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Atomic Fungus
 
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Below are 20 journal entries, after skipping by the 20 most recent ones recorded in atomic_fungus' LiveJournal:

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Friday, July 8th, 2016
11:31 pm
#5264: I only have to do this twice more
Coming home after leaving work at 10 PM and then getting up at 7 AM--starting the 17th, this stupid "early mornings on weekends!" horseshit comes to an end, finally. So I'm doing it tonight, and then on the 15th, and thereafter it's back to a constant schedule.

Now all we need to do is get rid of this "mandatory overtime" horseshit. I'm sick of nine-hour days at that place.

* * *

Progressives own the Dallas Massacre.

Related: How is this not a hate crime when a black man specifically targets white people only?

* * *

I'm going to have some dinner and get to bed. This is dicks.
12:29 am
#5263: I've had quite enough.
So tonight, after work, I officially began hunting for a new job. I'll continue to work where I work for as long as is necessary, but I've had enough of it and it's time for a change.

Further bulletins as events warrant.

* * *

THIS IS WHAT YOU DO. The muslims don't want to follow the rules? Kick 'em out. It's the only way to be sure.

* * *

This is how crappy things have become over the past 40 years.

* * *

Marine demands same treatment Hillary got. Of course, said Marine is not Hillary Clinton, so the feds will put him in jail.

* * *

I want to live on a farm, too. Someplace I can do whatever I want.

* * *

It's more dangerous to be a tow truck driver or a roofer than it is to be a cop.

* * *

Short shrift on the commentary tonight. I have other things that need doing.
Wednesday, July 6th, 2016
2:59 pm
#5262: The New Banana Republic
"...this is not to suggest that in similar circumstances, a person who engaged in this activity would face no consequences." Translation: anyone who thinks the law has been nullfied, here, had better think differently. If you're not Hillary Clinton and you are negligent in your handling of classified information, you will go to jail, because you're not Hillary Clinton and "some animals are more equal than others."

We are no longer a nation of laws. But anyone who thinks this debacle will sink quietly without a splash is delusional.

When you start saying, "Well, yeah, Hillary is a criminal and a lunatic, but I'll vote for her because #nevertrump" it doesn't matter how much you protest that Hillary is corrupt and you're disgusted by the necessity of voting for her. You are part of the problem.

Borepatch believes this is the beginning of the end for Hillary. I wish I were as optimistic. The best case here is Hillary loses the election and goes down to retirement. She'll never be indicted or tried, though.

* * *

"Folks who went apeshit insane when Obama was called by his full name are more than happy to call Donald Trump 'Drumpf.'" Yep, it was scaremongering and possibly racist to call him Barack Hussein Obama. We even got some comments here about calling him by his full, legal name.

Drumpf? "What does that even mean?" It means that the person saying it is clever and insightful and intelligent, and not a Rethuglikkkan nazi asshole. It's virtue signaling, devoid of any real meaning.

And yes, it says more about the speaker than anything else.

...and I like his conclusion about Iran-Contra: if Hillary is absolved because the FBI declined to prosecute, then Reagan et alii must also have been absolved. Right?

* * *

This, however, is cause for optimism. The government must move slowly on restricting gun rights. Any attempt at confisation would result in a massive de-legitimization of the federal government; and if a mere half of gun owners refuse to submit, things get very bad for the feds even as they get bad for the rest of us.

I have a setting like this that I've been noodling around with for some time, where the US has split into two different countries--the USA and the "Republic of America"--and the USA is a totalitarian shithole with concentration camps for "dissidents". The nominal main character in this world is a guy who escaped (somehow) from a concentration camp; my thinking is that he was chained to a concrete foundation at a construction site by cruel guards, and left to die of hypothermia, but is rescued by RoA soldiers who got their directions mixed up and found themselves on the wrong side of the border--something like that. I don't know; it's all inchoate and I'm still trying to think through all the ramifications. The biggest issue is what the hell is the story about? and that doesn't have any clear answer at the moment, because "wow, what a shithole this dystopia is!" is not the answer I'm looking for. Sadly, that's the best answer I have, for the moment.

* * *

Left-wing politician is raped by "migrants" but lies to police about their ethnicity to avoid encouraging "racism". I just don't have words for this.

* * *

I have been skeptical of "functional MRI" studies proving that religion is just a center in the brain being stimulated etc etc. In theory, tracking the use of oxygen by the brain should enable us to tell what's going on in it, but the problem here is that the software gives a false positive more often than not--70% of the time!--which makes it useless for doing anything other than parlor tricks.

I had no good reason (until now) to be skeptical other than two simple facts. First, that finding proof that religious feelings are just a matter of stimulating the right part of the brain is essential to (somehow) proving the non-existence of God, or at least sowing serious doubt about His existence. Second, that there is a lot more to our existence than the firings of neurons.

Science has made it a point, in recent decades, to prove we are nothing more than meat machines operating in a deterministic way. So far, fMRI has been used in an attempt to prove that thesis. Now we learn that the software used is wrong much more often than it's right. I'm not surprised.

* * *

If the 2016 Olympics were being held in Chicago, the athletes could drink the water they were swimming in. Lake Michigan supplies water for a lot of municipalities up and down its coast; it requires very little treatment.

Instead, they're swimming in raw sewage. Yet somehow Rio was a better place to hold the Olympics than Chicago.

...and no, I'm not complaining. Traffic around here would be a nightmare if the Olympics were held here. To say nothing of all the Olympic hoopla that I'm just as happy I don't have to put up with. I'm just engaging in a little schadenfreude.

* * *

The USSR's attempt at a moon rocket never flew without blowing up. And we have this quote from a man who can never visit an English-speaking country:
"Today...I saw without exaggeration the end of the world, and not in a nightmare but while fully awake and standing right next to it," said eyewitness Lieutenant Colonel Semen Komarovsky.
Emphasis added.

I don't know what to add to that.

* * *

Early this morning, after Mrs. Fungus and I had gone to bed, the weather alert radio raised a ruckus: there was a severe thunderstorm watch. I acknowledged the alert and went back to bed. Perhaps half an hour or so later, it raised another ruckus: the watch had been upgraded to a warning. And again, later on, a third ruckus, when the warning was re-issued. All three times it roused me from near-sleep. Argh etc. I'm going to have to edit the alert table on the thing so it'll only alarm for tornado warnings. WTF.

As severe thunderstorms go this one wasn't too bad; mainly it was just heavy rain. We needed that rain, let me tell you. Of course, this also means that by Tuesday of next week the grass will need cutting again.

Well, that's how it goes.
Tuesday, July 5th, 2016
4:53 pm
#5261: Surprise coefficient: 0.00...0
Hillary Clinton will not be indicted. You're surprised by this? Why? You silly goose! Powerful Democrats don't have to obey the law! Look at Teddy Kennedy, for crying out loud. If he'd been Teddy Lennady, plumber, he would have spent thirty years in prison for negligent homicide in the case of Mary Jo Kopechne...but because he was a Kennedy the police were very carefully uninterested in investigating his role in her death and the whole thing was ruled an "accident".

I predicted that Hillary Clinton would not face charges for this. I am saddened that I was right, and dismayed, but not surprised.

The thing is, though...if Hillary was "extremely careless in her handling of sensitive information" that alone is a felony. Intent is irrelevant. Nonetheless, "Our judgment is that no reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case," because A) the prosecutors in question are Democrats, and B) they like walking around with both kneecaps and/or walking around, period.

The problem here isn't just one of careless handling of sensitive information, but also of political corruption: Hillary used a private server to protect herself against Freedom of Information Act requests.

...but of course No One Cares, and those who do care don't matter. And anyone who tries to investigate things will either get killed or otherwise "convinced" not to.

The law exists for you, prole, not for Hillary.
The attorney general secretly canoodles with the husband of the subject of criminal investigation by her own department and the president, the enforcer of our laws, shrugs. The media, the challenger of the powerful, smirks. They rub our noses in their contempt for the law. And by doing so, demonstrate their contempt for us.
Denninger cites the time of death for Rule of Law in America.

"In a surprising statement which concluded moments ago,..." What's surprising about this? The presumptive Democrat nominee for President ain't gonna be indicted for anything.

Despite protestations to the contrary it's painfully obvious that Hillary Clinton is above the law.

Time for the FBI to change its motto. This announcement did not demonstrate fidelity, bravery, or integrity. More like fawning, boot-licking, and ingratiating.

John C. Wright is less optimistic than I. But sooner or later the chickens come home to roost. Today is not that day, but it will come.

* * *

Source code for the lunar module's flight system. I really hope that thing has been replicated in digital form; that's a priceless piece of retrotechnology.

* * *

Today is Tuesday. Back to work on Thursday. Whee!
3:50 pm
#5260: Independence Day at the in-laws'
We hied ourselves out to Mrs. Fungus' mom's house with a bag full of food, and came back with two bags. In the meantime, we had excellent ribs made by Mrs. Fungus' mother's boyfriend, and then went to see the fireworks out that way.

If we do that again, I'll bring more of the Arsenal of Freedom than just a few packs of ladyfingers. Where we parked, I could have lit every last ground bloom flower I have while waiting for the show to begin. But oh well!

* * *

So there I was, age 9 or 10. It was July 5, and some neighborhood kids and I were hanging out in my back yard. I lit a firecracker, but it didn't go off; when I picked it up I burned myself on the wick. With all the wisdom of a prepubescent boy, I held the firecracker up to my ear in order to listen to the wick, to see if it was hissing. You know what happened next.

BANG

...in my hand, about an inch from my right ear.

This was a 1970s' style Black Cat; it had some oomph to it. Four of these firecrackers, a year or two earlier, had lofted an aluminum cup about eight, ten feet in the air. The world went silent on that side and remained so for fifteen seconds or so. Then sound came back, but it was muted by ringing, loud, on that one side. I could hear normally out of my left ear. Over the course of the next hour the ringing went away and by the next day it was like nothing had happened.

Injury: zero, other than my pride. Even at that age I realized (a little too late) that had been a stupid thing to do, and I was lucky not to have permanent hearing damage.

These days, I have to wonder how much was luck. I mean, DOT class 1.4G package fireworks aren't particularly powerful, and they weren't even in the 1970s when they were DOT class C. They're made to make noise and give off colorful flashes without being really dangerous, as long as you use them with some common sense.

I'm thinking about the video clip where a Japanese guy puts bottle rockets in his nostrils and lights the fuses. He does this as a stunt for laughs, and it's not a stunt I'd care to replicate, but notice that he isn't injured by it? If you want to do something idiotic, a firecracker or a bottle rocket is your best friend because they don't do anything for very long, and usually the brief duration prevents serious injury.

Injuries happen mainly when people do stupid things with higher-end fireworks. If you're shooting a mortar out of your car, or holding it atop your head, is it really all that surprising when bad things happen? If you put a fountain in your pants, sticking out your fly, and set it off? If you put a 50-gram aerial shell rocket in your asscrack and have someone light it?

But of course Fireworks Are Dangerous And Must Be Banned.

* * *

Back in the 1970s--the same year of the firecracker incident--there was this one year that we got fireworks from Missouri.

See, at that time, you couldn't get the good fireworks in Indiana. You could get anything that didn't fly into the air and/or explode there. You could get fountains, ground bloom flowers, spinners, flashers, smokes, snakes, etcetera--but not firecrackers, bottle rockets, aerial shells, or mortars. For that stuff you had to go to Missouri, which was the next closest state with lax fireworks laws.

On trips to Florida my brother would ask Dad if we could stop at a firework stands in Tennesee and elsewhere, and of course the answer was always "no". Dad was very safety-conscious and furthermore didn't want to get in trouble with the law, and since he didn't know what the laws were in the various states we'd be passing through, it was safest just not to buy any fireworks. He didn't explain any of that (he rarely explained why) but merely said "no", and that was it.

This seems terribly unjust when you're a boy and your head is filled with a cornucopia of neat things with fuses, but Dad's word was law and we shut up.

...so the opportunity to get fireworks from Missouri--well, I was nine or ten, my brother was fourteen or fifteen, and yeah!

So one night, before the 4th, Dad told me I could pick out a couple of things to light from the assortment that had come to us via my oldest sister's fiancee (or were they married then? I don't recall exactly) and I selected some interesting-looking things. Chief among them was this squat, silver cylinder set in a square black plastic base. I wanted to see what it did; as usual the label wasn't much help.

So I, under my Dad's watchful eye, set it on the far corner of the patio, struck a match, lit it, and backed away. And

SCREEEEEEEEE

this ball of burning magnesium erupted from the thing, howling to an altitude of perhaps fifty feet. I can vividly remember the bright white light on the patio; I think it exploded, too, though I'm not sure. All I remember was Dad's reaction.

He pulled me inside the house, and shut off all the lights. Further ignitions were curtailed; the rest of the fireworks show was canceled, because if someone called the police--

Well, no one called the police. I don't think anyone even noticed.

And as I've chronicled here before, around 1985 or so the rules in Indiana loosened such that fireworks stands could sell any class C firework as long as the purchaser signed an affidavit stating he'd take it out of state within five days. And a few years after that, even that requirement had fallen. Now you can go to Indiana and buy all kinds of goodies, to the point that people can drop thousands of dollars on fireworks and put on informal shows in their back yards.

I've had occasions here at the bunker where I and my friends lit fuses for hours and never saw a single police car, and a short distance away there's at least one guy (this year there were two) who are obviously serious pyros, judging by their fireworks displays.

Fireworks are fun, and if they're used with a modicum of common sense they're less dangerous than a lot of activities we claim to be "safe and sane". I'm more afraid of my circular saw than I am of a roman candle. Do I wear heavy leather gloves when setting off a roman candle? Usually, yes, because there's enough pyrotechnic in that thing to burn you if the casing blows out. But I've set off dozens of roman candles and I've seen that happen twice...once when someone was not using gloves (which prompted me to start wearing gloves) and once when I was. He got a painful first-degree burn; I got startled. No one had to go to the ER. No one even needed bandaging. He ran some cold water on it and was fine.

I do insist on some rules when lighting fireworks. I keep the fireworks in a plastic tub, and the lid must go back on it before anything from it is lit. Fireworks must be lit away from vehicles, people, furniture, and other fireworks (if there's open packages on the ground, for example). If more than one person is lighting fuses, there's got to be separation between them, and anything that has a noncircular thrust vector gets aimed up and away.

The plastic tub is not going to keep out anything laying on it and burning, but that's not what it's for; it's there to keep embers away from the cache of fireworks. Something spinning on the ground could take a weird turn and bounce off the tub, but that won't melt through the plastic. The tub will prevent a repetition of that time my friends and I nearly had a full-on meltdown due to one guy's spinning flying thing cartwheeling into the pile of unlit stuff. (But again: this stuff doesn't stay lit for long.)

And damn, do I love fireworks.
Monday, July 4th, 2016
1:37 pm
#5259: It's Independence Day! Let's stay inside and watch movies for six hours!
Uh, no.

Last night, encouraged by the brush wars taking place all around, I lit a few fireworks. The first I lit while I was scrounging around in the garage, trying to find a piece of metal tubing which which I could repair my rocking chair. As I scrounged I came across a lighter, and I looked at the stack of mortars salvaged from the house Og was cleaning in December, and it was the work of a moment to get a shell and a mortar, and go out into the back yard and light it.

Later, while cooking dinner, I lit some firecrackers and tossed them into the back yard. And I lit some ground bloom flowers. And a single roman candle.

...not as extravagant as some years, but I didn't want to go nuts since Mrs. Fungus was still at work.

* * *

Oh, dick! Mrs. Fungus has declared a litter emergency. Apparently the cat box is smelly. I will go rectify this and return shortly.

This commercial break has been brought to you by Glint! (tm) Pet litter, exfoliant, and sugar substitute of the STARS!!!

* * *

But soon we shall repair hence to celebrate the founding of our once-great nation.
Sunday, July 3rd, 2016
5:37 pm
#5258: Compensating?
On my way to work yesterday I saw a guy with a large pickup truck towing a trailer. I don't remember what (if anything) was on the trailer because my attention was captured entirely by the truck itself.

Huge dually pickup, bigger than normal tires...and four huge pipes sticking out of the bed near the cab, where some people like to put vertical stacks.

These pipes were monstrous. I mean, for a heavily-modified diesel truck a single four-inch exhaust pipe is generally enough to prevent back pressure; you can go to six if you want overkill. This guy had four eight-inch pipes sticking up, each ceramic-coated black, with well-executed bends and beveled ends. A professional installation of far too much exhaust plumbing for the engine he has.

Looking at that, I thought about what his intake had to look like. I made the assumption that he had some kind of aftermarket cold-air intake on the thing, which in all probability is a four-inch pipe with a K&N filter in a cold air box. The engine only needs a four-inch pipe to pull air in; and furthermore I can guarantee that the exhaust headers on his engine aren't bigger than four inches even if he went with an entirely custom exhaust system. There just isn't room on the cylinder head of a light truck engine for an outlet pipe bigger than an inch and a half at the outside; and that's stretching it.

So, assume a massively built Powerstroke V10 costing $20,000 with a Dale Banks turbocharging system. Further assume that it was shoehorned into a daily driver which is in really good shape but not a show truck. Assume monster turbochargers--maybe two for each side--and an epic torque figure. Even with all that, you still wouldn't need an eight-inch exhaust pipe (not even one) to prevent there from being any back pressure at all.

Look: the engine inhales through a four-inch tube. That cross-section is 12.6 square inches. Even accounting for expansion due to combustion it doesn't need to exhale through sixteen times the cross-section. (Four pipes of about 50 square inches' cross section each.)

Well, it's his truck and he can do with it as he likes. I don't have to agree that it's cool, though.
8:04 am
#5257: If it can blow your hand off, it's not a "firecracker"
Dog finds hand blown off by dynamite. Quote from article: "The Chicago Fire Department says a 39-year-old man was injured by a firecracker equivalent to a half-stick of dynamite."

Firecrackers are DOT class 1.4G (what used to be class "C") fireworks. What this guy was mucking with was, in fact, DOT class 1.1D, "blasting explosives".

But of course Fireworks Are Dangerous And Must Be Banned.

* * *

TSA, for all your jackbooted thug needs!
So, short form: a 19-year old woman with a brain tumor, deaf, partially blind, partially paralyzed and easily confused, was beaten bloody by the TSA (with some help by the local PD) in Memphis. Why? Because she was easily confused and didn’t understand why they wanted to run her through the scanner again. Hannah’s mother was *not* allowed to explain to the TSA agents what the story was; instead Hannah was hauled off to the hoosegow.
Yep, TSA, making travel safe again, one teenaged cancer patient at a time!

I bet those men all feel proud of themselves, standing up for safety and security by tackling a 19-year-old disabled woman and beating the crap out of her. After all, she could have been a dangerous terrorist in disguise, which more than justifies what they did to her!

/sarcasm

I do have to wonder how those tough guys would react to a real security threat who pulled a gun and started shooting? Would they be so eager to tackle him, or would they shit their pants and hide? How far does their bravery extend when it comes to subduing the unruly? Would they be so brave if their victim was three hundred pounds of muscle with a firearm? Or is that treatment reserved for 19-year-old girls who are physically incapable of protecting themselves (let alone understand what, exactly, is happening)?

* * *

Sun's been blank for nine days and counting. The unusually cool weather over the past few days is coincidental.
Saturday, July 2nd, 2016
9:42 pm
#5256: When was the last time I bought myself a new shirt?
I'm not talking, "When was the last time I got a new shirt," but when was the last time I bought one for myself?

It's been a good long time--like years. Like "before I was married".

I went to K-Mart today for Pepsi (thinking they'd have it on sale, as their flyer claimed, but of course they were out) and while I was there I decided to see if they had any short-sleeve henleys. That's where I've bought all my henleys, and today they did not disappoint; I bought tree of them for the princely sum of $10 each. Which is good, because most of my henleys have threadbare collars or other problems. Now I've got three new ones I can wear outside the house.

Anyway, it's a win for me, buying new clothing that's not needed specifically for work. Amazing.

* * *

Part of making the cost of electricity "necessarily skyrocket" is getting rid of coal. This is exactly what Democrats want; they couldn't care less how much electricity costs because they'll be able to afford it regardless. The small people, the people who aren't superrich politicians (but I repeat myself), they'll be freezing in the dark.

* * *

Is rail traffic down? Rail traffic is an excellent proxy for the economic health of the country. Trains don't blow their horns passing through the Fungal Vale any longer, so I've no idea.

* * *

Incidentally, what is this nonsense about "limited" uranium? But yeah, you can get all kinds of useful materials from seawater, if you're not too worried about how economically viable it is. But there's uranium literally all over the earth, and in higher concentrations than you'll find in seawater; if you really need it, you can get it.

And that's ignoring the fact that we can also use thorium. And plutonium. And-- There's all kinds of energy we can extract from various power metals. And by the time we start running low on them we'll probably have cracked fusion.

I mean, come on!

* * *

Exercise appears to be bad for international progressives of all stripes. At least, if they have some dirt on Hillary Clinton....

* * *

Why Trump has the delegates no one else does.

* * *

It's coming, sooner than you think. Robotically-made fast food will displace low-skilled labor.

* * *

The worker's paradise!

* * *

Well, he would.

* * *

I bet it only costs a thousand dollars an hour. Removing a broken tap from something "really, really expensive".

* * *

So, of course you remember Big Dick by Little Big, right?

Well, here we have the same song, with different words, as found by Mrs. Fungus.

My dick, is big--great, now I'll have that stuck in my head for a week.

Again.
12:17 am
#5255: I have thirty minutes.
Thirty minutes before I must be in bed.

Your Tesla is not a self-driving automobile; you still have to pay attention. The car's not smart enough to drive itself.

When you hear that Hillary has a 2-3-5 point lead on Trump, bear in mind that Trump isn't spending anything on advertising.

Starbucks raised their minimum wage and UNEXPECTEDLY! cut back number of hours worked. The true minimum wage is zero.

Australia has to re-do their elections because of massive vote fraud. The Green party cheated? Say it ain't so!

Gimme one of them assault muskets!

Collusion is bad. But of course they're Democrats so it's all above board. Right?

The Ridiculous Gigolo proves he's as dumb as a bag of doorknobs.

Well, I guess this means we must ban all fireworks everywhere forever. Why was the kid firing a cap gun inside the car with fireworks inside?

It's a file server the size of a postage stamp. How's that for high tech?

"Don't agree with secession? What are you celebrating every July 4th?"

Psychiatrist sometimes diagnoses demonic possession.

* * *

Today Mrs. Fungus had a fender-bender.

She was on her way to lunch and there was a cop directing traffic; he waved her on, and as she was entering the intersection some moron came charging through and hit her car. He almost hit the cop, too. I can't imagine that the cop was too amused by that.

Anyway, the damage to her car is mostly superficial, as far as I can tell--there is one dent and a bunch of scraping--but the other guy's car lost its bumper.

I got the call from her in the middle of my shift at work. Theoretically we have an "emergency contact" line, but every time she has called it, it's been busy or no one has bothered to answer it. It was the same today, so she called me directly. Her number is the only one which is allowed through "quiet mode" on my phone, and when she called me I got off the phone as quickly as I could to call her back.

Anyway, long story short, I braved the teeming madness of the holiday rush hour, and hurried to her side. She's fine, the car is drivable, and the accident was entirely the other party's fault since he ignored a police officer's traffic directions.

I left work at 4:45 and got back at 7:15; despite being out of the office for about 2.5 hours and having 1.5 hours of training today I still got in a reasonable number of calls.

*sigh*

* * *

And so we head into the 4th of July weekend. On my way to work this morning, I-80 was a parking lot from I-394 all the way to I-57. That's miles and miles; I don't even know how many. Five? Six? Ten? Far too many.

On my way home, then, the westbound lanes where the two right lanes split off to head for Iowa, that was a parking lot.

I hope tomorrow's traffic isn't too cruddy.
Thursday, June 30th, 2016
5:27 pm
#5254: High speed fail
Four years behind schedule, already costing twice as much as originally promised, and now it's gotten even better. Because:
When the Spanish construction company Ferrovial submitted its winning bid for a 22-mile segment, the proposal included a clear and inconvenient warning: "More than likely, the California high speed rail will require large government subsidies for years to come." Ferrovial reviewed 111 similar systems around the world and found only three that cover their operating costs.

This research should surprise no one who pays attention. Even advocates acknowledge that almost all high-speed rail systems need ongoing subsidies.

But the California High-Speed Rail Authority steadfastly maintains that its trains will be the exception: "HIGH-SPEED RAIL IN CALIFORNIA WILL NOT REQUIRE OPERATING SUBSIDIES" a 2013 fact sheet declared, in all caps. The authority has to keep up the charade or admit to breaking the promises that persuaded voters to back the project in the first place.
...and so the California High-Speed Rail Authority snipped that little inconvenient bit about the subsidies right out of the on-line posting of the winning bid. Because somehow the system in California won't need them. Right?

* * *

No surprises here, either. Charles Rangel is one of those slugs who thinks being in Congress makes him above the law. Rules are for the little people. Right?

* * *

Rosie Odonnel born in a man's body? The thing about the transgendered is, it's usually bloody obvious what sex they actually are, and Misty Snow is no exception whatsoever.

* * *

I have to concur. "Actress Meryl Streep and First Lady Michelle Obama joined Princess Lalla Salma in Morocco on Tuesday night for a traditional dinner to break the fast of Ramadan,..." Where are your burkhas, bitches?

* * *

So I just heard a commercial wherein a guy asks an insurance company rep (female) about making a homeowner's insurance claim for his air conditioner, which he says needs replacing. The insurance rep chirpily tells him that insurance doesn't cover that kind of thing.

It's a dumb commercial, but I know this conversation has happened in real life.

The idea that someone would need to be told that his homeowner's insurance doesn't cover maintenance and repair not related to structure damage or theft--well, considering how many people I've had to tell that a manufacturer's warranty does not cover physical damage to a cell phone, I don't find it impossible, sad to say.

* * *

"Man your battle stations" should not mean leaving essential functions unmanned. Just as an example, it's all well and good to have your guns crewed, but if there's no one in the engine room running the engines your battle will still end pretty quickly.

It's not uncommon for someone in a vital role to have his battle station be his regular duty station. But apparently this was just one of several major blunders. The whole thing was a clown show.

Related? Just what did we pay Iran $1.7 billion for if not to get those soldiers out of hock? Gee, why would Obama, who promised "the most transparent administration in history", want to hide something like that?

* * *

Venezuela, the socialist paradise, continues to impress. "No one wants the money any more; it's worthless." Yeah. But people need food.

* * *

I keep hearing similar rumbles from the Methodist conference and I don't like them one bit. A church that falls away from the teachings of Christ does not long endure.

* * *

Is this going to matter? Oil is trading far above where it should be, considering the fundamentals of the market. If China stops buying as much, will the price actuall go down?

I'd like to see the price of oil drop again, but I'm not going to hold my breath.

* * *

I used to get bent out of shape over polls. Then I learned the only poll that matters is the election.

The people who wanted Great Britain to remain in the EU believed the polls and were shocked when people voted otherwise. Well, when you make a habit of castigating and excoriating people who don't agree with you--and worse--don't be surprised when they lie to the people who take polls.

And if you think I'm making that up, ASM826 says, in the comments, "Would you put a Trump bumper sticker on your car?"

The people who say "Trump can't win!" are paying too much attention to the polls. Do they think Trump can't win against Hillary? That dessicated harpy from hell?

* * *

Fun Hillary Clinton fact: "Dessicated Harpy from Hell" is the name of her new designer perfume. (What do you expect? She's completely tone-deaf and hasn't got a romantic bone in her body.)
Wednesday, June 29th, 2016
9:08 pm
#5253: When the hell did they--?
They moved the Wal-Mart. It's in a different place, a not-obvious place on the other side of I-57.

I was on my way out there to get my prescription, and as I rode into the parking lot of the former location I was stunned at the lack of vehicles--usually the lot is packed, and--

"Moved to new location June 1," said the sign on the door. Are you kidding me??

...so I tried finding it, and rode a merry chase around Matteson and Richton Park until I gave up and called them. On the west side of I-57. Argh etc.

Rode out there, was in and out in a matter of minutes because the pharmacy is right by the doors, and went home. At least I had a nice ride on the bike, but it took too long, so now I find myself trying to get everything done in a lot less time. Since I got home around seven I've been working on cleaning the kitchen, and haven't had anything to eat, so now I'm taking a break for food and a few minutes' rest.

Oh--and when I got home at seven, it was to a puddle of water on the floor by the dishwasher. It's not coming from the sink; it's the dishwasher itself that's leaking, but there's no obvious dripping when it's not running, so what I'll have to do is run it and find the leak--but I don't have time for that today; I just dried up the water and made sure there wasn't water leaking from one of the supply pipes. Luckily it's not, because that would be an "oh shit call a plumber" situation. The utility room, in the basement, is right under the kitchen, and I can see the supply pipes for the sink; if one of them were leaking there'd be water dripping from the ceiling of the utility room, and it's bone dry down there. That means the dishwasher is what's leaking (it's partitioned off from the water supply pipes by cabinetry) and that means it's not an emergency. Thank the Lord for small favors: if we have to have a water leak in the kitchen, it's one that's managed simply by not using the dishwasher. Inconvenient--but merely inconvenient, and I like that just fine.

So I made a few command decisions about the kitchen, and one of 'em is that we do not need all these appliances here. The food processor has not been used since Mom died; I put it on a shelf in the basement. We haven't used the bread machine in two years; it too got stored elsewhere. Ditto for Mrs. Fungus' Krups egg poacher, which we've used one time in the four years we've been together.

The counter looks fantastic.

Now I just need to reproduce the same effect on the opposite side of the kitchen. No problem...once I've had something to eat.
4:55 pm
#5252: Raspberries?
Well, I suppose it's not terribly surprising that there are raspberries on all the raspberry canes growing in the front yard, but I certainly have never managed to harvest any before.

But today?



It certainly isn't on my "to-do" list but I bet if I went out there in clothes that better protected me from thorns I could find lots more. This was about five minutes' worth of wading in the lily of the valley bed and carefully extracting berries.

This almost kinda-sorta makes up for the damned things growing in our front yard in the first place; to me they're no better than weeds, but at least we got a little treat out of them, for once.

I suppose it's because there are no rabbits or squirrels hanging around the front yard this year. I've seen, on a few occasions, a dark-colored cat wandering around the local area, and I'd suspect that has something to do with the dearth of rabbits and squirrels. But what about birds? Don't they eat raspberries? Or is the mystery cat keeping them away, too?

Regardless, raspberries, fresh off the cane. Maybe have 'em after dinner tonight with a little sugar.
2:43 pm
#5251: I think that's an appropriate response.
Interns fired for being gits. Short form: intern was unhappy with her employer's dress code, so she got together with other interns and they put together a petition to change the dress code to business casual.

Employer: you're all fired.

Here's the thing: when you do that kind of thing, you self-identify as a troublemaker. I love this:
We were shocked. The proposal was written professionally like examples I have learned about in school, and our arguments were thought out and well-reasoned. We weren’t even given a chance to discuss it. The worst part is that just before the meeting ended, one of the managers told us that the worker who was allowed to disobey the dress code was a former soldier who lost her leg and was therefore given permission to wear whatever kind of shoes she could walk in. You can’t even tell, and if we had known about this we would have factored it into our argument.
It doesn't matter how professionally written your proposal was. It doesn't matter how well you thought out your arguments. You work for a business and it's not a democracy.

The advice columnist thinks firing them all was extreme, but I do not, and for the very same reasons elucidated here:
Y'all were pretty out of line. You were interns there — basically guests for the summer. Their rules are their rules. This is like being a houseguest and presenting your host with a signed petition (!) to change their rules about cleaning up after yourself. You just don’t have the standing to do that.
The thing is, when I read just the paragraph blockquoted by Vox Day, I was pretty certain there was a medical reason for the exception to the rule; the one person in the office who was allowed to wear sneakers or flats had some valid pre-approved reason to be wearing shoes that don't fit the dress code. Having an artificial limb is certainly a good reason to grant an exception. (One commentor adds, "Other possibilities are Related To Boss and The Only One Who Can Make the Farglinugalator Work. Also up there is Consistently Leads in Sales." I like that, though I'm changing the spelling: "Farglinugulator".)

But you get a bunch of special snowflakes whining "It's not fair!" and--having been told all their lives that they're so smart and special--they're suprised when their attempts at redress get slapped down, hard.

* * *

Got lost in the comments, there. On to other things.

* * *

There's plenty of helium left. They found a huge field of helium in Tanzania, which is good to hear. We don't have as much of it as we used to; all those party balloons--

* * *

What's the rationale behind this prediction? They're saying food prices will rise by about 400% in the coming decade, but it just gives a bunch of inchoate causes like "global climate disruption". In fact the entire impetus behind this comes from a simulation/game done with 65 officials and experts from around the world, "intended to improve understanding of how governments, institutions, and private sector interests might interact to address a crisis in the global food system,..."

And the conclusion was that we're all going to starve?

"All moralistic pontificating aside, a return to small-scale, organic farming and switching to vegetarian diets, or at least a reduction in consumption of meat, could avert or abate the coming crisis," the article concludes--and if there is any prescription which would make global famine worse, it would be that kind of switch. (Not to mention a concomitant rise in diabetes and obesity and diseases caused by nutritional deficits.)

What could "avert or abate the coming crisis" is doubling down on GMO crops and increasing industrial farming. The United States--even using an ever-increasing percentage of its corn crop for making fuel!--is still the breadbasket of the world, and that is so because we have big business involved in farming. We're not where we are because we're doing "small-scale, organic farming".

What a load of horseshit.

* * *

Is one of the options to leave the car the hell alone and continue to drive it? If I had a VW diesel and liked it, I'd want to keep driving it as-is without fixing the software or anything, and would gladly waive receiving any of the settlement for my trouble. But $5 says that's not an option.

* * *

NASA building big, dumb, expensive boosters. Sure, SLS will eventually be able to boost 105 tons to orbit. In the process one launch will cost ten times as much as a single Falcon 9 Heavy launch will, which will boost 54 tons the same distance. Two launches, twenty percent of a single SLS, same paylod on-orbit. You do the math.

* * *

Because government cannot do anything efficiently. The fact that our government is fudging economic numbers and providing false statistics is not surprising, nor is the possibility that Social Security is already spending more than it's taking in.

* * *

Two hundred watt laser--that's a beam you can see without anything else in the air. Of course, if you look at that with unprotected eyes, it'll be the last thing you see. Two hundred watts is a lot of light, so much that the beam is visible in clear air just because of the photons scattering off the air molecules themselves.

Understand: when you look at a light bulb and you see that it's rated for, say, 60 watts, that's not how much light it puts out; that's how much power it consumes. A 100 watt incandescent light bulb produces about one watt of actual light; the rest is heat. A flourescent bulb need consume only about 40 watts of electricity to produce a watt of light. An LED fixture may consume 10 or 20 watts to generate a watt of light.

But what you're seeing in that video is two hundred watts of light, and that is a lot of light. It's a dangerous amount of light, in fact.

It's an impressive build, but it's certainly nothing I'd want to fool with.

* * *

Yesterday was errand day; today is chore day. I need to cut the grass, the kitchen and bathroom need cleaning, and I have a bunch of other little things to do. I'm hoping to go pick up a refill for my pills, too.

Better get after it. It's a shame, though, since it's such a nice, quiet day. Well, that's how it goes, I guess.
3:08 am
#5250: It's been a century since 2010?
"In fact, our local star is quieter than it’s been for more than a century."

Spotless days in 2009: 260. Spotless days in 2010: 51. (Look at the table on the left side of the page, midway down, where they tally sunspot counts in recent years.)

But yeah, the sun is blank again, and it's been blank for longer this year (nine days so far) than it has since 2010; in 2011 there were two spotless days and there was one in 2014.

I don't blame the reporter for not knowing we've had spotless days in recent years. I blame him for not doing any research on the matter. Even a quick Googe search would have told him how long it's been since solar activity was this low. The sentence I quoted needs only minor modification to be both scientifically accurate and true-to-fact, rather than misleading sensationalism. (Simply add "in the past decade," right after "In fact,..." and change "is" to "has been" and you've done it.)

So: bonus points for not following the warmista party line ("solar insolation is irrelevant") and correctly identifying the sun as the major driver of climate on Earth. Minus several for not explaining it right.

* * *

China may actually make it to the moon, but that's a long haul and there's a lot wrong with their economy. It takes a lot of economic effort to support a program of space exploration, particularly one that includes a permanent manned presence on the moon; I'm not sure China can do it. They're about fifty, sixty years into communist totalitarianism, and history has shown that such societies do not have much longevity. With the economic news I see reported, I don't think China can maintain themselves much longer, not like this.

We know China vastly overreports crucial economic indicators; their numbers are almost as trusworthy as those from our federal government. A lot of elites would like it not to be so, but the wheels appear to be coming off the bandwagon there, the same way they're coming off everywhere else. That which cannot be sustained will not be, and all the fervent wishes to the contrary won't make it not so.

So I'm not as optimistic as the Arse Technica article is. I do not have much optimism for a Chinese lunar effort, because China already cannot afford to do what they're attempting. China may do it--the same way North Korea manages to have a nuclear program and develop ICBMs while their people starve to death and 99% of the country lives in squalor--but it will be a small accomplishment, nothing like the grand vision its boosters imagine: a handful of carefully-picked people living in conditions which would have appalled the Apollo astronauts. (Who had to crap in diapers, for example.)

And every third person there will be a political officer, some politically reliable drone who almost knows how to do something useful but who certainly knows how to spout Party doctrine. This will be the doom of the Chinese effort on the moon, because "almost useful" is no damned good when there is too much work for too few hands. And they do not dare populate a large base with smart people without that level of political oversight, because once there are enough smart people there with sufficient resources they might just stop listening to their political masters in Beijing.

* * *

Cold anger is dangerous. The guy lunging around and screaming his head off, he might be hazardous and he might be unhinged, but he's manageable. You know, more or less, where his head is at, and the danger he presents is easily countered.

The guy sitting there quietly and taking everything in, you don't know what he's thinking or planning. When he acts, you're surprised (unpleasantly) and your attempts to stop him have been anticipated and planned for. He's studied your contingency plans, he knows your doctrines and procedures--perhaps better than you do, or at least better than your political bosses do--and he knows the best time to act for maximum effect.

I thought I had read this before. The comments at that post talk a lot about the reality of unions. That, too, has not gone unnoticed.

* * *

If you show up to someone else's permitted gathering in order to use violence to shut them up, you are the problem. Yes, the people with the permit were "white nationalists". They still have a right to speak in a public venue; our Constitution guarantees it.

The purpose of the First Amendment is to protect speech which is unpopular.
Folks, nobody ever tries to censor speech that isn't disagreeable. The First Amendment was written specifically to protect speech that is disagreeable to those hearing it, because that's the only time it matters!
This is why I always speak out against the "heckler's veto" or--in this case--the rioter's veto. If anyone can, with sufficient force, prevent someone from exercising that right, we descend from "rule of law" to mob rule, where might makes right and the loudest voices drown out all others.

In Blues Brothers much humor is extracted from Elwood Blues driving the Bluesmobile through a demonstration by the Illinois Nazi Party. But in that scene we see the police protecting the Nazis from the mob because the Nazis have the right to speak even though the police think the Nazis are full of horseshit. And funny as they are, Elwood's actions are wrong.

* * *

I'm not sure what to think about this. Cuba is a communist shithole, but if there's one thing a communist dictatorship knows how to do it's run a security screen. If Cuba's airport security isn't up to DHS standards that might not be entirely a bad thing. And if I were running a dictatorship I sure as hell wouldn't want a bunch of effete American dickheads coming into my country and telling me how I had to run things.

* * *

"Do the actions of the police make sense to any of you?" Of course they do. The function of police is to apprehend lawbreakers for trial. End of list. They're not there to be heroes, they're not there to rescue people in danger, they're not there for anything other than arresting people who have broken the law.

The Orlando police--even their SWAT team--were not obligated to do anything to prevent further loss of life. Their only job was to apprehend the shooter, or kill him trying. Their fancy mil-spec gear is there to protect them and the other cops; it's not there to enable them to go in and bust down doors and stop bad guys who are actively shooting people.

I mean, sure--you can do that, go in with guns blazing, and maybe get your head blown off. Or maybe a few of the bullets from your gun will end up in civilians, and you'll be facing a huge lawsuit from the decedents' families. Or this, or that, or the other thing...whereas if you just sit tight and wait, the worst that will happen is a few people will ask, "Why didn't you go in sooner?" and you can give all kinds of logical reasons why not. And pat yourself on the back for being a brave policeman.

* * *

So I saw a trailer for the reboot of Westworld before last week's excellent Game of Thrones epsiode (as Wonderduck said, "Woof, woof, [mofo].") and I was interested in seeing it.

Now, not so much.

I don't know exactly what it is, but the series described by that article just doesn't sound interesting or entertaining to me. Usually my disinterest is caused by the (usually correct) feeling that the story was told right the first time--remakes are rarely superior to the original material--but that's not the case here, and from the trailer alone I figured it was actually an entirely new story which didn't have to be called Westworld. (Much the same way Battlestar Galactica could have had an entirely different name because of its superficial similarity to the original material.)

I think that much of it comes from the fact that, in the past few years, there have been several series which attempted to deal with the consequences of artificially intelligent, humanoid robots, and none of them have been entertaining or even interesting enough to hold my attention for more than a few episodes. I further don't like the "post-human" bent this series is supposed to be taking, at least according to what's said in the article about it.

I want my SF to be promethean, and this is epimethean as all get-out. I don't like stories about the end of Man.

So when this thing hits the cable, I might watch it and I might not. I just don't know.

* * *

So, after the big union baby strike killed Hostess, I've been waiting for the Suzy Q to come back. The Twinkie came back, the Ho-Ho returned, the cupcakes--but not the Suzy Q, and I was sad.

Today, Mrs. Fungus surprised me with a box of Suzy Qs, back at last! I was delighted...until we got home and I opened the box.

First off, they're tiny, about 30-40% smaller than they once were. About on par with a single Little Debbie Devil Twin, which is so named because they come in packs of two, unlike this box of Suzy Qs. Second, there's not nearly enough creme between the layers of cake. Third, the cakes are not baked individually; they're obviously sliced from a much larger sheet: it looks as if one large sheet has creme deposited on it, another sheet is laid atop it, and then they're sliced to size.

They got all the other ones right. Why'd they fuck up this one?

* * *

Speaking of bad food manufacturing decisions, Pepsi has reversed course on the diet Pepsi and have decided to put aspartame back into it. They cut the aspartame and went with other sweeteners such that the label no longer contains the phenylalanine warning (which, I have been told, if you need to be warned that the product contains phenylalanine, you're not going to be in any condition to understand or heed the warning).

Apparently sales of diet Pepsi dropped in response, because the flavor changed. The sweetness has gotten more sugary, less "flat" tasting; I've noticed the difference but didn't really mind it, and by now I've adjusted to it. Now I'll have to get used to the aspartame flavor again, I suppose. It won't be much of a stretch.

It's kind of amazing to me that corporations--even with the "New Coke" example--still think that messing with success is the ticket to greater success.

* * *

Now, it's been how long since I busted the downstream O2 sensor in the Jeep? Yeah, since March 26. That's right. Long enough to accumulate a whole slew of gas station receipts with mileage-per-tank figures on them.

I haven't crunched any numbers, but since I munged that downstream O2 sensor and the "check engine" light has been on, the Jeep has been fairly consistently getting 20 MPG or better. There are a few outliers, few enough in number to dismiss them as differences in "full tank" pump shutoffs. If I go to the same pump at the same gas station consistently, though, the fuel economy figures line up right around 20 MPG, plus-minus a bit.

This from a vehicle that could barely get 18 MPG beforehand. Same driving pattern, same everything. Regardless of brand, too; the slight improvement I got using Speedway gas is now gone and I get the same economy from Shell gas I get from Speedway gas.

So, yeah: apparently you can have a bad O2 sensor which nonetheless passes muster enough not to trigger a diagnostic code, but the instant it fails and the engine computer stops paying attention to it, fuel economy improves.

I'm going to have to replace it sometime in July, because this is the year the Jeep needs to be smogged before I can renew the plates; and if my fuel economy drops below 20 after the new one's in place I'm going to rig a switch or something to shut it off when I'm not getting the truck smogged. WTF.

The other thing: today I drove Mrs. Fungus to a podiatrist appointment in Naperville, because she needed an ingrown toenail dealt with, and on our way home I determined something interesting about the shimmy.

The shimmy is maddening because it comes and goes. Sometimes it's there, sometimes not. I thought that was mere mechanical bloody-mindedness. But today on a long, long curve on southbound 294, speed constant, I could feel the shimmy come and go; and that alerted me to pay attention to the truck, and I noticed that the shimmy came and went, came and went, whenever I'd go into a curve that was long enough.

Previously I'd had several inchoate theories about why the vibration came and went, but now I know it's got to do with the relative angular position of the wheels. It's some kind of resonant vibration--I knew that already--but now I know that when the front wheels are in the right phase it's absent.

Jeep's due for a tire rotation again, which past experience has already shown won't fix the problem. The problem existed with the old set of tires, so--again--it's not the tires which are causing this.

I'm beginning to wonder if I could pull the front driveshaft? If it's constructed correctly I could do that without the transfer case puking all its lube out, and then see if the lack of a front shaft changed the nature of the vibration. I'm starting to suspect that it's some kind of driveline issue, something vibrating there that only becomes noticeable around 55 MPH because then it's in resonance.

But I'm thinking that it's not "death wobble" because that comes on and stays regardless of speed, and only stops when you drop below the critical speed. The really bad vibration comes on around 50 and stops almost completely above 60. (When it's present, which isn't always. Heck, in the past few days alone there have been three or four instances of me driving at 55 MPH, peak wobble, with no vibration whatsoever in the front end.)

Well, on the plus side, with the impending holiday weekend I may have enough time to dig into it, at least a little bit. The rear brakes are squealing a bit and the serpentine belt is about due for a replacement (this one has nearly 60k on it now) so I suppose it wouldn't hurt to spend some time wrenching on the old crate.

And if I do, I think I may pull the steering knuckles and check the ball joints per Og's suggestion. That's a bitch to do, but I'm otherwise running out of ideas, and I'm getting really, really sick of this damnable shimmy.

* * *

Man, I started writing this post just after noon on Tuesday; now it's after 3 AM Wednesday and it's not up yet. Time to end it and send it. Sheesh.
Sunday, June 26th, 2016
10:08 pm
#5249: It's hot outside and I'm not going out there again.
Actually I will, because I have things to do this week, but I'm going to pout the whole time.

(No, I won't. Pout, I mean. I actually like summer...in small doses.)

* * *

Congress slug Charlie Rangel says only politicians need to be protected. "I think we deserve--I think we need to be protected...," the hypocrite weasel said.

* * *

I LOVE THIS.

* * *

Here's a tip: when you're closing browser tabs, don't get carried away, or else the music might stop.

* * *

Tomorrow is my Friday. I can't wait until this time tomorrow, because I'll be approximately 15 minutes from quitting time. That'll be nice.

* * *

Yesterday evening I was sitting here working on the blog post, and I heard this weird noise. I had no idea WTF it was.

Tonight I discovered what it was: Mrs. Fungus has this stupid "emoji" plush she got somewhere, and when you squeeze it, it makes a noise like a squirrel being raped with a mallet. (It is supposed to be an evil snicker.) Twigs was playing with it, and must--somehow--have triggered the noise. I found the object in the basement and discovered this distressing property by accident.

At least now I know.
Saturday, June 25th, 2016
11:56 pm
#5248: Other things
Bad names--besides "Latrina", Mrs. Fungus came across a beaut of a terrible name.

"Felonee".

...yeah, perfect name for your daughter! Felony! Perfect!

*whimper*

* * *

On my way to work last week, as I drove down one of my usual roads, I thought I saw wisps of fog drifting by the edge of the road. In sunlight.

"Damn," I thought. "How humid does it have to be for there to be fog like that?"

Then I drove through one of the wisps of fog and saw thousands of glittering wings, and realized it wasn't fog but a swarm of friggin' mosquitos. In my defense, I've never seen a swarm of mosquitos like that before.

Today on my way to work I saw even more, and denser, clouds of mosquitos. The swarms are mating dances, visible clouds of thousands of bugs all getting together to lay millions of eggs.

Can we PLEASE! bring back DDT now?
9:05 pm
#5247: TIRED
I would expect that--until things change at work--the bloggeratin' around here is going to be scarce Thu and Fri for quite some time.

Two things need to change: mandatory overtime needs to go away, and my team has to be moved back to evenings all week instead of being on morning shift on Sat and Sun.

This business of getting off work at 10 PM and having to be back there at 9 AM--and work a 9-hour shift on top of it--is getting really, really old.

Plus side, last night I actually got to bed at 12:30 as planned, and so I don't feel embalmed this evening. I may not even need a nap tonight!

* * *

Somehow I utterly forgot about city stickers for the cars. I remembered Monday, though, and got the new stickers on Tuesday, so now it's just a matter of applying them to the vehicles.

I'm glad I remembered while it was still June. The stickers are $50 until July 1, at which time they go up to $100.

* * *

George Will wants to elect Hillary, I guess.
If Trump loses at the convention, in spite of having the required number of delegates for a first ballot nomination, then Republicans all across America will smell a rat. Yes, it can be done, but it will be extremely difficult without fracturing the coalition that is required to elect a Republican in November.
"Extremely difficult", in this case, means "don't make any fuckin' plans."

Related. The ones with Trump on them will sell out.

* * *

Well, the sun is blank again--no sunspots--and it's been that way for a couple of days. Welcome to the beginning of solar minimum!

* * *

Today there was a really stupid guy I had to deal with.

Here's what happened: in May he demanded that we put him on the smallest possible data plan. So the rep did that--a 500 MB plan--and credited the guy the difference between the plan he'd been on and the plan he'd been moved to. ($80). And what does Buddy Genuis proceed to do?

Of course he then uses 10.7 GB of data on his mobile hot spot, because after all what else would you do?

...and when he gets a bill of which 95% is the $615 overage charge--incurred because he insisted on being moved to the smallest possible plan!--he calls us to bitch about it.

See, the smallest possible plan is a 500 MB plan, and it bills data overage at $15 per 250 MB. The 500 MB plan is for people who use extremely small amounts of data. They're not for mobile hot spots!

So when he ran up the 10.7 GB usage, that was (10x4x15)+15, which is $615. Naturally this bill was all our fault, because reasons.

Uh, no. Sorry. It's all in the remarks on the account. You don't get to piss and moan over how high your bill is, demand we lower your data plan and credit you the difference, only to change your mind after you got a big bill when you've been sent forty-two emails telling you that you were over your data. (Of course he "never got the emails". People never get e-mails, because that'd mean the overage was their fault. Hint: IT IS, SUNSHINE.)

To be nice, we offered him $100 back, but that's all. He made his bed, for fuck's sake.

Then he thought he'd be smart and tell me he wanted to talk to his lawyer, and he wanted to know if we had to give verbal disclosures about plans. I told him no, because he'd invoked the specter of legal counsel, I wasn't going to answer any questions, but instead refer him to our legal department. At that point my boss took over the call. I was not sad at all.

* * *

Anyway, it's almost dark and that sticker isn't going to apply itself. *sigh*
Wednesday, June 22nd, 2016
4:37 pm
#5246: Well, that's a relief.
Finally got the living room cleaned. It's been bothering me for months; I can't stand that level of clutter.

In the process, I took the old floor speakers I've had since early 1991 and tested them, figuring that if their decade (!) in the basement had ruined them I'd throw them away. When I started cleaning the basement I moved them into the living room to get them out of the way; but they couldn't stay there and I wasn't planning to leave them there ad infinitum. Now there's enough room in the basement for me to work around them, so down they went.

But first, testing, once all my chores and errands for the day were complete; and when they were, I hooked the speakers up to my stereo system and let 'em blare. I listened to music for about an hour and a half, and there was absolutely no sign of deterioration whatsoever. The sound was crystal-clear and everything worked beautifully.

...I had half-hoped they had deteriorated to unusability, because that way I could have toted them out. But they've suffered only minor cosmetic injuries over the twenty-five years that I've had them, and they work perfectly, and I cannot--I am constitutionally unable to--throw away a pair of perfectly good speakers.

Next alternative, Craigslist, I suppose. But if I can ever get the basement as clean as I want to get it, I intend to use them with the old stereo as part of the console game system down there. That'll be cool.

And the living room looks great.

* * *

I think it's fair to say that if you're in the top 10% of income earners in the country you qualify as "rich". That threshold is surprisingly low. $190,000 puts you in the top 5%; $300,000 puts you in the top 1%.

If you want to be "middle class" these days $100k is where you have to be, though. That was "rich" a couple of decades ago. The middle class is shrinking.

But there's no inflation.

* * *

The Greater Depression continues with an unemployment rate around 23%. We are told it's 5% because our government can't afford to tell us the truth, which is that the economy sucks.
...[U]pon inspection, you can see that the alarming 23%...unemployment rate is merely unemployment calculated as it was until the Kennedy administration, when out-of-work Americans who had suspended an active search for jobs--primarily because none could be found--were relabeled "discouraged workers" and dropped from the tally of the unemployed.
The government has found it necessary to modify the way statistics are calculated because if we continue to use the same methods to calculate critical economic numbers the way we always have, it would be obvious how shitty things have become on their watch. And of course the press is careful not to remind us that this year's unemployment figure of 4.7% is not equivalent to 2005's 5% unemployment figure because while there are a hell of a lot more people out of work in 2016 than were in 2005 we simply don't count them.

Because that would make Barack Hussein look bad.

If Trump wins the election this year you can bet that suddenly news reports will be full of such caveats.

Related: with her promotion, Mrs. Fungus is handling screening applicants and scheduling interviews. So far, in the past month, she's had six applicants fail to show for interviews. Her brother reports that where he works there is a similar tale being told.

WTF.

I'm of the opinion that there are people who must apply for jobs to retain their government benefits, but of course the last thing they want is to actually get a job, because then they'd have to work. This is not helping the unemployment figures, but since our government isn't even counting right, what difference does it make?

* * *

Today is Wednesday, and mostly it's been a gloomy day. They're predicting severe thunderstorms, and flash flooding; and right now it's moist enough outside that I'm not going to be cutting the grass this week. Still, it's been so dry over the past two or three weeks that it doesn't need cutting.

Last night we watched 10 Cloverfield Lane; Mrs. Fungus really enjoyed it. I didn't like it as much as she did but it was reasonably entertaining. 80% of the movie took place in a bomb shelter and there were eight people in the movie, three of whom never appeared on screen and two of whom had bit parts. Not exactly a "cast of thousands". It was entertaining enough, though.

Tomorrow the workweek begins anew. Whee!
Tuesday, June 21st, 2016
5:11 pm
#5245: The stuff of legend!
Not really. Today I finally got the pine needles vacuumed up from the living room, though.

Pine needles clog our regular vacuum cleaner. I had to get the shop vac from downstairs. I turned it on and it blew a huge cloud of dust out, so I took it outside and cleaned it before trying again. This time I was able to vacuum up the Christmas tree needles without creating a smokescreen.

Worked up a sweat doing it, despite the AC, because there's no circulation in the living room and I was manhandling a shop vac. Oh well.

* * *

Why the hell does anyone care what Kim Kardashian thinks? She's disappointed because the Senate voted down four Democrat blood-dancing gun control bills.

Kim Kardashian is famous because she's famous and her family is famous: her father was a friend of OJ Simpson. That's the sum total of her contribution to society; she didn't invent anything or build anything or create anything. Absent the furor around the OJ Simpson trial no one would ever have heard of this useless extrusion.

Yet here I am, commenting about it. Yeah.

* * *

Wow, kid is arrested for rape, then released, and a week later kills two other kids. Local cops say "gang activity"--want to bet on what kind of gang it is? It couldn't possibly be composed of illegal aliens, now, could it? The article carefully does not say.

* * *

Heavily armed people arrested in Holland tunnel.
One of the suspects allegedly told authorities the trio was en route to Queens to try to save a friend who is on heroin and being held against her will. Police are looking for the possible woman in Queens.
Sure they are, now. It speaks volumes that people have to take matters into their own hands like this.

Or maybe someone's been watching too many movies.

Or something.

* * *

This is the sort of thing that occurs to me whenever Arse Technica and the rest of the global warmenation crowd start talking about how there's no money in climate research, and it's just about the science, blah blah blah etcetera.

If it were actually about science, the climatologists would welcome people who point out the flaws in their research. The point of actual science is to get the right answer.

But that's not the point of climatology. The point of climatology is to convince everyone that climate change is man-made and must be stopped by restricting human activity. Climatology is about protecting the rice bowls of the climatologists, which is why any dissent whatsoever is treated harshly. There may not be huge, "Now I have two Ferraris!" money in it, but there is nonetheless plenty of grant money to be had. You won't live like Bill Gates, but you will live a decent upper-middle-class lifestyle, much better than seventy percent of Americans do...and without having to work all that hard. You even get to attend a conference or two per year, some in exotic locales. Spend a few hours per week teaching a class (or, more likely, working at your computer while one of your grad students teaches the class) and write a dozen papers per year, and dutifully submit your grant applications on time--you have it made. Certainly you don't have to get your hands dirty.

It's just a racket. That's all it is. And anyone who threatens the racket must be destroyed, hence this "not displaying responsibility in respecting the reputations of other colleagues" horseshit.

Michael Mann--if he worked in an actual scientific discipline rather than climatology--would have been ridden out of the field on a rail for faking data the way he did with his hockey stick graph. It's telling that despite the demonstration that the whole thing was fake, he instead is still a prominent figure in climatology.

* * *

As for me, I have other chores to do. It's looking like the lack of rain over the past couple of weeks has left the lawn dry; I may mow it to reduce the shagginess but it hasn't really grown enough to be worth mowing otherwise.

It's cooler today than it was yesterday, and it's supposed to be even cooler tomorrow. And then Thursday it's back to work. *sigh*
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