March 10th, 2015

#4615: I have this stuck in my head.

I'm suffering from a thermostat fail, so I'm too warm to sleep even though I have a fan blowing on me and it's still frickin' winter. (House thermostat is fine; it's my bodily thermostat that's acting up.)

I saw this clip as part of a compilation of silly things on YouTube. Now you can enjoy it. Have a nice day.

#4616: Stupidity, arrogance, superciliousness, corruption. And one bright spot.

I have a ton of it today. Let's get started!

Adam Kinzinger is not the only Illinois Republican who's got to go. Aaron Shock apparently accepted a $13,000 plane ride from a constituent and paid $3,000 for it under a false label. Futhermore he's had his office redecorated to the tune of $40,000, as if he's some kind of hotshot celebrity rather than a recently-elected politician.

Here's the problem with Illinois: everyone involved in governing the state is totally f-ing corrupt. Everyone--every last damned one of them--is a conniving, corrupt, lying weasel, from the lowliest staffer to the highest office, to the lobbyists and interest groups, all of them are corrupt. There is no honest governance in this state, and there won't be--can't be--as long as the Chicago Democrat Machine calls the shots.

The best answer is probably to saw Chicago off the state and sink it in Lake Michigan, but that's tectonically impossible with current technology so we're going to have to figure something else out.

A mass investment in tar, feathers, and rope by the general populace of the state would probably not be pushing it.

* * *

Feminists only care about rapes committed by white men. In other words, they reserve their outrage for rapes that are perpetrated by the melanin-challenged.

That's racist, for a variety of reasons, but I think that the main one is that these women think, "Oh, the darkies can't help themselves; what do you expect?"

A porn star explains it rather nicely:
I believe the feminists that get media attention these days are the same ilk as the wealthy Victorian era suffragettes: wealthy white women whose panties are in a bunch over imagined slights and imagined injustices. They do not, and never have, spoken for women who are on the outside of their exclusive group. Sex workers, women of color, economically disadvantaged white women are not part of their platform. Those women who have to think about how they are going to eat or live are excluded from the conversation. Women who cannot afford $29.95 "This is what a feminist looks like" t-shirts made by female slave labor in Madagascar are excluded from the conversation.
Here's the thing: plenty of women don't do pron because they're stupid; they do it because they are pretty and built and know they can earn a lot of money by letting people look at them naked. This is the way things have been for a very long time.

But the point she makes is valid: the women who get upset over "rape culture" and "the patriarchy" are women who don't have anything else to worry about. Certainly they don't appear to be very worried about where their next meal is coming from.

* * *

If you hired a disabled kid so you wouldn't have to wait in line at Disney World, you are the lowest form of scum imaginable.
In 2013, Disney discovered this policy was being badly abused in the most soul-crushing and miserable way possible: rich parents, mostly from New York City, were honest-to-God hiring disabled children to drag around the theme parks, all to skip attraction lines.
Emphasis theirs.

I just don't have any f-ing words for how disgusting this is.

But thanks to these skunks, now familes which genuinely have disabled children get to wait in line like everyone else does. I certainly can't fault Disney for ending the practice.

* * *

The economic funny numbers game began with the FASB. Instead of having to value their holdings at what they could reasonably expect to sell them for--as they had to prior to March of 2009--banks are now able to value their holdings at whatever they wish they were worth.

Kind of like me claiming that my Fiero is worth $80,000. It's not; it's not even close to that. In running condition I could get perhaps $2,000 or $3,000 for the thing. But if I were a Wall Street bank, I could say it was worth $80,000, and no one could tell me I was wrong, and I could make all sorts of business deals based on the assumption--pretense--that I was not lying and inflating the value of my car by twenty or thirty times, and that I actually had $80,000 worth of collateral.

Try that the next time you ask the bank for a loan, and see how you do.

* * *

Oil stocks are very high. So it seems the US will be out of storage space for oil by June, and then what do we do?

It's a combination of factors, of course. Refinery slowdowns/shutdowns. Overproduction. Also, oil companies are hedging: buy oil when it's cheap, gamble on the price rising, and sell the oil when it does. It's a very big and complex business.

But when we run out of storage, one of two things must happen: either we must start using oil at a faster clip than we now are--because if demand were high we wouldn't need to store the stuff--or we must stop importing and producing it. With the economy in the shitter, there's no money or reason to use more energy; every unit of GDP has a unit of energy behind it, but that cuts both ways.

If production is not cut, the world price of oil must drop. It cannot be otherwise.

With crude trading around $50 a barrel, economies which have been constructed around a higher price of crude are now foundering. This includes oil patch regions in North America, by the way, places like Texas and North Dakota and Alberta, places where it takes more to produce oil than simply sticking a straw into the milkshake.

An economy which was actually screaming along at maximum employment would not be an economy which featured a surplus of oil, so much that we are running out of places to put it.

* * *

Pixy Misa has posted an excellent discussion on why Obama and others of his ilk think they can deal honestly with Iran and other asshats of the world.
Russia, for example, and to some extent Iran, are in game theory terms rational actors. In an uncertain world, they will look to their short term interest. That means that unless you pose a convincing threat, they will cheat every single time, treating international politics as an Iterated Prisoner's Dilemma scenario.

The West is both affluent and peaceful precisely because it has learned not to do that. Except under extreme provocation, Western nations co-operate with each other every time, a strategy known as superrationality.

Superrational actors take into account not only their short-term interests, but the interests of the other party in the interaction, and that party's own reasoning.
The US has, for a very long time, been superrational, because it's a product of western civilization, which managed to flourish because superrationality is a superior way to operate as long as you are surrounded by other superrational actors. The success of western civilization can be attributed to this characteristic because mere rationality means everyone expends resources doing counterproductive things.

"Only a complete idiot would follow a superrational strategy against a known rational player," he concludes. "And that's precisely what the Obama administration does."

That's what makes that senator from the 1930s such an idiot, the one who said, "Oh, if only I could have talked to Hitler!" It wouldn't have mattered if he did; the senator may have been a superrational actor but Hitler was not. Neither was Stalin; both men knew what they wanted and didn't care about anything other than achieving their goals, regardless of what it took. fact, that's what made Chamberlain an idiot, too: Hitler never intended to honor that treaty longer than was convenient for him. The treaty was a strategem to keep England off Germany's back for a little while, nothing more...and Hitler was planning to violate the treaty even as the two men were smiling and shaking hands over it.

* * *

Borepatch describes a negligent discharge which injured a kid. It's not an "accident" if you fail to observe the safety precautions, especially one as basic as UNLOAD THE F-ING GUN BEFORE YOU WORK ON IT, DIPSHIT. The article that Borepatch links to doesn't explain what the moron was trying to fix, but are Borepatch points out a gun will not fire unless the booger hook pulls on the bang switch.

* * *

Today I pulled the broil element out of the oven and plugged the stove back in. Not only was I able to cook breakfast for Mrs. Fungus, but I was able to throw a frozen pizza into the oven. It came out just fine.

This means that I don't need to replace the relays to have a usable stove; I just need them to fix it so we can broil again. (Besides, it takes longer for the oven to preheat with the broiler element out.)

It's good that this is so, because I hated the idea of not being able to cook until I can get the new relays into the control board. I have no idea when they'll get here, only that they will, and my dance card is pretty full for the next week. I might have time on Saturday to do the repair, assuming that the relays get here by then.

I actually considered--briefly--putting in sockets instead of hard-soldering the relays to the board, but why get complicated? These relays worked fine for thirteen years, and the broil relay is the only one that failed.

* * *

Owing to the very, very late night I inadvertently had--I didn't get to sleep until well after 5:30, thanks, body!--I am only now finishing the blog post and ready to start getting things done. I want to try starting my motorcycle today, and I'm running out of daylight in which to do it; tomorrow is predicted to be eight degrees cooler than today and Thursday I am at work during the daylight hours.

It did not help that I got a spam call today that woke me out of a sound sleep. It's a common thing for certain companies to surf job web sites looking for phone numbers; they then call the numbers and claim they have an opening they'd like to put you into. The opening is typically a phone slave job, where you call people and try to sell them life insurance. The jobs pay by commission, so if you don't sell anything, you don't get paid. Unless you are a super-salesman (and if you are, there are job opportunities for you everywhere, and you'd make more money selling cars or aircraft components than you would selling life insurance by phone) you will not sell much nor will you make very much money. (Hint: I am not a super-salesman.)

Mrs. Fungus got about a dozen calls from these kinds of places. Invariably the person calling you has a thick foreign accent, usually Hindi or Pinoy. If you try to find them on-line, you find either nothing, or stuff that screams "scam!", or posts by dozens of former employees that warn you away from them. The place that called me this morning is one that called Mrs. Fungus, so that's one call I won't be returning.

It would be nice if there were a way to bill people like that for the time and energy they cost me. *sigh*

#4617: Well, how very nice.

So I hied myself out to the garage and got a couple of things done. Not as much as I would have if I could have slept last night, but these are the conditions I have to work with.

Both motorcycles took a bit to start--not surprising since it's been at least four, five months since they last ran--but there was enough juice in the batteries to crank them over, and they came to life without much of that.

Took the Suzuki out first, and it felt so good I ran almost out to Walt's on the thing, then came back and put 'er away. Then the Honda; it was running a bit rough and weak at first, and after riding the Suzuki I was having trouble acclimating to the smaller bike, so I just rode around the block a couple of times. By the time that ride was done it was running fine. Put both bikes away.

Turned my attention to the Jeep's headliner. A complete fix will have to wait until later, but I stuck some safety pins in it to hold it up and literally get it out of my hair.

Next, the compressor. The quick-change fitting on the end of the hose is apparently leaking; the last time I wanted to pump up the Jeep's tires the tank was empty. It's definitely not closing right and sometimes will stick open when I remove a tool from it, so I swapped it for another fitting. We'll see if that fixes the leak, or if I have to delve further into it.

Neatened things up just a little bit. Found a 7" strip of 1/8" thick, 1" wide steel strap, which will be perfect for basic welding practice.

Discovered a scratch on the Fiero, down the right side. Said many bad words, but I think I can buff it out.

Took basic inventory of things I want to put up on Ebay this year, mainly Escort parts. I've got a couple of taillight assemblies, the complete intake manifold, some other bits and pieces, all of which could be sold for a few shekels that could be applied to the go kart project. The spare transmission--I'm either going to clean it and put it on Craigslist, or I'm going to recycle it. No idea which, yet, but either way it's leaving the garage and putting some money in my pocket.

I'm planning, this spring, to dig into the remaining pile and further reduce it. I'm going to get rid of all the moldy old magazines and junk, because no one wants magazines with any quantity of black mold or mouse poop on them even if they look okay. There's a bunch of stuff in the garage I cannot be rid of (actual antiques, like the old TV and radio) but there's still too much crap out there that no one wants, and I need the space for my projects and other activities.

I'm still pondering the "AC door" idea I had a couple of years ago. A relatively inexpensive exterior door, with a cutout for an air conditioner, temporarily mounted in the place of one of the doors--it should work well and keep the garage at a livable temperature during the hottest months, so I can get some things done.

The dirt bike--I most definitely want to get that thing put back together this year, running properly and tuned up. It should not take much now that I have the parts; the only remaining tasks (besides getting the engine back together) are to assemble a working speedometer and then do a complete maintenance sweep of the thing, cleaning, adjusting, and lubricating everything. The only thing remaining then is to figure out how I'm going to put a rear taillight (and possibly turn signals) on it. Since it's got a 6v electrical system, that's going to be the hard part; right now I'm leaning towards building a new taillight bracket, but that may not be the most effective way to solve my problem. Either way, I want that bike back to 100% this year, and I'm the only one who can do it.

Reviving the Fiero is also something I must do. I haven't driven it since August of 2011, and its upper intake is still in pieces. I have the parts, and I have got to get this thing back together and on the road again. It's not like insurance on a car with collector plates costs anything. (Also, have to renew the plates. That's similarly not expensive.)

And, of course, I want to build a go kart.

We shall see how much of these ambitions are actually realized by the time snow falls again, but at least I'm making a list this time.

#4618: Putting restlessness to use

I couldn't just sit and do nothing, so I made a little progress on the basement.

Trying to get the desk cleared off--Dad's old desk--has involved going through a lot of junk, about half of it mine, and determining what could be thrown away and what couldn't.

It turns out that a lot of the stuff could be.

I stopped when I hit the box full of old RPG stuff of mine, which is the last box on the desk. I don't quite know what to do with it; it's full of papers from games played decades ago but I don't want to throw any of that away.

90% of the rest of the stuff on the desk, though, I threw away, because none of it is worth anything. Okay, the motorcycle helmet that I painted black? Gone. It's been hit many times, and dropped, and the black paint job I did on it was subpar. F it; I've got two motorcycle helmets of my own and Mrs. Fungus has a third. This one is superfluous, especially since whatever protective properties it might once have had are now long since departed.

This helmet was new sometime before 1980, making it a mere 35+ years old.

There was some collection of stuff in a box, in a very old grocery bag, and after puzzling over the contents for a little bit I recognized it as an art project assembled by my late sister sometime before 1980, now in pieces. It was tucked into two bowls, one made of smoked plexiglass with a crack in the bottom, the other an old crockery bowl which had been smashed and very poorly glued back together, with pieces missing. It was wrapped in something made of cloth so tattered as to be completely unidentifiable. Guess what I did with all that crap?

The crockery bowl had been my mother's favorite mixing bowl until it got dropped; after that it was never used again because HOLE IN THE F-ING SIDE and it was held together with Elmer's. There is no point to keeping this bowl or, in fact, anything that was with it in the box. I even threw the box away because it was water-damaged and the bottom was coming out.

So I took another large bag of garbage out of the basement tonight. Go, me! And the other nice thing is that I now have just one box to relocate, and then I can set up El-Hazard on that desk with the spare office chair in front of it. Presto, monk's cell!

There's still a long way to go down there, but I'm making progress, slow but sure. Every bag of trash I remove is a victory.

* * *

Other thing I found: a 3-ring binder full of sales training, stuff my Dad did in 1966. (I assume so, based on the date inside.) And the stuff in that binder is absolutely indistinguishable, but for format, from the sales training I had some 48 years later.

It reminds me of something my Dad pointed out: every time someone had an idea, it turned out to have been tried a decade or two prior, and either it fell by the wayside or it failed one way or another. There is nothing new under the sun.

That's kind of depressing, which is why I am concentrating on the fact that I managed to get rid of another bag of utter trash.

The hell of it is, most of the stuff I dumped isn't even mine. Lots of it was stuff Mom couldn't bear to throw away. I keep finding things she kept that I can't figure out why she kept them, and I remember her lamenting her inability to throw things away so well that I expect she'd be glad someone had the guts to toss this crud.

That binder of sales training--I'm going to get rid of it, too, because there is absolutely no point to keeping fifty year old sales training from a corporation that no longer exists solely because it belonged to my Dad, who's been dead for eight friggin' years.

But I have done enough for one night.