Where’s Harry Tuttle When You Need Him?

I know this is a long shot, but maybe someone out there can help me.  My problem is this:  everyone I can reach at Revenue Canada tells me that I can only get my Residency Certificate through a specific office in London, Ontario.  And every last one of them refuses to give me the contact information for that office.

Yes, really.

The facts are these.  Every year, various foreign governments preemptively tax all moneys generated within their jurisdictions.  This includes moneys made by me, via translation deals and overseas editions;  bureacrats the world over intercept any advances or royalties headed my way, and flense thirty percent off the top before I even see it — unless I present them with a letter from my own government attesting to the fact that I am a Canadian citizen who will be paying the requisite taxes at home.  There are treaties in place to make sure this goes smoothly, and last year, it did.

Unfortunately there are also civil servants and hive-dwelling drones to make sure it doesn’t.

I called the same general-info line I called last year, the line which (last year) got me everything I needed with two forwards. Twice, this time, the person I spoke with told me she didn’t know the answer to my question, and put me on hold while she found “an agent who can help you”.  After the usual Muzakal interlude, I got a cheery “I’m connecting you now!”— only to be booted back to the same general-enquiry line, with a different oblivious drone who in turn, had to go in search of this mythical “agent who can answer your question”.

The third time I was told that all these sorts of requests were handled by the London Office, and was even given a new and different phone number.  Unfortunately it was the number for the “Revenue Canada TeleRefund Service”, an entirely automated line devoted to taking people’s SINs and calculating their tax refunds, without even the token option of speaking to a Human being.  Back to the general enquiry line, where a new, sterner, and increasingly cuntly voice kept interrupting my attempts at defining the problem to insist that I had to contact the individual embassies of the various countries involved for my certificates, even though the certification itself came from Canada.  Somewhere in there, though, the London, Ontario office got mentioned again, so I decided to run with it: all last year’s certificates came from the London Office according to their mastheads (all signed by one “A. Stallaert” of “Taxpayer Services”)— but the masthead itself gave no telephone or e-mail address, only a URL for the Revenue Canada website and a fax number.

I had already spent some time on the Revenue Canada website, using its “Search” function to look for occurrences of “certificate of residency” (no hits), “residency certificate” (no hits), “Residence certification”, “Certification of residence”, “certification of residency” (no hits no hits no hits) and “residency” anywhere on the same page as  “certificate” (ten thousand hits).  I haven’t sent or received a fax (or even seen a fax machine, for that matter) since before the turn of the century.  I asked the woman on the other end of the line if the London Office accepted faxes sent via e-mails.  “There is no email”, she snapped.  How about a phone number for the London Office?  “You can call 1-800-959-8281.”

“But that’s the general enquiry line.  That’s this li—

At which point it occured to me that I might not actually be talking any more to someone at the general enquiry line.  I’d been forwarded and transfered so many times that I might be talking to a different number entirely.  I asked if she was speaking to me from the General Enquiry Line.

She wouldn’t even tell me that.  In fact, she seemed so put out by the fact that I’d even asked that she told me she was going to end the call, and hung up on me.

So this is where things stand.  I am about to lose 30% of my overseas income for want of a half-dozen form letters.  I can only get these letters via London, and apparently only through fax (which I don’t have) or possibly smoke signals.  I could always trudge a half-mile to the nearest Kinko’s and drop four bits on their self-serve fax machine, but of course I then have no way of knowing if the message has gone through, if it has been read, if anyone is on the case.  Given my experiences of Friday, I think I can be forgiven a certain reluctance to trust that anyone is likely to get back to me unless I am in actual real-time contact.  Which is probably exactly why they won’t reveal their phone number in the first place.

I used Google Maps on 451 Talbot, and dredged up an “unverified phone number” for someone who at least works in the building, but for all I know it’s the janitor.  If all else fails I can always just show up there in person when I drive down to give my reading at Fanshawe, but at this rate they probably keep their doors bolted during business hours and call the police if anyone  presses their nose against the glass. Besides, the clock is ticking: Blindsight comes out in France next month, and I may not have the luxury of another four days.

I’ll be contacting my Federal MP to see if he can bring me any joy.  But in the meantime, if anyone out there happens to know the phone number for the Revenue Canada Office at 451 Talbot in London, Ontario, would you please share?  If anyone knows an A. Stallaert who works there, might they pass on word of my troubles?

And last but not least, in the name of sheer catharsis: if any of you know anyone who works on Revenue Canada’s public interface, would you be good enough to take a ballpeen hammer to their fucking kneecaps?  For me?

Pleeeeease?

This entry was written by Peter Watts , posted on Sunday March 08 2009at 04:03 pm , filed under misc . Bookmark the permalink . Post a comment below or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

22 Responses to “Where’s Harry Tuttle When You Need Him?”

  1. Why go ballpeen when you can use a bolt-action brain destroyer? Sounds like it could only improve the efficiency of the offices in question.

    Lamentably I cannot lend assistance. I would if I could though.

  2. Peter Said:

    …without even the token option of speaking to a Human being. Back to the general enquiry line, where a new, sterner, and increasingly cuntly voice kept interrupting my attempts at defining the problem…

    Keanani says:

    She probably does this to everyone, so don’t take it personally, she probably does not like guys…

    Wow, and I thought Publishing Companies of established writers “cared about” and made sure all was well and right for their “property”, I mean “writers and authors”…

    Going in person may be your best option. No email capabilties, no assurance of fax, and of course, no phone contact worth anyone’s time and efforts…it appears that you must get the form of Residency Certificate yourself and make sure it is completed at that specific London, Ontario Office…

    …hopefully someone in Canada will help you…it seems that those who are supposed to do so are not the ones you can rely upon…sounds like how the Government works everywhere on this increasingly crowded, polluted, violent, indifferent, sacry third rock from the sun…where we live…

    What is with this mentality of making darn sure someone is not given the help and service that is supposed to be given? Human beings are becoming more uncaring and apathetic?

  3. I’ll make a call.

  4. I can’t even begin with the number of heinous “customer service” stories I have… people say the internet turns the average person into a jackass moron, but phones were doing that long before the internet!

    I’m happy to fax your paperwork if you can email it to me, and our fax does print out confirmations which I can in turn email back to you. But that does not guarantee anyone will read it. It’s possible the fax printouts drop directly into the recycle bin.

    Let me know if that would help. I would say it couldn’t hurt to at least try, but then, these people are devious…

  5. As a small underground creature, may I suggest you use the biology of your species and put it to work for you.

    I know this will sound weird, but bear with me? If the bureaucrats tend to be female, and you’re not getting what you need, go in person and take a female “buffer” with you?

    The plan is to give the bureacrat the power? Let your friend approach the window first, and she’s optimally a woman who’s calm, medium good-looking, a little motherly, but not obviously motherly. (She is going to be the iron fist in the velvet glove here if things get sticky, the one who gently refuses to leave until you get some help.) The idea is to make the bureaucrat feel she is powerful, wise, and kindly helping you with a problem. If she feels threatened, she may get muley, and use what power she has (not helping you) to feel less threatened.

    You walk behind your friend, look a little worried, but befuddled. Pleasant, but vague. If you have glasses, put those on, unless they are supermod or very expensive-looking. No leather jackets, no boots, sunglasses, earrings, or tees with logos. If you have a collared shirt in white or light blue, that’s good. Make sure you’re clean-shaven and your breath is good. You’re going for harmless, straight, even a little geeky, and not wealthy.

    When your friend makes the approach, it mitigates you being tall and male, and subliminally tells the bureaucrat that your friend is in charge. That she is about to do a transaction with a fellow female. Also, subliminally, you look married/ paired off, which makes you less threatening, more “normal”, and you two outnumber her as well.

    Your friend then explains that you all have had such a time figuring out the paperwork, and you were hoping she could help you straighten it out. Ask things like, “Oh, I see, well, what should we do?” Questions that give over the power to the bureacrat, but also the *responsibility* for the problem? It will make it harder for her to send you away empty-handed.

    You’ll have to play it by ear, of course. If she looks at you and preens, you will want to flirt slightly. So, if she touches her hair, lets her eyes drift to any bare skin visible at the top of your shirt, or she does that thing where her eyes do a circle of your face – eyes, lips, chin, hairline and back – that’s trickier, because you have to play it as flirting around the woman you brought. The idea is to get her to thinking she wants to help you.

    I might also fax the request first, keep a copy of what you faxed, but don’t tell the bureaucrat. If she figures it out later in the process, tell her the Kinko’s guy thought it didn’t go through. It’s a damnable lie, so don’t if that offends your ethics.

    I know this whole thing sounds a little devious, but it’s really not. Bureaucrats are people, too, usually with thankless jobs dealing with a public which is sometimes insane, screamingly angry, ungrateful, smelly, and abusive. If you give her a way to feel good about her job, she’ll want to help you. Everybody wins, because you get paid, and she gets to feel good for helping that nice couple with their residence certification.

    As a mole, this is what I might do?

  6. Call your local MP’s Constituency Office and ask to speak to the Special Assistant who handles CRA matters. They have their own, direct lines into CRA and will be “happy” [relatively speaking] to help you. Otherwise, call the Minister’s Office. Then be prepared for a snarky CRA official to call you telling you not to bother the Minister over simple CRA matters. But you will get results.

    Yours faithfully,

    Finster

  7. Christ that is bullshit. Good luck not losing your earth moneys.

  8. Mrs. Mole, you are quite right I think, in how to handle this situation. I found your advice humorous too.

    Speaking of moles, the February/March 2009 issue of National Wildlife had an article about “worm grunting” and the science behind it. Unbeknownst to the worm grunter who rubbed a stake, that had been driven into the ground, with a long piece of steel, “they were imitating the sounds made by worm-hungry moles”.

    Speaking of small furry mammals, this Issue also spoke of the plight of the world’s smallest mammals who are becoming increasingly vulnerable to the change in climate (the one that is denied by some as even happening), the shrew. The pygmy shrew has a life span of 11 to 13 months, “yawns” as a form of echolocation, has to eat every 15 to 30 minutes to survive, has the ability to modify bone and cartilage tissues and is the only known mammal to reverse the direction of bone-cartilage transition. I have a new respect for these little guys and gals.

    I wonder if one would call the behavior of the woman on the general enquiry line “shrewish”? Well, that certainly would be quite offensive and mean spirited, for the little shrews do not deserve to be slurred and maligned by the bad behavior of a human being. That reminds me of an episode of the old black and white Twilight Zone, or maybe it was the Outer Limits, where a man was pestering a woman in a bar, and she was not amenable to his attentions, and intentions, so he gave her a cute little “shrew pin” (I suppose to symbolize and signify her “shrew-like” behavior towards him?), well of course the shrew pin could not be taken off her chest and it grew and, well, it was hungry…that is what shrews do, pretty much constantly eating…

  9. I’ve made my call. I have helpful information for you.

  10. >> if any of you know anyone who works on Revenue Canada’s public interface, would you be good enough to take a ballpeen hammer to their fucking kneecaps?

    The message from the company is: we don’t care about you.
    Shooting the messenger is not gonna change that. (They are just doing what they are told to do.)

  11. Madeline says:

    I’ve made my call. I have helpful information for you.

    And look at that! Women do make the most marvelous buffers when faced with officialdom. :)

    Men make excellent buffers when getting a car repaired or other services where the service personnel are male. If fact, just having a large grumpy male standing quietly behind you reduces the cost of your repairs, and enables the mechanics to complete the work more quickly. Hurrah for Genderal Magic!

  12. London Said:

    I’m happy to fax your paperwork if you can email it to me…

    London! Good to hear from you again! You and Sunday have the coollest names (although yours is especially apropos at the moment).

    Several folks have volunteered to fax on my behalf, and I haven’t ruled out the possibility of organising a simultaneous saturation-bombing of the London (the city, not your personal) offices of the same application from multiple sources. Just to, you know, make a point. But as it turns out, Candace McGinnis — that rarest and loveliest of birds, the helpful gummint employee, last sighted over at RevCan’s “Conflict Resolution Line” — has got me a meeting on Friday morning when I’m in town. (I could have just shown up, of course, but then they wouldn’t have seen me because I hadn’t called ahead for an appointment…)

    I keep these offers on file in case of need. But we’ll see how the face-to-face plays out first.

    Mrs. Mole Said:

    As a small underground creature, may I suggest you use the biology of your species and put it to work for you…

    (detailed instructions o rolling over and exposing soft obsequeious underbelly snipped)

    And then keanani Said:

    Mrs. Mole, you are quite right I think, in how to handle this situation.

    To which I must ask, this is different from simply rolling over and kissing the asses of petty-minded pencil-pushers how, exactly?

    Someone tried a similar strategy back when I was in academia, in their efforts to get me to wear a tie to meetings (or at least, to stop wearing Jethro Tull t-shirts to meetings). Tried to sell an act of conformity as almost going under cover, you know, sneaking into the halls of the stuffed shirts, using their own tools against them without them even knowing! Except there was no ultimate payoff, no moment when you get to jump out of the cake with your semi-automatic and gun them down, relishing the astonishment on their perforating faces. No, this guy was just trying to sell me on going along with convention, playing by the same idiotic rules. He tried to tart it up as subversion, but it was just the usual ass-kissing.

    It was a nice try, though. Had me fooled for about ten seconds.

    …that is what shrews do, pretty much constantly eating…

    Well, except when when they shut down for the night. Then they go to the opposite extreme and go into deep hibernation, because maintaining their usual waking metabolic rate without feeding would starve them to deatth before the sun came up…

    anonymous warned

    The message from the company is: we don’t care about you. Shooting the messenger is not gonna change that. (They are just doing what they are told to do.)

    Yes, of course. I understand that. As I said, I would only shatter their kneecaps as an act of emotional catharsis.

    (Plus, you have to admit, they are working for RevCan, presumably of their own free will. They know what they’re doing, and have chosen their side. So, you know, maybe shooting the messenger isn’t so out-there after all…)

  13. Mrs. Mole Said:

    As a small underground creature, may I suggest you use the biology of your species and put it to work for you…

    Peter Said:

    (detailed instructions o rolling over and exposing soft obsequeious underbelly snipped)

    And then keanani Said:

    Mrs. Mole, you are quite right I think, in how to handle this situation.

    Then Peter Said:

    To which I must ask, this is different from simply rolling over and kissing the asses of petty-minded pencil-pushers how, exactly?

    keanani says:

    Oh certainly there is a difference. In reference to what Mrs. Mole was “advising” you could do, as opposed to, and not at all in reference whatsoever to moles, small underground creatures, or even fuzzy wuzzy ones, it is not simply rolling over and kissing any ass of anyone, or any thing, or petty-minded life forms who do push pencils about and around, and probably hardly utiize them to write (I bet there are chew marks all over those pencils)…it is about having to “play the game” and utilizing “psychology” on other human beings in order to “help” them to do what they are supposed to do, but would not otherwise do because of the false belief that they wield power over others and have the ability to make life miserable…

    Where I live, humility is a virtue, and having “the aloha spirit” is a given, but along with this is the curious mentality of people not being the nail that stands up, not making waves, and the cultural practice that results in “crabs in the bucket” where anyone who attempts to rise above is dragged back down into the bucket by the other crabs. One has to balance the seemingly kissy-ass appearance of being humble pie and self-depreciating with strong directional psychology (compliments, relating to the other person, listening to their issues, problems, pains and rants)…and you will succeed in achieving the balance in your efforts in receiving the service you are supposed to receive (of which should not involve any dog and pony, song and dance, cow-towing, kiss-assing, cartweels, bowing or ingratiating groveling, among other things).

  14. keanani says:

    it is about having to “play the game” and utilizing “psychology” on other human beings in order to “help” them to do what they are supposed to do, but would not otherwise do because of the false belief that they wield power over others and have the ability to make life miserable…

    Here, here! And BOO to people who make life miserable!

    Peter asks:

    I must ask, this is different from simply rolling over and kissing the asses of petty-minded pencil-pushers how, exactly?

    I’m not sure it’s ass-kissing to approach someone in a manner that just re-sets the context, that reframes a situation that isn’t working into one that is. Shifting the responsibility for helping back to where it rightly belonged, onto a public servant, requires that no ass-kissing be performed. The approach of disarming ones opponent preemptively with visual cues is an honorable and time-honored tradition.

    Ass-kissing is abasing oneself with insincere compliments, it is seeking favor with someone far more powerful than you who doesn’t rightly have to grant you anything. “Oh, you’re just so clever!” or “My you are looking lovely today!” is ass-kissing.

    In this situation, the civil servant ultimately did have to help, or you could have gone to her bosses and made her life hell, because you now had seen her in person. The only power she has is to slow the process, not refuse to do it, ultimately, so she doesn’t have far more power than you. Ass-kissing would be over-kill.

    The re-contextualizing was for speed.

    You expressed this needed to get done in days, meaning you needed someone on your side, on the inside. You didn’t just need to get something done, you needed to get it done quickly.

    Another approach could have been to just bring a woman, and have her sit there. This would work on a male or female civil servant, in fact, even if you did all the talking.

    Yet another could have been to go in looking important, someone she should fear, and make her feel it was in her best interest to help you. That works on fewer people, and it’s a higher risk if it fails, because she might take you for a jerk who needs to be taken down a few pegs.

    …no moment when you get to jump out of the cake with your semi-automatic and gun them down, relishing the astonishment on their perforating faces.

    I will grant you that! Um, er, did we want to shoot a bunch of people at Revenue Canada in the face, or did we mainly want your paperwork processed? *thinking* I mean, I guess one could do both, although I might get the paperwork first, then shoot faces.

  15. Jethro Tull, idiotic rules and tartin’ it up…oh my

    Peter Said:

    Someone tried a similar strategy back when I was in academia, in their efforts to get me to wear a tie to meetings (or at least, to stop wearing Jethro Tull t-shirts to meetings).
    ……..
    No, this guy was just trying to sell me on going along with convention, playing by the same idiotic rules. He tried to tart it up as subversion, but it was just the usual ass-kissing.

    Mrs. Mole Said:

    I’m not sure it’s ass-kissing to approach someone in a manner that just re-sets the context, that reframes a situation that isn’t working into one that is.

    keanani responds:

    Of course. It boils down to doing what one must in order to expedite a process that ultimately makes things right for the person needing these things being done, as they should have been, balanced with not compromising one’s self and sense of dignity…

    “The middle lane has trapped my car in red-light claustrophobia. I slip the shackles, cut the rope —stand naked with a telescope as the cat walks alone under a big sky. Against the dark so thin and white —gonna be a big sky night.” Astronomy –Jethro Tull

    Ultimately, the writings speak for themselves and that is what is important. The readers know this, and hence support the author in continuing to spill his mind on paper…into cyberspace…or orally pushing air molecules…

    “Do you still remember, December’s foggy freeze, when the ice that clings on to your beard is screaming agony? And you snatch your rattling last breaths with deep-sea-diver sounds, and the flowers bloom like madness in the spring?” Aqualung – Jethro Tull

    Hopefully all will be well, right and fine, and the powers that be may will see fit in coming to their senses and publish “Dumbspeech” aka “State of Grace” as it should be…but first, “Blindsight” needs attention at the moment.

    “As the verses unfold and your soul suffers the long day, and the twelve o’clock gloom spins the room, you struggle on your way. Well, don’t you sigh, don’t you cry, lick the dust from your eye.” Life is a long song – Jethro Tull

    Whether you speak dumbly or see blindly, all will be better with this world, as long as we sense rightly…

  16. You know, Mrs. Mole likes to debate! But now that she thinks on it, she feels that the very very best solutions are the easiest ones that still complete a task on time.

    So she thinks it is grand that the Lady Madeline interceded with the King’s Assessors, and got Peter the Bard an audience, or at least cleared the way for him to request an audience.

    A happy ending is in sight!

  17. What? You didn’t get the notice that Terry Gilliam, having tired of the randomness of major studios had sought and aquired the job of Deputy Minister Customs and Revenue?

    There are five groups of people in government.

    1. The electorate, who must follow the rules.

    2. The people who get elected by promising to change the rules. (Sometimes for good more often for evil).

    3. The people who try to answer questions about the rules.

    4. The people who understand the rules.

    5. Deputy Ministers.

    What do Deputy Ministers do?

    Mostly, they hire, fire, promote and discipline the people in groups 3 and 4. But they also administer the following communications system:

    A) DMs ensure that group 1 can only communicate with group 2 and 3.

    B) They ensure that group 2 can only communicate with groups 1, and 3.

    C) They ensure that no-one ever gets to communicate with group 4 except DMs.

    The only kyptonite that works on Dms is the watercooler. The watercooler is magiaclly charged. It is where all revelations about the rules occur.

    If at first you don’t succeed, always call you MP, MPP, or City Councillor. Their staff are wise in the way of the watercooler.

    ps.

    No one knows where the rules came from in the first place. Not even the Dms.

    Also, don’t blame group three. They have the shittiest lowest paying jobs.

  18. Peter, I think you should just go ahead and change your name to Gaius Baltar already.

    Apropos of nothing I thought you’d like this. Not that it’s new to you.

    Prof. Robert Sapolsky on the Neurobiology of Primate Sexuality

    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-2732704984000303543

  19. keanani Said (among other things):

    “The middle lane has trapped my car in red-light claustrophobia. I slip the shackles, cut the rope —stand naked with a telescope as the cat walks alone under a big sky. Against the dark so thin and white —gonna be a big sky night.” Astronomy —Jethro Tull

    Dude! You know your stuff! You not only quote Tull, but you quote the most obscure and maligned Tull release since, say, War Child!

    I bet there are about two dozen people, tops, who know those tracks. (I myself am especially partial to “Later, That Same Evening”, “Tundra”, and “General Crossing”, although ol’ IA did get a little carried away with the vocal tics and hiccoughs on that album…)

    brenda Said:

    Peter, I think you should just go ahead and change your name to Gaius Baltar already.

    Fine. Just as soon as I have a harem of Tricia Helfers lining up to go down on me.

    And why would you even say that? Is it my obvious and abiding love of the One True God?

    Apropos of nothing I thought you’d like this. Not that it’s new to you.

    That was a good lecture. I especially liked his mention of homosexual reproductive rape in hanging flies (I cited that one myself with great enthusiasm when I was teaching). I even tried to work it into a retelling of Genesis by way of sociobiology, but I never got it to work; the most of it that ever saw light was “The Book of Oogenesis” that appeared in Blindsight on one of the many nights that Siri Keeton didn’t get laid.

    Oh, and to any of you who may be wondering: I got my residency certificate. But I still got no rational reason for why I had to appear in fucking person, or resort to snailmail, in order to get it. “If we had a direct phone line, we’d just be swamped,” the lady told me.

    Revenue Canada. Perhaps the only place on the planet where straight faces tell us that they can’t provide a useful and relevant service because the demand for it is so high.

    Ballpeen hammers, people. Kneecaps. Go wild.

  20. keanani Said (among other things):

    “The middle lane has trapped my car in red-light claustrophobia. I slip the shackles, cut the rope —stand naked with a telescope as the cat walks alone under a big sky. Against the dark so thin and white —gonna be a big sky night.” Astronomy —Jethro Tull

    Peter Said (with much excitement as a hardcore Jethro Tull fan can muster):

    “Dude!”…

    Sorry, but I have two X’s. There is no Y, so no “dude” am I.

    Peter further exclaimed:

    “…You know your stuff! You not only quote Tull, but you quote the most obscure and maligned Tull release since, say, War Child!”

    Sorry, although I know some Tull Stuff, I must fess up to being a cheater and I googled Jethro Tull lyrics from here:

    http://www.elyrics.net/song/j/jethro-tull-lyrics.html

    Although I can say that I picked those lyrics by reading through many and those seemed appropriate, for some reason, well, I like them, spoke to me in a poetic way, although not sure if they are even relevant to anyone here whatsoever…

    “I slip the shackles, cut the rope —stand naked with a telescope as the cat walks alone under a big sky…” Astronomy —Jethro Tull

    For some reason this seemed to sum up some of the stuff on here that applies to you…you know, having a cat, and one that went missing, being a scientist who no longer wants to hang out with the pinipeds and cetaceans, but is striving to be a hardcore science fiction writer, who must still deal with pencil pushers giving you the run around ring-a-ma-roll flim flam shakedown, (not sure about the standing naked with a telescope, though), but perhaps that applies to your latest novel of seeing blindly in space and being nakedly open to the possibilities of other forms of intelligence…for the Scarecrow had asked if “I only had a brain”, but Siri, at least, had half of one.

    Peter further reckoned:

    “I bet there are about two dozen people, tops, who know those tracks. (I myself am especially partial to “Later, That Same Evening”, “Tundra”, and “General Crossing”, although ol’ IA did get a little carried away with the vocal tics and hiccoughs on that album…)”

    Only two dozen, huh? Really? Hmm…as to being partial, what, not “March of the Mad Scientist”, “Heavy Water”, “My God” or “Seal Driver”…?

  21. “And why would you even say that?”

    You do know that was a joke. I suspect that you do but this being teh intertubes It’s better to be safe. I kid out of love. Speaking of which, and why I check back from time to time, I hope there is another book in the pipeline? I’m jonesn’ for the abject futility and despair only Peter Watts can deliver.

    “A retelling of Genesis by way of sociobiology”? You always go for the BIG markets don’t you?

  22. Yeah, it’s a week later but you don’t want to hear about my week…

    I’m reminded of an alleged Conan incident (my friend told me he read this years ago and I’ve been unable to confirm).

    Conan is on a mission to rescue/capture a princess/escaped slave/daughter and encounters a religious cult group who may have the girl. After suffering through a ceremony presided over by the High Priests, Conan makes two conclusions. The first is that the girl is not to found here. The second is stated by the final sentence of the chapter:

    “They were obviously insane so I slew them.”

    Next chapter.

    I am reminded of that viscerally appealing Cimmerian response far too often.