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Forward the Foundation(s) 
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Post Forward the Foundation(s)
I thought that an appropriate subject, if you'll pardon the use of an Asimov title in this context. Maybe I'll work in a Clarke trope somewhere to complete the 'Big Threeism' of this announcement.

The truth is that the Heinlein community has lacked a center, and a leader, for a very long time. It's arguable that it never had one - that the Heinlein Society was already devolving and misdirecting the focus of community efforts even as it was in its initial growth period. (It certainly wasted and discolored the last five years or so.) The Centennial effort provided a short-term focus, but because of pointless divisiveness fostered by the THS leadership, as well as limited human resources, it only served a subset of the overall community, and then for a limited time.

Within the Centennial organizers and supporters, I pushed hard for the formation of Heinlein Nexus, which was meant to fill the gap and provide a broad-based platform for the Heinlein community to gather, focus and move forward. For many of the same reasons, it has been only a nominal success in that regard... and perhaps that's an overstatement.

The recent changes at THS have changed the entire map of the Heinlein Community's future. The organization that has the resources and official charter and unavoidably sits at the center of the Heinlein crossroads is, finally, in the hands of quality and qualified people. There are no more figureheads, stuffed shirts, or professional organizers on the board - also no hack appointees who know nothing much of Robert Heinlein but everything of divisiveness, secrecy, back room maneuvering and defensiveness.

I know every single person on the board now, and I can give each of them and the entire group my strongest personal vote of confidence... as well as whatever "professional" or community vote I might be considered as having. They're good folks, all of them, and for the first time in its ten-year history the Heinlein Society has a chance to accomplish what it should have been accomplishing from the beginning - to build, to foster, to collate and to bring together the extended community of readers, fans, scholars and merely interested parties.

The timing could not be better. There is now ten years of solid, professional research and evaluation of Heinlein's life and works to build upon - the fan and pro-fan writings of an earlier era having been subsumed and replaced - and the publication of the biography slams a stake in the ground. At no point from here on will study, evaluation and appreciation of Robert Heinlein be left solely to amateurs and "visiting" scholars, using lacunae in their careers to dabble carelessly in Heinlein and muddy things more than clarify them.

It is the right time for THS to take up the banner of Robert Anson Heinlein and carry it proudly to the world... and at last, THS is the right organization to do it.

It is with pleasure and relief that I announce that Heinlein Nexus will be phasing down from any active role in the community. It will not fold up shop, yet, as there may be a place for an adjunct organization in the field. The site, the name and the nominal structure will remain. However, we proudly hand our feeble torch to the new board of THS. May it help finally banish the shadows of poor leadership and the gloomy shroud of damaged relations with so many important entities in the community.

The most immediate and important aspect of this handover is that Nexus Forum is being passed to the Heinlein Society, to do with as they see fit. The Forum has become the strongest... well, nexus in the community, with a small but vibrant core of participants and the only open, continuing and universally accessible exchange of information in the field. From its earlier incarnation as the NitroForum and though a few brief breaks in operation, it has existed for nearly ten years. It is one of the community's most precious assets. Rather than leave it separated from the rejuvenated THS, or forcing users to choose between this locus and any new one created by the Society, it seemed best to transfer the content and user base intact to a THS location. I made the offer to the THS board - no strings attached, other than a request to keep the name if possible - and it was recently accepted.

Sometime soon, I will cooperate with the THS webmaster to relocate the forum to THS's site and hosting. There will be only the briefest interruption of service as we haul the existing database of user information and content to its new home... and then all will be as before, except that the THS community that has been isolated from us rogues will be able to participate without the barriers of misunderstanding and factionalism.

(Technically, there should be no problems. We will work to provide smooth forwarding from this current location so that all who seek the Forum out will find it. Existing users will need to update their bookmarks, with all due expedience, but will not be left floundering in the tangles of the web.)

Where THS will take the forum in the short and long run, I don't know. I will be stepping out of an active role in forum administration and moderating, but I will remain as the same erratic, pain-in-the-ass user as always - moreso, perhaps, as I will be freed from having to set any example. I pity the moderators, but of course, they'll have the whacking stick and I'll merely have my, um... head sticking out.

There are times that I feel that my ~20 years of effort in things Heinlein have not entirely paid off. Much - so much! - was lost in the divisiveness of the last ten years. But the many years of tending and fostering this forum have paid off, in that I can happily hand over a vibrant, growing and important community nexus to caretakers who have the potential to make it vastly greater and more significant.

See you there.

(Ah... so 2010 is the year we make contact!)

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Tue Aug 17, 2010 9:29 am
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Post Re: Forward the Foundation(s)
Jim, you vastly underestimate your important (might I say essential) contributions to the "Heinlein Community" over the past almost two decades. Without you (and I'm trying hard not to be over-solicitous here) we would be nowhere. Thank you.

And so it comes full circle. I'm glad THS has a pulse. Long may it prosper and grow.


Tue Aug 17, 2010 10:18 am
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Tue Aug 17, 2010 7:16 pm
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Speaking as a an involved fan but not at the Scholar level, and a charter member/early worker in THS, I think this is great news. I endorse the idea of the Nexus becoming the "database and Forum" arm of THS efforts.


Wed Aug 18, 2010 5:02 am
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For all of me, Jim was welcome to stay moderating and admining the forum for as long as he liked. There was no condition along those lines from the THS board either.

It's kumbaya time, folks. Which doesn't mean that Jim will stop being a PITA from time to time, because he's Jim. :) That's just run-of-the-mill Heinlein fans, after all. Jim has understood that instinctively much better over the years than some others.

Personally, I tried to talk him out of retiring, but I respect his decision. I still hope that perhaps after a few years of decompressing and working on other projects that he'll reluctantly allow us to do another Michael Corleone on him and "pull him back in" to a leadership role. A Godfather never really retires, no matter how much he'd like to tell himself he has. 8-)

It's certainly been a long, interesting journey since I was enjoying "Mental Telegraphy" and "Mental Telegraphy Again" on Ubik, circa 1992 (or maybe '93 --one of those, I think*). Ahh, the simple days of wondering wtf RAH was talking about re Twain in "Lost Legacy".

And there is the not-so-little matter of the HCC videos, of course, that will continue to cause the continuous buzzing of Heinlein gnats around his ears until addressed. :mrgreen:

David Wright, Sr has agreed to take the lead on the forum after we manage the hand over. In the mean time, even before we get the hosting settled and transferred, you will see THS sidebar links to Forum change to this location --in fact it already has.


*On further thot, I'm pretty sure it was around mid-year '93, and met for the first time in person (rather than virtually) in the fall of that year, soon after ConFrancisco, where I picked up my copy of Monad #3 hot off the presses.

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Wed Aug 18, 2010 2:58 pm
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Btw, I've had correspondence with Spider on this subject. While I don't feel it appropriate to quote him here without his express permission, I do feel comfortable summarizing his remarks.

1). On his own behalf --"Yay!"
2). His speculation on RAH's reaction to settling "the family quarrel", however belatedly -- "Whew!"

Since both men are/were much more quotable than that, extend at your own imagination.

My own reaction --think Sir Isaac Newton (Venerian version) on the subject.

And, I think it appropriate to say, like all Spider fans, I was very pleased to see him engaging with the world this soon after his loss. I'd still be curled in a ball and snarling at passersby. He initiated contact, and we had a very pleasant back-and-forth for awhile.

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Wed Aug 18, 2010 5:26 pm
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[Oh frak this behavior where it can think I'm logged in when it displays the post, lets me write a reply, and then says I'm not logged in and my content is unrecoverable.]

Jim doesn't do kumbaya. I think I'm on safe ground there :-) The basic existential questions remain, of course, central to which is: What is the *current* role of a Heinlein --- group (I struggled for an adjective; "advocacy"? "promotional"? "affiliative"? "fan"?) Now we have a cohesive and cooperative group of people for answering the question we have a better shot at getting an answer, but don't expect much until we have an answer that makes sense. I have not come up with an answer post-centennial that I was satisfied with for long.


Wed Aug 18, 2010 5:51 pm
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Btw, to take this part of it out of this thread --the Official Jim Gifford Retirement* Party Thread: viewtopic.php?f=9&t=766&start=0

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Wed Aug 18, 2010 5:56 pm
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Well, if you decide to offload the Centennial videos, try to make a deal whereby Peter and I (and maybe other Centennial workers) get free copies. I would like to see it since that didn't happen during the Centennial itself!

I hope THS will keep the Forum open to non-members.


Sun Aug 22, 2010 8:46 am
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You can safely assume that you will get a free copy of any video that is produced, Tina.

The amount of work it would take to produce anything decent from the vast amount of raw material is... daunting.

I respect Jim's prerogative as an artist to do it right or not at all.


Sun Aug 22, 2010 6:26 pm
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Sun Aug 22, 2010 7:35 pm
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Mon Aug 23, 2010 8:18 am
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An official policy of the board adopted in 2003 was that no part of the THS website including the Forum would be closed to non-members. Having forgotten this, I was severely castigated by David Silver when I suggested a members-only section of the Forum. My intention was to try to build some 'sense of community' between the members which has always be lacking due to the top-down policies which were in place.

With the planned integration of the Nexus Forum into the THS framework, I am not sure that such a proposal would be appropriate, unless such was to merely be a template for other specialized groups to have their own special sections.

David Wright Sr.


Mon Aug 23, 2010 10:15 am
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Mon Aug 23, 2010 10:30 am
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When you want people to give you money, there needs to be a well defined and understood expectation of what they will receive in return, even if it's just a warm fuzzy feeling of doing good.

It's reasonable that one thing received in return would be a private area of discussion. But what value would that be in the case of discussion about Heinlein? Only if it ensured that the conversation would be unpolluted by trolls; but we already have that on the Nexus. Restricting the population of the discussion would be counterproductive.

A members-only discussion area might make sense not as a return for contribution but as a place to discuss things of no interest to anyone else, in other words, voting on Society referenda. Dubious value given how little internal affairs take place and the recent increased transparency.

A members-only web site area might make sense if it provided content that wasn't available elsewhere. The audio recording from Denvention springs to mind. Unfortunately, that's the only thing that springs to mind, since I doubt the moon landing video could be exposed in that way without licensing problems.

Meaningful members-only benefits probably translate to something physical received in the mail, discounts at various cooperating merchants (e.g., conventions), and the aforementioned warm fuzzy feeling. So pumping up the warm fuzzy feeling would seem to be a prime goal.


Mon Aug 23, 2010 10:54 am
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Mon Aug 23, 2010 11:56 am
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Mon Aug 23, 2010 12:55 pm
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Mon Aug 23, 2010 6:05 pm
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That assumes there is any place whatsoever in the world for a tie of any pattern, length, width or knot.

Next up: a hangman's noose in tasteful Tuscan earth tones! Iron maidens now in decorator colors! The Rack is Back... now in carbon fiber!


Okay, okay...
1) Yes, I was just watching Max.
2) I haven't owned a tie in 24 years.
3) Both make me a better person.

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In the end, I found Heinlein is finite. Thus, finite analysis is needed.


Mon Aug 23, 2010 6:47 pm
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Note to self: Do not rely on Jim for sartorial advice.


Mon Aug 23, 2010 8:50 pm
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Tue Aug 24, 2010 4:51 am
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In the end, I found Heinlein is finite. Thus, finite analysis is needed.


Tue Aug 24, 2010 7:41 am
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Tue Aug 24, 2010 4:30 pm
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I am a visualist and designer by trade, folks. If you rugged libertarian individualist Heinleiners are REALLY defending the tie as a necessary component of proper dress, I weep for the species.

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Tue Aug 24, 2010 4:57 pm
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Having spent 4 years in a college which required a coat & tie, followed by 3 years in the Army, I vowed to wear a tie as little as possible after that. Limited now to funerals, and weddings.


Tue Aug 24, 2010 6:35 pm
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I actually enjoy wearing ties. :shock:

I find when teaching, a tie helps due to my youthful appearance. My students also liked when I wore a tie, black waist coat, and pocket watch.

Rob


Tue Aug 24, 2010 8:54 pm
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I have an utterly garish and offensively cheerful Grinch Who Stole Christmas tie that I will sometimes wear to a Christmas party.

The rest of my collection is still in a closet, unworn for five years. I don't miss them.

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Wed Aug 25, 2010 6:31 am
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Lol...Geo, I have the same tie.

As I am required to wear a tie to work, I find every opportunity to wear unusual ones...


Wed Aug 25, 2010 1:38 pm
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The Frank Sinatra hat (no, that's not its official name, but in my mind Frank circa 1959 is the avatar) seems to be making a limited comeback in some young/hip circles the last few years. I hope that doesn't get out of hand.

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Wed Aug 25, 2010 1:49 pm
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John Taylor had to wear ties to work, and his collection was wonderful -- tons of cartoons, superheroes, greek pottery, scientists....

When he died I took two racks of his ties to his memorial service and scattered the collection to the participants. I wore one of Scrooge and his money bin -- and I admit I snagged a couple of Marvin the Martian as well. It was an unusual gathering, and EVERYONE had a tie.


Wed Aug 25, 2010 5:15 pm
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Cultural rebellion is where you find it --ghu bless us all!

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Wed Aug 25, 2010 5:49 pm
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While researching in LIFE, I just came across an ad for . Stopped me dead in my tracks. I had to blog.


Thu Aug 26, 2010 7:36 pm
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beamjockey, those 1950 ties are mind-bendingly awful. I had a sophomore geometry teacher in 1964 who knotted such dogs around his neck, I think to protest having to wear ties. Sartorially, otherwise, he wasn't that far off, for 1964.

Sorry: I came five years too late for this particular party.

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Thu Apr 30, 2015 5:49 pm
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I'm surprised there wasn't a number with a palm tree and a hula-dancer on it. :shock:

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Thu Apr 30, 2015 6:48 pm
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;) , Dan.

I detest ties and find having to wear them outrageous. So, about 20 years ago, I bought a bunch of Rush Limbaugh's "No Boundaries" ties. Regardless of your politics, you have to admit they are outrageous. My slap back at the Tie Nazis.

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