- 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
- In 1938 Roosevelt signed the Fair Labor Standards Act into law, setting the first minimum wage at $0.25 an hour. That’s about $4.63 in today’s dollars. The current federal minimum wage is $7.25. The minimum wage discussion is a difficult one because its intent and the reality of what we’ve morphed into today are very different. I don’t have any problem setting a minimum wage because left to its own devices business, in the absence of competition, will take advantage of people. The horrible child labor conditions of the 30’s, which was the impetus for FLSA, are a prime example. So what does a minimum wage mean? It’s the minimum amount you can pay someone who has no skills. As you acquire more skills, your time is now worth more. Here’s another crucial point that gets lost. The wage an employer pays is ascribed to what they value the job, not the person. I need someone to pack widgets into a box. I do not need someone with any prior skills or training. I value that position as being worth a minimum wage. (again, this is in the absence of competition) When I’ve hired multiple widget packers I may now need someone to be the chief widget packer, a position with more responsibility and skills needed. I value that position as worth a higher wage. And on it goes. The presumption is that people will continue to rise up the wage ladder commensurate with their newly acquired skills and motivation. Here’s where the conversation gets difficult and is worth an independent discussion. Our middle class jobs are being wiped away, and will continue to be erased. Large numbers of people are being forced back down the wage ladder due to lack of opportunity at their acquired skill level. This forces out the true minimum wage earner and spawns the discussion about how does a former (or potential) middle class earner support themselves only on a minimum wage? And the related side of this is immigration, legal and otherwise. Large numbers of people are arriving with no skills and limited English, and have no other option than minimum wage work. Many of these folks are attempting to support large families on these wages. While the right conversation to be had is how do we best build back our middle class jobs and addressing immigration, the government solution is to simply pay these folks a “living wage”. Sounds great, but the US is a very diverse place. $15 an hour may be sustainable by a business owner in a high wage area like LA or a company like Amazon, but what does the owner of a diner in rural America do? Can they really afford to pay a high school kid $15 an hour to wash dishes or stock shelves at the local hardware store? It’s not an easy discussion. Unfortunately it’s not a discussion we’ll ever have because it will be demagogued to death. Which will only make starting a small business even more difficult, which worsens the middle class job market. Which is a recipe to invite government subsidies to “help”. It’s not a winning trajectory to be on.
- Apparently we suddenly have a domestic terrorist crisis. The formation of a federal domestic spy agency is well underway. Just like the Patriot Act, we’ll happily sign away more of our freedoms because the state run media tells us there’s racists hiding under every rock. Clearly the rioting and looting all summer don’t count as domestic terrorism because those are approved “woke” causes. During yesterdays crowning of Biden, Antifa ran amuck in Portland and Seattle doing all sorts of shenanigans. Silly Antifa. Why doesn’t that make the news? They even smashed up the original Starbucks. You’d think hipsters everywhere would be outraged. This must be a very confusing time for woke Starbucks baristas.
- Biden immediately violated the Federal mask mandate he had just signed, appearing at the Lincoln Memorial just a few feet away from reporters… without a mask. The media will call him out on his hypocrisy, right?
- This last year, we implemented a world-wide lockdown more severe than any climate alarmist could have dreamed for. Vehicle and air travel limited beyond what could ever be realistically proposed, even by the climate guru Greta Thurberg. It was the perfect experiment to see if models would match reality. And… it made no difference in the growth of atmospheric CO2. I suspect we’ll just ignore this inconvenient truth and march forward with a new and improved Paris Climate Treaty 2.0.
- When Sen Tom Cotton wrote an op-ed suggesting we deploy the National Guard to help quell the rioting and looting this summer, the journalists at the New York Times were so triggered that two editors lost their jobs for allowing such an opinion to be printed. 25,000 troops deployed to protect Washington from a supposed insurrection of white supremacists and racists… and not a peep. The hive mind of the media is an interesting thing.
- I had to take my dog, a.k.a The Troutdog, to get his nails trimmed yesterday. I wish I could capture the look on his face when he jumps out of the truck and realizes where he is. It’s the look of complete betrayal. “Dude, I thought we were going for a ski…” He then quivers and violently shakes like he’s waiting for a cattle prod up the rear end. I wonder what goes through his little brain that he thinks this is so terrible? Mrs Troutdog refuses to take him because she doesn’t want him mad at her. LOL.
Song of the day: The Clash – This is Radio Clash (Official Video)
- I don’t have a list of resolutions for the New Year. No goals that probably won’t be met. No platitudes about becoming a better person or striving for world peace. I’m in a unique place in life. I’ve been very blessed. Through a combination of dumb luck, good planning, seizing opportunities, and hard work, Mrs. Troutdog and I find ourselves at a happy crossroads. Retirement is looming around the corner. What is that going to look like? Will I spend my waning years puttering around my workbench in the garage? Will we be taking exotic motorcycle trips across southeast Asia? Maybe I’ll finally become a world famous YouTube star, or figure out what it is I’m actually trying to say with this blog. Perhaps I’ll start taking pictures again or figure out once and for all which of my 27 hobbies I want to focus on? When you were younger the saying was “what do you want to be when you grow up?”. Well, here I am all grown up and I still don’t know. So that’s my plan for the year – to try and get a handle on what I want my remaining time on this planet to look like. To find my authentic voice. What do I want to say, do, and leave behind. It’s not an achievable plan. But I think it’s a good theme for the New Year.
- I finally made the Machaca. I think it came out pretty damn good. It will certainly be a do-over. There’s so many things you can do with it – tortas, street tacos, breakfast, burritos. Good stuff.
- I don’t know why I find this so frightening. The engineering is damn impressive. It’s amazing where we are from a technology perspective. I guess I just don’t trust human nature. The sci-fi conspiracy theorist in me envisions getting tased by one of these things as I try to enter a store without my Covid-39 passport.
- You’re already seeing the media reporting the administration is bungling the rollout of the China virus vaccine. What a disaster, only 3 million doses have been given by the end of the year. We were promised 20 million dammit! Ignoring what an amazing R&D accomplishment this has been, the media conveniently doesn’t report that 14 million doses have been shipped. The bottleneck is at the local level. The same thing happens with every hurricane, wildfire, and flood. Clearly we don’t teach civics any more. We are a republic of independent states. The federal government can supply resources, but it’s up to the individual states and cities to implement those resources. When you saw those rows of empty school buses unused and flooded while people frantically tried to evacuate during Katrina, that was the state and cities fault. The federal government (FEMA) prepositioned those assets and the local authorities didn’t use them. It’s a dangerous road to go down letting people think that a massive, federal big brother is in charge of everything. The framers would be appalled at what their republic has become.
- This article about the imprisonment of Assange is a bit convoluted, but a good read. What we’ve done to him is a travesty. I really liked this statement: “Whether a society is truly free is determined by how it treats its dissidents, those who live and speak and think outside of permissible lines, those who effectively subvert ruling class aims.”
- I finished my last shift and last task of the year, New Years eve, in a fitting fashion. Giving a soap suds enema to a confused, combative patient who hadn’t pooped in a week and vomiting up tube feeds every thirty minutes. Thanks 2020 and fuck you. Moving on to 2021!
- Finishing up with pics of the best dogs on the planet, the mighty Vizsla.
Song of the day: Beck – Loser (Live 2003)
- 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
Cool things, random thoughts, advice, and independent thinking from someone who’s been around the sun a few times.
- If you’ve lost a loved one, a friend, a business, or your job this year due to the damn Wuhan Flu it’s going to be pretty hard to be thankful. Interestingly, Abraham Lincoln declared Thanksgiving as a national holiday in the middle of the civil war. Some days it feels like we’re drifting towards another civil war. But if Lincoln could find something to be thankful for during one of the worst periods in this countries history, so can we. I urge you to take a quick look at images of Haiti, Jamaica, or the slums of India. Read through some of the world poverty statistics. In Sub-Saharan Africa 41% of the population lives on less than $1.90 a day. 9% of the worlds population still practices open defecation due lack of modern plumbing. Yeah, we’re pretty damn lucky to be living in this country. So yes, today gather your friends and family close and be thankful for the blessings we enjoy.
- Sydney Powell’s lawsuit in Georgia did drop late yesterday. I have to admit, some pretty shocking allegations. What’s more shocking? Complete and total media silence. Crickets. You may think she’s a crackpot and these charges are tinfoil hat conspiracy theories… but how is it possible that the media seemingly universally ignores it? It’s at least worth exploring. Twitter is even blocking people from retweeting the link to the legal filing. I don’t care what party you belong to, that should scare the hell out of you.
- I am not thankful for sweet potato casserole. That stuff is an abomination and has no place on the table. And no, adding marshmallows to camouflage it isn’t going to fool me.
- I love my dog. Mrs Troutdog’s friend had to put hers down a day ago and, well, I just have a hard time thinking about it. My Instagram page is almost entirely pics of my hound. There’s no point to this other than I love my dog.
- It’s time for LA restaurants to rise up en masse against their mayor. The county public health director has a B.A. in community studies and a PhD in Social Welfare. I’m unclear on how that qualifies you to destroy business and jobs? Because science, you know.
- If you haven’t seen Charles Barkley’s golf swing, please behold. Even if you don’t know who he is or like golf. How did such a talented athlete go so wrong?
Song of the day: Rage Against The Machine “Killing in the Name (from The Battle Of Mexico City)“
Cool things, random thoughts, advice, and independent thinking from someone who’s been around the sun a few times.
- I am utterly flabbergasted at the number of people, in today’s day and age, that don’t wear a seatbelt in the car. Somewhere in the ’80’s the seat belt chime was standard in every vehicle. You have to go out of your way to not put on your seat belt today. Every single week (yes, EVERY week) there’s someone on our hospital floor who was ejected during a motor vehicle crash. Here’s the shocking truth just in case you weren’t aware… when an object travelling at a high rate of speed comes to a sudden stop – all that energy has to go somewhere. That energy is you being shot out of the vehicle like a cannon. Trust me, the outcomes aren’t good. Shattered pelvises and femurs from hitting the dashboard on the way out. Broken arms, destroyed shoulder joints. Broken ribs and pneumothoraxes. And last but not least – life altering head injuries. Wear your damn seatbelt.
- On a whim I ordered a pair of pants from an ad I saw on Instagram (I never do that). So far I’m really impressed with the Northbound Gear pants. Tough, warm, and good fit. We’ll see how they hold up over the ski season.
- We’ve set a record for the most number of days without a sunspot. It’s a good thing the sun has no impact on climate.
- My resting heartrate is definitely bradycardic. We have so many stroke patients on our floor I’m freaking out now about my stroke risk. Time to make an appointment with my doc so he can talk me off the ledge of hypochondria. I’ll also be asking to add the Apo B test to my blood panel to find out more about my cardiovascular disease risk. Which is silly because I know that regardless of the result, the answer is to be strict with a better diet. Which I won’t do. I like nachos too much.
- The Senate just passed the most recent National Defense Authorization Act. Under this deal we will be borrowing $2.75 Billion every single day to fund it. Eh, pocket change. Walking around money. But what’s really important is that you get outraged over this shinny object over here…
- Gordon protects his little humans every day. We don’t deserve dogs.
Song of the day: “Freaking Out” Juiceboxxx
Cool things, random thoughts, advice, and independent thinking from someone who’s been around the sun a few times.
- We recently had three patients on our floor that were early to mid fifties and in relatively good shape (compared to the overall population). All three had a sudden stroke. We also had an extremely nice patient who suffered a horrible, life altering, work accident. Just in the wrong place at the wrong time. These kinds of patients freak me out and make me want to sell everything and travel the world because you never know…
- I passed a coworker in the hall and I said the standard, “How’s it going?” as I walked by. He replied with great enthusiasm, “Amazing!”. It was such an unexpected reply I had to stop and laugh. It actually brightened my day a bit.
- I stumbled on this emergency dog carry harness. I hadn’t really thought about it, but I get pretty far out there with the hound and I’m not sure how or if I could carry him out? Seems like a good idea but it’s expensive and a bit large to pack.
- The possible crazy running goal I’m toying with… Now I’m on the fence, scared, and thinking it’s a pretty stupid thought. From near zero to goal would be extremely hard. I have no desire to build up with smaller goals, or do anything similar beyond. I’m too damn old for that. It would simply be a one time, “could I do it?” thing. Still a few weeks to decide. I’m trending towards no. I simply don’t know if I have the mental discipline to do the training.
- Pat Mac’s Basic Dude Stuff cracks me up.
* outrage warning for millennials
- We got a pretty good dump of global warming this week. Cross country and downhill season starts (for me) next week! That pesky work thing keeps getting in the way of my fun.
- Speaking of snow, I was totally planning on doing this run sometime this year. I may have to rethink now.
- Staying on the snow theme, I’ve really been enjoying Cody Townsend’s “The Fifty” project.
Song of the day: “Pancake” by Jaded
- A note for my two readers… Notions will be sparse to non-existent for a week. I’ll be on an island drinking tropical drinks with tiny umbrellas and fighting a heroic battle to remain in ketosis. Not.
- The US government hit its borrowing limit yesterday. The estimate is that they run out of money by September if we don’t raise the debt ceiling (again). Our total debt is $22 trillion. But whoo hoo, a green new deal!
- I love this quote from @garyvee “Technology has not changed us, technology has exposed us”.
- There are some thoughts that the universe is expanding faster than previously thought. I love that stuff. I’m also not smart enough to understand what the hell I’m reading. As Forrest Gump says, “I’m not a smart man”.
- Speaking of reading, I struggled to find a few books to read on vacation. I don’t know why but lately finding books that keep my interest is like searching through Netflix for a movie. I settled on these three. Don’t judge.
- I’ve been doing an experiment-ish on the Twitter. Created a new account. I have exactly 1 follower. Been slowly adding a few tweets, some hashtags, following people, etc… I’m curious what will be the spark that actually gets followers?
- Still no Instagram story. Maybe this week.
- Dropped the hound off at the pet sitter yesterday. Surprising how quiet the house is without that knucklehead. See you in a week!
Song of the day: Buju Banton “Love Dem Bad”