March 10th, 2017

#5485: Yeah, I think I donated my copies.

John C. Wright discusses Heinlein's later works, particularly Stranger in a Strange Land, and finds them wanting.

You know what? When I was in high school, SiaSL was just awesome, but as I get older I find myself utterly uninterested in reading it again. As one commentor opines:
I think I've only read his later books, with the exception of Starship Troopers (these were the ones featured in the book store when I was a teen, I guess). I think this book was the reason I kept on reading him. I'm too soured on him now to read his earlier ones. I've given him more chances to live up to the hype than probably anyone. He never delivered again. The Cat Who Walked Through Walls was nearly unreadable. Farnham's Freehold was idiotic and disgusting (for several reasons). Number of the Beast was four annoying people in a spaceship. Stranger in a Strange Land was blasphemy, heresy, and free-love-hippie-crap. Time Enough for Love was a psychological study of a dirty old man and lengthy arguments advocating incest, prostitution, and bisexuality. All were preachy. I will never be a Heinlein fan.
If those were the only Heinlein books he read, I don't blame him. Heinlein's juveniles were his best work; in his later books he was able to write whatever the hell he wanted to, and it would be a guaranteed sale to a publisher and to millions of Heinlein fans. (Kind of the way George Lucas could slap the Star Wars label on just about anything and sell out theaters.)

I know someone who read Time Enough for Love cover to cover, then re-read it immediately after. We were in junior high at the time. I did manage to read it all the way through once, but damn it's not something I'd waste my time on today.

To Sail Beyond the Sunset was easily his worst work. Number of the Beast--yeah, "four annoying people in a spaceship" is pretty apt. Overall, anything he wrote after coming out of retirement was pretty bad, and the last few novels he wrote before his retirement were also not good. (Looking at you, I Will Fear No Evil.)

There are a handful of Heinlein books I have read only once:
* I Will Fear No Evil
* The Cat Who Walks Through Walls
* To Sail Beyond the Sunset
* The Moon is a Harsh Mistress
* For Us, The Living
The Moon is a Harsh Mistress is the only one which may not belong on that list. I've read it once and wasn't particularly enthralled with it, but that was literal decades ago. I probably should give it another shot. The rest of 'em will not be improved with a second reading.

Heinlein certainly is one of the great masters of SF, but it doesn't mean he's the Second Coming or anything. Like all of us, he had his flaws.

* * *

Warmistas are crowing about the one model which got it right, while ignoring the literal dozens which were laughably wrong. They're saying that this proves global warming is man-made.

Of course, it doesn't prove anything of the sort. If it proves anything at all, it proves that the predictions made by climate models are almost always wrong.

This further ignores the fact that these self-same climatologists have been claiming for the past three decades that global warming was going to be much worse than it actually is, and they themselves rejected this particular model's finding as not being dire enough.

Of course, that's because climatology isn't science.

* * *

"Woke" is just more SJW virtue-signalling and we can safely ignore it. "The opposite of 'woke' is normal. That is, if you're not 'woke', that means you're a normal person living a normal life."

* * *


After having the tree service guy come out and estimate the cost to get that big-ass Log of Damocles out of the tree, I had to hie myself up to Dad's house in order to shut the water off. See, all bills now go to brother-in-law, and B-I-L got a bill for $300 for water.


I mean, if there were some kind of leak, there'd be water somewhere, and now that the drain pipe is fixed and the leaky shower water line replaced, there are no leaks. But $300-- I went up there to shut the water off, and got that attended to; then I met Mrs. Fungus for dinner at a rather nice place. We didn't get home until late.

Tree service showed up at 8:30 AM today. It literally took them more time to get the bucket truck braced than it did to take the Log of Damocles down; two ropes and three whacks with a chain saw and it came down neat as you please.

I reminded myself that $475 was a lot cheaper than having that log crash through the roof or the west wall of the house, which it surely would have done if I'd either waited, or tried to bring it down myself.

"$475 for three cuts with a chain saw," I thought, but in fact knew that the $475 wasn't just paying for cutting the wood. It's paying for the tools the two men used (like the bucket truck, probably about $100,000 new) as well as their time and labor. It's paying for the office the company works out of, and it also pays for the opportunity cost of time that could otherwise be spent on bigger, more lucrative jobs. It's paying for a host of things, all of which a business must account for when doing any kind of service, particularly in such a heavily-regulated environment as Illinois in the 21st century.

And it's paying for a job I cannot do. Not a job I'm unwilling to do, because of laziness or whatever, but a job I am not equipped to perform safely. Hey, if I had access to a bucket truck, I could have done that job--but I don't. With the tools I have I could have pulled that log down, but I had no way to guarantee it wouldn't severely damage the house in the process. And with it hanging there, it had to be taken down soonest; we didn't have the luxury of waiting.

The tree needs more work. There are a couple of boles that should probably be cut down sooner rather than later, because they're dying--thanks for the tree butchery, ComEd!--but they're not an emergency. Tree guys are sending me an estimate. Thrillsville.

We got very lucky that log hung up in the tree where it did. And stayed there until it could be brought down gently.

* * *

Sweeny Todd--

That production was vastly more entertaining than I expected it to be. Having never seen it before, and not knowing the story, I nonetheless figured out who the beggar woman was sometime late in the first act. The confirmation of the beggar woman's identity was a sick-making moment for me, even though I'd expected it. But I did not see it coming, at the climax, when Mrs. Lovett revealed she was basically the real villain of the story. (Spoilers, but the show is forty frickin' years old at least. For crying out loud, it's old enough to require annual prostate screenings.)

Another one of those stories where very few of the characters are actual good guys, I notice, but handled so well it's hard to object to it. None of the bad guys live past the end of the show.

I really, really enjoyed it. I wanted to sit down and watch it again, right then and there.

* * *

Well, it's Friday, and I have errands to run and other tasks to perform. The dishes need washing. I did the laundry. I need a shower and tonight is chili night, so I'd better get cracking.