atomic_fungus (atomic_fungus) wrote,

#7421: I am skeptical that would be the case today.

Fifteen boys shipwrecked for five months in 1965 were self-organized and regimented and survived handily.

I am not sure that if something of that nature happened today, the outcome would be so pleasant. In the 1960s kids were taught all kinds of things, in grammar school, which are left out of the mix entirely in today's schools. Civics, for example.

* * *

This reads like a list of reasons not to buy an HP printer.

There are many reasons I stopped buying anything from HP that have nothing to do with their subsequent fuckery with printer supplies, but this kind of nonsense makes me glad I decided "never HP" in 2007.

Prior to the whole Vista fiasco--in which HP declared that they would no longer write drivers for older hardware--I was solidly in their court. My scanner was HP and it was very, very good. Worked a treat on old Cephiro, which ran Windows ME, and which was getting on in years. Wanted to upgrade, didn't really need to, as such.

...after buying a new computer that came with Vista, found out that with the release of the newest Windows OS, HP had decided not to create drivers for old equipment any longer. Nope! Only the latest-and-greatest junk got drivers for new operating systems, so that scanner had just become a boat anchor. It was maybe seven years old at the time, still worked perfectly, but "no drivers" means the computer doesn't know how to talk to it.

Instead of buying a new HP scanner, I decided never to buy HP ever again. Their ongoing support for legacy equipment was a major selling point for me, and a major reason not to buy their equipment any longer when it ceased. It was a naked, slimy attempt to raise new sales at the expense of existing customers.

I could write, here, a 40,000 word treatise on how awful it is that brands have no loyalty to their customers any longer. It used to be that if you gained a customer, you treated him nicely so that he'd have an incentive to come back and buy more from you, later on. You did that by living up to such old-fashioned notions as quality and service and value. And you stood behind your products, regardless of when you made them, and did a reasonable job of post-sale support for them. Reasonable people didn't expect you to break yourself trying to keep them happy, but in turn you didn't look at your customers solely as dollar signs, either.

Of course in the corporate world, that's all people are--statistics, consumers who either buy your stuff or someone else's, and your job is to rook them into buying your stuff near cost, so you can make money selling them the ancilliaries. Modern technology makes it easy to copy-protect ink cartridges and such--and if there were a way to make you buy paper from HP, for your HP printer, they'd sure as hell do that, too.

The ink that goes into inkjet cartridges is nothing special. It's a pretty common formulation of pigment and a carrier that evaporates very quickly, none of which are particularly expensive. What you're paying for, when you buy an ink cartridge, is the manufacturer's label on the thing. It's damned expensive, too: an HP 65XL black ink cartridge has maybe fifty cents' worth of materials in it, maybe two dollars' worth of manufacturing and packaging--all to contain five cents' worth of ink...yet the list price for it is $31, against a manufacturing cost of $2.55.

It prints "up to" 300 pages of text. "5% coverage" is the standard. If you're printing pictures, you're not getting any 300 pages out of it.

Oh--but if you want to print just black text on white paper, you still need the $36 color cartridge, because the printer will not print unless both cartridges are present and report that they're not empty. So in order to use your HP inkjet printer to run off a few black-and-white pages, you're spending $72 before you even get to the paper.

Naturally, you can't buy a cart in January, print four times, and then expect it to be usable come July, or even March. The carts dry out. The ink solidifies in the channels between the reservoir and the nozzle (which is part of the cartridge) and plugs up the whole works. You can sometimes dab some IPA on the nozzles to unclog them, but more often than not you're going to go buy a new pair of carts. Please note that the manufacturer has absolutely no incentive whatsoever to do anything about this, because selling the ink carts at their obscene markup price is the whole point of being in the inkjet business to begin with.

No, I don't particularly like inkjet printers; why do you ask?

Speaking as an IT guy whose early career was half printer repair, I never recommend inkjet printers to anyone unless they have a dire need to print in color more often than once in a while. Laser is the way to go; they're cheaper per page, toner carts go a long way, and you never waste toner on "registration" or "alignment" or "cleaning". They're also faster.

Color laser is another scam; toner for the things is expensive enough that it's actually cheaper just to buy a new printer than it is to refill one you've got, at least at the consumer level. But if I needed to do a lot of color printing, I still think I'd buy a color laser printer before an inkjet.

HP's real scam, though, is their "Instant Ink" program. You pay them a monthly fee, and they send you ink cartridges based on your estimated monthly use. A subscription to use the printer you bought from them, printing as a service...but you can't bank the unused pages (which you paid for) and use them next month, at least not all of them.

It used to be that I heartily recommended HP gear, because they Just Worked, were robust, and were so well-supported you could still get drivers for a plotter manufactured in 1990. I wasn't so hot on their computers, mainly because their consumer gear lacked some of the features I considered essential for nearly any PC--but they were okay. (I bought one myself, briefly, in 2001, but it didn't have an AGP slot, which was the fast video card slot at the time. Returned it, and bought Cephiro--a Gateway--at nearly twice the price.)

All of that changed after the Vista Debacle. Now I will tell anyone who will listen: whatever you do, DO NOT buy anything from HP. You can probably do okay with their computers, especially if you plan to replace them every three to five years, but buying any kind of peripheral? Don't. Just don't.

I recommend Epson for inkjets and Brother for laser printers. I've had Brother laser printers since 1993 at least--though the first new one I got in 2006--and they work, and you can still get drivers for them, even for Windows 10. I've owned two Epson multifunction inkjet printers (MFP), and they've been very good. When we got this brand-new Canon MFP, I got rid of my old Epson, and I wish I had not, because this Canon's scanner is vastly inferior to the Epson's.

My first laser printer was Brother HL-8e, a hulk of a machine based on the Canon SX laser engine, which I refer to as "the DC-3 of laser printers". The SX engine is extremely good; it's incredibly durable, and if properly maintained it's not impossible to go well past a million pages with them. They have two weaknesses: the 13-tooth gear on the toner cartridge, and the AC power supply. The 13-tooth gear is what drives the cartridge but it's right over the fuser assembly and it tends to get baked until it's very brittle. The fuser uses a 600-watt quartz lamp and is switched on and off directly from the AC power supply, and the TRIAC in there tends to pop after too many power cycles, and then you get a 51 error that can only be cleared by shorting a capacitor on the formatter board. And you need to replace the AC power supply to fix it.

I was once an expert on repairing the SX engine (I suppose I still am) so I know its strengths and its foibles; but I also know that it's obsolete. Its maximum resolution is 300 DPI, which is acceptable, but modern printers average twice that. Its maximum page rate is 8 pages per minute; compare that to my current printer's 22. And it was enormous, two feet square and eighteen inches high...and whenever that fuser switched on, all the lights in the house would dim and flicker.

Heck, the current unit--Brother HL-51000N--still makes the UPS screech and the lights flicker. But it's smaller and quieter, uses less power and takes up less room, prints faster and finer and on both sides of the paper--and it cost half what the HL-8e cost me, used, in 1993.

* * *

I think "the wokey pokey" is a great way to talk about this nonsense. Short form: white female reporter is cheering the advancement of "diversity" in her employer's publication, talking about how their "goals" for each month were this-or-that quota of non-whites, and other demographics which I will lump in "non-normal", including "transgendered" and "non-binary" and so forth.

Then complains when she--a white "cisgendered" female--is fired because her section of the publication has been eliminated. "The beautiful, diverse, inclusive baby we built friom scratch is gone." Because no one read it.

* * *

Anyway, home today because Mrs. Fungus asked me to take the day off with her; even though the order of the day was for her to convalesce, we did go and get our Christmas tree, but not from the place we went the last several years. No; that place apparently is only open in the evening and they had maybe four or five trees. Ace Hardware had none. We went to a place in Indiana, paid twice for this tree what we paid for last year's, and counted ourselves fortunate to get such a nice, full, fresh tree. There are almost no Christmas trees available out there. We had three or four to choose from at this particular place.

We could have gone artificial if we didn't find a real one, but of course a good artificial tree would have cost twice as much as this one did. *sigh*

So, the tree sits in its stand, relaxing and soaking up water while we wait for a pizza to come; and after pizza I'll drag down the decorations and we'll festoon the thing.

I've been thinking that I really want to set up my stereo--my component one--because that bossa nova Christmas music almost demands it. We'll see; I have enough to do today, though, as it is.

Guy at the tree place trimmed the trunk, put it in that mesh wrap, and tied it to the Jeep. He was almost ecstatic when I gave him a $10 tip, my usual for handling all that for me. Is that overtipping? But I like doing it and that's what I usually tip for that. WTF, it's just money, and it's Christmas. Right?

* * *

So the holiday season has officially come to the bunker, and I'm going to do everything I can to enjoy it to the fullest. This may be the last year we can do it this way. Not just because of Joe Biden, whose fraudulent, stolen election is doubtless going to be fraudlently confirmed today by the electoral college, but mostly because of him.

I've had some exposure to what passes for the left's thought about the allegations of electoral fraud, but 45% of it amounts to simply sticking fingers in their ears and screaming "LA LA LA CAN'T HEAR YOU CAN'T HEAR ANY EVIDENCE OF WRONGDOING", 50% is them putting blinders on and watching Obama speech reruns and denying the existence of any visual evidence of cheating, and the last 5% is citing all the left-wing media who claim that this was the most honest and open election in American history.

Today I had to go to the bank, and while I was in the drive-through there I saw that a bunch of black people were inside the bank, doing the business they naturally use a bank for, because they're rational actors in a modern economy. Exactly what you would expect, perfectly normal for anyone.

And I wondered: "How many of them have to produce a government-issued photo ID to receive money--their own damned money!--like I just did?"

And I wondered: "How is that not incredibly, impossibly racist for the bank to expect them to produce a government-issued photo ID?"

We are told by Democrats (exclusively by Democrats) that it is virtually a call for the return of chattel slavery to expect people in general, but black people specifically, to produce a government-issued photo ID in order to be allowed to vote. And yet, we expect black people to produce a government-issued photo ID for a myriad of economic activities, including opening a bank account. Or do you mean to suggest that all those black people driving around are doing so without driver's licenses, which is a crime? You believe that all blacks are criminals? The black people who buy cell phones and cars and houses and who work at jobs, they do all that without ever having to show any ID? What about the laws that we subjects of Illinoistan have to show a photo ID in order to buy certain kinds of cold medicine? Are blacks banned from buying those cold medicines, or are they exempt from having to show photo ID to buy them? And how is either alternative not irredeemably racist?

Racism is an excuse. It's a catch-all explanation, a specter raised by the Democrats whenever they don't have any other good reasons for not wanting to do something. Vote fraud has exclusively aided their efforts since at least 1960, and requiring the display of photo ID to vote would prevent much of the vote fraud they use that doesn't involve using rigged voting machines. This isn't 1865 and every citizen needs a government-issued photo ID just to exist. Even if all you do is suckle at the welfare teat all your life, you sure as hell need to present a photo ID to sign up for it, and everyone involved knows it.

* * *

Meeanwhile, the very same left which is demanding that the right wing "unite" behind Joe Biden is talking about its plans to wipe out that very same right wing. With the left, inevitably they move towards purging their enemies as soon as they have secured total power. Because the 2020 election saw the elimination of free and fair elections in this country--because the Democrats have been allowed to get away with stealing the presidency with rigged voting machines, massive fraud, and outright ballot box stuffing--they now are in a position where they will not lose any future elections.

The Georgia runoffs? Those will be held on the very same machines which handed Georgia's electoral votes to Biden. This time they'll be set to give the Democrat candidates 113% of a vote while their Republican counterparts receive 87%. The Republicans cannot win this election so long as it is held the same way the presidential one was...and what is to prevent that?

Absolutely nothing. The FBI won't. The Supreme Court won't. The Georgia legislature won't, nor will its RINO governor. I can see it as plainly as I see the monitor before me: both Democrats will win the runoff, and the Senate will swing left. That gives the Democrats all they need; since I've heard no crowing about the Republicans taking the House, I know the Democrats will still have a plurality (barely over 50%) if not an actual majority, and then on straight up-down votes in both houses the Democrats win.

So--the Supreme Court will burgeon to no less than 13 members, though I've heard "25" bandied about too. All the new justices will be no older than 40 (possibly 35), in order to guarantee they can't be replaced soon, and their only real qualification will be that their politics are considerably to the left of Vladimir Lenin's.

With that handled, there can then be no successful challenge to the edicts of the Democrat party. Dominion voting machines (under a different name) will tilt all elections Democrat. (Though, some tame Republicans will be allowed to hold office, as long as they always give in to Democrat demands.) Challenges to voting irregularities will be quashed by the courts. Someone like Trump, getting onto the ballot through popular appeal and without prior approval from the Democrat party leaders, will be impossible. The Republican party itself will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Democrats, and anyone who looks like he'll be too successful will discover, to his dismay and via a news report, that he was caught in a hotel room with a dead girl and/or a live boy, one of whom is underage, and his career will end.

They will stop asking us to do the things they want us to do, and start telling us to do them. At gunpoint, if need be.

You like your old full-flush toilet? Too bad, you're going to remove it and put in a water-saver. You like your old car? Too bad, you're going electric now. If you can't afford a new car, too bad. Use public transportation. You like keeping your thermostat at 70 in winter? Too bad, you're going to set it at 60. Is 80 too hot for your house in summer? You'll get used to keeping your AC set at 85 or even 90. You like eating beef? Too bad, you're going vegetarian.

You have a negative opinion of all the government interference in your life? Too bad, you're going to go get reeducated, so you can be a normal member of a modern, scientific society, and not a neanderthal caveman who thinks he has rights or something.

After all, who will stop them?

Now that the federal government has officially sanctioned Democrat election fraud as a "legitimate, free, and fair election", why wouldn't they seize total power? I mean, there's absolutely no downside for the Democrats here. They can't be voted out of office any longer. The past five years have shown that there's no law the Democrats can break which the federal government will not give them a pass for; the FBI gave Hillary Clinton a pass on her storage of classified information on an unsecured file server, something that would send you or me to jail until Doomsday. And now, no one in the federal government seems interested in prosecuting any of the federal election crimes that seem manifest from the evidence we've seen. Just like always, the Democrats are going to lie, cheat, and steal their way to power, and no one is going to do a damned thing to stop them.

* * *

But then we have this.
Keep in mind that if a state submits two sets of electors, the President of the Senate decides which group of electors to hear, as per the precedent set when Rutherford B. Hayes was elected. The President of the Senate is the Vice-President, Mike Pence. He also has the option of leaving the state out of the count.
Pennsylvania and Georgia have both elected two sets of electors. One set is the fraudulently selected Biden electors; the other is the Trump electors.

Interestingly enough, when the Constitution was first written, the first runner up in the race for president was appointed to the vice-presidency. So in the case where Joe Biden won the election, Trump would have been VP. This was changed, though, as soon as the two party system was established, because reasons; and today it seems strange that the Founding Fathers would have thought that a good idea. I mean, in the eighteenth century it was, because the people who could rise to high office in a republic generally are decent, moral people, and won't plot to murder the President so they can step in; but that wouldn't do today. Example: if Trump had been President with Hillary Clinton as VP, Trump would have been dead by 3:30 PM on Jan 20, 2016.

But with it done the old way, it makes sense (from a "separation of powers" standpoint) to have the VP be president of the Senate. President is Party A, the leader of the Senate is Party B, always--and so the Senate is always led by an ideological opponent of the President. With the amendment that made the VP a running mate to the President, it leads to the Senate being led by the same party that has the executive branch.

If this works, and Pence declares that Trump's electors will be chosen, then you can expect the Democrats to pull out all the stops to ensure it never works again. In the short term, though, they'll sue...and how much you want to bet that the Supreme Court will hear that case?

Meanwhile, Trump's pardon of Julian Assange is a good step regardless of anything else, because Assange has a shitton of dirt on the D.C. establishment. With him being pardoned, now that dirt can be dug up and brought into the light for everyone to see.

* * *

My wife and I had a similar conversation today. Though I didn't kick her off a hill and didn't put it that way.

Her: "2020 has been a hard, hard year."

Me: "No it hasn't! It's been annoying at most." least, for us.

I agree that there are people out there whose very livelihoods have essentially been stripped from them by government fiat. The lockdowns are--in retrospect--both nonsensical and ineffective against COVID-19, as data from certain European countries shows. The mask rules don't do anything, either. Nothing that the government has done to stem the spread of the disease--including the "15-day lockdown" that's now going on seven months--has done anything more than crush the middle class under the boot of government.

There are people who lost their jobs, there are people who lost their businesses, there are people who lost their homes--and none of it was necessary. The government did it because it could, and as soon as it became obvious that it wasn't helping it should have ended immediately.

But the problem with stomping human faces with your hobnail boots is that you get to like it, and pretty soon you can't do without it. That's why there's such a pandemic of Democrat politicians telling their constituents to "stay home!" and enforcing draconian lockdown rules on them even as they themselves go jetting off to vacations or holding mass gatherings, without the masks or "social distancing" they require of the rest of us. They know this thing isn't anything to worry about. They know the totalitarian measures are still in place because they can do it, not because it does jack shit about the spread of the disease. They know that the elderly are the most vulnerable, even as they pack nursing homes with the sick, and keep the schools closed even though kids are almost completely immune to the thing.

All of which is justified as being "scientific" even though the actual science shows the exact opposite, much as is the case with global warming. All told, for some people, this year has been a disaster.

At least, that's what we're told by the same lying news media that claims there was no election fraud in the 2020 election. The same media that inflates the casualty figures for COVID-19 and lies through its teeth about how hospitals in various areas are "choked" with COVID-19 patients, and how morgues are over-full and they have to stack bodies in refrigerated semi trailers because so many people are dying of it.

...while the country-wide casualty count creeps higher at a suspiciously slow rate and, curiously, there are only images of the exteriors of those reefers, and no images of the shrouded bodies being stacked inside them.

There have been two or three positive cases at the plant I work at. My wife's office had a scare but it turned out that the one employee who tested positive for the thing didn't spread it to anyone else. I don't know anyone personally who has tested positive for the thing.

And as for us?

We're "essential", so our jobs continued and our employers weren't shut down. Shows we wanted to go see have been canceled. We saw two movies this year--two--because the theaters were closed. We live close to a free state, so we're still able to go out to dinner, by crossing the state line. The mask mandate is a royal pain in the ass, but that's all.

Compare that, then, to the stories my parents used to tell about the Depression. That is what a hard year looks like.

I'm not bragging, here; it's actually closer to thanking God that it's been only this inconvenient. If Biden's election is allowed to stand, I suspect that things are going to become a great deal harder, for all of us--and it will be just as arbitrary and deliberate as the COVID-19 crap has been.

As for the comic strip, I've been meaning to comment about this. "Pearls Before Swine" has become a daily litany of complaining about how awful COVID-19 is and how terrible it is that people have to stay home and so forth.

If you want a "hard year" try 1930. Or, try being Jewish in Nazi Germany after about 1933. Or try living in the Warsaw ghetto in WW2. Or try being Japanese in the United States in 1942. You know? 2020 was inconvenient and saw a lot of inconvenient nonsense, but it's nothing compared to the kind of stuff you see in history.

Or, see coming, if you are pessimistic enough.

* * *

An exposure of eight years. Nice. I'd like to try doing that, but in order to do it I'd need to get photo paper and (6-8-12 months later) the developing chemicals. Oh well.

* * *

"This woman loves China more than you've ever loved anything." I don't know; there is a stereotype about young, pretty women falling for old fat men who just somehow happen to be very rich and powerful men.

...but yeah, "Fang Fang" is a communist spy, and definitely deserves whatever medals China gives out for that kind of service, because damn.

One commentor gets it right, though, I suspect: "Her entire family probably 'lives' in a labor camp under constant guard". That's how they ensure their spies don't abruptly go native; perhaps not living in a labor camp per se, but living under the constant threat of being sent to the gulag if she skips out on her assigned duties.

Her family lives better than average because of her service to the State...but if she fails to do her duty, they go into the camps, never to be seen again. This is called "insurance" by some.

* * *

So, with me running low on Pepsi, my wife reminds me that I have two cases of cans (one Pepsi, one Dew, both diet) bought earlier this year. Drinking one of the cans now, and it tastes like diet Coke.

"Best before June 16, 2020".


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