Yesterday's big project was to hack down some of the foliage behind the garage, including a choke cherry tree with a 2" diameter trunk. That got chopped into 1' sections for later use in the fire ring; the branches and junk got hauled to the curb.
There were cockleburs growing in that patch, and those got chopped into 18" lengths and put in the fire ring. I lit them with a propane torch and put a couple hunks of firewood on top, and that took care of that. ("I'm not burning yard waste--well, okay, I am, but I'm using it as kindling to start a proper fire." It did rather nicely.) I hate cockeburs; burning them was immensely satisfying.
As for the rest of the foliage, it made a nice pile by the curb for the tree grinder, and there's considerably less jungle behind the garage. There's still more to do, of course; it seems as if there always is. *sigh*
But the real work will be getting the stumps out so I can plant something there next year.
* * *
Well, it's mid-October again. Tomorrow is the 15th, which is the day on which:
I had my appendix out in 1999I think I'm just going to hide in bed tomorrow.
I lost my tech writing job in 2001
IttyBit died in 2012
* * *
...so I posted a link, yesterday, to a story about the EBT card fiasco. Well, it turns out to have been an even bigger fiasco than the initial reports suggested.
Apparently there were no limits on spending for a certain amount of time. For a couple of hours, people with EBT cards were buying as much stuff as they could because the cards weren't showing any limits. The people who got to the register after the EBT system came back online just abandoned their carts full of stuff and walked out of the store.
Not everyone was sympathetic to their plight. According to one shopper: “SNAP and the regular EBT ‘debit’ card system down in Mass. Amazing to watch how many well-dressed, gold-laden, high-heeled women put down their carts and walked out when the announcement was made. Made for nice quick lines for us paying folks.”I'll say it again: nearly all the poverty in the United States is relative, rather than absolute. When obesity is seen as an affliction of the poor--
Another commented on the scads of tweets pouring forth from complaining EBT card holders, such that #EBT quickly appeared in Twitter’s top 10 trending topics: “These people are on a computer, paying for Internet service, with photos of their tattoos & wearing designer sun glasses, talking about starvation? Only in America.”
And, “It’s sad for those who really need it, but most of these people will get on their cell phone with Internet (which is better than my 5-year-old Verizon ‘regular cell phone’), and go on their Ipads (my newest computer is 5 years old) and b-tch about it.”
JayG says that this one story pretty much sums up everything that's wrong with the welfare state.
Karl Denninger refers to the people involved in this as "looters" and he's not wrong.
* * *
DOOM! And Monty pretty much starts out with the EBT fiasco:
The SNAP computer system went down for a few hours on Saturday...and many beneficiaries just about lost their damned minds.Sooner or later the cards will stop working permanently, because we'll reach a state where it really does become economically impossible to reward people for doing nothing. And on that day the cities will burn.
These are the wages of the welfare state, my groovy babies: we've been mainlining the drug so long that we can't go for an hour without it. DOOM isn't foreign terrorists or enemy soldiers or dirty bombs. It's legions of stupid people almost tearing down a Wal-Mart because their SNAP cards didn't work for an hour or two. Now tell me what's going to happen when the balloon really goes up and we can't afford to keep ladling out government cheese any more. What happens if the SNAP cards stop working permanently? Do you think these hordes of angry stupid people are just going to grumble and go back home?
This to me is probably the most important DOOM-related story that I've seen so far this year. Why? Because it illustrates how deep our pathologies run, and how maddeningly difficult -- maybe impossible -- it will be to find a political solution.
Avoiding that fate requires electing true statesmen, people who will put the good of the country ahead of their own personal interests...and there haven't been any of those for quite a while, certainly not in sufficient number to make a proper stand against the grand insanity of socialism.
Monty's discussion is worth reading in its entirety. "People used to laugh and roll their eyes when I told them that a second Civil War was becoming all but inevitable in this country," he finishes. "They don't laugh any more."
Talking about wages, he says, "You can buy a hell of a lot more with a hell of a lot less money than you used to be able to. Computers, TV’s, cars, etc are all much cheaper than they used to be in real terms." Sure: it takes 25 ounces of gold today to buy a Mustang GT; it took 76 ounces in 1969 to buy a Mustang Mach I. But a minimum wage earner today earns 12 ounces of gold in a year, while a minimum wage earner in 1969 earned 71 ounces in a year.
* * *
Obamacare is starting to cause unemployment in the medical industry. Before Obamacare started ramping up the health care industry was one of the few sectors of the economy that was doing well. We can discuss the reasons that's so (and they're not good ones) but it's a fact that hospitals and nursing homes are always screaming for more nurses, and having an RN certification is almost a license to print money if you're capable of sentient thought and can show up for work every day.
But of course when you socialize an industry, the product of that industry becomes more scarce even as the quality of its output declines. Health care is no exception; the US health care industry is about to start down the same path that has been followed by Britain, Canada, and a host of other countries which socialized their medical systems. Now we too get to experience a lower standard of care, rationing, and the rest of the ills of socialized medicine. Whee!
* * *
French nationalists win big. The "mainstream" is reported "baffled" by this sudden hard right turn by the French. Apparently the main political parties of France can't figure out what's got the populace's panties in a wad:
The ruling Socialist party and the centre-right Union for a Popular Movement (UMP), the party of former president Nicolas Sarkozy, face humiliating reverses in municipal and European elections next year if the FN can sustain its current standing in the eyes of an electorate thoroughly fed-up with record unemployment, rising taxes and a perceived increase in crime and insecurity.Why are those bitches upset over little things like unemployment, taxes, and crime?
I do like that "perceived incresae in crime" bit. They have entire neighborhoods which can't be policed because of muslim immigrants, but the increase in real crime is only perceived, so it's nothing to worry about. Yeah.
Vox Day also comments on this story, saying that this is part of a larger trend in Europe as the European Union begins to fracture.
* * *
Borepatch posts a de-motivator or a LOL or whatever it is. Text: "Before Obamacare he couldn't afford health insurance. After Obamacare he still can't afford health insurance, but the I.R.S. is fining him for being unable to afford it."
Truer words were never spoken.
* * *
Playing around with audio editing software--the Alan Parson's Project's "Lucifer" sounds weird when played at 20% of normal speed, like some kind of unearthly march.
I was originally trying to see what "You Lie Down With Dogs" would sound like if sped up 150% (both of these are from the "Eve" album) but it wasn't as cool as I'd hoped. (Sometimes when I sing that song to myself I speed up the tempo.)
Still, extra-slow "Lucifer" sounds like it would fit the Bataan Death March or something. Creepy.
* * *
Hard to believe that October is already almost half over. Pretty soon it's going to be Thanksgiving, and then we have a scant month before Christmas Eve. And that is one week shy of Mrs. Fungus and me being married for a year.
I have a nagging suspicion that the rest of my year is going to be like Og's entire year: work at work, work at home, work all the time that I'm not sleeping. Well, there are worse things, I guess.