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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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Tuesday, June 7th, 2016
7:16 pm
#5229: Oh, yeah, that grass is CUT.
I'm really glad I was able to get it cut today, because it really, really needed it.

It's not just that it rained while I was trying to cut it last time and I had to stop; it's that it's grown like crazy in the two weeks or so since then. I got the east 40 cut last time--it was the immediate back yard where I had to stop due to deluge--but it was long and shaggy and looked like crap. The front yard, too. It's been raining too much; I haven't had good weather when I've had time off from work. Today that changed, finally. I didn't really want to cut the grass, but it sorely needed it.

So: got the tractor out and whacked it all back. And this time, because the weather didn't start making with the thunderstorms, I was able to finish all the tractor work and get out the pusher, and got the trimming done; then I got out the weed whacker and had a go at some of the worst of that, too.

Result: the yard now looks 100% better than it did.

One of the problems I've had with the tractor is how unevenly it cuts the front yard. When I cut north-south, it comes out uneven, with a sawtooth profile; so the first time I cut it this year I had the brilliant idea of cutting it east-west, going up and down the (gentle) slope instead of across it--and it looks much better for only a little more effort.

I keep thinking I've got to get the loppers out and whack back some of the brush, but so far I haven't managed it--I haven't had the energy for it--but that's not an emergency, anyway.

It really doesn't take a lot of effort to keep your yard reasonably neat. You just need not be a total screwoff, is all.
5:47 pm
#5228: No. Oh, no. NO NO NO NO NO.
Apparently a "brokered convention" is still on the table.

Trump has the delegates. He's won the primaries. If the GOP rewrites the convention rules so that they can nominate whoever they want, and completely ignore the expressed will of the majority of the party, what's the bloody point of having primaries? At that point the party is no longer representative of the populace in general but of a select, narrow band of elites.

And--worse--whoever the GOP fronts in place of Trump won't be able to win the election, because a lot of GOP voters are either going to stay home (since the GOPe ignored them yet again, as they have consistently for the past sixteen years) or they're going to vote for someone else. Ace says that his raison d'etre is "BEAT HILLARY CLINTON" but if the GOP ignores the express will of its voters no one they put up will win.

Unless the whole frickin' ball of wax is fixed and it's GOP's turn to win this year. Which, it must be said, would not much surprise me at this point, considering how eager the GOPe is to vote for Hillary Clinton if they don't get their way.

Even if the GOP fronts Ryan (or whoever) and he manages to win, it still means the end of the GOP as a serious political party. The rank-and-file, people like me, will leave and never vote GOP again. And I mean never, never, EVER.

You want to beat Hillary Clinton? Then you'd better get the GOP behind Trump, because he's the nominee, and ignoring the expressed will of the voters is only going to lose you the election. And if this is truly the "most important election in history"--which I doubt, because you assholes say that every two years--I'd think you'd be circling the wagons around someone who obviously has a shitton of grassroots support and who could easily walk to the Presidency if you let him.

Which you're not.
11:08 am
#5227: The return of the blank sun
It's been four days since there were any sunspots.

The sunspot cycle is eleven years long. At the solar minimum in 2009 we went 250-odd days without a sunspot, something that's highly unusual even for a solar minimum. There were 51 spotless days in 2010, 2 in 2011, and then we waited until 2014 for another one.

The one spotless day in 2014 occurred at solar maximum. At solar maximum there should be no spotless days. At this point in the sunspot cycle we should be about where we were in 2011. Next solar minimum is 2020.

Hope for more sunspots. Weak sunspot cycles are synonymous with global cooling, and if it gets too cold we start having ice ages.

* * *

Speaking of which, Arse Technica attempts to dismiss the about-face that the eco-loony community did after the 1970s were over. The science, they gravely intone, always said that warming would happen.

No, it hasn't.

The eco-doomsayers have always flip-flopped about what they claimed was happening. Warming, cooling, warming, cooling, warming, cooling--as long as science has known about ice ages, the dire predictions of catastrophic eco-something have alternated with the decades. The scientific reasons were always laid out with exactly the same certainty that the very same human activity was the cause of wildly different effects.

If you want to claim that particulates in emissions were going to cause global cooling, you need only look at China, which has taken the US' place as the leading emitter of particulates. If the United States' particulate emissions were enough to cool the planet and cause an ice age, I would submit that we're not out of the woods yet.

If, however, you believe (as I do) that humans have very little impact on global climate, and that the climate is changing due to natural forcings over which we have no control whatsoever, you recognize all this scaremongering for what it is: horseshit.

* * *

Here is a map of states where the local economy sucks. Because taxes!

* * *

Big surprise: if you let a boy compete in girls' athletics, he wins every time. And the simple fact is, the kid is a boy. He may wish he were a girl, and he may have a delusion that he is a girl, but he is a boy and he has the musculature and the skeleton of a male, which means that he is able to run faster and push harder than a woman.

But, yeah, let's completely upend our civilization for the sake of some 20,000 people.

* * *

The commie-lib school faculty will find an excuse to censor political speech they don't like. That's been true of public schools for decades.

"The other kids don't like it." No, you don't like it. Why don't you just be honest? Oh yeah, that's right; because if you have the kid remove the hat because you don't like it, you're engaging in censorship and can get in trouble for it.

* * *

Besides, honesty is for suckers, right? So, China is underreporting its unemployment rate by a factor of three. Sound familiar? That certainly sounds like what the US' own BLS is doing with our unemployment figures.

And for the same reason. Look: if the unemployment figures over the past decade had been reported honestly, the Government Party would long since have found itself dangling from lampposts all over the country. By making up more convenient numbers and having the propaganda wing disseminate them, the Party can attempt to convince people that the problem is not pandemic.

Then comes Trump, though, and the preference cascade.

* * *

Tuesday, and it couldn't come soon enough.

It was so blissfully cool last night I needed a blanket to stay warm. Good sleeping weather, as they say, and I slept like a man drugged.

It's cool today, too, and that'll make cutting the grass easier. I also have to do some brake inspections; both the Jeep and the Toyota need examination. Hope that doesn't turn into a big deal, but the Toyota's rear end is squeaking a bit and the Jeep has made some sounds, too.

Plus side: I know how to do brake jobs.
Monday, June 6th, 2016
10:41 pm
#5226: Nice and cool again
Tonight it's so nice and cool out, I was able to open the place up and get some fresh air in here. It's very pleasant.

* * *

That stupid anti-gun documentary is so bad even people sympathetic with its leftward tilt are slamming it.

* * *

Violence at the UAW hall in Chicago because union.

* * *

Proof that the IRS was targeting conservative groups for their politics. But this is America and that kind of thing can't happen here. Right?

* * *

John C. Wright knocks this one out of the park.

* * *

Tomorrow is Tuesday. I have chores to do. *sigh*
Sunday, June 5th, 2016
11:25 pm
#5225: All right! Oh, no!!
So, Game of Thrones tonight--

Opening scene, who do we see but Ian McShane, who played Al Swearingen in Deadwood, and there was much rejoicing.

Spoilers to tell what happened at the end of the ep, but it's a damned shame.

Plus side? Another spoiler, but someone we haven't seen for a while is not dead after all, which is damned cool.

* * *

Screamingly nice day outside today, and I came home and slept (or tried to) because I was just too frickin' tired to do anything but. Maybe I'll get to ride the bike on my weekend.

* * *

When it's your daughters who have to deal with seeing dongs in the ladies' room, I guess it's a little different.

* * *

Tomorrow is Monday, and that's my Friday, and I can't wait until the work is over. Maybe I'll get to sleep.
12:17 am
#5224: Twigs, supersonic
I'm not kidding. This cat gets around the house faster than anything. Combine a meow with the sound of a race car passing at top speed. That's Twigs.

* * *

Saturday was hellish. Didn't get nearly enough sleep, and of course I had to be at work at 9; and we had a queue all friggin' day that hit 70+ at its highest. Why are all you assholes calling your wireless provider on such a nice summer Saturday?

"Not helping" department: thirty people didn't show up for work, including nine idiots who didn't bother calling off. At three PM, upper management decided that the way to fix this was to pull all the floor support and make team leads and supervisors answer phones exclusively. So, yeah, try getting a payment taken or a credit approved, and God forbid someone might ask to speak to a sup. Holy shit.

Anyway, I did fine, and managed to leave only a few minutes late; I got a talker, who was happy I was able to help him, and I don't mind that at all. Except for the stupidity internal to the call center, my day was pretty decent.

Mrs. Fungus is telling me I should probably jump ship: if they're pressing sups and leads into phone duty, instead of having them do their regular jobs, it's probably a sign of desperation. But having been passed over for that promotion to Workforce, I'm already inclined to seek employment elsewhere.

Anyway, I got off work and came home (with a brief stop at the store for a few things) and I went to bed. I was flat busted done when I got off work.

Regardless of anything else, I'll be glad once the mandatory overtime is done with. This shit is exhausting enough without having to do it for nine hours per day.

* * *

Bunch of links, no comments, because "bedtime":

ZMan talks about the religion of hate (not islam, surprisingly enough).

Luxembourg is trying to become the mecca for asteroid mining. Someone's got to do it.

Gotta blockquote this much.
The catastrophic results of the social experiments of the ’68 generation have been meticulously recorded by conservatives. The long list includes widespread mental illness, the destruction of marriage, the normalization of bastardry, abortion and other sexual deviancies, the ubiquity of pornography, an explosion of STDs and – of course – a slow but steady rise in drug usage and the normalization and incipient legalization thereof.

Tiny mistakes, huge explosions.

Leftists committing violence against Trump supporters is just making Trump look better.

Then, a climate two-fer:

Climate "scientists" want to jail those who disagree with them, because that's totally how science works when it's "settled". Next up, prison terms for people trying to build perpetual motion machines because LAWS OF THERMODYNAMICS, BITCHES!

Politicians, meanwhile, can't pass legislation outlawing such opinions and they know it. Which is why the law California's legislature was considering to allow prosecution of climate change "deniers".

* * *

As for me, bedtime. Holy crap am I tired.
Saturday, June 4th, 2016
12:55 am
#5223: Just too damned busy.
This is the first time I've touched my computer since Wednesday. I should be in bed because I have to get up at 7 AM to be at work tomorrow by 9.

Nothing is ever easy.
Wednesday, June 1st, 2016
2:30 pm
#5222: Those pensions will never be funded.
The Illinois legislature overrode Rauner's veto, and it's going to make everything worse. Rauner was trying to prevent the legislature from letting Chicago defer pension payments, trying to kick the problem down the road another decade or two.

Part of the issue here stems from the Democrat machine thinking that, when the time comes, they'll just raise taxes on everyone to pay the fiddler. Problem is, they won't be able to do that when the time comes, because all the rich people have smart accountants who are advising them to GTFO of Dodge.

The machine's solution is a "financial transaction tax" which will--for the moment--only be assessed on people making market trades. That will change, of course, because as is noted in the article, the traders will just move. Eventually the tax will apply to bank deposits and withdrawals; any time you cash a check or use an ATM or pay for your groceries with your debit card, you'll pay a tax.

People won't put up with it.

* * *

John Wright on the 21st Century. The technology is fantastic. The culture, not so much.

* * *

Can we PLEASE bring back DDT now?

* * *

We are told that comparing blacks to gorillas and apes is racist. Why, then, is shooting a gorilla an example of racism?

And here's a hint for people out there who want to find racism in this tragedy: the kid is black. They shot the gorilla because it had a human child and was endangering him. So STFU.

* * *

Reality is real. It doesn't care about how you feel.

* * *

So today I had to take Twigs to the vet. Mrs. Fungus observed that the, eh, operational site, looked swollen. Twigs himself has plenty of energy--he zips around the house at Mach 9--and he eats like a horse, so I was pretty certain that there was nothing wrong. Still, she insisted, and I've never raised a male cat, so off we went.

Vet confirmed that he's just fine. And by now he's forgiven me for stuffing him into the carrier and taking him to the vet, and is laying on my arms such that it's a lot harder to type than it ought to be.
Tuesday, May 31st, 2016
10:25 pm
#5221: Now it'll rain every day until July.
The bike is fixed.

Starts immediately, runs beautifully (I'm going to dump some carb cleaner in just to make sure) and I took her for a quick spin down the road and it was nice. Replaced the bulb in the tach--that LED bulb is no good for this, not even after I tried sanding down the tips of the LEDs to get better diffusion--and adjusted the headlight a bit. It'll take some more doing for that last, but she's good to go for daytime rides now.

Per Og's suggestion I checked the voltage at the battery with the engine running. He said that if there's AC present it was a good bet that one or more diodes in the rectifier had failed.

I checked it and found AC, but then remembered this, and felt better. Of course the output is going to be AC. I'll still need to check the diodes but I'd bet money they're all good.

Very nice, though, to have her ready to go.
7:59 pm
#5220: It's raining!
Woke up from my nap feeling refreshed and ready to go.

While I slept it clobbered over and rained, and as I went about my business I could hear rumblies all around. There's a patch to the south that's heading this way; it looks like once that's done it'll be clear enough to ride, and I'll just have to wait for the roads to dry out a bit.

But! Got the battery in, and she cranks and runs like no one's business, like it hasn't been a week (much less nine months) since I last rode the thing. That task accomplished I set myself to some other things, such as figuring out what's with the tach cable; and it turned out that the engine end of the cable needed to be re-swaged onto the cable due to wear etc. I crimped it carefully with a pair of pliers, and now the tach works again.

Next up, figuring out what's rattling, and I found that one of the exhaust heat shield screws has gone missing. It's the same one that came loose lo these many years ago. (I cannot believe I was able to find that post so quickly.) Of course, this time the bolt is gone; it's a 4.5mm screw, fine thread, perhaps a little longer than it is wide.

Well, Ace Hardware is just down the road.

* * *

Last night we had ribs, of course, as planned. I had to mix up a fresh batch of rub and--not having the recipe to hand--mixed up the following proportion:
2 TBSP each of cayenne pepper and sugar
1 TBSP each of salt, pepper, garlic powder, and paprika
The ribs were delicious. Put the rub on about 4 or so, put them in the oven a bit before 8; when Mrs. Fungus got home they needed about another half hour, but then we had salads and ribs.

Bit spicier than usual, but good.

* * *

One of the calls I took today was a doozie. See, whenever someone wants to disconnect, we have to try to convince the customer not to disconnect the line. Our arguments are entirely economic, because the bottom line is the best way.

Most of the time.

This woman called telling me she wanted to disconnect one of the lines on her account, because they'd originally got it for their au pair from Germany, and now that their year-long nightmare is over they're probably not going to get another au pair, so they don't need the line any longer.

She wasn't even remotely fazed when I told her the ETF was $280.

...I didn't even try fighting it. Look: when you're telling me that you got an iPhone for your live-in nanny, who you imported from Europe, and you've decided to cancel the line--and ask, "What should we do with the phone? Just throw it away?" *WHIMPER*--none, NOT ONE, of the deals I have are going to make you change your mind. Obviously money is no object here, especially when I tell you the ETF is almost $300 and you don't bat an eye.

It must be nice to be one of those people who shit money. I'm just sayin'.
1:04 pm
#5219: That was EASY!
The two hours I spent at work today went by fast and it felt wrong to be walking out after only two hours. It was harder getting out of bed than it was doing those two hours of overtime.

This bears thinking about.

* * *

It "doesn't work" for whom? This is a lengthy article complaining that even at $50 a barrel oil is too cheap, that it needs to be at least $120 per barrel if we want the economy to start moving.


What needs to happen is that oil must stay under $50 a barrel until companies come along that can make money at $50 a barrel. It's not impossible. I'd bet there are a bunch of ways to accomplish the task. No one will try if the price of oil goes stratospheric again.

* * *

In 1965, Johnson signed the "Great Society", and that was the end of infrastructure maintenance in the US. Because with the creation of the vast maw of the welfare stat, government started having little to no money for anything else.

* * *


But "I never owned any slaves; you never picked any cotton. Get over it." Indeed!

* * *

Venezuela continues to be a cautionary tale for all those who think socialism is wonderful.

Bernie Sanders can't answer the question because the left's answer to the fact that socialism cannot work is always, "Well, the wrong people tried it!" or "It wasn't tried on a large enough scale!"

* * *

It's taken twenty years for South Africa to go from first world nation to third-world shithole. It's also been twenty years since the end of Apartheid. You do the math.
"In a typical African country", [Director of the Centre for Politics and Research Prince Mashele says], "people have no illusions about the unity of morality and governance. People know that those who have power have it for themselves and their friends and families. The idea that the state is an instrument for people's development is a Western concept but Africans and their leaders don't like to copy from the West. They are happy to remain African and do things 'the African way'. Asking a ruler to be accountable is a foreign--Western--idea. In a situation where there is conflict between a ruler and laws, Africans simply change the laws to protect the ruler."
And this is why Africa fails at civilization, why it remains a third-world shithole despite the best efforts of everyone else on the planet, despite sitting on such incredible mineral resources.

* * *

As for me, I got up at 7 AM; I'm taking a nap before I start fiddling with the motorcycle.
Monday, May 30th, 2016
8:45 pm
#5218: 'Tis a pity she's a whore.
To be fair, since she did it to pay for law school, it wasn't much of a career stretch. Rich guys paying young adult women to be with them. Prostitution, in other words.

Well, whatever you want, folks. I can't stop you.

"Candice considers her sugar daddy one of her best friends and that they care deeply for each other." But would she continue to do so if her sugar daddy was suddenly reduced to minimum wage?

"'The people who have a stigma, or associate a negative connotation with it, don't understand how it works.' added Kashani." Oh, believe me, dear, they understand exactly how it works. Don't feel bad; it's a pattern young, attractive, and avaricious women have followed for millennia. You're not the first, and you're not the last.

But you are a prostitute.

* * *

If you look at the history of war casualties you will find that the number was rising ever-higher as technology developed.
[Before and after WW2,] Russian and Chinese communists murdered 120 million, all with antediluvian weapons. Before they got going, another 17-20 million had been killed in the First World War....
Total wars were causing a ruinous number of casualties and World War II killed 60,000,000 people on all sides. But after 1945, suddenly the number of war dead cratered to about a million per year. Nothing compared to what it had been like before.

Of the 60,000,000 people killed in WW2, 200,000 were killed with atomic weapons. That isn't even on par with the number of people Hitler had killed in his death camps.

The existence of atomic weapons has made total war extremely undesirable. You can't wage unlimimted war against someone with nuclear bombs, because they will vaporize you before losing. Even if you have atomic bombs yourself, you can't risk total war--not even total conventional war--against an adversary who is similarly armed, because you never know when he'll escalate and vaporize you.

Generally, politicians regard all that combat stuff as beneath them; the last thing they're willing to do is put their own asses on the line in an armed conflict. That's what nuclear bombs do: they endanger everyone equally, so there is no special protection for the elites. And so the politicians do everything they can to avoid conflict.

Nuclear weapons have done more to promote the cause of world peace than all the peaceniks ever born. It's because of nuclear weapons that the US and the USSR had to find ways to war by proxy or to otherwise settle their conflicts, and it's because of nuclear weapons that the USSR never did manage to swallow Europe into the greedy maw of socialism.

If you want peace, prepare for war. It was ever thus.

* * *

Wal-Mart had the motorcycle battery for $45. I got that and a new pair of flip-flops, because I can't find the pair I bought last year. This pair, at least, has good traction on the vinyl flooring in the kitchen, and it's reasonably comfortable, but I would have liked to have bought a better pair. The better-quality ones, though, either had beer logos on them, or else were basically shower sandals, neither of which appealed to me.

I've still got to take the old battery back to get my core charge refunded, but I can do that tomorrow when I put a new, fully-charged battery into the bike. Yahoo!
8:40 am
#5217: Rumbles
Why am I awake at 7:45 AM on a glorious extra day off?

Last night Mrs. Fungus and I watched The Boy before going to bed, and I have to say it turned out to be better than most of the horror films we watch. But it meant getting to bed about 2 AM after I'd woken up at 7 AM the previous day, and I was tired.

Finally awakened by terriffic hydraulic pressure, I staggered--half-awake--into the bathroom.

And that's why toilets are sometimes referred to as "thunder jugs".

* * *

"Can I get the FM chip on my phone enabled?" *sigh*

I get these calls every so often. Yes, cell phones have the ability to receive FM radio. That's kind of what they do, you know, anyway. It's just a matter of being able to tune the correct frequency range; the rest is just software.

But the capability has to be enabled from the factory, and the only way to get that functionality turned on where it is not already is to root the phone and install custom firmware.

Of course, when morons call me and ask that question I will continue to provide the company line, because if you start trying to root your phone and you don't know exactly what you're doing, it's perilously easy to turn an $850 phone into a paperweight.

"I want to have all the capability that I paid for." Sure. You didn't pay $850 for an FM radio, though; you paid $850 for a highly sophisticated portable data terminal which can access any computer in the world. The FM radio part is maybe $1 of the total cost of the thing (if that).

Listening to the radio just irritates me. Most of the time, when I turn on the radio, they're in the middle of a decent song, and when it ends, it's time for 4.692 hours of commercials...after which they play something egregiously crappy.

If I'm going to listen to music from my phone, it's going to be stuff I previously copied to it. And in case of dire emergencies, I have several portable radios. I don't want or need FM radio in my cell phone. This is stupid.

* * *

Last night I tried getting El-Hazard hooked up to the Internet. The computer now connects to the router just fine, and the OS reports that it is connected to the Internet, but I can't do anything. After uninstalling and reinstalling drivers and-and-and, I let it chew on accessing Google while I tended to some things in the basement. I managed to get a sackful of trash out and an entire shelf cleaned off, but Google never showed up.

Signal strength is excellent: four of five bars. The connection doesn't waver. But the damned thing simply will not access the Internet.

I'm starting to consider getting another SSD and throwing it in there to help with the speed issue. Actually, I don't think I need an SSD; that 500 GB drive is vintage 2007 and I'd probably get more bang for my buck by tossing a newer and bigger drive at it. But the thing will do a word processor just fine, and the long boot time is not the reason it won't connect to the Internet.

Next step is to locate drivers for the WiFi adapter on-line, but I am not going to do that right now.

* * *

One thing I tossed was a copy of IBM CAD vintage 1990, optimized for the PS/2 line of computers. I garbage picked it when I worked at Sears Business Centers (the very beginning of my doing-computer-stuff-for-money days) but never even tried installing it. That was back when software came on floppies tucked in three-ring binders with thick manuals. 26 years later the disks are probably still readable, but why bother when you can get DraftSight on-line for free and get the benefit of two decades' worth of user interface improvements? The copy of IBM CAD is something I never used (and never will) and it's not even valuable as a curiosity. It's just trash.

Also gone: a shirt box full mostly of receipts, circa 2000, and a few mementos. I kept exactly two items from it and otherwise dumped the entirety. That's twenty minutes I'll never get back. And I found my copy of The Story of Star Wars, which is basically the audio track for Star Wars (the first one, before there was a sequel and Lucas retitled it Star Wars "Episode IV: A New Hope") pressed onto two LPs. I listened to that a lot in 1977 and 1978, let me tell you, which is why I can mouth the dialogue in that film along with the characters even now. (And when I go to that SW schematic scroll-a-thon page, I can hear the movie play out in my head.)

* * *

Yesterday I was listening to music on my way home, this time from a disk of MP3s found in the Jeep's center console. Saturday I'd had one of the songs from Def Leppard's Pyromania going through my head and I knew one of the disks in there had it, and this seemed the most likely candidate.

Well, no joy Saturday, but Sunday I found it on my way home, and--of course--could not remember which song it was. I skipped through it, listening to a few tracks in their entirety. Oh well.

One of the folders on the disk is...I'm not sure what it is. I mean, I made the disk, so I put this on it, but I have no recollection of what it is, and I'll have to toss the disk into a computer to find out.

It was not very good.

It was instrumental guitar, mostly jazz fusion, and it tried really, really, hard to be good, but it just wasn't. I tried really hard to like it, but simply could not. The music was like someone with an IQ of 90 using long words he really doesn't understand in an attempt to sound intelligent. All the songs sounded the same to me, in that the musician would start off with a theme, get three or four phrases into it and--just when the ear is almost starting to understand the theme--make a sudden detour, then detour from there, get lost, get found, and finally abandon the original theme at the end of the refrain, only to start over with the original theme and then do the exact same thing with only minor variations.

I understood enough to know what the artist was trying to do--the same way I can usually understand what our hypothetical 90 IQ man is trying to say when he misuses a long word--but he wasn't any good at it. Too many musical detours; it literally sounded as if the artist got lost in the middle of the refrain, except that he kept doing exactly the same thing so I know it was intentional.

Something I've noticed about jazz: some songs will play a phrase, then shift keys and play it again, then maybe shift again into a third key and repeat the phrase before moving to the next phrase. This guy's songs did that, but without repeating the phrase; it'd play A, shift keys and play B, shift keys and play C, and it'd keep doing that through D, E, and F, and by the time he got to E my ear was totally lost and asking What IS this shit? The ear has to have something to hang on to; you have to keep the key or the sequence of notes pretty even. Without that, there is no euphony.

This was, I think, music for music sophisticates--"emperor's new clothes" kind of stuff, where if you don't think it's good that's because you're a lowbrow who doesn't understand or appreciate fine art, and not because it's artsy crap no one can really enjoy.

So, yeah--once I know what the artist and title is, I'm going to delete it from the hard drive, assuming I haven't already. Further bulletins as events warrant.

* * *

And now, back to bed.
Sunday, May 29th, 2016
7:34 pm
#5216: Ah, it's my weekend at last!
And literally a day too soon! Ordinarily I have to work on Monday, but not this week!

(I go in for two hours on Tuesday. Big whoop. That should, ironically, make the weekend feel longer.)

Anyway, it's a ridiculously nice day today, and it's supposed to be ridiculously nice (though a bit warmer) tomorrow. I'm looking forward to it.

I'm going to take a nap in a bit, but first, a number.

* * *

"Justice-involved" man shot dead after "accessing" the wrong apartment. That way you don't think of the guy as a criminal who kicked in the frigging door, because if you think that, you might also think, "Hey, if some asshat was trying to kick in my door I'd shoot him, too."

They want you to think this guy was like C3PO: Oh, my! No, no, don't get up; I--oh my! I've been shot!

* * *

The economic statistics from the US government are complete horseshit. "There never was any recovery. And until we somehow check the growth of government and start to roll it back, there never will be." And there is no recovery because the Greater Depression started in 2008 at the latest and more probably started in 2000.

* * *

Did you know that grocery store cashiers were once unionized?
In the 1960s and early 70s grocery store cashiers in most states were unionized -- and it was a well-paying, middle-class job. The unions pressed harder and harder, and called strikes. Back then a cash register was a mechanical device that had no concept of barcodes or similar and the job of quickly and accurately looking at the price tag on the item, keying it and sliding it down the belt was a skilled one. It took time to develop (much like typing does) and it paid well.
And then the bar code was invented. "That's what technology does," Denninger says, emphasis his. "It makes things faster and cheaper, over time, if allowed to."

* * *

On-board video of a Falcon first stage landing. Spectacular it is, most assuredly.

* * *

Now I have a little time for a nap. Right?
Saturday, May 28th, 2016
9:55 pm
#5215: "A price so low I nearly screamed."
So, not wanting to suffer later, instead of going to Fry's on Tuesday, I went today after work.

I could have begged off putting in my overtime tonight and put it off until Tuesday. Knowing that I'd regret having to work an extra hour Tuesday morning, and not wanting to be a serious procrastinator, I stuck to my schedule and did my job with my usual brilliance. So I was there until 6:30, after which I went to Fry's, then went to the auto parts store for another can of R-134a, this time with dye in hopes of pinpointing the leak in Mrs. Fungus' car's AC. After that, the grocery store for some much-needed sundries including another bunch of bananas. (I'll have to get flour and brown sugar later. It's not an emergency because these bananas will take days to be overripe enough to use in banana bread.)

Anyway: at Fry's I browsed a bit around the electronics/computers/networking areas and picked up a few things totaling $20: a Dremel cutoff wheel mandrel, an E-SATA cable, and a tiny, tiny little wireless USB dongle that cost $10, but should get El-Hazard connected to the frickin' Internet, finally.

I wanted "wireless" and I wanted "cheap", and I got exactly what I wanted.

...with the result that it was almost nine before I got home, after leaving work at 6:35.

While there I had a gander at computer cases. I saw one that's almost big enough to be a coffee table; it had enough drive bays to host about half of the cat pictures on the Intartubzorz and I expect a truly epic build would include LED strips and a bunch of other stuff. Kind of beyond the pale for my Core i5 rig, but it'd be fun if someday I could build a "price is no object" gaming rig that was fuckin' cool and fast as hell.

Anyway, I got home, and brought in the groceries and put them away, and cleaned the cat box; and now I am going to relax and bloggerate a bit before I go tackle the sinkful of dishes. *sigh*

Oh: and after that I have to cook dinner.

* * *

Start here and scroll. I did. It's epic.

* * *

Artifacts always have deleterious effects. The One Ring turns you into Gollum. Losing the Lance of Longinus means your certain defeat. Apparently, seeing the Kusanagi will curse you with death.

* * *

Let's completely upend our civilization to accommodate 20,000 people. Sure. Even if that figure is low by an order of magnitude--by two orders of magnitude!--it means there aren't enough transgender people in the United States to warrant any of the horseshit the Left is foisting on us.

* * *

I'd change "want" to "need" but Ace is right.
And what we increasingly want is a political leadership that tells the Grievance Mongers and Offense Farmers to shut the fuck up and get bent rather than explaining to them how a Conservative Version of Political Correctness Can Achieve All the Good Things That Liberal Political Correctness Can Achieve, But Using Market-Based Mechanisms.
Emphasis his.

* * *

The principal of a school wrote this. "...[T]he class of 2006 dug up there time capsule...."

Their time capsule, you fucking idiot who ought to be fired for complete and utter incompetence.

* * *

Well, looks like my Dad's old song is wrong.
Colombus went to the Queen of Spain
to ask for ships and cargo
He said he'd be a son of a gun
if he didn't bring back Chicago
No one claimed it was high art.

* * *

I had to click through to find out what was wrong with this picture. I laughed my ass off.

* * *

So the other day I was trying to get the grass cut, and I got almost all the tractor work done when it began raining. At first it was a sprinkle, then it turned into a friggin' deluge and I had to give up. That's okay; I can cut it this week.


Indy 500 tomorrow; time to set the DVR to record it! Since I'll be at work and all. Don't you think I'd watch it live if I could??
12:52 am
#5214: Eastbound and STANDING STILL
Today, as I was driving to work, eastbound I-80 was packed and crawling from where I get on it all the way to where 294 joins it, and some distance beyond, in both directions. Fortunately I am going westbound when I'm on my way to work, so I was able to zip along at a somewhat higher velocity. And on the way home there was little traffic, so no problem there, either.

It was ever thus. Back in the 1980s when I went with my parents to the marina every summer weekend, they'd watch the news to get a traffic report, and then we'd either head up 394 to I-80, or else we'd go through Crown Point to I-65 and take that to I-80, and miss all the traffic jams.

* * *

Seven simple principles.
1. Reality is real. Reality is not optional.
2. Speech which does not conform to reality is falsehood; thought, madness.
3. Beauty is real, and ennobles the soul; ugliness is foul, and fit for satire only. Beauty is not in the eye of the beholder.
4.Human life from conception until natural death is sacred; animal life is livestock; abortion and euthanasia are satanic.
5. Virginity and monogamy are sacred; polygamy is adultery, and adultery is a crime; sodomy is a crime against nature, or a mental disease, or both.
6. The Rights of Man are sacred, including the rights to life, liberty, property.
7. All sacred things come from God.
Very simple. Very true.

* * *

Hillary Clinton's computer didn't have passwords. So any swinging dick could waltz into her office and access top secret stuff.

It didn't have passwords because they were too complicated for her.
Shocking Deposition: Hillary Clueless On Using Computer Emails

As Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton never used a password to protect her computer emails, and she was clueless about how regular emails work on a conventional computer, according to a deposition of a foreign service officer at the State Department.

She also continued to push for the use of her personal Blackberry phone in the Secretary’s highly-secured government suite even though National Security Agency (NSA) regulations barred its use in that office.

The revelations came as part of a May 18 deposition released Thursday by Judicial Watch, the nonprofit government watchdog group, of Lewis A. Lukens, a veteran 27-year foreign service officer at the State Department who served as the deputy executive secretary and executive director of the Office of the Secretariat from 2008 to 2011.

From the start of her term in January 2009, State Department officials grappled with Clinton’s ignorance of the use of basic computers. In a January 24, 2009 email from Lukens to the department’s Undersecretary Patrick Kennedy, the foreign service officer said Clinton didn’t know how to use a computer for emails.

Citing a conversation Lukens had with Clinton Chief of Staff Cheryl Mills, he wrote, “She says problem (sic) is HRC does not know how to use a computer to do emails — only Blackberry.” HRC refers to Hillary Rodham Clinton.
She can't use a computer to send and view e-mails? How out of touch! Clearly she's not qualified for the Presidency!

Meanwhile, if you're not a Clinton, security breaches like this land you in jail for a long time.

* * *

How to keep adware Windows 10 off your computer.

* * *

And the GOPe wonders why Trump is winning. *rolleyes*

* * *

Another high-energy launch, another successful recovery on a barge. That's three in a row. And supposedly SpaceX is going to launch one of the recovered boosters later this summer.


* * *

Well, after making and eating dinner, and doing this post, now suddenly it's 1 AM and I have to get up at 7 in order to be at work by 9. *sigh*
Friday, May 27th, 2016
12:32 am
#5213: Political corruption? From a Clinton? Naaw!!
FBI is investigating Hillary's private e-mail server as an instance of political corruption. The fact is, Hillary wanted her private e-mail server to avoid Freedom of Information Act requests. That's spelled "political corruption", and it's probably just as bad a charge--if not worse--than the mishandling of classified information.

"Hillary gets schlonged," says Borepatch, and he's not wrong.

That's about all I can say about this right now.

* * *

When I left work this evening, I rolled down the windows in the Jeep and figured I'd roll them up when I got tired of the wind blowing my hair around.

The windows were open all the way home.

It's a gorgeous summer night outside, just warm enough to be pleasant. I enjoyed my drive home.

* * *

So the denouement to the big Memorial Day Imbroglio? As Mrs. Fungus predicted, the center is closed on Monday, unconditionally closed, no one coming in regardless of what he does. I got the news this morning before I had a chance to talk to my boss; it popped up on my computer right after I logged in.

I am going to go in on Tuesday morning for a couple of hours, for overtime; I'm not putting in any overtime on Sunday (so my weekend starts earlier) and Monday's a holiday, so no overtime there, and we're still required to get 5 hours of OT per week. So, I decided, hang the sense of it; I can go to Fry's afterwards to pick up a wireless network card for El-Hazard and be home in time for lunch. Have a siesta, then on with the rest of the hilarity.

I can live with that.
Wednesday, May 25th, 2016
3:49 pm
#5212: I forgot about Claws
At the vet's, they frequently have rescued animals around the place. They currently have this older male cat named Claws, who was a barn cat but now has a stomach issue that requires him to have special food. Besides Claws, on the actual reception counter itself they had two kittens, each approximately a handful, each rescued from dire circumstances.

Both now being raised by Claws.

The tech was telling us that Claws' job is to socialize kittens, to teach them how to act around other cats. As we watched, one kitten attacked Claws' tail a bit too vigorously; Claws reacted by batting at the kitten's head and hissing, and then leaning in and sniffing the kitten's head, just like a mother cat would.

Meanwhile, in the Fungus household, Twigs continues to integrate. After one day of hissing and growling (Saturday, plus a little on Sunday) the cats have become much friendlier with Twigs; and now they're acting more or less like old friends. I knew things were going to be just fine when Mrs. Fungus found Twigs and Bosco sleeping on the bed in the spare room, perhaps three feet apart.

Sunday night, Mrs. Fungus was holding Twigs, and she held him so he could smell noses with Critter. Both cats sniffed at each other, and then after a few moments Critter said, "Meh!" Not a hiss, just a comment.

So, Monday night, we were supposed to withhold food from Twigs because of his impending operation. We wanted the other two cats not to be hungry all night, so first we tried putting Twigs in the computer room with me while Mrs. Fungus fed the other two a can of Fancy Feast, a rare treat.

The cats ignored the food and sat outside the computer room door.

So we tried again, thinking that it was because daddy was in the room with Twigs. We put Twigs in the bathroom by himself.

The cats ignored the food and sat outside the bathroom door.

I have never seen these cats--especially Critter!--walk away from Fancy Feast. Usually they're all over it until the plate is licked clean. But they wouldn't even touch it; Mrs. Fungus ended up throwing it away.

Clearly, at that point Twigs was already one of the boys. So we're not really worried about integration any longer.
12:39 pm
#5211: It's all they have.
The heckler's veto is the antithesis of free speech. College kids think that they're winning some kind of victory by shouting down speech with which they disagree. I suppose, in the short term, they are, but what kind of victory is it?

They have to do this kind of thing because they're not able to argue the merits of their positions. They have no confidence in the correctness of their opinions; if they did, they wouldn't need to shout down opposing viewpoints. All they have is BECAUSE YOU RACIST HATER BIGOT HOMOPHOBE and the only way they can debate is to shout that same mantra over and over again, as loud as possible.

* * *

Who is going to pay for this? Switzerland is going to vote on whether or not to provide a "basic income" to all citizens, regardless of circumstance, of $2,500 per month.

Prediction: it will pass.

The problem here is that the money being given away by government has to come from somewhere. In a world without fiat currency, this kind of thing is impossible; there isn't enough specie (copper, silver, gold, platinum) to cover that kind of outlay without robbing the people blind first. If the government actually had to take physical money away from people to do this, it would be defeated soundly and the people who proposed it would be lynched. But in a world where you can press a mouse button three times and instantly create money, the outcome is entirely different. Instead of tax men taking money from people, the government merely changes a few bits in computers, and presto! You get $2,500 in your checking account!

And because there are now 2,500 extra dollars in the economy which did not exist a few seconds ago--$2,500 which was not created through labor or manufacturing or some other value-added process--the buying power of all the dollars in the economy has been diluted. We call this phenomenon "inflation".

Multiply this by the population of Switzerland.

* * *

Borepatch on backups. Which, at least, prompted me to do a backup of my own critical data. I really need to be better about this, myself.

* * *

A former Democrat voter explains why he can't support the party any longer.

* * *

Yes, legalizing pot will mean it will become banal. You think that if you legalize an intoxicant it's still going to remain edgy and mysterious? Hell no. You're going to have housewives smoking blunts and smoking rooms will return to upper-class parties. It's going to be a product, marketed and sold, to make money.

And yes, white men in suits seem to do the best job of that. Much better than grubby dreadlocked white hippies.

* * *

Any idiot can make a large thing powerful. It's only a grand, fully loaded, and doesn't have the graphics performance of a desktop, but if you like tiny machines with a lot of computing horsepower and don't need big graphics, this may be the computer for you.

* * *

Twigs is doing fine. Within a couple of hours of his return home yesterday he was acting as if nothing had happened. He's running around and jumping and doing all the things the vet instructions told us not to let him do, but how do you make a cat do anything? "Never try to outstubborn a cat," Heinlein said, and he was right.

Myself, I figure that if anything were paining him, Twigs wouldn't be scampering around like a kitten. He's between six months and a year old (more likely six months) and he wants to play, play, play. While I was working on this post he pestered me, so I picked him up and had to give him cuddles for a while; then he curled up on my desk and had a brief nap. Now, apparently recharged, he's wandering around the computer room and meowing again.

Yesterday was a long day. We got up at 6:30 AM to get him to the vet by 7; we had breakfast and went back to bed until 3. Mrs. Fungus had the on-call phone again, so we were up until 3 AM, at which point we tried to go to bed--but there were several calls in the night which kept us from getting much sleep.

Still--it was a gorgeous day, so I unwrapped the grill, cleaned it, and grilled sausages (brats for me, polish for her) and ended up turning the AC on last night. It was beastly hot in the computer room without the AC on; the air outside was pleasantly cool but I just couldn't get enough of that outside air into the bunker to cool it off.

But Mrs. Fungus wanted me to make her banana bread, and the last time I went to the store I bought some bananas; they'd finally become ripe enough (they need to be overripe and mushy) to use, so I found a recipe on-line and went to the cupboard for the ingredients--holy crap, why don't we have flour?

...we had enough to make a half-batch. And as it turned out, I'd bought enough bananas to make a half-batch. And half a batch made a respectable amount, yielding a modest loaf of banana-walnut bread. Tastes good, though, and it's simple--flour, butter, brown sugar, eggs, bananas, baking soda.

Gonna have to get flour, though. Can't be without flour.

* * *

"I couldn't help myself" department:

Some time ago I made a WoW character named "Weaksauce" as an experiment. I made one of the weakest character builds there is (shadow priest) and determined that he was not going to get geared; he'd spend as long as I could manage with only greys or whites. No greens or better.

These colors refer to the quality of gear: grey and white are non-magical, low-quality gear. Greens give some ability boosts. From there, the power/quality of gear goes up approximately thus: blue < purple < orange.

So grey < white < green < blue < purple < orange.

Weaksauce only uses greys and whites. There's level-appropriate grey and white gear all over the place, of course, so I'm not stuck with starting gear, and I wanted to see how far you could take a character before the lack of quality gear begins to make him ineffective; so far the only thing that's happened is that he's just not as powerful as a geared character of the same level. That is to say, level-appropriate challenges are a bit more challenging but not impossible, and this is exactly as it should be. (And for added hilarity I have him occasionally say stupid crap. "Hillary is the best choice for President," for example. Or, "I'm a male feminist.")

Weaksauce is an enchanter/tailor, so whenever I get magical items I disenchant them for enchanting materials. But yesterday while Weaksauce was running around hunting raptors in Stranglethorn Vale, a green dropped: "First Mate Hat", which is a pirate hat. It's a rare drop, something you don't see every day, and I really, really wanted him to wear it.

But it's a green.

Well, I looked over the stat boost it gives, and I thought about it, and decided that the stat boost (an extra 100 hit points) doesn't really make all that much difference, so I decided that this hat was so cool that it warranted an exception to the rule. And so now Weaksauce wears a pirate hat.

It's the only green gear he's got, and it's the only piece he's going to get. Unless something else equally cool comes along.

...there is, by the way, no prohibition on enchanting the gear he's able to use, but enchanting doesn't give the kind of bonuses you get from green or better gear, and it can only modify one stat at any one time, so it's not that big of a deal.

And the pirate hat looks awesome.
Tuesday, May 24th, 2016
2:00 pm
#5210: It's difficult to get there.
ONOES DSL USERS COULD PAY UP TO $200 IN OVERAGE FEES! The headline reads, "AT&T's data caps impose harshest punishments on DSL users" and it sounds like AT&T is suddenly imposing huge penatlies for data overages.

...except the overage fees kick in at 150 GB of data usage, and cost a minimum of $10 per 50 GB. So in order to hit that $200 maximum overage fee, you'd need to use an extra TERABYTE of data in ONE MONTH over and above the 150 GB allotted by your plan.

To exceed the 150 GB data cap, back when I was on AT&T DSL, I had to build El-Hazard and leave it running uTorrent 24/7. If you're using 1,150 GB of data per month you ought to be paying that $200 premium.

Look: I watch YouTube videos, I play World of Warcraft, I do a whole bunch of other stuff. My Internet usage has changed since the day I got the notice from AT&T about exceeding my data plan--I've drifted away from torrenting anime--and I do not use anything like a terabyte of data per month. I'd be shocked to my core if I used more than 100 GB a month.

The article tries to make this sound like evil corporate greed, but what it is, in fact, is just business. It costs money to supply an Internet connection, and the more data you use, the more it costs. If you're using a terabyte of data every month, that costs more than a usage pattern that consumes 100 GB.

It's even more acute in the wireless world. There's limited room in a cell tower's bandwidth; that compilation of fart jokes you're watching on YouTube is equivalent in data use to hundreds of simultaneous phone calls. (Then people get upset when they have to pay an extra $15 this month because they used an extra GB of data. *sigh*)

Bandwidth costs money. If you want to pipe data (up or down) you're going to have to pay for it.

* * *

Irony. "Le'Genius Wisdom Williams" is neither a genius nor wise, considering his chosen profession (teenage thug) and adolescent murder rap.

* * *

George W. Bush was not exactly conservative. And, yeah:
It's all well and good to be concerned about Trump not being a "true conservative." I get that, I really do, and to some degree I even sympathize with it. But "true conservative" ain't on the menu, and it never was except--perhaps--in the person of a too-slippery-by-half professional politician who never did stand a chance of being elected to any higher office than the one he already has, and whose "true conservative" approach has proven to be entirely ineffective.
"True conservative" hasn't been on the menu in three decades.

* * *

So, here's what happened:

Work, late April, early May: We are going to be open on Memorial Day and everyone will have to work his schedule.
Me: We're working Memorial Day.
Mrs. Fungus: What, you have to work Memorial Day? That sucks! Okay, I'll volunteer to work Memorial Day too and we'll make some money!

Work, mid-May: The team with the best metrics will get Memorial Day off, but we are going to be open on Memorial Day and everyone else will have to work his schedule.
Me: [looking at my team's metrics] Yes, we're definitely working Memorial Day.
Mrs Fungus: It sucks that we're both working on Memorial Day!

Work, yesterday: Hey, guess what? We're off on Memorial Day! If you call off Fri, Sat, or Sun you and your supervisor have to work Memorial Day, so work your schedule and you'll have the holiday off!
Mrs. Fungus: [unprintable]
Me: [unprintable]

...because she has to work on Memorial Day and I, all of a sudden, do not. And I don't blame her one little bitty bit, to the extent that on Thursday I'm asking if I can work Memorial Day, because that's what we both planned on doing all along, because the people in charge at my employer can't get their shit together enough to let us know what we're going to be doing.

Here's the thing: her schedule is made up a month in advance, so she has to get these things in; I of course am beholden to my employer's contract with #Major_Telecom, which has proven to be fickle. It's probable that management has been doing everything it could to negotiate a holiday off for us, and only recently got the go-ahead, but the timing of the announcement is unbelievably shitty.

My wife, however, has noticed something that no one at my employer appears to: they're going to open the call center on a holiday because a handful of people didn't show up for work? Really?

Let's say that 10% of the workforce calls off sometime in those three days. Let's further assume that the total workforce is three hundred people (which is a wild-ass guess based solely on the number of desks occupied with personal effects). That'd be perhaps thirty people and a sprinkling of supervisors; is it worth opening the center for that? On what is likely to be a day with light call volume? And with a threat like that, having to come in on a holiday when everyone else is off, isn't that going to depress the absentee rate?

I don't know exactly how call center traffic shaping works, but I do know that the call volume is managed by a system which knows how many butts are in chairs. Can a center staffed with thirty people take enough calls to break even on the premium pay? (Holiday pay: 2.5x your regular pay rate if you're actually at work.) How many calls per hour does an employee have to take to make our employer enough money just to pay his wage? I'm not at liberty to divulge numbers but it looks to me as if each employee has to spend his entire shift taking calls just to break even...and if call volume is low enough that it results in any significant amount of time spent "in ready", waiting for calls, the center would lose money. That, I would wager, is why we're getting the holiday off. (When I say "significant amount of time" I mean in aggregate, the sum of all the reps working that day.)

...so I'm thinking that I'll work on Memorial Day (if they let me, and if they don't make my boss come in too) and earn some extra money, and hopefully not have to work too bleeding hard in the bargain.

And no I'm not going to call off on Fri, Sat, or Sun, thus guaranteeing that I work Monday, because I don't want to make my boss have to come in, too. He doesn't get much time with his family due to the schedule we work and the hours he has to put in. I'm not going to take away his holiday.

Mrs. Fungus thinks my offer to work Memorial Day will be rebuffed, because it sounds to her like they're playing games and they're not actually going to open the center on Monday. We'll see, I suppose. It's a bad idea to set conditions like that and then violate them--especially when you're dealing with people who have short time frame preferences--but people play games all the time and the English language has a whole slew of phrases which are synonymous with "empty threat".

But this little imbroglio has taught us that she should never volunteer to work a holiday, because we obviously can't make any plans based on what my employer is saying my schedule will be.

It's frustrating. But, what the hell--at least I have a job.
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