Tag: Politics

I Might Be Lost

  • Many moons ago in a former life I was a member of a search and rescue team. I had training in many subjects; rope/technical rescue, swiftwater rescue, tracking, land and open water navigation, incident command, etc… Trust me, it sounds way cooler than reality. Nowadays I’d get lost driving to the doughnut shop without my phone navigation. Anyway, two things happened yesterday that drove home the importance of embracing the old boy scout motto – Be Prepared. The first was a quick snowshoe outing. Well, I thought it was going to be quick. It was to a place I’d never been and we have multiple feet of brand new snow. I brought nothing. No water, no gear, no first aid kit. We didn’t let anyone know where we were going. We wandered through the woods for several hours and by the time we got back to the car it was snowing pretty good. I know better and should have been at least minimally prepared. In my head I justified it with thinking it was a pretty highly visited area and our distance wasn’t very far. I didn’t think much more about it until late in the evening. Some folks we know in another part of the state managed to get lost and caught out after dark in the wilderness. Temps were dropping into the teens and snow was expected. We were on the phone on and off for hours as family tried to coordinate search and rescue efforts from afar. I fully expected to be heading north on a multi hour drive to start searching come first light. Details are still sketchy, but they were located and everyone seems to be ok. What’s the point of all this? We all get complacent. We put off planning and preparing. I’ll do it tomorrow. The problem with emergencies is that they happen when you least expect it. Do you have an emergency kit in your car? In your home? (Texas residents certainly never expected to be in their predicament) I’m not saying you need to go full on prepper mode, but could you and your family last three days if something happened? A week? If you’re heading out for some outdoor fun, does someone know where you’re going and when to worry if they don’t hear from you? I think society today has become conditioned to feel safe. Someone in authority will always be there to bail you out. I can always call and someone will come rescue me. Fortunately in this country that is true more often than not. I think the winning attitude is to assume that isn’t true and prepare accordingly. I know this was a wakeup call for me to stop being lazy and get my shit together. We have a local apparel company here that’s run by an ex SEAL called 30SEC Out. They have a sticker I really like that says “Expect to self rescue. No one is coming”. I think it’s a great motto for life in general. I may have to buy a few just remind myself.
  • According to VP Harris, they’re starting from scratch with their Covid response because there was no existing plan. Curious since the U.S. has carried out more vaccinations than any country in the world, and given a first dose to a higher percentage of its population (12%) than all but five small countries. Covid cases have plummeted by 77% in the US. There’s talk we’ll reach herd immunity by April. Which is also interesting because when the previous administration was in power, to mention herd immunity meant you were a science denier. Ain’t politics grand!
  • I bought a drone. Well, technically I’m on on the waiting list with an option to buy a drone when it’s available. I’m not exactly sure what I’m going to do with it yet. It’s capable of some truly amazing footage. I suspect I’m telling myself that the only thing keeping my little YouTube channel with 12 subscribers from going big time is not having a drone. Well, that and not actually making very many videos. I’ve got the adventure bike, the gear, the plans, the time, and soon the drone. I guess there are no more excuses. Bummer. Now I’m going to have to actually execute on all my grand plans for adventure content. As they say, talk is cheap. Planning is easy. It’s the doing that’s hard.
  • Is it just me, or does the new press secretary always seem unprepared? She had absolutely no answer when asked “Biden suspended a Trump Administration executive order that was aimed at keeping foreign countries, specifically China, from interfering in the U.S. Power grid… why did he do that?” As press sec, I would think you’d have an answer ready for any executive order your president signed. Especially one potentially related to a natural disaster that’s currently happening.
  • I don’t know what happened here, but yeet is right! Watch this seven second vid. And with that, I’m off to do my last full-time shifts. As my coworkers tell me, I’m moving to the princess shifts. I’ve been working since I was fourteen. It will be very strange to not be full-time. Exciting, worried I’ll be wasting my time, nervous about not being productive, looking forward to a new chapter, and a little apprehensive about the unknown. Time to face all those fears head-on!

Song of the day: Smash Mouth – All Star

News Of The Weird

  • 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)

Who Doesn’t Like The Theater?

  • I hate to break it to you, but none of this is real. The politics, the spending, the daily media-driven outrage, none of it is reality in the way you and I think of the real world. Everything you see is manufactured theater. All of it. The speeches on the house and senate floor, press conferences, social media interactions, news show appearances – they’re all deliberate, manufactured, and designed to spark outrage with the base. The same with the “media”. Pick whatever news source you like, they all intentionally craft a narrative that creates anger and frustration amongst their target audience. Why? Money. 2020 election spending was more than $14 billion dollars. Think about that. You don’t spend that kind of money without expecting a return on the other end. The deep state, unfathomably large bureaucracies, super PACS, the military industrial complex, unions, big tech, law firms, education, they are the new oligarchs of our times. They make the decisions. And they want more. More spending. More dump trucks of cash printed out of thin air. It’s been 23 years since the federal government actually passed an annual budget. The last deficit balanced budget was in 1969. Government is in the business of seizing, printing, and redistributing wealth. Period. So please, take a deep breath and realize all the outrage being shouted at you is manufactured to drive and control the narrative. And the narrative is designed to keep the spending going in the direction the collective power brokers want. Yes, that’s a bit pessimistic. But it’s the truth. And the sooner you realize it’s all theater the better you’ll sleep at night. Do your best to carve out what you can for you and your family. And then go enjoy life. Because devoting large amounts of brain time to something you can’t win isn’t healthy.
  • On a less dystopian note, this short video is pretty funny. Although you’ll only really get it if you already watch the over the top dramatic videos produced by outdoor gear manufactures. And the best part is it’s made by a gear manufacturer channeling some Mystery Science Theater.
  • Ok, back to the outrage. The blame for most of this rests on our shoulders. I saw this link about Representative Maxine Waters giving a million dollars in campaign cash to her daughter. My only thought was how do these people keep getting elected year after year? McConnell, Nadler, Graham, McCain, Pelosi, Schumer, all of them on both sides of the aisle. People in LA can’t possibly be thinking, wow she’s done an amazing job for me. I can’t get over how well my district is being represented. Yet they’ve been sending her back to Washington for 30 years. Why? The sad reality is that the few people that actually vote, tend to vote against someone, not for someone. They see a campaign ad saying candidate X grinds up puppies in a blender and drinks them as smoothies in the morning, recognizes a name with the appropriate R or D in front of it and that’s it. It’s all very depressing if you think about it. But those in power will never actually implement meaningful voting reform or term limits for themselves. Some sort of public referendum seems to be the only way to circumnavigate the power circles.
  • A friend of mine sent me a link to the 2021 World Senior Games and asked if I’d be interested in the trail run. He’s going already to participate in the Cowboy Action Shooting (gasp, outrage alert – guns!). I’m slightly suspicious of “World Games” that don’t have any sort of qualifying requirements. But since I don’t have any hope of actually qualifying for anything, the idea intrigues me. For about 30 seconds. There’s just something that compels me to think about signing up for a race or event to prove to myself that I’m capable of doing it. I’ve signed up for a handful of marathons, half marathons, road and trail, and mountain bike races over the years. Some I’ve done, some I’ve abandoned. My favorite was the 100 miles of Nowhere race. It was an annual event to raise money for cancer research. I rode 100 continuous miles around my block. Alone. That’s a long time to ride in a small circle. It was silly but it felt good to prove to myself I could do it. For that same reason I enter the lottery to ride the Leadville 100 mountain bike race almost every year. Which I wouldn’t have a hope in hell of actually finishing. I’ve contemplated a 100 mile trail run race every year as well. Probably have an equally low chance of finishing that as well. So why do I think about it? I have no interest in becoming a runner or competing. There’s just something compelling about completing something not many people can do. I suppose it’s vanity, wanting some bragging rights. So when I saw an article talking about the Grand Canyon rim to rim to rim run, my brain briefly went, hmm….
  • February 5th is international Clash day. The Clash were at one time referred to as “the only band that matters”. As Joe Strummer described the band, “We’re anti-fascist, we’re anti-violence, we’re anti-racist, and we’re pro-creative. We’re against ignorance.” How can you go wrong with that? So you know what that means….

Song of the day: The Clash – London Calling (Official Video)

Learn To Code

  • Way back in 2019, then candidate Biden showed his concern for out of work coal miners by encouraging them to simply learn to code: “Gimme a break! Anybody who can throw coal into a furnace can learn how to program for God’s sake.” When more than a thousand journalists were laid off later that year, many of them were inundated with “learn to code” memes on twitter. In a move foreshadowing it’s current purge, Twitter promptly began shutting down accounts of anyone tweeting the offensive and obviously racist meme. Climate czar John Kerry seemed determined to keep the theme going yesterday by telling potentially out of work oil and gas workers they can just simply learn to make solar panels. Probably good advice since we’re going to need a lot of ’em. Biden wants the US to run completely on “clean energy” by 2035. Currently clean energy supplies 6.8% of energy production. 5.5% for wind and 1.3% for solar. Hydroelectric adds another 6.5%, but I don’t think we’re talking about damming up more rivers. So… in 14 years we’re somehow going to replace ~85% of our energy infrastructure? It’s hard not to laugh at statements like that. Except that those cute little feel good statements will come at a cost. Biden’s already thrown out a $2 trillion figure for his climate plan. And yesterday the nominee for the commerce department, Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo, said “the administration would have to remain open to new taxation on middle class families in order to fund policies on climate change and infrastructure improvement”. So I guess the plan is to tax us for the privilege of covering every square inch of open space with wind and solar farms? I wonder if its too late to invest in Solyndra?
  • I live in a small town. The last few years it’s grown rapidly due to the mass exodus of people fleeing states like California. Unfortunately they also bring their California values and attitudes. Where I see this the most is driving habits. Way back when, we had little traffic and people were generally courteous. Most people would wave you in to merge and would generally keep a reasonable distance on the freeway. Now it not uncommon for other drivers to cut you off, people are reluctant to let you merge, and cars on the freeway ride your bumper. It’s only going to get worse as more people discover the joys of not living in a huge city. I have no point to this other than I saw an article listing the top 20 megacities in the world. Tokyo has 37.3 million people. I can’t even fathom what it would be like to live on top of that many people. I get claustrophobic just going to Costco, so I don’t see myself moving to a megacity any time soon.
  • Hunter Biden apparently still has a 10% stake in a Chinese equity firm, despite saying he would divest. President Biden said no one in his family would engage in foreign business if he was elected president. Then again, he also lied about not having any involvement in his son’s business so I don’t know why we’d believe him now. Interesting that the press is no longer obsessed with investigating a president’s business dealings.
  • Apparently everything we thought we knew about herd immunity was wrong. You catch the disease or get a vaccine and you develop an immunity to it. Enough people do that and you break the contagion cycle. Seems simple enough. Now “medical experts” and the news are continually advising that even though you had the vaccine (or the ‘rona), you can still get it and/or transmit it to others. Therefore you still need to wear the mouth diaper at all times, socially distance, and eat only outside at restaurants except now it’s cold so we eat outside in tents that make the outside the inside. Sigh, I’m so confused. So we performed this herculean effort to create a new vaccine that everyone is now angrily pointing fingers at each other because we don’t have enough of it, yet it doesn’t work? Or it does work, but not until everyone gets it? Or, I’m going out on a limb here, we can’t enforce the silly mask mandate unless we start tattooing a giant I (for immune) on peoples foreheads. Ok, that would be extreme. I guess we could start issuing some sort of bracelet or badge you wear indicating your covid-free status. I don’t think anyone would try to sell counterfeit versions. Besides, it’s not like there’s any historical evidence that forcing a certain group of people to wear a label would be bad. Until we sort this out, I guess we’ll all just have to keep wearing the mask. Sorry, not just one but two now. It’s almost like they’re worried that nasty piece of cloth on your face isn’t really working.
  • I entered the lottery for a river permit this summer. Of course I’ve just jinxed my chances by saying it out loud. This summer is shaping up to be quite busy. This is a good thing. I better update my bullet journal. Oh, wait I haven’t looked at it for multiple weeks now. I’ll try again to motivate myself to use it, but I don’t hold high hopes. It just doesn’t seem to work for me.
  • Photos of a 1965 Soviet submarine. It had a crew of 78. I cannot fathom (see what I did there? I’m so clever. No? Sigh, a fathom is a unit of measurement for depth of water. 1 fathom is six feet) how horrible it would have been to serve on one of these.

Song of the day: Arctic Monkeys – I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor (Official Video)

Which Movie Are You Watching?

  • Scott Adams had the perfect phrase to describe the situation in our country right now. “One screen, two movies”. Two people see the same event and have completely opposite interpretations. How you see something largely depends on the things that have shaped your perspective. Here’s what I find so interesting, sad, and ironic. We live in a time in which the entirety of human knowledge is instantly available. Video, transcripts, and research of virtually everything is available at your fingertips. Yet, we rarely seek them out. We pick a few sources of information that conform to whatever group we’ve identified with and we stick to them. It becomes an echo chamber that continually reinforces whatever your perspective is. This is the human condition and has been from time beginning. The media and tech empires know this and capitalize on it. Everything is framed as “breaking news alerts” with the most extreme clickbait titles to generate angst and rage against the other side. Why? Because it generates channel loyalty, screen time, pageviews, click-throughs, and ad revenue. Nothing is done by accident. Remember the old adage, if you’re not paying for a product – you are the product. Again, nothing new with this. What is different is the complete bombardment on our senses at all times. We’re inundated non-stop with information. We have screens in our faces virtually 24/7 screaming at us with whatever echo chamber you’ve chosen. With the growing power of the tech oligarchs and our increasing desire to be plugged into the matrix at all times… the power to unintentionally spark an actual civil war seems increasingly possible. Strange times.
  • Speaking of strange times, I find myself applauding Tulsi Gabbard. She’s turned out to be an actual adult voice in the room. I find myself generally agreeing with only about half of her positions on issues, yet would have happily voted for her. It’s hard to find an actual sane voice these days. It still baffles me that the democratic party selected an 80 year old establishment guy who can barely get a sentence out, over someone like her. She destroyed Kamala’s run and scared Hillary enough that they came out with crazy Russian conspiracy accusations against her (what is it with the left’s everything Russia obsession?). I hope she stays in the public eye.
  • I’ve developed tinnitus. I can’t say exactly when I first noticed it, but it’s fairly recent. Last six months or so maybe? It’s a buzzing in the background like the faint hum of a florescent light. I only notice it early in the morning when it’s quiet or sometimes when I lay down to sleep. Not bothering me (yet), just odd. Getting old sucks. Must have been all that damn high volume rock n roll in my youth.
  • I got yelled at over the phone for quite a long time yesterday by a patient’s parent. The patient was in their late twenties and had made some particularly bad life choices, resulting in a hospital stay. The patient was medically cleared and deemed competent to make their own decisions by the neuro-psychiatrist. There was no doubt the patient was going to head straight back to the same scenario that caused the situation in the first place, but what can you do? I understood the parent’s frustration that we were just letting the patient go, but we can’t force someone to make good decisions. The parent yelled at me and accused me of not caring about people, we just wanted the room so we could make more money, and she wanted a laundry list of hospital administrators to get involved. The concept that we can’t hold someone against their will was lost on the parent. The patient was an adult, and as adults we are free to make bad decisions. I know, I’ve made my fair share of ’em. My victory of the day was having enough restraint to not simply hang up. I’m not quite jaded enough to do that. Yet.
  • As I’m stuck inside on a bad weather day my goal is to gather a large list of local, and not so local, “worlds largest ball of mud” attractions. Kooky little museums, sights, and attractions to visit that aren’t the typical “go see Yellowstone” tourist destinations. This is my mission for the year. Suggestions are welcome.

Song of the day: Evanescence – Bring Me To Life (Live)

I Got The Funk

  • I got the funk, man. No not a Lenny Kravitz Always on the run funk, but a weird head to toe body funk. Headache, body ache, joint ache, plugged up sinuses, brain fog. I had a trifecta of circumstances that came together at the same time. I managed to hurt my back somehow a week or so ago, so that’s ached since then. I got my second China virus vaccine a week ago and that really put me down. At the same time Mrs Troutdog has had a pretty wicked cold, which I clearly caught. I rarely get sick. I don’t do well just sitting around, so throw in feeling crappy and, well, I’m grumpy. I think we’re on the upswing though. Just a headache today. Fingers crossed we’re back in business tomorrow.
  • Watch this short clip and tell me that Biden is not a confused, 80 year old grandpa. Love him or hate him, there was never any doubt that Trump was in charge and running the show (often to his detriment). On the other side of the coin, you cannot convince me that Biden is the conductor of this oncoming train. Once you get past 70, it’s the infrequent exception you still have the mental horsepower you once had. Trust me, I work with the elderly day in and day out. There are very few folks in that age bracket I’d want making a difficult decision for me, especially after multiple days of long hours. So my honest question is, who’s really running the show behind the scenes? Somebody is setting the daily agenda, deciding what the policy focus will be, etc… Who is it? Is it his chief of staff, Ron Klain? Is it Kamala? Her chief of staff, Tina Flournoy? There’s rumors former Clinton advisor Minyon Moore has been a gatekeeper for the Biden transition. Is it her? Is it Jaime Harrison, the new head of the DNC? Will anyone in the media ask, or is that verboten for fear of being deplatformed?
  • A green zone has been erected in Washington DC to protect our ruling class. It’s pretty startling to see the images. What I can’t find in my extensive 30 seconds of searching, is who ordered all this? Was it the secret service? I don’t think they have the power to call up the national guard. The mayor? Did Trump order all this? Will it be permanent as some rumors suggest? Will the media go through great lengths to hide it in their inauguration coverage, or will they highlight it as necessary to protect against crazed, Viking hat wearing, Trump insurrectionists? It’s all pretty pointless because, as we all know, walls don’t really work.
  • I’ve made it to season two of Mr Robot. Really good. I’m not much of a prepper, but we’re prepared for a small amount of time. What we don’t have is cash. I never carry cash. Ever. The show reminded me that it wouldn’t take much for the electronic banking system to be interrupted. When that happens, I’m screwed when I need my Pirate Booty fix and all I have is plastic.
  • A friend of mine is really into cowboy action shooting. It’s like modern three-gun competitions, but old-west era guns. And cowboy outfits. Anyway, I joined him the other day to watch. The club we were at starts their match by turning to the flagpole, removing hats, and reciting the pledge of allegiance. It was nice. But here’s the odd thing. It made me feel like a rebel. Like folks would probably ridicule it if they saw it. If I told someone on the street I went to an event where we cited the pledge of allegiance, I’d immediately be tagged as a right-wing Trump supporter. Think about it. That’s where we’ve gotten to in this country.
  • I wasn’t feeling good last night, couldn’t sleep, so spent way too long going down a musical memory lane. I stumbled upon some of the original MTV segments (I had a crush on Martha Quinn), but while I liked watching MTV, most of what they played wasn’t really my genre. Like my politics, my musical taste is… complicated. This lead me down a rabbit hole of old school massive concerts. I wonder if we’ll ever have big shows again? Unless it’s a rave, the kids and music today don’t seem to lend themselves to the concert scene. Unfortunate. There’s just something about the energy of a live show.

Song of the day: Veruca Salt – Seether (Glastonbury ’95)

The Subtle Art Of The Grift

  • If you haven’t seen the 1990’s film The Grifters, you should. It’s good. Grift evolved from the original word graft, which means “to acquire dishonestly”. Dear readers, I’m about to disappoint some of you. You may have picked up on a theme here… I’m not a fan of politicians. Because we’re all guilty of confirmation bias (i.e. finding information to support what we already think and ignoring the opposite), many of you may have assumed I’m a hard core right winger who simply hates the dreaded democrats. My three long time readers will know that’s not true. I generally dislike all of them, regardless of party. And when it comes to Trump, well, my opinion of Trump is complicated and worthy of an essay all it’s own. Where am I going with this? If you’re willing to brave a little contrarian thought, I urge you to read this about Jarrod Kushner and Brad Parscale. Warning, you may become disillusioned if you’ve been a big MAGA supporter. The truth is, and I’ve said this many times, politics doesn’t care about you. If you really think politicians have your best interest in mind, you’re a fool. It’s all of them. Both parties. If you’ve read any of Peter Schweizer’s books you’d have a sense of just how corrupt they are. The Clintons, Romney, Mcconnell, Kerry, Mccain, Biden, Harris, the Trump machine. All of them. Are there principled politicians out there? Of course. But you have to sell more and more of your soul to get to the top. And to remain on top.. well, nobody willingly gives up power, money, and influence. None of this is new and is found in every society from time beginning. The most disillusioning thing about this is that the movements some of these powerful people can spark are real. The MAGA crowd. The Bernie bro’s. These are everyday, average people, who honestly want change, to make a difference, and to build a better life for their families and communities. And they willingly give their money to politicians who have the right narrative and slick talking points, thinking this guy (or gal) is the right one this time. They have my back. Their hard earned dollars are hoovered up by the machine and then distributed to loyalists, lobbyists, lawyers, and shell corporations, never to be seen again. Until the next election season. It’s Lucy, Charlie Brown, and the football, time and time again. When you strip away the veneer, there is virtually no difference between the parties. Their goal is to maintain the status quo. Bush, Obama, and Trump have collectively added $17 trillion dollars to the national debt. Biden is poised to add another four straight out of the gate. Nothing changes, silly grasshopper. I don’t mean to be negative, just a realist.
  • What the fuck is the My Pillow Guy doing delivering messages to the President about replacing the deputy director of the CIA? Sorry, I just… can’t.
  • I was getting on the freeway yesterday and in the middle of the lane there were two skis. Looked like kids skis. I wonder what the story was? Did dad forget to shut the ski rack? Did mom get tired of the kids bickering in the car, said we’re no longer skiing today and pitched ’em out? (the skis, not the kids) Reminded me of a very long time ago when I worked at a ski rental shop. A very distraught soccer mom type came in a few days before Christmas and said she had a serious problem with her skis, would we mind coming out and taking a look? Once outside she burst into tears. She had gone to sports store, bought an expensive ski rack and four sets of skis for the family. They helped her mount everything up and she drove home. Unfortunately she never stopped to check the clearance in the garage when she drove in. All four skis were strapped to the rack, with the front halves snapped up at a 90 degree angle. Not enough P-Tex in the world to fix that.
  • Mrs Troutdog has decided we’re going to a dude ranch. She owns a horse and rides. I don’t. I’ve pet the horse a few times, that’s about it. Clearly I’m the dude in this ranch equation. It actually sounds kinda fun. I like the outdoors, so what’s not to enjoy? Especially if there’s no shoveling of poop in this vacation. I see enough poop in my regular job.
  • Biden has a 100 day Covid plan. It’s actually perfect marketing. The vaccination program is well underway, so he didn’t have to do anything there. And what happens in 100 days? Warm weather and spring. And what do viruses do in warmer weather? They recede. So, the case counts will be down significantly and the media will gush and declare that thanks to a president who actually believes in science, the Covid is being defeated. Perfect! Marketing 101 people.
  • And finishing on a somber note, I don’t check Facebook all that often but did yesterday and noticed a post from someone in the past. I thought to myself I hadn’t seen any posts from him in a while. Scrolling into his feed I was confused by some of the past-tense references people were posting, until I realized he’d passed away a year ago. He was killed by some random person in a road-rage incident. You just never know how much time we have left. Yell at the wrong guy because he cut you off, and they pull out a gun and you’re done. What a waste. He was a good person, single dad with two kids.

Song of the day: Slightly Stoopid – Collie Man (Live at Roberto’s TRI Studios)

Is Politics A Prisoners Dilemma?

  • 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

Who Doesn’t Like The Deadpool?

  • I am not a fan of the comic book movie genre. For the most part all the Spider Mans, X Men, etc… were either just a meh, or I never saw them. With one exception. Deadpool. I re-watched it last night and had forgotten what a good movie it is. The opening scene alone is genius. There’s not many films that can be funny, poke fun of themselves and their industry, break the fourth wall, have killer special effects, and be an honest to god love story. The Wade and Vanessa segment of them falling in love just makes you smile. And to get away with the stereotypical Dopinder as the Indian taxi driver… well I’m not sure you could do that with today’s woke diversity culture. If you didn’t like Deadpool, then we can’t be friends. And I have a small confession. I might have a bit of a man-crush on Deadpool. Wait, that sounded weird.
  • This is a very easy to understand explanation of how the new mRNA vaccine works. What we managed to create, test, and roll out in under a year boggles the mind.
  • I may have unfairly bagged on the new Wonder Woman films look the other day. I thought it looked like it was filmed with an ultra sharp camcorder. I then watched a couple other movies and they all looked the same way. Turns out it may be due to my fancy new ginormous 4K TV and something called the soap opera effect. This article describes what may be going on. In a nutshell the TV may be applying motion smoothing to the standard film frame rate of 24. I’ll be experimenting today. Stay tuned.
  • Video appeared yesterday that seems to show Canadian police forcibly arresting a man for having a New Years party with, gasp, six people. WTF? Is this really what we want people? Oh, but that won’t happen here you say. New York is currently attempting to pass a law that would “permit state officials to remove and detain state residents if they were deemed to be a “danger to public health.” What could possibly go wrong?
  • I nearly spit my coffee out laughing when I saw the Portland mayor hold a press conference and admit “My good faith efforts at de-escalation have been met with ongoing violence and even scorn from radical Antifa and anarchists”. He’s now asking for state and federal help to stop the violence. Wait, do you hear that? It’s a tiny little violin playing. The people of Portland can suck on it. They voted (and re-voted) these clowns into office. You made your bed, now lay in it. I have no sympathy. They’re going to have to figure out how to solve it on their own.
  • Who would have thought that an idea as simple as we should audit the spending of the Fed would be controversial?
  • Todays the day. I’ve been planning to visit my garage gym again for months now. Today I will. Question is, will I use it or simply admire it? Stay tuned.

Song of the day: Salt-N-Pepa – Shoop

The Hive Revolution

  • 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