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.


Thursday, June 25, 2020

About that move to defund police

Shutting down the police is a right-wing extremist shorthand. The real goal is to redirect some funding to address issues like mental health, drug addiction and poverty...   -From an email

There is a ton of material in these two sentences to chew on. In the interest of staying focused, let's concentrate on the second sentence.

The rush to main-stream the mentally ill
The mentally ill have been "main-streamed" into society at large. The effort was applauded by both the right and the left.

It was perceived as being exceptionally cost effective to main-stream the mentally ill because mental (emotional) healthcare is both expensive and it is very, very difficult to measure the outcomes.

It was also seen as an outgrowth of the American Disabilities Act. Why would you discriminate against somebody for something they had no control over? They MIGHT surprise everybody and perform swimmingly in society. In fact, many have.

The treatment of the mentally ill has improved greatly but the one constant is that the mentally/emotionally ill person has to want to improve. They have to take their meds. They have to go to counseling. They have to work at controlling themselves all the time.

There are many people who will refuse to take their meds, go to counseling or exert any effort to "regulate" themselves unless there is a constant and real chance they will be tossed in the klink.

Given that utopian mental health care is very expensive compared to tossing somebody in the hoosegow and forcing them to take their meds and attend counseling, the bottom line is that fewer people will be receiving mental health care if a big chunk of the police are vaporized.

Drug addiction
From an outcomes standpoint, how effective are the addiction programs Progressives intend to fund?

When you look at drug addiction issues they start looking a lot like mental health issues. In fact, they look like people with emotional issues self-medicating.

Details? If Progressives have an anti-poverty program that works, one must wonder why they have kept it a secret since Lyndon B. Johnson.

The kid who becomes involved with the cops is almost never the kid quietly coloring in the corner.

Trying to clone suburbia in the inner-city. Sports programs in suburbia run on parent volunteers. As often as not, the fathers of the children in the programs. In the absence of a culture-of-volunteering, sports dies a quick death of not-enough-money.

Modern education is the tar-pit that trapped many of these police involved peoples. It created the culture of victimhood and you-owe-me-dat.

What is the alternative? Teaching declension of nouns and conjugation of verbs to people who speak non-standard English? Teaching vocational skills when rich, suburban high-schools cannot retain instructors?

Behind the smoke screen
Legacy cities are in a budgetary death spiral.

Under-funded public pensions are rapidly turning into unfunded, public pensions. Public employees who retire before age sixty-five typically have some or much of their healthcare insurance premiums paid by the city they retired from, at least until Medicare kicks in.

Larger-and-larger chunks of revenue are absorbed by the under-funded or unfunded pensions. That money is not available for current operations. The police departments are being defunded, not to fund 'social programs' but to paper over the widening gap between revenue and promises made.

The tax-donkeys are flying out of the legacy cities. They see the handwriting on the wall. Why should they pay, pay, pay more taxes for the privilege of being victimized by the gimme-dats?

Property base will tank. Property taxes will plummet. A few super-virtue-signaling corporations like MS and Amazon might say in the municipal tax-base but most businesses without pricing power (read, monopoly) will flee. Income taxes will crater.

The situation that is currently dire will soon become dystopian.

Quest: Property and Immigration

Quinn’s conundrum with releasing fighters to start homesteading was that all indications were that the invasion was imminent. He did not want to be accused of playing favorites and since he couldn’t release everybody to tag a house he didn’t let anybody tag a house.

The other thing that concerned Quinn was the inevitable conflicts that would arise when two or more fighters wanted the same property. He knew it was going to happen. There were some beautiful houses that were available because the previous owners had died or moved away.

From a purely practical standpoint, it would be good to get occupants into the houses. Houses degrade with incredible speed when nobody lives in them. Raccoons take up residence in the houses. Roofs leak. Basements flood.

Dysen’s solution was simple. Hold a lottery every week. Put a hundred numbers in a hat and have every member of the squad except the leader draw a number. The high number won.

The squad member had one day to choose his property and six days to “improve” it, then he returned to his normal squad duties. The two conditions were that the property had to be in the zone his squad was tasked with defending and that the forty acres be square and fall along already platted lines (and not already be claimed by living residents).

If the forty acres around the house had parcels claimed by living residents, then the living residents took priority and the square-forty was less than forty acres.

The next week, everybody except the leader and the previous winners drew numbers. High number wins.

The lottery would be suspended when hostilities started.

The reason the leader was not allowed to enter the lottery is that he needed to be free of the moral hazard of the desire to protect his own property when the invasion came. Quinn's concern was that a squad leader might hesitate to call in an artillery barrage if invaders took shelter in his house. Battles can be lost in fractions of seconds.


Sheila Galt was NOT impressed with the frontier between the Buffer-Zone and Livingston County.

Sheila was notable for two things.
 One:She was Jon Galt’s mother
 Two:Sheila had been the force that had anchored the main “immigration” station between Lansing and Capiche. Her steady hand resulted in the admittance of the Wilder family and a host of other people with needed skills. She had also turned away many who would been a drag on Capiche if they had been allowed to enter.

To say that Sheila Galt was unimpressed with the facilities and procedures the defense force had for processing immigrants was a gross understatement.

Quinn gave her a blank check for manpower and local materials.

The first thing she did was have the squads put up signage that informed immigrants that the office opened at 9:00 AM and closed at 4:00 PM. People who arrived outside of those hours would be treated as invaders and shot. The signage had a significant impact on the number of immigrants who tried to sneak through after dark.

Then Sheila sent crews out to cut posts; great big posts...9” to 12” in diameter and nine feet long.

The only bridge spans across the West Branch of the Red Cedar, the Buffer-Zone’s eastern boundary, and Livingston County were the eastbound and westbound spans that carried I-96.

The first hundred-and-fifty yards west of the river were muck-bottomed, cattail marsh. With spring thaw in full bore, they were filled with eighteen inches of ice-water.

Sheila set the men to planting the posts starting IN the cattail marsh and proceeding westward for 100 yards. The post-holes were thirty inches deep and the posts were planted on forty-eight inch centers.

Boring the holes for the posts was quite a job. The first couple of inches were greasy mud, then six-to-twelve inches of frozen soil. Then it could be augered, except Mrs Galts choice of large diameter posts precluded hand-held equipment. In many places, the slope of the land made Milo’s PTO driven auger an impossibility as well. In those cases, the holes were hand-dug.

Four-foot tall woven wire fence was stapled to the bottom of the posts. Two strands of high-tensile, electric fence wire were run at 5’ and 6’ heights.

Yes, the strands were energized with a 10 Joule electric fence charger.

The “Bull Fence” funneled traffic to a cluster of mobile classrooms Sheila had Milo locate and transport to the site.

In the first mobile classroom, potential immigrants were instructed to put all of their metal objects and electronic devices into tubs. The immigrants were very pointedly asked if they had any metal rods or surgical devices in their bodies.

A few lied, of course. They assumed they would be disqualified from immigrating if they admitted they had various pins or plates or screws holding them together.

They became uncomfortable in the second classroom when the two, 1000W microwave ovens, sans doors, lit off. The metal parts became toasty warm. The reason for the irradiation was to smoke any video recording devices Ann Arbor was sneaking in to generate footage for their ad campaign.

“Not on my watch” was Sheila’s motto. The potential immigrants would be treated as humanely as possible AND Sheila was not going to let close-up footage of the facilities and processes get back to the enemy. Her son Jon was one of the fighters in the Buffer-Zone.

Ann Arbor was clearly waging a propaganda war. Information that leaked back to the enemy made her son's job more dangerous and Sheila was not going to let that happen.

The next two classrooms were administrative. They were manpower intensive and partitioned into multiple “offices”. Claims of kin or property ownership were checked and double-checked.

If the immigrants were approved, they went to a delousing classroom where their hair was shaved, then they stripped naked and were sprayed with vegetable oil. After an uncomfortable half-hour to ensure the lice were smothered, they showered and their auto-claved clothing was returned to them.

If they were not approved, they were escorted to the eastern end of the Bull Fence and pointedly told to not come back. They were not welcome. Then they were handed the metal doo-dads and electronic devices they had deposited in the tubs at the first classroom.

About half of the people who wished to immigrate into the Buffer-Zone and points west were accepted. Half were rejected.

Some of the rejected applicants did come back. If they were recognized, their devices were confiscated and they were TASERED. They were escorted back to the east end of the Bull Fence and their devices were not returned.

Sheila liked to think ahead. She had Milo bring some extra mobile classrooms. She didn’t know what she was going to need them for, but it was better to get them while Milo was happily transporting them rather than find herself two or three short when Milo was pinned down with spring planting.

So she had Milo bring six extra classrooms and park them west of the ones she was using.


Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Running and frogs

Today was a running day.

I went into Lansing for a change of scenery. I planned to run from Maguire Park to Kruger's Landing and back.

Road construction scuttled those plans.

So I reversed the plans. I parked at Kruger's Landing and ran south toward Maguire. I set my timer for 30 minutes. I have been running 12 minute miles and that should put me at five miles. When the timer went off I planned to turn around.

The run from Kruger towards Maguire is uphill. I was huffing-and-puffing because I wanted to get my five miles and if I lollygagged I would not have at least 2.5 miles in when my timer went off.

The timer went off as I was passing the Soccer Zone just south of Jolly. I almost made it to Maguire.
Based on 30 minutes/2.7 miles, I am now officially an 11:07 minute/mile guy.

The other thing is that I got in more than five miles today. Last week I was a three mile, 12-minute-mile runner and this week I can run five miles and consider myself an 11 minute (and short change) runner.

I savor the small victories.

I consider myself a fairly attentive observer of the natural world.

And there are times when I ask myself, "How did I miss that?"

Sprite's seven calves needed to move to my pasture.

Sprite contracted to have some of her fields cut for hay. The equipment needed to go through the paddocks where the calves were grazing. It was just far smoother to move them to my paddocks while the chaos happens over at hers.

Moving the calves entails dumping the water out of the 100 gallon stock tank and carrying it a couple hundred yards to the paddock where the calves will start their rotation on my property.

The tank only weighs about forty pounds (when empty) but it is awkward. I have tried dragging it and it bites into the ground and bumps into my Achilles tendon. The easiest way to carry it is to flip it over my head and carry it in that position like a turtle's shell.

After putting in the appropriate place and dragging enough hose to fill it from Sprite's hose, I happened to look down and I saw...
A tree frog

How the heck did he/she hang on to the slimy, algae covered inside of the tank while it bounced on my shoulders during that 200 yard ride? How could I not have seen it?

But there it was!

Horse-lovers around the world horrified by Marxists lynching horse

Clouded Leopards

Best camo ever!

The human eye/brain constantly spins through ambiguous information looking for patterns. Sort of like a roulette wheel looking for the marble to drop.

The silhouette of some animals are very distinctive: A standing human, a crouching leopard, a stalking jackal.

The reticulated pattern of the Clouded Leopard changes a crouching leopard into a fallen, morel mushroom or a rounded, spalled rock.

A magnificent thing about the Clouded Leopard pattern is that it can be done with two colors and a tiny bit of shading or blending.

Part of what makes the human form distinctive is the "vertical-ity" and "T" shape of our shoulders.

I really want to get a few T-shirts and mess around with them. Good, cheap fun.

Bubba who?

Cognitive dissonance is the realization that two views we hold are not compatible.

The most common resolution of this mental pain is to "forget" or discount the more weakly held proposition, that is, to memory-hole the concept. Or, as an alternative, to simply forget that the incompatibility was ever called to our attention.

A week from now the wokesters will be saying "Bubba who?"

Wallace should just go with the flow and change his last name to "Who?". His Jesse Smollett-like lunge at the brass-ring of fame fell on its face but he can still capitalize on the event.

Imagine, somebody in NASCAR being hungry for glory! Who knew? Or maybe it was Who? knew.

Quest: Mud

The bitter cold and and long nights of February slid into March.

The hour of sunset, which seemed pegged to late afternoon started moving later in the day by measurable amounts each day.

Daytime highs rose above freezing and snow was replaced by re-frozen slush which was treacherous and seemed designed to reach up and twist unsuspecting ankles.

Then the re-frozen slush slumped and flattened into refrozen puddles, then glare ice.

The "thaw" each day lasted longer and the unwary found themselves with soaked trousers as the sun set. Nothing is more wickedly cold than damp clothing and sub-freezing temperatures.

Unless it is mud-caked clothing and sub-freezing temperatures which were featured the next week.

Mud gummed up everything. It got into food. It froze in gun carriages. It made boots weigh eight pounds each.

The West Branch of the Red Cedar river overflowed as did Doan Creek on the western border of the Buffer Zone.

Quinn was confronted with a tactical issue and a sociatal issue.

The tactical issue involved temporary bridges across Doan Creek. One bridge had been left un-demoed in the last campaign and all Buffer-Zone resupply had been done across that bridge.

Benicio's intelligence still indicated that Washtenaw County would attack in the last half of April. That one bridge was the Buffer-Zone's Achilles Heal. Severing that bridge would deal a near-certain, fatal blow to the defense. Not only would it slit the throat of any resupply efforts but it would strangle the tactical advantage of being able to fluidly avoid over-powering thrusts from the enemy.

The enemy could corner and destroy the Buffer-Zone resistance. The numbers favored the enemy by a factor of 10-to-1. The defense needed to be able to "float like a butterfly and sting like a bee".

Two additional high-capacity bridges were erected across Doan Creek. One to more effectively service the north end of the Buffer-Zone and the other the south end. The thinking was to spread out the that even if the defenders overwhelmed one end of the Buffer-Zone, the other bridge(s) could continue to support the resistance on the other end.

The zones immediately west of the high-capacity bridges were invested with fixed mortar positions and hardened defenses. The invaders might push the defenders off the east shore of Doan Creek but they would pay hell trying to cross the bridges.

The other demolished bridges were replaced with pontoon bridges. The best source of pontoons were from pontoon boats. The boat super-structure was removed down to the decking. The boats were lined up abreast and two-by-six framing was run across them from bank-to-bank.

Each boat had a nominal cargo load of 1650 pounds and the framing spread the load across three boats. Essentially, a single draft horse could pull a two-thousand pound wagon across the bridge without issue or three squads (plus gear) could be crossing the bridge at a time.

Quartermasters who were managing loads restricted pallets to a maximum of 1500 pounds. They came up with a system where the pallets were broken into three classes: Type I: Less than 500 pounds, Type II: between 500-and-1000 pounds and Type III: 1000-to-1500 pounds. Even if the truck-and-trailer combination had far more capacity, loads were restricted to three Type I pallets or one Type I and one Type II or a single Type III.

There are times when the needs of future operational flexibility outweigh minor increases in efficiency.

Pallet loads of mortar shells started showing up on both sides of Doan Creek. The only thing notable about the shells is that they had black paint on the tips. The shells were still the Air-Fuel variant since that is what was tooled up for production.

When asked, the Lieutenants brushed off questions by sharing that the black-tips had slightly improved range.

Within days, the information had filtered back to Ann Arbor. The tacticians planning the invasion processed the information and made adjustments.

David Greene and his fellow deserters had been unanimous in their assessment of Capiche mortars. "Maximum range of 660 yards and doctrine dictated placement 400 yards from expected target to allow changes in azimuth."

The planners thought they were being generous when they estimated the new "improved" range to be 1000 yards and the doctrine for emplacement to be 700 yards. The information had little effect on their plans. It merely delayed the leap-frog of mortar teams that were slated to invest just east of the Red Cedar before the mechanized surge into, and through the Buffer-Zone.

Based on past experience, the military planners expected the indigenous defense forces to be little more than a speed-bump.

The social issue Quinn had to deal with involved land grants.

The former Livingston County forces who made up the bulk of the Buffer-Zone defense had signed on because they had been promised a new start. They had been promised land, a house and a working well.

Enough land to raise a family.

A sound house to keep them out of the weather.

And a well with safe drinking water.

Spring was coming and even the least agriculturally minded knew they should be doing SOMETHING to put in a crop. And here they were slogging in the mud preparing for an invasion half did not expect to come.

The other half were almost certain that they were going to be steam-rollered. Unlike Livingston County, the Buffer-Zone was almost devoid of mechanical transportation. The infrastructure was as vaporous and as mobile as fog.

Corndog, as Quinn was known to most of the former Livingston County forces, spent most of his hours among the ranks. He heard their concerns. He knew the men needed some reality-anchor or they would desert at the sound of the first shot.

Dysen had a solution.