30 September 2014

More Frequently Confused Words That Piss Me Off

Pallet is moved with a forklift
Pallette are moved my an artist
Palate is where the sense of taste is perceived, also the sense of taste, as a synedoche

e.g. “The artist moved a pallet-load of pallettes to his studio, but despite all the efforts of his girlfriend, the palate was still wooden”

Reins control a horse, and I don't care if the pony's name is Princess
Reigns control dynasties, even if they are pony Princesspalities*
Rain falls from the sky, upon the wicked and the just (It's in the bible. Or Shakespere.)

e.g “the reigning king lost his reins in the rain. Humpty Dumpty, cleanup in aisle 6”

And who can overlook: “There's none of their stuff there”

    a Prince rules a Principality, a Dule rules a Duchy, a Baron a Barony, a Count a County, a Bishop a City, a Priest a Parish. Is this so difficult? Jeez, kid nowadays.

Peddle mean to sell
Pedal is to cause something to move by operation of (epynomous) pedals
Paddles serve a similar function in water
e.g. “Paul peddles pedal powered paddle boats.”

Medal is an honor or decoration awardes for an accomplishment
Metal a material with certain atomic and structural characteristice
Mettle is dedication strength and or endurance

e.g. “Steve showed his mettle, keeping the pedal to the metal, winning the gold medal.”

Damn, I could carry this on for weeks.

Contra ACA

We've got to understand the lack of limits on the ACA, also known as Obamacare. There was never any intention of anything less than the institution of a National Health system on the British model, and there has never been any intention of it's being anything other than a nationwide behavior control program.

As instituted in the UK, the smokers, drinkers, and fatties are being denied health service. The turgid cries of “Health Dangers” have come very close to banning my French Chef's knives, not to mention my 115 year old Mauser in my closet.

The point I'm trying to make here is that once healthcare becomes trump,all other rights vanish.

I am a lifelong believer in the right to stoopid. You want to be stoopid, please go right ahead and be my guest. I'm here to help. You descend into terminal stoopid, I'll do what I can, and so will my friends, my neighbors, and my parish, to help your survivors. It's the way of our people, and by “people”I mean “humans”.

Yes, there are degrees and exceptions, and I'm not going to get into those at this time.

The point I'm trying to make is that once the healthcare of America is subject to the rule of those who “know better” there is no right that will withstand scrutiny.

There's a set of PSAs (Public Service Announcements) being run on radio stations now: “Know the Contents of Your Medicine Cabinet'. The National Healthcare Database” means that any cop who wants can intrude. Not for any presumed misuse of fun drugs, but because you have kids. Or had https://www.google.com/search?q=foster+children+killed+by+cops&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a some disease which indicated painkillers. Possibility of addiction, y'know

Maybe you're just a sloppy eater. Need some good carbon tetrachloride spot lifter (can you still buy it? I get mine na levo from a friend with a chain of dry cleaners).

And OMFG! Gunnz!!Eleventy1!! Now not a matter of the Second Amendment, but an “unlicensed medical device” infinitely more deadly than the recently (banned as devices) DNA scans from 23andME.

Anybody else remember Al Gore's promise to ban all chlorine compounds? “And how were your French Fries, Mr President?” But that's ok, 'cause Mayor Bloomberg carries his own bootleg salt shaker. Maybe he gets a special kosher salt variance. Because the crystals are larger, and then you've got a religious exemption. But on the other hand, the city of San Francisco has banned male circumcisions “for health reasons”. Try dealing with a prepuce infection and adhesion on an uncut 2-year-old. So religious exemptions seem to be out as well.

Black nail lacquer weakens the fingernails. Bye-bye Goths. Hydrogen peroxide is bad for the skin. Bye bye 70% of blondes. Tattoos and piercings can lead to infection. So I cut off my left arm*, my right pectoral**, both nipples***, and can no longer identify chicks who like doggie style****.

Drinking is bad for you, so let's ration it. One pint Victory Gin per household per week. Sorry, I meant per month. If you eat your cabbage. It's high in vitamins and iron, and keeps well in the cold. Corn? Sorry, it's needed to keep my car running. You understand. Corn is distilled into whiskey to run my car, right? My driving is more important than you eating food. Talk to the boot*****

Diet is even easier. With the portion of the population getting food stamps (I ain't proud, been there myself) it should be easy enough to get everyone (save the nomenclatura) into a sustainable Gaia-friendly vegan diet by some easily drawn restrictions to the SNAP program. Even easier with the scanners and database management implicit in the inventory control systems used by most grocery stores. Which systems could easily be made mandatory, cutting convenience stores and bodegas out of the loop. That's a feature, not a bug. Big business good, small business bad. How much did they donate on the last election cycle?

But there's so much help we could get. If only OSHA could make the standards for our homes! And if everyone were ADA compliant! (Toronto, IIRC, just banned doorknobs. Not just the front door and back door and every bedroom door but the door from the garage to the kitchen and every bathroom, the retrofit for a 3/2 h, well we're running about $3k. Think I'm exaggerating? I'm doing it myself. Want a locksmith? 10K plus.)

Now how about aggression. It needs a safe outlet.

Let's begin the 5 minute hate.

Who's it gonna be this time?

* Tattoo of the State of Texas
** Tattoo of yellow rose, emblem of the State of Texas. Doesn't sag, either.
*** Got tired of 'em and let them heal up
**** What the fuck else is the tramp stamp supposed to be? “Hi, my name is” or “Property of”...
Nothing against ink, I wear some myself. Including flowers. But they're yellow roses It's a Texas thing. You wouldn't understand.
***** To imagine the future imagine a boot stomping endlessly on your face. Quote from my memory of the dear sweet Eric Blair, and if you don't get it then fuck you and Susan too.

Regarding E-cigs

I really hate the designation 'e-cig”. I also admit to a great distaste for the neologism “vaping”. But after a week without real Marlboro (red, short, soft pack, pronounced 'marl boor oh' with the accent on the middle syllable) I feel that I can give my impressions.

For the past few years I have followed a simple policy: I smoke 1 (one) cigarette during each hour divisible by 3. Each cigarette takes between 5 and 8 minutes to smoke. Off brands in the breeze burn fast. American Spirit at my desk take a good 9 minutes. Too dear, though.

Cig-Es (neologism alert!) have some problems.

They don't taste real. I've tried a number of them, and the desideratum of the makers is nicotine delivery. They all taste of antifreeze – propylene glycol, to be precise.

Dosage control: a real ciggie burns away, and a Cig-E stays the same, so when have I finished my allowed use?

What is the conversion factor for Cig-E versus real smokes? Roughly 12 tokes per RealCig, each stronger than the last. Cig-E each as strong as the last. No feedback save for a glycerin leak on the mouthpiece.

Those who use them and enjoy them tell me to take a puff or two and then set it down until I “need” another puff. Sorry, that dosage control does not work so well for me.

I admit that I use only cigarette form CigEs. I'm told that the pleasure from the more “sophisticated” designs is better. Those are either huge heavy cumbersome cylinders roughly the size of a Churchill cigar, or even more advanced thingies based on newest reefer tech that resemble airbrushes.

And then I remember old Doctor F, who died prematurely at the age of 92, saying “:Everywhere I go I carry pleasure with me in a little box” as he held up his daily nutritional requirement of Marlboro.

Begging the Question

The phrase “begging the question” has the specific meaning of “taking as settled a matter in dispute”. This is often found in political discourse. The often heard, “Well, as we all know...” is an example of begging the question, inasmuch as we may not all know that, nor need the posited thing be true. Exemplum Gratia: “As we all know, Jews need the blood of Gentiles to make Passover Mazahs”.

Please, please, by the Virgin Mary and her seven dwarves, do not conflate it with “raises the question”. That's a different matter entirely..

That question may on its part be tabled in either the (US) form of “removed from current dispute” or the (UK) sense of “brought to the table for dispute”. But it is raised, not begged.


So the Argies default on another bond issue. They've been doing that at roughly ten year intervals for a long time. The default and ancillary issues were described as “~ 26 Billion USD, or the amount that Argentina holds in foreign currency reserves”.

Some few months before that declaration there was a series of fires – if by series one means many (3+
) on one night, all at secure document storage facilities operated by Iron Mountain. There was a loss of at least a dozen lives, despite there being reportedly quadruple layers of reduncacy on the fire supression systems.

All this taking place on the eve of a major audit.

Nothing to see here, move along citizens, or you'll feel this nice cattle prod.

21 August 2014

Thank you Al Gore

For saving the whole motherfucking planet by making me cook in the dark.

II know that you neant well when you thought (and I use the word loosly) that the use of longer life bulbs would make a difference.

Bullshit, What was a $1 4pack of bulds is now a $12 4pack of bulbs, with added mercury, and no added bulb life.

Thank you for saving the water. I must now stay in the head and monitor each bolus to see that it has gone down the tubes, sometimes requiring as many as 5 flushes.

I'd like to thank you personally, but I can't get access to the “general aviation” areas where your personal Gulfstream lands with the USAF escort.

That's ok. I realize that the world is more important, and that your monthly power bill is more than my annual income because you're more important than I am. Cause you were in 'Nam. Chaplain's assistant, then worked up to Photographer's assistant.

28 July 2014

Yard Man Black Hole

I used to live near 43d street and Watonga. (damn it's a neat sound, c.mon and say it with me now: Watonga. Watonga! WATONGA!! Thanks, I feel better now.)

The thing is that so far as I can figure it was the staginging area for evey yard crew in the metroplex, and here was a pothole right in front of my house. Stuff bounced out of the trailers every day. I started making an industrial strength windchime. “Hubcap, shovel, shovel, string trimmer, yard blower, yard blower”. Had to quit when I found a 17 horse John Deere tractor mower on my lawn. It broke the tree.

Things that are over-rated

Walker Percy had a character say “the two most over-rated things in the world are sexual intercourse and Johns Hopkins Medical School”. (Quote from memory)

Let's not limit it to two.

Whole Wheat stuff other than bread. Whole wheat pasta dissolves before it gets to the al dente point, Whole wheat tortillas fall apart at non-trivial times, that is, when the enchilada is on the fork headed toward the mouth.

Applewood smoked anything. It doesn't make the smoked food taste of apple, any more than cherry wood furniture tastes better thatn any other type. The only type of product worth mentioning pecan, but not the wood. is The green husks that surround the nut are treasured by cogniscenti. Mesquite burns too hot, hickery is not native.

Expensive wines. Even in blind taste tests experts have a hard time telling the difference. I now coin a new term: “Wallet-Snobbery”, meaning “you will never know the difference because you can't afford it”. This applies to so many diffferent things (you've never driven a..., you've never tasted a..., you've never fucked a...) that I see the phrase gaining popular use soon.

Heirloom Veggies. Robert Aton Wilson (thought I was gonna cite Heinlein agin, didn't you) wrote “there are two kinds of fools. There are those who say 'this is old therefore this is good', and there are those who say 'This is new, therefore this is better'”. I do like the colorful potatoes, though

Pre-CBS Fenders, pre-Norlin Gibsons, and all that collector bullshit. For me, a guitar is a tool, plain and simple, and if it does the job then I'm happy. This does not mean that I buy lao gai products. OTOH, I also have a few shelves of autograph first editions, so I understand the feeling.

Anything with a lowercase “I” in front of it. Pad, pod, book, tune. Not bad per se, just over-rated.

Well Shit, I Did Not Know This

By way of Weapons Man, I found out that Ovation Guitars is ceasing productin in the States. This doesn't suprise me terribly; The Encore line has been made overseas since its inception, and the fact that the factory was up in, wazzit, Connecticut?, meant that it was doomed by the political climate. The founder, guy names Kaman, started out as a military Helicopter maker. 'Nuff said, for the state that has run native son Samuel Colt the hell out of town.

That being said, I can't say I have any fondness for Ovation guitars. The turtle backs make them difficult to play when sitting or standing – they always want to go strings-up like a BlueGrass Dobro. That's a distraction that gives a pro player problems. The choices are to hunch over to a really uncomfortable degree, or to use a special stand to hold the guitar in place while standing behind it (I remember seeing Rennisance and Yes using this method).

They shine in one application, though. Can't beat 'em as beach guitars. Loud, clangy, brash... The fucking guitar's already 3 beers ahead of me! All man-made materials, nothing to warp. Use it as a fucking canoe paddle, change the strings, and back to normal. OTOH, doesn't burn for shit, and sometimes that's the only way to get rid of folksingers (an abomination and a stench unto the nostrils of the LORD).
Here's the real skinny. The Connecticut line was making just the custom shop Adamas line, which sells for average about $3k. Not worth it. If you're dropping that kind of green on a new axe you can get a better instrument at a better price, with your name in mother of pearl (or at least mother of toilet seat) inlaid into the fretboard. (BTW, a fret job on an Ovation essentially means REPLACING THE FRETBOARD, cause man-made materials).
I wish the company the best of luck. You'll still be able to get the same fiberglas boxes, the same durability, as you have becomed accustomed to because those makers haven't changed. You just don't have Ovation Custom Shop anymore. If you want a real custom, you already know Neal, you know Michael, you know Randy, and these are just off the top of my head in Texas.

Probably the Most Unkindest Words I Ever Uttered

Were to a teenage girl that I had known for years, who asked me “Why don't the boys like me?”

“Darling, you're cute, you're smart. And you have the voice of a crow”.

Seriously, the ONE THING that one can change without surgery or therapy is the speaking voice. For fuck's sake I grew up in what most folks would call East Texas. I don't have the flat nasality of the native accent. I usually explain my accent as being brought upon by a younger brother with a hearing inpedimant, and it being easier to lip-read. Carrying as I do a beard something between Santa Claus and Billy Gibbons, I can no longer use that excuse, but I swear by the dear virgin mary and her seven dwarves that when I was in hospital the nurses called each other in to hear my voice, and when I'vd had to go to government offices I've been held there so that the co-workers could hear my voice. I quit doing radio 35 years ago.

It ain't hard to have a pleasant voice. Just pay attention. Read to your kids, and do the voices. Slow down, and make the feelings come through. The human voice is the most sensitive musical instument, and it'a a shame to see it abused or neglected.

Those Crow Nims

It can get confusing, particularly in the proliferation of acronyms. Some are all purpose:

TL;DR = Too Long; Didn't Read.
YMMV= Your Milage May Vary (used in a metaphorical fashion),
TEOTWAWKI = The End Of The World As We Know It,
YOLO- You Obviously Love Owls (Rice U Version)
IYKWIMAITTYD = If You Know What I Mean And I Think That You Do

and those are just some of the … “more accesible”, commonplace ones.

SciFi: that I read

SMOF= Secret Master Of Fandom
SJW = Social Justice Warrior
GHH = Glittery Hoo-Haa
SMOD = Sweet Meteor Of Death
STFU = Special Task Force Unicorn (Thanks, Larry!) (Shut The Fuck Up is the usual usage)

Some are political:

VWRC = Vast Right Wing Conspiricy
VLWC = (you do get the idea, right?

A lot of them owe a debt to the Military (TL;DR)

Some are carried over from dating and sex sites: (Again, TL;DR, but I'm glad that I was not the one to explain to a good friend and neighbor the acro “MILF”) (Mother I'd Like to Fuck)

But these are new to me:

TWANLOC = Those Who Are No Longer Our Countrymen, and
FYTW = Fuck You, That's Why
Some text is in white font, 'cause I suspect my dear Mother visits from time to time, just to see that the socks are picked up.

Tall and tan and young and lovely

The Girl from Impenema Goes Walking , and when dhe passes each guy she passes goes Ahhhhh

Ah the Bossa Nova. And the beautiful girls.

You want to see a color-blind society? Brasil.

During the times of the slave trade, North America absorbed perhaps 8% of the incoming trade. Brasil took about 50% (it's a big country), and the Carribean area took about 40%. Look it up, this is not rocket surgery.

My point is hybrid vigor: Just watch the World Cup, filtered through Google Images, for Beautiful Girls, Not Blonde

Portugese, Spanish, Indio, African and Asian. The women are stone beautiful and don't you dare call me a liar. Unfortunately, the culinary lines don't seem to have mixed. Black beans and white rice (Cristos y Moros) is not culinary ecuminism, even with platanos.

21 July 2014

Wipe Your Feet When You Come In

close-up picture of an astronaut's footprint in the lunar soil. 

Bless your sole. 

So What Do We Do With A Problem Like Lois?

(Sound of Music Clip Goes here)

So some hard drives crashed. It could happen to anyone, right? I mean, if the data I need to defend myself in an IRS audit just happens to be on that drive vanishes, then I'm OK?

Well, no. Find all your hard copies and then we'll talk. (All government agencies have a policy of considering e-mails to be ephemeral instantuations of REAL documents, therefore ALL e-mails are to be printed out and retained). OOPSIE! That memo must have been on theat same drive...

This leads us to an odd situation. We've got the obvious Mens Rea (guilty mind) executing a well-coordinated ass-covering, but a reasonably plausible one.

Now here's an idea. Abuse of Fiduciary and Failure to Perform Due Diligence. After all, she was/is employed as arbiter of imposts on the whole of the body politic, on behalf of the selfsame body politic, entrusted with carrying out that duty, and turning it to personal benefit. Neglect of routine mandated recordskeeping looks like a Due Diligence matter to me.

Now I realize that these matter are civil court matters, but the remedy is usually the appointment of an independent-to-hostile auditor appointed by the court and not the DOJ, which is what we're looking for anyway.

Run it up the flagpole and see who salutes.

Re: Sandra Fluke

In some cases of uterine and/or breast cancer progesterone is indicated. That's not birth control, that's off label prescription. Hormone threapy is also indicated for early post menstrual syndrlome. That's not the same thing as, e.g. RU486, the “morning after pill”. Never was, never will be. But will forever be confused with. On purpose. 'Cause that's the way they roll. Lying cunt, she knew that when she stood up.

Munchausen fireman

Our GodKing seems to be forever dancing from fire to fire, all of which he has set himself, all of which are blamed on others, and says he can't dance to the music of honkeys.

How about some video of Obama dancing? No hay.

An Open Letter to John Cornyn

To: The Honorable John Cornyn, Senator for the State of Texas

I must admit that I was quite surprised to find you named as a suporter of the incumbent in the Mississippi Senate race. I find it indefensible that you, through your Political Action Committee, contributed $50,000 to the libelous attack on Chris McDaniel , and explicitly supported Thad Cochran, a time-serving, rent-seeking RINO-at-best.

Do not expect my support in your upcoming election bid. I hope that there will be a solid conservative/libertarian to oppose you in the primaries.

This act, be it motivated by realpolitic, inside baseball, or just quid pro quo, is abhorrent to my understanding of the duties of the the Senate, which, in the words of Edmund Burke, are :”to stand for what is right, not what is popular”. You, sir, seem to have failed on both points,

Your Friend,

James Collins

(Salutation and closing according to Miss Manners. Official correspondence and all that. The closing “Your Friend” is endorsed for correspondence with equals, and is in fact the approved signing-off for correspondence between elected heads of state and others regal or elected. Correspondence between regal heads of state finishes off with “You loving Cousin”. IIRC, including declarations of war)

19 July 2014

Johnny Winter, he dead

Saw him live at the old Texas Opry House back in the 'whatevers.  I also saw him at the Montose Krogers New Years Eve around '86.  Ugly dood with lots of tats, buying 40 pounds of dry catfood and 4 cases of canned catfood.  He turned toward me and said "nice tee shirt".  A Lone Star Beer Tee, about 12 years old at the time.  Had Johnny Winter on it.  Looked down, and damn if the image on the shirt wasn't the guy with catfood and tabloids in front of me.  This is my brush with greatness.

Central American Immigrants

Just a snapshot here, but in Houston we have a rather large assortment of various South-of-the-Border types from all over. I have one Bolivian SIL and one Chilean SIL for that matter.

The South Americans, by and large are educated professonals. The Argies, the Bolivians, the Chileans and so on tend to get along together reasonably well. Not so much the Venezueleans

We have here scattered throughout the metroplex millions of Mexicans. Southeast side, Spring Branch – there are neighbothoods where you won't see a sign in English for blocks. The Guatamalans are in a small vecino off Westpark. There are corners where the men stand to wait for someone to pick them up for some casual labor. They are not to be confused with the Hondurans 4 blocks up, or the Niicaraugans you passed a few blocks ago. They don't mix. They don't play well amongst themselves, and they all resent the Mexicans.

What we don't have is a bunch of “Hispanics”. We have a bunch of folks from roughly the same area of the world, with all the baggage that comes from being raised in a small, dare I say, Balkanized area. You expect Armenians and Turks to get along? They carry the baggage of dozens of little border wars, tribal conflicts, grudges and animosities. They go to different churches (mostly, but not all, Catholic), venerate different saints, celebrate different holidays. Some are Creole*, some are Mestizo, some are Indio, some are quite Black. This is not a pint of chocolate milk, just now spilled at the border, to be sopped up with a roll and a half of Bounty. This is an invasion of... I dunno. Fire ants? All from different mounds, hostile to each other and to the new enviornment.

The USA can't just dump out a box of SpectraCide, either. We've got to go in with tweeezers, pick up every damn one of them, and return them to the home mounds. The alternative is that they will colonize, they will make new mounds, and then some well-meaning sonofabitch will come along with a shovel and, **, try to mix the mounds.

*partly European and pale

Peer Review

I remember a number of times hearing about “Room temperature superconductivity”, and then, some years later, in small print, a retraction. The retraction never got the headlines the original claim got, but, still, better science than non-science, right? This is something that was, to use the phrase of art, “FALSIFIABLE” , That is to say, it can be demonstrated to be reproducible (which is NOT the same thing as proven), or it can be demonstrated to be FALSE. You know the phrase “the exception proves the rule”?
In this case “proves” means to demonstrate the falsifiability of a hypothesis. In simple English, an exception demonstrates that the “rule” is fucked, and that further thought is needed. The word “Proof” is derived from the Latin for “Test”. (If you're interested, the word in Spanish is “prueba” and means “test”.)

Now let's move down a few doors from the hard disciplines like chemistry, physics, biology, math, geology, and engineering: where the unfriendly instructors expect you to get the math straight, to the lighter, more user friendly area of the model sciences, where the numbers dance to the tune of the designer.

In these rooms we find the economists (the “dismal science”, but it ain't, any more than boxing is the “sweet science”, and that's because neither one is a science), the political scientists, and the climate scientists. But they aren't, really, because SCIENCE has a method. Generate a hypothesis, conduct experiment to verify, make honest assessment, publish. These soft sciences do not have a lab in which to carry out any experiments, they cannot reproduce experiments, all they can do is formulate models to predict future trends. All the attempts at mathematical precision are so much hokum. The only thing that matters in this case is Predictive Value, and in this they uniformly fail.

Back in High School, I was taught that the average of averages was statistically useless. I didn't know then about Standard Deviations, Long Tails, and Strange Attractors. Hell, I didn't even know about the Oxford comma, except that I used it to make things clear.

But back to the topic. It comes as no big surprise to me to find that something on the order of 70% of “peer reviewed” papers in some journals are bieng retracted. Professorial courtesy kinda thing. The bulk of them, so far as I can figure, are in microbiology, which is not a topic that I follow closely, nd is one that requires a certain amout of discrection on the part of the person personing the microscope. (To say “maning” would be sexist). A person tasked with monitoring {x} will look for that. I call it the “green Impala” syndrome, from when in High School the most common mommy-vehicle was a , you guessed it green Impala. Must have been thousands of them. But that's what I was looking for. I'm sure there were more Chevy Novas and Ford Galexy500s. The thing is that you find what you're looking for.

Eeew, Yucky Azaman!

So Amazon is willing to operate a Kindle Library, $10 USD per month subscription fee, for backlist titles of Ebooks.

The mighty JC picks up his ClueBat of Power.

“This is backlist!” he thunders. “This is stuff that you can't get in the bookshops because NOBODY WANTED IT!” “These are the red-headed stepchildrenwho are now found to have macickal powers!


Some stuff you just can't find. Evelyn Waugh's short stroies. Walker Percy's essays. Good shit. And there's stuff you can't give away, like the political memoirs of currently active vote- whores (I am not looking at you, Bill, Hillary and Barry Soetero) who will never ever ever earn back their multi-million dollar advances. We're looking at stuff where you see a label “stop asking for it because nobody wants it, and we're tired of saying so”. The stuff that sold 250 copies to libraries, but you can't check it out, because eery copy has been stolen.

So the EEEEVUL AZAMON is going to get these books into the hands of readers, for a small fee, and even GIVE MONEY to the authors, which Libraries DON'T do. I blush. I clutch my pearls. This is so horrid

To recap: EEEEVUL Azmon is willing to act as a library for Ebooks, and PAY the authors. This is a bad thing. But REAL libraries, brown-nosed by the publishers, generate exactly Sweet Fanny Adams per eyeball on text. Putting backlist in syndication (as it were) would at least give a good blow to the back of the head with a 2x4 cluebat to some publishers.

Fuckit. Teh stoopid is too strong here young Jedi.

Yay Used Books!

Just got a copy of Sir Pterry Pratchett's semipenulitmate book, Snuff. One penny plus $3.99 shipping and handling. Came with 2 ex libris stickers autographed by Himself. Swoon.

18 July 2014

Living in the USA: On the Cheap'

Look at the budget; yours, not the Fed.Gov.

Cover rent. Iffen you usedtabe rich, that would be called a “mortgage”.

That's job one. After that is Electricity, and you can probably find a better deal unless you're locked into a pre-pay deal, in which case the thing to do is to get out of it. You'll get your deposit back in a year, and could save you about $75 per month.

Lose the cable and your landline Go to Amazon Prime or Netflix, Use the savings to upgrade your ISP, Get more bandwidth. Save about $100 per month. Really. I haven't owned a TV for 30 years, but this is what folks tell me,

Learn to cook: “Bread gets re-defined as “flour” (do you have a sourdough starter? Ok, so keep a yeast culture) Pizza gets redefined as “flour plus water plus tomato plus cheese”. And Beer! Beer's just really thin bread, right? Plus some hops, which are just a plant, and I'm smarter than a plant so I could probably... Then you start thinking about the little garden that you could put on the back porch. Some tomatoes, basil, rosemary, oregano... oooh, and some peppers, they would be neat, and...

Food doesn't come in a box, food doesn't come in a can, food doesn' t come at the end of a phone call. Food is made of stuff, and the more stuff you have on hand the better off you are. And the closer you are to source the cheaper you can live.

And nothing's free. You may love the independent feeling you get from driving your F150 or Chevy Subhuman, but how often do you use that capacity? Buy beers (or bring homebrews) to your friends and neighbors with trucks, own the minimal transport needed for yourself and your family, and call in favors as needed. Save up the GTO (Gas Tires and Oil) bucks and probably insurance premiums.

Hit the resale shops. For those of us who sweat at work, there's no point in getting $45 a pair new Levis. Much less if motor oil, caulk, paint, sewage, or cement are going to get on them. Currently, about $3.50 is about what I pay for a pair of jeans, and if I get a dozen wearings out of them I'm happy, and that's thte point where I've spent more money washing them than the purchase price, Work shirts, tee shirts: same applies. Ladies, you too. This is even better if you're white collar. Men's suits can be found (not JC Penny, Jos A Banks) for less than the price of dry cleaning. I've got half a closet of designer stuff that never cost me more that $12. Women's wear is much the same, but slightly less cheaper. Socks and undies, well, buy new. Shoes are a judgement call (check soles and heels).

Protips on resale: go to the rich neighborhoods and use local charities. A lot of resales are asssociated with local churches, and that's where they get their donations. The Church of the Dollar is going to have better stock than Little Sisters of the Poor. Duh. Most have time/date stamps on the tags, meaning the longer it's been hanging, the cheaper it is.

This is just off the top of my head. A bit more time in the kitchen, well yes. A bit more time shoooing, well yes. But being able to say “It's home-made” is a good thing, and so is “you really won't believe what I paid for this!” should provide some balance.

10 July 2014

Shouldn't need saying, but

ALL GUNS ARE ALWAYS LOADED. You can't trust the SOB in front of you in the Fun Show.

ALL WIRES ARE ALWAYS HOT, and it doesn't matter who signed the lockout/tagout card. That's why God gave you a VOM.

THERE'S STILL WATER PRESSURE even though you shut it off at the mains, and the minute you disconnect the toilet supply line you'll get all the water from upstairs. This applies especially to blackwater lines.

YOUR MIDDLE NAME IS MURPHY and the law follows you wherever you go

Oh, and the jackhammer doesn't know you big toe from the pea gravel, and that’s why I wear steel toed sandals. And you probably can't bench press your car, so use the damn jack stands. If you say “Hold my beer and watch this” it's probably a bad idea. If you're doing something to post on YouTube, ditto. Likewise anything starting with “Bet you can't”, or “So we started drinking Tequila”.

Damn , that's a good line, I'll have to remember it. “Your Middle Name Is Murphy” and don't you forget it.

Sorry About

But I don't link-hore as much as I should, Living as I do without intertubenetweb access, I draft posts and save 'em up, trade 'rm with my friends, collect the whole set, and then go off elsewhere to shove them down the throat of the internet. (And you all thought I stated at the other end. Naughty, naughty Newt. You must be spanked.)

The GF is in hospital and needs me to help her out. Plus side: I get to use her car (I don't own one) . Minus side: it's a 40 mile round trip optimax, and about 50 if I avoid using the toll roads, which would add another $10 per round trip. But I love her, and she loves me, and dammit getting that sweater was IMPORTANT.

Plus I've been running a fever of about 100.2 degrees F for the past 4 days. Doubleplusunfun. OTOH, I just made a big vat of pozole, so that should help.

Buddy of mine drives old cars

and has trouble keeping them running. Called me yesterday, though, saying he now has just the guy to keep his 1958 Chrysler on the road. Actually what he told me was “I just found a great Mexicanic”.
(Drumroll, and cymbal splash).

About the newest flow across the border

The executive orders were written to allow OTM (other than Mexican) and OTC (Other than Canadian) invaders to bypass some standard protocol.

How many utes are showing up with (e.g.) Guatemalan papers? Or is it simply that the claim to be OTM ,is enough? After all, it's an intolerable demand to show proof of identity to vote, why should it be otherwise for these “new Americans”?

Here's an idea: allow 6 months to get a green card. Don't get it you go home.

Here's another idea: Give la Migra its teeth back. Fuck Carlos Santana and his ubiquitous Che teeshirt. Viva la Chinga Migra!

Oh and repeal the Family Reunification Act. Dear sweet jezuz the folks I know who just “happened to be” here in the States when little Juanita popped out of the oven. I was just as surprised as you were!

There can be only one reason for the influx of “children” coming over the border: To import the families. Anyone remember the “Peter Pan” children in the early 60s? Didn't think so. Some of them are my dear friends. Anybody remember the MarilitosEver watched an episode of Miami Vice? That's the difference.
Let's bear in mind that “children “ in the FedSpeak means essentially anyone under the age of 25. The photos I've seen show mainly daily shavers. This is not an invasion of 8 year old Disney Princesses. This is a Muriel Boatlift, clearing the jails, supplying (in many cases) false documentation, and a few bucks to become SEP. Somebody Else's Problem.

That's what we engineers call “Proven Technology” - it has worked in the past and should work forever, or until the laws of physics get repealed

Electrons, Ain't they Fun?

Got a call the other day from a Minion of a Prominent Businessman (I used to work there, and my business card said ”minion” on it. Really) “JC, what do you know about 320v 3 phase power supplies?”

A bit of rigging and the judicious use of a block and tackle got my jaw off the floor. I know he loves to find the good deals on Ebay, but...”What kind of equipment is this?” “RTU #5”, which means Roof Top Unit, which means HVAC, which means Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning, which means package unit air conditioner, but you knew that. But 320v 3 phase?

“Email me a pic of the data plate, and I'll get back to you.” Yeppers, the data plate says “208/230 wye”, There's a thing in 3 phase electron wrangling that distinguishes between “Y” (wye) and Delta. TL;DR.

Go out on site to check what's there. There's a fab shop and a design shop, a couple of miles apart. It used to be a unitary locations, and as power was needed I installed more circuits , transformers, all that stuff, plus research, documentations, electrical and mechanical fab...damn I loved that job even though I was not paid anything near what I was worth. Anyway:

Wow! Mains feed for the 480v 3 phase has a disconnect, and another disconnect from the mains feed to the 115vac transformer. I can shut this puppy down without going to the pole! Yay!! Problem still exists, though. 480 is not 230, even if you whittle down the conductors. And adding up 115 1 phase cannot magically transform it to 3 ph (catch the electrical joke there? Shocking, I tell you). But I can still disconnect the 480 without disturbing the 115 that runs the outlets supplying the computers and such Double yay!

I shudder to imagine what the old premis looked like after the firm moved out. I knew that all the industrial shelving, all the old cubicle partitions, all the old light fixtures had been moved out. Used drywall stacked and ready for reuse. Nails and screws all recycled and boxed for re-use. Unused electrons stored in Bell jars. Leftover conditioned air compressed and stored in cylinders. So had all the transformers and load centers I had installed. Palletized, shrinkwrapped, and ready to go.

Now when the average person thinks of a transformer, the image is of something plugged into the wall to charge the cell phone, or, in more industrial settings, the thing that you use to charge car batteries. Big fucker, right? Size of a cinder block! So go into your back yard. See the wires? See that big cylindrical thing with fins on? THAT'S a transformer. If you live in a big apartment complex, it's that big hulking ominously humming mysterious thing near your electrical circuit breaker box. You do know where your breaker box is, don't you?

Sombitch weighs about 500 pounds. About 2 foot deep by 3 foot wide by 3 foot tall. Electrical closet is near the center of the building, and you just can't get a fucking forklift through the hallways. Good thing I'm still up on Pharonic Tech. Even better that someone else took care of that before I showed up, so now I can source a 3phase load center and breakers. After hours of research (shopping) on the intertubenetwebs, I find a decent price 10 minutes drive away. Price is about $400, so I did backup to show Ebay and Amazon prices, mentioned shipping charges and returns policies. Purchase ok'd, zooming off at 16:55 h (having notified the supplier that I was in motion, swoop into the lot at 17:04, tap on employee door AND ARE SERVED. God bless all you dudes at Crawford Electric (CESPO), and I'll bring beer next time. Promise.

Rules of Engagement with a non-National Force

We're not at war. No, no, no. We haven;t been since VJ Day. Our country has been involved in “Police Actons” “Counterinsurgent Activities”, “Military Arvisories” and so on.

This is just so much bullshit, and why? We have not ben (ahem) exchanging hostilities with recognized nation-states.

In Korea at least the two sides wore uniforms. The wheels fell off that in the 'Nam, unless you consider ninja-jamas to be a uniform. In the sandbox it is a matter of course to wear civvies to combat, and even to wear the traditional “puptent” women's garb in retreat.

What in the name of the Virgin Mary and Her 7 Dwarves are we doing there? This is a dogfight featuring a pack of rabid pitbulls, and the likely result of entering the ring is to have all of them turn on us. GTFO, and let 'em kill themselves.

Yard Man Black Hole

I used to live near 43d street and Watonga. (damn it's a neat sound, c.mon and say it with me now: Watonga. Watonga! WATONGA!! Thanks, I feel better now.)

The thing is that so far as I can figure it was the staginging area for evey yard crew in the metroplex, and here was a pothole right in front of my house. Stuff bounced out of the trailers every day. I started making an industrial strength windchime. “Hubcap, shovel, shovel, string trimmer, yard blower, yard blower”. Had to quit when I found a 17 horse John Deere tractor mower on my lawn. It broke the tree