atomic_fungus (atomic_fungus) wrote,
atomic_fungus
atomic_fungus

#4314: Well, that was nice.

Yesterday evening I hied myself out to the garage and tried to adjust the motorcycle's chain, and I am convinced that there must be a better way to do this crap.

This year, I have now adjusted the damned thing a total of some five times. I alternate between getting it too tight (so that it makes uncomfortable noises at speed) or too loose (so that it slaps against the swingarm on deceleration). Neither condition is good.

Finally, though, I managed to get the damned thing dialed in so that it was not hitting the swingarm. Whee!

I took the bike out, then, for the first decent ride I've had in months. I had a gander at the road construction, then picked up gyros for dinner, and the chain started out on the noisy side but quieted down as I rode.

Even so, it's probably time to get a new chain. And while I'm replacing the chain I really want to replace the wheel bearings, too.

Maybe next month. Maybe.

* * *

The answer is to never forget that Heinlein was a proponent of free love. John C. Wright discusses the scene in Glory Road where Oscar Gordon is basically required to have sex with all kinds of young women in order to satisfy a backward custom.
There is a scene in Robert Heinlein’s GLORY ROAD, where the hero, Oscar Gordon, is traveling among barbarians from some outer dimension. Their custom is to share their daughters’ love (or wives’) with traveling heroes for a night or two, in hopes of fathering good stock. Oscar the hero unwittingly offends the custom by refusing the copulate with the daughter of the local lord, his host. For this he is tongue-lashed by the heroine for being provincial, backward, rude and stupid; at some personal risk to himself, he returns to the mansion of the barbarian lord, apologizes manfully, commits orgy, fornicates with gusto, and goes on his way with the heroine on his arm, her eyes shining with admiration. This heroine is named Star; the names of the nice young ladies with whom he ruts are nowhere mentioned.
As I recall from my last reading of the book, the character's issue was not with the sex, but with the age of one of the participants. Being a veteran of the war in "southeast asia", he had developed an aversion to having sex with underage females, and one of the girls offered to him by his host was apparently young enough not to have any hair, if you know what I mean. (Old enough to get pregnant, but not old enough to need a Brazilian? Do I understand this?) And that was enough to sour him on the whole idea.

Heinlein often spoke--with considerable disdain--about people confusing their personal preferences with natural law...but he himself did exactly the same thing, time and again.

Now, have customs like that existed in history? Most assuredly. Our modern culture's emphasis on protecting the innocence of children is also not unique, but neither is it commonplace in history. Peodphilia was a feature of the founding culture of western civilization (ancient Greece), and it was scarcely less common in Roman culture. It's common practice in present day Afghanistan for a man to have a catamite.

I'm not saying it's good; I'm just pointing out the relativity of morality, here. Different times, different customs.

I have always thought that the problem in Glory Road arose because Star didn't explain to Oscar WTF was going on. She expected him to know--without being told--what was going to happen when he accepted the landowner's offer of hospitality, and got angry at him when she learned that he'd slept alone. As far as I'm concerned, I think Oscar was sensible.

As the whole scene demonstrates, people are touchy as hell about their sexual mores, and if you don't know what you're doing, you're walking through a proverbial minefield. No one told Oscar it was okay so he took the wisest path and refused the offer. What if he'd picked the wrong daughter? For all he knew, he would have ended up flayed and castrated and set on fire. He didn't know the customs because no one had explained them to him.

It was wrong of Star to have hung him out to dry like that. It was wrong of her to expect him to know, without anyone telling him, what were the customs of the world he found himself in. It was wrong of her to let him accept the landowner's offer of hospitality without explaining the implications to him, and it was wrong of her to be angry at him for making the best choice he could with the limited information available to him.

The whole scene in the book neatly demonstrates Heinlein's prejudices about sexual mores, though.

(That British cover for the book definitely would have sold a lot of copies in the US.)

* * *

Keynesian economic myths debunked.

I am more and more convinced that I am an ad hoc disciple of the Austrian school of economics, if only because everything they say makes sense, and none of the other schools do.

Keynesian economics are right out, though, let me tell you.

* * *

Over the past few days, the symptoms of stress have been lessened. The gut is behaving better and I'm actually getting some f-ing sleep for a change. Believe me, this is helping to make me a lot more comfortable.

It's not going to last, of course, but I'll take whatever respite I can get.

One consequence of all this was me having the energy and mental fortitude to go work on my motorcycle last night. Gee! When you're not amazingly stressed out, you can devote energy to other things! It's a miracle!

*rolleyes*

Right now, however, I find that I am required elsewhere. Off I go!
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