Category: Government

What Is Your Time Worth?

  • In 1938 Roosevelt signed the Fair Labor Standards Act into law, setting the first minimum wage at $0.25 an hour. That’s about $4.63 in today’s dollars. The current federal minimum wage is $7.25. The minimum wage discussion is a difficult one because its intent and the reality of what we’ve morphed into today are very different. I don’t have any problem setting a minimum wage because left to its own devices business, in the absence of competition, will take advantage of people. The horrible child labor conditions of the 30’s, which was the impetus for FLSA, are a prime example. So what does a minimum wage mean? It’s the minimum amount you can pay someone who has no skills. As you acquire more skills, your time is now worth more. Here’s another crucial point that gets lost. The wage an employer pays is ascribed to what they value the job, not the person. I need someone to pack widgets into a box. I do not need someone with any prior skills or training. I value that position as being worth a minimum wage. (again, this is in the absence of competition) When I’ve hired multiple widget packers I may now need someone to be the chief widget packer, a position with more responsibility and skills needed. I value that position as worth a higher wage. And on it goes. The presumption is that people will continue to rise up the wage ladder commensurate with their newly acquired skills and motivation. Here’s where the conversation gets difficult and is worth an independent discussion. Our middle class jobs are being wiped away, and will continue to be erased. Large numbers of people are being forced back down the wage ladder due to lack of opportunity at their acquired skill level. This forces out the true minimum wage earner and spawns the discussion about how does a former (or potential) middle class earner support themselves only on a minimum wage? And the related side of this is immigration, legal and otherwise. Large numbers of people are arriving with no skills and limited English, and have no other option than minimum wage work. Many of these folks are attempting to support large families on these wages. While the right conversation to be had is how do we best build back our middle class jobs and addressing immigration, the government solution is to simply pay these folks a “living wage”. Sounds great, but the US is a very diverse place. $15 an hour may be sustainable by a business owner in a high wage area like LA or a company like Amazon, but what does the owner of a diner in rural America do? Can they really afford to pay a high school kid $15 an hour to wash dishes or stock shelves at the local hardware store? It’s not an easy discussion. Unfortunately it’s not a discussion we’ll ever have because it will be demagogued to death. Which will only make starting a small business even more difficult, which worsens the middle class job market. Which is a recipe to invite government subsidies to “help”. It’s not a winning trajectory to be on.
  • Apparently we suddenly have a domestic terrorist crisis. The formation of a federal domestic spy agency is well underway. Just like the Patriot Act, we’ll happily sign away more of our freedoms because the state run media tells us there’s racists hiding under every rock. Clearly the rioting and looting all summer don’t count as domestic terrorism because those are approved “woke” causes. During yesterdays crowning of Biden, Antifa ran amuck in Portland and Seattle doing all sorts of shenanigans. Silly Antifa. Why doesn’t that make the news? They even smashed up the original Starbucks. You’d think hipsters everywhere would be outraged. This must be a very confusing time for woke Starbucks baristas.
  • Biden immediately violated the Federal mask mandate he had just signed, appearing at the Lincoln Memorial just a few feet away from reporters… without a mask. The media will call him out on his hypocrisy, right?
  • This last year, we implemented a world-wide lockdown more severe than any climate alarmist could have dreamed for. Vehicle and air travel limited beyond what could ever be realistically proposed, even by the climate guru Greta Thurberg. It was the perfect experiment to see if models would match reality. And… it made no difference in the growth of atmospheric CO2. I suspect we’ll just ignore this inconvenient truth and march forward with a new and improved Paris Climate Treaty 2.0.
  • When Sen Tom Cotton wrote an op-ed suggesting we deploy the National Guard to help quell the rioting and looting this summer, the journalists at the New York Times were so triggered that two editors lost their jobs for allowing such an opinion to be printed. 25,000 troops deployed to protect Washington from a supposed insurrection of white supremacists and racists… and not a peep. The hive mind of the media is an interesting thing.
  • I had to take my dog, a.k.a The Troutdog, to get his nails trimmed yesterday. I wish I could capture the look on his face when he jumps out of the truck and realizes where he is. It’s the look of complete betrayal. “Dude, I thought we were going for a ski…” He then quivers and violently shakes like he’s waiting for a cattle prod up the rear end. I wonder what goes through his little brain that he thinks this is so terrible? Mrs Troutdog refuses to take him because she doesn’t want him mad at her. LOL.

Song of the day: The Clash – This is Radio Clash (Official Video)

Unity And Healing Are For Suckers

  • Today’s inauguration theme is “America United”. For half the country that’s a pretty bitter pill to swallow. The national press is churning out piece after piece with pithy phrases like “Now, the healing can begin”, or “It’s time to unite and heal”. You’ll also see plenty of “Let’s tone down the rhetoric” and “Biden deserves a chance”. Is that what we should do? Should the folks who opposed Biden be the better person and offer a more gracious and conciliatory tone? It is, after all, for the good of the country. At the end of the day aren’t we simply one united states, standing arm in arm, singing kumbaya? The celebrity world certainly thinks so, as evidenced by the noted scholar Chrissy Teigen (discovered working in a surf shop after a grueling high school academic career) who says today, “Today our great national fuckup is over, but the shame will last forever… Maybe it wasn’t such a good idea to have the guy with barely enough well done steak with ketchup fueled brainpower to power a lightbulb who doesn’t even know how to close an umbrella run the country. History will not be kind to you, you absolute psychopath.” Journalists at least have risen above the petty insults, asking only “How Do We ‘Deprogram’ Millions of Racist, Violent Trump Supporters?” I’m not so sure simply rolling over and exposing my belly is the right choice. Something tells me no quarter will be given by the victorious army. I’m not an animal. I simply want what’s fair. After all, isn’t one of the Left’s central themes all about fairness? All I ask is that Biden be treated exactly the same way Trump was. No more, no less. Which pretty much means screaming like a rabid chimpanzee on Adderall 24/7.
  • At the end of the day, I’m actually pretty shallow and selfish about all this. Although I may write words that seem like I’m passionate about one side or the other, the truth is that I really don’t care. What do I care about? I want the market to go up and the economy to be strong. I don’t want my taxes to increase. I don’t want us involved in any more wars on foreign soil. I want to be able to say whatever drivel is on my mind without fear of being de-platformed. That’s it. I don’t really care who the president is as long as I can happily go off skiing, hike and run with my dog, ride my motorcycle, and enjoy time with friends and family. Everything else I leave to the passionate, woke, hipsters who will inherit this mess, to sort out. If the government will just kindly leave me alone, we’ll all be good.
  • Vulture put out a list of the top 50 greatest westerns ever made. Hang ’em High didn’t even make the list. Are you serious? The Outlaw Josey Wales is only 29th? Unforgiven and Searchers as numbers 2 and 1 I’m ok with.
  • Covid case counts have been dropping in 48 of 50 states for weeks now. To steal the tweet, the press won’t discover or report on this for weeks. When they do they’ll report that it was due to Biden’s mask mandate. Science, you know.
  • I found a bucket list of 75 things that any resident of my state should do. I’ve done 19 of them. Need to start pumping up those numbers.
  • I’m fascinated by the idea of doing either day or multi-day trips entirely on the older byways. Like route 66. Basically a slow drive through Americana, stopping at every “worlds largest ball of string” exhibit and small town museum. I know it’s been done a gazillion times, but what a neat photo essay that would be.
  • A decision has been made on the new motorcycle. Now, just need to figure out how to acquire it. Stay tuned.
  • And last, I sincerely hope the new administration is successful because I’m too old to rebuild my retirement accounts if they’re not. Also, #notmypresident. Am I doing it right?

Song of the day: Bush Machinehead LIVE 1996

I Got The Funk

  • I got the funk, man. No not a Lenny Kravitz Always on the run funk, but a weird head to toe body funk. Headache, body ache, joint ache, plugged up sinuses, brain fog. I had a trifecta of circumstances that came together at the same time. I managed to hurt my back somehow a week or so ago, so that’s ached since then. I got my second China virus vaccine a week ago and that really put me down. At the same time Mrs Troutdog has had a pretty wicked cold, which I clearly caught. I rarely get sick. I don’t do well just sitting around, so throw in feeling crappy and, well, I’m grumpy. I think we’re on the upswing though. Just a headache today. Fingers crossed we’re back in business tomorrow.
  • Watch this short clip and tell me that Biden is not a confused, 80 year old grandpa. Love him or hate him, there was never any doubt that Trump was in charge and running the show (often to his detriment). On the other side of the coin, you cannot convince me that Biden is the conductor of this oncoming train. Once you get past 70, it’s the infrequent exception you still have the mental horsepower you once had. Trust me, I work with the elderly day in and day out. There are very few folks in that age bracket I’d want making a difficult decision for me, especially after multiple days of long hours. So my honest question is, who’s really running the show behind the scenes? Somebody is setting the daily agenda, deciding what the policy focus will be, etc… Who is it? Is it his chief of staff, Ron Klain? Is it Kamala? Her chief of staff, Tina Flournoy? There’s rumors former Clinton advisor Minyon Moore has been a gatekeeper for the Biden transition. Is it her? Is it Jaime Harrison, the new head of the DNC? Will anyone in the media ask, or is that verboten for fear of being deplatformed?
  • A green zone has been erected in Washington DC to protect our ruling class. It’s pretty startling to see the images. What I can’t find in my extensive 30 seconds of searching, is who ordered all this? Was it the secret service? I don’t think they have the power to call up the national guard. The mayor? Did Trump order all this? Will it be permanent as some rumors suggest? Will the media go through great lengths to hide it in their inauguration coverage, or will they highlight it as necessary to protect against crazed, Viking hat wearing, Trump insurrectionists? It’s all pretty pointless because, as we all know, walls don’t really work.
  • I’ve made it to season two of Mr Robot. Really good. I’m not much of a prepper, but we’re prepared for a small amount of time. What we don’t have is cash. I never carry cash. Ever. The show reminded me that it wouldn’t take much for the electronic banking system to be interrupted. When that happens, I’m screwed when I need my Pirate Booty fix and all I have is plastic.
  • A friend of mine is really into cowboy action shooting. It’s like modern three-gun competitions, but old-west era guns. And cowboy outfits. Anyway, I joined him the other day to watch. The club we were at starts their match by turning to the flagpole, removing hats, and reciting the pledge of allegiance. It was nice. But here’s the odd thing. It made me feel like a rebel. Like folks would probably ridicule it if they saw it. If I told someone on the street I went to an event where we cited the pledge of allegiance, I’d immediately be tagged as a right-wing Trump supporter. Think about it. That’s where we’ve gotten to in this country.
  • I wasn’t feeling good last night, couldn’t sleep, so spent way too long going down a musical memory lane. I stumbled upon some of the original MTV segments (I had a crush on Martha Quinn), but while I liked watching MTV, most of what they played wasn’t really my genre. Like my politics, my musical taste is… complicated. This lead me down a rabbit hole of old school massive concerts. I wonder if we’ll ever have big shows again? Unless it’s a rave, the kids and music today don’t seem to lend themselves to the concert scene. Unfortunate. There’s just something about the energy of a live show.

Song of the day: Veruca Salt – Seether (Glastonbury ’95)

The Subtle Art Of The Grift

  • If you haven’t seen the 1990’s film The Grifters, you should. It’s good. Grift evolved from the original word graft, which means “to acquire dishonestly”. Dear readers, I’m about to disappoint some of you. You may have picked up on a theme here… I’m not a fan of politicians. Because we’re all guilty of confirmation bias (i.e. finding information to support what we already think and ignoring the opposite), many of you may have assumed I’m a hard core right winger who simply hates the dreaded democrats. My three long time readers will know that’s not true. I generally dislike all of them, regardless of party. And when it comes to Trump, well, my opinion of Trump is complicated and worthy of an essay all it’s own. Where am I going with this? If you’re willing to brave a little contrarian thought, I urge you to read this about Jarrod Kushner and Brad Parscale. Warning, you may become disillusioned if you’ve been a big MAGA supporter. The truth is, and I’ve said this many times, politics doesn’t care about you. If you really think politicians have your best interest in mind, you’re a fool. It’s all of them. Both parties. If you’ve read any of Peter Schweizer’s books you’d have a sense of just how corrupt they are. The Clintons, Romney, Mcconnell, Kerry, Mccain, Biden, Harris, the Trump machine. All of them. Are there principled politicians out there? Of course. But you have to sell more and more of your soul to get to the top. And to remain on top.. well, nobody willingly gives up power, money, and influence. None of this is new and is found in every society from time beginning. The most disillusioning thing about this is that the movements some of these powerful people can spark are real. The MAGA crowd. The Bernie bro’s. These are everyday, average people, who honestly want change, to make a difference, and to build a better life for their families and communities. And they willingly give their money to politicians who have the right narrative and slick talking points, thinking this guy (or gal) is the right one this time. They have my back. Their hard earned dollars are hoovered up by the machine and then distributed to loyalists, lobbyists, lawyers, and shell corporations, never to be seen again. Until the next election season. It’s Lucy, Charlie Brown, and the football, time and time again. When you strip away the veneer, there is virtually no difference between the parties. Their goal is to maintain the status quo. Bush, Obama, and Trump have collectively added $17 trillion dollars to the national debt. Biden is poised to add another four straight out of the gate. Nothing changes, silly grasshopper. I don’t mean to be negative, just a realist.
  • What the fuck is the My Pillow Guy doing delivering messages to the President about replacing the deputy director of the CIA? Sorry, I just… can’t.
  • I was getting on the freeway yesterday and in the middle of the lane there were two skis. Looked like kids skis. I wonder what the story was? Did dad forget to shut the ski rack? Did mom get tired of the kids bickering in the car, said we’re no longer skiing today and pitched ’em out? (the skis, not the kids) Reminded me of a very long time ago when I worked at a ski rental shop. A very distraught soccer mom type came in a few days before Christmas and said she had a serious problem with her skis, would we mind coming out and taking a look? Once outside she burst into tears. She had gone to sports store, bought an expensive ski rack and four sets of skis for the family. They helped her mount everything up and she drove home. Unfortunately she never stopped to check the clearance in the garage when she drove in. All four skis were strapped to the rack, with the front halves snapped up at a 90 degree angle. Not enough P-Tex in the world to fix that.
  • Mrs Troutdog has decided we’re going to a dude ranch. She owns a horse and rides. I don’t. I’ve pet the horse a few times, that’s about it. Clearly I’m the dude in this ranch equation. It actually sounds kinda fun. I like the outdoors, so what’s not to enjoy? Especially if there’s no shoveling of poop in this vacation. I see enough poop in my regular job.
  • Biden has a 100 day Covid plan. It’s actually perfect marketing. The vaccination program is well underway, so he didn’t have to do anything there. And what happens in 100 days? Warm weather and spring. And what do viruses do in warmer weather? They recede. So, the case counts will be down significantly and the media will gush and declare that thanks to a president who actually believes in science, the Covid is being defeated. Perfect! Marketing 101 people.
  • And finishing on a somber note, I don’t check Facebook all that often but did yesterday and noticed a post from someone in the past. I thought to myself I hadn’t seen any posts from him in a while. Scrolling into his feed I was confused by some of the past-tense references people were posting, until I realized he’d passed away a year ago. He was killed by some random person in a road-rage incident. You just never know how much time we have left. Yell at the wrong guy because he cut you off, and they pull out a gun and you’re done. What a waste. He was a good person, single dad with two kids.

Song of the day: Slightly Stoopid – Collie Man (Live at Roberto’s TRI Studios)

Is Politics A Prisoners Dilemma?

  • I was thinking about the apparent lack of awareness politicians on both sides have of the pulse of the people they’re supposed to represent. They tend to rush to solve the wrong problem because they need to be seen as “doing something” about whatever’s in the news. We just had a large mob of very angry people rally to express their dissatisfaction with something that devolved (as mobs do) into violence. Politicians rush to “fix” the end result of the situation – we need to call in the national guard, they must condemn all violence, we need to put people on no-fly-lists, we need to impeach, etc… While all of that may or may not need to be addressed, I don’t hear anyone on the left asking the real question – what happened to make all those people so angry and what could be done to address that? It reminded me of the Prisoners Dilemma. Two prisoners in solitary confinement, no way to communicate with each other. If one snitches on the other, he goes free and the other serves his sentence. If both snitch, both serve their sentence. If neither snitches (because snitches wind up in ditches), both serve reduced sentences. Politicians (especially today) seem to be wired to always believe politics is a zero sum game. The only way I can win is to ensure someone else loses. We’ve entered the era of scorched earth politics. Tearing up a state of the union speech or driving pointless impeachments to score points is more important than asking what’s more beneficial for everyone. Both sides are guilty of this… Republicans just really suck at it. I wonder if we’ll ever get back to a point where folks recognize if both sides accept a little pain (compromise), everyone benefits in the long run? (Don’t answer that. It’s rhetorical. Never going to happen.)
  • I had to laugh. A couple of days ago Tucker Carlson had a line that made me snort out loud: “Once Donald Trump leaves the scene and it’s time to divvy up the spoils of the United States Treasury to begin the great piñata party of 2021…” And sure enough, yesterday Biden rolls out a $2 trillion dollar stimulus spending plan. This will be followed by another $1.3 – $2 trillion dollar infrastructure plan. It’s gotten absurd to the point there’s no reason to even fight it anymore. We’re printing money out of thin air. Hell, if we’re already printing trillions, we may as well print another four or five. Give every American with a drivers license a brand new car. And pay for their insurance. And create a guaranteed auto buyback program for all the existing vehicles and loans. Can you even imagine the stimulus this would bring to country? It would resurrect the failing auto industries, create new manufacturing jobs for the entire supply chain, improve our air quality, put more money in the pocket of struggling families by getting rid of a car payment, and help the most disenfranchised be able to get a job. I think that’s a damn fine idea. I guess you couldn’t require a drivers license. That would be discriminatory. Anyway, put me down for a Tesla Cybertruck.
  • I was reasonably productive yesterday with planning. I resurrected the Bullet Journal and starting looking into some travel ideas. I agree that putting (figurative) pen to paper does help organize thoughts. Next up will be working on the daily routine and thinking about hobbies.
  • For dinner last night I made a deluxe grill cheese and tomato soup. Thick sourdough, two kinds of cheese, bacon, grilled onions, sliced tomato and avocado. Probably a 2,500 calorie meal, but worth it. Now I just need to go run approximately 50 miles to break even.
  • We watched the History of Swear Words last night. Pretty good. Nicholas Cage was able to poke fun at himself. Nice to see actors who are comfortable enough to do that. It’s said that swearing is a sign of intelligence. If so, I should be a rocket scientist.
  • A list of red flags in job interviews. Reminded me of an answer I got frequently when I was a hiring manager at Microsoft. I’d ask the candidate how they would find out the answer to something and I’d frequently get the response: “I’d Google it”. Uhmm… you’re interviewing at Microsoft, are you really that dense? If you’re going say that, at least make the case why one search engine is better than the other. That I’d respect. This is beside the issue of being so unaware that if all I needed was someone who could “Google” something, I could hire a random street person (or sixth grader) and be just as successful. This of course was back in the day when Microsoft was the Evil Empire and Google’s code of conduct slogan was “Don’t be evil”.

Song of the day: Meredith Brooks ( Live) Lilith Fair- Bitch 1997

Who Doesn’t Like The Deadpool?

  • I am not a fan of the comic book movie genre. For the most part all the Spider Mans, X Men, etc… were either just a meh, or I never saw them. With one exception. Deadpool. I re-watched it last night and had forgotten what a good movie it is. The opening scene alone is genius. There’s not many films that can be funny, poke fun of themselves and their industry, break the fourth wall, have killer special effects, and be an honest to god love story. The Wade and Vanessa segment of them falling in love just makes you smile. And to get away with the stereotypical Dopinder as the Indian taxi driver… well I’m not sure you could do that with today’s woke diversity culture. If you didn’t like Deadpool, then we can’t be friends. And I have a small confession. I might have a bit of a man-crush on Deadpool. Wait, that sounded weird.
  • This is a very easy to understand explanation of how the new mRNA vaccine works. What we managed to create, test, and roll out in under a year boggles the mind.
  • I may have unfairly bagged on the new Wonder Woman films look the other day. I thought it looked like it was filmed with an ultra sharp camcorder. I then watched a couple other movies and they all looked the same way. Turns out it may be due to my fancy new ginormous 4K TV and something called the soap opera effect. This article describes what may be going on. In a nutshell the TV may be applying motion smoothing to the standard film frame rate of 24. I’ll be experimenting today. Stay tuned.
  • Video appeared yesterday that seems to show Canadian police forcibly arresting a man for having a New Years party with, gasp, six people. WTF? Is this really what we want people? Oh, but that won’t happen here you say. New York is currently attempting to pass a law that would “permit state officials to remove and detain state residents if they were deemed to be a “danger to public health.” What could possibly go wrong?
  • I nearly spit my coffee out laughing when I saw the Portland mayor hold a press conference and admit “My good faith efforts at de-escalation have been met with ongoing violence and even scorn from radical Antifa and anarchists”. He’s now asking for state and federal help to stop the violence. Wait, do you hear that? It’s a tiny little violin playing. The people of Portland can suck on it. They voted (and re-voted) these clowns into office. You made your bed, now lay in it. I have no sympathy. They’re going to have to figure out how to solve it on their own.
  • Who would have thought that an idea as simple as we should audit the spending of the Fed would be controversial?
  • Todays the day. I’ve been planning to visit my garage gym again for months now. Today I will. Question is, will I use it or simply admire it? Stay tuned.

Song of the day: Salt-N-Pepa – Shoop

More Power Scotty!

  • I’ve been out of technology for roughly eight years now. When a tech challenge comes along it’s a painful process to try and dredge up past knowledge of how things work. Like trying to start an old lawnmower that sat in the garage for several years. Runs great once it starts, but takes a lot of pulling, fiddling with adjustments, and a few curse words before it gets going. The brand new ginormous TV was delivered and installed in a room we’ve mostly never used before. All is good except the Wi-Fi signal in that room is pitiful, resulting terrible buffering when watching my Real Housewives episodes. No problem, just install a Google Wi-Fi mesh network. And… the Wi-Fi signal is even worse than it was before. Long story short, there were multiple factory resets, some cable changes, changed the router to bridge mode to get rid of the double NAT, a small prayer to the network gods, and we’re back in business with reasonable speeds. All in all, probably still easier than helping grandma set up a Zoom call.
  • To become a politician you have to be a massive, tone-deaf narcissistic asshat. After De Blasio told everyone to stay away from the New York New Years eve ball drop, he and his wife showed up and danced on stage. Sometimes it’s unfortunate we’ve become too civilized to simply run people like this out of town.
  • Continuing with yesterday’s Fed vs state and local thread… New York is sitting on 2/3 of the Covid vaccines they have. It must be Trumps fault.
  • Please look at this chart and tell me where the science is showing that masks are working. Montana implemented a mask mandate and South Dakota didn’t. Can you spot the difference? You can’t even talk about correlation and causation because there’s nothing that points to any sort of correlation. Here’s the chart of California. Please show me where in the data it shows masks are doing anything. Japan was a fanatical mask wearing society before all this and they’re now seeing a spike in Covid. How could this be? Again, this doesn’t “prove” that masks don’t work. I’m simply saying that at this point we should be seeing signals in the data that would give some indication of correlation, and it isn’t there. You know, science and all.
  • Just like last year, the entry date for a big running race is coming up. And just like last year (well, many years if you include the annual Leadville 100 mountain bike race) I spend roughly two weeks wondering if I could do it. It’s beyond a stretch goal and the odds of a disastrous failure and injury would be very high. I think I’m mostly interested in seeing if I’m mentally strong enough to commit to the training and perseverance it would take to accomplish something like that. And bragging rights. And then I come to my senses and back away from the keyboard. But that little voice in the back of my head keeps whispering…
  • It’s day 11 from my Covid vaccine and, according to researchers, I should have roughly 80% protection at this point. Another 10 days until my booster and then I’ll be immortal. Or was it invincible? I get those confused.
  • Speaking of immortal, watched the new Wonder Woman movie last night. I never saw the first one, so it didn’t make much sense to me. Not the strongest script ever produced, that’s for sure. But what really bugged me was the film format. They filmed it in 4K Ultra HD, whatever that is. They must have filmed it in a higher frame rate because it just didn’t look right. It looks like some sort of hyper-realistic video. It didn’t look like film at all. I didn’t care for it.

Song of the day: Spin Doctors – What Time Is It? (live TV 1993)

The Authentic Voice

  • I don’t have a list of resolutions for the New Year. No goals that probably won’t be met. No platitudes about becoming a better person or striving for world peace. I’m in a unique place in life. I’ve been very blessed. Through a combination of dumb luck, good planning, seizing opportunities, and hard work, Mrs. Troutdog and I find ourselves at a happy crossroads. Retirement is looming around the corner. What is that going to look like? Will I spend my waning years puttering around my workbench in the garage? Will we be taking exotic motorcycle trips across southeast Asia? Maybe I’ll finally become a world famous YouTube star, or figure out what it is I’m actually trying to say with this blog. Perhaps I’ll start taking pictures again or figure out once and for all which of my 27 hobbies I want to focus on? When you were younger the saying was “what do you want to be when you grow up?”. Well, here I am all grown up and I still don’t know. So that’s my plan for the year – to try and get a handle on what I want my remaining time on this planet to look like. To find my authentic voice. What do I want to say, do, and leave behind. It’s not an achievable plan. But I think it’s a good theme for the New Year.
  • I finally made the Machaca. I think it came out pretty damn good. It will certainly be a do-over. There’s so many things you can do with it – tortas, street tacos, breakfast, burritos. Good stuff.
  • I don’t know why I find this so frightening. The engineering is damn impressive. It’s amazing where we are from a technology perspective. I guess I just don’t trust human nature. The sci-fi conspiracy theorist in me envisions getting tased by one of these things as I try to enter a store without my Covid-39 passport.
  • You’re already seeing the media reporting the administration is bungling the rollout of the China virus vaccine. What a disaster, only 3 million doses have been given by the end of the year. We were promised 20 million dammit! Ignoring what an amazing R&D accomplishment this has been, the media conveniently doesn’t report that 14 million doses have been shipped. The bottleneck is at the local level. The same thing happens with every hurricane, wildfire, and flood. Clearly we don’t teach civics any more. We are a republic of independent states. The federal government can supply resources, but it’s up to the individual states and cities to implement those resources. When you saw those rows of empty school buses unused and flooded while people frantically tried to evacuate during Katrina, that was the state and cities fault. The federal government (FEMA) prepositioned those assets and the local authorities didn’t use them. It’s a dangerous road to go down letting people think that a massive, federal big brother is in charge of everything. The framers would be appalled at what their republic has become.
  • This article about the imprisonment of Assange is a bit convoluted, but a good read. What we’ve done to him is a travesty. I really liked this statement: “Whether a society is truly free is determined by how it treats its dissidents, those who live and speak and think outside of permissible lines, those who effectively subvert ruling class aims.”
  • I finished my last shift and last task of the year, New Years eve, in a fitting fashion. Giving a soap suds enema to a confused, combative patient who hadn’t pooped in a week and vomiting up tube feeds every thirty minutes. Thanks 2020 and fuck you. Moving on to 2021!
  • Finishing up with pics of the best dogs on the planet, the mighty Vizsla.

Song of the day: Beck – Loser (Live 2003)

The Hive Revolution

  • We’ve had four generally accepted industrial revolutions. Coal, Gas, Electronics and Nuclear, and the Internet. The deep thinkers and Wall Street analysts have been trying to predict what the fifth revolution, or 5IR as it’s known, will be. I postulate that it will be the advent of the Hive and that this pandemic will be looked back on as the catalyst that catapulted 5IR forward. The Hive is the collective, distributed workforce. It’s a gig economy. It no longer matters where you live. Virtually all labor can be sourced online. The pandemic forced companies to allow “work from home”. Many companies are dumping their expensive real estate, realizing it’s no longer needed. Remote workspace companies sputtered, but will roar back once humans can interact again. Every possible labor specialty is now available online – billions of individuals busy producing their specialized skill, available to everyone from anywhere at all times. Businesses are increasingly becoming simple aggregators of the hives collective work.
  • The problem with the Hive is the Queen. Hives exist to serve the Queen. If the Hive were a true distributed system we’d have capitalist bliss. Unfortunately we have a few Queens in the form of Amazon, Google, AT&T, Disney, Microsoft, Fox, Twitter, and Facebook. These few bemouths collectively control most of what you purchase, watch, read, and your work environment. They actively shut down and censor any opinions they don’t agree with. They’ve made it impossible for a small mom and pop retail store to compete. Microsoft has implemented “productivity measuring tools” in all its software. Workers are not to be trusted. These companies literally know everything there is to know about you. Where you go, the time of day you went, how long you spent there, your search habits, reading habits, shopping patterns, how much you earn, what you watch, and most importantly – your political thoughts and opinions.
  • You can’t blame the Queens. Queens are just doing what Queens will do. The ability to rein in a Queen rests with the collective voice of the people in the form of their elected officials. Our government is intended to represent us, to step in when a Queen gets a little too rambunctious. Therein lies our problem. The government has become a little too enamored with the power they wield. They see themselves as a Queen, a new ruling class of elites. They’ve stopped protecting the Hive. Us folks in the lower classes have been the proverbial frog in the pot of slowly boiling water, blissfully unaware. This pandemic and the election suddenly lifted the skirt a bit and gave us a peak. Our elected officials are drunk on power, printing money, trillions out thin air to distribute to their friends and donors. They’ve shut down hundreds of thousands of business, gone forever. Meanwhile they’ve allowed the Walmarts and Home Depots to stay open. You can’t go to your local coffee shop or to get your hair cut, but you can happily go to Target to score some Black Friday deals. You’re not allowed to eat in a restaurant, yet you can go to Costco and wander around eating hot dogs from the food court. The Hive outnumbers the Queen but at some point critical mass is reached and the majority of the Hive become zombies of the state. China and North Korea come to mind. The people of those countries have become mindless puppets. The ability for free thinking people to express an independent thought has disappeared. The collective Hive will turn on anyone who resists the state. The government has used the Queens to frighten the Hive into submission. Don’t believe me? Try to go shopping without a mask on. Try to post an unflattering news story about the Bidens, or question climate change on Twitter or YouTube and watch it get taken down. Facebook will flag it with a fact checked as untrue label and the commenters will pounce, labeling you a flat earther.
  • So is it too late for our Hive? We’ve allowed the state to shut down business, mandate face coverings, and limit interactions with other humans, including members of your own family. Airlines and countries are actively pursuing a Covid passport that will be needed to travel. Spain will be keeping databases of people who refuse the vaccine. Officers of the state shut down business at will. Airlines eject families because two year olds aren’t wearing masks. Theaters have police remove a disabled child for not wearing a mask. Surfers are arrested for surfing alone, in contradiction to pandemic law. The state is changing election and immigration laws as fast as they can go, all to improve their ability to stay in office. How long do you think it will be before a social credit system is in place that will impact your ability to get a job, travel, or post your thoughts freely on the internet? I fear it may be too late already. However, there is unrest. You’re starting to see daily acts of rebellion, of pushing back against the state. Roughly four million people became first time gun owners this year. All available ammo has been scooped up. The lockdowns are beginning to produce pockets of resistance. Will it be enough? Will the thinking Hive start driving out the elites, or has critical mass already been reached? Americans are a unique group of people. It will be interesting to watch.
  • Speaking of the pandemic that shall not be named, take a look at this graph of the case curve of all 50 states. Notice anything? The curves are almost identical in shape for every state. Lockdowns, no lockdowns, masks, no masks, it doesn’t seem to have made a difference in the outcome. The virus is going to do what viruses do. We could have printed that same several trillion dollars, used it to protect the elderly and nursing homes, shore up hospital capacity, and kept our economy flowing. But hey, at least you’ll get $600 dollars.

Song of the day: Sex Pistols – God Save The Queen

A Thought Experiment

  • I’d like you do a little thought experiment. A little contrarian thinking if you will. Wearing a cloth mask is being touted as the only way we’re going to defeat our current pandemic. Ok. Here’s question one. If masks were effective, wouldn’t you expect to see Covid case rates drop significantly where mask mandates are in place? How come you can’t find a single location in this country that can point to a statistically significant drop in cases after a mask mandate? Take LA for example. The people in that city and state are mask zealots. You’re going to get yourself a beatdown in that city if you don’t wear a mask 24/7. Yet, with all that mask compliance, their case rates are soaring. Why is that? You could make the negative argument – just think how much worse it would be if we didn’t wear the masks? Then why aren’t cities without mask mandates exponentially worse than those with them? My point is that it’s now been long enough that we should start seeing signals in the data. Please find me anything that even remotely looks like correlation. You can’t because there isn’t any. Question number two. If a simple cloth mask can prevent me from getting Covid, then I should be able to work on our Covid floor wearing a much more comfortable mask than what I currently do. Yet for some reason the hospital mandates that I wear an N95 mask, procedure mask, face shield, gown and gloves when entering a Covid room. Why is that? I thought a simple bandana was protecting everyone? Don’t get me wrong, as I’ve said many times, I firmly believe wearing a mask has the potential to lower the transmitted viral load and thus may result in a more mild illness. That’s pretty important if you’re in a high risk category. That is NOT the same thing as preventing you from getting Covid.
  • Speaking of the disease that originated in a location which we cannot mention without being labeled as xenophobic, the high priest of Covid Dr Facui, told us back in March that in the history of respiratory borne viruses asymptomatic transmission has never been the driver of outbreaks. Then he changed his tune and we implemented massive lockdowns and mask mandates. And now the data is suggesting, wait for it, Covid is not being spread by asymptomatic transmission. The man’s opinion has consistently drifted in the wind. We shouldn’t wear masks, asymptomatic transmission isn’t a driver of outbreaks, and now the number people required for herd immunity changes based upon public opinion. Why is the media so enamored with this guy?
  • Kamala Harris said some of her favorite childhood memories were of celebrating Kwanzaa. Except she was born before it was invented and it took decades to even become a thing. She moved to Quebec Canada as teenager with her single, Indian mom who was Hindu. What part of a politicians soul is missing that they can utter whatever nonsense thing comes into their head because they think it will make them popular? And why do you even listen to them?
  • And speaking of elections, did you know that we’ve had three presidential elections that took over 100 days to resolve? I didn’t. My point isn’t that I think Trump will win this one (he won’t), but that this is not a new thing. It’s a pity we don’t teach much in the way of useful history anymore. Or journalism.
  • When you adjust daily Covid case rates based upon number of tests run, the case rate hasn’t much changed since April. The media’s drive to report only the most simplistic data will result in our eventual decline to Idiocracy. If you haven’t watched that movie, go find it. It’s really where we’re headed.
  • A court in Shanghai sentenced a citizen journalist to four years in prison Monday after finding her guilty of “picking quarrels and provoking trouble” by reporting on China’s early coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan. Thank god we don’t have thought police here.
  • I may have convinced a friend to descend into the dark hole of gear acquisition that is motorcycle riding. I shall be conducting an information overload today by sending him countless links to motorcycle related videos and gear reviews. He’s already signed up for his first motorcycle class. Resistance is futile.

Song of the day: Propellerheads feat: Miss Shirley Bassey – History Repeating