Category: Politics

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

News Of The Weird

  • When I was a kid, every once in a while my friends and I would pick up a copy of the Weekly World News. They bill themselves as “The worlds only reliable news”. As kids we knew it was just a silly tabloid with articles containing headlines like “5 things to avoid during an alien abduction“. But also as a kid, something in the back of your brain would wonder if maybe, just maybe, it was true? Reporters couldn’t just make stuff up could they? As a so called “adult” I’ve always been firmly in the skeptical bigfoot camp when it comes to UFO’s. Billions of people on this planet… if aliens have visited we’d know about it. Government isn’t competent enough to keep a secret like that. So imagine my surprise when I saw this article – “Pentagon admits it has been testing wreckage from UFO crashes & findings may ‘change our lives forever”. This comes from 154 pages released by the Defense Intelligence Agency after a three year FOIA request by researcher Anthony Bragalia. Could this be real? I honestly don’t know what to think. If it is, what other secrets has the government managed to keep? It is odd the Kennedy assassination still hasn’t been declassified after all these years. Maybe we really are holding the bodies of aliens from the Roswell UFO crash at Area 51? Could there actually be a Bigfoot type creature running around the pacific northwest? My skeptical roots have been shaken a bit today.
  • Speaking of journalism, I saw an image this morning of the giant 1st Amendment plates being taken down from the former Newseum in Washington DC. It’s an interesting image given the current dissenting speech purge and cancel culture of today. When we visited DC a few years ago I had never heard of the Newseum and only went as an afterthought on the recommendation of a friend. It ended up being in the top three things we saw. Interestingly, the thing I was most looking forward to was the Smithsonian Air and Space museum. That ended up being the most disappointing attraction. Meanwhile a little museum about journalism I’d never heard of became one of my favorites. Sadly it closed down at the end of 2019.
  • Meanwhile, it appears Sen Ted Cruz left with his family to Cancun while the state he represents freezes over because of their decision not to join the East and West power grids. While I don’t begrudge anyone going on a planned vacation with their family, how do you not have any political awareness of how this would look? Not that he could actually do anything about it, but still. More proof that politicians from both sides of the aisle really don’t care about you.
  • The other day former MMA star turned actress Gina Carano was cancelled by Disney for sharing a dissenting opinion from that of woke Hollywood. She’s probably one of those domestic insurrectionists we’ve been hearing about. Anyway, despite the clumsiness of her tweet, there are some parallels to today and 1930’s Germany. This post is worth a read.
  • I broke the law yesterday. Despite being a contrarian, I am a rule follower so this was definitely out of character for me. I’d run an errand and on the way back home I realized the streets were mostly dry. I have not been able to test drive the new motorcycle due to large amounts of fluffy white global warming that have been falling from the sky lately. The bike has not been registered, titled, and does not yet have a license plate. All that went out the window when I saw an opportunity to go for a quick ride. I’m in love. It’s smooth, powerful, and rides like a dream. Super agile for such a big bike. It exceeded all my expectations. It does however have more buttons and switches than the space shuttle. I can easily see myself riding off a cliff as I try to navigate the touch screen display to change riding modes or turn on the heated grips. It’s so complicated, Honda created an online simulator so you can practice while not on the bike. I don’t care. The sound that engine makes when you twist the throttle makes my heart skip a beat. It was worth being a lawbreaker. Spring can’t come soon enough.

Song of the day: George Thorogood – Bad To The Bone – 7/5/1984 – Capitol Theatre (Official)

Learn To Code

  • Way back in 2019, then candidate Biden showed his concern for out of work coal miners by encouraging them to simply learn to code: “Gimme a break! Anybody who can throw coal into a furnace can learn how to program for God’s sake.” When more than a thousand journalists were laid off later that year, many of them were inundated with “learn to code” memes on twitter. In a move foreshadowing it’s current purge, Twitter promptly began shutting down accounts of anyone tweeting the offensive and obviously racist meme. Climate czar John Kerry seemed determined to keep the theme going yesterday by telling potentially out of work oil and gas workers they can just simply learn to make solar panels. Probably good advice since we’re going to need a lot of ’em. Biden wants the US to run completely on “clean energy” by 2035. Currently clean energy supplies 6.8% of energy production. 5.5% for wind and 1.3% for solar. Hydroelectric adds another 6.5%, but I don’t think we’re talking about damming up more rivers. So… in 14 years we’re somehow going to replace ~85% of our energy infrastructure? It’s hard not to laugh at statements like that. Except that those cute little feel good statements will come at a cost. Biden’s already thrown out a $2 trillion figure for his climate plan. And yesterday the nominee for the commerce department, Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo, said “the administration would have to remain open to new taxation on middle class families in order to fund policies on climate change and infrastructure improvement”. So I guess the plan is to tax us for the privilege of covering every square inch of open space with wind and solar farms? I wonder if its too late to invest in Solyndra?
  • I live in a small town. The last few years it’s grown rapidly due to the mass exodus of people fleeing states like California. Unfortunately they also bring their California values and attitudes. Where I see this the most is driving habits. Way back when, we had little traffic and people were generally courteous. Most people would wave you in to merge and would generally keep a reasonable distance on the freeway. Now it not uncommon for other drivers to cut you off, people are reluctant to let you merge, and cars on the freeway ride your bumper. It’s only going to get worse as more people discover the joys of not living in a huge city. I have no point to this other than I saw an article listing the top 20 megacities in the world. Tokyo has 37.3 million people. I can’t even fathom what it would be like to live on top of that many people. I get claustrophobic just going to Costco, so I don’t see myself moving to a megacity any time soon.
  • Hunter Biden apparently still has a 10% stake in a Chinese equity firm, despite saying he would divest. President Biden said no one in his family would engage in foreign business if he was elected president. Then again, he also lied about not having any involvement in his son’s business so I don’t know why we’d believe him now. Interesting that the press is no longer obsessed with investigating a president’s business dealings.
  • Apparently everything we thought we knew about herd immunity was wrong. You catch the disease or get a vaccine and you develop an immunity to it. Enough people do that and you break the contagion cycle. Seems simple enough. Now “medical experts” and the news are continually advising that even though you had the vaccine (or the ‘rona), you can still get it and/or transmit it to others. Therefore you still need to wear the mouth diaper at all times, socially distance, and eat only outside at restaurants except now it’s cold so we eat outside in tents that make the outside the inside. Sigh, I’m so confused. So we performed this herculean effort to create a new vaccine that everyone is now angrily pointing fingers at each other because we don’t have enough of it, yet it doesn’t work? Or it does work, but not until everyone gets it? Or, I’m going out on a limb here, we can’t enforce the silly mask mandate unless we start tattooing a giant I (for immune) on peoples foreheads. Ok, that would be extreme. I guess we could start issuing some sort of bracelet or badge you wear indicating your covid-free status. I don’t think anyone would try to sell counterfeit versions. Besides, it’s not like there’s any historical evidence that forcing a certain group of people to wear a label would be bad. Until we sort this out, I guess we’ll all just have to keep wearing the mask. Sorry, not just one but two now. It’s almost like they’re worried that nasty piece of cloth on your face isn’t really working.
  • I entered the lottery for a river permit this summer. Of course I’ve just jinxed my chances by saying it out loud. This summer is shaping up to be quite busy. This is a good thing. I better update my bullet journal. Oh, wait I haven’t looked at it for multiple weeks now. I’ll try again to motivate myself to use it, but I don’t hold high hopes. It just doesn’t seem to work for me.
  • Photos of a 1965 Soviet submarine. It had a crew of 78. I cannot fathom (see what I did there? I’m so clever. No? Sigh, a fathom is a unit of measurement for depth of water. 1 fathom is six feet) how horrible it would have been to serve on one of these.

Song of the day: Arctic Monkeys – I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor (Official Video)

Which Movie Are You Watching?

  • Scott Adams had the perfect phrase to describe the situation in our country right now. “One screen, two movies”. Two people see the same event and have completely opposite interpretations. How you see something largely depends on the things that have shaped your perspective. Here’s what I find so interesting, sad, and ironic. We live in a time in which the entirety of human knowledge is instantly available. Video, transcripts, and research of virtually everything is available at your fingertips. Yet, we rarely seek them out. We pick a few sources of information that conform to whatever group we’ve identified with and we stick to them. It becomes an echo chamber that continually reinforces whatever your perspective is. This is the human condition and has been from time beginning. The media and tech empires know this and capitalize on it. Everything is framed as “breaking news alerts” with the most extreme clickbait titles to generate angst and rage against the other side. Why? Because it generates channel loyalty, screen time, pageviews, click-throughs, and ad revenue. Nothing is done by accident. Remember the old adage, if you’re not paying for a product – you are the product. Again, nothing new with this. What is different is the complete bombardment on our senses at all times. We’re inundated non-stop with information. We have screens in our faces virtually 24/7 screaming at us with whatever echo chamber you’ve chosen. With the growing power of the tech oligarchs and our increasing desire to be plugged into the matrix at all times… the power to unintentionally spark an actual civil war seems increasingly possible. Strange times.
  • Speaking of strange times, I find myself applauding Tulsi Gabbard. She’s turned out to be an actual adult voice in the room. I find myself generally agreeing with only about half of her positions on issues, yet would have happily voted for her. It’s hard to find an actual sane voice these days. It still baffles me that the democratic party selected an 80 year old establishment guy who can barely get a sentence out, over someone like her. She destroyed Kamala’s run and scared Hillary enough that they came out with crazy Russian conspiracy accusations against her (what is it with the left’s everything Russia obsession?). I hope she stays in the public eye.
  • I’ve developed tinnitus. I can’t say exactly when I first noticed it, but it’s fairly recent. Last six months or so maybe? It’s a buzzing in the background like the faint hum of a florescent light. I only notice it early in the morning when it’s quiet or sometimes when I lay down to sleep. Not bothering me (yet), just odd. Getting old sucks. Must have been all that damn high volume rock n roll in my youth.
  • I got yelled at over the phone for quite a long time yesterday by a patient’s parent. The patient was in their late twenties and had made some particularly bad life choices, resulting in a hospital stay. The patient was medically cleared and deemed competent to make their own decisions by the neuro-psychiatrist. There was no doubt the patient was going to head straight back to the same scenario that caused the situation in the first place, but what can you do? I understood the parent’s frustration that we were just letting the patient go, but we can’t force someone to make good decisions. The parent yelled at me and accused me of not caring about people, we just wanted the room so we could make more money, and she wanted a laundry list of hospital administrators to get involved. The concept that we can’t hold someone against their will was lost on the parent. The patient was an adult, and as adults we are free to make bad decisions. I know, I’ve made my fair share of ’em. My victory of the day was having enough restraint to not simply hang up. I’m not quite jaded enough to do that. Yet.
  • As I’m stuck inside on a bad weather day my goal is to gather a large list of local, and not so local, “worlds largest ball of mud” attractions. Kooky little museums, sights, and attractions to visit that aren’t the typical “go see Yellowstone” tourist destinations. This is my mission for the year. Suggestions are welcome.

Song of the day: Evanescence – Bring Me To Life (Live)