- Normally I love winter. I downhill ski, cross-country, skate ski, or snowshoe at least three to four days a week. You might ask why I’m still getting fatter then, but that’s a topic for another post. This winter I’ve been busy preparing for my “Summer of George” moment. New motorcycle purchased, new riding suit, tools, updated video gear, endless hours of motorcycle travel videos consumed, and many late nights pouring over maps planning routes. I’m almost ready to hit the road. Except motorcycles, snow, and ice don’t mix very well. I’m probably a tiny bit more rugged than the average guy, but not Long Way Down rugged. If you haven’t watched this motorcycle travel documentary you should. It’s interesting to see the effort it took to film something before the GoPro existed. Anyway, the point is that it’s another month in my part of the world before road-tripping becomes enjoyable weather-wise. I’ve never looked forward to winter ending before. So, I’m forced to spend my time pursuing maps and travel websites to build my list of must-see destinations. I’ve been mostly focusing on unrealistic epic trips across the west, so I hadn’t looked much at what’s close to me. This morning I stumbled upon the motherload of interesting small town America just a few hours from me. I found a little town perched on the Snake River that hosts what they bill as “Lawson’s Emu-Z-Um”. It was an emu ranch that has become a museum full of artifacts and dwellings from the 1800s early settlers and early small town America memorabilia. Looking at the map more, within 40-50 miles of that town are deep canyon overlooks, sand dunes, birds of prey conservation areas, and a ghost town. Plus a couple of promising looking BBQ and burger places. This is the perfect day trip to kick off the Summer of George! Another month of quick rides around town in-between storms to get used to the new bike, and then it begins. Because I love winter, I’ve never looked at the weather report before and cursed when I see another week of storms coming. It’s a strange feeling. Sigh. Back to the maps for now I suppose.
- A California democratic representative, during an interview on CNN, stated that those businesses that cannot afford to pay their employees $15 an hour are essentially not worth preserving. This simple statement encompasses everything wrong with mostly liberal, big government-centric thinking. The thought that some mindless bureaucrat gets to pick and choose what businesses are worthy of keeping is appalling. And naturally it’s a statement from someone who’s been primarily an academic/lawyer/politician his entire career. A thirty second investigation into the representative (a.k.a. Wikipedia) shows a bit of a contradiction – he has a degree in economics, wrote a book titled “Entrepreneurial Nation: Why Manufacturing is Still Key to America’s Future“, yet still makes statements like the one he did. My interest is piqued enough to read more about his philosophy. Maybe there’s something I’m missing? At the moment, in regards to the $15 minimum wage, I still feel if people are resorting to entry level jobs to feed a family then it seems like the government focus should be on enabling creation of middle income opportunities instead of simply raising the bottom wage. Otherwise, let’s just adopt Andrew Yang’s proposal and give everyone a universal basic income. We’re already printing money, what’s a few hundred trillion more?
- There’s been so much global warming, Niagara Falls froze over this week. Of course polar vortexes are cyclical events that happen from time to time and shouldn’t be counted as climate. Climate is measured in decades. Interestingly, in the cult of global warming, a cold event like this doesn’t get much press but an El Nino warming event causing a hot summer will be treated as non-stop climate Armageddon. It’s all about the narrative baby.
- Speaking of printing money, the Federal Reserve expanded its record holdings of US Treasuries in the fourth quarter of 2020 as it continued monetizing the massive federal debt. I don’t understand much of this, but it does seem like they’re trying to push inflation. Most of this is way over my head, but it certainly feels like if we continue to simply toggle the levers… at some point it’s going to collapse. I guess as long as it’s not on my watch we’re all good.
- I know that there is no actual censorship or purging happening on the part of Twitter towards folks who don’t tow the woke orthodoxy, but they just suspended Steven Crowder for simply saying he can confirm that people voted at address that do not exist. That is some serious insurrectionist talk. Thank god we’re being protected from outrageous statements like that.
- I don’t know if this is real or staged, but it’s pretty funny regardless. You need to watch to the end.
Song of the day: Red Hot Chili Peppers – Higher Ground – Live at La Cigale
- When I was a kid, every once in a while my friends and I would pick up a copy of the Weekly World News. They bill themselves as “The worlds only reliable news”. As kids we knew it was just a silly tabloid with articles containing headlines like “5 things to avoid during an alien abduction“. But also as a kid, something in the back of your brain would wonder if maybe, just maybe, it was true? Reporters couldn’t just make stuff up could they? As a so called “adult” I’ve always been firmly in the skeptical bigfoot camp when it comes to UFO’s. Billions of people on this planet… if aliens have visited we’d know about it. Government isn’t competent enough to keep a secret like that. So imagine my surprise when I saw this article – “Pentagon admits it has been testing wreckage from UFO crashes & findings may ‘change our lives forever”. This comes from 154 pages released by the Defense Intelligence Agency after a three year FOIA request by researcher Anthony Bragalia. Could this be real? I honestly don’t know what to think. If it is, what other secrets has the government managed to keep? It is odd the Kennedy assassination still hasn’t been declassified after all these years. Maybe we really are holding the bodies of aliens from the Roswell UFO crash at Area 51? Could there actually be a Bigfoot type creature running around the pacific northwest? My skeptical roots have been shaken a bit today.
- Speaking of journalism, I saw an image this morning of the giant 1st Amendment plates being taken down from the former Newseum in Washington DC. It’s an interesting image given the current dissenting speech purge and cancel culture of today. When we visited DC a few years ago I had never heard of the Newseum and only went as an afterthought on the recommendation of a friend. It ended up being in the top three things we saw. Interestingly, the thing I was most looking forward to was the Smithsonian Air and Space museum. That ended up being the most disappointing attraction. Meanwhile a little museum about journalism I’d never heard of became one of my favorites. Sadly it closed down at the end of 2019.
- Meanwhile, it appears Sen Ted Cruz left with his family to Cancun while the state he represents freezes over because of their decision not to join the East and West power grids. While I don’t begrudge anyone going on a planned vacation with their family, how do you not have any political awareness of how this would look? Not that he could actually do anything about it, but still. More proof that politicians from both sides of the aisle really don’t care about you.
- The other day former MMA star turned actress Gina Carano was cancelled by Disney for sharing a dissenting opinion from that of woke Hollywood. She’s probably one of those domestic insurrectionists we’ve been hearing about. Anyway, despite the clumsiness of her tweet, there are some parallels to today and 1930’s Germany. This post is worth a read.
- I broke the law yesterday. Despite being a contrarian, I am a rule follower so this was definitely out of character for me. I’d run an errand and on the way back home I realized the streets were mostly dry. I have not been able to test drive the new motorcycle due to large amounts of fluffy white global warming that have been falling from the sky lately. The bike has not been registered, titled, and does not yet have a license plate. All that went out the window when I saw an opportunity to go for a quick ride. I’m in love. It’s smooth, powerful, and rides like a dream. Super agile for such a big bike. It exceeded all my expectations. It does however have more buttons and switches than the space shuttle. I can easily see myself riding off a cliff as I try to navigate the touch screen display to change riding modes or turn on the heated grips. It’s so complicated, Honda created an online simulator so you can practice while not on the bike. I don’t care. The sound that engine makes when you twist the throttle makes my heart skip a beat. It was worth being a lawbreaker. Spring can’t come soon enough.
Song of the day: George Thorogood – Bad To The Bone – 7/5/1984 – Capitol Theatre (Official)
- 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 was thinking about the apparent lack of awareness politicians on both sides have of the pulse of the people they’re supposed to represent. They tend to rush to solve the wrong problem because they need to be seen as “doing something” about whatever’s in the news. We just had a large mob of very angry people rally to express their dissatisfaction with something that devolved (as mobs do) into violence. Politicians rush to “fix” the end result of the situation – we need to call in the national guard, they must condemn all violence, we need to put people on no-fly-lists, we need to impeach, etc… While all of that may or may not need to be addressed, I don’t hear anyone on the left asking the real question – what happened to make all those people so angry and what could be done to address that? It reminded me of the Prisoners Dilemma. Two prisoners in solitary confinement, no way to communicate with each other. If one snitches on the other, he goes free and the other serves his sentence. If both snitch, both serve their sentence. If neither snitches (because snitches wind up in ditches), both serve reduced sentences. Politicians (especially today) seem to be wired to always believe politics is a zero sum game. The only way I can win is to ensure someone else loses. We’ve entered the era of scorched earth politics. Tearing up a state of the union speech or driving pointless impeachments to score points is more important than asking what’s more beneficial for everyone. Both sides are guilty of this… Republicans just really suck at it. I wonder if we’ll ever get back to a point where folks recognize if both sides accept a little pain (compromise), everyone benefits in the long run? (Don’t answer that. It’s rhetorical. Never going to happen.)
- I had to laugh. A couple of days ago Tucker Carlson had a line that made me snort out loud: “Once Donald Trump leaves the scene and it’s time to divvy up the spoils of the United States Treasury to begin the great piñata party of 2021…” And sure enough, yesterday Biden rolls out a $2 trillion dollar stimulus spending plan. This will be followed by another $1.3 – $2 trillion dollar infrastructure plan. It’s gotten absurd to the point there’s no reason to even fight it anymore. We’re printing money out of thin air. Hell, if we’re already printing trillions, we may as well print another four or five. Give every American with a drivers license a brand new car. And pay for their insurance. And create a guaranteed auto buyback program for all the existing vehicles and loans. Can you even imagine the stimulus this would bring to country? It would resurrect the failing auto industries, create new manufacturing jobs for the entire supply chain, improve our air quality, put more money in the pocket of struggling families by getting rid of a car payment, and help the most disenfranchised be able to get a job. I think that’s a damn fine idea. I guess you couldn’t require a drivers license. That would be discriminatory. Anyway, put me down for a Tesla Cybertruck.
- I was reasonably productive yesterday with planning. I resurrected the Bullet Journal and starting looking into some travel ideas. I agree that putting (figurative) pen to paper does help organize thoughts. Next up will be working on the daily routine and thinking about hobbies.
- For dinner last night I made a deluxe grill cheese and tomato soup. Thick sourdough, two kinds of cheese, bacon, grilled onions, sliced tomato and avocado. Probably a 2,500 calorie meal, but worth it. Now I just need to go run approximately 50 miles to break even.
- We watched the History of Swear Words last night. Pretty good. Nicholas Cage was able to poke fun at himself. Nice to see actors who are comfortable enough to do that. It’s said that swearing is a sign of intelligence. If so, I should be a rocket scientist.
- A list of red flags in job interviews. Reminded me of an answer I got frequently when I was a hiring manager at Microsoft. I’d ask the candidate how they would find out the answer to something and I’d frequently get the response: “I’d Google it”. Uhmm… you’re interviewing at Microsoft, are you really that dense? If you’re going say that, at least make the case why one search engine is better than the other. That I’d respect. This is beside the issue of being so unaware that if all I needed was someone who could “Google” something, I could hire a random street person (or sixth grader) and be just as successful. This of course was back in the day when Microsoft was the Evil Empire and Google’s code of conduct slogan was “Don’t be evil”.
Song of the day: Meredith Brooks ( Live) Lilith Fair- Bitch 1997
- I’ve seen episodes of NCIS and Perry Mason, so I know the importance of a timeline. But first a quick step back in history. The year was 1846 and President Polk wanted war with Mexico. Well, not necessarily war but he wanted the shipping ports of California. War was just a means to an end. The border between Texas and Mexico was highly disputed and Mexico had troops stationed in an area they believed was their territory. Polk ordered General Taylor to take his 4,000 troops and advance to the Rio Grande river. Mexico didn’t take kindly to what they saw was an invasion of their country and the inevitable conflict happened. US troops died. Polk went to congress and declared that Mexico had shed American blood on American soil. Congress and America got appropriately fired up and declared war (interestingly a young representative named Lincoln was one of the few to object. It cost him his seat in congress). My point is that what you see and your impression is very much shaped by how it’s reported. Back to the timeline. On Jan 6th I was at work all day, so my view of what happened was what I saw on the “news” shows when I got home. President Trump apparently called for his angry mob of protesters to march on the capital, resulting in the violence we saw. Trump is an evil maniac and we must impeach, invoke the 25th amendment, make sure he doesn’t have the nuclear codes, and erase all evidence he was ever in office. Maybe history will just show an asterisk like Lance Armstrong’s Tour de France wins? Is that really what happened though? That pesky timeline shows that idiots began breaching the Capital’s security 20 minutes before the end of the President’s speech. Seeing as it’s a 45 minute to hour walk from the speech location to the Capital (the area was shut down to cars), there’s no way these folks could have been inflamed by Trumps rhetoric and rushed to breach the doors. Reporters on the ground said that cell signal was non-existent, so they couldn’t have been listening either. The text of Trumps speech shows that he specifically said let’s “peaceably march” to the capital. Obviously these folks were planning to do this well before Trump said anything. You can argue that he should have known what was going to happen if he held that rally. That’s fair. The rally and speech was a dumb move on many levels. But to declare the President incited violence, is a danger, and needs to be immediately removed from office and erased from social media is beyond stupid. It’s simply the media, democrats and never-Trumpers exacting their final revenge. We certainly didn’t hold any of these officeholders and media to account when they were encouraging and celebrating protest in the street during the mostly peaceful BLM riots. Or when the Hart Senate building was occupied by Kavanagh protesters. Or when there were marches, protests, and rallies at Trump’s inauguration. The notable orator Madonna said that day that she dreamed about blowing up the White House. #notmypresident Ah, but those are woke causes. It’s different. Biden’s ironic inauguration theme is “America United”. Apparently a bunch of people on both sides didn’t get the memo. You have 75 million pissed off, angry voters. Yes, Trump should have kept his narcissistic ego in check and quietly conceded. And the left, media, and big tech should stop poking the bear. Eventually something (more) bad will happen if they don’t. And it will be everyone’s fault.
- I got my second vaccine on Monday for the virus that must not be named. I had no issues with the first one. I had no issues on Monday with this one. Felt fine on Tuesday when I woke up. By noon, I felt like I got hit by a truck. Headache, body ache, and a serious brain fog. I still don’t feel a hundred percent this morning. Interesting the second shot invokes such a strong reaction. Worth it though. I can now run naked through the Covid ward without fear.
- To use the irony word twice in one day… Twitter apparently has zero self awareness. Twitter’s Public Policy group posted the following: “Ahead of the Ugandan election, we’re hearing reports that Internet service providers are being ordered to block social media and messaging apps. We strongly condemn internet shutdowns – they are hugely harmful, violate basic human rights and the principles of the #OpenInternet.” Apparently deciding what speech is allowed is only moral if you’re the one doing it.
- And speaking of the continued purge, Facebook has declared the phrase “stop the steal” as scary, banned words. They stated: “We are now removing content containing the phrase ‘stop the steal’ under our Coordinating Harm policy from Facebook and Instagram.” Well, if you don’t like it go create your own social media app. Just as long as you don’t utilize Google, Apple, or Amazon services.
- We’ve begun the process of what Mrs Troutdog calls ‘divesting from work’. I changed my hours to part-time. I don’t know what that means yet. Honestly, I’m freaking out a little bit about this. There’s an element of guilt not working full time. The point is to start figuring out what full retirement will eventually look like for us. It’s a very strange feeling. Stay tuned.
- If you’ve been following along at home, you’ll remember we had a sewer backup that filled our bathtub with some objectionable material. We thought it was fixed, until it wasn’t. Turns out there must be a tree root through the line somewhere catching “stuff” as it flows down. Unfortunately we can’t really do anything about it until spring as everything is covered in feet of snow. Sigh.
Song of the day: Big Audio Dynamite – E=MC2
- 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)
- I think Scott Adams, the Dilbert guy, said it best about our current situation: “When you upgrade software, there is a moment in time in which you no longer have access to the old software but you have not yet completed loading the new version. That’s us, right now.” As someone who spent an entire previous life in the technology sector, I can assuredly say that all new software features and bug fixes are done with the best of intentions. But software is designed and written by people and best intentions sometimes have unintended consequences. For example, we put in a very clever new feature in at one point, designed to thwart DOS attacks on our system. It unfortunately took out the entire network for hundreds of thousands of people trying to tune in to watch the super bowl. Oops. We’re all waiting to see if this upgrade is the one we really wanted.
- Overnight a Portland Antifa mob attempted to break into a police department, then went on to smash up businesses. Representative Nadler, chairman of the judiciary committee, says they’re a myth. That’s good, because otherwise I might be worried about living in Portland.
- Update on the ginormous TV. The problem with the weird look (the soap opera effect) did indeed turn out to be the built in motion graphics. Turned that off and we’re back to the 24 frame look that’s expected.
- The number of people fleeing CA, WA, hell, every big city, to our little town is overwhelming. Last year my local cross-country ski place on a Thursday afternoon would be empty. Maybe one other car in the parking lot. Yesterday the lot was completely full, cars circling for parking spots. I expect that on a weekend, but mid-day on a Thursday? I’m not sure I like this development.
- The authentic voice discussion continues. Mrs Troutdog and I have been having some serious discussions. It’s getting less scary and a little more fun to think about what might be coming next. It can be overwhelming to realize that you only have so many years left to see and do things. How do I want to spend those years? First up will be some work changes. And keeping an actual budget that we stick to. I got all excited planning some road trips, then realized you also have to plan out what’s actually open these days. Damn virus. She hasn’t bought into the Sprinter van idea yet, but I’m crafting a killer power point presentation that may change her mind. Stay tuned.
- Speaking of vehicles, I’m at a crossroads with my truck. Ten years old, runs great, have had very few (minor) service issues. Paid off long ago. I *think* it could reliably go another 75k miles without crazy expensive repairs. At least another 5 years at my annual mileage. The unknown is that it is of the age where the transmission could fall out tomorrow. Do I put money into it, bringing it up to the modern era and adding some desired upgrades? Or do I put that money into a new truck (likely my last new vehicle) that in theory will be more reliable for a longer period of time? Or do I hold out for the Tesla Cyber Truck? Opinions?
Song of the day: Cake – The Distance (Official Video)
- 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)
- 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)
- We’ve had four generally accepted industrial revolutions. Coal, Gas, Electronics and Nuclear, and the Internet. The deep thinkers and Wall Street analysts have been trying to predict what the fifth revolution, or 5IR as it’s known, will be. I postulate that it will be the advent of the Hive and that this pandemic will be looked back on as the catalyst that catapulted 5IR forward. The Hive is the collective, distributed workforce. It’s a gig economy. It no longer matters where you live. Virtually all labor can be sourced online. The pandemic forced companies to allow “work from home”. Many companies are dumping their expensive real estate, realizing it’s no longer needed. Remote workspace companies sputtered, but will roar back once humans can interact again. Every possible labor specialty is now available online – billions of individuals busy producing their specialized skill, available to everyone from anywhere at all times. Businesses are increasingly becoming simple aggregators of the hives collective work.
- The problem with the Hive is the Queen. Hives exist to serve the Queen. If the Hive were a true distributed system we’d have capitalist bliss. Unfortunately we have a few Queens in the form of Amazon, Google, AT&T, Disney, Microsoft, Fox, Twitter, and Facebook. These few bemouths collectively control most of what you purchase, watch, read, and your work environment. They actively shut down and censor any opinions they don’t agree with. They’ve made it impossible for a small mom and pop retail store to compete. Microsoft has implemented “productivity measuring tools” in all its software. Workers are not to be trusted. These companies literally know everything there is to know about you. Where you go, the time of day you went, how long you spent there, your search habits, reading habits, shopping patterns, how much you earn, what you watch, and most importantly – your political thoughts and opinions.
- You can’t blame the Queens. Queens are just doing what Queens will do. The ability to rein in a Queen rests with the collective voice of the people in the form of their elected officials. Our government is intended to represent us, to step in when a Queen gets a little too rambunctious. Therein lies our problem. The government has become a little too enamored with the power they wield. They see themselves as a Queen, a new ruling class of elites. They’ve stopped protecting the Hive. Us folks in the lower classes have been the proverbial frog in the pot of slowly boiling water, blissfully unaware. This pandemic and the election suddenly lifted the skirt a bit and gave us a peak. Our elected officials are drunk on power, printing money, trillions out thin air to distribute to their friends and donors. They’ve shut down hundreds of thousands of business, gone forever. Meanwhile they’ve allowed the Walmarts and Home Depots to stay open. You can’t go to your local coffee shop or to get your hair cut, but you can happily go to Target to score some Black Friday deals. You’re not allowed to eat in a restaurant, yet you can go to Costco and wander around eating hot dogs from the food court. The Hive outnumbers the Queen but at some point critical mass is reached and the majority of the Hive become zombies of the state. China and North Korea come to mind. The people of those countries have become mindless puppets. The ability for free thinking people to express an independent thought has disappeared. The collective Hive will turn on anyone who resists the state. The government has used the Queens to frighten the Hive into submission. Don’t believe me? Try to go shopping without a mask on. Try to post an unflattering news story about the Bidens, or question climate change on Twitter or YouTube and watch it get taken down. Facebook will flag it with a fact checked as untrue label and the commenters will pounce, labeling you a flat earther.
- So is it too late for our Hive? We’ve allowed the state to shut down business, mandate face coverings, and limit interactions with other humans, including members of your own family. Airlines and countries are actively pursuing a Covid passport that will be needed to travel. Spain will be keeping databases of people who refuse the vaccine. Officers of the state shut down business at will. Airlines eject families because two year olds aren’t wearing masks. Theaters have police remove a disabled child for not wearing a mask. Surfers are arrested for surfing alone, in contradiction to pandemic law. The state is changing election and immigration laws as fast as they can go, all to improve their ability to stay in office. How long do you think it will be before a social credit system is in place that will impact your ability to get a job, travel, or post your thoughts freely on the internet? I fear it may be too late already. However, there is unrest. You’re starting to see daily acts of rebellion, of pushing back against the state. Roughly four million people became first time gun owners this year. All available ammo has been scooped up. The lockdowns are beginning to produce pockets of resistance. Will it be enough? Will the thinking Hive start driving out the elites, or has critical mass already been reached? Americans are a unique group of people. It will be interesting to watch.
- Speaking of the pandemic that shall not be named, take a look at this graph of the case curve of all 50 states. Notice anything? The curves are almost identical in shape for every state. Lockdowns, no lockdowns, masks, no masks, it doesn’t seem to have made a difference in the outcome. The virus is going to do what viruses do. We could have printed that same several trillion dollars, used it to protect the elderly and nursing homes, shore up hospital capacity, and kept our economy flowing. But hey, at least you’ll get $600 dollars.
Song of the day: Sex Pistols – God Save The Queen