Did I Do Something?

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Things are slow.dead fish pic

The usual steady stream of comments has – all of a sudden – trickled to almost nothing. And reader support for the site has (just as suddenly) nosedived. No one’s chipped in for three days’ running – and we’re about to close the month in the red (way in the red) for the first time in three months.

If this is a trend, we’re in trouble.

I think part of the problem is my articles haven’t been “picked up” as often by Lew Rockwell and other big sites recently. This has been an ongoing source of frustration. Not so much that Lew hasn’t been picking them up. Rather, that many people will read articles only if they are posted on big sites. Put another way, it’s not the articles, per se. It’s where they are viewed. When Lew posts one of mine, I get a massive influx of (usually positive)… e-mails. Two-thirds of the people will not come to the originating site (EPautos) to read the article, much less come back. They’ll tell you they really enjoyed the article, though.

But it may also be some computer/search engine thing. I’ve been on my own here for going on four months now. It is possible some of the tweaks I’ve made to the site have bolixed up something. The downturn happened about a week ago.

Bottom line, it’s become very quiet around here – and I’m sweating it.

Just thought I’d mention it.

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44 COMMENTS

  1. brutalist libertarian, anarchist outlaw, chinese tazer challenge, liveleaked
    — — — — — —

    Lord of the Ring 1978 Soundtrack (8) – Mithrandir

    Mithrandir, ([miˈθrandir]), his Sindarin name, used in Gondor and meaning “Grey Pilgrim” or “Grey Wanderer” (mith “grey” + randir “pilgrim, wandering man”).

    Portrayal in adaptations

    2003: The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King:

    The people of Gondor call Gandalf “Mithrandir”.
    2012: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey:

    Lindir and Galadriel refer to Gandalf as “Mithrandir”.
    2014: The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies:

    Thranduil and Galadriel call Gandalf “Mithrandir”.

    http://tolkiengateway.net/wiki/Gandalf/Names#Mithrandir

  2. Congress has its eye on Apple’s $158 billion in offshore cash

    by Philip Elmer-DeWitt @philiped JANUARY 31, 2015

    Tim Cook before a 2013 Senate subcommittee, was accused of running the “holy grail of tax avoidance”

    A bipartisan initiative to give Apple’s foreign profits a one-time tax holiday might just fly.

    The issue two years ago, when Sen. Carl Levin brought Tim Cook to Washington for a televised grilling, was $100 billion.

    That’s how much in foreign earnings Apple was keeping offshore to avoid paying a 35% U.S. capital gains repatriation tax.

    Two years and a few hundred million iPhones later, Apple’s overseas cash hoard has grown to $158 billion, and it’s once more in Congressional crosshairs.

    This time, however, the politicians with their eye on Apple’s billions are Apple’s friends: Sen. Barbara Boxer, the California Democrat in whose old Congressional district Apple does business, and Republican Rand Paul, the libertarian from Kentucky who came to Apple’s defense two years ago, calling Levin’s hearings a “show trial” and tweeting that the Senate owed Apple an apology.

    On Thursday, the unlikely duo announced plans to introduce a bipartisan bill they’re calling the “Boxer-Paul Invest in Transportation Act of 2015.”

    They might have called it the “Let Apple Fix Our Bridges” act.

    The bill would give Apple and other companies with large overseas earnings what they have been asking for: A tax holiday. U.S. firms would get a five-year window during which they could pay a 6.5% federal tax on the money they bring home, not 35%.

    The revenue generated would be used to fund the popular Highway Trust Fund, which pays for bridge and road repair across the country and is scheduled to expire in May.

    Senator Orrin Hatch, chair of the Senate finance committee, is skeptical. He points to a study by the Joint Committee on Taxation last year that found tax holidays raise money for the first few years but cost the government more in the long run by encouraging companies to shift even more of their profits overseas.

    “Tax holiday proposals designed to pay for the transportation bill sound great until you look at the details,” Hatch said in a statement to The Hill.

    But the bill might just fly, because 65,000 U.S. bridges and half the nation’s roads are in disrepair, and the alternative is to raise taxes on the rest of us — most likely through a gas tax.

    The Boxer-Paul act would put limits on what Apple could do with its repatriated billions: No dividends, no stock buyouts, no executive bonuses. Permitted uses: Increased hiring, wages and pensions, R&D, environmental improvements, public-private partnerships, capital improvements and acquisitions.

    Philip Elmer-DeWitt. Read his Apple AAPL coverage at fortune.com/ped.

  3. John Irving – How to tell if you’re a writer
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AYvOSrgvCrk

    For John Irving, the need for a daily ration of solitude was his strongest “pre-writing” moment as a child.

    I can’t even bear the thought of posting my pic online and freelancing. I freaking love solitude, and doing things in my own time.
    Whether at work or at a bar, though I’m surrounded by people, I’m pretending to listen while in reality doing my own reading or writing of something I’m interested in and mostly in solitude mode.

    I’m not exactly a writer, but I do require a similar dose of solitude every day, as I continue my alien transformation journey straight out of a Stephen King novel.

    Often times, I am in solitude mode, even when there are many people around. I’m just not really there with them. I care about them existentially. But I can’t really discuss anything the s l o w way they prefer to discuss things.

    GREY MATTER
    They had been predicting a norther all week and along about Thursday we got it, a real screamer that piled up eight inches by four in the afternoon and showed no signs of slowing down. The usual five or six were gathered around the Reliable in Henry’s Nite-Owl, which is the only little store on this side of Bangor that stays open right around the clock.

    Henry don’t do a huge business – mostly, it amounts to selling the college kids their beer and wine – but he gets by and it’s a place for us old duffers on Social Security to get together and talk about who’s died lately and how the world’s going to hell.

    This afternoon Henry was at the counter; Bill Pelham, Bertie Connors, Carl Littlefield, and me was tipped up by the stove. Outside, not a car was moving on Ohio Street, and the ploughs was having hard
    going. The wind was socking drifts across that looked like the backbone on a dinosaur.

    Henry’d only had three customers all afternoon – that is, if you want to count in blind Eddie. Eddie’s about seventy, and he ain’t completely blind. Runs into things, mostly. He comes in once or twice a
    week and sticks a loaf of bread under his coat and walks out with an expression on his face like: there, you stupid sonsabitches, fooled you again.

    Bertie once asked Henry why he never put a stop to it.

    ‘I’ll tell you,’ Henry said. ‘A few years back the Air Force wanted twenty million dollars to rig up a flyin’ model of an airplane they had planned out. Well, it cost them seventy-five million and then the
    damn thing wouldn’t fly.

    That happened ten years ago, when blind Eddie and myself were considerable younger, and I voted for the woman who sponsored that bill. Blind Eddie voted against her. And -since then I’ve been buyin’ his bread.’ Bertie didn’t look like he quite followed all of that, but he sat back to muse over it.

    Now the door opened again, letting in a blast of the cold grey air outside, and a young kid came in, stamping snow off his boots. I placed him after a second. He was Richie Grenadine’s kid, and he
    looked like he’d just kissed the wrong end of the baby. His Adam’s apple was going up and down and his face was the colour of old oilcloth.

    ‘Mr Parmalee,’ he says to Henry, his eyeballs rolling -around in his head like ball bearings, ‘you got to come. You got to take him his beer and come. I can’t stand to go back there. I’m scared.’

    ‘Now slow down,’ Henry says, taking off his white butcher’s apron and coming around the counter. ‘What’s the matter? Your dad been on a drunk?’

    I realized when he said that that Richie hadn’t been in for quite some time. Usually he’d be by once a day to pick up a -case of whatever beer was going cheapest at that time, a big –fat man with jowls like
    pork butts and ham-hock arms. Richie always was a pig about his beer, but he handled it okay when he was working at the sawmill out in Clifton.

    Then something happened – a pulper piled a bad load, or
    maybe Richie just made it out that way – and Richie was off work, free an’ easy, with the sawmill company paying him compensation. Something in his back. Anyway, he got awful fat. He hadn’t been
    in lately, although once in a while I’d seen his boy come in for Richie’s nightly case.

    Nice enough boy. Henry sold him the beer, for he knew it was only the boy doing as his father said.

    ‘He’s been on a drunk,’ the boy was saying now, ‘but that ain’t the trouble. It’s . . . it’s . . . oh Lord, it’s awful!’

    Henry saw he was going to bawl, so he says real quick:
    ‘Carl, will you watch things for a minute?’

    ‘Sure.’

    ‘Now, Timmy, you come back into the stockroom and tell me what’s what.’ He led the boy away, and Carl went around behind the counter and sat on Henry’s stool. No one said anything for quite a while. We could hear ’em back there, Henry’s deep, slow voice and then Timmy
    Grenadine’s high one, speaking very fast. Then the boy commenced to cry, and Bill Pelham cleared his throat and started filling up his pipe.

    ‘I ain’t seen Richie for a couple of months,’ I said.

    Bull grunted. ‘No loss.’

    ‘He was in . . . oh, near the end of October,’ Carl said. ‘Near Halloween. Bought a case of Schlitz beer. He was gettin’ awful meaty.’
    There wasn’t much more to say. The boy was still crying, but he was talking at the same time.

    Outside the wind kept on whooping and yowling and the radio said we’d have another six inches or so by morning. It was mid-January and it made me wonder if anyone had seen Richie since October – besides his boy, that is.

    The talking went on for quite a while, but finally Henry and the boy came out. The boy had taken his coat off, but Henry had put his on. The boy was kinda hitching in his chest the way you do when the
    worst is past, but his eyes was red and when he glanced at you, he’d look down at the floor.

    Henry looked worried. ‘I thought I’d send Timmy here upstairs an’ have my wife cook him up a toasted cheese or somethin’. Maybe a couple of you fellas’d like to go around to Richie’s place with me. Timmy says he wants some beer. He gave me the money.’ He tried to smile, but it was a pretty sick affair and he soon gave up.

    ‘Sure,’ Bertie says. ‘What kind of beer? I’ll go fetch her.’
    ‘Get Harrow’s Supreme,’ Henry said. ‘We got some cut-down boxes back there.’

    I got up, too. It would have to be Bertie and me. Carl’s arthritis gets something awful on days like this, and Billy Pelham don’t have much use of his right arm any more.

    Bertie got four six-packs of Harrow’s and I packed them into a box while Henry took the boy upstairs to the apartment, overhead.
    Well, he straightened that out with his missus and came back down, looking over his shoulder once to make sure the upstairs door was closed. Billy spoke up, fairly busting:

    ‘What’s up? Has Richie been workin’ the kid over?’
    ‘No,’ Henry said. ‘I’d just as soon not say anything just yet. It’d sound crazy. I will show you somethin-‘, though. The money Timmy had to pay for the beer with.’ He shed four dollar bills out of his pocket,
    holding them by the corner, and I don’t blame him. They was all covered with a grey, slimy stuff that looked like the scum on top of bad preserves. He laid them down on the counter with a funny smile and said to Carl: ‘Don’t let anybody touch ’em. Not if what the kid says is even half right!’

    And he went around to the sink by the meat counter and washed his hands. I got up, put on my pea coat and scarf and buttoned up. It was no good taking a car; Richie lived in an apartment building down on Curve Street, which is as close to straight up and down as the law allows, and it’s the last place the ploughs touch. As we were going out, Bill Pelham called after us: ‘Watch out, now.’

    Henry just nodded and put the case of Harrow’s on the little handcart he keeps by the door, and out we trundled.
    The wind hit us like a sawblade, and right away I pulled my scarf up over my ears. We paused in the doorway just for a second while Bertie pulled on his gloves. He had a pained sort of a wince on his face, and I knew how he felt. It’s all well for younger fellows to go out skiing all day and running those goddam waspwing snowmobiles half the night, but when you get up over seventy without an oil change,
    you feel that north-east wind around your heart.

    ‘I don’t want to scare you boys,’ Henry said, with that queer, sort of revolted smile still on his mouth, ‘but I’m goin’ to show you this all the same. And I’m goin’ to tell you what the boy told me while we
    walk up there. . . because I want you to know, you see!’

    And he pulled a .45-calibre hogleg out of his coat pocket – the pistol he’d kept loaded and ready under the counter ever since he went to twenty-four hours a day back in 1958. I don’t know where he got it,
    but I do know the one time he flashed it at a stickup guy, the fella just turned around and bolted right out the door. Henry was a cool one, all right. I saw him throw out a college kid that came in one time
    and gave him a hard time about cashing a cheque. That kid walked away like his ass was on sideways and he had to crap.

    Well, I only tell you that because Henry wanted Bertie and me to know he meant business, and we did, too. So we set out, bent into the wind like washerwomen, Henry trundling that cart and telling us what the
    boy had said. The wind was trying to rip the words away before we could hear ’em, but we got most of it – more’n we wanted to. I was damn glad Henry had his Frenchman’s pecker stowed away in his coat pocket.

    The kid said it must have been the beer – you know how you can get a bad can every now and again. Flat or smelly or green as the peestains in an Irishman’s underwear. A fella once told me that all it takes
    is a tiny hole to let in bacteria that’ll do some damn strange things. The hole can be so small that the beer won’t hardly dribble out, but the bacteria can get in. And beer’s good food for some of those bugs.
    Anyway, the kid said Richie brought back a case of Golden Light just like always that night in October and sat down to polish it off while Timmy did his homework.

    Timmy was just about ready for bed when he hears Richie say, ‘Christ Jesus, that ain’t right.’

    And Timmy says, ‘What’s that, Pop?’

    ‘That beer,’ Richie says. ‘God, that’s the worst taste I ever had in my mouth.’

    Most people would wonder why in the name of God he drank it if it tasted so bad, but then, most people have never seen Richie Grenadine go to his beer. I was down in Wally’s Spa one afternoon, and I saw him win the goddamndest bet. He bet a fella he could drink twenty two-bit glasses of beer in one minute. Nobody local would take him up, but this salesman from Montpelier laid down a twenty-dollar Bill and Richie covered him. He drank all twenty with seven seconds to spare – although when he walked out he was more’n three sails into the wind. So I expect Richie had most of that bad can in his
    gut before his brain could warn him.

    ‘I’m gonna puke,’ Richie say. ‘Look out!’

    But by the time he got to the head it had passed off, and that was the end of it. The boy said he smelt the can, and it smeltlike something crawled in there and died. There was a little grey dribble around the
    top, too. Two days later the boy comes home from school and there’s Richie sitting in front of the TV and watching the afternoon tearjerkers with every goddamn shade in the place pulled down.

    ‘What’s up?’ Timmy asks, for Richie don’t hardly ever roll in before nine.

    ‘I’m watchin’ the TV,’ Richie says. ‘I didn’t seem to want to go out today.’

    Timmy turned on the light over the sink, and Richie yelled at him: ‘And turn off that friggin’ light!’

    So Timmy did, not asking how he’s gonna do his homework in the dark. When Richie’s in that mood, you don’t ask him nothing.
    ‘An’ go out an’ get me a case,’ Richie says. ‘Money’s on the table.’
    When the kid gets back, his dad’s still sitting in the dark, only now it’s dark outside, too. And the TV’s off. The kid starts getting the creeps well, who wouldn’t? Nothing but a dark flat and your daddy setting
    in the corner like a big lump.

    So he puts the beer on the table, knowing that Richie don’t like it so cold it spikes his forehead, and when he gets close to his old man he starts to notice a kind of rotten smell, like an old cheese someone
    left standing on the counter over the weekend. He don’t say shit or go blind, though, as the old man was never what you’d call a cleanly soul. Instead he goes into his room and shuts the door and does his
    homework, and after a while he hears the TV start to go and Richie’s popping the top in his first of the evening.

    And for two weeks or so, that’s the way things went. The kid got up in the morning and went to school an’ when he got home Richie’d be in front of the television, and beer money on the table.
    The flat was smelling ranker and ranker, too. Richie wouldn’t have the shades up at all, and about the middle of November he made Timmy stop studying in his room. Said he couldn’t abide the light under
    the door. So Timmy started going down the block to a friend’s house after getting his dad the beer.

    Then one day when Timmy came home from school – it was four o’clock and pretty near dark already – Richie says, ‘Turn on the light.’
    The kid turned on the light over the sink, and damn if Richie ain’t all wrapped up in a blanket.

    ‘Look,’ Richie says, and one hand creeps out from under the blanket. Only it ain’t a hand at all. Something grey, is all the kid could tell Henry. Didn’t look like a hand at all. Just a grey lump.

    Well, Timmy Grenadine was scared bad. He says, ‘Pop, what’s happening to you?’ And Richie says, ‘I dunno. But it don’t hurt. It feels. . kinda nice.’

    So, Timmy says, ‘I’m gonna call Dr Westphail.’

    And the blanket starts to tremble all over, like something awful was shaking – all over- under there. And Richie says, ‘Don’t you dare. If you do I’ll touch ya and you’ll end up just like this.’ And he slides
    the blanket down over his face for just a minute.

    By then we were up to the corner of Harlow arid Curve Street, and I was even colder than the temperature had been on Henry’s Orange Crush thermometer when we came out. A person doesn’t
    hardly want to believe such things, and yet there’s still strange things in the world.

    I once knew a fella named George Kelso, who worked for the Bangor Public Works Department. He spent fifteen years fixing water mains and mending electricity cables and all that, an’ then one day he
    just up an’ quit, not two years before his retirement. Frankie Haldeman, who knew him, said George went down into a sewer pipe on Essex laughing and joking just like always and came up fifteen
    minutes later with his hair just as white as snow and his eyes staring like he just looked through a window into hell.

    He walked straight down to the BPW garage and punched his clock and went down to Wally’s Spa and started drinking. It killed him two years later. Frankie said he tried to talk to him about it and George said something one time, and that was when he was pretty well blotto. Turned around on his stool, George did, an’ asked Frankie Haldeman if he’d ever seen a spider as big as a goodsized
    dog setting in a web full of kitties an’ such all wrapped up in silk thread.

    Well, what could he say to that? I’m not saying there’s truth in it, but I am saying that there’s things in the corners of the world
    that would drive a man insane to look ’em right in the face.
    So we just stood on the corner a minute, in spite of the wind that was whooping up the street.

    ‘What’d he see?’ Bertie asked.

    ‘He said he could still see his dad,’ Henry answered, ‘but he said it was like he was buried in grey jelly. . . and it was all kinda mashed together. He said his clothes were all stickin’ in and out of his skin,
    like they was melted to his body.’

    ‘Holy Jesus,’ Bertie said.

    ‘Then he covered right up again and started screaming at the kid to turn off the light.’ ‘Like he was a fungus,’ I said. ‘Yes,’ Henry said. ‘Sorta like that.’ ‘You keep that pistol handy,’ Bertie said.
    ‘Yes, I think I will.’

    And with that, we started to trundle up Curve Street. The apartment house where Richie Grenadine had his flat was almost at the top of the hill, one of those big Victorian monsters that were built by the pulp an’ paper barons at the turn of the century. They’ve
    just about all been turned into apartment houses now. When Bertie got his breath he told us Richie lived on the third floor under that top gable that jutted out like an eyebrow. I took the chance to ask
    Henry what happened to the kid after that.

    Along about the third week in November the kid came back one afternoon to find Richie had gone one further than just pulling the shades down. He’d taken and nailed blankets across every window in the place. It was starting to stink worse, too – kind of a mushy stink, the way fruit gets when it goes to ferment with yeast.

    A week or so after that, Richie got the kid to start heating his beer on the stove. Can you picture that? The kid all by himself in that apartment with his dad turning into, well, into something . . . an’ heating his beer and then having to listen to him – it – drinking it with awful thick slurping sounds, the way an old man eats his chowder: Can you imagine it?

    And that’s the way things went on until today, when the kid’s school let out early because of the storm. ‘The boy says he went right home,’ Henry told us. ‘There’s no light in the upstairs hall at all – the boy
    claims his dad musta snuck out some night and broke it – so he had to sort of creep down to his door.

    ‘Well, he heard somethin’ moving around in there, and it suddenly pops into his mind that he don’t know what Richie does all day through the week. He ain’t seen his dad stir out of that chair for almost a
    month, and a man’s got to sleep and go to the bathroom some time. ‘There’s a Judas hole in the middle of the door, and it’s supposed to have a latch on the inside to fasten
    it shut, but it’s been busted ever since they lived there. So the kid slides up to the door real easy and
    pushed it open a bit with his thumb and pokes his eye up to it.’
    By now we were at the foot of the steps and the house was looming over us like a-high, ugly face, with
    those windows on the third floor for eyes. I looked up there and sure enough those two windows were
    just as black as pitch. Like somebody’s put blankets over ’em or painted ’em up.
    ‘It took him a minute to get his eye adjusted to the gloom. An’ then he seen a great big grey lump, not
    like a man at all, slitherin’ over the floor, leavin’ a grey, slimy trail behind it. An’ then it sort of snaked
    out an arm – or something like an arm – and pried a board off’n the wall. And took out a cat.’ Henry
    stopped for a second. Bertie was beating his hands together and it was godawful cold out there on the
    street, but none of us was ready to go up just yet. ‘A dead cat,’ Henry recommenced, ‘that had
    putrefacted. The boy said it looked all swole up stiff . . . and there was little white things crawlin’ all
    over it .

    ‘Stop,’ Bertie said. ‘For Christ’s sake.’

    ‘And then his dad ate it., I tried to swallow and something tasted greasy in my throat. ‘That’s when Timmy closed the peephole.’ Henry finished softly. ‘And ran.’ ‘I don’t think I can go up there,’ Bertie said.
    Henry didn’t say anything, just looked from Bertie to me and back again.

    ‘I guess we better,’ I said. ‘We got Richie’s beer.’

    Bertie didn’t say anything to that, so we went up the steps and in through the front hall door. I smelled it right off. Do you know how a cider house smells in summer? You never get the smell of apples out, but in the fall it’s all right because it smells tangy and sharp enough to ream your nose right out. But in the summer, it just smells mean, this smell was like that, but a little bit worse.

    There was one light on in the lower hall, a mean yellow thing in a frosted glass that threw a glow as thin as buttermilk. And those stairs that went up into the shadows.

    Henry bumped the cart to a stop, and while he was lifting out the case of beer, I thumbed the button at the foot of the stairs that controlled the second-floor-landing bulb. But it was busted, just as the boy
    said.

    Bertie quavered: ‘I’ll lug the beer. You just take care of that pistol.’
    Henry didn’t argue. He handed it over and we started up, Henry first, then me, then Bertie with the case in his arms. By the time we had fetched the second-floor landing, the stink was just that much worse.
    Rotted apples, all fermented, and under that an even uglier stink.
    When I lived out in Levant I had a dog one time – Rex, his name was – and he was a good mutt but not very wise about cars. He got hit a lick one afternoon while I was at work and he crawled under the
    house and died there. My Christ, what a stink. I finally had to go under and haul him out with a pole.

    That other stench was like that; flyblown and putrid and just as dirty as a borin’ cob. Up till then I ‘had kept thinking that maybe it was some sort of joke, but I saw it wasn’t. ‘Lord, why
    don’t the neighbours kick up, Harry?’ I asked. ‘What neighbours?’ Henry asked, and he was smiling that queer smile again.

    I looked around and saw that the hall had a sort of dusty, unused look and the door of all three secondfloor apartments was closed and locked up.

    ‘Who’s the landlord, I wonder?’ Bertie asked, resting the case on the newel post and getting his breath. ‘Gaiteau? Surprised he don’t kick ‘im out.’ ‘Who’d go up there and evict him?’ Henry asked. ‘You?’
    Bertie didn’t say nothing.

    Presently we started up the next flight, which was even narrower and steeper than the last. It was getting hotter, too. It sounded like every radiator in the place was clanking and hissing. The smell was
    awful, and I started to feel like someone was stirring my guts with a stick. At the top was a short hall, and one door with a little Judas hole in the middle of it. Bertie made a soft little cry an’ whispered out: ‘Look what we’re walkin’ in!’

    I looked down and saw all this slimy stuff on the hall floor, in little puddles. It looked like there’d been a carpet once, but the grey stuff had eaten it all away.

    Henry walked down to the door, and we went after him. I don’t know about Bertie, but I was shaking in my shoes. Henry never hesitated, though; he raised up that gun and -beat on the door with the butt of it.

    ‘Richie?’ he called, and his voice didn’t sound a bit scared, although his face was deadly pale. ‘This is Henry -Parmalee from down at the Nite-Owl. I brought your beer.’ There wasn’t any answer for perhaps a full minute, and then a voice said, ‘Where’s Timmy? Where’s my
    boy?’

    I almost ran right then. That voice wasn’t human at all. It -was queer an’ low an’ bubbly, like someone talking through a mouthful of suet.
    ‘He’s at my store,’ Henry said, ‘havin’ a decent meal. He’s just as skinny as a slat cat, Richie.’

    There wasn’t nothing for a while, and then some horrible squishing noises, like a man in rubber boots walking through mud. Then that decayed voice spoke right through the other side of the door.
    ‘Open the door an’ shove that beer through,’ it said. ‘Only you got to pull all the ring tabs first. I can’t.’

    ‘In a minute,’ Henry said. ‘What kind of shape you in, Richie?’
    ‘Never mind that,’ the voice said, and it was horribly eager. ‘Just push in the beer and go!’

    ‘It ain’t just dead cats anymore, is it?’ Henry said, and he sounded sad. He wasn’t holdin’ the gun butt-up any more; now it was business end first. And suddenly, in a flash of light, I made the mental connection Henry had already made, perhaps even as Timmy was telling his story. The smell of decay and rot seemed to double in my nostrils when I remembered. Two young girls and some old Salvation Army wino had disappeared in town during the last three weeks or so – all after dark.

    ‘Send it in or I’ll come out an’ get it,’ the voice said. Henry gestured us back, and we went.

    ‘I guess you better, Richie.’ He cocked his piece.

    There was nothing then, not for a long time. To tell the truth, I began to feel as if it was all over. Then that door burst open, so sudden and so hard that it actually bulged before slamming out against the wall.
    And out came Richie.

    It was just a second, just a second before Bertie and me was down those stairs like schoolkids, four an’ five at a time, and out the door into the snow, slippin an’ sliding.

    Going down we heard Henry fire three times, the reports loud as grenades in the closed hallways of that empty, cursed house.
    What we saw in that one or two seconds will last me a lifetime – or whatever’s left of it. It was like a huge grey wave of jelly, jelly that looked like a man, and leaving a trail of slime behind it.

    But that wasn’t the worst. Its eyes were flat and yellow and wild, with no human soul in ’em. Only there wasn’t two. There were four, an’ right down the centre of the thing, betwixt the two pairs of eyes, was a
    white, fibrous line with a kind of pulsing pink flesh showing through like a slit in a hog’s belly.

    It was dividing, you see. Dividing in two.

    Bertie and I didn’t say nothing to each other going back to the store. I don’t know what was going through his mind, but I know well enough what was in mine: the multiplication table. Two times two is
    four, four times two is eight, eight times two is sixteen, sixteen-times two is -We got back.

    Carl and Bill Pelham jumped up and started asking questions right off. We wouldn’t answer, neither of us. We just turned around and waited to see if Henry was gonna walk in outta the snow. I was up to 32,768 times two is the end of the human race and so we sat there cozied up to all that beer and waited to see which one was going to finally come back; and here we still sit.

    I hope it’s Henry. I surely do.

  4. Act fast. Sweet $10 pay for 1000 words in the next few hours.

    Deets:

    Job Description

    I need someone who can write each day on things that actually happened that day. This will like be 1-5 articles per day mon-fri so it’s probably best to negotiate by article or per word / 100 words. It is in the automobile niche so it just depends on the amount of news out there. Each article will likely be between 200-500 words just depending on what is going on in the automobile industry. Rates are negotiable depending on the quality of your work. Make sure you send me samples of your work.

    https://www.odesk.com/o/jobs/job/_~01d76671e2cf40f760/

    United States UTC-06 Central Time Zone
    Member Since May 30 2011
    Total Spent $9,731
    Hours Billed 916
    Jobs Posted 68
    Hires 55
    Open Jobs 3
    Current Team Size 6

  5. Report Writer Wanted (sweet money, LOL, should I apply?)

    Fixed-Price – $70.00 for 7,000 words .Posted 7.5 hours ago

    I’m looking for a quality writer that can write reports for me on a variety of non-fiction niches and topics. You must be able to effectively research the topic that I give you and write me a unique, 100% original quality reports (6000-8000 words) that will help people.

    You must have good grammar and spelling as well. I’m willing to pay up to $1 per 100 words and am looking to build a long term relationship with someone.

  6. Professional Blogger/Writer /Facebook, Twitter, Google+ Marketing Expert Required

    Hourly – More than 6 months – 30+ hrs/week – Posted Jan 27, 2015
    blog-writing content-writing facebook-marketing google-plus social-media-management twitter-marketing wordpress

    Job Description

    We are looking for someone to do social media updates for our G+, Twitter and Facebook sites – all filtering thru our WordPress blog.

    The focus of the posts are to be around online automotive marketing so a solid knowledge of the North American automotive industry is imperative as well as a thorough knowledge of online marketing and best practices.

    We are looking for engaging content to be posted, not only curated but original. You must be near perfect in your written English skills, have worked extensively in all the listed social media platforms and have the know how to post to them via our WordPress blog.

    Job Overview
    Type Hourly
    Posted January 27 2015, 10:19 PM
    Planned Start Jan. 27 2015
    Category Writing & Translation
    Sub-category Blog & Article Writing

    About the Client

    New Car Sell Off > Rick Balkan Canada
    Member Since March 30 2012
    where every new car is a big deal

    http://www.newcarselloff.com/

    Deeply Discounted new vehicles
    Total Spent Over $50,000
    Hours Billed 13,091
    Jobs Posted 94
    Hires 63
    Open Jobs 1
    Current Team Size 21

    https://www.odesk.com/o/jobs/job/_~0177e8a55aac6c8adb/

    • Hi Tor,

      These “jobs” are sweatshops for writers. Churn out reams of “SEO friendly” shit to spam the net with. I get offers almost every day for such “content” from these article mills. I’ve also been offered such work. No thanks. Leaving aside the soul crushing aspect of shilling like a $20 hoar for whatever it is they want shilled-for, the pay would make Scrooge blanche. How about ten 500 word pieces of shit per week for say $200 a month?

      Maybe.

      What these fuckers have achieved is the transformation of the entire economy into one great big Company Town, where everyone works for the Company, constantly, and (if you please your managers) maybe get just enough to enable you to keep on working.

      • I hear you, and I believe you.

        It does seem like nearly everything has been made obsolete. There’s a machine that can do what you do. There’s an app or website that can do what you do.

        Myself, I listen to old radio shows every night.

        Nice long stories without interruptions for commercials and such.

        That’s a lot of what’s wrong. All the interruptions for everything.

        I try to imagine back to the times of the folktale teller. And then the scribe recording the tales. Then the printing press recording the scribed tales.

        Now the cutting and pasting and transformations.

        Everything has the ads and keywords jammed into it now. People are walking consumers, endlessly questing for more stuff and more experiences.

        So long as they’re newwwwwww.

        At least you made it as far as the woods. Can you imagine being in the burbs still. The HOA notices piling up on your vehicles.

        Explaining over and over just what it is you do.

        Who’s you pick in the superbowl. What are your plans for groundhog day. It’s almost midway between the winter solstice and spring equinox. What do you have planned for that? Did you here Mitt dropped out…

        At least in the woods, it’s better than that.

        We’re all obsolete Indians now. The world we knew is in ruins and gone for good. We’ve been replaced by machine men with machine minds. Living machine lives. At least we see the truth of it.

      • eric, Tor, that makes me more than slightly queasy. One hell of a lot of work for what could turn out to be NO pay. Maybe your ideas don’t fit their preconceived conclusion so they don’t pay, maybe for what is actually their own ignorance or bias.

        I just read an article on Mercola having to do with Monarch butterflies and glyphosate. They left out things someone without a farming background knows. I can defend letting milkweed grow in every crop. Its roots are very shallow and it can literally feed itself with dew. It does more to cool the ground than water it uses so it’s a benefit between rows of crops. But don’t try to tell that to a government subsidized glyphosate farmer. Their daddies knew better but it’s so lucrative now they just buy it, use it and collect their pay(and fine pay it is)regardless of whether a crop is made. Mandatory crop insurance makes millionaires out of increasingly fewer(naturally)crop insurers and farmers both. Since last year in Texas, growing subsidized crops has become a game of no bad years, no gamble in farming at all. Go through the motions, use the seed and chemicals designated and no matter if you get a crop or not, you still come home with plenty moola at the end of the year.

        The rates of pay for what Tor posted is ludicrous. I could be lured to write for a living but not for something like that. I’ll continue(as long as it holds out)to help bring black gold from the earth so we all don’t freeze in the winter or suffer needlessly to try to become one with the earth again, something that happens to everyone eventually but most likely it involves a 6′ hole instead of eating bugs and weeds and living in a burrow.

        In so many ways, the Genie is out of the box and I have no intention of trying to reverse thousands of years of progress.

        I’d encourage the youth to tilt at windmills. Unfortunately, the youth doesn’t have a clue. They drink their Big Gulps, eat their Big Mac’s and get fatter and unhealthier and we get “super-sized” models from the deal. Thank you no.

        So the novel in my head will probably stay there and I’ll slam the door on that old Pete on my thumb every morning to get the proper attitude and wail on that old Detroit till some clover gets me killed. Old dog, old tricks(and plenty of them).

        • the good news is we’re all billionaires. we have access to media and other digitized wealth beyond imagination.

          the bad news is all the evil cocksucks, happy to put a single dollar in their pocket, even if it takes billions of dollars out of all 3 billion people on the web’s pocket at the same time.

          you can’t soap box and grandstand the right answer here. it’s about logistics, and objective reality darwinian actions for survival in the rapidly emerging new paradigms.

          I’ve no hate or love for anyside, but rather will think and work towards what ever is best achievable for all the makers and doers of the world.

          I’m saving all my hatred for the shit teeth that come on here saying we have to do this or that for the govt or any who benefit from violence hierarchies.

          That it’s our fault we’re in a police state. Just like it’s a hot chick’s fault she gets raped if she doesn’t wear a burka.

          Tell me, if you can WHERE is this woman’s husband, you gov snugglin clovers from wichita demonspawn.

          I can only hope he’s in some temporal spatial plane and still making good time in his new retributive juggernaut mission to give back to all of you violence loving mothafuckas, the true whirlwind welcome’s you richly deserve to reap.

      • The company town is everywhere now. Companies located in places where normal suburban houses are over a million dollars to put people into crushing levels of debt. Even at a $150K/yr a a $1.2 million dollar house is crushing debt. Imagine getting downsized and looking at $1 million dollar note. (I suppose that makes for a nice NYT sob story) Or they like to locate in the south in these small towns that are 50, 100 or 200 miles from anywhere. Living is cheap, the salaries aren’t horrible, but woe to the engineer who gets downsized.

        This wouldn’t be bad if we lived in a free market where anyone could do just about anything. But in an unfree market this is just not good. Back in ancient times there would be one first company that started doing things and then before ya knew it there would be a cluster of companies in the area doing it. People would just go off on their own.

  7. Authors Feel Pinch in Age of E-Books (a 4 year old article)

    Author John Pipkin worries about the e-book business model: ‘I’ve had to rethink my plans in terms of supporting my family full time as a writer.’

    By JEFFREY A. TRACHTENBERG
    Updated Sept. 26, 2010 12:01 a.m. ET

    When literary agent Sarah Yake shopped around Kirsten Kaschock’s debut novel “Sleight” this year, she thought it would be a shoo-in with New York’s top publishers.

    “Her project was one of the most exemplary in the last decade or so,” said Jed Rasula, who has taught in the English department at the University of Georgia since 2001. “I certainly thought she’d find a New York publisher.”

    But the major New York publishers passed on “Sleight,” a novel about two sisters trained in a fictional art form. Coffee House Press in Minneapolis, a small independent publisher, now plans to publish the book, offering Ms. Kaschock an advance of about $3,500—a small fraction of the typical advances once paid by the major publishing houses.

    The digital revolution is not only disrupting the traditional publishing model, but new and aspiring literary writers as well, who are less likely to gain attention from publishers or command the advances they once might have.

    It has always been tough for literary fiction writers to get their work published by the top publishing houses. But the digital revolution that is disrupting the economic model of the book industry is having an outsize impact on the careers of literary writers.

    Priced much lower than hardcovers, many e-books generate less income for publishers. And big retailers are buying fewer titles. As a result, the publishers who nurtured generations of America’s top literary-fiction writers are approving fewer book deals and signing fewer new writers. Most of those getting published are receiving smaller advances.

    “Advances are down, and there aren’t as many debuts as before,” says Ira Silverberg, a well-known literary agent. “We’re all trying to figure out what the business is as it goes through this digital disruption.”

    Much as cheap digital-music downloads have meant that fewer bands can earn a living from record-company deals, fewer literary authors will be able to support themselves as e-books win acceptance, publishers and agents say.

    “In terms of making a living as a writer, you better have another source of income,” says Nan Talese, whose Nan A. Talese/Doubleday imprint publishes Ian McEwan, Margaret Atwood and John Pipkin.

    In some cases, independent publishers are picking up the slack by signing promising literary-fiction writers. But they offer, on average, $1,000 to $5,000 for advances, a fraction of the $50,000 to $100,000 advances that established publishers typically paid in the past for debut literary fiction.

    The new economics of the e-book make the author’s quandary painfully clear: A new $28 hardcover book returns half, or $14, to the publisher, and 15%, or $4.20, to the author. Under many e-book deals currently, a digital book sells for $12.99, returning 70%, or $9.09, to the publisher and typically 25% of that, or $2.27, to the author.

    The upshot: From an e-book sale, an author makes a little more than half what he or she makes from a hardcover sale.

    The lower revenue from e-books comes amidst a decline in book sales that was already under way. The seemingly endless entertainment choices created by the Web have eaten into the time people spend reading books. The weak economy also is contributing to the slide.

    “We aren’t seeing a generation of readers coming along that supports writers today the way that young people supported J. D. Salinger and Philip Roth when they were starting out.” says the wife of author Gay Talese.

    Sales of consumer books peaked in 2008 at 1.6 billion units and are expected to decline to 1.5 billion in 2010 and to 1.4 billion by 2012, says Albert Greco, a book-industry market researcher.

    E-books sales are exploding. Currently, e-books account for an estimated 8% of total book revenue, up from 3% to 5% a year ago. Mike Shatzkin, a publishing consultant, estimates e-books could be 20% to 25% of total unit sales by the end of 2012. “Eventually, digital books will overtake physical books,” Mr. Greco predicts.

    Some book-industry experts say that lower e-book prices could increase overall unit sales eventually. Whether they will make up for the loss of hardcover income remains to be seen.

    Although e-books are still in their infancy, publishers say that average advances on literary fiction are already shrinking. To secure the rights to publish and distribute a book, publishers pay authors advances against future book sales. After the book is published, the author earns a royalty that is initially applied to the advance. Once the author recoups the advance, he earns a percentage of every book sale.

    There will always be the lucky new author whose first novel ignites a hot auction. But more often today, many debut novels that would have won lucrative advances five years ago today are getting $15,000 or less, says Adam Chromy, a New York literary agent. Mr. Chromy was recently disappointed with the immediate response from editors for a debut novel he thought was exceptionally good.

    Mr. Pipkin teaches creative writing ENLARGE
    Mr. Pipkin teaches creative writing CREDIT: MATT WRIGHT-STEEL FOR THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
    “The bar is higher,” says Jamie Raab, publisher of Lagardere SCA’s Grand Central Publishing, which is buying less debut fiction than in prior years. Although launching debut titles is one of the most rewarding aspects of publishing, Ms. Raab says, “publishers are buying more selectively, agents are being more selective with choosing clients, and retailers are taking fewer titles.”

    The e-book is good news for some. Big-name authors and novels that are considered commercial are increasingly in demand as e-book readers gravitate toward best sellers with big plots. Unlike traditional bookstores, where a browsing customer might discover an unknown book set out on a table, e-bookstores generally aren’t set up to allow readers to discover unknown authors, agents say. Brand-name authors with big marketing budgets behind them are having the greatest success thus far in the digital marketplace.

    In July, Amazon.com Inc. said the late Swedish writer Stieg Larsson, whose novel “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” is part of a trilogy of top-selling crime books, was the first writer to sell more than 1 million Kindle books.

    Celebrated author Jonathan Franzen, who has already built his reputation as one of America’s premier literary-fiction writers, is seeing significant e-book sales of his new novel, “Freedom,” having sold well over 35,000 in the first two weeks after going on sale Aug. 31.

    “Monster best sellers are still the major drivers of profits for publishers and their authors—and these are precisely the books that are being snapped up by e-book buyers,” says Laurence Kirshbaum, a New York literary agent.

    It’s a different story for debut fiction writers and those with less commercial potential, who might have print runs of 10,000 copies or less. Mr. Kirshbaum says he’s found it difficult to sell a debut novel about small-town life because many editors are no longer committing to new writers with the expectation that their story-telling skills will evolve with the second, third and fourth books. In the past, many literary authors were able to build careers because of such patience, Mr. Kirshbaum says.

    ENLARGE
    “Writers like Anne Tyler and Elmore Leonard have to simmer quite a bit before they are going to boil. Publishers no longer have the patience to work through multiple modest successes,” Mr. Kirshbaum says. “There is a real danger that these people could be lost today.”

    John Pipkin’s 2009’s debut novel, “Woodsburner,” won several literary prizes, including the 2009 Center for Fiction First Novel Prize. Despite the acclaim and print sales of more than 10,000, “Woodsburner” has only sold 359 digital copies.

    Mr. Pipkin says the business model of e-books worries him. “I embrace anything that makes it possible for people to read what I’ve written, especially if it’s somebody who might not have read the physical book,” Mr. Pipkin says. “But the sales price of e-books is lower than the price of physical books, so writers stand to earn less. It’s a concern moving forward, especially as e-books make up a larger percentage of sales.”

    Mr. Pipkin, who has Ph.D in English literature, says he cobbles together an income based in part on grants, fellowships and a partial advance he has received for his second book. “I’ve had to rethink my plans in terms of supporting my family full time as a writer,” he says.

    His wife, a tenured professor, provides health benefits for his family. Mr. Pipkin, who teaches an undergraduate creative-writing class at Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas, receives no benefits. Although he has an IRA, he doesn’t receive employer contributions. Mr. Pipkin, 43, says his goal is to find a full-time teaching position with benefits.

    “Unless you’re a best-selling author, I don’t see how it’s possible for an author to get together enough income to pay for health insurance, retirement and other things,” he says.

    Only a few years back, previously unknown writer Diane Setterfield scored a seven-figure advance for her debut novel, “The Thirteenth Tale,” while Jed Rubenfeld was paid $800,000 for his debut, “The Interpretation of Murder.”

    The Authors Guild and some literary agents are urging publishers to raise the author’s share of e-books to as high as 50%, arguing that there is less overhead for a digital book. Thus far, publishers are resisting.

    Not everyone believes that the shift to digital publishing is necessarily bad for writers. Novelist E.L. Doctorow, who has taught creative writing for 23 years at the NYU Creative Writing Program, says the industry may be transforming away from big corporate-owned publishers back to a cottage industry like it was many years ago. The shakeout could help prune an overcrowded market.

    Long before there were iPads and Kindles changing communication as we know it, there were other disruptive technologies and breakout information delivery systems. Like the printing press. And the Guttenberg Bible. WSJ’s Marshall Crook offers a brief history of the book.

    “Writers come up from nowhere, from the ground up, and nobody is looking for them or asking for them, but there they are,” says Mr. Doctorow. “If there is a weeding out that’s going to occur because of such difficulties, it may be all to the good.”

    The concept of a book as a physical object that will last for decades if not centuries is about to be replaced. Soon, much of our knowledge will be on electronic storage and future archeologists decoding our civilization may find nothing written down but a few hieroglyphs carved into the Egyptian pyramids.

    As e-book sales accelerate, their impact on physical book sales will grow. Publishers worry that $12.99 digital books that typically go on sale the same date as physical books will cut into their hardcover sales and their $14.99 paperback sales down the line, a key revenue producer for literary titles.

    Amazon, which controls the majority of digital-book sales with its Kindle reading device, says its Kindle e-book sales already are outpacing hardcover sales. Kindle e-books could outsell paperbacks in nine to 12 months, Amazon has said.

    Also under pressure are big chains such as Barnes & Noble and Borders Group Inc., which continue to close stores because of the digital shift and the woeful economy.

    Meanwhile, small independent publishers are becoming more popular options for new writers. Leslie Daniels, a literary agent for the past 20 years, was thrilled to sell Creston Lea’s recently published debut short-story collection, “Wild Punch,” to Turtle Point Press.

    But the author received only a $1,000 advance, typical of the advances paid by small independents. “I can’t make a living as a writer, but it feels great to have these stories out in the world,” says Mr. Lea. The author, who lives in Vermont, builds electric guitars and writes on the side. Jonathan Rabinowitz, publisher of Turtle Point Press, says “Wild Punch” has sold about 1,500 copies, including 150 e-books. He described the performance as “encouraging.”

    The smaller advance has a ripple effect. Ms. Daniels, who earns a 15% commission, used to make $11,250 on a big publisher advance of $75,000 or so. Her cut on Mr. Lea’s $1,000: $150.

  8. Tauron’s army was the huge army of the Dark Artisan Tauron. It was mustered for the sole purpose of finally defeating Tauron’s mortal statist enemies in the West once and for all, in both the Second and Third Ages.

    Taur’s army consisted mostly of Cyber-orcs, though it also contained Haradrim, Goblins, Easterlings, Variags, Trolls, Half-trolls of Far Harad, Wargs, Mumakil, Uruk hai, Black Uruks and Nazgûl mounted upon Fell beasts. They also had naval support from the P2P Corsairs of Umbar.

    Tauron is said in future accounts to have used this army to defeat the Last Alliance of Clover Elves and Company Men at the Battle of Dagorlad and the Siege of Barad-dûr.

    Legal implications of artisanal sockpuppetry in the United States

    In 2008, 49-year-old Missouri resident Lori Drew was prosecuted and found guilty by a Federal court jury in connection with the creation of a MySpace account on which she claimed to be a 16-year-old boy named Josh Evans.

    Drew’s goal had been to create a relationship with Megan Meier, a 13-year-old girl who had been in conflict with Drew’s daughter.

    After “Josh” ended the relationship with Megan, Megan committed suicide. Drew was found guilty in connection with misrepresenting her identity in violation of the MySpace terms of service.

    Although the Los Angeles U.S. Attorney claimed that this conduct was covered by federal computer fraud legislation against “accessing a computer without authorization via interstate commerce,” the trial court granted a motion by Drew to throw out the verdict. Drew successfully argued that her use of a false identity did not constitute unauthorized access to MySpace, citing a 1973 breach of contract dispute where a court of appeals ruled that “fraudulently induced consent is consent nonetheless.”

    The prosecution appealed the trial court judge’s decision to throw out the guilty verdict, but later dropped its appeal.

    In 2010, Raphael Golb was convicted on 30 criminal charges, including identity theft, criminal impersonation, and aggravated harassment, for using multiple sockpuppet accounts to attack and impersonate historians he perceived as rivals of his father, Norman Golb.

    Golb defended his actions as “satirical hoaxes” protected by free-speech rights. He was disbarred and sentenced to six months in prison but remained free on appeal on $25,000 bail.

    Examples of sockpuppetry
    Business promotion
    In 2007, the CEO of Whole Foods, John Mackey, was discovered to have posted as “Rahodeb” on the Yahoo Finance Message Board, extolling his own company and predicting a dire future for its rival, Wild Oats Markets, while concealing his relationship to both companies.

    Whole Foods argued that nothing that Mackey did broke the law.

    During the 2007 trial of Conrad Black, chief executive of Hollinger International, prosecutors alleged that he had posted messages on a Yahoo Finance chat room using the name “nspector”, attacking short sellers and blaming them for his company’s stock performance.

    Prosecutors provided evidence of these postings in Black’s criminal trial where he was convicted of mail fraud and obstruction. The postings were raised at multiple points in the trial.

    Book and film reviews
    An Amazon.com computer glitch in 2004 revealed the names of many authors who had written reviews of their books using pseudonyms.

    John Rechy, who wrote the best-selling 1963 novel City of Night, was one of the more famous authors unmasked in this way, and was shown to have written numerous five-star reviews of his own work.

    In 2010, historian Orlando Figes was found to have written Amazon reviews under the names “orlando-birkbeck” and “historian”, praising his own books and condemning those of fellow historians Rachel Polonsky and Robert Service.

    The two sued Figes and won monetary damages. During a panel in 2012, UK fiction writer Stephen Leather admitted using pseudonyms to praise his own books, claiming that “everyone does it”. He spoke of building a “network of characters”, some operated by his friends, who discussed his books and had conversations with him directly.

    David Manning was a fictitious film critic, created by a marketing executive working for Sony Corporation to give consistently good reviews for releases from Sony subsidiary Columbia Pictures, which could then be quoted in promotional material.

    Blog commentary
    American reporter Michael Hiltzik was temporarily suspended from posting to his blog, “The Golden State,” on the Los Angeles Times after he admitted “posting there, as well as on other sites, under false names.”

    He used the pseudonyms to attack conservatives such as Hugh Hewitt and L.A. prosecutor Patrick Frey—who eventually exposed him. Hiltzik’s blog at the LA Times was the newspaper’s first blog. While suspended from blogging, Hiltzik continued to write regularly for the newspaper.

    Lee Siegel, a writer for The New Republic magazine, was suspended for defending his articles and blog comments under the user name “Sprezzatura.” In one such comment, “Sprezzatura” defended Siegel’s bad reviews of Jon Stewart: “Siegel is brave, brilliant and wittier than Stewart will ever be.”

    Government sockpuppetry
    As an example of state-sponsored Internet sockpuppetry, in 2011, a Californian company, Ntrepid, was awarded a $2.76 million contract under the auspices of US Central Command for “online persona management” operations to create “fake online personas to influence net conversations and spread US propaganda” in Arabic, Persian, Urdu and Pashto, as part of the of a programme called Operation Earnest Voice (OEV), which was first developed in Iraq as a weapon of psychological warfare.

    See also
    Astroturfing
    Catfishing
    On the Internet, nobody knows you’re a dog
    Online reputation
    Passing
    Shill

  9. I don’t know much about Memphis, TN but I’m sure I could learn, it’s all variations on the same worldwide tune.

    Here in Las Vegas, NV the major tax I’ve dealt with is companies hounding businesses for playing music over the sound system, and for having karaoke nights.

    They never seemed to have any teeth to them, so I always just threw all their notices away. Any time BMG/Arista (who I think had Prince) called and got a back office person, that person knew nothing so they’d ask for info be sent, and years would go by with nothing being done and no money being sent down another rathole to some schmuck on the phone.

    I’ve worked for closely held LLC investment partnerships for most of my life, only occasionally with vendors/customers directly. The ones I’ve been with are definitely big enough to run roughshod over all but the biggest vendors and customers. And that is what they do, as you say.

    The bigger you are, the more you make promises you don’t keep to suckers and guppies. All manner of sincere small businesses get swindled and ruined when they provide goods and services for big fish that turn shark, and then their big “customer” gives them nothing but excuses and best scenario, pays pennies on the dollar long after the agreed to payment terms have come and went.
    – – –
    What you need to know about Nevada’s Live Entertainment Tax

    Effective 2004, a Live Entertainment Tax is administered by the Gaming Control Board for live entertainment events held within licensed gaming establishments; and the Department of Taxation for live entertainment events held outside of licensed gaming establishments.

    Nevada Revised Statute (NRS) Chapter 368A -Tax on Live Entertainment; and Nevada Administrative Code (NAC) Chapter 368A. http://www.leg.state.nv.us/.

    Live Entertainment for tax purposes includes one or more of the following:

    · Music or vocals provided by one or more professional or amateur musicians or vocalists.

    · Dancing performed by one or more professional or amateur dancers or performers.

    · Acting or drama provided by one or more professional or amateur actors or players.

    · Acrobatics or stunts provided by one or more professional or amateur acrobats, performers or stunt persons.

    · Animal stunts or performances induced by one or more animal handlers or trainers.

    · Athletic or sporting contests, events or exhibitions provided by one or more professional or amateur athletes or sportsmen.

    · Comedy or magic provided by one or more professional or amateur comedians, magicians, illusionists, entertainers or performers.

    · A show or production involving any combination of the activities described.

    It exempts the following:

    · Instrumental or vocal music, in a restaurant, lounge or similar area if such music does not routinely rise to the volume that interferes with casual conversation and if such music would not generally cause patrons to watch as well as listen.

    · Occasional performances by employees whose primary job function is that of preparing or serving food, refreshments or beverages to patrons.

    · Television, radio, closed circuit or Internet broadcasts of live entertainment.

    · Entertainment provided by a patron or patrons, including, without limitation, singing by patrons or dancing by or between patrons if they receive no compensation from any source for providing the entertainment.

    · Animal behaviors induced by animal trainers or caretakers primarily for the purpose of education and scientific research.

    · An occasional activity, including, without limitation, dancing that does not constitute a performance, by an employee whose primary job is not that of an entertainer.

    Who is responsible for this tax?

    NRS 368A.110 defines the taxpayer for non-gaming facilities as the owner or operator of the facility where the live entertainment is provided; or in the case of a publicly owned facility or public
    land, the person who collects the taxable receipts.

    What are the Live Entertainment Tax rates?

    The Live Entertainment Tax is two tiered with a 10% tax rate and a 5% tax rate based upon the

    “maximum occupancy” of the facility where live entertainment is taking place.

    The 10 % rate is applicable to a facility with a minimum occupancy of 200 and a maximum of 7,499. The 10% tax rate also applies to admission charges, merchandise, food and refreshments sold at the event.

    For facilities with occupancy of 7,500 or more, the tax rate is 5% on admission charges only.

    Live Entertainment status commences when any patron is required to pay an admission charge before he is allowed to enter a facility, where there will be live entertainment, regardless of when the live entertainment starts. An admission charge includes an entertainment fee, a cover charge, a table reservation fee, or a required minimum purchase of food or merchandise.

    For lounges, bars and similar facilities where live entertainment is provided in the evenings and an admission charge applies only part of the day, but the facility is open at other times, the facility is in live entertainment status as of the time the patron is required to pay the admission charge.

    The taxpayer must maintain detailed records showing that they are authorized to be exempt from the Live Entertainment Tax on admission charges and sales when the facility is not in Live Entertainment Status.

    Is a fee collected to ride an elevator or escalator to a Live Entertainment facility an admission charge?

    Typically, yes. In situations where the patron, by riding the elevator or escalator, may gain access to a live entertainment facility or may choose to visit only the facilities that do not offer live entertainment, for purposes of taxing the admission charge, no distinction shall be made as to whether the patron actually entered the facility with live entertainment or not, even if an additional fee is charged for the right or privilege of entering a smaller venue within that area or those premises (NAC 368A.100).

    Is Live Entertainment Tax due in addition to applicable sales tax on merchandise, food and refreshments sold within a live entertainment event when the occupancy of the facility is between 200 and 7,499?

    Yes. The 10% Live Entertainment Tax rate is applicable on the gross receipts of admission charges, merchandise, food and refreshment sales, and is in addition to the applicable sales tax.

    What kind of activities by bartenders could constitute Live Entertainment?

    If the bartenders engage in singing, dancing or acrobatics, these activities are likely to be considered live entertainment, just as if any other performer were involved.

    Are fashion shows Live Entertainment?

    Yes, in most cases in non-gaming establishments even if the models move continuously through the audience.

    Are circuses Live Entertainment?

    Yes, a circus typically combines a number of activities specifically defined as live entertainment in NRS 368A.090(2)(a).

    Are contests Live Entertainment?

    Yes. Any type of organized contest conducted in front of an audience is considered live entertainment. Examples include beauty pageants, bikini contests and fitness contests.

    Are photographs merchandise or a service?

    Merchandise sales are generally subject to the Live Entertainment Tax if sold within a facility with occupancy of 200 to 7,499 offering live entertainment. Any actual merchandise sold with the picture imprinted would be subject to the Live Entertainment Tax.

    For example, a performer will pose for a picture with a patron. If the patron wants that picture on a coffee mug, the coffee mug with the picture is $25. The $25 price of the coffee cup is merchandise and the entire price of the mug is subject to the tax.

    – Sadly, NV is one of the best states for taxes. Memphis TN is likely far worse. TPTB are of course working overtime to make online commerce even more taxed and scrutinized than regular commerce. For now, they’re letting things go, but not necessarily for much longer, if they continue to get their way.

  10. Hey You out there online in the cold. Getting lonely, getting old. Can you feel me?

    Hey you, standing in the aisles. With itchy feet and fading smiles
    Can you help me?

    Hey you, send money to stop them burying the light. Don’t just give in without a fight.

    Hey you, with seven mortgages on your home. Sitting naked by the phone. Would you contact me?

    Hey you, with your ear against the wall. Waiting for authorities to call.
    Will you assist me?

    Hey you, would you help me to carry this stone? Open your heart, I’m your cyberhome.

    Hey you, in a clover conga on the road. Herds of sheeple doing what they’re told. Your children’s future they have sold. Can you help me?

    Hey you, out there beyond the wall. Breaking bottles in the hall. Can you help me? Hey you, don’t tell me there’s no hope at all. Together we stand, divided we fall.
    – –

    In Australia, each school or school system can set its own uniform policy. Wearing a uniform is compulsory in most Australian private and all Catholic schools, as well as in most public schools.

    For boys, the uniforms generally include a button-up shirt and together with either short pants (especially for summer wear) or long pants, usually in grey. Some schools allow boys to wear shorts only in younger years, and they must wear long trousers from around the age of puberty.

    At others, even older boys wear shorts in summer due to the heat. Where short trousers are to be worn, long (near knee-length) socks in school colors are often required.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/School_uniforms_by_country

    • Tor, great re-write, one of my favs. Last night one of my old college buds said he was feeling like another brick in the wall. He’s not the only one. But we’ll all keep on keeping on. And if we’re pushed to the point where something inside snaps, you won’t want to be near when it does. Like a guy I spoke with recently said something along the lines of fuck em and feed em fish heads cause he’s a country boy. He was raised with a gun in his hand. He can hunt and he can catch fish and raise a good garden. He fed his ex-MIL venison for 6 months. No way would she eat deer although she did and sucked up plenty of it. Stupid is as stupid does. Forrest’s mama was dead on.

      Now I’ll go bait a hook with some of the scraps off that second deer we just processed. A country boy can survive, Just make sure that badge is bullet-proof scum suckers.

  11. 5% still left to reach goal. 6% of the month still remains, fortunately.

    What’s it gonna take. I needle you smart productive guys, because it’s a waste of time needling the dumb clover guys who’ve infested the net to the point of imminent cyber colony collapse syndrome. The net had a heyday just like cars.

    Here’s the first website from 1992-1993
    http://info.cern.ch/hypertext/WWW/TheProject.html

    Things didn’t used to be so clover friendly, and you could enjoy things unimpeded. Just like cars.

    That site was it back then. Few people had access to browsers – or to web servers so that they could publish their own content without specialized skills – it was truly a visionary leap of faith at the time, but you could just tell, the WWW was something exciting.

    The early WWW team incuding Tim Berners-Lee at CERN, one of the many early net guys with unlimited vision and belief. Right from the start they called their technology the World Wide Web. They knew they had something special, something big. Something initiated by the smart productive guys of the world that would someday serve all the rest even the dumb clover types.

    You know the dumb clovers that think “browser” is like a bag of magic beans. You Just point and click to open the can, and the world wide web beanstalk grows straight up to the clouds right before your eyes any fool can ascend it and commune as equals with the giants of intellect.

    If only they’d leave their cloverisms and witchdoctories offline.

    In 1993 the WWW team wrote this advert for the web that appeared in Tagung Deutsches ForschungsNetz.

    “To find out about WWW:

    telnet info.cern.ch [a command you would type into your network-enabled computer]

    This will give you the very basic line-mode interface. Don’t be disappointed: use it to find out how to install it or more advanced graphical interface browsers on your local system.”

    The ‘don’t be disappointed’ is crucial: the WWW guys knew they had something revolutionary. It looked rather ordinary to the mundane without vision, kind of disappointing even. But what was possible, was as yet indescribable.

    Despite early challenges, they still had an idea of what they were building and of what the men of mind were able to fashion and about to make possible for all men, everywhere.
    – – –

    blah blah blah, derp derp derp, I want a funny vid of a dear leader police hero:

    Chris Christie falling down, maybe this is what you want so you’ll pony up the last 1/20 monthly site grubstake?
    – – –

    How DID everything get so upside down, that the men of great intellect have been relegated to cyberspace, and to darksites of research and production and have become nearly extinct within everyday real life space?

    And that now they’re even being crowded out and muzzled amid their own creation?
    – –

    This excerpt of Heinlein’s Orphans Of the Sky, called “Universe” might shed some light …
    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
    Series: X Minus One
    Show: Universe
    Date: May 15 1955

    CAST:

    1 ANNOUNCER
    2 HUGH, who has a few questions
    3 ALAN, his friend
    4 OLD WOMAN
    5 WITNESS
    6 1ST PATROL
    7 BOBO, a mute ape-like mutant
    8 GREGORY, who has a few answers
    9 UNCLE, of Hugh’s
    10 CAPTAIN, of the Ship
    11 COMMANDER
    12 LIEUTENANT
    13 2ND PATROL
    14 and various MUTANTS and PATROL OFFICERS

    ANNOUNCER:
    Countdown for blast-off. X minus five, minus four, minus three, minus two. X minus one. Fire.

    ANNOUNCER:
    From the far horizons of the unknown come transcribed tales of new dimensions in time and space. These are stories of the future, adventures in which you’ll live in a million could-be years on a thousand would-be worlds. The National Broadcasting Company presents — (HEAVY ECHO) X Minus One!

    Tonight, Robert Heinlein’s “Universe.”

    We are just beginning to discover how boundless our universe really is. And yet as man reaches out to the stars, out toward infinity, ironically enough, he may be building himself a new kind of prison. What would it be like to live all your life in a world no larger, say, than a single gigantic rocket ship bound on an endless mercy?

    ALAN:
    Hugh! Look out!

    ALAN: You all right?

    HUGH:
    Yes. Just missed me.

    ALAN:
    What was it?

    HUGH:
    A mutant with a slingshot, I think. Must have dashed down that passageway.

    ALAN:
    Want to go after it?

    HUGH:
    No. We’d never catch it, Alan. Probably twelve decks above us by now.

    ALAN:
    I didn’t think they ever came down this far. Patrols usually get them before they reach this level.

    HUGH:
    They get more daring each generation. This one looked like a female.

    ALAN:
    Male or female, it might have killed us. I told you this trip was pure foolishness — climbing twenty-four deck levels to hear a crazy old man rave.

    HUGH:
    (GOOD-NATURED) All right, Alan. We’re almost there now. Let me see, Compartment X-fifteen, Level Twenty-Four. This is the place.

    ALAN:
    Whew! This area smells as if it hadn’t been visited by a sanitation crew for generations.

    HUGH:
    Mmm.

    HUGH:
    This part of the ship is almost deserted.

    OLD WOMAN:
    Yes?

    HUGH:
    Is this the compartment of John the Witness?

    OLD WOMAN:
    (WARILY) Who are you?

    HUGH:
    My name is Hugh Hoyland, cadet from Scientists’ Barracks. This is my friend Alan Mahoney.

    OLD WOMAN:
    What do you want of John the Witness?

    HUGH:
    Well, only to talk.

    OLD WOMAN:
    Are you a believer in Jordan?

    HUGH:
    Naturally.

    OLD WOMAN:
    I have heard that there are those among the younger scientists who doubt the Word of Jordan.

    HUGH:
    To doubt is death. We’re not heretics.

    OLD WOMAN:
    (SATISFIED) Ah. Enter.

    HUGH:
    I’ve brought you a gift of tobacco. Grown on the richest level.

    OLD WOMAN:
    (INHALES AND EXHALES WITH PLEASURE) Ohhh, it smells good.

    HUGH:
    I assure you it’s of the best.

    OLD WOMAN:
    Wait here. (MOVING OFF) I’ll get him.

    ALAN:
    (DISGUSTED) What a rat’s nest.

    HUGH:
    Sssh!

    ALAN:
    Well, what the devil do you think he can tell you?

    HUGH:
    Alan, I’m not sure, I’m not sure.

    WITNESS:
    Well?

    HUGH:
    Are you John the Witness?

    WITNESS:
    I am.

    HUGH:
    Good eating to you. I’m Hugh Hoyland. This is my friend Alan Mahoney.

    WITNESS:
    What brings a gentleman of the scientist class to my humble compartment?

    HUGH:
    I’ve heard that you and your parents before you have been keepers of the legend of the Ship.

    WITNESS:
    Since Jordan gave the Word.

    HUGH:
    I’m anxious to hear the Word as Jordan spoke it.

    WITNESS:
    Why?

    HUGH:
    Because our young scientists– Well, among them, there have been some who talk against the Word.

    WITNESS:
    There are Regulations against such heresy.

    HUGH:
    Still, some of them say the Ship has no purpose. They say that we are here accidentally. That we have no more grace in Jordan’s eyes than the most deformed mutant who dwells in the highest level of the Ship.

    WITNESS:
    What shall I say to you?

    HUGH:
    Well, I wish to hear the Word from the mouth of one who knows. In order that I may become more convinced.

    WITNESS:
    Sit.

    WITNESS:
    You have a gift for the Witness?

    HUGH:
    The finest tobacco.

    WITNESS:
    Good. I will dim the lights. Now, pay close attention for these are the words as my father’s father’s father gave them to his son’s son’s son. This is how the Ship came into being, how our people were created.

    WITNESS:
    (RECITES, GRANDLY)
    In the Beginning there was only Jordan, thinking His lonely thoughts.
    Out of his thoughts came a vision.
    Out of the vision came a planning,
    And out of the planning came decision.
    Jordan’s hand was lifted — and the Ship was born!

    Mile after mile of good compartments,
    Tank after tank for golden corn;
    Ladder and passage, door and locker,
    Fit for the needs of the yet unborn.
    He looked on His work and found it pleasing,
    Meet for a race that was yet to be.
    He thought of Man and Man came into being;
    Then Jordan checked his thoughts and searched for a key.

    Man untamed would shame his Maker,
    Man unruled would spoil the Plan;
    So Jordan made the Regulations,
    And order came to the works of man.
    A Crew He created to work at their stations,
    Scientists to guide the Plan.
    Over them all He created Captain,
    Made him judge of the race of Man.
    Thus it was in the Golden Age!

    HUGH:
    These are the true words?

    WITNESS:
    As my father’s father taught them.

    HUGH:
    But what of the strange beast-like people on the upper levels of the Ship? Surely Jordan did not create them.

    WITNESS:
    Jordan is perfect, all below him lack perfection. You have heard of the legend of Huff?

    HUGH:
    I have heard that he mutinied against Jordan.

    WITNESS:
    Darkness swallowed the ways of virtue, Sin prevailed upon the Ship. And before wisdom prevailed and the bodies of Huff and his followers were fed into the Converter, some of the rebels escaped and lived to father the mutants. They’re tainted with the sins of their fathers.

    HUGH:
    Witness — one more question.

    WITNESS:
    Speak.

    HUGH:
    What is the Ship?

    WITNESS:
    The Ship is a great sphere, twenty-five kilometers wide and one hundred levels deep.

    HUGH:
    I know that. But the upper levels–?

    WITNESS:
    Regulations forbid us to venture into the upper levels. But it is said that beyond the levels of the mutants lies the Forbidden Place where Jordan’s spirit prevails.

    HUGH:
    So I’ve heard. Yet something troubles me. Something which prompted my coming here.

    WITNESS:
    Yes, my son?

    HUGH:
    (SLOWLY) What lies beyond the Ship?

    WITNESS:
    (STUNNED, OFFENDED) What?!

    HUGH:
    What lies beyond the Ship?!

    WITNESS:
    This is heresy!

    HUGH:
    Answer me!

    WITNESS:
    I will not permit such talk! (MUTTERS RAPIDLY, AS IF IN PRAYER) The Ship is complete. The Ship is universal. The Ship is everywhere. The Ship is endless. The Ship is–

    HUGH:
    Your mutterings are those of a frightened old man! They answer nothing!

    WITNESS:
    You question the Word?!

    HUGH:
    I think you lie!

    WITNESS:
    Hear me, Mr. Hoyland! For what you have already said, I can have your body fed into the Converter — your soul launched on the Endless Trip!

    HUGH:
    You threaten me?!

    ALAN:
    Hugh! For Jordan’s sake!

    HUGH:
    Do you think I fear this dried fig of a man?

    ALAN:
    (ADMONISHES) Hugh! (TO WITNESS) Sir, my friend is impetuous. He – he does not understand.

    WITNESS:
    I might be persuaded to forget. A substantial gift?

    HUGH:
    Why, you pig–!

    ALAN:
    Hugh!

    HUGH:
    Come on, Alan. The sight of this so-called holy man offends me!

    WITNESS:
    No! You shall not leave!

    HUGH:
    Don’t try to frighten me with that gun, old man!

    WITNESS:
    Remain where you are, heretic!

    HUGH:
    I warn you! Put down that gun!

    WITNESS:
    No, no! No closer!

    HUGH:
    Drop it!

    WITNESS:
    Very well, then! Death to the heretic!

    WITNESS:
    (GRUNTS IN PAIN)

    HUGH:
    Alan, get him!

    WITNESS:
    (GROANS)

    HUGH:
    (AFTER A PAUSE) Alan? He’s not breathing.

    ALAN:
    Is he dead?

    HUGH:
    I – I don’t know.

    ALAN:
    Come on, Hugh. We’ve got to get out of here.

    HUGH:
    Right.

    ALAN:
    Now where? We can’t go back. They’d feed us into the Converter before we could even–

    ALAN:
    What’s that?

    HUGH:
    An alarm. That old woman must have turned it in. Come on, Alan. The patrol’ll be here in no time.

    ALAN:
    Where can we go?!

    HUGH:
    Yes, where? Where? (AN IDEA) The upper levels!

    ALAN:
    No. The mutants–

    HUGH:
    We’ll have to take our chances. Come on, Alan, let’s go!

    HUGH:
    Listen! That’s the patrol! Come on, we’ve got to climb!

    ALAN:
    There’s a hatchway — down the corridor.

    HUGH:
    All right, quickly! Quickly!

    1ST PATROL:
    (OFF) Halt! Halt! Or we fire!

    HUGH:
    Alan! Alan! Up the ladder!

    HUGH:
    Up! Come on, Alan! Come on!

    ALAN:
    (EXHAUSTED) Hugh? Hugh, wait. Wait. How far are we from the outside wall?

    HUGH:
    Judging by the slope of the deck, ’bout two miles. Alan, let’s try this passageway here.

    ALAN:
    If you hadn’t asked him that stupid question–

    HUGH:
    Now, there’s no use going over that.

    ALAN:
    But why did you do it?!

    HUGH:
    I’ve been thinking about it for a long time. When he began to give me those stupid pat answers– (SIGHS) Well, I just saw red, I guess.

    ALAN:
    Who are you to question the ways of Jordan? When you asked me to go with you to visit the Witness, I – I thought you wanted spiritual help. I never dreamed–

    HUGH:
    I’m sorry, Alan, I’m sorry. I couldn’t foresee this.

    ALAN:
    Wait. Wait a minute.

    HUGH:
    What?

    ALAN:
    I thought I saw something move.

    HUGH:
    Where?

    ALAN:
    Near that bulkhead.

    HUGH:
    I don’t see anything.

    ALAN:
    Maybe my eyes are going bad–

    MUTANTS:
    (BLOODCURDLING CRIES)

    ALAN:
    Listen! Hugh, behind us!

    HUGH:
    Alan, look out!

    HUGH:
    (WAKES, GROGGY) Oh, my head.

    BOBO:
    (LAUGHS LIKE A MONKEY … THEN IN BG)

    HUGH:
    Where am I? (SEES BOBO, GASPS) No! What – what are you?

    BOBO:
    (GROWLS MENACINGLY)

    HUGH:
    Put away that knife. Keep away from me, you!

    BOBO:
    (GROWLS)

    GREGORY:
    (FROM OFF) No, Bobo, don’t kill him. Not yet.

    BOBO:
    (QUIETS DOWN)

    HUGH:
    Who are you?

    GREGORY:
    (OFF) You must forgive my friend Bobo. Like so many of my people, he’s rather impetuous where members of the so-called “super race” are concerned.

    HUGH:
    Who are you?! What place is this?!

    GREGORY:
    (APPROACHES) As you can guess from my leg, I’m a mutant.

    HUGH:
    Mutant? (BEAT) Where – where is Alan?

    GREGORY:
    Your friend is dead.

    HUGH:
    Dead?

    GREGORY:
    I was not able to restrain my people in time to save him.

    HUGH:
    Why don’t you destroy me and get it over with?

    GREGORY:
    We do not kill for pleasure, Mr. Hoyland. Only when necessary.

    HUGH:
    You know my name?

    GREGORY:
    I read your identification tag.

    HUGH:
    Who are you? Mutants can’t read.

    GREGORY:
    My name is Gregory.

    HUGH:
    Gregory?

    GREGORY:
    I’m a leader of my people. You see, although we are unfortunate in our heredity, Mr. Hoyland, many of us are quite intelligent.

    HUGH:
    Then why do you live like animals?

    GREGORY:
    We’d rather live like free animals than like regimented slaves as you do.

    HUGH:
    (UNEASY) I’ve heard you – practice cannibalism.

    GREGORY:
    Undoubtedly you hear many things about us. [We raise our own cattle on the upper levels and those of our people who choose to farm raise enough crops for our small population.] You turn your head. Why?

    HUGH:
    (WITH GREAT DISGUST) That – that monster. I’ve never seen a creature like him.

    BOBO:
    (MURMURS)

    GREGORY:
    Bobo is an unfortunate. He was born without the power of speech.

    HUGH:
    How can you tolerate such a monstrosity?

    GREGORY:
    We’ve learned to live with difference. If we began to destroy our imperfects as you do on the lower levels, there would soon be no one left.

    HUGH:
    It violates the Regulations. The Word of Jordan states specifically that–

    GREGORY:
    You know, Mr. Hoyland, your people are really quite primitive and barbaric.

    HUGH:
    You dare say that to me?

    GREGORY:
    I dare say a good deal more. Let us go to my compartment and speak further. I’m always interested in information on the lower levels.

    HUGH:
    (DEFIANT) I’ll give you no information.

    GREGORY:
    Bobo?

    BOBO:
    (MURMURS)

    GREGORY:
    I want Mr. Hoyland in my cabin, please.

    BOBO:
    (GRUNTS MENACINGLY)

    HUGH:
    Stop it! No! (GRUNTS AND GASPS IN TERROR)

    GREGORY:
    I would advise you to go quietly, Mr. Hoyland. Bobo has a hatred of superior beings which is unfortunate but quite understandable.

    HUGH:
    (GRUNTS WITH EFFORT BEHIND–)

    GREGORY:
    Proceed.

    GREGORY:
    Enter, Mr. Hoyland.

    HUGH:
    (DISBELIEF) This is where you live?

    GREGORY:
    Yes.

    HUGH:
    But you have books!

    GREGORY:
    Stolen from your libraries, Mr. Hoyland.

    HUGH:
    (READS BOOK TITLES) “Compton’s Astrophysics,” “Philosophy of Interstellar Navigation,” “Celestial Mechanics.” (ASTONISHED, TO GREGORY) You’ve read these?

    GREGORY:
    Most of them.

    HUGH:
    I had no idea that you– (BEAT) Why did you bring me here? What do you intend to do?

    GREGORY:
    Do you believe in Jordan, Mr. Hoyland?

    HUGH:
    There is no other belief.

    GREGORY:
    And the Trip? I suppose you believe in the Trip, too.

    HUGH:
    What else is there to believe? When you die, your remains are fed to the Converter and your soul makes the Trip.

    GREGORY:
    And where does the Trip take you?

    HUGH:
    Why, to Centaurus, of course.

    GREGORY:
    Ah! And where — or what — is Centaurus?

    HUGH:
    Centaurus is– Mind you, I’m just telling you the orthodox answer. Centaurus is where you arrive when you’ve made the Trip. The place where everybody is happy and there’s always good eating.

    GREGORY:
    And you believe this?

    HUGH:
    Well, the peasants believe it literally but many of the younger scientists like myself know it is figurative and symbolic. Why do you ask?

    GREGORY:
    Did it ever occur to you, Mr. Hoyland, that the Trip is exactly what your peasants believe it is?

    HUGH:
    What?

    GREGORY:
    And that the Ship and all the Crew are actually going somewhere? Moving?

    HUGH:
    The Ship can’t go anywhere. It already is everywhere.

    GREGORY:
    Imagine a place bigger than the Ship. Much bigger.

    HUGH:
    Bigger?

    GREGORY:
    With the Ship inside it. Moving inside it.

    HUGH:
    There can’t be any place bigger than the Ship. There just wouldn’t be any place for it to be.

    GREGORY:
    Oh, for Huff’s sake, listen. You know the lowest level?

    HUGH:
    Of course.

    GREGORY:
    If you started digging a hole in the lowest level, where would that hole go?

    HUGH:
    It’s forbidden to think such thoughts.

    GREGORY:
    Where would it go?

    HUGH:
    I can’t think about it.

    GREGORY:
    (CALLS) Bobo?

    BOBO:
    (MURMURS)

    GREGORY:
    We’re going to take Mr. Hoyland to the Place.

    HUGH:
    No! Where – where are we going?

    GREGORY:
    The top level.

    HUGH:
    But that’s certain death!

    GREGORY:
    Nonsense. I’ve been there a thousand times. Come along.

    HUGH:
    No, no, I won’t. I won’t. You can’t make me!

    GREGORY:
    I think we can.

    BOBO:
    (APPROACHES, MURMURS)

    HUGH:
    No, no. Please!

    GREGORY:
    Now, shall we proceed peacefully or shall I have Bobo persuade you?

    GREGORY:
    Open the door, Bobo.

    BOBO:
    (MURMURS, GRUNTS)

    GREGORY:
    Inside.

    HUGH:
    (GASPS, IN AWE) No. What place is this?

    GREGORY:
    This, Mr. Hoyland, is the Main Control Room. Mr. Hoyland, you’re trembling.

    HUGH:
    It isn’t true. No. No, there’s no such place, except in mythology.

    GREGORY:
    Ah, you younger men are so wise, Mr. Hoyland, except for one thing. This happens to be the Main Control Room of the Ship.

    HUGH:
    Main Contro–? But it’s just a huge room with an instrument panel.

    GREGORY:
    And what did you expect?

    HUGH:
    How do you know this is the Main Control Room?

    GREGORY:
    See these instruments? Using them, the navigator, many hundreds of years ago, actually steered the Ship on its voyage.

    HUGH:
    I don’t understand.

    GREGORY:
    I didn’t suppose you would. Sit down.

    HUGH:
    Very well.

    GREGORY:
    Look up. What do you see?

    HUGH:
    (IN AWE) A huge shield.

    GREGORY:
    Watch it for one moment, Mr. Hoyland. (MOVES OFF) You’re going to see something that few of us have ever been privileged to witness.

    HUGH:
    What are you doing?

    GREGORY:
    (OFF) I’m dimming the lights.

    GREGORY:
    (OFF) Don’t be frightened. Keep your eyes focused on the shield above us. Ready? Watch.

    HUGH:
    (GASPS) It’s sliding back. (STUNNED, WHISPERS) Ghost of Jordan!

    GREGORY:
    (OFF) Well?

    HUGH:
    (ASTONISHED) What am I seeing?

    GREGORY:
    (CLOSER) The universe, Mr. Hoyland. The universe in all its beauty. The stars, the planets, the suns and moons and constellations.

    HUGH:
    No. No, it can’t be. The Ship is the universe. There is nothing but the Ship.

    GREGORY:
    Ah, but there it is. You see it before your eyes spread out like a canopy of glory. Do you still deny it? Answer me, Mr. Hoyland. Do you deny it?

    HUGH:
    No. No, I can’t deny it. They’ve lied. They lied to all of us.

    GREGORY:
    Good.

    GREGORY:
    I have showed this to others of your people whom we captured and, though they saw it before their very eyes, they would not believe it.

    HUGH:
    Please– Please, tell me all about it. Tell me the truth about the Ship and about the universe. What are these things? How did this come about?

    GREGORY:
    Many thousands of years ago, on a planet like those you have just seen — a planet called Earth — a scientist named Jordan decided to build a ship that would carry men from one planet to another. For many years, Jordan, and thousands of others, studied and planned. And when they were finished, they built the Ship — a ship so large that it had to be assembled in its own orbit beyond a place called the Moon. Sixty years it took them to construct. And when it was finished, a whole new science had been conceived. Then the Trip was begun — the trip that was to land a colony of Earth men on a far-off planet called Centaurus, millions of light-years beyond the furthest planet ever reached before.

    HUGH:
    How do you know these things?

    GREGORY:
    Among my books are the log which Jordan himself kept, and the records of the journey for the first forty years.

    HUGH:
    What happened?

    GREGORY:
    There was a mutiny. A man named Huff led a rebellion of those who wanted to turn back. In the struggle, the navigators were killed. And the Crew fell into a state of anarchy. In the years to follow, small groups of men tried to organize the ship for navigation, and each time — they failed. Finally, the whole idea was abandoned. (SLOWLY) And so – for centuries – we have swung in space – unmanned, undirected – living in a lost world of our own making – without purpose – without direction.

    HUGH:
    (BEAT) Why have you told me this?

    GREGORY:
    Can’t you guess?

    HUGH:
    You want to finish the Trip.

    GREGORY:
    Yes. But I can’t.

    HUGH:
    You can’t?

    GREGORY:
    Look at me, Mr. Hoyland. You see a mutant. A man with a twisted leg. My people are outcasts, condemned to death if we so much as set foot in the lower levels of the Ship. The Main Drive is in the lower levels where my people are forbidden to go. No. It would mean that both our people would have to work together — our differences encouraged, rather than denied.

    HUGH:
    All right. I’ll see the Captain himself. I have an uncle on the Central Board. I’ll tell him what I’ve seen here.

    GREGORY:
    And do you think he’ll believe you?

    HUGH:
    Send one of your people with me.

    GREGORY:
    (UNSURE) That’s asking a good deal.

    HUGH:
    I’m risking a good deal by going back.

    GREGORY:
    Very well. Bobo will go with you.

    HUGH:
    Bobo? He can’t talk.

    GREGORY:
    There will be no need for talk. I will write a message guaranteeing safe conduct for a group of unarmed scientists to visit the Main Control Room. Bobo will take you safely through our territory. What happens when you reach your own level — is up to you.

    UNCLE:
    (OFF) One moment!

    UNCLE:
    Yes, what–? (GASPS) Hugh!

    HUGH:
    Quick, uncle, let us in.

    UNCLE:
    But this – this mutant–?

    HUGH:
    He’s harmless. Please, uncle, please.

    UNCLE:
    (A SMALL SIGH)

    UNCLE:
    Now. What is this? You’re wanted for–

    HUGH:
    I know all about that. Uncle, listen. I must see the Captain.

    UNCLE:
    The Captain? Are you mad?

    HUGH:
    Uncle, you’re a council member. You can get me to see him.

    UNCLE:
    They’ll kill you. You’re wanted for heresy.

    HUGH:
    I don’t care. I must speak with the Captain. Now, uncle, you’re close to him; you can arrange it.

    UNCLE:
    I – I don’t understand–

    HUGH:
    Listen to me! The Ship is moving. I can prove it. Do you understand? There is a purpose in the Ship.

    UNCLE:
    I don’t understand what you’re babbling about.

    HUGH:
    Never mind. Just talk to the Captain. Tell him I have information of tremendous importance. Tell him I’ve arranged a truce with the mutants!

    UNCLE:
    Truce?!

    HUGH:
    Here, show him this paper. Signed by their leader. (BEAT) Do it, uncle, for my sake.

    UNCLE:
    I don’t know what to–

    HUGH:
    Uncle, please, if I am to die, let this be my last request to you.

    UNCLE:
    (SIGHS) Very well. I’ll speak to the Captain.

    CAPTAIN:
    And you say, Mr. Hoyland, that you saw this with your own eyes?

    HUGH:
    I swear it, Captain. I swear it on the Word of Jordan.

    CAPTAIN:
    Hmmmm. Uh, let me see the paper again.

    CAPTAIN:
    Commander Erst, what do you think?

    COMMANDER:
    I don’t know, sir. It might be a trick.

    HUGH:
    (IMPLORING) “I guarantee you safe conduct.”

    CAPTAIN:
    If these things are as Mr. Hoyland reports them, it would pay to risk a few lives.

    COMMANDER:
    The man is a convicted heretic.

    CAPTAIN:
    Still, we must not discount his word. He has a “safe conduct” — and the mutant risked its life coming with him. I think we might investigate.

    HUGH:
    Captain — you mean you will do it?

    CAPTAIN:
    I will have an expedition outfitted. Dismissed, Mr. Hoyland.

    HUGH:
    Thank you, sir!

    COMMANDER:
    Captain, do you–?

    CAPTAIN:
    Commander Erst.

    COMMANDER:
    Sir?

    CAPTAIN:
    You will make the necessary arrangements for an expedition. (SLOWLY) And I trust you understand?

    COMMANDER:
    Perfectly, sir. Perfectly.

    HUGH:
    Lieutenant?

    LIEUTENANT:
    Mr. Hoyland?

    HUGH:
    Well, you’d better halt your men here. This is the spot.

    LIEUTENANT:
    Patrol! Halt! Well, I see no welcoming party of mutants.

    HUGH:
    (CHUCKLES) There’ll be none. Their leader will meet you inside the Main Control Room.

    LIEUTENANT:
    You don’t say? Just where is this Main Control Room?

    HUGH:
    Beyond that door.

    LIEUTENANT:
    I see. (CALLS) All right, men! Ready arms!

    HUGH:
    Lieutenant! Why do you ready arms?

    LIEUTENANT:
    In case of ambush.

    HUGH:
    Ambush? Wait a minute, Lieutenant! What are those men doing with that ray gun?

    LIEUTENANT:
    Just aiming it at the door.

    HUGH:
    Are you mad?

    LIEUTENANT:
    No, Mr. Hoyland, but most certainly you are to think that we could be lured up here to be slaughtered with a fantastic story about some mythical Control Room.

    1ST PATROL:
    Guns ready, sir.

    HUGH:
    Lieutenant, I warn you. These people have acted in good faith. You can’t break that faith.

    LIEUTENANT:
    (CALLS) Ho, mutant! Come out!

    HUGH:
    For Jordan’s sake, Lieutenant!

    LIEUTENANT:
    Hold it! (PAUSE, LOW) A little too quiet for comfort. (CALLS) Mutant! Open the door!

    HUGH:
    (TO HIMSELF, A PRAYER) Please, Jordan, don’t let anything happen. Don’t let–

    LIEUTENANT:
    It’s opening. Ready, men.

    PATROL OFFICERS:
    (MURMUR)

    LIEUTENANT:
    Someone’s coming out.

    PATROL OFFICERS:
    (MURMUR)

    LIEUTENANT:
    Steady.

    HUGH:
    (CALLS, LOUD) Gregory! Stay back!

    LIEUTENANT:
    Fire!

    GREGORY:
    (DEATH SCREAM)

    HUGH:
    You fools! You’ve killed him!

    MUTANTS:
    (HOWL AND HOLLER)

    LIEUTENANT:
    Here come the rest of them. Fire! Fire!

    HUGH:
    You fools! You fools!

    LIEUTENANT:
    That should teach ’em a lesson they won’t forget. All right, men! Inside the room!

    LIEUTENANT:
    Hoyland, you’re under arrest as a conspirator in this ambush.

    HUGH:
    Ambush? You fool. You blind, stupid fool!

    LIEUTENANT:
    All right, that’ll be enough. Have you been inside this place before?

    HUGH:
    Yes.

    LIEUTENANT:
    What’s this machinery?

    HUGH:
    These are the controls he would have used to steer the Ship.

    2ND PATROL:
    Gone out of his mind, Lieutenant.

    LIEUTENANT:
    Steer the Ship? Who?

    HUGH:
    The leader — the one you killed.

    LIEUTENANT:
    (CHUCKLES SKEPTICALLY) This ugly mutant?

    HUGH:
    This ugly mutant — happened to be a man of true genius.

    LIEUTENANT:
    Why, you’re mad.

    HUGH:
    Am I? Lieutenant, this man had a vision which would have saved you — but you chose to kill him because you couldn’t stand the sight of his difference from you.

    LIEUTENANT:
    Shut up, Hoyland! Don’t listen to him, men!

    HUGH:
    You can’t shut your eyes and you can’t shut your minds and you can’t shut your ears to this!

    1ST PATROL:
    Roof’s moving back!

    2ND PATROL:
    Look!

    HUGH:
    Yes! Look!

    PATROL OFFICERS:
    (SOME OF THEM GASP IN AWE AND SURPRISE)

    HUGH:
    Let the vision of this confound your ignorance and blind your eyes! This is the heritage of stars and open skies — for which men have yearned for centuries! Try to destroy this and you will only destroy yourselves!

    1ST PATROL:
    (OFF) Death to the heretic!

    HUGH:
    (SCREAMS, GASPS, WOUNDED, DYING) But I – I say to you – that you can’t keep this from our people. They – they will seek it out. The Ship will be manned and the Ship will be steered — and there will be freedom, purpose, and respect for ourselves. This is your heritage.

    PATROL OFFICERS:
    (SOME OF THEM SCOFF)

    HUGH:
    Look! Look upon the universe!

    2ND PATROL:
    Kill him!

    PATROL OFFICERS:
    (MURMUR IN AGREEMENT THEN QUICKLY HOLLER LIKE A LYNCH MOB)

    HUGH:
    (BLOODCURDLING DEATH SCREAM)

    ANNOUNCER:
    “X Minus One” has just brought you “Universe,” a story written by Robert Heinlein and adapted for radio by George Lefferts. Heard in the cast were Donald Buka as Hugh, Peter Capell as Gregory, Bill Griffis as Alan, Abby Lewis as the woman, Edgar Stehli as the Witness, Jason Johnson as the uncle, John Seymour as the captain and Ian Martin as the lieutenant. Your announcer is Fred Collins. “X Minus One” is directed by Fred Weihe and is a transcribed NBC Radio Network production.

    ANNOUNCER:
    (HEAVY ECHO) X … Minus … One!

    • Tor,

      Excellent story. I downloaded many of the X-1 radio programs from the net (www.archive.org) Most of them are good stories. I have found 5 minute mysterys there as well — my nephews like them and enjoyed trying to solve the mystery before the solution was read.

      Gunsmoke is another radio program that I enjoy listening over the radio.

      (On another note — I have 2 pending videos for clovercam. Typical clover stuff: cutting into traffic and inattentive driving)

      • thanks mith. I’m part of the old time radio researchers (otrr) group that has archives there.

        RAH pub list
        http://www.nitrosyncretic.com/rah/rahpubs.html

        we all have galaxy tabs in my home, which have radio spirits, and old time radio players apps on them. there’s other good apps as well.

        i would hate to try going to sleep without my “stories”

        i have lots of good vids, but i’d need nonreversible distorting software, I can’t associate my actual likeness with all the weirdness I post here.

        best and worse of otrr
        http://www.old-time.com/misc/bstwrst.html#bestworst

        JRR Tolk’s Legendarium
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tolkien%27s_legendarium

          • that’s one of the many things that’s great about that old content. it was made by cultured enlightened adults for similar audience adults.

            everything now shown on major broadcast/cable tv networks has to resolve to the usual expected endings, no exceptions. this is accomplished by govt, nanny non profits/religious lobbies, and corporations not wanting to rock the boat and endanger their sales

            as far as Cold Equations, I was hopeful he would be able to train her to run the ship and then jettison himself to get the weight right.

            even cold equations can have unexpected solutions to the man of independent thinking. I’m sure there are far better endings than I can imagine
            – – – –

            The Scapegoat

            Author: Richard Maples

            Originally aired: 8 August 1957

            Plot synopsis: A newspaper reporter saves an old man from being beaten up in the street, but soon discovers that there is more to him than meets the eye. Based on a short story first published in Galaxy Science Fiction magazine, in June 1956.

            Favourite line: ‘I slugged him, yet I knew it was useless the instant the blow landed. He fell just like sponge rubber, yet I kept hitting him. I didn’t bother listening to his cries …’

            Review: Something of a curiosity, this episode; and by the end, I wasn’t entirely sure what I thought of it. It starts out seeming to be a story about juvenile delinquency – a major social fear of the 1950s (see also, for example, the Suspense episode The Empty Chair) – but then veers off in a very different direction. The mysterious old man at the plot’s centre is soon revealed to be an extraterrestrial, who has been exiled from his home planet, but even after his identity is disclosed, there remains much more about him to be learned. I won’t say anything more about the plot than this, but it all leads to a conclusion that isn’t very satisfactory. In particular, the episode ends quite abruptly, without properly resolving many of its plot threads – for example, we never learn what ultimately happens to the protagonist’s son, arrested for a crime he didn’t commit. Yet there is something intriguing about the story, especially the way the alien visitor’s arrival causes the main character’s life to unravel.

            The Scapegoat – Richard Maples
            http://www.gutenberg.org/files/36719/36719-h/36719-h.htm

            X MInus 1 – 5 Star Episodes
            http://www.oldtimeradioreview.com/x-minus-one—5-stars.html
            – — — –

            objectively, there is no fair or right. these are irrational conventions that many people find useful to impose and attempt to perfect.

            they have a cost benefit attached to them. to my mind, the cost is outrageous and in no way justifies the meager benefit.

            my journey is to find or to foster my own Tolkien space that is outside of the known universe of everybody else. a place where one’s quid leads to quo, without all the endless chatter about what kind of quid everything is. and what the ledger of quids is versus the quos.

            a world mostly of techne, instead of the current society of mostly episteme.

            • Tor,

              I think that is one thing I really enjoy from those old radio programs. Thinking outside the box and finding an unexpected ending. (similar in some respects with Twilight Zone / Outer Limits from the 1950s/1960s)

              Some of the episodes were downright creepy/eerie.

              Have you heard any Phillip Marlowe programs? Those I enjoy for the setting of a time long gone.

              • I was just thinking of listening to Marlowe. There’s only 37 episodes available from my android app, but Raymond Chandler is one of the best, so I’ll give them a listen.

                In the detective genre, I’ve listened to Boston Blackie, dozens of Let George Do It, and hundreds of Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar, Adventures of the Abbotts, and many Sherlock Holmes.
                – – –

                Philip Marlowe
                Created by Raymond Chandler (1888-1959)

                “I needed a drink, I needed a lot of life insurance, I needed a vacation, I needed a home in the country. What I had was a coat, a hat and a gun. I put them on and left the room.”
                — from Farewell, My Lovely

                What more can I say about PHILIP MARLOWE? Three Gun Mack may have been the first, Race Williams introduced the P.I. to the world and The Continental Op and Sam Spade may have staked out the ambiguous moral code that would fuel the genre for years, but it was Raymond Chandler’s Marlowe that would define for all time who, what, where and why a private eye here.

                Traces of Marlowe run from Paul Pine to Jim Rockford to Ms. Tree to Lew Archer to Spenser. It’s all here, from the loneliness, the quick, sarcastic cynical jibes masking a battered romantic, the love/hate relationship with the cops, the corruption that exists in all levels of society. It’s all here.

                Philip Marlowe, for better or worse, is the archetypical private eye. By the time he wrote his famous essay, The Simple Art of Murder, even Chandler realized it.

                Philip Marlowe was born in Santa Rosa, California, he runs a single man operation out of the Cahuenga Building in Los Angeles.

                Tall, and big enough to take care of himself, he likes liquor, women, reading, chess and working alone, and is educated enough that he boasts he can speak English “if he’s required to.”

                He used to work for the district attorney, but was fired for insubordination, thus starting a cliche that still hasn’t run out of steam. How many ex-cops are there out there that seem to have become private eyes?

                THE EVIDENCE

                “I see (Marlowe) always in a lonely street, in lonely rooms, puzzled but never quite defeated.”
                — from a letter from Chandler

                “I don’t mind if you don’t like my manners. I don’t like ’em myself. They’re pretty bad. I grieve over them long winter evenings.”
                — Marlowe in The Big Sleep

                “Dead men are heavier than broken hearts ”
                — Marlowe in The Big Sleep

                “I’m a romantic, Bernie. I hear voices crying in the night and I go to see what’s the matter. You don’t make a dime that way. . . No percentage in it at all.”
                — Marlowe gives the game away, to a cop buddy

                “Leave us to do the thinking sweetheart. It takes equipment.”
                — Marlowe in The Little Sister

                UNDER OATH

                “Few pleasures in life are as seductive as reading Chandler. When I open one of his books for a quick fact-check, I might not surface until ten chapters later”
                — Vince Emery, The 14 Best Private Eye Novels of All Time

  12. In a Norway Survey:

    In 2009 80% of internet users 30 years and younger performed illegal downloads
    In 2014 4% of internet users 30 years and younger performed illegal downloads

    Piracy virtually eliminated in Norway
    http://www.musicbusinessworldwide.com/piracy-virtually-eliminated-norway/

    The reason for the change was the rise of music streaming services. They offered low prices and were as convenient and more convenient than the illegal sites

    Spotify explained
    http://www.spotifyartists.com/spotify-explained/

    The thing is, I don’t think the artists benefited from this at all. Spotify and similar services don’t pay artists, or if they do it’s only a pittance. Much the same as what googul pays Eric for running ads on his site.

    I’d love to be wrong and see that we can have both. People making a living on the internet the way it is now. And other people creating zones of restricted commerce sites where they make their living by only controlling their users, and not relying on authoritarians who mutate the internet into one giant Walmart and Cable Company of sanitized mass approved content favorable to the PTB.
    – – –

    This is just populist musing, but my gut feeling is…

    I think Cloverism has pretty much killed the internet.
    Cloverism occurs when a group of people make the wrong response relative to a “Prisoner’s Dilemma.”

    A Clover is anyone who is short sighted and self-centered. He lacks knowledge in important matters and is either proud of his ignorance. Or rationalizes it. If your not a Clover on the road, job, or politics. You’re probably one somewhere else. Maybe it’s against women, immigrants, poor people who don’t want to be part of the system, irresponsible people who want to stay high, have lots of kids they can’t pay for. Whatever it is, somewhere down the line, you secretly appreciate the control grid and matrix that enslaves us all.

    Unless we transform and evolve, all of us will remain Clovers in one area or another. Just because we aren’t Clovers on the road or in politics. This does not indicate our overall Clover Quotient is lower than anybody else’s. It usually just means we are Clovers somewhere else.
    – – –

    Clovers on the internet advocate the following fatal adjustment to the internet Agora.

    1 Use of real names. Even if its mandatory. If you are a business owner on the web, you would be in favor of this. You can’t make money off anonymous people who take things for free. It harms your commerce if there are unaccountable people in the same area where you are trying to make a living.

    2 Use of smart phones and tablets. These dumb devices are the majority now. They have weak or no encryption. They contain no tools of internet sovereignty. No rogue programs. Just googul or appul duopoly. They offer complete tracking capabilities, such that the PTB always know where you are, who you are, and everything you’ve ever done.

    3 Enforcement of conduct norms. Comment sections are being shut down. The ones that remain use tracking software that tie your entries into your real identity. Users are banned. Added to spam and troll lists. Threatened with prosecutions. Have their ISPs prevent access if they break any cyber rules. Saying the wrong thing is becoming a crime. All kinds of new cyber crimes are being imagined and implemented. The goal being a cyber police state in lockstep with the existing real world police state.

    4 Nothing is just accessed anymore. You always have to create an account. Give an email. A cell phone number. Consent to tracking a surveillance of your usage. Agree to heinous terms that make you a cyberslave.
    – – –

    The Free Market is always in tension with the Cartel Market. It’s not just a matter of government. There’s also the matter of entrepreneurs and business owners needing some kind of restricted cartel system so that they can make enough profit to survive and continue to make a living.

    This is what true anarchy struggles with. Anarcho-capitalism is an unproven idea, that only the government wants cartels and tyranny. There is significant evidence that even small business people also seek their own version of cartels, restrictions, and tyranny. It’s difficult and maybe impossible for many to make a living when all the potential customers have unrestricted freedom.

    I think what’s helpful is to just delve into the objective facts. And not get bogged down in who is the good guy. And who is the bad guy. It should be more quantitative and less irrational than that. It will require clear headed scientific methods to plumb these depths and find ways to preserve wealth and enable ways to create wealth. While also not being unnecessarily destructive of freedom and the right to disassociation and not being cornered into being enslaved consumers against our wills.

    • Spotify, et al, may only pay artists a pittance. But so do the recording companies. One reason many musicians are bypassing them and putting up their own sites.

      • I can empathize with musicians. The Internet fucks them even harder than writers get fucked. Once a song gets recorded, officially or otherwise, it is a dead certain thing it’ll be put online for freeeeeeee! People have come to expect “free” music (it’s just sort of “there,” right?) and this makes it almost impossible to sell it. But something’s got to give. Either musicians will simply give up and do something that’s not susceptible to being taken without compensation. Or there will be more shit music and more corporate music. Which is just what’s happened.

        Same with regard to publishing. More shit, more shilling.

        People get what they want, apparently.

        I and other writers thus face a tough choice: Either work three times as long for a third the pay – or go back to a steady corporate shill job that pays very well indeed, but sucks your soul like a $20 hoar sucks dick.

        • here in vegas, the hoarprice goes as low as $5, or so I’ve heard

          Myself I’ve mastered the Bukowskian subtle art of not giving a fuck

          corporate hoars plod about in tourist trap stripclubs and air dance 5 feet away for hundreds of dollars while yanks and euros buy $20 pitchers of beer and watch fuhhhtball on big screens amid topless milfs prattling on about the white men’s privileges of their suitcase pimps

          sickening cloversexuals the lot of them

          i don’t know what the answer is

          it does seem like the more things are a clusterfuck, the more freedom there is for me.

          as soon as there’s enough enforcers and structure so that you do unto others the crowd approved way OR ELSE then it’s time to move on for me

          they always untangle the G-rated good stuff and jack up its price and siphon the loot to their cronies while leaving everything else in a great big unwieldy shitheap

          Dacia ad 1
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OurzGwmpEAk

          Dacia ad 2
          http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=be1_1416678605

        • I’d like to say that as a musician I do not have an issue with the internet. What I have an issue with is the so called Music and Print companies. it is they rather than the web that fucks, so to type, musicians & writers. I’ll kindly refer you to Prince. He decided after being fucked by said companies to release his work via the web. An entire album for one dollar. After 3 million dollars all the remaining downloads were no charge. Stephen King did the same thing although on a different level. One dollar for a chapter of his latest book. The internet is not the culprit. The culprit is as always the gloverment (iron fist in the velvet glove) and those that support it. Namely the Music and Print companies. Why if people can distribute music and novels via the web well GASP! no one will need them! I’m reminded of the passage from the movie V for Vendetta where the Chancellor tells the cabinet. People need to be reminded, “Why they need us!”

          David Ward
          Memphis, Tennessee

          • Hi David,

            I think using Prince and King as examples of successful web publishing is somewhat disingenuous (no offense intended).

            Both men were already hugely famous (and rich), having been made so by the backing of major publishers before they were either.

            How many albums/songs would Prince have sold online if his name was not Prince? If he were 22 years old today and an unknown? Same goes for King. They were both fortunate enough to have begun (and established) their careers before the Internet. They can afford to “e” publish on their own now – because they’re already rich and famous! But the not-yet-famous are in a very different position.

            The Internet has created two classes of writers and musicians: The extremely wealthy and very famous… and the unknown and desperate. Pre-Internet, there was a larger class of “in the middles” who made a decent living as (for instance) writers and editors (including peripheral positions associated with such work, e.g., copy editors, graphic designers, make-up people). All gone now – or mostly so.

            Yet, the work still has to be done. I, for example, must copy edit my own work; then format and headline it. And design/update the pages. I also have to market/promote the site. What the technology has done is not eliminate the work; it has simply forced one person to do it all. Three times the work for a third the pay.

            If you’re “lucky”!

            I’ve written two non-fiction car books. Both successful; both earned me decent money. This was in the late 1990s/early 2000s.

            Why have I not written another?

            Well, I’ve got two partially finished manuscripts. But I have put them aside indefinitely because I can’t justify pouring the time/effort into them because it’s extremely likely that neither would ever generate any income for me. People want freeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! and once any written work has been put online, it can be accessed/read for freeeeeeeeeeeee! which is exactly what most people will do. Which is precisely why there’s no money in it – and why it’s damned hard to justify the doing of it. Perhaps just for the love of it – but even in that case, one must be financially independent. Otherwise, one has to do something that generates a living wage. Which these days, means not much time left for doing things purely for the satisfaction of it. For art’s sake, so to speak.

            My first two books? I got a low five figure advance for each, plus royalties after publication. Today? Publishers almost never offer advances at all anymore – because they know they don’t have to, because writers are that desperate. And also, to be fair to publishers, they know there’s virtually no chance they’ll recover their outlay unless the book somehow becomes a huge best-seller. Which it won’t, unless it’s been written by an already famous author or gets a tsunami of marketing/PR behind it. So, 9.9 out of 10 books published in “e” form – which is the majority of them nowadays – are essentially vanity press deals that will never earn their authors more than they would have had they spent the same amount of time working the drive-thru at McDonalds.

            If they’re “lucky.” Most don’t earn even that.

            The thing is, these tendencies are not confined to the world of publishing but are going to (already are) encompassing many other professions, too. Including formerly safe professions such as engineering (hardware and software).

            We are all going to experience being coolies. Except the few who ascend to the Elysium of the elites.

            Honestly, it’d be tempting to join them. Those Bohemian Grove get-togethers sound like lots of fun….

        • eric, that’s a double-edged sword. Some groups have made their debut with free downloads and avoided the rip-off record companies when they gained popularity. It’s much easier to pay a dollar to download a song or a few dollars to download an album than to find a sharing site, download that blighted software and then be tracked by every damned agency that deems itself sovereign over the whole damned world.
          It seems that musicians have used the internet to become successful. Not all musicians find a following for any price including free. You can multiply that by infinity for writers on the net nobody wants to read.

          All those Bills, you know, Kristol, O’Reilly, Clinton, could turn to stone and I wouldn’t know about it. It’s a nice thought though.

  13. Eric, It might just be that time of year. Not sure what happens in your country at this time, but statistically something ought to ring a bell.

    Over here, schools are starting up again after the summer, return to work was (for most men.. er.. breadwinners anyway) over a month ago. Beyond that, even a turn in the markets can disrupt something downstream.

    If you didn’t change anything yourself then the forces are external.

      • Hi Phillip,

        No doubt, but the basic problem remains (and this is not just an EPautos problem; it applies generally). It is that – typically – not even 5 percent of a given site’s regular visitors will regularly support that site financially. Which would not be a problem if the Goo-guhl advertising model hadn’t also destroyed the basis of advertising revenue for most sites. I’ve gone into that at length previously. In a nutshell, they (Goo-guhl, et al) pay only when someone “clicks” on an ad – not for the visibility, the number of people viewing the ad. Which is like Ford not paying anything for a 30 second Super Bowl spot, but only paying when someone actually goes to a dealership and says, “I am here because saw that ad on TV.” It’s a double-penetration fucking without lube.

        This can be end-run by finding advertisers who are willing to buy ad space – and pay a set fee for same. EPautos has several such (V1, Austin Coins, Amsoil) but it’s no easy thing to build that up. Which is why we (and many other sites) are so dependent on individual reader support. The sad thing is that if a mere 20 percent of a site’s regulars tossed in a buck per month, regularly, there would be no worries. Goo-guhl could go fuck itself. The massive pressure to earn a living would be relieved.

        But, how to get to that point?

        There’s the rub….

        • eric, get out your hanky and hear this sad story. My connection is so slow(how slow is it?) that a while back for some reason my browser forgot to remember my login password on PayPal. I have them send me an email but by the time I got it, PayPal had times me out…..for my protection, gee thanks. This has gone on for months. I didn’t really want to send you anything via PayPal anyway but finding time to get to the PO and send a package with cash hasn’t been doable for me for a while.

          I needed some Amsoil products so I clicked on the link on your site, repeat previous performance with PayPal.

          I needed some flashlights, repeat performance again.

          Some day, I hope to be able to have time to get a tower up so i can get some high-speed internet via RF. Satellite is simply ridiculously expensive and I won’t go there again.

          It gets better though, layoffs in the patch have already started, just like we knew they would with continued $45/barrel oil so now we’re all walking on eggshells hoping those commitments from last year aren’t canceled as some have already been shelved. This doesn’t affect just the people directly involved but is creating a slowdown in the national economy. Let’s all hope $90 oil is just around the corner. No matter how cheap fuel gets, I can’t buy it without a job.

          • Hi Eight,

            I feel your pain… this password stuff is going to make us all stroke out! I’d try starting from scratch with a new e-mail (Gmail, whatever) and then re-sign with PayPal under that and proceed.

  14. Amazon bought alexa, which demoted lewrockwell and all libertarian sites. Amazon is part of the proprietary big brother super-database with googul and co.

    In June 2014 I commented here…
    “The Alexa worldwide global rank of this site is 173,076, still below its 6 month max, but the best its been in a while.”

    Today January 27 2015 worldwide Global Rank is 213,987

    Any time I’ve done major changes to a site, the statistics, linkbacks, etc. all suffer.

    Total Sites Linking In 345

    Which sites did people visit immediately before this site?
    1. lewrockwell.com 23%
    2. google.com 19%
    3. facebook.com 3%
    4. reddit.com 2%

    It’s too bad no one is linking you to reddit. I can’t because I’ve been banned for being a spammer. The rule being 10% of your links or less must come from each domain.

    I doubt that rule is enforced unless you are part of a group the CyberJunta is displeased with.

    another stats site with some maybe useful info
    http://inpk.com/ericpetersautos.com

  15. Luckily I already owed the IRS for back payments. My 2014 refund they’ll be confiscating was reduced by $95 for not paying the Insurance Thugs.

    If you’re married, you should consider getting divorced for financial reasons. Then you can play good mundane, bad mundane. One of you pays and one of you is a nonpaying scofflaw scumbag.

    As long as you file required returns and give them their paperwork they demand. You don’t have to pay them anything.

    They’re really just a bill collector on a debt earning 18% interest when it comes to getting their blood money. Plus penalties of course.

    The collectors I’ve dealt with seemed quite disinterested in the whole affair and just go along with whatever repayment fantasy scenario you create for them. And don’t hold you accountable when it never happens.

    I’m pretty much just another baby daddy with only the bare permitted minimum in my name these days. My house is full of the same people it always was, I have all the other things I’ve always had, though on paper, I’ve come down quite a few pegs.

    Does it really matter what “strawman” is listed on your ownership documents, as long as you have the only keys and everyone fully acknowledges your exclusive control over the assets.

    • Tor, I believe that’s called a “trust”, in which nobody is legally required and can’t be forced to disclose the contents.

  16. Can’t speak for anyone else, but on this end have had some recent deaths to deal with, issues at home, business has dropped off as well. Sometimes the real world knees you in the groin leaving less time, energy, and funds for other things.

      • I would probably second Jason’s remark. In my case, I spent all of yesterday and a good portion of today, trying to undo a snafu-“mistake” (on their part) on my “get out of Obamacare” paperwork (I am attempting to get a exemption from the “shared” responsibility fee). What a f*cking joke our “government” has become. If I don’t get it, I have absolutely no way to be compliant with the laughable named Affordable Care Act…. This is not the America I grew up in.

        I may add that it also prevented me from looking for employment during that time as well……………sighhhhhhhhh. I would pull on my hair, but its long gone.

        • Hi Rich,

          I smolder with rage, too, over this “shared responsibility” scheisse. They claim to merely want to “help” us; that we all get “covered.” But if you can’t afford it, what do they do? Tax you. How does taking more money out of our pockets and not providing us our gibs muh dat in any way “gibs” us anything?

          It’s punitive, pure and simple.

          And, note: This is not about medical care. It’s about paying money to the pig-fucker insurance mafia. The left-liberals are too got-damned stupid to comprehend this – while the right-conservatives would prefer we be forced to pay even more.

  17. Eric,

    I can not explain the lull in the number of comments or why the public is not supporting this site (to at least sustaining level).

    If every unique visitor that liked what they saw here gave $1, you would have an easier time keeping this site up and running. Ten cents (10¢) a day ($36.50/year) is not unreasonable, especially when compared to other forms of information/entertainment. Cable tv with hundreds of channels of nothing worth seeing can easily cost $50-$70 (or more) per month depending on your package.

    I enjoy many of the articles here and the constructive/good comments by posters. Even when I do not agree with a commenter or you, I at least am given something that is well thought out and well written. The articles and commenters often give me something to think about and different perspectives that I may not have considered.

    I tend to comment more on topics that I cam speak about knowledgeably.
    When I get busier, I tend to comment less.

    Perhaps you annoyed someone at the phone company. 😉

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