Friday, April 20, 2018

Fricassee

Mrs ERJ and I are still taking food to mom and dad on Fridays.

Dad's throat has become sensitive and foods that "tickle" going down trigger coughing and his gag reflex.  Smooth, easy-to-chew foods have become the order of the day.

Today we are taking mashed potatoes, fricassee and blueberry pie filling.

Fricassee is one of those dishes that used to be fashionable.  It is little more than meat cooked in gravy.  For my dad, the meat is thinly cut across-the-grain to make it easy to chew.

Installment 3.5



At midnight, somewhere north of Kettleman City on Highway 5 a Cali Bureau of Investigation trooper approached a utility truck parked well off the freeway.  The boom on the truck was augering an 8” hole deep into the ground.

The trooper asked, “What is going on?”

The “foreman”, thinking quickly, said “We had reports of a natural gas leak.  As you know, natural gas is fifty times more potent than CO2 as a greenhouse gas.  Our boss sent us out here to find the leak and fix it.”

The officer nodded sagely and asked if they needed any traffic control.

The “foreman” looked up and down the deserted stretch of freeway and said, “Nope, I think we have this handled.  We are quite a way off the pavement and the traffic is pretty light.  I think we are good to go.”

The CBI trooper continued on his way.

The truck continued boring for another twenty minutes before it reached the specified depth.  Two hundred pounds of ammonium nitrate and fuel oil explosive were packed into the bottom of the hole and the next six feet of hole were packed with soil.  The “foreman” set the redundant triggering devices to detonate in two hours.  One explosion was going to deprive Northern California of 90% of its natural gas, thus making it impossible for emergency generators to kick on.

***

Heavily laden trucks entered several petroleum storage depots in the Bay area.   Tanks had already been assessed remotely.  Infrared cameras were used to determine the liquid level in each tank.

Teams broke up and set explosives low on the sides of the tanks facing inward and set them high on the outward sides.  It takes a long time for a tank to drain, even if you blow a 30” hole in the side of the tank.  The goal was to overwhelm the Cali emergency response plans.

Completely outside of the Cartel war council’s plans, Longshoremen and Mechanics gained entry to various warehouses and depots across the northern part of the state.  They had gotten wind of part of the plan and were determined to strike back.
The warehouses and depots contained millions, nay, tens of millions of new tires. 

The Longshoremen’s and Mechanic’s efforts at sabotage were clownishly ineffective and would have been quickly squashed except for the fact that enormous fires were breaking out on the other side of town.  The diesel oil pouring out of the 30” holes had ignited and hundreds of acres of property were burning.  It takes a long time for ten gallons of gas to set fire to a million tires, but nobody had time to attend to the alarms that were going off.

Another distraction for the first responders were the mortar rounds that dropped into the transformer yards in the Bay area.  The transformers were armored against ground tremors but were not armored against high-explosive bursts 8’ above ground.  Fragile electronic parts burst and millions of volts arced.  Oil spilled and ignited.

By morning, the smoke plumes could be seen from seventy miles away.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Starting to feel like springtime

I picked up some sawdust at Love's Sawmill in Springport to stick some cuttings.

Here is a box of it.
 
Pretty coarse.  I need to add some peat moss for water holding ability.

Today marks the start of grafting season.  This is a Liberty/G.935 that is being flipped over to a different variety.  Mrs ERJ is happy to see me taking sticks out of the refrigerator rather than putting them in.

It is a very crooked tree when the deer cage is removed.  I cut the stem at belt high.  That puts the first flush of branches up above bunny height, even when we have deep snow.  The taller the trunk, the less the yield.
Here is the new variety...aka, Water Closet.
Folks who graft nut trees often put a paper lunch bag over their grafts as shown.  It increases the temperature and decreases the dehydration.  I use paper bags when I am chomping at the bit and cannot wait for the weather to warm up.
I knocked out three trees today: Water Closet, Spigold and NY-65707.  There is a high degree of variation in apple variety vigor.  Spigold, for instance, is extremely vigorous.  It was grafted over a GoldRush/G.935. 

Gloster 69 is a Red Delicious type apple that shines like a jewel when polished.
NY-65707 on the other hand is a feeble grower.  I have a Gloster 69/Bud-118 that I have been torturing by moving it every couple of years.  Bud-118 is a vigorous rootstock.  I should be able to manage NY-65707/G-69/Bud-118 and keep it in its allotted space while that would be almost impossible to do that if I had grafted the Spigold over the G-69/Bud-118.

I also combed out and trimmed some neglected grape vines.

Installment 3.4



The night was dubbed “The Night of Fire” before it was over.

In the heat of the afternoon gangs of teenagers heaved Molotov cocktails into the secured areas at the foot of cell towers at thousands of sites across Cali, from Orange County to north of Sacramento.

As evening set, service trucks came in from “calls” and parked in their laagers.  Since the advent of the “solar economy” the rhythms of life were clocked by the sun.  Work stopped when the sun went down except in the most dire of emergencies.

Bonita and Miguel approached their first “hide” after retrieving the weapon they had cached earlier that week when scouting the target.  The ¾ moon was just starting to rise above the foothills at half past midnight.  It had been a slow, dark walk into position.

Miguel was the spotter while Bonita was the triggerman.  Miguel laid the blanket on the ground.  Bonita uncased the weapon, screwed on the suppresser and tied on the brass catcher.  The brass catcher was little more than a sock with a drawstring threaded through the opening.

The gun was not a standard ‘military’ rifle.  It was a bolt action .22 with a precision trigger and a four power scope.  It also sported a bi-pod and Bonita could hit a quarter at 75 yards with boring regularity when shooting prone.  Tonight her targets were much bigger than quarters.

The utility trucks were parked on the diagonal, twenty-five along the east side of the laager and twenty-five on the west side.  Bonita and Miguel’s first hide was on the east side of the facility.

Conversing in whispers, Miguel suggested that she start with the front tires of the trucks closest to them and continue up the line.  They would move to a second hide they had prepared if she started missing due to distance.

The closest truck was fifty yards away and the furthest truck was over one hundred and twenty yards away.  She was aiming for the sidewall of the tire because cut cords in the sidewalls are not repairable.  The only times she missed was when bullets hit the chain link fence and went “whinging” off, into the night.  When that happened Miguel would nudge Bonita’s butt with the toe of his boot and say, “Send another one.”

Unfortunately, she was unable to get a good “look” at the rear dual tires as they were masked by the bodies of adjacent trucks.

“Let’s see if we can get a better look at the rear tires from the second hide.” Bonita whispered.

Miguel shook his head ‘no’ and whispered, “The angles are all wrong.”

“We have the time and more than enough ammo.  We gotta try.” Bonita responded.

They picked up their equipment and moved to the second hide about sixty yards to the north.

Bonita was able to see the treads of the rear tires but the tiny bullets were unable to penetrate fifty millimeters of rubber, several steel belts and the eight plies of polyester reinforcing.

“Well, shit.” Bonita said.  “Now what?”  Bonita did not like investing effort when there was no return.

“You might as well get some practice.” Miguel said.  “Even if you cannot get the tires you can still shoot the headlights and practice putting rounds through the windshield.  Bullet holes in the windshields right in front of the steering wheel will give the drivers something to think about.”

Bonita visualized where the head of the driver would be and she methodically put one bullet hole in each windshield and then worked her way back up the line putting a bullet hole in each headlamp.  She was able to shoot as more quickly than Miguel was able to reload magazines.

Then, for good measure, she angled a shot into the grille of each truck where Miguel said the radiator side-tanks were most likely to be located.

Then they moved to the west side of the lot to their third hide.  Lather, rinse, repeat.  Ninety minutes later they broke-down their last hide.  They walked a half hour and cached their equipment.  Then they walked another six miles to where they spent the rest of the night.

That was the night they became lovers.

Unbeknownst to Bonita and Miguel most of the bullets that punched through the right headlamps also trashed the engine control computers that were housed in the right fender.  Those vehicles were down-for-the-count.

Similar events happened at hundreds of vehicle marshalling sites across northern California.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Deny the reality of your own eyes and experiences



There is really nothing new under the sun.

The key to bamboozling the peasants and rubes is to get them to deny the validity of their own eyes and experiences.

My gut feel is that the last of the sheep are now being chivvied into the slaughter house.

Consider that four-time, criminal-sexual offenders are being whacked with a misdemeanor and sentenced to probation and court costs in many jurisdictions.

Meanwhile, people who forget a New Yorker's honorific-of-the-moment is subject to a $25,000 fine.

We truly live in a parallel universe when non-consensual sex, which potentially exposes the recipient to Herpes, HIV, Chlamydia, Syphilis, Gonorrhea and HPV, is treated more lightly than exposing somebody's feelings to reality.

As Voltaire suggested at the end of Candide...First we must tend our own gardens.  That is where you will find me.

Installment 3.3


After walking out of the war council meeting, McDevitt took a cell phone out of his briefcase. Removing the back of the flip phone revealed that it had neither battery nor SIM card. He carefully selected a SIM card from his wallet. McDevitt carried SIM cards the way other businessmen carried business cards. Then he inserted a battery.

He punched in a number from memory.

“Good morning Jose.” The voice announced.

“Good morning Sergi. For the immediate future my name is McDevitt. Please make a note of that.” McDevitt responded.

“What can I do for you today?” Sergi asked.

“What is my account balance?” McDevitt asked.

“About $15.5 million, US currency. Why do you ask?” Sergi said.

“I want to buy some Credit Default Swaps. I think the interest rates for Cali bonds is going to go up.” McDevitt said.

“That shouldn’t be too hard. How many basis points and how many dollars worth do you want to buy?” Sergi asked.

“I am not talking basis points. I want to bet on it doubling. In fact, I also want to buy CDS for it tripling and quadrupling if you can find sellers.” McDevitt said.

“OK, I will see what I can do. How many dollars worth and over what time duration?” Sergi said.

“Six million dollars worth for the interest rate doubling, four million for it tripling and two million dollars for it quadrupling within the next six months. These will automatically transact if they hit those targets, right?” McDevitt asked.

Sergi’s time was worth a lot of money so he was rarely silent. But he was this time, for a couple of seconds. “You realize that you will lose $12 million dollars, US, if those contracts don’t activate, right?” Sergi said.

McDevitt replied, “That may be so but I will still be a multi-millionaire for whatever that is worth. And if they do transact then it will be a lot of money.”

McDevitt then said, “Time is more urgent than getting the absolute best deal. Please transact these buys in the next twenty-four hours. I don’t have time for details, you have my carte blanch permission to just make it happen.”

“Understood. Sergi out.” Sergi said.

After hanging up Sergi typed out a buy order but automatically doubled the amount. $12 million US was chump-change for the Cartel and it sounded like “McDevitt” knew something. Sergi also took the liberty of specifying that the payout be in a market-basket of hard currencies. A doubling in the interest rate meant that the Callor was broken. A quadrupling meant that the Callor was roadkill.

The buy order went out to a “string” of highly reliable brokers across the globe who, in turn, started placing CDS requests in Singapore, Seoul, Tokyo, Melbourne, Mexico City and Rio. In many cases those brokers sensed that something was in the wind and they bought CDSs for themselves and for a few, highly favored clients.

In retrospect it was no surprise that most of the CDS were placed with accounts in San Francisco. The analysist for the many billionaires who lived in the Bay area were always on the look-out for “stupid money” to vacuum up.

The first CDS for the quadrupling of interest rates had a “payout” of 10,000:1. The shear amount of orders rolling in diluted the payout to 5000:1 in twenty-four hours. The doubling of the interest rate started at 2000:1 and ended twenty-four hours later at 500:1. In all cases, McDevitt’s order was transacted first.

By the time all of initial orders were placed, $100,000,000 of funds had been accepted by the San Francisco investment houses that served the wealthy families in the Bay area.

***
A simple Declaration of Independence and a Declaration of War were drafted. It was signed by a few key parties. Copies of both, and an un-retouched copy of the audio file recorded by the light fixture in Denice Delarosa’s the night she died were delivered to the embassies of all the major countries in the United States. Copies were also delivered to the CEOs of the Fortune 500 via certified mail. Copies were Fedexed to Bona-Brown in Sacramento.

The documents were universally ignored for the first twenty-four hours.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Information hiding in plain sight

From a study by New York University looking at diabetes rates in various parts of New York.

The whisker chart shown above breaks down diabetes rates by sub-groups.  Both Type 1 Diabetes (insufficient insulin production) and Type 2 Diabetes (cellular resistance to insulin) are broken out.

Two anomalies jump out at me.  They show "data" for children for people listed as "elderly".  One would expect that to be null or to be assigned a value of 1.0 as a place holder.

The third whisker shows that Childhood, Type 1 Diabetes is 70% higher in Higher Income families than it is for the overall population.

The other anomaly is high level of Type 1 Diabetes in High Income people.  The only group that registers higher are children living in "The Fast Food Swamp".  Nearly every other subgroup shows rates that are very, very close to 1.0, which is what one would expect of a genetic condition and very large sample sizes.

The glaring question should be: Are children of High Income families over-diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes or are other children under-diagnosed.

Could be a case of "you won't find it if you are not looking for it."?

Belladonna flying to California


Belladonna was bummed this past spring break.  Many of her friends were in Florida or Cancun.  Bella decided to save $2000.  She came home and worked a half dozen shifts.

AND THEN...
Her school flew her out to Southern California on their dime.
I wonder how many of these she can fit into her luggage.

Unfortunately, she will not be able to bask in our 20 degree windchill.  She will be in California.

I hope she comes back.

Installment 3.2



McDevitt looked over at Dilip.  “Your turn to report out.” he said.

Immediately after Delarosa’s assassination, he had been terminated from his position with the state.  Going home, he had time to review the recording of the actual event.  He made multiple copies and forwarded them to several other parties that he thought might be interested.

Dilip’s anger overflowed when he learned that his aunt had been killed in the assassination.  The assassin had lured her away from the desk, probably claiming that there was a leaking drinking fountain, slit her throat and pushed her body into a janitor’s closet.

Dilip personally viewed the surveillance footage from the security cams.  They all went in-op at the same time.  The “snow” that was recorded was frame-for-frame, pixel-by-pixel identical.  The files had clearly been hacked and over-written and the only entity that could achieve that with casual ease was the tentacles of the state that had infiltrated Silicon Valley.

“I talked to a bunch of people who have recently mustered out of the Cali military.  The evidence is that they wear helmets with Identification, Friend or Foe to avoid friendly fire incidents.  This is totally understandable when you realize the recruits wear shock collars and the officers light up the recruits for the tiniest infractions.  That is the only way they trust recruits with a weapon.” Dilip said.

“My best guess, based on what they are telling me, is that each helmet has a near-infrared beacon that strobes at a certain rate but the only way to tell is to capture some helmets.  The most important thing is to capture some officer helmets because recruit’s weapons won’t cycle when pointed at officers but officer’s weapons will cycle when pointed at recruits.” Dilip said.

“If we can break the IFF codes, then we can shoot back with impunity.”  Dilip had been a tiny kid as a child and had been bullied by bigger kids.  His father sent him to jujitsu classes.  Dilip eventually acquired a black-belt and burned into every level of his psyche was the mindset of using the opponent’s momentum and energy to your advantage.

McDevitt looked around the table and was silent for a moment.  The team was about to cross the Rubicon.

“I want you to look inward.  Pray, if you are a praying person.  Then I want your opinions.  To war, or not to war.  There is no shame in advising caution but there is risk in hesitating when there is no gain in waiting.  Do we go to war, or do we continue to prepare?”

The vote was unanimous.  SD-LA was going to war.