Editor’s Note: I thought that Jerry’s readers might be interested in a Thanksgiving post from November 22, 2012. We wish all a happy Thanksgiving holiday, even to those that may not observe this tradition.

View 751 Thursday, November 22, 2012

Wishing you well on Thanksgiving Day.


And despite the election we have much to be thankful for. God reigns and the government at Washington still lives. We endure.


Part of my day was taken up with a vain attempt to make a good brown gravy from gluten free baking flour. There are many varieties of gluten free flour. The one I tried would not brown after considerable time in a fryng pan with Imperial margarine; then started to turn black. I got all that out of it and decided to try again, this time without an attempt to brown it. It ended up a mass of grey when, when I put the pater in, made for lumps. I got rid of the lumps with a blender, but the result tasted a bit like caramel; apparently gluten-free general purpose baking flour contains some kind of sweetener. After about an hour of this I threw the whole mess away.

We saved an appropriate amount of the turkey drippings for Roberta and I used Wonder flour to make a regular roué brown gravy, which the rest of us could eat. If anyone knows a good gluten free turkey gravy recipe I’d be grateful to have it.


Alex and his wife Dana were over for Thanksgiving. The other kids are fine with their families. I seem to be recovering from a not too severe cold. Felt rotten yesterday but in the recovering feeling state today. Tomorrow I’ll go down to LOSCON, the LASFS proprietary convention down by the airport. I should be over being contagious by then.

And happy Thanksgiving Day.


Just an idea, my grandmother used to brown flour for roux in the oven before she added it to the fat/oil. Of course it was regular flour, might work for gluten free, worth a try anyhow, just throw a layer of flour in a pie pan or something and toss it in the oven for awhile (I’d guess 350 degrees) and check it every once in awhile. Or if you want you could try browning it on the stove top, again just put the flour in a pan over a moderate heat, you might need to stir it from time to time.

I don’t know if cornstarch has gluten in it, but that can also be used as a thickener. Tapioca flour as well, but again, no idea on gluten content for those.

Hope that helps.


Cornstarch thickens nicely but doesn’t brown and has no flavor. But if you make a gravy with lots of the juice from baking a turkey, and it comes out thin, then a teaspoon of cornstarch in a small amount of cold water added to the gravy will thicken it nicely. It will also make it a bit less salty if somehow you added too much salt anywhere along the line. It’s certainly gluten free. But alas it won’t brown.


re: It’s Time For A New (Old) Kind Of University

I read the blog you referenced with interest. I noticed in it that the author stated that costs at some universities had increased at a rate of 3X inflation for the past 20 years.

I was laid up for a week of post-op recovery in a hotel far from home earlier this year and I became (extremely) bored. At one point I went online and researched the student handbooks from Georgia Tech (my alma mater – IE ’78)) and I plotted out the costs of tuition and fees from 1976 to 2010. I made normal adjustments for the switchover from quarters (which I thought were highly sensible) to semesters that the institution made in the 90’s. I also plotted the annual costs versus inflation across that period.

My findings were that annualized tuition/fee costs across that period actually have increased at 6X inflation. At the same time, they actually (it seems to me) cover less core ground in their engineering curriculums than they did in my day.

This can’t go on.

Happy Thanksgiving


And the number of administrators and staff has risen exponentially as well. As well as the number of new courses and departments, most of which do not seem to teach anything useful for getting a job or adding to the economy. And it continues unabated.

Eulogy – In Remembrance


As requested by many in attendance at his memorial service and wake

In Remembrance of Jerry Eugene Pournelle
7 August 1933–8 September 2017

As written and delivered by his daughter Jennifer Pournelle at
St. Vincent de Sales Church, Sherman Oaks, California, September 16, 2017

I have been asked today to say his eulogy. From the Greek, as he would tell us, meaning true words, spoken in praise of the dead. And as the eldest of his children, presumed by age to know the most about his life, that duty falls to me.

But how is it possible to write truth in praise of a master of fiction? How is it possible to eulogize a man who rose to public acclaim while I was mostly away? Away to school, away to the Army, away to university, away to build my own career?

I cannot say truth about the personality—the public figure, known far better to many of you here than to me. I can only do my best to say truth about the person; about the man. About what I know to be true about the son, the husband, the father, the grandfather—and the loyalist of friends, to those fortunate to know him as a friend.

I begin with what we all know of him: his insatiable intellectual appetite. His breadth of subject was literally encyclopedic: as a child, alone on the farm, his parents away working, he entertained himself by reading the Britannica from A to Z. That reading foreshadowed an essential, but surprisingly inobvious, core trait of his character: iron discipline. Not imposed on others, but imposed on himself. The chaos we all observed around him, immortalized in the household epithet “Chaos Manor,” was actually symptomatic: the result of him making everything—absolutely everything—secondary to being done.

He quite openly expressed this sense of discipline about his writing: writing, he often said, was work. It was not difficult: you merely sat in front of a typewriter until beads of blood popped out on your forehead. Yet he did it, time and again: dozens of novels and anthologies authored and co-authored—eight of them bestsellers. Hundreds of columns, delivered weekly, on time, over decades.

But both his joking aphorism and prodigious output belie the other disciplines that lay behind them. First, his disciplined reading. He read voraciously. He read everything, on every subject. His walls at home are literally lined with enough books to fill a small library—and those are only the ones he kept. Thousands more no doubt fill others’ shelves today, donated to book sales or simply given away. And that’s the books: the breadth of periodicals, online and in print, is staggering.

He read to inform himself, and especially to form and inform his own opinions. Which leads us to his second discipline: he was disciplined in debate. He was, at core, a son of the south: where he, and his father, and grandfather, and their and their fathers back unto the foundation of the southeastern colonies were born; where he was born. And southern men of his time believed that expression of intellect demanded mastery of a style of discourse that brooked no prisoners— because, there and then, when discourse failed, violence inevitably ensued.

So, by nature more than a little reclusive, he mastered that style. And honed it. That is, he believed in the art and craft of rhetoric. He held it as a duty to be able to stand tall, in a crowded forum, command attention, sway opinion, and silence opposition. And a good deal of that mastery he learned on the road, because he was incredibly disciplined in travel. By that I mean his endless circuit of lectures, interviews, conventions, book signings, and background research. Despite his being, at heart, a homebody. He loved nowhere better than behind his own desk, in his own office, in his own home—or, failing that, in the home of his closest friends and collaborators. He loved no food better than that cooked on his own stove, or, failing that, in the kitchens of a few local dineries.

So, the frenetic travel, the speaking tours, the holding forth in yet another venue: they were all, for him, service. Duty. Discipline. A requirement of his craft and trade.

And they were also a reflection of his generosity. He was a remarkably generous man: generous with his time, his money, his possessions, and his ideas. As a son, as a husband, as a father, as a friend, and as a member of his (many) communities.

He was generous as a son. He was a Great Depression baby and a World War II latchkey kid, which made him just old enough to leave and fight for his country in Korea. So he never really knew his mother: she was out working her fingers to the bone, struggling to keep the wolf from the door, while his father struggled to craft a depression-proof future in the (then) new commercial radio industry. So, he often felt estranged from his parents, especially from a mother he felt he never saw. Yet, after his own father’s death, and well before he had earned anything like assured prosperity, with his own young sons yet to raise, he took her into his own home, where she lived out her years reclaiming the childhood he missed with her love for his children.

He was generous as a husband. He adored his wife. He loved deeply, and passionately, and never anyone more than her. The parable of the widow’s alms teaches us the truest measure of generosity: when that of which you have the least, you give most freely. So by “generous,” here I do not mean with obvious things like, like gifts and jewelry and public events (though with those too). I mean that, although always awkward as a schoolboy in showing his feelings for her, he did his utmost with what he knew how to do: jokes, and puns, and praise, and respect, and walks, and stalwart support of her career, and four sons.

And especially—and this is most telling—by listening to her, and to her alone. Certainly not always. Probably not often enough. But I do not believe that any other human being on the planet had the capacity to tell him “no” and make it stick. Because of his generous love for her, he listened, and learned how to be a better father, and an outwardly more affectionate one. To say the words out loud. She taught him that the great light of a generous heart need not be hidden beneath a bushel. He listened, and let his generous light shine on her, and everyone around them.

It certainly shined on us, his children. He was generous as a father. OK, let’s start with the obvious. There was never a check he would not roll his eyes, groan, and write. School fees? Of course. Wrecked car? Harrumph. No problem. College expenses? Well, it’s your job to get the best deal you can. It’s my job to pick up the rest. Airplane tickets, tailored mess uniforms, personal sidearms? Here you go. Need a tool, a meal, a book, a computer, a printer, a place to sleep, a bottle of white-out? There’s one here somewhere in the house. Go find it. Help yourself.

But his real generosity was with imagination. He believed in space. He believed in adventure. He believed in deep truths in myth, and deep lessons in legend. He believed in science. He believed in nature. He believed in fun. And he combined them all. Road trips, hiking trips, shooting trips; flights of imagination; cooking (badly), reading (well), brainstorming plot lines, standing up to bluster, figuring out what you need to know, then figuring out who could tell you. He’d pick up a phone in a heartbeat if he thought he could marshal support or make a contact. He’d invite you to dinners across thresholds you’d never otherwise cross—and then always pick up the tab.

And when you finished what you started, or achieved what you’d aimed, or found success in your field, his outpouring of respect was spontaneous and generous—and never seeking to curry your favor. He told everyone else how proud he was; how much respect he had. He seldom told you. For you, he was generous with what he most valued: drive. Achievement. Finding your own way, and your own mind, and (if you wanted to learn them) any skill or opportunity he’d mastered that might be of use to you.

He was similarly generous as a friend and colleague. That is the generosity of which I personally know the least. But over the past three days alone, I have lost count of the number of people who have messaged me—a person they know barely, if at all—to relay their heartfelt gratitude for what he most willingly provided: opportunity. Access. Introductions. Praise for work completed. Respect for early accomplishment.

I can add to that his remarkable financial generosity to people and causes and community. To his church. To the arts, especially the Los Angeles Opera. To battered women’s shelters, and widows & orphans funds, and of course to the greater science fiction community.

Which brings me to a final reflection, shared by one of those among us who is as close as a family member: How was it that a man so liberal with all he had, was so staunchly conservative in his political philosophy? I believe, in my very genetic soul, that this stemmed from his true and deepest belief: that we are all required to rise above adversity, and succeed, and then be generous with our success. And in the true world of his writer’s mind, this was always possible, for he could always imagine a universe in which it could be. And so he wanted us all to rise to that challenge, and having risen, to succeed.

So, from this house of God, in my own father’s name I invite you to go live your own dream. He was more than happy if you wanted to join and share in his. But he was always happiest, and most respectful, when you went and lived your own. Chin up, and soldier on.


From Jerry’s son Alex:

I’m afraid that Jerry passed away.
We had a great time at DragonCon.
He did not suffer.

(8 Sep 2017 – 3:45pm PDT)

Readers may use the Well-Wishing page for remembrances.  For those that are interested in Dr. Pournelle’s books, please see the e-books  page or the Amazon page at http://amzn.to/2xliy73 . Here’s a list of All The Books.

Jerry’s last post is here. The text of the eulogy given at the memorial is here. Site news is here. – Editor


Thursday, September 7, 2017

Being intelligent is not a felony. But most societies evaluate it as at least a misdemeanor.

-Robert A. Heinlein

The map is not the territory.

Alfred Korzybski

If you establish a democracy, you must in due time reap the fruits of a democracy. You will in due season have great impatience of public burdens, combined in due season with great increase of public expenditure. You will in due season have wars entered into from passion and not from reason;

Benjamin Disraeli

Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.

George Santayana

Between 1965 and 2011, the official poverty rate was essentially flat, while the government spending per person on poverty programs rose by more than 900% after inflation.

Peter Cove

Liberalism is a philosophy of consolation for the West as it commits suicide.


If a foreign government had imposed this system of education on the United States, we would rightfully consider it an act of war.

Glenn T. Seaborg, National Commission on Education, 1983

“Deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”

We are a nation of assimilated immigrants.

Immigration without assimilation is invasion.

We have to start with the premise that the goal is to defeat the enemy.

Jim Woolsey


Back from DragonCon with both a cold and the flu. Was supposed to go to the Mars Society meeting in Irvine, but I didn’t feel up to it and would have been a burden on Larry who generously offer to drive me. I suspected that would be sure exposure to this ConCrud and since he escaped it he doesn’t need it. But mostly I didn’t feel up to it. I’m still in pajamas. I type horribly as well. But that’s the way it goes. I did read all the mail and sort out a pile that needs answering.

The news is full of the Dreamers. The Constitution says the President must take care to see that the laws are faithfully enforced. Mr. Trump didn’t want to deport the “Dreamers”, particularly those who have integrated into the society, but the law gives him no leeway, and the Presidential Order Obama signed giving them amnesty is unconstitutional. He solved that dilemma by giving it back to Congress who created it. We’ll now see what happens.

I can solve part of the problem. Any volunteer of any age who serves 7 years overseas in Army or Marines gets a Green Card and an application to apply for Citizenship along with his honorable discharge. The Citizenship application and test need not be very difficult and I would expect all who applied to pass it. The swearing should be public and conducted by an officer of rank Colonel or above.

As to girls, we can think of something similar or suitable; they need not join the combat arms. Surgical Assistant comes instantly to mind.

Their parents are a more difficult problem, and it will take ingenuity to find a path that does not offend the legal immigrants who obeyed the law.

More later I’m experiencing a wave of nausea.

Bye for now.










[Freedom is not free. Free men are not equal. Equal men are not free.