Atomic Fungus by Ed Hering|
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|Saturday, May 25th, 2013|
|#3848: Global warming, that's why.
Get this: it's late May and over the past few days I've had to run the heater to keep this place above "f-ing cold".
When I got up this morning it was 63° in here. Yesterday, and the day before, were the same. I can't remember a May which was this
cold, with nighttime temperatures flirting with high thirties.
That's when I have to run the heater, when the temperatures drop so low that we're looking at the potential for frost. If the nighttime temps were somewhere in the mid-forties it would be comfortable in here without the heater. There's a certain amount of waste heat from appliances and the water heater which keeps pace with the heat loss when the outside temperatures are above a certain level; and usually--by this late in the year--the temperatures don't generally fall below that point.
We're having an unusually cold spring, it seems, and you can bet that the culprit is global warming. What else could it be?
* * *
One of the annoying things about Pandora--the music service that tries to match your taste in music with simple yes/no choices across different songs--is that it apparently does not screen for different performances
of the same song.
I'm not a fan of Pink Floyd, so when "Wish You Were Here" came on I nixed it and the app obligingly skipped it. A while later, on came a different performance
of "Wish You Were Here" which sounded virtually identical to the original. *sigh*
I get that sometimes a person will like one version of a song and not another; but I would think that voting "no" for a song would tend to exclude it from the playlist. Maybe it takes two or three instances before something is excised entirely? "Okay, he didn't like version A, B, or C, so we won't play anything like it ever again."
The heuristic used by Pandora, however, is remarkably similar to an idea I had for optimizing searches on the Internet. It would be useful if you could look at a list of search results and click a check box next to each candidate to exclude it and similar results; it would help pare out the dross and get you closer to what you're actually looking for.
* * *
Yesterday, I cut the grass and gave the kitchen a thorough cleaning. It's still not done, but it's a hell of a lot cleaner than it was. Mainly it was just cluttered, and cleaning the clutter off the counters is what took most of the time--and I ended up filling two of the small white garbage bags with stuff that we don't need or have room for. I also have to vacuum and tidy the rest of the house, besides giving the bathroom a thorough cleaning. I figure the bathroom may take as much as half an hour, and the remaining work in the kitchen (the stove and the floor) will take perhaps as much as twenty minutes. After that, just vacuuming the house, tidying, making everything neat and clean and lookin' good, should be a walk in the park.
|Friday, May 24th, 2013|
|#3847: When is an invitation not an invitation?
Apparently it's when the invitation is issued by my brother's family to me, that's when.
I've known for quite a while that this coming Saturday is my nephew's graduation from high school. My late sister's son is going to wear the old mortarboard and get his diploma, and bravo for him.
I have also
--for quite a while--to attend the party. But though this week began so pleasantly, the rest of it has simply been as rotten as a rotten week can be, and by Wednesday night I knew I wasn't going to be able to make it. It's just been too much, and yesterday's events just about did me in completely.
Mrs. Fungus has been entirely--incredibly--supportive throughout the entire situation. Everything that's been going on has been entirely due to my brother and sister-in-law and an impending visit on Sunday wherein they plan to remove a crapton of junk from the attic over the garage. Also, the first e-mail about this implied that my surviving siblings want to discuss "the future", meaning what's going to happen with the bunker. It's not going to be a good time for me. (Asking for a definition of "talk about the future" did not yield any useful information.)
So I wrote an e-mail in which I politely demurred from attending the party, citing the stress of the week...and then in rapid succession I got a guilt trip e-mail, and then one full of harsh implication that I'm merely being lazy.
This would seem to indicate that I don't actually have any say in whether or not I attend the party--that because they have invited me I must attend
and have no choice in the matter.
I have been struggling to think of a situation where my presence would actually be mandatory wherein I was not
the guest of honor, and I can't think of one. The closest possibility I can think of is if I were using their house to throw a party and decided not to show up for it myself, leaving them to do everything--but that's not parallel to this.
I'm declining an invitation, which makes me the bad guy? Do I understand this?
Plenty of my relatives didn't come to my graduation party in 1996. I didn't blame them
for not coming. Okay, my late sister and her husband didn't come--they didn't even send a card
, as I recall--yet I wasn't offended or insulted by the omission.
Then again, I suppose I shouldn't be surprised by this. Recall last year the fiasco that was my attendance of my niece's graduation?
You should have heard
the shitstorm that landed on me because I had the gall
to leave after being there a mere four hours. My sister-in-law found it completely unacceptable that I was leaving the event "so early" and she was highly offended by it.
So--apparently--not only am I required to attend, but I must attend until they say it's okay for me to leave
|Thursday, May 23rd, 2013|
|#3846: Luna is dead.
This morning she was alert, but not very mobile. When I went to feed the cats, she trotted into the kitchen and ate for a little bit...and then lay down on the floor next to the food dish. Even baby food didn't elicit enough enthusiasm that she would eat very much.
Then the vet called with the results of the blood test: kidney disease, hyperthyroidism, and anemia. Problem: treating the kidneys would aggravate the anemia, and it would take two weeks for the hyperthyroid treatment to do anything. Treating her would involve several trips to the vet for IV fluids, blood tests, etcetera, and in the absolute BEST CASE
Luna might have lived another six months.
Worst case: one month.
And as I said it would have involved frequent trips to the vet, which no pet likes. Figure she might have lived three months; what would her quality of life have been like? Would they have been happy months?
Treating the hyperthyroid condition, it turns out, would likely have aggravated the kidney problem. Hyperthyroidism makes the cat's heart beat faster, which pushes more blood through the kidneys, which they like. Treating the hyperthyroid would slow the heart rate, moving less blood through the kidneys--you do the math.
I talked it over with Mrs. Fungus and we concluded that Luna would likely not last more than a month--perhaps six weeks--and we made the call.
...and I bawled like a little girl, too.
I raised Luna from a kitten; she was born on October 8 of 1998 and came into my life in mid-November of that year as a tiny, buzzing ball of fur I could hold in one hand. She was a black kitten with blue eyes and I named her "Luna" after the black cat in Sailor Moon
. (If she'd been male, she would have been "Jiji" from Kiki's Delivery Service
.) Before that she'd never seen cat toys before; once she was taught how to use cat toys she hardly ever stopped playing with them. She was the most athletic cat I ever knew, her coat was always a glossy black, and though she was standoffish she still had a lot of affection for me. Even when she knew I was going to put her into the cat carrier and take her somewhere--which she invariably dreaded--she never failed to come when I called her. She had a special meow she made when I was scratching her behind her ears. When she got frustrated, she'd make this huffing sound. She'd carry toys through the house, meowing around them, carrying them to wherever I was; and then she'd drop the toy and meow at me.
I am really, really going to miss her.
|Wednesday, May 22nd, 2013|
|#3845: BEST. BIRTHDAY. EVER.
So let's start at 11:04 PM Saturday, an hour before my birthday even began.
Mrs. Fungus clearly wanted to give me my birthday present. "Eleven is close enough, right?"
--actually, something came in the mail last week, which turned out to be a videotape of Flash and Firecat
, which I discussed in a previous post some months ago. But that wasn't really it.
No; she knocked my socks off completely: she got me a Nook HD.
My first thought upon tearing off the wrapping paper and seeing the box was, "A Nook? But I've already got a Kindle...." and then I realized what she'd just given me.
Somehow, she took a photo at that exact moment which features the
most comical startle take I've ever done.
This thing ain't just for reading books; it's essentially a non-Apple iPad. It uses the Android OS so there are thousands of free apps that'll run on the thing, a bare fraction of which I have already used on Mrs. Fungus' iPad.
She'd asked me what she could get me for my birthday, and I'd been pretty noncomittal about it: "Well, you don't need to spend a lot of money on me...." and I certainly hadn't expected anything like this. I hadn't even considered
anything like this.
But the instant I knew what I was holding, I realized she hit the nail on the head
Furthermore, Sunday afternoon we depared the Fungal Vale for Lake Geneva. We spent the night at The Abbey Resort, where Mrs. Fungus got a massage and facial at their spa; we paid entirely too much for mediocre steaks and had a late evening swim in their indoor pool as a major thunderstorm roared past.
We even got to watch the week's episode of Game of Thrones
The steaks--we ordered them "medium rare" and they arrived "medium well", so for the first time in my life I sent food back to the kitchen.
Our late night was spent in suitably married fashion. Heh.
...and the next day, we hit the Volo Auto Museum on the way home. It barely took us two and a half hours to look at all the cars, and once we were finished with that we hit the highway for the Fungal Vale.
The trip out of town was something we've wanted to do for a while, and my birthday gave us the excuse. We'd probably go to The Abbey again, but we would not dine in one of their house restaurants given what happened with Mrs. Fungus' breakfast the next day. Biscuits should not have the consistency of hockey pucks, even biscuits which are covered with sausage gravy. (Incidentally, I make better.)
* * *
The Nook--I'm still learning how to use it, but one reason it's taken me so long to get back to posting here was that I didn't need
to come to the computer to surf the Intartubzorz.
The thing has a Bluetooth interface, so once I've got a job again I can pick up a Bluetooth keyboard
and I really will
be able to post from the thing.
...Monday night Mrs. Fungus and I were watching some TV and I was fiddling with the Nook, and Og messaged me. Turns out my Google Chat ID showed me as being on-line. Wow. Again, a keyboard would be good....
Also, apparently there's an app which lets you mirror your desktop computer's desktop to the tablet--so I could theoretically play World of Warcraft
on it. (Actually, not run the WoW client itself, but use the tablet as an interface device. Still.)
Further bulletins as events warrant. This thing is cool.
* * *$2,000 is comfortably within the means of the average hobbyist.
Plenty of people spend more than $2,000 per year on their hobbies; there are some nuts out there who spend that in six months. It depends on who, what, and their total disposable income, but considering that you're talking about a tool
and not something consumable, $2,000 is not at all unreasonable.
...and for $25 worth of consumables and the right digital information, you end up with a gun that can be fired several times.
Look: the basic engineering of a firearm is a highly mature technology
. There was nothing theoretically wrong with Captain Kirk's defeat of the Gorn, because that's just how simple it all is: gunpowder, containment, projectile, ignition, and you're in business. The hard
part of making a firearm is building one that won't go off until you want it to, but will
go off when you want it to; one that won't blow up in your face when you do set it off; and one that you have a reasonable chance of aiming. And since all the heavy lifting of developing the technology has been done already, all you
have to do is find the appropriate reference works and do a little math.
There is precious little the government can do to keep firearms out of the hands of people who really want them.
* * *Steven Den Beste
notes that when seconds count, the police are only minutes away. Twenty
minutes, in this case.
* * *
I really don't know what else to say about anything right now. I now have a great deal of work to attend to. *sigh*
|#3844: Still alive, just no time to post.
Seriously. I'll put a post up later today, but first
I have to take Luna to the vet.
She's 15 years old, and has been getting skinnier, and is drinking more (and urinating more) than she used to. I'm worried that she may not be with us much longer. Hopefully it's something treatable, and she can go on for a while longer.
My mother's cat lived almost 20 years, but I have to remind myself that's the exception rather than the rule. The average life expectancy for an indoor cat in the US is about 12-15 years, and Luna's already pushing the outer edge of that envelope.
...and the only way I can tell that she's actually sick
is by the fact that her fur looks a bit shaggy--this is a cat who has always looked like she was ready for a show or a photo shoot--and she's favoring one of her hind legs. She's got plenty of pep and her appetite seems unchanged, but she's obviously lost weight...and she's a very slender, athletic cat to begin with.
Anyway, that's in a bit more than an hour, and I have to assemble my excrement. More anon.
|Friday, May 17th, 2013|
|#3843: I'm pretty sure that you go to hell if you make Chef Ramsay throw up.
Mrs. Fungus and I were watching a rerun of Kitchen Nightmares
last night while eating our own dinner. There was a scene where Ramsay was going through the refrigerator of the week, and came across something that smelled so bad he ended up puking. (Or faking it, anyway.)
I then spoke the title of this blog post. Mrs. Fungus insisted. I'm henpecked!
...we just watch TV after she gets off work, because she's tired and doesn't want to do anything that requires sentient thought. One of us or the other picks something to watch, and off we go. It's been Kitchen Nightmares
lately because there's been nothing on I really care about seeing and it is usually rife with situations I can make wisecracks about.
Eh, good enough, I guess.
* * *Arse Technica, the global warming resource, continues to beat the same dead horse.
Look at how the thing begins:
Although the climate changes that are being driven by human carbon emissions are likely to cause serious disruptions on their own, one of the additional worries is that the initial warming will set off events that keep changing the planet even if humanity gets its carbon emissions under control. So, for example, warming the oceans could heat up the clathrates that exist there, releasing methane that greatly enhances the greenhouse warming.
They go on to say that "scientists" have looked at "twenty years" of Arctic data. They don't say which
two decades (ie "the past two decades" or "1929 through 1950" or whatev) but they found out that--gee!--the natural environment has all kinds of negative feedback mechanisms which prevent the kind of catastrophic and runaway climate change these goobers have been predicting for thirty years.
Evidence: Earth remains at a temperature we find habitable. If it were possible to drive Earth's ecosystem into runaway heating it would already be there, because Earth has been much warmer and has had atmospheric CO2 concentrations ten times higher
...and none of this takes into account the fact that there has been no warming since 1998
. That means that out of the last 20 years, only five
have included positive deflections of the global temperature anomaly.
"The climate changes that are being driven by human carbon emissions" are not nearly as obvious as these people would have us believe.
* * *
Letterman jokes, "I don't make jokes about [Obama] because I don't want the FBI tapping my phone."
Fortunately, we all can make jokes about it...for the moment.
* * *Bob Woodward might just be an actual journalist after all, not just a shill for Democrats.
I have to go back 40 years to Watergate when Nixon put out his edited transcripts to the conversations, and he personally went through them and said, "Oh, let's not tell this, let's not show this." I would not dismiss Benghazi. It's a very serious issue. As people keep saying, four people were killed.
That's exactly so. I mean, if Nixon's edited transcripts were heap bad juju, then the whole Benghazi situation is equally heap bad juju.
Nixon, at least, was enough of a statesman that he resigned rather than put the US through an impeachment; the press was decidedly not on his side and he wouldn't have survived the proceedings (not against a Democrat-run Congress) so it was easier on everyone for him just to resign.
Clinton's offense--perjury--was impeachable (obviously) but he knew the press would cover his ass. That was before Al Gore invented the Internet, so there was not really any alternative media which could report on his use of the IRS to strike back at his political enemies, and his other various abuses of power.
Obama's offenses--using the IRS to target his enemies, trying to cover up what happened in Benghazi, etc, etc--if this were 1995, he could do exactly as Clinton did and survive it.
(George W. Bush--in spite of the press' best efforts, the only thing they could find on him that was already not general knowledge turned out to be faked National Guard documents. Nothing like Obama's or Clinton's scandals were found, and believe me the press was looking
. Bush isn't a conservative but at least he has a modicum of honesty. I say "modicum" because he is, after all, a career politician.)
* * *Elizabeth Scalia
talks about French parenting and child psychology, and she blockquotes this gem:
French parents have a different philosophy of disciplinine. Consistently enforced limits, in the French view, make children feel safe and secure. Clear limits, they believe, actually make a child feel happier and safer—something that is congruent with my own experience as both a therapist and a parent. Finally, French parents believe that hearing the word “no” rescues children from the “tyranny of their own desires.”
When you have a child, you are not there to be the kid's friend. You are there to be the kid's parent
; that means setting limits and making sure they are obeyed.
Look: your kids are going
to say hateful things like "I hate you!" and "You don't love me!" They're going to do it because kids are manipulative and don't know any better; all they know is that they want their way. If you want to raise kids who will mature into productive, healthy, and decent adults, you must learn how to say "no" to them and make it stick
Buying your kid every treat or techno-gewgaw they want is a sure ticket to raising spoiled, entitled little bitches.
* * *
Speaking of entitled little bitches, Detroit politicians go to Hawaii on the taxpayers' dime.
Detroit's pension funds are some $600 million in the hole, so I suppose $22,000 blown on travel expenses is a drop in the bucket, but it certainly doesn't look good.
Then people wonder why the blue model fails so badly.
* * *Fracking doesn't contaminate groundwater.
The main reason? You don't frack shale at groundwater depths. If you're drilling more than five hundred feet for water, you live in a desert with a seriously low water table and you have problems
; meanwhile the shale is typically down thousands
If groundwater is being contaminated by fracking, it's happening at the surface
and the stuff is seeping down
to the water table.
* * *A beautiful, and pointless, gesture.
The GOP doesn't have the votes in the Senate to pass a repeal of Obamacare. Even if they did, Obama certainly wouldn't sign such a bill, so the GOP in fact needs a supermajority
to excise the Obamacare carbuncle.
"This is the third time the House has voted to fully repeal Obamacare, and there have been a number of other votes to repeal parts of it — 37 votes in total." Why is this the first story I've heard about this?
* * *Ace clearly remembers the old Advanced Dungeons & Dragons books
: "It wasn't a glaive-guisarme or bec-de-corbin. That's all I know."
(AD&D had a huge list of medieval polearms in its weapons tables, of which Ace mentioned two. There were many more, and I never knew anyone actually to equip
a character with a polearm...except in jest.)
* * *Oleg Volk links to a new novel
and the blurb on the cover caught my eye. Sarah Hoyt apparently said the novel "evokes Heinlein's work".
Wouldn't you know it, that's one of the reasons my short story submission was rejected?
* * *
Anyway, today is Friday, and we're going to have a grand old time here at Casa Fungus...cleaning!
|Thursday, May 16th, 2013|
|#3842: Well, at least I found a way around the damned problem so I can post.
And I have about half an hour before choir. *sigh*
LJ has been giving me 500 errors all day; one of their clusters bit the tube steak and while my account is not on that cluster, apparently there's something going on I don't understand that makes it impossible for me to post to my blog, even though I can see it just fine.
To make matters even more entertaining, WoW gave me a "your credit card has expired" error, which reminded me that I hadn't yet changed my billing information to reflect the new regime over that the Fungal Bank. I got my new card late last month, and it went live in the first week of this month, but I never actually told Blizzard that; so I went there and entered the information...
I could not log on. I began to wonder if I'd ceased to exist or something. Finally I geared up and took the bike to the bank, to deposit the check I got from my mother-in-law as a birthday present (thanks, ma!) and checking my balance. No problem there! WTF.
It was too egregiously nice outside not
to take a bit of an extended ride around town, and when I got home I tried again and still could not log on either to WoW or to LJ.
Followed the link in the e-mail from Blizz and discovered that they nullified my subscription to WoW. WTFF--the e-mail said they'd baleet my credit card info, not kill my subscription; once I re-subscribed, I was able to get onto WoW again. Unfortunately my D3 subscription--which is dependent on my WoW subscription--must be re-activated by Customer Support, and I'm not sure I really care all that much about it.
As for LJ, looking at their various FAQs and such led me to a page which had a link that would let me get to the "new entry" page, though, and so here we are. And this little summary has consumed half my bloggin' time, which doubtless means I'm going to be posting this after choir practice is over. Argh etc.
* * *
Vox Day posts Tears Of A Clown
in which he has embedded Jon Stewart being most unhappy at the scandal-plagued Obama administration. His satirical approach fairly makes note of how thoroughly the IRS and AP phone scandals can gut the liberal agenda.
The thing that makes him the most angry is not stated: these two scandals demonstrate that the people he refers to as wearing tinfoil hats are right about the so-called benevolence of government
. I mean, Obama is Stewart's guy; he's the guy who Stewart has supported virtually uncritically since day one. And unlike many on the sinister side of the political spectrum he at least has enough integrity to say, "Yeah, this ain't a good thing for us to be doing."
("Sinister": "left", the same way "dexter" means "right" in the old traditions of heraldry. Simon Bar Sinister's last name, "Bar Sinister"--from Underdog
--meant that his herald would have been or contained a bar on the left side of the field. The fact that "sinister" now means "evil" is a convenient and enjoyable coincidence.)
Plenty of leftists are desperately trying to say, "Whaaat? That's not a scandal! There's nothing wrong with this! It's fine! Government is still good!"
That's what makes this Stewart clip so delicious: the issues are in just the right order to make it obvious how all of these things put together demonstrate Obama's contempt for freedom, and it shows why liberals' faith in the government is misplaced.
* * *Scientists in the 1980s told us that SDI--"Star Wars"--was impossible.
certainly didn't think so; it scared the shit out of them, and they collectively wrecked their economy trying to match it.
Their biggest fear was a United States which could knock their missiles out of the sky; if the US had that kind of technology, then the Soviet Union was going to be contained and uanble to expand as they historically had. If the USA had Star Wars, it had the power to stop the expansion of communism cold.
...not that communism was doing all that well by 1985 anyway; Soviet Russia's attempts to meet SDI merely hastened its demise. Absent Reagan's brilliant strategy I expect the USSR would have collapsed before 2000 in any case, because communism is an economic impossibility
in groups larger than a couple dozen people. The USSR managed to mask this by seizing and absorbing free economies but there was a limited amount of wealth for them to seize in postwar Europe and the US was not going to let them have free rein in any event.
Even so, then, by the time Gorbachev was in charge, the USSR was in serious shit--and like all totalitarian states in history they kept on telling everyone that they were on top and everything was peachy keen, which is why it took everyone by surprise when the Berlin Wall fell. (I'd wager about half the Politburo was totally gobsmacked by it, too.)
The simple fact is that SDI was not
impossible; it wasn't physically impossible and it certainly wasn't economically
impossible. All the objections raised by scientists in the United States were raised for political reasons--the left in the United States loved the USSR with a firey passion and didn't want to see them opposed, and even in the 1980s academia was already highly communist.
(My maternal grandfather referred to the University of Chicago as "the University of Moscow". He died in 1966. You do the math; leftism in academia is not new.)
* * *
So let's look at Karl Denninger's dystopian statistics for the day, shall we? All quotes are without his emphasis.This one ain't good news.
New orders went from -1 to -7.9, shipments from 9.1 to -8.5 (!!), employees went from -6.8 to -8.7 (bad and getting worse) and employee workweek went from -2.1 to -12.4 (from crummy to catastrophically bad.)
Workweek is critical because that's an indication of how well employment figures are doing. They're not doing well; if workweek contracts too much, then employment
begins to contract again, and we're boned.
boned, that is. *sigh*"Next month's [employment] report should show a strong gain due to seasonal summer hiring, especially among young people. If it doesn't, and it looks like it won't.... oh boy."The decrease observed in the Consumer Price Index is due entirely to a drop in petroleum prices.
Because the US is sitting on more oil than Saudi Arabia. Yeah.
* * *
Okay, let's have some fun with the whole Kitchen Nightmares
thing I talked about the other day.Buzzfeed on "the most epic brand meltdown on Facebook ever." The shitstorm in that episode wasn't faked, either.
This one has embedded a video clip of one of the owners of the place threatening a couple of diners who had waited nearly two hours for a pizza.
(An article about the fakery on Kitchen Nightmares. I expected this; it's entertainment, after all.
has some lessons for companies which experience this kind of thing, and how you should not
deal with social media in this sort of event.
I mean, by responding to the negative statements in such obvious fashion, they're just proving their critics right.According to this story, those guys waited for their pizza for nearly three hours.
And Amy--the eponymous restaurant's owner--was threatening to call the cops on them because they were leaving without paying for their drinks after
her husband had told them "get the fuck out". Yeah.It's apparently an "astonishing Facebook meltdown".
...then they claimed they were hacked. Heh.
* * *Turns out that Tarot cards are just another sort of playing card, invented in the 15th century.
* * *
So here it is, nearly 10:30, and I still haven't gotten my blog post up.
After choir practice, I went to the store for bread, then took a spin on the bike; I ended up at my aunt and uncle's house and had a visit with them for about an hour. I didn't get home until 9:30.
I still have things that need doing, too. Argh etc.
But first, the completion of the bloggeratin'!
* * *
Redacted: an essay on abusive people I may post another time.
* * *
Sometime last week Mrs. Fungus bought a pork tenderloin, and I put it into the freezer because we weren't going to eat it before the 12th at the earliest. Well, she decided that should be dinner Wednesday night, so when we got up Wed. morning I set the thing to defrosting.
After she got home last night, I cooked it. The recipe I saw on-line said "20 minutes" but it took more like 35 or 40. I rubbed it with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and rosemary; I seared it on all sides, using an old aluminum frying pan from which the handle departed before I was born (my Mom used that pan for making roast beef all the time because it simplified making gravy) and added perhaps 3/4 cup of wine to the pan before putting it in the oven for 20 minutes.
It took longer than 20 minutes; I had to keep adding time--but finally it was done all the way through, just a hint
of pinkness to the meat. Mashed potatoes from a box, corn-on-the-cob, and gravy made in the ol' aluminum frying pan completed the meal. To my surprise, the pork came out perfectly
Not only was it tender and juicy, you could actually taste the rosemary, but it wasn't overpowering. It was spiced just right
Mrs Fungus commented, "Every time you make gravy it is so good!
Looks like my mother taught me how to cook. Can you dig it.
|Wednesday, May 15th, 2013|
|#3841: Why won't my laptop connect to the router?
I changed my router's encryption etc to something more robust than WEP, and for my trouble now I cannot get the laptop to connect wirelessly.
It connects fine via a wired connection, but wirelessly it flat-out refuses to connect. I think part of the problem comes from the wireless settings; I've got WPA2-PSK[AES] encryption set up, and the laptop gives me two choices for WPA2--enterprise or personal. Neither one works.
I suppose the next step is to run hardware diagnostics on the wireless card in the thing. And isn't that
peachy? Dell's support web site is such a kludge it makes me sick. Argh etc.
So I downloaded a lot of driver and software updates, even to the BIOS; we'll see how this goes.
I did not
want to spend my day like this, though.
|#3840: Damn it, that cost me a frickin' post.
I was running a virus scan while writing today's post, and the virus program gave me an option: "Schedule a scan for next boot." I clicked yes...and the motherfucker rebooted immediately
, without warning, and it took my entire post with it. Four hours later the goddamned scan is done and the post wasn't autosaved and I don't even remember what I was talking about.
That's the first time I've lost a post, though--in seven years of blogging--so WTF.
* * *
This part I do remember:The shale oil deposits under the United States give it the largest oil deposits in the world.
In the 1970s, when I was a wee tyke and we were just a scant handful of years past the Arab Oil Embargo--and while we were still suffering from the artificial scarcity caused by federal price controls--there were all kinds of wistful news stories about all the oil that was trapped in shale, and how nice it would be if we could only get at it; but to get the oil out of shale, they said, we'd have to strip-mine hundreds of square miles down to a technically improbable depth, and it was Just Too Difficult, and it was a shame because it was just sitting there
So, fast-forward forty years. Thanks to the advancement of technology we now know how to get oil and gas out of shale, and it doesn't cost all that much more per barrel than it does to pump the stuff out of other kinds of rock formations.
If the current crop of Democrats had been in charge in the 1970s, of course, none of this would have happened. "Well, we could develop that technology, but you see it's not going to fix the energy crisis that we're suffering right now, so we're going to focus on conservation measures." This is the same kind of short-sighted thinking that led to us not starting to exploit ANWR about ten years ago, and which would be delivering oil to the market right about...now, thus reducing the price of oil. Yeah.
Now all we need to do is to start building some f-ing refineries
so we don't have to offshore refining the stuff, the way we do now.
* * *The IRS commissioner is apparently a "low-level employee"
because the "IRS goes after Obama's enemies" thing goes right to the top.
* * *
Then I also talked about some stuff from Karl Denninger:Jake Tapper erroneously claims that the economy is getting better.
Hint: the economy is not getting better.Exhibit A: the government is playing games with the producer price index to make it look like there's no inflation.
In order to do this, they are including
energy and food prices, things which are usually excluded because their prices are "too volatile", meaning that they tend to rise and fall a lot; but in general they trend upward just like everything else does.
Right now, however, gasoline is off its highest price by a few cents per gallon (it was $4.26 per gallon here in the Fungal Vale, but is now closer to $4 again) and the continued discovery of more and more petroleum under the United States (and
in places the government has not rendered off limits to exploitation) is depressing the price of oil; so now
the feds are including it in the PPI because it makes them look better.
Take energy and food out, and suddenly PPI is rising by 0.1% rather than dropping by 0.7%. There's nothing like comparing apples and oranges!One manufacturing report says it's all down by about 1.4%.
No numbers games here, just bad news. Emphasis removed:
New orders and shipments are both negative, along with unfilled orders and delivery times. Inventories remain negative. The prices paid/received gap has narrowed this month and while employee count softened a bit it remains positive.
What isn't is hours -- it went negative. Obamacare my friends.
Yep, Obamacare is screwing the employment market, and it's not going to be long before we start seeing that reflected in actual employment figures.
*And the NTSB wants to make it illegal to have any alcohol in your system.
Pretty soon you'll get a DUI if you had a beer in the last week....
* * *
Lost into the bit bucket: a screed about how I don't need to listen to Limbaugh any more, some discussion of motorcycles, and a discussion of how windmill operators aren't held to the same environmental standards as oil companies.
* * *
Weather outside is pretty damned nice. Maybe I should go out into it and do something.
|#3839: Little Tokyo is amazing.
It's in Munster and damn
Mrs. Fungus and I went there Monday night, and we ended up going there again
on Tuesday night, because their food is just THAT
I like sushi; I really do. But until I went to this place, my reaction to it was always, "Hey, this is pretty tasty stuff, and I like it."
The sushi from Little Tokyo? Full-on mouth orgasm. I'm not even exaggerating. It's like frickin' crack in a seaweed wrapper.
Mrs. Fungus and I ordered two rolls each, and an order of tempura, and we ate everything, and dessert besides. Holy crap
is that good food. I told the sushi chef and I told the hostess, "This is the best sushi I've ever had."
After that, we came home and were watching reruns of Gordon Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares
, having our usual fun with that, when Mrs. Fungus got a very upsetting and abusive phone call which pretty much ruined our evening.
She was understandably upset after that. It really sucks when someone makes your wife cry uncontrollably and you can't do anything about it. I did manage to get her calmed down, but it took more than two hours for me to do it, and now that she's asleep I
am all wound up.
* * *
Prior to the restaurant, we stopped at Og's so I could pick up the two grain-of-wheat bulbs he bought for the Suzuki back when it was his. Mrs. Fungus finally met Og and she said he's really nice, and she effused over what a beautiful back yard Casa Og has. (It never really occurred to me, but she's right; it's pretty. Especially when the grass is cut, which is no mean feat.)And
we stopped at Walgreen's on the way back, because we want to try the two flavors of ice cream that Penn Jilette and Trace Adkins invented for the penultimate episode of The Celebrity Apprentice
. We got Penn's "Swirtle" but they were out of Adkin's "maple macadamia mash-up", so we'll have to look for that one elsewhere.
But we didn't get a chance to try it thanks to the aforementioned ruined evening. Well, it'll keep.
* * *
Meanwhile, today I tried to change the oil and filter in Mrs. Fungus' car again. I managed to change the oil; but even after a trip to Harbor Freight for an oil filter wrench I was unable to get the damned oil filter housing off the car.
...we ended up ordering a new housing from O'Reilly's, because the filter has
to be changed, and I'm afraid that if I crank down on that filter housing hard enough to pop it loose, I'm going to break it, because Toyota made the f-ing thing out of plastic
Seriously, Toyota: WTF? The spin-on oil filter has been the standard in the automotive industry for decades
, so why the fuck are you guys bopping back to the 1950s and doing this shit? If it were an ordinary spin-on filter, I could just spear the bitch with a screwdriver and crank it right off without worrying. Instead, I have to go buy a $45 part in case I break the one on the car trying to get it off afterSOME SHITHEAD AT A QUICKIE-LUBE PLACE
...put it on with a 16-foot cheater bar. *sigh*
* * *
Ormus is about halfway to 90th level, which means I'll shortly be getting bored with him and having to work on another toon. What with the warm weather, though, I don't know how long that will take; and over the next couple of weeks I'm going to be pretty busy.
All of the projects I've been working on have been done in parallel with job hunting, of course. There have been quite a few leads opening up of late, and I've jumped on the ones that looked like a good fit; a few have fallen by the wayside for one reason or another, but I've done what I could do, and simply have to leave the rest in God's hands.
Knowing what the economy is like, though, I know that there are about six applications for every opening, and the people doing the hiring have a strong bias for people who've worked in the last six months.
Understanding this, then, I've realized that I need to get some kind of current work experience...and there's one option open to me: volunteer. I know I'll work for no money, but if I can point to my resume and say, "I'm volunteering for XYZ right now..." that may help considerably. At least that way it doesn't look as if I'm sitting on my hands or fapping or anything.
And you know what the best way to volunteer is? You go to the nexus of charity and work: the church secretary. The church doesn't function without her, and if there's anyone who can help me find a good volunteer gig, she'd be it.
Yet another thing for me to add to my "to do" list, I guess, but I need
a job. If I have to do some time as an unpaid volunteer, that's what I'll do. Who knows? It may even be fun.
* * *
May is already half over, and in four days I'm going to be 46. Holy crap.
|Tuesday, May 14th, 2013|
|#3838: Well, this is entertaining.
AoSHQ's Obama Scandal Scorecard.
1. Obama sics IRS on his politial enemies.
2. Obama's HHS is extoring money from health care providers to pay for Obamacare.
3. Obamacare links #1 and #2.
4. The cover-up of what happened in Benghazi.
5. Obama's Justice Department seizing AP phone records.
6. Also, Pigford and Fast-and-Furious.
To the end of all those points, add, "(What did Obama know and when did he know it?)"
Any of those should have been enough to render his administration completely impotent, but of course he has a very friendly press on his side. The mainstream media worked very hard to ensure his election; they're not going to give him the "Woodward and Bernstein versus Richard Nixon" treatment unless they have absolutely no other choice. Instead they'll try to minimize and spin the story.
They may not want to spin the AP phone records story, though, as JayG notes.
The press has always been rabidly pro-first-amendment even while they fully support gutting the second amendment. The problem is--as JayG notes--that you can't selectively enforce some of the Bill of Rights and ignore the parts you like; it's an all-or-nothing proposition, because once you set a precedent for nullifying civil rights, you can nullify any
And notice, please, that this is a Democrat
administration which is investigating a friendly
press organ, one that's been 99% hagiographic in its coverage of the Obama administration. The thing is, tyrants don't care how much you've supported them in the past when it comes to current threats. No matter how sycophantic you've been, they'll cut your balls off the instant you step out of line. That's why they're called "tyrants" rather than "statesmen".And the Obama IRS has been going after reporters who ask inconvenient questions.
It's just one incident at the moment
but I'd wager there are more. Obama, as a narcissist, is so sensitive to criticism that I'm surprised there aren't legions of reporters who have been "pressured" by the IRS like this.
* * *
And Legal Insurrection and Judicial Watch
are asking to see the documents used in determining that David "I'm an anchorman with NBC so of course
I won't be arrested for breaking a gun law" Gregory.
David Gregory famously was not prosecuted by District of Columbia Office of Attorney General (OAG) despite a clear violation of the D.C. gun law against possession of high-capacity ammunition magazines.
NBC News had been warned by the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) not to use the magazine on air, but did it anyway.
Given that D.C. aggressively prosecutes even technical violations of the law by people not engaged in any other crime, this non-prosecution decision reeked of special treatment for a famous D.C. personality. When it turned out that D.C. Attorney General Nathan Irvin once shared a stage with Gregory’s wife at a charity mock trial event, the optics were horrible.
It's because David Gregory is one of the D.C. elite insiders that he wasn't prosecuted for a blatant and obvious felony violation. If he had been a nobody reporter, he would have been jailed; if he were a nobody citizen
he would have been jailed faster
But the theory of "equality under the law" is inconvenient for liberals, so they ignore it whenever they can possibly get away with it.
* * *
After my epic yard work yesterday I decided I was going to go to Culver's for dinner. It had been a while, and I figured, "I just did all that work and I'm worth it!" So I showered, got on the bike, and headed out.
The Colby Jack Pub Burger looked like it had been assembled for a photo shoot; the presentation was perfect. The fries were hot and fresh, too--too hot to eat, at first--so I had a very, very nice meal. The "flavor of the day" for their frozen custard was "orange dreamsicle" so I had a small; then I got on the bike and rode around town for a little while before coming home.
Aaaand when I got home, Mrs. Fungus was there--I had expected Mrs. Fungus to be eating out last night--and hungry, and wanted sushi, so we ended up going to a sushi place...and it was good
and comparatively inexpensive
; we each got two types of sushi, and she had an order of teriyaki shrimp, and the bill was under $50 with tip. It would have been under $30 if she hadn't gotten the shrimp, and in fact she admitted she didn't need it. But I was eating light, considering that I'd had a massive meal a scant two hours earlier. I've never really tried eating a meal of sushi before.
Wait--that's not true. Last year Mrs. Fungus took me out to a place and I ordered the "Chef's Choice" sushi platter, and I ended up eating most of it because it was nigirizushi and it was mostly sashimi to boot. Mrs. Fungus prefers makizushi to nigirizushi.
As I told her last night, sitting at the sushi bar, I won't willingly order
sashimi but will eat it if it ends up on my plate, either via a mistake or the largesse of someone else. Like the time I ordered tuna sushi at a Thai place and it turned out to be tuna sashimi
; I ate it, but never ordered that again.
It's not the flavor that's the problem, anyway; it's the texture
of uncooked fish that I don't like.
Anyway, watching itamaesan
do his thing, I finally figured out what I'm doing wrong when it comes to making kappa maki: I'm using a whole sheet of sushi nori when I should only be using a half
sheet. That's why the rolls come out so damned big.
And every time I've had sushi anywhere--every time
--the rice has tasted exactly the same as the way I make it. Go, me!
|#3837: "Get over here, you Belgian f--k!"
For some reason, Hell's Kitchen
was shown on Monday night rather than Tuesday, and as usual Mrs. Fungus and I found it a font of hilarity.
Chef Ramsay himself yelled that at Jean-Philip, his maitre d' (or howver the F you spell that) and we found that to be especially funny. "That's going to be the title of a blog post," I decided.
* * *
Today, then--after the blogging was done--I went outside and cut the grass. It took the usual amount of time; but once I was done with that I got out the pruning tools and began working on the honeysuckle bushes by the patio, intending to get the telephone cable disentangled from them.
Well, I didn't make it that far, because I pulled a huge wad of deadwood out of the damned bushes. The resulting pile is about three feet high (loosely packed, I admit) and eight feet long, and I didn't even finish getting the deadwood out.
Right now I'm thinking it might be well just to hack down the entirety of the fricking things and let them grow back. It's ridiculous
how overgrown they are.
There's also a box elder tree which is going to have to come down; it's growing right into the power line and cable TV cable, not just for the bunker but for my neighbor's house. That's going to take some doing but it ought to be all right.
* * *Tonight's overnight open thread at AoSHQ
begins with stuff about colleges and the cost-effectiveness of the education one receives therefrom. It then goes on to discuss Obama's campaign techniques ("Get my allies in the press to take out my opponents with legal maneuvers") and compares the political use of the IRS to that of the Nixon administration, blockquoting article 2.1 of the articles of impeachment against Nixon:
He has, acting personally and through his subordinates and agents, endeavoured to obtain from the Internal Revenue Service, in violation of the constitutional rights of citizens, confidential information contained in income tax returns for purposed not authorized by law, and to cause, in violation of the constitutional rights of citizens, income tax audits or other income tax investigations to be initiated or conducted in a discriminatory manner.
This standard, however, does not apply to Barack Hussein Obama, because Democrat.
* * *This post by Michael Flynn contains a link to a video
showing a seiche
* * *
Why am I awake? I don't even know. My wife got out of bed at 10:30 this morning and I got a couple hours of sleep after that, but then I worked my anus off. I've been suffering from a charley horse for several days, so I took a cyclobenzaprine left over from last July's back pain; that stuff should have knocked me on my patochis--it certainly did the last time I took it--but instead I sit here, slightly dizzy but thoroughly awake. *sigh* (There is a marked increase in the frequency of typos, but I do believe I'm catching all of them.)
* * *Game of Thrones
: what the fuck
is going on with Theon? For seven episodes
he has been tortured and abused, and the guy that we all thought was rescuing him instead took him right back to the place he was being tortured, and is torturing him more
.And there's been no explanation of why
. There hasn't even been a hint
as to what the hell is going on with this. If they go one more episode without giving us some
kind of information about this, it's going to be the first serious black mark on the writing of the TV series. (They've done a whole bunch of typical TV things here and there, but they've been excusable because this is HBO.)
Oh well. Three more eps and I can read the book. Maybe it'll have more information in it.
* * *
I finally got Ormus into the Vale of Eternal Blossoms. The Shrine of Seven Stars is his new home base, even though it's a bit above him at the moment.
* * *
I've done 194 of my home-brewed Garfield Without Garfield
|Monday, May 13th, 2013|
|#3836: If we let them build their biometric database, we're done.
Amnesty is the excuse they're using to implement it.
The theory is to make it harder for illegal aliens to find work here.
Because of course
illegal aliens never
get paid in cash at the end of each workday or anything. Why, the people employing illegal aliens are totally unaware
they're hiring illegal aliens! So of course
they'll use this biometric system to check if the people they're hiring are legal to work in the United States, and refuse to employ them when they prove not to be.
This is not about controlling illegal immigration. If it were, Congress instead would be discussing ways to enforce the laws already on the books which would work just fine.
Congress would not
be talking about ways to let millions of illegal aliens stay in the country.
It's about controlling the populace of the country
. With a biometric-linked ID system they can track you everywhere you go and maintain a database of everything you do. From there, it's just a short hop to requiring your fingerprints or retina patterns whenever you want to do anything
. Got to deposit your paycheck? Please look at the iris scanner. Buying groceries? Iris scanner, please. Gas station, DMV, any time you earn or spend money they'll want to scan your biometric data.
Then I saw another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb and he spoke as a dragon.... And he causes all, the small and the great, and the rich and the poor, and the free men and the slaves, to be given a mark on their right hand or on their forehead, and he provides that no one will be able to buy or to sell, except the one who has the mark, either the name of the beast or the number of his name.
John didn't know about fingerprints or iris patterns, and he came from an iron age culture, so he wouldn't have understood iris scanners or fingerprint scanners or anything of the sort...but I figured the meaning of that passage of Revelation out years ago, before "biometric" was a term in common use: it foretold government requiring that you provide fingerprints or some other kind of biometric scan in order for you to do anything
. And yeah, if government gets this biometric database, then we really will
not be able to buy or sell anything
without "the mark of the beast".
But of course
you won't need it to vote
* * *
Same vein, kind of, but this one's avoidable: I am never, never, ever going to shop at Nordstrom's.
This will not represent much of a sacrifice on my part, though, as I've never shopped there before.
* * *
If we hold Obama to the same standard Richard Nixon was held to, Vox Day opines
, then Barack Hussein Obama must
comments on the same George Will column that led to Vox Day's post.
* * *Government has fudged the retail sales numbers to make them positive.
Problem: everything is sharply negative
if you look at the unadjusted numbers. As Karl Denninger says, "...but for 'adjustments' the real figure was -2.6% for April."
What the feds did was to adjust the numbers, Feb to Mar, down
by 0.1%: the growth number was -0.4% (a contraction of 0.4%, in other words) and the feds changed it so that the new official number was -0.5%.
That enables the feds now to report that retail sales grew
, April to May, by 0.1%, and it further lets them report that the year-on-year figure is +3.7%.
Denninger then points out that if you look at the unadjusted
figures, though, suddenly the year-on-year growth becomes -2.6%, which is (of course) a contraction
rather than growth.
The most worrisome part--and Denninger himself notes such, with a "(!!)"--is that groceries
are off 7.5%. You only see a decline in grocery sales when the economy is really
in the shitter.
Which--y'know, big surprise.
* * *
Today I finally took the junk to the recycler. I had 9 lbs of aluminum and 81 lbs of assorted scrap; the former was worth $4.50 and the latter worth $4.05, for a total of $8.55. Whee!
...I had to provide a government-issued photo ID to get the money. Yeah. See, so many people are stealing metals to recycle them, the Peoples' Demokratik Republik of Illinoistan passed a law requiring that records be kept of all scrap metal transactions.
It even had bipartisan support. What a surprise.
|Sunday, May 12th, 2013|
|#3835: Kittycat, meow.
Today was intensive motorcycle maintenance day. I:
* Adjusted the chain tension
* Adjusted the clutch
* Disassembled the instrument panel in order to find out what kind of bulbs I need to buy to get the gear indicator working 100%.
* Replaced a turn signal bulb which mysteriously blew after I did the last step, necessitating re-disassembly.
* Installed a new front brake switch (which I also had to do twice).
* Straightened the bent headlight bracket.
* Tried again to pin down the location of the oil leak on the top end.
* Adjusted the rear brakes.
* Lubricated the chain.
* Had a grand old time doing it.
The weather today was perfect
wrenching weather--cool, a little bit of a breeze, but not ass-cold or anything. Since I did my garage cleaning last week I was able to have a decent radio station on the radio (104.3, which runs a fair dinkum mix of music from the late '60s through my teen years) and I could find all my tools.
...except for the offset screwdriver. And I'm not even sure the offset screwdriver I have will work for the task at hand, which is removing the end caps from the cylinder head so I can see if the oil is coming out from there, which seems highly likely at this point.
I ordered the front brake switch from an Ebay auction on Thursday--$9.66, shipped--and it arrived yesterday.
When I have money I'll be taking the instrument cluster apart again, to replace all the bulbs with LED bulbs. (They're standard automotive 194 instrument cluster bulbs, and there's an exact LED replacement; I put a set of them into the Escort.) At $11 a pair for the LED type, though, that one's going to have to wait. The real frustrating part is the gear indicator; it uses these little grain-of-wheat bulbs which I know
I'm going to have to special order from somewhere, and they'll cost a packet. (They're just a snip at $6.21 apiece!
That's cheap at twice the price! Why, I'll take a dozen gross!! *whimper*) Looking at the thing, I'm thinking that if I could find the right size LED with a built-in current-limiting resistor, I might just put those in instead of grain-of-wheat bulbs. Especially bulbs that cost $6 apiece.
So after all the work was done, I took the bike for a short ride around the neighborhood. The ass-o-meter reports that the motorcycle is now running in tip-top condition, but of course it would feel like that regardless since I'd just spent hours tinkering with it.
The most maddening issue for me right now with the bike is the oil leaks. There may be no way to fix that short of pulling the engine and replacing all the gaskets; if that's the only way to fix it, then I'm going to get the spare engine from Og and overhaul that
one, then do an engine swap.
Hell, I've done that on a car; I can for damn sure do it on a motorcycle.
Anyway, this morning I rode the bike to church; and when I went home I did as I did last year: took the long way, making a big circle around town. When I was coming back into town I let the engine wind out a bit, and when the engine wound up high enough and it really started to dig, the clutch would slip.
I know what's happening: the engine's winding up into its powerband and overpowering the clutch. So I know that I'll eventually have to replace the clutch on the thing.
I don't know what engine speed that's at, though, because the flaky tach cable has finally given up the ghost. It's just a little bit too short, so I have to finagle it, and my finagling is no longer effective.
So here's what I want to do this summer:
* New chain.
* New tach cable.
* Replace all instrument cluster bulbs with LEDs where possible.
* New wheel bearings, front and rear.
That last is more of a precautionary thing than anything else. The bike is 32 years old, after all. I have no reason to suspect the bearings need replacing, but they're cheap (about $10-$15 a set) and not too difficult to swap out; I could probably do it in an evening if I had all the parts and tools to hand, which means it'll actually take me a couple of days. Whee!
* * *
Tomorrow, then, will be grass cutting day
again. Technically I should have done it today, but Mrs. Fungus and I were up late last night watching Airport 1975
, and then part of Outland
; I didn't get to sleep before 5 AM and had to get up at 8 AM for church today, and since Mrs. Fungus had a special work day today she got up at 11, which means I didn't get to sleep until after noon.
I slept badly, having a dream where a vampire was after me; and when I woke up, I was so groggy I found myself trying to figure out which evil vampire bitch had been about to make dinner of me, before I realized that had only been a dream.
But once I was awake, that was it, so I hit BK for a couple of Whoppers and then got to work on the bike.
* * *This is one of many reasons why I like AoSHQ
The New Yorker magazine takes the Benghazi talking points edits to task. Uh oh, the disease has gone airborne and is moving into the elite and royalty now. Shit status: real.
Expected network ad revenue expected to decline Shit status: yea baby.
Gwyneth Paltrow seems piqued that Psy doesn't know who her husband is. Sorry babe, neither do I and I don't care. Shit status: suck it up and cope.
Bicycle wheel reinvented to eliminate spokes and bumpy rides. At £600 for a retrofit kit, it still seems pricy. Shit status: expensive.
Bolded parts were the ones I found extra-funny.
* * *
Anyway, that was my afternoon--a bit vicious in parts, but a lot of fun, and I actually got something done for once. Whee!
|Saturday, May 11th, 2013|
|#3834: If you have money in a Spanish bank, get it out.
points out that Spain is soon to follow Cyprus in the "government confiscating money from depositors" parade.
The action in Cyprus set a very, very bad precedent, and if you think it can't happen here you are living in a fantasy world. It will
happen here; just give them time.Lord Monckton of Brenchley believes it to be inevitable
. And we've already seen that his head is screwed on straight vis-a-vis global warming, so it's hard to believe that he's a screwball when it comes to finance.
The biggest problem with all this is that--during an economic collapse--the rich lose all their money, but the poor
lose their lives. There's going to be a lot of shit hitting the fan when push comes to shove, and it all rolls downhill; sitting there and thinking, "Ha, the rich will finally
get what's coming to them!" is shortsighted because the poor always suffer more than the rich do.
The rich, after all, can hire people with guns to protect them, and can afford to live places where they can have high walls surrounding their houses, and sheds to store concertina wire to string along the tops of those walls when things really start to go bad. Only those who get caught in the cities suffer; those who got out beforehand generally survive well enough.
...which is not to say that all the rich will be smart enough to have done such things. There are going to be a lot
of rich people who are totally gobsmacked when mobs of starving people burn them out of their houses and then pelt them with rocks. "But...but...I said I cared
about the poor! I voted Democrat! Why are they doing
* * *China reined in its rabid dog, North Korea.
This wasn't Barack Hussein Obama cooly calling NK's bluff. This was China saying, "Look, Kim, you being belligerent is fine and all, but if you bring the US down on your stupid little ass don't expect us to bail you out. We've got our own
plans, and your bullshit will screw everything up, so knock it off NOW.
That's what happened.
* * *Michael Flynn
thoroughly dismantles the politically correct notion that the only native Americans are American Indians.
Which is, of course, bullshit. I
am a native American; I was born here.
Stupid PC bullshit.
* * *
So, last night's season finale of Kitchen Nightmares
I finally figured out that the woman running that place is an unreconstructed narcissist. She could not take the slightest iota of criticism.
When she fired that one waitress merely for asking, "Are you sure?" that was a pretty fricking egregious example of it. I'm pretty sure that a recording of that episode would provide all the evidence needed to demonstrate "wrongful termination", because damn
Then you have her threatening to call the police on a couple of guys who--after waiting over an hour for a pizza--got yelled at and thrown out of the restaurant by her husband. Why was she going to call the police? Because they didn't pay for their meal. The one they never got. Yeah.
Ramsay just threw up his hands and walked away. Those people are hopeless, and their restaurant is going to fail, because they are totally incapable of admitting any fault whatsoever.
People who cannot admit fault end up being pathetic, because if you can blame all your problems on everyone else you never have to do anything to fix what's wrong
|Friday, May 10th, 2013|
|#3833: Detroit is a perfect example of the failure of the blue model.
And near the end of the article you see why.
Armed with a sander and reclaimed wood from demolished homes, [Charles] Molnar recruited several students from the Detroit Enterprise Academy to help him create a bench than can seat a half-dozen riders, equipped with a bookshelf to hold reading material to help pass the time for riders as they wait.
Several nails and wooden boards later, the first bench was placed at a Detroit bus stop Thursday afternoon.
But it might not be there for long.
Detroit Department of Transportation officials are saying the bench was not approved. If it is affixed to a bus stop, the bench will have to be removed.
Government has no money for bus stop benches, but will prevent anyone else
from constructing one, because the last thing the blue model can tolerate is when people actually do things for themselves instead of waiting for government to do it.
We cannot tolerate the sin of self-reliance.
* * *The Peoples' Demokratik Republik of Illnoistan State Police are overwhelmed by FOID card applications.
Mrs. Fungus waited an inordinate amount of time for her revised card (with her new name and address) to be issued, and I told her this was the reason. I knew it was because of Obama and Newtown and-and-and.
* * *
Cold and dreary day today, as predicted, and I don't know what to do about it.
My entire peripheral skeleton still aches, and I don't know why. Mrs. Fungus was seized with such a malady about two weeks ago, which might have something to do with it...or might not. All I know is, it took a supreme effort of will for me to hie myself to church last night for choir practice.
It was the first time I'd been in chuch since Easter
, for crying out loud. *sigh* On the plus side, I made it.
* * *
I grabbed the last 11 eps of Fairy Tail
last night. Comcast has upgraded its Internet speeds, so the bunker now boasts a 50 Mbps download speed, up from 25. It took fifteen minutes to torrent three gigabytes' worth of anime. Whee!
It's amazing how much data you can cram through a single 75 ohm coaxial cable.
The other thing is, I learned that my AT&T e-mail address hasn't gone away even though I canceled my service. I'd already removed it from Outlook, but yesterday I got a postcard from AT&T about the termination of my Internet service.
There were two bullet points. The first was about what had to happen to get it reconnected; the second was about my e-mail service if I was actually disconnecting it permanently:
You can still keep your AT&T email account(s). To thank you for your business, your AT&T e-mail account (and subaccounts) will still be available to you for free through the att.net home page.
SIC. I like their egalitarian use of both "e-mail" and "email".
Once I learned that, I went to the site and got the POP and SMTP server info so I could reconnect Outlook; and I also waded through an enormous backlog of spam. *sigh* But it's nice to know that I don't necessarily have to go and change everything over to the new e-mail address.
Of course, considering what I've paid AT&T over the years for Internet access--and considering that e-mail access is so cheap plenty of companies give it away for free (Google, hotmail, etc)--they dang well ought
to let me keep my access to that e-mail address.
* * *Global warming is causing the most quiet tornado season in 60 years.
That's right! The atmosphere is getting so hot, it's forcing cooler weather on us, and that has led to there being fewer tornadoes this year than any time since 1953!
Damn it, people! When are we going to wise up and realize that we're destroying the planet???????///////
|Thursday, May 9th, 2013|
|#3832: Like anyone with half a brain couldn't see that coming.
China may not, after all, overtake the US.
All you had to do in order to predict that was look at four simple facts:
1) Everything they're saying about China they said about Japan in the 1980s, for exactly the same reasons.
2) Lots of the economic activity in China is due to false demand, such as the vast empty cities that they're building.
3) Another sizable chunk of the economic activity in China is "low-hanging fruit", the easy stuff that any industrialized nation needs, primarly infrastructure. Once that stuff is built, their GDP expansion will slow.
4) This ties into #1; China benefits from a lopsided exchange rate, but as its economy grows that will change. Right now they're an export powerhouse, but it can't last.
There is one other problem with the GDP statistics coming from China: YOU CAN'T TRUST COMMUNISTS TO TELL THE TRUTH, EVER.
China is still a totalitarian country, and the government can simply make up whatever numbers it likes.
[Prime minister Li Keqiang] complained in a US diplomatic cable released on WikiLeaks that Chinese GDP statistics are "man-made", confiding to a US diplomat that he tracked electricity use, rail cargo, and bank loans to gauge growth. For a while, analysts used electricity data as a proxy for GDP but the commissars kept a step ahead by ordering power utilities to fiddle the figures.
The National Bureau of Statistics has since revealed that data collected by the regions overstates GDP by 10pc, though they have not acted on the insight. It is well-known why this goes on. The reward system of the Communist hierarchy has been geared to talking up growth, and officials gain kudos by lowering the stated "energy intensity" of their zone.
We're seeing this, to a lesser extent, from our own government, which is gaming the employment and GDP figures to make them look better than they are.
And what does the article go on to say?
China's growth may not be much higher than the new consensus estimate of 3pc for a reborn America, powered by its energy boom and the revival of the chemical, steel, glass, and paper industries.What
revival? Has there been a revival in any of those industries? What's the American steel industry doing? We still can't smelt iron at a competitive price compared to countries without restrictive environmental controls (*cough*China*cough*) and the only "energy boom" we're seeing is limited primarily to natural gas--which the EPA is trying to stop dead in its tracks. We're producing more crude oil than Saudi Arabia but we can't do
anything with it because we haven't built a new oil refinery since 1978; all we can do is sell the stuff, and--strangely enough--world prices for crude are not dropping.
If our energy, chemical, steel, glass, and paper industries were in revival, wouldn't we be seeing more than 1.5% annualized growth in GDP? I'd wager we'd be seeing more than the 3% this article talks about if that were so.Today's DPUD post begins with this same story.
This reminds me of the “Rising Sun” era in the 80’s and early 90’s when the fear was Japan was going to dominate the world and buy out the US. Look how well that worked out.
* * *"Moore's Law in action"
A cool quarter mil in '73 bucks for a machine with 64k of memory. 10 years later, a 64k PC would have been considered anemically configured. By the early 1990's a 400M drive cost under $500, and machines were getting fitted with megabytes of memory, not kilobytes.
Actually, in 1983, 64k was state-of-the-art for most machines. You could get an IBM PC with more memory, but it was hideously expensive to do so and most people who had home computers had machines that topped out at 64k. 64k was just fine for 90% of the computing population in 1983.
...and it cost $200 for a Commodore 64 in 1983. $400 if you bought a disk drive at the same time.
* * *This is why the media are ignoring the Kermit Gosnell trial.
It has the power to make people change their mind about abortion-as-contraception, because
Gosnell's little butcher shop of horrors is such an awful thing to behold.
* * *This is ridiculous.
A pair of CNN anchors pretend that they're thousands of miles apart, even as things in the background prove they're actually standing a few feet apart in the same parking lot.
There's nothing I can say about this breathtaking idiocy, except, "How pathetic can you get?"
* * *"Nobody knows what's going on"
but there are plenty of us who do
1) Prices of procedures are not published or agreed upon beforehand. Hospitals can charge whatever the market will bear.
2) There is little or no competition, by law, for any medical services, insurance, or payment plans, so providers can charge whatever the market will bear.
3) 90% of the problems with health care are due to government interference.
That's really all I have to say about it.
* * *Environmentalists have always been extreme.
"[Environmentalists] have changed from pro-green, to anti-everything." They've always been anti-everything. Anti-coal, anti-oil, anti-industry, anti-farming, anti-development, and they've been anti-everything because environmentalists are communists
It's not about being green; it's about crippling capitalism.
* * *Borepatch
reminds us that Earth's climate is always changing.
* * *Civil disobedience is not just for civil rights marches.
Although, come to think of it, the right to keep and bear arms is
a civil right guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the Constitution.
...and Denninger is right, by the way: the Second Amendment doesn't guarantee the right to keep and bear squirt guns. It guarantees the right to keep and bear WEAPONS
, specifically firearms.
* * *It's a Muhguhbuh!
I just remembered this from last summer. [Written in 2005, so this happened in 2004.]
After resurrecting my Dad's '77 'B from an 11-year slumber, and giving it a good wash and wax, I took it to my town's cruise night.
I was sitting in my lawn chair, relaxing and enjoying the early evening air, looking at all the people and all the neat cars and such. The 'B was one of about three LBCs there, but it was the first MGB which had been shown at a cruise night here in Crete that summer.
I talked with some people who recognized the car and had fond memories of them, and so forth; but a little later in the evening, after I'd walked around and looked at the other cars, and such, this family walked past the 'B.
They were all fat. This one guy was fat and unshaven, and he was wearing a T-shirt which advertised a pro wrestler of some kind, and he read the windshield display card which was also my permit for having the car on Main Street (only cars older than 20 years are allowed to park along Main Street during the cruise nights. Newer cars get the church parking lot.)
"Hey, look," this guy said to his family. "It's a muhguhbuh! Har har--it's a muhguhbuh!"
Although at the time I thought angrily, "What a f-ing MORON!", now I am chuckling to myself and thinking, "What a f-ing moron!"
It's going to be fun to drive it again, if that ever happens. But that's a good first step.
* * *
The birdbath Mrs. Fungus bought a week ago got broken yesterday, somehow.
The bowl is held onto the pedestal by gravity; the whole thing is made of concrete so you'd expect it not to fall over at random. Somehow, though, the bowl got knocked off the pedestal, onto the patio, and a chunk broke off. She was in tears over it and I was pretty upset, myself.
Now I need to find a way to epoxy the thing back together so it'll be watertight. That's my project for the day. Whee!
|#3831: I was going to write a stunning essay on the decline of work culture in America...
...but then I realized that I'm too lazy to do all that work on something that's not going to pay me any money.
Sorry. When you're getting free ice cream, don't expect Haagen-Dasz or Ben and Jerry's or Frujen-Gladje, at least not all the time. Sometimes you're going to get "generic artificially-flavored iced milk product".
Sadly, around here, it's usually the latter.
Which, if you think about it, kind of proves the point.
The aborted essay was inspired by this Anchoress piece
, which links to another piece on the idiocy of human resources departments everywhere.
I've experienced the kind of transformation that Elizabeth Scalia mentions.
Back in 1998, when I started as a contract technical writer for Rockwell-Collins' Business and Regional Systems, technical publications was a cost center (rather than a profit center) and most of the books needed revision. The backlog was large because there was simply not enough money to revise all the books. (Later I wrote a temporary revision for a book which had not been revised since before I was born. Yeesh.)
I was instructed to come to work, do my job, and go home, to work 40-hour weeks, and not to overwork myself in a desperate attempt to impress anyone. I followed that advice and was hired as a full-time employee six months later.
And six months after that
, Rockwell-Collins decided it was going to start charging for technical documentation. Other companies charged for theirs, and some bright boy in upper management realized we're leaving money on the table!
so R-C must do the same.
The first thing they did was to organize writing teams. Before that, each book had a cognizant writer, someone who was an expert on the material in the thing. He was in the loop whenever the book was revised, even if it was just a one-page temporary revision being issued to correct a part number or something. The cognizant writer need not revise the book (any writer could do that) but he would be involved in the process, because he was the expert on the subject matter.
After moving to a teamed environment, book revisions were handed out approximately at random to whichever team needed a project. Writing teams now had to charge their time to specific cost centers, of course, and it changed depending on what they were working on. Because everything was so tightly scheduled, the technical writers no longer had time to understand the circuitry in order to write detailed circuit theories; now the writer instead had to beg the engineer
to do that part.
Naturally, the engineer had to use his own budget
for that. Some would not; they'd demand access to the writing time code, and I can't say I blame them. Otherwise, tech pubs was offloading some of its work onto other organizations for free
To make matters worse, then, there came the imposition of "Simplified English" as a writing standard. Since the books were going to be sold all over the world, they would be used by people who had English as their second language...and they wouldn't be able to understand it unless it was simplified. Naturally, all the writers were trained in SE, right?
Of course not. No: the quality assurance guys, the guys who read the newly revised books to ensure there were no grammatical or typographical errors, they
got trained in it...and in Dilbert
-esque pointy-haired boss fashion the management assumed that writers would learn SE by osmosis
when QA sent back their manuscripts, festooned with post-it flags:
QA guy: "This isn't in Simplified English."
Me: [unable to see how I could possibly explain it any simpler.] "Well, how should I write it?"
QA guy: "That's your job."
There was a bit of a joke floating around the department about SE and its application. It went like this: "A signal enters IC 1 on pin 3. The signal is changed. The signal is output on pin 4 of IC 1."
In my ignorance of SE, and my desperate attempt to write an error-free detailed circuit theory which anyone in the world could understand without any training or even a list of approved verbs--the equivalent of trying to hit an invisible target in a dark room with a gun that randomly fires sideways--I routinely got bitched at by the editor/composer on our team. "This is very poorly written!" Excuse the fuck out of me; you know, when you're trying to describe how the main receiver in a navigation display demodulates a single-sideband AM signal, and you're not allowed to use phrases like "the demodulated signal" or "noise rejection threshold", it MAKES IT JUST A LITTLE DIFFICULT TO WRITE FUCKIN' PROSE THAT SINGS, BITCH.
Meawhile, management also decided to implement the "more is better, as long as it doesn't cost us anything extra" paradigm. If you were an exempt employee, you were expected to put in 45 hours per week, period. It doesn't matter what you were doing or how efficiently you did it; you had to put in 45 hours per week because We're Professionals And We Stay Until The Work Is Done And We Have A Backlog.
The need for everyone to buckle down and work harder was so dire
that non-exempt employees were forbidden
to work any overtime.
In other words, it wasn't about getting more work done; it was about management being able to force salaried employees to work overtime without having to pay them anything more. It was, in fact, hard for exempt employees to get anything done when all the non-exempt people had left; it was overtime for the sake of it--"work harder, not smarter."
So when five o'clock rolled around and my work for the day was done, and I had no way of getting more work to do, what was I supposed to do?
When I was on the temporary revisions team, I was one of the two top producers on that team. Me and the other person, we switched places every week--one week it was me on top of the page count list, the next it was her, and so on--and I worked a 40-hour week and she worked 45. At the end of every day the input shelf was empty and we had no work left to do; and since the person who processed the temp rev requests--who pulled the books from the library and collected the technical info needed to do the TR--since that person was limited to 40 hour weeks because she was an hourly employee, there was no more work to do on a particular day.
Was I supposed to sit around for an hour every day and do nothing?
We weren't supposed to charge anything to 90-9002 (the "general overhead" charge center, which I obviously still remember 12 years later) and there was simply nothing else for me to do. What was I supposed to do?
...when I was an on-site computer technician, my speed and efficiency were an asset
to me, personally, because it made customers happy to see me getting their problems solved as quickly as possible. It was an asset to my employer, because I could make more money for them--both short- and long-term--that way: I could run more service calls in a day, and our customers would keep calling us back for more jobs because each particular job cost them less money than it would if someone else did the work.
But at R-C, after tech pubs became a profit center, it was a liability to me, because my employer simply did not care
that it was an asset for them. They also simply did not care
that there was no way I could do more than I was already doing, that adding more work hours to my week would not result in more work getting done.
I would have been much better off if I had just slowed the hell down
and took 45 hours to do what was--for me--40 hours' worth of work. Me spending 45 hours per week at my desk was what was important to them, not the quality of my work or my efficiency or even how much I got done
. I'd probably still be working there if I'd done that; instead of trying to do my best work every day in a timely and efficient manner I should have just sat back and taken my sweet time with everything and not worried so much about integrity and honor and honesty. Charge 45 hours per week to whatever charge center it was I was working on, regardless of what it was and what I was doing and how long it actually
took me to get anything done. Waste money so the level two manager who was lovingly dubbed "the little dictator" could preen in the mirror about how much work
he was getting from his serfs.
I'd bet that I still
would have gotten laid off after 9/11, though, because I have a degree from f-ing DeVry
|Wednesday, May 8th, 2013|
|#3830: Well, that's good.
Despite the fact that all my arms and legs hurt like a mofo
I nonetheless hied myself out to the garage in a vain attempt to get something done.
...I did this after taking two ibuprofen, getting a shave and shower, running a couple of errands, and getting a couple Whoppers for lunch. Can't beat $5 for two Whoppers, I always sez.
Anyway, I dragged myself out to the driveway and started working. Lo and behold: the MGB's left rear wheel was indeed stuck due to brake pad issues; I backed off the adjuster and it freed right up. I gave the right rear wheel's adjuster a couple of turns just to make sure it was completely free, then got 'er off the jack stands and pushed her out into the sunlight for the first time since 2004.
Unsure how to proceed--not having the energy to start any serious work on the thing just yet--I got out the hose and rinsed off nine years' worth of dust and garage cruft.
The damned thing looks like a million bucks. Seriously. I just rinsed off the dirt, but after coming inside the house to attend to a few things, when I went back out to the driveway and I saw it sitting there, I was all Damn, what a nice car that thing is.
I have a lot of work to do--a lot
--but I'm starting with a pretty good foundation, and if I can just get the thing to run and drive as good as it looks, people will be begging to buy the thing from me.
* * *
I had to move my Jeep in order to have room to move the MGB into the driveway, and I realized that was the first time I'd driven the thing since...when? I can't even remember. I've been riding the motorcycle to do my errands and such, because the weather has been so nice and the bike gets five times the fuel economy that the Jeep does. Gas is $4.26 per gallon in the Fungal Vale (though I saw it for $4.19 at one station today). I'd wager it hits $5 per gallon this year since no one's up for re-election. $4.26 in early May is a flying start, let me tell you. (The MGB, incidentally, gets around 25 MPG when it's running correctly. So maybe instead of AV plates I'll get regular ones and drive it....)
* * *
We're looking at much more seasonable temperatures for the rest of the week, but that's fine with me. I can wear a hoodie while cutting the grass on Sunday; no one cares.
|#3829: It's a gorgeous day, everything hurts, and I got nothin'.
When I got off the motorcycle yesterday afternoon I noticed that my arms and legs were aching, but not very badly.
Unfortunately, today, they ache a lot
I don't know why; I didn't work all that
hard yesterday. Once the garage work was done I watered my wife's roses, washed a load of dishes, made dinner, emptied the dishwasher of clean dishes and put in another load of dirty (it had been a while since I ran the dishwasher). None of that was strenuous enough to leave me feeling like this.
I don't know what the hey is going on.
What I do know is that I'm going to sit for a little while longer and see if I feel any better. Maybe take some ibuprofen....