Tag: Government

Is That A Key Fob In Your Pocket, Or Are You Just Glad To See Me?

Cool things, random thoughts, advice, and independent thinking from someone who’s been around the sun a few times.

  • I have a small rant. Ok, I rant about a lot of things, but this time I mean it. What is it with the giant car key fobs that weigh like two pounds? I drive an older truck and it has a normal key and a tiny little fob to do the lock/unlock thing. I can also, gasp, just use the key if I don’t want to carry the fob. My wife has a newer vehicle with the fancy keyless, pushbutton start thing. Her key fob is ginormous. Do these manufacturers not realize that normal people sometimes do things where you don’t have a huge purse or backpack to store this brick? Like going for a run, a bike ride, or in my case yesterday, cross country skiing. I clipped the massive key fob to the waist belt thing I wear (DONT call it a fanny pack) and skated off down the trail. The damn key fob was so big it kept falling out of the little pocket in the waist belt and dangling on my hip like a giant set of janitor’s keys (hint, foreshadowing). The trail conditions were a bit challenging yesterday and sure enough, my skate skis went out from under me on some boiler plate ice while going ludicrous speed and I landed directly on my hip on that damn key fob. Now, I’m not a tiny fellow so that’s a lot of weight coming down on a hard plastic brick. It was already swelling by the time I got home. This morning I have a hematoma the size of baseball on my hip. It’s time to rise up and rebel people! Just say no to gigantic key fobs!
  • A few days ago I wrote about investigating the Ct and amplification value of the Covid PCR tests. Sure enough, yesterday we got a call from a friend who was in the exact situation I wrote about. Son is coming home from school for Thanksgiving, had a Covid PCR test done before leaving and it came back positive. He’s completely asymptomatic, feels great. If that test used a high amplification (greater than 30) he could have contracted the virus weeks and weeks ago and is no longer contagious. He also could have gotten it a few days ago and is highly contagious. What are the parents to do? (they opted to quarantine him in his room).
  • Is today the big day? Yesterday Sydney Powell said today she’d be filing the first blockbuster, bombshell lawsuit in Georgia. Trump’s legal team also said they’ll get legislative hearings starting today in Georgia and two other states. Georgia came back and said it’s not a hearing, just an informal presentation. The two other states said this was news to them. What a shit show. One of Trump’s biggest failings has always been the lack of someone who can ensure a clear, consistent message that doesn’t contradict what everyone else is saying. Unclear why that wasn’t obvious with the level of media hostility they’ve faced. When you know the media will pounce and ridicule the slightest mistake or inconsistency, it becomes even more important to get the message right.
  • Yesterday, thirty-two people read the words I wrote. Now, in the blogging world that’s a laughable number. But since my usual number is zero, and I often ask myself why bother, that’s huge. Thank you!
  • A compilation of “If 2020 were a…” memes. Because really, 80% of my internet time is only for the memes.
  • If you didn’t like the film “The adventures of Buckaroo Banzai across the 8th dimension“, you’re dead to me.

Song of the day: Stick Figure “Weight of sound (live)”

Are You A Badass?

Cool things, random thoughts, advice, and independent thinking from someone who’s been around the sun a few times.

  • I stumbled on this clip and it made me smile. I see this a lot with my elderly patients. Talk to them for a bit and you’ll often realize they did some badass shit in their day. Makes our current generation of kids look pretty weak. When your family looks back at your life are they going to say, wow my grandma/grandpa/aunt/uncle was really cool or a badass? Why not? You’re only here once, may as well make the most of it.
  • I don’t care if you’re left or right leaning, take a moment to watch this monologue from Tucker Carlson. I’ve said it many times before, what the media did to this country is disgusting. The fact that your entire worldview is dependent upon what channel you watch should be frightening. The Hunter Biden laptop story is the perfect example. Actual proof that the next president at minimum lied about his involvement with his son’s business dealing with China and may have financially benefited. Maybe it was all innocent, but certainly serious enough it should have been vetted by the press. When the story came out I started checking the The Hill, Politico, CNN, and MSNBC each day leading up to the election. The story did not appear on any of their sites. Not once. The deliberate spiking of a legitimate story by “journalists” because it might harm their candidate of choice. Twitter actually censored and blocked the NY Post over it. That should frighten you.
  • Speaking of elections, it certainly looks like Trump’s goose is cooked. All the hand waving, tweets, and bad press conferences… and nothing. We have yet to see anything resembling evidence of fraud. Could we see something still? Sure, I suppose. Not going to hold my breath. Was there significant fraud? I personally think so. Unfortunately like the mythical Durham report, it’ll be three years before some report gets released to a senate committee we’ve never heard of. At the rate we’re going, the next presidential election will be via a twitter poll. What could possibly go wrong?
  • I’m terribly impressed by this short little clip of a close inspection. I can’t imagine how much practice it takes. Then again, I’ll manage to drop a fork, spill my drink, and trip over the dog just walking to the dinner table.
  • I made a silly little video about my paralyzing indecision regarding what motorcycle to buy. I literally flip flop every week. Last week I’d decided the little dual sport was the right choice. This week after seeing some travel web sites and thinking about badassery, I’m back to the big adventure bike and getting out to travel and explore. At least I have the rest of the winter to agonize over the decision.

Song of the day: Jimi Hendrix “Voodoo Child”

Hot Tub Chemistry

Cool things, random thoughts, advice, and independent thinking from someone who’s been around the sun a few times.

  • There has never been a point in my life where I thought what I really need right now is a hot tub. Hot tubs are so… 1980’s. When we bought a house that had one I assumed I’d simply shut it off and find a way to get rid of it. I pictured having to start robbing convenience stores just to pay for the electric bill if I kept it running. And then one fateful day I decided to get in and see what the hype was about. I can now honestly say I love my hot tub. I’m in it at least once, sometimes twice a day. I couldn’t imagine not having one. The only issue I struggle with is the chemicals. I have two strikes against me. I floundered with chemistry in school and I’m not terribly precise with measuring things. This is why I can’t do carpentry or bake things. Anyway, I ran out of bromine and mistakenly bought the wrong kind. I wanted the tiny little tablets that go in the floaty thing, but instead came home with giant hockey pucks obviously intended for swimming pools. I figured what’s the difference and threw a couple of pucks in the tub. The bromine quickly rendered the PH to zero. My test strips wouldn’t even register any more. I spent the better part of an entire day doing mad scientist calculations and adding chemicals to get the PH and alkalinity back to normal. Note to self, don’t do that again.
  • The mask discussion has become religion. And as with religion, you don’t dare question someone’s beliefs. It amuses me to no end listening to people who probably couldn’t pass a human physiology test if their life depended on it, pontificate on the merits, or lack thereof, of mask wearing. As someone who could pass a physiology test (maybe, it was a while ago) and has had actual classes on reading and interpreting research studies, here’s what we know – nobody has any actual idea if masks work or not. No, seriously. We have no actual idea at this point, despite what the talking heads on TV and YouTube say. Plenty of theories, but that’s it. Up until eight months ago, here’s what we understood: A well fitting surgical procedure mask offered protection against bacteria but not viruses because a virus was smaller than the openings in the mask material. The only thing that would protect you (or others) from a virus was a properly worn, fit-tested, N95 respirator. Magically that has all changed. The Covid virus must have gotten fat, because now any mask dangling below your nose or nasty-ass bandana pulled over your face is just as good as an N95. Now, I do think there’s an argument to be made that a mouth and nose covering of any sort in certain circumstances has the potential to lower the possible viral load you ingest, resulting in a more mild case of the ‘rona. The problem I have is that is NOT what’s being talked about. Politicians and the religious mouth-diaper fanatics are talking as if mask mandates are going to somehow stop the virus. Only two things will stop the (any) virus. Herd immunity achieved naturally or via vaccine, or a complete and total quarantine of the population for an extended period (remember 15 days to flatten the curve?) We’ve lost all perspective and reality about what benefit wearing a mask might provide.
  • I stumbled on a magazine called “Route” that’s all about stories and photographs of the old Route 66. Now that would be a neat trip – a week of exploring and photography of the old byway.
  • The verbal scuffle between Tucker Carlson and Sidney Powell will be interesting. Someone’s reputation will get tarnished over this one. Who’s it going to be? I will say, Powell needs to put up or shut up soon or she just became a whacky conspiracy theorist. If she’s right, the Trump army will leave Tucker in droves.
  • ZdoggMD reading mean comments had me laughing out loud.

Song of the day: Tracy Bonham “Mother Mother

Do You Smell That?

Cool things, random thoughts, advice, and independent thinking from someone who’s been around the sun a few times.

  • We came home last night to an odd smell and a bathtub full of, well, sewage. I’m no expert, but that’s not normal. Our main sewer line to the house was completely clogged. This is where you realize that one of the most important things for you to acquire as an adult is to “have a guy”. A trusted mechanic. A handyman. A snowplow service. And, of course, a plumber. I firmly believe that the truly powerful people in life, from entrepreneurs to politicians to mobsters, got that way because they cultivated a rolodex of “guys” who can get things done when needed. Feminists please don’t get your panties in a bunch – I’m using the stereotypical “a guy” as a figure of speech. Yes I fully realize the “guy” you need may be a woman. For example, we stumbled upon a trusted decorator that’s done some great work for us who’s a woman. Wait, men can be decorators as well. Shit, now I’ve stepped in it. What was I saying? Oh right, we now have a plumber who did great work at a fair price added to our rolodex of non-gender specific trusted servicepersons.
  • Things that smell part two. Did you see the Trump campaign’s press conference yesterday about post-election lawsuits and alleged voter fraud? I don’t blame you if you didn’t as probably only two networks covered it. This brings up two points. Ok, three. First while I personally think most of the allegations will fizzle out, I do think there’s enough smoke to warrant serious investigation. Second, you cannot credibly claim the press is unbiased. Just like the Hunter Biden laptop, this is a major story and needs to be covered. The intentional choice to spike stories that don’t fit the media’s group think narrative is probably the single biggest reason Trump lost. And third, as he’s done for most of his presidency, Trump continually harms his message with his choice of messenger. Independent of the message or strategy being accurate, Giuliani is a horrible spokesperson for the campaign and should have been relegated to behind the scenes work a long time ago.
  • Update to the sore ear/surgical cap crisis. I’ve worn the silly wannabe do-rag bouffant cap for a week now. My ears are much happier because the mask ear loops are connected to cap, not my ears. My self esteem lost a few points, but at my age I don’t really care.
  • As California moves from stage Saffron-Yellow to Crimson-Burgundy, the governor announced a state wide 10 PM curfew. More keys to solving the Covid puzzle! Turns out the ‘rona is a night owl. As long as we stay below five feet, only go out during the day, and only dine at ungodly expensive restaurants – we’re going to be ok.
  • Started watching the Netflix series “Challenger the final flight“. Very good so far. I still remember exactly where I was when this happened. Working at a ski shop watching a tiny little TV. Didn’t have a single customer all day (wasn’t ski season) and no such thing as a cell phone yet (can you imagine?). I watched solitary all day with nobody to interact with until I got home. Was a very strange feeling.
  • Speaking of Netflix, proof of what I dork I am. Recently a friend asked what I was doing that evening. Mrs Troutdog was traveling so I said “Netflix and chill“. I had no idea that was actually a euphuism for sex. Awkward!
  • While I don’t think it will happen, the mere suggestion by the Biden team of cancelling student debt is enraging. I completed college working and without loans. Please explain how I’m going to be compensated for that. Otherwise, it’s not fair… and isn’t everything today about participation trophies and fairness?
  • A guy who drinks champagne and reviews pine cones.
  • And finally, some kick-ass outdoor sports footage by people wearing weird teletubby onesies. No, really. Worth the watch.

Song of the day: Lenny Kravitz “Are you going to go my way (pinkpop 1993)”

Remain Seated To Avoid The China Plague

Cool things, random thoughts, advice, and independent thinking from someone who’s been around the sun a few times.

  • Due to the increase in the number of Covid cases, my state has decided to roll back to a modified Stage Two response. The new restrictions include the following:
    – No gatherings of greater than 10, unless it’s for school, business, religion, or political events.
    – Bars, nightclubs, and restaurants can remain open but only if the patrons are seated.
    Science has been wrong this entire time – Covid particles hover about five to six feet off the ground. As long as you’re seated they’ll drift right over your head! This is a tremendous breakthrough! Forget masks, we just need everyone to move around on little low recumbent scooters and we’d stop this virus in its tracks. And we already knew that the ‘rona was smart enough to skip large gatherings as long as they were for an appropriately woke cause, rioting, or looting. Biker events and rallies are not woke and everyone is standing – also known as super spreader events.
  • It started snowing today. The local ski resort web cam shows nine inches so far. It’s fair to say I’m getting a little excited. Come on global warming… don’t let this just be a cruel tease.
  • After spending approximately two hours watching snow web cams, weather channels, and Warren Miller clips on YouTube, I realized I’d left an unfinished item in my Bullet Journalstart workouts for ski fitness. I think I wrote that sometime in June. Ooops. Guess it’s time to put down the pirate booty and actually start working out. Otherwise my fat ass is never going to get up or down the hill.
  • As a healthcare worker I have to wear various types of masks for 13 hours at a time. It’s gotten to the point that the back of my ears are absolutely killing me. Even wearing my glasses is starting to hurt now. I’ve tried various solutions to no avail. There’s complex physics involved, but women’s hair and fashion offer more options to get the straps off the ears than us dudes have. Today I ordered some surgical caps with buttons on the side. I’m desperate. Stay tuned.
  • If you need a smile to finish out your week, watch 10 year old Nandi Bushell rock out to Nirvana. A serious prodigy. The pure joy on her face is awesome. Imagine how happy we’d all be if we could approach our work and hobbies with that level of enthusiasm?

Song of the day: Nirvana – Breed (Live At The Paramount/1991)

A Case For Universal Basic Income

I should start out by saying that I do not agree with implementing a Universal Basic Income (UBI). However I recently listened to a podcast with Andrew Yang, a 2020 presidential candidate, and he made the most compelling case yet for it. I think the alarm bell he’s ringing is true… I’m just am not convinced UBI is the right solution.

Mr. Yang’s premise is that due to AI and automation one-third of all working Americans are going to lose their job in the next 12 years. Most of these workers are going to have a very hard time finding new employment. He makes the case that it’s not realistic to think that you’re going to re-train a truck driver from rural Iowa to write code. By giving every working age American $1000 a month you provide a safety net that will be put back into the economy in the form of gas, groceries, fuel, etc… A UBI paid for by a VAT tax. You have a choice of taking the UBI or social services (e.g. food stamps) but not both.

I agree that the coming AI boom is going to displace mass numbers of people. The Mckinsey research group estimates between 400 and 800 million people will be replaced by automation by 2030 worldwide. In the US, the top ten professions are mostly all lower wage jobs. The top five are:

  • #1 for males – truck driver
  • Retail sales
  • cashier
  • office clerk
  • food prep
  • customer service

The mean annual income in the US is $46,000. Every single one of those most common jobs listed is replaceable by automation. A third of the country out of work is a recipe for a real economic crisis that I’m not sure we can survive. The taxpayers are going to pay one way or another – in the form of food stamps, medical, etc…

There are folks who claim we’ve always had revolutions in technology that displace workers – let them #learntocode (don’t put that on Twitter!) The difference between the first and second industrial revolutions and today’s displaced workers is twofold; first the scale of displaced workers was much smaller and second, those revolutions actually spawned a middle class. An uneducated displaced farm worker could move to the city, work in a factory and support a family. Today it’s actually those lower-middle class jobs we’re removing.

So what’s my solution? I don’t know. As a libertarian-ish person I have a very hard time seizing taxpayer money and giving it to others because they made poor decisions and aren’t busting their ass to improve themselves. I also recognize that a mob of hungry, desperate people rioting with pitchforks isn’t in societies interest either.

Most politicians will push for ungodly expensive government boondoggle spending programs to “re-train” workers. Those are usually bottomless money pits with little positive outcome. I applaud Mr. Yang for at least being brave enough to raise the issue and give a plausible solution.

Is UBI the right solution? The more I think about it, the more I’m on the fence. It’s not often I stumble upon an issue where I don’t have a clear opinion. What do we do with 100 million people in this country out of work and no skills to bridge the gap? I’m curious what you think? What’s the right answer? Is this even a problem? Maybe the revolution will happen slower than we think. It’s certainly worth having a discussion… but I suspect we’ll ignore it until too late.

Notions Of Cool V.010

A random list of things and shower thoughts that an old guy (who still thinks he’s 20) finds cool or worth pondering.

  • The problem with the gun control debate, as is the case with so many things in government, is that it’s busy solving the wrong problem. The gold standard should be to apply the law retroactively to all the high profile shootings and ask, “would this have stopped it?” In virtually every case the answer is no. So why continue with feel good measures that only impact the 99.9% of law abiding gun owners?
  • Found a great Netflix series, Black Mirror. There are four seasons of independent episodes – think modern Twilight Zone. Worth your time.
  • Had to spend $1800 to have a crew remove snow from my roof. Was getting seriously worried about the weight. Lesson learned for next year.
  • Had a patient who has complete left side hemiparesis from a new stroke tell me: “when I fart now it’s the strangest feeling… only one butt cheek flaps”.
  • I just heard about the #learntocode controversy on twitter. More to come on this. The fact that our outrage culture has an issue with this amuses me. The thought that Twitter is banning people because of it is disturbing.
  • Wingsuit flyers. Yeah, no thanks. Cool to watch though.
  • One more storm, then forecast for March is dry and warmer. I see some serious vitamin D, spring skiing in my future.
  • I mentioned melanoma before. Scared me enough that I have my first ever dermatology appointment in two weeks.

Song of the day: Amerie “Thing”