"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up."

Arthur Koestler 


“War Dog’s Coin”

Vox Day fighting evil. Vox Day may singlehandedly save Fantasy as a genre. While this is obvious hyperbole, this short story is a great addition to Fantasy, as is the whole world it represents. Rather than try to reinvent the wheel, Day uses the various fantasy races that we already know and love. (Although only a mother would love an Orc.)

The first story, "War God's Coin," revolves around a grizzled sergeant who wants to survive the next battle, even though outnumbered more than usual. What makes this story work is the good characterizations of the people. Each one “comes to life.” Too many times the characters in Fantasy are all the same and bear a striking resemblance to the author.

I do not picture the Demon Cats this way, but you try to find menacing were cats. The second story is called “Qalabi Dawn.” While some have critiqued Day for stereotyping of Elves, Orcs, Goblins, and so on, I have liked this aspect of the series. But in this story Day has taken the concept of lycanthropy (ability to change into a animal-like creature—as in werewolves) and given it life. In fact, the culture of these desert peoples is so interesting and believable that I am hesitant to call them were-creatures since they are children of demons, just as others in Selenoth are children of angels. Maybe it would be best, although I have great reluctance to call them this, to call them Cat People-or possibly Demon Cats. The creatures are so alien that they are difficult to quantitify and that is a great part of thier appeal. (I was hoping for some wereseals in Selenoth, but I guess I will have to wait for them.)

I am looking forward to reading more about the tribes of the Qalabi and about the conversion of the Sergeant to the priesthood, if I am reading the story correctly.

Note that I received a review copy for this review. 


I Needed This

With all my heavy economic talk lately, I needed this. You might too. 


Yogi Berra Was Right

The debate among the "hard money" types about the near future cannot be settled. It is like Yogi Berra said, "It is difficult to make predictions, especially about the future." 

How can one predict with certainty how a future president or Federal Reserve Chairman will act? 

Peter Schiff thinks that they will print money, and then print some more, and then some more. He may be right. Mish Shedlock thinks that they will not do so because this would be stupid and it may not even be possible. John Mauldin thinks that there will be a crisis, but good ol’ American knowhow will prevail. I have no idea and this is the reason I have been talking about the impossibility of making investments. The reason I do not think that Schiff is right is that I cannot see the "powers that be" doing something so against their own self interest as hyperinflation. My thinking is to combine all these viewpoints. Yes, there will be inflation, but it will not be hyperinflation. Yes, there will be a partial repudiation, not of the US debts, but the Social Security and Medicare promises—especially Medicare. There is really no choice. 

Here is an argument between Mauldin and Schiff at the Cambridge House conference I attended in February. I saw it live and it was a lot of fun! 


Future Shtick

For the last three Tuesdays I have shown cheesy videos from the 70's available on YouTube. I bet you were hoping that was enough. Alas, here is one more. 

Future Shock was a well-received "futurologist" book that I remember reading. Alvin Toffler was the author, and he became best buddies with Newt Gingrich in his later years. Orson Wells was only a shadow of his former self (metaphorically), and his voice was available for productions like this for a reasonable fee.  Wiki describes the term Future Shock to mean "too much change in too short a period of time."

Maybe I should write a book called Future Shtick. I could say things like the Amazing Criswell who in Plan 9 from Outer Space said that "the Future is where we will spend the rest of our lives." Never were truer, or dumber, words spoken. 

Moore's Law states that every two years the power of a computer chip will double and the cost will halve. Thus things that seem like Science Fiction become science fact. I think that eventually this will stop. Compound growth cannot continue forever. As Herb Stein once said, if something can't continue, it won't continue. But for the near term this will continue and us old fogeys will continue to receive more change than we can handle. 

Be sure to notice the height of 1970's technology in this documentary, especially the 8-track tapes! 







There Is No We in US

Lulu was right to be skeptical about Willy's new found community. We humans are herd animals for the most part. If we cannot form an appropriate herd, we will invent one. Thus we invent government as an artificial community. 

When God brought His people to the Promised Land, no national government was established.  There were still institutions that we might recognize as government administrated by the Levites, but no king, no standing army, and no taxes! 

But Israel became afraid and wanted a king like everyone else. In Samuel 8 The Message tells us what God predicted would be the result of this desire. 

10-18 So Samuel told them, delivered God’s warning to the people who were asking him to give them a king. He said, “This is the way the kind of king you’re talking about operates. He’ll take your sons and make soldiers of them—chariotry, cavalry, infantry, regimented in battalions and squadrons. He’ll put some to forced labor on his farms, plowing and harvesting, and others to making either weapons of war or chariots in which he can ride in luxury. He’ll put your daughters to work as beauticians and waitresses and cooks. He’ll conscript your best fields, vineyards, and orchards and hand them over to his special friends. He’ll tax your harvests and vintage to support his extensive bureaucracy. Your prize workers and best animals he’ll take for his own use. He’ll lay a tax on your flocks and you’ll end up no better than slaves. The day will come when you will cry in desperation because of this king you so much want for yourselves. But don’t expect God to answer.”

19-20 But the people wouldn’t listen to Samuel. “No!” they said. “We will have a king to rule us! Then we’ll be just like all the other nations. Our king will rule us and lead us and fight our battles.”

Since humans feel safer in groups this was understandable. But in the analogy I am using it would be like all the sheep getting together and appointing the local wolves to protect them from foreign wolves. Yes, every April 15 every sheep gets sheared. Yes, sheep mysteriously disappear. But we are safe! 

So while there is no way to avoid the shearing this April 15, I suggest a low profile to avoid being a target otherwise. The purpose of "our" government is not the best interests of the people. It is the best interests of the wolves that matters. Hiring new wolves will not help. 

Remember there is no WE in US.