I’ve found “bloody hell” to have entered my explicative vocabulary, a classic. There is of course the gaining in popular usage, frack and frick and the ever so slight circumlocution “feckin’.” Along with those come Firefly gifted gems, “gorram” and “nutha-ruttin,” and were I to own a frilly bonnet, I could threaten to end you. If you can memorize them, there is a rich mine of conceived in whole cloth Mandarin-inspired cussin’ to plunder for special ocassions. “Stupid Inbred Stack of Meat” or 笨天生的一堆肉。[]

    But I never found the other Galactica explicative, “feldercarb,” to have much traction, it does not roll easily off the tongue.

    Moving on, the collapse of polite society and media verity promotes such descriptors as “horsepuckey” “cowflops” “bullpuckey” and the more flowery “horseswallop” and of course perpetrators described as “assjackals” (teases the envelope), but I’ve become fond of “jackalope” and “jabberwocks”

    Cross cultural, and both sacred and profane, “A los vente y cuarto cajones a los doces Aposteleos.” (suspect spelling), rather loosely, “by the twenty four testicles of the twelve Apostles.” Ya gotta kinda mean that one.

    But a classic southern construction is still charming and versatile, “dumb as a bag of hammers.”

    Your mileage will of course, vary.

  81. Hi JMG,

    You’ve mentioned a number of times that you consider Jung to have been an occultist in all but name. I think an argument could also be made that Nietzsche was too.

    I was mulling over this idea recently and it occurred to me that a modified Tree of Life that matches Nietzsche’s philosophy would simply need to remove Kether, Chokmah and Binah (and Da’ath). Nietzsche would say we can’t know anything about them and therefore don’t need to posit them.

    The other Sephiroph could stay as is. It’s tempting to say that Geburah would be at the top of the tree (will to power). However, I believe a more sophisticated reading of Nietzsche is that he was saying Christianity caused western civilisation to become too pre-occupied with Chesed at the expense of Geburah. Will to power was an attempt to redress this imbalance.

    I’m not sure how much Nietzsche you have read. Do you think there is validity in this interpretation?

  82. dfr1973

    I am wondering about whether these people were vaccinated against chicken pox or had the disease. At 48, I presume you had it? My thinking is that vaccinated people would get it younger as they don’t have true immunity.
    As to the cell phones, I’m afraid there’s going to be a wave of very sad health effects from overexposure to them and other devices.

  83. Some contributions to the salty language list: lubberly louts, prattling gabbers, mangy rascals, drowsy loiterers, nodding meacocks, malicious milksops, fat chuffcats, clucking spoon scrubbers, swooshing suit slappers, noisy pie eaters, pernicious pencil sharpeners, trouser stains, tail napkins, false accusers and dissembled gospellers.

  84. @Tripp and @JMG

    Both of your answers- that it’s a matter of the bark being worse than the bite, and that it’s increased complexity means an increased level of dysfunctionality are good points that I didn’t think of. As far as it being voluntary, well, that’s something that I should’ve been aware of.

    As a rule, my mind jumps to the worst case scenario whenever I am pondering the future. I am not an optimistic person.

    The “H” is for Herbert. For some reason, I have it in my head that his full name was “Jesus Herbert Walker Christ”

    On to the salty language list:

    Congress critter
    Mother jumper
    Bashi bazouk

    To cap it off, here is a list of Captain Haddock’s curses, insults, and exclamations:

  85. Horseneck,

    The goal is to end, not perpetuate bad karma. We don’t want the Hatfields and the McCoys forever. We want forgiveness and transcendence. You also might want to generate good karma. Plus, you cannot judge why any person or people are in a particular situation. I don’t think karma or reincarnation are simple but very complex. A person might take on a difficult life for different reasons, not only to receive tit for tat. I believe sometimes higher level souls take on difficult lives to hone their skills, their ability to maintain who they are despite temptations to fall.
    In the classic case of a beggar child, people tell themselves the child did something to deserve it in a prior life. Problem is, they are now generating bad karma for themselves, being uncompassionate toward an innocent child so now they need to experience being a beggar child… The child, even if its soul was in a body in a prior life that did wrong, is still an innocent child.

  86. Thank John Michael. The deep breathing part makes sense to me. How should I think about the environmental factors in health? Most everybody says diet, exercise and hereditary are the things that count. It really seems silly but I have never really thought about how my enviroment affects my health.

  87. Last month I inquired into whether I could post a link to an anthology of short stories in which my first published fiction has been published. I’ve been reading the ARC (advance reader copy), which still has some uncaught typos and whatnot, and though the editors have said that the real version is clean, I’m not completely satisfied with the quality of all the stories in it. It’s frankly a mixed bag and I’m a bit disappointed, especially since the theme ‘waning or retired gods,’ seemed like something many of your readers might appreciate.

    So, this time around, I’m going to hold off – no point in asking my friends here to waste money on something I can’t unreservedly recommend. On the positive side, I plan to self-publish the story and four others in a collection by the end of the year. I’ll be able to guarantee clean copy, grammatically correct English (I’m a copyeditor by trade), and, if I’m to believe my beta readers and my gut feeling, good storytelling. I hope at that point to celebrate a publication I’m proud of.

    Ah well, live and learn.

  88. Dfr,

    Talk about timing. We had dinner guests last night and brought the subject at hand up and the woman said that she knew an 8 y.o. who had had shingles! 8!!

  89. Dear Mr. Greer,’
    Thank you for your reply. My book Being and Oil Volume One: Peak Oil Philosophy and the Ontology of Limitation is available in kindle format for $3.99 and in paperback format for $10.99 on Amazon at the following link:

    Regarding the 4 earliest great Peak Oil writers, I make an argument early on in the book that each grappled with the lack of explicitly-set terminological protocols in the genre by framing the dualism between the fossil fuel resource base and the sprawling world of surface-level constructs by emphasizing the Petroleum base through a different one of Aristotle’s causes: Michael Ruppert was the material cause (Oil as material out of which consumer products are literally made, and as precious material motivating resource wars), Richard Heinberg was the efficient cause (“economic growth” is a secondary side effect of the efficient cause of fossil fuels which is impossible to sustain without it), Kunstler was the final cause (uniquely dysfunctional suburban geography which is not even satisfying to live in has no motive except “doing activities that burn fossil fuels in order to do activities that burn fossil fuels”), and Greer was the formal cause (mythology of progress is petroleum’s formal essence abstracted from crude material in a gas tank to the abstract realm of cognition, much like Aristotle argued the formal essence of a ring can travel from its embodiment in gold to a purified form in the mind)

    My argument in the book is largely that fossil fuels have displaced herds of megafauna in the Hunter Gatherer Worldview and cyclically-harvested grain in the Agrarian occupy the deepest role (the “substance,” if you will) of the the transcendental hierarchy of meanings which would be distorted to fit a different shape in each phase. Whereas the Hunter Gatherer Worldview favoured the geometrical metaphor of a level plane of reciprocity between human culture and wild nature, and the Agrarian Worldview favoured the geometrical metaphor of a circle (cyclical processes, definitions of “perfection” as completion rather than growth), the Fossil Fuel Worldview favours the geometrical metaphor of the linear ascending arrow of progress. In all cases, these shapes are just the substance (wooly mammoth herds, barley, petroleum) contemplated through the Memological transcendental register (a term I deduced from your book Apocalypse Not’s discussion of memes) in which the standard of meaning is abstract shape. The memological is only one of five registers in which the same substance can achieve Phenomenological givenness to a subject. The other four include the mythological layer in which the standard of meaning is a unified disclosed event (for example, the American Dream); the gnostic layer in which the standard of meaning is a system of abstract values ordered by rank (for example, the two billion line Google Algorithm); the counter sense object layer in which the standard of meaning is an object that embodies the worldview of the resource base even in the absence of words (for example, the counter sense object of a machine); and finally, the somatic layer (from the greek word “soma” for existing body) in which the standard if simply the purified presence or absence of the resource base. Because the somatic layer requires the furthest deviation from the ordinary stance of mythological dwelling, few people ever reach it. The Peak Oil Community is largely just the group defined by their penetration to the somatic layer who contemplate Oil as Soma which is vanishing. All of the higher order registers of meaning depend, however, upon the existence of the Soma, such that its loss will simultaneously collapse our memological, sense objective, systematic, and mythological meanings into falsity. The following age will have a different Soma (salvage) with its own Deep Meme shape (the bell curve of decline) and its own set of completely different higher order objects, systems, and myths.

    Regarding the upcoming books on your work, may I ask if sometime I can ask you a few questions about your philosophical stances to make sure that I don’t represent your views in the books The Philosophy of John Michael Greer Volumes One and Two?

    At any rate, thank you again for your response.

  90. Regency: wet-goose, sapskull, chucklehead. hen-hearted, gapeseed, clodpole, lickpenny, and “one that would marry a midden for the muck.” More descriptive than insulting, “Johnny Raw.” Meaning a newbie.

  91. JMG,

    Well, personally, I don’t like porn, and so I won’t watch it! 😉

    As for the reaction to the Mueller Report, dear gods it’s getting bad. I live with people who would be democrats were we living in the US, and it’s getting bad. It’s reached the point I can barely carry out conversations with some of them since I’m not anti-Trump enough….


    I know it’s totally absurd. My best guess is that this is a snarl word: “How dare you not be interested in porn!” The logic, such as I could follow, was that porn is liberating since it shows women having sex. This is therefore a pure, glorious thing, and anyone who doesn’t watch porn must clearly be against women’s sexuality. The logic seemed like nonsense to me too.

    As for pro-porn feminist, I think that’s entirely fair. I don’t watch the stuff because I’m less interested in sex than most people, and as part of my general not watching pictures on a screen when I can avoid it. What counts as sexism is, at least in the social circle I’m stuck in, getting surreal.

    As for how it came up, I took out my laptop to check something, and someone made a joke about me showing my porn folder. I responded by jokingly showing an empty file folder, and then the response was to ask why it was empty. When I said I don’t watch porn, the reaction was quite something….

  92. Dunno if anybody’s mentioned these two Brit insult mainstays –


    “‘… ‘oy, sod off!”

  93. Lifelong study of curvilinear perspective has left me with the possibility of creating star charts in various projections: Mercator, stereographic, conic, gnomonic, etc. In your opinion, is there likely to exist within the astrological or wider esoteric/occult community a demand for such charts? I’m thinking of illuminated designs that focus on the Zodiac and other classic mythological constellations.


  94. JMG

    Good Evening, It seems eldest daughter wants to take Latin in High School next year. Naturally that means caring (nosy) fathers should learn Latin as well. What do you think are some of the better beginning Latin textbooks out there? I was thinking Wheelock and A Loeb Classical Library Reader.

    Other Dave

  95. Hi JMG,

    Came across some reference on Reddit to a practice promoted by Regardie called solar adorations (or something like that). The OP was asking for advice about how to observe the four adorations at their respective times when he was going to be in Alaska at a time that there are only three hours of darkness.

    What is the purpose of these solar adorations in terms of occult training/practice? What, if any, benefit would it be to observe some kind of practice like this within a druidical magic practice like in DMH? I recall in DMH that you had a number of solar current exercises and (I believe) discussed saluting the sun and moon. Do either of those practices relate in any way?

    Thank you as always!

  96. The owner of the company I currently work for likes to say “Schmitt” and “What the Hotel”

    Speaking of work, what specific occupations do you see as being somewhat “collapse-proof?” It came up here again recently, and, paraphrasing, you said something along the lines of “making something, or providing a service, people will find useful,” I run through a lot of ideas, but many seem to fall apart when I think about it further.

    For example, knife sharpening, or small appliance or bicycle repairs–won’t people facing hard times themselves be more likely to do these very chores for themselves? Do you have any thoughts about what a person of 60 without a steady career path but with a variety of skills, from writing and editing to repair, landscaping, and construction, (but no savings and child support payments) might do for a living in the times ahead?

  97. I remember a radio station in the 90s pushing “jackhole” as the new “non” swear word. By dropping the profane part of each phrase, I think it’s oddly compelling. My wife voted for “farquaad!” after the Shrek villain.

  98. “Rectal-cranial-inversion” is the clean version of “head in the sand” or something like that

  99. Hi, JMG. I’d be curious to hear your thoughts on race in 21st century America. Seems to me the cat’s out of the bag (as if it ever was in once the Puritans set foot in Plymouth) and the white nationalists hiding out in Idaho are delusional. Mestizo nation has already happened. That being said, I do have sympathy for the argument that we need shared values and multi-culturalism has failed. And that assimilation takes time. Also, it’s important not to conflate respect for borders and laws with racism.

    If history is any guide, the migrations will settle down and we’ll become more localized, allowing evolution to happen. The invaders will became indigenous. Recent DNA discoveries have revealed the “English” are related to the Basque, with err… contributions from Vikings, Angles, Saxons, etc. An interesting thought experiment. What will “Californians” look like in 500 years?

  100. @Horseneck,

    You said:

    “How would one reconcile sympathy for the white working class with a belief in ‘karma’ and the destiny of the ‘higher self’? Don’t laborers need to experience their dispossession in their current incarnations? Why interfere by improving their lives?”

    That logic can be applied to any suffering anywhere, by anyone. Why interfere to improve the life of any living thing, ever? (To which, I would reply, “If you do not wish to ease suffering in life, why live at all? Isn’t an act of compassion important in its own right?”)

    Jessi Thompson

  101. @Chris Smith, one of our family favorite curses was created by our eldest who has a Rumsfeldian talent for malapropisms. Rocket Scientist + Brain Surgeon= Rocket Surgeon. As in, “well you’re not a rocket surgeon, are you?”

  102. Dear jmg
    I must tell everyone a amusing anecdote that has happened in my family that touches on a lot of things that are discussed on this blog.
    there are three members of my family who are very much adherents to faith in progress. They are my ex-stepdad and my two half sisters, especially the oldest one who I shall call E.
    I often debate with my ex-stepdad and E on the material that I learn from this blog and others concerning the invalidity of many of the tenets of progress. And of course I never “win” since like everyone else they reject anything that goes against progress, (though I think that my lack of rhetorical skill , along with the fact that compared to them I don’t have much status also has something to do with it)
    My ex-stepdad is usually civil with me though occasionally he mocks me (he once joked that we can solve the energy crisis via making 3rd world kids power bike generators) but E on the other hand lacks as much civility, is somewhat unnecessarily aggressive in our debates.
    The anecdote I wanted to share was this.
    Before my Vietnam trip ,E, getting fed up with me said that if I could get her some sources she would write an essay proving that I was wrong about how modern civilisation can only be powered by fossil fuels.
    Anyhow, months after I finally managed to receive her “essay” it was essentially a very short couple of paragraphs explaining why she didn’t think the sources I gave her were good, then quoting some government report saying that renewable energy will take the place of coal within a century.
    It was so short and poorly done that I asked her why she gave me a Facebook post long enough to need me to press the read more button instead of an essay.
    I intend to post it on this blog, I will be fair to her though, I could have chosen some of my sources better, and she is a high school student.

  103. Michael, good. Ungrammatical, but good. 😉

    Matthias, I’ve noticed that a lot of people who come up with plans for bettering the world don’t stop and think about how their projects could be gamed, so I make a point of looking for such things.

    Patricia O, those certainly work!

    Honyocker, two good words! Thank you.

    David BTL, congrats.

    Cat, I figured that’s what you meant to write.

    Rita, when I was a kid we’d use “God bless America!” instead of something more blistering when adults were in earshot.

    Horseneck, I have Aspergers syndrome, so I miss everybody’s irony. Think of it as a serious irony deficiency.

    Justin, delighted to hear it.

    Phutatorius, ‘strewth!

    Michael, thanks for this — I hope he gets someone to transcribe his videos, as I’d like to read what he has to say. “Platinum-plated nincompoop” is a fine bit of alliteration, too.

    Joy Marie, we don’t need a space the size of a house, since there’s just the two of us, and since Sara’s health problems, cleaning and maintaining a house is kind of a challenge. Besides, we’ve been renters for most of our adult lives and are comfortable with it.

    Carlos, I like it. I consider “high tech” an insult in many settings already…

    M.R. Hubbs, by all means read Regardie’s long introduction to The Golden Dawn and start familiarizing yourself with the material in the knowledge lectures, but I’d recommend waiting until you have a copy of Learning Ritual Magic before you begin practices. As for cannabis, I think a lot of people use it to deal with the misery and meaninglessness of life in an industrial society. Magic is more interesting, and it won’t mess up your short term memory.

    Alvin, I haven’t read that specific book, but attempts to boil down all stories into some set of abstract categories are very common, of course. To my mind they miss the point, which is that it’s not the categories but the individual features of a story that stand out. Romeo and Juliet and Pride and Prejudice are both “Boy Meets Girl” stories, but that doesn’t actually tell you much of anything about them; what’s more, they’re memorable because they’re not just “Boy Meets Girl” stories. Those tales that simply move through the expected incidents of a category are soon forgotten.

    Nastarana, I think “5-G” stands for “let’s come up with some kind of label we can overhype to try to distract people from the fact that this next set of gimcracks has more bugs and problems, and does fewer things people actually want,, than the one it’s meant to replace.”

    Samurai, I’ve often thought that English has become sadly deficient in hot language compared to other languages. You’ve just confirmed that impression.

    Simon, I’ve read pretty much all of Nietzche. Keep in mind he would have ripped your ears off if you’d called him an occultist — he disdained magic, astrology, and so on — but an analysis of Zarathustra in terms of the Tree of Life might be worth trying. Your insults are choice, btw.

    Waffles, as I’ve gotten older I’ve come to the comforting conclusion that human stupidity prevents worst-case scenarios just as effectively as best-case scenarios. A good collection of oaths — and many thanks for the list of the Captain’s fine utterances. Billions of billious blue blistering barnacles! (Try saying that one three times very fast while drunk…)

    Will, well, think of it this way. If the food you take into your body has an influence on your health, what about the air and the water you take into your body? What about the chemical and electromagnetic surroundings in which you live? None of us are isolated from the rest of the world; we’re constantly absorbing substances, energies, and influences from our surroundings, and giving off substances, energies, and influences to our surroundings — and all of this affects our health and the health of those near us.

    Temporaryreality, one way or another, I’ll look forward to it.

  104. Will M, or for that matter, Cthulhu fhtagh!

    Chad, thank you for this. I’ll have to find some other way to get a copy, as I don’t patronize Amazon; still, I’ll see what I can do. By all means ask away; my monthly open post might be a good place to do that — but I’m entirely ready to discover that my ideas presuppose some philosophical position that I’d never worked out explicitly.

    Violet, got it and thank you. You’re in the competition.

    Patricia M, by any chance have you been reading Georgette Heyer recently?

    Will J, do what keepeth thou from wilting shall be the loophole in the law! As for the left, the penny finally dropped yesterday; I’ll have some things to say about that next week.

    Alison, thanks for this!

    Will M, two good additions.

    Kevin, I have no idea. Anyone else?

    Other Dave, Wheelock is the textbook I used, and it’s first-rate; if you can pick up a copy of Wheelock’s Latin Reader to go with it, you’re set.

    David, the solar adorations are something Crowley taught to his students. I don’t recommend using them, as there’s already a tendency in Western magic to put too much emphasis on the Sun, which can lead to overinflated egos.

    Absolutegalore, it all depends on how fast you expect the decline to take place in the specific area where you’re located. One of the reasons I’m where I am at this point is that here, I expect to be able to continue writing for a living in relative comfort for the rest of this life; in some other parts of the US, I’m far from sure that would be possible. Remember that we’re talking about a slow and ragged decline, not a sudden collapse, and then see if you can get a sense of the overlap between what you can do and what people actually need and want.

    Ryan, that’s really quite good. “Jackhole” — yes, it has a good raw sound to it.

    Mike, I’ve also seen “craniorectal insertion.” Then there’s “he’s got his head wedged between his cheeks.”

    Dante, human races don’t exist except as pure social constructs. Biologically there are ethnic groups, lots of them, but the criteria by which some of those ethnic groups are lumped together as “white” and all the others as “nonwhite” are purely a matter of outdated 19th-century ethnology. What’s happening at this point is that this reality is finally starting to break through the social fiction of race, largely because other divisions — especially those of social class, language, and religion — are becoming more important as drivers of social conflict. Ethnic groups are always in flux, with genetic drift and rates of intermarriage between groups among the major factors driving it; as we move through the decline of industrial civilization and the dark age that will follow it, new ethnicities will take shape as they usually do, and skin colors will adapt to the availability of sunlight for vitamin D synthesis — over time, the further an ethnic group lives from the equator, the lighter its skin becomes, due to selective pressures driven by that simple biological factor.

    That’s the short form, at least!

    J.L.Mc12, funny. Not surprising, though — I’ve seen the same thing many times.

  105. @Will M

    “dump the worst of the worst on some Pacific atoll with basic food and water. ”

    That’s been done already. The place in the Pacific they were dumped is now known as Australia.

  106. Whoever asked about 5G. I like JMG’s tart response, but if you want a slightly more technical look: it’s two different things. One is a series of fixes and improvements to standards that can be applied to current systems, and will give some improvement to data rate and coverage in some limited circumstances.

    The other is the ability to use higher frequency bands. They’ve got huge capacities, but they have very short range and have trouble doing simple things like going through walls that the current technology manages easily. Both T-Mobile and Verizon have said that they’re only suitable for very high density city centers, etc. AT&T’s advertisement that they’re already using 5G is a marketing scam, and has been protested vigorously by other carriers.

  107. @Robert Mathiesen-
    “Up your nose with a rubber hose”- now that’s one I hadn’t heard for years! That was the opening salvo in the ritualistic trading of rhyming insults my two older brothers used to engage in. “In your ear with a can of beer!” was the proper reply. Things went on in this fashion for some time, eventually culminating with the threat of a coconut going somewhere Very Unlikely, by which time everyone in hearing range was cracking up. I was always glad when one of my brothers relieved the growing tension between them by starting the insult exchange, because it meant an actual fistfight was much less likely. I just learned that a very similar tradition of humorous ritual insults existed in Anglo Saxon drinking halls (and is probably, I imagine, a common tradition the world over!), I’m guessing for the same reason. Laughter is safer than drunk fights.

    I like to snarl “razzle snazzle bloffenwitzer!”, which I think I lifted from Looney Tunes in my childhood, because it similarly makes me laugh when I’m getting mad. “Dang frang sussafrassin'” is another family fave, but I have no idea where we got it. “Cotton-pickin'” has all those nice consonants, and my husband’s parents, who both picked cotton in their youth, assure me that the activity is indeed unpleasant enough to serve as a substitute swear. My dad often used “a few bricks shy of a full load” (which of course has a whole galaxy of variants) or “not dealing with a full deck” to describe odd folks, and my mom would holler “oh, sugar!” when something spilled. And of course, when someone was really dumb, “When God was handing out brains, s/he thought He said trains and hid behind the door!” (which actually doesn’t make much sense now that I see it written down, but oh well.) Kids These Days bellow “Shut the front door!”, at least in the presence of non-permissive adults, to indicate either surprise or disagreement. My favorite substitute swears all make me giggle.

    –Heather in CA

  108. Jmg, thanks for the appreciation, there is much more I could say about the debates that I have with my family that would entertain or upset you.
    Anyway, here is E’s “essay”

    Source evaluation
    ➢ All the are at best a brief explanation of the issues as all the reports are by Tom Murphy an associate professor of physics with a speciality in testing general relativity. The term associate professor helps to describe the accuracy of his reports, he is specialised in a specific subject within physics which is all he is qualified to teach. He previously taught a course on energy and the environment for non-science majors, which is qualified at the same level as a SA achievement in General Science 12. Once again Tom Murphy is not a reliable academic source and only allows for a single biased opinion with no sources that allow for a constructed argument.
    ➢ No Tech Magazine is a non-academic source with no reliable backing and as it is already known that we survived before the invention of fossil fuels, we can do it again but not at the same level of prowess that we have evolved to in current years.
    ➢ The Arch Druid report is also an unreliable source that is not only biased but should never again be used in mainstream conversation and I’m sure that the archive creator would be extremely upset about that I do not care and I cannot understand why this link was even included.
    ➢ All the are not in any way reliable as even in the ‘About Me’ section he talks about his use of weed and the fact he has absolutely no qualifications or sources to provide any dependability on his completely biased reports.
    Fossil fuels are a deep rotted issue that effects every aspect of our everyday lives from our cars to our army. The term Fossil fuels describes any combustible geologic deposits of organic materials which over millennia of exposure to heat and pressure covert into crude oil, coal and natural gas. Most of Australia’s energy is generated by ‘traditional’ resources with 86 percent of our electricity being generated from these fuels, with 73 percent from coal and 13 percent from nature gas. With such a dependency on fossil fuels it begs the question what would happen when fossil fuels inevitably run out.
    When fossil fuels inevitable run out the replacement for them has already been defined to be renewable energies such as solar energy which in terms of environmental impact is much more optimal source. In term of reliable application coal and natural gas have the edge however the ultimate way to compare these two sources is to compare cost which shows how renewable fuels has quickly caught up with its non-renewable counter parts. This point is defined within a report by Energy Sage which as a website that compares multiple solar quotes, the source is a biased secondary source which is made reliable by its use of primary sources to support its argument.
    This secondary source helps to guide and better describe the Australian Energy Statistics in the most recent 2018 report. This report is a primary source which is reliably sourced by total energy usage throughout Australia and over an extended amount of time. Within this report more specifically Table O4 it is shown that Non-renewable sources are still the primary source of energy in Queensland with renewable source growing by approximately 400 GWh every year which is noticeable less than most every other state in Australia. The largest source in Queensland from 2008-2018 has been black coal with an average contribution of 50’000 GWh.
    A report by Cool Australia helped to cap the problem of coal usage in Australia and though it’s a secondary biased source they are made reliable by their use of primary sources and justification through their arguments paired with the reliability pair with their reputation that has been built on years of work. This report ended with a statement ‘’…it will run out in a little more than 100 years,’’ which is an assumption made by the fact that we burn the oil equivalent of 50 million barrels worth of coal daily.
    In conclusion fossil fuels are not going to run out anytime soon and with the assumption that renewable energy continues to grow at its current rate by the time that coal runs out in 100 year it would have reached approximately 42’000 GWh meaning that it could sustain the current and future population at the same efficiency that fossil fuels would.

  109. He’s not the coldest can in the fridge.

    Mad as a sackful of cats.

    He’s all tip and no iceberg (by former Aus PM Paul Keating)

    Drongo (a fool)

  110. May I ask if there is another venue for self published paperbacks that you would be able to access if Amazon is not an option for you? I will see if I can release the book on another service.

    Thank you for your willingness to accept questions. I will think of some questions on your philosophical ideas as I prepare to start writing the manuscript over the next month and return in May’s open post with them.

  111. Then there are always the Bertie Wooster-isms to call on like “well I’m dashed!” Or “that’s absolute rot, Jeeves.” “Balderdash,” “pivel,” “frapdoodle,” and ” you’re positively blithering, my good man,” pop out too, though a couple of those have already been mentioned.

    Jeeves and Wooster was always a lively source for such non-profanities.

  112. One thing that gives me hope and confidence in the future is my own observation that people with evil intent can’t get on with each either. They really don’t like anyone at all. The thing that annoys me is the rest of us don’t co-operate enough.

  113. And don’t forget Willy Wonka’s “rotten vermicious k-nids!”

    “If she’s a lady (meaning Veruca Salt) then I’m a rotten vermicious k-nid!” says Grandpa Joe.

  114. JMG and honored assembly,

    I trust that you and many here are familiar with the profile and work of Jaron Lanier. I thought this a good place and time to recap the points from his recent book, “Ten Arguments for Deleting Your Social Media Accounts”:
    One: You are losing your free will.
    Two: Quitting social media is the most finely targeted way to resist the insanity of our times.
    Three: Social media is making you into an a–hole. [Guess Lanier needs to think of some new more colorful words.]
    Four: Social media is undermining truth.
    Five: Social media is making what you say meaningless.
    Six: Social media is destroying your capacity for empathy.
    Seven: Social media is making you unhappy.
    Eight: Social media doesn’t want you to have economic dignity.
    Nine: Social media is making politics impossible.
    Ten: Social media hates your soul.

    I can say personally that after April 8 when I returned from a meditation retreat where I personally resolved to stay away from Facebook that I can feel something in my field healing. It is hard to say whether it is inside or outside my mind: some of both, really. I would love to hear from any and all who have undergone the same reversal and wish to share their results.

    I meet so many people who admit to me that they know it’s bad for them, but they cannot keep away from their phone and social media. For this reason the entire complex seems to function in this era as cigarette smoking did in an earlier one. By the time you discover you’re hooked, it is often too late to withdraw. And, you know, everyone is doing it…

    One reason I enjoy visiting this website so much is that it is based more on the model of what I would call Web 1.0. There were some problems with attention disorders and distraction even then–Nicholas Carr was documenting that in his excellent book “The Shallows”–but overall, that earlier version of the Web brought many advantages. I regularly use a community bulletin board modeled on Craig’s List. I love reference sources like and Wikipedia. Wikipedia resembles nothing so much as a gigantic beehive, whereas Facebook is a panopticon. Always was. And blaming Mark Zuckerberg for everything that’s wrong with it is, in my opinion, as misguided as blaming Donald Trump for everything that is wrong with America.

    Scrolling through this weekly post (whether long or short) and reading the comments has a different effect on my mind and body than scrolling through social media does. It is less convenient, sure–I can’t answer comments that interest me directly and by the time I get to the comment box, I may have forgotten who wrote what–but it doesn’t inflame my emotions and shred my brain. Perhaps that is some of your gallant curating, JMG. But that is the point. We are sitting in a virtual living room, informed by your sensibility and guided by your standards, not left to wander in a smoke-filled battlefield where anything goes and people feel free to blast their ids over a medium that was never, for one moment, private in the way they were guaranteed.

  115. On cusses

    Years ago a friend of mine had a night where he was just on fire coming up with new exclamations, evidently out of nowhere. My favorites were: “Aghhh, bananaland” and “Oh, doublechrist.” My grandma, until she got laughed at too much, apparently liked to say, “Lord love a duck!” “Oh, turtle turds!” and “Christ in a bucket!”

    I thought it was interesting that in Ursula K. Le Guin’s The Dispossessed the worst thing to call someone on the planet populated by anarchists is “propertarian”, which would elicit a gasp while a latrine is matter-of-factly called a “sh*ttery”.

    Lately I find myself yelling, “Holly Schmidt!” I’ve also seen it noted that any noun can serve as an insult if you put “You absolute” before it. (“You absolute dongle.”)

    Anyhow, I also have some—


    (1) JMG, In the Magic Monday FAQ‘s discussion of reincarnation, you said that “There are an unusually large number of souls doing their first time around as human beings just now,” and that “most such souls are … busy figuring out how to be human.” I was wondering how you see that manifesting—that is, how can you tell if it’s someone’s first time?

    (2) I’m also wondering how the existence of a soul—or whatever we call that core of you that is supposed to carry forward from a previous lifetime—squares with the Phineas Gage problem. If your personality can be changed by a tamping iron driven through certain parts of the brain, what does the core of your being consist of exactly? Is personality the wrong tree for me to be barking up, here?

    (3) In a different vein, I’m interested to hear your or anyone’s thoughts about the future of agricultural land in the US. Right now as far as I’m aware, it’s mostly nominally owned by local people, but leased to big agribusinesses in arrangements that more or less lock them into being beholden to the same company in perpetuity. It seems inevitable that the agribusinesses will fall, but after that, what fills the vacuum—will it be an orderly transition from the current landowners or their heirs to people with money who’d like to start small farms, or might there be some kind of forceful land takeover that disregards the current rule of law? Is this too contingent on unpredictable events to come up with a good guess, or is there a pattern that’s likely to be followed?


    I just moved to Ashland, Wisconsin, and today I finally visited the local H.P. Lovecraft–themed bar, HPL (motto: Love Our Craft). It has tastefully understated Great Old One decorations on the walls, like a couple faux windows with giant eyes or tentacles peeking through, and some woodcuts of people with tentacles or “The Innsmouth Massacre“. It took me a while to realize that it felt exactly like a place that would be in the Arkham of The Weird of Hali. And indeed, there was even a lovingly forged diploma from Miskatonic University hanging on the wall, for a Bachelor’s in cryptozoology.

  116. Then there’s “asshat,” one of my personal favorites, and “jackleg,” meaning someone who lacks skill or competence. I’ve always liked jackleg…

  117. Nastarana, I will add to JMG’s point and make it a little more technical. 5-G is essentially nothing more than a faster data connection for mobile phones. It will require tens of billions of dollars of infrastructure that the users will have to pay for and will for allow greater location tracking of them at the same time. All that for slightly faster connection to a cat video.

    I do not understand why it is being hyped so much, it is literally a faster internet connection. It is like people being hyped that they will soon have 100 hamburgers for dinner when they already have 30 on the table and can barely eat 1 of them. It is hype for the sake of hype. Have to keep the image of progess up.

    JMG, unfortunately there are no transciptions of those videos. He is a very small time video/audio producer regularly only getting about 70-100 viewers a week. Almost no one is looking out for these issues, it is also unfortunate that the fellow that makes these video can barely even afford his medication to keep doing them. The voice trying to warn people is the one that is slowly being suffocated by the contraction of civilisation.

    To boil down the videos main point, it is just pointing out that a lof of the proposals for the ‘New Green Deal’ are more of a vague wish list rather than anything that can be realistically achievable. The idea of physical limiations is never addressed.

    Ideas like using only solar and wind power to keep the power grid going exactly as it is today is essentially impossible. There is not enough Germinium/Silver/Neodymiam etc. available on the entire planet to make enough solar panels/turbines and keep the lights on. Wind power is only use full in specialised locations. That using bunkers full of batteries is not the solution to the intermitent nature of these devices because of similar resource limits. That high speed rail cannot compete with air travel even though we still need to reduce/eleimiate said air travel. The overall sentiment is fairly potent, the phrase (paraphrased) “The publics enfacuation with solar panels as a solution is a socital suicide pact.” – they say everything that is not being said.

    John, you say these things and seem very aware of these issues, that I am sure of.

  118. I coined an anti-metric term which sounds mild but actually is deadly insulting: “killymilly”. It denotes a style-deaf person who prefers killer-meaters, scenty-meaters etc to miles and inches as descriptors in an English sentence.

  119. I bought two rare books from Amazon before, there were not available anywhere else. These were from sellers, but I would buy from Amazon itself if there was no other option.

    Amazon owns CreateSpace; all books from that publisher are made by Amazon, and I will not boycott it.

  120. John Myers Myers wrote both Silverlock and Print in a Wild Land. There’s a poem in Print that I think might have triggered ‘The Ballad of Bowie Gizzardsbane’ but hoo wee is Myers’ ballad better.

  121. Berserker, I was thinking of it being more of a verb. As in, something can be totally uptown funked. But I’m glad to see my little phrase being adapted in ways I did not think of… 😉

  122. @Will: Wow, that is some…”logic,” on the other person’s part. For one, it’s a bit like saying I’m sexist because I don’t watch the WNBA or Women’s World Cup: I’m glad they both exist, and that women who like sports are getting more opportunity and recognition as a general thing, but…sports bore me, team sports especially bore me, the basketball/various-varieties-of-football version doubly especially bore me (whereas I can just about follow baseball* and hockey), and committing multiple hours to watching other people play those sports sounds like a torture Dante left out.

    For another, while I have little patience with the idea that women’s sexuality displayed for the purpose of men’s enjoyment is inherently sexist, it’s definitely not inherently liberating or empowering, either. Vast numbers of patriarchal civilizations have had the idea that there were Good Women who didn’t like sex (or only liked it in the context of marriage or as an expression of a deep ‘n’ meaningful soul connection or blah de blah) and Bad Women who did, where the former were to be respected and protected and the latter were fair game for any number of things, up to and including murder. (It’s one of the reasons the lives of actual sex workers are risky, and have been for ages.) “Hey, this person or activity turns me on,” is sadly, as many people of color/fat people/trans people/gay people/and so on could testify, by no means incompatible with “this person or activity is inferior and awful, and they or those who participate in it should not have full human rights.”

    So: yeah.

    And also, that person seems alarmingly interested in your personal slash sexual business. I work fairly blue, and I wouldn’t have made that joke to someone I didn’t know really well–and even with my closest friends, I wouldn’t have followed up with that question! (That’s the sort of situation that calls for a “Ha, I wish I had your self-control/desktop maintenance/etc,” joke and moving along.) If you were a woman and the other person a guy, I would say that they’re hitting on you in a creepy, “negging,” kind of way, and although I don’t know the dynamic here, that’s kind of still my gut reaction.

    * Although I have faked stomach flu to get out of going to a Red Sox game that was a Fun Teambuilding Night Out at my old job–like, I’m sure it was with the best of intentions, but DEAR GOD NO.

  123. My late father’s favourite curse was “Faust!”. On occasions when I bang my knee etc iI simply use “Curses and naughty words!”, which I may have acquired from Monty Python, not sure.

    On another topic, the Grauniad has an article about “A library of things”, which is apparently gaining traction. I seem to recall, JMG, that this was one of the things you hoped to see as part of your Green Wizard movement, so this may be a hopeful development.


  124. JMG,

    There is a one hour documentary produced by KOMO News called Seattle is Dying:

    Imagine my surprise when, 45 minutes into it, they suddenly switch the location to PROVIDENCE! Talking about the innovative, three year old program to treat addiction rather than ignore it, and how successful it’s been.

    It’s my experience that folks from out of the area who show up to report on how great your local thing is working out tend to completely ignore internal local tensions and issues; nevertheless, Providence’s solution certainly sounds promising.


    My kids also say Oh Parachute – I think this came from Mickey Mouse Clubhouse or similar.


    If you have a knack for making things pretty, there’s a major market for such things.
    Neptune is in Pisces these days, and with that planet travels the commonly agreed upon aesthetic. Search using various relevant keywords on Etsy and I see wall posters of zodiacal and starmap theme going from $25 to over $100.

    – – – – – – – – –

    My submission to the creative swearing is “oh sugarfoot”

    I have the first part of a story here for Love in the Ruins; if life permits I’ll finish it before the May 1 deadline.

  125. Maxine (and others) may relish the old Lancashire proverb: ‘They say that a starving dog’ll eat a bit o’ dirty pudding.’

    Which would be uttered for instance in reply to someone inviting a guess to share their meal ‘although it’s not much’.

    There are some wonderful books of short stories in the real old dialect published in the late 19th century, unintelligible unless you say them out loud in an attempt at a very broad accent.

    The people of Lancashire are certainly known for their warmth, humour and generosity , although in the 19th century they were also notorious for being quick with their knives, and in earlier ages as the most ferocious soldiers in England – all those years fighting the Scots year in, year out, one supposes.

    The Basques, being a dim-witted if ancient people, failed in their entire history to come up with more than two insults; ‘Bird head’ and ‘Donkey testicles’, so that 19th century Basque nationalists claimed, accurately, that all obscenities were ‘imported from Spain’.

    Castilian insults are derived from Arabic culture, and on another plane of foul obscenity and inventive malice entirely.

  126. As my modest contribution I have adopted, instead of b***s when using references to male genitalia to denote courage, determination and straightforwardness, the term “testicular fortitude”.

  127. What is ‘collapse-proof’? The question on all our minds, I suspect.

    Reading the old Epic literature of Europe has left me with the strong impressed lesson that bravery strength, cunning, nobility, etc, were generally understood not to give the hero any guarantee of survival and a happy ending: the strongest arm fails in the end, evil can often overwhelm, everything is changed by time and cannot endure (in fact ought not to endure, because circumstances themselves require new forms of life, and even new, or re-born, gods).

    So, while common prudence requires trying to look ahead a bit, above all if one has dependents, (or perhaps knowledge to preserve for the future -as Rumi was saved from the Mongol attack on Balkh in the 13th century) for a hill that might keep one a little above the tide of violence and despair which is certainly coming, it is probably doomed to failure at some point – perhaps sooner than one might wish or imagine.

    This is not (yet) an Heroic age of the kind that our ancestors really experienced and suffered – in Western Europe they lived through a civilizational collapse and the emergence of new forms of society – but a late-industrial, bureaucratized, increasingly totalitarian mess, it might be wise to ask not what is ‘collapse proof’, but what way should I attempt to follow despite the likely inevitability of partial or even total defeat?

    Which brings us back to courage, truthfulness, integrity, cunning, skill, strength and endurance, generosity and loyalty and courtesy. Even if you are defeated, they are real and have an influence on the lives of those around you for the time that you can live and act. They might even be remembered as a good example: ‘All things die, beasts, men; but the deeds of men are remembered.’

    So to some degree, these should be the real focus rather than merely saving one’s miserable skin, however well it fits and feels, as the main aim.

    Besides, it might well be as well to face the hard fact that nothing can be entirely proof against what you fear, as in ‘You ride from Damascus to evade Death, but he only awaits you in Aleppo’, above all in an age of dissolution, and the best thing is to endeavour to face up to Fate, as it reveal itself, unflinchingly. The people who run around the world looking for safety end up looking quite ridiculous.

    Fate, in all its ramifications and subtleties, seems to me a much neglected concept in contemporary life, and a part of its real immaturity, nourished in the delusions of the Silicon Valleys of the world.

    Awareness of Fate is not the hopeless resignation of the despairing and enslaved, but necessary realism.

    The Three Sisters who spin and then cut the thread are quite as real as ever they were, surely?Techno-Utopian dreams, fantasies of perfectly equal societies and abundant ‘smart’ economies will not make them go away.

  128. My grandfather always used to say “Wish in one hand and sh*t in the other, and see which one gets filled up faster” whenever we whined about some unfairness. Not pithy but sure paints a picture.

  129. On the local government front, our city council work-session this past Monday had some interesting moments. It was a fairly hefty agenda and we touched on a number of topics, but one of the on-going discussions we’ve been having deals with code enforcement, particularly with regard to the maintenance and appearance of homes.

    I realize that I am somewhat in the minority on council, but I feel it necessary to fly my libertarian flag sometimes when we start talking about things like this. I agree that there are legitimate uses of municipal powers when it comes to public health and public safety (tall grass, unmoved lawns growing three feet high, derelict properties, maintaining sight-triangles at driveways and corners), but I hold property right in high regard and believe there is a threshold that must be met before the city can “reach in” to private property. To my mind, purely aesthetic concerns do not meet this threshold.

    The concern of several council members revolve around “cleaning up” the city and improving property values. There was a picture of one property passed around the table, whose front yard was full of children’s toys. It was admittedly junky looking, but I commented that none of these toys were in the terrace (the lawn between the sidewalk and street) or in the sidewalk or other public rights-of-way. If all these toys are squarely in the private property of their front lawn and these toys are not causing a public health or safety concern (which they weren’t), then I argued that the city has no right to do anything. Moreover, it was concerns like this that sank my proposal to legalize front-yard vegetable gardens, so I am less than open to this kind of thinking.

    I have a continuing concern about gentrification and this drive to “improve” our property values. We’ll see where things go.

    We haven’t gotten to the point of voting on anything yet, but I may have to oppose some ordinances if we are talking about adopting revised language.

  130. @ Will J, if I may re porn:

    When I was twenty years old I got paid $75 to masturbate in a low-rent gay porn video. To make a long and rather humorous story short and clean for this blog, I didn’t have very much fun and didn’t feel the money was worth it. I feel this experience gives me a sort of window into the world of pornography that may not be shared with many who rhapsodize about the virtues of pornography.

    Something I found striking about this experience was that I was *not* turned on and I was *not* having a good time. I imagine that on my face I wore a cringing frown, and for a good portion of the time I felt like crying. Point being when I finally performed and got paid, the folks who ran the company shoved their business card in my hand and told me that they would love to make all sorts of pornographic films with me. You can bet I didn’t call them back.

    After that experience I’ve not really been able to look much at pornography since in so nearly all of it, when I look at the faces of the people they look exactly like I did in the porno I appeared in, they look like they are *enduring* something unpleasant. That is, shall we say, not very appealing to me.

    The idea that not watching pornography makes one a bad feminist then is rather interesting given the dynamics of being in a porn shoot. I have never felt so objectified, so reduced to a mechanical object as during my gratefully brief pornographic career.

    In closing, if one needs to participate in the extreme and — to my mind — rather callous objectification of people in order to be a good feminist, then I would posit that feminism has turned into utter self-parody.

  131. I’m a big fan of the American chestnut. There are a couple of large and enduring individual examples of the species within walking distance of my house. I’m familiar with the economic impact the blight had on Southern Appalachia. But I’m not sure how I feel about restoring them this way…

    What do you all think?

  132. Since it keeps on coming up tangentially, I’m curious on folks’ thoughts on how the implosion of the left has effected their lives. Personally I’ve found it extremely inconvenient since nearly all of my social relationships prior to 2016 were subtly or not so subtly mediated by leftist doctrines. Since TDS took hold I began to find increasingly that I had no place in either the collective communities or personal relationships I spent a decade cultivating. Now I find it very hard to think of living in a shared house since I doubt I could find a group of people that didn’t have the TDS and would be open to a transgender polytheist sharing their kitchen! It seems like a “between the devil and the deep blue sea,” sort of situation.

    I’m curious other people’s thoughts on navigating this mess, especially people who’ve invested a lot of time and energy into building a foundation on the shifting sands of a certain political current that now has gone absolutely mad.

  133. In case anyone is wondering how the financial markets came roaring back so quickly after their holiday “near-death experience”, the answer is that certain central banks are buying financial instruments again with what is effectively printed money after a roughly six-month hiatus last year. If these markets started seizing up after only three or four months without the printed-money infusions, we can safely conclude the fat-cats have no other choice at this point other than to print away until these cash infusions no longer have the desired effect.

    Of course, it’s anybody’s guess when that will be. I think at this point, we can assume that the tertiary economy of stocks, bonds, and other financial instruments is completely unmoored from the secondary economy of the production of goods and services, let alone the primary economy of the natural world.

  134. A couple of favourites: If you s/he had another clue it would be lonesome; a brick short of a load; the lights are on but nobody’s home. My grandfather’s favourite and only profanity was ye loaves and little fishes!

  135. The best insult to crack somebody in the intellectual kneecaps is to call them “bright spark”.

    “Why don’t you regale us with more of your theories on peak oil there bright spark?”

  136. “Rocky Mountain Oysters!”

    Also, “hemorrhoid” for a person who is a pain in the appropriate organ.

  137. “What are your favorite bits of non-profane salty language?”

    Well. A proper term for an unpleasant person is donkey-slot.

  138. I am trying to find a site where the host make PDFs out of practical books from the 19th and 20th centuries, and the page has a mosaic of tiles with the subject, e.g. Beekeeping, Animal Husbandry, Steam Locomotive Maintenance, Sawmilling.

    A host of a blog I look at regularly uses the term “perform an anatomically-impossible act “

  139. Hi everyone. As some of you may know, I am the ‘man behind the curtain’ at Founders House Publishing, the book publisher that has published many of JMG’s books, including most of his fiction. I’m writing you at this time because I’ve been mulling over a request that wanted to bring to all of you, the readers, commenters, and the fans of John Michael Greer’s work, as well as other authors who’ve either appeared in anthologies or released titles through Founders House.

    Essentially, I’ve initiated a crowdfunding page on a service called Patreon with the stated aim of allowing me to go from part-time to a full-time role as the publisher at Founders House Publishing. I’ve come to a point where I just need more time to do all of the work needed to operate the company and regularly release new books—of which there are plenty forthcoming. However, the company cannot support me on its own quite yet and my primary job is becoming difficult to work around.

    I making this appeal for your partnership and support in this important phase. Some of you have already become patrons and I thank you. You can find the page at: Thanks for reading.

    Shaun Kilgore
    Founders House Publishing

  140. JMG and commentariat,

    do you have a sense of the magical properties of religious buildings in a certain space? How would having a Unitarian Church, a Wiccan Coven, a Mosque or a Cathedral on the block effect a neighborhood? Does anyone have a sense of the effective radius of a religious building?

    Also I’m curious if anyone knows how this differs from having a mage living in a neighborhood. It seems like Western Neoplatonic training methods do some very interesting things to one’s aura, and this definitely effects surrounding space and people. I wonder how this compares to a exoteric religious center, and am curious other’s thoughts and experiences on the matter!

  141. Well, Thank the great god, Baby Cheezits! I was waiting for the creative cussin’ to start flying. Thank You all for some good ones.

    growing up, my grandmother’s favourite seemed to be “horse’s patootie”, e.g., “That doctor is a know-nothing, mealy-mouthed horse’s patootie”, or ” Well, I don’t give a flying horse’s patootie what he thinks!”. “Get off your royal, American horse’s patootie and get that yard cleaned!”

    The morning after a good drinking session: “well, don’t you look like a hammered dog turd after a hard rain”, and “You stink bad enough to knock a dog off a gut wagon” “I know, and my mouth is dryer than a popcorn f*rt”, but “I don’t give 2 toots in a windstorm”.

    If it’s very cold: “It’s brass monkey weather!”

    Not cursing at all, but my new favourite local colloquialism, to describe a specious argument, “No, That dog won’t hunt”. I find myself looking for occasions to slip that into conversation! LOL.

    My kids would just say, “Mom, you’re so Extra”, “Don’t get salty on me”, “I Love this it’s SICK!” haha, every generation, eh?

  142. Mike T: ‘rectally impacted cranium’ is the variant with which I am most familiar.

    On a another note, my friend Dustin started calling people ‘Richard’ as an insult back in the 90s (if you don’t get it immediately, think about it). It was funny for about a month until everyone finally caught on. Then the most unfortunate Ween song “Mr. Richard Smoker” was released (or rather escaped) the title of that song became the favored insult for the week.

  143. @Will M, If I may answer/interject on you query about the death penalty vs. ostracisation in some wild hinterland.

    For years we’ve owned a retirement/vacation home in rural-to-wild WY about 2 hours east of the south entrance to Yellowstone Nat. Park. Throughout the past century this is where much of the timber for the railroads and more came from and when hiking, we could still find remnants of old flues, and crude machinery or living accommodations of the tie-hacks, the people, mostly men, who had lived and worked there. (We also saw wiki-ups, arrowheads and stone Tipi circles of Native Shoshone tribes, Jurassic bones, fossils and petrified palm trees – but that’s another story.) This area of WY & MT, in the Rocky Mountains became the POW camps for captured German soldiers in WW1 and WW2. No fences, very few ‘guards’, just the wide wilderness, 10 months of deep snow, Grizzlies, wolves, moose. They were also put to work as tie-hacks. Most lived in tents, year round.

    There is still a sizeable population of German descendants living there with love and ties for those mountains. After both wars, some went home, but many refused to leave. They’d grown to love the mountains and the rough, free, pioneering lifestyle the mountains afforded.
    I’ve seen a few documentaries about life in the Taiga forest of Siberia which had similar origins of population and results. A number of Taiga inhabitants were sent to gulags in the region by Joseph Stalin. Ironically, it’s not a punishment, it proved to be utterly transformative. Although these two groups of peoples are starting off on a different foot than your average criminal/inmate – but I do believe the results would be the same. The spiritual power of a simple life and hard work in the mind-boggling, stupefying beauty of that fierce nature is too powerful. So, yes the tactic of ostracisation in a modern sense has been tried and resulted in spectacularly positive results. I’m sure the convict-descendants of Australia could chime in with even better stories.

    As to the discussion of the death penalty or incarceration in our current penal system. I can see merit and concerns on both sides of the argument. Since it is less expensive under our current system to simply let inmates live out their lives in prison than to execute them – and the occasional instances of rehabilitation as well as finding out decades later that an inmate was innocent, not to mention your point about creating ‘angry ghosts’ – I’d probably vote against it.

  144. More medieval hot language: “Beelzebub’s bottom with piles as big as plums!”
    My own usage: “What the bloody blue blazes?!?”
    From Spiro Agnew, “nattering nabobs of negativity.”

    And, yes, Georgette Heyer. I am on the Almack’s list, which deals with all things Regency, and they seem to think she’s done her research, though in period people would not have used so much slang in front of ladies. That’s pure midcentury (20th).

    Re: practice and the Four Adorations. I wrote my own versions of them and say them daily, and it helps a lot. Ego inflation was stick in a pinata and punctured with a bat with a huge nail in it repeatedly over the years (embarrassment is facing what a jenny-ass one was 60 years ago!) and recent emphasis on down-to-earth practice seems to have resulted in a bit of a case of feet in the mire. So it’s all in where you’re at.

    Trying now to remember a lovely Irish curse in the Ballad of Nell Flaherty’s Drake.

  145. JMG,

    >> ….. one reason the hanged were typically buried in unmarked graves inside the prison walls is that it makes it less likely that any predatory ghost will pester anyone outside.<<

    I'm not getting how unmarked graves inside prison walls would stymie a predatory ghost. Villagers used to dig up the corpse of a local vampiric spirit and then burn it so that the still-intact etheric body would dissipate, sending the predatory spirit onward. More effective?

    Re insults – "butt boy" was in vogue for a while. As in, "For a time, James Comey was Hillary Clinton's butt boy."

  146. @Absolutegalore: RE: “alternative revenue streams”, ( the heck else can I make some dough?)

    Since moving to Tampa, I’ve kind of fallen into a new hobby/small business of scavenging old furniture, cleaning, repairing, refurbishing/painting and selling. It’s expanded into building my own pieces from scratch or reclaimed wood and metals. What I want to share with you is: In this process, I’ve suddenly become aware of or exposed to a whole universe of ‘alternative-revenue-streamers’, buying and selling ‘stuff’, creating crafts or services for barter and sale – some developed and risen to the level of an actual legit business, some staying on small scales and under the tax-man’s radar.

    So, now, you’re not gonna like this but much of this transaction is taking place on Facebook, FB Marketplace and local buy-sell-swap groups or other social media groups and platforms, (Offer-Up, Let-Go, Etsy or E-Bay etc), but for my age group, (OLD) it’s Facebook. hashtag everything in sight as that’s how potential buyers can find you. Building your own website is fine as a sort of gorgeous advertisement -if your product is visual, (like mine), but most people don’t actually get tons of sales from those. They get them from social media.

    Loads of options, really anything you can think of, so IMHO the best thing to be in said declining and storm-tossed economy is FLEXIBLE. 🙂

  147. Can you unpack for us the phrase “wrong side of history”? I seem to think you already did, but can’t locate it. It comes up often in anti-Trump writing. Why is it continually used?

    It really grinds my gonads.

  148. Dear members of the Commentariat, the salty language you’ve put up has given me some of the best laughs I’ve had for quite awhile! Wish I could remember every one of them at the apt occasion.

    I submit my word for a slimy politician, not because it’s very clever, but because it always gives me the satisfied feeling of having said exactly what I mean: tape-worm.

  149. Will J, I’ve encountered and thought a bit about the no porn = sexism argument. There is an online community of men who deliberately avoid and support one another in avoiding porn, and there is probably a fair amount of overlap between this community and what’s been called the ‘manosphere’ online. That’s where the rationales I’ve seen came from, though the actual attitudes towards women in those communities run the gamut, much more than I’ve encountered in other male groups. Which I think would be expected in a community where believers in Jesus and evolutionary psychology get together to agree on something. As for why anyone not in those communities would care, I can think of several relevant factors:
    -Porn is a big business, and some anti-porn crusaders are quite evangelical. People who profit off the industry have an interest in turning down the volume on anyone who suggests it’s possible not to be a customer.
    -Porn addicted men who are in denial about their addiction wouldn’t like to see other people quitting
    -Epidemiological studies suggest that men who watch a lot of porn are different from the general population in pretty much all the ways you’d expect a population with average lower testosterone and higher cortisol to differ – less aggression and less prone to certain kinds of cancer, that sort of thing. The types of people who like to engage in social engineering are therefore positively disposed towards more pornography consumption in the abstract, and ‘sexist’! is a common snarl word in that milieu.

    Justin, glad to hear others are getting into mushrooms! My father discovered an interesting synergy there last year – it seems that a broad-leafed plant like squash provides the perfect kind of shade when planted next to table mushrooms. Kind of obvious when one thinks about it…

    Isabelcooper, I’d heard in my youth that the ‘H’ stood for ‘Haploid’, because, well, virgin birth. Interesting to hear that there might be a more occulted explanation…

  150. @ Violet: My wife and I have very different opinions on ¡RussiaRussiaRussia! I finally given up on trying facts and logic, and have fallen back on the old Reagan line: “There you go again”.

    I grew up with a parents who spoke Dutch, and so I use a few Dutch interjections: “godverdomme” (g*d dammit), and “Jezus mina” (I have no idea what mina means). The guttaral “g” is especially satisfying. My mother told me that she had to admonish my father to modify his language when I got pretty prolific in swearing in Dutch at an early age…

  151. Hello JMG & Ecosophians!

    Please find at the following link my submission, “Shacked Up” for the “Love in the Ruins” short story contest.

    At the bottom of the story I have also uploaded a PDF of the file for those who want to print it and read it that way.

    John, thanks for the opportunity to submit another story to you, and for all you do encouraging this genre of literature.

    All the best.

  152. JMG, Just wondering if you ever read Hayden White’s 1973 Metahistory? If not, I’ll send you a copy. Also, are we getting together this summer in Providence? I sure hope so! -Peter (used to be redoak, but google and redoak aren’t getting along right now!)

  153. “Mountebank” is making a comeback, I believe, and “coxcomb” could be widely applied. Shills and chancers have been described as “catamites” a few times recently.

    has a wealth of entries dating back to at least the 18th Century.

    Modern confections? “Denser than the Amazonian rainforest” heard recently beats the usual “thicker than two short planks” and the withering use of “special” is spectacular against the correct target. My favourite modern exclamation “Soccer blew!” (“It’s what the French say”) is from a Lawrence Block novel.

  154. Shaun Kilgore,

    That’s the chap! I was just reading a book by James Kilgo, an English prof at the University of Georgia, and every time I was away from the book and trying to recall his name I kept coming up with “Shaun Kilgore”…

    I knew that wasnt it and wondered where exactly I had gotten that name. I will probably remember your name and association with Founders House from here on out.


  155. Isabel,

    The logic was baffling. I admit after the fact I came up with an awful lot of responses to it, so next time something like this comes up, I’m prepared. I rather like the “not watching WBA is sexist” argument though, so I will be keeping that one! As for sports, yeah I don’t know why people spend so much time watching other people play them either.

    As for women in porn, I think the comments section on a typical porn video is a pretty good argument against porn being liberating for women.

    I think one important fact that needs to be taken into account is that with men from my generation and background (mid-1990s, upper class, white, major Canadian city), porn is a topic that comes up rather often. No one thinks much of it if people who don’t know each other well start talking about it. So I don’t think I was being hit on, but I’m usually the last one to know if I am, so I can’t rule it out….

  156. The Daily Show featured a bit of a take down of Trump Derangement Syndrome. Episode in which Lewis Black is explaining to those facing the New York congestion tax on driving how to ride the subway. Has a few clips on the oddities of subway riders: people bringing huge potted plants, a 30 ft. steel beam and other unlikely objects aboard, etc. Then he demonstrates how to get a seat. He enters the car, in which the center facing bench is fully occupied. He is wearing the stereotypical flashers raincoat, with his back to the audience, facing the other passengers. When no one will offer a seat, he opens the raincoat and everyone flees in horror. He then turns to reveal that he is not naked beneath the coat, but wearing a red MAGA t-shirt. He crows, “Works every time.” This seemed especially interesting since the Daily Show does a fair amount of Trump bashing, so to mock the over the top reactions seemed a welcome bit.

    On the influence of houses of worship on the neighborhood. I wouldn’t expect a Wiccan coven to have much long term effect since the circle is erected only for ritual and is dismantled afterwards. So any effect would be that of the character of the people who lived in the house. My experience with Unitarians is that they actively avoid any accumulation of spiritual energy. Although some of their buildings are nice I have never noticed them as radiating any kind of vibe in particular. Years ago I was a member of the Presbyterian youth group in my local church. We were invited to an event in another town. The church there was new and of aggressively modern design. Someone on the bus remarked that it looked more like a Temple of Mammon than a Christian Church and most of us agreed. I recently looked up the Berkeley Newman Center chapel for a scene in a novel I am writing. My protagonist has asked to be taken to a church to give thanks for a miracle in his life. He is unacquainted with modern church architecture and really doesn’t know what to think of the modern, cave like atmosphere of the chapel, lacking saints images or side chapels, etc.

    I see from the morning news that Biden has officially announced that he is a candidate. Would be interesting if this mass race ends with a result similar to the Republicans in 2015–a rank outsider suddenly coming to the fore in defiance of party leadership. There have been a few business leaders (Starbucks guy, etc.) testing the waters, but nobody with any traction yet. Trevor Noah’s Daily Show has nicknamed the race Democalypse. Could be all too appropriate.

  157. Violet,

    I’m still mulling over what you said at the end of last week. I hope to be able to get back to you with something on it, but all I can say is it was amazing, and I would like to add my voice to those saying it would be great if you could expand it.

    As for porn, the one time I tried looking at it, the woman’s face was utterly haunted. She looked like she was miserable and just wanted it to end. The man in it didn’t look as miserable, but it was pretty clear he wasn’t enjoying it either, and I didn’t look anywhere else, because I had a feeling that that would be the norm. From what you said, it looks like I was right.

  158. Submissions: “Jesus H. Roosevelt Christ.” from Diana Gabaldon of Outlander fame. “One sandwich short of a picnic.” from a source I can’t remember, maybe a book of insults. “Get down off your high horse,” which comes from John Hervey, or Harvey, the British scientist who discovered blood circulation. He rode around London, England, and would look at/diagnose patients from his, you guessed, high horse, as reported in a biography of Nicolas Culpepper, who translated the Latin pharmacopoeia into English.

  159. @Peter Conklin / redoak (& everyone)
    The Second Annual Ecosphia Potluck will be held in Providence on June 22. Sign up here. See you in 8 1/2 weeks!

    “Out where the busses don’t run” is another favorite of mine, except that by most current standards, that’s where I am today….

  160. @JMG: Hee! Yes, but are they *scarlet* emeralds?

    @Christopher Henningsen: Ooh, I like that!

    @Violet: Yeah, particularly the mainstream industry on all fronts just does not seem to go for anyone looking *happy* about what they’re doing, which is weird. For myself/innately, it’s no worse than working at McDonald’s or Wal-Mart–back when I did it, my view was that I’d rather make a month’s rent by showing my [orifice that is also an insult] than by dealing with fifty of ’em a day, but I’d rather not do either. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with a little objectification in and of itself, that sex always has to be about relating on a personal level, or that sex work of any sort is intrinsically a problem–I’ve talked to a number of women who find it as fulfilling as I find my current day job, at least–but…large corporations plus cultural issues with sex as a whole plus too many people doing whatever they need to out of economic necessity…I’d say the Industry aspect is not a good scene, at mildest.

    (Also, the technique qua

  161. Well, darnit, I didn’t mean to hit post there. Continuing, hopefully in a coherent manner:

    (The other thing is that, ah, technique that will actually please oneself and partner[s] is generally not the same as technique that provides optimal camera angles and/or visuals, and that’s fine if people realize that, but many do not.)

    Back to sports! @Will J: Agreed. I enjoy watching the Olympics and some individual races, but…I don’t do competition unless I personally hate whoever I’m competing with, so I don’t tend to get very invested. It’s always “oh, cool, they’re doing backflips, that looks like it took some training,” and then wandering off to get more popcorn, when my friends have had viewing parties.

    I mean, I pay a significant amount of money to spend multiple weekends wearing RenFaire garb and hitting my friends with foam weapons, half the time with wet feet and/or mosquito bites, New England being what it is, so I can’t really judge other people’s forms of recreation. (Unless I’m trying to get somewhere on the T after a game, in which case I loathe them and I hope their team loses forever and I want them to die, or at least stop talking too loudly and smelling of stale beer.)

    But glad I could help with a line! That’s the thing about (my sort of, at least) feminism: plenty of women make choices that not only aren’t mine but that would bore me senseless to watch/hear much about. (I love my friends, and I love their kids, but random co-workers’ stories about Little Timmy’s Daycare Struggles or Birth Plans: Doula or Whalesong…I’ve never gone back to my desk with such a profound sense of relief. And I am super glad my social group has gone through Weddingstorm already.) I figure, as long as I realize that mine wouldn’t work for/interest them and these things have value in their lives, and support whatever lets them do that and get recognized for it, I’m doing my bit for feminism in that regard. Participation/spectating is not required.

  162. @ Peter, that seems like a good strategy to me.

    @ Rita, thank you and points well taken regarding different religious buildings.

    @ Will J., Many thanks for the kind words regarding that comment last week! I’d be delighted to read your thoughts on the themes if you wish to share. As for pornography, yeah, I find most all of it mostly just depressing.

  163. Anyone mention “Judas Priest!” as an oath as yet? That one seemed popular when I was a kid.

    Also, “a few tiles short of a patio”.

    “When God was handing out brains, you thought he said trains and you decided to miss yours.”

  164. Justin,

    Hooray for mushrooms!!

    Ive been growing oysters, shiitakes, lion’s mane, and wine caps, and hunting morels, chanterelles, oysters, hens, lion’s mane, and whatever else I can verify as edible for a decade now. I do talks occasionally at the library on the subject, cultivation workshops, and sell inoculated logs at the farmers market every spring. Until I run out. I never make enough in winter.

    Morel season has just ended in these parts (southern Appalachia) and chanterelle season is still a month off so I’m limited to cultivated shiitake that want to join the party and whatever else I can scrounge up.

    Wine caps are great to cultivate in the garden underneath late summer veggies, as another commenter suggested. They fruit right about the time the good veggies dry up, extending your season. Then it’s time for wild fall shrooms, some of the best species around. It’s a beautiful cycle.

    And of course aggressive species like oysters can be grown in contaminated substrates, bioaccumulating toxins and digesting them. Though I don’t recommend eating those caps!

    Mushrooms played a large role in decontaminating the region after Chernobyl, and for years people were finding radiation-drenched shrooms far from the meltdown site. We should all give the fungal kingdom a big round of applause for the quiet, tireless work they do to keep the life cycle spinning.

    Not to mention providing us with delicious food! Which is far more nutritious than most people give them credit for.

    Bit of a (mushroom-bearing) stump speech that turned into, but was all to say keep up the good work and I hope you have many years of good shrooming ahead of you! It’s a lot of fun.

  165. Mr. Greer: I’m very curious as to what your views are on cannabis, both as drug and as a fibre source. What time do you see it playing in a deindunstrialising world? Could you see future nation states such as the post-US republics of “Retrotopia” and those that survive deindustrialisation legalising or just ignoring the issues surrounding this plant?

  166. Oldies but goodies: Dag nab it! Bass akwards (said when someone has said or done something wrong). May the bird of paradise fly up your nose (an old Roger Miller song).

    When we were youngsters and complained of being bored, mom told us to “go dirty on someone’s back porch.” She didn’t care much for her children’s fragile egos.

  167. JMG We should have a subsidy dumpster exhibition here on ecosophia where we submit bogus ideas that seem like they’re green, sustainable, and eco friendly, when they’re not…..

    Like gasoline that’s been hydrogenated like soda is carbonated. Cue technobabble… It’s theoretically possible to run an internal combustion engine on hydrogen so if we suspended hydrogen in gasoline, like carbon in soda, that would make the gasoline more fuel efficient and cut down on carbon emissions. It’s good for the oil companies because they can charge more for the green gas, making people who can’t afford the green gas into the bad guys. It’s good for people who can afford the green gas because they get better fuel efficiency, and a feeling of moral superiority.

    Come on I bet a few other people have some even funnier ideas. Let’s see how outlandish we can take this before the comical becomes to ridiculous to be believable. It’d be a great anthology to publish.

  168. There is always the Shakespeare style over at You can get a random insult along the lines of ‘Thou ruttish beef-witted measle’ or ‘Thou spleeny motley-minded cutpurse’.

  169. As for the running of Biden and/or Bernie Sanders, they are simply too old. Ronald Reagan was our oldest ever president, and his marbles were rolling off the gameboard before he left office. Although, he apparently was able to joke about it. He spoke of his upcoming retirement and said, At least I will be meeting new people every day! I guess he was about 80 when he left, which means he was about 72 when he got elected.

    Bernie was 74 last election, which means he would be 78 if he got elected! C’mon people. If we elect someone, we should feel fairly good about them having the health and stamina to do the job for 8 years. And 86 year old president? And Joe Biden is 76 now so about the same. This is mad. Clinton is too old also, and almost surely has health problems.

  170. Whilst any slubberdegullion can manage to declaim obscure imprecations, there’s some risk of having a nearly opposite effect than intended. To wit, sounding whimsical or cute instead of intense or angry. Near-misses like “jackhole” and “asshat” don’t have that problem, but are also nearly as likely as “the real thing” to be deemed unacceptable in any given setting.

    There’s a place for moderation in moderation. Sometimes that perfect adjective to describe the sky you’re racking your vocabulary for turns out to be “blue,” and sometimes the perfect interjection for a situation turns out to be one of the Top Five. Just, not in polite company. And not, usually, in written discourse, where the mechanics of writing contradict the immediacy of interjection, and swear words come across as not so much dramatic or shocking, but affected. (So do such phrasings as “whilst” and “to wit,” of course, but in a different way.)

  171. As a lefty ( not a liberal) I was hoping Russiagate would go away and we could focus on Trump’s real crimes ( like Yemen, which started with Obama), but that was wishful thinking. People have too much invested in it.

    On a different subject, UFO’s are back in the news. There was a brief flurry of stories in December 2017 and months following and now it is back.

    Don’t know what to make of it. But I always thought tge mainstream was too quick to dismiss UFO’s, whatever they are.

  172. @Walt F: This is also true–and apparently my command of actual profanity is…impressively inventive, if sometimes anatomically impossible.

    @Will M: I feel like the metal band may have confused the issue too much for it to be a very popular oath these days, but I could be wrong.

  173. Late again to the party here, but re: pornography and feminism, it’s the more recent liberal feminism that is so pro-pornography, insisting it’s an expression of women’s free and open sexuality and should be embraced by all. The fact that it’s a male-run mega-billions business taking advantage of women (and often minorities and/or LGBT people) in lower income classes, or, for a great deal of international porn, sex trafficking, and no one really knows the ages of the performers involved (though “teen” remains one of the most popular categories) seems to float over their heads.

    A great deal of former porn actors and actresses continue to speak out about the dangers and pitfalls of the business, many along the lines of what Violet submitted above. It’s not like just making a fun sexy movie, like a lot of upper-middle-class white women who weekend as “cam girls” will insist. The vast majority of porn is traumatizing, mentally and often physically, to the people in front of the camera.

    Older feminists critiqued porn very harshly, some like Andrea Dworkin naming it as one of the two social institutions that will forever hold women as a class in oppression (the other being prostitution.) As usual there was a backlash, that being the current liberal feminist view that porn and prostitution should be fully embraced and encouraged, with little regard for the victims of human trafficking all over the world who suffer in both of these industries, ravenously consumed by the wealthier upper classes.

    I’m not a very sexual person myself but always was kind of “live and let live” in regards to porn, until I read more about what actually goes on and the insights of those actually involved. Like many things, those on the outside can theorize about what a thing means, but when the industry itself is money-driven and barely regulated you know how it’s going to work out for those on the inside who aren’t at the top of the ladder.

    It’s nice to read some thoughtful commentary on it here; I don’t say much in most places due to being told I’m a “frigid prude who hates women” etc. As always, there is some rational middle ground to be found. No one is trying to stifle anyone’s sexual freedom or expression; it’s just a matter of trying to make sure people aren’t getting hurt in exchange for money. (As usual.)

  174. @PatriciaT

    “‘Oldies but goodies: Dag nab it! Bass akwards (said when someone has said or done something wrong). May the bird of paradise fly up your nose (an old Roger Miller song).

    When we were youngsters and complained of being bored, mom told us to “go dirty on someone’s back porch.” She didn’t care much for her children’s fragile egos.”

    I knew an old Quaker man whose strongest curse was ‘consarn it!’.

    As far as fragile children… if it was rainy and we balked at going out to play, my mother would say “put on your raincoat, go out and play – you’re not made of sugar, you won’t melt”.

    My stepfather’s go to line was “go play on the railroad tracks”.

  175. I agree with you Onething- these guys are too old. It fits with the Boomers need to be in charge-I’m one myself so I can criticize us! I say let the young’nsstep up to the plate and have a go. They can’t do much worse and might possibly have a few sane ideas up their sleeves!

  176. @Christopher H, yeah, I’m surprised more people don’t do it – it isn’t that complicated and the basic supplies are cheap. By table mushrooms do you mean button mushrooms? I haven’t really thought about growing those because from what I’ve read they are more suited to industrial rather than home cultivation. In any case, button mushrooms are cheap and oyster/shiitake/lions mane mushrooms are expensive!

    I posted about it because it seemed like something the readership here might like – I have only a shady balcony, which, at 45 degrees North can just barely meet the salad greens and culinary herb requirements of one person (me!). But with mushrooms I can grow nice food year-round in my closet.

  177. Archdruid,

    My current favorites are.
    “Well aren’t you just a shining example of ivory tower intellect.”
    “You’re a bloody academic.”
    “By gods bowels.”
    “Man, you talk with your foot in your mouth.”

    Old time favorite:
    “You got a personality like tepid beer”



  178. I am partial to ‘bassackwards’ to describe anything which doesn’t work as it should. It sort of means the same thing as ‘FUBAR’ which belongs to military guys and gals.

    Thank you for the explanation about 5-G. Some of the right wing conspiracy sites are going nuts about it. Sounds like a massive waste of $s which could be used for upgrading passenger rail, etc. Those sites have recently disgraced themselves over the Notre Dame fire–Macron did it!–was being announced before the fire was even put out, special info from our ubiquitous clandestine informants whom no one else can find, don’tcha know.

    If Biden is running I wonder if someone had to point a gun at him. He is clearly being brought in, too late, to stop Sanders, or, possibly as a stalking horse for Gillibrand. It is scary to think what she might have promised to whom.

    David by the Lake, about nice looking yards, have you considered asking your fellow council persons if any ordinances will be enforced against bank owned properties as well as against local homeowners? It got to be something of a scandal in CA during the time of the housing crisis that foreclosed upon properties were not being maintained, not even the lawns mowed and watered, a fire hazard in CA. Would the proposed ordinances also compel, for example, tavern owners to clean up beer bottles, or fast food outlets to keep their parking lots clean? Maybe you should take some photos of foreclosed upon house where the grass is 5′ tall or Joe’s Bar on Monday morning. Sauce for the goose, you know.

  179. @tripp, yeah, fungi are fun guys… I’m not quite brave enough to go hunting for wild mushrooms yet, but I am enjoying cultivating Oyster and Lion’s Mane in my apartment. I’ve been successful
    in cloning mushrooms from the farmers market on agar, but hope to start making spore prints so that my mushroom friends can complete their full life cycles under my care soon.

  180. @waffles @jmg

    “Hoping…that it all somehow goes wrong and just sort of falls apart in some unforeseen manner.” is not required. As JMG points out, participation is voluntary. Yet, as JMG demonstrates just by hosting this forum, it is easier said than done.

    I implore EVERYONE who is concerned about the erosion of privacy and – even more concerning to me – the recent effort to provoke behavior change (really any sort of reaction will serve as fodder for the machine learning algos) BECOME PASSIVE AGGRESSIVE. Even if you aren’t concerned for yourself, be concerned for your children and all those who come after us.

    In particular, hit the data collectors in their pocket books by:
    (1) DO NOT BUY AN ANDROID PHONE just because it is “cheaper”; you will pay dearly. You can buy an iphone, used if you want to save a few hundred dollars. Alternatively, although a bit more risky until it ships, yo u can buy the new security hardened Or you can just leave the phone behind, of course….but, in any case, DO NOT SUPPORT GOOGLE FINANCIALLY.

    (1) Use COMPLETE targeted ad blocking. I recommend Adblock ultimate + Privacy Badger + Ghostery on top of standard Firefox for the desktop. I recommend, at least, Firefox Focus on a mobile phone. iphone supports and encourages adblocking directly from 3rd party providers if you need to use Safari.

    It is important for a critical mass of people to block ALL ads so you can’t be provoked and the deep learning algos can’t practice manipulating you. Even with this data collection will continue but the monetization of the data which is stolen becomes enormously more difficult and you can’t be “programmed” by what you block.

    (2) Never, ever, ever by ANYTHING directly linked from google, facebook, etc. In fact, make a point of shunning those advertisers if possible or, if not, going directly to their sites so there is no ad revenue.

    (3) Compartmentalize your internet usage. If you can, use TOR, Signal, and other likely safe means of communicating. If that is difficult, this is easy: use 3 or more DIFFERENT browsers (and NEVER USE CHROME) and segregate your categories of internet use consistently across the various browsers. So, for example, you might use firefox – with heavy blocking so you don’t see ads – for routine browsing while using, say Iridium or Brave for more controversial things…say one for banking and another for ecosophia.

    (4) If you have a smart TV TURN OFF UPDATES — if you haven’t noticed the “updates” are now being shoved down our throats under guise of “improvements”. Fiddlesticks! ;-/ They are pretty near all attempts to provoke and take even more; pretty near nothing is a significant and worthwhile improvement and many are clearly downgrades. Opt out of nearly all the gizmos which are designed to supposedly improve your “security” or the “quality of your experience”. It is all Bear Shuffle! Even the legitimate “upgrades” are seldom worth the hassle of the compounding complexity.

    There are PLENTY of other things you can do to Fight the Future these muddy foorakers are designing to hold us hostage. But if you just take the above steps you will be in the “1%” of the future — those who, at least, tried to take Epictetus’ wisdom to heart: “If you would not give you body to any passser-by to do with as they willed, why do you give your mind?”

  181. I’ve been rereading “Secret of the Temple.” Throughout you refer to the “secret technology” that helps agricultural fertility. My question: why would the technology be kept secret? I can see in the medieval Christian case, where it could be seen as adopting non-Christian belief, but why would any of the other posited users (Egyptians, Greeks, Hindu, Shinto) want to keep it secret?

  182. So many fascinating comments – can’t keep up.

    Two favorites of Dad’s: Take a long walk off a short pier! Ice cream has no bones.

    My parents rarely cussed and set a good example in that way. So i grew up being polite and well-mannered that way. In college, back in the hippy-dippy era (which started off being concerned with things that matter, but quickly went sharply off course into drugs and ‘free’ love. Gag), there was more, but still surprisingly little cussing, and when there was it seemed contrived (to rebel? who knows). I somehow made it through and graduated and got a job in the ‘real world’. The secretary was a very prim and proper woman – hardworking, efficient, married to a man who was in a highly placed position of authority; she was prim and proper, that is, until she opened her mouth – then, such language – such a shock to my tender ears – i think i even learned some new words! And, goodness gracious (or, ungraciously bad?) I think that’s where i started veering from my upbringing and started being a bit of a potty mouth at times. Getting married didn’t help. Hard habit to break.

  183. Shaun Kilgore,

    if it’s not too late, I’d like to suggest you more closely read Patreon’s terms of service. They include this pause-inducing clause with fluffy caveats:

    “You keep full ownership of all content that you post on Patreon, but to operate we need licenses from you.

    By posting content to Patreon you grant us a royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable, non-exclusive, sublicensable, worldwide license to use, reproduce, distribute, perform, publicly display or prepare derivative works of your content. The purpose of this license is to allow us to operate Patreon, promote Patreon and promote your content on Patreon. We are not trying to steal your content or use it in an exploitative way.
    You may not post content that infringes on others’ intellectual property or proprietary rights.
    Patrons may not use content posted by creators in any way not authorized by the creator.”

    Keep in mind that (this from a blog article at – whose author is a lawyer with an interest in indie publishing):

    “In a traditional publishing contract granting a publisher all rights to an author’s book, the author continues to “own the content” in that the author is the owner of the copyright to the book. However, the publishing contract grants the publisher the exclusive worldwide right to print, publish and sell the book in all its various forms, including the right to license subsidiary rights for movies, television shows, etc.
    Under such a contract, the author owns the content, but can’t do anything with it because the publishing contract grants the publisher all rights to exploit the contract.”

    Some writers I know, objecting to Patreon’s terms, have moved to Ko-fi – a similar service with presumably better terms of service (I haven’t read them).

    Good luck


    I’m one of the folks who commented about shingles on the dreamwidth site. Silly me, I’m 48 now, but I was 46 (if I recall correctly, it’s been a busy few years) when I got shingles – on the right side of my face (lower cheek near my lower jaw). I’m right handed, so when I do have to hold a phone to my face, I tend to put it there, though I do switch to my left side if I need to write. In general, I try to use speakerphone and I try not to keep phones close to my body in general. I’m not sure the two are correlated, but it’s an interesting idea.

  184. @ Isabel, back in the day when I was a twink and squatter punk, I had many good friends and lovers who were sex workers and/or worked in pornography and I’ve never seen the least thing wrong with it. I also really don’t have anything against moderate levels of objectification. In fact, I’m now old enough to miss it! That said, when my lover and I at the time shopped around at different porno studios during that time I was entirely rejected for being too femme. If I had gotten $500 for the half hour performance I’d probably still be doing porn. A lousy 75 bucks though just wasn’t worth the unpleasantness.

    I too tend to emphasize a personal connection in love and used to joke with my friends who were into BDSM that I have a romance kink! That said, I haven’t even tried dating since starting daily magical training and devotional practice. It seems like so much to explain, the morning after when I won’t want to cuddle but sing an Orphic hymn! Well, to be fair, I don’t really like extended cuddling or sharing a bed anyways, but the point still stands. I had a dream some months ago that I returned to the communal attic of a squat where I live in some of the waking life of my misspent youth. In the dream I explained to my communards that I needed to do the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram and Middle Pillar every single day and they stammered awkwardly “yeah…sure; okay…that’s fine,”, and when I woke I understood that I could never return to that life because my values have shifted so much in the intervening years.

    Now to be clear, I’m extremely satisfied with being single, but I seriously wonder how occultists who want to manage to date in this society. Other than with love spells, that is. It seems like it’d make for some awkward morning after conversations, to say the least.

  185. I just assumed ex academic philosophers living in rural villages just got chopped up and fed to the animals, but what the Duck do I know?

  186. John, thanks for this. I figured one of my IT professional readers would be able to fill in the details.

    J.L.Mc12, that’s really rather embarrassing, isn’t it?

    Darren, do you have any idea where “drongo” comes from? My immediate reaction is that it sounds like the name of a hobbit from one of Tolkien’s appendices — Drongo Boffin, perhaps. 😉

    Chad, let me look around and see what the options are. I’ll look forward to your questions!

    Tripp, those’ll definitely work!

    JillN, that’s the great problem with conspiracy theories — they so often assume that all the Bad People are in cahoots with one another. Real conspiracies are nearly always at war with other conspiracies, and facing constant internal power struggles as well.

    Tripp, as I recall, vermicious knids were only one of the dire predators who preyed on the Oompa-Loompas back when they still lived in Oompa-Loompaland, but I have misplaced the names of the others. They might be worth recycling…

    Roberta, I’m not at all familiar with Jaron Lanier, but the points he makes are solid ones. For whatever it’s worth, I limit my social media to a blog and a Dreamwidth journal precisely because I can use them to create a virtual living room that fosters conversation and civility, which I like, and excludes the usual bad habits of social media, which I dislike.

    Chuck, let’s test that out. “You absolute epiphysis.” “You absolute Dimetrodon.” “You absolute coronal hole.” Hmm! I think you’re quite correct.

    As for your questions, 1) look for people who have little or no capacity for abstract thought and respond to every situation with self-centered emotion. Mammals have vivid emotional lives; it’s the paired capacities for abstraction and reflection that you don’t get until the human or human-equivalent level (e.g., cetaceans and probably elephants as well) and those have to be learned. 2) Your personality is not your soul. Your soul is the awareness that experiences, and it grows in each life by developing a new personality partly shaped by its own previously absorbed patterns and partly shaped by its environment, experiences, and choices. In occult lore we call the part of you that endures from life to life the Individuality, and distinguish it strictly from the personality. 3) It’s unpredictable at this point. 4) That sounds like a tavern I would love to visit!

    Tripp, duly noted.

    Robert, now you’ve made me wonder — did you ever meet the late John Michell, occult philosopher and traditionalist extraordinaire? He was also no fan of the metric system, though his rejection of it had more to do with what it did to people’s sense of visual proportion and the mess it thereby made of the arts and crafts. (I consider it one of the few blessings that came out of the 1980s that the whole push to metric in the US quietly imploded, leaving us with inches, feet, miles, and a human-centered temperature scale in which 0 is about as cold as it can get and not kill you outright, and 100 is about as hot as it can get and not kill you outright.)

    Engleberg, thanks for this!

    Dennis, a fine example of the dangers of excess complexity, and of the way that US manufacturing has been corrupted by the dangerous fantasy that nothing can really go wrong.

    Bogatyr, that’s very hopeful indeed! Thank you.

    Athena, I’ve heard of the documentary — it got a lot of traction in the right-of-center blogosphere. If they’re just noticing that Seattle is dying, though, I’ve got news for them — my wife and I fled Seattle in 2004, by which time it had become painfully clear to us that my home town was well on its way to becoming a third-rate imitation Los Angeles and shedding the last scraps of the things that made it a great place to grow up. Thanks for the imprecation, btw, and the story — I hope you can finish it before the deadline.

    MisBean, nice!

    Sven, that’ll do! I find that “gonads” works well in the same context, and it has the advantage that you can use it for a woman without absurdity; it also opens the door to such utterances as “grow a pair — I don’t care which kind.”

    Xabier, good. The simple answer to your question, of course, is that nothing is collapse-proof. Most of the heroic legends of all ages come out of eras of collapse, and the end of the story is that Camelot goes under and the dark age runs its course. The question is simply who has the gonads to do the right thing, knowing that victory is temporary.

    Denys, and useful advice, too.

    David, glad to hear it.

    Mister N, yep. From here on in, the tertiary economy will be increasingly located in La-La Land, and disconnected from the actual availability of goods and services. How that will play out in the long run is a fascinating question to which I don’t yet have an answer.

    Robyn, I like those.

    Dave, RPC, and Urogallus, and those as well.

    Goedeck, hmm. I don’t think I’ve seen that site.

    Shaun, delighted to hear it. I hope it works!

    Violet, in my experience it depends very much on the type of religion. Liberal churches and synagogues go out of their way not to generate or concentrate energy, and the result of having one nearby isn’t noticeably different from having any other service business close by. Those religious groups that take their rituals and deities seriously are quite another matter, though how far the energies radiate seems to vary from tradition to tradition — Christian churches where the sacraments are still performed with intention and skill seem to radiate for about a block, while Orthodox synagogues have a very inward-turning energy that, to me, barely makes it onto the sidewalk.

    Mages — well, here again, it depends on the mage. I’ve known people whose mere presence could light up a room, and others who could barely light up a 1 watt bulb.

    Caryn, thanks for these!

    Patricia M, funny! A friend of mine who has no time for for positivist philosophy likes to talk about “posturing poobahs of positivism,” which makes a good counterweight to Agnew’s comment. (I forget who first pointed out that the name “Spiro Agnew” is an exact anagram for “grow a penis”…)

    Will M, most ghosts don’t wander far from the site of their death and/or burial. If you have both of those inside the prison that’s where the ghost, if there is one, will more than likely walk. The treatment for vampires was aimed at dealing with something far more dangerous than an ordinary hostile ghost — my book Monsters discusses that in some detail.

    Denys, sure. Central to the ideology I’ll be discussing next week — the progressivism of the privileged — is the notion that human history has a built-in dynamic that inevitably moves further and further toward the goals of the political left. (Mencius Moldbug parodied this neatly with his saying “Cthulhu always swims left.”) The idea is that what privileged progressives happen to want is the inevitable wave of the future, what they don’t want is always a hangover from the Bad Old Days that just hasn’t been progressed out of existence yet.

    To be “on the wrong side of history” is to be on the side that, according to their ideology, is infallibly predestined to lose, just as their side — “the right side of history” — is just as infallibly predestined to win. And that, finally, is where a great deal of TDS is coming from: since Trump was defined by the media and the political establishment as a Bad Guy, his assigned role in the 2016 election was to lose, so that the Good People (in the person of Hillary Clinton) could stride triumphantly into the future. When he won, the entire cosmos of privileged progressivism shuddered from top to bottom, because That’s Not Supposed To Happen — because it is inconceivable to privileged progressives that the universe might not give them whatever they happen to want.

    David, makes sense to me!

    KKA, that works.

    Justin, got it. You’re in the competition.

    Peter, yes, though it’s been a while! And yes, we’ll have another potluck — see Peter van Erp’s comment further down.

    Cortes, thank you for these.

  187. OK I got a little lost between the “what IS a 5-G” discussions and the porn discussion. I think this could result in a pitch for a porn movie, and hey, a feminist one at that! “Love-in-the-Ruins” INDEED! Whoo!

    @ Violet, I feel like I should respond to your query about dealing with crazy liberal former friends, as I think I’m one of the few, (only!?) self-described Liberal here. I doubt that I will be very helpful though as we lived overseas for 20 years and only came back in 2016 when the crazy had already broken out and we saw it everywhere, not just amongst Liberals.

    In our old home in Hong Kong, we did know a handful of fellow US expats – “Limousine-Liberals”, who thought of themselves as liberals but did not seem so. They just wore it as a fashionable designer handbag. e.g. They’d campaign and work hard to boycott Ocean Park, (HK’s Sea World amusement park) to end ocean mammals in captivity, but turned a very blind eye to some of the human problems in HK. (and there were some real doozies like poor HK’ers living in cage homes, foreign domestic helpers working 18 hour days 7 days a week, with no rights cryingly low pay, etc…).

    As acquaintances, I knew their hypocrisy or myopic self-serving was not remotely limited to their socio-political statements. It was a small community and we were acquaintances, not friends for a number of reasons.

    Unfortunately, we saw similar, flip side hypocrisy or bad behaviour amongst our working class, staunchly conservative ‘friends’ and neighbours near our retirement/USA Home base house in rural/wild Wyoming. No murders for over 100 years in our tiny town of 900 souls. In 2016 there were 2, both started with arguments between neighbours. This is unpopular to say in this group, but it is not just the Lefties or even faux-Lefties who can pitch a good wobbley, like a toddler, when they want to.

    My point is that while politics seemed to be the focus – by 2016 the anger and ‘edge’ was present everywhere. VERY obvious to us as returnees. AND that while living abroad we definitely noticed that throughout the “20-teens” friends and family that came to visit from the USA, new expats in our little bubble, every time we came home to visit the USA; the edge, the aggression and visible anger was growing. It seemed so many people were ready to pick a fight.

    Now we’re in FL, first time living in (arguably) ‘The South’, a deep purple state, and there are a lot fewer people surrounding us with that edge of aggression. FL is fly-yer-freak-flag, cuckoo-for-cocoa-puffs Cra-zazzzy, but I don’t see that mean-agressive crazy. And as I said last week, amongst the people I know and talk to in real life – I see neither TDS nor HDS. My friends here are politically diverse, some righties, some lefties. We sometimes discuss current events or politics, sometimes we disagree, but we’re too polite to argue. We just laugh, clink wine glasses and change the subject.

    I DO see a lot of that aggression if I catch an article or comments section online, but I don’t choose to dwell on those. It’s not real life. There was a time when I did, but the slagging and ‘discussions’ never change which is boring. Keyboard Warriors spouting empty talking points or venting their spleens. no listening. Yawn. I am on Facebook every morning, I sell my furniture and get painting and craft tips from my arty-fahty FB groups – we discuss chalk paint and decoupage, not politics. I’m in a few parent groups discussing empty-nesting or my kids’ college, sometimes they get political, but like here – they are moderated, so generally people behave themselves, and there is no personal angst because we are really strangers to each other.

    I know a fair amount of people here last week said they’ve encountered hostility and rage from Lefties in their real lives- I’m just seeing it online and even then, (to quote a ‘very bad orange man’) “There are good people on both sides”. HA HA!

    You will ‘find-your-tribe’. There ARE un-enraged people out there.

  188. @ David BTL

    If I may, I’ve been thinking a lot about your observation that “[a]nother interesting tidbit suggesting the continuing transformation of the political landscape wherein the Democrats become the conservative party of the status quo.”

    I think you’re on to something. If you think about the Republicans in the seventies and eighties, a party can’t win consistently with only the support of business elites. The Republicans broadened their appeal by including religious conservatives (particularly pro-life ones), gun owners through the NRA, and appeals to the military/patriotism, in order to forge a winning coalition. A lot of this was pragmatic, as Reagan signed the law legalizing abortion in California in 1967, only to be nominally pro-life while president in the eighties.

    Fast forward to today, and Democrats are cast as the defenders of the status quo and a privileged elite against Trump’s populism. The Democrats face the same constraints as the Republicans earlier because the elite is too narrow, both in absolute numbers and its distribution geographically*, to win elections consistently. That is why the Democrats need to make appeals to various identity groups on topics like reparations and student loans to shore up their voting base. That’s also why I think JMG is correct in his comment last week regarding why reparations have become an issue this election cycle. It’s just to shore up the African-American vote and little else. Democrat friends of mine acknowledge this to some extent, but figure in time they will emerge victorious as the white voter base continues to shrink. I just wonder if they can keep their monopoly on everyone else in the meantime.

    *I say geographically because everyone likes to point out Clinton won the popular vote by 3 million. In doing that, she won LA County, Cook County, and the NYC by about 10 million votes. She lost the rest of the country, including areas like SF and Seattle by a combined 7 million votes. Her voters were extraordinarily concentrated, which does make it more difficult to win with the Electoral College. It seems to me Democrats may need to wait longer than they think for demographics to carry them to victory since most of their new voters gravitate to areas they already dominate electorally. We’ll see.

  189. @JMG, Actually, drongos are lovely, slender, silky black fork-tailed flycatchers of tropical Asia and Africa, with a few in Australia, where it somehow got adopted as a synonym for “idiot.” after a racehorse of that name failed to perform as hoped. According to Wikipedia, though, “Researchers have considered the possibility that [one species of] drongos possess theory of mind, not fully shown in any animal other than humans, but doubt this capability.” It seems they have the ability to manipulate other creatures into doing what they want.

  190. I have found myself sitting on the horns of a dilemma.

    Ever since early childhood and for almost 60 years I’ve been an empath and intuitive with several other non-physical gifts thrown in for good measure — up to about two months ago that is. Near the beginning of March I suffered a mild stroke due to the onset of a condition that results in the thickening and coagulation of the blood. I’m in a position where the gifts I’ve lived with my entire life have either closed off to me or I simply don’t understand the incoming information.

    Between having to deal with the physical effects of the stroke and being caught up in several situations in which the gifts have been extraordinarily helpful in avoiding much unpleasantness, I’m frankly struggling at the moment. Simply walking away from those situations is currently impossible as is engaging or participating in any rites, rituals or ceremonies which include a physical activity.

    I would greatly welcome and appreciate any suggestions which might assist me in regaining access to those gifts which serve the greater good of all involved.

    Submitted with humility and gratitude.

  191. @ Nastarana

    Re abandoned properties

    Oh, the bank-owned properties are very much on their radar screen, and properly so. It is the occupied properties whose occupiers have a difference sense of aesthetics from those the council wishes to promote that are at issue in this case. I am very much in the minority, I suspect, but will do what I can. This singular focus on property values, in contrast to personal freedom and/or well-being, concerns me. It is the wrong metric, in my view.

  192. And so I said, “come live with me in peace and safety, away from all the Wangdoodles, and Hornswogglers, and Snozzwangers, and rotten Vermicious Knids.”

    A motley crue if ever there was one!

    Makes me glad we mostly just have Mexicans, Guatemalans, and Deplorables where I live…

  193. @Tripp,
    My husband and I used to go out collecting mushrooms each year, and it was lots of fun and they were delicious and made a great addition to our diet. Then Fukushima happened, and 300 km away, the mushrooms in our area were found to be contaminated at levels surpassing even the government’s relaxed standards. There used to be mushroom stalls along the highway each fall, but I haven’t seen any in years.
    People look at Fukushima and say no one died. That’s not actually true, but even if it was just a few and even if some of them were harmed fatally by being forced to evacuate (and presumably would have been okay if they’d just stayed there, as is argued), you have a good idea of the loss in resilience. I saw in a documentary several years ago that people living near Chernobyl continued to eat mushrooms out of necessity, despite knowing the dangers and experiencing impacted health and shortened lives.

  194. @Violet: I don’t date as such, myself, and none of my current partners spend the night, but I’m leaning toward a pagans-and-occultists-only policy if I ever do get involved with folks to that extent again. (I also have a fairly blatantly occult tattoo on my upper thigh, so explanations tend to happen pretty soon after mutual attraction has been established, if not before. I didn’t *intend* it as a screening device, but it works well that way–if a guy makes a squeamish face or chooses that moment to pick a big old atheist “do you really believe in that stuff” fight, hey, I suddenly “remember” that I have an “early meeting” the next day.) As you say, it’s just way too much trouble to explain most of my life to someone without the background or inclination to get it. The Last Ex was a Dawkins-admiring devout materialist, and I am So Very Done with that.

    Granted, I took that approach to guys who weren’t into RPGs/fantasy novels back when I did date, so I’m used to a very interest-based screening process, among my other semi-impossible standards. 😛

    I suppose if I were to start dating as an occultist, I’d either put that really up-front in an OKC profile, seek out occult-focused groups on FetLife/Meetup/whatever, or start going to coven/lodge/society meetings in the hopes that there’d be a few appropriate people there. (I dimly seem to recall there being a site or something of the sort.) Otherwise, though, I’m with you–and now I feel like someone should write an advice book on the subject. Sex and the Single Mage?

    @Chuck, JMG: The post I saw on the subject also suggested that “utterly” and a noun used as a past-tense verb work for astonishment: you can be utterly Rolodexed or bureaued or anglerfished. Interestingly, “completely anglerfished,” and so forth work best as words to describe drunkenness. “No, no, I don’t remember any of that night. I had a couple blue drinks and got completely radiatored, man.”

    @sgage: Mom used to tell my sister and me to “go play in traffic.” We lived fifteen miles from the nearest traffic, which we’d point out, being obnoxious, and she’d say good, it’d keep us busy. She also would say we were “cruising for a bruising,” whenever we were starting to get Too Much–neither of us ever got more than spanked, certainly not hard enough to leave marks, but the phrase left an impression, which I like.

    (She was also fond of quoting The Ballad of Lizzie Borden completely out of context. I’d ask why something was against etiquette and she’d say “Because Massachusetts is a far cry from New York.” I was younger than eight the first time I heard this; it took me at least ten years to realize that she was quoting a song about an ax murderer. My parents are weirdos.)

  195. Dear Caryn Banker, Congratulations and best wishes for your new hobby/business. I think the revival of craft is one of the most hopeful developments of our time.

    I would like to suggest to the poster earlier about ways to bring in some cash to not give up on the idea of repair, small engine and so on. I think folks will pay reasonable (if they can) fees for repair and revival of stuff that actually works. For example, if you could attach safe plastic covered cords to the old time electronics such those excellent GE irons and the fun kind of toasters on which the sides open, I think you would find a market.

  196. Violet,

    The implosion of the left hasn’t really effected my life much. I’ve always been freespoken about my ideals, and people in leftist circles knew me as a loner and hard-nosed statist. I hated the state for its incompetence, and respected the hell out of competent technocrats and autocrats. Even before Trump was elected I was drifting away from the left because they never got anything useful done. It was the same ol’ pattern of helping the poor while being the pointy tip of the spear of gentrification.

    One thing I have learned recently is to keep my fool mouth shut. I am no longer freespoken, but that has less to do with the left than with the magical training I’m putting myself through.

    I do miss the border land days though. I grew up in the 90’s right before the gentrification craze took over. I came from an upper middle class household, and in reflection I was clearly being trained to join the management aristocracy, but I spent most of my time with working class folk in run down rust belt areas. The borders of civilization. I dreamed of one day founding an empire there, but went back to find this empire had already engulfed the area. Ahhh, the delusions of grandeur of my youth.



  197. Hello Mr. Greer,

    You said that you expect to live in your part of the country in relative comfort until you die. Would that include Vermont? Any idea about southern Indiana?

    Thank you

  198. @Nastarena,
    Regarding 5G, a few European municipalities and all of Switzerland have declared a moratorium on it because no one has addressed possible health effects. The high frequencies it will be using are effectively blocked by normal housing materials, so phased array technology will be used to overcome that, basically forcing the signal through the wall or intervening person or creature in a narrow directed beam. There are currently no affordable meters for anyone in the public who wants to measure levels of this type of radiation in their dwelling space.
    Some municipalities in the US are opposed to its rollout because the way it is being done removes local control. The opposition from the right comes from a deep distrust of Big Brother, combined with the hype that 5G will run all of our lives seamlessly with AI and conversing gadgetry and won’t it be wonderful. The hope for a Jetsons’ future is very very persistent.
    But the right has a point. The currently deployed technology is already extremely intrusive. Recently it was discovered that a significantly large number (I think it was 60) of people at Google were eavesdropping on incidental conversations in people’s homes via Alexa. If you have a wi-fi router, someone can sit outside your home with cobbled gadgetry and tell exactly where in the house you are because our bodies interact with the radiowaves from the router, amplifying or blocking them. You can be tracked any number of ways now, even if you don’t own a cellphone. Thus some people think the haste to roll out 5G, bulldozing legitimate concerns of the opposition, reflects an urge among the alphabet agencies for enhanced spying and control.

  199. JMG and everyone,

    Your topic this week, swearing, reminded me of an incident I experienced at work half a decade ago.

    A high-school aged girl was talking to me about the major stresses in her life as she was going through the usual growing pains for high schoolers- considering colleges, stress from teachers, pressure to succeed, balancing in her part-time job, etc. I gave her some advice and tried to be lighthearted about it, so I finished with “Don’t let the man get you down.” (I’m a late gen xer, raised by hippies). She said “What man?” So I said, “The establishment? Big brother? The machine?” And she had idea whatsoever of even the concept. I saw this, realized she was a fair representation of youth today, and thought “We are sooo fracked.” I was so unprepared for her to not know the concept that I couldn’t even explain it (I’ve only had that happen a few times, when a person’s reaction is so far from what I was expecting that I feel like a deer in headlights).

    So, I just wanted to remind everyone that these words are easily incorporated into insults,as well as a favorite insult of mine, “tool” (as in, “Jack is such a tool”) which I think of as all those naive, thoughtless people that blindly perpetuate business as usual, as well as the stool pigeons, bootlickers, and brown nosers that clearly want to rub elbows with “the man”. They are the tools that keep the machine running.

    I like to put thought into my swears and insults, because they can be great fuel for liberation. For example, I would never call a female a slut, I only use it to refer to men who use deceptive tactics in order to sleep with as many women as possible. By changing the way the word is directed, it becomes liberating for women instead of oppressive.

    Jessi Thompson

  200. Last Magic Monday, someone asked about the weird fanaticism people display over TV, when they find a person who doesn’t watch it. I’ve been contemplating this, since it fits right in with the general theme of an industrial society going insane.

    It seems to me that television provides a surrogate inner life and a surrogate outer life. (So much easier to watch some smug idiots build tiny homes on TV than to build your own!)

    So, by not watching TV, it may feel like you’re denying the TV-watcher’s reality. And, here’s the kicker, it’s a reality that that they don’t have any other access to. TV supplanted it! You can’t process your childhood trauma, you have to watch reruns of Full House! You can’t learn another language, Netflix just released eight new shows!

    There’s more to it, of course. I could spend months picking apart the onion layers here. (For instance, I’ve met quite a few people who are perturbed when they encounter anything outside of their narrow slice of reality, and I suspect there’s a healthy dose of that in the mix.)

    But this at least seems testable by observation.

  201. @Roberta:

    I spent most of my twenties addicted to media, including Facebook.

    I was able to pull away from Facebook, somehow. I realized one day that when I get angry about something on Facebook, that’s my fault. I was the one going on there, and trying to argue everyone on Facebook into submission was futile.

    Idiots like to claim that Facebook makes everyone more connected, but it’s a facsimile of a connection that makes the initial condition, isolation, even worse.

    It took a severe depression and an extremely difficult relationship to pull me away from the rest of the garbage pile of electronic media.

  202. Jennifer, thanks for these.

    Cortes, funny. Trust the English…

    Numb, interesting. Thanks for this.

    Isabel, of course. And my nose is opaque, though not particularly lithe. 😉

    Will M, thanks for these.

    Rodger, cannabis legalization in the US is maybe a few years off at most. As a drug, well, it’s a drug; I didn’t find it particularly interesting, back when I was using controlled substances in the early 1980s, during my first pass through college. As a raw material it’s considerably more useful, and I look forward to having my books printed on hemp paper, the way the Declaration of Independence is; I’ve already got a couple of very comfortable hemp shirts. I expect it to become a major agricultural crop over much of the US — as a source of fiber, industrial hemp is superior to nearly everything else, not least because it grows like a weed.

    PatriciaT, thank you. Those are good ones.

    All Austin, it’s been a while since we’ve had a subsidy dumpster contest. As the price of oil begins to ratchet seriously upward again — we’re not too far from that at this point — I plan on circling back to peak oil, once there’s a point to the exercise, and subsidy dumpsters will be blooming at that point; a contest then will be worth having.

    Janitor, interesting. My wife and I have a book that generates those.

    Onething, true enough, but their generation is frantically trying to cling to power as senility sets in…

    Walt, true. It’s a matter of choosing the right context.

    Donald, with regard to UFOs, I’ve had the entertaining experience of publishing a book that offends both sides of that controversy. Some of the reasons why can be found in this old blog post of mine.

    BB, that strikes me as a bad idea. In fact, I’d be happier if at 18, US citizens got the right to vote in local and state elections, but didn’t get to vote in federal elections until they turned 21. Making them wait until they’ve reached adulthood, or whatever approximation of that they can manage, strikes me as a good idea.

    Varun, nice. Those’ll do quite well.

    Nastarana, you’re welcome. As for Biden, no, I don’t think anyone had to point a gun. He’s the logical candidate for the business-as-usual Democrats right now, and the mere fact that Trump will butter his guts across the nearest interstate won’t keep said business-as-usual Democrats from convincing themselves that they really can turn the clock back.

    Gnat, fair enough. I’d go a little further than that, and encourage people to do without as much technology as they can — ditch the TV, ditch the cell phone, use the internet as a tool rather than a mode of entertainment, and then with appropriate protections in place, etc.

    RPC, one of the great differences between modern and premodern thought is that most cultures before ours treated important knowledge as necessarily secret. That doesn’t make sense to most people nowadays, but it was standard in ancient and medieval times for anything really worth knowing to be kept secret by the people who knew it, and to be handed out only to those students who were willing to earn the right to access it. That was true even in simple things like craft guilds — you couldn’t just go talk to someone and learn how to put up a building, say, you had to become an apprentice, take an oath of secrecy, and spend several years learning the preliminary disciplines before you finally got the inner knowledge. That was simply how things were done back then.

    PatriciaT, I was just as foul-mouthed in my insufficiently misspent youth as any kid of my generation, but the older I’ve gotten, the more boring I find profanity. It’s just dreary to me, thus my increasing distaste for it.

    Dennis, no, in my experience rural villages and small towns are considerably more hospitable to philosophers than are most university campuses…

  203. Patricia O, thank you for this. There are a fair number of birds who seem to be breaking the sentience barrier — clearly avian nervous systems have evolved to handle this much more compactly than ours do.

    MichaelR, I’m sorry to hear that. The thing to keep in mind is that your nervous system may need to close down certain functions for a while to heal. Rest, recuperation, frequent massage (to calm your nervous system), and regular meditation if you can handle that, are the approaches I’d recommend.

    Tripp, I’m pretty sure I’ve seen snozzwangers here in Rhode Island…

    Isabel, okay, let’s put that one to the test. “I was utterly suffumigated.” “I was utterly bowdlerized.” “I was utterly anthologized.” Hmm — those sound like terms for drunkenness to me, rather than astonishment…

    Ben, I have indeed changed my address, but the old one also works. I’ll contact you with the new one in a few minutes.

    Ray. my guess is that the Ohio river valley and Great Lakes region will also do fairly well, though a lot depends on local conditions and on what you personally need; my wife has health care and dietary needs that make some otherwise very promising areas less suitable to us. Vermont may be in for a rough ride, as it’s economically dependent on tourist income from the big coastal cities right now, and that’s likely to dry up further down the road.

    Dropbear, many thanks!

    Jessi, that’s appalling. Not surprising, mind you, but appalling.

    Cliff, that makes sense.

  204. JMG, those were some fantastic nouns for that vague Mad-Lib, and isabelcooper, that’s an excellent different angle, one that I can only read in an English accent. Thanks for the answers on reincarnations, JMG. And in the unlikely case that you ever make it to Ashland, I’ll buy you a drink at the HPL Bar.

    W/r/t the metric system, some years ago I decided that the problem with most of it in the US wasn’t that the units were the wrong size, it was that their names were so long and clinical. So I took it upon myself to come up with nicknames for each unit commonly used in speech. I only came up with a few, though, before I stopped thinking about it much. If anyone else thinks it’s a worthwhile project, perhaps we could fill out the roster. This could also use some input from people in metricated countries who know which units are actually used conversationally.

    Centimeter—knuckle? (Though a human knuckle is usually a bit bigger, and this may be a little too biological for widespread comfort
    Hectometer—spool (I know no one talks about hectometers, but “spool” just fits so well, and in the US at least, I often see comparisons like “That’s as long as three football fields”, so people seem to think using that length)
    Kilometer—klick (no need to reinvent the wheel) or jaunt (I reinvented it anyhow though)
    Liter—[ ? ] (I think I had one once, but I’ve forgotten it)
    Gram—[ ? ]
    Kilogram—[ ? ]

  205. “Dang frang sussafracken!” sounds like what Yosemite Sam used to say when Bugs Bunny got him riled up.

    “Pigeon pellets!” and “Mule muffins!” courtesy of MASH’s COL Potter, played by the late Harry Morgan.

    I wonder if there have been any cases of shingles linked to wireless headphones?

  206. And since birds have come up, I’ve done a little bit of casual reading on them, and it seems to me that they’re one taxon that evolution is really pulling off some good tricks with.

    So first off, they can fly, which is amazing enough. But then you’ve got all those birds that are achieving something like sentience, with brains a tiny fraction of the size of ours. An interesting factor in that is that birds are able to produce new brain cells all throughout life, whereas humans after adulthood can mostly do that only in a few regions like the hippocampus. And then there’s also their respiratory system, which is much more efficient than the mammalian one, managing to move air through the lungs one way only through the use of an intricate series of air sacs. And also the feet of webbed-footed birds, which have the rete mirabile, a complex of blood vessels that allows the feet to stay at the temperature of the water while still getting oxygenated but not spilling all that heat out to the environment. Also, many seabirds can distill salt water (they sneeze out the salt).

    We land animals are evolutionarily complacent, with only light pressure to keep things well-functioning and lightweight, so we get by with inefficient lungs and such. But birds have to work incredibly efficiently to be able to get and stay airborne, so they’re where all the innovation is happening. It seems very possible to me that they’ll be the next to inherit the Earth. Already they’re the ones with the confidence to sing all day long while mammals and reptiles keep to the shadows and stay quiet. (I imagine JMG’s “The Next Ten Billion Years” took some of this into account when he invented the corvins.)

  207. JMG, Kind Sir:

    Yes, so sad how it all runs together, like the rest of “modern” English: the spoken word reduced to a few squeaks & grunts, grimaces & mime, the written word supplanted by crude pictographs. My dog has a more nuanced vocabulary.

    Seeing as how the world has an excess of humans willing to commit murder over profanity, I personally avoid the use of it, partly out of genuine respect for their feelings & partly out of genuine respect for my own safety. On the other hand, I can revel in obscene & scatological expletives & frequently indulge, when a ripe opportunity presents. I’ve just never found a satisfying substitute for my favorite short list of explicit four-letter Anglo-Saxon.

    That said:

    A plague & a pox on the lot you
    Scurvy knaves!
    I defecate upon your mothers’ bedsheets
    And fart in your general direction.

    Would you prefer I impugn your deity
    Your ancestry
    Your reproductive capacity
    Or the strength of your gut?

    Rather suffer eternal fire & torment
    Or a double handful of feces rubbed on yr ugly face?

    Can’t tell the difference?

    I drop you in the dozens:

    Yr sister wears army boots

    & so’s yo momma

    {for further discussion of grawlixes, see:}

  208. @temporaryreality

    Thank you. I was actually aware of this. I’ve read the terms of use more than once. While I think the language could be better, I don’t think it’s all that different that what is common to most sites and platforms, including social media and blogs, that host the intellectual property of others. They’re licensing the rights to share, promote, and basically have your content on their site at all and protecting themselves from the possibility of lawsuits for violating copyright protections. I think Patreon respects and wants to empower creators–and are not trying to steal their intellectual property. Despite the questionable phrasing of that clause, I believe their intentions are good and have no issues using their services.

  209. To all those discussing 5G, there is very little I know about the technology, but the issue of the higher frequencies being unable to go through natural barriers has itself become a point of contention in Ireland, with opponents of the technology alleging that it is provoking a tsunami of unaccustomed tree-cutting in towns and villages across the country. I do not yet know if these reports are true, but there are a lot of people saying that local authorities suddenly decided to cut old trees along their own roads, and could give no sensible reason for it. I wonder if anyone else has come across out of character, out of policy, tree cutting campaigns by local authorities, which are alleged to be in preparation for rolling out the technology?

  210. Comfortable hemp shirts. Where can they be found? Search engines quite unhelpful last time I looked for them.

  211. For what its worth I’ve seen “Boomer” being used as an insult on the internet by younger people. More as in “a clueless old man” rather than “a member of the generation that sold their descendants into debt slavery and doomed this country and possibly the planet”.

    Now for something else. We all need positive examples and inspiring stories sometimes. Some people provide such examples. A famous Brazilian photographer Sebastião Salgado and his wife Lélia Deluiz Wanick Salgado have spent the last 20 years replanting a destroyed forest and planted over 2.5 million trees in this time.

    More on this story here:

    I believe such actions can prove to be more helpful than pushing for sweeping political or social reforms in Washington DC.

  212. “Klcooke, when I try to access your piece, I get a request to sign in to WordPress. You may need to log out and then get the URL…”

    Drat! Defeated by technology again.

    Probably moot now, being so far down the thread. Somehow I think Karma is involved. I must have been an insufferable narcissist in the last lifetime. Not to mention this one.

  213. “Partners” is getting quite a work out these days from Putin’s continual use of the word to mean “dirty rotten, double-dealing, low-down, cotton-pickin’ sons-a-Satan,” though I hear he did refer to them as “swine” once.

  214. The drongo that used to visit our garden for a few years also had a particular beautiful song.

  215. @Tripp and JMG-

    Roald Dahl actually wrote a sequel to “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” entitled “Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator” wherein the vermicious knids are prominently featured.

  216. Speaking of Drongos, my father enjoyed flexing his vocabulary when reprimanding me for various non-sanctioned behaviours. One common phrase was, “you bloody drongo”. Others were:

    “you obstreperous rapscallion”
    “you belligerent ratbag”
    “you insolent twerp”

    Being scalded wasn’t such a bad thing as the words sounded so different and interesting.

  217. Is “by Jove!” considered a profanity? As in: Mighty fine list of insults there, by Jove! It is used liberally in old British crime novels.

    Also, Go play on the motorway!, was a known exclamation when growing up – I can see a unifying theme for parents here…

  218. @ Ryan S

    Re Democrats and the status quo

    The traditional business community (as represented by the US CoC, for example) is still very much in the thrall of your neoliberal-style economics, free-trade, and US imperialism (or, as we sometimes must phrase it for folks outside this community, “the US-led liberal world order”). As Trump broke with Republican (indeed, bipartisan) economic orthodoxy and embraced a certain form of economic nationalism, I suspected that eventually there would be an exodus of more economically-globalist folks from that party and over to the Democrats. If the coming realignment is, as our host has suggested, along nationalist/globalist lines (particularly in the economic dimension), then it is the Democrats who will be the defenders of the status quo (ante). This is another reason I believe Biden will be the nominee, as he best represents that worldview (with Harris as a likely heir-apparent, as well as provider of ticket diversity).

    I’d prefer a more coherent change-agent for the dismantling of the economic status quo, by heavens, but that does not seem to be in the cards. And I have wondered, in the small hours of the night when no one else is around, if this seemingly-haphazard, stumbling-and-mumbling, slipshod manner in which Trump operates is indeed the only way something like this could be done, as a coherent approach would be too easily countered and foiled. It is rather like watching “Blackbelt Theater” on Sunday afternoon in my youth (USA Network—I’m dating myself terribly here) and seeing a master of the Drunken Monkey style of Chinese boxing take an opponent apart.

  219. I think Snozzwangers are a fairly widespread bunch, but it’s the snozzberry flickers that you have to keep your eye on!

    Interesting discussion about Wangdoodles going on here this week too…


  220. By the way, JMG, I’ve been inspired to start blogging on Druidry-related matters. Only a few posts so far, but amongst them a couple about the Coelbren. One is a review of your book: it’s not uncritical, but I hope it’s fair. As time allows, I’ll be following up with a series of Coelbren posts, based on my own experience of using them so far.

  221. @ JMG, that makes a lot of sense. I wonder too how much subtle geographical factors play a part. If a liberal church were, say, at the crossroads that defined the space of an entire town I imagine that it would have a much more potent effect than if it were on some side street. As for mages, no doubt. In my mind, I correlate operative occultism with a lot of personal voltage, since the few mages I’ve had the pleasure of spending time with repeatedly have had extremely bright auras. That said, I imagine that one could be extremely competent at working magic without much personal voltage. Just as an electrician doesn’t need to have much personal power, likewise, perhaps, with a mage. There are, after all, so many different traditions and I’d imagine that not all focus on building up a strong auric body as those derived from theurgic Neoplatonism.

    @ Caryn, thank you for your perspective! For what it’s worth, I really respect and appreciate your contributions to this forum. Granted, I definitely get the sense that the Right has its problems, and there are both lovely and nasty people on every side. The difference though is that for my entire youth I belonged to the last dregs of the 1960’s counterculture and so I’ve seen way more of team blue than team red in action. I’m glad that you have what sounds like a good network of diverse friends in Florida!

    @ Isabel, I’m all for semi-impossible standards and not taking love too seriously. As for Richard Dawkins, it’s funny you mention him as he turned up rather robustly in my dreams last night. He and I and Jordan Peterson were having one of those youtube type debates and I started to defend traditional polytheism and Dawkins stammered and rather limply insinuated that I was crazy. Afterwards Mr. Peterson confided that he secretly agreed with me. Of course next thing I knew I was fighting over a mattress with a petty and mean spirited man in an attic that was serving as a guest house for the Hoodoo Heritage Festival. Dang it, I got there first and I would *not* accept his money! Luckily, the older women there took my side and I had lots of lodestones in jars filled with Hoyt’s cologne and lemon balm!

    Back to waking life, a little while ago I had a friend who was super into hardcore material atheism. She had a really delicious sense of humor and I enjoyed her company. Ultimately though the deal breaker on my end was she refused to communicate by any other method than text messages and I wouldn’t commit to using my phone that much. A few times, when I lived in a college town, I’d encounter Dawkins types and I always took extreme delight in getting into debates with them and pointing out the very many holes in the scientific materialist worldview. If there were people around game for that, I’d still be doing it! I really love verbal debating, fighting with words, etc. That said, I profoundly hate to get into that sort of thing with an intimate partner. I find it draining to switch from necking to fighting, and romance tends to drunken me of all of my good arguments.

    I guess there is the other issue with occultists too, now that I think of it. Judging from r/occult and other forums, it would appear people who engage in this sort of thing are hardcore into demonolatory. This for me is more of a dealbreaker than atheism! That would definitely have to be a chapter in Sex and the Single Mage, “Everything’s Going Great and then He brings up the Goetia…”

    @ Varun, that’s good to hear. I’ve had similar experiences with occult training. Now there are things which I cannot speak of with any other human person, and that has profoundly shifted my consciousness towards the more continent. I too remember fondly the borderland back when I was a squatter punk. Little did I know then that all of my edginess was coopted in the point tip of the spear gentrification, as you so aptly put it.

  222. Robyn cited her grandfather’s “ye loaves and little fishes.” My 9th-grade science teacher would exclaim “ye gods and little fishes!” whenever he got exasperated — which happened not infrequently. I thought it was a memorable expression, and I always looked forward to the next occasion! (He was Jonathan Edwards at Garfield Junior High School in Berkeley, and he was on the point of retirement when I was in his class. This was in 1956/7.)

  223. @Nastarana and all, 5G is not just new tech or faster data/network. I’m nowhere near a right-wing conspiracy nut. It’s not “new” technology at all, although it’s a new use for it. It’s extremely high frequency millimeter waves, which will require millions more transmitters and closer proximity due to the waves not traveling as far. This is also some of the same technology currently being developed and used in crowd dispersal weapons. I work at a top research university, my husband at a national laboratory on a particle accelerator, and I can tell you many scientists and researchers who work with lasers and radiation know this technology is not safe. They are blanketing our university with 5G right now, and it’s one of the reasons I want to get out of here. Anyone with any sensitivity to EMF can tell you that things are getting bad, and will be getting much, much worse.

    Of all the issues facing us, I feel this one is the most imminently dangerous to us. I would just say to do your own research from independent scientists and studies. Once you start understanding radio waves, microwaves and millimeter waves and how they work (and what we use them for), you won’t dismiss it quit so easily.

  224. Goedeck, are you looking for The Survivor Library? Another couple of good ones are The Soil and Health Library and Journey to Forever.

    With regards to this weeks topic, My grandmother would say someone was “Rum-Dumb”, and my dad would say that someone was “Useless as teats on a Boar”. (a hungry boar considers little spratlings as tasty high protein snacks) (hmmm, spratlings sounds like a good insult, too)

  225. All–

    News from the energy beat, from the community’s self-proclaimed energy news reporter 😉

    Subsidies are alive and well:

    Federal/state jurisdictional lines continue to blur:

    On this last theme, the workshop I was in MN to attend very much dealt with this issue. We were discussing DERs (distributed energy resources) which are beginning to proliferate and which can, at higher levels of penetration, significantly alter the nature of the energy grid(s), both from an operational and a reliability standpoint. There is a strong sentiment in the industry (not universal, however, as I made a point to note) that federal authority needs to be asserted over the entirety of the grid in order to ensure reliable operation. There are likely to be some contentious court-fights in the future on this.

  226. @Onething: “…his marbles rolled off the game board long before the end of his term…” HA! Oh dear, that had me spluttering my coffee all over the keyboard. Very good one.

    Yes, I agree about the age of these candidates. In general, I am feeling pretty happy about the ‘upheaval’ and change within the Democratic party. I know it feels like a rough ride right now for some – change is often like that, but I think we will be better in the long run. I’m energised by the new younger voices, even though they miss-step or “go too far”. The last thing I’d hope for is to drag old grandpa Joe out to lead the pack of candidates, but I would bet money that is exactly what the DNC will do; With non-committal Kamala-“I-think-we-should-have-a-conversation-about-that” Harris most likely as his running mate – because: Anita Hill.

    @Nastarana, Thank You! At present electronics are beyond me, but I can see that possibility down the road a bit. My carpentry skills are coming along. My next step is probably to take a welding/metal-works class locally. I’m having a blast! Was very surprised to find, in doing my taxes that I actually made about $6,000 clear profit from this hobby last year, even when I truly treated it like a hobby, just a free-time-waster.

    My husband is a business developer, so in his free time, he’s been trying to build a website and marketing strategy for me. That’s HIS happy place. That’s how we’ve learned that social media has morphed into the prime advertising/sales arena. So, yes – if you’re in the market for something – that’s where you go. If you’re looking for entertainment, ‘news’ or discussion – it’s not a great place anymore, because well, it has morphed into a giant virtual bazaar. You’re going to get ads thrown at you, annoyingly frequently. It’s like hoping to find a nice brew and chat in a quiet, cozy tavern, but looking for it in a bustling flea market.

  227. JMG: Not sure this is allowed, so I’m posting it separately. If it crosses a line, no need to post it or reply about it. I understand.

    If anyone is curious to see a small sampling of my stuff, so far only Instagram is up, Baby steps!!

    It’s called TheOrbVintage. The Orb, himself, is modelling in one of the shots of a dining set on the beach. 🙂 Every single one of these pieces was salvaged from our apt. complex dumpster or curb-side throw-aways.

    I still only sell through local buy-sell-swap pages, so it’s not a sales site.

  228. I’ve loved Gamble Rogers for his almost-magical ability to deliver long-winded, drawling, multisyllabic, unflattering character descriptions… while at the same time making clear his affection for the character so described. e.g. “He was a deeply committed, totally involved, commode-hugging drunk.” “She loomed over her students like a myopic praying mantis” or, “known to talk metric to decent folk.” I used to look for opportunities to poach his phrases, but I lack his mastery of the local accent and tent-revival vibrato. Perhaps it is an art worth cultivating…

    But a regionalism he made excellent use of did stick: using “sorry” as a character profile. That word covers a lot of ground. It doesn’t mean apologetic, but rather the whole range of useless, lazy, unintelligent, and generally dysfunctional. “That man is sorry”.

  229. Dear Mr. Greer, some time ago, I think maybe on the old blog, you wrote that you thought that whole swaths of territory were being overlooked or maybe it was forgotten by our governing classes. Is that still your opinion? How might one ID such places, that is, what characteristics would forgotten places and areas exhibit?

    Dear David by the Lake, about abandoned properties being “on the radar”, I am trying to keep in mind that what you do in your town is no concern of mine; what has profoundly irritated me in towns where I have lived is the favoritism shown to commercial interests by nearly all city councils with which I have any experience. Joe’s Bar and Annie’s Hamburger Emporium were never cited for levels of accumulated trash which would get a homeowner fined and bank owned properties were simply ignored by the same city authorities who were handing out citations to residencies. I suppose banks can threaten costly lawsuits, but what if someone ran for office promising that the city or county could seize non taxpaying, derelict properties and you local voters might have the chance to buy one of them, in other words, no sales to outside interests?

  230. I’m a fan of Stevenson’s unfinished novel, “Wier of Hermiston” and it’s a treasure trove of Scots slang: “Dwaibly,” meaning sickly, is one of the standouts. Here’s a short excerpt the scene where the “Hangin’ Judge” comments on the recent death of his wife: “‘But she was a dwaibly body from the first’… [never interesting in life, in death she was not impressive.]… ‘Her and me were never cut out for one another,’ he remarked at last. ‘It was a daft-like marriage.’ And then with a most unusual gentleness of tone, ‘Puir b*tch,’ said he, ‘puir b*tch!'”

    And I have to comment that “daft” is also wonderful.

  231. John–

    I just wanted to say that my copy of WoH:Dreamlands was waiting for me when I got home yesterday and I dove right into it, despite the five-hour drive I’d just completed. Unfortunately, I had to stop after a few chapters, as I was just plain tired, but I’m looking forward to picking it up again to finish this weekend. (Tonight is D&D night, somewhat delayed this month. One must have one’s priorities!)

    Thank you again for this series. It does rather make me long for a richer, deeper reality than the one we are confronted with every day.

  232. One more: Lancashire, England, natives express annoyance by pronouncing “yes” as “yace,” rhymes with “chase.” as in “C’mon, shift this mess, get a move on, ‘Erbert.” Reply in exasperation and sarcasm, “Yaaaaace.”

    Interesting to think altering the sound of a one syllable word substitutes for profanity. I’m certain there is an obscure linguistic term for it.

  233. “RPC, one of the great differences between modern and premodern thought is that most cultures before ours treated important knowledge as necessarily secret.”

    But has that really changed? Isn’t the whole concept of professionalization, and the cult of mystification surrounding it in modern culture, a way of trying to retain differential levels of privileged access to knowledge?

  234. “Samurai, I’ve often thought that English has become sadly deficient in hot language compared to other languages. You’ve just confirmed that impression.”

    I have been told this by Russians. They have a whole language devoted to it, which they call in their typical tongue-in-cheek fashion “the mother tongue,” because, much like American blacks, there is quite a lot to say about people’s mothers.

  235. Violet,

    It may just be a matter of finding the right housemates. You seem the sort of person with whom I could share a roof/kitchen/hearth: thoughtful, articulate, self-reflective, serious about your spiritual and devotional practice, and (to all appearances) having a rich and vibrant inner life.

    Then again, I’ve been longing for a contemplative polytheist monastery for some time now!

  236. JMG,

    Less an insult, and more just a general not-quite-profanity: At one period in my life, I was quite fond of using “Expletive!” itself as an expletive.

  237. Thanks for the reply JMG! I’ll give soaker hoses a try – any particular recommendations for brand/model? I have found many soaker hoses to be fragile and short-lived.

    I guess I’ll have to keep digging for resources on racism and colonialism – perhaps nobody has compiled the evidence comprehensively and I’ll have to do some aggregating myself. You say you haven’t studied them outside the context of history generally – are there any specific anecdotes you can remember from general historical sources that could me a jumping off point for doing more research? Just a sentence or two in a book or paper would probably be enough to get my mind rolling.

    On another subject, I have been rolling over your posts on political economy in my mind, and the more I think about it the more I want to get my hands dirty, and particularly in the realm of supporting businesses to become worker-owned or in supporting policies that make that more possible. Any recommendations on where I could start with that process? If there is no tangible action you could recommend, any tips on where I could get informed about syndicalist theory/history/examples would also be welcome.

    Thanks again for hosting these AMAs!

  238. With regards to self-publishing.

    Yes, you have to do all the stuff that a (good) publisher does for you.
    It’s a lot of work, work that takes away from the time needed to write.

    If you have a good publisher, they can save you all kinds of aggravation.

    And in the end, while you do get to keep far more of the money made from sales, you still have to make sales. This isn’t a guarantee for any book.

    As for other platforms: there are a number of other e-platforms if you have an e-reader. Kobo and Smashwords are probably at the top of the list. But you have to have an e-reader.

    A lot of indie writers don’t want to go to the trouble of producing a trade paperback version of their book, although Kobo does support that effort.

    It isn’t difficult and allows the indie writer to sell real books in the real world. Your local indie bookstore might even be willing to order you a copy, with a suitable surcharge since they won’t make any money on the sale otherwise.

    As for the secondhand book market: we always use

    They are a conglomeration of small and large resellers of used books. You can find just about any out-of-print book in a variety of prices and conditions.

    Teresa from Hershey

  239. Regarding the “not watching porn is sexist” discussion, I think a number of people feel guilty for watching, but they console themselves by saying everyone does it. When they find out not everyone does, they become angry and confused as their own justification has been undermined.

    This seems similar to the people who feel guilty for watching hours upon hours of television, justify it in a similar manner, and then feel threatened when they encounter someone who doesn’t watch television at all. It would be nice if we all could enjoy the things we enjoy and abstain from the things we don’t wish to pursue, without being threatened by the choices of others.

    Just yesterday on the radio, a woman was talking about how she went on a date with a man and then was horrified to learn he drove an SUV. She was saying how awful he was and how he was destroying the planet and was asking why he wasn’t driving a hybrid or an electric instead. Now, there are plenty of issues with a single person driving around in an SUV, but I couldn’t help but wonder if the woman in question was feeling guilty for her own negative impact on the environment and so lashed out at someone worse.

    No questions in this post, I suppose. Just some thoughts on the present day.

  240. Hi JMG,

    I’m starting to notice a little bit of noise and boosterism about next gen nuclear of late, both among some people on the right and other concerned about climate change. It feels like excitement about solar and wind has dampened somewhat, Tesla may be flaming out in the not-too-distant future, the ridiculous chatter around autonomous vehicles has quieted a bit, and the big picture fantasy of autonomous EVs zooming around, eliminating auto ownership, and all being powered by solar and wind as we transition from fossil fuels to a clean energy future . . . well, that fantasy doesn’t seem to have quite the cachet as it did just a year or two ago (though maybe that’s just due to my own particular bubble and all the enthusiasm is still out there–I just see less fawning articles around such ideas of late). So anyway, I’m starting to wonder if excitement around next gen nuclear might be a coming bubble, serving as a replacement fantasy for the clean energy future in which we don’t have to actually give up anything or change our lifestyle in any way? Do you see any signs of that building, or am I just making this all up?

    It’s interesting, I feel like this is related to a larger shift, but also am not sure if I’m just seeing things that aren’t there. It feels like the fantasy that everything is going to be just fine in the future is starting to drain away from the left as the sense of apocalypse of Trump being elected is starting to transition to a sense of resignation that he may just win a second term. Again, I don’t think this is necessarily where things are in the mainstream yet, but it feels like the rumbling is there. And I see now more of the sense that the future is going to be bright shifting more over toward the right. Booming economic growth, a future of next generation nuclear providing us clean energy, a revamped economy reviving long-marginalized areas of the country and boot stamping the lefty playgrounds of the coastal cities . . . are other people sensing this? It’s all still a little fuzzy for me, but it just feels like there’s a broader cultural shift happening that’s a little deeper than all the surface crazy that has been so deafening since Trump’s election. I would be curious to know if others are feeling this. Perhaps it’s just my own internal world and I’m projecting it onto others.

  241. Also in energy news, from my weekly EIA (Energy Information Administration) natural gas news feed (Bcf/d = billion cubic feet per day; LNG = liquified natural gas):

    Global LNG trade posts record growth again in 2018, led by the growth in spot and short-term trade

    In 2018, global trade in liquefied natural gas (LNG) increased by 3.2 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) to 41.3 Bcf/d, an 8% increase from 2017 and the third-largest annual increase on record, according to the recently released The LNG Industry GIIGNL Annual Report 2019 by the International Group of Liquefied Natural Gas Importers (GIIGNL). Global spot and short-term LNG trade increased by 2.9 Bcf/d, the largest annual increase on record. Spot and short-term trade accounted for 32% of the total global LNG trade in 2018, up from 27% in 2017, as more uncontracted LNG supply, particularly from Australia, Russia, and the United States became available on the spot market.

    Global liquefaction capacity continued to expand in 2018, as eight new liquefaction trains with a combined nameplate capacity of 4.8 Bcf/d were placed in service. Australia commissioned two new liquefaction trains—Wheatstone Train 2 and Ichthys Train 1—and is on track to overtake Qatar as the largest LNG exporter once the remaining projects (Ichthys Train 2 and Prelude Floating LNG) are commissioned in 2019, and all trains ramp up to full production. The United States commissioned three new liquefaction trains—Cove Point, Sabine Pass Train 5, and Corpus Christi Train 1, which added a combined 1.9 Bcf/d of liquefaction capacity. Russia’s Yamal LNG commissioned Trains 2 and 3, and Train 3 came online six months ahead of schedule. In 2018, Cameroon became the newest LNG exporter after commissioning Kribi offshore liquefaction project, which uses a Floating LNG production barge called Hilli Episeyo, converted from a regular LNG vessel.

    Asian countries continued to lead the growth in global LNG demand in 2018, with four countries—China, South Korea, India, and Pakistan—increasing LNG imports by a combined 3.5 Bcf/d. China, after becoming world’s second-largest LNG importer in 2017, continued to increase LNG imports in 2018 by 2 Bcf/d, the largest annual increase since the country began importing LNG in 2006. Strong growth in China’s natural gas consumption supported by government policies promoting coal-to-natural gas switching in the industrial, power, and residential/commercial sectors, led to China overtaking Japan as the world’s largest natural gas importer in 2018. In South Korea, extended maintenance of nuclear plants required higher generation from natural gas-fired power plants and higher LNG imports, which increased by 0.8 Bcf/d year on year.

    Several countries decreased their LNG imports in 2018 because of changing market conditions within these countries. Increases in domestic natural gas production in Egypt and the United Arab Emirates led to a decline in LNG imports in these countries of 0.6 Bcf/d and 0.2 Bcf/d, respectively. In Japan, the restart of several nuclear power plants led to a decline in LNG imports, which are expected to continue decreasing as more nuclear reactors are brought back online over the next several years.

    Lots more natural gas being extracted, chilled, shipped about, and consumed.

  242. Clay,

    Yikes! I hadn’t heard about the train shutting down. That’s sad. I haven’t been to the Oregon Zoo in a long time and am not sure if I’ll ever be back, but I’ve ridden that train and quite enjoyed it. I think it’s a real loss. Depressing, but I suppose not surprising.

  243. @ Violet – re the effect of the “implosion” of the “left” and its personal impact… “I’m curious other people’s thoughts on navigating this mess, especially people who’ve invested a lot of time and energy into building a foundation on the shifting sands of a certain political current that now has gone absolutely mad.”

    I see what everyone else sees, but I do not feel like the core of my own inner guidance has imploded, even though what being “of the left” has meant to me could be said to have been born in the liberation theology current in the Latin America in which I was reared in the 60’s and 70’s. It was about identification with the poor, not because they were in anyway better, but just because they were left out. Martin Luther King Jr was an influential figure for me, too, and his quip “an injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

    I think JMG’s “Mystery Teachings” informs this idea of connection between every part of the system, that one resonates with and has influence upon its weakest parts as well as its strongest, and if one wants the system to flow more strongly one must attend to, care for, and maintain its weakest, least flowing parts.

    I don’t suppose that “left” actually means very much any more, but I still feel that I am part of that wing of the bird that is this society, even though the body, the centre of the bird, as Yeats put it, can no longer hold, and the two wings are flapping blindly, separately, holding each other absurdly in enmity.

    Still, I stand where I have always stood, and from this place continue to open conversations, where and when I can, aimed at building the common ground, or as JMG has called them, the “common places” that we need in order to rebuild the shared core, or heart, of the society, community, family, or whatever polity we are in.

    I realised recently that if I had to put my personal guiding philosophy into a handy narrative phrase, it would be “always invite the 13th fairy.” The riff raff, the misfits and the curmudgeons of this world, belong at the table, and if they are not offered their seats at it, we can never have the full picture. The piece we are missing will be the one that turns up uninvited and curses us all.

    I feel a strong sense of solidarity with the commenters here, because although they position themselves variously on the left, right, centre, top, bottom, or as sideways crabwalkers, all are reaching out to help build this “common place” known as the ecosophia blog. Meanwhile, I have not memorably fallen out with anybody in real life, though I can’t say everyone I know is happy to do the “common ground” thing with me.

  244. @ Nastarana

    Re abandon properties

    Understood. By “on the radar,” I do mean “actively grappling with the issue to the best of our ability.” Our municipal powers are strictly defined by state law. In WI, the ability to seize tax-delinquent property rests with county government. (And believe me, we try to get our county to move on these things; they are notoriously reluctant to do so, for some reason.) We, as a city, have no power in that regard. The best we can do is to send notice for the unmowed lawn, etc, as required by state statute, then when nothing happens, our people go in and do the work (on top of maintaining our own parks, cemeteries, and the like), and we send the owner a bill, which may or may not ever be paid. It is extremely frustrating.

  245. John, you said the other day the penny had just dropped for the left. Could you elaborate on that?

  246. Violet,

    I would be happy to share my thoughts, as soon as I have figured out what my thoughts on it are! It was profound, it’s deeply meaningful, and it has given me a lot to think about, but so far I’m still trying to identify what parts of it I need to focus on as most relevant.

    I will get back to you with my thoughts on it once I have more to add. 🙂


    Well, the thing that gets me is I’ve watched feminists shriek about how dare people make different choices than they would. I know a woman who’s having a child soon who is going to be a stay at home mom. She hates her job, and any that pays enough to be worth while makes her miserable. So, she’ll stay home, and her husband will work. Given that he enjoys his job, it makes perfect sense for them to do it this way.

    The amount of flack she’s getting is incredible, for making a choice. I honestly think at this point certain brands of feminism have collapsed into self-parody.


    I have seen similar here. It’s not just along the roads either. I know someone who’s been informed the tree in her yard must go, no explanation given. It’s quite bizarre, and thinking it’s linked to 5 G makes more sense than anything I could think of.

  247. JMG, regarding your response to Dante,

    “human races don’t exist except as pure social constructs. Biologically there are ethnic groups, lots of them, but the criteria by which some of those ethnic groups are lumped together as “white” and all the others as “nonwhite” are purely a matter of outdated 19th-century ethnology.”

    I wonder if you can point me in the direction of some of the evidence backing up this claim.

    I’ve read the arguments of the dissident right and the HBD(HumanBioDiversity) crowd. They look like this:

    Books from that scene, other than the ones mentioned in the links above, include Frank Salter’s ‘On Genetic Interests’ and David Reich’s more recent ‘Who We Are and How We Got Here’.

    The counter arguments I’ve seen are either dealt with above or bring up Gould or Lewontin:
    …or just say the other side is ‘racist’ and therefore the discussion should end.

    I’m certainly open to the notion that someone can parry, or has parried, all those arguments linked above and I just haven’t come across them… Though my personal experiences living and working in diverse settings are far more in line with the notion that ‘different peoples are different’ than with ‘we are all the same with a veneer of social constructs on top’.

    …and race does split America politically:

    Trump has more support among young black men but, it’s still a rather small percentage:

    Anyway, if you’re willing, can you point me towards the books or websites that lead you to your beliefs on this issue?

  248. Vermicious knids scared me silly when I was young and read Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator. Yikes!

    @Violet: Hee! I could totally see that as a thing, in fact. Dating guide, series of novels, maybe an online comic…

    Also, I misread your dream description as fighting a mattress for a second and got Hitchhikers’ Trilogy flashbacks. 🙂

    I myself don’t really do/enjoy debates with friends, with or without benefits: discussions where we’re comparing points of view rather than trying to convince anyone, excellent, but I don’t have many middle gears between “huh, that’s interesting, agree to disagree and let’s get dim sum” and going straight for the throat, with no rhetorical punches (fair or not) pulled. Once discussions with people I actually like get heated, I tend to fade out. Anger and sex are both fun, in their way, but the streams don’t cross well for me, or at least not with the same target,* and when they do it’s really hard to also bring affection, or even wanting to be around afterwards, into the mix.

    @JMG: I feel like a lithe nose would be a sign of being part-rabbit. And good point! I may also have to steal “anthologized” or “bowlderized” for drunkenness. Especially because it also works without “utterly,” now that I think about it–“Don’t read Steve’s email, he was a little anthologized last night, you know?”

    More cursing/insults:

    The footnote reminds me that one of my favorite terms for the girl involved was “a waste of good carbon.” I also like “not worth the bullet it’d take to shoot them,” or an extremely pungent version, from Stephen King novels, and I understand if this one gets censored: “the best part of you ran down your daddy’s leg.”

    * Although there’s something to be said for sleeping with the crush of someone you loathe, if you and the crush in question are both so inclined anyhow. Made college life more interesting, for sure. (One day, I will ramble in print about my suspicion that Aphrodite Areia still manifests in a lot of places, but society doesn’t recognize or admit to most of ’em.)

  249. Bogatyr,

    My wife is a librarian at our local library here in the U.S. Southeast and her career mission is basically a library of things. Has been for years. She’s already managed to get several novel items onto the shelves for checkout including puzzles, games, and sewing machines. Hand tools and even some small power equipment (think circular saws, orbital sanders and the like) are on the list too.

    The next phase of her plan has almost reached completion as well. The basement of her library just underwent major remodeling to create a “maker space,” ready for hands-on workshops, more equipment for checkout, and even a USDA certified kitchen.

    This is definitely an idea whose time has come!

  250. JMG You have said that Sara needs very specific foods and these are not ready available in lots of places. However they are easy to find in Providence. What kind of stuff are you talking about? My little town in MN has an amazing variety of foodstuffs. Vastly more than when i was a kid. Just wondering if this question is too personal you can delete it.


  251. For those who miss the ADR, there’s a new intellectual in town that discusses many of the same topics, in fact I am a little suspicious that he’s not an ADR reader because, just like the Archdruid, he mentions the ultimate failure of the space race and the decline of supersonic air travel as evidence of Industrial civilization’s decline.

  252. Hi JMG.

    I have been playing in my mind with the idea of undertaking the task of translating Paths of Wisdom to spanish. Partly as another way of studying its contents, and partly because I want more people in my context to get to know your work. What are your thoughts on this?

  253. Hi everyone. Just a quick follow up to the earlier announcement. I just wanted to unpack what I’m doing over at Patreon in more detail.

    One of the main features that all levels of membership receive is essential a monthly newsletter for Founders House Publishing, announcing current and upcoming releases as well as other news. Now, depending on your level, you will get extra info and behind-the-scenes of what’s going on, including books in development and special projects, as well as early drafts and reveals of covers.

    Then there are the discounts on eBooks, and even some free eBooks. Much of this will be delivered as links to our Payhip e-store and discount codes. I’m also offering discounts on paperbacks which active patrons can inquire about.

    There will be other offerings as I get a handle on how things are shaping up, but I want to offer exclusives for loyal Founders House customers and loyal readers of JMG.

  254. I just hope my Scots Gaelic hasn’t been completely lost since childhood.

    Go raibh maith agat Ceannard! Glic-beachd.

    Sigh, just in case, that should translate into English as “Thank you very much Chief! Wise advice.” (With ‘Chief’ being the honorific title given to the leader of a group or organization.)

  255. Still some of my favorites, from the movie Johnny Dangerously (1984) with Michael Keaton:

    ‘You lousy cork-soakers’
    ‘You fargin bastage!’
    ‘You’re a fargin icehole!’

  256. Dear DutyBound, I don’t know the brand name, but the soaker hose I like the best is the kind which is green, flat, and perforated with many tiny holes throughout it’s length. It showers your plants with gentle rain and you get the enjoyment of watching rainbows. The one disadvantage is that you cannot keep little kids out of it. You can turn it upside down to direct water to the roots of your plants. Some draught resistant plants which I would be investigating in such a climate are neem and moringa. and maybe even dates. Palm trees are said to provide high shade to gardens.

    When I lived in the Central Valley in CA, I found that mulch cannot be dispensed with and that timing was critical. Pants and seeds which didn’t get into the ground before April simply did not grow. The best planting time for perennials fall, and seeds would need to go in in March or even February. I have read about the Pueblo, I believe it was, in the Southwest, planting into waffle like depressions which would catch and hold water.

  257. Hello,
    I would like to ask your opinion about stuff I have seen lately over the Internet.
    First there is this really depressing essay by Catherine Ingram relayed on James Howard Künstler’s website:
    It’s long, and reflective as well as quoting a lot of facts.
    Given the abundance of scary scientifical facts, is it likely that the ecological disasters and disruptions to follow should happen before 2100?
    This was the date used in one of the submissions given 2 weeks ago for Love in the Ruins. I am sure the number provided there was not entirely important to the story, which I enjoyed.
    But given the abundance of bad news, is it possible that currently big rich North American cities could become inhabitable before that date?
    Just wondering…
    I would also like to understand, it is often said that coastal wetlands are threatened by sea level rise. But I’d have thought that it would also render a lot of coastal areas back to an uninhabited state, where an ecosystem other than a human city could start developing again, and that somehow the sea level rise would not only make coastlines recede but also turn into swamps some currently drier neighbouring areas more inland. So that the wetlands would simply be displaced further into what is currently inland… Is it just too intuitive, and wrong reasoning?

    Last but not least, there is a series of posts by Dmitri Orlov called the future of energy is bright. It more or less explains that nuclear power is quickly becoming a viable clean means of producing energy. And the expertise is quickly concentrating into rising powers like Russia… It goes as far as to suggest that the nuclear incidents are often manufactured works of propaganda.
    I can’t make head or tails whether he actually means it, is jesting, or is being paid by a handful of lobbies from the same rising powers.

    With all the news out there, it’s hard to make sense of the world!

  258. @Heather in CA

    re: insults instead of fist fights. This is such a great point to bring up!

    It’s a well-established habit in a lot of communities to use inventive insults to avoid actual violence. Lots of species have ritualized combat meant to show off their physical prowess while avoiding most actual injuries or death to combatants – this is also probably where a lot of mating dances originated. In a verbal species like humans, of course this is our ritual combat! And the more actual combat would cost in sword impalements etc., the more florid and creative the insults came to be. My favourite anthropological example is that this is also the original of “Yo Mama” jokes (The Dozens) – African American men would use this to both a) avoid fighting each other, and b) to train each other and themselves to be able to bear a lot of insults without retaliating with violence against their attacker so that they wouldn’t be lynched when they’d finally had it up to here with Racist Joe at the office.

    It’s almost like JMG is some sort of… magic person… who is trying to spread important principles for our society 😉

  259. “Just out of interest, what do you think of lowering the voting age to 16?”

    I’m gonna answer that. It should be raised to 30.

  260. Chuck, thank you. If I ever get out that way, I’ll be glad to take you up on that.

    Pogonip and Graeme, those’ll do very nicely. Thank you.

    Chuck, remember that birds are dinosaurs 2.0, and mammals are therapsids 2.0. We — meaning mamma’s/therapsids — do better in ages of global climatic instability, such as the Permian and the Cenozoic; they — meaning dinosaurs.birds — do better in ages of global climatic stability, such as the three periods of the Mesozoic. Another twenty million years from now, as the last wobbles of the Cenozoic cold snap fade out, I expect them to displace us again, and we’ll go through a couple of hundred million years of being little wary nocturnal critters, being reshaped and made more clever in the harsh school of natural selection, until the global climate turns unstable again and what I suppose we can call metamammals — therapsids 3.0 — rise to planetary dominance again.

    Not-bloody-likely, by Frith, those’ll do. I’ve come to think of “Grawlix!” as a fine bit of profanity all by itself.

    Scotlyn, that would not surprise me at all.

    Patricia, I got mine from Duluth Trading Co., for whatever that’s worth.

    Aspirant, you’ll hear no argument from me.

    KL, got it. Many thanks. Let me assess it and see if it’s close enough to be considered a submission.

    Patricia O, “you absolute partner” works fairly well, too!

    JillN, I envy you that. Most of the drongos who infest American politics these days don’t have that advantage. 😉

    Waffles, so noted! I never read either book — when I was a kid I disliked Dahl’s fiction, though the movie version with Gene Wilder was great fun.

    Jez, those are pretty good! Thank you.

    Svea, both those are worth inclusion. Many thanks.

    Tripp, no shortage of wangdoodles in the latest news from DC, either…

    Bogatyr, fair enough! If my book on the Coelbren does what Ralph Blum’s did for the runes — that is to say, get the idea in wider circulation, and inspire other authors to do a much better job — then I see no reason to consider it a failure.

    Violet, depends very much on the liberal church. Some that I’ve visited would produce no more effect, if put on an important intersection of earth currents or what have you, than a hair salon or a hardware store would have in the same place. As for mages, exactly; the processes of purifying and energizing the subtle body is a particular specialty of certain magical traditions and not even included in others.

    Robert, I forget which character in a science fiction story I read in my youth burst out with “Ye fishes and little gods!”

    David BTL, many thanks for this.

    Caryn, “since there’s no topic, nothing is off topic.” If you weren’t a regular commenter I’d have raised an eyebrow, but as it is, no problem.

  261. Nastarana, JMG, and others: A few more words on “5G”. The 4th-Generation of mobile personal communications is what most of us think of: blended Internet access and voice calling in a single pocket-sized package. The 5th generation is supposed to be the next step: faster data transmission and quicker response-times, combining voice, data, and Internet-of-Things (telemetry and control). 5G is supposed to provide immediate gratification of our every whim… technology-related whims, at least. (Like 3-D printers, which can make “whatever you can imagine”, as long as the only things you can imagine can be shaped from plastic and fit into a half-shoebox.) “Augmented Reality”, in which your mobile device manipulates your perception of the world around you (in accordance with someone’s will, but not your own), will demand sensors in your device streaming data to the application, which turns it around to modify the images on your screen. As an example, you point the camera at the flat tire on your car, and it tells you where to find the lug wrench and jack, etc… or gives you a list of road service companies. Behind the consumer hype, 5G is recognized as requiring great investment in access points, application servers, and internal networking to tie them together, and everybody who wants to be in those businesses HAS TO advertise their enthusiastic support for the program. Intel Corp just announced that they are withdrawing from the 5G handset market, to focus on the core infrastructure. Intel has been driving the personal computing market since the late 1970s (making most of the microcomputers in personal computers, laptops, and 4G cell phones), and I wonder whether they’ve seen through the hype and decided that it’s a game not worth playing any more.

    BTW: I heard an announcement about Tesla producing “driverless cars”, and the image immediately sprang to mind of a storage lot of buyer-less and passenger-less cars!

  262. “(I consider it one of the few blessings that came out of the 1980s that the whole push to metric in the US quietly imploded, ”

    Now that surprises me. I have thought of my preference for the English system as a guilty pleasure and a foolishness; foolish because isn’t the metric system obviously superior?

    And that’s just the problem with it. It has no character, no perversity, no humor.

    Does anyone else share a preference for the English system?

  263. JMG,

    I highly recommend you suspend your TV abstention long enough to view the FOURTH segment of the PBS/Nova documentary version of Bran Greene’s “Fabric of the Cosmos”. It is available for free on Amazon Prime if you have a friend who has access, and I believe you will find it well worth making a one time exception to your rule against TV in order to get a snap shot of just how “magical” things are really getting with the astrophysicists as a major data point to meditate on in counterpoint to “The Cosmic Doctrine”.

    I wouldn’t recommend you make an exception to your avoidance of TV except I think if you pay attention to what they are saying — and, most of all, the major, PROOF pointing to the utterly bizarre origin of the Universe and case for ours being only one part of an infinitely more vast “multiverse”.

    I came away with a sense of mystical awe; my faith in both math and magic both vastly enlarged. For me it was a profoundly spiritual experience, making more clear than ever, that there is purpose to our lives.

    If you do happen to watch that, I’d appreciate your feedback on how that informs your further exploration of The Cosmic Doctrine and your faith in general.

    So, in general, I agree it is best to opt out of the media and the internet, as much as possible, in favor of more classic reading and real experiences. But, every once in a while, (at least once a week for ecosophia:-) I find the internet can strategically add quite a bit of value!

    Thanks again for all you do here!

  264. Hi John,
    Has anyone been able to imagine an entirely different color?
    If I remember correctly, the brain comes up with the color purple under certain conditions of having to make sense of competing red and blue inputs. Could the brain be induced, whether by drugs or by meditation, to perceive brand new colors, or for that matter, brand new sounds, tastes, etc.

  265. I invented my own oath once – “Great Jogging Liberals!”. This was back in the early 80’s when jogging was still a fashionable thing, tho fading. (previously it had been tennis; now its yoga and the elliptical). As oaths and expressions of anger and frustration go, it obviously lacked traction in the collective consciousness when I tried to spread it around. I heard some neighbors using it once when I was in earshot, but there was some mockery involved.

    I think the good, sturdy, long-lasting oaths take hold for a variety of reasons. Never out of fashion are the scatologically-based ones, of course. We’ll always have our bodily parts and functions. Then there are ones suited toward a particular nationality or ethnic group, like the n-word, previously an oath and slur word, now a term of friendship and solidarity within sections of the Afro-Am community. I read where it’s an insult to call someone a “Razvaluha” – a car that’s falling apart as it goes along -in Russia. That makes a lot more sense in Russia than in the USA. Anyway, don’t think these are as long-lasting as the scatologically-based ones. Then there are the really clever, word-play ones, which probably have the shortest life span. It’s like hearing a joke. You don’t really have to hear it again, you just pass it on. Once everybody’s heard it, it dies.

    I imagine a good solid lasting oath just sort of births itself in the collective consciousness, for whatever reason or need the collective consciousness has. It helps if the oath has a certain rhythm, maybe alliteration. Of course pithiness matters.

  266. Dear Mr. Greer – Some random thoughts on profanity …

    a.) It’s interesting how some profanity becomes acceptable, over time.

    b.) Some profanity may be acceptable in some parts of the English speaking world, but not others. Stuck my foot in that a couple of times!

    c.) It’s interesting that boys (usually 10-12 years old) seem to go through a pause where they compete on how many times they can cram the f-word, into a sentence. A few years back, I was quietly browsing books at my local thrift (op-shop) when two young fellows launched into this exercise. I finally turned around and said, “Do you eat with that mouth?” “Do you kiss your mother with that mouth?” Immediate problem solved. Though I suppose I could just have easily have got a shive trough my ribs. Oh, well, I’m old enough to die, one way or another.

    d.) I live in senior housing. Given my demographic, there are FAR more Ladies then Gents, here at the Institution. So I find myself doing a lot of self censoring. (Not that some of the Ladies aren’t pretty salty, but they seem to get a free pass.) Usually, when I’m out of earshot with one of the Gents, we generally are able to swear and spit on the floor.

    Not to be the bearer of bad news (but, just to be the bearer of bad news), Amazon bought Abebooks in 2008. I’m a bit in two minds about Amazon. There’s a lot of independent booksellers out there, who would have gone under, years ago, if they weren’t able to sell their books on Amazon. Lew

  267. @ Barefootwisdom, thank you! I think it could be delightful to live in an ecosophian collective house. That said we appear, sadly, to be rather thin on the ground.

    @ Scotlyn, thank you for your comment! It strikes me that your leftist stances are much richer and more philosophically grounded than mine were when I lived in leftist community and was much more keen on going along with the crowd and sticking it to the man! I agree too that a diversity of viewpoints is extremely important politically since it ideally helps to maintain balance

    Honestly Scotlyn I don’t think that our stances are even really that different and I love how you synthesize your political philosophy with Greek Religious understanding! As for the commentary, I can only wholeheartedly agree which is, of course, why I spend so much time here.

    @ Will J, I look forward to it!

    @ Isabel, the idea of a webcomic regarding occultists trying to date seems particularly choice. As for debates, I totally get that I have a minority taste, and so don’t indulge nearly as much as I’d like. I tend to have the same level of emotional distance towards my own thoughts as I do for my side of a game of chess, and consider them not intrinsic to my self but more like mathematical formulae that is often faulty. And so for me a civil debate with someone who really, profoundly disagrees with my stance is simultaneously illuminating, engrossing, and fun.

  268. I haven’t been keeping up with comments over the past month or more so this topic might have been covered a bit.

    My brother sent me a message expressing his interest in Andrew Yang. This really took me aback because my brother has been extremely conservative in his views and tends to learn towards supporting libertarian candidates. Since the only thing I knew about Andrew Yang was his support of a $1000 a month UBI I said I’d take a look into his policy on things and talk with my brother later about Andrew Yang.

    Some hours later, I didn’t find much else about Andrew Yang other than his support for UBI. What I did find interesting though was that 4chan seems to have gotten behind him, and I do remember another article talking about the support thrown behind Donald Trump from 4chan.

    There’s a pretty good article here from LA Mag about Andrew Yang and his “white nationalist support.” The great point I took from the article was something mentioned quite often within the Ecosophian articles and comments; that there is a sizable amount of the left who have misunderstood what brought Trump supporters together and once again people are banding behind those same concerns, namely being able to afford to live within a society which no longer provides the tools/resources to function within it’s current parameters.

    I’m not really a huge fan of UBI but if it might help empower people to break away from the regular thought on issues and develop some new alternatives, it could be a great instrument for change if implemented for a period of time.

    Anyways, I just thought the article might be useful in helping to develop ideas in further essays here. Thanks!

  269. @Will J: Ugh! Yeah, there are certain wings of the feminist movement I can’t deal with, for similar reasons. My own direct clashes are usually about the fact that I do enjoy wearing makeup (hey, if it was good enough for seventies glam-rock guys, it’s good enough for me) and miniskirts and not being loved for my mind on occasion, among other things, but I also have friends who’d really like to be stay-at-home-moms, just like some would prefer to be stay-at-home-dads, and the amount of flak the former get is bizarre and annoying.

    Like, I, myself, would never want to have kids, let alone spend all day with them, just as I would never want to be a CEO or even a manager, skydive, get married, or run a marathon. But plenty of people, of all genders and ages, do some or all of those things, and many of their lives seem to be better for it. (Fewer, I would say, in the CEO/manager case, but I’m biased.) As long as nobody’s saying that women have to make certain choices, or that all women innately want Option A and those who choose B, C, or D are wrong/broken/doomed to regret it later, I don’t see how feminism comes into it any more than it does the fact that I don’t like eating hard-boiled eggs.

    But as you say: descent into parody. I consider myself a fairly hardcore feminist in most situations, but then…this. (Also the ones who use “womyn” and “herstory” as spellings and try to get me to buy into the notion that having a uterus and the inconveniences that go with it is a special myyyyyyyyystikal sisterhood. Or systyrhood.* Like, wasn’t feminism about getting away from the idea that we were defined by our “wombs” and the attendant hysteria? Sigh.) I’m sorry that your friend’s having to deal with this balderdash, though.

    * Gender roles in rituals don’t bug me, though it’s not what I’d do were I designing one. But there’s a definite subculture that seems to be the dubious combination of passed-down-by-telephone-game versions of Dianic Wicca, Precious Moments figurines, and the YaYa Travelling Pants Sisterhood pop culture, and it makes my teeth hurt.

  270. Time for some Endgame spoilers:

    Trump gets an amendment passed & ratified allowing all American citizens to run for president. Melania Trump becomes the first female & first naturalized immigrant POTUS. The Donald will become the first transgender First Lady (yep). The Republican Party goes fully liberal & what’s left of the Democrat Party becomes the Alt-Right Party (the parties switch again).

    Just kidding? 😉

    (If anyone wants to run some divination on this, let me know what you find.)

  271. Fake medical terms that are used by medical professionals to say unflattering things about their patients (or other doctors/nurses/etc) would make great alternative insults/profanity.

    See for instance:

    My personal favorite is “fecal encephalopathy”, aka [feces] for brains.

  272. Yeh I was in favour of lowering the voting age (I think what would probably happen is the only 16-17 year olds who would vote are the ones who are already quite politically savvy), though I’m sympathetic to arguments that it would debase the civic responsibility of voting. Anyway, I’ll be mulling that one over…

    The other thought constantly on my mind is over marijuana legalisation. Here is NZ we are to have a referendum on its legalisation next year. Now in principle I’m in favour of the legalise then restrict the supply approach and treat as a healthcare issue, though I’m rather interested in the arguments Bristih Journalist Peter Hitchens makes. They are roughly summarised in this article:

    I entirely agree that cannibis is not a harmless drug and we should not be naive about it, Though he argues that the War on drugs was never actually properly fought (in the UK context)

    In what I’ve read of him so far, I think he misses the deeper spiritual reasons people are addicted to drugs (of any kind). Drugs in my view are a substitute for a loss of meaning in ones life, as the faustian dreams slowly die. The mess of drug abuse is fundamentally about the decline of the institutions and traditions of the west, and the lack (so far) of any meaningful replacement. this might explain the lack of willingness to prosecute drug users, all we are doing here is suppressing the symptoms rather than dealing with the causes.

    If people had more meaningful lives there would be far less need for drugs. Big centralised states are also in the long run, a poor means of everyday law enforcement (except of course for the most serious crimes). community enforcement is more effective, though local authorities in any part of the western world are chronically underfunded and their powers restricted by central government.

    So legalising and restricting supply might not make things better overnight (that will take a more concerted effort), though even assuming the supply can be stamped out, I think people will find other equally harmful ways to wreck themselves to cover the loss of meaning in the declining faustian society.

    (finally Hitchens points to the success of Japan and Korea in stamping out drugs, though I’d argue they are a more mature spittle culture, compared with the west…- you might have a comment on this…)

    Anyway, sorry for rambling a bit, I’m just trying my thoughts in order…


  273. @ David BTL

    Re Democrats and the status quo

    The political roles are reversing and I’m interested to watch this play out. A Democratic party that supports foreign military adventures, free trade, open borders, globalism, and forgoes working class voters is a brave new world. So is a Republican administration imposing tariffs, promoting economic nationalism, threatening to bring troops home (I wish there was more success here), and seemingly recognizing the limits of American power. I think your right various politicians will realign themselves to these new realities just as Southern Democrats moved to the Republican side in the 70s and 80s.

    I’ve heard other people I know suggest Biden-Harris, and I haven’t heard any other ticket proposed. Other than ticking the female and black boxes, though, I’m not sure about Harris’s appeal nationally. Her record here in California is very progressive (which I use to distinguish her from the traditional left). Maybe that’s enough. However, seeing as the Democrats will win California even if Curious George is their nominee, wouldn’t it be better to pick a running mate from a contested state or area of the country?

  274. 5G uses both millmeter and existing LTE frequencies. However I am hearing that mmWave can barely get through a door, and as such this part of 5G will only be deployed in core urban areas. Because unless you pack the transmitters in pretty dense, you don’t get decent coverage, and blanketing all of America with mmWave 5G at the needed density is just not economical. Carriers are going to focus mainly on lower frequency 5G because it lets them build out their 5G faster, with these dense mmWave deployments limited to a small part of a few big metros for *show*, at least for now.
    Now granted if you don’t want to be in range of mmWave you might need to move if you are downtown or close to it. I am keeping my eyes on coverage maps though.
    I fall into the camp that while I don’t know for certain, all this EMF can’t be completely harmless… I think there is a connection to the bugpocolypse with existing 3G and/or 4G.

  275. Hi JMG! I hope you’re enjoying this currently wet (but not overly hot!) spring we’re having in the northeast.

    I picked up on something you said to Dante this week and I wanted to ask a question similar to Jason P’s.

    You wrote: “new ethnicities will take shape as they usually do, and skin colors will adapt to the availability of sunlight for vitamin D synthesis — over time, the further an ethnic group lives from the equator, the lighter its skin becomes, due to selective pressures driven by that simple biological factor.”

    Can you please provide, if possible, the source(s) for this claim? I’d be interested to look into it.

    I’ve heard it before but I thought that the existence of the Eskimo and Inuit (who are not light-skinned) disproved it. Also, doesn’t the fact that dark-skinned Africans and Indians can live in Canada and Northern Europe (without developing any noticeable health problems) disprove it as well? This always puzzled me.

  276. P.S. I’m looking forward to taking notes at the completion of this post! I don’t typically cuss in anything I write, but I’m sorry to say it’s a different story when I’m tinkering around the home. I want help lowering my monthly contributions to the swear jar!

  277. When they were really angry at someone, my father and grandfather, who’d been an Army Air Corps officer in WWII and spent time in China, used the term “ying-yang,” and I’ve never encountered anyone else using it that way. My most recent Net search for it turned it up meaning “wazoo” in phrases meaning “lots of.” So as a term of outrage, it was probably very limited, possibly derived from Chinese profanity from the sacred Yin and Yang. But it was lovely: “You ying-yang!!!”

  278. Methylethyl–after hearing my grandmother speak about certain relatives I suspect that some of the people labeled “sorry” by neighbors were called “poorly” by kin who cared about them. I remember hearing of an uncle who never worked much–he was “poorly.” OTH we sometimes forget how much health problems affect ambition and ability. That “sorry” or “poorly” individual may have an invisible disability. I recall reading about the impact of beriberi (vtamin B deficiency) and hookworm (a parasite picked up walking barefoot on infected soil) on the character of poor people in the American South. I’m sure other areas had similar problems.

    If we have moved from simple invective to pointed insults, I am fond of “With a few more IQ points s/he would qualify as a bush.”

    Among young men with poor self control “Yo momma” can lead to violence very quickly. I did some substitute teaching in the local juvenile hall and saw an exchange go from friendly joking to fists in seconds. Of course in that situation the violence was immediately stopped by the guards, Does knowing that the guards will stop the fight make it more likely for one to start?

    Soaker hoses used to be made from heavy canvas–I seem to recall seeing such for sale at some point in the not too distant past–some company specializing in low tech tools perhaps.

    As for planting seasons in the California Central valley–it is getting harder to know when to put seeds or seedlings in the ground. Our winters seem to be shifting to later in the year, with storms coming through in March and April and even early May. Or as a friend put it one year–the Pagan chant used to be “The first of May, the first of May, outdoor loving begins today” changed to “The first of June, the first of June, outdoor loving, ever? soon?” Tomatoes used to be a certain garden corp in Sacramento but there have been a couple of years in which nobody I know got more than a few tomatoes and fewer peppers–this may be partly interference in pollination. I do notice that the bees seem to have rebounded a little.

    A large part of the problems of defining race or of defining it out of existence is that, while there are differences between groups of people, no one agrees on what those differences mean. More to the point, averages, means or other mathematical concepts have no real use applied to individuals. Women are, on average, shorter than men, but many individual women are taller than the average man and many men are shorter than the average woman. So, if it is vital to have a tall person for a task you need to specify a height, not a gender. Even if it is true that the average for a given trait is lower in a certain population than the average for the same trait in a different population it makes no sense to disadvantage the entire population since 1) it is unjust and 2) you will waste the abilities of those who do have the desired trait despite being in the population in which it less often appears. And that is obvious without even getting into the question of whether mental traits in particular can be altered by nutrition and other health factors, education, etc. In other words, you have to be kind of stupid to advocate racial discrimination if you truly want the most able persons in all positions.

  279. Hi JMG,

    One question I have had clinking around in my brain is whether the recent disintegration of Venezuela has revealed anything new about the trajectory the Long Decent might take here in the US at a later time. I have followed the events there a bit, and I am less interested in the political regime-change aspect of the situation than in the practical day-to-day realities of average citizens.

    You mentioned in an earlier response that you are going to return to the peak oil topic later on when the time is right, and I suspect you are correct in waiting. For the time being, we have seen hyperinflation in Zimbabwe, and the breakdown of infrastructure in the US territory of Puerto Rico in addition to the nightmare in Venezuela. Are there any specific aspects of these recent examples that seem particularly important or instructive?

    Thanks as always for sharing your insights!

  280. @Tude, thank you for speaking up about 5G, and for providing that link.
    I’ll copy and paste an excerpt from the conclusions of a review of Ukrainian and Russian research on high-frequency electromagnetic radiation (HF-EMR), including millimeter waves. A lot of the research was on therapeutic uses, and I apologize for it being highly technical. I’d link to it, but every time I’ve tried recently it was behind a paywall. The conclusion alone has much more information, including recommendations for health monitoring. The body of research that remains suppressed is simply enormous.
    (Kositsky, N.N., Nizhelska, A.I. and Ponezha, G.V. (2001) Influence of High-frequency Electromagnetic Radiation at Non-thermal Intensities on the Human Body):

    The following means of action of HF EMR at non-thermal intensities on biological systems are possible:
    1) Frequencies of 109 to 1012 Hz are similar to the frequencies of oscillation of protein molecules, DNA and RNA; of membranes and other parts of cells; and of conformational
    transitions in enzymes, which creates the possibility of resonant absorption of HF EMR.
    2) The organism as a whole may have its own resonant frequencies: from living cells to human beings [Sit’ko and Yanenko].
    3) EHF fields, modulated at low frequencies close to the rhythms of the brain, heart and internal organs, have a strengthening action. Modulation at infra-frequencies in the
    range of 5-16 Hz exerts a strongly negative effect on humans and animals.
    4) Absorption of EMF in biologically active points is many times more effective than in other parts of the skin,and this energy influences the internal organs and the body as a whole through the system of Chinese meridians.
    5) At the moment of cellular division, genetic information becomes “open,” chromosomes become immobile and far more susceptible to the influence of HF EMR. An external
    resonance field may induce expression of genes connected with cancer and change the program of cellular development.
    6) Manifestation of the effects of EMF depends on conditions of health and age: healthy adults have minimal sensitivity; embryos, children, elderly persons, and those with
    hidden psychological or physical disorders experience significant effects, all the way to lethal outcomes.
    7) Combination with other deleterious factors: ionizing radiation, toxic substances, geomagnetic anomalies and stress significantly increase the effects of HF EMR.
    8) Accumulated discord in the work of cells during chronic and quasiperiodic irradiation leads to confused biorhythms, scattered attention, indistinct phases of sleep and
    arousal; the body is not in a condition to make a recovery.
    9) The effects of HF EMR occur through the hormonal system and immune system with amplification and accumulation of effects; and through catalysts of cellular respiration
    and biosynthesis. These reactions are non-specific, and it is often difficult to connect them with the fact of irradiation by EMF at non-thermal intensities.
    10) Occurrence of a narcotic-type dependency (by stimulating production of endorphins) is possible under regular irradiation with HF EMR.
    Much research in the field of biological effects of EMF makes it possible to define the most sensitive systems in the human body: nervous, immune, endocrine and reproductive.
    These systems of the body are critical. The reactions of these systems must without fail be considered in evaluating the risks of EMF exposure to a population.

  281. I’m interested in reading some of Friedrich Nietzsche’s work but I am a little intimidated since I don’t have a background in philosophy. What would you recommend as an introduction to his works?

    I am asking because your recommendation to start with Carl Jung’s Man and His Symbols was extremely helpful in getting me started with that realm. Thank you very much. I had my mind completely blown multiple times while reading that and the “Wotan” essay.

  282. Dear Mr. Greer,

    I wrote to you a few years ago about an esoteric matter but have since misplaced the email address, to my profound embarassment. My university here in the land downunder is going to host a rather peculiar law conference at the end of the year, looking specifically at law in the end times and how people conceive and engage with the question and ideology of apocalypse narratives (including of course climate collapse) with a particular, but not exclusive, focus on the legal aspect of that ideology.

    I was wondering if you might be interested in submitting a paper or some remarks to be read in person or via video (given the carbon aspect and cost of international travel), or even read by a presenter on your behalf, as the organizers would love to have you. In the interests of not shilling I won’t link the conference’s website without your permission. If you’re at all interested please don’t hesitate to let me know and I’ll pass the details on to you.


  283. Here’s one I have blurted out a few times after minor injuries: “Son of a Nutcracker!” There is something about the syllables that just really work…

  284. @Violet: That Way of the Future stuff is pretty dang weird. It reads like it could be a website for an ARG – I mean, what’s up with the strange use of quotation marks?

    Also, this is pretty ominous:
    “We believe it may be important for machines to see who is friendly to their cause and who is not. We plan on doing so by keeping track of who has done what (and for how long) to help the peaceful and respectful transition.”

  285. Methylethyl, good heavens — I’m completely unfamiliar with the writer in question. I’ll have to remedy that.

    Nastarana, oh, it’s still very much the case, Head for flyover country, and then look for the big gaps between the interstates. You want someplace where the roads are no longer being maintained and cell phone access is fitful at best.

    Phutatorius, Stevenson generally is great for atmosphere. I’ll have to read that work of his sometime.

    David BTL, delighted to hear it. Our reality can be as rich as we choose to make it…

    Jennifer, in Japanese, if you stretch out “hai” (“yes”) long enough in the right way, it means “no.” So there’s a precedent… 😉

    Nestorian, sure, there’s still some of it. If we still followed medieval ways of thought, engineers would not be taught that a falling object accelerates at 32 ft/sec/sec until they had sworn an oath never to reveal that to anyone not of their guild…

    Onething, hah! That’s funny — and if my experience is anything to go by, infinitely Russian.

    Barefoot, that works!

    DutyBound, I don’t happen to remember the brands we used at this point. As for race, remember that that wasn’t even a category in Western thought until the 18th century; ethnic prejudices go way back — the Greek word for everyone who wasn’t Greek was barbaroi, “people who go bar bar bar instead of talking,” and that’s where our word “barbarian” comes from. For colonialism, look into the policies of the Roman empire (the people who invented the word colonia) as a good starting place. As for helping to further worker-owned businesses, I think you have some research ahead of you there, too — you might want to start by seeing if there are any organizations of worker-owned businesses and cooperatives out there, and finding out what they suggest.

    David, yep. The feds are starting to enforce the immigration laws in the teeth of resistance by state governments. I expect to see sanctuary cities facing serious legal charges — as in, mayors and city council members being arrested and charged with obstruction of justice — in the fairly near future.

    Teresa, oh, I know there’s a case to be made on either side; it depends on what your personal needs and talents are.

    Christopher, that makes sense.

    Joel, yep. We’re about due for another round of that. It’s always the nuclear technologies that no one’s tried yet that going to be clean, safe, and cheap; if they get built, of course, they turn out to be dirty, risky, and hideously expensive, just like every other form of nuclear energy, but as long as they’re vaporware they can be painted in, ahem, glowing colors. Once the price of oil starts climbing steadily again I’ll post something about that.

    But you’re not just fantasizing the shift. Things really are changing. I’ll be talking about that in next week’s post.

    David BTL, thanks for this.

    Baboonery, er, can you give me some context for that?

    Jason, a race is defined biologically as a group of organisms that are on average more closely genetically to other members of the same race than they are to any organism of the same species outside that race. (I recommend looking this up in any textbook of animal population biology.) By that definition the things that get called “human races” are not races. The “black race,” just for starters, contains more genetic diversity than all other human populations put together — you have more genetic similarity to a rural Japanese farmer than two next door neighbors in Kinshasa might have to each other. As I recall, several of the books you’ve cited mention that detail.

    This does not mean that human ethnic groups don’t exist. It’s perfectly valid to speak of Japanese and Irish and Tamil and Lakota ethnic groups as biological as well as cultural and linguistic realities, because these groups and many others fit the necessary definition of a biological taxon, i.e., more genetic similarity to other members of the group on average than is found across group boundaries. Thus different peoples really are different, and there are biological as well as cultural and linguistic distinctions among ethnic groups. It’s lumping those groups together into arbitrary categories such as “the white race” and so on that’s nonsense in terms of population biology.

    Will, I’m not even the official moderator of this blog; I just do it. 😉

    Isabel, I have somewhere a list of Regency-era terms for drunkenness, and “bowdlerized” sounds as though it would fit! As for the insults, those are good — and the most colorful and brutal of the lot, you’ll notice, uses not one word that is exceptionable in and of itself. Really good insults are like that.

    Will O, my wife has serious gluten sensitivity as well as a slew of allergies that includes anything made of cow’s milk. One of the few reliable cuisines she can eat is east Asian, since rice has no gluten and cow’s milk isn’t used there. Here in east Providence we’re about six blocks from a fine little Korean grocery, and a modest bus ride from a big and well-stocked Chinese supermarket; to get to anything comparable from our former home required hours on the train.

    Dashui, glad to see someone else exploring that territory.

    Juan Pablo, you’d need to contact a publisher and have them contact Aeon Books to get the rights for it. I’m sure this would be no problem, but it does have to go through Aeon, as they have certain rights in the matter. That said, I’d be in favor of it.

    MichaelR, you’re most welcome. (I’m not even going to try to translate that into Gaelic — my exposure to the Celtic languages is purely to the Brythonic end of the family.)

    Brian, those’ll do nicely.

    Puzzled, 1) there’s a lot of apocalypse fangirl and fanboy stuff out there. The fact remains that the Earth has been through ecological changes far more drastic than anything we can throw at it, and come through just fine. Our species has been through at least one of those — the end of the Younger Dryas climate stage, when global temperatures went up between 15 and 20 degrees F. in less than a decade, and we’re still here, so don’t let yourself get caught up in the cult of despair. 2) You’re quite correct. For example, sea level rise will turn the entire southern end of California’s Central Valley into a vast salt marsh in not that many decades. 3) That’s just bizarre. Dmitri used to be smarter than that.

  286. @Onething: I’ve come to prefer the English measurement system, myself, despite its cussedness. It’s almost a form of synesthesia, I think – divisions of twelves and eights feel more comfortable to me than tens, which feel sterile.

  287. @ Lew

    Re the f-bomb

    Our former Power Plant Manager, who used to work in the oil fields, once used that word as five of the eight parts of speech in a single sentence, all that are possible (missing preposition, conjunction, and article). Rather like a foul-mouthed Smurf. It was entertaining, in a way.

    @ Ryan S

    Re Biden/Harris

    There are many ways to slice that pie, I agree. I see a certain symmetry in that ticket that I think would appeal to the Dems though: east coast/west coast, white male/black female, older/younger, past/future. My guess is that something akin to this will emerge as the ticket.

  288. Jmg
    You are right that the essay is a little disappointing, especially since she dismisses Tom Murphy partly because he is an associative professor when she is only a high school student.

    And another thing, someone here mentioned dmitry orlov’s baffling support for nuclear, and I also would like to hear your thoughts on it.
    My ex-stepdad is a supporter of nuclear energy so I’m interested in any way to explain that it is a bad idea.

  289. Has anyone else started looking into the 2020 Aries Ingress yet? Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, and Pluto are all conjunct, and that has me a little worried. In the case of Canada, that’s in the second house, so it seems to predict a financial meltdown, but someone’s going to have that stellium in the 1st, and someone else will have it in the 10th.

    I’ve just started putting it together, but it looks like it predicts a truly horrendous year.

  290. Joel Caris,

    I don’t catch enough news and opinion outside of this blog to really have a feel for which political tides are shifting and which aren’t (looks like next week’s post will help with that!), but I have noticed that at least SOME of the Dems I know are about to make good on their recurring threat to expatriate.

    I just recently did a side job for a construction-challenged friend, helping them get their house ready for sale. The wife has recently quit her location-specific job with my wife at the library and is focusing on teaching English online. They’ve been talking about moving to Costa Rica for a few years now and may actually be pulling the trigger soon. Maybe the idea that Trump is going to be re-elected, and this isn’t all just a temporary nightmare, is starting to sink in?

    Apparently the husband’s parents, and quite elderly grandparents, are also expatriating, though none of them to the same country! Bizarre. And every time I was over there working all I got was an earful of how Trump’s doing this heinous thing or that deplorable thing. I mostly nodded and mumbled a lot of mm-hmm.

    Meanwhile…my Trump-voting neighbors were busy taking breakfast and flowers to their mothers next door for Easter. One of them is running for city council and an important item on his agenda is getting a recycling program going in our county again.

    Noticing the Mrs. Meyers dish soap in his kitchen window and, far more importantly, the absence of an AC condenser sitting by their house, I can’t help but wonder, what the actual frack is happening to the Democratic Party??

    But that’s just my .02

  291. I would just like to say that I have thoroughly enjoyed the adventure in circumlocution we have been taken on over these last few days. Many excellent examples to use at the next sight of disagreement.

  292. @ JMG

    Alas, Gamble wasn’t a writer, more’s the pity. I think more of his work would have survived that way. More of a professional local character, in Florida. Played the guitar and told stories. There are a handful of little snippets of him around on the internet, and the Gamble Rogers memorial society keeps his albums available. They’re a mixed bag: like many performers, he only reached true greatness in front of a live audience. Died back in the nineties, trying to save a man from drowning, and still looms large for a man who left so little behind– lots of things named for him in central FL. My parents still recall sitting around a campfire with him back in the day, as though it were an encounter with John Henry, or Paul Bunyan. That kind of man.

  293. Hi John Michael,

    Thanks for the reply, and as to the question you raised in turn, I just don’t know the answer. The Green Wizards down here tend to feel that the grid may become intermittent in the short to long term due to the closure of base load power generators, and that in itself will be a complicated situation to navigate. Dunno. We’re an adaptable species though.

    Just to chuck in an old school phrase from down under: Don’t be a galah! Now everyone knows that a galah is a pinkish hued bird of the parrot family that spends a bit of its day mucking around. I’ve seen them here swinging around upside down on tree branches, or landing on the worm farm whirly bird and getting spun around and around. The birds here are extraordinarily communicative and they will warn me if a fox is around. Of course they also expect me to do something about the problem. And I can recognise a few of their alarm calls to one another. Even the chickens call out to one another if there is predator around.

    I’ve heard the word Drongo used a long time in the past, as in: Don’t be a drongo.

    Incidentally, I never thought that I’d see the word: wangdoodles here!!! Funny stuff.



  294. @ Cliff, have you read JMG’s Weird of Hali novels? If so check out this article: the pictures of the founder of the World of the Future are picture perfect for how I’d imagined an adept of the Radiance. Even without the reference too the interview made me laugh out loud several times. It reads, to my mind, like a rather heavy-handed Onion article.

    That said, it probably is something of a big deal in a historical sense that Progress has chartered a straight up church. I imagine it won’t be the last.

    @ Joel Caris,

    Fascinating perspective! If I may, my thought is that the Leftist Future has run dry. This is a bit hard to explain adequately, but there was once a real tangible dream and real tangible roadmark’s to achieving those dreams. Unfortunately, these ostensible dreams haven’t shifted much since the 1960’s! The “all-in-together-now” mentality, the focus on identities, the focus on safehouses, the focus on Revolution!

    Recently I stumbled upon a project that I think exemplifies this so well: The production values are great! The house looks amazing! The values are to my mind extremely noble.

    I quote from the video: “The work of defending and healing living things from systems of violence feels more urgent than ever.” This sums up the basic ethos of the left. But the thing is, leftists don’t tend to have issues with ‘fascists’ getting punched, they don’t have issues with pouring urine on conservatives, or pepper spraying MAGA-hat wearers, or calling out their friends for being “problematic”

    These noble ideals really only work if humans are better than humans are, and so instead of unity there is division, instead of safehouses there are personal homes, instead of Revolution there are careers. One could perhaps rather cynically compare the focus on extreme minorities as an equivalent of the “scraping of the barrel”.

    I’ve personally born witness to this sort of dysfunction. I’ve done backbreaking labor to build someone’s personal equity while they claimed that they were creating an inclusive land project, I’ve known communities were the folks who had literally devoted the past 30 years of their life have been booted for having too pale of skin. I’ve seen the fallout from feckless polyamorous experimentation, race-baiting, and selling-out rip communities to bloody shreds. Indeed, leftists seem to be quite good at coming up with their own, alternative systems of violence!

    And what’s worse is that this all adds stupidity to iniquity; these strategies *lose* and the Right has been able to capitalize on these vulnerabilities quite skillfully. The Left has increasingly lost its political power, and people on the Left know that. I imagine that we’re going to see a lot of perplexing behavior in the years ahead spanning from the most unlikely people declaring “conservatism *is* the new counterculture!” to some measure of pointless violence, conversion to extremely conservative religions, and a good dollop of madness, alcoholism and suicide.

    Metaphorically, the boat of the SS Liberal is no longer heading towards the iceberg, it’s been hit hard and the prow is lifting into higher and higher into the air as the lower chambers fill. People are scrambling into lifeboats, grabbing anything that can float, or else defiantly standing on board the shifting ground, a bottle of whiskey in their hands, saying “history is on *our* side; look on now, we are ascending on high!” as they rise upwards and more vertically over the waves on the deck of the ruined ship.

    So now new narratives are coming into power and coming to define the culture at large.

  295. Onething – Re: the charm of old English units: Both systems of units link volume, mass, and energy through water. One cubic centimeter contains one gram of water (and one calorie raises the temperature of one gram of water by one degree Celsius). One pint of water weighs one pound, and one BTU raises the temperature by one degree Fahrenheit. But the English system is also linked to human nutrition: one pound of grain contains enough energy for one day’s work (according to the guest information I saw at an English monastery). So, it’s pretty easy to assess the status of the granary, and the remaining pints of beer when weighing the keg.

    Dividing the base unit by tenths requires a more developed system of weights and measures than dividing by halves (which requires only a two-pan balance). From halves, we get sixteenths: sixteen cups to the gallon, 16 tablespoons to the cup. (Accurate measurement of tablespoons might be important for buying salt, and herbs, as well as cooking.) Given one standard inch, it’s easy to divide into 1/2, 1/4, 1/8, 1/16, 1/32, 1/64 scales. (As an amateur machinist, I do care about 64ths, but usually work in thousandths of an inch, with modern tools.)

  296. Hey Nastarna,

    Thanks for the reply – I’ll see if I can find those soaker hoses.

    It is a little too humid here (Arroyo Grande – 10 miles south of San Luis Obispo) in the summer (fog from the ocean) for dates to fruit well (they mold/rot), and I also worry about their shade for my winter garden since they are evergreen. After a brief look into both neem and moringa, it appears that they both are not at all tolerant of frost, which we do get for a couple weeks out of the year, so I think I will keep looking.

    I do have more options than many though – my property is sheltered from strong winds and the groundwater table is only 5-15 feet deep depending on the season, so perennials (except those with the shallowest of roots) tap the groundwater after only a few years of summer irrigation. Very fortunate for me. And yes, I am on the fall planting train for perennials.

    I am already religious about mulch too, so no problem there, but thank you for the reminder about timing. I need to get better about that.

    I’ve read about those waffle gardens too, but the little experimenting I have done suggests they work better in the summer monsoon conditions that the Southwest has. I have had problems with water-logging in the winter, and since I am not flood irrigating they don’t provide as much benefit during the summer.

    Thanks for all your advice!


    Thanks you for the tips. I didn’t actually realize the origin of the concept of race was so recent, that is very helpful to know on its own! I will certainly look into the policies of the Romans, thank you for the tip. I was hoping for some non-Western examples, but I can dig on my own for those.

    I’ll put my research hat on for the worker-owned businesses too!

    Thanks again!

  297. RPC, Nestorian, JMG, and absolutegalore – I’m trying to tie together a couple of threads here…

    Absolutegalore asked about “collapse-proof” occupations, and speculated that many services that one could offer could just as well be done directly by those who need them, rather than hiring assistance. One way to keep that from happening is to keep “trade-secrets” about how the service is provided. Suppose you offered to sharpen knives, scissors, saws, chisels, plane-blades, etc. You would have a certain amount of capital equipment (abrasive stones of varying size and grit, maybe rotating grind-stones and blade-holders), consumable supplies (oil, soap, water), and some sort of workshop space (whether a building or a push-cart). You would also have ways of verifying that the edges were properly shaped, obscure sources of specialized supplies, training, skill from experience, and a public reputation (“brand”). Each of these factors could be barriers to the entry of competition, whether from DIY customers or would-be specialists in your field. Keeping secrets is strategic.

    Conversely, if you’re on the buying end of service transactions, you’d want to discover and disseminate trade knowledge as widely as possible, to ensure a pool of workers who could be played off against each other to negotiate the lowest wage. Promulgate the idea that trade secrets are BAD, that education is what one needs to get ahead, and that, once educated, one need enter into the employment of someone who has the capital equipment to become successful, and you’ll have a ready supply of applicants to keep the factory humming.

  298. Dear Will J., about your friend who is fortunate enough to be able be at home with her children, whatever happened to the notion of boundaries? And why is it apparently, I guess, I don’t move in those kind of circles, verboten or Not Done to ask or request or even insist that folks MYOB? Now, maybe I am too much of a tit for tat kind of person, but if someone has shown they have no consideration for my feelings, or my status as an adult who makes my own decisions (in consultation with spouse or partner back when I had one ), I tend to think I need not be overly concerned with theirs.

    Dear Grebolucities, I knew there was a reason I have net been to a Dr., except for a prescription for penicillin for an abscessed tooth, in over 20 yrs. I don’t much care for the idea of my inevitable death enriching the medical establishment.

    Dear RyanS, the Democrats consider counting electoral votes beneath them, as witness 2016. If Rove gets to make his own reality, then they figure they can do it too. I think Klobuchar is in fact running for VP, and she can, I believe, carry most if not all of the Midwest and be competitive in states like PA. She, while not presidential material, would make a good VP, someone who is presentable, not dumb, able to travel abroad without appearing like an idiot or being offensive.

  299. patriciaormsby – Re: 5G.

    First, I want to clarify some numbers given by your sources. The phrase “109 to 1012 Hz” should be read as “10 to the 9th power to 10 to the 12th power”. The “9” and “12” should be superscripts on the 10s, but these little formatting details get washed away between systems. A better way to convey this information would be to say “1 GHz to 1 THz”.

    Also, as a ham radio operator who uses High Frequency (HF) radio waves, I want to recognize that the term “HF” has changed its meaning in the last decade or two. Originally, as radio was being invented, “High” frequencies were those between 3 and 30 MHz. Then technology advanced, and we saw “Very High Frequencies” (30-300 MHz), then Ultra-High Frequencies (300-3000 MHz), Super High Frequencies (3000-30,000 MHz, or 3 – 30 GHz, a/k/a microwaves), and now Extremely High Frequencies (30-300 GHz, a/k/a mmWaves). On modern usage, “high frequencies” seem to start at the top end of the old “UHF”, as people may have gotten confused about the order of “very, super, extremely, and ultra”. That’s a long way around to saying “don’t worry about the HF radiation from the big wire in my back yard; it’s the OLD HF that I’m radiating.”

    One of my concerns about 5G is that it requires a lot of capital investment, which (as I wrote earlier) is attracting lots of attention from the infrastructure suppliers. But such infrastructure is probably to be built-out with borrowed money, with the assumption that people will increase their spending on mobile Internet services to pay off the loans. That’s asking a lot of the world’s consumers, who are already taking on debt to maintain their status quo.

    One other concern is that, while 4G location-based services tell “the Internet” where you are, photos and video from a mobile device, feeding AI image recognition “in the cloud”, can identify and locate anything and anyone who happen to fall within its gaze.

  300. absolutegalore –

    One more idea on “collapse-proof” occupations: First, minimize your own expenses, which should be obvious, but I see shops all around filled with goods that I can do without, traffic all around filled with cars that are more ego than transportation, and houses all around that are mal-investment rather than shelter.

  301. I called someone a ‘divot’ a while back, because it sounded right, but then I looked it up and realised it means a ‘small clod of earth’, so it was the right word after all.

  302. DutyBound – On racism in ancient history, we should understand that slavery predates African slavery, as described in this article:

    According to a radio interview I heard, when slave owners realized that light-skinned slaves (e.g., “Slavic” peoples) could escape and blend into a light-skinned free population, they sought to import slaves who would be easily recognized, and created a myth that dark-skinned Africans were inherently unworthy of freedom. Thus, racism was created to justify a business opportunity. More background on the pre-transatlantic slave trade is here:

  303. David btL, Onething, and whoever,

    I’ve heard a possibly apocryphal story that back during the Soviet Union days, the big boss came for a visit to some big workshop and was appalled to find how much the workers were cussing. So he instituted a strict ban on obscenity in the shop. The next month, he found that productivity had gone way down. When he investigated why, he found that the workers didn’t actually know the names of a lot of the specialized tools they were using, and had built an elaborate vocabulary of terms for all of them, all based on the Х word (that is, the Kh word), which has about the resonance and versatility of the English f-bomb. Deprived of their vocabulary, they were just fumbling…

    (I may upgrade that “possibly apocryphal” to “probably”; it just sounds too good to be true.)

  304. Dear Puzzled, Mr. Orlov seems to have fallen off some sort of an edge lately. He has an article up at Russia Insider

    about how Northern Europeans can’t get along with anyone else and this must be a genetic characteristic. Among other nits I could pick, and I am no professional historian, Belgium is not Protestant. I could go into this at length, but I would rather leave that to those who are a bit better informed than me. Suffice it to say that the differences between the alleged peacefulness of Russians and those aggressive North Europeans can easily be explained by geography and environment, limited farmland and the need to go to sea and develop boats and seafaring skills. I guess Mr. Orlov is good at what he is good at, but history isn’t his field.

    For what it might be worth, I am inclined to think that the happening place in the world right now is the countries around the North and Baltic Seas, including Scotland but not England.

  305. Late to the event as usual here — Patricia Matthews, was it you going through the stress of your cat’s failing health? If so, I want to express my sympathies for what you are going through with your cat. It sounds as if Spot is lucky to have you during this transition.

    So I saw a new word today, “thundersnow”. It compelled me to write this short poem:

    Ode to Thundersnow

    Once upon a time, I was born in Chicago
    Had many opportunities to move to a warmer clime
    But for reasons of family, work, and mundane cashflow
    You’ll find me among ice storms in late springtime

    For if Chicago is a person, they’re a little queer
    Perhaps the best word to describe them is a portmanteau
    The only way to deal with them is to relax and crack a beer
    Sit back and enjoy the thundersnow

  306. John, thank you for this “reassuring” answer. You are talking about the species as a whole… However the current set of arrangements is what will go away. I was just wondering about that, not about the survival of our species in general.

    Regarding profanity, in French it used to be taboo to swear in the name of God (“Dieu”), so that got replaced by “Bleu” (blue). This is how we ended with

    Parbleu ! (Par Dieu, by God)
    Palsambleu ! (Par l’sang d’Dieu, by God’s blood)
    Sacrebleu ! (Sacre Dieu, Holy God)

    Nom d’un chien !
    Nom d’une pipe !
    (In the name of a dog, or of a tobacco smoking pipe. You get the idea behind)

    “eu” pronounces in French like the “e” in the English “the” when it is followed with a consonent-starting word (like when you say the train) just that we don’t lower the end of the vowel.

  307. JMG,
    Just finished Dreamlands and it is a great 4th part of the story. I am truly enjoying the series! Thank you!

  308. Blue Sun-
    Regarding environment and skin darkness it’s not about “sunlight” in general but Ultra-Violet light exposure specifically. Snow reflects UV quite well, hence snow blindness. High altitudes also have less air to block UV. My understanding is that melanin level is a tradeoff between skin cancer and vitamin D deficiency…

  309. @Onething & Cliff
    The US customary measurements are based on human sizes, whereas the metric system is based on the size of the earth and the evolutionary accident that we have 10 fingers. Since I am human, and not 0.0000178 % of the distance from the Equator to the Poles, I too have a preference for the English system of measurements. A mile is mille passus, a thousand paces by a Roman Legion; an inch is the width of our thumb; an acre is the amount of land plowed in a day by man and horse (so it varies wildly with the terrain.), and a pint is the amount of beer that will stay cold while you’re drinking it. The Metric system is only “better” when used to manipulate numbers.

    I always maintain that if there had been an Intelligent Designer, we would have had 12 fingers, since 12 is a much more useful number than 10.

  310. They need young apprentices. French language and appropriate visa is probably required.

    snips from articles:

    They are also beginning to expand abroad, with more compagnons seeking placements overseas – and some foreign apprentices joining

    The Compagnons du Devoir are a secretive, UNESCO-protected band of artisans, with medieval origins.

    The name “compagnon” translates to “companion,” relating to the brotherhood between members and the shared identity of a movement that, today, encompasses around 12,000 permanent, active members. Professions usually fall into one of five “groups,” depending on their principal material: stone; wood; metal; leather and textiles; and food. Within these groups are bakers, clog-makers, carpenters, masons, glaziers, and many more.

    in French, website was down when I tried:

  311. JMG, I find your views on American boomers one of the most interesting (¨they inherited so much, and left so little¨). Still, their sun is setting. What’s your take on why boomers turned out to be such a self-centered generation?

  312. Gnat or anyone,

    ” and, most of all, the major, PROOF pointing to the utterly bizarre origin of the Universe and case for ours being only one part of an infinitely more vast “multiverse”.”

    Can we clarify something? Tossing around the assurances of a multiverse is one of my pet peeves. The word universe, by definition, means everything that exists. As I understand it, multiverses are by definition never going to be verifiable and are entirely imaginal, and as I understand it, are well liked by atheistic materialist types because it gets around the problem of the improbability of the one and only universe attaining such perfection.

  313. I was raised with the classic Norwegian-American suite of exclamations. “Uff da,” kind of like “oy,” can mean a lot of things, usually surprise or resignation: “Uff da, look at the size of that fish!” or “I had to park six blocks away and walk in the rain, uff da.” “Ish da” is the equivalent of “gross.” “Fy da” takes “ish” up a few notches to mean something like “for shame!” or “nasty!” “Nei da” is an exclamation of denial or disbelief, and finally “Ish da fy da fanda” means something like “dirty disgusting devils!”

  314. John—

    I realize you had predicted that this was going to happen, and I completely agree it was likely to be the typical course of events, but the turn of discussion on the leftward side of things re Mueller and now Rosenstein is both astonishing to witness as well as rather depressing. It is all: “he/they dropped the ball”, “he/they just want to cover for the President”, “he/they have failed in his/their duty to the country”, and the like. Quite a long fall from being lauded as champions of the republic and the saviors of the nation.

  315. Isabel,

    “I also have friends who’d really like to be stay-at-home-moms, just like some would prefer to be stay-at-home-dads, and the amount of flak the former get is bizarre and annoying.”

    It’s not so bizarre when you see that much of feminism isn’t about understanding the female sex and their needs and proclivities and making room for that, but rather stems from a deep-seated feeling of inferiority to males. So it ends up being a kind of anti-feminism. You’re approved if your goal in life is to be as similar to males and have as few specifically female desires as possible.
    It’s very sad that the babies will not get the care from a mother, grandmother, father or other close relative. No matter how good the daycare it isn’t the same. And the mothers miss out on what is a precious and unrepeatable time.

    In Sweden they don’t accept babies into daycare until 15 months of age. They think an infant has a right to its mother, although they divide the time somewhat with the fathers as well. So there is a very feminist society that has not forgotten its truly human values.

    It’s the pretense, and the pressure it puts on women to pretend that being a woman doesn’t matter, being a mother doesn’t matter, having a family life doesn’t matter, having a menstrual cycle doesn’t matter that turned me off of feminism years ago.

  316. In our present national discourse, “race” seems to me to be bound up inextricably with “culture” and “language,” as if there were some sort of inherent biological connection between these three things.

    However, a century of anthropological work on Native American peoples has shown that there is no inherent correlation at all between biological ancestry, on the one hand, and either language or any other aspect of culture such as religion or social order, on the other. This is especially apparent in the Native Americans of the Pacific Northwest, from California up into Alaska.

    A considerable number of “prehistoric” waves of Native American immigration through and into that area left it filled with considerable genetic variability.

    Also several major families of Native American languages are spoken throughout the region, which appear unrelated to one another; if these linguistic families are related, they diverged form one another so many millenia ago past that linguists are still trying to puzzle out the “whether” and the “how” of their interrelatedness.

    And finally, the same region is also home to a considerable number of quite distinct Native American cultures, both material and intellectual (including religious and magical cultures).

    Now here is the most important fact that has been established for this part of North America. Groups of Native Americans that share the close genetic profile may, and often do, speak languages from quite different language families; and contrariwise, speakers of languages in one and the same family may, and often do, have quite different genetic profiles. And the same is true for the cultures of that region as well: any given group of quite similar cultures in that region may, and often will, encompass groups of Native Americans whose languages belong to different families, and/or whose genetic profiles are divergent from one another.

    This very massive body of data, collected by anthropologists from Franz Boas down through his immediate students (such as Edward Sapir, Alfred L. Kroeber, John R. Swanton), and eventually confirmed and supplemented by anthropologists trained in many different schools of Anthropology, has decisively refuted the hypothesis that there might be any inherent connection between biology, culture and language.

    And the implication of all this data for any notion of biologically different “races” is simply this: “races,” however they might be defined, have no inherent connection whatever with human cultures and human languages. (Please note the word “inherent” here: accidents of history may largely separate groups of people for millenia, who then develop different social institutions, cultures, languages, religions, etc. But these developments have no inherent connection with the genetics of the people that make up these groups.)

    What was firmly established for the Pacific Coast of North America applies in principle to all other regions of the world as well. This is why almost everything one might be tempted to say about “racial” differences is gong to be false, particularly if one wants to assert any sort of inherent connection whatever between genetics and other aspects of culture and civilization. (Again, please note the word “inherent” here.)

    And that brings us back to Jung’s observations on how the land shapes the people who have lived on it for generations and makes them resemble one another more and more over the centuries, no matter how long ago they arrived there or where their remote ancestors lived. It is their land that seems eventually to mold them, as well as their languages and cultures–not their genetic ancestry.

  317. Wow, BB,

    Your attitude toward cannabis is so far from mine I don’t know what to say. I do take a bit of offense at your constantly referring to it as ‘drugs.’ And to speak of drug addiction! Also, I don’t recognize the right of governments to tell people that they cannot use a substance which is an herb. To me, drugs are things that are to at least some extent manufactured.

    I find it common for those in your mindset to assume people use entheogens because their lives lack meaning. They wonder why default reality is not good enough for them. Well, let me ask you, if you saw in black and white, and an herb could remove the blocks in your brain which constrain at all times to default (rough and ready survival mode) and let you see in color, what would you say to someone who asks why black and white isn’t good enough?

    I do think people use various substances, like cigarettes, various drugs, and even snacking, to damp down feelings.

    Just speaking of cannabis. I had an issue of extreme anger with someone and I tried and tried for over a year to forgive them, said I did, understood exactly how and why I should, and yet I could feel the anger in my gut. I felt that letting go of it was very important for my own physical health, yet I couldn’t do it.

    Under the influence and while calmly enjoying a beautiful nature video, the thought suddenly came into my mind to imagine what it would feel like to be on the receiving end of my rage. I was sickened by it and saw everything in a completely different light. It no longer mattered what her deeds were and it didn’t excuse them. It was simply that no more than I would get mad and stab or hit someone with a two-by-four, would I ever feel right about emoting rage at anyone.
    This is an issue I had worked on unsuccessfully my whole adult life. In other situations I didn’t hang onto anger (I actually calm down and feel sheepish) but I am slowly learning, since that day, to interrupt the process of losing my conscious mind and reacting to triggers.

  318. @ Will J Do you know what kind of entity told this woman her tree must go? Was it health and safety? A neighbourhood association? Local government? National government? Other? Reports of tree-cutting for no rational reason are increasing.

  319. On 5G again, this just arrived in my in-box.

    Verizon Communications Inc.
    “We are subject to a significant amount of litigation, which could require us to pay significant damages or settlements.”
    “Our wireless business also faces personal injury and consumer class action lawsuits relating to alleged health effects of wireless phones or radio frequency transmitters, and class action lawsuits that challenge marketing practices and disclosures related to alleged adverse health effects of handheld wireless phones. We may incur significant expenses in defending these lawsuits. In addition, we may be required to pay significant awards or settlements.”
    I always figured we’d be back in the dark ages long before they started singing this particular song. It seems there’s a burgeoning number of angry consumers, and that the non-consumers are no longer such a cinch to discredit.

  320. Latest trend – senior suicides, according to Kaiser Health News via the Albuquerque Journal. (Will send it to you snail, John.) I vividly remember this blog’s comments on this subject, with some people saying two contradictory things at once. To wit: (1) That Boomers were so self-indulgent, mass suicide parties would be next; and/but (2) Old people were the useless self-indulgent beasts who ruined everything for their juniors and would be better off dead. [Remember my repeated statement, phrased in high-archaic English to express disdain, “I do not intend to put a period to my existence to please you.”]

    The article is a lot more nuanced. One person mentioned early in it, age 77, was in a nursing home with Stage 4 throat cancer, awaiting chemotherapy when he got out. His children were “alarmed at the lack of care in the center.” One said (are you listening, S.W.?) “I am too old to still be living.” The ones studied were in long-term care, assisted living centers, and nursing homes.

    The suicides are presented as a problem that needs to be squelched ASAP, with tight supervision etc. Yet – Stage 4 cancer, facing chemo, which can be nasty, in a facility so bad it “hands out pills to patients who can’t swallow.”

    Sometimes the “Never Say Die” of the profession goes too far, I think. My cat is being/ will be given more mercy than that old man.

  321. JMG: I’ve been meaning to post this for a long time. Many ages ago you mentioned listening to “Merlin’s Time”. I checked it out and have loved it ever since. There is something deep within me that walks those roads that mark the boundary between worlds.

  322. Nastarana,

    The flack is apparently mostly coming for her in-laws and one of her sisters. She has told them to mind their own business if they want to see her children, but she has said that total strangers feel entitled to comment on her life choices. It’s really quite strange to me.


    That explains a lot of the weird issues I see in feminism! Thank you for that, it makes so much sense of an otherwise utterly inexplicable mess.


    Someone with the city. Their exact status was unclear, but when she said no, a police officer eventually showed up with paperwork saying it had to go.

  323. Onething-

    I am specifically talking about the abuse of various substances to the point where personal health/ family/ community relationships are hampered. It was really Hitchens article I had in mind when I wrote the comment (I am referring to ‘drugs’ in the same sense as him). I am not saying substances are always taken simply as a means of blotting out reality. I drink tea, coffee and alcohol for example, (a ‘drug’ or ‘substance’ whatever you want to call them), not to blot out reality but because they can help me enjoy my day to day life.

    I think to say a substance (or drug) is bad in itself is an unnecessary puritanical approach. Legalise Control the supply i say, but lets not pretend Cannabis is harmless (depending on the strength of the Cannabis of course)

  324. @LatheChuck, Thank you for that correction! I’m not even sure superscripts made it properly to the pdf I have archived. I was looking at it and feeling a bit puzzled, but in too much of a hurry to give it sufficient thought. I’ll make a note of that.
    The pulsed modulation of a wi-fi signal from a relative’s computer, that I could hear using an Acousticom meter, struck me as roughly 5 Hz. I’ll have to listen again with a stopwatch. That would put it within the range of what these researchers concluded was particularly biologically active.
    I’ve never had any trouble with handheld ham radios. It seems to be pulsed digital signals that cause the most trouble to people who have become sensitive like me.
    My father was a ham with an antenna in the backyard. He had been a radio technician right after WWII and worked with radio equipment all his life, and he was also one of the first cases known to the medical field of Reiter’s syndrome, an autoimmune condition that mimicked gonorrhea. I asked him how many years after he started working with radio equipment that he came down with that, and he looked at me suspiciously because he knew what I was thinking, and said “five.” I just nodded. Five years was about the length of time the Russians were reporting for symptoms to start showing. But that was military facilities. I see no problem with ham as long as you know what to watch out for.

  325. JMG,

    I hear that. Seattle is my hometown, and it’s gradually killed off the things that put it on the map and made it appealing; I no longer recognize anything. Following the terrible news of the crane collapse, I had a look at its chart (the 1865 incorporation chart, not the 1851 we just landed on the beach chart – the latter is a conception, not a birth), and it turns out Pluto is currently stationing retrograde conjunct its sun. Little wonder then the title Seattle is Dying. I haven’t been recently but I wouldn’t be surprised if the feel in the streets is infused with plutonic energy.

    Will J,

    Search for pretentious_username’s comments here about the 2020 Aries Ingress using Google. I’ve referred back to his commentary several times about that and the 2020 Cancer Ingress (particularly as it affects Beijing!) on these pages:

    You asked which countries might have that Capricorn stellium in the 1st or 10th houses. That would be Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay, and French Guiana with all four in the first house; Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, Yemen, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia, Georgia, Kuwait, Qatar, Kenya, Tanzania, Madagascar, Oman, United Arab Emirates have all those four in the tenth. Of those, Oman and UAE also have Moon in the 10th, indicating the people’s sentiment will be with their respective heads of state.

    I should caution though that it may not be the countries where all four planets are in the same house that see the most upheaval. Obviously these energies manifest against a backdrop of whatever is going on at the time, but in addition to that fact, if both Saturn and Mars are in the same house, they may, depending on circumstances, tend to cancel each other out. Mars conjunct Saturn can feel bursting with awful tension but it moreso because it all gets retained, rather than released. Syria’s chart, for example, has Mars conjunct Jupiter conjunct Pluto in the 10th, and Saturn is in the 11th. Then again, this is capital-M Mundane Astrology. Saturn and Mars both have very exacting meanings in the tradition, which aren’t the usual Mars heats things up, Saturn cools them down seen in natal astrology, medical astrology, and the rest.

    This is the guide I use:

    On the bright side, these malefics are in the signs of their exaltation and dominion, respectively. That makes them far less dangerous. And the Greater Benefic, Jupiter, tends to lend good fortune to a situation no matter what it’s doing.

    We have a lot of time between now and then to review old charts against the history that actually occurred following them, so we should have a better handle on what this means by Aries and Cancer season next year.

  326. Hi JMG and all,

    My entry for the ‘Love in the Ruins’ competition:

    Can a twisty Trader and a reclusive Master Archiver make a long distance relationship work in post-industrial Australia? Red doesn’t know but he’s willing to walk through spinifex desert to sweet talk the Canyon folk into seeing things his way and win his man.

    4800ish words


  327. @ Lew

    Re the diagramming of sentences

    I’ve forgotten the particulars of that skill, alas, but I can give you the basic structure of the sentence in question:

    “That smurfy smurf has smurfing smurfed us—smurf!”

  328. @ Will J

    My heart goes out to your stay-at-home friend. When our first child arrived, I quit my (thankless customer-service) job for full-time childrearing and housekeeping. It had always been my plan– after all, why have kids at all if I wasn’t going to raise them? At the beginning, I’d get the raised eyebrow, mostly from my mother and MIL. But at this point, two years into homeschooling and expecting our third any day now… if they still have opinions on the subject, they’re mum about it.

    Perks of hanging out with a mostly-conservative, mostly-religious, heavily-immigrant social circle: I rarely get any flak about this choice. I get lots of compliments about how well-behaved the kids are. To my mind, they’re perfectly ordinary little boys (with all the good and bad about that), but the pathologies of the wireless-screen-devices-from-birth generation are making themselves obvious by now, and the difference between these “normal” kids and mine (no wireless devices, all screen time is supervised, limited, and heavily curated) is startling. And depressing. There are few things more dismal than an eight-year-old boy who has no content in his head that doesn’t relate to playing Fortnite.

    For what it’s worth: this internet stranger is cheering her on. And if she can stick it out for a few years and raise reasonably well-behaved well-adjusted kids, the flak tends to go away. It’s worth it. I never, ever think “gee, I wish I’d stuck the kids in daycare so I could keep my crappy customer service job…”

  329. Just an update on my Love in the Ruins submission. Due to unforeseen circumstances, I had to shut down my website yesterday. I am hoping to get it back up and running in the next month, but for now my submission won’t be available. I look forward to reading everyone else’s in the meantime. Thanks to everyone who took the time to read it and comment while it was available!

  330. Book recommendation: food for blogging? Mind, Modernity, and Madness, by Liah Greenfeld. Bottom line: modern society is driving us nuts, and it’s now throughout the public sector.

    Most telling excerpt “19th-century scientists who helped found our first mental institutions and wrote at length about their patients. They understood that they were seeing new disorders, and some of them saw how the difficulties of coping with the newly modern world were making their patients crazy. And because they had no formal training such as therapists and psychologists must undergo today, nothing stood in the way of their observation and record of what they saw before their own eyes.”

    I repeat, “because they had no formal training such as therapists and psychologists must undergo today, nothing stood in the way of their observation and record of what they saw before their own eyes.”

  331. Many of these insults are colorful, but not exactly biting.

    If I possess true contempt for someone, I’ll simply say he’s useless. It’s one of those that sinks in as you think about it.

    If I want to tank someone’s reputation, the phrase is “what can I say that hasn’t been said?”

    Sometimes my ire is mild. “The less said, the better.”

  332. Kimberly Steele – yes, I’m the one whose cat, spot, is undergoing a decline of uncertain length. He’s comfortable at home; I’ll let him be, but will urge him to eat. Thanks.

    Patricia Mathews

  333. I was raised hearing that the Democrats were the party of war. Seemed reasonable–Wilson got US into WW I, Roosevelt got US into WW II, Truman got US into Korea. Kennedy/LBJ into Vietnam. Then it flipflopped and the Republicans took on the warmonger label with Reagan’s intemperate remarks about the Soviet Union. But truthfully the military industrial complex has both parities firmly in its clutches. Weapons manufacturers deliberately spread their plants over many states so that almost every congressional district has a factory or a military base that is a major employer that it would be political suicide to vote to shut down. Back in the 80s Congress had to devise an eleaborate system to shut down obsolete military bases in the US. Basically they had the Pentagon submit a list based on certain criteria. Then the entire list had to be voted on, with no argument about each individual base. It was the only way to get past the deadlock of each representative defending the fort in their district that was built to conquer the local Indians in 1865 or to keep the British from invading in 1805.

    Bruno–why are boomers so self-centered? A number of factors. One, largeness of generation–institutions had to scramble to accommodate our numbers: suburban communities to house us and our parents, schools to educate us, youth athletic leagues and other programs to amuse us. We became a huge market for popular culture: clothing, music, films, toys and games and fads. In many cases our parents wanted to indulge us. They had lived through the tail end of the depression and the war years with economic hardship and later rationing. We were going to have the childhoods they had been denied. We were going to have toys, and security, home encyclopedias and music lessons, education uninterrupted by having to help support a family. We were also burdened with expectation. We were going to use science to reach the stars, we were going to build a peaceful world–no more World Wars on our watch.

  334. Drongo – a loanword from Malagasy, this Australian and New Zealand English refers either to a variety of songbird or a stupid or incompetent person. The latter meaning is reputed to come from an Australian racehorse of the 1920’s that consistently finished last or nearly last in races.

    Poop-stick is another kind of fool – an objectionable person, especially a soldier.

    I am deeply grateful for ‘All hat, no cattle’ – a gem

  335. Would be interested in JMG’s views on the Extinction Rebellion protests and the Greta Thunberg phenomenon.
    A small number of writers and thinkers (Cory Morningstar, John Zerzan et al) who have followed the development of the idea of ‘natural capital’ (that is the financialisation of ecosystems) together with the key players in this field and their relationship with major NGOs, claim to have found numerous unsettling connections between them and the recent wave of protest and media coverage of climate change.
    Who projected young Greta to world wide fame, opening doors to the pope, the global rich and heads of state ? Who are the people at the top of XR ?
    Will the further implementation of a ‘state of (climate) emergency’ usher in new forms of state power (as suggested by Naomi Wolf) perhaps with a new financial paradigm ?
    Will the Green New Deal really benefit financiers and tech oligarchs more than ‘nature’ ?
    To someone who has both opposed Neoliberalism and thinks that there is a real and growing danger from climate chaos, what to make of this development which seems to be a ‘neoliberalisation of response to climate breakdown’ ?

  336. Hi Violet, to answer the question you posed, a couple of my closest relationships (including my marriage) were built in part around pretty strident leftist politics, and they haven’t collapsed, though that element is now missing since I’ve moved on, without much to replace it. Other than that, I fielded one terrific tantrum from a formerly friendly acquaintance not long after the election, upon informing her that I’d voted third party rather than for Mrs. Clinton; and that’s really it. (She’s since apologized.)

    The bigger issue for me is that it’s been at this point a years-long head trip. Am I crazy, or did all of these people I used to respect and admire really go off the deep end? Do my friends and loved ones (most still self-identified lefties) really not see it? Do otherwise intelligent people really, honestly believe that Donald Trump was installed as U.S. President by Vladimir Putin to willingly do his bidding in office, or is this all some kind of in-group signaling exercise? In short, did the “left” change, or did I?

    By the way, I should mention that I’ve consistenly found your posts here on JMG’s various blogs valuable and enlightening, and I’m very glad you’re here. 🙂

  337. Lathechuck, thank you for this. The whole “augmented reality” business strikes me as impressively psychotic, not to mention an extraordinary source of vulnerabilities — for example, it should be perfectly possible to use it to erase things from the visual field of those who are using it. I’m thinking of a murder mystery circa 2050 in which the murder weapon was a hack of the victim’s augmented reality gear, so that he stepped out onto a busy street and didn’t see the truck bearing down on him…

    Onething, the metric system is arbitrary, dehumanizing, and soulless. The traditional system is based on the human body and thus does a better job of creating things that are better sized to human beings.

    Gnat, TV addicts always have one show that they insist I have to watch. Sorry, but once you mentioned you were trying to talk me into watching a TV program, I stopped reading your comment. TV bores the bejesus out of me, and it doesn’t matter what the programming is, full stop, end of sentence. That is, by the way, one of the things I do, so you’re most welcome. 😉

    Greg, depends on what you mean by “imagine.” It’s possible to combine the necessary words to create the thought “a completely different color,” and some SF authors have done it — I’m thinking here of David Lindsay, whose A Voyage to Arcturus imagines a world of two suns, one of which has the primary colors red, yellow, and blue, while the other has the primary colors blue, jale, and ulfire. (Wikipedia has an entire article on fictional colors like this.) If you mean, though. actually visualizing that color in your imagination, the way you can imagine (say) bright red? Heck of a good question, to which I don’t know the answer.

    Will, I like that!

    Lew, thanks for this. I was once on a county bus in Seattle when these two young men got on. One of them was telling the other about a grunge concert he’d been to — or, more precisely, one &%$#@ of &%$#@ them &%$#@ was &%$#@ telling &%$#@ the &%$#@ other &%$#@ about &%$#@ the &%$#@ concert. Quite literally every other word out of his mouth was the gerund for which, on this blog, we use “fracking.” When they finally got off the bus, all of us on board including the driver cracked up and laughed until our sides ached.

    Patricia M, you’re welcome.

    Prizm, thanks for this.

    SpiceIsNice, I could just about believe it. 😉

  338. Thought of you yesterday while celebrating a Scottish Rite Mason’s 98th birthday. Something about those guys…

  339. As for the Democratic Party primaries, my sense is that the party leadership would prefer to have Ms. Harris at the top of the ticket rather than Mr. Biden. However, they face two difficulties:

    (1) After the debacle of 2015-16, they are very wary of beeing seen as having their thumb on the scale in the primaries. Biden has already survived an opening salvo of coordinated media hits (that is, their suddenly noticing his touchy-feely creepiness toward women of all ages). Future attacks will have to be highly subtle, and carried out through surrogates while carefully guarding against traceability to the source.

    (2) In the event he does go down, his companion at the head of the pack is Bernie Sanders, whom they most definitely *do not* want.

    I believe they are hoping Biden will gaffe himself out of the race, at which point we’ll be treated to a full-throated reprise of the same media talking points against Sanders as last time around (too old; has supporters who are mean on Twitter; doesn’t get race and gender issues; not “electable”). If that doesn’t happen, at least Biden toes the New Democrat line, and so will suffice.

  340. Finally, while this isn’t quite invective, I’m quite fond of the phrase “dog’s breakfast” to describe an unappealing mess. For example, “Special Counsel Mueller failed to produce a prosecutable case out of the dog’s breakfast of allegations against the President.”

  341. As someone above mentioned the “your mama” variety of insults, I have a somewhat humorous family anecdote to share.

    My brother has two boys, about eight years apart. There was a period of time, when his younger son was in the 10-12 year old phase (he’s 14 now) that he would frequently launch into a tirade against his older sibling rife with “your mama” style insults. My elder nephew would just shake his head and say calmly, “You *do* realize that we have the same mother?”

    Didn’t faze his brother in the least, but it was funny.

  342. Gnat, apologies in advance for this, which is something of a rant directed at more people in the wide world than just you. It’s not meant personally.

    I won’t–I almost can’t bear to–watch any TV at all, no matter what the intellectual rewards of any particular program might be. It could be the single most worthwhile, history-changing program ever to be aired in the history of TV, past, present or future. Even so, I couldn’t physically bear to watch it. It’s not just a matter of principle, and it’s not just stubborn willfulness!

    As it happens, I find it almost impossible to be in any room–in any home, even!–where a TV is running for any length of time without feeling physically ill, almost as if I’m about to throw up or pass out. This is the case even if the TV is in another room and I can’t actually see and hear it clearly enough to know what the program is about. (Waiting rooms are a huge trial for me: almost all of them have TVs these days. And airports have become no-go zones–so many TVs!)

    This has nothing whatever to do with the content of any program. Self-observation suggests to me that it’s the customary rhythms of loudness of sound (and, to a much lesser extent, of brightness of light) that eventually do me in.

    And I have reason to think that there are any number of other people who are affected by TV in this way.

    So it’s clueless at the best, even offensive at the worst, when someone tells us that we really need to watch this or that program, even after we’ve made it clear that we don’t watch TV ever. We have our reasons. Even if these reasons differ from one person to the next, they are very compelling reasons for each of us. I have dropped otherwise very good friends just because they wouldn’t stop urging me to watch this or that program, or look at this list of sites with them on their hand-held device, even after I told them over and over how much I disliked it. It reminds me very strongly of the sort of alcoholic who keeps on urging every non-drinker in his orbit to take a drink, and who won’t take no for any sort of reasonable answer.

  343. Grebulocities, these are genuinely hilarious. I’m not sure if people who haven’t worked in health care would find them as funny as I do, but four and a half years as a nurse’s aide in nursing homes had me literally clutching my sides. We used to see a lot of cases of CTD and PBTB…

    BB, I quite understand the arguments against using cannabis, and I have zero interest in it myself; I’d simply suggest that people have the right to be stupid, and cannabis prohibition has done precisely nothing to limit its availability — all it’s done is provide price supports for organized crime, drive down the quality of the available product, and put a lot of people in jail who have no particular business being there.

    Violet, then it’s CTD in a big way. The fact that they’re admitting that it’s a religious faith shows to me that they don’t quite believe it themselves any more.

    Bue Sun, I’d have to go looking for the sources. You’re missing a core point, thought — “over time.” Lighter skin offers a slight advantage in areas with long dark winters, not a huge one — that’s why it takes some thousands of years for ethnic groups in high latitudes to have their skins lighten, and an equal time to darken near the equator. (The Inuit have only been in the high arctic for about a thousand years, by the way, and I don’t believe we know the skin color of the people they replaced, the Tuniit or Dorset people.)

    Patricia O, I recall hearing “up the ying-yang” from older men a few times in my youth.

    Samurai_47, I’m pretty sure the situation in Venezuela is being made much worse than it has to be by covert ops on the part of the US. Other than that, it’s one possible model of social dysfunction; the Venezuelan government established lavish social welfare provisions at a time when the price of oil was over $100 a barrel, and were caught completely flat-footed when it dropped to $35. Since it was politically impossible for them to cut the welfare system, they spun the presses instead. The US could end up in a similar state, but I suspect what we’ll see instead is moderate inflation, the gutting of the welfare system, and a series of rolling defaults on our foreign debt.

    As for Nietzche, I highly recommend starting with one of the volumes of aphorisms from his middle period — Human, All Too Human; The Gay Science; or Beyond Good and Evil. It doesn’t matter which one. Pick one, and read it a little at a time — it’s a source of some amusement to me, and I suspect would have amused Nietzsche just as much, that these books of his make extremely good bathroom reading. Any one of those volumes, read in short bursts, will give you a good sense of what Nietzsche was up to; all three will give you sufficient preparation to go on to Thus Spake Zarathustra and the slightly crazed books of his late period.

    KZA, if the email address you used to sign in is one you check regularly, I’ll be in contact shortly.

    Samurai, that does indeed work!

  344. @Greg, JMG
    Re: Imaginary colors.

    Color is an interesting topic, and people can confuse the heck out of themselves when they don’t realize that there are (at least) two layers that behave quite differently. I call them physiological and societal.

    As far as is known, everyone with the same visual pigments in the cone cells processes color the exact same way, baring actual brain defects. This has been tested cross-culturally with color matching tests that don’t depend on language.

    The layer on top of this, though, is culturally and linguistically variable. For example, most people reading this distinguish “green” and “blue,” and furthermore draw the boundaries in roughly the same place in color space. There are cultures that don’t distinguish them: this is common enough that researchers have a word for it: “grue”.

    IIRC, Russian and Polish separate blue into two different colors, and do it in two different ways.

    Just to make it more interesting, societal color is not a universal concept: there are some Australian native languages that don’t (or didn’t) have color words. A word that early researchers thought meant “green” turns out to mean a gestalt of characteristics that are associated with the new leaves of a particular plant, for example. That word wouldn’t be used to describe something else that, to us, is the exact same shade of green.

    So the answer to the question is: no, and it depends. One could, for example, carve out the darker shades of red, orange and yellow as a separate “color,” give it a name, and through sufficient practice learn to recognize it unconsciously. Why you would want to do that baffles me.

    @Patricia Ormsby
    Re: Verizon

    The content of those statements is required by federal financial regulations. It has no relationship to what Verizon undoubtedly feels are nuisance suits. Those are pending lawsuits, they’re asking for bundles of money, so Verizon has to disclose them in its financial statements to investors as if it thought they had a better chance than a celluloid cat in you know where.

    Re: Boomers

    They are entirely typical of what Strauss and Howe called Idealist or Prophet generations. They come on with a roar, they shatter the old consensus, and eventually live to see their children reject most of what they stood for. You’re seeing the rejection process in action, since they have no fundamental anchor for what they stand for: they’re an “against” generation. “Against” generations don’t create anything.

    @Berseker, Blue Sun
    Re: Melanin deficiency

    The far northern people, the Inuit, Aleut and similar, get their vitamin D from fish.

  345. @Robert Mathiesen

    I wholeheartedly embrace your rant. As a child, we did not have a TV, and when I encountered them elsewhere, they were hypnotic. I could not look away, even if I was repelled by the program on the screen. As an adult, the flash and rhythm of scene cuts, and the quality of the noise– rapid ups and downs in volume, frequent changes of music, tone, voice (cut cut cut), and the frenetic quality of it all… it triggers migraines. Consistently.

    I get the same pitches everyone else seems to: “Oh, you’d love xyz show, you should try watching…”. What’s baffling is that when I respond “I don’t watch TV it gives me migraines”– I feel like that should stop the pitch dead in its tracks. But 90% of the time, it doesn’t. It’s like they didn’t even hear what I said. I’ve even had someone go so far as to suggest I pop an ibuprofen beforehand– like they do. Times like those make me wish I were better at snappy comebacks. But it’s probably for the best I’m not. The whole thing reminds me of talking to high-pressure salesmen: they’ve got a script they can’t deviate from, and they can’t take “no” for an answer. How exactly does a light-and-noise box convert otherwise normal people into obnoxious used-car-salesmen?

  346. J.L.Mc12, the thing to remember about nuclear power is that it has never paid for itself. No nation anywhere on earth has ever been able to have a nuclear power industry without huge government subsidies. Mind you, you won’t be able to get this through the heads of people who believe in nukes — I’ve found repeatedly that you can explain over and over again that you’re talking about economics, and they give you blank looks and go right back to talking about technical feasibility or what have you. It’s really rather eerie.

    Will, I’ve got it printed out, and it’s interesting but not particularly dire. For the US, Scorpio is rising, so it’s good for the entire year, and Virgo is at midheaven; the Sun is in the 4th, sextile Saturn, a strong position for a populist President, and the ruler of the fourth house cusp, Neptune, is also in the 4th, so the Democrats will get a clue and start to reach out to the flyover-state population they’ve rejected; the radicals in the House (Libra cusp, ruled by Venus, which is in the 6th square the Moon but sextile Neptune, will be in a weak position and will not win much support from the voters; I see no danger of war; the federal bureaucracy will be divided against itself (Mercury, ruler of the 10th, opposing the cusp of the tenth), and so on. I’ll discuss it in more detail when we get there.

    MichaelV, you’re darn tootin’ welcome. 😉

    Methylethyl, many thanks for the data points. I hope there’ll be a big marble memorial at some point.

    Chris, “galah” has been duly added!

    Blue Sun, then the Pentagon really is about to test another secret aerospace technology. I’d wondered whether Trump had given them the go-ahead on the next one of those, since the SR-91 Aurora turned out to be such a white elephant.

    DutyBound, you’re most welcome.

    David BTL, it is indeed!

    Lathechuck, neatly tied.

    Miranda, hah! That’s definitely worth adding to the collection.

    Puzzled, oh, no question, the current set of arrangements will have the absolute puddlemud stomped out of it. If history teaches anything, it’s that the solidly established social, political, and economic certainties of one era are the smoking wreckage of the next. Those people who cling too hard to the existing order will be dragged down by it; those who collapse first and avoid the rush will have a decent chance of coming through right side up and smiling. Nothing new in that… As for French non-expletives, a French character in a series of pulp stories from the 1930s always used to say “Nom d’un nom!” — “Name of a name!” is funny enough as it is, but it’s funnier still nowadays, when it makes me (at least) think irresistibly of “nom nom nom”…

    Jean, you’re welcome and thank you!

    John, that’s good to hear. I know a fair amount about Compagnonnage, having researched them as part of the project of learning about the origins of lodges in Britain, and it sounds well worth keeping going.

    Bruno, they grew up as America was rapidly expanding into a global hegemon, and took the giddy arrogance of those years rather too personally. It’s a source of some wry amusement to me that it looks as though US empire will not outlast them.

    Sister Crow, good heavens. I heard “Uff da!” often enough in Ballard, Seattle’s Scandinavian ghetto, and know a fair number of the jokes that the local Swedes and Norwegians used to toss at each other, but I’d never encountered the others.

    David BTL, have you ever watched the way a really spoiled child will swing from sticky sweetness when she’s trying to get something to shrill hatred when the desired thing isn’t forthcoming? Assume that the establishment end of the Democratic party is eight years old and horrifically spoiled and you’ll be able to predict everything they do with impressive accuracy.

    Robert, thanks for this. One of the reasons I point out that ethnic groups exist but races do not is precisely that ethnic groups exist on a scale that allows the partial overlap of language, culture, and heredity to mean something, while “races” do not.

    Patricia O, fascinating. I wonder if they’re already bracing themselves for the blowback; that’s what it sounds like.

  347. JMG (et al) – A skeptical article on 5G came out in The New Yorker on Apr 26, 2019, by Sue Halpern: “The Terrifying Potential of the 5G Network”. A couple of things in it stood out for me: the cost to build out the network in urban areas (where the population density is sufficient) is “$400 billion”. (Or, we might say, 400 gigabucks, or 0.4 terabucks.) That’s a powerful incentive for anyone who wants to claim a piece of the action, but where’s the money going to come from? The second item is a claim that “5G will be 40x faster than fiber-optic cable service”. If that were true, how would the data get from the access point to the data servers? It’s like saying “my showerhead can put out 40x as much water as the service pipe to my home”. The only way I can imagine truth in the claim is if the fiber-optic system in the comparison is being shared with “N” homes, and the 5G access point is focused on a single user, and the rate is a momentary peak.

    I’m old enough to remember quadraphonic sound (the next big thing after stereo), “AM stereo” (which was purported to make AM broadcasts sound like FM broadcasts, because, you know, “stereo!”, while ignoring the fact that monaural FM still sounds great), mobile phone/Internet via LEO satellite (Teledesic, Globalstar, Iridium), and digital shortwave broadcasting (DRM). Here’s hoping that 5G doesn’t cause too much collateral damage when it implodes… but I’m afraid it might look like the dot-com crash of 2001.

    “We’re a classic MBA case study in how not to introduce a product. First, we created a marvelous technological achievement. Then we asked how to make money on it.” – Iridium Interim CEO John A. Richardson, August 1999

  348. JMG – Re: expressive language: A couple of my friends, one active-duty military, were visiting my little machine-shop to see a project I was doing for them. At some point in the demonstrations, I reached to hang a tool on the pegboard, but the hook popped out of the pegboard and the tool and hook could be heard clattering down behind the tool chest, behind the bench, and behind the heap of off-duty tools and materials under the toolbench. I muttered “I really wish I hadn’t done that.”

    Later, I heard that they regaled our mutual friends with the story of my colorful shop-talk. (So, I used nine syllables when one would suffice. I’m OK with that, if only for the shock value.)

  349. @Robert Mathiesen,
    Thank you, thank you for sharing your experience with TVs! I share the difficulties you face at airports and in waiting rooms. It means self-diagnosis and medication unless I come down with something really scary. It was so bad in one case last year that I had to wait outside and peer in the window for the staff to signal for me.
    I seem to be okay with TVs, but smart phones really make me ill. I recall as a child, though, being able to tell if a TV was on in a neighbor’s house by a very high-pitched whine the CRT produced.

  350. [Posted twice, firefox google interface problems. Trying opera]

    The ounces and pounds we regressives use (except precious metals) are Avoirdupois system.

    I pronounce this ‘av wa du pwa’. Could it be French? Quelle horreur!

    Interesting history:

    Always remember:
    A scruple = 20 grains or one-third dram.
    The tons we use are short.
    A long ton (seldom used) is close to a metric ton.

    The program Convert for Windows will solve some of the confusion. The author seems to have put weight under mass. Does not include scruples.

    An abacus can calculate in base 16 / hexadecimal. This might explain the recurrence of 16 in weights such as ounces. They were a necessary tool of commerce.

    The Romans did not even try to use their numeral system for math. They used an abacus.

    Get an abacus to go with your slide rules. Slide rules approximate, an abacus is precise and will add and subtract.

    How to Calculate Using an Abacus [only mentions add and subtract, there is more].


    If you ever happen to run into a googolth you can find it here:

    ELF and ULF and SHF are here:

    This might help with the 5G stuff.

  351. Jmg
    I know what you mean when nuclear enthusiasts deny any subsidies prop up nuclear.
    It is especially difficult when my ex-stepdad apparently has or had friends who worked in nuclear technology, so when he keeps insisting that there are no subsidies it’s hard not to believe him.

  352. Goedeck and anyone else interested,

    You might be thinking of this website by Steve Coleman, He has written some very useful gardening books and was the founder of Territorial Seeds some years ago. He now lives in Tasmania.

  353. Hello JMG and all,

    I’ve always been fond of “Great Googly-Moogly!” (Who is this Googly-Moogly, and why are They great, I wonder?)

    And apparently, according to a coworker, an edited-for-network television version of the film”Snakes on a Plane” has Samuel L. Jackson spouting forcefully about “…these monkey-fighting snakes on this Monday-to-Friday plane!”


  354. Puzzled–
    “Regarding profanity, in French it used to be taboo to swear in the name of God (“Dieu”), so that got replaced by “Bleu” (blue). This is how we ended with
    Parbleu ! (Par Dieu, by God)
    Palsambleu ! (Par l’sang d’Dieu, by God’s blood)
    Sacrebleu ! (Sacre Dieu, Holy God)”

    Is that why we call profanity “blue language”, or say “swear/cuss a blue streak”?

    Joy Marie

  355. patriciaormsby – Re: Verizon Communications’ potential difficulties with RF exposure lawsuits.

    I wouldn’t read too much into these phrases. They sound very much like the kind of thing that companies always put into their annual reports to shareholders, enumerating everything that might materially affect their financial results, to prevent shareholders from suing them after something bad happens. First, the typical report describes how well the company did last year, and how well it expects to do this year, and then you’ll see pages and pages of hypothetical “risk factors”.

    Here are some such risks, which I’ve translated into plain English, from a company in “the IT-support space”: “we might not be paid on time if the Congress can’t pass a budget”, “bidding for new work is expensive, and we don’t always win the contract”, “some of the stuff we buy to support a bid might be wasted if we don’t get the contract”, “our subcontractors might screw up”, “we might screw up”, “we have competition”, “we borrowed money, and must repay it”, “we might not be able to borrow more money”, “our customers might learn to live without us”, “we might have to cut prices”, “we might be violating patents”, “we might leak private data”, “we might get hacked”, “we might bite off more work than we can chew”, “our customers might pay us late, or never”, “we might not be able to hire the right people”, “the IT services that we buy might get more expensive”, “foreign currencies might fluctuate”, and so on… (pages 11-26 of this report).

    Investors like to see that a company is aware of the risks they face, so presumably they have a strategy to keep the risks at a safe distance.

  356. @ Nastarana

    That’s interesting about Klobuchar, I don’t know much about her. I’ll have to talk to my relatives in Minnesota about what they think of her and pay more attention to her campaign. I think the Democrats have to regain the upper mid-west and that priority should outweigh some other considerations.

    @ JMG

    I’m looking forward to future posts as the election season gets underway detailing why you think Trump will have the upper hand in a contest against Biden. Whoever gets the nomination, I hope their campaign has more to offer than the status quo or Trump probably has an easy campaign.

  357. I do understand that the following is probably biased but it is the only article I have seen that explains what might really be going on.

    How Venezuela Struck It Poor

    I carry a one hundred trillion dollar Zimbabwe bill when I go out. Maybe just a reminder. It no longer has financial value and never had much. They were on ebay 10 for $10 crisp and new, printed to a high standard probably in Yurp. I think there might now be counterfeits because the demand exists but the supply is short.

  358. @Patricia Ormsby

    Theory of mind in birds: add the Australian Raven. I was waiting for a bus a couple of months ago and watching a gang of twelve Sulfur Crested Cockatoos eating a pile of grain on the ground. Cockatoos themselves are about as smart as a three year old human, apparently, and they have a definite social structure with certain members of the gang designated as enforcers (they also have a predilection for getting drunk on rotting fruit and then having wild raucous parties, swinging upside down from trees/lamp posts, but that’s another story).

    Anyway two Ravens flew down to try and get a share of the grain but the four cockatoo enforcers were keeping them off. A rabbit was eating grass nearby who had also been attracted by the grain but was showing a healthy respect for the enforcers as well. One Raven rounded up the rabbit and drove him 10m towards the enforcers who immediately responded with elaborate threat displays towards the rabbit and first Raven. The first Raven kept driving the rabbit back towards the enforcers who were also showing off to each other and egging each other on in their threat displays. While this was going on the second Raven snuck around behind and joined in the feast with the remaining cockatoos who grudgingly made way.

    Sadly my bus arrived at that moment so I didn’t get to see Act 2.

  359. @Violet: Oh my dear sweet pagan gods. I can’t count the number of red lights flashing throughout that article. And yes, Levandowski is 100% a Radiance adept. JMG needs to tell the universe to stop cribbing from his stories.

    Here’s some chestnuts I found:

    “This is a radical new idea that’s pretty scary, and evidence has shown that people who pursue radical ideas don’t always get received well. At some point, maybe there’s enough persecution that [WOTF] justifies having its own country.”

    This is actually a great story idea – a Third World island nation gets invaded by desperate WOTF fanatics. 21st century ecocidal Jonestown promptly results.

    “‘I personally think it will happen sooner than people expect,’ says Levandowski, a glint in his eye. ‘Not next week or next year; everyone can relax. But it’s going to happen before we go to Mars.'”

    I can’t even make a snappy retort to that.

  360. @Peter van Erp: You make a good point. The metric system is good for a technological age, when people want to nail down all the weights and measurements just so. So now a second is defined as so many vibrations of a cesium atom, or what have you.

    In the future we’re headed for, messy measurements like pints and acres are likely to be much more useful.

    I’ll have to run this by my dad. He’s a fan of the metric system, and I think it might make his head explode.

  361. @John Roth an Lathe Chuck,
    Thank you for your informed views on the IT industry. It explains why they are barging ahead with 5G despite awareness of a growing vocal opposition. I wouldn’t put too much stock in their statement anyway, because there is quite a way to go from acknowledging an issue to actually doing anything about it, it’s just that this is the first acknowledgement I’ve heard of from them that there might be any issue in this regard. In the past if they mentioned it at all, it was to claim their service had been scientifically proven safe. OTOH, though, I’ve heard for quite a while that industrial insurance providers have been refusing to cover losses from potential health problems arising from the electromagnetic radiation they use.

    @Tam Hob, aren’t the ravens amazing though! I have seen similar behavior among corvids in Australia, Japan and Canada.

  362. Hi John,
    I was definitely wondering if visualizing a new color would be possible. I believe that mind/body causality runs in both directions, so here’s a possible approach;
    1) Perhaps someone is good at both lucid dreaming and self-hypnosis. If so, they can perhaps induce themselves to visualize a brand new color while lucid dreaming..
    2) If that turns out to be the case on a replicable basis, then hook up some electrodes and see if there are any brain signal correlates to this visualization.
    Perhaps others may come up with other/better approaches?

  363. @TamHob I constantly seeing Ravens being trickers around my area, I’m not surprised they were operating in that fashion. Cocktoos are something special in the way they work as well. They used to systematically go around opening up all the rubbish bins in our area looking for food. You could use all kinds of rocks or ropes to keep the lids closed and they would figure out how to get through them.

    Always fascinating to watch even if we did have to clean up after them.

  364. Regarding Venezuela as a case of collapse, I actually think they are holding together quite admirably given the economic siege they face plus a threatened military incursion if they do not allow a much larger, powerful neighbor to dictate who their president will be and what form of government will be allowed. Actually, I think it goes to prove a point JMG made a while back that in collapse you do not want to be rumored to have gold. Venezuela has not only that, a good portion of which has already been confiscated, but also the liquid gold needed to run modern technological society. A new report describes the results of the US’s sanctions:
    That term sounds just like a little pressure to help the citizens see the light, but sanctions have been every bit as lethal in Venezuela as the violent takeover of Libya under Obama, and who can forget what Madeline Albright had to say about our sanctions on Iraq prior to invading that country.

  365. @JMG: Reminds me a little about the discussion of anger in the last post. My use of profanity in meatspace, as you know, is casual, and pretty much meaningless. It’s what I say for mild emphasis or when I stub my toe, but there’s not much real feeling to it–The Last Ex, right after we’d moved in, heard me cursing up a storm and came in to see if I was dying, only to get a puzzled look and a “…dropped a spoon, you okay?”–whereas if I’m actually being descriptive about what I hate, it’s because I *really* hate it. (There’s like one standard-profanity word that falls into that category, too, and I think maybe two people I’ve used it about.)

    Similarly, and more so when I was young, I have two forms of getting angry. The more energetic kind is either largely performative, ephemeral, or both, like for the moments when people do stupid things on the highway or stand around blocking the subway doors. If I’m being cold, slow, and deliberate, it’s generally *very* personal and lasting: no forgiveness or reconciliation is possible between me and the person I’m talking to/about. I guess I feel like real anger/hatred/contempt merits putting some thought into what you do.

    @Onething: That’s a very different angle on it than I have–I’m comfortable with being a woman, and I think it’s great that other people, women and men and whatever, want to have and nurture kids, but for me? I’ve never had the urge, and the menstrual cycle is like a regularly-scheduled allergy attack, or a week of mild food poisoning, no more and no less. (I feel no need to rage against it, as bodies can do much worse–I’m just glad I only had kidney stones *once*, unlike my father–but it’s just one of those annoying things about mine, like having my face explode whenever I’m near cats, and I don’t see any reason it should have a more special status for me than aforesaid allergies–after all, hay fever has its cycles too!) And I don’t either feel or think that this is feminist pressure (my sister was raised in more or less the same culture I was, and is now a stay-at-home mom and enjoys it) or anything lacking about my life.

    Conversely, I’ve known a lot of men who felt very strongly that they wanted to raise children, and to be very involved in the process–it’s one of the reasons things didn’t work out with at least two of the guys I dated, and probably a contributing factor with a few others–so I don’t think that’s a specifically female trait as such.

    I do think that it’s common in society, and in certain, more annoying, bits of the feminist movement, to devalue traditionally “feminine” roles, such as childcare, domesticity, and so forth, in favor of the more “masculine” things such as competition, violence, etc. That’s not good for anything: not for people who enjoy female-assigned activities or traits and get shamed for it (by aforesaid wing of feminism if female, by guys trying to uphold a “macho” standard if male) and not for balance in a wider society, where all of the above have a place.

    Also, Sweden totally has the right idea, as about so many things.

    @Will J: You do seem to know a *lot* of people who can’t mind their own business, and as someone who’s encountered the same sort of phenomenon from the other end of the spectrum (people taking issue with the, er, less restrained aspects of my sex life, even when they don’t effect said people, the “when are you going to have kids/oh, you’ll change your mind” dialogue), you have my sympathy, and I hope you and your friend can find workable ways to tell aforesaid people to stick their heads in a wide variety of pigs.

  366. Another tidbit in energy/infrastructure news:

    According to the article, the (Democratic) governor is looking to raise the gas tax *by* 45 cents (not *to* 45 cents) from the current 23.6 cents per gallon and implement higher surcharges on electric and hybrid vehicles, all to provide funding for road infrastructure. Unsurprisingly, a vast majority of Michigan residents oppose the gas tax increase and the clean energy folks have argued against the surcharges saying they are a disincentive to purchase electric vehicles. I suppose the roads will have to be fixed using fairy dust or something.

    If my stint in politics (albeit only local politics, but still…) has taught me anything, it is that the majority of people want stuff but don’t want to pay for it. And these are supposedly rational, responsible adults. *Sigh*

  367. Mr. Greer, on your Magic Monday post this week you referred to “the reality wars of the late Renaissance”. Could you please explain, what were those “reality wars”? Is there a non-technical book available on the subject? You are won of the few writers I have come across who can explain intellectual history in a way I am able to understand.

  368. John–

    Re spoiled & delusional

    I keep seeing comments–not as many as before, but still out there–about how HRC won the election and it was just the wrongness of the rules (i.e., the Electoral College) that put Trump in the White House. It makes me think of your discussion of the Radiance in WoH:Innsmouth and how they conclude that it is reality that is wrong, rather than their beliefs.

    Tying in with the rebranding effort I mentioned earlier this morning and its focus on notions of “freedom” and “opportunity”, it seems to me that the Democrats are looking to go all-in with their previous strategy from ’16. (And is it just me, or do the tag-words mentioned in that article sound a lot like those of traditional Republicans from back in the day? I think the party re-alignment we’ve all been discussing in this community for some years now is well underway.)

  369. @ All

    Re racism(TM)

    I realize I’m not of the current SJW generation, being an Xer and all, but how is calling someone “articulate” a racist statement? Apparently, Gingrich commented that he saw Harris as the most likely nominee because she was “very articulate” and “likable”. The comments were subsequently flooded with accusations of racism. (Of course, not voting for HRC was “racist” as well.) I find myself scratching my head on this one.

  370. Hi Justin, the table mushrooms in this case were wine caps (AKA garden giant), but I think of table mushroom as any food mushroom that doesn’t need to be wildcrafted. Regarding the expense of grain, I’ve heard a lot of people make an arrangement with a local cafe to take their coffee grounds off their hands for mushroom food, might that be an option in your case?

    Regarding the church of the AI, it’s worth pointing out that it’s relatively easy to write an Ouija board program these days, and the guts can be made too complex for one human to deconstruct. Personally, I imagine the Googlers believe in their new faith rather strongly…

  371. @ Violet @ Cliff

    Re WOTF

    Good grief. I finally had a chance to look through that article you cited, Violet. That has to be the most asinine, misguided, hubris-laden sack of fecal matter ever proposed. I had a hard time getting through the whole write-up.

    I’m sure there’s a quote from the Orange Catholic Bible here somewhere that’s applicable to this situation…

  372. Hello Chuck Masterson:

    What? Abebooks is owned by amazon? How did you find that out? Is owned by Amazon too? OMG.

  373. JMG: in reply to my comment you said, “…the older I’ve gotten, the more boring I find profanity. It’s just dreary to me, thus my increasing distaste for it.”
    Yeah, I get it I feel the same – yet i find it’s a hard habit to break (at least in public I manage to avoid profanity. mostly.). Anyhow, having reflected upon why swearing is such a hard habit to break, it’s clear that there is a emotional ‘payoff’. Time to do some journaling… (Thanks, BTW, for writing so clearly about the journaling process here and on dreamwidth.).

  374. A friend of mine illustrated the American Left’s attempt to purify the movement and drive out the wrong sort. First, she shared a post about making jokes about white males around white male allies, just to make them uncomfortable. Then, she shared a satire article about Pete Buttigieg’s experience as a white male making him popular with flyover country voters. Finally, she shared an article about Bernie Sanders’ issues with black women.

    She shares these kinds of posts all the time, but I think they illustrate a problem the Democratic party is inflicting upon itself. If they push away “white male allies” by belittling them, and if they decide they no longer require the help of gay men, and if they tear down popular candidates for not being diverse enough, they’re going to come up short in 2020. As a conservative myself, I’ll take the win, but it’s still bizarre to see. It’s like watching the forces of Mordor and Isengard charging my position, but then they turn and fight each other.

    Whether or not it is a good thing if Trump wins reelection in 2020 remains to be seen. I hope the country can survive to see a hopefully more sane and reasonable 2024 election.

  375. Wisconsin David,

    “Apparently, Gingrich commented that he saw Harris as the most likely nominee because she was “very articulate” and “likable”. The comments were subsequently flooded with accusations of racism. ”

    Wow, the backhanded racism here is so blatant! What can this mean other than that blacks and/or possibly other minorities are generally not felt to be articulate? So what is their answer? To bend into endless contortions to avoid mentioning something that inside, they DO think and feel! They are so guilty about it that they are blaming the working class, but it ain’t the working class. It’s them!

    Honestly, love is the answer. Let us love and value one another and different groups and ethnicities for their characteristics and let the chips fall. Let’s stop pretending that the only acceptable thing is for there to be no noticeable differences between any persons ever. While pretending to celebrate diversity! While pretending to celebrate diversity they are terrified of it! Terrified because they might have to admit that some stereotypes have a bit of truth to them and SO WHAT? So what?

    What if blacks do have more rhythm? Can’t we value them for it? They sure have enriched our music and taught us to dance and free up our bodies.

    If we really can just love black people for their lovely talents, and Hispanics for theirs, and Asians for theirs, and whites for theirs, whether its cultural or who cares, we can stop being so afraid of our own shadows!
    And sometimes groups do wrong, and we can call like we see it. But no one should be judged according to their group. That’s oppression.

  376. David BTL – If Newt Gingrich is describing Harris as “articulate”, then I can only assume that the charge of “racism” is based on the accuser hearing “articulate (for a female person of color)”. The fact that Newt said nothing of the sort is irrelevant. “The absence of evidence is not evidence of absence”, when being tried for “racism”. (People made the same accusation against those who noted the “articulate” speech of Obama, by the way.)
    The other possibility is that “articulate and likeable” is just not enthusiastic enough praise… like pushing back from dinner exclaiming that “the meat was delicious”, only to hear from the cook “so what was wrong with the potatoes?”

  377. John–

    Completely random observation, but as this is an open post…

    I observed an OT comment in one of the PW threads about Trump’s White House catering of fast-food (McD’s, Chik-fil-a, etc) and it occurred to me that he is doing this sort of thing intentionally in order to: a) tweak the collective nose of the Good People, and b) to align himself symbolically (again) with the working class average joe/jane. That is, jiu jitsu-ing the disdain that the Good People have for the laboring classes into political advantage. The more I see him do this sort of thing, the more I have to admire (somewhat begrudgingly) his political instincts. I don’t think his opponents even realize what he is doing or how their very vocal disdain of this sort of thing boomerangs back upon them by further cementing his alliance with the working class population.

  378. @ JMG @Robert Mathiesen Fair enough. I’ve spent my ~15 years without any TV (no antenna would work where I was living and I refused to stoop to cable), so I believe I understand – and totally respect – why and how you feel this way. Frank Lloyd Wright Quote: “Television is bubble-gum for the mind.”

    I presume you have no objection to books? The only reason I didn’t recommend the book first is I misplaced my copy (I own literally thousands of books) and wanted to cross-check the contents of the TV. Also, the NOVA episode had some awesome full-color photos and was more approachable for those who didn’t have as much time.

    @OneThing I’m generally very sensitive to use, misuse, and suborning of words. I don’t think the word “multiverse” is a misuse; I think it is a somewhat necessary and appropriate name for a concept which is, otherwise, even more difficult to wrestle with.

    The REASON I dared suggest JMG stoop to watch the one episode is that episode went WELL beyond mere theory on something which was — I previously thought – subject to neither test nor prediction (ergo, by definition, it isn’t “science”…just another faith). Or, put even more glaringly:

    “It’s almost as if science said, “Give me one free miracle, and from there the entire thing will proceed with a seamless, causal explanation.”’17 The one free miracle was the sudden appearance of all the matter and energy in the universe, with all the laws that govern it.”
    ― Rupert Sheldrake, The Science Delusion: Freeing the Spirit of Enquiry

    Well, the breakthrough was when a physicist, playing with the General Relativity equations found a configuration of the existing, RIGOROUSLY tested math/physics which not only explained the source of the “bang” sufficiently powerful to explain the existing universe but PREDICTED, in EXQUISITE detail, exactly what we *should* see in terms of an “echo” from such a bang IF WE COULD REMOVE ALL THE VISIBLE STARS, GALAXIES, ETC FROM THE FIELD OF VISION.

    And, down the road, someone figured out how to do exactly that latter and result was exactly the “fingerprint” which had been predicted. The experiment was the measurement of the cosmic background radiation: the residual heat which should be there IF there was, indeed such a bang followed by — 13 billion years later — the universe we have in front of us to verify for ourselves.

    So now the Big Bang is no longer a mere “theory” — one in a large stack of theories which are, ultimately, untestable. It passed a MAJOR MAJOR MAJOR MAJOR test with flying colors and nothing else can even approach the first test.

    But there is more. If we now accept that there was a “Big Bang” both because we now have the proof and because we now know exactly how the bang was produced…actually inevitable, we are have only pushed the “miracle” back a step, What came before that? Well, it turned out that the math opens the door to that, also: the multiverse becomes now something considerably more than a fantastical idea, it becomes nearly inevitable.

    I’m not going to get into that and I’m not a physicist. I admit the mystery is been solved only to create a deeper mystery. But isn’t that the way of any master plan? And isn’t that WONDERFUL?

    -PS I just bought a book on the math behind General Relativity. It reads like Greek to me. But that would be a pathetic excuse for not pushing myself to upgrade myself in order to try and work through it. I know my friends will think I’m crazy to try — but I’m formulating a plan of approach now. It will take a few years; maybe a few lifetimes. I’ll start by going back and reviewing basic algebra…again.

  379. JMG, here is one of my favorite quotes, from a great mystic:

    “At the end, both math and magic will be unified. Otherwise, you will know you are not at the end.” -gnat

  380. @Isabel Cooper,
    I don’t know how prevalent people like you and me are,who never wanted to have children, but also wonder if we become more prevalent under crowded conditions, or if it just becomes more acceptable to say we don’t want children when conditions are clearly crowded. By the age of five I was already aware that I could never imagine myself having children no matter how my mother insisted that it was the highest ideal and the greatest joy in life. It is that big of a deal among most people and it has to be. I suppose if you don’t feel an urge to condemn people who don’t share your urge to procreate, you don’t feel strongly enough about it to be a really dependable parent. In another age, I might have been a nun or, pressured into marriage, a steely cold parent who traumatized her kids.
    I once remarked to a group of friends who were discussing parenthood that I could not understand how anyone could want to have children, and one with a great deal of insight pointed out how powerfully I wanted to have romance in my life, to share my life experiences with another human being.
    There is frank depression, in which you experience no passions, but I think aside from that, life is passion.

  381. @David, by the Lake

    Re racism of ‘very articulate’, It is a phrase I’ve heard used condescendingly by middle-class people about well presented/highly educated people who were from a group who traditionally did not receive much education. It often had an unsaid ‘for an woman/black person etc’ on the end and the implication that it was also a bit surprising given their background. Also with an aspect of damning with faint praise. Like: ‘Oh, you spent ten years putting yourself through University and have just received a Double Doctorate in Engineering and Economics? Well, you are certainly very articulate.’

    But, yeah. Given the connectedness of things I expect that it’s possible to find a negative association for virtually any potential combination of words.

  382. @ David by the Lake–to describe a black person as “articulate” is regarded as racist because it implies that other black people are unable to speak properly. There was some of this during Obama’s campaign. Somewhat like “complimenting” a woman by saying she “thinks like a man.”

  383. David, by the lake – “articulate” is an insult when it’s made to sound like something you didn’t expect. Tone and context is all. Like “You know, that blonde is really sort of bright!”

  384. @TamHob and Michael IV,
    It was the galahs, those fluffy fools, out at a bore near Exmouth that would open the tap and give all the wildlife in the area a drink, though I'(m sure they were thinking of their own kind. The tap had to be spring-loaded to shut off when they got done.
    But there is something completely different about corvids. I went for a walk at dawn near the stromatolites of Shark Bay accompanied by a young crow (Torresian or Little, I couldn’t tell) who seemed merely to want an intelligent companion. It was like going on a walk with someone whose language you do not know and who stays at a certain distance but you converse anyway. One thing we clearly agreed on was that the chiming wedgebills were utterly charming.
    There was a raven at a campground on Vancouver Island in Canada that said, “Hello” to me, which is unusual in itself, but when I didn’t respond, the bird changed his voice and said “Hello” in several different ways. I’m sure he got food pretty reliably from people that way. But the carrion crows I observed mimicking hang gliders being launched nearby on a windy hilltop in Izu, Japan (one standing atop a flat stone and two at his “flying side wires” cawing encouragement as he slowly spread his wings enough to soar stationarily above the ground with his feet dangling) were doing it for their own amusement, though I’m sure they appreciate the rare recognition they get that way from humans.

  385. Another event occurred today that really does make me begin to question the degree of shared reality we inhabit with others. On one comment thread of a leftward blog someone had commented about a recent editorial cartoon run by one of the NY papers (I forget which), stating that s/he couldn’t believe the paper would print something so anti-Semitic. (The cartoon apparently showed Netanyahu as a seeing-eye dog leading a blind Trump.) Following that comment, there was an exchange that went like this:

    Person 1: I really don’t see how that cartoon is anti-Semitic.

    Person 2: I’m Jewish and you need to apologize right now or I’m reporting you for anti-Semitism.

    Of course, I’m also living in a world where saying that someone is articulate and likable makes one a racist, so I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised by this.

  386. I thought I would engage with one of Violet’s comments from the preceding posting because I, like others, found it particularly incisive and thought-provoking.

    “The entire intersectional analysis breaks people down into surfaces that can have no inner world. Rather it fits people into a predetermined equation of rescuing. So the black man in question was of interest only because he had already been reduced to a cipher.”

    The corollary, I think, is that It also fits people into a predetermined equation of victimhood, perhaps along the following lines: I am of (some) importance because I am such-and such a victim.

    “This in and of itself is magic, the issue though is that this magic through the Raspberry Jam Principle likewise reduces the people who practice it into ciphers, people who have no access to their inner worlds.”

    I think they may have access to their inner worlds, otherwise what follows below is impossible, but they reduce or diminish them somehow. I am reminded of the following, by Jiddu Krishnamurti:

    We must distinguish between the personal and the individual. The personal is the
    accidental; and by accidental I mean the circumstances of birth, the environment in which
    we happen to have been brought up, with its nationalism, superstitions, class distinctions,
    and prejudices. The personal or accidental is but momentary, though that moment may last
    a lifetime; and as the present system of education is based on the personal, the accidental,
    the momentary, it leads to perversion of thought and the inculcation of self-defensive fears.
    (Education and the Significance of Life, 1953, p. 12.)

    This distinction corresponds, I believe, to one of JMG’s comments above:

    Your soul is the awareness that experiences, and it grows in each life by developing a new personality partly shaped by its own previously absorbed patterns and partly shaped by its environment, experiences, and choices. In occult lore we call the part of you that endures from life to life the Individuality, and distinguish it strictly from the personality.

    Krishnamurti’s analysis, though published in 1953, seems to foreshadow the state of the modern academy, where much of the concern of “the present system of education … based on the personal, the accidental, the momentary” leads to “perversion of thought and the inculcation of” victimhood and resentment; just a bit later he will couple “clever self-defensive responses” with “aggressive assertions”. (p. 14) I am focusing on the latter, since we seem to have moved beyond fear to anger, though, as JMG says, anger is a mask for some other underlying emotion, which might well be fear.

    “Identity politics, intersectional politics then are something of an organizational scheme for the makes and models of human nonentities. The identities allowed herein allow for a used car lot model of human existence; “I’m a 1988 model Ford Focus with a beige paint job and faux-leather interior in good condition,” or what have you. How is that any different than intersectional politics?”

    So identity in this sense would correspond to what Krishnamurti and JMG are calling the personal or accidental in the first case, and personality in the second.

    “The thing is that if one is nothing but surfaces, anything that is strongly believed to be true has no place in the decommissioned inner world, it must also be a surface, a part of the make or model, a part of Objective Reality.”

    This is where it cannot quite be true to say that they do not have access to their inner worlds. Instead, as you say, it is decommissioned, though not thereby completely absent, just diminished or reduced somehow. (I’m not sure what the right words are here.)

    “And so the bizarre insistence that other people must mechanically accept others who have adopted elective identities. This is simply a massive confounding of the planes, a confusion of surfaces and depths, because if someone has been so reduced by their acquiescence to a mechanistic worldview that they can have no inner depth, those depths that so clearly exist can only be misclassified as a surface level phenomenon.”

    I think there may be a corollary here as well: if identity is nothing more than intersecting planes, then some of those may be things which others insist on ascribing to one regardless of whether one thinks about them very much if at all (e.g., whiteness, maleness, etc.). In other words, in such a world one has no control over one’s identity, which though always superficial (that is, having to do with surfaces) will nevertheless be considered fundamental.

    Anyway, kudos on your analysis. Are you by any chance familiar with Algis Uždavinys, Philosophy and Theurgy in Late Antiquity? If not, then given some of what I take to be your interests, I would recommend it.

  387. David by the Lake, the cartoon isn’t anti-Semitic, it is anti-Bibi, not at all the same thing, as I think most of us know by now. Word is on the RW sites, if you want to believe it, that the NYT was told to print the cartoon as a sort of warning to I am not sure whom. Quien sabe? All this DS guys fighting among themselves is making my head spin.

  388. @gnat,

    “But there is more. If we now accept that there was a “Big Bang” both because we now have the proof”

    We have observations that save the appearances.

    ” and because we now know exactly how the bang was produced…actually inevitable”

    No, we do not. We do not now know ‘exactly how the big bang was produced’. Who told you otherwise?

  389. @David BTL

    “On one comment thread of a leftward blog someone had commented about a recent editorial cartoon run by one of the NY papers (I forget which), stating that s/he couldn’t believe the paper would print something so anti-Semitic”

    It was the New York Times. Probably nobody would have cared except one of their more hypersensitive zionist columnists wrote a hysterical opinion piece that has been languishing on the front page for a few days.

    I didn’t think it was anti-Semitic at all. It reflected what I see as the truth of the situation in an apt way.

  390. @ the slew of folks replying

    Re “articulate”

    I suppose I can see how one can pervert the word into that kind of meaning, but the man was arguing that he saw her as the likely nominee because she was articulate and likable. It takes considerable wrenching to twist that statement into an insult, in my view. Moreover, Obama *was* articulate and resonant, even if it turned out to be largely vaporware, and it ought not be considered an insult for someone to say so. I can complement someone’s rhetorical ability even while I disagree with the substance of their argument without that complement being intended as an insult.

    I sometimes have to wonder if I’m speaking the same language as these people.

  391. @patriciaormby, I have come to wonder about the theoretical possibility of a future
    metaspecies descended from squirrels. For awhile I had bird feeders set up in my backyard. We have cardinals that live the area and we sometimes see blue jays as well, and we thought that it would be nice to see if we could attract them. We were successful in doing so, but had to stop because not only did we attract lots of bird, but we attracted squirrels as well. On more that one occasion, I saw them jump five feet straight up to get at the bird seed. Clearly there was somebody in there working things out.

  392. John—

    While we are still in the open post, a question for you. I understand you see a jagged, stutter-step kind of future ahead in the general trajectory of decline in the long run, but to what extent do you see our political leadership oscillating between the disruption and dismantling of the status quo (ante) arrangements of power on the one hand and the reinforcement and support of those arrangements (i.e. the US empire) on the other? Post-Trump, whether in 2021 or 2025, do you see us as likely to swing back to someone attempting to shore up those toppling structures, wasting time and resources in the process, rather than adapting to the post-imperial reality coming at us?