WordPress reports that I have a couple of new subscribers this week (Hi!!) which is more than I have picked up in years, so maybe I’m doing something right. I’ve been busy commenting over at According to Hoyt: It’s a fairly congenial community of smart people and few trolls. As a moderately successful author, she has a big head start on me, although I would like to establish more of a presence in my own little corner of the Internet.
I haven’t given up on my historical studies or my ambition of writing historical fantasy, but I have slowed down a little bit. For the ancient period, I now have hooks into Egypt and Persian peoples for the 2nd millennium BC and the early 1st millennium BC, and to Abrahamic religion in the Old Testament period. Next up, in the classical and medieval period, is a shift to European civilization and culture, although Indian and Chinese peoples will also get more mention. It’s hard to do outlines for specific stories for anything broader than the century level, or even more specifically, for 20 year periods when I get to the modern era, but it is coming along.
This Netflix series, a Korean courtroom drama, is centered around a female autistic savant, Woo Young-woo (played by South Korean actress Park Eun-bin) who becomes an attorney practicing criminal defense law. The series is in Korean with English captioning. I’m not usually a fan of international movies and television, but this one drew me in. The portrayal of the various behavioral and social challenges, as well as the unconventional thinking associated with autism are excellent. I’ve only seen the first episode of the first season, but I thought it was really very good. I’ll be watching more of this one.
There are a few people who know different parts of this story, but I have never told the whole thing. Not to anyone. Presented as a multipart serial. Warning: Black humor notwithstanding, it’s all true.
There were, of course, early warning signs that few heeded. First of all, as a child, there was no meat on his chicken wings, and precious little in the drumsticks, either. He routinely came in last in foot races, never managed a chinup no not once, and was barely better at the pushup and the situp. Not only couldn’t he run, but he couldn’t throw or catch, and was repeatedly voted the Least Likely to be Chosen when the boys picked teams for, well, anything. He was routinely placed, not where he could do best, because there was no such place, but where he would do the least damage.
As far as social skills, there are “Those who make things happen”, “Those who watch thing happen”, and “Those who wonder what just happened.” Yea, that one. He acquired a worm’s eye view of the grade school pecking order. It was a great place to learn how not to be an enemy, not so great for learning how to be a friend.
Not that he was in all things hopeless. Books didn’t call him names or dole out Indian arm burns or flick frostnipped ears, although having read the textbook through by the 3rd week of class and knowing it sometimes better than the teachers did wasn’t always appreciated by either the teachers or those who considered him (with perhaps some reason) an obnoxious know-it-all.
“A Call to Spy”
This is a historical drama of espionage in World War II, which follows the activities of three woman who were active in assisting the French Resistance to German occupation: Vera Atkins, a secretary in the British Special Operations Executive, who recruited women as spies, Virginia Hall, an American consular clerk who was a pioneering and highly successful agent in spite of having a wooden leg, and Noor Inayat Khan, an Indian Sufi Muslim who became a wireless operator in order to fight tyranny. Sarah Megan Thomas was producer of the film and played Virginia Hall. Although somewhat altered and embellished for artistic purposes, the activities and fates of these women as depicted closely follow their true stories. For those able to tolerate scenes of violence and brutality, this is about as good as historical drama gets. Presented by Netflix.
Oni the Lonely
Kyosai Momiji and his sister Mira are oni, powerful supernatural beings from Japanese folklore, who are staying at least temporarily in human disguise in a town in Appalachia, while Kyosai studies human painting and Mira takes an interest in baking. Rain McKee is a grieving human craftswoman with a trace of Appalachian folk magic and a passion for making scented soaps and powders. Their paths cross in Rivertown Shopping Village in this tale of magic and growing friendship. Kyosai and Rain’s tale leads from a clash of culture, each bewildered at the powers the other shows, through revelation of a curse on her family, to the interference of ancient and powerful enemies. Kyosai is fascinated with Rain’s budding heroism, while Rain can’t abandon a friend. This clean fantasy will probably make more more sense to those familiar with Japanese anime and manga, but those aren’t necessary to follow the story, as the most important concepts are sufficiently explained. The conflict isn’t entirely resolved, as this is evidently the first of a series, but it is sufficiently intriguing to make the series worth following.
After a visit to the ER at hospital, I find that my medical issues are not quite as severe as I was thinking. Apparently, living in Phoenix in the middle of summer with fans only, no Swamp Cooler nor AC, is more physically stressful than I was quite ready for. My irregular habits don’t help.
Be that as it may, my efforts to maintain this blog with output from my Knowledge Base project are not going well. It’s about as inspiring as watching paint dry, or a tree grow: There just isn’t enough going on at any given time. If I want this blog to be successful, to be something worth reading, something to attract more attention and commentary, I need a little more fizz and pop.
So, in addition to occasional updates on the knowledge Base project, I’m going to back to the beginning of when I started blogging almost 20 years ago and write more about my semi-intellectual meanderings, hopefully on a daily basis. Even if it’s only a few paragraphs.
I became distinctly unhappy with the state of LDS Blogging, the so-called Bloggernacle, when I found so many sites critical of LDS members, teachings, and leadership. The scriptural injunctions are to “Seek learning by study and also by faith”. It seems that the faith is sadly lacking on the most active and popular sites. The aggregator I follow most, Nothingwavering.org, is not really active enough for me, so I find myself with an interest in finding more.
Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles is quoted here as saying:
Our quest for truth should be as broad as our life’s activities and as deep as our circumstances permit. A learned Latter-day Saint should seek to understand the important religious, physical, social, and political problems of the day. The more knowledge we have of heavenly laws and earthly things, the greater influence we can exert for good on those around us and the safer we will be from scurrilous and evil influences that may confuse and destroy us.” (Elder Oaks was the President of BYU during the year I attended there, so I have always had a special appreciation for him).
I have personally been gifted with a desire to read, study and learn. Should I hoard this to myself and not share what I have learned? I think not, and I suppose that it is about past time I opened up and started sharing.
I follow a few political blogs, chiefly accordingtoHoyt, Instapundit, and the Other McCain, fairly regularly, and every so I am prompted to make comments. I think I am going to collect some of those and post extended versions here.
As LDS, it is claimed “If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.” In a world where major publishers are producing a stream of filth, perhaps if I find good literature, then perhaps I should help promote it. I’m chary of leaving reviews on Amazon, but maybe a little bit of practice here wouldn’t hurt me.
The first of today’s historical/political rants was was inspired by a comment on this post on the Other McCain: https://theothermccain.com/2022/07/16/historic-thoughts-on-our-democracy/.
From time to time, there are those who take their inspiration for resistance to an increasingly corrupt and tyrannical Federal government from the Confederate States of America during the US Civil war, also sometimes called the failed Southern War of Independence. Although it was claimed, both then and now, that this harked back to the ideals of the America Revolution, there are some stark differences. For one, what precipitated the secession was the election of Lincoln, who was known for his anti-slavery views and his opinion that the nation could not permanently remain half-slave and half free. Lincoln’s perception was astute. The very existence of free states was a constant irritation to slaveholders as it encouraged runaways and rebellions, whether these were actively supported by abolitionists or not. Although it was claimed that the secession was a matter of “States Rights”, but far the most important of these was the right to treat other human beings as livestock. For one, the Federal government was imposing restrictions on the expansion of slavery into the territories, preventing the slave states to gain an upper hand in Congress, and for another, it was failing to sufficiently enforce the Fugitive Slave clause of the Constitution and shut down the Underground Railroad. The election of a chief executive who clearly thought slavery was a deplorable evil was, to southern fire eaters, an intolerable outrage.
No sooner had the Confederate states formed a government than they began seeking foreign support, particularly from Great Britain, in full confidence that their control of the supply of Cotton would force Britain to ally with them. Unfortunately for their cause, cotton was also available from Egypt and India, which were under control of the British empire, and British industry hardly noticed the switch in supply. Also unfortunately, the cause of defending slavery was significantly less popular on the international stage than it was at home. The British were already active in attempting to shut down the international slave trade. The Southerners attempted to manufacture other pretexts for rebellion, but these were decidedly secondary and largely dismissed.
Although diehard sympathizers of the Lost Cause have continued to maintain that the War Between the States was NOT mostly about slavery, it was in any case far too much a factor to be discounted. The “Freedom for me but not for thee” attitude of southern slaveowners forever taints their claim to be the true heirs of the Jeffersonian ideal that “All men are created equal” or champions of liberty and justice for all.
The second was prompted by the struggles of Texas with Green Energy.
“Dammit, Jim, I’m an engineer, not a politician. The laws of physics and chemistry are intractable stubborn things and you can’t buy them off with flowers, flattery, and promises.
Energy is hard to store unless it comes in the form of fuel and power is next to impossible. As lovely as it would be to have everything powered by the wind, sun, and rain, they come at the most damn-all inconvenient times and places, and usually either too much or too little for what you need. And I can’t wave my magic wand and snap my fingers and have conversion and transfer facilities that you don’t need until you must have them spring into being. They cost money to build. Wheedling that out of suspicious taxpayers and assorted other entities is not in my skill set”.
Since the last great reset of the Knowledge Base, I haven’t kept up on the blog. The Arizona desert heat has been sapping my energy for everything…No A/C, the swamp cooler needs both motor and pump, and fans don’t quite do the job. Nevertheless, I persist. It is difficult to begin at the beginning, in early prehistory, because there is a tremendous overburden of connections to later periods that need to be made. Each pass through gets me a little closer to details that can be included in a narrative.
I didn’t do much celebrating of Independence Day. I am concerned that the foundations of American freedom are being stolen by officials who lie for political gain and power, who are imposing laws and regulations that limit economic activity and self-reliance, and who support causes and policies that I find foolish, destructive, and abhorrent. I’m more in the mood to prepare for a fight than I am to celebrate. I am not in despair, there is reason to hope for the long-term future of the country, but I anticipate rough times in the near future.
I was severely disappointed by a decision by Steve Jackson Games, which on July 8 announced, in reaction to the Dobbs decision returning the regulation of abortion to the states that it would be supporting the Lilith Fund for Reproductive Equity. I support the recent Official LDS statement on Abortion. Since I will not pay for abortions for personal or social convenience, however minimally or indirectly, I decided that I could not in good conscience continue to support this company with my dollars. I have a fairly extensive collection of GURPS material, sufficient for my fictional world-building needs which I can continue to use, so this is not all that great a sacrifice. But I won’t be adding to my collection.