Jim Jim's Comments

Jim's comments from the SciFi and Fantasy Book Club group.

Note: Jim is no longer a member of this group.

(showing 61-80 of 346)

Heinlein or Not. (58 new)
Aug 05, 2009 07:37PM

1865 I read Heinlein in Dimension A Critical Analysis today & took some notes so I posted a pretty long review, if you're interested.

I thought the fall from grace was early, IMO. I put it in the 70's, but the seeds were there in the 60's. Panshin was dead on about sex & women characters, but I think he didn't understand Heinlein as well as he thought.

You do have to read the entire work to really get all of Panshin's comments on 'The Moon is a Harsh Mistress'. At one point he goes so far as to do some pretty funky math to put it down. Overall, I think he hated the book, almost as much as "Stranger in a Strange Land".

Much of what he criticized was accurate, but I found myself wondering why I should care. He seems to want more out of most of the stories than I thought they should provide, especially short stories. In other cases, he didn't like devices that I thought were very effective.

There were several books & stories he made me want to re-read & I found one that I don't have "My Object All Sublime" published in Future, February 1942. Even if it is a stinker, I'd like to read it. I think I'd like to re-read "The Star Beast" too.

Well worth reading. I'm glad you brought it up. Thanks! I can't think of a more pleasant way to spend a vacation day than reading about stories I've loved for over 40 years.
Heinlein or Not. (58 new)
Aug 05, 2009 02:58AM

1865 Thanks, Richard. I've read that before & agree that 'Mistress' is well worth the read for all its faults.

FYI, you can read Panshin's "Heinlein in Dimension" here:
I should read it again myself since it's been years.
1865 Predisposition is just that - our physiology & environment make some paths a little easier & more likely for the so-called 'average' person. Thank goodness people are too complex to always give in to it.

I could never imagine my mother as 'June Cleaver'. Right in front of my computer desk is a framed article of her taking first in the sheep shearing contest at the Howard County Fair. She mostly competed against big men, because it's not easy rolling a sheep around when you shear their wool off properly. She was one of the very few women to even compete, much less win.

Once, she hitched a ride from the hospital where she'd wound up after a horse riding accident (Gee, you could have called Mom!) & complained bitterly as I drove her the rest of the way home about how you'd think they never saw a gun before. She had a .38 in a shoulder holster that they found when they removed her jacket. Freaked them all out. No one expected to deal with a pistol totting granny, I guess.

Yeah, I'm real happy my mother didn't decide that since she was a small, pretty woman that she should be an ornament. She could have been, too. I do wish she had decided to cook more though. I still hate canned spaghetti.

Our society has a lot of catching up to do to the changes that technology has made. If you ever get a chance, read the first 1/4 or so of Future Shock by Alvin Toffler. The picture he paints of our technological explosion & the accelerated changes in our society due to it gives a lot of food for thought - for good & ill.

He takes our long history & puts it into numbers that make more sense. Instead of thinking of 10's of thousands of years that we've been around, picture it as 800 sixty year life times laid end to end. I can envision that much easier. Then realize that 95% of the scientists lived in the last lifetime - as of 1970 when the book was written. That floored me. He goes on to describe a lot of other societal & technological changes in similar ways. Very interesting reading & something I reflect on often.

It often takes societies generations to change ways of thinking & we've changed the basis for much of our thinking over & over again in decades. My grandmother went from no electric to using a DVD player.
1865 Sarah Pi, yes, generalizations based on experience. There are always exceptions to the rule. I've lived on farms & worked construction most of my life all over the country, so I've seen a fair cross section, I think. It mostly works that way. There was nothing about my post that should suggest, "I'm not a racist, but..." I stated facts & experience.

It's a fact that women generally have more body fat than men & less dense muscle. It's a natural part of being able to make & feed a baby. They tend to be smaller, on average. Take a look at medical average charts for size, body fat & all. Their bones tend to be smaller & different enough that a trained person can tell the difference at a glance. Men are usually bigger & stronger. In less civilized & technologically advanced societies, that generally meant women had different roles - often subservient, at least outwardly.

I know a lot of guys over 5'11" & 175lbs, but not many girls that big that are in decent shape. That's pretty much the minimum when it comes operating a 90 lb jack hammer all day, I think. That's my size & in 3 years, we never had anyone smaller that lasted at the job more than a day & we had quite a few try. That's not sexist, just experience.

I'll agree that a lot of horse farms I know are run by women. Not most, but it varies by type. Women often feed the hay, but aren't usually the ones stacking it in the loft or on the wagon. The racing stable where my wife & I met made it an 'all hands' operation. I don't recall a woman ever being the one tossing the bales up to the top of the pile, though. Mucking stalls seems about an even split between sexes. There are more male jockeys than females, but at shows, I tend to see more women.

My mother is an exception to every rule except for size. At 5'2" & 110 lbs, she can't toss around 40 lb hay bales for long. She'll move them if she has to, but it's a lot harder on her than most men. (Even if it isn't, she's no dummy.) With a weedeater, I've seen her out-work most men. With a grass whip, I was outworking her as a teen. (We didn't have weedeaters then.)

I've known lots of teenagers & other folks that like hot cars & motorcycles. Had a lot of them using my shop or driveway. It's rare to see a girl that likes a loud one or see her tinkering with one. I know a lot of woodworkers, construction workers & mechanics. They're predominantly men.

I think the differences in physiology makes a difference in the way we think & what we like. I think that there are jobs that are generally better suited by gender. I don't think one sex is better than another. I do think there are differences & they need to be taken into account.
1865 Bunwat, draw your own conclusions from what I said about the girl not showing up. I made none, just stated the facts. She wasn't the first not to come back, not even the first not to make a full day. She was the only girl that tried.

Personally, I thought it was stupid. We'd turned down small guys for the job before. (I was the smallest that worked out.) If the boss had been more tactful or the girl less belligerent, it would have been an easier day on the two of us working. Like having a flat chested girl work at Hooters, some folks obviously don't fit the job. As it was, it took another day to get someone that might work out. (I don't recall if the next worked out or not.)

You're trying to force value judgments that I don't consider valid. Who is stronger? It's more a matter of who is stronger under what circumstances & which is better, isn't it? My wife can put up with stuff for ages that drives me nuts in minutes. In some circumstances, it's better to endure, in others it's better to bring it to a conclusion. We tend to let the other lead when we feel the situation calls for their skills. She handles bureaucrats, I handle salesmen.

As for the farm, I've been around them for a fair number of years - lots of farms & people. I believe women are wired differently & they don't have the upper body strength for tossing hay around. They can & will do small quantities, but large quantities are beyond them. If they do help, I get one of them to stack while I toss. It goes quicker & better.

I've never known a woman that liked using a chainsaw. That's probably the most aggressive piece of machinery I use. It's mean, loud & a handful. Men seem to get along with them better - it fits their natures & strengths better. Now if a girl stopped by this morning & volunteered to cut up the trees that fell across the fence the other day, I'd have no problem piling the brush for her while she cut. As it is, my daughter will pile some of the brush & haul it out of the way while I cut. It works out that way, although I've certainly offered to do it the other way around.

So yes, I think men & women are better suited for some jobs due to their physical & mental natures - as a general rule. When it comes to getting a job done, I don't care who does the job, so long as it gets done well & the best way possible. There's always plenty more work to do. It's stupid to do something based on gender only - but it often is a good starting point to know who can do what best.


From what I've seen of looms, there isn't a lot of leg work required. A lady was showing us (me & Mom) how she worked hers at the Shaker Village a couple of months ago. Seemed to me the reaching was the hard part - lower back & arms. We've done some spinning before - we had sheep - & I never found that hard on the legs either. Again, the sitting & reaching, depending on the spinning wheel & how you do it, keeping your arms in close can be tough. I'm no expert, though.

As for the portable battery, that's the way the better cordless hedge trimmers work. Big battery pack on a harness with a cord going to the clippers. Mine hung from my waist, not the place I'd want a drill battery. I'd prefer to have the cord follow my arm. Otherwise it gets in the way, especially those curly ones. Tends to catch on stuff.

Man or woman, if you hold a weight at arm's length for any amount of time, it's going to wear out your arm & back - even if it is just your arm. Mechanical efficiency is what you're looking for. I have a few cordless drills, but if I have a lot of heavy work to do with one, I use a plug in one. That's why I have a generator & extension cords - a lot more power delivered a lot more efficiently.
1865 Bradbury always said he didn't write SF (except for "Fahrenheit 451"), but Fantasy or myths, as I recall. I recently did a trivia question session on him in another group & it was fascinating reading about him. Anyway, publishers & the media said his stuff was SF, but that wasn't the way he thought of it. The main point being, he wrote myths about humanity to show it more clearly.

While he is a master at pointing out the flaws & strengths in the human race, I don't recall ever reading where he had a political agenda. I think he's stayed away from politics as much as possible. I think a lot of people have misunderstood his messages, they're more basic than the politics of the moment.
1865 I remember working for a guy (a jerk) who did a lot of basement 'water proofing' work. We dug up an area 1' wide along the outer walls of the basement, popped holes in the block, put in drain tile, stone & concrete, along with a sump pump.

The work required using a jack hammer in cramped quarters, usually a 90 lb one. As the concrete & dirt got broken up, we'd carry it out in 5 gallon buckets. It was a 3 man crew & we'd switch jobs every 20 minutes. We'd carry the stone & concrete in that way, too. It was very hard work. It wasn't unusual for a guy to work a day & not show up the next.

One day a girl applied for the job & the boss said, "A woman can't do this job, Dear." (Yeah, Mr. Tactful.) She threatened to sue, so he let her try. She didn't come back after lunch. Big, tough girl, but it was obvious she didn't have the strength.

I've known very few woman carpenters, only worked with one. She was good, but had problems due to her strength, too. She rarely did framing, but was a good, quick trim carpenter. She fit in pretty well, although she had to turn a deaf ear a lot of times.

There's no doubt that women have a different role on the farm, either. The girls don't move large bunches of hay from one barn to the other if one of the boys are available. Neither of them are small or wimps, either. They just don't have the strength.

Neither of them is interested in operating the equipment unless they have to, either. I've tried over & over again to get them into it, too. I'd love to have them use the chainsaw or tractor more. They don't like either where the boys were always after me to let them at both. I don't think that's a societal difference. I gave my daughter the same set of tools I gave the boys & had her changing oil on mowers & cars the same as them, too. She just doesn't like it.

I think there's a lot of ways males & females are different. In more primitive times & societies, it did make for different roles, along with the obvious one - females can carry a baby. You can kill off a lot of males without hurting the overall population too much. Kill off the females & the next generation is going to be thin. We ate a lot of young roosters & few young hens for a good reason.

Men are more aggressive, too. They say testosterone is responsible for that, don't they? Aren't males more territorial? That makes for a whole different way of thinking.

Of course, our technology now minimizes the physical differences, but our technology has blossomed way faster than our society can possibly keep up. 'Future Shock' was a term invented in the 1960's. It's very true. We have millions of years of hardwired evolution, thousands of years of society versus a hundred years of modern technology.
Eureka (376 new)
Aug 02, 2009 03:53AM

1865 I liked that Carter put off trying to get the energy from Sara until last. That was a battle he didn't want to fight!

I try to just suspend belief with this show & focus on the interactions of the moment. It's fun, but if I think too hard about it, there are a ton of holes in it.
Eureka (376 new)
Jul 30, 2009 10:40AM

1865 'In the Woods' was the first thing they did before shooting the actual movie. Is that called a screener or something? It's not very long, but shows the spooky woods with the camera running through it like in the chase & other scenes. It's been a while, but I think it rushes up to the cabin & shows a deadite.

I read somewhere that both Rami & Campbell approved the musical. Wikipedia? Probably.

I haven't even heard of 'Drag me to Hell'. Thanks. I'll look into it.
Jul 29, 2009 04:22PM

1865 ;-)
1865 If my wife ever demanded equal rights, it would be a step down... Not happening.
Eureka (376 new)
Jul 29, 2009 04:06PM

1865 I must admit to not having seen it yet. Just the very beginning. I just got it, but The Boss & The Little Boss won't let me watch it when they're around (and they always seem to be!). They say bad things about it & my taste in movies. If my skin wasn't so thick, they might actually hurt my feelings.

I really liked 'Evil Dead 2' & 'Army of Darkness'. I'm glad I saw 'In the Woods' & the first 'Evil Dead' although neither is worth re-watching, IMO. Hmmm... No, I might re-watch 'Evil Dead' in a few more years.
Eureka (376 new)
Jul 29, 2009 07:24AM

1865 A musical Eureka episode?!!! That will probably rate right up there with 'Evil Dead - the Musical'.
Jul 29, 2009 03:06AM

1865 No, 'Eureka'. The science is stupid, but the show is fun, IMO.
Jul 28, 2009 05:46PM

1865 Eureka is good, anyway.
1865 If you like urban/paranormal fantasy:
Undead and Unwed by MaryJanice Davidson
Carpe Demon by Julie Kenner

Both are tongue-in-cheek series about supernatural beings. Queen Betsy, in 'Undead', will do most anything for a pair of designer shoes.
1865 Kevinalbee wrote: "My daugher of 14 has wanted to go to concerts. The bands are not my choice but at 10-11-12 etc i could not let her go alone."

I don't think I could concentrate enough to read at one of those. I think the last indoor rock concert I went to was Black Sabbath playing at the Civic Center in Baltimore... late 70's, I guess. The music is just too loud for me.
Jul 21, 2009 09:38AM

1865 I'm surprised, Jon. I loved the books. Have you tried the audio books? Jim Dale did a wonderful job with them.
Jul 16, 2009 08:17AM

1865 Thanks, Jon. I cast my vote for my favorite 10. They did have a lot of good books in that list. I'd forgotten all about The Thorn Birds. I read that years ago. Loved the miniseries with Richard Chamberlain, too - if I am remembering correctly.
Eureka (376 new)
Jul 15, 2009 05:35PM

1865 All teenagers should be raised in the basement, if one is available. It fits their dispositions perfectly. Ours were trolls.

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