Thursday, April 30, 2020

Crossing The Atlantic For Peanuts

Note: There's a special bonus anti-rant at the end.

For a while, I've planned on exploring the African roots of Southern cooking. A while back, I made some Gari Foto, but it was horrible. Last night, I made Chef Lola's Easy Chicken Peanut Soup. It was excellent.

Brown some seasoned chicken thighs.

Saute onions and then add a vegetable puree which contains a pair of habaneros. Yowza! Surprisingly, the dish wasn't spicy at the end.

Add some peanut butter. Like the one on Jupiter, I have no idea what that dark spot was.

Put the chicken back in the pot and simmer it for a spell.

Serve over white rice. Delish!

Special Bonus Anti-rant: As I cooked last night, I thought of all the cultures that made up America. Lola's West African roots are part of that and it's an act of love to explore her cooking. I thought about today's blog post and considered a rant about how the Africans caused so much trouble here in America because they sold each other into slavery. Blah blah blah.

Why do that? Isn't that the thing I hate the most? Chef Lola is the bomb. Good for her that she likes to show off her Nigerian dishes. It's great! Instead of joining in the rage mob and finger pointing and yelling, why not show some love for her? After all, it's what I wish we would all do for all American sub-cultures. It's the root of why I really dislike tearing down Confederate monuments and flags.

None of us have clean, ancestral hands. In fact, our pasts are all soaked in blood and injustice. Is that what we want to discuss or would we rather have some delicious chicken peanut soup?

You tell me.

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

The Cuomo Royal Family

... doesn't exist and I am not a serf tilling his land. That goes double for my own state's governor, Gavin Newsom.

This morning, I finally put my finger on the real problem with the "New York pays and Kentucky takes!" complaint by Governor Cuomo. You know that old one, it's where wealthy states complain that they pay more federal taxes than other states and therefore they have some kind of moral authority. This is nonsense because the word "they" doesn't apply.

I pay state taxes. I pay federal taxes. I use separate forms and I send the money to different places. I cannot deduct one from the other. I hire the Federal Government to defend the nation and negotiate with foreign governments. I hire the State Government to maintain the roads and run the public schools. They are two distinct jobs and two distinct entities. As a free citizen, I am the subject of neither of them. I permit their existence, not the other way around. That's what it means to be American.

It might be a good idea to remember who works for whom.

When Governor Cuomo says the Federal Government needs to bail out New York and uses Federal income and expenses per state as a reason, he's using a feudal model of government. "My cousin, the king, takes too much of my serfs' products! I should be allowed to keep more of them myself!" He thinks that it is "his" state and the citizens are "his" people. We are nothing of the sort because he is nothing of the sort. He's just some dingledork temporarily hired to run one part of the necessary evil known as government.

That he has mismanaged New York into near bankruptcy has nothing to do with President Trump tweeting idiotic things in the middle of the night nor does it have anything to do with Mayor DeBlasio's obsession with modern Nazi Race Theory screwing the people of New York City. I am the sovereign, not them. They all work for me and exist at my pleasure, not the other way around.

Try this thought experiment. What would happen if Remy's funny music videos went hyperviral and we all became Libertarians? What if we decided to abolish the Federal Department of Education and to defund the public schools, choosing instead to send education vouchers directly to parents? Could DeBlasio, Cuomo and Trump stop us?

Temporarily, they could go to the courts and drag everything out, but in the end, we'd get our way even if we had to amend the Constitution. We own the place, government leaders don't own us.

Cuomo is just throwing out a smoke screen to hide the fact that he's driven a wealthy state government into the ground. Given his party's fixation on money and power, it's a good bet that he actually believes that the citizens of New York are "his." Given the lack of pushback from our corrupt news media, it's a good bet that they think the same way.

None of it is true. The citizen is the sovereign and he contracts with each level of government separately. If any one of them fails at their job, it's not the fault of the other two.

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Pity The Poor Investment Bankers

Yesterday, rebels that we are, wife kitteh and I drove around and did things. We stopped by her brother's house for a chat. He's a old, crazed, Chicago / San Francisco Democrat who never fails to entertain with his ranting. I don't like to get into politics at social events, so I don't think he knows I'm a racist, right-wing extremist homophobe.

Feeling he was among leftists, brother-in-law let it rip. He watches Governor Cuomo's press conferences every day and man, does he pay attention or what? He was able to recite all of the talking points with a vigor usually reserved for descriptions of sporting events.

The ranting was so thick and fast that all I could do was absorb it. Even if I had wanted to respond, my replies would have been weak.

One of the main points of contention from the governor is the need for the rest of us to bail out New York state. Their finances are in a real mess. Also, according to the rant, New York pays way more in to the Federal government than it gets back. Kentucky, on the other hand, gets more than it pays.

Driving home, I finally had some peace and quiet to process this. I don't know if it's true or not, but let's assume it is. What does it tell you? Since everyone has the same Federal tax rates, what it tells me is that New York is wealthy and Kentucky is poor.

That makes sense. Kentucky gets its money from mining and agriculture. New York is the financial center of the world. What exactly was Governor Cuomo saying? "I have a very wealthy state and I still can't manage to balance my budget! I demand that the coal miners in Kentucky send me some money!"

You can understand his point. Those investment bankers and stock traders have to worry about their summer homes and yachts. The upkeep on those things isn't cheap, particularly when you need to refinish the Asian hardwood on the taffrail. And think of the maintenance costs for their swimming pool! The one at their house in the Hamptons, not the one in their Manhattan condo complex.

Yep, it's high time those hillbillies paid their fair share. After all, how can the governor of New York, surrounded by Elites, many of whom are financial wizards, be expected to balance a freaking budget?

Some of the miners smoke and they all wear blackface all the time because they're racists. New Yorkers should get their money for those reasons alone.

Monday, April 27, 2020

No God, No Country, No You

Last week, Tucker lit into McKinsey. They're the Elites' Elite, a consulting firm chucky-jam full of Ivy League geniuses, temporarily out-of-office politicians and other carpetbaggers. The next day, Peter Walker, a senior partner at McKinsey came on Tucker's show and was given a chance to reply. Tucker let him talk and rarely inserted himself into the conversation.

It was a window into the Elite soul.

If you don't want to watch the whole thing or even part of it, here's what jumped out at me.

Peter isn't Christian, or if he is, he doesn't understand the basic concepts of the faith. When pressed on any issue regarding the worth of the individual in China, he dismisses it with a wave of his hand and talked about how the Chinese have a different set of values. to the Chinese, the stability of the State is more important than any one Chinaman.

Matthew 25:40 is utterly alien to Mr. Walker.
And the king will say to them in reply, ‘Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.’
He goes on in that fashion for the full 15 minutes. Your life is meaningless save for how it serves the State. I mean, unless it's the US in which case McKinsey will have a completely different set of values.

Old Pete is a chameleon. That's what you'd expect from someone without any firm religious views. Expedience is his guide, not any set of fixed, objective morals. If McKinsey and Pete make money by shipping mountains of opiates to West Virginia and your brother dies from an overdose, well, that's regrettable, but you have to understand that in the long run, the economic goods obtained through blah blah blah.

This is what you get when you do away with God. Suffering comes to you in a tailored suit, the voice of world-traveled wisdom and all of the respect that a prestigious degree, good connections and a stellar resume can grant. The Smart People nod their heads in agreement when Pete and people like him talk.

You can bet CNN, NBC, NYT, WaPo, and all the rest hold Pete in high regard. After all, they have no more of a moral foundation than he does. All that superstitious nonsense - Ha! That's for the rednecks and the rubes. The Elites know better.

Peter is also a graduate of our modern education system or at least he's marinated in their broth of national equivalence. When pushed about stuffing a million Chinese Muslims into concentration camps, he plays the Japanese Internment card without hesitation. America is no better than any other country.

So Peter and his pals at McKinsey have no objective morals and owe no allegiance to any one nation. They are pursuing power and money for themselves and have banded together to form a giant collection of amoral, rapacious predators. It's like Pete is an individual cancer cell and McKinsey is a tumor.

McKinsey isn't unique. Bill Gates recently came out and told us what a fabulous job the Chinese were doing with respect to the Wuhan Flu. Billy no more believed China's reports than he believed in unicorns. What of it? There are no objective morals and America is just an arbitrary shape drawn on a map. People die all the time and if they die in Pennsylvania, Taipei or Uganda, it's all one to Bill, so long as it's not him or his people.

This is who the Elites are. In the past, I've suggested that they hate us. I'm not sure that's accurate any more. They don't hate us, they simply don't care about us any more than you care about the ants running around on the ground. Humans only have objective value if there is faith. Your countrymen only value you if they are patriotic. The Elites have done away with both.

That's how we ended up with Peter Walker.

Sunday, April 26, 2020

The Economy Is Already Open

... at least from a virus' point of view.

Here's the parking lot at our local Home Depot.

Two weeks ago, it was practically empty except for rebels like me.

Another data point:

Check out the reply thread on this tweet by Governor Newsom hectoring everyone to stay indoors.

If you start thinking of viral spread as a network model, you can quickly see that since you are coming in contact with everyone the people at the grocery store have contacted and so on, this quarantine thing is o-v-e-r, over unless you take strong measures. You can still control your contacts and stay almost as safe as you like, but the rest of us have thrown in the towel.

Reading Twitter reply and blog comment threads, it's an interesting comparison between left and right. The left wants guarantees and the right wants freedom. It's not a matter of good vs evil, it's just a different set of values. I'm not including the race-crazed progs or their white nationalist clones here.

Right wing extremists argue in favor of letting people make their own risk calculations. Left wing commies don't want others to increase their chances of getting the Chicom Flu. Both positions make sense. It's just two different sets of values.

In any case, this lock down thing is over from a virology point of view. All we're doing now is spending money we don't have and wrecking the lives of poor and middle-income people to no effect.

Side note: Our next-door neighbors had a pool party for some kids yesterday. Gavin Newsom was not invited.

Super Special Extra Side Note: When you realize that the economy is already open from a risk point of view, popping over to the news media to see what the Elites are saying is a surreal experience. None of what they're saying, save for those in favor of opening businesses, makes sense or even has any contact with reality. As usual, the Elites are simply talking gibberish to each other in their gated communities, isolated from the rest of us.

Saturday, April 25, 2020

Reading And Writing

In addition to this blog, I've been keeping a private journal now for over 4 years. I started it because I wanted to work on a couple of things in my life. I just went back and re-read the last couple of months and a few things jumped out at me.
  • I highly recommend journaling. When you go back and read a chunk of your life, you can start to see the circles in your thought patterns. It's hard to break old habits, but it helps when you watch yourself do them over and over and over again. For me, I can't imagine being able to make changes without this.
  • I saw an evolution in myself in the journal. It happened too slowly for me to notice it living day-to-day, but reviewing two months or so revealed the change. It was encouraging.
  • It's all about the time scale of your self-awareness. For me, I don't think I can see patterns that repeat every 7-10 days without journaling. They happen, but I can't identify and correct them.
  • Journaling needs to be paired with reading. I can see from my entries 2-3 years ago that my writing simply reinforced my bad habits. That time was spent more in rationalization than change. It wasn't until I consumed a couple of really good books that I could get out of the rut.
  • Finding the right book takes a lot of time. They may all talk about the same kind of thing, but you need to find one that speaks to you the right way.
  • Find a social circle that will support your changes and with whom you can have intimate conversations. For me, it's been my Catholic Cursillo brothers. Without other people, even with books, you can climb into your own mind, shut the door and live there in the dark, thinking it's the light.
I also found something else, something more personal. I've been reading and rereading self-improvement books over this time, ones about self-discipline, forgiveness, prayer and more. At the end of one of my entries, I had given thanks to God that the authors had shared what they had learned in the form of a book. They kept me from having to learn from their mistakes by making tons of my own.

That encourages me to start a project that's been rolling around in my mind for quite some time - writing a book. I think I have a unique take on a topic and a unique set of life experiences that will help create content that's original and perhaps worthy of someone's time.

Or maybe it will just keep me off the streets for a while.

If I'm going to write a book, the first thing I'm going to need is a beard. Since I can't grow one myself, I'm going to have to learn how to glue a fake one on my face.

Friday, April 24, 2020

Too Much Doom

The Momma Daisy Memorial Chamber of Doom Tobacco Fermenter is fully operational and is fermenting tobacco even as we speak. It might be fermenting it too well.

The fermentation sites I checked told me that I want the tobacco to be kept between 120 and 140. The Chamber of Doom got up to 151 yesterday, a good 50-60 degrees above ambient. Today, it shot up to 144 as soon as the morning sun hit it. Naturally, I swung into action with a high-tech solution.

I installed a Retractable Aperture Guard (RAG).
With half the aperture closed, the temperature inside fell to a frigid 125.

The humidity readings are quite low, despite having a gallon of water sloshing around at the bottom of the can. I have to admit, I don't trust the meter for that. I can't imagine the air inside is dry. It might be out of calibration when the temperature climbs above 120.

While I had the lid off, I rearranged the t-shirt chunks covering the tobacco leaves. They were still moist and the leaves had softened considerably. There was a strong smell of new-mown grass, exactly as the fermentation sites told me there would be. It looks like everything is going according to plan.

Thursday, April 23, 2020

The Virus Models Are Irrelevant

... because the lock down is irrelevant. In the end, we'll have to reopen the economy with the vast majority of the population still without antibodies.

It's like holding your breath underwater. Pretend there's a sniper above the surface. He's going to shoot you when you come up. He's willing to wait an hour for you. You're doomed.

I read a headline, but couldn't find the story and don't feel like looking for it now, where Governor Cuomo was bloviating about how New York needed more funding from the Feds in order to open back up for business. If I were Trump, I'd just shrug and say, "Then don't open up. There isn't any money here for you or anyone else."

The states get their money from taxes. Taxes are paid by people and businesses who work and produce things. If you shut down your economy, you don't get any tax revenue.

How long can you hold your breath?

Even with the latest data showing the infection rate is about 50x higher than we thought, it still means under 10% of the population has been exposed. All of those models and worries that the hospitals would be overrun? Oh well. We're out of time to keep things closed. Not only that, keeping things closed is simply delaying the inevitable while at the same time it's ruining our budgets and destroying our economy.

We bought all the time we could buy. We now have enough information to overcome the misunderstandings we had because the Chinese lied and lied and lied. There are a couple of decent treatments available. That's as good as it's going to get.

Bonus Rantlet: I saw an article in the WSJ describing the plight of African nations. They're going to get whacked with this thing. They can't care for all of their sick under the best of circumstances. This is overwhelming. The article talked about their debt loads and mentioned that some in the West were considering forgiving those debts. With what?

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Don't Let Its Appearance Fool You, The Hammock Of Doom Is Fully Operational

I assembled my tobacco fermentation chamber today. It went something like this.

Note: You can find the back story here.

I made hooks to suspend the shade cloth hammock for the tobacco out of solid-core, 14-gauge wire. The top part hooked under the lip of the trash can. The eye at the bottom was to attach the string.
I folder the shade cloth over and the punched the string through with a screwdriver. I figured that it wouldn't cause enough damage to the shade cloth to be a problem as we were only suspending some dried leaves.
The hook, latched under the lip of the trashcan.
The shade cloth hammock suspended about 6" above the bottom of the can. I had previously attached my temperature and humidity gauge to the side. The face of it didn't like being in the sun and its temperature reading shot up 20 degrees in a matter of minutes, so I grabbed a rag to drape over it. Once shaded, the temperature reading returned to normal.
The tobacco leaves from the garage, ready for fermentation.
The hammock worked perfectly.
Others had recommended wrapping the leaves in moist paper towels, so I did them one better. I cut up an old t-shirt, got it damp, and draped it over the leaves. 
It dawned on me that the white color was going to reflect the light right back out and I'd lose a ton of solar energy, so I found some dark blue rags to put over them.

The final product. A Momma Daisy Memorial Chamber of Doom Tobacco Fermenter.

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Tobacco Oxidation And Fermentation

I'm hoping to get some feedback from the chemists in the audience on this one.

On Wednesday, we'll start to get inland San Diego weather. That is, sunny days and temperatures upwards of 80. It will be the perfect time to assemble my Momma Daisy Memorial Chamber of Doom Tobacco Fermenter and get to work on, well, fermenting my tobacco.

I spent a little time looking up what happens during fermentation. The gist of it is that the tobacco gets oxidized. Volatiles are sweated out of the leaves, mostly ammonia. Several sites talk about making the leaves more chemically stable so that they can be stored and consumed over time. Supposedly it improves the flavor as well.

To ferment tobacco, you need heat and humidity. All of the methods that I saw try to replicate the old time tobacco mulching technique where massive piles of leaves are created so that fermentation happens at the bottom. As the bottom leaves ferment, their chemical reactions release heat into the rest of the pile. Workers toss the pile at regular intervals.

What's the point of the pile? If all you need are heat and humidity, it seems like the pile is like cutting off the ends of the roast.
A mother was teaching her young daughter how to make a pot roast. The recipe was a very old recipe that was handed down from generation to generation and it was a tradition to teach the younger women in the family.

“The first thing you must do”, said the mother “is cut off the ends of the pot roast.” The daughter, curious as to why that was necessary, asked her mother why they had to cut off the ends.

The mother replied, “That’s just the way we’ve always done it. My mother did it that way and her mother did it that way”.

Not satisfied with that response the girl went to her Grandmother and asked the same question. “Grandma, why do we have to cut off the ends of the pot roast before we cook it?”

Her Grandmother gave her the same answer…”That’s just the way we’ve always done it. My mother taught me to do it that way.”

Still not satisfied with this reasoning, the girl finally went to the source of the recipe…her Great-Grandmother. “Great Grandma, I would like to carry on the tradition of your delicious pot roast but I have a question for you. Why do we cut off the ends of the pot roast before we cook it?”

The elder woman of the family gave this great insight into the mystery of why they’ve ‘always done it that way’…”Oh honey”, she said, “When I was first married, the pot I had wasn’t big enough for the whole pot roast so we always had to cut off the ends so it would fit in the pot.”
The methods and apparati simply replicate the old way of doing things - putting the leaves in a pile. To me, this sounds like a recipe for mildew and mold.

Questions for the Chemists

From a chemical point of view, if my goal is to sweat out volatiles, why don't I want air movement around the tobacco leaves? Why should the leaves sit there in a stew of ammonia leached from the other leaves?

My plan is to take my solar fermenter, a 33-gallon trash can, and build a rack in it from PVC pipe and then hang the tobacco from that rack. I'll put the glass lid over the top and plenty of water in the bottom. With daytime temperatures in the 80s, my Chamber of Doom should hit 110-120, no problem.

I also plan to pop off the lid in the evening after the internal temperature has dropped below 100. If my goal is to get rid of ammonia, why do I want it trapped inside the chamber? The homemade fermenters I saw all seal the tobacco up tight in an insulated box. Where is the ammonia supposed to go? They recommend opening it from time to time to turn over the leaves, so I guess the volatiles escape then, but it sure looks to me like simply replicating the Old Ways.

So there you go. An unorthodox fermenter and an unorthodox method. What do you think?

Considering that this whole project was inspired by a line in this song by Old Bocephus, you might think I'd be all in on the Old Ways. Honestly, I just don't want to put styrofoam and a heating element together in my house and then leave it alone for days at a time. It seems like a fire hazard to me.

Monday, April 20, 2020

This Is How The Cliff Dwellers Died

What if staying inside was the worst possible thing to do?
Government tests show sunlight rapidly destroys the CCP virus, according to a Department of Homeland Security science and technology report...

The half-life of the virus was 2 minutes with full solar intensity, or similar to New York City or the District of Columbia during a clear day on summer solstice.

“Sunlight reduced infectious virus to undetectable levels after just 3 minutes of exposure to the solar equivalent of midday sun on a sunny day in the middle latitudes of the U.S.,” researchers wrote.

Half solar intensity killed the virus in 3 minutes while quarter intensity, equivalent to a clear day at the end of February, inactivated it in 4 minutes.
I thought and continue to think that wearing masks outside is ludicrous. This only confirms that. Dittos for closing down the parks and trails.

Come Wednesday, we'll be seeing sunny days and 80-degree weather. That will be a good time to start my tobacco fermentation as well as get outside and imagine that I can see all the Wuhan Flu viruses die, die, die.

Title reference: The Cliff Dwellers were prehistoric* ancestors of the Pueblo Indians. I toured their ruins once, many decades ago. It was hypothesized that they died from an epidemic whose spread was aided by the fact that they lived in close proximity to one another.

They stayed indoors and that didn't work out so well for them.
* - Err, aren't all of the Indians prehistoric? I mean, they couldn't write, so that would seem to make recording histories difficult.

Sunday, April 19, 2020

Tied To The Racial Obsession Railroad Track

... and the train just ran us over.

Dig this.

The red line is NYC. The other 24 metro areas are lost in the noise.
Now dig this.

The progs' racial obsessions kicked us all in the groin. The reason we see people wearing masks while walking down the street as if the virus was transmitted by lasers shooting from our nostrils is because the progs in NYC could not overcome their attachment to modern Nazi Race Theory.

Governor Cuomo gets no credit, either, unless you want to claim that he was totally unfamiliar with New York City and what his comrades in the Party were doing there.

No worries. In a year or so, we'll all be back to normal. That means the fatherless residents of Detroit, St.Louis, Baltimore, Chicago, New Orleans and so on will be back to shooting each other while the progs check under their beds for white supremacists. The news media will continue to push the idea of systemic racism, but never ask the Democrats why they're permitting it in every freaking city.

I sincerely pray that Candace Owens' BLEXIT movement succeeds and I'm proven wrong.

Saturday, April 18, 2020

The Purpose Of American Politics

The purpose of American politics is to sculpt a government we can afford.

I'm proud of that summation. It came to me yesterday as I was recovering from a massive hangover. Inspired or created from alcoholic fumes, you be the judge.

I think I got the idea from this tweet by BDaddy.
Eventually, reality, God, gets a vote and His vote wins.

I was also influenced by the frighteningly unanimous nature of the Chicom Flu relief bill wherein we printed untold trillions of dollars to hand them out. Frank J captured the problem with it in this tweet.
Money isn't wealth. Money represents stored wealth. If that store of wealth doesn't grow, but your store of money does, you've done nothing.

Going back to 2020 politics, it's amazing how there's no one left who espouses this view. The Republicans have bought into Modern Monetary Theory - print, Print, PRINT - as much as anyone. The Democrats are even worse, coming up with new "rights" all the time. Health care, education, childcare, citizenship, they're all going to be free. That's insane, but I don't know if a majority of people understand.

And thank you, American public education industry. Also, major props to you, American news media.

Finally, I listened to Obama's endorsement of Biden yesterday. In addition to making me want to flip the guy off for talking down to me as he always does, I heard him discuss fundamentally reshaping the country. Dude, if you don't make things, you ain't fundamentally reshaping nothing. It was all the typical prog fantasy where money is conflated with wealth.

Obama is as he always was, an idiot mistaken for a genius. The purpose of American politics is to sculpt a government we can afford. If memory serves, the government is about 25% too big right now. The debate ought to be over which 75% we'll keep. Instead, we get stimulus packages paid for with printed money. Money isn't wealth.

You can eat beans, but you can't eat money.

Friday, April 17, 2020

Don't Bet Against Big Pharma Or Hangovers

I have a severe hangover* today, so this is the most I can manage.

Ohioan has a pair of excellent updates to his modeling of the Chinese Bat Soup Flu. You can find his first follow-up here and his latest one here.

Gilead's remdesivir looks like it's showing some good results.
A Chicago hospital treating severe Covid-19 patients with Gilead Sciences’ antiviral medicine remdesivir in a closely watched clinical trial is seeing rapid recoveries in fever and respiratory symptoms, with nearly all patients discharged in less than a week, STAT has learned.

Remdesivir was one of the first medicines identified as having the potential to impact SARS-CoV-2, the novel coronavirus that causes Covid-19, in lab tests. The entire world has been waiting for results from Gilead’s clinical trials, and positive results would likely lead to fast approvals by the Food and Drug Administration and other regulatory agencies. If safe and effective, it could become the first approved treatment against the disease.

The University of Chicago Medicine recruited 125 people with Covid-19 into Gilead’s two Phase 3 clinical trials. Of those people, 113 had severe disease. All the patients have been treated with daily infusions of remdesivir.
100+ people in the trial is a decent sample size.

Meanwhile, Texas is leading the way in getting back to normalcy.
Gov. Greg Abbott on Friday announced initial steps to reopen the Texas economy during the coronavirus pandemic, including those that in the next week will loosen surgery restrictions at medical facilities, allow all retail stores to provide product pickups and reopen state parks.
That's enough for now. My typing is too loud.

* - Wife kitteh's insomnia problems just won't stop. By the end of the day yesterday, I'd had enough. Not of her, but of the effects of this lockdown. Now I'm regretting my, err, "solution" to the problem of being exasperated with the Chicom Flu.

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Wuhan Welfare Depression

Both wife kitteh and I have noticed that our get up and go has got up and went since this whole lockdown thing started. For me, if it's after noon, it's like my body is made of lead. I have no ambition and very little energy. She has the same thing with sleep deprivation on top. Both are signs of depression.

This must be what it's like to live on welfare. What's the point of your life if you're not accomplishing something, if you're not needed?

That stuff isn't a blessing, it's a curse.

It's a trap!

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Give Compassion A Chance

I've stopped reading most of my Twitter feeds over the last week. I couldn't handle all the rage and finger-pointing. I'm sure I've done more than my share, but for some reason, I hit my limit. I'll admit I loved Trump's video montage of journos telling everyone the Chinaman's Cough wasn't going to be a big deal, though. That was hilarious.

With the blame game, I'm not singling out the progs. It's everyone. All of the howls of "XXX HAS BLOOD ON THEIR HANDS!" and "HERE'S XXX'S BODY COUNT!" are sickening. Yes, lots of people made mistakes. Some, like De Blasio, were following their racial theology and thought they were fighting white supremacists by endorsing the Chinese New Year celebrations. Some, like the mayor of New Orleans, simply couldn't find the courage to stop Mardi Gras. Some, like Trump, had to overcome their natural optimism and fixation on economic growth.

If you want to point fingers and keep track of body counts, lay into the Chicoms and their lapdogs in the World Health Organization. They're guilty on all counts. You might be able to throw in the American multinationals who bend a knee to the Chicoms as well. But political leaders? Nah.

I won't deny that plenty of them, cough, Nancy Pelosi, cough, have tried to exploit this for their own ends, but if someone came up with evidence that Republican lawmakers were doing the same thing, I wouldn't be surprised. It's what they do and why we need as small a government as possible.

Oh well. As long as I'm suggesting we all take a chill pill, I might as well end this with a flower photo. I left it big, so it might be worth a click. Enjoy.

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Ludicrous Restrictions

Wife kitteh was cranky again today. She didn't sleep at all on Sunday night and got about two hours of sleep last night. Or maybe it was no sleep on Saturday night and three hours on Sunday and ...

At this point, who cares? No sleep is a horrid problem and it affects everything about you. And then it affects people around you. She's not doing this on purpose and she's suffering from it, so what is a good husband kitteh to do but take care of her?

Such is life in the most privileged strata of the Patriarchy.

So we drove up to Palomar Mountain today and then came home by way of Santa Ysabel. We had the Catican Guards with us in the hopes of finding a place where crazed chihuahuas could run free. We didn't.

What is the deal with closing off the parks? I get the beaches because there lots of ways you can get close to other people on and around the beach, but the hiking trails and the parks? OK, so shut down the picnic areas if you're totally insane, but the hiking trails? Madness.

By now, we ought to be able to figure this out. We've got enough data to be able to loosen up a bit. Hiking trails. That's just crazy.

I've never come down East Grade Road out of Palomar into Santa Ysabel until today. It showed me a gorgeous part of San Diego. This is someone else's shot from later in the year as things begin to dry out, but today everything was lush and green.

In this, San Diego has something Los Angeles lacks - open spaces within an hour's drive. If the place stayed green year round, I might be tempted to ditch my Alabama dream, but it doesn't. It looks good for 2-3 months out of the year and the rest of the time it's brown and dead. I'll still take 'Bama over San Diego.

Monday, April 13, 2020

Follow Me

... Google and Apple and Facebook and Huawei and ...

Err, why do we need a virus tracking system on our phones? At worst, this epidemic will be over in a year when we will have a vaccine. In any case, at 60,000 deaths, it's about as lethal as traffic accidents for this year only. After that, with a vaccine, it will be a blip in our mortality statistics.

It seems to me like we need a national tracking system because the tech giants have always wanted one.

And how about those virus immunity certificates? That at least makes sense. You could make them part of a national ID card. You could use that card for voting. Ooh, but that would be racist because evil racist people would use them for voter suppression, particularly against blacks.

One question.

Since Democrats run all of the large, black communities, has anyone ever asked them why they plan to engage in voter suppression if we start using national ID cards?

Nah. Of course not. Oh well.

Sunday, April 12, 2020

An Automotive Resurrection

On Easter, is it classless to do a post about the resurrection of my MGB? Oh well. At the risk of bringing about Marx's vision for a classless society, here we go.

I drove the B to the supermarket yesterday. It felt great to be out and about in it.

Side note: I was almost the only one in the store without a mask. I swear, I would have gotten fewer sour looks if I'd come in wearing my Confederate Railroad shirt, the one with the rebel flags on it.

Three of the gauges aren't working. What they all have in common is the green feed wire. That will be diagnosed today and is tempting me to rip out the cockpit wiring and do it all again, this time with a diagnostic dongle.

I had to remove the tach and short out its wires to get the car to start. The feed line to the ignition coil runs through the tach. The tach senses the pulses from the coil to give you the RPM. On the plus side, the speedo and oil pressure gauges work.

Saturday, April 11, 2020

Modeling China

... or rather, modeling the Chicom Flu and relations with China.

Dig the interview below with the head of the IHME modeling team. He's got lots of good news. One of the interesting tidbits is how the models have changed as his team got data from Europe.

Not data from China, data from Europe.

Had the Chinese not lied to everyone from the very start, the models and our reactions would have been much, much better. We had to wait for the virus to escape the socialist paradise that is China before we could figure out what was really happening.

If that video gets removed from YouTube for copyright violations, here it is on the Fox News website with ads.

Which leads me to my other point. If the Elites think they're going to remain cozy with China, spread their propaganda for them and still retain our respect and trust, they're crazy.

Every day, we see examples of the stratification of American society, the growing separation between the Elites and the Normals. To me, the most striking of these is the transgender issue where Elites will tweet sympathetic noises in favor of the mutilation and poisoning of the mentally ill and then get drowned in a tsunami of Normals replying that this is insane.

In the case at hand, the boot licking of the Chinese by the media, the progs, the NBA, whoever, is going to get the same treatment. You can scream "RACISM!" and "XENOPHOBIA!" all you want and it's only going to prove to us that you're detached from reality, a reality that just smashed us upside the head with a 2x4.

Going back to my marketing tendencies, corporate America would be well-advised to cut this out and side with the Normals.

I'm not holding my breath. The Elites aren't elite in any justifiable sense, they're simply the high priests of the dominant religion. The temporarily dominant religion.

Bonus Tidbit: The pathologically level-headed Michael Barone has a typically competent column out this week. Here's a sample.
Governments’ powers to control people’s movements and restrict their behavior are, for good reasons, greatest in times of epidemics and wars. For that reason, many compare the limits and restrictions imposed in this and other countries with those during World War II. During what some people still call “the war,” the government shut down large parts of the economy and people were prevented from buying most consumer goods.
After WW II, there wasn't a whole lot of sympathy to be found for the Germans or Japanese and for good reason. The Elites might want to note this as they take in a deep breath to scream "RACISM!" at us one more time.

Friday, April 10, 2020

A Glorious Victory

I installed the cockpit wiring harness in my MGB over the last two days and was rewarded with one of the sweetest sounds ever. Dig this.

I have plenty of cleanup yet to do, but the thing starts with my new setup.

The blue tube-like object is my key. It is a mechanical one, not a wireless one. The two switches are for the accessories and running circuits, respectively. The big blank area is for my radio. It's a tiny, Bluetooth creature with no flange and I haven't yet figured out how to attach it to the console. I'll probably wait for Console Version 2 to do it.

A couple of gadgets on the dash need some debugging, but given my intimate knowledge of the wiring, that should be straightforward. Whether I do those or not, the car is now drivable. I also need to firmly attach the console to the car. It's sitting there loose right now.

Next Time

The next time I do this, I'll install a debug connector under the dash that will give me output from each wire so I can easily trace faults.

I want to redo the center console. I envision a simpler design, one without all the swoopy bends and ridges. I'll put cup holders in it as well.

Finally, if there is a next time, I will check myself into a local sanitarium as soon as I decide to try this insanity again.

Thursday, April 09, 2020

Odds And Ends, Modeling And Branding Edition

Yesterday's post elicited typically excellent comments from Ohioan, Foxie and Tim. Here are some of the thoughts they catalyzed, certainly indicative of a deranged mind.
  • The IHME model was deliberately conservative. It had to be. If they came out predicting 20,000 deaths and we ended up with 500,000 because everyone dismissed the Chicom Flu as a non-event, they'd be culpable morally, if not in actuality.
  • If there was a cultural failing, it was to have trusted anything from China at all. First off, China is one, massive governmental state. Government employees maximize self-preservation, not profits and if that means they need to tell lies, then they tell lies. That's how the Chinese ended up with Mao's body count.

    The current Chinese government is a direct, lineal descendant of the one that demanded that peasants smelt iron in small, backyard furnaces. All of the functionaries lied about the consequences and as a result, 80,000,000 died. Like that mattered. They were all just meatbags anyway.
  • Hobby Horse Bonus Point: The individual is always a better decision maker than the government. We've lost that concept. See also: government, massive expansion of. Trusting the Chinese is a symptom of a larger failing in our culture.
  • Ohioan made my branding point quite well. As to NBC News, I have come to conclude that the acronym has changed from National Broadcasting Corporation News to Nothing But China's News. They wrecked their brand and he's closed his mind to them and moved on to other things. Recovering lost trust with your customers is a Herculean task.
  • The American model of Federalism is genius. Foxie pointed out why. *looks at model graphic* Oh. So that is why Iowa only going somewhat overboard is suddenly functionally the same as "do not leave your house unless absolutely necessary". Iowa is not New York and the people of New York shouldn't get a say in how it's run. See also: peasants smelting iron, Chinese policy of.
  • Tim weighed in with a comment that made me think of the loss of expensive, experienced journalists. I wish people reporting on these projections would spend more time talking about error bounds and intrinsic uncertainty, instead of just acting as if the mean value is the One True Value. As the revenue at the news media companies has dropped, they've fired the expensive old hands and replaced them with gullible, ideologue children. This is how we get clown show press conferences.
  • I'm going to disagree with Tim on this one, but only in a very lukewarm way. In general, they are fighting with the same issues that people who try to model the economy or the stock market run into: When they make predictions, people change their behavior based on the predictions. I think the lousy models were more due to lousy input data. All we had were Chicom lies and unverifiable information from the Italians. If you're looking to the Italians to give you an organized summary of results, you deserve what you get. ;-)
  • On the other hand, I agree with Tim's point and it reinforces my point that Federalism wins. Tell Americans what's going on and they will usually make good choices.
  • Also from Tim: Oh, and the quality of the data they are working with is evidently terrible, missing somewhere between 20% and 80% of infections, and most diagnoses being of people that were infected a week or two previously. This is at least as bad as trying to predict the stock market, and worse than predicting the weather. I'm so glad I was able to change his mind. :-)
  • Foxie then goes on to make the point that interests me the most. Of course, lying to manipulate people into doing what they would never do if given full information is why people ignore the modelers. The news media has annihilated their brand. Lost customers who have alternatives they trust aren't coming back without a practically miraculous turnaround.
One final thought. I am highly suspicious of the people who want to keep this lockdown going for more than a month longer. It seems to me that they're the same people who long to recreate Mao's Paradise. They love control and power. It sure looks to me like they're anxious to use this crisis to grab it.

Kind of like the Global Warming Climate Change thing.

Wednesday, April 08, 2020

Brands, Models And Humility

... and no, I don't mean models like Olivia de Havilland. One can hardly expect humility from them.

This was not an excuse to post some old school cheesecake. Absolutely not.
Instead, I mean the folks at the IHME. Dig this.

That sucker wasn't off, it was wildly wrong.

Aside: Good friend Ohioan at Heart has been working on his own model and you can find it here. Excellent work, that.

On with the show.

I have a friend who runs a commercial real estate firm. His brokers are independent operators and as such, they are ineligible for unemployment compensation. Yesterday, he told me almost all of their deals have fallen through. My friend and his coworkers are furious with China, but there is probably a good deal of anger at the "scientific community" for having screwed the pooch on this one.

It's entirely possible that we would have taken the same steps had the models been accurate or even close, but they weren't and we did. Dittos for the panic media who screamed that we would see a million or more dead. Double super dittos for media companies like NBC who are actively peddling both panic and Chinese propaganda. Dig this.

Bonus tidbit from NBC:

I don't know, maybe NBC has simply given up and they want to destroy their brand.

One of the biggest lessons to me from this mess is how important it is to protect your brand. In marketing books and in lectures, I've been told a zillion times* that it's everyone's job to protect their organization's brand. I used to think that was hyperbolic nonsense, but now I understand.

We Normals can't tell the difference between the IHME and MIT. When the IHME or the transgender activists or the Global Warming Climate Change crowd wrap themselves in the "scientific community" flag, it's up to real scientists to fight back. If a pack of self-interested charlatans are determined to wreck your brand, it's your problem, not ours. We can't help it if all of the subgroups blend together in our minds.

Dittos for the media. There really are lots and lots of honest journalists out there. However, they're not the ones ripping NBC to shreds for publishing trash. Again, that's their problem, not ours.

And that, my friends, is why you need to protect your brand. No one else is going to do it for you because you're the only one with a vested interest in the thing.

* - Hey, if the "scientific community" can peddle rubbish numbers and still demand respect, so can I. A zillion it is.

Tuesday, April 07, 2020

Almost Done

Intro: I'm in the last phase of rewiring a 1973 MGB from scratch.

I wrapped the wiring harness and put connectors on the center console. I then installed all of the instruments and their harness. I didn't take Mostly Nothing's advice and leave enough slack in the wires, so really ground my hands up struggling to wire up the thing in the car. On the plus side, there's none of the wiring mess I used to have, so I'd consider this a win.

The instrument cluster, wired up in my cardboard model of the dash.
The business end of the center console, ready to go.
The dash with the instruments and harness installed. It looks clean now! No wires dangling all over the place.
One more day and I should be done. Yay!

Monday, April 06, 2020

Viral Grudges

China wants to export lots of goods to Britain. They like exporting lots of goods to the US as well.

Boris Johnson, the prime minister, just came down with the Wuhan Flu.

What if, in future trade negotiations, the British take a rather dim view of the bat-eating Chicoms making their prime minister severely ill? What if they are even more nonplussed at having to live in lockdown until the thing is beaten?

What if America feels like that?

If I were a negotiator for the Chicoms, I'd be concerned.

"Today, President Trump named an all-new negotiating team to work with the Chinese on upcoming trade deals ..." 

Sunday, April 05, 2020

Going Old School

... and just doing some photoblogging today. Enjoy!

We saw someone in a unicorn suit at a local Vons the other day. Part of me wanted to laugh, but part of me also wondered if they suffered from a compromised immune system. In any case, I was grateful they decided to be playful and creative.

We've been working on our wing recipes in preparation for parties once this whole lockdown thing is over. Last night, we made a couple of different kinds from Deep South Dish. Check out her link on the sidebar. Her stuff is always fabulous.

This fellow decided to crawl up one of our screen doors and hang out there for a while. He was fifteen inches long and gorgeous. He was outside of the glass door, so we could relax and enjoy him.
Have a great day and stay safe!

Saturday, April 04, 2020


Note: I can't recommend Matthew Kelly's video enough and that includes all of the protestants, atheists, animists, numerologists and phantasmagorians among you. It's a little over 3 minutes long. You can do this.

And now, on with the show.

Before the Chinese Panic arrived, I was following along with Matthew Kelly's Best Lent Ever series. The one that hit me the most was this one. It's about St. Francis and the dissatisfaction with life that drove him. It's so me.

I was able to download the video, but instead of posting it on my own YouTube channel, I'll simply leave the link here out of respect for Matthew and his team.

Yesterday, I was spray painting the center console on my MGB. As I did so, I realized that I'm almost done with this project. I should be able to finish it today.

If you're new to my ravings, I have completely rewired a 1973 MGB from scratch, wire by wire. I've redesigned the electrical system as I've gone along. When I started, I knew how to plug a male connector into a female connector and that was about it.

During this project, I've learned about all kinds of electrical connectors, how to choose the right wire for the right load, how to solder and how to read and draw schematics to the point where I can do it in my head, on the fly. I also learned how to construct things out of fiberglass, how to use a Dremel, how to test a charging system in a car and so much more.

I should have felt a tremendous sense of accomplishment, but I didn't. I only felt dissatisfaction. The journey was almost over and all I wanted was another journey.

The dissatisfaction that St. Francis felt was God calling him to the next thing He needed Francis to do in life. The dissatisfaction I feel, that will only be salved by a new project, is God telling me that He still has work for me to do.

At some point, like my father before me, God will give me the task of being the focus of selfless giving by others. I will become old and infirm and will be a bottomless pit of need that others will have to work hard to fill. Life is an adventure story and we all have parts in it. Sometimes we're the hero, sometimes we're the dude what gets whacked, the injustice of which drives another character to become a hero. Sometimes, we're the mentor that tries to teach the kids about life.

My dissatisfaction is telling me that I still have adventures ahead of me. I like that.

Friday, April 03, 2020

Separation Of Church And Press

... or, This Is Why You're The Enemies Of The People.

Just a rantette today. No time or energy for more.

Dig this tweet.

Natasha Bertrand is a National Security correspondent. I have no idea what that really means, but it looks like she's some kind of reporter. Her take on the USNS Comfort is dead wrong. It should have been obviously wrong before she started. Where are her superiors? Where are her mentors?

When I was a pup and I made a serious mistake as a professional, there were a couple of people who would take me aside and teach me what I did wrong so I didn't do it again. It's not clear that anyone has done this with Natasha.

In a broader sense, once the gay pedophilia scandal broke in the Church, there were plenty of priests and lay people who lost their minds and raged at the corruption. Not only that, they still do. If a member of the clergy made a mistake on the order of Natasha's, the thread of replies would be filled with angry Catholics just blasting her.

Where are the reporters, journalists or other members of the press correcting Natasha in public? She's ruining their reputations and it doesn't seem to matter to any of them. Maybe Natasha is part of a completely separate organization the way the Presbyterians aren't associated with the Catholics. However, she's a member of the news media and the Presbyterians are Christians, so there's a natural, if ignorant association in the minds of the public.

That's the reason the Babylon Bee criticizes a lot of televangelists. It's done to defend the brand of Christianity.

Where is the similar defense of the brand of the news media? Until legit journalists start whacking people like Natasha, it's only natural for the rest of us to assume that the MSM is just one, big glob of corrupt weasels.

Thursday, April 02, 2020

Last Train To Wuhan

... well, actually, it was the last train out of Wuhan.

This is the video that got me to sell all of my investments and park my money.

In my mind, I saw a map of China that looked like the maps of the US which describe the movement of college kids from the beaches of Florida to the rest of the country.

Going back to the video, a couple of things immediately occurred to me.
  1. You can weld doors shut to trap infected families in their homes all you want, but if you let tens of thousands of people escape the city by train, you've stopped nothing.
  2. If you're going to lock down a city, you don't announce it, give a deadline in the future and then let the trains run until the deadline hits. That video is exactly what happens when people find out they're about to be trapped.
  3. Unless the whole country looks like something out of Logan's Run where it's all chrome and glass and electronic monitoring, there would be no control of the virus. China looks nothing at all like Logan's Run, particularly in the rural areas.
  4. We're all screwed.
I know I promised to stop beating the press, but you'd have to be a special kind of moron to see the train videos and then, months later, believe the Chinese claims that they've got the virus totally under control.

I guess those are the same kinds of special morons who thought Russia wanted Donald Trump to win the election. The joke is really on me, then, isn't it? If the press can't figure out that Russia relies on oil means no Trump bias, they're not likely to think that trainloads of infected people fleeing the epicenter of the pandemic means a viral wildfire across China.

Communism For The Win

In the end, you probably didn't even need to see the video to predict the outcome. China is a dictatorship, run by atheists which means they cannot derive an objective value for human life from first principles. They also see everything in terms of money and power. So long as the Chinese elites could stay safe, dumping a million or so meatbags into the crematoria furnaces wasn't a big deal. If those meatbags were past their productive years, so much the better.