Category: Politics

I Might Be A Viking

  • We’ve been watching the Netflix/BBC series “The Last Kingdom“. It’s pretty good, and worth the watch if you haven’t seen it. Similar to Peaky Blinders, watching with captions turned on is recommended due to the heavy English accents. I joked after one of the episodes that, being of Swedish ancestry, I might actually be a Viking. Mrs Troutdog walked away laughing. I was a little hurt. My family is from Sweden. As a young lad I spent my time surfing, sailing, and scuba diving. I love the snow and embrace the cold winter sports. Those things pretty much define what we think of as characteristics of the proud Norse people, right? I did a little bit of reading, and it turns out that the Vikings weren’t very nice people. Raiding and pillaging villages, taking people as slaves, and other unmentionable acts were pretty much the hallmarks of a Viking visit to your hometown. Fearsome warriors, the Vikings occupied much of Europe during their heyday. Ok, I admit I’ll probably never be tossed in the fearsome warrior category. But don’t worry, I can write a scathing email if my back is pushed against the wall. Continuing my extensive research, I stumbled upon a link describing Viking hairstyles. It turns out the “Viking look” is an actual thing right now. Hmmm, I kind of like the look. The problem is that I can’t grow a beard, look terrible with long hair, and Mrs Troutdog would never let me shave the sides of my head. Oh, and that’s probably not a look an old man can pull off anyway (unless you’re a 300-pound powerlifter). Oh well, I don’t really like pickled and salted fish and I’ve never actually been to Sweden. I suppose no radical hairstyle changes are in my future. But deep down, in the dead of winter, I may still have a few small daydreams of being a Viking.

  • Our next Supreme Court Justice, when asked to define what a woman is, replied that she can’t because she’s not a biologist. Her fear of saying anything that goes against the progressive narrative tells you all you need to know about her probable judicial leanings. It doesn’t matter, it’s all political theater anyway.

  • The weather this week will be turning warm. It’ll be in the mid 70’s by the weekend. Glorious warm sun and dry trails. I find myself paralyzed with indecision about what I want to do. Mountain bike? Trail run? Golf? Motorcycle ride? Winter is officially done.

  • Along with warm weather comes… yard work. At the start of winter, I boldly declared that I’m perfectly capable of maintaining the yards and got rid of the gardener. It’ll save us some money and won’t actually take me that much time. Now that time has arrived and as I’m surveying everything that needs to be done… I’m slightly regretting my decision. No matter, I shall rally and become the gardener that I was always meant to be! Stay tuned for frequent garden updates.

  • The Ukraine scenario continues to be awful. It’s horrific to see the suffering. It is a confusing mess in every way imaginable, with no clear or positive outcome. But for all the folks calling for U.S. intervention, you should first define how many American casualties are you willing to accept. How many young men are you willing to let die or be permanently maimed in the name of defending Ukraine? 50? 100? 1,000? More? 100,000 in small tactical nuclear strikes against U.S. bases in Poland or elsewhere? As is clear by the footage we’ve seen, this is not a video game. “Intervention” has consequences. Own up to what you think acceptable losses are – and intervening with zero losses is not a realistic answer.

  • I had jury duty this week. I dutifully drove downtown, parked, and made my way to the courthouse. Checked in, found a hard plastic chair, and began the waiting process. Eventually we were sorted out by red and green badges and lined up by number to proceed into the courtroom. Just before we entered the Jury director came out and said that everyone with a green badge is being dismissed, our case was settled. Hallelujah! Interestingly, in my county you’re still on the hook for the remainder of the week and can still be called in. Fingers crossed for me as I call into the jury selection recording number each night, to find out my fate for the next day.

  • I’ve been seeing a gym trainer twice a week for almost two months now. I’m starting to see progress. My range of motion is improved, balance is better, and core strength is significantly better. For the first time in a long time, I’ve been able to play golf or lift and move heavy patients at work without my back hurting the next day. I’m not quite ready to say I look forward to working out, but I’m actively making sure I don’t miss or find excuses to skip any workout sessions. This is a big change for me. Stay tuned…

Song of the day: Kaskade & Skrillex – Lick It (Official Video)

Selective Outrage

I apologize. I don’t check my email that often, so I must have missed the memo about Ukraine being one of our oldest and most trusted allies. I confess that a month or so ago I couldn’t have found Ukraine on the map. Suddenly it’s somehow now in our national interest to pour (more) billions of dollars into this country and potentially risk another world war in Europe. I’m sure they’re lovely people (aside from that pesky actual Nazi problem they have). And it’s absolutely heart wrenching to see the apparent indiscriminate bombing and killing of civilians. War is awful. Period. Full stop.

But guess what campers, this isn’t the only active war currently going on. Let’s pick one like, hmmm, the Congo. The current hostilities in the Democratic Republic of Congo have produced 4.5 million internally displaced persons, 800,000 refugees in other countries, and an estimated death toll of at least three million. Let me repeat that. THREE MILLION DEATHS. This is a country rich in natural resources, which we need. Our greatest real threat, China, is pulling out all stops to control those resources. And the United States does… [crickets chirping].

My point is that it’s odd what conflicts and crisis of the moment reach our attention span. Why is Ukraine any more or less important than the DRC? I don’t pretend to understand either conflict, and neither should you. I do not trust the narrative we’re being fed. Ukraine is a massively corrupt country full of coups, separatists factions, and a puppet regime installed by the United States. The US has been using Ukraine as a stick to keep poking Russia for years. Well… now you’ve woken up the bear. Maybe that’s what we wanted all along? I have no idea and I doubt you do either.

You should ask yourself some questions. Number one, why is paying for and solving this crisis a problem the US needs to manage? This is primarily a European issue. They’re the ones who are dependent on Russian energy supplies. The EU countries have massive GDP’s, economies, and have huge numbers of weapons, planes, and all types of fancy missiles and missile defense stuff. Our European allies need to be front and center in managing and paying for this crisis. If and when they need our help, we can be there. But the US does not need to be the worlds pocketbook and policeman. If you disagree, please explain why we need to take the lead in solving this?

Similar to the first question, why should the US taxpayers fund this war? You do realize we’re now thirty trillion dollars in debt, right? Our economy is poised to crater. There are literally no more checks in the checkbook. Every dollar we give to Ukraine and every weapon system we hand them, was first money we borrowed from China. WE DO NOT HAVE the 14 billion we just authorized to give to Ukraine. We have to borrow that money. Record setting inflation, gas prices, crumbling infrastructure, supply chain issues, and a 150,000 people a month streaming across our border. We have some issues. Please explain why spending billions to give to Ukraine is more important than any of those things? The best that I can tell, the EU has promised a whopping $450 million. Individually, EU countries are giving a smattering of weapons and other goods. If this was such a momentous issue on European soil, wouldn’t you think they’d have a bit more skin in the game? But why should they when they know we’ll pay for it.

As a side note, we give billions to the UN every year. Where are they? What actual purpose do they serve other than to write sternly worded letters? Perhaps we should divert our UN payments to Ukraine.

There are no good answers to any of this. This morning, Ukraine’s president Zelensky gave an impassioned speech to our congress. He invoked the memories of Pearl Harbor and 9/11. He received a standing ovation. I suspect out of fear of appearing to do nothing, our brave representatives will pour more money and aid to Ukraine, further provoking the conflict and increasing the potential of escalation. Do you really think Putin is going to say, “whoops, my bad. I’ll pull out.”? By further arming Ukraine, we’re forcing Putin to take more extreme measures. I fear we’re one mistake or misunderstanding away from another world conflict. Is that really what you want?

Look, I realize I’m sounding all Neville Chamberlain-ish this morning. But the US is not the superpower we once were. We’re broke, and that’s hard to admit. It’s time for US to step aside and let others shoulder the burden for a while. We shouldn’t let social media shame us into something that could rapidly get far worse than we can possibly imagine.

It’s hard to see human suffering. But I doubt any of you have been outraged at the war in the DRC. Why? Admit it, you couldn’t have found Ukraine on a map a month ago. Me either. And you certainly weren’t outraged at (or even know about) the 14,000 killed and 1.5 million people displaced in the Donbass region of Ukraine in 2014. There’s a lot of human suffering going on in the world at any given time and it’s awful to see. But just because CNN is breathlessly promoting this conflict 24×7 doesn’t mean we have to spring into action. It’s time for cooler heads to prevail and for us to sit this one out.

We have a massive economic war looming on the horizon with China. A war that will alter your standard of living. We may very well be wishing we had some of those billions we pissed away, trying to be the good guy, back.

Shuffle The Deck

Enjoying the clown show? It might almost be funny to sit back and watch this administration flail about if the consequences weren’t so dire. I do not underestimate the ability of these clowns to blunder us into an actual, serious armed conflict involving U.S. forces. Now don’t think I’m just blaming the democrats for where we’re at. It’s taken decades of incompetence, grift, and arrogance from both parties to get to this point. And along the way, we’ve managed to create a fourth branch of government that is unelected, unsupervised, and unchecked – the Federal Bureaucracy. a.k.a. the deep state.

As the old saying goes, while Putin and Xi are playing 3D chess, we’re playing checkers. Well, to be fair this administration is playing tic-tac-toe. Russia and China plan the long game. We plan for the latest news cycle. The EU worshiped at the Church of Climate Change. They now need Russia’s oil and gas. Germany is fully in bed with Russia. You’ll notice that Europe is doing virtually nothing about all this. Putin correctly judged that our economy is in trouble and we’re too busy arguing over pronouns and which bridges are the most racist. In all likelihood the sanctions will end up hurting us more than Russia. We’ll do nothing (hopefully), and he knew it. Game, set, match. Russia will now have a heavily defended buffer zone against NATO. Meanwhile, the US spent billions trying to set up yet another puppet state in the name of “democracy” that failed. Sound familiar? It’s like Lucy pulling the football away from Charlie Brown. How come we never learn? Since WWII, we have failed at every single foreign policy intervention we’ve attempted. All at the cost of trillions and thousands upon thousands of lives. And yet we continue to listen to the same foreign policy “experts”.

And now we’re at the brink of a serious inflection point. I’m honestly surprised that China hasn’t moved on Taiwan yet. That’s the big test. What would we do? Are we going to get into a shooting war with China? I’m pretty sure that won’t go well. I’m sorry if I sound skeptical, but the same people who planned the Afghan withdraw, fired SOF folks for refusing the jab, and seem more worried about white rage and DEI in the military, are still in charge. It’s ok though, just like with every conflict, the UN will write a strongly worded letter.

So, what are we to do? Create a new, third party like Andrew Yang thinks? Term limits? I think term limits absolutely needs to be a part of any change. The corruption and self-interest in Washington (and state politics) is endemic. These people are dug in like ticks on a hound. If we have any hope of staving off our total demise, we need to start getting rid of the political establishment. But how do you get someone to vote for something that’s not in their self-interest?

It’s time to shuffle the deck. How? VOTE THEM OUT. Who? ALL OF THEM. Every single one of them. Both parties. Regardless of party, choose someone new. Do not re-elect the same clown. Everyone gets primaried. Even if the same clown gets re-elected, make them fight for it. Demand accountability. And next election cycle – do it again. We need to keep shuffling the deck until we get the hand we want.

Is that realistic? Nope. Is it going to happen? Nope. As negative as that sounds, I do see a tiny sliver of hope. There is a sense of frustration in the country. People are getting tired of the authoritarians. They’re pushing back against CRT and mask mandates, and censorship. At the moment, it looks like the next election cycle will be a bloodbath for the left. Will the right do something with it, or revert to politics as usual? If the new congress starts behaving like representatives of the people, AND, if we elect an actual leader (no, not Trump) with the next presidential cycle… there’s a small chance we can start to right the ship.

I give it a 10% chance. I fear that it’s probably already too late. History shows that once you start that downslide, it’s pretty hard to fight momentum. Realistically it’s not an issue for my generation – this will be for the next generation to live with. Unfortunately, this new generation aren’t much for learning from history. Because, like, you know, history is all racist or something.

It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on his not understanding it.

 Upton Sinclair

Abandon Your Team

Loyalties are odd. Often, you’re loyal to something for no concrete or logical reason. You’re either a Bud or a Coors guy. They’re both rancid gutter water, but probably your dad drank one or the other, so that’s what you did as an impressionable youth. Coke or Pepsi. Ford vs. GM. I grew up as a Denver Broncos fan. I didn’t live in Colorado or anywhere nearby. So why the Broncos? As a kid my favorite soft drink was Orange Crush. The late 70’s Bronco defensive line was called the Orange Crush. Good enough for me. I followed Denver into adulthood.

Politics are much the same. I’d wager that the vast majority of people pick a party because that’s what their parents were. They then vote party line for their entire lives. If they become disillusioned enough, they tend not to vote, or vote rarely. I’m too lazy to look it up, but I’d be willing to bet it’s a pretty small percentage of folks that actually switch parties or vote back and forth depending upon the politician. People are creatures of habit and it’s uncomfortable to make changes. You’ll find a way to justify and cling to your beliefs no matter what. It’s like religion. Virtually nobody switches religions. The idea of abandoning your Catholicism for the teachings of Budha are inconceivable, no matter how disillusioned you may become. Worse case, you’ll just abandon religion altogether rather than switch.

And why don’t people switch teams? Because once you get beyond the initial infatuation/honeymoon period, you realize that the same crap that turned you off from your original team is rampant in the new team. Politics, religion, corporations, the deep state, the military industrial complex… all suffer from the same institutional inbreeding. Once entities reach a certain size and inertia, gravity pulls them to the same center regardless of where they started from.

Oh, they can put up fancy new window dressings and run expensive ad campaigns, but at the end of the day, if you strip away the fluff at the outer edges… the core is the same. Team Red controlled all three branches of government when Trump took office. The trifecta. And they spent more in those two years than the previous four under Obama. And that was pre-pandemic. Do you really think Team Red is suddenly going to see the light and become fiscally responsible when they take back the reins in ’24? If so, I have some NFT’s I’d like to sell you. Payment in Dogecoin only, please.

But wait, you say. We’re bringing back the bad orange man. MAGA time, baby! He’s going to kick some butt this time around. Our obsession with the office of the President is odd. Personally, I think it’s the bright shiny object intended to keep you distracted. The president cannot create budgets. They can’t cut budgets. They have the power to rearrange the deck chairs on the Titanic, but that’s it. They can attempt to rule via executive order, but every single EO will be challenged in court and, worse case, overturned by the next administration. The president has the power of the bully pulpit, and that’s about it. That can be powerful for sure, depending upon the speaker, but it’s not going to fundamentally alter the structure of the institutions.

The real power is congress. And the same power players on both teams just keep getting re-elected year, after year, after year, after year. I’d be willing to bet 80% (if not more) of the population couldn’t name their two senators and representative. And THAT’S who’s actually making the decisions that impact your life. My representative has been in office since 1999. 23 years and I guarantee you’ve never heard of him.

My point? I’m not sure, I’ve forgotten by now. Oh, wait I remember. I read a substack article from someone way smarter than me, and he had a great quote:

Perhaps if when next you vote, you think not about left or right, about us or them, about the lesser evil vs the greater, but rather about “which of these people is most likely to take power way from government and defend the rights of the people”

Because at this point it’s become about authoritarianism vs liberty, not Red vs Blue. If your representatives haven’t done anything meaningful and demonstratable to reduce government, rein in the institutions, or protect your rights as a citizen… get rid of them. Vote the bums out. It’s time to keep shuffling the deck until we get something better. Even if you vote the same team, put someone new in. Stop the blind allegiance to a specific office holder just because. Trust me, there’s nothing special about them other than their ability to raise money. At this point, the best thing we could do for this country would be to randomly pull 535 people from the phone book and put them in office. Whoo boy, that would put the fear of God into the deep state!

I understand the Church of Contrarianism takes a bit to get used to. It’s hard to give up the dogma you’ve lived with for all of your adult life. The status quo is comfortable. I liken it to my separation from the NFL. Like any red-blooded American boy, I grew up with the NFL. Sundays were for football. I played Pop Warner and high school ball. And I had my team. And then in the late ’90’s there was a big free agency court ruling. And suddenly players who’d played on your team forever, left. That hurt. It wasn’t quite the same anymore.

And then, I discovered fantasy football. All of a sudden, I no longer cared about teams… I cared about individual players. That broke the hold Sunday games had on me. The player stats on Monday were much more interesting than an individual game. And slowly the fantasy leagues lost their attraction (mostly because I was really bad at it). I’d watch a few NFL game from time to time, but it was fewer and fewer every year. This year marks the second full year I haven’t watched a single game. And I don’t miss it.

It hurts a little bit to give up your blind allegiance to Team Red or Team Blue. But once you embrace the fact that the game is rigged… you’ll be happier.

I Am A Closet Conformist

  • Here in the land of 1’s and 0’s, bits and bytes, I am a fierce contrarian. A dedicated non-conformist. The man ain’t gonna tell me what to do! I am a keyboard warrior who gives no quarter. (hey, that sorta rhymes) In the real world… I’m a rule follower. I wait to cross the street in the crosswalk until the light turns green, even if there’s no traffic (fueling Mrs troutdog’s never ending exasperation with this behavior). I dutifully return my hotel card key when checking out rather than just leave it in the room. I don’t get into the 10 items or less checkout lane if I have 11 items. I drive the speed limit. And to my shame, I wear a mask when required. If you’ve been reading along for any time, you’ll know that the mouth diapers are a bit of a pet peeve of mine. I’ve ranted about them all too frequently, although I’ve managed to refrain myself lately to spare ya’ll from too much of the same dribble. In my state there are no mask mandates. Other than at work (hospital) I never wear one. We recently had to travel to California, which is nanny-state central. And what did I do? Made sure I had extra masks and my vaccine card packed. Made sure I wore one in the airport, on the plane, and in restaurants. Why? It was an important trip, and I couldn’t risk getting “cancelled”. So much for being a rebel. It’s frightening how much power the state has. America, the land of the free and the home of the brave. And what did we do when compelled to do irrational things? We all meekly rolled over and said, “thank you sir, may I have another?” I’m very disappointed in myself and my fellow citizens. It’s clear that the state can create just about any rule they want and we’ll all just comply. I’ll be the first to admit that I’ll go along with just about any silly rule, rather than risk missing out on all you can eat prime rib night at Joey’s Dinner. We’ve clearly forgotten that all important phrase in the constitution, “…governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed”. Perhaps it’s time for us to start pushing back just a little bit?

  • Speaking of pushing back, I heard a rumor the other day. My hospital decided they were going to require the vaccine to keep your job early in the pandemic. I’d already gotten the vaxx (seemed like the right thing to do at the time), so it didn’t really affect me. They suspended that rule when Covid wave 2 (or 3, can’t keep track these days) hit and we were desperate for personnel. Staffing is better now, so they’re re-implementing the vaccination rule. I believe the deadline is Jan 1. It’ll be interesting to see how many people we lose. But that’s not the rumor… word floating around is they may add the booster to the requirements. I don’t know if this is true or not. I’ve decided not to get the booster at the moment for a variety of reasons. So – if they do require it, what am I going to do? I’m going to have to do some thinking on this one.

  • For my sanity and waistline, I’m asking everyone to start doing a snow-dance. If you’re not familiar, those of us who require the white fluffy stuff so we can go skiing perform a ritual dance to encourage the snow gods to bless us. Similar to voodoo. Anyway, we’ve had zero snow so far. This is a bad thing. There is a large storm lined up for the weekend with the potential of several feet of snow. So far, every storm has diverted further north at the last minute. Pray for us.

  • I just finished Dr Scott Atlas’ book about his time as a special advisor to the White House and the Covid task force. Read this book if you’d like to get really angry about the utter incompetence of government. It’s a great reminder that groupthink, ego, dogma, and politics exist in “science” just like any other discipline. Anytime you hear the words “consensus” or “science says”, you need to put your contrarian hat on.

  • The 80th anniversary of Pearl Harbor was a few days ago. 80 years before that was the start of the civil war. I thought that was an interesting illustration of time. There were some civil war veterans alive at the start of WWII, and a few WWII veterans alive today. Amazing to think about where we are today in a relatively few generations.

  • Substack is bringing back blogging in a big way. Whod’a thunk people would be willing to pay for blogs? I was convinced blogs were dead. I’ve contemplated abandoning WordPress for Substack. I equally contemplate giving up writing completely, as I can’t really define why I continue to babble. It’s clearly not for fame, fortune, or followers… Meanwhile, here’s a Substack dedicated to snacks. You wouldn’t think it would work, but it does.

  • It cost me $81 to fill up my truck yesterday. When I was traveling to CA the other day it was $15 for 2.8 gallons near the airport. Lets Go Brandon!

  • Having just returned from the nightmare world of airline travel, here’s a collection of historical airline seatback safety cards. I will confess to having never read one, nor listened to the safety brief at the beginning of the flight. It’s still unclear to me why, in the 21st century, we still need instruction on how to fasten the seatbelt buckle?

Song of the day: AC/DC – Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap (Official Video – AC/DC Live) (inspired by a little A10 action)

What To Do With All My Daylight Savings?

  • This morning we returned to standard time. Back in the days when we had actual clocks, that meant a week of discovering time pieces that you’d forgotten to set back. Now the only devices we have in our home to manually reset are the oven clock and my analog watch. Meanwhile, the twitters blow up every year declaring a national emergency and the congress needs to stop it’s important work to abolish the DST practice. Personally, I like it. We live in the northern latitudes so during the summer when the days are already longer, tacking on the extra hour DST gives you means it’s light until almost 10pm. I love having the extra time to do outdoor stuff. During the winter, the days are short anyway so why not have it light a bit earlier? Are you a pro or con DST person?

Hard times create strong men. Strong men create good times. Good times create weak men. And, weak men create hard times.

G. Michael Hopf
  • President Biden claimed the other day, in an incomprehensible babble, that the supply chain problem is because Covid shut down factories and if you asked people in restaurants they wouldn’t understand it because reporters aren’t explaining very well and “When your editor says, “Explain the supply chain.”  Okay?  “Lots of luck in your senior year,” as my coach used to say.” WTF? Meanwhile our Vice President, who happens to be the chair of the national space council (whatever that is?) interrupted a NASA presentation to ask if we can track the population of trees against race. WTAF? Because, you know, space activity is climate action. I want me some environmental justice, brother. Word! As Tucker Carlson says all the time, these are not serious people. From the quote above, I’d postulate that we’re currently in the transition from weak men to hard times. And don’t get your panties all in a bunch, “men” is a colloquialism for “the population” today. Relax people.
  • A 77 year old man was confronted by an armed robber and instead of handing his things over, the elderly man pulled out a gun and shot the robber in the head and chest, police said. He was pronounced dead at the scene. “Officer, where’s the victim? Oh, he’s DRT. DRT? He’s dead right there.” I love me a good DRT story.
  • Remember special council Durham? Turns out he’s still out there and released another indictment. Even if you’re a rabid anti-Trump person, you have to admit that your Russia collusion theory is getting pretty hard to defend. Whether you agree or disagree, in a normal world it would at least be considered newsworthy right? You’d think that CNN and MSNBC who devoted 90% of their time for several years on the story would at least be attempting to debunk his indictment right? Not a single mention of the story on either web site yet. Hmmm. The bad orange man was right – the media is the greatest enemy this country faces.
  • Speaking of the media and radio silence, the FBI raided Project Veritas offices and homes of a number of employees the other day. Why? They’re looking for Ashley Biden’s diary. Why? That’s very unclear. Why would the FBI suddenly be interested in a missing diary? We don’t know. What we do know is that in that diary she alleges that it probably wasn’t appropriate for her to take showers with her father as a child. The diary was stolen and the contents came out just before Biden’s first debate with Trump. Just the like the Hunter Biden laptop, the media collectively killed the story. Move along people, nothing to see here.
  • I’m most of the way through Molly Hemingway’s book “Rigged” about the 2020 election. I’d highly recommend it – even if you’re a massive lefty. Why? Even if you disagree with her assertions, she lays out how our election process really works. I had no idea how corrupt it really is. Us common people don’t have much to do with who actually gets elected, on either side of the aisle.
  • At a football game a dog scored the longest frisbee catch record – end zone to end zone. Dogs rule. Meanwhile, I’m headed out on a motorcycle ride with a friend who is a new rider and just got his first motorcycle. I think he’s a little nervous. Been there, done that. My job is to help build confidence, while pushing the envelop just enough to improve skills. It’s sort of a blind leading the blind scenario. What could possibly go wrong?

Song of the day: Lo Fidelity Allstars – Battleflag

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