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

30 June 2014

On Publishing

I recently ran across an article warning that CEOs who write business advice books trend to be heading for a fall. (I have misplaced the link and lack the desire to find it again).

I have also been following the indie/e-publishing versus legacy (Big 5) fights, whereby authors generally get royalties of about the level of sales tax on the product. Also, the average advance is now about $2500, and, due to small print runs, very few authors “make back the advance”.

The publishers themselves, though, snack high on the food chain in NYC, and claim huge operating expenses.
What's funny, though, is that they can come up with multi-million dollar advances for political candidates. Only the right ones, of course. Oops, I mean “only the good ones”, who are axiomatically Not the right ones but the left ones.

One would be tempted to suspect groupthink, or some kind of systematiic bias. Let's restrict it to the the last three Presidencies: Clinton, G. W. Bush, and Obama.

Bill Clinton book advance: 2001 - $10 million advance

Hillary Clinton , 2000: $8 Million advance

Hillary Clinton 2014 $18 Million advance

George Bush $3 mil

Laura Bush $0.3 mil
Presidential Dog ?

Obama First Autobiography $18n mil
“, condensed version $0.5 million

Obama Second Autobiography $16 mil
Michelle O $12 mil
Presidential dog. $3 Mil

So, the Clinton Family gets something like 32 million dollars. The Current President of the United States has received something like $40 million before he even gets the job.

But, you see (ignorant peon), this is payment for value received, not a blatant bribe. So none of them ever make back the advance? Well, we all make mistakes. Cunts. They pay extra for the sttoopid. The Hildabeast's book is already marked down 60%, and it's becoming a bit of a causus something even in Manhattan, where lunches are expensive and judgement is cheap.

Value received by shiny white ass.

So the Bill's and the Hill'z and the current President have sold over $100 million dollars US?

I don't think so 


(photo requests for images of my shiny white ass are handled through the Comments.)

Notes on Eric Cantor

This is just, like crazy, man. Second most powerful Republican in the House stomped in the primaries? This can't be happening. Must have been a bad hot dog at the ball game....But how?

Must have been huge amounts of TEA Party money coming in. Nope, the national groups spent exactly (lemme double check the numbers). FUCKALL. Not one shiny penny.

Well then, huge amounts of out-of -state money must have tilted the playing field. Damn, 0 – for – 2.

There must have been like HUGE sacks of money spent, right? Foul tip keeps the batter in the box. Yes, big bucks. Brat spent $200k. Cantor spent $5.4 m The winner was outspent 27 to 1. The loser had been assured of a walkaway landslide. Polls showed him leading by 37 to 45 percentage points. That's why candidate funding control is so goddam important, right?

Count's still 0 – and – 2. Pitchout to catch the Rino's runner on first leaning: This was all an anti-Semitic thing because Joooo. Runner holds, count's now 1 – and – 2.

Fake to hold the lead Donkey at third. The crowd grows anxious.

Fastball down the middle: Give the voters what they want! Swing and a miss and you're out.

And it's really that simple. Cantor gave up his voter base by becoming a D.C, insider. Realpolitik. Go along to get along. Root for the Redskins and the Orioles, and not the home team. Try to play long ball and forget about protecting home plate. There were countless opportunities to play little ball. Yogi Berra was a master of that – Foul off a grounder. High tip. Foul out of play. Occasionally knock the hide off the sucker. But you, Eric, just stood there at the plate and went down on called strikes, with your bat on your shoulder, hoping for a compromise with the umpire.

You played in the Big Leagues. That's enough to get you a job a a coach in the Minors, maybe. Get a gig doing color commentary. Do some radio ads for used car dealerships. If you're lucky you might get a beer distributorship, or schill for Personal Injury ambulance chasers.

And, to tell you the truth, Brats sell well at ballgames.

Houston's a BIG city. (1)

A buddy of mine called me up to get directions from Point A (where he was, about one mile from my palatial abode, roughly two miles from the Astrodome) to Point B (way out in fucking nowhere (Westheimer Rd and the Beltway, about 25 miles straight line). Driving Fred Sanford's truck, without getting on freeways, avoiding traffic, and not passing in front of police substations.

Time to dial in some precision: “So, dood, where perzactly are you?”

“I just passed a Starbucks”. Zero information content. He's on a cell phone, therefore he is within three blocks of a Starbucks. (Axiom. Plot out locations of Starbucks versus cell phone coverage. I dare you. Some Starbucks will have curb service for crack cocaine, some caviar food trucks, just depends on the neighborhood)

“OK, just slide my place and we'll look at a map, and draw it out”. I've found the map (not the good one, but that one's old. 1952), marked origin and destination, optimax solution already drawn with a Hi-Liter.

“No, I wanna take Pissonit (I can never remember how to spell the street)out to the Beltway and then come over on the feeder.” I draw his attention to his skin color (he's a rich mahogany. Me? I'm fishbelly). “That runs you through West University Place and the rich parts of Bella ire. You really want to drive Fred's truck through those? Stops for “Suspicion”? Plus it sends you about 12 miles south of where you're going?”

Phone call one hour later: “Kinda near where I'm going, should be there in thirty minutes or so. Stuck in traffic right now, but I'll be there soon.”

Scarybit: I used to be a Boy Scout. So did my friend. Which one do YOU trust with a map and a compass?

(1) The Houston Metroplex is really fucking huge. Call it about six thousand square miles, bigger than El Lay. Take an arc based in Galveston. Run it East to Baytown, run it South about to Victoria, give it that as a radius. Run it North to Conroe... I underestimated.

Common Core

So far as I can tell, thte idea behind this is to teach dukk children the tricks the bright children use.

Doesn't work. The bright kids don't learn the tricks, by and large they work them out themselves. No-body told me that 1 over 7 was 0.14. Worked it out for myself, and the fact that one seventh was twice seven was just lagniappe. And that word there, “lagniappe”. It means (in the words of Mark Twain) the thirteenth donut in a baker's dozen. And one half of one over three is repeating sixteens.

You know where you learn this shit?

Well, actually, fuck you, I learned it in Baseball. Learned to make the numbers dance, and learned that the numbers lie, because even with a .446 average aagainst left handed pitching and thte fact that he hasn't hit a leftie in his last 5 at bats, his odds are still ledd than 50% over the entire at-bat.

Common Core assumes that the shortcuts that I use can be used by everyone. Don't work that way, and it shouldn't. I memorized 3.141596283 and I'll stop there, bcause it was expected of me. The standar mnemonics are: May I Have A Small Container Of Coffee (31415626) and (Man I Need A Drink Alcoholic of Course). Commn Core also assumes that the students give a fuck. They don't.

Now here's another: I go and catch up with sone buddies, and because I'm really famous and shit it's at the Brown Derby in LA. You had the smoked salmon, but your girlfriend had the oysters, and you had two orders of oysters, but you had the lobster with truffles...(this is where I show up, nibble a breadcrust and adopt an abandonded water glass).
Oh, it's just too difficult. Math's so hard. There's me and Siffany, you and Tiffany, and you and Viffany, plus you JC, so let's just divide it by 7 ! Makes it easy, right! Lord help them when they try to figure the tip, but knowing the folks I do in “high-class” places in LA, the table service dude will get fucked. Valet parking guy may get $20 to $100 each, cause every one of those fuckwads knows what he paid for his car. ME, I just pisssed on all the radiators. Heh, heh.

See, that's what happens when you don't learn math. Let's look at averages. Did you know that there are 3 different kinds?

Add 'em all up and divide - that's called the MEAN

Chart 'em all up and find where there's more above and below, that's called the MEDIAN

List 'em all and find the most common number, that's called the MODE

I learned this in 5th grade. But that was around the middle of the end of the War in VietNam (which started in 1939, with the East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere going after the French colony in VN. Please, don't get me started), and numbers started to take on a numinous sparkle all their own.

Bluenose Nation

Gun Control

cause look how good it works! Pretty fucked up.

Dame Agatha Christie, 1941: “Of course he might have ownes a pistol, for carrying when abroad, y'know” (quote from menory)

Likewise Mark Twain on visiting the Holy Land (it wasn't broken up into countries per se at the time).

Likewise Graham Green visiting Mexico.

Ditto Evelyn Waugh visiting Africa (specificly Abyssinia, a law abiding Italian colony). Great line from the Sword of Honour Trilogy: “Darling I've been called up. Can you find my service pistol?” “Oh, here it is. Found it in the toybox in the nursery.” We all remember the epidemic of accidental shootings in the UK , right?

You Drink Too Much!

Can you say “bias error”? Wanna know who's responsible for the increase in DWI? Two groups: Ford Motor Company, who brought the automobile into the price range of the working stiff; and Mothers Against Drunk Driving, who keep moving the goalposts. Deaths due to auto accidents were actually higher when the roads were shared with such eco-friendly vehicles as mules and horse drawn wagons, not to mention the damn pedistrians. Now fuck near everybody's covered in armor, except me on my bicycle, and I'm damn well aware of that. Starting to get the nickname “coyote” - grey haired and paranoid. Fuckin A Tweety. But they're wrong. I realize that the drivers and the roads aren't trying to kill me, they just don't give a damn.

Blood alcohol concentration as measured by Breath-O-Lyzer used to be 1.2%. Pretty fucked up on most scales. Then dropped to 1.0%. Then 0.80%.. The current move is to 0.60%, which is “I may have driven near a brewery”. That's what I mean when I say “moving the goalposts”.

But it doesn't stop there. If I (being a good Christian boy, and not wanting to offend) brush my teeth after enjoying a double garlic with gyro and jalapeno pizza, the assumption is made that I brushed my teeth to cover up the SMELL OF LIKKER. Contrariwise, if I don't, I'm accused of poor hygeine. Got me coming and going. No win.

Look at the liquor bills for the first Continental Congress. Those dudes were consuming at a rate of 2.5 Kennedys per day. And the handwriting was much better than mine.

Smoking Is Yuckie And You Suck!3

This is a real piece of shit dating back to the days of Braniff Airlines (ask your GrandParents, kids). Back in the early days of jet flight, stewerdesses were considered desirable sex partners by those lucky few who could afford to fly in the big ol' jet airliners. Like, exotic. Also, fish in a barrel. Unlike cocktail waitresses, they had a steady supply of wealthy prey. Having to go to the (free, supplied by the airline) hotel and clean up, take a shower, and wash their hair interfered with their desire to lay with wealthy travelers on expense accounts, who were quite likely stauying in the same hotel. This gave an unfair advantage to the (obviously inferior) cocktail waitresses, who were already scantily clad and waiting to take advantage of those pooor fools.

The iconic Shamrock Hilton in Houston (grew up near there) was the designated hotel for all of the international airlines. The stews and pilots had assigned rooms, keys already issued. The victims (pardon me) grateful passangers had to check in and get to the rooms before hanging by the pool. But that little bit of time to get the smoke out of the hair was enough that some poor stews didn't get the man previously targeted. The only thing to do is to ban smoking on airplanes. It was never a health matter.

How did we get here?

Fuck if I know. There's a lot of what folks call “Victorianism”, but if you study the period it's neither obvious nor true, Exemplum Gratia : Ben Franklin and the Hellfire Club. He owned a newspaper, too, but so did a lot of other folks at the time. :Last I checked the newspapers were down to 3 major owners. But for years “Times Features Syndicate”, “AP Syndicate”... thte camoflauge was thin even then. What happened? Well, Claire Booth Luce died , for one, and Universities started giving degrees in “Journalism”.

The certification of “journalists” (as opposed to writers) probably rang the bell for the end of newspapers. noted that one ttime he went through a checkpoint and was asked wht he meant by “reportage”. He swiftly corrected that to “newspaperman” and was allowed through the checkpoint.

Bicycle Pump

OK. I'm a bit user hostile to most things. Let's look at the standard bicycle pump... It uses a standard Schraeder type stem. I have n the past 2 weeks thrown out 3 bike pmps because the little pin that engages the pin in the Schraeder stem.

Fucking pins are made of play-doh. And when they break off, they leave bits of crap that foul the otherwise good Schraeder valves.

The stoopid, it's in the broth.

My Home Town

It's Houston Texas. Best motherfucking place on Earth to live.

Wadda you need to live? Air, water, food, shelter.
Here in Houston, the air all but invites itself int your alvaeoli. The air pressure here is standard sea level. I've had asthma. I've had TB. I like sea level air pressure. Keeps me alive, kinda.

Water: It's considered good enough to brew with by about a dozen breweries locally. Slightly soft, not high in lime.

Food. Houston has more Vietnamese citizens than Saigon. Really. Check the stats. Now think: If Chinese food is good, and French food is good, then Chinese French food should be good too?

Ding! Wrong! Vietnamese food is better than that. A humble Bahn Mi from a humble Vietnamese sammich shop has probably had more time spent on the choice of bakery than you spent on with or without mayo, and most make their own mayo n premises.

C'mon. I dare ya. Name an ethnic cuisine (with the possible exception of live monkey brain from Borneo, and I’m not sure that I couldn't find one here in town) (and I'm NOT going to look, although I do know where to start).

For some reason the Czechs tend to BBQ, but the Poles prefer table service. Find great ones, and they're not throwing stones.

Shelter: If you're willing to move out to the suburbs with the good schools and shit you can get a swankienda at a little over $100 per square foot. That means a new construction house of call it 3ksqft for $300k. Just try to find that anywhere else other than perhaps Detroit where you will be paid to knock it down. My rent is 1/20 of what it might be in NYC or SF. (Why are y'all still allowing Woodrow Wilson to set your rents?)

I’ll admit to some problems here. Public transit sucks, but, Lord be Praised!!! there's a new system being posited, that loses most of the maid's routes (routes going though colored neighborhoods on serpentine paths, but debouching at the rich folks area. “I'll pick you up at the bus stop”).

Bevvie Tip

I drink iced tea. By the pint, by the quart, by the gallon. Really

Okay, gallon and a half per deim during summer, unless it's really hot and I'm doing really sweaty labor. Then I might drink more.

This is not terribly strong tea: 2 bags to the quart (Do Not Squeeze The Last Bit Of Brown Out Of The Bag It Will Make The Whole Thing Taste Nasty), and (sprinkle magic pixie dust) each half gallon is flavored with a 1 quart … thingie (Straw? Packet? Individual portion container?) of generic sugar-free lemonade powdered drink mix substitute product stuff. I'm informed that someone has trademarked this nectar as “Arnold Palmer”. I have no idea who he is, other than the fact that someone once told me that his wife once told Johnny Carson that she kissed his balls for luck. This is a sick, sick society in which we live.

*** The Aforementioned Product Is Not To Be Used As A Substitute For Real Lemonade Especially If You're Expecting To Get Your Lawn Mowed***

This resulting bevvie (RESULTING, you morons, not REVOLTING) being low in caffeine (cold brewing, i.e. tap water on the counter), and containing things that I am informed are useful, such as vitamins and minerals and electrolytes (they think I'm a battery, eh! Light them up, I will I will) is more useful for re-hydration than Co-Cola, lacks the fizzy byproducts, and is very, very cheap. Which makes it close to my heart.

Here's the ProTip. I use stolen pint mugs from a local pub that went tits up so they don't want them back. Keep the mugs in the freezer with about an inch of liquid. Top 'em up with the lemon tea. No ice, no dilution, leaves the ice for x – and – tonic. As a matter of fact, the tea rings lend a certain essence to the vodka and grapefruit soda too.

11 June 2014

What's the best?

One thing that the Anthropogenic Global Warming fanatics take for granted is that last year's weather is to be taken as normal. There is no reason to make that assumption.

Fran Porretto makes the obvious comment, that those who pursue this nonsense are anti-human.

I prefer to take a larger canvas. Let's look at Terraforming. Is Terra better just because it has humans on it? Isn't that just humaiform centrism? Maybe if we just left them alone the Martian amino acids could develop YouTube and FaceBook? Think of the CHILDREN!!!Eleventy!

No. There are folks around who think that humanity is a blight on the face of the earth, and the sooner we get back to hunter-gatherers, and for preference not hunters, the better off we will all be.

Bullshit! I say to that. (recherche Phil Dick quote)

As Grace Slick (so far as I can tell no relation to Tam Slick) said: We Are The Crown of Creation

.Was the global warming just an artefact of Antarctic vulcanism? I claimed that that was the case in the '80's, when that was the definitive answer. Instead there was the call for universal bans of CFCs. Yeah. My asthma puffers went from $20 to $95. Smooth move, Ex-Lax. Vulcanism in the Antarctic has dropped, and it's known that the Ozone layer degradation has plummeted. I know correlation ain't causality, but when you consider the fact that the vulcanism caused exponentially greater outputs of the supposed culprit gadded, the link is not hard to see.

Do we in fact live in the best of all possible worlds? Pardon the Panglossissism, but REALLY?

Think of it this way. We lose New Orleans (which is gonna happen anyway sooner or later due to corruption on the levy maintenance) and gain Greenland as a new international breadbasket? Fuck yeah, I'd hate to have to move from Houston. I've lived here all of my life (so far). Fine, I'll move to Washington On The Brazos, onetime Capitol of the Republic of Texas, and won't have to change a single tattoo. (Plus it puts me nearer the secret Confederate Sub base).

So we lose New York and Boston. What happens? The financial markets are dispersed (a Good Thing) and some monuments get re-designated as Maritime Hazards.

Now here is where I have a problem The Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming bullshit presupposes a stasis (impossible) and assumes that deviations are evil.

The thing is that deviations are normal. There's a phrase of art called a “ Standard Deviation”. If you can' or won't go the trouble of understanding that simple concept, then, well, fuck you. You don't do science, you don't do math, and you don't do statistics. Your opinion is useless. Shut up, grownups are talking

Now a Keynesian economist would argue that the sudden rise in demand for not-yet-waterfront property would drive demand for properties close but not too close to the r water front as it was
You come to see, what you want to see; you come to see but you never come to know. And yes, that's Kinky Freidman.

Above Average

I'm above average. See, I have two legs, and that means that I have more legs than average.

For the slow to get the point (and I don't blame you, most folks don't think this way) I have 2 legs. I don’t have three, and get off to dancing with 1.5 women at a time (whole numbers work better). It's really simple. There are lots of folks (mostly guys) who have lost one or more legs in combat, car wrecks, motorcycle accidents, bar fights, industrial”incidents, whatever.

The thing is that the math declares that the median American has 1.999999998 legs, and I have 2. Ron Jeremy’s penis does not count as a third leg, nor does mine. It hurt when I tried to walk on it, and I had stability and control problems with it. And getting a shoe to fit was... let's just not go there.

Folks who have studied statistics, please raise your hands?

Mean: arithmetical average
Median: that number above and below which there are the same number of sample
Mode: that number which is most commonly identified.

So: I am above both the median and mean figures, but I hit dead on to the modal number.

Anyone who wants to can use the word “average”. Only we few distinguish between the averages, and when we find that they're being taken advantage, well then we call out he heavy artillery.

About College

This is something that cuts close to the bone of the purpose of the University. Is this purpose to impart “Wisdom”? Does it pretend to impart “Knowledge”?

A job lead? A 4 year+ vaycay with hot and cold running sex and drugs?

A nation of robots reciting the orthodoxy?

I will supply (as is my wont) my observations about the University system.

  1. the University is a relic of the time of Erasmus, the last man to have been acknowledged to “know all that was known at the time.

  1. Minority rule has destroyed the scientific AND critical methods

  1. that basic math at least to the extent of making change, and basic English, to the extent of being able to write a basic sentence, is no longer required.
This will not be easy. The success of the High School system is defined by the percentage of graduates who proceed to college. Basic skills and trades have no bearing in this, but FemStudies (pardon, Gender Studies) and Victimology have a high value added? The graduates must then be trained to operate Starbucks machinery and order processing procedures, but they are too much the special snowflake to run the cleaning ritual, which is why when I go to a Starbucks I get a glass of ice water and tip the counter person a buck (I'm using the free wifi after all) rather than getting a cuppa Earl Grey.

How about those High School graduates who don't make it to college? You know why you can't get a plumber on weekends? He's out on his boat with his wife and kids. Your mechanic? Working on his hot rod (“I was offered $60k for that T-Bucket, but it's my baby man!”). Don't get me started on electricians. Your HVAC guy? Off with the family at the lake cabin. Hell, the yard crews, the painters, the form carpenters, there all sending money home para los abuelitos y la familia.

But they're all failures, of course. No college degree. Nice house in a not too nice neighborhood (but their yards are well kept), boat or RV in the driveway, or maybe a Harley in the garage. Maybe they buy used cars rather than new, but that's smart, right? New car loses half its value when you drive it off the lot. Maybe they eat too much processed food, dammit the kids like Mickey D's on Thursday after practice. So they wear cheap clothes to work, but see them on the way out of Church on Sunday.

They do work hard, you know. Busted knuckles, smelly shirts, jeans taken off in the garage and deposited directly into the trash, boots that you keep in the back of the truck, and (horrors) dirty fingernails.

By all means, go to college, but make it work. If you want to do liberal arts, you are wasting your money unless you either (a) want to become a teacher, or (b) go to an Ivy. If you want to do science or math, you've got a limited menu: MIT, Princeton, Rice, Cal Tech, some few others, and you’d better be prepared to slog it out to a PhD unless your career plans are test-tube washing or calculating actuarial tables. There aren't really any truly bad engineering schools, though if you live in Texas Rice and TAMU have a local cachet.

And if it doesn't work out don't be too proud to get some dirt under your fingernails.

Compare and Contrast

The Prime Minister of South Korea apologizes for the sinking of a civilian ferry, with a lot of folks dead. He resigns in disgrace. The man in charge of the Coast Guard equivalent apologizes, and performs seppuku.

Lois Lerner. Resigned from her post on the day that her retirement fund went to 100%, plus “performance bonuses”. Wassiz name, CEO of the Fannie Mae, retired with a , what was it, $6 Million dollar performance bonus? After losing like, hundreds of Billion of taxpayer dollars?

The head mouthpiece for the Liar and Thief is retiring to take over management of his 12 year old son's band “Children of Privilege” (not its real name).

The head of the VA is “retiring” exactly on schedule with not one but 2 federally guaranteed pensions.

Is it just me?

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.

Secondary Sexual Characteristics

Men have ages.
Women have birthdays.

Men sweat.
Women glow.

Men snore.
Women purr

Some women are ladies, but unless you know the Queen of England personally using the word “lady “ is considered dispositive that you (or she) is not.

Don't call a woman a lady.

Treat all women as ladies.

A woman will kick you in the fork. A lady will do it only if it is called for, and she will tell you why.87.5 percent of women want coffee n the morning. Being able to supply that is a Darwinian “good thing”. 3.2 percent of women drink black coffee. Cane sugar and whipping cream are easy to keep on hand, and taste great. Make up vats of prepared product to be microwaved on demand, or supplied as Ice coffee. It is important to bear n mind the transit time. In many cases, the offer of a cup of yoghourt is ok, in some cases (mostly weekends) eggs and bacon, sausage or ham, with toast, grits or toast might be indicated

That Snowden Guy

I visited the folks, and after the standard maint-type duties the Mum went for a nap and the Dad and I had a small Tequila, and he asked me ”What do you think about this Snowden character.”

I must admit that it took me a short while to organize my thoughts, but I came up with “what he did was illegal and right”.

And even that's not quite right. The guy was a contractor for a company doing contract work for the NSA, was never vetted nor was he ever sworn to keep secrets. Big fail NSA.

.But consider further. Had he been (as a civilian contractor with the NSA) bound to that straitjacket of regulation, would those regulations have been binding? Were it to have come to light in other circumstances would he have been allowed to plead “I was just following orders?”

I don't think so. Humiliating as it may be, the disclosure that the US Government has been spying on all and sundry, foreign and domestic, but mostly the other party is VERY FUCKING IMPORTANT.

We now know that these our former masters are not worthy of the trust we allowed, nay, forced upon them. I use the word “masters” advisedly. We the people through want of diligence or misguided trust made them into our masters to save us from un-named and undescribed evil enemies. We meant well. We had the best of intentions. We fucked up.

The problem now is what to do. Slam the burning barn door? Allow the intercepts to trickle out at politically expedient times? Promise double pinkie swear never to do it again? Encourage new crypto tech? Shove the genie back into the bottle?

Tell you the truth? I got no damn idea. You can't know how much it hurts me to admit that. Normally I can come up with a plan, a concept, an idea that would work, but right here right now, I'm drawing a blank. And I weep.I

The Hug Culture

I'll admit this up front, My family is Irish . From Maine, Connecticut, Virginia, Mississippi, and Texas.

Sort of. I also have sisters in law from France, Chile and Brazil. And my girlfriend is Irish/Lebanese.

We Irish are a stolid type unless we've been drinking. And as Frank J has pointed out, the word Irish means “contains Alcohol”. So that's covered, at least from my POV, 'cause I'm not about to go into a big family get-together sober.

The Americanos del sur are hug plus chaste kiss on the cheek, look of amazement of how wonderful she looks, a kiss on the other cheek, and a SHOUT of “caio bella”. The French gets a grip of the hand, a look of astonishment, a raising of the hand to the lips, and a repeat of the continental kiss on both sides.

Now this is made easy by the fact that most everyone at the table speaks (or at least understands) English/Spanish/Portuguese/French.

In Russian-where it gets fun (um, the fam can follow all of those) is when we get a GF from one bro in Russian/Hungary/whatever..

I have a vocabulary of about 20 words in Polish (Beer. Restroom. Food) and even smaller in
Russian (tov yab mat) no I won't. Google it. I never pretended to be a good girl here, did I? I never even pretended to be a girl.

Getting back to the point: MittleEuropisch is odd. Hand will be extended, but at arm's length. Gentleman's hand rises to meet, carries to a very goddamn chaste pressing of the lips, by bowing over the hand. Yeah, like the old movies. The thing is that this expression reminds them of what dickwads their boyfriends in the old country are, and make them wish that they were in the old World, like their Grandmothers.

30 May 2014

Public "Health"

Been there done that

I consider myself the possessor of what you might call rude good health. Did about 8 miles today on the Rusty Steed (Schwinn) through temps in the high 80s.

That's good, for me. Couldn't have done that 5 years ago, when I was coughing up a pint or more of blood per day. 'S called TB, it still exists. Not pleasant, but I presented myself at the ER of the local charity hospital (Ben Taub) got quick confirm of the Dx, moved to the front of the line, and got really quite good treatment, which included among other things one year of quarantine – house arrest.

Couldn't work, of course. Sold the truck for living expenses and then ended up being busted for non-support and spending too damn many weeks in jail for not showing for a hearing due to being a public health hazard.. (Different, bad, story).

I did have a small revenue stream from writing and research, but I found that I was going more and more frequently. I had been diagnosed with incipient cataracts before the TB Dx, but when I emerged from the cave, I discovered that I was blind. 20/800 kinda vision. One hand on the girlfriend's shoulder while going through the grocery store. Refractive problems which did wonders for the Christmas lights.

So I took myself with 1.5 lungs back to Ben Taub to see about cataract surgery. Dear reader, I spent 2 years trying to get on to the waiting list. Realio, trulio. TWO YEARS TRYING TO GET ON TO THE WAITING LIST, Never did get on the waiting list. My wonderful and generous parents ponied up for one eye for my birthday and the other for Christmas. The world is fuckwonderful, and girls are just as beautiful as I remembered.

Fast forward a couple of years to me catching up with the x and the boiz. Concert on the Green in downtown Houston (the Fab 40 doing Abbey Road, IIRC). We share comestibles. Was I to know that there was a toothpick in the French fries? Can you say “peritonitis”? 14 inch incision closed with 9 staples, 2 of which pulled out at my first sneeze. The scar's about 11x2 inches of pink puckered ugly.( A neighbor's dog had a pin installed to re-inforce a broken leg. 7 inch incision, 35 staples. Can't even see it. We have comparable levels of furriness)

Now, here's the question. Why the various levels of treatment, the levels of priority?

Case 1 – the TB. Obviously it's a matter of public health. Don't want me going and sharing the good news, y'know.

Case 3 – the toothpick. Well, don't want him dying on our shift. (Abdominal surgery is painful. But they set me up a morphine drip. Never primed it, mind you, so it never worked). (Demerol Rawks, and I never want to have it again. I know me ). Walked out under his own power, so it's a success!

Case 2 – blindness. Well, this is just a “quality of life” matter. Worst case he stays blind and becomes a welfare case. No biggie. Look at Helen Keller! She got all famous and all! This is like, elective surgery, innit?

Public health? Got the scars. They charge extra for the t-shirt..

I' gonna add some stuff here. Say I have some liver damage from too much of the drink. Are self-inflicted wounds covered? But then I'm a 16 year old female cutter (self indicted wounds indicative of suicidal tendencies) do I get same stupidface? Sober driver pushes through a yellow light (legal) hits guy taking right on red (legal), who shows positive for marijuana (let's posit it being legal, but it shows for 30 days in testing, with no way to tell if the driver had smoked 20 minutes ago or 20 days ago).

Okay. I admit to whiskey and Marlboro. In the socialized medicine scenario, I am unworthy of treatment. I deserve everything I get, or rather, don't get. Let's look at bank records. Do you pay cash for all of your groceries? Didn't think so. And there you are trying to justify BACON? Come on , no-one NEEDS bacon. And not that much at any rate. You must prove that you have offsetting lettuce consumption. Do you have receipts for every salad you've eaten in the past year, and can you prove that they weren't bought for your girlfriend? And that mushrooms variance? Eaten raw, or sauteed with a steak? Really? You can prove it? Because if the mushrooms were cooked in butter or animal fat you don 't get the drugs for hypertension, but if they were in a salad then you do.

This is not an exercise in hyperbole. This is a reflection of the reg dealing with the UK's National Health System. They have attempted recently to deny health care to smokers, to drinkers, and to those more than 2 stone overweight. (One stone equals 14 pounds. I clock in at 185 cm in height and a little under 15 stone. (You do the math, it's easy for me).* I hope to get back to 14 stone with the use of Rusty Steed (a 1980s Schwinn 5 speed. Some days 3 miles, yesterday, 22 miles. YMMV. But OTOH, I do see lots of wildlife on the bayou banks. Ospreys, Great Blue Herons, Snowy Egrets, Anhingas, Coyotes, Foxes, Racoons, shoals of Cod, Black Crowned Night Herons, Yellow Crowned Night Herons, Louisiana Herons, Red Shouldered Hawks, Red Shinned Hawks, Cooper's Hawks and once I swear to god a real Bald Eagle. Only once, but I have witnesses.

*a little over 6 foot and, 210 pounds. I used to do about 40 m/day. I'm such a mess. But then I also used to run as much as 17 stone. I still look fat, but I don't feel fat, if that makes any sense to you. But dear sweet Jesus if I were to get back down to 13 stone the girlfriend would either set out a protective group or (more likely) just put a hit on me. At 182 I can't walk the streets. The women riot. And I can't let that happen again. 12 stone and I have my own political movement, 'coz I got better ink than Ted Cruz. Well, more tasteful, at any rate. Plus TEXAS on the left bicep


Recycling and why it's a loser's choice

It's the rage, it's the new old thing, it's mandatory in lots of places, and it's a crock of shit.

In the complex where I live, there is one recycling bin for 16 apartments. Recycling pickup is once a month.

Within 36 hours of the bin being emptied, it is once again full. Of delivery pizza boxes. Amd diapers.

Lookit, kiddos, some things, it just makes sense to recycle. Aluminum from bauxite is incredibly energy intensive. Makes sense to just melt it down and make new tinnies to refill with Schlanweiser Lite now with lime! Pitch the old ones into the furnace and hey presto new cans. Steel? Ditto. Glass? Slag it and blow it.

Paper? Mulch in H2SO4, rinse, bleach, re-pulp...

There's no real use in recycling paper. It's more efficient just to use it as fuel – burn it and capture the only hazardous byproduct, fly ash. Use it to run boilers to generate electricity. While you're at it, all those flare stacks at the refineries? Can you say “co-generation”? They're lighting the night sky to the point that I could read the goddam newspaper 5 miles away. (When I lived with the woman who grew up to be my ex-wife. Who is a wonderful person and a great mother to my sons.)

Last stats I saw, the City of Houston was “investing” about a dollar a pound on the sorting of recycled trash and realizing about $50 a ton. Lemme find my calculator. Oh, we have a loss of about $0.975 per pound. (I lied, I did the math in my head. You can do that too, right?)

Back in the day, my buddies and I had a system. Go to the range and shoot up all sorts of stuff, Collect brass for reloading. Go to (designated Dave's place) and clean guns and drink beer (non-trivial note: Shoot first, drink later. Remember Cooper's 4 at all times. Ammo not allowed in drinking area). Place all empty beer cans in the designated pothole, where they were crushed by the simple expedient of having Animal's truck go back and forth over them. Scoop them up, recycle, and buy lead to cast more bullets. 'Cause aluminum bullets suck.

There used to be things called “incinerators”. Big open trash fireplaces. You can't tell me that with the advances made in the past 40-some years that we can't make a quantum improvement on that.

Tired of this shit

So each uni must have a “balanced” class.

That's to make everything balanced, right?

So why is there no quota for honkeys on the basketball team? Or the football team?

Be it known: That all intercollegiate teams should reflect the racial makeup if the area.

Actually, the short lived Arena Football League had a clause requiring that teams have a minimum of (n) percent local players.

The common majors for scholarship athletes are Phys ed and Public speaking.

Res ipsa loquitor

On Protected Classes, and the Ghey Menace

Here it is on a bumper sticker: I can see your skin color, I can even see your borned sex/gender/whatever it's called now (Lived for decades in a neighborhood with a higher concentration of drag queens, trannies, and so on than you can imagine. I ran security for the building housing the Houston Gay Lesbian Transsexual And So On Coalition).

What I can't see is what is inside your head. I can't tell if you're “bi-curious”. And I can't be responsible for what happens in your semi-furnished brainette (thank you so much, Ambrose Bierce).

Sorry if I hurt your feelings. I mean that sincerely As an old fashioned son of a bitch, I never wish to offend unintentionally.

The difficulty as I see it is that anyone, absent history, actions, or union card, can declare oneself a member of a “possibly non-cisnormal” (read as bi-curious to us of the old school).

Presto! Protected class!

Wazza matter? You shy or something? Deal. I had a total of girls 3 dated in high school, and only one turned into girlfriend. Talk about SHY! Look it up on the dictionary and you'll see my photograph..

Lemme hep ya: if you're in a closet, your folks will still love you. Even Republicans do (Ronald Reagan had a gay son, and Rommey has a gay daughter).

Just don't think it makes you special.

Now come over here and give me a hug.

Sonny Bono was Right

So, are we better off then say, 19(??) when Sonny and Cher did the seminal And The Beat Goes on?

Let's find out:

The beat goes on , the beat goes on
Drums keep pounding rhythm to my brain
(The drums are mostly sampled now, and real drummers are finding it hard to get work)
La da da da di di, la di da di da
(Probably constant, and I will do my best to avoid repeating jokes on this motif)

(Sonny)Charleston was once the rage (uh huh – will delete future uh-huhs
(Verifiable. True)
(Cher)History has turned the page
(Pretty much meaningless, but then this is a 60's pop song, so we must be charitable)
(Sonny)Miniskirt's the newest rage
(No longer new, in fact cheerleader-length skirts now pass without comment)
(Cher)Teenybopper is the newborn king
(There is but one market, and that is the youth market.
There is but one King, he is the Sun King. Ra! Ra! Ra!)

The beat goes on , the beat goes on
“Drums keep pounding rhythm to my brain
La da da da di di, la di da di da

(Sonny)Grocery store's a super-mart
(seems meaningless until you compare the Piggley-Wiggley of ~1970 to the Walmart of Super Target of the present day)
(Cher) Little girls still break boy's hearts
But that's all gender-normative cismale nononsense)
(Sonny)Men keep marching off to war
(But now they're all volunteers)
(Cher) Electrically they keep a baseball score
(This line confuses me. Who are “they”? Is there a reference to the previous line? Is it a desire to have the cards moved manually as was done at Wrigley Field? )

The beat goes on , the beat goes on
“Drums keep pounding rhythm to my brain
La da da da di di, la di da di da

Sonny) Grandmas sit in chairs and reminisce
(This is a fact of nature)
(Cher) Boys keep chasing girls to get a kiss
(But we are now informed that twenty-some per cent. of the population is not strictly other-related, Boys are chasing boys, girls chasing girls, girls chasing boys. It gets confusing)
(Sonny) Cars keep going faster all the time
(For a given value of “cars” - is a Bugatti Veron a “car” or a publicity stunt? Also for a given value of “going” - at the time of the song the default highway speed limit was 85 MPH, and the traffic congestion was less)
(Cher) Bums still say “buddy have you got a dime”
(no, “Couple bucks for some food” is the lowest bid I've heard recently)

So, what can we learn from this historic document?

Well, it looks like Sonny, the brainless bimbo of the couple who grew up to be a member of the House of Representitives was right an argueable 60 per cent. Cher, on the other hand, is dead flat wrong on the one falsiable statement made, all the otheres being, essentially, bullshit.

Sonny Bono worked his way up from sweeping floors in the recording studios to a rather elevated elective office, in the course of which he acquired a wife, Cher, and made her famous by writing songs for her and producing all their records. Cher left him for a series of dopers, and is now an icon amongst the gay and transvestite communities, and is well know as a progressive spokesperson by virtue of having money an followers.

Let's give that a moment. Moment done? OK

Sony put his ass on the line in an elective situation. Cher gave money (lots of money).

Left -to- right, let's see who puts the money where the mouth is:

Sonny Bono (R)
Clint Eastwood ( R ) Mayor of Carmel California
Ronald Fucking Reagan (President of the United States of America )fuck yeah), onetime president of a damn UNION (SAG)

Compare and contrast with:

Al Franken,(D, MN) Whose advent in the SNL reduced the whole comic enterprise into a leftist gag line.and is doing the same for the rest of the country

The rest is left as a practicum for the student