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

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Friday, March 24th, 2017
5:05 pm
#5504: 80°
Yep, nice warm day today. Went out to the garage and hauled all the scrap steel to the scrapyard. 140 lbs' worth; netted me $13 and change. So much for my go-karty aspirations, but that steel has been sitting there untouched for much more than a year, and I'm not likely to be doing anything in that department before next year at the earliest. So, dump it.

Still need to crush the cans and take them; I'll do that next week, along with getting the electronics recycled and the donation pile hauled over to Salvation Army. That will make much space.

Other thing I want to do: take certain items from here (like the dorm fridge, the room AC I never use, and some other bits and pieces) and put them in the storage unit, then haul the two TVs at Dad's house to the recycler. Probably end up doing that before I recycle the electronics that need to be gotten rid of, so I can haul it all in one big go.

Got to get rid of the junk! Soonest! I'll need to be able to access the lawn mower at this rate.

* * *

Poor little rich girl just can't catch a break. We're talking about Chelsea Clinton!
She gets $600,000 from NBC to do a couple of almost-unairable puff pieces.

And then she gets "Impact" awards for having successfully managed to be born.

But poor her anyway.

...

By the way, Chelsea Clinton's big job today was tweeting out this story, which, coincidentally, also appears in the LA Times that just puff-pieced her lame ass, and which claims that global warming will cause greater (wait for it....) diabetes.
OH DICK NOT THAT GLOBAL WARMING DIABETES WE ARE ALL DOOOMED

*rolleyes*

The left--or some portion of it--has identified Chelsea Clinton as its next great white hope, apparently because "Clinton". As far as I can tell there is absolutely no other distinguishing thing about her; if she were not the (alleged) offspring of Bill and Hillary, all else being equal she'd be a nobody.

It's a spectacularly bad way to pick potential nominees: "Hey, this person has the same last name as the most successful person we've had in the White House in fifty years. Let's elect her next!"

...but it's all they've got. Have you looked at the major players in the Democrat party lately? They're all older 'n dirt, and have the curb appeal of a burning tire. From here there's no obvious leader for the Democrats, no one who's going to get the base stirred up, especially since they managed to fob off old Bernie (who, himself, came of majority sometime in the Jurassic era and is an avowed socialist to boot). Chelsea Clinton has the advantage of being young and sort of cute, even if we do know exactly how she's going to look as she ages. (Hint: her mom.)



(That's from the 2008 election, but that's okay. Still applies.)

* * *

So, Cosmopolitan has another thing for the feminists to worry about. Feminists hate the fact that sex is fun, which is why they do everything possible to take all the joy and beauty out of it. The latest salvo in that war is being unhappy that men derive pleasure from making their women feel good, because "it's all about his ego".

It's a whole bunch of horseshit, of course, because it's Cosmopolitan.

* * *

John Deere is making the mistake of thinking that they can lock down their stuff and people will still buy it. Okay, locking down your tractors with digital rights management (DRM) is going to keep people from using cheap Chinese knock-off parts, but it's also going to piss off a lot of people who are depending on their equipment and then find they need to pay some schmuck $160 an hour to drive out to their farm with a laptop to reset a single code.

It really is a shitty way to do business. Loyalty is a two-way street, and no one stays in business for long when they treat their customers like criminals. Or cash cows to be milked.

* * *

Mrs. Fungus bought a DVD of Sweeny Todd performed as a concert, and Neil Patrick Harris was in it. Apparently he was in the original production, and he reprised his role in this one as Tobias. Who knew Doogie Howser could sing?

...so now we've seen the thing five times in various forms and I absolutely cannot get the music out of my head. WTF.

With the result that I got pot pies for dinner tonight and told my wife we were having "the worst pies in London". Maybe with a salad.
2:28 pm
#5503: South Africa 2017 = Zimbabwe circa 1985
So, it looks as if South Africa is going to go the way of Zimbabwe.
Sober minded people made the point that eventually, the blacks would do what they have always done and murder all the whites. It was a process that was well underway in the former Rhodesia. The white farmers were being harassed, having their lands seized and in some cases getting killed for being white. But, the good thinkers in the West claimed it was exaggerated and anyway, Nelson Mandela was black Jesus so nothing but good would come from the end of Apartheid.
"Black Jesus" liked to "necklace" people--put a tire filled with gasoline around their necks and set it alight--and was in jail at least in part because of the political violence he'd committed.

And yeah, in twenty years, South Africa is going to look like Zimbabwe.

* * *

Another example of the complete bankruptcy of socialism: Venezuela! They're sitting on one of the biggest known deposits of crude oil in the world. I suppose that Chavez et al thought that the price of oil would never fall under $80 a barrel; with OPEC in charge and the US stupidly not producing any significant amount of oil, socialism could be financed entirely with petrodollars ad infinitum. After all, all the experts were saying that the price of oil could only go up because Peak Oil, blah blah blah, etcetera. But then, fracking, and an economic depression. It's difficult to keep the price of oil up when the supply increases at the same time demand drops.

Venezuelan socialism was doomed, anyway; it can't be otherwise. But the instant Chavez started to nationalize things, that was the beginning of the end.

...you know, I just don't have the fortitude to say the same thing over and over and over again. Socialism doesn't work. It can't work, not for long. It's contrary to human nature, and human nature is not malleable enough that it can ever be made to work. It's for insects, not humans.

* * *

John McCain? Really? I am starting to think that when McCain lost the 2008 election he did us a favor. Sure, we got President Jughead for eight years, but every time that guy shows up in the news it only further convinces me that he would have been a terrible President.

McCain was always the Republican that the press liked, precisely because he was always speaking out against the GOP. Now he's doing it again.

...and no, it wouldn't surprise me.

McCain being awful is pretty much part and parcel of the general awfulness of candidates we've seen from our political parties over the past twenty years. Bob Dole in '96, Bush in '00, McCain in '08 and Romney in '12--and the Democrats no better. Clinton, Gore, Kerry, Jugears, and Hillary Clinton? These are the best that our parties have to offer?

I'd like to think that this is a more recent phenomenon, that Presidents only started sucking after the 1980s. But Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, and Gerald Ford weren't prizes, either. And Carter--holy shit. Kennedy would probably have been considered a crummy President if he hadn't been assassinated. (His poll numbers certainly weren't good; he was in Dallas to improve them!) How far back do we have to go to find a decent President? Eisenhower? Truman? Roosevelt? All of them had serious things wrong with them. The entire 20th century was a crapfest of dickhead Presidents, starting with Woodrow Wilson. Was Theodore Roosevelt the last time we had a good President before Ronald Reagan? And how good was Reagan, anyway? He consistently scores well in polls of recent Presidents, but look at the competition!

Jury's out on Trump. Trump is making the right noises but the proof of the pudding etc. We won't know how good Trump actually is until 2024 at the earliest.

But McCain--

Look, Obama was an awful President. He was as bad as Jimmy Carter, if not worse, but look at the alternatives.

1) Hillary Clinton. Hillary Clinton did not improve with age, but a Hillary presidency in 2008 would have been disastrous for the country, about as disastrous as it would have been had she won in 2016. She was the odds-on favorite to win the nomination in 2008, but for Obama.

2) John McCain. I backed him because I was still in "back the nominee!" mode, before I realized that the GOP was not serious in its opposition to Democrats. But he was a lousy candidate. Sarah Palin was the best thing about his campaign, and she was the only person in the contest with executive experience.

From here, it looks like McCain would have been a disastrous President, on par with Jughead...and the Greater Depression would be laid squarely at his feet, ensuring Democrat rule for some time to come.

I'll have to think about this.

* * *

Meanwhile, trying to find info from Fungus posts from 2008 on the election, I came across this phrase, and liked it: "The best image is the picture of the steering column, laying on the pavement, its airbag deployed like a forlorn semaphore of defeat[.]" Guy with Acura NSX got into a street race against a Honda Civic with a "Tuned by Reese" sticker in its back window. I gathered that the Civic was not actually "Tuned by Reese".

Luckily, no one was killed in this staggering display of poor judgement.

* * *

I suppose the same thing could be said about this blog.
Thursday, March 23rd, 2017
2:50 pm
#5502: Well, this comes as absolutely no surprise whatsoever.
Sears on the skids?
...[S]uppliers to Sears have told Reuters they are doubling down on defensive measures, such as reducing shipments and asking for better payment terms, to protect against the risk of nonpayment as the company warned about its finances.
With customer service like this, it's not terribly surprising. Sears has been failing for a long time; I worked for Sears Business Centers through 1991 and even then the entire edifice that was Sears was starting to crumble.

But I notice that the collapse of Sears didn't really start before then. I suppose the collapse of retail is the result of a few things such as online marketing and vastly improved shipping options; before FedEx and UPS your only option was the post office, and that was the era of "allow 4-6 weeks for delivery" since orders had to be processed manually.

Well, there's not a lot that can be done about it now.

* * *

So, the fact that Trump and his transition team were spied upon is heap bad juju. The press is denying it, but it's the facts; someone was spying on Trump, at the very least after it became obvious that he would win the nomination.
...It's now clear what happened. The Obama people started spying on Trump once he had the nomination or perhaps even earlier. They may have started earlier with an eye on helping the Republicans knock him off in the primary, but that's not clear. They figured that Clinton was a lock so they were not careful about covering their tracks. The Clinton people are as dirty as it gets so they were not going to be ratting on anyone over it. If anything, they would expand on it.

This is where the Russian hacking story comes into the picture. Once disaster struck and Team Obama realized they had a problem, they needed cover, so they started with the Russian hacking nonsense. They would then claim that it was all an accident and they were just trying to prevent Boris Badenov and Natasha Fatale from attacking our democracy! It's also why Obama signed a retroactive Executive Order giving cover to the intel agencies for their domestic spying activities. They were creating a cover story.
This is why they continue to harp on the whole "Russian hacking" thing, even after all this time: it's the only thing protecting a lot of people from going to jail. If it comes out that anyone in the Obama administration ordered wiretaps etc on Trump, it's going to blow big and it'll probably render most Democrats radioactive, just by association.

* * *

"Is Trump afraid of stairs?" Asks CNN, which was completely incurious about why Hillary Clinton required a 3-man team to assist her with stairs.

* * *

Well: over the past week or so I've been rereading $RELEASE_CANDIDATE_ONE, because it's been eons since I last read it and I needed to check what I'm writing in Apocalyptic Visions against what was written in the very next book that occurs in the timeline (ie $R_C_1). There are a few minor continuity errors, but nothing I can't fix. And it's a good cold read, since it's been literal years since I even glanced at it; I finished the book today while waiting for contractors to show up at Dad's house for estimates.

Damn it's a good book. If I do say so myself.

...suppose I should do something, eh? Submit it to another publisher? Castalia rejected it ("doesn't suit our needs" or something like that) but traditional publishers are probably even less likely to accept it since it's pretty much non-SJW.

Well, we'll see, I guess.
Wednesday, March 22nd, 2017
5:16 pm
#5501: ...and it goes by the name of CONGRESS
The five dumbest questions asked, so far, of Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch. One of the things I love best is how Democrats try to equate "originalist" with "he wants to take us back to the 18th century!" As if, by reading the Constitution according to what the founders intended, we're forced to use quill pens and hand-laid movable type, where we can't use telephones and computers, and so on.

Democrats love their straw man originalist thought when it comes to the Second Amendment ("The Second Amendment refers to muskets and flintlocks") but their application of it is limited only there.

Somehow a slight edit of Sweeny Todd seems appropriate:
There's a hole in the world
Like a great black pit
And the vermin of the world
Inhabit it
And its morals aren't worth
What a pig could spit
And it goes by the name of CONGRESS.
Or "...the Democrat Party" but that has too many syllables.

Failed comedian Al Franken seems to be particularly hostile to Gorsuch. Franken was never funny; he started with SNL as the initial cast began drifting away, and he was in fact a harbinger of things to come. An SNL ep today is a solid two hours of Al Franken. It sure was nice of George Soros to buy that senate seat for him; at least now we don't have Al Franken on TV failing at being entertaining. Though I'm not sure him being a Senator is an improvement.

* * *

So, the big Corroding Empire brouhaha is getting interesting. Because it appears that Corroding Empire has not been removed from the Amazon catalog via their normal process, but because someone with access to the system--an Amazon employee--unilaterally decided to remove the book and pull other shenanigans.

Now, here's the thing: it's just possible that this person, doing such things in excess of his authority, has opened Amazon up to a lawsuit. Most companies, rather than get sued, will simply fire the person who misbehaved. We'll have to see what happens here, but I hope the SJW in question is really happy with himself, bceause it's possible this nonsense will cost him his job.
UPDATE: Finally got to speak to a supervisor. She's not only escalated the matter to legal, but has assured me that the book will be unblocked, stay unblocked, and that the matter will be fully investigated. It's not just the three blocks, the culprit(s) also put the book on the Excluded list for Amazon Associates, which prevents others from being paid when someone buys the book.
See, if you have an "Amazon" link on your web site, and I go to Amazon using that link and buy something, you get a couple shekels from Amazon. It's not a lot of money, but the more people do that, the bigger your check is. And this unnamed "activist" put Corroding Empire on a list which excludes it from that activity.

If this supervisor is on the level, it means heap bad juju for the "activist". Or it ought to, in any case.

* * *

1970s fashions for men, and that last one made me think, "Queer Avengers, Unite!" The dude in the white pants is using a lady's scarf for a belt, for crying out loud.

* * *

Today's XKCD made me laugh out loud:



* * *

I was impressed by this:



That's a G-scale model railroad--one built outside, in someone's back yard--with an actual operating rotary snowplow. Granted it's a bit unrealistic--the rotor spins fast enough that the snow is ejected at about Mach 9--but it's still really cool.
Tuesday, March 21st, 2017
9:59 pm
#5500: It's been THIRTY YEARS, damn it
It was 1986, I think, when I took my first shots at radical feminism. I wrote a humor novel about a high school kid afflicted with the worst life has to offer, including a radical feminist mother and sister. I thought I was exaggerating humorously, but it was indeed another case of reality being stranger than fiction.

So the latest brouhaha is, apparently, feminists taking exception to Wonder Woman shaving her pits. My wife brought this to my attention, asking me why it was such a big deal. My response: "Honey, it's been about a thousand years since I stopped trying to understand the Stupid Bitch movement."

She laughed.

* * *

Well: two articles demanded that I whitelist their sites before I could read them. My response: close! As stated before, you cannot guarantee that the ads you serve will be malware-free, and even if I could definitively prove I got malware from an infected ad from your site, you would not take responsibility for it. So, fuck ya.

* * *

"Get ready for impeachment!" Only if Democrats win a majority in the House in 2018. Which, right now, is something I wouldn't bet on absent vote fraud on an unprecdented scale.

* * *

This is racism. Take this bigot's words: "Also white people are evil. Whiteness is evil." Change "white" to "black". "Also black people are evil. Blackness is evil." Now, is that racist? Well, if it is, why is her original statement not racist?

One of the comments sums it up best: "Keep humping that chicken, Ms. Witt, if you want MOAR Trump. This is how you got Trump in the first place."

* * *

If Trump is a "failed billionaire" I have to say I wouldn't mind being that kind of failure. I mean, he takes $40 million, parlays it into a $4 billion fortune, ends up President--this must be one of those leftist redefinitions that's only possible because of deconstructionism. Where "illegal alien" becomes "undocumented immigrant", "shoot all the pigs" becomes "black lives matter", "rich college kids rioting" becomes "resistance", something like that.
Some of their words make sense but simply don't compute, as when the Liberals describe President Trump as a "failed billionaire." The man flew everywhere in his own 757, he owned golf courses and hotels all over the world and before he moved into 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, lived in in a gold-encrusted four-story penthouse atop the gleaming skyscraper he owned overlooking Central Park.

So just what does "failed" billionaire mean? And how do I become one?
Please put my name after his. I could do with that level of failure in my life.

* * *

The whole "Corroding Empire" thing is a laugh and a half, and one commentor there brought up a point I hadn't considered:
The dimbulbs at Tor don't seem to understand that they've just given Castalia House a fortune in free publicity. I mention this all the time, and the dimbulbs (all over the place in publishing and elsewhere in the leftosphere) just keep doing it.
It's true, they did! And they never, never, ever listen when someone points out to them that they're not helping themselves, because they're convinced they're smarter than everyone else.

Nope!

* * *

Next thing you know, they'll be complaining that Wonder Woman--an Amazon--hasn't cut off her right breast. WTF, it's a comic book for guys. Get some perspective.

...not possible, I know. What do you call a radical feminist with perspective?

I don't know! So far there's never been one.
Monday, March 20th, 2017
5:02 pm
#5499: That went well enough
Phone interview lasted five minutes, was entirely positive. First step of a multi-stage process, of course. But a good start.

* * *

Menorah disassembled and reassembled as a swastika, but it's "vandalism" and not a "hate crime".

Years and years ago, a friend of mine heavily involved with academia told me that the biggest enemy of the American jewish were blacks. Such a thing cannot become general knowledge, which is why this crime is quietly being called "vandalism" instead of what it really is.

If the perpetrators had been white--

* * *

Feminists don't mind when muslims destroy the bodies of women and control their sexuality. You never hear a peep from them about it.

* * *

Debtor's prison is illegal, yet that's what this town had. Can't pay your fines? Go to jail until they're worked off!

Stupid.

* * *

Borepatch lays out the entire case against man-made global warming. It starts with Mann's risible "hockey stick" graph and goes from there.

* * *

So Tor got Amazon to pull Corroding Empire by Johan Kalsi on the theory that the title, cover, and author were "misleading". So Castalia--anticipating this move--has already republished the book under the title Corrosion, by Harry Seldon.

"Sadly for Tor Books, there will be no similarly easy fix for the disaster that is The Collapsing Empire."

* * *

Yet another big surprise: man wins womens' weightlifting competition. I say "man" there but the person in question is in fact a man who "transitioned to female" and who identifies as a womam.

Here's the problem: [pronoun] may identify as female, but [pronoun] is male in physiology. Men and women have different bone and musculature, different enough that an ideal male bodybuilder will always be able to lift more than an ideal female bodybuilder.

It's a biological fact; it's not opinion or a social construct. It's why the division between mens' and womens' sports is necessary: men will always outperform women because the male physique is optimized for physical performance in a way the female physique is not.

Of course, if you ban male-to-female transsexuals from female sports divisions, there'll be an incredible hullabaloo about it. It'll be trans-phobic and this and that and the other thing. But not doing so will relegate biological female athletes to the sidelines as the biologically male ones dominate the competitions in which they participate. (Female-to-male transsexuals won't be a problem. They won't be able to keep up with their biologically male competitors.)

* * *

Well, we just don't know what motivated that guy to shoot up Orly Airport in France. Reportedly he yelled something about being ready to "die for allah" but we have no idea how that connects with killing people. Really, we just don't understand it at all, because we're a bunch of clueless dickheads.

* * *

Well, now it's late afternoon, and I still have errands to run. Suppose I ought to get after 'em.
Sunday, March 19th, 2017
8:54 pm
#5498: blurgle
Bad enough anxiety attack in the early morning that I needed two Xanax to quell it. Took one at about 3 AM and the second around 10:30. I am a zombie. A depressed zombie. I hate it when I have to take that much Xanax.

F-ing rocking chair broke again last night. Today I took a piece of aluminum strip and fabricated a brace to run around the end of the hanger, which should help to support the bearing and keep it from tearing loose. Gorilla glued the wood back together and added the support strap. If this thing breaks again it'll mean building or buying an entirely new hanger, though, because this one's just about had it.

Alternative is to take it to a furniture repair shop. $$, but probably not as much $$ as a new chair would be. This thing was about $300 in 1999, for crying out loud.

That hanger--the wood is 1" thick, about. Bearings are press-fit into 1/2" deep holes in the wood, and secured with wood screws, 2 for each bearing. Same with the other parts of the pedestal. Bolt goes through wood into bearing.

The problem is that the rear hanger takes most of the stress, and of course the wood grain is longitudinal. So the biggest stress is perpendicular to the grain, and it tends to pop a chunk of wood right off the end of the hanger.

I've been trying to figure out a better way to make a rear hanger for it. One idea was to make the wood thinner but then face it with 1/8" sheetmetal, glued to the wood with some high-strength epoxy. Getting the bearing hole size right would be the hard part. That would not break, and most of the actual strain at that end would be taken by the metal, rather than the wood.

This has been the sum total of my accomplishments for the day. I feel like crap.
Saturday, March 18th, 2017
8:02 pm
#5497: Yes, if you don't subsidize something, you get less of it.
This is a feature, not a bug, for lots of people.

I don't think the federal government should fund Planned Parenthood. They make plenty of money as it is, by doing abortions and selling baby parts.

* * *

This. The CAFE standard was enacted at a time before we could get oil out of shale. There's no reason for it to be set at 54.5 MPG other than Obama loved to put on his face-stompin' boots.

As it is, vehicles are prohibitively expensive. There's a lot of excess gagetry that the modern car has in it which it doesn't need (built-in cellular Internet, for example) but as the article points out, things like dual fuel injection systems and 10-speed transmissions also do not help one whit.

To get the fuel economy, manufacturers need to reduce the size of engines. But people won't pay $35,000 for a new car which has the performance of a 1973 Pinto, so they make up for it with the 10-speed transmission. A semi can haul 20, 30 tons of freight without an impossibly large engine because they typically have a 5- or 8-speed gearbox attached to a range splitter and a hi/lo selector. (They're also complicated to drive.) This is the theory driving the 10-speed transmission in automobiles and pickup trucks. And it's stupid.

I agree that the fuel economy of your vehicle should be your choice: if you want a gas-guzzling tank, go for it. If you want an Elio or a Smart ForTwo, go ahead. It should be up to you, not the federal government.

* * *

Other countries like to use the US as a dumping ground for their criminals. Apparently some 30 countries are refusing to accept deportations of their citizens after they've committed serious crimes in the US.

Vox Day has the correct remedy:
If a country doesn't accept its own repatriated citizens, the God-Emperor [Trump] would be wise to refuse entry to all citizens from that country until it does. Why not throw in a 100 percent tariff on all trade goods from that country while we're at it?
And throw the deportees into Guantanimo until their countries accept them back.

That "Guantanimo" bit also helps in case uppity judges, fake Americans ignoring the Constitutional limits of their powers, issue injunctions against Trump's move to get these countries to take their criminals back as has happened with his most recent executive order regarding entry visas.

Vox Day is being nice about it, though. My first impulse was "firing squad".

* * *

In the "get out of my mind" department, we have the opening few minutes of Sweeney Todd. Entire stage is blacked out but for 2-3 members of the ensemble, at the front of the stage, lit by small foot spots (I think that's what they're called, like shining a flashlight at your chin while telling a ghost story?) singing the opening lines of "The Ballad of Sweeney Todd".

Then the whole ensemble starts in and the whole stage lights up red, and that 2-3 second bit is what's stuck in my head. I can't even be mad about it; it's dramatic and cool.
11:14 am
#5496: I share his sentiment.
The one at the top of this AoSHQ post.

Wanted to have this shirt while working at the shithole. Pity I didn't.

* * *

As far as I'm concerned, this is a mark in Trump's favor. LA Times sez that if Trump gets his way and cuts off funding for the NEA, we won't get more shows like Hamilton.

I am okay with this.

* * *

Guess what? When you live in a land ruled by savages, you'd better follow their rules. Short form:
...[A] couple--a South African man and his Ukranian fiancee--have been arrested for having sex outside marriage, which is illegal in the United Arab Emirates:
"Mr Culverwell's mother has pleaded for their release, saying[,] '[T]he only thing they did wrong was fall in love.'" (That's a quote, but I edited it a bit to correct the fuckin' grammar. Edits in brackets, as is correct for editing a quote.)

* * *

Once again, pertaining to dark matter, I am not alone.
One Reason Might Be Because It Isn't There
Dark matter is a fascinating, frustrating scientific mystery. Astronomers claim that much of it forms halos surrounding galaxies, yet "no one has ever seen this material or been able to study it". Hence, anticipation accompanied delivery of the "Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer - 02" to the International Space Station in May 2011. Although a goal was to discover this elusive stuff, nothing conclusive has been found. Dark matter supposedly explains gravitational effects, which suggests the merit of analyzing colliding galaxies because gravitational dragging should distort those halos. However, such behavior was not detected; what happened was consistent without the supposed presence of dark matter. A recently-concluded, highly-sensitive and anticipated "Large Underground Xenon" experiment failed to detect a single trace of dark matter. With these and other consistently negative findings, why should we believe this material exists?
Dark matter is a deduction from a mathematical model, not an actual obervation. Rather like deducing the presence of as grizzly bear from the footprints of a rabbit supposedly frightened by it.
I've got a good deal of respect for Michael Flynn; he's a writer of actual SF and can tell a hawk from a handsaw.

* * *

The replacement headlight for Mrs. Fungus' car arrived the other day.

Earlier this month she hit something on the way home from work. It can't have been anything too solid or massive as all that really happened was the headlight got smashed. There's a yellow mark on the bumper and a crease in the hood; also the tip of the fender got bent. Probably less than $500 worth of damage, all told; I'm going to coax the sheetmetal as straight as I can and replace the headlight unit and call it good.

But we needed a headlight; and so I went to Ebay for one. It cost $45 shipped and came with all bulbs pre-installed. Dang, can't complain about that.

Now I just need a day with reasonable weather when she doesn't need to use the car and we don't have 50,000 other things to do.

* * *

Last night was the traditional corned beef for dinner. Mrs. Fungus asked me (via text) if I wanted to get a pizza, and I said, "No, we're having corned beef and cabbage," which just about made her day.

Well, it's a good meal, it is, and we enjoyed it. I've now cooked it enough that I didn't even need to look at a recipe; just got the weight of the cut of corned beef off the package, and off I went. Came out delicious.

* * *

One of John C. Wright's spec-fic magazine cover extravaganzas. I had to grab this one, because you know that guy has just said, or is about to say, "Oh, dick!"



Heh.
Friday, March 17th, 2017
11:16 pm
#5495: Yeah. No.
If you have a spare $23,000 laying around, how about a life-sized game figure?

I wouldn't mind playing the game, but the next time I have $23,000 to blow on something stupid like a life-size game character figure will be the first time I do. WTF, that's a down payment on a house for me.

* * *

Okay, yeah, you got us, Saint Patrick's Day is code for "white pride day", oh shucks.

Do fake Americans not have lives or something? Sheesh.

Did you know there were actually more white slaves than black ones in the US? I didn't think so.

* * *

I think we should treat Mexican immigrants exactly the same way Mexico treats immigrants to its country. I think that would be totally fair.

Especially this: "We could not protest any of the government's actions or we would be committing a felony."

* * *

Speaking of which, I just love this to pieces. Illegal aliens are ditching food stamps because they're afraid of being deported.

That makes me glad, because illegal aliens shouldn't be here in the first place and it's stupid for the government to subsidize their illegal residence here in the US.

Being upset because illegal aliens can't get food stamps is like apologizing to someone who broke into your house and stole your TV, because the TV is only 720p. What the fuck.

* * *

Saw, on YouTube, a video advertising a motorcycle made in Australia which has a 2 liter V8 engine.

No mention of what it costs, but this is obviously a case of "if you have to ask...." The bike makes something like 325 horsepower at 13,500 RPM, and 158 lb-ft of torque at 9,500 RPM.

That's not a lot of torque, considering, but the HP figure is at the thing's redline and I'd expect it's only that high because of the high redline. If you optimize an engine for high horsepower, the torque figure will suffer, particularly as the horsepower peak climbs closer and closer to the redline.

Well: Ford got 215 horsepower and 300 lb-ft of torque out of a 5 liter V8 in 1986, and this thing gets a bit more than half that torque out of 40% of the displacement. But again, it's a high-strung engine; the 5.0 V8 in the '86 Mustang made its peak torque around 3,000 RPM.

Depends, I suppose, on how you expect to ride. I don't like flogging engines, even if they've been built for it; give me a tractor motor any day.

I figure the motorcycle itself runs somewhere around $30,000 or $40,000. WTF, I may someday move up closer to a full liter of displacement, but for now the 450 twin I have is more than enough bike for my needs.

* * *

Tomorrow I need to go to Dad's house to meet a contractor who's going to give us an estimate for fixing the various deficits. I need to be there at 9 AM. Whee.
12:35 pm
#5494: Well, it's about bloody time
Phone interview scheduled for Monday. Fixing cell phones, doing things like replacing screens and such. Customer-facing, unfortunately, but if I can get that job I ought to be able to parlay it into something that's not.

* * *

Via Borepatch we have this charming bit about buying a new TV. Turns out that lots of people aren't into "smart" TVs since they found out CIA-NSA-.gov can use them to spy on you.

Not sure how much of the emtpy lot at Best Buy was due to "post-holiday" and how much due to the revelation that they're paid FBI informants. I recall some awful slow times at that counter during the early spring. But I don't doubt that people have become leery of taking their computers to Geek Squad for a look-see with the news that Geek Squad gets money from the FBI for ratting people out. "What is this? 'Baby's first bath'? It's kiddy pronz! Off to the hoosegow with you!" WTF.

* * *

Nothing else to report at this time.
Thursday, March 16th, 2017
2:24 pm
#5493: In our house, it was the BINKUM
Hackaday has a post up about the history of remote controls. Sometime in the mid-1970s my parents bought a 19" color TV with an ultrasonic remote control for my maternal grandmother. When she passed away, the TV came here and went into my parents' bedroom.

The remote control, when a button was pressed, made an obvious bink-UMM sound--the "bink" being the aluminum tone rod being struck, the "UMM" coming from the striking mechanism after all the tension was released. Thus, "binkum", and they've always been known as that around here. So much so that at least one of my friends began calling them that.

I should resurrect it. It's much better than "clicker". And easier to say than "remote".

* * *

Why, it's the scoop of the century!

"Remember this the next time someone tries to tell you the miracles in the Bible never happened." CNN is agog over a statue's refusal to move, even when it's snowing, and that response to their fatuous tweet made me laugh out loud. Another reply: "I feel like a statue picking itself up and leaving to take shelter would be a bigger story but what do I know about news" [SIC].

You see, this is the state that the media have been reduced to: admiring an inanimate object's steadfastness in the face of inclement weather.

* * *

Speaking of fatuous, Rachel Maddow illegally obtained, and made public, some of President Trump's old tax returns.

It turned out to be nothing. Epic nothing, nothing on the scale of Gerado Rivera and Al Capone's vault.

Of course, we do have to thank her for confirming that Hillary lied and Trump did indeed pay income taxes.

And, heh.

* * *

#FakeAmerican. Remember it.

* * *

Incidentally, I'm sure we've all noticed by now that the fake Americans of the left have decreed that it's okay to make violent threats against the President again. Now that we have President Trump, rather than President Fake American, it's all about "freedom of expression" rather than "respecting the office", which the fake Americans never bother with.

Heh.

* * *

Hey, did you see this? Teachers in New York city no longer need to pass a literacy exam to be teachers.

"That's insane!" You gasp. "Why not?"

Oh, come on, now. You're enlightened enough to read the Fungus, you can guess why.

No? Really? Okay, here:
Only 41 percent of black candidates and 46 percent of Hispanic candidates had passed the exam on their first attempt, compared to 64 percent of white candidates.
That's right! Because raciss!!!, that's why.

As usual, that consideration trumps everything else. These people are clearly unfit to be teaching children, but raciss!, so instead of doing anything about the literacy of the teachers we simply eliminate the requirement that they be able to read. It's the fake American way!

But of course the real problem with socialized education is that we simply don't spend enough. Right?

* * *

The snow is melting. I honestly didn't pay any attention to it yesterday, but today I can see grass again, so that's good. That means we won't have birds dropping dead of starvation.

* * *

Watched, the week before last, a couple eps of Bakuon!, and it reminded me that I have a motorcycle. I haven't ridden the thing since--when??

Let's see, plates renew in September, and like last year the renewal notice sits on my keyboard unheeded because I haven't had time to ride it or renew the plates, and I became unemployed in February, which is winter, so--

August? July? Gadzooks.
1:20 am
#5492: Sweeney Todd!
So, here's how today went.

Liking the production of Sweeney Todd so much, Mrs. Fungus found a set of matinee tickets, much less than we paid for our first set, and they were front row, dead center. No, I don't understand why those seats were available, but they were, and we were at the theater today at 1:10 for the 1:30 showing.

Enjoyed it thoroughly.

So then, after the show, she wanted to buy souvenirs, so we got a pair of genuine "Sweeny Todd" pint glasses. And the person selling the merchandise, a very nice woman, asked us how we liked the show.

Mrs. Fungus told her that this was our second time seeing it.

"Oh, do you know someone in the show?"

"No, we just really like it! We were thinking of seeing if there were any tickets available for tonight's show."

...and then this really kind, kind woman offered us the courtesy tickets she received as an employee of the place, as no one she knew wanted them. Basically we got a comped viewing. End result: we've seen Sweeney Todd in the theater three times, and once on TV, in a single week.

And they were good seats, too, a bit to stage left of the centerline of the theater, a bit less than halfway back.

So, have a little priest:



Only runs through the 19th. We wanted to buy the soundtrack CD, but they'd sold out of them.

The montage:



Even better: as we were collecting ourselves to go get dinner, after the matinee had ended, we were fortunate enough to meet Paul-Jordan Jansen, who played Sweeney Todd. Shook his hand and complimented him on his performance.

...grabbed some grub, went back to the theater, and saw it again. Holy crap what a day!
Tuesday, March 14th, 2017
5:40 pm
#5491: Lake-effect snow!
For the past several hours, the weather outside has alternated between sunny and blizzard. Typical for lake-effect snow.

The bunker is under twenty miles from Lake Michigan (about 18 miles SSW, as the crow flies) but the conditions for lake-effect snow have to be just right. It's not very common here.

After the last post I fired up the massive snowblower and it made short work of the driveway; the snow squalls that have been coming through since haven't been enough to cover it again.

Love the electric start. The way my shoulder has been aching the past couple of months, I didn't fancy having to pull-start anything.

If this were to happen next week, after the vernal equinox, I'd watch it snow and listen to "Spring Ain't Here" by the Pat Metheny Group; but since it's still technically winter, no. But I do like to watch it snow.

* * *

Some leftists eventually realize what they're supporting, and switch sides. The ones who are capable of self-criticism do, eventually.

* * *

Ten reasons not to be ashamed of being white. You know, that kind of ties into the last link, now that I think about it.

The anti-white racism we see coming out of the bastions of leftism is yet another attempt at stomping on human faces forever.

* * *

Suddenly, there is blue sky and sunlight again.
12:22 pm
#5490: It's 3/14/17. π for everyone.
3.1417 is a reasonable approximation of 3.14159265.

* * *

Woke up this morning to a white world. Looks like six inches of global warming, still coming down.

I was outside, brushing snow off Mrs. Fungus' car so I could change her car's clock to daylight saving time. A robin--all puffed up against the cold--landed on the front porch and gave me the gimlet eye, as if asking me, "How the hell am I supposed to find any food with all that crap on the ground?" It even went so far as to hop over to a bit of compacted snow left by my shoe and peck at it.

Belatedly, I realized that's why birds fly south for the winter: it's not about the cold, it's about the ability to find food. It's amazing how you just don't think about something like that.

Yes, I'm a friggin' genius.

I put a few handfuls of bird seed on the porch. Maybe that'll help.

Anyway, once the snowfall abates a bit, I'll crank up the massive snowblower and see how it handles six inches of snow. I expect it won't have any trouble with the plow drift at the bottom of the driveway, either.

Well, hey, what do we expect? Winter isn't over until next week.

* * *

Hilarious bit of nonsense about the communist "international womens' day" thing.

Heh.

* * *

Watching "fail" videos on YouTube, I've seen a couple dozen examples of people trying to open a bottle of champagne with a knife. They hold the bottle at a 45° angle, smack the edge of the blade into the annulus of the bottle...and the bottle shatters, because they're hitting the lip of the bottle, and one good crack in a pressure vessel made of a frangible material guarantees a catastrophic failure.

Done correctly, it just knocks the annulus off, with the cork inside. Of course, if it was done correctly it wouldn't be appearing in a "fail" video.

"Sabering", the process is called, and it's supposed to be impressive. I think it's stupid.

* * *

Now the sun came out. I suppose it wouldn't hurt to go blow down the driveway now.
1:30 am
#5489: Wasuremono
Wasuremono is Japanese, and the literal translation of the word is "forgotten thing".

* * *

Mrs. Fungus sent me a couple of text messages on Monday. She wanted Rice-a-Roni with dinner tonight; I'd agreed to that and told her I was thinking of making lemon-pepper chicken.

"I don't want lemon pepper chicken," she said. "I want roasted chicken legs with the sticks you use."

Me: WTF...? I was going to send that, but instead I sent back, "I love you."

"The crispy skin with the sticks," she amplified.

Me: [light dawning] "Rosemary?"

...and so, from now on, chicken roasted with the skin on and sprinkled with rosemary will be "chicken with sticks". Fortuitously, leg quarters were a dollar a pound at the local grocery store, so that worked out nicely.

I actually use the Standard Three (salt, pepper, garlic powder) on the chicken as well as the rosemary. Comes out delicious.

* * *

Saw a photograph not long ago of a line of cars at a gas station in 1945 after rationing ended. It advertised gasoline at $0.17 per gallon, and the accompanying caption helpfully explained that was about $2.37 in today's dollars.

Inflation. What'll you do about it?
Monday, March 13th, 2017
5:17 pm
#5488: Snow!
It actually snowed, and it stuck, and we have snow on the ground, and it's still flurrying, with more predicted for tomorrow.

Meanwhile, the east coast got the big snow job, and as far as I'm concerned, they can have it. They delight in snowing the rest of us--

* * *

Water wars coming to California? Why not? The LA basin is a suibtropical desert and absent billions of dollars' worth of infrastructure--and given a spot of good weather--it could not support the millions of people who live in it.

Southern California consumes a vast amount of water, much more than is naturally available. They're depleting the aquifers because they insist on living a rainforest lifestyle in a desert. At the same time they utterly refuse to do anything about improving their infrastructure so that their lifestyle is sustainable.

"Water wars" = "third world country", you know.

* * *

An exemption for religious or political freedom sounds just fine to them, until you frame it correctly.

Q: Should a muslim be forced to sing an Easter song?
A: No!
Q: Should a dress designer have to make dresses for Melania Trump?
A: No!!
Q: Should a Christian photographer have to take pictures at a gay wedding?
A: Well, erm, uh....

* * *

Amazingly enough, as soon as you tie welfare to work, welfare rolls decline. Maine tied food stamps to employment: to receive them, the recipient must either get a job or certify he is looking for work. Maine subsequently dropped some 9,000 people from their food stamp rolls because they refused to look for work.

* * *

I have found that WalMart regularly sells Pepsi products in six packs of the 16oz bottles for $2.50. (Unless, by some massive coincidence, the past two times I went there they just happened to have them on sale.)

Naturally, the nearest one is a 20-minute drive from the bunker. *sigh*

* * *

At 1:26, we have wisdom for the ages:



"Brakes aren't for winners, but brakes do stop you from hitting trees. And other obstacles."

I do enjoy this guy's videos, once in a while.

* * *

Last night I finally dug into the computer Og wants to use as his game machine. It's only been sitting around the bunker since late 2015. In my favor, Og has been too busy to do anything gaming related, so there was no pressure.

But I hooked it up and checked it out. Turned out to have Linux on it; with no password there was no way in hell I could do anything useful, and anyway Og doesn't want to spend his spare time administring Linux, so I reinstalled Win 7 Home Premium on it. Worked fine.

Ran the Windows Experience thingy and it says the slow part is video, at 4.1. I mean, crimony, on a scale of 1-7.9 the processor and memory score 7.1! That 4.1 was registered with the on-board video! This thing may not need a video card, but I'm going to install one anyway. Ought to make quite a nice rig.

* * *

Happened to see that you can watch the original MacGyver on Netflix. Wow.
Sunday, March 12th, 2017
7:28 pm
#5487: They say it will snow soon. I will believe it when I see it.
Now, there was that brief period late in 2016 where it snowed a lot, a couple of days running, but all that snow melted before Christmas, and what snow we've had since then has melted almost immediately. The other day (last week?) I got up around 9-ish, to a frosting of snow on the grass, but it melted within half an hour.

The way the forecast has been fluctuating, I'm not sure they really know what's going on, but the forecast of snow for Monday has remained fairly constant even as the amount expected has not. The way this winter has been, though, I fully expect this will be its last gasp.

* * *

In an effort to ensure California never has a chance of voting Republican ever again, the state wants to lower the voting age there to 17. I maintain that if you think a 17-year-old is able to make a rational decision on whom to vote for, the same 17-year-old is similarly able to make rational decisions about smoking, drinking, owning property, getting married, and military service.

If, however, you do not believe that a 17-year-old should be allowed to do any of those other things, then voting ought to be right out. Voting is not a right; it's a privilege, and has (thus far) correctly been confined to adulthood.

Democrats don't believe that 17-year-olds have, until now, been unfairly denied the franchise. Democrats want 17-year-olds to be allowed the vote because teenagers reliably vote Democrat.

* * *

Did you see this? Lefties like to think that all the technical excellence resides on their side of the aisle, but it's not so. Heh.

37 hours. It lasted 37 hours before the /pol/fags at 4chan took it down. Hilarious.

("/pol/fags": at least on /b/, on 4chan every group gets "fags" added to its identifier. So people who play WoW would be "WoWfags". But members of /b/ are "/b/tards" so maybe it'd be "/pol/tards" instead. I don't know. I don't care. This parenthetical digression is over.)

* * *

We're in a depression that never ended, people.

* * *

Today is the first day of Daylight Saving time, which I hate.

* * *

Even shale oil can be profitable at $40 per barrel, and that's the main takeaway I have from that article. Meanwhile it's kicking Saudi Arabia's (and, by extension, OPEC's) ass. What's not to like?

* * *

When I was fixing the clock, last week, I needed to make a jumper, to connect the battery's negative terminal to the movement frame. I used a couple of alligator clips and a hunk of bell wire; total time to fabricate, about five minutes--but it gave me a hankering to do more soldering and fixing of stuff. WTF.

* * *

Yesterday was a near-total loss. Today was, too.

I managed, yesterday, to clean up the computer room, and get rid of a shelving unit which has been offensive to Mrs. Fungus. Neatened up things a bit. But otherwise I did nothing but flop.

Same, then, today. Mrs. Fungus wasn't feeling well and stayed home from work, and we ended up sleeping an additional six hours after her alarm went off. I managed the trip to the store I had intended for yesterday, but only barely.

* * *

I'll tell you what, though: every time I hear that clock strike the hour, or the half-hour, I smile.
Saturday, March 11th, 2017
3:10 pm
#5486: People are such friggin' idiots
So, I go to the comics web site to get a gander at the funnies, and this accosts me:



WTF.

I've been reading Garfield ever since it appeared in syndication. I have the first two treasuries of the strip, autographed by Jim Davis. After my sister got a couple of cats and the male one showed an inordinate fondness for Mom's lasagna--

There has never been any question in my mind that Garfield was male. And if you have read the strip, you see countless indications that Garfield is male (and self-identifies as male). Like the large number of strips that end with the punchline, "We're BACHELORS, baby!" Always delivered by Garfield himself.

Garfield has a girlfriend, Arlene. Again, there are innumerate references to their relationship being a romantic one, and Arlene was introduced long before it was chic to have openly gay characters. In any case, Garfield is astonishingly, refreshingly apolitical, and has remained so during its entire run.

Then, the animation, in which Jim Davis had considerable influence. Garfield was voiced by a man. If Garfield were female, why would that happen? Studio executives forcing the issue?

The notion that there was ever a debate--"great" or otherwise--about Garfield's sex is nothing but SJW horseshit.

* * *

When Democrats propose a bill that will screw up health insurance: "We have to pass it to find out what's in it.</a>

When Republicans propose a bill to fix the Democrat mess, "We deserve to know what's in it before it's passed."

Gee, a hypocritical Democrat. Who could have seen that coming.

* * *

On the risibility of the American "resistance". The penultimate paragraph sums it all up nicely, but do read it all. "You didn't like the results of an election--and want to pretend it is illegitimate, because you don't want to do the hard work of rebuilding a constituency...."

* * *

High speed fail. California would better have spent that money on improving its flood control infrastructure. But you see, all the politicians out there are convinced that global warmenation is unstoppable and it's going to cause unending drought, don'tcha know, so it's pointless to worry about dams when it won't ever rain again thanks to man-made CO2 and so on.

* * *

Snowfall, too, is a thing of the past. That 25-foot snowdrift is just weather, so remember that soon we'll see the last of snow, unless you give up your SUV and central heating and go live in a cave.

* * *

I needed this at my last job. Specifically I needed one that said "Don't tell me how to use the computer." Shit, people there insisted on telling me how to operate the computer. "Click there! Click that. Enter your ID number. Click--" It's like, dude, I've been using computers since before you were born, so stop telling me how to operate the damned thing.

* * *

The original earworm, linked because of the LOLbrain at the top.

* * *

Wow, the butthurtedness is strong with this one. If the book were titled Reasons to Vote for Republicans he would be saying exactly the opposite, and he's upset someone on his side didn't think of it first.

Heh.

* * *

Ended up rereading Maison Ikkoku, and laughing at all the things I always laugh at. What a good story it is.

Besides that--

The other night, when I met Mrs. Fungus for dinner, there was this song playing in the background when I hit the can.

I returned to our table.

I said, "Dear, I am reliably informed that first, there was a mountain, then there was no mountain, then there was. I apologize that I'm not sure what prompted the oscillitory nature of the mountain's existence."

This song:



Then I saw this comment and laughed: "Quit fucking around and put the mountain back, we're gonna get in trouble."

Heh.
Friday, March 10th, 2017
3:17 pm
#5485: Yeah, I think I donated my copies.
John C. Wright discusses Heinlein's later works, particularly Stranger in a Strange Land, and finds them wanting.

You know what? When I was in high school, SiaSL was just awesome, but as I get older I find myself utterly uninterested in reading it again. As one commentor opines:
I think I've only read his later books, with the exception of Starship Troopers (these were the ones featured in the book store when I was a teen, I guess). I think this book was the reason I kept on reading him. I'm too soured on him now to read his earlier ones. I've given him more chances to live up to the hype than probably anyone. He never delivered again. The Cat Who Walked Through Walls was nearly unreadable. Farnham's Freehold was idiotic and disgusting (for several reasons). Number of the Beast was four annoying people in a spaceship. Stranger in a Strange Land was blasphemy, heresy, and free-love-hippie-crap. Time Enough for Love was a psychological study of a dirty old man and lengthy arguments advocating incest, prostitution, and bisexuality. All were preachy. I will never be a Heinlein fan.
If those were the only Heinlein books he read, I don't blame him. Heinlein's juveniles were his best work; in his later books he was able to write whatever the hell he wanted to, and it would be a guaranteed sale to a publisher and to millions of Heinlein fans. (Kind of the way George Lucas could slap the Star Wars label on just about anything and sell out theaters.)

I know someone who read Time Enough for Love cover to cover, then re-read it immediately after. We were in junior high at the time. I did manage to read it all the way through once, but damn it's not something I'd waste my time on today.

To Sail Beyond the Sunset was easily his worst work. Number of the Beast--yeah, "four annoying people in a spaceship" is pretty apt. Overall, anything he wrote after coming out of retirement was pretty bad, and the last few novels he wrote before his retirement were also not good. (Looking at you, I Will Fear No Evil.)

There are a handful of Heinlein books I have read only once:
* I Will Fear No Evil
* The Cat Who Walks Through Walls
* To Sail Beyond the Sunset
* The Moon is a Harsh Mistress
* For Us, The Living
The Moon is a Harsh Mistress is the only one which may not belong on that list. I've read it once and wasn't particularly enthralled with it, but that was literal decades ago. I probably should give it another shot. The rest of 'em will not be improved with a second reading.

Heinlein certainly is one of the great masters of SF, but it doesn't mean he's the Second Coming or anything. Like all of us, he had his flaws.

* * *

Warmistas are crowing about the one model which got it right, while ignoring the literal dozens which were laughably wrong. They're saying that this proves global warming is man-made.

Of course, it doesn't prove anything of the sort. If it proves anything at all, it proves that the predictions made by climate models are almost always wrong.

This further ignores the fact that these self-same climatologists have been claiming for the past three decades that global warming was going to be much worse than it actually is, and they themselves rejected this particular model's finding as not being dire enough.

Of course, that's because climatology isn't science.

* * *

"Woke" is just more SJW virtue-signalling and we can safely ignore it. "The opposite of 'woke' is normal. That is, if you're not 'woke', that means you're a normal person living a normal life."

* * *

Yesterday--

After having the tree service guy come out and estimate the cost to get that big-ass Log of Damocles out of the tree, I had to hie myself up to Dad's house in order to shut the water off. See, all bills now go to brother-in-law, and B-I-L got a bill for $300 for water.

WTF.

I mean, if there were some kind of leak, there'd be water somewhere, and now that the drain pipe is fixed and the leaky shower water line replaced, there are no leaks. But $300--

...so I went up there to shut the water off, and got that attended to; then I met Mrs. Fungus for dinner at a rather nice place. We didn't get home until late.

Tree service showed up at 8:30 AM today. It literally took them more time to get the bucket truck braced than it did to take the Log of Damocles down; two ropes and three whacks with a chain saw and it came down neat as you please.

I reminded myself that $475 was a lot cheaper than having that log crash through the roof or the west wall of the house, which it surely would have done if I'd either waited, or tried to bring it down myself.

"$475 for three cuts with a chain saw," I thought, but in fact knew that the $475 wasn't just paying for cutting the wood. It's paying for the tools the two men used (like the bucket truck, probably about $100,000 new) as well as their time and labor. It's paying for the office the company works out of, and it also pays for the opportunity cost of time that could otherwise be spent on bigger, more lucrative jobs. It's paying for a host of things, all of which a business must account for when doing any kind of service, particularly in such a heavily-regulated environment as Illinois in the 21st century.

And it's paying for a job I cannot do. Not a job I'm unwilling to do, because of laziness or whatever, but a job I am not equipped to perform safely. Hey, if I had access to a bucket truck, I could have done that job--but I don't. With the tools I have I could have pulled that log down, but I had no way to guarantee it wouldn't severely damage the house in the process. And with it hanging there, it had to be taken down soonest; we didn't have the luxury of waiting.

The tree needs more work. There are a couple of boles that should probably be cut down sooner rather than later, because they're dying--thanks for the tree butchery, ComEd!--but they're not an emergency. Tree guys are sending me an estimate. Thrillsville.

We got very lucky that log hung up in the tree where it did. And stayed there until it could be brought down gently.

* * *

Sweeny Todd--

That production was vastly more entertaining than I expected it to be. Having never seen it before, and not knowing the story, I nonetheless figured out who the beggar woman was sometime late in the first act. The confirmation of the beggar woman's identity was a sick-making moment for me, even though I'd expected it. But I did not see it coming, at the climax, when Mrs. Lovett revealed she was basically the real villain of the story. (Spoilers, but the show is forty frickin' years old at least. For crying out loud, it's old enough to require annual prostate screenings.)

Another one of those stories where very few of the characters are actual good guys, I notice, but handled so well it's hard to object to it. None of the bad guys live past the end of the show.

I really, really enjoyed it. I wanted to sit down and watch it again, right then and there.

* * *

Well, it's Friday, and I have errands to run and other tasks to perform. The dishes need washing. I did the laundry. I need a shower and tonight is chili night, so I'd better get cracking.
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