Saturday, July 4, 2020

Celebrating Independence from Jolly Olde England

Archie, Dingbat and Meat-head


It may come as a surprise to most of my readers to learn that I am 100% in favor of reparations for the African-American community.

The root of the word "Reparation" is the word "repair".

In order for me to support a specific initiative for reparations, it must pass a few tests. The primary test is "How will it REPAIR Black culture.

The emphasis must be on culture because repairing the culture  is the only way to guarantee that future generations benefit from Reparations. If we don't think about future generations than all effort will be wasted.

So, the $15T question is: Will sprinkling a half-million dollars on every African-American guarantee that the next generation of African-Americans would grow up in an America with racial parity? Will the academic gap disappear? Will Black families stay together? Will Black-on-Black crime drop to that of White-on-White crime?

That answer to that is to look at the most successful Blacks in America: The Blacks who emmigrate from the Caribbean nations to the United States.

If you are blessed with the opportunity to talk with one of them, they will assure you that they EARNED their success. They did their school work. They learned their lessons and did extra homework. They passed competitive exams.

They will tell you that "giving" is a trap and exactly the wrong direction.

Most of them would contend that sprinkling half-million dollars on every Black person in America would be toxic and would make problems worse.

So what Reparations would I support?
How about Black-centric education where boys go to one school and girls go to different schools?

Boys need more gross-motor activities and most boys are severely disadvantaged by classrooms that exclusively focus on fine-motor skills.

If we admit that Blacks and Whites develop different skills at different rates and develop secondary sexual characteristics at different ages, then perhaps we need a different template for Blacks than has been optimal for Whites. Black men might gain significant advantage if they didn't have the distraction-and-competition of girls in the classroom.

Quick, get the smelling salts because teachers just swooned.

How about finding ways to not disadvantage families where the father stays with the mother of his children? Children need their fathers, especially boys, especially after age ten. They don't need them once a month or once every two weeks or once a year. They need their father there every night.

And while we are at it, let's disadvantage Rap music. Rap music is violent, misogynistic and anti-family. Performing Rap music is a First Amendment protected right: Freedom of Speech. But nobody, no corporation, is compelled to market it and make it widely available.

What would it cost? That is almost irrelevant. These are changes that I see as mandatory for repairing Black culture.

These are forms of Reparations that I support.

Friday, July 3, 2020

Fake News Friday: First it was Elvis. Now it is Michael Jackson

Multiple Michael Jackson sightings reported from Michigan

Another one bites the dust

This time, the Dean of Nursing at the University of Massachusetts. She made the radical statement "everyone's life matters."

I presume the University of Massachusetts receives funding collected from the citizens of Massachusetts. Therefore it would be entirely appropriate for the legislature to suggest that funding to the School of Medicine will be put into escrow until such time the people responsible for firing the Dean can report to the legislature floor and explain, in front of the Representatives and the TV cameras, exactly whose live's are NOT important.

No, they cannot hand-wave and claim it is "code".

Because if I were to find myself in the care of a University of Massachusetts graduate (or graduates) I would want to know if I fell into any of the categories they had been trained to think of as "disposable".

In fact, I want Michigan to pass a resolution that requires exactly that. That funding be put into escrow until top management reports to Legislature after a public employee is terminated on the grounds that they published a document, public or private, or posted a video where they say "All lives matter" or "Every life matters" or anything similar.

If an employee threatens violence...sure, that is grounds for termination. There is a body of precedent regarding safe workplaces and employer's responsibilities to provide such.

But to extend safe workplaces to include "All lives matter" on the grounds that it might trigger somebody...and therefore creates a "hostile workplace environment" is horse manure. The problem is not the person uttering "All lives matter". The problem is the unhinged person who might be "triggered" by those words.

Because what if you did outlaw those words? What if the unhinged person thinks they heard those words? Perhaps there was background noise and they honestly mistook other words for the dread "All lives matter". Perhaps they imagined they heard the words.

The fantasy in their head does not justify violence; physical or economic.

Fake News Friday: Dixie Chicks change their name AGAIN

The Dixie Chicks recently changed their name to The Chicks because somebody told them that "Dixie" was charged with racist nuance and overtones.

Encouraged by TDC's eagerness to appease people who don't listen to their music, the LGBTT (Lettuce, Guacamole, Bacon, Tomato on Toast) lobby informed TDC that the letter combination "ck" reinforced the oppressive, binary, cis-normative patriarchy and had to go. However, the letter "t" was a gender-neutral, acceptable alternative.

TDC lost no time pandering to the BGBTT crowd.

They are henceforth to be referred to as "The Chits".

Quest: Blessings

Benicio was running into problems managing Delta Township and the surrounding areas.

In the beginning, people were glad to be alive, glad to have a strongman to get things organized and tell them what to do.

The immediate terror of Ebola was over. Refugees were trickling into Delta Township and Lansing. They owed Benicio nothing.

Furthermore, it is one thing to manage an organization that is, perhaps, 2% of the native population. Benicio could hire-and-fire. His organization extracted wealth from the other 98% to pay the organization’s expenses.

As the leader of Delta Township, he had limited ability to hire-and-fire because they weren’t employees. He was stuck with what he had.

Another issue is that competitors were springing up. There was nothing that came anywhere near the size and power of his organization but it was troubling if only because it nibbled away at his revenue base.

Benicio was a “go-and-see” manager. This morning he was inspecting a grocery store that had been gutted during the night. It was one of the grocery stores that he provided “protection” for so it was a direct attack on his authority.

Benicio’s education in business and economics came from Lansing Community College. Unlike all the other students, Benicio absorbed the information like a sponge. A big reason for that is that if he played his cards right, he was in line to run an organization with revenues north of $100 million a year.

Business problems don’t go away just because the products it sells are not legal. If anything, they become bigger.

On one hand, Benicio had to deal with this challenge to his authority.

On the other hand, Benicio had to deal with the pressures that led young men to twist the tiger’s tail. That is, lack of jobs. The economy of Delta Township was moribund.

If you wanted to have an audience with Benicio you had to be cleared by his phalanx of protectors, your business had to personally interest Benicio and you had to walk with him as he managed his business. No high-status office. No comfortable chairs. No dainty cups of coffee. No cute secretary.

Steve Straeder was walking with Benicio. Steve caught Benicio’s eye. Not many people had the cajones to attempt a trip to Iowa in the middle of the winter. The plalanx parted when Benicio indicated he had an interest in speaking with the young man.

“What can I do for you today, Mr Straeder?” Benicio asked. It was a courtesy. If there was a market for flies and one caught more flies with honey than vinegar, Benicio had the flexibility to present honey.

Steve correctly interpreted the question as “What can Steve Straeder do for Benicio, today.”

“I have come to ask for your blessing” Steve replied.

“Do I look like a Priest?” Benicio asked with a humorless laugh. “I know you don’t want my daughter’s hand in marriage. She is too young and I know you are already married.”

“I have come to ask your blessing for a project” Steve said. “Nothing more.”

“Why?” Benicio pressed. “Why my blessing.”

“Because what you bless, prospers. What you curse, fails” Steve answered.

That was a very accurate assessment of the situation.

“And what would you have me bless?” Benicio asked.

“I am building a railroad” Steve said.

That caused Benicio’s eyebrows to go upward a millimeter.

“And where would you build this railroad?” Benicio asked.

“I intend to reactivate the tracks from Durand, Michigan, through Lansing and Delta Township and then all the way to Huntington, Indiana” Steve replied.

“Why Durand and Huntington?” Benicio asked. They were not cities he was very familiar with.

“Durand has a railroad museum that has a working, steam locomotive. Huntington is on the Canton, Ohio – to – Oceola, Iowa railroad” Steve said. “Connecting to the COOI railroad connects us with 700 miles of middle-America.”

“You seem certain that the COOI will be built?” Benicio said.

“They are already running trains” Steve said.

That was news to Benicio.

“So how would this benefit me?” Benicio asked.

Steve looked around and inhaled. “So far, we have been lucky. We beat Livingston County because they were invaded by force from Ann Arbor. We get to fight them next. Maybe we win. Maybe we lose.”

“Someday we are going to run out of luck. Then we lose” Steve said. “Unless we have oil and coal and industry.”

“Somebody is going to tap into the COOI line. If it is Ann Arbor, then they get oil from the oil fields east of Fort Wayne. Then we lose for sure.”

“If we beat them to the COOI line, then we get the oil. Oil means fuel. Gas means we can make far more ammonia and explosives than we can now...maybe ten or twenty times as much.”

Benicio did not need to be told the benefits of oil and explosives.

“And how long do you think it will take to get the tracks ready, once you start?” Benicio asked.

“It is 170 miles from Durand-to-Huntington” Steve said. “The first sections of track the towns in Indiana and Illinois activated took about two miles-a-day. So, once I get the go-ahead, I figure I can be pulling freight at reduced speeds in a hundred days.”

“How many men were working on the rails down in Illinois?” Benicio wanted to know.

“I don’t know. Maybe ten or twenty at a time, tops. These were small towns of a few hundred people. There weren’t a lot of strong backs to have” Steve said.

Benicio looked at the young men milling aimlessly about, sidelong glances bespeaking of resentment and anger.

“How fast can you go with two-hundred men?” Benicio wanted to know.

Thursday, July 2, 2020

Some days I feel like a twenty-five-year-old work-truck

Some days I feel like a twenty-five-year-old work-truck wondering which part is going to break next.

Last week was a big week for running. I clocked fifteen miles in four runs. Two five-mile runs and then two runs in one day that added up to another five miles.

This week I got hit with the cold on Monday-ish. Then my I had pain in my gluteus medius. That is the muscle the nurse aims for when she gives you a shot in the butt.

I decided to try a gentle run this morning. I gave myself permission to go slowly and to knock off early.

The great news is that the pain in my gluteus medius disappeared after a half mile, so it was not an inflamed bursa (No, not a small handgun. A bursa is a slippery sack of fluid that allows sheets of muscle to slide past each other.) but just a garden-variety sore muscles.

The good news is that I ran three miles and then walked back. This week will not go into the record books for distance but it is far better to run three miles than to sit in the recliner and get fat(ter).

Quest: Without Warrant or Guarantee

John Wilder would not allow Dr Sam Wilder test the vaccine on herself.

“It is not just because you are my wife. It is because you are the only microbiologist who can manufacture the vaccine. What if you are the one-in-a-thousand who has a bad reaction. We could lose the ability to save the other 999.”

Rick Salazar agreed with John. “It is not worth it.”

Moe Pockets was more than willing to be the guinea pig. “Stuff some sauerkraut up my nose? Sure, why not. I have done weirder stuff than that...usually after losing a bet or drinking too much.”

John promised Moe a gallon of beer to try it out.

One of the positives about the VTH (Velichko, Tsai and Hallquist) method is that nothing was injected into the bloodstream. The vaccine was either swabbed or misted onto the permeable nasal membranes inside the nose.

Figuring out how to explode the individual bacteria cells had been a challenge. Unfamiliar with the VTH method and not knowing if Dr. Soo Kwan-Bae's creation expressed Ebola's unique protein sequences on the cell walls or in the cellular DNA, Dr. Sam had to figure out how to puree the cells so the nasal membrane was exposed to both.

Fortunately, there was enough power to run refrigeration. The winning combination was to centrifuge the bacteria out of the culture, then to immerse them in distilled water. Osmosis caused the cells to expand to the bursting point. Then the bacteria were flash-frozen to -20F. Ice crystals formed inside the turgid cells and punched holes through the cell walls.

Dr Sam took the bacterial soup and tried to re-culture it. This was a quality control step to ensure that all of the cells had been punctured. She was not able to bring the culture back to life, proving that all of the cells were dead.

Moe was directed to blow his nose to clear it of any mucus. Then the diluted vaccine was misted up both nostrils. The “blue” culture in one nostril and the “aqua” in the other. Then he was directed to bend over, face toward the ground and to resist the urge to sneeze or otherwise blow the dampness out of his nose.

Every organism has some percentage of "non-coding DNA". Some of it is legacy DNA that no longer activates protein sequencing. Much of it involves lost virus that collected in the cell's nucleus and has been replicated ever since.

Many evolutionary biologists speculate that the fragments of captured virus offer resistance against that very virus. For instance, when the cell dies and ruptures, releasing the replicated virus, it also releases its own cellular DNA. If that DNA is rich in the pieces of virus that the virus uses to initiate cellular entry, for instance, then the actual virus must compete with all of the little pieces.

For example, consider what would happen if a thief went into a town. He has some purloined debit cards and some skeleton keys. But suppose every lock already had a key broken off in the key cylinder and every card reader a dummy card jammed into it; that slows down the flim-flam man and exposes him to capture for a longer period of time.

Dr Soo knew all of this. She packed the Weissella koreensis chock full of non-coding, Ebola derived protein sequences which the W.k. cheerfully accepted as DNA which it replicated in future generations.

The chopped up DNA from the evacuated bacteria quickly plated out on Moe’s nasal membranes and started diffusing into his blood stream.

While the membranes that line the nostrils appears to be solid when viewed at 1X magnification, under much higher magnification they appear to be more like the surface of the ball-pit in the kiddy-play-land at your local fast-food restaurant.

And if you were unfortunate enough to drop your car keys into the pit, you would find that the balls don’t present much resistance to small objects. The relative size difference between the human cells and the strands of faux-viral bits is much greater than the difference between the balls and the car keys. The relative size is more like the balls and grains of table salt.

From there, the faux-virus entered the capillaries where B-Cells were loafing.

B-Cells are like tractors with multiple ball hitches on the receiver. First, the B-Cell tries to fit the 2” ball to determine if the surface it bumped into is human. If the 2” ball fits, the B-Cell lets the owner of the surface go on its merry way.

If any of the other balls or hooks fit, the B-Cell tractors it to a lymph node. There, the B-Cell communicates the size ball that worked and directs the lymph node to start manufacturing Roombas with the appropriate size ball and a grenade. Several lymph node cells are activated and they make a few Roombas (antibodies) and then settle back to await further developments.

At that point, a small factory has been set up and proven. The tooling is ready but there is no point in running "the factory" if no more of that particular invaders show up.

The leaders of Capiche made a strategic decision. They decided to offer the vaccine to anybody who wished to receive it. It was to be given with no warrants or guarantees.

They also decided to give the vaccine to half of the fighters who were guarding Capiche and the Buffer-Zone. If they showed no adverse reaction after the second dose, then the other half would also receive the vaccine.

Based on what Sally Straeder had remembered, the vaccines were to be administered on two-to-four week intervals until an immune response was detected. The immune response most likely to be detected was the lymph nodes below the jaw becoming hard and perhaps painful.

The leaders opted for the two-week schedule as long as very few adverse reactions were noted and Dr Wilder had vaccine available.

The first dose would build "the factory" and set up the tooling. The second and later doses were to trick "the factory" into cranking out massive amounts of antibodies that would Roomba-kaboomba the Ebola virus.

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

What authors are you reading now?

We live in crazy times.

One way to deal with the STOOPID is to go back and read authors whose work can be relied upon to give us enjoyment.

This is more than sticking our heads in the sand. By depriving the hooligans of their fifteen minutes of fame we are taking the oxygen out of the room.

I will get the ball rolling.

I thought W.E.B. Griffin's book "The Lieutenants" was one of the finest pieces of fiction ever written. The later books in the series were also superb.

I like the books John Ringo wrote. The ones he wrote without a co-author seem to be better than the others.

Rolf Nelson's Heretics of St Possenti is superb and I wish he would expand the franchise.

Marco Kloos's Palladium War series is a cut above average.

Jim Curtis's Rimworld is a fun series. The characters seem less constrained than some of his other work (also good stuff).

The earlier books of the Monster Hunters International series by Larry Correia were a joy to read. A common thread in a "franchise" is that later books seem more forced while earlier books seem more free-flow as we discover the rules of the new universe. It is presumptuous of me to critique an author who is 10X the writer I am but it is the realities of writing a series that goes beyond three books.

The books that Tom Clancy wrote (without co-authors) are very, very good.

I will even admit to reading a romance novel or two in my life. The Chicago Stars books by Susan Elizabeth Philips were richly layered and elaborately constructed confections. Later books were churned out at six month intervals as her editors put the spurs to her.

Debbie Macomber had a short series where the angels "Shirley", "Goodness" and "Mercy" would come to earth around Christmas and cause chaos and romance. They were good, goofy fun.

Expand my horizons. What are you ladies and gentlemen reading?


Sanctuary, as it applies to pest control in the garden, is a strategy to ensure that a large percentage of the pest population remains naive to your pesticides or control methods of choice.

For example, suppose you use the popular pesticide Sevin (Carbaryl) to control Colorado Potato Beetles.

Sevin, when it works, works very, very well. But Colorado Potato Beetles rapidly develop resistance to it.

"Sanctuary" involves deliberately not spraying some heavily infested potato plants when you are spraying your garden.

"WHAT!" you exclaim. "Won't they just lay eggs and you will be faced with a second generation?"

True enough. But it will be a second generation that is naive to Sevin.

It is better to let 95% of the beetles that survive to reproduce to be not-resistant rather than to have 100% of the beetles that survive to reproduce to have some, qualitative resistance to Sevin.

As long as the genes that produce resistance are recessive or incur significant metabolic disadvantages, it is unlikely that most of the beetles will manifest resistance to Sevin.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
"Sanctuary" is  very different mind-set than the "Farm as pretty as a calendar cover" goal. It is also different than what Ag Chemical companies promoted until very recently.

They wanted to sell a lot of product. They wanted you to carpet-bomb your crops and farm animals.

But now the thinking is shifting. If you have a herd of cattle, for instance, and only 20% of them have clinical symptoms of worms, then treat the 20% and then cull them when you have a market for them.

There are genetic components to resistance to worms within farm animals. Keep and breed the ones that exhibit resistance. Sell the others.

The ones without symptoms will still have a worm load. They will still drop viable eggs on the pasture. But it is within the bounds of what the dynamic ecosystem can absorb.

The risk of carpet-bombing with an worming medicine is that you will eventually encounter a stressful year when even your animals that are not predisposed to worms get symptoms. It might be the year when it rains every day for two months strait.

If you carpet-bombed the previous fifteen years, then your medicine of choice will not be very effective. You will lose animals. You will lose money.

If you exercised some kind of sanctuary strategy, then your worming medicine of choice will likely work very well.

Potato bugs
Tomorrow I will spray my potato plants. I have a ten year-old bottle of Sevin of dubious potency. I will skip three infested plants per row.

I also have issues with Japanese Beetles in the grapes. Japanese Beetles love grapes. Sanctuary is easier with Japanese Beetles because there are so many wild species they eat that are never sprayed. There is no shortage of naive beetles diluting resistant genes.

She should ask for her money back

"caucasity"? Really?
She should ask for her tuition back. Clearly, she learned nothing.

Threatening to stab "anyone" on social media is strong evidence of premeditation. Stabbing people often results in their death.

She lists in New Haven, Connecticut as her city of residence. Connecticut was the first state to implement a "Red Flag Law" in 1999.

I think this unstable person needs a visit from the New Haven SWAT team and her firearms, knives, screwdrivers, nail file, pens and pencils, keys, tire iron in her vehicle need to be removed.

Just saying, she is EXACTLY the kind of person Connecticut wrote their law to protect productive, tax-paying Connecticuttians from.


The prima dona who threatened to cut anybody who said "All Lives Matter" within her hearing had her job offer from Delloitte rescinded. 

Par for course, she blames the management of Delloitte. It has nothing to do, in her mind, with protecting other employees from somebody who publicly threatens carnage.

Good move Delloitte. You did the right thing. Much easier to jerk the job offer now than after she has worked a year or five years. No telling how many executives she would have stabbed because she imagined some slight or how many law suites she would have filed or how many Tic-Toc videos assassinating your corporate character.

Grab bag

The image that won the Internet for today. I stole it from Dad's Deadpool Blog. It is a must-read site and a great way to start the day.


Proof God loves me.

Maybe this cold isn't all "downside".

Revenge? Really?
More proof that the world lost its collective mind.

An opinion editor at a major, national newspaper informed white women they were "lucky" that Blacks were not extracting revenge for...two items that happened before most of them were born for Trump.

My guess is that she (the editor) is just another ding-bat who lost her collective mind over the collective excitement and trying to be relevant in the collective insanity.

What a buffoon! If she opens the door for one side extracting "revenge" for voting for a candidate they don't like, doesn't tit-for-tat indicate that the other side will return the favor? Thankfully, cooler heads prevailed, but I bet she still has her cushy job.

Bernard's Law of Half-wits applies. CI=(1/2)^n where CI is the Collective Intelligence and n is the number of half-wits.

We have a den of foxes on the property. I saw the cubs playing when the grass was soaked with dew. I guess they don't like wet feet. They were up, out of the ground clutter where I could see them. I counted three cubs but there may be more.

I consider this grand, good fortune. I might have a different opinion if I was raising hens. The fox will thin out the rabbit and chipmunk population. Hopefully, there will be fewer ticks next year.

Pretty animals. These seem to have shorter legs and longer bodies than I remember but maybe it is due to their youth.

Road trip to Flint today
Belladonna has to go to Flint to pick up a lab experiment from her instructor. This is the class she is taking from Kirtland Community College. KCC is based in Grayling with campuses in Roscommon and Gaylord. Flint is much closer than any of those cities but I think I would rather drive to Roscommon than Flint.

Maybe I can find a sporting goods store to swing by. I will run out of H-110 in a few days. I have Alliant 2400 which is a fine propellant but I don't want two different loads that look physically the same but shoot to two different points-of-impact.

I am a rich man when I can feel pity for a billionaire.

I feel sorry for the guy. It never occurred to him that the crowd would turn on him. He is the only guy in Silicon Valley that showed any backbone when it came to censoring hate-speech.

Sure, there was some censoring on Facebook and the execution was crap. Maybe that is why Mr Zuckerberg resisted. He knows that human intervention is fallible...and expensive.

I believe that if Mr Zuckerberg wanted to drink an adult beverage with me, that I would not spit in his face. Not an opinion I share regarding most of our would-be masters.

What is the attraction of the words "horrid" and "wonderous"?

Is something more repulsive if it is "horrid" rather than "horrible"?

Is something more awe-inspiring if it is "wonderous" rather than "wonderful"?

I am open to suggestions. Maybe I have been using "wonderful" and "horrible" wrong. Perhaps "horrid" and "wonderous" are the preferred forms when modifying verbs or some such. If I have been in error, please let me know.

Quest: Pencil Whipping

Gilmour Hendry had his ass-in-a-crack, big time.

Gilmour was smooth-talking, urbane and handsome. He was also adverse to hard work.

He had been given a daily progress check-sheet to fill out. Rather than checking every item, he foisted it off on one of the crackers with grease beneath his fingernails, some joker named Thibodeaux.

Thibodeaux tried to tell Hendry that he was not a cracker but a coon-ass, but Hendry gave him discipline for making a racial slur and still made him fill out the check-sheet.

How could anybody use the word “coon” in the two-thousands was beyond Hendry’s ability to understand.

Thibodeaux filled out the check-sheet. He checked everything as “On-Target”.

Hendry signed and dated it and turned it in. He didn’t give it a second thought.

Hendry’s supervisor was delighted. The project had been seriously behind but now was back on track. Clearly, the "wrong kind of people" had been in charge but that had been fixed.

Hendry’s supervisor was supposed to perform two reviews a week where she verified Hendry’s reviews, but since the reviews were back-on-track she decided to pencil whip the reviews and use the time to catch up on her other paperwork.

The supervisor’s boss was Gretchen Wokes-Cold. She had absolute confidence in her hand-picked underlings and skipped her weekly review. She signed off that everything was on track.

Except it wasn’t.

Wokes-Cold had pushed the rapid bridge deployment into the master requirements and therein lay the problem.

Repeated attempts had proven that the bridge design was exquisitely sensitive to variation in the four points of contact. The points had to be absolutely level and in-a-plane. Any variation resulted in the stabilizing spars matchboxing, the sections collapsing and the bridge dropping into the drink with the load.

The fix had been to install hydraulic levelers on the far end. Shortly before touch-down, laser measurements were taken to the surface, the levelers extended to proper distance and the last few feet of unfolding completed.

Wokes-Cold’s now-official requirement was that the bridge unfold and deploy in less than sixty seconds. With the hydraulic levelers the bridge took over ten minutes to first off-load from the top of the ladder truck and then open up like a step-ladder until the two “legs” were horizontal and locked.

The hydraulic pump and the vast amounts of hydraulic fluid were the limiting factors.

The shit hit the fan when Hendry’s boss showed up to perform her first bi-weekly review after missing two weeks. It was clear from Hendry’s ineptitude that it was the first time he had ever performed the audit.

Hendry’s boss gave him a public ass-chewing. She was livid. Not only was Hendry’s career on the line, so was Hendry’s boss's.

Hendry was beside himself. He knew that Wokes-Cold would cheerfully eviscerate him. He heard what happened to to Karl Mankey. Gilmour was not a mud and mosquitoes kind of guy. He liked his comforts. He liked the pretty ladies. He liked staying alive.

He did the only thing that made sense to him. That crakka-ass, Thibodeaux got him into this problem. The crakka-ass would get him out.

Thibodeaux was thoughtfully savoring a cigar on the sunny side of the maintenance barn when Hendry found him. Cigars were forbidden in Washtenaw County. Hendry pretended to not see it.

The best defense is a strong offense. Hendry said “You fucked up. You said the program was on-track. You got all of managment’s tit in a wringer.”

Thibodeaux worked the cigar around to the other side of his mouth, pulled in a mouthful of smoke, savored it for a few seconds and expelled it. The dense cloud came very close to Hendry’s face. Deep in Hendry’s subconscious, a note was written, “Some forms of intimidation are ill-advised when the subject is smoking a cigar.”

“Wahl, you gimme dat piece o paper and tell me to fill it out. I be done with all the items on MY daily list. So that be what I done fill out on the paper” Thibodeaux drawled.

Hendry never knew if Thibodeaux was playing him with the hokey eBonics or not. Hendry decided to let it pass.

“The bridge has to unfold faster” Hendry demanded.

“You mean like NASCAR faster?” Thibodeaux asked.

“Hell ya” Hendry said. That was it. He just had to speak a language this dumb-ass could understand.

Thibodeaux suddenly looked downcast. “You know, winning NASCAR teams bend the rules.”

“Making that bridge unfold faster, we might have to shave a little bit here-and-there on the rules” Thibodeaux said.

Hendry was not a poker player. The relief lit up his face.

“Do what you have to do. Just don’t put anything in writing” Hendry said.

Thibodeaux already had a plan. The specifications required that the bridge could be pulled up and redeployed elsewhere. All of the hydraulics were sized to lift the “cheerleader doing the splits” off the floor and back onto the truck.

The fix was to run a cable from the top of the cheerleader, across a pulley on a gin-pole on the ladder truck and thence to a drum===>then a transmission===>then a viscous coupler. Gravity pulled the cheerleader into the split. The viscous coupler slowed it down. A gang of brakes stopped the bridge just before it touched down on the other side so the heights could be measured and the levelers deployed.

Furthermore, Thibodeaux removed lots of extra weight. He removed the mechanical locking system for the levelers. The spool valve would keep the hydraulic levelers in position long enough for the brass to approve the design.

The buy-off by the Brass involved painting a broad, blue stripe across the pavement to represent the West Branch of the Red Cedar River.

The ladder truck screeched to a halt just short of the river, the inertia of the sudden stop assisting the four-bar linkage that transferred the bridge from the top of the truck to the vertical, folded-step-ladder position.

Thirty-seven seconds after the truck came to a quivering stop, the bridge was down and locked.

A fork truck that had been pre-staged gently placed a load in the center of the span, validating its structural integrity.

Wokes-Cold was promoted. An order was placed for 12 copies of the prototype.

None of the brass was around when four fork-trucks were required to fold up the bridge and place it back on the ladder truck.

Two of the fork-trucks lifted on the center of the span while two more pushed from the far end. Notably, all four trucks had to drive across the blue paint at some point in the evolution.

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Catholic Priest calls out Marxists shills du jour

Link rather than embedded video to ensure you don't have to slog through the first 20 minutes of the video. Sermon runs eleven minutes.

This priest is based in St. Louis, Missouri where the BLM mob is trying to pull down the statue of St. Louis.

The only parts that will cause non-Catholics a bit of distress is when he talks about Mary for about thirty seconds. Other than that, it is fast-balls down the center of the strike-zone, Biblically speaking.

"A man cannot serve two masters. The time to choose is now. And if you choose God, be aware that the world will hate you because the world hates God."

As an editorial aside, I see that the Marxist shills hate physics and kinetic energy...also created by God.

All Lives Matter

It is funny. I can't remember that happening, either.

All Lives Matter.

Quest: Cast of characters

The Salazar clan
Rick: Patriarch of the Salazar clan. First to recognize Ebola was coming. Thoughtful, considerate, generally easy-going. One of the unofficial elders of Capiche
Kate: Rick's wife. She started a general store that was the nucleus that Capiche crystallized around.
Gabby: Rick and Kate's oldest daughter. Can be bossy. Runs Gabby's Pub
Luke: Rick and Kate's oldest son. Runs a store four miles north of Kate's
Mark: Rick and Kate's youngest son. Married to Betsy. Almost did not make it to Capiche
Janelle: Adopted daughter. Brilliant in the shop and fabricating metal items. Married to Chernovsky
Nyssa: Adopted daughter. Married to Milo. Nyssa is a nurse. Milo is the biggest owner of bio-fuel powered equipment.
Milo Talon: Married to Nyssa. Installed sea-walls before Ebola. Repaired farm-equipment. Excellent in-field repair skills. Learned about gassifiers from an old, Polish farmer near Buchanan, Michigan. Now owns a fleet of vehicles and tractors that run on trash, wood and crop-waste. Deceptively strong for his size.

The warriors
Chernovsky: Former four-season starting linebacker at a Division II university. Was able to apply lessons from the football field to the small-scale battlefields at the beginning of the Ebola epidemic. One of the unofficial elders of Capiche.
Gimp: Walks with a limp. High-end NCO. Good counterbalance for Chernovsky.
Quinn: Bow-hunter who showed a gift for battle. Caught several times in circumstances that should have been fatal but was able to land on his foot each time. Married to Dysen, Kate's niece.
Tomanica: Marine NCO. Very good at instruction. Specialties include shooting and demo and leadership. In his late 60s.
Pep: Mike has a long, Italian last name. Everybody calls him "Pep" or "Pepperoni". Was instrumental in convincing Duckworth to leave the original group of fighters. Noted bar-room brawler before Ebola.
John Galt: Was originally conflicted about need for using violence. Then he watched his squad-leader get killed because Galt was too slow to pick up a gun and start shooting. No longer conflicted.
Donnie Galligan: Was the other team-leader in Quinn's squad. Swiss Army knife skill set. Good runner. Was given jobs that were difficult to categorize. Liaisoned with the Amish. Grew up poor.
Sheila Galt: John Galt's mother. Ran the immigration station that blocked the main road from Delta Township to Capiche. A more mature version of Gabby Salazar: Organized, directive, results oriented.
Wohlfert: Was a mis-fit from the fighters picked up from Livingston County. Acquitted himself well when they defected.
Walt Shaw: Accompanied the Straeders to Iowa. Was commissioned to collect mud.
Wade Hawk: A hard, old man. Shot his own nephew for running drugs and breaking curfew. Not a man to trifle with.
Tory Hawk: Wade's niece. Learning to fly a Zenith 701 airplane with Dot. 16 years-old.

Benicio: Warlord of Delta Township and Lansing, the heavily populated regions north of Capiche. Once an enemy, currently an ally. Capricious and unpredictable. Capable of great evil without remorse but also capable of great good. An example of "amoral". It is all about business. Rick Salazar is Capiche's primary contact with Benicio.
Bicklebaugh: Warlord of Ann Arbor/Washtenaw County. Keeps a low profile and works through others. Evil rather than amoral.

Miscellaneous characters
Dmitri: Romanian who holds an advanced degree in Radio Engineering from a university in Romania. Not recognized in US. Worked as an IBEW electrician. Rick Salazar's buddy.
Bazylewicz: A gifted family who lives in a compound in Huntington, Indiana near the rising-from-the-ashes Canton, Ohio -to- Osceola, Iowa railroad.
Wilder: A gifted family who joined Capiche after the first wave of Ebola abated. The Wilder family is wealthy in land and silver. Mrs (Dr.) Samantha Wilder is a Ph.D. microbiologist who had been working on an Ebola vaccine. Friends with Dr. Soo Hwan-Bae of Iowa who had developed a successful, but untested, vaccine in Iowa. John Wilder envisions a vast empire of sheep/wool/cloth and garments. John has a BA in History and an MBA in Business Statistics. John is one of the unofficial elders of Capiche.
Moe Pockets: Manages the Wilder Family Farms. Originally from New Zealand. Particularly gifted at Management Intensive Grazing and animal breeding.
Ozzie and Charise Virgil: Industrial chemists. Get-it-done personalities. Graduated from universities in South Carolina with zero name-recognition. Left with sound grasp of fundamentals and outstanding work ethic.
Straeder: A young couple who traveled to Iowa to collect the vaccine. They learned much about themselves on the road trip.
Wokes-Cold: A political officer in the Ann Arbor/Washtenaw army. Roll every grasping, venal, ambitious, sub-mediocre bureaucrat you ever met into a ball, multiply by ten. That is Wokes-Cold.
Thibodeaux: a Cajun who respected the competent officer that Wokes-Cold demoted because he was not a "Yes man".
Grandpa Ed and Peppermint Candy: Radio personalities from the very earliest days of the Ebola epidemic. Kate sponsored their shows. Grandpa Ed led off his broadcasts talking about "the tipple-of-the-day"
Paul Seraph: Retired big-city cop. High-energy. Knows everything and everybody in Eaton Rapids, the small city south of Capiche.

Who did I miss?

Stimuli-response calibration curves

Let's postulate that there are three kinds of people in the world:

  • Normal people
  • Bone-heads
  • Neurotics

Normal people
 If normal people were a breed of dog it would probably be a Labrador Retriever.

Blue line is "Perfect calibration" where every stimuli was met with a perfectly proportional response. Red line is how most normal people respond.
The stimuli axis is horizontal. Stimuli is the input. The response axis is vertical. Response is the output.

The key feature of this input-output chart is the modest "dead-zone" immediately adjacent to the intersection of the two axis. That is, for small stimuli, a normal person does exactly nothing.

The reasons are obvious. We are swimming in a sea of stimuli. Filtering is a necessity and one way to filter is to not respond to the small stuff.

There are a couple of other interesting things about this calibration curve. For one thing it automatically re-zeros. Suppose you get a crappy boss. That becomes your new normal.

When you combine the dead-zone and the re-zeroing you get something that looks like a hysteresis loop. Hysteresis loops are inherently energy dissipating. Like the butyl rubber on the post driver, hysteresis loops tend to diminish oscillations and calm things down.


Boneheads are similar to normal people but they have a much, much larger dead-zone around the intersection of the two axis.

If boneheads were a breed of dog it would be a beagle while on the hot trail of a bunny.

Dealing with boneheads first requires that you correctly identify the other person as a bonehead. Then, you must rapidly amplify the stimuli until you get the desired response.

Boneheads have a hyper-developed auto-zeroing function. If you turn up the amplification slowly, the bonehead will recalibrate just as quickly and tune you out.

Like the training manual for the mule tells us, "First, you have to get his attention."

Neurotic people

Neurotic people are an entirely different species than normal people and run-of-the-row boneheads.

If they were a dog they would be an in-bred, puppy-mill poodle.

Triggered, dontcha know.
Neurotic people do not have a dead-zone around the zero. They respond to EVERY Facebook post, every Tweet. They are congenitally incapable of ignoring anything.

However, exhaustion sets in and they cannot sustain that degree of response, so their response curve droops. Increasing stimuli results in LESS response, not proportionately more response.

That creates a quirky response curve where two (or more) very different stimuli elicit the same response.  Even more crazy-making, where a very large stimuli produces a much smaller response than the neurotic person's response over a stimuli that a normal person would have ignored. Witness the response BLM has to the weekly shootings in South Chicago. Typical neurotic behaviors.
"All Lives Matter", for example

All evidence points to neurotic people being temporarily in charge. Consumed with rage and fury over garage doors in Alabama and Facebook not being neurotic enough, they will soon drive themselves and the Nation into exhaustion. Soon, the Social Justice Warriors will be collapsing into the fetal position and going on a month long crying jag. Pray that they are not piloting your plane when this happens.

The next six months are going to feel like six years. Also a typical of living with neurotic people.

Quest: Unexpected allies

“We are getting played by Ann Arbor” Rick Salazar shared with Benicio.

“Then we better get in the game” Benicio said. “I have a plan to take Ann Arbor’s mind off of us but I need your help.”

It was rare that Benicio asked for help.

Benicio’s reach extended from Lake Michigan to the Detroit River. While he didn’t control all that area, he had eyes-and-ears on the ground and he had freelancers who were willing to do Benicio’s bidding...for a price.

Benicio’s idea was to strike from the east while Ann Arbor’s eyes were looking west.

It took several days to pull together the packages Benicio asked for.

Peppermint Candy was a radio personality who broadcast out of Capiche. She had no interest in participating in the effort.

Grampa Ed was all in. He served in the Air Force in the 1960s and had very favorable memories of Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty. He was HONORED that he was asked to participate.

His voice was noticably scratchy after nearly two days of recording but it was still Grampa Ed’s distinctive voice.

It took a week for the packages to find their way east.

FM antennas are short and easy to install. 100 Watt solar panels were available to anybody with enough silver to pay for them. Benicio sent more than enough money.

Transmitters were mounted atop industrial buildings along the Detroit River from St Clair Shores-to-Toledo.

The solar panels were flat mounted to the top of the AC units where they would not be visible to casual observers. Since they were solar powered, the transmissions started in early morning and ended in late afternoon.

The transmitters had a ten mile range so the transmissions were not heard in Ann Arbor but every survivor within fifteen miles of the Detroit River or the west end of Lake Erie were pummeled daily. All told, 1000 square miles of Michigan and northern Ohio were within the transmission envelop.

And the listeners fell over themselves tuning in. There was nothing else like it being broadcast. It was a fresh breeze and bright ray of sunshine in a grim and brutal world. It was a compilation of Grampa Ed and Peppermint Patty's broadcast career.

The programming was in shuffle mode. Ads were interspersed between the programming. Ed’s most recent contribution was to announce that the transmissions were from notable Ann Arbor landmarks like sports stadiums, hospitals and museums.

Several times each day the listeners were treated with the weekly food-allotments that were issued to the residents of Ann Arbor. Listeners deduced that the allotment changed on a weekly basis.

The announcer told listeners that THIS week’s allotment was:

-Two eggs a day
-Six ounces of meat a day. (Sorry that the fried chicken fingers were not available this week but bacon was now back in stock)
-Two ounces of cheese
-A 12 ounce loaf of bread a day
-And children were allotted 32 ounces of skim milk a day
-Two servings of fruit a day

“And as a reminder, if you get a job you can buy food up-grades. The quantities listed are the foundational allotment given to every person residing within Ann Arbor city limits.”

Other ads were for companies looking for people to drive vehicles.

The biggest need for drivers was for tanker trucks. According to the ads, the bright-boys at the University Engineering School had rewired the nuclear reactor to produce gasoline and the plant was producing fuel faster than it could be trucked away. The wages that were advertised were astronomical, a whopping ounce of silver an hour with two ounces an hour if the driver worked over six hours a day.

For the thousands of people slowly starving to death, whose last meat had been a pigeon they had trapped and shared with their family, the idea of six ounces of meat was irresistable.

Given the fragility of the people’s health and the deplorable condition of the roads, it would be one or two weeks before they made it to Ann Arbor and could start claiming their entitlements. But many of the survivors from Detroit pulled up stakes and started their pilgrimage the second day of transmissions.

Monday, June 29, 2020

Geofence: Pro-tip

Geofence ad

Michigan is a large state. 1-906-774-2559 is in Iron Mountain, about 8 hours from Detroit. That is $8k for a single round-trip at $500 an hour for travel time.

Public Service Announcement for demonstrators heading to Detroit

We have been informed that the Justice Department erected geofences across I-75 at the Ohio-Michigan border to identify demonstrators who come across state borders to demonstrate for racial equality.

Our sources tell us that the geofence can be defeated if demonstrators have somebody hand-carry smartphones across the Ohio-Michigan line and you pick them up on the other side.

Remember, you cannot be tried in Federal court if they cannot prove you came from out-of-state. Whitmer and Nassel are on our side and won't prosecute.

Geofencing and messages for rioters

Have you ever been walking down the street on a hot afternoon and were minding your own business?

Perhaps you look at your phone and you see an add for iced coffee, complete with a coupon.

Looking up, you see that very franchise not thirty paces in front of you.

What. A. Coincidence.


Geofencing uses your phone location to send very targeted messages to your phone.

In this case, the advertiser put up a "fence" on a busy street within line-of-sight of the enterprise he was paid to provide advertising for. The coupon code the customer uses to get $1 off his $6 iced coffee is keyed to the fact that that the geofence routed the customer into the shop.

Geofences can be turned on-and-off. The fence can be turned off when the coffee shop is normally busy and turned on during slow times.

It suggests all kind of potential for mischief to mess with rioter's minds. Examples to follow.

Do you remember the Mountain Dew commercials from the 1980s?

Great commercials

Back when commercials radiated fun and youth.

Summer colds

The ERJ family has a summer cold sweeping through our ranks.

We are off the rotation for Mom-care.

Kubota was the first to have symptoms, suggesting he is the one who brought it home. Then Belladonna and trailing Bella by one day, Mrs ERJ.

I have a scratchy throat so I am not far behind Mrs ERJ.

One of my family members (henceforth MFM) is reacting emotionally. She wants us to all get tested for Covid. I don't think she has thought this through. The picture in her head is that all the caregivers who followed our Friday shift should not care for mom until after they get tested.

She is attributing "testing" with magical qualities. One negative test a couple days after exposure tells you nothing.

And what would she have us do? Take half of the roster of care-givers and put them on the bench? Is she going to take the slots that are no longer covered? There are 168 hours in a week. Does MFM have 84 hours available to care for Mom?

MFM (a big proponent of women's rights) called me up and told me to take Mrs ERJ to the hospital and get her tested.

The humor of the situation did not escape me. I suggested that MFM call up Mrs ERJ directly. As a general rule, I don't order Mrs ERJ around. She is an adult.

Mrs ERJ is a peace-maker. She agreed to get tested for Covid.

Reality check
Us getting the cold was a reality check.

We relaxed. Belladonna had been taking off her work clothes in the basement and immediately throwing them in the washing machine.

Kubota had not been going out and carousing with his buddies.

Mrs ERJ and I had not been going to stores.

I had been taking all mail and packages and "gassing them" with ozone in the truck cap.

All that changed. We had relaxed. Obviously, we relaxed too much.

Quest: A game as old as time

Prostitution, as the institution is commonly visualized by modern, western culture, did not exist in Capiche proper.

Oh, there were sexual favors offered but it did not look like scantily clad hookers displaying their wares on the street corner.

From the man’s standpoint, it was a buyer’s market. Ebola hit men harder than women. Post-Ebola had men putting themselves in harm’s way and suffering higher mortality as a result.

The loss of the grid had more impact on women then men. Suddenly, gasoline and electric motors were no longer available to do the chores that required brute strength and stamina. Once again, there was a high premium placed on men since men typically have 40% more "strength" than women and, thanks to testosterone, gain additional strength more quickly.

Consequently, the “market” was upside-down. There were far more un-partnered women than men without a partner.

People, being people, would sometimes encounter windfalls. Perhaps a fisherman caught more fish than he could eat, or perhaps a hunter had more rabbits in his snares than he had need of.

It would only be natural if a single man were to offer the excess to a woman who had caught his eye.

The woman, having no other good way to obtain luxury items like meat in the winter (other than killing her laying hens) would be grateful. You would have to be a fool to not realize that the best way to stay in the fore-front of a gift-giver’s mind is to offer a tangible sign of gratitude. It could be a home-cooked meal. It could be an offer to launder his clothing or a hot bath. It could be the joys of sharing a bed with a young woman with a need for physical affection.

Few women are fools. Often, the offer of gratitude included all of the above.

Sometimes the young man was not so young. Sometimes the man already had a partner, in which case the woman let the man know that if he had need of solace because his partner could not, or would not, meet his needs, then he need look no farther than her doorstep to have those needs met. Nothing over-the-top. A smile, a nod and a sigh were enough.

Things were not much different in cities. There were more women than men. An un-partnered mother with a couple of young children was in a desperate situation. There were many such women. Daily life was a constant struggle. A mother could not sleep all day and hook all night. The realities of life did not allow it.

Some women, driven by dire circumstances did try to “hook” to make ends meet. It was a desperate effort to avoid tumbling into the abyss. It rarely worked. Nothing wilts a fading flower more quickly than prostitution. And in an environment where consensual sex (for the men) was free-for-the-asking, paid-for sex usually involved something unpleasant.

Benicio had his fingers in a multitude of enterprises. There was not enough profit margin in common prostitution to interest him.

However, there was a market he did supply. There were some very powerful, very rich men (though not as rich and powerful as Benicio) whose kinks were VERY damaging to the capital equipment. Word gets around. These men could not find local whores to scratch their itch. That is where Benicio came in.

More often that was savory, Benicio found himself in possession of somebody who had volunteered to become expendable. Man, woman, whoever. The unfortunate person had repeatedly violated the norms of civilized behavior or simply pissed off the wrong person.

Benicio did not have a prison. Prisons cost money. But Benicio did have a way to ensure the problem-person was taken off the street.

As the broker, Benicio was paid a handsome stipend for every servant he indentured with the powerful men who never refused to take one. After that, Benicio had no more contact with the servant. That was outside his interest.

The one place where there was a vast, over-abundance of unattached men was the Buffer-Zone.

This fact was not lost on the unattached women in Capiche and other, nearby regions.

The fighters were given leave. The leave structure of the defense force was for each zone to release a fire-team a day. The squads were composed of two fire-teams and the squad was still functional at half-force. Since the majority of zones contained five squads, most fighters received a day off every ten days.

The fire-team was released with the expectation they would look after each other and all five men would come back renewed and refreshed at 4:00 PM the next afternoon.

The women were ready and waiting.

For moral support, a gaggle of young women would leave their homes. They traveled together to the Buffer-Zone.

Under austere conditions, women have few illusions. Women with children and no partner have no illusions.

The fighters were all healthy and physically fit.

The women watched the body language within the fire-team. It rarely took more than thirty seconds for the women to make their picks and home-in on their chosen target.

The men rarely knew what hit them.

By 4:00 PM the next afternoon, the men were famished and exhausted by 24 hours of mind-bending sex and they were eagerly were looking forward to their next leave when their new girlfriends promised to be waiting for them.

The women saw no reason to go into details about their exact age or whether they were encumbered by children. This was the big juicy worm. If things worked out, then there would be plenty of time to introduce Stud to the kids.

If anything, the ladies with the children were even more uninhibited with their new boyfriends than the ladies who had less baggage. They knew that the mystery of a young male's psyche is that there is no mystery. Make him a sandwich and show him a new position. The young mothers were not going to fail because they stopped at half-way measures

The leaves were a vacation for the women as much as the men. They left the kids with their mother, or sister or understanding neighbor. It was a trip to fantasy land for them, too.

The women were very excited about the possibility of “their” boyfriend getting a homestead.

After learning of the possibility, they scouted their boyfriend’s zone and picked out three properties they would be happy to have their boyfriend select. Not surprisingly, the girls picked out properties near the ones their girlfriends picked out.

Most of the women were eminently practical. They knew how much firewood was required to heat a 3200 square-foot house. They knew how much up-keep it demanded. They made their selection based on practical considerations: Elevation, proximity to firewood, condition of outbuildings, the fertility of the forty acres. They favored 1200 square-foot, ranch-style houses that were nested in a pocket behind a hill.

The story they pitched to their boyfriends was that if he picked one of the three houses, they could have a full seven days of sex and not waste one of them looking for a house.

It was a compelling proposition.

Sunday, June 28, 2020

Captain Clay Higgins, Lafayette, Louisiana

Pro-tip,  don't screw with cops from Louisiana.

Report on T-post driver

I wimped out and simply took video of the testing. No analysis.

Fourteen second video. Driver still ringing after eleven seconds. The sound is very bright, very loud.

Eleven second video. Damping applied to outside. Damping is 2mm of butyl rubber, a material known for energy dissipation and it is held on with radiator clamps. Three bands were installed. One at the opening (bottom in the being-used position), and one each next to where the handles are welded to the body of the driver.

The handles are involved in many of the modes. I know this because I can change the sound characteristics of the ringing by how tightly I grip the handles when driving posts. I suspect the handles are beating like butterfly wings in that mode and "pumping" the sides of the driver. That is why I chose the positions I did.

The most common source of butyl rubber is bicycle inner tube. Each layer is about 1.0mm thick.

This option worked better than I expected.

Runner-up: T-post driver with a 1.25", two-pound steel weight added to the impact surface. The weight and the driver are separated with a 3mm butyl piece.

This did not work as well as I thought it should but did slightly better than the exterior damping.

The steel weight came from This Supplier. The butyl pad was made by gluing layers of inner tube together. 

While the over-all reduction was pronounced, the driver continued to ring after the impact. Touching the handles damped out the ring so it was clearly a handle mode.

Overall winner: T-post driver with 2 pounds of lead shot and oil added. In the interest of expediency, I did not weld on a cap. I turned the driver upside-down (from being-used position) and poured two pounds of #8 lead shot into the driver. Then, I impacted the outside of the impact surface.

Two pounds of shot was used because the steel hockey-puck weighed two pounds and I wanted an apples-to-apples comparison.

The experiment was repeated both with and without oil. I didn't notice any difference.

Repeat of the baseline, unmodified post driver.

All three strategies made marked improvements to the sound level and duration.

Apologies for the shaky video and lack of analysis. I wanted to get the monkey off my back before July started.

Water-cannon love

Language is a slippery and imprecise thing. Unfortunately, most of us think in "language". It is how we encapsulate our thoughts and mentally manipulate them. It can take us strange places.

Consider the statement "A parent's primary job is to love their child"

Hardly seems radical, right?

The problem with that bit of boiler-plate is that "love" can be a verb with the vigor of water-cannon or it can be a passive emotion like a cat basking in a sunny window. Our thought processes rarely specify which kind of "love" the advice refers to.

Suppose your child is young....maybe three or four years old. As a traditional parent you would have your child do some minor chore before receiving any treat. First the work, then the paycheck. As the child gets older the chores/responsibilities increase commensurate with the privileges. Those parents raise their children in a way that the transition to "the world" is not a shock.

To more permissive parents, that seems coldly transactional; it does not seem "loving". Those parents are filled with the warm glow of "lovin' feeling" when they sprinkling treats on their child for no overt reason at all. Those parents conflate "I feel the euphoria I associate with love" with "I acted in a loving way that placed the other person's needs above my own".

One child grows up to be industrious, gets good grades, learns useful skills, and earns a good job.

The other child grows up to feeling entitled. He gets passing grades, a diploma that suggests he has skills and he is given a good job. He becomes angry, often times violent, when he is denied what he is sure he is entitled to.

There was a time when the entitled kid's nose ran into the rock of reality. His mommy and daddy lied to him. He was not special. He did not deserve all good things "just because". He was not going to get a raise just because everybody else did.

The rock-of-reality keeps getting pushed back. The brat is humored and mollycoddled. The business reality of carrying deadwood on the payroll is borne by the other employees. The enterprise does not thrive. In our current environment, if the the business is too-big-to-fail it is given protected status. That shifts the cost of failure-to-thrive onto the consumers (poorer choices, higher costs) and taxpayers (more taxes) and savers (debauched currency as money is printed to keep foundering businesses and governments afloat).

Diluting costs does not make them disappear. Bundling risks does not make risks disappear. Rather, bundling not-alike-risks together poisons otherwise sound employees, businesses and governments with that risk. If you are going to get chlamydia anyway, why shouldn't you have the fun as well?

The parents who stunted their child's development have been replaced by the politician who wants to stay in office and the SJW who will never have children but craves the warm-rosy-glow of being a part-time parent with no responsibilities.

What can we do?
Keep parenting in the "Love as a water-cannon" way.

Ever seen seeds push through black-top? It can happen. The crew doesn't scrape away all the top soil. They black-top over seeds or tree roots.

Nature can be temporarily denied but she always wins in the end. It is the nature of humans to grow into adults. Some kids will wake up, perhaps when there are no other productive adults around to paper-over their deficiencies.

They will scramble around looking for better models. We can be that model.

It might be our kids. It might be our grandkids. It might be somebody else's grandkids.

Run your best race. Fight your best fight. Pray that you are never on TV.

Saturday, June 27, 2020

Degree of urbanization is at least as important as masks

Here is an article telling us that wearing masks helps defeat the spread of Covid-19.

As somebody who used data to solve problems for much of my working life, I can tell you that the degree of scatter suggests a very, very weak relationship.

One hopes for a narrow "sausage" cloud of data where one can move along the horizontal axis and accurately predict the vertical value of the observed data.

We see the weakness of the assumed relationship when we look at the data around 55% mask wearing. In Illinios, for instance, every new patient can be expected to only infect 0.8 additional patients which should result in the case load to collapse. On the other hand, Nevada shows 1.5 additional patients for the very same degree of mask-wearing. A difference of almost 2X.

One technique for "finding" other variables is to look for the outliers. According to the "masks save lives" hypotheses Nevada, Texas and Florida are outliers. One would expect them to have lower transmission rates. Another set of outliers in the kitty-corner quadrant are Indiana, Kentucky, Kansas and Iowa. One would expect them to have higher transmission rates.

The numbers in bold, white font are the degree of urbanization of those states.

Nevada is as urbanized as New Jersey which is already on the backside of the first peak.

Suggesting that urban areas inherently present a higher risk for the spread of communicable diseases should surprise nobody.

The upside is that she isn't buying much ammo

Washing machine is not working

Half the size of a postage stamp

I am grumpy this morning.

Our washing machine went Tango Uniform yesterday.

I confronted the suspect and he claimed it washed his clothes just fine, so it could not have been him that broke it.

Mrs ERJ presented a broken piece that she found. It was part of the latch mechanism.

It seems likely somebody was a hurry and opened the lid to the washing machine before it was done spinning. If brute force does not work, they you probably are not using enough of it.

Nanny State Intervention
Appliance companies are eager to appease the eco-terrorists who run the EPA and Energy Department.

They strive to get gold stars and A+ for energy efficiency.

To do that, they load their offerings with sensors. In this case, the high spin speed needed to reduce the energy consumed to dry the clothing necessitates a sensor to ensure the lid is locked.

Of course, hanging clothing on a line outside uses virtually no energy, but all assumptions are for maximal user laziness.
>PA means the part is made of polyamide more commonly known as nylon

A kid yanking up on the lid will snap the nylon locking tab. The electric solenoid has sensors to ensure the tab is engaged.

The washing machine will not run if the tab is broken.


The replacement part is $61 but delivery takes two weeks.

I want to hit my head with a hammer. Totally stupid move by SOMEBODY that broke a part that is unnecessary. There is no work-around short of purchasing a new, fragile part and installing it. The washer will not run even with ZERO spin speed selected.

The universe is conspiring against people smart enough to not open equipment while it is spinning. We end up subsidizing the people who belong in a no-moving-parts, made-of-concrete environment.

Bonus Link
A guide for adhesive bonding various types of plastics.

Friday, June 26, 2020

Thunder and dogs

Storms rolling through tonight.

We need the rain.

Hercules, the fearless defender of Belladonna is terrified by thunder.

He crapped on the living-room carpet. We have one piece of carpet in the house. It is about 12' square. Herc is about 80 pounds and his fecal deposits are proportional to his size. Herc's aim was impeccable. Not a single turd missed the carpet.

Bella cleaned it up. She was not impressed by his aim.

Then Bella had the idea. "Let's give him a 25mg tablet of  diphenhydramine."

Did I mention that Bella is trying to get into an accelerated nursing program?

Eventually, she got the tablet down the quaking dog's gullet. Wrapping it with a warm slice of American, processed cheese-food did the trick.

Herc is sitting beside my recliner as I type. I can hear his rate-of-panting slow.

It is going to be OK.

Fishing is racist

For those of you who have never adopted via the "open adoption" process, one part of the process involves becoming foster parents so you can legally have possession of your child while the court process grinds its fine dust.

Part of becoming a foster parent involves a home study.

Home studies are conducted by Social Workers. Many of the Social Workers who perform home studies for foster care are, themselves, foster parents.

Our first Social Worker was named Mike.

Mike had adopted a child who came to America as a Vietnamese Boat Person. In the chaos of escaping communist Vietnam, his parents had either died, been captured or somehow separated from their child in a permanent kind of way.

The child ended up in Grand Ledge, Michigan.

Mike's point in sharing this was to give us (the couples who were paying for the home study) a concrete example of how deeply hard-wired some behaviors were.

Mike's adopted child was incapable of passing a puddle of water without checking to see if there were fish in it.

If there were fish in the puddle (or pond or creek or lake...), he could not walk away from it without trying to catch them.

To Mike's child, fishing was no more optional than breathing.

Mike had never fished in his life.

To the best of his knowledge, none of Mike's neighbors fished.

Mike may have had a relative or two had gone bass fishing, once.

The passion, the need to fish was somehow embedded in his boy's DNA.

The boy had come from a coastal village in Vietnam where people fished for a living. Mike never told son that fact. He did not need to.

There will always be some things that are beyond our understanding.

Quest: Guilt by Association

The guards supporting the immigration center were bored.

They took turns escorting applicants who had been rejected to the east end of the Bull Fence.

Things had really slowed down after Mrs Galt had a heavily armed crew post signs just west of Fowlerville, some five miles east of the center, listing who would be allowed in.

Do not bother walking to the immigration center if you cannot prove: -You own more than ten acres of property

-You have family we can contact who will vouch for you. If they do not respond by radio in 30 minutes, you will be rejected

-You can prove you have these critical skills (see list below) and are carrying your tools with you

There were some more stipulations and conditions.

The bottom of the sign read

Applicants who are rejected will NOT be given a ride back to Fowlerville. Nor will applicants who are accepted be given a ride deeper into Ingham County.

It did not hurt that the bar that was closest to the immigration center was inhabited by drunks who collected stories of wannabes who had been crushed when the she-dragon that ran the place coldly rejected the applicant’s narrative. Ten miles is a long way to walk, especially when the five miles back to Fowlerville is spiced with a tongue-lashing from the Mrs.

Winos and homeless people will tell you they are faceless. They are less than human in the eyes of most. They are treated with less consideration than furniture. They are inanimate objects with no inherent value.

In many places, soldiers have the same non-human status as winos and the homeless.

That is probably why the applicants did not notice the soldier standing beside the posts that marked the west end of the Bull Fence. He was just one more, anonymous soldier wearing battered, sun-faded outerwear and carrying a weapon with practiced ease.

But the soldier noticed the applicants. Well, that is not accurate. He recognized the puffy-cheeked girl. Somehow, she had acquired a new brother and new parents...middle-Eastern by the look of them.

The girl no longer had blonde ringlets. Her hair was jet-black and straight which didn’t quite jibe with her mossy-brown eyes.

But the cheeks were a dead give away. They reminded the soldier of his sister right after she had her wisdom teeth pulled.

The soldier waited for the applicants to enter the first building before telling his mate something had come up and he needed to disappear for a while. The soldier was a good soldier. He never shirked. His mate figured his buddy had a case of the Johnny-trots and needed to void his bowels. It would not be the first time the grub had been sub-standard and caused a run on the outhouses.

His mate said “Sure. I got this.”

The soldier did not trust the radio. There was no way of knowing who else might be listening.

He hailed a couple more soldiers and hand-over-handed his way to where his commanding officer was.

The commanding officer was the same one who had directed the soldier to “Handle it” the first time the girl and other actors had come to the center. He regretted not handling the situation better.

It is a rare and precious gift when fate gives you a do-over. The commanding officer relished the chance to rectify the situation. He was not going to screw it up this time.

He found Sheila in the main office, a good twenty minutes before the faux-family got to the interview offices. He asked Sheila to handle it personally. He outlined what he wanted and Sheila could not improve upon the plan.


Sheila’s simple changes gutted Ann Arbor’s acquisition of raw footage to use as propaganda.

You can only rerun the same footage a certain number of times before people filter it out. They need “new”. They need “graphic”.

Images of dead bodies had been run on Ann Arbor Cable TV with almost no impact.

Ironically, the dead bodies were exactly where AACTV claimed they were. The bodies were a few foolish people who attempted to circumvent the immigration system and tried to sneak into the Buffer-Zone in the dark-of-night.

As promised, they had been shot.

There was no manpower allocated to disposing of bodies of enemy combatants east of the Buffer-Zone. That is, downwind. The bodies lay beside I-96, well preserved as the temperature oscillated between 20F and 40F.

The citizens of Ann Arbor said “Meh.” Dead bodies were a dime-a-dozen. Most people had seen several. The bodies shown in the propaganda were much tidier than the bodies of Ebola victims. Ebola victims were typically laying in a soup of five gallons of exsanguinated body fluids. Of course, there is not five gallons of blood in a human body, but the exuberant and unrestrained mayhem Ebola wreaked on the human body resulted in massive amounts of other body fluids and cellular contents joining the blood in the massive, slimy, dripping pool of fluids.

The bodies in the propaganda could have easily been in a wax museum for all of the emotional impact they elicited in the viewers.

Bicklebaugh knew he had to step-up his game.

Hence the almost Norman Rockwell family that he sent to the immigration center with the intention of generating horrific footage. He had sent other families and they had failed.

Perhaps “failed” was too strong a word. Each effort had successfully penetrated deeper into the process. Each failure had resulted in Bicklebaugh learning something so the next effort could penetrate deeper.


The girl, “Mona” insisted on wearing some religious jewelry. Since it was on a leather thong rather than a metal chain and because the pendant did not appear to be metal, the clerk handling the in-processing let her keep it.

The pendant dangling from the thong was a ceramic representation of Five Pillars and there was a sapphire gem at the top of the center pillar.

Sheila’s review of the “father’s” critical skills was perfunctory. He claimed to have a Ph.D in plant breeding with experience in cucumbers, turnips and nitrogen fixing crops.

Experience in breeding crops was on the list of desired skills. He had copies of papers he claimed to have co-authored. His identification exactly matched the name of one of the authors. If anything, his ID was just a bit too new to be perfectly believable. That would have triggered a deeper investigation by Sheila any other time.

The “family” was treated with exquisite courtesy. They were ushered into the delousing facility. They were instructed to remove their clothing and to shave all hair off their body (Except their eyebrows and eyelashes. Some immigrants had been a bit too literal in the past). A woman soldier inspected the women before delousing and directed them to be more thorough. The soldier noted that there was no way in hell the girl was 9 as captured in the documentation. A male soldier inspected the men.

After the family was washed and then sprayed with vegetable oil….they were left to soak. Thei clothing was not returned.

After fifteen minutes, the man knocked on the door and asked when their clothing would be returned. Sheila replied that protocol required that they wait 60 minutes for the lice to be smothered.

The video camera behind the sapphire lens captured the events with high fidelity. It captured the events but could not transmit them. It had been hardened against assault by 23 giga-Hertz. The hardening entailed writing all data to storage and then transmitting via a separate device that WAS susceprtible to the assault from the microwave energy.

The windows in the louse smothering shed had very helpfully been left open an inch and the sashes fixed in that position with the hasty application of decking screws left over from the Bull Fence.

Thirty minutes later, the shivering “father” again hammered on the door demanding that his family be given their clothing and that the be let out. The temperature in the shed was down to sixty degrees. He had no way of calibrating for time because they had been relieved of their electronic devices.

Sheila informed him that sixty minutes had not passed.

The “father’ hammered on the door at five minute intervals.

After sixty minutes had passed, Sheila regretfully informed the cold, wet, hairless “family” that their clothing had been misplaced and they would be released as soon as it was found.

That was as close to a lie as Sheila Galt had ever come.

Three hours after the “family” had entered the delousing shed, Freddy, one of Benicio’s Lieutenants arrived to pick up the immigrants.

The hypothermic humans offered no resistance to being loaded into the back of the prison transport van. The only thing they seemed concerned about was that the heater worked.

Freddy looked the new meat over. He didn’t expect the adult male to last more than a day or two.

The two women, by now too cold to ‘act’, radiated radical femme-NAZI hatred. Freddy did not consider that a problem. Freddy knew that Benicio had many clients who had been shit on by femme-NAZI activists. They would pay EXTRA to beat the snarl off their faces. A good businessman always looks to turn the unexpected into revenue generating business.

The younger man...only time would tell if he would survive.

The device that could uniquely communicate with the Five Pillars pendant with the sapphire lens and then transmit the video data to Ann Arbor was tossed in a tub with a hundred other, unclaimed electronic devices and forgotten.