Category: Uncategorized

Give Me A Call

  • The year was 2017. The number one song on the Billboard 100 was Slide by Calvin Harris. The best picture that year was Moonlight. The bad orange man was sworn in to office. And Google (don’t be evil) released the Pixel 2. That was a different decade and I was determined not to get sucked into the iPhone cult, so I switched from my crank operated flip phone to the Pixel. Actually, my only reason for going with the Google phone was the camera. I’m all about the Instagram selfies. I’ve been pretty happy with it (the phone, not the selfies). I’ve had zero issues other than a loose USB-C port that’s been the source of some charging and connectivity problems. But, technology marches on and it’s time to upgrade. Well, I don’t want to upgrade but I have to solve the navigation problems with the ginormous motorcycle and this is step one. So which phone? I pulled up a comparison list of specs for the top sellers and after 30 seconds my eyes glazed over. I don’t care about specs. I’m not in the corporate world any more, so I’m not trying to do Zoom meetings on my mobile. I only do a few things with my phone. I send text messages so I don’t have to actually speak to humans. I take pictures. I attempt to use navigation/maps. I look up random facts on the internet while waiting for the coffee to brew. Oh, and once every month or so I actually make a phone call. That’s it. I don’t need a 1.21 Jiggawatt processor to send text messages. So, which phone to buy? Between the latest Samsung, Pixel, and iPhone models the cameras seem roughly equal. I’m not taking pics for museum quality prints… I don’t need an f 1.7, wide angle, super view, dark mode, lidar enhanced, espresso capable, quad lens. I take pictures of the dog for Instagram (he’s very popular). Mrs Troutdog is a faithful citizen of the Apple ecosystem and has been putting out some heavy pressure to switch over. I wouldn’t necessarily be opposed, but I’m a Microsoft guy and I’m just not ready to switch to iCloud to try and get cross-device syncing to work. So it’s between the Samsung s21 and the Pixel 5. Samsung’s camera is probably a touch better, but I’m not a fan of how they over sharpen their images. I’d rather ruin images by over saturating them myself. Besides, I’d have to sell off some Bitcoin to afford the latest Samsung. Looks like I’m staying with team Pixel. I’m heading to the store this afternoon so stay tuned. I’m extremely gullible and susceptible to salespeople, so who knows what I’ll actually come home with. I might be sporting a fancy new Xiaomi Redmi, featuring background data sync with China’s office of state telecom security cloud service. Free cloud storage!
  • If you haven’t been following along, the Chauvin trial doesn’t appear to be going well for the state. The possibility of a finding other than murder is looking more likely. And as I’ve said before, Minneapolis will burn if that happens. I wouldn’t schedule a vacation trip to catch a Minnesota Twins game anytime soon.
  • 60 Minutes was once the pillar of investigative journalism. After their hit piece on Florida gov DeSantis, it’ll be hard to trust anything they publish moving forward. If you haven’t seen it, here’s what 60 Minutes aired vs what his full answer to the question was. I don’t care if you like the governor or not, you can’t watch that and still say it was unbiased reporting.
  • A baby elephant trying to be fierce. Because who doesn’t like baby elephants?
  • Today is the official end of winter. Well, for me. I had fully intended to get a couple of last days of skiing in this week before the resort and ski trails close this weekend. Life got in the way and I’m not able to go. So that’s it. Done. Winter 20/21 is over. Now starts the countdown to full snow melt and summer activities. Around these parts it’s known as “mud season”. I’m not a fan. Guess I’ll just have to ride the motorcycle for the next month.

Song of the day: Bush – Swallowed – 7/23/1999 – Woodstock 99 East Stage

Everyone Likes Popup Ads, Right?

  • I have two computers. One is powerful enough to dim the lights when I turn it on, which I use with a nice large monitor. The other is an older tablet with a fairly small screen. The older one does just fine for writing the occasional email, looking up directions, or crafting a fabulously witty blog post. What I can’t do with it these days is surf the internet. Not because of the processor or memory, but because of the screen size. The last few years the number of popup ads have gotten so out of control on some web sites you literally can’t read the article or content when you have limited screen real estate. There’s now the EU mandatory cookie acceptance popup. Twelve other ads that will be in various states of loading. A popup apologizing for the popup, but while you’re here will you subscribe to our newsletter? The X or cancel button on these ads are either tiny or sometimes fake so you accidentally click on the ad. Once you’ve cleared out enough popups that you can start reading the content, video content from some ad you didn’t see will start auto-playing. Some news sites have a layer of ads every paragraph and a half you need to navigate past. The latest fad seems to be letting you read 1/3 of an article, then forcing you to click a button to “Continue Reading?”. I get it, everyone needs to generate revenue and page clicks/views. I should know, I’ve generated a grand total of $0.49 cents in ad revenue from this blog since 2019 (yes, that is the real number). That’s practically FU, make it rain money. I know it’s a plea that’s as pointless as trying to stop the old school paper junk mail, but is there any way we can limit the number and amount of screen real estate devoted to ads? If an single, well placed ad, is compelling and relevant I actually might investigate. If I’m swatting ads away like mosquitoes in the Alaska backcountry, I’m angry, stubborn, and will boycott any ad I see on general principle. I don’t fault the advertisers, I understand how it works. I fault the content providers. They control the real estate, look and feel for their site. There are a few news sites that have become so hard to navigate due to the ads that I rarely visit any more. Sigh, I guess that’s the price we pay for “free” content since I’m too cheap to actually subscribe to any paid content.
  • The Biden administration has put a gag order on the border patrol and DHS about releasing any information about the current self created disaster on our border. This order has supposedly been passed down verbally so there’s no written record of it to tie back to the administration. The spokesperson for the Ministry of Truth, Jen Psaki, deftly performs her “you need to speak to DHS on that” dodge, knowing full well DHS simply refers requests back to the White House. Either that or “I’ll need to circle back on that”. So much for the most transparent administration ever.
  • Biden’s former aid said he’ll most likely propose $1 Trillion in new taxes. Yesterday they had to clarify that the proposed income threshold wasn’t $400,000 but $200,000 for some “modest” tax increases. Ever notice that government never proposes “modest” cuts to spending? I wouldn’t necessarily be opposed to increasing certain taxes if the government first made an honest attempt to slow down spending. But don’t first spend like drunken sailors, and then tell me you need more money. Maybe we should stop borrowing so we can send aid to foreign countries? Sigh, just like the popup argument, it’s pointless and only makes me mad.
  • Rules are only for the little people. After countless stories of families being kicked off flights because their two year old struggled with wearing a mask, our Climate Czar John Kerry was caught on a flight without his mask on. His response? “Feels like there’s some St. Patrick’s day “malarkey” afoot on Twitter. Let’s be clear: If I dropped my mask to one ear on a flight, it was momentary.” These asshats never take responsibility for anything. Meanwhile American Airlines has dropped the investigation. See if the same will hold true when you get caught without your mouth diaper on.
  • A week from today the White House confirmed President Biden will hold a press conference. I suspect that’s the amount of time needed to prep and coach him with answers. Well, and to properly vet all the questions beforehand.
  • I’m taking a motorcycle class on Saturday. Mrs Troutdog took the beginners class to get her license and now wants to take the level two class. I’ve never taken a motorcycle class, even though I’ve been riding for years. I agreed to take the class to support her, plus learning new things is always a good thing. I’ve found that the most dangerous people are those who think they know everything. There’s always something to learn, no matter how experienced you think you are. Besides, it may help boost my confidence on the new ginormous motorcycle. This class is taught on Harley Davidsons… and I’m a dirt guy. Who knows, maybe after this I’ll be buying leather pants and traveling to Daytona Bike week?

Song of the day: Pearl Jam – Alive [Pinkpop 1992]

The Enlightened State Of Wokeness

We are fast approaching an inflection point in this country. I like this definition of inflection point from investopedia: “An inflection point is an event that results in a significant change in the progress of a company, industry, sector, economy, or geopolitical situation and can be considered a turning point after which a dramatic change, with either positive or negative results, is expected to result.” Our inflection point is the cult of wokeness. Failure to embrace all things woke means being branded as anything from an intolerant rube to a white nationalist Nazi. The fear of not being woke enough has intruded upon virtually every aspect of our lives. Schools, your work, corporate PR, social and news media – every public statement or action taken today must be weighed against the sin of offending the woke army. That army will come down on you with a fury if you trespass against their dogma.

A trio of events made me think of this. The first was Tucker Carlson’s rant this week about wokeness in our military. He commented that the signal the Biden administration was giving is that our military is embracing wokeness by providing new maternity flight suits to pregnant pilots (I don’t know if I’m allowed to say female any more), while China’s military is becoming increasingly, well, militaristic. By pointing out the focus of our military seems to be drifting, Tucker committed the ultimate sin – he seemingly disrespected women. The woke army instantly began falling all over themselves to condemn and shame Tucker from every corner of the social media world. Cancel culture is in full effect with calls to boycott advertisers to the show, etc… Who cares what his actual point was – he implied women aren’t capable of fighting wars, which we hate anyway (wars, not women or whichever pronoun is preferred), but that doesn’t matter because this week we love our military again, I think (it’s hard to keep track), because we’re purging all those MAGA people from the military because, you know, Nazi’s.

Meanwhile, I watched Bill Maher’s monolog highlighting China’s relentless push forward while America gnashes their teeth and wails about being triggered by statues and the naming of sports teams or pancake syrup. Maher: “In China alone, they have 40,000 kilometers of high-speed rail. America has none. … We’ve been having Infrastructure Week every week since 2009 but we never do anything. Half the country is having a never-ending woke competition deciding whether Mr. Potato Head has a dick and the other half believes we have to stop the lizard people because they’re eating babies. We are a silly people,” You know things have gone bad when an ultra lefty is the one calling out the ridiculousness of our wokeness.

Last night I had a moment of sadness while watching the series “For all mankind”. Excellent, highly recommend. Spoiler alert – it’s about an alternate reality similar to “The Man in the High Castle”. What made me sad is I realized that our brief moment of American exceptionalism is probably done. Sure, there are still plenty of pockets of innovation scattered throughout the country. But every step forward will be dragged down by the burden of being woke. As a country we seem determined to quash our can-do spirt by ensuring that every endeavor spends equal amounts of time devoted to having the exact right minority representation, that we properly highlight all ethnic and religious celebrations, and that #internationalindigenouspeoplesday is appropriately celebrated. We’re probably not far from the government mandating that all businesses have an office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) that reports into the Federal Office of Fairness.

It’s not that social progress is a bad thing. We’ve made huge strides from our past in how we treat people in this country. That is a good thing. The problem is that equity is not the same thing as equality and we’re losing that balance in our rush to make everything fair. We want everyone to have the same chance at life. While it hasn’t always been upheld, that principle of equality is what made this country exceptional. What you make of your life is entirely up to you, your life choices, and your work ethic. While some people have more roadblocks than others, you have the freedom to determine what course your life will take. Yes, the rich and societally blessed will always have an advantage. It’s been that way since the beginning of time and will always continue. If your parents have the means to send you to an Ivy league college, you probably have one step up on the gal who has to go to community college and work nights to pay for it. But the beauty of today is that community college gal has the same opportunity to start a business, run for office, or become a fabulously wealthy Instagram influencer, as the Ivy league guy if she’s smart and works hard. There’s a reason much of the lower income world aspires to move to America.

Equity and wokeness is pulling our society towards mediocrity. Nobody is allowed to be exceptional because of the fear that someone’s success was at the expense of someone who was less fortunate. We cancel anything that doesn’t reflect the group think. Corporate PR departments heavily influence business decisions as they run them through their DEI filters. Today, any individual is one poorly worded tweet away from losing their job and being ostracized from their local community. We just had two presidential elections in which people were actually afraid to publicly express their choice for fear of retribution. Depending on what city you live in, having the wrong bumper sticker on your car could mean a smashed window, or wearing a the wrong political red baseball hat could result in harassment (or worse) if you walked in the wrong woke area. Is that really the society you want? I suppose it’s all good as long as you’re on the right side of the mob.

Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe the inflection curve will turn towards something more sane. I hope so, but I have my doubts. Personally, I think we’ve already crossed the inflection point. We’re going to have to follow this curve down for now and see where it leads. At least until a new inflection point arrives.

Mob Justice

  • I’m sure Minneapolis is a lovely place. I know nothing about it other than what I saw in Fargo. What I do know is that in about a month it will devolve into anarchy. Portions of Minneapolis will burn, people will be hurt, and it wouldn’t be a surprise if someone is killed. The degree of pending violence will depend on what verdict the jury in the Chauvin case returns. Anything that doesn’t have the word “murder” in the jury decision and the city will implode. Realistically, even if he’s found guilty of murder in the first degree the city will still erupt in “celebration”. At least one prospective juror backed out, citing fear of violence towards his family if the “right” verdict wasn’t reached. This is the true definition of mob justice. Do what we say or there will be violence, rioting, and burning. I am not passing judgement on Chauvin’s guilt or innocence. Personally I think he’s certainly guilty of something, I just don’t know what the right charge is. There was zero need to keep a knee on him for that long. Did it contribute to his death? Maybe. The significant amounts of meth, fentanyl, and cannabis in his system combined with heart disease and blocked arteries in a highly psychotic state of mind probably was a much bigger contributor. Drug use that day and then committing a crime, fighting and resisting the police is what put Mr. Floyd in that position. It’s a terrible when anyone dies. But Mr. Floyd made multiple bad choices that day that sent him on that trajectory. And now the mob has made him a martyr and mob justice will be served one way or another. I don’t envy the city leaders. What do you do? You know the violence and riots are coming. The George Floyd “memorial” area is already an autonomous zone where police (or white folks) are not allowed. Do you let it happen and hope it blows over quickly? Do you crack down with an iron fist and risk further resistance and on-going violence? It’s a no-win scenario. What I do know is that you cannot tolerate mob justice. Look no further than the lynching’s that happened in America or the unspeakable horrors of many regions of Africa to see what unchecked mob rule is capable of. I’m very glad I’m not making those decisions. The authorities will be wrong no matter what they do. You may want to put off those vacation plans to Minneapolis for a little bit.
  • Speaking of insurrection, the boogaloo bois and MAGA white nationalists jumped out of the bushes and set fire to the Portland federal courthouse last night. Biden and Pelosi ordered in the national guard and set up a green zone, surrounded by razor wire, similar to Washington DC. Just kidding. It was those whacky Antifa kids. Move along, nothing to see here.
  • Biden had his first address to the nation last night. Two things struck me. The first was a review of the various news sites this morning showed virtually no reaction. For the most part all I saw was a few passing mentions of the speech. No fawning rhetoric about how inspirational it was or how substantive the speech was. Crickets. The man is truly a puppet, wheeled out once in a while to read from the teleprompter, then sent back to his room. The second thought I had was that they need better speechwriters. I don’t know what tone they were hoping for, but it came across as dark and not terribly inspirational. Take that with a grain of salt because I realize I’m predisposed to view it harshly. Maybe some folks did see it as a ray of hope? But I’m sorry, when the “ray of hope” that was put forth is “If we do our part… by July 4, there’s a good chance you, your families, and friends will be able to get together in your backyard or in your neighborhood and have a cookout or a barbecue and celebrate Independence Day… Small groups will be able to get together”. Really? By July 4th maybe, just maybe if we all behave and follow the rules, the government will “allow” us to get together in small groups? I’m reminded of the great movie Argo. There’s a line that was one of the central themes that seems appropriate in this situation – “Argo Fuck Yourself”.
  • Went on another ride of the ginormous motorcycle. I think I sorted out the Android Auto issue. It seems like it shuts off if it isn’t in use, e.g. either in navigation mode or playing music. I just had it on the map but not actually navigating to a destination. I need to do more investigation. It’s interesting, I’ve ridden motorcycles for a long time but I find my confidence is very low with this bike. Probably due to the size and weight. Plus that fact that it’s brand new and I’m petrified I’m going to drop it. I’ve had a few shaky moments at intersections that have gotten in my head. I mentioned it to Mrs. Troutdog and she grinned and said, “so now you know what it’s like to be a beginner”. Touché.

Song of the day: Cake – Short Skirt / Long Jacket

The Purge

  • The tech takeover is complete. They waited until democratic control of all three branches of government was official, then on Jan 8th 2021 began purging any speech that doesn’t match the party line. The President has been permanently banned from every social media platform. Any government official or associate that attempted to tweet out a message from the president had their account suspended or removed. Google removed Parler from their app store and Apple gave them 24 hours to put a moderation policy in place or they’ll be removed. YouTube began removing multiple conservative channels, deleting Steve Bannon’s podcast mid-stream. Sidney Powell and General Flynn had their accounts on most platforms deleted. Reddit removed a popular Trump discussion thread. Twitter is stripping followers from conservative accounts. People are reporting losing tens of thousands of followers a day. Facebook and Instagram continue to suspend or delete prominent conservative accounts. The message is clear – voice an opinion contrary to the views of the left and big tech and you risk being shut down. Most of the media are giddy over this. Ironically (there’s that word again) Biden yesterday compared Sen Cruz and Hawley to Nazi propaganda minster Goebbels for spreading Trump’s “big lie”. Tech and the media have now taken away the main communication platform we have in this country from anyone they don’t agree with. It’s hard to overstate how frightening this is. Twitter, Facebook, Google, Apple, and the major media outlets will now freely modulate and control with impunity what news and speech you’re allowed to hear. Continuing with the irony, the left used to be the champions of free speech, speaking out against McCarthyism and the evil authoritarian right. The left warned Trump was going to be a fascist authoritarian and the hashtag #notmypresident spread across social media. Trumps inauguration spawned multiple protests, with DC turning into a scene of chaos. Cars were torched, windows broken, and police used tear gas, pepper spray, and stun grenades. 217 people were arrested and six officers were injured by flying bricks and bottles. On his first day in office we had the million women march in DC to protest the Nazi, white supremacist, pussy grabber that had been elected to office. All of that was ok by the left. Such short and selective memories we have. I don’t see this going well. 75 million people voted against the left’s octogenarian puppet. A very large portion of them are very upset right now. I truly don’t think the establishment appreciates the level of anger they’ve spawned. Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe the tech pacification program will work. Give it a few months without being able to spread counter opinion and the people will turn back into passive sheep, happy to answer the latest Facebook quiz while waiting for their monthly stimulus check. But as I’ve said before, squeeze people hard enough, long enough, and bad things tend to happen.

Song of the day: Pharrell Williams – Happy (Official Music Video)

Crack Some Heads And Lock Them Up

  • During the never ending BLM and Antifa riots this year I said on multiple occasions it was time for the police to take action. Billions of dollars lost in damages, buildings burned, business lost. 30 people killed. It’s time to start cracking some heads and locking up these assholes. And then the brief occupation of the Federal capital building happened yesterday. Do I still feel the same way? Yep. Protest is one thing. Rioting is something else. But in my inside voice I also had a different feeling about these rioters. I understand the frustration. I understand the anger. I don’t agree with what they did, but I get why they’re doing it. And then it clicked. The supporters of BLM and Antifa feel the same thing. They’re angry and feel hopeless. They feel marginalized by the system. That utter frustration makes people want to speak out, to be heard. Unfortunately with any protest, that emotion can start spilling over into riots. In every crowd there’s always a bunch of knuckleheads who are simply opportunists, ready to take advantage. Those are the folks who make the news. I agree with almost nothing BLM or Antifa stand for, but I do get the feeling of being left behind by the system. The irony (there’s that word again) is that BLM, Antifa, and the MAGA crowd are all actually fighting the same thing. An oppressive ruling class of elites who’s only goal is to enrich themselves and their donors. Regardless if you’re a minority in a poor neighborhood plagued by crime, failing schools, and zero job prospects, or a middle class blue collar worker struggling to make ends meet, it’s very hard to watch politicians pander and fawn over their political base with words and then go spend a trillion dollars on foreign aid and millions in handouts to the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. But wait, you get $600! Don’t spend it all at once. While the anger from the left and right manifests itself differently, it’s fundamentally about the same thing. The system is rigged against me. The system is unfair. People don’t like when things don’t seem fair. Tucker Carlson said it best in his commentary on what happened yesterday. And this applies to this years BLM and Antifa riots as well as yesterdays ridiculousness. You can quell the riots. You can speak soft, soothing words about restoring the integrity of our democracy, bla, bla, bla. But if the ruling elites don’t start to address the underlying issues, this is going to happen again. And again. And at some point we’re not going to like the outcome. I think the ruling class underestimates the level of anger from both the left and right in this country right now.
  • I cannot emphasis strongly enough how dangerous this is – what you are allowed to think and say right now is controlled by three companies. Twitter, Google, and Facebook. Twitter shut down the Presidents account last night. Facebook announced today they are shutting the Presidents account for the next thirteen days. YouTube removes or demonetizes any video that has content that doesn’t echo the left’s talking points. I don’t care if you don’t like what the President says. Millions upon millions of people do. And a few corporations are deciding what the President of the United States can and can not say. If you agree with what these companies did simply because you don’t like the President, you’re a naïve fool. Toe the company line or you’re out. Censoring speech and ideas because you don’t like them leads us down a dark path. The antidote to what’s happening in this country is the exact opposite – we need to shine the light on everything. If you don’t first pull the curtains back and expose the roaches, you’ll never get rid of them.
  • The faux outrage and gnashing of teeth over yesterday’s events makes me want to vomit. Protests are cool as long you’re on the right side.

    AOC – “The thing that critics of activists don’t get is that they tried playing the “polite language” policy game and all it did was make them easier to ignore”. Kamala – “Protesters should not let up”. Pelosi – “I just don’t know why there aren’t uprisings all over the country. Maybe there will be”. Maxine Waters – “… you push back on them and you tell them they’re not welcome anymore, anywhere”. Ayanne Pressley – “there needs to be unrest in the streets”.

    I don’t condone it on any side, but one thing is universally true. You squeeze people hard enough for long enough… and shit’s going to happen.
  • As I sit here writing this, I’m angry. I’m frustrated. I’m saddened. I’m fed up with the outrage. Part of me just wants everything to go back to the status quo so my biggest worry is should I go downhill or cross-country skiing. I don’t know if I’m going to stop blogging, write less often, or simply focus on brilliant commentary about puppy dogs and rainbows. But the overwhelming negativity on social media is getting to me and I don’t see it getting better any time soon. We’ll see.

Song of the day (repeat): Rage Against The Machine – Killing In the Name (Official Music Video)

What’s The Definition?

  • The other day I was accused of being xenophobic. I’d received my Covid vaccine and posted it to the social medias and said: “Got my anti-Wuhan plague vaccination”. Someone posted they were glad I got the vaccine, but did I really need to add the xenophobic comment? This is not the first time I’ve referred to SARS-CoV-2 as something originating from China. I believe I’ve also called it the China plague, China virus, and early on I think I called it the Wuhan bat soup virus. Colloquial naming of viruses based upon their place of origin is not new – MERS, Asian flu, Hong Kong flu, Spanish flu, West Nile, Norwalk virus, Zika virus, etc… Having said that, I clearly wasn’t using a common colloquial name. I was using a location name as a derogatory term. I’m bothered by the media’s rush to immediately whitewash where this virus originated from. The damn thing came from Wuhan China and lack of transparency is preventing us from knowing if it was from a lab or mother nature just doing her thing. I’m angry at the government of China and what they’ve done to world with this pandemic. I’m angry at their seeming lack of remorse, the cover-up, the buying up of global PPE supplies before the rest of the world realized what was coming, and the lack of aid they’ve contributed to combat the virus. In short, the government of China is not our friend. The definition of xenophobia is “fear and hatred of strangers or foreigners or of anything that is strange or foreign”. I see myself as one of the least racist or xenophobic people you’ll meet. In my head I assume everyone can separate feelings about a government vs the individual citizens. Of course I’m not blaming the general population of China or Asian people for this pandemic. But after reading that comment and thinking about it, I realize what I think and what I write may not be perceived the same way by others. Especially, in this case, someone who’s of Asian descent. I’m an average white dude in the United States. I have no concept of what it feels like to be a minority. Thinking about it I can see that some folks may not get that I’m referring to the collective government and not people when I make derogatory comments. Now, I personally think we’ve become a little hypersensitive with our outrage culture. I would assume that if I say “Mexican drug money” most thinking people would realize I’m referring to the Cartels, not the Mexican people as a whole. But maybe not? In my push to be witty and brilliant, maybe I tiptoed across the line into perceived racism? If I did, it wasn’t what was intended. I’m not going to stop writing in fear of possibly offending someone. But I will make more of an effort to put myself in someone else’s shoes and think more before I commit words to virtual paper.
  • In a related note, when I posted the aforementioned comment, I included a picture of the little sticker they gave me when I got my shot. It said something like “I got vaccinated. #StopCovid”. I deleted the post. Why? The sticker also had the name of my employer. After thinking about it, in this age of outrage cancel culture I don’t trust the thought police. I find it frightening that it’s entirely conceivable the censors at Facebook and the Karen’s of the world could ensure this goes back to my employer and cost me my job. It saddens me that I even have to think that.
  • On a more positive note (not), Rand Paul released his annual 2020 Festivus Report on government waste. Take time to read through it. If that doesn’t make you mad, I don’t know what will. You do realize this is your money they’re spending, right? As in, the money you see deducted from your paycheck every month. I’m not sure people grasp that sometimes.
  • I just started the series “Mr. Robot”. Very good so far. Soon to be even better on the spectacularly ginormous TV that is soon to be installed in the new living room.

Song of the day: Fatboy Slim – Weapon Of Choice

Don’t Make Me Tell You Again

  • Anyone else hear that as a kid growing up? I was never brave enough to find out what would happen if mom or dad had to say it again. Except one time in the car. I remember the “don’t make me pull this car over” as we were driving somewhere. I think my sister and I were horseplaying in the back seat. You know, the massive station wagon bench seat without seatbelts. Kids today have no idea. Anyway, whatever we were doing was the final straw and my dad stopped the car in the middle of the road. Tires screeching, horns honking, and drivers yelling at us. We were informed if we didn’t shape up right now, we were getting out right here and walking home. I believed him. This is what the mask mandate culture feels like. Nobody can really explain the science, just that masks are just supposed to magically work. Authorities are angerly stomping their feet and insisting we completely ignore common sense and just bend the knee. Meanwhile, back in the science and statistics department, this group did a data analysis of all fifty states and examined Covid case counts per day with and without mask mandates. During the days under mask mandates, states had 27 cases per 100k. Days without mask mandates? 17 cases per 100k. WTF? It’s almost like the mask mandates had no impact… or made things worse. How could this be? Again, there is a very good chance that a properly fitted mask, in the right circumstances, could lower viral load and thus reduce the severity of Covid if you catch it. This should be encouraged for people in high risk categories. That is NOT what we’re being told. Authorities are implying that masks will PREVENT Covid, which is utter nonsense. Think critically people.
  • This is a very well written article that looks at the idea of asymptomatic spread of Covid. Asymptomatic spread is the reason given for all the lockdowns. Well, that pesky science may be getting in the way and indicating that there isn’t asymptomatic spread. You’d think this would be great news. Maybe we should be looking into this further? We can end the lockdowns and try to rebuild our economy! Crickets. Science is supposed to be the ultimate contrarian intellectual activity. The very definition of science is that your peers should be trying to break your argument. It’s not until we’ve exhausted the attempts to disprove your hypothesis that something becomes accepted. We’ve moved into a frightening era in which to even question something today will get you labeled as a “denier”, in the same category as flat earthers.
  • I don’t know why anyone would be surprised, but reporters are getting frustrated that Biden and his team refuse to answer questions. He did not have a single open press conference during his “campaign”. Harris did not take a single question from the press. It’s starting to look like “A Weekend at Bernie’s”. Question is, who’s controlling things behind the scenes?
  • You know the world is upside down when Rachael Maddow is defending Tucker Carlson.
  • I’m a little cynical today, so bear with me. Let me get this straight. The (collective) government shuts down the economy. They killed hundred of thousands of small businesses. Politicians have twiddled their thumbs playing political games, all while happily collecting their paychecks. Finally they decide the optics are right and decided to print another trillion dollars we don’t have, to “help” those suffering the most from the problem they created in the first place. Congratulations! You get $600 dollars. See, we really care about you. Never mind that most of that trillion is going to programs other than direct payments to citizens. To give some perspective on how idiotic our federal spending priorities are, here’s a mind-blowing nugget from a nuclear power expert. “For $900 billion we could build enough AP1000 nuclear reactors to replace our entire power grid. Let that sink in. The average American would save thousands in electricity costs annually.” Why aren’t the green new deal people screaming about this? Where’s our new Climate Czar, Kerry?
  • Enough of the cynicism for the day, enjoy this guy talking to his dog. Yes, I totally talk to my dog this way.

Song of the day: VIOLENT FEMMES – Add it Up

Show Me Your Papers

  • I saw a doctor on CNN the other day saying that even though you’ve had Covid or received the vaccine you still need to wear a mask and social distance. Something about you could still be shedding virus even though you won’t get sick. It sounded odd at the time, but it wasn’t until this morning that it dawned on me. The authorities managed to back themselves into a corner with their mouth diaper mandates. We have no way to know if you’re already immune, so they have to continue the mask mandate for everyone. The problem is that as more and more people become immune, the backlash against wearing a mask will increase. So the next logical step is some sort of identifier showing that you are immune. Zeigen Sie mir ihre papiere. Show me your papers! Andrew Yang, potential NY mayor candidate, just proposed this. Airlines are already talking about it. It’s coming. This is right up the new administrations alley. A multi-billion dollar government program to roll out electronic Covid Id’s. Soon to be tied into your social credit score. Think that’s far fetched? Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube are already actively censoring speech. These companies already know everything there is to know about you, including your location at all times. Is it really that far of a stretch to think this information won’t be compiled into an individual ranking system? It is, after all, for your own good.
  • Speaking of mouth diapers, that’s one of the new changes when skiing. Yesterday was my first downhill day of the season. Everything went fine, I managed to not hurt myself which was my main goal. The new rules are that you have to wear a mask when in the lift lines. Fine. I understand the resort is simply trying to comply with rules so they don’t lose their lease from the forest service. I’ve never been able to wear a face covering when skiing. Too hot and restrictive. I dug out an old buff I had and used that. The problem was that it just didn’t work well with the helmet chinstrap. It bunched up and I couldn’t get it pulled up with my gloves on. Within an hour it was soaking wet and disgusting. The lift attendants would yell at you if you didn’t get it pulled up in time as you got close to the lift. The only negative mark on an otherwise great first day on the slopes.
  • Peter Navarro released a 36 page report detailing the overall election fraud allegations in the presidential election. It’s well worth reading. Even if the numbers don’t add up to enough to dispute the results, as independent thinkers, we should want to clean this mess up so there can’t be fraud claims in the next election. Both sides should want that. It shouldn’t be terribly difficult. Moving forward, all voting shall be in-person and require a photo ID. Allow extended early voting to fully accommodate people with scheduling issues. Absentee voting (not mail in ballots) for deployed members of the military and college students. That’s it. And don’t give me the whole requiring an ID to vote is discriminatory bullshit. You need an ID to function every single day as an adult in this country. Go to your polling place, show your ID, vote. Let’s not make it more complicated than that. Unless of course you have other motivations for pushing mail in voting, etc… ?
  • Lots of talk about pardoning Edward Snowden. I tend to be in the camp of nope on this one. He willingly signed all the NDA and classified document regulations when he was hired. You don’t get to violate those just because you don’t like the information they contain. He stole the data and leaked it – both against the law. He then fled to Russia to avoid prosecution. Sorry, I just don’t see him as a hero. If you agree with what he did, then anyone should be free to leak classified data.
  • Tiger Woods’ kid is just impressive. Most kids his age are still struggling to tie their shoelaces.

Song of the day: Bush “Chemicals Between Us” Guitar Center Sessions

Alex, I’ll Take Irony For $500 Please

  • Several things caught my eye yesterday that made me hum “isn’t it ironic…” The first was a Seattle councilwoman who voted to defund the police, wait for it, called 911 when someone threw a rock through her window. The other was Biden’s deputy chief of staff in a Glamour Magazine article talking about compassion, compromise, and unity and then says republican lawmakers are a bunch of fuckers and Mitch McConnell is terrible. Then it suddenly dawned on me… I’ve been down this road before. I’m not certain I actually know the definition of irony. I think I know it when I see it, but I really can’t tell you the definition. I already know I’m punctuation challenged, why does the rest of the English language have to be so hard as well? I find a certain level of irony in writing a blurb about ironic without actually knowing if it is or not. I suspect poor Alanis was unjustly criticized for her song.
  • Impressive puck handling skills with this hockey training treadmill.
  • Following along with Mayor Pete, Biden has nominated Deb Haaland for secretary of the interior. I’m sure she’s a lovely person, but has zero qualifications for the post. She has a degree in English and went to law school but didn’t take the bar exam. How could that not qualify her to manage our extensive public lands? At least Trumps guy had a degree in Geology, an MBA, and Masters of Science in global leadership. Oh, and he was a Navy SEAL officer. Doesn’t mean he did a good job, just that he at least had qualifications. The lead for most news articles explain clearly why she was picked: “Biden picks Rep. Haaland to be first Native American Interior secretary“. Symbolism over substance. As a blue check on twitter said, “Vaginas and skin color are more important than actually getting things done”.
  • Today will be my first downhill ski day of the season. For the first time ever, I’m actually nervous. I’m legitimately worried about hurting myself. I’ve never felt that before. I was skate skiing yesterday and my balance and coordination were terrible. Age is catching up with me. I think I’ll stick to the funny bunny and magic carpet runs today.
  • Speaking of age, I saw something yesterday that spawned a funny memory. One of my favorite cartoons as a kid was Speed Racer. Looking at it now I realize just how bad it was. How in the world did a Japanese cartoon, dubbed over with English get so popular?
  • I think one of the greatest sayings is (paraphrased) who you are as a person is defined by what you do when nobody’s looking. And there’s no better measure of that than what you do with returning a shopping cart. Someone took the time to write an entire article on this. Are you an always returner? A never returner? A convenience returner? Or perhaps a pressure returner – only when someone is watching? Hmmm. Does this translate to the rest of your life? Very deep grasshopper.

Song of the day: Alanis Morissette – You oughta know [Live Hyde Park 1996]