#7759: It's a ridiculously nice day today

It was a ridiculously nice day yesterday, too. Can't complain.

* * *

Karl Denninger talks about the vaccine for Wuhan Flu. "Nurses are walking out en-masse over vaccine mandates in hospitals and other care settings. This of course leads to demand shifting to other places where they haven't done so (yet), but that's a problem too because they're short-staffed as well."

I'm not surprised.

* * *

By the way: have you noticed that the democrat-media complex (DMC) are simultaneously saying that unvaccinated people are putting us all at risk, but vaccinated people can still spread the thing?

They're communists. Internal consistency is not their strong point.

* * *

Whatcha gonna do when the rent comes due? Well, the eviction moratorium is over, and now people are on the hook for rent and past-due rent. A whole bunch of people who didn't pay rent (because the government said they didn't have to, regardless of whether they could afford it or not) suddenly find themselves in arrears.
We can't pretend that every person who didn't pay rent for the last year was some poor soul who just couldn't make rent because they were broke and starving and out of work.

States have been reopening. The biggest problem in some states is a lack of people wanting to work. Enhanced unemployment has been going out for a year.

It's clear that there were a lot of people who collected a lot of government money and didn't spend any on rent and lived very high off the hog during their "funemployment."

These people absolutely deserve to get evicted.
Exactly. That's exactly so.

Look: I have every sympathy for the guy whose job disappeared when the lockdowns started, and who couldn't pay rent because he had to feed the kid and money was tight.

But I have zero sympathy for the guy who realized, "Hey, I don't have to pay rent and they can't do nothing to me!" and who was still going to work every day and kept on doing everything as usual, but who spent his rent money on luxuries instead of paying his landlord.

Good luck to all those landlords out there.

* * *

Aesop lays it all out</a> on what he plants to say to his employer if they threaten to nasal-swab him due to not being vaccinated.

I am too easily flustered and tongue-tied to a) remember and b) articulate all that. But they're good arguments.

* * *

This seems to explaining how billionaires don't pay the same tax rates as the middle class, rather than the reason for the lower tax rates.

"Why" is exeeding simple: the politicians themselves are hyper-rich and don't want to pay high taxes. They get lots of campaign money from other hyper-rich people who also do not want to pay high taxes.

But "how"?
As the billions of dollars in capital gains pile up as the billionaire's stock holdings soar (thanks, Federal Reserve, for the free trillions; awful swell of you to give us all that free money), there's no income generated until the billionaire sells some shares. No sale, no income. Just pay yourself $1 a year in salary, borrow against your billions at super-low rates of interest, and voila, you're tax-free while you build your super-yacht, buy your private island, and so on.
That's why you see stories about so-and-so, hyper-rich, who doesn't have the money on hand to do X or Y. His wealth is entirely paper--stock certificates--and not liquid. And you can't tax borrowed money as income.

(Actually--I think you could, as long as you got a tax credit for paying it back...but isn't our tax code big enough already?)

In practical terms the loans made by that billionaire must be paid back, of course, but as long as interest rates are kept low it costs him little or nothing to take out a new loan and then pay back the first one with it. So what if he's carrying two hundred million in loans? His net worth is five times bigger.

This article misses the fact that there are probably half a million ways that the hyper-rich can manipulate their annual income such that they pay little or no tax on it. They don't need to use the one outlined above. Simple fact is that the richest of the rich in the USA pay something like 3% of their income in tax (just income tax, not including social security etc) while the middle class pay closer to 15%.

How big would the budget deficit be if the hyper-rich just paid the same rate as the middle class?

* * *

Of course it would still be as big as it is now, if not bigger.

* * *

LeBron James is a big vagina. He's whining that "racism" is the reason Space Jam 2 is eating dicks at the box office.

And Miguel gets it right:
Dear CaBron: Just because you are a conceited jackass and people refuse to spend money on a shitty movie does not mean systematic racism at the box office. It simply means your movie is disappointing and you should stick to play b-ball. You are not the first athlete to venture in the movie business only to suck and crash.

Get over yourself.
What's wrong, Labron? Are the chinese you love so much not seeing your movie?

Maybe people aren't seeing the movie because he's a commie douchebag and he's made it bleeding obvious over the past couple of years. Maybe it's just a shitty movie.

I don't care which.

* * *

I can't remember the last time I logged into WoW.

I know it was last week some time, but the day escapes me. It wasn't Friday or Saturday, that's for sure. Thursday? Maybe, for a little while.

Well--summer is not when I want to be playing WoW, but when I want to be doing things outside.

The thing is, my back is slowly getting better. I still do not know what the hell I did to it in late June, but whatever it was, it did not do me any favors. (Probably it was that day when I got the lawn chairs out, swept the patio, and then split some firewood.) I'm trying not to impede that progress, to the point that I dug a little baggage carrier from the garage, and have been using that to move things around at work--anything that I otherwise would have to carry by holding it in front of me. That seems to be helping a lot, by taking the strain off my lower back muscles. Curiously, I can bend over to put stuff on it, but I can't carry the stuff in front of me.

Haven't needed pain relievers, muscle relaxers, or NSAIDs for my back for the past week, more or less. New chair helped immensely; the trolley is helping too.

So, naturally, other things are coming out to play. Left shoulder is bugging me, but I think that's from holding phone/tablet in front of me. Left ankle is playing one of its dirty tricks on me: every so often, about once or twice a year, it will start hurting approximately at random for no good reason, as if it's been sprained, but there's nothing wrong with it. After a week or two it goes away. This has been going on since...when? Twenty years at least.

There's a kind of arthritis which hits, makes you miserable, and then gets better (including the damage to the joint) which I had never heard of until docs were trying to figure out my wife's joint pain; but NSAIDs should help that and in my case they don't. And the intensity varies: in the afternoon it may be fine but at midnight it hurts like hell, or vice-versa. Like I said, "approximately at random".


Besides that, my desk chair at work broke. I was leaning back and SNAP the left arm broke. I can't lean back in it unless I brace the back of the chair against the desk, and so now I face at work exactly the same issue I was having at home. I talked to the maintenance manager and she said she'd order me a new one; I hope it comes soon.

* * *

Of course, since we spent yesterday at the cinema, today we need to wash clothes, which necessitates a trip to the laundromat.

The new motor for the washer has not come, the one I bought from eBay and paid for via PayPal on July 18th. Tracking says "shipper created label, UPS has not received the package" so now it's been sitting there for two weeks. I sent the seller a query about a status update Friday night but haven't heard anything back yet. I'll probably send another one on Monday if I don't hear anything; but if I still don't hear anything and I have to send a third, then the third one will say something approximating, "If I do not hear anything from you regarding this matter, I will leave negative feedback and start the process to get my money back."

* * *

Otherwise, nothing going on. It's Sunday, and we have a full week ahead of us. Could be worse.

#7758: The cloud is for the birds

By now all four readers should know who Pixy Misa is, and I'm feeling lazy, so I'm just going to quote what he said:
* Chromebook sales grew 75% in Q2. (Thurrott.com)

I understand the appeal, but you're handing complete control of your data to crazy people.
The main appeal of the Chromebook is support costs. Because the OS is designed to store everything in the cloud, local storage is not the default and the user has to take special steps to store anything locally. Because of that, if there's some kind of problem with the device (like X locks up all the time or Y isn't working right) you can do a hard reset of the stupid thing by running a "powerwash" on it. Then the user needs only to log in again; his apps reload and his data is still there in the cloud. The only thing missing is whatever he stored locally, if anything.

For enterprise, there are some initial setup costs, and cutting over from PCs to Chromebooks is not entirely painless--but once you've done it, instead of paying a high-priced technician to keep everyone's PC running right, you can pay a Geek Squad counter monkey minimum wage to handle setting up new users and handling the occasional powerwash.

(Don't get all bent out of shape over "counter monkey". Remember, I did that job for nearly two years, although I was way overqualified for it.)

The problem stems from the fact that if you want to do serious work on a Chromebook, it has to have a serious configuration. Chromebooks were originally sold on not having to be as high-performing (and therefore as expensive) as full-blown laptops, but they do in order to be useful for business.

A lot of people--not unfairly, I think--regard Chromebooks as inferior to laptops. I agree. One of my peers remarked the other day that his kid, who is in school, vastly prefers to use the computer to the Chromebook given to her by her school.

But as Pixy notes, "You're handing complete control of your data to crazy people." Everything you create, everything you store, everything you modify--it's all stored on a Google server. It's not just hanging magically out there in the ether, but it's stored on systems owned and operated by a specific entity, and that "specific entity" has demonstrated that it is not above punishing people--or businesses--for their opinions.

Besides that? Googe's position in the internet world looks entirely unassailable, but what if their fortunes change and they start needing money, desperately? Or suppose their management simply has a change of heart and decides to monetize the services they currently offer for free? I can envision a scenario where Googe decides that it's time for people to start ponying up cash for using their cloud services. There's a myriad of reasons why they might make this decision but really it all comes down to the fact that it costs money to host cloud storage, and to develop and serve all those applications.

If Googe were to go all Harlan Ellison ("Fuck you. Pay me.") on the people who use their services, what choices would they have?

I have always opposed the subscription model for personal computers. I've always opposed the idea of "software as a service". I don't like having to enter a password to get into my own computer, which then has to be checked against a server in Redmond or Seattle or San Francisco, which is why my systems are always set up with local accounts.

I've said it a million times: if you have to get permission to access your own data, you don't own it. If you have to get permission to run a piece of software, you don't own it. If you have to get permission to get into your own PC, you don't own it. To me, the question of whether I'm entrusting it to people who are crazy or sane is entirely secondary to the question of why am I entrusting it to anyone else in the first place?

That's the real craziness here. If you run a business, and you use cloud storage? If you give everyone Chromebooks and expect them to handle everything with them? I have one question: What happens when the Internet goes down?

And the question is "when", not "if". The Internet is extremely fault-tolerant but over the past half-dozen years we've experienced a plethora of incidents where complete access to this or that or the other service was completely unavailable. How happy do you think the users of Office were when they were unable to get into it for a day?

Chromebooks update automatically. Did you know that Googe recently pushed an update to Chromebooks which prevented all users from logging in? The bug was not widely reported because there were a specific set of circumstances where a user would be locked out, but until the patch for the update was pushed, the affected units were bricks. It was a mistake made by one programmer, accidentally omitting one character. How would your business function if all your Chromebooks were bricked?

Not to mention that some businesses--many--most--have intellectual property they do not care to share with the world. Formulas, procedures, what-have-you. Why do you entrust that to anyone? Suppose some programmer like the one who goofed up the Chromebook login does something to the file security that results in anyone being able to access it? Even if it were just for twenty-four hours (as the Chromebook login bug was) there are people who are constantly trying to get access to that stuff, and they'd have a field day with it.

But of course Chromebooks are cheaper. You don't pay for the software (other than what you pay for enterprise services from Googe) and they don't require as much technical expertise to maintain. I'm sure that the Googe salesmen swear up one side and down the other that of course your company's access to its data will never be called into question, and naturally no one else will look at it.

Sure. And just let your CEO say something disparaging about [welshmen] and see how long it takes before Googe decides to drop you, regardless of the penalties they have to pay, contractually.

That's what Pixy means by "crazy".

#7757: Well, we went to the movies

Went to see Old. I thought it was pretty entertaining; Mrs. Fungus was kind of "meh" about it. But it was me taking her to the movies rather than us staying in and watching something on-demand. Complete with huge tubs of movie theater popcorn and jumbo (diet) drinks.

I'd thought we might go to dinner after, but she wasn't hungry (popcorn) so we stopped at the supermarket and came home. We're going to have grilled hot dogs a little later on.

So at least we got to go do something recreational before the next wave of lockdowns hit.

* * *

Why running the printing presses does not actually increase the size of the real economy. As mentioned previously, government spending is one of the components of GDP, so when the government spends a hell of a lot of money (as it did over the past 18 months with the two or three rounds of stimulus) it makes the economy appear to be growing.

Problem: it's not. People spent the stimulus money and then returned to normal spending habits, esp. if their primary income came from unemployment insurance. The result now is that the "booming" economy is hitting the brakes, hard. The average 23% inflation is not helping matters, either.

* * *

Most of the time, leftists are a little more self-aware than this. A democrat suggests that attempts to get black people to take the Wuhan Flu vaccination would be more successful if they were to open vax clinics in fried chicken restaurants. No, really! The only thing she missed mentioning was watermelon!

I think she should have gone for the trifecta and worked in spirituals, somehow. Maybe made the statement while wearing a white hood, just to drive home the point.

Scratch a leftist, find a racist. Always-always.

* * *

"I say 'theorized long term effects', but thats only because what we do have knowledge wise is from prior animal testing of mRNA treatments." I cleaned up the quote a little bit, just so you know.

...he says "theorized long term effectsbecause what we do have knowledge wise is from prior animal testing of mRNA treatments," but one of the major, major problems with the animal tests is that THE ANIMALS KEPT DYING PREMATURELY.

Whatever data they have from the animal tests does not extend to the "long term" because you cannot get "long term" data from an animal which is deceased. Which has ceased to be. Which is an ex-animal! Not just pining for the fjords.

* * *

Intrepid Reporter has the take on the geopolitical situation in China:
he reality is, despite the dreams of our Wannabe Overlords is that The US and our population is just TOO BIG to be controlled like the Red Chinese. Now those who say "But they DO have control of the population!" Yeah... but seriously, it's the population of the Modern Up-to-Date City Living Red Chinese... the 'professional class'... the dirt poor farmers and pig-ignorant out in the far provinces? Not so much, despite their propaganda. It's why they have to keep the charade up. If for one real second the Joe Chinks realized how MANY they really are and how badly they outnumber the assholes-in-charge, well, it'd get ugly real quick methinks. They keep the leash short on the inner cities so to speak. Most of China is still living subsistence style circa Turn of the 19th to the 20th Century. NOT 21st Century. They wish.
And if the proles out in the hinterlands ever find themselves starving, I have my doubts about the communist regime lasting very long past that point.

* * *

You still need to answer the question of where the electricity is coming from. If your country (or province or state) is suffering rolling blackouts because there isn't enough electricity to go around, your electric trucks aren't going to help matters one iota.

* * *

When I was at Ace Hardware the other day I saw--for $20--a tiny dashcam. It was one cubic inch. It can take a 32 GB microSD card. I almost bought it.

* * *

On the Parsons album The Time Machine, the second track features Frank Close saying the following:
When you look out into the night sky, you see the stars far away. You're seeing them because of the light which travels from them to you. Now, it takes time for light to travel here, so what you're doing is seeing the stars as they were in the past--the amount of time it has taken for the light to reach us--and the further and further away those stars are, the further back in time you are looking. Now, you are seeing a star that is, say, six thousand years ago. Imagine somebody on that star looking at us. They would be seeing us as we were six thousand years ago. Which of those two is "now?"

So, space and time are linked together: as we are looking across space, we are looking back in time.
"Which of those two is 'now?'" I've always loved that discussion, since the first time I heard it, because it very neatly encapsulates some of the problems that arise due to relativity.

While I was cutting the grass I was listening to The Time Machine and it got me to thinking about writing some kind of story where that question--"Which of those two is 'now?'"--was of vital importance. I'll let you know if I come up with anything.

* * *

Anyway, it's after 8 and the sun's setting. I better think about getting some dinner.

#7756: Just a bunch of miscellany today

CDC and FDA have okayed a recall of the PCR test for Wuhan Flu for various reasons, including accuracy. This is only the test that everyone in the country (maybe the world) relied on.

So: using a test that doesn't work to detect a disease in people who don't have symptoms. Do I have that right?

* * *

Here's a direct quote from Anonymous Conservative:
Indications are COVID is mutating to become less virulent as time goes on, as the Spike protein seems to be gathering mutations fast. Not unexpected, as if the Spike protein is as toxic as advertised, the virus would be well served to evolve it to be harmless to people can walk around spreading it, rather than be bedridden in an isolation wing.
That is exactly what I was talking about in yesterday's post.

* * *

Hey, man! Quit bitin' my style!


Of course I didn't invent the "strikeout sarcasm" thing, but seeing it used for this topic and in this manner so soon after my post--well. It makes the point well, doesn't it?
You can also take anything the CDC puts out with a grain of salt, because even in the linked article, after they come to all those conclusions, the CDC then hastens to undermine everything you just read. (I don't think they can help contradicting and self-delegitimizing themselves automatically at this point. If anyone from the CDC fell in a river, they would float upstream out of habit.)
"Because you're too stupid to know better and we're telling you to" is basically the government's rationale, now, for people to get vaccinated.

* * *

I think "18 months" is not nearly long enough. They've been lying to us a lot longer. Since 2015 at the earliest; and probably since 2008.

Oh, wait--Kurt Schlichter is talking just about the Wuhan Flu thing, not governance in general: "Imagine that instead of shaming people, first about wearing masks, then about not wearing masks, then about not wearing two masks, then no masks, then masks again, they went with transparency."

And yeah, he's harping on the same theme I did yesterday:
Just imagine if they had been honest and forthright. But that was not in the cards. The ruling caste's conceit is that we are idiots, unable and unworthy to make simple decisions for ourselves. We must be guided, nudged, or intimidated, if necessary, into making the right choice. And we do not deserve explanations, because the last thing our elite wants is accountability.

Instead, they want unlimited power. Look at their arbitrary emergency rules and regulations. You could go to a strip club but not a church. Huh? And the courts, again, let us down initially by not enforcing the Constitution. It was an emergency, after all, and as we all know, in an emergency you need to rule by decree, say our betters. So, we got to watch idiots walking around in the sunshine with mouth thongs on while cops busted mommies for letting little Billy play on the slide. At no time did most of the establishment reconsider or change. No, it doubled down on failure. Yet we're supposed to trust it?
Even worse, they can't believe--they have the gall to be incredulous over the fact--that we don't believe and trust them.

Who, then, are the real idiots here?

* * *

Speaking of squandering credibility, #DefundFBI.

* * *

I sure as hell wouldn't hire that bitch.

Woman applies for a job with a landscaping company. The owner takes the time to write her an email cautioning her about the kind of work they do and inviting her to call him if she's still interested. She replies with sarcasm and disdain.

Yeah, but courtesy and good manners are "old fashioned", right?

* * *

Well, it's Saturday afternoon.

I got the grass cut last night, so I don't have that hanging over my head. What I need to do is to get the Jeep's right front wheel up in the air and get a gander at the axle, because it has started making squeaking noises when I make turns. That probably means the U-joint is going bad.

It has 95,000 miles on it, so I should not be surprised by that.

* * *

As predicted, yesterday was gloriously cool. Today is too. For the next several days at least we're not going above the mid-70s and no rain is expected.

Complaints: zero.

#7755: Trying to be safe on the bike

I'm still kind of annoyed by this guy on a full dresser yesterday.

"Full dresser" is usually something like a Harley or a Gold Wing with all the trunks and fairings and gewgaws and gimcracks that make the thing into a motorized sofa. In this case it was a Harley.

Rode the bike back to work after lunch; so on my way home I find myself being, essentially, tailgated by this guy on his full dresser. I guess 40 in a 35 wasn't fast enough, and at his earliest opportunity he goes blowing past me. No helmet or gloves, naturally.

I've been riding motorcycles--on and off--since I was a teenager. When I was younger, I frequently rode without any gear, not even a helmet, because I was stupid. Balancing that was the fact that I was riding a 90cc dirt bike missing one of its compression rings (and ergo not exactly making peak power) and I was riding it around my back yard and (infrequently) on trails, so I was not going very fast. But in 2011 when I decided to start doing motorcycles again, it was with the intention of riding on the road, and so gear was essential.

I chronicled my efforts at getting the dirt bike functional again starting here in June of 2011. The dirt bike was basically usable, but had been sitting since my last foray into motorcycles...which had been in the early 90s. So it was going to take some doing to make it functional again.

The result of my efforts? The dirt bike now started a hell of a lot easier than it ever had before, in my experience. Somewhere I've got video of myself trying to start the thing in 1993. It was a bit of a process. But after my work in 2011? Switch on, fuel on, choke, kick, brummm! It would start on the first kick (or maybe the second) and the engine would warm up and be ready to ride in a matter of seconds. Rather than me having the kick it like a rented mule for ten minutes and then nurse the throttle and choke while it puttered and coughed for another five.

Then I got my license in August of that year; and in September I bought Og's motorcycle, which had sat in his shed ever since he got it fixed up (after buying it at a garage sale for $25). He used the proceeds from that sale to build an AR-15. I'm still not sure who got the better side of that deal--meaning it was probably a perfectly fair bargain.

So, with all the introductory material out of the way--

One of the big rules of motorcycle safety is not to ride the wrong bike. There's the obvious point that you should be able to ride it comfortably, but beyond that, you want a bike you can handle. 350 lb man on scooter, probably bad idea. 16-year-old who just got his license on Hayabusa? Also bad idea.

Another big rule is not to ride too fast. Look, if you ride at twice the speed limit, other drivers won't be expecting that, and you'd better have your head on a swivel and some really good brakes on your bike. And extremely good reflexes. Sure, your bike has an insane power to weight ratio, but that doesn't give you a "get out of physics free" card.

The complementary rule for that one is don't ride like a dumbass. Ride with traffic (instead of through it), keep both wheels on the ground, and indicate your turns.

And of course ATGATT: All The Gear All The Time. You may never need to wear a helmet--nearly all motorcycle helmets end up being retired and replaced without so much as a scratch--but if you ever do need one it will be too late to go back and get it.

If you habitually ride your bike in shorts, sandals, and a tank top--well, you might very well get away with it, even for your entire life. But if you've guessed wrong, you'll leave skin on the pavement--or worse.

Myself, I am guilty of riding without gear...but when I'm doing that, it's because I'm taking a bike for a quick test-spin, around the block, at speeds no higher than 25-ish. Even that really isn't all that smart, but it's a matter of degree. What I do not do is to get out on the main roads and go 35-40-45-50 like that.

And of course there are two types of riders: those who have dropped the bike, and those who will. I am hoping that I have already landed in the former category.

Remember when I decided to take the bike to get my hair cut, after work, only it started raining? I pulled to the side of the road to try to get the towel out of the trunk to put across my lap (not really thinking it through, since the rain landing on my legs would just soak the towel before re-soaking my legs). Got too far over to the right, and--going maybe three miles an hour--the front tire skidded off the edge of the pavement into the mud. I hopped off the bike as it rolled onto its right side. Bike: dropped. But not damaged, and I was able to pick it back up.

(As an aside, the helmet and jacket kept my upper body nearly completely dry. Everything below my jacket was soaked right to the skin.)

And finally--it should go without saying--do not ride while intoxicated. But also, don't ride when you're too tired, or when you're not feeling good, or any time you're not able to concentrate.

Riding a motorcycle is not as safe as driving a car. But you're not at the mercy of random chance, either; your choices are a big part of how safe you are.

#7754: What we're told is true about Wuhan Flu

Human to human transmission is difficult.
Travel bans are unnecessary.
It hopped to humans who bought live bats and pangolins for food. The "lab leak" hypothesis is a conspiracy theory. It may have leaked from a lab but it's too late to find out now.
We don't need quarantines. We need to lock down for two weeks six months over a year to slow the spread.
You don't need to wear a mask. You need to wear a mask. You only need a mask if you're not vaccinated. It's essential that you wear a mask regardless of whether or not you've been vaccinated.
A vaccine is at least two years away. The vaccine is junk because Trump is pushing it. The vaccine protects you from getting the disease. The vaccine reduces the severity of your symptoms if you get it. Everyone must be vaccinated to prevent transmission of the disease. Even if you get the vaccine you can still get, and transmit, the disease.

...I could go on but I'll bet that's not very easy reading up there. You get the idea, anyway.

The simple fact is that the party line on COBID-19 has changed so much, and so often, that it's manifest that our government doesn't know what the fuck it's doing. Also, people are sick and tired of all the self-contradictory horseshit they've been spewing since February of 2020.

Even worse, it turns out that the Wuhan Flu vaccines can actually make your symptoms and prognosis worse:
This is why AstraZeneca is reported to be trying to get out of the vaccine business despite the massive profits the vaccine makers are presently enjoying, and why boosters are probably going to be mandated for everyone who was foolish enough to get vaccinated. The problem of Antibody Dependent Enhancement causing breakthrough infections predicted by the mRNA critics more than one year ago has come to pass, which is why vaccinated people are dying of Covid despite the fact that the virus is weaker than it was in early 2020.
The big news of the day today is that "delta is as contagious as chicken pox!"

The thing is, though, the delta variant isn't as lethal as the alpha variant was--and alpha wasn't all that lethal, either. Thanks to the idiotic way the tests were handled, we have no good data on how many actual infections occurred. The cycle count for the tests was so high that a conventional cold or flu infection gave a falsely positive indication. And, of course, we have all the cases where someone died while testing positive for the thing, which got counted as dying of the thing.

And it is a fact that the infection rate for influenza went to zero, or so close to it as makes no odds. The fact that hospitals got $7,000 per confirmed COVID case from the government has, of course, absolutely nothing to do with that.

And even with all the fuckery that ruined the numbers, making this thing look worse than it is from both an infection and death standpoint, it still didn't kill even as many as 2% of the people it infected, and the fatalities were heavy skewed towards the elderly. 80% of the cases were asymptomatic, for crying out loud.

The thing is: novel viral infections are always worst at the outset. When you get to the phase that we're in now--where various mutations are showing up--the disease always (and I mean ALWAYS) becomes less lethal even as it becomes more contagious. This was the principle behind Crichtons Andromeda Strain: viruses that kill their hosts too quickly don't do as well as a species compared to viruses that merely make their hosts a little tired and give them a runny nose. How quickly that process works is dependent on a great many factors, but one of them is how deadly the thing is to begin with.

74% of cases in a Massachusetts outbreak were previously vaccinated. And what's the money quote? "The bulk of the infected people did not require hospital care, but among the five that did, four were fully vaccinated."

That's five cases out of 469 people. How many deaths?

Have you noticed that the number on the news is infections, not deaths?

Someone pointed out that even though congress is packed with older folks who congregated unmasked, none of them has died. Have any major politicians died of the thing?

John Wilder knocks one out of the park and does a better job there than I'm doing here of describing what a complete shitshow the American government's response to this thing has been.

* * *

But the thing is, the Wuhan Flu has not been the only thing that the government has bungled.

The election--"No one hires a hundred lawyers to defend an honest election." Sarah Hoyt pointed out that the most effective way for the Gangster Party to defend against charges of election "fortification" are to do some forensic audits on the vote tally in counties where Biden actually won a majority of votes. Claim the sampling is random (whether it is or not) and do real hard-ass audits that produce verifiable documentation demonstraing that those counties really did vote for Biden--even if it's bullshit, it's bullshit that sells among the middle-to-left-wing folks.

And they're not doing that. They're spinning up the department of (alleged) justice to prevent audits. Said department is throwing all kinds of threats at places which are doing audits. They're doing everything they can--and it's not working.

Texas and Florida are doing their own thing with regards to the coof and the election, and the gangsters are throwing shade, and it's not working.

The de-masking and the reopening--it started happening, coincidentally enough, just as the populace was beginning to object to the lockdowns and the masking. Antibody dependent enhancement was carefully not mentioned (even though viral epidemiologists were trying to talk about it) until, gee, delta! We have to mask up and lock down again! And it's not working.

The Reichstag Insurrection--all they have is trespassing charges. They know they can't convict on anything worse; anyone who tried to bring those folks to trial for treason or insurrection or sedition would be laughed out of the fucking courtroom. And the accused are being held incommunicado under conditions so bad that republican politicians were not allowed to visit. They're trying to spin this thing as the worst incident since 9/11, and it's not working.

These and a hundred other little things--what our government wants to do is not possible, but they are trying to do it anyway, regardless of what the voters want...and it's not working.

No one is buying it. No one believes it. The credibility has been squandered in a million stupid ways, from things like the pee tape to ObamaCare to oversized salt shakers to "there's no inflation" to "two weeks to stop the spread" and to a myriad of obviously fake stories coming out of the news media and the government. All the lies and the bullshit and the twisted statements, all the obvious bias and the clear propaganda. All the accusations of racism.

I've said and said and said that Trump was a symptom. He was--he was a reaction to all the deception and manipulation that the ruling class has been dumping on us for the past twelve years.

Because of this, they are starting to get desperate.

The Gangster Party cannot afford the return of rule of law in this country. Too many of them will end up broke and in jail if that happens (assuming they are not outright lynched by a furious public) and so they are deeply afraid--terrified!--that power will slip from their grasp before they can completely secure their power.

It's why the 2020 elections had to be "fortified". They could not afford another four years of Trump, particularly not with the kind of mandate that was showing up. They'd prepared "fortifications" but they weren't enough; they had to stop counting at 2 AM specifically to give themselves time to overcome the deluge of Trump votes, and it was enough of an emergency that they could not do it with any finesse.

But the audits are showing what happened...and if the results of those audits actually become known by even a significant minority of the general population, the simple doubt in the public mind will be disastrous for them.

It's why they so desperately want to federalize the elections, why they are allowing illegal aliens to enter by the millions.

It's why, even now, they are desperately trying to find a way to keep Trump from ever holding office again.

New York state did its best to get something on Trump and--given his tax returns--the best they could do was to indict someone who worked for him for violating some obscure regulation or other. Now congress wants those tax returns--the tax returns of a private citizen--for the purpose of holding a show trial to discredit him. Because they need to get something on him.

And it's not working.

It is not working.

These people are terrified, and they are desperate. And when powerful people are terrified and desperate, they start to do really, really stupid things.

Sarah Hoyt "sounds the tocsin", warning us that things are going to go nuts sooner rather than later.
What they are trying to impose on reality can't work in reality. They're kind of like the guy who calls up Cthulhu not realizing that not only will it eat him first, but it can't survive in our reality.

Again, for the slow of mind: No, America can't go communist and stay communist forever. Because if it does, the rest of the world starves. And so do we, in double quick time. And we're too spoiled to take it. Also, the arrant idiots in charge have no clue of how complex and difficult this country is, though I think they're starting to get a sense for it, as they try to pull their "infallible lockdown" trick twice. Because, yes, they're that stupid.
They are going to try imposing lockdowns and mask mandates again; count on it.

Busted Knuckles agrees.
I have been fully expecting TPTB to go Full Fucking Retard for a long time now. They refuse to quit flogging this Plandemic shit and are about to go all in because they are under the gun timewise. There's just too many things that are falling into place lately that are highlighting not only their illegitimacy but especially their competency.
Or, rather, their lack thereof.

Intrepid Reporter says that vaccination passports are still on the table here. Believe it: they want this so badly they can taste it. But I know many people for whom the vaccine passport is a hard stop "no go", and I have a suspicion that the government will be dismayed to learn just how many people will refuse it. To understand, just look at the reaction to the imposition of the things in France and Italy.

Very probably, vaccine passports will be the trigger for Civil War 2.0.

* * *

The one murder that took place during the Reichstag Insurrection was when capitol police thug Michael Byrd killed Ashli Babbitt in cold blood.

If you read that article without ending up in a fuming rage, it's because you're a fucking communist.

* * *

And now I'll turn away from the serious stuff to the less-serious.

Pixy Misa mentions a big Tesla battery installation in Australia:
An enormous Tesla battery farm being built near Melbourne caught fire. (The Age)

Looks like just one of the pods--each the size of a half-length shipping container--was affected. Oh, and everyone who lives within ten miles, because it belched toxic smoke everywhere and Melbourne is currently in lockdown.
Anyone who's surprised by this, raise your hands.

Thought so.

* * *

Red asteroids? They're asteroids covered with organic matter. Which is to say, "the building blocks of life", rather than (I don't know) space mold or what-have-you.

They're in mostly circular orbits, meaning they've been there a very long time.


Probably not.

* * *

My wife is watching some show called The Secret in the Suitcase, and I opined that the title sounded like the name of a Nancy Drew mystery. "Nancy Drew and the Secret in the Suitcase"!

Maybe not.

* * *

So--what I've noticed on MangaDex is that there are some series which are regressive time-travel stories.

I have this major stinkeroo of a story which is a regressive time-travel story--guy who's just graduated from college wakes up at age 15 and gets to redo everything--which makes this kind of story particularly interesting to me.

Again!, Silver Plan To Redo from JK, Ookumo-chan Flashback, and the most recent one is Bokutachi no Remake. ("Ookumo" is something of an outlier because the main character is getting flashbacks of his father's high school years, but it kind of counts.)

In "Again" and "Remake", the main characters actually bounce back to see the results of their actions. JK might, as well, and simply hasn't gotten that far yet. Having them flip back and forth does serve to keep the reader's interest.

Except for "Ookumo", the main characters of these stories start out in a pretty shitty place. "Again", the main character has graduated from high school with no friends and no real direction to go. "JK", the main character is the daughter of a real-estate developer and granddaughter of a major politician who ends up having to work unskilled jobs to survive after her relatives' fortunes were wiped out. "Remake", the main character works at a crappy little game company that has failed, so he's going to be homeless in very short order.

In my story, the main character's on the cusp of starting a career in this-or-that technical field and is not unhappy with where he's at. He's just not happy.

I rewrote all the "spark" out of the story; it reads well and maintains suspense, but it's just not any good. Like the line I quote from Little Fuzzy: "Spoiled through overrefinement."

* * *

"Spark"--when I write a story, if it goes anywhere, it's because it has this quality I can't really define but which makes it a good story. If "spark" is not there, there's nothing I can do with it. Certainly I have never managed to write it back in once it's lost.

* * *

So today I was cutting the grass, and one of the cables--Comcast, I think--hung from the telephone poles is sagging very low--so low that when I'm on the tractor I have to lift it up so I don't get clotheslined on it.

Today I saw ants walking on it, and I thought, "They don't know anything."

To the ants, that cable is just a weird twig with no branches. They don't realize it's carrying gigabytes of data back and forth. There's no understanding of the higher purpose of that cable, no concept that the cable was put there by higher beings for a specific reason.

Then I thought about human beings living in the universe.

Might be a story in there somewhere.

#7753: How do we calculate Gross Domestic Product?

The big news of the day is that GDP grew 6.5% and the economy is now "bigger" than it was before the Wuhan Flu.

The thing is, one of the components of GDP is "government spending". And government spending over the past year has been insanely high. Every last cent of those stimulus checks everyone got? That counted towards GDP.

Every last cent.

That's why the government switched to using GDP rather than GNP (gross national product). Every last cent spent by government raises GDP. If you figure GNP instead, the economy is complete shit and has been for the last two decades.

* * *

The average inflation is about 23%. That's right: if it cost $1 last year, now it costs $1.23.

Where are the pay increases to match, you fucking media goons?

* * *

Today I spent most of my afternoon sweating my ass off.

Trip to the far off-site--once I was indoors I was sweating like a pig. Even though I ran full AC on the way there. Went back to office, dropped off one thing and picked up another, then hit the near off-site, and yeah--sweated my ass off.

Hit on a brainstorm today, though. I found my little 6-pack cooler, which Dad gave me when I was in my teens, and put two bottles of Pepsi in it. Then a refreezable cold pack on top.

When I took a bottle out to take a drink it was still ice cold. Marvelous. And the other bottle stayed very cold, too, even though I didn't open it until I was back at the office for the rest of the day, around 4-ish. So I may repeat that, because having cold drink is good in hot summer. No?

* * *

Tomorrow the high is supposed to be 74. I can already feel that the wind is much cooler than the still air, like cold air is moving in. That's why I'm not cutting the grass until tomorrow. And tomorrow night I expect to be able to open windows.

Weird summer, though. Still.

* * *

Went to get Chinese and as I was driving I saw a go kart sitting by the road, unattended. I wondered WTF was going on; but on my way back I saw the kid walking with a gas can in one hand and a drink in the other and realized: someone went out for a ride and forgot to fill the gas tank first. Heh.

* * *

Guy builds an e-bike for $150 in about 10 minutes. Probably smarter than my gasoline motor bike that took several hours. And only $30 more.

* * *

I've been listening to Kansas lately, kind of as a tribute to Robby Steinhart.

* * *

For some reason, Pandora has been playing a lot of piano music lately on my ambient/electronica channel. WTF.

* * *

Sadly, the trash is not going to take itself out. *sigh*

#7752: Success! I rode it!

There's still a lot of adjusterizing and fiddlation to do, but I got on the motorized bicycle and rode it, with the engine burning fuel and making a civilized putt putt putt.

The tires have slow leaks so they weren't exactly at proper pressure. The engine was struggling because I don't think the carb is set correctly (and I didn't run it very long, and the choke was off, so cold engine--and 16:1 fuel) and there's some weirdness with the chain. I can't seem to get the rear wheel to sit straight for long. The clutch only works about halfway.

Still: I rode about halfway down the block with the motor providing all the power, and then I rode up to the corner, and then back to the bunker, all without pedaling. I did have to pedal when I hit the driveway because the engine didn't have the guts to get me up the hill there. I could (even in my current crappy condition) pedal the bike faster than the motor was moving it.

But it works! (I finally invented something that works!...er, no.)

And of course I had to do this on just about the hottest day of the month, of course--83° at 8 PM and 75° dewpoint--but this was the first time my back didn't bother me and I could do it.

I was surprised at the speed with which it kicked over, too. I mean, once I got the chain to stay on and was able to get some speed up, let the clutch out and bruuuuumm off it went. No choke at all.

Of course the motor is brand new and everything is still factory-tight. Let all the moving parts bed in and that will help. Also, adjusting the carb to the right tune, getting the chain handled, and fixing all the other little bitsy-pieces that are out of whack.

Oh--and how did I mix the fuel? Well, it occurred to me that a typical Pepsi bottle holds 16.9 ounces--half a liter--so I put one ounce of oil in, then added gasoline, shook it up, and put it into the tank. (YES I made sure to dry out the bottle first!) 2-cycle engines are not that damned fussy about having an exact ratio, so it was close enough.

And while I was putting everything away, I was grinning like an idiot. I still am, in fact.

* * *

I took that useless drill pump back to the hardware store, intending to find some kind of clamp I could use to elevate the bike to some height so I didn't have to sit on the ground. I couldn't find a clamp, but I did find this 2-cycle oil which claimed that all you had to do was to add one packet to 2.5 gallons of gasoline, and it would be fine regardless of what ratio the engine needed.

There was no description of what it was or how it did that, so I left it alone. Also, it came in a plastic pouch like ketchup from a fast-food joint.

* * *

Well, time to hit the store for some sundries.

#7751: Once again, something I can't find a second time

It was a post about how the Great Barrier Reef is not in any danger of "ecological collapse". FUCK I hate it when I don't think to send myself a link so I can find it later on!

Anyway, the point was, "bleaching" is something all coral reefs undergo from time to time (there was something about a 10-year cycle) and there was something else about a specific species of starfish that kills coral.

Also, the Great Barrier Reef has recovered. Greatest extent on record, it's doing better than it was before all the bleaching started.

I'd just like to find the damn article.

* * *

"The Potempkin Terror Plot" and you know what I'll say: #DefundFBI

* * *

Bezos really wants to build a lunar lander. Well, why doesn't his company build one, then? Apparently they're offering to pay NASA to let them do it. Why do they have to pay NASA? If your ideas are so damned good, build the thing! Show it to NASA!

The thing is, Blue Origin is way behind SpaceX and Bezos can't stand being so far behind Musk that he can't even see Musk's dust.

I actually don't consider Blue Origin to be a serious contender in the commercialization of space, but what the hell: it's raining soup and everyone needs a bucket, right?

* * *

Texas democrat fleabaggers are not garnering much sympathy for their plight. Which is as it should be.

* * *

Democrats are saying that they're fucked if election integrity laws stand. Yeah. You know why? Because democrats cheat. They have always cheated. They always will cheat. As long as they can, they will fortify every last election they can.

It's about time the American people stopped putting up with it.

* * *

I saw this story today and just about blew a gasket. You see, in the worst of the blue states, there are now "efficiency" requirements for computers. They can't use more than a certain amount of electricity on an annual basis. Machines that do cannot be sold in those states.

So, just as was done with automobiles, now computers are having their performance reduced in service to some nebulous eco-goal.

The laughable bit is that home desktop computers comprise 3% of residential electricity use and that makes them "large energy consumers". Commercial computers use 7% of commercial electricity use.

3% is a "large consumer". I wonder what stoves and microwaves use? How about big-screen televisions? How about electric cars?

So, by this idiotic rule, the computers can't use more than 75 kwh per year. I'd like to know how that's calculated, because that's 205 watt-hours per day if the system is running continuously for an entire year. To put that in perspective, that's enough energy to keep two 100w incandescent bulbs lit for one hour.

If you use your system only 12 hours a day, then it's enough to keep four of those bulbs lit for an hour. Cutting it to six hours would run eight bulbs for an hour. 820 watt-hours over the course of six hours is about 137 watt-hours per hour, which is rather less than a good gaming system requires. (There is a reason why even entry-level GPU cards have dedicated power inputs, and why PC power supplies normally start at 250w and go up from there.)

What a bunch of assholes.

* * *

I said, yesterday, that Barbara Boxer was reaping the fruits of her labors. I didn't realize how right I was.
The best part is the very first comment that got posted in response to this bit of news.
Jared Smith,

Doesn't sound like a big deal to me as long as they only stole 950 dollars or less. The DA should drop the charges against the assailant and maybe even create a statue of him. Let them enjoy the insane policies they create lol.

That was beautiful.

The reason why that was so beautiful?
Mike Mora
This should be perfectly fine by her. She championed reducing penalties for criminals. She helped author the current crime wave.

My bet is she is telling her friends the gangsters needed the loot. Boxer isn't known for her intellect.
That's right, she was one of the ones pushing to decriminalize everything.
So, yeah--kind of hoist on her on petard, there, and it couldn't happen to a nicer communist.

* * *

So, you know how Sarah Hoyt keeps talking about how much China needs America to buy its stuff? There's a bit of a problem with that paradigm right now. Seems that containerized freight from China to the United States fetches approximately 3x the fee that it did a year ago.

It's really amazing to see how things are going. China really is shooting itself in the foot, thinking they're actually aiming somewhere well downrange.

* * *

Speaking of Sarah Hoyt, today's post is great. "Whether you realize it or not, because the newsmedia is a mess, the rebellions have been happening and picking up speed." I bet what we saw from Cuba is the tip of the iceberg.

* * *

This is pure genius. It's basically a gewgaw you put on your motorcycle's chain after you've set the tension correctly; you adjust it so that the marks line up, and then--once you've done that--all you ever need to do is to put it on the chain and adjust the chain tension so the marks line up again. Not sure the chain is right? Check it in seconds.

The only issue I can see here is that the tool is calibrated for a specific motorcycle. You can't buy one and have it work for a handful of machines. So I couldn't buy one, then use it on my road bike, dirt bike, and my wife's bike. I'd have to have one tool for each bike.

They're $45 a shot. I don't ride anything but my road bike enough to need it.

Still--probably a worthwhile investment.

* * *

Speaking of bikes--

Having watched that "how-to" video last night, I'm thinking about doing some more work on the converted bike. I really just need to plumb the fuel line and get the drive chain on; the thing is literally only a couple steps from being complete.

Of course I want to trim the control cables and such, but that's a lot more involved than simply getting the thing running.

The major problem I've got otherwise is that the engine wants 16:1 two-cycle fuel. Yeah: one ounce of oil to sixteen ounces of gasoline. That's thick. After four tankfuls it's reduced to 20:1, which is still--well, the weedeater uses 32:1 and the little snowblower uses 40:1. Or was it the other way around? I can't remember. I just mix it 32:1 and it doesn't hurt whichever one uses the leaner mix.

16:1, however....

Well, not tonight, I think, but soon enough.

#7750: I did it again!

Got home from work, relaxed a little bit, then walked "uptown" to have a gander at the cruise night.

* * *

Big surprise that a white teacher in Chicago got fired for expressing her opinion. Fiver says she was already on some kind of list--"Get rid of this cracker soonest".

* * *

Former senator Barbara Boxer falls victim to the results of her own voting record.

I'm glad she wasn't hurt, but....

* * *

I'm going to be blunt. If you're 51 years old and you're still wearing baseball caps backwards? There's something wrong with you. Kevin Smith lost all kinds of weight, so he already looks...weird. Adding middle age to that, and the backwards cap? He looks like a drug addict.

Reportedly Mattel is unhappy about the woke train-wreck he made of "He Man". Not because they care one whit about the intellectual property per se, but because nobody is buying the expensive versions Mattel toys it's based on.

* * *

And speaking of toys, in the mid-1970s I had a "Big Jim", and furthermore I had his RV. It was pretty cool.

* * *

Ah, Larry Correia, you're a godsend.
In something that I find profoundly troubling, when I’ve had this discussion before, I’ve had a Caring Liberal tell me that the example of Iraq doesn’t apply, because “we kept the gloves on”, whereas fighting America’s gun nuts would be a righteous total war with nothing held back… Holy shit, I’ve got to wonder about the mentality of people who demand rigorous ROEs to prevent civilian casualties in a foreign country, are blood thirsty enough to carpet bomb Texas.

You really hate us, and then act confused why we want to keep our guns? But I don’t think unrelenting total war against everyone who has ever disagreed with you on Facebook is going to be quite as clean as you expect.
Those are quotes from a post he wrote in 2018. He spells out why the government cannot realistcally confiscate all the privately-owned firearms in America.

* * *

Mrs. Fungus bought one of those flopping fish cat toys. Smudge loves it; the other cats aren't sure what to make of it.

* * *

My chair at work broke today.

I was leaning back in it, thinking about how the chair's back seemed to be leaning farther and farther back, even though it should not have, and it was making little creaking noises as it--

*SNAP!* "Waugh!"

...left arm broke. It's plastic all the way through, and it's one of those stupid chairs where the back is a bit springy and the arms support it, and flex to provide the springiness.

It's like a four hundred dollar chair, at least as far as I could tell when I was trying to find one like it a few months ago.


* * *

I think this is the same kit I got:

* * *

Besides the chair, today was pretty much a shitshow at work. I was glad when quitting time came around.

* * *

One of the cars at the cruise night? A 1976 Caprice wagon. Original paint, a little bit of rust here and there, but not too shabby. Damn.

Also, there were a couple of "pro street" cars.

* * *

This is the last week of July 2021. Could be worse.