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

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Tuesday, May 3rd, 2016
7:02 pm
#5182: Anode replaced!
So today I went to Harbor Freight and picked up an electric impact gun (price, $42-something with tax) and that was able to get the anode loose from the water heater. Sure enough it was encrusted with smelly stuff, which wasn't so smelly after it dried out, but because the space is so tight I had to bend it double to get it out.

Then I poured a half-cup of bleach into the water heater. Take that, smelly water! Anything that might be in there that thrives on hot water and iron oxide (and excretes hydrogen sulfide) should be dead now.

Once it was out I hied m'self to Home Depot for a flexible anode, because I could not fit the spare in with the space I had; then after stopping at Marnell's for beef sandwiches I got to work in the basement.

Now, some years ago, originally, there was a little 3x3 hole in the wall which gave access to the water heater. When one was replaced (not sure if the original or a later one) someone took a Sawzall to the wall to get it out, because the wall was not load-bearing and there was no reason not to make the hole bigger. Well, I enlarged it a bit more to see if I could get the spare I had on hand into the water heater, but even getting creative with bending it and then unbending it as it went in didn't help, so I discarded that plan and made with the $25 replacement from Home Depot.

Got it in, got it torqued down, repressurized the system--no leaks. I advised Mrs. Fungus not to run any hot water for a while as I want the bleach to have a chance to work, just in case some kind of bacteria is causing the stink. Fortunately, if it is, it's not going to care much for sea-level pressure and room temperature; extremophile bacteria are pretty fussy about their living conditions, just like we are. (This would also explain why the smell went away for about two weeks after the first time I drained it: draining the water heater wiped out most of the colony and it took that long for it to come back.)

Regardless, I can now change the anode with impunity, but I don't expect that I'll need to.

Step 2, cut grass. Got that done like a boss.

Step 3: enjoy the rest of my weekend with the knowledge of a job well done.
1:43 pm
#5181: The first deviation
It's a small one. Trump says we need to fix US economy before we go to Mars. Fortunately, this is the 21st century and we have SpaceX; we no longer need NASA to get us to Mars. So the feds can wank around doing whatever it is they think they can do to fix the US economy (which, it must be said, is merely getting the hell out of the damned way already) and just let SpaceX do its thing.

I don't think Donald Trump is an ideal candidate; far from it. Given my druthers I'd like to have a real statesman running, someone who has as clear a vision as Trump does and is not afraid to articulate it the way Trump has. Someone who's not going to kowtow to the press and the special interest but instead speak to what the voters want and need, yet who has consistently articulated a nationalist or traditionalist platform through the years. But we live in an imperfect world, and Trump is the only person who is talking about doing the important and politically difficult things ("difficult" only because the D.C. establishment stands in the way). I can put up with his peculiarities only because he is focusing on the biggest problems we face right now and has a plan for dealing with them, which is more than anyone in the Republicrat party cares to do. (More than just saying, "Oh, this isn't really the problem you make it out to be," before raising taxes and removing civil liberties.)

On the plus side, "fixing the economy" is at least a reasonably definite goal. When politicians talk about space exploration this way, usually it's in the context of "we have all kinds of problems to fix on Earth, first!" which usually means poverty, war, famine, injustice, inequality, and so on--all the commie-lib-prog bugaboos which never seem to be solved regardless of how much money gets thrown at them, because they cannot be solved, ever. Jesus said it best: "The poor you will have always," He said. We spend five million dollars a minute on welfare yet there are still poor poeple in the US; that poverty is relative rather than absolute considering that an awful lot of poor people have $800 smartphones and big screen TVs.

"Fixing the economy" is a bit more tractable. 5% GDP growth and 5% unemployment--real numbers, that is, not the fake crap ladled out by the D.C. aristocracy--would mean the economy had gone a long way towards being fixed, and if our country is doing that well it would mean having a lot of money to spare for space exploration. Maybe we could then fund useful things at higher rates. (Assume NASA's annual budget is $25 billion; the feds spend that much on welfare in about four days, yet NASA is considered a waste of money by most of our politicians. Primarily because there are no votes to be bought in space.)

This is, therefore, a small deviation. Trump is still the best choice.
12:20 pm
#5180: Damn these taste good
First bag of wasabi-ginger potato chips in quite a few months--dang, they are so good it makes you want to punch yourself in the face. I could eat the entire bag at one sitting; they taste that good.

* * *

Stephen Colbert is tanking and he's doing it because he is not funny.
Before he came to CBS, The Colbert Report on Comedy Central was little more than an extended bit of performance art that did little but caricature conservatives and did so in a way that wasn't nearly as clever as the New York Times's newsroom thought. Where Rutenberg talks of Colbert's "integrity, grace and wicked intelligence," he's glossing over the fact that much of his potential audience saw what he was doing as unbridled sanctimony in the service of a narrow political agenda.
And Colbert did as well as he did there for that reason--that and his show's proximity to Daily Show, another staple in the prog-lib media diet.

Stephen Colbert got where he is by being Archie Bunker 2.0; his caricature of conservatism resonated with a different audience than Carroll O'Connor's Archie Bunker did in the 1970s, and for a different reason, but nonetheless the popularity of the two shows rests squarely on the fact that both actors were presenting caricatures of conservatism.

Thus I am not surprised that Colbert is bombing on late night TV. He's not funny, and shorn of his faux-conservative schtick he hasn't got anything to draw people into watching his show.

* * *

TSA queues miss the point: terrorism is the object, not getting hands on aircraft. Sure, you can screen everyone entering the terminal right down to their skivvies and make sure no one brings bombs or rockets or guns or grenades inside the concourse...but of course now you have a mass of people outside the secure perimeter, all bunched up, and it only takes one or two ragheads with suicide vests to rack up a huge body count. (Warning, link to NYT.)

Look at that first picture. One person in a nail-studded suicide vest could kill or maim everyone in that picture if he detonated it at the right time. Close to the center of that picture is a woman in a red coat. Imagine if there was a vest made of C-4 under it--maybe with a layer of nails and screws atop the explosive--and shortly after the photo was snapped she set it off. How many people in that picture would be dead?

What we're doing now--what we've been doing since 9/11/01--is security theater. It doesn't make anyone safer; it merely moves the focus of the next attack. Hell, a couple of guys with machine guns could stroll in there and shoot a lot of the (guaranteed to be disarmed!) people standing in that line before they were taken out by airport security...if they were.

Either method would put a huge damper on air travel for months afterwards, if not longer.

* * *

Gas keeps going up, oil keeps hanging around $45 a barrel. One commentor gets it right: "It's not rising because of demand......and that should bring out the pitchforks and AR-15s."

Demand has not changed and neither have the other fundamentals of the oil market. There's still just as much of a glut now as there was in February. So why is gas costing nearly a dollar more per gallon than it did then?

* * *

Coming soon to a Democrat stronghold near you! Detroit is broke--past broke--and its educational "system" is out of money, having squandered a $48 million emergency bailout from Michigan.

The part I like, though, is the moving goalposts. The school board having secured enough funding to pay salaries through "the end of the school year", now the union is pushing to get more emergency funding to pay salaries through the end of the calendar year.

Michigan, to its credit, seems reluctant to continue to dump money down the hole. Like many metropolitan school boards, the Detroit board underfunded pension funds and spent money on a bunch of stupid crap, leaving them with a shortfall--to the tune of some $515 million--and now they want to stick the bill to the Michigan taxpayer. The union in particular wants the Michigan legislature to pass a bailout bill totaling three quarters of a billion dollars.

Chicago is heading this way.

I desperately want to see the voters of Illinois say, "Uh, no," to this kind of crap...but it's likely that they won't. *sigh*

* * *

Notice how this Hack-a-Day column neatly avoids talking about who commissioned Ferdinand Porsche to develop the Volkswagen Type 1.
Built by Ferdinand Porsche in 1930’s Germany, the Beetle was designed to be a car for anyone and everyone. Its leader at the time wanted a true "people’s car" (i.e. "Volkswagen") that was affordable for a German family, could reliably travel at sustained highway speeds on the new German autobahns, and easily be repaired by its owners.
Emphasis mine.

The fact that Adolf Hitler asked Porsche to do this does not taint the Type 1 "Beetle" as a "nazi-mobile". Why dance around the history? It's true, we have the Beetle because Hitler asked Porsche to build it; but we have interstate highways because Hitler had the Autobahn system built and Eisenhower saw how useful such roads are. All Hitler did was say, "Build a car!" Porsche did all the heavy lifting.

Oh well.

* * *

Yesterday was not really a bad day, all told. Today I've got some errands to run, little things, and then I'm going to see what can be done about the water heater. One of my errands to to Harbor Freight, where I'm going to pick up an electric impact wrench and see if that can do anything about the anode. It's a thrill a minute!

Got to get the grass cut--at least the front yard, as I suspect the back is a swamp after five days of rainy/drizzly/wet weather. Especially Sunday evening, when we had torrential rains which (fortunately) did not last long. On I-80 Between LaGrange and I-57 traffic was moving under 40 MPH for most of the way, that's how hard it rained Sunday evening. Dang.

Anyway, I'm going to check, and see what can be done, and do it. Fortuitously it is a nice day out, sunny and in the 60s, so at least I won't be freezing while I do it. And if I can finally get the damned water heater anode dealt with, that would also be very, very good. I am sick of the hot water smelling like rotten eggs.

But of course, "miles to go" and so forth. No time for Q.E.D. right now.
12:17 am
#5179: It's pathetic and annoying
People who are otherwise able-bodied who claim to be disabled and do nothing but fap around on the government's dime--and then buy $500 cell phones and complain that they don't have the money to pay for them because they're disabled.

Had an idiot like that today. Holy crap, what a douchebag. "I'm disabled! I'm on a fixed income!" Then why the hell did you spend $500 on a frickin' cell phone? If you're actually disabled and on a fixed income, you shouldn't be spending that kind of money for something whose functions can be adequately supplied by a $100 device.

One thing I've noticed is how people who claim to be disabled--who apparently are perfectly able to do a lot of things except hold down a job--cling to their "disability" because it is the only thing keeping them from having to get their lazy asses out of bed and go to work.

One psychological theory, Transactional Analysis, calls this the "wooden leg game". People who do this get validation from people trying to help them, and will do anything they possibly can to avoid fixing the problem so they can continue to get validation. People who play the wooden leg game get, from it, "Sympathy, [and] avoidance of responsibility".

Until the other people around them twig to the game being played, at which point they give up and stop bothering. At this point, the person playing the wooden leg game tries to up the ante. They don't realize that others are onto you, buddy and no one cares about your wooden leg. That ship has sailed.

...and it's annoying and pathetic.

* * *

Mexicans protesting against Trump, who's promising to end the gravy train. The very fact that leftists are rioting over the possibility of a Trump Presidency is enough to convince me we have to elect Trump soonest.

* * *

Under Obama, the US public debt has "necessarily skyrocketed". Thanks, Obama! Thanks, Democrats! Thanks, Republicans!
Here is the real kicker, though. In 2014, the Federal Government spent $3.5 Trillion which was equivalent to 20% of the nation’s entire GDP. Of that total spending, $3.15 Trillion was financed by Federal revenues and $485 billion was financed through debt. In other words, it took almost all of the revenue received by the Government just to cover social welfare and service interest on the debt. In the financial markets, when you borrow from others to pay obligations you can’t afford it is known as a "Ponzi scheme."
Okay, so let's break that down. $3,635 billion divided by 525,600 minutes (in a year) comes to...

$6,915,906 per minute. 75% of which is social spending. That means that our government is spending $5,186,930 a minute on social spending.

$5,186,930 a minute.

$5,186,930 a minute.

* * *

Asshole cop needs not to be a cop any longer.

* * *

Denninger gets it.
Tuesday Indiana votes and we shall see how that comes out. There's a lot of noise there in terms of the polls and the state is both an open primary and notoriously thin and hard to read. The latest poll shows Trump with a 15 point lead, one that has grown materially in the last couple of week as the Cruz "dirty tricks" machine has picked up speed.

The voters are not happy about this sort of crap -- at all -- with two thirds of the Republicans in the latest polls stating that if nobody has 1237 going into the convention the candidate with the PLURALITY should be nominated.

The GOP ought to pay damn good attention to that figure because if two thirds of registered Republicans stay home after the nomination is stolen not only will Hillary be President the party will be destroyed both in terms of vote-getting and fundraising. The GOP will quite-literally go from being a contender to a tiny minority party with no more chance of winning a Presidential contest in the future than the Libertarian party has since only electoral votes count in a Presidential contest and you will win exactly zero electoral votes with 25% of the electorate supporting you.
I am not the only person who thinks so. I knew it.

* * *

Yesterday I handled a call from an idiot who apparently doesn't realize that if your monthly charges approximate $340 and you only pay $170 a month, your bill will rapidly get very large. When I tried to explain this to him he simply said, "That's not right! I paid my bills! That's not right!"

The third or fourth time he did that, I merely said, "Well, I am open to an alternate interpretation." His response was that he didn't know what was going on, but that I was wrong. Uh huh.

The fact is, I can see the payments you've made. They're all listed right there. If you pay half your bill for months on end, your service won't be cut off--at least not right away--but you will see your "past due balance" line item get ever larger. There's no way around it. Simply denying the fact is not going to help, either.

All of this is painfully simple. If you don't like getting late fees and reconnect fees pay your fucking phone bill on time and you won't incur the fees. #Major_Telecom will bend over backwards to help you keep your service turned on but you have to make an effort, and if you don't, it's on you.

When I see that someone has multiple nonpay disconnects, and has recently had their reconnect fees waived, I almost never give them additional waivers. You had your chance already. This time it's not a mystery what is going to happen if you haven't paid your bill, and you already got your fees waived once.

Gah. People are idiots, and I hate them.
Sunday, May 1st, 2016
8:52 pm
#5178: I know I no longer identify that way.
Vox Day discusses how a lot of people who formerly identified themselves as "conservative" no longer do.

Myself, I'm a lot closer to "alt-right" than to "conservative", especially since most of the aristocracy describes George Bush (either one) and Mitt Romney as "conservative". "Traditionalist or Nationalist works better anyhow," Vox Day says in a response to a comment, and I think that's good enough for me; I've always been a Traditionalist.

And there are more of us than Republicans. The thing is Trump is the GOP's last chance; if they muff this they're done for.

* * *

UNEXPECTED CHEDDAR would be a great band name.

* * *

WATCH WHAT YOU WISH FOR BECAUSE YOU MAY GET IT NO GOD PLEASE MAKE IT STOP More about Princess Truckload, the commie-lib Hutt that interrupted that talk where the comedian delivered that epic rant.

* * *

I have two words: Falcon Heavy.

It's the next f-ing Saturn V.

One of these can boost the Red Dragon capsule into a Mars transfer orbit.
Concept to initial test firing of a 1,500,000 pound thrust vehicle booster in two years. That was early NASA. That’s when NASA was run by scientists and engineers and staffed by technicians who were veterans of WWII weapons and aircraft development and early jet aircraft development. They conceived an idea, refined and designed it, then went out about building and testing it right away. That approach is how we went from monoplanes to the SR-71 in twenty years. That is how we went from an idea for a heavy lift space vehicle in 1957 to men walking on the moon in 1969, twelve years later. SpaceX is run by the kind of people that used to run NASA. And the development work is paid for by the profits from the commercial side of their business.
For damned sure. Yes.

...and how about $750 per pound to Low Earth Orbit? The Falcon's main American competitor (Delta IV Heavy) can manage it for eight times as much.

This is made of awesome.

* * *

"it’s hard to socially & politically indoctrinate kids if they’re welding". Damn right.

* * *

Today was a long, excruciating day. We had a queue the whole day and everyone on the planet was either stupid or angry. (Or both.) But my Thursday is over and now I just need to get through my Friday...and then on my Saturday maybe I can cut some grass and do something about the smelly hot water.

It's a party!
Saturday, April 30th, 2016
9:28 pm
#5177: Because people aren't dumb enough to believe it.
"Knowledge of climate change basics doesn’t make people care," complains this Arse Technica headline.

See post title for why this is so. Twenty plus years of insisting "the science is settled!" has coincided rather neatly with about eighteen years of no warming even as CO2 concentrations continued to climb. The theory is wrong.

And the problem is not just limited to climatology. "There is a veritable truckload of bullshit in science." So the people who get all erect and spoogy over sciency stuff should probably take a cold shower, because it's not the do-all-be-all.
Now we are at a critical juncture. The conservatives who clean the crap out of the sewer lines and lay the foundations upon which buildings will be erected, that will house all sorts of publicly funded liberal-egghead think tanks, have come to the unpleasant realization that previous generations never quite learned: They have to make the time for politics. They’ve got to attend to it, as if it’s yet another chicken with eggs not yet gathered, otherwise everything else they’ve done is for nothing. They’ve got to write the code that works, they’ve got to build the diesel engines that successfully contain the explosions, they’ve got to manufacture the action boxes for 9mm pistols that don’t rupture under the stress, and do all the other things that liberals can never do. Then, they have to participate in politics like the liberals do. And the conservatives have to grow all our food.

Can you imagine a liberal being a potato farmer? It would never work. He would decide “this soil is good for growing potatoes,” and then he would do what liberals do all the time: Promulgate the narrative. The very last thing to figure into his actions would be the lingering question of whether or not the soil is any good…and come harvest time, there’d be no potatoes. If you want a big bundle of excuses about how everything is Republicans’ fault, liberals are your guys. Or, gals, or zhers or whatever. But if you want something to actually work then that’s not where you go. It’s not their bag, baby.

If liberals ever toil away under any sort of standard, their first move is to re-negotiate the standard. They’re so busy re-defining things, they’ve made themselves into strangers to the concept of ever getting any actual work done.

So conservatives have to make things work…food that can really be eaten, code that can really be run, combustion chambers that really do contain explosions…then they have to make time to argue with liberals who don’t have to worry about any of that. Wrestle with the pigs in the mud.
That's the problem with climatology: it doesn't work. It can't work. But the people pushing that narrative keep trying to force it down everyone's throats, even though it's bleeding obvious that it's horseshit.

* * *

The fall of the USSR in 1991 came as a complete surprise to everyone except, perhaps, the Soviet Politburo itself. China won't make the same mistakes.

...which is to say China might be tottering on the brink of collapse, clearing the way for a post-communist economy similar to Russia's, which wouldn't be too bad--but we'd never know it beforehand because they're commies and they don't tell the truth about anything, let alone their internal economic numbers. Same with the USSR: we took their numbers at face value but they were about 90% bullshit.

Which reminds me, strangely enough, of the US' economic numbers, which are also 90% bullshit right now....

* * *

Yes, blacks can be--and are--racist.
A Rhodes Scholar and leader in a black activist group at Oxford University posted a Facebook status in which he boasts of stiffing a white waitress on a tip as revenge for colonialism.
Yeah, you're really brave, standing up to that working-class woman like that. You sure showed her, didn't you? You know how to fight the power!

What a dickhead.

* * *

Speaking of which-- the second image is most apt. "Waves Mexican flag, doesn't want to live in Mexico".

They love Mexico so much they want to live in the US, and will fight tooth and nail to avoid being sent back to Mexico. Yeah.

* * *

SpaceX FTW. I keep saying it. They have developed everything they need to land a Dragon capsule on Mars. They can do it.

Which is a hell of a lot more than NASA can say.

Og has a post on his Facebook page, a picture of a full space shuttle ready for launch looking like a mesa with a cowboy in front. The picture bears the legend, "It's who we were." It's sad as hell.

I keep thinking about a similar image, a guy standing in front of the Saturn V lawn ornament down in Houston, looking sad, with that same caption. Holy shit.

At least SpaceX is doing something useful.

* * *

I agree. America First! There's nothing inherently wrong with that, any more than it's wrong for a German to say "Germany First", or a Kenyan to say "Kenya First", or whatever. I'm an American and I want my country to be great again, not the gelded shithole it's becoming.

* * *

The only correction I'd make here is to say "sexes" rather than "genders" but otherwise it's spot on.

* * *

Tonight I replaced the Jeep's left-side headlight. It blew yesterday, so on my way home from work I stopped at the parts store with a $5 off coupon and got a new headlight. At least this time I didn't get pulled over by the cops, and I was able to replace the bulb while sitting in the garage, out of the wind and the rain.

So both headlights have been replaced, now, and I paid just $14 for the pair of them thanks to my continued patronage of O'Reilly Auto parts, and their thoughtful and useful coupons. (Unlike Ace Hardware's useless crap coupons.) It would have been about $24 for the pair, otherwise.

Very tired tonight--that late night Friday followed by an early day Saturday is pretty harsh--but I'm in relatively good spirits and have just two days left in my week. I think that'll be okay.
12:10 am
#5176: And I just sigh and shake my head in resignation.
So today, I was on my way to work. Had to stop for gas, and on my way to the highway I was passed by a guy on a motorcycle. It was a sportbike of unknown providence, but based on the exhaust note I figured cheap Chinese bike because it didn't sound smooth enough to be Japanese. And it sounded like a 250, to boot. (There are Japanese 250 cc sport bikes, but they sound a hell of a lot nicer and smoother than this thing did. It sounded like a dirt bike.)

Anyway, he goes rocketing past me, and then I saw the printing on the back of his jacket:


...in large, unfriendly letters.

Me: *sigh*

I wasn't even offended by it; I was just dismayed: This is how far our society has fallen.

Used to be even if there was some self-styled tough guy motoring around town on a bike, he wouldn't dare have any profanity written on his clothing lest he attract the attention of the cops, who would explain to him in words of one syllable why he isn't allowed to ride around with a billboard advertising his four-letter vocabulary, at least not in this town.

I suppose the cretin thought he was being edgy and cool, but all he's really doing is proclaiming his--and our society's--utter intellectual bankruptcy.

And that's why I was dismayed.

* * *

Speaking of gas prices--WTF, guys, nothing has changed in the damned oil market except the price yet gas has gone up $0.25 in the last 24 hours. Shit.

Oh, of course! How stupid of me! OPEC is going to open the taps, so right now we have to raise prices!

Oh, but now they're falling again, because reasons.

* * *

Oxford, let us remind you, is the world’s second oldest extant university. Scholars have been studying here since at least the 11th century. We’ve played a major part in the invention of Western civilisation, from the 12th century intellectual renaissance through the Enlightenment and beyond. Our alumni include William of Ockham, Roger Bacon, William Tyndale, John Donne, Sir Walter Raleigh, Erasmus, Sir Christopher Wren, William Penn, Samuel Johnson, Robert Hooke, William Morris, Oscar Wilde, Emily Davison, Cardinal Newman. We’re a big deal. And most of the people privileged to come and study here are conscious of what a big deal we are. Oxford is their alma mater – their dear mother – and they respect and revere her accordingly.

And what were your ancestors doing in that period? Living in mud huts, mainly. Sure we’ll concede you the short lived Southern African civilisation of Great Zimbabwe. But let’s be brutally honest here. The contribution of the Bantu tribes to modern civilisation has been as near as damn it to zilch.
Emphasis mine, because damn.

* * *

When will Obama pardon Hillary? A good question. If it does not happen before the election, it'll happen before January 20th of next year. Count on it.

* * *

Does this mean we can start a "White Lives Matter" movement? Because if cops shoot more unarmed whites than blacks, you do know what that means, don't you?

* * *

Target is stupid, which is why they're winning such a stupid prize.
Just this week, a biological man was arrested after allegedly secretly filming a woman trying on bathing suits in a Target dressing room in Missouri.
But transsexuals wouldn't do that! They're just trying to be themselves! We have to give perverts every opportunity to be perverts in order to accommodate a vanishingly small fraction of the population!

Og rebuts.

* * *

"Many of the things that allowed people to get through the last great depression will not save them this time."

* * *

The divine flash of creation happens every time a sperm cell fertilizes an egg. Let there be light!

* * *

#EucharistProblems. Yeah!

And Camilla Paglia FTW: "If civilization had been left in female hands, we would still all be living in grass huts." A woman said it! I'm just quoting her!

* * *

Man, I've got to go to bed soon. Early day tomorrow!
Thursday, April 28th, 2016
3:47 pm
#5175: The Thursday of baking!
Pre-arranged day off from work today. Had to ask for it a month in advance, and if it had been a weekend my request would have been rejected before I could make it; the system we use for that stuff keeps track and always says "day full" whenever I ask for a weekend day off. Meaning, no Saturday off for you! (Or Sunday.)

But today is Mrs. Fungus' birthday, and so we're celebrating. I've already baked a cake, and when this post is done I must go bake cookies. This will be worthwhile and entertaining.

But first, the post.

* * *

Obama did not, in fact, save the world from anything let alone another great depression. Nothing he's done while in office has even mitigated the Greater Depression which--seems I must say it every time I talk about it--started in 2009.

Obama couldn't "convince" Americans that the economy is doing better BECAUSE IT IS NOT DOING BETTER.


Ace observes that the feds couldn't allow a GDP growth figure less than 0.5%, because a recession is defined as "two or more consecutive economic quarters with zero or negative economic growth" and we already had one of those in the fourth quarter of last year.

"We can't," as Ace observes, "have an official recession as we go to the polls."

End Addendum

* * *

Why is crude "soaring" to $46 a barrel when nothing has changed? No one's cut production and there's still as much oil surplus as there was in February. Where is this coming from?

* * *

In a true victory for equal rights for women, women will finally have to register for Selective Service, i.e. the draft. I registered in 1985, and ever since I've wondered why "equal rights" didn't mean women also had to register, not understanding that if it ever came down to a draft the US would be in a major shooting war and would be drafting cannon fodder, which is not something for which you want to use breeding-age females. Well, a bunch of morons have gone to a great deal of trouble to get breeding-age females the right to serve in combat roles, even though they are not physically suited for it, and the logical extension of that is that yes, women will have to register for the draft.

If you're going to insist that women can serve in combat roles and be just as effective as men, then they have to be subject to the draft. Nothing else is fair.

* * *

Will the GOPe get behind Trump? Milo Y. gives a bunch of reasons they should.

As Fred begins:
I love it: Donald Trump's campaign reveals the establishment for what it is, a swamp of corruption as fetid as those of Latin America. It is better entertainment than Vaudeville. The frantic scramble to rig the primaries, change the rules, and thwart the voters--anything to defend their cozy entanglement of political tapeworms--makes absurd any pretense of democracy.

This morning in the Drudge Report: "Trump Highest Number of Republican Voters in History." Who do the Republicans want to get rid of? Trump.
Well, of course they do. Trump's not one of the anointed.

* * *

Chuck Norris on gender dysphoria.

The difference between justice and social justice.

* * *

Besides baking that cake, I also got the dishwasher loaded and started. All that before breakfast. I rule.
Wednesday, April 27th, 2016
9:12 pm
#5174: Ahh, what a lovely day.
No, not the weather; the weather was shit. Cold (forties) and winds from the north and no fun outdoors.

We went to the Shedd Aquarium today, as we've been planning for weeks, specifically to see the amphibian exhibit--but also to see the rest of it, because we like animals and critters.

Because of today's trip I now know that the soft, continuous trilling I hear at night in summer comes from the American toad. The frogs I hear in springtime, the ones Mom called "peepers", are (I believe) cricket frogs, tiny little things about the size of your thumb. Pretty neat.

We saw a bunch of other things, as well, including an octopus, penguins, otters, and these odd fish which look like blades of grass. They're built to swim with their heads pointing down!

Then, our feet hurting, we went to Navy Pier and walked along it, thinking we might take a boat ride, but it was too cold and it began raining to boot, so we gave up on that idea and went home.

Lovely day. Absolutely lovely. And that was after we had one yesterday, where we ate sushi and watched the Charlie Brown movie, the computer-generated one, which was actually really good.

* * *

LOL: at 4m28s one of the guys says, "Hey, don't spill my soup."

I guess when you're in a 412,000 lb locomotive, you don't worry much about a tornado.

* * *

So, I said yesterday (or the day before?) that I wanted to see what prompted Crowder to go off on that epic rant.

I was wrong. Princess Hamhock looks like Chris Farley in drag.

Here's more at AoSHQ, including a video of the whole panel.

And here's where AoSHQ talks about Princess Hamhock.

* * *

Extra CO2 in atmosphere good for plants, econazis claim effect "diminishes over time". Yeah, because of course plants just get tired of their primary freakin' nutrient. That's like saying that Rosie O'Donnel gets tired of ice cream, you know?

* * *

Speaking of the climate nazis, Global warming hits Britain extra-hard this spring with freezing temperatures and snow.

* * *

SDB talks about grapefruit-sized hail. Do you know how much a chunk of ice the size of a grapefruit weighs?

* * *

Socialism's endgame: Venezuela can't afford to print new money. They have officially run out of "other peoples' money" per Margaret Thatcher.

* * *

Trump is hitting all the right notes. If we can actually do even half of what he promises here, it'll be an amazing time.

Bonus points if the usual commie-lib suspects make good on their promises this time. There's always a bunch of creeps who say, "If [Republican] wins I'm leaving the US!" but they NEVER! make good on their promises! Damn it, I know you can't trust a Democrat to stick to his word, but must they tease us like this? WTF!
But they won’t do it. These whimpering asswipes always threaten the same thing every election cycle that has a Republican running in it; I’ve been mocking them here for it since the Dubya days, and not one of them has ever actually followed through on it, more’s the pity.
...because that would be all efforty and shit, right?

* * *

2018? Really? SpaceX tweet says they're sending a Dragon capsule to Mars "as soon as" 2018. For damned sure NASA isn't bothering to land things on other worlds any longer; someone's got to keep the flame burning.

* * *

Take a $1,500 TV, put it in a new box, and sell it for $4,800! Yeah! Dad always said it best: "A fool and his money are soon parted."


* * *

Pics from the aquarium!

Looks like Pen-Pen from Evangelion; first time I ever saw a real one like that.

Now I know why nothing at that cafe had prices on it. I think this cookie cost $4; two of these and a bottle of Coke Zero were $12 with tax.

A rare blue lobster.

An eel. He was posing for pictures.

The anemones were interesting. Should have gotten pics of the jeweled anemone exhibits, where the bottom of the aquarium was covered with tiny anemones.

I actually never saw a real octopus before, not alive and moving. Most cool.

Mrs. Fungus thought this cane toad was adorable. It was huge, too, about five or six inches across.

Saw a lot more than that, of course, but these are some highlights. We had a great time, too.
Tuesday, April 26th, 2016
3:16 pm
#5173: Motorcycles are proof God loves us and wants us to be happy.
SDB talks about Bakuon and one character's encounter with a not-at-all disguised Jesus. The halo and the crown of thorns painted on the helmet--not to mention the robes, the Holy Grail, etc--I mean, come on.

I have to say it's an interesting inclusion in a Japanese production.

Then again the Japanese don't get bent out of shape over stupid crap the way at lot of Americans do, so they find it easy to be respectful towards other ideas. (As long as you leave them alone, that is.)

* * *

Here is the infamous German forklift safety video which is hilarious. It's embedded there, between two other safety videos.

* * *

The town without a police force. (Autoplay video warning.) Home to 1,200 people in summer and 700 in winter, how much do you want to bet that the cessation of a police force will have little to no effect on the crime rate there?

* * *

President Lame Duck is delusional again. As usual: "We Are Fortunate to Be Living in the Most Peaceful...Era in Human History," quoth Boss Tweek, even as he plans to send more special ops guys to Syria to help with the war there. (If "help" is the word.)

Sure, it's an unprecedented era of peace and harmony...except for all the wars and saber rattling and unrest and terrorism. *rolleyes*

Then again I should not be surprised by this. We live in a growth economy as long as you don't count the unemployment. And, hey! As long as you don't count all the things that are experiencing inflation, there's no inflation, either! Education has never been better, except for all the functional illiterates turned out by our schools, and no one is starving anywhere in the world, except for the people who are starving.

Yep, we live in a utopia unknown to previous generations! ...as long as you ignore all the shit.

If a Republican President had emitted a fatuous load like that, the press would crucify him.

* * *

Vox Day matches wits with a half-wit.

Half-wit: "I love being able to back up what I say with hard evidence, peer reviewed scientific consensus."

Here's the problem with that: "peer reviewed scientific consensus" doesn't mean beans. In 1899, all physicists agreed that the luminiferous aether was a real and necessary part of physical law. It was a fluid that filled the universe, had zero viscosity, and was virtually indetectable, but it was absolutely necessary for light (and radio waves) to propagate. The waves had to exist in something, and the aether was it. Aether had to have zero viscosity because otherwise it would blow the atmosphere off Earth (hint: Earth has an atmosphere) and also slow the planets in their orbits until they hit the Sun (hint: there are planets). Any argument against the existence of aether was (or would have been, at any rate) met with derision and ignored, because the aether had to exist in order for light waves to propagate. There was concensus on this point, and physics papers published in the journals all proceeded from the assumption that the luminiferous aether--while not yet detected--was a physical fact of the universe.

Of course, there is no luminiferous aether. It doesn't exist, and it never has. The concensus was wrong.

Prior to the invention of the Big Bang, our universe existed in a steady state. It had always existed, period. Then Hubble came along and showed that the universe is expanding, and so then the universe had always existed in this constantly-expanding state; and because there was observable mass in it, other than our galaxy, it was concluded that the "stretching" of space-time caused hydrogen to pop into existence in the vast emptiness, leading to the formation of galaxies etc. Physicists agreed that this was so. They had concensus.

Our best theory now states that the universe exploded (from something) and if you present another theory you're labeled a crackpot, exactly the way you would have been labeled one in 1955 (for talking about the big bang) or in 1899 (for talking about photons).

"Peer-reviewed scientific consensus" is not an indication of fact. It's an indication of what everyone thinks is fact, which is not the same thing. Peer review in particular is no guarantee of certitude, as most of the time the "review" in question consists mainly of proofreading. Certainly a lot of the science (or "science") done to generate those papers is not replicated--replication is rarely attempted, much less achieved--but since a bunch of peers sign off on it, suddenly it's truth?

If you could get a hundred scientists to agree that the Laws of Thermodynamics were wrong, it would not mean that the Laws of Thermodynamics were, in fact, wrong.

* * *

Socialism is how it begins. Venezuela sits atop one of the largest oil reserves in the world, and should be able to make money hand over fist...and all it took to ruin it utterly was the socialist dictator Chavez.


From yesterday, the link I couldn't read--it's not just Venezuela. It's California, too...and then people wonder why I don't want to move there.

End addendum

* * *

Comedian utterly demolishes SJW hecklers. I'd like to see the whole thing, the start of the asininity from the hecklers, and so on. Well, the rant itself is epic and worth watching.

* * *

Today I have a bunch of stuff to do. As usual. I suppose I should get after it. *sigh*
2:43 am
#5172: Tiring day today.
Got in to work today, first call: two hours.

She was a nice older lady who'd gotten her first smartphone and needed help getting it hooked up to wifi, and then she wanted help getting Facebook on it. I got her 90% of the way there but the phone was an iPhone 4 with iOS 6 on it; the emulator was...lacking...and I couldn't understand why she couldn't get past the "install" button. We finally decided she should go to a store to get the last bit done. Well, she wanted to talk to my supervisor to tell him I deserved a huge raise.

A couple calls later--holy crap, this woman trying to get a new phone for her daughter only there was fraudulent activity on their account and I made twelve calls to other departments trying to get it straightened out. So much for my transfer rate! *whimper*

...but you know, I got through it, and I managed to do so with my sanity intact. That'll have to do.

* * *

Gorgeous weather Monday. Tuesday? Predicted to be 55° and cloudy. Perfect. *sigh*

* * *

Three words: mercury arc rectifiers. Wow.

* * *

...and I'm tired enough at 2:45 AM that I can't make sense of anything I'm trying to read. Time for bed.
Sunday, April 24th, 2016
9:06 pm
#5171: The pause you just experienced is due to me being in immense physical pain all over my body
Friday morning I very nearly stayed home from work. Mrs. Fungus convinced me otherwise--I would have been throwing away overtime pay, for one thing--but my boss strongly suggested I go home long before my shift was over. I toughed it out and stayed until 8:30--got three hours of OT--but then I left work and went home and went right to bed as soon as I got there.

I ached all over. Everything hurt, all the way to my bones. It's like when you have the flu, bad, but without any other symptoms to distract me. I had a lot of trouble sleeping Friday night, even though I was bone-tired, because it hurt so much. I took Xanax and it didn't help much.

Saturday: I got up at 7 AM and realized there was just no way in frickin' hell--

So I stayed home Saturday (beginning of new pay period, OT safe!) and all I did was lay in bed. Sometimes I slept, but after 3 PM I had such a massive headache sleep was no longer an option. I didn't even touch the computer, nor did I watch TV. I didn't put on music. I just lay (and then sat) in silence. I read A Princess of Mars and ran to the store for a few necessities, but otherwise I did absolutely nothing.

By bedtime Saturday night I was feeling moderately better. I still ached, but not as fiercely as I had even twelve hours earlier. When I got up this morning (at 7:20) it was to mere fatigue without the pain, so I hied myself to work.

Tomorrow, another 9-hour day, but I don't have to be there until 12:30.

* * *

The Chicago teachers' pension problem is going to get worse. Right now Chicago politicians think they can stick the state of Illinois with their pension woes. As one useless extrusion put it, "The Illinois taxpayers will just have to foot the bill." But she's going to find out that no, the Illinois taxpayers do not have to foot the bill, and won't.

Millionaires are already leaving Chicago and Illinois by the dozen, because they can read the writing on the wall and know what's going to happen. But the flight of money won't be the end of it, because even if the Illinois legislature tries to saddle the rest of the state with that crap there will be an enormous taxpayer revolt. People from downstate won't pay confiscatory taxes just because a bunch of Chicago lunatics don't know how to do arithmetic.

Absent anything else happening, it'll take decades for it to play out, but eventually the insatiable tax machine will run all the producers, all the industry, right out of the state, leaving nothing but takers. Where will the money come from then? Probably a federal bailout, if (by then) the feds can still run the printing presses.

The pension system is unsustainable. People facing retirement in the next five to ten years are not going to get very much of the money they expect, because it is simply not there, and there is nowhere to get it. No matter how many times the Illinois supreme court rules that this or that fix is unconstitutional, they cannot change the laws of mathematics by judicial fiat.

Most of Cook county will look like Detroit before this little drama is well begun.

* * *

Steven Den Beste makes some excellent points on Shakespeare revisionism.

* * *

That was an expensive demonstration. Assume a single Humvee runs $100,000--that's $300k wasted because some grunts didn't get the tiedowns right. Of course the flight time on the C-100s and all the parachutes and everything else probably cost at least a few million dollars, because the military doesn't really care about wasting money.

* * *

If the Earth's magnetic field collapsed right now, we would notice it, but not for the lunatic reasons quoted in this skeptical piece. The Earth's magnetic field is not particularly dense, but it's huge, and if it were to collapse it would induce huge currents in transmission lines. The blackouts would cover the globe in darkness and last for months until fuses and other equipment could be replaced.

But we wouldn't all die of radiation poisoning, because we still have a hundred miles of air between us and space. It would be a castrophe, but not because of radiation and such.

* * *

Today was a ridiculously nice day, too. I spent all of it indoors answering phones. *sigh*
Thursday, April 21st, 2016
11:50 pm
#5170: Mrs. Fungus rules
She got a promotion today!

Besides going to school, she works really hard, and this is the result. I'm impressed with and proud of my wife.

Now all that's needed is for me to emulate her....

* * *

Time to get serious about Saudi Arabia. If they want to "recalibrate" their relationship with us, why don't we help them by publicly investigating their role in 9/11 and stop buying their oil? Let 'em sell their oil to China or whoever.

Obama is quick to apologize for them, of course.

* * *

Chinese police arrest Ronald McDonald statue. *sigh*

* * *

Today was pretty spectacularly shitty. People are idiots, and I hate them.
Wednesday, April 20th, 2016
7:28 pm
#5169: Monkeys gonna act like monkeys.
A bunch of monkeys threaten Donald Trump with a rap song. I say "monkeys" because rap music is the sonic equivalent of a monkey shitting in its hand and throwing it. The title of this particular simian bowel movement is "Fuck Donald Trump"--stunning in its eloquence! The song is addressed directly to Trump himself, speaking to him in the second person, and somehow ends up referring to him as a "nigga" when it says "Fuck, nigga! Fuck you!" The poster adds:
Violent, illiterate, moronic thugs threatening to assassinate a duly-elected president–openly, brazenly, with full-bore Moron Pride and gangsta swagger and no fear of repercussion, from the Secret Service or anyone else. Ladies and gents, I give you your modern Democrat Socialist Party, in the very flesh.
That's it, right there.

So here "nigga" is used--how? Donald Trump is not black; how can he be a "nigga"? Is it supposed to be a perjorative, or is it supposed to be a replacement for "man", in which case how can it be anything other than a simple noun?

...and like checking for fiber, trying to find sense and logic in monkey shit is waste of time.

* * *

Obama promised Saudi Arabia he'll veto the bill calling for an investigation of that country's role in 9/11, and is promptly snubbed by their leadership when he visits. That's because Obama is a jerk no one likes.

After all, he's been President for seven years and now no one knows which bathroom to use.

* * *

Yeah, people who have things to do are beginning to get tired of this horseshit. That's two posts from the same blog; guess I'd better add them to the blogroll.

* * *

Man, today's just evaporated. I managed to get a shower, and if I'm very lucky I should be able to get the dishes washed. Otherwise, I've done nothing and do not regret it at all.
1:43 pm
#5168: I hope Whole Foods wins, and wins big.
Whole Foods is taking legal action against the asshat who added "fag" to the cake he paid them to decorate.

Short version: gay guy goes into Whole Foods and orders a cake with "love wins" written on it. He picks up the cake, pays for it, goes home, then posts a video showing that his cake says "LOVE WINS" across the top and has the word "FAG" added in the middle. He then decries the homophobia of Whole Foods and the further homophobia of our entire culture and files a lawsuit against Whole Foods for discrimination.

5 Tips for SJW Fraudsters explains quite neatly the mistakes made by this dickhead.

These shitsticks have to do things like this because the incidence of actual bigoted acts is fairly small. Again: nearly all such reported events have turned out to be hoaxes or misreported (Matthew Shepard falls into the latter category) and as the latter link makes plain it is the other side which has had its civil rights truncated or eliminated, always in the name of "tolerance".

So I hope Whole Foods refuses to settle out of court but instead takes this douchebag to the cleaners. There need to be consequences for doing shit like this.

Especially for "The Stupidest Man on the Face of the Earth".

* * *

"You're a victim becase WE SAY you're a victim!" And you're too stupid to know you've been victimized!

A guy and a girl have sex. The girl repeatedly insists that it was consensual, and in fact the couple have had other trysts. The university, however, claims to know better, and expelled the guy.

Oh, he was never arrested, nor was he ever charged or tried for rape in the courts. No, because if they took a case like this to the police, the cops would shrug and say, "Look, if the woman wants to press charges then we can arrest him, but if she says it wasn't rape, there's nothing we can do." But university administrators know better! That girl was raped and it's up to them to avenge her!

...or some shit like that. No, it doesn't make sense to me, either. I'm glad the guy is suing them all. I hope he and his lawyer walk out of that courtroom very rich men.

* * *

This guys needs psychiatric care. Threatening to kill yourself if someone wins the Presidency--that's an obvious cry for help.

* * *

State of decay.

* * *

Powdered metals are just an energy storage medium. Sure, you can burn powdered metals to make electricity, but why? No conversion is 100% efficient. And you have to put energy in to get the powdered metal out; so that's two conversions for the price of one. (Actually, it's two conversions for the price of three, speaking thermodynamically, because you can't win and you can't break even.)

* * *

"Fool! Did no one ever tell you that gagh is best served live?"


* * *

Flashback to 1986:

I was just sitting here a moment ago, enjoying the peaceful early afternoon. The windows are open and it's a pleasant spring day; I was listening to the birds chirping and watching the daffodils waving gently in the breeze, when someone shattered the tranquility, driving by with his car stereo on too loud. It was playing "Hotel California" and the entire neighborhood wasn't inundated with bass. I could not hear the stereo before he was in sight, and did not hear it for very long thereafter.

Never thought I would miss that, but when you compare the asshats of old with modern asshats you must conclude that the old-style ones were a crapton less obnoxious.
Tuesday, April 19th, 2016
6:08 pm
#5167: Well, that was educational
So, I wanted to get the grass cut, and--spoiler!--I did manage it. Getting there was half the fun!

Tractor needs a new battery, and an inactive winter in the garage did not help matters any. I'm not eager to do that today; I just wanted to cut the dang grass. So I hooked it up to the charger and started working on getting the tires filled, thinking that I wouldn't need to charge it for long to get it running.

Little charger wasn't making any headway--one revolution and nothing--so I got the biggie out and tried it. And then after letting it go for several minutes at the 10 amp setting, I tried it.

And after two or three slow revolutions, it stopped, went BUZZ, and didn't move.

Me: "Buzz"?

Now, look: it's purely a DC system. The starter is a DC motor. What you should not hear from a stalled DC motor is a sixty cycle AC buzz. No.

So I went and got my cheap Harbor Freight multimeter, and--sure enough!--it reported a 32v AC voltage. I unplugged the big charger and reconnected the little one, then tore into the big charger, thinking there was something wrong with it.

I had expected, perhaps foolishly, that there would be some capacitors in the thing; either a smoothing cap had gone, or I had a faulty diode, right? Well, when I got the lid off I was dismayed to see there were no caps in the thing, and where the hell was the rectifier? This thing was not pumping full-wave AC into a battery; that wouldn't charge it. Oh...here, on the transformer, four diodes, mounted to a plate which was both the anode and a heat sink.

Diodes all checked out. Okay--so the battery charger supplies rectified AC voltage and the 32-volt AC the DMM saw was just because the waveform isn't smoothed:

The battery charger outputs a voltage that looks like the dotted line. That's fine, because batteries don't really care all that much. I was expecting something more like the red line, but that doesn't happen when there aren't any capacitors in the circuit.

Capacitors would probably fail too quickly, anyway.

Regardless, I figured out that there was nothing wrong with the charger--guess I learned something useful from DeVry!--so I put it back on, cranked it to 50 amps, and got the mower started. And of course the grass got cut.

Go, me.
1:19 pm
#5166: Yes, I ate the whole--LOOK, I WAS DOING OUR TAXES, OKAY????
Mrs. Fungus brought home a box of Munchkins Sunday night. She'd intended to buy a box of 25, but the Dunkin Donuts gave her 50 for the same price because they had too many.

I ate them all.

Not at one sitting. It took me a couple days. Even so, because of this little imbroglio there's a new rule in the bunker: the Munchkin box stays in the kitchen. It's better for everyone that way.

Mrs. Fungus got quite a laugh out of this. It's kind of unusual as I don't have a penchant for gluttony. Oh well.

* * *

Would Chicago have been any better? I think it might have been. Rio is rapidly turning into shit city (literally) where Chicago merely has a problem with violent crime. Personally I think the Olympics is a big bunch of hooey, and I'm glad that Chicago doesn't have that crap going on here, particularly as I have a commute, and setting up "Olympic City" in Chicago would merely have further bankrupted Illinois, which already has trouble paying its bills.

Of course, Obama and Valerie Jarrett and other prominent Democrats would have made a killing on land and construction kickbacks, but that's incidental....

* * *

Any doctor that presents me with a bill like that is not going to like my reaction. My first step would be to muscle my way into his office, put the bill on his desk, and laugh in his face, loud and derisively. Step two would be to point at the $6,200 "facility charge" and to tell him, in no uncertain terms, into which anatomical orofice he could insert his bills until and unless he began to submit bills which actually reflect reality.

...that $6,200 facility charge is a little more than half of the bill. There's another charge, some $3,200 for a CT scan.

From the article Denninger links:
Federal law requires hospitals that offer emergency services (including at freestanding facilities) to provide a medical screening examination and stabilize a patient, regardless of that patient’s ability to pay. Anything that can be interpreted as discouraging a person from seeking care at that facility violates the law.
So saith the Colorado Hospital Association. Except that the law--EMTALA, a Reagan-era law--does not require that hospitals perform CT scans for sinus infections.

The last time I had a sinus infection, the doctor didn't need to do a CT scan or run a battery of other tests to make the diagnosis. It took her perhaps ten minutes of talking and examination to make the determination that, yeah, a course of inexpensive antibiotics would be sufficient to deal with this.

So Denninger is right when he says, emphasis removed:
If you ran a gas station and didn't post a price for your gasoline, refusing to give anyone a price until after the gas was pumped into the tank you'd be in prison right now. Utterly no business can get away with that in America today, other than one -- the medical industry, which does exactly that every single day to thousands of people.

Further, if you and your gas-station buddies colluded to figure out how many gas pumps to have and how much gasoline to stock in your town you'd also go to prison because that's black-letter illegal under laws that have stood for a hundred years -- collectively found in 15 USC. The medical industry does this every single day in America and no, there is not an exemption for them either.

This is why someone can get a $11,000 bill for a doctor visit because he's tricked into it.

The medical industry argues that EMTALA, a law I remind you Ronald Reagan argued for and got passed, is responsible for this outrageous financial rape. While EMTALA is an unmitigated disaster it is not the driver of this sort of policy, rather, it's a convenient foil to pull out and scream about all the "poor people" who wouldn't be able to get any medical care if screwing the common citizen was stopped.
Doctors will argue that you can't give an estimate for what treatment will cost because there are too many variables, and what if there's an emergency during treatment? But the answer to that is that ninety-five percent of patient interactions are routine--probably more--and the chance of unforeseen, life-threatening emergencies which will incur unexpected high costs is relatively low by comparison.

The cost of medical care in this country is high not because it costs that much to provide, but because carefully-managed scarcity has driven it that high. In the Fungal Vale, for example, one must drive quite a distance to be out from under the medical monopoly that has arisen here. There used to be two competing hospitals within ten miles of each other; both hospitals now operate under the same banner, same management, same everything.

There is no incentive, no need, to compete; prices are what they say they are, and you have a binary choice: you can pay them what they ask, or you can do without medical care.

This is a condition that our government has fought to correct in every other industry there is. Why is the medical industry exempt?

* * *

The classic pattern again rears its head. Bernie Sanders: high taxes for thee, but not for me.

"...[T]here was outrage over Mitt Romney’s effective tax rate of 14-15%, but Bernie is paying even less," concludes the post. Well, duh: Romney's a Rethuglican and therefore his 15% tax rate is the result of evil fascist greed, and all he deserves is prison and maybe execution. Sanders is a socialist, so his 13% tax rate demonstrates his cogent understanding of the tax code, which is why he should be President for life.

* * *

How many administrators at UC Berkeley support the $15 minimum wage? What a surprise: minimum wage goes up, people get fired. Because the real minimum wage is $0.

* * *

Today is my Saturday, and so I get to do the traditional Saturday chores. I get to cut the grass! Whee!

1:05 am
#5165: That's because gravity is an emergent property of four-dimensional spacetime, not a force.
It merely acts like a force.

The Earth is not subject to the sun's gravity; it does not circle the sun. The Earth moves in a straight line through space which is curved by the sun's mass.

Occam's Razor: if the force of gravity doesn't fit with the rest of physics, it just might be because it's not a force at all.

Think about it.

* * *

The above is today's quotient of "what if?", completely free of charge, and is presented merely as a hypothetical topic for discussion.

* * *

UN caused the cholera epidemic in Haiti because they're here to help so they don't need to worry about the little details like proper camp sanitation and keeping their sewage out of the water supply and things like that.

* * *

And none of the people taking kickbacks are exactly Republicans, know what I mean?

* * *

This article contains some interesting information on why oil prices collapsed.

* * *

I really, really love it: "Seems the Sanders campaign isn't very happy about this:..." I should think not, having old Bernie's profile as the latest in a series of muderous socialist dictators. Lenin, Stalin, Mao--those three killed some 90,000,000 people in the 20th century, you know, all inspired by the first two in that lineup, Marx and Engels. Yeah.

I can see why the Sanders campaign doesn't like the comparison, but I do. I like that comparison!
Sunday, April 17th, 2016
8:50 pm
#5164: Daddy, did he--
In the OJ Simpson trial miniseries, which has now ended, there is a flashback to when Johnny Cochrane was an assistant District Attorney for Los Angeles. He's taking his daughters out for treats when he gets pulled over by a motorcycle cop.

Instead of being respectful to the cop, he mouths off: "I know the drill! I'm a black man driving a nice car in a white neighborhood! Just check my license so I can get on with my day!" and of course the cop puts him in cuffs, because no matter what color your skin is it's a poor choice to get angry and yell at a police officer.

Anyway, the cop checks his license, takes off the cuffs and apologizes. Cochrane gets back into the car.

One of his daughters asks mournfully, "Daddy? Did he call you a nigger?"

"He didn't have to, honey."

Well, for one thing, the cop would've put anyone in cuffs who mouthed off to him like Cochrane did in that scene. For another, cops pull people over for no reason all the time, not just "driving while black"; ask a teenage boy in a muscle car how many times he's been stopped.

It was a silly scene. I don't know what it was supposed to have to do with anything; maybe it was an explanation for why Cochrane had such a racist chip on his shoulder. I don't know.

They portrayed Cochrane as a real tool, too, in that show.

* * *

Speaking of "real tools" I've had enough of that f-ing hot water smelling like rotten eggs. I'm going to go get a firkin' electric impact wrench and get that f-ing anode out so I can stop this crap. Holy shit.

* * *

I have one more 9-hour day to get through, and then it's my weekend...and I can relax. Except for the water heater and the Jeep's exhaust, both of which I AM SICK TO DEATH OF FUCKING WITH EVERY DAMNED WEEK.

The water heater--I talked about that. The Jeep's exhaust: the damned pipe won't stay on the spacer I made, so I'm going to get some radiator clamps and clamp it to the spacer as a way of keeping the f-ing thing put until I have time and money to get the exhaust pipe fixed properly. The result, though, is that the Jeep is louder than it should be, and the exhaust is rattling strangely. I hope I don't have to spend all my overtime money on fixing the damned exhaust system, because that would suck.


* * *

The first digital camera used a decapped DRAM chip as a sensor and an oscilloscope in X-Y mode as the display.

* * *

I don't know how I'll get through tomorrow. Today I was really tired. On the plus side, I don't have to be at work at 9 AM today; I won't even wake up before 10. That'll do.


Mrs Fungus asked me: "Did you write in your blog about all the things you had to do today? Work overtime, do our taxes, clean the cat box, fix my car's AC, and give me a dickin'?"

Me: "Well, I wasn't going to, but I guess I will now...."

Did the taxes with Turbotax's online system. It was relatively quick and painless, though it cost a bit more than I'd hoped; plus side is, it was a damned sight less than HR Block would have charged us, and just as good a job. Win.
Saturday, April 16th, 2016
8:15 pm
#5163: Well, that wasn't TOO bad
Under five hours of sleep and overtime today--

Got out of bed at 7:15 and hit the shower, was on the road by 7:50; made it to work at 8:42-ish, which gave me a little time to relax and enjoy the morning air before it was time to go in.

Calls were calls. As always.

Got off at 6:42, 12 minutes after quitting time, and hoofed it out to the truck. Drove home, had a snack, and will soon be getting a nap in. I am rather tired, and I get to do it all over again tomorrow.


* * *

I don't use Quicktime. I use the K-Lite Codec Pack, the Mega one; it works fine for just about every digital video format ever.

* * *

Islamic savages cause a lot of trouble for Canadian children, and the newspaper decides their coverage of the event wasn't sympathetic enough to the savages. So whatever newspaper it is, you can bet it's only worth wrapping trash in.

* * *

We really need to know what role Saudi Arabia played in 9/11. We need to know (rather than ignore their connection to it as we have for 15 years) and do something about it. We have enough oil that we can tell them to piss off. We really need to stop treating savages with kid gloves.

* * *

Absolutely gorgeous weather today, and I spent almost all of the daylight hours at my desk, earning money. This is how life works, kids.
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