DERB'S MARCH DIARY [11 ITEMS!] Hanging On The Cross, Our One-Party State, And Have I Been Canceled?, Etc.
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 Hanging on the cross    Glum news this week for friends and contributors. It looks as though we, financed as we are solely by the generosity of donors, shall have to surrender to the mighty armies of lawyers and judges fielded by New York State Attorney General Letitia James, financed by bottomless funds of public money.

Judge Kraus has also now allowed us to redact these [40 gigabytes of] emails. But this is a huge task, which our lawyers estimate could cost as much as $150,000.

An observer tells us this order is more typical of major corporate litigation, not a tiny charity.

And, perversely, although [New York State Supreme Court Judge Sabrina] Kraus has now modified her January 23, 2023 order, she is nevertheless now fining us $250 a day for not complying with it.

We have fought NYAG Letitia James, at a cost of up to $1 million, for nearly three years. But now we are literally hanging on the cross.
It is Finished,” by Peter Brimelow;, March 29, 2024

That follows news that our financial cancellation by the banks is pretty much complete.

Our heroic friends at GabPay have told us that to their shock that they have found they cannot get ANY bank to enable our credit card donations.

It’s increasingly clear that federal regulators are pressuring banks to repress immigration patriots, as they have tried to do with gun stores. [Same post, further down]


 Our one-party state.     Not to make light of these assaults on our own fortress, but in the matter of financial cancellation we are not alone. It’s happening all over.

It’s quite simple. If a bank doesn’t like its customers’ opinions or if the institution is worried that government regulators could punish the bank for serving certain customers, it might just close their accounts.
Buying Guns and Bibles Might Just Get You Debanked, by Aubrey Gulick, American Spectator, March 8, 2024

And then:

In a letter addressed to Wells Fargo CEO Charles Scharf, 16 Republican AGs across the country accuse the trillion-dollar lender of debanking customers in a political and discriminatory manner … The AGs who signed the letter include Austin Knudsen of Montana, Tim Griffin of Arkansas, Raul Labrador of Idaho, Todd Rokita of Indiana, Kris Kobach of Kansas, Luz Murrill of Louisiana, Lynn Fitch of Mississippi, Andrew Bailey of Missouri, Mike Hilgers of Nebraska, John Formella of New Hampshire, Dave Yost of Ohio, Alan Wilson of South Carolina, Jason Miyares of Virginia, Patrick Morrisey of West Virginia, Sean Reyes of Utah and Bridget Hill of Wyoming
Wells Fargo Abruptly Terminating Customers’ Bank Accounts, Say Attorneys General in 16 States, Demanding Immediate Freeze on Lender’s Alleged Debanking Practices, by Henri Kanapi, The Daily Hodl, March 10, 2024

That was just a couple of random news stories from early March. As I said, it’s happening all over.

(And in case you’re wondering about ”Hodl” in my source’s name:

The term ’HODL’ first appeared in an online cryptocurrency forum in 2013 as a misspelling of the word ’hold’—a typo that readers quickly embraced. HODL, or ’Hold On for Dear Life,’ is now a widely known concept in the crypto community that refers to the strategy of not selling your digital assets, even amid extreme price changes in the market.
What Does HODL Mean? How a Typo Became a Crypto Meme, by Andy Rosen,, February 1, 2023

Those AGs in the Daily Hodl list are indeed all Republicans. These cancellations are brazenly political. Did they ask New York AG Letitia James to sign that letter? Ha ha ha ha!

Your friendly neighborhood bank is an organ of the Democratic Party; just like your friendly neighborhood college (with a handful of exceptions), your friendly neighborhood diocese (if you are Roman Catholic or Episcopalian), your friendly neighborhood teacher’s union, your friendly neighborhood newspaper (if you still have one), your friendly neighborhood FBI field office, your friendly neighborhood TV franchise  … The United States is far, far along the road to being a one-party state.


 Have I been canceled?     I may have been personally canceled—me, my individual self. I’m not sure, but here’s the story.

In 2001 I quitted regular employment to be a fulltime writer. I brought with me from my years in the nine-to-five world a modest portfolio of retirement plans. I put that portfolio into the hands of an investment advisor—a small local firm that had been recommended to me.

That has worked out well. The firm is well managed and their fees are not excessive. They saw me through the 2008 crisis with only a few bumps and scratches, my portfolio has increased steadily, and they respond quickly and reasonably to queries and suggestions. Thanks, guys!

In financial matters, however, I am cold-blooded. I was raised poor and don’t much care, on my own behalf, if I die poor. That portfolio is for my wife, who is much younger than me, and my kids, who are—duh—way younger. So if some other investment advisor can give me better returns, I’ll switch.

Five years ago the national firm Fisher Investments [Tweet them] (who prefer the ”e” spelling of ”advisor”) were having a promotion in my area. I got a flyer from them, which I read with attention.

It seemed possible I might get better results from Fisher than from my local firm. I therefore ticked some boxes on the flyer, added a brief note about my own financial situation, and mailed it off to the address indicated.

That got me a phone call from a Fisher rep. I arranged to meet him the following Tuesday. ”I will be sure to ring you Monday to confirm,” he emailed, but never did. A couple of follow-ups from me disappeared into the void.

I thought this odd. My portfolio wasn’t much, but it was above their stated minimum. Had Fisher perhaps just harvested all the new clients they could handle in Long Island? I supposed so and forgot about them.

Forward to 2024. Mrs. Derbyshire has a friend who is very savvy in money matters. I’ll call her Daisy, which of course is not her name. Daisy has an account with Fisher, and boasted about it to my wife. It sounded as though she was getting better returns on her investments than we are on ours, with lower fees. My lady pressed me to look into a possible transfer.

We got the name and e-address of Daisy’s contact at Fisher. I emailed him, mentioning Daisy as having referred us, and attaching a detailed summary of my portfolio. Daisy’s husband also emailed him with a mention of us as family friends.

That was on March 7th, three weeks ago. We have heard nothing from Fisher.

So Fisher Investments has given me the elbow twice, five years apart. Sure, there are all sorts of nonpolitical possibilities for that, but with these news stories I keep seeing about financial cancellation, and the travails is going through, it’s hard not to be suspicious.


 Occupational anecdotes.     Something lighter, please.

For relief from the pretty lies of approved social discourse (Diversity is our strength!) I enjoy hearing stories from the experiences of people who work close up against the stony realities of life and death.

The most memorable of those stories come from

  • military combat veterans,

  • law-enforcement personnel, and

  • medical professionals,

in that order.

My daughter, who is studying to be a nurse, already has stories. The other day she told me the COW-WOW story. It’s at least twelve years old, but I’d never heard it. In her telling:

When the mobile workstation came into use for monitoring a patient’s status it was called, reasonably enough, a ”computer on wheels.” Hospital staff soon abbreviated that to ”COW.”

It’s still called a COW in a lot of places. Some hospitals, however, had an incident where a nurse would emerge from a patient’s room calling out to a passing colleague something like, ”I’m finished with this COW in here.”

That didn’t always go over well, especially when the patient was a plus-size female. The word would go down to hospitals in that district that ”COW” should be replaced by some alternative term, usually ”WOW” for ”workstation on wheels.”

All right, it’s not up to military- or law-enforcement-grade anecdotage; but the lass is only a trainee nurse. Give her time.


 Physical therapy report.     In last month’s Diary I asked for readers’ opinions about physical therapy for my slow-mending broken ankle.

I got a lot of emails on that. I read them all and did my best to reply to them all, but it was a flood. If I didn’t reply to yours, I apologize.

Opinion broke about 80-20 in favor of PT, including some really glowing testimonials. With that, and Mrs. Derbyshire’s nagging having attained critical mass, I checked to make sure of insurance cover and signed up for twice-a-week sessions with a local provider.

I’m glad I did. The staff there are friendly and professional. The routines they put me through make sense; and the regularity of them is—I know—a better discipline than I’d impose on myself. There are neat gadgets to work particular body parts. So yes, I’m with physical therapy.

I have only one very-slightly-disturbing thing to report.

Fixed to one wall is a wooden bar, like a ballet-dancer’s barre. The wall behind this bar isn’t mirrored, though. It just boasts three of Peter Bachin’s classic giant charts showing, left to right, the skeletal system, the muscular system, and the nervous system.

So what’s disturbing? Just that after working out at the bar with the muscular-system chart a couple of inches from my nose, I step away feeling ever so slightly … hungry.


 Ulysses versus my Dad.     Doesn’t anybody retire any more?

Mid-March the waste pipe from our kitchen sink developed a leak. We called Steve (not his real name), our plumber.

Steve’s been our plumber for years. He does good work with no fuss and takes cash for payment. He is 81 years old.

Watching Steve stretched out on his back on the kitchen floor, top half under the sink working with a power tool, I asked him when he planned to retire. Steve: ”When I can’t do this any more.”

An old friend of ours, the husband half of a couple we’ve known since our kids were in playgroups together, works as an accountant for a real-estate firm. He’s the same age as Steve the Plumber. It’s been a joke among us for at least a decade that he’s promised to retire ”next year …”  ”next year …”  ”next year …” He’s still working.

Things sure have changed. My Dad retired at 65, my Mum at 60. That was normal for working people in England fifty or sixty years ago. They had very little money saved and depended on their small pensions, but they seemed content. Dad did crossword puzzles, played cribbage with a neighbor, went for long walks, watched TV. Mum busied herself with needlework and gardening, socialized with old nursing buddies, took some foreign trips.

It was the same with middle-class life of managers in the mid-20th-century U.S.A.:

The arc of corporate life used to be predictable. You made your way up the career ladder, acquiring more prestige and bigger salaries at every step. Then, in your early 60s, there was a Friday-afternoon retirement party, maybe a gold watch, and that was that. The next day the world of meetings, objectives, tasks and other busyness faded. If you were moderately restless, you could play bridge or help out with the grandchildren. If you weren’t, there were crossword puzzles, tv and a blanket.

I borrowed that from the ”Bartleby” columnist in the January 27th issue of The Economist. She, after weighing social and personal pros and cons, came out (with slight qualification) for not retiring.

When this guest Bartleby entered the job market, she assumed that when the day came she too would be a pensioner in a pastel-coloured shirt opting for the ”early-bird special.” A quarter of a century on, your 48-year-old columnist hopes to be writing for The Economist decades from now, even if she trundles to her interviews supported by a Zimmer frame … But ask her again in 21 years.
Why You Should Never Retire by ”Bartleby,” The Economist, January 25, 2024

I tackled the retire/not-retire issue myself in this space a few months ago. I handed off the case for not retiring to Tennyson’s Ulysses, who in his old age decides to go off adventuring again: ”To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.”

I ended that segment with a vote for the other side, my Dad’s side: ”carpet slippers, armchair by the fire, books. Ahhhh …!” But given that I’m long past Dad’s retirement age yet still working, doesn’t that make me a hypocrite?

Possibly, but as a chronic writer I have trouble thinking of writing as work. For sure I am no Ulysses. What, sailing round the Mediterranean wrestling with one-eyed giant cannibals, getting shipwrecked, and dodging witches who can turn men into pigs? At my age? No thanks.

In any case, I was only stating a preference, and preferences must sometimes be overridden. There are those family considerations I mentioned earlier, the wife and the kids.

Ah, the kids. The penultimate section of my 2009 book We Are Doomed is titled ”The Luckiest Generation.” In it I expressed my conviction that we late Silents and early Boomers are just that.

I have got through pretty much my entire life without ever having to work very hard, without ever having seen my country invaded, without enduring war or depression, without suffering any horrid illness, without ever going hungry or wanting for anything. What luck! When, as the poet Philip Larkin told us, ”Sexual intercourse began / In nineteen sixty-three,” I was fit and ready. I bought my first house at age 24 and paid for it easily with an undemanding job that occupied me literally and exactly from 9 to 5, with an hour for lunch, five days a week. (I am not making this up.) Lucky! Lucky! Lucky!

I can’t believe my kids—currently sixteen and thirteen—will have that kind of luck.
We Are Doomed, Chapter 13

And from our kids’ point of view, both our retiring and our not retiring can have downsides.

If we don’t retire, then a fair number of employment opportunities are clogged up with geezers and so are unavailable to younger spirits. It’s great that Steve the Plumber is still plumbing at 81. Somewhere not far away, though, there’s a much younger plumber—some guy trying to start a family, perhaps—who could use those jobs.

But if we do retire we may decide to spend our savings on fun and frolic, like the parents of an anonymous millennial writing in the Daily Mail the other day.

Like so many newly-retired boomers, my parents seem to have developed a full-on travel bug. And with every taken-on-a-whim excursion to Provence, every luxury jaunt to Thailand, New York or Costa Rica, I’m afraid to say I grow ever more resentful …

At 34, I am still renting and living hand-to-mouth. Unlike the boomers, my generation are more used to working freelance or making do with gig economy jobs than climbing the corporate ladder in a solid job for life. Soon, AI will come for the white collar workers among us anyway.

I know that when I finally get on the property ladder, I’m going to be in so much debt that there will be no way out without help.
My inheritance is being drunk through a straw in a coconut in the Caribbean! Am I selfish for resenting my boomer parents for burning through money that should be mine?,” Daily Mail, March 18, 2024

As so often, the middle way is best. Retire; but not to gallivanting round the globe on expensive cruises, leaving nothing for your kids. Retire to those ”carpet slippers, armchair by the fire, books …” I got it right the first time. (Although the occasional cruise wouldn’t hurt.)


 The seven-year itch.     My computer—the one I use for all my writing, including this Diary—is a Dell Inspiron 15 laptop with Windows 10. It sits on a tiny wheeled table under my desk, with a standalone keyboard and an HDMI cable up to the screen I work from.

So what? So this: checking my back records recently for tax purposes, I saw that I bought this laptop in November 2017—six and a half years ago. I’ve never had any hardware trouble with it, and that seems amazing to me.

The firm I worked for in the late 1990s, when laptops were well settled-in as items of office equipment, used to amortize the things over two years. That was also about as long as my personal laptops lasted.

And now: six and a half years! Has electronics manufacturing really improved that much? Apparently so. Or maybe I just got lucky, in which case I am tempting the Fates just by writing this.

I may as well tempt them a bit more. If my Inspiron hasn’t give up the ghost by this coming November, I shall anyway treat myself to a new one with Windows 11, more solid-state storage, and so on.

With all proper respect to the shade of Marilyn Monroe, I’m thinking of this as the seven-year itch.


 Ramaswamy faceplants.     I like Vivek Ramaswamy and wouldn’t mind at all if he were to be Donald Trump’s Vice-Presidential pick. He really needs to read up on his history, though.

March 24th he posted this on X over some pictures of himself & family in the Coliseum at Rome. Quote:

”Racism” didn’t really exist in ancient Rome. Emperors were white, black, Arab, didn’t matter. The color of your skin was like the color of your eyes. *Citizenship* is the distinction they drew. It wasn’t just about what you got in return, it was about your duty to your nation.

As many responders in the comment thread tell him, while some notable ancient Romans—including one Emperor—were indeed described as African, ”African” and ”black” are not synonyms. They never have been. The most important North African city 2,300 years ago was Alexandria; it was founded by, duh, Alexander the Great, and maintained its primacy for a thousand years.

Ramaswamy responded to the scoffers rather feebly by telling them that the second-century Roman Emperor Septimius Severus was born in Libya. Yes he was. So was Queen Fatima of that country, so was Muammar Gaddafi. So, come to think of it, was Eratosthenes.

For further insights I recommend Ramaswamy reads Balsdon’s Romans and Aliens, especially Chapter 14. He can borrow my copy; but he’ll have to stop by to pick it up, and I’ll expect at least a decent restaurant meal in return.


 Cold War memories.     During my college days in West Central London, 1963-66, we occasionally heard one of our elders speak of the Lithuanian Ambassador—of having encountered him at some public function, or spotted him hailing a taxi in Kensington High Street near the embassy.

These brief mentions were delivered with a smile and a sad shake of the head. There was no such nation as Lithuania and no ambassador. The ”embassy” was a private house in West London.

There had been such a nation between the two World Wars, with diplomatic representation in other countries. In 1940, however, the USSR occupied Lithuania; and the year after that Germany did likewise, after driving the Soviets out.

Bronius Kazys BalutiThe Soviets fought their way back in in 1944 and Lithuania was a Soviet republic from then until 1990, when the USSR fell apart.

So who was this guy masquerading as Lithuanian Ambassador in my college days? It was Bronius Kazys Balutis.

Balutis had careers in cartography (he worked for Rand McNally), journalism, politics, and diplomacy before arriving in London in his mid-fifties as envoy of independent interwar Lithuania.

When Lithuania lost its independence to the USSR he stayed on in London with a status kept vague by the British government—diplomatically vague, I guess you could say. He certainly wasn’t an ambassador in any proper sense, but that’s what people called him anyway.

Balutis died in that status in 1967 at age 87. His secretary Vincas Balickas took over and soldiered on, Lithuania’s sole representative in London, until the USSR disintegrated and Lithuania was an independent country again in 1990. The Brits made him Ambassador of Lithuania the following year.

Balickas was 87 years old, though, and unwell. He retired in 1993 and died in 1996 at age 92.

So Balutis and Balickas were ambassadors of a nation that did not officially exist—one heck of a diplomatic career (actually two hecks, I guess).

All three of the Baltic States have similar stories to tell. Here in the USA, Estonia was represented by Johannes Kaiv and Ernst Jaakson, Latvia by Arnolds Spekke and Anatols Dinbergs.

I hope these guys had some hobbies to keep them busy in their long exiles.


 Sci-fi movies.     (I)  I have advertised myself, to my family and to readers, as a veteran fan of science fiction in that genre’s Golden Age, which overlapped with my late childhood and adolescence.

I’ve made occasional forays into sci-fi since then, but rarely with any satisfaction. Ten years ago I was hearing about The Three-Body Problem. That snagged my attention because (a) I know what the actual Three-Body Problem actually is, and (b) the author, Liu Cixin, is Chinese, and the book was originally written in Chinese.

I bought the book but didn’t get very far with it—to Chapter 6, says the bookmark. There are 35 chapters. I recall the story, what I read of it, as being too fantastical and disconnected to keep my attention.

The movie version just recently came out on Netflix. With an evening to kill last weekend I suggested to the Mrs. that we watch a couple of episodes, so we did. Result: same as with the book. I couldn’t figure out what was going on. Do British physicists really use the f***-word that much? And if producers want to give us scenes from China’s Cultural Revolution of a mob beating a professor to death, why don’t they buy the movie rights to my book Fire from the Sun?

(II)  Now my kids are talking about DuneA movie from one of the Dune sequels came out early this month.

Having grown up listening to me rambling about my youthful sci-fi addiction, the kids assumed I would know all about it and have opinions to offer.

In fact I never read Dune, nor of course any of its sequels. The novel came out in 1965, post-Golden Age. Graduated from sci-fi by that time and fallen in with a crowd of student Lefties who fancied themselves a rising generation of intellectuals, I was trying to find deep meanings in the novels of Jean-Paul Sartre. (I never did.)

(III)  I don’t understand why movie-makers have done so little with Golden Age sci-fi.

The Brits have been particularly neglected. Brian Aldiss was a great favorite of mine: brilliant, imaginative, often very funny. He was, says Wikipedia, ”the author of over 80 books and 300 short stories, as well as several volumes of poetry.” A big chunk of the prose was sci-fi, but all we got from movie producers was three lackluster adaptations.

That’s still two more than we got for John Brunner. And even that is one more than I can find for Eric Frank Russell.

True: Arthur C. Clarke joined Isaac Asimov and Robert A. Heinlein in the Big Three of sci-fi and made a bundle from 2001: A Space Odyssey and a sequel, but that’s small movie return for all the writing he did. (Of which my absolute favorite is a fan letter.)

There’s a wealth of good imaginative narrative material there going to waste.

(IV)  George R. Stewart was not a Brit. Born in Pennsylvania and a graduate of Princeton and Columbia, he taught English at Berkeley. His 1949 novel Earth Abides is a Golden Age classic and a great favorite of mine.

The Hollywood Reporter told us on March 26th that streaming channel MGM+ has ”officially greenlit” (which I guess means given the go-ahead to) a production of Earth Abides as ”a limited series” (whatever that means) to go into production April 8th for a premiere later this year.

I look forward to it with interest; and with curiosity on a number of points.

That passage in Chapter 7, for example. The book’s lead character Ish, a male, is one of the very few survivors of a catastrophic worldwide plague. He has by chance encountered Em, another survivor but female. Em has moved in with him. The relationship is good, although:

She never talked about herself. Once or twice he tried to draw her out with questions, thinking that she might need to tell things. But she did not respond easily, and he decided that she had already made her adjustment in her own way. She had drawn the veil across the view toward the past; now she looked forward only.

Then one day she has a minor breakdown. Ish assumes it’s just post-catastrophe shock, but she has something else on her mind.

”Oh, it’s not that! It’s not that!” she cried out, still trembling. ”I lied. Not what I said, what I didn’t say! But it’s all the same. You’re just a nice boy. You looked at my hands, and said they were nice. You never even noticed the blue in the half-moons.”

He felt the shock, and he knew that she felt the shock in him. Now everything came together in his mind—brunette complexion, dark liquid eyes, full lips, white teeth, rich voice, accepting temperament.

I wonder how they’ll movie-fy that scene. ”Blue in the half-moons”? Does anyone even know what that means any more?

My guess is they’ll just skip over it and cast an unmistakably black actress as Em.


 Math Corner.     No brainteaser this month, just the notice of a book that a friend alerted me to.

The book title is Prime Curios!, subtitle ”The Dictionary of Prime Number Trivia,” co-authors Chris Caldwell and G.L. Honaker. The publication date is 2009, so shame on me for not having noticed the book earlier. It is of course based on a Prime Curios! website. I really should try harder to keep up with these things.

And yes, I confess: the first thing I did when the book arrived was to check and see whether my name is in the index.

It isn’t, but it is in the bibliography. I’ll take that.

For prime-number trivia, Prime Curios! is hard to beat. Did you know that 7177111117717 is the smallest palindromic prime such that the cube of the sum of its digits equals the product of its digits? Uh-huh.

The authors are not above a little self-referential humor, mind: they tag 659 as ”The first prime for which we did not include a curio in this edition.”

And there are of course some real beasts to marvel at. Did you know that if you add together the first power of 1, the second power of 2, the third power of 3, and so on all the way up to the thirtieth power of 30, you get a prime number? Here it is:


The things we mortals find to do with our time on Earth!

I did think the authors short-changed me on the Primeth Recurrence Sequence. The number 2 is (by longstanding convention) the first prime; so 3 is the 2nd, 5 is the 3rd, 11 is the 5th, 31 is the 11th, 127 is the 31st, 709 is the 127th, and so on.

The Online Encyclopedia of Integer Sequences lists the sequence members up to 28785866289100396890228041, which is of course the 499720579610303128776791st prime (and that is the 9332039515881088707361st (which is the 188272405179937051081st (which is the 88362852307th (which … you get the idea)))).

Caldwell & Honaker just have a cursory note under 5381, the 709th prime. Short change!

But hey, you can’t have everything. For math geeks Prime Curios! is excellent bedtime reading.


John Derbyshire [email him] writes an incredible amount on all sorts of subjects for all kinds of outlets. (This no longer includes National Review, whose editors had some kind of tantrum and fired him.) He is the author of We Are Doomed: Reclaiming Conservative Pessimism and several other books. He has had two books published by com: FROM THE DISSIDENT RIGHT (also available in Kindle) and FROM THE DISSIDENT RIGHT II: ESSAYS 2013.

For years he’s been podcasting at Radio Derb, now available at for no charge. His writings are archived at

Readers who wish to donate (tax deductible) funds specifically earmarked for John Derbyshire’s writings at can do so here.

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