Trying to get a Service Animal

My daughter has been struggling with anxiety, depression, and PTSD issues for several years.  Recently, her caregiver has said that a service animal trained to alert to incipient anxiety attacks and distract would be helpful.  Not an “emotional support animal” but an actual certified service animal.

Unfortunately, properly trained service animals are expensive.  For uses like this, they have to be individually trained for the specific tasks required.  It’s not like you can go to the medical supply store and pick out one that fits.  The process is long and labor intensive.  First you need a dog that has been temperament tested to see that it’s a good candidate as a service animal.  It has to remain calm and focused despite the many distractions of life.  Then there’s the training.  The trainer has to work with it on a one on one basis for six months to a year.  That’s time and it costs money.  And insurance doesn’t cover it.

While I did some shopping around to find the best prices available for a dog and training that would suit my daughter’s needs–a breeder who treats providing puppies for service animals as a service and actually discounts them rather than charging a premium for temperament tested pups like most breeders, a trainer that likewise is treating it as a service with reduced prices compared to most others (but with good reviews).  Still, it looks like we’re about $8000 short.  Which means I need to raise the funds.

To that end I’ve started a campaign on GoFundMe.  I hate to have to do that, but when it comes to my daughter I cannot afford pride.  Whatever it takes.




My Daughter’s Ice Follies

Not really follies since she is so very much better than I am despite having been at it little longer than I have (just counting from when I re-started, not counting my youthful experience). She’s been taking the Learn to Play Hockey class while I’ve been taking the Learn to Skate classes.  The Hockey classes are after the Learn to Skate classes.  Here are some pictures from the last time.  A group of them were playing “Sharks and minnows”, a kind of tag game where a few in the center are “it” and try to catch the others as they skate across the rink.  Those caught join those who are “it” and they repeat until it’s time to reset with just one person “it”.

My daughter’s wearing the red helmet.

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And here are a couple of brief clips of her skating:

Culture War


A short one, today, but I think important.

Alexis deToqueville in “Democracy in America” makes a point that Americans, in particular the New Englanders of his day (writing in the 1830’s), descended from folk who were self-selected over more than two hundred years for self-government both small and local (the township being the central element of government), and to not being particularly responsive to far off kings.  Whether that represented people born with the proclivity toward independence or a convergence of cultures which became self-propagating is a bit of an open question but I suspect that it’s a bit of both.

Unfortunately, a lot of that self-selection has fallen by the wayside in the ensuing centuries.  And a lot of the cultural habits have been diluted–much by a deliberate effort to undermine them, an effort which gained considerable headway in the 20th century.   And much of that is the result of deliberate agitprop by the former Soviet Union.  McCarthy may have had poor target selection in who, specifically, was accused but America was rife with Soviet agents including in government and in the entertainment industries.

It is not my point here to justify McCarthy’s target selection, methods, and tactics in some attempt to rehabilitate his memory.  I, frankly, don’t know those issues well enough to competently discuss them, let alone justify one side or the other.  Yet one can consider McCarthy’s actions deplorable (or not) and still recognize that there was a concerted effort to undermine America, backed and supported by the Kremlin.  And that effort has long outlived even the Soviet Union itself.

That effort to undermine the American culture of liberty has been only partially successful–one of those “cultural habits” of Americans is a great deal of cussed stubbornness–but successful enough that I’m far less sanguine than some about the outcome of the “New American Revolution,” a “bombs and bullets” war, that some seem to want.  Part of the problem is that the sides are so very intermixed.  The picture with which I open this post shows states vs. states, much like the American Civil War although even here, the states on each side don’t form solid blocks.  They’re more mixed up than were the North and South in the Civil War.  But the true field is far more mixed than even the States.  The folk on one side of the Culture War may be more concentrated in some areas and the folk on the other side in different areas but they are nevertheless thoroughly intermixed even in the most concentrated zones.  Add in that we have multiple sides.  It’s not just “red/blue” or “Republican/Democrat” but a wide range of differing views on how “society” should be run.

This “culture war”, a war of ideas and values fought for the American psyche, that we’re already involved in has been on a cultural plain and, I believe, that’s where it needs to be fought. Win the culture war–and, to be honest those of us on the side of liberty and limited government have barely begun to fight–and we don’t need a full-on bullets and bombs war.  This is not to say that there won’t be violence along the way–there’s already been some and I expect there to be more–but if we can avoid a full on insurrection, that would be good.

Fail to win the culture war and even if we win a bullets and bombs war, we lose.

Using Guns to Fight the Government…

…means you’ll be shooting police and soldiers.

Gary, Indiana mayor and Democrat Presidential candidate Pete Buttieg made this tweet:


From a certain point of view, it does.  And it also means shooting at politicians.  As such, the bar to be cleared before starting that party should be high indeed.  But, however, there’s also another point of view.  Consider.  When I enlisted in the Air Force, I swore an oath:

I, _____, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.”

Officers, swear a similar but somewhat different oath:

I, _____ (SSAN), having been appointed an officer in the _____ (Military Branch) of the United States, as indicated above in the grade of _____ do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign or domestic, that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservations or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office upon which I am about to enter; So help me God.

Police officers likewise swear an oath.  They can vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction but a typical example is the one from Indiana, to wit:

I do solemnly swear (or affirm), that I will at all times protect life and property, abide by the policies and regulations established by Indiana University, the department, the laws and Constitution of the State of Indiana and the Constitution of the United States of America.

Note one thing that all of them, every single one of them, has in common?  They are swearing an oath to follow the Constitution of the United States.  Every one.

And if they are violating the Constitution, then they are oathbreakers–just about the worst “sin” in the tradition I follow.

They are also traitors, perhaps not in the Constitutional legal definition (although perhaps even arguably by that case if they are using violence and force to do so: “Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort.”)

If they are violating the Constitution, they are no longer, at a fundamental level, American soldiers or American police officers regardless of what their legal citizenship might be.  They are domestic enemies making war on the very essence of what America is.  This remains true even if we as a people have not risen up against that…yet.  For as Thomas Jefferson wrote, more than 240 years ago:

Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.

To which he followed:

But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

So, should unconstitutional usurpations of power continue, the human rights and freedoms of American citizens continue to be restricted, the Constitution continue to be ignored to the point that a significant number of Americans say “enough”, then those soldiers and police officers who enforce that tyranny will no longer be American, whatever uniforms they actually wear.

They will be enemies, and treated as such.

Fisking Another Anti-Gun Nut

So, Gabrielle Blair, going by the handle of “designmom” suggested life insurance as a better way to protect one’s family instead of having a gun and she went on from there.  Twitter link archived here (against possibility of deletion–what happens on the Internet, stays on the Internet).


So, let’s look at this.  As usual, person being fisked is in Bold and my comments are in italics.

There are far better ways to protect your family than a gun. Get a life insurance policy.…

Well, that’s interesting Gabrielle.  Apparently you think that my daughter would prefer to have an insurance payout rather than her father in the event someone with violent intent breaks into our home (or elsewhere–which I’ll get to later).  Perhaps your child or children feel that way about you “designmom” but I’m quite certain my own daughter would rather have me than the couple of hundred large of an insurance payout. (Yes, I do have life insurance, in fact.  But having one does not preclude having the other.)

And that leaves aside the idea that a life insurance policy only “protects” my family from some of the financial challenges they would face in the event of my death.  There are other questions, like who takes care of my daughter in the event of my death–a question that looms large for a single father, let me tell you.  Will they take care of their properly?  Will they be equipped, mentally and emotionally, to deal with her particular challenges?  How much can I really trust them?  Far better, I think, for me to stay right here alive and thus able and willing to care for my daughter.  Perhaps you feel differently about your own children.  And if you do, well, perhaps the fact that you do makes you right to feel that way. (Yes, that’s kind of recursive.)

And then there’s the whole question of if someone takes me down, what prevents them from assaulting, raping, or killing my daughter?  That’s what “protect my family” means, not just provide them money to “replace” my loss, but actually shield them from someone who means them actual physical harm.

I know you truly believe that you’ll need to defend your family at gunpoint. You need to let that go. Statistically it’s just not going to happen. I know it’s boring, but if you want to protect your family, things like seatbelts, fire alarms, and life insurance are your best bet.

Embrace the power of “and”, Gabrielle.  Statistically, one in about two hundred people will be the victim of a violent crime in a year.  According to the Department of Justice There’s an 83% probability of being the victim of an attempted violent crime (Robbery, Murder, Rape, and Aggravated Assault for this purpose) at least once sometime after the age of 12.  In about half that number, the crimes will not just be attempted but completed.  And about a 52% chance (about 2/3 of those who were victimized at least once) of not just being a victim once, but multiple times.

Statistically, I am unlikely to live my life without someone trying to commit a violent crime against me.  And so, while I do wear seatbelts, I do have fire alarms, I do have life insurance, I do eat right and exercise regularly, I do take the medicines my doctor prescribes for me and follow other advice he gives (including vaccinations–do you vaccinate?), I also carry a gun.  Because today might be the day that my 83% comes up.

The same gun I can use to defend myself and my family at home is also (or is in any sane jurisdiction) available to defend myself when away from home–where a lot of those crimes leading to that 83% chance occur.  Probably won’t be today.  Probably won’t be tomorrow.  But pretty good chance it will be sometime.  And I don’t know when that sometime, where that somewhere, will be.  But since I have the gun it’s easy enough to have it with me whenever and wherever it’s legally allowed for me to have it.  Then I only have to worry about those places where it’s not legal to have it, places where people like you would have me left defenseless against folk with ill intent.

So embrace the power of “and” Gabrielle.

The reality is, you’re probably going to die of heart disease or diabetes, or just old age and natural causes. I know it’s not as cool-sounding as an armed-standoff, but it’s still true.

And, indeed, I’d like that to be the case.  I’d prefer to go through my life and never be touched by violent crime.  But…83%, Gabrielle.  Those aren’t “gun nut” statistics.  That’s the Department of Justice.  Those are numbers right out of the Federal Government.  And even if I were unarmed, I might survive the encounter with violent crime.  After all, most of those violent crimes are not murder.  But I’d really rather not put my trust in the criminals for the outcome, the decision as to whether I live or die, hmm?  Perhaps you’d rather trust to the criminals for your own safety.  If so, well, that’s your choice.  You do you.  Just don’t make that choice for me.

If the topic of protecting your family comes up, a gun extremist will immediately imagine an armed intruder who has come to murder. That’s not going to happen. It’s rare enough that it’s not something people need to worry about or make decisions based on.

Once again, the Department of Justice disagrees with you there, Gabrielle.  There are over a million home invasions–that’s an intruder breaking into a home while the residents are present.  That’s one for every 330 or so people.  The odds aren’t too bad in a given year but… simple statistics (I know math is hard for you, so you’ll just have to trust me on this–we covered this kind of thing the first week of Stat Mech back in college)–over a typical lifetime that comes to about a one in five chance of it happening to a given individual at least once.  Actually, it’s much higher than that because when I crunched the numbers I based on number of people–as though each individual lived in their own separate household.  But most people live in households with more than one person and the chances of it happening are per household, not per person.  I know this is complicated, Gabrielle, but do try to keep up.  I’ve given every benefit of the doubt, used a hard lower limit on the chances.  And it’s still a one in five chance sometime in one’s life.  Maybe not this year.  Maybe not next year.  But a pretty good chance (one in five–cannot repeat that enough) of sometime.

Maybe you’re willing to bet your family’s safety on a one in five chance.  I’m not.  And I don’t appreciate you making that decision for me.

If the topic of protecting your family comes up among people who actually interact and care for children each day, they think of things like using car seats, preventing hormones and dangerous chemicals in food, child-proofing the cleaning supplies, and schoolyard bullying.

I know this is a shock to you, Gabrielle, but we do all that. (I suspect, however, as someone who actually has more than a rudimentary knowledge of science, that I disagree with you on the issue of hormones and dangerous chemicals in food–what actually constitutes “dangerous.”  And thanks to this I now suspect the answer to my question above about if you vaccinate is in the negative.)  And we also take steps about that one in five chance that sometime, someone with ill intent will break into our home while we’re here.

Hundreds and hundreds of you have explained to me that a life insurance policy won’t protect against an armed intruder. I never said it would. The thing you don’t understand: There isn’t going to be an armed intruder. That’s just your paranoia.…

One million times a year it does happen.  You may be willing to write those people off.  I am not.

NPR is not gifted with particular insight into criminology and justice statistics.  I’ll go with the Department of Justice on this, thank you very much.  Repeating your claim over and over again doesn’t make it so, Gabrielle.

A gun in the home is FAR more likely to kill or maim a household member than it is to protect them. Enjoy your daydreams about armed stand-offs. But that’s all they are. Daydreams.

This is, put simply, a lie.  It was a lie when Kellerman “reported” it (i.e. made it up) in his debunked “study.” It’s a lie today.  There are over one hundred million gun owners in the US, Gabrielle.  That’s households, not individuals.  Even the lowest of lowball estimates of uses of guns in self defense puts them at over 100,000 (National Crime Victimization Survey–extremely lowball because it only counts crime victims.  Things which were stopped before the person became a victim and that were not reported to police were systematically excluded by the very nature of the “study”.  Serious studies report numbers in the half million to three million range.) That’s five times as many as all the murders in the US in a year.  Five.  Times.  The “gun in the home is more likely…” is simply nonsense from beginning to end.  It’s a lie.  I’ll credit you with just being stupid and naively repeating a lie told to you by others, but the claim is a lie.

Update: A shocking number of you are CONVINCED that armed intruders will enter your home at 2 AM. And specially at 2 AM. Is there like an NRA ad about a 2 AM break in? Some meme I missed? Don’t answer. I don’t actually want to know.

It’s called a scenario.  People take a general concept and describe it as though it were an actual event, including details to flesh it out and help others envision the idea more clearly.  2 AM, the “wee hours of the morning” is when most people are deep asleep, when they are at their most vulnerable.  Like when Hillary made her campaign ad about the “2 AM call.”  Same concept.

When you do “design” do you never use concrete examples to use to illustrate some concept you are wanting to include in a design to help others understand and maybe go “I like it.  Let’s do that”?

Muting this thread now.

“And when away his regiment ran, his place was at the for-o
that celebrated, cultivated, underrated nobleman, the Duke of Plaza Toro.”

Where to start?

The question was asked elsewhere where to start with my stories.  The person tried Oruk Means Hard Work but couldn’t get into it.  Fair enough.  If we all liked the same things, think of what a tremendous natto shortage there would be.  So, here’a a brief precis of what I have out to help people decide where to start.

High Fantasy, you might like The Hordes of Chanakra (novel) or the shorter piece set in the same world (a couple of years after The Hordes of Chanakra) “The Kinmar”, or Treva’s Children which covers what happened to one of the minor characters in The Hordes of Chanakra near the end of that novel.

$2.99 in Kindle Store, Free to read in Kindle Unlimited, $14.99 in Paperback

$0.99 in Kindle Store, Free to read in Kindle Ulimited

Always $0.99 in Kindle Store, Free to read in Kindle Unlimited.

SF: Most of my FutureTech series. Shorts like EMT or Rainy Days and Moon Days, novel like Survival Test.

$2.99 in Kindle Store, Free to read on Kindle Unlimited, $9.99 in Paperback

Always $0.99 in Kindle Store, free to read in Kindle Unlimited

$0.99 in Kindle Store, Free to read in Kindle Store

If you like MilSF, there’s Shiva’s Whisper (also part of the FutureTech Industries series, although there’s no direct connection in that book…but planned to be in future books). It ties into the earlier “Live to Tell” (which also does not make explicit the connection within the book).

$2.99 on Kindle, $15.99 in Trade Paperback.  As always free to read on Kindle Unlimited

$0.99 in Kindle Store, Free to read in Kindle Unlimited

If you like your MilSF with a dose of giant monsters and Lovecraftian horror, there’s Big Blue. My daughter once said, when I was picking her up from daycare some years back, “someone should write Godzilla vs. Cthulhu” (How she knew about Cthulhu I do not know). The result was this book.

$2.99 in Kindle Store, Free to read in Kindle Store, $19.99 in Paperback

Alchemy of Shadows and The Unmasking are both urban/contemporary fantasy novels. The Unmasking is really dark in places. I don’t consider it quite horror because it lacks the nihilism in most of what I’ve seen of horror, but the monsters are nasty.

Paperback: $10.99
Kindle: $2.99
Kindle ebook free with purchase of paperback from Amazon

2.99 on Kindle.  $19.99 on paperback. As always, free to read on Kindle Unlimited.

The Thunderer is a collection of three shorts: one contemporary fantasy, one a retelling of myth, and one actually science fiction. Connecting theme is that all involve the Norse god Thor (or at least what someone thinks is Thor).

$0.99 in Kindle Store. Free to read on Kindle Unlimited.

The short, Lurker in the Water is horror, the only actual horror I’ve ever written.

$0.99 on Kindle or Free to read on Kindle Unlimited

The Chooser is my most recent release. It’s more or less contemporary fantasy in that it takes place in the present day although most of the action occurs in Valhalla (with brief side trips to Helheim).

$0.99 on Kindle, Always free on Kindle Unlimited

If one just wants a good sampling of my work, then I’d recommend Roaming the Universes.  It collects most of my short fiction published as of its compilation.  It’s the best value in terms of the stories you get for the price.

$2.99 on Kindle, $19.99 in paperback. As always, free to read in Kindle Unlimited

Everything of my own that I’ve released is available free to read on Kindle Unlimited so if you have that, you can try them without needing to spend any money beyond the KU subscription itself. And no need to feel guilty about shorting me in doing so either. I get paid for pages read by KU. So, feel free to indulge. I can’t say that for the anthologies I’m in–I have no control over distribution on that.

I’ve also got a sequel to Oruk Means Hard Work nearing release. Although a sequel my beta readers say that it does stand alone well.

Mailbox Woes

Mailbox picture purely illustrative and not directly related to the story.


When I pulled out yesterday morning for the first of the day’s errands I saw that our roadside mailbox was gone. Well, the post, about 3′ of it, was still there but the crossbeam and box were g. o. n. e. Was there day before yesterday when I went to check mail on returning home from work in the evening.

Well, later in the day I went shopping for a replacement. Figured to get one of those plastic ones that just fit over a post embedded in the ground (since I happened to have one in place). Local big box hardware store didn’t have one. Walmart next to it didn’t carry mailboxes. I check Walmarts web site and, oh, they had them down at a place not too far from where I live. Just to make sure, I put in an order with “pick up in the store” as the delivery method. I figured I’d just be able to go over that night or the next day and…”we estimate your order will be ready Tuesday, November 26th.”

Double sigh.

I tried to cancel the order (thinking I’ll just go in person and try my luck). No confirmation of the cancellation and I didn’t want to buy two (checked the card provider online and, yep, the card had been billed so I’d paid for the ordered mailbox). So now I have to wait until either the one I’ve ordered is ready for pickup or until I get a confirmation that the order has been cancelled and the money refunded.

On the plus side, such as it is, I found the old mailbox itself on my porch later that evening. At least the person who broke it (or perhaps some kindly passerby later) put it up there out of the way for all the good that did.

This was annoying.

For comparison, there was a time when I knocked over somebody’s mailbox. (Then wife and daughter had just left on an extended overseas trip so I was more than a little stressed. I never handled separation well until…well, that’s a story for another time and probably not for a public forum.) I went and talked to the owner (who was home), I was heading out for a trip and couldn’t fully make it right at the time but MadMike and I propped the post and box up on a temporary basis so the person could still get mail and when we returned from the trip I bought a new post and we installed it in place of the one I’d broken by backing into it with my Explorer.

Wisdom from the Lord of Battles

This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published (or registered with the U.S. Copyright Office) before January 1, 1924.

The Havamal is a collection of sayings attributed to Odin, Lord of Battles, Most Wise and Most High.  Much of it is advice on wisdom.  Some of what is said here is specific to the time and place of Medieval Scandinavia and needs to be considered with that in mind.  But much of it if well-nigh universal in application.  Lend ear all who will hear.


At every door-way,
ere one enters,
one should spy round,
one should pry round
for uncertain is the witting
that there be no foeman sitting,
within, before one on the floor

Hail, ye Givers! a guest is come;
say! where shall he sit within?
Much pressed is he who fain on the hearth
would seek for warmth and weal.

He hath need of fire, who now is come,
numbed with cold to the knee;
food and clothing the wanderer craves
who has fared o’er the rimy fell.

He craves for water, who comes for refreshment,
drying and friendly bidding,
marks of good will, fair fame if ’tis won,
and welcome once and again.

He hath need of his wits who wanders wide,
aught simple will serve at home;
but a gazing-stock is the fool who sits
mid the wise, and nothing knows.

Let no man glory in the greatness of his mind,
but rather keep watch o’er his wits.
Cautious and silent let him enter a dwelling;
to the heedful comes seldom harm,
for none can find a more faithful friend
than the wealth of mother wit.

Let the wary stranger who seeks refreshment
keep silent with sharpened hearing;
with his ears let him listen, and look with his eyes;
thus each wise man spies out the way.

Happy is he who wins for himself
fair fame and kindly words;
but uneasy is that which a man doth own
while it lies in another’s breast.

Happy is he who hath in himself
praise and wisdom in life;
for oft doth a man ill counsel get
when ’tis born in another’s breast.

A better burden can no man bear
on the way than his mother wit;
’tis the refuge of the poor, and richer it seems
than wealth in a world untried.

A better burden can no man bear
on the way than his mother wit:
and no worse provision can he carry with him
than too deep a draught of ale.

Less good than they say for the sons of men
is the drinking oft of ale:
for the more they drink, the less can they think
and keep a watch o’er their wits.

A bird of Unmindfulness flutters o’er ale feasts,
wiling away men’s wits:
with the feathers of that fowl I was fettered once
in the garths of Gunnlos below.

Drunk was I then, I was over drunk
in that crafty Jötun’s court.
But best is an ale feast when man is able
to call back his wits at once.

Silent and thoughtful and bold in strife
the prince’s bairn should be.
Joyous and generous let each man show him
until he shall suffer death.

A coward believes he will ever live
if he keep him safe from strife:
but old age leaves him not long in peace
though spears may spare his life.

A fool will gape when he goes to a friend,
and mumble only, or mope;
but pass him the ale cup and all in a moment
the mind of that man is shown.

He knows alone who has wandered wide,
and far has fared on the way,
what manner of mind a man doth own
who is wise of head and heart.

Keep not the mead cup but drink thy measure;
speak needful words or none:
none shall upbraid thee for lack of breeding
if soon thou seek’st thy rest.

A greedy man, if he be not mindful,
eats to his own life’s hurt:
oft the belly of the fool will bring him to scorn
when he seeks the circle of the wise.

Herds know the hour of their going home
and turn them again from the grass;
but never is found a foolish man
who knows the measure of his maw.

The miserable man and evil minded
makes of all things mockery,
and knows not that which he best should know,
that he is not free from faults.

The unwise man is awake all night,
and ponders everything over;
when morning comes he is weary in mind,
and all is a burden as ever.

The unwise man weens all who smile
and flatter him are his friends,
nor notes how oft they speak him ill
when he sits in the circle of the wise.

The unwise man weens all who smile
and flatter him are his friends;
but when he shall come into court he shall find
there are few to defend his cause.

The unwise man thinks all to know,
while he sits in a sheltered nook;
but he knows not one thing, what he shall answer,
if men shall put him to proof.

For the unwise man ’tis best to be mute
when he come amid the crowd,
for none is aware of his lack of wit
if he wastes not too many words;
for he who lacks wit shall never learn
though his words flow ne’er so fast.

Wise he is deemed who can question well,
and also answer back:
the sons of men can no secret make
of the tidings told in their midst.

Too many unstable words are spoken
by him who ne’er holds his peace;
the hasty tongue sings its own mishap
if it be not bridled in.

Let no man be held as a laughing-stock,
though he come as guest for a meal:
wise enough seem many while they sit dry-skinned
and are not put to proof.

A guest thinks him witty who mocks at a guest
and runs from his wrath away;
but none can be sure who jests at a meal
that he makes not fun among foes.

Oft, though their hearts lean towards one another,
friends are divided at table;
ever the source of strife ’twill be,
that guest will anger guest.

A man should take always his meals betimes
unless he visit a friend,
or he sits and mopes, and half famished seems,
and can ask or answer nought.

Long is the round to a false friend leading,
e’en if he dwell on the way:
but though far off fared, to a faithful friend
straight are the roads and short.

A guest must depart again on his way,
nor stay in the same place ever;
if he bide too long on another’s bench
the loved one soon becomes loathed.

One’s own house is best, though small it may be;
each man is master at home;
though he have but two goats and a bark-thatched hut
’tis better than craving a boon.

One’s own house is best, though small it may be,
each man is master at home;
with a bleeding heart will he beg, who must,
his meat at every meal.

Let a man never stir on his road a step
without his weapons of war;
for unsure is the knowing when need shall arise
of a spear on the way without.

I found none so noble or free with his food,
who was not gladdened with a gift,
nor one who gave of his gifts such store
but he loved reward, could he win it.

Let no man stint him and suffer need
of the wealth he has won in life;
oft is saved for a foe what was meant for a friend,
and much goes worse than one weens.

With raiment and arms shall friends gladden each other,
so has one proved oneself;
for friends last longest, if fate be fair
who give and give again.

To his friend a man should bear him as friend,
and gift for gift bestow,
laughter for laughter let him exchange,
but leasing pay for a lie.

To his friend a man should bear him as friend,
to him and a friend of his;
but let him beware that he be not the friend
of one who is friend to his foe.

Hast thou a friend whom thou trustest well,
from whom thou cravest good?
Share thy mind with him, gifts exchange with him,
fare to find him oft.

But hast thou one whom thou trustest ill
yet from whom thou cravest good?
Thou shalt speak him fair, but falsely think,
and leasing pay for a lie.

Yet further of him whom thou trusted ill,
and whose mind thou dost misdoubt;
thou shalt laugh with him but withhold thy thought,
for gift with like gift should be paid.

Young was I once, I walked alone,
and bewildered seemed in the way;
then I found me another and rich I thought me,
for man is the joy of man.

Most blest is he who lives free and bold
and nurses never a grief,
for the fearful man is dismayed by aught,
and the mean one mourns over giving.

My garments once I gave in the field
to two land-marks made as men;
heroes they seemed when once they were clothed;
’tis the naked who suffer shame!

The pine tree wastes which is perched on the hill,
nor bark nor needles shelter it;
such is the man whom none doth love;
for what should he longer live?

Fiercer than fire among ill friends
for five days love will burn;
bun anon ’tis quenched, when the sixth day comes,
and all friendship soon is spoiled.

Not great things alone must one give to another,
praise oft is earned for nought;
with half a loaf and a tilted bowl
I have found me many a friend.

Little the sand if little the seas,
little are minds of men,
for ne’er in the world were all equally wise,
’tis shared by the fools and the sage.

Wise in measure let each man be;
but let him not wax too wise;
for never the happiest of men is he
who knows much of many things.

Wise in measure should each man be;
but let him not wax too wise;
seldom a heart will sing with joy
if the owner be all too wise.

Wise in measure should each man be,
but ne’er let him wax too wise:
who looks not forward to learn his fate
unburdened heart will bear.

Brand kindles from brand until it be burned,
spark is kindled from spark,
man unfolds him by speech with man,
but grows over secret through silence.

He must rise betimes who fain of another
or life or wealth would win;
scarce falls the prey to sleeping wolves,
or to slumberers victory in strife.

He must rise betimes who hath few to serve him,
and see to his work himself;
who sleeps at morning is hindered much,
to the keen is wealth half-won.

Of dry logs saved and roof-bark stored
a man can know the measure,
of fire-wood too which should last him out
quarter and half years to come.

Fed and washed should one ride to court
though in garments none too new;
thou shalt not shame thee for shoes or breeks,
nor yet for a sorry steed.

Like an eagle swooping over old ocean,
snatching after his prey,
so comes a man into court who finds
there are few to defend his cause.

Each man who is wise and would wise be called
must ask and answer aright.
Let one know thy secret, but never a second, —
if three a thousand shall know.

A wise counselled man will be mild in bearing
and use his might in measure,
lest when he come his fierce foes among
he find others fiercer than he.

Each man should be watchful and wary in speech,
and slow to put faith in a friend.
for the words which one to another speaks
he may win reward of ill.

At many a feast I was far too late,
and much too soon at some;
drunk was the ale or yet unserved:
never hits he the joint who is hated.

Here and there to a home I had haply been asked
had I needed no meat at my meals,
or were two hams left hanging in the house of that friend
where I had partaken of one.

Most dear is fire to the sons of men,
most sweet the sight of the sun;
good is health if one can but keep it,
and to live a life without shame.

Not reft of all is he who is ill,
for some are blest in their bairns,
some in their kin and some in their wealth,
and some in working well.

More blest are the living than the lifeless,
’tis the living who come by the cow;
I saw the hearth-fire burn in the rich man’s hall
and himself lying dead at the door.

The lame can ride horse, the handless drive cattle,
the deaf one can fight and prevail,
’tis happier for the blind than for him on the bale-fire,
but no man hath care for a corpse.

Best have a son though he be late born
and before him the father be dead:
seldom are stones on the wayside raised
save by kinsmen to kinsmen.

Two are hosts against one, the tongue is the head’s bane,
‘neath a rough hide a hand may be hid;
he is glad at nightfall who knows of his lodging,
short is the ship’s berth,
and changeful the autumn night,
much veers the wind ere the fifth day
and blows round yet more in a month.

He that learns nought will never know
how one is the fool of another,
for if one be rich another is poor
and for that should bear no blame.

Cattle die and kinsmen die,
thyself too soon must die,
but one thing never, I ween, will die, —
fair fame of one who has earned.

Cattle die and kinsmen die,
thyself too soon must die,
but one thing never, I ween, will die, —
the doom on each one dead.

Full-stocked folds had the Fatling’s sons,
who bear now a beggar’s staff:
brief is wealth, as the winking of an eye,
most faithless ever of friends.

If haply a fool should find for himself
wealth or a woman’s love,
pride waxes in him but wisdom never
and onward he fares in his folly.

All will prove true that thou askest of runes —
those that are come from the gods,
which the high Powers wrought, and which Odin painted:
then silence is surely best.

Praise day at even, a wife when dead,
a weapon when tried, a maid when married,
ice when ’tis crossed, and ale when ’tis drunk.

Hew wood in wind, sail the seas in a breeze,
woo a maid in the dark, — for day’s eyes are many, —
work a ship for its gliding, a shield for its shelter,
a sword for its striking, a maid for her kiss;

Drink ale by the fire, but slide on the ice;
buy a steed when ’tis lanky, a sword when ’tis rusty;
feed thy horse neath a roof, and thy hound in the yard.

The speech of a maiden should no man trust
nor the words which a woman says;
for their hearts were shaped on a whirling wheel
and falsehood fixed in their breasts.

Breaking bow, or flaring flame,
ravening wolf, or croaking raven,
routing swine, or rootless tree,
waxing wave, or seething cauldron,

flying arrows, or falling billow,
ice of a nighttime, coiling adder,
woman’s bed-talk, or broken blade,
play of bears or a prince’s child,

sickly calf or self-willed thrall,
witch’s flattery, new-slain foe,
brother’s slayer, though seen on the highway,
half burned house, or horse too swift —
be never so trustful as these to trust.

Let none put faith in the first sown fruit
nor yet in his son too soon;
whim rules the child, and weather the field,
each is open to chance.

Like the love of women whose thoughts are lies
is the driving un-roughshod o’er slippery ice
of a two year old, ill-tamed and gay;
or in a wild wind steering a helmless ship,
or the lame catching reindeer in the rime-thawed fell.

Now plainly I speak, since both I have seen;
unfaithful is man to maid;
we speak them fairest when thoughts are falsest
and wile the wisest of hearts.

— Let him speak soft words and offer wealth
who longs for a woman’s love,
praise the shape of the shining maid —
he wins who thus doth woo.

— Never a whit should one blame another
whom love hath brought into bonds:
oft a witching form will fetch the wise
which holds not the heart of fools.

Never a whit should one blame another
for a folly which many befalls;
the might of love makes sons of men
into fools who once were wise.

The mind knows alone what is nearest the heart
and sees where the soul is turned:
no sickness seems to the wise so sore
as in nought to know content.

This once I felt when I sat without
in the reeds, and looked for my love;
body and soul of me was that sweet maiden
yet never I won her as wife.

Billing’s daughter I found on her bed,
fairer than sunlight sleeping,
and the sweets of lordship seemed to me nought,
save I lived with that lovely form.

“Yet nearer evening come thou, Odin,
if thou wilt woo a maiden:
all were undone save two knew alone
such a secret deed of shame.”

So away I turned from my wise intent,
and deemed my joy assured,
for all her liking and all her love
I weened that I yet should win.

When I came ere long the war troop bold
were watching and waking all:
with burning brands and torches borne
they showed me my sorrowful way.

Yet nearer morning I went, once more, —
the housefolk slept in the hall,
but soon I found a barking dog
tied fast to that fair maid’s couch.

Many a sweet maid when one knows her mind
is fickle found towards men:
I proved it well when that prudent lass
I sought to lead astray:
shrewd maid, she sought me with every insult
and I won therewith no wife.

In thy home be joyous and generous to guests
discreet shalt thou be in thy bearing,
mindful and talkative, wouldst thou gain wisdom,
oft making me mention of good.
He is “Simpleton” named who has nought to say,
for such is the fashion of fools.

I sought that old Jötun, now safe am I back,
little served my silence there;
but whispering many soft speeches I won
my desire in Suttung’s halls.

I bored me a road there with Rati’s tusk
and made room to pass through the rock;
while the ways of the Jötuns stretched over and under,
I dared my life for a draught.

‘Twas Gunnlod who gave me on a golden throne
a draught of the glorious mead,
but with poor reward did I pay her back
for her true and troubled heart.

In a wily disguise I worked my will;
little is lacking to the wise,
for the Soul-stirrer now, sweet Mead of Song,
is brought to men’s earthly abode.

I misdoubt me if ever again I had come
from the realms of the Jötun race,
had I not served me of Gunnlod, sweet woman,
her whom I held in mine arms.

Came forth, next day, the dread Frost Giants,
and entered the High One’s Hall:
they asked — was the Baleworker back mid the Powers,
or had Suttung slain him below?

A ring-oath Odin I trow had taken —
how shall one trust his troth?
’twas he who stole the mead from Suttung,
and Gunnlod caused to weep.

‘Tis time to speak from the Sage’s Seat;
hard by the Well of Weird
I saw and was silent, I saw and pondered,
I listened to the speech of men.

Of runes they spoke, and the reading of runes
was little withheld from their lips:
at the High One’s hall, in the High One’s hall,
I thus heard the High One say: —

I counsel thee, Stray-Singer, accept my counsels,
they will be thy boon if thou obey’st them,
they will work thy weal if thou win’st them:
rise never at nighttime, except thou art spying
or seekest a spot without.

I counsel thee, Stray-Singer, accept my counsels,
they will be thy boon if thou obey’st them,
they will work thy weal if thou win’st them:
thou shalt never sleep in the arms of a sorceress,
lest she should lock thy limbs;

So shall she charm that thou shalt not heed
the council, or words of the king,
nor care for thy food, or the joys of mankind,
but fall into sorrowful sleep.

I counsel thee, Stray-Singer, accept my counsels,
they will be thy boon if thou obey’st them,
they will work thy weal if thou win’st them:
seek not ever to draw to thyself
in love-whispering another’s wife.

I counsel thee, Stray-Singer, accept my counsels,
they will be thy boon if thou obey’st them,
they will work thy weal if thou win’st them:
should thou long to fare over fell and firth
provide thee well with food.

I counsel thee, Stray-Singer, accept my counsels,
they will be thy boon if thou obey’st them,
they will work thy weal if thou win’st them:
tell not ever an evil man
if misfortunes thee befall,
from such ill friend thou needst never seek
return for thy trustful mind.

Wounded to death, have I seen a man
by the words of an evil woman;
a lying tongue had bereft him of life,
and all without reason of right.

I counsel thee, Stray-Singer, accept my counsels,
they will be thy boon if thou obey’st them,
they will work thy weal if thou win’st them:
hast thou a friend whom thou trustest well,
fare thou to find him oft;
for with brushwood grows and with grasses high
the path where no foot doth pass.

I counsel thee, Stray-Singer, accept my counsels,
they will be thy boon if thou obey’st them,
they will work thy weal if thou win’st them:
in sweet converse call the righteous to thy side,
learn a healing song while thou livest.

I counsel thee, Stray-Singer, accept my counsels,
they will be thy boon if thou obey’st them,
they will work thy weal if thou win’st them:
be never the first with friend of thine
to break the bond of fellowship;
care shall gnaw thy heart if thou canst not tell
all thy mind to another.

I counsel thee, Stray-Singer, accept my counsels,
they will be thy boon if thou obey’st them,
they will work thy weal if thou win’st them:
never in speech with a foolish knave
shouldst thou waste a single word.

From the lips of such thou needst not look
for reward of thine own good will;
but a righteous man by praise will render thee
firm in favour and love.

There is mingling in friendship when man can utter
all his whole mind to another;
there is nought so vile as a fickle tongue;
no friend is he who but flatters.

I counsel thee, Stray-Singer, accept my counsels,
they will be thy boon if thou obey’st them,
they will work thy weal if thou win’st them:
oft the worst lays the best one low.

I counsel thee, Stray-Singer, accept my counsels,
they will be thy boon if thou obey’st them,
they will work thy weal if thou win’st them:
be not a shoemaker nor yet a shaft maker
save for thyself alone:
let the shoe be misshapen, or crooked the shaft,
and a curse on thy head will be called.

I counsel thee, Stray-Singer, accept my counsels,
they will be thy boon if thou obey’st them,
they will work thy weal if thou win’st them:
when in peril thou seest thee, confess thee in peril,
nor ever give peace to thy foes.

I counsel thee, Stray-Singer, accept my counsels,
they will be thy boon if thou obey’st them,
they will work thy weal if thou win’st them:
rejoice not ever at tidings of ill,
but glad let thy soul be in good.

I counsel thee, Stray-Singer, accept my counsels,
they will be thy boon if thou obey’st them,
they will work thy weal if thou win’st them:
look not up in battle, when men are as beasts,
lest the wights bewitch thee with spells.

I counsel thee, Stray-Singer, accept my counsels,
they will be thy boon if thou obey’st them,
they will work thy weal if thou win’st them:
wouldst thou win joy of a gentle maiden,
and lure to whispering of love,
thou shalt make fair promise, and let it be fast, —
none will scorn their weal who can win it.

I counsel thee, Stray-Singer, accept my counsels,
they will be thy boon if thou obey’st them,
they will work thy weal if thou win’st them:
I pray thee be wary, yet not too wary,
be wariest of all with ale,
with another’s wife, and a third thing eke,
that knaves outwit thee never.

I counsel thee, Stray-Singer, accept my counsels,
they will be thy boon if thou obey’st them,
they will work thy weal if thou win’st them:
hold not in scorn, nor mock in thy halls
a guest or wandering wight.

They know but unsurely who sit within
what manner of man is come:
none is found so good, but some fault attends him,
or so ill but he serves for somewhat.

I counsel thee, Stray-Singer, accept my counsels,
they will be thy boon if thou obey’st them,
they will work thy weal if thou win’st them:
hold never in scorn the hoary singer;
oft the counsel of the old is good;
come words of wisdom from the withered lips
of him left to hang among hides,
to rock with the rennets
and swing with the skins.

I counsel thee, Stray-Singer, accept my counsels,
they will be thy boon if thou obey’st them,
they will work thy weal if thou win’st them:
growl not at guests, nor drive them from the gate
but show thyself gentle to the poor.

Mighty is the bar to be moved away
for the entering in of all.
Shower thy wealth, or men shall wish thee
every ill in thy limbs.

I counsel thee, Stray-Singer, accept my counsels,
they will be thy boon if thou obey’st them,
they will work thy weal if thou win’st them:
when ale thou quaffest, call upon earth’s might —
’tis earth drinks in the floods.
Earth prevails o’er drink, but fire o’er sickness,
the oak o’er binding, the earcorn o’er witchcraft,
the rye spur o’er rupture, the moon o’er rages,
herb o’er cattle plagues, runes o’er harm.

I trow I hung on that windy Tree
nine whole days and nights,
stabbed with a spear, offered to Odin,
myself to mine own self given,
high on that Tree of which none hath heard
from what roots it rises to heaven.

None refreshed me ever with food or drink,
I peered right down in the deep;
crying aloud I lifted the Runes
then back I fell from thence.

Nine mighty songs I learned from the great
son of Bale-thorn, Bestla’s sire;
I drank a measure of the wondrous Mead,
with the Soulstirrer’s drops I was showered.

Ere long I bare fruit, and throve full well,
I grew and waxed in wisdom;
word following word, I found me words,
deed following deed, I wrought deeds.

Hidden Runes shalt thou seek and interpreted signs,
many symbols of might and power,
by the great Singer painted, by the high Powers fashioned,
graved by the Utterer of gods.

For gods graved Odin, for elves graved Daïn,
Dvalin the Dallier for dwarfs,
All-wise for Jötuns, and I, of myself,
graved some for the sons of men.

Dost know how to write, dost know how to read,
dost know how to paint, dost know how to prove,
dost know how to ask, dost know how to offer,
dost know how to send, dost know how to spend?

Better ask for too little than offer too much,
like the gift should be the boon;
better not to send than to overspend.
Thus Odin graved ere the world began;
Then he rose from the deep, and came again.

Those songs I know, which nor sons of men
nor queen in a king’s court knows;
the first is Help which will bring thee help
in all woes and in sorrow and strife.

A second I know, which the son of men
must sing, who would heal the sick.

A third I know: if sore need should come
of a spell to stay my foes;
when I sing that song, which shall blunt their swords,
nor their weapons nor staves can wound.

A fourth I know: if men make fast
in chains the joints of my limbs,
when I sing that song which shall set me free,
spring the fetters from hands and feet.

A fifth I know: when I see, by foes shot,
speeding a shaft through the host,
flies it never so strongly I still can stay it,
if I get but a glimpse of its flight.

A sixth I know: when some thane would harm me
in runes on a moist tree’s root,
on his head alone shall light the ills
of the curse that he called upon mine.

A seventh I know: if I see a hall
high o’er the bench-mates blazing,
flame it ne’er so fiercely I still can save it, —
I know how to sing that song.

An eighth I know: which all can sing
for their weal if they learn it well;
where hate shall wax ‘mid the warrior sons,
I can calm it soon with that song.

A ninth I know: when need befalls me
to save my vessel afloat,
I hush the wind on the stormy wave,
and soothe all the sea to rest.

A tenth I know: when at night the witches
ride and sport in the air,
such spells I weave that they wander home
out of skins and wits bewildered.

An eleventh I know: if haply I lead
my old comrades out to war,
I sing ‘neath the shields, and they fare forth mightily
safe into battle,
safe out of battle,
and safe return from the strife.

A twelfth I know: if I see in a tree
a corpse from a halter hanging,
such spells I write, and paint in runes,
that the being descends and speaks.

A thirteenth I know: if the new-born son
of a warrior I sprinkle with water,
that youth will not fail when he fares to war,
never slain shall he bow before sword.

A fourteenth I know: if I needs must number
the Powers to the people of men,
I know all the nature of gods and of elves
which none can know untaught.

A fifteenth I know, which Folk-stirrer sang,
the dwarf, at the gates of Dawn;
he sang strength to the gods, and skill to the elves,
and wisdom to Odin who utters.

A sixteenth I know: when all sweetness and love
I would win from some artful wench,
her heart I turn, and the whole mind change
of that fair-armed lady I love.

A seventeenth I know: so that e’en the shy maiden
is slow to shun my love.

These songs, Stray-Singer, which man’s son knows not,
long shalt thou lack in life,
though thy weal if thou win’st them, thy boon if thou obey’st them
thy good if haply thou gain’st them.

An eighteenth I know: which I ne’er shall tell
to maiden or wife of man
save alone to my sister, or haply to her
who folds me fast in her arms;
most safe are secrets known to but one-
the songs are sung to an end.

Now the sayings of the High One are uttered in the hall
for the weal of men, for the woe of Jötuns,
Hail, thou who hast spoken! Hail, thou that knowest!
Hail, ye that have hearkened! Use, thou who hast learned!



Celebrities and Political Opinions

music box.jpg

So, on my feed on the Book of Faces there was a link to this article.  In the article (which was two years old, but that I hadn’t seen before, the country music couple of Tim McGraw and Faith Hill called for more gun control, saying “it’s not about the 2nd Amendment” (as if it can be about anything else).

Look, when I was a small child, my grandmother had this box.  When you opened the lid a little ballerina figurine would spring up.  Inside there was a clockwork mechanism that would cause the ballerina to turn round and round while a small metal cylinder inside would rotate causing bumps on the cylinder to pluck at tuned strips of metal producing musical notes.  The spacing of the bumps would, in this way, pluck out a simple tune.

I didn’t go to that box for political opinions either.

People seem to have this strange idea that celebrities are people of importance who should be given credence in matters of politics, economics, and, yes, gun control simply because they are celebrities.

Actors?  They play pretend for a living.  That’s hardly an endorsement for deep thought in politics.

Athletes?  The ability to run fast, jump high, or more a ball around a field in prescribed ways doesn’t make them experts in world affairs.

Models?  Human clothes racks by profession.  And, once again, no endorsement of deep understanding of economics. (Note even “able to manage a business successfully”, which many models do–their own personal business–is not the same thing as understanding economics.)

Writers? (And I am one.) Telling lies for a living, even entertaining lies that no one is expected to believe is real, does not gift them with particular insight into law enforcement.

And musicians?  Being able to carry a tune or pluck on a guitar does not make one an expert on the crime, violence, and gun control.  It just doesn’t.

This is not to say that some celebrities might not have valid arguments on any of those positions or any of many more.  They can, just like anyone else.  But it’s not their celebrity status that would make those positions “valid”.  It’s the arguments themselves, and the facts and logic behind them.  But that’s not how celebrity positions are presented.  They’re simply stated and we’re supposed to accept them because of who said them.  The truth is that in most cases they don’t even understand their own positions.  They don’t recognize the existence of, let alone are able to understand, counterarguments to their position.  They rely purely on their fame to lend weight to their position.

This is the very essence of the argument ad hominem writ large:  trying to claim truth or falsity of a proposition based on who said it rather than its own content and correspondence with reality.  The term is usually used when people belittle an argument because the one making it is “bad” in some way but its equally fallacious when one tries to shore up an argument because of the supposed virtue of whoever made it.

And it’s utterly and completely ridiculous to make that support because of not even virtue, but simple fame.

Overpopulation is Going to Kill Us!


Ever since Malthus made his famous (infamous?) predictions we have been hearing this refrain.  Overpopulation was going to kill us.  It’s easy to point to trends in population and say “if this goes on…”

Well, when Philip of Macedon sent a message to the Spartans, he told them “You are advised to submit without further delay, for if I bring my army into your land, I will destroy your farms, slay your people, and raze your city.” The Spartans replied with a single word:


I have written before about the folly of mindlessly extrapolating trends into the future and how it leads to bad public policy because whatever the current trend might be, it rarely continues unchanged.  However there is a more basic problem when it comes to this trend.  And that is that I simply do not believe it.  I do not believe published population figures and I do not believe the growth rates extrapolated from them.

First, one has to consider the source of many of these figures.  There is no global census undertaken by people going door to door enumerating every individual and sending results to some clearing house to be tabulated.  Nope, the numbers are simply reported by the governments of the various countries and they’re just added up later.

So, just how much do you trust those countries to report their numbers accurately?  If you’re me, not very much.  Look at the incentives.  There are plenty of incentives for nations to over-represent their population numbers.  For the poor countries foreign aid (which largely ends up in the hands of kleptocrats rather than helping people, sad to say) is to at least some extent driven by how many people are “in need”.  Kleptocrats claiming more starving people can wring more foreign aid out of wealthier nations, more “foreign aid” to stock their own palaces and other luxuries.  Simple prestige can be an incentive.  Being able to claim to rule a larger population than ones neighbors is worth “points” on the international “my country’s better than yours” contest.  Intimidation:  “my country’s bigger than yours so I can field a larger army.  Better not mess with me.”

Incentives to underreport population?  Um.  I’m trying.  Can’t think of one.  Okay, okay.  If you want to claim that you’re doing a great job on controlling the overpopulation issue and… Is anybody actually doing that?  China maybe, wanting to tout the success of their “one child” policy, but that’s about it.

Even in the US, there is a direct incentive for states to over-represent their populations in the decennial census:  Higher population means more representation in Congress.  A great deal of effort is made to keep the count accurate but even that is unlikely to be totally successful.  So even here the numbers should probably be taken with a grain of salt.

So not only is it folly to mindlessly extrapolate trends into the future as many folk are wont to do, it’s also dubious to even accept current population figures at face value.

So, no, we are not in any imminent danger of an overpopulation crisis leading to disaster.  The people telling you that we are are selling something.