Letters Column for October

Thank you for your kind words,
Brad Elliott
Metal Fatigue


Does Nick still play the piano, or is that now crimethink and ungoodsound?
— S

Nick has always played the accordion.


Though I’m still not sure why when I first clicked on the link to here, I ended up on a Bush propaganda site.
— mneme

Neither am I!

I fear that, much as I would like the political power structure to get behind the philosophy of Hitherby, it might be a bit of a poison pill. I mean, honestly, if Bush got up there and told the nation, “Bushes answer emptiness with certainty,” then people would get confused.

“What about the burning bush?” Aaron would say. He’s Moses’ brother, so he’s very concerned with these things. “Did it answer emptiness with certainty?”

“No,” Bush would be forced to answer. “That one answered emptiness with the assertion ‘I AM.'”

“How can one distinguish between burning Bushes and certainty Bushes?” Aaron would ask.

And then Bush would make a joke about Senator Kerry to defuse tension. “I don’t know, but I bet Kerrys answer emptiness with concession.”

Aaron would have to shut up, then. He can’t push the issue! When an ancient Biblical Israelite asks a modern politician three distinct questions, the querent turns instantly to dust.

Seriously. You can ask anyone. It’s happened on live TV.


Is it just me, or does eating Fugu seem like a bad, soul-hollowing experience?
— GoldenH

“Why, this is fugu, nor am I out of it,” said the demon, shortly before springing out of the fugu. Everyone at Melanie’s seventh birthday party was very surprised.


Yours works better, of course, but sadly, it’s the letter “shin” for “sham”, or “there”
— S

Sadly, there’s no way to really resolve this dispute except to hold a dreidel-off.


Is there any hope we will get to see the musical of The PacMan of LaMancha?
— BethL

It seems unlikely.

The Man of La Mancha is extremely important to me, although I owe that almost entirely to Quantum Leap rather than the actual production I saw. (Mmm. Scott Bakula.) I won’t use it casually, although I’m sure that I can find a suitable thematic contrast sometime. ^_^


You know, I really like the Monster.
— SquidLord


This kind of freaked me when you said it, even knowing your general inclination to identify with sympathetic evil.

That said, yes. Characters in the canonical Hitherby Dragons universe tend towards unusual honesty and self-awareness. There are reasons for this, including the very-short-story format. But it’s always going to be most obvious and impressive when practiced by characters I dislike, because their honesty reveals more unpleasant truths.

The monster does abuse kids, though, which you should keep in mind when deciding whether you like him. It’s not forgivable. He’s not a good person. He’s not someone with an unfortunate character flaw. He’s a monster. Not the lovable cute cookie monster kind. The kind that makes the world a sicker and more sordid place because he exists.


This […] makes me wonder more about Martin’s origins [and] on how Jane sees him.
— Eric

Woot! I’m impressed that you noticed a connection.


Here’s the deal. October and late September were screwed up. Mix of personal and health reasons. Until I figure out how to integrate that kind of thing properly into the structure of the story, it’ll be a weird lacuna, and if it happens again, it’ll be a weird lacuna again.

I *am* trying to get things back to the standard schedule as we move towards a full year of Hitherby, so please bear with me. ^_^

One of the most important things I’ve ever read in a book of fiction was Trent’s philosophy in The Long Run. He taught me that the more complicated you make an argument, the easier it is for people to turn the whole thing into a morass of vague references to poorly-established principles.

Jon Stewart taught me, on Crossfire, that it’s also important to know what you’re bringing to any argument. Don’t get caught up in personal things. Don’t get sidelined. Know why you’re there.


Queers are people. Muslims are people. Members of all the random groups I haven’t named are people.

To forget their personhood and value is an evil act.

To forget *anyone’s* personhood and value is an evil act.

Just sayin’.

I’m like 99% sure I’m preaching to the choir here.

But. Just sayin’.

That’s it for this time! Thanks for reading, thanks for commenting—even if you didn’t get thanked for a compliment or picked for a specific response—and see you again this coming month!


7 thoughts on “Letters Column for October

  1. Woot! I’m impressed that you noticed a connection.

    Even a blind hog finds the occasional acorn.

    Of course, once that cliche is stated in a Hitherby context, my brain again wanders around fields of free association and lunacy, sniffing at the occasional daisy.

    In the kindom of the blind, is the one-eyed hog king? Or, if not, is there some feudal title more appropriate to swine that are marginally more able to see than other swine?

    If blind hogs can find acorns, what else can they find? If we take an infinite number of immortal blind hogs, and set them out searching for elusive things like truth, beauty, and justice instead of acorns, will they eventually find them? It seems unlikely, but it would be nice if it worked. Still, somehow I doubt that the Infinite Immortal Philosophical Blind Hogs Initiative could get a sufficient funding grant from a reputable institution.

  2. unfortunately, the Infinite Immortal Philosophical Blind Hogs Initiative would probably require a massive amount of funding, money that could be better spent, say, paying me to do research on quantum fauna.

  3. Well, we can set the hogs searching for those too, thus killing two birds with the same, err, hog.

    Part of the problem with lengthening the list of things for the hogs to find, though, is that even if they eventually locate them, the time taken would no doubt be prohibitive. The solution, though, is clear. At the end of the list of things to find, we put a blind-hog-operated time machine, to send them back to now. Still, since the hogs haven’t shown up with their results yet, obviously we need to get funding first.

  4. well, we wouldn’t want the hogs EATING them (which is a distinct possibility, since hogs eat everything, and quantum fauna are very small)

    plus, they might not find it in tme. In 10^100 years the universe will quantum tunnel into another universe and wierd shit will happen.

  5. Under the conditions being discussed, I feel quite free to state that weird shit would have began to happen long before that.

  6. Another reference popped into my head as possibly relevant to the “call to God” thing, that is, for reasons for horrible things to happen. It’s not about Jane, though, although it seems to apply to Liril in a way that’s currently not fully clear.

    From The Place Without Recourse (I/I) we have this:

    He attracted their attention. So they found my brother.

    They took him to a room. They asked Thomas, “Why do such terrible things happen in the world?” Thomas could not give them an answer. So they showed him the reason.

    I was not there. I was in bed. I woke up screaming. I had lost my brother.

    After this, the brother was seemingly turned into an isn’t.

    So, what is the place without recourse, what is its connection to Liril, and what has it to do with Martin, Jane, and the “call to God?” I don’t know. But there’s something there, I suspect.


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