May 3rd, 2013

#3824: The day the cat locked me out of the house.

That was Wednesday.

I was sitting on the back patio, reading Game of Thrones and enjoying the pleasant weather. Finally, though, I decided I'd better get a shower and go do a little grocery shopping, so I closed the book on a finger and got up to go inside. But the door would not open.

See, the lock on the patio door has been busted since time immemorial--1981? 1982?--and we solved this security problem with a piece of scrap 2x4 which happened to be the right length. Flopped in behind the sliding door, it prevents its opening more than about 2". It's simple and effective; and there is no way to defeat it that does not involve breaking the glass. By now, it doesn't even require thought for me to open the door; I move the 2x4 and open the door--no problem.

The problem is, though, that one of the three cats living here--Critter, the one most like Simon's cat--gets upset that I'm outside while he's inside, and he claws at the screen door. To prevent this, I closed the glass door. Critter then proceeded to paw at the glass, of course, but his claws don't find purchase on that and he can't possibly damage the door.

But what he could do, it turns out, is to shift the 2x4 back into the door's channel, just enough so that the door was walking on it.

Critter is a Maine coon; he's a big heavy fuzzball of a cat. This is the first time I've had a cat that was big enough to move that 2x4, even inadvertently. Luna isn't (and IttyBit was not) big or heavy enough to do it; my mother's cat was about that size, too, and couldn't have moved the 2x4 even if she wanted to. And Critter had spent plenty of time pawing at the glass as I read.

So I went to open the door, found that I couldn't, and Critter was sitting on the 2x4 looking at me with those big eyes that asked, "Are you going to feed me soon?"

Sighing, I walked around the house. Wednesday was a warm day, and since I'd power-ventilated with cool night air the night before, all the windows were shut, but I was hoping that perhaps my wife had left one open somewhere. No luck; the place was tight.

I tried jiggling the back door--the 2x4 was not completely in the channel, and I thought I might jog it loose--but no, it was pretty firmly shut. The garage door was locked and I couldn't find anything that I might use to move the 2x4, so after another fruitless walk around the house, I put my book in the mailbox and hoofed it for my aunt and uncle's house to get the spare key. Sandals, shorts, no hat, and I hadn't had a shower yet. No phone, no wallet, no money. Yeah.

As bad as all that was, at least I was wearing my sandals. If I hadn't been, no way would I want to walk a mile without shoes. I'd get picked up, for crying out loud.

* * *

Democrat-run LA city council wants to divest its shares of stock in a local newspaper if the wrong people take up ownership. Sometimes I think the Democrats and Republicans are having a race to see which party can self-destruct first. And no matter who wins, we all lose.


* * *

I'll answer the question asked by this headline with a confident "no". Now--if the young woman had dressed up as Mohammed and handed out bacon, that'd be a whole 'nother story right there. She wouldn't just be suspended; she'd be expelled, and she'd be expelled so fast her ass would leave skid marks.
The woman, as TheBlaze previously reported, was apparently mocking the Catholic Church, as she handed out condoms to her peers in broad daylight; she purportedly also shaved her pubic hair into the shape of a cross.
...and of course there are plenty of people who are going to hail this vapid waste of protoplasm as "courageous", because of course it's always a mark of courage to deride Christianity in the middle of a liberal stronghold. Yeah.


* * *

Sooo, let's talk about the economy.

Karl Denninger talks about today's favorable unemployment report, and explains why there is bad news hiding within the good news.

Basically, it all comes down to "more people doing less work". While the rolls of the employed rose by about 165,000, the actual hours worked dropped:
The average workweek for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls decreased by 0.2 hour in April to 34.4 hours. Within manufacturing, the workweek decreased by 0.1 hour to 40.7 hours, and overtime declined by 0.1 hour to 3.3 hours. The average workweek for production and nonsupervisory employees on private nonfarm payrolls decreased by 0.1 hour to 33.7 hours. (See tables B-2 and B-7.)
This is a problem, because fewer hours worked means less money in workers' pocketbooks.

Understand this: it means that these new jobs are the "low-quality" jobs which were the bugaboo of the Bush recession, when we were told that an unemployment rate (U3) around 6% was hideously bad because all the new jobs were unskilled jobs and the "real" unemployment rate (U6) was closer to 12%. Who told us this? The same people who are now praising a 7.7% unemployment rate as an "expanding economy" and who are utterly ignoring U6 because it makes their boy look bad.


Eurozone ain't doing any better. And the damned economists aren't doing any better than they've been doing, either:
The euro zone economy will contract by more than expected this year and budget deficits will decline more slowly, the European Commission said on Friday as it set out forecasts for the next two years.
It's contracting to an unexpected extent, eh? What a surprise! Government economists who are completely gobsmacked yet again that--gee!--Keynes was wrong!

Nothing has been fixed, of course, but these guys are confident that there will be economic growth next year--because after all, once a recession ends there's always growth! Right?

* * *

Deep snow in Rochester, Minnesota, on May 1.

Pictures of all that global warming.

Fourteen inches of snow in May. Yep, that's exactly what global warming theory predicts: oceanic and atmospheric warming will lead to greater snowfall. You can't avoid it. We're going to warm ourselves right into an ice age, baby!


* * *

I have hardly played WoW at all; I've simply been too busy. Still, Ormus has been running around Pandaria, and hit 88th level.

That only took me since when?

...after Pandaria began I created Ukyo, the Pandaren monk, and leveled her all the way to 90th without stopping; then after I got bored with Ukyo I jumped on Cadwallader and leveled him all the way to 90th.

Now, back to Ormus.

Problem is, he's a clothie without a pet, so he gets royally chewed up when battling level-appropriate monsters. I'm not quite sure what to do about this. On the plus side, "Alchemist's Rejuvenation" is a big heal potion and it's cheap to make (1 green tea leaf and 1 crystal vial) and Ormus is an alchemist, so he can carry around quite a load of the stuff.

The time that I might have spent on WoW over the past few days has been spent, instead, on yard work, reading, motorcycling, chores, chores, and chores. I have plenty of work to do, and everything that lays before me is more important than WoW.

More interesting: reportedly, Comcast is increasing its base Internet speed to 50 Mbps. It's currently 25 Mbps, which is already stinkinous fast. I remember when I lived in Cedar Rapids--Jesus, is that already ten years ago?--and Comcast moved in and took over the cable system, everyone who had cable ISP saw his speed drop to 1.5 Mbps and people were pissed. Now I'm hitting the Internet 33 times faster. Damn.

...and I use it less, now, than I did back then. *sigh*

#3825: $59 per gallon? Really?

Renewable "green" jet fuel costs $59 per gallon while regular plain old jet fuel that's pumped from the ground costs $3.73 per gallon.

Meanwhile, a typical business jet aircraft like a Gulfstream will consume 2,000 gallons crossing the country, so the Pentagon has basically bought enough "green" fuel to make one round-trip flight in one aircraft...and they've paid an excess to do it.

But hey! They could be buying up to enough fuel to make six such flights! Think of all the carbon dioxide that they're not releasing by using that hyper-expensive renewable fuel! That must be why it snowed fourteen inches in Minnesota this month!

* * *

Speaking of climate-related stupidity, two climatologists prove they are not scientists. Bonus: Streisand effect FTW, because you know people are going to buy that book out of spite.

...if I had any money, I would.

* * *

AoSHQ has a story on State Department lying about Benghazi. Only an idiot would be surprised that government (particularly this administration) is lying to us. No one at AoSHQ is surprised by this.

The Obama administration catchphrase for the Benghazi massacre has been, "What difference does it make?" Considering how many people died in that attack--including four Americans--that's a statement which is breathtaking in its callousness, and it's one that the press would not have ignored had it come from a Republican administration.

But little (d) in the White House means no interest in the press.

* * *

Antibiotic has neurological side effects. How interesting: apparently a guy taking this antibiotic isn't swayed by an attractive woman the way he is when he's not taking it.

Any time you take a drug, you are doing so specifically to alter the chemical balance of your body to achieve a desired result. This is true even when you're not doing it to get high, and the chemical machinery doesn't always respond in a predictable fashion.

* * *

I can't believe it's already the first weekend in May. Seems like April just vanished.

Little butthurt me is still trying to cudgel his brain into coming up with a decent short story to write and try selling, and still having trouble with it. Nothing sounds good except the stuff which sounds so good I can write an extra-long story about it. *sigh*

It's raining, which means I probably won't cut the grass before Sunday...and I'm going to need a scythe by then.

Oh well.