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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in atomic_fungus' LiveJournal:

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Wednesday, November 25th, 2015
2:24 pm
#4984: White Wednesday again
This time, though, I won't be working in a hypernoisy store having to deal with 50,000,000 insane morons who are there to get a TV below cost. No cash registers, and there'll be scheduled breaks and a moderately pleasant office environment.

It's a new job and a new paradigm so I'm not entirely sure what to expect, but I do know that the usual retail horseshit will be mercifully absent.

This is progress.

* * *

This was the big announcement the other day, a press conference that interrupted Mrs. Fungus' off-day afternoon TV.

Short form: 17-year-old future Rhodes scholar is walking down the middle of a road with a knife, steeped to the gills on PCP (probably from the choir practice session he just left). Cop attempts to deal with him, and in the process, the teenager lunges at the cop, who proceeds to fill him full of holes.

Plus side: unlike most such situations, the cop actually hit the target. The choir boy in question was hit sixteen times. Usually when cops unload on a target you see ludicrously low hit rates (e.g. 80 rounds expended, three hits). I refuse to watch a video of an actual homicide, so I have no idea how many cops were actually shooting nor do I know how many rounds were actually fired, but I can see a typical handgun having a 16-round magazine; for most handguns, much more than that would require reloading. And since it's one cop being charged, I assume he was the only one shooting. If one officer fired sixteen rounds and they all hit what he was shooting at, then he has exemplary marksmanship for a cop.

I have mixed feelings about all this.

Look: the decedent was not innocent; he was high on an animal tranquilizer which is well-known to prompt psychotic behavior, and he was carrying a weapon. Further he was walking down the middle of a busy street. His responsibility for his behavior comes from taking PCP in the first place.

On the other hand, the police response to a hop-head with a knife was amazingly, incredibly disproportionate. The kid "lunged" at him with a 3-inch folding knife, so he unloaded his magazine into him? Continuing to shoot after the kid was laying on the ground, until the gun was empty? He had no other options available to him? He couldn't stop to assess the situation once the perp was on the ground?

The one thing which is clear to me is that if you're a cop who's afraid of fighting, you're in the wrong damned job. You are supposedly trained to deal with people in a variety of situations, including violent ones where they have various kinds of weapons; when you're not facing another gun, your default response should not be "shoot him until you run out of bullets". If you are incapable of facing (or unwilling to face) an opponent without a gun in your hand, your training for your chosen profession is deficient and you are relying on lethal force far too much. Your job is to arrest, not to execute. You chose this career, you went through training and evaluation to do it, you remain in the job even after learning the ins and outs of what it's like on a day-to-day basis--if you cannot make an arrest unless the suspect gives meek compliance, if you must kill those who resist, you're not fit for the job. Find another career.

Still, here is another take on the story which makes perfect sense to me. This take says the first two bullets were justified, which makes perfect sense; it's the other fourteen that are problematic.

PCP is bad shit, and when you're hopped up on that crap you don't feel pain. You don't feel it when your body gives feedback telling you to ease off, so you're stronger and harder to stop. In the process you wreck yourself doing stuff beyond your ordinary performance levels, but you won't feel that for hours. I can understand why someone would unload on a person in that state...but the point is that the cops are supposed to be trained not to.

* * *

About that last link--it must be nice to live in a town, by the way, where cops have so little to do they can waste time busting little old ladies playing Majohng with a $4 limit.

* * *

I am hearing that Al Qaeda blew up some ISIS leaders. Where's the damned popcorn??

* * *

It weighs less than 32 pounds, can perform 55,000 operations per second, and costs a mere $35,000!

* * *

Sticking the landing like a boss. It's a ballistic trajectory rather than a ride to orbit, but the rocket goes up, then comes down, and lands itself without using a parachute. That is reusability, right there.

* * *

Time to hit the showers--much to do today.
Tuesday, November 24th, 2015
3:42 pm
#4983: Why is it so hard to find a good BASIC interpreter?
Tried two. First was from Microsoft; it's a 5 MB download (this, for something which originally fit into 16k, which should have been my first clue that it was no damned good) and turned out not to be BASIC at all but some kind of horseshit.

Second one was a small interpreter which couldn't handle more than one command per line, nor did it parse close quotes correctly, so a simple thing like "10 print"hello ";:goto10 produced this output:
hello ";:goto10

Meanwhile, I've rendered "Little Drummer Boy" in BASIC for your entertainment:
10 PRINT "Blahhhh, blah blah blah blah"
20 PRINT "Pa rum pum pum pum."
30 GOTO 10

* * *

The answer to the post title is, of course, that no one uses BASIC any more. Hardly anyone. I could get a decent one by dragging out my C-64, hooking it up, and going to town, of course. In fact that may be the best way to do this; just haul out the C-64 emulator which I already installed on this system so I could amuse my wife with Software Automatic Mouth.

Today the temperature has gone above freezing, and it's supposed to stay above freezing now for the rest of the week. We'll see how we do, of course, but then it's supposed to snow again on Saturday.

I don't really care.

* * *

Last week I tore into the Rio MP3 player I got lo these many years ago, and tried to figure out what was wrong with it. As far as I could tell it was the spindle motor not turning correctly; I removed it and checked it out, but it seemed okay, so I put it back in, and then the thing started working. Maybe it was just a case of corrosion on the connecter terminals, and taking it out and putting it back in was enough to get good contact again. Regardless, the old thing works again.

* * *

The new National Socialism is just around the corner. Here's the thing: nationalism is not dead; it was never dead. The Nazis were a bad example of it, but "birds of a feather flock together" and that aphorism didn't come into being solely to describe the behavior of avians.

Any islamic attempt to convert a western country to islam is going to be met with rather stiff resistance, and the more radical the attempts, the stiffer the resistance will be. The government (composed of aristocracy) may want to roll over and give the muslims everything they want, but the people won't stand for it...and it will be just as easy to hang politicians from lampposts alongside the imams and other troublemakers if such becomes necessary.

"If the deportations do not begin soon," Vox Day says in his conclusion, "the death camps will become inevitable. That's how it works."

Francis Porretto provides the Cliffs' Notes.

* * *

Okay, lighter subject: Stephen Colbert is tanking as David Letterman's replacement.

Here's the thing: Colbert is not funny. As I've said before, his success is based on two things: first, that he played a character which was the lefty caricature of a right-winger; second, he did it in the time slot immediately following a show which was a favorite of lefties.

That's all Stephen Colbert had going for him. And now that Stephen Colbert has to be himself (and not the faux conservative caricature he played) people are discovering what I knew after watching his old show for five minutes: he's not funny and the show he hosts is nothing but an echo chamber for Democrat talking points.

* * *

I watched a bit of his old show when George Will was on. George Will made Colbert look like a teenager who styles himself a political sophisticate. And that's coming from someone who's not exactly enamored of George Will, I might add.

* * *

And the main sign that it's winter: sun going down around 4 PM. Whee!
1:02 am
#4982: I'll leave this here, too
DO[If OurLocation="Island of Unwanted Toys" THEN We'llMissAllTheFunWithTheGirlsAndTheBoys=TRUE] WHILE ChristmasDayIsHere=TRUE;the most wonderful day of the year

This one comes with a comment!

* * *

If we're on the island of unwanted toys
We'll miss all the fun with the girls and the boys
When Christmas Day is here
The most wonderful day of the year.

(Yesterday's was "Let it Snow", by the way.)

* * *

Between calls I have been amusing myself by turning Christmas carols into pseudo-code.


...and I actually wrote a BASIC program to generate "Twelve Days of Christmas". Getting the logic for adding "and" before "a partridge in a pear tree" on every repetition but the first was not nearly as hard as remembering what all the gifts were. Once I get past "nine maids a-milking" I kind of lose it.

It makes me want to look up a BASIC interpreter, though, and try it out.

* * *

News from Arse Technica: The Global Warming Resource!

...I am told that a zombie apocalypse is less likely than World War III. It's like these guys have a crystal ball or something!

* * *

Relativity: it works, bitches. Using gravitational lensing to see a supernova in a distant galaxy several times over--that's cool, and they expect to see it happen again in 2016.

* * *

Big surprise that NASA is wary of private industry moving into space. If private industry finds a way to make space exploration profitable NASA loses its entire raison d'etre and--more importantly!--it's bailiwick.

The last thing any government bureaucracy wants is for private industry to move in, because the corporate sector expects results and has to make a profit--and so it functions infinitely more efficiently than government does.

* * *

I now have three days off in a row. Win.
Sunday, November 22nd, 2015
9:45 pm
#4981: I'll just leave this here.

* * *

It's just computer pseudolanguage. Sorry if it doesn't conform to your favorite programming language.

* * *

Sadly, we had places to go, so we went. The snow hit Thursday night (when I slipped and fell in the parking lot) and continued on until Friday afternoon. On Friday I left approximately on time and drove about 2/3 of the way to work at "five over the limit", but once I got to 355 the quality of the snow removal declined abruptly and I was forced to slow down. The trip up 355 was at around 50 MPH, and I had to slow way down for the ramp from 355 to 55 because it was mostly snow covered. I fishtailed a bit at the bottom.

Didn't need 4WD at all, though, and got to work a mere five minutes later than my preferred arrival time.

The temps declined steeply as I toiled, though, and when I left it was bitter cold and the slush in the parking lot had frozen solid. It did warm up in the Jeep on the way home, so I don't think I'll have to muck around with the cooling system this year (score one for me).

Got up this morning and it was 8--they asked me to come in at 8 AM again, so I did--and the Jeep took longer to warm up than the night before, but it did warm up. Drive in was better but there were still some icy patches. The drive home was on clear roads, no problem.

We got the five to seven inches that were promised, but the first couple of inches melted as soon as they hit the ground, and the next few were wet, so it didn't really pile up. I didn't bother running the snowblower; the driveway is usable and all this is going to be gone before next Saturday.

* * *

The only way to make money from Facebook. Sage advice.

* * *

Dinner tonight is chili, the perfect food for a cold winter night.
Friday, November 20th, 2015
11:59 pm
#4980: $1.999
On my way home from work I stopped at the gas station, as planned yesterday, to tank up before the weekend. I was intending to put in about $10, which should get me through Monday evening.

...as I neared the gas station I saw that the numbers behind the leading digit looked like nines, and I worried that the price of gas had "necessarily skyrocketed". I am very nearsighted, and when my vision is at its best I can't see faraway things very clearly, even when I have new glasses. (I do not have new glasses.)

But then I saw that no, the price of gas had in fact declined some six cents per gallon overnight, and now it was the stunning price of $1.999 per gallon. Two dollar a gallon gasoline--I had never thought to see it again.

I took a picture of the sign and the gas pump. Holy crap.

I'd love to send that picture back to, oh, 2010 or so, with the caption: "Scenes from 'peak oil', 2015."

* * *

I really don't care if they're waffle fries or curly fries. Drench 'em with chili and dump a load of cheese on them--just the thing for a snowy winter night! The part of the whole dish that's worst for you is the potatoes.

And it's snowing, all right. I was able to drive home at 65 indicated because the roads were merely wet, but it's supposed to snow all night and right now they're saying "5-7 inches". We'll see what we get since we had a long period above freezing after that cold snap in October, but the snowblower is accessable.

...and on my way out to the truck after work, I slipped and fell in the parking lot. I was walking along normally, when my right foot suddenly had no traction whatsoever and it went whip out from under me, spinning me to my left; I landed on my left side, less than gently but not too hard. Somehow I found the one square foot of parking lot which had either ice or something else slippery on it, and down I went. *sigh*

Came home, immediately had a near-scalding bath with epsom salts, and took three ibu before dinner. I know I got banged up a little; I'm hoping these measures will keep me from stiffening up overnight.

Meanwhile, chili cheese fries--the dish I once whipped together out of materials on hand because my wife had a craving, now has become a dinner treat when we need something relatively effortless for dinner.

And now I want to do other things.
1:28 am
Mrs. Fungus had some Christmas music on, and this really egregious example of it came on, sung over-the-top. "Who is singing this--Robert Goulet?"

I laughed my ass off.

* * *

It's time to start fighting this war. It means doing things we don't really want to do.

It means bombing people, including civilians because they happen to be too close to a strategic target. The terrorists don't mind killing innocents--they glory in it, they lust after it. And the article quoted by the post goes even further:
The generals who won World War II would start by leveling Raqqa, the ISIS caliphate’s capital. Civilians would die, but those remaining in Raqqa have embraced ISIS, as Germans did Hitler. The jihadis must be crushed. Start with their "Berlin."

Kill ten thousand, save a million.

Unthinkable? Fine. We lose.
It really may come down to that.

* * *

This is almost certainly about as probable as all the other "car of the future" prototypes from the last eighty or ninety years. I just don't know what else to say about it.

* * *

Having paid the bills that need paying, I'm skint--but the Jeep's low fuel light came on just as I got to the gas station tonight, and--even better--gas is the lowest it's been in a long time, $2.06 per gallon, so I was able to fill up for under $35 and have enough left in my jeans for the gas I'll need on Monday. I have Thanksgiving Day off from work, and the Friday after is payday.

Couldn't pay the house insurance until I got Friday's paycheck, and I needed about $150 or so to pay the rest of the property taxes--I can't pay with money I haven't got--but that last paycheck was enough that I got it done, just in time.

Still, I'm blessed! It left me with enough money to fill my gas tank up, and I just need to squeeze past the next few days and all will be well. We should be able to manage this.

* * *

My Monday was not too bad, relatively speaking. I did have an extra-long call which started sometime before ten and kept me there until 10:45, but what the hey--after my day off on Saturday I need the money.

This morning I realized that gravity is not a force, not like electromagnetism and the strong force; it's an emergent property of a four-dimensional spacetime. It's going to require further thought but it builds on thoughts I had earlier, and I don't have time to muse on it now.

* * *

Time for some WoW before bed.
Wednesday, November 18th, 2015
2:54 pm
#4978: I got pulled into Medaka Box.
I had a gander at it last night and got sucked in. I'm on chapter 22 of 190-ish, and so far it's been pretty entertaining.

* * *

Francis Porretto thinks it's senility, but I think it's good education. If you know how to read Greek of course your mind will first attempt to read the text as the Greek alphabet, in Greek, rather than upside-down Roman letters in English (Swedish, whatev).

"I reckon our minds must be too highly trained, Majikthise."

* * *

So this morning I was awakened at an indecently early hour by the power going off. It came back on after a few moments.

Had a gander outside, and it's f-ing windy today. It's unseasonably warm, too (60) as was yesterday, but I'm not going to let that convince me that I need to go outside and do something.

Today I have only a couple of minor things that need doing, but one of them sadly requires that I leave the house. What a pain.

UPDATE: And quite abruptly, I am penniless again, having paid the government rent on the house. *sigh* Well, it's only nine days until payday. *whimper*
Tuesday, November 17th, 2015
9:02 pm
#4977: How do you know an oil glut when you see one?
On Friday there's a major terror attack on a major western city, and gas prices don't rise in response, not even four days later.

...and my SF writer's brain just kicked in and pointed out all the assumptions in that sentence, things that make up the backdrop of our modern society...things which would have to be explained to someone from another time and culture. ("What does islamic terrorism have to do with the price of oil on the world market?" What a can of worms that is.)

All the nonsense from a few years ago about "peak oil" has been demonstrated to be just as farcical as I expected it was. The situation we're in now would be impossible if that had been so.

It all comes down to a question of will. I recently came across a Fungus post from a few years ago which went up shortly after it was announced that they'd discovered a three hundred year supply of oil under Utah. That's three hundred twentieth centuries' worth of oil.

That excludes the deposits found off the coast of Brazil, which that nation is having trouble exploiting due to corruption and fraud. That also excludes the known deposits in Alaska which are off-limits by government fiat.

Meanwhile, we're running out of space to put all the oil that's being pumped from the ground by an OPEC which is desperate to drive other suppliers out of the market, and in the process are beggaring themselves.
3:21 pm
#4976: Time for chores
Today I don't have many. I have to go to the bank, the recycler, and the store, and then pay the property taxes on the bunker; that'll be it for my weekend. (Tomorrow I have to go shopping for some supplies, but that's tomorrow.)

It's a dreary day, but warmer than usual for mid-November. Last night if it had been about fifteen degrees colder it would have snowed; and on my way to work I saw IDOT trucks on the road, laden with plows and salt, as if someone expected it to get icy.

It didn't, which is good. Forecast says "snow" for Saturday, though. I suppose it has to happen sooner or later, but the summer seemed too short and fall was over in an instant.

The snowblower is accessible, though, which means it probably won't snow all that much this winter: I won't have to dig it out and then spend a bad half hour trying to start it because the carb flooded, and the 2-cycle oil I use has Sta-Bil in it so the gasoline it's mixed with won't turn to varnish.

Mrs. Fungus just asked me if I really need to run those errands today, and I suppose I don't. Considering the rain, maybe it's better just to stay home for once. Even if it means drinking diet Dr. Pepper instead of diet Pepsi for a little while.

* * *

Last night's ep of Gotham was pretty f-ing epic. There's nothing like seeing the nascent Riddler and Penguin teaming up. Ordinarily it's Mrs. Fungus' job to observe, "They're so evil!" but this time I was compelled to do it first, because holy crap.

There's only one or two eps left before their "autumn finale" and it's building up to quite a climax, and then we'll be waiting a month or so until the holidays are over.

* * *

Yesterday I opened the latest gas bill, and I just had to show it to my wife, because it was just so awesome to look at a bill which didn't have a past-due balance that was also a reasonable amount. Little by little we're getting caught up, and if I can just keep this trend going we should end the year in a halfway decent place.

Having to take Saturday off isn't going to help much, but as has been demonstrated it was the absolute wisest choice...and as has been noted, my bosses know I don't call off willy-nilly.

Incidentally, last night I was selected as a good example for a side-by-side with someone who's in training, so for a couple of calls I had a young lady who's in her first few weeks of classroom instruction listening in. That was kind of fun, in a way, and as it happens yesterday was the last day of my 90-day probationary period. I've been there three months.

It's a party!
1:07 am
#4975: Well, made it to another "weekend".
It's my Friday night. I'm happy.

* * *

A bit jealous of Marko. What's it been, two years since he self-published and hit the mil-SF lottery jackpot? Now his stuff is getting its own graphic novels; when's the movie deal?


* * *

This is why Ace has a big blog and I don't. This secription of Obama is one reason: "This pathetic Chatty Cathy programmed to only say six different things, no matter what the input?"

* * *

Straight from the Huma's mouth, Hillary is often confused and requires repetition in order to understand what she's being told. "No, Hillary, this isn't the toilet. This is--this isn't the toilet, pull your pants up."


* * *

"...[I]f forced to choose between Muslims and Nazis, the Germans are going to choose the latter every single time".

You think Vox Day is wrong? Fine. I do not. I think he's right.

* * *

Steven Den Beste knocks another one right out of the friggin' ball park. Especially the update. Yeah!

* * *

Tomorrow is Tuesday, my Saturday, and it's supposed to be cold and rainy, which means I won't be outside working.

Sunday, November 15th, 2015
8:17 pm
#4974: That was the right decision.
When I woke up this morning I knew that yesterday morning I'd made the right choice. I have been telling people it's a night-and-day difference, and that's exactly what it was.

My boss told me, today, that he thought I'd looked pretty crummy when I left on Friday night--beaten down, exhausted--and he wasn't surprised that I missed work. And in fact feedback I got from management (both my immediate boss and one of the managers) was basically, "You must have been sick if you missed work!"

Somehow I've gotten a reputation for being reliable.

...but I felt immensely better this morning, and I went to work, and did my job.

And it was like someone pissed in the world's cornflakes. People were calling who were angry about just about everything, and lots of it was stuff I could do nothing about.

Too bad.

Look: if you don't pay attention to your bill, and you pay it for eleven months and then realize you've been paying $10 extra for a tablet you returned after it was given to you, that's all on you because you get a bill every month.

Also, if you don't like the local exchange carrier surcharge that appeared on your bill this month, and you don't want to pay it? Don't. It's no skin off my neck. I'm not the one who will incur the late fees. Pay it, or don't pay it; it's all the same to me. I don't care.

"Local exchange carrier" fees happen when the wireless provider gets charged a fee by the owner of the phone exchange which is local to the cell tower you happen to be using. The cell tower must connect to the wired telecom system in order to get the call to the provider's switch, and that tower will connect through the nearest phone exchange. Some companies charge for that access. The charge is passed to the consumer and it's rarely more than half a cent per minute. Deal with it.

Or don't. Just don't hold it over my head like you think it's the Sword of Damocles, because it's not, and your refusal to pay your entire bill has no effect on me. I won't get a lower paycheck because you decided to underpay by $2.43.


* * *

I'm linking this only because of the quote: "[T]he company drilled a hole in the cockroach to permanently attach the chain to its exoskeleton."

Anyone who has a pet cockroach is probably either a hipster douchebag or a bag lady. Either way, WTF. Cockroaches are vermin to be exterminated.

* * *

I may have to try making these. Scotch eggs look awfully tasty.

* * *

So, Alaskan Railroad started up again, and from the premiere of season 3 I think we've already gotten a bunch of new jokes going.

"Damn it, woman! We have to get this done before the caribou come and eat all our weasels!"

...it's a long story.
Saturday, November 14th, 2015
2:11 pm
#4973: Egad I feel horrible
Well, yesterday can charitably be called a disaster.

I was asked, among other people, if I could--instead of working the regular shift--come in at 8 AM and work until 5 PM. I agreed to; and thought everything would be fine. It would mean getting up at 6 AM for a couple of days, but I've done that, and it would mean more time with Mrs. Fungus over the weekend (since her schedule is similar on weekends).

Low call volume all night--I expect folks were watching the news from Paris rather than worrying about their cell phones--but ten minutes before it was time to go, I get a call from a miggim, someone who had a problem I could have solved in about five minutes if she'd been willing to go to her computer...but she absolutely would not do anything other than what she wanted to, and I could not help her that way.

Left there half an hour late, busted and disgusted.

The drive home was fine but for the last four miles. I got stuck in a traffic jam where construction workers are resurfacing Illinois 394 and putting in a fancy intersection, because people are idiots and incapable of realizing what it means when there's a big flashing arrow sign in the lane. (The construction workers are also idiots, though, for not putting a second flashing arrow farther from the actual pinch, to let people know that yes we're actually doing this on a Friday night.) Sat in traffic, barely moving, for fifteen, twenty minutes.

Jeep's low fuel light was on and I needed to pick up grub for dinner because both Mrs. Fungus and I had to go to bed ASAP after dinner; I didn't get home until it was almost midnight, and when I did finally get in I was fit to be tied. My fettle was so fine it was nanotextured. I started my commute mad at the miggim, and my mood was not improved by the traffic jam. I was immensely pissed off.

We didn't get to bed until after 1 AM, and I didn't fall asleep until after 2 because I was still amazingly pissed off at just about everything and it took me some time to simmer down.

I woke up at 3:30 AM.

I woke up at 3:30 AM and was unable to get back to sleep, because every time I started to drift off the damned cat decided he wanted to sleep with us and would walk on me to get to his preferred spot between our pillows. Can he just go there and quietly go to sleep? Nooo! He has to get up on the bed and lay in one spot, then move to another, and then to a third, before flopping between the pillows, in the process placing either his butt or his claws right in my face.

After being ejected from the bed the third or fourth time he got the hint and curled up elsewhere on the bed.

Besides the cat? Gut malf, of course! I didn't realize it at first but there was growing discomfort in the lower left quadrant of my abdomen. Add to that the remnants of my pissed-off-ness and you have a perfect storm of no fucking sleep whatsoever.

Now, if I'd had to be up at 11 AM today, this wouldn't have been a problem. Getting to sleep by 5 or 6 AM--well, I can go to work on four or five hours of sleep. That had been my expectation for today anyway, ASSUMING I had been able to get to sleep by at least 2 AM and STAY asleep until 6-ish.

But of course I'd agreed to be at work by 8--and the schedule had actually said 8:30--which means that my period checks of the clock showed an ever-decreasing window of opportunity for rest. 3.5 hours dwindled--with astonishing speed--to thirty minutes before my alarm was set.

At 5:30 AM I gave up, resigning myself to going to work on less than two hours of sleep...and that's when the gut malf hit in full force.

I can do one or the other. No sleep, one day in a row, sure. Gut malf, just take some imodium and power through it. But when I've had no sleep and I'm sick to boot?

Even so, I waffled. I thought it over from about 6:30 until 8...and finally I made the call and sent my boss a text message. I felt like crap, but for crying out loud I felt like crap. God knows what would happen if a miggim called me while I was manning the phone, literally sick and tired.

I have come a long way from my adolescent (and post-adolescent) years when I had a hair trigger. Getting treatment for the anxiety disorder has helped enormously. I am a lot better at containing myself; and in fact, things that used to infuriate me now scarcely warrant a raised eyebrow or a pursed lip. Maybe a snort of derision; that's about the height of the pile. People can yell at me over the phone now and I don't even react; I just continue to be polite and try to help them, despite their best efforts.

But self-restraint and willpower have their limits, and those limits are lowered by fatigue and illness.

TL;DR: Ed rationalizes calling off work. *sigh*

So I eventually got back to sleep--around 10 AM--and slept another whopping three hours. I have a headache but the gut malf symptoms have subsided and I feel like I might be able to function tomorrow.

* * *

I predicted this, but let's face it: this was about as hard to predict as forecasting tomorrow's sunrise. Yep: at least one of the savages that perpetrated yesterday's attack was a Syrian "refugee", one of the "migrants" Europe is falling all over itself to allow in.

This particular extrusion registered in Greece last month.

ISIS has taken responsibility for the attack. Meanwhile, President Footmouth says that "ISIS is contained."

This must be a new definition of "contained" with which I was previously not familiar.

* * *

When I got up to hit the can this morning I saw that the entirety of the back yard was covered in frost. It went from "nice" to "cold" pretty quickly this year.

* * *

That's all I've got. I feel incredibly shitty.
12:19 am
#4972: Fucking muslim savages
At work they have recently installed TV sets, and if I turn around from where I'm sitting I can see one of them. It doesn't work right; out of the TV sets I've seen, this is the only one with green noise in the video and which goes black approximately at random.

It therefore was kind of hard for me to get the gist of the story--over my shoulder between calls and with the screen going black every few seconds--but I did manage to grasp that some fucking islamic savages had perpetrated yet another atrocity on the civilized world.

It's a grand testament to the power of islam that these brave warriors massacred over a hundred unarmed, cowering people.

How long is the civilized world going to stand for this shit? At what point are we going to stand up to the saracen, and kick him square in the balls before we castrate him and feed him his own dick? Because that is the only way this horseshit is ever going to stop; we are going to have to make them stop, and we are going to have to do it by hurting them so badly they never, never, EVER again even begin to consider entertaining the notion of doing this kind of stuff.

I want muslims a thousand years from now, considering jihad, to say, "Fuck no, man! Do you remember what they did the last time we tried that shit?"

It's time to give islam a choice: move into the twenty-first century with the rest of us, or cease to exist.
Friday, November 13th, 2015
12:01 am
#4971: My Monday is done
Not too bad, today, I have to say.

Shortly it'll be Friday the 13th. Whee!

* * *

I have nothing else to write about today, except the fact that I don't seem to have any time for anything because I spend 10+ hours a day either working, or driving to or from work.

That's real life for you: you work, and you spend your time not working getting ready for work, one way or another.

* * *

I still want to get cracking on a few projects, though, now that the outdoor work is more-or-less concluded for the year.

First I'll turn my attention to El-Hazard, and its installation in a C-1541 disk drive housing. Maybe later this week.

* * *

Hard to believe we're just about halfway through November. Jeeze.
Wednesday, November 11th, 2015
1:49 pm
#4970: Space, and other stuff
If you ever wondered how they make huge telescope mirrors, wonder no longer. A rotating furnace, that's how. The best part of this article is the slideshow demonstrating the construction of large mirrors for optical telescopes.

* * *

Both Democrats and Republicans agree, on principle, to allow space mining. I say "on principle" because, so far, no one's doing it.

Also, notice that the bill helps foster space industry by keeping the FAA the hell out of everyone's faces unless there's a major accident (that is, I assume, one in which there's a fatality).

As long as NASA is hiring four people out of six thousand applicants for astronaut, though, this law is completely moot.

PLus side: There's a new space race between Boeing and SpaceX and I'm rooting for SpaceX. Boeing is too big, and their only real interest here is not having any competition for government contracts. Absent SpaceX et alii they wouldn't care about this at all.

SpaceX was founded specifically to make cheap access to space a reality and to get people to Mars sometime before the sun enters helium fusion (and, it must be said, to make scads of money on both...but this goal is not mutually exclusive with the others, nor does it somehow taint them).

* * *

Betamax is over. The thing about Betamax is, it's technically superior to VHS; the format has higher video quality. That's why broadcasters liked them; the tape length problem doesn't matter when you're not watching a movie or trying to record a week's worth of I Love Lucy reruns at best quality.

But Sony was stupid about how they marketed it. Notice please that they learned their lessons well, and that when BluRay faced off against DVD-HD, BluRay won.

* * *

Michael Flynn wonders whatever happened to embryonic stem cells? Why has their replacement with induced stem cells not been heralded as a breakthrough for science the way fetal stem cells were? "It's almost as if," he concludes, "the point had always been to find a reason to use embryos."

* * *

The USSR knew how to speak using language the islamic savages are capable of understanding.The post links an article which explains:
...[T]he Soviets did not bother negotiating with Hezbollah through Nabih Berri, Lebanon's justice minister and leader of the Shiite Amal militia.

Instead, the KGB kidnapped a man they knew to be a close relative of a prominent Hezbollah leader. They then castrated him and sent the severed organs to the Hezbollah official, before dispatching the unfortunate kinsman with a bullet in the brain.

In addition to presenting him with this grisly proof of their seriousness, the KGB operatives also advised the Hezbollah leader that they knew the indentities of other close relatives of his, and that he could expect more such packages if the three Soviet diplomats were not freed immediately.

The message was a lot more extreme than Ronald Reagan's vague allusions to using "Rambo next time," but the swift release of the three remaining hostages indicated that the Hezbollah big shot couldn't handle having terror shoved back in his face.
Here's the thing: we know that the savages don't understand anything but violence, and that they mistake forbearance for weakness. We could stop international terrorism and all the other horseshit dead in its tracks if we simply fought back against the savages using tactics they understand.

"We'd be just as bad as they are!" No, we wouldn't. For one thing, our guys operate in uniform and don't hide behind schools and hospitals.

I want to point something out, here: in 1986, having found that Libya sponsored the terrorists who had bombed a night club in Germany, killing some American servicemen, Ronald Reagan ordered that Tripoli be bombed. In that raid, one of Moammar Qaddafi's children was killed.

We never heard a peep from him again. Never. And when the world learned we were fixing to go into Iraq in 2003 because we were concerned about Saddam's stockpile of WMDs, Moammar very hastily told us, "Hey, just so you know, there are no weapons of mass destruction in Libya. Okay? Okay???"

That happened because the US pointed out to Moammar--in language he could understand--that if he sponsored terrorism against the US we could hurt him for doing so...and he also understood the converse, that if he left us alone, nothing bad would happen to him. The raid demonstrated to him that just because we don't do it doesn't mean we cannot.

And in fact the very next time Qaddafi became a problem for us was, oddly enough, when Obama decided he was a problem that had to be dealt with. That was not because Libya had done anything to the United States, but because Obama was more interested in "Arab Spring" than stability in a notoriously unstable part of the world.

"And this is the language the Hezbollah understand," concludes the article that's linked by the post I linked to.

* * *

I agree with Karl Denninger; the iPad Pro may be a nice tablet but it is not going to replace the PC. Microsoft's Surface Pro is also a very nice tablet, and it's not going to replace the PC, either. Some people may be able to use a Surface in stead of a laptop, but not all; and for what a Surface Pro costs you can get a fantastic gaming computer with more memory and storage than the Pro can ever have. And a bigger screen to boot.

But it's expected for Apple CEOs to make outlandish claims about how their latest-and-greatest will transform the industry. It happens only seldom, but it does not prevent their boasts.

* * *

Yesterday, I worked my ass off. Ran errands, cut grass, cleaned the patio, changed the oil in the Jeep; helped my wife with some washing and cleaning in the house, even.

The back patio looks fantastic without all the lawn furniture and stuff cluttering it up. When I changed the oil in the Jeep yesterday--well after dark--I was able to pull the front end of the Jeep into the garage, where I had plenty of light to work by and was sheltered from the wind. It was an easy and quick job, marred only by spilling oil on the floor (had to run inside for some kitty litter to sop it up).

If I have my druthers, sometime before the end of the year we'll dig into the remaining morasse and chuck some more junk, thus freeing more floor space and letting us store a vehicle inside. It won't be easy but for at least half the job we could leave the main door closed, needing it open only for the "drag this crap to the curb!" phase.

There is not a lot left in there which can be summarily jettisoned. I do intend, however, to jettison it posthaste, and then make enough sense of what's left that it can be stored efficiently.

After that's done, the basement...and won't that be a job. *sigh*
Tuesday, November 10th, 2015
4:55 pm
#4969: That's a job well done.
So today I spent eighteen hours (time slightly inflated) working on getting the yard in shape for winter.

First step: cut the grass one last time. I did it in such a way as to blow the leaves into the street gutter, so I didn't have to rake them; it took a little extra back-and-forth but otherwise it was easily accomplished.

Parked the tractor in the garage. Got out the pusher and got the small areas whacked back.

That done, I stacked all the lawn furniture into the shedlet. That was pretty simple; the hard part was getting the patio raked and swept of leaves, but once that was finished I ran the pusher one more time to get the leaves ground up and blown away from the patio.

Rearranged the power qequipment in the garage, mainly parking the mower and getting the motorcycles arranged so I can still walk through the place yet have relatively easy access to everything, snowblower included; but I also swept the garage floor.

Everything's pretty well shipshape.

Actual elapsed time: two hours, because I didn't take any breaks nor do I work at a snail's pace. I'm extra-sweaty--and I still have to go get oil change supplies, and cat food--but I'm glad that's done, because now that's one less thing I have to worry about before winter.

Oh yeah.

* * *

Crude keeps tumbling to $43 per barrel. This happens over and over again; it seems like every week the price of crude oil is getting "crushed" or is "tumbling" or some other catastrophic terminology is used to describe the precipitous drop it undergoes.

...every week.

How many times does the price of crude have to drop to $43 per barrel before it stops being a calamity? Because--correct me if I'm wrong about this--doesn't the price of crude oil have to climb before it can drop to $43?

Since the price keeps returning to somewhere around $43-$45, it seems to me that's roughly the current organic market price for crude oil, given the circumstances that exist in the world economy right now. That being the case, then, I think the apocalyptic verbage is a bit much.

Is oil at $43 a barrel bad for the economy? In some ways, yes; and it is an indicator that the world economy is not exactly going great guns right now; but it's been around $43 a barrel for months and shows no sign of going--and, more importantly, remaining--significantly lower than that.

Meanwhile, every time the price spikes gas hits $2.50 a gallon, as it did this past week right when I needed to tank up. And so the price of gasoline fluctuates between $2.10 and $2.50 per gallon. I drive 90 miles a day; I'm glad when the price of crude drops, even if that drop is not reflected at the pump for a week or two.

* * *

Speaking of commuting--my last tank of gas, refilled at the same pump, indicates declining fuel economy. I've been averaging between 19.5 and 20.5 MPG, but this last tankful was 288 miles on 15.5 gallons, which is a bit more than 18 MPG. I did have to run the defogger because we had damp, drizzly days, though, and that would/could account for the decrease. I'll have to keep an eye on it.

Still wanting an Elio, of course, to commute in. 84 MPG, for crying out loud, meaning that I'd use about 20% of the fuel that I use now.

...and I have a year to save my pennies for a down payment. *sigh*

* * *

As I writ this my wife is watching "Judge Judy" and I just heard a great band name: "TRASH URINE RAZOR BLADES".

Time to get going on the oil.
2:23 pm
#4968: This Internet thing is so useful
Being able to browse the parts store ads before going off to buy oil, without having to save any paper--it's so convenient.

* * *

The disdain dripping off this article is a marvel to behold. I have carefully not thought about the way the Yalies are acting of late, because I'm a middle-aged man and need to be careful about my blood pressure--and I get enough stress from the idiots I must deal with on a daily basis--but this article carefully wraps the entire issue in a thick insulating layer of contempt, which these overprivileged brats deserve in full measure.

* * *

Mrs. Fungus just mentioned this story to me.

This is the article she was reading from.
Khelia Cox, 38, is walking off her job as a $10-an-hour baggage handler at Boston's Logan Airport to join a march this afternoon from Faneuil Hall to Massachusetts State House.

"It's not just the financial piece [sic], it's also about the dignity," says Cox, who has seven children.
"Dignity"? Ms. Cox, are you married to the father of those seven children? (Are you married to the father of any of them?) Have you never heard of contraceptives? ("Use a rubber," for example, or "take the Pill"?) Somehow I doubt it. People who are trying to support a family of eight on $10 an hour generally are not doing so because they have magic reproductive systems which stymie all attempts at preventing conception. (A woman is fertile 24 hours a month.) Generally, citizens of the United States who are awash with children are there because they want to be, not because they're hyperfertile.

I can buy one kid, maybe two, taking place accidentally. The first two. After that, she ought to know what causes that and be capable of taking steps to avoid further pregnancies--and assuming that she is a competent adult, then, we must conclude that she wanted to have all those kids.

And we all know for a fact that this woman is not raising seven kids on $20,200 per year. She's getting all sorts of government assistance; if you look at the benefits and handouts available to a single mother, you find that as long as she plays her cards right she takes in close to $50,000 per year (and I may be misremembering, as it could easily be $60,000). That is, by the way, without "renting" a room in her home to a live-in boyfriend.

Hey, Ms. Cox, your gravy train ends if you make too much money, you know. $15 an hour is $30,300 per year, and if you get any overtime you'll end up losing your benefits...and then what will you do?

And what's prompting all this? Why, the SEIU, of course, the Service Employees International Union!

What a fuckin' surprise that is.

And further, to go back to the first link:
Dear fast food workers of the US - presenting you nemesis: the Momentum Machines burger maker.

According to a recent BofA reported on how robotics will reshape the world, San Francisco start up Momentum Machines are out to fully automate the production of burgers with the aim of replacing a human fast food worker. The machine can shape burgers from ground meat, grill them to order with the specified amount of char, toast buns, add tomatoes, onions, pickles, and finally place it on a conveyor belt.

The robot is shown below. It occupies 24 square feet, and is much smaller and efficient than most assembly-line fast-food operations. It provides "gourmet cooking methods never before used in a fast food restaurant" and will deposit the completed burger into a bag. It does all of this without a trace of attitude.
...and for a damned sight less than $15 an hour, too, even amortizing the cost of the machines.

Someday, when you go into a McDonald's, you will place your order on a touchscreen and pay there; your food will come out of the wall, and the only people inside the dining area will be other customers, though the restaurant will employ a handful of people to tend the machines and clean the restaurant. Those people will make $15 an hour. The people who were formerly employed at flipping the burgers and taking the orders?

"Promoted to customer," as they say.

* * *

The price of free trade is the same as the price of "financial piece": unemployment. Free trade doesn't work; it needs to be ended.

* * *

Older people are more miserable because Obamanomics has placed the enitre financial burden squarely on their shoulders. People over 30 are footing the bill for everything Obama has done, one way or another: their health insurance has skyrocketed, their energy costs are stratospheric, taxes and fees are enormous, unemployment is depressionary, and wages are stagnant.

...and they're working too hard to make ends meet, so hard that they don't have the time or energy to booze up and riot.

* * *

Speaking of which, I have chores that need doing, and only a few hours of daylight left in which to accomplish them. I'd better get cracking.
12:55 am
#4967: That's the nice thing about Mondays.
They're my Fridays!

* * *

Sea level is going to rise by one foot! ...quoth a "scientist" in 1986, predicting sea level in 2016. It's got a long way to go to get one foot higher by next year....

* * *

For some reason, today I was just hungry all day. I bought two chicken salad sandwiches from the vend-o-mat (one at each break) and had my usual lunch. And I was still hungry enough when I got home to eat about $12 worth of food from McDonald's. WTF.

Tomorrow I have to change the Jeep's oil and get the grass cut. That's okay, though; I can do that.
Monday, November 9th, 2015
12:05 am
#4966: Think about this for a minute.
I just love this headline. "Officials Secretly Added Cancer-Causing Chemicals to City’s Water Supply".

That's right. The city officials deliberately, and with malice aforethought, added "cancer-causing chemicals" to the city's water supply.
Officials experimented on the water with a new added chemical to aid in removing sediment, silt, and other impurities in the water supply: aluminum chlorohydrate (ACH). It was due to replace the chemical known as ALUM that was regularly used to take the larger particles out of river water to treat it. Both chemicals weigh down the sediment to make it easily removable.

However, the addition of ACH to the city’s water supply wound up being ineffective as a treatment — so an excessive quantity of chlorine was added to the water, as well.

An astonishing failure, the combination of excess chlorine and aluminum chlorohydrate ended up yielding carcinogenic toxins known as “DBPs” — disinfection byproducts. Specifically, these are in the class of chemicals known as THMs, or Trihalomethanes.

According to Water Research, THMs are in the same chemical class as chloroform; and, although this water experiment ended about a year ago, the THMs remain in Sacramento’s water supply in levels that exceed EPA regulations. Several readings of THM levels provided to ABC10 exceeded 80 parts per billion, the EPA limit.
So let's get a little perspective on this.

Eighty parts per billion is approximately one golf ball in a swimming pool of water that's six feet deep, sixty feet wide, and a hundred feet long.

Eighty PPB is approximately 37.5 micrograms per pint.

What the article does not say: how much of this stuff is a toxic dose? What's its bioavailability? What's its half-life in the human body? How long has the EPA had the limit at 80 ppb? What was the limit before that? Why did it change?

In other words, this article is nothing but scare mongering, if the headline didn't make that obvious.

* * *

More scare mongering: "Persian Gulf temperatures may be at the edge of human tolerance in 30 years." This headline could just as easily say, "Persian Gulf temperatures may NOT be at the edge of human tolerance in 30 years." Both versions are semantically equivalent.

It's more global warming nonsense, of course, predicated on faulty models and invented data. "Computer models" say that we're all doomed. The same computer models which, given historical conditions, have never replicated current conditions, and which have been repeatedly demonstrated to have absolutely zero predictive capacity.

* * *

My Thursday is done, and not a minute too soon. One workday left before my weekend. Hoody hoo.
Sunday, November 8th, 2015
12:48 am
#4965: Read your damned bill, moron
Because that way you won't be calling me nine minutes before I'm scheduled to leave, complaining that you haven't gotten your employee discount for more than a fucking year.

It's no one's responsibility but yours. If you're eligible for a discount and you don't notice that you're not getting it for fourteen months you ought to own up to the fact and accept the responsibility, instead of whining, "No one told me that my discount ended!"

Too damned bad.

Holy shit are people idiots.

So because of this person, I got out of work half an hour late...again.

* * *

Last night, after putting Mrs. Fungus to bed, I worked on the blog post and listened to some music on the old CD player. First it was Kansas' "Monolith"; then it was "Audio Visions", two albums I haven't listened to for literal years.

"No One Together" made me realize where I got my appreciation for music with "texture", music that has a bunch of independent things happening at the same time yet which all fit together. Bach is the most famous composer for doing this sort of thing, but you can hear his influence in more modern forms of music even when the style is completely different.

Some of Kerry Livgren's longer pieces (like "No One Together" and "Song for America") do this. Some of my friends didn't like Kansas "because it takes too long for their songs to start" but the (retroactive?) classification of Kansas as progressive rock makes perfect sense to me. The Alan Parsons Project was one of the pioneering progressive rock bands, and I've loved that stuff approximately forever.

"Simple" rarely does it for me. It's why I will never understand the attraction of rap "music"; to me, it's not music but syncopated poetry, and not particularly good poetry at that.

Anyway--it's been long enough since I last listened to "No One Together" that it was almost as if I were hearing it for the first time...and after the album was done I started that track over and listened to it up to the point that the vocals start. It's amazing.

* * *

Anyway, I want to be in bed before 3 AM today, so off I go.
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