Category: Politics

Put It On My Credit Card

This weekend we were treated to the complete collapse of a country. Not ours, yet, but Afghanistan. The human cost will be horrible, but entirely predictable. Unless of course you’re a high level military officer, work for one of the intelligence services, department of state, congress, etc… Our elites, the ones who know better than us, have screwed the pooch on this for literally decades. And this coming week will be an epic circle jerk of finger pointing, blaming every past administration, other agencies, and frantic scrambling to ensure they’re not last one standing when the music stops. Or not. Nobody is ever held to account in government-world. Don’t worry, the Durham report will be released any day now!

The president is on vacation and may or may not address the nation in the next few days. The press secretary also left for vacation yesterday. Kamala won’t take any questions. Afghan citizens are literally falling to their death, desperately clinging to U.S. military planes as they try to evacuate the last remaining embassy personnel. This is a bad week for the Biden administration. When added to the southern border disaster, rising gas prices, inflation, skyrocketing crime rates, Antifa running unchecked through the streets, and the failed Covid plan… this week may be what cost the dems the house and/or senate in ’22. Which will change nothing because there’s virtually no difference between the two parties once you scrape away all the verbal diarrhea spouted at the TV cameras and Twitter.

Everything about how this ended in Afghanistan is awful. There are two main takeaways from all this. First, there should be no further evidence needed that there is such a thing as the deep state. From the military brass to defense contractors to think tanks to intelligence services to K street lobbyists and consultants to congress… they exist to line their own pockets and keep the status quo. The bad orange man had at least one thing right – it is a swamp. And the swamp creatures will do anything to defend their piece of the pie. We ridicule the corruption of third world countries. Do you really think our government is any better?

The second takeaway is closely related to the first. We spent $2.26 trillion on the now failed forced democracy experiment in Afghanistan, according to the Costs of War project. Billions upon billions in squandered reconstruction projects. Billions upon billions in military equipment that now lays in the hands of the Taliban. And here’s the best part – we had to borrow all that money so we could give it away. We’ve already paid $530 billion in just interest payments on that borrowed money. Every time you hear someone caterwauling about the U.S. needing to live up to our leadership role and dole out more aid, support, and assistance to some other country – WE HAVE TO FREAKING BORROW IT SO WE CAN GIVE IT TO SOMEONE ELSE. The leaderships of Russia, China, and the middle east must laugh at us.

Meanwhile, our intrepid government leaders are busy fighting over another 1, 6, 10 trillion (?? I’ve lost count of how much it’s up to now) in “infrastructure spending”. Don’t worry, I’m sure it’s all for shovel ready projects. Good paying union jobs! Taxes of every possible type are going to go up. Because, you know, we all need to pay our fair share.

It’s a helpless feeling. Like back when the mob ruled various cities. Pay protection or your shop gets burned down. Pay bribes if you want to get a building permit. You were powerless to do anything about it because the police and officials were all on the take. Speak out too loudly and you’d end up in a shallow grave somewhere in the desert. While the little guy suffered and simply tried to make an honest living, the elites and the mob bosses went to the front of the line and lived the good life. I suppose it’s always been that way. Sometimes it’s just more blatant than other times.

Watching the debacle of this Afghanistan withdrawal and reading the reactions on the social medias, I feel the level of frustration, discord, anger, and distrust in this country is starting to reach dangerous levels. But then again, maybe not. After all, there’s plenty of videos from the Chinese owned TikTok to distract us. Hmm, I think I sounded a little pessimistic in todays missive. Time to unplug and go do something outside. I suggest you do the same.

I Want The Data

A short one today. The local hardware store in our little town just reimplemented a mask mandate to shop there. The city council is contemplating reinstating the city-wide mask mandate. I’m sure cities across the country are evaluating the same thing with the new delta (sshhh, don’t mention the country) variant of the virus which shall not be named.

For roughly a year every city, county, state, and federal public health office has been collecting extensive data on Covid cases. We know exactly how many new cases we had for every single day in every corner of the country (and world). Every single person in the country has seen multiple instances of the bell-shaped curve graphs showing the current state of Covid case counts.

So here’s my question – with all that data it should be very simple to show a strong correlation between the implementation of a mask mandate and the reduction of case counts, right? The entire point of the mask (as we’ve heard ad nauseum) is that they protect you and others from transmission of the virus. So, across the country the data should easily show the date of a mask mandate and shortly afterwards case counts dropping. Seems like simple science, no?

I have yet to see any data that shows a mask mandate having any impact whatsoever on case counts in any part of the country. Have you? Don’t you think the powers that be would be hammering the news talking heads every night with these charts to prove how effective their mask mandates were? Instead, the CDC’s strongest case for masks seems to be a report on two hairstylists who were positive and saw a bunch of clients. They all wore masks and nobody else was infected. So there you go – based upon two hairstylists, we all have to wear a mask.

We’ve had a real world, year long experiment with extensive amounts of data. Before you force me to wear the damn mouth diaper again, I want to see the data. Not theory, not anecdotes from hairstylists or isolated lab experiments attempting to measure droplet velocities. We know the date we started wearing the damn masks. Can you correlate a drop in case counts afterwards? It doesn’t seem like a hard question, does it?

A Health Crisis

  • I’ve noticed a pattern lately that is puzzling and slightly embarrassing. The overwhelming majority of readers and followers of this blog are health and fitness accounts. I find that odd since I rarely post anything about exercise, food, or health. It’s curious that the WordPress algorithm decided to push my content to the health and fitness space. I’d honestly like to know – if you came across my ramblings were you searching for something specific or was it randomly recommended for you? So here’s the embarrassing part. While I may talk about various activities from time to time, golf, running, mountain biking, etc…, the truth is that I’m horribly unfit and my weight has reached a crisis level. I don’t know how that happened. Well, I know how it happened, I just don’t understand how mentally I let it happen. On April 12th of last year I hit 168.4 pounds. The lightest I’d been in over a decade. I felt fit, was crazy active and was contemplating some crazy running ideas. I’d been super strict with a keto diet for a year and a half at that point. I decided to take a diet break and I’m now north of 200 lbs and can’t see my toes when I look down. I’ve gone on a few runs (that were mostly walking) and it’s clear that I’m essentially starting from scratch. It’s terribly depressing. I’ve been “starting the diet/exercise routine tomorrow” for about a month now. I’ve always had terrific willpower once I cross a threshold. It’s getting to that point that’s the struggle. As soon as I start losing some weight and make fitness gains my motivation and willpower skyrocket and we’re off to the races. I just have to figure out how to mentally get to that point. Sigh… I guess that’s why the health and fitness industry is a gazillion dollar racket. We’re all trying to figure out that magic formula to get and maintain results. The irony of posting this is that I’ve probably permanently flagged this site as a “health and fitness” blog as far as WordPress is concerned. LOL.
  • Let’s see if I’ve got this straight – masks weren’t effective, then they were. Then double masking was even better. Then you didn’t need a mask if you were vaccinated, but you still did even if you’d previously had covid. Kids no longer needed masks at school. Now kids must wear masks and even if vaccinated, adults will needs to start wearing masks again. Vaccines weren’t trustworthy because they came from the Trump administration, then they were the holy grail of everything. You’re an evil SOB who is practically killing people by just walking down the street if you aren’t vaccinated. The carrot to help persuade people to vaccinate is that you won’t need to wear a mask. Except now you’ll have to regardless. I thought the messaging around covid during the Trump administration was terrible and was a political gift to the dems. The Biden administration clearly looked at Trump’s bad covid messaging and said, “here, hold my beer and watch this”. It’s been a master class in how to inspire massive distrust.
  • The United Kingdom, South Africa, Brazil, India. Those are the locations of the various variants of covid that have developed. We no longer refer to them that way, as has always been done. In May the WHO announced Greek-letter names for important strains so they could be easily referred to in a simple, easy to say, and non-stigmatizing fashion. Which is why the news is all a-buzz about the “delta variant”. Thank god we’ve spared India the shame of having a variant named after them.
  • For the first time my annual season ski pass now includes lift-served mountain biking. I’ve never experienced the joy of going downhill without first riding uphill. I was always firmly entrenched in the “you have to earn your downhill” camp. Screw that! I may never ride uphill again! Of course this doesn’t help my weight and fitness problem. On the other hand my increased weight has improved my downhill speed. That whole momentum = mass times velocity thing. See, I can find a silver lining in anything.

Song of the day: Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – Red Right Hand

Radio Silence

  • As we traveled through the Trump years, there was always one constant. A never ending social media stream of negative comments, snarky one-liners, memes, linked articles, and virtue signaling over how horrible the former president and anyone associated with him was. I rarely checked Facebook because it was always an avalanche of negativity and Trump derangement syndrome (TDS) postings. It was truly toxic at times. Here’s the part I find curious. Now that Trumps out and Biden is in, I’d have thought we’d start seeing a flood of positive posts bragging about how much better, more competent, and smarter this new administration is. I was expecting a deluge of self-righteous gloating over how superior the Biden team is at handling the reigns of power. For God’s sake, we finally have a woman of color as vice president – her deft political skills should be trumpeted at every opportunity! But… nothing. Complete radio silence. I don’t think I’ve seen a single post praising anything the Biden administration has done from my friends on the left. I find it puzzling. Where is the vigorous defense and support of Biden from the left-leaning members of the public? Y’all were screeching like scalded cats for four plus years at the mere mention of the bad orange man. Why the sudden lack of interest in politics? It’s an interesting phenomenon. I will admit, I find it refreshing to not be bombarded with TDS every time I open up Facebook. It’s mostly returned to what I think it’s original purpose is – keeping up with day to day remote family and friend events and happenings. Oh, and never ending password phishing schemes masquerading as fun quizzes and questionnaires.
  • The last few days I’ve had the all-time worst (or at least in the top three) patient you could experience. A truly vile and horrible human being. Never ending berating, screaming at, and cursing every staff member who went in the room. Crying, manipulating, tantrums. Non stop accusations that she was being tortured, abused, and being denied her rights. At least one staff member was reduced to tears after one of her tirades. It’s overwhelmingly mentally exhausting to deal with that for twelve hours. I drove home last night wondering how someone could have turned into such a miserable person. What a waste of a life.
  • It was dumping snow a few days ago. It’s now nearly a hundred degrees. Must be due to climate change.
  • I spent way too much time this morning going through this list of lists. I was looking for a list of the Game of Thrones characters. We started re-watching the series and I’d forgotten how complex and convoluted (at times) the story lines could be. I didn’t find my list because I got side tracked by all the other lists.
  • I took a pretty good picture of a tree the other day. I’m proud of it, not because it’s anything special, but because it helped remind me that good pictures come from putting yourself in a position to take good pictures. I trudged up this hill in full motorcycle gear and crested the top only to be greeted by at least 30 school age kids on some sort of field trip. I was going to head back down since there was no way to get a picture without at least two of the kids being in the frame at any given time. For some reason, I decided to wait. I milled about and helped take pictures for several tourist couples. Suddenly, the crowd all started back down the hill. I ran over to the spot I’d been looking at and took a few pictures of the tree just as some rain started falling in the background. I had the spot to myself for about two minutes before a new crowd swarmed the hill. The storm blew out about 15 minutes later and the skies went clear. A few moments of patience (rare for me) paid off. Lesson learned.

Song of the day: B52’s – Private Idaho

You Don’t Need To Know

While there may be some exceptions, for the most part I don’t believe people in power are inherently evil. I honestly don’t think politicians and CEO’s have malicious intentions. I do think that people in power become so wrapped up in their own bubble and authority they lose sight of the big picture.

For example, take the mayor of my little city. At the beginning of the pandemic, public officials were panicking. For that I don’t blame them. The “experts” were publishing dire information and basically we were all going to die. Our mayor never actually made any tough decisions, only echoed whatever the state and CDC did. Three or so weeks after shutting down all private businesses, the grumblings from the citizenry started. The cities economy was cratering and job loses were huge. On several occasions, via an online forum, I asked the mayor what metrics the city would use to open back up? I received two answers. The first was “the city will follow the guidance of the health district, state, and CDC”. The second was “all our data is posted to the heath district’s web site” (it wasn’t).

Two complete non-answers. So either the mayor had no idea, or she didn’t want to be held to specific numbers in a rapidly shifting scenario. Either way, as a person in a position of authority she decided that as mere citizens we didn’t need to know what the governments plan or thought process was. She single handedly shut down private businesses and then wouldn’t be transparent about when they could open back up again. I think it’s easy for people in positions of power to get all wrapped up in the feeling of we’re doing what’s best for the public, so they don’t really need to know the details. Like parents telling a ten year old “because I said so, that’s why”.

The ultimate example is to watch any president’s press secretary give a briefing. Every single word is parsed and nuanced. Nothing is said that doesn’t advance the political messaging. The people rarely get to see or hear anything resembling reality. Are these people evil? No. But they are so caught up in their power and authority they’ve completely lost sight of the fact that they work for us. Or that’s the theory anyway.

The private sector is no different. I’ve been watching an interesting development with a YouTube channel I subscribe to. This channel has half a million subscribers and suddenly was removed from the partner program, which means it can no longer monetize the videos. No explanation, no warning, nothing. The channel creator has no idea why his channel was removed. The worst part is that once removed from the partner program you also lose all means of contact with YouTube. He has no way to actually contact them to try and find out what he’d done wrong. Now, Google is a private company and they can do whatever they want. But it is certainly the ultimate in power and authority when a company has the opinion they can treat their customers any way they want and feels no obligation to offer any explanation. I’m sure they justify it internally under the guise of “protecting” us vulnerable members of the public from something harmful. (see also, Twitter) Irony in full bloom from the company who’s slogan once was “Don’t be evil”.

I have little point to this other than to remind you that you probably shouldn’t accept anything the government, experts, or most authority figures tell you at face value. Timothy Leary in the ’60’s had it right with his slogan “Question Authority”. As this last year has proven time and time again… they are most likely wrong, lying, obscuring, or hiding the truth. But it’s ok – it’s for your own good.

The Ex Post Facto Study

  • As humans, we really like passing new laws, creating processes and procedures, and establishing new rules to solve the problems we’re experiencing. What we don’t do a very good job of is any sort of analysis of our newly created bureaucracy to see if it actually did anything useful. Laws and processes, once created, tend to stick around forever. For example at the start of the pandemic that shall not be named for fear of woke xenophobia, my hospital started a screening process for anyone entering. They purchased fancy stand alone scanners that let me scan my badge and take my temperature. I never use it because I have to log into it the night before (a software system the hospital had to purchase), answer the same stupid four questions, and then the next morning my temperature never registers with the automated machine because I just walked across the parking lot in 40 degree temps. The backup to the automated station is an employee who asks the questions, manually checks my temp (which still fails), and then gives me a sticker to put on my badge to “prove” I’ve been screened that day. When the ‘rona started everyone was panicking and I’m sure this process seemed reasonable at the time. It’s been in place for quite awhile now, so a retrospective study seems appropriate. Has this system actually “caught” any cases of Corona? I doubt it. How many people with 104 degree temps and difficulty breathing actually go to work or randomly show up to visit aunt Sally in the hospital? Or, they are asymptomatic and would have passed the screening anyway. Naturally the in-person screeners are only going through the motions at this point. I walk up say “no changes”, they try to scan my temp for 0.2 seconds, I grab my sticker and go. So in retrospective, is it worth continuing this? What made me think of this was something Grandpa Joe said during his weird state of the union speech last night. He dredged up the standard we need more gun laws rhetoric, saying we need to ban ghost guns and pass universal background checks. Ignoring what drivel that is for the moment, this seems like a prime opportunity for a retrospective study. We have tons of historical data in the form of crimes committed with guns. If we looked backwards and applied the new proposed laws, how many of those crimes would have been prevented? e.g. how many shootings have occurred with “ghost guns”? How many people went through some sort of firearm purchase at a flea market or gun show, bypassed a background check, and then went on to commit a crime? It seems pretty simple to look backwards to see if something would work moving forward. But that assumes you actually want the answer.
  • Spell check is a wonderous thing. Without it my writing would look like a five year old’s. Spell check elevates it to at least sixth or seventh grade. But the problem with spell check is you have to be roughly in the ballpark for it to give a suggestion. Take for example “bureaucracy”. I don’t think I’ve ever gotten it right first time. Unfortunately I never even get close enough for spell check to offer a helpful hint. I end up Googling things to stumble across the right spelling. Which brings me to my new phone. I like using the “swype” keyboard rather than entering in individual letters. The default swype implementation on the old Pixel phone was marvelous. I only had to get semi-close to the actual letters and it somehow knew what I was trying to type. It often had the correct contextual suggestions for the next word and the next word… magical. Samsung’s implementation on the other hand is very disappointing and more often than not I have to go back and type everything out. Sigh. I know you can download other swype keyboards, but that would take actual effort.
  • I violated my newly vowed rule to simply pay a professional to install things rather than me spending 10x the amount of time to do the same thing. I got some parts for the new ginormous motorcycle but the idea of waiting for an appointment and then paying someone $75 an hour to do what I should be able to do just killed me. And sure enough… two and a half full afternoons, many expletives, phone calls to customer support, and two new one-time use tools and everything is installed. But at least I feel good about my manliness. Cue Tim the toolman grunt.
  • This past weekend was very rainy and outdoor stuff wasn’t an option. I was bored and decided to conduct research and do an actual experiment. I’ve been needing a navigation solution (long story) for the backcountry while on the motorcycle. I wanted to use my phone rather than purchase a $600+ GPS device. I ended up spending the better part of a day researching options, downloading software, creating routes and maps, and really learning the systems. And the pièce de résistance, I created three custom routes and then went out and drove them to see which system performed the best. An actual experiment. I am a dork of huge proportions. But, at the end of the day I think I have a system that’s going to work.
  • I don’t think there’s much to say about the weird state of the union last night. Grandpa Joe is not a gifted orator. For all his flaws and ignoring content, Obama could deliver a good speech (as long as the teleprompter was working). Clinton too. For speechmaking ability I’d rank the presidents in the following order: Obama, Reagan, Clinton, Bush 43, Bush 41, Biden. As far as content goes, all SOTU speeches are stupid. They’re long whish lists of crap that never gets done. If you’re a fan of everything big government, you loved Biden’s speech. If you’re a minimalist government type, it was abhorrent. I don’t think there was much in the middle for this one.
  • I’m going to ride the ginormous motorcycle a fair number of hours north today, then come back on Saturday. Sort of a pre-travel trial run. I’m waiting for my soft luggage panniers to arrive and then all the pieces will be in place to hit the road! Interesting how much effort, planning, and research it’s taken to be able to experience the “freedom” of the road. LOL.

Song of the day: Sugar Ray Fly 1997

I Don’t Know, But I’ve Been Told

  • GIGO. Garbage In, Garbage Out. If you haven’t heard that expression before, it’s an old-school programing adage. Your belief systems are a product of the inputs you consume. Consistently consume information from just one source and that’s what you’ll believe. A recent, annual, survey that focuses on false beliefs broken down by political ideology, gender, etc… illustrates this. The questions ranged from Covid, race, gender, and the climate. Biden voters had false beliefs 61% of the time, while Trump voters were wrong 42% of the time. If you consume your information solely from CNN, MSNBC, Facebook, and like minded Twitter follows, then of course you’ll have a skewed vision of the world. The same is true of Fox, but per the survey to a lesser degree. Take for example the recent expose of CNN by Project Veritas. Oh, you didn’t hear about it? That’s because there’s zero coverage of it on CNN, MSNBC, Politico, and Twitter permanently banned Veritas’ account. Veritas published video footage of a CNN technical director saying the networks focus was to get Trump out of office. “Look what we did, we got Trump out. I am 100 percent going to say it, and I 100 percent believe that if it wasn’t for CNN, I don’t know that Trump would have got voted out. … I came to CNN because I wanted to be a part of that,” Chester stated. He then said, “[COVID] will taper off to a point that it’s not a problem, anymore. Climate change can take years, so [CNN will] probably be able to milk that quite a bit. … Climate change is going to be the next COVID thing for CNN. … Fear sells.” You would think “The most trusted name in news” getting caught talking about pushing a specific social/political agenda might be a story. The fact that it’s not even mentioned by the major outlets speaks volumes. This really shouldn’t be a surprise, but clearly a large percentage of people take whatever the news media says as gospel. Hear it often enough and it starts to become a core part of your beliefs. The goal of the School Of Contrarianism is not to claim what I say is correct. I’m probably full of shit 38.4% of the time according to the latest surveys. The goal is to get you to question. Question everything. Just because some 23 year old “journalist” did a copy/paste of an AP story and then added their own opinions to give the story some “depth” doesn’t make it correct. We’ve gone from the 1960’s Timothy Leary/counterculture slogan “Question Authority” to becoming mindless lemmings of corporate wokeness. Ever see the movie The Truman Show? That’s us today. We’re all stars of the show, only we don’t know it. (P.S, lemmings don’t really jump off cliffs and commit mass suicide. Boom, mind blown.)
  • Speaking of blindly following a narrative, the Biden administration continues to give focus to the cult of global warming. Here’s a good place to start practicing your path down Contrarianism (TM). In the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) the Monthly Energy Review, they report that energy-related CO2 emissions decreased by 11% in the United States in 2020 primarily because of the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and related restrictions. Furthermore, U.S. energy-related CO2 emissions fell in every end-use (consumer) sector for the first time since 2012. We had a record reduction in CO2 emissions, so we have the first actual laboratory experiment to see what happens with CO2 in the atmosphere. Remember, reduction of CO2 in the atmosphere is the entire goal of the green new deal that’s supposed to save us from this existential threat. So what happened? Nothing. Zero change in atmospheric CO2. Not even a blip. Meanwhile, China’s Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Le Yucheng on Friday said, “Some countries are asking China to do more on climate change. I am afraid this is not very realistic”. On Wednesday President Biden’s climate czar, John Kerry, admitted Wednesday that the US reducing its emissions to zero wouldn’t make much of a difference in the global climate change fight. Yet we’re moving forward on a $2 trillion climate agenda. How does this even make sense? As a junior Contrarian, start questioning this sort of crap.
  • The Minneapolis City Council has voted 11-1 to oppose the use of tear gas and other munitions as part of Minnesota’s response to civil disorder. Closing arguments in the Chauvin trial start Monday. I’ma gonna grab my popcorn for this one. I’m sure Minneapolis will come out just fine from all this. A few mostly peaceful protesters and some bad words shouted. It’ll all be good.
  • You should read this letter from a parent who’s pulling his kid out of an expensive private school. We’re creating an entire generation of mindless lemmings (I can’t help but perpetuate this lemming myth). I’m reminded of a meme I saw the other day that speaks truth. “Hard times create strong men. Strong men create good times. Good times create weak men. Weak men create hard times”. Sorry for the blatant cisgendering stereotyping. If I’ve insulted your personhood and cosmic aura, I apologize.
  • I decided to install a part on the ginormous motorcycle yesterday. I was going to have the dealership do it, but it kills me to pay someone to do what I’m (mostly) capable of. It took half a day, one trip to the auto parts store for a specialized tool, several skinned knuckles, many four letter words, and watching a how-to video approximately thirty times before I realized there was a specific orientation to get the parts to fit. I should have just gone to the dealership. Do you think I’ve learned my lesson? Probably not. As Forest Gump says, “I’m not a smart man”.

Song of the day: Fatboy Slim – The Rockafeller Skank

Follow The Advice Of The Galactically Stupid

  • Breaking news, onetime actor Mark Hamill and director James Mangold announced that they are attempting to spawn a Hollywood boycott of Georgia. They don’t want to film in a state that “doesn’t allow people to vote”. I honestly wasn’t going to say anything more about this, but the sheer stupidity boggles my mind. Forget all the other crazy misinformation about this Georgia law being spread by politicians and the media, I want to focus on one thing. Voter ID. Take a deep breath… so what you’re telling me is that there are thousands upon thousands of people in Georgia that do not have an ID? You’re asking me to believe that there are massive numbers of functioning adults in the state, who are legal residents, that do not have a home, car, cell phone, etc… because they can’t figure out how to obtain identification? Seriously? With a straight face you want to tell me that there are armies of people, aimlessly wandering the streets because they don’t have an ID, and yet they desperately want to vote? News flash, we’re a few years past the 1950’s. It’s 2021. We have frick’n self driving cars. There is not a single reasonably functioning person above the age of 17 in this country who does not have an ID. But you knew that. And so does the left, Hollywood, and the media. And yet, politicians trot out this nonsense constantly. And the media simply smiles and helps them spread the word without ever challenging them. Even more offensive, the media happily lets them frame it as, wait for it, racism! Clearly you are a white supremacist by supporting this law. Probably even an insurrectionist and member of the bugaloo bois. If you spout this garbage, you are either galactically stupid or you’re willing to lie to push your agenda. If you find yourself agreeing with this crap, or ignoring it because it helps your side… time to take a look in the mirror and think about what kind of person you want to be. I’m not disappointed in the politicians – I expect them to do this shit (on both sides of the aisle). What disgusts me are the “journalists” and everyone else happily willing to go along with the lie because it’s in their interest. There’s nothing you can do about the pure partisans. It’s the people willing to put aside common sense in the name of being on the right side of woke that should be shamed. Sigh, ok got that off my chest. I’ll be quiet now, promise.
  • Nobody likes to be disliked. And who doesn’t like a grandpa? Apparently a large percentage of the White House’s YouTube videos get massively more “dislikes” than “likes”. Reportedly YouTube is going to remove the “dislike” feature so grandpa Joe’s feelings don’t get hurt. Well, to be fair I don’t think ‘ole Joe could tell you what YouTube is but I wouldn’t be surprised if the Whitehouse press office said something to Google.
  • Today shall be the first mountain bike ride of the season. The four stages of this ride shall be: 1) Oh my god, I’ve missed riding, this feels great! 2) Wow, this hill is really steep. I don’t remember having to walk up last year. 3) Oh crap I’m really tired. I don’t know if I’ll make it home. I wonder if someone can come pick me up. 4) Stage four takes place two days from now when I’m wondering why I can’t walk down the stairs because my legs hurt so much. Stage four disappears sometime in April. Stage three in May. By June I’m no longer walking up hills. Come July, I’m thinking I’m ready to sign up for races. It’s a cycle that happens every year.
  • Cassie Maier is 5′ 4″ and rides an adventure bike the same size and weight as my new one. I stumbled across this video of her talking about and demonstrating mounting and dismounting techniques. She makes it look easy. It’s time for me to get past my fear and start practicing. If she can do it, so can I. I suppose it’s time to bite the bullet and order the crash bars so I can start working on this. I know once I get past the fear (and the first few bike drops) I’ll be a much better rider. But committing to something you know may result in a fall is hard.
  • If you don’t follow the Oatmeal, you should. Anyway, he posted something to Instagram yesterday about his dog passing away unexpectedly. I don’t know why, but it gave me some serious tears in my eyes. I had to go pet the Troutdog and give him some extra treats. We seriously don’t deserve dogs.

Song of the day: Devo – [I Can’t Get No] Satisfaction

Weekend At Bernie’s

Clinton, Bush, Obama, Trump. I don’t care what you thought of them personally. I don’t care what you thought of their policies or political bent. What is undisputable is that all of these men were leaders. Type A CEO’s. When they came into a room it was clear who was in charge. You cannot with a straight face tell me that Grandpa Joe falls into that same category. Yesterday’s press conference was an embarrassment. The few answers he actually gave he read directly from prepared notes given to him. When he tried to speak extemporaneously he wandered off on tangents and lost track of what he was saying or what point he was trying to make. The hand picked press core (complete with a handy dandy cheat sheet. With pictures!) were complicit in this farce by lobbing a few softballs at him. A stark difference from a Trump press conference. I have two thoughts about this disaster.

The first is an observation about the reaction on social media and by the press. I have a fair number of links to fairly liberal folks on social media. The last year (and more) my feeds have been inundated with a non-stop barrage of Orange Man Bad postings. Daily I’d see postings from various friends lamenting the outrage of the day that Trump had committed and dear god will we ever return to a time when we had a “real” president? Well… that time, in theory, is now. And what do I see on my social medias? Nothing. Crickets. Radio silence. I expected to see never ending, nausea inducing, praise of how eloquent, smart, and serious a president Biden is. I was sure I’d see non-stop memes comparing how well Biden is doing vs Trump. There’s nothing. It’s refreshing, but I find it odd the folks so desperate for him to win are so quiet. CNN, as of this morning, did not have a single story about the press conference on the top of their site. I find that strange. Where are all the liberals singing the daily praise of Biden?

My second thought is one I’ve posited before. Given that Grandpa Joe is clearly not in charge, who is? Who’s really running the show at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave? It’s not Kamala, she came to the game late and was selected by whoever’s in charge. Is it Klain the chief of staff? That would make the most sense since he was a long time “senior advisor” during the campaign. Is it Susan Rice? Perhaps it’s a coalition of them plus the DNC brass and Obama in the background? Doesn’t it seem like something the public should know?

Independent of “who’s in charge” I do find in odd that there’s almost zero coverage of the overall White House staff and cabinet. During the Trump administration there was wall to wall coverage of virtually every member of the administration and how evil/incompetent/racist/etc… they were. Many in the administration were household names. Now, I’d wager that many of you had never heard the name Klain or even knew that Susan Rice was part of the administration. I bet, until the China meeting gone bad, you had no idea who the new Secretary of State was. Why is that? The only reporting seems to be around the edges, mostly centered on the diversity aspect of some rarely seen cabinet post.

No, I don’t think it’s some giant conspiracy. I simply think it’s a press corps that’s reluctant to give negative coverage to team Biden. They tread carefully around the edges and don’t press too hard so they can tell themselves they’re providing fair and equal coverage. Maybe that’s for the best. If the majority of the public loses confidence in their government, bad things tend to happen. The most worrisome part of this, in my opinion, is that world leaders respond to strength and confidence. They will take advantage and exploit any signs of weakness, as bullies and strong nations are prone to do. We will be tested. Who is going to make the decisions about how we respond? Two months in and this administration has been already been steamrolled and/or thrown shade by China, Russia, North Korea, and Mexico. We finally wheeled out our President in an attempt to show he’s mentally sharp and in command. What came across is that he’s a confused old man who clearly does not belong there. This does not bode well. The next four years do not fill me with confidence. But hey, at least we will have sorted out the proper pronouns and saved the climate!

In The Doghouse, Again

  • While I’m not a particularly gifted writer, I do much better at communicating my thoughts in written form than I do speaking. My mouth and my brain are not always in sync. In my head I may have a completely logical and well thought out opinion, but what comes out of my mouth is “that sucks”. I did this exact thing yesterday to Mrs Troutdog. She made the innocent statement that “I should watch SD Governor Kristi Noem’s CPAC speech, it’s really good”. My response? “How do you watch that crap? It’s just a bunch of politicians auditioning for their next office”. Way to go Troutdog! She reminded me of it later that night, telling me that I can come across very negative about everything. She’s probably right. The problem is that in my head I don’t feel negative. That’s actually not what I’m thinking at all. In reality I actually feel more positive than I have in a while, mostly due to stepping away from the non-stop barrage of political news we’ve experienced this last year. I have a bunch of goals and new activities that I’m really excited about. So when it comes to some random political speech, I really could care less. It won’t impact my life one bit, regardless of who the politician or which side of the aisle they’re from. Politics are fake. More so than any other profession. I have a deep distrust of all politicians. That distrust leads me to view anything they say as something purely calculated to achieve their next elected office. That’s unfortunate because I’m sure many of them are lovely people, and there probably are some politicians out there who truly feel that they’re trying to make a positive difference for the future. The unfortunate part of my dismissing the Governor’s speech is that it’s actually a really good speech. She really is a rising political star. Now, I don’t agree with everything she stands for. As is probably true for many more centrist folks, I agree with most of her political ideas but I don’t agree with her on social issues. I suppose that’s the case for most people, regardless of political side – you pick the few issues that are important to you and choose a politician that most closely espouses that. Meanwhile, you hold your nose and ignore the other parts. There will never be a perfect candidate for everyone. And Governor Noem is certainly not perfect. Noem has received 26 traffic citations, including 20 speeding tickets from 1989 to 2010, stop sign and seat belt violations, no driver’s license, failure to appear notices, and two arrest warrants. That’s impressive. I don’t know if she’s a rebel, giving a big FU to the establishment, or just a really bad driver. One thing I do know, she clearly has a workout routine that makes me feel very inadequate. I suspect most men and women in that audience spent much of that speech wishing they had her shoulders and arms. I’m thinking a Noem / Tulsi ticket in 2024 would be pretty powerful. Question is, who gets the top spot?
  • I smoked some pretty good baby back ribs the other day. I confidently stated that I think I’m ready to try a brisket this summer. If you’re not familiar, smoked brisket is the holy grail of barbeque. It takes twelve plus hours to cook and there’s no in-between when it comes to quality – brisket is either mouth wateringly good, or it’s awful. It’s an expensive piece of meat and a lot of hours to find out which one you’ve got. Plus it’s so big you have to have a bunch of people over to help eat it, which guarantees a large audience for your potential failure. In preparation I watched Aaron Franklin’s instructional series on cooking barbeque and quickly realized… I’m not ready for brisket. I think a more realistic goal for the summer is mastering pulled pork. I’m good with that. Being able to crank out a good rib or pulled pork are still worthy items in the “basic dude stuff” toolbox.
  • Speaking of South Dakota, it’s been on my todo list for quite some time. It’s a little out of the way from where I’m located so it’s just out of reach of the quick roadtrip. But the Badlands, Black Hills, and Rushmore… is a motorcycle dream ride. I need to start figuring out what trips are realistic this summer. Lots of moving parts to coordinate. Will Mrs Troutdog have a suitable bike by then and is that type of trip even within her new rider skills? Is that where we want to spend the bulk of our vacation budget this summer? Who’s going to watch the dog, or do I need to install a sidecar and get some doggles? Am I overthinking this or not planning enough? It’s always interesting when you plan on doing things you’ve never done before. It’s hard to know what to expect. Fun thinking about though.
  • I don’t do well without sun. And this winter has been weird weather-wise. Normal for us is three or four days of storms, a week of sun, and repeat. It’s normally a pretty good mix. A few powder ski days followed by some blue sky groomer run or cross country ski days. This winter feels like it’s just been grey non-stop. I’ve missed most of the powder days due to bad timing with work. My mood slowly drifts south with lack of sun. On top of that I have this new motorcycle obsession, so my thoughts are on warm summer days lately. So anyway, yesterday I went cross country skiing with some friends and my hound. Halfway through the ski, the sun came out and it was glorious. I think there was a five minute period where we all just stopped and stood there, not speaking, faces turned towards the sun. It gave me hope. We’re only a few weeks away from blue sky spring skiing. And a month from actual motorcycle time. Now I just need to stop eating cookies or I won’t fit into the new fat Elvis motorcycle suit.

Song of the day: Presidents Of The USA – Lump Pinkpop 2005