The inevitable yet "surprising" end of Panera's socialist restaurant experiment. Who'd have thought that asking freeloader types who want other people's money to pay their fair share out of the good ness of their heart to get a meal would leave you going broke?

I know, sarcasm.

While on the topic of inevitable yet surprising, who'd have thought that inviting in the third world would bring about third world conditions?

Wesson's motion includes a call for an audit of all the live plants in every city-owned and city-operated building, including the varieties that "are most attractive to vermin." Additionally, Wesson wants the city to implement a policy that requires employees to secure food in their offices and have custodial staff throw out food that is left out.

The motion follows a typhus outbreak in Los Angeles County in October during which health officials warned people to avoid wild animals, including rats. Typhus is a group of diseases spread to humans from lice and fleas, according to the CDC. Murine, or endemic, typhus the strain in Los Angeles, infects people when infected flea feces are rubbed into cuts or scrapes in skin. The CDC says it most often occurs where rats and their fleas live.

Seriously, even if you don't believe in IQ averages being important, or that personality aspects also tend to be cluster in different population groups in different ways, who imagines that the "magic dirt" of the United States will make large groups of people suddenly behave differently?

Bruce Charlton points out that demons are not inclined to grant you any real power, especially over them.

Meanwhile, over at Wasteland and Sky, JD Cowan looks at the history of fandom.

But here is where we get the writer's real opinion of adventure fiction. What follows is his description of The Castle of Otranto, the single most important and popular Gothic novel.

"It had form and no substance, it horrors all lay on the surface as it were . . . the seminal The Castle of Otranto succeeded only in building up baroque facades without much content. In many ways this was the forerunner to the Penny Dreadfuls and the pulp magazines--lots of form, no content."

I will translate this from arrogant fandomese for the paupers in the audience. "Form and no substance" means the horrors are spiritual, implied, and obvious to those reading, and not explicit. "Its horrors all lay on the surface" means the characters were not psychologically damaged and that the horror is an underpinning of a deeper and richer world than the ones the good people are struggling to live through. In other words, he reads Gothic fiction for the debauchery and not the spiritual danger under the surface that makes the style work so well. He couldn't grasp the mindset of the audience it was written for.

Think I'm reaching? Here's what he had to say about The Monk, a Gothic novel finally worth his time:

"This novel is not very much better written than any of the already mentioned works, but its probings of psychological terrors, however clumsily done, shocks more than groaning ghosts and black magic..."

There's that obsession with debauchery and broken human beings the elite are known for loving. As if some sort of depth greater than that of the spiritual themes of the actual genre in question lies in how broken the main character gets. There's no accounting for taste, but a genre of this importance deserves more than a backhanded compliment that completely misses the point of its existence.

There's also some good commentary, go read the whole thing.

Meanwhile, over at the Reach, the Didact goes into how colonialism helped India.